Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category
As anyone knows who hasn’t been in a coma the past week, Iraq has exploded into war as the jihadist group ISIS has roared through northern and central Iraq, the Iraqi army basically cutting and running. As a person who was adamantly opposed to the US invasion of Iraq, this is all very disturbing to me. This is the legacy of the senseless toppling of the Saddam regime. It’s easy to turn a country into a failed state, putting it back together again is a whole other kettle of fish. In any event events on the ground are moving too fast for me to write dedicated posts on it, so I am going to just start posting updates once or twice a day. I have been following this situation intensely since it exploded on the scene last week. and at least have some grip on what’s going on. Things are changing quickly though, sources tend to be very unreliable in situations like this, especially since all involved are lying as they try to manoeuvre for their advantage. My opinions may very well change as new information arises, or gentle readers argue otherwise. As ever, I am on the side of all the innocents caught up in this unholy mess. Here then is my latest update. I also have a group on Facebook, Doug’s Darkworld, readers so inclined are welcome to join the debate there.
Monday Evening, 16 June, 2014.
Well, the ISIS have been broadcasting their war crimes. They are trying to demoralize the Iraqi army and the Shiite militias still opposing them. They may also be trying to goad the US into doing something stupid. War is insanity, what can I say. And sadly the ISIS has no monopoly on senseless violence. In other developments a Shiite militia column on the way to Samarra was ambushed by the ISIS with heavy loss of life. However enthusiastic, untrained militias mostly consisting of teenagers are unlikely to prevail against the ISIS. As the map shows the ISIS now controls more territory that many countries. The UN is pulling personnel out of Baghdad, the US has sent more troops to defend the embassy. I can only assume that even if nothing else, the US forces sailing into the Persian gulf are preparing to evacuate the embassy in a hurry if need be. The Kurds and the ISIS appear to have a defacto truce, not good for Iraq, but makes sense for the Kurds. Lastly, the Syrian Air Force has launched airstrikes in Iraq against the ISIS. Might seem odd, but the Assad regime, Iran, and the Maliki regime have been cooperating for a long time. Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to destabilize the Assad regime, but good thing we didn’t go further when the pressure was on because of their (alleged) gas attacks. The ISIS would be all the stronger. Again, no clue how this is going to turn out, but the longer this goes on the more impossible it will be to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit. Credit and Copyright: Wall Street Journal. lastly I note that Paul Bremer, architect of the utterly botched and disastrous US occupation of Iraq is now sharing his “wisdom” on NBC. No wonder Americans are clueless about the world.)
“The illegals are trying to hijack the cockpit of America’s government! Let’s roll! —William Gheen and The ALIPAC Team”
Isn’t that just lovely? Let’s use the most terrible crime in American history to compare immigrants to mass murderers. Yes that’s the message of the anti-immigrant group ALIPAC. Lovely, just lovely. It’s bad enough that 9/11 has been used to whip up anti-Muslim sentiment, strip us of our rights, support overseas wars, and the creation of a vast mind-numbingly wasteful and counterproductive police and security state … now it’s being used to foment racism in the USA! Merika!
Sigh. This is an example of why I’m having trouble blogging lately. The Religious Right in the USA is going further off the rails every day. If you aren’t a white, Evangelical Christian, heterosexual, male American … you aren’t really an American. That’s the platform of the Religious Right now, it scares me, it should scare any decent person. I’d write more posts about it, but it would just upset me more. People who want to keep up on the brain-dead antics of this formerly fringe movement should follow Right Wing Watch. A lot of it is the usual crap, trying to get religious teachings back into school, etc. Some of it is a lot worse. Tell gay couples to die on their wedding day, gays wear special rings to infect non-gays with HIV, Obamacare is designed to kill conservatives. The sort of stuff that used to be limited to flyers stuck under windshields is now mainstream fare. Jesus wept.
What does this have to do with 9/11? A lot, 9/11 really seems to have pushed a lot of right wingers over the edge. A friend of mine was calling for the USA to blanket Afghanistan with neutron bombs after 9/11. He came back and later admitted it’s a good thing he wasn’t in charge of the country that day. Many kept right on going as evidenced by the Religious Right’s every widening gap between themselves and reality. The rest of the country is trying to move forward to an America with justice and fairness for all Americans, the Right wants to return to a day (that never existed) when American was synonymous with white Evangelical Christian. And I am most definitely talking about Republicans and the Tea Party, though there are plenty of conservatives who think it’s gone too far. They are being purged from the Republican party from what I can tell. This is the legacy of 9/11, Republicans have turned into a party of hatred and divisiveness.
