Thursday, November 26, 2015

Turkish Shootdown of Russian Warplane Fails To Stop Hollande Visit to Putin

French president François Hollande is in Moscow to try and get Vladimir “Yakov Bond” Putin into an actual (as opposed to mostly rhetorical) anti-ISIS alliance. This comes after a whirlwind of separate meetings by Hollande with U.S. boss Barack “DroneMan” Obama, UK prime minister David "Top Toff" Cameron, German chancellor Angela “The Iron Mouse” Merkel, and Italian prime minister Matteo "Who?" Renzi. All these hurried and urgent consultations have been instigated by the brazen ISIS (or Islamic State, IS, the crazed Islamic “caliphate” in large swaths of Iraq and Syria proclaimed by the terrorist group) attacks in Paris earlier this month, which slaughtered 130 people and wounded about 300, most young people in the prime of their lives mowed down at a rock concert.

According to NPR's Paris correspondent, Hollande's mission is to try and persuade Putin to bomb ONLY ISIS, and not any other groups fighting the murderous regime of Syrian tyrant Bashar “Barrel Bomb” al-Assad. (NPR is the U.S. government domestic radio propaganda network.)

Of course, Putin's position is that all the anti-regime rebels in Syria are “terrorists.”

Reminds me of the saying, “one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.” But really, that should be “one government's terrorist is another government's freedom fighter.”

As Russia is in Syria to prop up Assad, and so far has been dropping most of its bombs on what Western governments and media propagandists like to call the “moderate rebels,” (which is code for Those We Support, kind of, in a half-assed way), it seems unlikely that Putin will get on board with Hollande on that. But given that IS planted a bomb on a Russian airliner that blew up over the Sinai in Egypt a couple of weeks ago, the Russians are incentivized to increase targeting of IS in Syria, but not to the exclusion of other anti-Assad forces.

Spoiling Hollande's mission to Moscow may have been an ulterior motive of Turkey in shooting down the Russian jet bomber on November 24th, as the U.S. is leery of Russian military involvement in Syria to begin with, and Russia is on the U.S. Enemies List since the debacle of the Western takeover of Ukraine using fascist street thugs, which resulted in the country splitting into two and a civil war. But even if it was a factor, it clearly wasn't the main motive.

Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan actually told us what the reason was, in a speech he ranted just after the shootdown. While mentioning the guff about protecting Turkey's sovereignty, his main focus was, in his words, that “We are trying to protect our kin, our brethren.” Namely the Turkmen of Syria, who were the targets of Russian bombardment in the area where the Russian jet was downed and the pilot killed by Turkmen. [1]

By “ranted” I mean Erdoğan was exclaimed loudly and angrily.

It's been reported that Turkish media has been beating the drums for awhile now about Russian attacks on Turkmen rebels in Syria. So Erdoğan would have felt pressure from that- not that he needed any. Also, given the repression of critical media in Turkey, it is safe to assume that Turkish media now reflects Erdoğan's attitude.

I should pause here to address the Manicheans out there, who always see the world in black and white, and insist that everyone is on one side or the other, and if you're not on their side, and don't reliably parrot their line-of-the-day, you're on the Enemy's side and are a traitor.
I am independent. This allows me to be morally objective and intellectually honest, unlike members of a system who are at best biased and partially blind and at worst cynical, rank propagandists. I'm not “on Russia's side.” I'm describing events objectively. My position is based on human morality. The Assad regime is a loathsome, murderous dictatorship. Therefore it is evil that Russia is propping it up, now with direct violence. At the same time, the “defending Turkish territory” line is patently bogus as a justification for shooting down the Russian plane. But I'm not particularly aggrieved by it either. The mother of the dead Russian pilot may properly be aggrieved, but I have no particular reason to be.

By the same moral logic, I don't feel any sorrow or loss for the deaths of U.S. pilots who bombed Vietnam. They aren't “my” pilots. As far as them being “fellow Americans,” my “membership” in this alleged fellowship hasn't prevented my “fellow Americans” in the various U.S. secret police and police agencies from persecuting me my entire adult life. So they needn't wave their flag- their piece of colored cloth- in my face and expect a Pavlovian response of obedience and support for their relentless drive for power over others, all over the world.

Ditto to the fervid nationalists who demand “loyalty.” (These same super-duper patriots however refuse to grant even legitimacy, much less loyalty, to any U.S. president who isn't a Republican. So maybe they should shut up, for a change, about how “patriotic” they are. That also goes for the lapel-flag-wearing loudmouths who work for the Australian Rupert Murdoch.)

In sum, for me, if a Russian warplane gets shot down by Turkey while bombing rebels against the Assad tyranny, that's tough luck for the Russians.

But if it's tough luck for Russia, it's even tougher luck for the Turkmen in Syria. BBC reports furious Syrian army artillery bombardment of the hill where the Russian jet crashed, and greatly-stepped-up Russian aerial bombardment of the area. Rather ironic, as Erdoğan wanted to stop Russian attacks on his “kin.” Looks like the shootdown backfired, at least in the immediate term.

Now let's expose the sham of this alleged egregious violation of Turkish sovereignty.

The piece of Turkish territory where the putative incursion by the Russian jet occurred is Hayat province. It is a spit of land that juts due south from the underbelly of Turkey directly into Syria.

Syria claims the land as its own, and shows it on maps as part of Syria. Thus if the Russians were working from such maps, they may well have believed they were over Syrian territory when (if) they overflew Turkey.

Here's a map of Turkey. The Turkish province in question, Hayat, is that piece of territory on the south side (the bottom) of Turkey, right in the middle. See how it juts down into Syria, with the Mediterranean Sea to the west (left) of it?

This strip of land, as best as I can tell from maps, is only about 25.5 kilometers (14,6 miles) wide, between Syrian territory and the Mediterranean. A jet cruising for ground targets to attack would be traveling perhaps 400-500 mph (miles per hour), or 644-805 kph (kilometers per hour). Let's give it to the Turks and say the Russian plane was traveling at half its top speed. At 400 mph (644 kph), the Russian jet would have passed over Turkish territory in a little over two minutes. Okay, bend over backwards for Turkey. Maybe the Russians were flying at only 300 mph (483 kph). That would take them three minutes to pass over Turkish land. (Although Erdoğan apparently considers all areas inhabited by ethnic Turks as Turkish Land.) [2]

But Turkey insists, and anonymous-as-usual U.S. “officials” “confirm,” that the Turkish pilots radioed TEN warnings (or “at least ten” in some tellings) to the Russian jet in just FIVE minutes.

Well, that Russian jet wasn't even over Turkish territory for five minutes.

No matter. Western “officials” and media propagandists have a simple way to finesse that. Just don't explain this to anyone! Problem solved!

We were told of a radar map the Turkish Ministry of “Defense” issued. For some reason it isn't out there widely. Here it is as reproduced by CBS “News,” one of the big U.S. TV networks, which figures few people would do what I do and carefully analyze bits and pieces of disparate information from different sources, put it all together, and see the obvious: 

The solid blue line is the Turkish border. “SURIYE” is Syria in Turkish. The red line with dots is the flight path of the doomed Russian jet. Giris and cikis are “entrance “ and “exit,” so the jet was traveling from east to west across the bit of Turkish ground. Gray on the left is the Mediterranean. I don't know what the green box to the left of the exit point is.

