Posted December 13, 2003
Thanks for your article "Shock Video." My first thought when this thing hit the news was "Israel." Just shows I've been reading too much Antiwar.com. But it really does "feel" like Israel, doesn't it?
While we're on the subject, just a quick thought I've been meaning to share with you for many months. The thing that is most striking to me about the "Israeli art student" caper is its crudeness. Not that the Israelis aren't capable of making stupid mistakes. But in this case it went beyond stupidity. They were calling attention to themselves. The very fact that all these characters were wandering around the country, sticking their noses into buildings (sometimes caught wandering the halls with maps of the building!) and showing up at the unlisted houses of US officials, all using the same story, suggests they wanted to get our attention.
It is incomprehensible that it would not have occurred to the Israelis to do a better job of covering their tracks. How about a few different cover stories? US officials started rounding up the "students" when government computers flagged the odd coincidence that all these folks were calling themselves "Israeli art students." They may as well have had cardboard signs around their necks.
The obvious question then becomes: Why were they calling attention to themselves? And the answer that suggests itself is that the caper was intended to distract US attention from something else. And that would be where the real tie-in to 9/11 would be found.
The evidence clearly suggests that the Israelis knew something about what was going to happen. Perhaps they knew quite a bit. Did the Israelis mount the art student caper in order to draw US intelligence attention away from what was taking shape? In which case, the question would be: Was a rogue group within the Israeli intelligence and military the real puppet master of 911? Or did the Israelis get wind of what Atta was up to and decide to keep an eye on him and act as his guardian angel?
Justin Raimondo replies:
I address all these questions in my new book, The Terror Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection.
Here's another explanation:
When the body bags start rolling in and concerned conservative citizens such as yourselves with an off-message website are showing up on par with the Chicago Tribune in terms of national readership, what you need when you are administration backed up against the wall is
(a) good news (showdown at Samarra corral) and/or
(b) a nice external threat to put some backbone into the homefront and whip those hearts into an appropriate frame of mind.
You say yourself that the authorities already possessed this "new" 9/11 tape. You know, whodunit is almost always the one who has the most to gain when it comes to propaganda so this new tape smells of Potomac pork-fed fish if you ask me.
I think there is possibly a much bigger mystery here than what is implied in the above headline. According to the MSNBC article, the video in question was in the possession of the FBI courtesy of "a friendly bystander" and the video was "not widely circulated." Given those facts that leaves two possible suspects behind the leak to "Al Qaeda": 1) our "friendly bystander" or 2) someone in the FBI. So should we be shipping our "friendly bystander" off to Guantamano or is there some sort of FBI link to this alleged "Al Qaeda" website that has this 9/11 video? Another interesting story that I bet is heading right for the other.
What the Iraqi People Want
How many of the Iraqi people are oppressed the US changing their government. Do they want it to stay the same?
Eric Garris replies:
What the Iraqis want is irrelevant. I am sure there are scores of countries that would like the US to come in and rebuild their countries with our money. The purpose of the US government is to protect Americans, not liberate the world. We are a republic, not an empire.
My son is in the army and has orders to go to Iraq. He does not want to go and does not want to be in the army any more. How can he get out of the army? He is talking about going awol and returning in 29 days then going AWOL again for 29 days and going back and doing this over over again until he is kicked out.
What do you think he should do?
Eric Garris replies:
Repeatedly on your site you refer to the Israeli security fence as a "wall" and sometimes an "Apartheid Wall". This is misleading. If your position is strong enough, it should be strong enough to tell the truth.
The simple fact is that 97% of the fence is just that a simple chain linked fence. Only 3% of the separation is a "wall", and that is only in the place where sniper fire has repeatedly happened.
Were there no need for a physical separation, there would be none.
Ran HaCohen replies:
I don't know where this "simple fact" and figures come from, and I don't trust them. Nowhere is the Apartheid Wall "just a simple chain linked fence". Even where it is a fence, it is accompanied by a 80-120 metre wide patrol road, by guarding positions, by electronic surveillance equipment and in future, reportedly, even by remote-control machine guns (yes!). Furthermore, in some places a 300 metre wide "death zone" around the Wall is imposed, where every Palestinian entering is shot. Had there been no illegal Jewish settlements, there would be no need for this illegal "physical separation" inside the occupied territories.
