Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Very special agents

In the recently published American Assassination: The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone, there's a transcript of this curious exchange between co-author Four Arrows and Frank Hildrup, lead investigator of the National Transportation Safety Board:

FOUR ARROWS: Why was the FBI not listed as party to the investigation in the final NTSB report on the Wellstone case?

FRANK HILDRUP: They were not a party to the investigation.

FA: Then what were they doing on the scene for about 8 hours prior to the arrival of the NTSB team?

FH: I can’t say for sure, since I only took over on Monday; but maybe they were responding to the – you know – the conspiracy theories.

FA: How could there have been any conspiracy theories operating before the plane crashed?

FH: Well, uh, of course, that’s true. Well, the FBI might have been there to identify the bodies as they sometimes do in airplane accidents. I’m not really sure but there is someone with the FBI I can call who was there. I’ll get back to you about this.

FA: I’d really appreciate it. Don’t you think it strange?

FH: Well, I just know everything is above board but I do want to find out.

FA: One more question. Why no public hearing for this incident?

FH: We only have hearings for high profile cases.

There's no shortage of reasons why this exchange is curious, but chief among them is the fact that the only explanation the NTSB's lead investigator can offer for the praeternaturally early arrival upon the crash scene of the FBI is that it was responding to "conspiracy theories."

The Wellstone crash site was located by Eveleth Airport Assistant Manager Gary Ulman at approximately 11:00 AM. Ulman didn't contact the FBI, yet a team of special agents arrived to secure the site just an hour later, according to the Sheriff of St Louis County, Rick Wahlberg. Even more astonishing, the FBI contingent was from Minneapolis, not the closer Duluth, even though they had driven to Eveleth from Duluth in cars they had rented at the airport.

As authors Jim Fetzer and Four Arrows write:

The crash, you may recall, did not actually occur until about 10:20 AM and had not been visually confirmed until 11:00 AM. Ulman did not notify the FBI that there had been a crash - ever. Even if a 911 operator had notified the FBI around 11:00 AM, how in the world did these very special agents know that they needed to head for the airport by 9:28 AM in order to be in Eveleth by noon? Perhaps the FBI possesses psychic powers and can anticipate the occurances of tragedies of this kind in advance.

Good thing the FBI got an early start. Conspiracy theories are a helluva thing.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Mark Lombardi's Uzumaki

If you're a fan of Japanese Manga, you're likely familiar with the title Uzumaki. It's the bizarre and hypnotic story of a small village whose inhabitants gradually succumb to a mad obsession with discovering spiral patterns in nature.

The film version, subtitled "Spiral Into Horror," is disturbing, disorienting, and quite literally loopy. As a reviewer asks, "when you were little, did you ever spend hours and hours running around in circles trying to make yourself dizzy, and then fall over laughing while the room span around you? Well, Uzumaki makes you feel like that all over again."

I felt that way all over again last Friday, when I finally took in the Mark Lombardi exhibit, "Global Networks," at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Lombardi's work, rather than make the room seem to spin, diagrams how the real world goes 'round.

From a review by Uri Dowbenko:

Mapping criminal corporate-government connections is a dangerous occupation. Exposing the players and their front companies is even more hazardous. These are the subjects of Mark Lombardi's art -- the hidden global realities of money and power. His artwork, literally as well as figuratively, connects the dots of international high-level white-collar crime networks.

Lombardi's drawings are mandalas of conspiracy, flow charts of shady deals and shaky agents, and org charts of world-class con men, revealing the genealogy of wickedness in the highest places of corporate and government power.

"Mark Lombardi: Global Networks" is a traveling exhibition of 25 drawings, some as large as 4' x 12,’ organized by New York-based Independent Curators International (ICI) and curated by Robert Hobbs of Virginia Commonwealth University. In graphic terms, the drawings document the major financial and political frauds of the late 20th century. They are flow charts of illicit money and power, solid and dotted lines and curves as well as broken arrows denoting the flows of illicit financial operations and covert revenues.

One of the drawings called "George W. Bush, Harken Energy and Jackson Stephens, ca 1979-90" (1999) shows the connections of James Bath, a former CIA spook and business broker, front man for Saudi money who connected the Bush Family and Bin Laden Family (of the Osama bin Laden/ 9-11 legend) in shady deals in Texas and around the world.

Other drawings document the Savings and Loan (S&L) Frauds, IraqGate Fraud (illicit sales of nuclear and biological weapons to Iraqi kingpin Saddam Hussein with a $5 billion US Government-guaranteed phony “agricultural loan” through the Banca Nazionale de Lavoro), Iran Contra Fraud, and the Clinton/ Jackson Stephens Frauds.

Illegible reproductions and fragmentary details of Lombardi's work cannot do it justice. But standing before the often enormous graphic narratives, tracing their timelines, is to enter the secret narrative of our age.

Lombardi died in 2000 just as he was finding an audience, and like too many who shine a light into America's dark places his death was ruled an apparent suicide. Yet, just before his death, Lombardi had confided to friends that he believed he was being followed. In a 1997 video of the artist that accompanies the exhibit, Lombardi is asked if he fears for his life. He answers indirectly, that the researchers upon whose work his art is based were still walking around. Lombardi's own business card read "Death Defying Acts of Art and Conspiracy."

After 9/11, FBI agents visited the Whitney Museum and requested to examine Lombardi's 4'x12' representation of the BCCI scandal.

The Lombardi exhibit closes in Toronto December 5. If you're not dizzy yet, you ought to be.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Where there's smoke, there's a smoking gun.

Two things I believe regarding the 2004 US presidential election:

  1. We will soon have incontrovertible evidence of fraud, and
  2. It won't make a bit of difference.

With respect to the first point, investigative reporter Wayne Madsen has posted a follow-up to Thursday's story, "Saudis, Enron money helped pay for US rigged election." Madsen's claims get quite specific here regarding the money involved. Either this is how it went down, or he is the patsy of an elaborate disinformation campaign to discredit investigations. I trust Madsen's instincts enough to doubt it's the latter. Also, investigations hardly need discrediting when they are hardly credited beyond the blogosphere.


November 26, 2004—Additional information on the buying of vote riggers with Saudi and former Enron funds has been obtained. The epicenter for the vote rigging operation is Dallas, Texas, and the operation may involve retired FBI agents who used a well-established "good ole boy" network to arrange for access to polling precincts by electronic voting machine technicians who took advantage of various November 2 security "lockdowns" to illegally alter the tabulation of votes in favor of Bush. Some of the retired agents may have used courtesy credentials issued upon retirement to fool unsuspecting polling place workers.

The cost of the operation was estimated at $29 million with the money sent via a circuitous network of offshore trust companies and shell activities. This reporter has obtained a copy of a bank check for $29,600,000 that was allegedly sent to cover the cost of the Texas-based vote rigging operation. The check is dated October 22, 2004, and was made payable to "Five Star Investment Ltd.," a trust said to have long connections to Saudi-funded operations in Texas and around the world. The payer is identified as "Equity Financial Trust," a Houston-based "brass plate" and post office box entity tied to offshore Cook Islands "folding tent" accounts used to hide away profits amassed by the former Enron as well as Saudi financiers.

