Below the Bottom of the Barrel

When I was still just a young political punk pup in the 70s, managing programs for a community action agency in Massachusetts, I had the displeasure of several encounters with now-former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card and now-former USAID Director Andy Natsios (The Andy and Andy Show).

The latter was a Mass. state rep in one of my catchment area's districts. Massachusetts has always had a rich history of producing die-hard GOP hacks loyalists and Natsios is a champ, working his ass off in the government and public sectors in-state (culminating in his "management" of the notorious "Big Dig", one of the worst public works scandals ever in a state known for them) until tapped as USAID head in 2001. He's now The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang's Special Envoy to Darfur, after serving also as Special Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sudan. God help those folks!

Card was also a Mass. state rep around the time Natsios was. He got trashed in a race for the state Republican gubernatorial nomination in '82. He was then rewarded, however, with positions in Reagan's regime, Bush I's rule, and, finally, as a driving wheel in The Gang's junta. He was also a VHT (Very Heavy Hitter) with GM for awhile, as well as John Volpe memorial Secretary of Transportation under Bush I. Until March of this year, when he quit, he had served several years as Doubleduh's Chief of Staff.

Apparently, as recently revealed in Woodward's new book, Card resigned in frustration after twice tring to get Rummy fired. He's now on the Union Pacific Railroad's BOD.

Although Natsios is still working for The Gang, he was not a happy camper when he left USAID, according to this Michael Hirsh Newsweek piece in March of this year. Slices:
Andrew Natsios has taken a lot of flak over his role in Iraq. The longtime director of America's foreign-aid program has been pilloried for his April 2003 remark, in an ABC News interview, that the U.S. government would spend no more than $1.7 billion to rebuild Iraq. In the ensuing three years, Natsios, a lifelong Republican, has played the loyal soldier for the administration. He regularly defended the U.S. reconstruction effort in Iraq even as he was lumped with other errant prognosticators like Paul Wolfowitz (That's “wildly off the mark") and Dick Cheney ("We will be greeted as liberators"). After Natsios resigned in January to take a teaching post at Georgetown University, he maintained his silence about Iraq . . .

In an interview with NEWSWEEK . . ., he harshly criticized the Coalition Provisional Authority led by L. Paul Bremer III for botching the reconstruction effort and allowing ill-qualified or corrupt contractors to dominate it. "They didn't have [monitoring] systems set up. They were very dismissive of these processes," he said. His U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was marginalized despite its expertise, and the CPA "didn't hire the best people," he said. "We were just watching it unfold. They [the CPA] were constantly hitting at our people, screaming at them. They were abusive."

Natsios's low-cost estimate from April 2003, he made clear, was not based on the kind of chaotic, top-heavy occupation that he says Bremer eventually installed in Iraq but on the more traditional, streamlined U.S. aid effort that Natsios had urged.

Dan Senor, former spokesman for Bremer’s CPA, dismissed Natsios’s criticisms, saying the insurgency in Iraq made ordinary contracting procedures impossible. "I'm not familiar with the traditional USAID program that was recommended,” Senor told NEWSWEEK. “If it was traditional and conventional, it may have made sense for the reconstruction of Switzerland. But it sounds like it was completely irrelevant to the facts and conditions on the ground that we found in Iraq.” Senor added that the CPA had "recruited some of the top career Foreign Service officers from the State Department to serve in the CPA's management roles. We would have welcomed suggestions—from Andrew or anyone else—of who would have been better experienced.”

Natsios, who served as USAID director for nearly five years and was considered one of the top development and aid experts in Washington, says that his advice was largely ignored. Other administration officials, usually speaking anonymously, have backed Natsios's dim view of the CPA's competence level. The conventional wisdom today is that while most CPA officials were enthusiastic and brave, too many were inexperienced and second-rate . . .

And there is much more to come, especially on the little-noticed issue of contracting in Iraq, which the watchdog group Transparency International last year warned could become “the biggest corruption scandal in history." The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction is expected to issue a harshly critical report in May concluding that the CPA did not have disciplined contracting procedures in place, according to several people involved in drafting the report. If the Democrats manage to get control of the House later this year, it's all going to come in an avalanche of subpoenas and new investigations. Not that the Republicans have been entirely sitting on their hands. When Rep. Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican, agreed to subpoena records of funds transmitted to Iraq, his House Government Reform Subcommittee learned that nearly $12 billion in U.S. currency was shipped to Iraq from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, much of it with little accountability . . .

There some scary aspects and implications here:

  1. the fact that Natsios is still with The Gang, but Card is gone, raises some interesting questions about who's really on first vis-a-vis loyalty and influence. If Card is no longer useful, why is Natsios still around? My take is that if Natsios were cut loose he might be fairer game for those who really want to push some serious grief upon the folks responsible for robbing both the American and Iraqi people in the name of Iraqi dereconstruction.

