Saturday, June 04, 2005

Rousing the Dragon

The Dragon & the Chrysanthemum
By Conn Hallinan
May 31, 2005

International Relations Center (IRC)
Foreign Policy In Focus

At first glance, the growing tension between China and Japan seems almost inexplicable. Massive anti-Japanese demonstrations in China over events that took place more than half a century ago? A heated exchange filled with mutual threats over an offshore petroleum field that western oil companies think is not worth exploiting? Has a Shinto shrine and slanted textbooks really driven the two great Asian powers to the edge of a Cold War or worse?

No. While history does play a role in all this, if you want to understand the antagonism between Beijing and Tokyo, you have to start in Washington and, in particular, Washington State. In Mid-April of this year, the Japanese government agreed to let the U.S. Army’s 1st Corps transfer from Fort Lewis, Washington to Camp Zama near Yokohama.

U.S. troops in Japan are hardly something new. Some 50,000 of them are spread among 73 bases on the main islands and Okinawa, and the Japanese shell out $2.6 billion yearly to keep them there. But American troops in Japan, according to the U.S.-Japan security treaty, are supposed to maintain “peace and security in the Far East.” Period. However, 1st Corps’ responsibility extends beyond the Pacific Basin to include the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, through which passes the bulk of the oil that supplies China’s roaring economy.

Besides the recent decision to re-deploy 1st Corps, the United States is busily building up Guam as a “power projection hub,” with, in the words of Pacific Commander Admiral William Fargo, “geo-strategic importance.” The United States is also trying to shift Guam-based bombers to Yokota airbase near Tokyo. Christopher Hughes of Warwick University, an expert on the region, told the (British) Guardian, “The ramifications of this would be that Japan would essentially serve as a frontline U.S. command post for the Asia-Pacific and beyond.”

And that “frontline” is heating up considerably. Earlier this year CIA Director Porter Goss and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress that China constitutes a “military threat” to the United States. The testimony appears to signal a decision by the Bush Administration to institute a policy of “encircling” China with bases and U.S. alliances. The most obvious moves in this direction are the recent ones involving beefing up personnel and bases in Asia. But the United States has also tightened its control of Gulf oil through its occupation of Iraq and is extending its influence into Central Asia, a growing source for China’s energy needs.

The Chinese are acutely sensitive to issues concerning their borders, and Taiwan in particular, but what has really put them on edge is a recent statement by the right-wing Mayor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, that the “U.S., Russia, and Japan” should work together to strangle China’s oil supplies. “It would keep China in check greatly,” he said, “since China has no resources.”

It would also turn the present tensions in East Asia from worrisome to downright scary. It is in light of these moves that the recent spat over textbooks, a Shinto temple, and offshore oil fields needs to be seen.

Disputed History

The issue of distorted history books and visits by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Yasuekuni Shrine—where 14 class-A war criminals are deified—enrages not only the Chinese, but every country in the region that suffered under Japanese colonialism. The textbooks in question ignore or downplay Japan’s colonial policy, including the infamous Naming massacre in China and the issue of “comfort women” forced into prostitution for the Japanese Army.

The drive to cleanse Japan’s actions in World War II is led by the Society for Historical Textbook Reform, backed by industrial giants Canon and Mitsubishi and more than 100 Diet members from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. As Mark Seldon and David McNeill of Japan Focus point out, not only have the textbooks allowed an “extremist fringe” to put its version of history into homes across Japan, but the campaign has pushed other texts “sharply to the right.”

Fujioka Nobukastsu, vice-chair of the Society, says, “We’re confident that we can change the teaching of history in schools here.” It is a process that seems to be having an effect. In a recent commentary in the Financial Times, David Wall of Cambridge University writes that in his seminar on East Asian politics, “Japanese students, and even junior diplomats, laugh at Chinese students’ accounts of the massacre and other atrocities, saying the stories were Chinese government fabrications and pure propaganda.”

Many Japanese, however, oppose this ratcheting up of tensions with China. Naoto Kan, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, cautions about seeing China as “a military threat.” Yotaro Kobayashi, chair of Fuji-Xerox, has asked that Koizumi stop visiting the Shrine, a request echoed by head of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives and Chair of IBM, Kakutaro Kitashiro. It is no coincidence that business leaders are prominent among those calling for reducing tensions. China constitutes 20.1 percent of Japan’s foreign trade, slightly more than $213 billion last year.

What critics of Japanese nationalism fear is that the memories of World War II, and the enormous pain and damage the war inflicted on Asia and Japan, are receding. And the further they recede, the more Japan is willing to flex its military muscle. Japan has the fifth largest navy in the world, the 15 th largest air force, and a military budget close to $40 billion. The government recently elevated its Defense Agency to a full ministry.

Japan also signed onto the American Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) system and will spend $10 billion deploying it over the next decade. While the United States and Japan claim that the ABM is aimed at North Korea, the Chinese view it as a threat to their small strategic nuclear force.

The United States is pressuring Japan to dump Article 9 of its “peace constitution,” which renounces war as a “sovereign right of the nation” and “force as a means of settling international disputes.” It also bars Japanese troops from any “combat zones.” When the Koizumi government sent 500 troops to Iraq, it circumvented the ban by simply declaring Iraq a “non-combat zone.”

Japan’s Global Role

Last year, then Secretary of State Colin Powell bluntly told the Financial Times that “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full, active member of the Security Council, Article 9 of the Japanese constitution will have to be re-examined.” A recent poll by Mainichi Shimbum indicated that 70 percent of the Diet was opposed to altering the constitution or dumping Article 9.

Japan has become increasingly aggressive with its neighbors. It recently claimed Korea’s Tokodo Islands, setting off huge demonstrations in South Korea. Japan began its colonial career by seizing the islands from Korea in 1905 and renaming them Yakeshima. The islands were returned to Korea in 1945.

The Koizumi government is picking fights with China as well, including taking control of a lighthouse first established by right-wing nationalists on Diaoyu Island. China called the action a “provocation against, and an intrusion into territorial sovereignty.”

Japan also exchanged sharp notes with Beijing over the disputed offshore Chunxiao oil field. A Japanese official told the Financial Times that Tokyo was pursuing “proportional escalation” over the fields. “If they do something, then we will do something until they understand our determination.”

It is not even obvious that there is much to argue over. Last year Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo Dutch Oil Group, and Unocal withdrew from developing the fields because the companies said there wasn’t enough oil or gas to merit it. So what’s going on here?

Well, Japanese nationalism is nothing new, and it appears that at least a section of Japan’s political classes has decided the best way to confront the growing power and influence of China is to sign on to U.S. designs for the region. But is Japan also laying the groundwork for a step that would have been unthinkable a generation ago: acquiring nuclear weapons?

