Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Emperor Obama Graciously Grants His Subjects An Extra 24 Hours to Buy Mandatory Health Insurance

Nice. He had a couple of years to make sure the Federal website where citizens he is forcing to buy health insurance at their own expense can go to shop for it. (This is the “progressive” Democrats version of “universal health care,” forcing everyone to buy their own insurance if they don't have employer insurance or a government program.) As we all know, despite all this time to get ready, the Federal site was a total bust when it went live October 1st.

Next, he set a promised date of November 30th for the site to be fixed. It wasn't, unsurprisingly.

Finally they got the “front end” working, but the “back end,” the part of the computer system that informs the private insurance companies Obama is forcing people to buy insurance from that people “signed up,” doesn't reliably work. The “solution?” Telling people to call the insurers directly to make sure they're covered. That's it, make people run on an endless treadmill.

Anyway, today's the new deadline to sign up. A guy who can't meet his own deadlines imposes deadlines on millions of others.

Obama's self-avowed “signature achievement,” Obamacare (a term for the “Affordable [sic] Health Care Act law that he has adopted himself as a badge of honor), has shown Obama at his natural, high-handed worse. (Well, maybe I shouldn't say “worse.” There is his reaction to the exposure of the NSA-CIA-FBI police state, his drone assassination “policy,” and a lot more. So there's a lot of competition for the title, “Worst,” here.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Assad Terror Regime's Latest Crimes

Assad's newest terror weapon: barrels of explosives, packed with nails and other such crude shrapnel (of the type terrorists such as the Boston Marathon bombers and others employ) and dropping them out of helicopters onto Aleppo. Among the targets: schools (a favorite Assad target, which he also likes to firebomb) markets, traffic circles; in other words, where people, especially young people, congregate and can be slaughtered in significant numbers. About 200 people have been killed in one day of such attacks in Aleppo, which along with Damascus is one of Syria's two major cities. Assad's terror air force is now flying 100 sorties a day.

The regime also just murdered a doctor they had held in captivity (and no doubt tortured) for months, days after cruelly telling his family he was about to be released. The regime is big on psycho-sadistic touches like that. (The doctor's “crime” was treating people wounded by the Assad barbarians who lived in areas Assad lost control of.)

The country has been virtually destroyed at this point. Actual physical starvation is confronting many Syrians now. A few days ago 8 infants froze to death, their families having been driven from their homes.

Yes yes, the rebels have at times retaliated by killing Alawites and Druze, on the assumption that they support the regime. And the jihadists have now exerted supremacy over the original rebels. But this situation has been over two years in the making. I notice the Saudis and their Gulf satellites aren't shy about backing the jihadists with arms and money, making the indigenous rebels no match for them. The jihadists have been killing off the rebel commanders of the disjointed so-called “Free Syrian Army” (for lack of a better term for the numerous ad hoc bands of armed men desperately trying to throw off the yoke of tyranny) and just stole a warehouse full of non-lethal supplies and vehicles supplied by the U.S., causing the U.S. to cut off the spigot out of which they belatedly started dribbling aid this year after about two years of dithering. (After he leaves the presidency maybe Obama should try out for a community theater production of Hamlet.)

Remember, this all began with Syrians protesting for democracy and the Assad regime's “reply” that consisted of murdering them in the streets. That made it clear that the decades-long Assad dictatorship, one of the world's most repressive, would never end except through armed force. That led to the armed rebellion which at first had the regime on the back foot. Had the U.S. and its lackey nations meaningfully supported the rebellion with material aid early on, there is a very good chance that the regime would have been overthrown.(The base of Assad's support are the Alawites, which are a small minority of the population, and even smaller minorities that feel beholden to Assad.)

Here we have again another example of how impractical amoral power politics can be. Had the U.S. behaved morally, the practical results would likely have been better. Now the U.S.' main reason for keeping hands off the situation (but not lips off, they did plenty of jawboning and jabbering, exhorting Assad to quit and leave, as if that would ever happen short of force), namely a fear of jihadists taking advantage of the situation, is exactly what has happened, since the indigenous, original rebels are too weak to resist the better armed, better organized, and fanatical jihadists. (But to be sure, there were plenty of opportunist phonies sitting in Turkey and elsewhere claiming to “command” the “Syrian Free Army” or to comprise a quasi government-in-exile, who hurt the rebellion with their fecklessness.)

Funny species, homo sapiens is. It wages weird power struggles with its own kind, a few trying to rule the many, and then organizing the many to attack others to seize more territory and subjugate more people. This is the story of several thousands of years of what is deemed “civilization.” (As if hunter gatherers were barbaric by comparison.)

What is the answer? Surely not to just throw up one's hands in despair, or affect a jaded, world-weary attitude, as epitomized by the Harper's magazine editorial stance, or by the late Gore Vidal. The hard work of activism and organization is the only possible way to achieve any progress in the human condition. Which- surprise!- the rulers of every country make as hard as possible. And with their massive tools of surveillance and repression, this is especially true of the U.S., which sees it as its global mission to snuff out all progressive movements everywhere in the world.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ANC Asked Schizophrenic Man to be Sign Translator At Farewell Ceremony for Mandela

Turns out the bogus sign language translator the African National Congress ruling party came up with for the big political show they staged to mark the death of Nelson Mandela, the iconic former ANC leader and first post-apartheid president of South Africa, is a diagnosed schizophrenic with a self-admitted history of violence. You'd think that wouldn't be so hard to ascertain, by, say, a records check, or talking to people who knew him. You'd also think that a national government would already have a list of reliable translators they'd used before, or could call a reputable organization of deaf people or that serves the death to find someone. [1] But I guess the farewell ceremony for the head of the liberation struggle, the political giant who led the ushering in of the post-apartheid era, the man on whom the ANC rests its very legitimacy today, just didn't seem very important to the ANC hacks who run the country now. The ANC couldn't even get it together to provide promised buses to take the people they misrule to the site of the ceremony.

For the televised ceremony (watched by an estimated hundreds of millions), attended by thousands in person (the stadium where the event was staged seats 93,000), the “translator” provided “a mush of jibberish” in the words of the BBC, meaningless hand gestures for the deaf. An ANC government mouthpiece offed this excuse; “he became overwhelmed,” she said. Actually he's mentally ill. And as I said yesterday, I think he was seeking attention.

Now he's running around giving media interviews, explaining his behavior by saying “angels” “visited” him on stage, hallucinations that are a sure sign of mental illness (or of acceptable religious fanaticism). The BBC sees one important issue as being; was he a security threat to nearby political poobahs, in particular Obama?

The BBC put the fool schizoid on the radio, giving him more of the attention he apparently craves. Who cares what this moron mental case says? (I can tell you it was uninformative and unedifying, predictably. But in the age of celebrity culture, the media makes instant celebrities even of mentally ill hustlers like this.)

The BBC wastes a lot of time with pointless filler like this. Since they fired so many of their journalists, they do a lot of that these days. (They also use up hours with guests opining on the day's news, another way to save money- they don't have to pay the gabheads who leap at the free exposure, nor pay to fill up time with actual reporting.)

Just to make the day perfect, the home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu was burglarized while he was at the observance for Mandela. A perfect symbol of the anarchy, social breakdown, and incredibly high crime rate in the slowly-decaying country.

The following essay, posted yesterday, already said the rest of what needs to be said about this episode and the publicity event staged to promote and glorify the ANC, foreign politicians, and celebrities, who got to bathe in the reflected moral stature of Mandela.

1] In fact, the Johannesburg advocacy group DeafSA pointed out that the fraudster's mimicry bore no relation to actual sign language- in other words, his acting out couldn't pass as a credible imitation for five seconds. Yet this guy was given security clearance and a pass to stand on the stage near the various “world leaders” speechifying for the alleged edification of the global masses and perform his insulting pantomime.

                                                                  Two Phonies on a Stage

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fecklessness and Incompetence of ANC On Vivid Display At Mandela Ceremony

There was a tawdry reminder of the ANC's lack of qualifications to govern at the farewell ceremony for the just-deceased Nelson Mandela.  The "sign language interpreter" on stage for the benefit of deaf spectators was nothing of the sort. He was a fraud, a sleazebag who made meaningless hand gestures pretending to be signing. Apparently this asshole just wanted to get his worthless ass on the stage as a cheap ego trip for himself. Pretty unbelievable that such a thing could occur. Mandela's death is probably the most significant event in South Africa since he stepped down from the presidency.

You'd think that the government could at least have basic competence when staging a major farewell ceremony for Nelson Mandela. Political bosses from around the world, including the president of the super-duper power, the U.S., and three of his predecessors, were on hand.

But the ANC's current bosses are too corrupt, venal, and amoral to be embarrassed. Like all too many African rulers in the post-colonial period, they are nothing but racketeers posing as legitimate politicians and even "statesmen." It's a sad and despicable betrayal of the hopes of millions of those they now misrule.

The ANC's achievements to date include doubling the number of people living on a dollar a day, and massacreing striking mine workers, apartheid-regime-style, and then lying about it. (An atrocity now forgotten in Western media.) 

