9/11

Sixteen More Reasons to Question 9/11

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/09/2017 - 11:30pm in

by Kevin Ryan It has been 16 years since the crimes of September 11th, 2001. In that time, facts have been revealed that led more than a third of Americans to believe that the U.S government was involved in the attacks. This blog noted 14 such incredible facts on the 14th anniversary of the crimes. Here are 16 more. 1. In the nine years before 9/11, the FBI failed miserably at preventing terrorism. There are many examples of how FBI leadership under director Louis Freeh facilitated and covered-up acts of terrorism during this time. After 9/11, the FBI took extraordinary measures to hide evidence related to the attacks. 2. CIA director George Tenet led an agency that also failed in its duties related to counterterrorism and those failures appear to have been intentional. Like Freeh, Tenet had developed secret paths of communication with Saudi authorities. The facts suggest that Tenet facilitated the crimes of 9/11. 3. The FBI and CIA have made a mockery of the U.S. justice system as it relates to 9/11. While …

Fresh audio product

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/09/2017 - 11:18am in

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

September 15, 2017 Andrew Cockburn, author of this article, on the Saudi involvement in 9/11 • Asad Haider, author of this article, on identity, Mark Lilla, and Ta-Nehisi Coates

Blood and Glory

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/09/2017 - 6:45am in

image by imp kerr

If money comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek, capital comes dripping from head to toe, from every pore, with blood and dirt.

—Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1

“We have still not had a death,” he said. “A person does not belong to a place until there is someone dead under the ground.”

—Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

We can tell the story in an easy calculus. The South Tower of the World Trade Center once stood 1,362 feet tall. At 9:03 a.m. on the morning of September 11 2001 it was struck by a Boeing 767 flying at 590 miles an hour and burning 9,100 gallons of jet fuel. The quarter-mile long tower burned at 1,800°F until 9:59 a.m., when it collapsed, sending 500,000 tons of material to the ground at 120 miles per hour and instantly killing 600 people. The North Tower, roughly its equal in size and weight, collapsed 29 minutes later, killing some 1,400 people. Before “Ground Zero” was ever invoked as an election-season rhetorical salvo, before it was ever emblazoned on a special-edition enamel plate anywhere near an eagle, and before it inspired George W. Bush to call it, in his diary, the 21st century’s Pearl Harbor, it constituted 16 acres of a “working fire” that burned 50 meters deep, a designation that gave immediate jurisdiction of the site to the FDNY. The firemen first brought in blueprints and floor plans, rushing to locations where they believed elevators and stairwells would have collapsed with the people they carried. Next, they introduced a map that used global positioning technology to plot patterns among locations where bodies, or parts of bodies, were being found. There were few survivors in the rubble—only 11, in fact —and it soon became clear that the mapping technology would instead be used to locate the dead.

The fire was mean and hard to extinguish. It burned long and deep, flaring when exposed to oxygen and fueled by tons of highly conductive paper and furniture soaked in jet fuel. On September 16, NASA sent an airplane over Ground Zero to gather infrared data that the U.S. Geological Survey made into a thermal heat map, one that showed patches of rubble burning at temperatures above 1,292°F, hotter than the burning point of aluminum. The New Scientist dubbed it “the longest-burning structural fire in history.” Heavy rains fell all day on the 14th and on the night of the 20th, into the dawn of the 21st. A total of four million gallons of water soaked through the debris and pooled at the World Trade Center’s “bathtub,” the 60-foot deep rectangular foundation on which the towers stood. Officials worried the foundation’s weak walls could give way, causing water from the Hudson River to seep into the PATH and subway tunnels, effectively flooding the city’s underground.

The fires burned for 100 days; alternatively, the fires were allowed to burn for 100 days. Officials had not stopped calling Ground Zero a “rescue operation” and they wanted to communicate that it was still possible to find survivors, something they could not do while simultaneously submerging all 16 acres with water and flame retardants. After the 100th day, the last flame was extinguished. It took Rudy Giuliani to stoke it back. At a New York City gala, he reminded listeners of the three firemen who raised the American flag atop the rubble in the now-famous photograph: “They were standing on top of a cauldron. They were standing on top of fires 2,000 degrees that raged for a hundred days. And they put their lives at risk raising that flag. They put the flag up to say, You can’t beat us, because we’re Americans. And we don’t say this with arrogance or in a militaristic way, but in a spiritual way: Our ideas are better than yours.” American exceptionalism was thus reified with the possibility of burnt citizen flesh.

Rescue workers called the 16 acres of debris on Ground Zero “the Pile.” The powdered debris in the Pile contained more than 150 compounds and elements including plaster, talc, synthetic foam, glass, paint chips, charred wood, slag wool, 200,000 pounds of lead from 50,000 computers, gold and mercury from 500,000 fluorescent lights, 2,000 tons of asbestos, and 91,000 liters of jet fuel. The nearly 3,000 human beings who died made up such a miniscule part of the debris that the odds of finding identifiable remains among this city of dust was less than 1 in a quadrillion. Before any tests could be conducted on human remains, however, scientists worried about getting institutional board approval for use of human samples in a scientific investigation.

