Global Research, September 26, 2007
Text of a speech delivered September 20, 2007
Editor’s Note: Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming war with Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States at an American University symposium on Sept. 20.
Below is an edited transcript of Ellsberg’s remarkable speech.
I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.
If there’s another 9/11 under this regime … it means that they switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth.
Will there be anything left for NSA to increase its surveillance of us? … They may be to the limit of their technical capability now, or they may not. But if they’re not now they will be after another 9/11.
And I would say after the Iranian retaliation to an American attack on Iran, you will then see an increased attack on Iran – an escalation – which will be also accompanied by a total suppression of dissent in this country, including detention camps.
It’s a little hard for me to distinguish the two contingencies; they could come together. Another 9/11 or an Iranian attack in which Iran’s reaction against Israel, against our shipping, against our troops in Iraq above all, possibly in this country, will justify the full panoply of measures that have been prepared now, legitimized, and to some extent written into law. …
This is an unusual gang, even for Republicans. [But] I think that the successors to this regime are not likely to roll back the assault on the Constitution. They will take advantage of it, they will exploit it.
punditman says...Daniel Ellseberg speaks truth to power.
On Monday afternoon, Congressman Kucinich took a significant lead in the ABC online poll: Who won the Democratic debate? About the time that he took that lead, ABC removed the poll from its prominent position on the ABC website. Then a new poll suddenly went up, "Who is winning the Democratic debate?"
Those events could be seen as technical glitches, but there was more to come. Kucinich took the lead in the second poll, also, and that poll, too, was dropped. ABC also "forgot" to announce the results (Kucinich tied with Sen. Hillary Clinton as the winner), and news about the poll is nowhere to be seen on the ABC website. Kucinich was also cut out of a group photo of all the candidates in the debate.
punditman says: The media deliverately slanting things? Imagine my shock!
Naïve Americans who think they live in a free society should watch the video filmed by students at a John Kerry speech September 17, Constitution Day, at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
At the conclusion of Kerry’s speech, Andrew Meyer, a 21-year old journalism student was selected by Senator Kerry to ask a question. Meyer held up a copy of BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast’s book, Armed Madhouse, and asked if Kerry was aware that Palast’s investigations determined that Kerry had actually won the election. Why, Meyer asked, had Kerry conceded the election so quickly when there were so many obvious examples of vote fraud? Why, Meyer, went on to ask, was Kerry refusing to consider Bush’s impeachment when Bush was about to initiate another act of military aggression, this time against Iran?
At this point the public’s protectors—the police—decided that Meyer had said too much. They grabbed Meyer and began dragging him off. Meyer said repeatedly, “I have done nothing wrong,” which under our laws he had not. He threatened no one and assaulted no one.
punditman says: More on this most disturbing incident. Again, the video can be found here.
The rights of citizens in so-called democracies are being trampled upon. That means you Bubba! It is happening people, in the US, in Canada, the UK...are we just going to sit back and let it happen? If so, one day we will have only ourselves to blame.
by Donna Saggia
Alarm bells should be ringing louder than ever in progressive circles as Congress, not content with forfeiting its powers to the unitary executive, has now decided to let the military plan foreign policy. Bush’s interminable and ubiquitous “war on terror” has achieved in six years what almost half a century of the “communist scare” could not: the military is becoming the “fourth branch” of government in America.
punditman says...See my similarly themed article here:
Global Research, September 23, 2007
NATO bombs killed at least 45 civilians in Afghanistan the other day. If you get your news from the front pages of the U.S. mainstream media, you wouldn't know it. The New York Times did run news from Afghanistan on its front page the next day — a rather ghoulish piece about Muslims refusing to give Taliban suicide bombers a religious burial, because suicide bombing is morally reprehensible. And so it is.
But what about pushing a button in an airplane to drop bombs that fall on people's homes? Not so reprehensible, apparently. The Times buried its report on the slaughter in Helmand province back on an inside page, as did the Washington Post. The LA Times relegated to a "World in Brief" notice.
