Humint Events Online: March 2005

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Horrors of Ground Zero

Interview with Ground Zero rescue worker Matthew Tartaglia.

It's long, but morbidly fascinating.

Mr. Tartaglia confrims that three black boxes were found at ground zero.

He also implies that many rescue workers were suspicious of what happened on 9/11 and the secrecy around Ground Zero. There seems to be a large cover-up, with people's jobs threatened if they talk.

There was apparently some funny business with two hijacker passports that were apparently planted at Ground Zero and a ring from one of the hijackers.

One of the saddest parts is how sick many workers there got, including Mr. Tartaglia.

What a tragedy.

On a related note, this excerpt from Alex Jones' film "Martial law" is quite good, in particular the part about the collapse of WTC7.
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Hersh on Bush

Not a pretty picture.

Apparently Bush is in his own world, thinks he's doing the right thing in Iraq and apparently wants to go after Iran.

Strikingly, Hersh thinks Bush didn't go into Iraq because of oil but more for the liberation aspect. Of course even if Bush isn't interested in oil, you can be damned sure Cheney is.

I imagine all this about Bush is true. And of course this is really quite scary to have someone so clueless as captain of the ship at such a critical time. Let's hope to god there is no real oil crisis until Bush is gone, and let's hope someone more rational gets elected in 2008.
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No Need to Panic, No Sir

"Growth in oil production worldwide isn't keeping pace with demand..."

However, ""We are not in any way suggesting that the world is running out of oil".

-- Arjun Murti, an analyst with Goldman Sachs.

We are not in anyway suggesting, or even slightly hinting or -- JUST DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT THE IDEA THAT THE WORLD IS RUNNING OUT OF OIL!


I love how this guy is trying to calm people down. Methinks he is trying too hard.

By the way, the main point of the article was that demand wouldn't really decrease in the US until oil hits $80 a barrel. But of course, even if it gets that high it will be only temporary. Of course.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

End Times a Comin'

These are surreal times we are living in. The media continues its morbid fascination with the Terri Schiavo case, while ignoring the impending collapse of civilization. Most of America is in some sort of denial. Much like poor Terri's parents cannot seem to come to grips with the fact that their daughter is in a terminal state, Americans can't seem to come to grips with the fact that the US is in a terminal state. Yes, we are way over-extended on credit; we are all living on borrowed time. Of course, it is the whole world that is in a similar sad state.

Right now, I am at a biomedical research conference up in the Mountains, and I don't know if it is the extreme elevation or what, but the sight of hundreds of intelligent people debating what is essentially trivia, depresses the hell out of me. I can't seem to get overly interested in this stuff, even if it is my career at stake. Moreover, there seems to be no polite way to bring up non-research topics, so I feel rather stifled. I have just a horrible feeling that if I mentioned anything about Peak Oil, these people would think I've gone off the deep end. So I let it slide.

What is even more odd, right now, I actally sympathize with Mike Ruppert, and I feel like it is time to move on from 9/11 and try to deal with the coming oil catastrophe. This is not a question of me wanting justice. I would LOVE, I would even pay to see a full honest investigation of 9/11 and see the planners and all the secret killers brought to justice. But the fucking corporate media/political structure in this country would frankly rather collapse than admit the truth about 9/11. To some extent, I feel like 9/11 for me has devolved into a sick game of trivia, and while I think uncovering the lies is worthwhile, what is more worthwhile is trying to figure out the best way to deal with the coming emergency.

If you think I joke or exaggerate, simply read this website, and the associated links:

Harrowing stuff.

The one possible hole I can find in the Peak Oil collapse scenario is the idea is that there will be a market-based panic that will drive oil prices so high that the economy will be paralyzed by not enough oil and this will lead to wide-spread economic collapse. The argument seems to be that oil traders right now don't "know" that oil production is peaking, and so are using market principles to set the price of oil. But once oil traders realize that oil has "peaked" and is a truly finite quantity, then they will panic are start trading oil at astronomical values-- which of course would set off all sorts of horrible chain-reactions leading to economic collapse and likely lead to a large "die-off" of people.

I have to think-- it is impossible to think that this wouldn't happen frankly-- that long before prices spiral literally out of control, the government would step in and enforce extreme price controls on oil trading, thus averting economic meltdown. Frankly, the government would have to do something to avert economic meltdown-- everyone's ass would be on the line. If oil prices skyrocket on the world market, I still have to think that the world's governments would agree to cap oil prices. It would either be that, or the armageddon, and I don't think even the craziest world leaders would want that.

However, just because we might might be able to avoid the MOST horrible affects of Peak Oil, doesn't mean Peak Oil won't cause horrible problems. Assuming that world governments can work together to keep oil prices at a manageable level, what I can't see avoiding is a long-term major economic depression that may kill millions or even billions of people, since so much in our world is dependent on oil, especially food production.

God knows I don't want to make excuses for the insane militarism of the US, but you gotta admit, when push comes to shove for the last bits of oil, the world's strongest military power is likely to get it.

For the longest time after 9/11, I didn't understand why the Bush administration was spending so much on the military to fight "terrorism", when the terrorists were a irregular ragtag group that really couldn't be fought effectively by a conventional military. But now I see a clear reason why the US continues to have such a huge military-- for when the oil really starts running out. And then it may be another world war.

In fact, it sort of looks like 1929 about right now. Soon will come a great depression, and then the last desperate wars over the last drops of oil.

Who knows what the world will look like after that.
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Age of the Earth, Oil Production and Oil Consumption

In a previous post, I tried to do some rough calculations for how much oil the earth has produced. I put out the number that the earth has been producing significant amounts of life for two trillion years.

Whoops. Sorry! I guess I over-compensated for the fundies who claim the earth is only a few thousand years old.

The earth is about four and a half BILLION years old. My calculations should have been based on the earth producing significant amonts of life only for about one BILLION years.

Thus, if we assume that about 4 trillion barrels of oil have been produced by all the living matter that has accumulated on the planet to date, then that is 4000 barrels per year, which is about 168,000 gallons per year at 42 gallons per barrel. That seems like a reasonable output per year, I guess.

This however shows how the rate we are burning up the world's oil natural production. If we assume the world uses about 50 billion barrels per year, then that is 2.1 trillion gallons of oil, which works out to the world using about 10 million years-worth of its total supply every year. Obviously we can't keep this up indefinitely! Moreover, this assumes oil consumption doesn't increase, although if the world becomes more industrialized, the global oil needs will increase.

Nonetheless, if there is still about 1 trillion barrels of "reasonably" cheap, easily obtainable oil left in the world, then that is 20 years left at modest consumption rates.

These types of calculations are what keep most people from freaking out about global oil supplies. But of course we are still forestalling the inevitable, and if the world doesn't develop alternative highly efficient energy alternatives, then we will be in major trouble. Moreover, these numbers are not set in stone and are merely estimates. Other people have more troubling numbers.

The Peak Oil crowd claim that once we pass the peak, which is about NOW for cheap oil, then that is when the trouble starts. I still go back and forth about the direness of Peak Oil. On the one hand, higher oil prices over time should foster the development of alternative fuels and make them more practical. On the other hand, there really is nothing remotely close on the horizon to replace oil in terms of energy density (bang for the buck).

This site gives the grim outlook for oil supplies and alternative energy sources.
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Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Significance of the Pentagon Hit: The 9/11 Coup and Why It Is Not Silly to Think Something Besides Flight 77 Hit the Pentagon

One of the most important yet almost completely ignored theories about 9/11 is that it actually represented a coup within the the US government by a radical group of US government officials (the neocons being a key component of this group), and that Bush acceded to the demans of the coup plotters. On the face of it, this idea may sound wild, but if you delve into some of the actul events of the day of 9/11, particularly what Bush did, the coup theory has strong explanatory powers. Here is my previous post detailing the facts supporting the idea of a 9/11 coup.

But why would Bush give into the demands of a rogue group of government killers? Possibly he had no choice, if they held the codes to the country's nuclear arsenal, or if they were blackmailing him in some other way-- such as threatening other attacks, particularly on government buildings such as the Pentagon.

What did this group want? War, of course. Most likely different members of the group wanted it for different reasons: they wanted to attack the middle east for oil (the Cheney/Peak Oil group), they wanted to start a "clash of civilizations" with the Islamic world (the neocons), they were tired of the cautious peaceful course the US had been set on in recent years (disgruntled miltary officers and military contractors).

While this group help set up the 9/11 attacks so they could easily be pinned on Al Qaeda patsies, they planted one big clue that it wasn't Al Qaeda who was running 9/11: the Pentagon hit. They attacked the Pentagon with a cruise missile-like craft.

They painted or mocked up the missile to look like an American Airlines jet so most witnesses wouldn't obviously see it was a cruise missile. But the people in the Pentagon would know-- and that is who they wanted to send the message to, as well as to Bush.

This post of mine shows why it is essentially impossible that flight 77 or any Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon. The approach path a 757 would have to take to hit lightpoles and make that hit on the first floor of the building is simply not feasible, particularly with a poorly trained pilot at the controls.

A smaller plane is just as unlikely for these approach path reasons, plus a smaller plane wouldn't cause so much destruction.

This is why we are left with a cruise missile of some sort.

