More shocking news continued to emerge this week. All right ... it wasn't really all that shocking, and isn't anything that hasn't been reported on this website and elsewhere for months now. But for those who are just emerging from their media-induced comas, here is what has now been officially acknowledged: U.S. intelligence agencies knew that plans were in the works to hijack commercial airliners and use them as guided missiles. According to some reports, they knew this at least as far back as 1995: http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/18/inv.hijacking.philippines/
Included in these reports are, of course, some not-so-clever bits of disinformation intended to: shift the blame away from the current administration and onto its predecessor; reinforce the notion that Islamic terrorists, acting autonomously, planned and carried out the attacks; and promote the idea that, if any current officeholders are to blame, it is only low-level operatives within the FBI and certainly not anyone in the White House. The point here though is that U.S. authorities were repeatedly warned, through a variety of channels, that the attacks were coming (including warnings that came by way of Echelon: http://www.newsbytes.com/news/01/170072.html).
Also recently revealed is that the plans for the invasion of Afghanistan were sitting on George, Jr.'s desk the day before the WTC towers came crashing down: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-051802strike.story and http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=544&u=/ap/20020517/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_hijackings_66. These plans were just waiting for a suitable pretext before they were put into action.
So too was the so-called "Patriot Act" drafted before September 11: http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/05.21B.jvb.usapa.911.htm. It too was just waiting for a suitable provocation before being passed into law. This is hardly surprising. It should be readily apparent that such a massive document wasn't just snatched out of thin air overnight.
I should mention here as well that the claims put forth by certain congressional representatives suggesting that our fearless lawmakers didn't read the act before signing it into law are entirely disingenuous. That contention assumes that our exalted representatives personally read through any of the thousands of pages of legislation that they sign into law every year. It also assumes that the numerous reactionary provisions contained within the document haven't been bouncing around Washington for years. Both of these assumptions are patently false.
This story was obviously floated out there in an attempt to preserve the absurd notion that there is still some actual differences in opinion between the 'Republicans/Conservatives' and the 'Democrats/Liberals' in Congress, despite the almost complete lack of opposition to the bill ("Well, you know, we would have opposed it if they would have let us read it. We're still on the side of the people. Really."). I won't even comment here on the fitness to hold office of those who would claim to have signed-off on the most sweeping attack on civil rights this country has ever seen, without even reading what they were signing.
How many of these lawmakers will likewise claim to have not read the $4.6 billion "bioterrorism" bill that they just passed into law with but a single dissenting vote? (http://www.msnbc.com/news/753507.asp#BODY and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57236-2002May22.html). How many will deny reading the just-signed legislation that authorizes U.S. authorities to open any piece of international mail without obtaining a warrant? (http://www.wired.com/news/conflict/0,2100,52739,00.html) And how many will deny knowing that the U.S. is developing space-based laser weapons in a facility in Australia? (http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200205/14/eng20020514_95657.shtml)
Make no mistake about it: the almost complete lack of resistance to the Bush agenda on Capitol Hill did not begin on September 11, and can hardly be attributed to well-intentioned 'patriotism' in the wake of the attacks on the Pentagon and the WTC towers. To illustrate that point, here is a laundry list of reactionary legislation and executive appointments pushed through by the Bush administration, with only token opposition, in the months before "everything changed": http://www.truefacts.co.uk/cgi-bin/artcl?a=dubya
In other news, it seems that the gargantuan A380 Airbus is set to make its debut in U.S. airports soon, which raises the obvious question of: if it is such an easy task to hijack a commercial airliner and convert it into a guided missile, as the official 9-11 story suggests, then is it really a good idea to introduce an airplane into America's skies that holds some 82,000 gallons of aviation fuel, along with 555 potential hostages? Just checking. (http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-000035406may19.story)
Here is a particularly craven article from the venerable Los Angeles Times that manages, in the space of just a few hundred words, to unquestioningly report a rather blatant lie by Sir George, and then add to it with an equally flagrant lie by Times reporter Edwin Chen: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-000036064may22.story
The article quotes Bush as saying that he was "trying to get out of harm's way" following the attacks on the World Trade Center towers. The truth though is that Bush, after being informed of the attacks, chose to remain in his vulnerable location for half-an-hour. If he was truly concerned about his safety, and truly believed that America was under attack, why would he choose to remain in a vulnerable, and previously announced, location?