The ANC's poobahs of course have made a huge production out of Mandela's demise, selfishly milking it for all the reflected political glory on themselves they can. Considering what political pygmies they are in comparison to Mandela, this is especially disgusting. The current president, Jacob Zuma, is so loathed that he was actually booed while speaking at the event, despite the reverence the people have for Mandela. Zuma is a rapist and polygamist who fancies himself a superstud, and worthless at governing, except to enrich himself to the tune of millions. His latest scandal is a huge expenditure of government funds installing luxuries at his private home. His predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, a venal hack, is most notable for denying that HIV is the cause of AIDS and promoting quack "theories" and "cures" for the disease. Speaking of which, Zuma thinks he inoculated himself from the disease by showering after sex.

Other self-serving parasites at the Mandela memorial were various global "celebrities" and "world leaders" (political bosses past and present) on hand for a bit of political necrophilia to bathe themselves in the waters of Mandela's moral authority, now that they all agree he was Great. (This is a recent position for the U.S., which didn't get around to taking him off its "terrorist" list until 2008. Oh, and it was the CIA that enabled the apartheid regime to arrest him in 1962, giving the regime's secret police his whereabouts and description. But don't tell anyone- apparently that's supposed to be a secret, given the U.S. media and politicians' refusal to acknowledge the fact.)

They aren't there to "honor" Mandela. They're there to promote themselves, most of them. This spectacle of self-regard is called "the World Says Farewell To Mandela" by the New York Times, the Newspaper of Record for the American haute bourgeoisie.

One of the few who has a right to be there, is Raul Castro. Cuba actually supported the struggle against apartheid, unlike the U.S. And Cuba sent troops to fight the South African apartheid army when it invaded Angola. (Guess which side the U.S. was on.) The excuse now is that it was "during the Cold War," which apparently justifies all. (Nowadays the "war on terror" justifies anything and everything the Masters of the World want to do.) Of course, U.S. reactionary politicians like Ted Cruz and Ileana Ross-Lehtinen threw fits because Obama politely shook Castro's hand on stage instead of being a rude lout at a memorial ceremony.

At least Mandela isn't here to see these shameless political necrophiliacs strutting about on "the world stage."

                                                           Famous  Celebrities Preening At Mandela Death Event

                                                                       Mass Murderers Waving At the Cameras

Friday, December 06, 2013

Nelson Mandela, a Great Leader, Is Dead. Western Establishment Fawns in Bad Faith

First, it must be said, that what was unusual and outstanding about Nelson Mandela was his magnanimity towards the white racist fascist scum that killed and maimed so many people and caused such misery and oppression. At least, that's the Official Truth nowadays. But perhaps Mandela was a super-cool pragmatist, a man with ice water in his veins who could put aside emotion and view a political situation in the utmost objectivity. Or perhaps he was a cynical operator, who cut a deal enabling the African National Congress to take power from the white racist Boers. Those are also possible explanations, especially in view of his own behavior as President and the selfishness and corruption of the ANC in power. (By all accounts, the economic lot of the mass of black people in South Africa has improved not at all since the overthrow of white racist rule.) We should take with a grain of salt the hosannas of Western media and politicians for the man. If they love him so much, there must be a bad reason.

But let us put such speculations aside for the moment. What has the Western capitalists singing his praises are two main things, one visible and one hidden. The visible reason was the deal Mandela and the ANC struck with the apartheid regime letting them get away with their decades of crimes, which included many acts of murder, torture, and brutality. (Even after Mandela was released from prison in 1990, the apartheid secret police sent a letter bomb to a white priest working against the regime, blowing off both his hands and an eye.)

The covert reason is that Mandela immediately sided with the big capitalists against the class interests of the poor black majority. I will provide more details in a later essay.

Yet it's fair to see Mandela as a great leader. His stature looms especially large since such is the pathetic state of that species that flatters itself by calling itself “humanity” that great leaders are so rare.

Most of the people designated “leaders” are nothing of the kind. They are rulers, or governors. Politicians and strongmen. Mandela was a genuine leader, a man who inspired others to follow him and admire him.

The word “leader” has even been appropriated by the capitalists to replace “boss.” “Boss” now is only used to refer to union officials, as in “union bosses” or “labor bosses.” Read business and company news- you cannot find the word “boss” in reference to actual bosses. They're all “leaders.” Thus is meaning and understanding systematically destroyed by the vandalism of language. Consciousness itself is thus falsified on a mass scale.

So when someone actually is a leader, the contrast makes him appear superhuman.

Now, as to the current bourgeois media and politicians genuflecting to the Man now that he is dead:

Using Half Truths to Lie. We have been treated to yet another example of this common propaganda trick of the bourgeois media. In their incessant reiterations of the fact that Mandela was “imprisoned for 27 years,” a key fact is omitted. Namely, that he was imprisoned for 27 years because THE U.S. CIA TOLD THE SOUTH AFRICAN SECRET POLICE WHERE TO FIND HIM. When you mention that fact, you have a very different impression, a very different picture of reality. Namely the true, accurate, and objective reality, not the cynical, self-serving propaganda version.

Another inconvenient fact which throws the loud praise for the deceased in quite a different light is that Mandela was officially listed by the U.S. Government as a “terrorist” until 2008. Recall that Mandela was freed from prison in 1990, and was elected president of South African in 1994! So of course this rather awkward fact must be erased from memory, and thus it goes unmentioned entirely by the capitalist media without exception. (At least that I have noticed.)

Another inconvenient fact of history, which thus must be suppressed, is that the Boers had the help, until the last few years of their evil rule, of the United States, especially the fascist Reagan regime, and of European powers like “Great” Britain, a loathsome little island whose elite-at least the reactionary section of it- still pines for its lost empire. (They get to be vicarious imperialists by riding on the U.S.' shoulder, like a parrot on a pirate, in its various misbegotten “adventures” such as in Iraq and Afghanistan.) Reagan even vetoed a law passed by Congress imposing sanctions on the horrid apartheid regime (Congress then voted to override the veto.) It was only because of popular political pressure and protest in the U.S. that Congress was forced to act.

I would also like to remind you of a person who once existed, a very brave man, who unlike Mandela receives no lavish praise from the U.S. press- Steven Biko. Biko was also a foe of apartheid, indeed one of the outstanding anti-apartheid activists of the time. At the age of 30, he was arrested, beaten savagely and torture for 22 hours, then thrown, naked, manacled, and comatose, into the back of a truck for a 100 km drive to another prison, where he shortly died from brain injuries. The fascist racists regime that murdered him then put out the grotesquely cynical story that he had killed himself by hunger striking. Some of his writings were posthumously published under the title I Write What I Like.

Biko goes unremembered in the West. Or rather, his memory is suppressed by the same bourgeois propaganda system that cynically hails Nelson Mandela now. As I have described, there's a lot they “don't remember.”

Friday, November 15, 2013

Will the U.S. Congress Once Again Show Itself As Slavish Servant of Israel?

Probably. Congress has a bill in the works to heap yet more punitive economic sanctions on Iran (in practice, on the Iranian people, since they are the ones who suffer- already Iranians are dying of cancer thanks to the U.S.-led economic warfare, which has resulted in shortages of medicines). Obama has had to plead with Congress- a humiliating position for the U.S. president- to hold off on them so as not to kill the ongoing negotiations between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council [1] and Germany on the one side, and Iran on the other, for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict. Secretary of State John Kerry was dispatched to Congress to try and cajole them not to sabotage the talks. (Kerry also had to scurry to Israel, the U.S.' apparent boss, to make the case for the negotiations, including in “briefings” for Israeli journalists from which American journalists were excluded, an amazing incident which elicited barely a mention from the American media, always protective of Israel and thus needing to obfuscate its pampered status from the American public's view.)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin (the correct spelling, not “Benjamin,” as U.S. media habitually misrepresent it) Netanyahu brushed aside an International Atomic Energy Agency report that says Iran has slowed its nuclear activities for the last three months as irrelevant because Iran “already possesses the necessary infrastructure for building a nuclear weapon.” [2] That's probably true, more or less. Which doesn't mean Iran is going to build nuclear weapons. It DOES mean that if Israel and/or the U.S. attack Iran, Iran COULD build them. Basically the U.S. and Israel insist on the freedom to bomb Iran, assassinate its scientists and officials, sponsor terrorism against Iran, and continue to try and overthrow the regime. This freedom would be impaired if Iran were to build a nuclear arsenal, as it would constraint U.S. and Israeli attacks on Iran to some degree, if only because those two aggressor states would feel more cautious. (And of course the surest way to provoke Iran to making nuclear weapons would be to bomb the country- an irony lost on the bullet-brained Netanyahu and American militarists.)

What Netanyahu wants is a totally dismantling of all Iranian nuclear capabilities, peaceful or not, closely monitored or not. His preferred route to that goal is the usual Israeli way- by violence, in this case by bombing. (They've also assassinated Iranian scientists and blown stuff up in Iran.)

Taking his cue from the Israeli head of state, not the American one, GOP Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois said of Kerry's briefing to Senators like him: “The pitch was very unconvincing. It was fairly anti-Israeli.” [3]

Anti-Israeli. Right. Kerry probably called for the destruction of Israel or something.

Kirk's demented, extremist attitude was treated as unremarkable by the U.S. media and its resident commentariat. This is symptomatic of the capture of the U.S. elites by the State of Israel, mainly via its fifth column in the U.S.

