Monday, June 11, 2007

The Neoconservative Threat to American Freedom

Excellent article on the neocons.

The Neoconservative Threat to American Freedom

By Paul Craig Roberts

The Bush/Cheney White House, which told the American people in 2003 that the Iraqi invasion would be a three to six week affair, now tells us that the US occupation is permanent. Forever.

Attentive Americans of which, alas, there are so few, had already concluded that the occupation was permanent. Permanence is the obvious message from the massive and fortified US embassy under construction in Iraq and from the large permanent military bases that the Bush regime is building in Iraq.

Bush regime propagandists have created a false analogy with “the Korean model” in their effort to sell the permanent occupation of Iraq as necessary for Iraq’s security. More than one half century after the close of the Korean war, US troops continue to be based in Korea, as they are in Germany more than six decades after the end of World War II.

The rationale for the US troops in S. Korea is to remind N. Korea that an attack on S. Korea is an attack on the US itself. The rationale for US troops in Germany disappeared when Reagan and Gorbachev brought the cold war to an end.

There is, of course, no similarity between Iraq and Korea. There was no insurgency in Korea and no attacks on US troops based in S. Korea once the fighting stopped. The presence of US troops in S. Korea has produced many protest demonstrations by South Koreans, but the US troops in S. Korea have had no exposure to combat since the war ended in 1953.

In contrast, the insurgency in Iraq continues to rage and could expand dramatically if Shi’ites were to join the Sunnis in attacks on US forces. Most American military leaders no longer believe the insurgency can be defeated. Permanent occupation means permanent insurgency. Indeed, an attempt at permanent occupation could possibly unify the Arabs in a joint effort to expel the Americans.

The absurd analogy with Korea is so far-fetched that it raises the question whether the Bush/Cheney regime has entered a new, higher level of delusion. Bush cannot keep troops in Iraq permanently unless he intends to remain permanently in the White House. Even some Republicans in Congress are talking about beginning withdrawals of US troops in September. Republicans believe that if withdrawals do not begin, their party will be wiped out in the 2008 election.

The wild card is the neoconservatives and their long-standing alliance with Israeli Zionists. The neoconservatives still have a death grip on the discredited Bush regime. Jim Lobe describes the extensive international organization that the neoconservatives have put into place for the purpose of orchestrating an attack on Iran.

A sane reader might wonder why neoconservatives would want to expand a conflict in which the US has failed. Surely, even delusional “cakewalk” neoconservatives must realize that attacking Iran would greatly increase the threat to US troops in Iraq and perhaps bring missile attacks on oil facilities and US bases throughout the Middle East. An attack on Iran would further radicalize Muslims and further undermine US puppets in the Middle East. It could bring war to the entire region.

The point is that the neoconservatives do realize this. Their defeat in Iraq and Israel’s defeat in Lebanon has taught the neoconservatives that the US cannot prevail in the Middle East by conventional military means. As I have previously explained, the neoconservatives’ plan is to escape the failure of their Iraq plan by orchestrating a war with Iran in which the US can prevail only by using nuclear weapons. As previously reported, the neoconservatives believe that the use of nuclear weapons against Iran will convince Muslims that they must accept US hegemony.

The neoconservatives have put the elements of their plan in place. They have powerful naval forces on station off Iran’s coast. They have convinced President Bush that only by attacking Iran can he prevail in Iraq.

The neoconservatives have rewritten US war doctrine to permit preemptive US nuclear attack on non-nuclear countries. They have demonized Iran as the greatest threat since Hitler. Neoconservatives have invented “Islamofascism,” something that exists only in the neoconservative propaganda used to instill in Americans hatred of Muslims. The neoconservatives have dehumanized Muslims as monsters who must be destroyed at all costs. Recent statements by neoconservative leaders such as Norman Podhoretz read like the ravings of ignorant lunatics. Podhoretz has written Muslims out of the human race. He demands that their culture be deracinated.

Neoconservatives, convinced that a nuclear attack will bring Muslims to heel, are ignoring the likely blowback and unintended consequences of an attack on Iran, just as they ignored the likely consequences of their attack on Iraq. If the neoconservatives are mistaken in their assumption that nuclear weapons will cause Muslims to submit to the US, the consequences will be unmanageable.

