Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wrong Again! Twice! Another Look At Azizabad And Wall Street

I've made a few mistakes lately and it's time to 'fess up. I was wrong about the Azizabad massacre, and I was wrong about the Wall Street bailout, too. Oops.

The Azizabad Massacre

On August 22, an American airstrike killed more than 90 innocent people in Afghanistan. Most of them were sleeping children.

At the time, I assumed the Pentagon would write off the victims as "collateral damage" and I wrote a piece to that effect. But that didn't happen; instead our military spokesmen denied the story, saying that the airstrike had killed at least 25 "militants" and that at most five civilians had been killed.

Investigators from Afghanistan and the UN went to the scene, interviewed the survivors, looked at the graves, and confirmed the original reports. But the Pentagon stuck to its story. I wrote a second post on the attack in which I mentioned that the damage to civilians was even worse than what had been reported; I also mentioned that the word was being leaked: the Americans had been deceived. An unidentified spokesman blamed the attack on misinformation that the Americans had been given by the Taliban. But the US still didn't admit killing all those people.

Instead Pentagon spokesmen insisted that the UN and Afghan inspectors had been fooled by the survivors of the attack, who (according to the Pentagon) had made up the story about all their relatives being killed. The US even accused the survivors of fabricating evidence -- dead children in graves, and so on. No American investigator ever visited the scene, no Pentagon representative asked any questions on the ground. Instead they just told us what they wanted us to believe. And it was all a pack of lies, of course.

I say "of course" because this is only the latest in a long series of events in which Americans have killed innocent people on the ground in Afghanistan and then lied about it repeatedly. The civilian casualties and the lies intended to cover them have even caused a strain in the Afghan-US "relationship".

If this strain ever got serious it could jeopardize the entire US occupation of Afghanistan, which would be a very good thing in my opinion because the US has no business occupying Afghanistan. The bombing, invasion and subsequent occupation are war crimes and crimes against humanity, just as our crimes against Iraq have been -- though very few will say so.

But I'll say it: the war in Afghanistan would be entirely unjustified, even if the official story of 9/11 were true, which it obviously isn't.

I was still following the Azizabad story when my computer began to break down, and I didn't get a chance to follow up on my two early stories. But Carlotta Gall, veteran war reporter for the New York Times, traveled to the scene, looked at the evidence, talked to the people, and filed a report that left no doubt that the UN and Afghan investigators had been right all along, and that the Pentagon had been blowing smoke up our backsides once again -- with enormous assistance from the American "news" media.

The Times of London posted a graphic cell-phone video from the scene of the atrocity, and reported:
As the doctor walks between rows of bodies, people lift funeral shrouds to reveal the faces of children and babies, some with severe head injuries.

Women are heard wailing in the background. “Oh God, this is just a child,” shouts one villager. Another cries: “My mother, my mother.”

The grainy video eight-minute footage, seen exclusively by The Times, is the most compelling evidence to emerge of what may be the biggest loss of civilian life during the Afghanistan war.

These are the images that have forced the Pentagon into a rare U-turn. Until yesterday the US military had insisted that only seven civilians were killed in Nawabad on the night of August 21.
The Times has much more to say, including:
In the video scores of bodies are seen laid out in a building that villagers say is used as a mosque; the people were killed apparently during a combined operation by US special forces and Afghan army commandos in western Afghanistan. The film was shot on a mobile phone by an Afghan doctor who arrived the next morning.

Local people say that US forces bombed preparations for a memorial ceremony for a tribal leader. Residential compounds were levelled by US attack helicopters, armed drones and a cannon-armed C130 Spectre gunship.
That's a C130 in the photo, and for the war-porn shot shown here it was shooting flares. For the sleeping children, they used live ammo.

Chris Floyd picked up on Carlotta Gall's report and wrote an excellent post about it, and Glenn Greenwald read Chris and wrote a good piece about it too. Here Greenwald quotes Floyd:
The mass death visited upon the sleeping, defenseless citizens of Azizabad encapsulates many of the essential elements of this global campaign of "unipolar domination" and war profiteering: the callous application of high-tech weaponry against unarmed civilians; the witless attack that alienates local supporters and empowers an ever-more violent and radical insurgency; and perhaps the most quintessential element of all -- the knowing lies and deliberate deceits that Washington employs to hide the obscene reality of its Terror War.
Greenwald drew attention to the amazing fact that the Pentagon's story had been broadcast into America's living rooms on a daily basis by FOX News, which was featuring reports from an "independent journalist".

It turned out that the "independent journalist" was none other than Oliver North, the convicted serial liar who was a useful tool of evil back in the days of the "Iran/Contra Scandal".

How quaint: a scandal!

To think there could even be one of those in these post-9/11 days. Sigh.

Greenwald also quoted Dan Froomkin quoting George Bush:
"Regrettably, there will be times when our pursuit of the enemy will result in accidental civilian deaths. This has been the case throughout the history of warfare. Our nation mourns the loss of every innocent life. Every grieving family has the sympathy of the American people."
Froomkin's comment:
It's a bit hard to convince people that our nation mourns the loss of every innocent life when we don't even acknowledge them.
He's playing on understatement, of course. It's not "a bit hard". It's impossible.

The photo of the injured Afghan boy comes to us courtesy of the AP via Froomkin's post at Nieman Watchdog.

Now I'm thinking back to the Bush quote:
Regrettably, there will be times when our pursuit of the enemy will result in accidental civilian deaths.
He didn't actually use the term "collateral damage" but he said virtually the same thing. So maybe I wasn't entirely wrong after all. But all those people are still dead.

And, unless I am much mistaken, they're dead because Americans called in an airstrike based on a tip they got from the "enemy". It's utterly preposterous, and despicable, and much worse than I originally thought it could be. Fool me once ...

The Wall Street Bailout

... fool me twice!

I was also wrong about the Wall Street bailout. On Sunday, I wrote a brief post congratulating my fellow citizens on our purchase of "toxic waste" "worth" $700 billion, and now it turns out that the purchase is off, or at least it has been delayed, after the House of Representatives refused to pass a bill backed by the President and the House leaders of both parties.

The vote was 228 to 205 against the bill, and the bipartisan breakdown is instructive: 65 Republicans and 140 Democrats voted for the bailout, while 133 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted against it.

In other words, more than 67% of the Republicans voted against the measure, while nearly 60% of the Democrats voted for it.

The Republicans have usually voted together, especially when the twice-unelected president has expressed firm views. And Bush has made his support of this bailout proposal very clear.

So there's no question that the president has been rebuffed by his own party on this matter. But -- as Chris Floyd points out -- this is not news; last month the big elephants didn't even let the little chimp speak at their convention.

Meanwhile, the donkey house leadership -- exemplified by Miss Impeachment-Is-Off-The-Table, Nancy Pelosi -- despite their best efforts, could only muster 60% of their "colleagues" in support of this obviously criminal president. So Pelosi has not only shown her truly treasonous colors once again; she's been rebuffed by a significant portion of her own party as well.

Nonetheless, House leaders and presidential mouthpieces say, they will try again to get this bill passed, perhaps later in the week. So the deal is not undone yet, and my reporting may have been more "premature" than "wrong".

Or it could be that, like the Azizabad story, the reality is much worse than my early reports indicated.