In 2002, Japan’s then Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yasur Fukuda, said Japan was considering abandoning its long-term opposition to nuclear weapons. In the face of Korean and Chinese alarm, the government disavowed the statement, but it is not the first time government officials have raised the subject. And the United States has tacitly supported such talk.

Both Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) have warned China that if North Korea developed nuclear weapons, it was likely that Japan would do so too. A number of Bush administration sounding boards, like neoconservative Charles Krauthammer, have openly advocated Japan going nuclear as a way to offset the growing influence and power of China. Acquiring nuclear weapons would be relatively easy for Japan, which has plenty of fuel to reprocess, as well as missiles and satellite targeting systems.

It has been 50 years since atomic weapons destroyed two Japanese cities and killed more than 200,000 people, and these memories are growing dim for a new generation of Japanese. Memory charts a path to avoid the mistakes of the past. Amnesia condemns they be repeated.

(Conn Hallinan is a foreign policy analyst for Foreign Policy In Focus and a lecturer in journalism at the University of California, Santa Cruz.)

For More Analysis from Foreign Policy In Focus:

Cornering the Dragon
By Conn Hallinan (February 22, 2005)

Riding the Dragon, Soaring on Eagles
By Col. Daniel Smith (Ret.) (April 2005)

The Coming Conflagration

The Coming Conflagration

PEJ News - Prior to the Second World War, countries on either side of the looming conflict began mobilizing industry and the 'public mind' for what they knew was to be a grand war. They also began a frenzied diplomatic effort to form alliances. Today, a new alliance is forming to counter-balance the Anglo-American-NATO Axis powers that has drawn together traditional competitors China, and what's left of the Soviet Union; now they're wooing India to join the fold. -{ape}

The Coming Conflagration
C. L. Cook
June 4, 2005

The destruction of the former Yugoslavia was merely an opening move in the grand game currently unfolding in Central Asia. For the last decade, the United States, aided faithfully by its NATO partners, has quietly encircled Russia's southern border, knocking off former Soviet Republics, emplacing compliant regimes, and building military bases. The base network effectively restricts Russia's accustomed access to resources in the region, and impedes the natural export route between Russia and the two fastest growing economic powers on the planet, China and India. Seeing the threat posed to their future economies by a bellicose U.S., last February China and Russia signed a mutual protection pact. Now, India is trying to mobilize Asian oil producers in an effort to keep Asian oil in Asia.

For their part, the United States has denied their "Forward Operating Locations" surrounding Russia and obstructing pipeline routes to India and China are designed as permanent bases from which America and its allies will control Caspian Basin oil reserves. Their presence there is simply part of the "War on Terror." It's an argument that carries little water for the Chinese, who've grown restive at what they see as an encirclement of their country too.

Last week, China announced it's own plans to "deter terrorism." The first step they say is a move to establish a military presence (Forward Operating Location?) in the troubled former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz government denies they will allow the Chinese to deploy in their country, but talks quietly continue.

In the Pacific too, the Chinese are watching the deployment of U.S. forces to forward bases in Guam and redeployments of U.S. troops currently in Japan. This, in conjunction with the re-emergence of militarism in Japan and it's recent announcement declaring China a possible "military threat" all contribute to a growing atmosphere of apprehension, punctuated by antagonistic episodes like Prime Minsister Koizumi's visit to a shrine for Japanese "heroes" of the former Empire and the whitewashing of atrocities committed by that empire across Asia prior to and during WWII.

History, to we inheritors, always seems obvious: "Why couldn't they see it coming?" Today, we are the living actors future generations will consider pityingly, when they too ask, "How could they not see the coming disaster?"

Mobilization, frantic alignments and alliances, and the propagandizing of the public mind, all unmistakable elements of a pattern leading inexorably to war; but this time it is different. With most of the current players nuclear capable, WWIII may leave no future generations to tut-tut our ignorance.

Chris Cook
host the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor to You can check out the GR blog here.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Post Modern Spectacle

The Utimate Postmodern Spectacle
Terry Eagleton
Wednesday May 25, 2005
The Guardian

Michael Jackson and his trial hold a mirror to
modern western civilisationand its blurring of fact and fiction

Celebrity trials, like those of OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson, are sometimes loosely called postmodern, meaning that they are media spectaculars thronged with characters who are only doubtfully real. But they are also postmodern in a more interesting sense. Courtrooms, like novels, blur the distinction between fact and fiction. They are self-enclosed spheres in which what matters is not so much what actuallytook place in the real world, but how it gets presented to the jury. The jury judge not on the facts, but between rival versions of them.

Since postmodernists believe that there are no facts in any case, just interpretations, law courts neatly exemplify their view of the world. Another thing which blurs the distinction between fact and fiction is Michael Jackson himself. There is a double unreality about staging the fiction of a criminal trial around a figure who has been assembled by cosmetic surgeons. Jackson’s freakish body represents the struggle of fantasy against reality, the pyrrhic victory of culture over biology. Quite a few young people are not even aware that he is black.

If postmodern theory won’t acknowledge that there is any such thing as raw nature, neither will this decaying infant. It is hardly surprising that he has expressed a wish to live forever, given that death is the final victory of nature over culture. If the US sanitises death, it is because mortality is incompatible with capitalism. Capital accumulation goes on forever, in love with a dream of infinity. The myth of eternal progress is just a horizontalised form of heaven. Socialism, by contrast, is not about reaching for the stars but returning us to earth. It is about building a politics on a recognition of human frailty and finitude. As such, it is a politics which embraces the reality of failure, suffering and death, as opposed to one for which the word “can’t” is almost as intolerable as the word “communist".

If Michael Jackson is a symbol of western civilisation, it is less because of his materialism than because of his immaterialism. Behind the endless accumulation of expensive garbage lies a Faustian spirit which no object could ever satisfy. Like Jackson’s cosmetic surgeons, postmodernism believes in the infinite plasticity of the material world. Reality, like Jackson’s over-chiselled nose, is just meaningless matter for you to carve as you choose. Just as Jackson has bleached his skin, so postmodernism bleaches the world of inherent meaning. This means that there is nothing to stop you creating whatever you fancy; but for the same reason your creations are bound to be drained of value. For what is the point of imposing your will on a meaningless reality?

The individual is now a self-fashioning creature, whose supreme achievement is to treat himself as a work of art. Ethics turns into aesthetics. And just as there are no constraints on the individual self, so there are no natural limits to promoting freedom and democracy across the globe. What looks like a generous-hearted tolerance - you can be whatever you like - thus conceals an imperial will. The tattoo parlour and George Bush’s foreign policy may seem light years distant, but both assume that the world is pliable stuff on which to stamp your will.