Interestingly, the way a cruise missile travels is consistent with the flying craft that hit the Pentagon. From Webster Tarpley's "Synthetic Terror 9/11: Made in USA":
Colonel Bunel discusses the flight patterns of cruise missiles, which generally have a launch phase, a cruise phase, and an acceleration phase as they are approaching the target, so that they attain their maximum speed just before impact. He also points out that cruise missiles also carry out an end-course correction in order to impact the target at precisely the point and angle of attack desired. According to Bunel, “that is why it so often happens that the missile ends its cruising flight with a tight turn that allows it to adopt the right alignment. A witness might observe that the missile reduces its engine power before throttling back up.” (Thierry Meyssan's "Pentagate" page 72) This would account for the spectacular 270 degree turn carried out by the flying object that hit the Pentagon, while descending...

Also from Tarpley:
The military exercise called Amalgam Virgo bore a close relationship to the events of 9/11. Amalgam Virgo was a military drill that had to do with hijacked airliners,sometimes from inside the United States, and sometimes used as weapons. A cruise missile was included at least once. The best working hypothesis is that Amalgam Virgo was the cover story under which the 9/11 attacks advanced through the bureaucracy. Preparations for carrying out 9/11 were conducted under the cover of being preparations for Amalgam Virgo. Most of those who took part in Amalgam Virgo could hardly have been aware of this duplicity.

Xymphora has some other points to support the idea that a cruise missile hit the Pentagon.

The cruise missile idea also explains why there were no air defenses around Washington DC to defend against a hijacked airliner-- because there was no hijacked airliner! A cruise missile fired from inside the US would likely have evaded NORAD radar.

As to what really happened to flight 77, who knows. The possibilities are: it was crashed in a remote area and the scene covered up with the chaos of the day, it crashed at sea, or the whole flight was a hoax of some sort (supported by Gerard Holmgren's analysis that flight 77 never took off).

Interestingly, if you read David Ray Griffin's "The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11", the over-whelming take home lesson from that essentially straight-forward and non-cospiratorial book was that government officials were suspiciously confused about 9/11 and how to respond-- to such a degree that it was almost certain they were covering something up. Griffin did not speculate at all about what they might be covering up, but it seems clear now that this confusion by public officials was caused by the fact that there was a coup, or putsch, in the US by a rogue group of people, both inside and outisde of government, bent on war. And Bush gave into their demands-- a key demand being that 9/11 be blamed solely on Al Qaeda. The other key demands were invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and possibly other middle eastern nations.
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Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Drum Beats Are Getting Louder

A good Peak Oil piece in Rolling Stone:
The Long Emergency

What's going to happen as we start running out of cheap gas to guzzle?

A few weeks ago, the price of oil ratcheted above fifty-five dollars a barrel, which is about twenty dollars a barrel more than a year ago. The next day, the oil story was buried on page six of the New York Times business section. Apparently, the price of oil is not considered significant news, even when it goes up five bucks a barrel in the span of ten days. That same day, the stock market shot up more than a hundred points because, CNN said, government data showed no signs of inflation. Note to clueless nation: Call planet Earth.

Carl Jung, one of the fathers of psychology, famously remarked that "people cannot stand too much reality." What you're about to read may challenge your assumptions about the kind of world we live in, and especially the kind of world into which events are propelling us. We are in for a rough ride through uncharted territory.

It has been very hard for Americans -- lost in dark raptures of nonstop infotainment, recreational shopping and compulsive motoring -- to make sense of the gathering forces that will fundamentally alter the terms of everyday life in our technological society. Even after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, America is still sleepwalking into the future. I call this coming time the Long Emergency.

Most immediately we face the end of the cheap-fossil-fuel era. It is no exaggeration to state that reliable supplies of cheap oil and natural gas underlie everything we identify as the necessities of modern life -- not to mention all of its comforts and luxuries: central heating, air conditioning, cars, airplanes, electric lights, inexpensive clothing, recorded music, movies, hip-replacement surgery, national defense -- you name it.

The upshot of all this is that we are entering a historical period of potentially great instability, turbulence and hardship. Obviously, geopolitical maneuvering around the world's richest energy regions has already led to war and promises more international military conflict. Since the Middle East contains two-thirds of the world's remaining oil supplies, the U.S. has attempted desperately to stabilize the region by, in effect, opening a big police station in Iraq. The intent was not just to secure Iraq's oil but to modify and influence the behavior of neighboring states around the Persian Gulf, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia. The results have been far from entirely positive, and our future prospects in that part of the world are not something we can feel altogether confident about.

And then there is the issue of China, which, in 2004, became the world's second-greatest consumer of oil, surpassing Japan. China's surging industrial growth has made it increasingly dependent on the imports we are counting on. If China wanted to, it could easily walk into some of these places -- the Middle East, former Soviet republics in central Asia -- and extend its hegemony by force. Is America prepared to contest for this oil in an Asian land war with the Chinese army? I doubt it. Nor can the U.S. military occupy regions of the Eastern Hemisphere indefinitely, or hope to secure either the terrain or the oil infrastructure of one distant, unfriendly country after another. A likely scenario is that the U.S. could exhaust and bankrupt itself trying to do this, and be forced to withdraw back into our own hemisphere, having lost access to most of the world's remaining oil in the process.

We know that our national leaders are hardly uninformed about this predicament. President George W. Bush has been briefed on the dangers of the oil-peak situation as long ago as before the 2000 election and repeatedly since then. In March, the Department of Energy released a report that officially acknowledges for the first time that peak oil is for real and states plainly that "the world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary."
There's obviously more and overall it is quite good. Alarmist but not end-of-the-world alarmist as Ruppert is sometimes.

One thing I think is a problem is that it is easy to be in denial about Peak Oil. That is why people have seized upon McGowans' writings and the idea that there is abiotic oil. I did this too. But after doing more research, I decided the evidence points rather clearly to Peak Oil being a real problem-- a huge problem. It may not impact people very much for a few years yet, but it will. And when it hits, it will hit hard. And it is better to know what is coming.
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It Still Kind of Amazes Me

that Mike Ruppert naming Dick Cheney as the person in the US government most responsible for 9/11 hasn't received more attention. Sure, I never expected this to get to CBS News or CNN, but you would have though there would be more independent media interest, at least. This recent article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, an alternative newspaper, talks quite a bit about Ruppert, but only superficially mentions Ruppert's theory that Cheney was behind 9/11 (it's actually a pretty good article although they get some things wrong-- such as saying Ruppert thinks the WTC was brought down by demolition and that he thinks that a missile hit the Pentagon. Ruppert has never claimed these things that I know of and has avoided 9/11 "physical evidence".).

In any case, the fact that Ruppert's case for Cheney has more or less fallen flat, shows the sorry fragmentation of the 9/11 truth movement. Granted, the case against Cheney was basically circumstantial, and moreover there was not much any activist could do to prosecute the case. Of course, even worse is that Ruppert has apparently left the 9/11 movement.

But still, it is stunning that Ruppert could write a huge blockbuster book on 9/11, come to the startling conclusion that the Vice President of the US was heavily complicit in the 9/11 attacks, and then have this bombshell fade away. Certainly if nothing else, it is stunning that Ruppert would not pursue his "indictment". Granted Peak Oil may be a bigger issue, but there is such a thing as justice, after all.

I can see that Ruppert may be burnt out on 9/11, and maybe he really thinks sounding the alarm on Peak Oil is more pressing. I certainly hope that Ruppert hasn't sold out, or been pressured to drop 9/11. The worse part of this is that Ruppert looks like a flake.

But Ruppert's book is out there, and maybe eventually in another couple of years, his conclusions on Cheney will bubble up to the mainstream. This will also depend on how badly the Bush administration degenerates in the next few years (which I suspect will be considerably).

I should point out that Webster Tarpley also thinks Cheney was heavily complicit in 9/11, although not exactly the 9/11 "maestro" as Ruppert describes Cheney's role. Tarpley thinks Cheney was aware of the plot by a group of rogue government insiders, and that Cheney acted as a go-between for the 9/11 plotters and the clueless Bush-- particularly on the morning of 9/11. I have to say this theory makes more sense to me than Ruppert's Cheney theory.
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Neocon Logic

"As Green as a Neocon: Why Iraq hawks are driving Priuses"
But a curious transformation is occurring in Washington, D.C., a split of foreign policy and energy policy: Many of the leading neoconservatives who pushed hard for the Iraq war are going green. James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and staunch backer of the Iraq war, now drives a 58-miles-per-gallon Toyota Prius and has two more hybrid vehicles on order. Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy and another neocon who championed the war, has been speaking regularly in Washington about fuel efficiency and plant-based bio-fuels.

The alliance of hawks and environmentalists is new but not entirely surprising. The environmentalists are worried about global warming and air pollution. But Woolsey and Gaffney—both members of the Project for the New American Century, which began advocating military action against Saddam Hussein back in 1998—are going green for geopolitical reasons, not environmental ones. They seek to reduce the flow of American dollars to oil-rich Islamic theocracies, Saudi Arabia in particular. Petrodollars have made Saudi Arabia too rich a source of terrorist funding and Islamic radicals. Last month, Gaffney told a conference in Washington that America has become dependent on oil that is imported from countries that, "by and large, are hostile to us." This fact, he said, makes reducing oil imports "a national security imperative."
For Woolsey and Gaffney, the fact that energy efficiency and conservation might help the environment is an unintended side benefit. They want to weaken the Saudis, the Iranians, and the Syrians while also strengthening the Israelis. Whether these ends are achieved with M-16s or hybrid automobiles doesn't seem to matter to them.
Putting aside their affection for Israel aside for a moment, did these geniuses ever stop to think that maybe petrodollars are what is keeping the middle-east from degenerating even further into backwardness and fundamentalism?

