War on Iraq: Let your Congressmen know how you feel

September 25, 2002 at 6:11 pm
Contributed by:

Congress is expected to pass a
resolution next week – contact
them now.

 

Attached, another similar suggestion from the “Not in our Name”
initiative. Good text.

 

And
then, enjoy a bit of humor:

http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2002/09/09/tomo/index.html 

 

–C


[You are on my PRIVATE Poli-spam list; if you don't want to be, just say
so.]




—–Original Message—–


Don’t Attack Iraq; Work Through the
U.N.

If you agree with the objective, then definitely try this out. It
literally took me about 2 minutes to send a fax/email to 30 US Reps.
Pro-peace citizens have just a
couple of days to
influence the Congressional debate about Iraq.
Congress
is expected to pass a resolution next week –
and there is evidence that a
strong outpouring of
anti-war sentiment is starting to have an impact, as

members from both parties express skepticism about the
broad war mandate
sought by the White House.

Please take a minute as soon as you can
to:

(1) Send a letter to Congress
at:
   
http://www.progressiveportal.org/letters/global/iraq/
    You
can do it in less than a minute.

(2) Pass this alert along to your
contacts.

(3) Display your opposition to war with peace
flags,
    U.N. flags, Earth flags, anti-war posters,
etc.
    Proceeds make Progressive Portal possible.
See:
    http://www.progressiveportal.org/resources/
 
    flags.html

(4) For more information,
see the Iraq section of the
Global Exchange Web site, and the Iraq links
on
Progressive
Portal.
    http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/iraq/
    http://www.progressiveportal.org/links/

Time
is VERY short — please act today if you can!

More on Chemtrails, and CIA connections

September 19, 2002 at 1:30 pm
Contributed by:

Hello
all,

 

Catching you up with a few more articles:

 

1.
Another, more detailed, site about Chemtrails. Seattle friends, best get
yourselves some gas masks and HEPA filters! 

Chemtrail smoking gun


2.
If you haven’t heard of Mike Ruppert yet, I suggest you check out his 30-year
effort to expose the CIA’s involvement with drug smuggling and money laundering
for world financial markets. A former LAPD detective who was courted for a while
by the CIA, he has crusaded against their shenanigans ever since. Recently he
has produced a video called “Truth and Lies of 9-11″ that, while failing to make
a truly cogent argument IMO, does present a lot of very interesting (and
damning) facts about the connections between the CIA, the SEC, our government,
and business leaders of major corporations over many years. Worth a
look!


http://www.copvcia.com
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/


Also at that site, be sure to check out the story of D. “Mike” Vreeland,
who worked for U.S. Naval Intelligence and who tried to warn the U.S. about the
9/11 attacks as early as December 2000, and who has since been the subject of a
campaign to discredit him:


http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/04_04_02_vree_intervw.html


That’s
all for today.


–C


[You are
on my PRIVATE Poli-spam list. If you don't want to be, just say
so.]

Paul Krugman, \"Cronies in Arms\"

September 18, 2002 at 7:06 pm
Contributed by:

Hello all
you defenders of Truth, Justice, and the American Way (what is that these
days, anyway?),

 

If you’re
not familiar with Paul Krugman, his column in The Economist is consistently
incisive and high quality. As another correspondent said:
 

 

 —–Original
Message—–
so I’m just gonna keep sending along Krugman’s
column’s every week until he’s not the most well-researched analyst of all that
is wrong with the folks that are running things in DC right now. the evidence is
so surmountable that it’s hard to figure out what it all means sometimes, but he
does it perfectly and with so much fact that he can’t be denounced.
 —–Original
Message—–


I concur
completely. Read on. And no, I don’t have a subscription to The Economist, so
those of you who do, please keep ‘em coming!

 

–C
 

 
Cronies in Arms
By PAUL
KRUGMAN

In February 2001 Enron presented an imposing facade, but insiders
knew better: they were desperately struggling to keep their Ponzi scheme going.
When one top executive learned of millions in further losses, his e-mailed
response summed up the whole strategy: “Close a bigger deal. Hide the loss
before the 1Q.”

The strategy worked. Enron collapsed, but not before
insiders made off with nearly $1 billion. The sender of that blunt e-mail sold
$12 million in stocks just before they became worthless. And now he’s secretary
of the Army.
Dick Cheney vehemently denies that talk of war, just weeks
before the midterm elections, is designed to divert attention from other
matters. But in that case he won’t object if I point out that the tide of
corporate scandal is still rising, and lapping ever closer to his feet.
An
article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal confirmed what some of us have long
argued: market manipulation by energy companies – probably the same companies
that wrote Mr. Cheney’s energy plan, though he has defied a court order to
release task force records – played a key role in California’s electricity
crisis. And new evidence indicates that Mr. Cheney’s handpicked Army secretary
was a corporate evildoer.
Mr. Cheney supposedly chose Thomas White for his
business expertise. But when it became apparent that the Enron division he ran
was a money-losing fraud, the story changed. We were told that Mr. White was an
amiable guy who had no idea what was actually going on, that his colleagues
referred to him behind his back as “Mr. Magoo.” Just the man to run the Army in
a two-front Middle Eastern war, right?
But he was no Magoo. Jason Leopold, a
reporter writing a book about California’s crisis, has acquired Enron documents
that show Mr. White fully aware of what his division was up to. Mr. Leopold
reported his findings in the online magazine Salon, and has graciously shared
his evidence with me. It’s quite damning.
The biggest of several deals that
allowed Mr. White to “hide the loss” – a deal in which the documents show him
intimately involved – was a 15-year contract to supply electricity and natural
gas to the Indiana pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. Any future returns from the
deal were purely hypothetical. Indeed, the contract assumed a deregulated
electricity market, which didn’t yet exist in Indiana. Yet without delivering a
single watt of power – and having paid cash up front to Lilly, not the other way
around – Mr. White’s division immediately booked a multimillion-dollar profit.

Was this legal? There are certain cases in which companies are allowed to
use “mark to market” accounting, in which they count chickens before they are
hatched – but normally this requires the existence of a market in unhatched
eggs, that is, a forward market in which you can buy or sell today the promise
to deliver goods at some future date. There were no forward markets in the
services Enron promised to provide; extremely optimistic numbers were simply
conjured up out of thin air, then reported as if they were real, current
earnings. And even if this was somehow legal, it was grossly unethical.
If
outsiders had known Enron’s true financial position when Mr. White sent that
e-mail, the stock price would have plummeted. By maintaining the illusion of
success, insiders like Mr. White were able to sell their stock at good prices to
naïve victims – people like their own employees, or the Florida state workers
whose pension fund invested $300 million in Enron during the company’s final
months. As Fortune’s recent story on corporate scandal put it: “You bought. They
sold.”
It was crony capitalism at its worst. What kind of administration
would keep Mr. White in office?
A story in last week’s Times may shed light
on that question. It concerned another company that sold a division, then
declared that its employees had “resigned,” allowing it to confiscate their
pensions. Yet this company did exactly the opposite when its former C.E.O.
resigned, changing the terms of his contract so that he could claim full
retirement benefits; the company took an $8.5 million charge against earnings to
reflect the cost of its parting gift to this one individual. Only the little
people get shafted.
The other company is named Halliburton. The object of its
generosity was Dick Cheney.

Don\’t Mention the \’O\’ word

September 17, 2002 at 3:36 pm
Contributed by:

One more Poli-spam article for today. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wonders why, in all the talk about going to war with Iraq, no one has mentioned the “O” word, and who sees that omission as glaring. We must read between the lines if we’re going to understand what’s afoot. It will be interesting to see if there is any news coverage on Thursday of the OPEC meeting.


–C

—–Original Message—–

…you’re so right about it. It is everything. After reading the following, I went from being very vague about about what was at stake in Iraq – aside from Junior getting back at Daddy’s nemesis – to seeing the whole thing only too clearly.


Don’t Mention the “O” Word – The Economist

Air Traffic Controllers Concerned Over Chemtrails

September 17, 2002 at 3:00 pm
Contributed by:

Brilliant! Instead of dealing with the causes of global warming, let’s fill
the air with more chemicals! (Thanks Stephanie for this link.)
http://www.rense.com/general20/cc.htm
–C
Yes, I have much, much more Poli-spam stuff to send you all, but I’m waiting
for a point when I have the time to assemble it all properly. BTW I’m now
finally getting around to reading Noam Chomsky’s _Manufacturing Consent_,
and it couldn’t be more timely. It’s dense reading, but I highly recommend
it.
–C
Stay tuned…


–C

\"The Troubling New Face of America\" by Jimmy Carter

September 11, 2002 at 12:13 pm
Contributed by:

Hello friends,

 

On this “Patriot
Day,” I feel compelled to submit some sort of commentary. I actually have a big
pile of stuff I’ve been meaning to send to you all, and soon I will, but for
today, I will content myself with sending out this one.

 

And though it’s a
bit late, I encourage all of you to boycott the media today while they treat
9/11 as another Super Bowl, and instead focus your thoughts on how true patriots
should respond to the world and the political stance of the U.S. at this point.

–C

Published on Thursday, September 5, 2002 in the
Washington Post

 

The Troubling New Face of America by Jimmy
Carter

 

Fundamental changes are taking place in the
historical policies of the United States with regard to human rights, our role
in the community of nations and the Middle East peace process — largely without
definitive debates (except, at times, within the administration). Some new
approaches have understandably evolved from quick and well-advised reactions by
President Bush to the tragedy of Sept. 11, but others seem to be developing from
a core group of conservatives who are trying to realize long-pent-up ambitions
under the cover of the proclaimed war against terrorism.

 

Formerly admired almost universally as the
preeminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target
of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles
of democratic life. We have ignored or condoned abuses in nations that support
our anti-terrorism effort, while detaining American citizens as “enemy
combatants,” incarcerating them secretly and indefinitely without their being
charged with any crime or having the right to legal counsel. This policy has
been condemned by the federal courts, but the Justice Department seems adamant,
and the issue is still in doubt. Several hundred captured Taliban soldiers
remain imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay under the same circumstances, with the
defense secretary declaring that they would not be released even if they were
someday tried and found to be innocent. These actions are similar to those of
abusive regimes that historically have been condemned by American
presidents.

 

While the president has reserved judgment, the
American people are inundated almost daily with claims from the vice president
and other top officials that we face a devastating threat from Iraq’s weapons of
mass destruction, and with pledges to remove Saddam Hussein from office, with or
without support from any allies. As has been emphasized vigorously by foreign
allies and by responsible leaders of former administrations and incumbent
officeholders, there is no current danger to the United States from Baghdad. In
the face of intense monitoring and overwhelming American military superiority,
any belligerent move by Hussein against a neighbor, even the smallest nuclear
test (necessary before weapons construction), a tangible threat to use a weapon
of mass destruction, or sharing this technology with terrorist organizations
would be suicidal. But it is quite possible that such weapons would be used
against Israel or our forces in response to an American attack.

 

We cannot ignore the development of chemical,
biological or nuclear weapons, but a unilateral war with Iraq is not the answer.
There is an urgent need for U.N. action to force unrestricted inspections in
Iraq. But perhaps deliberately so, this has become less likely as we alienate
our necessary allies. Apparently disagreeing with the president and secretary of
state, in fact, the vice president has now discounted this goal as a desirable
option.

 

We have thrown down counterproductive gauntlets to
the rest of the world, disavowing U.S. commitments to laboriously negotiated
international accords.

 

Peremptory rejections of nuclear arms agreements,
the biological weapons convention, environmental protection, anti-torture
proposals, and punishment of war criminals have sometimes been combined with
economic threats against those who might disagree with us. These unilateral acts
and assertions increasingly isolate the United States from the very nations
needed to join in combating terrorism.

 

Tragically, our government is abandoning any
sponsorship of substantive negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. Our
apparent policy is to support almost every Israeli action in the occupied
territories and to condemn and isolate the Palestinians as blanket targets of
our war on terrorism, while Israeli settlements expand and Palestinian enclaves
shrink.

 

There still seems to be a struggle within the
administration over defining a comprehensible Middle East policy. The
president’s clear commitments to honor key U.N. resolutions and to support the
establishment of a Palestinian state have been substantially negated by
statements of the defense secretary that in his lifetime “there will be some
sort of an entity that will be established” and his reference to the “so-called
occupation.” This indicates a radical departure from policies of every
administration since 1967, always based on the withdrawal of Israel from
occupied territories and a genuine peace between Israelis and their
neighbors.

 

Belligerent and divisive voices now seem to be
dominant in Washington, but they do not yet reflect final decisions of the
president, Congress or the courts. It is crucial that the historical and
well-founded American commitments prevail: to peace, justice, human rights, the
environment and international cooperation.

 

Former president Carter is chairman of the Carter
Center in Atlanta.

 

 2002 The Washington Post
Company

Take Action – Stop Senate Attacks on Marijuana Rallies and Other Events

July 10, 2002 at 5:35 pm
Contributed by:

I have checked this out myself and it appears to be legit. And
frightening.
You can use this Web page to fax your letter to your
Congressmen.

http://ga1.org/campaign/rave

—–Original
Message—–
Hey There … scary news here … read on and do what you can


Big Brother is knocking at our door.

