Jack Straw, Colin Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims
US Intel 'Simply Wrong' on Chemical Attack-General
Australian Intelligence Knew US Was Lying About WMD Programme
How the US & UK Manipulated UN Reports That Led Us Into War
Colin Powell on US WMD Report, "This is Bullshit"
Honestly, a few of those stories above have some shaky sourcing, but most have at least some good evidence that the U.S. claims of WMD were exaggerated at best, or that smart people in high places believed that the claims were unsubstantiated.
Of course to those of us paying attention at the time, this was obvious. I examined every public piece of evidence that allegedly supported the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and did not find any of them to be particularly compelling.
In addition, there was evidence at the time that members of the Bush White House were pressuring American intelligence to "find" evidence that damned Iraq.
Therefore none of the news links I posted above were really "news." Maybe it's "news" that the media is actually starting to look into this possiblity that Bush & crew misled the American people, and the whole world.
Of course, that doesn't matter too much to most Americans, who have readily fallen for the bait and switch. We liberated the Iraqi people, and that's good enough for them.
So as the media slowly uncovers history in bits and pieces, let me write the story that should be headline news, and would save a whole lotta ink.
Bush Invaded Iraq Because He "Damn Well Felt Like It"
Sun June 1 2003 5:30PM
By Jake Sexton
WASHINGTON (LMB)- In a series of candid interviews today, key members of the Bush administration admitted that the decision to invade Iraq had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein's tyranny, weapons of mass destruction, or links to Al Qaeda. "We invaded Iraq," said Bush, "because it seemed like a good idea."
Bush confided that he had been seriously shaken by the events of 9-11. "Nothing like that could be allowed to happen on American shores again," he said, "and when Wolfie [Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz] and Rummy [Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld] told me that Iraq could maybe give the United States another 9-11, but with nuclear weapons... Saddam Hussein's a bad man, and that's just the sorta thing he'd do, I know that from TV. It was then that I knew that the man had to go. Lucky for us, Rummy and his pals already had a plan."
"Man, that guy is a sucker," cackled Donald Rumsfeld. "Me and the fellas had this great idea some years back to get power over there in the Middle East. We go throw out Saddam Hussein and take over Iraq. Now we've got Saudi Arabia shitting bricks, because if we've got control of Iraq's oil, we don't need Saudi Arabia's. Our attack won't just get us the oil, but it will put the fear of God into all the other countries in the region that haven't been as, uh, cooperative with the United States as they had been in the past: Iran, Syria, Jordan, Yemen. And if any of them don't act like team players, we can easily take them out too, just like Iraq."
Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle recounted the difficulty of putting their radical plan into action. "There just was no good reason to invade Iraq-- well, no reason that your average peace-loving hippy American would accept. Man, I hate the public so much!!" He snarled and bared his teeth, and then resumed his tale. "After 9-11, we had a great excuse: terrorism! Bush bought into it right away. We didn't need to explain much to him or present him with any sort of evidence or strategy. He listened to Don [Rumsfeld], listened to me, pretended to listen to [Colin] Powell. Then he gave me and Don a thumbs-up and went back to playing his GameBoy."
Paul Wolfowitz completed the story. "We pushed hard with the 'Saddam helped Al Qaeda' angle, but that never went too far. But a lot of our work was cut out for us, thanks to the media. They'd been helping demonize Saddam Hussein for well over a decade, so the public was ready to believe just about anything we said about him. We thought about going with the 'Saddam eats babies' message, but decided to stick with a simpler 'Saddam's going to kill us all with his evil death weapons' line. On top of that, we tried to throw the words 'terror' or 'terrorist' into every statement that mentioned Iraq or Saddam Hussein. 'Saddam's terrorist regimes', 'terrorist groups and dictators like Saddam Hussein', "Saddam Hussein and his arsenal of terror,"and so on. That was pretty effective."
Effective it was. After 9-11, about 3% of Americans thought that Saddam Hussein was involved in the terror attack. By March of 2003, despite any hard evidence, as many as 44% of Americans were convinced that Iraq was involved in the attack.
So what about the weapons of mass destruction? How did that fit in?
Said Rumsfeld, "Did Iraq have weapons of mass destruction? Probably. Was Saddam Hussein going to use them against the United States? Probably not. Did we care? Hell no."
"Then we listened to that damned Coin Powell. Jeez, we oughtta have him killed," grumbled Vice President Dick Cheney. "The American people were buying our story about the weapons, and he decided we should try to make it legit by going to the UN. That was a fucking disaster. Set the invasion back by 6 months or more. And made us a laughingstock. Well, a laughingstock outside of the U.S., anyway. But there is a bit of a silver lining in that we were able to grossly undermine the UN's credibility."
As weeks turn into months with no sign of the alleged weapons of mass destruction, why aren't the American people finally turning on the men in power who lied their way to war?