    One thing I can tell you from personal experience with these two guys: Andy Natsios is one very smart guy; I mean truly smart. He was a thoughtful and formidable opponent, sincerely committed to traditional conservative ideals, and not one to put up with partisan bullshit from any side, including his own. On the other hand, although Card has some unmistakeable talent, he advanced through pure self-centered ambition and inveterate ass-kissing. His relentless opposition to Rummy finally constituted a mortal sin

  2. it's unclear whether a glance at these guys' successors sheds any light over what the final(?) two lame-ducky years will hold. Natsios' replacement, Randall Tobias, has a long career in the private sector before entering government as the first US Ambassador/Coordinator of our Global AIDS effort. He's not an intellectual like Natsios and he seems to have less qualifications for the job he now holds. I've got a feeling, however, that he will be unswervingly loyal to The Gang's agenda. He reports directly to Condi. 'Nuff sed.

    Josh Bolten, who succeeded Card, is a 100% government professional. The son of a spook, he's a Princeton and Stanford Law School grad, and most recently was in charge of OMB, where he served quietly and staunchly neoconservative. Interestingly enough, Tod Gitlin's March TPM Café piece is entitled "Josh Bolten, Loyalist". There's that word again.

My conclusion is that The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang has abandoned the Republican Party. It becomes very clear that The Gang itself is loyal only to the agenda of its global sponsors. The goals they want to achieve have nothing to do with competence, since those goals include only destruction and chaos, which they hope will make the planet one big resource circus. In this context, loyalty, and only that, is the Key to the Kingdom.

Card's, Bolten's, and Tobias' outcomes make complete sense in the context. Natsios' doesn't - unless we imagine that he was told to put away his brain and serve with total fealty to the Empire. For Andy to think that he's now responsible for the systematic accomplishments in Sudan/Darfur that he hoped for in Iraq runs contrary to his innate intelligence.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for most of the information contained in this post.)

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Just (Too) Chillin'

"In Case I Disappear" by Wiiliam Rivers Pitt is a must read! Excerpts:
I have been told a thousand times at least, in the years I have spent reporting on the astonishing and repugnant abuses, lies and failures of the Bush administration, to watch my back. "Be careful," people always tell me. "These people are capable of anything. Stay off small planes, make sure you aren't being followed." A running joke between my mother and me is that she has a "safe room" set up for me in her cabin in the woods, in the event I have to flee because of something I wrote or said.

I always laughed and shook my head whenever I heard this stuff. Extreme paranoia wrapped in the tinfoil of conspiracy, I thought. This is still America, and these Bush fools will soon pass into history, I thought. I am a citizen, and the First Amendment hasn't yet been red-lined, I thought.

Matters are different now.

It seems, perhaps, that the people who warned me were not so paranoid. It seems, perhaps, that I was not paranoid enough. Legislation passed by the Republican House and Senate, legislation now marching up to the Republican White House for signature, has shattered a number of bedrock legal protections for suspects, prisoners, and pretty much anyone else George W. Bush deems to be an enemy . . .

Underneath all this, however, is where the paranoia sets in.

Underneath all this is the definition of "enemy combatant" that has been established by this legislation. An "enemy combatant" is now no longer just someone captured "during an armed conflict" against our forces. Thanks to this legislation, George W. Bush is now able to designate as an "enemy combatant" anyone who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States."

Consider that language a moment. "Purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" is in the eye of the beholder, and this administration has proven itself to be astonishingly impatient with criticism of any kind. The broad powers given to Bush by this legislation allow him to capture, indefinitely detain, and refuse a hearing to any American citizen who speaks out against Iraq or any other part of the so-called "War on Terror."

If you write a letter to the editor attacking Bush, you could be deemed as purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States. If you organize or join a public demonstration against Iraq, or against the administration, the same designation could befall you. One dark-comedy aspect of the legislation is that senators or House members who publicly disagree with Bush, criticize him, or organize investigations into his dealings could be placed under the same designation. In effect, Congress just gave Bush the power to lock them up.

By writing this essay, I could be deemed an "enemy combatant." It's that simple, and very soon, it will be the law. I always laughed when people told me to be careful. I'm not laughing anymore.

In case I disappear, remember this. America is an idea, a dream, and that is all. We have borders and armies and citizens and commerce and industry, but all this merely makes us like every other nation on this Earth. What separates us is the idea, the simple idea, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our organizing principles. We can think as we please, speak as we please, write as we please, worship as we please, go where we please. We are protected from the kinds of tyranny that inspired our creation as a nation in the first place.

That was the idea. That was the dream. It may all be over now, but once upon a time, it existed. No good idea ever truly dies. The dream was here, and so was I, and so were you.
Me, too! Me, too!!!!!
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. . . admitted we were powerless . . .