If you take the time to read those back-page articles, they all tell you that NATO faces a dilemma: not a moral dilemma — when Westerners kill Afghans, the moral issue does not seem to arise — but a strategic dilemma. On the one hand, "our boys" have to kill Taliban. That's a given. On the other hand, if we kill too many civilians in the process, we'll alienate the locals and send them over to the Taliban side. All the mainstream reports agree that the string of recent bombings, killing sizeable numbers of civilians, is already creating a growing problem for NATO's effort to win hearts and minds.
So what's a poor NATO commander to do? American General Dan McNeill, who took control of all NATO forces in Afghanistan this spring, seems to have an answer: Bombs away, and let hearts and minds fall where they may. The spike in civilian deaths from NATO bombs is no coincidence. It reflects a major change in strategy, which has gone totally unreported in the American media.
punditman says: Question: Your country (ie: Canada, US, Britain), is engaged in a major counter-insurgency war in one of the poorest countries on earth. Civilians are dying regularly as a result of the stepped-up air war. As a citizen, do you think that your mainstream media outlets should put this on the front pages and lead items on broadcasts? If they did (rather than bury these reports or ignore them altogether), what do you think the public response to the 'noble' mission would be?
This old video bears repeating considering the increased saber rattling lately.
The Independent on Sunday
Have we learnt nothing from the shameful and shameless run-up to the invasion of Iraq? Then, Mohammed ElBaradei, the Nobel prize-winning Egyptian head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, quietly but firmly said that as far as he and his UN agency were concerned, there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons or the materials to make them.
His conclusion was simply swept aside as the US and the British tore into the UN inspector, Hans Blix, determined to show that their worst warnings about Saddam were based on fact. ElBaradei and Blix proved right in their denial. Jack Straw and the hapless (in this case) Colin Powell were wrong.
So here we are, nearly five years later, and exactly the same is happening over Iran. Once again the UN process of inspection is in the firing line. Once again it is the figure of ElBaradei being roundly abused and told, more or less openly by the US and British, that his work is worthless, his opinions are of no consequence and that his proper place is sitting quietly by while the European Union and the UN Security Council got on with punishing Iran through sanctions.
And what has the poor man done to deserve this abuse? He had simply concluded that, while there was evidence that Iran had hidden some of its nuclear activities from the Agency, there was no firm evidence that it was in fact developing nuclear weapons or diverting materials from its civilian nuclear programme.
punditman says: Deja Vu, anyone?
What’s up with all the camouflage folks? Everywhere I go, it is camouflage pants, skirts, caps, tops, backpacks, jackets, headbands, snow suits and dog leashes. Grandmas, school children, middle aged pot bellies--name a demographic--and you will see them sporting their earthy tones.
You know your country is at war when the most popular fashion statement around is combat apparel. Does this mean that everyone who wears camouflage supports Canada’s mission in Afghanistan? I doubt it. The latest polls certainly suggest otherwise. So as a fashion statement (or is that “fascist” statement?), you are, ah, trying to blend in with the plastic foliage in the shopping mall?
I don’t get it.
After all, the idea of camouflage is to make one’s self the same as the surrounding environment. Then again, at this rate, the growing sea of green, brown, tan, grey and black splotches may soon turn out to be weirdly analogous to the garb once worn by crowds at Grateful Dead concerts: everyone wore tie-dye and everyone blended in. But that didn't make everyone a hippie—especially so-called “Deadhead” Ann Coulter.
Wearing camouflage used to signify one of two things: the person was either in the armed forces or was setting out on a different sort of mission that involved drinking tons of beer and killing furry creatures in a forest somewhere. But nowadays, the whole idea of hunting (humans or animals, that is), has been demoted by those who dress like G.I. Joe just because they are out hunting for a latte or an Ipod.
Grow a brain, people. This is all about the militarization of our culture.