It seems that the Bush administration has pulled off an amazing sleight of hand trick. Once the invasion seemed inevitable, the White House shifted much of its rhetoric to the theme of "liberating the Iraqi people." They maintained that message, going so far as to shift the name of the military action from former feel-good or nature-themed names like "Operation Just Cause" or "Operation Desert Storm" to the rather transparent "Operation Iraqi Freedom."
Essentially, the Bush administration has turned a failed card trick into a political victory. The Bush administration promised to guess which card the American people had pulled from the deck. And when Bush guesses the wrong card, instead of saying "no, my card was the three of clubs," the American people have said "the seven of diamonds, that's a very nice card too."
We confronted President Bush about this in our final interview.
"Okay, you caught me. We didn't have any evidence. We invaded Iraq cuz we damn well felt like it. This invasion was in the best interests of the American people--well, the rich ones who are my friends anyway. Don't you understand? America is not safe unless other countries fear us, us and our weapons. And they're not going to fear us unless we do a little invading now and then. In addition, American military intervention is key to supporting America's kill-dependent economy."
"So we invaded Iraq, big deal?" concluded the president. "A few Americans died, a few Iraqis died, who cares about them? It was a small price to pay to maintain global order. Imagine what the plantation would be like if all the slaves and fieldhands went around doing what they wanted instead of what the master wanted them to do. Chaos, anarchy. We can't have that."
When I was an undergraduate in college, I enrolled in a class called "World Literature." I had assumed it would be a potpourri, with notable works from authors from around the globe. However it turned out that every year, the class was about the literature of a specific region. That year it was the literature of Africa. I decided to stick with it.
It didn't take me long to realize that I didn't know a goddam thing about Africa. Well, I knew about the pyramids, Momar Qaddafi, the Ethiopian famine, and apartheid, but that was it. One of the only six populated continents on planet Earth, and I was completely ignorant about it. To make matters more uncomfortable, the professor was from Africa, a dissident poet who'd had to flee the country to avoid arrest or death squad. A man who risked his life for the freedom of the people of a country on a continent I knew nothing about.
All those feelings of embarassed guilt have come back lately, when reading news stories like this one.
In the past five years of civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa, 3 million people have died.
Funny, I didn't read that in the newspaper.
Obviously we can't know everything. No one can be an expert on every conflict, on every nation, on every event. So it's not shameful that we might not have heard anything about this. But the media ignore just about everything about Africa just about 100% of the time. That is shameful. And we should all feel a little foolish for not noticing the absence of news from that big-ass continent.
Sadly, I see it as a feedback loop. Schools don't teach us much about many parts of the world. And we don't learn more about these parts of the world as adults because the media doesn't cover them. The media doesn't cover them because the public isn't interested in them. The public isn't interested in them because it doesn't know anything about them. And it doesn't know much about them because schools don't teach us much about many parts of the world.
Only three ways out of this, really.
1) Pressure schools to teach more about the rest of the world
2) Pressure the media to cover stories about the rest of the world
3) Teach yourself about the rest of the world
Hey fellow bloggers and writers, let's try to take up some of the mass media's slack. Let's teach ourselves, and try to pass the info on to our readers.
What a Tangled Web We Weave- blogger Billmon traces the White House rhetorical trajectory from "we're sure Iraq has WMDs" to "we're sure will find Iraq's WMDs" to "maybe Iraq no longer has any WMDs." All quotes dated and sourced.
Post-War Iraq Quiz- Stephen Shalom of Z Magazine presents a list of questions about the state of Iraq. If you're ever unsure of the correct multiple choice answer, think to yourself "which answer is most depressing" and you'll get an A.
"A report by the CIA and Defence Intelligence Agency yesterday concluded that two trucks found in northern Iraq with laboratory equipment represented the 'strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare programme'"
So... if no evidence is their strongest evidence... either they've got nothing, or their making bold new steps in rhetoric.
The fact that there is no evidence that these trucks were used for a biological warfare program is the strong proof that the U.S. has that Iraq had a biological warfare program. The fact that I don't have a million dollars is proof that I'm a millionaire, and the fact that I'm not the president is proof that I'm the president.
Some of you may have asked yourselves at some point, ďI wonder what Jake does for a living that gives him the time to read so much, and write so frequently, and look so sexy.Ē The time has come to answer these questions.
Until fairly recently, I was the political advisor for Rage Against the Machine (no, really *). Their singer left back in 2000, but I continued working with the remaining fellows on political issues until they formed their new band, Audioslave. After that, I was sort of in flux, being more of a Political Consultant for Rock Bands, mainly for a few things for Rageís guitarist, and oddball metal band System of a Down. Then the guitarist of Rage/Audioslave and the singer for System of a Down decided we should all collaborate and form a political organization that would make use of their media access and rock star fortunes, and my knowledge and my ability to stare at a computer screen for 45 hours a day without going blind.