As it was becoming evident that the congress would not pass the bailout measure, the Federal Reserve announced that it
will pump an additional $630 billion into the global financial system...
There's no congressional vote on that, my friends, and we're not getting any toxic waste in return. It's just the first of many donations that will be made in rapid succession, unless I am very wrong.

The purpose of this particular transfusion is to
settle the funding markets down, and allow trust to slowly be restored between borrowers and lenders
as Bloomberg helpfully explains.

And that's the end of reality as a motive force, as far as I can tell.

The best way to restore trust between borrowers and lenders would be to resume the enforcement of laws against predatory lending practices, and to let the firms that have made too many bad investments disappear.

Arthur Silber, who has been digging very deeply into this story lately, reports that "the crisis" may cost as much as $5 trillion before they stop throwing money at it. Of course, by that time, things will be much worse than they are now.

And there's the rub.

The bailout is not a solution to the problem. It could never be a solution and it could never be taken seriously as a potential solution, for the simple reason that the problem is insoluble.

It's not even one problem. It's a tangled mess of problems, some of which were almost certainly created deliberately by our government and its best friends, primarily in order to separate us from our money.

The problems include: an insane level of military spending; repeated cuts to the funding of our social systems and physical infrastructure; excessive tax cuts, especially for the excessively rich; extreme deregulation, especially of the financial "industry"; the movement of formerly American industries to foreign countries; increasing global population; limited global resources; increasing destruction of our natural environment; and the strain of committing multiple war crimes simultaneously. All these forces acting together mean that things are getting more expensive, and that we are becoming less able to afford them.

We can't change any of this by giving hundreds of billions of dollars to the banks that have done the worst job of managing their investments, no matter how many hundreds of billions of dollars we give them.

Thus the "solution" cannot work; it doesn't even begin to address the problem; its only possible purpose is to steal your money and give it to some of the people who are most responsible for the mess we're in today.

So why would we do it?

Gimme an "F". Gimme an "E". Gimme an "A". Gimme an "R". What's that spell?

Some of the details in this NYT piece could be classified under "blackmail" ... or "extortion" ... or "terrorism". Like this:
Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., appearing at the White House late Monday afternoon, warned that the failure of the rescue plan could dry up credit for businesses big and small, making them unable to make payrolls or buy inventory. Vowing to continue working with Congress to revive the rescue plan, Mr. Paulson said it was “much too important to simply let fail.”

Supporters of the bill had argued that it was necessary to avoid a collapse of the economic system, a calamity that would drag down not just Wall Street investment houses but possibly the savings and portfolios of millions of Americans. Moreover, supporters argued, a lingering crisis in America could choke off business and consumer loans to a degree that could prompt bank failures in Europe and slow down the global economy.
And this:
Stock markets plunged as it appeared that the measure would go down to defeat, and kept slumping into the afternoon when that appearance became a reality. By late afternoon the Dow industrials had fallen more than 5 percent, and other indexes even more sharply. Oil prices fell steeply on fears of a global recession; investors bid up prices of Treasury securities and gold in a flight to safety. [...]

House leaders pushing for the package kept the voting period open for some 40 minutes past the allotted time at mid-day, trying to convert “no” votes by pointing to damage being done to the markets, but to no avail.

and this:
The United States Chamber of Commerce vowed to exert pressure, warning in a letter to members of Congress that it would keep track of who votes how. “Make no mistake,” the letter said. “When the aftermath of Congressional inaction becomes clear, Americans will not tolerate those who stood by and let the calamity happen.”
I've got news for you: The calamity is already happening, Americans have stood by and watched it develop for years without doing anything about it, and it's going to continue regardless of whether or not the federal government gives a few criminal banks more of our money than anyone can possibly imagine.

I've got more news for you: a scoop before its time, if you will...

Electing John McCain won't solve the problem.

Electing Barack Obama won't solve it either.

Now What?

I can't shake the feeling that these two stories are tied together in ways that transcend the obvious "WP was wrong".

For instance, I wonder whether a nation which tolerates -- not to say thrives on -- deliberate lies about the people it has killed, could possibly deserve anything other than a full-spectrum economic meltdown.

The USA has been attacking defenseless countries for generations.

What goes around, comes around.

And it's been a long time coming.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Congratulations! We Just Spent $700B On Toxic Waste

Congressional leaders and the Bush administration reached a tentative agreement early Sunday on what may become the largest financial bailout in American history, authorizing the Treasury to purchase $700 billion in troubled debt from ailing firms in an extraordinary intervention to prevent widespread economic collapse.
Thus reports the New York Times, along with a photo (reproduced here) of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Henry Paulson delivering the news to the world. The NYT continues:
Officials said that Congressional staff members would work through the night to finalize the language of the agreement and draft a bill, and that the bill would be brought to the House floor for a vote on Monday.
Presumably the Congressional leaders now believe they have the votes to pass it.

Well, congratulations, America. We are now the proud owners of $700 billion worth of toxic waste, none of which we need and none of which we can afford to pay for.

If you read the mainstream media, you will learn that the bipartisan bailout effort was hampered by political bickering. This is politically acceptable code for the fact that the swindle was opposed by people taking firm, principled stands, on both left and right.

From the right, the bailout is seen as a case of government interference in a private sector issue. From the left it is seen as another instance of the government robbing from the poor to give to the rich. Both points of view are valid, and the combination tells a tale: the bailout is in fact a case of government interfering in the private sector to rob from the poor to give to the rich.

And that's why, to the extent that it was supported at all, the support for the bailout has been generated through the manipulation of fear, and fear, and more fear, and the dissemination of lies, and lies, and more lies.

Speaking of lies, how much does it matter that the firms about to be bailed out are under investigation by the FBI for securities fraud? None at all, apparently; and this is reality reversal at its finest. In normal cases of securities fraud, the government confiscates the ill-gotten gains from the criminals. But this time the criminals have been holding the entire country for ransom.


On a related point: I think I can clear up some of the confusion occasioned by Larisa Alexandrovna's article at Huffington Post, "Welcome to the final stages of the coup..." (which you should read, if you haven't already). In response to her plea to keep the government out of the market, she's been called a communist, a socialist, and a Russian, among other things. Larisa thinks these name-calling attacks have shown the ignorance of the people attacking her, since (as she says) she is not from Russia but from the Ukraine, she's not communist but pointedly anti-communist, and the position she espouses is not socialism or communism, but classic capitalism. Or at least it used to be.

On the other hand, these descriptions of Larisa could very well indicate that her critics know exactly what they're talking about.

Prior to 9/11 -- during the Cold War, for instance -- we were taught that communism was a system in which the government controlled the markets, and for this reason we strongly opposed not only communism but its close relative, socialism. And we were taught to despise and fear the Russians, whose major crime was having been forced to live under such a system.

Meanwhile, half a world away, Russians were taught that capitalism was a system in which the markets control the government. And since we could never deny that, we simply ignored it. We were taught (by example, if nothing else) not to mention capitalism; we call it "democracy" instead. And we were taught that in a democracy, the market was "free", meaning "free of government interference". That was never true, but it's what we were taught -- back in the day.

But that was then, this is now, and the lines have been blurred by decades of propaganda. Now George Bush is America, his policies are American, and anyone who dares to oppose them (from whatever viewpoint, for whatever reason) is anti-American.

And, thanks to our rich Cold War experiences, we have a number of synonyms for "anti-American". These include "communist", "socialist" and "Russian", as well as "liberal" and "leftist".

