Among the offerings:
Archive for the Mideast & Oil category
very good, very important
works in interesting ways with the account in greg palast’s Armed Madhouse.
Meanwhile recall the Pittsburgh G20 meeting, where a few hundred generally well behaved protesters were sprayed with tear gas and rubber bullets and the citizenry in general was then addressed with these pre-recorded robotic words:
“To Those that Remainâ€¦.
By Order of the City of Pittsburgh Chief of Police
I Hereby Declare this to be an Unlawful Assembly â€¦
I Order All those Assembled to Immediately Disperse
You must leave the immediate vicinity.
If you do not Disperse you may be Arrested and/or Subject to Other Police Actionâ€¦..”
There’s a ton of video out there re the performance of our men in black and blue. For example.
New York Police Dept has been refining anti-assembly techniques since the Tompkins Square Police Riot of the late 80s. Preemptive arrests of people identified by the intel boys as leaders is a hallmark. So entirely unconstitutional …
The American Republic is long dead. 1963 I would say marks the day. It’s only because the Bread & Circuses are still available in sufficient quantity that we as a people are so supine.
But with upcoming controls on the internet (a Circus) and recent all-time food and gas prices (eg Bread) … Well, we shall see.
And on the grander stage …
I think the Wisner Deviation in Cairo/Munich last weekend was a rare public picture of the our rather globalized shadow government in action.
It reminded me of when Paul Bremer, a dickbrain face for the Likud Lobby gang, was sent to Baghdad post Mission Accomplished and soon announced that, as King, he intended to privatize Iraq’s oil infrastructure, in accord with a plan that the LL/Neocons had concocted and briefed various Beltway powers on in 2002, well before the invasion.
Problem is — they hadn’t briefed the Oil Mafia. And had spent a good deal of 2002 trying to persuade the OM that the invasion was a good idea.
Less a day after Bremer announced this, the ex-CEO of Chevron flew halfway around the world to Baghdad, burst into Bremer’s office and told his secretary to beat it, then roared for twenty minutes or so, apparently suggesting among other things that Bremer’s life was in danger,
The Oil Mafia, you see, had no intention of letting Iraq’s considerable oil reserves pour into the world in anything like Free Market style. That oil has been repressed since our deal with the Saudis in the 70s and if it were allowed to freely flow would depress the price of oil in a big way.
Or this at least is the Oil Mafia’s position. And when Bush’s boy Bremer and the Pentagon Likud Lobbyists who made the war happen tried to change policy, the reaction was immediate — and entirely effective. Bremer withdrew his announcement forthwith.
Very like Wisner suddenly zipping out of the private sector to Cairo with a State Department brief then telling the world that Hosni should keep his seat as the White House tried to pull it away …
In any case it seems to me we have much to learn from the Egyptians, those in uniform and those of the street.
Early last week the Algerian tyrant, inspired by Hosni, had promised to soon lift the State of Emergency.
Some speculate about the rebirth of Pan-Arabism.
Algeria, of course, has its own modern history.
Something began spreading over the town. Mysterious fires broke out. The number of thefts doubled. A second lieutenant who’d got into the habit of lighting candles in his room in front of books expounding materialistic ideas suddenly scratched and punched his commanding officer. A lady of the highest society began beating her children at fixed intervals and insulting the poor at every opportunity. Another tried to practice free love with her husband.
“That’s impossible,” she was told.
“What do you mean,” she cried, “we’re free, aren’t we?”
We were free, indeed, but of what?
From Camus’ The Possessed, inspired by Dostoevsky’s novel about revolution and madness.
The New York Review of Books (our finest periodical) re the impasse in Palestine
The big new background here, of course, is the utterly cynical and hopeless picture of the Pal State negotiations presented, with utter clarity, in the Wikileak diplomatic cables and, especially, the Palestine Papers.