I am also not a worker at indymedia.org, because their really aren't any. You say that the posts are not moderated that is the point of indymedia. The problem with all media today is the lack of objectiveness and the lack of offering all points of view to surface in the words of the writer. This is what indymedia offers, something a media with a hierarchy can't achieve because of the bias everyone has. Indymedia came out of the anarchist movement, this will explain the lack of honoring copyright laws as anarchists do not acknowledge law, it is only part of the oppression and also the way corporations are able to own people's personal intellectual integrity. I suggest you look at other forms of organization such as South End book Press is using called "participatory economics."
Socialism is not all that bad of a word, don't fear it it has failed as has capitalism and democracy. Use what we have learned and keep growing. Thanks for reading this. Please comment back.
Justin Raimondo replies:
I always enjoy reading your articles. I know the point of today's is "People that live in glass houses shouldn't throw bricks," but you have missed something, just because some robber-barons are out of favor with Putin's government, doesn't mean that others are not [in favor]. For the sake of fairness and balance, you should have presented this info as well, instead of painting Putin's policies as clamping down on this sort of capitalism run-amok.
Putin's support also comes from the oligarchs, some of his closest advisors were previously employed by the largest industrial consortium in Russia, a company called Alfa group, and the head-honcho of Alfa group is a man named Mikhail Fridman, who practices the same crony capitalism and mafia-like strong-armed tactics as the rest of Russia's robber barons (maybe even worse).
If you get a chance, check out a documentary that was produced by the CBC here in Canada, which aired on a show called the Fifth Estate, and was entitled Bear Hug.
The documentary is mostly about a Canadian oil company that tried to do business in Russia, whose operations were taken over one day by Fridman's personal militia, the Canadian company lost $500 million, and had little to no help from the Canadian government. Everything from shady banking in the Isle of Man, chasing British Petroleum out of Russia, then forming a partnership with them, to connections to Cheney and Haliburton. I think this is a tale that you'd very much enjoy.
Keep up the great work and congrats on Antiwar.com's success !
You don't have a clue what you're talking about. Come to Russia and see how the Kremlin manages everything, makes dirty tricks, kills journalists and opponents. Just watch the Russian TV: 15 minutes of Putin praises at the beginning of every f*cking news broadcast. There's no independent justice or media or civil society here. Most oligarchs are funding the Kremlin. Putin has triggered ethnic hatred in the Caucasus for 4 years. You see also the results in Moscow's streets. Cops everywhere, corruption from bottom to top, alcoholism, despair, poverty, racism. This sh*t just increased under Putin's hard hand. Why this crackdown on media? There is one rule in Russia: if you criticize the regime, you're unpatriotic, therefore the power shuts your mouth off. And people accept it. Putin is surrounded by aggressive dogs who promise to eat the rich. Lies lies lies. They just take from Pavel (the Jew, the opponent) to give to Ivan (the brother). In short, there will never be redistribution of the wealth to the people. Watch Russian history: power always had the most deep scorn for the people.
Berezovski, Bush, Khodorkovski & WolfoPerlRiceowitz are probably bad guys. But this is a lesser evil for Russian Democrats. We are left with no other choice.
You're sitting somewhere between Seattle and Boston, and you can't get it.
Well done Justin, you've hit the nail on the head yet again regarding Putin. I was watching "Newsnight" in the UK, and some fool from the OSCE was harping on about the supposedly rigged elections and the Russian media's lenient treatment of Putin. Hang on, I thought, what about those dodgy Florida elections or the media hype behind Arnie? What about the constant barrage from Fox on Bush's behalf? I think Putin's stance against the oligarchs should be applauded no wonder he's so popular at the moment!
Sadly, the distortions and insinuations in your latest screed are enough to invalidate your position all by themselves. Saddest of all, because I happen to agree with your position on Iraq, domestic surveillance and harassment of antiwar libertarians, whether so self-identified or not.
