Friday, September 29, 2006

Bush Given Authority To Sexually Torture American Children

The "horror of the shrieking boys" gets a rubber stamp from the boot-licking U.S. Congress & Senate as America officially becomes a dictatorship

Paul Joseph Watson/Prison | September 29 2006

Slamming the final nail in the coffin of everything America used to stand for, the boot-licking U.S. Senate last night gave President Bush the legal authority to abduct and sexually mutilate American citizens and American children in the name of the war on terror.

There is nothing in the "detainee" legislation that protects American citizens from being kidnapped by their own government and tortured.

Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman states in the L.A. Times, "The compromise legislation....authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights."

Similarly, law Professor Marty Lederman explains: "this [subsection (ii) of the definition of 'unlawful enemy combatant'] means that if the Pentagon says you're an unlawful enemy combatant -- using whatever criteria they wish -- then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to 'hostilities' at all."

We have established that the bill allows the President to define American citizens as enemy combatants. Now let's take it one step further.

Before this article is dismissed as another extremist hyperbolic rant, please take a few minutes out of your day to check for yourself the claim that Bush now has not only the legal authority but the active blessings of his own advisors to torture American children.

The backdrop of the Bush administration's push to obliterate the Geneva Conventions was encapsulated by John “torture” Yoo, professor of law at Berkeley, co-author of the PATRIOT Act, author of torture memos and White House advisor.

During a December 1st debate in Chicago with Notre Dame professor and international human rights scholar Doug Cassel, John Yoo gave the green light for the scope of torture to legally include sexual torture of infants.

Cassel: If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

Yoo: No treaty.

Cassel: Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo…

Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

So if the President thinks he needs to order children's penises to be put in vices, there is no law that can stop him and after last night's vote, the Senate and Congress, exemplified by sicko 16-year-old boy groomer Mark Foley (R-FL), has graciously provided Bush its full support for kids around the world to be molested in the name of stopping terror.

Yoo's comments were made before the passage of the torture legislation last night. Up until that point Bush had merely cited his role as dictator-in-chief as carte-blanche excuse for ordering torture - now his regime have the audacity to openly put it in writing - going one step further than even the Nazis did.

Again, for those who are still deluded into thinking the extent of the "pressure" is loud music and cold water being thrown over Johnny Jihad in Ragheadistan, consider for a moment the fact that your own Congress and President who, according to the Constitution, are mandated to serve you, have just legalized abducting your kids from your home and electric shocking their genitals.

Now that the criminals have declared themselves outside of the law does that mean we'll see Bush barbecuing babies on the White House lawn? Of course not, but the policy of torturing children in front of their parents has already been signed off on by the Pentagon and enacted under the Copper Green program and it happened at Abu Ghraib.

Women who were arrested with their children were forced to watch their boys being sodomized with chemical glow sticks as the cameras rolled. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says that the U.S. government is still withholding the tapes because of the horror of the "soundtrack of the shrieking boys" and their mothers begging to be killed in favor of seeing their children raped and tortured.

Your government has just lobbied for and Congress has passed legislation to discard the Geneva Conventions and mandate all this.

Pedophiles nationwide should rejoice - they can comfortably take a stroll down to the local swimming pool, grab whoever they like, drag them home, rape and torture them, and then in their defense cite the U.S. government as an example of how one should conduct themselves.

The bill also retroactively gives Bush, the Neo-Cons or any of their henchmen immunity from war crimes charges dating back to September 11. Ask yourself why they would be so careful to protect themselves from accusations of war crimes.

Could that possibly be because they are knowingly committing war crimes?

The legislating of torture itself should be a criminal act. All laws that contradict the U.S. Constitution are null and void. It was once a law that black people were slaves.

Only by engaging in civil disobedience and refusing to tolerate or acknowledge the laws of a criminal regime that has greased the skids for sexually torturing kids can we ever have a hope of returning America to its past glory.

7-Eleven DIDN'T DROP CITGO - The truth is: Venezuela’s Citgo Says it was Citgo's Decision to Discontinue 7/11 Contract in July '06

Venezuela’s Citgo Says it Decided to Discontinue 7/11 Contract Two Months Ago
Thursday, Sep 28, 2006

By: Gregory Wilpert –

CITGO President and CEO, Felíx Rodriguez, said that CITGO was the party that decided to discontinue supplying 7-Eleven, two months ago, not the other way around.


Caracas, Venezuela, September 28, 2006 —Felix Rodriguez, the CEO of Citgo, the Venezuelan-owned gasoline producer and distributor in the U.S., clarified yesterday that it was Citgo that had let expire its contract with the 7-Eleven convenience store chain and not the other way around, as was broadly reported.

According to most press accounts, 7-Eleven spokespersons implied that the discontinuation of the supply contract for its gas stations was at least partially motivated by Chavez’s UN speech, in which he referred to President Bush as the “Devil.”

“[The reports are] a manipulation because ever since the month of July have we announced that we did not intend to renew a contract with [7-Eleven], which was 20-years old and that was part of a bad business deal for Venezuela,” said Rodriguez in a telephone interview with the Venezuelan state TV channel VTV.

Rodriguez went on to explain that the contract forced Citgo to purchase non-Venezuelan crude that it would refine and sell to 7-Eleven at a very low price. “We were losing money,” added Rodriguez.

Headlines in a wide variety of U.S. news outlets reported yesterday and today that the decision to cancel the Citgo contract was made by 7-Eleven.

For example, the Los Angeles Times announced, “7-Eleven Dumps Venezuela-Backed Citgo to Pump Own Brand.” Others, such as Associated Press, had a headline that read, “7-Eleven Drops Citgo As Gas Supplier"

7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris was apparently the main source for creating the impression that it was 7-Eleven’s decision to drop Citgo and not the other way around. Chabris told the Associated Press, “Certainly Chavez's position and statements over the past year or so didn't tempt us to stay with Citgo.”

Citgo CEO Rodriguez announced that his company would demand from 7-Eleven that it clarify its participation in creating the impression that decision to discontinue the sale of Citgo gas was its decision and was politically motivated.

The LA Times also quoted Tom Kloza, the chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service as saying that 7-Eleven’s public break with Citgo “was opportunistic.” “When we were writing about this awhile ago … they were very quiet about it and there was no fanfare,” he added.

Last July Citgo had announced that it would discontinue supplying 1,300 gas station in the U.S. because its supply contracts with these were detrimental to the company’s bottom line.

According to the company, it had to purchase 130,000 barrels of gasoline per day from outside its own refinery network because the stations were too far from Citgo refineries. Instead, Citgo intended to supply only gas stations located near its own refineries, which are based mostly in the country’s Northeast, South, and Midwest.

See also July '06 article: Venezuela Cuts Supply to Some Citgo Gas Stations, for Greater Efficiency

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A short comment on Chavez speech at the UN: Class polarisation reaches an even greater level By Patrick Larsen

Monday, 25 September 2006

The controversial speech of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez at a conference of the United Nations in New York on Wednesday September 20, in which he called Bush "the devil" and condemned the actions of US imperialism, was covered massively by media worldwide.

In each and every corner of the world, the main points of the speech were transmitted and highlighted in national and international television and the big newspapers. CNN, Fox and other big medias established signals from the UN Conference, to transmit the speech live on the air - something that - apart from Chavez - was only done for the speeches of George Bush and Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president.

While many of the speeches at the UN gathering were the same boring and largely uninteresting speeches about the need for "dialogue" and "humanitarian aid", Chavez's speech was a ferocious attack on imperialism that caught the attention, not only of international observers, but also of millions of ordinary working men and women around the world.

In Caracas hundreds of activists of the Bolivarian movement gathered in Bolivar Square and watched the speech on big screens set up for the occasion. When Chavez called Bush "the Devil" big waves of enthusiasm swept through the audience.

On the other hand, the bourgeois press in Venezuela, the officials of the counter-revolutionary opposition, and of course the spokesmen of the US administration, hav condemned the speech in violent terms.

The mouthpiece of the Venezuelan oligarchy, El Nacional carried an editorial the day after entitled "Insults at the UN", saying that Chavez had shown "the worst of himself" with this speech and stating that it damaged the international interests of Venezuela and its people. In this editorial the speech was portrayed as personal insults, and mere rhetoric. The same line was carried in other bourgeois papers such as Tal Cual, which termed the speech "twenty minutes of fame". This newspaper even went so far as to put a caricature of Chavez on the front page denouncing himself as the true devil, because the national assembly has just decided to invest some 43.5 billion bolivars in more military equipment.

