Thursday, April 24, 2014

War Frauds

The NYT has admitted the bogus nature of their "photo scoop" designed to whip up anti-Russian hysteria in the U.S. (See the post below.) Bob Parry:
Only now do we belatedly learn what should have been obvious: the blurry photographs provided by the coup regime in Kiev and endorsed by the Obama administration don’t really prove anything. There were obvious alternative explanations to the photos that were ignored by the Times, such as the possibility that these were military veterans who are no longer associated with the Russian military. Or that some photos are not of the same person.

And, one of the photos featured by the Times in its Monday lead article, purportedly showing some of the armed men in Russia, was actually shot in the Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, according to Maxim Dondyuk, the freelance photographer who took the picture and posted it on his Instagram account.
Naturally, this admission is not being covered widely in the blogs or mainstream press. However, CNN does favor us with this...
In an interview with state-run RT, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lamented how he felt U.S. officials were quick to blame his nation for everything awry in Ukraine and to insist Moscow can unilaterally solve it all. Lavrov said that while those in Ukraine's east and south who defiantly oppose the Kiev-based government are "not puppets" of the Kremlin, such a characterization would describe the relationship between Ukraine's leadership in Kiev and the United States.

"(Americans) have, I think, overwhelming influence," he said. "They act in a much more open way, without any scruples, compared to the Europeans ... You cannot avoid the impression that they are running the show very much, very much."
I think we're supposed to sneer and snicker at the Russian perfidy on display here. But I see no reason not to take Lavrov at his word. The question is always "Compared to what?" Who're ya gonna believe -- Lavrov or the neocons who have been sneaking dangerous bullcrap into the NYT?

To put matters into perspective, I recommend this piece by the esteemed John Pilger. Yes, he's wrong about the "missile gap," which was a 1960 thing, not a 1964 thing. But he's right about much else...
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its "Nato Enlargement Project". Reneging a US promise to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand "one inch to the east", Nato has all but taken over eastern Europe. In the former Soviet Caucuses, Nato's military build-up is the most extensive since the second world war.
The economic foundation for all this belligerence is, I think, the emergence of the informal BRICS trading alliance, which could one day reduce this nation to third-rate status. This country doesn't make anything anymore, and the BRICS countries do. That's the key factor driving all of this.

Actually, there is one thing we still know how to make: War. Direct war, proxy war, covert war. And so...
In February, the United States mounted one of its proxy "colour" coups against the elected government of Ukraine; the shock troops were fascists. For the first time since 1945, a pro-Nazi, openly anti-Semitic party controls key areas of state power in a European capital. No Western European leader has condemned this revival of fascism on the border of Russia.
Yeah. You'd think that such a thing would make the news, wouldn't you?
Since Washington's putsch in Kiev - and Moscow's inevitable response in Russian Crimea, to protect its Black Sea Fleet - the provocation and isolation of Russia have been inverted in the news to the "Russian threat".

Look, it's not as though I seriously consider Vlad Putin to be one of history's good guys. If you're an official member of The Cynics Guild, the proper stance is to acknowledge that most national leaders attained their position by being thugs. The tricky part of living in times like these is the need to recognize slanders and libels as slanders and libels, even when the people being slandered and libeled are assholes.

Saddam Hussein was the most obvious case in point. Nobody liked Saddam -- he was as awful as they come -- but he still didn't have anything to do with 9/11, and he didn't have WMDs. Assad's another example: The man is a beast. But he wasn't responsible for those sarin attacks, and it's not his forces that have been destroying churches and kidnapping nuns and eating hearts.

Sorry for rambling. Let's get back to Pilger's piece...
The US Air Force general who runs Nato forces in Europe - General Breedlove, no less - claimed more than two weeks ago to have pictures showing 40,000 Russian troops "massing" on the border with Ukraine. So did Colin Powell claim to have pictures of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What is certain is that Obama's rapacious, reckless coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Vladimir Putin is being lured into a trap.
Breedlove! The guy's name is Breedlove!

(Sudden thought: When WWIII comes, do you think the guy pushing The Button will have a last name like "Darling" or "Liebchen"? I think that'd be super.)
And there is China. On 24 April, President Obama will begin a tour of Asia to promote his "Pivot to China". The aim is to convince his "allies" in the region, principally Japan, to re-arm and prepare for the eventual possibility of war with China. By 2020, almost two-thirds of all US naval forces in the world will be transferred to the Asia-Pacific area. This is the greatest military concentration in that vast region since the second world war.

In an arc extending from Australia to Japan, China will face US missiles and nuclear-armed bombers. A strategic naval base is being built on the Korean island of Jeju less than 400 miles from the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai...
Wasn't Obama supposed to be the peace guy? Only a few posts down, I opined that he probably doesn't long for war -- not in the way that the neocons seem to lust for it. I gave that opinion for a number of reasons. Primarily, I was thinking of his cautious response to the ginned-up Syria crisis, and of his laudable deafness to the incessant cries for war with Iran.

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe Obama is just another War Fraud. We've been seeing a lot of those lately.

I don't think that Obama wants to see another invasion occur on his watch, but he seems to be prepping a massive conflict to take place five, ten, twenty years after he leaves office. Maybe he's being snookered into acting this way, or maybe he's in on it.
Who ya gonna believe? The neocons who lied us into war with Iraq, or the Russians? Actually I do believe Robert Kagan's wife when she boasts that the US has spent 5 billion $$$ to destabilize and bring Ukraine into the fold of the IMF and NATO.

Putin meets with President of China, Xi Jinping next month and they'll probably sign the deal for Russia to supply China with natural gas through Siberia. This exchange will not be payed for in petro-dollars. And so begins the end of the dollar as the world currency.

I wonder if those pulling the strings recognize the imminent collapse of the American financial house of cards, and hope that a war can keep the money flowing a bit longer.
My opinion of Obama is he is 99% about Delegation. Once he has established his stable of people, its his job to trust them and interact with them.

The flaw in this system is that it usually uses the same old same old.

However, Obama has tried more new wavy people like Van Jones who have been crushed by the conservatives. Commie Blaster dot com
It doesn't make any difference what Obama thinks or what he wants; he is totally irrelevant. While the world drifts toward war in eastern Europe, he is touring Japan. The US State Department is in the hands of those like Victoria "f--k the EU" Nuland who are free to do as they please with US assets and military power.
The neocons are playing a game of Risk with real people and real equipment as Obama eats sushi for photo ops and bows to Japanese robots.
Joe Biden visits Kiev and makes a promise of 50 million dollars (chump change by international standards) and right on cue the unelected government that the US has installed in Kiev launches a military assault on recalcitrant pro-Russians citizens in eastern Ukraine. When Brenner visited, neo-Nazi thugs employed by Kiev (with pockets stuffed with $100 bills) showed up in the middle of the night before Easter morning to kill people. This show is run by the CIA and the State Dept, IMHO, and they intend to show the ghosts of Hitler and Napoleon how it's done and what's more, do it on the cheap. I wonder how enthusiastic members of the US military will be to attack Russia after over 12 and a half years of constant combat. And after Russia, there's China and Pakistan, and let's not forget Iran and Syria. Yemen? Why not?
One does not become powerful by being a thug, at least not in civilised countries. There it is done by being underhanded.

Soeaking of which, under our last government we not only had Chancellor Darling, but a secretary of state called Ladyman and a Labour fundraiser called Lord Adonis. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, General Breedlove.

Also, proper air forces don't have generals, they have Air Marshalls and Air Commodores.
Re: Obama

Pay no attention to that man in front of the curtain. He's not pulling any levers. He's just the woofer.
I believe the national security state is just too powerful for Obama to push back.
He's done his level best to avoid bombing Iran, and delt with Putin on Syrian gas weapons, which is why the neo-cons ramped up Ukraine to drive a wedge between Obama-Putin negotiations.

