Archive for the Sorrows of Empire category

April 24th, 2011

Pre invasion chat re iraq’s oil

very good, very important

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/secret-memos-expose-link-between-oil-firms-and-invasion-of-iraq-2269610.html

works in interesting ways with the account in greg palast’s Armed Madhouse.

April 2nd, 2011

London Times FOI findings support Sibel Edmonds stories

For files. FBI is a lying sack of stuff. Secret police, nothing more.

March 16th, 2011

Fascism in Michigan and the Weimar Republic

Provoked by bizarre and anti-democratic events in Michigan — Rachel Maddow (must see) with help from Amy Goodman seems to broken this story nationwide — I’ve been laboring thru William Sheridan Allen’s The Nazi Seizure of Power (1965), a conglomeration of newspaper reports, interviews and other local info that paints the rise of the Nazi party in a single German town, Northeim, during the Weimar Republic’s last years and Hitler’s first two. 1930-35.

The Social Democrats in coalition with the Catholic Center party were the ruling block of the republic and its last defenders as the global depression took root and undermined confidence.

Even so, in Northeim Nazi candidates attracted only a hundred some votes in 1930. But escalated to many thousands and 62% of votes cast by autumn 1932.

Why? It seems, in a nutshell, that the depressed life of the postwar decade left the generation of relatively educated Middle-classers then coming of age resentful of the political power of the Social Democrats — the party of less educated laborers.

Would-be Yuppies, expecting and expected to do better than their comfortable parents, in despair in hard times about getting ahead, are abruptly inspired with hope by a romantic (re German national spirit) vision of violently breaking the status quo left behind by the failed war and now preyed upon by international capital.

And yet the great enemy, as the political battle that put Hitler in power develops, is the party of the lower working class. Destroy that class’s only potent institution (the Soc Dem Party) and … and somehow things would begin to improve.

This of course resembles the new patriotic war of Tea Party governors and legislators on what’s left of America’s unions.

That Germany’s democracy itself would go as the Nazis (or the Communists, who also gathered more votes as things got worse) came to power seems to have been understood by the educated young adults who put Hitler in power.

Apparently their despair was such that it just didn’t seem important. Gilded Age cultural history re the glories of Wilhemine Germany, combined with the republic’s poor economic performance — as it tried to pick up the pieces of King Willie’s failed world war — just left Weimar with no love, it seems.

The Nazi Seizure also makes use of the voting records, which clearly show newly registered voters inspired by and flocking to the Nazi candidates in the early 30s.

This picture syncs perfectly with Albert Speer’s own extended account of how and why he joined the party in his first memoir: Inside the Third Reich.

In both books the generation gap is rather clear. Speer’s party membership was something his successful father never approved, even at the wild height of Albert’s own success. Once, Speer writes, his father agreed to attend an event with Hitler & co — but there refused to make conversation, and to shake the Fuehrer’s hand, and quickly departed.

( Speer’s mother, on the other hand, DID join the Nazi party — in secret, without telling her husband or her son, until she discovered that the latter had also secretly joined.)

Speer’s family had been wealthy during his childhood, but the hyperinflation of the early postwar years forced them to sell off the heirloom family factory and leave their high social place in the city for cheap country living.

Like his father and grandfather Albert took to architecture. But his new single-shingle practice was going nowhere as the Depression took root, and he had to get ahead before he’d be permitted to marry his sweetheart.

He begins teaching on the side, 25 years old circa 1931, and his students are the ones who persuade him to attend local Nazi meetings. Then he sees Hitler speak and immediately signs up, and years later struggles to say why, saying mostly, repeatedly, that Hitler inspired hope when no one and nothing else did.

Viewing it from our distance, it all seems so immature, and blind to the actual causes of distress — Industrialism and high finance badly out of whack in the wake of the first war. It seems the ill-advised reaction of youth — unbridled, gone off half cocked — to a bad time.

The patience of the parents if effective would have better served both Nation and society. Let alone Europe.

February 16th, 2011

US fomenting revolt in Argentina?

This from Democracy Now:

Argentina: U.S. Warplane Carried Unauthorized Weapons

The Obama administration is locked in a diplomatic row with Argentina over allegations a U.S. military warplane brought unauthorized cargo to the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.

The Argentine government says a U.S. Air Force jet was found to be carrying a number of items, including weapons, drugs and spying devices, without proper clearance.

The United States maintains it disclosed the items beforehand and had received approval.

Argentine cabinet chief Aníbal Fernández said an Argentine plane carrying similar cargo to the United States would have led to the imprisonment of its crew at the military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

AnĂ­bal Fernández: “I want them to tell me what would have happened if an Argentinian plane with Argentinian military or armed men from the Argentinian security forces wanted to enter the U.S. with weapons, with machines to intercept communications, with numbered electronic equipment, with high-potential GPSes and all sorts of other things. They would certainly have ended up in Guantánamo, wearing orange overalls.”

The spat comes on the heels of President Obama’s announcement of his first state visit to Latin America. Obama plans to stop in El Salvador, Chile and Brazil.

February 13th, 2011

Contrast Cairo 2011
with Pittsburgh 2009

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 Remain….

By Order of the City of Pittsburgh Chief of Police

I Hereby Declare this to be an Unlawful Assembly …

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 Action…..”

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.

February 11th, 2011

Life After Hosni:
Algeria, Yemen, Iran, Libya, Bahrain …

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As the sun comes up on the first day After Hosni, Saturday February 12 — Algiers is now up in arms, with a reported 30,000 police trucked in from around the country to control the inspired crowd.

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.

February 8th, 2011

NYRoB: Is the Palestinian state dead?