> Subject: Take Action
- Stop Senate Attacks on Marijuana Events
>
> [The following
important message is being forwarded by the Marijuana
> Policy Project on
behalf of the Drug Policy Alliance and DanceSafe.
> Please direct any
questions to bpiper@drugpolicy.org.]
>
>
======================================================================
>
>
PROPOSED LAW COULD SUBJECT YOU TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON
> Stop the Senate
From Banning Marijuana Rallies and Other Events
>
> Take Action at:
http://ga1.org/campaign/rave
>
> The Senate is
poised to pass legislation that would give federal
> prosecutors new
powers to shut down hemp festivals, marijuana rallies
> and other events
and punish business owners and activists for hosting
> or promoting them.
The proposed law would also potentially subject
> people to enormous
federal sentences if some of their guests smoked
> marijuana at their
party or barbecue. It would also effectively make
> it a federal crime to
rent property to medical marijuana patients and
> their
caregivers.
>
> The bill, known as the Reducing American’s
Vulnerability to Ecstasy
> Act (RAVE Act), was just introduced in the
Senate on June 18th and has
> already passed the Senate Judiciary
Committee. It is moving VERY
> rapidly and could be passed by the Senate
as early as this week. While
> it purports to be aimed at ecstasy and
other club drugs, it gives the
> federal government enormous power to fine
and imprison supporters of
> marijuana legalization, even if they’ve never
smoked marijuana.
>
> It is urgent that you take action
today!
>
> ACTIONS TO TAKE
>
> **  Fax your
Senators today. Go to http://ga1.org/campaign/rave
>    
to find out more.
>
> **  Forward this alert to your friends,
family, and co-workers.
>
> **  After you fax your Senators,
please follow it up with phone calls.
>     Tell them
you just faxed them a letter in opposition to S.
2633,
>     the Reducing American’s Vulnerability to
Ecstasy Act. Tell them
>     that innocent business
owners shouldn’t be punished for the crimes
>     of
their customers. Tell them this bill has dangerous
anti-civil
>     liberties provisions that they need
to be aware of, and this bill
>     deserves serious
debate.
>
> You can contact your Senators through the Capitol
Switchboard at
> 202-224-3121. To find out who your Senators are go
to:
> http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm
>
>
MORE INFORMATION
>
> The Senate is considering legislation that
would give federal
> prosecutors new powers to shut down raves, marijuana
rallies and other
> events they don’t like and punish businessmen and
women for hosting or
> promoting them. The bill (S. 2633), also known as
the Reducing
> American’s Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act (RAVE Act), is
moving very
> rapidly and could be considered by the full Senate as early
as this
> week. (A similar bill is also pending in the
House.)
>
> S. 2633, sponsored by Senators Durbin (D-IL), Hatch
(R-UT), Grassley
> (R-IA) and Leahy (D-VT), expands the so-called “crack
house statute”
> to allow the federal government to fine or imprison
businessmen and
> women if customers sell or use drugs on their premises
or at their
> events. Property owners, promoters, and event coordinators
could be
> fined hundreds of thousands of dollars or face up to twenty
years in
> federal prison if they hold raves or other events on their
property.
> If the bill becomes law, property owners may be too afraid to
rent or
> lease their property to groups holding hemp festivals or putting
on
> all-night dance parties, effectively stifling free speech and
banning
> raves and other musical events.
>
> The new law
would also make it a federal crime to temporarily use a
> place for the
purpose of using any illegal drug. Thus, anyone who used
> drugs in their
own home or threw an event (such as a party or
> barbecue) in which one or
more of their guests used drugs could
> potentially face a $250,000 fine
and years in federal prison. The bill
> also effectively makes it a
federal crime to rent property to medical
> marijuana patients and their
caregivers, giving the federal government
> a new weapon in its war on
AIDS and cancer patients who use marijuana
> to relieve their
suffering.
>
> Health advocates worry that the bill will endanger
our nation’s youth.
> If enacted, licensed and law-abiding business owners
may stop hosting
> raves or other events that federal authorities don’t
like, out of fear
> of massive fines and prison sentences. Thus, the law
would drive raves
> and other musical events further underground and away
from public
> health and safety regulations. It would also discourage
business
> owners from enacting smart harm-reduction measures to protect
their
> customers. By insinuating that selling bottled water and
offering
> “cool off” rooms is proof that owners and promoters know drug
use is
> occurring at their events, this bill may make business owners
too
> afraid to implement such harm-reduction measures, and the safety
of
> our kids will suffer.
>
> The RAVE Act punishes
businessmen and women for the crimes of their
> customers and is
unprecedented in U.S. history. The federal government
> can’t even keep
drugs out of prisons, yet it seeks to punish business
> owners for failing
to keep people from carrying drugs onto their
> premises. If this bill
passes, federal authorities will have the
> ability to scare business
owners away from using or renting their
> property for marijuana
festivals, as well as any other “politically
> incorrect”
event.
>
> For more information on this bill, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/
and
> under “bill number” search for
S2633.
>
>

Fuel Cell Hold-up

June 25, 2002 at 6:56 pm
Contributed by:

Folks,


This article belies the Bush administration’s disingenuous promises about fuel cell cars. It sounds great for speeches and soundbites, but Wall Street ran screaming. Why?
Experts say it is a case of too little, too late, and for far too long.

Fuel Cell Hold-up
Government’s go-slow approach promises to keep the technology on the shelf

Hal Plotkin, Special to SF Gate

Thursday, June 20, 2002

The Ultimate Insult

March 29, 2002 at 11:50 am
Contributed by:



Hello all,

Not much commentary today, but there’s
a couple of things here you just
gotta know about:

Bush Tapped Solar
Energy Funds to Print Energy Plan



And:
The
state of things in the Mideast, in a single photo
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/020329/168/1br6f.html

And:
DOJ
Study Takes Ominous Look at Drug and Drug Policy Web Sites
http://www.drcnet.org/wol/228.html#ominouslook

Well
then! Is there anything going on out there that doesn’t consist of
utter
contempt for what’s democratic, right, and just?

“Don’t let your heart
get broken by this world.” –Dan Bern

–C

The Top 5 Lies of this Administration, and other things…

March 21, 2002 at 10:28 am
Contributed by: Chris

Hey all you lovers of truth, justice, and the American Way,

In this issue of Poli-spam:

- My personal ”Top 5 Lies of this Administration” list

- A select list of President Bush’s accomplishments in office so far, with my attempt to verify it attached.

- Links to sites dealing with drug policy

- A little humor, after you’re all bummed out. The Wgirls and Dubyaman!

(more…)

It\’s all about our energy policy

March 16, 2002 at 11:26 am
Contributed by:


Hi all,

I didn’t intend to follow up on yesterday’s
massive missive so soon; but I
was really struck by the A section of this
last Sunday’s SF Chronicle and
wanted to share this observation with
you.

If I have any “regular readers” on this list, they are by now
familiar with
my drumbeat about energy policy. I think it’s at the heart of
most of our
major national dilemmas right now.

Take a look at this set
of headlines, all from the 20-page A section:

–> This is a great
article. Very encouraging, and very much in line with
the concepts I’ve been
reading lately in Paul Hawken’s (and Amory Lovins’,
of the Rocky Mountain
Institute) latest book, Natural Capitalism, which I
highly
recommend!
“Danes’ great green machine”

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/03/03/MN155707.DTL

By
accident, I just now came across this publication, also by the Rocky
Mountain
Institute. “California’s Electricity Supply Myths” I haven’t read
it yet, but
it looks very interesting!
http://www.rmi.org/images/other/NLRMIfallwin00.pdf

-
“Threat of drought looms across U.S.” (unfortunately the Chron does
not
republish this online, as it’s AP copy.)

- “Executives not likely
to be punished (The Enron Collapse)”. Also not
republished by the Chron; it’s
by Kurt Eichenwald of the NYT

- “4000 laid-off employees feel scandal’s
stigma (The Enron Collapse)”. Also
not republished by the Chron; it’s by Jim
Yardley of the NYT

- [and several other articles about terrorists in the
Mid East...where all
the oil is.]

I though…wow, it’s ALL about
energy. If the U.S. decided to push forward,
boldly, and deploy renewable
energy generation on a vast scale today (which,
by the way, is now both
technologically feasible AND economically
sound…it’s just not politically
popular), how much of the above would be
in the news?

Think I’m nuts?
Well, give me your thoughts.

–C

Military Promises \’Huge Numbers\’ For Gulf War II The Vengeance

March 14, 2002 at 3:00 pm
Contributed by:

God bless The Onion!


Military Promises ‘Huge Numbers’ For Gulf War II The Vengeance

Compiled articles, sites, and opinion about oil and the \"War on Terror\"

March 5, 2002 at 11:11 am
Contributed by:

Hi
everybody,

 

It’s
been awhile since I sent one of these missives out, but not for a lack of
reportable news. More because I have been trying to form a coherent picture of
what’s happening.

 

Here
is some worthwhile reading for you. It’s pretty depressing but I think it’s
vitally important that we all stay as informed as possible. And hopefully, get
outraged enough to start writing our Congressmen. (For what it’s worth.) 
There is a lot of information to digest here. Take your time with it, print it
out and read it in the bathroom or whatever.

 



  1. This story, linked from
    the latest Red Rock Eater, is the best
    summary yet of the
    Enron/Bush/Oil/Terror connection. I’d call this a Must-Read:   http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12525



  2. If
    you’re still looking for details about the political contributions made by
    Enron to the GOP, check out this site: http://www.EnronOwnsTheGOP.com/


  3. See “You Don’t Care About Enron” below. “Call
    it the New American Ennui, caused by one part disingenuous warmongering, one
    part fervent oil-grubbing, one part residual Clinton-era moral slimeballing,
    and one huge part Bush WASP mafia election-rigging and pro-corporate
    anti-everything-else reshuffling. Makes you all numb inside.” Tell it like it
    is, baby!

  4. Here’s one place where the War on Drugs (WoD) and the War
    on Terror (WoT) come together. Remember the Iran-Contra affair? Remember how
    we trafficked cocaine through the CIA, to raise money for the contras, under
    the leadership of George H. Bush et. al.? According to the White House
    Spokesman Ari Fleischer, John Poindexter is now an “outstanding American” and
    “The president thinks that Adm. Poindexter has served our nation very well.”
    I’ll bet. The American people may have seen a scandal in Iran-Contra, and even
    tried to punish those involved, but the powers in the administration protected
    them and the good ol’ boys in the GOP have never failed in their support of
    Poindexter, North, and all the rest of ‘em. Now they’ve got new political
    careers and lots of power all over again, and basically puts Poindexter in the
    Big Brother seat:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,651975,00.html
    http://slate.msn.com/?id=2062542

  5. You can tell the truth, but will anyone listen? Allow me
    to plagiarize a letter written by one amanda morrison
    [amorrison11@hotmail.com]:

    Over the past year, we have witnessed the
    behaviour of the current Presidential Administration go from bad, to worse
    than we could have ever imagined. Since September 11, the mere utterance of
    anything critical, let alone derogatory about the President or his
    administration was risky. There has been little criticism in the mainstream
    media and until now, none from any member of Congress. Fortunately, this
    fear-induced silence is coming to an end. Finally, a brave member of Congress
    has spoken up with both candor and criticism. United States Congressman Dennis
    J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) recently made a very daring speech, highlighting the
    injustices happening en masse, right before our very eyes.


    Please take a moment to read the
    words that have been a long time coming. http://truthout.com/02.23C.Kucinich.Prayer.htm 



  6. Speaking of the utter lack of criticism of our administration, and the
    dangers of speaking against it in a time when our civil liberties and freedom
    of speech have been cast aside and called a luxury, have you noticed the
    similarities between Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft’s admonishments and those of
    Sen. Joe McCarthy? Think you can tell the difference? Bet you can’t! (I only
    scored 71% myself) http://www.morons.org/feature/whosaidit.php



  7. If you’ve read this far, you deserve a humor break. See “French Intellectuals
    to be Deployed in Afghanistan…” below.



  8. “What do you
    think, Chris?” Well, I’ll tell ya.

    Our country is substantially under
    the control of the corporations that form the military-industrial complex,
    just as Eisenhower warned. They buy all the influence there is, from the
    bottom to the top of our government. They own our administration and our
    Congress. They are as anxious to seize total control of our government as GW
    is to run the country like a business. Good rhetoric, but what does it mean?


    These companies want a couple of
    things:


    1. The continued massive
    consumption of oil, because that’s where their dollars come from, or that’s
    what their products and services
    depend upon. This is the source of
    the money that gives them their power, and control over the rest of the world.


    2. Continued government subsidy of
    their businesses, be it in the form of new contracts, or continued production
    of armaments, or Superfund cleanup dollars, or subsidies to NOT plant stuff
    like hemp and soy that could provide an alternative source of fuel, and the
    many of the other forms such subsidies take.


    3. Increased control over public
    opinion about their activities.


    4. No end in sight to any of the
    above.


    Therefore, the best way for them to
    ensure they get these things is to get us, as a nation, into two unwinnable,
    vaguely defined “wars”, with no clear objectives or defined ends, under which
    auspices they can control the spin in the media, suspend citizens’ rights,
    push through MASSIVE spending bills that nobody will ever read or understand,
    get huge new investment in their businesses, obtain a huge advantage over
    competitors in the global markets, get the help of foreign governments in
    dominanting their markets, obtain intelligence about anyone they please, and
    overwhelm the popular consciousness (easily done) with their activities, so
    that people don’t want to know what’s happening, or fight about it, they just
    want to get sedated and watch “Friends.”


    And now we have them: The War on
    Terror and the War on Drugs. Neither of them makes any sense at all. Neither
    is defined, winnable, or even scoped–that is,
    they are both designed to continue into perpetuity
    And both can be used to justify the suspension of our
    Constitutionally assured rights, at any time, because such actions are
    “necessary to fight terror” or “necessary to fight drug operations”.
    Each consumes billions of public money. In both cases, the
    administration and its puppet pundits seek to portray “the enemy” in the most
    extreme terms, in terms of “evil” and
    “evildoers”
    without any attempt at, or need for, any justification,
    evidence, or anything. We never have to account for the fact that we are
    simultaneously one of the largest operations in the world in fighting drugs,
    and also one of the largest distributors and suppliers of drugs. (Because
    after all, it’s not REALLY about drugs, it’s about money and power going into
    hands that we do not control, and we can’t have that.) If we lose our main
    target in one war (bin Laden) we can pick the next one on the list (Saddam)
    and keep going in our “war” without breaking stride. The public will never
    notice that this has occurred, because they’re busy soaking up human interest
    stories, like who gets how much from the Sept 11 fund, or the reopening of a
    movie house in Afghanistan. We never have to justify anything we do in either
    “war,” to anybody. And they can go on indefinitely. Pay no attention to the
    men behind the curtain. We are the great and powerful Oz.


    It really is 1984. We are
    at “war” with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia. Eurasia is the
    Axis of Evil. We must fight them because we are Good, and they are EvilOnce you have lost your freedom of speech,
    a
    ny criticism of our policy or actions
    is treachery and traitorous.



  9. Oh sure, there are
    plenty more articles to read. See the list at the end of this
    message.


Until next time,


–C




You
Don’t Care About Enron
In Bush’s America, it just doesn’t pay to give a damn
about flagrant political corruption

By
Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist  
Wednesday,
February 13, 2002


Of
course you know they did it.

You know the whole pod of shivery Enron
execs are all guilty as sin. You can see it in the folds of their chins, the
beady black voids of their eyes, the way their horns twitch when they take the
Fifth.

You can see it in the way Kenny Boy slumps in the chair looking
like a deflated blow-up doll,
mouth slightly agape, stunned and goosey, wondering how he let it all get away,
as the congressmen tsk-tsk him and shake their heads and call him names.


There they all are, except for the one who committed suicide and gosh isn’t
that just the slightest bit telling, hiding and equivocating and lying at the
Senate hearings like the Big Tobacco execs of yore, who stood up and raised
their taloned fingers and swore before God that they really, really don’t
believe nicotine is in any way deadly except for the heart disease and the
cancer and the rampant toxic death.