To fully describe the long history of the U.S. Congress' sycophantic obeisance to the State of Israel would fill a book. For now, I'd like to just toss out three possible motives behind a jackass like Mark Kirk making such an asinine statement, one showing contempt for the Secretary of State of his own nation.

  1. The power of the organized Israeli lobby in the U.S., including media power and money power.
  2. Ideological affinity, which for right-wingers like Kirk means admiring repressive regimes as long as they aren't “socialist.” (“Liberals” have a different, somewhat deluded, ideological affinity.)
  3. Religious fanaticism of the “Christian” variety. The Christians' “Bible” is a Jewish-written tome which mostly deals with glorifying the ancient Hebrews and their genocidal conquests. (Odd that Christians hated Jews for a couple of millennia- some still do, of course.)
  4. Racial affinity: “white” Israel oppresses “brown” Arabs, especially Palestinians.
  5. Vicarious imperialism: enjoying “Western, democratic” Israel kick “third world” butt.
  6. Israeli “aid” to the U.S., such as providing crucial military and “security” assistance to the apartheid regime of South Africa, to the Somoza dictatorship of Nicaragua, to the Guatemalan fascist regime, to the Argentine junta, and so on, at moments when it would have been politically awkward for the U.S. to do so.

So Obama and Kerry's fawning to the Israelis and their puppet American Congresspeople is barely holding the line against the attempt to suffocate the infant negotiations in its cradle. Should even more sanctions be enacted against Iran now, the Iranian hardliners will have additional leverage to force the new Prime Minister of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, to abandon his “moderate” (or “cunning,” as Netanyahu et al see it) path of compromise. Of course, compromise is the last thing the “hawks” want. They want Iran's total surrender, or the violent destruction of its nuclear program. Just as during the cold war, their kind (some of the same people in many cases) viewed detente as near treason (or as actual treason, for which they made JFK pay with some bullets fired from a grassy knoll in Dallas, Texas, in 1963). For them, “there is no substitute for victory.” Every conflict is all-out war for these demons and calls for total destruction of the Enemy.

One last note for the benefits of simpletons with a manichean world view. I'm not “on Iran's side.” Iran is ruled by oppressive theocrats who are guilty of numerous human rights violations against Iranians. They support the Assad dictatorship in Syria, one of the world's worst. They are allied with religious fanatics Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. I hope some day the Iranian people can rid themselves of these creeps who hijacked the Iranian revolution of 1979, much as Lenin and his gang took advantage of the fall of the Tsar in 1917 Russia to install themselves in power.

On the other side, Israel has been a constant violator of human rights since its founding in 1948. Their current allies of convenience against Iran, Saudi Arabia and its satellite oil sheikdoms of the Arabian peninsula, are all very repressive countries. Saudi Arabia in fact is much more repressive than Iran is, enforced by religious “police.” Only a few years ago these “police” forced schoolgirls to be burned to death in a school fire because the girls didn't have their hair covered as they were trying to escape the flames, for one example. And the regime executed people by beheading, Taliban/Al Qaeda style. For that matter, the Saudis were accomplices in the 9/11 attacks that the U.S. has used as pretext for a new era of U.S. aggression around the world and a systematic attack on human rights. Today Saudis fund jihadist terrorists in Syria who fight not just Assad's forces but the indigenous Syrian rebels. The Saudis Gulf satellite states are also awful. For example Bahrain's rulers have been oppressing the majority of the population there for years.

Then there is the U.S., a nation founded on the twin pillars of genocide and slavery, a nation that has waged expansionist wars over the years against both of its contiguous neighbors (1812 against present-day Canada, which didn't work out so well for them, and 1848 against Mexico, in which the U.S. scored fully half of Mexico's national territory, which it absorbed) and farther afield too, as when it seized Spain's “possessions” including the Philippines, half a world away. In its ruthless history, the U.S. has killed millions of civilians and installed or backed military/fascist dictatorships in scores of countries.

The bottom line is, this is no Good Guys vs. Bad Guys situation. There are only Bad Guys here. Far too many seemingly intelligent people (not to mention the simple-minded majority) go astray either because of their ideological devotion (which trumps fealty to facts and reality) or to intellectual and moral laziness, and take simplistic kneejerk positions on one side or the other. There is also the innate tendency of people to self-align with power, like little iron filings in a magnetic field.

Objectivity is the duty of the morally and intellectually honest human. In this case objectivity leads us to conclude that all these nations are basically bags of shit worthy of condemnation. Within that reality, we can hope for less harmful outcomes. In this case the desired outcome for humans isn't clear. On the one hand the fewer nuclear weapons and nuclear armed states in the world, the better for humanity, as a general principle. On the other hand, A nuclear armed Iran would be a counterweight to the oppressive power of the U.S., Israel, and the loathsome Wahhabi-spreading Saudis. (Wahhabism is a mental disease that leads to terrorism.) Just as the Soviet Union had the virtue of being a counterweight and check on the U.S., even though it itself was evil and oppressive, so Iran to a smaller degree could be. Which doesn't make Iran “good.” All it means is that the world, and life, is complex, a fact that people evade with simplistic, ideological thinking.

1] The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, designated “victors” in World War II (even though two of them were occupied by the Axis powers, and one, France, having been totally defeated and occupied, and numerous other nations on the Allied side did not get a permanent, cushy seat on the Council that comes with a veto) are the U.S., Britain, France, China, and Russia (which inherited the Soviet Union's seat). China took Taiwan's place when Taiwan could no longer pretend to be “China,” as it had done with U.S. power behind it.

2] “Iran has slowed nuclear expansion in past three months, says IAEA,” Financial Times, November 15, 2013, p.1.

3] Ibid.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Living Like There's No Tomorrow...

Means there won't be. The way the seas are being “harvested” (stripped) of fish is one example.
Massive burning of fossil fuels, causing the planet's temperature to rise, is an even more dire example.

Wiping out sealife, destroying land habitat of numerous species, raising the temperature (and sea level) of our home planet- how stupid can you be, humankind?

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Real Pakistan Government Pulls Rug Out From Under Nominal Pakistan Government

A few days ago, the Pakistani military issued a bogus number for civilians killed by U.S. drones in Pakistan- 67. This figure defies credulity, contradicts all the counts by reputable international human rights organizations and media tabulations, and most significantly, contradicts the toll given by the official Pakistani government. [1] This as the Pakistani “prime minister,” Nawaz Sharif, met Obama in Washington to gripe about drone strikes, which he claims to oppose. [2]

And now the U.S. just bumped off the current boss of the Pakistani Taliban (terrorist cousins of the Afghan Taliban who wrecked Afghanistan when they ruled it and have been given sanctuary by their Pakistani military backers to launch terrorist attacks on Afghanistan since they were chased out of power by the U.S. and Northern Alliance in 2001), Hakimullah Mehsud.

Before continuing, let me say that no human being should shed a tear for this loathsome fanatic's demise. He insisted on imposing crushing, dehumanizing, lifelong repression on everyone in Pakistan, especially on females, using mass murder in the form of bombings of civilians and other acts of terror to compel compliance with his demented demands. He represented the anti-humanism of a barbaric Islamic sect. [3]

What's interesting politically here is that Mehsud was knocked off by a U.S. drone (and it's a good guess that the Pakistani military supplied info on his whereabouts to the U.S. in order to enable this assassination- Pakistani military intel confirmed the successful hit, as did Mehsud's Taliban henchmen) at the very moment the nominal civilian government of Pakistan was embarking on negotiations with this terrorist hoodlum, with a delegation on their way to meet with Mehsud. So within just a few days the real power in Pakistan, the military, undercut and sabotaged the putative (civilian) government twice, first with the bogus lowball number of civilian drone deaths, and now with this. The Paki Interior Minister even described the U.S. assassination as a calculated blow on the now-stillborn attempt to initiate a peace process.

The effect of the hit was akin to throwing a rock at a hornet's nest. “Our revenge will be unprecedented!” howled Taliban terrorist commander “Abu Omar.” He blamed the “fully complicit” Paki government: “We know our enemy very well.” Pakistanis braced themselves for the bloody vengeance to come. A RAND corporation specialist saw such a result as likely. (RAND stands for Research And Development. A so-called “think tank,” it was set up originally by the U.S. Air Force as a nest for military-industrial complex plotters and “analysts.” Among other things, it generates “research” used to justify prying ever-larger sums of money out of Congress to shovel into the insatiable maw of the military and its associated parasitic corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Grumman, and numerous others.)

Paki “officials” said CIA drones fired four or more missiles at the target in a small village in North Waziristan, the effectively-autonomous region of Pakistan that has been de facto ceded to the terrorists. Their detailed knowledge points to close collaboration on the hit. [4]

The CIA relied on one of their bedrock principles: “payback's a bitch.” Mehsud's group is blamed for the suicide bomber who killed 7 CIA employees in Afghanistan in 2009. The CIA was duped into believing that the bomber was an informer they have recruited to infiltrate the terrorists. Outfoxed at their own game of duplicity, the CIA thirsted for revenge, getting the U.S. government to put a $5 million bounty on Mehsud's head. The CIA has been gunning for Mehsud ever since.

Of course the CIA won't be paying the price for the latest killing of a Mehsud. Pakistani civilians will. The Paki Taliban will be delivering the bill, denominated in blood, to hapless and helpless Pakistanis who are bystanders in their own country.