On September 26, 15 days after the attack, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences sent researchers an email issuing a strict definition of “human subject.” According to the board, a human subject is someone for whom “private information must be individually identifiable” and “individuals whose remains ‘could’ be in the dust did not qualify as human subjects.” While the NIEHS framed its response as permission to use the bodily remains in scientific inquiry, their words carry a grave discursive weight. Defining personhood according to a human being’s ability to be personally identified implies that naming is a category of political recognition based on documentation given that parts of the corporal palimpsest must match information about the body in the state’s archive—paper matched with paper. Individuals who leave bodily traces but who do not officially “exist” in state archives because their livelihoods depend upon clandestine existence may not make matching individually identifiable private information easy. According to the NIEHS’s language, these persons would be excluded from the category of “human subject.”

 • • •

Fresh Kills, once the largest landfill in the world, is 10 miles south of Manhattan. A makeshift forensic laboratory city was set up on the landfill for nearly a year to sort through 1.6 million tons of debris. At the project’s peak, workers went through 7,000 tons of it in a single day. Recovery workers did find whole bodies but they found many more parts. Although skin fragments and hair abounded, these were poor materials with which to identify victims because 2,000-foot towers that welcomed visitors and employees for over four decades accumulated so much human hair and dead skin cells in rugs, chairs, elevators, bathrooms, lobbies, and every hard surface that researchers would have been confronted with a seemingly infinite number of false-positive identifications. Inside refrigerated trailers, cadavers were stored in body bags and tissue and bones were kept in red bins. Workers divided the bones amongst themselves. After washing the bones, they used small blenders called mills to grind them into a coarse powder that one worker remembers smelling like burnt steak. After they were done, they washed the mills with bleach and alcohol, a long and difficult process abrasive to the workers’ hands.

Legal scholars have called DNA an “alternative source of corporeality” whose personally identifying potential can be used in the courts of law as a facilitator of the Western jurisprudential philosophy of habeas corpus meaning “you have the body [to show].” When a DNA sample leads to the naming of a full human being—first name, last name, ethnicity, Social Security number—it means a body has been begotten “through translations, disassembly and reassembly, and conversion between states, properties and machines.” This follows Elizabeth Grosz’ definition of a body as a “concrete, material, animate organization of flesh, nerves, muscles, and skeletal structure which are given unity, cohesiveness, and organization only through their physical and social inscription as the surface and raw materials of an integrated and cohesive totality.” Whole parts like tissue and sinew and limb or microscopic parts like chromosome links become a “body” through translation and inscription—writerly motions.

Paul Lioy, an expert on toxin exposure who has studied the WTC dust, has observed that the debris “contained materials that were used to make the things that represent the raw material and by-products that defined our civilization.” This doesn’t just mean company letterhead and swivel chairs but also poisons. Asbestos and lead have long been part of the inner city’s ecological landscape, cheaply lining walls, tubes, and ceilings while leaving trace deposits of their dry powders in the blood and urine of inner city children. The EPA did not want to test for those particular substances in the blood of sick New Yorkers in the years following 9/11 because doing so would “lead down an endless rabbit hole costing billions and lasting years” meaning they would have had to find a way to “distinguish trade center material from common urban dust.”   Normalizing the bestiary of noxious powders implied in “common urban dust” ignores the many generations of inner city children—disproportionately African-American and Latino/a—who learn to prime asthma inhalers before they learn to sign their names. The pervasive expectation that some lungs and bloodstreams could be born or made impervious to poisonous dusts is evident in a study of WTC search-and-rescue dogs. The dogs, described as “canine equivalents of canaries in a coal mine” because they could show signs of asbestosis and mesothelioma a lot faster than human organisms could, had their chests x-rayed. The x-rays came back normal, but the study was criticized for excluding “many of the rescue dogs that were brought to New York from other parts of the country” meaning that New York dogs must have been so accustomed to quietly menacing substances in the air that their organisms weren’t trustworthy.

The federally funded New York City cleanup program lasted two years and cost $37.9 million dollars, $30.4 million of which went to contractors and subcontractors. Rosa Bramble Weed, a social worker and psychologist who has met with undocumented cleanup workers exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress, explains that undocumented workers received calls from “a very underground kind of network of people who are undocumented and need work. They called at night. They said, tomorrow there is work, come work.” Port Authority management contacted major contracting firms who sent the projects to subcontractors; by the time the jobs trickled down to cleanup workers, their contractors worked with hundred thousand dollar contracts while the immigrants were routinely paid $60 for 12-plus hour days. Vans drove up and down Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Long Island, Nassau County, and Suffolk County, looking for day laborers to bring to Ground Zero. The Polish and Latino construction workers—all men—arrived first, but the women were the last to leave. Undocumented women had cleaned Lower Manhattan residential spaces and offices for years and knew people who would call them up when there was work. And there was work.

