Thursday, August 31, 2006

Booker T & The MGs

"Green Onions" (Stax Volt Tour 1967) - the apotheosis of cool in matching suits. Two-and-a-half minutes in, it starts to get positively psychedelic.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Swept Away

Sept. 9, 2005, USA Today reported planners' expectations:

Government simulation predicted 61,290 deaths
WASHINGTON (AP) — As Katrina roared into the Gulf of Mexico, emergency planners pored over maps and charts of a hurricane simulation that projected 61,290 dead and 384,257 injured or sick in a catastrophic flood that would leave swaths of southeast Louisiana uninhabitable for more than a year.
These planners were not involved in the frantic preparations for Katrina. By coincidence, they were working on a yearlong project to prepare federal and state officials for a Category 3 hurricane striking New Orleans.

Their fictitious storm eerily foreshadowed the havoc wrought by Category 4 Katrina a few days later, raising questions about whether government leaders did everything possible — as early as possible — to protect New Orleans residents from a well-documented threat.

After watching many of their predictions prove grimly accurate, "Hurricane Pam" planners now hope they were wrong about one detail — the death toll. The 61,290 estimate is six times what New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin has warned people to expect.

"I pray to God we don't see those numbers," Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "My gut is ... we don't. But we just don't know."

The known Katrina death toll was less than 400 on Friday, but officials expect it to skyrocket once emergency teams comb through 90,000 square miles of Gulf Coast debris. Fears are particularly acute in New Orleans, where countless corpses lie submerged beneath a toxic gumbo that engulfed the city after levees gave way.

The death toll is just one of the many chilling details in a 412-page report obtained by the AP from a government official involved in the Hurricane Pam project. Written in ominous present-tense language, the report predicts that:

• Flood waters would surge over levees, creating "a catastrophic mass casualty/mass evacuation" and leaving drainage pumps crippled for up to six months. "It will take over one year to re-enter areas most heavily impacted," the report estimated.

• More than 600,000 houses and 6,000 businesses would be affected, more than two-thirds of them destroyed. Nearly a quarter-million children would be out of school. "All 40 medical facilities in the impacted area (are) isolated and useless," it says.

• Local officials would be quickly overwhelmed with the five-digit death toll, 187,862 people injured and 196,395 falling ill. A half million people would be homeless.

The report calls evacuees "refugees" — a term now derided by the Bush administration — and says they could be housed at college campuses, military barracks, hotels, travel trailers, recreational vehicles, private homes, cottages, churches, Boy Scout camps and cruise ships.

"Federal support must be provided in a timely manner to save lives, prevent human suffering and mitigate severe damage," the report says. "This may require mobilizing and deploying assets before they are requested via normal (National Response Plan) protocols."

Letter From Unknown

Le célèbre écrivain polonais Stanislaw Jerzy Lec avait dit : « Politiciens, demandez conseil aux gastro-entérologues : que peut-on encore faire avaler aux citoyens, parce que les blessures se cicatrisent, mais les cicatrices continuent de grandir avec nous. »

Si vous aviez eu l'occasion de lui parler ou de lui écrire... que lui auriez-vous dit ?

Mon très cher ami Stanislaw, j’aime te lire, bien que je n’aie pas eu le plaisir de te connaître personnellement, tu es mort avant ma naissance, mais avec ma plume je vais te parler d’Haïti, mon pays. Le premier pays noir au monde devenu indépendant le premier Janvier 1804 après avoir combattu les troupes de Napoléon.

Nous sommes maintenant plus dépendant que jamais, les troupes de la Minustah sont en train de faire la loi, en plus, ils s’arrangent pour coucher avec nos femmes sans notre consentement. Avant, j’allais passer les vacances dans ma ville natale, j’étais le beau garçon qui venait de New York, sans problèmes avec les poches remplies de dollars américains.

Les jolies filles de ma ville voulaient toutes faire ma connaissance pour aller danser et jouir de l’été sur la plage tranquille. Je me sentais roi, aujourd’hui je ne suis rien parce les nanas sont devenues plus exigeante, du fait qu’il y ait beaucoup d’hommes pour peux de femmes. Pour sortir avec une fleur haïtienne, il faut montrer les deux (P) le pognon et le protège.

Stanislaw mon ami, j’ai eu le malheur d'immigrer une fois – je resterai toujours métèque toute ma vie, et étranger partout, même dans mon pays d'origine. J’étais comme les autres immigrants, un individu mal informé qui pensait qu’un pays était meilleur qu’un autre. C'est notre malédiction à nous, immigrants.

Stanislaw mon ami, l'histoire est un perpétuel recommencement, mais on ne recommence jamais. Si c'était à refaire, recommenceriez-vous ? dit la chanson ; jamais on ne recommencerait, à moins d'être gâteux ou d'ignorer le goût de l'expérience. Si je devais recommencer ma vie, je ferais les mêmes erreurs…sans laisser mon pays.

Stanislaw mon ami, je ne comprends pas ce que les citoyens des pays qui se disent ami d’Haïti accomplissent en Haïti. Notre pauvre peuple les appelle « Touristes de l’ONU. »Mes compatriotes pensent que ces touristes mondiaux sont : ceux qui troublent l'eau dans mon pays pour mieux pêcher. A chaque fois qu’on doit renouveler le contrat de la Minustah, la délinquance s’amplifie, le kidnapping augmente, ainsi que l’insécurité. Une fois le nouveau contrat approuvé pour six mois, le taux de criminalité diminue en moins d’une semaine.

Stanislaw mon ami, la nourriture nous manque, mais nous avons toujours assez de force pour tomber et mourir avec dignité devant les yeux froids de l’étranger. Un petit peuple libre, même dans la pauvreté est plus grand qu'un grand peuple esclave. La pauvreté des biens est facile à guérir, la pauvreté de l'âme, impossible ; de ce fait nous ne pouvons rien espérer des « Bureaucrato-Technocrates » en bleue de la force Onusienne. L’argent n’a pas d’odeur, mais la pauvreté en a une odeur nauséabonde et écœurante. La pauvreté met le crime au rabais, mais le peuple haïtien refuse de partager la grande fraternité de la merde. Le plus curieux, c’est que l'argent de la coopération internationale aide à supporter la pauvreté…dégoûtante.

Stanislaw mon ami, les gens de mon pays ne supportent pas le sentiment d'injustice. La pauvreté, le froid, même la faim, sont plus supportable que l'injustice. L’impunité continue d’être un vice privilégié chez moi. L'hypocrisie mondiale nous donne la mort dans l’âme, pendant que les criminels jouissent en repos d'une impunité tyrannique.

Stanislaw mon ami, Le sommeil occupe le tiers de notre vie, mais c’est le seul don gratuit qu’accordent les dieux, aussi la consolation des peines de nos journées ; je dois aller au lit.

Bonne nuit, mon ami.

New York/2006-08-29

Gilbert Achcar on Iraq

Gilbert Achcar
: In the past six months, the situation in Iraq has deteriorated in a truly frightening manner, proceeding inexorably toward the actualization of the worst-case scenario -- the worst for Iraq, that is, which is not necessarily the worst for Washington, as I shall explain.

The outcome of the December 2005 parliamentary election was quite bad for U.S. plans in Iraq. The official results confirmed that the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) once again secured a major voting bloc in the parliament (128 seats out of 275), although they did not get the majority that they enjoyed in the previous assembly. That was foreseen, however, as the January 2005 election had been boycotted by most Arab Sunnis and its outcome was accordingly quite exceptional. Nevertheless, the loss of 12 seats by the UIA was rather less than the 22–seat loss by the Kurdish Alliance, while the coalition list headed by Washington's henchman, Iyad Allawi, suffered a very serious decline, falling to 25 seats from 40, which had already been a poor showing.These results meant that, had any of the "Sunni" coalitions -- whether the Iraqi Accord Front (44 seats), which is a coalition between the Islamic Party (i.e., the Iraqi "moderate" branch of the Muslim Brotherhood [the Association of Muslim Scholars being the "hard-liners" originating in the same tradition]) and traditionalist Arab Sunni tribal forces; or the Iraqi National Dialogue Front alone (11 seats), a motley Arab nationalist coalition including present or former Baathists who disavow Saddam Hussein's leadership -- agreed to join an alliance with the UIA, they would have secured together an absolute majority in the parliament.


