Well ... another week has passed and we have, somehow, rather miraculously, managed to avoid being victimized by any new 'terrorist' attacks. Indeed, nearly nine months have now passed since September 11 and we have yet to see another 'terrorist' attack sully these hallowed shores.
That, in retrospect, seems rather peculiar.
According to the ever-evolving official story, the September 11 attacks were launched by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network to initiate a fundamentalist Jihad against the United States. The implication clearly was that there were more attacks to follow -- that September 11 was only the beginning. A steady diet of increasingly shrill warnings have served to reinforce that notion.
The logical question to ask then is: why haven't there been any subsequent attacks? And I'm assuming that we're not going to count the Anthrax attacks, since it was ultimately determined that the biotoxin used in those mailings came from a U.S. biowarfare lab, which is why - I presume - the media never talks about Anthrax anymore.
If there's one thing that all the pols and pundits from all across the media wasteland agree on, it's that Osama and his fellow 'evildoers' hate us. According to The Smirk and much of the press, they hate our 'freedom' and they hate our 'democracy.' According to the opinion shapers of the 'progressive' media, they hate our unwavering support for Israel and they hate our massive military presence in Saudi Arabia and they hate our decade-long imposition of homicidal sanctions against the people of Iraq (http://www.startribune.com/stories/562/2870788.html).
The lefties get a little bit closer to the truth, though they do so by questioning only what it was that purportedly motivated the attacks, invariably invoking the 'blowback' thesis, and then either implicitly or explicitly swallowing the balance of the official 9-11 story as though it were the best meal they'd had in weeks.
The point here is that everyone seems to agree that the attacks were motivated by hatred. And I would think that it is fairly safe to assume at this time that there has been considerably more hatred generated in the Middle East and Central Asia towards America in the months since September 11.
Bombing the piss out of Afghanistan likely didn't gain the United States too many new fans in the Muslim world, and certainly didn't diffuse the alleged homicidal fury of the al Qaeda or Taliban organizations. Neither has giving lip service to seeking peace in Israel while appearing to give Ariel Sharon a wink and a nod to plunder the occupied territories.
So the hatred is not only still there, it has intensified considerably. And, needless to say, the al Qaeda network and its reputed leaders are still there as well. Osama, Mullah Omar, and the rest of the 'evildoers' have survived to live another day, and to fight another battle.
We've clearly demonstrated, or pretended, that we can't catch them. The military brass has admitted as much. "Osama who? Can't say as though I've seen him around here. Haven't really been looking though, to tell you the truth. We've been busy with other things. Right now, we're working on bombing a pathway across the country so that we can get started on that oil pipeline without having to worry about any villages getting in our way. You wouldn't believe how many villages these people have built in this country."
And not only can't we catch them, we can't stop them either. The FBI and various other agencies bearing three-letter acronyms have admitted that as well. Nothing could have been done to prevent the attacks on 9-11, we've been repeatedly assured. Nothing can be done now to prevent future attacks, we've been repeatedly warned.
Even with the most advanced and most lavishly funded military the world has ever seen, even with an immense network of overlapping intelligence agencies, even with advances in electronic surveillance technology that would make Orwell green with envy, and even with a civil air defense system unrivaled in the world, there is nothing that can be done to stop terrorist attacks.
Too much bureaucratic bungling, too much restraint placed on the actions of various law enforcement/intelligence entities, too much interagency squabbling and lack of cooperation ... take your pick from among the latest lies to roll out of Washington: "We never received any warnings ... errr, what I meant was that there was so much 'chatter' out there that we didn't know what was going on ... uhmmm, actually, we received warnings but they were not of a specific nature ... uhhh, what I really meant to say was that we did receive specific warnings but they didn't get to the right people ... and if they did, then we were just unable to 'connect the dots' ... "
It is more than a bit ironic that we consistently portray our intelligence agencies as entities that are defensive in nature, just as we now refer to what used to be called the Department of War as the Department of Defense. It is defense, we are told, that requires expenditures of hundreds of billions of dollars every year. It is defense that takes a huge bite out of our paychecks every week.
So important is defense that, according to the latest figures from the White House Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Defense employs three times as many personnel as all the other cabinet departments combined (Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Health and Human Services, Justice, Transportation, Treasury, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, and Veterans Affairs).
Defense is why we can't afford to spend frivolously on such non-essential services as healthcare and education. We need to continue devoting the lion's share of the federal budget to the defense of this country, as we have been doing now for decades. It's funny then that we are now being told that we don't actually have any defensive capabilities.
