Saddam Hussein

Here Is Something You Can’t Understand

DRAFT

Cypress Hill:

Targeted Bombing Spares Civilians and Parked Cars

From the New American:

The man who just singlehandedly committed the United States to war against Libya, President Barack Obama, told the Boston Globe in 2007:

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

Time for Some Action

The contest of wills between the United States of America and the sovereign nation of Libya go back to a time before Libya was a sovereign nation.  Of course, prior to 1951, it had been hundreds of years since Libya was sovereign.  Before the various Back when Libya was a colony of the Italians in the 1930’s and 1940’s, Americans had a cozy relationship with these new Romans in North Africa.

When the new Romans were deposed by the new Arabs in North Africa, the United States established a cozy relationship with the al-Senussi family.  The cozy relationship included a military base which served various purposes from training to facilitating regional operations.  The cozy relationship also included an economic side when Esso (aka Exxon) found oil in the deserts of Western Libya.

The monarch leading Libya in the 1950’s and 1960’s did not believe in “spreading the wealth.”  Like his European benefactors and protectors, he concentrated the wealth in the hands of the few and sowed the seeds of discontent at home.  The monarch eventually became ill and sought medical attention in Greece.  While he was away in 1969, the man who has come to be known as the world’s bloodiest, meanest, cruelest, evilest-est dictator since Donald Rumsfeld’s drinking buddy Saddam Hussein, led a bloodless coup replacing the monarch.

Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein

According to another former senior State Department official, Saddam, while only in his early 20s, became a part of a U.S. plot to get rid of Qasim. According to this source, Saddam was installed in an apartment in Baghdad on al-Rashid Street directly opposite Qasim’s office in Iraq’s Ministry of Defense, to observe Qasim’s movements.

Adel Darwish, Middle East expert and author of “Unholy Babylon,” said the move was done “with full knowledge of the CIA,” and that Saddam’s CIA handler was an Iraqi dentist working for CIA and Egyptian intelligence. U.S. officials separately confirmed Darwish’s account.

Darwish said that Saddam’s paymaster was Capt. Abdel Maquid Farid, the assistant military attaché at the Egyptian Embassy who paid for the apartment from his own personal account. Three former senior U.S. officials have confirmed that this is accurate.

The assassination was set for Oct. 7, 1959, but it was completely botched. Accounts differ. One former CIA official said that the 22-year-old Saddam lost his nerve and began firing too soon, killing Qasim’s driver and only wounding Qasim in the shoulder and arm. Darwish told UPI that one of the assassins had bullets that did not fit his gun and that another had a hand grenade that got stuck in the lining of his coat.

Just a Fraction of Friction

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi did two things that made him an enemy of the West — and neither of those things involved violence or murder.  First, he demanded that the United States surrender the military base it held.  He didn’t demand an immediate surrender.  A negotiated time table was set, and unlike Guantanamo Bay, the United States ceded this sovereign territory to the nation to whom it rightfully belonged.  (They would come back later to bomb the base, but that’s another story.)  Second, he nationalized businesses industries in which Western firms sought to extract enormous profits at the expense of the indigenous population.  Oil was nationalized in 1973.  And, he threatened to do so again in 2009.

For these actions, the United States and the UK commissioned a small group of soldiers under the leadership of a 6’6″ Scottish soldier to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi.  Stirling’s legacy, apart from the unsuccessful assassination attempt, was creating small tactical groups that conducted covert, quick and decisive raids on targets (personnel, installations, military units, etc.) that resulted in devastating impacts.   Stirling’s attempt on Gaddafi was more than a decade before the bombing of the Berlin disco.  It was almost two decades before the bombing of Flight 103 in Lockerbie, Scotland – the ancestral home of David Stirling, the man who plotted to kill the colonel in 1970.

Colonel Archibald David Stirling - Master Mercenary

As oil revenues accrued to Libya, much of that revenue was funneled into national development projects and the establishment of a stronger military apparatus.  With the US giving $% billion per year to Israel and a comparable sum to the authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Libya sought to ensure the stability and security of its interests within its borders.

In the mid-1980s, Miles Copeland, a veteran CIA operative, told UPI the CIA had enjoyed “close ties” with Qasim’s ruling Baath Party, just as it had close connections with the intelligence service of Egyptian leader Gamel Abd Nassar. In a recent public statement, Roger Morris, a former National Security Council staffer in the 1970s, confirmed this claim, saying that the CIA had chosen the authoritarian and anti-communist Baath Party “as its instrument.”

Moreover, Libya sought the assistance of the former Soviet Union in achieving these aims.  Gaddafi is no Communist.  Never has been.  The Soviets had technology that met the needs of the Libyans; and the United States government (working at the behest of firms like Exxon and others) sought only to subvert the regime and restore the appropriations relationship over Libyan resources which obtained since 1911.

Libya, like the United States, UK, and Israel, engaged in proxy fights in Europe and elsewhere intended to influence the land crisis in Palestine.  Western and Israeli forces typically relied on mercenary forces trained in covert operations.  Libyan and pro-Palestinian supporters typically relied on urban and infrastructure attacks in Western cities.  Neither “side” was able to significantly impact the resolution of the land question in Palestine.  It remains as intractable as ever, however, Gaddafi’s engagement on the question permitted him to be branded by Western media as an enemy.