Not to put too fine a point on it, but: Reality is lost. Words no longer have any meaning.

As Bush so famously stated: "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

So in the post-9/11 world there are only two possible political positions. If you're not "with Bush" then you're "with the terrorists", and that makes you "Russian", "communist", "socialist", "liberal", "leftist" and many other derogatory terms too -- all of which now mean exactly the same thing.

But there's no longer any need to be so divisive. Now, with this forced national purchase of "toxic waste", we can unite around a common bond once again.

Left or right; communist or capitalist; liberal or conservative; donkey or elephant or maybe even sentient being; if you look under the thick layer of toxic waste, you can see that we're all Americans again -- all proud owners of a national disaster.

Congratulations, America! We are now well and truly screwed.

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Split Indecision: Canada Surges In Multiple Directions Simultaneously

There's a federal election coming in Canada, and the anti-war "third parties" (New Democrats [NDP] and Greens) are gaining ground fast on the pro-war "major parties" (Liberals and Conservatives), according to a recent survey quoted in the Toronto Star's "NDP surge in cities as Liberals languish: Poll".

The Star spins it in a different way, of course, never mentioning that the Conservatives are languishing too, remaining silent on the obvious point that the war in Afghanistan is the major difference between the parties that are surging and the others, and casting the surge of support for the anti-war parties as a threat to the Liberals and a boon to the Conservatives.

To read it in the Star, it's as if too much support for the Greens and the NDP would necessarily lead to a Conservative victory, rather than a Conservative defeat (or, what's more likely, a heavily fragmented minority government).

That's almost the same way they spin it in the US, although in this case it comes with a northern accent.

But the anti-war surge, led by outspoken NDP leader Jack Layton [photo], comes against the backdrop of a long-term American-inflected surge in government militarization, somewhat similar to the English version which was recently described by John Pilger and highlighted by Chris Floyd.

The transformation of Canada has been almost American in style, complete with transparent propaganda from a minority government openly in contempt of the press, the other parties, and the rule of law, presenting a huge increase in military spending as urgently needed for national defense -- against the will and contrary to the needs of the people, who must be propagandized as thoroughly as possible, of course -- and in true American military style, the whole thing is done with the backroom collaboration of the "opposition".

Most recently, the Canadian government announced plans to rent and purchase attack helicopters and drones -- weapons which the government says are necessary for the defense of the country. The drones will defend Canada by flying around Afghanistan. The helicopters will defend Canada by moving Canadian troops around inside Afghanistan.

Never mind that Afghanistan poses no threat to Canada. Never mind that Canada requires no defense against Afghanistan.

And never mind, especially, that the war in Afghanistan would be entirely unjustified, even if the official story of 9/11 were true, which it obviously isn't.

Forget all that. This is the post-9/11 world, which means when our governments say "defense", they really mean "attack". Telling the truth, calling a spade a spade: that's September 10th thinking. We're past that now.

The purchase and rental agreements are part of a massive new spending package sneakily announced in June. Details of the package were made public by virtue of being posted on the government's website late one Thursday night.

The spending package budgets $490 billion to be spent over the next 20 years -- and it was put together by a government that wasn't destined to last three more months in power.

In February, it was announced that the helicopters and drones were essential to the continuation of the Canadian "mission" in Afghanistan.

In true American style, this imperial mission had been criticized "from the left" as being done "on the cheap", so the inevitable commission was set up and it reached the most predictable conclusion: Canada must either spend a lot more money to do it "right" or else abandon the war crime they call a "mission" altogether.

So the Canadian Prime Minister, neocon Bushist Stephen Harper, announced that he would no longer approve an Afghan mission being run "on the cheap", and the "opposition" forced a "compromise" by which the war crime would be continued, but at a much greater burden to the taxpayers.

This was reminiscent of the means by which the most recent bill funding the war crime in Iraq was passed by a supposedly opposition US congress. Bush threatened to veto an increase in funding for medical care for veterans, but the Democrats insisted, and eventually the "two sides" reached a "compromise" under which the war crime would be continued indefinitely with no restrictions on the president but at a greater cost to the taxpayers than previously.

Just as in the USA, there's a level beyond which Canadian national politics is (worse than) a farce, made especially tragic when it's left to "the two party system". So, in many ways, the Canadian election is not about the Conservatives against the Liberals with the third parties in the background. It's about the Conservatives and the Liberals against the third parties.

But the major media are all Conservative with Faux Liberals in pocket, so they will never present an analysis of national politics that runs this way, even though the fault lines are clearly visible. So the voters have to figure it out for themselves.

And therefore, from a foreign policy point of view (and in many other ways) this election will boil down to whether the Canadian people are smart enough to reject the Bush-Harper, Conservative-Liberal, Star-Globe-National Post propaganda surge with sufficient force.

Which surge will win? The stakes are huge and I'm not optimistic.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Derrick Shareef, Garbage Can Grenadist, To Be Sentenced Tuesday

Derrick Shareef [sketch] is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. He faces life in prison.

Shareef was arrested in December of 2006, after trading a pair of car stereo speakers for a package he thought contained four grenades, a handgun and some ammunition.

According to documents released by the FBI at the time, Shareef was planning to attack holiday shoppers at CherryVale Mall in Rockford, Illinois, by detonating grenades in garbage cans there on the Friday before Christmas.

Unfortunately for Shareef, the "arms dealer" in this bogus transaction was working for the FBI, and so was the "friend" who set up the meeting between them.

The "friend", an FBI asset named William "Jameel" Chrisman [photo], had been sent to Rockford by the FBI with the task of meeting and "befriending" (and entrapping) Shareef.

Fortunately for Chrisman, Shareef was homeless and preparing to move in with the manager of the video store in which he worked, when Chrisman arrived, introduced himself as a fellow Muslim and offered Shareef a place to live.

Shareef started moving in with Chrisman -- and his three wives and nine children -- that same day. And the rest, for an experienced operator like Chrisman, was easy.

Chrisman, a convicted felon who converted to Islam in prison before going to work for the FBI, had Shareef under his roof for more than two months, during which he recorded every conversation they had. The FBI pulled the most incriminating segments together for its "evidence" against Shareef, and yet even in this non-representative sample, Chrisman can clearly be seen as the ringleader.

Close examination of the FBI-supplied affidavit reveals only one detail of the attack plan coming from Shareef -- the lunatic notion of detonating the grenades in garbage cans!

It was Chrisman who suggested attacking CherryVale Mall; it was Chrisman who suggested using grenades; it was Chrisman who suggested attacking on the Friday before Christmas; it was Chrisman who drove Shareef to CherryVale on two occasions, to "plan" the "attack". Both times they walked around the mall together under heavy FBI surveillance.

It was slick as could be: attacking the mall, where interstate commerce is carried out, makes it a federal offense; and using (or planning to use) grenades puts it into the category of "weapons of mass destruction" and makes possible a life sentence, according to the applicable federal law (no, I am not kidding). Chrisman couldn't possibly have done a "better" job.

But when the mainstream media report on Shareef's case, they always forget to mention Chrisman. And by the time the "terrorism experts" get to the story, Derrick Shareef has morphed into a "lone wolf".

Shareef pled guilty in November of 2007, then withdrew the guilty plea before he "withdrew the withdrawal", as a local TV report phrased it at the time. So the guilty plea still stands, and sentencing is next week.