So in just a couple of weeks, the U.S. has sabotage two governments' attempts to deal with the Pakistan Taliban in their own way. Before the Mehsud hit, the U.S. military waylaid a convoy of Afghan intelligence officers in Afghanistan and kidnapped a Pakistan Taliban representative they were escorting. The Afghans had a plan to provide aid to the Paki Taliban as a counterweight to Pakistani support for the Afghan Taliban, to retaliate for Paki-sponsored terrorist attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan, and to have a bargaining chip to get the Pakis to back off their support for Afghan Talibs. Thus does the U.S. undercut other governments, exposing them as impotent in their own countries. In the Afghan case, the Afghan regime was totally humiliated: imagine a foreign military squad intercepting an FBI convoy and seizing someone they're escorting, inside the U.S. Thus the arrogance of the self-proclaimed “indispensable nation.” Thanks, Uncle Indispensable. [5]

Of course, the Pak military also undercut the nominal Paki government, killing the attempt at negotiations. So the military doesn't want a rapproachement with the “militants.” The timing of the killing makes this seemingly obvious. Yet it won't go in and fight them. Once again, they are playing a twisted, sick, immoral game. Playing with fire seems to be their favorite pastime. Perhaps they feel a high level of domestic terrorism is in their interest. Perhaps they figure it discredits the civilian government. Perhaps they are planning on playing the “saving the nation”card and overthrowing the nominal government at some point, as they have done before (and as all military coupists everyway and always do, pretending to be rescuing the nation they are enslaving).

Whether any true peace could have come about from negotiations by the Pak government with their indigenous terrorists is highly debatable. In the past, deals have been cut with these cutthroats, only to be immediately dishonored by the terrorists. The attempts by the Pakistani establishment to appease the monster created by the Pak military have all proved futile. Instead the terrorists launched aggressive military offensives to take over more territory, and in the last few years have used bombs to slaughter thousands of Pakistani civilians. I have in the past noted the parallels between the Islamofascists and the European fascists of the World War Two era. Some similarities are utter untrustworthiness, utter ruthlessness, extreme violence, an uncompromising attitude towards achieving their desired ends, and a record of breaking deals whenever it suits them. But that does not give the Pak military and the U.S. the right to sabotage the attempt by the legal government of Pakistan to deal with its internal problem in its own way. [See: “Are Islamic Jihadists Fascist?”]

Then again, the U.S. is delusional if it thinks that just by killing each replacement leader of a particular gang of terrorists, they are winning. If ten Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a row were each killed, would the U.S. military collapse? If ten FBI or CIA directors in a row were taken out with bombs, would the FBI and CIA cease to exist? Get my point? These are not small organizations that can be eliminated with assassinations. These are broad-based movements with millions of sympathizers around the world, which provide a deep well from which to recruit. [6]

Let's look at the scorecard: the U.S. has assassinated thousands of putative terrorists, including most of the main leaders, even Osama bin Laden, the arch-villain in the U.S. propaganda narrative. And what has the result been? The terrorists are waxing powerful in Pakistan. They are growing ever-stronger in Iraq, openly building training camps and bases in the western part of the country and setting off terror bombs almost daily. They are becoming increasingly active in the Syrian civil war. They recently look over half of Mali, and were about to take over the other half, requiring a French invasion to push them back into the desert, where they survive. Northern Nigeria is an ungoverned land of terror thanks to Boko Haram and the murderous and ineffective Nigerian army. Al-Shabab is seemingly ineradicable in Somalia, from where they just launched a headline-grabbing assault on the main shopping mall in Kenya (and repulsed a U.S. Navy SEAL retaliation raid a few weeks ago). In Yemen U.S. missile strikes on villagers have created more recruits for the local franchise of Al-Qaeda. The Wahhabi ideology is spreading in the Far East, in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the former U.S. colony of the Philippines. It seems that the U.S. is barely holding the jihadist movement at bay, and may even be strategically losing. Drones may be necessary in the fight, but they are clearly not sufficient, not for victory, and maybe not even for a stalemate.

1] The official Paki government is really just a nominal government. It provides virtually no services to the population, and has historically been a vehicle for the corrupt Paki civilian elite to enrich itself. Past presidents and prime ministers of Pakistan were infamous for massive self-enrichment as they engorged themselves like giant leeches sucking at the body politic while in office. The real government is the deep state that consist of the military and its secret police/terrorism arm, the so-called “Inter Services Intelligence,” universally abbreviated in U.S. media as ISI. Pakistan has been a military dictatorship or oligarchy since its founding, sometimes using corrupt civilian governments as a beard to hide behind, sometimes dispensing with the disguise entirely.

2] Sharif may really oppose the drone attacks on his country. But it's irrelevant, because the nominal civilian government of Pakistan does not even control the Pakistani military and cannot issue orders to it. The Pakistani military is a state within a (sham) state.

3] On the other hand, a foreign government firing missiles into a sovereign country to kill a criminal and political gangster is hardly desirable. The right way to do it would be for the government of that country to assert control over its own territory, apprehend the criminal, and put him on trial. (A real trial, not a show trial.) Then, if he is convicted, in this case to execute him. The way things are, we have the U.S. killing hundreds of civilians in the course of killing a couple of thousands of presumed jihadists. And the U.S. military and secret police decide who is “guilty” and act as judge, jury, and executioner. This is what Eric Holder Jr., the top legal officer of the U.S., insists is “due process” under the U.S. Constitution. No U.S. court objects to this. Thus is the U.S. Constitution and the U.S.' alleged love of rights revealed yet again, as it has been over and over in U.S. history, to be a sham.

However, as a practical matter this is a “dirty war.” The Pakistanis will not or can not control their own territory at this point- perhaps the Frankenstein's Monster created by the ISI has grown too extensively, the cancer spread too far, for that. Besides, the Paki military would rather dream about war with India instead of dealing decisively with the genuine threat to Pakistan, the menace within that the military itself created and nurtured.

We could go into the fact that the U.S. itself fundamentally created this problem of jihad, along with its buddies the Saudis and the Pakistani military (erstwhile buddies in the latter case) when it decided to back the most primitive religious revanchists during the Soviet attempt to impose a semi-modern client regime in Afghanistan. But that's a whole other essay, and is ground that others have tilled already. (The CIA shorthand for the negative boomerang effect of U.S. actions is “blowback.”) It should be common knowledge by now how the U.S. watered the noxious weed of jihadism with money, weapons, and training, yet Americans manage to pretend not to know it. Anyone who tries to mention it is intimidated by the insinuation of being “pro-terrorist.” Just as anyone who tries to talk about how Israel has the U.S. establishment by the testicles is called “anti-Semitic,” a very effective silencing technique which causes people to censor themselves, making the task of the self-appointed political-ideological commissars all the easier. Indeed, their task of policing the public sphere would be impossible without the complicity of all those who self-censor.

4] U.S. Drones Said to Kill Leader of Pakistani Taliban, Dealing Militants Major Blow,” New York Times, November 2, 2013, p. A13. “One Pakistani official, citing intelligence reports,” also informed the NYT that Mehsud's uncle and a bodyguard were killed with Mehsud, as was Mehsud's deputy, Abdullah “I Love Beheadings!” Behar, plus two others were wounded. Pretty detailed information, I'd say. So it seems the CIA isn't the only American organization with close ties to Paki “intel.”

The NYT says that Behar took the place of Latif Mehsud, the commander who was just kidnapped from the Afghans by the U.S. (The NYT, in the aforementioned articles, opaquely refers to the kidnapping this way: “Latif Mehsud...who was detained [SIC] by American forces in Afghanistan last month.” No mention hint that he was seized from the Afghans.

And true to form, the Obama regime once again acted with irritating coyness, as it so often does. White House mouthpiece Caitlin M. Hayden put out a statement claiming the Obama regime was in no position “to confirm reports of Mr. Mahsud's death,” in the NYT's words. But the Times got “two [ANONYMOUS] American defense officials with knowledge of the strike” to confirm that their prey was enjoying his virgins in paradise.

5] It's worth mentioning that the big recent pusher of the “indispensable nation” conceit is one Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under William Jefferson Clinton, who said, when confronted by Leslie Stahl on CBS' 60 Minutes TV program about half a million Iraqi children dying because of Clinton's murderous sanctions on Iraq and asked “was it worth it” by Stahl, responded, after some orotund smoke-blowing, “We think it was worth it.” What exactly was gained in return for killing 500,000 Iraqi children wasn't explained. Remember, the U.S. didn't manage to overthrow Saddam Hussein until the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld invasion of 2003. Stahl, at least in what was broadcast by CBS, didn't follow up on Albright's shockingly callous and cold-blooded reply. Albright evinced not the slightest discomfort at the question and uttered her reply with complete self-assurance and authority. This woman, who ironically descends from Jewish background, could have been an apparatchik in Hitler's Final Solution with that attitude.