Conquerors with Long Memories and Short Sticks

In order to grant some moral cover to the unified actions of the United States, the UK and France, some external non-European support was required.  The African Union was of no use.  That group voted against approving a no-fly zone over Libya.  Only the so-called Arab League (or more properly, the League of Arab States) endorsed such an action.  It is somewhat paradoxical that this entity, of whom its four largest member states are all in Africa (Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Morocco) would vote against other independent African nations and with the West.  The 22-member League is a curious collection of states that have only once selected a non-Egyptian to serve as Secretary General.  The Egyptians, of course, have had a long-standing relationship with the West, particularly the US and the UK.

(More to follow)

Lebensraum: A Tale of Two Gulfs

“I didn’t have to blast him, but I did anyway!

Ha! Ha!  Punk had to pay.

So I just killed a man.”

– Cypress Hill, “How I Could Just Kill a Man” (1991)

In 1973, before the Libyan leader had been labeled as a sponsor of international terrorism, he sought to extend the international recognition of the territorial waters to the 300-mile expanse of the  Gulf of Sidra.  Libya’s claim did not meet the established international standard of the time and was rejected by the US.  It is worth noting, however, given the US’ use of international power, if the situations and contexts were reversed, the US would have disregarded this provision as well.  The unique boundaries of Western European states (not to mention their proximity) and the historical maturation of the United States suggest the international accord around territorial limits is indeed subjective.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan put the Sixth Fleet on maneuvers in the Gulf of Sidra to close the question of territorial access within the Gulf of Sidra.  The question was closed, at least until 1989, when Libyan fighter jets were downed over the Gulf (with no reported loss of life).  The waters remained open for international shipping and the Colonel’s “line of death” became nothing more than an artifact of history.

From the Wikipedia entry on territorial waters:

From the eighteenth century until the mid twentieth century, the territorial waters of the British Empire, the United States, France and many other nations were three nautical miles (5.6 km) wide. Originally, this was the length of a cannon shot, hence the portion of an ocean that a sovereign state could defend from shore. However, Iceland claimed two nautical miles (3.7 km), Norway and Sweden claimed four nautical miles (7.4 km), and Spain claimed 6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi) during this period. During incidents such as nuclear weapons testing and fisheries disputes some nations arbitrarily extended their maritime claims to as much as fifty or even two hundred nautical miles. Since the late 20th century the “12 mile limit” has become almost universally accepted. The United Kingdom extended its territorial waters from three to twelve nautical miles (22 km) in 1987.

In 1999, under President Bill Clinton, the United States claimed an additional 12 mile contiguous zone.  Vice-President Al Gore issued the following statement, excerpted here:

Under international law, a nation can claim a territorial sea up to 12 nautical miles from its coast, and a contiguous zone extending an additional 12 miles. Within the contiguous zone, a nation can act to prevent violations of its environmental, customs, fiscal, or immigration laws, or to apprehend vessels suspected of violating them.

Within the extended contiguous zone, the Coast Guard may now board and search a foreign vessel suspected of smuggling drugs, carrying illegal immigrants, polluting the ocean, or tampering with sunken ships or other underwater artifacts, without first obtaining permission from the country where the vessel is registered. Previously, such action could be taken only within 12 miles of the coast.

“With this new enforcement tool, we can better protect America’s working families against drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and threats to our ocean environment,” the Vice President said. “We are putting would-be smugglers and polluters on notice that we will do everything in our power to protect our waters and our shores.”

Clinton sought to protect American interests in and around the Gulf of Mexico.  Libra, presently, claims no contiguous zones extending beyond its territorial waters.

Berlin Smoke Screen

On 5 April 1986, a woman delivered an explosive device to a night club in Berlin.  The bomb killed three US soldiers.  Immediately, the US charged the Libyan government with the bombing.  Ten days later, the US bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.  The two-year old adopted daughter of Colonel Gaddafi was killed during this American attack.  Back in Berlin, an arrest from far from imminent.  Swift and certain retribution came in 10 days.  Justice would wait for 10 years; no one was arrested until 1996.  Among those arrested were two Libyan nationals, a Palestinian man, and a Lebanese man and his German wife.  The United States did not seek sanctions from Germany or extract concessions from Germany based on the complicity of their nationals.

In an odd twist, only the German woman, Verena Chanaa, was convicted of murder.  You’ll have to pardon the BBC for making it look as if the Arabs did it. And, perhaps you could even forgive the US secret service and the German secret service for failing to support the investigation…after all, soldiers are expendable and their deaths were not in vain.  The judge did not see it that way:

The judge said prosecutors had failed to prove that the attack was planned on the personal orders of Colonel Gaddafi, partly because of the lack of co-operation from Western secret services.

But he said the bombing had been planned by members of the Libyan secret service and workers at the Libyan embassy in East Berlin.

The judge criticised the “limited willingness” of German and US secret services to provide evidence.

It was one of the “disappointments” of the trial, he said.

The United States government has been accused by its own citizens of orchestrating the demolition of the World Trade Center facility and attacking the Pentagon.  These allegations will persist until such time as there is full disclosure.  So it is in Berlin.  The American corporate media closed the case, as did much of the public.  However, the court record remains, as do these questions.

  • Why were the governments of the United States and Germany uncooperative?
  • Why were neither of these governments, with all of their police and investigative resources, unable to return a verdict of murder against four Arabs?
  • Why did the national and international media hide the photograph of Verena Chanaa?  Why is she not the face of international terrorism?
  • What was the role of the US’ Central Intelligence Agency in the bombing?
  • What was the role of Mossad, the Israeli espionage agency?
  • Were the Libyans on the payroll of the CIA?
  • Was their charge to obtain evidence of authorization from Colonel Gaddafi?
  • Were they authorized by the CIA to proceed with the hopes of obtaining corroboration after the fact?