But I actually misled you. The distance I cited before is north of the path the Turks claimed for the Russian jet. On the map of Turkey, that tiny little southern tip of Turkey is too small to see. That is a much shorter distance. According to the leading German publication Der Spiegel, if the Russian plane indeed violated Turkish airspace, it was for 3 seconds.[3] So even my previous calculations are far too generous to the Turkish-U.S.-Western-stooges' version of reality.

The surviving Russian navigator says, according to the Russians, that their plane didn't overfly Syria. But let's assume that it did. In any event, it is hardly standard protocol, as Erdoğan claiims, to shoot down any warplane the instant it “violates” your airspace. (What is that, like being raped?) The Russian plane wasn't bombing Turkey.

Syria has shelled Turkey, killing Turkish citizens, and Turkey took it lying down. Syria shot down a Turkish air force jet- Turkey did nothing. So this aggressiveness should be put in that context. Instead the New York Times put it in a context of repeatedly Turkish complaints about- Russia bombing Turkmen in Syria. Oh, and about the centuries-old power competition in the region between the Ottoman empire and Russia. (That would be TSARIST Russia, but Western propagandists don't like to remind people about that when attacking Russia, because they romanticize that oppressive, feudal monarchy.) [4]

But whatever, right?

The plane crashed inside Syria. It seems next to impossible that the F-16 munition (I assume an air-to-air missile) hit the Russian jet while it was over Turkey. If it had, that would mean the Turks almost certainly fired at it when it wasn't over Turkey, assuming 3 seconds over Turkish turf. Alternatively, if they fired on it during that 3 second time frame, it means they were on a hair trigger, and the missile presumably struck the Russian plane over Syrian territory.

Nevertheless, the U.S., including the Top Man, has endorsed Turkey's action. According to DroneMan, Turkey had a "right to defend its territory and its airspace." This said almost immediately, before the fact were clear. (They still aren't.)

Of course, when Israel decides to “mow the lawn” in Gaza and slaughter a few thousand Palestinians and demolish the power plant, water system, hospitals, schools, and thousands of homes, Obama and the rest of the U.S. power elite all say “Israel has a right to defend itself,” And the U.S. police state and various war crimes are “protecting the American people from terrorism.”

So all the mendacious rhetoric is of a piece: self-righteous self-justification (or justification of one's “allies”)

Turkey, of course, is a member of NATO, the U.S.-controlled military alliance of most European nations and Canada. So Russia had to take it out on the Turkmen. On the other hand, the U.S. didn't want to see an escalation, so it quietly told Turkey Good Enough, Now Cool It.

Regarding Turkey; to my fellow Americans, I offer this policy advice: go bite a turkey's leg! It's Thanksgiving!

1] Voice of Erdogan, excerpt of his speech, with simultaneous translation in halting English by man with heavy Turkish accent- i.e. a native Turkish speaker- broadcast by BBC “World Service,” early morning November 25.

2] The Russian jet was a supersonic (can fly faster than sound) Sukhoi SU-24, a twin-engine light bomber with a two-man crew. It's maximum speed is listed as 815 mph (1,315 km/h) at sea level, a bit faster than the speed of sound, or Mach 1.08. At high altitude the top speed is 1,028 mph or 1,654 km/h (Mach 1.35). But this is with afterburners on, which greatly increases fuel consumption. Ordinarily the plane would be cruising at significantly slower speeds. It has an internal 6-barrel cannon, good for strafing or dogfighting, and can carry various bombs and missiles, including nuclear bombs, and air-to-air missiles for shooting down other jets. It is a 1970s vintage plane, as are the two U.S.-supplied F-16s that shot it down.

The pilot and navigator ejected and fell to earth by their parachutes. NPR described video from the incident of Turkmen shooting at the Russians as they drifted to earth. The pilot was killed, either in the air or on the ground by the Turkmen. The navigator was eventually rescued, but a Russian soldier on a rescue helicopter was also done in by the Turkmen. What I found most interesting was that the NPR correspondent described the Turkmen shouting the Arabic Islamic slogan “Allahu Akbar!,” “God is Greatest,” as they fired at the Russian crewmen. That's the same slogan used by IS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, indeed the whole Islamofascist terrorist movement when they're attacking. This information has since gone unmentioned by NPR, and as far as I know never reported by the rest of the U.S. establishment media, or the “alternative” media either, for that matter.

So our “friends” have a similar mentality and religious zeal as our enemies. Interesting.

Cited in The New Yorker, “Three Questions About the Downed Russian Jet,” November 24.

4] Rangeof Frustrations Reached Boil as Turkey Shot Down Russian Jet,New York Times, November 25, 2015.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Why Western Governments Don't Really WANT to Win the “War on Terror”

Well, that's easy. To grab more power. And for politicians to pose as Great Leaders. Already the unpopular François Hollande, president of France, has risen in the polls.

But first, let me demonstrate that it is indeed true they don't really want to win. And by win, I mean defeat the Islamofascist jihadists who are treated as synonymous with “terror” and “terrorism.” (Even though that makes no sense since terrorism is a tactic, not a group, not a person. But it doesn't matter how many times this obvious fact is observed, “the” media- the dominant propaganda systems- and governments keep pretending “terrorism” is a thing or entity or living breathing monster. A useful bogeyman with which to scare the populaces they rule. Many, many more people are killed in Western nations in traffic accidents, or by carcinogens, or in the U.S. by guns wielded by non-”terrorists.”)

Let's take the current campaign against the “Islamic State,” IS, also referred to by older acronyms ISIS or ISIL.

After the rampage in Paris a little over a week ago by a handful of young, violent malcontents acting as puppets of IS, the Hollande French regime launched some demonstration airstrikes against IS targets in IS' “capital,” the city of Raqqa, Syria. This was reported (by BBC for example) as “the heaviest French airstrikes yet.” The “heaviest airstrike yet” consisted of twenty- yes, 2-0- bombs. The targets were said to be IS's headquarters and a training camp. (Or a munitions dump- media claims varied.) Which immediately raised a question in MY mind, but not in the various establishment medias (propaganda systems) of the U.S. and UK, at least. Namely, how come these targets weren't bombed until now?

But since the power structures of “the West” didn't ask themselves that question (not in public anyway), unsurprisingly we didn't get an answer either.

Next, it was announced that the U.S. bombed a convoy of oil tanker-trucks, supposedly destroying 116 on a road. This was the first time the U.S. targeted oil tankers. Yet IS is said to reap $50 million a month from selling oil. If cutting off IS' funds is so important, why was this done only now? (The alibi trotted out was that the U.S. wanted to- get this, it's a very funny joke- avoid civilian casualties! Right, the U.S., the bombers of hospitals and wedding parties, the nation that has killed more civilians in aerial bombardments by far than any nation in history- think World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, in particular- spared IS oil shipments through desert highways to avoid civilian casualties. Who knew they were such bleeding hearts?) (The U.S. claimed to have destroyed another 289 fuel trucks subsequently. Or maybe that's a cumulative total. “The authorities” and their media stooges aren't always clear about things.)