I've just decided to put some addiction/recovery links on my sidebar.

This is a decision I've not taken lightly. This blog will always be about radical politics . . . and nothing else. I've resisted the impulse to talk about my own addiction(s) and attempts at recovery, with a few exceptions. I've added the links now for several reasons:

  • although I've struggled with this stuff (and with mental illness) since my late teens - and at one point had achieved nearly 20 years of sobriety - I've not done very well now for several years. I have no excuses. The recovery methods I've involved myself in do work - unequivocally. It is I who fails, through my own choices to minimize and deny how bad it is . . . to think, "I can get away with another toot"

  • there are times I've been extremely hypocritical here - concentrating on the ills of others, while not revealing my own. The truth just may set me free, and certainly will hold me more accountable

  • I developed my radical political ideals, from the seed planted in me by my father, in my past periods of sobriety. My models for personal behavior and societal/political structure are based in the 12 steps and 12 traditions of recovery programs

  • my and this blog's credibility is at stake. If I am not honest, this blog will fail to impact much of anything

  • maybe I can help a person or two. I'm sure that once in awhile a reader going through this stuff might stumble (pun intended) upon this humble site. Maybe a spark, eh?

Over the past few weeks I've posted some stuff about my last major relapse, which left me homeless and living in a shelter/treatment program. I've left there, am trying to stay stable and find a safe place to live. I am blessed by having a number of people in my life who care about and for me. I'm tired of letting them down. Maybe this will help.

Be at peace.

(The graphic in this post is original art, copyright Bill Kreutzmann.)

ADDITION: Just minutes after I posted the above, I came across "Thoughts on the Spiritual Condition of America's Leftward Half" by Andrew Bard Schmookler at OpEd News. Schmookler just happens to express many of my own thoughts about how the spirituality that is the basis of my attempts at addiction recovery may/should be closely aligned with an effective left-radical practice. Please read the article, but here are some clips:
For someone who lived through, and fully participated in, the 1960s and 1970s, this spiritual shallowness of the progressive element of America comes as a big disappointment. It was not always so.

From amid the confusions and the errors and the sloth that were also part of the counter-culture, there are also a genuinely positive spirit that gave voice to some of the "sacred values" which our nation and our world genuinely need.

Part of this concerned a transformation of the human relationship with the rest of the natural world. In addition to the political dimension of "environmentalism" --indeed, the source of the passion that gave that political movement its impetus-- there was a spiritual dimension. In the matter of just a few years, the idea that there is something sacred about the biosphere --about the Creation, as some would also express it-- became a powerful force in America.

This spirit seems to have dissipated in today's America --even when we bother to talk about environmental issues, one would scarcely think that something deep and sacred is at stake-- but we can still get a sense of the former deeper vibrancy of such values from some old movies.

Just a few that come to mind mind: FERN GULLY, THE DARK CRYSTAL, STAR WARS. The list could easily be expanded . . .

In today's America, which has itself given itself over to the dark side, this failure of the spirit and of the creative imagination was a profound betrayal of what had been glimpsed, and given some creative expression, in the earlier time.

Lucas and these latter day "prequels" reveal in miniature the spiritual failure of that part of America that was quickening a generation ago, and thus also the present profound need America has for a spiritual renewal --a re-connection with the sacred-- on the part of America's progressive side.
Schmookler's site is SEE NO EVIL: The Blinding of America. His blog is here.

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Straw Men, Sticks, and Stones

Down to the same level? I've thought a lot about Hugo Chavez UN speech. My first reaction, of course, was "Right on, hombre!!! Reconsidering, I wonder whether he was wise in, among other rhetoric, to call Bush "an alcoholic" and "the devil".

Let me make several brief points:

  • attacking Bush with name calling (even though he's right) was adolescent at best. As I've said many times before, Bush ain't the problem - he works for folks who are much more powerful and evil

  • he would have been much more effective if he had spent more time talking about the reality and potential of the democratic counter-revolution spreading through South and Central America. A question, however, is whether he was actually trying to distract us from his mixed record. As Ecuador's La Hora points out . . .
    After seven and a half years as president, with inflation in Venezuela at 15 percent, unemployment at 13 percent as of 2005 (11% higher than at the beginning of his mandate), and with a poverty level reaching 55 percent in 2003, which according to the most recent data was 47 percent in 2004, Mr. Hugo Chavez seems to have forgotten the reason he was elected: To improve the living conditions of his people, and not to get involved in matters that don't concern him.

    Beyond the spectacle that he puts on at every stop of his round-the-world tour -which is all that his presidency amounts to - and the laughter that he elicits by making a mockery of George W. Bush (of course, with no lack of motive), Hugo Chavez has taken upon himself attributes that don't correspond to him, believe himself capable of imposing his will on several Latin-American countries.