1. You cite LP Convention Chair Nancy Neale's "insistence" (that Boortz be a speaker). This is merely based on the fact that the contract was made with him way back in 2001, when (as a talkshow host with a pretty large following, based out of the site city for the convention) he seemed an obvious choice. At that time, he had not yet become so vociferous in his advocacy of the Bushite invasion, since it had not happened yet! (He was also a no-brainer as a convention-program participant, being not only a paid-up member of the Libertarian Party, but willing (as he had been in 2000 and 2002) to speak for NOTHING! No fee at all, and no expenses needed, since he LIVES in Atlanta!)
Using that word "insistence" implies that Ms. Neale is advocating the Boortz position; as anyone who knows her is well aware, that is not the case! She merely knows that there IS a sizable contingent within the LP ranks who consider Boortz as a "good libertarian" including some who even agree with his positions on this issue; barring him from speaking, rather than letting his words be aired and rebutted in a debate format, is simply not advisable, lest we lop off a whole segment of our party that may not have this issue right in their heads, but is solidly libertarian otherwise.
2. You say, "It seems almost incredible to have to explain this, but surely someone in the LP must recognize the danger of the public conflating Boortz's well-known views on Iraq with those of the party especially when, for some reason, the LP hasn't invited a single prominent antiwar speaker."
The word you left off there was "YET"! We are still about five-plus months away from the Convention, and there is a Libertarian National Committee meeting coming up this very weekend in St. Louis, where one of the items on the agenda is this very question. Already, plans are under way to create a debate or panel discussion on US foreign policy for the event in Atlanta, in which Neal Boortz would be more than welcome to test his declarations against the finest rebuttal and counter-evidence from our most distinguished antiwar LP spokespersons.
Also, as Nancy herself noted in her report (the part you DID quote?): "[Boortz] remains a staunch opponent of the War on Drugs and pro-most LP issues. ... Since I'd been told he might not be available after Friday, I reported he would be giving a talk that afternoon. I've since learned he plans to be available the whole weekend, so we now have more options for how to 'utilize' him."
Instead of noting that this would allow for more flexibility for both the debate /panel and a possible speech by Boortz dealing with some OTHER area of Liberty (the Drug War is his most famously consistent libertarian position, but it is by no means the only one!) you merely denigrate Ms. Neale for declaring that Boortz might be "an asset," ignoring the fact that the real asset might be the chance to enlighten some of our perhaps less-aware members by debunking his position on these very issues in debate rebuttal-time!
In short, you are undercutting your own position with your half-assed attempt to paint Nancy Neale (and by association her husband, Geoff, and the LNC he Chairs) as a warmongering tool of the neocons, instead of paying attention to what she is saying and doing to make this a win/win for Liberty!
Justin Raimondo replies:
1) How come we have to "debate" foreign policy in a "panel" type "discussion" but, somehow, the LP's opposition to the war on drugs is NOT debatable?
2) A "contract" was signed, you imply, but no money is involved. That doesn't sound like an ironclad contract to me.
3) Why not have EVERY platform plank "debated" endlessly? That way the LP can have its cake, and eat it too.
There is just one solution to the problem of pro-war LP members, and it is simple: expulsion. It's harsh, but absolutely necessary. The LP is a private organization, which requires its members to sign a pledge abjuring the initiation of physical force to achieve political goals. If the war in Iraq doesn't qualify as an initiation of force, then I don't know what does. It's time to take the offensive against the War Party and make an example of Boortz the boor. This will send a message to fake-"libertarians" who support this immoral and downright evil war: "Don't GO there, guys!"
A quick comment on Justin's latest posting regarding Boortz and the LP. There's an old joke about US Libertarians: that they are just Republicans who want to take drugs. This latest action on the part of the LP, the inviting of Boortz to address the convention, affirms the truth of that all too true joke. Their argument seems to be that if Boortz is against the War on Drugs, then it's OK if he's for the War on Iraq.
Yup, the LP is just a bunch of big government Republicans who want to take drugs.
This entire situation only substantiates what I've known for a long time and that is most libertarians are just frigging Republicans at heart to hell with whole lot. Long live Anarchism!
So what else is new? LP leaders driving wedges between /among members and failing to support the Platform.
I joined the LP in 1973, and served as NJ Chair for two (2) years 1974-75. I managed the MacBride Campaign in 1976 in NJ, etc.