You know it’s all true, mountains of
incriminating shredded documentation and roughly $500 million hidden away in
magic “fuzzy math” debt, hundreds of millions more shuffled off to non-existent
“Star Wars” companies, gutted retirement accounts and ruined employees and Gucci
suppositories in the executive washrooms and blatant gouging of California during the
energy crisis. Just for starters.

Political back-scratching and
toe-sucking and wallet-padding galore, the vast majority (but no, not all) of
the scandal landing like a giant elephant-dropping on the Republican side of the
aisle and do you hear that? That frantic shredding sound coming from Dick
Cheney’s office? That ain’t Lynne’s Gunslinger
vibrator, people.

Indeed, this one goes all the way to the
top. The Bush administration is so clearly
embroiled in Enron’s gleeful depravity it would be embarrassing and
even downright comical to watch, say, Cheney’s outward refusal to reveal all the
political inbreeding and cigar-chompin’ back-slapping that went on during the
energy policy discussions, were it not so insulting and wrong.

Sure you
probably feel some pity for all the disgruntled Enron employees whose financial
futures are now ruined, the countless gullible stockholders sucked into the
vortex and spit out like easy marks at a sidewalk shell-game, the American
economy hobbled and wobbly and so clearly at the disposal of corrupt
power-mongering CEOs it makes your soul wince.

Over 50 percent of
Americans think the Enron debacle is very
important to the country, more than double that of Whitewater, and
yet it seems to be common knowledge that Ken Lay will get off with barely a
scratch, he and his squad of flying monkeys will get nothing but a spanking and
maybe a month in Michael Milken minimum-security prison, where the punishment
consists of slightly restricted cellphone privileges and less dipping sauce for
the kitten-kabobs and forced viewings of Lynne Cheney in a bikini (which
actually is fairly brutal, come to think of it).

You know all this and
yet you’re not the slightest bit shocked anymore, maybe because you realize this
is how corporate politics has always worked, this is the capitalist system’s
most hypocritical slap to any notion of fairness or justice you may harbor,
people going to prison for years for selling small amounts of pot or for having
underage gay sex but when multimillionaire Bush-buddy execs get busted with
their entire bodies in the cookie jar, well, it’s nothing a few high?priced
lawyers can’t quickly snuff out while helping to broker a six-figure book deal.


You may even sense how it’s all connected, the
war-that’s-not-really-a-war and our rabid oil dependency and the 17 pro-Enron
provisions in Cheney’s Energy Policy and all those former Enron execs now
cruising in high-level posts in the Bush administration. Unworkable
multibillion-dollar missile defense plans and
National Sanctity of Life Day and
PretzelGate. See the thread? Of course you do.

Call it the New American
Ennui, caused by one part disingenuous warmongering, one part fervent
oil-grubbing, one part residual Clinton-era moral slimeballing, and one huge
part Bush WASP mafia election-rigging and pro-corporate anti-everything-else
reshuffling. Makes you all numb inside.

Of course Bush will not be
impeached for his obvious puppeteering role. Of course Cheney is hunkering down
in the bunker, shredding as fast as possible, denying everything. Of course
there will be no sweeping reforms or serious restrictions placed on corporate
funding of political candidates.

Nor will there be limits set on how
many execs an undeserving president can appoint from one company, no limits on
how much corporate backstabbing one country should endure. Remember the S&L
scandal? The one that cost taxpayers billions and that we’re still paying for
and will be for years to come? That’s OK. No one else does either.

There
will be harsh words and furrowed brows and maybe a few laws passed. There will
be wrists slapped and apologies made and big dopey shrugs from the Shrubster as
he leverages his baffling and war-drunk positive approval rating to dodge the
scandal like a slippery hog in a Texas pen.

You don’t care about the
Enron debacle because if you did, you’d just be disappointed again, hurt and
betrayed as justice is thwarted and snuffed out like a candle, leaving you with
the urge, yet again, to yank all your money out of the bank and take off for the
woods with a case of Grey Goose and some really good kalamata olives and a
Leatherman tool and a tent and Auden’s collected poems and not come back for a
year.


But that just wouldn’t be very patriotic at all.

————————————————————————
Thoughts
for the author? Email him.


Mark Morford’s Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and
Friday on SF Gate, just like a special magic bunny of love. He also writes the
Morning Fix, a deeply skewed daily email column and newsletter. Subscribe at
sfgate.com/newsletters/

_________________________________________________________________

 

French Intellectuals to be Deployed in
Afghanistan To
Convince Taliban of Non-Existence of A
Deity

 

The ground war in Afghanistan hotted up
yesterday
when the Allies revealed plans to airdrop a platoon of crack
French
existentialist philosophers into the country to destroy the morale
of
Taliban zealots by proving the non-existence of the
power.

 

Elements from the feared Jean-Paul Sartre
Brigade,
or ‘Black Berets’, will be parachuted into the combat zones to
spread
doubt, despondency and existential anomie among the enemy.
Hardened
by numerous intellectual battles fought during their long occupation
of
Paris’s Left Bank, the Berets first action will be to establish a
number
of
pavement cafes at strategic points near the front
lines.

 

There they will drink coffee and talk animatedly
about the absurd nature
of
life and man’s lonely isolation in the
universe. They will be
accompanied
by a number of heartbreakingly
beautiful girlfriends who will further
dismay
the enemy by sticking their
tongues in the philosophers’ ears every five
minutes and looking remote and
unattainable to everyone else.

 

Their leader, Colonel Marc-Ange Belmondo, spoke
yesterday of
his
confidence in the success of their mission. Sorbonne
graduate Belmondo,
a
very intense and unshaven young man in a black
pullover, gesticulated
wildly and said, “The Taliban are caught in a logical
fallacy of the
most
ridiculous. There is no deity and I will prove it.
Take your tongue out
of
my ear, Juliet, I am
talking.”

 

        
Marc-Ange plans to deliver an impassioned thesis on atheism,
ennui
and
man’s freedom of action, with special reference to the work
of
Foucault
and the films of Alfred Hitch*censored*.

 

       
However, humanitarian agencies have been quick to condemn the
operation as
inhumane, pointing out that the effects of secondhand smoke
from the
Frenchmens’ endless Gitanes could wreak a terrible toll on
civilians
in
the
area.
——————————————————————————————————–

 

Here are some
more URL’s.  Thanks to everyone who contributed.

RRE home page: http://dlis.gseis.ucla.edu/people/pagre/rre.html

war

US Backing Helps Warlord Solidify Power
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25851-2002Feb17.html

Bin Laden’s No 2 “Captured in Iran”
(who knows)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,1284,652071,00.html

conservatives gung-ho for war with Iraq
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/2/17/122713.shtml

the seriously creepy return of John Poindexter
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,651975,00.html

Pentagon Readies Efforts to Sway Sentiment Abroad
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/19/international/19PENT.html

leading politician gives major war speech — press writes about his beard

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h021802_1.shtml

refugees dying in Afghanistan
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/17/magazine/17AFGHAN.html?pagewanted=all

New York Debates Competing Visions for Rebuilding Devastated Downtown
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22040-2002Feb16.html

civil liberties and security

Where the Bodies Are Buried in Peru
(if anyone has URL’s for documents
relating to the commission, do send)
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/18/international/americas/18PERU.html

French Decision Prompts Questions About Free Speech and Cyberspace
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/11/technology/11NECO.html

Canadian Media Spat: Profit vs. Free Speech
http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0215/p06s01-woam.html

http://www.newsguild.org/gr/gr_display.php?storyID=605

http://www.newswire.ca/releases/February2002/05/c9098.html

http://www.fpjq.org/canwest/

http://www.nationalpost.com/home/story.html?f=/stories/20020131/1294510.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/columns/omalley/martin020104.html

extensive censorship of biology research
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/17/politics/17SECR.html

The USA PATRIOT Act and Patron Privacy on Library Internet Terminals
http://www.llrx.com/features/usapatriotact.htm

Justice Department Hiding Secret Weekly Reports to the Attorney General

http://cryptome.org/doj-footshot.htm

“smart” biometric ID cards in Hong Kong
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/18/technology/18KONG.html?pagewanted=print

Center for Identification Technology Research
http://www.csee.wvu.edu/citer/

Larry Smarr’s talks on future Internet architecture and applications

(some of which involve pervasive sensor networks with privacy implications)

http://soeunix.ucsd.edu/~lsmarr/talks/

BMW’s iDrive May Herald New Era
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/048/auto/BMW_s_iDrive_may_herald_new_era+.shtml

impressive “This American Life” show about the mob mentality
(listen and
think about campus confrontationalists or talk radio ranters)
http://www.thislife.org/ra/158.ram

Scientists Recount US Biodefense Labs’ Security Lapses
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30241-2002Feb18.html

Airlines Fended Off Security Upgrades
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0202180177feb18.story

scandal

Bush in Verbal Japan Deflation-Devaluation Debacle
(war suits him because
the concepts are simple)
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/htx/nm/20020218/pl/bush_japan_gaffe_dc_1.html

Defense Department Cannot Account for 25% of Funds –  $2.3 Trillion

http://www.cbsnews.com/now/story/0,1597,325985-412,00.shtml

Records: Bush Smoothed Path for Enron
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/business/1258323

Bush 2000 Adviser Offered to Use Clout to Help Enron
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22380-2002Feb16.html

Army Secretary’s Enron Role Probed
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25816-2002Feb17.html

Controversial US Army Secretary, Ex-Enron Exec, Building Home in Naples

http://www.naplesnews.com/02/02/naples/d739795a.htm

The Potemkin Populism of the Republicans’ Chief Enron Investigator
http://slate.msn.com/?id=2062048

Acting CEO Plans Legal Assault Amid Effort to Salvage Enron
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-000012600feb18.story

Enron Had More Than One Way to Disguise Rapid Rise in Debt
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/17/business/17BANK.html

“documents show Enron hid a disastrous bookkeeping error from investors”

http://www.msnbc.com/news/709343.asp

Firms Reverting to by-the-Books Balance Sheets
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-000012601feb18.story

Congress to Investigate Wall Street’s Ties With Enron
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/19/business/19WALL.html

Enron Moved Accounts Offshore, Harder to Track
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/DailyNews/enron_cayman020214.html

Cayman Islands Open to US Requests for Assistance on Enron Investigation

http://www.cimoney.com.ky/templates/PressRelease/defaultDisplay.asp?text_id=PressRelease89858&button=1

Enron Case Shapes Up as Tough Legal Fight
(the difference between rich
and poor is that the crimes of the rich are legal)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25922-2002Feb17.html

Enron Is Not Yet a Political Scandal, But It Will Become One
http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20020215.html

intellectual property

article about the woes of the music industry
(under the guise of an
article about boomer come-back bands)
http://www.usatoday.com/money/covers/2002-02-18-music.htm

Record Labels Answer to Napster Still Has Artists Feeling Bypassed
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/18/technology/18SONG.html?pagewanted=print

Entertainment Industry’s Copyright Fight Puts Consumers in Cross Hairs
http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/2658555.htm

scaling up Gnutella
http://www.perfdynamics.com/Papers/Gnews.html

Developing User-Friendly Digital Rights Management
http://www.newarchitectmag.com/documents/s=2452/new1011653160573/index.html

“defensive publishing” to prevent others from patenting your idea
(we
should organize “prior art parties” to brainstorm ideas to prevent patents)

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/18/technology/ebusiness/18NECO.html

Intellectual-Property Ecology
http://www.techreview.com/articles/shulman0302.asp

Searchable Intellectual Property Databases
http://www.llrx.com/columns/roundup21.htm

news from Planet Microsoft

Ashcroft Queried Over Microsoft Campaign Contributions
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/24086.html

Microsoft’s Lobbying Efforts Eclipse Enron
http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104-835267.html

Microsoft Must Give States Windows Code, Says Judge
http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/industry/02/16/microsoft.code.reut/

New Microsoft Bug Problems Blamed on Globalization
(foo)
http://www.newsbytes.com/news/02/174512.html

everything else

An Open Grid Services Architecture for Distributed Systems Integration
http://www.globus.org/research/papers.html#OGSA

Bio IT World, Boston, 12-14 March 2002
http://www.bioitworld.com/

ArsDigita Shut Down
(they tried to organize an independent computer
science undergraduate program)
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/02/08/1319206&mode=thread

Design Research News
http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/design-research.html

German Experience in the Construction of Virtual Town Halls and Market Places

http://www.idt.unisg.ch/org/idt/egce.nsf/profile1-05/7D42F71BD6F9BFF1C1256AF8004B55A2

Software Engineering for Large-Scale Multi-Agent Systems, Orlando, 19 May
2002
(I don’t know about this as science, but it’s sure interesting as
ideology)
http://www.teccomm.les.inf.puc-rio.br/selmas2002/

Digital Resources for Information Research
http://informationr.net/fr/subguide.html

Search Engine Guide
http://www.searchengineguide.com/

Information for Social Change
http://libr.org/ISC/TOC.html

Spam and Web-Visible E-Mail Addresses: Bait a Spammer and See the Results

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/15234

special report on the crisis on the cell phone industry
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/tc_special/cellphone.htm

end

September 11: How Much has the US Really Changed?

February 14, 2002 at 10:58 am
Contributed by:

Hello
all you defenders of the free world,


 

Here’s
a good one.

 

I hope
you all are still reading and keeping your critical ears on and paying attention
out there. Anybody heard the name “bin Laden” on the news lately? Where did
Public Enemy #1 go, and why are we suddenly no longer concerned with him? As a
friend pointed out yesterday, “we went after him in such a sloppy
manner that we never intended to catch him so he can always be at large, always
be a threat, and we will always have funding for our long, protracted war and be
able to drop the “renewed terrorist threat” on the people anytime we need to get
a little support and/or get the fear engine goin.’”

 

Everybody ready for another venture against Saddam? Are
you all fully aware now about the “Axis of Evil” and is it perfectly clear why
that’s our new target?

 

Smell
the spin.

 

–C

 

—–Original Message—–



September 11th: The Terrorism Totality
Michael
Parenti

The really compelling politico-economic issues, the central
imperatives
that afflict our nation and much of the world, are regularly
shut out
of public discourse.  No on in the corporate media dares to
dwell on
how the undemocratic powers of corporate America create
injustices for
working America, how wealth for the few creates poverty for
the many.  
No critical examination is offered concerning the
inequities of the tax
system and the gross inadequacies of our human
services.  The threats
to the world’s ecology posed by transnational
globalization, and the
monopolistic “free trade” treaties like NAFTA,
GATT, and FTAA that
undermine our democratic sovereignty earn hardly a
glance.  And never
do official circles or corporate media acknowledge
how US military
forces (or their US-supported surrogates) have repeatedly
delivered
mass terrorism upon unarmed civilian populations in Vietnam,
Laos,
Cambodia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Grenada, Indonesia,
Angola,
Mozambique, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and scores of other

countries, at a cost of millions of lives.

