Tom Tancredo is scary; Booz Allen got its mitts in; Chomsky on conspiracies; IRC's Right Web helps track these cats

These days many of us (ok, me in particular) think about dark currents in the body politic which might rise up and topple whatever remains of this country's best traditions. And in the 21st century, xenophobia is hardly dead. While 'immigration reform' seems a benign label for a huge and messy set of issues, some quasi-mainstream politicians of the right-wing are cutting to the bone and forming coalitions among the far right, white supremacist and militia movements.

Tom Tancredo is one of these, evidently. The International Relations Center puts out material that I find often aligns with my concerns, and they do a good job of stressing how the left really needs to put together a focused policy before all these think-tank trolls eat us. IRC's Right Web, in particular, puts out useful policy papers and excellent profile pages of many in the constellation of neo-cons and shady establishment operators who otherwise can't easily be pinned down. It also lists their many corporate and think-tank ties.

 Images Irc 11 218This helps make more sense of the conflicts of interest, of, for example, James "World War IV" Woolsey, former CIA director, a leading war propagandist and neo-conservative of sorts who said about 345,000 times on network TV in 2002 that Mohammed Atta had been spotted with an Iraqi agent in Prague — thus unifying the perceived enemy images of the Baath government and the 9/11 conspirators. But Woolsey also is an executive at Booz Allen Hamilton, which despite the crunked name, is a huge and shady defense contractor that makes millions whenever the U.S. gets tied up forcing its will somewhere. More wars == more cash for this niche industry, and without Right Web it's hard to decipher. (Booz was contracted to get $62 million for helping designing the not-so-dead Total Information Awareness program, according to DoD. Booz defense revenues alone totaled $536,641,000 in 2004 - the #10 federal contractor! Yes, Virginia, war ==> cash. )

david wurmserWithout Right Web, no one would even know what David "Clean Break" Wurmser, of Office of Special Plans fame looks like (high in the pantheon of defense bureaucrats who helped start the war with manipulated WMD intel). Right Web's explanation of the Office of Special Plans is really pretty good:

In the days after September 11 terrorist attacks, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith started cooking intelligence to meet the needs of the radically new foreign and military policy that included regime change in Iraq as its top priority.

To bolster the Iraq war party, they needed intelligence that would persuade the U.S. public and policymakers that Saddam Hussein’s regime should be one of the first targets of the war on terrorism. Convinced that the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the State Department would not provide them with type of alarmist threat assessments necessary to justify a preventive war, they created their own tightly controlled intelligence operation at the top levels of the Pentagon bureaucracy.

The day after the September 11 attacks Wolfowitz authorized the creation of an informal team focused on ferreting out damaging intelligence about Iraq. This loosely organized team soon became the Office of Special Plans (OSP) directed by Abram Shulsky, formerly of RAND and the National Strategy Information Center (NSIC). The objective of this closet intelligence team, according to Rumsfeld, was to “search for information on Iraq’s hostile intentions or links to terrorists.” OSP’s mission was to create intelligence that the Pentagon and vice president could use to press their case for an Iraq invasion with the president and Congress.

The OSP played a key role in providing Rumseld, Cheney, and the president himself with the intelligence frequently cited to justify the March 2003 invasion. By late 2003 the OSP was closed down, having accomplished its mission of providing the strategic intelligence cited by the administration in the build-up to the invasion. OSP’s staff and operations were folded back into the normal operations of the NESA and into its Office of Northern Gulf Affairs.

Like some sleazy Georgetown party, in the circles of power, Frank Carlucci, Ahmed Chalabi, John Bolton, Gary Bauer, Natan Sharansky are all lurking. All of these sorts of cats are better understood with Right Web.

I should add something classic that Noam Chomsky said about all these goofy committees and seemingly conspiratorial little foundations and groups. I think it's an excellent point. Chomsky:

"It's the same with the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, all these other things the people are racing around searching for conspiracy theories about—they're 'nothing' organizations. Of course they're there, obviously rich people get together and talk to each other, and play golf with one another, and plan together—that's not a big surprise. But these conspiracy theories people are putting their energies into have virtually nothing to do with the way the institutions actually function."

(Understanding Power, 348)

(This has infuriated many conspiracy theorists) The point is not tracking this or that secret committee, it's recognizing that many have a shared world-view we should oppose. I would add that they are trying to monopolize and privatize the defense and intelligence decision-making processes while getting rich.

But let's get back to xenophobic (and highly organized) reactionaries, who paint Mexican infiltration as the Clash of Civilizations. Essentially they project flaws outward. Now that the ever-malleable symbol of 'The Jew' is not available as a rhetorical target, the General Other has gotten top billing from the latest demogogues.

 Media Loudobbs12805Tom Tancredo: Leader of the Anti-Immigrant Populist Revolt

By Tom Barry | December 30, 2005

IRC Right Web

Rep. Tom Tancredo, who has represented Colorado's Sixth District since 1999, has in the last six years succeeded in rallying an anti-immigrant populist revolt that brings together the nativists, religious right, cultural supremacists, militia movement, and anti-immigration policy institutes with a new anti-immigration wing of the Republican Party.


Describing himself as a “devotee” of Samuel Huntington and the thesis of his Clash of Civilizations treatise, Tancredo like many on the right—from social conservatives to neoconservatives—base their restrictionism less on economic reasons than on cultural and racial ones. “I believe that what we are fighting here is not just a small group of people who have hijacked a religion, but it is a civilization bent on destroying us.”


“The threat to the United States comes from two things: the act of immigration combined with the cult of multiculturalism,” argues Tancredo. “We will never be able to win in the clash of civilizations if we don't know who we are. If Western civilization succumbs to the siren song of multiculturalism, I believe we are finished.”

Like many other Republicans in the West, Tancredo takes a hard line toward China , and is a strong supporter of Taiwan. Linking China and immigration, Tancredo told a crowd of immigration restrictionists that the Chinese government is “trying to export people” as a “way of extending their hegemony.”

Concerning Iran, Tancredo advocates U.S. support for the Mujahedin-e Kalq (MEK), the armed wing of the National Council of Resistance. Although identified as a terrorist organization by the State Department, Tancredo says “we should be aiding them, instead of restricting their activities. We can use the MEK, they are in fact warriors. Where we need to use that kind of force, we can use them.”

Funny, I always believed that multiculturalism and the act of immigration were two fundamentally American gestures that once helped us become the strongest and richest country in the world. How naïve.

White cultural purity and Iranian zealots (more MEK here and here). Is this really conservatism?

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