Saturday, September 30, 2006

Israel / Lebanon / Gaza : Good News and Bad News, Spun Hard, as Usual

First the good news: The BBC is reporting Israeli soldiers 'out of Lebanon'
Israel says it has withdrawn the last of its troops from Lebanon, fulfilling a key condition of the UN ceasefire that ended its war with Hezbollah.

The army said the last soldier left Lebanon early on Sunday.

Israel sent more than 10,000 troops into southern Lebanon during a month-long war triggered by Hezbollah's abduction of two soldiers in July.
As a point of accuracy, let's make that: "... a month-long war reportedly triggered by Hezbollah's supposed abduction of two soldiers...".

Why do I say this? Because, as a series of news reports from around the world clearly stated at the time, the two Israeli soldiers reportedly abducted from Israel by Hezbollah were actually captured in Lebanon while on a cross-border raid.

Did you know that already? I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't. Clearly you weren't supposed to know it.

Even UN resolution 1701 which supposedly ended this undeclared war enshrines the official Israeli fiction. [my emphasis, here and elsewhere]
The Security Council
Expressing its utmost concern at the continuing escalation of hostilities in Lebanon and in Israel since Hizbollah’s attack on Israel on 12 July 2006, which has already caused hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons,

Emphasizing the need for an end of violence, but at the same time emphasizing the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers,
I don't mean to knock the UN particularly ... the truth has been buried almost everywhere ... except at What Really Happened dot Com, where you can read contemporary news accounts from major news organizations, in several different languages, all of which say more or less the same as this excerpt from a report filed by Monsters and Critics:
In the afternoon, the scene changed in the streets of southern Lebanon, which was the target of 32 Israeli raids that mainly targeted areas near the area where the two soldiers were captured in Aita al Chaab, close to the border with Israel.
The town in which the invading Israelis were captured, "Aita al Chaab" is also spelled as "Ayta ash Shab". See the map below. You can on it to enlarge it.

Want another example? The Asia Times report ran this way:
It all started on July 12 when Israel troops were ambushed on Lebanon's side of the border with Israel...
You can find many other similar reports here.

Furthermore, Israel's attack on Lebanon, which was reported as an act of retaliation for the "abduction" of the Israeli soldiers, was planned well in advance of the supposed abduction.

Here's the plan: A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
This report is written with key passages of a possible speech marked TEXT, that highlight the clean break which the new government has an opportunity to make.
In other words, it's a propaganda document. The sections marked "TEXT" are for public consumption. They put the best possible face on the war of aggression detailed by the other passages in the document.

For example,
TEXT: Israel will not only contain its foes; it will transcend them.
Israel’s new agenda can signal a clean break by abandoning a policy which assumed exhaustion and allowed strategic retreat by reestablishing the principle of preemption...
So that -- preemptive war -- was the plan all along. All they needed was a pretext. And the pretext was remarkably easy to fabricate.

Here's an article by Sidney Blumenthal explaining how the plan has been implemented: The neocons' next war
[S]enior national security professionals have begun circulating among themselves a 1996 neocon manifesto against the Middle East peace process. Titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," its half-dozen authors included neoconservatives highly influential with the Bush administration -- Richard Perle, first-term chairman of the Defense Policy Board; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense; and David Wurmser, Cheney's chief Middle East aide.

"A Clean Break" was written at the request of incoming Likud Party Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and intended to provide "a new set of ideas" for jettisoning the policies of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Instead of trading "land for peace," the neocons advocated tossing aside the Oslo agreements that established negotiations and demanding unconditional Palestinian acceptance of Likud's terms, "peace for peace." Rather than negotiations with Syria, they proposed "weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria." They also advanced a wild scenario to "redefine Iraq." Then King Hussein of Jordan would somehow become its ruler; and somehow this Sunni monarch would gain "control" of the Iraqi Shiites, and through them "wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria."

Netanyahu, at first, attempted to follow the "clean break" strategy, but under persistent pressure from the Clinton administration he felt compelled to enter into U.S.-led negotiations with the Palestinians. In the 1998 Wye River accords, concluded through the personal involvement of President Clinton and a dying King Hussein, the Palestinians agreed to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel and Netanyahu agreed to withdraw from a portion of the occupied West Bank. Further negotiations, conducted by his successor Ehud Barak, that nearly settled the conflict ended in dramatic failure, but potentially set the stage for new ones.

At his first National Security Council meeting, President George W. Bush stunned his first secretary of state, Colin Powell, by rejecting any effort to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. When Powell warned that "the consequences of that could be dire, especially for the Palestinians," Bush snapped, "Sometimes a show for force by one side can really clarify things." He was making a "clean break" not only with his immediate predecessor but also with the policies of his father.
And so on.

In any case, Israeli soldiers are reportedly finally out of Lebanon. Hooray.

This doesn't mean the danger to the Lebanese people is over. Far from it.

Clearing Lebanon's residue of war
It may not be quite what you expect - a team of Iraqi Kurds teaching explosives clearance techniques in the bombed-out villages of southern Lebanon - but here they are.

The men have been flown out by the British charity Mines Awareness Group (MAG), the only non-commercial munitions clearance body in Lebanon, a country still littered with unexploded devices more than a month after the recent war with Israel.

"Hundreds of thousands of civilian lives are at risk," said Nick Guest, MAG's Technical Operations Manager.
No-one knows just how much unexploded ordnance there is in southern Lebanon.

Estimates range from tens to hundreds of thousands of unexploded cluster bomblets and submunitions. The UN warns it may take two years to clear them.
Unexploded Israeli munitions now lie on the roadside, in the gardens and fields of the decimated villages here.

The devices tend to be small in size, so often remain undetected until it's too late.
Out of the 18 killed and more than 80 injured in explosions since the end of the war a quarter were children.

A young boy was killed a few days ago climbing a tree to grab an apple. While shaking the branches, he dislodged an unexploded bomblet. It detonated on his head.

We met Radwan Ghandour, a father of four, in Nabitiyeh's Ragheb Harab Hospital. He was covered in bandages and had lost an eye and the fingers of his left hand when he tried to get rid of a cluster bomblet from his garden.

"I just wanted to keep my children safe," he told us. "There are bombs all over our village still. It makes us hate the Israelis more and more each day."
So, as in all "former" war zones, the danger remains extreme. But at least the Israeli soldiers are gone. For now. Hooray!

And now for the bad news: the BBC is also reporting new aggression by Israel. This time, Israeli strikes target Gaza Strip
An Israeli air strike has killed a Palestinian militant and wounded at least three other people, medical officials in the Gaza Strip say.

It happened in the southern town of Rafah on the border with Egypt.

The Israeli army said the raid had targeted a vehicle used by militants it believed were planning attacks against Israel.
As usual, this report begs to be unspun. So let's make it as accurate as possible, shall we?
An Israeli air strike has killed an alleged Palestinian militant ... who was traveling in a vehicle that allegedly was used by alleged militants who were supposedly planning attacks against Israel.
In other words, an alleged thoughtcrime has been punished by murder.

I understand that there's a good chance this post will draw cries of "anti-Semitism". But that's not the case at all. If this post anti-anything, it's anti-bullshit.

If there is any inaccuracy in this post, it lies in the term "news" as applied to "thoughtcrime punished by murder".

That's not news. It happens all the time.

Then They Came For Me

According to Wikipedia:
"First they came..." is a poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) about the quiescence of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.
The original text was written in German:
Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.
In English, this text reads:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
As Wikipedia points out, several variations have been published over the years...