Interestingly, Chrisman testified in court in New Haven, Connecticut, in the trial of Hassan Abujihaad [photo], on the same day that Shareef pled guilty in a federal court in Illinios. Shareef's guilty plea was entered in the morning; Chrisman took the stand in the afternoon.

It was almost as if Shareef had to plead guilty before Chrisman could reveal -- in another court -- the details of how Shareef had been entrapped.

But so what? Derrick Shareef, in many ways, is collateral damage. The FBI sent Chrisman after Shareef in the hope that Shareef and Chrisman working together could lead Abujihaad to incriminate himself. And it all kind of worked out, for the FBI, ha ha ha, didn't you know it would?

For more details, please see any (and perhaps even all) of the following:

Convicted Without Evidence: 'Father Of The Holy War' Found Guilty

Burned! Meet William Chrisman, FBI Entrapment Specialist

Rolling Stone: The Fear Factory

My series on Hassan Abujihaad: Father Of The Holy War

My series on Derrick Shareef: Derrick And The Detonators

Winter Parking: collected news articles about Derrick Shareef | Hassan Abujihaad | William "Jameel" Chrisman

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Is Our "Financial Crisis" A New 9/11? Chumps Think So, And I Do Too

I've seen a remarkable number of mentions of 9/11 in connection with the current so-called "financial crisis". Most of them have come from people who seem to have no knowledge of or interest in what actually happened on 9/11. And yet they all seem to "get" the parallel. How odd. Or maybe not.

The most prominent common features, in my view, between the so-called "terrorist attacks" of 2001 and the so-called "financial crisis" of 2008 are:

It's an inside job -- a terrorist attack of unprecedented scope and scale -- enabled by statements from politicians and the media which are chock-full of lies and spin.

There was nothing sudden about it; it was forseen by many and could have been prevented if the government had wanted to prevent it.

Instead it has been encouraged, and facilitated, by the very people who claim to be keeping you safe. But you can see that they don't want you to feel safe. They want you to be afraid, very afraid.

Arthur Silber highlights this nugget:
At Wednesday's House hearing, Rep. Steve LaTourette cut to the chase, summing up the frustration of members who think their constituents aren't getting the gravity of the situation from the dispassionate Bernanke and Paulson show.

LaTourette began talking about "my guy on the couch" back home in his district who was hassled by his boss and angered about doubts he'll be able to get a new car, keep his job, retain his credit card and save for his daughter's education.

"He's scared because he's the first generation who can't pass on the American dream to his daughter," said the Ohio Republican -- adding, "In order to accept this plan...he needs to be more scared."

Paulson obliged.

“He should be angry and he should be scared – and I think right now he’s angrier than he is scared,” said Paulson “And it puts us in a difficult position—no one likes to be painting an overly dire picture and scaring people, but the fact is that if the financial markets are not stabilized the situation can be very severe as it relates not just to his current situation – but keeping his job… this is a serious situation and one he should be concerned about.”
Your fear will be managed and amplified and used as a weapon with which to rob you of your future income and personal security. In the larger picture, millions of lives will be destroyed and a very few will be enriched.

The administration that was elected on a promise of "small government" is using this situation to attempt another enormous power grab, trying to increase the powers of appointed officials while bypassing the courts.

And congress is working overtime -- even as I type -- to write new legislation enabling this outrageous abuse of government to continue.


I've studied enough economics to know that the entire "science" is manure. It's not a science at all; it's a bogus belief system built on invisible premises that just happen to be false.

The primary false belief behind the "science" of economics is that things that can be bought and sold have value (as reflected in their prices) and things that can not be bought or sold have none (as reflected in their lack of prices).

For economists, their entire world-view depends on this obvious lie. And yet they build intricate simulations and prediction systems on it, and they get frustrated when "the people" don't act according to "the model".

Because of this all-encompassing reliance on the lie and the model rather than reality, nobody trained in "economics" can possibly tell the truth. They can't even see the truth. And that's why I ran away from this so-called discipline as fast as I could, as soon as I realized what it was.

The people who are looking for a handout in this so-called crisis are the scum of the earth, in my opinion. Their request for government money is the epitome of greed gone wild. But it's exactly what we can always expect from the parasites who suck the blood of the system.

Market speculators -- in currency and real estate especially -- add no value to anything; they only add to the prices of things. Rather than designing and building products, or serving the needs of society in some other way, they spend their lives building extensive portfolios of imaginary money which they consider "wealth".

This "wealth" exists only insofar as other people are willing to pay for the elements of their portfolios, and as long as nobody else knows that a portfolio is essentially worthless, the owner of worthless garbage can consider himself "successful", and even "wealthy".

So, in real estate, for instance, speculators buy and sell and flip and flip again, and all this action drives up the price of housing -- which for most people is an essential commodity. Because of the speculation in the housing market, values are artificially inflated to the point where people can't afford the houses, but in the meantime the houses are deteriorating and their actual values are falling.

And eventually it becomes clear to all who will look that the incessant flipping is driving an increase in homelessness, but do the speculators care? NO! They're just busy keepin' up with the other portfolio-builders in their high and mighty society. Or at least they were.

But now they want hundreds of billions of your dollars because it turns out that they can no longer hide the fact that they've been spending way too much for way too little.

What should the government tell them? That they should go out and get jobs like everybody else. That they should create products, or provide services, and earn an honest living for a change -- if they can!

But instead the government wants you to buy the portfolios the speculators can't sell to anyone else.

We hear all the time about how the economy will never survive unless the speculators with the worthless portfolios are bailed out. But -- just like the case in 9/11 -- the fact of the matter is quite the opposite from the official story.

The market will survive -- if it survives at all -- just like a sick body heals itself: by purging itself of toxins, and of the parasites that produce them.

This is how a free market is supposed to work; as the Republicans try to tell us all the time, it's the ownership society and you are responsible for your decisions. If you've bought a portfolio of garbage, you're stuck with it, chump. Caveat emptor, baby, and you have no right to foist your mistakes off on anybody else.

But that's exactly what this bailout is: the government buying worthless securities at highly inflated prices from people who never should have bought them in the first place.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman describes the portfolios in question as "toxic waste" and claims the "grown-up" thing for the government to do is to force the taxpayers to buy all of it. As if we need any more toxic waste.

My five-year-old son uses the word "grown-up". My eight-year-old says "adult". In this context Krugman's vocabulary reminds me of a six-year-old. And so does his reasoning.

Perhaps we cannot expect Paul Krugman -- who was trained as an economist, after all -- to see the truth of the matter. And we certainly cannot expect the NYT to print the truth even if they had somebody on staff willing and able to write it. But the adult thing to do would be to let market rid itself of the parasites and the toxins, just the way it's supposed to work.

The programs endorsed by Krugman and every other bailout proponent amount to robbing from the poor and innocent to give to the rich and guilty, under cover of extreme fear deliberately induced by our own government and media.

And guess what? It's just like 9/11 all over again, and from an administration whose only claim to success was that it supposedly protected us from such things.


I'm just ranting here of course but there's much more to be said, and you may as well start with Chris Floyd's most recent, "The Resurrectionists: Beltway's Big Money Cultists Bail Out the Dead".

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Jim Marrs On The Rise Of The Fourth Reich

Last Sunday, Alex Jones did an extensive interview with Jim Marrs, journalist, historian, and author of "The Rise of the Fourth Reich".