Offensive capabilities? ... now that's another matter entirely. We've never had any problem launching covert and overt offensive operations anywhere on the planet that our ... uhmm, 'interests' are threatened. Of course, these ventures are always portrayed as defensive missions, though they are certainly not undertaken in defense of the people of this country, nor in defense of the sovereignty of this country, nor in defense of the ideals for which this country claims to stand.
After nearly six decades of grotesquely bloated Cold War defense expenditures, the first alleged foreign attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor has supposedly revealed that America has no means of defending herself. What we are really being told, it would appear, is that our defense capabilities have nothing to do with defending the people of this country - the ones who actually foot the bill for that defense - and nothing to do with defending the interests of the people of this country, but rather have everything to do with defending the plundered foreign holdings of corporate America -- the very same corporate America that greedily feeds at the trough of public tax dollars in the name of providing the defense of this country which we are now being told doesn't actually exist.
But that's not the main point that I was trying to make.
Returning then to the official 9-11 story, we are apparently to
all of the following:
- There is a large network of fiercely dedicated terrorists out there with an expressed desire to destroy America. As The Smirk himself said just the other day: "[W]e now know that thousands of trained killers are plotting to attack us and this terrible knowledge requires us to act different."
- This network's leadership is largely intact and there are agents active in America and in some 60 other nations.
- These terrorists have already struck once in a spectacular fashion, proving that they have the resources to plan and execute large-scale attacks within these borders.
- They have been consistently provoked by both the words and the deeds of the Bush regime for the last nine months.
- We are powerless to catch them and powerless to stop them and we have announced that fact to the nation and to the world.
And yet, inexplicably, nothing has happened. Not even a small-scale attack. Why is that?
Is it because subsequent attacks have been thwarted by the efforts of U.S. intelligence agencies? Not according to the heads of those entities, who claim to be ill-equipped to deal with such occurrences. Is it because the 'terrorists' fear the repercussions of another attack? Not likely. Bush has declared repeatedly that the U.S. will not rest until the breath has been snuffed out of every last 'terrorist' on the planet, no matter where they should attempt to hide. It would seem then that the 'terrorists' really have nothing to lose by striking while they can.
Funny then that there haven't been any follow-up attacks. It kind of reminds me of when the Gulf War started a decade ago and we were repeatedly warned by the punditocracy to expect retaliatory strikes against America by Saddam's alleged networks of 'terrorist' sympathizers around the world. And of course, as we all remember, nothing happened.
I hate to say it, but I'm starting to think that someone may be lying here.
Some of you may be wondering aloud by now: "That's all well and good, but where are all the links to various articles of interest this week? You've been rambling on now for several pages and haven't gotten to them yet." True enough, but I'm not really quite through ranting yet. I still haven't, for instance, commented on the continuing demonization of 'conspiracy theorists' by the 'progressive' community -- but I guess I can save that for the next newsletter.
There surely is no shortage of disturbing news to cover this week. The most significant development has been the Bush regime's renewed aggressiveness in establishing an immensely powerful, centrally-controlled police state apparatus that will usurp much of the authority of the Coast Guard, the Border Patrol, the Secret Service, the INS, the U.S. Customs Service, and numerous other government agencies -- including the notorious FEMA.
Many decades ago in Germany, such restructuring legislation was referred to as the "enabling laws." And what they enabled was for unaccountable, dictatorial powers to be consolidated in the executive branch of the government, just as is happening now before our very eyes -- a fact that couldn't possibly be any more obvious, but which is nevertheless denied by millions.
This proposed restructuring, conveniently enough, will also place control of the policing of all drugs crossing America's borders squarely in the hands of the Bush Brigades. That way, presumably, we won't have to worry about any well-intentioned federal agents accidentally intercepting the wrong drug shipments.
A report in the Times of London revealed that "Mr Bush ... had secretly planned the shake-up for the past four months with Tom Ridge, the Homeland Security Adviser, [who was] appointed after the September 11 attacks." (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-319238,00.html)
So this was not, you see, despite all the press reports to the contrary, a spontaneous reaction to the revelations of intelligence 'failures' that have emerged in recent weeks, any more than the USA Patriot Act and the attack on Afghanistan were spontaneous reactions to the September 11 attacks (see Newsletter #3). These were all scripted 'responses' that were just waiting for sufficient provocations to justify their implementation -- provocations that seem to have come at the most opportune times.