This past summer I considered buying a new Wilson tennis racquet to replace my old “Hyper Hammer 5.2” frame. But when I went shopping I was informed that the latest incarnation of my old racquet is now called the "Surge.” Is it just coincidence that this corporate branding coincided with the name of Bush’s plan to increase the number of American troops deployed to the Iraq War? I think not. I found a new version of my old racquet online. Somehow it sounds more benign.
Along with camouflage, Canada is now beset by an overabundance of “Support Our Troops” ribbons, t-shirts, bracelets and mugs. You can’t go anywhere without seeing the telltale yellow ribbon on cars. Come to think of it, some are camouflaged. It is high time that the elephant in the room is asked the obvious question that polite Canadians would rather avoid: What does “Support Our Troops” really mean?
Those who decorate their vehicles thusly would have us believe that the decals are politically neutral symbols of support for soldiers overseas. This is nonsense and they know it. The intended audience are those of us who forego yellow ribbons. If you think about it, the phrase “Support Our Troops” is sort of bossy, like a drill sargent’s snarl. This is known in grammatical circles as the “imperative mood.” Therefore the directive to “Support Our Troops” comes off like an order, but with a somewhat fuzzy meaning: What exactly am I supposed to do? Buy a ribbon, I guess.
Yet the context is obvious. This is all about the Afghan War and nothing else. The yellow ribbon campaign has succeeded in convincing at least eighteen Canadian municipal and local governments to affix the decals to police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, buses and other municipal vehicles. Since this is all public property, this is a divisive move, not an inclusive one. Why this cause, but no others? Why not “Support Our Cancer Patients” or “Support Our Single Moms”? Are they less worthy?
Pretending the yellow ribbon is neutral means pretending that everyone supports the troops. But if you stop to think about it, this is neither true nor possible. One can not “support the troops” but not their mission because that is a logical inconsistency. If you want to see the combat mission ended and Canada's soldiers brought home as soon as possible, then you really do not support them because a good part of their current mission is to kill or be killed.
For the record, I have no grand scheme, nor any simple answers to end the latest Afghan quagmire. In fact, nobody does, including those who obediently support military missions that have no exit strategy.
One can debate the need for security first as a means to development and stability, versus the need for development as a means to security, but what should be obvious is that occupation and counter-insurgency have terrible track records historically. As noted in the Toronto Star recently, according to Thomas Johnson, professor of national security at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, “Since World War II, is there one successful counter-insurgency? The answer is none. This war will never be won militarily.”
For this reason, Canadian Pulitzer Prize-winning photo journalist Paul Watson wants to ask a few questions of his old high school friend, Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
"I would beg him, as a former friend and someone who has access to intelligence that I don't, to explain to me why we're putting soldiers' lives on the line and asking them to kill civilians to defend themselves when all the military people I've spoken to admit that there is no military solution in Afghanistan," said Watson.
Actually, efforts to negotiate by bringing in all sides— various Pashtun tribal leaders, Taliban and other insurgent groups, and the government in Kabul, as well as in Islamabad—are ongoing. In fact, according to The Nation, a major English-language newspaper in Pakistan, secret talks began there in August between U.S. officials and the Taliban.
Oddly enough, the two sides have at least one thing in common: both are split along fractious lines. The renewed Taliban is divided between moderates and extremists, while the Bush administration appears to be divided on whether or not to launch a preemptive strike against Iran.
One may well ask: where should Canada’s foreign policy priorities be right now? Tied down in Afghanistan, begging NATO allies for more help in what looks more and more like an intractable military stalemate? Or, working through diplomatic channels to try to prevent a global conflagration between the US and Iran that could even go nuclear?
It’s time to ditch the camouflage and put on your thinking caps.
punditman says: I want to know why most of these young Democrats just sat there and stared while this guy was hauled away for merely asking questions. Some actually cheered!
I am more concerned about the fact that no one seemed to care that the police unlawfully arrested and subdued the guy than the fact that he was unlawfully arrested and subdued.
Canada's slow march down the road of perdition to authoritarianism and enabled abuse of power continues unabetted.
This blogger aims to "throw the book" at the abusers.
