Backtalk, July 15, 2005

London Terror Mystery

Awesome piece!

I have one significant bone to pick; and that is the absence of analysis of the splits within Israel. These splits are as (in?)significant as those between neocons, paleocons and CIA/State Dept./Clinton/Scowcrofts.

I believe that the appropriate way to look at this entire crisis is as a significant realignment of a global network of economic actors and strata. The Cold War had a certain set of global alliances/networks which were set adrift after the collapse of USSR, and significantly shattered on 9/11.

Bin Laden, Saddam, Hamas, Pakistani ISI, Israeli Labor/Likud parties, Mobutu, South African apartheid, the EU, et al., at some point or other, were all part of the CIA/State Dept. archipelago of, first, anti-Soviet/socialist and then, from 1979-2001, anti-Iranian alliances.

Now, the new lenses for evaluating the principal contradiction are changing.

China, the EU, and the insufficiently global market/capital-integrated parts of the Third World are all becoming essential threats and thus a different set of alliances become necessary.

Israel dealing with China has set Washington ablaze. This is part of a long history of Israel being an arm’s length way for the U.S. to do dirty wars in Latin America and Southwest Asia. In Iran-Contra, Israel was the go-between for the Contras and the Iranians.

So, subordinate to the tension between the U.S. and EU over currency/banking supremacy is whether Israel’s interests are the same as the rest of the West’s. This secondary tension ends up being the locus for a potential crisis, like an Archduke Ferdinand situation. And it is similar for the question of Taiwan vis a vis China.

Israel concentrates several contradictions:

(1) U.S. vs. EU
(2) U.S. Vs. under-integrated Third World (e.g. Africa, Southwest Asia, and Southeast Asia)
(3) U.S. Vs. undisciplined and potentially threatening vassals – China, Brazil, Russia, India

In conclusion, Israel is not a monolith but a battleground. Israel is not the contradiction but a flashpoint which triggers the real contradictions coming into alignment and the new lineup of friends and foes.

~ Joel Lloyd Bellenson


Quotable

Having never logged into your site before, I can’t tell whether you’re engaging in a little old-fashioned sarcasm, satire, or simply ignorance. You actually have a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”

That would certainly make sense if Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington, Lee, or Davis had said it, but Lincoln? The tyrant who terrorized Congress into remaining silent during his illegal and bloody war? The president who threatened to arrest a Supreme Court justice, who closed down newspapers by the hundreds and suspended habeas corpus, allowing him to imprison anyone who disagreed with his war policy in the dead of night and to seize their property?

I wonder what Rep. Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio would have thought of Lincoln’s quote. He questioned Lincoln’s war and was promptly arrested without a warrant, imprisoned and ultimately deported to the Confederacy, which he promptly left for refuge in Canada.

Granted, seeing Lincoln’s base hypocrisy in that quote is a great knee-slapper if that was your intent; but if not, sir, you have not quite caught up with history. It was an amusing quote, however, and I got quite a chuckle from it.

How much Mr. Bush is like Lincoln. Only Bush has not the courage to debase the Constitution completely. Perhaps one day he will become a god and have a temple as well.

~ John R. Iler, Jr., Arlington, VA


If Pinochet Is Guilty, so Is Bush

The author’s version of the Allende government is pure fiction. Go back and read some more history. Allende was called to power through the only legitimate means I know, the democratic vote of the Chileans.

~ Henry Dorst, Vancouver, Canada

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Henry Dorst has not the slightest idea what he is talking about. The extraordinary ignorance that he represents is the ignorance of a generation bamboozled by Soviet propaganda.

Allende was most certainly NOT called to power through the democratic vote of the Chileans, as Dorst ignorantly asserts. Allende was chosen by Chile’s Chamber of Deputies, after first extracting Allende’s promise that he would respect Chile’s constitution. Allende did not win election. Neither he nor any of the three candidates achieved anything close to a majority vote. After extracting Allende’s promise, the Chamber of Deputies chose Allende as a solution an to impasse brought by a politically fractured electorate.

On Aug. 22, 1973, thirty-five months after appointing Allende president, Chile’s Chamber of Deputies severely censured President Allende and condemned his government for violating the constitution and the law in order to “institute a totalitarian system absolutely opposed to the representative system of government that the Constitution establishes.” The Resolution of Censure damned Allende in no uncertain terms: Allende, stated the Resolution of Censure, “has made violating the constitution and the law a permanent system of conduct, going to extremes to ignore and systematically trample the powers of the other branches of government, while habitually violating the civil rights of the citizens of the Republic guaranteed in the constitution, and permitting and abetting the creation of illegitimate parallel powers that constitute a grave threat to the nation.” The actions taken by Allende’s government “have destroyed essential elements of institutionality and the law.”

Allende’s disrespect for Chile’s constitution was phenomenal in its audacity. He was censured for violating the constitutional amendment of democratic rights that was the condition of his elevation to the presidency by the Chamber of Deputies, and he was accused of sedition under Article 3 of the constitution. It was only after Allende had convinced the population by his words and deeds that he was leading a coup against democracy that Chileans were able to force the military to intervene to save the country from political tyranny and economic collapse.