Probably the most cogent analysis of the latest scripted moves by
Bush mob came by way of the World Socialist Web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/ashc-j07.shtml
The WSWS also checked in with illuminating offerings on: the war crimes committed in Vietnam by Senator Bob Kerrey (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/kerr-j06.shtml); the blatant whitewash that is masquerading as 'hearings' on the failures of U.S. intelligence agencies (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/sept-j05.shtml); the rise in human rights violations in the wake of the reactionary responses to the September 11 attacks (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/amne-j08.shtml; see also http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/05/29/1022569792998.html); and King George's belligerent speech to West Point graduates (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/bush-j04.shtml).
In that West Point speech, Bush repeatedly proclaimed the necessity of launching "preemptive strikes" around the world. Preemptive strikes are, of course, very much like 'proactive policing,' in that both involve targeting people who haven't actually committed any crimes, on the pretext that they just might be planning on committing a crime. That, my friends, is the kind of 'democracy' and 'justice' that America now openly promotes, in both its foreign and domestic policies.
Bush also advised the West Point grads that they will need to be ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment's notice. And no time is apparently being wasted in finding places to deploy them. The incoming president of Colombia has indicated that he would welcome with open arms the deployment of U.S. troops to his country.
India has been mentioned as possibly being in need of an injection of U.S. troops. The Philippines are apparently due for some additional troops as well (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A54749-2002Jun3.html and http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/06/05/1022982701908.html). And if our boys find themselves feeling a bit overworked and run-down, Uncle Sam can cure that with a little speed: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/story.asp?id=333872FC-939F-48B2-B7B7-FAF7832DF93D.
Not long after The Smirk's speech, Donald "Rummy" Rumsfeld delivered a speech to a NATO conference that was closed to the press. Outlines of the speech suggest that Rumsfeld echoed Bush's call for preemptive strikes, while dismissing the outdated notion that the U.S. and its NATO allies need "absolute proof" in order to act. (http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=302896 and http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020606/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/rumsfeld_11)
Rumsfeld is, it should be noted, perhaps the only member of Team Bush to make even more creative use of the English language than George himself. When questioned by a reporter outside the closed-door Brussels conference about 'terrorist' threats faced by the U.S., Rumsfeld responded (and this is a verbatim quote):
"The message is that there are no knowns. There are things that we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns--things we do not know we don't know. So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say, 'Well, that's basically what we see as the situation,' that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns." (http://www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/080602/dlfor16.asp)
Well, I'm sure glad he cleared that up. And while we're on the subject of administration officials giving asinine non-answers to reporters' questions, here is how accomplished liar Ari Fleischer handles that job: http://www.thenewrepublic.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020610&s=chait061002.
As for the notion of preemptive strikes, one obvious potential target is, of course, Iraq -- headed by the man who was the world's favorite 'evildoer' during the last Bush regime. All the key Democrats are said to be on-board for a strike on Iraq (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,54571,00.html), just as they are on-board for radically restructuring the government to 'fight terrorism' - which should come as a surprise only to those who still cling to the bizarre belief that there is more than one political party in this country.
As they like to say on the Hill, there is a 'bipartisan consensus' that we must strike at Iraq before she can strike at us with the 'weapons of mass destruction' that we all know are being developed and built, and which strike fear into the hearts of freedom-lovers everywhere -- except the ones who live in those countries that are actually within range of Saddam's purported weapons, who don't believe that he even has them. Neither, for that matter, does the UN's former weapons inspections coordinator: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_2029000/2029457.stm.
Yet another highly disturbing story of late is the nuclear saber rattling by India and Pakistan. This, we are told, could escalate into the world's first nuclear exchange -- a most disturbing scenario, but one that would not necessarily be entirely unwelcome by U.S. policy makers.
The United States has for quite some time now been longing to unleash its nuclear arsenal. It has been held back only by the entrenched resistance of the American people to crossing that one-way bridge. But if someone else could be prodded into crossing that bridge first ....
India is, by the way, home to a newly-built, but apparently non-operational, power plant. The complex was built by a corporation that some of you might have heard of: Enron. The problem is that the facility is lacking a power supply, a shortcoming that can potentially be alleviated once the trans-Afghanistan oil pipeline is completed.
That pipeline is now said to be good-to-go, with Unocal set to be the primary beneficiary (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_1984000/1984459.stm). Unocal is, of course, the corporation whose vice-president testified before Congress back in 1998 on the necessity of establishing a 'stable' regime in Afghanistan so that the pipeline could be built (http://www.house.gov/international_relations/105th/ap/wsap212982.htm). Unocal is also the company that had met with the Taliban to discuss the pipeline deal in 1997 in - of all places - Texas (http://news6.thdo.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/west_asia/newsid_37000/37021.stm). And it is also, strangely enough, the corporation whose 'former' adviser has been installed as the U.S. 'special envoy' to Afghanistan (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jan2002/oil-j03.shtml). I'm pretty sure that even the FBI could connect those dots.