Marrs, whose excellent book "Crossfire" provided the framework for Oliver Stone's seriously flawed film about the assassination of JFK, has been on my radar for a long time, and he's made some outrageous claims, most of which (as far as I can tell) have turned out to be quite correct.

According to his publisher, Harper-Collins:
While the United States helped defeat the Germans in World War II, we failed to defeat the Nazis. At the end of the war, ranking Nazis, along with their young and fanatical protégés, used the loot of Europe to create corporate front companies in many countries, including the United States of America. Utilizing their stolen wealth, men with Nazi backgrounds and mentalities wormed their way into corporate America, slowly buying up and consolidating companies into giant multinational conglomerates. Many thousands of other Nazis came to the United States under classified programs such as Project Paperclip. They brought with them miraculous weapon technology that helped win the space race but they also brought their insidious Nazi philosophy within our borders. This ideology based on the authoritarian premise that the end justifies the means—including unprovoked wars of aggression and curtailment of individual liberties—has gained an iron hold in the "land of the free and the home of the brave."

For the first time Jim Marrs has gathered compelling evidence that an effort has been underway for the past sixty years to bring a form of National Socialism to modern America, creating in essence a modern empire—or "Fourth Reich"!
There's a lot more to the story, of course. Here's a quick sample:
In the ‘30s the National Socialists gained the support of the middle class Germans and middle commercial Germans because they portrayed themselves as conservatives. And they got the bulk of the commercial people behind them, and then by the time these people figured out that these are not the people we want leading, it was too late. And I see the same thing happening today. [...]

[Bush is] destroying the checks and balances in the federal government, and bringing everything into the Executive, which of course is again following the Nazi methodology. This is what Hitler did. He signed emergency decrees, one after another, until finally he just took total power and anybody that tried to stand up against him then was a “terrorist” against the government. And that’s important for people to understand. What the Nazis did, when they killed dissidents, when they killed homosexuals, when they killed gypsies, when they killed trade unionists, when they killed the Jews, this was all under the color of law. [...]

[T]hey talk about the dumbing down of America. Well, it’s not that we’ve gotten dumber. It’s the fact that we have been drugged dumber. [...]

[O]ne of the big issues today that people are genuinely concerned about is the increase in teen suicides and school shootings. We’re all concerned about that. And yet if you go back, the only thing the mass media, the corporate media can talk about is gun control, take guns away. Well, hey, a lot of people listening here in Texas, if you’re over 40 or 50 you remember a time when we all had guns and nobody ever shot anybody. The problem is not the guns. The problem is the drugs, the Prozac, the Ritalin, the drugs [...]

I.G. Farben back in 1800 was actually marketing an antidepressant under the name heroin until finally enough people said, don’t do that. In the aftermath of WWII, a U.S. chemist named Charles Eliot Perkins was sent to Germany to try to reconstruct the I.G. Farben combine there, and he came back and wrote that the German chemist had worked out a very ingenious and far-reaching plan of mass control that was submitted to and adopted by the German general staff. And this plan was to control the population of any given area through mass medication of the drinking water supplies, namely using sodium fluoride. So they put sodium fluoride in the drinking water of the concentration camps to keep the inmates passive and nonresistant.

Today two-thirds of the water supply in this country is now fluoridated. Think about this. One of the most over-prescribed drugs today is Prozac, which is 94 percent fluoride. [...]

[I]f you go back you’ll find virtually every school shooting involves someone who’s either on these psychotropic drugs or just coming off of them, which apparently is even worse. And yet the media will not talk about that. Why? Because in 2007 the pharmaceutical corporations that can be tracked back to IG Farben and the Nazis spent $3.7 BILLION dollars on consumer advertising.
I definitely think you should check out this interview.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Double False Flags, Shifting Sands: Warrior Nominated For Peace Prize

If you dig into modern terrorism for a while, you will eventually begin to notice two different trends that are almost always happening simultaneously.

Often they are happening so subtly that if you keep digging for a while longer you can almost stop noticing them, as they become part of the background noise.

But you never quite get used to that noise, and sometimes it makes itself evident in jarring ways, as it has done recently for me.

Double False Flag Terror

One of these two subtle trends might be called "double false flagging". In a "single" false flag attack, the real perpetrators are disguised as somebody else. The object is to frame an enemy. This trick is as old as the hills.

The modern twist on the old trick calls for disguising both the perpetrators and victims. And we've seen quite a bit of it in our lifetimes -- almost enough to take it for granted.

The attacks of September 11, 2001, involved very specific and heavily symbolic targets: the World Trade Center and the Pentagon stood for American economic and military dominance over the world, and many Americans were proud to say so.

When they were attacked, it would have been easy to conclude that the attacks had targeted American global dominance and two very visible symbols thereof. But instead we were told incessantly that it was the civilized world itself that had been attacked. Did you believe that?

Whoever "gets to be the victim" of a terrorist attack can use the emotional power of the event for good (theoretically) or ill (as it always seems to happen). I've used quotes around the phrase "gets to be the victim" because, as we all know (or would know if we were thinking), the actual victims of actual terrorist attacks are already dead.

9/11 is a classic case of a double-lie about victims and perpetrators, as people who falsely call themselves the victims wage a seemingly endless war against other people whom they falsely call the perpetrators. How can this happen? When the "news" media are onside with the double-lie, the truth barely has a chance.

Last October 18th, a bomb blast (or two) ripped through a political procession in Karachi, Pakistan, killing more than 130 people. The leader of the procession, Benazir Bhutto, was not injured in the attack -- due to either a remarkable string of coincidences or (dare we say it?) foreknowledge.

I blogged extensively about this attack, and noted many very strange details. But one of the things that struck me most powerfully was the fact that within days, the uninjured Bhutto was referring to herself as the victim of the attack.

In fact, most of the victims had been members of her human shield, and they'd been paid (four pounds a day) to be there.

We saw another example of this cynical ploy last weekend after the Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad.

Barack Obama showed unsurpassed skill at "getting to be the victim" when he said:
"Today’s attack demonstrates the grave and urgent threat that al Qaeda and its affiliates pose to the United States, to Pakistan, and to the security of all nations."
A bomb goes off in front of a hotel and that demonstrates "a grave and urgent threat" to "the security of all nations"?

He's good, isn't he? Scary good.

In the "good old days" of 9/11, only the civilized world was under attack. Now it's all nations, civilized or not. In Obama's world, we all get to be the victims. He's a uniter, not a divider. Barack Obama wants to embroil everyone in the morass...

Well, it turned out that al Qaeda didn't claim responsibility for the Marriott bombing, and another -- totally unknown -- group did. That group didn't have any terrorist history or any obvious affiliation with al Qaeda, but Obama's statement still stands, doesn't it? We're all under grave and imminent threat from ... whoever did it ... aren't we?

The Shifting Sands Of Time

The other parallel and complementary trend, which I call "the shifting sands of time", concerns the way that changes are made to the official stories of major terror attacks. The original story is almost always found wanting and replaced with another one, which turns out to be ludicrous and is replaced, and so on ... but nobody ever seems to draw the logical conclusion from all these changes.

That's not quite true, of course, because some people do notice the shifting stories. But the people who notice the shifts and talk about them are all but barred from public discourse. I've been watching this trend all my life.

In 1963, when JFK was assassinated, we were told the assassin was behind the president and that Kennedy has been shot in the front of the neck. But then people started asking the logical question: How could the president have been shot in the front, from behind?