What is a completely justified attempt on the part of the Bolivarian government to arm itself in defence against a possible foreign intervention is portrayed by the bourgeoisie as an act of militarism, and is compared to the arming of the imperialist powers.

The secret behind the anger and hatred shown by the Venezuelan oligarchy and the circle in the White House is that they are very well aware of the fact that the speech of Chavez is taken very seriously throughout the world.

Evidence of this is the fact that the book recommend by Chavez in his speech has jumped from number 160,772 on Tuesday on the Amazon ranking list of best selling books to number seven and ultimately to number one. This shows the huge interest in left-wing ideas that Chavez has helped to generate.

However the speech has also served to deepen the antagonisms between the Bolivarian government and that of the US even further. Officials in the US administration said that the speech was not worth commenting on and ex-president Bill Clinton said that Chavez was "damaging his own country and people" with such radical declarations. But even more serious than such comments was the sudden arrest of the Venezuelan minister of foreign affairs, Nicholas Maduro, on Saturday, September 22, who was detained for one and a half hours in the New York airport on his way back from the UN summit. US officials said that the incident was a mistake and that the police in the airport did not know that he was a Venezuelan official.

In spite of these statements, the arrest was obviously not a coincidence, but a clear provocation on the part of the Bush government. They want to send a signal to the Venezuelan government and its allies throughout the world. Chavez said the move was a direct attack of the Empire and said that Maduro had been accused of participating in "acts of terrorism" related to the patriotic rebellion of February 4, 1992.

In general what one sees so clearly in the different reactions to the speech is the class line that divides Venezuelan society and also the enormous contradiction between the interests of imperialism and the Bolivarian revolution. The masses are proud of President Chavez because he dares to stand up - even in the Lion's cage - and denounce the crimes of the ruling class. The masses feel that they have a representative that has not been corrupted and renounced the struggle.

This is not the place to go in to the details of Chavez's speech, which does have some contradictory elements and aspects that Marxists do not agree with (especially the parts relating to the reforming of the UN). But when Chavez uses hard words to denounce imperialism it is because what he says corresponds to all the criminal acts of repression, intervention, murder and torture that the US empire conducts in Iraq, Afghanistan and ultimately with their support for the bloody Israeli attack on Lebanon. Many people feel that Chavez is telling the truth that no one else dares to speak about. This explains the widespread and continued support for Chavez.

Within Venezuela events seem to be speeding up. On Saturday Chavez once again explained, "some say that the Devil has given the order to murder me", referring to a possible assassination attempt to wipe him out. In another interview on Panorama Digital, Chavez said that the biggest danger to the revolution "comes from within" and that:

"The main threat is within. There is a constant bureaucratic counter-revolution. I am an enemy on a daily basis. I have to walk around withj a whip, because I am being attacked from all sides by this enemy, the old bureaucracy and a new one which resists changes. So much so that I have to be constantly en guard when I give an instruction, and follow it up so that it is not stopped, or diverted, or minimised by this bureaucratic counter-revolution which exists within the state. This would be one of the elements of the new phase that we are entering in: the transformation of the State.

The State was transformed at the macro level, but the micro levels remain intact. We need to think from now about a new package of laws, to transform the macro political and juridical level down to the lowest levels of the state in order to defeat this resistance.

A sister threat to that of bureaucratic counter-revolution is the counter-revolution of bureaucracy. This is another terrible threat, beacause it strikes where you least expect it"

This is a very accurate description of the struggle that is taking place within the state apparatus between the revolutionaries and the reformists. It is very likely that these contradictions, which were exposed publicly in the debate over the expropriation of the golf-courses, will lead to even more profound clashes in the coming months leading up to as well as after the elections on December 3. This can be determining for the future of the revolution.

Caracas, September 24, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006



Intro by Henk Ruyssenaars - Foreign correspondent

FPF - Amsterdam - Sept. 27th - 2006 - In the excellent essay below by Manuel Valenzuela he writes about the horror of the 'overlords'. Fitting his article as a hand in a glove, The Netherlands, a.k.a. Holland, can be taken as a dreadful example. Internationally Holland is #6 on the list of richest countries in the world: for the robbing elite that is. Possible is this only, because for ages the 'overcrooks' from the Dutch-Anglo oil multinational SHELL and the 'international banks' run the so called 'government' as well as the country with it's 16 million inhabitants.

The Netherlands is small and thus easy to control, and from the 1st of October the absolute last bit of privacy starts disappearing, taken by the 'overlords' when they start issuing compulsory ID cards which also are driving licenses, but with build in RFID signals. The carriers then can be traced and the validity stopped everywhere. By remote control too. Work, home, banks, travel, hospitals etc.: everywhere. Holland is used as a testing ground for the US and the rest of the colonies - which are next for this electronic Apartheid - needed to control the electronically enslaved people: their sources of income and profit. []

The undressing of the social fabric - like in the US, England etc. - and the sick profit greed by the 'managers' of Holland, result in the fact that every year ONE percent more Dutch end up on or under the poverty line, according to the official figures. Those are 'government-figures' so it's probably worse. The Euro currency was introduced in Holland with force - without ever asking the population, like in most European Union countries - making life, according to a reliable investigation, at least forty-nine-dot-one percent (49.1%) more expensive. The banks and their criminal collaborators netted billions in blood money, which they call profit. It is only through hair raising brainwashing the by this nefarious mafia also owned commercialized major media - press and RTV-channels - that so many millions like in other countries can be kept ignorant.


A good example of how to attack the brainwash industry was given in Germany in 1968, when the publishing house of Axel Springer loudly kept defending the war in Vietnam, and the 'might makes right' policy of the multinationals, to use the american war machine to kill millions of people in South East Asia, and threaten millions of others. With the US's moral less multinationals like DOW etc. making big profits by producing huge amounts of napalm, Agent Orange and other banned and inhuman weapons to kill. Like now again.

At that time - thanks to efforts to rebuild German-Jewish relations and his continuing $millions support of Israel - Axel Springer was made the dictator over 39% of the daily newspapers, 82% of the supra-regional newspapers, 90% of the sunday newspapers and 48% of the radio and tv journals. The disgusting propaganda rag - BILD Zeitung (BZ) - was printed in four million copies daily, permanently and brutally advocating to jail and otherwise punish the 'red rabble' and 'anti American terrorists' which wanted information and facts, instead of propaganda.

The German students, and other people using their brain, got fed up with the lies and tried to burn down the Springer buildings, understanding where the evil was. Not in the compliant military or in collaborating police headquarters: but the country drenching evil was to be found spouting from the so called 'Springer mentality editors' and 'journalists' which were stealing the people's voices, all the time brainwashing them with their lies. The powerless made people only saw one way out, and rightfully tried to exorcise the devils. It is possible that they even used SHELL oil for their Molotov cocktails... - Url.:

But in Holland the shameless SHELL and other 'overlords' slyly take care of what still many Dutch believe is their 'right to vote and choose their own personal'. They in many cases still think anno 2006 that with eighty-four percent electronically, and of course 'government' rigged, 'voting' - they 'choose' their parliamentarians c.q. government. But, looking at the 'government': it's taken care of by neocon 'Speaker of the House' Frans Weissglas, and oil multinational SHELL delivers as usual the Prime ministers as well as the smoke screen called 'opposition'. Valenzuela is right. What a hoax!


And, speaking of con jobs: maybe I've lived to many decades abroad, away from Holland and therefor see it different, but another very expensive hoax in Holland is a strange bunch which - as long as we can remember - is running around, arrogantly and illogically claiming that they - nota bene by birth - are something 'special'. Against better judgement saying they are 'royal.' - And with the vile help of daily brainwashing (A wedding! A new baby!) they are trying to keep this - the people's intelligence insulting medieval myth - alive. An elderly woman, a SHELL fan and shareholder named Beatrix, upped with a lot - and without asking the taxpayers - the Euro-millions costs for this group with three 'daughters in law' of which the media said the 3 girls were now to be called 'princesses'. Like in the fairy tales. Well: the eldest 'princess' sold cancer - PR for tobacco - in Brussels.