Former CIA analyst Ray Mcgovern has it on good authority that Obama is frightened by the CIA, and was quoted as saying "I don't want to end up like Martin Luther King".

I simply can't believe Obama wants a major war in his legacy, but I can see the neo-cons bad-jacketing him to taint his legacy, and that of the "Democratic Party".
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014


A great piece in Salon exposes the NYT's "new Cold War" propaganda. Remember those photos published by our paper of record...the photos which allegedly proved that Russia had sent in their special forces? This turns out to be another B.O.gus report in Times.
OK. In Wednesday’s paper, deep in the bowels of the foreign news section, and deep in the bowels of the story found therein, we learn that the Times took the administration’s word for the validity of the pictures and got it wrong. Sorry. The pictures turned out to have been taken by a freelance photographer in Ukraine and had nothing to do with Russian anything. Reddit helped expose the nonsense.

I grow very sick of this stuff. I hesitate to go ad hominem, but these guys are ripping off my public space, my right to a responsible press. They litter my village green. Michael Gordon, Andrew Higgins, Andrew Kramer — not one of these correspondents has any call on our trust.
This is the same shit -- the exact same shit, with the same yellow coloring, same undigested kernels of corn, same everything -- that led to the Iraq war. And the same people who shoveled the shit at us then are shoveling it now.

When you see the smelly stuff flying at you, do not despair. Take names. Now you know who the spooked-up journalists are. And sca-REWWW anyone who calls you a "conspiracy theorist" simply because you dare to admit the painfully obvious fact that the mainstream news organs have spooks on the staff.

Speaking of fakes... You may have noticed that the right is still trying to promulgate the Big Lie that the IRS targeted the Tea Partiers and other conservative groups. (Who, let us say again, deserved the attention, since they clearly were partisan.) New evidence has come out demonstrating that the IRS spent more time and energy going after progressives.
Other types of groups received explicit scrutiny for longer than “progressive” or “Tea Party” organizations. These included applicants involved with “medical marijuana” but not “exclusively education” (19 appearances in the “watch list” section of the lists), which were to be forwarded to a “group 7888″ and groups believed to be possible successor-groups to ACORN, the now-shuttered Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (12 appearances on the “watch list” section).
Nevertheless, Darryl Issa has brought out a report labeled “Debunking the Myth that the IRS Targeted Progressives,” which was, of course, written by Republican staffers. Read the report if you want a laff, but here's the truth:
But the actual IRS records indicate that at least some additional scrutiny was required for groups of all types that had names that sounded political — and that the explicit heightened scrutiny for left-leaning groups was even longer-standing than for Tea Party groups.

Horrifying thought for the day

Alan Moore on infinity:
Confused? Moore puts it this way. "If you think about a standard journey in three dimensions -- say, being in a car driving along a road, the houses you're passing are vanishing behind you, but you don't doubt that if you could reverse the car, the houses would still be there. Our consciousness is only moving one way through time but I believe physics tells us all those moments are still there -- and when we get to the end of our lives, there's nowhere for our consciousness to go, except back to the beginning. We have our lives over and over again."
Well, there was this roast salmon with onion sauce that I ate while visiting Vancouver Island in the mid 1990s...yeah, I definitely want to have that meal again. And then there was the 50-hour science fiction film marathon at Filmex 1975...Ray Bradbury was there, Robbie the Robot was there, all the coolest people in Los Angeles were there, and we saw vivid original stereophonic prints of Forbidden Planet and War of the Worlds, and 2001 in 70mm. That was a lot of fun. Other than that, Alan Moore's theory is the most horrifying idea anyone ever conceived, because he's basically saying that Hell is real. I hope he's wrong.
Mr. Moore takes the "mystic" implications of quantum physics rather more seriously than I do. *rolls eyes*

The exotic speculations of modern QP tend to remind me of Orwell's quip that some ideas were so stupid only intellectuals could believe them.
Are you saying that I DON'T have to relive all those fights with my exes? And there was this creepy schizy guy I'll call "D" who still gives me the heebie-jeebies every time I think of him. Are you saying I don't have to relive the supremely infuriating times he intruded into my life? Are you saying I don't have to relive all those blundering wrong turns and stupid decisions I made in the 1989-1996 period? All those awful people I let into my life -- I don't have to meet 'em ever again?

Please go ON, Monster from the Id!

(By the way, I take it that you must be a Forbidden Planet fan yourself. Did I ever tell you about the time I met the guy who wrote the original story...?)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ukraine wisdom

I don't want Cannonfire to turn into "that Ukraine blog," but the unsettling events in that part of the world could ignite a war (note these ominous rumblings) and the propaganda has segued from annoying to dangerous to toxic to radioactive. As an antidote, let's look at some recent good writing on the topic.

First up: Bob Parry. He notes that one of the people trying to gin up war in Ukraine is "journalist" Michael Gordon of the NYT, who just happens to have worked with Judy Miller on those stories that ginned up war in Iraq. Gordon also pushed the Assad-diddit theory of the sarin attack in Syria.
All these stories draw hard conclusions from very murky evidence while ignoring or brushing aside alternative explanations. They also pile up supportive acclamations for their conclusions from self-interested sources while treating any doubters as rubes. And, these three articles all involved reporter Michael R. Gordon.
It seems as though the Aspen-rooted ones have cooked up this whole "Cold War II" scheme.

 This earlier piece by Parry provides some good historical analysis...
After the Feb. 22 coup in Ukraine – spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias – European and U.S. diplomats pushed for a quick formation of a new government out of fear that otherwise these far-right ultra-nationalists would be left in total control, one of those diplomats told me.

The comment again underscores the inconvenient truth of what happened in Ukraine: neo-Nazis were at the forefront of the Kiev coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych, a reality that the U.S. government and news media have been relentlessly trying to cover up.
Okay, many of you knew that. What about those militants in the Russian-language areas of Ukraine?
The new drumbeat in the U.S. press is that those militants must disarm in line with last week’s agreement in Geneva involving the United States, European Union, Russia and the “transitional” Ukrainian government.
Kind of a lopsided "summit" ya got there...
As for those inconvenient neo-Nazi militias, they have been incorporated into a paramilitary “National Guard” and deployed to the east to conduct an “anti-terrorist” campaign against the eastern Ukrainian protesters, ethnic Russians whom the neo-Nazis despise.
So it's Nazis vs. Russians. Some of you may have seen this movie before. Remember how it ended?

Parry then offers a rejoinder to a really obnoxious piece of pro-war agit-prop by Nicholas Kristof. What pisses me off is that Kristof will have roughly a hundred times the readers.

Another article worthy of your perusal comes to us by way of Eric Margolis.
Recently, Sen. John McCain, the voice of America’s ignorant right, sneered that Russia was merely “a gas station masquerading as a country.” Gas stations do not produce the likes of Tolstoy, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, or the very smart Vlad Putin. They do, however, produce puny intellects like McCain.
I'd have tossed in Dostoevsky or Pushkin, but...point taken. The thing is, America isn't even a gas station these days. Despite rising oil production, we buy gas from elsewhere. What we produce are comic book movies, Wall Street financial "products," neoconservatism and neoliberalism. Of those four, comic book movies are the only product that people actually like; the other ones just leave everyone feeling pissed off. Thus, the two former superpowers: One is a gas station masquerading as a country, and the other is a place that makes superhero movies masquerading as a country. Which has the more promising future?
Just as Russia provided the US with a diplomatic exit from blundering into a war with Syria, so the Kremlin is again offering Washington a way out of the Ukraine imbroglio.