The New York Times came along with a ready-made explanation: He was turning to wave to someone behind him when he was shot. Fair enough -- or not really?

Not really. JFK had been injured in World War II and he wore a heavy back brace. He could never have turned around and waved to the rear while sitting in a car seat. Or could he?

No, he couldn't! And the Zapruder film showed him being shot while facing forward. Oops! Now the sands had to shift again. The entrance wound in the President's neck became an exit wound, and the NYT's explanation was revealed as a flat-out lie. So that lie was buried under the shifting sands, and the nation moved on... Or did it?

Most did, but not all. One of the people who didn't was a New York attorney named Mark Lane. He made a collection of news clippings, such as the NYT piece I've mentioned, which showed just how much the sands in this case had been shifting ever since the President was shot. And Lane started doing public presentations based on his research.

Eventually he published a book, "Rush To Judgment", which devastated the official story. And for his efforts, his research, his presentations, and his book, Mark Lane was called a kook, a crank, an egomaniac, and a madman. The national "news" media poured scorn on him for years, and even many so-called "JFK researchers" joined in the character abuse -- none of which changed the fact that Mark Lane was right. JFK wasn't shot in the front from behind. He was shot in the front from the front.

The case of Rashid Rauf, the alleged ringleader of the so-called Liquid Bombers, provides another fine example of shifting sands. In August of 2006, when the Liquid Bombers were arrested, we were told that Rauf's arrest in Pakistan had triggered all the arrests in England which followed. But we didn't know much about Rashid Rauf himself.

At the time, furious Googling turned up his home page, and not much else about him. I can recall being frustrated about the scarcity of information, and I started paying close attention, watching for his name to appear on the net. In the past two years I have mirrored more than 300 newspaper articles about Rashid Rauf at my "other" blog, Winter Parking, and I've read more blog posts mentioning his name than I can count.

I've also written more than 30 extensively detailed articles about the plot and the aftermath of the arrests.

"So what?" you may say. And maybe it doesn't matter. But I'm very rarely surprised by anything I read about this man, or about this case -- unless it's false.

And one day I found a post at Long War Journal which called Rashid Rauf an "al Qaeda commander". I had never seen him described as such, so I did some more Googling and found two articles in which it was hinted that perhaps Rashid Rauf had met an al Qaeda commander. But nothing more substantial -- and it's a far cry from allegedly perhaps meeting an al Qaeda commander to becoming one yourself, so I revisited that post and left a comment.

My comment said: "How do you know that Rashid Rauf is an al Qaeda commander?" And I was pleasantly surprised that it was published without any delay for moderation. I was even hoping to learn something from the response. So I stopped by again the next day, and found that my comment had been deleted.

In my opinion, this is how we know whether or not Rashid Rauf is really an al Qaeda commander. It's also a reminder: inquiring minds are very dangerous to the shifters of sand, especially if they're connected to functional memory banks.

All Together, Now

When you see the shifting sands and the double false flags together, you know something special's going on. And that brings us back to Islamabad, where one of the questions that's been in the air lately runs: "Why was the Marriott Hotel attacked?"

Immediately after the attack, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik produced a fine combination of being the victim and shifting the sands, when he told the media the reason the terrorists had chosen the Marriott was because they were trying to kill the leaders of the government, who had planned to eat together at the hotel that evening.

But instead they'd decided to dine at the Prime Minister's residence, said Malik, in a manner which one scribe reported as sounding "as if they'd saved the entire country".

Given this background, it might have been embarrassing for Rehman Malik when the owner of the Marriott Hotel told the press he knew of no plans for the government leaders to visit his hotel on the fatal evening.

Can you imagine hundreds of the country's most important politicians planning to arrive together at a hotel for dinner, without giving the management advance notice? How could that happen? It wouldn't.

Instead, the sands needed to be shifted again. And on Wednesday the International Human Rights Commission nominated Rehman Malik for an International Peace Award for his role in the "War against Terrorism".

Rehman Malik is now in a magical realm, where he gets to be both "the victim" and "the hero".

According to Dawn,
The award is recognition of the services rendered by Rehman Malik in the area of fighting war against terrorism and extremism and for achieving the lasting peace in the country, strengthening the democratic institution after the establishment of newly elected government under the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari.
Lasting peace? That's a bad joke. The war against militants in the mountains has already produced scores of thousands of refugees, and now "analysts" are saying they "fear" Pakistan may descend into civil war.

We shall soon see how much lasting peace Rehman Malik and his colleagues have brought to Pakistan. I will be surprised if there is any.

But what else can we expect, when warriors are getting nominated for peace prizes?

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Iranian President Says What TV Pundits Can't: American Empire Is Almost Over

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offended quite a few people with his pointed remarks at the UN, as CNN reports:

Ahmadinejad: 'American empire' nearing its end
"As long as the aggressors, because of their financial, political and propaganda powers, not only escape punishment, but even claim righteousness, and as long as wars are started and nations are enslaved in order to win votes in elections, not only will the problems of the global community remain unsolved, but they will be increasingly exacerbated," the Iranian leader said.

He accused the United States of oppressing Iraqis with six years of occupation, saying Americans were "still seeking to solidify their position in the political geography of the region and to dominate oil resources."
This is particularly offensive to American media and political types not just because it's true, but because it's verboten truth.

Nobody in American TV-land can say these things, even though they are obviously correct.

CNN continues:
Meanwhile, he said, Palestinians have undergone "60 years of carnage and invasion ... at the hands of some criminal and occupying Zionists."

He said Zionists in Israel "have forged a regime through collecting people from various parts of the world and bringing them to other people's land, by displacing, detaining and killing the true owners of that land."

The Security Council, he said, "cannot do anything, and sometimes under pressure from a few bullying powers, even paves the way for supporting these Zionist murders."
Unable to refute any of this, CNN defers to a famous lie:
He stopped short of calling for Israel to be politically wiped off the map as he has in the past.
The fact that he has never said anything of the sort is clearly of no consequence to CNN -- not when there's an opportunity to fan the flames of fiction.

In the fictional media account, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is dangerous because of fearsome weapons that he doesn't have, and threatening statements that he's never made.

But in reality, he's a dangerous man because he suggests things like:
"a free referendum in Palestine for determining and establishing the type of state in the entire Palestinian lands."
Such a referendum -- direct independent democracy at its finest -- can never be allowed to happen, of course, because that would be the end of Israel.

And that's why the [Jewish]
Anti-Defamation League released a statement saying the Iranian leader showed he "is deeply infected with anti-Semitism" and displayed "the true threat the Iranian regime poses to Israel, the United States and the West."
The ADL says this so often and it gets published so everywhere and so unquestioningly...

First and foremost, Ahmadinejad is an anti-Zionist. Zionism is a political philosophy. Ahmadinejad doesn't like it much. That's his prerogative. I don't like it much, either. That's my prerogative.

Anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism. It's not even close. Only the deliberately, willfully ignorant -- and those who wish you were equally ignorant -- fail to see the distinction.

It's not the "anti-Semitism" that makes Ahmadinejad dangerous. That's only a cover story. The true threat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad poses -- to Israel, to the United States and to the West -- lies in his willingness to speak the verboten truth.

And that's a big problem for our "news" providers, because they can't just cancel his show.

