Dennis Kucinich Talks About His Visit to Syria on Syrian TV (video)

Dandelion Salad

Evmonk An interview with U.S. Congressman an…

An interview with U.S. Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich about his visit. This aired on Syrian TV on September 3, 2007.

For more details, see The Middle East Media Research Institute TV Monitor Project: http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1550.htm

see:
Dennis Kucinich Just Back From Syria (video)

Kucinich Goes To Syria To Meet With President Assad (video; article)

Tomgram: The Petraeus Moment By Tom Engelhardt

Dandelion Salad

Imperial Autism

The Petraeus Moment Blots Out the World

By Tom Engelhardt
Sept. 11, 2007

The former Cockney flower-girl turned elegant-English-speaker Eliza Doolittle caught something of our moment in these lyrics from My Fair Lady: “Oh, words, words, words, I’m so sick of words…. Is that all you blighters can do?” Of course, all she had to do was be Galatea to a self-involved language teacher/Pygmalion. We’ve had to bear with the bloviating of almost every member of Congress, the full-blast PR apparatus of the White House, and two endless days of congressional testimony from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, not to speak of the flood of newspaper, radio, and TV stories about all of the above and the bevy of experts who are hustled out to do the horse-race assessments of how the general and ambassador performed, whether they “bought” time for the President, and the like.

And — count on it — that’s just the beginning. The same cast of characters will be talking, squabbling, spinning, and analyzing stats of every sort for weeks to come — with a sequel promised next spring. Everyone knows that’s the case, just as everyone has known since mid-summer that we would get to this point and, when we did, that things similar to those said (and written) in the last two days would indeed be said (and written), and that nothing the blighters would say or write would matter a whit, or change the course of events, or the tide of history, even though whole forests might be pulped in the process and it would be springtime for hyperbole and breathless overstatement in the world of news.

There has been a drumbeat of growing excitement in the press, preparing us for “pivotal reports,” a “pivotal hearing,” “highly anticipated appearances,” and “long-awaited testimony,” or, as both the Washington Post on its front page and ABC World News in a lead report put it, “the most anticipated congressional testimony by a general since the Vietnam War.”

Petraeus himself has been treated in the media as a celebrity, somewhere between a conquering Caesar and the Paris Hilton of generals. Nothing he does has been too unimportant to record, not just the size of his entourage as he arrived from Baghdad, or the suite he was assigned at the Pentagon, or even his “recon” walk through the room in the House of Representatives where he would testify Monday, but every detail. Somehow, when he refused to give interviews before his “long-awaited” appearance, lots of Petraeus-iana slipped out anyway:

“[H]e also has taken short breaks for walks with his wife…. for dinner with their daughter, who lives in the area, and for lunch with his wife’s parents. On his daily jogging route he maintains a brisk, steady pace over a seven-mile route, snaking from Fort Myer, across the Potomac and through Georgetown…”

Sigh…

Continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Exclusive Report: 9/11 Got Me Again by William Mac

by William Mac
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Sept. 11, 2007

When I was younger than I am now my parents would tell me about the day Kennedy was shot. They would tell me that everyone in the entire nation remembers where they were and what they were doing that very moment. My mother said that she was allowed to go home from school so that she could watch the news unfold on the television as the footage was played over, and over again, driving into the mind’s of the American people that this was indeed the end. Other people told me that televisions were wheeled into the classrooms as the children sat upright and open-jawed staring at the final death rattle of the American Dream. I just thought it was cool that my Mom got to go home, and I thought that it would perhaps be nice to stare blankly at the television during school instead of having to do work. I was young. Continue reading

AFP: Israel conducted air strike inside Syria

Dandelion Salad

By Agence France-Presse
ICH
09/11/07 “AFP

WASHINGTON — Israel carried out a rare air strike inside Syria last week targeting a shipment of arms, CNN reported Tuesday quoting US government and military sources.

Israeli officials have so far maintained a veil of silence over Syrian reports that Israeli warplanes violated its airspace on Thursday ratcheting up the tension between the neighboring foes still officially at war.

Reporter Christiane Amanpour said Tuesday on the Cable News Network (CNN) that “sources now are telling me that in fact Israel did conduct a military strike against Syrian territory. That it was an air strike, that it perhaps involved Israeli ground forces.”

She added it was believed the strike targeted “weapons that were either coming into Syria or that were being trans-shipped from Iran through Syria to Hezbollah.”

US government and US military officials had told CNN that Israel did conduct a rare air strike inside Syria and “it has left a big hole in the desert,” she added.

Syria said its air defenses had opened fire on Israeli warplanes flying over the northeast of the country in the early hours of Thursday and warned it was weighing its response to the Israeli “aggression.”

But Israeli officials have made no comment on the allegations, as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “specifically instructed ministers not to talk about the incident related to Syria at all,” one senior Israeli government official said.

  
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Soup Kitchen U.S.A. By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
09/11/07 “
ICH

Credit booms do not end in inflation as most people believe. Credit booms ARE inflation that end in deflation. This credit boom is not any different.” Mike Shedlock, “Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis”

The days of the dollar as the world’s “reserve currency” may be drawing to a close. In August, foreign central banks and governments dumped a whopping 3.8% of their holdings of US debt. Rising unemployment and the ongoing housing slump have triggered fears of a recession sending wary foreign investors running for the exits. China, Japan and Taiwan have been leading the sell off which has caused the steepest decline since 1992.

To some extent, the losses have been concealed by the up-tick in Treasuries sales to US investors who’ve been fleeing the money markets in droves. Investors have been trying to avoid the fallout from money funds that have been contaminated by mortgage-backed assets. Naturally, they bought US government bonds which are considered a safe bet. But that doesn’t change the fact that the dollar’s foundation is steadily eroding and that foreign support for the dollar is vanishing. US bonds are no longer regarded as a “safe haven”.

The dollar slumped to a 15 year low against 6 of its most actively traded peers and set the stage for an early morning market rout on Wall Street.

Foreign investment and currency deregulation has been a real boon for the stock market which thrives of a steady flow of cheap capital. It’s also been good for ravenous consumers who like to borrow boatloads of low interest cash for their toys, SUVs and McMansions.