    To be precise, while continuing to incite against the imperialism of the United States, he has thoughtlessly intervened in the electoral processes of Bolivia, Peru and Colombia . . .
    Under the circumstances, might Hugo be a pot calling the kettle black?

  • Chavez had an immense opportunity to take the high road and present sophistication and benevolence. Instead, he at times has demonstrated a Khrushchev-like crudeness that has diminished his image as the leftist, democratically-elected leader of a strong, emerging nation

Name calling: the Left's conundrum. I'm beginning to find some of the name-calling by both the Right and Left extremely offensive. I've made no secret here that I'm a bisexual who has struggled with mental illness, alcoholism, and addiction. I have documented here that during the past six weeks or so I've had a difficult recurrence of all three. I'm better, thanks.

Needless to say, my track record over the years hasn't been great. But remember, these are not character deficiencies, but illnesses. There have been occasional claims that Bush is drinking again, but there's little, if any, hard proof. And even if he is, I think the Left is better served by compassion than by disingenuous innuendo and vilification. He wouldn't be the first nor last White House occupant who's used some aberrant behavior in response to the enormous pressure of his office.

As to the accusations that Bush has a history of homosexual behavior, here's Wayne Madsen:
Sep. 26, 2006 -- According to individuals who investigated George W. Bush's stint in the 147th Fighter Group of the Texas Air National Guard (TANG), the GOP's top dirty tricksters, notably Karl Rove and Roger Stone, interceded to derail the investigation and, instead, have CBS focus on Bush's faxed, scanned, and Xeroxed original TANG records -- which were later hyped by the right-wing media as fakes.

The reason for the GOP's concern was that the investigation was getting dangerously close to exposing Bush's suspected homosexual activity with other members of his TANG unit. Given the times and culture of the early 1970s, investigators were surprised to discover Bush's frequent association with an abundant number of gays in the unit, which was nicknamed the "Champagne Unit." Bush's homosexuality is the bête noire of Bush's past for GOP political operatives, precisely because of the anti-gay stance of the Republican right and its Christian fundamentalist base.

In 1976, the Bush family sent George W. Bush to El Paso's Worthy Creations, a Christian gay conversion center. From that time on, Bush became a tool of the Christian right and a self-hating homosexual. The investigation of Bush's gay activities in the TANG unit would have unraveled Bush's new "straight" persona. The GOP went to battle stations to prevent Bush's past from being resurrected . . .
So what? What did you expect? This is just politics as usual. Both parties have often suppressed information about candidates' "youthful indiscretions". He ain't the only citizen who doesn't want to be outed. Most important, the hypocrisy of the Left in advocating for homosexual rights, but attacking a closeted, "reformed" bisexual is more shameful than Bush's hypocrisy in hiding his past and presently being so anti-gay.

I recommend that the Left abandon these issues, since there are so many other things that disqualify him for his job.

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Getting What They Prayed For

Since I've been blogging, one of my main points is that The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang doesn't want victory in its "war on terra". They believe that their goals are best served by having a world full of boogie men whose intent is the destruction of western "democracy" and the countries that implement it. Having these "terrorists" around gives them the excuse to restrict our freedoms and rights, while bankrupting the US economy and, therefore, our government.

It's true that there probably are radical Islamists who'd like nothing better than the demise of our corrupt post-capitalist system. But so far, there are alot fewer of these folks than the Gang says there are, even though the sentiment is being extended beyond the Middle East and Western Asia. For example, I see little difference between Hugo Chavez calling Bush a devil and Iran's Khomeini calling the US "The Great Satan" in the 70's. We can crow all we want about "winning the Cold War", but the fact is that there is a rise in state socialism and leftist insurgencies throughout Central and South America.

But back to my main point. As I've written so many times, The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang is significantly more guilty of trying to destroy the US than is the Islamist world. Mostly, the latter just want us the fuck out of their countries. On the other hand, The Gang and its neocon core are doing just fine turning the US from a pseudo-democracy into fascist state where the government and meta-corporations are indistinguishable.

Remember that the essence of globalization is the elimination of national boundaries so that "free trade" may flourish everywhere and all indigenous peoples can be fully exploited. So, The Gang needs and loves chaos and perpetuates it with doubletalk and conflicting policies, such as waging wars and at the same time refusing to devote either the man- or fire-power necessary to winning them. Once again, I will say that The Gang isn't stupid . . . they're getting what they prayed for: global political and economic destabilization.

The US military and intelligence communities are finally getting the picture of what these thugs are really about, but The Gang just keeps ignoring and/or disputing the evidence that things are very wrong.