But I want you to read a more modern version, by Daithí Mac Lochlainn, who "speaks Gaelic to power" at the blog The Gaelic Starover:
When the Neo-Conservatives came into power, they disenfranchised a large number of American citizens of their vote, but I was neither black nor from Florida, so I said nothing.

Then, after receiving well over twenty specific warnings from both foreign and domestic intelligence sources, and enjoying a month-long vacation, they read a children’s book about a pet goat as two jet liners crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. However, I didn’t work there, nor did a loved one, nor was I a fireman or cop, or even from New York or New Jersey, so I swallowed the official explanation without question.

Then, they started detaining people without charges, but I was neither Arab nor Muslim, so I said nothing.

Then, they put gag orders on a woman who knew too much, but I wasn’t an FBI translator, I did nothing.

Then, they went after the artists, but I wasn’t an artist. I did nothing.

Then, they went after defense attorneys, but I wasn’t a lawyer. I did nothing.

Then, they invaded a sovereign nation in a war of aggression based on lies and deception, but I wasn’t Iraqi. I did nothing.

Then, they tortured, humiliated and photographed detainees and passed the images around like baseball cards, but wasn’t an Abu Ghraib inmate. I did nothing.

Then they sodomized a teen-aged boy in sight of his distraught mother, but I wasn’t an Iraqi youth. I did nothing.

Then, they cut off a small city’s water and power before bombing it to smithereens, but I didn't live in Fallujah. I did nothing.

Then, they “extraordinarily detained” innocent people for deportation to Middle Eastern dictatorships for unspeakable torture, but I wasn’t a Canadian of Middle Eastern descent. I did nothing.

Then, they leaked Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan's identity to the press, giving a "heads-up" to terrorists in the United Kingdom, but I didn't live in London. I did nothing.

Then they dispatched hordes of their wenching devotees to New York to make a party out of that City’s tragedy, and to deny its residents freedom of speech and assembly, right of way and access to their own City park, but again, I wasn’t a New Yorker. I did nothing.

Then, they “counted” ballots behind closed doors, but I was neither from Ohio nor a Democrat. I did nothing.

Then, they tried to plunder Social Security so that their Wall Street campaign contributors could go out on binge, but I didn’t fall into the effected age bracket. I did nothing.

Then they trashed and slimed a Gold Star Mom, but I had no children in the military. I did nothing.

Then, they nibbled on cake and plucked on a guitar, while neglectfully presiding over the destruction of a great American City and the cruel deaths of tens of thousands of its inhabitants, but I didn’t live in New Orléans. I did nothing…

…Then, they came for me…

Friday, September 29, 2006

It's Unanimous: $448 Billion More For Death And Destruction

The Senate has just approved a bill appropriating another $70 billion for military operations against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, and another $378 billion for the Pentagon to spend on its other programs of death and destruction.

That's four hundred and forty-eight billion dollars.

The vote was 100-0.

That's one hundred to none.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have now absorbed more than $500 billion.

That's more than a hundred and sixty-five million dollars for every person killed on September 11, 2001.

And we still don't even know who killed them.

One Day Forward, 900 Years Back : Democracy Murdered In Broad Daylight

Rage And Despair

The New York Times reports:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 — The Senate approved legislation this evening governing the interrogation and trials of terror suspects, establishing far-reaching new rules in the definition of who may be held and how they should be treated.
The legislation sets up rules for the military commissions that will allow the government to prosecute high-level terrorists including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, considered the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"Considered the mastermind"? By whom?

What sensible person could possibly consider Khalid Sheikh Mohammed the mastermind of a plan of attack so far-reaching that it included more than a dozen simultaneous war games, "military exercises" which effectively stripped the Northeastern US of air cover on that fateful day?

But what am I thinking? We're not talking about sensible people here. We're talking about monsters!
It strips detainees of a habeas corpus right to challenge their detentions in court...
And that's that. The president can declare anyone an illegal enemy combatant, the CIA can pick him up and throw him in a secret prison, and that will be the end of that. No evidence need be presented; no appeal will be permitted.

As the bill states: [my emphasis here, unless otherwise noted]
  `(e)(1) No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who--

    `(A) is currently in United States custody; and

    `(B) has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.

  `(2) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 1005(e) of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (10 U.S.C. 801 note), no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any other action against the United States or its agents relating to any aspect of the detention, transfer, treatment, trial, or conditions of confinement of an alien detained by the United States who--

    `(A) is currently in United States custody; and

    `(B) has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.'
So all they have to do is sit on somebody -- no charge, no trial, not even an effort to determine whether or not he's been properly detained. If they do that, he'll fall under this provision. And rot in jail forever.

As Glenn Greenwald wrote:
During the debate on his amendment, Arlen Specter said that the bill sends us back 900 years because it denies habeas corpus rights and allows the President to detain people indefinitely. He also said the bill violates core Constitutional protections. Then he voted for it.
The enemies of America who showed their true colors on this bill include Democrats as well as Republicans. Here's Greenwald again:
Jay Rockefeller (who voted for this bill) is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. When he was defending the amendment he introduced to compel the CIA to disclose to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees information about their interrogation activities, he complained that the White House has concealed all information about the interrogation program and that the Intelligence Committee members (including him) therefore know nothing about it. His amendment to compel reports to Congress was defeated with all Republicans (except Chafee) voting against it. He proceeded to vote for the underlying bill anyway, thereby legalizing a program he admits he knows nothing about (and will continue to know nothing about).
A New York Times editorial described the bill this way:
Last week, the White House and three Republican senators announced a terrible deal on this legislation that gave Mr. Bush most of what he wanted, including a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of his antiterrorism policies. Then Vice President Dick Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.
Captured in error? ... or simply sold into captivity!
The Pakistani tribesmen slaughtered a sheep in honor of their guests, Arabs and Chinese Muslims famished from fleeing U.S. bombing in the Afghan mountains. But their hosts had ulterior motives: to sell them to the Americans, said the men who are now prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Bounties ranged from $3,000 to $25,000, the detainees testified during military tribunals, according to transcripts the U.S. government gave The Associated Press to comply with a Freedom of Information lawsuit.

A former CIA intelligence officer who helped lead the search for Osama bin Laden told AP the accounts sounded legitimate because U.S. allies regularly got money to help catch Taliban and al-Qaida fighters. Gary Schroen said he took a suitcase of $3 million in cash into Afghanistan himself to help supply and win over warlords to fight for U.S. Special Forces.
You don't believe the AP? Read this:
PRESIDENT Musharraf of Pakistan says that the CIA has secretly paid his government millions of dollars for handing over hundreds of al-Qaeda suspects to America.

The US government has strict rules banning such reward payments to foreign powers involved in the war on terror. General Musharraf does not say how much the CIA gave in return for the 369 al-Qaeda figures that he ordered should be passed to the US.

The US Department of Justice said: “We didn’t know about this. It should not happen. These bounty payments are for private individuals who help to trace terrorists on the FBI’s most wanted list, not foreign governments.”
Notice how nobody denies that it happened; they simply claim not to have known about it. If it didn't happen, surely somebody would say so, wouldn't they? Hell, yes! They would say it didn't happen even if it did!

But I digress. Here's the NYT editorial again:
These are some of the bill’s biggest flaws:

Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.

The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.

Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.
I won't bore you with more excerpts from the bill itself. You can read the whole thing here.

More from Glenn Greenwald:
[I]t is fair to say, given how lopsided this vote was (both in the House and the Senate), that the Republicans are the party of torture, indefinite and unreviewable detention powers, and limitless presidential power, even over U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
Sure, Glenn, but let's be fair: more than a quarter of the Democratic Senators voted for it too. And the rest of them have sat there with their mouths shut for the most part. Not only for the past week, but for the past six years. So this is not strictly a Republican problem.