6] Now, the fact that millions are potential jihadi recruits might sound like justification for massive NSA spying on the world's population- including all Americans who use a phone or access the Internet. Well it might be, if the U.S. government were willing to admit that there are millions of terrorist sympathizers out there. But for political and ideological reasons they are petrified to say that. It makes it plain that their “war on terror” is an endless tunnel with no light at the end. It also shows them up as deceivers who have presented the enemy as small bands of fanatics, not fish swimming in a sea of millions of ideologically-attuned populations. And it makes the current strategy of limited military and violent CIA actions appear hopeless inadequate, indeed Sisyphean, to the task of eliminating the jihadist crusade.

In fact, there is good evidence that trying to stamp out terrorism aimed at the U.S. by drone assassinations in distant lands causes such terrorism. Right after the U.S. assassinated Hakimullah Mehsud's predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, the group tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, in the heart of Manhattan. (And see how well the decapitation strategy is working to eliminate these organizations? Haircut strategy would be a better analogy. Just keep cutting the hair as it keeps growing back.) Luckily the bomb was a dud. Bystanders spotted it and alerted police- yet another example of the superfluousness of the police state in protecting against terrorism. (The NSA had the gall to take credit for foiling the Times Square bombing attempt. What shameless liars. Yet U.S. media still dutifully transmits their lies to the public as if they had any credibility whatsoever.) The same thing happened with the “underwear bomber,” whose father alerted U.S. officials to his radicalization, who bought a one-way ticket and flew without luggage, yet had no trouble boarding a plane to the U.S. (Unlike dissidents, Green party members, and other political victims put on the No-Fly list by the vindictive FBI and other repressive organs.) Passengers on the plane stopped this Nigerian jackass from detonating his crotch on the plane. And none of the 9,000 soldiers and cops hunting the surviving Boston Marathon bomber found him- a homeowner did.

Of course, the “counterterrorism” careerists love such events as the Times Square dud car bomb, as it provides a booster shot of Terror Scare propaganda to keep the public going along with the never-ending War On Terror, which keeps the money and power flowing to the professional secret policemen and hitmen of the massive U.S. “security” apparatus. There is a symbiotic relationship between the jihadists and the U.S. “security” establishment. The blows each strikes against the other side provides grist for their respective propaganda mills and reinvigorates their violent crusades.

Another reason the justification would be invalid is the fact that the military and secret policemen of the U.S. deep state, while claiming to only be protecting all us poor helpless damsels in distress from the big bad scary terrorists, in fact use their ever-increasing power to repress dissent. These people and organizations have a century-long history now of massive surveillance of American progressives, dissidents, and “uppity” blacks who refused to accept their status as “niggers,” that is, as subhumans subject to random violence, murder, exploitation, and every kind of personal humiliation and denial of jobs, services, fairness, even seats on buses. We have just seen them murder the journalist Michael Hastings. They helped smother the Occupy Movement, that challenged the corporate and financial oligarchy. They systematically use their surveillance to gather and them launder “evidence” used against people. These people cannot be trusted with such power. They know that Islamic terrorism is no fundamental threat to their system. In fact, periodic attacks serve their interests, by justifying their relentless grabbing of more and more repressive power inside America, with the acquiescence of a population conditioned to be frightened and submissive to being treated more and more like a prison population.

In addition, Congress has given them carte blanche, with sham “oversight,” willingly kept in the dark by the repressive deep state, and “judicial review” consists of a secret “court” that rubber-stamps all the warrant requests of the surveillance apparatus, a mere paperwork exercise.

In fundamental ways there isn't much new here. The same deep state took out the president of the U.S., their nominal commander, in 1963 when they disapproved of his policies.

Monday, October 07, 2013

International Law? What’s That? U.S. Violates Another Nation’s Sovereignty- Again

The American media and government are ballyhooing the kidnapping of a guy they claim “masterminded” the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, Africa, in 1998. The Libyan government wasn’t told. There was no extradition request. A gang of U.S. commandos, FBI agents, and CIA officers swooped down in the middle of Tripoli, Libya, and grabbed a Libyan off the street by the name of Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, now known as Abu Anas al-Liby. (You’ve heard of him, I’m sure. The FBI was dangling a reward of $5 million for turning him in, so you probably had your eye out for him.) [1]

Gee, I wonder if the U.S. would mind if a Libyan commando squad grabbed an American off the streets of Washington, D.C. and spirited him away to a secret torture cell? (For now, apparently a Navy brig on a ship in the Mediterranean.) [This occurred on October 5th, the same day another U.S. mission didn’t go as well. See “Invincible U.S. Navy SEALs Repulsed ByAl-Shabab.”]

Yet another U.S. violation of another nation’s sovereignty- and thus of international law, the body of law the U.S. so thunderously invokes when condemning enemy nations. So what’s new? The U.S. overthrows governments it doesn’t like. It assassinates presidents. (The U.S. state-within-a-state even assassinated the American president in 1963.) It sabotages economies, poisons crops, spreads diseases. [2]

U.S. Secretary of State John “Swiftboat” Kerry brayed “He can run, but he can’t hide,” cribbing a hoary line of boxers’ trash talk.

Can’t hide? How come you couldn’t get him for 15 years? Sure he can hide- just not indefinitely.

Besides, he wasn’t even hiding, but living openly now. Apparently he got complacent and overconfident. Guess he forgot the warning, Don’t Mess With The U.S. They don’t forget. They hunt down AWOL American soldiers DECADES later, as they recently did with one in Spain. (The Spanish told the U.S. to shove off, he’s a Spanish citizen now.) There are other cases, such as in Sweden. The FBI is still trying to find the bones of airline hijacker D.B. Cooper, who parachuted out of the jet with a suitcase full of ransom money in 1971. The government is still picking at the scab of the 3 prisoners who escaped Alcatraz in 1962 in a homemade rubber raft, trying to determine definitively if they made it to shore or drowned. Later it emerged that a raft was found on an island and a car stolen in the vicinity. The U.S. Marshall’s service is going to investigate until the escapees’ 100th birthdays. (How’s that for Javert-like fanaticism?)

The power-mad can’t stand it when someone escapes their clutches.

Of course, the U.S. decided it couldn’t trust the Libyans not to tip off their prey, same as they couldn’t trust the Pakistanis when they sent the SEALs to assassinate bin Laden.

But it’s not as if the U.S. hasn’t seized anyone involved in the embassy bombings. Is slacking the thirst for revenge worth trampling on international law and cordial relations with other nations? (I guess so.)

According to the New York Times, al-Liby’s seizure ends a 15-year manhunt- i.e. one starting in 1998. And they said he was indicted in New York in 2000. (“U.S. Commando Raids Hit Terror Targets in 2 Nations,” Sunday, October 6, 2013, p.1.)

So- what right did they have to hunt him in the two years prior to his indictment? And what were they trying to do in those two years- assassinate him? (The U.S. media keeps referring to U.S. Military seizures of people as “arrests.” Soldiers aren’t police, so they can’t “arrest” anyone. The use of the word “arrest” is to legitimize illegitimate seizures, since the U.S. refuses to call its military prisoners prisoners of war- even though they claim to be in a “war on terrorism.”)

1998 was a year of the Clinton Reign. Clinton initiated the current practice of secret kidnappings and hiding prisoners in torture cells outside the U.S.- aka “rendition.” But illegal kidnapping goes even farther back in U.S. history; for example, “atomic spy” Morton Sobell was kidnapped from Mexico by FBI agents and dragged to the U.S. for show-trial.

The U.S. has issued its usual opaque and vaguely ominous statement that their prey is being held “in a secure location” outside Libya. That is, he’s in their clutches, (probably on a ship in he Mediterranean), and being subjected to Torture Lite (since they plan on staging a show trial in New York for him, they’re going easy on him). And he has no right to remain silent and no right to an attorney, in the weeks (or months) before they finally haul him into a U.S. Courtroom for faux due process.

They’ll say he “waived” his “rights,” of course. Why wouldn’t a hardened terrorist, a fanatical enemy of the U.S., voluntarily waive his rights and willingly tell his enemy interrogators everything they want to know? Perfectly plausible! And stop that chatter about “human rights!” This is no human being, this is a “terrorist.” Same as anti-war activists, environmentalists, and the Occupy Movement are! Just ask the FBI! And Thanks to Barack Hussein Obama, Carl Levin, and the U.S. Congress, they are subject to indefinite imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay or any other military dungeon in the global U.S. gulag at the whim of the president of the U.S. under U.S. Law. But that’s OK! Because it’s legal! Just like Nazi persecution of Jews was legal- under duly enacted Nazi law.

The point is, don’t ever confuse legal with legitimate, moral, or just.

Hey, if a guy commits a crime in Kenya, and Tanzania, shouldn’t he be tried in Kenya and Tanzania? Oh never mind, when one country rules the world, that country’s law applies everywhere. [3]

The boilerplate U.S. statement after the kidnapping also said, rather defensively and apparently to preempt objections, that it was “legal.” I suppose that’s because, as Nixon said, “when the President does it, it’s legal.” Which in turn is merely following the legal precedent set earlier by the Third Reich, the Fuhrerprinziple, which stated that the word of Adolf Hitler was law, according to German legal experts. That’s the same kind of legal expertise that serves power as demonstrated during the regime of Bush the Younger by John Yoo, James Bybee, and Alberto Gonzales.