For example, this short article from yesterday's Madsen Report, in full I dont think Wayne'll mind:
Sep. 25, 2006 -- WMR has been told by oil industry insiders that there has been a conscious plan by Big Oil to destabilize small countries and territories where space-based imagery has discovered large oil and natural gas reserves in surrounding waters or within their borders. This has manifested itself in a bloody army rebellion in East Timor, which sits on large reserves in the Timor Sea; the small Pacific island territory of Pitcairn, where members of the island government who are direct descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers were charged with and convicted by Britain for pedophilia and incest and ordered to prison after what amounted to be a show trial; and Darfur, Sudan, where premeditated genocide is depopulating the province.
Another case in point is 2004 piece by the Centre for Research on Globalisation's Michel Chossudovsky, "US Sponsored Coup d'Etat: The Destabilization of Haiti" . . .
The armed insurrection which contributed to unseating President Aristide on February 29th 2004 was the result of a carefully staged military-intelligence operation.

The Rebel paramilitary army crossed the border from the Dominican Republic in early February. It constitutes a well armed, trained and equipped paramilitary unit integrated by former members of Le Front pour l'avancement et le progrès d'Haiti (FRAPH), the "plain clothes" death squadrons, involved in mass killings of civilians and political assassinations during the CIA sponsored 1991 military coup, which led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide

The self-proclaimed Front pour la Libération et la reconstruction nationale (FLRN) (National Liberation and Reconstruction Front) is led by Guy Philippe, a former member of the Haitian Armed Forces and Police Chief. Philippe had been trained during the 1991 coup years by US Special Forces in Ecuador, together with a dozen other Haitian Army officers. (See Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News, 24 February 2004) . . .

During the military government (1991-1994), FRAPH was (unofficially) under the jurisdiction of the Armed Forces, taking orders from Commander in Chief General Raoul Cedras. According to a 1996 UN Human Rights Commission report, FRAPH had been supported by the CIA.

Under the military dictatorship, the narcotics trade, was protected by the military Junta, which in turn was supported by the CIA. The 1991 coup leaders including the FRAPH paramilitary commanders were on the CIA payroll. (See Paul DeRienzo, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RIE402A.html , See also see Jim Lobe, IPS, 11 Oct 1996). Emmanuel Constant alias "Toto" confirmed, in this regard, in a CBS "60 Minutes" in 1995, that the CIA paid him about $700 a month and that he created FRAPH, while on the CIA payroll. (See Miami Herald, 1 August 2001). According to Constant, the FRAPH had been formed "with encouragement and financial backing from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA." (Miami New Times, 26 February 2004) . . .

The IMF and the World Bank are key players in the process of economic and political destabilization. While carried out under the auspices of an intergovernmental body, the IMF reforms tend to support US strategic and foreign policy objectives.

Based on the so-called "Washington consensus", IMF austerity and restructuring measures through their devastating impacts, often contribute to triggering social and ethnic strife. IMF reforms have often precipitated the downfall of elected governments. In extreme cases of economic and social dislocation, the IMF's bitter economic medicine has contributed to the destabilization of entire countries, as occurred in Somalia, Rwanda and Yugoslavia. (See Michel Chossudovsky, The globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, 2003, http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/GofP.html )

The IMF program is a consistent instrument of economic dislocation. The IMF's reforms contribute to reshaping and downsizing State institutions through drastic austerity measures. The latter are implemented alongside other forms of intervention and political interference, including CIA covert activities in support of rebel paramilitary groups and opposition political parties.

Moreover, so-called "Emergency Recovery" and "Post-conflict" reforms are often introduced under IMF guidance, in the wake of a civil war, a regime change or "a national emergency".

In Haiti, the IMF sponsored "free market" reforms have been carried out consistently since the Duvalier era. They have been applied in several stages since the first election of president Aristide in 1990.

The 1991 military coup, which took place 8 months following Jean Bertrand Aristide's accession to the presidency, was in part intended to reverse the Aristide government's progressive reforms and reinstate the neoliberal policy agenda of the Duvalier era . . .
March, march, march. Destroy, destroy, destroy. But Pitcairn Island??? Sheesh!!

While we're here . . . a great read (great mostly because it's what I've been writing for the last four years):

"Reflections on Our Inner Bush: Corporate Monkeys In Our National House Of Mirrors" by Phil Rockstroh for Dissident Voice.

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Wanted: Dead or Dead

Is he or isn't he? I watch with mirth the "controversy" over whether ObL is dead or alive. Although I can't find it, I read a story a month ago suggesting that he had been dead for awhile. Now, of course, the conjecture is that he died last month of typhus. Gimme a break.

Wayne Madsen, for one, doesn't believe it. Over the weekend, he wrote . . .