Then there’s the whole war monger thing. Sigh. 9/11 was indeed blow-back from our murderous foreign policy, but few if Americans know that. The propaganda that 9/11 was purely caused by America hating religious nuts who only understand violence and can’t be negotiated with is pretty much stock-in-trade for most Americans. With the full and enthusiastic cooperation of most of America’s atheists too. Sigh. Again. Yes, 9/11 was a terrible thing. And we’ve used it to justify endless 9/11s against Muslim lands. Hundreds of thousands of people have died in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as we set our military loose to “protect” America by murdering foreigners. And we wonder why foreigners hate our foreign policy, if “kill as you please” can even be described as a foreign policy.
The there’s the other 9/11, one that I didn’t even realize was a 9/11 event until recently. Yes, 40 years ago today with the full backing and aid of the CIA and USA government the democratically elected government of Chile was overthrown by a military coup, ushering in nearly two decades of repressive military dictatorship. I guess it’s only fitting that we used our own 9/11 to strip Americans of their rights and energize our efforts to overthrow governments overseas. It’s an American tradition now, like football, mom, and apple pie. And now due to Obama’s beneficent influence, even the Democrats are the party of foreign wars!
To me this is the greatest sadness and shame of 9/11. A terrible event that could have triggered a national debate and reflection on the role America plays in the world was hijacked by war mongers, war profiteers, and haters from the beginning; and we now have a country that wages war constantly abroad and spies on and restricts its citizens at home. We could have followed the Prince of Peace, instead we pledged our souls to Satan. To commemorate the loss of loved ones by killing foreigners and stripping Americans of their rights isn’t commemoration, it’s sick. America lost its way in 2001and went enthusiastically down the dark path Bin Laden wanted us to follow. Maybe someday we will wake up from the dystopian police state nightmare that has been evolving in the USA since then, but I’m not seeing many bright spots on the horizon.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, its use here in no conceivable way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image, and it is the best image I could find to illustrate my feelings about 9/11. I have no idea who to attribute it too. “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” —John Lennon)
“The Muslim Brotherhood stole the revolution, then we took it back. It’s as simple as that.”
Well, big goings on in Egypt. Millions of people recently took to the streets to protest President Morsi’s attempts to seize absolute power, and his continued refusal to make good on his promises to the opposition. He seemed determined to establish the Muslim Brotherhood as the sole ruler in Egypt, and usher in, in the words of an eleven year old Egyptian boy, religious fascism. When people took to the streets recently they turned out in record numbers, some of the largest crowds in history demanding that Morsi fulfill his promises or step down. He did neither, and when the army tried to arrange a meeting with the opposition, Morsi refused. The army then told him he had to call early elections, or they would intervene. In democratic terms, both the Army and the people of Egypt gave Morsi a vote of no confidence. Sadly, the Muslim Brotherhood has responded with violence, unspeakable violence in some cases. This video is not for the faint of heart. Morsi and much of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership have been detained, but their followers seem determined to start a civil war.
The American government is none too happy about this. They’ve as much as called Morsi’s unseating a coup, and there is much stuff and nonsense in the media. The ugly truth is that the USA has very little influence in Egypt any more. Thirty years of support for Mubarek’s corrupt dictatorship didn’t save him when the people had finally had enough, nor did it endear the USA government to the people of Egypt. Obama’s attempts to influence matters in Egypt are laughable or contemptible, but most of all, they are irrelevant. As an Egyptian contact said:
“The USA has made so many “investments” in/with the Muslim brotherhood, so they don’t like it that he was overthrown after 1 year only but its not up to them, its our country and we get to decide what we want to do with it. People here are outraged that the US Media is calling it a coup.”
Yes, technically Morsi’s removal was “illegal.” The point? What George Washington did was illegal, because he knew that government had to come from below, not from above. If it’s a not a government of the people for the people, it’s just a criminal gang. Egypt is the oldest civilization on Earth, the Egyptian people know what they’re doing. The Egyptian air force flyover above was cheered and welcomed by the people of Egypt, they stood together with their military and took back their country from religious ideologues. We are witnessing a nation’s greatest generation.
