Monday, June 30, 2008

Operation Horse's Head: U.S. Raid Sends Message on Iraq "Agreement"
Chris Floyd

June 29, 2008

As we know from The Godfather -- that seminal work of American political philosophy which serves as the Bible for policy-making in the Bush Administration -- a horse's head in the bed can be highly effective tool in difficult contract negotiations. Last Friday, Bush went his fictional mentors one better in the "negotiations" over an agreement setting out the public terms of a de facto permanent American occupation of the conquered land: he laid the corpse of a kinsman on the doorstep of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

McClatchy Newspapers reports that U.S. Special Forces launched a deadly raid in al-Maliki's home province -- which has supposedly been returned to the full control of the Iraqi government. Without any warning to Iraqi forces, the American unit stormed the rural town of Janaja at dawn on Friday with 60 troops and in the course of the raid killed Ali Abdulhussein Razak al Maliki, one of the prime minister's many relatives in the area, where he was born and where his tribe is based.

No Iraqi authority was notified of this heavily armed raid -- complete with jets and helicopters -- on supposedly "sovereign," supposedly Iraqi-controlled territory. Certainly the prime minister himself knew nothing of the impending attack on his hometown. And once the operation was over, Iraqi military officers -- trained, funded, armed and embedded with U.S. forces -- said that "the Americans had acted on faulty intelligence."

The raid comes at what appears to be a delicate juncture in the on-going talks to establish a "status of forces agreement" for the American military presence in Iraq. Iraqi government officials have publicly balked at some of the most howlingly sinister, moustache-twirling proposals of the Bush Administration: 5o American bases! Complete legal immunity from Iraqi law! Right to launch deadly attacks anytime, anywhere in the country! Right to launch attacks on other nations from Iraq! Total control of Iraqi airspace! and so on. The Bush Administration has made a show of "recalibrating" some of its demands and, in the end, will probably modify a few of them: 30 permanent bases, say, instead of 50, or, as has already been suggested, putting Iraqi guard posts outside the gargantuan U.S. military plantations and pretending they are actually Iraqi bases with a few invited guests inside.

But the openly stated goal of the Bush Faction -- even before they seized power in 2000 -- has always been to reduce Iraq to a client state with a permanent American military presence and a kicked-down "open door" for exploitation by Western corporate interests. This overarching goal of the entire American enterprise in Iraq has been abundantly clear from the very beginning. That's why the occupation has seemed so haphazard and chaotic: because the Bushists literally don't care how the deal gets done -- as long as they get what they want in the end. The details -- nor the human cost -- of installing and maintaining a pliable "government" in Baghdad didn't matter: sectarian war, painting schools, rampant terrorism, passing out candy, mass roundups, civics lessons, the decimation of whole cities, building a soccer field, surges, ceremonies, a million people dead -- who cares? Try anything and everything, as long as you keep your eyes on the prize: a client state and forward bastion in the American empire of military bases -- with the second biggest oil reserves in the world.

In the al-Maliki government, the Bushists have their best shot at nailing down the ultimate prize down at last. So it's going to be hardball in the "negotiations" of the "status of forces agreement" (which even the corporate media recognizes as a transparent sham to avoid a Congressional vote on America's acquisition of a new colony. Although given the track record of the Democratic "opposition," it's hard to see why the Bushists would be too worried about pushing a formal treaty down the collective throat of Congress. Can't you hear Barack Obama now, announcing, in solemn tones, that although he does not agree with every aspect of the Iraq treaty, "it represents the best hope for bringing this tragic conflict to a close, ensuring the future of the Iraqi people and honoring the sacrifices of our fallen soldiers. Therefore I will support this measure.")

As Kurdish legislator Mahmoud Othman noted, the raid was a "big embarrassment" for al-Maliki, "because he was in that area two days before the incident, telling his people that we are the masters in our country and the decisions were ours to make." Clearly, the attack on al-Maliki's hometown and the killing of his kinsman were intended to send a double message. First, that any notion of Iraqi "sovereignty" is and always will be a joke, whatever pious verbiage gets spouted for the rubes back home. And second -- well, it goes something like this: "Hey, Nouri, see Cousin Ali here? You're next, pal, if you don't play ball!"

No doubt there will be a passing "political crisis" in Iraq over this hit job -- as there have been about so many other incidents before, from Haditha to Ishaqi to the Blackwater killing spree -- but it won't matter in the end. The cobbled-together conglomeration of collaborators and corruptocrats in the Baghdad "government" know they cannot survive without direct and massive American military support. The most they can hope for is to kick the negotiations down the road a bit, and see if they can get a slightly better deal from the next administration in Washington. (Obama, being such an "anti-war" candidate and all, would probably settle for, oh, 25 long-term "leases" on military bases for the tens of thousands of troops he intends on keeping in Iraq to carry out "counter-terrorism operations," train Iraqi forces and provide security for "American interests" throughout the land, including the bristling, sprawling "Fortress America" embassy in the heart of Baghdad.)

But Friday's operation was a strong indication that the Bushists might not be willing to let al-Maliki dally too much longer over an agreement. To avert once more to that seminal work: either al-Maliki's brains or his signature will be on that sheet of paper before the final credits roll.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

U.S. And Europe Near Accord On Data Sharing
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The United States and the European Union are nearing completion of an agreement allowing law enforcement and security agencies to obtain private information — like credit card transactions, travel histories and Internet browsing habits — about people on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

The potential agreement, as outlined in an internal report obtained by The New York Times, would represent a diplomatic breakthrough for American counterterrorism officials, who have clashed with the European Union over demands for personal data. Europe generally has more stringent laws restricting how governments and businesses can collect and transfer such information.