Of course, when things seem too good to last—they usually don’t. The economy is contracting; credit is getting tighter, and the stock market is flailing about aimlessly. Worse still, the world is quickly losing confidence in American leadership on everything from human rights to global warming. In many ways the US appears to be tragically out-of-step with its epoch. The world is looking for innovative solutions to species-threatening problems while the Bush Administration insists on following an agenda that seems more suitable to medieval warlords in the Dark Ages. The social and economic consequences of their shortsightedness are obvious. Its been a disaster.

As Capital flight accelerates; interest rates in the US will rise, unemployment will mushroom, and the dollar will fall. It can’t be avoided. American markets and consumers will be compelled to curb their gluttonous appetite for cheap foreign credit. The free lunch is over.

Overseas investors own more than $4.4 trillion in US debt in the form of bonds and securities. Even if they sell only 25% of that sum, the US would feel the pinch of hyper-inflation. For the last decade foreigners have been eager to by our Treasuries and equities—gobbling up America’s enormous $800 billion current account deficit and keeping demand for the dollar artificially high. But just like the subprime mortgage holder whose “teaser rate” has suddenly expired; the US now faces the painful adjustment of higher payments and less discretionary income for indulgences.

Maybe the charade could have carried on a bit longer if not for the belligerent Bush foreign policy that has alienated friends and foes alike. But, then, maybe not. After all, the Fed’s loose monetary policies added to Bush’s extravagant spending—$3 trillion added to the National Debt in just 6 years— doomed the country from the beginning. Deficit spending has been the central organizing principle from day 1. Now comes the hangover.

Bernanke is expected to drop the Fed funds rate on September 18. The move will provide more “easy credit-crack” for the addicts on Wall Street but it could also trigger a run on the dollar. That’s what keeps the Fed-chief up at night. The Bush Team was warned repeatedly—by the BIS, the World Bank, the IMF and the European Central Bank ECB—that their policies were “unsustainable” and would end in an economic meltdown. But they brushed aside the warnings with the same casual indifference as they did the critics of the war in Iraq.

Why would they care if the country suffered? Their friends would still get their massive, unfunded tax cuts. Their private armies and “no bid” contractors would still get their payola. The Democrats would still cave in on the enormous “off budget” war spending. And, they’d still be able to print as much counterfeit money as they chose until every last copper-farthing was drained from the public till.

No worries. Besides the media would mop up the mess they’d made with their usual “happy talk”. As the economic calamity unfolds, we can expect to see the usual parade of lacquer-haired phonies on the Business Channel singing the praises of “free markets” and the poisonous culture of overspending and consumerism.

The problems we’re now facing should have been easy to spot for anyone willing to look beyond the empty rhetoric of the TV Pollyannas or their cheerleading co-conspirators at the White House. Instead, we were anesthetized by Greenspan’s low-interest snake oil and Bush’s “tax-slashing” mumbo-jumbo thinking that they‘d found a new path to prosperity.

It was a hoax. And the seven years of sleepwalking has cost us dearly. Unemployment is up, consumer spending is down, the housing market has slipped into recession, and the stock market is lurching back and forth like an overloaded washing machine. All of this could have been foreseen by anyone with minimal critical thinking skills and a healthy dose of skepticism of government.

Consider this: US GDP is 70% consumer spending. That means that wages have to increase beyond the rate of inflation OR THE ECONOMY CAN’T GROW. It’s just that simple. So how is it that 50% of the American people still believe Bush’s supply side baloney that cutting taxes for the uber-rich strengthens the economy? How does that increase wages or build a healthy middle class. If we want a strong economy wages have to keep pace with productivity so that workers can buy the goods they produce.

Greenspan knows that. So does Bush. But they chose to hide it behind an “easy credit” smokescreen so they could weaken the dollar, off-shore thousands of industries, out-source 3 million manufacturing jobs, fund an illegal war, and maintain the lethal flow of the $800 billion current account deficit into American equities and Treasuries. In truth, there hasn’t been any growth in the economy since Bush took office in 2000. What we’ve seen is an ever-expanding bubble of personal and corporate debt amplified by a “structured finance” system that magically transforms liabilities (subprime loans) into securities and increases their value through leveraging.

That’s it. No growth—just a galaxy of debt-instruments with odd-sounding names (CDOs, MBSs, CDSs, etc) stacked precariously on top of each other. That’s what we call “wealth” in America.

It’s all smoke and mirrors. The financial system has decoupled from the productive elements of the economy and is now beginning to show disturbing signs of instability. That’s why the big blow-off in the bond market. The halcyon days of supplying our armies, funding our markets and building our subprime “ownership society” empire on the backs of foreign creditors is over. The stock market is headed for the landfill and housing is leading the way. Economic fundamentals can only be ignored for so long.

GREENSPAN’S BLOODY FINGERPRINTS

The problems began when Greenspan dropped interest rates to 1% in 2003 for more than a year pumping trillions of low interest credit into the economy. This created the appearance of prosperity but it also inflated a massive equity bubble in housing which is now in its death throes. The Fed “rubber stamped” many of the “creative financing” scams which lowered lending standards and turned the subprime fiasco into a $1.5 trillion doomsday machine.

The devastation in real estate is almost too vast to comprehend. The mortgage bubble is roughly $5.5 trillion, and yet, prices have just begun to fall. It’s a long way to the bottom and there’s bound to be plenty of bloodshed ahead. Two million homeowners will lose their homes. 151 mortgage lenders have already gone belly up. Many of the hedge funds—which are loaded with billions of dollars in “mortgage-backed” securities are struggling to stay alive. Perhaps the most shocking projection was made by Yale University Professor, Robert Schiller, who believes that home prices could decline as much as 50% in some of the “hotter markets”. (Schiller’s book “Irrational Exuberance” predicted the dot.com bust before it took place) The effects on the US economy would be considerable. If other factors come into play—like a stock market crash and a subsequent period of deflation—we could see housing prices descend 90% as they did between 1928 and 1933.

It’s possible.

