Propaganda wars over the middle east amongst the major lobbies adn venues capable thereof   ------- Chomsky on CNN with analysis  ------------- 183743 Argentina is in deep (reactionary) trouble ------- LBO-talk snippets ------------- 183800 a popular item (rare these days): Ruppert/Vreeland thoroughly trounced by David Corn -- conspiracy again (the nation takes on Ruppert) ------- 183779 Albert Confronts Conspiracy Theories -----    Chapter Three North-South/East-West by Noam Chomsky (which I am going to try translate for extra (Holland) ---   ------xxxx---------- Jews try to start boycott against American news papers (english) Bill 3:01pm Thu May 30 '02 (Modified on 6:27pm Thu May 30 '02) article#183437 Now the stinking Jews are really showing what they are and how they are trying every form of power grab. If they don't like what is being said about them they try any form of censorship and use every conceivable lie and distortion for a control method. U.S. press embroiled in Middle East conflict Boycotts over 'anti-Israel bias' spread, Pro-Palestinian groups counterattack By Diana Lynne © 2002 The battle has intensified in the new Mideast war front – American newspapers – as the Washington Post becomes the latest major daily to come under attack for a perceived anti-Israel bias in its coverage of the conflict, and pro-Palestinian groups mobilize for a counteroffensive to what they see as an orchestrated effort by Jews to sway public sentiment. A grass-roots organization of professionals and lay people based in the Washington, D.C., area is calling on Post subscribers to halt their subscriptions during the week of June 10 to June 17 to "protest the paper's skewed coverage on Israel." launched an online petition and is sending e-mail alerts about their effort to "achieve truthful reporting on the Middle East." The group is also contacting major Post advertisers to give them the opportunity to "save money" during the boycott week. "We're not interested in putting the Post out of business. We want them covering the news. We just want them to be fair and honest," activist Peter Hébert told WorldNetDaily. "The only way for democracy to function is if the press performs its role of full information." On its website, the group lists an archive of "documented bias" members say they've grown accustomed to over the past 18 months. These include: "Outright falsehoods Attributing emotions to actions, which shapes opinion Reporting Palestinian testimonial as fact, but Israeli testimonial as 'claims' Ignoring important facts/context Referring to terrorists as 'gunmen,' 'militants' and 'freedom fighters' Legitimizing terrorism as a valid political tool by stressing the 'rationale' for it De-humanizing Israeli suffering by blaming the victim for the violence Referring to 'settlers' as 'radicals' Headlines serving as conclusions News analysis and commentary not labeled as such A journalist's opinion reported as news Phrases like 'cycle of violence' and 'levels of violence' blur the distinction between offensive operations by terrorists and defensive operations by a sovereign state In depth story-telling of the suffering of Palestinian people, but no corresponding analysis of rampant Palestinian Authority corruption, or comparison to conditions when Israel managed and provided infrastructure for the same area Report[ing] that West Bank and Gaza were 'occupied territories' when in fact these areas had been under PA control since 1993 per Oslo Quick to show Palestinian suffering but rarely showing Israeli terror victims, and when they do, it's side by side with conditions in Palestinian controlled areas – implying their situation is Israel's doing." Hébert offers a specific example of the Post "ignoring important facts/context" which, in his view, represents intentional distortion on the part of the Post: "An April 20 Associated Press story, 'Gunman Kills Israeli Border Policeman,'" said Hébert, "was the source for The Washington Post's April 21 article 'Israel Sets Condition For Jenin Camp Probe.' ... [The Post] omitted the key factoid and thereby downplayed the facts and misinformed the paper's readers. AP's version in part reads: 'Sharon should expect all doors of hell to break loose,' vowed a masked militant, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. 'We are ready for martyrdom. But the occupation will never be safe on the land of historical Palestine, from the river to the sea,' the man told the crowd. "The Washington Post's sanitized and dumbed down version ... reads: 'Sharon should expect all doors of hell to break loose,' one of the mourners was quoted as saying. "The omission of the phrase 'from the river to the sea' distorts the facts and downplays reality. 'From the river to the sea' is Syria's position, which the Saudis hold, and this is pre-1947, pre-U.N. Partition Resolution – the Arab nations rejected a two-state solution. Up until the Saudi Proposal, they still rejected a two-state solution. This 'from the river to the sea' is connected with the full right of return of the 4 million Palestinian Arabs back into places within Israel. That was the deal killer and why Arafat walked away from Camp David II in June 2000." Laurel Anchors, an attorney and spokesperson for the group, claims the paper violates the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists. "In a page-one article today, there's an article about the murder of Israeli high school kids by Palestinians, who are called "gunmen," said Anchors. "These boys were playing basketball. But in the article, they weren't murdered, just killed. ... The article continues inside the paper, and below the article there's a large picture of Palestinian women looking upset with a caption that says something like 'Looking for Relief.' Who are we supposed to feel sorry for here? If this had been Palestinian kids killed, you'd see a front-page photo of grieving Palestinians, and the gunmen would have been called "murderers." This, to me, is not just an accident. It's a very conscious effort to portray a point of view. One of the journalistic code of ethics is to look at your own bias and put it aside." Anchors details accounts of being ignored and even shouted at by "hostile" and "defensive" Post editors when she contacted the paper to initiate dialogue numerous times over the past six months. "We tried requesting meetings, but were either stonewalled or treated rudely," says Anchors. "We hope that the boycott will help the Post's editors realize that they've got a sizeable group of dissatisfied readers in the community, people who have noted a pervasive and long-term tendency to biased reporting by the paper." Post spokesperson Eric Grant says the paper takes the issue "very seriously because of its reputation as one of being conscientious and bringing fairness to the issues." "The Washington Post has been very receptive to the concerns of the community regarding the Middle East coverage," Grant told WND. "Managing Editor Phil Bennett and Assistant Managing Editor David Hoffman met with members of the Jewish community, the American Jewish Committee, in early May for two hours. It was a very productive meeting." When asked whether the meeting spawned any changes in coverage Grant responded, "We do believe our coverage is balanced. ... Our correspondents are working under duress and have come under pressure from both sides in this conflict and have worked long hours to provide coverage and that shouldn't be lost in all of this." The Post boycott initiative comes on the heels of similar grass-roots efforts targeting the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. As WorldNetDaily reported,, an 8,000-member group of concerned Christians and Jews born out of a living room gathering of "regular moms," rabbis and community leaders a year ago, joined a community-wide, synagogue-driven mobilization of Los Angeles Times readers to stage a subscription protest commencing on April 17 in observance of Israeli Independence Day. The paper put a "rough estimate" of a thousand on the number of cancellations called in that day, which Communications Director Mike Lange stated "represent less than one-tenth of one percent of our average daily subscriptions." Citing results of an online survey and interviews with people at all the temples, StandWithUs spokesperson Allyson Rowen Taylor says a better estimate of cancellations is "closer to 7 - 10,000." StandWithUs declared a temporary truce in the boycott as a conciliatory gesture following a lengthy meeting with Times editors, during which the group's concerns were presented. "Some readers may take objection to specific articles," said Times Editor John Carroll in a statement released during the first week of the subscription boycott, "but I am confident that, over time, careful readers of this newspaper will get a full, balanced account of these unsettling events." WorldNetDaily also reported that prominent Jewish leaders called for a boycott against the New York Times over perceived anti-Israel bias. "There was a flurry of cancellations in late April, but they've abated," Catherine Mathis, vice president of corporate communications told WND. Mathis said no meeting between editors and community leaders akin to that held by the Washington Post had occurred. When asked what might explain the leveling off of subscription cancellations Mathis said, "I can't speak to the issue of why the cancellations abated, but we are highly conscious of sensitivities surrounding coverage of the Middle East. Our determination is to cover all sides thoroughly, dispassionately and with scrupulous impartiality." Pro-Palestinian counterattack The Palestine news agency Wafa, reported Tuesday that the "intense pressure campaign by several pro-Israel groups" seeks to "influence U.S. news coverage of the Middle East" and is "said to be motivated by a concern that media coverage of the Middle East – especially articles and broadcasts deemed 'sympathetic to Palestinians' – could weaken public support for Israel and influence what is generally seen as a historically pro-Israel U.S. policy." Wafa quotes a column by Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler, in which he refuted the charge of bias: "Is it possible that so many major American news organizations are getting this story wrong – that some sort of national media conspiracy is at work here? That, of course, is not the case, and news organizations will persevere in reporting this story in an unflinching, unintimidated fashion that reports the news in the most accurate way possible for their entire readership." "It's a little bit like 'you're with us or against us,'" Wafa quotes James Naughton, former executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and now president of the Florida-based Poynter Institute for Media Studies, as saying. Wafa quotes Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the San Francisco-based Tikkun magazine, as likening the boycotts over anti-Israel bias to "McCarthyism." "We're a grass-roots initiative; we have limited things we can do," argued Dr. Michael Berenhaus a Bethesda, Md., optometrist and spokesperson for "We represent a huge readership who is expressing a symbolic gesture. We're not looking for the Post to be pro-Israel. We're looking for it to be pro-fairness, pro-accuracy and pro-honesty." According to Wafa, newsroom officials see pro-Palestinian groups beginning to expand their own lobbying and public-relations efforts. One group, according to Hébert, even launched a website similar in design to under the domain "," that called for a subscription boycott over a perceived Pro-Israel bias. "Imitation is the highest form of flattery," Hébert said. "But they don't have any real beef. It's clear they're just trying to obfuscate our efforts." Caught in the crossfire of this new Mideast war front, news executives are donning flack jackets. National Public Radio (NPR) ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin, told ABC News he and 60 or so ombudsmen at newspapers across America are convinced they have never seen anything quite like this. Dvorkin said he fielded phone calls and tens of thousands of e-mails from listeners on both sides of the issue, but primarily from listeners sympathetic to the Palestinian people. "There is intense pressure from both sides to make sure their perspective is heard and, even more importantly, the other perspective is not," Dvorkin told ABC. Anchors thinks editors need to be less preoccupied with achieving balanced coverage and more earnest in seeking the truth. "Freedom of the press in this country means no propaganda from the government," she said. "But it also means no propaganda from the editors." ----------- If you'd like to sound off on this issue, please take part in the WorldNetDaily poll. Related stories: New Mideast war front: American newspapers Pro-Palestinian bias among CNN ranks? MSNBC declares state of Palestine Related special offers: THE NEWS MAFIA: A groundbreaking look at media bias "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the News" --------- Diana Lynne is a news editor for  =========== Hey, wait a minute! (english) Whichizit? 4:16pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183460 Why do Jews need to boycott the newspapers, I thought they already control the media! You can't have it both ways, Nazi scum. Create your own media (english) were all Palestinian here 6:27pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183489 Im in favor of a boycott on the Zionist-controlled US entertainment/news industry. Thats saying that I believe all of the corporate-based media is under the Nazi boot. ----------------- Analysis of the Chomsky-Bennet Debate on CNN (english) al-Farabi 12:53pm Thu May 30 '02 (Modified on 11:08pm Thu May 30 '02) article#183405 Both Chomsky and Bennet did poorly in this debate. It was a essentially a draw, which means Chomsky lost. He lost because he did not prove the contention that the US is a leading terrorist state. Of course, Chomsky is right, but he did not argue the case in convincing manner . . . Analysis of the Chomsky-Bennet Debate on CNN. [The full text of the debate can be read below]. Both Chomsky and Bennet did poorly in this debate. It was a essentially a draw, which means Chomsky lost. He lost because he did not prove the contention that the US is a leading terrorist state. Of course, Chomsky is right, but he did not argue the case in convincing manner, so as to persuade someone ignorant of the subject matter that he has all the facts. But let’s start with Bennet. Bennet was a very poor debater, and if he were judged by an expert in debate, or by a logician, he lost the contest. Bennet used totally fallacious reasoning. His presentation was full of ad populum arguments, ad hominem attacks, and non-sequitors. Ad populum fallacies: his speech was laced from start to finish with patriotic catch phrases which were designed to appeal to human emotion, rather than to address the points made by Chomsky. Such attempts to push the jingoist button, which the media have been doing for the last ten months, probably had their effect. But they should not be part of a serious presentation. Ad hominem attacks: Bennet tried at least three times to attack Chomsky personally, by calling Chomsky ‘a supposedly learned person,’ by saying he should be ‘ashamed,’ and by leveling personal accusations ( ‘this is a man who has made a career out of hating America and out of trashing the record of this country’). Ad hominem attacks are the most despicable tactic used by debaters. Bennet should be disqualified from ever appearing in a debate because of his frequent recourse to such tricks. Non-sequitors: Bennet’s main strategy was not to deny or argue against any of the evidence which Chomsky presented. He simply diverted the conversation to irrelevant issues. What the US did in War Two, the fact that some cameras have shown pictures of smiling Afghans--- such points are not relevant to the charge that the US is a terrorist nation. Bennet was guilty of gross hypocrisy. World War Two was won essentially by the USSR. Over 80 per cent of German soldiers killed, were killed by the Soviets. The battle of Stalingrad, in which the Soviets killed over a million German troops, was the turning point of the war. I doubt Bennet would put those facts forward to mitigate the human rights abuses of Stalin’s regime. ==== What Chomsky should have said ==== Chomsky’s arguments were sound and valid, but not very effective. I think his mistakes were tactical. The conversation began with Chomsky’s assertion that the US is not an ‘innocent victim.’ When asked to explain this, Chomsky went into a detailed explanation of the World Court’s judgment against the US in Nicaragua. This is an excellent illustration of Chomsky’s thesis, and those of us who know and love Chomsky understand what he is talking about. But this is too complicated for sound byte TV. I believe he would have done better to give some straight statistics. For instance: Why is the US not an ‘innocent victim’? Two million killed in Vietnam, mostly innocent civilians. 15-20,000 killed in Nicaragua. Over 200,000 killed in Guatemala, with Washington’s aid and blessing. Over 30,000 killed in Turkey, with US aid and blessing. On Sept. 11, 2,800 died. But compare that with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s who died under US fire, mostly civilians, and the well over a million who have died as a result of US imposed sanctions. Imagine you are the mother of a child who died under a US bomb. You would consider the US a terrorist state. (And so on). Chomsky needed to give more statistics and more vivid examples. The World Court judgment is not comprehensible to the average TV viewer, unless he understands that 15,000 civilians died as a result of the deliberate targeting of clinics, farms, and government offices. Chomsky did not make this point strongly enough. You cannot understand the horror of what is happening in Turkey, unless you know that at least 30,000 Kurds have died in this civil war, to which the US is a party. Chomsky also should have pointed out, in response to the remark about ‘smiling Afghan faces’ that more civilians have died, an estimated 8 to 20,000, as the result of recent US bombing, than died on Sept. 11. Would you smile if your brother was one of those killed? (Technically that would be an ad hominem circumstancio argument, but Chomsky needs to appeal somewhat to human feeling). Chomsky did well to refuse to answer the question ‘Why do you continue to live in a terrorist state’ the first time it was asked. However, he gave in the second time, saying, ‘I choose to live in what I think is the greatest country in the world, which is committing horrendous terrorist acts and should stop.’ I think this was a mistake. He should have said, ‘The issue we are discussing is not where I choose to live, but the fact that the US is committing horrendous terrorist acts which should stop.’ Once you give in on the patriotism, you have ceded ground, logically. You embrace a fallacy, which asserts that in order to participate in this discussion, you must LOVE America, otherwise you disqualified. Chomsky was unable to substantiate his points, due to lack of time, and unfair diversions. For instance, Chomsky was interrupted at the outset, in the middle of his fourth sentence, by Paula Zahn. When Bennet gave his speech, rambling on and on about why refugees come to the US, the US liberation of Europe in World War Two, saying the good done by the US outweighed the evil, and so on --- Paula Zahn did NOT interrupt him. The speeches were moderated so as to give Chomsky less time. And that was the concrete result. A quantitative analysis of the debate shows that Bennet was actually able to speak a hundred more words than Chomsky. Bennet cut off Chomsky numerous times, and Paula Zahn did it at least twice. Thus, although Paula Zahn was, in her stance and demeanor, far more fair than I thought she would be, the structure of the debate slighted Chomsky. And let us not forget that Bennet had already been interviewed by Paula Zahn about a week ago. Bennet trashed Chomsky’s book, with no opposition. To be fair, Zahn should have invited Chomsky on to present his views without so much interruption (as Bennet was allowed to do). Then they could have scheduled a debate for another time. Of course, CNN invited Chomsky on the show precisely to marginalize and discredit his view. As Chomsky himself has pointed out, in MANUFACTURING CONSENT, the corporate controlled media has a strategy of giving just brief glimpses of leftist critics, so as to make them appear as bizarre and out of step as possible. The set up in the Chomsky-Bennet debate was a classic illustration of the point. Chomsky did not succeed. Yet, he could not very well refuse to debate Bennet, because that would undermine his contention that the mainstream media never invite him on. A refusal to debate would have been interpreted as cowardice, or ivory tower disdain. Frankly, having seen the result of his acceptance, I think he might have done better to refuse. He appears to have fallen into their trap. To the average viewer, Bennet probably appeared to be the winner. But this is only because the facts upon which Chomsky bases his analyses are not well known. Of the US, Chomsky says, ‘the record of its actions and those of its allies, are, after all, hardly a secret.’ But to most Americans, they are a secret. The statistics about the numbers of civilians killed in US sponsored wars, which I cited above, for example, are not well known. Most Americans have heard over and over that 58,000 US soldiers died in Vietnam. But few know that one to two million Vietnamese died. What I found most striking in Chomsky’s presentation was the lack of discussion about what the US has done in and to the Muslim World. The ‘occasion’ for this discussion is, after all, the 9-11 attacks and their aftermath. Chomsky did not mention Arabs or Muslims at all. Most Americans will not understand the relevance of Nicaragua, and the World Court decision, unless they know the full extent of US acts of terror around the world, esp. in the Middle East. Ronald Reagan ordered US Navy vessels to shell the Lebanese coast, during the early 80’s. Refugee camps were deliberately targeting, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians. US support for Israel needed to be mentioned. During the last several years, over 2,000 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians, by Israeli security forces using US supplied weapons. I think these points need to be stressed because many Americans understand, instinctively, how these facts contributed to 9-11. And most Americans will hesitate, when asked, ‘Do you really think US military actions in the Muslim world will LESSEN the likelihood of future terrorism (esp. when Muslim civilians are killed by the hundreds)?’ Few will answer the question Yes, with any confidence. Chomsky’s arguments appear rather abstract and remote from the issue at hand, which is, what should the US do to prevent further attacks on US civilians, such as occurred on 9-11. These types of exchanges are meaningless: <> Whether or not what the US did in Nicaragua was ‘international terrorism’ is NOT the point Chomsky should be focusing on in this type of forum. I agree with those who say, Chomsky is out of his element on network and cable TV. He admits this himself, when he says that the corporate media are structured for ‘concision’ which means no in depth thinking is encouraged. Platitudes and ‘official truths’ can be repeated, over and over, and made the basis for official reasoning. It takes thought and time to challenge official dogma, and the commercial media do not allow the challengers sufficient space to make their case. ZAHN: I would like to start off, professor, by reading a very small excerpt from your book where you write that nothing can justify crimes such as those of September 11, but we can think of the United States as an innocent victim only if we adopt the convenient path of ignoring the record of its actions and those of its allies, which are, after all, hardly a secret. What are you referring to here? CHOMSKY: Well, for example, the United States happens to be the only state in the world that has been condemned by the World Court for international terrorism, would have been condemned by the Security Council, except that it vetoed the resolution. This referred to the U.S. terrorist war against Nicaragua, the court ordered the United States to desist and pay reparations. The U.S. responded by immediately escalating the crimes, including first official orders to attack what are called soft targets -- undefended civilian targets. This is massive terrorism. It is by no means the worst, and it continues right to the present, so for example... ZAHN: Bill Bennett, your response to what the professor said, and then we will let him pick up from there. BENNETT: It's quite extraordinary to hear a supposedly learned person call the United States a leading terrorist nation, one of the leading terrorist nations in the world. It's false and very treacherous teaching. In the situation Mr. Chomsky is talking about, of course, the United States supported the Contras in Nicaragua. The condemnation or judgment by the World Court was not that it was terrorism, but that we supported some unlawful activity. However, when there were free elections in Nicaragua, and Mrs. Chamorro took office, all the lawsuits, all the complaints against the United States were dropped, when you had a democratically elected country. We have done more good for more people than any country in the history of the world. What I want to know of Mr. Chomsky is if he believes we are a leading terrorist state, he is obviously welcome in the United States, why do you choose to live, sir, in a terrorist nation? CHOMSKY: First of all, the World Court condemned the United States for what it called "the unlawful use of force and violation of treaties." BENNETT: Which is not terrorism. CHOMSKY: That's international terrorism. BENNETT: No, it is not. CHOMSKY: Yes, it is exactly international terrorism. BENNETT: No, it is not, sir. CHOMSKY: Furthermore, the escalation to attack undefended civilian targets is just a classic illustration of terrorism. And furthermore, it continues right to the present, as I was saying, so for example... BENNETT: It's quite... CHOMSKY: May I continue? BENNETT: Sure. CHOMSKY: In the late 1990s, some of the worst terrorist atrocities in the world were what the Turkish government itself called state terror, namely massive atrocities, 80 percent of the arms coming from the United States, millions of refugees, tens of thousands of people killed, hideous repression, that's international terror, and we can go on and on. (CROSSTALK) ZAHN: Before you go further, let's give Bill a chance to respond to respond to the Turkish string (ph) of this -- go ahead, Bill. BENNETT: America responsible for hideous repression and refugees? Why is it, Mr. Chomsky, whenever there are refugees in the world, they flee to the United States rather than from the United States? Why is it on balance, Mr. Chomsky, that this nation, when it opens its gates, has people rushing in? Why is it that it is this nation the world looks to for support and encouragement and help? We rebuilt Europe twice in this century, after two world wars. We liberated Europe from Nazi tyranny. We have liberated Eastern Europe in the last few years from communist tyranny, and now we are engaged in a battle against something else. When we went in to Kabul, even the "New York Times" in mid- November showed pictures of people smiling at the presence of American troops, because this country was once again a force for freedom, and a force for liberation. Have we done some terrible things in our history? Of course we have. But as Senator Moynihan has pointed out, our people find out about them from reading the newspapers and watching television. When you look at this nation on balance, in terms of what good it has done and what bad it has done, it is grossly irresponsible to talk about this country as a terrorist nation, and to suggest, as do you in your book, that there is justification, moral justification, for what happened on 9/11. For that, sir, you really should be ashamed. CHOMSKY: You should be ashamed for lying about what is in the book, because nothing is said -- in fact, the quote was just given, nothing can justify the terrorist attacks of September 11. You just heard the quote, if you want to falsify it, that's your business. BENNETT: No -- well, I... CHOMSKY: Just a minute -- did I interrupt you? Did I interrupt you? ZAHN: Professor, let me jump in here, but implicit in that -- aren't you saying that you understand why America was targeted? CHOMSKY: Do I understand? Yes, so does the U.S. intelligence services, so does all of scholarship. I mean, we can ignore it if we like, and therefore lead to further terrorist attacks, or we can try to understand. What Mr. Bennett said is about half true. The United States has done some very good things in the world, and that does not change the fact that the World Court was quite correct in condemning the United States as an international terrorist state, nor do the atrocities in Turkey in the last few years -- they are not obviated by the fact that there are other good things that happen. Sure. That's -- you are correctwhen you say good things have happened, but if we are not total hypocrites, in the sen se of the gospels, we will pay attention to our own crimes. For one reason, because that's elementary morality -- elementary morality. For another thing, because we mitigate them. ZAHN: All right, professor, I'm going to have to leave it there with you, Bill Bennett, and we have got to leave it to about 20 seconds. BENNETT: It there any nation that acknowledges its errors and its sins and its crimes and the things it has done that are not consistent with its principles more than the United States? No, there is not. This is also the man, just let it be said for the record, who said that the reports of atrocities by the Khmer Rouge were grossly exaggerated. This is the man who said when we engaged the Soviet Union that we... CHOMSKY: No, it's not. But that is... BENNETT: I didn't interrupt you -- that we were continuing the Nazi effort against Russia. Go through the Chomsky work, line by line, argument by argument, and you will see this is a man who has made a career out of hating America and out of trashing the record of this country. Of course, there is a mixed record in this country, why do you choose to live in this terrorist nation, Mr. Chomsky? CHOMSKY: I don't. I choose to live in what I think is the greatest country in the world, which is committing horrendous terrorist acts and should stop. BENNETT: I think you should say greatest -- I think you should say greatest a little more often. CHOMSKY: If you want to be a hypocrite... (CROSSTALK) BENNETT: I think you should acknowledge its virtues a little more often, Mr. Chomsky. CHOMSKY: And you should acknowledge its crimes. BENNETT: I do. Read my book. You will see it. CHOMSKY: No, you never do. No, sorry. And if you want to... BENNETT: I am reading other people's books. CHOMSKY: If you want to know what I say, do not listen to Mr. Bennett's falsifications of which I just gave an example. BENNETT: Read both books. ZAHN: Gentlemen, we are going to have to cut off both of you there. Noam Chomsky, Bill Bennett, thank you for both of your thoughts, and I think probably the best course of action anybody can take out there, is buy both of your books so they can make their own judgment. BENNETT: That's fine. ZAHN: Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time. CHOMSKY: Yes.N add your own comments ... (english) ... 2:56pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183434 great to see this posted here! thanks! It wasn't a debate (english) cfs 7:30pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183508 It was a five minute corporate media interview. Might I suggest you put your well-informed efforts toward something more productive than analyzing this mostly frivolous event? CFS is absolutely right (english) Arch Stanton 8:44pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183529 This wasn't a debate it was a sideshow. The only mistake Chomsky made was agreeing to appear on the show at all. To whoever posted this (english) observer 11:01pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183555 "al-Farabi", are you sure you don't work for CNN? heh...You take the corporate media far too seriously. It's not a matter of who won or lost, it's a matter of whose side your on. Get a life asshole. comment (english) red 11:08pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183556 No rest for the ruling class. ---------------------- comments from item 183436 to the same text: Thanks CNN (english) Jim 4:23pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183462 "jingoist prick bill bennett" showed what a fool that psuedo intellectual chumpsky wanker is. Transcript (english) T 6:45pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183492 AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN Interview with Noam Chomsky, Bill Bennett Aired May 30, 2002 - 08:33  ET THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: They are two best selling authors with two very different takes on terrorism. In his book, "9-11," Noam Chomsky accuses the United States of being a terrorist state. He says the war in Afghanistan is wrong, states that in recent history, America has committed acts of terrorism, and maintains that America's foreign policy is hypocritical. In Bill Bennett's "Why We Fight," he says the war on terror is morally just. He maintains that democracy and human rights are America's noblest exports, and that we must be prepared to respond to anti-American critics. Talk about a war of words. =====snip====== CNN sucks (english) greg 7:23pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183507 They could have given both parties a little more time to have a extended debate on this, which of course would have allowed Chomsky to eat Bennett alive (Bennet got noticeably more speaking time, especially when you throw in the fat that Zahn had already interviewed Bennett once talking about Chomsky's book without Chomsky present). But hey, at least they are being forced to acknowledge that Chomsky is being taken much more seriously by the readership public. Wasn't it the saying of Ghandi that first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win? they both come off as kind of repulsive (english) dk 7:50pm Thu May 30 '02 comment#183521 To anyone who actually reads, Chomsky's arguments and documentation are, of course, vastly superior to Bennett's. The sad truth, however, is that most people only see what's on the idiot box which makes them both look like self-serving hucksters. ---------------------- 183743 Argentina item (many languages): Millions of people living in Argentina are desperate and they need your help. Only a letter or email.Please take a few minutes to read this letter. ARGENTINE PROTEST TO BANKS Millions of people living in Argentina are desperate and they need your help. Please take a few minutes to read this letter. > >Argentina has been sliding into catastrophe for a long time and it >is now on the verge of total collapse. At the end of 2001 the >Argentine government then in power froze all savings and deposits in >the country s banks. > >The measure got tougher as one president after another was engulfed >by the unprecedented crisis. > >The freeze is now a deadly concentration camp dealing a final blow >to an already dying economy. People have all their life-long savings >trapped inside the banks. They are not allowed to use their money >and will have to wait years to get it back in a depreciated >currency. Many of them are old, others are ill or unemployed. Some >others have sold their houses and cannot buy a new one now. There is >no end to the terrible stories that are unfolding because of this >most unfair situation. At the same time, millions and millions of >people of all ages, who used to survive on odd jobs, are slipping >deeper and deeper into poverty and starvation by the minute because >there is no money around. > >The government measure to freeze all assets within the banks and >eventually give back account holders absurdly depreciated amounts >has already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court but in >most countries it would be labeled sheer theft. All the banks, without distinction by country of origin, shielded themselves behind this government measure and did nothing to return the money to its rightful owners. > >The Government is trying to ban citizens from resorting to the >Courts on this matter due to the country s economic emergency . > >You are kindly asked to do two the following: > >1. Send this message as soon as possible to as many people as you > can around the world. > >2. Also send letters (either by e-mail, regular post or in person) to >international headquarters, home offices or local branches in your >country of the foreign banks operating in Argentina. >A sample text of a letter complaining at the banks failure to honor their >commitments to their clients is supplied in four languages. > >The foreign banks operating in Argentina (by country of origin) are: Dear Sirs, > >I am appalled at the news from Argentina, where the local >representatives of your bank are shielding behind an >unconstitutional government measure so as not to honor the >commitments made to your clients there. > >I believe the banking system is based on trust and your behavior in >Argentina is destroying this trust. You are also squandering a >reputation carved out all over the world over many years. In a >globalized world, investors will most surely start to shudder at the >thought of a similar fate in potentially unstable countries. That is >all it takes to destroy the markets which financial institutions >have tried to build. > >I will reconsider operating with your bank or to do so in the future >if you do not review your policies in Argentina and honor the >obligations to those who entrusted their money to your care. > >Yours truly, ------ ---------------- Kelley at the lbo sounds a little like hoffman don't she? --- At 08:10 AM 5/31/02 -0500, Michael McIntyre wrote: >Shit, kell, why don't you just do a content analysis of the responses to >your post? Seems to me there was a pretty decent distribution - from >folks like me saying "but Chomsky is a patriot" to folks agreeing with >you, to one of the Chucks saying I hate this motherfucking country. So >where's the party line? shit Michael, you are right maybe I should have named names. I was referring to a process, "isn't that the process that goes on here" because it does go on here. That people like you and others don't engage in the process doesn't obviate that it goes on. it goes on in all kinds of venues on all kinds of topics: free market or not? planning or not? is there anything good about capitalism or western values? I'm talking about just a few responses, but they are powerful voices on this list and they declare themselves the gatekeepers quite reguarly by denouncing others as not really leftists, or not serious thinkers, etc. and look at what's happened on this list re 9-11. how were Brad, Nathan, Doug, Dennis Perin, Peter K, etc. were treated. And, event hough i made it clear i disagreed, even the act of defending them was met with hostility by many people on this list, even peole who don't engage in gatekeeping. those were stupid attacks on these guys, especially since the attacks insisted on ignoring every thing they'd ever written before. they were expected to denounce the US repeatedly before they could take their position in support of a police action. It's not a new debate or schism. The demand to be a 'real' lefty takes place all the time. i mean, take notice of the fact that i generalized the terms, and was not talking about patriotism or anything but the very general process of demanding that we prove our lefty credentials repeatedly by sucking the cock AND balls (this is a reference to the lesbian phallus) of the gatekeepers of "true leftism" -- that is, the people who don't hesitate to claim that you aren't a true lefty if you don't support this or that position. freakin' chuck0 just did the same damn thing that has been done do him. he's been repeatedly attacked by carrol et al for his failed leftyism. and now he's doing it to others. and what is hilarious to me is that the content of what i say is not a whole lot different than what he says, but he won't see it because i haven't done it in just the right and proper way. this is what i wrote: >just to turn the tables: isn't that precisely what goes on here if anyone >says anything in defense of US culture? isn't it the case that you have to >suck the cock and both balls of your fellow lefties and prove you're a real >lefty first, and even then, no matter what you've typed or said or written >in the past, the act of saying it voids everything you've otherwise said? > >why promulgate a process built on the same dynamics as patriotism? > >you can only belong if you talk the loyalty oath and that's to never, ever >say anything but critical things about the US? ------------------ Yoshie: In the Vietnam War as well, there were two sides (actually more than two sides, but let's set aside complexity for the moment), and at the time when American involvement began (shortly after WW2) and escalated to the point of employment of ground troops and aerial bombings, it was not at all immediately obvious to most Americans that Communists were better than imperialists and fundamentalists. Back then, the Right argued that you'd have to be nuts to side with Communists who murdered many civilians (far more than 3,000, they'd assure you) and would clearly kill again. If you are the type swayed by the numbers and arguments given by _The Black Book of Communism_ and its predecessors -- "25 million in the former Soviet Union, 65 million in China, 1.7 million in Cambodia, and on and on" (@ ) -- then you might even argue that the record of fundamentalists looks pretty good in comparison, as some no doubt did in an apology for US support for mujahideen in Afghanistan. In short, no example in itself is likely to change anyone's mind. Some just have to learn the hard way, as a number of US veterans did. ------------- Yoshie Ouch. I agree with you on Vietnam. The U.S. engaged in a war of aggression, but the government did keep it secret for as long as possible from its citizens. However, as the right is wont to do, you are confusing and conflating many issues, and trying to change the subject. During World War 2, the Soviet Union committed atrocities, like the the massacre of Polish officers (btw, the wonderful film Enigma touches on this) and indeed the Allies firebombed Dresden, etc. However, the Nazis - driven by an insane ideology and btw previously supported by the British Tories and sections of American big business - were unquestionably the aggressors, agressors who it turned out would fight to the death. This is a better analogy than the Vietnam War. It's very difficult to calculate, but one would imagine that the toll on humanity would have been worse had the U.S. sat out WWII. Even though the war drove many Germans and other Europeans to end up supporting the Nazis, many who might not otherwise have done so, 60 years down the road you have a country that put on the largest, best demonstrations against Bush, during his recent college tour of Europe. (W.'s gall is hilarious. When a German journalist asked him something like what right or what reasons do you have for invading Iraq, W. replied "Because he's a dictator who gassed his own people." So there.) Peter ------------- Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 16:04:28 -0400 From: "Michael Hoover" Subject: Re: Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come again some other Day .in any event, dissent is magazine for/by people who call themselves socialists despite having long ago given up on the possibilities of socialism... michael hoover This touches on something I've wanted to write for a while, since Yoshie wrote earlier with characteristic simplicity, "don't mourn, organise". My view is that communism is not only possible, but necessary for any sort of long term notion of civilisation and human development. However, I don't think that "organisation" alone (what a multitude of sins can be hidden under that label!) is a sufficient condition for progress towards that eventual outcome. So I want to make the case for mourning. My favourite philosopher, the late and very great Gillian Rose, wrote an interesting set of essays in her last years, published as Mourning Becomes the Law. In one of these essays she uses an analysis of the film and book, Remains of the Day, as well as a painting by Nicholas Poussin called The ashes of Phocion collected by his widow, to make her point about mourning. She talks about mourning that is not 'inaugurated', her main target here being post-modernism (that "despairing rationalism without reason"). But what she says can be applied to a great many approaches to politics, which she says offer us the dawn or the beginning of the day, e.g. by claiming to have finally banished metaphysics, etc. This is mourning that has not been inaugurated. Nazism offered a new dawn. But in its own way so does anarchism. What these disparate political philosophies have in common is a refusal or inability to inaugurate mourning. But the owl of Minerva flies at dusk not at dawn. Instead o! f ! the false promise of a new dawn it is better to be at the remains of the day, looking back. I think that our comrades who simply believe that organisation is everything (anti-intellectuals that they truly are), are unwilling to do that looking back, that coming to terms through 'mourning' with the past, in particular the most recent and bloodiest century that history has seen. I recently challenged a particular one of these to say where he stood in relation to the history of the communist movement, without a response. I'm not surprised. Our 'organisers' want to take us straight to the new dawn. I say no thanks. The most important question that the 20th century throws up for me is that of bolshevism. If we are not prepared to look critically at this experience and to learn from it and to do something different next time, then no one will have any confidence in communists to provide any sort of leadership role in the future. And damn right they would be to take that position. Workers in particular, with characteristic down-to-earthness, are wary of those who preach t! he! new dawn. Frankly I don't think that anyone should ever be allowed to preach (yes they unashamedly preach) communism or socialism without being prepared to say where they stand in relation to the history of the movement. The mentality of thinking that any critique of famous leaders and parties of the movement's past represents some kind of abandonment of the movement are badly misguided for reasons that I have sketched above. They think that any sort of critical reflection on the deepest questions facing the movement is a sign of weakness or abandonment of the project. They are wrong, wrong, wrong and their refusal to engage in or to inaugurate this 'mourning' here is an index of intellectual timidity masquerading as confidence. It's not impressive and will not succeed in impressing through a neurotic and anxious running around trying to look like the busiest, most action-orientated activists this side of Lenin. Tahir ------------------ 183800 a popular item (rare these days): Ruppert/Vreeland thoroughly trounced by David Corn (english) David Corn (via COINTELPRO Tool) 7:08am Sat Jun 1 '02 (Modified on 5:20pm Sat Jun 1 '02) address:  index.mhtml?bid=3&pid=66 article#183800 This follow-up is far better than the first one.= On March 25, during a Pacifica radio interview, Representative Cynthia McKinney, a Georgia Democrat, said, "We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11.... What did this Administration know, and when did it know it about the events of September 11? Who else knew and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered?" McKinney was not merely asking if there had been an intelligence failure. She was suggesting--though not asserting--that the US government had foreknowledge of the specific attacks and either did not do enough to prevent them or, much worse, permitted them to occur for some foul reason. Senator Zell Miller, a conservative Democrat from her state, called her comments "loony." House minority leader Dick Gephardt noted that he disagreed with her. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer quipped, "The congresswoman must be running for the Hall of Fame of the Grassy Knoll Society." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called her a "nut." Two months later, after it was revealed that George W. Bush had received an intelligence briefing a month before September 11 in which he informed told Osama bin Laden was interested in both hijacking airplanes and striking directly at the United States, McKinney claimed vindication. But that new piece of information did not support the explosive notion she had unfurled earlier--that the Bush Administration and/or other unnamed parties had been in a position to warn New Yorkers and had elected not to do so. With her radio interview, McKinney became something of a spokesperson for people who question the official story of September 11. As the Constitution's editorial page blasted her, its website ran an unscientific poll and found that 46 percent said, "I think officials knew it was coming." Out there--beyond newspaper conference rooms and Congressional offices--alternative scenarios and conspiracy theories have been zapping across the Internet for months. George W. Bush did it. The Mossad did it. The CIA did it. Or they purposely did not thwart the assault--either to have an excuse for war, to increase the military budget or to replace the Taliban with a government sympathetic to the West and the oil industry. The theories claim that secret agendas either caused the attacks or drove the post-9/11 response, and these dark accounts have found an audience of passionate devotees. I learned this after I wrote a colu mn dismissing various 9/11 conspiracy theories. I expressed doubt that the Bush Administration would kill or allow the murder of thousands of American citizens to achieve a political or economic aim. (How could Karl Rove spin that, if a leak ever occurred?) Having covered the national security community for years, I didn't believe any government agency could execute a plot requiring the coordination of the FBI, the CIA, the INS, the FAA, the NTSB, the Pentagon and others. And--no small matter--there was no direct evidence that anything of such a diabolical nature had transpired. Hundreds of angry e-mails poured in. Some accused me of being a sophisticated CIA disinformation agent. Others claimed I was hopelessly naive. (Could I be both?) Much of it concerned two men, Michael Ruppert and Delmart "Mike" Vreeland. Ruppert, a former Los Angeles cop, runs a website that has cornered a large piece of the alternative-9/11 market. An American who was jailed in Canada, Vreeland claims to be a US naval intelligence officer who tried to warn the authorities before the attacks. Ruppert cites Vreeland to back up his allegation that the CIA had "foreknowledge" of the 9/11 attacks and that there is a strong case for "criminal complicity on the part of the U.S. government in their execution." My article discounted their claims. But, I discovered, the two men had a loyal--and vocal--following. They were being booked on Pacifica stations. Ruppert was selling a video and giving speeches around the world. (In February, he filled a theater in Sacramento.) I decided to take a second--and deeper--look at the pair and key pieces of the 9/11 conspiracy movement. The Ex-Cop Who Connects the Dot By his own account, Ruppert has long been a purveyor of amazing tales. In 1981 he told the Los Angeles Herald Examiner a bizarre story about himself: While a cop in the 1970s, he fell in love with a mysterious woman who, he came to believe, was working with the mob and US intelligence. Only after she left him, Ruppert said, did he figure out that his girlfriend had been a CIA officer coordinating a deal in which organized crime thugs were transporting weapons to Kurdish counterrevolutionaries in Iran in exchange for heroin. In an interview with the newspaper, the woman denied Ruppert's account and questioned his mental stability. Whatever the truth of his encounter with this woman, the relationship apparently extracted a toll on Ruppert. In 1978 he resigned from the force, claiming that the department had not protected him when his life was threatened. According to records posted on Ruppert's site, his commanding officer called his service "for the most part, outstanding." But the CO also said Ruppert was hampered by an "over-concern with organized crime activity and a feeling that his life was endangered by individuals connected to organized crime. This problem resulted in Officer Ruppert voluntarily committing himself to psychiatric care last year.... any attempts to rejoin the Department by Officer Ruppert should be approved only after a thorough psychiatric examination." In 1996 Ruppert showed up at a community meeting in Los Angeles concerning charges that the CIA had been in league with crack cocaine dealers in the United States. There Ruppert claimed the agency had tried to recruit him in the 1970s to "protect CIA drug operations" in South Central Los Angeles--an allegation that was missing from the guns-and-drugs story published in 1981. In 1998 he launched his From the Wilderness alternative newsletter, which examines what he considers to be the hidden currents of international economics and national security untouched by other media. On March 31 of last year, for instance, he published a report on an economic conference in Moscow where the opening speaker was a fellow who works for Lyndon LaRouche, the conspiracy-theorist/political cult leader. "I share a near universal respect of the LaRouche organization's detailed and precise research," Ruppert wrote. "I have not, however, always agreed with [its] conclusions." Ruppert claims that twenty members of Congress subscribe to his newsletter. Ruppert is not a reporter. He mostly assembles facts--or purported facts--from various news sources and then makes connections. The proof is not in any one piece--say, a White House memo detailing an arms-for-hostages trade. The proof is in the line drawn between the dots. His masterwork is a timeline of fifty-one events (at last count) that, he believes, demonstrate that the CIA knew of the attacks in advance and that the US government probably had a hand in them. Ruppert titled his timeline "Oh Lucy!--You Gotta Lotta 'Splaining To Do." In the timeline he notes that transnational oil companies invested billions of dollars to gain access to the oil reserves of Central America and that they expressed interest in a trans-Afghanistan pipeline between 1991 and 1998. He lists trips made to Saudi Arabia in 1998 and 2000 by former President George Bush on behalf of the Carlyle Group investment firm. On September 7, 2001, Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed an order restructuring the state's response to acts of terrorism. There's a German online news agency report from September 14 claiming that an Iranian man had called US law enforcement to warn of the attack earlier that summer. The list cries out, "Don't you see?" Oil companies wanted a stable and pro-Western regime in Afghanistan. Warnings were not heeded. Daddy Bush had dealings in Saudi Arabia. Brother Jeb was getting ready for a terrible event. It can only mean one thing: The US government designed the attacks or let them happen so it could go to war on behalf of oil interests. Space prevents a complete dissection of all Ruppert's dots. But in several instances, he misrepresents his source material. Item number 8 says that in February 2001, UPI reported that the National Security Agency had "broken bin Laden's encrypted communications." That would suggest the US government could have picked up word of the coming assault. But the actual story noted not that the US government had gained the capacity to eavesdrop on bin Laden at will but that it had "gone into foreign bank accounts [of bin Laden's organization] and deleted or transferred funds, and jammed or blocked the group's cell or satellite phones." Item number 9, based on a Los Angeles Times story, says the Bush Administration gave $43 million in aid to the Taliban in May 2001, "purportedly" to assist farmers starving since the destruction of their opium crop. Purportedly? Was the administration paying off the Taliban for something else? That is what Ruppert is hinting. The newspaper, though, reported that all US funds "are channeled through the United Nations and international agencies," not handed to the Taliban. Unless Ruppert can show that was not the case, this dot has no particular significance. What if Washington funded international programs assisting Afghan farmers? With his timeline, Ruppert implies far more than he proves. It is a document for those already predisposed to believe that world events are determined by secret, mind-boggling conspiracies of the powerful, by people too influential and wily to be caught but who leave a trail that can be decoded by a few brave outsiders who know where and how to look. The "Spy" Who Tried To Warn Us? Ruppert can claim one truly original find: Delmart "Mike" Vreeland. He is the flesh on the bones of Ruppert's the-dots-show-all timeline. On December 6, 2000, Vreeland, then 34, was arrested in Canada and charged with fraud, forgery, threatening death or bodily harm, and obstructing a peace officer. At the time, he was wanted on multiple warrants in the United States--for forgery, counterfeiting, larceny, unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, narcotics, reckless endangerment, arson, and grand theft. Months earlier, the Detroit News, citing law enforcement authorities, had reported that Vreeland was an experienced identity thief. While Vreeland was in jail in Toronto, law enforcement officials in Michigan began extradition proceedings. On October 7, 2001, Vreeland, who was fighting extradition, submitted an exhibit in a Canadian court that he says shows he knew 9/11 was coming. And, Ruppert argues, this is proof that US intelligence was aware of the coming attacks. The document is a page of handwritten notes. There is a list that includes the World Trade Center, the Sears Tower and the White House. Below that a sentence reads, "Let one happen--stop the rest." Elsewhere is a hard-to -decipher collection of phrases and names. Vreeland claims he wrote this in mid-August 2001, while in prison, and had it placed in a locked storage box by prison guards. He says the note was opened on September 14 in front of prison officials. Immediately, his lawyers were summoned to the prison, according to one of them, Rocco Galati, and the jail officials dispatched the note to Ottawa. Vreeland's believers, including Ruppert, refer to this note as a "warning letter." It is no such thing and, though tantalizing, holds no specific information related to the 9/11 assaults. There is no date mentioned, no obvious reference to a set of perpetrators. In a telephone interview with me, Vreeland said this document was not written as an alert. He claimed that throughout the summer of 2001, he was composing a thirty-seven-page memo to Adm. Vernon Clark, Chief of Naval Operations, and that this page contains the notes he kept during this process. What of the memo to Clark? Vreeland won't share it, maintaining that he wrote in such a manner that only its intended recipient would truly understand what it said. Who can confirm the note was indeed what he had placed in storage prior to September 11? Is it possible some sort of switch was pulled? Vreeland maintains that during court proceedings, five officials of the Canadian jail affirmed that he had passed this document to the guards prior to September 11. When I asked for their names, Vreeland said the judge had sealed those records. Kevin Wilson, a Canadian federal prosecutor handling the extradition case, and Galati, Vreeland's lawyer, say no seal has been ordered. The note is one small piece of Vreeland's very big Alias-like story. He claims he was a US naval intelligence officer sent to Russia in September 2000 on a sensitive mission: to obtain design documents related to a Russian weapon system that could defeat a US missile defense system. He swiped copies of the documents and altered the originals so the Russian system wouldn't work. As one court decision states, "According to [Vreeland], he was sent to Russia to authenticate these documents because he had originally conceived of the theory behind this [anti-Star Wars] technology, when working for the US Navy in 1986." While in Moscow, he also snagged other top-secret documents that, he claims, foretold the September 11 attacks. And now the US government, the Russian secret police, organized crime and corrupt law enforcement officials are after him. As one Canadian judge noted, "No summary of the complex allegations of multiple concurrent conspiracies...can do justice to [Vreeland's] own description." Ruppert and Vreeland assert that Canadian court records back up Vreeland. But court decisions in his case have questioned his credibility. In one, Judge Archie Campbell observed, "There is not even a threshold showing of any air of reality to the vast conspiracy alleged by the applicant." Judge John Macdonald wrote, "I find that the Applicant is an imaginative and manipulative person who has little regard for the truth.... the testimony that he developed the theory for anti-Star Wars technology in 1986, based on high school courses, personal interest and perhaps a law clerk's course and a 'Bachelor of Political Science' degree is simply incredible." Nor did he he believe Vreeland was a spy or that he had smuggled documents out of Russia. Macdonald, though, did state that the US records submitted in court regarding Vreeland's criminal record were "terse, incomplete and confusing," and he noted that the sloppiness of the filing might suggest the Michigan criminal charges were "trumped up." But he was not convinced of that, explaining "I see no reasonable basis in the evidence for inferring that the Michigan charges are 'trumped up.'" It's not surprising those records might be a mess. After I first wrote about Vreeland, I received an e-mail from Terry Weems, who identified himself as Vreeland's half-brother. He claimed Vreeland was a longtime con man who had preyed on his own family. Weems sent copies of police reports his wife had filed in Alabama accusing Vreeland of falsely using her name to buy office supplies and cell phones in August 2000. Weems provided me a list of law enforcement officers who were pursuing Vreeland in several states. I began calling these people and examining state and county records. There was much to check. According to Michigan Department of Corrections records, Vreeland was in and out of prison several times from 1988 to 1999, having been convicted of assorted crimes, including breaking and entering, receiving stolen property, forgery and writing bad checks. In 1997 he was arrested in Virginia for conspiring to bribe a police officer and intimidating a witness, court records say. He failed to show up in court there. In Florida he was arrested in 1998 on two felony counts of grand theft. In one instance he had purchased a yacht with a check written on a nonexistent account. He was sentenced to three years of probation. The Florida Department of Corrections currently lists him as an absconder. In 1998 he was pursued by the Sheffield, Alabama, police force for stealing about $20,000 in music equipment. Charges were eventually dismissed after some of the property was recovered and Vreeland agreed to pay restitution. In the course of his investigation, Sheffield Detective Greg Ray pulled Vreeland's criminal file; it was twenty pages long. "He had to really try to be a criminal to get such a history," Ray says. A 1999 report filed by a Michigan probation agent said of Vreeland, "The defendant has 9 known felony convictions and 5 more felony charges are now pending in various Courts. However, the full extent of his criminal record may never be known because he has more than a dozen identified Aliases and arrests or police contacts in 5 different states." Michigan state police records (sent to me by Weems, Vreeland's half-brother) show that in 1997, while Vreeland was in jail after being arrested on a bad-check charge, he wrote a letter to the St. Clair Shores Police Department warning that his brother-in-law was going to burn down his own restaurant. The letter was dated five days prior to a fire that occurred at the restaurant, but it was postmarked three days after the fire. "Do you see a pattern here?" Weems asks. Judge Campbell called Vreeland a "man who appears on this evidentiary record to be nothing more than a petty fraudsman with a vivid imagination." But Ruppert dismisses Vreeland's past, noting he has "a very confusing criminal arrest record--some of it very contradictory and apparently fabricated." When I interviewed Vreeland, he said, "I have never legally been convicted of anything in the United States of America." And, he added, he has never been in prison. There are two odd bounces in this case. Vreeland claims that in Moscow he worked with a Canadian Embassy employee named Marc Bastien. Unfortunately, this cannot be confirmed by Bastien. He was found dead in Moscow on December, 12, 2000--while Vreeland was in jail in Toronto. At the time of his death, Canadian authorities announced Bastien died of natural causes, but Vreeland later claimed Bastien had been murdered. Then, this past January, the Quebec coroner said Bastein died after drinking a mixture of alcohol and clopazine, an antidepressant, and he noted that Bastien may have been poisoned--or may have been offered the medication to fight a hangover. Had Vreeland really known something about this death, or had he made a good guess about a fellow whose death was covered in the Canadian media? And during a courtroom proceeding, at Vreeland's insistence, the judge allowed his counsel to place a call to the Pentagon. The operator who answered confirmed that a Lieutenant D. Vreeland was listed in the phone directory. Afterward, Canadian prosecutors claimed that information from the US government indicated that a person purporting to be Lieutenant D. Vreeland had earlier sent an e-mail to a telephone operator at the Pentagon, saying he would temporarily be occupying a Pentagon office and requesting that this be reflected in the listings. Could a fellow in a Toronto jail have scammed the Pentagon telephone system? In March the Canadian criminal charges against Vreeland were dropped, and he was allowed to post bail. Explaining why charges were removed, Paul McDermott, a provincial prosecutor, says his office considered the pending extradition matter the priority. Vreeland's extradition hearing is scheduled for September. To believe Vreeland's scribbles mean anything, one must believe his claim to be a veteran intelligence operative sent to Moscow on an improbable top-secret, high-tech mission (change design documents to neutralize an entire technology) during which he stumbled upon documents (which he has not revealed) showing that 9/11 was going to happen. To believe that, one must believe he is a victim of a massive disinformation campaign, involving his family, law enforcement officers and defense lawyers across the country, two state corrections departments, county clerk offices in ten or so counties, the Canadian justice system and various parts of the US government. And one must believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of detailed court, county, prison and state records have been forged. It is easier to believe that a well-versed con man got lucky with the Bastien death/murder, was able to arrange a stunt with the Pentagon switchboard and either wrote a sketchy note before September 11 that could be interpreted afterward as relevant or penned the note following the disaster and convinced prison guards he had written it previously. Michigan detective John Meiers, who's been chasing Vreeland for two years, says, "The bottom line: Delmart Vreeland is a con man. He's conned everyone he comes into contact with. That's why he's wanted.... He keeps going back into court for hearings because he doesn't want to come back here. He knows he's going to prison, and he's fighting. In the interim, he's coming up with a variety of stories." The Rest of It The Vreeland case--despite the attention it has drawn--is not the centerpiece of all 9/11 conspiracy theories. There is much more: A CIA officer supposedly met with bin Laden in July 2001 in Dubai. Before September 11, parties unknown engaged in a frenzy of short-selling involving the stock of American Airlines, United Airlines and dozens of other companies affected by the attacks. The Pentagon was not actually hit by an airliner. Flight 93--the fourth plane--did not crash in Pennsylvania; it was shot down. The Bush Administration, in talks with the Taliban, warned that war was coming. And that's not a complete run-down. Some of the lingering questions or peculiar facts warrant more attention than others. There was a boost in short-selling. But does that suggest the US government ignored a clear warning? Or might the more obvious explanation be true--that people close to Osama bin Laden were tipped off and took advantage of that inside information? Ronald Blekicki, who publishes Microcap Analyst, an online investment publication, says most of the short-selling occurred overseas--and escaped notice in the United States. If that type of trading had happened in the US markets, he explains, it would have stirred rumors about the companies involved. "Everyone on the exchanges would have known about it," he explains. "My best guess is that the people who profited were reasonably wealthy individuals in the inner circle of bin Laden and the Taliban." What is curious, though, is that news of the investigations into the short-selling has taken a quick-fade. Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor the Chicago Board Options Exchange will say whether they are still investigating trading practices prior to September 11. And there has been no word from Congress or the Bush Administration on this topic. Suspicious minds, no doubt, can view the public absence of government interest as evidence of something amiss. In this instance, the lack of a credible official investigation creates much space for the disciples of conspiracy theories. No airliner at the Pentagon? You can find websites devoted to that thesis. Another site, called, offers a sober look at the anomalies that have led people to wonder if that last plane, the one in Pennsylvania, was blasted out of the sky. The alleged CIA-bin Laden meeting in Dubai has attracted intense notice in alternative-9/11 circles. The story first appeared In Le Figaro, a French newspaper, on October 31, 2001, in an article by freelancer Alexandra Richard. Citing an unnamed "partner of the administration of the American Hospital in Dubai," she maintained that bin Laden was treated at the hospital for ten days. Her story also asserted that "the local CIA agent...was seen taking the main elevator of the hospital to go to bin Laden's hospital room" and "bragged to a few friends about having visited bin Laden," but she provided no source for these details. The hospital categorically denies bin Laden was there. Even if a meeting occurred, that would not necessarily indicate the CIA was aware of bin Laden's plot. Such news, though, would be a huge embarrassment and prompt many awkward questions. But the meeting's existence--unattached to a single identifiable source--can only be regarded as iffy. Two French authors, Jean-Charles Brisard, a former intelligence employee, and Guillaume Dasquie, a journalist, have written a book, Bin Laden; the Forbidden Truth, in which they maintain that the 9/11 attacks were the "outcome" of "private and risky discussions" between the United States and the Taliban "concerning geostrategic oil interests." As they see it, Washington, driven by fealty to Big Oil, threatened the Taliban with military action and replacement, as it was pursuing Osama bin Laden and seeking a regime in Afghanistan that would cooperate with oil firms. In response to Washington's heavy-handed tactics, the two suggest, bin Laden and the Taliban decided to strike first. This double theory--it's-all-about-oil and Washington provoked the attack--has resonated on anti-Bush websites. To prove their case, the French men attach sinister motives to a United Nations initiative to settle the political and military strife in Afghanistan. Citing a UN report, they depict this effort as "negotiations" between the Taliban and the United States, in which the Americans aimed to replace the Taliban with the former King. Yet a fair reading of the UN report shows that the endeavor--conducted by the UN Special Mission to Afghanistan--was a multilateral attempt to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan that involved discussions with the various sides in that country. It was not geared toward reinstalling ex-King Mohammad Zahir Shah. Brisard and Dasquie's most dramatic charge is that former Pakistani foreign minister Niaz Naik, who attended one of a series of international conferences held by the UN Special Mission to Afghanistan, says that at the July 2001 meeting a "US official" threatened the Taliban, "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs." (This portion of the book is similar to an earlier article in the British Guardian, in which Naik additionally noted that the Pakistani government relayed Naik's impression of this US threat to the Taliban.) The Taliban, though, were not present at the session, which was held in Berlin, and the three American representatives there were former US officials. One of the reps, Tom Simons, a past US Ambassador to Pakistan who spent thirty-five years in the foreign service, recalls no such threat but acknowledges that the Americans did note that if Washington determined bin Laden was behind the USS Cole bombing in Yemen, the Afghans obviously could expect the Bush Administration to strike bin Laden. That would hardly have been a remark to cause bin Laden to arrange quickly a pre-emptive assault. Simons--who says he was not interviewed by the French authors--believes Naik misheard the Americans on this point. Whether Naik did or not, the French authors, at best, suggest a line of inquiry rather than come close to validating their contention. (Brisard and Dasquie also argue--without offering an abundance of evidence--that the United States, by design, did not vigorously pursue bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network because doing so clashed with other diplomatic priorities, most notably, cozying up to the oil autocrats of Saudi Arabia.) Official accounts ought not to be absorbed without scrutiny. Clandestine agendas and unacknowledged geostrategic factors--such as oil--may well shape George W. Bush's war on terrorism. And there are questions that have gone unaswered. For example, on September 12, 2001, a brief story in Izvestia, the Moscow-based newspaper, citing unnamed sources, reported that Moscow had warned Washington of the 9/11 attacks weeks earlier. Was such a warning actually transmitted? If so, who issued the warning and who received it? But questions are not equivalent to proof. As of now, there is not confirmable evidence to argue that the conventional take on September 11--bin Laden surprise-attacked America as part of a jihad, and a caught-off-guard United States struck back--is actually a cover story. Without conspiracy theories, there is much to wonder about September 11. The CIA and the FBI had indications, if not specific clues, that something was coming and did not piece them together. Government agencies tasked to protect the United States failed. US air defenses performed extraordinarily poorly--even though there had been signs for at least five years that Al Qaeda was considering a 9/11-type scheme. Afterward, neither the Bush Administration nor Congress rushed to investigate. In fact, Senate majority leader Tom Daschle maintains that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney both told him in January they opposed any Congressional investigation of 9/11. (The White House denies this.) Congress finally greenlighted an inquiry, but the investigation bogged down as the Congressional investigators complained that the CIA and the Justice Department were impeding their efforts. One problem with conspiracy theorizing is that it can distract from the true and (sometimes mundane) misdeeds and mistakes of government. But when the government is reluctant to probe its own errors, it opens the door wider for those who would turn anomalies into theories or spin curious fact--or speculation--into outlandish explanation. Not that all who do so need much encouragement. September 11 was so traumatic, so large, that there will always be people who look to color it--or exploit it--by adding more drama and intrigue, who seek to discern hidden meanings, who desire to make more sense of the awful act. And there will be people who want to believe them. p ============== ============ CIA loves David Corn. I wonder why (english) greg 8:08am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183808 They like him so much they listed his book on Ted Shackley on their own website. - ========= Look closely, Corn is conceding some points (english) m. 9:04am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183812 I think Corn is agreeing on some points that information xyz "provides fodder for conspiracy theorists". I'm glad that he is offering some detailed discussions of this instead of a patronizing dismissal. There are a lot of unanswered questions stil and Corn admits this. There are a number of unanswered questions that he does not address. The official story is clearly bullshit. What they are covering up is hard to know, but they sure have been eager to keep us distracted. ========= The "Fool On The Hill" (english) Vish Varnay 9:22am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183815 9/11 BU-SHit!!!! The "Fool On The Hill" (english) Vish Varnay 9:23am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183816 9/11 BU-SHit!!!! ========= CORNTOOLPro (english) pseudofan 9:30am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183818 Once again, Corn has written a terribly unconvincing piece that attempts not to answer Ruppert's questions or uncover the truth about 9-11. What this piece attempts to do is discredit Ruppert and Vreeland using ancient propaganda techniques. 