Let's see what else I have bookmarked this week ... oh yes, here's a little story headlined "CIA digs in to get bigger and nastier." (http://www.sunspot.net/bal-te.cia04jun04.story) According to the article, the "the CIA will triple its force of overseas case officers and let them recruit unsavory individuals as spies." One wonders though how any new recruits could possibly be any more unsavory than those already on the CIA roster.
Would, for example, School of the Americas-trained death-squad leader Roberto D'Aubuisson - also known as "Blowtorch Bob" in honor of his favorite means of inflicting torture - now be considered a savory individual?
And here we have a posting accusing the White House of blocking a plan that purportedly could help bring peace to the war-torn Sudan. The plan is apparently offensive to the Bush cabal because it would impact petroleum exploration and production in the area. (http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=%5CPolitics%5Carchive%5C200206%5CPOL20020606a.html).
This offering, from The Economist, reveals that the 'war' on 'terrorist' financing isn't going all that well. One of the primary problems seems to be that the majority of the financing of Islamic groups that Washington considers 'terrorists' comes from organizations in Saudi Arabia. (http://www.economist.com/finance/displayStory.cfm?story_id=1157691)
Besides being, by Washington's definition, a leading sponsor of
Saudi Arabia doesn't even bother to pretend as though it has a
form of government. Elections and political parties are nowhere to be
Human rights violations run rampant, and women are treated at least as
abhorrently as they were under the Taliban. That is why Saudi Arabia is
one of our staunchest allies in making the world safe for
From New Scientist comes a report that reveals that: "Most modern aircraft have some form of autopilot that could be re-programmed to ignore commands from a hijacker and instead take direction from the ground." The report goes on to note that "it is not far off to think that a remote system could land a commercial passenger jet." (http://web.archive.org/web/20010925195356/www.newscientist.com/hottopics/usterror/usterror.jsp?id=ns99991280)
I don't want to draw any unwarranted conclusions here, but it seems to me that if a commercial airliner can be landed by remote means, then it certainly could also be crashed by remote means. After all, landing an airplane is a much more complicated process than is crashing an airplane. Just a thought.
This next story doesn't come as much of a surprise. Apparently the Washington elite have decided that Representative Cynthia McKinney has become a bit of a problem, leading to a concerted effort to unseat her: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0606-02.htm.
We can thank Geoff Hoon, Donald Rumsfeld's counterpart in Great Britain, for one of the most telling quotes of the week. Hoon commented that he was concerned "that the memory of the appalling events of 11 September has faded a little faster than we might have expected." (http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=302896)
In a similar vein, the L.A. Times lamented that: "White House aides have openly worried that the public is no longer focused on the danger of terrorism as it was in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks." (http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-000040028jun07.story)
What are we to make of such comments and concerns? Are the 'powers that be' suggesting that the American people need another wake-up call to motivate them to stand firm behind The Smirk as he wages his fraudulent 'War on Terrorism'? And what did they really expect?
After all, haven't the American people been socially conditioned to have impossibly short attention spans and virtually no historical memory to speak of? And haven't we also been conditioned to drug our problems and worries away so that we can proceed happily along with our lives?
Speaking of which, in a tiny little story buried in the "In Brief" listings on page A13, the Los Angeles Times reported on May 27 that: "Therapy is at least as effective in treating depression as drugs are, and its effects last longer." The paper remarked that the University of Pennsylvania report that reached that conclusion was "sure to annoy drug companies that make millions selling antidepressants." To make sure that the pharmaceutical cartels don't get too annoyed, the Times devoted all of 95 words to the story.
And that pretty much wraps up the news for this week, except for this tragic story that I thought I would leave you with.
Every so often, a story comes along in the local press that demonstrates, as though we need regular reminders, just how corrupt the local police are, and just how contemptuous the local media are of their readers and viewers. The story of seven-year-old Paolo Ayala was just such a story.
I don't know whether this story received any national exposure, but it certainly got a lot of air-time here in what we like to call the 'greater Los Angeles area.' That is, for better or worse, the area that I call home, which is why, in case you were wondering, I so frequently reference articles from the Los Angeles Times. That is, unfortunately, the newspaper that announces its arrival at 3:30 AM every morning with a loud plop, as though some enormous dog had squatted over my lawn to take care of its morning business, except that the dog would leave a somewhat less noxious odor.