That way out consists of a Ukraine-wide referendum to allow each region to determine whether it wants to align with Europe or Russia. Russian must be made a second official language. Most important, the US and NATO have got to halt their daft plan to set up bases in Ukraine and bring it in the alliance. These bases will enrage Russia without boosting NATO’s power.

In fact, NATO’s would-be bases in Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, as well as the Baltic, are a major military liability to the alliance which is incapable of defending them if the Russians get really angry.
The "way out" proposed by Margolis sounds like a pretty good plan to me. Snicker if you will, but I think Obama wants a face-saving deal of this sort. I have a lot of problems with Obama, but I'm reasonably certain that he doesn't want more war. Afghanistan was and is a mess and he knows it. War has not been good for this country, and it certainly hasn't been good for Obama. He didn't want war in Syria and he doesn't want one in Ukraine.

But the neocons sure are trying to push him into one.

Putin's strange new claims

Most Americans will dismiss the strange claims made by Vladimir Putin about the uprising which launched Ukraine into its current state of chaos.
When asked whether the so-called “self-defense” forces in the Crimea who had blocked Ukrainian soldiers were from Russia, Putin insisted they were local volunteers from the Crimea and not Russians.

Pressed on why then they seemed so well-trained, Putin replied “My dear friend, look how well-trained the people who led the [anti-Yanukovych] attacks in Kiev were. It's obvious knowledge they were trained in Lithuania, Poland and in Ukraine. They were prepared by instructors, trained for a long time.”

“Everything they did was professional, like in the Russian special forces,” he added.
Russia Today quotes the former head of Ukraine's Security Service, Aleksandr Yakimenko, to this same effect.
Q: Where did those snipers come from?

AY: First shots were fired from the Philharmonic building. Maidan Commandant Parubiy was in charge of the building. On February 20, this building was used as a base by the snipers and people with automatic weapons. They basically covered those who were attacking the demoralized policemen running in panic, hunted down like animals. They were followed by armed people with different kinds of weapons. At that point, somebody opened fire at those who attacked the police, and some of them were killed. All this fire was coming from the Philharmonic building. After this first round of fire, about 20 people came out of this building – this was witnessed by many. These people wore special combat clothes and carried sniper rifle cases, as well as AKMs with scopes. There were witnesses, and not just our operatives, but also Maidan activists from Svoboda, Right Sector, Batkivshchyna, and UDAR.

The snipers split into two groups – 10 men each. The Security Service lost track of one of the groups. The other group took a position at the Ukraine hotel. Killings continued. In the beginning, when the shots were scattered, I was asked by Right Sector and Svoboda to mobilize a Special Forces unit and remove the snipers from the buildings.
Q: So you think they were mercenaries?

AY: No doubt.
There is also an allegation of direct CIA involvement:
Q: Is it true that Nalivaichenko allowed the CIA agents to work in the Security Service building?

AY: Yes, that’s true. He also handed personal files of his own employees over to the CIA agents to study. But their mission was interrupted by an armed coup. The Maidan do not appoint these people; rather, it’s the US that does it. It’s enough to look at the newly appointed officials: Parubiy, Gvozd, Nalyvaichenko are all people who followed somebody else’s orders, the orders of the US, not even Europe. They are directly linked to the American intelligence. They sought to delay the negotiations and prevent the incumbent president from striking a deal with Russia and Russia from helping to prop up the social and economic order in Ukraine. After that they were planning to depose the president and integrate Ukraine into Europe, using Russian money. Who was troubled by the victory of the EU and the pro-integration forces? Only the US.
All the orders were given either by the US embassy or by Jan Tombinski, a Polish representative who worked in the EU mission in Kiev. Poland played an invaluable role in the coup. It has always dreamt of restoring its former power and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Ever since the Maidan kicked off, our security service registered a dramatic increase in diplomatic correspondence coming in to various Western embassies in Kiev. There is one more mystery. Straight after this influx of correspondence we saw some foreign money at the Maidan and in Kiev exchange bureaus: the new, re-designed US dollar bank notes.

Q: So they were bringing in cash?

AY: Yes. Poroshenko, Firtash, Pinchuk – they all poured money into the Maidan. With all their assets in foreign banks, they found themselves trapped. So they had to follow orders from the West. All they were supposed to do was back the Maidan; otherwise they would have lost all their assets. They were thinking about their money rather than their own country. Unfortunately we couldn’t prevent the casualties, the people, mainly those who had come from the Western regions, were sent into the line of fire. The Maidan militants had left the barricades after the sniper fire started. But time will set the record straight.
As I said: Most Americans will immediately dismiss these claims as propaganda. I am not so sure. We've been lied to on so many occasions that I feel no obliged to take this administration's word on anything involving Ukraine.

The man's right about one thing: Time will set the record straight.

In the past, I've been hesitant to ascribe a direct role to the CIA in the Ukraine coup. The whole business was too daring, too over-the-top, too redolent of the Agency adventurism that prevailed throughout the 1950s and '60s. But now I'm open to the idea.

If the Agency has gone back to its wild and reckless roots -- what does that fact say about Obama?

One thing is clear: The plan -- whatever the plan was and whoever the planners were -- did not go as planned. I think Obama understands this now. That's why he's backtracking, looking for a way out. Here are the some neo-connish words published today in the WP:
Again Vladi­mir Putin is flagrantly disregarding the warnings and “red lines” of the Obama administration. He has reason to do so: President Obama also doesn’t observe them. Despite Mr. Kerry’s clear words, sanctions that have been prepared against cronies of Mr. Putin and companies involved in his Ukraine ad­ven­ture remain on ice at the White House, where they have languished for more than a week.
You can see where this is going. They're trying to use the "You're not a real man" jibe to press Obama into a disastrous action, possibly into war with Putin. The fact is, when it comes to sanctions, Putin holds all the cards. By "cards," I mean gas. Ukraine can't long survive without natural gas, and they buy the stuff from Russia. But Ukraine can't pay the bill for the gas they have already received.

So that's that. The Ukraine gambit never had a chance.

Speaking of Putin and Poland: Now that the new cold war is in full swing, propagandists are accusing Putin of murdering the President of Poland via an engineered plane crash. Check it out. The primary evidence favoring this theory concerns the extremely large number of aircraft fragments, suggestive of a mid-air explosion, not a debris field left by a crash.

Well...maybe. Possibly. But where is the evidence of authorship? 
Putin has learned, at this point complaisance does not help you. Exposing the moves does.

It takes the "who could have known " malarkey out of the frankly worn out spin/lies . Note to CIA : please get new writers

There is also an allegation of direct CIA involvement:

Can anyone believe there isn't direct CIA involvement? The head of the CIA was just there, was he on vacation?

What I'm finding hard to believe we have a government besides the CIA FBI, NSA alphabet spooks are us etc ...The Hill lock steps as it's told. It's like a Disney ride at this point

Anne, I guess I had come to think that the CIA's cowboy days were past. I mean, during the run-up to the Iraq war, the CIA was clearly hesitant to play ball and all the "cowboy" stuff was moved to various ad-hoc units in DIA and elsewhere.

But if what we're reading about the Ukraine is right -- it's the 1950s all over again. Wheeeee!
Joe , 2003 was a long time ago. In terms of our government and rule of law, it was an age ago. What was old is new again

There was ample speculation at the time of the Polish president's plane crash that the Russians had been behind it, so this isn't the first time this theory has been trotted out.

I can't speak to the veracity of that claim, but anytime a crash of that magnitude happens inexplicably I think it's important to try to figure out who benefits.
German language.
Personally, I am not,generally, convinced of Voltairenet.
But here they might have a case.