A report in the French newspaper L'est Republicain, which published a leaked French Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) intelligence dossier dated September 21stating that a single Saudi intelligence source claimed Osama Bin Laden died of typhoid fever in August may be an attempt to diffuse controversy about a Pakistani cease fire agreement with pro-Taliban tribal leaders in Waziristan on the Afghan-Pakistani border, according to U.S. intelligence sources with experience in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Earlier this month, ABC News reported on the comments of Pakistani Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Director General of Inter Services Public Relations, that Bin Laden and his deputy Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, would not be taken into custody if they agreed to become "peaceful citizens." The Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and the Pakistani embassy in Washington claimed that Gen. Sultan's comments were misunderstood, however, the fact remains that the Pakistani agreement with the pro-Taliban tribes, especially those in North Waziristan, leaves a number of Al Qaeda-affiliated fighters in place, including those from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Uighurstan, and other countries who now live under the protection of the Pakistan-recognized Islamic Emirate of Waziristan -- an entity that provides the Taliban and Al Qaeda with their first safe state after their loss of Afghanistan to a U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

The report of Bin Laden's death is likely a Saudi feint designed to relieve U.S. pressure on Pakistan's government and the pro-Taliban emirate of Waziristan. The furor surrounding former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's alleged threat to bomb Pakistan into the "stone age" if it did not join the "war on terrorism" immediately following the 911 attacks is also a clever ploy to keep Pakistan in line with U.S. pipeline plans for the region, according to energy industry sources . . .

Frankly, I'd believe Madsen before I'd trust the CIA, DIA, or the French. Wouldn't you? The question, of course, is whether the Doubleduh-Cheney Gang politically needs him to be alive. My sense is that they don't need him to be breathing anymore. He was a valuable tool for the first three years post-9/11, but no longer. Anyway, he's vowed not to be taken alive. And I'm positive that if he were captured, he be executed by Western forces on the spot. I mean, c'mon . . . there's no way he'll be put on public trial.

Truth or consequences. I'm a strong believer in and supporter of the 9/11 Truth movement, if for no other reason than the USA government's long history of such plots. Even on the Left, however, there's a growing counter-movement. As the WW4 Report opines, in 9-11 AND THE NEW PEARL HARBOR . . .
After the 1898 explosion of the battleship Maine, the 1933 Reichstag Fire, the 1939 bogus Polish "invasion" of Germany, and the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, it is irresponsible not to consider the possibility that elements of the CIA and/or Bush administration had a hand in the events of September 11, 2001. The inconvenient facts and unanswered questions surrounding the attacks are legion and deeply disturbing—making an examination of official complicity (or outright responsibility) all the more imperative.

However, it is equally irresponsible to accept official complicity in the attacks as a foregone conclusion, and twist every fact to fit it. The mini-industry which has sprung up around 9-11 "conspiracy theory"—as well as the activist campaign that serves as its unpaid advertising department—has merely replicated the dogmatism of the "official version." Worse, the endemic sloppiness of the self-styled "researchers" is delegitimizing the entire project of critiquing the "official version." The ostentatiously named "Truth movement" is not clearing the air, but muddying the water.


The approaching fifth anniversary of 9-11 will almost certainly be exploited by the White House to rekindle lagging war fever. Equally certainly, it will be exploited by the conspiracists for their own propaganda purposes. The evident glee with which these supposed antagonists greet the grim remembrance is almost equally unbecoming.

Last September 11, a gaggle of conspiracists attempted to crash the official commemoration ceremony at Ground Zero—doing more to alienate them from the very people they purportedly seek to reach out to than if they'd planned it that way. A larger group of some 200 protesters, organized by NY 9-11 Truth, gathered outside the offices of the New York Times to condemn the failure of the media to examine their claims. But their favored chant was: "Figure it out, It's not hard, 9-11 was an inside job!" Apart from not rhyming, the slogan sums up exactly why it is so easy for the mainstream press to dismiss them: it asserts a dogma and dismisses dissenters as idiots. It replicates what it ostensibly opposes.

The literature being distributed at the demo was even more revealing. One cluster of activists sold a book entitled 9-11, the Great Illusion: Endgame of the Illuminati. The organizers can't be held responsible for all the lit given out at their event. But this was a small protest, and such titles give the New York Times a damn good excuse no to take them seriously.

This year, NY 9-11 Truth is distributing a four-page flyer in anticipation of the anniversary, grandiosely entitled "The Essential Truth About 9-11." The rhetoric builds on the "Truth" movement's demand that their agenda be placed front and center in the anti-war movement. It reads: "If you're ready to get to the root causes of war and injustice rather than forever dealing with the symptoms, understanding the reality of 9-11 will expose the forces that have hijacked our country and our lives." Again, it does not call for vigorous inquiry, but acceptance of a particular version of "reality"—and dismisses those who don't buy it as unserious.

This would be appalling enough even if the "Truth" movement (never trust that word when it is rendered with a capital T) were not pretending to know more than it does or can. But, as is usually the case, arrogant condescension is linked to intellectual hubris.


