Saturday, September 30, 2006

Soviet Generals: NATO will rout from Afghanistan: "British troops will be forced to flee Afghanistan, say former Soviet commanders who oversaw Moscow's disastrous campaign against the mujahideen in the 1980s.

"In a withering assessment of the "hopeless" campaign being waged there, they have told The Sunday Telegraph that mounting casualties will drive out Britain and its Nato allies. Chillingly, General Ruslan Aushev, who was injured during fighting with Mujahideen rebels, predicted: "You will flee from there.""

"Aushev believed that the Americans were attempting to pave the way for a quiet exit by asking for more soldiers from allies such as Britain and Poland. "The Americans can't have another Vietnam, so they are saving face. They will say, 'We did not withdraw; it was the Australians, the British who withdrew'."

Iraq at the Gates of Hell: Tom Engelhardt compiles various facts and figures, wear and tear on military equipment, financial cost, murder and torture of Baghdadis etc in an attempt to describe the current disastrous state of the Iraq war.

Particularly interesting are polls showing big majorities of Iraqis want US and foreign troops to leave immediately, and even bigger majorities showing Iraqis believe the US is setting up permanent military bases. They've got the story right there, and its nothing to do with 'terror' or 'democracy'.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Iraq War Causes Massive Increase in Terrorism

So much for the phony 'war on terror'.... The graph says it all but you can read Larry Johnson's article also. "No reasonable person can possibly deny that our intervention in Iraq has been an enormous stimulus to terrorist activity worldwide. Efforts by John McCain and others [John Howard?] to discount the significance of that factor by pointing out that the attacks on 9/11 occurred before our overthrow of Saddam Hussein is as trivial and irrelevant as they are disingenuous."

Torture and permanent detention without trial legalised in the United States

Argues Glenn Greenwald: "There really is no other way to put it. Issues of torture to the side (a grotesque qualification, I know), we are legalizing tyranny in the United States. Period."

"I fully understand, but ultimately disagree with, the viewpoint, well-argued by Hunter and others, that this bill constitutes merely another step on a path we've long been on, rather than a fundamental and wholly new level of tyranny.... There is a profound and fundamental difference between an Executive engaging in shadowy acts of lawlessness and abuses of power on the one hand, and, on the other, having the American people, through their Congress, endorse, embrace and legalize that behavior out in the open, with barely a peep of real protest."

The question has been asked, what did Bush do to break John McCain that a North Vietnamese prison did not?

Along with the doctrine of 'preemptive war' and permanent military domination as openly posted on the official Whitehouse website, this is a shameful thing which will take a long time for the United States to ever live down.

* One might think that under the US Constitution, it would be impossible to 'legalise' such things, but the US Supreme Court is one vote away from the 'Unitary Executive' - the US version of the 'Fuhrer Principle', that anything is legal if the President does it.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Flying Saucers and the Decline of the Left: Alexander Cockburn makes fun again of the 9-11 conspiracy nuts. Fanciful speculations in which great meaning or emotion is invested. What a waste. There's so much reality to learn about.

It's a bit like the Reichstag fire: to this day historians are not sure whodunnit. It could have been the Nazis, or maybe not. What difference does it make? The significance of the event is more in the way it was exploited by the Government of the day rather than in the detail of the event itself. Same with 9-11, except there's no doubt the hijackers were Arabs.

Public Daily Briefing: Bush-Cheney Determined to Strike in Iran

Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bush-Cheney since they came to power have wanted to conduct attacks in Iran.

We are picking up immense amounts of chatter about a possible war against Iran. All the lights are blinking red.

As Col. Sam Gardiner has been quoted: "When I discuss the possibility of an American military strike on Iran with my European friends, they invariably point out that an armed confrontation does not make sense -- that it would be unlikely to yield any of the results that American policymakers do want, and that it would be highly likely to yield results that they do not. I tell them they cannot understand U.S. policy if they insist on passing options through that filter. The "making sense" filter was not applied over the past four years for Iraq, and it is unlikely to be applied in evaluating whether to attack Iran."

Dave Lindorff: Report on strike group heading for the Gulf (21/9/6)

Time: What War with Iran would look like (17/9/6)


Billmon: War with Iran could be just the beginning. (21/9/6)

Lindorff: Bush and Iran - 26/9/6

SusanUnPC: October Surprise? (22/9/6)

Raw Story: Senior Pentagon Planning moves to second stage for Iran strike

Chris Hedges: Bush’s Nuclear Apocalypse

Chossudovsky: War Preparations in the Middle East and Central Asia: Good on basic analysis and the citizen's duty in this crisis.