Typically, housing bubbles deflate very slowly, over a period of 5 to 10 years. Not this time. Credit problems in the broader market are speeding up the pace of the decline. The subprime sarcoma has spread to all loan categories and filtered into the banking system. This is forcing the banks to hoard reserves to cover their potential losses (from CDOs and mortgage-backed bonds “gone bad”). Now, even credit worthy applicants are being turned away on new mortgages. At the same time, “nearly half of borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages were not able to refinance their loans. That’s a major concern for policymakers as an estimated 2.5 million mortgages given to borrowers with weak credit will reset at higher rates by the end of next year.” (Associated Press)

Think about that. It’s no longer just a matter of 40% of loan-types disappearing overnight (Subprime, Alt-A, piggyback, negative amortization, interest only etc). Even people with good credit are being rejected because the banks are hoarding capital. That suggests the banks are in dire straights and hiding losses that are kept off their balance sheets. (more on this later)

So, it’s harder to get a mortgage. And, if you already have one you may not be able to roll it over. This will greatly accelerate the rate of the housing crash. (In fact, the LA Business Journal reported on Sunday that home sales plunged 50% in one month. We can expect to see similar numbers in all the hot spots.)

DOLLAR WOES

The troubles facing the dollar are as grave as those in housing. The stock market and the teetering hedge funds are counting on an interest rate cut, but they’ve ignored the effects it will have on the greenback. If Bernanke lowers rates—as everyone expects— the bottom could drop out of the dollar. We’re already seeing gold soar to new highs (above $700 per Ounce) That’s an indication of dollar-weakness and a potential sell-off of US Treasuries. If Bernanke lowers rates, the greenback will nosedive.

Author Gary Dorsch explains the potential hazards in his recent article, “Hopes for an Easier Fed Policy Boost the Euro and Copper”:

“Interest rate differentials have played a key role in determining exchange rates. Since the ECB (European Central Bank) began its rate hike campaign in December 2005, the US dollar’s interest rate advantage over the Euro has narrowed from 240 basis points to as low as 70 basis points today. Thus, the Fed can only afford a small rate cut to bail out Wall Street bankers who hold toxic sub-prime debt and avoid tipping the dollar into a free-fall. But that might not be enough to prevent a housing led recession in the months ahead.”

After years of abuse under Greenspan–an $800 billion current account deficit, a $9 billion per month war, and a 13% yearly increase in the money supply—the poor dollar has run out of wiggle-room. If the Fed slashes rates, the mighty greenback will be a dead duck.

COMMERCIAL PAPER: WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN HURT YOU

Commercial paper is something that is rarely understood outside of the investor class. It is, however, a critical factor in keeping the markets operating smoothly. “Commercial paper is highly-rated short-term notes that offer investors a safe haven investment with a yield slightly above certificates of deposit or government debt. Banks use the money to purchase longer-term investments such as corporate receivables, auto loans credit card debt, or mortgagees.” (Wall Street Journal 9-5-07)

Commercial paper has been vanishing at an alarming rate in the last month. $240 billion has been drained in just the last 3 weeks. (There is $2.2 trillion of commercial paper in circulation in the US) Because CP is “short term”, hundreds of billions of dollars need to roll over (be refinanced) regularly. CP is at the very heart of the credit crisis which has spread through the financial markets and it could result in a massive catastrophe. The large investment banks are in a panic—and that is probably an understatement. Consider this article in the UK Telegraph which provides an eye-popping summary of what is going on behind the scenes.

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/)

U.K. Telegraph, “Banks Face 10-Day Debt Time Bomb”:

“Britain’s biggest banks could be forced to cough up as much as £70bn over the next 10 days, as the credit crisis that has seized the global financial system sparks a fresh wave of chaos.

Almost 20 per cent of the short-term money market loans issued by European banks are due to mature between September 11 and September 19. Senior bankers fear that they will have to refinance almost all of these debts with funds from their own coffers, putting a further strain on bank balance sheets.

Tens of billions of pounds of these commercial paper loans have already built up in the financial system, because fear-ridden investors no longer want to buy them. Roughly £23bn of these loans expire on September 17 alone.

Fears of this impending call on bank credit lines are the true reason that lending between banks has ground to a halt, according to senior money market sources.

Banks have been stockpiling cash in preparation for this “double rollover” week, which sees quarterly loans expire alongside shorter term debts – exacerbating a problem that lies at the heart of the credit crisis.” (UK Telegraph)

Fortunately, the British still have a few newspapers—like the Telegraph– that still report the news. That is not the case in the US.

There’s roughly $1.3 trillion in “asset-backed” commercial paper filtering through American markets. These are the notes that are connected to mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) that no one wants and which have NO MARKET VALUE. They are referred to as “toxic waste”. (No one is buying anything remotely connected to real estate CDOs)

Hundreds of billions of dollars of CP has been issued through SIVs (structured investment vehicles) and “conduits” which are affiliates (subsidiaries) of the large banks. The banks have kept these operations hidden from the public, but now they are in the spotlight because they cannot meet their obligations and are stuck with billions of CP that they cannot refinance. (The reader may recall that Enron kept similar “off balance sheets” operations secret from the public before they declared bankruptcy)

The banks are now forced to assume responsibility for the commercial paper held by their affiliates, which means that they need sufficient capitalization to cover the losses.

Sound confusing? Don’t give up, yet!

The bottom line is this: The banks are responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in commercial paper that probably won’t be refinanced. IT IS BEGINNING TO LOOK LIKE THEY DON’T HAVE THE RESERVES TO COVER THEIR LOSSES.

That’s why we continue to believe that the banks are in trouble (see: Are The Banks In Trouble? By Mike Whitney)

 

According to the Wall Street Journal:

“So do the banks and their shareholders have nothing to worry about? Not quite….Negligible losses in August were enough to force the banks to run to the authorities for help. Regulators may decide that the best way to prevent a recurrence is to require banks to hold more capital. They might even limit some types of transactions. Such moves might be good for the economy, but would reduce the bank’s returns on equity.” (“Banks Seem Fine—For Now”, WSJ, 9-8-07)

Read carefully and I think you will agree with me that the WSJ is “tipping its hand” and suggesting that the banks needed “more capital” even after “negligible losses.” The predicament is much more serious now.

Bank troubles are never minor. That’s why there has been so much effort put into covering up the real source of the problem. When people lose their confidence in the banks, they lose their confidence in the system. That ends up inciting social turmoil.

Don’t think they’re not aware of that at the White House.