The neoconservative Bush regime has got away with more than I thought possible, perhaps because most of Congress and the American public cannot imagine the degree of insanity that lies behind the Bush administration. Most Americans who have turned against the regime think that the administration is incompetent, that it jumped to wrong conclusions about Iraq, and that it mismanaged the war and will not admit its mistakes. As every reason Bush gave for the war has proven to be false, people see no point in continuing the struggle.

If Americans understood the enormity of the deception behind the invasion of Iraq (and Afghanistan) and the pending attack on Iran, Bush and Cheney would be impeached and turned over to the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague, and AIPAC would be forced to register as a foreign agent.

Just as Goebbels said, some lies are too big to be disbelieved. It is this disbelief that is so dangerous. The inability of Americans to see through the Big Lie to the secret agenda allows the neoconservatives to escape accountability and to continue with their plot.

The neoconservatives also believe that nuclear attack on Iran will isolate America in the world and, thereby, give the government control over the American people. The denunciations that will be hurled at Americans from every quarter will force the country to wrap itself in the flag and to treat domestic critics as foreign enemies. Not only free speech but also truth itself will disappear along with every civil liberty.

American Government After Michael Moore

It would seem that the American government is grinding axes against documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. Apparently the government is investigating Moore for allegedly violating a trade embargo against Cuba when he brought several 9/11 rescue workers to the island nation for medical treatment. Mike has understandably cried foul. I would also note that the government tried to block the 2004 release of the anti-Bush Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary.

Now, it is possible that Moore broke this archaic trade embargo, but I would highly doubt it. In light of recent history, it would seem that Michael Moore is being targeted for his ardent and vocal opposition to the Iraq war and the Bush administration. I have to say, from where I stand this seems highly politically motivated; punishment for dissent.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Democrat Joseph Lieberman Calls for Iran Attack

Ardent warmonger and Connecticut senator Joseph Lieberman is suggesting a military strike on Iran over the dubious claim that the Persian nation is behind attacks on American soldiers in Iraq. So let us just, for the sake of argument, assume that Iran is behind many of the attacks on American soldiers and such an action is deserving of military strikes. What are we to say of the US which is supporting Jundullah, a militant group in south-eastern Iran and is responsible for killing numerous Iranian police and soldiers? What standard should be applied here? Perhaps Joseph Lieberman could enlighten us as to what response Iran should take.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

It's not just the occupation

A great article I read today on the Palestine problem.

It's not just the occupation

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 7 June 2007

"Forty years ago today was the last day the citizens of Israel were a free people in their own land," wrote Ha'aretz columnist Akiva Eldar on June 4. "It was the last day we lived here without living other peoples' lives."

This sums up the cherished mythology of what is still called the Israeli left and much of the international peace process industry -- that prior to the 1967 war, Israel was pure and on the right path. Had it not "become an occupier" the region would have had a happier history and Israel would be an accepted member of the international community rather than a pariah wearing the "apartheid" label.

The exclusive focus on the occupation serves increasingly to obscure that the conflict in Palestine is at its core a colonial struggle whose boundaries do not conveniently coincide with the lines of June 4, 1967.

I do not often agree with leaders of the settler movement, but they speak a truth Israeli and American liberals prefer to ignore when they point out that the settlements in Gaza and the West Bank built after 1967 are not morally different from towns and kibbutzim inside Israel's pre-1967 borders. The Israel that was created in 1948 was established on land violently expropriated from ethnically-cleansed Palestinians. Israel has been maintained as a "Jewish state" only by the imposition of numerous laws that maintain the inferior status of its Palestinian citizens and forcibly exclude Palestinian refugees.

Even Israelis who condemn the occupation support these racist laws. There is an Israeli consensus that it is legitimate to defend the Jewish state against the so-called "demographic threat" from Palestinians who will be again, as they were prior to 1948, the majority population group in Palestine-Israel despite six decades of Israeli efforts to reduce their numbers with expulsions, massacres and administrative ethnic cleansing. It is the imperative to gerrymander an enclave with a Jewish majority rather than any recognition of Palestinian equality that underpins whatever limited rhetorical Israeli support exists for a Palestinian state.