A few words are in order here about those embassy bombings. About two hundred African passersby were killed, and around a thousand wounded, some maimed for life. Eight American government personnel were killed. That’s a huge amount of “collateral damage” for a mainly symbolic attack. It demonstrates the contempt for human life that al-Qaeda has, and the ruthlessness and monomaniacalness with which it pursues its goals. And of course its ultimate ends- to impose a hyper-repressive, hyper misogynist and male supremacist social order on unwilling people, and to rule in totalitarian fashion- is evil, anti-human. So I don’t have sympathy for the al-Qaeda members and their ilk per se. What is alarming is the superpower U.S. systematically destroying human rights. Because those rights are indivisible. Either everyone has them, or no one has them. All that is left is privileges for the shrinking number of the favored few. The privilege of not being tortured, of having a lawyer, of having a genuine trial, of not being convicted based on secret “evidence,” and so forth. Privileges can be taken away at the whim of those in power. And as we see, anyone the repressive U.S. government and its numerous reactionary secret police agencies and military don’t like can be branded “terrorist” (the replacement for the older demonizing words “communist,” and before 1917, “anarchist.”)

[1] Funny thing about FBI “rewards” for mega-terrorists, those luridly-presented comic-book-type super-villains. No one ever turns any of them in to collect the rewards. The U.S. was teasing people with a $20 million reward for Obama bin Laden, with no takers, and there are other multi-million dollar “rewards” that no one seems interested in claiming.

Just as well for potential claimants. The U.S. wouldn’t bother protecting whoever turned in the terrorists, so they’d likely be killed sooner or later. And here’s a dirty secret about FBI rewards- they don’t really pay them, certainly not in full.

2] All done to Cuba, among other nations. I recall reading the boasts of a professor who invented an oil for the CIA that instead of lubricating, destroyed motors, wearing them out ten times faster than normal, which was infiltrated into Cuba and used for sabotage.

3] But it doesn’t work the other way. Other nations can’t try people for crimes committed in the U.S., or snatch people off U.S. territory and drag them back to their own dungeons. And people outside the U.S. victimized by corporations can’t sue in U.S. courts, generally. Ditto most victims of U.S.-backed torture regimes. The U.S. has what is know as a Double Standard Heads We Win Tails You Lose legal code. Glenn Greenwald just wrote a book that naively stumbled across this fact, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. Greenwald’s focus is on the blatant class bias of the U.S. legal system, not the political persecution of dissidents and various enemies. The facts he lays out are important enough that you should familiarize yourself with them.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Greek Bourgeoisie Show It's Not So Hard To Crack Down On Fascists After All

During Greece's ongoing Great Depression, induced by the irresponsibility, feckless mismanagement, corruption and criminality of the Greek political elite, two tried-and-true capitalist responses to economic crisis have arisen: a resort to fascist violence, and scapegoating of victims of the economic crisis as the culprits for that crisis. In Greece over the last year and a half this has meant the emergence of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn fascist party, which has followed Hitler's playbook of simultaneously employing two different and parallel routes to power: vigilante street violence and participating in electoral politics. The scapegoat of choice has been immigrants (rather than Jews).

Two weeks ago, Golden Dawn apparently overplayed its hand. One of its goons stabbed to death a well-known Greek anti-fascist hip-hop artist. [1] This apparently struck a nerve in the country (unlike the fascist terror group's long-running campaign of violence and intimidation against non-European immigrants, and the spectacle of a Golden Dawn legislator punching out two female left-wing parliamentarians on television).

Greek anti-terrorist police arrest head of Golden Dawn and several others. The fascist terrorist organization's boss was charged with forming a criminal organization. Two senior members of the “security services” and several high-ranking cops resign or are suspended because of their links to the fascist terrorist Golden Dawn group.

Typically for fascists, one of Golden Dawn’s arrested parliamentarians, Yiannis Lagos, is involved in various criminal rackets, including prostitution, “protection” (i.e. extortion under threat of violent assault), blackmail, and money laundering, according to secret service documents leaked to the Greek press. He placed a call to the G.D. Big Boss Nikos Michaloliakos a half hour after the murder. (Strange, if what the G.D. bosses are claiming is true, that the murderer wasn’t a Golden Dawn member. By the way, the slayer claims G.D. membership and was decked out in their regalia.

Golden Dawn has18 members of Parliament (out of 300). The Greek Constitution bars banning a political party. Hence the new designation of G.D. as a criminal organization. [2]

Before this murder, the Greek power establishment ignored the slaying by Golden Dawn stormtrooper-types of two immigrants and beatings and other attacks on another 250 (those are just the reported ones- police backing of Golden Dawn no doubt discouraged many other victims from going to the police, as well as fear of deportation). [3]

Well, Greece is still better than the U.S. It doesn't matter how many doctors anti-abortion terrorists murder or how many bombs they plant- there's never a crackdown on their movement, their aiders and abetters and material supporters are never prosecuted, or even jailed for refusing to testify before Grand Juries (Grand Juries are never tasked with investigating them at all). In the U.S., if a fascist killed a leftist, the leftist would be called a suicide, or blamed for their own death- just as when the FBI planted a bomb in the car of anti-logging activist Judi Bari, she was charged with making and transporting the bomb that almost killed her herself! (Eventually that frame-up fell apart, and the Oakland Police, the FBI's co-conspirators, lost a civil suit brought by Bari. But the deep state won in the end, as the CIA murdered Bari with breast cancer.)

1] Pavlos Fyssas, who was 34. The New York Times described him as a “hip-hop artist and anti-fascist,” “Party Leader In Greece Is Returned To Custody,” Oct. 4, 2013, p.A4.

2] BBC World Service radio news broadcast.

3] Ibid.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nairobi, Kenya Westgate Mall Terrorist Slaughter: The Aftermath

Like zombies in a horror movie, or Freddy Krueger in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies, every time we're told that the Somali Islamofascist group al-Shabab (“the Youth”) is on the ropes, they suddenly lash out with maximum surprise, striking from the grave, attacking the court building in Mogadishu (Somalia's capital) where they killed two dozen people, hitting the UN, hotels, restaurants, anywhere where people are trying to live normal lives. [1]

Now they did it again, more spectacularly than ever, with the murderous assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. An estimated 12-15 thugs jumped out of vehicles and immediately started slaughtering shoppers and people socializing. So far, the official death toll is over 60, with an equal number missing and possibly killed, plus a couple hundred wounded, ranging in age from 2 to 78. (Maybe “the Youth” should change their Brand Name to “No Mercy!”)

The BBC carried a story based on an interview with a witness who described a young child shot by the terrorists, who then quizzed his sister and mother on some bit of Muslim trivia. They answered correctly, and then the Shabab butchers killed them anyway. When the boy screamed WHY?, they replied that they objected to their dress. (Well that's a good reason.)

Throughout the four day atrocity and seizure by the al-Shabab terrorists of Somalia, starting on the second day the Kenyan rulers issued daily claims that the battle was over. These assertions proved to be, shall we say, premature. There were also various claims about Americans and Brits being among the assailants, and one or more women. There was reason to be suspicious of the claims about American and British terrorists, due to the lack of specifics presented, and the obvious desire of the Kenyan elite to enlist more support from the U.S. and Europe.

Recently-elected Kenyan President Kenyatta* (who is under indictment at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, along with his deputy president) asserted that forensic experts (Kenyan ones? or foreign?) would examine the corpses of the terrorists to determine their identities, blurring earlier assertions by Kenya’s foreign minister that Americans and a Briton were involved in the siege.

Intelligence reports had suggested that a British woman and two or three American citizens may have been involved in the attack,” Kenyatta* said. “We cannot confirm the details at present but forensic experts are working to ascertain the nationalities of the terrorists.” Well maybe you could at least determine their genders? How hard could that be? [2]

Kenyatta* mentioned that three floors of the mall had collapsed, without explaining how or why.

Kenyatta* also claimed that five terrorists were killed and eleven others were in custody. He left murky if the eleven were attackers or accomplices rounded up elsewhere, as has been suggested by media reports.
Various witnesses reported that some terrorists managed to escape by blending into fleeing crowds. “Western security officials” also thought this may have happened. If so, that is indicative of grossly incompetent policing and lack of control of the crime scene. [3]

Kenyan official ineptness has been on jarring display throughout the terrorist siege. Like something out of a lurid Hollywood agit-propaganda movie, a handful of terrorists (no more than 15 at the top end of estimates) seized a 5 story mall including 80 stores, killed probably 130 or so people once the full death toll is properly tallied, and held off hundreds of “elite” Kenyan soldiers (with their Israeli, American, British, and French advisers in the background to hold their hands) with armored personnel carriers and helicopters, for four days. And not because hostage-rescue teams were conducting negotiations. It was combat all the way. What a pathetic performance by the Kenyans.

No surprise there: this is a country that recently had a fire at its international airport that civilians with buckets of water had to put out since the airport lacked even a single fire engine. Typical African country ruled by a selfish, feckless, greedy elite. (But all the blame goes to Western Imperialism, don't you know.)
Nor can this attack really be considered a surprise, as various secret police agencies have known for several years that Westgate Mall was a potential terrorist target, and had been scouted by the terrorists previously. [The CIA has a large station in Nairobi.]

