Sunday, May 25, 2008

À la recherche du temps perdu

memorial day by ~herekittykittay

memorial day by ~annalavigne

While you're enjoying your BBQ and day off, please take a moment to think about the more than 4000 troops in Iraq who died for...For what exactly?
Think of how many others are seriously crippled, brain-dead, committing suicide and ask yourself FOR WHAT EXACTLY?
FOR WHAT EXACTLY?????!!!!!!!!
For fucking what exactly?!!!!!!!
When you find an answer that makes any ethical sense, please feel free to let me know what it might be.


Ogg the Caveman said...

Je suis le murst à donner.

Casey Serin said...

The troops are protecting our rights as Americans -- the right to commit mortgage fraud, the right to steal from your parents, the right to ditch your wife on grounds that her hair was too plain, the right to pump penny stocks, and the right to sully your family name online for the next 50 years. ;-)

I actually tried to join the Army, but they turned me down. You know why... let's just say that they asked, and I told. ;-)

Edgar Alpo said...



Akubi said...

Hi Casey!
I was probably uploading the W.S. Burroughs video when you posted. Not to be missed!
What's up with that congresswoman following your sweet real estate deals concepts anyway?
I suspect she probably has more than 3 houses in default and so do the rest of the looser superdelegates.

Akubi said...

None of those answers make any ethical sense whatsoever.

Whose profit?

Let's send Jenna to Iraq!

Casey Serin said...

What's up with that congresswoman following your sweet real estate deals concepts anyway?

She's from California -- doesn't 25% of the state's GDP come from criminal activity and fraud? ;-)

Akubi said...

I don't know what's worse - the state or federal gover-f-up.
In other news, I'm watching Return of the Jedi and noting that Proust shares my B-day as does

Akubi said...

But I've come to terms with the fact that i'm not nearly as groovy as those guyz.

Mitchell said...

I have a conspiracy theory you haven't heard before!

In a nutshell it is that Iraq did it (9/11), but the White House hid it.

There are two levels. The first is that Iraq took over as al Qaeda's state sponsor after the war for Kuwait in 1991, and that up until 9/11, Iraq and the Clinton White House were trading blows, Iraq invisibly via AQ proxies, US visibly but with WMDs as a rationale. After 9/11, Bush simply followed the template, gambling that something would turn up in occupied Iraq.

The second level concerns the anthrax. The idea is that the best American military anthrax (strain and weaponization recipe) were deniably passed to Iraq, via the UK, in 1988, at the end of the war with Iran, for purposes of containment; but that in 2001, they were returned to sender in the weeks after 9/11, basically as a threat of escalation and deterrent against retaliation. (Deployed in public spaces like a subway, that anthrax might have killed tens or hundreds of thousands. The idea is that the anthrax letters were more a message than an attack, a message for the attention of bioweaponeers.) But the "delivery system" was broken when KSM was apprehended in Pakistan in early 2003, at which point Bush could finally give Saddam an ultimatum. Later that year, someone killed the former bioweapons bureaucrat who oversaw the anthrax transfer; and finally, when the Democrats won the 2006 Congressional elections, it was time to execute Saddam himself, the last man who could expose the conspiracy.

I can argue at length for the first level. The second level, as I have presented it, sounds contorted even to me, which suggests that it needs work.

During the 2004 election season I had a go at interesting certain people in level one of the theory, without success. If you're saying that Bush had a reason for the war that he won't share with the voters, it's an uphill struggle, right? So I gave up after the elections (not actually an American citizen, I had that option), retreated to a sad political pseudo-gnosticism that many other conspiracy theorists must have experienced, and focused on other matters. But every few months I wheel out the theory somewhere online, when the occasion calls for it.

Is any of it true? It would be hard to know that, even if it was true. So I suppose I would be interested to know if it's rational to believe any of that, or even entertain the ideas. Unfortunately, as is typical of conspiracy theories, the arguments and counterarguments revolve around arcane matters, such as the history of terrorism and counterterrorism in the 1990s.

Edgar Alpo said...

@akubi wrote: Whose profit?

You know whose profit, the bankers, the MIC, the oil bigs, the grifters. The parasites who have hijacked this country.