I'll take back to their old way for $1.00.
if we look back to the good old days of evil overlord chaney going to the cia basically forcing out the old guard the stood up to him then have all those left that want nothing other than make their new evil overlord happy with yes Iraq has wmd and off Amerika went.

Just around the net and see how many former cia like Ray M. write at sites, joined dod vendors or just retired to teach somewhere.

The good days at cia are back, torture, droning people to death and taking down elected officials. Yes I know the Ukraine president was a crook but he was elected.
i agree with anne and joe6pac.. how else does one explain obama being so out of sync with those making the usa's foreign policy moves here? him and kerry are a couple of bimbo's at this point and don't run the country.. looks like nuland has her hand on the pulse of power currently emanating from the usa, more then they do.

any thought on what is happening with moon of alabama website? - thanks - james
ps - i agree with the others too - anonymous question is a good one - who benefits the most? i think that would be the usa more then russia, especially if the usa's desire it to put nato in poland/ukraine area next to russia.. poor relationships with poland and russia don't serve russias interest any...
james, no government is a monolith. Not even Stalin's was! So of course there are people playing funny games outside of Obama's control. There are always such games going on, no matter who the president is.

And no, this does not necessarily make any given president a good guy.
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Dubya in court?

Dubya's being sued for crimes against peace. It's a class action lawsuit filed in California by victims of the Iraq war.
The case against Bush is based on the conduct of members of the administration prior to coming into office as well as conduct taking place on and after 9/11. Years before their appointment to the Bush Administration, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz were vocal advocates of a militant neoconservative ideology that called for the United States to use its armed forces in the Middle East and elsewhere.

They openly chronicled their desire for aggressive wars through a non-profit called The Project for the New American Century (or PNAC). In 1998, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz would personally sign a letter to then-President Clinton, urging the president to implement a “strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power,” which included a “willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing.”

On 9/11, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz openly pressed for the United States to invade Iraq, even though intelligence at the time confirmed that it was al Qaeda, and not Saddam, that was responsible.
We now know that the Bush Administration began a concerted effort to scare and mislead the American public in order to obtain support for the Iraq War. As alleged in the complaint, this included the famous phrase that “the smoking gun could not be a mushroom cloud,” which was used repeatedly by Administration officials on news shows as a way of equating non-action with the vaporization of a United States city. The Administration used bogus and false intelligence to make the case for weapons of mass destruction, and also falsely linked al Qaeda to Iraq, despite the fact that there has never been any evidence of any operational linkages between the two. These were not simple mistakes: this was an intentional campaign by Administration officials to use faulty data to garner support for a war.
I'm happy to stipulate the truth of all of this, and more. But I still don't think that this lawsuit is going anywhere.

On the other hand, if America's standing in the world continues to sink -- and the BRICS countries continue to become more powerful -- we may reach a point where lawsuits of this kind could be lodged in a body like the World Court. And the penalty? Trade sanctions. A 100% tax on American imports, to be lifted only when this country hands over the accused for judgment.

This is all blue sky conjecture, of course, but you gotta admit: It'd be an interesting thing to see.

And in the long run, a little punishment from a world body might be the best thing to happen to this country. Arrogance is a nation-killer, and humility sometimes has to be imposed from outside. The Germans got spanked after WWII -- not as soundly as they should have been spanked, but there was still a big, internationally-sanctioned spanking. And Germany benefited from the discipline.
Sibel Edmonds said FBI tapes revealed that the US was planning to invade Iraq from before 9/11:

The monitoring of the Turks picked up contacts with Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle in the summer of 2001, four months before 9/11. They were discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country. The UK would take the south, the rest would go to the U.S. They were negotiating what Turkey required in exchange for allowing an attack from Turkish soil. The Turks were very supportive, but wanted a three-part division of Iraq to include their own occupation of the Kurdish region. The three Defense Department officials said that would be more than they could agree to, but they continued daily communications to the ambassador and his defense attaché in an attempt to convince them to help.

And former criminal prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi argued that Bush was guilty of murder under well established US law and should be prosecuted.

I like the idea but I don't like the chances.
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A grand jury is looking into the question of whether Texas governor Rick Perry abused his power. He had vetoed funding for public corruption prosecutors when one of them didn't resign at his request.

Part of me hopes that Rick Perry survives this problem. Y'see, he has his eye on another presidential run. And although I (obviously) do not want him to be President, I'd love for him to be the Republican nominee. What fun!
Don't want to come off as defending Perry but Rosemary Lehmberg's and her predecessor Ronnie Earle are disasters. There's a big understory of corruption and incompetence here - I suspect Perry rides this out with no serious harm because folks know how bad things are in Travis county texas. I heard basically a conspiracy theory that perry wants this because the grand jury will start poking around into all sorts of shenanigans in the Travis county government.

Wen Lehmberg's was in the drunk tank the deputies put her in chains essentially and she had a spit guard on. I'm told her behavior was beyond anything you could condone from an elected official arrested for anything.
Okay, maybe you're right. And the conspiracy theory certainly sounds possible. But on the other hand....


(Wouldn't it be ah-MAZ-ing if he got the nomination?)
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Final proof: That "register the Jews" leaflet in Ukraine was a hoax. The chief rabbi of Donetsk has so declared. Also see here. (Donetsk is the city where the leaflets were distributed.)

The truly appalling thing about this episode is not that venues like the National Review still pretend that the thing was real. What do you expect from a pig but a grunt? And to be honest, I'm not that bothered that John Kerry initially reacted as though the leaflet represented something real. To err is human, and all that.

What bothers me is that he didn't walk back that initial reaction even after the rest of the world started to ask hard questions. After a certain point, human error starts to look like political calculation.

Gag order: Why did the New York Times follow a gag order issued by an Israeli court? The case itself it of limited importance; it involves the arrest of a Palestinian journalist named Majd Kayyal. What troubles me is what this affair says about the NYT. From an editorial by Times editor Margaret Sullivan:
I asked The Times’s newsroom lawyer, David McCraw, about the situation. He told me that he was consulted by Times journalists this week as they considered publishing an article about Mr. Kayyal’s arrest. Although the situation is somewhat murky, he said, “the general understanding among legal counsel in other countries is that local law would apply to foreign media.” Similar issues arise when America news media organizations cover the British courts, he said.
This is nonsense. I've seen American newspapers cover stories that got an infamous "D notice" in the UK. Richard Silverstein's response is worth reading:
I’m rather shocked by the entire brouhaha because it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain who follows Israel reporting by domestic Israeli and foreign media, that they all abide by gag orders.
After all, what Rudoren and the Times are practicing is a form of self-censorship. They won’t report a story they could report because they know it will inconvenience their professional lives. But if the Times had followed the same rule regarding the Pentagon Papers, it would never have published them. If the Times China bureau followed the same rule it would never have reported the amazing Pulitzer Prize-winning stories of high-level Chinese corruption, which caused a huge uproar and the expulsion from the country of one of the NYT reporters who wrote it. In that case, the fear of repercussions didn’t deter the Times. What’s the difference between Israel and China?
The rule of money: Philip Geraldi has written an interesting but frustrating (and somewhat deceptive) article about a familiar topic, the corrupting influence of money. The opening of this piece is arresting:
I recently had an interesting lunch with a foreign academic who is in the US on a one year sabbatical to study how the political process in Washington shapes foreign policy. She asked me why the United States has a foreign policy that does not appear to serve actual US interests, citing the recent drive to revive the Cold War and to bomb Iran over a weapons program that it does not actually have. The question led to a discussion of how corruption works in the world’s oldest constitutional republic. I explained that money has corrupted every aspect of government at every level in the United States, creating a system in which laws are passed to make various forms of corruption legal rather than trying to have government do things that actually benefit most of the people.
I disagree with Geraldi's belief that the Tea Party was hijacked by the Republican Party. The Tea Party was, from the beginning, the creation of the Ayn-addled Wall Street ueber-capitalists. Also, I can't agree with this:
"...they initially demanded smaller, more responsible government, constitutionalism and an end to America’s perpetual wars, surely all positive objectives."
Positive? Frankly, I want more government. That is: More truly democratic (with a small d) government. In the wake of the 2008 disaster, a lot of us expected greater restrictions on Wall Street, greater aid to the states, greater aid to those struggling with their mortgages, and an FDR-style jobs program.