And there have been plenty of previous terrorist attacks in Kenya, such as the truck-bombing of the U.S. embassy in 1998 attributed to al-Qaeda, which killed 200 people (almost all Kenyans), a 2002 attack on an Israeli hotel in Kenya, and a failed attempt to shoot down an El Al airliner with a surface to air missile. (The Shabab also like to attack churches and mosques in Kenya. That's because they're very religious, you see. Other ways the Shabab and their ilk prove how religious they are is by murdering people who they deem out of conformity with their dress code, cutting off the hands of musicians, destroying all art, and burying teenage girls up to their necks and throwing rocks at their heads until they're dead. And they're big on chopping off people's heads, just like their Saudi paymasters- and Wahhabism, the official religion of Saudi Arabia, is the ideological wellspring of jihadism.) [4]

It's obvious that two things the Islamofascists would like to totally extirpate from all of our lives are pleasure and freedom.

Al-Shabab also punished Uganda for contributing troops to the African expeditionary force in Somalia, with multiple bombings of the crowds gathered to enjoy the World Soccer Cup in 2010, killed 76 people. (A fine way to prevent people from enjoying sports. Sports are “UnIslamic” anyway.)

One of the people al-Shabab murdered in the Mall Massacre was the leading poet of Ghana- a great “victory” for them, in their eyes, I suppose. (Maybe they heard of Hermann Goering's quip “Whenever I hear the word 'culture,' I reach for my gun,” and took it to heart.)

Kenya will not get peace unless they pull their military out of Somalia,” ranted Ali Mohamoud Rage, the all-too-appropriately-named Shabab spokesman, in a screed broadcast over the radio. Al-Shabab has also been blasting out giddy boasts via Twitter about their terrorist massacre at the Mall. (Despite their hatred for modernity, and a desire to recreate their demented version of an eighth century society, the various Islamofascists are perfectly happy to avail themselves of such modern technologies as radio, the Internet, automatic firearms, powerful explosives, internal combustion engine motor vehicles, jet planes, and so on- all things that if goons like them had been running the world all these centuries, wouldn't even exist. But one item of modern technology they do reject- vaccines. And in Pakistan for example they enforce a ban on them by murdering health care workers.)

At the same time, President Kenyatta called the terrorists “cowards,” an absurdity parroted by his fellow-ICC-defendant, deputy president William Ruto. (We heard the same inanity in the U.S. after the airliner kamikaze attacks on 9/11/01. What, aren't words like terrorist or monster or evil scum insulting enough? Is “coward” the worst thing someone can be? Anti-human nihilist is much worse, in my book.)
They are certainly no heroes to any normal human being, as they are not admirable, but obviously they did not lack courage, unfortunately. I wish they had been cowards, in which case they would have been unable to pull off their four day long carnival of carnage.

Both Kenyatta and al-Shabab declared themselves victors. That's a matter of perspective. (To the rest of us, neither look good.) But there's no question who the losers are in this round: humanity, decency, civilization are. [5]

* I wonder, will we ever have an American president named Americaman?

[1] The current New Yorker has a poignant article about a Somali chef who left a successful life in London (where he owned restaurants and has a wife and children) to return to Somalia to open restaurants and a hotel there to return life to the country. Needless to say, his businesses have been bombed repeatedly and al-Shabab has announced their intention to murder him. (“Letter From Somalia: Now Serving,” New Yorker, Sept. 30, 2013.)

[2] “Kenya’s President Says Mall Attackers Are ‘Defeated,’” New York Times, September 24, 2013.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Gunmen Kill Dozens in Terror Attack at Kenyan Mall,” New York Times, September 21, 2013.

[5] If we refer to the notional terrorist playbook the terrorism “experts” like to cite, I guess we have to chalk this one up as a win for the terrorists. Using a small number of attackers, they caused great economic damage to Kenya, striking its tourism industry, probably scaring off investment, and also scoring a political blow, making the Kenyan government appear weak and unable to defend the country. The terrorists appear strong, able to strike at will, in a fashion that generates great worldwide publicity for them. So they maximize their impact with a small, expendable force, upending an entire nation.

Time to wipe them out already. But pay compensation when you kill the wrong people with your drones or whatever, U.S.! That's both the moral thing to do and the pragmatic thing to do, if you really want to win your “War on Terror”TM and not multiply your enemies, like in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. You see how “realism” and morality are generally one and the same, in the long term, on the fundamental level?

Monday, September 23, 2013

McCain's Broadside At Putin Also Applies To The U.S.

GOP Senator John McCain was mightily peeved by Vladimir Putin's New York Times op-ed piece, planted there with the help of the US “public relations” (private propaganda) firm Ketchum. (Then again, McCain The Cranky is easily peeved. You might say he's chronically peeved, except when he's downright enraged.)

Putin actually put forth a strong argument against U.S. military action against the Assad regime in Syria. I don't agree with it, but the U.S. establishment has chosen to respond in the main not with refutation and counterargument but with dismissive contempt. McCain took it up a notch with a personal attack on Putin. [1]

Thus, McCain didn't bother refuting Putin's points. McCain just wanted to blast Putin for being a tyrant (and I'm not a Putin fan because I'm not a fan of autocrats, period). But ad hominem attacks don't refute the arguments of one's opponent. (At least not if one applies the rules of logic and reason, which are rarely applied, so I guess they don't count.) [2]

Big McC says that Putin “has made her [Russia] a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed, and untrusted by nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world." Arguably true. [I wonder what “nations that seek to build safer, more blah blah blah world” The Cainster had in mind? Give you one guess.]

But doesn't Honest John McCain's description of Russia exactly describe the U.S.? Its friends are different tyrants, to be sure. And certainly other nations mistrust the U.S., especially after its conquest of Iraq, based on lies, and now the exposé of the extent of NSA spying on everybody, from presidents to average citizens.

And the awful truth is that globally, no nation in the modern era has been a greater enemy to the oppressed than the U.S. The examples are too numerous to mention, the record of the details stretching to thousands of pages, so I will just cite a few salient examples to make the point here. (We'll leave aside the blindingly obvious examples of slavery, and genocide against the American Indians.)

It is standing U.S. policy to side with rich elites in every country it meddles and intervenes in, against the interests of the poor majority. Haiti is a perfect example of this U.S. behavior. Then we have invasions (such as Dominican Republic in 1965) and coups (Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Chile 1973, for example) designed to overthrow leaders and destroy governments that threaten to use a nation's resources for the benefit of the population of that nation. There are the numerous military juntas the U.S. has backed- what is more oppressive than that? The U.S. thinks propaganda is more powerful than facts, and all its politicians and propagandists have to do is prattle endlessly about their love and devotion to freedom and democracy and human rights and all that good stuff. But actions speak louder than words.

The truth is, the U.S. works globally on behalf of the rich against the poor. It systematically works to sabotage progressive politicians, activists, labor organizers, and scholars, even arranging their assassinations. It works to prevent the rise to power of progressive politicians wherever and whenever it can. (When they do manage to come to power, they are immediately treated as enemies, such as with Chavez in Venezuela, Correa in Ecuador, and Morales in Bolivia, among others. And look what they did to Allende in Chile! Arbenz in Guatemala got off easy by comparison- his life was spared, but not those of 250,000 and counting of his countrymen since 1954.)

McCain The Pain also thundered in his indictment that Putin and his regime "punish dissent and imprison opponents. They rig your elections. They control your media. They harass, threaten, and banish organizations that defend your right to self-governance. To perpetuate their power they foster rampant corruption in your courts and your economy and terrorize and even assassinate journalists who try to expose their corruption."

Again, that's pretty close to a word for word description of the state of affairs in the U.S., with some caveats. Just dealing with the Obama regime: the Punish dissent and imprison opponents part is obvious. (In the imprison category, John Kiriakou, Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, Barrett Brown, Edward Snowden if they can get their hands on him, and numerous dissidents unknown to the general public, and they would have locked up Internet activist Aaron Swartz if he hadn't committed suicide first. In the punish category, many more dissidents, such as Occupy Movement protesters, are subjected to beatings, pepper-sprayings, secret police stalking and persecution, and whistle-blowers are subjected to FBI raids and close brushes with imprisonment such as Thomas Drake and William Binney.) Or just review the history of the 1970s, 1960s, 1950s, and earlier periods. [In fact read some books on the subject- here's a link to some.]

Election rigging? McCain's own party has done plenty of that, via the fixed voting machines foisted on us by the Republican-owned companies that make them, and most notoriously the stolen 2000 Presidential election. [3]

Media control? True, the U.S. government doesn't control the media. But the Obama regime has broken new ground in attempts at intimidation and spying targeting the corporate establishment media itself. It has run massive electronic spying campaigns against the AP and Fox News (and those are just the ones we know about!) and menaced journalists with criminal investigations (and a sealed indictment against Julian Assange, and who knows who else).

Harass, threaten and banish organizations that defend your right to self-governance? When has the U.S. not done that? The secret police in the U.S. systematically attack any group that threatens established power. Again, the fate of the Occupy Movement is a recent example. Anti-war groups are targeted not just by the FBI, CIA, local and state police, and others, but even by the military, which infiltrates, spies on, and disrupts them. The U.S. is ruled by corporate oligarchs who control both the national and various state legislatures.

How about Foster corruption in the courts and economy?