Alison Bodine, from Broomfield, Colorado, arrived at the Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, B.C., on her way to give of her time further to an anti-war group based in B.C. called Mobilization Against War and Occupation.
All she carried in her car were anti-war pamphlets and a book of Ansel Adams photos
Nothing out of the ordinary so far. But here is the clincher: Alison Bodine was detained by Canadian immigration officials for two days, her car and possessions confiscated.
Well, Canadian custom agents told Alison Bodine that there is a Canadian-wide arrest warrant issued against her.
She spent the night of 09/13/2007 in a jail in Surrey and then was transferred to a holding cell at Vancouver International Airport before being released the night of 09/14/2007.
She was never shown proof of a Canada-wide arrest warrant, nor was she told what were the charges against her. All she was told is that she will have an "admissibility" hearing on this day of 09/17/2007 at the immigration offices.
Even worse: When she returned to claim her car and possessions, Canadian immigration and customs agents arrested her again with no intention of releasing her before her September 17th hearing. After a significant impromptu rally and her participating in radio interviews from jail, she was released anew.
Interestingly, as of 4:30 PM today, Alison Bodine is not on the RCMP's Wanted list, a list which the RCMP updates regularly, especially with regards to Canada-wide warrants. I checked this myself - you may do the same here. There is neither any mention of an Alison Bodine having been captured or taken in custody, an announcement-update the RCMP performs whenever a "wanted" person is arrested.
No Alison Bodine on the list at all, therefore no Canadian-wide arrest warrant issued against her according to the RCMP!
Ergo: Canadian immigration and customs agents lied in order to justify the wrongful and illegal arrest and detention of Alison Bodine.
Here is Article 2 of the Bill of Rights in the Canadian constitution (emphasis mine):
Every law of Canada shall, unless it is expressly declared by an Act of the Parliament of Canada that it shall operate notwithstanding the Canadian Bill of Rights, be so construed and applied as not to abrogate, abridge or infringe or to authorize the abrogation, abridgment or infringement of any of the rights or freedoms herein recognized and declared, and in particular, no law of Canada shall be construed or applied so as toClearly, the Canadian immigration and custom agents infringed on the human rights of Alison Bodine by:
(a) authorize or effect the arbitrary detention, imprisonment or exile of any person;
(b) impose or authorize the imposition of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment;
(c) deprive a person who has been arrested or detained(i) of the right to be informed promptly of the reason for his arrest or detention,(d) authorize a court, tribunal, commission, board or other authority to compel a person to give evidence if he is denied counsel, protection against self crimination or other constitutional safeguards;
(ii) of the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay, or
(iii) of the remedy by way of habeas corpus for the determination of the validity of his detention and for his release if the detention is not lawful;
(e) deprive a person of the right to a fair hearing in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice for the determination of his rights and obligations;
(f) deprive a person charged with a criminal offence of the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, or of the right to reasonable bail without just cause; or
(g) deprive a person of the right to the assistance of an interpreter in any proceedings in which he is involved or in which he is a party or a witness, before a court, commission, board or other tribunal, if he does not understand or speak the language in which such proceedings are conducted.
A) lying about a Canada-wide arrest warrant issued against her in order to arrest and detain her;
B) therefore by performing an illegal "arrest without a warrant", since they willfully lied to justify such an arrest, in clear contravention of the Canadian Criminal Code (specifically, Part XVI, Article 495):
495. (1) A peace officer may arrest without warrantInterestingly, immigration and custom agents must follow the same laws and procedures as peace officers described in the Criminal Code (Customs Act: Part VI.1, Article 163.5). Hence, while they have the power to detain, they must still do so according to the Criminal Code where criminal offenses are concerned - which they clearly did not;
(a) a person who has committed an indictable offence or who, on reasonable grounds, he believes has committed or is about to commit an indictable offence;
(b) a person whom he finds committing a criminal offence; or
(c) a person in respect of whom he has reasonable grounds to believe that a warrant of arrest or committal, in any form set out in Part XXVIII in relation thereto, is in force within the territorial jurisdiction in which the person is found.