Geraldi's piece uses the standard Libertarian tactic (Ron Paul division) of decrying neo-con foreign adventurism in order to persuade the public that the very concept of government is irredeemable. Articles like this remind us that Libertarianism has a two-fold plan:

1. First, the Big Money Guys buy the politicians.

2. Then, when the purchased politicians fail to improve our lives, the Big Money Guys (or their shills) say: "See? Gummint doesn't work. All forms of gummint -- including democracy -- don't work. Big Money will always find a way to corrupt the system. So let's just get rid of gummint. It's time for us, the Big Money Guys, to run everything directly! No more Social Security! No more environmental regulations! No more public schools! No more democracy! Wheeee!"

And that's how libertarians like Geraldi end up pushing for more power to the Big Money Guys, even in an article whose announced intent is to decry the corrupting influence of money.

It's Clinton conspiracy season! Our friends at Skydancing published a funny, yet depressing, series of links to the most insane conspiracy theories inspired by Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy. My question: Is this happening because conspiracism has become this country's default mode? Or did some bigwig in the Republican party send a note to his underlings: "We gotta do something with this pregnancy story. Come up with the usual conspiracy bullshit..."?

To put it another way: Do these inane stories occur organically, or are they manufactured under orders from on high?

The same Skydancing post references this Los Angeles Times piece on documents from the Bill Clinton White House...
One unsigned and undated document contained in the files of Jane Sherburne, a Special Counsel to the White House between 1994 and 1996, details theories about how the right wing, with the help of think tanks and conservative publications, was funneling “fringe” stories to the media. It also expounds on the financial powers and connections of billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, who was referred to as “The Wizard of Oz.”

Part of the problem, the memo suggested, was the fact that the Internet “allows an extraordinary amount of unregulated data and information to be located in one area and available to all.”

“The right wing has seized upon the Internet as a means of communicating its ideas to people,” the unsigned memo continues. “Moreover evidence exists that Republican staffers surf the Internet interacting with extremists in order to exchange ideas and information.”
I'm sure a lot of right-wingers will interpret these words as evidence of Clintonian perfidy. Frankly, I think that Sherburne was right on the money.
French economist Thomas Piketty has been making favorable impressions across the board with his claims about the emergence of a new financial oligarchy. He argues that by 2030 all appreciable global wealth will be held by a small oligarchy and most of it will be inherited rather than have earned. Piketty's detailed statistical analysis concluded that inherited wealth is the historical norm and that the kind of economic competition and striving that we popularly think of as capitalism is an aberration. He also notes that modern financial capitalism insists on a return of greater than 5% while national economies traditionally only have an averaged growth rate of 2-3%. The end result is that national productivity growth and national assets have to end up with the wealthy classes who insist on the higher rate of return. He notes that since 2008 over 60% of US national growth profits have passed to the top 1% of Americans. Quite simply, they are taking everything. We have seen a similar feature in the US since 1970 with virtually all employee productivity increases (over 100%) have been passed to employers while wages have been held stagnant.

Piketty claims that the mechanism of capitalism is always destined to fail the broader society. It is a startling thesis and one extraordinarily unwelcome to those who think capitalism and inequality need each other. Capitalism requires inequality of wealth, runs the argument, to stimulate risk-taking and effort; governments trying to stem it with taxes on wealth, capital, inheritance and property kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Unfortunately, this fiction merely hastens the rush to wealth accumulation by a select few, a return to the historical norm.

Paul Krugman says he was shocked by Piketty's findings (See also here and here).
About the Israeli gag order, it was only for a few days and has been lifted. I believe the temporary gag order was to protect Israeli assets in Lebanon or find Lebanese assets in Israel. But that’s just a guess. Anyway, I’ve been doing some research on your post “Why they hate us” and will have a lot to say on that soon.
The reason for the gag order or the length of time it was in place has no bearing on the point of what I wrote. The New York Times shouldn't be restricted by the orders of a foreign government. Hell, it shouldn't be restricted by the US government!
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Sunday, April 20, 2014

A monster for Easter (updated)

Apparently, someone found Nessie -- or at least her wake -- via Apple Maps. I'm not convinced, but I have to admit that this image really is kind of cool.

It looks like something just below the surface is leaving a wake -- and it's a really BIG something.

A few years back, there was a similar flurry of excitement over an alleged Nessie sighting via Google Earth. That one was more easily explained as a boat...

Y'know what it looks like to me...?

Yes. I've always wanted to share the word of Cthulhu on Easter Sunday...

Update: A friend to this blog directs our attention to this article, which tries to convince us that what we're seeing is just another boat wake. Bah! Obviously, Cthulhu's minions are everywhere.

I live on an island near the Canadian border. Our little newspaper usually has a paragraph or two of old historic news for general interest. One such piece was of a group of fishermen that reported seeing a "Nessie" type creature. They were watching a group of Orca whales running down a school of fish when the Orcas stopped suddenly and reversed direction. They had never seen them behave like that, and sure enough a huge creature rose out of the water. It clearly had a head like a horse and a long neck, and if I remember it was covered with kelp which made it look hairy. Pretty cool, makes you wonder if animals like that still actually exist.

Don't get me started on Bigfoot...
Is boat.
Is Cthulhu.
Is The Nautilus. Always has been.
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

"Page after page of signatures are all in the same handwriting...”

First a couple of caveats: Our main source for this post goes to The Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think-tank which I do not like. Also, the name of the author -- Hans A. von Spakovsky -- rings a bell with an unpleasant sound. As the day goes on, I'll probably recall just which piece of this man's previous ouvre ticked me off.

I can tell you this much: He refers to the "the Democrat Party." That's the sure sign of the propagandist. Hans: If you have the facts on your side, why resort to such silly tactics?

On the other hand, Hans is just the messenger; the citations in his article go to other, better sources. Let's look at the message. Yes, it's a "2008" story -- a primary election fraud story. But it is not a story that enough people know.

We go back to the Indiana primary, which was a real primary, not a caucus. (Most of the cheating in 2008 occurred in caucuses.) Obama's delegate lead was small and shrinking.
The allegations of electoral fraud first emerged in 2011 when a Yale University undergraduate student looked through the signatures of the petitions that were filed with Indiana election officials to get Barack Obama qualified for the Indiana Democratic primary ballot.[17] Ryan Nees, a former Obama White House intern, pored through the “byzantine and complicated” petition signatures.[18] Page after page of the voter names and signatures in St. Joseph County turned out to be complete forgeries.[19]

Nees said the fraud was easy to detect “because page after page of signatures are all in the same handwriting.” A close inspection also revealed their similarity to signatures from a petition for a previous gubernatorial election. Even worse, some of the names appeared on the list several times.[20]

Erich Speckin, a forensic document specialist, confirmed the forgeries, concluding that 19 of the ballot petition pages for Obama filed with election officials were illegitimate.[21] Nees uncovered the fraud while working as an intern for Howey Politics Indiana, a nonpartisan political news website, and later published his findings through the South Bend Tribune.[22]

In the wake of these revelations, the state chairman of the Indiana Republican Party wrote to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, David Capp.[ 23] Mr. Capp was nominated to serve as the U.S. Attorney by President Obama in 2009.[24] The letter requested that federal officials investigate the allegations of election fraud.