Moves toward War with Iran: William Polk rates an attack on Iran as a 90% chance before the end of Bush's term. He quotes one source as saying that "conversations with senior officials in the Pentagon and the White House had convinced him that the decision for war had already been made." No one supports the attack, not even the British. (Little Johnny Howard isnt mentioned.)

U.S. rabbis list support for Israel as No. 1 High Holiday focus: "Seventy-two percent of rabbis surveyed said they are talking about the Jewish state."

Have they no shame? It's rather an odd phenomenon, a bit like Christians going to Church to hear the Priest sermonise on 'support for South Africa, the White state.' Hopefully someone would stand up and say, excuse me Father, shouldnt we be supporting an end to discrimination against coloured people, allowing them to be full and equal citizens of the country?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Iran linked to Lockerbie bomb: This story, that it was Iran, not Libya's Gaddafi, that was responsible for the Lockerbie bombing, has been around for a long time. If true, it means the Libyans were framed and the UK Justice process is a corrupt charade. Unfortunately, such things are possible. Back in the day, Gaddafi was the 'new Hitler.' It will be interesting to observe whether the charge is revived in the media system ahead of the planned war on Iran. Somebody once said 'the struggle against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.' Most people would not remember Lockerbie, much less who was responsible. If history were rewritten to put Iran in the frame, would anybody notice?

Jewish rabbi calls for extermination of all Palestinian males: "A Jewish rabbi living in the West Bank has called on the Israeli government to use their troops to kill all Palestinian males more than 13 years old in a bid to end Palestinian presence on this earth.

"Extremist rabbi Yousef Falay, who dwells at the Yitzhar settlement on illegally seized Palestinian land in the northern part of the West Bank, wrote an article in a Zionist magazine under the title "Ways of War", in which he called for the killing of all Palestinian males refusing to flee their country, describing his idea as the practical way to ensure the non-existence of the Palestinian race.

"We have to make sure that no Palestinian individual remains under our occupation. If they (Palestinians) escape then it is good; but if anyone of them remains, then he should be exterminated", the fanatic rabbi added in his article."

"The Kach movement recognizes the 'transfer' of 750,000 Palestinians that took place in 1948 in order for the state of Israel to be created on their land, but argues on their website that this 'transfer' was incomplete, and that all Palestinians must be sent away, or killed, in order for Israel to remain a 'Jewish state'.... The idea of extermination of Palestinians, or their 'transfer' into other countries, is not only a view held by extremists on the fringes of society. Prominent Israeli politicians have also made calls for a 'transfer', or ethnic cleansing, based on race."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Iraq war among history's 'dumbest'

"The U.S. invasion of Iraq was among the "dumbest moves of all time" that ranks with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of Russia, billionaire philanthropist Ted Turner said Tuesday."

I think he is exaggerating a little bit here. The actual Barbarossa moment (still to come) is when Bush attacks Iran....

But the realisation is dawning widely that the Iraq war is a disaster with immense strategic significance. If the US is ultimately ejected from Iraq, which looks more and more likely, its hegemonic ambitions in the region and globally are essentially defeated.

'War on Terror' failing

Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat: "A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks."

This can be added to a seemingly endless series of expert reports pointing out the obvious that (predictably) the 'war on terror' is generating more terrorism. In fact of course, the 'war on terror' is an utter fraud, which is why the term should not be used (except for the purpose of deconstructing it). The reality is a classic imperialist/colonialist war against the Middle East for the overall strategic purpose of controlling the world's energy reserves. At present Afghanistan and Iraq have been attacked and occupied; Lebanon has been attacked; and Syria and especially Iran are in the firing line.

The Anglo-saxons governments maintain that they are attacking us because they 'hate our freedoms'. In reality, they are attacking us because we are killing and repressing them. It is a classic asymmetric (guerilla) war of resistance against imperial repression and occupation. The Anglo-saxon official line is transparently false, and is nothing other than the Nazi technique of the Big Lie: if the lie is big enough, and told confidently and frequently enough, people will not believe that their own Governments could be so corrupt as to tell such massive lies, and thus assume that it must be true.

Nevertheless it is an insult to the intelligence as well as a warcrime and crime against humanity; and Bush, Blair and Howard have earned the lasting contempt of all decent people. Liars, criminals - and in view of the immense strategic failure of the Iraq invasion - idiots.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ahmadinejad, Chavez denounce Bush at UN General Assembly

"The Security Council must be overhauled because the current structure allows some “hegemonic powers” to impose their policies on others, undermining its credibility and fostering global mistrust, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the United Nations General Assembly."

"“It must be acknowledged that as long as the Council is unable to act on behalf of the entire international community in a transparent, just and democratic manner, it will neither be legitimate nor effective,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said in an address to world leaders gathered for the Assembly’s annual general debate. He accused the United States and the United Kingdom, which are both permanent members of the Council, of being able to commit “aggression, occupation and violation of international law” with impunity.

