Friday, May 29, 2015

Moral complexities of the Hastert affair (UPDATED)


Note: This story changed as I wrote it, and will probably change again in the very near future. I will try to update.

This post is an update to the one below. If you are one the few people in this country who has not yet heard of the indictment of Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House, scroll down, read the earlier post, then come back here.

Last year, Hastert was on CSPAN when he got a call from an Illinois resident calling himself "Bruce." The caller said "Remember me from Yorkville?" -- then he emitted an unnerving laugh and hung up. The video embedded above captures this moment. (Catherine Thompson of TPM made this remarkable find.)

I feel reasonably sure that Bruce is the "Individual A" who figures in the indictment. So what does this incident tell us? It tells us that Bruce is creep. Even if he was victimized by a schoolteacher thirty years ago, the guy is still a creep.

One thing we know for certain about Individual A is that he is a blackmailer. No matter what the wrong committed against you, you do not have the right to follow the business model of Charles Augustus Milverton. (If you don't recognize the name, read your Sherlock Holmes.) You may have the right (both legal and moral) to go public, but extortion is criminal.

I know a lot of people will disagree with what I'm about to say, but I don't care. Presuming that the offense was sexual -- and that's a reasonable presumption at this point -- I'm going to have differing opinions of Hastert's moral culpability depending on how old Individual A was at the time and and whether consent was involved. BEFORE YOU SAY IT: Please don't begin a lecture that begins with the words "But legally...." I'm not talking about the law in this paragraph; I'm talking about my opinion.

New paragraph; new subject: Now we're going to talk about the law. As it turns out, Illinois law is a bit odd when it comes to the age of consent is a bit odd. Here's the code, although I don't know whether it read differently at the time. The age of consent is 17. But: "Above and beyond the age of consent, parents still have legal authority to deny access to or involvement with their child until the child is 18." Also: "The age at which a person may consent for themselves in Illinois is 17 (so long as the other person isn't an authority figure, like a teacher, coach, etc.)"

Hastert was a coach and teacher. That fact was stressed in this AP story.
"Notice the teacher and coach language," said Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor and head of the Chicago office of the investigation firm Kroll. "Feds don't put in language like that unless it's relevant."
At this time, my suspicion is that Hastert did not commit statutory rape. Moreover, I doubt that he did anything without the other party's consent. The crux of this matter may lie in the fact that he was an authority figure.

The FBI's behavior is morally debatable. The purpose of the investigation is, ostensibly, to capture the extortionist. But because Hastert (the victim of extortion) appears to have lied to the investigators, the feds made public (or at least semi-public) the very action which was the basis for blackmail.

I don't think that's right. Bruce and the FBI are making me feel sympathy for a politician I have never liked. How's that for irony?

UPDATE: NBC has confirmed that the scenario I've outlined here is pretty damned close to the truth.
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert paid a man to conceal sexual misconduct while the man was a student at the high school where Hastert taught, a federal law enforcement official told NBC News on Friday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity. Tribune newspapers reported earlier in the day that two unnamed federal officials said that Hastert paid a man from his past to conceal sexual misconduct.
The Los Angeles Times offers much the same story.

The LAT speaks of sexual "abuse," as does Buzzfeed. But no account available thus far gives us any direct indication that consent was lacking. Similarly, we have no indication that the young man was under the age of consent in Illinois. I suspect that if either of those two factors had been present, we probably would know about it by now. And if that presumption is true, then the impropriety rests solely in the fact that Hastert was a teacher.

Okay, it's a little easier now to get our moral bearings. Obviously, it is always wrong for a high school teacher to have sex with a student, even if the student is, from a legal standpoint, a consenting adult. But just as obviously, extortion is vile. My sympathies lean toward Hastert.

However: There are also rumors that Hastert acted badly toward an "Individual B." B, if he exists, is not a blackmailer. So in this case, all of our sympathies must go to B and our condemnation must be directed against Hastert. If B exists.

There are other possibilities. Hastert was a wrestling coach, and wrestling involves moves that might be construed as inappropriate touching. I can easily see how a misapprehension might turn into a "he said, he said" situation.
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FBI whistle blower Sybil Edmonds claimed in 2005 that during her work as a FBI translator she transcribed conversations in which she learned that elements of Turkish organized crime and state intelligence payed Hatert bribes, totaling tens of thousands of dollars. Vanity Fair ran an article in the same year confirming much of the story. Hastert left Congress and went to work for a lobby shop that represents Turkey, coincidence? It's difficult to feel sorry for him. Karma.
 
"The FBI's behavior is morally debatable."

You and I agree on this point.

What's more, the FBI knows it. That's why they took great pains to pretend they were NOT exposing the original "crime" -- yet making sure it was found out anyway, via the anonymous Fed leakers.

The FBI knew that the public would just say "So what? What's the big deal?" about the only crimes the Feds were actually charging (banking, lying). To make the public actually care about the indictments, they needed to make Hastert into a bad guy. They need to change the framing to: "We can't get him for the original crime, so we had to get him for the cover-up."

But you see, the original crime (sex) may not have even been a crime. Even if it was a crime, it wasn't a Federal crime, so the FBI had no business digging into it.

As to whether this was "extortion": I think you and others assume too much. As Glenn Greenwald pointed out today on Twitter, victims are compensated for alleged harms done, and paid to keep quiet, every day of the year in law offices and courtrooms across the country -- and it's all very legal.
 
So maybe the Haskert story in the narrative imposed upon us by the media is just pre-emptive recrimination to try to take the edge off the Clinton Lolita Express stuff that is yet to break mainstream.
 
Was just watching Chris Hayes and his guest atty Paul Butler discussing these same issues. Why did the indictment so carefully leave the misconduct unstated? To use the threat of disclosure as a cudgel to get Hastert to plead guilty? So why did they leak it anyway? This administration hates leaks and DOJ/Feds rarely leak anyway. Why?

So then Butler comes up with a theory that's the exact inverse of mine. To wit: What Hastert did 50 years ago was so heinous and wrong, the Feds felt they HAD to get him in the interest of justice, but the statute of limitations had long ago expired. So they're getting him for the cover-up.

I don't agree, but it's at least plausible.


 
Barney Frank has always said that there is a cabal of gay republicans in the congress, men who are deeply closeted and fearful. Frank has admitted to threatening to out them if the gay bashing legislation did not stop. And it stopped. Wonder if this could be someone else using the tactic against someone out of congress as a warning to those still there.

As for the wrestling, many high school wrestlers become out gay men. They are not going to complain, for the most part, about initiation into gay sex. But there may be others. Most of the RC scandals began with one accuser, and were rapidly followed by others. The first is the hardest to get, but once gotten the rest appear.

To my personal knowledge and experience, the rest stop/ park just outside Yorkville on Hwy 71 had a very busy gay male tea room type activity in the 70's and early 80's.
 
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Dennis Hastert: The elephant in the room

By now, you probably know that former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has been charged by the FBI for lying to agents about a blackmail scheme. An unnamed person, called Individual A in the indictment, was blackmailing Hastert for unspecified prior "bad acts" committed long before. Apparently, Individual A got together with Hastert in 2010 to discuss their history...
In the indictment, Hastert is accused of agreeing to pay one individual $3.5 million.

Although the indictment does not specify the “bad acts,” sources said they could be from before Hastert, who is now a lobbyist in Washington, entered politics in 1980.
Before Hastert went into politics, he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach. It does not take much imagination to guess what kind of acts a schoolteacher might get up to that would be worth $3.5 million in hush money 30 years later.

The actual indictment is here.
a. From approximately 1965 to 1981, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois. From approximately 1981 to 2007, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was an elected public official, including eight years as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. From approximately 2008 to the present, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT has worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.

b. Individual A has been a resident of Yorkville, Illinois and has known defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT most of Individual A's life.

c. In or about 2010, Individual A met with defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT multiple times. During at least one of the meetings, Individual A and defendant discussed past misconduct by defendant against Individual A that had occurred years earlier.

d. During the 2010 meetings and subsequent discussions, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT agreed to provide Invidiual A $3.5 million in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A.
The likeliest scenario is that Hastert had engaged in an improper sexual relationship with a young person. The report that Hastert knew this person "most of Individual A's life" indicates a relationship with the child of a friend or neighbor. Even though the indictment carefully avoids assigning a pronoun to Individual A, we have good reason to believe that the relationship with homosexual.

Most people now forget that, in 2006, the Mark Foley scandal engendered much talk about outing other secretly gay Republican congressfolk. The Republican voting base was then more intolerant toward gays than is the case today. (Yes, I'm well aware that many conservatives are still quite gay-unfriendly.) Here's what I wrote at the time:
A couple of days ago, Americablog reported rumors of another secretly gay Republican congressperson involved in scandal. John Aravosis refused to divulge the name (even in private correspondence -- yes, I was nebby enough to ask), although his published piece cleverly hinted that the "mystery gay" was House Speaker Denny Hastert himself. Now, a number of web sites -- and even Randi Rhodes! -- have reported that Hastert is indeed the man on the hot seat.
Lawrence O'Donnell also strongly indicated that Hastert was homosexual. In fact, O'Donnell came that close to making the claim directly.

At the time, Hastert lived with his Chief of Staff, Scott Palmer. The two were inseparable. When Dennis Hastert's wife Jean made one of her rare visits to Washington DC, she stayed in a hotel -- on Valentine's Day.

The rumors of homosexuality swirled around Hastert throughout 2006. The next year, he announced that he would not serve out his time in office.

Normally, I would have considered a man's sexuality to be his own business. What irked me at the time was a factor that irked a lot of other people: The reek of hypocrisy. Hastert had been one of the leading voices calling for Bill Clinton's impeachment over the Monica Lewinski affair; moreover, Hastert had not been friendly toward measures expanding gay rights.

Although I may regret this decision, I think we should take a look at a report from a not-terribly-reliable writer named Wayne Madsen, who formerly worked for the intelligence community. He specializes in uncredited swipes from other writers (including my humble self), mixed with unverifiable -- and often quite outlandish -- revelations from unnamed sources who may or may not exist. In short, Madsen has written many things that I simply do not believe.