Both are forms of narcissism for which the idea of reality putting up some resistance to your predatory designs on it, whether in the form of the Iraqi opposition or a visit from the local district attorney, is an intolerable affront. Postmodern culture rejects the charge that it is superficial. You can only have surfaces if you also have depths to contrast them with, and depths went out with DH Lawrence. Nowadays, appearance and reality are one, so that what you see is what you get. But if reality seems to have dwindled to an image of itself, we are all the more sorely tempted to peer behind it.

This is the case with Jackson’s Neverland. Is it really the kitschy, two-dimensional paradise it appears to be, or is there some sinisterly unspeakable truth lurking beneath it? Is it a spectacle or a screen?

If courtrooms are quintessentially postmodern, it is because they lay bare the relations between truth and power, which for postmodernism come to much the same thing. Truth for them, as for the ancient Sophists, is really a question of who can practise the most persuasive rhetoric. In front of a jury, he with the smoothest tongue is likely to triumph. On this view, all truth is partisan: the judge’s summing up is simply an interpretation of interpretations.

What determines what is true for you is your interests, which in turn are determined by gender, class, ethnicity and the like. The Simpson trial gave a new twist to the claim that truth is black and white: whether you thought the defendant guilty or innocent depended to a large extent on your skin colour. But the other interests in question are financial ones. Just as the scientist with the fattest research grant is most likely to produce results, so truth in the Simpson and Jackson trials is a commodity to be knocked down to whoever has the deepest pockets.

In this sense, a good deal of postmodern theory can be illustrated by a single time-worn phrase: get yourself a good lawyer.

· Terry Eagleton is professor of cultural theory at Manchester University

Bush in Waiting: Thuggery Florida Style

Global Eye
Code Red
By Chris Floyd
June 3, 2005

Last month, we reported here about Jeb Bush's courtroom efforts to crush the life of an abused, poverty-stricken 6-year-old girl in his gubernatorial satrapy of Florida. Later, against all odds, a jury of ordinary citizens thwarted the dynast's brutal will. But as befits a scion of the ruling family, Bush is now brushing aside this interference from the rabble and pressing ahead with his plans to strip the little girl of all public assistance.

Bush's minions went to court earlier this year in a bid to cut off medical aid to Marissa Amora, who, at the age of 2, had been abandoned by Jeb's "Department of Children and Families" despite overwhelming evidence of horrific past abuse -- and the imminent danger of more to come. More came. Within weeks, she was beaten almost to death; then Jeb's agents tried to stop her medical treatment and let her die. She survived their malign intervention and is now thriving with a new family -- but still suffers from permanent, catastrophic damage caused by the entirely predictable beating she received after the DCF cast her aside.

But late last month, the jury in the case issued a stern rebuke to these perverted Bush Family values: They awarded Marissa $35 million in damages for institutional neglect and for her future medical care, with the DCF ordered to pay the bulk of the costs. So, a happy ending, right?

Don't be silly -- we're dealing with the Bush-Walker gang here. And for almost 100 years, from their ammo-dealing days in World War I to their heavy investments in Nazi Germany to their profitable hook-ups with Arab oil tyrants to their back-door buttressing of Saddam Hussein to their present-day bonanza of blood money gushing from the slaughter in Iraq, this clan of wingtipped thugs has always built its fortune on the backs -- and the bones -- of the poor. And no self-respecting Bush clansman would ever let some uppity little black girl and her foster mother make him look bad, no matter how egregious his failures.

Jeb had three choices after the verdict. He could have simply accepted responsibility for his agency's horrible neglect and paid the full amount. Or he could have accepted responsibility but asked that the large award be reduced, as often happens in such cases, which would still leave Marissa with enough money to afford the extensive and costly health care she will need for the rest of her life. The first course would have been just and honorable; the second, pragmatic yet not inherently cruel.

But honor, justice and responsibility have no place in the Bush clan's ruthless operations. So Jeb picked the third choice, the "nuclear option." He asked an appeals court to throw out the entire award -- even the damages levied against other, non-state parties in the case -- leaving Marissa with absolutely nothing, The Palm Beach Post reports.

Filing for dismissal, Bush's lawyers blasted the jury for being too stupid to process the complex documentation of the case and acting instead on "prejudice and sympathy." While any "prejudice" in the case would seem to lie with the lily-white governor's attempt to grind a black child under his heel, it's true that the jury probably did have some measure of sympathy for a 6-year-old girl who will have to be kept alive through a feeding tube for the rest of her days because Bush's bureaucrats failed to protect her from well-documented abuse.

But sympathy is for "girlie-men" in the demented moral universe of the Bushist faction. Or as one of the Bush Family's old business partners once said, just before he launched an unprovoked war of aggression against Poland based on lies, propaganda and manipulated intelligence about a bogus threat to the nation: "Close your hearts to pity. The stronger man is right. Be steeled against all signs of compassion." Power is everything, people are nothing, and the weakest go to the wall -- that's the Kennebunkport Code.

But of course you have to dress up your blood-and-iron philosophy with the prevailing pieties of the day if you want to snow the hoi polloi and weasel your way into power. And Jeb is one of the great whited sepulchres of our time, a master of the hypocritical arts, ever eager to hog the nearest camera and blubber teary platitudes about the "culture of life" -- even as he feverishly signs death warrants in an apparent bid to surpass his older brother's record as the most bloodthirsty executioner in modern U.S. history. If Marissa were, say, a nice white woman in a vegetative state whose case had been taken up by powerful interest groups and ballyhooed into a national media carnival, then doubtless Jeb would even now be dabbing his eyes as he knelt for a photo-op at her bedside.

But because Marissa is "nobody" -- one of the poor, the powerless, the "insulted and injured," in Dostoevsky's phrase -- she can be flushed down the toilet and no one will notice. For the aim of Bush's legal maneuvering is clear: He wants to "run out the clock" on Marissa, litigating the case quite literally to death, until her family sinks beneath the overwhelming financial and physical burden of keeping her alive and her makeshift, overstrained support system eventually suffers the inevitable breakdown.

It's a despicable strategy, a wicked strategy, but entirely in keeping with the Ruling Family's ethos, which has given the world a terror-spawning quagmire of murder and atrocity in Iraq -- 10,000 Marissa Amoras, dead, mangled, orphaned, abandoned, abused, forgotten.

And for what? For power. For money. For the Code.


