The River

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Never let it be said that this blog is not responsive to its reader

"rick" responded to the Chris Floyd excerpt below with, "Okay. How about a 'happy' post? I mean, this stuff is depressing - true, but depressing..."

And I bet he didn't even click over to Empire Burlesque to read the whole post.

But we are professionals here, and we know what is what. And we also appreciate the graphic novel medium. So, for your light reading today, I highly recommend this online comic in which "The King of Cool ushers in the Age of Aquarius in pink bunny slippers," as Kelley2012 so aptly described it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chris Floyd:

Thus Sprach Barack: Pouring Acid on Gaza's Wounds


Now we can see why Obama kept silent on Gaza while Bush was still in the White House: because he held precisely the same views as Bush on the subject. There is nothing in Obama's statement that could not have been said -- or was not actually said -- by Bush. You couldn't slide a piece of onion-skin paper between the stances of the two men on Gaza.


A more eloquent Bush with a free ride from the Left is not a good thing.

Monday, January 26, 2009


...As ultimately cynical as they are, our ruling class truly does share a belief in this central article of faith, that at some point the whole world will be just like America, and all cultural identity will be ethnic food festivals and dance troupes in gaudy native dress.

Or, to put it rather more precisely, the whole world that matters will be as such, the Africans will calm the fuck down and stop with the AIDS and civil wars, and the Muslims will sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up and do as they're fucking told.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

North Toward Home

From here in Central America, you can't see America's "shining city on the hill," but you can smell the dead in Gaza.

By Joe Bageant


Obama: "And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken." Well I reckon not! Historically, we've induced about as much terror as anyone. Beginning with the red Indian, we've starved and otherwise obliterated enough babies from the Philippines, to Vietnam to Iraq to validate our unbroken will and talents in that area.


Truth is refreshing,isn't it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Power of AIPAC

Who Runs America?

By Brian Crowley

January 19, 2009 "Counterpunch" -- Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt were pretty close, politically and personally. They led the fight against fascism in the early 1940s, and although they had their disagreements they got on very well. They were both blunt in expressing their views, but there was no doubt who was the more powerful : Roosevelt called the shots, although Churchill had a lot of influence on him. But it would have been unthinkable for Churchill to have behaved in the way that the present (though not for long) prime minister of Israel did with the present (though not for long) president of the United States.

Prime minister Olmert of Israel, who has been forced to stand down because of allegations of corruption, telephoned President Bush to make the latter alter his orders to his Secretary of State to support a mild resolution in the UN Security Council that called for a ceasefire in Gaza. The barely believable transcript of Olmert's boasting of his success is on public record. He said:

"I [Olmert] spoke with him [Bush]; I told him: You can't vote for this proposal. He said: listen, I don't know, I didn't see, don't know what it says. I told him: I know, and you can't vote for it! He then instructed the secretary of state, and she did not vote for it."

There is no other head of government in the entire world who could say such words to the president of the United States. And will Olmert's successor be able to speak with Bush's successor in the same way and with a similar result?

We know the name of the next US president, but we don't know who the next Israeli prime minister will be. It looks as if it might be a choice between two steel-minded sadists, Tzipi Livni or Binyamin Netanyahu, both dedicated haters of Palestine, Palestinians and Arabs in general. So what might they be able to say to President Obama? Will they be able to pick up the phone and call him to suggest forcefully that he alter the voting intention of the United States of America in the UN Security Council? And what would he do, if they did?

Given the commitment to Israel of Mr Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, as was obvious in their groveling speeches last year to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, there is no guarantee that they will, either of them, ever utter a word in criticism of Israel.

There is one thing certain: the US Congress is going to continue its unconditional support for Israel, no matter what war crimes are committed by its disgusting thugs-in-uniform. The Reps need the money, after all, which they get through political action committees which are generously funded by American Jews. And they are scared to political death by the threat that pro-Israel agencies will destroy them politically if they dare say a word against Israel.

There are very few Representatives of the people of America who would dare challenge Israel, or who might possibly criticize Israel, or who have the courage to condemn atrocities committed by Israel.


The worst of all the barbarians who are killing children and their mothers and fathers in Gaza are the Israeli pilots who mercilessly bomb houses occupied by terrified families. And they are staunchly supported by the House of Representatives of the United States of America.