Obviously, Bush did not feel that his safety was threatened, even though it was known that allegedly hijacked flights were still in the air. And where exactly was Bush? According to Chen, he was "in Sarasota, Fla., to speak on education reform." That is, I must say, a rather interesting way to describe what Bush was doing – unless listening to a room full of schoolchildren read aloud from a book about a pet goat somehow constitutes speaking on education reform..
And that is what Bush continued to do long after being notified that America was under attack. If Bush's current self-serving comments are to be believed, then not only was he treasonously derelict in his duties as commander-in-chief, but he also knowingly left himself, his staff, and a school full of children vulnerable to an attack for a full half-hour.
Among the Times other sins this week was running an unsigned editorial that began: "So intelligence sources informed President Bush in August that Osama bin Laden's terrorists might attempt to hijack airplanes? Excuse us, but administration officials have good reason to look perplexed as they wonder aloud what the increasingly indignant chorus of critics would have had the president do with that amorphous warning. Smart politicians will leave the retroactive theorizing about Sept. 11 to the nation's Art Bells and Oliver Stones ..." (http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-000035259may19.story?null)
I assume that what the Times is referring to here are the nation's much-maligned 'conspiracy theorists' (though many of us do not appreciate being lumped in with the likes of Art Bell). The Times would do well to remember that those of us whom it looks upon with such derision were reporting these same facts months before the Times got around to doing so.
In a oh-so-predictable development, the ever-elusive Dick Cheney crawled out of his cave over the weekend to denounce the questions being raised about his administration's foreknowledge of the 'terrorist' attacks: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/05/18/1021544075214.html and http://www.msnbc.com/news/752980.asp#BODY
The sociopathic head of the 'secret government,' who projects a grandfatherly countenance even while sticking a shiv in your back, coupled those denunciations with brazen warnings of an imminent attack that seemed to be drawn straight from the "Politics of Fear" playbook. Cheney declared criticism of the ruling junta at this time of rampant fear-mongering to be "beyond the pale." I presume that applies as well to criticism of the fact that, according to the San Francisco Bay Guardian, "Civilian employees of Dick Cheney's former company are carrying out military missions around the world – for profit." (http://www.sfbayguardian.com/36/31/cover_soldiersoffortune.html)
These warnings are, of course, a rather transparent attempt by Team Bush to frighten and distract the American people. Here are a couple of the better commentaries to emerge this week analyzing this administration's politics of cynicism, one from the WSWS, and the other from the San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/may2002/bush-m24.shtml and http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/morford/
This is not to suggest though that this latest round of warnings will not be followed by some sort of (staged) 'terrorist' attack. At least some members of the Bush administration are, presumably, educated enough to have read The Boy Who Cried Wolf. They know that eventually they'll have to deliver on the warnings. And this is certainly an opportune time to do so. Were such a scenario to play out, it is unlikely that the media would ever again dare to question whether such warnings are motivated by cynicism or a sincere desire to protect the American people.
Of course, resort to such a strategy at this time would be a very risky proposition. But then again, this administration has distinguished itself by exhibiting an unprecedented arrogance and recklessness. Stay tuned.
In my last newsletter, I raised the question of why the media was
taking an interest in the plethora of warnings that were seemingly
ignored by various U.S. officials, after ignoring evidence of such
for months. Here Gilles d'Aymery asks that very same question, and
to provide an answer. I'm not sure that he fully succeeds in doing so,
but he imparts a good deal of relevant information and insights along
And here, from the same website, is yet another brilliant commentary from Steve Gowans, whose deconstructions of the collective hallucination that we call reality always make for essential reading: http://www.swans.com/library/art8/gowans32.html
In other news, I see where one of the top opinion-shapers among the
network 'talking heads,' Dan Rather, has admitted to the British press
that the American media has failed miserably to question, in any
the mountain of lies issued by the Bush administration in the aftermath
of the September 11 attacks: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0517-01.htm
Rather was heard to say: "It's unpatriotic not to stand up, look them in the eye, and ask the questions they don't want to hear – they being those who have the responsibility, the ultimate responsibility in a society such as ours, of sending our sons and daughters, our husbands, wives, our blood, to face death, to take death."
And since coming to that belated realization, what exactly has Mr. Rather done to atone for his sins? Has he made these same observations on his own nightly newscasts, for all of America to hear? NO. Has he now begun to ask some of the hard questions that he previously, by his own admission, avoided? NO. Has he done a damn thing to correct the "self-censorship" that he attributed to "patriotism run amok"? Of course not.