So my job has now shifted from Political Consultant to Director of a Non-Profit Organization (well, technically of two non-profit organizations) called Axis of Justice which the three of us run (well, they supply ideas, fame and money, I do the rest). Which is a lot like my old job, except I also have to deal with paperwork and fundraising. AOJ is basically anything that we three want it to be to achieve our political goals. Iím a quasi-anarchist encouraging people to think and act and remake the world, Tom Morelloís an IWW-style socialist encouraging people to unionize and kick their bossesí asses, and Serj is some kind of cross between a Buddhist and Bob Marley encouraging people to unite in peace and harmony. Whatís the result? I find out day by day.
Yes, my job kicks much ass. I often say that Iím the luckiest non-rich man in America. The job combines my love of music and obsession with politics. I donít have to commute anywhere. My work has meaning and helps people, unlike so many other jobs Iíve had. It occasionally has fringe benefits like free tickets to concerts and such. And now I get the bonus of a free cross-country trip.
Unless tragedy strikes (which I honestly canít rule out these days), I will be traveling with the revived Lollapalooza tour this summer, to run an Axis of Justice tent dedicated to activism. Yes, your geeky, angry, overworked narrator will be traveling the U.S. of A. with millionaire rock stars in effort to incite concert-goers to overthrow the government and such. Weíre working with a lot of excellent groups: Food Not Bombs, Anti-Racist Action, Independent Media Centers, RAINN, a bunch of local independent political bookstores, a bunch of local peace groups, and more. Itís a good feeling to find people who are doing good work to try to make their communities a better place and then to say ďhey, what can I do to help you out?Ē
So if you go to the Lollapalooza tour this year (which, given the line-up, I really canít recommend), find the tent and come say hello. Look for the guy with the bright red hair (Iím thinking of dying my hair Ronald McDonald red for the tour, to make myself more easily identifiable to the hundreds of strangers Iíll be working with). Failing that, ask for ďJake.Ē Or ďCaptain Smirky.Ē
Also, feel free to recommend local activist groups in or near any of the stops on the tour.
Since I will be physically on the go for weeks and weeks, my radio show will be on hiatus from early July through late August. In addition, this website will probably be quite different during that period as well. Since I wonít have the time to be reading and poring over the dayís news, yet will be experiencing the fairly unusual adventure of touring with rock bands and meeting activists across the country, this site will temporarily be Jakeís Rockín Tour & Politics Diary or something. Itís bound to be interesting, but in a very different way than the usual site.
So there you have it, a slice of Jakeís weirdo life. You canít have it, itís all mine.
* Actually, one factual error in that linked article. I was a Communications student, not a Sociology student.
It's an irritating story, really. The editor of the OC Weekly called me up to try to get RATM's endorsement for an event they were doing. I figured he was calling in that capacity, that we were conversing as two people working together to try to get an innocent kid out of jail, not as a reporter and an interviewee. Apparently I was wrong. I didn't find out till months later, and I was pretty pissed off. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why you always let reporters know that you're speaking to them "off the record," even when (or maybe especially when) you think that should be obvious to them.
Anyhow, the error came when he asked, "what are you studying, sociology?" and I said "yeah," cuz I didn't think it mattered and it was easier than having to explain what the field of "communications" was for the thousandth time. So let's just say that I have an honorary degree in sociology from Shoddy Journalism University.
Dead Kennedys- Chemical Warfare (live)
Fear- Let's Have a War
Sleater- Kinney- Youth Decay
Zack de la Rocha & DJ Shadow- March of Death
The Gossip- On the Prowl
The Evolution Control Committee- By the Time I Get to Arizona
386dx- Anarchy in the UK
Jefferson Airplane- White Rabbit
The Vandals- Anarchy Burger
Flogging Molly- A Song for the 12 Year Old Girl in All of Us
Making Contact- Oil Slick
DJ Qbert & D-Styles- Razorblade Alcohol Slide
Los Creepers- Entra El Diablo
Geinoh Yamashirogumi- Kaneda
The Von Bondies- Going Down
The Roots- Anti-Circle
Blackalicious- Alphabet Aerobics
Eric B & Rakim- Let the Rhythm Hit Em
LL Cool J- Going Back to Cali
Juan Esquivel- Mucha Muchacha
Rahzel- Iron Man
Iraq has been "liberated" for only a number of weeks now, and they already have their own Independent Media Center.
Al MuJaha ("The Iraqi Witness") will also be a newspaper (sorry, that link will require you to watch an ad), and is brought to you by a donation by the American peace/anti-sanctions group Voices in the Wilderness. Which makes my cynical self wonder if the financial source will skew the reporting. I hope not.
Little known fact: the U.S. government gave $2.5 billion to the airline industry to help them out during the Iraq war's decreased travel and higher fuel prices.