Speaking of not cutting off IS funds, the U.S., which controls the world banking system, and spies on everyone's finances, and and closes accounts and steals money from obscure American political dissidents, somehow can't stop IS being funded by rich Arabs. Sure.

Just yesterday, Obama vowed that “we will dismantle their [IS'] financial network,...” WILL? How come it hasn't been done already? That's just bizarre.

Ever since September11, 2001, the U.S. media has been full of reports on draconian U.S. financial regulations, attacks on and closings of legitimate money transfer services relied upon by poor people, the turning of SWIFT (the top-level interbank communications system for arranging funds transfers between financial entities, based in Belgium) into an arm and puppet of the U.S. Treasury- but IS goes its merry way. [1]

As I've noted before, it's rather odd that this mighty “65-nation coalition” that U.S. Secretary of State John “Skull and Crossbones” Kerry is constantly invoking in his public bloviations about IS (ISIL as he calls it, following the U.S. government stylebook) can't beat a ragtag band of terrorists numbering only a few tens of thousands.

There is precedent for this strange diffidence about taking effective action against the supposed Menace To Civilization. There was 9/11 itself, in which an Al-Qaeda plane attack plot was allowed to proceed under the watchful eyes of the FBI, CIA, and Saudi “intelligence,” to cover the controlled demolitions of the three buildings in the Manhattan financial district. [2] There is the fact that Osama bin Laden was deliberately allowed to escape from Tora-Bora in Afghanistan just after the 9/11 event. (A CIA officer on the ground asked for 450 U.S. Army Rangers at Tora-Bora and was rebuffed by the Bush regime, incredibly. Bin-Laden was allowed to escape into Pakistan. Then for years afterwards, Bush adopted an insouciant attitude towards Global Public Enemy No. 1, saying “I don't think about him much.” Being a Republican, he could get away with this. No Democrat ever could. (Notice Obama doesn't even get credit for ordering the assassination of bin Laden.) Pakistan was allowed to ferry large numbers of important Taliban and Al-Qaeda personnel into safety inside Pakistan abroad evacuation flights. And Bush flew out key Saudis from America at a time when all airline flight was banned, blocking the FBI from interrogating them.

Like the “war on drugs,” the “war on terrorism” isn't supposed to be “won,” in the sense most people naively think that word means here. If it were “won,” then the powers that governments and their repressive agencies have arrogated to themselves would come under criticism and perhaps even trimmed back. This is all about power, pure and simple.

Already the French parliament has approved new police state powers. Scores of the usual suspects are being rounded up. In the U.S. and elsewhere, police, secret police, and some politicians are blaming encryption of private communications for the Paris assault, without a shred of evidence encrypted communications played any role. (Belgium allowing a permanent bazaar in black market guns to flourish in their nation has plenty to do with it however, a fact seldom mentioned so far.) Also ignored in this false narrative is the fact that the NSA's power to surveil outside the U.S. hasn't even been notionally curtailed. (.n actual practice it hasn't been curtailed in the U.S. either.)

As the terrorists in this case were already under observation by the French “security services,” the question is begged as to how they could assemble an arsenal of automatic weapons, ammunition, explosives, prepare the attack, and carry it out- as a complete surprise.

I submit they couldn't have. In the world today, in Western societies we exist inside a web of surveillance, not just of our communications but of our physical selves.

Just as after 9/11/01, people are being told that “the world has changes,” “nothing is the same,” on and on with the fear-mongering to keep people anxious- while simultaneously telling them “go about your lives and don't be afraid.” But the real message is conveyed in the public display of armed soldiers and police who look like soldiers, being searched to enter a store (as in Paris now), the whole “locked-down” society that is increasingly imposed on the populace. (In Belgium the government is telling people to stay indoors and stay away from their windows until further notice!)

The French made a few dozen arrests and reportedly seized “weapons.” Notice, not “guns.” A “weapon” is nice general, and in this case misleading, as you will think they mean “guns.” A weapon could be a kitchen knife, a pocket knife, a hammer, a big piece of wood.

The Belgian “authorities” also announced a number of arrests, noting that no guns or explosives were found. (So why were they arrested? Because they're bad people, I guess.)
The power systems of the West have taken the opportunity of the Paris attacks to give everyone a booster shot of Terror War brainwashing. The attack in Bamako, Mali, on the hotel there was seized as an opportunity to keep stirring the pot. (Contrast that with how they dealt with the IS terror bombings in Beirut a day before the Paris attacks, which killed 41. Ho-hum, was the media reaction.)

Anyway, Thanksgiving is this week, an important holiday in the U.S. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

1] SWIFT, the “Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication,“ describes itself as “The global provider of secure financial messaging services” for “financial entities.” If by “secure” you mean “everything you do through us is monitored by American secret police.”

2] The fact that three steel frame structures were demolished by planted nano-thermite explosives has been established by physical evidence and numerous witnesses (including firemen) beyond any rational doubt, in part by the work of the over 1,000 architects and engineers of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

“Islamic State” Repeating The Biggest Mistake Hitler Made

Namely biting off more than they can chew.

Hitler sealed his own doom, and Germany's defeat, by simultaneously picking fights with Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Arranging an overwhelmingly superior coalition of forces to fight against you in war seems like a dumb idea.

“Islamic State” is replicating that insanely overconfident strategy in spades. Not content to be battling Kurdish peshmerga, Iraqi militias, and the U.S. Air Force, it responded to Russia's air campaign in Syria (mostly directed against “moderate” rebels favored by the U.S.) by bombing a Russian civilian airliner over the Sinai desert in Egypt. It followed up with a terrorist rampage in Paris on November 13th, turning the tepid French contribution against IS into stepped-up bombing. Jordan's ruling king accused IS was waging “world war against humanity.” The boss of the Roman Catholic Church, the “Pope,” sees a possible “third world war.” Numerous national rulers verbally attacked IS. It is beginning to seem as if that “65-national coalition” that top U.S. officials brayed about might actually amount to something at last.

The security chief of Iraqi Kurdistan, a man named Barzani, opined in a broadcast interview that if that coalition got serious, IS could be defeated in “months” or even “weeks.” Surely IS-controlled territory could be retaken. IS is despised and feared by most of the populace under its heel, and it only has a few tens of thousands of armed men.

I predict the terrorist attacks in Paris on the 13th marks the beginning of the end for IS. (And I can hardly wait to say Good Riddance.)

But that won't be the end of the problem of Islamofascism. IS was preceded by Al-Qaeda, and may well be followed by another cancerous growth of murderous fanaticism motivated by religious zealotry (and a lust for power). IS is a symptom. The disease is spread from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. So far, the U.S. has only been trying to treat symptoms, not the cause of the disease.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Neocon James Woolsey Called For Ed Snowden to be "Hanged" in 2013

R. James Woolsey Jr., a made member of the permanent reactionary faction of the U.S. power structure, had this to say about the courageous whistleblower Edward Snowden, (whom he now blames for the Islamic State attack in Paris), on Rupert Murdoch's agitpropaganda TV channel Fox "News" on December 17, 2013: "He should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead." ["If" he is convicted, indeed. That's just keeping up the pretense of "fair" trials in a U.S. kangaroo court in a political case.]

