Designer Monsters - The Anti-Empire Report - Some Things You Need To Know Before the World Ends

by William Blum

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a man seemingly custom-made for the White House in its endless quest for enemies with whom to scare Congress, the American people, and the world, in order to justify the unseemly behavior of the empire. The Iranian president has declared that he wants to "wipe Israel off the map". He's said that "the Holocaust is a myth". He recently held a conference in Iran for "Holocaust deniers". And his government passed a new law requiring Jews to wear a yellow insignia, à la the Nazis. On top of all that, he's aiming to build nuclear bombs, one of which would surely be aimed at Israel. What right-thinking person would not be scared by such a man?


However, like with all such designer monsters made bigger than life during the Cold War and since by Washington, the truth about Ahmadinejad is a bit more complicated. According to people who know Farsi, the Iranian leader has never said anything about "wiping Israel off the map". In his October 29, 2005 speech, when he reportedly first made the remark, the word "map" does not even appear. According to the translation of Juan Cole, American professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History, Ahmadinejad said that "the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." His remark, said Cole, "does not imply military action or killing anyone at all," which presumably is what would make the remark threatening.[1] Readers are advised that the next time they come across such an Ahmadinejad citation to note whether a complete sentence is being quoted, and not just "wipe Israel off the map".

At the conference in Teheran ("Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision"), the Iranian president said: "The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom."[2] Obviously, the man is not calling for any kind of violent attack upon Israel, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union did not occur through force or violence. Add a comment
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More Nuremberg Trials?

by Murray Polner

I once edited and wrote the introduction to William Graham Sumner’s sadly forgotten book, The Conquest of the United States by Spain and Other Essays (Regnery/Gateway). Sumner was an irascible and biting Social Darwinist and classical nineteenth century supporter of laissez faire. What attracted me to him was not his economics but his utter contempt for American imperialism during the Spanish American War and its subsequent invasion of the Philippines, which left 4,000 American volunteers and perhaps 250,000 Filipinos dead. Despite the backing of a jingoist and cowed press, politicians who believed they had God’s ear, and a large majority of Americans, Sumner the eternal skeptic wasn’t convinced. Unlike the cheerleaders for war, he recognized what lay ahead. The rest of the century, he accurately predicted, would bring a "frightful effusion of blood in revolution and war."

Sound familiar?

Since then, the world’s addiction to war and violence has never abated. Nor has America’s. Big and small and proxy wars, attacks on militarily powerful states such as the Dominican Republic, Grenada and Panama, plus interventions in the Caribbean and Central America, to name but a few, have occurred in nearly every decade. All of which seems to reflect Randolph Bourne’s famous, all-too prescient remark that, "War is the health of the state." (Of course you can always pacify the population with patriotic and reverent ceremonies honoring the heroic troops who died in battle – always, the rationale goes – in the cause of "freedom.")  Add a comment
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Call me Ebenezer, but Christmas as we know it needs to go.....

By Jason Miller

 

Bursting forth with renewed intensity, the “War on Christmas” is back in 2006.  So just what does this alleged war against an impalpable enemy entail? Have “Islamofascists” captured and decapitated Santa Claus? Did a US-made IDF “smart bomb” strike Bethlehem and obliterate baby Jesus as he lay in the manger?  Did the Grinch go global with his nefarious thievery?

Actually, the answer can be found amongst the corporate media’s nearly countless obfuscations and deceits.

Divisive, sophistic arguments crafted by “sage” pundits and readily accepted by genuflecting readers admonish that secular forces are determined to eradicate Christmas and its celebrants’ joy with the zeal of a restaurateur exterminating cockroaches. What an ingenious way to divert attention from the ongoing genocide in Iraq and the gutting of our Constitution!

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Rockford Breathes a Sigh of Relief, Safe from the Menace of Derrick Shareef

by Winter Patriot

The Rockford Register Star celebrated the weekend with a special section on the Derrick Shareef story, named without any apparent hint of intentional irony "Terror In The Region: Plot Foiled".

 

In "Local News: Cherry Valley", Bridget Tharp tells us the sting was all-federal, and Police Chief Gary Maitland explains why he thinks it should be that way: Cherry Valley police tell how small their terror response really was

It was “just luck” that Police Chief Gary Maitland was lunching with two law-enforcement leaders when the FBI agent showed up at his office Dec. 6, he said. The timing meant that South Beloit Police Chief Larry Schultz and Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers learned together that the FBI had thwarted a terror plot set for CherryVale Mall.
"Just luck"-- That's a good one. Remember that for later, will you? Add a comment
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Mission Accomplished! Attacks in Iraq at highest levels ever!!

The International Herald Tribune says

Nearly 1,000 insurgent and sectarian attacks were carried out against American and Iraqi targets every week over the last three months, the highest level ever recorded, according to a Pentagon report on security trends in Iraq that was issued Monday.

The report, which covers the period from early August to early November describes a worsening security environment in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq.