But, according to this fellow, the airline industry only lost $2 billion in decreased trabel and fuel prices.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, the airline industry made half a billion dollars to do nothing but let the military bomb some foreign country. Nice work if you can get it.
It'll never cease to amaze me how the same companies that scream "FREE MARKET!" at the top of their lungs 95% of the time will become whiny begging bitches the moment they think they can get a government handout. It's never about ideology, only about winning.
Top headline on Yahoo News:
This article claims that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has agreed to the US- proposed "road map to peace" between Israel and Palestine.
Well techincally, Sharon's office said that "Israel is prepared to accept the steps prescribed in the road map." There's a lot of wiggle room there, I can easily imagine a new statement that says "we accept the steps, but not in that order."
Then there's this article here all about how the Israeli government has hired a bunch of American PR agents to undermine the U.S. plan. I recommend reading that one, as it lays out quite explicitly recommendations for how Israeli spokesmen could manipulate and persuade the American public to side with Israel on this issue. Makes the first article look a little puzzling.
And finally, this article:
Apparently Sharon has accepted the "broad outlines" of the road map, and the "United States recognizes Israel's concerns and will seek to address them." In other words, Sharon has said that he'd like peace, but doesn't accept the U.S. plan to get there.
It looks to me like no progress has been made at all.
Indonesia will intern civilians in war against Aceh rebels- the Indonesian government is saying that it will put up to 200,000 innocent citizens into internment camps as part of its war on the Free Aceh Movement in the Aceh province. Sounds pretty fucked up to me.
Surveys pointing to high civilian death toll in Iraq- sigh. The gathering of evidence is still a work in progress, but researchers are claiming that between 5000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the latest war.
State monitored war protesters- the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (brought to you by the Department of Justice) has been spying on/gathering information on the anti-war movement, and apparently using tiny tidbits and distortions of this info to scare police into cracking down on them. CATIC gave warning to the Oakland Police Department that activists might try to use violent behavior to shut down the port. Police responded by shooting wooden bullets at the protesters. To my knowledge, there was never a call to shut down the port, or to use violence.
Lots of problems here. The first is that a government agency is spying on people because of their political ideology. The second is that this agency might be using its information (or alleged information) to infringe on the civil rights of these people. Third (and fairly trivially), the agency is not doing its job. I want to be safe from terrorism. Every moment and tax dollar this agency is spending on peace activists is a moment and dollar they are not spending on catching members of Al Qaeda and any new militant groups that might arise.
But most frightening was this quote from CATIC spokesman Mike Van Winkle:
"You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that's being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that (protest). You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act."
Israel/Palestine: Why the Wall isn't about peace- good one to visit just for the visuals. A picture of what the border of Palestine will look like if Israel keeps building its "Separation Wall."
CALLS FOR AUDIT HIT 'IDOL'- probably today's stupidest "news" story. Professional rumormonger Matt Drudge claims that an unnamed "top executive" form a TV network is calling for an audit in the votes for the "American Idol" TV show. Who cares? At best, this is a smear by said TV exec (who works for a "rival network" to Idol's Fox), at worst the man's an idiot with no sense of priorities.
Media Monopoly vs. Democracy- an issue I really should have been talking up more here on the site. The FCC will vote June 2 on new rules of media ownership, likely increasing the amount of marketshare one company can have from 35% of the nation to 45% of the nation, and altogether removing limits on owning a broadcast station and a newspaper in the same town. Not quite the terror it's being described as in the lefty press (they aren't looking at the specific plan, simply describing the removal of all regulations on media ownership. Which isn't too far off, as it seems to be FCC chair Michael Powell's ultimate goal), but it's still not good. I think we all know how a handful of massive conglomerates control most of the nation's media outlets, but do we want to shrink that number any further? At present, it looks like the vote will go 3-2 in favor of the deregulation. The only hope of stopping it seems to be to lobby Congress to get involved. And you can easily send such a message to your Congresspeople by clicking here.
Well Connected- related to the article above, here is an easily searchable database of who owns every local radio station, TV station, cable company and telephone company in America.
"People who follow authority are dangerous motherfuckers. More crimes are committed in the name of obedience than disobedience. It's always the people who do what they're told who end up carrying out genocides and gas attacks. So just to be on the safe side I've stopped doing what I'm told, ever. That way you can always be sure."
Damn funny skit in which the White House press corps quiz Ari Fleischer about his own resignation.
Here is a longer version of the article I linked to earlier about the "Terrorist Information Awareness" system (the renamed and possibly revamped "Total Information Awareness" system):
Sorry, when I see stuff that's factually wrong, sometimes I feel the need to write about it even if it's not the most important topic.
I was very curious after seeing the headline to this AP story on CNN.com. Turns out it's not very true.
Napster was the popular mp3-sharing software that let folks search for and download songs by musicians worldwide at no cost. It was eventually destroyed by lawsuits.