Ed Note: See comments below to follow events into the third week of the Egyptian revolution culminating in the resignation of Mubarak and assumption of power by the so-called Supreme Council of the armed forces on February 11.
An amazing month, week and weekend.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed El Baradei this Sunday evening in Cairo took leadership of the … revolution and told the world — Washington — there will be no going back to the status quo ante.
Here is the streaming Al Jazeera English. The only way to go:
The Egyptian demonstrations that began on January 25 were inspired by the Tunisian revolution, itself inspired by revelations in the first huge batch of Wikileaks US diplomatic cables.
The Likud Lobby is surely telling Obama that Israel and the West cannot tolerate a democracy in Egypt — a fortiori in light of the Palestine Papers and the continuing stream of Wikileaks diplomatic cables.
Quite a pickle for the American president, a man of words and little action.
But if he continues to sit on his hands and allows Mubarak to enforce a crackdown, sympathetic eruptions seem certain to occur thru out Arab lands.
Mub’s appointment of intelligence chief Sulieman as vice president on Saturday seemed a step toward Mub’s departure. But now it’s now clear.
The regular army has been supportive of the demonstrations — which is to say they have not attacked. The violence of Thursday and Friday was initiated by various secret police forces. Al Jazeera reports that the elite Presidential Guard troops number 22,000. I wonder if that’s true. And wonder where the loyalties of all these forces now lie and how they’re divided.
Ayman Nour, another top opposition leader, speaks today of negotiating with the army and other leadership figures, to form a “national unity” government to cross the interregnum to the scheduled 2011 elections. Not clear if he sees Sulieman an acceptable interim leader.
Tourism is essential to Egyptian life. The current status quo cannot go on forever. It’s clear that el Baradei is calling on Washington to pull the plug on Hosni and move forward. We shall see.
The Palestine Papers are clear: Obama gave the Cairo Speech, then promptly sold the Palestinian state down the river.
( Here is Al Jazeera’s search page for the approx 2,000 diplomatic cables and the like, chiefly out of Israeli and Palestinian Authority offices. )
The extent of the collapse — complete — of support for the UN resolution that recognized Israel in sync with a plan for a two-state solution â€¦ Shocking.
It’s now clear that when the Israeli foreign minister gave the UN the finger on Palestine this past September, he had the American president in his pocket.
No wonder Knesset member Zaneen Hoabi simply said â€śNo chanceâ€ť last year.
And no wonder the New York Review of Books (our finest periodical) has just published a notice of surrender:
Itâ€™s now clear that the American war in the mideast, pinched upon Iran’s eastern and western borders, was coeval and is conjoined with a final solution in Palestine.
Alan Sabrosky, a Vietnam combat vet, former intelligence officer with the Marines and former director of the Army War College, talks plainly about how the American war got off the ground.
And it’s now clear how the Army of God comes to appoint the Prime Minister of Lebanon. I wonder if Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Zakheim et al. — the creators of the American war under Bush-Cheney — are laughing or crying.
These are the days of miracles and wonder. These are the days when the Justice Department proceeds beyond the bounds of law against Anti-War demonstrators and the free press.
Little wonder, of course, that the American media are all but silent on the truth of 9/11 and, now, the Palestine Papers.
One effect of the latter’s publication in freer worlds abroad seems all but certain: A true war of terror, born of final despair re the fate and treatment of the Arabs of Palestine, in the angry half of the Islamic world. Hope dies last, as Alexander Dubcek observed, but now it is dead.
No more Mr Shoe Bomb. No more Mr Underpants.
Itâ€™s well known amid intel types that nuclear devices are loose in the underworld. Every now and then an attempt to sell one surfaces. 1994 was the beginning of this game. It now seems to me only a question of time before angry young men try to set one off in Tel Aviv or New York.
From Kevin Barrett‘s excellent radio show.
Sabrosky is a Vietnam combat vet and a former director at the Army War College.
Also in the news today, the American ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, a Chicago friend of Obama, calls for the head of a UN official who had the temerity to write that the US government seemed to be involved in a coverup of the 9/11 events.