That’s my current understanding of the situation in Egypt. And I sure as hell didn’t get if from the farce that is our western media. Even Al Jazeera is towing the western line, much to the ire of Egyptians. I’m getting my view of this from local sources in Egypt, few of which are in English. The translations in the interview with the 11 year old boy are indeed accurate. I will post more as this situation develops. I am filled with hope and fear, it’s 1848 all over again. With modern social media let’s hope the outcome will be different.
Note: This post is subject to revision as my understanding of this situation evolves.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. I think it’s a frame grab from a video, I couldn’t even find it again using TinEye, so I don’t know who to attribute it too. Interesting times indeed, for once I don’t feel like ending a post with levity.)
“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” —William Shakespeare
It’s been two weeks since the Boston bombing. I’ve never heard so much bullshit in my life. Or more accurately, I’ve never heard so much pontificating crap regarding such a minor event. My God, one would think another Pearl Harbor or 9/11 happened from all the calls from on high for vengeance and change. Perspective people, two disaffected losers set off some bombs. Something that has happened multiple times in US history. Then, sanity prevailed, and life went on while the authorities did their job and hunted down the perpetrators. Except this time, it’s the crime of the century, and both the immediate response and the aftermath have been wildly out of proportion. The Mayor of New York has even suggested changing the Constitution, or at least our interpretation of it, in response to this. Good job freakazoids, now our real enemies know how to spook us; a few backpack bombs and we will run around like chickens with their heads cut off.
In other words, we’ve so obsessed on preventing another 9/11 that our response to this bombing was wildly out of proportion. 9,000 troops deployed to hunt down a teenager? A whole city placed under unconstitutional martial law? American citizens treated like an occupied country? Because of one wounded teenager? This was insane. You’d have thought Chuck Norris was loose with a neutron bomb for God’s sake. And the thing that really shows how absurd this all was, the bomber wasn’t caught until after people were let out of their homes and a citizen spotted him. The whole goddamn shutdown of the city, and the massive cost that entailed, was completely utterly unnecessary. And yet people cheer, so caught up in the Hollywood style dark comedy that the War on Terror has become.
I have bad news people. We can’t prevent all terrorist attacks, assuming this is even terrorism, which is a stretch at this point. Welcome to reality. I mean, after 9/11 we spent trillions of dollars on foreign wars and creating the greatest expansion of federal government ever, so called Homeland Security. And we passed vast and sweeping laws allowing government unprecedented powers to snoop in the name of security. And with all this staggering expense, an expense that rivals our spending in World War Two, we still got “attacked.” And the knee-jerk response from government and pundits is “We need more security!” No, we need more sanity. We should analyze the risks facing America like adults, and not be panicked into doubling down on a strategy that not only has failed, a strategy that is making terrorism more likely, not less.
It’s already clear that it aint going to happen, self-reflection and debate is no longer part of the American character. Americans are living in a Dickian Hollywood movie now, a scary world where imaginary Hitlers infest every corner of the globe and must be fought with ever more blood and sacrifice. The Republic has failed.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and it is central to illustrating the post. Tomorrow, ten specific ways our response to Boston was exactly what our enemies wanted.)
It’s the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 crime, when a tiny band of extremists flew airplanes into buildings in NY and Washington. Here we are eleven years later, still picking at the national scab. There is zero chance anyone alive that day is going to forget, so I for one am really really tired of the endless memorializing that still surrounds this event more than a decade later. Or look at it this way, if a family you knew was brutally murdered by criminals, would you and your friends relive the event every year on the anniversary of their deaths? Is that what they would have wanted? Of course not, they would have wanted their friends and family to mourn their deaths … and move on with their lives. We live our lives for the living, not for the dead. Making 9/11 a part of our national identity is a victory for Al Qaeda and Bin Laden, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams with the enthusiastic cooperation of our sensation obsessed media … encouraged by a interventionist war-profiteering cabal in Washington.
