24 November 2003
Several related issues on my mind on this grey, London morning as I contemplate the latest ‘news’, scan the headlines and peruse my (overflowing) mailbox and all are, in some way, related (except the weather).
Firstly though, a warm thanks for the over 62,000 visits the site received last week, something of a record, in fact it is a record. Now if only more of you would put some money where your keyboard is, I’d sleep a lot more soundly and be able to pay my bandwidth bill on time.
Okay, self-congratulations and begging pitch over. First off, the never-ending issue of ‘intelligence’, is it good, bad or irrelevant? A report in the New York Times (22/11/03) by CIA ‘asset’ Judith Miller entitled “A Battle of Words Over War Intelligence” purports to examine the role that intelligence plays in winning the ‘war on terror’ and other imperialist adventures.
My, aren’t the powers of self-deception revealing. Consider the following from Miller’s ‘analysis’ by a Mr Hamre who heads the Center for Strategic and International Studies and obviously earns his paycheck under false pretences:
“”Mr. Hamre called the past decade’s technological advances “nothing short of spectacular.” By making a huge array of intelligence sensors “an organic part of operations, we have a wide range of sensors that are largely beyond the knowledge of our opponents,” he said. “It’s multidimensional, and both passive and active, and it is what makes our force so overwhelming.””
Okay, sounds good, uses all the right buzzwords but then he goes on to use the following example:
“”Consider the war in Iraq, he said. In the last two days of the roughly month long military campaign, “in 27 minutes, we changed the attack program of a B-1 in the air to drop a bomb on what we thought was Saddam Hussein’s bunker.””
Note that this ‘expert’ says “what we thought was Saddam Hussein’s bunker,” so in spite of all the “multi-dimensional…passive and active…array…largely beyond the knowledge of our opponents”, they still blew up a lot of innocent men, women and children and failed to take out Saddam. Ms Miller’s pathetic puff piece most surely won’t go down well with the soldiers of the realm being blown to pieces by home-made rockets mounted on donkey carts.
Seduced by their self-delusions of ‘superiority’, they fail to grasp the obvious, namely that in fighting a guerrilla war, short of total physical penetration of the enemy’s ranks, as they learned to their cost in Vietnam, given enough time the guerrillas will succeed, and time is the guerrilla’s greatest asset.
I’m reminded of an interview I saw on the BBC back in during the Vietnam War days where the general – who got his arse kicked at Diem Bien Phu in 1954 – and yet another ‘expert’, a certain Patrick Honey were debating the exactly the same issue. Honey, a Brit Cold War ‘warrior’ of the time was taken to task by the French general who readily admitted that the US would inevitably be defeated by the Vietminh simply because the Vietminh fought the war in four dimensions, whereas the US fought it in only three. The general quoted ‘Uncle Ho’ who said that if it takes 100 years to defeat the US, then that’s how long they’ll fight for. As the casualties mount, we’ll see just how effective Mr Hamre’s and his bullshit ‘multi-dimensional array of sensors’ really are.
Nothing has changed in the intervening 30 years to alter this view of the nature of a guerilla war. Indeed, the reliance on technology has if anything reduced the chances of imperialist success and actually tragically increased the ‘collateral damage’ suffered, simply because machines have interposed directly between the soldier and the target.
But over and above this, and in spite of what another ‘expert’ says in Miller’s puff piece for the power of silicon and I quote:
“In an age of long-range strike weaponry, brilliant munitions, hyper-effective sensors, whoever has greater information will be able to bring far greater fire power on a much wider range of targets and in a much shorter time than ever before,”
The plain fact of the matter is that the war had absolutely nothing to do with ‘intelligence’ good or bad and everything to do with policy and objectives. The issue about whether or not US and/or UK ‘intelligence’ got it right or wrong over the issue of the non-existent WMDs, or where the hell Saddam is hiding out is a non-issue, invented solely for public consumption as a justification for the invasion.
That they actually got caught out in their lies and deceptions reveals another and far deeper issue that goes way beyond Miller and her band of cronies and so-called experts. The days whereby the government propagandists can confidently hoodwink the citizens by making pronouncements are gone, and gone for good one hopes. This represents a real change in the situation, one that the progressive movement needs to take on board, for the real enemy is not al-Qu’eda but the state’s citizens, hence the need for for all the repressive laws now being promoted. For what our governments are really afraid of is us!
The ‘war on terror’
And in a related issue, on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme this morning (24/11/03), a discussion took place on the vicious attacks on civil rights currently underway, both here in the UK and in the US under the guise of ‘fighting the war on terror’. The interviewee (whose name I didn’t catch) made the point that wars are fought between countries, not people, whether of the subterranean (and ever elusive) al-Qu’eda type or simply disgruntled individuals.