With all these central
issues systematically suppressed, a void is
created in the life of the
polity, which the media attempt to fill with
endless puffery and stories
about Monica Lewinsky, OJ Simpson, etc.  
What the terrorist attacks
of September 11 gave the opinion makers is
an issue of compelling
centrality, equal to any of the ones they have
suppressed, but one that
could be selectively treated with CONSERVATIVE
EFFECT, an issue that
rallies everyone around the flag and points a
finger at a fanatical
Islamic sect rather than at corporate America or
the US national security
state.

So for several months the media have been consumed by the
tragedy of
September 11 and its aftermath.  Every panel of pundits,
syndicated
column, guest column, and every news story dwelled on the
terrorist
attacks, offering a seemingly infinite constellation of spin-off

stories.  And not just the news media.  The editor of a poetry
magazine
worried that in the “…profoundly changed world …” created by
September
11, “…will we now say that poetry is even more irrelevant?”
 
Predictably, he concluded that poetry was MORE important than
ever.

In similar spirit, stand-up comedians announced that humor was
needed
more than ever.  Movie reviewers wrote that this or that film
was a
welcome antidote to the horrific events of September 11.  And
travel
writers reassured us that a good vacation was all the more a
healing
experience.  Sporting events began with militaristic
patriotic
commemorations.  All the mail that crossed my desk,
including
subscription and fund-raising appeals from every organization

imaginable – from the Yale Alumni Association to the Center for Cuban

Studies – felt compelled to reference September 11 before launching

into their pitch.  Friends wrote to tell me that they were “doing as

well as might be expected in this post-911 world”.  Almost as if
one’s
credibility depended upon it, nothing could be communicated without

referencing September 11.

President George II announced that “..our
nation can never go back to
what it was September 10.”  A tearful TV
anchorman appeared on a late
night show and blubbered about how this
“…wound has changed America
forever.”  The drumbeat carried across
the political spectrum.  A
statement from the Communist Party, USA
issued in mid-November began:
“Our world has changed on September 11.”
 And others wrote that “…the
indelible images of the World Trade
Center will remain with us
forever.”

Those who fear that our world
or our nation has changed irretrievably
should think again.  Very
little has changed.  President Bush proposes
billions in tax cuts for
the rich just as he did when the World Trade
Center stood tall.  The
White House pushes an “economic stimulus”
package of $100 billion – really
nothing more than the usual corporate
subsidies, bailouts, and retroactive
tax cuts – to help poor little
struggling businesses like IBM, Ford, GE,
and GM, while doing nothing
for the tens of thousands of workers who have
been laid off.  The Bush
gang readies itself to drill for oil in the
Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge.  And a compliant Congress pumps
billions more into an already
bloated military budget.
 Unfortunately, here is a nation profoundly
Unchanged by the recent
terrorist attacks.

Other things in the newly “transformed” America seem
drearily familiar.  
As in previous decades, our fearless leaders
continue to wage
devastatingly one-sided aerial wars agains small weak
impoverished
nations, while loading the media with jingoistic hype.
 They continue
to deny the terrorist role they themselves have played
around the
world.  And they continue to neglect human services and
loot the Social
Security surplus in order that they might claim that
Social Security is
“going broke” and must be eventually
eliminated.

Still other things remain the same.  As they have done
during every
crisis, liberal legislators supinely line up with
conservatives to vote
the president absolute powers.  Media lapdogs
talk about how this same
president has “risen to the challenge” and “grown
in office”.  Flag-
waving yahoos call for blood, believing that their
government only
opposes terrorism and never practises it.  Meanwhile,
thousands of US
residents are subjected to ethnic profiling.
 African-American
communities are terrorized by trigger-happy cops.
 And fanatical
Christian fundamentalists commit terrorist acts
against abortion
clinics, while law officials seem unable to stop
them.

So the struggle to inject reality and justice into the national

dialogue continues as always.  It feels very much like September 10
to
me.



Comments Off
 

George W. in the Garden of Gethsemane

January 28, 2002 at 7:53 pm
Contributed by:

[Sorry for this one being included in the 2004-01-30 issue of GRL. It got incorrectly dated when I put it into the blog system. Hey, one error out of 389 ain't too bad. --C]


Hey all,

It’s
been a while since I posted anything to the poli-spam list, but don’t
for a
minute think that I haven’t still been thinking and studying about
these
questions. I hope you have been too!

Here’s another classic, freshly
minted, from Michael Moore.

–C

—–Original
Message—–
From: Michael Moore [mailto:mike@michaelmoore.com]
Sent:
Tuesday, January 29, 2002 10:21 AM
To: michaelmoore@topica.com
Subject:
George W. in the Garden of Gethsemane


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1/29/2002

“George W. in the
Garden of Gethsemane”
An Open Letter to George W. Bush from Michael
Moore

Dear George,

When it’s all over in a couple months, and
you’re packing up your pretzels
and Spot and heading back to Texas, what will
be your biggest regret? Not
getting out more often and seeing the sights
around Rock Creek Park? Never
once visiting the newly-renovated IKEA in
Woodbridge, Virginia? Or buying
your way to the White House with money from a
company that committed the
biggest corporate swindle in American history? I
got a feeling you didn’t
miss much by not spending an entire Saturday
afternoon assembling a Swedish
bookcase — but you should have known that
there was no way you would ever
finish your term by hopping into bed with
Kenneth Lay.

It’s kind of sad when you think about it. Here you were —
the most popular
president ever! — the recipient of so much good will from
your fellow
Americans after September 11, and then you had to go and blow it.
You just
couldn’t stay away from your old cowpoke friend from Texas, Kenneth
Lay.

Kenny has always been there for you. You needed a way to fly around
to all
the primaries and campaign stops in the 2000 election — so Kenny gave
you
his corporate jet. Did you tell the voters when you arrived in each
city
that the bird you flew in on was from a billionaire who was
secretly
conspiring to give the bird to all his employees and investors? He
flew you
around America on the Enron company jet, and for that favor you
touched
down on tarmac after tarmac to tell your fellow citizens that you
were
“going to restore dignity to the White House, the people’s house.” You
said
this standing in front of an Enron jet!

Man, you loved Lay so
much, you not only affectionately referred to him as
“Kenny Boy,” you
interrupted an important campaign trip in April, 2000, to
fly back to Houston
for the Astro’s opening day at the new Enron Field –
just so you could watch
Kenny Boy Lay throw out the first pitch. How
sentimental!

I mean, you
loved this man so intensely that, when you were awarded a set
of keys the
Supreme Court had made for you so you could live in the White
House, you
invited Kenny Boy to set up shop — at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!
He
interviewed those who would hold high-level Energy Department positions
in
your administration.

You not only let Kenny Boy decide who would head the
regulatory agency that
oversaw Enron, you let him hand-pick the new chairman
of the Securities and
Exchange Commission — a former lawyer for his
accountant, Arthur Andersen!
Kenny and the boys at Andersen also worked to
make sure that accounting
firms would be exempt from numerous regulations and
would not be held
liable for any “funny bookkeeping” (don’t you wish you were
this
forward-thinking?).

Then rest of Kenny Boy’s time was spent next
door with his old buddy, Dick
Cheney (Enron and Halliburton, as you’ll
recall, got the big contracts from
your dad to “rebuild” Kuwait after the
Gulf War). Lay and Dick formed an
“energy task force” (Operation Enduring
Graft) which put together the
county’s new “energy policy.” This policy then
went on to shut down every
light bulb and juicer in the state of California.
And guess who made out
like bandits while “trading” the energy California was
in desperate need
of? Kenny Boy and Enron! No wonder Big Dick doesn’t want to
turn over the
files about those special meetings with Lay!

The only
thing that surprises me more than all the Enron henchmen who ended
up in your
cabinet and administration is how our lazy media just rolled
over and didn’t
report it. The list of Enron people on your payroll is
impressive. Lawrence
Lindsey, your chief economic advisor? A former advisor
at Enron! Treasury
Secretary Paul O’Neill? Former CEO of Alcoa, whose
lobbying firm, Vinson and
Elkins, was the #3 contributor to the your
campaign! Who is Vinson and
Elkins? The law firm representing Enron! Who is
Alcoa? The top polluter in
Texas. Timothy White, the Secretary of the Army?
A former vice-chair of Enron
Energy! Robert Zoellick, your Federal Trade
Representative? A former advisor
at Enron! Karl Rove, your main man at the
White House? He owned a
quarter-million dollars of Enron stock.

Then there’s the Enron lawyer you
have nominated to be a federal judge in
Texas, the Enron lobbyist who is your
chair of the Republican Party, the
two Enron officials who now work for House
Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and
the wife of Texas Senator Phil Gramm who sits
on Enron’s board. And there’s
the aforementioned Mr. Pitt, the former Arthur
Andersen attorney whose job
it is now as SEC head to oversee the stock
markets. George, it never stops!
My fingers are getting tired typing all this
up — and there’s lots more.

Don’t get me wrong, George — I do not think
you’re an evil man. You don’t
need any crap from people like me — heck, you
got mother-in-law problems!
Now, I have a very good relationship with my
mother-in-law, but then, I
never told her to put $8,000 of her money into a
company my administration
knew was going belly-up.

You say you didn’t
know? Your bag man — Don Evans, the man who squeezed
all that money for you
from Enron as your campaign finance chairman (and is
now collecting his
reward as your Commerce Secretary) — has admitted that
he got calls from
Enron begging for help last year because they were going
under. Didn’t he
tell you this?

Then Paul O’Neill, your Treasury Secretary, admitted that
Enron and Kenny
Boy called him, too, for some special favors to save Enron.
Didn’t he
mention this to you? They claim to have called your chief of staff,
Andrew
Card, and he said he didn’t bother to inform you. What does
your
mother-in-law think about these boys her daughter’s husband consorts
with?

I love watching the O’Neill and Evans show. What a couple of
cut-ups!
They’re, like, all proud of themselves for “not doing Enron any
favors.”
Actually,  I think it’s more like they didn’t do your
MOTHER-IN-LAW any
favors. Enron got LOTS of favors. And why not? Kenny Boy
has been your
number one financial backer since you ran for governor. No
other American
or Saudi has given you more money than Kenny Boy and his gang
at
Enron.  O’Neill, Evans, Cheney, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham —
ALL of
them gave Lay and Enron special favors from day one. The New York
Times
last May was so concerned about how Kenny had the run of the place
(1600
Pennsylvania Ave.), they referred to Lay as the “shadow advisor to
the
president.”

And what advice! Who was it that wanted you to
deregulate the energy
industry further? Kenny Boy! Who was it that convinced
you to explore the
sick idea of PRIVATIZING our water supply and then allow
private
corporations to “trade” it in the future? Kenny Boy! Who was it that
wanted
Social Security to be tied to the stock market? Yup, Kenny Boy!
(Imagine,
if you will, what would have happened to our precious Social
Security funds
had they been invested in Enron stocks as you, George,
suggested be done
during your campaign as yuppies everywhere clucked along in
agreement over
that genius idea.)

O’Neill’s and Evans’s admission that
they “did nothing” when Enron told
them of the company’s shell game and
impending collapse is reason enough
for you and yours to hit the Beltway and
never return to that sacred trust
we call Our American Government. They are
proud of “doing nothing?” By
doing nothing, millions of Americans have been
swindled. Tens of thousands
have lost their jobs. Thousands more have lost
their savings and their
retirement. Yet your cabinet secretaries gloat over
what a “good job” you
and they did by “doing nothing.”

Let me ask you
this: If someone was setting a house on fire, and they
called you to help
them set it on fire, and you said no you wouldn’t help
them — BUT then you
also DIDN’T call 911 and inform the police that
someone was going to burn
down a house, do you think you would have
committed a crime?

Of course
you would have! You had prior knowledge and then you knowingly
and
purposefully HID this information from the authorities and the people
living
in the house! You only admitted that you knew a house was going to
be torched
when you were confronted by the police. Are you complicit? Yes!
Are you an
accessory? Yes! Who would even think of going around boasting,
“Hey, look
what a great guy I am — a friend of mine told me he was going
to commit an
act of arson, and then I decided NOT to tell ANYONE about
it!!
WHOO-HOO!!”

Enron and Kenny Boy bought your silence and the
silence of your cabinet
members. You yourself didn’t have to actually raid
the 401(k) accounts of
those poor people in Houston (many of whom probably
voted for you every
time your name was on a ballot). All you had to do was
remain silent,
change the government regulations that let them get away with
it, and
install their hand-picked cronies to sit on the “oversight” boards
which
were supposed to be keeping an eye on them.

While doing all
this, you told the American people that these rich friends
of yours were not
getting any special breaks — when, in fact, Enron had
already scammed their
way out of paying NO taxes in four out of the last
five years. Your economic
“stimulus” bill that you got the House to pass
after 9-11 had a section that
would give Enron a gift of $250 million of
our tax money. You were pushing
this bill in November and December, long
after your administration knew that
Enron was raiding the vault and
screwing its workers and
investors.

You and your Republican friends are quick to point out that
Enron had their
claws into the Democrats as well. Yes, they did, and thank
you for making
the case why we not only need an alternative to the current
make-up of the
Democratic Party, we need private money removed from our
electoral process
ASAP.

But, George, let’s be real — the Democrats
only got a pittance from Enron
compared to the millions you and the
Republicans received. Democrats just
don’t have the killer instinct to do
anything right, and they certainly
don’t know much about making money the
old-fashioned way, one off-shore tax
shelter at a time. I would expect
nothing less from a Party that couldn’t
even put their candidate in the White
House after he had already won the
election.

The Democrats are like a
Yugo — you know it won’t last long or work well,
but it will occasionally
get the job done. Fat cats know they can buy the
Democrats at discount
prices, and so they do. Anyone who tries to deflect
this scandal away from
you, George, or away from the Republicans, or away
from the whole dirty way
we elect our leaders, is someone who is
desperately trying to cling to what’s
left of a very crooked system that
has to go and go now.

The saddest
part of this whole affair was the day the scandal was revealed
– and you
denied that you even knew your good friend, Kenneth Lay. “Ken
who?” you said.
Oh, he’s just some businessman from Texas. “Heck, he backed
my opponent for
governor, Ann Richards!” was your way of trying to deflect
the truth that was
hitting you like a Mack truck. You knew that he, in
fact, endorsed YOU and
gave you THREE times the money Ann Richards ever saw
from him.