Although Mr. Capp refused to act, state officials ultimately charged four people with conspiracy and forgery.[25] In an ironic twist, the state trial court had to appoint a special prosecutor, Stanley Levco, because St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak could not press charges since his signature was one of the ones forged, making him a victim of the crime.[26] Dvorak was not the only Indiana official with that problem: Former Governor Joe Kernan’s name was forged on a petition as well.[27]

The ringleader of the election fraud was Butch Morgan, chairman of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party.[28] Morgan conspired with three other local officials to duplicate signatures from a previous petition for a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Jim Schellinger.[29] In Indiana, the authenticity of the ballot petitions must be reviewed by the Republican and Democratic members of the county Board of Voter Registration, with the signatures of the board members executed on the ballot petitions to evidence their review.[30] In this case, Morgan and his coconspirators illegally used a rubber stamp of the signature of a Republican member of the St. Joseph County Board of Voter Registration, Linda Silcott, to forge her approval of the ballot petitions when she was out of the office due to the loss of her husband.[31]

Former Board of Voter Registration worker and Democratic Party volunteer Lucas Burkett revealed the details of the fraud.[32] Burkett confessed that “there were meetings at which several people explicitly agreed to forge these petitions” and that his job was to “forge petitions for candidate Barack Obama.”[33] Furthermore, Board of Voter Registration worker Beverly Shelton “was assigned to forge petitions for candidate Hillary Clinton,” while former County Board of Voter Registration worker Dustin Blythe “was assigned to forge petitions for candidate John Edwards.”[34] John Edwards dropped out of the race at the end of January 2008, and at that time, Burkett had a change of conscience and refused to participate further in the scheme. Consequently, Morgan instructed Blythe to forge signatures on the remaining Obama petitions.[35]

In June 2013, the fraud trials concluded,[36] and the group’s ringleader, Butch Morgan, was convicted of conspiracy to commit petition fraud and felony forgery.[37] Morgan was sentenced to one year behind bars, the only defendant to receive prison time.[38] Former St. Joseph County Board of Voter Registration worker and Democratic volunteer Dustin Blythe was also convicted of conspiracy to commit petition fraud and felony forgery, receiving one year of probation.[39] Former St. Joseph County Board of Voter Registration Democratic board member Pam Brunette and board worker Beverly Shelton pleaded guilty and testified against Morgan. They received two years of probation.[40]

Following the convictions, St. Joseph Superior Court Judge John Marnocha stated: “The defendants who were saying, ‘I was just following orders,’ or ‘I was just doing my duty,’ that’s no excuse. Through history a lot of evil has been done by those saying they were just following orders.”[41]

In this case, the very people meant to be ensuring the fairness of the election were engaged in a scheme to subvert it.
If Obama had been stripped of his Indiana delegates -- as would have happened, had this scandal been uncovered in time -- he would not be president today.

And no,I don't think we should elide the allegation that there was also a scheme to forge petitions on behalf of Hillary.
It was up to Team Hillary to check on that. But then maybe somebody would check on her and they would have found her fake signatures, so says FOX News.
But are these guys really guilty of anything beyond a conspiracy to be lazy dumbasses? I mean, it's highly unlikely any of those three candidates would have been at risk of not making the ballot; it just means some Democratic campaign worker would have had to spend a few frigid hours in mid-winter Indiana to collect the name. (Or, perhaps more likely, it means these particular Democratic campaign workers would have had to pay minimum wage to some kid 'taking a break' after his or her first year of college to collect the names, instead of simply claiming that's what they did, and pocketing the funds.)

That there were orders to cheat issued on behalf of the Big 3 also makes m think such an order came from as low down a high up as possible -- somebody like, say, county Democratic chairman Butch Morgan. All three were experienced candidates; each would have instinctively known there was virtually *no* upside possible upside and almost limitless downside; and none of the three would have the others to know about it.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't see any 'there,' there.
The interesting thing about Indiana was how the city of Gary would not delivertheir votes. They had to see how many Hillary had so they could have more for Mr. O ...this went on for so many hours it became embarrassing( yes politicos could still be embarrassed back then ) because it involved hitting a few buttons to get the numbers. No one was counting paper other country would not deliver its votes either. It was a standoff.

Gary was more in the spotlight and I believe they gave in first...

I have problem with the use of "The Democrat Party" versus The Democratic Party".

Illinois moved up their primary from the end of March to the beginning of February, that is what actually swung the momentum to Barack Obama.

North Carolina was giving 14 or 28 bonus delegates for not moving up their election.

Florida and Michigan got skunked because they favored Hillary Clinton.
von Spakovsky is the go-to guy for the Republicans when they want to justify their voter ID schemes.

Check him out on
Thanks, stickler. I KNEW that ol' Hansie had done something to piss me off. But as one ages, one forgets a few names...
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Friday, April 18, 2014

And now for something outrageous

Has it been a while since your face got all red and steam came out of your ears and you were so ticked off you couldn't talk and when you did try to talk you sounded like Porky Pig? Let's relive that feeling.

I'm sure you recall Phyllis Schlafly, the right-wing activist and mentor to Ann Coulter. Check out her latest...
On Tuesday in the Christian Post, Schlafly declared that equal pay is bad, widening the wage gap is good and that the entire institution of marriage depends on men continuing to earn more than women.

Providing women with equal pay for equal work, she wrote, would lower their chances of finding a "suitable mate," since, as Schlafly argues, women prefer to marry men who earn more than they do while men prefer to marry women who earn less.
Here she is in the original:
Another fact is the influence of hypergamy, which means that women typically choose a mate (husband or boyfriend) who earns more than she does. Men don't have the same preference for a higher-earning mate.

While women prefer to HAVE a higher-earning partner, men generally prefer to BE the higher-earning partner in a relationship. This simple but profound difference between the sexes has powerful consequences for the so-called pay gap.

Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate.

Obviously, I'm not saying women won't date or marry a lower-earning men, only that they probably prefer not to. If a higher-earning man is not available, many women are more likely not to marry at all.
Or they could get over that silly prejudice and support an unrecognized genius who just wants to spend the rest of his life writing a blog and painting pictures while listening to Mahler and Bruckner. He doesn't require much in the way of care and feeding, but one day he'd like a 'puter with 32 gb of RAM. Any volunteers?
That girl has it all arse about face. The so-called pay gap is in favour of women during their twenties, only later in life after marriage and children do men make more, largely due to working considerably more hours on average than women do.

Men earning more doesn't cause marriage, it's the other way around.
On Tuesday in the Christian Post, Schlafly declared that equal pay is bad, widening the wage gap is good and that the entire institution of marriage depends on men continuing to earn more than women

Pretty funny. I think Schlafly is looking for a book deal... ...yawn
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Follow up on the "Register the Jews" ploy...

About those "register the Jews" fliers being passed around in the Ukraine: In the post below, I cried "Bogus." The Anti-Defamation League agrees with that assessment.
The Anti-Defamation League, a group founded to combat anti-Semitism, cast doubt on the pamphlet's authenticity in a statement.

"We have seen a series of cynical and politically manipulative uses and accusations of anti-Semitism in Ukraine over the past year,” Abraham H. Foxman, the group's national director, said. “The perpetrators and their targets are opposing politicians and political movements, but the true victims are the Jewish communities. We strongly condemn the anti-Semitic content, but also all attempts to use anti-Semitism for political purposes.”

