Thursday, October 28, 2010

No More Waiting: Holmes And Watson Roll Again

Holmes and Watson on their way to Wales
I have been away for more than a week, and during that time at least three or four readers have been waiting patiently for Chapter 20 of my factual/fictional work-in-progress, in which Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are investigating the mysterious death of Welsh code-breaker Gareth Williams.

Fortunately for all of us, the wait is over. I am back at my desk on a more regular basis, and the 20th chapter is finished and posted.

I understand that following a serial-in-progress can be frustrating for those who prefer to read the last page of a mystery first. They want to see how it turns out before they read the rest of the book, and in this case it is simply not possible.

On the other hand, there may be some compensation in knowing that the last page of this story is not yet written -- and that my readers will find out what happens immediately after I find out myself.

For those who have been waiting, here's the newest: [Chapter 20: Unthinkable]

For those wishing to start at the beginning, this would be the link: [Sherlock Holmes and the Alderny Street Mystery]

Many thanks to those who have been encouraging me with respect to the "Alderney Street" project. I hope you will enjoy the newest chapter and those to come.

More soonest...

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Surprise! Canadian Forces Commander Was A Serial Killer

Col. Russell Williams, Canadian Armed Forces
Like every other day, I suppose, it's been a day of sick news.

An Obama administration task force is now trying to strengthen legislation that would uphold [read: shred] the Constitution by making sure the telecoms don't do anything that might interfere with warrantless government surveillance. This action provides even more [read: less] support for Barack Obama's claim that voters who don't work as hard as possible to support the Democrats are "irresponsible", since their civil rights are so endangered by Republicans.

And Bush's Secretary of Defense [read: Attack], Robert Gates, is still running the Pentagon, and plenty of other Bush cronies are still filling their appointed offices, and virtually all the Bush policies are still in place, although a few things are actually worse now. So it makes perfect [read: no] sense for John McCain to describe Obama as running "the most partisan administration I have ever seen".

Pakistan's Foreign Minister spoke at Harvard University and made the totally [read: scarcely] understandable claim that Iran has "no justification to pursue nuclear weapons."

According to Dawn, Shah Mehmood Qureshi told his Harvard audience:
"Who's threatening Iran? I don't see any immediate threat to Iran."
Qureshi also pointed out that Iran was signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Pakistan and India never signed.

“They have an international obligation. They have signed NPT and they should respect that,” he said.
To clarify: India, Pakistan and Israel all have nuclear weapons but have not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, so technically they should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons at all, or nuclear power either.

The United States, which has signed the NPT, acts as if the treaty has been nullified, and uses nuclear weapons against civilians in places like Iraq.

And Iran, which has also signed the treaty and therefore should be allowed to have nuclear power, is being hampered in its pursuit of same by the repeated claim (rejected by the Iranians, and never proven or even partially substantiated by anyone) that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The absurdity is compounded by the fact that Iran is threatened by neighbors with nuclear weapons, and also by a rogue state halfway across the world with more nuclear weapons, and therefore the diplomatic [read: propaganda] tack at the moment is to claim that Iran is not threatened.

If it wasn't so sick, I could laugh even harder.

But the sickest laugh of the day comes from Canada, where
The decorated former commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in eastern Ontario, pleaded guilty [on Monday] to all 88 charges against him — including two counts of first-degree murder, two counts each of sexual assault and forcible confinement and 82 break-ins and attempted break-ins.
According to the CBC,
Thousands of explicit photos that Col. Russell Williams took while wearing women's and girls' lingerie show how his sexual obsession escalated from lesser crimes to sexual assault and murder
He admitted to police he sought out homes where "attractive young women" lived, targeting those in their late teens to early 30's.