DCF Asks Judge to Toss $35 Million Award for Girl
Palm Beach Post, May 28, 2005

DCF Sought to Let Abused Girl Die
Palm Beach Post, May 8, 2005

How Jeb Bush Stole the 2000 Election for His Brother
Harpers, March 2002

ChoicePoint [vote purging corporation]
DKosopedia, June 2, 2004

1 Million Black Votes Didn't Count in 2000 Election
San Francisco Chronicle, June 20, 2004

Justice in Jebworld
Empire Burlesque, May 18, 2005

Willie's Story [Bush Justice, Texas-Style], May 13, 2005

Gitmo Detainees Say They Were Sold
Associated Press, May 31, 2005

Guant–źnamo and beyond:
The Continuing Pursuit of Unchecked Executive Power
Amnesty International, May 13, 2005

Bush Secret Effort Helped Iraq Build Its War Machine
Los Angeles Times, March 23, 1992

Iraqgate: Confession and Coverup, May/June 1995

Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1993

US Was a Key Supplier to Saddam
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 24, 2002

US Dual-Use Exports to Iraq
US Senate Committee on Banking,, May 25, 1994

US WMD-Related Exports to Iraq
US Senate Banking Committee, Oct. 27, 1992

Liberated Kuwait: Rape, Reprisal and Repression
San Francisco Bay Guardian, Sept. 9, 1992

Bush Family Machinations
SF Indymedia, Nov. 15, 2001

Why the Gulf War was not in the National Interest
The Atlantic Monthly, July 1991,

The Hidden History of America's War on Iraq
Synthesis/Regeneration, Winter 2003

Influence and Bailouts a Business Tradition in Bush Family
St. Petersburg Times, Oct. 29, 2000

From Texas to Abu Ghraib:
The Bush Legacy of Prisoner Abuse
Common Dreams, May 10, 2004

The Bush Dynasty's Dark Magic, Jan. 27, 2004

Heir to the Holocaust:
Prescott Bush, $1.5 Million and Auschwitz
Clamor Magazine, May/June 2002

Bin Laden Money Flow Leads to Midland, Texas
In These Times, October 2001

Lying: A Bush Family Value, July 19, 2003

Bush and the Nazis
Newsweek Poland, May 29, 2003

Bush-Nazi Dealings Continued Until 1951:
Federal Documents
New Hampshire Gazette, Nov. 7, 2003

Sun Myung Moon, North Korea and the Bushes, Oct. 11, 2000

The Bush Family Oligarchy, Aug. 14, 2000

George H.W. Bush, the CIA and
a Case of State Terrorism, Sept. 23, 2000

All in the Profiteering First Family
Prince George's Journal, Feb. 23, 2004

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune,
and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
Kevin Phillips, Viking Press, 2004

The Family That Preys Together
Covert Action Quarterly, Summer 1992

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Canada's Tricky Dick?

Canada's Tricky Dick?

Not to be outdone by "Deep Throat" revelations in the U.S. this week, Canada has its own political scandal brewing that too harks back to the Nixon era. - {ape}

MP Gurmant Grewal

Canada's Tricky Dick?

C.L. Cook
June 2, 2005

The real issue of the congressional Watergate Hearings back in the seventies was character. As old Tricky Dick Nixon himself put it: "Americans have to know if their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook." Of course, Nixon was telling the truth, in his fashion. He was never charged with a crime, though history has judged him. But, if Dick wasn't a "crook," what the hearings revealed was a sleazy professional politico whose stoop knew no limits. What Americans, and the world, discovered was a cheap conniver who went so far as to secretly tape all of his conversations, with friend and foe alike. What Dick was charged and convicted of, in the court of public opinion, was sliminess.

Ironically, it was Nixon's secret tapes that finally undid his presidency, not for what they contained, but what they lacked. When he finally delivered his tapes, as ordered to, the committee discovered a gap. Someone had erased portions of the tapes Nixon had sworn were complete. That constitutes perjury and could mean the Tricky One continuing his public service from a penitentiary. A lawyer himself, Nixon could see the writing on the wall and knew he had only one way out.

Last week in Canada, the government hung by a hair's thread. Paul Martin's Liberal minority was to be put to its first non-confidence motion, and there was no margin. The Martin team had scored a coup leading up to the vote, "stealing" a high profile opposition MP away to sit, and vote, with the government. There were cries and laments from the opposition, but in the end everyone agreed: Politics is a tough game, and dem's the breaks. But one opposition member has proven politics can be even tougher.

Tory MP, Gurmant Grewal accused the government of, in those crucial days before the vote, trying to bribe him away from his party. And, to prove it, he had it all on tape. Grewal had been in talks with cabinet minister, Ujjal Dosanjh and charged Dosanjh had made promises of great things for Grewal, if only he would switch sides. The triumphant Gurmant released portions of his tapes to the media, plastered it on his website, and generally looked very pleased with himself. But there was a small hitch. Perhaps hiccup would better describe the problem. It seems, like Mr. Nixon before him, MP Grewal's damning tape has been altered.

After receiving copies of the tape, courtesy Mr. Grewal, CP reporters, Jim Bronskill and Alexander Panetta decided they would take it on down to a guy they knew of, a guy who knew a lot about tapes and things, a guy touted as one of the best forensic-sound analysts in the country.

Stevan Pausak runs a little outfit in Oakville called, Forensic Science Services Inc. What the MIT-trained physicist does there is analyse stuff like Gurmant's tape to see if everything is kosher. And Pausak says the tape ain't kosher. It seems, there's a miniscule break in the tape, clearly identified by Pausak. What that break indicates Pausak says is: "It appears to be altered. This brief segment at the beginning shows that it's not continuous, and it should be."

Minister Ujjal Dosanjh agrees, the tape of his conversation with the pee wee P.I. from the opposition isn't quite as he remembers it; not quite as it should be. Now the RCMP have seized several of Mr. Grewal's originals to take their own little look-see. This, they think, could prove to be a criminal matter.

For his part, Grewal is doing his utmost to dodge reporter's questions, saying the matter is in the hands of the RCMP. He's emphatic though, that he did not alter the tapes. Or, as Richard Nixon might say, "I am not a crook!" The Tory's are meanwhile screaming foul, saying the authenticity of the tapes is not the issue; what is at issue, they claim is that the government tried to "bribe" one of their members to cross the floor.

Whether Grumant Grewal will get his day in court or not can also be said to be beside the point; in the court of public opinion, he's revealed himself to be a sleazy, professional politician, whose stoop knows no limit. Now, there's only one way out for the Tory leadership: send Mr. Grewal packing.

Chris Cook host the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada and serves as a contributing editor to You can check the GR blog here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Tits on a Bull: The Necessary Desecration

Tits on a Bull:
The Necessary Desecration

C. L. Cook
May 2, 2005

More ridiculous than the pyrotechnical vivisection of human beings consigned to infernos of blazing steel shards; more nuts than the deliberate irradiation of the fertile delta (mother to modern civilization); more blasphemous than the desecration of the Holy Word, is the debasement made visible through cunningly dampened, scanty slips and tops (the kind favoured especially by well-endowed "Hollywood" harlots) made daily apparent to our children on television and in the cinema.