Back to the NYT news report:
“We should have done it right, because we’re going to have to do it again,” said Senator Gordon Smith, a Republican from Oregon, who had voted to strike the habeas corpus provision, yet supported the bill.

The legislation broadens the definition of enemy combatants beyond the traditional definition used in wartime, to include noncitizens living legally in this country as well as those in foreign countries, and also anyone determined to be an enemy combatant under criteria defined by the president or secretary of defense.

It strips detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, of a habeas right to challenge their detention in court, relying instead on procedures known as combatant status review trials, which have looser rules of evidence than the courts.

It allows evidence seized in this country or abroad to be taken without a search warrant.
In other words, it shreds The Bill of Rights (especially the Fourth and Sixth Amendments), makes a mockery of The Constitution of the United States, debases -- probably forever -- the one document which above all others made the USA a symbol of freedom, of enlightenment, of decency, morality, tolerance and equality under the law.

Not that America ever really embodied these virtues -- but it did symbolize them. Once upon a time, long, long ago. Eight or nine hundred years ago -- yesterday. But now -- today -- that's all gone. And all we have left is greed, and filth, and shame, and shamefully transparent lies, and craven politicians who care about nothing, save covering their asses.

The NYT again:
“I believe there can be no mercy for those who perpetrated the crimes of 9/11,” said Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York.
For once I agree with this particular Senator. But I've always wished that -- before we started showing "no mercy" -- we could at least have tried to find out: Who perpetrated the crimes? Who (i.e. which FBI assets) sheltered them? Who (i.e. which US military flight schools) trained them? Who motivated them? And who financed them? Wouldn't we like to know?

Given the very simple fact that we do not know the answers to these questions, the bill in question is a grotesque travesty of ... What am I saying? Even if we had the answers to those questions, this bill would still be a grotesque travesty!

"Grotesque Travesty" Is An Understatement

Glenn Greenwald again:
Opponents of this bill have focused most of their attention -- understandably and appropriately -- on the way in which it authorizes the use of interrogation techniques which, as this excellent NYT Editorial put it, "normal people consider torture," along with the power it vests in the President to detain indefinitely, and with no need to bring charges, all foreign nationals and even legal resident aliens within the U.S. But as Law Professors Marty Lederman and Bruce Ackerman each point out, many of the extraordinary powers vested in the President by this bill also apply to U.S. citizens, on U.S. soil.

As Ackerman put it:
The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House, authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights.
Similarly, Lederman explains:
this [subsection (ii) of the definition of 'unlawful enemy combatant'] means that if the Pentagon says you're an unlawful enemy combatant -- using whatever criteria they wish -- then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to 'hostilities' at all.
A Tiny Flicker Of Hope

In my twisted and frozen little mind, I harbor a tiny flicker of hope -- that this draconian legislation can somehow be used against those who begged for 9/11 to happen, who made it happen, who have striven endlessly to reap political benefit from a national tragedy, and who now -- once again -- have shamed us all, destroying our birthright in the process. And then, once they have all been hanged for treason, that this bill -- and every other anti-American, anti-democratic bill passed in the last five horrible years -- can be summarily repealed.

Of course I'm dreaming. But am I dreaming in technicolor? Surely not! For there are only two colors in this nightmare: scarlet and black; blood and darkness.

Thunder On The Mountain

As all four or five of my regular readers will surely have noticed, I rarely run out of words. I can usually go on and on and on ... but not this time. I have reached my limit. For this and other -- better -- reasons, I'll leave the last word to Chris Floyd: [emphasis in the original]
Who are these people? Who are these useless hanks of bone and fat that call themselves Senators of the United States? Let’s call them what they really are, let’s speak the truth about what they’ve done today with their votes on the bill to enshrine Bush's gulag of torture and endless detention into American law.

Who are they? The murderers of democracy.
Sold our liberty to keep their coddled, corrupt backsides squatting in the Beltway gravy a little longer.

Who are they? The murderers of democracy.
Cowards and slaves, giving up our most ancient freedoms to a dull-eyed, dim-witted pipsqueak and his cohort of bagmen, cranks and degenerate toadies. For make no mistake: despite all the lies and distorted media soundbites, the draconian strictures of this bill apply to American citizens as well as to all them devilish foreigners.

Who are they? The murderers of democracy.
Traitors to the nation, filthy time-servers and bootlickers, turning America into a rogue state, an open champion of torture, repression and terror.

Who are they? The murderers of democracy.
Threw our freedom on the ground and raped it, beat it, shot it, stuck their knives into it and set it on fire.

Who are they? The murderers of democracy.
If there was an ounce of moxie left in the American system, these white-collar criminals would be in shackles right now, arrested for high treason, for collusion with a tyrant who is gutting the constitution, pushing terrorism to new heights and waging an unholy, illegal war of aggression that’s killed tens of thousands of innocent people and bled our country dry.

There is no honor in them. There is no decency, no morality, no honesty – nothing but fear, nothing but greed, nothing but base servility. Cringing, wretched little creatures, bowing to the will of a third-rate thug and his gang of moral perverts. This is their record. This is their doing. This is the shame they will have to live with. And this is the darkness, rank, fetid and smelling of blood, that now covers us all.
Read it and weep! Read it and scream!! Then listen to Chris read it at Gorilla Radio, courtesy of Atlantic Free Press.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tom Toles On Torture

Please consider this an open thread.

Kurt Nimmo, Ralph Schoenman, and The Underlying Politics of 9/11

I don't have quite enough time to write another long essay tonight, but I do have a few very good links for you.

They come from Kurt Nimmo, who has directed and edited a pair of 10-minute videos incorporating excerpts from a speech by Ralph Schoenman. The videos reveal a considerable body of evidence tying intelligence services from more than one country to the events of 9/11. I've seen each of them twice (so far) and I would watch them again tonight if I had time. But I don't.

Ahh, the pain!

Here you go:

The Underlying Politics of 9/11 (Part One)

The Underlying Politics of 9/11 (Part Two)

If you'd like more of Ralph Schoenman, you can watch this video, or you can sample the archives from his radio show, "Taking Aim".

And if you'd like more of Kurt Nimmo, check out his excellent blog, "Another Day In The Empire".

I haven't posted a song lyric in quite a while -- more than a year, in fact. I used to do it fairly often...

Here's a really good one -- one that I used to play (and even tried to sing) a couple of decades ago, in what now seems like a whole 'nother lifetime.

It's by Peter Gabriel.

Modern Love

Hey, I'm feeling so dirty, you're looking so clean
And all you can give is a spin in your washing machine
I fly off to Rome to my prima bella
She leaves me in the rain with telescopic umbrella
Ahh the pain
Modern love can be a strain

I trusted my Venus was untouched in her shell
But the pearls -- the pearls in her oyster -- were as tacky as hell
For Lady Godiva I came incognito
But her driver had stolen her red hot magneto
Ahh the pain
Modern love can be a strain

I don't know why they leave me in the lurch
To carry on the search
It's driving me up the wall
Pity when I have so much passion
Romance is out of fashion
Can't handle modern love at all

So I worship Diana by the light of the moon
When I pull out my pipe she screams out of tune
In Paris my heart sinks when I see the Mona Lisa
She gives me the wink, then she shows me the freezer
Ahh the pain
Modern love can be a strain

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Lying About Iraq And Terrorism -- Australian Style

It's the same as American-style, British-style, and Afghani-style...