But Woolsey is far more sympathetic to the convicted spy Jonathan Jay Pollard, whom the U.S. has just announced is to be freed from prison. Pollard is the American Jew and Zionist fanatic who stole large quantities of highly classified military information and delivered it to his Israeli handlers. Woolsey attributes Pollard's long imprisonment to "anti-Semitism." [1]

Pollard of course acted in secret to aid a foreign power.  He committed espionage. Edward Snowden gave his information to the entire world through media outlets, which chose what to publish. Snowden acted as an altruist and patriot. [2]

Woolsey's "pro-Semitism" is nicely balanced by his hostility against Muslims. He is an actor in the demagogic, inflammatory attacks on Muslims generally. For example, he campaigned for the 2010 Oklahoma ban on "Sharia law," contributing a recorded agitprop message that thousands of Oklahomans were subjected to. He's a key figure in various Muslim Threat-mongering organizations. One of these propaganda mill/political pressure outfits, the so-called "Center for Security Policy," put out a book by Woolsey, fellow permanent member of the reactionary power constellation Frank Gaffney, Jr, and the notorious violent extremist Lt. General William Boykin, luridly titled Shariah: The Threat to America. [3]

Notice; not "Jihad," or "Islamic Terrorism." Sharia. Which is a code of conduct for Muslims, religious "law." These guys sure seem like Crusaders. I guess they want a Christian vs. Muslim war. That'll end up well!

Just to give you the flavor of this reactionary rabble-rousing rant, here's a quote: "Most mosques in the United States already have been radicalized, that most Muslim social organizations are fronts for violent jihadists and that Muslims who practice sharia law seek to impose it in this country," (my emphases). Considering the long list of their activities, these arch-reactionaries probably had their underlings ghostwrite this extended political pamphlet in the guise of a book, but obviously they reviewed and approved it. It reflects their mentality and ideology.

I guess it makes sense that Woolsey has a soft spot for Pollard. Woolsey by his actions is very much aligned with the Likud and even farther rightwing Israeli elements. In their view, it serves Israeli interests to whip up American Christians against Muslims. Too bad it doesn't serve American interests, or world interests. (Or even, ultimately, Israeli interests.)

I'm an atheist. So I realize that all religion is guff. However, creating permanent hostility between billions of these fool "believers" who "believe" different things. (Although ironically Christianity is basically a mutation of Judaism, and Islam is just a knock-off of Judeo-Christianity; but that doesn't stop them killing each other, even within Islam and Christianity- recall the numerous wars in Europe between Catholics and Protestants.) I also think it is necessary to fight the Islamofascists. However, just fighting ISIS or Al-Qaeda or whoever is treating the symptoms of a disease without treating the cause. Thus it is no cure. The root of the disease continues to be spread by Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabist evangelizing worldwide, and by the Pakistani military's support for its various Frankenstein monster terrorists aimed at India and at "exerting influence in Afghanistan," as Pakistan's apologists like former CIA officers Bruce Riedel and Michael Scheuer have it.

I should mention; Woolsey, predictably, is a defender of CIA torturers. What did you expect?

1] Letter from Woolsey published in rabidly rightwing Wall Street Journal (owned by Murdoch), on July 5, 2012.

A useful synopsis of facts about Woolsey and his "career" is at Wikipedia.

2] A naive patriot, however. I think opposition to the U.S, mega-police state should be based on human rights. American guff about freedom and democracy and rights is just that, guff. I'm an anti-nationalist. No human "owes" any loyalty to any nation-state, which are artificial political constructions run for the benefit of their rulers and rich citizens. (Well,maybe there could be exceptions for Scandinavian countries and such, where the politicians have been forced to run things to benefit the citizens generally.  But there the state serves the people, not vice versa as in places like the U.S., China, Russia, Iran, the UK, etc.)

3] Boykin is a fundamentalist Christian and latter-day Crusader who explicitly sees the "war on terror" as a religious war. He was appointed to top positions overseeing death-squad-type units in the military and CIA, a terrifying commentary on the fascistic fanatics who staff the U.S.' instruments of violence. Scroll down to the "Controversies" section of his Wikipedia entry to start your education on this lethally violent, dangerous zealot.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Former U.S. Secret Police Boss Blames Edward Snowden for Paris Massacre

R. James Woolsey, Jr., CIA director for the first two years of Bill Clinton's reign, and an arch-reactionary and career imperialist apparatchik, says that "Snowden has blood on his hands." These were his last words yesterday (Sunday) afternoon on the U.S. government radio propaganda network "news" program "All [sic] Things Considered." NPR brought him on to tell us what to think about the Paris rampage in Paris by the reputed Islamic State terrorists on Friday November 13th. The NPR female co-host of the program (Audie N. Cornish) conducting the interview didn't ask for an explanation of this preposterous, demagogic libel, much less take issue with it.

NPR, like the corporate media, relentlessly dredges up various reactionaries to indoctrinate the public in how to view the world. 

Woolsey, born in the extremely rightwing state of Oklahoma, was identified as the chair of something called the "Leadership Council" at the hard-rightwing pressure group/propaganda mill "Center For the Defense of Democracies," which specializes in Islam-bashing these days.

In similar if more oblique and subtle vein, the boss of the New York City Police Department, a department with a global reach, William Bratton, expressed great interest in how the terrorists communicated and why their communications weren't intercepted. This is part of an ongoing campaign by U.S. and UK police chiefs and secret police bosses to attack the idea that there should be any protection of privacy in communications or any encryption of the people's communications. 

Since the terrorists were already known to the French secret police, a better line of inquiry would be why are they incompetent to foil such attacks. Another question is whether the French secret police and police deliberately allowed the attack to proceed. Police did not arrive at the rock concert where most of the deaths (80 of 129, with hundreds more wounded) occured, for 45 minutes. The targets were all in a neighborhood of young, liberal-minded people. So the victims were predominantly people that reactionary police loathe to begin with. Plus, this shakes the anti-war leanings of such people. So the reactionary power establishment wins two ways.

R. James Woolsey, Jr.,nasty apparatchik.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Terrorist Organization Attacked By Terrorists InTerrorist Bombings

In a Beirut suburb inhabited largely by Shiites and dominated by Hezbollah, two suicide bombers blew themselves up, having been brainwashed into believing that this act of mass murder would result in their own immortality and eternal reward in paradise, kept company by 76 virgins. (Although I would think that after a few centuries or millennia, even 76 virgins- ex-virgins after awhile- would get boring. In any event, it sure would be nice if Saudi Arabia would stop paying to brainwash boys in “madrassas” into believing such shit.)

In addition to eliminating themselves from the realm of the actually living, they ended the lives of 41 people (so far), and wounded at least 239, some of whom will likely die, others who will be maimed for life.

Islamic State did its usual little victory dance, publicly braying that they did it. We can believe their boast.