Col. Russell Williams photographed himself wearing lingerie
The Crown said Williams's behaviour was obsessive in the number of break-ins, in the meticulous manner in which he dealt with stolen clothes and in the sheer volume of photos he took and methodically filed.
Williams would place lingerie in boxes or bags when he got home. He was so obsessive in his collection of undergarments that he had to burn some of his trophies in a field to make room for more.
Williams took thousands of explicit photographs of himself at crime scenes — wearing women's and girls' lingerie, and masturbating on their beds — which he put in a complex file folder system with a date stamp.

The folder system gave a sense of how long Williams was in homes and what he did. He kept a log that stated the nature of the offences and stored evidence of the murders and break-ins on two hard drives. Police found them stored above the ceiling in the basement of his Ottawa home.
Crown prosecutor Robert Morrison ... said Williams's repeated sexually obsessive behaviour dates back to 2007 and 2008 — long before he escalated to actual sexual assaults on women — or the eventual murders ... In some of the photos, Williams is in a girl's lingerie, wearing parts of what the Crown said appears to be his Canadian military uniform.
That's the sick part; now for the laugh:

The Canadian media are turning themselves inside out in their attempt to answer the question: "How could  a guy like this rise to a position of power in an organization such as the Canadian military?" The question is more difficult than first appears, because media types and analysts must answer it without admitting any reality into the discussion.

They can't talk about the fact that psychopaths and the military are made for each other, or the obvious reasons why this is so. But I can.

Listen: People who enjoy wielding power over others tend to seek positions in which they can do so legitimately. They become policemen and soldiers and prison guards, and politicians and "news" anchors. The most extreme of these people seek out the most extreme situations, and nothing suits a psychopathic killer better than a job in which he is required to kill people. There is no draft in Canada, so the only people in the military are those who voluntarily decided to enlist.

This photo taken by Russell Williams was used as evidence against him.
Now: Armies seek out people who enjoy wielding power over others, who can live seemingly "normal" lives punctuated by episodes in which they take part in the tearing, shredding, crushing and burning of human flesh -- all for the "noble" cause of spreading liberty and freedom, of course. Those who bring strong administrative skills to the table, who are comfortable giving orders, and who are capable of manipulating large groups of people -- sometimes sending them to faraway lands to kill and die -- are quickly promoted.

In Canada -- just as in the USA -- it is not permissible for media types to say "our country is involved in an aggressive foreign war against people who have never attacked, or intended to attack, us or any of our friends." Instead the coverage starts and ends with the idea that Canadian soldiers are always doing the right sorts of things overseas, giving the little Afghan kids candy bars and so on.

And so we don't get any reality, and we don't get any insight, and we are all left to scratch our heads and wonder: "How could a guy who commanded stuff like that, have gone home and done stuff like this?"

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To catch up on the adventures of Holmes and Watson, who are still trying to crack open the Gareth Williams mystery, click here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Common Ground With A War Criminal: Stryker Brigade Commander Harry D. Tunnell IV Sneered At COIN Doctrine, And So Do I

Col. Harry D. Tunnell IV, US Army
The Stryker Combat Brigade in Afghanistan, some of whose members stand accused of killing civilians for sport, was led by a man who openly sneered at the U.S. military's counterinsurgency strategy, according to Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post.

From Whitlock's report of September 18th:
The U.S. soldiers hatched a plan as simple as it was savage: to randomly target and kill an Afghan civilian, and to get away with it.

For weeks, according to Army charging documents, rogue members of a platoon from the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, floated the idea. Then, one day last winter, a solitary Afghan man approached them in the village of La Mohammed Kalay. The "kill team" activated the plan.

One soldier created a ruse that they were under attack, tossing a fragmentary grenade on the ground. Then others opened fire.

According to charging documents, the unprovoked, fatal attack on Jan. 15 was the start of a months-long shooting spree against Afghan civilians that resulted in some of the grisliest allegations against American soldiers since the U.S. invasion in 2001. Members of the platoon have been charged with dismembering and photographing corpses, as well as hoarding a skull and other human bones.