On October 6, 2004, some two weeks before Equity Financial Trust transferred the money to Five Star Investment Ltd., the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions for Canada listed Equity Financial Trust, along with Bankers Financial and Security Trust, Falcon Financial and Trust, and Unity Virtual Trust Group as "unauthorized financial institutions." In fact, the check for $29.6 million, which is marked "Not to exceed fifty million dollars," is drawn on the Laurentian Bank of Canada's Toronto branch. Its serial number is 317675450 3 and the bank number is 23-97/1020. The bank instrument is issued by Integrated Payment Systems, Inc. of Englewood, Colorado, and Bank One, NA, Denver, Colorado.

It is noteworthy that a number of companies operated by past Bush campaign contributor Pierre Falcone, under criminal investigation in France for weapons smuggling in Angola, are called "Falcon." Several non-governmental organizations, including Global Witness, have tied Falcone to questionable Halliburton activities when Vice President Dick Cheney headed the firm.

Some of the vote riggers who were guaranteed a minimum payment for their services have started talking about the operation because they did not receive the money they were promised.

It's interesting to note the Canadian connection. An October 15 special alert of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, entitled "Entities That May Be Conducting Banking Operations in Canada or the United States Without Authorization," included Equity Financial Trust as one of six "entities, or persons representing them...reportedly operating in Canada. They may be violating provisions of the Bank Act (Canada) or other Canadian financial institution regulations. They may also be conducting unauthorized banking transactions in the United States. Any proposed transactions involving these entities should be viewed with extreme caution."

This is a fascinating story to watch develop. Madsen is either in the process of landing the biggest fish of his life, or he's going to wind up in its belly. But now at least there is a money trail to follow, which is heartening, because there usually is with crimes of this order, and this particular crime would certainly require one.

A damn shame, though, that it won't change anything.

Even if we move beyond smoke to the smoking gun, I'm afraid events are now well beyond the scope of America's vestigial justice system to rein in the High Cabal. I fully expect George Bush's mouth will continue to defy butter to melt with words like this regarding the Ukraine: "There's just a lot of allegations of vote fraud that place their elections, the validity of their elections, in doubt. The international community is watching very carefully. People are paying very close attention to this, and hopefully it'll be resolved in a way that brings credit and confidence to the Ukrainian government."

I shouldn't say it won't change anything. Selection 2004 is raising up fresh divisions of so-called kooks, tinfoilers and paranoiacs, who recognize the world is not what they'd presumed it to be. And that is something.

As an aside, I find it interesting I've already seen sentiments like this expressed: If this is such a big story, why Wayne Madsen, and not someone more mainstream?

By way of an answer, consider what Jeffrey Bale writes in "'Conspiracy Theories' and Clandestine Politics":

Very few notions generate as much intellectual resistance, hostility, and derision within academic circles as a belief in the historical importance or efficacy of political conspiracies.... The idea that particular groups of people meet together secretly or in private to plan various courses of action, and that some of these plans actually exert a significant influence on particular historical developments, is typically rejected out of hand and assumed to be the figment of a paranoid imagination.

The mere mention of the word 'conspiracy' seems to set off an internal alarm bell which causes scholars to close their minds in order to avoid cognitive dissonance and possible unpleasantness.

Anything that could be popularly described as a "conspiracy theory" is immediately subject to dismissal by the mainstream media. The respectable American Left, which is already marginalized, makes a habit of it, too. David Corn does this all the time. And though I haven't been listening, apparently Al Franken on Air America Radio regularly ridicules those who suspect the election was stolen. I don't blame them, really; it's in their nature. It's an issue of paradigms. The merits of the particular charges are irrelevent. If it's "conspiracy," they are predisposed to hysterical blindness.

They don't really study the evidence. They don't really give a fair hearing. When the word "conspiracy" is whispered, their eyes glaze over and their brain switches off.

The left is already considered dubious in the American marketplace of ideas. For spokespersons of the left to get mainstream hearings is rare enough. Those would be jeopardized by the individuals making themselves vulnerable to the accusations of mental illness that are inevitably hurled towards "conspiracy theorists."

That's why, despite his other qualifications, it's Wayne Madsen's story. He doesn't balk at going there. That's why the story is still on the "fringe," published by the "alternative media." That's why all the important American stories these days are being broken by so-called kooks, tinfoilers and paranoiacs.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Dissonantly Cognitive

As much as it makes my head want to explode, it's still fascinating to observe the disconnect in the US corporate media between the Ukrainian and American electoral experience.

In the Ukraine, that exit polls conflicted with election results is highly suggestive of fraud. In the United States, the same suggests exit polls should be scrapped for their unreliability.

In the Ukraine, media manipulation is said to have weighed the election in favour of the governing party. In the US, it's called "fair and balanced" coverage.

In the Ukraine, intimidation of voters taints the official outcome. In the United States, it's playing "hardball."

In the Ukraine, it doesn't strain credulity to believe the opposition leader could be poisoned. In the United States, Paul Wellstone's death was a "tragic accident."

As The New York Times reported, Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, citing "the disturbing fact that official results diverged sharply from a range of surveys of voters at polling places," said "A concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or cooperation of governmental authorities."

Journalist Greg Palast writes:

This reporter was unable to reach Senator Lugar regarding the inconsistency of official election results and exit polls in the USA; the intimidation of minority voters in Florida and Ohio; nor the failure to count two million ballots cast, half by African-American voters, in America's first post-democratic election held earlier this month. Eastern bloc observers noted that balloting in Ohio, New Mexico and Florida did not meet Ukrainian standards, but applauded America's attempt to restore democratic institutions after the overthrow of elected government in 2000.

At least they can't take our irony from us.

And maybe we can take something back from them. To that end, everyone ought to read this potentially huge story today from investigative reporter Wayne Madsen:

According to informed sources in Washington and Houston, the Bush campaign spent some $29 million to pay polling place operatives around the country to rig the election for Bush. The operatives were posing as Homeland Security and FBI agents but were actually technicians familiar with Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S, Triad, Unilect, and Danaher Controls voting machines. These technicians reportedly hacked the systems to skew the results in favor of Bush.

The leak about the money and the rigged election apparently came from technicians who were promised to be paid a certain amount for their work but the Bush campaign interlocutors reneged and some of the technicians are revealing the nature of the vote rigging program.

There have been media reports from around the country concerning the locking down of precincts while votes were being tallied. In one unprecedented action in Warren County, Ohio, election officials locked down the facility where votes were being counted. The officials said this was in response to a Level 10 high-threat terrorist warning being issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI for Warren County. George Bush won 72 percent of the vote in Warren County, much larger than his percentage of victory statewide.

The money to rig the election in favor of Bush reportedly came from an entity called Five Star Trust, largely based in Houston but a worldwide entity that is directly tied to the Saudi Royal Family. Five Star Trust was termed "a well-protected vehicle" that has been used to support both Bush and Osama bin Laden in the US and around the world.

And what the hell; let's add to the mix the bizarre suicide, in a stand-off with police earlier this week, of CyberNET CEO Barton Watson. Just the previous week, it had been announced that CyberNET of Grand Rapids, Michigan was the subject of a massive fraud probe. CyberNET, coincidentally, is a supplier of open-source code to electronic voting companies. It's a confusing story to follow, but there's an ongoing discussion at Democratic Underground (though some seen keen to shut it down for some reason), here and here.