C) confiscating her possessions against the provisions of the Criminal Code (either under Part II.1, Article 83.08 or XII.2, Article 462.32), as well as against the Customs Act (Part VI, Article 110);
D) refusing to return her property (against Part VI, Article 117 of the Customs Act);
E) arresting her again without any justifiable or probable cause, again in contravention of the Criminal Code and the Customs Act;
and F) consequently, by having abused existing laws in order to effect the arbitrary arrest and detention of Alison Bodine, in addition to deprive her of the right to be informed promptly of the reason for her arrest or detention, and of the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay, all in contravention to Article 2 of the Bill of Rights.
In short: the Canada immigration and customs agents broke the Law.
But why, exactly, do this?
Dixit Alison Bodine: "This was a bit of a test, to see what happens when they arrest someone who isn't agreeing with their current foreign policy."
I agree completely.
What we do have here indeed is a clear instance whereby our Laws have been abused in order to essentially prevent/repress dissent.
So, here are my questions:
i) Did the custom agents acted on their own initiative?Regardless of the answers, these officers must be fired, at the very least, and Alison Bodine must be awarded reparations from the Canadian government.
ii) Were they instead instructed by superiors?
iii) Where does the buck stops ultimately?
Furthermore, the people ultimately responsible for this must resign, again at the very least.
And last, but not least, I call on Prime Minister Harper to make a clear statement to Canadians and all potential visitors from the U.S. and elsewhere, that never again will our laws be so abused in order to perform actions which are tantamount to mendacious authoritarian repression tactics of not only Article 2 of the Bill of Rights, but also of Article 1 (emphasis mine):
It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,I refuse to accept the use of Stalinist/Gestapo-like tactics by either border agents, police officers or security agency agents. Any and all such actions must be met with condemnation, recrimination and contempt. Furthermore, I expect and demand that any and all perpetrators of such abuses of power must face the consequences of their reprehensible actions and pay the price - whether by being criminally charged, by being obligated to confer monetary compensation and/or by losing their employment.
(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
(b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;
(c) freedom of religion;
(d) freedom of speech;
(e) freedom of assembly and association; and
(f) freedom of the press.
This is where I stand.
Where do you?
(h/t to Canadian Cynic and Pale)
Update: 09/18/2007 - Further precisions and corrections with regards to the exact chain of events which lead to Alison Bodine's illegal arrest and detention. Via Peace, Earth and Justice News (h/t again to Pale):
Three days prior, on Monday Sept 10th, Alison was harassed by Canadian Border Guards while traveling from the US into Canada after border officials searched her vehicle, which contained various political materials and progressive newspapers. At that time however she was granted legal entry into Canada. After her political materials and belongings were seized at the border on Monday Sept 10th, she returned to claim them on Thursday Sept 13th as she was returning to the US. At the border she was handcuffed and told she was under arrest, and that a warrant had been issued for her arrest in Canada.So, her car was not initially seized, but only the harmless anti-war literature that she carried. Furthermore, she was actually allowed entry initially and only when she returned at the border crossing to retrieve her possessions was she illegally arrested and detained.
Hence, although she was not arrested twice, it doesn't change the fact that she was nevertheless deprived of her basic human rights and that the border agents broke the law (as I outlined above already).
Further update on Alison Bodine's immigration hearing: it was supposed to be on the 14, then it was rescheduled on the 17th. This one has been cancelled as well.
Why do you think? Laws of the Criminal Code and the Customs Act were clearly broken here - it would appear that more time is required for those law-breaking, abusive incompetents to either come up with bogus justifications, or delay such an hearing in the hope that Alison Bodine will simply give up and never seek to enter Canada again.
More than ever, all those involved in Alison Bodine's illegal arrest and detention, whether directly or throughout the "chain of command", must be fired at the very least.
Furthermore, the repeated cancellations and reschedulings of her immigration "admissibility" hearing are in clear violation of Article 2 of the Bill of Rights.
Such base tactics on the part of Immigration Canada are outrageous and unacceptable.