Islamic State believes that the proper response to forces that fight them is to “retaliate” by attacking civilians. Having just been driven back from a Syrian airbase they had besieged for two years, by a combination of Hezbollah “fighters,” Iranian forces, and Russian airpower, what better way to “avenge” their own military defeat than by blowing up as many random Lebanese citizens they can?

One of the suicide bombers attempted to get to a mosque. The very very religious Islamic State likes targeting mosques of the “wrong” brand of Islam, the Shia. Their precursors in Iraq, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda that gave Osama bin Laden heartburn with their atrocities aimed at other Muslims, showed a similar proclivity.

It's been barely a week since Islamic State expressed their displeasure with Russia's intervention in Syria by apparently blowing up a Russian civilian airliner over Egypt, carrying vacationers back to St. Petersburg.

Hezbollah of course is designated as "terrorist" by Israel, the U.S, and the European Union that habitually sings form the U.S. political choirbook. So terrorists bombed terrorists.

Of course, the Western media won't describe it that way. That would beg too many questions.

Nor is this bombing a “terrorist” bombing. It's just a “bombing.” That is also the stylebook assiduously followed by Western media when there's a terrorist bombing in Pakistan, or Iraq, or Yemen. Political bombings by terrorists are only “terrorist” bombings when they target “Western interests.”

Or white people.

Also, this bombing is being viewed as if through a telescope, something far away. Contrast that with the emotional rending of garments that occurs on the extremely rare occasions that a "white" nation gets hit, such as the Boston Marathon bombing, in which 3 three whole people were killed. Three! Oh, the humanity! (There were several hundred wounded, a few of whom lost legs.) This latest terrorist bombing "over there" will be forgotten by Western media in a day or two. (If not hours.)

Some of this relative indifference can be chalked up to parochialism. Except that the U.S. and European medias sure are obsessed with the Middle East.  

“The” media never offers any explanation for any of this. They just assume no one notices.

This is part and parcel of arrogantly imposing their own ideological presumptions as Objective Reality. No need to explain.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Israeli Death Squad Raids Palestinian Hospital in Hebron

A squad of Shin Bet (also known as Shabak,the so-called Israeli Security Agency) secret police agents snuck into a Palestinian hospital at 3 am, with an agent pretending to be a pregnant Palestinian woman to kidnap a wounded Palestinian man accused of being involved in a stabbing attack two weeks prior. The man's cousin entered the hospital room and was shot five times, killing him. (Israeli secret police and military assassins seem to love impersonating Palestinians on their murder missions, something often boasted about in accounts of their "daring exploits.")

Compared with the bombings of Doctors Without Borders hospitals by Israel's allies the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in Afghanistan and Yemen respectively, this violation of international law and civilized norms looks relatively minor. It certainly isn't worthy of much note by the U.S. media, nor complaint by the complicit U.S. government, which shares the guilt for all Israeli crimes, being the crucial enabler of those crimes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Netanyahu Demands $5 Billion From Obama For Kneecapping Him

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin "Podium Pounder" Netanyahu just came to the U.S. to meet with U.S. President Barack "Waffler" Obama, allegedly to "mend fences," as the very pro-Israeli U.S. establishment media claims, after former House Speaker and Republican reactionary John Boehner invited him to address the U.S. Congress behind Obama's back to fulminate against prospective deal with Iran for that country to largely dismantle its nuclear program. Netanyahu had for months been working frenetically to sabotage the deal with constant public attacks (and hidden maneuverings and manipulations and the pulling of the various cords that Israel has attached to levers of U.S. power). 

Having failed in that endeavor, Netanyahu now demands of Obama a whopping increase of two-thirds in the annual supply of free armaments and ordnance the U.S. gives to Israel to kill Palestinians and dominate the region with. Obama in effect is expected to reward Netanyahu for his assaults on the U.S. president and on the attempts to cut a deal with Iran by upping the annual reward to Israel from $3 billion a year (already the most foreign aid any nation gets from the U.S., and none of it loans) to $5 billion.

Needless to say, U.S. power elites will not react with outrage and take offense at this brazen demand, a demand for a reward for bad behavior. Because U.S. elites are political and psychological captives of Israel.

Weird, but true.

Pick Your Poison: In Syria, U.S. Will Have to Decide Who It Hates More

In Syria, a victory today highlights a conundrum for the U.S.

The victory was over ISIS, Devil Number One in current U.S. political eschatology. For two years, ISIS has besieged an Assad regime airbase. Now the siege has been broken by a combination of Russian air power, Iranian troops, and Hezbollah “fighters” (“terrorists” to the U.S., Israel, and the Euroducks that habitually line up behind those first two).

Notice that all the victorious allied forces that beat back ISIS are on the U.S. Enemies List. (And not entirely coincidentally, on the Israeli Enemy List also.)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin “Pummeler of Palestinians” Netanyahu right now is in the U.S., where he once again inveighed against Iranian “aggressions.” U.S. imperialist officials from Barack Obama on down have repeatedly excoriated Iranian “bad behavior” and “destabilization” and other alleged misdeeds. And Russia is in the doghouse for its “aggression” and “destabilization” [sic!] in Ukraine, among other things displeasing to the master of the world, “the indispensable nation,” the U.S.

The Russians have proven cunning in dealing with the Syrian civil war. Remember when Syrian butcher Bashar “Barrel Bomb” al-Assad crossed Barack “Hamlet” Obama's red line and used chemical weapons (nerve agent, [1] at least twice) against the populations in rebel-held areas? Obama suddenly was caught like a deer in headlights, his bluff being called. Putin came to his rescue, proposing that Assad hand over his chemical weapons. (After some footdragging, he mostly did. That is, if you don't count chlorine as a chemical weapon, which it very definitely is when you bombard people with it, as Assad has been doing ever since.)

Last month Russia has outmaneuvered the U.S. yet again in Syria, sending in warplanes to fight “terrorists.” The U.S. griped that Russia was mostly bombing the “good” rebels, the “moderates” the U.S. dribbles out inadequate aid to.

Now with this drive against ISIS, the U.S.' mouth is shut when it comes to whining that Russia isn't really fighting ISIS- or at least, the next time the U.S. opens its yap and spouts that complaint again, Russia has a killer retort.

Donald Trump actually blurted out something sensible when he said it doesn't bother him if Russia fights ISIS.

Unfortunately that isn't all Russia is doing in Syria. It's also propping up an extremely loathsome regime and dictator.