It's a shame America's dissonantly cognitive are sleeping through this, thanks in large part to their lullaby-media. It's just getting interesting. If only our heads can keep from exploding.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Another "Timely Alert"

Take a look at this, from the website of the US Army Materiel Command (and thanks to "NecessaryOnslaught" at Democratic Underground):

Force protection plan a 'timely alert'
By Debbie Sheehan
U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command
Public Affairs Office

FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. -- The world will never be the same again. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Sept. 11 have changed everything; from our sense of security to how we get to work.

"There was a plan in place, but we went from 0 to 60 overnight, so to speak," said Lt. Col. Stephen N. Wood, Garrison commander, here. "By sheer coincidence we were scheduled to conduct "Timely Alert II," a force protection exercise on Sept. 11 and because of that, some of the concrete barriers were already in place."

Wood said people on post told him when they first saw live footage of the events unfolding at the World Trade Center, they thought it was some elaborate training video to accompany the exercise.

Firefighters here said others told them the same thing. "You really outdid yourself this time," a worker said to Captain "Jack" Rindt, training officer for the Fort Monmouth Fire Department. Rindt could only express his sorrow while he acknowledged that indeed, what people were seeing was not a movie, even if it looked like one.

A Google search turns up just this one page for "Timely Alert II."

And let's add this to the mix, from Barbara Honegger:

Burlingame's 9-11 Pentagon plane not only hit the Pentagon that morning, it struck a Command and Control center for that morning's counterterrorism 'game' exercise, killing most, if not all, of the 'players'. We know this because Army personnel from Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey were on special duty assignment at the Pentagon that morning for an emergency response exercise and were killed when Burlingame's plane hit. Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey also happens to be the headquarters for White House/Presidential communications, including therefore probably also for Air Force One (this is discoverable) -- and recall the warning "Air Force One is next" and the 'secret code' which was called into the White House that morning which WH press secretary Ari Fleischer revealed as a means of explaining why Pres. Bush left Florida for a military base and did not return to the White House. This 'warning' was probably called into the White House, if true, by either the Ft. Monmouth White House communications headquarters and/or the Ft. Monmouth counterterrorism exercise 'game' players temporarily at the Pentagon that morning.

To me, "Timely Alert II" appears to be distinct from the Pentagon's 9/11 "counterterrorism game," though personnel from Fort Monmouth - "the headquarters for White House/Presidential communications" - were involved in both.

So, how many drills, simulations and exercises does this make now? Six?

Monday, November 22, 2004

"Impunity until when?"

A supporter of late Venezuelan prosecutor Danilo Anderson cries
while holding a poster which reads "Impunity until when."

Andrew Selsky, for Associated Press yesterday:

Mass demonstrations that paralysed the capital are no more. A once-troubled economy is again robust and shoppers crowd malls in marked contrast with two years ago when stores were padlocked during a national strike aimed at toppling President Hugo Chavez. But underneath the veneer of normalcy in this oil-rich country is deep frustration felt by Chavez's opponents after three efforts to unseat him failed: a coup, the national strike and a referendum.

We can appreciate how frustrated they must feel, watching this rough-hewn man of indigenous and African heritage only grow in stature and appeal as he turns the "country's oil wealth into food, health and education programs for the majority poor." Last month, only two of Venezuela's 23 governorships were won by his opponents. Chavez is expected to strengthen his parliamentary standing in congressional elections next July, and he is well positioned to be re-elected president the following year. Clearly, something needs to be done to stop this monster. And the assassination last Friday of prosecutor Danilo Anderson, who was preparing a case against nearly 400 supporters of the 2002 coup, could mark its beginning.

Oscar Heck implicates US policy, specifically that represented by the Ministry of Love-like "National Endowment for Democracy," in Anderson's death:

The NED has recently been financing what they call “pro-democracy” “organizations” in Venezuela to the tune of millions of dollars. Most, if not all of these organizations are anti-Chavez, as recently implied by the NED’s president himself. Many of the members of these “organizations” have been the overt leaders of the rabid (and often criminal and violent) anti-Chavez movements in the last three years ... or they have been directly involved in publicly discrediting Chavez with lies and false accusations, manipulation of information and outright disinformation.

These Venezuelans, the ones who have been backed by the NED and other supposed pro-democracy NGOs such as USAID, have been publicly involved in everything from promoting civil unrest, to calling for the death of Chavez ... to being present at the April 2002 coup against Chavez ... and signing coupster Pedro Carmona’s dictatorial decree dissolving the elected National Assembly, the reform laws and the constitution.

The NED is well aware of this ... especially since much of the incriminating evidence was publicly televised by the criminals themselves. “Organizations” such as Sumate, the CTV and Fedecamaras are amongst these.

Note: There are many more “anti-Chavez” Venezuelan “organizations” which have received funding from the NED and USAID and whose members were also involved in sabotaging the Chavez government and the country. This is part of the investigation which the Prosecutor’s office is involved in.

Information Minister Andres Izarra suggested Venezuelan exiles residing in Florida may have been responsible, saying "the government of the United States must explain how these terrorist groups who operate in Florida make such statements through the mass media with demonstrated impunity."

Addressing the nation, President Chavez said "They are going to have to finish us all off. We are many Danilo Andersons... Whoever they are and wherever they be hidden like rats, they will not defeat Danilo Anderson. That is to say, to us."

One such Danilo Anderson is attorney Eva Golinger, who writes:

As a colleague of Daniel and a fellow fighter against injustice, I deplore the brutal assassination of this brave lawyer, who was only doing his job, not caving into the immense pressure around him. This action against Daniel represents the barbarity of those who wish to inject us with fear and want to prevent the advances of the Bolivarian process and our struggle for justice. They are the ones who fear us. Tthey fear our courage and our relentless search for the truth.

As the attorney leading the investigation of the CIA and the US Government involvement in the coup and in the ongoing destabilization campaign in Venezuela, I will continue with the strength of Danilo in my investigations and my work.I will not be intimidated and they won’t stop me with showings of brutality.

Assassination is a tool of fascism. Read John Judge's address of the same title to understand the method behind the not-so random acts of violence against men and women who sought a better world.

It's November 22 again.

Impunity until when?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The AWOL Opposition

Assuming evidence of election fraud does not overturn the results, could the United States please get for itself an Opposition Party? Because the Democrats ain't it.

I know it would rattle the beautiful minds of the lunatic middle to see legislators stand in meaningful opposition, rather than stand shoulder-to-shoulder, Lieberman-like, with "their president." I know it's unlikely, given the rise to gutless and compromised leadership by the likes of Tom Vilsack and Harry Reid. But damn, is it ever needed. Because along with "liberal" and "Massachusetts," here's another word Democrats have failed to redeem: "partisan."

Thanks to the electronic drumbeat of the GOP meme machine, "partisanship" has come to mean "playing politics," when actually the opposite is true. A partisan stands for something. A partisan fights. A partisan has a cause. Those playing politics are found in the mewling, puking DLC faction, who furrow their brows to find a "third way" of compromise; to make accomodation; to "moderate" the Bush agenda to make it easier to swallow. (Tom Daschle just gave his farewell speech to the Congress, pleading for "common ground," and only two Republicans cared to be present. That's how much they respect Democratic leaders and their self-abasing compromises.)

To work with Bush now, rather than against him, is to be a camp volunteer, reassuring doomed souls and keeping the queue moving as they walk to the showers. I know that sounds extreme, but the world is in extremis, and the world we knew and still hope for may not survive four more years.