The rise in attacks, to a weekly average of 959, was a jump of nearly 200 compared with the previous three months. As a consequence, civilian casualties reached a record high, more than 90 a day, the report said. While the majority of attacks were directed at U.S. forces, most of the casualties were suffered by the Iraqi military and civilians.
That last was a compound sentence, and the "while" messed up the impact. So let's try that again.
The majority of attacks were directed at U.S. forces.

Most of the casualties were suffered by the Iraqi military and civilians.
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Tears of Rage, Tears of Grief: Mass Death Returns to Ishaqi

by Chris Floyd

This is my latest piece for Truthout.org.

I. Rashomon in Iraq


Mass death came again to the Iraqi town of Ishaqi last Friday. Nine months after an American raid that killed 11 civilians, including five children under the age of five, another ground and air assault on suspected insurgents in the area left behind a pile of corpses, including at least two children. As with the earlier incident, Friday's attack has produced conflicting stories of what really happened, but the end result is clear: a multitude of grieving, angry Iraqis further embittered against the American occupation.

The latest Ishaqi attack – with "only" 20 fatalities – is of course a mere sideshow in the garish carnival of death that is Iraq today. But in many respects it is a microcosm of the largely unseen reality of the war that grinds on day after day behind the obscuring fog of political rhetoric enshrouding both Washington and Baghdad. In this return to Ishaqi, we find many of the elements that have kept Iraq an open, gaping wound with little chance for healing: constant airstrikes on populated civilian areas, iron-fisted house raids, propaganda ploys, dubious intelligence, disdain for the locals – and the employment of mysterious units that may be blended with government-run (even American-run) death squads.

So what happened on December 9 in the village of Taima in the Ishaqi district, on the shores of Lake Tharthar? The official U.S. military version states that unidentified "Coalition Forces" entered the village shortly after midnight and targeted a location "based on intelligence reports that indicated associates with links to multiple al-Qaeda in Iraq networks were operating in the area." During a search, they took heavy fire from a nearby building. Returning fire, they killed "two armed terrorists" but couldn't quell the attack, so they called in an airstrike that killed "18 more armed terrorists," including two women. Of the latter, the military press release said that "al-Qaeda in Iraq has both men and women supporting and facilitating their operations unfortunately." The unspecified raiders then uncovered a cache of terrorist arms which they photographed and subsequently destroyed.

The identification of the victims as terrorists was made through a "battle damage assessment," said U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver. "If there is a weapon with or next to the person or they are holding it, they are a terrorist," he said.


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Innocents Abroad: US Cracks Down on Guantanamo Detainees, Most of Whom aren't Terrorists

by Dave Lindorff


The U.S. is holding hundreds of innocent people at its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Military authorities at Guantanamo have decided to tighten the screws on detainees because it has been determined that the U.S. has been too kind and accommodating to them.


If you find those two sentences jarring and contradictory, you’re not alone, yet both were leading news items in today's newspapers. The first appeared in a page one story in of the Philadelphia Inquirer by Associated Press reporter Andrew O. Selsky, which said most of the detainees are innocent of any crime. The second was a page one story in the New York Times by reporter Tim Golden, who reported on a harsh crackdown on Guantanamo detainees, including removal of common eating privileges, inmate soccer games, and incentives for good behavior by prisoners.

Selsky, who traced what happened to 245 of some 360 Guantanamo detainees released by the U.S., found that 205 of them, upon arriving in their countries of origin, were immediately released, after their home governments determined that they were, after all, not dangerous terrorists. According to Selsky, all 83 Afghan captives sent back to Afghanistan were freed after the government there determined that most had simply been turned over to American forces because of "tribal or personal rivalries" and to collect ransoms being offered by US forces.

Pakistan released 67 of 70 Pakistani captives returned to that country after it was determined they too were "innocent." Add a comment
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Serious Fraud

by William Bowles

Karl MarxI have this image of Karl Marx living in a squat somewhere, laptop on knees, googling info and pouring out reams of writing on the state of capitalism. It’s anybody’s guess what comrade Karl would have done with tools such as we now possess, but I am sure he would have been leader of the pack if his use of the British Library is anything to go by. Das Kapital for example, has references to over 450 books, indeed someone has compiled a book just of the reference sources he used in just one book!

Yet in an age of exploding communications where we now possess the tools to effectively challenge the dominant culture’s control of information, it is more than a little ironic that we find ourselves bereft of the traditional tools of political action that in days past would have enabled us to more effectively exploit these new conditions.

130 and more, years ago, the Reds of the day truly thought that capitalism’s days were numbered. Then in the months and years that followed the Bolshevik revolution, capitalism’s days looked truly up once more. And yet again, following the Crash of ‘29 many were convinced that the demise of the great god Mammon was just around the corner.
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The Dissapperance of George P. Bush

by Linda Milazzo

It was the year 2000. The new millennium. It featured a rising new star from a prominent American family. His name was George. George P. Remember George P.? The incessantly publicized and promoted son of Florida's Governor Bush? The most dominant face of George W. Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign?