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard and his merry band of war criminals have been both echoing and foreshadowing American "president" George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and their bands of merry war criminals, in lying about Iraq, terrorism and the recently leaked and/or partially declassified National Intelligence Estimate, in which America's intelligence agencies clearly state that they are full of manure -- all of them.

Today, for your dining and dancing pleasure, we'll look at two very similar articles from Australia's The Age, in which the lying war criminals down under are given ample space to sling their manure. It's tough not to notice how similar it smells to the American and British and even Afghani varieties. Clearly the so-called leaders of all these so-called nations are reading from the very same script.

Today: September 27: Terrorism predated Iraq war, says govt
The government maintains the scourge of modern terrorism predates the war in Iraq despite an assessment from American spies that it has increased the threat from extremists.
Apparently we're not supposed to notice that the two assertions are not mutually exclusive. In other words, it is quite possible for both of them to be true at the same time. And in fact they are both true; terrorism obviously "predates the war in Iraq" but that has no bearing on the fact that the war has increased the threat from extremists.
Prime Minister John Howard, who has not yet read the report, resisted the cause and effect implications suggested by the US analysis.
It's probably best that the Prime Minister hasn't read the report. Clearly, this puts him on much stronger footing than some others, such as your frozen correspondent, who has read the parts which have been declassified.
"There is no doubt that Iraq is very much in the front line of the fight against terrorism. The Americans repeatedly say that and they are right," he said.
There is plenty of doubt, Mr. Howard. Everything depends on what you mean by "terrorism". If by "terrorism" you mean an indigenous liberation movement trying to evict the invaders turned occupiers who defile their country with their very presence, not to mention polluting it beyond habitability with their depleted uranium, then Iraq is clearly the front line. But normally the term "terrorism" refers to politically motivated attacks against innocent civilians, and in this sense the terrorists are ... who exactly? Did you say the members of the so-called "coalition"? If you did say that, you're getting close to the truth.
"But it's also correct ... that the Bali attack that killed 88 Australians took place before the military operation in Iraq.
Of course it is correct, but it's irrelevant. Nobody has ever said that the invasion of Iraq was the beginning of terrorism. All we've been saying for the past three and a half years is the stunningly obvious truth: that the invasion, destruction and occupation of Iraq has made the global terrorist threat worse than it was before.

Watch this next bit closely, in which Howard displays breathtaking ignorance:
"It's also true that the first terrorist attack that we know of in the modern understanding of the term was in 1993 - the first attack on the World Trade Centre.
I will grant that the 1993 attack on the World Trade "Centre" (look, I'm even spelling it like an Aussie now) was the first major false-flag attack on American soil. But to call it "the first terrorist attack that we know of in the modern understanding of the term" is nothing if not ridiculous.

... unless "the modern understanding of the term" -- "terrorism" now refers exclusively to major false-flag attacks. And -- really, I'm not kidding now -- I'm starting to think that this may be the case. Because the so-called leaders in the so-called War against so-called Terror constantly refer to a few key incidents -- NY/DC, Madrid, Bali, London -- which were all very clearly false-flag attacks.
"All of those events occurred and many other events occurred before Iraq."
Of course they did. There's no denying it. But so what?

Howard's assertion has nothing to do with the claim made and supported by the NIE, namely that the war in Iraq has made terrorism a worse problem than it was before. There are many reasons for believing this very obvious fact, and many reasons why it happens to be true. But apparently John Howard is not at liberty to talk about any of them. Fortunately, your humble and very cold blogger labors under no such constraint.
Senior bureaucrat Michael L'Estrange, secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, says the issue is not black and white.

But Mr L'Estrange, Australia's former high commissioner in Britain, says it's perverse to use the war as some kind of rationalisation for growing terrorism.
Nobody to my knowledge is attempting to rationalize terrorism. On the contrary, some of us are trying to find out what's causing it. And others know very well what's causing it and are saying so.
"But to pretend somehow that you can rationalise the action of terrorists on the basis of what has happened in Iraq, I think is somewhat perverse.

"It defies the historical course of events, turns a blind eye to what the agenda of the terrorists really is."
What the agenda of the terrorist really is? That's a good one! Who has been obscuring the motives of the terrorists? Who keeps telling us they hate us because of our freedoms?

If you listen to the "terrorists" themselves you will learn that their motives are very simple, and very clear. They hate us because of our foriegn policy. They hate us because we despoil their countries with imperial armies, because we prop up the most vile and corrupt of dictators (as long as they are friendly to "our", that is to say, "multinational" business). They hate us because we torture their men and rape their women -- and young boys and girls! How could they feel any other way?

How would you feel if your country was occupied by foreign troops, if they had invaded on false pretext, if they were wantonly destroying your cities and torturing your people? How would you feel if you knew that a foreign government was not only arming and motivating roving death squads but also fomenting terrorist groups in your midst? Would you bring them flowers as they intentionally drove your country to civil war? Or would you start learning how to make Improvised Explosive Devices?

I submit that there's no question. Any reasonable person would do exactly the same thing. But unfortunately, some people -- people whose hands rest on the levers of global power -- are anything but reasonable.
Mr L'Estrange suggested it was fantasy to think that the withdrawal of coalition troops in Iraq would put an end to all terrorism.

"The alternative of saying if only this stopped, then terrorism would stop, really is living in dreamland," he said.
Nobody says that the withdrawal of coalition troops from Iraq would put an end to all terrorism. It's a ridiculous straw-man argument which nobody should ever take seriously. It is also completely irrelevant. But unfortunately for the war criminals, ridiculous irrelevant straw men are all they have left.

Tomorrow: September 28: PM dismisses US intelligence on Iraq
Although Mr Howard said he had not seen the whole report, he played down the declassified excerpts, saying US agencies had propagated false intelligence in the past.

"Intelligence agencies have different views at different times," he told ABC radio.

"Some of the intelligence agencies that were involved in this assessment were telling us … that Iraq in 2003 had weapons of mass destruction."
And why, exactly, were they telling us that, sir? Could it be because they were being intimidated -- through blatant political pressure -- into fabricating lies that could be used to support an invasion which had been planned, not to say drooled over, many years in advance?

Last summer, while guest-hosting at The BRAD BLOG, I wrote a piece called "Double Whammy: Fixing The Intelligence, Breaking The Agencies". It was about how the FBI and the CIA had been pressured into doing less than their best, and then were blamed for the failures caused by such blatant political pressure. The impacts of that Orwellian -- not to say Rovian -- policy are in full force today. I've posted a slightly modified version of "Double Whammy" here, for those who prefer black text on a light background. And I really don't care where you read it. But if you have any doubt about what I am saying here, then I urge you to read it. Somewhere. Please.

These vicious lying scoundrels have ruined half-a-dozen countries already, and they're still going.

Only the truth can possibly stop them.

And maybe the truth won't even do it. I can easily see Bush saying
"So we lied! So what? What the hell are you going to do about it? Fuck yeah! I lied, Cheney lied, Rumsfeld lied, Powell lied, Rice lied; So what? It happens all the time. Bill Clinton lied and my father lied too. What the hell do you think you can do about it now, you pathetic powerless pissants? Why don't you just go fuck yourselves?"
Can't you just see him saying that? It's no stretch of the imagination for me. So perhaps I should rephrase:

Only the truth -- and an inordinate amount of courage -- and a powerful stroke of good fortune -- can possibly stop them.

If anything can.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Popular Military Coup? Or Just An Illusion?

Can you imagine living under a civilian government so corrupt, so evil, so out of touch with the needs and wishes of its people, that a military coup d'etat would be a cause for celebration?

Oh, you can? Fancy that!