Much of the Democratic leadership either still cannot acknowledge the radical villainy of the Bush gang, or they are fifth columnists who have done an admirable job demoralizing their own base, and destroying the prospects of any meaningful alternative to the GOP.

Where is the opposition party?

James DiEugenio, in the Afterword to Probe Magazine's essential anthology, The Assassinations, helps us understand what became of the Democrats:

Imagine, if you can, that if in the mid-1980s, at the height of the GOP Revolution, Ronald Reagan, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich, and George Bush Sr, had all been assassinated in the space of five years. Would the Republicans and the media not suspect something more than coincidence or happenstance? Would their party and their causes be able to sustain the loss? Would Dan Quayle and Bob Dole have been able to pick up the baton? Would history not have been quite different? Certainly, the Democrats were not able to sustain the loss. Nothing comparable filled the gap, nothing even came close. So the consellation fell from the sky and without any pressure from the left, our public debate shited slowly, inexorably to the right.

Today's Democratic Party is what comes of the right's culling it of leaders who threatened to make a different America. The process continues (see Paul Wellstone) and it doesn't always end in death. Sometimes, character assassination is the preferred means (see Howard Dean).

Nothing less than a crime spree has been waged against the party for 40 years, and still the victim insists on reaching out to its assassin.

Pathetic, bizarre and tragic. And to be expected.

Friday, November 19, 2004

You couldn't make this stuff up. But someone does.

Sometimes - no; all the time - the news coming out of Bush's America seems to end with an assumed "Believe it, or not!"

After four years of this, our credulity should not be straining so hard. We should know to expect anything. I know I try. And yet still, nearly every day, I find myself being shocked.

For instance, just look at yesterday's headline from The Dallas Morning News:

SUV with Texas registration found at Fallujah bomb workshop

An "embedded" CNN crew allegedly found Zarqawi's HQ. They can assume as much, because "al Qaeda organization" was written on the wall. Seriously. We're awaiting confirmation of "Bad Guy Hideout - No Gurls Allowed!" And there was this SUV, surrounded by bags of sodium nitrate, with 15 Iraqi plates inside and a "Texas registration sticker...on the truck's window."

The most incredible aspect of this is not the truck, but that the report of its provenance could be delivered without so much as a raised eyebrow. What will it take for CNN's incurious Paula Zahn to say "Wait a minute - what the fuck?"

Also from yesterday, this headline:

US commander says bin Laden can no longer direct terror operations

And why does Lt Gen Lance Smith, deputy commander of Central Command, say such a thing? Because "Pakistan's military has been so effective" at hemming al Qaeda leadership into the tribal areas. What he doesn't say, and what no US official, military or civilian, will admit, is that Pakistani military intelligence is virtually indistinguishable from al Qaeda. Mahmood Ahmed, the ISI chief who famously - at least to those of us paying attention - breakfasted with Porter Goss and Bob Graham the morning of Sept 11, authorized the $100,000 payment to Atta by placing cell phone calls to Omar Sheikh Saeed: al Qaeda leader and ISI asset, known as bin Laden's "favourite son."

But hey, if the US is comfortable with farming out the bin Laden file to Pakistan, just as it has done since the days of the clandestine support of the mujahideen, why should our knickers be twisted about it?

Another of yesterday's headlines:

White House Warns Ukraine to Guard Voting

No, you're not dyslexic. That's really what it says. The Bush White House claims that Ukraine's first round of voting "did not meet a 'basic test' of a truly democratic process." Many Ukrainians feel the same, too. Why? Because exit polls conflicted with the results. Exit polls had projected victory for the challenger. That's what got people into the streets of Kiev by the tens of thousands.

Hello, America? Is this thing on?

Something's not working, because here's one more headline from yesterday. And this is an American story, not Ukrainian - believe it, or not!

Exit polls to be delayed in future elections

Thursday, November 18, 2004

About Margaret Hassan

I'd been meaning to write something about the Margaret Hassan atrocity, but better you should read Robert Fisk and Kurt Nimmo.

Here's Fisk:

Who killed Margaret Hassan? After the grief, the astonishment, heartbreak, anger and fury over the apparent murder of such a good and saintly woman, that is the question that her friends - and, quite possibly, the Iraqi insurgents - will be asking.


In the background of these appalling pictures, there were none of the usual Islamic banners. There were none of the usual armed and hooded men. There were no Quranic recitations.

And when it percolated through to Fallujah and Ramadi that the mere act of kidnapping Margaret Hassan was close to heresy, the combined resistance groups of Fallujah - and the message genuinely came from them - demanded her release. So, incredibly, did Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Al-Qaeda man whom the Americans falsely claimed to be leading the Iraqi insurrection, but who has very definitely been involved in the kidnapping and beheading of foreigners.

Other abducted women - the two Italian aid workers, for example - were freed when their captors recognised their innocence. But not Margaret Hassan, even though she spoke fluent Arabic and could explain her work to her captors in their own language.

There was one mysterious video that floated to the surface this year - a group promising to seize al-Zarqawi, claiming he was anti-Iraqi, politely referring to the occupation armies as "the coalition forces". This was quickly nicknamed the "Alawi tape" - after the American- appointed ex-CIA agent and ex-Baathist who holds the title of "Interim Prime Minister" in Iraq, the same Alawi who fatuously claimed there had been no civilian deaths in Fallujah. So if anyone doubted the murderous nature of the insurgents, what better way to prove their viciousness than to produce evidence of Margaret Hassan's murder?

And some good observations from Nimmo regarding possible motive:

It’s no secret the Bushcons hate NGOs and believe they are casting a negative light on the Strausscon plan for Word War IV. As Naomi Klein writes, the Strausscons are keen “to sweep up those pesky non-governmental organizations that are helping to turn world opinion against U.S. bombs and brands,” for instance CARE, the organization Margaret Hassan worked for.


Is it possible the Iraqi resistance would attack and organization dedicated to saving Iraqi lives? Does it makes sense for the resistance to kill CARE workers and attack them “without any further notice,” especially if they are working to save the lives of Iraqi children?

However, the NGO-hating Strausscons in the Pentagon—the same people who bomb hospitals in Fallujah because they want to shroud the number of people killed by the recent U.S. assault—may very well be interested in attacking CARE, especially after the organization writes things such as this:

Military action in March and April <2003> resulted in an unknown number of civilian deaths and injuries, and huge damage to vital infrastructure, which continues to cause a lack of clean water, electricity and basic health care. CARE remains deeply concerned about the current situation.... As the only international non-governmental organization to have worked continuously in central and southern Iraq since 1991, CARE is well positioned to provide a rapid and co-ordinated response to the conflict and to scale up activities to meet needs. Along with other aid agencies, CARE is calling for security issues to be addressed and for restoration of public services, so that civilians can start to rebuild their lives.

There are many people shaking their heads sadly about Hassan's murder, muttering "It makes no sense." Well, no; it does make sense. The kind that compounds the sadness, and horror.

Hassan's execution, attributed to the Iraqi resistance, demonizes "insurgents" as savages needing to be put down. It buttresses the wobbly morality of those who say the war may be wrong, but America's in it now and has a job to do, so had better "finish what it started." And, perhaps most importantly, it removes a pesky NGO from the scene.