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Execution In Iraq: Murder Charges Against Three Army Sergeants, None Against Those Who Sent Them There

The four men were handcuffed and blindfolded, then taken out and shot in the head. Two of the killers, acting on instructions from the third, removed the plastic handcuffs and the bloody blindfolds, and shoved the bodies into a canal. Then the three killers left the scene and rejoined their unit. Ho hum.

But now, the three men -- US Army Sgt. John Hatley, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph P. Mayo and Sgt. Michael P. Leahy Jr. -- face charges of
premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and obstruction of justice
according to an Army statement released last week, as reported in a short AP dispatch carried by the Washington Post.

Paul Von Zielbauer of the New York Times had reported back in August that Hatley, Mayo and Leahy would probably be charged with murder. He also reported much more detail about this story, including the following:
The accounts of and confessions to the killings, by Sgt. First Class Joseph P. Mayo, the platoon sergeant, and Sgt. Michael P. Leahy Jr., [...] senior medic and an acting squad leader, were made in January in signed statements to Army investigators in Schweinfurt, Germany.

In their statements, Sergeants Mayo and Leahy each described killing at least one of the Iraqi detainees on instructions from First Sgt. John E. Hatley, who the soldiers said killed two of the detainees with pistol shots to the back of their heads. [...]

In their sworn statements, Sergeants Mayo and Leahy described the events that preceded the shooting of the Iraqi men, who apparently were Shiite fighters linked to the Mahdi Army militia, which controlled the West Rashid area of southwest Baghdad.

After taking small-arms fire, the patrol chased some men into a building, arresting them and finding several automatic weapons, grenades and a sniper rifle, they said. On the way to their combat outpost, Sergeant Hatley’s convoy was informed by Army superiors that the evidence to detain the Iraqis was insufficient, Sergeant Leahy said in his statement. The unit was told to release the men, according to the statement.

“First Sergeant Hatley then made the call to take the detainees to a canal and kill them,” Sergeant Leahy said [...]

“So the patrol went to the canal, and [...] Mayo and I took the detainees out of the back of the Bradley, lined them up and shot them,” Sergeant Leahy said, referring to a Bradley fighting vehicle. “We then pushed the bodies into the canal and left.”
Assuming Von Zielbauer's account is correct, I have no argument with the Army's position that what Hatley and his men did to four disarmed and utterly defenseless men was murder, and that charges against the killers are appropriate.

But ... what's the difference between premeditated murder and premeditated mass murder? between conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated mass murder? between obstruction of justice and massive obstruction of justice?

The difference is one of scale, and scope, and power.

If John Hatley, Joseph Mayo and Michael Leahy, Jr. -- three platoon-level leaders -- go to the dock for murdering four defenseless victims, then who goes to the dock for what Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and all their lying associates did to Iraq?

John Hatley, Joseph Mayo and Michael Leahy, Jr.

That's who.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Late Breaking: Joe Biden Is A Maverick, Too!

One of the lines I was most eager to blog about when I read it -- but couldn't at the time -- came from Mary MacElveen, via Bob Parry's Consortium News.

While arguing that the national news media unfairly pay more attention to Elephant veep candidate Sarah Palin than to Donkey veep candidate Joe Biden [photo], MacElveen also argues that John McCain is not the only "maverick" in the race.

According to MacElveen:
Biden too showed he was a maverick in stating he would buck his own party to continue funding the troops when some opposed it.
He certainly doesn't appear to be the sort of maverick we need at the moment. But thanks for the insight, Mary.

From one point of view, Consortium News, with its 24/7 Obamathon, continues to be one of the hugest craters in the pockmarked landscape formerly known as independent American journalism.

But from another angle, it's remarkable how deeply and fully Bob Parry's site reveals the bankruptcy of American politics -- where even those pulling for the "opposition" are unabashedly despicable.

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Bush Tells UN To Unite Against Terrorism And Tyrrany

The twice-unelected president and smirking multi-front war criminal George W. Bush told the United Nations on Tuesday that the world must unite against terrorism and tyranny, according to the AP via MSNBC.

USA Today says Bush told the UN it must prevent terrorist attacks from happening.

Unfortunately, the world's top diplomats have already decided that Bush is a buffoon, and as usual they weren't paying any attention.

If they had been, Bush would have been led away from the podium in handcuffs, and taken straight to the guillotines.

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Because You'll Believe Anything: Unknown Terrorist Group Claims Responsibility For Marriott Bombing

In a phone call to an Islamabad TV station, "a group calling itself Fedayeen-i-Islam" has claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, according to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.

Fedayeen-i-Islam is "a little-known group" according to Bloomberg. But just how little-known?

Dawn's report quotes "a senior [Pakistani] government official" as saying:
“We have not heard the name of the organisation but we are trying to locate its network.”

Ever since Saturday night's bombing the media have been wrestling with the big question: "Why did al Qaeda do this?"

But now they have to deal with a different question: "How is Fedayeen-i-Islam related to al Qaeda?"

It goes without saying that Fedayeen-i-Islam must be a violent radical Islamofascist group and that they must have bombed the hotel. And they must have been assisted, if not directed, by al Qaeda, and probably the Taliban as well. After all, who else but the world's most violent Islamic terrorists could make an anonymous phone call to a TV station?

It's nice to know the big questions are looked after. That gives us leeway -- here in the frozen corners of the blogosphere -- to ask meaningless little insignificant questions, like:

What were US Marines doing in the Marriott Hotel just before the attack?

According to Pakistan Daily, after the blast, a fire broke out on the fourth and fifth floors of the hotel.

Why these floors and not the others? The official explanation didn't make much sense. On the other hand, according to an eyewitness report from a member of Pakistan's Parliament, a group of US Marines had recently visited the hotel, while Admiral Mike Mullen was there.

According to the eyewitness, all access to the hotel was closed off while the Marines unloaded steel boxes from a white US Embassy truck, bypassed both Pakistani and hotel security, and took these boxes directly to the fourth and fifth floors of the hotel -- just where the fires mysteriously broke out.

Were the Marines loading the building with incendiaries? It certainly wouldn't be the first time a building was primed by insiders for a subsequent "terrorist attack".

I wasn't kidding in my prior post when I called the Marriott bombing "Pakistan's 9/11". But I didn't explain myself particularly well, either.

There's a long list of similarities between the two attacks, including the rush by both politicians and the media to cast the event as "an attack on democracy", when in both cases the attacks came at critical times for governments which falsely claimed to have been legitimately elected.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari can now claim to be in an all-out war against radical Islamic terrorists, and he may even be able to build up enough "political capital" to drag his nation in a direction in which it doesn't wish to go.

As usual, the attack has been followed by a barrage of media nonsense, such as a report from the Financial Times which says men with ties to al Qaeda have been arrested in Pakistan in connection with the Marriott bombing.
Pakistani investigators yesterday said they had found new evidence of al-Qaeda's involvement in the suicide truck bombing of Islamabad's Marriott hotel. Intelligence officials also reported the arrest of up to five militants in connection with planning attacks [...]

According to an intelligence official, two of the five arrested men "came with conclusive evidence of close links to al-Qaeda. Their connection to the militant group is beyond any doubt."
Let's see now: The police are arresting members of one group while another group claims responsibility. Does this not undermine the claims of the police?

If you were tripped up by this little bit of logic, you must be a Democrat, since according to the Republicans, the Democrats have failed to learn the lessons of September 11th, 2001.