These pilots, these vile little war-gamers of the skies, these latter-day examples of what Tom Wolfe called "The Right Stuff", can zoom over towns full of traumatized children and happily heave and hurl their bombs and rockets to kill yet more Palestinian kids without the remotest chance of being shot down. How heroic; how truly gladiatorial. How contemptible. They are blood brothers with the pilots of the Nazis' Stuka ground attack aircraft of yesteryear, with their terrifying sirens, who bombed columns of fleeing refugees all round Europe.

But the US House of Representatives rushed to praise Israel, and endorse its invasion and its merciless air strikes, and committed America to a motion "Recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."


Not many Americans know anything about the hideous barbarity in Gaza, because US cable networks and newspapers rarely carry pictures of disfigured blood-splashed children who have been killed, maimed or orphaned by the Israelis. But here in Europe we have access to some TV channels and newspapers that are very different from the pliant pro-Zion patsies of the major news outlets across the Atlantic.

And if US television channels carried pictures like the ones we see, there would be such outbursts of horror and indignation that even the US Congress might be forced to condemn the Israeli fascists for their barbarity. But the all-powerful Israel lobby makes sure that little of the sort will appear.

Who runs America?

The only honorable members of the House, voting against unconditional support for Israeli killing of Palestinian children, were Democrats Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (California), Gwen Moore (Wisconsin), and Nick Rahall (West Virginia), along with Texas Republican Ron Paul. And Mr Kucinich put the whole case for their vote when he said

"In Gaza, the United Nations gave the Israeli army the coordinates of a UN school, and the school was then hit by Israeli tank fire, killing about 40. The UN put flags on emergency vehicles, coordinating the movements of those vehicles with the Israeli military, and the vehicles came under attack, killing emergency workers. The Israeli army evacuated 100 Palestinians to shelter, and then bombed the shelter, killing 30 people."

Blunt stuff – but it cut no ice with the 390 members of the House who voted for Israel to continue its killing.

The Israelis have killed over a thousand Palestinians, and the UN reports that at least 500 of these deaths were civilians, and that half of these were women and children. One million of Gaza's 1.5 million people have no electricity, and about 750,000 are without water. They are existing in conditions of appalling squalor and fear, with US-supplied helicopter gunships and F-16s striking at will, and tanks and artillery destroying their houses and killing their children.

Yet the House votes for Israel. And the President of the United States of America jumps to obey the Israeli prime minister. But will there be any change under Obama and Clinton?

A year ago Hillary Clinton told the American Israeli Committee that "we stand with Israel because of our shared values and our shared belief in the dignity of men and women and the right to live without fear or oppression."

Last June Barack Obama told the American Israeli Committee "Now is the time to be vigilant in facing down every foe, just as we move forward in seeking a future of peace for the children of Israel, and for all children. Now is the time to stand by Israel . . ."

Will they continue to support Israel, the country that has laid waste a land and murdered over 200 women and children? [this figure is actually much higher, and that should be noted because it is apparently needed for some to understand the extraordinarily insane savagery of Israel and the U.S.]

If they do, the question must be asked: Who runs America?


Brian Cloughley's book about the Pakistan army, War, Coups and Terror, has just been published by Pen & Sword Books (UK) and will be published in the US in May by Skyhorse (New York).

Monday, January 19, 2009

"My Country" by Corita Kent, 1970

Punishing the Palestinians

By Ralph Nader

January 18, 2009 "Commondreams" -- In the long sixty-year tortured history of the Palestinian expulsion from their lands, Congress has maintained that it is always the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority, and now Hamas who are to blame for all hostilities and their consequences with the Israeli government.

The latest illustration of this Washington puppet show, backed by the most modern weapons and billions of taxpayer dollars annually sent to Israel, was the grotesquely one-sided Resolutions whisked through the Senate and the House of Representatives.

While a massive bombing and invasion of Gaza was underway, the resolution blaming Hamas for all the civilian casualties and devastation-99% of it inflicted on Palestinians-zoomed through the Senate by voice vote and through the House by a vote of 390 to 5 with 22 legislators voting present.

There is more dissent against this destruction of Gaza among the Israeli people, the Knesset, the Israeli media, and Jewish-Americans than among the dittoheads on Capitol Hill.

The reasons for such near-unanimous support for Israeli actions-no matter how often they are condemned by peace advocates such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, United Nations resolutions, the World Court and leading human rights groups inside and outside of Israel, are numerous. The pro-Israeli government lobby, and the right-wing Christian evangelicals, lubricated by campaign money of many Political Action Committees (PACs) certainly are key.

There is also more than a little bigotry in Congress against Arabs and Muslims, reinforced by the mass media yahoos who set new records for biased reporting each time this conflict erupts.


Friday, January 16, 2009


As Israeli Atrocities Haemorrhage Into Mainstream Consciousness… What’s That? Bin Laden on Line One

January 14th, 2009

The PSYOP payload is: “If I mention Israeli atrocities, people will associate me with Bin Laden. Maybe I better just keep quiet.”


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bergen: Tape shows Gaza conflict 'big deal' to bin Laden"

(CNN) -- Osama bin Laden's release of an audio message denouncing Israel's military offensive in Gaza signals the al Qaeda leader's priorities, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen says.

On the tape, which became public Wednesday, bin Laden calls for jihad, or holy war, against Israel in response to its military campaign aimed at stopping Hamas rocket attacks.

It's unknown when the tape was made because the time lag between recording a bin Laden message and releasing it is usually about two weeks, said Bergen, a fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington and author of "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader."


Pure psyops. Outraged at Israeli atrocities? Well, you're just like bin Laden, and a terrorist sympathizer to boot.

In the article cited above, Bergen does a great job of reiterating war-on-terror tropes and giving props to Bush, but he fails to mention the high probability that bin Laden is dead.

According to the Telegraph, "bin Laden has not appeared in video footage since 2004."

There have been reports out of Pakistan and Afghanistan that he's dead, Benazir Bhutto claimed that Bin Laden was murdered, and former CIA operative Robert Baer agrees that the Neocons' favorite bogeyman has left the earthly plane.

“Of Course Bin Laden is Dead”

Steve Watson
Tuesday, Oct 7, 2008

An important news item that flew under the radar for the most part last week was the assertion from former CIA operative turned whistleblower Robert Baer that Osama Bin Laden is long dead.

The hugely respected intelligence & foreign policy expert told Terry Gross, host of National Public Radio show Fresh Air, “Of course he is dead, where are the DVDs? Bin Laden wouldn’t dye his hair, all these things can be manipulated.”

Baer, who has has previously publicly questioned the official story of the 9/11 attacks, continued “He hasn’t shown up, I’ve taken in the last month a poll of CIA officers who have been on his trail, and what astounded me was not a single one was sure he was alive or dead. They have no idea, I mean this man disappeared off the side of the earth.”

Baer, who’s previous book See No Evil was the basis for the film Syriana, asked “When in history has a country fought another country or another entity when the leader may be dead?” and warned that the so called war on terror could be an eternal war if the goal continues to be to capture Bin Laden.

Baer also warned that the war is shifting into Pakistan, a dangerous precedent that could see the vaguely defined conflict move anywhere.


But of course it could be an eternal war. That is why 9/11 and the myth of Osama were created. I wonder how much longer we will continue to see these fabricated messages designed to frame every atrocity of this resource war as a justified part of the "war on terror"?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bush Plan Beat Obstacle to Gaza Assault

By Gareth Porter

January 07, 2009 "IPS" -- -WASHINGTON - Until mid-2007, there was a serious political obstacle to a massive conventional war by Israel against Hamas in Gaza: the fact that Hamas had won free and fair elections for the Palestinian parliament and was still the leading faction in a fully legitimate government.

But the George W Bush administration helped Israel eliminate that obstacle, by deliberately provoking Hamas to seize power. That plan was aimed at getting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the democratically elected Hamas government - something Bush had tried unsuccessfully to do for many months.

Hamas won 56% of the seats in the Palestinian parliament in the January 2006 elections, and the following month, the Palestinian Legislative Council voted for a new government under Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The Bush administration immediately began to use its control over the "Quartet" (the US, the European Union, the United Nations
and Russia), to try to reverse the results of the election.

The Quartet responded to the Hamas victory by demanding that Hamas renounce all armed resistance to Israel and even "disarm" before a political solution was reached. That was in effect a demand that Israel be allowed to use its military and economic controls over the West Bank and Gaza to impose its own unilateral solution on the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration and the Europeans cut off all financing for the Palestinian government, while Israel refused to hand over to the Palestinian authorities the value-added tax and customs duties it collected on behalf of the Palestinians under the Paris Protocol signed with the Palestinian Liberation Organization as part of the Oslo Accords.

When Abbas continued to resist US demands for an end to the elected government, both Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told him at the United Nations in September 2006 that they would not accept a Palestinian government with Hamas participation.

Rice was then dispatched to Ramallah in early October 2006 to tighten the screws on the Palestinian president. She demanded a commitment from Abbas to dissolve the Haniyeh government within two weeks, and then accepted his promise to do so within four weeks, according to a later US State Department memorandum published in Vanity Fair magazine.