Jaime—whose surname I have omitted from this essay—is a Colombian immigrant who used to work as a nighttime security guard near the World Trade Center and helped with cleanup efforts from day one. When he first arrived to the site, “it looked like a Western, like a desert,” he told me. “Everything was dust-water and there was no light.” Jaime walked into building basements flooded by water and chemicals. He had no protective gear so he tied plastic bags around his ankles and waded through the waters. “The city was great at picking up the garbage,” he remembers. He was instructed to discard any debris in black trash bags and throw paper in clear bags—the black bags were for waste. The dust was the hardest to clean because it blinded him and stuck to his clothing, especially when he got wet. The wind took care of loose paper. Police arrived on the scene early and guarded the site fiercely. People were asked to show ID cards to enter the scene but cleanup workers just needed to prove they were there to clean. At first, tourists applauded and took pictures of them. Then, people started yelling, “Leave! Leave!” The women from Rosa’s group that I spoke to all know other women hired by subcontracting firms who were paid checks that bounced back. They are sick. They are also broke, uninsured, and, when I spoke to them, they were all hoping they would somehow qualify for “la Zadroga,” a federal bill that would help cover their healthcare costs. What they really want, though, is a green card. Jaime penned an open letter to President Barack Obama on behalf of the group asking him to grant documentation to immigrants who could prove they had worked at Ground Zero.

The man in charge of evaluating applications for The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was Kenneth R. Feinberg, a lawyer who had successfully settled the Agent Orange lawsuits and “was given the broadest prerogative to decide, in essence, how much each life was worth.” The Fund had unlimited funds but a clear end date. In 2003, it stopped accepting applications, and some individuals were only beginning to exhibit symptoms. Workers who did not make the deadline fell back on unsubsidized treatment in city hospitals or workers compensation payments. Treatment options were slim for undocumented immigrants. Dr. Charles Hirsch, New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner became “the gatekeeper to the official list” of WTC victims.  He looked at each death and decided whether to legally consider it a murder. The final list contained 2,749 names of deaths that had been ruled homicides. 2,749 names would be inscribed on the memorial.

 • • •

On September 11, 2002, New York State Governor George Pataki recited the Gettysburg Address. In Rudy Giuliani’s last speech as Mayor, he also quoted from the speech. The space of Ground Zero was almost immediately narrativized as a battleground with those who died on that day discussed as heroes, “the fallen.” Ground Zero tells the story of blood and Fresh Kills tells the story of bone. The dust materialized this narrative through coloring—it was just beginning to settle. The World Trade Center dust had, as Anthony DePalma has written, “an odd pinkish tint, a blush that was as curious as it was repulsive because it suggested blood and human remains. It was probably caused by some chemical reaction, and it did not last long. Eventually, the dust took on the more neutral color of dry bone.”

Blood and bone have a longstanding symbolism in national narratives of kinship and trauma. Think, for instance, of the Civil War. During the only war fought on American soil, Confederate soldiers disinterred buried Union soldiers to steal their skulls and use the skeletal remains as trophies. Union soldiers often mimicked these acts in retaliation. The 19th century saw the emergence of a black market in cadavers; because bodies could be sold to medical schools and amateur dissectors. Affluent Americans began burying their dead in well-secured tombs. The poor, chief among them immigrants and African Americans, were obviously just as ferocious in the desire to protect their dead, but lacked the resources to do so. They were thus relegated to, as Simon Harrison has explained, “burying their dead under a layer of straw to deter digging, or posting armed guards in the cemetery for several nights after a funeral.” Bone stealing arose during the Civil War because there was a great political value in “representing Southerners and Northerners as two different peoples.” Among American soldiers, spilt blood over the same land was less of a catastrophic blow to imagined notions of kinship than was the theft itself.

The wars that broke out on Fresh Kills over the fate of the pulverized bones whose extracted DNA identified individual victims were divisive and individual—it was about private grief, and families’ rights to mourn over their own dead. The mass burial of thousands of people’s bones under equalizing and anonymizing layers of dirt was obscene, and the co-existence of victim bone with terrorist bone was unfathomably disrespectful. Blood, however, had the opposite effect. It was used to collectivize trauma to an exaggerated, though politically advantageous, degree. When researchers began to monitor the health effects of New Yorkers who worked on Ground Zero and New Yorkers who had not, they first tested firefighters because of their proximity to the toxic dust and debris. The control group used to compare the level of toxins in the blood of potentially sick firefighters was made up of firefighters who did not work at Ground Zero. The blood of the firefighters who had not been at Ground Zero was also the control group used when testing the blood of other New Yorkers, i.e. non-firefighters. The blood of venerated heroes was the gold standard for all residents of a city in the throes of collective post-trauma. When the last traces of debris were removed from Ground Zero, the bedrock foundation lay naked and bare like bone without sinew.