Posted in Israel, Sorrows of Empire by ed

The New York Review of Books (our finest periodical) re the impasse in Palestine

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/feb/24/israel-palestine-breaking-silence/

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.

February 8th, 2011

Obama unveils
“Prolonged Detention”

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate announces the Executive’s new theory/power to enforce “Prolonged Detention” …

He’s off the deep end. Will say and do anything. Anything he’s told.

January 30th, 2011

Egypt

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.

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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.

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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.

January 26th, 2011

Death Notice:
Palestinian State finally stillborn.
Now begins the Terror?

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 … 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 “No chance” last year.

And no wonder the New York Review of Books (our finest periodical) has just published a notice of surrender:

It’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.

It’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.

January 26th, 2011

Alan Sabrosky re Israel, Mossad and 9/11

For files.

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.

January 25th, 2011

State of the Union:
Activism is a crime

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Maureen Murphy writes:

I have been summoned to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago on January 25. But I will not testify, even at the risk of being put in jail for contempt of court, because I believe that our most fundamental rights as citizens are at stake.

I am one of 23 anti-war, labor and solidarity activists in Chicago and throughout the Midwest who are facing a grand jury as part of an investigation into “material support for foreign terrorist organizations.” No crime has been identified. No arrests have been made …

January 23rd, 2011

FBI and Fracking company contra woman in Pennsylvania

Fracking — a method of drilling for natural gas — poisons groundwater yet is steaming ahead under Obama.

Here is an ACLU video about a Pennsylvania woman active in trying to prevent local Fracking getting targeted by Homeland Security, which lumped her with terrorists and proceeded against her as such, and passed intelligence about her to the corporation doing the local Fracking.

We are so far gone down the road to perdition. That fracking is alllowed to occur anywhere is itself something out of dystopic science fiction.

January 23rd, 2011

FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley re new American gestapo

Posted in American Gestapo by ed

She was a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2002.

Now sees 1984 in our future.

Demonstrations are scheduled at FBI buildings in 30 cities on January 25 re the anti-war activists who were raided by Mueller’s Maulers in the fall.

January 22nd, 2011

Obamarama: Internet IDs
coming this year

Obama will be unveiling a “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” in the next few months.

The “White House Cybersecurity Coordinator” practiced Doublespeak while breaking the news a few weeks ago, pointing out that the Commerce Department:

is “the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government” to centralize efforts toward creating an “identity ecosystem” for the Internet ….

“We are not talking about a national ID card. We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.”

January 22nd, 2011

From the Archives:
Is Ideology a good idea?

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.

January 13th, 2011

Leader of Spanish communists mad that FBI used his photo
to concoct Most Wanted pix
of Osama Bin Laden

You can’t make this stuff up.

Or …

January 9th, 2011

Tombstone
Arizona

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Pentagon boss, whom I admire, is worried about the declining character of the armed forces:

“We’ve learned a lot about ourselves in the last decade; some of it’s been pretty unpleasant stuff,” Admiral Mullen said in an interview. “I want us to understand what we’ve seen, to a depth that we can ensure that our moral compass stays true, our ethical compass stays true.”

Mullen’s worries bear relation to the mass assassinations yesterday in Tucson, in that across the past decade the society has being trained to accept perpetual war as a way of life.

Our kids, our soldiers, growing up, are trained to envision life as a video game. And Obama’s Secretary of Education spent most of the past decade turning five Public Schools in Chicago into military academies.

The Spectre of the Gun haunts the society’s blood, born as we were coeval with Industrialism, with no time, as in Europe, to prepare for that onslaught, in a protracted war for control of the continent against nature and its natives.

Armies destroy countries — often their own.

Japan and Bismarck’s Germany — reduced to cinders by 1945, having provoked with their martial successes and crimes the remainder of the industrialized world into alliance.

The Russian empire in its Soviet phase — an elephantine Military-Industrial Complex riding the backs of an impoverished and well policed working class, an inverted pyramid, an unstable equillibrium nevertheless held in place for several generations by secret police, radio and television.

For people like Gore Vidal, whom I admire, it’s a given: the American empire was born in 1898 with our adventurism contra Spain in the Philipines and the Caribbean. We then built a huge permanent army to help win the world wars. That work done, the monster turned upon Dr Frankenstein. The republic’s cancer exhibited itself in 1963. We’ve been watching it die all our lives. The installation of Bush-Cheney, in retrospect, seems the end. The full-page tombstone in the New York Times.

However one might parse our history, no Western society could withstand in perpetuity the things we’ve done here and abroad for the reasons we’ve done them since October 2000. Mullen seems to sense this, and indeed, almost to be saying as much out loud.

And the eloquent Sheriff Dudnick of Pima County yesterday echoed him:

“This has not become the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in and I think its time we do the soul-searching,” he said. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous and unfortunately, Arizona has become the capital. We have become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry.”

January 8th, 2011

Abraham Bolden, Secret Service agent of JFK’s day

Hero Mark Lane will have a documentary this year featuring hero Abraham Bolden, former Secret Service agent and author of THE ECHO FROM DEALEY PLAZA, who was imprisoned for trying to publicize the story of the attempted assassination of JFK in Chicago in early November 1963.

Here’s the two of them speaking.

And here — perhaps more informative — is Mr Bolden with Thom Hartmann (three clips total there on youtube).

And here’s a panel with James Douglass, author of the excellent JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE – Why He Died and Why It Matters (2008), with Oliver Stone and Lisa Pease (latter whom has dropped here a few times in the past …) Five clips total.

January 5th, 2011

Wikileaked: Israel told US it would keep Gaza on brink of economic collapse

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.