George P. was everywhere. Enticing the wealthy. Hugging the poor. Kissing elderly ladies, winning the hearts of adoring young girls. George P. was the bait. The lure. And America was his catch of the day. In our multi-cultural nation, this blended prince encompassed the best of America's two prominent landscapes: the ever-growing Latino population and the doggedly dominant Anglo. The half that was Anglo spanned generations of wealth and power. The half that was Latin softened his ego, making his combination just "right."

The media couldn't get enough of George P. He was the "fourth-coming." The likely successor to the mantle of the multi-generational dynasty whose fortune had amassed in unorthodox ways. Of course the unorthodox ways were of no interest to the press, whose sole focus was on the contentious election for the first President of the new millennium. The 2000 Presidential election was the nation's most divisive in history. It tore at the fabric of its democracy, tarnished the Supreme Court, and damaged the electoral system for decades, if not centuries to come.
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Suicide Poker or… Arabian Roulette?

by Tom Chartier

International wheelings and dealings are like a complex game of poker where the nations playing don’t know how many cards are in the deck. Everybody hides aces up their sleeves. Everybody bluffs. Double-dealing is rife. Some sit quietly with their poker faces and wait for the best time to call. Others posture and strut. Some players excel and some can’t tell their ace from a hole in the ground.

The U.S. adventure in the Middle East has been a mind-boggling display of inept gamesmanship. Indeed, to our Great Decider it has seemed to be little more than a game all along. With the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, President Bush laid his cards on the table expecting to rake in all the chips of oil and laurels of victory to transform the frat-boy into the Great Liberator thus securing a glorious chapter in the history books. As we have seen, frat-boy’s hand contained garbage.

So Bush the Elder stepped in to save Bush the Lesser with some better players, James Baker, Lee Hamilton and Robert Gates. The Iraq Study Group thinks they know how to play the game and they have handed the dealer a new, stacked deck of cards with which Bush the Lesser can, theoretically, play to win.

Arrogance, greed, and ignorance have described Bush’s method of play in the Middle East. He and his neocon string-pullers have been playing as if they had magic X-ray glasses to see through everyone’s cards.
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Democratic Control of the Senate is a Double-Edged Sword

by Dave Lindorff

Let’s stop all the heavy breathing.

While Republican vultures hover shamelessly over the hospital where Sen. Tim Johnson, the South Dakota Democrat remains in critical condition following emergency brain surgery, progressives are in a lather worrying that if Johnson doesn't recover, or if he dies, South Dakota's Republican governor would appoint a Republican to finish out his term, handing control of the U.S. Senate back to the just ousted Republican Party.

There were fears of the same possible outcome back in early November, when pseudo-Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), defeated in an August primary for his party's nomination, succeeded in winning re-election running as an independent. It was feared--and to some extent is still feared--that Lieberman could jump over to the GOP in January, handing Republicans control of the Senate. Lieberman has played this fear like a virtuoso violinist, wresting a promise that he will chair the Homeland Security Committee in the 110th Congress if he stays in the party fold.

Progressives should take a deep breath and relax, though. The truth is, all this angst is really just about Democratic Senators looking to maintain their own newfound power and their own marketability to the big donors who they hope will fill their campaign coffers. If they lose control of the Senate, and don't get to chair all those committees and subcommittees, they don't get the big bucks. Add a comment
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It’s Not Just Bush: We’re Accountable Too

by Heather Wokusch
Click on arrow to listen to Heather's Podcast here: {mmp3ex}www.heatherwokusch.com/podcasts/We_Are_Accountable_Too_48KBs.mp3{/mmp3ex}

Blaming everything on a handful of people at the top, no matter how destructive and abusive they’ve been, misses a critical point. Systems tend to self-perpetuate. Remove one player and the next comes in to ensure business as usual.

Remove Rumsfeld, a man who helped prop up Hussein in the 80’s and skewed intelligence towards war, and who do you get? Robert Gates, a man who helped prop up Hussein in the 80’s and skewed intelligence towards war.

Replacing those in power won’t help if the power structure itself doesn’t change. And that means addressing how our own actions maintain this dysfunctional system.

Decades ago, Rumsfeld and Cheney hoodwinked the American people with fearmongering lies about Soviet military capability, setting the country on a path of paranoia and weapons build-up. 911 let them pull the exact same trick again, with a public more focused on macho vigilantism than on facts and diplomacy.

But the dirty little secret remains: a combative foreign policy requires perpetual conflict. After all, tough-talking cowboys and weapons manufacturers have little value in times of peace, so it’s in their interest to foment never-ending strife. Maybe that’s why top Pentagon strategist Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark O. Schissler recently warned Americans to prepare for a 50-100 year “generational war.” “generational war.”  Add a comment
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