The whole situation was clearly a setback for Sadr, however. As I mentioned earlier, he had tried hard to convince the Sunni Arab parliamentary and extra-parliamentary groups to join in an anti-occupation alliance. He failed totally in that respect: The Arab Sunni parliamentary groups rejected his advances, and stuck to their alliance with the Kurdish parties and Washington's proconsul. On the other hand, the Association of Muslim Scholars, which is very close to the Arab Sunni insurgency, disappointed Sadr bitterly: He couldn't get them to condemn Zarqawi and his al-Qaeda branch in strong terms (Sadr even wanted them to excommunicate Zarqawi's group), and his radical anti-Baathist attitude was equally a stumbling block in his relations with Sunni Arab nationalists. He has complained that of the Sunni groups he approached before the December election and asked to adhere to his "Pact of Honor," none have signed it.

The next major blow to Sadr's strategy of trying to build an anti-U.S. alliance with anti-occupation Arab Sunni forces was the single event that contributed most to fueling the sectarian tension between Arab Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq -- I mean, of course, the attack against the Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra on February 22, 2006. This sectarian attack unleashed reprisals on a large scale by Shiite militants infuriated by the unending series of murderous sectarian attacks to which their community had been subjected ever since the occupation started. In these reprisals, Sadr's ragtag "Mahdi Army" was apparently very much involved. Not that Sadr gave a green light for this -- on the contrary, like most other Shiite leaders, he tried his best to cool things down -- but since his militias are much less centralized than the quasi-military SCIRI Badr militia, Sadrist militiamen obeyed their impulses before considering any other option and before getting to listen to the voice of political rationality.

At any rate, these unfortunate events were hugely exploited by an odd array of forces -- including U.S. friends, pro-Zarqawi Sunni fundamentalists, and pro-Saddam Baathists -- in order to discredit Muqtada al-Sadr among Arab Sunnis and to destroy any appeal he might have had for both his uncompromising anti-occupation stance and his reputation for being very much independent of Iran. All that Sadr had achieved politically in the previous period, in terms of building his influence on a pan-Arab (Sunnis and Shiites) Iraqi basis, was thus shattered along with the dome of the Al-Askari Mosque.


To say this is to point to what I hinted at already, namely that the slide of Iraq toward the worst-case scenario for its population does not necessarily represent the worst-case scenario for Washington. Actually, most of what has happened in recent months in Iraq, except for the publicity surrounding U.S. troops' criminal behavior, has suited Washington's designs. The sharp increase in sectarian tensions as well as the defeat of Muqtada al-Sadr's project played blatantly into Washington's hands. Along with many others, I have warned for quite a long time that, when all is said and done, Washington's only trump card in Iraq is going to be the sectarian and ethnic divisions among Iraqis, which the Bush administration is exploiting in the most cynical way according to the most classical of all imperial recipes: "Divide and rule." This is what Washington's proconsuls in Baghdad, from L. Paul Bremer to Khalilzad, have tried their best to put in place and take advantage of.

Seen in this light, the present flare-up in sectarian tensions is a godsend for Washington, to the point that many Iraqis suspect that U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies stand behind the worst sectarian attacks. Note how the occupation seems now "legitimized" by the fact that many Arab Sunnis in mixed areas, who feel threatened, request the presence of foreign troops to guarantee their safety as they have no confidence in Iraqi armed forces. [3] What a paradox, when you think of the fact that Arab Sunnis were and are still the main constituency of the anti-occupation armed insurgency -- though surely not the only one: There has been a growing pattern of anti-occupation armed actions in southern Iraq that is hardly reported, if at all, in the Western media, or even in the Arab media for that matter.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Go, My Faithful Soldier Go!"

Parenti Part 7 (audio only)
Parenti Part 6

Parenti; do you have a conspiracy theory? Do you think these leaders are just trying to manipulate the whole world to suit themselves? What do you say?

Audience: yeah

Parenti: conspiracy theorists, how do you like that. I mean do you think there's actually, do you think there's actually a group of men sitting in a roooooom? who sit there and are plotting these things, for some reason - do you hear that? you have that up here? [British Columbia] do you think there's a group of people sitting around in a room? Because somehow that image is supposed to be - very compelling, you know, it's so improbable, and I always say oh no no they don't sit around in a rooooom! They uhm they meet on carousels and they talk to eachother that way. Or they do, what do they call that, free falling, with the parachute guy, they all lock arms, you see those parachute what -

Audience: skydiving!

Parent: skydiving! they're all skydiving, they all lock arms, what do you think they are talking about when they lock arms like that? That's where they meet. OF COURSE THEY MEET IN ROOMS! Where the hell else you think they're gonna meet?
Parenti Part 5

"ladies and gentlemen it's time we give less emphasis to how stupid these people supposedly are and more time to how vicious and relentless and uncompromising they are."
Parenti Part 4
Parenti Part 3
Parenti Part 2.
Michael Parenti 2002 Speech

La chanson des jumelles

The Holy Jehad Brigades

There has been some discussion regarding the recent kidnapping of two Fox journalists in Gaza. Regarding Holy Jehad Brigades, their name is not new to Palestine. From the website 'Muslim Palestine' (2004 synopsis appears end of page):

The Holy Jehad Brigades:

The Higher Arab Authority (HAA) formed the Holy Jehad forces on December 25th, 1947, under the leadership of the mojahed Abdulqader al Hosseini, who enjoyed wider popularity among his comrades, not by virtue of being the scion of a distinguished family, but because the important matter of the Palestinian struggle consumed him.

The Holy Jehad Brigades (HJB) in the beginning were only a team of no more than 25 enthusiastic and young volunteer fighters who used the Hebron area as their base. Other teams subsequently formed in many other towns and villages.

The HAA had decided to take care of most of the Holy Jehad's expenses, and the HJB carried out several successful operations, especially in the city of Jerusalem, even with a severe shortage of weaponry and ammunition.

The HJB members fought in every town and village, and many fell martyred, and at their vanguard was the mojahed leader Abdulqader al Hosseini, who died a martyr at the Battle of al Qostoll.

Leaders of the HJB include: Khaled Sherif al Hosseini, who took over command after the leader Abdulqader's martyrdom; Kamel Orayqaat, Deputy Head; Qassem al Rimawi, Chairman; Munir Abu Fadhel; and Dr. Dawood al Hosseini.

And the sacrifice continues on the sacred land of Palestine, as the flag is handed down generation to generation until the Land is free of the criminal persecutors.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Chomsky on Lebanon

At an emergency Arab League meeting, most of the Arab states (apart from Algeria, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen) condemned Hezbollah. In doing so, they were willing to "openly defy public opinion," as the New York Times reported. They later had to back down, including Washington's oldest and most important ally in the region, Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah said that "if the peace option is rejected due to the Israeli arrogance, then only the war option remains, and no one knows the repercussions befalling the region, including wars and conflict that will spare no one, including those whose military power is now tempting them to play with fire." Most analysts assume -- plausibly I think -- that their primary concern is the growing influence of Iran, and the embarrassment caused by the fact that alone in the Arab world, Hezbollah has offered support for Palestinians under brutal attack in the occupied territories.

Interviewed by Nermeen Al Mufti

The only meaningful support for Palestinians facing national destruction is from Hezbollah. For this reason alone it follows that Hezbollah must be severely weakened or destroyed, just as the PLO had to be evicted from Lebanon in 1982. But Hezbollah is too deeply embedded within Lebanese society to be eradicated, so Lebanon too must be largely destroyed. An expected benefit for the US and Israel was to enhance the credibility of threats against Iran by eliminating a Lebanese-based deterrent to a possible attack. But none of this turned out as planned. Much as in Iraq, and elsewhere, Bush administration planners have created catastrophes, even for the interests they represent. That is the primary reason for the unprecedented criticism of the administration among the foreign policy elite, even before the invasion of Iraq.