With those caveats in place, let's hop the barb wire fence and explore the forbidden zone. In 2006, Madsen insinuated that Hastert had an interest in the underaged.
WMR's State Department sources have also reported that the visits of Hastert and other congressional leaders and staff members to certain Southeast Asian nations and the Northern Marianas should come under the scrutiny of the House Ethics Committee, now officially investigating "Pagegate." The Northern Marianas became infamous in the scandals involving Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff because of the presence in the US slave labor territory of Asian children being used as prostitutes. Conveniently, Foley co-chaired the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which would have had authority to investigate charges of child prostitution in the Northern Marianas.
Alas, Madsen's piece then goes off on bizarre tangents involving the JonBenet Ramsay imbroglio and all sorts of other issues. Like most other conspiracy-oriented writers, Madsen never delivers a comprehensible narrative, because he cannot resist filling his stew pot with every single ingredient in his kitchen. As one of my exes used to say: "That's not an essay. That's a brain dump."

Nevertheless, other writers have also strongly hinted that when Abramoff took politicians to the Marianas, he made sure that their more unusual sexual appetites were satiated. Some wags believe that Washington DC should change its name to Washington BC: Blackmail City.

Right now, I would put the Marianas story in the category of "Maybe; maybe not. More investigation needed." In another 2006 piece, Madsen writes:
WMR reported on old charges that swirled around Hastert when he was a high school wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in Yorkville, Illinois. Hastert decided to enter politics in 1980 after rumors surfaced about inappropriate contact with male high school students.
This claim didn't make a whole lot of sense in the context of 2006. I still can't imagine why a teacher who had been subjected to such rumors would decide to seek public office. Moreover, I've yet to see any reputable news source confirm that such rumors even existed; according to one news report that I've seen, the community had a very high opinion of Hastert during his time as a teacher. The indictment is worded in such a way as to suggest that Hastert got to know Individual A outside of school.

Nevertheless, I do think that we should revisit the mystery of why Hastert left his job in such a hurry back in 2007.

Clever: This Washington Post headline calls the Hastert indictment "Jaw-dropping." Nudge nudge. Wink wink. Say no more.
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Well, Jerry Sandusky was thought very highly of by 99% of people in the town where he lived. He was always involved with the community and, of course, everyone thought of the Second Mile as a wonderful thing for the children who were "helped" by it. Most people were deeply shocked to learn the truth about him. I expect the same was true with Hassert So it's not exactly unusual for a child molester to have a high public profile and be respected and admired by the community who don't know what that person does when no one is looking.
 
The sexual abuse of children and the blackmail it engenders is what keeps those in titular positions of power from ever exercising said power for good. The cost of true power is corruption, because only the corrupt can be relied upon to play ball.
 
Sibel Edmonds had, among other things, Hastert taking bribes from the Turkish government to influence votes in Congress (and maybe other things--I don't recall now). Edmonds' allegations were buried deep by Bushco and the FBI. It's interesting that they're willing to go after Hastert now.

Maybe Madsen is more reliable than he's given credit for. His claims about Obama's parents and the CIA are interesting.

 
1. Very well presented.

2. My biggest reservation (and for full nerd points, I take inspiration from the resolution to Isacc Asimov's "The Gods Themselves") is that in nature "one" is almost never the right answer. Either there ought to be a trail of tears in Hastert's wake (as with Sandusky, where multiple victims were found), or the relationship was something else altogether. Unless we think the FBI is going to drop another shoe on us, this indictment by itself would be a weird denoument to what might be a child abuse case.

Or, if this was a serious relationship with an of-age male, well, times have changed, its not 2006 or even 2008, so just what is Hastert afraid of?

And FWIW, the indictment does say that Hastert was paying (my emphasis) “in order **to compensate for** and conceal his prior misconduct”.

Compensate?!? Why does he owe a consenting adult male money? Or, if it was a traumatized student, why is there only one, and why does this investigation seem to be over?

I am leaning towards these payments being child support from an out-of-wedlock birth, made either to the mother or the child (If the mom was also a childhood friend he could have known her most of her life). And maybe Hastert has been paying for years, but the cash amounts were small, like his Congressional salary (relative to his lobbyist cash-in).

Well - perhaps like Hastert, I can go either way.
 
Or, this just in:

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert paid a man to conceal a sexual relationship they had while the man was a student at the high school where Hastert taught, a federal law enforcement official told NBC News on Friday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity. Tribune newspapers reported earlier in the day that two unnamed federal officials said that Hastert paid a man from his past to conceal sexual misconduct.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/dennis-hastert-indictment-fed-say-cover-was-related-sexual-misconduct-n366776


 
Ah, brain dumping! I call it riffing when I do it :-) Not advisable at bus stops.

b (telling his inner organiser to calm down)
 
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Thursday, May 28, 2015

It never stops... (Added note)

This post may be considered an addendum to the one below. The rightwingers want us to be very upset by the revelation that Sidney Blumenthal received 10K a month doing consulting work for the Clinton Foundation. The Politico story at the other end of that link tries to give the impression that the Foundation was used to pay Blumenthal for his emails to Hillary about Libya.

Read the story carefully. You'll see that there is no evidence that the two things were connected.

Of Blumenthal:
He is expected to testify next week about a series of memos containing sometimes specious intelligence on the situation in Libya, which he sent to Hillary Clinton’s personal email account.
Specious how? There is a strange lack of specificity about this alleged speciousness.

Allow me to repeat a point made in an earlier post, which responded to a truly specious piece in the WP by Karen Tumulty:
Let's take one more look at the September 12, 2012 Blumenthal memo on Benghazi, as described by the NYT (here):
The next day, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a more thorough account of what had occurred. Citing “sensitive sources” in Libya, the memo provided extensive detail about the episode, saying that the siege had been set off by members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan terrorist group. Those militants had ties to Al Qaeda, had planned the attacks for a month and had used a nearby protest as cover for the siege, the memo said.
Pray tell me, Ms. Tumulty: How the hell can any of that be considered "unreliable"? Looks to me as though Blumenthal got it right. And he did so the day after, at a time when the CIA was still trying to figure things out.

Days later, Victoria Nuland was feeding crap to Susan Rice. And yet, according to Beltway wisdom, Nuland is always considered Miss Reliability while Sidney Blumenthal is derided as That Weirdo From Wackyland.

What kind of shit is this? Who sets these standards?
We know from other sources that both the Republicans and the Democrats have adopted a "hands off" policy when it comes to the Kagan clan, of which Victoria Nuland is a prominent member. That's why the mainstream media never critiques Nuland (who got Benghazi wrong) while lambasting Blumenthal (who got Benghazi right).

Yet we're supposed to believe that Blumenthal is the one dripping with "specious" intelligence! This is another example of the way our corrupt media tries to convince you that red is green and green is red.

There is no evidence that the Clintons used the Foundation to pay Blumenthal for his on-the-ground information -- but even if that were the case, I wouldn't much care. We should be grateful that someone was giving the Secretary of State the straight skinny on September 12. At that time, the CIA was still confused. Days later, Victoria Nuland gave a thoroughly incorrect story to Susan Rice (perhaps deliberately) -- and weeks after that, the NYT was still publishing conflicting accounts.

In that morass, only one guy got it right. Naturally, he's the guy that our Beltway journalists consider specious.

As for the "hiring friends" accusation: Again, I say "So what?" The Clinton Foundation is a private charity, not a governmental agency. Why shouldn't the Clintons choose to work with people they trust?

(Hell, my main income right now comes from an old friend who had no sensible reason to hire me, since there must be a zillion young guys who could do the job better.)

If you say that a charity has no right to hire an old pal, I must counter: We're talking about the freakin' Clintons, the world-champion fundraisers. Given how much money they are able to bring in, not to mention how much money they have personally put into this charity, I'd say that they have a right to hire whoever they want for whatever reason they want.

If you want real examples of cronyism, check out what the Republicans have been getting up to in recent times. See here and here and here. Does anyone recall the rampant cronyism that characterized the Katrina cleanup? What about the cronyism that prevailed when certain GOP-friendly companies got Iraq war contracts? Haliburton, Blackwater -- can you honestly tell me that there was no cronyism involved with those contracts? Didn't Neil Bush profit from "No child left behind"? How many utterly unqualified Republicans have received ambassadorships simply because they did favors for the party? Republican cronyism is so bad, and so obvious, that even Rush Limbaugh has criticized it (also see here).

Here's a blast from the past: Does anyone out there recall the various strategems used to pay off Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, who provided an origin point for the fake Jessica Lynch story? That's a kind of cronyism, isn't it? And what about the now-forgotten Duke Cunningham scandal, in which we learned that a big Republican donor named Brent Wilkes was rewarded with fat contracts, even though he ran a phony company and did no real work?

No need to go on. Many of my readers, if asked to list examples of cronyism involving conservatives, could fill out an essay ten times the size of this one. I cannot believe that the Republicans want to go there. What's next? Are we going to have to listen to Joshua Duggar give a lecture on family values?

On another front: The Clinton Foundation is being hit with -- get this! -- a RICO suit. This suit is just another excuse for Larry Klayman and his hit squad at Judicial Watch to go on yet another fishing expedition.

Karl Rove's strategy has always been to attack his opponent's area of strength. That's why the Republicans (saddled with a president who had gone AWOL in the Vietnam era) went after John Kerry's war record in 2004. And now they are using ludicrous tactics to make everyone suspicious of the Clinton Foundation, one of the most effective charities in existence. If Jimmy Carter were running for elective office, Republicans would try to convince you that Habitat For Humanity is run by the Genovese family.

Added note: Yesterday's Daily Howler post is germane to this discussion.  Bob Somerby goes after a column by Ruth Marcus, who claims to be a fan of the Clintons even as she tries to smear them. Marcus:
Which brings us to greed, and the Yiddish word chazer. It means “pig” but has a specific connotation of piggishness and gluttony. This is a chronic affliction of the Clintons, whether it comes to campaign fundraising (remember the Lincoln Bedroom?), compulsive speechifying (another six-figure check to speak at a public university?) or assiduous vacuuming-up of foundation donations from donors of questionable character or motives.
Somerby responds:
Inside the Masonic lodge of the insider press, that’s the way a person writes about those of whom she’s “a fan.”