It happened last week, in Thailand. While the Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, was in New York visiting the United Nations, the coup -- which had been a rumor in the wind for weeks -- became a reality. Soldiers siezed government offices, tanks surrounded the capital, Parliament and the constitution were "terminated". [my emphasis, here and below]

The Administrative Reform Group Under the Democratic System with the King as the Head of State has successfully seized the administrative power of the country.

To maintain peace and order, the Reform Group henceforth announces that:

1) The Constitution of Thailand of BE 2540 (1997) is terminated.

2) The Senate, the House of Representatives, the Cabinet, and the Constitutional Court are terminated along with the Constitution.
The army took control of the television stations, replacing regular programming with pictures of the royal family. And people came out to celebrate.

Time magazine called it "A Festive Coup", and reported:
Women in mini-skirts posed for pictures in front of tanks, while elderly men in pajamas jabbered on cellphones. Last spring, hundreds of thousands of Thai citizens had organized daily peaceful protests on Bangkok streets, calling for the resignation of caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose popularity in urban areas had nosedived after the controversial sale of his family telecom business. [...] "Of course, I wish that the political situation had been solved in a democratic way," says Makarathep Thepkanjana, a physician who joined the anti-Thaksin rallies back in the spring and who was now standing next to a tank at the gates of Government House. "But, we are exhausted from having so many rallies. We're happy that the military coup is happening, because it means that Thaksin will be gone."

[...] Late on Tuesday evening, with satellite feeds of BBC and CNN intermittently jammed, a military spokesman announced on Thai TV that the armed forces, under the command of Army Chief Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, had taken over Bangkok and surrounding areas and was declaring martial law. The spokesman blamed the military's extreme measures on what he termed corrupt practices by Thaksin, alleging that the Prime Minister had hampered the workings of both parliament and the courts. Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a constitutional monarch, was reaffirmed as head of state, while the spokesman promised that a new caretaker Prime Minister would be named.
The BBC reported "surreal scenes on the streets of Bangkok.
[O]verall the mood was amazingly calm, considering that a coup had just taken place to oust the country's charismatic leader, Thaksin Shinawatra.

The soldiers posted around the city waved and smiled at people passing by, even posing with local people for photographs next to their tanks.

Supporters of the coup cheered, waving national flags and shouting "Thaksin out". Even local tourists joined in, treating the evening's events as an extra, unexpected photo opportunity.
Toronto's Globe and Mail headline read "People Are Smiling And Happy".
Thailand's coup plotters were feted as conquering heroes yesterday as Bangkok happily surrendered its freedoms to the camouflage-uniformed troops of the military junta that toppled their controversial leader.

The soldiers, idling in their tanks and jeeps on the streets of Bangkok, were mobbed by well-wishers who showered them with bouquets of carnations and daisies, gifts of fruit and bottles of water.

Parents brought their toddlers to admire the troops and pose for triumphant photos with the armoured vehicles. Crowds cheered for every jeep that drove out of military headquarters. The military vehicles were soon filled with flowers.
Can you imagine such a thing?

Oh, you can? Fancy that!

According to Canada's National Post:
Children playfully inspected tanks in the streets, soldiers snapped pictures of one another with cellphone cameras, and expat mothers tut-tutted over newspaper headlines while sipping cappuccinos at Starbucks.

The generals who had declared martial law the night before apologized for the "inconvenience" and assigned a comely former pop star to read announcements on television.
It didn't take the military long to clamp down.

On Wednesday, the BBC was reporting: Thailand's military tightens grip
Martial law has been declared, and the coup leaders have announced that regional commanders will take charge of areas outside the capital, Bangkok.

They have ordered provincial governors and heads of government agencies to report to them in the coming hours.

The country's stock market, banks and schools will be closed on Wednesday.
By Thursday, the tenor of the reports had changed dramatically. Britain's Times Online was saying: Coup leaders close down politics in Thailand
The leaders of Thailand's military coup clamped down on the country's political parties today, banning meetings and the formation of new parties until further notice.

Two days after the Thai Prime Minister was toppled by a bloodless putsch while he was attending the UN General Assembly in New York, Lieutenant-General Sondhi Boonyaratglin ordered political groups to stop holding meetings until a series of constitutional reforms were completed.

No timeframe was given for the ban ....

"The Council for Democratic Reform Under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) has ordered political parties to halt all meetings and political activities," read the statement, issued by the army commander-in-chief, whose coup was endorsed by Thailand's elderly King Bhumibol Adulyadej yesterday.
On Friday, Times Online was reporting: Arrests and censorship as generals brook no opposition
THAILAND’S self-appointed military rulers arrested their opponents, banned political meetings and prohibited television stations from broadcasting text messages from viewers yesterday, as the newly formed junta consolidated the success of Tuesday’s lightning coup.

Despite its insistence that it would hand over power to a civilian prime minister within a fortnight, the “Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy” is permitting no expressions of opposition to its authority. By yesterday all media organisations that formerly supported the democratically elected Government of Thaksin Shinawatra, the deposed Prime Minister, had been suppressed or converted to the junta’s cause.
But, as The Guardian reported Friday, not everybody was happy.

Thai protesters defy martial law
Thailand's new military regime faced its first open dissent today when dozens of pro-democracy protesters violated martial law and demonstrated against the generals outside a Bangkok shopping centre.

The action, which was allowed despite a ban on gatherings of more than four people, occurred as the junta took part in a ceremony to formalise the backing of the deeply revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The generals also announced the creation of a revamped counter-corruption commission and ordered it to accelerate probes into the dealings of the ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.

The demonstration was attended mostly by students and watched by several hundred people. Wearing black to mark the death of democracy, the group demanded that the military step down, the constitution be reinstated and rights such as freedom of speech be restored.

"You cannot build democracy through a military coup," said Giles Ungpakorn, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University. "The junta that took power claims to be a reform committee but it is a committee that has torn up the constitution. It claims to be democratic but has taken away our democratic rights."

Among the restrictions are tight curbs on the media. It emerged yesterday that armed soldiers are sitting in every television news studio and control room during broadcasts.
Clearly, not everyone was upset. On Saturday, Australia's Sydney Morning Herald reported, under the title "Lesser Of Two Evils":
Jon Ungpakorn, a former senator and civil society activist, cannot remember how many coups he has lived through - "too many to count". Most vivid for him was when his father, Dr Puey Ungpakorn, then rector of Bangkok's Thammasat University, was accused of being a communist in 1973 after a large student uprising centred on the university. "People were hanged by right-wing vigilantes in Saman Luang [Royal Field], near the university, many intellectuals fled to the jungle and my father was allowed to leave the country," he says.

The 59-year-old made a distinction between this week's coup and previous ones. "There was no previous coup that any democratic-minded person could support. The irony is a lot of people who support democracy have supported this coup.

"I don't support it but I am relieved Thaksin is overthrown. I am optimistic about present coup leaders but wonder who is behind them."

He said in effect Thaksin had staged the first coup by subverting the constitution in order to destroy the checks and balances during his five years in power. He did that by using his money and the traditional patronage system, Ungpakorn says.
It's difficult not to see parallels here. It's almost easy to imagine a military coup being popular in another country, far from Thailand. And it's not very hard to imagine that even now "armed soldiers are sitting in every television news studio and control room during broadcasts" -- or maybe every control room but one!

The statement about Thaksin "subverting the constitution in order to destroy the checks and balances during his five years in power" rings a horribly ironic bell, does it not?

But here's a difficult question: Is it possible to imagine a military coup in which a country's constitution -- rather than being "terminated" -- could be restored?

My answer? No! Unless hundreds of thousands of citizens had organized daily peaceful protests on the streets.