The other eager beaver - Mabel - fornicated with UN diplomat Sacirbey who tried to embezzle $millions from the UN. But, having the wrong multinational friends, he ended up in jail. Than she fornicated for years with the biggest drugs dealer in Holland, sharing 'Bed & Breakfast' on his boat de 'Neeltje Jacoba'. The Dutch secret service AIVD (tax paid) has tons of evidence, but the people - who pay - are not allowed to see it: those from the royal myth say it's 'secret'. But the 'Preacher' - (de Dominee) - as this #1 drugs baron was called, died of an acute lead poisoning. He was gunned down on an Amsterdam street by the drugs trade competition. Than she got hold of an empty headed member of that strange claiming clan, a bloke by the myth believers called 'prince', and married him.

Number three, Maxima, is the one the myth propagandists will declare 'the new queen' of this gang since she married one of them - a beer guzzling guy nicknamed 'Prince Pils'. Maxima Zorreguieta was fostered by a 'maximum' war criminal father in Argentina, Jorge, who was a minister in the genocidal Videla government which murdered at least 30.000 human beings. They were tortured (legal in the US) - 'interrogated' and often thrown alive out of high flying helicopters. From that height the water is hard as concrete. They killed hundreds of young parents, to steal the babies which were given to other murderers in the military. Maxima knows about all this, but like 99% of the spineless media she keeps silent. Videla and others were arrested for this, Zorreguieta not yet. The creatures that do this are all like the multinationals and their media minions: they have no shame and lack all human decency.

But, back to the wrecking power of the 'oil barons' and their bankers which Valenzuela describes: The Dutch so called Labor Party (PvdA - Partij van de Arbeid) - is supposed to defend the human rights of the working people, but the kingpins of this gang have mostly been trained and developed as some Manchurian candidates by SHELL. In the year 2000 SHELL put Wouter Bos in the Dutch parliament, one of their stooges, who for 10 years had been trained, educated and developed by them. Because when Bos finished his study - economics, what else? - in 1988 at the Free University of Amsterdam, he immediately started to work for SHELL, as a 'Management Consultant'.

In 1990 he was named 'Policy Advisor' of Shell Netherlands, was later placed in Hongkong and of course in London for some time. Than it was decided to put him in parliament and make him - November 2002 - 'Political leader' of the Dutch Labour Party, PvdA. Which for the past decades has been a totally fake 'party'. Many call it the Party of Poverty - 'Partij v/d Armoede' in Dutch - and with good reason. The multinationals and the backing banks are bleeding Holland. Anemia of the mind is the result too. - Wouter Bos - SHELL training - Official c.v. - Url.:

The SHELL multinational - which globally is abhorred for it's 'Kill & Drill' tactics, like exterminating the Ogoni people in Nigeria, for many years used one of their worst political crooks to further wreck the Dutch unions too. The so called 'fighter for socialism' Wim Kok was made 'union boss' and later Prime (Crime) minister of SHELL's fiefdom The Netherlands, and after his gigantic let down, selling out and betraying all Dutch workers who saw their income dwindle with wages getting lower and lower, this disgusting Judas and collaborator Wim Kok was awarded by SHELL and other multinationals too.


* Member of the Supervisory Board of Royal Dutch Shell (oil company)
* Member of the Supervisory Board of ING Group (international financial services)
* Member of the Supervisory Board of TNT (international postal company with Dutch origin)
* Member of the Supervisory Board of KLM (airline)
* Member of the Strategic Advisory Panel of The European Business Awards

The conclusion is quite clear. The essay by Manuel Valenzuela perfectly shows the rot above, and the nearly indescribable inhumanity and crimes of the group that 'holds the gold and the power' in many countries and societies commits, and why all 'Wim Koks' and other war criminals everywhere must be stopped and jailed. This scum of the earth, this mafia of 'Übermenschen/overlords' - is killing us if we don't 'neutralize' them. The least we should try is to stop the responsible propaganda parrots which make the wars possible, and get all 'sell outs' like Kok and other war criminals in Court. - Url.:


Into Pyramid’s Shadow: At War with Ourselves

Manuel Valenzuela


As natural as the end of summer giving way to cooler temperatures and the changing colors of the trees, the vast machinations of the military-energy industrial complex has yet again begun to spin in preparation for the upcoming midterm elections, using the myriad number of tools at its disposal to manipulate the electorate into once more voting against its own interests, into voting for the interests of the elite few. Knowing the absolute ignorance, gullibility and lack of critical thinking of the American masses, those in power are able, once more, in what has become all too familiar throughout the annals of history, to skew the decision, mentality and vote of large segments of the population by simply reaching to the primitive instincts of human nature and manipulating emotions, psychology and the instinct of survival prevalent in every living organism.

To the corporatists and elites steering the nation, this exercise is like taking candy from a baby, for having a citizenry devoid of reason, logic and common sense has its privileges. Unaware that their lives are in firm control by the elite, not knowing the level of manipulation they are subjected to, ignorant to their incessant brainwashing practically from birth, the American masses are like sheep being herded from pasture to slaughter, unable to understand the control over their lives, unwilling to confront the malignancy that festers in their midst, and subservient to the wolves disguised as shepherds that lead them up the ramp of mirages into the corral of complete manipulation.


Indeed, the energy/petroleum industry, already morbidly obese with record breaking revenues, with each conglomerate literally making tens of billions of dollars in profits in multiple fiscal years, all at the expense of the average American consumer, has seemingly made the decision to sacrifice one fiscal quarter, or three months of revenues, choosing to break even instead of raking in billions in profits. This decision, of course, is to help ensure that the vital mid-term elections are decided in the direction most favorable to the industry. It has been the corporatist Republican Party, after all, that has in the last six years enabled the industry to lay claim to unimaginable levels of profit, power and control, both over the citizenry and the course of the nation.

Those at the helm of these oil multinationals have become our overlords, in the process making the government, now more than ever before, their instrument of domination. It was at their behest, their demand, that Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded and occupied, that the nation’s institutions have been infiltrated by the industry’s executives and lawyers, that the nation’s tax laws were rewritten so as to exclude the elite and appease the corporate world, that America’s environmental laws and regulations have been gutted, and the reason the American consumer has for six years been fleeced at the gas pump, with ever increasing prices becoming the new normal, so much so that if the price of gas drops fifty cents, as it is today, we think it wonderful, even though today’s discounted prices are much higher than those two years ago."

[end quote] - Manuel Valenzuela is an excellent observer and writer, and the rest can be read here at Url.:

9/11 Mysteries What brought the WTC buildings down? (Full Length, High Quality)

This is a brand new public domain 9/11 Truth documentary about the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center complex.

Myths as Collective Metaphors by Eduardo Galeano

And myths and legends are, at bottom, collective metaphors, that is, means of expression that history finds to reveal itself in spite of obligatory silence, and in spite of the obligatory lie.

The myth, to give you an example, the myth of Túpac Amaru . . . truly . . . is such a beautiful one. When they kill the first Túpac Amaru in the plaza of Cusco and behead him, in the same afternoon a myth is born, immediately, an anonymous, inexplicable, mysterious myth, among the multitude who attend his death, who, crying, attend his execution, the myth of the head that is going to find its body, and for two centuries people continue to believe that the head is going to find its body, and it does.

Because two centuries later, exactly two centuries later, rises a cacique [tribal chief] whose name is already forgotten, but who chooses to name himself as a man never to be forgotten because he chooses to take the name of Túpac Amaru.

Túpac Amaru II, the second Túpac Amaru -- or perhaps the first who has returned to the world as was announced, because his head has finally joined his body -- then becomes the protagonist of the most formidable revolution that has ever taken place in the Andean world.

In all ages, at all times, there are myths that, if you will, more than enrich history -- they reveal and express history . . . truly . . . then it seems to me that it is very silly not to pay attention to those myths, as if they were not scientifically possible.

Túpac Amaru, the last leader of the Inca, was executed on 24 September 1572.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chavez, the Devil, Chomsky, and Us

by Michael Albert
September 26, 2006

What can leftists learn from Chavez’s UN speech and its aftermath? That the U.S. is the world’s most egregious rogue state. We already knew that and, in fact, so does most everyone else. That Bush and Co. engage in repeated acts of amoral, immoral, and antimoral behavior such as a devil would enact, if there was such a thing as a devil. We already knew that too. That the emperor has no morality, integrity, wisdom, or humanity. We knew that as well.

So is there anything in the episode for us? I think there may be.