I
hardly ever talk to the guy, you said. You were like Peter in the Garden
of
Gethsemane, denying he knew Jesus, three times. And then the *censored*
crowed. And
Peter felt shame and ran away.

What shame do you feel tonight, George,
for the lies you have told? What
shame do you feel using the dead of 9-11 as
a cover for your actions,
hoping that our sorrow for those lost souls and our
fear of being killed by
terrorists would distract us from what your boys and
Kenny Boy were up to
during those horrific weeks in September and
October?

It was during those very days, while the rest of us were in
shock and
sadness, that the executives at Enron were selling off their stock
and
shifting assets to their 900 phony partnerships overseas. Did they
notice
the remains of the dead being pulled from the rubble while they
were
downloading their millions, or were their eyes glued only to the
bottom
third of the TV screen as the stock ticker with the rigged Enron
price
crawled across the images of firemen desperate, in tears, to find
their
fallen brothers?

The country was behind you when you said you
were fighting the evildoers
who did this. In fact, all the while, the real
fight your friends at Enron
were conducting was the fight against the clock,
to see how fast they could
transfer all the loot to their personal accounts
and run away. Those were
the evildoers, George, and you knew it. And because
you, by design or
negligence, allowed this to happen, it is time for you to
resign. The *censored*
has crowed for the last time.

At the very least, your
mother-in-law deserves better.

Yours,

Michael
Moore
American
Son-in-law
Owner of 7th LARGEST COMPANY IN AMERICA!
(revised ranking)
http://www.michaelmoore.com
mmflint@aol.com

- – - – - –

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Axis of Just As Evil

January 26, 2002 at 1:39 am
Contributed by:

ANGERED BY SNUBBING, LIBYA, CHINA
SYRIA FORM AXIS OF JUST AS EVIL

Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the “Axis of Evil,” Libya, China, and Syria today announced they had formed the “Axis of Just as Evil,” which they said would be way eviler than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of his State of the Union address.


N. Korea Wondering What It Has To Do To Get US Attention

“Everyone in my country refers to me as ‘Dear Leader.’ Is that not disturbingly cultish?”Kim continued. “I do not understand why President Bush is so much more interested in Saddam than me. I’m a strange, despotic, unpredictable madman, too, you know.”

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New Book Alleges that U.S. Was in Negotiations to Do a Deal with Taliban

January 12, 2002 at 3:20 pm
Contributed by:

Check this out.

AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Explosive New Book Published in France Alleges that U.S. Was in Negotiations to Do a Deal with Taliban

Aired January 8, 2002 – 07:34 ET

Source


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Time to check in with ambassador-in- residence, Richard Butler, this morning. An explosive new book published in France alleges that the United States was in negotiations to do a deal with the Taliban for an oil pipeline in Afghanistan.

Joining us right now is Richard Butler to shed some light on this new book. He is the former chief U.N. weapons inspector. He is now on the Council on Foreign Relations and our own ambassador-in- residence — good morning.

RICHARD BUTLER, FMR. U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: Good morning, Paula.

ZAHN: Boy, if any of these charges are true…

BUTLER: If…

ZAHN: … this…

BUTLER: Yes.

ZAHN: … is really big news.

BUTLER: I agree.

ZAHN: Start off with what your understanding is of what is in this book — the most explosive charge.

BUTLER: The most explosive charge, Paula, is that the Bush administration — the present one, just shortly after assuming office slowed down FBI investigations of al Qaeda and terrorism in Afghanistan in order to do a deal with the Taliban on oil — an oil pipeline across Afghanistan.

ZAHN: And this book points out that the FBI’s deputy director, John O’Neill, actually resigned because he felt the U.S. administration was obstructing…

BUTLER: A proper…

ZAHN: … the prosecution of terrorism.

BUTLER: Yes, yes, a proper intelligence investigation of terrorism. Now, you said if, and I affirmed that in responding to you. We have to be careful here. These are allegations. They’re worth airing and talking about, because of their gravity. We don’t know if they are correct. But I believe they should be investigated, because Central Asian oil, as we were discussing yesterday, is potentially so important. And all prior attempts to have a pipeline had to be done through Russia. It had to be negotiated with Russia.

Now, if there is to be a pipeline through Afghanistan, obviating the need to deal with Russia, it would also cost less than half of what a pipeline through Russia would cost. So financially and politically, there’s a big prize to be had. A pipeline through Afghanistan down to the Pakistan coast would bring out that Central Asian oil easier and more cheaply.

ZAHN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as you spoke about this yesterday, we almost immediately got a call from “The New York Times.”

BUTLER: Right.

ZAHN: They want you to write an op-ed piece on this over the weekend.

BUTLER: Right, and which I will do.

ZAHN: But let’s come back to this whole issue of what John O’Neill, this FBI agent…

BUTLER: Right.

ZAHN: … apparently told the authors of this book. He is alleging that — what — the U.S. government was trying to protect U.S. oil interests? And at the same time, shut off the investigation of terrorism to allow for that to happen?

BUTLER: That’s the allegation that instead of prosecuting properly an investigation of terrorism, which has its home in Afghanistan as we now know, or one of its main homes, that was shut down or slowed down in order to pursue oil interests with the Taliban. The people who we have now bombed out of existence, and this not many months ago. The book says that the negotiators said to the Taliban, you have a choice. You have a carpet of gold, meaning an oil deal, or a carpet of bombs. That’s what the book alleges.

ZAHN: Well, I know you’re going to be doing your own independent homework on this…

BUTLER: Yes.

ZAHN: … to see if you can confirm any of this. Let’s move on to the whole issue of Iraq. The deputy defense secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, at one time was considered one of those voices within the administration…

BUTLER: Yes.

ZAHN: … that was pushing for moving beyond Afghanistan. He seemed to back off a little from that yesterday.

BUTLER: Yes.

ZAHN: What do you read through the tea leaves here?

BUTLER: A very interesting report that the administration will focus on the Philippines, Yemen, Somalia as places where there are al Qaeda cells. But the word Iraq wasn’t used by the man who was the chief hawk — used as a, you know, as a future target. So what I interpret from that is this: That very likely our allies have been saying to us, this is too hard. This is really serious. Be careful. Saddam is essentially contained at the moment. Don’t start, you know, a bigger problem either in the Arab world or in the coalition by going after him. And Wolfowitz, it seems, has probably accepted that.

ZAHN: A quick thought on the Israelis intercepting this latest armed shipment? What that means? You’ve got to do it in about 15 seconds.

BUTLER: It’s extraordinarily serious, because it seems to have been tied to Yasser Arafat himself. It needs to be further investigated, but you know, Paula, the potentiality that this could once again prove an impediment to resume peace negotiations is really quite serious.

ZAHN: Thank you as usual for covering so much territory. Richard Butler, see you same time, same place tomorrow morning.

BUTLER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ZAHN: We appreciate your insights.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com.

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More on the police state

December 18, 2001 at 11:28 am
Contributed by:

Folks,


If I should turn up missing some day for my rants about energy policy and the Bush administration…call the FBI.


On the other hand, don’t. Best to pretend you don’t know me.


–C


—————-

A guy was at the 24
Hour Fitness on Folsom Street in SF and was reported to the FBI by someone
at the gym for talking about how the war in Afghanistan was also tied
to oil profits… That’s just great.


The FBI’s House Calls

“Rant about capitalism in the gym, and the FBI may
pay you a visit. A tale of the new police state.”

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Molly Ivins – We are all suspects, if Ashcroft has his way

December 12, 2001 at 12:54 pm
Contributed by:

Another Ivins classic! “With all due respect, of course, and God Bless America too, has anyone considered the possibility that the U.S. attorney general is becoming unhinged?” style=”COLOR: windowtext; FONT-FAMILY: Arial”> 


We are all
suspects, if Ashcroft has his way


 


by Molly
Ivins
 


 


Austin, Texas — With all due respect, of
course, and God Bless
America too, has anyone
considered the possibility that the U.S. attorney general is becoming
unhinged?


 


Poor
John Ashcroft is under a lot of strain here. Is it possible his mind has
started to give under the weight of responsibility, what with having to stop
terrorism between innings against doctors trying to help the dying in Oregon
and California? Why not take a Valium, sir, and go track down some nice
domestic nut with access to anthrax, OK?


 


Not
content with the noxious U.S.A. Patriot bill (for Uniting and Strengthening
America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct
Terrorism Act–urp), which was bad enough, Ashcroft has steadily moved from
bad to worse. Now he wants to bring back FBI surveillance of domestic
religious and political groups.


 


For
those who remember COINTELPRO, this is glorious news. Back in the day,
Fearless Fibbies, cleverly disguised in their wingtips and burr haircuts, used
to infiltrate such dangerous groups as the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference and Business Executives Against the War in Vietnam. This had the
usual comedic fallout, along with killing a few innocent people, and was so
berserk there was a standing rule on the left–anyone who proposed breaking
any law was automatically assumed to be an FBI agent.


 


Let’s
see, who might the Federal Fosdicks spy upon today? Columnist Tom Friedman of
The New York Times recently reported from Pakistan that hateful Taliban types
are teaching in the religious schools, “The faithful shall enter paradise, and
the unbelievers shall be condemned to eternal hellfire.” Frightful! Put the
Baptists on the list.


 


Those
who agitate against the government, constantly denigrating and opposing it?
Add Tom Delay, Dick Armey and Rush Limbaugh to the list.


 


Following the J. Edgar Hoover
Rule (anyone who criticized Hoover or the FBI was automatically targeted as
suspect), we need to add the FBI alumni association. According to The
Washington Times: “A half-dozen former FBI top guns, including once-Director
William Webster, have voiced their dismay at Ashcroft’s strategy of detention
and interview rather than prolonged investigation and surveillance of those
suspected of terrorism. They contend the new plan will fail to eliminate
terrorist networks and cells, leaving the roots to carry on. The harsh
criticism seems calculated to take advantage of growing concerns in Congress
about Ashcroft’s overall anti-terrorism approach.”


 


Harsh
criticism? Put the ex-FBI agents on the list. Come to that, “growing
concerns”? Put Congress on the list.


 


I
cannot commend too strongly those hardy, tough-minded citizens ready to
sacrifice all our civil rights in the fight against terrorism. It’s clear to
them anyone speaking up for civil liberties is on the side of the terrorists,
and that’s the kind of thinking that has earned syllogism the reputation it
enjoys today.


 


Some of
us are making lists and checking them twice to see who stood with us on this
particular St. Crispin’s Day. And when next we see you Federalist Society
types at some debate over, say, strict construction, we’ll be happy to remind
you how much you really care when the chips are down. With the honorable
exception of the libertarian right (William Safire, Rep. Bob Barr), the entire
conservative movement is missing in action, and so are a lot of pious
liberals.


 


And
what could be better than the insouciance with which the attorney general
himself approaches the Constitution? During his six years in the Senate, he
tried to proposed no fewer than seven constitutional amendments. Since we’ve
only managed to amend it 17 times in the last 200 years (that’s leaving out
the Bill of Rights), it’s an impressive record. Of course, one of John
Ashcroft’s proposed amendments was to make it easier to amend. Another was the
always helpful flag-burning amendment, which had it been in effect, would have
done so much to prevent the terrorist attacks.


 


Yep, if
we had a constitution largely rewritten by John Ashcroft, as opposed the one
we’re stuck with by such picayune minds as Madison, Washington, Franklin,
Hamilton, etc., we’d be a lot safer today.


 


Wouldn’t we? How? you ask. Well,
for example, uh . . . And there’s . . . uh. Well at least we could have had a
better visa system. So that has nothing to do with the Constitution: picky,
picky.


 


In this fight for our
cherished freedoms, those cherished freedoms should definitely be the first
thing to go. Sieg heil, y’all.

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Chomsky: Prospects for Peace in the Middle East

December 12, 2001 at 12:54 pm
Contributed by:

Hi all,

Here’s another excellent Chomsky article I highly recommend reading. It’s another long one, good to print out and consume a little at a time–I use them as bathroom reading.

Of course, I encourage your feedback.

–C

Prospects for
Peace in the Middle

East

Noam Chomsky

 

Presented at the
First Annual Maryse Mikhail Lecture

“No peace
without justice; no justice without truth”

The University of
Toledo, March 4, 2001

 


Thank you all. I’m really delighted to

be
able to have the privilege of opening the Maryse Mikhail
lecture series. I wish I could open it on a celebratory note, but that
wouldn’t be realistic. Perhaps more realistic is to adhere to the famous
dictum that we should strive for pessimism of the intellect but optimism of
the will.


With regard to the topic, before getting into it, let me just make a few
preliminary comments. The first is just to plagiarize the cover of the
announcement. Peace is preferable to war.  But it’s not an absolute value. And
so we always ask, “what kind of peace?” If Hitler had conquered the world
there would be peace but not the kind we would like to see.


Second comment is that there are many dimensions to this particular topic:
Prospects for Peace in the Middle East. There are several areas of ongoing
serious violence — three in particular, which I’ll say something about. One is
Israel and Palestine. Second is Iraq – there, it’s both sanctions and bombing.
Third is Turkey and the Kurds. That’s one of the most severe human rights
atrocities of the 1990s, continuing in fact. And there are plenty of other
issues. There is the question of the place of Iran within the region. And
everywhere you look, virtually without exception, there is severe repression,
human rights abuses, torture, and other horrors. So the question of peace in
the Middle East has many dimensions.


Third and last comment is that the US role is significant throughout these
cases and very often decisive—and in fact decisive in the four specific cases
that I mentioned. Furthermore, however important a factor it might be, it
should be central to our own concerns for perfectly obvious reasons—it’s the
one factor that we can directly influence. The others we may deplore, but we
can’t do much about them. That’s a truism, or ought to be a truism. But it’s
important to emphasize it, because it is almost universally rejected.  The
prevailing doctrine is that we should focus laser-like on the crimes of others
and lament them, and we should ignore or deny our own. Or more accurately, we
should structure the way we view things so as to dismiss the possibility of
looking into the mirror—shape discourse so the question of our own
responsibilities can’t even arise, or more accurately, can arise only in one
connection—namely the connection of how we should react to the crimes of
others. So for example by now there’s a huge literature—in the last couple of
years it’s been a torrent—both popular and scholarly about what are called the
“dilemmas of humanitarian intervention” when others are guilty of crimes, as
they often are. But you’ll find scarcely a word on another question, a much
more important topic—the dilemmas of withdrawal of participation in major
atrocities. In fact, there are no dilemmas, but that’s the window that has to
be kept tightly shuttered or else some rather unpleasant visions will appear
before us that we’re not supposed to look at.