On the US-Israeli Invasion of Lebanon


The most recent survey, done in April this year, found almost no Iraqis who felt the United States had invaded to liberate their country from tyranny and build a democracy. Asked for "the three main reasons for the U.S. invasion of Iraq," fully 76 percent cited "to control Iraqi oil." That was followed by "to build military bases" (41 percent) and "to help Israel" (32 percent). Fewer than 2 percent chose "to bring democracy to Iraq" as their first choice.


Richard Croft as Septimus

Mistaken wretches! Why thus blind to fate,
Do ye in private oratories dare
Oppose the President's decree, and scorn
With native rites to celebrate the day
Sacred to Cæsar and protecting Jove?

Dread the fruits of Christian folly,
And this stubborn melancholy
Fond of life and liberty.
Chains and dungeons ye are wooing,
And the storm of death pursuing;
Rebels to the known decree.
Dread the fruits... da capo

David Daniels as Didymus

Most cruel edict! Sure, thy generous soul,
Septimius, abhors the dreadful task
Of persecution. Ought we not to leave
The free-born mind of man still ever free?
Since vain is the attempt to force belief
With the severest instrument of death?

The raptur'd soul defies the sword,
Secure of virtue's claim,
And trusting Heav'n's unerring word,
Enjoys the circling flame.
No engine can a tyrant find,
To storm the truth-supported mind.
The raptur'd soul... da capo

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

Right-wing blogger John Hinderaker visits the White House:
The conventional wisdom is that Bush is not a very good speaker. But up close, he is a great communicator, in a way that, in my opinion, Ronald Reagan was not. He was by turns instructive, persuasive, and funny. His persona is very much that of the big brother. Above all, he was impassioned. I have never seen a politician speak so evidently from the heart, about big issues--freedom, most of all.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gasps from Audience (and no wonder)

From Alternet, via Lenin's Tomb: Computer programmer Clinton Eugene Curtis testifies under oath before the U.S. House Judiciary Members in Ohio (back in 2004):

Are there computer programs that can be used to secretly fix elections?


How do you know that to be the case?

Because in October of 2000, I wrote a prototype for Congressman Tom Feeney [R-FL]...

It would rig an election?

It would flip the vote, 51-49. Whoever you wanted it to go to and whichever race you wanted to win.

And would that program that you designed, be something that elections officials... could detect?

They'd never see it.

The VIDEO is here.


Twelve passengers arrested after a Northwest Airlines flight returned to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Wednesday amid a security alert are still being held. Police at Schiphol detained them after the DC-10 aircraft was forced to return to Schiphol - flanked by two F16 fighter jets - shortly after taking off. The pilot asked for permission to return to Amsterdam for ‘security reasons’. The plane, with 149 passengers on board, was on its way to the Indian city of Mumbai. (...) A number of passengers explained afterwards that a group of men of ‘Asian’ appearance had boarded the plane very late. They appeared to be Muslims - a few of them had beards - and one of them reportedly had a guitar case with him. The group are said to have paid no attention to the safety instructions.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sviatoslav Richter plays Prokofiev and Debussy

Sviatoslav Richter plays Tchaikovsky

David Oistrakh and Sviatoslav Richter play Brahms

David Oistrakh plays Ravel
(But who's the pianist?)

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Rhetoric Of 'Enlightenment'

One should always try and rescue words from their employment in the current rhetorical marketplace. One should try and return to words their history and ambiguity, against the purely strategic and polemical uses demanded by present actions.

This very process of laying bare the rhetorical device is of course a facet of enlightenment. Enlightenment, a court in permanent session, charged with drawing up an itinerary of one's unthought-out assumptions, stock of prejudice and unreason – all that was merely inherited from society or history. It's ironic, then, that Enlightenment itself is today one of those rhetorically useful words that have to be time and again saved for meaningful exchange.

Perhaps they would have been surprised, the original epigones of the enlightenment.. to see enlightenment defined as an already attained state, around which various bulwarks can then be erected to protect it from outsiders. And from inside this citadel the Newly Enlightened can point condescendingly towards a history from which they are conveniently exempt.

The idiot ritual of the Newly Enlightened: to endlessly intone that prejudice and unreason reside always with the Other, the purpose of this intoning being, it seems, to rediscover oneself as yet again Good and Reasonable; the insistence that the unenlightened Other can never be worthy of support no matter how violently attacked or exploited so long as this Other refuses to sign up to the Enlightenment program; the motley appeals to common sense and the blindingly obvious, the promptness with which anything counter-intuitive, unfamiliar or difficult arouses ridicule or suspicion…

Meanwhile… Enlightenment, that imperative to self-questioning, self-critique, the relentless uprooting and naming of merely inherited assumptions, stubborn but false beliefs, the accidents of context and history mistaken for nature…. All this is by the Newly Enlightened misrecognised as liberal self-flagellation or else strategically forgotten.






HUGO CHAVEZ ELECTED PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA IN 1998, IS A COLORFUL, UNPREDICTABLE FOLK HERO, beloved by his nation's working class and a tough-as-nails, quixotic opponent to the power structure that would see him deposed. Two independent filmmakers were inside the presidential palace on April 11, 2002, when he was forcibly removed from office. They were also present 48 hours later when, remarkably, he returned to power amid cheering aides. Their film records what was probably history's shortest-lived coup d'état. It's a unique document about political muscle and an extraordinary portrait of the man The Wall Street Journal credits with making Venezuela "Washington's biggest Latin American headache after the old standby, Cuba."

Don't forget

Tomorrow the world will end:
In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time--Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as "by the end of August," but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.
What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world.

Bernard Lewis

Thursday, August 17, 2006


How they were going to do it

Making a quantity of TATP sufficient to bring down an airplane is not quite as simple as ducking into the toilet and mixing two harmless liquids together.

First, you've got to get adequately concentrated hydrogen peroxide. This is hard to come by, so a large quantity of the three per cent solution sold in pharmacies might have to be concentrated by boiling off the water. Only this is risky, and can lead to mission failure by means of burning down your makeshift lab before a single infidel has been harmed.

But let's assume that you can obtain it in the required concentration, or cook it from a dilute solution without ruining your operation. Fine. The remaining ingredients, acetone and sulfuric acid, are far easier to obtain, and we can assume that you've got them on hand.

Now for the fun part. Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drinks bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It's all right to mix the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains cool. Don't forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked "perishable foods"), a thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper. You're going to need them.

It's best to fly first class and order Champagne. The bucket full of ice water, which the airline ought to supply, might possibly be adequate - especially if you have those cold gel-packs handy to supplement the ice, and the Styrofoam chiller handy for insulation - to get you through the cookery without starting a fire in the lavvie.

Once the plane is over the ocean, very discreetly bring all of your gear into the toilet. You might need to make several trips to avoid drawing attention. Once your kit is in place, put a beaker containing the peroxide / acetone mixture into the ice water bath (Champagne bucket), and start adding the acid, drop by drop, while stirring constantly. Watch the reaction temperature carefully. The mixture will heat, and if it gets too hot, you'll end up with a weak explosive. In fact, if it gets really hot, you'll get a premature explosion possibly sufficient to kill you, but probably no one else.

After a few hours - assuming, by some miracle, that the fumes haven't overcome you or alerted passengers or the flight crew to your activities - you'll have a quantity of TATP with which to carry out your mission. Now all you need to do is dry it for an hour or two.

The genius of this scheme is that TATP is relatively easy to detonate. But you must make enough of it to crash the plane, and you must make it with care to assure potency. One needs quality stuff to commit "mass murder on an unimaginable scale," as Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson put it. While it's true that a slapdash concoction will explode, it's unlikely to do more than blow out a few windows. At best, an infidel or two might be killed by the blast, and one or two others by flying debris as the cabin suddenly depressurizes, but that's about all you're likely to manage under the most favorable conditions possible.

Considering Alternatives

"Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy," said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.

"Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect," the expert said, "but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Operetta Tanuki Goten

L'escalier du diable

Francesco Libetta plays Ligeti

Hezbollah and Iran

The conflict in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah had hardly begun when the Bush administration and its neoconservative supporters began blaming Iran for the conflagration. (...) However, giving Iran another tongue lashing, or worse, deciding to attack it, will do nothing to stop the violence in the region. Not only is there no evidence that Iran had a role in instigating this round of violence, the possibility itself is unlikely.