The slogan "end the occupation" has come to mean all things to all people. For Israel's ruling elites, the quisling leaders of Fateh and the Quartet it can even include Israel's permanent annexation of most settlements. Demanding an end to the occupation only so Israel can continue to function as a racist ethnocracy within "recognized borders" is not a progressive position any more than supporting apartheid South Africa's bantustans would have been.

Because Israel's colonialism harms all Palestinians, not just those living in the 1967 occupied territories, we cannot limit ourselves to demanding that the 40-year old infrastructure of military dictatorship be dismantled in the West Bank and Gaza. We must simultaneously demand the abolition of all racist laws throughout the country, including those allowing foreign Jews to immigrate while Palestinians are kept out, as well as discrimination in land allocation, housing, education and the economy.

We must recast the struggle as one for democracy and equal rights for all the people who live in the country. This involves two kinds of work: solidarity in the form of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli apartheid system in all its disguises, and the articulation of a vision of a shared future inspired by the values of the peace settlements in Northern Ireland and South Africa. Leaders of Israel's one million Palestinian citizens have put forward imaginative and concrete proposals for democratization and equality. They are already paying the price: Israel's Shin Bet secret police has received official blessing to subvert even legal activities that challenge the superior rights reserved for Jews. Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza have failed to offer a compelling vision, even though many recognize that the two-state solution is a mirage.

Of course Israelis will not easily give up their privileges any more than whites in Alabama, Georgia or Mississippi did in the face of the American civil rights movement. But racism is not a lifestyle choice the rest of the world is obligated to respect. Determined movements can bring about transformations that seem scarcely imaginable from the depths of the gloom. We have seen enough shining examples to maintain our hope and inspire us to action.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The JFK Pipeline "Plot": Another "Chilling" Example of Political and Media Hyperbole

Another exceptional article on the JKF terror plot sham. This one from Arianna Huffington:

The JFK Pipeline "Plot": Another "Chilling" Example of Political and Media Hyperbole

The JFK pipeline plot appears to be the work of yet another gang that couldn't jihad straight.

Its ring leader made a living exporting broken air-conditioner parts to Guyana. Talk about your boom market! Where can I buy stock?

There was no set plan. There was no financing. They didn't have any explosives -- and yet government officials were quoted calling the amorphous plot "one of the most chilling plots imaginable" that almost "resulted in unfathomable damage, deaths, and destruction." And people wonder why the public has become cynical about how the war on terror is being used for political purposes.

What's more, the wave of red alert press coverage turns out to have been based on a misunderstanding of how jet fuel pipelines work. "Such an attack would have crippled America's economy," wailed AP's Adam Goldman. And people wonder why the public has become cynical about how the media uses the war on terror to boost their ratings and circulation.

We've been down this road before, with the Fort Dix Six. We are told again and again that if we don't fight "them" over there, we'll have to fight "them" over here -- perhaps at Circuit City, where all new jihadists take their holy war recruitment tapes to be burned onto a DVD.

And we traveled a similar path with that supposedly terrifying plot to bring down the Sears Tower that was hatched by the "Seas of David" nut jobs down in Liberty City, Florida and egged on by the FBI. These things always seem to follow a pattern: Start with a big media splash: "We got the bad guys! We saved the country!" Then it slowly comes out that the terrorists might not have been so terrifying. Indeed, they are boobs that go to Circuit City to get their jihadist recruitment video burned onto DVD, or they are low-level criminals with delusions of grandeur, goaded into grander fantasies and bigger targets by informants who are getting paid or getting their sentences reduced by the FBI if they deliver.

Then we have fear-mongering presidential candidates like Rudy Giuliani wasting no time laying the JFK plot and the Fort Dix plot at the feet of "Islamic terrorists" -- raising the specter of Osama bin Laden.

It's almost comical how Giuliani keeps trying to present himself as a national security expert. Let's not forget: this is the guy who strongly backed the scandal-plagued Bernie Kerik to be in charge of Homeland Security. Is that the kind of appointment we can expect from President Giuliani (even saying the words makes me feel less safe)?