And doesn't this show how twisted these people are-- that they care more about Israel than about energy conservation, which will be the most important issue for the planet in the next few decades? It is rather clear Israel can protect itself-- I don't think these geniuses riding around in more energy efficient cars is going to help Israel. They are just clueless, is all I can say.

UPDATE: Either these guys are really stupid and don't know how terrorism truly works (which may be the case for Gaffney but is a little hard to believe for Woolsey) or this oil-efficiency business is disinfo. Perhaps Gaffney is generally clueless while Woolsey may be specifically putting out disinfo.
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Friday, March 25, 2005

Peak Oil Revisited, Again

As I predicted, Peak OIl has made it to the mainstream media. In the NY Times, no less-- although a fairly short, dry, unalarming article, framed more around drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge than on global oil supplies. Here also is a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor relating to Peak Oil. I suspect we will be hearing a lot more about Peak Oil in the mainstream media.

As I opined earlier, it's not really a matter of oil running out right away-- there is a lot of oil left in the world, but rather cheap easily obtainable oil is "peaking" and that will have major effects on the global economy.

One reason to doubt that Peak Oil exists at all is to believe in the theory that oil has an abiotic origin. However, here are a couple of essays to dissuade you from that notion. The latter essay, by Richard Heinberg, is written more for laymen (such as me). While I have scientific training, I am not anything close to a geologist!

An interesting idea I was musing about today is how much petroleum has been formed since the earth was formed? A difficult calculation to be sure. Who knows how exactly much formerly living matter needs to go into a barrel of oil? But let's say that the earth has been producing large amounts of life for two trillion years. Certainly the amount of life on earth in a year should supply enough organic matter for one barrel of oil. So that is conservatively 2 trillion barrels of oil total made by the earth. But who knows how much higher it is. Since the US has produced about 150 billion barrels of oil so far, we could make a very rough assumption of about ten times more total oil that has been formed by the earth, or 1.5 trillion barrels. This article says that "the world has used up about 930 billion barrels of oil since the 1800s, and has left some 3 trillion in the ground" (so I was not too far off!). If the world uses 100 billion barrels a day, that is 30 years of oil left. Of course, the oil towards the end will be harder and harder to get and more expensive. But one can only hope that humanity has figured out a viable alternative energy solution before then. We will have to do so, or a lot of us will die, no doubt about that.

Since Mike Ruppert seems to be getting vindicated here, here is a good collection of articles about Peak Oil and 9/11 and some people defending Ruppert for a change.

It is fairly obvious why the Bush administration hasn't wanted to talk about Peak Oil, but I will be very interested to hear the first time a reporter dares ask them about it. Maybe they will never get asked, I suppose, but I have to imagine Peak Oil will soon become a major political issue. Which party will have a platform based on Peak Oil first?

Finally, just because Peak Oil is a reality doesn't mean oil companies won't exploit it as much as they can to make extra money. In fact, they probably are right now.
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Thursday, March 24, 2005

On Synthetic Terrorism

A long but key excerpt from Tarpley's recent book "Synthetic Terrorism 9/11: Made in USA"*:
In any political system which relies to even a small extent for its continued existence on the consent of the governed, some form of popular legitimation is necessary. But what happens when the wars, policies and institutional changes desired by the ruling elite cannot be understood or supported by the vast majority of the citizens? What happens if the oligarchical nature of the system endows it with such inertia that it cannot be motivated to act in the way in which the most powerful oligarchical factions desire? Under these conditions, especially if the political and economic systems are in crisis, state sponsored terrorism may emerge. Here we are not describing the way in which statesmen, generals and intelligence officers ought to act; we are describing the way in which they have acted and continue to act. What we offer here can be thought of as a theory of synthetic terrorism. This terrorism is synthetic because it brings together the efforts of a number of disparate components: patsies, moles, professionals, media, and controllers. It is also synthetic in the sense that it is artificial: it does not grow up spontaneously out of despair and oppression, but is rather the product of an effort of organization and direction in which factions of government play an indispensable role.
We must stress the idea that the vast majority of international terrorism conducted on a spectacular scale is indeed state-sponsored terrorism. This does not mean that such terrorism is sponsored by the entire government, down to the last GS-4 clerical worker doing data entry for the Social Security Administration. It does mean that a faction or network of the government uses its access to the levers of power to promote the terrorist action in various ways. In Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, and in the Arab and Islamic world today, there have been deluded and naïve individuals and institutions who have somehow associated large-scale international terrorism with revolutionary or progressive change, or with the establishment of international justice. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the Italian left of the 1970s and the German left of the same period sympathized with the Red Brigades or the Baader-Meinhof group/Red Army faction, they only showed their own stupidity, since both of these terrorist operations were created by and controlled by NATO intelligence. Similarly, any Arab who feels sympathy for al Qaeda needs to be forcefully reminded that al Qaeda was created by the CIA and continues to be steered by the CIA, through various cut-outs and mediations. Terrorism, which was advertised as a desperate aid to oppressed peoples, has most often had the opposite effect: the attack on the Munich Olympics in 1972, the first spectacular blowing up of airliners, the Achille Lauro – these were actions which set the Palestinian cause back 20 years.

Terrorism in the modern era is the means by which oligarchies wage secret wars against the people, under conditions in which it would be politically impossible to wage the same war openly. Oligarchy, in turn, always has one and the same political program, which has not changed since the time of Thucydides, Plato and the writer that classical historians call The Old Oligarch: the purpose and program of oligarchy is to perpetuate oligarchy.

The specific political and economic form of the oligarchy is much less important. The nomenklatura of the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was supposedly based on
state property of the means of production, the primacy of the Communist Party, and Marxist ideology, but they proved more than willing to throw all that out the window when they realized that their oligarchical status and special privilege could not be preserved under communist auspices. Having understood this, the Soviet oligarchs were eager to transform themselves into stockjobbers, speculators, profiteers, and young wolves (as Zhirinovsky put it) under the auspices of wild laissez-faire capitalism. What was important to them was to preserve their status as an oligarchy. This is an important lesson, since it shows that we must be deeply suspicious of the ruling elite of the United States, which is of course also an oligarchy, but an oligarchy which operates behind the mask of democratic institutions and formal democracy. The experience of the USSR suggests that the US oligarchy will be more than willing to trade in its democratic costumes for a bureaucratic-authoritarian or even totalitarian garb if the democratic forms prove to be impossible to maintain, most likely because of financial and economic difficulties.

The naive view of terrorism is that it grows up directly out of oppression, economic misery, and political despair. Oppressed and exploited people, or those who have been colonized by a foreign power, come together spontaneously in ones and twos, create an organization, and after a certain time of preparation go over to armed struggle against their oppressors or occupiers. But this is the rarest of exceptions. This view pays no attention to the most important institutional actor in the world of terrorism – secret intelligence agencies like CIA, FBI, NSA, KGB, Stasi, MI-6, and the rest. Secret intelligence agencies are institutions in which the very essence of oligarchy is at work. Secret intelligence agencies in their modern forms go back to the Republic of Venice, which was famous for its intelligence directorate, the Council of Ten, and its pervasive network of spies, informers, and provocateurs. And the Republic of Venice was the longest-lasting oligarchical system in world history. Despite their cultural differences, all of these secret intelligence agencies are fundamentally alike. Terrorism generally starts within these secret agencies, or nowadays more likely in their privatized tentacles – as for example the intelligence community in the United States has existed since President Reagan’s Executive Order 12333.

Secret intelligence agencies are fatalists to the extent that they regard all large-scale sociological and political changes as inevitable. As soon as they identify a new phenomenon which they have not yet penetrated, their only thought is how to infiltrate their agents and assets into it, so they can steer it or influence it when the time comes. Whenever the leaders of intelligence agencies see a train leaving the station, their only thought is to climb on board, quite irrespective of the destination, as Gen. Paul Albert Scherer, the former head of West Germany’s Military Counter-Intelligence (Militärischer Abschirmdienst) and one of the greatest experts in this field, assured me some years back. This applies to terrorist groups most emphatically. Here the attention of the secret intelligence agencies is so strongly focused that their task is most often that of founding, and much more seldom that of infiltrating and taking over some group which already exists.

The world of secret intelligence agencies is a realm of falsehood, camouflage, deception, violence, unspeakable cruelty, treachery, and betrayal. It is the most desolate and grim sector of human endeavor, where no human values can subsist. It knows neither hope nor mercy nor redemption. It is the one area of human life where Hobbes’s maxim holds true – it is the war of all against all. But not as chaos – as an ultimately controlled phenomenon which serves the goal of preserving the state power that the intelligence agencies serve. During the Cold War, the conflict of CIA, MI-6, SDECE, KGB, BND, Stasi and the rest was called the wilderness of mirrors, a desert populated by agents, double agents, triple agents, multiple agents, their case officers, their counterintelligence opponents, and the omnipresent specialists in mokrie dela – wetwork, or assassinations, as the KGB described them.