And the target is not CARE alone. "Relief agencies fear staff targetted deliberately," says yesterday's headline from AFP. "'What's new is that we're being treated as targets in a deliberate, non-accidental way,' said Christian Captier, director-general of the Swiss branch of Medecins sans frontieres."

And so on we go, deeper into the dark.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Binge, Purge and Repeat

"I don’t remember the Al Qaeda cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about."

Remember? That was Condoleeza Rice, replying to the piece-of-work-in-his-own-right Richard Ben-Veniste, on April 8 before the Kean Commission. In some long-ago, non-bizarro era, someone would have passed a note to Miss Chevron Oil right then that she was fired. She would have never had the opportunity to say, regarding the August 6 "historical" accounting of al Qaeda activities, that "I believe the title was bin Laden determined to attack within the US." Or at least she wouldn't have been heard for the sound of her ass hitting the door.

If the times were less grave they'd be hilarious. By all rights the prospect of inveterate liar - worse: incompetent liar - Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State should be making the world's sides ache with laughter. But as the world watches America, there's only the odd nervous giggle.

Perhaps George Tenet is angling to carve out Richard Clarke-like respectability among bleeding heart neoliberals, as he reportedly "trashes" Rice in his book proposal. The funniest news is this: Tenet, according to a publishing source, says terrorists want to explode a dirty bomb, and "are looking for a symbolic, high-value target - presumably in Washington or New York. He says the terrorists' only difficulty is getting it into the country."

"Difficulty getting it into the country"? That will sound rich to anyone who knows the impunity the 9/11 crew enjoyed. For years, they were coming and going with any number of "red flags" on their visas. They were even training at US military installations. The CIA took over the visa bureau in Jeddah, bin Laden's Saudi base, to streamline the entry of al Qaeda operatives into the US whom the State Department wanted to block. Fifteen of the hijackers passed through the Jeddah station.

I wish CNN would ask Michael Springman, formerly of the State Department's Jeddah bureau, about the CIA's facilitating terrorists into America, and why it would do such a thing. But I may as well wish for Santa to bring me a unicorn. Canada's CBC interviewed the 20-year veteran bureaucrat nearly three years ago, and he told a national radio audience that he suspected the victims of September 11 "may have been sacrificed in order to further wider US geopolitical objectives," because, "it's only a few thousand dead, and what's that against the greater gain for the United States in the Middle East?" But Springman's is not a story for American ears.

All we've learned through the Bush looking glass suggests that if al Qaeda carries radiological material into the United States, chances are it will be on account of the same permissive will that ghosted 9/11. "Let one happen, stop the rest," and all that.

While Rice begins her ideological purge of the State Department, Porter Goss's purge of the CIA is in full swing. Nothing but abject obeisance to the imperial agenda of the Bush White House will be permitted. But his purge is not indiscriminate. It's targetted, and full of foreboding. From The New York Times: Goss's memo "did not make clear why the focus of overhaul efforts to date appeared to be on the operations directorate, which carries out spying and other covert missions around the world."

Why would that be?

Perhaps, the better to let one happen.

The pace has quickened since November 2. Can you feel the ground shake? The pale horse is galloping.

There's a new version of eminem's Mosh that is a must see. It's identical to the first, until the rebels force their way through the doors. Now this is more like it. (Or rather, when America's death cult is at last overthrown, it's more likely to resemble this scene than an orderly queue at a rigged polling station.) And the brief image of an applauding Dennis Kucinich is a deserved nod to a good man.

Watching it I thought, to the degree things have felt upside down and inside out for four full years now, it's because we've allowed the neocons' faith-based construct to substitute for our reality-based community. The real world - the world in which a Condoleeza Rice would not only be out of work, but serving a prison sentence - still exists, even if we only carry it in our hearts. Theirs is a bubble of blood, and it cannot be sustained forever.

Anything yet can happen. Even the good stuff.

Along with everything else, Bob Dylan said this first:

We're gonna blow up your home of Voodoo
And watch it burn without any regret
We got the power we're the new government
You just don't know it yet.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Dick Cheney's Other Big Secret

Dick Cheney in all his glory, as snapped by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photographer Dale Guldan. The photo ran on the front page of the paper's Metro section last September 11:

The story of the photograph, from The Milwaukee Magazine:

Guldan got a call from a reader the next day. “Did you notice anything unusual about that picture?” the reader asked. Upon closer inspection, it seems the vice president’s smile was not his biggest, ahem, asset. Is that what we think it is?

“You’re not imagining it,” Guldan says of the unintentionally revealing photo. Let’s just say the snugness of Cheney’s pants left little to the imagination, and we’re not talking about his waistline.

One Journal Sentinel reader pointed out the blooper in an e-mail to WKLH-FM radio hosts Dave Luczak, Carole Caine and Kevin Brandt, who had a hoot talking about it during their popular morning show. “It’s nice to have someone of that magnitude in the White House,” Brandt joked. “He’s got a porn career right there,” Caine snickered.

I normally wouldn't bother with a story like this. But there's something about it that bothers me. And I'm sure some of you will think I'm crazy for even mentioning this. But you see, there's this very strange book, titled Trance-Formation of America....

Published in 1995, Trance-Formation is the autobiography of alleged CIA mind-control subject Cathy O'Brien, and describes incredible scenes of ritualized truama, perpetrated by some of Washington's most prominent figures. Dick Cheney, the then-former Secretary of Defense, plays a not insignificant role.

Even to some who accept that Project Monarch is genuine, O'Brien's story is simply beyond belief. And frankly, that's where I've placed much of it. And some of it does read like porn for the paranoid mind.

But here's a passage:

Dick Cheney had an apparent addiction to the "thrill of the sport." He appeared obsessed with playing A Most Dangerous Game as a means of traumatizing mind control victims, as well as to satisfy his own perverse sexual kinks. My introduction to the game occurred upon arrival at the hunting lodge near Greybull, Wyoming, and it physically and psychologically devastated me. I was sufficiently traumatized for Cheney's programming, as I stood naked in his hunting lodge office after being hunted down and caught. Cheney was talking as he paced around me, "I could stuff you and mount you like a jackalope and call you a two legged dear. Or I could stuff you with this (he unzipped his pants to reveal his oversized penis) right down your throat, and then mount you. Which do you prefer?"

When I first read this, the most incredible aspect of O'Brien's entire tale was the prospect of Dick Cheney having an oversized penis. The second, the image of Cheney as a huntsman. Yet we've seen many stories in the past year or so regarding Cheney's "thrill of the sport." (For instance, his bagging 70 pheasants last December, and duck hunting with Antonin Scalia as his bid to keep secret the details of his energy policy came before the Supreme Court.)

Perhaps, in the mid-90s, O'Brien had learned enough about private citizen Cheney to know he loved to hunt. That makes sense; I can see that. As for learning enough about Cheney's privates, I suppose it comes down to this: either O'Brien got lucky, or she got unlucky.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

How to Hack the Vote

"For anyone who is curious, I have put together this shortened document that will show you exactly how easy it would be to break into Diebold’s GEMS software, which is the software used to tabulate regional voting results. This software runs on regular Windows machines and counts the votes from multiple precincts that may have used touch screens (which have their own problems), optically scanned punch cards, or other balloting methods. It is responsible for the accurate reporting of tens of millions of votes cast using many different types of ballots.

"That’s right – even if you used the older systems like punch cards, your vote can still be Hacked when the numbers all come together. Wanna see how easy it is?