THE LIKELIHOOD OF A HARD LANDING

Notwithstanding the imminent shakeup at the major investment banks, the path ahead is poorly lit and full of potholes. The reckless “spendthrift” policies of the last 7 years have edged us ever-closer to the inevitable day of reckoning. Professor Nouriel Roubini summed it up best in a recent blog-entry, “The Coming US Hard Landing”:

“The forthcoming easing of monetary policy by the Fed will not rescue the economy and financial markets from a hard landing as it will be too little too late. The Fed underestimated the severity of the housing recession, its spillovers to other sectors, and the contagion of the sub-prime carnage to other mortgage markets and to the overall financial markets. Fed easing will not work for several reasons: the Fed will cut rate too slowly as it is still worried about inflation and about the moral hazard of perceptions of rescuing reckless investors and lenders; we have a glut of housing, autos and consumer durables and the demand for these goods becomes relatively interest rate insensitive once you have a glut that requires years to work out; SERIOUS CREDIT PROBLEMS AND INSOLVENCIES CANNOT BE RESOLVED BY MONETARY POLICY ALONE; and the liquidity injections by the Fed are being stashed in excess reserves by the banks, not relent to the parts of the financial markets where the liquidity crunch is most severe and worsening. The Fed provided liquidity to banking institutions but it cannot provide direct liquidity to hedge funds, investment banks, other highly leveraged institutions and parts of the credit markets – such as asset backed commercial paper – where the crunch is severe. Thus, the liquidity crunch in most credit markets remains severe, even in the usually most liquid interbank markets.” (Nouriel Roubini’s Blog)

SOUP KITCHEN USA

There are no quick-fixes or “silver bullets” as Bush likes to say. It’ll take years to dig our way out of this mess. In the meantime, there’s little to look forward to except the steady weakening of the dollar, the persistent decline in housing and the looming police-state apparatus that’s supposed to keep us in line while the soup kitchens open.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

9-11, Six Years Later By Paul Craig Roberts


Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
09/11/07 “ICH

On Sept. 7, National Public Radio reported that Muslims in the Middle East were beginning to believe that the 9-11 attacks on the WTC and Pentagon were false flag operations committed by some part of the U.S. and/or Israeli government.

It was beyond the imagination of the NPR reporter and producer that there could be any substance to these beliefs, which were attributed to the influence of books by U.S. and European authors sold in bookstores in Egypt.

NPR’s concern was that books by Western authors questioning the origin of the 9-11 attack have the undesirable result of removing guilt from Muslims’ shoulders.

The NPR reporter, Ursula Lindsey, said that “here in the U.S., most people have little doubt about what happened during the 2001 attacks.”

NPR’s assumption that the official 9-11 story is the final word is uninformed. Polls show that 36 percent of Americans and more than 50 percent of New Yorkers lack confidence in the 9-11 commission report. Many 9-11 families who lost relatives in the attacks are unsatisfied with the official story.

Why are the U.S. media untroubled that there has been no independent investigation of 9-11?

Why are the media unconcerned that the rules governing preservation of forensic evidence were not followed by federal authorities?

Why do the media brand skeptics of the official line “conspiracy theorists” and “kooks”?

What is wrong with debate and listening to both sides of the defining issue of our time? If the official line is so correct and defensible, what does it have to fear from skeptics?

Obviously, a great deal considering the iron curtain that has been erected to protect the official line from independent examination.

Some may think that the 9-11 commission report was an independent investigation, and others will protest that we have the National Institute of Standards and Technology analysis, which explains the collapse of the Twin Towers as a result of airliner impact and fire.

The 9-11 commission was a political commission run by Bush administration insider Philip Zelikow. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the head of which is a member of President Bush’s Cabinet.

Zelikow was a member of President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a neoconservative stronghold. In February 2005, Zelikow was appointed counselor of the U.S. Department of State. Obviously, there was zero possibility that the 9-11 commission would hold any part of the Bush administration accountable for the numerous failures of U.S. government agencies on Sept. 11, much less would the commission investigate for any complicity.

If one looks at the credentials of skeptics compared to the credentials of defenders of the official line, it is impossible to dismiss skeptics as kooks. There are many people with strong imaginations on the Internet, but serious skeptics stick to known facts, known violations of standard procedures and the laws of physics. The vast majority of the people who call skeptics “kooks” are themselves ignorant of physics and have little comprehension of the improbability that such an attack could succeed without either the complicity or complete failure of government agencies.

Over the past six years, the ranks of distinguished skeptics of the 9-11 storyline have grown enormously. The ranks include distinguished scientists, engineers and architects, intelligence officers, air traffic controllers, military officers and generals, including the former commanding general of U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, former presidential appointees and members of the White House staff in Republican administrations, Top Gun fighter pilots and career airline pilots who say that the flying attributed to the 9-11 hijackers is beyond the skills of America’s best pilots, and foreign dignitaries.

Dr. Andreas von Buelow, former West German minister of research and technology and former state secretary of the federal ministry of defense, said: “The planning of the attacks was technically and organizationally a master achievement. To hijack four airliners within a few minutes and within one hour to drive them into their targets with complicated flight maneuvers! This is unthinkable, without years-long support from secret apparatuses of the state and industry.”

Gen. Leonid Ivashov, chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, said: “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. … Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida cannot be the organizers nor the performers of the Sept. 11 attacks. They do not have the necessary organization, resources or leaders.”

Americans might concede that it is unusual that U.S. airport security would fail four times within a few minutes, that U.S. air defenses would fail across the board to intercept the hijacked airliners and that hijackers lacking in flight skills could conduct the exotic flight maneuvers that top gun fighter pilots say are beyond their own skills. Still, there is some possibility, however remote, that Allah could have blessed the hijackers with unbelievable luck.

But when we come to the explanation of the collapse of the Twin Towers, the official story lacks even a remote possibility of being true. Architects, engineers and physicists know that powerfully constructed steel buildings do not suddenly collapse at free-fall or near-free-fall speed simply because they were impacted by airliners and experienced short-lived, low intensity and limited fires.

Physicists also know that there was not enough gravitational energy to pulverize massive concrete into fine dust, to cut massive steel beams into appropriate lengths to be loaded and removed on trucks, and to eject dust and steel beams hundreds of yards horizontally. Physicists know that if intense fire were present throughout the towers sufficient to cause steel to weaken and suddenly collapse, such fires would not have left unburned and unscorched hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper, which floated all over lower Manhattan.