We start from the strong presumption that terrorism is therefore an activity which is controlled by a faction of government, probably acting under the influence of financier factions which are generally the ultimate source of authority in the globalized universe after 1991. Terrorism cannot be described as a spontaneous sociological phenomenon, as the old saying goes – it must rather be seen as a phenomenon developed by sociologists, along with psychologists, profilers, psychiatrists, case officers, handlers, and cut-outs. For every terrorist and terrorist group in the field, an extensive bureaucratic support system is necessary.

*Essential reading for understanding terrorism and especially 9/11!
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Uggh. My stomach has been bad the past 24 hours. When I am not feeling well, the last thing I want to is think about evil conspiracies such as 9/11 -- it is too draining, really. Of course most news is depressing and thus hard to take when I'm sick. Even the blogs that I normally go to aren't very comforting.

What I did find very comforting was re-reading Tolkein's "The Hobbit". I guess I tend to read it every ten years or so, I read it first when I was 13, then in my twenties, then in my thirties, and now in my forties. Middle-earth is a nice place to escape to and Tolkein's English countryfolk familiar style of writing really makes the fantasy much more personal and believable.

Actually I couldn't even watch TV very well last night, the visuals made me sort of dizzy and then nauseous. Funny how seeing something moving fast can make you nauseous. I guess your brain thinks you are moving as well. I am also sensitive to certain smells and they make me nauseous. Then even after the smell is gone, the memory of the smell lingers on in my brain and can still make me nauseous.

The oddest thing about being sick is how your taste changes-- particularly toothpaste always takes on a strange taste when I am very sick. In fact, one way I can tell if I am getting really sick is if the toothpaste starts tasting weird. I don't know why this happens, it's curious -- there must be some cytokines circulating around that alter the tastebud neuro-transmission.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I don't know if it is just the stomach bug I have or seeing too much about the Schiavo case or both, but the computer is starting to make me nauseous.

Moreover there are times of late, when I just can't bear to go to the computer and see what the news is. I avoid it for one evening, and then like a moth drawn to a flame, start my obsessive internet browsing in the morning.


And this article
certainly relates to the nausea that I am feeling.
The Onslaught

March 23, 2005
By Carolyn Winter and Roger Bybee

How many times a day are we bombarded by outrageous media coverage of a domestic or international event? And then, if we are not totally foaming at the mouth from the media coverage, we are thoroughly outraged by the feeble or non-existent response by the Democratic Party.

When we are assaulted by so many right-wing initiatives, it is difficult to respond in a coherent and affirmative fashion. We become paralyzed by the number of issues and are seduced into disputing the facts of each issue separately, rather than offering coherent themes that express our progressive vision for a just America. In this environment of non-stop affronts to basic democratic and humane values, the positive aspects of our perspective get lost and it is easy to come across as perpetually in opposition or simply "negative."

In recent weeks, there has been an onslaught of provocations from the Administration and its allies in Congress that has left liberals and moderates almost speechless and without a focused and coherent response.

My sentiments exactly.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Fundie Conspiracy?

The bizarre actions of Congress and Bush in the Terri Schiavo case certainly do not seem like good politics.

So why would they do it?

Why would they risk so much for the votes of Christian fundamentalists?

I submit, for your approval, that the GOP actually doesn't care so much for public opinion, as long as they can keep at least 45% people happy.

Why? Because they have the voting machines rigged.

This is why, at least 45% approval is neccessary-- to be within reasonable striking distance of winning a close vote.

But it gets better: guess who controls the voting machines?

Extreme right-wing Christain fundamentalists.

Thus, I submit that the Schiavo case, as improbable as it is, actually is an important bit of political pandering to the Christain right, so the GOP can maintain their favoritism with the voting machine owners.
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Clueless Leaders

WHAT CAN ONE SAY? House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said this yesterday about Terri Schiavo:

Like other Republican lawmakers championing Schiavo's bill, DeLay often suggests she is alert and potentially treatable.

"She talks and she laughs and she expresses likes and discomforts," he said Sunday evening. "It won't take a miracle to help Terri Schiavo. It will only take the medical care and therapy that patients require."

For those keeping score at home, that statement is a straight-up, non-fungible, unambiguous, and utterly unconscionable lie. And if you were watching cable news yesterday (as I was), it’s probably safe to say you never heard anyone call DeLay out on it, or any number of similarly, knowingly fallacious statements spewing forth from the mouths of our national political leaders.

Is Delay knowingly lying? As loathsome as he may be, I find it hard to believe he is straight up lying. More likely, he has been fed some bad information and then took extra liberties with it. The result is as gross a distortion of fact as you will ever see from someone in Washington. The fact that Bush rushed to DC from vacation to sign legislation specifically geared towards Schiavo suggests he was misled as well. It's hard to believe the GOP would be so stupid as to take these extraordinary measures if they knew Sciavo was essentially a vegetable.

The GOP modus operandi is clear: find an exploitable situation and exaggerate the hell out of it. This is clearly what happened with 9/11, tax cuts, Iraq's WMD and now with Social Security.

What we have here with the GOP is a stunning mixture of arrogance, power, malevolence, stupidity and ignorance.

I have to think that they can only keep this bullshit-laden balloon afloat so long before it comes crashing down and covers everyone with, well, you know what.
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Monday, March 21, 2005

Did You Ever Wonder Why Some People Think Something Besides Flight 77 Hit the Pentagon?

If you haven't wondered, maybe you just haven't seen the evidence.

A 757 superimposed in front of the Pentagon, at the same trajectory as shown by the Pentagon security camera video.

Threading the needle Posted by Hello

Only two floors were damaged at the point of impact:

End result. Posted by Hello

Simply put, it is impossible that a 757 could fly so low to the ground as to produce the damage pattern on the Pentagon, without touching the ground. Not only this, the official story has it that an amateur pilot, who never flew a jet before, made this maneuver.

I call bullshit.
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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Flight 11 Hijack Scenario and Analysis

Apart from what I posted on yesterday and the day before, there is at least one other strange thing about Sweeney's call-- she clearly says passengers were stabbed before the hijackers entered the cockpit.

If we assume this is true, then there should have screaming or alarms set off-- why on earth wouldn't the pilots have been alerted that there were hijackers and secured the door? Or at least they could have alerted ground control of the commotion. But that didn't happen.

The only way that this would make sense from the official story is that one hijacker snuck up to the cockpit, perhaps with a (fake?) bomb, got in the door, and then made threats to the pilots to make them go to NYC. If the hijacker had a gun, this scenario might be more believable, and there was of course the FAA report of a passenger being shot on flight 11, but then this report was officially called an error (a strange error, but that sort of thing is typical for 9/11).

If one hijacker got into the cockpit, the other hijackers may have been creating a diversion in the main cabin at this time or may have been preventing flight attendents from going near the cockpit (in her call at 8:19am, Betty Ong says the hijackers sprayed gas in the first class cabin-- so how did the hijackers put up with the gas until 8:38am? Did they have gas masks? That seems unlikely. The other problem of course is that Sweeney never says anything about gas being sprayed by the hijackers.). In any case, according to Sweeney, only much later in the flight did the hijakcers go into the cockpit and kill the pilot-- presumably the hijacker pilot took over then, and this fits with Sweeney describing a sudden change in course after they went in (oddly, she doesn't report a change in course before this, though Ong reports the plane flying erratically at 8:26am). This initial single hijacker scenario could also explain why Sweeney only described four hijackers when there were supposed to be five on the flight.

The main thing wrong with this scenario is that initially you have only a single hijacker entering the cockpit and making demands against two pilots. How likely is it that this would be feasible unless the hijacker had a gun. If the hijacker had a bomb of some sort, it seems like one of the pilots could have overpowered him. At least one of the pilots could have alerted ground control to the hijacker or at least pressed the hijack code in the transponder if there was only one hijacker to deal with. But this never happened. Also are we to believe that this single hijacker was able to get the pilot to turn off the transponder (this happened no later than 8:20am and Sweeney doesn't describe the other hijackers going in until after 8:38am)? How would the hijacker even know if was off? Couldn't the pilot punch in the hijack code and say that he turned it off? Why was the transponder even turned off anyway?

While this single hijacker scenario is theoretically possible, the problem with Sweeney's call is that it completely diverges from what Betty Ong says about the hijacking-- most suspiciously the lack of mention about the hijackers using gas or pepper spray, but also about the sequence of the hijacking. Ong says the plane was flying erratically at 8:26am, long before Sweeney says the other hijackers entered the cockpit. Why would the plane be flying erratically unless the hijacker pilot was flying or there was a struggle in the cockpit? But how could a single hijacker gain access to the controls over two pilots or win a struggle with two pilots? It simply doesn't make sense. Thus, it almost seems as if Sweeney's call is coming from another hijacked plane than from the hijacked plane where Ong's call take place. There is no record that Sweeney or Ong ever acknowledge each other in their calls, despite the fact that they both are ID'ing hijackers and trying to reach the cockpit.

Thus I think either:
1) Sweeney and Ong were on different hijacked planes,
2) one of the two calls was a fake,
3) there was a fake hijacking "drill" on flight 11 and Sweeney and Ong were told to make up some details about the "hijacking, which is why their stories diverge signficantly.