Iran’s control over Hezbollah has been steadily declining since approximately 1996, during the reformist presidency of Mohammad Khatami. Money does continue to come "from Iran" to support Hezbollah, but not the Iranian government. Instead, it's private religious foundations that direct the bulk of support, primarily to Hezbollah’s charitable activities. Nor are the amounts crucial to Hezbollah’s survival; even the high estimate frequently cited in the press—$200 million per annum—is a fraction of Hezbollah's operating funds.


While the Iranian central government was weak and scattered after the Revolution, semi-independent charitable organizations, called bonyad (literally, “foundation”) sponsored by individual Shi’ite clerics began to help the fledgling Hezbollah organization establish itself as a defense force to protect the Shi’ite community. This was simply not state support. Given the semi-independent corporate nature of Shi’ite clerics, especially in the early days of Iran’s revolution, when internal power struggles were endemic, there was little the Khomeini government could do to curtail these operations.

Now, after nearly two decades, this ad hoc export of Iranian revolutionary ideology may have succeeded too well. Whereas today the bulk of the Iranian population has at least some doubts about their government, Hezbollah maintains a stronger commitment to the symbolic legacy of the Iranian Revolution than Iranians, according to Georgetown University professor Daniel Byman. In a 2003 Foreign Affairs article, Byman pointed out that, "[Iran] lacks the means to force a significant change in the [Hezbollah] movement and its goals. It has no real presence on the ground in Lebanon and a call to disarm or cease resistance would likely cause Hezbollah's leadership, or at least its most militant elements, simply to sever ties with Tehran's leadership."

William O. Beeman, Examining Iran’s ties to Hezbollah

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Reflets dans l'eau

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli plays Debussy

Personal Investment Portfolio

A few hours after the kidnapping of two IDF soldiers and in the midst of discussions over whether to launch military operations in Lebanon, the chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, decided to sell off his personal investment portfolio, Maariv reported Tuesday morning.

According to the report, Halutz spoke to his investment broker about three hours after the Hizbullah cross-border raid, and asked him to sell all the assets in his portfolio, valued at about NIS 120,000. In the two days that followed, the Tel Aviv exchange dropped by about 8%.

Responding to the report, Halutz said "at that point I did not think or expect there would be a war."

Update: How convenient. Now they can fire him without having to mention the war he just lost.
Senior sources in the Israel Defense Forces General Staff and field officers who took part in the war in Lebanon said on Tuesday that Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, who went to his bank branch and sold an NIS 120,000 investment portfolio only three hours after two soldiers were abducted by Hezbollah on the northern border, cannot escape resignation.

The sources say there is a clear ethical flaw in the chief of staff's behavior during the hours when soldiers were killed in Lebanon and others were attempting to rescue wounded. Halutz should resign the moment the military completes its pullout from south Lebanon, they said.

At this stage, it does not appear that Halutz intends to resign of his own accord.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Laugh, Buffoon(ess)!

The Liquid Threat

"Due to the danger of explosive mixtures, passengers are requested to pour all liquids into these here big bins."

"That's the way, madam. Just bung it all in there. No need for hysteria."

"'A bit risky'? Are you joking, sir? Get real."

Pictures via


Everything is filtered through this grid: Marxism, Maoism, Socialism, etc., and not because actual struggles have revealed new enemies, new problems, or new solutions. It is simply because THE revolution must be declared impossible - everywhere, and for all time. This explains why those concepts which were beginning to function in a very differentiated way (powers, resistances, desires, even 'the plebe') are once again globalised, amassed in the insipid unity of Power, THE Law, the State, etc.. This also explains why the thinking subject has made a comeback: the only possibility for revolution, as far as the New Philosophers are concerned, is the pure act of the thinker who thinks revolution is impossible.

-Gilles Deleuze
via, via

Blogging as co-opted expression

AD HOMINEM AESTHETICS is quite like an Internet blog in that we are updating and expressing the narratives of our lives through its medium. There is a crucial difference though, in what the representation of this website manages to deliver when juxtaposing that representation with that projection of your otherwise typically neutralized and ideologically tainted blog.

The "blogger" will attempt to have his "self" speak for the(ir) narrative, through their tools (the for-profit and proprietary blog brand he has chosen for whatever hip reason -- MySpace, LiveJournal, etc. -- and its spectacular ideology), with their reifications (his blog's tired formalisms and shared or similar posting methods, automated user interfaces, and graphical displays which the "original" users merely superficially modify with templates while the algorithms below the surface remain dull and repetitive) and of their media (his blogs advertising, benefactors and demographic information gathering systems), ending up unavoidably permeating his publications to the point of representing an ultimately linked expression to the aforementioned items. Symbiotically -- "A close, prolonged association between two or more different organisms of different species that may, but does not necessarily, benefit each member." -- linked to a gross extent of passive stupidity.

Why donate not only expression, but your presence itself as a controlled object existing under the affluent conditions of these scumbags? All things considered, do you, as an insignificant individual support their affluent ideology in any way? I know a lot of you don't, in contemplation at least, but praxis is quite easily lost and forgotten within their pseudo-amnesty, isn't it (you dupe).

On the other hand, AD HOMINEM AESTHETICS, through its explicit attempt to display our personal impressions (making it so that the notion of categorical formalisms are not necessarily as important as the spontaneous reasons for and behind the impressions themselves as can be seen in our posting style where differing types of media do not attempt to describe themselves -- in terms of which media type they might be that is -- but merely share mysterious descriptive hyperlinks, with none really vying for superiority or precedence) seems to achieve an effect, which at the very least, is leaning far more towards a notion of the narrative speaking for ourselves. This is completely different from the blog in the sense that now "we" are speaking for "ourselves" as opposed to an instance of "ourselves" speaking for the ideologized "we." Fuck your ads, fuck your subsidy, fuck your ideology and fuck your utter inability to even consider doing anything about it within an attempted medium as constructed outside of what they hand you (buffoons, your mass produced leftist complaints and mass produced poetry is instantly neutralized when existing as an expression within their walls, why can't you see this). I'm not going to play make believe while they pretend to know us through another demographics campaign as propagated in the name of the further co-option and neutralization of "your" expression.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

You're a Donkey, Mr. Danger

At The Pump
Daily Show Correspondent Aasif Mandvi

via brownfemipower
The Treadmill Thing

via Bogol.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Killing an Arab

Standing on the beach
With a gun in my hand
Staring at the sky
Staring at the sand
Staring down the barrel
At the Arab on the ground
See his open mouth
But I hear no sound

I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm the stranger
Killing an Arab

US President George W. Bush quoted French existential writer Albert Camus to European leaders a year and a half ago, and now he's read one of his most famous works: "The Stranger." White House spokesman Tony Snow said Friday that Bush, here on his Texas ranch enjoying a 10-day vacation from Washington, had made quick work of the Algerian-born writer's 1946 novel -- in English.


Journalist: How will the deaths of Israeli soldiers today affect your plans?

Israeli Army Spokesman: You saw that massacre of 12 Israelis. It will ...

Journalist: Massacre you said? But those were soldiers and this is war.

Spokesman: No, it was a massacre because the people who fired the missiles weren't targeting soldiers. They were targeting Israeli civilians but killed the soldiers by accident.

Journalist: But you also committed massacres in Qana and elsewhere.

Spokesman: No, there was no massacre in Qana. Hizbullah fighters were the targets of the bombardment but civilians were hit by accident.


A Bit Skeptical

AMY GOODMAN: If you could talk about the climate in Britain right now and the response to what the British government says was a plot -- they say they have arrested about two dozen people. It looks like they’re of Pakistani descent. They're British citizens.

MILAN RAI: I think that there is a bit of hesitancy, even in the mainstream media, in mainstream political opinion, because of the massive blunders, which there have been with British intelligence. So, the Forest Gate incident two months ago, when 200 armed police dressed in chemical and biological warfare suits raided a house in East London and shot one of the men inside it, only to discovery that there wasn’t anything there and no terrorism-related charges were laid on anyone connected to that house. So there’s a real sense of hesitancy about fully accepting what the government is saying. However, obviously, as details emerge, then that will change.


JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Salma Yaqoob, some of those arrested were from Birmingham, and the names have been released by the British government today. Any of those names familiar to you at all? Or what’s the reaction in Birmingham?