1. Slander 2. Claim that you don't have enough space in the piece to really refute arguments or those things claimed to be fact By writing that Ruppert has claimed a big part of the 9-11 conspiracy market, Corn is not only slandering Ruppert, but those who read his work as well. IT IS CLEAR THAT THERE WAS ENOUGH EVIDENCE COMPILED OVER THE COURSE OF YEARS TO THWART THE ATTACKS. Some frightening observations: 1. To my knowledge, Corn has not called for a full public investigation into the events of 9-11. Even members of the gov. are calling for this. 2. CORNTOOL er cointelpro really appears to appreciate the work of Corn. This is enough to throw warning flags high into the air. Corn also says that Ruppert is not a reporter yet Ruppert has broken some stories. See for yourself: Ruppert should be proud that he has both high paid cheeseballs and potty-mouthed two-bit hack provocateurs setting their sights (and sites) on him. ======== Just as I thought (english) COINTELPRO Tool 9:38am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183819 I knew the reactions here would be both hysterical and slanderous, completely evading the facts Corn provides. Once again, you did not disappoint. It mus really be frustrating to see the theories you've cultivated so diligently go down in flames. Sucks to be you. r ========== I keep waiting (english) Jay 9:46am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183821 I keep waiting for someone to offer me a better explanation than that, somehow, the Bush admin is tangled up in this crime. Hasn't happened yet. And, yeah, what about Corn showing so little concern about calling for investigations. ======= DECIDE FOR YOURSELVES PEOPLE (english) Ron 10:21am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183824 Here is a excellent radio interview with Mike Vreeland and Mike Ruppert. Click on link, scroll down and click on the date April 17. ======== Corn hole (english) Morimee 10:26am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183825 "What is curious, though, is that news of the investigations into the short-selling has taken a quick-fade. Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor the Chicago Board Options Exchange will say whether they are still investigating trading practices prior to September 11. And there has been no word from Congress or the Bush Administration on this topic. Suspicious minds, no doubt, can view the public absence of government interest as evidence of something amiss. In this instance, the lack of a credible official investigation creates much space for the disciples of conspiracy theories." Nice logic Corn. Basically you're saying that this suspicious behavior could make people... err...uhh.. suspcicious. Actual evidence of foul play, in other words, might make people suspicious of foul play. And suspicion of foul play makes you a conspiracy theorist. Is it me, or is this absurd circular logic. ========== i dont get it (english) COINTELPRO tool 10:34am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183826 during the court procedings it is documented that they CALLED UP the cia, and managed to get a confirmation that Mike was a member of it. and I'm to believe that an operator at the CIA was EMAILED, and therefore they listed Vreeland all of a sudden? talk about conspiracies. hard to say about Vreeland, I don't relaly trust the guy, but Ruppert seems to, I trust Ruppert a fair bit, but in his line of work, anybody could be a con artist. Nevertheless, Bush and his cronies are now ducking the fact that they had foreknowledge, and their resistence to being investigated by congress means that they are covering up more than what they are admitting to. Can't wait til the reply from Ruppert+Vreeland ========== The theories we cultivate not down in flames (english) Bobby 10:44am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183828 Hardly going down in flames Tool. According the CNN poll that you posted, one in four Americans think that the Bush administration had enough information to prevent the attacks. Not at all a small minority. Why, in fact, twenty five percent of the American public was enough to get Bush elected. I think the question is when will the Bush administration go down in flames and how many will they take with them. ========== CORN POO (english) gave up on The Nation years ago 10:57am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183830 we're way beyond the irrelevant 'political analysis' stage, spewed from washed-up "reporters". The PROOF and TRUTH is, in fact, out there. what remains is the populist (i.e. US citizens) guts and certain degree of economic capital needed for legal, political and social action to TOPPLE THE CORPORATE BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR ITS TREACHERY. ========= oh yeah by the way (english) COINTELPRO tool 11:10am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183835 guerrilla news is probably the best source for the Vreeland saga - - It even has Terry Weems posting to the board. the link takes you to a forum heading specifically about Vreeland.. check it out for  yourself, lots better info than from Corn or COINTELPRO tool btw i'm not the raving child COINTELPRO tool but i am stealing his idiotic nickname nonetheless =========== Tool, you obviously don't give a shit (english) Jesse 3:05pm Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183856 Tool, You obviously don't give a shit about anything but slandering others. For a second lets not speculate on Bush's complicity. Lets look at some ugly facts. The administration claims that there was no way to see the attacks coming. We know now that this was a lie. Plain and simple. There's no controversey on that, right Tool? And yet they used this lie ram the PATRIOT ACT down our throats, which suspends some basic constitutional rights. Lets go back through this, Tool. The administration lied and said they had no way to protect us without new legislation. They then passed legislation to make it easier to violate basic rights in the name of protecting us. Correct me when I go off the story. Sooooo, now, they've admitted that they lied to us about having no foreknowldge, correct? All they needed to do, they say, was run the agency more efficiently so they could properly "connect the dots". I'm correct, right? But what are they really doing, Tool? They're ramming through even more "policy changes" which violate even more of our constitutional rights. They will have increased permission to monitor and snoop. Am I wrong? Tool, do you just not give a shit that these secret police agents are stripping away more of your rights in a manner that flies in the face of their lies and their lack of logic or reason? =========== Reply to David Corn (english) Gary Sudborough 4:33pm Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183862 David Corn is a wishy-washy liberal with no real understanding of imperialism. There are real conspiracies and real manufactured incidents. Watergate was a conspiracy. So was Iran-Contra. Does anyone really believe President Kennedy was killed by one "magic bullet?" Operation Gladio was a CIA plan to discredit the left in Europe by conducting terrorist attacks killing civilians and blaming it on leftists. The Bologna railway explosion in Italy was actually done by fascists and blamed on the Red Brigades. Since  the partisans that helped drive the Nazis out of many European countries were led by communists and socialists, the CIA was very concerned about the electoral success of leftists, particularly in Italy. Operation Northwoods was a Joint Chiefs of Staff plan to provoke a war with Cuba by doing things like sinking an American ship at Guantanamo Bay or conducting terrorist attacks in American cities and blaming it on Cuba. This was reported by ABC news, hardly a bastion of left-wing conspiracy theories. The Gulf of Tonkin incident was a manufactured event to provide an excuse for the Vietnam War. This is even recognized by the corporate media in this country. David Corn seems to think that the American government would never go to the extreme of killing its own citizens? What about the army forcing GIs to walk across ground zero after nuclear explosions? What about the people injected with plutonium and the victims of other experiments like the syphilis victims at Tuskegee? What about the death squads that killed Fred Hampton and numerous members of the Black Panthers and also killed many members of the American Indian Movement? The ruling class of the United States will resort to absolutely anything to preserve capitalism and to extend their global empire and control over precious natural resources like oil into every corner of the Earth. ========== I think (english) Red neck 5:04pm Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183864 or should I say I hope, that even the hard-core conspiracy believers will start to pull back and realize that they have been dabbling with the lunatic fringe. It's not too late. =========== Use your fucking heads for once (english) COINTELPRO Tool 5:10pm Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183865 To the gutless worm who posted twice using my name: "during the court procedings it is documented that they CALLED UP the cia, and managed to get a confirmation that Mike was a member of it. and I'm to believe that an operator at the CIA was EMAILED, and therefore they listed Vreeland all of a sudden? talk about conspiracies." Stop lying, dipshit. No such thing was confirmed in the court, and you know it. The only thing he managed to do is get his name listed in the pentagon phone listing. Not a difficult feat for someone who has made a living STEALING PEOPLES IDENTITIES. Think about how absurd you sound. You really think a Canadian court would call the CIA and ask, "do you have a Delmart Vreeland as one of your super secret spies doing covert operations in our country?" "Uh, sure." Dumbass. o ========== Time for new work (english) m. 5:20pm Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183868 Writers like Michael Albert and publications like the Nation (Corn) have had a tremendous influence on my world view. But I think that it is clearly time for new initiatives, new organizing tactics and new thinking to come to the fore. At the very least, these writers could be saying more than "all these conspiracy theories are wrong". Noone on the left has suddenly become a 'conspiracy theorist' at the expense of other beliefs about how the system works. Noone on the left has suddendly abandoned all their other efforts so that they could become immersed in weaving wild eyed speculation. The fact is, those on the left should realize that all these questions and suspicions can drive home the message that the people in power are criminals. I simply don't understand why Albert, Corn and others won't, at least, say "there seems to be a lot of suspicious behavior revolving around 9/11. And, all theories aside, we already know that the current cadre in office have exhibited verifiable criminal behavior countless times. Believe whatever theories you want, but keep resisting these monsters." Wouldn't it be a lot more productive if they took this approach. They maintain that 9/11 is such a distraction, and then they fixate on this very distraction. There are so many of us out there who know that this could be the beginning of the end for capitalism. Shouldn't we be combining our energies and letting these disagreements coexist. What could possibly be so difficult about that? US RESTORES NARCOTICS TRADE IN AFGHANISTAN by Michel Chossudovsky Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), 20 May 2002 The URL of this article is: In 2000, the Taliban government under advice from the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) imposed a total ban on opium production. Prior to the ban, according to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Afghanistan produced more than 70% of the world's opium in 2000, and about 80% of opiate products (meaning heroin) destined to the European market.1 The annual proceeds of the Afghan Golden Crescent drug trade (between 100 and 200 billion dollars) represented approximately one third of the worldwide annual turnover of narcotics, estimated by the United Nations to be of the order of $500 billion.2 In many regards, the trade in narcotics as well as the drug routes to the European and North American markets are considered to be "strategic". There are powerful financial interests behind the drug trade, which have a pervasive influence, behind the scenes, on the conduct of US foreign policy. These multibillion dollar revenues of narcotics were deposited in the Western banking system. Most of the large international banks -together with their affiliates in the offshore banking havens-laundered large amounts of narco-dollars. In other words, Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, was the source of tremendous financial wealth derived from the drug trade to financial institutions, business syndicates and organised crime. Part of the drug related revenues accrue to the CIA, which continues to protect both the Asian and Latin American drug trade. Visibly, only a very small percentage of these revenues stays in Afghanistan. . Following the year 2000 ban on poppy production imposed by the Taliban government, opium production collapsed by more than 90 percent, leading to a dwindling drug trade and substantial losses to the inters underlying this multibillion dollar trade including Western financial institutions.3 The Northern Alliance became the main political force involved in protecting the production and marketing of raw opium. THE DRUG TRADE RESTORED BY THE US PUPPET REGIME While oil and oil pipelines out of the Caspian sea basin were undoubtedly a factor, the bombing of Afghanistan also served to restore the multibillion drug trade, which is protected by the CIA. Immediately following the installation of the US puppet government under Prime Minister Hamid Kharzai, opium production soared, regaining its historic levels. According to the UNDCP, opium cultivation increased by 657 % in 2002 (in relation to its 2001 level). In 2001, opium cultivation had fallen to an estimated 7606ha.(See table below). It is currently estimated by the UNDCP to be of the order of 45 000 -65 000ha. In the immediate wake of September 11, the price of opium in Afghanistan increased three-fold. By early 2002, the price (dollar/kg) was almost ten times higher than in the year 2000.4 ------------- OPIUM POPPY CULTIVATION IN AFGHANISTAN Year -- Cultivation in hectares 1994 -- 71 470 1995 -- 53 759 1996 -- 56 824 1997 -- 58 416 1998 -- 63 674 1999 -- 90 983 2000 -- 82 172 2001 -- 7606 2002* -- 45 000 - 65 000 Sources: UNCDP, Afghanistan, Opium Poppy Survey, 2001,  report_2001-10-16_1.pdf UNDCP, Afghanistan, Opium Poppy Survey, Pre-Assessment, 2002, report_2002-02-28_1.pdf * Preliminary estimate ---------- NOTES 1. BBC, Afghanistan's Opium Industry, 9 April 2002. 2. Douglas Keh, Drug Money in a Changing World, Technical document no 4, 1998, Vienna UNDCP, p. 4. See also United Nations Drug Control Programme, Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1999, E/INCB/1999/1 United Nations, Vienna 1999, p 49-51, and Richard Lapper, UN Fears Growth of Heroin Trade, Financial Times, 24 February 2000. 3. UNDCP, Afghanistan, Opium Poppy Survey, 2001,  report_2001-10-16_1.pdf 4 UNDCP, Afghanistan, Opium Poppy survey, Pre-Assessment, 2002, report_2002-02-28_1.pdf Copyright © Michel Chossudovsky, Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) 2002. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to post this text on non-commercial community internet sites, provided the source and the URL are indicated, the essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed. To publish this text in printed and/or other forms, including commercial internet sites and excerpts, contact the Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) at The URL of this article is: ----------- 'Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.' Goering at the Nuremberg Trials =========== George W. Goering (english) .. 5:05pm Sun Jun 2 '02 comment#183996 ======== W overheard on cell phone call to Warlord Don (english) DL 10:06pm Sun Jun 2 '02 comment#184024 =========== W to Warlord Don: "Drug lord, warlord, what's the difference? The important thing is, we're getting our pipeline thru, and billions of oil profit $$. Slicky Dick must be overjoyed by now. Besides, that pipeline of ours will deny the Ruskies & the Chicoms "our" oil & gas in Central Asia. So don't sweat it, Rumps. By the way, it's not everyday we got a 9-11 gift handed our way. So rejoice in that convenient pretext, so that you & your Carpet Bombers can do their thing on those Afghanies. Well, gotta go, that Chevron Condo Rice is waiting for me at the Oral(I mean Oval) Office..." -------=------- Under the nuclear shadow (english) si 12:47am Sun Jun 2 '02 (Modified on 2:08am Sun Jun 2 '02) article#183922 Arundhati Roy, Booker prize-winning author, looks at the conflict over Kashmir from her home in New Delhi Sunday June 2, 2002 The Observer This week as diplomats' families and tourists quickly disappeared, journalists from Europe and America arrived in droves. Most of them stay at the Imperial Hotel in Delhi. Many of them call me. Why are you still here, they ask, why haven't you left the city? Isn't nuclear war a real possibility? It is, but where shall I go? If I go away and everything and every one, every friend, every tree, every home, every dog, squirrel and bird that I have known and loved is incinerated, how shall I live on? Who shall I love, and who will love me back? Which society will welcome me and allow me to be the hooligan I am, here, at home? We've decided we're all staying. We've huddled together, we realise how much we love each other and we think what a shame it would be to die now. Life's normal, only because the macabre has become normal. While we wait for rain, for football, for justice, on TV the old generals and the eager boy anchors talk of first strike and second strike capability, as though they're discussing a family board game. My friends and I discuss Prophecy, the film of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the dead bodies choking the river, the living stripped of their skin and hair, we remember especially the man who just melted into the steps of the building and we imagine ourselves like that, as stains on staircases. My husband's writing a book about trees. He has a section on how figs are pollinated, each fig by its own specialised fig wasp. There are nearly 1,000 different species of fig wasps. All the fig wasps will be nuked, and my husband and his book. A dear friend, who is an activist in the anti-dam movement in the Narmanda Valley, is on indefinite hunger strike. Today is the twelfth day of her fast. She and the others fasting with her are weakening quickly. They are protesting because the government is bulldozing schools, felling forests, uprooting handpumps, forcing people from their villages. What an act of faith and hope. But to a government comfortable with the notion of a wasted world, what's a wasted value? Terrorists have the power to trigger a nuclear war. Non-violence is treated with contempt. Displacement, dispossession, starvation, poverty, disease, these are all just funny comic strip items now. Meanwhile, emissaries of the coalition against terror come and go preaching restraint. Tony Blair arrives to preach peace - and on the side, to sell weapons to both India and Pakistan. The last question every visiting journalist always asks me: 'Are you writing another book?' That question mocks me. Another book? Right now when it looks as though all the music, the art, the architecture, the literature, the whole of human civilisation means nothing to the monsters who run the world. What kind of book should I write? For now, just for now, for just a while pointlessness is my biggest enemy. That's what nuclear bombs do, whether they're used or not. They violate everything that is humane, they alter the meaning of life. Why do we tolerate them? Why do we tolerate the men who use nuclear weapons to blackmail the entire human race? ======== why do we tolerate them? (english) Scott Collingwood 2:08am Sun Jun 2 '02 comment#183924 Why do we tolerate the men who use nuclear weapons to blackmail the entire human race? ...because they promise so much! They offer hot showers, the latest G.whiz-mobiles, to all the problems. Their scientists are working in the labs right now to give us....longer life! Soon we'll have holidays in space! internet watches! And what to speak of what GE will bring... I think we tolerate them because our standards of living depend on the status quo, and so do most of our aspirations for future enjoyment. In that sense we conspire against our own self-interest, inasmuch as future generations represent our cherished desires... --------------- 183779 Albert Confronts Conspiracy Theories (english) m. 3:08am Sat Jun 1 '02 (Modified on 5:23pm Sat Jun 1 '02) article#183779 Albert and Shalom offer detailed negation of conpsiracy theories. Some points I think are well taken. I still don't think they're hiding only incompetance. (1) What Is a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory? The most common definition of a conspiracy is two or more people secretly planning a criminal act. Examples of related conspiracy theories include belief that JFK was assassinated by rogue CIA elements attempting to ward off unwanted liberalism; that negotiations between the United States government and Iran to release American hostages in Carter's last year failed because Reagan aides secretly struck a deal with Iran to hold the hostages until after the election; or, more recently, that 9/11 was a plot by a rogue CIA/Mossad team cunningly engineering rightward alignments in the United States or Israel. A broader definition of conspiracy includes legal acts that are, however, sufficiently misleading. For example, even if the U.S. president and his top aides could legally perpetrate the