And the primary lesson from September 11th, of course, is that logic, evidence, and science are all past their prime.

Therefore, we don't use forensic evidence to solve crimes anymore; we label the crimes acts of war, destroy the forensic evidence, and attack defenseless countries instead. For revenge. Or something.

If you believe that this massive bombing attack was perpetrated by a Pakistani terrorist group that the Pakistani government has never even heard of, then it's not much of a stretch to believe that this hitherto-unknown group must have hitherto-unknown ties to al Qaeda, as well.

As the AP reported (via the Toronto Star):
Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said "all roads lead to FATA" in major Pakistani suicide attacks – referring to Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where U.S. officials fear Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda No.2 Ayman al-Zawahri are hiding.
And there you have it; it doesn't matter who did it; it doesn't matter who claimed responsibility; it doesn't matter why Marines were acting mysteriously (and evading security) in the building shortly before it was attacked; it doesn't matter what evidence is collected during the investigation; it doesn't even matter whether there is an investigation.

What matters is that the media and the politicians have already decided who's going to be blamed, and who's going to pay the price. And once again -- just like 9/11 -- it won't be the perpetrators.


UPDATE: The eyewitness referred to in the above account is denying a report published in The News which contains some of the same allegations described above, according to a comment posted on a thread where my piece is being discussed at Pak Links dot com.

Here's the disputed piece in full, from The News, for the record:
Was it an attack on US Marines?

By Ansar Abbasi | Sunday, September 21, 2008

ISLAMABAD: Was there a top secret and mysterious operation of the US Marines going on inside the Marriott when it was attacked on Saturday evening? No one will confirm it but circumstantial evidence is in abundance.

Witnessed by many, including a PPP MNA and his friends, a US embassy truckload of steel boxes was unloaded and shifted inside the Marriott Hotel on the same night when Admiral Mike Mullen met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and others in Islamabad.

Both the main gates (the entrance and the exit) of the hotel were closed while no one except the US Marines were either allowed to go near the truck or get the steel boxes unloaded or shift them inside the hotel. These steel boxes were not passed through the scanners installed at the entrance of the hotel lobby and were reportedly shifted to the fourth and fifth floors of the Marriott.

Besides several others, PPP MNA Mumtaz Alam Gilani and his two friends, Sajjad Chaudhry, a PPP leader, and one Bashir Nadeem, witnessed this mysterious activity to which no one other than the PPP MNA objected and protested.

A source present there told The News that after entertaining them with refreshments at the Nadia restaurant at midnight when Mumtaz Alam, along with his friends, was to leave the hotel, he found a white US embassy truck standing right in front of the hotel's main entrance.

Both the In-gate and the Out-gate of the hotel were closed while almost a dozen well-built US Marines in their usual fatigues were unloading the steel boxes from the truck. No one, including the hotel security men, was either allowed to go near the truck or touch the steel boxes, which were being shifted inside the hotel but without passing through the scanners.

Upon inquiry, one of the three PPP friends who was waiting for the main gates of the hotel to open to get his car in, was informed that the suspicious boxes were shifted to the fourth and fifth floors of the hotel. Mumtaz Alam was furious both at the US Marines and the hotel security not only for the delay caused to them but also for the security lapse he was witnessing.

On his protest, there was absolutely no response from the Marines and the security men he approached were found helpless. Mumtaz Alam told the hotel security official that they were going to endanger the hotel and its security. He was also heard telling his friends that he would never visit the hotel again. He also threatened to raise the issue in parliament.

One does not know whether the PPP MNA revisited the hotel after that mysterious midnight but his brother Imtiaz Alam, who is a senior journalist, was in the same hotel when the truck exploded at the main gate of the hotel. Imtiaz Alam had a lucky escape and found his way out of the hotel with great difficulty in pitch darkness.

One of the lifts he was using fell to the ground floor just after he forced the door open on the 4th floor and got out of it.
The comment, from Lycanthropy of Karachi, runs as follows [I've converted the URLs to links]:
Unfortunately, the MNA reported to be a witness of the US Marines incident, (Mumtaz Alam Gillani, National Assembly Member PPP), is not backing up the report, and is even threatening to sue Ansar Abbasi (the journalist who published this report quoting unknown eyewitnesses), if he does not debunk his article soon.

MNA threatens to sue journalist

http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=53599&It emid=2
Story on shifting US Steel boxes in Marriott Hotel a pack of lies: Mumtaz Gillani

MNA threatens to sue journalist: Ansar Abbasi says he never met MNA

MNA threatens to sue journalist

it's even on his Wiki page:

Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani

The report might still be true, but maybe the MNA is not backing it up personally to avoid trouble for himself.
And the article mentioned in the comment runs as follows [I've added emphasis, space, and a few extra words, for clarity]:
MNA threatens to sue journalist

Ansar Abbasi says he never met MNA

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

ISLAMABAD: Mumtaz Alam Gillani, member [of the] national assembly (PPP) [Pakistan People's Party] on Monday strongly contradicted a news item appearing in a section of the press on September 21 that he was witness to a US embassy white truck carrying steel boxes, which were unloaded and shifted inside the Marriott hotel.

Mumtaz Alam Gillani told APP that this was just a conversation in a light mood with the reporter when he along with his friends was coming out of the hotel and some foreigners were going inside the hotel. “I had just roadside chit-chat in a friendly manner with the newsman and told him that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism”, Gillani clarified.

He further said he would be issuing a legal notice to the reporter of the newspaper whose story is based on “pack of lies” and contrary to all professional ethics.

“I have asked the reporter to contradict the news item and tender unconditional apology as he tried to belittle my image as member of parliament in the eyes of the people, particularly of my constituency”, Mumtaz Alam Gillani said.

The MNA further said that on expiry of 10-day notice if the apology is not tendered and contradiction not issued, he will sue the reporter and the newspapers in a Court of law. — APP [Associated Press of Pakistan]


Ansar Abbasi replies: The PPP MNA Mumtaz Alam Gillani has the right to go to the court of law but he needs to be corrected on the fact that I never spoke to him whether in a light mood or seriously. Rather we never had any interaction either on the night of September 16 or before; nor even after that, though I tried to contact him on the night of September 16 but his mobile phone did not respond.

The story in question was based on the eyewitness account of a source, [who] narrated the whole episode of what many witnessed that night. The source also quoted the PPP MNA objecting and protesting to the Marines’ activity. He was also shouting thus attracting the attention of several others.

The PPP MNA is also not mentioning the fact when he claims of talking to “reporter” and seeking contradiction of the story and unconditional apology. Nowhere in story the image of the MNA was belittled rather he was reported to have objected to the lapse of security that he witnessed when the Marines were shifting the steel cases inside the hotel.

Mr Gillani talks of “facts”, which are neither relevant to my story nor true. While Gillani “strongly contradicted” the story, one of his friends, accompanying him on the night of September 16 to Marriott, confirmed the facts as stated in The News story.

Meanwhile, the US embassy spokesman on Monday when asked about the September 16 activity did not deny this and said, “A team of support personnel often and routinely precede and/or accompany certain US government officials. They often carry communications and office equipment required to support large delegations, such as high-level administration officials and members of the US Congress. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would travel with communications equipment. It is quite possible that some saw this communications equipment moved into the hotel. This equipment would leave with the CJCS. If the equipment was transported in full public view then obviously there was no attempt made to conceal its movement.”

The News stands by the story.
And so do I.

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