Some fun from the Summer 1992 issue of The New Combat: a Dialogue Game played around the notion of the need for ethical and political ideologies. Camus. Bertrand Russell. Ayn Rand. What a party.
(Comments to the game text may be posted here below.)
So … The Summer of ’92. Jennifer O’Neill, what a babe …
Bill Clinton and Al Gore were running against incumbent Papa Bush and Dan Quayle.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War were yesterday and the day before.
People were looking forward to them Peace Dividends.
The working class still had representation in Washington.
Hardly anyone knew what the internet was or might be.
Leader of Spanish communists mad that FBI used his photo
to concoct Most Wanted pix
of Osama Bin Laden
Out of the darkness thanks to Mssrs Bradley, Assange & co:
Israel told U.S. officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse” while avoiding a humanitarian crisis, according to U.S. diplomatic cables
Arabs in rubble. That’s the policy.
Meanwhile Netanyahu calls on Obama to release from prison the Israeli spy Pollard.
From Roger Cohen at the Times:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, immediately put President Obama on notice.
Resurgent Republicans would be looking for him to â€śbe tough with Iran beyond sanctions.â€ť If it came to war, the United States should â€śsink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime.â€ť
Sure, Graham conceded, â€śyou can expect, for a period of time, all hell to break loose.â€ť Another war is the â€ślast thing America wants.â€ť But a nuclear-armed Iran was unacceptable and containment â€śoff the table.â€ť
This follows upon David Broder going on in the Post recently about how war with Iran would stimulate the economy.
A Halloween video interview with Haneen Zoabi, the first woman representing an Arab party to be elected to the Knesset — two days after being fired upon by Israeli police in Umm al Fahm.
And here’s an earlier print interview from the summer, shortly after her Privilege in the Knesset was revoked, rather violently, because she had participated in the Gaza Flotilla.
The headline over the video interview reads No Chance for Two States.
This follows, of course, upon the Great Finger that Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Foreign Minister, gave the UN General Assembly in September: Peace with Palestinians? Let’s talk in 20 years after we deal with Iran.
Team Obama, meanwhile, as supine as ever in the face of renewed East Jerusalem construction despite public requests to the contrary from the White House.
If the president who gave the Cairo speech does nothing, what hopeless enmity shall follow? World war over there (with Israel our Syracuse) and real terrorism over here (none of this Gang who Couldn’t Bomb Straight stuff) seems more likely than ever, post Lieberman.
Shocking thought: Might one vote for Jeb Bush in 2012 simply because his father (with whom he bears much more in common than his dopey black-sheep brother) was the only US president to have disciplined Israel since advent of Reagan?
Ed Note: See here for background reaching back to August 2008, when the CIA commenced bombing Pakistan with drone missiles.
And see comments below to follow events henceforth, including the Peace Talks that turned out to have been attended by a Flim Flam Man in the guise of the Taliban. How long can this travesty go on?
Pakistan today closed off the main Khyber Pass portal that the US and its meagre coalition-of-the-willing use to supply their war efforts in Afghanistan, after the latest of recent US helicopter attacks killed three uniformed Paki servicemen.
Across the three days prior to the latest attack, Islamabad had expressed outrage at the helicopter raids, which at that point had killed many civilians among some sixty dead.
As the border closing was announced,
The Pakistani interior minister, Rehman Malik indicated that NATO strikes in Pakistan were being taken extremely seriously. â€śWe will have to see whether we are allies or enemies,â€ť he said Thursday.
The move to challenge the Americans also comes just two days after Pakistan’s top generals and American officials all expressed loud displeasure with the Islamabad government led by Benazir Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari:
American officials, too, say it has left them increasingly disillusioned with Mr. Zardari, a deeply unpopular president who was elected two and a half years ago on a wave of sympathy after the assassination of his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. …
In a meeting on Monday that was played on the front page of Pakistanâ€™s newspapers, the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, confronted the president and his prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, over incompetence and corruption in the government.