What 9/11 Did to America and the World

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/09/2017 - 4:38am in

Tags 

history, 9/11

I wasn’t going to write much more about 9/11, but then Obama wrote that no act of terror could ever change America.

I don’t know if that’s true. If it is, it means America was already a terrible, terrible place.

The funny thing about 9/11 is that it worked. Bin Laden had a plan, his plan was to draw Americans in and show they could be beaten.

He thought they’d be beaten in Afghanistan. They weren’t–they were beaten in Iraq. When the US left Iraq it had to pay the various militias off to avoid attack.

That’s losing.

Meanwhile there are al-Qaeda affiliates over much of Asia and Africa. Al-Qaeda central may be weaker, but al-Qaeda the idea is far far stronger than it was before 9/11.

Saddam was a secular Muslim. He was one of bin Laden’s enemies, and the US destroyed him.

Meanwhile, at home, the US destroyed its own freedoms. It tortured people.

The US also instigated a worldwide assassination program, killing whoever it wanted, wherever it wanted, on the authority of the President.

The US has always been pretty shitty when dealing with others: supporting coups versus democratic governments, sponsoring death squads, looking the other way when its pet governments and terrorists raped, tortured, and murdered. (Pinochet had dogs trained to rape women; he was very approved of by Washington.)

Bill Clinton, of course, had killed about half a million Iraq children with his sanctions, and Madeleine Albright, a truly evil woman who is burning in Hell today if there is one (I doubt it) stated she thought it was “worth it.”

But after 9/11, the US went even further. Torture, from the top, by its own soldiers, as opposed to merely winked at. Widespread assassination. The gutting of habeas corpus. Probably a million more dead Iraqis. Later, under Obama, the destruction of Libya, another war crime. (He should hang, as Nazis hung, along with Blair, Cameron and Bush. Most Nazis were hung not for the Holocaust but for attacking a country which had not attacked them.)

American crimes, of course, are endless. All empires’ crimes are endless, and so are all colonial states’ crimes. This is true of both America and Canada, as they moved West, and it is true today of Israel.

Still, something important changed after 9/11. Lines were crossed.

Americans who are okay with all the crimes should be aghast as well, not that lines were crossed (they have no lines) but that they were crossed so incompetently. The US got its ass kicked by a bunch of rag tag militias. The myth of US military supremacy lay shattered. The US can still bomb anyone into dust, but everyone now knows that its military can do nothing but destroy.

Bin Laden was the first great man of the 21st century. Great is not a synonym for good. From a position of infinite weakness, he made his enemy use its own strength to accomplish his goals.

The US proved itself not just evil (don’t even, there are too many dead), but stunningly incompetent and crippled by corruption.

And today, Democrats are rehabilitating George Bush, the war criminal, to attack Trump.

Trump may yet do far worse than Bush, but until he’s started a major war, he hasn’t, and even if he does, Bush was–and is–evil and should be in a war crimes dock, along with most other major American politicians of the time, almost all of whom voted to give Bush the vast powers he used exactly as any fool could have predicted he would.

9/11 either changed the US, or revealed the US. Either way, the US after 9/11 was ghastly and evil.

And in 2004, knowing all the evil Bush had done, Americans re-elected him, thus showing that enough of them approved of what he had done. Cavil all you want about vote suppression and so on, it is not as if there was a huge tide of Americans who said “not in my name.”

This is still George Bush’s America, and his America is bin Laden’s America. Bin Laden was right about the US. He knew exactly what the US was, knew how to push its buttons and America did what bin Laden wanted to.

Bin Laden was a profoundly evil man, and he recognized the US’s profound evil and used that evil to his benefit.

Understand clearly, there were choices: Iraq did not have to be invaded; Afghanistan did not have to be occupied (a punitive expedition would have been sufficient); the Patriot Act did not have to be passed; torture in Guantanamo did not have to occur; routine drone assassination was not necessary.

All of these were affirmative choices, and virtually all of them were reconfirmed in 2004, then in 2008, because Obama continued almost everything Bush did, and even ramped some of it up, like drone assassination and deportations.

Bin Laden won because he was right that the US was evil, or perhaps, that with a push, it was willing to be even more evil.

Hell of a thing.