"“Can a Council in which they are privileged members address their violations? Has this ever happened?” he asked. The Iranian President cited several examples of what he said were situations where “nations are not equal in exercising their rights recognized by international law. Enjoying these rights is dependent on the whim of certain major powers.”

"He listed Iran’s nuclear activities, which he described as “transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eyes of IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspectors”; the recent conflict between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hizbollah in Lebanon; the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory; and the continuing violence and presence of foreign troops in Iraq. “In all these cases, the answer is self-evident. When the power behind the hostilities is itself a permanent member of the Security Council, how then can this Council fulfil its responsibilities?”

"Mr. Ahmadinejad called for the General Assembly, “as the highest organ of the UN,” to lead the task of reforming the UN system as a whole and the Security Council in particular. In the interim, he said, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Africa should each have a permanent, veto-wielding representative on the Council. “The resulting balance would hopefully prevent further trampling of the rights of nations.”"

Sensible remarks that undoubtedly most world leaders would agree with. There is nothing that Bush can do to counter this, the man is just an embarassment for the United States, and a danger to the world.

Venuzuelan President Hugo Chavez also addressed the Assembly in similar terms, remarkably enough brandishing a copy of Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival in the process, which promptly shot to number one (from 26,000!) on the bestseller lists.

"The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads," Chavez said.

"I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.

"They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons. What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy.

"What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?

"The president of the United States, yesterday, said to us, right here, in this room, and I'm quoting, "Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror and martyrdom."

"Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother -- he looks at your color, and he says, oh, there's an extremist. Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It's not that we are extremists. It's that the world is waking up. It's waking up all over. And people are standing up."

This is open, public ridicule of an Emperor who has no clothes, in the heart of the Great City of the Empire itself. No wonder 'Bonkers' Bolton wanted to blow off the top ten stories of the UN building.

Chavez entertained the General Assembly by remarking as he took the stand that "The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house. "And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here." [crosses himself] "And it smells of sulfur still today.

"Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world."

You could tell Bush was offended by Chavez calling him the devil, because his tail stopped wagging. But seriously, when pressed for comment, "I won't dignitify Chavez with an response," President Bush fumed. "I'm very busy right now trying to unite Congress behind my torture plan." hat tip: Big Gav.

We've already seen how British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been found to have the Mark of the Beast on his forehead. Where does our own little Johnny Howard stand in relation to these epochal events? John W Howard he likes to style himself, the W standing it is said for Winston, as in Churchill. But when the laughter dies down, we must remember that W also stand for 'Dubya' - the Beast. Howard has the Mark, no question.

UPDATE: More from the article linked above: "Hegemony or Survival dislodged the earlier number one by New York Times columnist Frank Rich The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina. "I hate the guy. Forget about geopolitics," Mr Rich joked overnight speaking on US television, when asked about being bumped from the top book sales spot.

"Mr Chomsky, 77, told to the New York Times last week that he would be "happy to meet" Mr Chavez. A linguistics scholar and longtime critic of US foreign policy, he told the daily he is "quite interested" in Mr Chavez's policies and finds many of his views "quite constructive."

There are some good reviews of Hegemony or Survival on the Amazon site as well as the usual ignorant, hateful, deranged attacks that people make on Chomsky. I agree with the main reviewer that the book gets a star knocked off for being a bit of a rehash and also as compared to some of Chomsky's very best and most important works such as Manufacturing Consent, the work in question does not merit five stars - but as the reviewer rightly said "to suggest that Chomsky is ever anything less than four stars is to betray one's ignorance and bias." The book in question is a must read for anyone concerned about the future of the planet.

Chomsky seems to evoke emotional reactions in some readers (and non-readers). For people new to him I would urge that it is important his books be read carefully, in full, including the notes, and that the content of his argument be properly understood before formulating an opinion. It can be seen on the Amazon site that certain misrepresentations or misunderstandings about Chomsky are repeated over and over again by 'critics', but if you have any knowledge of the subject at all these errors are quite obvious and have been refuted by Chomsky and others time and again.

For example, its said that Chomsky 'hates America and supports tyranny'. No, he despises all tyranny, and loves the freedom and prosperity of America, but as a true patriot criticises his country where it has done wrong. Or, it is said that he is totally negative but has nothing constructive to propose. Again, for those with any knowledge of the matter, he is full of positive suggestions, which basically fall along the lines of the country living up to its professed beliefs in freedom, democracy and human rights and thus ending involvement in crimes, violations and abuses.