SALMA YAQOOB: No, none of the names are familiar to me personally. But the reaction in Birmingham is one of shock, you know, people gearing up for their holidays, and this has just come out of the blue for many people; and also a real feeling of cynicism, as well, as Milan pointed out, because there have been so many blunders. I mean, he mentioned the Forest Gate incident, which was a recent one. We've had the ricin plot, which in the end turned out not to be a ricin plot. Manchester football stadium, we were told, there was a huge terrorist plot there. Then it turned out there wasn't anything. The Brazilian young man was shot last year, and we were told at that time, "No, we’re 100% confident we’ve got a terrorist here."

And so, because of this, there’s a major caution in the general public in accepting what is going on, and also because the timing of this, with Prime Minister Blair coming under so much pressure. Just last weekend, we had 100,000 people demonstrating against his support for Israel and America with what’s happening in Lebanon at the moment. And so, people are a bit skeptical.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'm the Slime

Never Forget

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Some 30 percent of Americans cannot say in what year the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington took place, according to a poll published in the Washington Post newspaper.

While the country is preparing to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives and shocked the world, 95 percent of Americans questioned in the poll were able to remember the month and the day of the attacks, according to Wednesday's edition of the newspaper.


Bush Knew ("for days")

ABC, Thursday, August 10, 2006:

U.S. Aware Of Plot For Days

"Jim Axelrod spoke with Press Secretary Tony Snow about the U.S.'s involvement in the British investigation of the alleged terrorist plot. Snow says President Bush has been aware of the plot for days."
For days? So why is airport security only being tightened (dramatically) today?

Did Bush not give a damn that air-travellers have allegedly been in terrible danger "for days"?

Yesterday, British Home Secretary John Reid gave a preposterous anti-Terror speech; why did he not even mention what had been known "for days" ?
Why were the threat levels only raised today?
Indeed, why were the threat levels raised at all today, when the alleged conspirators had already been caught? Didn't their arrest make us safer? Why were British and American threat levels not red-hot days or weeks ago instead, while the alleged conspirators were still free men?

Could all this possibly have anything to do with the fact that Liebermann was displaced by an "anti-war" candidate yesterday, thus enabling the Bush Gang to portray the Democraps as even more egregiously "soft on Terror" than they were before? Could it possibly have anything to do with distracting the public from the ongoing mass murder in Lebanon and Iraq?

Really, how much longer are we going to swallow this shit?

UPDATE: In a surprising new development, President Bush has called the TERRIFYING-but-not-urgent (and entirely untheoretical) terror conspiracy "a stark reminder" of The Day That Changed Everything.

UPDATE 2: "Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big," said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Photographer for 'Times-Pic' Arrested As He Begs Cops to Kill Him

By E&P Staff Published: August 09, 2006 12:25 PM ET

NEW YORK A photographer for the Times-Picayune of New Orleans who has undergone severe personal trauma since Hurricana Katrina hit was arrested Tuesday after trying to get police to shoot him to death. Police said he claimed he was depressed after he found out he didn't have enough insurance money to rebuild his Katrina-damaged home.

They said he was seeking "suicide-by-cop," but police who found him tasered him instead.

Earlier published accounts had revealed that he had recently taken a leave of absence from the paper and was undergoing therapy.

John McCusker, the photographer, was being held under psychiatric observation and faces unspecified charges.

He had been one of the paper's key photographers in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. "Katrina didn't flood New Orleans - government failure did," he told visiting students from Brown University recently.


Police said they noticed McCusker driving erratically in the city on Tuesday evening, then hit several parked cars when they pulled him over. McCusker rolled the window down and said several times, "Just kill me, get it over with, kill me." When that didn't happen, he put the car in reverse and pinned one of the officers between the rear bumper of his car and the officer's cruiser, police said, and he suffered minor injuries. McCusker drove away, to fabled St. Charles Avenue, "going out of his way to knock down any signs advertising construction," police told the newspaper. When he finally stopped, police had to taser him -- as he again begged them to kill him. The police official said, according to newspapers, that this was only one of many examples of the mental damage that Katrina has caused, "and he sees it all the time now." ...

Noam Chomsky Meets with Hizbullah Leaders in Lebanon


To mention just one question that every journal should be answering: When did Nasrallah assume a leadership role? Answer: When the Rabin government escalated its crimes in Lebanon, murdering Sheikh Abbas Mussawi and his wife and child with missiles fired from a US helicopter. Nasrallah was chosen as his successor.

Noam Chomsky interviewed by Kaveh Afrasiabi
Noam Chomsky interviewed by Merav Yudilovitch

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


More, and much worse.

Lebanon as Free-Fire Zone

According to the UN, Israeli officials said the engineers would become a target if they attempted to repair the bridge. Senior UN officials reacted angrily to the destruction of a temporary causeway over the Litani river overnight. "We must be able to have movement throughout the country to deliver supplies. At this point we can't do that," said David Shearer, the humanitarian coordinator for Lebanon. "The deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure is a violation of international law."

Aid workers transfer medical supplies intended for south Lebanon by hand across the Litani River on August 7th 2006.

Leaflets dropped in Tyre, the biggest Lebanese city south of the Litani river, said operations against what they described as terrorist elements would be escalated with extreme force. Any vehicles of any sort moving on the road south of the Litani, they say, will now be attacked on suspicion of carrying rockets, materiel or terrorists.

Moral High Ground Problem

THOMAS RICKS: One of the things that is going on, according to some U.S. military analysts, is that Israel purposely has left pockets of Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon, because as long as they’re being rocketed, they can continue to have a sort of moral equivalency in their operations in Lebanon.

HOWARD KURTZ: Hold on, you’re suggesting that Israel has deliberately allowed Hezbollah to retain some of it’s fire power, essentially for PR purposes, because having Israeli civilians killed helps them in the public relations war here?

RICKS: Yes, that’s what military analysts have told me.

KURTZ: That’s an extraordinary testament to the notion that having people on your own side killed actually works to your benefit in that nobody wants to see your own citizens killed but it works to your benefit in terms of the battle of perceptions here.

RICKS: Exactly. It helps you with the moral high ground problem, because you know your operations in Lebanon are going to be killing civilians as well.



The UN Security Council resolution draft on Lebanon reflects a new stage of Western colonialism in the Middle East, and perhaps a historic precedent: for the first time, the UN Security Council – should the resolution draft be endorsed – breaches the fundamental principle of the right of people under occupation to resist, and in fact legitimizes the violent partition of the sovereign state of Lebanon.
The American-French draft reflects the interests of three central colonial powers in the region: the U.S., the main colonial power in Iraq and Afghanistan; its client and proxy Israel, which is occupying the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza as well as part of Syria, and occupied south Lebanon for 22 years (1978-2000); and France, the former colonial empire in Lebanon after WWI. No wonder that the draft, which pays lip-service to Lebanon's sovereignty and territorial integrity, in fact suggests a partition of this small land.


The decisive player in Israeli politics – the military – is aware of the painful memories many Israeli families still have from 22 years in the so-called "Lebanese mud." Therefore, the reoccupation has been carried out in what the Israeli army jargon calls "a rolling operation." At first, the public and the cabinet were assured that only the air force would be used. A few days into the war, with dozens of Hezbollah missiles reaching as far as Haifa, military sources started to indicate that "Israel cannot win by using air force alone." Ground forces were sent into Lebanon, first in what was described as limited commando operations, then to take over small enclaves close to the border and "cleanse the Hezbollah front line." Four weeks into the war, Israel is seeking to reoccupy the "security zone" it abandoned six years ago, with indications that the Israeli-held area might stretch north to the Litani River and perhaps even further.
Leaflets and heavy fire directed indiscriminately at civilians have driven out most of the population of south Lebanon; many have no houses to return to. The purpose of this ethnic cleansing – similar to that carried out in Palestine in 1948 and in the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967 – is to facilitate the Israeli occupation in the future.