I suspect many leftists would have been happier had Chavez torn into Bush and U.S. institutions by offering more evidence while employing a less religious spin. Perhaps Chavez could have called Bush Mr. War, or Mr. Danger as he has in the past, and piled on evidence to show how U.S. policies in the world, and grotesque domestic imbalances as well, obstruct desirable income distribution, democratic decision making, and mutual interpersonal and intercommunity respect. Chavez might have given evidence how U.S. elites and key institutions impede living and loving and even survival, from Latin America to Asia and back. He might have said that George W. Bush, as the current master purveyor of the most recent violations by the U.S., is, in effect, doing the work of a devil – because he is the spawn of a devilish system. And I suspect many leftists would have probably been happier had Chavez added chapter and verse evidence for his assertions, though I suspect time limits precluded that.

But, hey, we can’t always get exactly what we want. And more, the dramatic “smelling of sulfur formulation” that Chavez used may have been exactly what got the sentiment in any form at all in front of millions of readers and viewers. The pundits wanted to use Chavez’s words to discredit him – but, in doing so, they put his claim before hundreds of millions of people. Perhaps without the dramatic formulation, we would have heard nearly nothing.

My guess is that Chavez treated the event as he does pretty much all his encounters. He said what he thought. He gave it a passionate, aesthetic, and humorous edge. He calculated that forthrightness would accomplish more than it cost. Content-wise, the speech was typical Chavez, even if most hadn’t heard him saying such things before, due to having not heard him say anything before. Here is Chavez commenting on Bush last March, for example, in a televised Venezuelan address: "You are an ignoramus, you are a burro, Mr. Danger ... or to say it to you in my bad English, you are a donkey, Mr. Danger. You are a donkey, Mr. George W. Bush. You are a coward, a killer, a genocider, an alcoholic, a drunk, a liar, an immoral person, Mr. Danger. You are the worst, Mr. Danger. The worst of this planet."

The cost of Chavez’s more recent and far more global forthrightness about Bush is dismissal of Chavez as a crazy lunatic by many people who already felt that way but were restrained in saying so, and by some people swayed by media ridicule of him, who had had no prior opinion.

The gain of Chavez’s more recent and far more global forthrightness about Bush is establishing that one can say the truth about the U.S. and less importantly about George Bush, and showing that doing so is in accord not only with truth but also with integrity. It is providing an example for others to be inspired by and act on. What is poison in elite eyes can be vitamins for us, and vice versa.

In that respect, what Chavez did reminds me a little of what Abbie Hoffman and some others did in the U.S. to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, known more familiarly as HUAC, decades ago. Abbie and some others aggressively and dismissively ridiculed HUAC as beneath contempt and unworthy of respect. They laughed at obeying it and via their dramatic stance they moved the prevalent attitude toward HUAC from being primarily fear and trembling to being primarily disdain and dissent. Chavez tried something similar, I think. He voiced what others, even others in the room at the UN, also knew but kept quiet about. He hoped, I assume, that others would take strength and begin to voice their needs and insights too.

Bush is a vengeful, greedy, violent, but even more so, obedient thug. Yes, obedient, as in Bush obeys the dictates of the system he has climbed and now administers for the rich and powerful. Bush perfectly exemplifies the adage that in capitalism “garbage rises.” My guess is that Chavez felt that the benefits of standing up to the U.S. and its most elite garbage outweighs the costs of seeming to many people to be an extremist from Mars. So was Chavez right? Did the benefits outweigh the debits?

My country, the United States, exists beneath a blanket of disorienting and misleading media madness. It endures a climate of paralyzing and pervasive fear. It encompasses a deeply inculcated hopelessness born of educational and cultural institutions that snuff out communication of dissenting beliefs elevating instead pap and pablum. It suffers a life-draining anti-sociality produced by markets that reward callousness and punish solidarity. Garbage rises in the U.S. because nice guys finish last. And amidst all this, for anyone to tell the full truth, and even more so for anyone to display the appropriate levels of passionate anger that the full truth warrants, makes that person appear to be Martian, appear to be psychotic, appear to be irrelevant, and Chavez wants to reverse that context.

Did Chavez fall short of what could be accomplished on that score with one speech? I am not at all sure he did. But if he did, if the price of Chavez’s speech in delegitimating his own credibility in certain circles was greater than the gain in delegitimating greed and violence and in freeing people in very different circles from blind and uncritical obedience and fear, whose fault would that be?

Should we blame the one messenger who spoke up? Or should we blame the millions of messengers who know the same substance as Chavez, but hold their tongues?

There is a world class bully, Bush. He represents a class of rich and powerful “masters of the universe.” He administers their system of gross inequality. He expands the competitive market hostility they thrive on. He fosters the mental passivity they rely on. He abets the lifelong coercion they utilize. He epitomizes the ubiquitous crassness and commercialism they profit off. He lies to shield their true purposes. He throws bombs far and wide to defend and enlarge their empire. Of course irritating the bully and the system he shills for can unleash nasty behavior. Of course, for a time, in the ensuing onslaught, verbally assaulting the bully can diminish the dissident’s credibility, at least in some circles. It might even boost the bully a bit, in some quarters.

Likewise, when there is a climate of subservient obedience to a bully, as we now endure in the U.S., when the bully’s climate people feel that to tell the truth about him and his system is uncivil, and when the bully’s climate overwhelmingly castigates honesty and ridicules passion, then of course being passionately honest will be castigated and ridiculed and at least in part make the truth teller look deviant.

So, if that’s the risk, what is the solution? Should we forego truth telling? Or should we tell more truth? Should we coddle our likely enemies. Or should we organize and empower our likely friends?

Chavez needs allies, but not ones who say, hey, Chavez is an okay guy, even if a little over the top. Chavez needs allies who stand up to imperialism and injustice in all its forms be counted like him, even right up over the top, but allies who also bring to Chavez criticisms and ideas that run contrary to his own thinking and doing. Chavez embracing Admadinenjad was bad news. His suggestions, in other contexts, that the Venezuelan constitution be amended to allow him to rule longer are bad news. Truth to him, too. But at that UN Chavez wasn’t talking mainly to the people sitting in front of him in the UN with his speech. He was talking to people throughout the U.S. and throughout the world, saying, in essence, it is okay to rebel. And it is okay. And we ought to do it.

So that was one lesson. When you revile elites your effectiveness depends less on your particular words than on how many other people are willing to do as much or more than you. Chavez thinks in terms of winning massive change. Most people on the left think in terms of holding off calamities. The contrast is stark and at the heart of the recent incidents. We can learn from his attitude, I think.

Chavez waved around Chomsky’s book, Hegemony or Survival. I think there are lessons in that, too, even for us, even though we already know Chomsky’s work. First off, a person, even one that has great social advantages, can humbly aid others. You can get up and say to others, hey, this book, video, set of ideas, or organization is worthy of your time. You can use whatever avenues exist for you, whether it be access to your family or friends, or to your schoolmates or workmates, or to your local media, or even to larger mass media, or even to the whole world, to reach out with advice and pointers that you think are worthy. And you should do that. We all should do that. But we generally don’t. I suspect we are embarrassed to do it. Chavez probably wouldn’t even comprehend that. Just as he had reviled Bush before, he had celebrated Chomsky before too, over and over, with little effect. This guy Chavez tries and tries again. He loses, he loses, he loses, he wins.

I would guess that Chavez didn’t think to himself, they will revile me in their columns and commentaries, so I better not rip into Bush and celebrate Chomsky. The ensuing ridicule might reduce my stature, I better avoid it. To rip Bush and celebrate Chomsky will look strange, I better avoid it. If I do that I will be giving time to elevating someone else, and not myself, and I better avoid it. I will be displaying anger and passion, and that will brand me as uncivil and improper, it will label me as undignified and even juvenile, and I better avoid it. How many of us think like that, how often, is a question worth considering.

Instead, I suspect Chavez thought, Chomsky’s work deserves and needs to be more widely addressed. It affected me. It needs to affect others. I will try to push it into people’s awareness using all the means at my disposal to do so, which, indeed, he has been doing, though with much less success, for some time now. Of course, we can’t all push an author, a book, an organization, or an idea, and have it jump into international, domestic, or local prominence, whether on our first, fifth, or tenth try. We are not all heads of a dynamic country. We don’t all have a giant stage, or often even a large stage, or even any stage at all, from which to sing our songs. But we can still do our part, wherever we may be. And the fact is, we who know so much often don’t do our part. We often don’t point out sources of ideas and discuss them with our workmates, schoolmates, and families at every opportunity. If we have audiences for our work, again we don’t use our writing, talks, and other products to promote valuable work by others beyond ourselves. Why is that? Sometimes we are afraid of reprisals. Sometimes we are afraid of looking silly. Sometimes we just don’t want to do it because it isn’t our thing. Cheerleading and recommending, that’s not my thing. I doubt it will work. I won’t bother trying. Then our foretelling of failure is fulfilled. Well, we need to get over all that.