Negotiators, who have been meeting since February 2007, have largely agreed on draft language for 12 major issues central to a “binding international agreement,” the report said. The pact would make clear that it is lawful for European governments and companies to transfer personal information to the United States, and vice versa.

But the two sides are still at odds on several other matters, including whether European citizens should be able to sue the United States government over its handling of their personal data, the report said.

The report, which lays out the progress of the talks and lists the completed draft language, was jointly written by the negotiators from the United States Homeland Security, Justice and State Departments, and by their European Union counterparts. The talks grew out of two conflicts over information-sharing after the September 2001 terrorist attacks. The United States government demanded access to customer data held by airlines flying out of Europe and by a consortium, known as Swift, which tracks global bank transfers.

American investigators wanted the data so they could look for suspicious activity. But several European countries objected, citing violations of their privacy laws. Each dispute frayed diplomatic relations and required difficult negotiations to resolve.

American and European Union officials are trying to head off future confrontations “by finding common ground on privacy and by agreeing not to impose conflicting obligations on private companies,” said Stewart A. Baker, the assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, who is involved in the talks. “Globalization means that more and more companies are going to get caught between U.S. and European law,” he said.

Paul M. Schwartz, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said such a blanket agreement could transform international privacy law by eliminating a problem that has led to negotiations of “staggering” complexity between Europe and the United States.

“The reason it’s a big deal is that it is going to lower the whole transaction cost for the U.S. government to get information from Europe,” Mr. Schwartz said. “Most of the negotiations will already be completed. They will just be able to say, ‘Look, we provide adequate protection, so you’re required to turn it over.’ ”

But the prospect that the agreement might lower barriers to sending personal information to the United States government has alarmed some privacy rights advocates in Europe. While some praised the principles laid out in the draft text, they warned that it was difficult to tell whether the agreement would allow broad exceptions to such limits.

For example, the two sides have agreed that information that reveals race, religion, political opinion, health or “sexual life” may not be used by a government “unless domestic law provides appropriate safeguards.” But the accord does not spell out what would be considered an appropriate safeguard, suggesting that each government may decide for itself whether it is complying with the rule.

“I am very worried that once this will be adopted, it will serve as a pretext to freely share our personal data with anyone, so I want it to be very clear about exactly what it means and how it will work,” said Sophia in ’t Veld, a member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands who has been an outspoken advocate of privacy rights.

The Bush administration and the European Commission have not publicized their talks, but they referred to their progress in a little-noticed paragraph deep in a joint statement after a summit meeting between President Bush and European leaders in Slovenia this month.

Issued June 10, the statement declared that “the fight against transnational crime and terrorism requires the ability to share personal data for law enforcement,” and called for the creation of a “binding international agreement” to aid such transfers while also ensuring that citizens’ privacy is “fully” protected.

The negotiators are trying to agree on minimum standards to protect privacy rights, such as limiting access to the information to “authorized individuals with an identified purpose” for looking at it. If a government’s policies are “effective” in meeting all standards, any transfer of personal data to that government would be presumed lawful.

For example, European law sets up independent government agencies to police whether personal data is being used lawfully and to help citizens who are concerned about invasions of their privacy. The United States has no such independent agency. But in a concession, the Europeans have agreed that the American government’s internal oversight system may be good enough to provide accountability for how Europeans’ data is used.

About a half-dozen issues remain unresolved, the report said. One sticking point is what rights European citizens will have if the United States government violates data privacy rules or takes an adverse action against them — like denying them entry into the country or placing them on a no-fly list — based on incorrect personal information.

European law generally allows people who think the government has mishandled their personal information to file a lawsuit to seek damages and to have the data corrected or expunged. American citizens and permanent residents can generally do the same under the Privacy Act of 1974, but that statute does not extend to foreigners.

The Bush administration is trying to persuade the Europeans that other options for correcting problems are satisfactory, including asking an agency to correct any misinformation through administrative procedures. For now, the European Union is holding to the position that its citizens “require the ability to bring suit in U.S. courts specifically under the Privacy Act for an agreement to be reached on redress,” the report said.

But the Bush administration does not want to make such a concession, in part because it would require new legislation. The administration is trying to achieve an agreement that would not require Congressional action, Mr. Baker said.

David Sobel, a senior counsel with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to data-privacy rights, said the administration’s depiction of the process of correcting mishandled data through agency procedures sounds “very rosy,” but the reality is that it is often impossible, even for American citizens, to win such a fight.

Officials said it remains unclear when the agreement can be completed. But there are several pressures encouraging negotiators to sprint to the finish.

Bush administration officials say they would like to resolve the problem before they leave office next January. If the agreement does not require legislative action, Mr. Bush could complete it with a signature.

European officials may have an easier time securing its approval now, before the European Union completes proposed changes. Member nations now ratify such accords, but the changes would hand ratification power to the European Parliament, which has been skeptical of American antiterrorism policies. The report says Europeans intended to wait until 2009 after the planned completion of the reforms to finish it. But the changes are now facing likely delay after Irish voters rejected them in a referendum this month.

In addition, businesses that operate on both sides of the Atlantic are pushing to make sure they are not caught between conflicting legal obligations.

“This will require compromise,” said Peter Fleischer, the global privacy counsel for Google. “It will require people to agree on a framework that balances two conflicting issues: privacy and security. But the need to develop that kind of framework is becoming more important as more data moves onto the Internet and circles across the global architecture.”