And when a reporter for the Daily Beast went to the administration office where the fliers instructed Jews to go pay the registration fee on Thursday, she found the room was empty.

The fliers "could have been the work of provocateurs hoping to discredit the pro-Russian movement" in Ukraine, according to the Daily Beast.
Gee. Ya think...?

The WP has further background...
On Tuesday, the well-regarded Web site reported on the leaflets, writing that they were handed out by three unidentified men carrying the flag of the Russian Federation. The site also reported that there was speculation that the men were trying to provoke a conflict and then blame the conflict on pro-Russia separatists.
Clearly, we're dealing with a phoney -- a provocation. And if you want to know who's behind it, check out sites like the National Review, which has run with this story big time.
Who Are the Real Ukrainian Anti-Semites?
A flier distributed in a separatist city suggests Russians are the real fascists here.
This development is shocking, but it’s also ironic, given the propaganda that the Russian government has circulated to slander the Maidan demonstrators, as well as Ukrainians who dare resist annexation by their aggressive and authoritarian neighbor.
As if NR has standing to lecture us on the topic of "slander"!

So whodunnit? A reader has suggested the CIA. Maybe, but I'm not convinced. This ploy is a little too thuddingly obvious. A psy-war tactic of this sort might have seemed cutting-edge back in 1954, when such things were being discussed over brandies in Paul Linebarger's living room in Baltimore. But nowadays, I think the professionals in the Agency have acquired a greater appreciation for subtlety.

But we know that there are neocons playing spooky games outside of any official intelligence service...
Kerry can't stop talking about it... so plainly we ginned this up. If we incessantly talk about something, we did it .
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ain't buying it. No sale.

Only a fool would take this story at face value...
World leaders and Jewish groups condemned a leaflet handed out in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in which Jews were told to "register" with the pro-Russian militants who have taken over a government office in an attempt to make Ukraine part of Russia, according to Ukrainian and Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city's Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee "or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated," reported Ynet News, Israel's largest news website, and Ukraine's Donbass news agency.
It's a leaflet. A leaflet.

Anyone can print a leaflet. Hell, we see deceptive leaflets all the time here in America -- especially during elections.

If there were an actual "register the Jews" policy in place, you'd see more evidence of it than this one leaflet.

Remember the "mystery snipers" that set events into motion in Ukraine? The initial news reports all presumed that the snipers were working for Yanukovych (the pro-Russian former leader of Ukraine who was subsequently toppled). We now have good reason to believe that the snipers did their evil work to benefit not Yanukovych but those who wanted him gone.

And the trick worked.

Think about it. Is there any compelling reason for the pro-Russian forces to issue a leaflet saying "We're going to register the Jews"? Would they really do such a thing now, after Putin has endlessly hammered home the accusation (a true accusation, as it happens) that neo-Nazis played a huge role in the recent Ukrainian revolution?

Let's look at it this way. Suppose Clem and Clyde are running for Mayor in Happyville, a town where half the population is black. Suppose someone hands out a leaflet at a church, and the leaflet reads: "Howdy folks! My name is Clem, and I think all black people should be KILLED! So vote for me, Clem, if you want to see 'em all swingin' from the trees!"

Who really wrote that leaflet -- Clem or Clyde?

Come on. Grow up. It's not even a question.
My thought when I saw that leaflet mentioned on twitter was the same as yours, "Why would pro-Russians do this? They have nothing to gain by it."

My second thought was that CIA director Brennan visited Ukraine last weekend to "help" Kiev stop the "terrorism" in the eastern part of the country.

Looks like a typical CIA "dirty tricks" campaign to me.
I asked the SFC to take this down.

Long experience debating liars on the internet has showed me that a favorite technique of their is "flipping". If they're lying blatantly, they will falsely accuse you of lying blatantly so as to create confusion among the readers.
In the same way, if your "revolution" is allied with Nazis, the flippers will try to create the impression that the opposition is Nazis.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why do they hate us?

I haven't referenced Juan Cole's blog in ages, but this piece, by Quinn Coffey, deserves wide attention. It's about radical fundamentalist Jewish settlers who have viciously attacked a Christian monastery, and it's not the first such outrage.
These attacks have been increasing since 2008.
This isn't just another article about the Israeli-Palestinian clash. It's about something dark that has taken hold of the Israeli soul -- a permanent hardening of the heart. To be frank, the Jews in that part of the world are becoming something very different from the American Jews I've known.
The most recent attack occurred at the Our Lady at Deir Rafat Monastery located on the site of the depopulated former Arab village of the same name, north-west of the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh. The graffiti, sprayed in Hebrew on the outer walls of the Monastery, read ‘Jesus is an ape and Mary is a cow’, to which the Latin (Catholic) Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, responded, ‘I don’t believe this is a proper way to receive the Holy Father here next month.’ However, this is only the latest in what the UN High Commission reported was a 150% increase in ‘price tag’ attacks since 2008, with over 788 registered attacks from 2012-2013.

Although the majority of these attacks have occurred in the West Bank, Christians in Jerusalem and throughout Israeli have also come under attack. As a series of 2012 Haaretz articles pointed out, Christian clergy who dress in ‘priestly garb’ are frequently spat on as they walk through Jerusalem’s Old City; as one priest commented ‘it’s almost impossible to pass through Jaffa Gate without this happening’. In fact, these anti-Christian attacks have become so frequent that in 2012 the Catholic leadership of Palestine issued a statement entitled, Declaration of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, in which they urged the Israeli authorities to address the ‘teaching of contempt’ in Israeli schools. Suggesting that, ‘the time has come for the authorities to act and to put an end to this senseless violence and to ensure a “teaching of respect” in schools for all those who call this land home.’

However, the Deir Rafat attack also highlights the contempt that the settler movement and radical right hold for the peace process. Other areas of the Monastery at Deir Rafat were tagged with the slogans, ‘America is Nazi Germany’ and ‘the price to pay for the peace agreement’, which suggests that the settler movement in some way associates attacks on Christian sites with revenge against America or the international community.
Many years ago, I spoke at length with a prominent survivor of Auschwitz -- a lady who had dealt first-hand with Mengele, and barely survived. (She came to his attention because she had a twin.) After moving to America, this lady always wore, in her professional life, a pin with an American flag. She loved this country and was always grateful to it.

What has changed? Certainly, no rational person can argue that the United States has become more anti-Israeli or more anti-Semitic since the 1940s.

Back in 2009, I wrote about an entire site (which hasn't published new material since 2011) which, in its original incarnation, was set up to spit venom at Cannonfire and The Confluence. (My site really has nothing to do with Riverdaughter's, but our critics spoke as if we were joined at the hip.) The site was very pro-Israeli. That didn't bother me. What did bother me was its bizarre, paranoid insistence that the American government was somehow conducting war against Israel.

Allow me to quote from my earlier post. These snippets will include sub-quotes from the pro-Israeli site in question.
According to this site, Uncle Sam himself doesn't like Jews -- and vice-versa:
The United States, in its typical ignorance of the functionings of the Middle East, seems to think that it can blackmail Israel by sending the message that there will be no help on the Iran nukes front until Israel consents to a Palestinian state with a divided Jerusalem. [the folks at the Konfluence don’t seem to realize that utilizing this kind of blackmail to dictate the policy of a sovereign nation is the same neocon tactics used by George W. Shrub, but they don’t care as long as they get the results they want; a Palestinian State led by its current terror kleptocracy which means a fucked Israel...