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On the anniversary of 9/11

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/09/2017 - 2:11am in

For me, 9/11 will always be a time of tremendous fear, stifling conformism, forced patriotism, and vicious nationalism. Which is why I’ve always found the claim that Trump represents a new authoritarianism, even fascism, to be so fanciful and false. There was a moment in the recent memory of this country when dissent really was stifled, when opposition really was suppressed, when the military and police were sanctified and sacralized, when the Constitution was called into question (not a suicide pact, you know), when the two-party system was turned into a one-party state, when the entire nation was aroused and compelled and coerced to rally behind the dear leader, when questioning the nation-state’s commitment to violence and war provoked the most shameless heresy hunts. When intellectuals and journalists and academics dutifully—and shamefully—performed their parts in the Gleichschaltung of the moment, instructing the unreconstructed among us to understand that we were living in a new age when all the old truths no longer held. Thankfully, the intensity of that moment didn’t last too long—the fiasco in Iraq did it in—though we’re still living with its consequences today. But, yeah, when I hear about the unprecedented authoritarianism of Trump, I think to myself: either you weren’t around after 9/11 or you were part of the problem.

September 11th

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/09/2017 - 1:49am in

Tags 

9/11

I was working. The company set up a large screen in a conference room so people could watch the events. I didn’t, but I kept track of events.

What stands out is a conversation with a Jewish friend of mine. I said “I just hope that America doesn’t attack the wrong country over this.”

He scoffed.

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Why I Don’t Speak of 9/11 Anymore

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 11/09/2017 - 6:00pm in

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was a non-teaching day for me. I was home when the phone rang at 9 A.M. It was my daughter, who was on a week’s vacation with her future husband. “Turn on the TV,” she said. “Why?” I asked. “Haven’t you heard? A plane hit the World Trade Tower.” I turned the TV on and watched a plane crash into the Tower. I said, “They just showed a replay.” She quickly corrected me, “No, that’s another plane.” And we talked as we watched in horror, learning that it was the South Tower this time. Sitting next to my daughter was my future son-in-law; he had not had a day off from work in a year. He had finally taken a week’s vacation so they could go to Cape Cod. He worked on the 100th floor of the South Tower. By chance, he had escaped the death that claimed 176 of his co-workers. That was my introduction to the attacks. Sixteen years have disappeared behind us, yet it seems like yesterday. And yet again, it seems like long, long ago.

Jimmy Dore: Taliban Have Surrendered Several Times, Each Time Refused by America

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/08/2017 - 10:47pm in

Here’s another very important clip from the Jimmy Dore Show. It’s one that should be viewed by everyone interested in what the various wars we’re fighting around the world are really about. Dore and his co-host, Ron Placone, discuss a review of Anand Gopal’s book No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War through Afghan Eyes by Ryan Grimm in The Intercept. And its more of what the mainstream media aren’t telling us about these wars.

Dore starts the show by making the point that mainstream media never reveals the truth about the reasons behind America’s various wars in the Middle East and the Maghreb. They don’t mention the petrodollar, Libya, or the reason why Iran’s now a theocratic state under the ayatollahs. It’s because America – and Britain – over threw its democratically elected prime minister, Mossadeq.

And this is just as devastating. Gopal’s book reveals that the Taliban surrendered several times to America and its allies, only to be rebuffed. It was traditional in Afghan civil wars for the losing side to surrender to the victors. They would, in turn, incorporate them into the new government. Dore makes the point that this is a sensible system for governing a country, where people still have to live together as neighbours after the fighting. The Taliban tried to do this with the Allies, and were rebuffed. Several times. He also points out that the Taliban itself withered away, as its members put down their guns, either going back and vanishing into the rest of the population, or heading over the border into Pakistan.

However, America and the Allies offered rewards for those informing on the Taliban. With the real Taliban having vanished, and al-Qaeda down to a mere handful of people, the venal and unscrupulous amongst the Afghan population used the system to settle personal feuds. They smeared their neighbours as Taliban, for them to be killed or arrested by the US forces, and get the reward money. This naturally has created massively hostility against Allied forces. When America and the Allies first defeated the Taliban, the Afghans were glad to see them go. Now, having had their peace overtures repulsed, and the country reduced to more chaos and warfare, the Taliban have returned with popular backing.

But Dore states, you are not going to hear it from the mainstream news, such as MSNBC and Rached Maddow, because the media automatically backs the American war machine. And that war machine must be kept fed. He notes that Congress, with the backing of the Democrats, has just voted another $100 billion for the defence budget, in addition to what had already been voted for it last year. America already spends more on defence than the next 13 countries on the list combined. And the country and her allies have been in Afghanistan for 16 years. In other four years, the war will get a gold watch and be able to retire.

That’s it. There are absolutely no good reasons anymore for us to be anywhere in the Middle East. I backed the invasion of Afghanistan because I believed that it was a justified response to an act of war by al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies. I heard a few years ago from a friend that the Taliban tried to stop the invasion by offering to surrender Osama bin Laden, claiming that they didn’t know that he had been planning the attack. I wasn’t sure whether to believe it or not. But after this, it looks much more credible.