Saturday, June 21, 2008

From the December 2002 Idaho Observer:


The Blue Pill People

by Hari Heath

There are none so blind as those who will not look. If you are one of those who will look, take a look around. You are surrounded -- surrounded by millions who will not look. These are the blue pill people. Who are these blue pill people and why won't they look?

“The Matrix” may be only a movie, but it presents some scenarios with much relevance to our current situation. In the movie, Neo meets Morpheus and is offered an opportunity and a choice. Neo can take the red pill and see the truth for himself, or he can take the blue pill and return, comfortably unaware, to the illusion of the Matrix. There he can live out his life undisturbed by the truth. The truth depicted in The Matrix is an extreme version of modern socialism.

In the futuristic scenario of the movie, a massive array of human beings are kept in self-contained pods that resemble artificial wombs. These “row-cropped” human entities are maintained in their pods, from their in vitro conception until they are no longer useful to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) entity. The AI entity needs certain things from these “humans” for its own sustenance, so it continuously breeds new human crops and extracts from them what it needs. In return, the AI entity supplies the humans' needs with several permanent intravenous connections and a neural link. The neural link provides the pod-bound humans with a complete illusion -- the Matrix. In the AI-created illusion the humans have a normal life in a real world. In reality, however, the civilized world was destroyed some time ago and humans have been harvested as crops for the benefit of the Al entity ever since. The Matrix is a complete digital holographic type “world” created by the AI entity to mentally contain its human crops while it extracts what it needs from their pod-bound bodies.

In the movie, when Morpheus is about to offer Neo the choice between either the red pill or the blue pill, he explains:

“You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain -- but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life; that there's something wrong with the world; you don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?”

“The Matrix,” Neo asks?

“Do you want to know what it is? The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us. Even in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes; it is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”

And Neo asks, “What truth?”

“That you are a slave Neo, like everyone else, you were born into bondage; born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch; a prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to experience it for yourself.”

Those few humans who were either born into reality, or have successfully taken the red pill, become the focus of the movie's story -- their attempts to destroy the Matrix and liberate the mass of humanity that lives completely encapsulated in their pods and the illusions fed to them by the powers that be -- powers that will go to any length to maintain the illusion.

Extreme, but not much different than our modern system of corporate government and capitalistic socialism. The governing powers need things from us, not the least of which is our consent. To obtain our consent we are fed all manner of benefits. We are programmed from an early age to believe that such benefits are necessary. To obtain these benefits, a number of conduits are attached to each of us. Adhesion contracts like Social Security, a driver's license; voter registration for a pretended choice of social masters, bank accounts where credit is manufactured for our use and other memberships, registrations, licenses, deeds and permits to insure the conduct of our affairs will be confined within the “matrix” of corporate governance.

We are given our own numbered “pod,” a social net provided by the government. Educated according to mandates of the state, our belief system is further cultured by corporate media.

There are various forms of “welfare” should we succumb to poverty or disease. If we are threatened or in danger we can call 911. Government's job of “securing” us is made easier by the massive database tracking our movements, our finances, the location of our homes and businesses and our tax records. When old age creeps up, we can rely on government to take care of us.

The corporate/government/financial interface combines to create a massive illusion of benefits -- the American dream. For the price of a promise to indebt our future labors, pay our taxes and play within the system, there are seemingly limitless toys, castles, comforts and consumables for those who believe in this Matrix. For half our productivity taken in taxes (the other half in payments) and the deeds and title to whatever we think we own, government and its private affiliates will take care of us.

To live in this Matrix, all we have to surrender is any genuine sense of independence, personal responsibility and our right to live freely and actually own the fruits of our labors.

And, like in the movie, a contingent of agents are deployed to combat any renegade humans who have a will for freedom from the Matrix which surrounds us.

As Morpheus expiained, “The Matrix is a system Neo, and that system is our enemy. When you are inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters, the very minds we are trying to save. Until we do, these people are part of that system and that makes them our enemies. You have to understand that most of these people are not ready to be unplugged and many are so hopelessly dependent on the system, they'll fight to protect it.”

Why will blue pill people fight to protect a Matrix that enslaves them? It's all they know. And all their toys, castles, comforts and consumables will be gone without the Matrix. Their whole illusionary existence will evaporate, leaving them naked and alone.

What won't the blue pill people in our current “real” world look at? They refuse to acknowledge they are they are funding their enslavement to a socialist homeland police state. Last month, a few “red pill” people traveled to D.C. for an eloquent conclusion to Freedom Drive 2002, exposing the fraud of the l6th Amendment, the IRS, and the federal income tax. But the blue pill people remained comfortably in their coma, ever willing to pay a tax they do not owe. They fund Congress and the Nazi/moron president's implementation of America's new Third Reich, so they can feel “secure.”

And, so the blue pill people can finally understand what really happened the morning of September 11, 2001, Henry Kissinger, the angel of death and global tyranny, will investigate the facts and tell us the blue-pill truth. Will Americans really believe the Doctor of genocide?

Hidden away on the 6th floor of the Department of Justice building is the secret FISA Court. U. S. attorneys have been going there for years to get secret search warrants from in-house, rubberstamp judges under the guise of “national security.” This parallel “legal” system can order clandestine searches of citizens' and non-citizens' homes. From the “evidence” gathered, we can be secretly declared “enemy combatants” and held indefinitely at U. S. military bases.

Remember the detainment camps those paranoid conspiracy theorists told you about years ago?