Exactly how the evasion of the central themes is accomplished is an
interesting and important topic about which there’s a lot to say, but
reluctantly I’m going to put it aside and keep to the special cases that
concern us here, merely leaving it a sort of background warning. I should add
that this shameful stance is by no means a novelty — in fact it’s kind of a
cultural universal. I think you’d have to search very hard for a case in
history, or elsewhere in the present, where the same theme is not dominant.
It’s not an attractive feature of Homo sapiens, but a very real one.


Let’s take the cases at hand.  Let’s begin with Iraq. The only serious
question about the sanctions is whether they’re simply terrible crimes or
whether they are literally genocidal, as charged by those who have the most
intimate acquaintance with the situation, in particular the coordinator of the
United Nations programs, Denis Halliday, a highly respected UN official who
resigned under protest because he was being compelled to carry out what he
called “genocidal acts,” as did his successor Hans von Sponeck. It’s agreed on
all sides that the effect of the sanctions has been to strengthen Saddam
Hussein and to devastate the population—and yet we must continue—with that
recognition.  There is no serious disagreement that these are the
consequences.


There are justifications offered, and they merit careful attention — they tell
us a good deal about ourselves, I think. The simplest line of argument to
justify the sanctions was presented by the Secretary of State, Madeleine
Albright.  You’ll recall, I’m sure, that she was asked on national television
a couple years ago about how she felt about the fact that she had killed half
a million Iraqi children.  She didn’t deny the factual allegation.  She agreed
that it was, as she put it, “a high price,” but said, “we think it’s worth
it”. That was the end of the discussion. That’s the important fact, and it’s
very enlightening to see the reaction. The comment is hers; the reaction is
ours. Looking at the reaction we learn about ourselves.

A
second justification that is given commonly is that it’s really Saddam
Hussein’s fault. The logic is intriguing.  So, let’s suppose the claim is
true:  it’s Saddam Hussein’s fault.  The conclusion that’s drawn is that
therefore we have to assist him in devastating the civilian population and
strengthening his own rule. Notice that follows logically if you say it’s his
fault but that we have to go on helping.


The third argument that’s given, which at least has the merit of truth, is
that Saddam Hussein is a monster. In fact if you listen to Tony Blair, Bill
Clinton, Madeleine Albright, or almost anyone who comments on this, they
justify the sanctions repeatedly by saying that this man is such a monster
that we just can’t let him survive. He’s even committed the ultimate
atrocity—namely, using weapons of mass destruction against his own people in
his horrendous gassing of the Kurds. All of which is true, but there are three
missing words.  True, he committed the ultimate atrocity—using poison gas and
chemical warfare against his own population— WITH OUR SUPPORT.  Our support in
fact continued, as he remained a favored friend and trading partner and ally—
quite independently of these atrocities which evidently didn’t matter to us,
as evidenced by our reaction; continued and in fact increased. An interesting
experiment which you might try is to see if you can find a place anywhere
within mainstream discussion where the three missing words are added. I’ll
leave it as an experiment for the reader. And it’s an illuminating one. I can
tell you the answer right away — you’re not going to find it.  And that tells
us something about ourselves too, and also about the argument.


The same incidentally is true of his weapons of mass destruction. It’s
commonly claimed that we can’t allow him to survive because of the danger of
the weapons of mass destruction that he’s probably creating — which is all
correct except it was also correct during the time when we were providing him
consciously with the means to develop those weapons of mass destruction at a
time when he was a far greater threat than he is today. So that raises some
questions about that argument.


The fourth argument is that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the countries of the
region. And there is no doubt that he is a serious threat to anyone within his
reach, exactly as he was when he was committing his worst crimes with US
support and participation. But the fact is that his reach now is far less than
it was before, and the attitude of the countries in the region towards, for
example, the US bombing the other day – that reveals rather clearly what they
think of this argument.


Well that as far as I know exhausts the arguments we’ve been given. But those
arguments entail that we must continue to torture the population and
strengthen Saddam Hussein by imposing very harsh sanctions. All of that as far
as I can see leaves an honest citizen with two tasks—one is to do something
about it—remember that it is us, so we can. The second is intellectual—try to
understand what the actual motives are, since they can’t possibly be the ones
that are put forth.  Makes no sense.

On
the side, I don’t want to downplay the threat. There are very serious reasons
to be concerned about the threat of Iraq and Saddam Hussein. There were even
greater reasons during the period when we were helping build up the threat—but
that doesn’t change the fact that there are reasons today.  And more
generally, there are reasons to be concerned about the threat of extreme
violence and devastation in the region. And that’s not just my opinion; it’s
underscored for example by General Lee Butler, who was the head of the
Strategic Command under Clinton. That’s the highest military agency that’s
concerned with nuclear strategy and use of nuclear weapons. General Butler
said

that:

 

“It is dangerous in the
extreme that in the cauldron of animosities that we call the Middle East, one
nation has armed itself, ostensibly, with stockpiles of nuclear weapons,
perhaps numbering in the hundreds,

and that inspires other nations to do so.”



 

Or
to develop other weapons of mass destruction as a deterrent—which has an
obvious threat of a very ominous outcome.  And there’s little doubt that
General Butler is correct in that. Actually the threat becomes even more
ominous when we add something else — that the superpower patron of that nation
demands that it itself be regarded as “irrational and vindictive” and ready to
resort to extreme violence if provoked—including the first use of nuclear
weapons against non-nuclear states.  I’m citing high level planning documents
of the Clinton administration, plans that were then implemented by
presidential directives. All this is on the public record if anybody wants to
learn something about ourselves and why much of the world is terrified of us.

In
fact it is understood in the world—and strategic analysts here understand it
too, and write about it— that others are naturally impelled to respond with
weapons of mass destruction of their own as a deterrent. These are prospects
that are recognized by US intelligence and by US strategic analysts—and are
pretty obvious.  And they also recognize pretty clearly, it’s not hidden, that
the threat to human survival is enhanced by programs that are now underway.
For example, the development of the National Missile Defense which almost
every country in the world regards as a First Strike weapon. Quite
realistically so.  Therefore potential adversarie
s
will presumably respond by developing a deterrent to it of one sort or
another. That’s taken for granted pretty much by US intelligence and strategic
analysts and raises questions about why we insist on pursuing a policy which
raises the threat of destroying ourselves as well as others. Another question
one might ask.


Going back to the Middle East, it poses perhaps the primary danger in this
regard—not the only one, but it certainly ranks high at least.

It
is worth mentioning that in 1990 and 91, on the eve of the Gulf War, these
questions arose. They were raised by Iraq. Several days before the Gulf
War began, Iraq offered — once again; they’d apparently made several such
offers— offered to withdraw from Kuwait but in the context of a settlement of
regional strategic issues, including the banning of weapons of mass
destruction. That position was recognized as “serious” and “negotiable” by
State Department Middle East experts. Independently of this, that happened to
be the position of about two-thirds of the American public according to the
final polls that were taken before the war—a couple of days before.

We
do not know whether these Iraqi proposals were indeed serious and negotiable
as State Department officials concluded. The reason we don’t know is that they
were rejected out of hand by the United States. They were suppressed to nearly
a hundred percent efficiency by the media. There were a few leaks here and
there. And they’ve been effectively removed from history. So therefore we
don’t know. However, the issues remain very much alive—very much as General
Butler said—and they remain alive even though they had been removed from the
agenda of policy, and from public discussion. Again that is a choice that we
can make. We’re not forced to agree to have them removed.


Well, let me turn to the second issue—Turkey and the Kurds. The Kurds have
been miserably oppressed throughout the whole history of the modern Turkish
state but things changed in 1984.  In 1984, the Turkish government launched a
major war in the Southeast against the Kurdish population. And that continued.
In fact it’s still continuing.

If
we look at US military aid to Turkey—which is usually a pretty good index of
policy—Turkey was of course a strategic ally so it always had a fairly high
level of military aid. But the aid shot up in 1984, at the time that the
counterinsurgency war began.  This had nothing to do with Cold War,
transparently. It was because of the counterinsurgency war. The aid remain
high, peaking through the 1990s as the atrocities increased. The peak year was
1997. In fact in the single year 1997, US military aid to Turkey was greater
than in the entire period of 1950 to 1983 when there were allegedly Cold War
issues. The end result was pretty awesome: tens of thousands of people killed,
two to three million refugees, massive ethnic cleansing with some 3500
villages destroyed—about seven times Kosovo under NATO bombing, and there’s
nobody bombing in this case, except for the Turkish air forces using planes
that Clinton sent to them with the certain knowledge that that’s how they
would be used.


The United States was providing about 80 percent of Turkey’s arms—and that
means heavy arms. Since you and I are not stopping it—and we’re the only ones
who can—the Clinton administration was free to send jet planes, tanks, napalm,
and so on, which were used to carry out some the worst atrocities of the
1990s. And they continue. Regularly there are further operations carried out
both in southeastern Turkey and also across the border in Northern Iraq,
attacking Kurds there. There the attacks, with plenty of atrocities, are
taking place in what are called “no-fly zones” in which the Kurds are
protected by the United States from the temporarily wrong oppressor. The
operations in northeast Iraq are similar in character to Israel’s operations
in Lebanon over the 22 years when it was occupying Southern Lebanon in
violation of Security Council resolution but with the authorization of the
United States, so therefore it was okay. During that period they killed—nobody
really knows because nobody counts victims of the United States and its
friends—but it’s roughly on the order of 45,000 it would seem over those years
judging by Lebanese sources. In any event, non-trivial. And the operations in
northern Iraq are kind of similar. That’s the no-fly zone.


Without going into further details—how is all this dealt with in the United
States? Very simple. Silence. You can check and see—I urge you to do so.
Occasionally, it’s brought up by disagreeable people. And when it is brought
up and can’t be ignored, there is a consistent reaction: self-declared
advocates of human rights deplore what they call “our failure to protect the
Kurds,” and so on.  Actually we are “failing to protect the Kurds” roughly in
the way that the Russians are “failing to protect the people of Chechnya.”

Or
it’s claimed that the US government was unaware of what was happening. So when
Clinton was sending a huge flow of arms to Turkey—in fact Turkey became the
leading recipient of US military aid in the world (I’ll qualify that in a
minute)
during this period —and his advisers didn’t realize that the arms were going to be used. When they
were supplying 80 percent of the arms to Turkey—increasing as the war
increased—it just never occurred to them that these were really going to be
used for the war that was then going on and that coincided very closely with
the arms flow.  The disagreeable folk who bring the matter up and suggested
otherwise are lacking in “nuance,” sophisticated commentators observe.

Or
sometimes it’s argued that the US was unable to find out what was going
on—actually, it’s kind of a remote area—who knows what’s happening in
southeastern Turkey?  An area that happens to be littered with US air bases,
where the US has nuclear-armed planes and that is under extremely tight
surveillance. But how could we know what’s going on there? And of course
nobody can read the human rights reports, which are constantly describing in
detail what is going on.  Or many other studies. But that’s the reaction.

I
mentioned that during this period, Turkey became the leading US arms recipient
in the world. That’s not quite accurate—the leading recipients are in a
separate category.  They are Israel and Egypt. They are always the leading
recipients. But aside from them, Turkey reached first place during the period
of the counterinsurgency war. For a while it was displaced by El Salvador,
which was then in the process of slaughtering its own population and moved
into the first place. But as they succeeded in that, Turkey took over and
became first.


That continued until 1999. In 1999, Turkey was replaced by Colombia. Colombia
has the worst human rights record in the hemisphere, and for the last ten
years, when it’s had the worst human rights record, it received the bulk of
the US military aid and training — about half. That’s a correlation the works
pretty closely incidentally. Why did Colombia replace Turkey in 1999?  Well,
we’re not supposed to notice that by 1999 Turkey had succeeded in repressing
internal resistance and Colombia hadn’t yet succeeded—and just by accident
that happened to be the year in which the huge flow of arms to Colombia
increased and displaced Turkey in first place, aside from the two perennials.


All of this is particularly remarkable because of something that you all know:
we been inundated in the last two or three years by a flood of self
adulation—unprecedented in history to my knowledge—about how we are so
magnificent that for the first time in history we are willing to pursue
“principles and values” in defense of human rights and especially in crucial
cases, to borrow President Clinton’s words, we cannot tolerate violations of
human rights so near the borders of NATO, and therefore we have to rise to new
heights of magnificence to combat them. Again there are a couple of missing
words.  Apparently we can’t tolerate human rights violations near the borders
of NATO, but we can not only tolerate them but in fact encourage and
participate in them WITHIN NATO’s borders. Try to find those missing words—you
won’t and it will tell you something again. Well, that’s the second case.


Let me turn to the third case—Israel-Palestine.  Let me start with right
today.  I’ll go back a little bit to the background but just take a look now.
So let’s take a look at the current fighting, what’s called the Al-Aqsa
Intifada, and look closely at the US reactions. That’s the part the concerns
me most and the part that should concern us most.


There is an official US position — it was reiterated just yesterday by US
ambassador Martin Indyk. He said we do not believe in rewarding violence. That
was a stern admonition to the Palestinians yesterday, and there are many
others like it. And it’s easy to assess the validity of that claim. So let’s
assess it just in the obvious way. The Al-Aqsa Intifada, the violence that
Indyk deplores, began on September 29th.  That’s the day after Ariel Sharon,
now prime minister, went to the Haram Al-Sharif, the Temple Mount, with about
a thousand soldiers. That passed more or less without incident, surprisingly.
But the next day, which was Friday, there was a huge army presence as people
left the mosque after prayers; there was some stone throwing and immediate
shooting by the Israeli army and Border Patrol, which left about a half a
dozen Palestinians killed and over a hundred wounded. That’s September 29th.
On October 1st, Israeli military helicopters, or to be precise US military
helicopters with Israeli pilots, sharply escalated the violence, killing two
Palestinians in Gaza. On October 2nd, military helicopters killed 10 people in
Gaza, wounded 35. On October 3rd, helicopters were attacking apartment
complexes and other civilian targets. And so it continued. By early November,
the helicopters were being used for targeted political assassinations.


And how did the US react?  Well, the US reaction is interesting—and that’s us
remember; we can control this if we choose.  In mid September, before the
fighting started, the US sent a new shipment of advanced attack helicopters to
Israel. Also in mid September, there were joint exercises of the US Marines
and elite units of the Israeli army, the IDF—training exercises for
re-conquest of the occupied territories. The role of the Marines was to
provide new advanced equipment that Israel didn’t have and training in usage
of it and techniques. That’s mid September.