Michael Bloomberg, Giuliani's replacement as mayor of New York, took a rightly dismissive approach to the JFK plot hype: "You can't sit there and worry about everything. Get a life. You have a much greater danger of being hit by lightning than being struck by a terrorist."

Especially a terrorist like the ones lusting after JFK.

Neocons Attack Rep. Keith Ellison, Again

Now, I'm no big fan of Minnesota congressional representative Keith Ellison (pictured left), he seems too quick to sacrifice principles at the alter of political opportunism, to say the least. That being noted, I do have to address the issue of the neocon character assassination aimed at the congressman. This time, "anti-terror" hitman Joe Kaufman is up in arms because of Ellison's association with the Muslim American Society, which Kaufman and his ilk would have us think is some sort of subversive, radical organization (by using out-of-context or misconstrued quotes from the MAS website of the Minnesota branch).

Ellison has been targeted quite ruthlessly since his election last year. Dennis Prager, another neocon groupie, attacked the congressman for using a Qur'an in his swearing in ceremony and Virginia congressman Virgil Goode linked Ellison with an illegal immigrant takeover of America (though Ellison is an African-American with ancestry in the country going back to at least the mid-1700's). Other commentators have leveled other such bigoted and conspiracy-mongering charges against him.

So what is the reason for all of this? Well one that seems to be relevant is Ellison's call for an immediate withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. The neocons are in desperate straits over the Iraq war and are lashing out at anyone that fails to back their dirty war. At the moment Ellison is a relatively minor figure in the political scheme of things, but if he does set himself up as a real opponent of the neocons and not just another Democratic party shill, we can expect the attacks to increase.

As things stand now, I don't really expect much from Rep. Keith Ellison in leading any charge against the Iraq war. Though this case does demonstrate what opposition to the Iraq war (even if it is merely in words) and defending Muslims' civil rights will get you in the intellectually and morally bankrupt world of the neocons.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A G-man in Every Plot

Here is an excellent article about the spat of recently foiled "terror plots".

A G-man in Every Plot; an Informant in Every Mirage

by Michael Tennant

The great H. L. Mencken once observed, "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." Nowhere is this more evident than in the federal government’s continual attempts to assure us that (a) we are in grave danger of being killed by terrorists and (b) the government – the same government that failed so spectacularly to protect us on 9/11 – is here to keep us safe.

(As with any habitual liar, the government begins to contradict itself after a while. If U.S. troops are fighting the terrorists "over there" in Iraq so that we won’t have to fight them "over here" in America, how come the FBI keeps uncovering more alleged terrorist plots here in the U.S. of A.?)

The latest alleged evil plot "busted" by the FBI was announced to great fanfare this past weekend: Crazed towelheads were going to blow up the jet fuel storage tanks and pipelines at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, destroying not just the airport and the people therein but, depending on which account you read, half of New York and New Jersey as well. Whew! Thank goodness the G-men are looking out for us!

Or are they? The New York Times reports that the suspects were "longer on evil intent than on operational capability." In other words, they wanted to wreak havoc with jet fuel but probably couldn’t even light a gas grill.

Continues the Times:

At [the alleged terrorist plot’s] heart was a 63-year-old retired airport cargo worker, Russell M. Defreitas, who the complaint says talked of his dreams of inflicting massive harm, but who appeared to possess little money, uncertain training and no known background in planning a terror attack. . . .

Some law enforcement officials and engineers also dismissed the notion that the planned attack could have resulted in a catastrophic chain reaction; system safeguards, they said, would have stopped explosions from spreading. [The Los Angeles Times agrees, saying that the plot "would have faced many hurdles," not least of which is that jet fuel is not highly susceptible to exploding.]
On top of that, writes the Times, the court papers "tend to suggest a distance between Mr. Defreitas’s dream and any nightmarish reality." For example, nobody involved had any relevant military training, none had participated in any previous attacks, and they had obtained their top-secret satellite photographs of JFK from Google Earth. Ultimately, the Times concludes, "[m]any of the plot’s larger details are left to the imagination." In short, there were a bunch of guys who may have wanted, at some indefinite point in the future, to carry out a terrorist attack; but they were a long way from plotting it in any great detail, and there was no way they could have executed it.