What Tushy Obama, and his anti-Israel cabal don’t understand is that Israel does not need the United States’ approval to bomb the mother loving crap out of Iran. Israel does not need access to Iraqi airspace to bomb the mother loving crap out of Iran...
And it goes on and on like that. One more example:
Rahm is on board with his master's plan to curry Islamist favor by setting up Israel to be rocketed out of existence.
This leads to more blather about how the Department of State "perennially sells out Israel's security interests."

Well. I must say that I am surprised to learn that one of Israel's greatest enemies is the United States of America.
The earlier Cannonfire post from which I quote then went on to talk about related issues. A few other segments may be worth remembrance here:
At the Durban Review Conference on Racism, Alan Dershowitz -- whom I used to admire, believe it or not -- went completely off his coconut:
US attorney Alan Dershowitz said Monday on the sidelines of the Durban Review Conference on racism in Geneva that Switzerland's president was supportive of 'hate mongering' and that the anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu was a 'racist and bigot.'
This is Desmond freaking Tutu we are talking about.
Meanwhile, in Israel itself, Jewish fundamentalism -- which is every bit as obnoxious as its Islamic, Hindu and Christian siblings -- continues to infect the public psyche.

* A Jewish "modesty patrol" in a Jerusalem suburb tossed acid in the face of a 14 year-old girl who committed the crime of wearing pants.

* IDF troops refused to attend a performance featuring a female singer. (Remember when Israel was applauded for allowing women to serve in its army?)

* In some parts of Israel, women are required to sit in the back of the bus. A newspaper editor characterized a petition to change this practice as an attempt "to impose Western secular culture on us."

"Western secular culture"? A telling phrase, that. In my view, this new disdain for "western secular culture" ties into the anti-U.S. blather quoted above.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, those who supported Israel continually argued that the country was an "outpost of the West" in an otherwise inhospitable part of the world. But now, many Israelis speak as the "the West" as an evil force, an opposing force. The orthodox identify themselves as non-Western, as anti-Western. This mindset seems little different from that of the Islamic fundamentalists we have fought in Afghanistan.

This mind-set also reminds me of the right-wingers one encounters on Free Republic or the Breitbart sites or anywhere else where Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter are revered.They too seem to derive a near-orgasmic pleasure from resentment. An inchoate, venomous resentment is how they define themselves.

Perhaps, across cultures and ideologies and all other boundaries, that word has become the word of our time: Resentment.
Christian fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, Free Market fundamentalism,... Rigid ideologies are the undoing of humanity. So Israelis are choosing to wage war against the rest of the world? This isn't going to end well. Not at all.
thanks for sharing this. mondoweiss is a good site for news in this part of the world too and it holds no punches either.. i haven't visited it in a good length of time, but thought i would pass that on.. you probably know about it already..

They're just reverting to the purer authentic Diaspora Judaism. Which is NOT the worship of the Ancient Israelites.
And it makes "Christian" Zionists look like the traitors they are
to traditional Christianity.
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Back to Boston

Was the US government in contact with the Boston bombers before the event? So far, we've heard rumors to that effect -- lots of rumors, though not a lot of evidence. No serious writer has paid much attention to the claim. Now, Russ Baker steps forward (following up on a piece he did a few days ago).

Baker says that the Boston bombing is now being used in the "new Cold War" against Putin...
In our previous story, we were working from a leaked article about a forthcoming government report on the bombing—whose central message was that the bombing might have been prevented if only the Russians had not held back still more information beyond what they had provided to US intelligence. In other words, “Putin did it.”
As we previously noted, much earlier, back in 2013, the New York Times reported another leak. That leak asserted that US authorities had been in contact with the Tsarnaevs as early as January 2011. If true, this assertion would be enormously consequential, because it would mean the Tsarnaevs were known to US authorities two months before American intelligence learned from the Russians that the Tsarnaevs might be terrorists.

As far as we know, no one in the media ever followed up on this leaked assertion. When we queried the Times about it, the paper never replied. Nor has the Times ever published a correction.
Fascinating. For my part, I've long suspected that the Tsarnaev connection involved a drug ring. Tamerlan was a not-very-successful boxer, and drug importation specialists often hire guys like that.
Consider that the Tsarnaevs lived in Cambridge—home to members of a ring of Russian spies that was broken up shortly before the Tsarnaevs came under scrutiny. Remember that the US rolled up a spy ring in June of 2010—after monitoring it for a decade, and that an exchange of prisoners quickly followed. An American mole inside Russian foreign intelligence, Col. Alexander Poteyev, who was back-channeling to American intelligence while simultaneously directing the stateside ring from Russia, fled to the US before the arrests. His role was obscured by American officials; and his identity was only revealed when a Russian court later found him guilty in absentia.
A lot of people recall this spy ring as the one with Anna Chapman. Remember her? She had the movie-star figure. I wasn't all that crazy about her, personally -- she smokes -- but she was very popular in some circles.
Was the US itself monitoring the Tsarnaevs at the same time the Russians were? Of even more interest, did US authorities, as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense suggests, seek to turn Tamerlan Tsarnaev into an asset?
He would certainly have been a prize catch. And this theory would explain the guy's travel budget, which otherwise seems utterly mysterious.
If the defense is half-right—that the feds pushed Tamerlan Tsarnaev to become an operative—would they simply have accepted, willingly, if he said, “No, thanks”? Intelligence and security services don’t tend to take no for an answer, and traditionally have played very rough with those who decline. So it is unlikely that a foreign national like Tamerlan Tsarnaev—whose family arrived less than a year after 9/11 and who was given “derivative asylum status”—could simply decline to cooperate.
Incredibly, even after this, when Tamerlan traveled to Russia three months later, exactly as the Russians said he would, and while on that terror watch list, US authorities did nothing.
I find this part telling. I'm reminded of Anwar al-Awlaki, who inspired similar inaction when he went traveling in and out of the country.
As the report notes, an FBI counterterrorism officer
conducted database searches, reviewed references to Tsarnaev and his family in closed FBI counterterrorism cases, performed “drive-bys” of Tsarnaev’s residence, made an on-site visit to his former college, and interviewed Tsarnaev and his parents.
The question is obvious: Why no effort to monitor the Tsarnaevs’ covertly? What about, instead of warning them that they were under suspicion, keeping a close and quiet watch on them? Isn’t that how you would proceed if you wanted to find out what a suspected terrorist was up to?
Given the tendency of spy services to play elaborate games with a long view, it is reasonable to wonder whether the Russians had more in mind than just being helpful when they notified the US that it ought to look at the Tsarnaevs.

Could the notice to the FBI have been a warning that the Russians knew the US was already in contact with the Tsarnaevs? Given the possibility that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was supposed to infiltrate anti-Russian jihadists, that essentially puts the two intelligence services on the same side in this matter. Or were the Russians worried that the Americans were playing a double game, seemingly hunting jihadists while simultaneously using those jihadists to put pressure on the Russians in their majority-Muslim, oil-bearing southern flank?

There is also the possibility that, as with the US mole in Russian intelligence, Colonel Potayev, both sides thought they were controlling the Tsarnaevs....
There's much more. The article is long and juicy. Sure, parts of it are questionable. You expect questionable bits in any lengthy article about espionage. Nevertheless, this is one of those pieces that deserves careful reading.

Incidentally, Baker's readers seem particularly hip when it comes to spy stuff. I admonish you to check out the comments...
These people have been working on the Boston Bombing for one year now. They KNOW all the pictures and images that are out there. Originally they were on Russ's site WhoWhatWhy and I pushed them to set up their own investigative site which is now bearing fruit. Russ is even trying to get some mileage when before he just did a sort of drive-by on it. I shall tweet your site to them tonight as I think you should be in touch with each other. They really know more than anyone on this.
Thanks for posting
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