"I am going to show you, step by step and with screenshots, how an attack against our election system could very easily steal a Statewide or even a National election without leaving a trace. This attack would be easy to carry out, difficult to detect, and exert enormous influence on the results, leaving the humble voter coldly left out of the decision-making process."

Take a look.

Friday, November 12, 2004

"Jesus speaks through the Republicans"

A letter to mcall.com, November 8:

I hope the election of George W. Bush is seen as a wake-up call to all the liberal Democrats who oppose God's will. It is His doing that George W. Bush is still our president. Millions of born-again Christians helped win this election through our prayers and votes. Jesus speaks through the Republicans. The Democrats will not be able to win elections until they renounce their sinful ways and stop encouraging abortions, gayness, and trying to take away our guns.

Sounds mad, but Bill Clinton said much the same this week at Hamilton College:

I think the current divisions are partly the fault of the people in my party for not engaging the Christian evangelical community in a serious discussion of what it would take to promote a real culture of life.

America, how can I break it to you? The world doesn't know whether to laugh or cry, but you're scaring it shitless.

It's embarassing - a scandal, even - how intrusive private faith is in American public life. And not just any faith: credible presidential candidates need to swear allegience to the evangelical's Jesus. For 30 years now this has been the standard operating procedure for . Even George HW Bush embraced the expediency of claiming - albeit implausibly - to be "born again."

For a moment, try imagining Richard Nixon sharing his faith in Jesus, and you might see how the evangelical template has monopolized and constricted America's political discourse.

This is not harmless God talk. Many of those behind the Republican throne are Theonomists - Christian Dominionists - who enjoy lucid dreams of replacing the Constitution with Old Testament law. They also, coincidentally, own the bulk of the machines which tabulate ballots without providing a paper trail. Some 80% of Americans' votes are swallowed by their proprietary software. There is no audit; no possibility of a meaningful recount.

Are they accurate, despite their varience from exit polls in swing states? Can the Christo-fascists be trusted with America's vote? Oh ye of little faith.

How scary are the Theonomists? Go here to read Reverend William Einwechter's argument for stoning disobedient children:

First, the person in view is a not a small child but a grown son.... The case also indicates that the parents have tried to restrain their son, but all their efforts have failed.... All of this indicates that the son in question is no mere child, but, rather, a young man at least in his middle teens or older. As Wright observes, "The law is not talking about naughty children but about seriously delinquent young adults."

American power is held hostage in the Republicans' Madrasa. The centre-left, such as it still exists in the Democratic Party, won't take it back by joining them there, with bowed head and bare feet, for prayer.

By the way:

There is a must-read new article by John Pilger: "Fallujah, the US Elections and 9/11: A Matter of Normalising the Unthinkable." Like everything by Pilger, it's guaranteed to enrage, and make you make you feel less crazy for it.

Dr Steven Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania has published an important analysis of the unexplained exit poll discrepancies. A .pdf can be found here.

And Kevin Ryan of Underwriters Laboratories has written a letter to Frank Gale of the National Institutes of Standards and Technology questioning the "steel softening" theory of the WTC collapse. Read it here. As Ryan says, "This story just does not add up."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Mock the Vote

"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre." - Frank Zappa

It would be quaint in hindsight, if the naiveté weren't so heartbreaking: eminem's rebel army clad in black hoodies, moshing through the streets, charging up the steps and straight through the doors of the...polling station?

Oh yeah, about that. Funny thing....

If it's true that this election was stolen, then it was the third straight theft. It was a relatively crude operation in 2000; 2002 was the first occasion for unaudited ballots to be counted by unregulated Republican machines, and bizarre returns saw Republican candidates win surprising victories. If 2004 was stolen (and let's get this straight: it's not a "conspiracy theory," it's a working hypothesis), then there's no comfort in presuming the theft an anomaly. This isn't better luck next time. The machinery with their backdoors are in place, and the means, motive and opportunity to steal will persist. Rather than a one-off, or three, this is the future of American electoral politics: a technological upgrade of Mexico's of the last century, with the GOP essaying the role of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

The normalization of fraudulent elections - even elections which simply cannot be verified due to faith-based proprietary software - means American democracy is now a sham. Americans of good conscience who see Zappa's brick wall, and who hope to strip the Right of its fraudulant mandate, need to stop lending it the cover of their engagement in the hoax. Participating in a fraud provides it with de facto legitimacy, while what the fraud really deserves is delegitimizing.

If Americans fail to win back the integrity of their vote, then Americans need to stop voting.

This isn't a call to opt out. A boycot of electoral piracy is not the same as encouraging voter apathy. Rather, it's taking the compromise of one's vote so gravely that it is withheld in protest.

What would become of the Democratic Party if a good number of Democrats withheld their votes? Certain loss, undoubtedly. But what will become of the party if Republican machinery counts its vote in perpetuity? Of course, if the trojan virus of the DLC wins the day, and the party tacks further right, it will cease to matter whether the vote is rigged or not. Even East Bloc states boasted minority parties, which gave their constitutional assemblies the semblance of plurality. Left unchecked, this is the fate of the Democratic Party.

True despots rarely allow themselves to be voted out of office. But in the end, every despotic regime has only as much legitimacy as its citizens are prepared to confer upon it. When the people recognize the regime's claims as illegitimate, suddenly its hold on power melts away. People have taken back their countries in relative peace. And just like fascism, it too, can happen here.

There is no more important fight for the Democrats than that for a verifiable vote. Republicans have their own answer for voting "irregularities": an end to exit polling. If the status quo, or worse, is in place next election, then Democrats ought to make their own democracy elsewhere.

Get out the vote? Fuck that shit. Get out your pots and pans, like the people of Belgrade, and bang them loud and long until America's Milosevic receives the message.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Fraud's Legs

While it's a curse to live in Interesting Times, you must admit, at least they are interesting. Who can take their eyes off the multiple trainwreck of America's descent into fascism? It's probably going to kill us all, but no one will be able to say they were bored to death.

If the election fraud story gains traction - and it is beginning to bubble over from the blogosphere into the mainstream - oh boy, will things ever get interesting.

The next four weeks will tell the story, as the Electoral College is scheduled to meet December 13. If it ratifies the vote, then Bush's second theft will become an issue as academic as his first, and Bush's America doesn't cotton much to academics.

In the event that a critical mass of evidence is collected, and suggestive of a concerted and widespread fraud that was sufficient to subvert a sure Kerry victory, just imagine how tortured the emotional landscape of America will become. Should John Kerry unconcede all hell will break lose, but America may need to go through hell to avoid being damned by an unbound Bush administration. I would say it could precipitate a second civil war, except the war was started years ago by the far right. It simply is yet to be joined by the left, let alone the centre.

Unlikely though it is that the election will be overturned, it still isn't over. Six Congressmen have written the General Accounting Office, asking for an official inquiry into the election. And from a recent email from lawyer Cam Kerry, the candidate's brother, authenticated and forwarded here, there's this:

I am grateful to the many people who have contacted me to express their deep concern about questions of miscounting, fraud, vote suppression, and other problems on election day, especially in Florida and Ohio. Their concern reflects how much people care about the outcome of this election.