I, too had been away from the LP from about 1980 to 2000. I came back at that time because I liked Harry Browne and because I had the time to devote to such frivolous matters.
I have lived to regret spending even one nanosecond of time or one erg of effort in support of this nonsensical organization. When I found out that Neale had scheduled Mr. Boorish to speak at the Atlanta Convention, I wrote to the LP informing that I would not renew my membership (lapsed in late November) or contribute one dime to the LP if Boorish got the podium.
True to form, no one from the Party even acknowledged my letter. ... Where, oh where do we find these people?
As a Libertarian opposed to the invasion /occupation of Iraq (the only libertarian position on Iraq), I agree with the gist of your article about talk radio host Neal Boortz. Nevertheless, it's ridiculous to label him a "minor league talk-radio ranter." Boortz, the #1 radio host in Atlanta, has an audience of about 2 million people (more than at least 99% of talk radio hosts) and in 1995 was listed in Talkers Magazine as one of the "25 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America." You may find his warmongering offensive, but that's no excuse to erroneously belittle a man who has achieved such obvious success.
I emailed Nancy about this issue and got a reply: I wouldn't have been surprised to see my congressman's or senator's signature underneath. Yeah, I had 'waffles' for breakfast. This co-opting of the LP has been going on for some time now, and with the bad guys running the show, it doesn't make sense to keep throwing money at them.
That's why wasn't going to renew my party membership. But a little part of me says "hold it, this is just what they want to drive off the 'pure' libertarians."
Maybe a better answer would be for you, Justin, to rejoin the LP and run for national chair. You'd definitely have my vote. If all disaffected LPers came back in and retook the 'reigns of power', then purge the party of closet neocons.
I don't recognize the Libertarian Party anymore. My passionate introduction to politics, at 16, was Roger L. McBride's 1976 campaign book, A New Dawn for America. I was able to vote in a Presidential election for the first time in 1980, and was thrilled to pull the lever for Ed Clark /David Koch. But after Bergland in '84, the LP seemed to become an anti-choice and often interventionist party.
What happened to the sturdy logic of Earl C. Ravenal, who postulated ways to cut defense spending in half while in a Cold War with the East Bloc? Where is the individualist vision expressed in the 1980 LP platform: "We the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state..."?
Boortz is merely the latest disappointing phenomenon afflicting the LP. In my youth, it called itself "The Party of Principle." The Principle should be reported missing.
The most rational assessment of Russian electoral events I've come upon.
Alan Bock replies:
The problem with the analogy is:
1) Lenin was not offering democracy, only tyranny.
2) The Iraqis have not risen up, in nationalistic fervor, like the Poles did.
3) You, sir, are unhinged for even comparing Bush to Lenin. Bush, for one example, does not engage in mass executions of his own people, Lenin did.
Thank you for your time.
Wait is Bush Hitler or is he Lenin? I'm so confused.
Aleksandar Jokic replies:
Bush is neither Lenin nor Hitler, of course. Analogies should not be confused with identity statements. One does not "prove" a problem with an analogy by pointing out that there are differences also. For, when one talks about similarities between historical episodes this in no way implies that there are no differences whatsoever between them. In these two cases there are some very interesting similarities, in particular the idea that every citizen of a country attacked by the Red Army (Lenin) or US forces (Bush) has as a basic duty to commit an act of treason of his own country and join in the attack to help bring down the current political and legal order in their countries for the sake of socialist revolution (Lenin) or democracy (Bush); and if they don't do that, they are deemed (war) criminals.
What an excellent analysis has this appeared in print anywhere in the world? I would like to use a good print version for classroom purposes.
Aleksandar Jokic replies:
Sam Koritz replies:
Most of Antiwar.com's original articles include a link to a printer-friendly version. In this case, a number of links can be found just below the title: save this, email this, print this, and most popular.
Jokic's piece reads more like the libertarian rant it is than an evenhanded analysis (I'm sure Poles truly appreciated the Pilsudski coup and incompetent dictatorship which followed on this heroic nationalist resistance to the evil commie Bolsheviks). Sure, the Bolsheviks made a huge mistake invading Poland; but Jokic's comparison and interpretation is so misleading and wrong and so much of a stretch that it breaks, frankly.