The point being that the very basis of the ‘war’ is utterly false and yet another piece of propaganda invented by the state in order to justify its attacks on the poor of the world and anybody else who opposes them. The terrorist or terrorists who blew up the British Consulate in Istanbul, need to be apprehended, arrested and charged with the crime of murder, not with starting a war (and even here, are they political crimes or ‘merely’ crimes?). The entire basis for the ‘global war’ is a smokescreen and in part, it explains why people remain very skeptical if not downright suspicious of the increasing hysteria being whipped up by the state and its mouthpieces in the media.
We seek them here, we seek them there, we seek al-Qu’eda everywhere
A piece from Propaganda Matrix, “Who Bombed Turkey and Why? US-Israeli Oil Interests Provide Clandestine Motive” by Paul Joseph Watson makes the related point that just because the authorities got an email message saying “al-Qu’eda did it” doesn’t mean they did. Anybody can send an email saying anything, it proves absolutely nothing.
Watson tells us that:
“The actors and dramatics that make up the US government-created ‘Al-Qaeda’ hoodwink most of the world into believing the theatre that a highly organized terrorist group called ‘Al-Qaeda’ exists. Evidence relentlessly highlighted by this website proves that all the so-called ‘Al-Qaeda ringleaders’ who are arrested either turn out to be already arrested, already dead, still on the loose, or were working for the US government from the start.”
An observation that reinforces the point I continually make here about the completely phony nature of the ‘war on terror’. Watson goes on to say that:
“It’s amazing how Al-Qaeda suddenly started claiming responsibility for things only after September 11. Remember, bin Laden himself, in-between meeting CIA agents and having more kidney dialysis, refused to ‘take the credit’ for 9/11 in an interview with a Pakistani newspaper shortly after the event.
“The mainstream media are content to accept fa[ked] lookalike videos, faked audio tapes and anonymous Emails as proof of responsibility for these crimes. I prefer to actually look at hard evidence and motive.”
And what is the evidence that al-Qu’eda is responsible for the Istanbul and other bombings, and if the ‘evidence’ exists will we ever see it and can it be believed if we do? Indeed, what evidence is there to substantiate that al-Qu’eda exists at all except as an invention of the state and the media? Vague assertions about bases – normally described in the media as “nests” with all that the word implies, infestations, vermin etc – are bombed, people are killed and/or arrested and then conveniently locked away indefinitely and out of sight. That people are tried and convicted of possession on the vague charge of “assisting” or being “associated with” terrorists, proves absolutely nothing. Indeed, this is a rehash of the old Cold War charge of “guilt by association”. Merely having an Arabic name often seems to be sufficient reason to have one’s sorry arse slung in jail these days.
As to the real motives for the Istanbul bombings, Watson advances several possibilities, all of them far more plausible than al-Qu’eda. Firstly, as I pointed out last week, the ‘coincidence’ of the timing with Bushette’s visit (but that may have been simply ‘icing on the cake’). More important is the relationship of Turkey to the USUK war, Israel’s involvement and of course, oil. The meat of Watson’s argument is:
“Turkey’s refusal to allow US troops into the country before the Iraq war delayed the bombing by weeks. They are also partly responsible for the tribal skirmishes for control which are killing US troops on a daily basis.
“Turkey had a huge presence at the May 2003 Bilderberg meeting in an attempt to grovel out of their Iraq obstinance but still received a slap on the wrist from the global elite. They were warned to co-operate with the agenda or face the consequences.
“After the war (officially) ended Turkey continued to complain and demanded that the Mosul-Haifa oil pipeline to Israel be scrapped in favor of transporting the oil to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The Turks even went so far as to suggest that the Mosul-Haifa pipeline could threaten peaceful relations between Turkey and Israel.
“Was the Istanbul bombing an Israeli warning not to interfere with its oil agenda? Was the bombing carried out by the Mossad ‘Al-Qaeda’ groups that Israel has been caught manufacturing in the past?”
Isn’t it more plausible to accept these as the reasons as opposed to an invisible ‘network’ that not even the combined forces of the US and the UK can identify let alone locate? We know Mossad exists and there is ample evidence that they go around blowing up and assassinating people all over the place (and paying other groups to do it for them). We know the Turkish government position really pissed off a lot of people in the US government. We know the Israelis are desperate to get their grubby hands on all that Iraqi oil (eg is this one of the promises made to Sharon by Bush in return for doing a deal over the Occupied Territories?).
In other words, without recourse to nebulous and unproven ‘conspiracies’, the events of recent days, months and years can be explained by other means, infinitely more plausible, simply because they are grounded in the real world of motive and opportunity. That the UK and US governments pour scorn on such real world explanations is of course, to be expected, what else would we expect them to say.
As ever, for most of us mere observers via the media and its craven complicity in the disinformation campaign, what counts is exposing the lies and the reasons for the lies.