The Napster name is owned by a company called Roxio. Roxio has also just purchased pressplay, a for-profit mp3-sharing service that allows users to search for and download selected songs by selected artists on selected record labels (ones owned by Sony and Universal). Roxio is going to slap its Napster brand name on top of this.
- unlike the old Napster, the new one will not be free
- unlike the old Napster, the new one will be severely limited in the songs a user can download.
In other words, Napster is not back. A new, inferior and costlier mp3-sharing service is hijacking the name of an older free mp3-sharing service. And that's all.
Remember back in Bush's State of the Union Address where he promised to spend $15 billion to fight AIDS in Africa?
Body and Soul tells us how that's pretty much a load of bullshit.
Man, it's been a long time since I've posted one of my miscellaneous links entries...
A Terror Tracking System By Any Other Name- go spread the word about this one right now. Remember that creepy-ass, Big Brother is watching you plan called Total Information Awareness? It is quite possibly back, under a new name: "Terrorist Information Awareness." It's being proposed by the same people, and those people are not saying how TIA 1 differs from TIA 2. Let's keep an eye on this one.
Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free)- Arundhati Roy brings the goods. America as the empire that makes its own facts, the debasement of the concept of "democracy," corporations looting the Earth, etc. Go read.
Keepers of Bush Image Lift Stagecraft to New Heights- Bush the stage-managed. The PR wizards who make Bush the perpetual winner.
Kung Fu Philosophers- maybe "The Matrix" isn't as shallow as I thought it was.
Food: the way we eat now- Guardian investigative report about food. We all eat, we all think about what we eat, but we don't usually think too deeply on the subject. Maybe we should.
In St. Louis this week, a protest and conference were planned to raise awareness to the issue of genetically-engineered foods. It would take place shortly before the World Agricultural Forum meeting in that town (the directors of the WAF seemto be primarily involved in investment, commerce, and the AG industry). The counter-forum called itself Biodevastation 2003.
According to reports from the St. Louis Independent Media Center, the STL police raided the headquarters of two different organizations involved in the protests and arrested 20 people on trumped up charges before any of the protests got underway. The most egregious of these offenses is when the cops arrested one woman for having a "controlled substance," that might actually just be a bottle of Vitamin C. They have also "confiscated 20 bicycles, camping gear, puppets, construction materials, tools, circus equipment and many more items."
The police chief has explained that these raids were necessary because the protesters were planning violent attacks on the WAF meeting. He pointed to the "weapons" found on site. The protesters point out that the "weapons"-- rocks, nails and "circus whips," were used in construction (well, the last presumably as props during the protest). Bottles with rags in them were "molotov cocktails" according to the cops. That last one pisses me off something fierce, because 1) protesters are often making props for their events shortly before the event, and rags and bottles are easy ways to store and manipulate paint and turpentine, and 2) how hard is it for cops to fabricate this "evidence" by finding an open bottle inside a house and stuffing a rag/sock/paper towel into the opening? One alleged witness claims to have seen one of the cops doing just that.
Long story short, it seems that the police in St. Louis tried to scare the city into believing that a bunch of violent protesters were going to raze the city, and the only way to protect the good people of STL was to take down these "eco-terrorists" in advance (probably not mentioning that what they're going to do is kinda illegal). Then they make some arrests and maybe bust some heads. And when there's no violence, they can take credit for Saving the City.
That's a neat trick, actually. Watch.
Unless I type the word "banana" in the next ten seconds, the Earth is going to explode.
The Earth didn't explode! Hooray, I've saved the world! Love me and shower me with gifts!
Sadly, I can't verify much of this story. The folks at Independent Media Centers are usually pretty reliable folks (I can't say the same for the random folks who post the articles that appear in the right-hand column of all their sites), so I tentatively believe their version of the story. In addition, I can think of at least three different occasions when cops have done this pre-emptive activist raid in the past (IMF/WB protest in DC in spring 2000, RNC protests in Philly in Summer 2000, G8 protests in Genoa, Italy in summer 2001), so I know that it does indeed happen.
These are the sort of things that really try your patience with Democratic or liberal plans for saving the world. Law enforcement is breaking the law. People's dissent is being criminalized. Personal property is entered. Personal possesions are taken. Free speech is being suspended. You only have the rights that people with power decide not to take away. And they're going to get away with it.
Knowing all that, I'm supposed to believe that the way to positive social change is voting for Al Gore and chanting a political slogan at a legally-permitted rally?
If you want to get involved, the Biodev people recommend that you "call the Chief of Police Joe Mokwa, at (314) 444-5624 and demand their immediate release and stop their harassment of the movement against genetic engineering and corporate agribusiness. We understand that the police may hang up as people try to call the above number. Other numbers for police are (314) 444-5555 and (314) 231-1212."
Well, he'll stay on the job until July, but then his lying ass is heading for the "private sector."
So long, you fucking snake!