Then again, should we be surprised by this when abusive thugs with badges are implicated in a wrongful and unlawful incident of arrest and detention?
In the meantime, Alison Bodine remains in Limbo, without her U.S. passport and driver's license.
punditman says: Sally says: “And, let’s face it, if the mothers ruled the world, there would be no goddam wars in the first place.”
The FOX network, which broadcast the awards show, censored Field, near the end, supposedly to delete an expletive. Canada's CTV did not.
Global Research, September 16, 2007
In the most massive racial profiling since Japanese-Americans were herded into detention camps in World War II, the Bush administration after 9/11 required 80,000 Arab and Muslim foreign nationals living here to be photographed, fingerprinted and subjected to “special registration,” The Nation magazine said. The publication reports an additional 8,000 foreign nationals were sought out by the FBI for interviews and more than 5,000 foreign nationals were put in “preventive detention” --- a total of 93,000 people made to register, subjected to interview, or jailed.
“Yet as of September, 2007, not one of these people stands convicted of a terrorist crime,” says an article titled, “Why We’re Losing The War on Terror.” Reading the data it presents, though, and examining other reliable sources, raises the question of whether the “terrorist threat” to USA isn’t wildly exaggerated or an outright fabrication. Here’s why:
The above-cited pattern of dragnet arrests without trials or convictions is being repeated across the Middle East with like results. The Bush regime is literally framing thousands of innocent men and boys to make it appear they constitute a “terrorist” threat to America. Yes, boys, some as young as eight.
The Presidential Library network is overseen by the Office of Presidential Libraries, a branch of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). These repositories preserve and make publicly available, papers, records, and other historical materials of U.S. Presidents dating back to Herbert Hoover.
In 1939, President Roosevelt donated his personal and Presidential papers to the federal government and the Presidential library system formally began. Previously, many Presidential papers and records had been lost, destroyed, sold, or ruined. Thus Roosevelt sought to establish a public repository to preserve the evidence of each Presidency for posterity. Congress legislated this policy and passed the Presidential Libraries Act in 1955, which was amended in 1986.
Currently there are twelve Presidential Libraries. Assets include personal papers and historical materials donated by people associated with the President. These include cabinet officials, envoys, political party associates, family and friends. The most important texts are those created by the President and his staff during the course of his tenure.
One day, George Dubya will have his very own library that pays homage to his legacy. Indeed plans are already afoot!
Punditman thought it would be interesting to speculate on the titles and authors of some of these texts. This is where you come in, dear reader. Feel free to submit new, creative titles and/or ideas for consideration in the comments section below or by sending an email to: planetway [at] netscape.net
Now, here is the Punditman starter list:
THE GEORGE W. BUSH PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY ARCHIVE
1. How To Win Friends and Steal Elections
by Chad Hanging
2. The Nine Hundred And Eleven Years War
by Osama bin Laden (forward by Richard Pearle)
3. The Dry Drunk’s Guide To World Domination: A 12-Step Program
by The Project For A New American Catastrophe (PNAC)
4. Some Of My Best Friends Were Ragheads
by Donald “Guns” Dumsfeld
5. Dispatches From Hell: My Nine Hundred And Eleven Tours in Iraq
by G.I. Joe
6. The Seven Secrets Of A Highly Susceptible Public
by Karl Rove
7. Ain’t Ready To Make Nice
by Dick Zee Cheney
8. How We All Made a Killing off Creative Destruction and Destructive Creationism
by The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy
9. Vietnam Revisited: Why The War That I Avoided Should Never Have Ended
by George W. Bush
10. The Pet Goat
(Revised Edition For Slow Readers)
NEW YORK Six years after the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S., it seems the media still have some educational work to do. A new CBS/New York Times poll reveals that even today, 1 in 3 Americans believe that "Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon."
This notion was thoroughly debunked by official sources, including those in the White House, years ago, but the myth endures. Polls have shown that belief in this untruth was a prime component in support for the attack on Iraq.
Four in 10 Republicans still hold this view, compared with 32% of Independents and 27% of Democrats.