Again, I think the difference between Chavez and most others even on the left is that Chavez is seeking to win, and we are instead seeking, as often as not, to avoid alienating pundits or to even appeal to them. We are seeking to avoid annoying anyone we like, or anyone we might like, or who might like us. We are seeking to avoid looking odd to anyone, or to avoid making a mistake, or to avoid seeming shrill and angry, or self serving, or passionate. And we need to transcend all that.

I think what made Chavez seem so peculiar to so many people is that what he did was, in fact, incredibly peculiar. To stand up to the classist, racist, sexist, authoritarian leader of the U.S. and to mince no words reviling his immorality, was indeed incredibly peculiar. So let’s all stand up to power and privilege and take the stigma out of doing so. It is part of removing the smell of sulfur from the air.

And, at the opposite pole, Chavez celebrated and openly and aggressively aided an anti classist, anti racist, anti sexist, and anti authoritarian set of ideas and their author. And that too was peculiar. And we all ought to be doing that too, for lots of able authors and worthy ideas. Indeed, we should do it so much that solidaritous movement building behavior comes to be typical, rather than seeming Martian. We should do it so much and so openly that we move from telling the truth to feeling about the truth the way a caring and sentient soul ought to feel about it, and finally to acting on the truth and on our passionate feelings in accord with wide human interests and in pursuit of compelling and worthy aims. To hell with the dictates of markets and pundits alike.

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment regarding the Clinton Interview- 9/25/06

Keith Olbermann: "Our tone should be crazed. The nation's freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as al Qaida; the nation's marketplace of ideas is being poisoned by a propaganda company so blatant that Tokyo Rose would've quit. Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done in five years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration."

Olbermann has cut the shrub a new asshole.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Presidente Hugo Chávez en la ONU, 20 de septiembre de 2006

Is Bush A Devil?

By: Charles Hardy - 21st Century

During a recent visit to the United States, I heard a woman say that she felt Vice President Dick Cheney was an evil man. Her sister, with a different view of the world situation, said she felt all Arabs were evil. For the past few years President George W. Bush has been speaking of an axis of evil in the world. And, just a few days ago, President Chávez of Venezuela said President Bush is a devil. Let me first of all share my personal opinion on the matter of evil. I don’t believe there are evil people. There are people who do bad things (I don’t like the word “evil”), but that doesn’t make them bad. I have done bad things in my life. Everyone has. That doesn’t make us bad people.
Secondly, I have a prejudice against identifying people with evil and the devil. I once asked a priest who was tortured in Argentina, how one human being could torture another. He replied that his torturers denied that he was human. His words as I recall them: “They said I was a devil dressed as a priest and as such they could do whatever they wanted to do with me.”

Thirdly, I don’t like name-calling. I was taught in high school that it was the lowest form of argument. It can hurt; it can bring laughter; but it doesn’t contribute to a fair discussion of ideas.

Having said this, I would like to present my analysis of the repercussions resulting from Chávez’s address in the United Nations.

Within Venezuela, the reactions have been mixed. Those who oppose Chávez see it as another strike against him as president. But among those who support him, I have found no one so far who felt he did wrong with his comments.

I watched Chávez’s speech in the office of a public building. The secretaries were all cheering Chávez as he spoke the words. Later, a respected lawyer told me he didn’t see any difference between Bush’s designating countries and their leaders as part of the “axis of evil” and Chávez’s calling Bush a devil. A labor leader felt the talk was excellent and necessary. A radio commentator said Chávez voiced what many world leaders would like to say but don’t have the courage to do so. The most hesitant comment was from a taxi driver who said it was ok that Chávez made the comparison once in the U.N., but that he shouldn’t have continued repeating the idea.

The Sunday 24 September issue of the Caracas daily, Ultimas Noticias, had a cartoon showing the devil sitting in front of a television set watching Chávez’s U.N. speech. The devil is saying, “I beg your pardon, Mr. Chávez but Bush is a lot worse than I am. In addition the odor he leaves behind is not that of sulfur but of gun power.”

Within the United States, I have no idea how people are reacting because I haven’t had access to the Internet these days and I don’t trust the major news sources anyway. One fellow journalist who did check out the reporting said that it was unfortunate that the articles were concentrating on Chávez’s devil remark and not on the rest of the message he delivered.

In any case, I do think it is time that people in the United States wake up to the fact that Chávez simply voiced what many people in the world think about their president. Two or three years ago I was on an airplane passing through Mexico City and received from the airline a major Mexican daily. That day it carried a long editorial comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler. One may agree or disagree with the comparison, but it is important that U.S. citizens are aware of it. I don’t know if many Germans in the 30s and 40s knew what was being said about Hitler and their country in other parts of the world. U.S. citizens today do not have that excuse. Many, many people in the world are having difficulties justifying the massive killing of several thousand innocent people because a few thousand people died in the Twin Towers. There is some similarity with Israel’s killing of Lebanese citizens because two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped, another action the U.S. supported.

It is also important for U.S. citizens to realize that their leaders have not been kind in their words about Chávez. Major government spokespersons have called Chávez a hyena and a pied piper. Also, there is no question that the U.S. government was happy when the 2002 coup against him took place, and may have even helped finance it.

Greatest Enemy

The time has come for U.S. citizens to wake up and realize that they are becoming hated because of the policies of their leaders. As Chávez pointed out, the greatest enemy that the U.S. people have is their own government.

How will Chávez’s remarks affect his position in the world and his relation with other world leaders? I don’t think what he said will hurt him. Venezuela would like a seat in the UN Security Council. The vote will be in secret. I think they will easily win it. If that happens, it will be a huge victory for Chávez and a horrible defeat for the Bush administration. But if Venezuela doesn’t win it, it will show that the U.S. might still be politically more powerful than Venezuela. So, what’s news in that?

I would expect other world leaders, friends of Chávez, to tell him he shouldn’t say things like he did in public forums — even though they feel likewise. Even if they don’t have similar feelings, I don’t think they will stop supporting him. My brother once called another driver, who cut in front of my brother’s car, an “asshole.” I wouldn’t have used such a word, but it didn’t stop me from loving my brother.

Hugo Chávez is Hugo Chávez. Upon his return to Venezuela, I heard him tell a group of people that he didn’t know exactly what he was going to say until he said it. But he also said that he doesn’t take back what he said.

Four years ago I wrote that one of Chávez’s major problems as a politician is that he says what he thinks. Many people see that as being honest—and love him for it. Others see it as being inept and stupid—and hate him for it. But Hugo is Hugo. I don’t expect him to change.

Let me add one final thought. When I shared what I just wrote with a friend, he made an important distinction, which I share, between the attitudes of President Chávez and that of President Bush. He said that when Chávez spoke of Bush as a devil, he was joking. He entered the podium of the General Assembly saying it smelled of sulfur. He made the Sign of the Cross, a common Venezuelan practice not only to show one’s Catholic faith but also to ward off evil spirits. It is done seriously, but often it is done in jest. I know a person who is always making it in front of friends and saying, “Away from me Satan.”

But when Bush speaks of the “axis of evil,” he is deadly serious, and I put emphasis on the word “deadly.” It is my belief that Chávez shares my feeling that Bush is doing bad (evil, if you prefer the word) things. I don’t believe he sees him as a devil in reality. Not so with President Bush. His words seem to reflect a fundamentalist Christian attitude that the devil has taken possession of some people. They must therefore be wiped out. Too bad if others happen to be in the way, but the evil ones must be eliminated. Therein lies the danger for the world—and for you and me if we should fall into that category for the U.S. government.

Chávez wants to wipe out imperialism. He doesn’t see the need to kill those who are imperialists. Bush says he wants to eliminate terrorism. His only solution seems to be to kill those who are classified as terrorists. I repeat: therein lies the danger for the world — and for you and for me.