According to the press and Pakistani officials familiar with the conversation, the general demanded that they dismiss at least some ministers in the oversized 60-member cabinet, many of whom face corruption charges.
The civilian government has so far resisted the generalâ€™s demand. But the meeting was widely interpreted by the Pakistani news media, which has grown increasingly hostile to the president, as a rebuke to the civilian politicians and as having pushed the government to the brink.
After the meeting, the presidentâ€™s office issued a statement, approved by all the men, saying they had agreed â€śto protect the democratic process and to resolve all issues in accordance with the constitution.â€ť
A Pakistani official close to the president who was familiar with the conversation but did not want to be identified, said, â€śThe president made it clear that he would not leave, come what may.â€ť
â€śSanity had prevailed,â€ť the official added. …
In his most recent visit to Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, the American special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said the international community could not be expected to provide all the billions of dollars needed to repair the flood damage, a warning interpreted here as a rebuke of the civilian government and its mismanagement.
But Washington, not unlike Pakistanâ€™s military, is caught, American officials say, because there is no appetite for a return of military rule. Nor is there desire to see the opposition politician and former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, resume power.
The last is interesting in that Sharif would be popular and even more difficult for Washington to control. But the Times report reports he has no interest in stepping up at the moment given the general chaos.
So it seems that just as Washington has abandoned President Karzai in favor of a perhaps imaginary reprise of Northern Alliance (non-Pashtun) so-called warlords, so across the border it may be looking for a collection of Men We Can Work With.
And as Fletcher Prouty pointed out (while discussing the assassination of President Diem of Vietnam in 1963), when Washington withdraws support of an allied leader, the latter’s native enemies soon swarm and conduct a coup. This may be the week that President Zardari became a walking dead man slated to join his wife in martyrdom. Or perhaps friends in Paris.
Along those lines, note that two weeks ago, September 17, in London, emigre Paki leader Imran Farooq was murdered, leading to great unease in Karachi (the New York of Pakistan), where the MQM party, which he once led and still helped manage, is a major power:
As [Robert Mackey's] colleague Carlotta Gall explained last week, the M.Q.M. represents families who moved to what is today Pakistan when India was partitioned in 1947:
“Political power struggles in the countryâ€™s sprawling port city of Karachi have degenerated into an ethnic turf war between two parties in the governing coalition, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, whose support base is drawn from Urdu-speaking immigrants, and the Awami National Party, whose base is mostly Pashtun. Targeted killings left 165 dead people in August, including some senior political figures.
Now tens of thousands of people displaced by the floods, most of them ethnic Sindhis, are arriving in Karachi, adding a volatile new element to the political dynamic there. While Sindhi nationalists are welcoming them, opponents, like M.Q.M. members, warn that they will create more violence.”
In 2007, the BBC explained that the M.Q.M.â€™s leaders have effectively run large parts of Karachi from London for years. At the time, a party spokesman said it was not necessary for the cityâ€™s leaders to actually be in Pakistan, since, â€śin these days of high-tech communication why not govern Karachi from London? Itâ€™s a new form of outsourcing.â€ť
And note that two days before Farooq was killed, the former Paki president General Pervez Musharraf announced he would return from friendly exile to start a new political party.
Meanwhile the long delayed NATO offensive to cleanse Kandahar of people who don’t side with the Kabul government of Karzai (whom the americans themselves have been steadily defaming for more than a year) seems to have muddled but continues. It began in mid August. Two days ago the American commander Petraeus told the press of peace talks of some sort . between Karzai and that loose coalition of unwilling various Afghans in arms referred to in the press as the Taliban.
All this comes against the great disaster of the summer in Pakistan — flooding of biblical proportions, which the western world reacted to largely with a yawn, but which since beginning in late July has (says the Times) “ruined just about every physical strand that knit this country together â€” roads, bridges, schools, health clinics, electricity and communications.”