Another Terror Suspect Spills Another Can Of Beans -- And Again They Land On Pakistan!

Just a few days ago we were talking about Omar Khyam, the suspected terrorist now on trial in Britain who stopped testifying after his family was threatened by representatives of the Pakistani intelligence service ISI.

The next witness in the same trial has taken the stand, and if the news reports from Britain are even halfway accurate, his family members may be due for a visit as well.

Anthony Garcia, formerly known as Rahman Benouis, testified that he bought 600 kg of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at the request of Khyam, and that he understood the fertilizer was
"to be shipped out to Pakistan."
The accounts of his testimony which are currently available do not say whether Garcia thought the fertilizer was intended for use on crops or to be made into bombs. British authorities have charged Garcia, Khyam, and five others of conspiring to carry out a major bombing. Nightclubs and shopping centers have been mentioned as possible targets.

Garcia also testified that he wanted to go to Pakistan for military training, but he denied being a follower of Osama bin Laden or the Taliban. He also denied being pleased by the attacks of 9/11, because, in his words:
[I]nnocent people were targetted. They did not do anything.
So why would he be involved with people who were supposedly preparing to build a bomb? It's a long story but some of the details are extremely interesting.
Garcia told the court he became radicalised after he was shown a video of alleged rapes and sexual abuses of children by Indian forces in Kashmir at the Islamic Society at his college in Romford, east London in 1999.

Garcia then told how he and his elder brother would fund raise around their Barkingside home, collecting funds from students, shopkeepers, businessmen and Mosques, which became an "almost religious objective" and helped him turn his back on "girls, drinking and staying out late."

He added 99 per cent of the community would support their cause as people in "occupied Kashmir" had the right to defend themselves and he was desperate to get out to Pakistan to receive military training.

He told the court people who had receive training were seen as "kind of like heroes" when they returned back to the UK and it was "common" for people to travel to Pakistan to get training.

He said: "If there was a little war going on in Kashmir, they would say we need people and they would only accept those that had done training."

Mr Ryder asked: "In your opinion was it viewed as an extremist thing to do?"

Garcia replied: "No, not at all."

But he told the court people were more "respected" if the[y] had done the training than if they just learnt the Qu'ran.
OK? Have you got all that?

Good. Now let's review what we've learned:

Although Pakistan is an ally of the USA in the War Against Terror, it's the place where people go to get the "military training" which will give them an added measure of "respect" in their community.

It's enough to make your head spin, isn't it? Something just doesn't seem right.

Here's something else that doesn't seem right: According to the Times Online account of his testimony, Garcia
said 9/11 was no different from the Madrid bombings or the July 7 London transport bombings.
Aside from the obvious fact that the three events mentioned were very different...

In all three cases the "official story" and the available evidence clearly contradict one another.

And all three attacks happened at very convenient times, if by "convenient" we mean "politically opportune" for the governments involved.

Could this be what Garcia was referring to? If I had to guess, I would say "no". But the irony is not lost. Not by a long shot.

As the British press reports all say,
The trial continues.

Monday, September 25, 2006

US War Against Iran Seen As Inevitable -- Secret White House Order Apparently In Play

Pentagon planners continue to lay the groundwork for the upcoming war against Iran, according to Larisa Alexandrovna of RAW STORY, who reports that the planning has gone beyond the preliminary stage.

Larisa quotes a "senior intelligence official" who is "close to the Joint Chiefs of Staff" and "familiar with the plans" as saying:
"The JCS has accepted the inevitable..."
Gulp! Inevitable??

Larisa's recent report, along with previous reports from Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker and Michael Duffy in Time Magazine, indicate that the Pentagon is prepared to use nuclear as well as conventional weapons in America's upcoming ("inevitable") war of choice against Iran.
Adding to the concern of both military and intelligence officials alike is the nuclear option, the possibility of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons...

An April New Yorker report by Sy Hersh alleged that the nuclear option was on the table, and that some officers of the Joint Chiefs had threatened resignation.

"The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning," Hersh wrote. "Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran -- without success, the former intelligence official said."

The senior intelligence official who spoke to RAW STORY, along with several military intelligence sources, confirmed that the nuclear option remains on the table. In addition, the senior official added that the Joint Chiefs have "come around on to the administration's thinking."
So far, the plans have been kept secret from the lawmakers who theoretically have the power to declare war.
[I]t would seem that at least some members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have not been briefed on deployment orders or on any strike plans, even contingency plans. The Senate Intelligence Committee is attempting to get a grasp on what is and has been going on.
According to Larisa's sources, the plans developed so far deal with issues such as the inevitable reaction in Bahrain, where the US Fifth Fleet is based, and efforts to secure routes for oil transportation out of the Middle East.

The pretext for the "inevitable" attack will be unsubstantiated allegations that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Thus far, the only allegations which have been substantiated concerned American attempts to lie about the situation on the ground in Iran.

As we know from bitter experience, the truth of the situation in Iran is irrelevant if the intelligence is being fixed around the policy. If such is the case, then it would have to be done without the knowledge or consent of a great many people.
With allegations of a plan in place and contingency scenarios in play, several military and intelligence experts see this as proof of a secret White House order to proceed with military action.
Well, then ...


I apologize for the condition of this post. It was published before I was ready. Blogger to the rescue again... Not!

Here are some interesting links provided by my friends at The BRAD BLOG, in response to my previous item about Iran, the IAEA and the lies being told about the current situation...

Michael Duffy's article from Time Magazine is available on Time's website to subscribers only, but it is also available here.

The Whole World At War? Some scenarios:
War scenarios

Fixing the intelligence around the policy:
In a replay of Iraq, a battle is brewing over intelligence on Iran

Iranian weapons systems and capabilities are much scarier than those of Iraq:
Hizballah Brings out Iranian Silkworm to Hit Israel Navy Corvette

Concerning those deployment orders:
Showdown: Battle groups head for Mideast
Converging U.S. Navy aircraft carrier groups in Middle East send strong message to Iran and Syria

Sunday, September 24, 2006

How Much Courage Does It Take To Speak The Truth?

Apparently it takes a lot more courage to admit that Hugo Chavez was absolutely right than most politicians have, not to mention most journalists. Ever since Wednesday, when Chavez stunned the United Nations with his absolutely on-the-money speech, I've been watching the reactions, in more or less stunned silence.

Those who have announced their support for an inhuman and clearly criminal administration have debased themselves so completely that further comment from this cold and humble blogger seems superfluous.

And some of their comments have been so absurd that it almost seems cruel to quote them, much less point out the error of their ways. But I can't resist. So here, for the record, are some of the worst:

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post wrote a column called "Why The Firebrands Get Heard" which started this way:
My but the lesser nations are getting uppity.
The rest of his column was as unworthy of a read as the intro, so I'll spare you most of the details. The gist of Robinson's argument seems to be that Chavez overstepped the bounds of diplomatic propriety.
Clearly, this was no way to speak about the president of the United States.
Some bounds! In the land of the free and the home of the brave, one had best not summon up any bravery or use any freedom. According to Eugene Robinson, that is!

Unabashed Uber-Zionist idiot Sher Zieve, writing in the Post Chronicle, was so worked up that he sometimes forgot to insert spaces between his words (and his so-called "editors" did not catch the errors), but he nonetheless managed to produce a thoroughly nonsensical column, of which this is a representative sample:
Strongman Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez delivered the second anti-US and anti-Bush punch on Wednesday. Chavez, who continues his seizures of Western businesses operating in Venezuela, ranted for approximately a half-hour about the USAand President Bush. He also held up and quoted from anti-US and anti-Israel communist author Noam Chomsky's book "Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States." Notation for accuracy: The UShas never taken over a country for any "imperialistic" strategies or measures. In fact, it has never taken over a country except to return said country to the people of that country--as in the case of World War II's Japan and Germany.
Questions for accuracy:

Why is the USA building huge military bases in Iraq? To give them to the Iraqis?