That’s the real crime of 9/11, a crime that dwarfs that of Bin Laden. Within hours the militarists and neocon interventionists in Washington were creaming in their pants, because 9/11 was the biggest blank check warmongers had ever been handed in the USA. If we had had real leadership in Washington, our leaders would have urged us to mourn and move on, and our only response to 9/11 would have been to harden cockpit doors and hunt down Bin Laden like the cockroach he was. And, God willing, maybe even look at ourselves and how our policies in the Middle East inspired Bin Laden to take up arms against America in the first place. Nope, just endless flag waving, endless demonizing of Muslims (99.999% of whom aren’t terrorists,) and endless fear-mongering. To this day just as many Americans are afraid of terrorists as they were the day after 9/11, even though the intervening decade has shown that lightning and shark attack are far more likely to kill Americans in the USA than terrorist attacks. In fact most of the terror victims in the USA since 9/11 have been American Muslims and Sikhs killed by their vengeful American neighbours.
Yet eleven years later the spending goes on, the expansion of government and the military goes on, the erosion of our freedoms in the name of security goes on, and the endless wars inspired by 9/11 go on. The only war that didn’t go on was Iraq, because the Iraqis kicked us out. And every year we have annual tear jerking ceremonies to celebrate the day when we turned into a nation of cowards and let a madman from Saudi Arabia dictate our foreign policy and insinuate himself into our national identity. To endlessly eulogize the dead of 9/11 is to make Bin Laden immortal and give comfort to our enemies, is this really what Americans want? How many Americans can remember the name of a single American killed that day? How many Americans will remember Bin Laden’s name until the day they die?
I rest my case.
(The above image is from a friend in Egypt, where, like most people in the Middle East, their view is a bit different than the typical American’s. They don’t hate us for our freedoms, the Arab Springs bears that out; they hate our wars and meddling in the Middle East. Note I didn’t say they hate us for our wars, they mourn our dead too as the above graphic shows. God rest the souls of all who died that day, but it’s time to move on.)
A bomb has gone off in a bus and killed some Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. The government of Israel wasted no time in blaming the attack on Iran. They claim “all signs” point to Iran, though they don’t mention what those signs are. It’s possible Iran is behind it, Israel has been waging a terrorist campaign inside Iran for years, so a revenge attack is not out of the question. It seems unlikely though in that it would give Israel a casus beli to attack Iran, and there’s no indication Iran wants a war with Israel. A more likely group is the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK), a terrorist group fighting the government of Iran. The attack came on the eighteenth anniversary of the attack on the Jewish Community Center in Argentina. Who launched that attack has never been proved either, both Iran and the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK) are suspects there too. There’s really no way for us worms to know for sure, these are intensely politicized bombings with all sides playing for very high stakes, so some or all parties involved have every incentive to lie and mislead. Even if someone claims responsibility, that doesn’t mean they actually did it. Shadow war.
Fortunately, even if I can never know for sure what happened here, I can still speculate on what will happen next. Israel’s instantaneous condemnation of Iran certainly raises the possibility that they will use this as an excuse to attack Iran. Some have even suggested that the reason for Israel’s campaign inside Iran is to goad Iran into doing something that would give Israel cause for war. If so, an attack could come within days. I’m certainly going to be following the news closely for awhile.
There’s certainly been rumours of an impending Israeli attack on Iran, some suggesting it will happen just before the election so Obama will have no choice but to support it. That strikes me as a somewhat facile analysis, I suspect Israel is just using this as another chance to tighten the screws on Iran. The whole Israel obsession with Iran is sometimes hard to parse, Iran is no threat to Israel, far from it. I assume it’s both to distract the world from Israel’s slow ethnic cleansing of the West Bank, and maybe goading Iran into starting a big war which will give Israel to excuse to expel the Palestinians from the occupied territories. In any case they are playing a risky game, as is everyone else in this unstable mess.
Then there’s the whole Syria situation. The west is clearly pushing hard to bring down the Assad regime, though to what end is again hard to fathom. Partly to stick it to the Russians, partly an attempt to replace an independent government with a western lapdog government I’m assuming. And Israel would love to have an excuse to annex the Golan Heights, or more accurately, get some compliant Syrian government to cede them to Israel, all nice and “legal.”
What none of this is about of course is democracy or human rights, despite the endless western condescending propaganda to the contrary. Even our leftists and liberals in the USA have become cheerleaders for blood and empire, all in the name of “saving” the women of the world. Nothing good will come of this bus bombing, but nothing good ever comes of terrorism. No matter who is doing the killing.