U.S. officials claim they can detain and interrogate enemy combatants until the executive branch declares an end to the war on terrorism. This includes no access to lawyers or family members; investigations, interrogations, trials and punishments can be held without the protections secured by the Constitution. The Nazi/moron president's administration says there is ample precedent for what it is doing. Are we following the “ample precedent” of a man named Hitler?

Meanwile, the Congress has passed the American Gestapo Authorization (Homeland Security) Act which defines a terrorist as:

“The term “terrorism' means any activity that -- involves an act that is dangerous to human life or potentially destructive of critical infrastructure or key resources; and is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State or other subdivision of the United States; and appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.”

As a test for social compliance, 838 blue pillers recently passed blissfully through an unconstitutional random roadblock in Pittsburgh without “seeing” the real “terrorists” in Homeland Security's new America -- the police state (See page 22). Is our present police state “dangerous to human life” and “destructive of critical infrastructure” like the Bill of Rights? Is it “against the laws” (18 USC 241; 242) to deprive a citizen of their right to travel and be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects? Do random roadblocks, by design, “intimidate or coerce a civilian population?” What happens if you don't comply with the roadblock?

The next test for blue pill compliance will be mass inoculations for smallpox. Will the blue pill population literally trample all over each other to get their shots as some officials predict? Has the vaccination “matrix” been so well entrenched in the blue pillers' minds that they will actually let mercury, monkey puss and aborted fetal tissue be injected under their skin based on an unproven theory that such things promote health and prevent disease?

And what greater “matrix” is there, than our current “fiat;' financial system? We “believe” that a piece of paper with the picture of a dead president has the value of the number printed on it and that one dead president is more valuable than another. We don't even consider that the use of this dead president paper is the direct cause of our own enslavement.

Have you ever seen your bank account? It's not there. Only the slight-of-hand practiced by the teller and the accountant behind the scenes makes this illusion look real to the blue pill people.

How deep does the rabbit hole go? Near the end of the movie, the Matrix's agent Smith acclaims the virtues of the Matrix to the captive red pill people's leader Morpheus: “Have you ever stood and stared at it? Marveled at is beauty; its genius? Billions of people, just living out their lives -- oblivious.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Jeepers! Has Everybody Forgotten This Story?

Everybody is talking about the recent Bush conference and his idea that although the intelligence report that has been repressed for a year indicates that Iran halted its nuclear arms program in 2003, Bush insists that this means that Iran is more of a threat than ever.

Yes, I know that he is practicing doublespeak, I know that this is further evidence that nothing that the president says can be believed, I know that his saber rattling is a frightening indication that he wants to start another war, blah blah blah.

I am dumbfounded that nobody is talking about this quote as compared to a story that was buried about a year ago. The quote:

"Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous, and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," Bush told a White House news conference.

Hello!?!? Has everybody forgotten that Bush has already given the secrets of building an atomic bomb not only to Iran, but to every evil empire in the world? I remember when this story first broke. It's lifespan in the news cycle lasted from Friday afternoon to a Saturday morning. Supposedly the story was dropped because it was "unfair" and "too partisan" to run it because of the upcoming election.

A little over a year ago Bush put up a website that contained information that was captured in Iraq. Amongst this treasure trove the administration accidently overlooked part of the information that contained all of the secrets needed to build an atomic bomb. The website was called "Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal", which is of course no longer online. The damage is already done, however. Every intelligence agency in the world is constantly watching the White House website like a hawk. There can be no doubt that the nuclear secrets are now practically in the public domain.

The New York Times called the material a "nuclear primer' because it included about a dozen documents in Arabic that contained "charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs." The fear was that these documents would give Iraq's nuclear secrets to Iran and thus aid the Iranian WMD program. Wikipedia

Bush put this website up without properly having it vetted by the CIA. Right wing bloggers pawed through it for months, trying to prove that the U.S. really did find evidence of WMD in Iraq.

After the story broke, the White House said that the story being printed was further evidence that the New York Times hated America, and that Bush was right all along about WMD's in Iraq. This was not true, however:

Many of the documents seem to make clear that Saddam's regime had given up on seeking a WMD capability by the mid-1990s. As AP reported, "Repeatedly in the transcripts, Saddam and his lieutenants remind each other that Iraq destroyed its chemical and biological weapons in the early 1990s, and shut down those programs and the nuclear-bomb program, which had never produced a weapon." At one 1996 presidential meeting, top weapons program official Amer Mohammed Rashid, describes his conversation with UN weapons inspector Rolf Ekeus: "We don't have anything to hide, so we're giving you all the details." At another meeting Saddam told his deputies, "We cooperated with the resolutions 100 percent and you all know that, and the 5 percent they claim we have not executed could take them 10 years to (verify). Don't think for a minute that we still have WMD. We have nothing."Wikipedia

This exchange actually took place on the November 3 edition of MSNBC News Live. I could not believe I was watching this on TV. It was like a some strange surrealistic nightmare. The president of the United States had just given the plans on how to build an atomic bomb to the whole freakin' world. Now I feel like everybody has forgotten the story.

When the president says, "Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," Shouldn't somebody bring up this story? Loudly?

New York Times: U.S. Web Archive Is Said to Reveal a Nuclear Primer
Physics Forums: White House mistakenly publishes nuclear secrets You're Kidding Me, Right?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Target Chavez

Target Chavez: Framing and demonisation

Evidence that Chavez is planning a world communist revolution and corrupting the minds of the youth in Venezuela.

