Monday, January 14, 2008

Bad, bad start for 2008

I am finally back at my keyboard after some travels and already the first days of 2008 look so depressing that I don't even know where to begin. In no particular order, here are some of the things which make me think that 2008 shall be an ugly and mean year.

United Kingdom: the Brits are loosing it. I mean, they were never known for their kind and honorable foreign policy, but neither were they known for being stupid. But check out this piece of news on the BBC. Not only does the British government insist that Russia hand over one of its citizens on totally incredible charges (if the Russians wanted Litvinenko killed, they would not use something as silly as a polonium poisoning attempt), but they now defy Putin *inside* Russia itself! I mean - how totally out of touch with reality does the British government need to be to think that the Russians will just back down and take it? Do they still think Eltsin is sitting in the Kremlin. Conclusion: Brown is as stupid as Dubya or Olmert.

2008 primaries: the primary in New Hampshire gave a victory for McCain and Hillary and the 'live free or die" state gave more votes to Giuliani than to Ron Paul. That just goes to prove that raising plenty of money is not enough - you need to have the support of the corporate media to get elected in the USA.

Ron Paul campaign: having received the bad news about Ron Paul's poor results in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Ron Paul campaign is still not looking at other options. Dennis Kucinich floated the idea of a joint Kuninich-Paul ticket only to be immediately turned down by the Paul campaign. Frankly, I think that the Paul campaign is dead in the water, mainly due to its apparent inability to "think out of the box".

2008 campaign: the sad reality that Americans do not have a meaningful choice has been perfectly illustrated by the January 3rd DemocracyNow show which featured American Conservative correspondent Kelley Beaucar Vlahos and the brilliant reporter Allan Nairn (check out his excellent blog). With the exception of Gravel, Kucinich and Paul, all the presidential candidates are just "marketing faces" behind which you will find the same kind of advisors: Neocon thugs, imperial killers, ruthless corporate goons and, needless to say, faithful zealots of the Israel lobby.

Dubya's clumsy "Persian Gulf of Tonkin" incident: first they told us that Iranian speedboats where threatening USN destroyers (which is bizarre in itself), then they admitted that, well, the audio was not quite clearly from the same Iranian boats (the Iranians offered their own video whose audio was clearly in sink with the sequence of events shown). The fallback position? "Well guys, we were already threatened a month ago, except that we did not report it then". When nobody took this one seriously, Dubya came out with the usual nonsense about Iran being a threat to the Middle-East. The highlight of the speech was the mantrically repeated accusation that "Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terror". Nevermind that this often repeated accusation is backed up with exactly zero facts, and nevermind that the world's leading state sponsor of terror is, of course, the USA. What is amazing is that besides being evil and corrupt, the Dubya administration is fantastically incompetent - its not even capable of cooking up a halfway credible "Persian Gulf of Tonkin incident". Has anyone noticed that the "Iranian IED" nonsense has quietly been dropped? Ditto for the "Iranian covert nuclear weapons program". I think the Neocons have to bite the bullet and wait for somebody more capable to enter the White House, say Hillary or Obama, to create a pious pretext to attack Iran.

Sibel Edmonds: after much waiting Sibel Edmonds finally gave an interview to The Times with revelations which would make Watergate appear like a minor prank. Reaction in the USA? Nothing. The US corporate media simply will not report any of that, period. Scary. Sibel even published a photo gallery of all the culprits (check out Lukery's commented version with the names and affiliations indicated). Even though there are plenty of big names named, nobody cares. Really, if top US government officials sell nuclear secrets to Pakistan through Turkish diplomats and under the political cover of Israeli agents in the USA, and if they are all deeply involved in 911 - who cares? Right?!

Loose Change Final Cut released: the final version of the movie Loose Change as been released (official website here, google video here, purchase the DVD here). A much improved version in my opinion, as it makes no claims (as in the past versions), but only asks questions. What is certain is that the entire 911 Commission exercise was just a cover-up for something, the question is what was being covered up. On the latter I remain an agnostic, but my gut feeling is that it involves all the same actors and interests as in the Sibel Edmonds case.

Pakistan: where do I even begin here?! The situation in Pakistan is beyond out of control and all this will probably go down in history as yet another Neocon snafu of truly horrifying proportion. In all fairness, the USA has got it wrong in that region since at least the end of World War II and everything the USA did over there, literally *everything*, only made matters worse, and worse, and worse. To hear how some Neocons actually advocate for yet another war in Pakistan just goes to show how totally out of touch with reality these people are. Had they ever read Hegel (as their Bolshevik forefathers used to do) they would realize how futile it is hope to tackle an insurgency by starting yet another war.

Imperial Homeland: nobody with a modicum of intelligence can possibly doubt that the USA is currently ruled by a cabal of criminal whose crimes range from simple corruption to treason and include such things war crimes, human rights violations, violations of the laws of war, crimes of aggression, espionage, corruption, obstruction of justice, etc. The USA has the highest per capita rate of incarceration in the world, it spends more on 'defense' than the rest of the world combined, it has 16 (sixteen!) official intelligence agencies and it is currently directly involved in at least 3 wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia). Add to this that this country has legalized torture, disappearances, kidnappings abroad, that its huge, bloated police forces uses tasers as portable torture instrument on even the smallest sign of non-compliance, that mercenary companies such as Blackwater are training for internal operations and that the National Guard has been re-subordinated to the Federal authorities while FEMA is working on mobile detention centers and you get the picture: the American population is now threatened with a major wave of repression. Sure, as long as the well-oiled corporate propaganda machine can do the job, tasers will be kept holstered. But what if these whackos start a war with Iran and the economy goes belly-up? What if riots break out?

The US empire is dying and there is nothing anyone can do to stop this process. The relevant question is now exactly the same one which everybody asked when it became clear that the Soviet Union was collapsing: how much blood will this cost?

None of the above pretends to be anything like an exhausting analysis with many important things missing (Iraq, Gaza, Sarkozy to name just a few). I just listed some of the things which crossed my mind during the past two weeks. I see them as various signs of the same syndrome of imperial death. My main fear is that the USA has been hijacked (see Sibel's article here and here) and that a country which used to be allied with the "ECHELON Nations" is now run by a "Nomenklatura" with roots in Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan and these guys will stop at nothing, nothing at all, to keep their grip on power.

Is there any good news out there?

Sure there is!

The resistance to the Empire is strengthening all around the Imperial periphery: first and foremost, Iran stared down the wannabe Texan cowboy in the White House and managed to outmaneuver all the Necon attempts to justify a war. Hezbollah as defeated Israel with less than 1000 actual combatants and is now slowly bringing the CIA sponsored 'Cedar Revolution' to its knees. The Kurdish guerrillas have shown the impotence of the Turkish military and are now openly challenging the US policies. Hugo Chavez has survived his first defeat at the ballot box and is still keeping the 'Yankees' out of power. Russia, now awash in money, is standing up to the US attempts to destabilize it and openly challenges US imperialism. Japan has quietly agreed to pay for its Iranian oil in Euros. The Somali have refused to submit to the invading Ethiopian forces. While US stooges in the Ukraine or Georgia have succeeded in remaining in power, their situation is beyond precarious and it is just a matter of time before they crash and burn. I could go on with this list, but the point is simple: the external resistance to the Empire is getting stronger and stronger. Sadly enough, the internal resistance, while real, has not, so far, been able to organize itself into a credible force.