(I sat on this post overnight to see if there would be any new developments. Nothing really, they are claiming it was a suicide bomber with fake American travel documents. And Israel has reiterated its claim that Hezbollah/Iran are behind the attack. Hezbollah has even less reason to get into it with Israel, and has been explicit that they won’t carry our attacks on Israel, so it’s a charge I take with a grain of salt. I’m still of the opinion that an Israeli attack on Iran would be so stupid and pointless and counterproductive that Israel really isn’t seriously considering it. I hope I’m right.)
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I got it from Wikipedia, and frankly I couldn’t figure out how to attribute it from their arcane instructions. It’s a Dolphin Class submarine, built for Israel by Germany. They have four of them, with two more on order. They can launch nuclear cruise missiles. Just one of many reasons while Israel has little to fear from anyone.)
I don’t mean literally a post Memorial Day hangover, it’s more an emotional thing. All the sheep and their masters burbling about “sacrifice” and “honour” and how our boys are defending our freedoms overseas. Patriotic drivel. Our troops overseas are simply the legionaries or conquistadors of our time, pretending they are spreading goodness and light in the name of God is what imperialists have done throughout history. The idea that one can conquer and rule other peoples for their own good is an incredible conceit, and a terrible insult to both the founders of this once great nation (now an empire in its death throes) and the Americans who have served in just wars. It’s also insane, since the overwhelming majority of the time such efforts cause far more damage than they supposedly fix. In fact imperialism is about domestic politics, war profiteering, and making the world safe for corporate exploitation. Such as it ever was, Smedly Butler had it right decades ago, and it’s gotten worse since. It’s actually turned into a dystopian nightmare at this point, with the UN being blatantly an agency of colonialism and NATO effectively its enforcer.
Speaking of domestic politics, I see that Mr Romney is telling Americans that the world is a “scary place,” and so we need to spend ourselves blind to protect ourselves from it. He didn’t mention the spending ourselves blind part, that just an assumption, I mean, he does understand what we are spending on our military? I’m so sick of the fear mongering, it’s racist crap and has seriously damaged the heart and soul of this country. The world is not a scary place, it’s a wonderful place filled with wonderful people. Because our leaders and the media concentrate on the bad things that happen (conveniently ignoring/justifying the ghastly things the west does and ignoring the role the west played in destabilizing whole continents,) many Americans think foreigners are all bad people out to kill us. I remember in a chat room some years back where someone defending our invasion of Afghanistan said that “try parachuting into Taliban territory” and see what happens to you. I can answer that. If you came as their guest … they would treat you with the utmost hospitality and die to protect you. If you came as an invader, why shouldn’t they do whatever they can to kill you? I know people who travelled their before the Russians invaded, it was a wonderful country. Will be again … when the foreign armies leave.
Still, when a country is destabilized, it can take decades or generations to settle down. That’s what is so insane (and sick) about the west’s efforts to use people’s longing to be free to try and get our satraps into power in Africa and the Middle East. A dozen countries or more have been turned into horrible messes by western invasions/interventions the past decade. It’s like the Vietnam War never happened. It’s been going on for awhile though. It was forty years before the Confederacy achieved pre-war levels of industry and agriculture. That generally doesn’t get mentioned in US history classes.
Anyhow, enough ranting for the moment. I thought the above picture was really cool. It’s a comparison of Earth and Europa, a moon of Jupiter. And Europa actually has (probably) more water than Earth! It may in fact have a globe spanning ocean that is a hundred miles deep, capped with a thick layer of ice a mile thick or more. Ice that would be as hard as granite at the temperatures on the surface. Just as slippery though, ice remains slippery no matter how cold it gets. Last I heard it’s still not fully understood why ice is slippery. In fact there’s a number of mysteries about ice that have yet to be solved, like why does it melt from the bottom up on rivers and ponds for example? Heck, there’s all sorts of scientific mysteries still, most of which are unfortunately way too arcane to write an interesting blog post about.
Coming soon, a post about liars. A new epiphany about God and his minions. Purported minions more accurately speaking. I’m still working on a post about one of America’s greatest monsters: Abraham Lincoln. Then there’s his legacy, flying death squads. And there are at least two “What the hell is that?” mystery photo posts in the works. As always I am open to suggestions. Well, if they are anatomically possible. Someone did leave a rude comment here, should I delete it?
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law, it’s not being used for profit etc. I got it from the fine APOD site, credit & copyright: Kevin Hand (JPL/Caltech), Jack Cook (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Howard Perlman (USGS.) I used it becasue I think it’s an incredibly cool image.)