Physicists have raised unanswered questions about the official explanation’s neglect of the known laws of physics. Recently, Dr. Crockett Grabbe, a Caltech trained applied physicist at the University of Iowa, observed: “Applying two basic principles, conservation of energy and conservation of momentum, the government explanation quickly unravels. NIST conspicuously ignored these principles in their reports. NIST also ignored the observed twisting of the top 34 floors of the South Tower before it toppled down. This twisting clearly violates the conservation of both linear and angular momentum unless a large external force caused it. Where the massive amounts of energy came from that were needed to cause the complete collapse of the intact parts below for each tower, when their tops were in virtual free fall, is not answered in NIST’s numerous volumes of study.”

Some of NIST’s own scientists are questioning its reports. Dr. James Quintiere, former chief of the fire science division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, recently said that “the official conclusion that NIST arrived at is questionable” and called for an independent review of NIST’s investigation into the collapses of the WTC towers.

Quintiere has called attention to many problems with NIST’s investigation and reports: the absence of a timeline, failure to explain the collapse of WTC 7, the spoliation of the evidence of a fire scene, reliance on questionable computer models, the absence of any evidence for the existence of temperatures NIST predicts as necessary for failure of the steel and a Commerce Department legal structure that instead of trying to find the facts “did the opposite and blocked everything.”

On Aug. 27, 2007, a prominent member of the National Academy of Sciences and recipient of the National Medal of Science, Dr. Lynn Margulis, dismissed the official account of 9-11 as a “fraud” and called for a new, thorough and impartial investigation.

On Sept. 5, 2007, U.S. Navy Top Gun fighter pilot and veteran airline pilot Ralph Kolstad said that the flight maneuvers attributed to the 9-11 hijackers are beyond his flight skills. “Something stinks to high heaven,” declared Kolstad.

When faced with disturbing events, the Romans asked a question, “Cui bono?” Who benefits? This question was conspicuously absent from the official investigation.

Who are the beneficiaries of 9-11? The answer is: the military-security complex, which has accumulated tens of billions of dollars in profits; U.S. oil companies, which hope to get their hands on Iraqi and perhaps Iranian oil; the Republican Party, which saved a vulnerable newly elected president, George W. Bush, viewed by many as illegitimately elected by one vote of the Supreme Court, by wrapping him in the flag as “war president”; the Republican Federalist Society, which used 9-11 to achieve its goal of concentrating power in the executive; Vice President Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives, who used the “new Pearl Harbor” to implement their “Project for a New American Century” and extend American hegemony over the Middle East; and right-wing Israeli Zionists, who have successfully used American blood and treasure to eliminate obstacles to Israeli territorial expansion.

In addition to American troops and Iraqi and Afghan civilian casualties, a casualty of the neoconservative “war on terror” is the civil liberties that protect Americans from tyranny. President Bush and his corrupt Department of Justice (sic) have declared our constitutional protections to be null and void at the whim of the executive.

The greatest benefactors of 9-11 are the authoritarian personalities that John Dean says have taken over the Republican Party.

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.

COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see:

W. Rodriguez Janitor at World Trade Center on Sept 11th (videos)

Six Years of 9/11 as a License to Kill by Norman Solomon

Celebrities For 9/11 TRUTH (music video; Starstika)

Even I question the ‘truth’ about 9/11 by Robert Fisk

9/11: War is NOT an Option. We Want Peace with Iran By Manila Ryce (video)

Dandelion Salad

By Manila Ryce
The Largest Minority
Published Tuesday, September 11th, 2007, 10:20 am

The US is contemplating going to war with Iran, not because we think they have nuclear weapons, but because we know they don’t. The only wars we engage in are wars against weak, non-threatening nations with abundant resources to steal. It’s time the citizens of the US make the jump from dissent to resistance.

The world is broken, and we need leaders who have more tools than just hammers.

We’re sick of having blood on our hands, sick of the death, sick of the stress. We just want to rest, and so does everyone else.

We oppose any military action against Iran. You can email your representatives from this page.

You can also leave a message for Speaker Nancy Pelosi: (202) 225-0100

On April 24, 2007, congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich introduced H. Res. 333, calling for articles of impeachment to be sent to the US Senate against Vice President Cheney. Visit this link to tell Speaker Pelosi and the members of the Judiciary Committee that you support the resolution to impeach Cheney.

theLargestMinority

see:

ONLY RON PAUL AND DENNIS KUCINICH VOTED NO! (vid; 25 seconds)

Real Time with Bill Maher 09/07/07: Mos Def and Cornel West and Ralph Nader by Manila Ryce (videos no longer available; 9/11)

YouTube removed the videos. Sorry. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

By Manila Ryce
The Largest Minority
Published Saturday, September 8th, 2007, 10:20 pm

My love/hate relationship with Bill Maher fluctuates wildly from episode to episode. Though I love his politically incorrect sense of humor and the fact that he provides a forum for people with differing views to debate, I do hate his scapegoat arguments and constant contradictions. Still, last night’s Real Time with Bill Maher was a classic episode, mostly due to the always charismatic Mos Def, whose off the cuff bluntness drew applause and laughter in juxtaposition to Maher’s counterproductive defense of the establishment.

While skeptical of the Bush administration, Maher’s unwavering centrist beliefs often fall short of providing genuine insight. My beef is that he’s simply not radical enough. For example, he dismisses even the possibility that our government had something to do with 9/11, he clings to the fallacy that religion is to blame for the instability in Iraq, and thinks that corporate candidates like the Clintons are good for America because of their extensive experience in screwing us over. Luckily, Cornel West was also present to elaborate upon Mos Def’s arguments. Regardless of what religion any particular empire happens to subscribe to, Professor West correctly states that the problem is with the economic desire to create those empires. Throughout history, religion has actually had little to do with conquest, and is simply an easy scapegoat for capitalists who want to displace proper blame.

Later on in the show, the greatest consumer advocate, Ralph Nader, was on to talk about the regulation of imported goods and plug his new book, “The Seventeen Traditions”. Nader also spoke the truth about Hillary Clinton, the need for universal healthcare, and the need for an end to imperial wars. Maher did redeem himself though by highlighting the conventional wisdom of Americans who like what Nader has to say, yet hate the idea of voting him into office where he could actually make a difference. Dennis Kucinich faces the same hurdles during this election.