Jokic certainly fully expects that his twisted interpretation of the Stalinist system he grew up hating will have a receptive, unreflective audience in North America; and so there's little point in any attempts on my part to set the story straight in this venue; but I want others reading this to understand that Lenin's folly in Poland was part of a bigger historical reality which Jokic not only totally misrepresents: it is one he apparently does not even comprehend.
Aleksandar Jokic replies:
Grok, it is legitimate to protest "ranting" where one finds it. But I must say that what you have produced is such that one can hardly expect to find a better example of rant anywhere. You simply use strong evaluative terms like "misleading," "misrepresenting," etc. but offer no facts or arguments. To help you a bit, you could have objected, for example, as follows: "you overemphasize Bush's motive as exporting democracy, and his domestic agenda. I think you give short-shrift to the real reasons for the Iraq war hegemony and access to cheap oil ala the neocon agenda (which the neocons were unable to sell to Clinton but succeeded with GWB)." To this objection, I would have had difficult time responding.
Iraq is another Poland (of 1918)? You wish.
Your comment that George Bush "took" Florida is a red flag that shows your far-from neutral bias. Not only do you not understand the electoral college system in the U.S. government, your obvious slant on things hardly allows you to be objective. You want to bash Bush and policies that you don't like, so you come up with this silly Poland analogy.
Aleksandar Jokic replies:
Amy, you make too much out of one word. I was in a way, in fact, defending Bush. The article is about how political philosophy and ideology could be dangerous. But, in my view, that doesn't make Bush any more dangerous than, say, Clinton who could be sold the "humanitarian intervention" so he can have his pet aggression even if that meant hands on manufacturing the alleged humanitarian crisis ("real interests" in oil-pipelines were present there too). Every US President will have "hegemony" among motivational factors, this simply stems from excessive power. The main point of my article is that currently in the US there are plenty ideological elements to "justify" all kinds of invasions by whoever is the president, and unfortunately, it is, therefore, natural to expect that for a forcible future each will have ordered a few of his/her own.
Kucinich and Antiwar.com
Sooner or later Dennis Kucinich's campaign will probably have to fold. When it does, it will be in some part due to the stand of antiwar.com. Even though "[t]he battle against foreign interventionism and empire building is the key to rolling back the power of the State on the home front" and Kucinich is the only candidate that stands clearly for withdrawing US forces from Iraq, even though Justin is "humbled" by the fact that antiwar.com is more widely read on the net than "Time magazine, Newsday, the Associated Press, National Geographic, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Houston Chronicle" , somehow it's not worth Antiwar.com's resources to encourage Kucinich, because he is not a leading Democratic Party contender. Apparently Kucinich's contribution to the antiwar cause is less significant than, for example, who addresses the Libertarian Party convention, or what Senator Byrd says in a foregone losing cause.
I do not know Justin's agenda, but it becomes reasonable to wonder if his vision of "... us libertarians as the sole opponents of a new form of slavery [the military draft], ... at the head of a mass movement or in the clink as "enemy combatants," is a martyr's wishful thinking.
Libertarians interested in small but real steps to halt the War on Terror, read this lefty site's recommendation. Coming up with these kinds of initiatives, large and small, (and backing antiwar candidates) are the activities antiwar.com should be engaged in: http://www.counterpunch.org/leupp12062003.html.
Justin Raimondo replies:
I'll explain this just once more: We cannot repeat: CANNOT back any candidate for anything, period. We are nonpartisan, and once we start even appearing to endorse a political campaign we lose our nonprofit status and all sorts of very bad things would commence. Secondly, to blame us for Kucinich's inability to generate support is ... silly. While we are indeed growing in terms of readership, we don't yet have that kind of influence. Believe you me, I do NOT look forward to being one of a tiny group of oppositionists, libertarians or whatEVER. My "agenda" most emphatically does not include martyrdom.
This is perhaps the best news I've heard since the day I discovered Antiwar.com: a huge and growing number of people are actually utilizing the best media bullsh*t filter out there! Can a renaissance of true patriotism be far behind? I won't count on it, but congratulations nonetheless!