Sorry, no LMB radio show tomorrow. I'll try to get back to my regular schedule soon. And then I'll be gone half the summer. Interesting story, remind me to tell you about it sometime.
In Reversal, Plan for Iraq Self-Rule Has Been Put Off- "In an abrupt reversal, the United States and Britain have indefinitely put off their plan to allow Iraqi opposition forces to form a national assembly and an interim government by the end of the month. Instead, top American and British diplomats leading reconstruction efforts here told exile leaders in a meeting tonight that allied officials would remain in charge of Iraq for an indefinite period, said Iraqis who attended the meeting."
This is one of those stories that many opinionists like myself could write about with mock outrage and confusion, "but I thought our goal was to bring democracy to the Iraqi people." I'm not in the mood.
All along, I've believed that the invasion of Iraq was part of a new foreign policy strategy to intimidate the nations (and possibly terrorist organizations) in the Middle East, while also securing U.S. economic and energy interests by putting a U.S.-friendly leader in charge of Iraq. It was never about freedom, never about UN mandates, never about threats to American lives.
In this light, it comes as little surprise that the U.S. would put its own officials in charge of Iraq "for an indefinite period." Once the U.S. has built the foundation and structure of the new Iraqi government, selected heads of important institutions, and set several key policies and relationships in stone, the Iraqi people can elect whoever the hell they want as their "leader" (well, so long as the leader is not a radical Muslim); by that point, it'll be too late, the new leader will be bound so tightly by pre-existing rules and agreements that he will have little choice but to serve (elite) American interests.
Therefore this news item makes perfect sense, and does not represent an inconsistency, or backpedaling. Everything is going according to plan. It's just not a very pretty plan.
From our cartoony pals.
Tom the Dancing Bug:
The story of the Texas Democrats fleeing the state legislature to prevent the Republicans from redrawing the Congressional districts is funny. But I'll let Adam Felber give you the scoop.
Totally unrelated, this PBS series looks good.
Okay, raise your hands if this makes you feel safer.
They're talking about flying flocks of robot spy planes to patrol the U.S. border!!
Apparently Tom Ridge wants to turn all of America into one big Orwell-inspired theme park. God bless his crypto-fascist heart!
"Predator drones". You know, those ones that we used to spy on Iraq and assassinate Al Qaeda suspects in Yemen? Those things are going to be cruising the southern parts of San Diego and El Paso, keeping a watchful eye on everything below. Groovy. Nothing spells security like that creepy feeling that you're being watched. I'll sleep easier at night knowing that the Border Patrol has the ability to launch hellfire missile attacks on guys sneaking into the U.S. to pick lettuce for a dollar an hour.
Flying spy robots! What the fuck sci-fi movie has my life wandered into? Next thing I know I'm going to be finding Smuckers Brand Soylent Green on the supermarket shelf and fighting Morlocks in the shower.
It's become an American tradition, the quick techno-fix. Somehow we've been tricked into thinking that if we throw a computer at a problem it'll go away. We can end hunger if we give laptops to the homeless. We can end racism by stapling microchips to Klansmen. Genetically-engineered pomegranates will bring about world peace. My fellow Americans, we are stupid. Sometimes technology can solve a problem. On rarer occasions, technology is the best solution to a problem. But it's not always the answer, and we need to start remembering that.
Now, keeping that in mind, who really thinks that robot fucking spyplanes are the best way of using American tax dollars to protect American citizens from terrorism?
That's what I thought.
LMB would like to apologize for incorrectly using the phrase "war against Iraq" during this latest U.S. military action.
As we have now been informed by the White House's Karl Rove, the correct phrase is "battle of Iraq".
Just as the Civil War was made up of the "battles" of Gettysburg, Bull Run and countless others, the "war on terrorism" will likewise have many "battles", against many countries and peoples who may or may not have anything to do with terrorism.
The "war" will surely last at least up until election day 2004.
LMB is really really sorry for the error.
Flogging Molly- Devil's Dance Floor
The People Who Do That- Special Wartime Fun Show
Dead Kennedys- Terminal Preppie
Nas- Get Down
Zack de la Rocha and DJ Shadow- March of Death
mcclusky- What We've Learned
The Coup- Dig It
Astrid Oto- Apology
Sonic Youth- Youth Against Fascism
Boy Sets Fire- The Tyranny of What Everybody Knows
Against Me!- What We Worked For
Bill Hicks- It Seemed So Plausible
The White Stripes- Ball and Biscuit
Silent Hill- Otherside
Rancid- Not to Regret
Against Me!- Those Anarcho Punks are Mysterious
Heavenly- Dig Your Own Grave
NOFX- Idiot Song of an Asshole
Against Me!- Baby, I'm an Anarchist
Blur- Magic America
Refused- New Noise
"Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
On May 2, 2003, British TV news cameraman James Miller was shot and killed in the Rafah refugee camp, in the Gaza Strip portion of the Occupied Territories.