In fact, early on when I started this blog, over six months ago now, I speculated that Sweeney and Ong were on two different planes. And in fact, the 9/11 researcher Woody Box has done research to suggest that there actually were two flight 11's. That possibility still seems very much alive.

Another possibility, not exclusive of what is listed above, is that the plane was taken over by remote control before the hijackers got into the cockpit.

Another oddity I just noticed: in the 9/11 Commission Report, they write that Sweeney says there is a bomb in the cockpit. How would she know this if she can't communicate with the cockpit as she says? Certainly she didn't see the supposed initial hijacker go in and therefore couldn't see he had a bomb. So why would she think there was a bomb in the cockpit? If a passenger saw a hijacker go into the cockpit with a bomb, and told this to Sweeney, why wouldn't Sweeney pass along this vital information? Why would Sweeney just say there was a bomb in the cockpit? It may have been merely a rumor started by the passengers or a detail she made up as part of the "hijack drill".

The bottom line is that there are several major questions about the Sweeney call:
1) why didn't she say anything about an initial hijacker getting in the cockpit?
2) why didn't she say anything about the hijackers using gas?
3) why did she only talk about a change in course after several hijackers gained entry into the cockpit?
4) why didn't Sweeney know the right seat numbers for the hijackers (Ong apparently had the right numbers)?
5) why was she unable to recognize Manhattan or unwilling to say anything specifically about Manhattan? (Sorry, but the "I see buildings and water" remark sounds fake).
6) what exactly made Sweeney say "oh my god"? Looking out the side of the plane, she wouldn't be able to see that they were about to hit anything.

Again, all this is rather suspicious.
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The Excellent Digby

is especially excellent the last few days.

And this story is particularly interesting:
Last June, the Boston Red Sox chartered an executive jet to help their manager make a quick visit home in the midst of the team's championship season.

But what was the very same Gulfstream--owned by one of the Red Sox's partners, but presumably without the team's logo on its fuselage--doing in Cairo on Feb. 18, 2003?

Perhaps by coincidence, Feb. 18, 2003, was the day an Islamic preacher known as Abu Omar, who had been abducted in Italy the previous day and forced aboard a small plane, also arrived at the Cairo airport.

Omar, whose given name is Osama Nasr Mostafa Hassan, was imprisoned by the Egyptians and, he claims, brutally tortured. The public prosecutor in Milan, Armando Spataro, who is investigating Omar's apparent kidnapping, expects to file charges within a few days, according to an Italian official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Spataro made headlines last month when, attempting to identify the plane that transported Omar from Italy to Egypt, he served a warrant on the Italian commander of the air base at Aviano, Italy, which is home to the U.S. Air Force's 31st Fighter Wing.

Spataro declines to say whether the Gulfstream that landed in Cairo, which bore the tail number N85VM, departed from Aviano around the time of Omar's disappearance.

But Federal Aviation Administration records obtained by the Tribune show that Gulfstream N85VM has been many places around the world that the Red Sox have almost certainly never gone.

Between June 2002 and January of this year, the Gulfstream made 51 visits to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, site of the U.S. naval base where more than 500 terrorism suspects are behind bars.

During the same period, the plane recorded 82 visits to Washington's Dulles International Airport as well as landings at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., outside the capital and the U.S. air bases at Ramstein and Rhein-Main in Germany.

The plane's flight log also shows visits to Afghanistan, Morocco, Dubai, Jordan, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic.


Let's look at the nut here. The US government appears to be using one of the world series winning Boston Red Sox's jet to kidnap and transport suspected terrorists all over the world to be tortured.

This isn't a big story. Scott Peterson, however, is. Problem #7,556 with the corporate media.
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Direct Democracy

The National Ballot Initiative.

A very interesting idea.
Democracy? In America? Under his proposal, voters in the United States could do what they do in Switzerland and many U.S. states today: Propose a change in policy, collect signatures or support to show there is serious public interest, and thus create the conditions for a direct national vote on legislation. (You can get information on Gravel's proposed democracy upgrade, if you will, at his Web site,
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Saturday, March 19, 2005

More on the Sweeney Call

From an LA TIMES article "AFTER THE ATTACK; DESPERATE FLIGHT; Aboard Flight 11, a Chilling Voice; ERIC LICHTBLAU. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Sep 20, 2001. pg. A.1"
"But Sweeney's phone call, with details that coincide with the hijackers' takeover of the cockpit, could provide investigators with one of their most valuable pieces of evidence in reconstructing the hijackings.

FBI officials in Dallas, where American Airlines is based, were able, on the day of the terrorist attacks, to piece together a partial transcript and an account of the phone call. American Airlines officials said such calls are not typically recorded, suggesting that the FBI may have reconstructed the conversation from interviews.
It is unclear from the phone account where Sweeney was when she was talking to the ground manager or what type of phone she used. But even as she was relating details about the hijackers, the men were storming the front of the plane and "had just gained access to the cockpit."

Then, she told Woodward, the plane suddenly changed direction and began to descend rapidly.

"At that very point, Sweeney tried to contact the cockpit but did not get a response," according to the investigative report. The pilot reportedly also was trying to alert authorities of the situation by surreptitiously clicking his radio transmission button.

Woodward then asked Sweeney whether she knew her location.

The chilling reply: "I see water and buildings. Oh my God! Oh my God!"

At that point, according to the report, the conversation ended.

Officials at American Airlines said information about the phone call was turned over to the FBI, but they refused to discuss details. "The FBI has told us not to discuss anything," said airline spokesman John Hotard. Officials at the FBI also declined to discuss the call." (snip)

Now, according to the 9/11 commission report, Sweeney ID'ed the seat numbers of thehijackers at 8:38 or so:
"At 8:38, Ong told Gonzalez that the plane was flying erratically again. Around this time Sweeney told Woodward that the hijackers were Middle East- er ners, naming three of their seat numbers."

Again, the LA Times article:
"But even as she was relating details about the hijackers, the men were storming the front of the plane and "had just gained access to the cockpit.""

Clearly the hijackers gained access to the cockpit AFTER 8:38am,
according to Sweeney.

So why did the plane change course and its transponder go off much earlier?

In fact, the 9/11 commission report says the hijacking started around 8:14am. How the hijacking occurred without the hijackers in the cockpit is not clear, and they do not give any clues.

Something clearly is not adding up.
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A Major Weak Link in the Official 9/11 Story

Flight attendent Madeline Amy Sweeney's Phone Call from Flight 11.
According to the FBI transcript, part of which was published in the Los Angeles Times, Madeline Amy Sweeney described how hijackers stabbed passengers and then diverted the plane.

Flight attendant Madeline Amy Sweeney
A US official praised Ms Sweeney's ability to keep calm and describe the crisis as it unfolded but the mother-of-two's words ended in horror and disbelief.

When Ms Sweeney came on the phone to ground staff in Boston it was to report that a hijack was in progress.

Four attackers had cut the throat of a passenger in business class and stabbed two others, she said.

Three of the hijackers had been sitting in business class themselves and one spoke very good English.


As Ms Sweeney was giving their seat numbers, they reached the cockpit and it was then, as the plane suddenly changed course, that she spoke her last reported words:

"I see water and buildings. Oh my God! Oh my God!"
There is a major problem here concerning the time-line of this phone call made by Sweeney. She claims that shortly after the hijackers gained access to the cockpit, the plane quickly changed direction and started rapidly descending towards the WTC - causing her to say: "I see water and buildings. Oh my God! Oh my God!" These were her last words, and, as the transcript of this call clearly demonstrates, everything happened in quick succession. Thus she is saying that the hijackers entered the cockpit when Flight 11 was somewhere near Manhattan, over the Hudson River, within sight of the NY skyline.

The problem is, if the hijackers had not entered the cockpit earlier, over Albany, why did the plane deviate from its charted course, 150 miles north of NYC? Furthermore, why did investigators conclude, that the flight was taken over by hijackers just 15 minutes after takeoff and not just a few minutes before it hit tower 1? How can this call be real? But if it is not real, why was it made?

There are three other problems with her call, as well:
1) Sweeney gave out seats where hijackers were from but they were the wrong seats!
2) Betty Ong, another attendent on flight 11, makes a big deal about the hijackers spraying mace or pepper spray or some other gas-- how could Sweeney see the seats of the hijackers but not notice the gas/spray?
3) Sweeney is an experienced flight attendent but doesn't recognize the Manhattan skyline? All she can say is buildings and water?

Was Sweeney really on flight 11?
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Did the US Army Devise a Plan in 1976 to Bring Down the WTC with Hijacked Airliners?

Timothy McNevin says so.

Hard to know what to make of this, but it's worth posting.
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Friday, March 18, 2005

Two 9/11 Oddities Centered Around Satam al Suqami

First, he was the hijacker who, according to this FAA memo, shot a passenger (Daniel Lewin) on flight 11.

Second, his passport was found on the street outside WTC 1 before it collapsed, apparently surviving the plane crash and subsequent inferno.