"A senior General Staff officer told Ha'aretz that for the first time since the fighting began, Israel plans to attack strategic infrastructure targets and symbols of the Lebanese government [...] 'we are now in a process of renewed escalation. We will continue hitting everything that moves in Hezbollah – but we will also hit strategic civilian infrastructure.' [...] IDF will recommend an additional significant expansion of the operation, including the conquest of most of Lebanon south of the Litani River, including the area around Tyre, and a significant increase in air strikes on infrastructure targets. 'It could be that at the end of the story, Lebanon will be dark for a few years,' said one." (Ha'aretz, Aug. 7, 2006)
In order to preclude any resistance to its partition, then, Lebanon should be devastated.

Ran HaCohen

Monday, August 07, 2006

A dime a dozen

The Angry Arab News Service:
New York Times' standards: another day, another NYT headline that only mentions Israeli casualties: "Rocket Barrage Kills 15 Israelis Close to Border." But unlike yesterday, you can read the article--not the headline or subheadline--to read about Lebanese victims: "Israeli airstrikes killed more than a dozen people." Notice that for the Lebanese, no specific figure is needed. A dozen?? I mean, I expect the New York Times to start reporting about "a heap of Lebanese victims" or a "pile" of Lebanese victims or a "hill of piled up bodies" of Lebanese victims. Times of war--no time to hide racism of the media.

CIA Instructions to Media Assets

"Discovered in 1977, dated 4/1/67, and marked "DESTROY WHEN NO LONGER NEEDED", this document is a stunning testimony to how concerned the CIA was over investigations into the Kennedy assassination."
Discussed here.

We'll Chuck A Few Of Our Insects Into The Fire For Moral Equivalence

U.S. Resolution Would Allow Israel to Stay in Lebanon

On the diplomatic front, efforts by the United Nations Security Council to secure a ceasefire appear to be faltering. On Saturday the United States and France announced they had agreed on a draft resolution. But Lebanon and other Arab states rejected the proposal. This is Lebanon's special envoy to the United Nations Nouhad Mahmoud.

Nouhad Mahmoud: "We appreciate all the efforts made to come up with this draft but unfortunately it lacked for instance a call for withdrawal of Israeli forces which are now in Lebanon, and that's recipe for more confrontation."

Lebanon's envoy Nouhad Mahmoud also said the resolution must order the Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Shebaa Farms. Lebanon accused the U.S. of drafting a resolution slanted toward Israel. Meanwhile Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice urged the Security Council to quickly approve the resolution. She said its passage will determine "who's for peace and who isn't."

Report: Israel Allowing Rocket Attacks to Give It "A Sort of Moral Equivalency"

On the military front, Thomas Ricks, a top reporter for the Washington Post, has said that Israel is purposely not bombing all of Hezbollah's rocket launchers. Sources have told him that the Israeli military feels that if Hezbollah continues to fire rockets at Israel it gives Israel a sort of moral equivalency in their operations in Lebanon.


"a state of collective denial that has no precedent in history"

Houston, we have a problem. But you don't:

Executives ride high on boom in energy

Houston Chronicle Aug. 6, 2006, 12:39AM

The energy boom rang loud and clear through corporate suites in Houston last year where total pay grew 28 percent for the 100 top-paid executives at publicly traded companies. The average pay package for the top executives in this energy-centric city was $6.9 million in 2005 versus $5.4 million in 2004, including salary, bonus and long-term incentives like stock options, according to data compiled for the Chronicle by Longnecker & Associates. The increase was fueled in large part by a 68 percent jump in the value of stock option grants and a 23 percent increase in bonuses. [...]

The L-Curve:

One Barrel of Oil = One Year of Hard Human Labour

[Photo: Sebastiao Salgado]

A thirsty world is running dry


Sydney Morning Herald, July 31 2006

The world's biggest oil company, Exxon Mobil, made a profit of $A13.6 billion last quarter. That works out at $54 billion a year, or $1 billion profit a week.

Last week, all five global oil giants reported their quarterly results and all told the same story:

Royal Dutch, $9.5 billion profit (up 40 per cent);

BP, $9.5 billion (up 30 per cent);

ConocoPhillips, $6.8 billion (up 65 per cent);

and Chevron, $5.7 billion (up 19 per cent).

That's a collective quarterly profit of $45 billion - almost $3.5 billion a week.

The announcements came at exactly the same time that the coast of Lebanon was being despoiled by a large oil spill after Israel bombed a power plant near Beirut. As if the only true democracy in the Arab world needed another catastrophe. The symbolism speaks for itself. All this at a time when the world is paying record oil prices, fuel production is experiencing bottlenecks caused by a shortage of oil refineries, which suggests Big Oil must have good reasons not to expand supply. And the high cost of oil - required in the production and supply of nearly everything we buy - has rippled through the global economy, pushing up inflation and interest rates.

"Our society is in a state of collective denial that has no precedent in history, in terms of its scale and implication," writes scientist Jeremy Leggett in a book, Half Gone (2005), about the imminent arrival of "peak oil", when global oil reserves begin to run down. Half Gone argues that "peak oil" has already arrived, and we are not prepared for the consequences. Even if Leggett has overstated his case, innumerable scientific reports have urged the need for a move away from oil dependence.

In 2004 a unit of the United States Department of Energy warned: "A serious supply-demand discontinuity [shortage] could lead to worldwide economic chaos." Yet there remains a breathtaking gap between the rhetoric of the war on terrorism and the absence of common sense. As Leggett writes: "Of America's current daily consumption of 20 million barrels, 5 million are imported from the Middle East, where almost two-thirds of the world's oil reserves lie in a region of especially intense and long-lived conflicts. [...]

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"International Terrorism Does Not Exist"

As the current international situation shows, terrorism emerges where contradiction aggravate, where there is a change of social relations or a change of regime, where there is political, economic or social instability, where there is moral decadence, where cynicism and nihilism triumph, where vice is legalized and where crime spreads.

It is globalization what creates the conditions for the emergence of these extremely dangerous phenomena. It is in this context that the new world geo-strategic map is being designed, that the resources of the planet are being re-distributed, that borders are disappearing, that international law is being torn into pieces, that cultural identities are being erased, that spiritual life becomes impoverished...

The analysis of the essence of the globalization process, the military and political doctrines of the United States and other countries, shows that terrorism contributes to a world dominance and the submissiveness of states to a global oligarchy. This means that terrorism is not something independent of world politics but simply an instrument, a means to install a unipolar world with a sole world headquarters, a pretext to erase national borders and to establish the rule of a new world elite. It is precisely this elite that constitutes the key element of world terrorism, its ideologist and its “godfather”. The main target of the world elite is the historical, cultural, traditional and natural reality; the existing system of relations among states; the world national and state order of human civilization and national identity.

Today’s international terrorism is a phenomenon that combines the use of terror by state and non-state political structures as a means to attain their political objectives through people’s intimidation, psychological and social destabilization, the elimination of resistance inside power organizations and the creation of appropriate conditions for the manipulation of the countries’ policies and the behavior of people.

Terrorism is the weapon used in a new type of war. At the same time, international terrorism, in complicity with the media, becomes the manager of global processes. It is precisely the symbiosis between media and terror, which allows modifying international politics and the exiting reality.

In this context, if we analyze what happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States, we can arrive at the following conclusions:

1. The organizers of those attacks were the political and business circles interested in destabilizing the world order and who had the means necessary to finance the operation. The political conception of this action matured there where tensions emerged in the administration of financial and other types of resources. We have to look for the reasons of the attacks in the coincidence of interests of the big capital at global and transnational levels, in the circles that were not satisfied with the rhythm of the globalization process or its direction.
Unlike traditional wars, whose conception is determined by generals and politicians, the oligarchs and politicians submitted to the former were the ones who did it this time.

2. Only secret services and their current chiefs – or those retired but still having influence inside the state organizations – have the ability to plan, organize and conduct an operation of such magnitude. Generally, secret services create, finance and control extremist organizations. Without the support of secret services, these organizations cannot exist – let alone carry out operations of such magnitude inside countries so well protected. Planning and carrying out an operation on this scale is extremely complex.

3. Osama bin Laden and “Al Qaeda” cannot be the organizers nor the performers of the September 11 attacks. They do not have the necessary organization, resources or leaders. Thus, a team of professionals had to be created and the Arab kamikazes are just extras to mask the operation.