Israeli soldiers had been shooting in Miller's direction at that time, but the Israeli military claimed that Miller had been "killed in crossfire"-- that he'd been killed by Palestinians, not Israelis.
Now there is persuasive autopsy, video and audio evidence which make it seem near certain that Miller was killed by the Israeli military, and that there might have been no "crossfire" whatsoever.
So Israel has taken a bold new step to deal with the recent outbreak of shootings of foreigners by its own soldiers in the Occupied Territories:
Well, that's not how Israel phrases it, but let's call a spade a spade. If you sign a document that "absolv[es] the army from responsibility if it shoots [you]", then the army is under no legal obligation to not shoot you. Once you sign the document, it is ok for Israeli soldiers to shoot and kill you as soon as you set foot in the West Bank or Gaza.
To enter these zones, you must also declare that you are not a peace activist, you cannot come near Jewish settlements inside the Territories, and cannot enter areas declared "military zones" by the Israeli military.
This new policy has several very obvious goals:
- shift blame for any accidental deaths of foreigners from the military to the victims themselves. You signed the waiver, if you get killed, there's no one to blame but yourself.
- cripple or destroy the International Solidarity Movement. ISM is a group of peace activists who put their bodies on the line to protect Palestinians who might otherwise be attacked or killed by trigger-happy Israeli soldiers. The keystone of the ISM's activity is that the soldiers would be less likely to kill "internationals" than they would be to kill Palestinians, because of the potential international controversy it could cause. This new policy neatly removes this keystone.
- eliminate negative press coverage of Israeli operations in the Occupied Territories by frightening journalists away or by outright banning them from the hot zones. Foreign journalists are not allowed in the "military zones," and can now only enter the rest of the Palestinian areas accepting a much greater threat of physical harm.
That ain't good.
Do I have to point out how ridiculous and immoral all that is? Nah, I think y'all are capable of auto-generating your own outrage.
While on the topic, I should probably remind you about a section of my site here called Reports from Palestine. Last summer, my friend Garrick Ruiz and his friend Tamara Rettino spent months in the Occupied Territories as part of the ISM. They both sent back regular email reports about their experiences. Anyone who feels that Israel is justified in its actions towards the Palestinians should certainly give this a read, because it shows the other side with a deep, personal touch (Garrick's reports are often fueled by disgust and anger, Tamara's more by shock and grief). I can't condone terrorist attacks on Israel, but it seems quite obvious to me (partially made apparent by these two's personal reports) that the Israelis are carrying out a grossly immoral repression against the Palestinians, the vast majority of whom pose no threat and are guilty of no crime.
Everyone go welcome back Salam Pax, the well-known yet mysterious author of the "Where is Raed?" blog.
"Where is Raed?" came to prominance just prior to the Iraq war, because Salam claims to be a resident of Baghdad. Obviously the internet has that fun anonymous quality that made it near impossible to verify his location ( but his/her months of previous posts support the claim of Baghdad residence). And when his blog went updateless for weeks and weeks after the war started, people began to wonder if he had been killed in the attacks.
Seems like he's okay, and has bulk posted 15 entries from March 24 through May 1. Go see what Baghdad's looking like through the eyes of a resident.
A number of right-wing crazies over at the Free Republic have come to a conclusion.
Their evidence for this appears to be that O'Reilly is not sucking Bush's cock as well as he has in the past, and therefore he opposes Bush. And therefore O'Reilly is the enemy. And therefore he must be destroyed.
(Okay, I really can't disagree with that last point)
To the relief of sanity-loving people everywhere, only about half of the Freepers seem to feel this way. As for the other half, they send an uplifting message of hope, that people with massive, massive chromosomal damage can still become somewhat functional members of society.
Sorry folks, no LMB radio show today. Work beckons. Show will return next week.
April 24, 2003
NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw
Tom Brokaw: "...The president took his message right to a powerful Ohio Republican who is not convinced that tax cunts are the answer."
Yes, he really said that.
As one sly commenter on the Bitter Shack of Resentment site said, "Gives a new meaning to the word 'loophole.'"
News anchors are pathetic. Maybe they used to be hard working journalists, now they're just town criers, reading the news off of teleprompters. Any of the 97% of Americans who are literate (and non-mute) could do that. Some computer programs could do that. A really, really smart parrot could probably do it (well okay, it couldn't). It sure as fuck is not a skill who's difficulty justifies the millions of dollars a year these motherfuckers get.
And look at Tom Brokaw! He can't even pronounce shit right!! Every other newscast he's slurring his words like a drunk. "Ow top stuhwee tonide, President Bush suhnd a piss tridy with Vladimi Puddin." Listen to the man speak sometime, it's mind-numbing. How rough could it be to hire a national news anchor that doesn't have a speech impediment?