This naked outrage, this abomination has run as tributary feeding the televideo stream until the torrent of mindless drivel drooled from the gaping T.V. sewer hole supplanted the real culture, voice and reflection of American values. Clearly, those that would purvey the grotesquery of the mammalian (female) nipple on stage or screen should be sawn to root. At least, that's what the paragons of virtue dictating public morality in the U.S.A. would have.

Yes, reported today: Nipples (female) are a to be a) taped flat; b) digitally removed in editing; or, C) otherwise removed. There's something ominous in that "otherwise" bit.

I'd like to say I made up most of that stuff. Afterall, who would think of such an idiotic, anti-life, anti-everything idea as to disallow the human form? Which beast from which ring of hell would pare our impure points and protruberances?

Well.... these guys might.

[note: the site's a "register" thing--- be warned and well prepared to scrub down afterwards.]

Tattoo Nation

Global Eye

By Chris Floyd
The Moscow Times
May 27, 2005

Seymour Hersh, chronicler of madness from the My Lai massacre to Abu Ghraib, tells a chilling story of the lingering aftermath of atrocity.

As the revelations of brutal torture by the victors were first spilling from conquered Iraq, Hersh was contacted by a family member of a young U.S. woman who had served in a unit policing Abu Ghraib, the Guardian reports. The young soldier had "come back a different person," the relative said: distraught and angry, turning her back on her family.

The relative retrieved a computer she'd lent the soldier to use in Iraq -- and found there a file crammed with torture porn: photo after photo of a naked Iraqi prisoner writhing before the onslaught of fierce police dogs. One of the pictures was later published and became an emblem of the dehumanizing brutality of the U.S. occupation.

The young soldier thought she'd been sent to fight for democracy and freedom, the relative told Hersh, but it was a lie. Instead she found herself in Hell, committing crimes, violating her own nature, her sense of duty perverted by leaders who twisted it into a weapon to serve aggressive war. Since her return, said the relative, the young soldier keeps getting black tattoos, more and more of them, slowly covering her entire body -- literally trying to change her skin.

The fate of this soul-broken, tormented daughter of America embodies the nation itself under the malevolent reign of President George W. Bush. The whole country is changing its skin, trying to cloak its complicity and shame with a wilful disfigurement. Who could look on the hideous form of Bush's America -- the snarling faces belching rancor on Fox News; the rabid partisans oozing bile through the halls of Congress; the money-glutting religious extremists relentlessly pushing ignorance, intolerance and theocratic dominion; the corporate beasts devouring the landscape, destroying communities, writing their own laws, gorging on unprecedented profits wrung from global sweatshops, corruption and war; the somnolent, silent, acquiescent public, blankly countenancing torture, deceit, military aggression and the destruction of their constitutional order -- and not see in all this a body politic in profound psychological crisis: traumatized, guilt-ridden, turning itself inside out in a frantic attempt to escape the truth?

And this desperation only grows as the truth piles up, fragment by fragment, dug out from Bush's slagheap of lies. In the past month, there has been a barrage of "smoking guns" outlining the Regime's criminality in such stark and blatant terms that even the U.S. corporate media -- those cringing enablers of atrocity -- have been forced to take some notice.

First came the leak of the 2002 "Downing Street Memo," where Britain's war council confirmed, once again, that Bush was determined to conquer Iraq no matter what and was "fixing the facts and intelligence around the policy." Of course, this was old news to anyone outside the echo chamber of the U.S. media. For example, we reported here in September 2002 that top Bushists like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had signed off on a plan in September 2000 calling for the military occupation of Iraq -- even if Saddam Hussein's regime had already been overthrown. Thus the "liberation" of Iraq was just as much a phony casus belli as the nonexistent WMD.

Even more fresh evidence of Bush's deliberate deception surfaced in The Washington Post last week, with a story detailing the mountain of doubts, caveats and outright debunking about Iraqi WMD that U.S. intelligence services placed on Bush's desk before the war -- all of it wilfully ignored as Bush continued to deceive the nation about the "undoubted" WMD "threat."

Then last week, The New York Times highlighted Bush's murderous torture system in Afghanistan: U.S. captors beating prisoners to death, pulpifying their limbs as part of a regimen of exquisite torments later exported to Iraq -- including to Abu Ghraib, where Hersh's tattooed soldier entered Hell.

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We have reported here in great detail on the voluminous evidence establishing that the endemic, systematic torture in Bush's gulag was instigated by the White House, sanctioned by Bush's appointed "legal experts" who ruled that as commander in chief, he is not constrained by laws against torture -- or, indeed, by any law whatsoever. Equally copious evidence establishes that Rumsfeld and selected Pentagon officials eagerly implemented the torture regimen -- then systematically worked to block or limit investigations once the truth began leaking out. For example, one of the low-ranking "bad apples" finally convicted in the Afghan murders -- after extended Pentagon cover-ups -- was sentenced to just three months in jail by a military court this week, The Associated Press reports. Three months for helping beat a chained, helpless man to death.

The evidence of the Regime's culpability for torture and mass murder is overwhelming. The burden of proof is no longer on Bush's accusers, but on those who would defend his evil actions. Yes, evil is the word. The Nuremberg Tribunal called aggressive war "essentially an evil thing." To initiate such a war -- under any circumstances -- "is not only an international crime," said the tribunal, "it is the supreme international crime," because it carries all the others in its wake. It breaks down all barriers of law and morality, in states and in individuals, creating the necessary inner chaos -- and physical opportunity -- for the most abysmal perversions of human nature.

There are other evils in the world, including the terrorism that Bush invokes, mendaciously, to justify an act of aggression he planned long before the Sept. 11 attacks. But the invasion of Iraq is the "supreme international crime" of our day. No tattoo, no new skin can blot it out.