Bin Laden and 9/11

theLargestMinority

Ralph Nader

 

 

The Anti-Empire Report: Read this or George W. Bush will be president the rest of your life by William Blum

Dandelion Salad

by William Blum
www.killinghope.org
Sept. 11, 2007

The world is very weary of all this and wants to laugh again

Okay, Bush ain’t gonna get out of Iraq no matter what anyone says or does short of a)impeachment, b)a lobotomy, or c)one of his daughters setting herself afire in the Oval Office as a war protest. A few days ago, upon arriving in Australia, “in a chipper mood”, he was asked by the Deputy Prime Minister about his stopover in Iraq. “We’re kicking ass,” replied the idiot king.[1] Another epigram for his tombstone.

And the Democrats ain’t gonna end the war. Ninety-nine percent of the American people protesting on the same day ain’t gonna do it either, in this democracy. (No, I’m sorry to say that I don’t think the Vietnam protesters ended the war. There were nine years of protest — 1964 to 1973 — before the US military left Vietnam. It’s a stretch to ascribe a cause and effect to that. The United States, after all, had to leave sometime.)

Only those fighting the war can end it. By laying down their arms and refusing to kill anymore, including themselves. Some American soldiers in Iraq have already refused to go on very dangerous combat missions. Iraq Veterans Against the War, last month at their annual meeting, in St. Louis, voted to launch a campaign encouraging American troops to refuse to fight. “Iraq Veterans Against the War decided to make support of war resisters a major part of what we do,” said Garrett Rappenhagen, a former U.S. Army sniper who served in Iraq from February 2004 to February 2005.

The veterans group has begun organizing among active duty soldiers on military bases. Veterans have toured the country in busses holding barbeques outside the base gates. They also plan to step up efforts to undermine military recruiting efforts.

Of course it’s a very long shot to get large numbers of soldiers into an angry, protesting frame of mind. But consider the period following the end of World War Two. Late 1945 and early 1946 saw what is likely the greatest troop revolt that has ever occurred in a victorious army. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American soldiers protested all over the world because they were not being sent home even though the war was over. The GIs didn’t realize it at first, but many soon came to understand that the reason they were being transferred from Europe and elsewhere to various places in the Pacific area, instead of being sent back home, was that the United States was concerned about uprisings against colonialism, which, in the minds of Washington foreign-policy officials, was equated with communism and other nasty un-American things. The uprisings were occurring in British colonies, in Dutch colonies, in French colonies, as well as in the American colony of the Philippines. Yes, hard to believe, but the United States was acting like an imperialist power.

In the Philippines there were repeated mass demonstrations by GIs who were not eager to be used against the left-wing Huk guerrillas. The New York Times reported in January 1946 about one of these demonstrations: “‘The Philippines are capable of handling their own internal problems,’ was the slogan voiced by several speakers. Many extended the same point of view to China.”[2]

American marines were sent to China to support the Nationalist government of Chang Kai-shek against the Communists of Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai. They were sent to the Netherlands Indies (Indonesia) to be of service to the Dutch in their suppression of native nationalists. And American troop ships were used to transport the French military to France’s former colony in Vietnam. These and other actions of Washington led to numerous large GI protests in Japan, Guam, Saipan, Korea, India, Germany, England, France, and Andrews Field, Maryland, all concerned with the major slowdown in demobilization and the uses for which the soldiers were being employed. There were hunger strikes and mass mailings to Congress from the soldiers and their huge body of support in the States. In January 1946, Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado declared “It is distressing and humiliating to all Americans to read in every newspaper in the land accounts of near mutiny in the Army.”[3]

On January 13, 1946, 500 GIs in Paris adopted a set of demands called “The Enlisted Man’s Magna Charta”, calling for radical reforms of the master-slave relationship between officers and enlisted men; also demanding the removal of Secretary of War Robert Patterson. In the Philippines, soldier sentiment against the reduced demobilization crystalized in a meeting of GIs that voted unanimously to ask Secretary Patterson and certain Senators: “What is the Army’s position in the Philippines, especially in relation to the reestablishment of the Eighty-sixth Infantry Division on a combat basis?”[4]

By the summer of 1946 there had been a huge demobilization of the armed forces, although there’s no way of knowing with any exactness how much of that was due to the GIs’ protests.[5]

If this is how American soldiers could be inspired and organized in the wake of “The Good War”, imagine what can be done today in the midst of “The God-awful War”.

Iraq Veterans Against the War could use your help. Go to: http://www.ivaw.org/


A pullet surprise for “Legacy of Ashes” by Tim Weiner


In 1971 the New York Times published its edition of the Pentagon Papers, based on the government documents concerning Vietnam policy which had been borrowed by Daniel Ellsberg. In its preface to the book, the Times commented about certain omissions and distortions in the government’s view of political and historical realities as reflected in the papers: “Clandestine warfare against North Vietnam, for example, is not seen … as violating the Geneva Accords of 1954, which ended the French Indochina War, or as conflicting with the public policy pronouncements of the various administrations. Clandestine warfare, because it is covert, does not exist as far as treaties and public posture are concerned. Further, secret commitments to other nations are not sensed as infringing on the treaty-making powers of the Senate, because they are not publicly acknowledged.”[6]

In his new book, “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA”, New York Times reporter Tim Weiner also relies heavily on government documents in deciding what events to include and what not to, and the result is often equally questionable. “This book,” Weiner writes, “is on the record — no anonymous sources, no blind quotations, no hearsay. It is the first history of the CIA compiled entirely from firsthand reporting and primary documents.”(p.xvii)

Thus, if US government officials did not put something in writing or if someone did not report their firsthand experience concerning a particular event, to Tim Weiner the event doesn’t exist, or at least is not worth recounting. British journalist Stewart Steven has written: “If we believe that contemporary history must be told on the basis of documentary evidence before it becomes credible, then we must also accept that everything will either be written with the government’s seal of approval or not be written at all.”

As to firsthand reporting, for Weiner it apparently has to be from someone “reputable”. Former CIA officer Philip Agee wrote a 1974 book, “Inside the Company: CIA Diary”, that provides more detail about CIA covert operations in Latin America than any book ever written. And it was certainly firsthand. But Agee and his revelations are not mentioned at all in Weiner’s book. Could it be because Agee, in the process of becoming the Agency’s leading dissident, also became a socialist radical and close ally of Cuba?