Not content with their preparations for war against Iran, a war that is worryingly looking like it will involve the use of a nuclear weapon by Israel and the US while blaming the detonation on Iran, it seems that Venezuela and particularly Hugo Chavez are in the cross-hairs of the imperial war machine.

The most recent chapter of the story starts with a Columbian air raid against a camp in Ecuador on March 1st. The camp was the location of a group from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who were negotiating the release of some 700 prisoners. The raid killed FARC's second in command and top negotiator, Raul Reyes, and 23 other people, including 5 Mexican students. The air raid, followed up by a raid by special forces, was an armed incursion into Ecuador's sovereign territory and therefore an act of war against Ecuador (consider how the US would react if such an act were carried out by Iran into Iraq, let alone by Canada into the US) but this has conveniently been forgotten in the excitement that eight perfectly intact pieces of computer hardware were found at the scene of devastation.

Let us now take a moment to consider just how propitious the laws of physics have been over the millenia. You see, way back in 622BC we are told (in the Bible) that the priest Hilkiah miraculously found a previously unknown "scroll of the Torah" in the destroyed Temple of Yahweh. This miraculous scroll was the Book of Deuteronomy, used by Josiah to institute a new centralisation of religion and imposition of a dictatorial religious regime over the people.

Moving forward 2,500 years we come to the events of 911 which are just so chockablock with miraculous and opportune discoveries, and have also been used to impose a dictatorial religious regime over us, the people, one can only assume that Yahweh must be involved in those events and all that has flowed from them. Chief among these were the survival of Mohammed Atta's passport, luggage, Koran, flight manuals etc, followed by all manner of evidence that sought to corroborate the offical version of events. Anne Karpf writing in the Guardian summarised it well when she said, "Whatever the case, to find one training manual might be regarded as a stroke of luck. To find a shelf-full looks like desperation."

We are then treated to the idea that the dead body of Al-Zarqawi, the elusive bogeyman of Al-Qaeda Iraq, Inc, killed in June 2006 by 2 500lb bombs, survived with just serious bruising. Bruising that incidentally looked suspiciously like it had been inflicted with a baseball bat rather than a pair of massive compression bombs. Along with its owner's body, Al-Zarqawi's cell phone survived the blasts and yielded the telephone numbers of those members of the ruling clique in Iraq who happened to be out of favour at that juncture.

This was the same Al-Zarqawi who in February 2005, when pulled over at a US checkpoint, turned tail in his truck, jumped out and fled only to leave his laptop which told the US occupation force all about his hospital appointments and yielded his "My Pictures" folder!

Prior to that discovery, in 2003 Pakistani soldiers captured Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his laptop which contained a veritable "Terrorist's Rough Guide" of the locations at which Osama bin Laden stayed while traveling in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. While in March 2002, the FBI and Pakistani police arrested Abu Zubaida, claimed to be the third-ranking al Qaeda operative, and his laptop from which, a "senior law enforcement source" claimed, they discovered that the vast majority of people he had been communicating with were being monitored under FISA warrants or international spying efforts.

I'm sure you are getting my drift regarding the miracles of laptops whose owners are resisting US imperialism and the remarkably favourable times at which they come into imperial hands. Next time you buy a computer, especially a laptop, be sure to ask for the special terrorist version that can withstand untold physical abuse with no damage or data loss.

Now, let us return to the main story as we rejoin the Columbian special forces at the site of the camp in Ecuador that was until recently the base for negotiations on prisoner exchanges. (Strange how the Columbian authorities seem to always destroy any hope of these exchanges taking place - you'd almost get the impression that they don't want FARC to be seen in a good light). In the midst of the destruction caused by the air raid lies a large briefcase and in that briefcase are to be found 3 laptops, 3 USB drives and 2 external hard drives, plus some pristine papers - all of course intact and in perfect working order. This video on the Interpol website is worth watching - note how neatly stacked and clean the pile of "evidence" is. While a journalist describes the scene:-

The combat fatigues dangled from a branch 100 feet above the jungle floor - a testament to the ferocity of the bombardment that turned this remote, mosquito-ridden corner of the Amazon rainforest in northern Ecuador into an international flashpoint last week.

The same missiles that blasted the uniform high into the jungle canopy gouged deep craters out of the rust-red earth and cut a wide swath through the vegetation.

The Columbians hold on to this hardware for nine days after which they hand it to Interpol. Interpol accepted a very limited brief to, "Examine the user files on the eight seized FARC computers and to determine whether any of the user files had been newly created, modified or deleted on or after 1 March 2008.". Interpol was not asked to verify whether the computer hardware belonged to FARC just whether the data had been changed since March 1st. Interpol reports:-

"All seized FARC computer exhibits were accessed by Colombian authorities between 1 March 2008, when they were seized, and 10 March 2008, when they were handed over to INTERPOL's computer forensic experts.... Access to the data contained in the eight FARC computer exhibits did not conform to internationally recognized principles for handling electronic evidence by law enforcement.... Direct access may complicate validating this evidence for purposes of its introduction in a judicial proceeding, because law enforcement is then required to demonstrate or prove that the direct access did not have a material impact on the purpose for which the evidence is intended."

Yet in a dance of logic that will now be familiar to those who follow international events closely, Interpol then maintains "...that there was no tampering with any data on the computer exhibits following their seizure on 1 March 2008 by Colombian authorities."

So all that the Interpol report tells us is that the "evidence" was not handled according to international practice and that none of the files was newer that March 1st. No comment has been made by Interpol as to the origin of the computer hardware - we have to take the word of the Columbian administration for that. An administration that has been openly seeking war with Venezuela and whose top officials are close friends of the drug cartels and the Bushes.