The resolution condemned Allende for systematically violating constitutionally guaranteed private property rights by aiding and abetting more than 1,500 illegal takings of agricultural property and hundreds of takeovers of industrial and commercial establishments. It deplored the use of theft to expand state control over the economy. The Resolution blamed the illegal property seizures for being the principle cause of the calamitous drop in production, the high inflation, the ruin of the national treasury, and the economic crisis which “threatens the minimum well-being of the people and gravely compromises national security.”

The Resolution condemned Allende for persecuting opponents of his government with arrests, jail sentences, and torture, while allowing armed thugs who supported the regime to terrorize the population at will. Here are human rights violations galore combined with total social disorder.

The Resolution cites many other grave offenses of Allende’s government, including contravening freedom of the press by illegal closings and economic pressure against opposition media, and contravening the rights of workers and their labor unions – the very group in whose name Allende claimed to govern – by using illegal means of repression against them, as in the El Teniente copper mine strike and the transportation workers’ strike.

Allende is further censured for creating and maintaining a series of seditious organizations which exercised an extralegal authority found neither in the constitution nor in the law. The Resolution of Censure specifically cites the Community Commandos, the Peasant Councils, the Vigilance Committees, and the ration boards (JAPS). The Resolution condemned Allende for using these organizations to create the “Popular Power,” the objective of which was to “replace the legitimately constituted powers and serve as a base for the totalitarian dictatorship.” These aims, the Resolution noted, have been “publicly recognized by the president in his last presidential address, and by media supporters of the government.”

The Resolution censured Allende for aiding and abetting the formation and growth of armed groups, which “in addition to violating the personal security and rights of persons and disturbing the peace, aim to confront the armed forces.” The Resolution further cites the “public and notorious” attempts by the government “to use the armed forces and Military Police for partisan purposes, to break their institutional hierarchy, and to politically infiltrate their organizations.”

The Resolution ends with the call to Chile’s armed forces to act to “put an immediate end to all these situations” in order to “secure the constitutional order our our country and the fundamental bases of democratic convivance among Chileans.”

As Chile’s elected Chamber of Deputies made clear, the real coup was Allende’s. It was a coup directed against the constitutional order. Allende amassed illegal dictatorial powers for the executive, permitted illegal property seizures by non-governmental armed groups, allowed formation and operation of paramilitary groups inside and outside of the government, permitted attacks against the Supreme Court and obstructed the justice system. To silence complaints, he contravened freedom of the press and the civil rights guaranteed in the constitution.

The democratic order acted to save itself. Deputies from the opposition Christian Democrat Party and the National Party presented the censure in the Chamber of Deputies. The Chamber of Deputies acted against Allende only after the national general strike against Allende convinced the Chamber of Deputies that the Chilean population saw through the left-wing media’s portrayal of Allende as a saint.


The Smash of Civilizations

Chalmers Johnson’s account of the American participation in the destruction of Iraq’s historical artifacts indicates the identity of the real barbarians. Was the U.S. military’s toleration of, and participation in, the destruction of the most important records of ancient history part and parcel of the neocon intent to deracinate Islam by destroying its history? As the Greeks recognized, we are our history. Without history, who are we? What are we?

~ Paul Craig Roberts


Charlie Wilson’s War, Act Two

I found William Fisher’s “Charlie Wilson’s War, Act Two” fascinating. Perhaps another example of “unintended consequences” is the fact that America’s allies, the Northern Alliance, were paid ten million dollars by Osama bin Laden to smuggle arms aboard the national carrier, Ariana, into Somalia between 1992-95. Lest we forget, the arms were deployed in deadly fashion against American troops.

But that is not all. Ahmad Shah Massoud, Northern Alliance leader and darling of the Western press, was on the Soviet payroll during the entire occupation period while at the same time receiving millions from our CIA with which to wage war against the Soviets. It is also ironic that Massoud was recruited by the CIA to buy back Stinger missiles, and yet he routinely hijacked stinger missiles from other mujahedin groups and sold them to North Korea and Iran during those and earlier years.

In addition, readers of Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars will find that Massoud routinely “ripped off” the CIA. Taking $500,000 from the Agency in payment to close Salang to the Najib government, Massoud did nothing.

Not only was Massoud a traitor, but it would appear he had the CIA completely fooled as to where his loyalties really lay. Remember Massoud and his Alliance were and are principal allies of the current Bush administration.

Could this be, as William Fisher reiterated, “unintended consequences,” or just plain incompetence?

~ Bruce G. Richardson, author: Afghanistan, Ending the Reign of Soviet Terror


Multiple Choice

It’s 11 AM Pacific on July 8 and I’ve just looked at CNN. They have a vote on their front page. “What is the best way to fight terrorism?” They give three clickable options. “(A) Promoting democracy, (B) Military action, (C) Tighter security. Sheesh, give me a choice! Where’s (D) Mind our own f-ing business? I would be curious to see how different the results of such a poll would be if offered on Antiwar.com

~ Steve Latham

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