Backtalk, February 1, 2007

Bush Is About to Attack Iran

Like Paul Craig Roberts, I believe that the American attack on Iran will employ nuclear weapons, and it will lead to disaster. I also believe that Bush and Cheney are simply waiting for the pretext, the next “new Pearl Harbor,” to push the launch button.

The media has again shirked it’s duty to shine light on the machinations of this criminal administration. I fear that some day, very soon, along with their eggs and coffee, Americans will be waking up to breathless news reports of an Iranian attack on American naval assets in the Persian Gulf? Realizing that nothing they do will prevent a U.S. or combined U.S./Israeli aggression, will the Iranians launch their Sunfire antiship missiles at our two carriers, or their escorts? Are Bush/Cheney so stupid as to think that Iran, faced with inevitable war, would not try and protect itself?

Or is it far worse than stupidity? Do our “leaders” hope that this is exactly what happens? Push Iran into a corner, refuse to speak with them, leave them no exit, then wait for them to bite first?

As Roberts quotes Russian General Ivashov, “The scale of the provocation may be comparable to the 9/11 attack in NY. Then the Congress will certainly say ‘Yes’ to the U.S. president.”

~ John H. Bohn

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

I agree with John. It is a helpless feeling to have to sit and watch the regime perpetrate another crime.

The Forgotten American Dead

What about those who have left half their bodies in Iraq? I did combat in Vietnam and that was my great fear – not combat death.

~ RT Carpenter, Florida

Where Are Bush’s Critics Now?

What does this mean: “$50 million U.S.-insured power plant”?

~ David Serota

Eric Garris replies:

The Gaza electrical generating plant destroyed by Israel was originally built by Enron, and later bought out by Morganti, a Connecticut company. Morganti insured the plant for $48 million through the U.S. taxpayer-funded Overseas Private Insurance Corporation, the U.S. government-sponsored “insurance agency of last resort.” After Israel used its U.S. taxpayer-funded and U.S.-armed military (F-16 bombers, Apache helicopters, hellfire missiles, etc.) to destroy the U.S.-built plant, Morganti notified the U.S. government that it wants $48 million in insurance money. (Some in Congress are likely to call for at least taking $48 million out of the annual $3 billion aid to Israel and shifting it to OPIC.)

See “The Gaza/Lebanon Crises: Escalating Occupation & Danger of New Border Fighting.”

The Empire Turns Its Guns on the Citizenry

Mr. Robert’s articles are to the point. I appreciate what he says.

With Congress and more than half of the Americans against Pres. Bush’s actions, Congress is beginning to look stupid with its bickering about the president and his decision to send more troops to Iraq. In time of war, Congress can give the president power as the commander-in-chief. There was no threat of war, so why can they not rescind that power? The “war” over there has surely become a civil war – and no threat to our “freedoms.” The only threat comes from our own government.

Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the U.S. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress, the courts, and the president, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men and women who pervert the Constitution. Abraham Lincoln said words to this effect, and they should hold good today, otherwise we are a doomed nation.

~ Amelia Aremia

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Actually, Abraham Lincoln himself attacked the Constitution and suspended civil liberties in order to wage a war of aggression. Otherwise, I agree with Amelia Aremia’s point.

We can go further and note that while Congress and the American people debate Iraq, the rest of the world, from Davos to Russian generals, is expressing dismay at the looming U.S. attack on Iran.

Rather than focusing on ending the lost war in Iraq, Congress must act promptly to prevent Bush from initiating a new war with Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.

That is the real challenge before us.

The unfortunate reality is that most judges will continue to NOT do their jobs. Most are complacent products of the system designed to weaken public resistance. It IS their job not to interfere with higher order diplomacy in order to force the citizens of this country in to a role subservient to the generally unrecognized global agenda designed to dismantle our constitutional rights and eliminate this country as a sovereign nation. Since they have not been successful, at least up to this point, without creating obvious public confrontation with launching further illegal and unconstitutional legislation aimed at confiscating our guns they continue to escalate the use of sophisticated firepower and “special forces” buildup for the future.

~ Dr. Stephen C. L’Hommedieu, D.C., Wichita, KS

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

I agree that the Blackstonian legal principles that are the basis, or once provided the basis, for the protections of the liberty of U.S. citizens have fallen out of favor and been eroded within the legal system. Larry Stratton and I wrote a book about the loss of the legal protection of liberty in the U.S. The title is The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

Russia Gets its Warm-Water Port

Deliso’s analysis on the current situation in the Balkans is very thought-provoking, particularly on the errors that the Democrats have made and seem poised to make in this region.

He did make a couple of assertions about Germany that merit a rebuttal. The first was, “there was too much giddiness in the reunified Germany (+ Austria), eager to make a return to its old imperialist position on the Continent.” Really? I’ve visited Germany and followed German news and analysis and I just don’t see any reborn imperial ambitions. Some documentation of this is called for. Desiring to be a player in the international community and imperial ambition are two different things.

The second was his characterization of the ethnic cleansings carried out by Bosnians and Croatians as, “the biggest ethnic cleansing campaigns perpetrated in Europe since the German Nazis in World War II.” The truth is that Germans were the victims, not the perpetrators, of the largest ethnic cleansing campaign in all of European history. Following WWII fifteen million Germans were driven from their homes in territories awarded to Poland and Czechoslovakia after the war – often violently – with two to three million dying in the process. Most Americans know nothing about this, our historical accounts don’t mention it. But a Europe-based reporter covering these issues should know better.