This brings us to the question of the FBI informant involved. We know that in the recent Fort Dix case and last year’s Miami case, the FBI informant seems to have been the driving force behind the plots, suggesting ways they could be carried out and providing technical and material support. In this latest alleged plot, according to the Newspaper of Record, the "informant is a convicted drug trafficker, and his sentence is part of his cooperation agreement with the federal government." What better way to cooperate than to hatch a terrorist plot and then get credit for helping to bust it? (See Nora Ephron on "How to Foil a Terrorist Plot in Seven Simple Steps.")

Given all of this, and given that, as Scott Horton points out, "there has not been a single case where they have actually busted domestic terrorists since 9/11" (or before 9/11, for that matter), one might think that some skepticism about this latest alleged bust would be in order.

I expressed said skepticism to a coworker who was telling me about having been waiting to board a plane at JFK during the time the feds were holding their press conference to announce their big catch. (She noted that the televisions in the airport had all been switched from news to cartoons and that she didn’t find out about the story until she got on the plane.) I later e-mailed her links to the New York Times and Los Angeles Times articles, plus some of the others I’ve included in this column, to back up my contention that there was probably less to this alleged plot than meets the eye.

However, this coworker having been thoroughly Hannitized, she shot back an angry missive telling me, essentially, that only left-wing nuts believe this stuff and don’t trust the government, at least when it’s run by Republicans, to protect us. She, for one, is extremely grateful that they’re out there busting these terrorist plots early, no matter what illegal or unethical steps they have to take in order to do so, and keeping us all safe every day. (Apparently 9/11 is the exception that proves the rule, but then that can be blamed on the Clinton administration, as all "great Americans" see it.)

Apparently we are not to be in the least bit skeptical when the government holds press conferences to announce with great fanfare that it has foiled terrorist plots that were likely years from ever occurring and probably couldn’t have been pulled off anyway. We are never to question whether the government’s informants had any hand in instigating or egging on the alleged plots. We are not to ask if, perhaps, the FBI is creating terrorist plots so it can "bust" them and blow its own horn on national TV, thus obtaining a bigger budget next year and making certain politicians look good as they crusade for ever more tax dollars and police powers to protect us from these horrific terrorist plots.

Clearly only an inveterate cynic or a left-wing extremist could imagine the federal government’s inventing terrorist threats for its own benefit. I mean, maybe evil Democrats like the New York airport’s namesake would consider that, as in Operation Northwoods; but surely no patriotic, salt-of-the-earth Republican would ever wish harm on Americans for political advantage – right?

What, then, are we to make of these comments from Dennis Milligan, chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
"At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country."
If that isn’t hoping for disaster to befall Americans in order to score political points, I don’t know what is.

Furthermore, the illogic of the comments is typical of someone who is, as Milligan said of himself, "‘150 percent’ behind Bush on the war in Iraq." If one or more terrorist attacks do occur in the U.S., how does that vindicate Bush and his war "to protect this country"? Doesn’t it, instead, suggest that he’s been approaching the fight against terrorism in the wrong way? Alas, Milligan is probably right that attacks would, at the very least, cause the American people to rally around their Dear Leader, which is what makes his comments so heinous.

Is it reasonable, then, to doubt that we were in any real danger from the alleged JFK terrorist plot and, indeed, all the other alleged terrorist plots the feds tell us, via well-staged press conferences, they’ve busted? (Heck, even the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn said, according to the Times, that as far as the supposed JFK plot goes, the "public was never at risk"!) Is it reasonable to ask whether or not the government’s informants are playing a bigger role in these alleged plots than the people the feds are charging? Is it reasonable to suggest that, since the government benefits from the good publicity of having "saved" us from these purported terrorists, the feds might have a hand in dreaming up the plots they’re busting in the first place?

Put another way, is it reasonable to assume that if you see smoke, there’s probably a fire nearby?