There was one problem, however, with the US demand: under Article 45 of the Palestinian Authority's "Basic Law", Abbas could fire the prime minister, but he could not appoint a new one who did not represent the majority party in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Abbas failed to act on the dissolution promise, so the Bush administration gave him a memo demanding that Hamas be given a "clear choice, with a clear deadline" to accept or reject "a new government that meets the Quartet principles". The memo, published in part last January in Vanity Fair, said that if Hamas refused that demand, "you should make clear your intention to declare a state of emergency and form an emergency government explicitly committed to that platform".

It further demanded that Abbas "strengthen his team" by bringing in "credible figures of strong standing in the international community". That was a reference to the long-time director of Fatah's paramilitary forces, Muhammad Dahlan, who had long been regarded as the candidate of the Bush administration and its allies. In April 2003, Yasser Arafat had been under pressure from British prime minister Tony Blair and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to name Dahlan as head of Palestinian security.

In late 2006, Rice got Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to agree to provide covert military training and money to equip a major increase in Dahlan's militia.

But there was another element of the Bush administration plan. It encouraged Dahlan to carry out attacks against the Hamas security and political infrastructure in Gaza, which were well known to be far stronger than that of Abbas's Fatah faction. In a later interview with Vanity Fair, Dahlan admitted that he had carried out "very clever warfare" against Hamas in Gaza for many months.

Other sources said that Dahlan's militia was carrying out torture and kidnappings of Hamas security personnel.

Alvaro de Soto, then UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, wrote in his confidential End of Mission Report that the US "clearly pushed for a confrontation between Fatah and Hamas ..." He recalled that the "US envoy" to a February 2, 2007 meeting of the Quartet in Washington had twice declared, "How much I like this violence", because "it means that other Palestinians are resisting Hamas".

That US envoy was Rice.
[emphasis mine]

The Bush administration seemed to want Hamas to know about its plan to help Fatah use force against the Hamas organization in Gaza. A January 5, 2007 Reuters story, datelined Jerusalem, revealed an internal US document showing that the United States had pledged US$86 million to "strengthen and reform elements of the Palestinian security sector controlled by the PA presidency" and "dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and establish law and order in the West Bank and Gaza".

When Abbas negotiated a new agreement with Hamas in Mecca in February 2007 on a Palestinian unity government, the Bush administration responded by drafting a secret "action plan for the Palestinian presidency". The plan threatened that the "international community" would "no longer deal exclusively with the presidency" if it did not go along with US demands, and that "[m]any countries in the EU and the G-8" would "start looking for more credible interlocutors on the Palestinian side who can deliver on key issues of security and governance".

The plan, dated March 2, 2007, called for Abbas to "start taking necessary action against groups undermining the ceasefire with the goal of ensuring all armed groups within Palestine security institutions in stages [between 2007 and 2008] ...". It promised to help Abbas to "impose necessary order on the Palestinian street" through "superiority" of Fatah forces over Hamas, after which there would be new elections in autumn 2007.

Again that US plan was kept secret but leaked in April 2007 by the Jordanian newspaper al-Majd. That could only have happened if Jordanian intelligence services, which cooperative very closely with the United States, made the decision to leak it to the press.

Then, on June 7, 2007, the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz revealed that Israel had been asked to authorize the shipment of dozens of Egyptian armored cars and hundreds of rockets and thousands of hand grenades for the Fatah security forces.

The leaked plans for a military buildup were an open invitation to Hamas to take preemptive action. The day after the Ha'aretz story, Hamas launched a campaign which eliminated the Fatah security presence in Gaza in five days.

The day after the complete defeat of Dahlan's forces in Gaza, Abbas dissolved the Haniyeh unity government and named his own prime minister, in violation of the Palestinian charter.

The rout of Dahlan's forces was a predictable consequence of the Bush administration's policy. As the commander of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Khalid Jaberi, told Vanity Fair's David Rose, "We can only conclude that having Hamas in control serves [the Bush administration's] overall strategy, because their policy was so crazy otherwise."

But the Bush administration had not only accomplished its goal of eliminating a Hamas-dominated government; it had also set up a new argument that could later be used to justify an all-out Israeli offensive in Gaza: that Hamas had mounted an "illegal coup" in Gaza. That was the term that Rice used on January 2 in justifying the Israeli operations against Gaza.

Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006.

(Inter Press Service)

F*cking terrorists.