secret 9-11 attacks, doing so would still be a conspiracy. Legal assassination disguised as an accident or secretly pinned on someone else might also fit the second, broader definition because it's not just secret, but actively deceptive. But no definition of conspiracy, however broad, includes everything secret. People often secretly get together and use their power to achieve some result. But if this is always a conspiracy, then virtually everything that happens is a conspiracy. When General Motors executives get together and decide what kind of Chevy to produce next year, it would be a conspiracy. Every business decision, every editorial decision, even a university academic department getting together in a closed session to make a personnel decision, would be a conspiracy. Conspiracy would be ubiquitous and therefore vacuous. Even in the broadest definition, there must be some significant deviation from normal operations. Thus, no one would call all the secret acts of national security agencies conspiracies. Spying is sufficiently normal and expected that no one calls it a conspiracy. Most business decisions and government policy decisions are made in secret but are only deemed a conspiracy when they transcend "normal" behavior, either by working against the norms of surrounding institutions, in the narrow definition, or by manipulating and actively imposing wrong perceptions, in the broader definition. No matter what definition we use, we don't talk of a conspiracy to win an election when the suspect activity includes only candidates and their handlers working privately to develop effective strategy. Seeking to win an election, even secretly, is operating "normally" within the bounds of surrounding institutions. We do talk about a conspiracy, however, if the electoral behavior includes stealing the other party's plans, spiking their Whiskey Sours with LSD, having a campaign worker falsely claim he or she was beaten up by the opposing camp, or other exceptional activity transcending electoral institutions or actively misleading and manipulating events. (2) What characterizes conspiracy theorizing? Any particular conspiracy theory may or may not be true. Auto, oil, and tire companies did conspire to undermine the trolley system in California in the 1930s. Israeli agents did secretly attack Western targets in Egypt in 1954 in an attempt to prevent a British withdrawal. The CIA did fake a shipload of North Vietnamese arms to justify U.S. aggression. Conspiracies do happen. But a conspiracy theorist is not someone who simply accepts the truth of some specific conspiracies. Rather, a conspiracy theorist is someone with a certain general methodological approach and set of priorities. Conspiracy theorists begin their quest for understanding events by looking for groups acting secretly, either outside usual institutional norms in a rogue fashion, or, at the very least to manipulate public impressions, to cast guilt on other parties, and so on. Conspiracy theorists focus on conspirators' methods, motives, and effects. Personalities, personal timetables, secret meetings, and conspirators' joint actions claim priority attention. Institutional relations largely drop from view. Thus, conspiracy theorists ask "Did Clinton launch missiles at Sudan in 1998 in order to divert attention from his Monica troubles?" rather than seeking a basic understanding of U.S. foreign policy. They ask "Did a group within the CIA kill Kennedy to prevent his withdrawing from Vietnam?" rather than examining the shared Vietnam assumptions and policies of Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, as an examination of institutions would prioritize. Because personalities matter so much in conspiracy theories, attention focuses largely on what one individual said to another, whether a phone conversation implicates so and so, the credibility of this or that witness, and who knew what when. Suspicion abounds. For conspiracy theorists, no sooner does something happen, then a conspiracy is suspected. Is there a new disease called AIDS? A biological warfare lab must have created it. Did Clinton aide Vincent Foster appear to commit suicide? Someone must have killed him. Did flights TWA 800 and Airbus 587 crash? There must have been a missile involved. (4) What characterizes institutional theorizing? An institutional theory emphasizes roles, incentives, and other institutional dynamics that promote or compel important events and, most important, have similar effects over and over. Institutional theorists of course notice individual actions, but don't elevate them to prime causes. The point of an institutional explanation is to move beyond proximate personal factors to more basic institutional factors. The aim is to learn something about society or history, as compared to learning about particular culpable actors. If the particular people hadn't been there to do the events, most likely someone else would have. To the institutional theorist, the behavior of rogue elements is far less important than the ways in which defining political, social, and economic forms lead to particular behaviors. An institutional theory of the U.S. missile attacks on Sudan or the Iran Contra affair focuses on how and why these activities arose due to the basic institutions of U.S. society, not on the personal quirks of a womanizing Clinton or a loose cannon Ollie North. (5) Can thinking about conspiracies ever be institutional? Can thinking about institutions ever highlight conspiracies? There are, of course, complicating borderline cases. A person investigating personal proximate causes of some occurrence in what appears to be a conspiracy-minded way could do so to make a larger institutional case. Thus, a person trying to discover a CIA role in 9/11 could be trying to verify a larger (incorrect) institutional theory--that the U.S. government is run by the CIA. Or, more subtly, a person might be trying to demonstrate that some set of U.S. institutions propels actors toward conspiring. Someone studying Enron, for example, may be doing so not as a conspiracy theorist concerned with condemning the proximate activities of the board of Enron, but rather to make a case (correctly) that U.S. market relations instill motivations and provide contexts that make conspiracies against the public by major corporate decision makers highly probable. The difference is on the one hand, trying to understand some broad claim about society by understanding its institutional dynamics, and, on the other hand, trying to understand some singular event by understanding the activities of the direct actors in it. (6) What are the relative features and attributes of conspiracy theorizing and institutional theorizing? For social activists, it makes sense to develop institutional theories because they uncover lasting features with ubiquitous recurring implications. On the other hand, if an event arises from a unique conjuncture of particular people who seize extra-systemic opportunities, then even though institutions undoubtedly play some role, that role may not be generalizable and an institutional theory may be impossible to construct. For a district attorney, it is sufficient to identify individual wrong doers, but for those seeking social change it is important to go beyond particular participants. Unique events, of course, could be hugely consequential--as in the attempt to assassinate Hitler--but exploring the details of such events rarely if ever facilitates understanding society or history. Institutional theories claim that the normal operations of some institutions generate behaviors and motivations leading to the events in question. For example, an institutional theorist is much more likely to explain U.S. foreign policy in terms of corporate and geopolitical interests, than in terms of the operations of shadowy characters, and when they look at corporate interests they are much more likely to focus on corporate interests generally rather than the interests of one rogue corporation that tries to hijack U.S. foreign policy to its narrow interests at the expense of the corporate system more broadly. When institutional theories address personalities, personal interests, personal timetables, and meetings, it will be to enumerate facts that need explanation, not because these are seen as explanations themselves. With institutional theories, organizational, motivational, and behavioral implications of institutions are the heart of the matter. Particular people, while not becoming mere ciphers, are not regarded as primary causal agents. With conspiracy theories, regardless of the type of conspiracy identified, the balance of attention is inverted. The specific deceptive actions of rogue or at least greatly duplicitous and deceptive actors are highlighted. Consider the media. A person seeking conspiracies will listen to evidence of media subservience to power and see a cabal of bad guys, perhaps corporate, perhaps religious, perhaps federal, censoring the media from doing its proper job. The conspiracy theorist will want to know about that cabal and how people succumb to its will, when they meet, etc. Discussion will highlight the actions of some coterie of editors, writers, newscasters, particular owners, or even a lobby of actors. In contrast, an institutional theorist will highlight the media's internal bureaucracy, socialization processes, profit seeking motivations in a market system, and funding mechanisms (selling audience to advertisers), as well as the interests of media owners directly and more broadly due to their class position. The institutional theorist will want to learn more about the media's structural features and how they work, and about the guiding interests and what they imply. The conspiracy approach will tend to lead people to believe that either they should educate the media malefactors to change their motives, or they should get rid of the media malefactors and endorse new editors, writers, newscasters, or owners who will behave differently. The institutional approach will note the possible gains from changes in media personnel, but will explain how limited these changes will be. It will incline people toward a campaign of constant pressure to offset the constant intrinsic institutional pressures for obfuscation, or toward the creation of new media free from the institutional pressures of the mainstream. (7) Why and how does much (but not all) conspiracy theorizing create a tendency for people to depart from rational analysis? In a famous study back in the 1950s, researcher Leon Festinger wanted to find out how a religious sect would react when its prophecy that the Earth was going to come to an end failed to come true on the predicted date. When the fateful date arrived and nothing happened, did the believers cease to be believers? No. Instead they revised their beliefs to explain away the failed prediction by asserting that God had given humankind one more chance, and they maintained the rest of their belief system intact. One is entitled, of course, to hold whatever beliefs one wants, but beliefs like those of the religious sect are not rational or scientific, for it is a basic requirement of scientific beliefs that they be in principle falsifiable, that there be the possibility of disconfirming evidence. If a scientific hypothesis predicts X, and instead not-X occurs (and recurs repeatedly with no off-setting explanations for the discrepancy), then the hypothesis ought to be doubted. If the hypothesis flouts prior knowledge as well as current evidence, and is accepted nonetheless, then the behavior is often no longer scientific, nor even rational. Conspiracy theorists tend to develop a similar attitude to Festinger's religious zealots toward counter-evidence. Where God's mysterious ways salvage the religious believers' failed predictions, added layers of conspiracy salvage disconfirmed conspiracy theories. To the conspiratorial mind, if evidence emerges contradicting a claimed conspiracy, it was planted. If further evidence shows that the first evidence was authentic, then that further evidence too was planted. One website, for example, claims that the Palestinian suicide bombers are actually hoaxes by Israeli intelligence organizations wherein bombs are set off by Israeli agents and a Palestinian body is later added to the debris. But what about the family members of the suicide bomber who speak to the media? This seems like pretty strong counter-evidence for the conspiracy claim. But actually it poses no problem for the conspiracy theorist. He or she promptly claims that the family member interviews are all also staged by the Israelis. (See But don't we all ignore evidence that goes counter to long held beliefs? And aren't we often right to do so? When magician David Copperfield apparently saws a woman in half, most of us don't suddenly give up our belief in physics and biology. We instead stand by past evidence and suspect a hoax and even if we can't figure out how Copperfield did it, we're not likely to walk into a chain saw anytime soon. We sensibly maintain our beliefs because we have an immense body of prior evidence supporting the prevailing view, and only the one televised magical counter example. Conspiracy theorists rarely have a vast amount of evidence confirming the conspiracy and only a little detail or two that doesn't quite fit and can reasonably be set aside. Quite the contrary, conspiracy theories are often strung together from the thinnest reeds of evidence and the counter-evidence is often an irrefutable negation of the very piece of evidence that the conspiracy theorist previously claimed was decisive. Obviously the World Trade Center attack was a U.S. government hoax, declared the conspiracy fans within days of 9/11, because most of the hijackers have turned up to be still alive. This claim took advantage of early confusions, but became completely discredited a short time later. The conspiracy theorists didn't miss a beat. The loss of their crucial evidence weakened their belief in a conspiracy not one iota. Likewise, why is the government not letting people listen to the voice recorders for Flight 93, the plane that went down in Pennsylvania, they intoned. To conspiracy theorists, this hid the fact that the official story of the hijacking was bogus. But when the government belatedly allowed the families of the victims to hear the tapes, few if any conspiracy theorists retracted their claims. (8) Is a conspiracy theory regarding 9/11 credible? There is no single conspiracy theory regarding 9/11, there are dozens of them, often mutually contradictory. Thus, it's not just institutional theorists who reject most conspiracy theories, but most conspiracy theorists reject most of them as well, except, of course, the one they happen to champion. Here are some of the leading 9/11 conspiracy theories: The World Trade Center was destroyed not by planes but by explosives. The planes were not hijacked at all, but commandeered by remote control by Norad. The planes were hijacked, but the hijackers were double crossed and the planes were taken over by remote control by Norad. The hijackers were actually working for the U.S. government. U.S. intelligence knew about the plot, but intentionally did nothing so as to cause massive deaths that would mobilize public support for a war on terrorism that would benefit the government. The plot was actually organized by the Mossad. The Mossad knew about the plot, but did nothing, hoping that the massive deaths would mobilize public support for Israel's war on the Palestinians. Tower 2 of the World Trade Center was hit by a missile. A joint plot by rogue elements in the CIA, the Mossad, other U.S. government agencies, Mobil (being investigated in a criminal case, all of the evidence against whom was in FBI offices in the World Trade Center), and Russian organized crime (which profited especially from Afghan heroin with which the Taliban was interfering). We should be forthright here. None of the above strike us as remotely interesting much less plausible. Neither of us would ordinarily have ever spent even five minutes exploring the above claims, because they all fly in the face of our broad understanding of how the world works. But, because such theories seem to have some popularity among progressives, we are taking the time in this essay to briefly address them. However, before considering some of these specific theories, we need to be clear what isn't a conspiracy. (9) Doesn't the existence of lies and cover up point to a conspiracy? And aren't lies and cover ups profoundly politically important? To the 9/11 conspiracy theorists, the U.S. (or Israeli or other) perpetrators were individuals of great evil, who intentionally slaughtered or allowed the slaughter of thousands. If it turns out that 9/11 occurred in part because one or more government officials were careless or inept, and those officials later conspired to hide their carelessness or ineptitude, it would be a conspiracy of an entirely different level of significance than the intentional mass murder put forward by the conspiracy theorists, of course. Yes, ineffective and bungling officials should be taken to task. And officials who illegally try to hide their failings should be prosecuted. But neither problem bears on left politics or even rises to significant importance. The aftermath of 9-11 saw the U.S. bomb a country in a manner literally expected to kill millions by abetting starvation. To focus on lowly officials trying to hide their incompetence most likely only distracts from paying appropriate attention to the overt choices of Bush and Co. to terror bomb huge populations. 9/11 may well have involved a great intelligence failure, so it wouldn't be surprising for lots of officials to try to cover their posteriors. This does not, however, prove the conspiracy theories. On the contrary, if events were as carefully choreographed as the conspiracy theorists claim, shouldn't the conspirators have been better at coordinating their stories? One prominent conspiracy theorist, Jared Israel , says: "It appears that Cheney may have blurted out the crucial fact that the Secret Service had an open line to the FAA, then realized he was talking too much and stopped before completing his sentence. But if he did indeed talk too much, he also stopped talking too late" ( 3.htm). So here is Cheney, who has just successfully plotted to incinerate thousands of Americans, and, if we pay attention to this sort of discussion at all, we're supposed to believe that he didn't prepare his cover story well enough to avoid blurting out too much. Who should investigate 9/11: Congress, an independent panel, or no one? Bush and Cheney have been trying to restrict the investigation. The conspiracy theorists take this as further proof of guilt. But if Bush and Cheney really had just plotted the murders of thousands of people, why would they "ask" Daschle to limit the probes? If he is intransigent, why wouldn't they just arrange for him to have a little accident (since Bush's anthrax letter to Daschle seems to have failed?) thereby throwing control of the Senate back to the GOP (since South Dakota's Governor, who would appoint a replacement, is a Republican). Why weren't nosy reporters who've tried to find documents relating to what Bush knew accidentally struck by trucks? Here are some of the most ruthless and devious murderers in history, we are told, and they "blurt out too much" and "ask" their foes not to probe too deeply. Once one enters the terrain of conspiracy theorizing, there is a slippery slope to morass because no counter-evidence is ever enough and every report can be reinterpreted via new assumptions. There is an apocryphal story about Bertrand Russell giving a public talk and afterward an elderly woman walks up and says, "You got a lot right, but about the universe, you missed the point. Everything we see is on the back of a giant turtle." And Russell pondered a moment and says, "Well, okay, what's holding up the turtle?" And she replies, "another larger turtle." And Russell asks what supports that one. And she replies: "It is turtles all the way down." Conspiracy theorizing is often quite like that. If at first one conjured claim doesn't work, no matter, manufacture another. (10) Do all the ignored warnings about 9/11 prove conspiracy or just incompetence? Actually, ignored warnings prove neither. It is possible, for example, that there were many warnings but that these warnings were not readily distinguishable from the thousands of other intelligence reports being received at the same time. Despite the conspiracy theories claiming FDR knew in advance about Pearl Harbor, it remains the case that the most compelling explanation for the missed warnings in 1941 was the inability to detect the significant information from the noise. (This is the argument of Roberta Wohlstetter, Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision, 1962.) Consider: should we have known that the Golden Gate Bridge was going to be blown up in the months following 9/11? There were certainly warnings available. But it was not blown up. If the bridge had been destroyed, we could point to all the signs that it was going to happen. But how were we to know that these warnings were to be taken seriously, while the dozens of warnings that focused on other targets were not? We didn't, and that's why most residents of the Bay area, probably including all those in the area who hold a conspiracy view, didn't steer clear of the Golden Gate Bridge. There certainly could have been gross incompetence regarding 9/11. But even if it turns out that someone should have known what was going to happen, not just with hindsight, but by examining available intelligence information, both relevant and irrelevant, this would be a far cry from proving conspiracy. One of the main arguments for foreknowledge of 9-11 is that any rational person looking at the warnings and evidence accumulated by U.S. officials before 9-11 would have concluded that an attack was going to occur. To not have put in motion measures to stop it therefore proves complicity. Consider two clues: The FAA has a "Red Team" whose job it is to try to smuggle explosives and weapons past airport checkpoints to test airport security. According to Bogdan Dzakovic, a member of the team, airport security failed 90 percent of the tests, but the FAA did nothing about it, essentially blocking further tests. A report by the Library of Congress to the National Intelligence Council stated: "Suicide bomber belonging to Al Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could crash land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the C.I.A. or the White House." These clues would lead some to conclude that the president "must have known": But the "president" who must have known in these cases was Bill Clinton. Dzakovic had his tests squelched in 1998 (Blake Morrison, "Agent: FAA buried lapses," USA Today, Feb. 25, 2002, p. A1; Blake Morrison, "Agent blew whistle 'for the American people'," USA Today, Feb. 25, 2002, p. 4A) and the Library of Congress study was written during the Clinton administration (quoted in William Safire, "The Williams Memo," NYT, 20 May 2002, p. A19). So either Clinton too was in on the plot (and his top aides, Gore, Cohen, Albright?) or else it's possible to have received such reports and still not done anything even though one wasn't a conspirator. Conspiracy theorists often endow their enemies (whether the CIA or capitalists or Jews or Freemasons) with immense powers and near infallibility. Nothing is accidental or unintended. Therefore, since Bush and Co. must have perceived relevant evidence of an impending terror strike, say the conspiracy theorists, and would not have overlooked evidence if they didn't want such a strike to occur, they must have been in on it. But consider these indications of less than infallible perception: The INS sent a student visa to two of the hijackers six months after 9-11. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, was allowed on a plane despite his suspicious behavior and an FAA advisory to watch for shoe bombs. Reporters tested security at airports post-9-11 and were able to get weapons past checkpoints. (Surely it can't look good for the Bush administration to appear so inept that he can't protect the public.) Conspiracy theorists, of course, seeing turtles all the way down, may next claim that each of these instances were deliberate blunders carried out by U.S. officials in on the charades in order to give the impression of incompetence to cover up their masters' earlier crimes. And perhaps all of Bush's malapropisms are also part of the ruse. And his drug use and drunk driving and his C grade in International Relations, or whatever. Again, it is a morass, distracting and unproductive. (11) Why are conspiracy theories regarding 9/11 not credible? For each of the different conspiracy theories, various possibilities exist for who was conspiring. Thus, when we take into account all the permutations of who was involved for each different theory, we have at least several dozen different conspiracy theories for 9/11. The average leftist is supposed burrow among all this, virtually endlessly. Yet in fact none of these theories is even moderately persuasive. Consider first those variations that have Bush pulling the attacks off alone, with perhaps a few trusted aides. One feels like one is entering a twilight zone of inattentiveness to reality even engaging in such discussion, but surely Bush couldn't arrange for U.S. agents to orchestrate the plot without the cooperation of top CIA or military intelligence officials; surely he couldn't get Norad to take over the planes by remote control without the cooperation of top Norad officials. Or imagine that the plot was the version requiring the least pre planning--namely, that Bush was surprised when the first tower was hit, but then consciously decided to act to allow the rest of the strikes to take place in order to reap the benefits of a war on terrorism. Could it be that Bush was able to figure out the implications of that initial attack, but that none of his other top advisers insisted that he take action? If it was obvious enough to Bush where all this was leading, wouldn't it have been obvious to top national security advisers who were not privy to the plot that something had to be done? Would these advisers have let Bush continue with his elementary school visit (where he was between 9 and 9:30 the morning of September 11) without insisting on an urgent meeting? If Bush deciding alone on the spot to let the attacks continue is scarcely credible, no matter, consider another variation: that Bush had advance warning of what was going to happen and that he decided to let it happen, again in order to garner the benefits of the ensuing war fever. Jared Israel claims that there is no way that the president would have continued his elementary school visit after the Twin Towers were struck unless he knew about it in advance: "There is only one explanation for the Secret Service allowing President Bush to take the deadly risk of going to the Booker School on the morning of September 11th. George Walker Bush knew the plans for 9-11. And because he knew those plans, he knew that nobody was going to attack the Booker School." The premise here is that anyone aware that the Twin Towers were struck would know that the president and the country were in immediate danger. But then why didn't the Secret Service demand to rush Bush to safety? If Bush were going to overrule his Secret Service team, wouldn't we have seen some evidence of it between 9:05 (when Tower 2 was struck) and 9:30? And if Bush were so smart to have planned this whole thing, why would he interfere with the Secret Service's routine procedures? Why not let them rush him to safety? Or, if the Secret Service is in on it--do we really believe they would all maintain perfect silence about a mass murder plot, and everyone around them would be silent, and so on? Bush later allowed the Secret Service to hide him on various military bases rather than return directly to Washington, a decision that led to much criticism of the president for not leading the nation in a crisis. You'd think with advance planning, Bush could have arranged to look properly cautious at first and then like a heroic leader later. Instead he seemed confused and then chicken. (Of course, conspiracy theorists will say that the initial confusion and then the hiding were all part of the deception, finding turtles all the way down.) Sure, sometimes it pays to feign stupidity--as when Reagan said he couldn't recall anything about Iran Contra--but this was only after the plot was discovered. In the 9/11 case, however, according to these conspiracy theorists the initial plot is supposedly intended to make the president look like an idiot.) Criminals usually take care to prepare their alibis. Are we to believe that Bush planned the largest peacetime terrorist plot in history and didn't bother thinking through what would make his behavior seem least suspicious and most praiseworthy? Would everyone hearing of the second attack on the World Trade Center at 9:05 a.m. have immediately known what was going on? Some of the conspiracy theorists say yes. But then why did the FAA not ground all U.S. flights until 9:40 a.m.? (Evan Thomas and Mark Hosenball, Newsweek, 24 Sept. 2001) Four planes were already known to have been hijacked, two had already plowed into buildings more than half an hour earlier. There are two possibilities. The FAA was in on the plot too, and its officials have been silent since, or else there was genuine confusion that morning and it was quite possible to not know what was happening. For that matter, even if the FAA were in on the plot, it's hard to see what purpose could be served by delaying the grounding of the planes. The morass. What other top officials might have been involved in the plot in addition to Bush? Jared Israel says (with no particular evidence) that Rumsfeld and Myers, the Secretary of Defense and the acting Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were involved. If he wants to argue that according to the established chain of command, these are the individuals responsible for protecting U.S. national security and that they failed, that is surely true, but hardly something to warrant the political attention of the left. But Jared Israel doesn't want to make this argument. He says explicitly: "Their behavior, as described in the media, presents the appearance of bewilderment, naiveté and lack of preparedness. But we shall prove this appearance was contrived." So we are supposed to believe that the top Pentagon officials have arranged an attack on the Pentagon, where lots of their cronies and top aides worked. And we have to accept that they knew that perfect discipline would prevail, and that it has. (Yes, maybe they could have arranged for their closest friends to be on the other side of the building, but this seems rather difficult to pull off--and now we are into the morass, one claim after another, again.) And why, by the way, attack the Pentagon at all? Wouldn't Bush have gotten just as much support for his war on terrorism if just the WTC was hit and not the Pentagon? Was the CIA involved? If not, how could the plotters be sure that the CIA wouldn't find out about the conspiracy and blow the whistle? If the CIA was involved, however, what about the fact that CIA chief Tenet was a Clinton appointee. (Yes, Democrats are as imperialist as Republicans; but a secret plot to commit mass murder is likely to be closely held. And if the Democrats are in on the plot, then why are folks like Hillary Clinton calling for an investigation?) One can weave a bigger web, with more turtles, ad infinitum. There is no proving a negative, particularly about events that are intrinsically largely beyond our purview of investigation. In such cases our overarching understanding of the context, the institutional situation, and our broader agendas should come into play. But not for those who see turtles all the way down. One of Bush's closest cronies is Ted Olson. Olson was the lawyer who argued the Bush should be president case before the Supreme Court and was made Solicitor General as pay off. Was Olson in on the plot? Does it matter that Olson's wife, Barbara, was on the plane that hit the Pentagon? Was this too just to throw investigators off the scent of the plot? (Yes, we know, Ted may have wanted to leave Barbara for some super model, and Barbara wouldn't give him a divorce, and maybe the whole plot was just a cover to get Ted out of his marriage.) What about Attorney General John Ashcroft? Was he in on it? As the author of the Patriot Act that was made possible by the war on terrorism, he seems like someone with something to gain from 9-11. And we know that he was told by the FBI in July that for his safety he should avoid commercial flights (Newsweek, 27 May 2002). Doesn't this prove conspiracy? Well, no. It may show a callous disregard for the well being of the American public--instead of making the skies safe for all passengers, the privileged are taken care of and the rest are ignored--but it doesn't indicate that Ashcroft or anyone else knew about 9/11. (For example, leaders often have access to better medical care than the population at large; rather than improve medical care for all, selfish elites provide themselves with first class care and let others fend for themselves. This is contemptible behavior, of course, but it is systematically produced by the institutions of capitalist and elite dominated societies and it is very different from suggesting that members of the elite secretly inject the general population with cancer cells.) In any event, if Ashcroft were privy to the 9-11 plot he certainly left himself vulnerable to charges of gross incompetence, rejecting in the months before 9-11 FBI requests for more counter terrorism analysts (Newsweek, 27 May 2002). If, to go on with the line up of options, as in some versions of the conspiracy theories, bin Laden is controlled by or faked by the U.S. government, then why didn't the plotters arrange for the "evidence" to implicate Iraq (a place they're much more eager to invade than Afghanistan)? The hijackers could have left all sorts of material behind linking themselves to Saddam Hussein. Mohammed Atta's will could have referred to funds and direction from Baghdad. If, on the other hand, the U.S. plotters didn't control bin Laden, but only knew of his plans through some sort of electronic or human intelligence, then how could they be sure that the plane that struck the Pentagon wouldn't instead hit some target they really cared about? Bush, of course, knows no history. But if any of the bright people around him were in on the plot, surely they would have told him how hard it is to keep a secret. Kissinger ordered the secret falsification of records of where U.S. planes in Indochina were bombing to hide the fact that Cambodia was being targeted. A radar operator spilled the beans. And what was at stake there was something that many US soldiers might not have cared very much about. But to have several hundred people involved in a plot to commit mass murder, not of people who can be considered sub human, or "other," etc., but thousands of Americans--that's a secret that would be extraordinary to expect to be kept secret. To take that risk at all, much less when they already had immense power, is simply not believable. (12) What about bin Laden's former ties to the U.S.? Don't they reveal the secret roots of conspiracy? Conspiracy buffs have given major play to the testimony of Michael Springman, a former U.S. consular official in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Springman has testified that he was told by his superiors to admit into the United States a large number of Middle Easterners for terrorist training. But Springman served in Jeddah while the Soviet Union was still in Afghanistan. Thus, Springman can testify to nothing more than what we already knew: namely, that the CIA was backing bin Laden and other Arab terrorists in Afghanistan. Why does it follow that because the U.S. supported bin Laden (or other particular terrorists) at one point in time, thereafter these terrorists must be still working for the U.S. government? It doesn't, of course. Springman himself is an example of someone who was working for the U.S. government at one time and then broke with them. Another is Michael Ruppert, a former cop and now a leading conspiracy theorist. Some conspiracy theorists claim that bin Laden never broke with the U.S. For example, in 1995, the US failed to take up Sudan's offer to extradite bin Laden. Jared Israel says "the simplest explanation" is "that bin Laden was a U.S. asset--either part of the CIA, or someone whom the CIA used. Perhaps the 'Washington Post' writers were hinting at this explanation when they wrote: "And there were the beginnings of a debate, intensified lately, on whether the United States wanted to indict and try bin Laden or to treat him as a combatant in an underground war." ('The Washington Post,' 3 October 2001) And Jared Israel adds "Emphasis on the word 'treat' as in 'pretend that he was.'" But the Washington Post writers (actually "writer") were hinting at nothing of the sort. They were referring to the debate in the US government over whether to try bin Laden or kill him. (The article goes on to say that U.S. officials were reluctant to put bin Laden on trial in the United States--a reluctance expressed post 9/11 as well--and tried to get him extradited to Saudi Arabia, where he could be summarily beheaded, but the Saudis balked.) Conspiracy enthusiasts have also given a lot of attention to a story in Le Figaro alleging that the CIA met with bin Laden in a hospital in the United Arab Emirates in July 2001. This story has never been confirmed and there are many reasons to doubt it. The article claims that "the local CIA agents known to many in Dubai" boasted to friends of meeting with bin Laden. Would the most heinous plot in history be entrusted to a well known CIA agent who blabs to friends? And then implemented? Is this the way that U.S. government officials would choose to communicate with a co conspirator. The hospital head denied the story, noting that "this is too small a hospital for someone to be snuck through the backdoor" (Joseph Fitchett, International Herald Tribune, Nov. 1, 2001). It should be noted that not all conspiracy theorists credit this story; one argues that the story was in fact a CIA plant: If bin Laden did meet with the CIA, "why are they telling us about it? Answer: Because they want us to know. Question: Why would they want us to "know"? Answer: Because it serves their purposes." (http://www.public Same evidence, two meanings, three meanings, no matter, turtles all the way down. (13) What about looking at who benefits to see who must be responsible - doesn't that imply conspiracy? There is a rule of thumb in mysteries to ask who benefits. This is often useful, but hardly definitive. First of all, we know from all mystery writers that there is often more than one suspect with a motive. Does the US government gain from 9-11? Yes. Does Israel? Yes. But what about Russia (which now has a freer hand in Chechnya)? Yes also. How about China? Yes, also, with its free hand in Xiniang, and the far lower likelihood that the United States will try to isolate it. If one goes through history and uncritically and mechanically applies the "who benefits?" principle, one finds it a poor guide to understanding. The tragedy of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire (where 146 women died when their employer kept the exit locked to prevent them from taking breaks) was a great boon to the garment workers union--should we conclude that the union was secretly behind the fire? The bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, helped galvanize public opinion behind civil rights legislation. Was the bombing a plot by civil rights organizers? The Bolshevik revolution was made possible by World War I. Were the Bolsheviks secretly behind the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914? Teddy Roosevelt became president after McKinley's assassination. Was he the secret paymaster behind assassin Leon Czolgosz? "Who benefits?" has another problem in historical analysis. Sometimes it's quite easy to predict the consequences of an action. Kill your well insured, wealthy spouse and inherit a lot of money. But what are the consequences in a country teetering on the edge of recession of causing hundreds of billions of dollars of damage? George Bush certainly had the memory of his father's experience, whose war popularity didn't help him win re election in the face of an economic downturn. And however much one could predict a rallying around the flag in the face of crisis, it is also true that presidents often get blamed for things that go wrong on their watch. As predictable as the wartime bounce in presidential popularity was that the inevitable search for who was responsible would lead many individuals--an FBI agent here, an FAA bureaucrat there--to try to cover their own butts by pointing the finger at higher ups. Whether Bush will emerge from all this stronger or weaker is by no means obvious. (14) But surely the U.S. government is capable of committing atrocities, isn't it? Doesn't that make plausible a conspiracy? Bush may kill millions of foreigners, millions of faceless Americans (with cigarettes, but probably not machine gun them), and probably not his mother (yes, if she were going to turn him in, etc., but not routinely or easily). Ten members of the ruling class could probably conspire to kill 1,000 foreigners and take the secret with them to their graves, but it is much less likely that they could conspire to kill 1,000 Americans or their mothers and be sure that this would remain a secret. Conspiracy theorists have pointed to the Operation Northwoods document as proving that U.S. leaders were capable of 9-11. The document is a recently released top secret 1962 memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposing the staging of attacks on U.S. targets that would appear to be coming from Cuba, as a way to justify a U.S. attack on the island. Thus, Jared Israel writes: That is why Operation Northwoods is so important. For we now know that in 1962 the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed staging phony attacks to destroy U.S. property, killing Cuban refugees and U.S. citizens, in order to create a wave of indignation and rage, to justify an invasion of Cuba... (http://emperors int.htm) But, as Jared Israel knows--and acknowledges later in his article, though others who cite the document ignore this--the Joint Chiefs didn't call for killing U.S. citizens. They did propose sinking a boatload of Cuban refugees (though we don't know whether the Joint Chiefs would have arranged for a U.S. vessel to fortuitously be on hand to pick up the refugees in the water), but with regard to the shoot down of a plane filled with U.S. college students, the plan was to switch an actual planeload of students with an "unmanned" drone that would be shot down, supposedly by Cuba. Elsewhere, Operation Northwoods proposes blowing up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay in a "Remember the Maine" replay, but explicitly refers to a "non-existent crew." The document also suggests attacks on Cuban refugees in the United States "even to the extent of wounding." So if this document is supposed to show us what U.S. officials are morally capable of, it seems to suggest that they are capable of lying, deceit, conspiring to wage a war of aggression--but not killing U.S. citizens. Moreover, as far as we can tell, the plan proposed by the Joint Chiefs was rejected by the U.S. civilian leadership. (Actually, we didn't need this document to tell us that U.S. policymakers were willing to falsify an incident to justify invasion of Cuba. We've known for quite a while that during the Cuban missile crisis Bobby Kennedy proposed that Washington stage a "Remember the Maine" incident as a justification for war.) It should be noted that not all conspiracy theorists have been promoting the Operation Northwoods document. Carol A. Valentine argues that the document is itself a forgery, probably planted by Israeli intelligence, as proven by the fact that it uses the phrase "college students off on a holiday," which, says Valentine, no American would say (Operation Northwoods: The Counterfeit by Carol A. Valentine, http://www.public Now imagine a committed conspiracy theorist reading the above paragraph. Whichever side they are on about Northwoods, they can go on and on with debate and assertion, piling hypothesis on top of hypothesis, turtles galore--and what is one to do? When does one say, enough ... this is just distracting attention from serious priorities"?? Very early on, as in our view? Somewhat later? Later still? Never? Each has to decide for themselves. (15) Why is conspiracy theorizing popular among critics of injustice? Conspiracy theorizing that highlights individuals is the modus operandi of prosecutors, of course. After all, they must identify proximate causes and human actors to punish. But why does conspiracy theorizing appeal to people concerned to change society? Many possible answers arise. First, the evidence conspiracy theories reveal can identify actual events needing other explanation. More, describing the detailed entwinements can become addictive. We find one puzzle and then another and another to uncover. The appeal is of the mysterious. It is dramatic, vivid, and human. And we can make steady progress, like in a murder investigation. Finally, the desire for retribution fuels forays into personal detail. It is a journalistic task with clear parameters and obvious satisfaction to be had, unless, of course, one rejects the entire premise, logic, method, and prioritization. Second, conspiracy theories have manageable implications. They imply that all was well once and that it can be okay again if only the conspirators can be removed. Conspiracy theories explain ills without forcing us to disavow society's underlying institutions. They allow us to admit horrors and to express our indignation and anger or undertake vendettas, but without rejecting the basic norms of society. We discover that a particular government official or corporate lawyer is bad, but the government and law per se remain okay. We urge getting rid of bad apples, but leaving the orchard intact. All this is convenient and seductive. We can reject specific candidates but not government, specific CEOs but not capitalism, specific writers, editors, and even owners of periodicals, but not mainstream media. We can reject vile manipulators, but not basic institutions. And we can continue to appeal to the institutions for recognition, status, or payment. Third, and least likely among Leftists, conspiracy theory can provide an easy and quick outlet for pent- up passion withheld from targets that seem unassailable or that might strike back. This is conspiracy theory turned into scapegoat theory. Some minority, some enemy, is tarred, and the talons are unleashed. Racism and conspiracies have long gone together, if not universally, certainly frequently. Evaluating all this, it would be bad enough if conspiracy theorizing just attuned people to search after coteries while ignoring institutions, thereby reducing energies applied to useful ends as in the wasteful misallocation of energies of the many Kennedy assassination theorists of past decades. At least in that case the values at play could be progressive and we could hope, however faintly, that people involved would in time gravitate toward real explanations of more structural and important phenomena. But the sad fact is that the effects of adopting a conspiracy theory orientation can be and often are still worse. (16) How do conspiracy theories lead to harmful political inclinations and allegiances? Conspiracy theories often lead leftists to establish connections to or tolerate alliances with right wing crazies. One of the authors of this article was handed a stack of materials by a leftist conspiracy enthusiast that included print outs from Public Action, Inc. (http://www.public, which, in addition to its 9/11 conspiracy claims, has links to many Holocaust denial sites. This is regrettably typical. Conspiracy theories often lead to the foolish glorification of people who were supposedly not in on the conspiracy, but who Leftists ought not be glorifying. Thus, John F. Kennedy has become something of a hero of the JFK assassination conspiracy theorists on the (probably false) grounds that he was going to get us out of Vietnam, a claim needed by them to provide rationales for various of their hypotheses, and so asserted no matter how divorced from serious evidence. Conspiracy theories lead us to counterproductive and wrong priorities. There are many pressing issues for U.S. leftists today--preventing war in Iraq, restraining Israeli aggression, fighting the assault on civil liberties, exposing the phony U.S. Russian nuclear arms deal, and so on. Unfortunately too many leftists have gotten wrapped up in supporting the Democratic party led campaign to investigate what Bush knew and when. Just in the past few weeks, how much energy from people well on the left has gone to the Bush question, with no credible gains, and away from directions where our energies are sorely needed? Leftists have gone from planning teach ins on the Mideast to planning gatherings to talk about the detailed claims of who knew what when, for example. (In fact, if we were to apply the "who benefits?" principle, we might ask whether conspiracy theorizing itself is a plot by the CIA to distract us all from the struggle against globalization? Imagine debating that theory, hour after hour, and then debating about debating about....) Conspiracy theorists cause the Left not to be taken seriously. Much of the public finds conspiracy theories looney. This is true of course, about lots of left ideas, but (a) most left ideas are true, unlike a lot of the conspiracy theories, and (b) most leftists take their left politics seriously. But on a certain level, many conspiracy theorists give the impression that they are playing games. Do they really believe what they write? If we thought the government was run by out of control murderers with immense power who would stop at nothing to get their way, would we be hanging around writing articles? Or would we be underground? Which is the appropriate response