Royal Society Tells Exxon: Stop Funding Climate Change Denial: Misled by Governments and corporations, there are still many people who are unaware that there is a scientific consensus on the subject of global warming, ie, there is no serious doubt in the scientific community that global warming is occurring, and that it is caused by human activity. In years to come people will surely look back in anger and amazement at the disinformation spread by governments, political figures, corporations and media institutions and personnel about this crucial matter. For what? What was the motive? Simply, short term corporate profit, political and personal advantage and an unwillingness to think of the future.

In fact the corruption of democracy and its institutions is far more serious than many people realise, although with the Big Lies about Iraq, 'terror' etc it is increasingly obvious.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Norman Solomon on the debacle of the Iraq war: and how the corporate media, seemingly undeterred, is going through all the motions of preparation for a war on Iran.

Eric Margolis discusses how badly the forgotten war in Afghanistan is going. The imperial powers look to be headed for inevitable defeat there as well.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Christopher Tolkien to publish JRR Tolkien's The Children of Hurin: As one of those who thinks the Silmarillion is Tolkien's best work, it is a shame that his publisher made him write another 'kids book' (LOTR) rather than work on expanding and polishing the Silmarillion epic as he ought to have done. So one looks forward with interest to this new work and hopefully there will be more such.

The Mark of the Beast: "Observers at the TUC conference were startled to spot a giant W etched on [Blair's] skin. To some the wrinkle may be a sign that in troubled times the PM is growing ever closer to George W Bush and becoming Tony Dubya Blair.

"But docs blame serious stress, which restricts blood flow to the skin causing it to wrinkle in that particular shape. Dr Patrick Bowler, head of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors, said: "My advice is resign tomorrow."

History will show that Blair was a remarkably successful, popular and unbeatable politician whose career and reputation were destroyed by the Iraq war. Why did he do it?

The conventional explanation is that Blair is not very bright, and could not make independent strategic assessments (at this late stage he even backed the Lebanon war!); that he was targeted by Washington with calculated flattery that he could not resist; that he had delusions about his own personal role with Bush and Washington; that he worshipped power above all, and the greatest power the most; that Britain's role as the US 'lieutenant, the fashionable word is partner' rendered it more difficult to chart an independent course. But now we know the real reason and all is explained.... he is a minion of Mephistopheles.

A visit to an exorcist or simply Repentence might do the trick, or if there is no hope for him then he needs be cast down from on high to the lowest places. Now we need to inspect urgently John 'Dubya' Howard's forehead to see if he has also got the Mark of the Beast....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pressures mount on Bush to bomb Iran: "The Iran problem is causing particular concern because it raises fundamental questions about the continued validity of the security doctrine Israel has forged over the past half century. A central plank of this doctrine is that, to be safe, Israel must dominate the region militarily and be stronger than any possible Arab or Muslim coalition." Five million people are going to retain permanent military supremacy over 300 million Arabs or one billion Muslims? This is nuts - a project doomed to fail. Its a matter of time.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The cruelty of denial: Robert Manne savages Andrew Bolt over the stolen children issue. Bolt demonstrates a contempt and indifference for compassion, humanity, fact and truth that is shocking. This new breed of journalists - the Bolts, Devines, Akermans, Hendersons, Windschuttles and the like - are nothing but blatant propagandists for an ugly and ascendent right.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wikipedia: Biggest Bubble in History: Or so the Economist has described the worldwide housing bubble.

This is a lengthy Wikipedia article on the housing bubble with lots of links and references. As can be seen from the graph, the peaks are roughly 18 years apart. Unfortunately there is no mention of the George/Hoyt/Harrison theory of the business cycle, which once again one would think is getting confirmation. As a result there is no discussion of land value trends generally, which is the underlying phenomenon. It seems unlikely that residential land values would soar heroically while industrial and commmercial remained stationary. But the focus for years now has been on the 'housing bubble' as if that were the case. [Update: there's a broken link to an article by Fred Foldvary.]

There is also no discussion of the Australian bubble, which has been as pronounced as anywhere.

If we follow past trends, we will be in for a terrific global recession following such a massive land boom, which could coincide with the bankruptcy of the US treasury and defeat of the US army in Mesopotamia...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Stingrays can kill: 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin has been killed by a stingray. A Herald article illustrates the impact this news has had on the public.

In Australia the public had been a little underwhelmed - an Aussie ocker, ho hum. But the interview with Andrew Denton showed Irwin's personality. There is a transcript of the interview but it is no substitute for the video. Irwin was larger than life, and played it up a bit. He took his animals, his family and his business seriously, but not himself. It makes for an iconic Australian character, a real larrikin. His message was to relocate crocodiles, rather than to shoot them; to save wildlife, rather than kill it. It's a good message.