The September 11 operation modified the course of events in the world in the direction chosen by transnational mafias and international oligarchs; that is, those who hope to control the planet’s natural resources, the world information network and the financial flows. This operation also favored the US economic and political elite that also seeks world dominance.
- General Leonid Ivashov

Constructive Chaos

During her press briefing at the State Department, on July 21st 2006, Condoleezza Rice was questioned on the initiatives she intended to take to bring peace back to Lebanon. « I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante”, she responded. “I think it would be a mistake. What we’re seeing here, in a sense, is the growing — the birth pangs of a new Middle East and whatever we do we have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the new Middle East not going back to the old one.». [1]

Seen from Washington, what is happening today in Lebanon has no relation whatsoever with the recovering of soldiers captured by the Hezbollah. What is at stake is the carrying out of the long nurtured theory of « constructive chaos ». According to the adepts of philosopher Leo Strauss, whose media branch is better known under the name of « neo-conservatives », real power cannot be exerted from if one remains in the status quo, but only, quite the contrary, in the act of destroying all forms of resistance. It is by plunging the masses into chaos that the elites can aspire to ensure the stability of their position.

Léo StraussAlso, according to the adepts of Leo Strauss, it is only in this violence that the imperial interests of the United States merge with those of the Jewish State.

The Israeli will to dismantle Lebanon, to create in its place a mini-Christian state and annex part of its territory, is not new. It was enunciated in 1957 by David Ben Gourion in a famous letter published as an annex to his posthumous memoirs. [2] Particularly, it was inserted into a vast colonization project of the Middle East written in 1996 under the title: A clean break: a new strategy to secure the Kingdom (of Israel) [3] That document, written up in a neo conservative think tank, the IASPS, was prepared by a group of experts assembled by Richard Perle et given to Benjamin Netanyahu. It is representative of the thinking of the revisionist Zionism of Vladimir Jabotinsky [4]. It called for:

the canceling of the Oslo peace agreements
the elimination of Yasser Arafat
the annexation of the Palestinian territories,
the overthrow of Sadam Hussein to destabilize, Syria and Lebanon in a chain of events
the dismantling of Iraq and the creation of a Palestinian state in its territory
the utilization of Israel as a complementary base for the US Star Wars program

That document inspired the speech given the next day by Benjamin Netanyahu to the US Congress. [5] All ingredients of the present situation are included there: threats against Iran, Syria and the Hezbollah, with the included demand for annexation of East Jerusalem.

That viewpoint concurs with that of the United States administration. The control of areas rich in hydrocarbons defined by Zginiew Brzezinski and Bernard Lewis as the “arc of crisis”, ie. the arc reaching from the Gulf of Guinea to the Caspian sea going through the Persian Gulf, demands a redefinition of borders, States and political regimes : a “remodeling of the Greater Middle East,” to use the expression of George W. Bush.

That is the new Middle East which Miss Rice claims to be the mid-wife of, and whose painful birth she is watching.

The idea is simple: substitute to the States inherited by the collapse of the Ottoman empire, smaller entities of mono-ethnic character, and neutralize those mini-states by setting up them permanently against each other. In other terms, the idea is to reconsider the secret agreements concluded in 1916 by the French and British empires, the Sykes-Picot agreements [6] and to establish rather a total domination of the Anglo-Saxons over the region. But in order to define new states, the existing ones must first be destroyed. That is what the Bush Administration and its allies have been doing since 5 years with the enthusiasm of a sorcerers apprentices. Judge the results:

Occupied Palestine’s territory has been reduced by 7%; the Gaza strip and the West Bank have been separated by a wall; the Palestinian authority has been ruined, its ministers and parliamentarians kidnapped and imprisoned.
The UN has ordered Lebanon to disarm, expel the Syrian forces and dissolve the Hezbollah; former Prime minister Rafic Harriri was murdered and French influence disappeared with him; the economic infrastructures of the country have been razed and more than 500.000 added refugees roam in the region.
The Saddam Hussein dictatorship was replaced in Iraq by a still more cruel regime responsible for more than 3000 dead per month; in total anarchy, the country is on the verge of fragmenting into three distinct entities.
The Taliban pseudo-emirate has given way to a pseudo-democracy ruled under the most obscurantist interpretation of the Charia, with an added feature, the poppy culture. De facto, Afghanistan is already divided among the different war lords and combat is generalizing. The central government has renounced to being obeyed even in the capital city.

In Washington, the disciples of Leo Strauss, more and more impatient, dream of extending their chaos to Sudan, to Syria and Iran. In this transition period, one no longer speaks of “market democracy”, but only of blood and tears.

Jacques Chirac who wished to intervene in Lebanon to defend French interests and sent there his Prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, had to renounce : during the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, George W. Bush forbade him from doing so stating that this was not an Israeli operation approved by the United States, but a United States operation being executed by Israel. Thus, M. de Villepin had nothing to declare to his interlocutors in Beyrut, only his words and his impotence.

More precisely, the project for destroying Lebanon was presented by Tsahal to the Bush administration a little more than a year ago, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported it. [7] It was at the center of political discussions at the yearly World Forum organized by the American Entreprise Institute, on June 2006 17th ad 18th at Beaver Creek. Benjamin Netanyahu and Dick Cheney met at length along with Richard Perle and Nathan Sharansky. The green light by the White House was given a few days after.

Tsahal’s military operations are supervised by the United States Department of Defense who determines the essentials of the strategy and the choice of targets. The main role is played by general Bantz Craddock, the commander in chief of the Southern Command. As he showed during the Desert Storm operation and, particularly, when he lead NATO land forces in Kosovo, Craddock is a specialist of armored vehicles. He is a trusted man of Donald Rumsfeld of whom he was the personal chief of staff, and for whom he developed the Guantanamo camp. Next November, he should be named commander of the European Command and of NATO. In that position, he could be called to command, beyond those forces already operating in Afghanistan and Soudan, the interposition force which NATO could deploy in Southern Lebanon.

The Israeli and United States generals have learned to know each other, since some thirty years, thanks to the exchanges organized by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) an association which obliges its cadre to follow the seminars on the doctrines of Leo Strauss.

- Thierry Meyssan

"Purification, maybe. It's dirty here."


"This tape was actually not supposed to be aired. ...
The Army decided it was too embarrassing."

Berlin, Byblos


George Galloway, London, August 5

(via and more)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Inside The Fence

The bloodbath continues in Gaza.

Iraq, a wreck

Click to enlarge.

[via Democratic Underground]


Before and after.


Reading a newspaper in Tehran

FKh: Please elaborate on your criticism of the RLT cover photograph, of two veiled Iranian girls reading.

Hamid Dabashi: The cover of RLT is an iconic burglary. It photographically kidnaps two young Iranian women, while they are busy reading a newspaper, following the parliamentary election in their homeland, and thus participating in the democratic aspirations of their people, and incarcerates them inside a colonial harem. In my essay I have sought to give a pictorial genealogy of what oriental fantasies this cover invokes by this act of thievery. I very much hope people would print the cover of RLT and place it next to the picture I have unearthed and from which it is stolen, compare the two and make up their own mind about the treachery of a career opportunist neocon artist and the extent to which she and her publisher will go to misrepresent a people and deceive another.

Standing up

- in Panama:

- in Mexico:

- in London (at the US Embassy) :

The indescribable

...described, memorably, by Ob Fusc at the Deobfuscation Zone.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Down With People!

The hatred of democracy is certainly nothing new. It is as old as democracy itself for a simple reason: the word itself is an expression of hatred. It was originally invented as an insult, in ancient Greece, by those who saw the ruin of all traditional order in the unnameable government of the multitude. It has remained a synonym of abomination for all those who believe that power belongs to those destined for it by birth or by talents. So too for all those today who consider the divine law as revealed in Scripture the sole legitimate basis for the organisation of human communities. This hatred is certainly today extremely violent. It is not however this latter hatred which is the object of this book, for the simple reason that I have nothing in common with those who express it and therefore nothing to dispute with them.