The Unknown Unknowns of Abu Ghraib
The Guardian, May 21, 2005

In U.S. Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates' Deaths
New York Times, May 20, 2005

Guant–źnamo and beyond: The Continuing Pursuit of Unchecked Executive Power
Amnesty International, May 13, 2005

Pentagon Prepped Torture Defense, Said President Not Bound By Law
CBS News, June 7, 2004

Soldier in Afghan Prisoner Death Gets Three-Month Sentence
Associated Press, May 22, 2005

Dark Passage: PNAC's Blueprint for Empire
Excerpt from the book, Empire Burlesque

The Lies That Led to War, May 19, 2005

Pre-War Findings Worried Analyts
Washington Post, May 21, 2005

Pre-War Findings Worried Analyts
Washington Post, May 21, 2005

Secret Way to War
TomDispatch/The New York Review of Books, May 15, 2005

Memo Regarding Presidential Executive Order on Interrogations
Federal Bureau of Investigation, May 22, 2004

The Torture Memos: A Legal Narrative
CounterPunch, Feb. 2, 2005

No Degree, and No Way Back to the Middle
New York Times, May 24, 2005

Patterns of Abuse
New York Times, May 23, 2005

Religious Nationalism: The Weakest Link
Fredrick Clarkson, May 20, 2005

Corporate Money Washes Ashore, Not Jobs
Chicago Tribune, May 22, 2005

Virginity or Death!, May 19, 2005

They Really Are Watching You: Real ID, May 18, 2005

Pin Heads: The Bushist Push for Theocracy
CounterPunch, March 12, 2004

Forced Labor A "Social Evil," UN Report Says
Human Rights Reporter, May 19, 2005

COINTELPRO Spook/American Hero

As the United States violates international law, murders thousands of innocent Iraqis, runs a far-flung torture and sexual humiliation gulag, the complicit corporate media concentrates on a big time irrelevancy: W. Mark Felt, a doddering former spook and one-time deputy director of the FBI, is hailed as a “hero” for supposedly helping to bring down the Mafia don and war criminal, Richard Nixon.


If ever there was a superfluous news story—in competition with the antics of Paris Hilton—this is it.

In fact, as CBS News points out, it appears Felt wandered out of the closet after all these years because he is in the middle of a book deal. Felt’s lawyer, John D. O’Connor, who wrote an article about his client published in Vanity Fair, told the Early Show the issue is not Felt’s possible book, but rather his “heroic and permanent legacy” (in other words, the old spook wants to be elevated to the pantheon of “great Americans” and other self-serving reactionaries before he dies). According to O’Connor, Felt did not “turn against his government. He was working for the government. He was trying to do his job as a government employee. He was sworn by law to uphold the law, to investigate crime wherever it led him, to do the right thing, not to obstruct justice.”

Leave it to the corporate media to tell only one side of the story—the side that puts the government and its villainous employees in the best possible light. In fact, Mark Felt subverted the Constitution, not by outing Nixon—who was outed because he displeased the plutocracy, the real folks who run the United States—but because he was a COINTELPRO spook. “In 1981, Ronald Reagan granted a presidential pardon to Mark Felt for illegal actions against antiwar activists, including break-ins,” writes Eric Garris. “Those who study history know that the Cointelpro activities supervised by Mark Felt were not limited to surveillance and burglary. During that period, the FBI actively interfered with the internal politics of dissident groups, including starting and inflaming factional struggles. There were many local groups that were under the total control of FBI infiltrators.”

A statement released by the Reagan administration, dated April 15, 1981, commends Felt (and convicted felon Edward S. Miller, the one-time head of Squad 47, the domestic counterintelligence unit in the FBI’s New York Field Office; see Ward Churchill’s Wages Of COINTELPRO Still Evident In Omaha Black Panther Case) for serving “the Federal Bureau of Investigation and our nation with great distinction.” Felt and Miller believed “their actions were necessary to preserve the security interests of our country,” in other words violating the First Amendment rights of certain Americans (conscientious enough to actually petition the government for the redress of grievances) is patriotic. “America was at war in 1972, and Messrs. Felt and Miller followed procedures they believed essential to keep the Director of the FBI, the Attorney General, and the President of the United States advised of the activities of hostile foreign powers and their collaborators in this country.”

Translation: The above mentioned citizens in opposition to an illegal (and undeclared) war were essentially “collaborators” for “hostile foreign powers,” presumably North Vietnam, a small and impoverished nation attacked by the United States (and, as with Iraq, the attack launched against the Vietnamese was predicated on a big fat lie, namely that the Vietnamese had attacked U.S. warships in the Gulf of Tonkin, revealed as a fabrication by Daniel Ellsberg, another “collaborator,” when he released the Pentagon Papers).

As Brian Glick (War at Home, South End Press) writes, with COINTELPRO the “FBI set out to eliminate ‘radical’ political opposition inside the US. When traditional modes of repression (exposure, blatant harassment, and prosecution for political crimes) failed to counter the growing insurgency, and even helped to fuel it, the Bureau took the law into its own hands and secretly used fraud and force to sabotage constitutionally-protected political activity. Its methods ranged far beyond surveillance, and amounted to a domestic version of the covert action for which the CIA has become infamous throughout the world.” As Glick notes, COINTELRPO was a smashing success, even though its cover was blown (by congressional hearings in the 1970s) because it “distorted the public’s view of radical groups in a way that helped to isolate them and to legitimize open political repression” and (probably most importantly) “often convinced its victims to blame themselves and each other for the problems it created, leaving a legacy of cynicism and despair that persists today.”

Moreover, the vicious tactics of the FBI (and the CIA, supposedly prevented under its charter from partaking into domestic intelligence) are now enshrined and considered perfectly legal under the PATRIOT Act. In 1956, when COINTELPRO began, the government was frustrated by a “liberal” Supreme Court that limited the government’s power to proceed overtly against dissident groups. Of course, we no longer have a “liberal” Supreme Court and thanks to “terrorism” (created by the CIA and its nefarious proxies) our rulers have foisted unconstitutional laws on us, once again discouraging and stigmatizing what was once perfectly legal and accepted behavior (thanks to rights long ago enumerated by James Madison and the first U.S. Congress, now irrelevant).

In other words, all this brouhaha about Mark Felt, who actively subverted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, trumpeted by the corporate media as a hero, is nothing short of disgusting. Also disgusting are the comments of former Nixon toadies, such as the reprehensible convicted criminal, now popular radio talk show host, G. Gordon Liddy, who declared that Felt had “violated the ethics of the law enforcement profession,” in other words he should have taken his “secret” to the grave (meanwhile Liddy is free to make money off his notoriety as a common burglar). Pat Buchanan, a reactionary author and TV pundit (and former Nixon speechwriter), who has but one redeeming value (he’s against the Strausscon all-war-all-the-time master plan), called Felt a “traitor” for acting as “Deep Throat,” in other words putting forward the story (to the former Navy intelligence officer who worked for the CIA, Bob Woodward) designed to remove one Mafia don from office and install another one.

Incidentally, a Google News search (of well over 2,000 articles) on Felt using the keyword “COINTELPRO” this morning returns a miserable two entries—from the People’s Weekly World and (it really says something when only socialists and libertarians make mention of the fact Mark Felt was a spook subverting the Constitution, a fact completely omitted by our glorious corporate media—who it should be assumed know how to use the Google search engine—and who are hucksters for the ruling elite and various war criminals, thus unable or unwilling to tell us the truth).