What the heck was going on here????? I find it too much of a coincidence that these two very odd aspects of 9/11 both involved the same hijacker. Was someone trying to plant a specific legend involving Suqami? If so, why?
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Another Realistic Essay on Middle East Politics and Meddling by the US

Playing the Democracy Card
How America Furthers Its National Interests in the Middle East
By Dilip Hiro

The United States flaunts the banner of democracy in the Middle East only when that advances its economic, military, or strategic interests. The history of the past six decades shows that whenever there has been conflict between furthering democracy in the region and advancing American national interests, U.S. administrations have invariably opted for the latter course. Furthermore, when free and fair elections in the Middle East have produced results that run contrary to Washington's strategic interests, it has either ignored them or tried to block the recurrence of such events.

Washington's active involvement in the region began in 1933 when Standard Oil Company of California bid ten times more than the British-dominated Iraq Petroleum Company for exclusive petroleum exploration rights in Saudi Arabia's eastern Hasa province.

As a leading constituent of Allied forces in World War II, the U.S. got its break in Iran after the occupation of that country by the British and the Soviets in August 1941. Eight months later President Franklin Roosevelt ruled that Iran was eligible for lend-lease aid. In August 1943, Secretary of State Cordell Hull said, "It is to our interest that no great power be established on the Persian Gulf opposite the important American petroleum development in Saudi Arabia."

The emergence of Israel in 1948 added a new factor. Following its immediate recognition of Israel, Washington devised a military-diplomatic strategy in the region which rested on the triad of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the new state of Israel, with the overall aim of keeping Soviet influence out of the Middle East. While each member of the troika was tied closely to the U.S., and links between Iran and Israel became progressively tighter, Saudi Arabia and Israel, though staunchly anti-Communist, remained poles apart. Nonetheless, the overall arrangement remained in place until the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979.

Besides pursuing the common aim of countering Soviet advances in the region overtly and covertly, each member of this troika had a special function. Being contiguous with the Soviet Union, Iran under the Shah helped the Pentagon by providing it with military bases. By inflicting a lightning defeat on Egypt and Syria -- then aligned with Moscow -- in June 1967, Israel proved its military value to the U.S. This strengthened Washington's resolve to get Israel accepted by its Arab neighbors, a policy it had adopted in 1948 and implemented soon after, even though it meant subverting democracy in Syria.

In March 1949, following Brig.-General Husni Zaim's promise to make peace with Israel, the CIA helped him mount a military coup against a democratically elected government in Syria. After Zaim had signed a truce with Israel on July 20, he tried to negotiate a peace treaty with it through American officials. A month later, however, he was ousted by a group of military officers and executed. The military rule that Washington triggered lasted five years albeit under different generals.

As the possessor of the largest reserves of petroleum in the region, Saudi Arabia helped the U.S. and its Western allies by keeping oil prices low. Furthermore, as a powerful and autocratic monarchy Saudi Arabia played a leading role in helping to suppress democratic movements in the small, neighboring, oil-rich Gulf States.

American clout increased when Britain -- the dominant foreign power in the region for a century and a half -- withdrew from the Gulf in 1971. The British withdrawal allowed the U.S. to expand its regional role as the four freshly independent Gulf States -- Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman -- struggled to adjust to the new reality. But instead of pressuring these sheikhdoms to institute democracy, Washington either opted for secret defense agreements with them or let the House of Saud implement an anti-democratic agenda in the region unhindered. (snip)
There's more, if you're interested.
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To Clarify About "Peak Cheap Oil"

The reason cheap oil will peak soon and run out is because oil that is easy to extract from the earth is "cheap" and that oil is limited.

However, there are abundant deposits of deep sea oil, deposits in oil sands, deposits deep in the earth that can be extracted-- it just will cost more to get this oil.

So, what will "peak" soon, or is even peaking now, is cheap, easily extractable oil. But there is still a lot more oil out there.

Opening up the Iraq deposits will certainly prolong the peak, or even delay the peak, of cheap oil for some time, I would estimate.

That's why we went there, of course.
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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Who Is Right About Peak Oil?

Two of the biggest opponents regarding the Peak Oil concept are Mike Ruppert (pro) and Dave McGowan (con). Which one is right?

Answer: they both are.

Here's what I have decided: there IS such a thing as Peak Oil. So Ruppert is right about the Peaking concept (or more properly, King Hubbard is right and Ruppert is right to buy into the concept).

However, being over the "peak" DOES NOT mean oil will start to run out! This is where McGowan is right. There is enough oil in the world to last a looong time at the current rate of consumption.

But what will run out, when we are over the "peak", is CHEAP oil.

That is the nub of it. Peak oil should be called more properly Peak Cheap Oil.

More expensive oil will wreak havoc on the world's economies, but it won't mean millions of people will have to die in the near future. Ruppert is way off base there (scarily off base, actually).

Almost certainly, Peak Cheap Oil IS why the US went after Iraq and will go after Iran next. The US needs to secure cheap oil for themselves and their western allies.

So Peak Oil is partially a reality and partially an oil company scam.

Ruppert and McGowan are both right, to some extent.
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Excellent Run-Down on the Improbability of the Official Flight 11 Story

Here. Excerpt:
9/11 Redux: (The Observer¹s Cut) American Airlines Flight 11, Reexamined

By David L. Graham

Although many questions remain unanswered, regarding the suspicious circumstances of 9/11, none seems more dubious and disturbing, than that of the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11. In this case, there appears to be serious time-line inconsistencies and conflicting testimony between an air-traffic controller, and a (purported) flight attendant eye witness account, not to mention, an inconsistent (but nevertheless revealing) FAA memo, and probable evidence planting by intelligence agencies and FBI investigators.

On the morning of September 11th, American Airlines Flight 11, along with 10 crew members and 81 passengers, departed from Boston¹s Logan Airport, at 7:59 AM, on route to Los Angeles. Investigators surmise that the plane was hijacked within 15 minutes after departure. It then traveled another 10 minutes and abruptly turned south over Albany, NY, where it followed the Hudson River down to NYC. During this entire flight, as confirmed through interviews with an air-traffic controllers, there was no (direct) verbal communication from the pilot or co-pilot. Although some semblance of radio contact was (purportedly) initiated by the pilot, it consisted of nothing more, than surreptitious transmissions from the cockpit mike, that (supposedly) revealed the voices of the hijackers. To reiterate, ground control claims they suspected a problem with the plane about 15 minutes after departure, when they repeatedly issued clearances for an altitude climb, that went unack-nowledged by the pilot. Soon thereafter, the plane¹s transponder stopped working, and the flight abruptly deviated from its charted course, turning south (over Albany), then traveled another 150 miles towards NYC, where it crashed into the North Tower of the WTC, at around 8:45 AM.


Although seemingly straight forward, when compared to other pieces of evidence, the hijack time-line for this flight completely collapses, and establishment explanations for it, thrown seriously into question.

A crew member on that flight, Madeline Amy Sweeney, (purportedly) was able to place a cell phone call to her ground manager during the hijacking. The assembled FBI transcript of this (recorded) call, was reviewed by the LA times and published on September 20th. A close examination of this transcript, however, proves to be very perplexing for a number of reasons: In it, Ms. Sweeney claims that the hijackers had stabbed two flight attendants and slit the throat of a business-class passenger, killing him. In addition, according to a recently released FAA memo produced on 9/11/01, one passenger is even mentioned as being shot. What¹s especially revealing, is that according to Sweeney¹s highly detailed account, (all) of this apparently occurred before the cockpit was breached by the hijackers. In keeping with the reality of a violent (and fatal) airline hijacking, one would have to reasonably conclude, that the stabbed flight attendants, as well as the passengers, would¹ve been screaming VERY LOUDLY. In acknowledging this, a serious problem emerges - namely, why didn¹t (couldn¹t) the pilots alert ground control, given the fact that they must have heard the disturbances, and were still free to communicate. Since the hijackers had not yet ³gained access to the cockpit² (according to Sweeney¹s account), radio communication would¹ve still been possible. At the very least, the pilot or co-pilot should¹ve been able to send the emergency alert code, activated from no less than four places in the cockpit of a Boeing 767, including the steering yoke.


At this point, it is instructive to remember, that apparently none of the pilots, on any of the hijacked flights, were able to directly verbally communicate, with ground control. Moreover, according to authorities, the retrieved flight data recorders, from the equally suspicious crash sites of AA Flight 77 (Pentagon crash) and UA Flight 93 (Pennsylvania crash), are either damaged, or completely blank - depending on which FBI news brief you read (or believe). In addition, despite repeated pleas for disclosure from the victims¹ families of Flight 93, federal authorities have refused to publicly release the contents of the (intact) retrieved voice data recorder. This evidence would reveal the activity in the cockpit during the moments of the hijacking, and prior to the crash - assuming, of course, it¹s not blank as well..........or worse, incriminating for foul play. For foul play and a cover-up are indeed likely possibilities in this incident, considering the 911 cell phone call made by one of the passengers¹ describing an ³explosion and smoke,² not to mention, the eye witness accounts detailing ³burning debris,² raining down over an 8 mile area, and a second, unidentified (white plane), ³circling the crash,² immediately after impact. Unremarkably, FBI investigators have dismissed these eye witness accounts, and network news dutifully avoided any mention of them.