1] The term nerve gas is misleading, as the chemicals in question, invented by the Nazis, are actually liquids. It is “delivered” to its “targets” (victims) in bombs or artillery shells. Israel is one of the few countries that still has an arsenal of such weapons. Dispersed as droplets, one droplet has the potential to kill if it lands on your skin. So don't let any land on you, okay?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Russia Outdoes U.S. Five-Fold In Bombing Hospitals

Russia is smoking hot in the war crimes category! In just a few days they've already managed to bomb five-  count 'em, five!-  hospitals in Syria in order to keep Bashar "Barrel Bomb" al-Assad in power. That's five times more hospitals than the U.S. has bombed this year. The U.S. has merely bombed one hospital year- to-date, the trauma center run by Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) in Kunduz, Afghanistan. So the U.S. has some catching-up to do. (Although if you go back to the record books, the U.S. bombed hospitals in Vietnam, "North" Vietnam in particular. And of course plenty of hospitals were caught in area bombing of cities in World War II. But that was just "collateral damage." No harm, no foul, using U.S. military accounting standards.) [1]

But Putin looks positively like a punk compared to Assad himself. The hospital Russia most recently bombed, in Idlib, Syria, has previously been bombed seventeen times by Assad the Sadistic Slayer. And Assad would be slacking off if that were the only hospital he bombed. But to be fair, Assad has been at it for over four years, so Russia shouldn't be counted out yet. It still has a shot at closing the gap and coming from behind to"win." [2]

The Russian warplanes used a classic "double-tap" attack, bombing the hospital twice, the strikes hitting ten minutes apart. This is the same technique French navy frogmen used when they planted two bombs on the hull of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in the harbor of Auckland, New Zealand, to keep Greenpeace from interfering with a French nuclear bomb "test" in the Pacific Ocean. The second explosion sealed the doom of Fernando Pereira, a Portuguese photographer and father of young children. The CIA did the same in a murderous attack on a ship moored in the Havana, Cuba, harbor. And the U.S. routinely does it in drone attacks in Pakistan, for example, waiting for rescue workers and neighbors to start digging out the rubble to blow them up too. [3]

Today we learned there's a new contestant in the Who Can Bomb The Most Hospitals Sweepstakes: Saudi Arabia. They just demolished a hospital in Yemen. And the icing on the cake is that it was another Médecins Sans Frontières hospital! How exciting is that! That's worth Bonus Points. Apparently the Saudis took inspiration from the U.S. attack on the MSF trauma center in Kunduz, Afghanistan, at the beginning of October. [4]

This follows the Saudi bombing of two wedding parties in less than a week, killing over 160 people. And numerous aerial attacks on mosques, marketplaces, apartment buildings and homes, all designed to reinstall the ousted "president" and successor to long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, on the seat of government. (If Yemen can even be said to have a government, which is doubtful.)

The U.S. and Western governments and media generally have been supportive or neutral about the Saudi crimes, with no outrage at all, whereas they have waxed indignant over Russian airstrikes killing Syrian civilians (dozens so far vs. several thousand Yemenis killed by the Saudis with their U.S.-bought aircraft and cluster bombs). I guess I'm going to sound like a broken record (you're not too young to know what a "record" is, or what happens when they "skip," are you?) but here goes: Man, the U.S. and its lackeys sure are hypocritical, criticizing others for doing what they do, applying double-standards and bloviating in trumped-up "moral outrage."

There, I said it. Just for the record.

1] The hospital the U.S. bombed on October 3rd, the Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) facility in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was the only trauma center in that entire region of Afghanistan. Now, thanks to an hour long assault on it by a U.S. aerial gunship, it is closed. Thus is the U.S. "nation-building" in Afghanistan. See my four previous essays on the matter between October 5th and October 9th, below.

2] According to an interview with a doctor at the Idlib hospital this morning on the U.S. government domestic radio propaganda network NPR, on the program "Morning Edition," the Idlib hospital has now been bombed a total of eighteen times. I'm presuming for now the person really was a doctor from the hospital, not an actor or liar. Given the long history of U.S. government and media deceptions, and media complicity with CIA disinformation, perhaps there should be an asterisk here. On the other hand, the nature and practices of the Assad regime give great credence to the story.

Here's something you probably forgot. When the protests first started, one of the first victims of Assad's regime was a teenager seized for painting anti-regime graffiti. He was tortured for a week or so, including having holes drilled in his kneecaps and his penis hacked off. When his mutilated corpse was returned to his family, they were warned to keep it secret, or else. But they defied the terror regime.

We also know that drilling holes in people's bones is a favorite technique of the torturers employed by Assad the Sadistic Slayer.

3] Last month the commander of the French state terrorist team that blew up the Rainbow Warrior "apologized" for murdering Pereira, which he insists, against all the evidence, was an "accident." Now he expects to be forgiven by his victim's family, to whom he addressed his "apology" through a media interview. (Not "man" enough to speak to them directly, it seems, or even write a letter. Classy, Bub.)

The terrorist, Jean-Luc Kister, said “I have the blood of an innocent man on my conscience, and that weighs on me.” On the other hand, he still justifies his terrorist attack 30 years later: “We had to obey orders, we were soldiers.” (Ever hear of a Nazi murderer who didn't say the same?)

Unsurprisingly selfish, he seeks absolution from his victims so his conscience will stop bothering him. Dishonestly, he's still pretending there was no lethal intent- even though the boat was full of people as the French well knew when they bombed it. The Greenpeace people rejected his "apology."

The French secret police planted a spy in Greenpeace's New Zealand office ahead of the terrorist attack. See "The Bombing of the Rainbow Warrior," by Greenpeace. Greenpeace says the bombs were plastic explosives wrapped in plastic, whereas Wikipedia says limpet mines, which are magnetic anti-ship mines. The Wikipedia article is more detailed than the Greenpeace description, with many footnotes and links. Read the Greenpeace description first, to get the general picture. There are also more details by Greenpeace at "The crew then and now." For details of the terrorists and French secret police infiltrators, see "A beret, a bottle of Beaujolais and a baguette," Greenpeace.

The second explosion came 7 minutes after the first. Naturally, the crew didn't think there would be a second bomb, so they didn't immediately evacuate after the first blast. 

Here's a fact that proves the French had lethal intent: If the French didn't want anyone to be hurt, the way to go would be to call in a warning that bombs on the hull were going off in ten minutes. That's what people who truly want to avoid injuring people do, like the despised Weather Underground and other demonized left-wing groups did.

But then, people motivated by values of fighting injustice and oppression operate by different principles than professional killers do.

4] The BBC reported the Saudi atrocity this morning. Tactfully omitted by the BBC were the facts that the Saudis used their U.S.-made warplanes and their U.S.-made bombs in the attack. And that the U.S. is backing the 6-month-long Saudi aerial terror campaign against Yemen, the poorest country in the region. But the "United Kingdom" always goes easy on Saudi atrocities- and backs the U.S. too of course. They've been loyal lackeys of the U.S. since World War II. And as for Saudi Arabia, there's oil under that sand, Guv'nor!

 Murderer Francois Mitterrand, former French president and international gangster, ordered the terrorist bombing of the Rainbow Warrior. (He was also a bigamist, with a "secret" second family the French press was forbidden by law from mentioning. Just saying...)

 A Real Man Ain't Afraid to BOMB A Hospital or Two!

 Him too.

Fernando Pereira and his daughter, Marelle, 
when both were still alive, and happy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Assad Takes Time Off From Slaughtering Syrians To Visit His Savior Putin

Bashar "Barrel Bomb" al-Assad, the "president" (hereditary dictator) of Syria, found time in his busy schedule of auto-genocide and national destruction to pay a visit to his now-leading patron, fellow autocrat Vladimir Putin of Russia. Putin greeted Assad at the Kremlin, the long-time seat of power in Moscow going back to the era of the Tsars. The two tyrants contorted their faces into simulacra of smiles for the official photos, and shook hands.