Flanking this hatred of democracy, history has known various forms of its critique. The critiques have acknowledged its existence, but only to assign its proper limits. The critique of democracy has taken two major forms historically. There has been the art of aristocratic and learned legislators who have tried to compose their legal systems given the assumption that the fact of democracy is irreversible and cannot be resisted. The making of the US Constitution is a classic example of this work of the composition of forces and the institutional equilibrium and mechanisms designed to extract from the ineluctable fact of democracy the best one can hope for, strictly containing democracy to preserve two benefits considered as synonymous: the government of the most fit and the protection of the order of property. The accomplishment of this critique in action naturally nourished the accomplishment of its opposite. The young Marx did not err at all in unmasking the reign of property as the foundation of the order of the Republic. Republican legislators made not the least mystery of it. But he knew how to fix a standard of thought which has not yet been invalidated: the laws and the institutions of formal democracy are appearances beneath which and instruments by and with which the power of the bourgeois class was exercised. The struggle against these appearances became therefore the path to a "real" democracy, a democracy where liberty and equality would no longer be represented in the institutions of law and of the State but incarnated in the forms of material life and sensual experience themselves.

The new hatred of democracy that is the object of this book doesn't derive from either of these models, even though it combines elements borrowed from both. Its spokespersons all live in countries which declare themselves not only democratic States but democracies tout court. None of them seek a more real democracy. All tell us that there is already too much. But none of them focus their complaints on the institutions which pretend to incarnate the power of the people nor do they propose any mesure to restrain that power. The mechanics of institutions which enthused Montesquieu, Madison, or Tocqueville don't interest them. It is of the people and their moeurs that they complain, not of the institutions of their power. Democracy, for them, is not a corrupted form of government, it is a civilisational crisis that affects society and the State through it. ...

...The double discourse on democracy is surely not new. We are used to hear that democracy is the worst form of government with the exception of all others. But the new anti-democratic sentiment gives this formula an even more troubling cast. Democratic government, it tells us, is bad when it allows itself to be corrupted by democratic society which wants all to be equal and all differences respected. It is good, on the other hand, when it calls individuals to the energetic defense of the values of civilisation in the war that is the struggle of civilisations. The new hatred of democracy can therefore be summed up in a simple thesis: there is only one good democracy, that which represses the catastrophe of democratic civilisation....

We begin the analysis, isolate the principle of the new antidemocratic discourse. The portrait that it draws of democracy is made up of traits previously laid at the door of totalitarianism. It proceeds therefore by a process of disfigurement, as if the concept of totalitarianism, fashioned for the needs of the Cold War, becoming useless, its traits could be disassembled and reassembled to remake the portrait of that which was its supposed opposite, democracy. We can follow the stages of this process of disfigurement and recomposition. It began in the 1980s with an initial operation calling into question the opposition of the two terms. The terrain of this operation was the reconsideration of the revolutionary heritage of democracy. Emphasis has very properly been allotted to the role played in this operation by François Furet's Penser la révolution française, published in 1978. However the double action of this operation in that work has not really been fully grasped. To return the Terror to the heart of the democratic revolution is, at the most visible level, to destroy the opposition which had always structured the dominant opinion. Totalitarianism and democracy, Furet teaches, are not truly opposites. The Stalinist reign of terror was anticipated by the French revolution's Reign of Terror. Now, this reign of terror is understood not as a detour from the Revolution, on the contrary it was constitutive of its project, an inherent necessity and the essence itself of the democratic revolution.

To derive the Stalinist terror from the French revolutionary terror is not necessarily a novel proceeding. Such an analysis can be integrated into the classic opposition between liberal, parliamentary democracy, founded on the restriction of state power and the protection of individual liberties, and radical egalitarian democracy, sacrificing individual rights to the religion of the collectivity and the blind fury of crowds. The renewed denunciation of terrorist democracy seems therefore to lead to the refoundation of liberal, pragmatic democracy finally delivered from revolutionary fantasms of the collective body.

But this simple reading denies the double action of the operation. Because the critique of the Terror has a double basis. The critique called liberal, which recalls itself from the totalitarian rigors of equality to the wise republic of individual liberties and parliamentary representation, is from the beginning entirely subordinated to a wholly different critique, for which the sin of the revolution is not its collectivism but its individualism. According to this perspective, the French Revolution was terrorist not for disdain for the rights of individuals but on the contrary for sacralising them. Initiated by the theorists of counterrevolution in the aftermath of the French Revolution, taken up by the early 19th century Utopian socialists, consecrated at the end of the same century by the young science of sociology, that reading expresses itself like this: the Revolution was the consequence of the Enlightenment and its primary principle, the "protestant" doctrine which elevated the judgement of isolated individuals to the place of existing structures and collective belief. Breaking the ancient solidarities which had gradually interwoven the monarchy, aristocracy and Church, the protestant revolution had torn the social fabric and created atomised individuals. The Terror is the harsh consequence of this dissolution, and the will to recreate by the artifice of laws and institutions a bond that only natural and historical solidarities can weave.

It is this doctrine that Furet's book restored to a place of honour. He showed that the revolutionary Terror was consubstantial with the Revolution itself, because all the revolutionary dramaturgy was founded on ignorance of the deep historical realities which made it possible. The Revolution was unaware that the true revolution, that of institutions and moeurs, had already been accomplished in the depths of the society and in the wheels of the monarchic machine. The Revolution, from that moment, could be nothing but an illusion of beginning anew, in the form of a conscious will, a revolution already completed. It could be nothing but the artifice of the Terror, forcing upon a dismantled society an imaginary body. The analysis of Furet refers to the thesis of Claude Lefort on democracy as a disembodied power. But it bases itself even more heavily on the work from which it derived the materials of its reasoning, that is the thesis of Augustin Cochin denouncing the role of the "sociétés de pensée" at the origin of the French Revolution. Augustin Cochin, Furet emphasised, was not merely a royalist partisan of Action Française, he was also a thinker nourished by Durkheimien sociology. He was, in fact, the direct heir to the critique of the "individualist" revolution, transmitted by the counterrevolution to "liberal" thought and to republican sociology, which is the real foundation of the denunciation of revolutionary "totalitarianism". The liberalism exhibited by the French intelligensia of the 80s is a doctrine with a double base. Behind the reverence for the Enlightenment and the Anglo-American tradition of liberal democracy and the rights of individuals, one recognises the denunciation - very French - of the individualist revolution which rent the social fabric.

This double spring of the critique of the revolution permits us to understand the formation of contemporary antidemocraticism. It allows us to understand the inversion of the discourse of democracy which followed the collapse of the USSR. On the one hand, the fall of the Soviet empire was, for a very brief time, greeted joyfully as the triumph of democracy over totalitarianism, the victory of individual liberties over statist oppression, symbolised by the rights of man championed by Soviet dissidents or Polish workers. These 'formal' rights had been the primary target of the Marxist critique of democracy, and the collapse of the regimes built on the pretention of promoting a more "real" democracy seemed to indicate their resurgence. But behind the welcome accorded the assertion anew of the rights of man and of rediscovered democracy, the inverse was produced. From the moment that the concept of totalitarianism was no longer useful, the opposition of a 'good' democracy of the rights of man and individual liberties against a bad egalitarian and collectivist democracy fell, as well, into desuetude. The critique of the rights of man resumed immediately all its rights. It might lean in the direction of Hannah Arendt: the rights of man are an illusion because they are the rights of that naked man who is without rights. These are the illusory rights of men that tyrannical regimes have chased from their homes, from their nations, from all citizenship. Everyone knows how much this thesis has regained favour recently. On the one hand it arrived opportunely to support these humanitarian and liberatory interventions by States undertaking, as military and militant democracy, the defense of the rights of those without rights. On the other, it inspired the analysis of Giorgio Agamben, making of the "state of exception" the real content of our democracy. But the critique can also lean toward the marxist manner that the fall of the Soviet empire and the weakening of the movements for emancipation in the West have made available, anew, for all uses: the rights of man are the rights of egoist individuals of bourgeois society.

The point is to discover who are these egoist individuals. Marx understood these as the possessors of the means of production, that is the dominant class for whom the State of the rights of man is an instrument. Current wisdom understands this differently. And in fact a series of slippages suffices to grant to egoist individuals a completely new face. First we make a replacement everyone will allow us - that of "egoist individuals" with "avid consumers". Then we identify these avid consumers with a new socio-historical species, "democratic man".
- Jacques Rancière, La haine de la démocratie