Answers to these fundamental questions should be a prerequisite for a war declaration or a unilateral attack by a hawkish president with a nice jump shot.  What are the facts on the ground and what is the evidence.  When the United States bombed Benghazi and Tripoli in 1986, killing the Colonel’s daughter, they had yet to build a compelling case for their naked aggression.  They did, however, establish a pretext.

Lockerbie Illusion

From The Scotsman in 2005:

A FORMER Scottish police chief has given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated.
The retired officer – of assistant chief constable rank or higher – has testified that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people.

The officer, who was a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland, is supporting earlier claims by a former CIA agent that his bosses “wrote the script” to incriminate Libya…

Last night, George Esson, who was Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway when Megrahi was indicted for mass murder, confirmed he was aware of the development.

But Esson, who retired in 1994, questioned the officer’s motives. He said: “Any police officer who believed they had knowledge of any element of fabrication in any criminal case would have a duty to act on that. Failure to do so would call into question their integrity, and I can’t help but question their motive for raising the matter now.”

Other important questions remain unanswered, such as how the officer learned of the alleged conspiracy and whether he was directly involved in the inquiry. But sources close to Megrahi’s legal team believe they may have finally discovered the evidence that could demolish the case against him.

An insider told Scotland on Sunday that the retired officer approached them after Megrahi’s appeal – before a bench of five Scottish judges – was dismissed in 2002.

The insider said: “He said he believed he had crucial information. A meeting was set up and he gave a statement that supported the long-standing rumours that the key piece of evidence, a fragment of circuit board from a timing device that implicated Libya, had been planted by US agents…

The vital evidence that linked the bombing of Pan Am 103 to Megrahi was a tiny fragment of circuit board which investigators found in a wooded area many miles from Lockerbie months after the atrocity.

The fragment was later identified by the FBI’s Thomas Thurman as being part of a sophisticated timer device used to detonate explosives, and manufactured by the Swiss firm Mebo, which supplied it only to Libya and the East German Stasi.

At one time, Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, was such a regular visitor to Mebo that he had his own office in the firm’s headquarters.

The fragment of circuit board therefore enabled Libya – and Megrahi – to be placed at the heart of the investigation. However, Thurman was later unmasked as a fraud who had given false evidence in American murder trials, and it emerged that he had little in the way of scientific qualifications.

Then, in 2003, a retired CIA officer gave a statement to Megrahi’s lawyers in which he alleged evidence had been planted.

Friends, Enemies, and Money

Time, Newsweek and the New York Times may have railed against the Colonel, but not everyone was mad at him.  Halliburton engaged the Libyan government in 1984 on a construction contract to build aquifers delivering water from the Libyan desert to the coast.  The contract was valued at $25 billion and was fulfilled through a foreign subsidiary due to sanctions imposed by the US government on Libya.

Keeping Score

If you’re keeping score, it’s US 5, Libya 2.  The actions of the United States and its paid operatives include Stirling’s assassination attempt in 1970; the 1986 disco bombing in Berlin by a non-Arab German woman; the explosion of the flight over Scotland and the planting of evidence by an agent of the FBI; and, the “retaliatory” bombing in 1986 in Libya, which killed 15 people including the adopted two-year daughter of Colonel Gaddafi.  In addition to these actions, the United States twice

Libya’s actions, as recorded by Western

Libya initiated, prior to the demise of the former Soviet Union, a program to obtain nuclear energy and weapons.  twice initiated conflicts in the Gulf of Sidra (1981 and 1989),

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eyes Wide Shut – America and Iraq

From a 2003 article in the New York Times:

iraq_oil_industry_1953

On the brink of war, both supporters and critics of United States policy on Iraq agree on the origins, at least, of the haunted relations that have brought us to this pass: America’s dealings with Saddam Hussein, justifiable or not, began some two decades ago with its shadowy, expedient support of his regime in the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980’s.

Both sides are mistaken. Washington’s policy traces an even longer, more shrouded and fateful history. Forty years ago, the Central Intelligence Agency, under President John F. Kennedy, conducted its own regime change in Baghdad, carried out in collaboration with Saddam Hussein. (more…)

Bush and Cheney To Face Trial for War Crimes

This prospective headline is based, in part, on the following:

From The Independent (UK):

UN critical of ministers’ ‘unfounded’ allegations over Iraq

By Andrew Grice and Ben Russell

Tuesday, 11 March 2003

Ministers were criticised yesterday for failing to withdraw allegations that Iraq secretly attempted to buy uranium for nuclear weapons after the claims were dismissed as “unfounded” by United Nations weapons inspectors.

On Friday, Mohamed el- Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), rejected British and American claims that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Niger, saying the allegations were based on fake documents.

But yesterday the British Government’s dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was still available on the Downing Street and Foreign Office websites, with the claim that President Saddam “sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, despite having no active civil nuclear power programme that could require it”.

The Number 10 website also included Tony Blair’s statement on 24 September, when the Prime Minister said “we know Saddam has been trying to buy significant quantities of uranium from Africa, though we do not know whether he has been successful”.

Yesterday, Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: “Dr El-Baradei’s careful analysis of the aluminium tubes, magnets and the alleged efforts to obtain uranium from Niger would appear to have undermined the belief that Iraq was still actively seeking a nuclear capacity.

“Indeed, he went further when he said there was no evidence of a renewal of a nuclear programme in Iraq. In the face of such an unequivocal assertion on the part of the IAEA, one would have thought the British Government would have made some kind of response.”

Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow, said: “Dr El-Baradei said that based on thorough analysis, the IAEA had concluded with the concurrence of outside experts that these documents which form the basis of reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic. What does the Foreign Office know about not authentic documents?”

Mr Straw replied: “The idea of putting in inspectors is to put faith in inspectors. There were perfectly legitimate reasons for there to be the greatest suspicion of the possibility of Iraq having a continuing nuclear programme.”

United States of America vs. Barry Lamar Bonds

Today, the federal government brought an indictment (bonds_indictment_111507.pdf) against Major League Baseball player and former San Francisco Giant Barry Lamar Bonds. The indictment alleges that Bonds committed perjury and obstructed justice. It contains five counts and a maximum sentence of 30 years. News outlets are also reporting that Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson, has been released from jail. Oddly enough, I’m not sure that was the biggest baseball news of the day.

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(Isn’t anyone even going to ask? rocket@fatragehead.com?)

In other news, Major League Baseball, a $6 billion business enterprise, is in the best financial shape in its history. The Associated Press reports today:

NAPLES, Fla. — Baseball revenue climbed to $6.075 billion this year, and commissioner Bud Selig envisions an even rosier financial future.

“As I told the clubs today, we’re on a great high here,” Selig said Thursday following the conclusion of a two-day meeting in which owners discussed, among other things, ways to speed up games.

“When you look at the final numbers and you see what’s happened, it’s remarkable. There are times, honestly, when I have to pinch myself to make sure all of this is happening. … Growth and revenue, growth and profitability; it’s just been really, really good.”

And with attendance up, and Major League Baseball also making a concerted effort to expose its product to other parts of the world, Selig is confident the game will continue the trend next season, and beyond.

“I’m putting myself on the spot here, but I’m very hopeful to draw 80 million-plus, and I think our revenues will continue to go up,” Selig said of 2008, later adding that he’s “very proud” of the growth.

“We started at $1.2 billion, and I can remember waking up in ’93 and ’94 and ’95 and thinking how are we ever going to get to $2 billion? So here we are at $6 billion, 75 million. And if we just keep doing our work, stay out of controversies, keep the focus on the field, we’ll get to numbers someday that will be stunning. And these are stunning.”

The commissioner said there was nothing new to report on talks to have the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres play two exhibition games in Beijing in March, a recommendation that instant replay be used to help umpires with some calls, or George Mitchell’s investigation into performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Selig still expects Mitchell’s report to be released before the end of the year.

Owners heard a presentation on pace of games from Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president for baseball operations in the commissioner’s office.

Solomon said last week during general managers meetings in Orlando that to speed up games, baseball was considering limiting when a hitter could step out of the batter’s box between pitches, restricting the number of times a player could visit the mound, and limiting the number of players allowed to visit the mound.

“Obviously I have a lot of concern about the length of our World Series games, playoff games, regular-season games,” Selig said. “We’re going to work on that over the course of the winter.”

In addition to enforcing existing rules, the commissioner said consideration will be given to adding new rules.

“We just need to speed things up a little bit for everybody’s best interest,” Selig said.

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Baby Bud in 1968 after his purchase of the Seattle Pilots. Bud relocated the team to Milwaukee and name them after the heroes of the local community — drug dealers, I mean “Brewers.” Milwaukee ranked No. 1 as Forbes’ Drunkest City in America. “Milwaukee is a preferred site for clinical trials concerning alcohol abuse and dependence because the region has a large population of heavy drinkers, according to the NIAAA.” Not even Laverne and Shirley could put a spin on that one. In Milwaukee, it’s so bad newspapers identify the brand of beer criminals use in the commission of crimes.

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Somewhere in my education, I learned that whenever a huge news story broke that I should ignore that big story and look for a financial or military or political story that received considerably less attention. I learned that I should look for these stories on Fridays and Saturdays because those were notoriously light news days. Over time, I’ve tried to remain true to this approach to fact gathering. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes it doesn’t.

In this instance, what we have here is a crystal clear case of “positioning.” But this not the lone example. Drug dealers are positioned. There are acceptable zones for trafficking in vice and there are “Drug Free Zones.” Some are real, some are mythical.

“For two decades, policy-makers have mistakenly assumed that these statutes shield children from drug activity,” said report co-author Judith Greene, a New York-based researcher. “We found no evidence that drug-free zone laws protect children, but ample evidence that the laws hurt communities of color and contribute to mounting correctional costs.”

New Jersey’s sentencing review commission reached similar conclusions in December, when the panel — made up of state officials and criminal justice experts — found that students were involved in only 2 percent of the cases it examined. It said drug-free zones around schools, parks and housing projects cover virtually all of some cities, and 96 percent of offenders jailed for zone violations were black or Hispanic.

“When the overlap of zones in densely populated areas covers the entire city, the idea of special protection loses its meaning — people don’t know they’re in a school zone,” said Ben Barlyn, a deputy attorney general and executive director of the sentencing review panel. “It would be as if we made the entire New Jersey Turnpike a reduced speed zone.”