Interpol's report does state however that, "verification of the eight seized FARC computer exhibits by Interpol does not imply the validation of the accuracy of the user files, the validation of any country's interpretation of the user files or the validation of the source of the user files."

Let me reiterate, Interpol says its role was "exclusively technical" and that its validation does not extend to the source of the files; yet, as the excellent Postcards from the Revolution blog says:-

".. Secretary General Noble [of Interpol] began his press conference on May 15 with a very partialized political discourse in favor of the Colombian government and condemning the FARC as drugtraffickers and terrorists. When asked by a journalist from TELESUR whether he could confirm the source of the evidence, Noble blurted our "I can say with certainty that the computers came from a FARC terrorist camp..." The journalist asked if they belonged to any person in particular, and Noble responded "yes, the now dead Reyes..."

[ ]

So, how did Mr. Noble know the computers belonged to Raul Reyes if Interpol did not analyze their origin?

The reactions in the mainstream media are telling. First off we find those stoking the fires against Venezuela and Chavez:-

Bloomberg - Interpol Says Colombia's FARC Computer Data Authentic

New York Times - "President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela has been caught."

Guardian - "Interpol's stunning confirmation yesterday that incriminating documents came from a computer belonging to a Farc rebel leader with links to President Hugo Chavez"

Miami Herald - "Interpol-verified computer files indicating that Venezuela and Ecuador are actively supporting Colombia's FARC guerrillas"

Chicago Tribune - Hugo Chavez to prison?

Elsewhere we see what at first sight seems to be the moderate voice of reason. The Financial Times saying that:-

But this "verification" does not provide conclusive evidence that Venezuela is providing money, weapons and logistical support to the Farc. None of the communications are from Venezuelan officials. The competing leaders of the Farc, fragmented after years of successful counter-insurgency, have cause to exaggerate proximity to Mr Chávez.

Having said that, the evidence is serious enough to warrant more sustained research. Preferably that investigation should occur through the Organisation of American States, the appropriate regional body. Venezuelan influence makes effective action in this forum unlikely. So much will depend on the quality and credibility of Colombian and US intelligence.

In the meantime, America should not place Venezuela on the list of states sponsoring terrorism, a course of action advocated by Republican hardliners that would lead to the imposition of economic sanctions.

Do you see how the goalposts have been subtly moved? Now we have two options, Chavez in league with drug running murdering terrorists and "let's see more evidence and set up enquiry"? An enquiry that the US and Columbia would surely be able to exert heavy (handed) influence over. When the truth may perhaps be that Chavez is an idealogical supporter of all those fighting US imperialism and the contact between FRAC and the Venezuelan government would seem to be limited to prisoner exchange discussions. It is also not unusual for governments and their intelligence agencies to have contact with organisations like FARC in much the same way that they have contacts with despotic governments like that of Alvaro Uribe of Columbia. How else would prisoner exchanges and ceasefires be arranged?

It is therefore abundantly clear that this whole "FRAC Laptop" scenario is a set up, and not a very good one at that. The same propitious bending of the laws of physics and provision of opportune 'proof' fits the modus operandi of the evil power that stalks our planet. The scenario also fits with the "4th Generation War" being waged by the US against Venezuela.

However, the attack is expanding in the media where there is silence from the western media when Chavez makes legitimate points that criticise the US or Columbia.

On May 16th a Columbian force of 60 was intercepted crossing into Venezuela. Understandably Chavez regards this as somewhat provocative, given the continual war posturing of Columbia and the FARC laptops scam, and he said so. But you'd never know it in the western media where there has been silence on the topic. Even Google doesn't rank any article on the topic on the first 3 pages of a search for the event, despite the reporting of his protest in the Sri Lankan Daily Mail

Consider the above in the context of an interview that Aaron Russo (Freedom to Fascism) gave in which he stated:-

Russo states that [Nicholas] Rockefeller told him,

"Eleven months before 9/11 happened there was going to be an event and out of that event we were going to invade Afghanistan to run pipelines through the Caspian sea, we were going to invade Iraq to take over the oil fields and establish a base in the Middle East, and we'd go after Chavez in Venezuela."

But you can't "go after" a man like Chavez without preparing the ground.

Talking of preparing the ground. Not much seems to have been made of a bizarre piece of new US legislation that is extra-territorial in its intention - Gas Price Relief for Consumers Act of 2008 (H.R. 6074). This truly remarkable piece of US hubris seeks to enable the US to prosecute OPEC for not producing enough oil and thereby causing the fuel price increases across the globe.

As Chavez said on May 20th, "They now want to demonize the OPEC in front of the whole world. They want to turn the world against OPEC,".

Perhaps Chavez is slightly wrong on this count - they want to demonise him, turn the world against him. The US allies in the gulf are not the target of this legislation and nor is Iran as it's clear the US and Israel have other cards to play there. If the US and the media can link Chavez with high energy prices for western consumers and all manner of other illusory fears, such as in this article, then they might have sold his removal to their citizens.

All this at at time when it is becoming increasingly apparent that Chavez is having his plans and ideas undermined at home and when the worsening global economy is no doubt having a domino effect on Venezuela - see here and here.

Makes you wonder doesn't it, especially when we then hear of a US Navy S-3 Spy plane, making a 'navigational error' and straying into Venezuelan airspace. As Chavez himself said, "They are spying, even testing our capacity to react,....We are not going to allow the violation of our sovereignty."