The poll of 1,035 adults was taken Sept. 4 to 8.
punditman says: Help me with this, my American friends. This never ceases to amaze me: how can people be so stupid? I hope they don't vote!
Bin Laden's latest video throws new light on a murky subject
Six years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the entity known as al-Qaeda remains largely a mystery: its intent, its ideology, its leadership, and its inner workings are all largely unknown to the American people. Experts study them and interpret the arcane meanings of their utterances in light of Koranic verses. The president of the United States and his allies aver that they hate us because we're so free, so prosperous, so utterly fabulous – yet still al-Qaeda is, at least in the popular mind, an army of shadows, in the sense that they don't seem quite real. The one major military operation undertaken by them, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, is practically the only evidence we have of their existence as an organized network, and, in recent years, it has become fashionable to describe Osama bin Laden as a purely symbolic figure, one who inspires actions by others but is in no position to direct the action.
Now, however, we have a new video featuring the terrorist leader, released just a few days ago, and, with it, a new evaluation of al-Qaeda and its leader as being much more active, and organized, than previously thought. This piece in the Washington Post portrays a revived organization that didn't take all that long to recover from the blows directed against it in Afghanistan and is today prospering under the leadership of a new layer of experienced and hardened cadre who have replaced those captured and killed. Now we are being told that al-Qaeda is more than just a symbolic entity, that the network that murdered almost 3,000 Americans on that bloody day six years ago is reestablishing itself, and that this reconstituted incarnation of pure evil is rearing its head once again to wreak destruction in new ways.
The message: be afraid, be very afraid.
The all-pervasive atmosphere of fear that spread, like a poisonous fog, from one end of the civilized world to the other in the wake of the 9/11 attacks is reasserting itself, and this new jolt of terror couldn't have come at a better time for our rulers – as they ratchet up the war propaganda and get ready to strike at Iran, Syria, and anyone else who dares defy them. This new assault on our reason – and that's what it is, make no mistake about it – comes at a plastic juncture in our political life, when Americans are getting ready to change their leadership and it looks like the other party might get a chance in power. The plasticity of this moment is further emphasized by the long-touted "report" of Gen. David Petraeus, the War Party's messiah, who is primed to tell us we're on the verge of "victory" in Iraq, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. The massive antiwar sentiment that allowed the Democrats to take Capitol Hill is stalled, and the War Party – in spite of being discredited by its lies and its crimes – is back, with a vengeance.
At this dramatic turning point, bin Laden reappears with a half-hour long tape, the transcript of which can be found here, and there is something very odd about it, in that it reads like a political polemic that might have been written by an American. It cites Noam Chomsky, as well as the Koran, and excoriates "the neoconservatives" by name, including Richard Perle. There are two mentions of the neocons, and the first is very strange.
punditman says: Many questions remain surrounding the symbiotic relationship between al-Qaeda and the neo conservative cabal in Washington, both of whom benefit from permanent war.
Sep. 10, 2007 | As war cheerleaders and their enablers lay the groundwork for the glorious testimony of Gen. Petraeus, it is hard to recall a day so suffuse with war propaganda. Reviewing just a few selected samples illustrates how fact-free is the campaign to prolong this war. And the activities of today provide a very vivid guide for identifying those most responsible for launching this war and enabling its endless continuation, and for understanding how they behave.
Let us begin with left-wing, liberal war opponent Michael O'Hanlon, who today finds a home to write about the war in National Review -- long renown for publishing the works of anti-war liberals like O'Hanlon -- alongside Fred Kagan, Mark Steyn, Byron York and John Boehner. O'Hanlon, as usual, predicates his argument on the homage he pays to Gen. Petraeus, declaring in the first sentence: "General Petraeus is a straight shooter who does not and will not cook the books."
Citing his fellow surge advocate, NYT "reporter" Michael Gordon (who, in turn, featured O'Hanlon as his principal "expert" in his pro-war front page article this weekend), O'Hanlon argues:
Petraeus will argue that the overall situation has improved substantially this year. He will be right to do so, based on virtually any primary-source data I have seen.