© Charles Hardy

Charles Hardy is a freelance writer and former Catholic priest who has lived in Venezuela for over twenty years. He is author of a forthcoming book on Venezuela from Curbstone Press ( . His personal blog is Cowboy in Caracas ( and he can be reached through

The Sound & The Fury of Hugo Chavez

By: Tim Padgett - Time Magazine

TIME: Why do you attack President George W. Bush with such jolting language?

CHAVEZ: I believe words have great weight, and I want people to know exactly what I mean. I'm not attacking President Bush; I'm simply counterattacking. Bush has been attacking the world, and not just with words--with bombs. When I say these things I believe I'm speaking for many people, because they too believe this moment is our opportunity to stop the threat of a U.S. empire that uses the U.N. to justify its aggression against half the world. In Bush's speech to the U.N., he sounded as if he wants to be master of the world. I changed my original speech after reading his.

TIME: But doesn't your rhetoric--referring to Bush, for example, as an "alcoholic"--risk alienating potential allies?

CHAVEZ: First of all, Bush has called me worse: tyrant, populist dictator, drug trafficker, to name a few. I was simply telling a truth that people should know about this President, a man with gigantic power.

TIME: Is all of this mostly for domestic consumption back in Venezuela?

CHAVEZ: No. American author Noam Chomsky in his book [Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance] talks of two superpowers in today's world--one is the U.S., which aggressively wants to dominate the world, and the other is global public opinion. I don't consider what I'm saying personal attacks on President Bush--I want to wake up U.S. and global public opinion about him.

TIME: Do your feelings about Bush reflect your feelings toward America in general?

CHAVEZ: No. I revere America as the nation of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Mark Twain--who was a great anti-imperialist, who opposed U.S. adventurism in the Spanish-American War.

TIME: You often speak of the link between U.S. foreign policy and its appetite for oil.

CHAVEZ: Bush wanted Iraq's oil, and I believe he wants Venezuela's oil. The blame for high oil prices lies in the consumer model of the U.S. Its reckless oil consumption is a form of suicide.

TIME: You said recently that you believe the "Bolívar Doctrine is finally replacing the Monroe Doctrine" on your watch. Why?

CHAVEZ: For two centuries in this hemisphere we've experienced a confrontation between two theses--America's Monroe Doctrine, which says the U.S. should exercise hegemony over all the other republics, and the doctrine of Simón Bolívar, which envisioned a great South American republic as a counterbalance. Bush has spread the Monroe thesis globally, to make the U.S. the police of the world--if you're not with us, he says, you're against us. We're simply doing the same now with the Bolívar thesis--a doctrine of more equality and autonomy among nations, more equilibrium of power.

TIME: What's the difference between your "socialism for the 21st century" and past attempts to fix the region's economic inequality?

CHAVEZ: When I was released from prison [in 1994] and began my political life, I naively took as a reference point Tony Blair's proposal for a "third way" between capitalism and socialism--capitalism with a human face. Not anymore. After seeing the failure of Washington-backed capitalist reforms in Latin America, I no longer think a third way is possible. Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation, of the kind of misery and inequality that destroys social values. If you really look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ--who I think was the first socialist--only socialism can really create a genuine society.

TIME: Yet one slogan of your re-election campaign is "Against Chávez, Against the People." You also seem to have taken on a with-me-or-against-me stance.

CHAVEZ: The difference is ethics and morals. We're not threatening anyone. That slogan is simply a call for conscious reflection on national unity. We're not going to enforce it by bombing or invading anyone.

TIME: Critics have noted that while you were free to slam President Bush on U.S. soil, a new defamation law in Venezuela makes people subject to criminal prosecution for slander against officials like you.

CHAVEZ: They need to visit Venezuela. If you think Chávez is intimidating free expression, just watch television there--my God, devil is the least of things the opposition is allowed to call me on the air.

TIME: Could Venezuela play an interlocutor role between Iran and the U.S.? You and President Bush have some things in common--you both hail from cowboy country and enjoy Clint Eastwood movies.

CHAVEZ: I like Danny Glover movies better. But I don't believe there is anyone who can play the interlocutor with a leader who considers himself master of the world, as Bush does. Before the 2002 coup attempt against me--which Bush backed--various Presidents around the world tried to be interlocutors between Bush and Chávez. I said sure, please give him my regards. But they found it a waste of time with this U.S. President. I could talk to Clinton, but not Bush.

Muhammad's Sword

by Uri Avnery

Since the days when Roman Emperors threw Christians to the lions, the relations between the emperors and the heads of the church have undergone many changes.

Constantine the Great, who became Emperor in the year 306 - exactly 1700 years ago - encouraged the practice of Christianity in the empire, which included Palestine. Centuries later, the church split into an Eastern (Orthodox) and a Western (Catholic) part. In the West, the Bishop of Rome, who acquired the title of Pope, demanded that the Emperor accept his superiority.

The struggle between the Emperors and the Popes played a central role in European history and divided the peoples. It knew ups and downs. Some Emperors dismissed or expelled a Pope, some Popes dismissed or excommunicated an Emperor. One of the Emperors, Henry IV, "walked to Canossa", standing for three days barefoot in the snow in front of the Pope's castle, until the Pope deigned to annul his excommunication.

But there were times when Emperors and Popes lived in peace with each other. We are witnessing such a period today. Between the present Pope, Benedict XVI, and the present Emperor, George Bush II, there exists a wonderful harmony. Last week's speech by the Pope, which aroused a world-wide storm, went well with Bush's crusade against "Islamofascism", in the context of the "Clash of Civilizations".

IN HIS lecture at a German university, the 265th Pope described what he sees as a huge difference between Christianity and Islam: while Christianity is based on reason, Islam denies it. While Christians see the logic of God's actions, Muslims deny that there is any such logic in the actions of Allah.

As a Jewish atheist, I do not intend to enter the fray of this debate. It is much beyond my humble abilities to understand the logic of the Pope. But I cannot overlook one passage, which concerns me too, as an Israeli living near the fault-line of this "war of civilizations".

In order to prove the lack of reason in Islam, the Pope asserts that the prophet Muhammad ordered his followers to spread their religion by the sword. According to the Pope, that is unreasonable, because faith is born of the soul, not of the body. How can the sword influence the soul?

To support his case, the Pope quoted - of all people - a Byzantine Emperor, who belonged, of course, to the competing Eastern Church. At the end of the 14th century, the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus told of a debate he had - or so he said (its occurrence is in doubt) - with an unnamed Persian Muslim scholar. In the heat of the argument, the Emperor (according to himself) flung the following words at his adversary:

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".
These words give rise to three questions: (a) Why did the Emperor say them? (b) Are they true? (c) Why did the present Pope quote them?

WHEN MANUEL II wrote his treatise, he was the head of a dying empire. He assumed power in 1391, when only a few provinces of the once illustrious empire remained. These, too, were already under Turkish threat.

At that point in time, the Ottoman Turks had reached the banks of the Danube. They had conquered Bulgaria and the north of Greece, and had twice defeated relieving armies sent by Europe to save the Eastern Empire. On May 29, 1453, only a few years after Manuel's death, his capital, Constantinople (the present Istanbul) fell to the Turks, putting an end to the Empire that had lasted for more than a thousand years.

During his reign, Manuel made the rounds of the capitals of Europe in an attempt to drum up support. He promised to reunite the church. There is no doubt that he wrote his religious treatise in order to incite the Christian countries against the Turks and convince them to start a new crusade. The aim was practical, theology was serving politics.

In this sense, the quote serves exactly the requirements of the present Emperor, George Bush II. He, too, wants to unite the Christian world against the mainly Muslim "Axis of Evil". Moreover, the Turks are again knocking on the doors of Europe, this time peacefully. It is well known that the Pope supports the forces that object to the entry of Turkey into the European Union.

IS THERE any truth in Manuel's argument?

The pope himself threw in a word of caution. As a serious and renowned theologian, he could not afford to falsify written texts. Therefore, he admitted that the Qur'an specifically forbade the spreading of the faith by force. He quoted the second Sura, verse 256 (strangely fallible, for a pope, he meant verse 257) which says: "There must be no coercion in matters of faith".
How can one ignore such an unequivocal statement? The Pope simply argues that this commandment was laid down by the prophet when he was at the beginning of his career, still weak and powerless, but that later on he ordered the use of the sword in the service of the faith. Such an order does not exist in the Qur'an. True, Muhammad called for the use of the sword in his war against opposing tribes - Christian, Jewish and others - in Arabia, when he was building his state. But that was a political act, not a religious one; basically a fight for territory, not for the spreading of the faith.