I want to you to know we are not ignoring it. Election protection lawyers are still on the job in Ohio and Florida and in DC making sure all the votes are counted accurately. I have been conferring with lawyers involved and have made them aware of the information and concerns people have given me. Even if the facts don't provide a basis to change the outcome, the information will inform the continuing effort to protect the integrity of our elections.

If you have specific factual information about voting problems that could be helpful to the lawyers doing their job, please send it to vri@dnc.org rather than to me.

I think it extremely unlikely that at this late stage John Kerry, "flip flopper" though he be, will flip back after the flop of his concession speech. Some are speculating that Kerry was threatened to throw it in early. I remember Ross Perot claimed, after his abrupt bailing in 1992, that he'd received threats from the Bush camp on the life of his daughter. (At the time, I thought Perot must be a crackpot. Sorry about that, Ross. I've since learned enough about the Bush cartel to unreservedly believe you were telling the truth.) I don't see a similar scenario having been played out this time. I don't think Kerry needed threatening. After all, this is the same man who told Floridians last year to "stop crying in your tea cups" over the theft of 2000. Kerry is not a street fighter; he's a beltway insider who - even with votes uncounted and mounting evidence of irregularities - would rather forestall a certain bloody fight, even a just fight, so that "healing" might begin. This flight response is mirrored in mainstream editorializing such as today's headline, "For good of the nation, it's time to move on." I don't even think the Skull & Bones card needed playing, because this has been the pattern of American public life for decades: reasonably decent individuals get suckered into perpetuating a cover-up because the exposure of certain high crimes, let alone their prosecution, could "shatter" America. Whatever that means, now.

So Bush will likely be sworn in, shielded by several phalynx of praetorian guard, and then we're off, spiralling down to ever more interesting times.

A few new links of interest in the meantime:

Click right and save here for video of Keith Olbermann making the case for fraud last night on MSNBC's Countdown.

Mark Robinowitz of Oil Empire has assembled an impressive page here on the stolen election.

An excellent resource from Scoop. (Note, for instance, these graphs depicting the variable accuracy of exit polls between states with paper ballots and those without.)

An article by Michael Keefer on the riddle of the exit polls.

A clear presentation of the evidence for optical scan fraud in Florida.

More here, here and here.

Big Wedding, Long Honeymoon

November 8, 2004:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday that large numbers of Iraqi civilians would not be killed, "certainly not by U.S. forces," during the siege to retake Fallujah, even as the top US commander there predicted a "major confrontation" between insurgents and up to 15,000 troops in the Sunni Muslim city.

September 10, 2004:

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said Monday that large numbers of American civilians would not be killed during tomorrow's "Big Wedding" operation, "certainly not by Jihadist forces," as two of the attacks are planned to be executed early in the day before target buildings are completely occupied, and the third will see extraordinary aerobatic measures in order to impact the virtually unoccupied side of the structure.

Bin Laden also expects the United States government to respond promptly to the attacks with emergency evacuations and counterstrike measures, minimizing loss of life.

November 9, 2004:

"Body parts everywhere!" cries a US soldier....

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Only the Paranoid Survive

"I've seen the future, baby, and it's murder."

Here's something else Leonard Cohen sings: "There is a war between the ones who say there is a war and the ones who say there isn't." You can see that divide online today within the ranks of American Democrats. While one side collects evidence of another stolen election and has shaken off the illusion of democracy, the other still holds an unrequited love for the system, and passionately strokes off to Hillary/Obama revenge fantasies for 2008. ("Just wait - We'll get 'em next time!")

Do you know what's happening in the Ukraine, America? Tens of thousands are in the streets of Kiev, protesting alleged election fraud:

Vote results from Ukraine's Central Election Commission showed Yushchenko trailing Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in last Sunday's race, but final results have not been announced and Yushchenko's supporters want a re-count. Yushchenko backers claim he won 300,000 more votes than Yanukovych. Some exit polls also put Yushchenko in the lead.

In the Ukraine, when election results conflict with exit polls, it's grounds for belief a fraud was perpetuated. While in the United States, when results reverse exit polls only in battleground states, even outside the margin of error, and only in favour of Bush, it's the fault of bloggers for disseminating "erroneous" data which "confused" voters.

"Why don't you come on back to the war - that's right, get in it."

Can we stop saying, please, that fascism is coming to America? Fascism has arrived. We needn't await a Holocaust to say so. (Though we needn't have long to wait.) The regimes of Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Peron, Marcos and more - many of them loyal US allies - were fascist as well, and some were better than others at maintaining the illusion of representative government.

I expect most Democrats who believe they lost fair enough last week, and are picking themselves up with the mantra of "third time's the charm," would balk at the notion that America is now a fascist state. Some will concede that fascism - understood chiefly as a vague boogie man to "get out the vote" - may threaten America, but many more would say that using the f-word demonstrates political immaturity and "alienates the heartland." They argue the Democratic Party merely needs to repackage, or redefine itself, or whatever; and then, God willing, it can groove once again to "Don't Stop thinking about tomorrow."

To the former I say, what are you waiting to see before you will be able to see? To the latter, enjoy your coping mechanism. It may save your peace of mind, but it won't save your country or our world.

"Why don't you come on back to the war - don't be a tourist."

November 2 confirmed the sum of my fears. That is, it isn't "just me" - the world really is this fucked. But the self-diagnosis isn't exactly cheering. Rather a dose of mental illness than global calamity. But we "tinfoilers" expected the worst last week, and damn if we didn't get it. We had been screaming since the mid-term theft of 2002 about the vulnerability of America's electronic vote, and were roundly ignored by many because, in the words of J Edgar Hoover, "the individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists."

Here's Chris Floyd, more than a year ago:

Who's behind these private companies? It's hard to tell: The corporate lines – even the bloodlines – of these "competitors" are so intricately mixed. For example, at Diebold – whose corporate chief, Wally O'Dell, a top Bush fundraiser, has publicly committed himself to "delivering" his home state's votes to Bush next year – the election division is run by Bob Urosevich. Bob's brother, Todd, is a top executive at "rival" ES&S. The brothers were originally staked in the vote-count business by Howard Ahmanson, a member of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing "steering group" stacked with Bushist faithful.

Ahmanson is also one of the bagmen behind the extremist "Christian Reconstructionist" movement, which openly advocates a theocratic takeover of American democracy, placing the entire society under the "dominion" of "Christ the King." This "dominion" includes the death penalty for homosexuals, exclusion of citizenship for non-Christians, stoning of sinners and – we kid you not – slavery, "one of the most beneficent of Biblical laws." Ahmanson also has major holdings in ES&S, whose former CEO is Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. When Hagel ran for office, his own company counted the votes; needless to say, his initial victory was reported as "an amazing upset." Hagel still has a million-dollar stake in the parent company of ES&S. In Florida, Jeb Bush's first choice for a running mate in his 1998 gubernatorial race was ES&S lobbyist Sandra Mortham, who made a mint installing the machines that counted Jeb's votes.

Ahmanson, counter of America's votes, has admitted "My purpose is total integration of biblical law into our lives." Now, and in light of mounting and massive evidence of anomalies favouring the Republican ticket, which is more incredible: that fundamentalists would allow unaudited virtual ballots to be hacked in order to further the establishment of God's law upon American lives, or that George Bush won 51% of the vote? (Coincidentally, the 51/48 split was the margin Dick Cheney forecast a week before the election.)