On
October 3rd — that is the day that the press was reporting that military
helicopters were attacking apartment complexes and killing dozens of people —
on October 3rd, the Israeli press announced and then the international press
repeated that the US and Israel had reached a deal — the biggest deal in a
decade — for dispatch of US military helicopters to Israel.  The next day
leading military journals reported that this included new advanced attack
helicopters and parts for the former helicopters, which would increase the
capacity to attack civilian targets. Incidentally the Israeli defense ministry
announced that they cannot produce helicopters. They don’t have the capacity
so they have to get them from the United States. On October 19th, Amnesty
International issued a report calling on the United States not to send
military helicopters to Israel under these circumstances—one of a series of
Amnesty International reports.


Just moving to the present, on February 19th, the Defense Department here —
the Pentagon — announced that Israel and the United States had just made
another deal, a half billion-dollar deal, for advanced Apache attack
helicopters. That brings us about to the present.  I’ve just sampled of
course.


Now let’s look at how this is dealt with. Well, actually I asked a friend to
do a database analysis on this one.  It turns out all of this did not pass
unnoticed in the Free Press.  There was a mention in an opinion piece in a
newspaper in Raleigh North Carolina. To date, that is the total coverage of
what I have just described.  That’s pretty impressive, I think.


Now it’s not that it’s unknown. Of course it’s known. There’s no news office
in the country that isn’t perfectly well aware of it. Anyone who can read
Amnesty International reports knows about it. In fact anybody who wants to
knows about it.  Irrelevantly, it has been brought specifically to the
attention of editors of at least one major US daily, reputed to be the most
liberal one.  And there is surely not the slightest doubt in any editorial or
news office that it is highly newsworthy.  But those who control information
evidently don’t want to know or to let their readers know.  And they have good
reasons not to.  To provide the population with information about what is
being done in their name would open windows that are better left shuttered if
you want to carry out effective domestic indoctrination.  It simply wouldn’t
do to publish these reports alongside of the occasional mention of US
helicopters attacking civilian targets or carrying out targeted political
assassination, and reports of stern US admonitions to all sides to refrain
from violence.


That is an illustration, one of many, of how we live up to the principle that
we do not believe in rewarding violence. And again it leaves honest citizens
with two tasks:  the important one—do something about it.  And the second one,
try to find out why the policies are being pursued.


Well, on that matter, the fundamental reasons are not really controversial, I
think. It’s long been understood that the Gulf region has the major energy
resources in the world—it’s an incomparable strategic resource and a source of
immense wealth, and whoever controls that region not only has access to
enormous wealth but also a very powerful influence in world affairs because
control of energy resources is an extremely powerful lever in world affairs.
These are incomparable, way beyond anywhere else, as far as is known — at
least easily accessible resources.  Furthermore that crucial importance of
Middle East energy resources is expected to continue and in fact to increase—
maybe sharply increase—in coming years.


The importance of control over oil—that was understood by about the time of
the First World War. At that time, Britain was the major world power and
controlled a lot of that region. Britain however did not have the military
strength after the First World War to control the region by direct military
occupation. It had declined to the point where it couldn’t do that. So it
turned to other means. One was the use of air power, and also poison gas,
considered the ultimate atrocity at that time.  The most enthusiastic
supporter was Winston Churchill, who called for the use of poison gas against
Kurds and Afghans.


The British use of poison gas had been suppressed for many years. Records were
released, including Churchill’s enthusiasm, around 1980. Every time I went to
England and gave a talk on any topic I made sure to bring that up, and
discovered that everybody’s ears were closed.  By the time of the Gulf War
information was beginning to seep through, but the details on how the military
followed Churchill’s directives were still sealed.  In 1992 the British
government under popular pressure instituted an “open government” policy —
meaning that in a free and democratic society people should have access to
information about their own government. The first act taken under the open
information policy was to remove from the Public Records office all documents
having to do with England’s use of poison gas against the Kurds and Afghans
and Churchill’s role in it. So that’s one that we’re not going to know a lot
about thanks to the dedication to freedom and democracy for which we praise
ourselves effusively.


Alongside of the military component of the control there were also political
arrangements, which in some fashion persist. The British Colonial Office
during the First World War proposed and then implemented a plan to construct
what they called an “Arab facade”:
weak pliable states which would administer the local populations, under
ultimate British control in case things got out of hand. France at that time
was also involved—it was a reasonably major power—and the United States though
not a leading power in world affairs was powerful enough to take a piece of
the action there.  The three entered into the Red Line agreement in 1928 which
parceled out Middle East oil reserves among the three powers. Notably absent
were the people of the region. But they were controlled by the facade,
with the muscle in the background. That was the basic arrangement.

By the time of the Second World War the US
had become the
overwhelmingly dominant

world power and was plainly going to take over Middle East energy resources

no question about that. France was removed unceremoniously. And Britain
reluctantly came to accept its role as a “junior partner,” in the rueful words
of a Foreign Office official, its role gradually decreasing over time by
normal power relations. By now Britain has become sort of like a US attack dog

an important but secondary role in world affairs.  
  I should
add that the United States controlled most of the oil of the western
hemisphere.  North America remained the largest producer for about another 25
years.  It controlled western hemisphere oil particularly effectively after
the Wilson administration had kicked the British out of Venezuela, which is
the major producer.


 


The US took over the British framework — the basic principle remained. The
basic principle is that the West (that means primarily the United States) must
control what happens there.  Furthermore the wealth of the region must flow to
the West. That means to the US and Britain primarily: their energy
corporations, investors, the US treasury which has been heavily dependent on
recycled petrodollars, exporters, construction firms, and so on. That’s the
essential point.  The profits have to flow to the West and the power has to
remain in the West, primarily Washington, insofar as possible. That’s the
basic principle.


That raises all sorts of problems. One problem is that the people of the
region are backward and uneducated and have never been able to comprehend the
logic of these arrangements or their essential justice. They can’t seem to get
it through their heads somehow that the wealth of the region should flow to
the West, not to poor and suffering people right there.  And it continually
takes force to make them understand these simple and obvious principles—a
constant problem with backward people.

A
conservative nationalist government tried to extricate Iran from the system in
1953. That was quickly reversed with a military coup sponsored by the US and
Britain which restored the Shah. In the course of that the US edged Britain
largely out of control over Iran.


Right after that, Nasser became an influential figure and was soon considered
a major threat. He was a symbol of independent nationalism — he didn’t have
oil — but he was a symbol of independent nationalism and that’s the threat. He
was considered what’s called a “virus” that might “infect others” — the virus
of independent nationalism. That’s conventional terminology and a fundamental
feature of international planning—not just there.

At
that point the United States was developing a doctrine that modified and
extended the British system of an Arab facade
with British force behind it — namely it was establishing a cordon of
peripheral states which would be what the Nixon administration later called
“local cops on the beat.” Police headquarters are in Washington, but you have
local cops on the beat. The two main ones at that time were Turkey, a big
military force, and Iran under the Shah.

By
1958, the CIA advised, I’m quoting, that “a logical corollary” of opposition
to Arab nationalism “would be to support Israel as the only reliable
pro-Western power left in the Middle East.” According to this reasoning,
Israel could become a major base for US power in the region. Now that was
proposed but not yet implemented. It was implemented after 1967. In 1967,
Israel performed a major service to the United States — namely, it destroyed
Nasser, destroyed the virus. And also smashed up the Arab armies and left US
power in the ascendance. And at this point essentially a tripartite alliance
was established — Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia technically was
at war with Iran and Israel but that makes no difference. Saudi Arabia has the
oil — Iran and Israel (and Turkey is taken for granted) were the military
force; that’s Iran under the Shah, remember. Pakistan was part of the system
too at that time.


That was very clearly recognized—both by US intelligence specialists, who
wrote about it, and also by the leading figures in planning. So for example
Henry Jackson who was the Senate’s major specialist on the Middle East and oil
— he pointed out that Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia “inhibit and contain
those irresponsible and radical elements in certain Arab states, who, were
they free to do so, would pose a grave threat indeed to our principal sources
of petroleum in the Middle East” (meaning, as he knew, primarily profit flow
and a lever of world control).  Saudi Arabia does it just by funding, and by
holding the greatest petroleum reserves by a good measure. Iran and Israel,
with the help of Turkey and Pakistan, provided regional force. They’re only
the local “cops on the beat,” remember. So if something really goes wrong, you
call in the big guys—the United States and Britain.


Well that’s the picture. In 1979, a problem occurred—one of the pillars
collapsed: Iran fell under the grip of independent nationalism. The Carter
administration immediately tried to sponsor a military coup to restore the
Shah. Carter sent a NATO general, but that didn’t work.   He couldn’t gain the
support of US allies in the Iranian military.


Immediately afterward, Israel and Saudi Arabia, the remaining pillars, joined
the US in an effort to bring about a coup that would restore the old arrangement
by
the usual means: sending arms.  The facts and the purpose
were exposed at once, but quickly suppressed.  Bits and pieces reached the
public later when it became impossible to suppress.  It was then called an
“arms for hostage” deal. That has a nice humanitarian sound, even if it was a
“mistake”: the Reaganites were seeking a way to release US hostages taken in
Lebanon. What was actually happening was that the US was sending arms to Iran
— meaning to specific military groupings in Iran — via Israel, which had close
connections with the Iranian military, funded by Saudi Arabia. It couldn’t
have been an arms for hostage deal for a rather simple reason: there weren’t
any hostages. The first hostages in Lebanon were taken later (and they
happened to be Iranian).  In fact it was just normal operating procedure.

If
any you decide to go into the diplomatic service and you want to know how to
overthrow a civilian government, there’s a straightforward answer.  I suppose
it must be taught in courses somewhere, though perhaps it’s so obvious that no
lessons are necessary.  If you want to overthrow a civilian government, well,
who’s going to overthrow it?  Elements of the military. So you establish
connections with elements of the military, you fund them, you train them, you
establish good relations, you convince them to overthrow the government, and
then you’ve got it made. It’s very reasonable and it usually works. Indonesia
and Chile were two recent cases where it had worked very well – it didn’t work
very well for the hundreds of thousands massacred in Indonesia and the
tortured corpses in Chile, but it worked pretty well for the people who
count.  And it was entirely reasonable to try the same policy in Iran.

It
was in fact quite public. It’s not that it was secret. So high Israeli
officials, including the Israeli ambassador to the United States Moshe Arens,
reported what was happening to the US media; he was quickly silenced.  In an
important and prominently presented BBC documentary, Uri Lubrani, who had been
de facto Israeli ambassador to Iran under the Shah, said that if


we
can find someone who’s willing to shoot down thousands of
people in the streets, we can probably manage to restore the arrangement with
the Shah.  Former high Israeli and US intelligence officials reacted by saying
that they didn’t know for sure, but it seemed the natural way to proceed. 
Apparently, that’s what the arms were for — there were, again no hostages.  It
was all public, except for the population in the US.  The plans didn’t work. 
The Iranian government discovered the plot, found the US-Israeli contacts in
the military, and executed them. Then came another phase, that’s the Oliver
North phase that you have heard about, but there’s good reason to suppose that
that’s just a continuation of the first phase.  If so, and so it seems, then
it is all quite reasonable and conventional, along with the virtual
suppression of the crucial first phase, in which there is no possible “arms
for hostage” justification.

At
the same time, the United States was backing an Iraqi invasion of Iran — that
is, supporting its friend Saddam Hussein in an Iraqi invasion of Iran, again
for the same purpose—try to reverse the disaster of an independent, not Arab
in this case, but independent oil producing state. Saddam’s Iraq was also too
independent for comfort, but Iran had been one of the firmest pillars of US
policy in the region.  Independently of that, Iran had committed the grave and
unpardonable crime of reversing the US-backed military coup that had blocked
the attempt to move towards independence 25 years before.  That kind of
disobedience cannot be tolerated, or “credibility” will be threatened.


Well that brings us up to the mid 80s. US support for the Iraqi invasion was
taken extremely seriously. It was not just the support for Saddam Hussein
throughout all the major atrocities, but much beyond that. So the United
States began sending military vessels to patrol the Gulf to ensure that Iran
would not be able to block Iraqi oil shipping. And that turned out to be
a
very
serious matter. The depth of US commitment to Saddam
Hussein is illustrated by the fact that Iraq is the only country apart from
Israel that has been granted the right to attack an American ship and kill in
this case 37 sailors, with complete impunity. Not a lot of countries are
allowed to get away with that. Israel did so in 1967 and Iraq in 1987, but
there’s no other case. That’s an indication of the depth of commitment.

It
went beyond that.  The next year, in 1988, a US destroyer, the US Vincennes,
shot down an Iranian commercial airliner, Iran Air 654, killing 290 people, in
Iranian airspace.  In fact the destroyer was in Iranian territorial waters;
there’s no serious dispute about the basic facts. Iran took that extremely
seriously. They concluded the US was willing to go to extreme lengths to
ensure that Saddam Hussein wins, and at that point they capitulated. It wasn’t
a minor event for them. It’s a minor event here because that’s just our
atrocity, and by definition the powerful have no moral responsibilities and
cannot commit crimes.


It’s likely — let me emphasize that here I’m speculating—it’s reasonable to
assume that Pan Am 103 was blown up in retaliation.  The immediate assumption
of Western intelligence was that this is Iranian retaliation for the shooting
down of Iran Air 654, and judging by what’s happened since I think that
remains a plausible speculation. The evidence that Libya was responsible
remains very shaky. The strange judicial proceedings in the Hague, after the
US and Britain finally agreed to allow the case to proceed (Libya had offered
to permit it in a neutral venue years earlier), have only increased doubts
among those who have followed the matter closely. But that’s not going to be
allowed to be discussed—we can be pretty sure that.  It has, for example,
apparently been deemed necessary to suppress entirely the “Report on the
Lockerbie Trial in the Netherlands” by the international observer nominated by
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1192
(1998).  His report, released a month ago, was a sharp condemnation of the
proceedings.  One may speculate, again, that if he had confirmed the official
US-UK position, the report might have received some mention, probably
headlines.

If
Iran was responsible, it’s quite likely that they would have sought “plausible
deniability” — the kind of service that the CIA provides for the White House —
and used agents, as the CIA apparently did when it arranged the worst act of
international terrorism in Beirut in 1985, a car bombing outside a Mosque,
timed for when people would be leaving, which killed 80 people and wounded
unknown numbers of others — a US atrocity and therefore not a crime, by the
usual conventions.  Possibly Iran might have even chosen a Libyan agent.  But
this is all speculation.  Probably we will never know, since these are not the
kinds of topics that are appropriate for inquiry.