For example, in Washington Heights, the boyhood home of Major League Baseball star Manny Ramirez, police and politicians established an acceptable zone for narcotrafficking at the center of three major roadways to facilitate the purchase of drugs by affluent users. Manny’s old neighborhood is intersected by the West Side Highway leading to points south like the Upper West Side and Greenwich Village. It is cut by the Cross Bronx Expressway which spirits drivers to the safety of Westchester County in minutes. And, Washington Heights is split by entry roads to the George Washington Bridge connecting New York City and New Jersey. Drug dealers were “positioned” in this neighborhood, allowed to conduct street-level dealing within its confines, and precluded from exporting that traffic to regions closer to their primary user base. It is precisely this type of selective policing/prosecution which inspires the wrath of local residents subjected to the predations of local users and the territorial competition of local dealers. The “job” of law enforcement in instances such as this is to proscribe the range of activity – not to eliminate the business. Politicians provide cover by extolling the virtues of the NYPD and lamenting the overwhelming nature of the problem – the inexorable scourge of drugs. The media aligns to this agenda by showing “Perp Walks”.

layperpwalk.jpg Ken Lay, former Enron executive and associate of President Bush, walking the walk after stealing the loot. Prior to kicking the boot.

photo-rove-perp-walk.jpg Karl Rove, going in the other direction, but to the same place.

Of course, perp walkers in the Heights don’t look like Lay and Rove, but the primary buyers look as if they could have come from their loins. They don’t ask tough questions about arrest rates, recidivism, user profiles or budgets for tangible resources in poor communities. They simply co-sign the song and dance of urban politics. Drug dealers graduate from their position as street level apprentices in the government-sponsored game of illegal drugs to the finishing schools of jail cells located in remote areas scattered across New York State. The dealers position as revenue generating pawns for low-level enterprises is seized by the apparatus of the state to provide the basis for a prison-construction-rural vote complex. This neat appropriation of labor by compulsory positioning is the cornerstone of America’s long-standing War on Drugs. Perhaps the most essential part of positioning, with respect to urban narco-trafficking is the proverbial “Dirty Cop.” As seen from the quote above, it is better to have a dirty policy, but a dirty cannot hurt until he gets caught. New York City had a dirty cop.

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Here he is standing above the ruins of the World Trade Center with 2008 Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.

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Here he is again, in a more intimate moment.

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Here he is with President Bush, watching as W. points at something critical to homeland security.

Bernard Kerik is a dirty cop.

But, this is not the only type of positioning. Saddam Hussein was “positioned” – and he was told that he had a “No Fly Zone” in his own hood, er, nation. For all the talk of “dictator this” and “dictator that,” the best term to describe Saddam Hussein from 1980 through 1988 was “ally.” Hussein was an ally of the United States who worked in close cooperation with Washington. After all, Iraq fought an 8 year war against Iran – only to see both nations lined up like dominoes. Hussein was positioned to invade Kuwait when he received a wink and a nod from a United States Ambassador after he announced his criteria for forestalling an invasion of that particular invention of the British. The transcript of Hussein’s conversation with the diplomat would have been damning if the American public had been paying attention. Rest assured…consolidated corporate media which always co-signs Washington prerogatives went along for the ride. Over time, images of gassed Kurds, much like images of victims of drive-by shootings, would be trotted out as a means to take what might be termed corrective action. Before being run out of Washington, former Secretary of Defense plotted Saddam Hussein’s perp walk (see below). And Hussein, the former ally, wound up at the end of a rope – like so many drug dealers who preferred death to iron cells. Saddam was positioned to provide a pretext for a U.S. invasion which had been conceived long before his decision to cross the border.

And when you want to “position” a head of state and former ally, it can’t hurt to have a dirty cop.

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Donald Rumsfeld greets an ally.

Sometimes, if it’s a really big job you’ll need two dirty cops.

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Remember Saddam’s perp walk?

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They say you cannot steal from an honest man. This world of ours is full of dishonest men – some are greedy, some are liars. Another man once said, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but the Father.” It is in this world that boys come of age playing games and looking for positions on a diamond. Children do not run between the lines with visions of $275 million contracts. They can scarcely conceive of how much money that might be. Their parents can scarcely conceive of how to spend such a sum.

In the mid-1990’s, Major League Baseball had a problem. Fans were not turning out for games. There was labor unrest. The Montreal Expos, under Felipe Alou and the New York Yankees under Buck Showalter lost a once in a lifetime opportunity to win the World Series. The game was in the midst of being displaced by the NFL and the NBA as the sports of choice for all Americans. Pete Rose and his allegations of gambling were omnipresent. Somewhere along the line, some marketing genius (or ambitious intern with common sense) figured out that the best way to reinvigorate this sleepy game was to increase the number of home runs hit across the league. That tale has been well-documented. I will not recount it in full here. As Selig sobbed into his piss poor beer about the mere $1 billion in league coffers, the production of players had stabilized. The game’s best players in the early 90’s – Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, Jr. and others were putting up consistent, predictable numbers and the excitement of great catches in center field and brilliant base running was insufficient to lift the game. Even a World Series win by the New York Yankees over Ted Turner’s All-Americans (aka The Atlanta Trail of Tears Braves) was not the right elixir. The resurrection of the game would not happen until the Home Run Summer of 1998. It was Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa leading an epic chase into history (Babe Ruth) which brought the game back. Cal Ripken’s pursuit of history (Lou Gehrig) was of near equal import. Back in 1998, the league and the media gave a wink and a nod to steroid use by players. Bud Selig and the owners did their best impersonation of Ambassador April Glaspie and encouraged players, architects, grounds crews, ball manufacturers and bat manufacturers to do their level best to increase the number of home runs in baseball. They even enlisted the support of governors and mayors across the nation to expand the sport and dilute the quality of pitching. At the end of that season, there were enough players positioned to do whatever was required to sustain a seismic shift in production.