Jesus said: "You will recognize them by their fruits." The treatment of other religions by Islam must be judged by a simple test: How did the Muslim rulers behave for more than a thousand years, when they had the power to "spread the faith by the sword"?

Well, they just did not.

For many centuries, the Muslims ruled Greece. Did the Greeks become Muslims? Did anyone even try to Islamize them? On the contrary, Christian Greeks held the highest positions in the Ottoman administration. The Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians, Hungarians and other European nations lived at one time or another under Ottoman rule and clung to their Christian faith. Nobody compelled them to become Muslims and all of them remained devoutly Christian.
True, the Albanians did convert to Islam, and so did the Bosniaks. But nobody argues that they did this under duress. They adopted Islam in order to become favorites of the government and enjoy the fruits.

In 1099, the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and massacred its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants indiscriminately, in the name of the gentle Jesus. At that time, 400 years into the occupation of Palestine by the Muslims, Christians were still the majority in the country. Throughout this long period, no effort was made to impose Islam on them. Only after the expulsion of the Crusaders from the country, did the majority of the inhabitants start to adopt the Arabic language and the Muslim faith - and they were the forefathers of most of today's Palestinians.
THERE IS no evidence whatsoever of any attempt to impose Islam on the Jews. As is well known, under Muslim rule the Jews of Spain enjoyed a bloom the like of which the Jews did not enjoy anywhere else until almost our time. Poets like Yehuda Halevy wrote in Arabic, as did the great Maimonides. In Muslim Spain, Jews were ministers, poets, scientists. In Muslim Toledo, Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars worked together and translated the ancient Greek philosophical and scientific texts. That was, indeed, the Golden Age. How would this have been possible, had the Prophet decreed the "spreading of the faith by the sword"?
What happened afterwards is even more telling. When the Catholics re-conquered Spain from the Muslims, they instituted a reign of religious terror. The Jews and the Muslims were presented with a cruel choice: to become Christians, to be massacred or to leave. And where did the hundreds of thousand of Jews, who refused to abandon their faith, escape? Almost all of them were received with open arms in the Muslim countries. The Sephardi ("Spanish") Jews settled all over the Muslim world, from Morocco in the west to Iraq in the east, from Bulgaria (then part of the Ottoman Empire) in the north to Sudan in the south. Nowhere were they persecuted. They knew nothing like the tortures of the Inquisition, the flames of the auto-da-fe, the pogroms, the terrible mass-expulsions that took place in almost all Christian countries, up to the Holocaust.

WHY? Because Islam expressly prohibited any persecution of the "peoples of the book". In Islamic society, a special place was reserved for Jews and Christians. They did not enjoy completely equal rights, but almost. They had to pay a special poll-tax, but were exempted from military service - a trade-off that was quite welcome to many Jews. It has been said that Muslim rulers frowned upon any attempt to convert Jews to Islam even by gentle persuasion - because it entailed the loss of taxes.

Every honest Jew who knows the history of his people cannot but feel a deep sense of gratitude to Islam, which has protected the Jews for fifty generations, while the Christian world persecuted the Jews and tried many times "by the sword" to get them to abandon their faith.
THE STORY about "spreading the faith by the sword" is an evil legend, one of the myths that grew up in Europe during the great wars against the Muslims - the reconquista of Spain by the Christians, the Crusades and the repulsion of the Turks, who almost conquered Vienna. I suspect that the German Pope, too, honestly believes in these fables. That means that the leader of the Catholic world, who is a Christian theologian in his own right, did not make the effort to study the history of other religions.

Why did he utter these words in public? And why now?

There is no escape from viewing them against the background of the new Crusade of Bush and his evangelist supporters, with his slogans of "Islamofascism" and the "Global War on Terrorism" - when "terrorism" has become a synonym for Muslims. For Bush's handlers, this is a cynical attempt to justify the domination of the world's oil resources. Not for the first time in history, a religious robe is spread to cover the nakedness of economic interests; not for the first time, a robbers' expedition becomes a Crusade.

The speech of the Pope blends into this effort. Who can foretell the dire consequences?

Remote-controlled peace activist crushers

Caterpillar Inc. is working on robotic machinery, a development which will no doubt cause a great deal of joy in Israel. Israelis will soon be able to crush peace activists, or knock down walls on top of grandmothers, all with the luxury of remote control.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Osama’s “death”, CIA, OIL, and Opium Smuggling

Sept. 25, 2006 --
A report in the French newspaper L'est Republicain, which published a leaked French Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) intelligence dossier dated September 21stating that a single Saudi intelligence source claimed Osama Bin Laden died of typhoid fever in August may be an attempt to diffuse controversy about a Pakistani cease fire agreement with pro-Taliban tribal leaders in Waziristan on the Afghan-Pakistani border, according to U.S. intelligence sources with experience in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Earlier this month, ABC News reported on the comments of Pakistani Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Director General of Inter Services Public Relations, that Bin Laden and his deputy Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, would not be taken into custody if they agreed to become "peaceful citizens." The Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and the Pakistani embassy in Washington claimed that Gen. Sultan's comments were misunderstood, however, the fact remains that the Pakistani agreement with the pro-Taliban tribes, especially those in North Waziristan, leaves a number of Al Qaeda-affiliated fighters in place, including those from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Uighurstan, and other countries who now live under the protection of the Pakistan-recognized Islamic Emirate of Waziristan -- an entity that provides the Taliban and Al Qaeda with their first safe state after their loss of Afghanistan to a U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

The report of Bin Laden's death is likely a Saudi feint designed to relieve U.S. pressure on Pakistan's government and the pro-Taliban emirate of Waziristan. The furor surrounding former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's alleged threat to bomb Pakistan into the "stone age" if it did not join the "war on terrorism" immediately following the 911 attacks is also a clever ploy to keep Pakistan in line with U.S. pipeline plans for the region, according to energy industry sources.

Bin Laden "death" -- Chalk it up to Saudi and Pakistani smoke and mirrors.

The sudden sidelining of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Bush administration involves natural gas pipeline politics in the region. According to sources involved in pre-911 negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan on the construction of a Central Asian gas pipeline (CentGas) pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea was a ruse by the CIA -- using UNOCAL, Enron, and Rand as fronts -- to keep a channel of communications open with the Taliban. These knowledgeable sources claim that UNOCAL and the other CentGas partners never spent a dime of their own money on the CentGas negotiations and that all the funding came from the CIA. The CentGas deal was known as a "political project" within the energy industry. The UNOCAL lead in the CentGas project was Bob Todor, an executive vice president of UNOCAL responsible for Central Asia. The reason for the CIA's bankrolling with "black budget" money of UNOCAL in negotiations with the Taliban was to dissuade the company and its partners from doing business with Iran by building a pipeline from Turkmenistan through that country to the port of Bandar Abbas.

The CentGas "political project" with the Taliban was led by veteran U.S. diplomat and native Texan Robert Oakley, a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan (and Somalia and Zaire), coordinator of U.S. military aid to the Afghan Mujaheddin, State Department counter-terrorism corrdinator, and key Iran-Contra scandal figure (along with Richard Armitage, who negotiated U.S. weapons sales to Iran directly with Israeli intermediaries). Oakley was assisted by UNOCAL consultant and Afghanistan native Zalmay Khalilzad (former U.S. envoy to the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan and current U.S. ambassador to Iraq who was educated in neocon Leo Straussian politics at the University of Chicago). Khalizad, who worked for Rand, was recommended for the CentGas job by Cambridge Associates, an "investment firm" with offices in Arlington, Virginia and Dallas.

Energy industry sources also confirmed a high level CentGas meeting involving the Taliban, Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, representatives of UNOCAL and Enron, the CIA, and Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi taking place in Tashkent in 1996. The CentGas "political project" also involved then-Saudi intelligence chief and the Royal Family's "policeman" (now ambassador to the United States) Prince Turki traveling to Jalalabad, Afghanistan to meet Osama Bin Laden and warning him to "lay off" the proposed CentGas deal with the Taliban. At the time, Jalalabad was not yet under Taliban control. The Pakistani- and Saudi-supported Taliban, upon taking Jalalabad in late 1996, assured Bin Laden that he would remain under their protection. Bin Laden was told by Turki that individuals in Texas close to his late brother Salem Bin Laden (killed in a 1988 ultra-light airplane crash outside of San Antonio) personally requested Bin Laden to not interfere in the CentGas project. These Texas "individuals" reportedly included members of the Bush family, including George W. Bush and his father. Taliban representatives began to regularly visit Houston and discuss the CentGas project with UNOCAL, Enron, and politicians close to the Bush family. Meanwhile, the Saudis were convinced by their U.S. oil industry partners that the Central Asian oil and natural gas reserves represented the "next Saudi Arabia." Although this was a ruse, the Saudis decided to bankroll CentGas and other pipeline projects from the Caspian Sea to deep within former Soviet Central Asia.