Returning back again to AA Flight 11, another problem concerns the time-line of the cell phone call made by the flight attendant. In it, she claims that (shortly after) the hijackers gained access to the cockpit, the plane quickly changed direction and started rapidly descending towards the WTC - eliciting from her, the chilling statements: ³I see water and buildings. Oh my God! Oh my God!² These were the last words of communication (supposedly) uttered by Ms. Sweeney, and, as the transcript of this call clearly demonstrates, these events occurred in quick succession. Therefore, it is beyond dispute, that (according to her account), describing the entry into the cockpit by the hijackers, this occurred when Flight 11 was somewhere off the edge of Manhattan, over the Hudson River, within sight of the NY skyline.


This again, presents an even more serious problem: that is, if the hijackers had not breached the cockpit earlier, over Albany, (WHY) did the plane deviate from its charted course, 150 miles north of NYC? Furthermore, how could investigators possibly conclude, that the flight was commandeered (by hijackers), 15 minutes after takeoff from Boston¹s Logan Airport, (when compared) to the cell phone call made by Madeline Sweeney? Moreover, why was (the meticulously detailed) Ms. Sweeney, (a Massachucettes-based flight attendant for 12 years), unable to identify Manhattan or the Hudson River, above and beyond ³buildings and water?²

By (accepting both) pieces of evidence, we would somehow have to ridiculously conclude, that unbeknownst to the pilots, the hijackers conducted a stabbing (and quite possibly, a shooting) rampage, terrorizing passengers and crew members for a full 25 minutes, while ³telepathically² forcing the pilots to perform a turn over Albany, and fly 150 miles south to Manhattan. Add to this, the ³surreptitious transmissions² from the cockpit radio mike, initiated by the pilot for most of the flight, and you would have to further assume, that the pilots themselves, were impersonating the ³heavily-accented² voices of the hijackers, up until the point when the (actual) hijackers Œstormed the cockpit, which occurred shortly before impact (according to Sweeney) - an unsatisfactory conclusion, to be sure.

Even more unsettling, was the network news broadcast, aired a few days after 9/11, that featured the last moments of the (recorded) Sweeney phone call. Anyone listening to this call, should have immediately been struck by one thing..............namely, the only voice you hear screaming is Madeline Sweeney¹s. Can it truly be plausible, that in the moments before crashing into the North Tower of the WTC, one flight attendant would, among 9 other crew members and 81 passengers, be the only one heard shrieking in terror?

Taken together, all of the inconsistencies discussed above, and more of which that follows, may very well indicate that the AA Flight 11, as well as the other hijacked flights on 9/11, were commandeered by other means. This very possibility, has been proffered by a number of aviation professionals and pilots, who have voiced serious doubts that the suspects in question, could¹ve possessed the requisite level of navigational expertise, to expertly guide the planes to their targets (having trained ³unsuccessfully² on propeller-driven Cessna¹s, and logged-in insufficient hours on flight simulators). This opinion is even further bolstered, by a review of some the descriptions and assessments offered by some of the flight instructors, describing the relative talents and capabilities of the terrorist students they instructed. In the words of one flight instructor, two of the suspects were described as ³dumb and dumber,² and another two were dropped from instruction due to ³incompetence at the controls.² One instructor, in fact, expressed even more serious doubts, when he stated: ³It was like they had hardly even ever driven a car.......²

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How the Media Is Nauseatingly Promoting a Neocon Victory in Iraq

Quite a good piece by Robert Parry.
For a government that wraps its actions in moral absolutes about good versus evil, while deriding liberal relativism, the Bush administration may rank as the most committed in modern American history to an ends-justify-the-means ethos.

Indeed, to understand the administration’s neoconservative foreign policy, one must recognize how this moral framework works: First, it sets out worthy-sounding goals – freedom, democracy, security – and then it applies whatever tactics are deemed necessary – torture, murder, unprovoked invasions – along with an aggressive propaganda strategy at home.

Next, when events take a positive turn, the neoconservatives claim credit, even if they had only a minor role or the events were largely coincidental. Criticism of the bloody means is washed away by celebration of the virtuous ends. Mainstream commentators join in, cheering the neocons’ farsightedness. Those who opposed the original actions are pushed to the political margins.
The whole thing is worth a read.
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Oil Politics

I'm sure it is just a coincidence that gas prices jumped to an all time high just as the GOP started pushing again for drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve.

Nonetheless, since high oil prices are very much on everyone's mind these days, can Peak Oil as a major news story be far behind?

It's certainly only a matter of time, particularly since the Peak Oil concept has been entered in the Congressional Record.

With that in mind, I highly recommend everyone read Dave McGowan's terrific essay: "Beware the 'Peak Oil' Agenda".
It has become apparent that many people have misinterpreted my 'Peak Oil' rants. I know this because I get e-mail with messages like, "thanks for giving me hope," and "thanks for changing my view of the future." I am sorry to have to report here that the newfound optimism of some of my readers is entirely unwarranted. After reviewing my past writings, I realize that the fault for this misunderstanding lies with me, since I haven't done a very good job of articulating exactly what my position is.

This, my friends, is the harsh reality, so pay very close attention: the fact that 'Peak Oil' is an entirely manufactured construct does not mean that the doomsday scenarios painted by the 'Peak' crowd will therefore not become our new reality. This is not just another scam to further pad the pockets of the oil industry and other financial elites. The stakes are much higher than that. Much higher.

In order to clarify my position on 'Peak Oil,' it would be instructive to briefly review the areas of agreement, and the areas of disagreement, that I have with those who are selling the scam.

The Peakers claim that 'Peak Oil' is the single most important issue that we are facing today. I agree with that assessment (but not because 'Peak Oil' is a valid concept).

The Peakers claim that much of America's military might has been directed in recent years at conquering the key oil and gas producing regions of the world. And that is obviously quite true. Central Asia and Iraq have been seized, Venezuela has suffered through constant meddling by the CIA, the Sudan has been targeted for a future assault, and Saudi Arabia and Iran have been subjected to saber rattling.

But the Peakers also claim that these military ventures have been motivated by America's desire to seize what will soon be the last drops of the world's precious reserves of oil -- and that is entirely untrue.

The Peakers claim that we will very soon be facing a world where chaos reigns supreme -- a world of war, famine and death on a scale unknown in recorded human history. And that does, in fact, appear to be the case. And we're not talking about the distant future here, folks; we're talking about the very near future.

But the Peakers also claim that this global "die off" will be a regrettable, but quite natural, and entirely unavoidable, consequence of the world's oil taps running dry. And that is the really big lie. That is the lie that will very soon be used to rationalize the killing off of hundreds of millions, possibly billions, of the world's people. There are, you see, simply too many people in the world who, by merely being alive, are standing in the way of the aspirations of the global elite.

The people that the 'Peak Oil' pitchmen are fronting for are deadly serious about selling 'Peak Oil' to the masses -- and not just in theoretical terms, as a cynical ploy to raise prices and increase profits. No, it has become clear that the real goal is to actually cut off most of the world's oil supplies under the ruse that the oil simply no longer exists. The desired result is massive social unrest, widespread famine, and endless war. The majority of the world's people will not survive. Those that do will find themselves living under the overtly authoritarian form of rule that will quickly be deemed necessary to restore order. And if you think that we here in America are exempt, you are sadly mistaken.

In order to pull off this stunt, all the world's major oil producing regions must be solidly under the control of the U.S. and it's co-conspirators, otherwise known as 'allies.' In other words, the puppet-masters have to control all the major oil taps, so that they have complete control over the flow of oil -- or lack of it. And that, in a nutshell, is the real reason for America's recent military ventures. The goal, you see, is not to steal Iraq's oil, or the oil in the 'Stans, or in the Sudan, or in Venezuela, or anywhere else. We don't want to take their oil, because the truth is that we don't really need it ( What we want to do is sit on the taps so no one else can get to the oil.

The Peakers have claimed that the Central Asian adventure - launched with the invasion of Afghanistan, but certainly not limited to Afghanistan - has largely been a bust. We have all heard the spin: the hoped-for reserves aren't there, what has been found can't be extracted economically, the grand plan simply didn't pan out, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Frankly, I find all of that a little hard to believe. After all, hasn't Central Asia been the subject of intense interest and study by geologists and the petroleum industry for the last century or so? You would think that the lords of oil were operating on more than just a hunch when they drafted this gameplan. And I couldn't help noticing that the United States has established a massive military presence in the area, and it looks very much like it was designed to be a permanent military presence. If the oil and gas aren't there, then what exactly is it that our troops are standing guard over?