Former CIA officer John Stockwell also penned a memoir (“In Search of Enemies”, 1978), revealing lots of CIA dirty laundry in Africa. He later also became a serious Agency dissident, and the Weiner book ignores him as well.

Also ignored: Joseph Burkholder Smith, another Agency officer, not quite a left-wing dissident like Agee or Stockwell but a heavy critic nonetheless, entitled his memoir “Portrait of a Cold Warrior” (1976), in which he revealed numerous instances of CIA illegality and immorality in the Philippines, Indonesia and elsewhere in Asia.

There’s also Cambodian leader Prince Sihanouk, who provided his firsthand account in “My War With The CIA” (1974). Sihanouk is also a non-person in the pages of “Legacy of Ashes”.

Even worse, Weiner ignores a veritable mountain of impressive “circumstantial” and other evidence of CIA misdeeds which doesn’t meet his stated criteria, which any thorough researcher/writer on the Agency should give serious attention to, certainly at least mention for the record. Among the many CIA transgressions and crimes left out of “Legacy of Ashes”, or very significantly played down, are:

* The extensive CIA role in the 1950s provocation and sabotage activities in East Berlin/East Germany which contributed considerably to the communists’ decision to build the Berlin Wall is not mentioned, although the wall is discussed.

* The US role in instigating and supporting the coup that overthrew Sihanouk in 1970, which led directly to the rising up of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, and the infamous Cambodian “killing fields”. Weiner, without providing any source, writes: “The coup shocked the CIA and the rest of the American government.”(p.304) [7] Neither does the book make any mention of the deliberate Washington policy to support Pol Pot in his subsequent war with Vietnam. Pol Pot’s name does not appear in the book.

* The criminal actions carried out by Operation Gladio, created by the CIA, NATO, and several European intelligence services beginning in 1949. The operation was responsible for numerous acts of terrorism in Europe, foremost of which was the bombing of the Bologna railway station in 1980, claiming 86 lives. The purpose of the terrorism was to place the blame for these atrocities on the left and thus heighten public concern about a Soviet invasion and keep the left from electoral victory in Italy, France and elsewhere. In Weiner’s book this is all down the Orwellian memory hole.

* A discussion of the alleged 1993 assassination attempt against former president George H.W. Bush in Kuwait presents laughable evidence, yet states: “But the CIA eventually concluded that Saddam Hussein had tried to kill President Bush.”(p.444) Weiner repeats this, apparently, solely because it appears in a CIA memorandum. That qualifies it as a “primary document”. But what does this have to do with, y’know, the actual facts?

* Moreover, the book scarcely scratches the surface concerning the dozens of foreign elections the CIA has seriously interfered in; the large number of assassination attempts, successful or unsuccessful, against foreign political leaders; the widespread planting of phoney stories in the international media, stories that were at times picked up in the American press as a result; manipulation and corruption of foreign labor movements; extensive book and magazine publishing fronts; drug trafficking; and a virtual world atlas of overthrown governments, or attempts at same.

“A Legacy of Ashes” is generally a good read even for someone familiar with the world of the CIA, but it’s actually often rather superficial, albeit 700 pages long. Why has so much of importance and interest been omitted from a book which has the subtitle: “The History of the CIA”; not, it must be noted, “A History of the CIA”?

Whatever jaundiced eye Weiner focuses on the CIA, he still implicitly accepts the two basic beliefs of the Cold War: 1)There existed out there something called The International Communist Conspiracy, fueled by implacable Soviet expansionism; 2)United States foreign policy meant well. It may have frequently been bumbling and ineffective, but its intentions were noble. And still are.


Some sundry shooting from the lip

Football star Michael Vick has been condemned for allegedly helping to execute dogs.

But is killing a dog morally worse than killing a chicken, cow, pig, lamb, or fish which is done every hour of every day to enable non-vegans to enjoy the kind of diet they’ve become accustomed to? The fact that a dog is much more likely to be someone’s pet doesn’t answer the question; it only explains why that someone is upset over canineicide but cares much less about the liquidation of the other animals.


Home run king Barry Bonds is vilified for reputedly using steroids to build up his strength. He may have an asterisk put next to his record because this, presumably, gave him an unfair advantage over other baseball players who are “clean”. But of all the things that athletes put into their bodies to improve their health, fitness and performance, why are steroids singled out? Doesn’t taking vitamin and mineral supplements give an athlete an unfair advantage over athletes who don’t take them? Should these supplements be banned from sport competition? Vitamin and mineral supplements are not necessarily any more “natural” than steroids, which in fact are very important in our body chemistry; among the steroids are the male and female sex hormones. Why not punish those who follow a “healthy diet” because of the advantage this may give them?


“Do you think homosexuality is a choice, or is it biological?” was the question posed to presidential candidate Bill Richardson by singer Melissa Etheridge. “It’s a choice,” replied the New Mexico governor at the August 9 forum for Democratic candidates. Etheridge then said to Richardson, “Maybe you didn’t understand the question,” and she rephrased it. Richardson again said he thought it was a choice.[8]

The next time you hear someone say that homosexuality is a choice, ask them how old they were when they chose to be heterosexual. When they admit that they never made such a conscious choice, thus implying that people don’t choose to be heterosexual, the next question to the person should be: “So only homosexuals choose to be homosexual? But what comes first, being homosexual so you can make the choice, or making the choice and thus becoming homosexual?”


Why is the Bush administration so unenthusiastic about preventing global warming? Perhaps this news report provides a clue.

“The Arctic sea ice will retreat hundreds of miles farther from the coast of Alaska in the summer, the scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded. That will open up vast waters for fishermen and give easier access to new areas for oil and gas exploration.”[9]

We can say that the United States runs the world like the Taliban ran Afghanistan before the US ousted them from power in 2001. Destabilizing actions are taken against Venezuela like punishing a woman caught outside not wearing her burkha. Harsh sanctions are imposed on Iran in the manner of banning music, dancing, and kite-flying in Kabul. Cuba is subverted and hurt in dozens of ways like the religious police whipping a man whose beard is not the right length.