(Just for the record: We do remember the Lincoln Bedroom. We remember the way Marcus’ newspaper gimmicked the numbers during that heavily-flogged episode, adding Chelsea Clinton’s middle-school slumber party guests to the total number of people who slept in the sacred room—and yes, they actually did that!

(We also remember what happened when USA Today reviewed the tenure of President Bush; they found that a similar number of donors had slept in the White House while he was president. You’ve never heard about that from Marcus, or from pretty much anyone else, and the chances are good that you never will. We have no idea why that’s the case. Apparently, she only applies these same old standards to those of whom she’s a fan.)

Marcus is “a fan of Hillary Clinton” even though Clinton’s a gluttonous pig! Somehow, though, she can’t stop repeating the talking-points which have long been employed by those who have tried to destroy the Clintons and their vassal, Candidate Gore
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On this we absolutely agree, Joe: it never stops nor will it stop. This is the slog we can look forward to right up to the actual election. Because the GOP has nothing else but the smear machine, the endless faux scandals and hopeless candidates who talk trash, recite movie memes [Rubio's spin on Taken as a foreign policy plan] or look exhausted before they begin, i.e.. Jeb Bush. Anyone who tells the truth about the neocon disaster in Iraq and the Middle East [as Rand Paul did yesterday] will be quickly shutdown, labeled a 'liberal' and then burned at the stake.

And then, they can get back to sausage making--the Clinton Grind Machine. Bill Clinton said politics is a blood sport. Guaranteed there will be lots of blood and bone on the floor before this contest is over.

Peggysue
 
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Oh, for chrissakes...

From the Daily Beast:
Corrupt FIFA Has Clinton Foundation Ties; World Cup Host Qatar Gave Millions
Both Bill Clinton and his family’s charity have been tied to soccer’s governing body, as well as Qatar’s disastrous World Cup bid.

And just like that, another Clinton Foundation donor is in the news.

The Clinton global charity has received between $50,000 and $100,000 from soccer’s governing body and has partnered with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association on several occasions, according to donor listings on the foundation’s website.
So what?

The foundation is a charity. It does great work around the world. If scoundrels donate to a charity, good. I am always glad to see scoundrels do something to mitigate their scoundrel-ness.

(If anyone out there cares to donate to Cannonfire, I will gratefully take your money without inquiring about your sins. You like to drop-kick adorable little kitties? That's your business.)

The right-wingers are striving mightily to convey the impression that the Clinton Foundation is not a charity but some sort of personal slush fund. The conservative noise machine never bothers to back this presumption with anything resembling evidence. All we get is the usual right-wing faux-hip captiousness: "Oh, everyone knows those sneaky, sneaky Clintons are dipping into the till..."

The Republicans are subjecting Hillary to the proverbial death-by-a-thousand-cuts. That's all that's happening here. It's their usual smear-a-day tactic.

By the way: The Daily Beast cares more about Qatar and the World Cup than it cares about Qatar's funding of ISIS. Infuriating. When will the mainstream media establish some priorities?
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NewsMax owner/creator has already raved about the Clinton Foundation.
 
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The most persecuted people in the world -- and the "living saint" who refuses to help them



If there is any group more heavily persecuted than the Palestinians of Gaza, it would have to be the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar (formerly Burma). They have been subjected to such a vicious program of ethnic cleansing that many of them have sought escape on the open sea in overcrowded boats, arriving in Thailand or Malaysia with absolutely no possessions. Most of them show up emaciated and starving; no-one wants to take them in.

Although this minority group has been under fire for many years, their persecution escalated in 2012.
Since June 2012, several hundred Rohingya have been killed because of their religion and ethnicity in widespread, systematic attacks led by Rakhine Buddhists. Over 140,000 Rohingya have been displaced in inhumane internment camps, and thousands have fled the country. Hundreds more, mostly men and boys, have been arrested on false charges.
In October 2012, a more targeted surge occured against the Rohingya Muslim population. Rakhine Buddhist communities formulated vigilante mobs, surrounding homes and razing them to flames, and Rohingya villagers fled.
Most alarming is the direct involvement of the local, state, and national government in the violence. Government officials have enforced explicitly racist policies for decades, and have failed to intervene and even participated in violent attacks against Rohingya. The government has been accused of implementing the crime against humanity of persecution against the Rohingya, and Rohingya are increasingly considered to be targets of potential acts of genocide.
The situation worsened last year...
On January 13, 2014, Rakhine mobs and security forces entered Du Chee Yar Tan, Maungdaw Township, and slaughtered over 40 Rohingya. A UN report confirms the gruesome deaths – severed heads of at least 10 Rohingya, some children, were found bobbing in a water tank.
I am sad and infuriated to see that the extraordinary Aung Sang Suu Kyi, a.k.a. The Lady -- the symbol of resistance against the cruel military junta which had ruled her country for decades, a woman often considered a living saint -- has refused to speak up for the most downtrodden citizens of her nation.
When pressed for comment on this, Suu Kyi speaks of the need to “clarify” questions of citizenship, while saying that all ethnicities should be treated equally. She is deliberately vague about what ought to be done with the Rohingya if they’re not – as the government and majority of Burmese believe – “genuine” citizens.

This is typical of the rhetoric Suu Kyi has employed when asked about the human rights perpetrated systematically by the regime against the Rohingya: She strives to seem neutral and non-committal on these matters. If silence is deafening, her stage-managed diplomacy isn’t much better.
A writer for Al Jazeera has even harsher words for her:
So, where does Suu Kyi fit into all this? Well, for a start, her silence is inexcusable. Her refusal to condemn, or even fully acknowledge, the state-sponsored repression of her fellow countrymen and women, not to mention the violence meted out to them by Buddhist extremists inspired by the monk Ashin Wirathu (aka "The Burmese Bin Laden"), makes her part of the problem, not the solution.
In a BBC interview in 2013, for example, Suu Kyi shamefully blamed the violence on "both sides", telling interviewer Mishal Husain that "Muslims have been targeted but Buddhists have also been subjected to violence".

Yet in Myanmar, it isn't Buddhists who have been confined to fetid camps, where they are "slowly succumbing to starvation, despair and disease". It isn't Buddhists who have been the victims of what Human Rights Watch calls "ethnic cleansing" and what the UN's special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar has said "could amount to crimes against humanity". It isn't Buddhists who are crowding onto boats, to try and flee the country, and being assaulted with hammers and knives as they do so. It isn't Buddhists, to put it bluntly, who are facing genocide.
A few days ago, The Independent published a particularly powerful editorial:
In October 2013, in an interview with Mishal Husein, Aung San Suu Kyi claimed that the 2012 violence was not ethnic cleansing but the product of ‘fear on both sides… it is not just on the part of Muslims but the Buddhists too. Muslims have been targeted but also Buddhists have been subject to violence’. Our research makes clear that to equate the suffering of the Burmese with the suffering of the Rohingya is risible.

The Rohingya have now faced what genocide scholar Daniel Feirestein describes as ‘systematic weakening’, the genocidal stage prior to annihilation.
Aung San Suu Kyi is an ambitious politician, who has set her sights on one day ruling Burma. The entire Rohingya population has been disenfranchised, ahead of elections to be held later this year, and thus they hold no electoral power. It is true that to speak out against the genocidal persecution of the Rohingya is likely to lose her many votes among the Burmese Buddhist majority, but it might not.
In other words, The Lady has become The Hillary. A saint has become a mere politician.

Additional notes:

1. Al Jazeera has lost a great deal of its own moral standing as well. It hasn't exactly been forthcoming about the Shiite funders of ISIS and the Nusra Front, and about the conspiracy to overthrow Syria and Iran.

2. Progressive Americans love to believe that Buddhism is the "hip" religion -- the true religion of peace. Isn't Buddhism the religion of Lisa Simpson? Most American liberals would have a hard time believing that there can even be such a thing as a Buddhist Bin Laden. But there is. In fact, that's the title he has bestowed upon himself.

Videos of the persecutions in Burma establish that the "shock troops" committing the worst acts of violence are monks.

3. It is quite obvious that Gaza is being subjected to the "systematic weakening" stage that precedes annihilation. To his credit, Daniel Feierstein seems to understand this, although he does not speak as bluntly as he ought.

4. This is not the first time Muslims have been targeted. Israelis have often expressed fear of being "driven into the sea," even though everyone knows that this outcome will never happen. To the best of my knowledge, the only people who have literally suffered that fate have been Muslims, such as the Rohingya.

What we are seeing today is not the first anti-Muslim genocide within living memory. Gualtiero Jacopetti's controversial and horrifying 1966 documentary Africa Addio contains unforgettable helicopter footage of the 1964 revolution in Zanzibar, in which the new government systematically wiped out the Arab population.

As you can see in the video embedded below (which features uncredited excerpts from Jacopetti's film), thousands of Muslims were driven into the sea at gunpoint. This genocide has been forgotten by history; even Wikipedia barely makes note of it.

The world ignored what happened in 1964, just as the world is ignoring the suffering of the Rohingya today.

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Comments:
I assume you don't really mean "Shiite funders of ISIS". Sunni, surely.

There are no living saints. No-one is perfect. Gandhi didn't like dalits. The Dalai Lama happily presided over a slave state. The Pope helped cover up paedophilia.

The Zanzibar thing was not, I think you'll find, genocide "targeting Muslims". Zanzibar is almost entirely Muslim. The genocide of Arabs was not a genocide of Muslims, as Muslims were alike victims and perpetrators. The Arabs were just a minority with a stranglehold on power, and were stamped on as such, not a religious minority.
 
As Al Jazeera is Sunni backed and Iran and Syria have Shiite (or Alewite) governments, I doubt Al Jazeera is withholding information about Shiite backing for Sunni based ISIL. However, this is one of the less egregious errors of the post. For people for whom the world is black and white, explaining gray is a waste of time.
 