We’re not helping anyone in Afghanistan by staying there, except perhaps an already corrupt government, propped up by us, western mercenaries, and the opium trade, which has flourished more than it ever did previously. Dore states that the only areas in Afghanistan, which weren’t troubled by fighting, were those where there wasn’t a western military presence.

Of course, there are other, corporate reasons why we’re still there. Trump announced that America would stay in the country to exploit its valuable mineral resources, in order to defray the costs of the invasion. As well as the gas pipeline that was supposed to be built, but wasn’t, as Dore also mentions.

But the humanitarian reasons touted as justification for the invasion have vanished. We’ve long outstayed our welcome. As Grimm’s review concludes, we’re losing to an enemy who’s already surrendered. A hard thing to do. We’re just killing and maiming people for the benefit of the military-industrial complex. And our boys and girls are also being killed and maimed.

They’re coming back traumatized and with terrible injuries, not for defending their country and its allies, as they and we have been told. They’re being mutilated and killed purely for the profit of the big arms manufacturers.

Disgusting.

Dore encourages everyone watching this to pass it on. I agree. We are not going to hear about this from mainstream media, which includes the Beeb.

General Smedley Butler was right. War is a racket. We need to get out, bring our troops back home, and close all the wars and interventions in which we’re currently involved down.

Until then, there will never be peace across the world.

Joe Rogan on Conspiracy Theories and Alex Jones’ Comments on Charlottesville

It seems that Alex Jones just keeps going lower and lower in his statements and mouthings about stupid and poisonous conspiracy theories.

In this clip, Joe Rogan, the host of an internet radio show in the US, and his co-presenter talk about conspiracies and conspiracy theories. They discuss the problem of credibility and the refusal of people to accept when they genuinely don’t know anything. They also contrast real conspiracies with the wild, bogus theories spouted by Alex Jones.

Rogan gives as an example of a real conspiracy the plan by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the 1960s to shoot down an American passenger aircraft and blame it on Cuba. There were also other strategies to arm Cuban friendlies to attack Guantanamo Bay, thus allowing them to blame it on Castro and start a war. These are genuine conspiracies, which have been revealed by documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

He contrasts these with the bizarre, deep conspiracies, such as Kennedy being assassinated by his driver, and the rubbish pushed by Alex Jones.

Alex Jones is the main man behind Infowars, and I’ve blogged many times about his insane and dangerous theories. Jones is a 9/11 truther, but has gone on to claim that the ‘globalists’ who run the world really are demonic entities, either literally so, or are extra-dimensional aliens. The global elite sacrifice children to Satan, and perform black magic orgies. Barak Obama was possessed by demons. So is Hillary Clinton, though she may also be a robot or cyborg. The Clintons were also involved in a paedophile ring running out of a Boston pizza parlour. Gay rights activists are a ‘transhumanist space cult intent on producing genderless humans’.

And the global elite, including Obama, are just waiting to incarcerate true, freedom-loving Americans in concentration camps. They also manufacture emergencies, including gun crime and mass shootings, in order to pass legislation to deprive Americans further of the rights and liberties. Of which, the most important is the right to carry guns.

Hence he declared that the Sandy Hook school shooting was entirely fake, and that the victims were all ‘crisis actors’. Apart from being massively wrong and offensive, this has led to the nutters, who believe this nonsense approaching the bereaved parents to challenge them about the deaths of their children.

And now it appears Jones has done something similar following the events at Charlottesville. He has claimed that the violence there was staged by ‘Jewish actors’, at least according to Rogan. If this is true, then it’s a new low. The mob marching to defend the statue definitely included real Klan members and Nazis. These stormtroopers really did try to beat up and kill the counterdemonstrators, and the anti-racists inside a meeting hall, attended an inter-racial, interfaith meeting, in which the participants included Dr. Cornell West and Rev. Traci Blackmon, two Christian ministers committed to social justice. West and Blackmon have stated that it was the anarchists and the Antifa, who rescued them when it looked like the Nazis were going to beat them to death.

And the Nazis also marched on a local synagogue, surrounded it, and chanted ‘Sieg heil’, terrorizing those gathered for the evening service. The rabbi and staff were so frightened, that they smuggled the Torah scroll out of the backdoor in case the Nazis should try to damage it.

Rogan and his fellow presenter also state that these daft conspiracy theories are a distraction from what the authorities really are covertly doing.

This is all absolutely correct. Parapolitical writers, like Robin Ramsay, the editor of Lobster, draw a distinction between real conspiracies, such as those discussed by Rogan and his fellow host, which they sometimes term ‘parapolitics’ or ‘Deep Politics’, and the bogus conspiracy theories, such as Jones’ rants about the coming one world Satanic state, the various anti-Semitic theories about the Jewish bankers, and contact with shape-changing alien lizards.