Edgar Alpo said...

Chapter Two, who makes the profits

Akubi said...

That's quite a conspiracy theory. How do you fit Afghanistan and the Taliban into the scenario?

Mitchell said...

I have no special twists to offer there. Afghanistan was indeed the world capital of jihad. The idea is that Iraqi intelligence recruited from within this milieu. That's an old story, regardless of my particular theories - intelligence agencies infiltrating a movement and using it for their own ends.

The key personalities are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and "Ramzi Yousef". They are the official masterminds of 9/11 and the 1993 WTC bombing, respectively. They both come from the same family of Pakistani guest workers in Kuwait. They are Baluch, a people who have been divided among states like the Kurds - in this case, between Iran and Pakistan. It is amazing how few people have heard even that much about them, given their alleged centrality to events.

The woman who has done the most to keep them in view is Laurie Mylroie. Mylroie was a political scientist specializing in Iraq. She's part of the neocon crowd, I guess. In the 1980s she urged that Iraq be supported against Iran. In 1990 she wrote a book with Judith Miller on Saddam. In the 1990s she insisted that Iraq was behind the new terrorism; one of her supporters was James Woolsey, Clinton's first head of CIA, who quit early on. But here in the late 2000s, she's become pretty radioactive, because she won't shut up about the Iraqi connection.

Where she complicates things is in insisting that the real KSM was a nice Islamic boy who was probably killed in the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, and that the guy being waterboarded by the CIA is a ruthless Baluch agent of Iraq using KSM's identity. On my interpretation, whether by design or not, this is a half-truth dating from a 1990s hope that the terror attacks could be connected to Iraq without exposing the bin Laden connection.

The idea is as follows: In the 1980s, the CIA did indeed work with bin Laden in Afghanistan. There were two wars happening in parallel: Iraq was fighting Iran, and the USA (and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) were fighting the USSR in Afghanistan. The Baluch were in the middle of this: Baluch separatists were used by Iraq against Iran, and Baluch smugglers were used by the CIA to get supplies to Afghanistan. When that was all over, the fundamentalists were left in charge of Afghanistan, and Iraq set out to be the new Arab leader against Israel. First step, absorb Kuwait. That ended in a stalemate - Iraq out of Kuwait and under UN sanctions, but Saddam still in charge. He turned to terrorism, and used Baluch intermediaries to infiltrate and recruit in the jihadi scene. After WTC 1993, the view of people like Woolsey (I surmise) was that the US had to finish the job in Iraq, but that the bin Laden connection should be kept out of view. In this regard a theory like Mylroie's was convenient. But Clinton instead tried to deter Saddam on the cheap, coming up with pretexts for an attack each time retaliation was called for. It didn't work, the public never learned what was really going on, and so we ended up with the doublethink of the war on terror.

Akubi said...

Intriguing and unusual, but you’re losing me on the profit angle. The most predictable aspect of people and politicians in general is following the $$$.
However, one interesting aspect of the general perception of Muslim Fundamentalists is that they don’t follow that agenda. Perhaps that’s what frightens us the most about them? Breaking things down into mathematical and logical parts is far more comfortable.

Mitchell said...

The oil does have a place in my "secret history". The US objective was always to prevent the 1970s replay we're getting now. Iran and Iraq were fighting to be regional hegemon. And the USSR was trying to get a land route to the Gulf. If Afghanistan had become just another people's republic, then an independent Baluchistan would have completed the Soviet land corridor from Central Asia, and the Baluch nationalists had their Marxist factions like every other independence movement. None of this would have happened if the oil fields weren't there.

Edgar Alpo said...

Our gubbermint uber-sux.

Edgar Alpo said...,2933,358147,00.html

Weaseldog said...

Mitchell, that is an interesting theory that Iraq perpetrated 9/11.

If that is true, why did the House of Saud and the Bin Ladens finance the hijackers? They paid for the flight school, airline tickets, apartments, day to day living expenses, etc...

This is one of the reasons that the Bin Ladens were quickly flown out of the US, while all other flights were grounded. The media was reporting that they helped finance 9/11 and so they had to be evacuated for their own safety.

