Gear it up: Canadian conspiracy in Haiti, Hamas claims 1967 borders for truce; Iran chills & ills; October Surprise revisite
This post is spilling all over the place. I want to get this stuff out there for this week, which will surely be an interesting one for me personally, and probably the rest of the world as well.
Misc bits: Alternet sets up The Echo Chamber to track what's cracking on the Left. Their website is set up really well. BillMonk will do all these mysterious things to split restaurant tabs for you and keep track of cash that people owe other people socially.
Because Spin can stop global warming: NY Times: Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him.
Vote for the 2006 Bloggies awards.
Time to Drink like there's no tomorrow: Dear Leader will have to explain himself on Tuesday then. Probably the usual batch of veiled threats towards Muslims and promises of eschatology-based improvements for the everyday nuclear family. China is building a Tokamak fusion reactor apparently. I wish we would have the guts to try stuff like that these days.
An important internet advisory not to shave your ass hair.
Hillary's war pandering is sickening. Raimondo is right. Sy Hersh is saying there are American covert ops going on in Iran. Via DefenseTech.org, a really hilarious discussion of nuclear targeting technology that would hypothetically be involved in an insane first strike.
A return to Global Guerrilla theory and fourth generation warfare. I am not going to elaborate some complete 21st Century Clauswitzian doctrine. But I will say that current American military doctrine is pathetically outdated, poorly led, and really doesn't even recognize its own roots in the guerilla tactics of the Revolutionary War (and KTCA's sweet portrayal in Liberty! lately have reminded me of this).
I think that Global Guerrillas is a site full of useful information, even though its love of buzzwordery gets a little annoying. There is a glaring need for a less stupid jargon around this whole field, and GG is good stab at the problem. Certainly the connection between the 'Open Source' model of software development, and the curious 'bazaar' of violent action in Iraq is really interesting. Consider "The Bazaar of violence in Iraq," "The Bazaar's Open Source Platform," "Target: The Fallujah TAZ [Temporary Autonomous Zone]," "A Shadow OPEC," "Guerrilla Entrepreneurs" (especially), "Weak, failed and collapsed states," "Iraq's security system meltdown" featuring swarming tactics, the "Loyalist Paramilitaries" option (which sucks), based on "Primary Loyalties," "Homemade Microwave weapons." Also useful: "SWARM: Fuel and Oil Disruption in Iraq." And the Open Source War.
One really interesting tie-in from T.E. Lawrence "of Arabia" about the value of "Partial vs. Complete System Disruption." The lesson: Throwing monkey wrenches into the system is a better way to weaken the enemy than outright destruction, because attempting to restore a damaged system (or complete an impossible goal, i.e. 'democratizing Iraq') really saps the energy of the occupier over the long term. Lawrence and the Arabs hassled the Turks to pin them down without forcing a retreat, because if the Turks retreated from Arabia they would go fight the British farther north. Far better to harass them, tie them up in the desert, and still get freedom of movement, as they are distracted by defending their rail lines. Sweet.
And by the way, thanks also for "AL QAEDA'S GRAND STRATEGY: SUPERPOWER BAITING". Correct, sir.
I am opposed to fanatical visions of militaristic conquering, installing 'rule sets' and expecting some kind of 'global sys-admin force' to come in and generate compliant countries. What the hell am I talking about? Thomas Barnett's vision of The Pentagon's New Map, which I read and it scared the shit out of me. William Lind, a paleoconservative expert of fourth-generation warfare, explains why this is a hellish idea.
Yet I fear that the USAID/IRI/NED are the sort of evolving foreign policy complex that wants to do just this crazy kind of shit. What? Where? Look at Haiti to see Barnett's vision in action, I would say.
Suspicious actions in Haiti: I don't really know what the hell is happening in Haiti, but it seems shady, and it seems that sketchy international organizations like the International Republican Institute, some bizarre shadow branch of the United Nations called the United Nations Office for Project Services, USAID and others are attempting to cement the rule of mean anglicized elites in Haiti right now.
According to Anthony Fenton, a Canadian independent journalist, on Democracy Now! there was a conspiracy between the U.S., Canadian officials and others to depose Aristide. And apparently an Associated Press writer was on the take with the National Endowment for Democracy, a sketchy as hell organization. Check out that interview for some serious insanity.
Also check out InTheNameofDemocracy.org which is a new group monitoring the global shadow groups like NED, IRI and USAID's various tentacles.
There is a broad outline here of these huge organizations having funds channeled into them from the CIA, State Department and nasty corporations. Basically, it looks like a spinning sawblade of Washington-consensus foreign policy, managing the little countries under a new Monroe Doctrine. Right-wing Cubans are involved. There was a really complex yet enlightening article in the NY Times Sunday about how the IRI is sort of a shadow government-forming thing that essentially helped get Aristide deposed.
Lurking Koppel: Ted Koppel, of all people, pops up to make some salient points about the horrible dynamics of TV news in the NY Times:
Most particularly on cable news, a calculated subjectivity has, indeed, displaced the old-fashioned goal of conveying the news dispassionately. But that, too, has less to do with partisan politics than simple capitalism. Thus, one cable network experiments with the subjectivity of tender engagement: "I care and therefore you should care." Another opts for chest-thumping certitude: "I know and therefore you should care."
Even Fox News's product has less to do with ideology and more to do with changing business models. Fox has succeeded financially because it tapped into a deep, rich vein of unfulfilled yearning among conservative American television viewers, but it created programming to satisfy the market, not the other way around. CNN, meanwhile, finds itself largely outmaneuvered, unwilling to accept the label of liberal alternative, experimenting instead with a form of journalism that stresses empathy over detachment.
It's worth looking back to January 20, 1980 for a moment, when the election of Ronald Reagan somehow transformed itself into the release of the Iranian hostages. "You could see then that the fix was in, somehow," as someone older than me once put it. So was there an "October Surprise" arrangement that brought this about, a secret conspiracy between Reagan's political campaign, and the newly arrived radicals in Tehran? Well, Robert Perry says that the was a conspiracy, and he's been kicking around this one for a while. (And guess what, I bet Iran will do something exciting this October, too)
The Imperium's Quarter Century By Robert Parry. January 20, 2006
If there is a birth date for today’s American Imperium, it would be Jan. 20, 1981, exactly a quarter century ago, when Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President and Iran released 52 American hostages under circumstances that remain a mystery to this day.
The freedom of the hostages, ending a 444-day crisis, brought forth an outpouring of patriotism that bathed the new President in an aura of heroism as a leader so feared by America’s enemies that they scrambled to avoid angering him. It was viewed as a case study of how U.S. toughness could restore the proper international order.
That night, as fireworks lit the skies of Washington, the celebration was not only for a new President and for the freed hostages, but for a new era in which American power would no longer be mocked. That momentum continues today in George W. Bush’s “preemptive” wars and the imperial boasts about a “New American Century.”
......What’s now known about the Iranian hostage crisis suggests that the “coincidence” of the Reagan Inauguration and the Hostage Release was not a case of frightened Iranians cowering before a U.S. President who might just nuke Tehran.
The preponderance of evidence suggests that it was a prearranged deal between the Republicans and the Iranians. The Republicans got the hostages and the political bounce; Iran’s Islamic fundamentalists got a secret supply of weapons and various other payoffs.
Though the full history remains a state secret – in part because of an executive order signed by George W. Bush on his first day in office in 2001 – it appears Republicans did contact Iran’s mullahs during the 1980 campaign; agreements were reached; and a clandestine flow of U.S. weapons followed the hostage release.
Impending death of the Petrodollar: Nowadays Iran is planning to open an oil exchange market priced in euros, not dollars. This is a really big deal that makes up a major undercurrent driving all the current hostilities. This Iranian 'bourse' would be a huge blow to the stability of the U.S. dollar. It will prove really hilarious to the Russians and others to sit back and watch as America flails around trying to defend the almighty Petrodollar. This is the kind of stuff that gives Dick Cheney the cold sweats. Really a big deal, and there's a lot more to be said on it.
Iran continues its strange and menacing manipulation of Holocaust symbols with new claims that "Iran mission to UN: More study needed to prove Nazi Holocaust". Meanwhile the neo-cons and alumni of Iran-Contra today hail Ahmadinejad as a really great guy for them: The Demogogue Neocons Love to Hate By Jim Lobe:
“Let us state the obvious,” wrote Reuel Marc Gerecht, the resident Gulf specialist at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute in the Weekly Standard's feature article Monday. “The new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a godsend.”
“Thank goodness for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” wrote Ilan Berman, the neoconservative author of a hawkish new book, Tehran Rising: Iran's Challenge to the United States, in the National Review Online last week.
.......Ahmadinejad's declarations, which are seen by many experts here as related at least as much to his domestic political strategy as to his foreign policy worldview, have not only been manna from heaven for neoconservatives, who have long had Tehran in their gun sights.
.....That the administration, which promulgated and then implemented a doctrine of preventive war against presumed enemies allegedly bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, should come under attack from all these sources [AIPAC etc] for excessive passivity is ironic. But it is also testimony to the degree that it has been forced by its Iraq adventure to adopt what can only be described—to the disgust of the neoconservatives, in particular—as both a new humility and a new realism with regard to Tehran.
A nugget of wisdom from The Agonist about how Iran works in Central Asia. We need to get off the crackhead rhythm of the 24-hour news cycle and look at this in terms of centuries.
Iranians making a play for their own back-yard? At least, that's what I take away from this pretty good article in the Washington Post about Central Asia. The author of the piece, Nick Schmidle writes:
[T]he Iranians hope that big-money investments in the region, coupled with a successful nuclear fuel cycle, will elevate their status in the Muslim world.
One thing you have to keep in mind about the history of Iran in Central Asia is this: since the 6th century BC when Cyrus crossed the Oxus to subdue Queen Tomyris and the Massagetae the Persians have been fixated on influencing and stabilizing the lands to their immediate north. Only twice in Persia's three millenia of history have they been overrun from the West (Alexander and the Arabs). All the others came from the East and North (Mongols, Hepthalites, Turks, Uzbeks, Russians).
Kadima & The Alon Plan vs. HAMAS & 1967 Borders??: The Allon or 'Alon' Plan was the 1967 scheme to annex a big swath of the West Bank. The dimensions are roughly laid out in this map from IsraeliPalestinianProCon.org. Now, apparently HAMAS is advocating the full 1967 borders as a basis for a truce. We will see how horrible the U.S. media makes such an argument sound.
Ariel Sharon's basic strategy was to solidify the Allon Plan and make it palatable to the American public, or at least get Congress to swallow it.
Hamas hints at truce in return for '67 borders
By Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
A long-term truce (hudna) with Israel is possible if Israel retreats to its pre-1967 borders and releases Palestinian prisoners, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar told CNN on Monday.
"We can expect to establish our independent state on the area before '67 and we can give a long-term hudna," Zahar told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Zahar laid out a series of conditions that he said could lead to years of co-existence alongside Israel. He said that if Israel "is ready to give us the national demand to withdraw from the occupied area [in] '67; to release our detainees; to stop their aggression; to make geographic link between Gaza Strip and West Bank, at that time, with assurance from other sides, we are going to accept to establish our independent state at that time, and give us one or two, 10, 15 years time in order to see what is the real intention of Israel after that."
Asked about Hamas' call for Israel's destruction, Zahar would not say whether that remains the goal. "We are not speaking about the future, we are speaking now," he said. Zahar argued that Israel has no true intention of accepting a Palestinian state, despite international agreements including the Road Map for Middle East peace.
Until Israel says what its final borders will be, Hamas will not say whether it will ever recognize Israel, Zahar said. "If Israel is ready to tell the people what is the official border, after that we are going to answer this question." Asked whether Hamas would renounce terrorism, Zahar argued that the definition of terrorism is unfair.
Israel is "killing people and children and removing our agricultural system -- this is terrorism," he said. "When the Americans [are] attacking the Arabic and Islamic world whether in Afghanistan and Iraq and they are playing a dirty game in Lebanon, this is terrorism." He described Hamas as a "liberating movement."
.....Hamas will not oppose Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas if the latter decides to negotiate with Israel, the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, Musa Abu-Marzouk, said Sunday.
Ok then, those are promising signs from a shadowy group (a pretty good history from MidEastWeb) that is suddenly blinking in the limelight. Not sure what the hell it means, but I don't know if they do either.
Lots of things are happening. Former CIA dude Pat Lang reacts to the election with typical CIA sarcasm. Hamas leader: 'Palestinian army' possible. Haaretz: Umm Mohammed talks politics By Amira Hass, "Hamas deputy says resistance to 'occupation' will continue". "Turning from Terror / A Green Dawn is on the rise." "Hamas' next step / In search of a united force".
'East Jerusalem,' he intoned dryly from the podium, 'six seats.' And with each successful candidate he named, he listed their party. 'Change and Reform,' he read out first, the banner under which Hamas, an organisation better known for its dozens of suicide attacks against Israel, was standing. And again: 'Change and Reform'. And yet again. Four times out of six.
He turned to Hebron, a clean nine-seat sweep for Hamas. So he continued through Nablus, North Gaza, Tulkarm, Jenin and Gaza City. Even the largely Christian area of Bethlehem saw two of its four seats fall to Hamas. Among the Gaza winners was Um Nidal, also called Mariam Farah, a gun-toting woman known as the 'Mother of Martyrs' who ordered three of her sons to their deaths as suicide bombers.
As Hanna Nasser spoke, mentally the crowded room coloured in a map of Gaza and the West Bank, from the flat and crowded slums of Gaza's Khan Younis to the hilly cities of the West Bank, painting it in Hamas green. Only wild and dangerous Rafah at Gaza's southern tip voted unanimously for the old order.
With each result history was gyrating more wildly about the auditorium with its stone-faced electoral commission members sitting bleakly in a row. Everything had been transformed.
Observations from Gilbert Achear on JuanCole.com:
4. The irresistible rise of Ariel Sharon to the helm of the Israeli state resulted from his September 2000 provocation that ignited the "Second Intifada" -- an uprising that because of its militarization lacked the most positive features of the popular dynamics of the first Intifada. A PA that, by its very nature, could definitely not rely on mass self-organization and chose the only way of struggle it was familiar with, fostered this militarization. Sharon's rise was also a product of the dead-end reached by the Oslo process: the clash between the Zionist interpretation of the Oslo frame -- an updated version of the 1967 "Alon Plan" by which Israel would relinquish the populated areas of the 1967 occupied territories to an Arab administration, while keeping colonized and militarized strategic chunks -- and the PA's minimal requirements of recovering all, or nearly all the territories occupied in 1967, without which it knew it would lose its remaining clout with the Palestinian population. The electoral victory of war criminal Ariel Sharon in February 2001 -- an event as much "shocking" as the electoral victory of Hamas, at the very least -- inevitably reinforced the Islamic fundamentalist movement, his counterpart in terms of radicalization of stance against the backdrop of a still-born historic compromise. All of this was greatly propelled, of course, by the (very resistible, but unresisted) accession to power of George W. Bush, and the unleashing of his wildest imperial ambitions thanks to the attacks on September 11, 2001.
5. Ariel Sharon played skillfully on the dialectics between himself and his Palestinian true opposite number, Hamas. His calculation was simple: in order to be able to carry through unilaterally his own hard-line version of the Zionist interpretation of a "settlement" with the Palestinians, he needed two conditions: a) to minimize international pressure upon him -- or rather U.S. pressure, the only one that really matters to Israel; and b) to demonstrate that there is no Palestinian leadership with which Israel could "do business." For this, he needed to emphasize the weakness and unreliability of the PA by fanning the expansion of the Islamic fundamentalist movement, knowing that the latter was anathema to the Western states. Thus every time there was some kind of truce, negotiated by the PA with the Islamic organizations, Sharon's government would resort to an "extrajudicial execution" -- in plain language, an assassination -- in order to provoke these organizations into retaliation by the means they specialized in: suicide attacks, their "F-16s" as they say. This had the double advantage of stressing the PA inability to control the Palestinian population, and enhancing Sharon's own popularity in Israel. The truth of the matter is that the electoral victory of Hamas is the outcome that Sharon's strategy was very obviously seeking, as many astute observers did not fail to point out.
Haaretz has lots to mull over. I think "hostile rabble" is a tad racist, but that's what appears to be on their minds right now. Analysis: Wave of democracy pits Israel against 'Arab street':
By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent
The Palestinian Authority election marks the beginning of a new period in the region that could be termed "the era of the masses." Henceforth Israel will have to factor into its foreign policy something it has always ignored - Arab public opinion.
Israel has always based its regional policy on arrangements and terror-balances with the Arab dictators. They understood force and Israel could do business with them. Their authority was seen as a barrier protecting Israel from the rage of the hostile rabble in the "Arab street." That was the basis of the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, Yasser Arafat and his heirs and the game rules vis-a-vis Syria and Lebanon.
But those days are over. The democratization process that U.S. President George Bush has triggered and the open debate promoted by Arab satellite networks are causing the old frameworks to crumble. The mass demonstrations that led to the Syrians being driven from Lebanon, the elections in Iraq and those in the territories are merely the beginning. As far as Israel is concerned, the worst stage will come when the democratic wave washes over Jordan, its strategic ally; Egypt with its modern army and F-16 squadrons, and Syria and its Scud and chemical warhead stores.
The mess continues. Shadowy times ahead.
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