Finally, it is appropriate Mark Felt was dubbed “Deep Throat,” originally the title of a 1972 X-rated movie by Gerard Damiano, because what he has done is not only truly and disgustingly inimical to freedom and the Constitution but obscene as well.


Meanwhile, our fearless leader and war criminal, George the Lesser, has weighed in on the Felt revelations, a news story that is burning up the corporate venue (since real news is swept under the carpet). “For those of us who grew up—got out of college in the late ’60s—the Watergate story was a relevant story. And a lot of us have always wondered who Deep Throat might have been. And the mystery was solved yesterday,” Bush told a fawning corporate media. “It’s a brand new story.”

Bullshit. It’s not a “brand new story” since the ruling elite knew all along who Deep Throat was (and he did its bidding to get rid of the corporate Costa Nostra Mafia don Richard Nixon). It is sincerely vomit-inducing for Bush to pretend he’s simply just another kid from the 60s following the Watergate story like everybody else when in fact his crime family worked behind the scenes for decades. Bush Senior lived in New York while ambassador to the United Nations during the rigged scandal and records show that he attended cabinet meetings and state dinners in Washington at the time. As well, Bush may have had a hand in bringing down Tricky Dick for personal reasons, as the would-be used car salesman reneged on a promise to make Bush an Assistant Treasury Secretary after Bush lost a Senate run. Nixon dissed Bush a second time when he placed him as chairman of the RNC rather than select him as Agnew’s successor as Vice President.

“I’m looking forward to reading about it, reading about his relationship with the news media,” Bush said about Deep Throat, aka Mark Felt.

Bush takes us for idiots because he knows more about the corporate media than any other president (or, anyway, his handlers know more about the media and how to work it)—he has them in his hip pocket, even though he on occasion pulls out somebody like Michael Isikoff and takes him to the woodshed for a thrashing.

How is it possible the American people continue to buy into this awe-shucks nonsense now that there is in-your-face evidence that Bush lied about Iraq and launched an illegal invasion and occupation, resulting in the criminal destruction of a country and the murder of thousands of innocent people?

But then, the German people did not demand Hitler resign after he started a destructive and ultimately fatal war (for average Germans and a few million other people)—and thus, to paraphrase and expand on George Bernard Shaw, man is an idiot because he never learns from history and continues to repeat the same mistakes, over and over, and forgive (or forget, or never know) lies that are crimes of the century.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Deep Throat Comes Out

Deep Throat Comes Out

PEJ News
- The anonymous source of intrepid Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's earthshaking reports on Watergate, reports that led to the downfall of Richard Nixon's presidency, has remained anonymous for more than thirty years. Today, the insider's name has been revealed. -{ape}

Deep Throat Comes Out
C. L. Cook
May 31, 2005

Vanity Fair, a U.S. culture and news magazine has broken the story that eluded both reporters and Washington D.C. insiders for decades. They have revealed the source of the leaks that sunk the presidency of Richard M. Nixon. A mystery more tantalizing to political junkies than U.F.O. conspiracies, the identity of "Deep Throat" has had an enduring appeal.

In 1974, with the scandal of the administration's sanctioned burglary and theft of Democratic National Committee party files and strategies prior to Richard Nixon's 1972 re-election bid broken wide-open, Nixon resigned his post to avoid the ignominy of impeachment. He then faded from the American political scene, his accomplishments over-shadowed by the events surrounding the "Watergate" fiasco. The literal mother-of-all-"Gates," today the suffix is synonymous with political dirty tricks.

But how did a cunning, and seemingly all-powerful "War-time President"come to be unseated?

Even among his enemies, Richard Milhous Nixon was respected for his political acumen, and feared for his ruthlessness. Mentored by the infamous "Tail-gunner" Joe McCarthy of the Witch hunt era, Nixon's obsessive need for secrecy was legendary. So, how then did someone get close enough to "Tricky Dick's" inside circle to do so much damage? And, who could it be?

Everyone knew W. Mark Felt was an ambitious guy. The Number 2 in the F.B.I. had ambitions of taking up recently deceased, J. Edgar Hoover's mantle as the next perennial overlord of the agency. It was this Felt's naked averice that convinced Nixon he was a man they could manipulate.

Nixon was desperate to quash the F.B.I. investigation into Watergate, knowing each day that investigation continued brought the truth closer to the Oval Office and its complicity.

Felt never got the post he coveted, but he did manage to do irreparable damage to the man who denied him. Long a controversial figure, he was convicted of violating civil rights through authorizing illegal searches of the homes and offices of perceived enemies of the White House, Felt never admitted his now revealed double life. He had been rumoured the leaker, even accused in print, but he never cracked.

Nixon's White House tapes reveal, as early as 1972, Nixon confidante and felon to be, J.R. Haldeman told the president he "knew" the leaks were coming from Felt. For their part, both Woodward and Bernstein refuse to confirm, or deny the Vanity Fair story, saying they will stick to their original agreement not to release the name of their informant while he or she is alive.

The revelations take the wind out of another theory, identifying George H.W. Bush as the informant, that made the media rounds several months ago.

W. Mark Felt is 91, and said to be in failing health.

Chris Cook
hosts the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada.

[note: Late Tuesday(31/05) both Woodward and Berstein confirmed Felt's story.]

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Great Suckering

The Great Suckering

Now we’re expected to believe Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is in Iran. “Quoting a senior insurgency commander in Iraq, the Sunday Times said Zarqawi had shrapnel lodged in his chest and may have been moved to Iran. It said his supporters might try to move the Jordanian-born militant to another country for an operation,” reports Reuters.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: Suckering the Great Unwashed
Kurt Nimmo
May 27, 2005

Now we’re expected to believe Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is in Iran. “Quoting a senior insurgency commander in Iraq, the Sunday Times said Zarqawi had shrapnel lodged in his chest and may have been moved to Iran. It said his supporters might try to move the Jordanian-born militant to another country for an operation,” reports Reuters.

May 29, 2005

Is it possible this “senior insurgency commander” is an idiot or possibly a rank amateur? If indeed al-Zarqawi is the “leader” of the resistance, it does not make sense for his top lieutenants to be so thoughtlessly loquacious with the media and admit the wounding of al-Zarqawi and reveal where he is. On the other hand, if al-Zarqawi is not connected to the resistance but is instead a U.S. covert intelligence operation designed to discredit the resistance and convince us they are little more than criminals and sadists (to say nothing of idiots), the United States has done an admirable job—that is, an admirable job served up to those of us who do not pay attention, who have abandoned common sense, and believe everything the corporate media feeds us. As Bush and Crew demonstrated when they fed us a passel of implausible lies in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, the passive and half-witted American news consumer will believe just about anything, so long as some authoritarian character tells him it is true. It matters not that the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi fairy tale is completely over the top, even surrealistic.

“Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the report in the Sunday Times newspaper was without foundation,” Reuters continues. “‘This is an unprofessional kind of fabricating news,’ Asefi told a weekly news conference.”


It is obviously fabricated news. It is a transparent effort to finger the Iranians—who figure big, as do the Syrians, who are accused of aiding and abetting the resistance, in Bush’s Strausscon cooked-up plan to “reshape” (through bunker buster and cruise missile) the Muslim Middle East—and make it appear the Iranians support the hobgoblin Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It does not matter if this makes absolutely no sense (the Iranians would have to be as stupid as the Iraqi resistance to have anything to do with al-Zarqawi) because facts or corroborating evidence of complicity is no longer needed—all it takes is a few declarations from anonymous “senior administration officials” and the fantasy is firmly established as truth. Never mind the conflicting and illogical nature of the al-Zarqawi in Iran story line—viz., as the corporate media keeps telling us, al-Zarqawi has a thing for killing Shi’ites and Iran is a Shi’a Muslim nation. Is there a reason a killer of Shi’ites is allowed refuge in a country teeming with Shi’ites? Does not compute.

“The United States has accused Iran of harboring al Qaeda militants who escaped Afghanistan after U.S. troops invaded in late 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks,” the Reuters report continues. “Tehran acknowledges that al Qaeda members have managed to cross its long and hard-to-police borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it denies providing safe-haven to al Qaeda members and has extradited scores of suspected militants who have fled to Iran in the last four years.”

In other words, since Iran “harbored” al-Qaeda, it can be assumed it is also harboring al-Zarqawi, even though, as Reuters points out, Iran has extradited “scores of suspected militants” (in other words, nobody knows if they are al-Qaeda or simply garden variety terrorists who have problems with the world’s last super-power invading an enervated—through medieval sanctions and premeditated mass murder—Arab country). In regard to Iran’s porous border, look no further than the U.S.-Mexico border as an example of how difficult it is to patrol frontiers. Don’t expect the corporate media to point this out, though.

“A US State Department report noted recently that Al-Qaeda members had found a ‘virtual safe haven’ in Iran, adding that the country’s long rugged borders were ‘difficult to monitor,’” according to the Sunday Times—that is to say it cannot be satisfactorily verified if al-Qaeda or al-Zarqawi are in Iran or romping at Jojo’s Circus at Disney World.

Of course, as noted above, it does not matter if the entire “virtual haven” story of al-Zarqawi in Iran makes absolutely no sense—to say nothing of the stupidity of the resistance blabbering about its supposed leader in counterproductive fashion, making the egregious (and strategically boneheaded) error of admitting he is wounded—because most Americans, oblivious to reality and enthralled with their dictator (as the German people were enthralled with Hitler—that is until their homes and work places were carpet bombed), will effortlessly swallow it hook, line, and sinker, same as they digested the Saddan and Osama tag team fabrication, or the scary campfire story Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, or the preposterous nonsense that the nine eleven hijackers were Iraqi (in fact, we don’t know who they were, but that’s another story).

Back in 1869, George Hull knew what he was talking about when he declared, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Hull made the comment in response to the inability of the average person to reason or use logic when confronted with improbable stories—in particular, a hoax perpetuated by Hull and his partner, William Newell, who convinced the public a giant was buried on their land, when in fact the alleged giant was a meticulously constructed statue (Hull sold two-thirds of the interest in the giant for $30,000 to a syndicate that moved the hoax to an exhibition hall in Syracuse, New York, and charged a dollar a head to see it).

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is our “sucker” giant. If George Bush says he exists, well then, he exists—and like simple-minded lemmings we will march right over the precipice, as did the Good Germans and other people who instinctively buy into the lies of authoritarian sociopaths.

A Moment's Remembrance for Amnesialand

Bring Them Home, Now: A Moment of Remembrance in Amnesialand

It is Memorial Day. It is a time to remember those who have fallen in war. It is a time to pay tribute to the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in duty to country. It is a time to reflect on the absence of so many, on the sorrow and loneliness of those they left behind, and the contributions they might have made in fuller, richer lives.

By Jack Random

It is Memorial Day. It is a time to remember those who have fallen in war. It is a time to pay tribute to the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in duty to country. It is a time to reflect on the absence of so many, on the sorrow and loneliness of those they left behind, and the contributions they might have made in fuller, richer lives.

On this Memorial Day, of all memorial days, it is a time to wonder why.

Today, there will be speeches in every town and city, in parades decorated with stars and stripes, in gatherings of uniformed veterans and the halls of the American Legion, giving praise to the nation’s best and bravest who gave their lives so that we might be free.

Here we must take pause and reflect that rhetoric has meaning and words can be employed to both good and harmful purpose. For too long we have nodded in thoughtless agreement to words that must be questioned for the good of our nation and the betterment of humankind.

It has been a long time since the end of World War II. While few would deny the justification and righteousness of that war, all subsequent military actions are far less clear. The history of intervention from the Cold War era (Korea, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Panama, Columbia, Lebanon, etc.) to the modern anti-terrorism era (Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq) is shrouded in doubt. Even the most loyal and patriotic historian will have difficulty rescuing the narrative of modern American warfare from the moral purgatory that former Secretary of State Robert McNamara christened the “fog of war.”

Now, on this Memorial Day, as our troops are on the fields of battle in two foreign wars, let us finally take an honest account and a solemn oath that we will never again commit a single soldier to a cause of war that is neither necessary nor justified.

We can no longer place our faith in the leaders of both major parties who accede to war at every calling. If ever there was a clear example of unnecessary and unjustified war, we are currently engaged in it. It is one thing to hold accountable an administration so bent on war it twisted intelligence and tailored facts to its own design, yet what can be said of an opposition party that instantly threw up its hands in unison once the bombs began to rain on Baghdad?

I do not believe that any man or woman, in war or civilian life, dies in vain. People die in vain only when the lessons of their fallen lives are not learned by those who survive them.

The lessons of every soldier lost and wounded in the land of ancient Mesopotamia are that we cannot rule the world by virtue of our might; that we cannot make a cause righteous when it is founded on lies and deceptions; that we cannot right a wrong by continuing the abuse to its bitter end; and that we cannot trust our own government on the critical matter of war.

Let us pay tribute to our fallen soldiers by withdrawing those who have survived, by granting amnesty to those who have abandoned an immoral cause, by dismantling our military bases, by making just reparations and by declaring an end to this modern day crusade.