At least one researcher has doggedly claimed that the Central Asian and Middle Eastern military ventures are but a prelude to military confrontations with Russia and China. But that hardly seems to be the case. It does not appear as though there is any urgent need for 'regime change' in Russia or China, since the West seems to already have 'friendly' regimes in place in both countries. And I have to add here that if the ruling regimes of Russia and China really are enemies of the United States, they will undoubtedly go down in history as the stupidest enemies of all time for watching approvingly as the United States entrenched its military machine in their backyards on the most transparent of pretexts.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, I believe that the Central Asian adventure has been wildly successful. True, the West hasn't reaped the bounty of the region's oil and gas reserves -- but I don't think that was ever the goal. To the contrary, I think the U.S. has done exactly what it set out to do: deny anyone else the opportunity - by force if necessary, and it will become necessary - to exploit the area's resources.
Please read the rest of the essay as well. This McGowan essay is quite good as well. Truly important stuff, and I am beginning to think he is right.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Strauss and the Universal Homogeneous State

Remember, Wolfowitz got his Ph.D. in Political Science with Strauss.
At the heart of Leo Strauss’s political thought is an open apology for terrorism. This idea is illuminated in Strauss’s exchange of comments with Alexandre Kojève, a neo-Hegelian official of the French finance ministry, in the 1950s. At the heart of this debate is the question of the universal and homogenous state, and how philosophers should react to its existence. The universal homogenous state means something like a world where war and underdevelopment have been eliminated, and in which leisure time and well-being are rising. For most people, the universal homogenous state would look like a world of peace, progress, and prosperity. But for Strauss and Kojève, peace, progress, and prosperity mean the end of history because they wipe out the higher human values, which depend upon politics, and thus upon war. (Implicit also is the idea that peace, progress, and prosperity are bad for oligarchical domination, a cause dear to Strauss and Kojève.) Strauss sums it up thus: “This end of History would be most exhilarating, but for the fact that, according to Kojève, it is the participation in bloody political struggles as well as in real work or, generally expressed, the negating action, which raises man above the brutes.” (Strauss 208) For Strauss and Kojève, “unlimited technological progress and its accompaniment, which are indispensable conditions of the universal and homogeneous state, are destructive of humanity. It is perhaps possible to say that the universal and homogeneous state is fated to come. But it is certainly impossible to say that man can reasonably be satisfied with it.” (Strauss 208) This view of technology is that of the Greek historian called the Old Oligarch (who did not like the long walls and the Athenian navy), and is certainly not that of Plato. For Strauss, Greek philosophy is a screen upon which he projects his own ignorant opinions. Not caring about what Plato really thought, Strauss advances towards his terrible conclusion: “If the universal and homogeneous state is the goal of History, History is absolutely ‘tragic.’ Its completion will reveal that the human problem, and hence in particular the problem of the relation of philosophy and politics, is insoluble.” (Strauss 208) In Strauss’s view, the imminent coming of the universal homogeneous state means that all progress accomplished by mankind to date has been worthless: “For centuries and centuries men have unconsciously done nothing but work their way through infinite labors and struggles and agonies, yet ever again catching hope, toward the universal and homogeneous state, and as soon as they have arrived at the end of their journey, they realize that through arriving at it they have destroyed their humanity, and thus returned, as in a cycle, to the prehuman beginnings of History.” (Strauss 209) This raises the question of the violent revolt against the universal homogeneous state, which is what Strauss regards as inevitable and desirable: “Yet there is no reason for despair as long as human nature has not been conquered completely, i.e., as long as sun and man still generate man. There will always be men (andres) who will revolt against a state which is destructive of humanity or in which there is no longer a possibility of nobleaction or of great deeds.” (Strauss 209) When the real men revolt against too much peace, progress, and prosperity, what will be their program? Strauss: “They may be forced into a mere negation of the universal and homogeneous state, into a negation not enlightened by any positive goal, into a nihilistic negation. While perhaps doomed to failure, that nihilist revolution may be the only great and noble deed that is possible once the universal and homogeneous state has become inevitable. But no one can know whether it will fail of succeed. (Strauss 209)

What can be understood by nihilistic negation and nihilist revolution? In the nineteenth century, nihilism was an ideology of terrorism; the crazed bomb-throwers who assassinated statesmen and rulers across Europe and America (including President McKinley) were atheists, anarchists and nihilists. In the twentieth century, the nihilist revolution was synonymous with some of the most extreme factions of fascism and Nazis. “Long live death!” was a slogan of some of them. With these lines, Strauss has opened the door to fascism, murder, mayhem, war, genocide, and most emphatically to terrorism. And he is not shy about spelling this out.

What will the nihilist revolution look like? Strauss writes: “Someone may object that the successful revolt against the universal and homogeneous state could have no other effect than that the identical historical process which led from the primitive horde to the final state will be repeated.” (Strauss 209) The primitive horde or primal horde refers to the human communities of the Paleolithic hunting and gathering societies, to the foragers and cave people of the Old Stone Age. Strauss is endorsing a nihilistic revolt that will have the effect of destroying as much as 10,000 years of progress in civilization, and in hurling humanity back to its wretched predicament in the Paleolithic. Here Strauss finds a momentary common ground with Rousseau, who also had a liking for the Paleolithic; here we are close to the ideas which animated the reign of terror in the French Revolution. Strauss comes as a Job’s comforter to those who have been thrown back into the Old Stone Age: “But would such a repetition of the process – a new lease on life for man and humanity – not be preferable to the indefinite continuation of the inhuman end? Do we not enjoy every spring although we know the cycle of the seasons, although we know that winter will come again?” (Strauss 209) Springtime for Leo Strauss has thus acquired the idiosyncratic meaning of a return to the horrors of the Old Stone Age. Short of turning back the clock to the Paleolithic, Strauss sees one promising possibility latent in Kojève’s universal homogeneous state. This concerns the opportunity for political violence, yet another form of terrorism: “Kojève does seem to leave an outlet for action in the universal and homogeneous state. In that state the risk of violent death is still involved in the struggle for political leadership…. But the opportunity for action can exist only for a tiny minority. And besides, is this not a hideous prospect: a state in which
the last refuge of man’s humanity is political assassination in the particularly sordid form of the palace revolution?” (Strauss 209) Such sporadic and limited violence is not enough for Strauss.
(excerpt from W. G. Tarpley, "9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA")
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Wolfowitz for World Bank

So does anyone else out there think that the new line about Paul Wolfowitz being a Utopian dreamer who really wants freedom and Democracy for the world (this was the spin given on NPR this afternoon by Sebastian Mallaby) is just a smokescreen to hide his greedy and twisted neocon agenda?

You know, like this:
The Defense Planning Guidance, “a blueprint for the department's spending priorities in the aftermath of the first Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union,” is leaked to the New York Times. [New York Times, 3/8/92, Newsday, 3/16/03] The paper causes controversy, because it hadn't yet been “scrubbed” to replace candid language with euphemisms. [New York Times, 3/10/92, New York Times, 3/11/92, Observer, 4/7/02] The document argues that the US dominates the world as sole superpower, and to maintain that role it “must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” [New York Times, 3/8/92, New York Times, 3/8/92 (B)] As the Observer summarizes it, “America's friends are potential enemies. They must be in a state of dependence and seek solutions to their problems in Washington.” [Observer, 4/7/02] The document is mainly written by Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby, who hold relatively low posts at the time, but under Bush Jr. become Deputy Defense Secretary and Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, respectively. [Newsday, 3/16/03] The document conspicuously avoids mention of collective security arrangements through the United Nations, instead suggesting the US “should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted.” [New York Times, 3/8/92] It also calls for “punishing” or “threatening punishment” against regional aggressors before they act. Interests to be defended pre-emptively include “ access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, [and] threats to US citizens from terrorism.” [Harper's, 10/02]
Does anyone think Wolfowitz has really changed?

More on the neocon philosophy later tonight.
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How Western Countries Typically Treat Progressive Arab Leaders

The example of Ataturk:
The best hope the Arabs had of sharing in the level of scientific and technological progress attained in the most advanced parts of the world was offered by nationalist regimes whose program was one of economic development and modernization. The first example was that of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who created the first permanent republic in Asia, the Turkish Republic of 1923. Rejecting the sultanate and the caliphate in favor of the Turkish nation, Ataturk implemented the separation of mosque and state, making Turkey a modern, secular republic. He introduced the Roman alphabet in place of Arabic script, outlawed the veil for women and the fez for men, and promoted the European hat as the “headgear of civilization.” Harems were discouraged, while women were given the right to vote and held public office. Ataturk introduced the Gregorian calendar, the metric system, and family names. A dirigist Five-Year plan for economic development was introduced in 1933. Public law was based on modern European criminal and civil codes, rather than the sharia. Ataturk saw religion as a matter of purely personal and private belief and preference, and all religions were tolerated. Ataturk would have to rank at or near the top of any list of the nation-builders and modernizers of the twentieth century. Among his other achievements, he helped Turkey to be the only defeated power of World War I which escaped fascist rule. In retrospect, if there was one experiment in the Muslim world which the US should have supported, it was that of Ataturk. If his ideas had prevailed more generally, there could be no talk of the clash of civilizations today. Given this impressive record, how did the Allies of World War I, including the United States treat Ataturk? They tried with every means possible to overthrow him, to isolate him, and to carve Turkey into a series of petty states. In the Peace of Paris in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles with Germany was bad, but the Treaty of Sèvres which was imposed upon Turkey was an act of grotesque lunacy. It was clearly the peace to end all peace. Turkey was supposed to be divided into French, Italian, and Greek zones of occupation, while the Bosporus and the Dardanelles were occupied by the British and French. There was an attempt to create an independent Armenia in eastern Anatolia. The British and French even attempted to lure the US into taking over a piece of Turkey, but in those days the US was smart enough to decline. That was fortunate, since Ataturk was able to defeat the armies the Allies threw at him; he was able to guarantee the national independence and territorial integrity of Turkey. His brutal treatment of Greek and Armenians, who were fighting for the Allies, must be seen in this context.
W.G. Tarpley-- "Synthetic Terror 9/11: Made in USA".
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