~ Erik Herzog

Christopher Deliso replies:

Thank you for bringing this serious issue to consideration. I think the “postwar” nature of what happened to the Germans in Poland and Czechoslovakia is what leads us to forget categorizing it as you and some other readers have done today. Often the “internal relocation” policies of totalitarian states are euphemized away, and for this I owe you an apology. And of course there were several other vast and destructive “internal relocation” policies after the war in the USSR and Yugoslavia (even external ones, such as the shipping of the Turks from Yugoslavia to Turkey). So I should have defined the limits of my discussion to strictly wartime periods. Fair enough?

As for “German imperialism,” I can see again where I should have been more clear. “Economic domination” would be a better word. I am sorry that I don’t have the statistics you request, but can only say that German investment is very pervasive. Foreign investment is certainly not a bad thing; but when being “a player” means using all available forms of diplomatic intimidation and coercion to ensure that, say, a lousy telecom monopoly remains extended beyond its legal duration so as to squeeze all possible profit out of a small Balkan state when said profit has lessened back in Germany (as has happened here in Macedonia) those of us on the consumer receiving end can start to feel pretty imperialized. There are other examples as well.

This is certainly not to say that I am blaming Germany for the problems in the Balkans today. But I think that Germany’s role in expediting the breakup of Yugoslavia is fairly indisputable.

In the bigger picture, I do stand by my stated argument that the situation today of the various powers jostling for influence in the Balkans, of course in the context of new political formations and a new international order, is remarkably similar to the state of the Balkans a century ago. Please see the 10-part study on the Murzsteg Reforms that I linked in the text for more information (“International Intervention in Macedonia, 1903-1909: The M├╝rzsteg Reforms“).

The Police State Is Closer Than You Think

In “The Police State Is Closer Than You Think” by Paul Craig Roberts, I read with much dismay that “the executive branch claims the power to arrest a citizen on its own initiative and hold the citizen indefinitely.” Wanting to get to the bottom of this, I headed over to and did a search for “habeas corpus.” I was much relieved when I read the words of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales: “The Military Commissions Act does not apply to American citizens. […] The new law does not restrict the rights of United States citizens to file writs of habeas corpus in federal court.” (

But, perhaps Paul Craig Roberts is aware of other examples where a member of the executive branch claims the power to hold citizens indefinitely. Perhaps there’s some disagreement within the executive branch. One thing is certain, though – Paul Craig Roberts wouldn’t have made such an inflammatory claim without citations to back it up.

~ Paul Sturm, Maple Grove, MN

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Jose Padilla is a U.S. citizen. First, let’s examine if the reader is correct that there is no loss of habeas corpus protection for U.S. citizens and examine the implications.
Padilla was held for years in military custody with no formal charges brought. This means that the Bush regime violated the Constitution and the law. But the regime has not been held accountable. When challenged in the courts, the Bush regime handled the case in a shocking manner that avoided a definitive ruling, thereby retaining the ability to again detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without presenting cause.

Recently, the Attorney General of the U.S. made the statement that the U.S. Constitution provides no habeas corpus protection to citizens.

As for the reader’s reliance on Gonzales for reassurance about the Military Commissions Act, here is what the Wikipedia encyclopedia says about the Act:

“On September 9, 2005, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that President Bush does indeed have the authority to detain Padilla without charges, in an opinion written by judge J. Michael Luttig. In the ruling, Luttig cited the joint resolution by Congress authorizing military action following the September 11, 2001 attacks, as well as the June 2004 ruling concerning Yaser Hamdi.”

“… one of the provisions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 enacted on October 17, 2006 states:

“‘Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, and notwithstanding any other law [emphasis added] (including section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, or any other habeas corpus provision), no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever, including any action pending on or filed after the date of enactment of this chapter, relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission convened under this section, including challenges to the lawfulness of the procedures of military commissions under this chapter.'”

“The Military Commission Act of 2006 does not . . . rule out similar enemy combatant designations of U.S. citizens.”

I have always liked Paul Craig Roberts, but I am disappointed in his rendition of the facts in this case. He appears to have twisted things quite a bit. Mr. Roberts’ reference to the Lynn Stuart case, where he says the prosecutor thought that Ms. Stuart represented her client in ways that he didn’t like, was not in accord with my understanding of the case against her. As I recall, the accusation against her was that she violated her agreement with the Court in that she aided and abetted her client, a Mullah, in receiving messages out to his followers to be violent. She brought messengers in under the guise of their being translators, so they could get a message from her client and get it out on the street. She had agreed to not be a funnel for communication. Her client was supposed to be gagged, so to speak. We can disagree with gagging anyone, but that’s what she agreed to and she was accused and convicted of violating that agreement. That’s pretty serious for an attorney.

~ Paul Bjarnason, Annandale, VA

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

This person is terribly confused. In the United States, prosecutors cannot legislate laws, much less criminal felonies, by penning letters of agreement for attorneys to sign so that they might represent their clients.

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