It is so confusing and disconcerting when the small-j joseph posts a comment.
 
Myanmar has been the target of United States regime change for decades now. The CIA and CIA front organizations, including Christian missionaries, have supported ethnic armed rebellions in the hope of weakening the country. The US has been funding the NGO "opposition" in the country, giving them the same training as in Ukraine.
The country has been subject to eceonmic sanctions to weaken it. Western media have sainted Aung San Suu Kyi and the militant nationalist Buddhists, ignoring their actual political beliefs as long as they could be controlled by the US.
Aung San was identified by the Americans/Brits as the photogenic and eloquent front they could use. She was educated at Oxford and married to an Englishman, and her sympathies (and possibly allegiance) would lie with the West. All this to encircle China and to let western corporations gain control of the country's massive resources.
 
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Monday, May 25, 2015

"When I'm done with her she’ll have a full understanding of the abhorrent behavior of queers, lesbos, and transgender freaks.”

Henry Kissinger once said: "University politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small." But as our friend Jim DiEugenio points out, the stakes are really much larger than they may appear.

Until recently, academia has been one of the few areas of our culture in which one can safely question neoconservative and neoliberal presumptions. Many conservatives hope to change that.

Consider, for example, the strange case of John McAdams, an ambitious conservative intellectual who became a professor at Marquette University. I've been meaning to write about him for months now, but have always put off the task, since the story is pretty huge.

Where to start, where to start...?

From the Heart. Perhaps we should begin with the Heartland Institute, in which McAdams plays an important role. Some of you may have seen my video exposing this organization -- a video which I will embed (for the umpteenth time) at the bottom of this post. If you watch a lot of Fox News, you've encountered representatives from this arch-libertarian propaganda outfit, which masquerades as a science-oriented think tank. Their website prominently features images of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek. They don't really do any lab research; their "science director" is a convicted felon who probably couldn't get a well-paying job elsewhere.

Heartland is best-known for their work for the cigarette industry. It was a sweet deal: Big Tobacco would hand Heartland some money along with a document filled with "research." Heartland would obligingly present this "research" as their own.

You can't blame 'em for taking the loot. Didn't Ayn Rand teach us that each individual must act in his own rational self-interest?

One lone nut. I was quite surprised to learn that one of the head honchos of Heartland is none other than John McAdams. I had encountered him previously: He is the king of the Lone Nutters. He has mounted a tireless campaign to rebut every single claim of conspiracy that anyone has ever made in connection with the JFK assassination.

Wikipedia, which dissuades contributors from citing actual assassination experts (such as John Newman or DiEugenio), treats McAdams' writings as Holy Scripture. There is high irony at work here, because the Heartland Institute promotes some of the stupidest conspiracy theories ever concocted.

Don't believe me? Just look at my video: Inarguable proof shows up around the seven minute mark. (I'm proud of that part, so please watch that bit even if you skip the rest.)

If McAdams really is a Heartlander, he must be a big Ayn Rand fan. If that's the case, then what (I wonder) prompted him to act so tirelessly in his promotion of the Lone Nut version of the JFK assassination? No doubt he would take offense at the suggestion that he has written what he has written because he was paid money to write it. And yet the fact remains: All good Randroids believe that altruism is a sin and that money is the best reason to do anything.

Back in the days when usenet was the main vehicle for internet debates, I was fascinated by the McAdams phenomenon. The man was a 24/7 writing machine. Working day and night, he did not allow a single pro-conspiracy assertion to go unchallenged. How, I wondered, could any human being possess that kind of energy?

Although I did not usually participate in those forums, I decided to put him to the test. Under another name, I posted several not-terribly-interesting comments about the assassination. Trivial stuff. The critical factor was the time stamp: I deliberately posted during the wee small hours of the morning. Every single time, McAdams (or someone writing under his name) would answer within minutes. He seemed desperate to make sure that usenet would not long be sullied by even the slightest whisper of a challenge to the CIA-approved version of the assassination.

Impressive. I thought: This guy must be the hardest-working man on the internet.

Remember: McAdams is a big part of the Heartland Institute, which is pro-Ayn Rand. Shorter Ayn: Altruism = bad. Money = good.

Remember too, that the Heartland Institute was caught repackaging Big Tobacco's "research," as if the text had been written by Heartland itself.

In later escapades, Professor McAdams got into some trouble when he infiltrated a JFK assassination conference under another individual's name. That is: he used the name of an actual, living person, who was not amused. For some reason, whenever McAdams shows up at one of these conferences, someone from the mainstream media will appear and interview him. No-one else. Just him. Odd how that happens.

McAdams falsely intimated that Dr. Gary Aguilar (who specializes in the JFK medical evidence) is a drug addict. Having spoken to Aguilar many moons ago, I find this accusation to be about as credible as the Heartland Institute's suggestion that all scientists are conspiring to "socialize the world."

There is much else to say about McAdams and the battles he has waged. If you want all of the lurid details, go here. I promise that you'll be entertained, even if you have no interest in the JFK case. (Also go here. Then here and here. The fun never stops!)

Madam, I'm McAdams. In recent times, the Professor's tale has taken a few bizarre twists. I can only presume that the man has something of a problem with any woman not named Ayn. How else can we explain the inchoate fury he displayed when a performance of The Vagina Monologues took place on the Marquette campus?

One particular graduate student/teacher, a young woman named Cheryl Abbate, seems to have aroused his greatest ire. She became the target of a sting operation of the sort that we've all learned to associate with the notorious James O'Keefe. I'm not saying that O'Keefe had any link to this episode. Still, many of the classic O'Keefian tricks were there, including the hidden recording device.

The story involves an unnamed student who was failing Abbate's philosophy class. (The fact that he was failing will prove important.) Since this student refuses to divulge his actual name -- and since John McAdams was the student's faculty adviser -- I shall refer to this fellow as Littlejohn.

Abbate was talking about the philosopher John Rawls. She said, in essence, that the right of gays to marry would probably be in accordance with Rawl's theory of justice.

(Conservatives argue otherwise; see here. Of course, conservatives make all sorts of arguments that most of my readers would consider injurious to common sense. Hell, there are even conservatives who will tell you that all of the world's scientists are engaged in a conspiracy to "socialize the world.")

After class, with his trusty hidden audio device in "record" mode, Littlejohn made his play.

He spoke to Abbate privately and announced his own distaste for gay marriage. The fact that he brought a hidden recorder tells us that this confrontation was a well-planned operation, not an impromptu dialogue.

At this point, Abbate made a mistake -- the mistake of the young. (She may be highly educated, but there are certain traps that most people don't learn to avoid until they pass the age of forty.) What she should have said was something along these lines: "Hey, I'm not here to teach a class about gay marriage. I was simply trying to characterize the philosophy of John Rawls. There are other philosophers, you know. If you don't dig Rawls, keep shopping."

Alas, Abbate took the bait.

She said that anti-gay slurs would not be tolerated in her class, a statement which was really no more than a simple reiteration of the written policy of Marquette University. She went on to note that Littlejohn was perfectly free to drop the class.

That last remark set off a firestorm throughout the right side of the internet.

McAdams gave a highly biased and incorrect account of the situation in his blog -- an account which neglected to mention that Littlejohn was already failing the class (through his own fault, as he later admitted). Obviously, Littlejohn had a clear motive to seek a strategy for getting out of the class without having an F on his record.

In his blog posts, McAdams gave the false impression that a conservative student was being tossed out of a course just because he happened to oppose gay marriage. McAdams offered this characterization of the way liberals act and think: "Opinions with which they disagree are not merely wrong … but are deemed ‘offensive’ and need to be shut up.”

All of Rightwingerdom suddenly spoke up with one voice, as righties are wont to do.

(Side note: Isn't it odd how conservatives -- who claim to hate the very idea of "collectivism" -- tend to act collectively? I can honestly say that I have never heard a liberal utter the axiom "There is no I in team." Only a conservative would take pride in being known as a team player who knows when to get with the program. When Patton first screened in 1971, all of the conservatives in the audience must have splooged in their seats when, in that famous opening speech, the General snarled at the very concept of individuality.)

Attack! We all know what the conservative buzzsaw is like. Abbate found herself strapped to a log and sent down the conveyor belt toward the spinning blade. Here's the kind of hate mail she received:
“This ignorant liberal bitch needs me in her class for an hour. When I ‘m done with her she’ll have a full understanding of the abhorrent behavior of queers, lesbos, and transgender freaks.”

“Fuck you Cheryl. I have a Master’s degree and I am a veteran of the military and I did not give you freedom to spew your hatred for straight folks. I do not like fags and lesbos so again Fuck You. We will not be silenced anymore, by any one including your dumbass. Go to Hell! Don’t you just love Freedom of Speech Bitch.”

“You are on the wrong side of ethics, history and life. Your life is hurtful to other cultures and all genders. You must cease hurting others. You must undo the terrible wrong committed when you were born. Your mother failed to make the right choice. You must abort yourself for the glory of inclusiveness and tolerance.”

Abbate got scores of these types of emails. As word spread to the far-reaches of the right-wing blogosphere, she began to be attacked in neo-Nazi forums and other extremist sites. Some encouraged violence against her, including rape and murder. From a chain thread on a right-wing web site:

“I hope the ideologically unhinged harpy cheryl abbate gets raped and murdered.”
Similar sentiments were expressed all over Blogosphere Right.

Abbate ended up leaving Marquette. (She is now in Colorado.) Fortunately, her defenders had the ability to express themselves with the kind of language likely to impress the academic mind. (Example. Also see here.) These defenses turned things around. True, she did not keep her position -- but on the intellectual front, the debate was settled in her favor.