We are talking here, after all, about the very same Dan Rather who was hand-picked to be the first media representative to view the infamous Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination. This was, of course, long before the film was viewed by the public-at-large, leaving it up to old Dan to interpret reality for the huddled masses.
Of course, we all know now that the film clearly shows JFK's head jerking violently backward from the impact of the fatal bullet, his brain matter exiting through the back of his head. But that's not what Dan claimed to have seen. No ... Dan assured America that the film clearly showed the president's head snapping forward, in accordance with the Warren Committee's shameless version of events. And for performing this public service, Mr. Rather was of course rewarded with the most prestigious job in the broadcast 'news' industry -- replacing Walter Cronkite as the CBS anchor.
And speaking of talking heads, I also see where Jerry Dunphy, the iconic Los Angeles 'news' anchor, passed away this week. During World War II, Dunphy piloted a B-29 bomber in the Pacific. He was one of those directly responsible for the incineration deaths of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians residing in the more than fifty "Death List" cities that were carpet-bombed with high explosives and with incendiary weapons.
In a tribute to Dunphy aired by his network, it was revealed that he had been chosen as a back-up pilot to fly the missions that unleashed atomic weaponry upon the world. He was, in other words, one of the military's top picks to commit the most egregious acts of instantaneous mass murder the world has ever seen. Such is the nature of the men who are assigned the task of bringing us our daily 'news' -- which says a lot about the nature of America's 'free press.'
Moving on to other matters of interest, we all know by now of course that President Jorge has 'negotiated' a new nuclear arms agreement with Russia that will help us all to sleep just a little better tonight. Except that it's basically a sham, as this article quite accurately points out: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/may2002/arms-m22.shtml. And then of course there is the fact that the Russian people, and the Russian military, are growing increasingly aware that the U.S.-puppet known as Vladimir Putin does not have the best interests of Russia in mind: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-304469,00.html
I was going to share with you all a sampling of the hostile responses that I received from those members of the Jewish community who refuse to tolerate any criticism of the actions of the Israeli government. I figure though that you've all heard it before anyway. You know the drill: "There are no occupied territories, there are no decimated refugee camps, yadda, yadda, yadda, Ican'tthinkformyselfsoIjustmindlesslyparrotthebullshitthatconstantlyspewsforthfrommytelevisionsetandfromthemouthsofwarcriminalslike ArielSharonColinPowellandGeorgeBush ..."
It apparently comes as some comfort though to such letter writers that they have the most reactionary, fascistic, religiously intolerant elements of the punditocracy solidly behind them, as the L.A. Times noted in an editorial piece entitled "An Unholy Alliance in Support of Israel": http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-000035274may19.story
I know that this makes them feel better about their cause because they send me clippings from far-right commentators hoping to impress upon me the error of my ways. For instance, just this week I received a piece penned by the unholy trinity of William Bennett, Jack Kemp, and Jeane Kirkpatrick. I also received an article lifted from the Moonie-run Washington Times, and another from WorldNetDaily, which regularly features the bleating of Patrick Buchanan, who has been known to write glowing tributes to Francisco Franco and apologias for Adolf Hitler.
These clippings come from readers who are, on every other issue, known to be intelligent, decent, progressive-minded persons. They are, in other words, people who wouldn't be caught dead in any other circumstances referencing such voices of reaction. And yet they apparently feel no shame in doing so now. The desperation with which these readers cling to their pro-Israel positions is truly astonishing.
I won't even comment on the mailing that I received which began: "SOME OF THE FOLKS YOU SEEM TO BE IN SOLIDARITY WITH, DAVE McGOWAN," and which was then followed by an anti-Semitic quote from SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler. This particular mailing, by the way, was lifted from the book The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine by Joan Peters -- a book that has been condemned by voices across the political spectrum as a shoddy piece of journalism which references sources which have been proven to not even exist. This book is, by the way, now being peddled on the WorldNetDaily site.