The subsequent investigation has raised accusations about whether the military ignored warnings that the out-of-control soldiers were committing atrocities. The father of one soldier said he repeatedly tried to alert the Army after his son told him about the first killing, only to be rebuffed.
Seven other soldiers have been charged with crimes related to the case, including hashish use, attempts to impede the investigation and a retaliatory gang assault on a private who blew the whistle.
And so on.

As Whitlock reported on October 13th,
When the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade arrived in Afghanistan, its leader, Col. Harry D. Tunnell IV, openly sneered at the U.S. military's counterinsurgency strategy. The old-school commander barred his officers from even mentioning the term and told shocked U.S. and NATO officials that he was uninterested in winning the trust of the Afghan people.

Instead, he said, his soldiers would simply hunt and kill as many Taliban fighters as possible, as dictated by the brigade's motto, "Strike and Destroy."

What resulted was a year of tough fighting in territory fiercely defended by the Taliban and a casualty rate so high that it triggered alarms at the Pentagon. By the time the 3,800-member brigade returned in July to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, Wash., it had paid a steep price: 35 soldiers were killed in combat, six were dead from accidents and other causes, and 239 were wounded.
As sordid accounts of the platoon's activities continue to emerge, critics inside and outside the Army are questioning whether the brigade's get-tough strategy, which emphasized enemy kills over civilian relations, influenced the behavior of the accused.

Questions also persist about why the 5th Stryker Brigade's chain of command did not intervene earlier ...
And so on.

I happen to agree with Col. Harry D. Tunnell IV, at least insofar as I have openly sneered at the U.S. military's 'counterinsurgency' strategy myself.

In a much different way, no doubt, but apparently to the same degree, Col. Harry D. Tunnell IV and I see the so-called 'COIN' strategy as -- to use the clinical term -- one big fat lie.

I cannot speak for Tunnell, but my understanding begins with the fact that the words 'insurgent' and 'insurgency' are entirely inappropriate in this context. In dictionary-English, as opposed to the political double-talk that goes on in America, an 'insurgent' is someone who rebels against a legitimately established government.

Both Iraq and Afghanistan were bombed, invaded, demolished and occupied, based on transparently obvious lies. The fact that the lies were exposed as such -- which wasn't very hard to do -- has not made a whit of difference to the wars; they still carry on, although the propaganda attending them has morphed as the official 'justifications' change and change and change...

And the governments set up by the Americans in Baghdad and Kabul are mere puppets, even though they sometimes try to bite the hand that moves them. The so-called 'elections' in both countries which installed these governments were controlled by occupying foreigners, so even if they had been 'fair', they never could have been 'free', and their results would have been tainted in any case.

Because the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are undoubtedly war crimes and crimes against humanity of the highest order, and because the governments of these two countries are decidedly illegitimate, the people in these countries who are fighting against the US-led, NATO-assisted, ongoing war crimes are not 'insurgents' by any stretch of the imagination.

Secondly, as I see it, 'COIN' doctrine, which has evolved precious little despite the enormous numbers of casualties it has claimed and the relatively few successes it can point to, is based on the idea that occupying foreign soldiers can 'win' the 'hearts and minds' (or, in the Vietnam-era acronym, HAM) of indigenous people.

Perhaps in some fantasy land somewhere, but not on this planet, is it possible to 'win' anything resembling the 'hearts and minds' of any people at the same time as you are systematically killing their friends and relatives, demolishing their social and physical infrastructure, poisoning their landscape, setting up checkpoints to control their movement, kidnapping and torturing them, and dropping bombs on them from the skies -- all in an effort to gain control of their country.

The only way in which it is possible to stop indigenous people from attacking invaders and occupiers is to kill enough of them, in gruesome enough ways, and destroy enough of their environment, so completely and so permanently, that the survivors lose every aspect of their humanity except their survival instinct, and start cooperating, albeit tacitly, with manifest evil.