Underneath the “tools of ignorance,” the gloves, the spikes and the eye black are many over grown boys engaged in the desperate pursuit of a dream. For many, the dream does not end at retirement. Sometimes, as in the case of Rod Beck, that inability to adjust proves fatal. At some point, this game of life ceases to be a game. But it is in the years leading up to that moment of truth that our character is forged. Your “self” is not really cast in that moment – it’s a summation of moments that reveal who you are. Sometimes what you resist says much more about you than what you have. And sometimes, that dirty cop is going to get you no matter what.

Bud Selig hired a lawyer who began his career with the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. He understands control, monopolies and protection. He is not unlike that dirty cop on the streets of Washington Heights who ensures that deal occur within the prescribed perimeter. He is not at all unlike that secretary of defense who dictates terms to heads of state and manipulates information which leads to hundreds of thousands of dead women and children and men. George Mitchell served as Chairman of the Disney Corporation from 2004-2006. I wonder if he ever saw the books on how well news stories on Barry Bonds contributed to ESPN’s bottom line? Whether or not Mitchell saw the numbers is secondary. ESPN’s own ombudsman saw ominous signs of ethical transgressions in the build up over the past few years. He wrote:

Recently in this space, I expressed concern over the ethics of ESPN — with its newsgathering mandate, standards and goals — entering into a business relationship with Bonds, one of the most important and controversial newsmakers in sports, as well as a similar arrangement with Texas Tech basketball coach Bob Knight.

Though the production of the 10-hour series about Bonds was contracted out to an independent film company (Tollin/Robbins Productions) by EOE, when most viewers see a film or documentary on ESPN, it’s ESPN they are judging — not Tollin/Robbins, EOE, ESPNEWS or BASS.

George Mitchell is teflon. He was the Majority Leader in the Senate and is the chairman of the largest law firm in the world. He has won as many peace prizes as Mother Theresa but he’s no pacifist. That’s not his angle. George Mitchell is a man of the empire. He seeks to establish international organizations and agreements which allow established nations, firms and organizations to maximize their efficiency in exploiting untapped markets. Mitchell has been hailed as a Senate leader on establishing the World Trade Organization and the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He is a former President of the Economic Club of Washington, DC. Mitchell is the author of four books. He is in the process of writing the definitive tale of steroids in baseball and reporting to the world exactly who did what and when.  Perhaps teflon is not an adequate description for a man who declined a Supreme Court nomination for a political principle; for a man who has been called upon to settle disputes in the Middle East and Ireland.  Mitchell is a titan in his field.

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Was a titan really necessary to clean this up?  Weren’t we told that the owners, not so long ago, were operating in the red and that the use of performance-enhancing drugs was a minor incident with limited applicability league wide?  It makes we wonder if I was paying attention when the music stopped.

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That’s Sue Selig, on the left, seated next to President Bush. I wonder what they’re not talking about.

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W – at a time when he had fewer murders on his belt, but more alleged steroid users.

When these boys – y/our boys come of age, it is the lure of money, fame, legacy and more that propels them to make choices that are less than wise…choices that are not “good.” Like the drug dealing immigrant (or citizen) who sells drugs because he believes he is neither the source of the demand nor adequately prepared or even willing to do less lucrative work, the baseball player looks for an edge to compete. That drug dealer knows that if he unable to secure these precious few blocks, his sources of revenue will dry up. There will be no negotiation with the crew down the street and so the bullets fly. The bullets fly close to home because the dealer cannot gain access to the territory of his sponsor. So people die – but they don’t die where the drugs are consumed. They die close to home – where the drugs are sold. And half a world away, that head of state knows that without access to that precious sea outlet, his prospects for economic survival are nil. He also knows that he is playing the Most Dangerous Game (a favorite of Vice President Dick “Shoot Him In the Ass” Cheney). In this most dangerous game, he has no real options. If he does not fight he starves and dies a slow death. If he fights, he winds up living in a hole and at the end of a rope. If he fights, perhaps more than 650,000 of his countrymen will also lose their lives.

And so, each one makes a series of choices in which their fate is all but assured. Young major league baseball players (we may never know how many) risked a great deal to resurrect the game because the owners were unwilling to face the legitimate challenges of modernizing their business. Today, as one of those owners will spend the evening pinching himself about his $6 billion windfall, a position player will face his future against the full might of the United States of America.

And his fate is all but assured. Is it not?

Those numbers are why most people who care about baseball wish that Bonds had never played and hope he never does again. The numbers, examined in the lurid light of what is known about the recent role of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in sports and about Bonds’s character and associations, invite suspicion and perhaps compel invidious conclusions.” – George F. Will, Washington Post, March 12, 2006 (italicized text for emphasis)

Imagine if we were all known by the company we kept.

Translating Ahmadinejad

60 Minutes televised an interview last night of an interview conducted in Iran with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The interview was the usual fare. The reporter asked a number of irrelevant, mindless questions intended to inflame the audience and mask the real contention the United States has with the land of Iran.

The reporter even had the nerve to suggest that Iran might owe a debt of gratitude to President Bush for deposing of Saddam Hussein. Never mind the fact that Bush never claimed credit for the death of Saddam Hussein. Does Iran also owe a debt to Bush and his father for providing Saddam Hussein with weapons (chemical and traditional) for use against Iranian women and children over an 8 year period? Does Iran owe a debt for the exploitative extraction of mineral wealth by American and British firms? 60 Minutes was lucky that reporter didn’t catch a foot in the ass.