As for Jones and his nonsense about ‘Jewish actors’, this is stuff of which the Nazis would have been proud. The Nazis and fellow Fascist parties in the rest of Europe, like Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, blamed just about every misfortune on the Jews, including their own negative image. Mosley devotes an entire chapter in his autobiography, My Life, to what he calls ‘Jewish opposition’, claiming that he was unfairly maligned by his Jewish opponents. Needless to say, he wasn’t. His biographer, Skidelsky, claimed that Mosley wasn’t originally anti-Semitic, but only became so after he was attacked as such by the Jews. He supposedly ordered one of his lieutenants, who came from the Britons or another of the anti-Semitic societies, to look into it. And this officer then duly came up with the daft conspiracy theories and libels blaming everything on them. More recent studies, such as by Stephen Dorrill and his biography of Mosley, Blackshirt, have shown Mosley was anti-Semitic from the start.

Jones, and those figures on the right like him, are going down a very dangerous path when they repeat the same type of lies that the Nazis used to try and fool people into believing that they weren’t a collection of violent thugs intent on mass murder.

It’s questionable how much of this bilge Jones really believes. Jones has tried to defend himself in the court case involving custody of his children by having his lawyer release a statement that he doesn’t believe any of it, and that he just a ‘performance artist’, like a ‘rodeo clown’. If true, it means he’s consciously lying, which makes him even more similar to Goebbels in this matter.

I admit, I’ve got a lot of pleasure before now from watching Jones’ insane rants and antics. But this is rapidly coming to an end. When he starts lying about real Nazis, who act like Nazis attacking Blacks, Jews, gays and anti-racist Whites, he’s crossed a line.

Even looking at him to get a laugh out of his ravings is dangerous. Karl Dietrich Bracher, a German historian of Nazism, describes in one of his books how some Germans turned up at Hitler’s rallies and his denunciation of the Jews and others simply as a bit of fun, without taking it seriously.

After Charlottesville, a number of internet servers are refusing to host Nazi and White supremacist sites. After Jones’ comments about the violence in Charlottesville being the fault of ‘Jewish actors’, his show should be treated the same way as well.

Donald Trump Predicted in Stephen Baxter’s 1995 Novel ‘Titan’

I’ve been making my way through Stephen Baxter’s SF novel, Titan, these last few weeks. Baxter’s a British SF writer, with degrees in maths and engineering. He applied to be an astronaut on the Anglo-Soviet mission to Mir in the 1980s, which went to Helen Sharman. He’s probably best known for his Xelee-sequence books. These are set in a universe dominated by the extremely advanced, but mysterious Xelee, who are engaged in a war across the entire universe with the Photino Birds, dark matter creatures determined to age and extinguish the universe of ordinary matter. He has also written other novels about a variety of parthenogenic humans, descended from a lost troop of Romans, a catastrophic flood in the Bronze Age, and the books The Long Earth and The Long War, about parallel worlds, with the late, great Terry Pratchett. His novel, Voyage, an alternative history in which NASA launches a final manned expedition to Mars, was adapted for Radio 4 by Audio Movies in the 1990s. He was also the scientific advisor for the 1990s BBC SF series, Invasion Earth, about aliens from the higher physical dimensions invading the planet.

Titan is also about a last, crewed NASA mission. This time its put together by a team of astronauts, space scientists and ground control crew as the Agency’s last, great space expedition before it is closed down following a shuttle disaster. It’s set in what was then the near future – 2004 onwards – in America increasingly falling into right-wing extremism, irrationalism and Christian fundamentalism. The leading politician and subsequent president, is Xavier Maclachlan, a Texan with standing on an aggressively anti-science platform. Here’s the description of the man and his policies on pages 284-5.

Hadamard was in Washington during the inauguration of Xavier Maclachlan, after his wafer-thin win in the 2008 election.

Maclachlan called it a ‘liberation of the capital’.

Armed militia bands came in from Idaho and Arizona and Oklahoma and Montana, to fire off black-powder salutes to the nationalist-populist who promised to repeal all gun control laws. In the crowd, Hadamard saw a couple of Ku Klux Klan constumes, a sight he though had gone into an unholy past. Come to that, there was a rumour that a former Klan leader was being made ready to become a future White House chief of staff. And in his speech Maclachlan appealed to the people to end what he called the ‘Israeli occupation of Congress’…

And so on.

As soon as Maclachlan lifted his hand from the Bible, US peacekeeping troops in the Balkans and Africa started to board their planes to leave. Foreign aid stopped. The UN was being thrown out of New York, and there was a rumour that Maclachlan was planning some military adventure to take back the canal from Panama.

Army engineers – set in place during the handover from the last Administration – started to build a wall, two thousand miles of it, along the Mexican border, to exclude illegal immigrants. White it was being built, troops brought home from peacekeeping abroad were operating a shoot-to-kill policy.