In the context of border incursions by Columbia, Interpol's twists and turns over the "FARC computers", the increasing "terrorist" rhetoric being directed at Chavez, the anti-OPEC law in the US, the cancellation by London of it's fuel deal, the increasing economic pressures; just what are the chances that one of the world's most sophisticated spy planes, planes whose sole value is knowing EXACTLY where they are, would make a navigational error?

Chavez is clearly in the cross-hairs of the imperial war machine.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"The completeness of the resulting control over opinion depends in various ways upon scientific technique. Where all children go to school, and all schools are controlled by the government, the authorities can close the minds of the young to everything contrary to official orthodoxy." - Bertrand Russell, 1952 [1]
As the first Director of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), Sir Julian Sorell Huxley (1887-1975) wrote a paper entitled UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy (1946) [2] in which he outlined his vision for the newly created international organisation (which grew out of the League of Nations' Institute of Intellectual Co-operation). According to Huxley, the guiding philosophy of UNESCO should be what he termed, World Evolutionary Humanism. Part 1 in this series described this philosophy and its relation to eugenics. The second article outlined the purpose of UNESCO, which is to mentally prepare the world for global political unification under a single world government. The previous article described the use of education by UNESCO, as an essential technique of forming the minds of the young as well as the old. This article will examine the importance of the creative arts and sciences in guiding society towards predetermined goals.

Julian Huxley, an evolutionary biologist, humanist, and ardent internationalist held many titles including: Secretary of the Zoological Society of London (1935-42), first president of the British Humanist Association (1963), Vice-President (1937-44) and President (1959-62) of the British Eugenics Society. He was also a founding member of the World Wild Life Fund, coined the term "transhumanism" (as a means of disguising eugenics) and gave two Galton memorial lectures (1936, 1962). Huxley also received many awards including the Darwin Medal of the Royal Society (1956), UNESCO's Kalinga Prize (1953) and the Special Award of the Lasker Foundation in the category Planned Parenthood - World Population (1959) to name but a few. He is also the Grandson of Thomas Huxley (Darwin's Bulldog) and brother of author Aldous Huxley.

Guiding Society with the Creative Arts

From UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy:

[Italicised text is original emphasis and bolded text is added by author.]

"When art is thus unrepresentative or is neglected by the dominant class or the authorities, the state of affairs is bad for the community, which lacks the outlet and sounding-board which it ought to have in art, and turns to escapism or mere entertainment, to the sterile pursuit of the fossil past in place of the living present, or to bad art - cheap, vulgar, inadequate - instead of good. It is bad also for art, which tends to grow in upon itself, to become esoteric, incomprehensible except to the self-chosen clique, devoted to the sterile pursuit of art for art's sake instead of for life's sake, and so rootless that it ceases to have any social function worth mentioning. And, a fortiori, it is bad for the artist.

To remedy this state of affairs, we need to survey the whole problem of the patronage of the arts, most of which is inevitably, if in some ways regrettably, destined to swing over into public patronage by the State or the local community, and out of the hands of the private patron. Public, like private patronage, has its dangers for the artist and for his art; we must try to guard against them. We must study the problem of the young artist - first how he is to keep himself alive before recognition comes, and secondly how he is to be made to feel not only a vital part of his community, but in some degree its mouthpiece. And of course this must go hand in hand with the education of the general public and of the authorities, local and central, to understand the value and significance of art in the life of a society.

We have already pointed out some of the social functions of art. Another exists in the field of public relations. Every country has now woken up to the need, in our complex modern world, of public relations, which is but a new name for propaganda, that term which unhappily has grown tarnished through misuse. In a world which must be planned, governments must often assume initiative and leadership; and for this leadership to be effective, the general public must be informed of the problem and of what is in the government's mind. This is the essential function of "public relations" in the modern State. But it is only a few pioneers, like Tallents and Grierson, who have begun to grasp how public relations should be conducted. Art is necessary as part of the technique, since for most people art alone can effectively express the intangibles, and add the driving force of emotion to the cold facts of information. "It is the artist alone in whose hands truth becomes impressive." Perhaps especially it is the art of drama which is most essential in bringing life to the issues of everyday life - but that art can, of course, operate elsewhere than on the stage - most notably on the films. Whatever the details, it remains true that one of the social functions of art is to make men feel their destiny, and to obtain a full comprehension, emotional as well as intellectual, of their tasks in life and their role in the community. Rightfully used, it is one of the essential agencies for mobilising society for action.

Each of the creative arts has its own special role to play in life. Music makes the most direct approach to the emotions, without the intervention of any barrier of language other than its own. The visual arts, besides revealing in tangible form the intenser vision or the private imaginings of the artist, have a special role to fill in relation to architecture; and fine architecture has its own role - of giving concrete expression to the pride and the functions of the community, whether city or class or nation (or, let us add, the international community), and of adding much-needed beauty to everyday life, especially in great urban agglomerations. Opera and ballet, each in its special way, symbolises and expresses emotional realities and, as Aristotle said of the drama, "purges the soul" of the spectator. Ballet, through its nature, is capable of exerting a strikingly direct and almost physiological effect on the mind." - 54

"[...] Unesco must be careful that creative side of the arts shall not elude it." - 48

"The physical provision of beauty and art must, in the world of to-day, be largely an affair of government, whether central or local. For this, it is necessary that the men and women in charge of public affairs shall be aware of the value of art to the community. This value lies not merely in providing what is often thought of as self-centred or high-brow enjoyment, but in providing outlets for powerful human impulses, and so avoiding frustrations which are not only a cause of unhappiness, but may contribute to unrest, waste and disorder." - 51