Just as there is no real tension with the people of Iraq, there is no true animus here. Iraqis and Iranians are simply in the way. They need to die, be killed, leave the country, or bend to the will of the US and Britain. There is no rocket science here. There is no real tension between the US and Ahmadinejad. Hell, he doesn’t even run the country really and if white supremacist anti-Muslim Jewish American journalists like NBC’s Matt Lauer can walk the streets unaccosted, there is little to fear from a solid majority of the Iranian people. This is business. It’s not personal. The hyperbole and the references to nukes and the like is to galvanize the left and right in opposition to Iran’s plans for the independent exercise of their intellectual and natural resources.

The nuclear weapon red herring is just that. If you’re childish enough to be drawn into that argument, please enter your bank account number and name in the Reply box below. I promise I won’t buy anything. I just want to test some software. Thanks. Really.

The Iranian president has been compared to Hitler. That’s not news either. Every one is compared to Hitler. Big deal. The early stories reporting Iran’s President wanted to “wipe Israel off the map” made one critical point and ignored another. Ahmadinejad was quoting the spiritual leader of the nation in affirming a widely held position. When quoted at length, his opposition was directed at the United States and Zionism. Now were it not for the extortion/bribe complex which secures UN votes, Israeli tour guides would still be forced to explain to Little Johnny exactly how Zionism isn’t really racism. If Johnny has read all of his history books, he’ll know his tour guide is full of shit. If he’s only read some of the books (and spent the rest of his time playing video games, he’ll drink the Kool-Aid.) If you don’t love Israel and give Kenesset head, you’re Hitler (whether you’re Jewish or not; violent or not; breathing or not). It took decades for the propaganda machine to achieve this level of public affirmation. It’s nonsense, but it is a testament to the effectiveness of concerted effort. Nothing to see here people, keep it moving. The next Hitler is three miles up the road.

Oh, one more thing on this Hitler business.

Is it possible that groups working in concert to convince the world that Zionism is NOT racism could have fabricated another Big Lie? If so, how big could that Big Lie be? Back to business.

(more…)

Patrick Buchanan: Three Wars, Three Lies, One Empire

The American Cause website has an article on the causes of World War II which makes points that I never read in my school books. It seems that many of the motive forces for Japan’s military engagements in the 1940’s were set in motion decades earlier. According to Buchanan, ideologies like fascism had nothing to do with the causes of US military engagement in WWII. Interesting.

General Norman Schwarzkopf, in the documentary film “The Final Battle” asserted that the US position with respect to the Japanese was little more than propaganda. Similar attempts at national vilification were introduced prior to this recent engagement in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, former ally and recipient of American chemical weapons (during his 8 year war with Iran), has been assassinated at the behest of his former partners in crime. Are the Chinese next?

Are the current battles in Iraq, Iran, Ethiopia and Sudan the “motive forces” for Chinese military engagement in a decade or two? How long will the Chinese play the energy resource-currency game with the United States?

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King David’s Army

Who knew the National Basketball Association was so prepared for Al-Queda, Black Panthers, and Mafia types?

From TheStartingFive:
(David Stern’s Transcript concerning NBA official Tim Donaghy, etc.)

“We have a security department that is large. It’s headed by Bernie Tolbert, the senior vice president of
security, former FBI, head of the Buffalo office second in command at
Philadelphia who has a background in undercover work. We have in house
representatives that are from Secret Service, U.S. Army, New York
Police Department, and New York State Police Investigation.

Mr. Bernie Tolbert

We, in addition, have a security network that includes a security
representative with respect to every NBA team. Those security
representatives are routinely judged and either changed as appropriate,
and instructed on the ground to be listening to what goes on, what they
hear, what they see, what they can observe. And those security
representatives are for the most part either FBI retired, local police,
in some cases DEA. And we are permitted by work rules, some of them are
actually functioning in their regular capacity for local PD and working
for us at the team level.

In addition to the constant communication with our security
represents of what goes on in the cities, we are in continuous
conversation with DEA, the FBI section on organized crime which deals
with sports betting, and with the Homeland Security Department. Our
security department operates rather extensively, and has actually been
beefed up more recently with respect to its activities in connection
with Homeland Security, which occupies since 9/11 a more substantial
time, a more substantial amount of its time.”

Bernie Tolbert, leader of the Stern Gang…outstanding.

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A Finite Supply of Perfect Niggahs

I’m spending the evening watching my daughter struggle to get to sleep and I’m listening to a speech by Minister Malcolm from 1965 entitled “Prospects for Freedom.” The minister had the gift of bringing it home – and he was singularly penetrating in that capacity. At the beginning of his speech, he talks about the conditions of the ground in Kenya and the question of “Responsible Leadership.” The essence of his point was simply that Europeans and whites exercised interests in Black leadership in ways that resulted in the emergence of a certain type of leader – and the death or disappearance of another type. In fact, it has often been the case that ethical, conscientious African leaders in the US, in the Caribbean and on the continent have been reviled by Europeans and whites. Frankly, it is hard for a Western capitalist to do business with an honest man representing poor people. Could it really be any other way?

When one considers the material wealth of the African continent with respect to natural resources like oil, gold, diamonds, uranium, bauxite, cocoa and rubber (and that’s the short list), it should not be difficult to understand why the continent is in such disarray today. In a natural contest for leadership, it stands to reason that the best and brightest would tend to dominate leadership positions. However, in a contest for leadership that is determined by the external interventions of interested parties, it would stand to reason that the “winners” would be the most corrupt, ruthless and unscrupulous leaders – precisely because that is the type of behavior required to emerge within the Western paradigm. Could it really be any other way?

This paradigm worked fine for Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noriega for years. These men were the golden boys of the West until geo-political shifts and a few not-so-wise moves put them in personal peril. In Africa, leaders with a commitment to build infrastructure, heal and teach their people, and provide a future for the next generation are in short supply – and they live in mortal danger every minute of every day. Nelson Mandela was one such leader for decades…and he received precious little support from the West. In fact, the US and Europe greatly opposed his efforts at freedom. The same was true of Lumumba. Instead, the West has supported the crook, the thug, the vandal and the murderer in order to install Black-face terror regimes. In lands riddled with all manner of abuse (physical, psychological, sexual, cultural, etc.), it stands to reason that there would be a ready pool of candidates waiting to snatch national wealth in an instant. It stands to reason that some African persons could be appointed to leadership and usher in the destruction of their nation – pursue the wealth and luxuries of the West – and ignore the mandate to build a viable, sustainable nation. That is the type of work that does not pay well and requires a willingness to confront European and American spies and mercenaries on a regular basis. It requires a willingness to confront starved and desperate Africans working on behalf of the West, or at least in their interests.

It almost requires one to be perfect. And the Western press is always looking for the Perfect Negro. And so are those liberal readers of the Western press seeking absolution of the sins of their fathers and mothers (and selves). The price of Africanity or of Black leadership, however, cannot be perfection. It’s too high a price to pay. None of us can be perfect long enough for it to matter. We can be good and we can work in our own interests, but we cannot always be perfect.

When I look for “Responsible Leadership” I’m looking for something different than the Western world might hope for. I’m looking for the type of leadership that Minister Malcolm referenced in the persons of Patrice Lumumba and others. And in the absence of that leadership (how much is it really needed?), I want to live a life worthy of emulation. That’s it.

Looking for WMD in Manhattan

I’m good, but I can’t make this stuff up.

“Every weekday, at a secure commercial office building on Manhattan‘s East Side (my emphasis), a team of 20 U.N. experts on chemical and biological weapons pores over satellite images of former Iraqi weapons sites. They scour the international news media for stories on Hussein’s deadly arsenal. They consult foreign intelligence agencies on the status of Iraqi weapons. And they maintain a cadre of about 300 weapons experts from 50 countries and prepare them for inspections in Iraq — inspections they will almost certainly never conduct, in search of weapons that few believe exist.”

I know who has the best chance of uncovering something significant, but I won’t hold my breath.

I would like to know, though, if the US military could spare one or two folks IN IRAQ to look for those things that don’t really exist.  Honestly, by now, I thought the US would have brought some more chemical weapons over and planted them deep underground for a “Voila!!” moment.  Hasn’t happened yet.

New York Times – Having It Both Ways on 9/11

Let me begin by saying that I was married at Windows on the World on the 107th floor of the WTC only 17 days before the building went down. I worked less than 10 minutes (in Brooklyn) from the building and have since had the distinct honor of dining in a restaurant, Colors, created by the former workers of Windows on the World. I have clear recollections of going to Windows with my wife to indulge in the tasting menu prior to the wedding. I remember eating far too much to make a sound decision about what to serve for the wedding – and I remember drinking Echelon’s Zinfandel wine. I remember our wedding video and photos (taken by the great Chester Higgins). I remember my anguish and the uncontrollable sobbing of my wife for months and months. I remember the fragility of my sense of personal strength in looking at those images and reliving the uncertainty and danger and powerlessness of that day.

And now, this morning…this blessed day where the sky is as clear as it was on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the New York Times has penned an editorial that is hell bent on obfuscation, confusion and denial. In “Our Porous Air Defenses on 9/11,” the editors conclude, “someone will still have to explain why the military, with far greater resources and more time for investigation, could not come up with the real story until the 9/11 commission forced it to admit the truth.”

The truth is that neither this administration, nor the one headed by William Jefferson Clinton, will be held accountable for its use of resources and its incompetence. We are presently in an environment where a Vice President, with a financial interest in war making, assails the defeat of a Democrat as an opportunity for a “terrorist” network. Meanwhile, the US spends billions of dollars each month fighting a war it has already won. The truth is that 9/11 had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein. Moreover, the current war in Iraq is not really about rebuilding that country as a democracy which serves the best interests of Iraqis. The very idea is preposterous. While Iraqi fatalities rise at alarming numbers each day, American GIs have enough free time to plot early morning rape and murder excursions. US troops have done a tremendous job of staying out of harm’s way – for the most part. And, so from the perspective of those beyond these borders, Washington’s desire to insert itself in the region has as much to do with oil and Israel and China as with any silly notions of political freedom.

Is it even possible that an administration which has stolen two successive presidential elections can contemplate authentic political representation? Perhaps more importantly, how much does it matter when the Democrats are so clearly opposed to affirming a position, running electable candidates, or resolving the fundamental contradictions of what is a laughably fractured “party.”

Americans are subsidizing a war predicated on the notion that long-term safety is contingent on a favorable outcome. The voters of this nation were told, before 9/11, that the nation’s best and brightest minds were doing an outstanding job of keeping the nation safe. They were told after 9/11 that, somehow, the best and brightest made a series of recurring, fundamental mistakes that resulted in mixed messages, missed signals and the death of thousands. The Times doesn’t smell a rat. Instead, they’re simply calling for an explanation for the military playing a shell game with facts. One cannot simultaneously claim to be the best and the brightest (at everything, all the time) and also be subject to doing stoopid shit on a regular basis. One can, however, expect the New York Times to look to someone else for an explanation.