U.S. government officials from Obama and Kerry on down, and the blatherariat, have been in a tizzy the last few weeks over Russia's bombing campaign in Syria designed to shore up the Assad regime. Especially vexing to the U.S. is that the main Russian targets seem to be the "moderate" Syrian rebels, namely the ones the U.S. supports in a half-assed way.  The U.S. has finally gotten around to giving them some anti-tank weapons, but no anti-aircraft ones, which they sorely need.

The Obama regime is paranoid that such a weapon might fall into the hands of terrorists who would use it to shoot down a Western civilian airliner. So what if that did happen? Why are the lives of a few hundred Westerners worth more than those of 200,000 Syrians who have already died? It's cowardly, chauvinistic, and racist to refuse to supply portable anti-aircraft weaponry to the rebels.

Since the U.S. refuses to allow the besieged Syrian people to defend themselves, the U.S. should have destroyed Assad's air force. The U.S. has had over four years to take out Assad's air force, and several fine opportunities, like after the chemical attacks. Nor would it impose a no-fly zone. Now the U.S. is bent out of shape because Assad's allies (Russia and Iran) are intervening decisively for their man.

I'm pretty sure Putin isn't much impressed with the carping and whining coming from the West over his intervention. A pretty pathetic display, all in all. And U.S. fecklessness has cost many Syrian lives.

To top it off, the Europeans force Syrian refugees to risk their lives in the hands of smugglers, trying to sneak into Europe. Just shameful. (And then there's that cur Donald Trump, who brayed in front of a mob of racist white reactionaries that he'd send "back" the measly 10,000 Syrians Obama claimed he'd let into the U.S. in the next two years- notice that Obama's presidency ends in little more than one year. "They're going back" the loathsome lout exclaimed over and over in his trademark demagogic style, to lusty cheers. What a heartless piece of insect shit. And for what? What does he gain? A moment of approbation from fellow anti-human louts.)

The U.S. has been quick to note the few dozen civilians killed so far by Russian bombs.  (This from a nation that has killed millions in aerial bombing campaigns over Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea, Germany, Japan, Italy, and we can toss in some thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan.) But here's what makes the hypocrisy especially jarring. Saudi Arabia has been waging an aerial terror war over Yemen for over six months now. They and their Arabian Peninsula lackey states have killed several thousand civilians- and the victims weren't "collateral damage," but rather the intended targets. The Saudis, using their American-supplied warplanes and their American-supplied cluster bombs and other munitions, have deliberately targeted markets, mosques, apartment buildings, and even two wedding within a single week that alone killed close to 200 people. (One wedding involved the family of a Houthi tribal leader who the Saudis don't like.) So far several thousand civilians have died in this Nazi-style (or U.S. or British or Israeli-style, for that matter) aerial terror campaign. Plus, half the children of Yemen are now said by the UN to be at risk of starvation, thanks to the Saudi blockade. (The U.S. is selli And ng the Saudis warships to help them.) The U.S. of course, being an accomplice, is thus culpable in Saudi war crimes in Yemen.

And here's how totally cynical the U.S. is: the U.S. government and media don't even believe the Saudi excuse that the Iranians are taking over Yemen via the Houthis!

One more thing. A BBC correspondent reported this morning that an official in the Russian war ministry told her the reason the Russians went in to Syria is because they determined that the Assad regime was two weeks away from falling. (Shades of their ill-fated Afghanistan intervention!) Even allowing for an overly-pessimistic Russian estimate, that tells us two things: First, that the U.S. blew another opportunity to get rid of Assad, which it keeps claiming it requires (a claim belied by its actions of refusing to adequately help the rebels, and by the stricture it placed on its now defunct Syrian force that those recruits only fight ISIS and NOT the Assad regime forces); and Second, that once again American rightists are proven to be paranoid freaks. They insist that everything Russia does is somehow aimed at the U.S. So Russia didn't go into Ukraine to defend its own vital interests, it did it to restart the Cold War and make America look weak. And it's not going into Syria to prop up a long time client, the only nation in the Middle East that Russia can count as friendly, it did it to spite the U.S., to retaliate for economic sanctions imposed on it, etc.

Nor is this solipsistic mentality limited to the rightwing of the nomenklatura and blatherariat.  Just today, one of the young dweebs that NPR staffs its horrid radio programs with, informed the American public that Russia's move into Syria was "a slap in the face" to the U.S. Talk about self-centered! Of course, during the Cold War- which the U.S. is apparently intent on restarting, since it enjoyed winning the last one so much- everything the Soviet Union did was seen as part of an anti-U.S. ploy. And every attempt by oppressed people to throw off U.S.-backed dictatorships was seen as Soviet subversion. [1]

American elites have the attitude that they're at the center of the universe. They've been drunk on power for so long they don't even realize they're inebriated. It distorts their judgment. And the flip side of thinking you're the center of the universe is paranoia- everything revolves around you, so everything that happens is somehow aimed at you.

And there are certainly plenty of examples of the U.S. behaving self-destructively. (But then again, the U.S. isn't unique in that regard. The Axis powers practically behaved as if they had a death wish.)

What was it the ancient Greeks said about Hubris leading to Nemesis?

1] The show is some propaganda named "Here and Now," and the young punk feeding us the party line was one Jeremy Hobson.

Hey look! They even wiped the blood off their hands before shaking! That's how polite they are!

 Best of friends. (Unless Assad becomes expendable later.)
Notice they never get too close.

[For insight into the vicious terror state the Assad regime imposes on Syrians, and the hazardous odyssies Syrians trying to escape his malign clutches endure, I recommend "Ten Borders: One refugee's epic escape from Syria," The New Yorker, October 26, 2016 issue.]

Production of "Hamlet" Starring Joseph Biden Closes

To run for president, or not to run for president; that is the question. Whether it is nobler to feed my ego and shove aside Hillary in a dash for the nomination, or dangle the tantalizing possibility of my candidacy before the media blatherariat.

Alas, box office was punk, there was no groundswell (outside of political apparatchiks and the aforementioned bloviators), and so the months of dithering and teasing and hint-dropping must sadly come to an end. But I swear to thee, I coulda been a contender...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Japanese "Authorities" Finally Admit A Cancer Case Caused By Fukushima "Accident"

The Japanese bosses have conceded a single cancer case attributed to the massive Fukushima nuclear reactor complex disaster. One whole case. One of the worker-drones dragooned into "cleaning up" the radioactive site has leukemia.

Actually there's been a huge increase in children getting thyroid cancer as a result of the disaster. But so far, Japanese officialdom won't admit it.

The infatuation of national bosses all around the world with nuclear power is mostly undiminished by this latest nuclear catastrophe. Their ardor undimmed, rulers in China, Britain, India, and elsewhere are going ahead with building more of these inherently dangerous, ticking time bombs. As far as I know, only one major country, Germany, took the hint from Fukushima and is phasing out its nuclear power plants.

Germany has also proven that renewable energy sources- wind, solar, hydropower- can in fact provide a large percentage of a country's electrical needs.