if one expects an imminent fascist takeover? Michael Ruppert reports that his conspiracy web site has been hacked a number of times and he suggests that this is the work of those who want to shut him up. But he promises to be back, with a more hack-proof site. Can he really believe that the CIA is attacking his site? If so, is it credible that his technical fix is going to stump the most well-paid and technologically sophisticated intelligence service in the world that has just wiped out thousands of Americans and is being exposed by Ruppert? Credibility and seriousness are not enhanced by checking the links of Ruppert's site that he specifically recommends as providing "reason and reliable information." In addition to links to right-wing rumor- monger Matt Drudge (Ruppert's "favorite news site on the web"), to TWA 800 conspiracy theories, to Vincent Foster conspiracy theories, and the like, there is a link to "We the People," a site "dedicated to two of the most pressing issues of our time," CIA complicity in the crack-cocaine epidemic and the murder of Princess Diana in accord with orders from Queen Elizabeth and Bill Clinton. Another Ruppert recommended site is the Conspiracy Theory Research List, which leads us to the Bilderberg conspiracy site which, in a show of even-handedness, presents both sides of the question regarding the Protocols of the Elder of Zion. Elements of the left taking Rupert seriously contributes to average folks ignoring not only Rupert, but the left too. As bad or even worse than the fact that many find conspiracy theories looney, is that all too many people take conspiracy theories seriously. Not only is it a way to rationalize horrible injustices and suffering without calling basic institutions into account, it is part and parcel of thinking that injustice is an inevitable part of the human equation. Some folks are bad, so we get lots of bad outcomes. We can't do anything beyond having a good district attorney and going on about our business. Left wing conspiracy theorizing no less than right wing conspiracy theorizing, when it appeals to a public is worse than when it doesn't. 6. Finally, conspiracy theories lead to bizarre judgments of who one's enemies are. We're not talking here about Jared Israel's characterizing Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Michael Albert as "accomplices in genocide" ( because this is not a function of his conspiracy theorizing but of his Milosevic worshipping. But there are other conspiracy sites that worry that Noam Chomsky is "a shill for the New World Order!" ( Such confusions don't help the struggle for social justice. =====++ *8*++===== Institutional analysis and conspiracy theory (english) m. again 3:59am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183782 It is not fair to say that "conspiracy theories" regarding the occurences of 9/11 operate exclusive of an institutional analysis. The entangled relationship between the Bush's and the Bin Ladens tell us a lot. These two families clearly have more common interests than they do divergent ones. They are enemies in the same way that Dr. Strangelove's basement rivals were; playing out their games more as friendly rivals than as bitter enemies. Empires constantly need a pretext for war. Before 9/11 a growing number of Americans were beginning to direct their anger at the empire itself. Regardless of what happened on 9/11 it was clear that the Bush's needed an outside enemy if they were to have any chance of deflecting the growing momentum of the American warrior spirit being directed at the system itself. War is an institutional necessity for empires, and a large measure of deciept has always been necessary to rally support. I think it is entirely possible for a faction of the elite to consider the general population (foreign or domestic) as equally subhuman. Albert and Shalom argue that the elite are only capable of seeing foreigners as subhuman and therefor expendable. I think this is a flaw in their institutional critique. =========== YOU FORGOT (english) Jordan Thornton 4:36am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183785 You forgot the most prominent conspiracy theory regarding "the events of September eleventh", that after coming to America and learning how to fly, a group of terrorists, armed with boxcutters, commandeered four commercial aircraft simultaneously, evaded the intelligence community and bested America's military defenses, then crashed those planes into three highly-coordinated targets, causing the WTC to collapse, all because they hate freedom and democracy. Then, terrorists armed with American miltary-grade Anthrax, mailed the virus to prominent Democrats and the media. ========== On Albert's writings (english) jeff 5:37am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183787 I'll be frank. I never really cared for Albert's writings. He writes these over drawn-out and wordy essays that put me to sleep. That power elites see their domestic populations as disposable is nothing new. All throughout history you can find examples of government killing their own populations for political an material gain. That is not a conspiracy. It is a real documented historical truism. Are we to believe that American leaders are any different? Give me a break. American power elites have killed literally millions of people worldwide, and they continue to kill, bomb, maim and starve thousands of people every month. And we are expected to believe they give a damn about the American people simply because they are Americans? And I have to take issue with Albert that Americans think people like Ruppert are looney. Ruppert speaks to sold out audiences all across the US. Lots of people are asking questions, serious questions that Albert is not willing to ask. Rep McKinney was able to confront Bush on his role in 9/11 because she knows that millions are suspicious about his role. Even CBS Dan Rather has gone farther than Albert by questioning why Ashcroft's motives of flying a private plane based on foreknowledge of 9/11 attacks. Leftists like Albert need to pull their head out of their ass and wake up and smell the coffee. American leaders care no more about him than they do a Afghan villagers decimated by Daisy cutters. That is NOT a conspiracy. ========= What's rational (english) Jody Paulson 7:36am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183802 "... no counter-evidence is ever enough ..." What counter-evidence? The little that has been provided smells phonier than a 3-dollar bill (the videotape with Osama in a US army jacket, for example). Isn't it rational to assume that, after your opponent has been dealt 3 royal flushes in a row, someone's cheating? There is one mind-boggling coincidence after another concerning 9-11. Why weren't (even one) of the airplanes' black boxes recovered or capable of relaying information as to what happened on those planes? Million-to-one shot. Why were all of the airplanes at less then 35% of capacity during the high travel season? Million-to-one shot. Why was the top investigator of the Osama bin Laden case one of 3,000 people killed in the World Trade Center? Million-to-one shot. Ask any building engineer (not in the employ of the government) about for the odds of both towers collapsing completely to the ground after being hit by airplanes at vastly differing angles? Million-to-one shot. That the person who masterminded the worst terrorist attack in the nation's history is the son of a former president's business partner, who in turn is the father of the current president? Million-to-one shot. Come to think of it, what are the chances of the election for US president being decided by 500 votes? Million-to-one shot. Now, what are the odds that a free press wouldn't notice these coincidences and examine them at any length whatsoever? Actually, I'm being too generous with my odds, but you get the point, don't you? How many royal flushes does Bush have to keep dealing for himself before we can start accusing him of stacking the deck??? ========== Albert? Please! (english) F@C@ 9:01am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183810 Why is Albert in any position of prominence? His website is one of the most moderate that I have seen. The Guardian often appears to be more radical. I saw the guy speak at Northwestern University and the only time he was even a bit inspiring was when he dropped an unexpected curse word into his often rambling and disjointed sentences. Was he a civil rights leader or great anarchist agitator (not a rhetorical question)? Why does anyone even give a damn what this man says? ============ CIA complicity in cocaine epidemic (english) me 10:44am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183829 Is Albert denying this complicity? He needs to read the works of Gary Webb and Alexander Cockburn. This is well-documented. The role of drug money in this government and economy is an institutional issue. Read also works by Catherine Austin Fitts. Questioning how the World Trade Center towers collapsed is not an institutional or social issue, but a question of engineering and physics. Just random thoughts. Having listened to Vreeland on the radio, I must agree that his story of Star Wars expertise does sound far-fetched. So what? This doesn't answer many questions raised by Ruppert and others. Ruppert could be wrong about some things, right about others. People want to know what happened -- that is a rational response. The possibility of criminal behavior by people in power, and the possibility that that power might enable a cover-up or distortion of what happened, is an institutional issue. ======= And another thing (english) m. 11:26am Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183838 I still have the exact same concern for social justice that I've always had. How would suspecting foul play and complicity by Bush on 9/11 in any way negate that? ========== Albert (english) Joe R. Golowka 12:02pm Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183843 "Why does anyone even give a damn what this man says?" He edits Z-Magazine, which is a decent zine with good analysis and some good authors. Chomsky often publishes in it. ============= Whos' Chomsky? (english) August West 1:54pm Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183852 I do in fact know who Chomsky is, but so what if he publishes in Z? Like Albert, and his friend Ed Herman, he represents the established "Left", which has become ossified and afraid of confronting power in any real way, choosing reform of capitalism via a long series of ban-aids, vs terminating it before it terminates the planet. And this established Left at this point is acting as a bulwork against those who are revealing how murderous the managers of global capital have become. They needed this war to stay in power, and the whole affair goes far beyond mere incompetence. And i'll second the post re the stupidest conspiracy theory of all, that the bin Laden gang did it, complete with its grade B movie manufactured "evidence". One little item (english) Jack Straw 1:58pm Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183853 One item that Albert has left out, and so have the so-called leftists who've been bombarding the internet the last several days attacking "conspiracists wackos": What about the complete failure of the US armed forces to react to multiple hijackings, *in violation of many FAA rules that have been in place and enforced over the last couple of decades regarding even a single hijacking?* =========== A Few Blatant Errors (english) Jack Straw 3:48pm Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183858 Here are a few blatant errors in Albert's piece: He asserts that conspiracy fans claim 9/11 was a gov't hox because most of the hijackers have turned up still alive, and notes "This claim took advantage of early confusions, but became completely dicredited a short time later". When, Mike? When was this discredited? In fact, the fact that several of the names announced by the FBI turned out to be those of people who were still alive, or long dead, has never been cleared. And questions about the identities of the hijackers keep mounting. ------- He defends FDR against charges he knew in advance about Pearl HArbor, citing a 1962 book as an example of the most compelling explanation. This explanation has been blown out of the water by subsequent books by the likes of prominent historian John Toland in the early '80s and Robert Stinnet a couple of years ago. There is a US gov't memorandum from Oct 1944 outlining the whole US policy for getting Japan to attack the US. what -- and then see pages 2-6. has in its December-January issue a good piece on Pearl Harbor and a long list of invetigations which concluded gov't foreknowledge. He wonders why the FAA and the gov't did not ground all flights till 9:40 AM, wondering what purpose this delay would have served a plot, if there was one. What purpose would grounding have served? And he fails to tackle Bush's claim to have seen the first plane hit the WTC, when there was no video of that for days. Albert is a lying asshole who does the cause of anti-capitalist struggle no good. Albert, why not be a little more productive? (english) m. again 5:23pm Sat Jun 1 '02 comment#183870 Writers like Michael Albert and publications like the Nation (Corn) have had a tremendous influence on my world view. But I think that it is clearly time for new initiatives, new organizing tactics and new thinking to come to the fore. At the very least, these writers could be saying more than "all these conspiracy theories are wrong". Noone on the left has suddenly become a 'conspiracy theorist' at the expense of other beliefs about how the system works. Noone on the left has suddendly abandoned all their other efforts so that they could become immersed in weaving wild eyed speculation. The fact is, those on the left should realize that all these questions and suspicions can drive home the message that the people in power are criminals. I simply don't understand why Albert, Corn and others won't, at least, say "there seems to be a lot of suspicious behavior revolving around 9/11. And, all theories aside, we already know that the current cadre in office have exhibited verifiable criminal behavior countless times. Believe whatever theories you want, but keep resisting these monsters." Wouldn't it be a lot more productive if they took this approach. They maintain that 9/11 is such a distraction, and then they fixate on this very distraction. There are so many of us out there who know that this could be the beginning of the end for capitalism. Shouldn't we be combining our energies and letting these disagreements coexist. What could possibly be so difficult about that?
-------------------------- Chapter Three North-South/East-West 1. An Oversize "Rotten Apple" In the broader framework just reviewed, the Cold War can be understood, in large measure, as an interlude in the North-South conflict of the Columbian era, unique in scale but similar to other episodes in significant respects. Even in the pre-Columbian era, Eastern and Western Europe were diverging, with a fault line dividing Germany, East and West. "From the middle of the fifteenth century," Robert Brenner writes, "in much of western Europe, the conditions for crisis finally receded, and there was a new period of economic upturn." The "long-established and better-organized" peasant communities of Western Europe, "with established traditions of (often successful) struggle for their rights" and "an impressive network of village institutions for economic regulation and political self-government," were able to "break feudal controls over their mobility and to win full freedom," while in the East, "serfdom rose with a vengeance," opening the way to the "development of underdevelopment." In Poland, for example, national output appears to have reached a mid-16th century peak that was not attained again for 200 years. "The relative absence of village solidarity in the east...appears to have been connected with the entire evolution of the region as a colonial society," under "the leadership of the landlords." The Third World, Leften Stavrianos observes, "made its first appearance in Eastern Europe," which began to provide raw materials for the growing textile and metal industries of England and Holland as far back as the 14th century, and then followed the (now familiar) path towards underdevelopment as trade and investment patterns took their natural course, superimposed on the divergent social patterns. The process soon left "the East as perhaps Europe's first colonial territories, a Third World of the 16th century providing raw materials for the industrialists back west, a testing ground for bankers and financiers to practice what they would later perfect in more distant lands" (John Feffer). Russia itself was so vast and militarily powerful that its subordination to the economy of the West was delayed, but by the 19th century it was well on the way towards the fate of the South, with deep and widespread impoverishment and foreign control of key sectors of the economy. A late 19th century Czech traveller to Russia described the fading of Europe as one travels East, narrowing finally down to the railway and a few hotels: "The aristocratic landowner would furnish his country house in the European way; similarly, the continuously multiplying factories in the countryside are European oases. All technical and practical equipment is European: railways, factories, and banks...; the army, the navy and partly the bureaucracy as well." Foreign capital participation in Russian railways reached 93 percent by 1907, capital for development was mostly foreign, largely French, and debt was rising rapidly, as Russia settled into the typical Third World pattern. By 1914, Russia was "becoming a semi-colonial possession of European capital" (Teodor Shanin). "Many Russians, whatever their political beliefs, resented the semi-colonial status accorded to their country in the West," Z.A.B. Zeman writes: "The Bolshevik revolution was, in a critical sense, the reaction of a developing, essentially agrarian society against the West: against its political self-absorption, economic selfishness and military wastefulness. The present North-South divide between the rich and the poor countries, and the tensions it has created in the twentieth century, had its European, East-West antecedents." Beyond Russia itself, "contrasts between the East and the West of Europe...became sharper than they had ever been" in the 19th and early 20th centuries, he adds, remaining so for much of Eastern Europe through the interwar period. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN1" 1 The Bolshevik takeover in October 1917, which quickly aborted incipient socialist tendencies and destroyed any semblance of working-class or other popular organization, extricated the USSR from the Western-dominated periphery, setting off the inevitable reaction, beginning with immediate military intervention by Britain, France, Japan, and the US. These were, from the outset, basic elements of the Cold War. The logic was not fundamentally different from the case of Grenada or Guatemala, though the scale of the problem surely was. Bolshevik Russia was "radical nationalist." It was "Communist" in the technical sense, unwilling "to complement the industrial economies of the West"; in contrast, it was not in the least "Communist" or "socialist" in the literal sense of these terms, socialist elements of the pre-revolutionary period having been quickly demolished. Furthermore, though no conceivable military threat, the Bolshevik example had undeniable appeal elsewhere in the Third World. Its "very existence...constituted a nightmare" to US policymakers, Melvyn Leffler observes: "Here was a totalitarian country with a revolutionary ideology that had great appeal to Third World peoples bent on throwing off Western rule and making rapid economic progress." US and British officials feared that the appeal extended to the core industrial countries, as discussed earlier. The Soviet Union was, in short, a gigantic "rotten apple." Adopting the basic logic and rhetoric of the North-South conflict, one may therefore justify the Western invasion after the revolution as a defensive action "in response to a profound and potentially far-reaching intervention by the new Soviet government in the internal affairs, not just of the West, but of virtually every country in the world," namely, "the Revolution's the very survival of the capitalist order." "The security of the United States" was "in danger" already in 1917, not just in 1950, and intervention was therefore entirely warranted in defense against the change of the social order in Russia and the announcement of revolutionary intentions (diplomatic historian John Lewis Gaddis; my emphasis). HYPERLINK "" \l "FN2" 2 The "rapid economic growth" aroused particular attention in the South -- and corresponding concerns among Western policymakers. In his 1952 study of late development, Alexander Gerschenkron describes the "approximate sixfold increase in the volume of industrial output" as "the greatest and the longest [spurt of industrialization] in the history of the country's industrial development," though this "great industrial transformation engineered by the Soviet government" had "a remote, if any" relation to "Marxian ideology, or any socialist ideology for that matter"; and was, of course, carried out at extraordinary human cost. In his studies 10 years later of long-term trends in economic development, Simon Kuznets listed Russia among the countries with the highest rate of growth of per capita product, along with Japan and Sweden, with the US -- having started from a far higher peak -- in the middle range over a century, slightly above England. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN3" 3 The ultranationalist threat was greatly enhanced after Russia's leading role in defeating Hitler left it in control of Eastern and parts of Central Europe, separating these regions too from the domains of Western control. The rotten apple was so huge -- and after World War II, so militarily powerful as well -- and the virus it was spreading so dangerous, that this particular facet of the North-South conflict took on a life of its own from the outset. Long before Lenin and Trotsky took power, the threat of "Communism" and "anarchism" had regularly been invoked by the business-government-press complex to justify the violent suppression of attempts by working people to organize and to gain elementary rights. The Wilson Administration was able to extend these techniques, exploiting the Bolshevik takeover as an opportunity to crush the labor movement and independent thought, with the backing of the press and business community; the pattern has been standard since. The October revolution also provided the framework for Third World intervention, which became "defense against Communist aggression," whatever the facts might be. Avid US support for Mussolini from his 1922 March on Rome, later support for Hitler, was based on the doctrine that Fascism and Nazism were understandable, if sometimes extreme, reactions to the far more deadly Bolshevik threat -- a threat that was internal, of course; no one thought the Red Army was on the march. Similarly, the US had to invade Nicaragua to protect it from Bolshevik Mexico, and 50 years later, to attack Nicaragua to protect Mexico from Nicaraguan Bolshevism. The supple character of ideology is a wonder to behold. Facts are commonly reshaped to establish that some intended target of attack is an outpost of the Kremlin (later, Peiping). On deciding in 1950 to support France's effort to quell the threat of independent nationalism in Vietnam, Washington assigned to the intelligence services the task of demonstrating that Ho Chi Minh was a puppet of Moscow or Peiping (either would do). Despite diligent efforts, evidence of "Kremlin-directed conspiracy" could be found "in virtually all countries except Vietnam," which appeared to be "an anomaly." Nor could links with China be detected. The natural conclusion was that Moscow considers the Viet Minh "sufficiently loyal to be trusted to determine their day-to-day policy without supervision." Lack of contact therefore proves the enormity of the designs of the Evil Empire. There are numerous other examples. A variant is illustrated by the case of Guatemala. As the US prepared to overthrow its government, an Embassy officer advised that a planned OAS resolution to bar arms and Communist agents would "enable us to stop ships including our own to such an extent that it will disrupt Guatemala's economy," thus leading to a pro-US coup or increased Communist influence, which would in turn "justify...the U.S. to take strong measures," unilaterally if necessary. In accord with such reasoning, a routine foreign policy procedure is to use embargo, terror, and the threat of greater violence to compel the target to turn to the Russians for support, thus revealing itself to be a tentacle of the Soviet conspiracy, reaching out to strangle us. The technique was used against Guatemala and Nicaragua with extreme clumsiness, but great success in a highly conformist intellectual culture. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN4" 4 2. "Logical Illogicality" As Russia absorbed the major blows of Nazi force, Stalin became an ally, the admired "Uncle Joe"; but with ambivalence. Roosevelt's wartime strategy, he confided to his son in private, was for the US to be the "reserves," waiting for the Russians to exhaust themselves in the combat against the Nazis, after which the Americans would move in for the kill. One of the preeminent Roosevelt scholars, Warren Kimball, concludes that "aid to the Soviet Union became a presidential priority" on the assumption that Red Army victories would allow the President to keep US soldiers out of a land war in Europe. Truman went much further. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, he commented that "If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and that way let them kill as many as possible." By 1943, the US began to reinstate Fascist collaborators and sympathizers in Italy, a pattern that extended through the world as territories were liberated, reinstating the tolerance for fascism as a barrier to radical social change. Recall that Soviet aggression was not an issue prewar, nor anticipated postwar. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN5" 5 The problem of the enormous rotten apple led to some odd contortions in policymaking. In an important study of July 1945, transmitted by Secretary of War Stimson to the Secretary of State, military planners tried to put a satisfactory gloss on the US intention to take control of the world and surround Russia with military force, while denying the adversary any rights beyond its borders. "To argue that it is necessary to preserve a unilateral military control by the U.S. or Britain over Panama or Gibraltar and yet deny a similar control to Russia at the Dardanelles may seem open to the criticism of being illogical," they worried, particularly since the Dardanelles provided Russia with its only warm water access and was, in fact, to be kept firmly under unilateral US-British control. But the criticism is only superficially plausible, the planners concluded: the US design is "a logical illogicality." By no "stretch of the imagination" could the US and Britain be thought to have "expansionist or aggressive ambition." But Russia has not as yet proven that she is entirely without expansionist ambitions... She is inextricably, almost mystically, related to the ideology of Communism which superficially at least can be associated with a rising tide all over the world wherein the common man aspires to higher and wider horizons. Russia must be sorely tempted to combine her strength with her ideology to expand her influence over the earth. Her actions in the past few years give us no assured bases for supposing she has not flirted with the thought. In short, the burden is upon the Russians to prove that they have no intention of associating with the rascal multitude who "aspire to higher and wider horizons," with the "poor who have always wanted to plunder the rich" (Dulles). Until they do so convincingly, it is only logical for responsible men who do not consort with criminal elements bent on plunder, and flirt with no such subversive thoughts as higher aspirations, to establish their unilateral control over the world. Russia must demonstrate that it is not a potential threat to "the very survival of the capitalist order" (Gaddis). Once it has clearly accepted the principle that Churchill's rich men must have their way everywhere, it may be allowed to enter the servants' quarters. The notion of "logical illogicality" is another useful tool in the ideological kit, which merits wider use. The severity of the danger had been underscored a month earlier by William Donovan, director of the OSS (the precursor of the CIA). In a Europe "racked by war and suffering widespread misery," he warned, the Soviets have "a strong drawing card in the proletarian philosophy of Communism." The US and its allies have "no political or social philosophy equally dynamic or alluring." As noted, the same problem was deplored by Eisenhower and Dulles ten years later, and regularly by the US in Indochina. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN6" 6 The reasoning outlined in 1945 prevailed throughout the Cold War period, and follows naturally from the general logic of the North-South conflict. The same reasoning has often been applied at home, for example, after World War I, when "there could be no nice distinctions drawn between the theoretical ideals of the radicals and their actual violations of our national laws" and "no time to waste on hairsplitting over infringement of liberty" (Attorney-General Palmer and the Washington Post, during Wilson's Red Scare). The same doctrine was invoked to justify the bombing of Libyan cities in 1986 in "self-defense against future attack," as the government announced to much acclaim among devoted advocates of international law. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN7" 7 "Clear and present dangers" cannot be tolerated, however clouded the clarity and remote the present. The logic is simple: the rich men rule by right the world they own, and cannot be expected to tolerate potential criminal action that might interfere with "stability." The threat has to be cut off at the pass. And if it takes form, we are entitled to do what we must to set things right. It was not Stalin's crimes that troubled Western leaders. Truman noted in his diary, "I can deal with Stalin," who is "honest -- but smart as hell." Others agreed, among them Eisenhower, Leahy, Harriman, and Byrnes. What went on in Russia was not his concern, Truman declared. Stalin's death would be a "real catastrophe," he felt. But cooperation was contingent on the US getting its way 85 percent of the time, Truman made clear. Melvyn Leffler -- who has examined the record in close detail and has much respect for the achievements and foresight of the early postwar leadership -- remarks that "Truman liked" Stalin. He comments on the lack of any "sense of real compassion and/or moral fervor" in the documentary record. "These men were concerned primarily with power and self-interest, not with real people facing real problems in the world that had just gone through fifteen years of economic strife, Stalinist terror, and Nazi genocide." HYPERLINK "" \l "FN8" 8 The animating concern was not Stalin's awesome crimes, but the apparent successes in development with their broad appeal, and the possibility that the Russians might be "flirting with the thought" of lending support to "aspirations of the common man" in the West, and subjugated and oppressed people everywhere. The failure of East Europe to resume its traditional role as a supplier of food and raw materials to the West compounded these concerns. The problem is not crimes, but insubordination, a fact illustrated by a host of gangsters from Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin to Saddam Hussein. Though US planners did not expect a Soviet attack on the West, they were concerned about Soviet military power, for two fundamental reasons. First, they feared that the USSR might respond to the US takeover of the world, not recognizing the "logic" in our "illogicality." Particularly ominous from the Soviet point of view was the reconstruction and rearmament of Germany and Japan, two powerful traditional enemies, and their incorporation within the US system of power, which was intent on exterminating the Soviet virus.  That these developments posed a major threat to Soviet security was well-understood by US planners, who therefore feared a possible reaction. Second, Soviet power served to deter US violence, impeding US actions to ensure that the "periphery" fulfills its service function. What is more, for its own cynical reasons the Kremlin often lent support to targets of US attack and subversion, and sought to gain advantage where it could. The very existence of Soviet power provided a certain space for maneuver in the South. As a counterweight to US power, it opened the way toward nonalignment, which, US planners feared, would deprive the West of control over the domains required to maintain traditional privilege and power. Exploiting these openings, Third World leaders sought to carve out an independent role in world affairs. By the 1960s, the UN, previously a docile instrument and hence much admired, fell under "the tyranny of the majority." The growing influence of undeserving elements set off intensive US efforts to destroy the errant organization, which continue under a different guise with the UN, at last, safely back under control.  HYPERLINK "" \l "FN9" 9 In short, the USSR was not only guilty of ultranationalism and undermining "stability" through the rotten apple effect. It was committing yet another crime: interfering with US designs and helping the victims resist, an intolerable affront that few in the South could match, though Cuba did as it blocked US-backed South African aggression in Angola. Accordingly, there could be no accommodation, no détente. Even as the Soviet Union collapsed through the 1980s, the test of Gorbachev's "New Thinking" put forth in the liberal press was his willingness to allow US violence to proceed without impediment; failing that criterion, his gestures are meaningless, more Communist aggressiveness. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN10" 10 For such reasons, the US had no serious interest in resolving the Cold War conflict except on terms of Soviet submission. Though we lack Soviet records, and therefore can only speculate on what internal thinking may have been, what is available suggests that Stalin and his successors would have been willing to accept the role of junior managers in the US-dominated world system, running their own dungeon without external interference, and cooperating in joint efforts to maintain global "stability," much as they did in the 1930s, when Communist armies spearheaded the onslaught against the popular social revolution in Spain. The view from Washington was spelled out clearly by Secretary of State Dean Acheson to an executive session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he explained the US negotiating position on Germany for the forthcoming May 1949 meeting of foreign ministers. Acheson's stance was "so uncompromising," Leffler writes, that members of the Committee "were stunned." In response to Arthur Vandenberg's concern that the US position would institutionalize a permanent Cold War, Acheson responded that the goal was not to avoid Cold War but to consolidate Western power, under US control of course. "When Senator Claude Pepper urged Acheson to consider the possibility of treating the Soviets fairly," Acheson "scorned the idea," informing the Committee that "he aimed to integrate west German strength into Western Europe and establish a flourishing Western community that would serve as a magnet to the Kremlin's eastern satellites": the result would be not only to undermine Soviet power but also to restore quasi-colonial relations with the East. When the foreign ministers meeting broke down in a predictable stalemate, "Acheson was elated," Leffler continues. The Soviets "are back on the defensive," Acheson declared: "They are visibly concerned and afraid of the fact that they have lost Germany." HYPERLINK "" \l "FN11" 11 As discussed, apparent Soviet interest in a peaceful European settlement in 1949 was regarded not as an opportunity but as a threat to "national security," overcome by the establishment of NATO. On similar grounds, the US never even considered Stalin's proposals for a unified and demilitarized Germany with free elections in 1952, and did not pursue Khrushchev's call for reciprocal moves after his radical cutbacks in Soviet military forces and armaments in 1961-1963 (well-known to the Kennedy Administration, but dismissed). On the eve of his election, Kennedy had written that Russia was attempting to conquer Europe "by the indirect route of winning the vast outlying raw materials region," the conventional reference to Soviet support for nonalignment and neutralism. Gorbachev's efforts to reduce Cold War confrontation in the mid-1980s (including unilateral force reductions and proposals to ban nuclear weapons tests, abolish the military pacts, and remove naval fleets from the Mediterranean) were ignored. Reduction of tension is of little value, short of the return of the miscreants to their service role. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN12" 12 The Soviet Union reached the peak of its power by the late 1950s, always far behind the West. A 1980 study of the Center for Defense Information (CDI), tracing Russian influence on a country-by-country basis since World War II, concluded reasonably that Soviet power had declined from that peak to the point where by 1979, "the Soviets were influencing only 6 percent of the world's population and 5 percent of the world's GNP, exclusive of the Soviet Union." By the mid-1960s, the Soviet economy was stagnating or even declining; there was an accompanying decline in housing, commerce, and life expectancy, while infant mortality increased by a third from 1970 to 1975. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN13" 13 The Cuban missile crisis of 1962, revealing extreme Soviet vulnerability, led to a huge increase in military spending, levelling off by the late 1970s. The economy was then visibly stagnating and the autocracy unable to control rising dissidence. The command economy had carried out basic industrial development but was unable to proceed to more advanced stages, and also suffered from the global recession that devastated much of the South. By the 1980s, the system collapsed, and the core countries, always far richer and more powerful, "won the Cold War." Much of the Soviet empire will probably return to its traditional Third World status, with the old CP privileged class (the Nomenklatura) taking on the role of the Third World elites linked to international business and financial interests. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN14" 14 A 1990 World Bank report describes the outcome in these terms: "The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China have until recently been among the most prominent examples of relatively successful countries that deliberately turned from the global economy," relying on their "vast size" to make "inward-looking development more feasible than it would be for most countries," but "they eventually decided to shift policies and take a more active part in the global economy." A more accurate rendition would be that their "vast size" made it possible for them to withstand the refusal of the West to allow them to take part in the global economy on terms other than traditional subordination, the "active part in the global economy" dictated to the South by the world rulers. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN15" 15 Throughout the period, great efforts have been undertaken to present the Soviet Union as larger than life, about to overwhelm us. The most important Cold War document, NSC 68 of April 1950, sought to conceal the Soviet weakness that was unmistakably revealed by analysis, so as to convey the required image of the "slave state" pursuing its "implacable purpose" of gaining "absolute authority" over the world, its way barred only by the United States, with its almost unimaginable nobility and perfection. So awesome was the threat that Americans must come to accept "the necessity for just suppression" as a crucial feature of "the democratic way." They must accept "a large measure of sacrifice and discipline," including thought control and a shift of government spending from social programs to "defense and foreign assistance" (in translation: subsidy for advanced industry and export promotion). In a 1948 book, liberal activist Cord Meyer, an influential figure in the CIA, wrote that the right to strike must be "denied" if it is not voluntarily restricted, given "the urgency of [the] defense plans" required. And "citizens of the United States will have to accustom themselves to the ubiquitous presence of the powerful secret police needed for protection against sabotage and espionage." As under Wilson, fascist methods are needed to guard against the threat to "stability." By 1980, no one with eyes open could fail to perceive the "loss of hegemony and relative economic decline" of both superpowers "as the bipolar system of the postwar years has gradually evolved to something more complex," and the corresponding decline of "the Cold War system that proved so useful for both superpowers as a device for controlling their allies and mobilizing domestic support for the ugly and often costly measures required to impose the desired form of order and stability on their respective domains." Nor was there any doubt as to their relative strength and influence, as the CDI and other sane analysts were aware. Nevertheless, the period was marked by rising hysteria about the gargantuan Soviet system, leaping from strength to strength, straddling the globe, challenging the US and even threatening its survival, establishing positions of strength in Cambodia, Nicaragua, Mozambique, and other such crucial centers of strategic power. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN16" 16 These delusionary efforts were accompanied by much fantasy about Soviet military spending. Again, no little ingenuity was required, if only because the Pentagon's own figures in 1982 showed that NATO (including the US, facing no foreign threat) outspent the Warsaw Pact (including the USSR, deploying much of its force on the border with its Chinese enemy) by $250 billion from 1971 to 1980. But these figures, as economist Franklyn Holzman has been demonstrating for some years, are inaccurate, much overstating Soviet strength. When corrected, they reveal a total gap in NATO's favor of about $700 billion for the decade of the 1970s. The Carter military build-up, extended under Reagan, and pressures on the NATO powers to do the same, were "justified in part by the false claims of a steady increase in the Soviet rate of military spending," Raymond Garthoff observes: "The `relentless Soviet buildup' to an important extent reflected an American error in estimating Soviet outlays, rather than being a `disquieting index of Soviet intentions'," as claimed during the late Carter years, and "the American lead in absolute numbers of strategic bombs and warheads actually widened between 1970 and 1980." Holzman makes a strong case that the errors involved "deliberate [CIA] distortion" from the late 1970s, under intense political pressure. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN17" 17 Exaggeration of the enemy's power is a characteristic feature of the North-South conflict; at the outer limits, one hears that Sandinistas were about to march on Texas, even that Grenada was a menace, "strategically located" to threaten US oil supplies, as "the Cubans surely appreciate" (Robert Leiken). The procedure was not invented with the Cold War. "A review of alarmist scenarios from the past might well begin with the threat from Chile posited in the 1880s by advocates of a new navy," John Thompson observes, reviewing the "tradition" of "exaggeration of American vulnerability." Recall as well the "mingled hordes of lawless Indians and negroes" who compelled us to conquer Florida in self-defense, and on back to colonial days. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN18" 18 The purpose is transparent. The cultural managers must have at hand the tools to do their work. And apart from the most cynical, planners must convince themselves of the justice of the actions, often monstrous, that they plan and implement. There are only two pretexts: self-defense and benevolence. It need not be assumed that use of the tools is mere deception or careerism, though sometimes it is. Nothing is easier than to convince oneself of the merits of actions and policies that serve self-interest. Expressions of benevolent intent, in particular, must be regarded with much caution: they can be taken seriously when the policies advocated happen to be harmful to self-interest, a historical category that is vanishingly small. In the Cold War case, there is another factor that may have helped extend the delusional system beyond its normal practitioners: the Russians had their own reasons for depicting themselves as an awesome superpower marching on towards a still grander future. When the world's two major propaganda systems agree on some doctrine, however fanciful, it is not easy to escape its grip. A striking example is the delusion that the Cold War was a struggle between socialism and capitalism. The Soviet Union, from 1917, has been even more remote from socialism than the US and its allies have been from capitalism, but again, both major propaganda systems have had a longstanding interest in claiming otherwise: the West, so as to defame socialism by associating it with Leninist tyranny, and the USSR, so as to gain what prestige it could by associating itself with socialist ideals -- ideals whose force was powerful and wide-ranging. "I believe that socialism is the grandest theory ever presented, and I am sure some day it will rule the world," Andrew Carnegie told the New York Times, and when it does, "we will have attained the millennium." To this day, almost half the population find the phrase "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" to be such an obvious truth that they attribute it to the US Constitution, a text largely unknown but taken to be akin to Holy Writ. The absurd association of Bolshevik tyranny with socialist freedom was doubtless reinforced by the accord between the two major doctrinal systems, though for intellectuals, the appeal of Lenin's authoritarian deviation from the socialist tradition has deeper roots. HYPERLINK "" \l "FN19" 19 By the early 1980s it was becoming impossible to sustain the illusion of Soviet power, and a few years later, it was laid to rest. 3. Return to Normalcy If early modern Eastern Europe was "a testing ground for bankers and financiers to practice what they would later perfect in more distant lands" (Feffer), then by the 1980s the shoe was on the other foot: it was to be a "testing ground" for the doctrines of laissez-faire economic development that had been avoided by every successful developed country, and applied under Western tutelage in the South with destructive effects. A symbolic illustration of the reversal is the role of Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs, who "in the 1980s had devastated the Bolivian economy in the name of monetary stability," Feffer accurately observes, and then moved on to Poland to offer the harsh medicine conventionally prescribed for the service areas. Following the rules, Poland has seen "the creation of many profitable private businesses," the knowledgeable analyst Abraham Brumberg observes, along with "a drop of nearly 40 percent in production, enormous hardships and social turmoil," and "the collapse of two governments." In 1991, gross domestic product (GDP) declined 8-10 percent with an 8 percent fall in investment and a near doubling of unemployment, reaching 11 percent of the workforce in early 1992, after an official GDP decline of 20 percent in two years. A 1992 World Bank report on the Polish economy, discussed by Anthony Robinson in the Financial Times, concluded that "The fiscal situation has worsened to the point where hyperinflation is an immediate danger. Unemployment has reached a level that cannot be tolerated for long. Investment in infrastructure and human resource development has shrunk to levels that, if maintained, will undermine the prospects for sustained growth." It warned that "None of the long-term supply side reforms" that the Bank advocates "stands any chance of success if Poland slides back into hyperinflation, or if its economy continues to decline as dramatically as it has in the last two years." "Private savings were virtually eliminated by hyperinflation and the 1990 economic stabilisation programme," Robinson adds, while problems were exacerbated by capital flight of several tens of millions of dollars a month. While the decline will "bottom out," prospects appear dim for much of the population. Russia has been going the same way. "On some estimates," Michael Haynes observes, "capital flight from the USSR was somewhere between $14-19 billion in 1991," some of it short-term, some for longer-term structural reasons. Production declined in 1991. Economic and finance minister Yegor Gaidar warned of a further drop of 20 percent in early 1992, with the "worst period" still ahead. Light industrial production fell by 15-30 percent in the first 19 days of January 1992 while deliveries of meat, cereals, and milk fell by a third or more. From early 1989 through mid-1992, according to IMF and World Bank statistics, industrial output fell by 45 percent and prices rose 40-fold in Poland and real wages were almost halved; figures for the rest of Eastern Europe were not much better. Western ideologists are impressed with what has been achieved, but concerned that economic irrationality might impede further progress. Under the heading "Factory Dinosaurs Imperil Poland's Economic Gain," New York Times correspondent Stephen Engelberg looks at "a worst-case instance of ????????