I understand that, and Col. Harry D. Tunnell IV understands it, and Barack Obama understands it too -- but Obama can never say it, and neither can Tunnell, and neither can any of the other men and women who make their living by manifesting the policy of evil.

But sometimes -- even despite the best efforts of those who have nothing but contempt for humanity and the truth -- facts come out which demand action. In such cases, the difference between the truth as we know it and the lies that must be told serves as a grindstone which destroys anyone unfortunate enough to be squeezed against it.

This is the inevitable consequence of a long-standing, bi-partisan, national policy so unspeakably evil that the people who implement that policy will never dare to tell the truth about it ... if they think anybody's listening.

In other words, they don't call it the Stryker Brigade for nothing.

If they were truly out to win Hearts And Minds, they would call it the HAMster Brigade.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sounds Like A Great Idea! But How Are They Doing It?

The Most Intriguing Headline of the Day by far, and seemingly a certain winner for Largest Headline-To-Content Ratio of the Year (perhaps of the Decade), comes from the Pakistani daily Dawn.

The headline reads: "German social networks wage virtual war on rightists", and the article says:
Yes! That's right! It says nothing at all.

But apparently it used to say something, for it has been "Tweeted" 13 times.

Perhaps the German rightists are fighting back by trying to suppress this story?

Perhaps Dawn has simply screwed things up?

If I learn any more about this, I will post more details. If you know more about it, please don't be shy.


Apparently Dawn had screwed things up again. The text of the article has finally appeared. And apparently I shouldn't have got too excited.

Big news! German "leftists" are being mobilized to stand up against neo-Nazis and the spread of anti-Semitism (which normally means telling the truth about Israel) (now that it's not World War II anymore) (which means the "leftist movement" is probably funded and organized by Israel) (and how convenient is it for the Israelis to have German skinheads to work "against"?)

Oh well. We couldn't possibly use social networks to mobilize against the neo-Nazi rightists who vex us here and now, bombing, invading and occupying foreign countries that never threatened us, taking away all the civil liberties and economic protections they can, while supporting Israel to the hilt. Could we?

Nah, we couldn't even use social networking against obvious enemies of the people, such as John Raese, the idiot running for the Senate from West Virginia, who makes a point of mis-pronouncing the first name of his opponent, and longs to abolish the minimum wage law.

Or maybe, now that I mention it, we could. But we won't.

Or maybe we will, but if we do, it won't be written up in any newspapers.

Not even a screwed-up Pakistani daily.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Two More Tales From America's Very Dark History

I've lost track of the number of times that I have been profoundly disgusted to read mass-murderous nonsense from "investigative journalists" and "citizen bloggers" whom I have supported over the years. Whether that support has involved active assistance or simply linking with praise, it's always painful to realize once again that I've been wrong about somebody's intentions and that I have directed my readers to people who clearly have more respect for their own agendas than they have for the truth.

On the other hand there have been a few occasions on which I have been pleasantly surprised to find excellent work from people of whom I have been critical, and two of those occasions came along a few days ago. It behooves me to share.

Truth Excavator at Disquiet Reservations has pulled together some excellent information regarding the insane conspiracy theory about President Roosevelt and the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor. Did Roosevelt know, as some have claimed, that the attack was coming? Did the American government actually go out of its way to provoke that mass-murderous attack? Read all about it here: "October 7, 1940: The Day That Should Have Lived in Infamy"

From Robert Parry of Consortium News (of whom I have been unreservedly critical in the recent past), in collaboration with Peter Dale Scott (of whom I have not), comes a piece called "A Long History of America's Dark Side", which could easily have been called "A Short History of America's Long Dark Past". And even though I could quibble with the title, I think you should read the piece.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Must Read: Chris Floyd's "The Altars of Fear"

Chris Floyd's most recent piece, "The Altars of Fear: Wrong Turns on a Long, Dark Road", is extraordinary, even by his very high standards, and I urge you to read it in full if you have not already done so.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Jews In America Are An Oppressed Minority -- OR ELSE!