Returning then to the Paolo Ayala story, the young boy disappeared from a party that he was attending in the exclusive Holmby Hills area last Sunday. Police were summoned and conducted a thorough search of the property and the surrounding area, but the boy was nowhere to be found.
Particular attention was paid to the pool, where Paolo and some of the other children at the party had been playing. At least fifty officers were involved in the search efforts, along with the assembled parents of the partygoers. Dozens of pairs of eyes searched the pool for the body of the missing boy, to no avail.
Two days passed without a break in the case.
And then, on Tuesday, a rather miraculous thing happened: the lifeless body of Paolo Ayala was found lying at, you guessed it, the bottom of the pool. LAPD Deputy Chief David Kalish promptly announced, quite logically, that someone had slipped the body of the child into the pool, the implication clearly being that Paolo had been murdered. His body lay partially against the side of the pool, consistent with his having been dropped there after death.
But then another remarkable thing happened: Kalish reversed himself and the official LAPD story became that Paolo had simply drowned accidentally and had been in the pool all along.
Yes, that's right, for nearly two full days the body of the seven-year-old was in that pool, and yet no one was able to see it. The water, you see, is said to have been "murky." And this wasn't just your everyday "murky" pool. No, this was a very special "murky" pool.
It wasn't, mind you, a dirty pool. Having a dirty pool in the Holmby Hills, after all, would be a major social faux pas. No, this pool was "murky" or "chalky." This "chalkiness" had caused a layer of sediment to form, you see. Now you might assume that that layer of sediment would be on the bottom of the pool. Not so, says the LAPD.
Actually, that layer of sediment was floating above the bottom of the pool, apparently in a perfect plane, defying any sort of a scientific explanation and creating the illusion of a "false bottom" in the pool. And, amazingly, that layer of sediment was apparently so resilient that it was not disturbed by the frolicking of all the children playing in the pool the day of the disappearance and initial search. Perhaps this particular pool was designed by David Copperfield.
Also rather remarkably, Paolo managed to drown that day without any of the numerous attendees at the party noticing. As the Los Angeles Times patiently explained in a Friday editorial: "Like too many kids in too many pools, Paolo probably just slipped under the water, and away, in full view of adults and children." (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-000039959jun07.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Dcomment%2Deditorials)
That's a real nice story and all, but drowning victims don't normally just slip away. They normally tend, from the earliest age, to put up a fight. It is more than a little unlikely that a pool full of partygoers could fail to notice a child thrashing about as he attempted to fend off a drowning death.
But in this case, that is exactly what happened. Paolo simply slipped quietly into the water, stealthily penetrating the magical layer of sediment to descend into the murky netherworld that lay below, where he remained undisturbed for the next two days. Even when the pool maintenance company came on Monday for a routine check of the pool, Paolo failed to surface. Chemicals were reportedly added to the water, but the pool was not cleaned, which seems a bit odd considering the "murky" condition of the water.
It should be abundantly clear to just about anyone that this official story is completely and utterly absurd. It is an insult to the intelligence of any thinking person, and reveals the unfathomable contempt held for the American people by a press corps that can, with a straight face, 'report' such nonsense.
It also reveals the unspeakable corruption of a police force and a medical examiner's office that would blatantly and shamelessly cover up the apparent murder of a child, a process aided and abetted by a media apparatus that will unquestioningly repeat the most transparent of official lies.
There have been numerous reports in the local press concerning the Ayala case, none of them seriously questioning the official story. Here is what will likely be the final report on the case from the Times, which notes, not surprisingly, that: "Some [LAPD] officers still don't believe the official explanation." (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-000039943jun07.story?coll=la%2Dcommun%2Dlos%5Fangeles%5Fmetro)
Before closing, I wanted to share with you an e-mail that showed up in my in-box on Wednesday. In the subject line of that correspondence was the following message: "Dave, A Bigger Bust in 60 days or we'll Pay You." The body of the e-mail informed me that the product being offered was:
"Guaranteed to increase, lift and firm your breasts in 60 days or your money back!! 100% herbal and natural. Proven formula since 1996. Increase your bust by 1 to 3 sizes within 30-60 days and be all natural."
Now of course, like most people, I've never been happy with the size of my breasts. I've always wanted a larger and firmer pair. Who wouldn't, after all, want their very own pair of large, firm breasts? So I think I'm going to take them up on their offer. If it works, I'll pass along the link.Until then ....