The USA now has troops stationed in how many countries?

How many countries has Venezuela attacked?

How many innocent civilians have been killed by troops following the orders of Hugo Chavez?

How is it that Chavez is a "strongman"?

And George Bush, who cannot spend a day without torture, is what? A civilized leader?

I told you this was going to be too easy.

From CNN, surely the White House's second favorite mainstream media outlet, came a gem of a "news item" entitled "Democrats warn Chavez: Don't bash Bush", which included the following nonsense from people who should know better:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, was blunt in her criticism of the Venezuelan leader. "He is an everyday thug," she said.
What makes Chavez, a peaceful leader of a peaceful country, a thug?

And if Chavez is an everyday thug, then what kind of a thug is George Bush?

Pelosi, who is sometimes called "shrill" for her criticism of the president, showed her true color here. Yellow.

But -- for my money -- the most preposterous comment of all came from Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, who said:
If there's any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans, whether they voted for him or not...
How ridiculous can you get? Bush can go on attacking defenseless countries at will, but foreign citizens are not even allowed to comment? In a land of supposedly free speech? How can this be?

Charles Rangel has shown himself to be a testament to pure ignorance, or to the power of American propaganda. Take your pick. They're all the same to me.

One of the few honest appraisals of Chavez' speech that I have seen came from Tommi Avicolli Mecca, writing in San Francisco's Beyond Chron. His colunmn was called "Hugo Chavez is not anti-American", and began this way:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is once again being dismissed as “anti-American” by the mainstream media in this country for daring to say what many of us know is true: that our government’s policies throughout the world are more about control of resources than fighting terrorism.

Chavez is not “anti-American.” He is anti-George Bush. He is anti-U.S. government policies. So are millions of others (myself included), who have been marching and speaking out against those same policies since Bush first took office in 2000.

The latest charges of being “anti-American” come after Chavez addressed the United Nation’s 61st General Assembly on September 20. Commenting on Bush’s appearance at the UN the day before, Chavez said: “The devil came here yesterday. He came here talking as if he were the owner of the world.” The Socialist leader accused the U.S. government of “domination, exploitation and pillage of peoples of the world.” He said that our government was already supporting coupe attempts to overthrow him, which comes as news to no one who knows anything about the history of U.S. involvement in Latin America.

In his 23-minute speech, which received thunderous applause from the almost 200 delegates present, Chavez made it clear that he was talking about the U.S. government and not the American people. In fact, Chavez credited the American people with wanting peace in the world: “If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States, what does this country want? Does it want peace? They'll say yes. But the government doesn’t want peace. The government of the United States doesn’t want peace.”
In my humble and nearly frozen opinion, Mecca's piece is worth reading in its entirety. And if you are the type who enjoys the words of an "everyday thug", so are the words of Hugo Chavez.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Terror Suspect, Having Spilled The Beans, Refuses To Testify Further

Terror suspect Omar Khyam, on trial after being accused of planning attacks against shopping malls and nightclubs in Britain, testified for two days but has refused to testify further, saying his family in Pakistan had been threatened by the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI.

Kyham is supposed to be connected with Al-Q'aeda. ISI is supposed to be allied with the USA and working against Al-Q'aeda. So why would ISI threaten Khyam's family?

Was it something he said?

According to the Indian newspaper The Hindu:
Last week, Mr. Khyam told the court that ISI was training militants and during his visit to Pakistan six years ago he trained in an ISI-supervised camp.

"The ISI was setting up camps in what we called Free Kashmir, funding it with money and weapons and people that would train people, and logistical supplies, everything," he said.

Mr. Khyam said the people who trained him in handling arms were "selected by the ISI".

"The ISI works with Islamic groups," he added.
So there you have it. I don't see how he could have made it any clearer. It's no wonder the ISI visited his family. They probably would have visited Omar Khyam himself, were he not incarcerated (and therefore well-protected).

Khyam's statements strike at the very heart of the so-called War on so-called Terror, and therefore -- of course -- this story has been ignored by the American media. Instead, the "official" scribblers continue to report the "official" White House line, without even stopping to ask whether it makes any sense. For example, according to Bloomberg, the president sees Pakistan as an ally in the war against terror:
"Under President Musharraf, Pakistan is siding with the forces of freedom and moderation and helping to defend the civilized world," Bush said in his weekly radio broadcast. "It is in America's interest to help him succeed."
But we now know better, don't we?

In fact, those who wish to read -- and learn -- know much better, and have done for a long time.

For further details, I recommend More Evidence “al-Qaeda” is a CIA-ISI Contrivance by the inimitable Kurt Nimmo, and Pakistan Army: Unwavering Support for Cross-border Terrorism by Indian Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd.), as published by the Asian Tribune. Excerpts follow.

Gurmeet Kanwal:
Though the West continues to be in denial mode and its leaders lose no opportunity to praise General Musharraf for his cooperation in fighting international terrorism, the fact remains that despite loud protestations to the contrary, Pakistan is still the hub of Islamist fundamentalist terrorism. In order to understand this proclivity to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds, it is necessary to examine the deeply ingrained mindset of Pakistan’s ruling elite that is led by the Pakistan army.

According to a cliché popular in the strategic community, normally a state has an army but in Pakistan the army has a state. The Pakistan army has directly guided the nation’s destiny for more than half its history. During the other half, the army was engaged in driving from the backseat – a classic case of power without responsibility. The army sees itself as the natural guardian of the idea of Pakistan and a guarantor of its sovereignty. While it has tolerated short interludes of civilian rule, the army has always dictated Pakistan’s policy towards Kashmir, which it considers the unfinished agenda of Partition. It has also called the shots on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, the defence budget and senior army appointments. These issues were considered sacrosanct and no civilian prime minister could dare to interfere...
Kurt Nimmo:
Omar Khyam has revealed but another glimmer of the precise nature of the “al-Qaeda” terror network, information useful for connecting dots but that will of course be studiously ignored by our corporate media stenographers. “Khyam has revealed more information than was expected,” remarked Sajjan Gohel of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, billed as a counter-terrorism think tank. “He has given a lot of insight into how very many British Muslims have been recruited…. I think everyone was shocked. The question now is whether the whole truth will come out.”

Of course, it does not matter if “the whole truth will come out,” as it is irrelevant, especially for a society unable to connect the dots and, really, not wanting to connect the dots and learn the truth, as this particular truth interupts sit-coms and football games.

For every person who looks beyond the official story and gleans the indisputable truth about “al-Qaeda” and various other intelligence contrivances engineered by the Pentagon, CIA, MI-6, Mossad, et al, there are literally millions of people who buy into the official explanation, or rather Brothers Grimm machination—the Muslims, represented by the dead Osama and al-Zarqawi, are out to get us and an incessant “clash of civilizations” is required, with attendant police state and tyranny at home.

What's On Your Mind? Speak Freely, Now!

I have recently added Haloscan commenting to this humble and nearly frozen blog. Unfortunately, comments made before the adoption of Haloscan (i.e. before yesterday) appear to have been lost. However, it is now much easier to leave comments here, and I hope you will do so.

It is always my intention to start discussions, not to end them. So please speak freely here, whether you agree with me or not. This is how we learn, is it not?


Friday, September 22, 2006

Feds Drop Charge Against Terror Suspect Rather Than Answer Questions About Key Witness

But What Were The Questions?