Marquette made it quite clear that they had had quite enough of Professor McAdams and his antics -- for he had pulled similar stunts before, though not on so grand a scale.
After Abbate left in mid-December, McAdams was suspended from Marquette with pay. An investigation ensued. On Dec. 17, a story appeared on his suspension in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. McAdams complained that he was “being treated like a potential terrorist.” When the inquiry lasted into January, McAdams’s spring classes were canceled. When Dean Holz alerted him to the review being made of his career, he spent him a copy of Marquette’s harassment policy, the one that Weinberg had already mentioned.
Further, as Dean Holz made clear in his letter, his review and his decision to revoke tenure was not simply the result of the Abbate affair. In the letter, Holz noted that, “Based upon your years of internet postings, you knew or should have known that your story would result in vulgar, vile and threatening communications to Ms. Abbate. Instead of recognizing Ms. Abbate as a person to be treated respectfully and with dignity, you used her as a tool to further your agenda. ”

Holz continued in this vein by writing “You have been asked, advised, and warned on multiple prior occasions not to publicize student’s names in connection with your blog posts.” Holz then went back to 2008 to name two instances where McAdams had deliberately named two females because he opposed policies and presentations they had made. Holz said McAdams admitted back then that this was a matter of concern. But, with graduate student Abbate, he continued to name names in public — seven years later.
McAdams is now trying to pull "a martyrella routine" (as one of my exes would have phrased it). It won't wash. Anyone with any sense should be able to see right through this guy. So why can't Wikipedia? Why does the great online encyclopedia continue to cite his deceptive work while suppressing the voices of academics and professionals who have devoted many years to studying the JFK case?

And why do mainstream news purveyors like CNN still occasionally treat the Heartland Institute as though it were something more than than what it patently is?

Ultimately, the Abbate story ties into a larger narrative.

Right-wing manipulators will continue to use O'Keefian tactics. They will continue to play their insipid (yet effective) games of "gotcha." Their online forces will continue act collectively, like a football team or a military unit. They will always attack attack attack, even as they shamelessly adopt the "false underdog" pose.

They want to make academics fear to question conservative beliefs. Just ask Professor Norman Finkelstein about a guy named Dershowitz.




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Comments:
"Basically, Big Tobacco would hand Heartland some money along with a document filled with "research." Heartland would obligingly present this "research" as their own."
Same modus operandi as in medical 'research', then!
 
Jimmy Wales, who started Wikipedia, is a Randroid.

His former girlfriend has revealed how he used to batter her eardrums for long periods with bullshit about altruism being evil.

Just a thought, but I wonder whether the US spooks were involved in helping Wikipedia on its way, the same as they were with Google and Facebook?

Nothing that sticks it to The Man is going to come out of Wikipedia, any more than it will come out of Facebook, Google, smartphones, Twitter, Whatsapp, Youtube, etc.

Sadly it's very hard for those who believe otherwise to pull their heads out of their arses.

Do you know which well-known writer has the clearest take on this? Richard Stallman!
 
Joseph, I've been dealing with that jackass as long as you have. I too was a habitue of the usenet JFK forums, and I remember the uproar when he tried to create a “moderated” splinter group. Of course, the moderation was supposed to favor the Lone Nut perspective. Now he has extended his influence to Wikipedia.

It's sad that most people treat Wikipedia as a neutral resource, when in fact the individual editors can be seduced by a particularly vehement viewpoint. Jim DiEugenio has done some good work on Prof. M's behind-the-scene shenanigans on the JFK-related pages; and the skullduggery isn't just confined to the main topics. Look at the page for Oliver Stone's “JFK” movie. Although the film was a hit, scored an 84% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was nominated for 8 Oscars (winning two) and was named by Roger Ebert as one of the best films of the '90s, the Wikipedia page for it skews almost exclusively negative. It even lets Vincent Bugliosi have his say. When I tried to add some balance to the page by quoting from the many positive reviews, an pseudonymous Wikipedia editor immediately deleted what I wrote and sent me a warning email.

Likewise, people who do web searches tend to click on the first return in Google. And what is the first return on the JFK assassination? Prof. M's site—not because Google deems it the most authoritative (although it's conceivable that high placement can be “bought”), but because the site has the most internal links to other sites, thus pleasing Google's spidery algorithm.

And did you see Time magazine's full-age profile of Prof. M, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the assassination? Of course, the magazine would never mention how Time-Life has been manufacturing consensus about JFK from the get-go.

These things are worthy of a documentary expose, and My Famous Director Friend has talked to me about doing it.

On another note, did you know that Prof. M has an Internet radio show devoted to his ostensible avocation—Christian a cappella music? I read, perhaps on DiEugenio's site, that the website for the radio show featured a recruitment ad for a Certain Intelligence Agency. After the professor's link to Spookville was exposed to the general public, the ad disappeared.

Keep punchin', Joe.
 
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

THIS IS IT

This is it....the declassified report that justifies everything I've been saying in this column for years now:
Secret Pentagon report reveals West saw ISIS as strategic asset
Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to ‘isolate’ Assad, rollback ‘Shia expansion’
This is not bullshit conspiracy theory. This is not armchair speculation. This is the real thing.

And it comes with the approval of one of the people I most admire in the world...
Annie Machon, a former MI5 intelligence officer who blew the whistle in the 1990s on MI6 funding of al-Qaeda to assassinate Libya’s former leader Colonel Gaddafi, similarly said of the revelations:
“This is no surprise to me. Within individual countries there are always multiple intelligence agencies with competing agendas.”
This report verifies everything we have long suspected. ISIS was an indirect creation of "the west." The Islamic State began as our proxy army -- and yes, that term is used -- intended to topple Assad.
The report, published four years before the DIA document, called for the US “to capitalise on the Shia-Sunni conflict by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes in a decisive fashion and working with them against all Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world.”
Have I not been saying this all along? The American government has taken sides in the age-old Shia-Sunni struggle -- a conflict that has nothing to do with our society, a conflict that we cannot understand and cannot control.
The report observed that the US was forming “temporary alliances” with al-Qaeda affiliated “nationalist insurgent groups” that have fought the US for four years in the form of “weapons and cash.”
What does it say about our infinitely restricted political culture that no-one -- no prominent Democrat, and no prominent Republican -- feels free to state what we've long known to be true? Why is no-one allowed to say that the American military/intelligence establishment has formed a kind of partnership with Al Qaeda, with the very force that attacked this country on 9/11?

The only person who has been in any way honest about this has been -- believe it or not -- Joe Biden!

If the Republicans won't ask Hillary Clinton about this, then liberals should do so. Must do so. We cannot let her lie to us any longer. We cannot let our present government lie to us any longer. We must refuse to pretend that these facts do not exist.
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Comments:
It obvious for any one who was looking at the advance of ISIS all along. Remember the th weapons dropped to them(wink wink) by mistake. But the silver lining on this , it could be a major weapon against ISIS. How much credible in the eyes of muslims if they are turn out to be US spies and tools. So in away spreading the report as much as possible is a good thing.
 
The medium.com site you linked to is either crashing due to traffic or has been taken down. I had to go to the google machine to fine this lengthy analysis at zerohedge:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-23/secret-pentagon-report-reveals-us-created-isis-tool-overthrow-syrias-president-assad

It seems to me that we are waking up to a version of "The Great Game" that used to be so secret it was only discuesed over brandy and cigars in paneled board rooms.

*Naomi Klein shows us in her book "The Shock Doctrine"

*It's "disaster capitalism"

*It's a form of Hagelian dialectic - problem-reaction-solution

*It's "order through chaos"

And there are no "good guys" - ever.
 
Joseph, What was the date of that DIA document?

Shirt
 
Joseph, I'm surprised that your enthusiasm for Ms. Machon has survived her behaviour in years past--booking halls for the controlled-demolition advocate Richard Gage in 2008, traveling around with Shayler in 2006 while Shayler advocated the nuttiest of 9/11 nuttery (missiles at the Pentagon and holograms at the WTC), accompanying the 9/11 con artist William Rodriguez while he bragged impossible brags about his exploits in the burning towers. No one who read classics at Cambridge could possibly be dumb enough to believe Rodriguez's tales. So why did she lend him her cred?
 
Actually, I didn't know some of that about Machon. But look at it this way: If Shayler really is the Messiah (as he now claims), then Machon must be Mary Magdalene. And if there's one thing we learn from the gnostic gospels, it's that Mary Magdalene was a really far-out "space chick" with some freaky ideas.

You can't argue with a woman like that. You just have to accept her the way she is.
 
Well Joseph, if you're going to take Shayler's status as the Messiah as axiomatic, I can't do much for you. Some of us who have fewer degrees of separation from 9/11 than you do justifiably resent Ms. Machon's willingness to make it a joke.
 
C'mon, anonymous. Lighten up. Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone.

I'm not saying that David Shayler IS the Messiah. But I have heard that Annie kept his suntan lotion in an alabaster jar.
 
Joseph, the 9/11 widows gave 300 questions to the 9/11 Commission and they got 27 answers. Should they lighten up?

I have never claimed to be without sin. I also did not consort with people who lied about 9/11 repeatedly for money, and people who spun ludicrous conspiracy theories that had the effect of neutralizing the widows' quest for answers.
 
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Saturday, May 23, 2015

They are really going after Hillary, aren't they?

A couple of days ago, the NYT published an obnoxious piece on Hillary Clinton's correspondence with Sidney Blumenthal. Much of the discussion in that article focuses on -- what else? -- Benghazi.

Quoth the NYT: "In Memo, Blumenthal Initially Blames Demonstrators for Attacks."
The memo said the attacks were by “demonstrators” who “were inspired by what many devout Libyan viewed as a sacrilegious internet video on the prophet Mohammed originating in America.” Mrs. Clinton forwarded the memo to Mr. Sullivan, saying “More info.”
The NYT is here feeding red meat to those right-wing nutcases who, for some unfathomable reason, have made this incident the focus of their lives. As it turns out, Blumenthal had more and better information about the Benghazi attack the very next day.
The next day, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a more thorough account of what had occurred. Citing “sensitive sources” in Libya, the memo provided extensive detail about the episode, saying that the siege had been set off by members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan terrorist group. Those militants had ties to Al Qaeda, had planned the attacks for a month and had used a nearby protest as cover for the siege, the memo said. “We should get this around asap” Mrs. Clinton said in an email to Mr. Sullivan. “Will do,” he responded. That information contradicted the Obama administration’s narrative at the time about what had spawned the attacks.
(Emphasis added.) This statement is a lie and I can prove it. Simply watch the video embedded into this Cannonfire post from 2012.
As I document in my video, administration officials told the New York Times the very next day (September 12) that the attack in Libya appeared to be well-organized and pre-planned. Administration officials also said the same thing to ABC. My video includes a brief snippet of that footage.
Repeat: On September 12, the administration's narrative was that the attack was well-organized and pre-planned.