Has Pakistan this September, under such pressures, begun to cease to exist as the state we’ve dealt with since the Soviet invasion next door?
Curious George Goes to the War
I donâ€™t want the war
Donâ€™t want the war I
Want the war I know
The war I know what
War I know what wars
I know what wars are
Know what wars are like.
I know the destruction and
Know the destruction and death
The destruction and death that
Destruction and death that comes
And death that comes with
Death that comes with them.
I am the one who
Am the one who has
The one who has to
One who has to comfort
Who has to comfort mothers
Has to comfort mothers and
To comfort mothers and widows
Comfort mothers and widows of
Mothers and widows of thee
And widows of the dead.
Of course for us that
Course for us that would
For us that would be
Us that would be the
That would be the best
Would be the best solution.
Besides it would save us
It would save us fifty
Would save us fifty billion.
Simmons is a legendary oil service man. One of the planet’s genii in this sphere.
Both men offer practical containment ideas that should be used and don’t understand the government’s inaction.
And both assert at length that the little geyser we’ve been watching on TV is not the prime leak.
Friend and poet Michael Gushue reports this alleged lost scene from the Citizen Kane script:
Kane stands with his butler/factotum, Raymond in the family tomb. His only son, Charles Foster Kane II, is dead at the age of 31. The year is 1938, and workmen are setting a slab on the grave.
After they leave, Kane looks at the simple inscriptions on the crypts of his father, mother and son.
Above the blank space reserved for him, is an inscription on an ornate, ancient wall imported from Persia.
Kane translates for Raymond (bored and couldn’t care less):
The drunkenness of youth
Has passed like a fever
And yet I saw many things
Seeing my glory in the days of my glory
I thought my power eternal
And the days of my life
Fixed surely in the years
But a whisper came to me
From Him who dies not
I called my tributary kings together
And those who were proud rulers under me
I opened the boxes of my treasure to them, saying
“Take hills of gold, mountains of silver
And give me one more day upon the earth”
But they stood silent
Looking upon the ground
So that I died
And Death came to sit upon my throne
O sons of men
You see a stranger upon the road
You call to him and he does not stop
He is your life
Walking towards time
Hurrying to meet the kings of India and China
O sons of men
You are caught in the web of the world
And the spider
Nothing waits behind it
Where are the men with towering hopes?
They have changed places with owls
Owls who lived in tombs
And now inhabit a palace
We live in affluence
And are blind to where we are
Our concerns and feuds
Fill our time every day
You must ask yourself
What is the worth?
It has begun.
What the Dice Man has joined may none put asunder.
If your brakes don’t work, smile as you go under.
What’s he building in there?
This is actually a conversion of a screenplay, the antepenultimate, my fifth, from 2005, into a novel. Thought about doing it before. Now it seems to have gone and …
The opening paragraph seems to be:
In June 2004, after five Medecins Sans Frontieres were found murdered in the middle of nowhere in Afghanistan, Aaron called, for the first time since coming to New York with Maya. Long out of touch had been the pattern of a friendship born and first aborted in Texas, then again at Duke, before settling down to disjointed maturity during years of criss-crossing work overseas. Since the rebirth of History the routine had been that to meet for coffee one went to Baghdad or Bosnia or Berlin.
That, or perhaps:
He would miss his turn.
And so on to the end.
If we shall suppose that writing lengthy bits that no one shall ever read is one of those offenses which, in the providence of Dog, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both Yea and Ney this terrible task as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living Dog always ascribe to Him?
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of lore may speedily pass away.
Yet, if Dog wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the pen man’s sore head and hands and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the quill shall be paid by another drawn by the horde, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, “The judgments of the lord are true and righteous altogether.”
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as Dog gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Major piece in February’s Harper’s. Hats off to them.
The center does not hold.
Obama has done nothing but talk on this.