The collapse of the Twin Towers was a source of controversy from the beginning, and it is not surprising that it has been seized upon as an anomaly. An editorial in the January 2002 edition of Fire Engineering, a respected fire-fighting trade magazine with ties to the FDNY, called the investigation of the World Trade Center collapse "a half-baked farce" and called for a "full-throttle, fully resourced" effort. The piece by Bill Manning, editor of the 125-year-old monthly, especially protested that steel from the site was not preserved for study. The editorial also stated that a growing number of fire engineers were theorizing that "the structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in themselves were not hot enough to bring down the towers."

Manning's claim is cited in several conspiracist tracts, including the most prominent, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9-11 by David Ray Griffin. The explanation proffered is that the collapse was a "controlled demolition" affected through pre-planted explosives . . .


The most sinister thing about the conspiracists is how they abet the consolidation of the very police state they claim to oppose. Arguing that Bush and his spies should have been omniscient enough to stop the attacks, they decry how the attacks are being used to expand the government's powers—blissfully unaware of how they give their own adversaries propaganda on a silver platter. With their implicit demands for an omniscient government, they (presumably unwittingly) play into the hands of those who seek a perfectly "secure" world in which privacy and personal liberty have been perfectly eliminated.

Another anomaly seized upon as vindication by the conspiracists was the August 2005 revelation that a secret Pentagon intelligence unit known as Able Danger had identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of an al-Qaeda cell more than a year before 9-11. According to media reports, the Able Danger team had prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the Pentagon's Special Operations Command that the data be shared with the FBI. This recommendation was rejected—apparently because Atta and the others were in the US on valid entry visas, and were therefore protected from surveillance as a matter of policy.

Now, true freedom-lovers should be comforted by the fact that the Pentagon did not turn the information over to the FBI. The conspiracists claim the failure to do so as evidence of the government's "LIHOP" (let it happen on purpose) strategy. But the concrete result of this relentless recrimination and retrospectivity will only be more visa-holders coming under Big Brother's scrutiny.

The conspiracy milieu suffers from an ambivalent Oedipus complex, torn between rage against the Big Daddy Government which is the source of all evil and a quasi-fascistic longing for a benevolent father figure that will protect us. For instance, if the Air Force really had intercepted and shot down the hijacked planes on September 11, this would have been—appropriately—protested as government murder of its own citizens in the name of preventative action, like the 1993 Waco affair. But this is exactly what the conspiracy theorists are now insisting should have happened. They do not seem aware, much less disturbed, by this basic contradiction in their moral universe.

The spring of 2002 saw a brief media frenzy over official foreknowledge of 9-11. A senior FBI agent in Minneapolis claimed that headquarters repeatedly roadblocked Twin Cities-based agents who sought to investigate "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui aggressively in the days before 9-11. The agent, Coleen Rowley, said bureaucrats at headquarters had also bungled a warning from an agent in Phoenix who had written that al-Qaeda militants could be using domestic aviation schools to train for terror attacks. It was revealed that in June 2001 then-CIA Director George Tenet had written an intelligence summary for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice warning: "It is highly likely that a significant al-Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks." In a public address following the revelations, then-Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff cited nearly a decade's worth of hints that foreign terrorists were targeting the US. "As of Sept. 10, each of us knew everything we needed to know to tell us there was a possibility of what happened on Sept. 11," Chertoff said

The conspiracists were beside themselves with ecstasy, of course, taking the revelations as further evidence of the LIHOP thesis, or its more ambitious alternative, "MIHOP" (make it happen on purpose).

But here's a real alternative conspiracy theory: Were the Justice Department, FBI and CIA leaking or even inventing their own blunders in an effort to intentionally make themselves look incompetent and timid so that their budgets and powers would be increased, their apparatus expanded, and restraints on domestic snooping lifted? Were the conspiracy theorists themselves, who relentlessly touted the revelations, serving as pawns of the government conspiracy?

Maybe, or maybe not. But in any case, that fall the Homeland Security Act passed. The current head of the Homeland Security Department is Michael Chertoff.

Idiot winds. Kee-RIST, what chutzpah. Every spook farm in the government, as well as most people with an IQ over 6, realizes that the war on terra is increasing, rather than diminishing, the risk of "terrorist attacks". But the Doubleduh-Cheney Gang just won't give in. Their stance is pretty stupid, especially from their own perspective. Wouldn't it more to their advantage to agree with their spies and generals, then use that to advocate an increase in resources and a further restriction of civil rights? I admit I don't get it - everyone knows that this fiasco is a blowback-generating cluster fuck.

In a WaPo story, however, even überspook Negroponte was forced to gingerly equivocate . . .
Negroponte Highlights U.S. Successes
Intelligence View That War Is Increasing Terror Is 'Fraction of Judgments,' He Says

From News Services
Monday, September 25, 2006; A04

The conclusion of U.S. intelligence analysts that the Iraq war has increased the threat from terrorism is only "a fraction of judgments" in a newly disclosed National Intelligence Estimate, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte said yesterday.

The NIE, completed in April, reflects the consensus view of 16 government intelligence services, including the CIA. The Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the classified document concludes that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has fueled Islamic extremism and contributed to the spread of terrorist cells.

"What we have said, time and again, is that while there is much that remains to be done in the war on terror, we have achieved some notable successes against the global jihadist threat," Negroponte said in a statement. "The conclusions of the intelligence community are designed to be comprehensive, and viewing them through the narrow prism of a fraction of judgments distorts the broad framework they create." . . .
Negroponte would do well as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, doncha think?

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No Longer On Top

From The Times (UK):
Not 'All Americans' Now

. . . The rest of the world has always had a complex set of attitudes towards America — a mixture of envy, admiration, disdain, gratitude, exasperation, hope and, sometimes, fear. But that day, that week, America evoked only the sort of strenuous affection that causes a complete stranger to go out and stick bills on lampposts.

But that instantaneous solidarity with a stricken superpower was not, as it turned out, anything like a good predictor of the history that would unfold over the next half a decade.

As it prepares to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the attacks, America stands reviled in the world as never before. It is a remarkable turnabout. In the same amount of time that elapsed between the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the Treaty of Versailles, in as many months as passed between Germany’s invasion of Poland and D-Day, the US has gone from innocent victim of unimaginable villainy to principal perpetrator of global suffering.

So complete has been this transformation in global sentiment that it is inconceivable now, should America be attacked again, today, that the tragedy would elicit the same response. There would be horror and sympathy in good measure, certainly, from most decent people. But there would also be much Schadenfreude, and even from the sympathetic a grim, unsmiling sense that America had reaped what it had sown.

The facts — the historical events — that have brought about this changed perception of America are not in dispute. They can be tracked chronologically, almost from the moment the twin towers came down . . .
From The Economist
America's longest war

A nation once joined together in shock and vulnerability is now riven by failure and recrimination . . .

The administration capitalised on the more vengeful mood to produce a wide-ranging response. On September 11th Mr Bush concluded that America was at war. That day, too, he stated that he would make no distinction between terrorists and those who harboured them. This rapidly became the “Bush doctrine”. America would not wait for the next attack: it would take the war to the enemy. That did not mean al-Qaeda alone. Any state sponsoring terrorists or supplying them with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) would be dealt with, even before the threat was fully developed. And America would not simply treat symptoms. It would tackle the causes of Islamic terrorism . . .

Might isn't right

The American left, in particular, has reverted to its pre-September 11th, and perhaps even pre-Clinton, suspicion of American power. A survey conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in November 2005 found that only 59% of Democrats still supported the decision to invade Afghanistan, compared with 94% of Republicans. A survey by the Century Foundation asked left-wingers and conservatives to rate their two main foreign-policy goals. Conservatives put destroying al-Qaeda at the top of their list; leftists put it at number ten . . .

The concentration on national security reflects a second big change: America's new but continuing sense of vulnerability. This has deepened over the years. The war in Iraq has proved how difficult it is for America to use its military might to change the world. The fiasco of failing to find any WMD in Iraq underlined the weakness of its intelligence services. The response to Hurricane Katrina showed dramatically what several congressional reports had already pointed out: that the administration had done little to prepare for another catastrophic attack.

Lastly, September 11th has turned the Bush presidency into a big deal. Before the aircraft struck, Mr Bush looked like a small-bore president—divisive, to be sure, but divisive about little things. On the morning of September 11th Mr Bush was reading “My Pet Goat” to a class of second-graders. His speech-writer, Michael Gerson, was working on a speech on “Communities of Character”. America is now as divided as possible about Mr Bush. His supporters regard him as a “transformative” figure like Ronald Reagan. His critics view him as a catastrophe—possibly the worst president in American history, according to Sean Wilentz, a Princeton historian. But, thanks to September 11th, nobody can dismiss him as a mere footnote.
The neoconservatives have accomplished three of their goals: to destroy Afghanistan, which is now one big poppy field; to destroy Iraq, which is now one big killing field; and to destroy the United States, which is now one big leeching field.

Remember that the goal of globalization is the eradication of countries as such so their are no impediments to "free trade." Remember also that our government has mastered the art of Orwellian doublespeak. We still deploy a missile system called "Peacemaker."

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Just A Dream

From The Daily Mail . . .
Held up by a Secret Service bodyguard in his dying moments after being shot in the stomach, this is President Bush being assassinated.

The American leader is surrounded by a crowd of panicking onlookers just seconds after being gunned down by a Syrian-born U.S. citizen outside a Chicago hotel . . .

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