There was chaos in the financial markets. Machlachlan had withdrawn the US from the North American Free Trade Treaty, from the World Trade Organisation, from GATT. Reviews of the country’s membership of the World Bank and the IMF had started – arms of an incipient world government, Maclachlan said, designed to let in the Russians. He had raised tariffs – ten per cent against Japan, fifty per cent against the Chinese – and world trade collapsed.

The Chinese, particularly, screamed. And so Maclachlan sent the Seventh Fleet to a new station just off the coast of Taiwan.

Meanwhile all the strategic arms treaties with Russia were torn up, as Maclachlan orderd his technicians to dig out the blueprints for Reagan’s old dream of SDI. In fact, Maclachlan wanted to go further. He was inviting ideas for what he called his ‘da Vinci brains trust’. The press was full of schemes for fantastic new weapons: smart remote sensors; dream mines that could shoot at passing traffic; smart armour that would use explosive tiles to deflect incoming projectiles; maybe even an electrical battlefield in which electricity-propelled shells would be zapped in by low-flying aircraft.

And back home, Machlachlan had cut off any remaining programs which benefited blacks and other minorities, and any funding that appeared to support abortion, which had been made illegal in any form.

Xavier Maclachlan was a busy man, and he was fulfilling his campaign promises.

Clearly, much of this is an extrapolation from the policies and attitudes of the Republican party and the American extreme Right in the 1980s and 1990s. Reagan had brought right-wing Christian fundamentalists into the Republican party, who had previously stood aloof from politics as part of a corrupt, fallen secular order. He had also begun to wind up government welfare programmes, particularly those aimed at benefiting minorities, such as Black Americans. Fears of an imminent apocalypse, social breakdown and Russian invasion, even after the collapse of Communism, had resulted in the emergence of the survivalist and then Militia movements, armed right-wing paramilitary groups. These had a bitter resentment of the federal government, which culminated in McViegh’s bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma. They also tended to be bitterly racist and anti-Semitic. They believed and still believe in stupid Nazi conspiracy theories that claim that the Jews are trying to destroy the White race through racial intermixing and that America is covertly controlled by the Jews through the ‘Zionist Occupation Government’, or ZOG. These groups and right-wing American fundamentalist organisations also believed that there was a secret, Illuminati conspiracy to create a one world Satanic superstate centred on the UN. Phyllis Schlafly, who was actually a Democrat, regularly denounced the UN as well as women’s rights. And one leading figure in the militias – I think it may have been Bo Gritz, who supposedly served as the model for ‘Rambo’ – stated that the way they would clear America’s international debt would be by minting a single coin with the legend ‘1 Trillion Dollars’. As for the Klan, there were a series of scandals in which senior Republican politicos were revealed as having links to or membership in the White racist terrorist group. The most notorious of these was David Duke in Louisiana, who is unfortunately still around and blaming the Jews for everything even today.

And political scientists and economists were predicting the rise of China and the other ‘tiger economies’, which would dominate the ‘Pacific Century’ even then.

Of course, there are things Baxter failed to predict, like 9/11 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He also takes the conventional view that the various free trade agreements and UN organisations, like the IMF and the World Bank, are nice, liberal, benefificial institutions, rather than the way corporate America imposes its own neoliberal policies on the rest of the world, particularly the developing nations.

Not that the Democrats have been much different. Counterpunch has reported that Obama was considering removing the ‘No first strike’ policy towards a nuclear confrontation, and Killary has been every bit as aggressive in her stance towards Russia and China as the Republicans, perhaps even more so.

As for the White extremist and racist groups supporting the new president, all that’s different is that the Klan has been largely replaced, or subsumed, into the internet-based Alt Right. But the hysterical fear of gun legislation, promoted and lavishly funded by the gun manufacturers and the NRA, against the desires of the majority of Americans, and even the NRA’s own rank and file membership, remains strong.

It shows how long the attitudes held by the American right, and which led to the election of Donald Trump, have been around. Since his election, left-wing news sites such as The Young Turks, Secular Talk and the David Pakman Show have reported that Americans have become increasingly dissatisfied with Trump. Sixty per cent of the American public want him impeached. This dissatisfaction even extends to Republican voters.

Trump, however, in his racism, his isolationism, aggressive nationalism and hatred of the welfare state and women’s rights, is very much in line with the general political stance of post-Reaganite right-wing American politicians. Indeed, he’s so much a part of this political trend that, with caveats, his election – or rather, the election of someone like him – was predicted by Baxter over two decades ago.

No wonder an increasing number of young Americans are looking to progressive politicos like Bernie Sanders for leadership and the redemption of their country against a corrupt political elite and the military-industrial complex. And I fervently hope they win, and that humanity will continue to reach out to the cosmos in a spirit of genuine exploration and wonder, and not as another arena for warfare.

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