"No other United Nations agency deals with the important question of seeing that the arts are properly and fully applied[...] Nor is any other agency concerning itself with such important applications of the sciences as the disciplining of the mind to produce so-called mystical experience and other high degree of spiritual satisfaction; or with the application of psychology to the technique of government, or to preventing the abuse or the exploitation of democracy." - 28

"[... UNESCO] should study the practical applications of science and art as a particular social problem, to discover what are the reasons which prevent, frustrate or distort them, what are the effects of undue speed or undue delay. Such a study should be of considerable help in promoting the technical efficiency of this process - a problem which will become steadily more pressing with the increase of scientific knowledge and of social complexity. And the third objective, the most difficult though perhaps also the most important, is to relate the applications of science and art to each other and to a general scale of values, so as to secure a proper amount and rate of application in each field. If such a task were satisfactorily carried out, and if its findings were acted upon, this would constitute one of the most important contributions towards discovering and pursuing the desirable direction of human evolution - in other words, true human welfare." - 28
For more on the desirable direction of human evolution, as envisioned by Huxley, please read the first part of this series entitled: World Evolutionary Humanism, Eugenics and UNESCO.

Scientific Technique

"However, it remains true that the scientific method is by far the most important means at our disposal for increasing the volume of our knowledge, the degree of our understanding, and the extent of our control, of objective phenomena; and further that the consequence of discovery in natural science may produce changes in human society (including often changes in our scale of values) greater than those brought about by any other means." - 35

"The scientific method has firmly established itself as the only reliable means by which we can increase both our knowledge of and our control over objective natural phenomena. It is now being increasingly applied, though with modifications made necessary by the different nature of the raw material, to the study of man and his ways and works, and in the hands of the social sciences is likely to produce an increase in our knowledge of and control over the phenomena of human and social life, almost as remarkable as that which in the hands of the natural sciences it has brought about and is still bringing about in regard to the rest of nature" - 34
For more on scientific technique please read this article entitled: Scientific Technique and the Concentration of Power.


The final article in this series outlines UNESCO's use of the mass media and other forms of communication in pursuit of its goals.

[1] Quote from page 58 of Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society (1952). ISBN0-415-10906-X

[2] Quotes from Julian Huxley, UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy (1946). Preparatory Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. pdf from UNESCO.


Related Articles

UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy Part 1: World Evolutionary Humanism, Eugenics and UNESCO

UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy Part 2: The Task of Unifying the World Mind

UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy Part 3: Education for World Government

UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy Part 5: The Mass Media Division of UNESCO (June 16)

Monday, June 02, 2008

US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships· Report says 17 boats used
· MPs seek details of UK role
· Europe attacks 42-day plan
Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor The Guardian, Monday June 2 2008 Article history
An amphibious assault vehicle leaves the USS Peleliu, which was used to detain prisoners, according to the human rights group Reprieve. Photograph: Zack Baddor/AP

The United States is operating "floating prisons" to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.

The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US.

According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as "floating prisons" since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.

Ships that are understood to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a military base by the UK and the Americans.

Reprieve will raise particular concerns over the activities of the USS Ashland and the time it spent off Somalia in early 2007 conducting maritime security operations in an effort to capture al-Qaida terrorists.

At this time many people were abducted by Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces in a systematic operation involving regular interrogations by individuals believed to be members of the FBI and CIA. Ultimately more than 100 individuals were "disappeared" to prisons in locations including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Guantánamo Bay.

Reprieve believes prisoners may have also been held for interrogation on the USS Ashland and other ships in the Gulf of Aden during this time.

The Reprieve study includes the account of a prisoner released from Guantánamo Bay, who described a fellow inmate's story of detention on an amphibious assault ship. "One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to Guantánamo ... he was in the cage next to me. He told me that there were about 50 other people on the ship. They were all closed off in the bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like something you see on TV. The people held on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantánamo."

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve's legal director, said: "They choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers. We will eventually reunite these ghost prisoners with their legal rights.

"By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been 'through the system' since 2001. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them."

Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, called for the US and UK governments to come clean over the holding of detainees.

"Little by little, the truth is coming out on extraordinary rendition. The rest will come, in time. Better for governments to be candid now, rather than later. Greater transparency will provide increased confidence that President Bush's departure from justice and the rule of law in the aftermath of September 11 is being reversed, and can help to win back the confidence of moderate Muslim communities, whose support is crucial in tackling dangerous extremism."

The Liberal Democrat's foreign affairs spokesman, Edward Davey, said: "If the Bush administration is using British territories to aid and abet illegal state abduction, it would amount to a huge breach of trust with the British government. Ministers must make absolutely clear that they would not support such illegal activity, either directly or indirectly."

A US navy spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, told the Guardian: "There are no detention facilities on US navy ships." However, he added that it was a matter of public record that some individuals had been put on ships "for a few days" during what he called the initial days of detention. He declined to comment on reports that US naval vessels stationed in or near Diego Garcia had been used as "prison ships".

The Foreign Office referred to David Miliband's statement last February admitting to MPs that, despite previous assurances to the contrary, US rendition flights had twice landed on Diego Garcia. He said he had asked his officials to compile a list of all flights on which rendition had been alleged.

CIA "black sites" are also believed to have operated in Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland and Romania.

In addition, numerous prisoners have been "extraordinarily rendered" to US allies and are alleged to have been tortured in secret prisons in countries such as Syria, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt.