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Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Another step for war without end?

Remember how the U.S. government "proved" that Osama bin Laden (and, by extension, apparently, the entire nation of Afghanistan) was responsible for 9/11? No, you don't, since at least before the invasion of Afghanistan happened, there was little if any actual proof. But at least it was, in some way at least, a provable event.

Then there was the invasion of Iraq. Here, the proof was a combination of faked and imaginary, but again, the alleged reason for the invasion was, at least, in some way provable.

But now we have the latest declaration: the Pentagon says that cyber attacks on the U.S. will be met with physical counterattacks. Aside from the minor Constitutional issue ("If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks," an unnamed military official told the Journal, which kind of skips the "Congress authorizes wars and the President orders them" step), we are now really in the realm of the unprovable, not to mention the spoofable. How can we not imagine the possibility that hackers in country A could "shut down our power grid" and make it look to all the world as if the attack came from country B? Or how can we not imagine, to be even more paranoid but not that much less realistic, that the U.S., wanting to attack Iran, could have one part of its cyber-war apparatus shut down the power grid and make it look to another part of the apparatus that the attack came from Iran? Or perhaps the evidence, which none but the tiniest handful of people would ever see anyway, will be inconclusive (just like the evidence of the Lockerbie bombing, to name but one of many examples), but the U.S. will announce (and who will be able to disprove them?) that it was conclusive and go ahead and attack whoever they want to?

It's a scary development.

Monday, May 30, 2011


The "final warning"

On Saturday, Afghan "President" Karzai issued a "final warning" to NATO about killing civilians. The next day, NATO "protected" 38 more into the next life. So I guess that's it then, Karzai is going to expel NATO from Afghanistan, right? Right?

Sunday, May 29, 2011


How the media covers for NATO, in even the smallest ways

In the latest example of "protecting" civilians, this time in Afghanistan, the U.S./NATO forces killed 14 civilians. Then why do the opening words of the Reuters article read: "An air strike by NATO-led troops in southern Afghanistan killed at least nine civilians"? Well, because "The commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in southwestern Afghanistan apologized for the deaths of nine civilians." If he had apologized for the deaths of two civilians, apparently the article would have lead with that. And what is the basis for the commander's figures? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Contrast that to the detail provided by the Afghan governor, who reports two women, seven boys, and five girls killed (and has the bodies to prove it). Ah, but who needs facts when NATO has put out its "story" and that story must be reported, regardless of the lack of supporting evidence.

Of course it's a small matter. In a war in which thousands of civilians have been killed by U.S./NATO bombs, whether nine or 14 more were killed yesterday has little significance. The significance is rather proof yet again that every day, in every way, the corporate media strives to put the best possible face on the world's biggest terrorists, so that they may continue their "work."

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Laugh of the day: "That's not who we are"

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the U.S. government won't release bin Laden's photo (I saw more gruesome stuff on TV on "Body of Proof" last night, by the way) because "That's not who we are." We'll kill thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Libyans, etc., but releasing the photo of one dead man is "not who we are"? Really?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Government lies, media covers for them

You all know the story by now. On day one, Osama bin Laden was killed after using a woman as a human shield, and resisted capture by firing back. On day two, there was no human shield, and he was unarmed (but still "resisted" capture, as if a bunch of heavily armed, well-muscled Navy SEALs couldn't capture an unarmed old man with a bad kidney without killing him and without endangering themselves).

This much is SOP - standard operating procedure. And, unfortunately, the media response is also SOP. Listening to tonight's news, I heard two different media outlets (NBC and BBC) give exactly the same excuse - "this kind of thing always happens, the information gets 'refined' as time goes on." No, media, the information did not get "refined." In reality, it's just like asking your kid who broke the lamp. First answer: "not me." Second answer: "not me." Third answer: "I tripped and fell into it accidentally." Final answer: "I was playing football in the living room and the ball hit the lamp."

With the military, it's virtually the same. The "refining the details" always goes from the initial "we did nothing wrong" (e.g., everyone we killed were terrorists) to "well, maybe we did" (e.g., yes, some civilians were killed in the crossfire) and eventually to "yeah, we did" (e.g., yes, they were all women and small children). The administration could have said "we're still learning details" on the first day, but no, the truth (if indeed the truth on day one was that they really were still learning the details) is not how they roll. No, they start with the spin, and eventually, the truth comes out. The only surprising thing here is how fast it did.

Or, should I say, how fast the initial lie has begun to break down; it's doubtful we still have the truth. The military is still sticking to the story that a helicopter "stalled" and couldn't take off so they blew it up. Really? Is quality control on U.S. military helicopters that bad that one out of four couldn't complete its flight plan? C'mon, it "stalled" because it was damaged by fire from bin Laden's guards. But admitting that would give some kind of "credit" to them and make "our boys" look less than superhuman, and it just isn't acceptable to do that.

Will we eventually learn that some of the attackers were in fact injured or even killed, contrary to the current story? I doubt it, since this was an extremely secretive unit of the types of people who would never let that kind of fact out, and the families of any dead will be given a suitable cover story about how and where their family member died.

As for the death of bin Laden itself, I'm willing to believe he is dead, but honestly, is the Administration trying to maximize the number of people in the world who don't believe it? It sure seems so. And as far as the "proof"? A member of Congress (Finestein I think) was telling the media that the DNA was conclusive. Really? What's the chain of evidence? For all we know, if this test was conducted (and I assume it was), they could have been comparing the DNA of one of bin Laden's siblings with the DNA of another one of his siblings. No, I don't actually think so, but whatever "evidence" the U.S. puts forward, it's hardly likely to be any more credible than the claims that bin Laden was armed or that he used a woman as a human shield. That is to say, lacking all credibility whatsoever.

Sunday, May 01, 2011


Command and control center destroyed by NATO

Not sure just what was being commanded or controlled, though:
Saturday's strike reduced most of the Gadhafi family compound, which takes up an entire block in the residential Garghour neighborhood, to rubble.

The complex targeted Saturday contained three one-story buildings and a large yard with lawns, geranium flower beds, a woodshed, a swing and a table soccer game. A dead deer and a twisted bathtub lay on the debris-strewn grass.

Cooking pots with food, including stuffed peppers, noodles and a stew, had been left on the stove, covered with aluminum foil.

In one of the living rooms, a pile of video games, including FIFA 10, were scattered on a sofa. In what looked like a children's bedroom, half an apple and a glass container of Nutella chocolate spread stood on a night stand.
And, of course, there are those civilians that NATO is supposed to be protecting:
In an attack officials said killed the leader's second-youngest son and three grandchildren.
I do hope that the "White House" realizes that targeting the residence of the leader of a country on the grounds that it is a "command and control center" makes it clear that, from their point of view at least, the White House is a legitimate military target. Heck, the White House even has a "War Room."

And then in another attack:

Shattered glass litters the carpet at the Libyan Down's Syndrome Society, and dust covers pictures of grinning children that adorn the hallway, thrown into darkness by a NATO strike early on Saturday.

The missile completely destroyed an adjoining office in the compound that houses the government's commission for children.

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