I have been reading every article on the site for about a year now and it is positively frightening that everything that I thought I knew about the politics and history of the last 50 years was a complete joke. I must say that beyond its obvious virtue of separating the news grain from the chaff, through thorough and insightful commentary Antiwar.com offers an unrelenting and unparalleled historical perspective to current events that major media outlets seem unable to convey and, quite unfortunately for the world at large, the US government continuously fails to grasp. Of course, there are far too many examples to cite, but it is positively amazing to me that the similarities between this administration's rhetoric and that of many a defeated historical foe are month after month ignored by just about everyone. ...
Bravo Mr. Buchanan, youre right on the money. I wish there were more enlightened Americans like you. Of course I do not support most of the regimes in Islamic countries as they do not practice the true Islamic democratic principles as in the days of the righteous caliphs but the US has to allow the people in those countries to make their own choices.
The US government has created incredible misery for the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan with no scent of the promises of development and security. Allah has made all people equal and no white man has the right to impose their values on others. I think the US and other Western countries still have the view that their suffering is worse than that of other people in far away countries. They have reduced the Iraqis and other Muslims in Afghanistan and Palestine to living in extreme poverty and degradation while their own citizens die of obesity and other excesses and sit in comfort in their living rooms. What hypocrisy and injustice.
Pat Buchanon is obviously an extremely intelligent man, and I usually love hearing /reading what he has to say. This is no exception.
However, I am not sure that he has taken into account how many people have been alienated from the Republican Party. I know polls don't seem to reflect a surge away from the Republicans, but I am one of many I know who have been lifetime Republicans but who now would vote for a hippiesque Kucinich (if it comes to that) to get Bush out of our White House and to take back our country from Neo-conservatives. They are quickly destroying this country (not that it wasn't being destroyed at a slower pace for a long while by both major parties). The pace of destruction is what has gotten to me.
I voted for Bush. I believed he was being sincere during his campaign. I now feel like voting for him was the single greatest sin I have committed during my lifetime (thank God I live in Washington and it gave him no electoral votes). I am no Democrat, but I feel far more strongly about stopping Bush and his agenda than I do about not feeling completely comfortable with a Democrat. Many Republicans are frightened by Bush we believe HE is the radical; no one the Democrats put forward could be more radical than Neo-conservatives nor more frightening.
We (my expatriate and Japanese friends) enjoy your acerbic pen over here in Tokyo. Keep up the excellent work. However, I wish you would write a piece looking into the poor decisions and incompetent moves of Condoleezza Rice. Then Maybe you have and I missed it. I know the mainstream press is reluctant to go after an African-American woman but she is way in out of her intellectual purview and experience. Being an expert on the old Soviet Union and its relations with a Cold War era US does not mean you know the intricacies of the Middle East or Far East for that matter today. This is dangerous as she reportedly has the President's ear and blind trust.
I was amazed in the fall of 2001 that she did not know her Sunnis from her Shiites and said some disturbingly naive things about Iraq and Iran. And this after having been on the job for ten-to-twelve months and after having been warned that Islamic terrorism would be job one for the security team. Both Sandy Berger and Madeline Albright are on the record on this. Is it no surprise that the Cold War era missile shield was basically Bush's entire foreign policy tack prior to 9/11? And then we have had Niger and aluminum tubes and mushroom clouds, and I'm sure I've missed a lot more. Please get on top of this because there have been at least two indications Bush is thinking of making her Secretary of State should Powell leave and should there be another four years of Bush's stewardship of the War Party.
First They Came for the Unharnessed
I agree with your opposition to the wars American has been fighting over the last several decades or so. What is worse to realize, in not one case were we in America under threat of invasion or economic failure from other nations. That other nations do not believe or follow our kind of government is not for us to decide for those nations.
However, I think the antiwar movement should take on more than America's involvement across the seas, that is, the citizens of the U.S. are in a real war at home in the likes of the many laws that have been passed in the last several decades or so attacking individual personal rights, such as clearly defined in the Bill of Rights, notwithstanding the US Supreme Court's frequent ignorance of such words.
One particular war against our rights is reflected in all state mandatory seat belt harness laws. ...[W]ritings of mine on the subject can be found on many websites by searching Google using my full name: William J. Holdorf.
Your comments are welcomed.