Bushes to Osama Bin Laden in 1996: "Lay off" CentGas deal.

Although CentGasI was a political project to curry favor with the Taliban, recently there has been realistic U.S. interest in natural gas pipelines crisscrossing central Asia and negotiations are taking place in Ashghabat, Turkmenistan; Kabul, Afghanistan; Islamabad, Pakistan; and Quetta, capital of the Baluchistan province of Pakistan. Recently, a 30 trillion cubic feet natural gas reserve was discovered near the Turkmen town of Termez, near the Iranian frontier. The current CentGas pipeline project envisages a pipeline from the Termez field to Herat, Kandahar, Quetta, eventually linking to the Sui Southern Gas Company natural gas distribution system that links Sui, Baluchistan to Karachi in Sindh Province and the port of Gwadar. There are also plans to connect the pipeline to the Indian natural gas distribution system.

Pakistan, under U.S. pressure, has cracked down on Baluchi and Sindhi nationalists -- jailing and torturing many nationalist leaders and assassinating Baluchistan's revered 80 year old leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in August. Baluchistan political leaders have begun to challenge the former princely state's forced annexation by Pakistan. The Khan of Kalat recently convened the first grand jirga in 130 years and called for the independence of Baluchistan -- citing the fact that the land was never part of British India and should have never been made a part of Pakistan. The United States, the pipeline companies, and the Musharraf regime, keenly aware that Baluchistan represents 40 percent of Pakistan's land area and 4 percent of its population, want to stamp out Baluchi nationalism for two reasons -- it endangers the Termez-Pakistan pipeline and creates a problem for a U.S. military invasion of Iran's Baluchi region in the southeast of the country.

Baluchi nationalism threatens new CentGas pipeline and U.S. plans for invasion of Iran.
In support of the Termez-Herat-Kandahar-Quetta-Sui-Gwadar pipeline, the United States continues to rebuild the original Kabul-Kandahar-Herat highway, originally built by the Morrisen Knudsen Construction Company with U.S. funds in the 1960s. In 1996, the Boise, Idaho-based Washington Group acquired Morrison-Knudsen. The Washington Group is bankrolled by the Bush family-connected Carlyle Group, according to specialists who have worked on the CentGas project and is currently involved in building and rebuilding military bases in Afghanistan. The current Kabul-Kandahar-Herat highway project was awarded to the New Jersey-based Louis Berger Corp. and kicked off by then-US ambassador Khalilzad in October 2004. The work is supported by two Turkish subcontractors and is being partly financed by Saudi Arabia and Japan, along with the United States. There are plans to link the highway with the Pakistani port of Gwadar.

Pakistan had to sideline the Taliban in the Northwest Frontier Province and their Al Qaeda allies to make way for a 700 km pipeline from Uzbekistan through northern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan to India. The route would be Termez-Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar. However, this route takes the pipeline through territory controlled by pro-Taliban tribes and Al Qaeda units. Therefore, Pakistan's Prime Minister Aziz, was compelled to seek a peace treaty with the pro-Taliban tribes (and, by default, with Al Qaeda). It serves the interests of Pakistan and its pipeline partners, including the Hamid Karzai government, Mazar-e-Sharif Uzbek warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the Karimov government in Tashkent, BP Amoco, Royal Dutch Shell, Russia's Gazprom, and Indian power companies to tamp down the "Taliban" threat in order to proceed with the Uzbek-Afghan-Pakistan pipeline.

Sources close to the Aga Khan (the Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims) report that his special envoy to Kabul and Islamabad has complained to the Hamid Karzai government about the involvement of U.S. Special Forces and paramilitary private contractors in Afghan opium commerce. The smuggling of opium from Afghanistan, according to Afghan and Ismaili sources, involves trans-shipment routes through Turkey and the Balkans. The U.S. Special Forces are working with Russian-Israeli Mafia and Greek and Kurdish Mafia syndicates in Turkey to smuggle the opium. The proceeds from the opium smuggling are being laundered through Russian/Israeli Mafia-controlled banks in Cyprus.

U.S. Special Forces' opium smuggling in Afghanistan draws ire of Aga Khan.

The smuggling is also reported to involve the huge worldwide air cargo fleet of alleged Russian Jewish weapons smuggler (and friend of Afghan warlord Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum and former supplier of arms to the Taliban and Al Qaeda) Viktor Bout. Iranian intelligence is also keenly aware of the U.S. military's role in smuggling Afghan opium to Turkey and beyond.


As previously reported by WMR, the Russian/Israeli Mafia-connected Jack Abramoff targeted recently-convicted Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney with tainted money in order to neutralize him as a back channel for the CIA to Tehran. Ney worked in Iran's School of Shiraz in 1978 where he became conversant in Farsi. He was also an "energy consultant" (CIA non-official cover) at the same time and was involved with Iran's initial nuclear program development, a program encouraged and assisted by the United States. While a member of the House, Ney provided important contacts for the CIA's Counter-proliferation Division and the CIA front company exposed by the White House -- Brewster Jennings & Associates.

But Ney may not be the only back channel to Iran neutralized by the neo-cons, who are anxious for a war with Iran. According to WMR's Middle East sources, the recent rape charges against Israel's President Moshe Katsav reportedly are an attempt to neutralize him as a back channel to Tehran. Katsav, an Iranian Yazdi Jew, is said to have an important direct link to former Iranian President Mohamed Khatami. One of Katsav's cousins studied with Khatami at Tehran University. In fact, Khatami studied and translated the works of Alexis de Tocqueville into Farsi. Katsav's back channel to Khatami, whose recent visit to the United States was decried by the neo-con quarters, was as worrisome to the neo-cons as Ney's direct links to Tehran. Therefore, Katsav was charged with sexually assaulting a member of the staff at his official residence -- eliminating another important link between the West and Iran.

According to U.S. intelligence sources, one of the reasons former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was eager to expose the CIA's Counter-Proliferation work in South and Southeast Asia was that it focused on long-standing smuggling routes dating back to the 1970s, when Armitage worked as a partner for SEA THAI Ltd., a CIA "import-export" proprietary firm in Bangkok. Part of his time with SEA THAI was during the CIA directorship of George H. W. Bush in 1976, a time when the CIA was engaged in opium smuggling with the northern Burmese renegade army of Gen. Khun Sa. This was also a time during which the initial nuclear weapons smuggling operations of Pakistan's Abdul Qadeer Khan and his CIA enablers was underway -- operations that were known to Bob Ney in Iran in the late 1970s and other CIA agents who preceded by over a decade Valerie Plame Wilson and Brewster Jennings in tracking the nuclear smuggling routes that also involved drug smuggling operations. Before arriving in Bangkok, Armitage was stationed in Tehran from 1975 to 1976 where he worked with future Iran-Contra weapons smuggling perpetrator, Gen. Richard Secord.

In 1978, without any previous experience on Capitol Hill, Armitage became administrative assistant to Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas. Had Gerald Ford won re-election as president in 1976, it is clear that Armitage would have gone to the White House to work for a Vice President Bob Dole. Instead, he bided his time and joined the Reagan administration in 1981 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and Pacific Affairs and then as 1983 to May 1989, he served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1983 to 1989. From 1989 to 1993, President George H. W. Bush appointed Armitage Special Mediator for Water in the Middle East and Coordinator for Emergency Humanitarian Assistance to the Newly Independent States (NIA) -- a position in which Armitage had first-hand contact with post-Soviet leaders like Azerbaijan's Gaidar Aliev, with whom Armitage would strike even closer ties as head of the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce. Armitage's past intrigues throughout Asia were well known to the CIA. The exposure of CIA covert networks in Asia involved in ferreting out nuclear and other smuggling activities kept sleeping dogs laying for members of the Bush II administration who feared exposure of their past and current activities.