So where does the NYT get this nonsense about the "Obama administration's narrative"? The reference, of course, goes to what Susan Rice said on Meet the Press, which the Republicans consider The Single Most Horrifying Thing Anyone Ever Said On Television. The recent NYT piece neglects to mention a key fact: Rice got her talking points from Victoria Nuland, the neocon darling.

Back in 2013, the NYT did a better job of covering this story. The paper devoted a long-ish piece to the strange disparity in the treatment given Rice and Nuland...
Ms. Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations and the favorite to be President Obama’s next national security adviser, continues to be criticized by Senate Republicans for going on Sunday news programs a few days after the attacks to deliver the talking points, which later proved to be inaccurate. But the e-mails reinforced her lack of involvement in the drafting process.

Ms. Nuland, a former State Department spokeswoman nominated by Mr. Obama to be an assistant secretary of state, was backed by some of the same Republicans, even though the e-mails show she pushed to edit the talking points...
“Toria was buried in the internal bureaucratic ticktock,” Mr. Miller said, using Ms. Nuland’s nickname. “She is also someone who has very good contacts across the aisle, and around Washington. Susan fits the Republican anti-Obama narrative; Toria does not.”

Ms. Nuland, a well regarded 29-year veteran of the Foreign Service, once served as deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and as ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush. She is married to Robert Kagan, a neoconservative historian and commentator who advised Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.
Did Nuland deliberately mislead Rice, setting her up for one of those propaganda narratives that the conservatives love to construct? I can't prove that theory, but let's be honest: Whenever a neocon snake finds a grassy knoll to hide in, that snake is going to bite.

So much for the NYT. Today, Karen Tumulty of the WP steps in...
For those who have worried that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign would be a repeat of the chaotic operation she ran eight years ago, her advisers have often pointed to her time in between at the State Department — which by comparison was an archetype of crisp managerial efficiency.

But a trove of newly released e-mails suggests that one of Clinton’s tendencies persisted during her time as secretary of state — an inability to separate her longtime loyalties from the business at hand.
This is becoming the new propaganda line. A few weeks ago, all of the mainstream pundits were pounding on the concept of sneakiness: Oh, those sneaky Clintons sneak again! Sneak sneak sneak!"

The public's response to the "sneak" campaign: No sale. Try again.

So now the new key word is "chaos." The Clintons are agents of chaos, just like Heath-Ledger-as-the-Joker.

The big problem with Hillary's 2008 campaign wasn't "chaos." The problem was that Team Obama fought dirty -- as in filthy dirty -- while Team Hillary played fair. In the end, and in the face of an overwhelming media headwind (not to mention the Obama sock puppets who rigged the blogosphere dialogues), she hung in long after everyone screamed at her to quit. And you know what? Her popular vote tally was higher than Obama's (unless one discounts Michigan -- and there is absolutely no reason why one should).

That's not "chaos." That's a campaign.

To my eyes, Karen Tumulty looks like just another anti-Clinton hack. Here she was, back in 1998:
For Bill Clinton to look this good in the polls after six months of sex scandal is a measure of his survival skills, dumb luck and, above all, the wall of silence erected by his personal lawyer, David Kendall.
Bullshit. Those poll numbers had to do with other factors, all of which were perfectly obvious at the time. The public finally understood (with no real help from Tumulty or the WP) that Whitewater was a crock and that Ken Starr had led a disgusting witch hunt. There was also the not-inconsiderable fact that the country was prosperous and at peace. Tumulty may not have noticed that, but the public did.

Just now, I ran across a web site in which a crankish writer asserts that Chelsea Clinton was fathered by Webb Hubbell, not Bill Clinton. Tumulty makes a surprising guest appearance:
I then said to Tumulty, well you do know that Chelsea is the biological daughter of Webb Hubbell and not Bill Clinton? Tumulty’s response was interesting - she did not deny or challenge this blockbuster assertion but rather just seemed to confirm it by her awkward silence and accepting non denial.
Good lord. Is it possible...? Did Karen Tumulty think that such a nonsensical claim might actually be valid?

Let us return to Tumulty's recent Hillary hit piece in the Washington Post:
But a trove of newly released e-mails suggests that one of Clinton’s tendencies persisted during her time as secretary of state — an inability to separate her longtime loyalties from the business at hand.

The e-mails from her private account reveal that she passed along no fewer than 25 memos about Libya from friend and political ally Sidney Blumenthal. Blumenthal had business interests in Libya but no diplomatic expertise there.
"Diplomatic expertise"...? What the hell? Why should that be considered the sole deciding factor?

The CIA often gets information from Americans doing business overseas. Should the Agency toss out what they have to say simply because they are not diplomats? Of course not. Tumulty's argument is an exercise in strained silliness.
Moreover, she did so after the White House had blocked her from hiring Blumenthal at the State Department. The president’s team considered him untrustworthy and prone to starting rumors.
Where did Tumulty get that "starting rumors" bit? Exactly which rumors did he supposedly start? I'm sure that Obama loyalists consider Blumenthal untrustworthy only because he has always been close to the Clintons. The fact that Blumenthal favored one side of an intra-party pissing contest should have no bearing on the question of whether his information on Libya was valuable.

Here's the biggest question: By what standard is Sidney Blumenthal considered untrustworthy while Victoria "Fuck the EU" Nuland is considered trustworthy?

Nuland is still pretty much running the show at State, under John Kerry's figurehead leadership. When Kerry recently made some moves to reverse course in Ukraine, Icky Vicky charged in to make sure that the sitch remained well and truly upfucked.

We return, once more, to Tumulty on Hillary:
But as her earlier presidential campaign showed, the environment she creates is one in which lines of authority and decision-making can be undermined by second-guessers and meddlers.
Examples?
The Clinton campaign tried to put distance between the former secretary of state and the unreliable advisories that she had passed along.
Notice the trick that Tumulty has pulled here? If you read her piece carefully, she tries very hard to convey the impression that Blumenthal was a wild man filling Hillary's head with all sorts of bizarre claims. But there is something missing in Tumulty's narrative: We don't have a single example of a foolish or bizarre claim made by Blumenthal.

Let's take one more look at the September 12, 2012 Blumenthal memo on Benghazi, as described by the NYT (here):
The next day, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a more thorough account of what had occurred. Citing “sensitive sources” in Libya, the memo provided extensive detail about the episode, saying that the siege had been set off by members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan terrorist group. Those militants had ties to Al Qaeda, had planned the attacks for a month and had used a nearby protest as cover for the siege, the memo said.
Pray tell me, Ms. Tumulty: How the hell can any of that be considered "unreliable"? Looks to me as though Blumenthal got it right. And he did so the day after, at a time when the CIA was still trying to figure things out.

Days later, Victoria Nuland was feeding crap to Susan Rice. And yet, according to Beltway wisdom, Nuland is always considered Miss Reliability while Sidney Blumenthal is derided as That Weirdo From Wackyland.

What kind of shit is this? Who sets these standards?

If Hillary wins the election, and if she offers a job to Blumenthal, I predict that Tumulty and other mainstream pundits will respond with outrage: "But...isn't Sidney Blumenthal that unreliable guy? Isn't he the one who said all of that off-the-wall stuff about Libya?" This will become the etched-in-stone perception, despite the lack of examples proving that he said anything incorrect.

Nota bene: At no point does Tumulty offer any proof that Hillary accepted the information she received at face value. Instead, Hillary's response always seems to have been along the lines of "Look into it" or "Check into this."

And what, may I ask, is wrong with that?

As regular readers know, I have long been a harsh critic of Hillary's tenure as SoS. Nevertheless, every time mainstream newsfolk mount these inane attacks on All Things Clintonian, I turn into a Clinton supporter. When the attacks let up, my attitude toward the Clintons becomes less fond; when the attacks begin again, I rejoin the defenders. I suppose it will ever be so in the great circle of political life.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Hillary (despite appearances) must pose a genuine threat to the Powers That Be -- otherwise they would not be so desperate to take her down.
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Comments:
You are absolutely right. I've never seen anything like this ever. The press was much better even to Gore, who they hated. She has almost the entire DC establishment trying to take her down hard. Like you I believe she must be a credible threat to the so-called "permanent government" inside the beltway and I am firmly on her side.
 
Joseph, try shifting your analysis from Hillary to Obama. Then the birther-Muslim stuff is proof that Obama is a threat to the PTB. Of course we all know that Obama is no threat to the PTB.
 
That shift doesn't work. The Birther/Muslim stuff wasn't really propagated by the MSM but by wingnuts on the right and it was reported as crap.

The attacks on HRC are coming directly from the elite media, as well as, the wingnuts on the right.
 
Just so, Ralph. The NYT and the WP never printed birther crap.

More to the point, I disagree with the premise offered by Anonymous. Just because I don't like Obama doesn't mean that the Powers That Be must be happy with him. It was very clear that the PTB wanted America to go to war with Syria in 2013; Obama avoided that. It was very clear that the PTB want Obama to destroy Iran; he just made a deal with them.

Hillary or any other Dem will be a similar case. Controllable and obedient, yes, but only to a point. Dems are robots who cannot self-terminate. Republicans will agree to destroy themselves, or at least to do things that will destroy the country.
 
I have my theory on this, and I believe I am right about it. Sorry about linking to my site, but I really think this is at the heart of the hostility toward the Clintons, as petty as it is: http://snunes.blogspot.com/2008/06/there-is-reason.html

Never underestimate the pettiness of the Georgetown cocktail circuit.
 
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Friday, May 22, 2015

Osama's book club

A few of you have asked for my thoughts about the recent reports concerning Osama Bin Laden's pdf library. His collection included offerings by Noam Chomsky, Bob Woodward, Greg Palast, Michael Ruppert, William Blum, David Ray Griffin (one of the few 9/11 CD cranks who can write coherently) and Eustace Mullens.

(Ah, Mullens! I could write a long, weird post about that creep. He fancied himself to be the Gore Vidal of the post-war Nazi set.)

The list also includes Manly Palmer Hall's mystical magnum opus, The Secret Teachings of All Ages. The original version of this book, published in 1928, was a physically huge and copiously illustrated volume which attempted to discover the core ideas uniting all religious systems. The version sold in bookstores nowadays gives you little idea as to what the author intended.

Interestingly, the first edition included a full-color painting of the prophet Mohammed, who is treated with great respect by the text. The painting shows Mohammed destroying the idols in Mecca -- which is very strange, since Muslims would consider this very painting to be a form of idolatry. Nevertheless, I have not heard of any complaints from Muslims about Hall's book. Could that illustration be the reason why Bin Laden took an interest in this work?

One of these days, I really must tell you about my visit to the library at Hall's Philosophical Research Center. A strange place. It had not changed one whit since the days when Sirhan Sirhan studied there.

Forgive me: I have digressed, as is my habit.

The question before us is a simple one: Is this list real, or is it a fiction cobbled together to associate certain authors with the hated Bin Laden? I'm not sure. Frankly, I would have expected Bin Laden's library to consist almost entirely of religious works with Arabic titles -- books that most Americans would consider unfamiliar and uninteresting. True, the library includes In Pursuit of Allah's Pleasure -- but Bin Laden's copy is an English translation. How likely is that?

There's something unpersuasive about this list. And there is something awfully strange about the timing of its release, so soon after the Hersh article.

Naturally, Fox News is going to town with this list: "Bin Laden's bookshelf stuffed with anti-American, conspiracy works by lefty US authors." One can only laugh at the spectacle of Fox making derisive use of the term "conspiracy," since Fox rarely goes more than 45 minutes without whipping up a conspiracy theory involving Democrats.

FrontPage offers up an even more striking exercise in hypocrisy: Bin Laden Liked the Same Books as the Leftist Nutjobs Who Defended Him.

(In the alternative universe of the right-wing nutcases, writers on the left defended Bin Laden. I don't know of any progressive who has done that. I do know that George Bush let Bin Laden scurry off to safety; for more details, scroll down a couple of posts.)

FrontPage also features a piece titled "The Problem with Jade Helm." In wingnutland, it's perfectly acceptable to dismiss Blum and Chomsky as conspiracy theorists, while simultaneously embracing one of the stupidest conspiracy theories ever concocted.

You may be interested in Phil Giraldi's take on the death of Bin Laden:
So what do I think is true? I believe that a walk-in Pakistani intelligence officer provided the information on bin Laden and that the Pakistanis were indeed holding him under house arrest, possibly with the connivance of the Saudis. I am not completely convinced that senior Pakistani generals colluded with the U.S. in the attack, though Hersh makes a carefully nuanced case and Obama’s indiscreet comment is suggestive. I do not believe any material of serious intelligence value was collected from the site and I think accounts of the shootout were exaggerated. The burial at sea does indeed appear to be a quickly contrived cover story. And yes, I do think Osama bin Laden is dead.
This sounds reasonable. But what happened to the body? Like Giraldi, I believe that Bin Laden is dead, but my belief is based on little more than a gut reaction. The unnerving truth is that we have no hard evidence.
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Comments:
No Qu'ran. I do remember, though, stories from the time about a Bible and some cannabis plants being found in his compound.
 
Everything we're told about Osama bin Laden is designed to shape his image. He's a concept as much as he is a man, and what our controlled media and corrupt intelligence agencies tell us is what they want us to believe, and that's anything that serves to justify their actions or advance their agenda.

Osama bin Laden is as real as the War on Terror, and both are brought to you by the same thugs.
 
Legislation introduced a few years ago allows the Pentagon to run psychological warfare operations domestically.
 
When it comes to foreign policy or war, fifty years of experience teaches me that there is absolutely no reason to believe any story put forth by intelligence agencies, the military or the State Department. The truth is of strategic value, therefore they feed us bullshit.
 
I imagine they thought about adding "Dreams from my Father" and then said, "Naah, that'd be just a bit too obvious."

Phil K
 
I don't know what official bin Laden photo the government has released in its latest propaganda offerings but if it's the same as the one showing on my local tv then it's from the 2007 fake bin Laden video first received by SITE and Rita Katz. The one photo that appears to show bin Laden in his Pakistan home is also a back shot showing only part of his face and doesn't look like him. But perhaps I've missed out on some of the Abbottabad photos.

One criticism of the 2007 fake video has intrigued me -- that the CIA (whoever...) had to wait until after bin Laden was dead before releasing that fake video because otherwise the real bin Laden could simply post a real video and the repercussions would be enormous. The force of the argument is that bin Laden was dead before 2007. I don't know when he died.
 
Manly P. Hall? Was Osama a freemason like Trotsky, Ben Franklin, and Harry Truman?
 
@Muffin - Do you suspect that if Obama bin Laden was a freemason, he might have had other motivations than shooting the breeze every month or so with guys with whom he shared an innocent interest (albeit involving bare nipples, exposed kneecaps and play with knives and nooses in an all-male environment) in Egyptology, geometry, Suleiman's Temple in Al-Quds, and the passing down of architectural knowledge? :-)

Is it actually nailed down that Trotsky was a freemason? I know he read a lot about the craft, but the only sites I've found that say he joined it are wacko. But I wouldn't rule it out. Once upon a time I was surprised to learn Hal Puthoff at SRI was a member of the Church of Scientology.
 
b:
can't guarantee the Trotsky link, since your definition of "wacko" and mine may differ. But if Osama was a member of the craft, it might help explain some of his "escapes" and possibly his apparent connection to friends in high places. It's a big club, and I ain't in it. But it's my belief that bin Laden died a natural death years before his Hollywood assassination.
 
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

In the news...

Let's take a quick look around...

Inconvenient democracy. Charles Murray, author of the racist "classic" The Bell Curve, has come out with a new diatribe outlining the problem with democracy: It provides an instrument by which poor people might benefit themselves at the expense of rich people. This is pretty much the same critique inherent in Mitt Romney's infamous "47 percent" remark and in some of Sharron Angle's pronouncements.

Murray suggests using the court system to subvert democracy. This trick will work, but only to an extent. The one-percenters are coming to understand that nothing short of revolution will get rid of the hated D-word once and for all.

Filibuster?
Rand Paul has threatened to semi-filibuster the reauthorization of parts of the Patriot Act. I hate to admit it (because I am hardly a Paul fan) but this is precisely the right move.

Privacy is not a simplistic right-v-left issue. On national security, the two parties have coalesced, despite much snarling rhetorical pretense to the contrary. Most people on the left support privacy rights. Unfortunately, the Democratic party is stuck with Obama -- and with Hillary Clinton, who will probably do no better on that topic. If, to placate critics within his own party, Obama makes some feints toward NSA reform, the neocon right will slam him as soft on terrorism -- because, y'know, he's a Muslim socialist Marxist Satanic atheist jihadi who hates baby Jesus and wants to eat your puppy.

Privacy has enemies and defenders within both parties. Like it or not, if we are going to defeat the NSA, we will need a left/right coalition of radical liberals and radical libertarians. (Of course, the libertarians will become our enemies again when the talk turns to reining in the power of the large corporations. This must be understood and accepted from the outset.)

The bulk telephone collection system will start to shut down this Friday if these Patriot Act provisions are not re-upped. Normally, I can't stand Rand. But in this case, I stand with Rand.

Terrifying: ISIS has taken the historic Syrian town of Palymra, where precious archeological sites are located.

If anything happens to those irreplaceable historical artifacts, blame Barack Obama and blame the neocons. Never forget that the neocons created ISIS as a proxy army to unseat Assad -- although perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Saudi Arabia and other Sunni powers were allowed to create ISIS and to fund the Nusra front. If Obama and Hillary Clinton had not signed onto this psychotic scheme for regime change in Syria, Palmyra would now be safe.

ISIS could be destroyed within weeks if Obama would simply work with Assad. Keep that last sentence in mind every single time this administration -- or its right-wing critics -- makes any sort of reference to ISIS.

Consider this metaphor: Suppose someone were to bring an untethered tiger into a schoolyard. If the beast begins to eat children, should you blame the tiger? Or do you blame the idiot who brought the tiger to that place?

If ISIS wreaks destruction upon Palmyra, blame Obama. More importantly, blame his neocon masters. They are the ones who brought an army of tigers into the Levant.

Chris gets it. To my surprise, Chris Matthews -- normally one of our most befuddled teevee pundits -- has finally started to figure things out. The other night, he weighed in on the current "Why Iraq" debate...
...the people who wanted that war in the worst ways, neocons so called, Wolfowitz, certainly Cheney.. it’s the same crowd of people that want us to overthrow Bashar Assad, .. it’s the same group of people that don’t want to negotiate at all with the Iranians, don’t want any kind of rapprochement with the Iranians, they want to fight that war. They’re willing to go in there and bomb. They have a consistent impulsive desire to make war on Arab and Islamic states in a neverending campaign, almost like an Orwellian campaign they will never outlive, that’s why I have a problem with that thinking. … we’ve got to get to the bottom of it. Why did they take us to Iraq, because that’s the same reason they want to take us into Damascus and why they want to have permanent war with Iran.
Bravo! He's asking the right question.

I'll add this: It is far too simplistic to define the term neoconservative as a synonym for "pro-Israel." The neocons are also pro-Saudi and anti-Russia. Indeed, the Saudis may be the driving force.

Eric Draitser refers to the war in Syria as the new Nakba.

Another day, another false flag: The Australian news show 60 Minutes argued that Vladimir Putin was responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airliner Flight 17. Unfortunately, the evidence adduced in that program seems to have been pure fake, as Robert Parry points out here and here.

The whole argument comes down to BUK missiles, which were supposedly fired from territory held by Russian-speaking Ukrainians fighting against the American-supported neo-Nazi government in Kiev. In fact, the fighting lines were very fluid at that time. At first, our mainstream media propagandists told us that only the Russians possessed such missiles -- but as noted in a previous Cannonfire post, the Ukrainians had such weapons, and had even used them in a previous incident.

As always, our first and best question is cui bono. How could Putin possibly benefit from the downing of a cvilian jet?
What I was told by a source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts was that at least some of them – after reviewing electronic intercepts, overhead satellite images and other intelligence – had reached the conclusion that the shoot-down was a provocation, or a false-flag operation, carried out by a rogue element of the Ukrainian military operating under one of the hard-line oligarchs.
I'm reminded of the debate over the sarin attack in Syria, which the media tried to pin on Assad, even though he could not have benefited in any way from gassing civilians. We now know that, behind the scenes, there were those within the American intelligence community who understood the truth.

Of course, other people within the intelligence community have a phobic reaction to anything that reeks of honesty. Case in point...

Michael Morell's a real piece of work. Remember Mike? He's the former CIA guy we talked about in an earlier post. I suspect that he hopes to be running the Agency in a coming Republican administration. Here he is again, trying to rewrite history in all sorts of neoconnish ways...
SAM HUSSEINI: You’re not acknowledging that the Bush administration falsified information on Iraqi WMDs and other aspects in the build up to the Iraq war.

MICHAEL MORELL: I’m not acknowledging it because it’s not true. It is a great myth. It is a great myth that the Bush White House or hard-liners in the Bush administration pushed the Central Intelligence Agency, pushed the U.S. intelligence community and every other intelligence service in the world that looked at this issue to believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Oh, and that Downing Street memo? Another myth. No such memo ever existed. And all of that stuff you heard about Joe and Valerie Wilson? Again, pure myth. Those two individuals are figments of your imagination. Everything you've heard about Curveball is wrong. He was completely reliable. If you doubt his word, what's next? Are you going to doubt ANATOLY GOLITSYN? And Colin Powell didn't tell as single lie when he spoke at the U.N...

As he walked away from the interview, Morell was heard to mutter: And I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white suits as they're coming to take me awaaaaayyy! Hee hee ha ha ho ho...
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Comments:
I'm not sure how you haven't figured this out yet, but the Bush family and the Clinton family serve the same masters, and like it or not, so does Obama.

As for MH17, it was a provocation not unlike, as you so deftly pointed out, the sarin gas attack in Syria which was supposed to trigger the "red line" response from the United States military.

Your assertion that Saudi Arabia is the driving force behind the chaos unfolding around the globe makes me wonder if it's still Joe Cannon writing this blog or if you've been replaced by some low-lever functionary sitting in an AIPAC cubicle farm vomiting up misinformation.

A cancer has taken hold within Western society, and that cancer thrives on deception, subterfuge, misdirection, and division. It's the same here as it is in the UK as it is in France, and as it is now in the Ukraine.

If enough people become aware of that reality then maybe something can be done to counter its nefarious agenda, otherwise said cancer may finally consume its hosts.
 
I find your coomment on the Saudis rather puzzling. Joe has considered them as partners of the west.
 
Britain is a country where for many decades any media organisation that said anything critical about the Saudi regime would get a hard rap over its knuckles.

This appears to be changing. Articles are appearing in particular about head-chopping.

Is the peninsula next in line for the destablisation that has been meted out to Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria?

On the other hand, maybe the real message is pro, given how cruelty and sadism are increasingly widely promoted in US and Far Eastern culture (lulz, Game of Thrones, etc.)

But when the Daily Mail (big columnist: Zionazi Melanie Phillips) talks about executions in Saudi, something is changing.

 
On Charles Murray:
It sure sounds like the echo of Samuel Huntington writing in "The Crisis of Democracy". I reviewed Holly Sklar's "Trilateralism" a couple of weeks ago. Huntington said there was "too much democracy". They seem to be pulling their heist off quite well; voter suppression, Citizen's United, gerrymandering voting districts...

http://www.covertbookreport.com/the-crisis-of-democracy/
 
Why is the list of ObL's library only being released now? Why is it full of works by Chomsky, Palast, Chossudowsky, Blum and so on. David Ray Griffin, FFS.

"A Brief Guide to Understanding Islam"! I suppose they thought they ought to put a couple of works by Arab authors on there.

A Congressional investigation into MK-ULTRA. Fritz Springmeier. Manly Hall?

What, no "Behold a Pale Horse"?

 
"It is far too simplistic to define the term neoconservative as a synonym for "pro-Israel." The neocons are also pro-Saudi and anti-Russia."

The kind of views that Jewish billionaires have of Russia are of major geopolitical importance.

Generally the Russians are seen as dogs...but some dogs are good dogs. Vladimir Putin, a top dog in a sense that Cameron and Obama have never been anywhere near experiencing, wanted to go and pay homage at Rothschild HQ in the City of London when he came to Britain. Good dog, Vladimir!

That was event number 17,462,108 that conspiratards don't mention because the sources they get their opinions from didn't draw it to their attention.

Solzhenitsyn's Two Hundred Years Together still hasn't been translated into English and is unlikely to be.

Some of the said billionaires have a lot tied up in Russia and therefore...remain tied to that country. Others, e.g. Leonid Nevzlin, couldn't give much of a shit.

The Saudi regime remains backed pro tem only. It is backed because Israel is backed.

We may well live to see many of the princes hanging onto helicopter skids within the next 5 years.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama: "I criticize Israel because I care about it and the Jewish people".

This kind of talk is so revolting. Why not "I criticise the Nazis because I care about the Nazi regime and the German people"?

It is racist talk. An Israeli Jew who drops white phosphorus on Gaza doesn't lower himself as a Jew; he lowers himself as a human being. I recall that when Zionazis forced a Palestinian Arab to play his violin at a checkpoint in the West Bank, one Zionist commentator said he opposed that sort of action because it demeaned him as a Jew...and the sufferings of the Jewish people and the holocaust and blah blah hypocritical self-obsessed 'I always put my ethnoreligious community first' shitty blah...there's something wrong in the head with people who 'comment' in such a way. He just couldn't be a human being for 2 minutes and listen to himself. He couldn't de-master-race himself and start thinking about another human being having his face rubbed in the shit by fascists. Those terms - terms which are fucking obvious to anyone who doesn't speak with forked tongue when he says he's opposed to racism - wouldn't mean anything to him.

Meanwhile...the US authorities tell us Obama bin Laden had a copy of Secrets of the Federal Reserve by that nutcase Eustace Mullins!
 
That crazy assed Osama probably didn't even believe in fractional reserve banking, the terrist. And apparently he never heard of Sinclair Lewis: It Can't Happen Here, John Dos Passos: the U.S.A. trilogy, or John Steinbeck: Grapes of Wrath. That's some real radical stuff.
 
Strangely, the report by Osama bin Laden's killers on what books he had doesn't mention any titles authored either by me or by anyone I've personally cooperated with.

Are they trying to make out he was a slacker or what? :-)
 
You think the Book of the SubGenius should be on the list?
 
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Letting Bin Laden go

You would think that this would be bigger news in the U.S., but it isn't.
Donald Rumsfeld had the chance when he was US defence secretary in December 2001 to make sure Osama bin Laden was killed or captured, but let him slip through his hands, a Senate report has found.

The report by the Senate foreign relations committee is damning of the way George Bush's administration conducted the aftermath of its bombing campaign in Afghanistan, saying it amounted to a "lost opportunity".
But even this may be a cover story. The important documentary 9/11: Press for Truth (included below) offers good evidence that many Al Qaeda fighters were allowed to escape to Pakistan -- or were actually flown to Pakistan.

This film should have changed this country's perceptions of political reality. That's why covert operatives, following the usual CIA playbook, made sure that enormous publicity was given to all of the more nonsensical theories of 9/11, such as that "bombs in the building" crap, or the "missile hit the Pentagon" bullshit, or the assertion that Bush knew in advance. (God, if I have to hear one more word about Building Fucking Seven...!)

Important note: I know that some of you "sealions" out there are dying to debate me. You won't be published, or even read, so don't bother writing. I know how you fuckers are: If I allow even one of you to get a foot in the door, dozens of you will charge right in and try to take the place over. That's what happened back in 2006. It was infuriating to wake up each day afraid to look at my own damned website.

All of that "controlled demolition" crap was an obvious disinformation campaign intended to distract the public and to destroy the credibility of anyone addressing the real issues. (And if you want to know what I consider "the real issues," watch the film embedded below). Just because you were dumb enough to fall for The World's Stupidest Conspiracy Theory doesn't mean that I owe you a platform. It's a big internet, and you have many other places to go.

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Comments:
The Tora Bora situation is even worse than it was portrayed in Press for Truth.

The Christian Science Monitor had some good reporting that may still be available on the net.

The US assigned only 36 soldiers to guarding Tora Bora. There were more journalists than American soldiers up there.

Most of the guard duty was assigned to two local warlords. A CSM reporter overheard al Qaeda representatives buying letters of transit from the warlords in the lobby of a Jalalabad hotel. At one point the warlords' men held US soldiers at gunpoint while al Qaeda personnel moved their position.

There were two trails out to Pakistan, but only one of them was bombed. The trail crossed a highway, so troops could have been brought up to that point from J'bad, but it wasn't done.

A Delta Force guy writing as "Dalton Fury" claimed that he had proposed that his team be permitted to assault Tora Bora from the back side, but his plan was rejected by higher-ups.

A team of British soldiers claimed that they were half an hour behind Osama when he was on the move. They said they stepped aside to let the Americans have the honor of capturing him, and the Americans did nothing.

A Fox news military analyst. Col. David Hunt, claimed in October of 2007 that the military had spotted Osama a few months earlier moving south from Tora Bora--and had done nothing.



 
The best research resource on 9/11 is the historycommons.org website's Complete 9/11 Timeline, all of it sourced in mainstream news.
 
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