Rick Sanchez
Brian Stelter of the New York Times reports on the firing of Rick Sanchez by CNN:
Rick Sanchez, a daytime anchor at CNN, was fired on Friday, a day after telling a radio interviewer that Jon Stewart was a bigot and that “everybody that runs CNN is a lot like Stewart.”

The latter comment was made shortly after Mr. Stewart’s faith, Judaism, was invoked.
Mr. Sanchez’s comments came Thursday during a contentious conversation with the comedian Pete Dominick on satellite radio. By Friday afternoon, a recording of the conversation had circulated widely on the Internet.

In the conversation Mr. Sanchez, who is Cuban-American, repeatedly suggested that he had experienced subtle forms of discrimination in his television career.
One of the co-hosts of the radio show brought up the fact that Mr. Stewart was a Jew, saying to Mr. Sanchez that he was a minority “as much as you are.”

Mr. Sanchez answered sarcastically, “Yeah. Yeah. Very powerless people.” He let out a high-pitched laugh.

“Everybody that runs CNN is a lot like Stewart,” Mr. Sanchez said. “And a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart. And to imply that somehow they — the people in this country who are Jewish — are an oppressed minority? Yeah.”
Indeed. They are actually so oppressed that they can have anyone who suggests otherwise stipped of his employment within 24 hours, as CNN has so clearly demonstrated.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

It's All News! Jester Scoops Wingnut!! OR Falling Down The Rabbit Hole Becomes A Distant Memory


As I mentioned the other day, I have been tracking news coverage of the mystery of Gareth Williams, the British intelligence worker whose body was found in a bathtub late last month, padlocked in a duffel bag in an MI6 "safe house".

Among the coverage I have been tracking, I have noticed a British site called "The Spoof" which has been running satirical items on the Williams case. These items are always short and nonsensical and would appeal to a person with a particular absurdist sense of humour -- not me, but perhaps somebody else. Nevertheless, since I have Google News Alerts set and I do periodic Google News searches for the topics that interest me, and since, for some unfathomable reason, Google News considers The Spoof a "news source", whenever The Spoof posts another bit of nonsense about Gareth Williams, I find out about it immediately. Such is the power of Google News.

On Wenesday, September 29, The Spoof posted an item saying
A new theory about the death of MI6 maths genius Gareth Williams claims he had worked on the Stuxnet cybermunition program.
The piece is short and it's obviously nonsense. It's not as obviously complete nonsense as the one that claimed the Queen's security men were worried she was going to lock herself into a travel bag as a form of "copycat suicide", but still...

Today, just two days later, [in a total coincidence, right?] the right-wing lunatic site World Net Daily, which for some other unfathomable reason Google News also considers a "news source", has this big hot scoop from security genius Joseph Farah:
Spy's death linked to Iran computer-virus attack?

Investigators looking into the still-shrouded details of the death of Government Communications Headquarter spy Gareth Williams have learned that in the last months of his life before being found dead in an MI6 safe house he was a member of a team tracking the first-ever computer virus designed to sabotage oil refineries and other industrial installations, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.
Of course you have to subscribe to Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin if you want all the details. Personally I am not substantially interested.

[UPDATE! Two hours later]

[In another total coincidence, right?] Joseph Farah's piece, "Spy's death linked to Iran computer-virus attack?" is no longer available at its original link, and it is no longer mentioned on the front page of World Net Daily either.

Now the link I posted above gives you a "server error" instead. I should say so! Some "server"! Some "error"!!


I can remember a time when if you said the news was nonsensical fiction, nobody would believe you.

Nowadays it's a full day's work just to separate the fiction from the so-called news of the day.

And apparently I am overloaded on that, because my "fictionalized account" of the Gareth Williams story continues, in the chapter-by-chapter style of the old magazine serials. At least two or three readers are waiting impatiently for the ninth chapter of the series, and I invite you to join them by [insert shameless plug here].

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