Too many examples here- thousands, at least- to list, so let's just name a few: Ever hear of the dirty deals done to deregulate the financial industry? Robert Rubin, Clinton's Treasury secretary, helped orchestrate that, and subsequently went to his reward (don't call it a bribe!)- a multimillion dollar a year sinecure at Citigroup.

We have just come through a period of systematic fraud by banks and credit rating agencies that created mortgages for deliberately overvalued homes issued to borrowers who would obviously never be able to repay them, rated the resulting “securities” Triple-A (the highest, “safest” rating) and fobbed them off on chump institutional investors. After that, there was an (ongoing) period of fraudulent foreclosures, with thousands of fictitious signatures on legal filings with courts, which looked the other way. (That's a twofer- corruption of the courts AND of the economy.)

Corruption of the courts: take the Inslaw scandal, referenced below. Or the systematic theft of billions of dollars in resource royalty payments owed to Indian tribes by the U.S., which went on for decades, including under Clinton (and probably continues today).

Meanwhile, people like Maher Arar can't even sue the U.S. Arar is the Canadian that the U.S. seized off a plane as he was flying home. (He was not even entering the U.S. but merely in transit back to Canada from a vacation.) He was falsely branded a terrorist by the “Royal” Canadian Mounted Police, so the U.S. secret police shipped him off to Syria for a year of torture and imprisonment in an underground grave. The U.S. merely had to intone the magic words “National Security” and the U.S. courts said he couldn't sue. Meanwhile, the corrupt Tom DeLay has just had his criminal conviction overturned on appeal. Funny how it always works out that way. (I could fill a lengthy tome with more examples.)

Then there's a “secret” court, the “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” court, which rubber-stamps warrant requests by the secret police- something like 36,000- while rejecting about a dozen, during its existence. Sounds fair, right? No one ever knows what it does, or who it spies on (everyone, we have learned from Edward Snowden's exposé of the NSA), or why.

Finally we come to “terrorize and even assassinate journalists” who threaten to expose those in power. We have a very recent example of that: the murder of Michael Hastings by elements of the deep state. Apparently lured to a meeting under false pretenses, his car was taken over by hacking into its computer system at 4:30 in the morning and driven at high speed into a tree, but apparently after a bomb planted inside exploded, leaving the engine 200 feet behind the wrecked car. (The laws of physics would dictate that if it flew out of the car after hitting the tree- which it couldn't, since the tree would be in the way- it would have continued forward, just as JFK's head snapping violently backwards in Dealey Plaza in Dallas proves a bullet struck him from in front, fired from the grassy knoll.)

Danny Casolaro was investigating the Inslaw scandal (an unbelievable example of corruption in the U.S. Federal Judiciary and Executive branch- read about it at the link) when he suddenly turned up dead in a hotel bathtub with his wrists slit, baffling his family and friends. This was a murder by the deep state made to look like a suicide. But don't take my word for it; "I believe he was murdered," no less than former Attorney General Elliot Richardson wrote in the NewYork Times. (Casolaro received numerous threatening phone calls prior to his death.)

We have the unresolved case of the “suicide” of Gary Webb. Webb wrote a series about the CIA's use of drug smuggling to fund the contra terrorists attacking Nicaragua during the Reagan regime of the 1980s. (A standard CIA practice since its very founding, since illegal drugs provides the CIA with untraceable, “off the books” funds, thus cutting Congress completely out of the loop and creating a state within a state with its own treasury department in effect.) Webb published these articles in the San Jose (California) Mercury-News, a second or third-tier newspaper in the U.S. media hierarchy.

Despite the fact that the story was absolutely true (and in fact reported earlier in the “alternative” media) the high priests of truth like the New York Times and Washington Post savaged the series and Webb's paper repudiated his work and fired Webb, in cowardly fashion. Webb was blacklisted by the establishment media and thus couldn't find employment in his profession. Ultimately he committed “suicide,” supposedly.

It is an open question whether, driven to despair by the media turning him into a pariah, he killed himself, or whether once again a vengeful CIA exercised its specialty of murder-made-to-look-like-suicide. (Easy for them to do, and they've had plenty of practice.) Either way, the power establishment bears the brunt of responsibility for Webb's death.

Much of the terrorism against journalists takes the form of legal terrorism, with threats of imprisonment for not revealing sources (as NY Times reporter James Risen is currently facing) or for “criminal conspiracy” with whistle-blowers for revealing “classified” information. Of course murdering journalists is also a good way to terrorize the rest of them. As the Chinese saying goes: “Kill one, frighten a thousand.”

But we also have to look at the systematic, ongoing murder of journalists in U.S.-backed regimes in Honduras and Colombia. That is also on the U.S. ledger. And Mexico, one of the most dangerous places on earth for journalists, is also supported by the U.S. There journalists are either murdered by drug cartels protected by the police and state, which are indifferent or complicit in these murders, or murdered directly by state actors. The numbers slaughtered in these U.S.-allied nations vastly outnumber the handful assassinated in Russia.

Russia even has multiparty elections and a legislature, just like the U.S. And there is a small independent media (just as there is a small one in the U.S.) and visible dissidents (again, like the U.S.).

There is an important difference between Russia and the U.S.: in Russia, billionaires can be crushed by the state. That can never happen in the U.S.

Obviously we would be naïve to take at face value the honeyed words of Putin in his civilized, reasonable mode, or the pumped up moral indignation of a Vietnam War criminal and reactionary militarist like McCain.

But perhaps we should take heart in the fact that nowadays, imperialists and oppressors of all stripes feel compelled to talk as if they're democrats and friends of human rights. If hypocrisy is indeed the tribute that vice pays to virtue, it seems that the power-wielding oppressors must now make regular payments.

1] Putin marred what would have been a strong brief for his case by repeating the insulting and grotesque canard that it was the rebels who gassed their own enclave. That aside, his arguments were, in brief: 1) the UN was established to make sure that matters of war and peace would be decided by consensus. This has underlain international stability after World War II; 2) when “influential” [read: powerful] countries bypass the UN, it risks turning it into another League of Nations, that is, impotent and doomed; 3) a U.S. attack is widely opposed, including by the Pope, would create innocent victims, and would lead to regional chaos and terrorism, make more difficult resolutions to the Iranian nuclear question and Israeli-Palestinian problem, and undermine international law and stability; 4) the battle in Syria isn't about democracy, but a battle for power by many factions, and foreign jihadists are present, presenting a danger to Russia and other nations as they migrate out of Syria; 5) a U.S. strike without UN sanction would violate international law, and ; 6) U.S. unilateralism has led to bad outcomes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Oh, and 7) the U.S. isn't “exceptional,” it's just another nation among others, because remember, “ God created us equal.” (The neo-Czar has discarded the official atheism of the “Marxist”-Leninist Soviet Union and re-embraced the reactionary and authoritarian Russian Orthodox Church, a natural ally, just as the Roman Catholic Church has proven a reliable ally of fascist and reactionary regimes the world over. These are examples of what I call authoritarian symbiosis.)

Putin also offered a teaser of “cooperation on other international issues” if the U.S. plays ball on Syria, no doubt to put in there to get the Obama regime salivating in anticipation of Russian help on Iran and other matters. [“Give Us The Head Of Edward Snowden!” I can envision the U.S. demanding, again.]

[“A Plea for Caution From Russia: What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria,” by Vladimir V. Putin, New York Times, September 11, 2013. Also there was an interesting commentary about Putin's piece in the Guardian, “Vladimir Putin: arch manipulator with a mission to check US will,” 14 September 2013. The article isn't totally correct, however: for example it uses the phrase “U.S.-democracy promotion” without quotes, as if such a thing exists as anything more than verbal and ideological camouflage for actual U.S. aims, and an idiotic David Rohde quote to the effect that Putin “probably fears” he'll be overthrown if Assad is. Maybe if he's clinically paranoid, he does.]

[2] McCain also objected to being called "an active anti-Russian politician," asserting that "I am pro-Russian, more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today." Hey John, maybe now you know how it feels to people who criticize U.S. policies and its socio-economic status quo when they're branded “anti-American,” including by guys like you. Or even called “traitors” for performing public services, like Edward Snowden and Chelsea (neé Bradley) Manning.

And speaking of regimes that are enemies of their own people, there's nothing like the NSA in Russia that monitors and stores ALL the communications of ALL its citizens, surreptitiously, and passes what it finds to the FBI and CIA and DEA and IRS and god knows who else for laundering and use in bringing criminal cases and harassment and persecution against domestic “enemies,” NOT “terrorists.” (Although the secret police routinely brand their enemies, like the Occupy Movement, environmentalists, and anti-war activists, “terrorists.”) In fact, no other nation on earth, not even North Korea, or China (that we know, although, inspired by the U.S. example, they might try it) does to its citizens what the NSA is doing .

3] And 2004 too. Ohio was stolen for Bush that year, giving him the Electoral College votes he needed to “win.” The Democratic VP nominee, John Edwards, wanted to fight it, but John Kerry, the Presidential nominee, said no. Later Edwards was retaliated against with a fraudulent criminal case brought by the Federal government falsely claiming a campaign contribution violation- Edwards won at trial- and a never-ending media vilification of Edwards over his sexual affair while his wife had breast cancer. Why, what a beastly cad! As usual in the U.S., any politician with progressive tendencies (such as Edwards) must be neutralized, marginalized, or destroyed as a threat to the reactionary system.