Well despite all of this, Iraq remained a kind of an anomaly. In 1958 Iraq had
extricated itself from the US-dominated system. That was anomalous, and it was
anomalous in another respect too. Iraq was using — however horrendous the
regime may be, the fact of the matter was that it was using its resources for
internal development.   So there was substantial social and economic
development internal to Iraq, and that’s not the way the system’s supposed to
work — the wealth is supposed to flow to the West. So there were complicated
and anomalous relations all along. There’s no time to go into them.  But that
is over. Now the effect of the war and particularly the sanctions has been
essentially to reverse these departures from good form. By the time that Iraq
is permitted, as it almost surely will be, to reenter the international system
under US control, at that point there will no longer be any serious danger of
it using its resources internally. It will be lucky to survive and partially
recover. So that problem is, perhaps, more or less over. One might argue about
whether that’s part of the purpose of the sanctions, but it’s likely to be the
consequence.


Well, all of this raises a question — what about our fabled commitment to
human rights?  How are human rights assigned to various actors in the Middle
East?  The answer is simplicity itself: rights are assigned in accord with the
contribution to maintaining the system. The United States has rights by
definition. Britain has rights as long as it is a loyal attack dog.  The Arab facade
has rights as long as it manages to control its own populations and ensure
that the wealth flows to the West. The local cops on the beat have rights as
long as they do their job.


What about the Palestinians? Well they don’t have any wealth. They don’t have
any power. It therefore follows, by the most elementary principles of
statecraft, that they don’t have any rights. That’s like adding two and two
and getting four. In fact, they have negative rights. The reason is that their
dispossession and their suffering elicits protest and opposition in the rest
of the region, so they do not exactly count as zero but rather as harmful.


Well, from these considerations, it’s pretty straightforward to predict US
policy for the last roughly 30 years. Its basic element has been and remains
an extreme form of rejectionism. Now I have to explain here that I’m using the
term in an unconventional way — namely in a non-racist way. The term, “rejectionist,”
is used conventionally in an purely racist sense in Western discourse: the
term refers to those who reject the national rights of Jews. They’re called
“rejectionist” (as they are).  But if we use it in a non-racist sense, then
the term refers to those who reject the national rights of one or the other of
the competing forces in the former Palestine. So those who reject the national
rights of Palestinians are rejectionists.  And the US has led the rejectionist
camp in the non-racist sense for the last thirty years. In fact, it is the
only significant member of the rejectionist camp that it has led, and still
does.


The ‘67 war was dangerous;
it came very close to nuclear confrontation.  And it was agreed that there has
got to be some diplomatic settlement. The diplomatic settlement that was
proposed, by the United States primarily, and the other great powers, was
called UN 242.  Notice that it was explicitly rejectionist.  It calls for
recognition of Israel’s right to live in peace and security within recognized
borders, but says nothing about rights of the Palestinians, apart from a vague
allusion to the problem of refugees.  UN 242 calls for a settlement among
existing states of the region. The agreement was, to put in simple terms, that
there should be full peace in return for full Israeli withdrawal from the
occupied territories. That’s UN 242. And it was official US policy at the
time. Withdrawal could involve marginal and mutual adjustment of borders;
perhaps straightening a crooked border here and there.  But nothing more.  And
of course any settlement or development within the occupied territories is
barred.  There is no dispute over the fact that it would be in violation of
the Geneva Conventions.  On this, world opinion is unanimous, apart from
Israel and the US.  And in this case the US has been unwilling to articulate
publicly its antagonism to international law and the Conventions that were
established to bar crimes of the kind carried out by the Nazis, so it abstains
from resolutions that pass unanimously apart from Israeli objection and US
abstention.


The US held to this interpretation of UN 242 until 1971. In 1971, a very
important event took place.  President Sadat had taken power in Egypt, and he
offered a settlement in terms of UN 242 — in terms of official US policy: full
peace in return for full Israeli withdrawal.  In fact his stand was even more
forthcoming: he offered full peace in return for Israeli withdrawal from
Egyptian territory, leaving open the status of the occupied territories and
the Golan Heights.  Of course, his proposal also was firmly rejectionist,
saying nothing about the Palestinians.


Well, the US had a choice—was it going to accept that or was it going to
reject UN 242?  It was understood that Sadat’s proposal was, as Israel put it,
“a genuine peace offer”— a “milestone on the path to peace” as Yitzhak Rabin,
then Israeli Ambassador to the US, describes it in his memoirs.


The US had a decision to make.  There was an internal confrontation.  Henry
Kissinger won out, and Washington adopted his policy of “stalemate”: No
negotiations, just force. So the US effectively rejected UN 242 in February
1971 and insisted that it means “withdrawal insofar as the US and Israel
decide.” That’s the operative meaning of UN 242 under US global rule since
1971.


Officially, the US continued to support UN 242 until Clinton.  He is the first
president to declare that US resolutions are inoperative.  But until then, at
least verbally, the US accepted UN 242.  That was only words, however.  In
practice the US following the Kissingerian interpretation. For every
president, UN 242 in practice meant partial withdrawal as Israel and the
United States determine.  Carter, for example, forcefully reiterated US
support for UN 242 and continues to do so, but also increased aid to Israel to
about half of total US aid (as part of the Camp David settlement), thus
ensuring that Israel could proceed to integrate the occupied territories
within Israel and to prevent any meaningful fulfillment of UN 242 (and to
attack its northern neighbor), exactly as was predicted, and as it did.


The rejectionist commitments of the international system changed by the mid
70s. By the mid 70s, an extremely broad international consensus, in fact
essentially everyone, came to accept Palestinian national rights alongside of
Israel. In January 1976, the Security Council debated a resolution, which
included the wording of 242 but added Palestinian national rights in the
territories from which Israel would withdraw. The US vetoed it, and therefore
it’s vetoed from history, so you can’t even find it in history books with rare
exceptions. The same is true of the events of February 1971.  With diligent
search one can discover the facts, but they have efficiently been removed from
historical memory.


This continued. I won’t run through the whole record. The US vetoed a similar
Security Council Resolution in 1980, and voted against similar General
Assembly resolutions year after year, usually alone (with Israel),
occasionally picking up some other client state.  Recall that a unilateral US
rejection of a General Assembly resolution is, in effect, a double veto: the
resolution is inoperative, and it is vetoed from history, rarely even
reported.  Washington also blocked other negotiating efforts: from the
European and Arab states, the PLO, in fact any source. And so things continue
up until the Gulf War.


This process of preventing a peaceful diplomatic settlement has a name,
exactly the one that one would expect in the age of Orwell: it is called “the
peace process.”


The Gulf War changed things. At that point the rest of the world realized that
the US is making a very clear statement: the US is going to run this area of
the world by force, so get out the way. That was the understanding throughout
the world.  Europe backed off.  The Arab world was in total disarray.  Russia
was gone.  No one else counts.  The US immediately moved to the Madrid
negotiations, where it could unilaterally impose the US rejectionist framework
that it had protected in international isolation for 20 years.


That leads in various paths to Oslo, and the White House lawn on September 13,
1993, where the Declaration of Principles (DOP) was accepted with much fanfare
in what the press described as “a day of awe,” and so on.  The DOP merits a
close look.  It outlines clearly what is coming, with no ambiguity.  For what
it’s worth, I don’t say this in retrospect: I wrote an article about it at
once, which appeared in October 1993.  There have been few surprises since.


The DOP states that the “permanent status,”
the ultimate settlement down the road, is to be based on UN 242 and UN 242
alone. That’s very crucial. Anyone with any familiarity with Middle East
diplomacy knew on that day exactly what was coming. First, UN 242 means
“partial withdrawal, as the US determines”; the Kissingerian revision. And “UN
242 alone” means UN 242 and not the other UN resolutions which call for
Palestinian rights alongside Israel.  Recall that 242 itself is strictly
rejectionist.  The primary issue of diplomacy since the mid-1970s had been
whether a diplomatic settlement should be based on UN 242 alone, or UN 242
supplemented with the other resolutions that the US had vetoed at the Security
Council, and (effectively) vetoed at the General Assembly.  And the second
issue was whether 242 would have the original interpretation, or the operative
US interpretation after it rejected Sadat’s 1971 peace offer. In the DOP, the
US announced firmly and clearly that the permanent settlement would be based
on UN 242 alone, keeping to Washington’s unilateral rejectionism: anything
else is off the table.  And since this is a unilateral power play, 242 means
“as the US decides.” There was no ambiguity. One could choose to be deluded —
many did so.  But that was a choice, and an unwise one, particularly for the
victims.

So
matters continue.  One can’t really accuse Israel of violating the Oslo
agreements, except in detail. It continued to settle the occupied territories
and integrate them within Israel. That means you and I did it, because the US
funds it knowingly, and the US provides crucial diplomatic and military
support for these gross violations of international law.  The successive
agreements spell out the details.  They are worth a close look. I reviewed the
main one in print in 1996, if you happen to be interested. The details are
striking, including the purposeful humiliation built into them.  And they have
been fairly closely implemented.


Looking very closely, through a powerful microscope, we can discern a
difference between the two main political groupings in Israel (as in the US). 
There is, however, a noticeable difference in the US attitude towards them,
but the reason is a difference of style more than substance. So take the man
who was just appointed two or three days ago as the minister of defense, Ben
Eliezer—he’s described now as a “Labor hawk.” He was the housing minister
under Shimon Peres, hailed as the Labor dove. In February 1996, towards the
end of Peres’s term, the peak of “dovishness,” he announced an expanded
settlement program in the territories—I’ll read it because it’s essentially
was happening now.  This was February 1996. He said, “It is no secret that the
government’s stand, which will be our ultimate demand, is that as regards the
Jerusalem areas — Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Beitar, and Gush Etzion — they
will be an integral part of Israel’s future map.  There is no doubt about
this.” He also announced the building of what Israel calls Har Homa, that’s
the last section around Jerusalem, mostly expropriated from Arabs.  That was
put on hold under the Netanyahu government because of strong international and
domestic opposition.  But the Peres project was picked up again by Barak, and
proceeded with no protest.

A
look at the map will explain what this means.  The “Jerusalem area,” so
defined (as it had already been by Yitzhak Rabin, after Oslo), effectively
partitions the West Bank: the city of Ma’ale Adumim was developed primarily
for this purpose, and addition of other parts of the “Jerusalem areas” merely
firms up the effective partition.


Ben-Eliezer also explained in February 1996 that Labor “builds quietly,” with
the full protection of the Prime Minister, not ostentatiously like the rival
Likud coalition.  the Prime Minister can be Rabin, Peres, Barak (who broke all
records in construction)
or anyone else, but “we build quietly”:  that’s the crucial
phrase. And that is the reason why the US always prefers Labor to Likud. Labor
does it quietly. They’re the “doves.” Likud tends to be arrogant and noisy
about it, and that makes it harder to pretend that we don’t know what we’re
actually doing.  So Labor’s always preferable.


The reason traces back to different electoral constituencies. Labor is the
party of managers, professionals, intellectuals—generally the more secular and
Westernized sectors who understand very well the norms of Western
hypocrisy—and are therefore easier to deal with, hence more admired in the
West.  The policies differ somewhat; as noted, Labor has often been more
aggressive in construction (and also military actions) than Likud, sometimes
the reverse, but that is secondary.


Without going into the details, you’ll notice that in all of the current
discussion about the remarkable negotiations and the “forthcoming” and
“generous concessions” of Clinton and Barak, there are some notable
omissions.  One is maps. Try finding a map in one of the US newspapers
describing what’s happening.  Well, the reason there aren’t any maps, I
suppose, is because what’s being implemented under the Camp David proposal,
and Clinton’s last plan and Barak’s plan, is pretty much what Ben Eliezer
described.   The places I mentioned are pretty much those being incorporated
within Israel, along with others.  A second crucial omission is that there
cannot be “generous concessions” because there cannot be territorial
concessions at all, any more than when Russia withdrew from Afghanistan or
Germany from occupied France.


What’s called “Jerusalem” extends extensively in all directions, separating
Ramallah to the north from Bethlehem to the south, and effectively
partitioning the West Bank.  Ma’ale Adumim is called in the US press “a
neighborhood of Jerusalem”; in fact, it is a city constructed by the US and
Israel, primarily during the Oslo period, well to the east of Jerusalem.  Its
planned borders are supposed to reach to a few kilometers from Jericho. 
Jericho itself is now surrounded by a seven-foot deep trench to prevent people
from getting in and out—and the same is planned for other cities.  That means
that the “Jerusalem” salient effectively bisects the West Bank, separating the
Palestinian sections into two enclaves; and the whole Palestinian region is
separated from the traditional center of Palestinian life in Jerusalem (now
vastly expanded, with Israeli settlement only).  There’s another salient to
the North, which effectively separates the northern and central regions. 
Discussion of Gaza is vague, but judging by settlement and development
patters, something similar is probably planned.  Remember that all the
settlements are within vast infrastructure projects designed to integrate them
within Israel and remove West Bank Palestinians from sight, contained within
their enclaves.


These are the forthcoming and generous concessions. 
They’re well understood.  I’ll just end with the comment by one of the leading
Israeli doves, Shlomo Ben-Ami, who was the chief negotiator under Barak and is
indeed a Labor dove—pretty much at the extreme.  In an academic book written
in 1998 in Hebrew, just before he entered the government, he pointed out,
perfectly accurately, that the goal of the Oslo negotiations is to establish a
situation of “permanent neocolonial dependency” for the occupied territories. 
In Israel, it’s commonly described as a Bantustan solution—if you think about
South African policy, it’s similar in essentials.


It’s worth noting that among the leading supporters of this solution have been
Israeli industrialists.  About ten years ago, before the Oslo agreement, they
were calling for a Palestinian state of roughly this kind—and for quite good
reasons.  For them, a permanent neocolonial dependency makes a lot of sense.
Kind of like the US and Mexico or the US and El Salvador, with maquiladoras,
assembly plants, along the border on the Palestinians side.  This offers very
cheap labor and terrible conditions, and there is no need to worry about
pollution and other annoying constraints on profit making.  And the people
don’t have to be brought into Israel, always dangerous.  Who knows?  Some of
those derided as “beautiful souls” might see the way they are treated and call
for minimally decent working conditions and wages.  It is far better for them
to be across the border, in their own “state,” like Transkei.  Not only does
that relieve the threat of protection of human rights and improve profits, but
it is also a useful weapon against the Israeli working class.  It offers ways
to undermine their wages and benefits.  And furthermore it offers means to
break strikes, a device common

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