As you may have heard, the US, UK, EU and Russia (can I call them the RU to make all the names match?) have drawn up a plan to peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
As Adam Felber points out, the plan has a few kinks in it.
My feelings towards George W. Bush usually hold steady at a cold, sullen anger, but today's brass-balled manipulation have fanned it to a clenched-jawed fury. I hate lies, I hate exploitation, and I hate it when people let themselves fall for both the former. But since Bush's heart pumps deceit like others' pump blood, American lives are condemned to gullibility, repressed rage, or outright violence for the duration of his presidency.
The bullshit got an early start here in San Diego, where I've spent most of my days lately (long story, don't ask). Regular TV programming cut off a little after 10am. "Oh, this must be the Bush speech I'd been hearing about," I thought. Not so. The local networks felt that it was of vital importance that they show footage of Bush's plane, Air Force One, landing at a San Diego airport, eight hours before he was scheduled to give his speech. And it wasn't even good footage, just some cameraman on a beach a dozen miles away, aiming his lens at distant, blurry jetliner. A number of people were gathered on this beach, I guess to see the plane land from their best available vantage point (or possibly in hopes that if they stood near the TV cameras long enough, that they might get their picture in the news).
I was pleased when the TV reporter initially chose the wrong person to interview.
"Sir, why are you here today?" she asked, clearly hoping for an effusive display.
"I was out running," he replied, "and I stopped to see why all these people were here."
"So now that you've seen it, what do you think?" she asked, a bit breathlessly.
"Well, it's just a plane being flown by your average airline pilot. No big deal, really."
Thank you good sir.
But of course, the reporter did manage to track someone down to talk about how exciting it was to watch a plane land.
What followed was so much manipulative drivel I can barely stand it.
President Bush was going to give a speech to announce that major combat in Iraq was over. A pretty unnecessary thing to do, as anyone who's turned on the TV or read a newspaper in the past two weeks knows that. Perhaps Bush was giving this speech to boost his popularity? Nah.
But it didn't stop there. Bush decided to give this speech ON AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER. As you are aware, most presidential speeches are given behind desks or lecterns in various buildings around Washington DC, and not on the decks of nuclear-powered waterborne fortresses. But, if he gave his speech there, he would be surrounded by soldiers and weapons and look properly manly and imperial.
But it went two steps further. First, BUSH ARRIVED ON THE CARRIER IN A FIGHTER JET. He could've taken a helicopter or boat to the aircraft carrier, but instead chose to be flown there by a soldier in a combat aircraft. And, as you can see in the picture in the blog entry below, instead of simply being flown there in his usual suit and tie, Bush wore a military flight suit.
Bush got to look as though he was an actual fucking soldier who won the fucking war, even though all he did was sit in his office and say "go kill the bastards!" He got to look like a war hero even though he apparently deserted the National Guard back in the 1970s. What a fucking prick. His arrogance gland is going to run out of arrogance fluid, and he's going to need a replacement, that he'll probably take from the corpse of some veteran who's benefits Bush cut.
And to cap it all off, the perfect ending to a miserable day, was Bush's speech. It pretty much said what you'd expect, praising the brave men and women who risked Iraqi lives so that the Iraqis could live freely under American military occupation, with liberty and justice for oil. Saddam is bad, democracy is good, and America is even better.
But the icing on this cake of shit:
The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We've removed an ally of al Qaeda, and cut off a source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more.
HE'S STILL CLAIMING THAT IRAQ WAS WORKING WITH AL QAEDA!!!!
But now that he's here in sunny California, it seems that Bush is going to go speak to his constituents out here, American military contractors. According to AP, this is part of a re-election strategy to "[bridge] the seemingly disparate themes of the economy and national security." Of course, the message that sends me is that the only thing keeping the national economy afloat is massive government purchases of high tech weaponry that we've been frightened into thinking we need to protect us from the terrorist hordes abroad. But that could just be my formidable understanding of politics and economics talking.
I will go now, because it's late, and I still have to bang my head against a wall several hundred times before going to bed.
Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.
Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.
All brought to you by Jake Sexton, The Most Beloved Man in America ģ.
May 24, 2003
That Was Fast
Iraq has been "liberated" for only a number of weeks now, and they already have their own Independent Media Center.
Al MuJaha ("The Iraqi Witness") will also be a newspaper (sorry, that link will require you to watch an ad), and is brought to you by a donation by the American peace/anti-sanctions group Voices in the Wilderness. Which makes my cynical self wonder if the financial source will skew the reporting. I hope not.More Media News
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Fake "Ha-Ha" News
"Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary."
Obligatory Blog Links
Columnists Of Note
Squiggles of Insight
CreditsDesign and Layout by Mark McLaughlin and Quang Tang
LMB Logo by Quang Tang
Alt "One Hell of a Leader" logo largely stolen from Obey Giant.
All other material by Jake Sexton (unless otherwise cited)