Identically, John McCain and Joe Lieberman said in a Wall St. Journal Op-Ed today that it is "undeniable" that "facts on the ground in Iraq have improved."
Perhaps O'Hanlon, McCain and Lieberman have not "seen" this "primary-source data":
Seven out of 10 Iraqis believe the U.S. troop buildup in Baghdad and Anbar province has made security worse in those areas, and nearly as many say their own lives are going badly, according to a new poll conducted by ABC News, the British Broadcasting Corp., and the Japanese broadcaster NHK.
The poll reveals a disconnect between U.S. commanders' view of a steadily improving situation in Iraq and a bleaker outlook among Iraqis. . . . Fewer than one-quarter of Iraqis report that things in Iraq are going well, down from 35 percent in March, while the number of people who expect conditions to improve in the next year has declined precipitously.
punditman says: Where would Bush be without these war enablers?
Why the hubbub over a B-52 taking off from a B-52 base in Minot, North Dakota and subsequently landing at a B-52 base in Barksdale, Louisiana? That’s like getting excited if you see a postal worker in uniform walking out of a post office. And how does someone watching a B-52 land identify the cruise missiles as nukes? It just does not make sense.
So I called a old friend and retired B-52 pilot and asked him. What he told me offers one compelling case of circumstantial evidence. My buddy, let’s call him Jack D. Ripper, reminded me that the only times you put weapons on a plane is when they are on alert or if you are tasked to move the weapons to a specific site.
Then he told me something I had not heard before.
Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations. Gee, why would we want cruise missile nukes at Barksdale Air Force Base. Can’t imagine we would need to use them in Iraq. Why would we want to preposition nuclear weapons at a base conducting Middle East operations?
His final point was to observe that someone on the inside obviously leaked the info that the planes were carrying nukes. A B-52 landing at Barksdale is a non-event. A B-52 landing with nukes. That is something else.
Now maybe there is an innocent explanation for this? I can’t think of one. What is certain is that the pilots of this plane did not just make a last minute decision to strap on some nukes and take them for a joy ride. We need some tough questions and clear answers. What the hell is going on? Did someone at Barksdale try to indirectly warn the American people that the Bush Administration is staging nukes for Iran? I don’t know, but it is a question worth asking.
punditman says...Looks like they are definitely up to something.
Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Dick Cheney has ordered top Neo-Con media outlets, including Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, to unleash a PR blitz to sell a war with Iran from today, according to Barnett Rubin, the highly respected Afghanistan expert at New York University.
The New Yorker magazine reports that Rubin had a conversation with a member of a top neoconservative institution in Washington, who told him that "instructions" had been passed on from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day.
"It will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects, writes Rubin, "It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this—they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is “plenty.”
punditman says: Dick Cheney is certainly capable of this...watch the airwaves soon become awash in anti-Iranian propaganda. How many of the stupefied masses will lap it up this time?
The Sunday Times of London is reporting that the Pentagon has plans for three days of massive air strikes against 1,200 targets in Iran . Last week, Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center , told a meeting of The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal, that the military did not intend to carry out "pinprick strikes" against Iranian nuclear facilities. He said, "They're about taking out the entire Iranian military."
Bush has already set the wheels in motion. With Rovian timing, Alberto Gonzales' resignation was sandwiched between two Bush screeds - one aimed at ensuring Congress scares up $50 billion more for the occupation of Iraq , the other designed to scare us into supporting war on Iran . As Gonzales rides off into the sunset, the significant questions are who will take his place and how that choice will facilitate Bush's occupation of Iraq and attack on Iran .
One name that's been floated for Bush's third attorney general is Joe Lieberman, the "independent" senator from Connecticut . Lieberman, who advocates the use of military force against Iran , was the only person Bush quoted in his August 28 speech to the American Legion. Bush called Iran "the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism" and pledged to "confront Tehran 's murderous activities."
Look for the real propaganda campaign to begin shortly.