NOTES


[1] Sydney Morning Herald, September 6, 2007

[2] New York Times, January 8, 1946, p.3

[3] New York Times, January 11, 1946, p.1

[4] Ibid., p.4

[5] For more information about the soldiers’ protests, see: Mary-Alice Waters, “G.I.’s and the Fight Against War” (New York, 1967), a pamphlet published by “Young Socialist” magazine.

[6] “The Pentagon Papers” (NY Times Edition), p. xii-xiii

[7] See William Blum, “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II”, p.137-8

[8] santafenewmexican.com/news/66424.html

[9] Washington Post, September 7, 2007, p.6

William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website at “essays”.

To add yourself to this mailing list simply send an email to <bblum6@aol.com> with “add” in the subject line. I’d like your name and city in the message, but that’s optional. I ask for your city only in case I’ll be speaking in your area. Or put “remove” in the subject line to do the opposite.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission. I’d appreciate it if the website were mentioned. www.killinghope.org

Documenting Gen. Petraeus’ record of statements about the war by Glenn Greenwald + Stop the DC Establishment (video) + No More Flack for Iraq By Jane Hamsher

Dandelion Salad

by Glenn Greenwald
Salon
Sept. 10, 2007

Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake has produced a video, which, along with Matt Stoller, I helped put together and narrated, documenting the four-years-long record of Gen. Petraeus in repeatedly assuring Americans that the war is going well and great progress is being made. The video can be viewed below.

It is actually amazing to watch media coverage of Gen. Petraeus’ testimony depict him as though he has just risen from the apolitical ether as the objective and trustworthy source with regard to the war. The White House is desperate for that image to be maintained because the nation no longer trusts George Bush or Dick Cheney or other Republican office-holders, precisely because they have heard from those individuals over the last several years countless assurances of “progress,” only for events repeatedly to prove those claims to be untrue.

But since the inception of the war, Gen. Petraeus has been at the forefront of issuing those sorts of highly — and unduly — optimistic statements about the war’s progress. The media should not take a position as to how much credibility ought to be assigned to Gen. Petraeus’ testimony, but it is inexcusable to exclude from their coverage these facts — facts which demonstrate indisputably that what Gen. Petraeus is claiming this week about the war’s success is exactly what he has been claiming for the last several years.

In addition to documenting Gen. Petraeus’ history, the video is also intended to spur support for an online petition, created and to be submitted to various Congressional leaders by Matt Stoller and Open Left. That online petition, which I encourage you to sign, is here, at Stop The DC Establishment. As indicated, the video can be viewed here. This is the first step in trying to develop a template for channeling the intensity and growing anger with the political class into meaningful pressure.

***

firedoglake Salon’s Glenn Greenwald teams up with…

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald teams up with Fire Dog Lake to stop the DC establishment–and help stop the war.
www.stopthedcestablishment.com

***

No More Flack for Iraq

By Jane Hamsher

While many in the media would like to unquestioningly accept the White House narrative that General David Petraeus walks on water and that all of his claims about progress in Iraq are undoubtedly true, the fact is that Petraeus has a history of extremely bad judgment with regard to the war. In the above video, Glenn Greenwald outlines many of Petraeus’s flawed assessments that have caused fellow military officers to dub him “General Betray Us.”

Continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see:

‘Swear Him In’ by Ray McGovern (Petraeus)

A one-day guide to war supporters and their enablers by Glenn Greenwald

Six Years of 9/11 as a License to Kill by Norman Solomon

Dandelion Salad

by Norman Solomon
Atlantic Free Press
Monday, 10 September 2007

It evokes a tragedy that marks an epoch. From the outset, the warfare state has exploited “9/11,” a label at once too facile and too laden with historic weight — giving further power to the tacit political axiom that perception is reality.

Often it seems that media coverage is all about perception, especially when the underlying agendas are wired into huge profits and geopolitical leverage. If you associate a Big Mac or a Whopper with a happy meal or some other kind of great time, you’re more likely to buy it. If you connect 9/11 with a need for taking military action and curtailing civil liberties, you’re more likely to buy what the purveyors of war and authoritarian government have been selling for the past half-dozen years.

“Sept. 11 changed everything” became a sudden cliche in news media. Words are supposed to mean something, and those words were — and are — preposterous. They speak of a USA enthralled with itself while reducing the rest of the world (its oceans and valleys and mountains and peoples) to little more than an extensive mirror to help us reflect on our centrality to the world. In an individual, we call that narcissism. In the nexus of media and politics, all too often, it’s called “patriotism.”

What happened on Sept. 11, 2001, was extraordinary and horrible by any measure. And certainly a crime against humanity. At the same time, it was a grisly addition to a history of human experience that has often included many thousands killed, en masse, by inhuman human choice. It is simply and complexly a factual matter that the U.S. government has participated in outright mass murders directly — in, for example, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Panama, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq — and less directly, through aid to armies terrorizing civilians in Nicaragua, Angola, East Timor and many other countries.

The news media claim to be providing context. But whose? Overall, the context of Uncle Sam in the more perverse and narcissistic aspects of his policy personality. The hypocrisies of claims about moral precepts and universal principles go beyond the mere insistence that some others “do as we say, not as we do.” What gets said, repeated and forgotten sets up kaleidoscope patterns that can be adjusted to serve the self-centered mega-institutions reliably fixated on maintaining their own dominance.

Media manifestations of these patterns are frequently a mess of contradictions so extreme that they can only be held together with the power of ownership, advertising and underwriting structures — along with notable assists from government agencies that dispense regulatory favors and myriad pressure to serve what might today be called a military-industrial-media complex. Our contact with the world is filtered through the mesh of mass media to such a great extent that the mesh itself becomes the fabric of power.

The most repetitious lessons of 9/11 — received and propagated by the vast preponderance of U.S. news media — have to do with the terribly asymmetrical importance of grief and of moral responsibility. Our nation is so righteous that we are trained to ask for whom the bell tolls. Rendered as implicitly divisible, humanity is fractionated as seen through red-white-and-blue windows on the world.

Posing outside cycles of violence and victims who victimize, the dominant vision of Pax Americana has no more use now than it did six years ago for W.H. Auden’s observation: “Those to whom evil is done / Do evil in return.”

We ought to know. But we Americans are too smart for that.

The U.S. media tell us so.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.