Murderer Oscar Pistorius Released From Prison Early, Will Serve Rest of Sentence in Mansion-Detention

Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee athlete and former international media darling and icon who essentially beat a murder rap for executing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as she cowered, terrified and screaming, in the bathroom of his home (he fired four shots through the locked door to kill her) has gotten more kid-glove treatment from the South African “justice” system, freed after only 12 months of a five year sentence for a conviction on a much lesser charge. He spent his jail time in a cell he had all to himself in the prison hospital wing, where he wouldn't be bothered by other prisoners or sadistic guards. He'll do the rest of his sentence under mansion-arrest. He even got out an extra day early, so he wouldn't have to face the media, his jailers literally sneaking him out at night.

But there was something for the media from the Pistorius family: "The family is happy that Oscar is at home," family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess announced to reporters clustered outside the manse of one of Oscar's relatives, in the expensive Pretoria suburb Waterkloof. (I think that's Dutch for “sewer water” or something like that.)

That's nice, Anneliese. [1]

Anneliese Burgess tossing fresh scraps of offal to the hungry dogs of the media.

Pistorius will be crammed into his uncle Arnold's three-story mansion for the remainder of his five-year “term,” where he'll be subjected to the indignities of a pool, a gym, and a large, luscious lawn, among other hardships. He will be forced to choose from among only a dozen bedrooms as his “cell.” Of course there will be electricity and clean running water and indoor plumbing, things many South Africans lack. South African is a civilized country, after all.

Pistorius' new crash pad. Oh man, that pool isn't even Olympic-size! How can 
anyone live like that? 

Well, there is a fence around it, with bars, so it kinda looks like a prison. 
A little.... If you squint real hard….

Since Pistorius is such a trustworthy fellow, he will not be required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor his whereabouts. (No doubt he will be repeatedly violating his parole conditions and getting away with it. Just wait and see.)

Oh, I almost forgot. He's supposed to perform some kind of “community service.” Not sure what “service” that could be. His lawyers will cook up some image-rehabilitating scam for him, I guess.

A Pistorius family statement moaned about the “strict conditions” of his parole, namely the up to 300 hours of “community service” he's supposed to perform over, not a, not over a year…over four years. That means that out of the next 35,040 hours of poor Oscar's life, the state might rip as much as 300 hours out of it, making him pretend to do some good.

Wow! That's rough! They don't kid around in South Africa! Commit a serious felony there, and your wrist might end up all red from the slapping.

And Oscar has to see a psychotherapist, which the family complained was unnecessary. And he can't have a gun. (Now that is really going to cramp his style!)

Oh, and there's another thing. He has to meet with his victim's parents. If they want to. I guess so that he can lie again and “explain” to them that he thought that screaming woman he chased into his bathroom was really a burglar, and he's sorry about the “accident.” Or “mistake.” Or “boo-boo.” Whatever.

That's should make them feel a lot better. “Aid in the healing process,” as the banal and overused-to-death cliché goes.

But I'm being too “cynical.” As “correctional services” minister Michael Masutha explained, the goal of such a meeting would be to help Barry and June Steenkamp cope with their loss.

Right. By having to listen to a self-centered, self-pitying, over-privileged, violent thug lie through his teeth right into their faces.

I know that would make me feel better, coming from my daughter's murderer. You too, right?

Is this how the South African state makes up for letting the killer off easy? Giving the parents the “opportunity” to have a little chat with the murderer?


But then, it's no stranger than that whole “reconciliation” thing, whereby the victims of the fascist apartheid regime were supposed to let bygones be bygones. “Hey, you who tortured me, who blew off my hands and eyes with a letter bomb, who beat me and chained me naked in the back of a pickup and drove around until I died, who castrated me, who murdered my friends and family, who subjected me to decades of awful repression and exploitation of every kind-- let's kiss and make up!”

That's called “pragmatism.” And the people who arranged it are great “statesmen.”

South African correctional services minister Michael Masutha 
only has the Steenkamp family's best interests at heart.

Hey, don't look at me. I thought my girlfriend was a burglar.

Anyway....Oscar Pistorius had a long history of violence, including firing guns at people, before he murdered Reeva Steenkamp. This apparently made no difference to the trial judge, or to the parole board that freed him.

Ignoring the testimony of police, of neighbors who heard Steenkamp's screams, and the forensic evidence, the trial judge, Thokozile Masipa, contemptuously dismissed the murder case brought by the prosecutors and instead found Pistorius guilty of a lesser charge, “culpable homicide,” equivalent to criminally negligent homicide, for being “reckless,” and sentenced him to “five years,” which in reality we see is really “12 months.” (The trial was a bench trial, that is, a non-jury one. Smart move on the part of Pistorius' lawyers.) Under South African law, a prisoner with a sentence of no more than five years can be released after serving only a sixth of the sentence. (Another gift from the judge.) But she did sock him with a three year sentence on top of the five, for a firearms charge- suspended.

So a violent, dangerous criminal with a history of assaultive behavior, is soon to be loosed on society thanks to celebrity privilege.

The other distinguishing feature of the Pistorius case is that while most violence in South Africa arises from the base of society, this example arose from within the fortress walls of the privileged sector of society.

Pistorius apparently is some kind of a romantic, only one with a dark twist- he executed Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013. Or maybe he was displaying a sardonic sense of humor- Reeva was to give a speech at a school later that day on the topic of domestic violence. (Good one, Oscar! That'll shut the bitch's mouth!)

Pistorius is also free to participate in professional sport competitions in South Africa. However, the International Paralympics Committee has banned him from international competition until.....

2019. When he'll be allowed out of the house.

Ouch! Talk about zero tolerance!

But Pistorius may not be out of the woods yet. Prosecutors are appealing the verdict to the South African Supreme Court of Appeals, where a panel of five judges will rehear the case November 3rd. If Pistorius is convicted of murder this time, he faces a minimum sentence of 15 years (minus early release). He's 28 now, so conceivably he could spent the last decade of his youth incarcerated.

Reeva, of course, didn't get to live out the rest of her youth, or any of the rest of her life. She was 29 when Pistorius chased her into the bathroom, where she locked the door to escape his violence.

Unfortunately, the door wasn't bulletproof.

Maybe he wasn't such a great catch, huh Reeva?

Peek-a-boooo, who's that hiding in the baath-rooom? 
I think I'll shoot a few holes in the door and find out!

 June Steenkamp, Reeva's Mom, sitting through “evidence” presented 
in court by Pistorius' lawyers. Her husband Barry is on the right.

You can't really blame the judge. It's obvious that those alien 
creatures colonizing her scalp took over her brain.

 Oscar “Pistol” Pistorius- Happy At Last.

1] Oscar's kinfolk have been quite aggressive in backing him all the way, from the day he murdered Steenkamp until today. Two weeks ago they were whining that he hadn't yet been released on parole, as he was “entitled” to be after 10 months. In fact, he was going to be released August 20, but public indignation forced the government to stall for two months. See “Pistorius family: Oscar's rights [sic!] being undermined,Chicago Tribune, October 6, 2015.

I already analyzed the original trial. “Murderous Athlete and Erstwhile Media Darling Oscar Pistorius Beats Murder Rap,” September 13, 2014.