In my last newsletter, I included a number of links to Jewish run anti-Zionist websites that present a much different (which is to say - accurate) history of the Israel/Palestine situation than what Ms. Peters presents. For those who don't have the time to slog through the hundreds of pages of text on those sites, I have been informed that there is a nifty little 'comic' book that will provide you with a crash course. It is called The Arabs and Israel for Beginners, by Ron and Susan David, and it can be ordered from: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0863161618/qid%3D1021934935/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F0%5F1/103-2238099-3168649
Recent developments in the troubled area include a reported desire
the reprehensible Sharon to drive the Palestinians across the River
the uncovering of an Israeli plot to bomb Palestinian schools (http://commondreams.org/headlines02/0519-04.htm),
a very Nazi-like plan to impose "movement permits" on the Palestinian
and a massive effort by the UN's World Food Program to stave off a humanitarian crisis by getting food to the half-million Palestinians faced with starvation and abject poverty (http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,719825,00.html and http://www.wfp.org/newsroom/subsections/Press_Releases.asp?id=535).
Now here's an interesting little story that was easy to miss, given that it was barely mentioned by the American media. It seems that a contingent of Mexican soldiers crossed the U.S./Mexico border this week and opened fire on U.S. Customs agents: http://www.denverpost.com/framework/0,1918,36%7E53%7E626846%7E,00.html. One would think that such an overt act of war would be dealt with rather harshly by the most belligerent nation on the planet. But one would be mistaken.
According to a radio report cited by a reader, this was just the latest among scores of such border crossings, all of which have been largely ignored. According to the Denver Post account, the border crossings are believed to be tied to drug trafficking. You don't suppose that the incursions are ignored because the Mexican authorities are working hand-in-hand with their American counterparts? Nah ... couldn't be.
I see that I still have a fair number of stories to get out here,
I've already been rambling on for quite some time and need to wrap this
up. Here then, in no particular order, are some other postings that may
be of interest to readers:
Here's one from the L.A. Times entitled "The CIA Rebuilds on War Footing" (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-051902intel.story). One wonders though what type of footing they were on before.
Here's another, from the Washington Post, asserting that the CIA is rebuilding the FBI as well (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10990-2002May25.html). This article, by the way, carries the byline of Walter Pincus. Some readers will recall Mr. Pincus as the 'reporter' who once penned a piece entitled "How I Traveled Abroad on a CIA Subsidy."
Here's an interesting little web page billing itself as the "Chickenhawk Database" (http://www.nhgazette.com/chickenhawks.html). There you will find a list of war-mongering pols and pundits who never met a war that they themselves were willing to fight in.
This offering from MSNBC concerns a computer virus sent out by the U.S. State Department (http://www.msnbc.com/news/754879.asp).
And here we have an article about how Herr Bush has grand plans to "beef up" the presidency (http://www.detnews.com/2002/politics/0205/20/a03-494211.htm). And here I was thinking that the illegitimate administration had already bestowed unprecedented powers upon itself, while operating in unprecedented secrecy. Apparently though, we ain't seen nothing yet.
For some strange reason, that particular story reminded me that I wanted to somehow work in this photo of Bush addressing the Reichstag:
Elsewhere in the news, Robert "Baretta" Blake, who had all but drifted into obscurity, has now been cast as the star of his very own 'reality' series set to air on CourtTV. Ratings are expected to be quite high. It remains to be seen, however, whether the show, which is essentially a sequel, can maintain the quality of the original. The cast has not yet been fully assembled, so we're still waiting to see who will be playing the part of 'Kato' this time around. Series' creators are said to be wooing Lance Ito in the hopes that he can be persuaded to reprise his role as the master of ceremonies. If those negotiations fall through, Jerry Springer has already been approached to fill the role. Sammy Davis, Jr. has been slated to provide the theme music ("Don't do the crime if you can't do the time ... don't do it .... "). Open auditions are scheduled to be held to cast the numerous gaseous windbags that will be required to portray Shapiro, Bailey, Dershowitz, Clark, Darden, et.al. Thousands are expected to turn out to compete for the coveted roles. Harold Braun is tentatively scheduled to fill in for Johnny "Mr. Johnny" Cochran, though a spokesman for the DA's office was heard to say: "I knew Johnny Cochran, I worked with Johnny Cochran, Johnny Cochran was a friend of mine; you sir are no Johnny Cochran." Braun countered by declaring that: "You haven't seen me in my ski cap yet."
I almost forgot ... I am apparently required by law to report that the body of missing intern Chandra Levy has been discovered in a Washington park not far from the White House. Apparently there is a possibility that she met with foul play. Imagine my surprise. And in a truly shocking development, her body seems to have surfaced just in time to allow the media to once again flog the story unmercifully, leaving little time to focus on issues of lesser importance. Of course, it is easy to understand why it took more than a year to locate her remains, given that they were cleverly hidden under a layer of leaves.And so it goes ....