Mitchell said...

I have no particular insight on the funding. Here is the 9/11 Commission's version. One has a picture of al Qaeda getting money from the Gulf, from knowing and unknowing donors (and even the knowing donors may merely have thought they were supporting jihad in Chechnya and Central Asia), and then spending a relatively small sum (less than a million dollars) to support 9/11 logistics.

The money trail doesn't go anywhere near Iraq. But it doesn't quite go to the House of Saud or the Bin Laden family either. The Bin Ladens who were evacuated were, I suspect, simply exercising their prerogative as ultra-connected ultra-rich people to get out of a sticky situation. There is no evidence, to my knowledge, that they were in the know in any way.

One needs to distinguish between the general support for jihad culture, at dozens of places around the world, that came out of the Gulf states, and the people who organized the anti-American jihad specifically (as opposed to the jihad in Bosnia, Algeria, the Philippines, etc). That keeps leading back to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his nephew "Ramzi Yousef" (Abdul Basit al Karim). Here's something remarkable the 9/11 Commission report says:

"Just as KSM was reestablishing himself in Afghanistan in mid-1996, Bin Ladin and his colleagues were also completing their migration from Sudan... According to KSM, this meeting was the first time he had seen Bin Ladin since 1989... At the meeting, KSM briefed Bin Ladin and Atef on the first World Trade Center bombing, the Manila air plot, the cargo carriers plan, and other activities pursued by KSM and his colleagues in the Philippines. KSM also presented a proposal for an operation that would involve training pilots who would crash planes into buildings in the United States. This proposal eventually would become the 9/11 operation."

Did you catch all that? According to that account, bin Laden wasn't even involved in 1993, yet it was the people who ran 1993 who also ran 2001. In 2001, bin Laden provided manpower, a base, a recruiting megaphone, and possibly some funds. But the ideas and organization came from this KSM guy.

There are other things I can throw in. There was an Iraqi involved in the 1993 WTC bombing, Abdul Rahman Yasin. So far as I know he's never been apprehended. Or, if you go back to the early 1980s, Iraq was subverting Syria (its Baathist rival) by supporting the uprising of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood; and the "Hamburg cell", which was logistically significant for several of the 9/11 hijackers, had close ties to one of its exiled leaders in Europe, Mamoun Darkazanli. It's funny how this stuff is coming back to me...

If one wishes to, one can draw a picture of KSM as an Iraqi asset, working within the jihad milieu, and also taking advantage of other supposed Iraqi assets like Yasin and Darkazanli. To complete the picture, one would want some idea of the nature of his alleged liaisons with Iraqi intelligence proper, and the relationship between those interactions and actual Iraqi policy. With respect to the first, here's an obscure episode from the intelligence wars of 2003-2004 (readers of this blog will love the article's title): the story of a minor employee at an Iraqi embassy who happened to have contacts with two of the hijackers, and phone numbers for several of the organizing figures I've mentioned. The story itself is not exactly verifiable - one part of disinformation is telling people what they want to hear, and just because US intelligence had this story on file doesn't mean it's true - but it suggests one way that things could have worked. Embassies are one place where you find spies, working under diplomatic cover. A fellow with an innocuous job title may actually be an intelligence officer, tasked to go out on his "day off" and meet with his contacts. There's some evidence that the Iraqi embassy in Spain, too, was part of this. But let me hasten on to the final part of the picture. If Iraqi intelligence under Saddam was assisting massive terrorist attacks on the USA, you may be sure that it was being done at Saddam's behest. Is there any evidence of that? There is some testimony to the effect that terrorist/guerrilla actions around the world were intended as part of Iraq's defense in 1991, and someone (some Iraqi defector, I believe; I could dig up his name given time) suggested that this committee simply never ceased operation.

Also, if you go to level two of my theory, Iraq has a role as the source of the anthrax... But enough. Unless there are further questions. Maybe I'll write the book of all this, some day.

Akubi said...

The anthrax angle is intriguing, but it also seems it might not be a bad idea to write your own book.
The U.S. has become such an international embarrassment. It is even worse when you live here.