From the AP's Mike Robinson, as reported by the Washington Post [with emphasis added]:
CHICAGO -- Federal prosecutors Friday dropped a charge that an alleged fundraiser for the Palestinian militant group Hamas gave material support to terrorists -- a move that stunned defense attorneys.

Prosecutors gave no explanation in court and declined to comment afterward.

Muhammad Salah, 53, who has been the focus of a high-profile terrorism investigation for nine years, remains charged with racketeering conspiracy and lying by denying membership in Hamas.

But the dropped charge was a victory for Salah, whose 2004 indictment was announced at the Justice Department by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.

"This is astounding," Salah's attorney Michael E. Deutsch said.
Pay attention now, this part is important:
The surprise came at a hearing after Deutsch asked U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve to press prosecutors to turn over background material on a prospective government witness, Jack Mustafa.

Deutsch asked for information about how much the FBI had paid Mustafa and whether he had an arrest record.
It was then that prosecutor Joseph M. Ferguson said quietly that the government wanted to drop the charge with prejudice, meaning it cannot be reinstated.

Prosecutors also said they were withdrawing Mustafa as a witness.
So ...

What are the Feds hiding? Good question, isn't it?

Here's another good question: What is the Washington Post hiding?

Why do I say the Washington Post is hiding something? Have a look at an excerpt from the same article, as published by the Belleville (IL) News Democrat:
The decision to drop one count of the indictment came at a hearing after Deutsch asked St. Eve to press federal prosecutors to turn over background material on a prospective government witness, Jack Mustafa.

Deutsch asked for information about how much the FBI had paid Mustafa and whether he had an arrest record. He also asked if the prospective witness had met with agents of the Mossad - Israel's intelligence agency.
Sometimes the most significant details are the ones left out.

Is this one of those times?

How can we decide if they don't report?

If you want the whole article, you'll have to read it in the Belleville News Democrat.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chavez Smells The Sulphur

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez smelled something in the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday:
VENEZUELA'S President Hugo Chavez has stunned the UN General Assembly with a speech in which he called US President George W. Bush "the devil" before crossng himself.

Mr Chavez infuriated US officials with his sarcastic presentation in which he said "yesterday the devil came here," referring to Mr Bush's speech from the same stage 24 hours earlier.

"And it still smells of sulphur today..."
He may have been right about the sulphur but wrong about the source.
He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides...
According to The Australian,
When asked about [Chavez's] speech, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she would "not dignify" the attack with a comment.

"It is not becoming of a head of state," she said.
Oh, right. I almost forgot. A head of state is supposed to act dignified.

I can remember when a head of state was supposed to be dignified; now it seems that even acting dignified is out of the question.

Robert Parry adds some context here: Bush's Disdainful Presidency.

The full text of Chavez' UN speech is here: Rise Up Against the Empire.

And now, if you'll excuse me, ...

Friday, September 15, 2006

IAEA: US Report on Iran's Nuclear Work 'Incorrect and Misleading', 'Outrageous and Dishonest'

Guess what? It's Deja Vu All Over Again! The Intelligence is being Fixed around the Policy!

If anyone had reason to suspect that representatives of the Bush administration would tell bald-faced lies in order to try to justify a war they had already decided to fight, we might have reason to take the following report from Reuters somewhat seriously. [my emphasis, here and below]
U.N. inspectors have protested to the U.S. government and a Congressional committee about a report on Iran's nuclear work, calling parts of it "outrageous and dishonest," according to a letter obtained by Reuters.

The letter recalled clashes between the IAEA and the Bush administration before the 2003 Iraq war over findings cited by Washington about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that proved false, and underlined continued tensions over Iran's dossier.

Sent to the head of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Intelligence by a senior aide to International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, the letter said an August 23 committee report contained serious distortions of IAEA findings on Iran's activity.

The letter said the errors suggested Iran's nuclear fuel program was much more advanced than a series of IAEA reports and Washington's own intelligence assessments have determined.

It said the report falsely described Iran to have enriched uranium at its pilot centrifuge plant to weapons-grade level in April, whereas IAEA inspectors had made clear Iran had enriched only to a low level usable for nuclear power reactor fuel.
We've been here before, haven't we? And we know what happens next, too. Don't we?

Never content to tell a single lie, they've been lying about more than uranium enrichment!
"Furthermore, the IAEA Secretariat takes strong exception to the incorrect and misleading assertion" that the IAEA opted to remove a senior safeguards inspector for supposedly concluding the purpose of Iran's program was to build weapons, it said.

The letter said the congressional report contained "an outrageous and dishonest suggestion" that the inspector was dumped for having not adhered to an alleged IAEA policy barring its "officials from telling the whole truth" about Iran.

Diplomats say the inspector remains IAEA Iran section head.
"This (committee report) is deja vu of the pre-Iraq war period where the facts are being maligned and attempts are being made to ruin the integrity of IAEA inspectors," said a Western diplomat familiar with the agency and IAEA-U.S. relations.
President Bush clearly doesn't care. He's taking his "incorrect and misleading", "outrageous and dishonest" case against Iran to the United Nations next week. And he's already started threatening the UN.

Of course the mainstream media can't call it that. So instead they write it up like this:
US President George W. Bush said he would reaffirm his hard line on Iran at the United Nations next week.

Bush, who will make a speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, said he liked UN chief Kofi Annan personally but warned that many Americans were wary of the United Nations and that he sometimes shares that view.

Amid optimism from Europe about a new round of talks with Iran over it's nuclear program, Bush warned US partners not to waver in diplomacy to ensure the Islamic republic does not acquire atomic weapons.

"My concern is that, you know, they'll stall; they'll try to wait us out," he said in a wide ranging press conference in the White House Rose Garden. "So part of my objective in New York is to remind people that's stalling shouldn't be allowed."

"They need to understand we're firm in our commitment and that if they try to drag their feet or, you know, get us to look the other way, that we won't do that," said Bush.
I find Gwynne Dyer's take on this issue quite a bit more realistic. And timely, too. He had all this figured out a couple of weeks ago.
The media love a crisis, but this one seriously lacks credibility. In June, John Negroponte, US Director of National Intelligence, told the BBC that Iran could have a nuclear bomb ready between 2010 and 2015. But he said “could,” not “will,” and only in five or 10 years’ time. So why are we having a crisis this autumn?

The US government’s explanation is that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened in May to “wipe Israel off the map,” and that nuclear weapons are the way he plans to do it. (Any that are left over would presumably be given to terrorists.) As proof of Iran’s evil ambitions, it points to the fact, revealed in 2003, that Iran had been concealing some parts of its so-called peaceful nuclear energy program from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for 18 years.

But there are a number of holes in this narrative, and the first is that Ahmadinejad never said he wanted to “wipe Israel off the map.” This is a strange and perhaps deliberate mistranslation of his actual words, a direct quote from the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the font of all wisdom in revolutionary Iran, who said some 20 years ago that “this regime occupying Jerusalem (ie Israel) must vanish from the page of time.”

It was a statement about the future (possibly the quite far future) as ordained by God. It was not a threat to destroy Israel. Attacking Israel has never been Iranian policy, and a few days later the man who really runs Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, publicly stated that Iran “will not commit aggression against any nation.” While Ahmadinejad continues to say nasty things about Israel, he too has explicitly rejected accusations that Iran plans to attack it.
Please read Dyer's entire column.

For more on this seemingly-fabricated crisis-to-be, see Chris Floyd: "History's Actors" Prepare for a Sequel or Kurt Nimmo: Neocon Iran Nuke Lies “Outrageous” and “Dishonest”.