Eva Sion on the Christian reconstructionists and their faith-based electronic voting machines:

Theonomic Reconstructionism is a belief that the only true authority is God's, that allegiance to biblical laws trumps that of civic law and that the Kingdom of Heaven needs to be built on Earth before Jesus will come again. In addition to that, homosexuals should be put to death, women should be banned from civic office, apostates and heretics should be stoned to death and there is a great need for more Christian politicians.

Not content to philosophize about such things, the TR movement sprang into action. Funded by billionaires such as Howard Ahmanson and the Coors and Hunt families, Reconstructionists formed think tanks such as the Chalcedon Institute and the Rutherford Institute (the friendly guys that funded Paula Jones' lawsuit against Clinton) to give the Christian Right a philosophical base to draw from, and political action committees to finance their elections.


Ahmanson inherited his money from his father, owner of Home Savings & Loan (during the S&L scandal of the Reagan years, Home's investors, mostly small family investments, lost over $150 million dollars. No one went to jail). In addition to funding PACs and think tanks, Howard Jr. parlayed his fortune into the majority stock of a business called American Information Systems (AIS) started by two enterprising brothers, Todd and Bob Urosevich. AIS later merged with Business Records Corporation (BRC) and became Election Systems & Solutions (ES&S). ES&S is the number one provider of touch-screen voting machines. Their website claims that their products were used in collecting 56% of the national vote in the last presidential elections.

Todd Urosevich is now Vice President of ES&S. Strangely enough, brother Bob moved on to head the second largest computerized vote-counting business, Global Election Systems, recently purchased by ATM and security giant Diebold. (They now have both the Ohio and Georgia contracts.) In a round table swap of incestuous patronage the previous executives of Global moved on to head the third largest vote-counting company in the nation, Advanced Voting Systems. Combined, these three corporations will process nearly 80% of the next nationwide elections.

So wake up, America, to your perfect Straussian nightmare: abroad, the neoconservatives are pursuing their imperial energy strategy, while at home Christo-fascists dope the populace on crusader morality and levitical law. If you still can't see the lights going out, it's because your eyes have adjusted to the dark.

"Why don't you come on back to the war - let's all get nervous."

Friday, November 05, 2004

A White Rose for Fallujah

On the eve of the United States Marines' campaign to cure Fallujah of the "cancer" of resistance, I've taken the liberty of making small revisions to the fourth, fifth and sixth leaflets of the White Rose, the clandestine anti-Nazi student resistance cell.

A Call to All Americans!

The war is approaching its destined end. It has become a mathematical certainty that Bush is leading the United States into the abyss. Bush cannot win the war; he can only prolong it. The guilt of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their minions goes beyond all measure. Retribution comes closer and closer.

But what are the American people doing? They will not see and will not listen. Blindly they follow their seducers into ruin. "Whatever it takes!" is inscribed on their banner. "Mission accomplished," says Bush, but in the meantime the mission has already been lost.

Americans! Do you and your children want to suffer the same fate that befell the souls of Abu Ghraib? Do you want to be judged by the same standards as your tyrants? Are we to be forever a nation which is hated and rejected by all mankind? No. Dissociate yourselves from blind thuggery masquerading as patriotism. Prove by your deeds that you think otherwise. A new war of liberation must begin, and the better part of the nation will fight on our side. Cast off the cloak of indifference you have wrapped around you. Make the decision before it is too late. Do not believe the propaganda which has driven the fear of Islam into your bones. Do not believe that America's welfare is linked to perpetuating the lies of the "War on Terror" for good or ill. A criminal regime cannot achieve a just victory. Separate yourselves in time from everything connected with the machineries which would enslave you and dull your wits. In the aftermath a terrible but just judgement will be meted out to those who stayed in hiding, who were cowardly and hesitant.

Every word that comes from Bush's mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might is at bottom accursed. True, we must conduct a struggle against the fraudulent terrorist state with rational means; but whoever today still doubts the reality, the existence of demonic powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand the metaphysical background of our struggle. Behind the concrete, the visible events, behind all objective, logical considerations, we find the irrational element: The struggle against the demon; against the servants of the Antichrist.

What can we learn from the outcome of this war - this war that never was a necessary or just war?

The wicked Bush doctrine must be shattered for all time. The radical right must never again be allowed to assume power. Only in large-scale cooperation among the nations of the world can the ground be prepared for mutual security. Every nation and each individual has a right to the goods of the whole world, and each the responsibility to be good stewards thereof.

"Freedom" and "democracy"! For four long years Bush and his cabal have manhandled, squeezed, twisted, and debased these two splendid American words to the point of nausea, as only dilettantes can, casting the highest values of a nation before swine. They have sufficiently demonstrated in their years of destruction of all material and intellectual freedom, of all moral substance among the American people, what they understand by freedom and democracy. The frightful bloodbath should open the eyes of even the stupidest American - it is a slaughter which they arranged in the name of bringing "freedom" and "democracy" throughout the Middle East, and which they daily start anew. The name of the United States is dishonored for all time if American youth does not finally rise, take revenge, and atone, smash its tormentors, and found a new republic based upon the dead republic's principals.

Americans! The world looks to us. As in 1776 it saw us shake off the yoke of tyranny, so in 2004 it looks to us to smash the fascist terror by the power of our just cause. Iraq is burning in the East. The dead of Fallujah implore us to take action.

Up, up, my people - let smoke and flame be our sign!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

"Now comes the Revolution"

"So they put on an election; they have a bunch of hoopla in order to legitimize the ascendancy of who they've already selected to run the country anyway. They spend millions of dollars. They admitted in congressional hearings to spending 10 million dollars to influence the election in Chile.... So why would they only do that in Chile and make sure their outcome was right in Chile and not do it here? Why would you think that they would only do it in another country and not here? When this is the country that really counts" - John Judge

"Now comes the revolution." - Richard Viguerie, conservative strategist.

It would seem that conservatives are the only Americans who can talk of revolution in today's United States without censure. But this revolution is nothing new. Rather, Bush's claim of victory means instead the furtherance of the Right's permanent revolution. The know-nothing cadres of Falwell and Limbaugh, waving their Little Good Books, have been at this for a generation. (Don't kid yourself about Bill Clinton. He didn't roll them back. Rather, he entrenched their gains while providing its base with the appearance of an opposition; one which inflamed them beyond reason.)

How dark and frightful are these times? Even traditional establishment figures are scared by the prospect of the unbound American Taliban. Lawrence Martin writes in today's Globe and Mail that "America has moved outside the box" of the Western consensus, and "is now in a new, potentially toxic territory."

For your consideration, here at the end of the world:

You must see this graphic display of how the variable accuracy of Tuesday's exit polls correlated to the use of paper ballots and touch-screen voting.

Here's an interesting statistical analysis of where George Bush's eight million new votes came from. The finding: states relying upon electronic voting machines, particularly Diebold equipment, had a significantly higher percentage increase in Bush voters than the national average.

Florida again beggers the imagination. Look at these anomolous results from counties using optical-scanners. Three examples:

Franklin County: 77.3% of voters registered Democrats. Only 15.9% registered GOP. Yet 58.5% of the votes cast went to Bush.

Holmes County: 72.7% of voters registered Democrats. Only 21.3% registered GOP. Yet 77% of the votes cast went to Bush.

Calhoun County: 82.4% of voters registered Democrats. Only 11.9% registered GOP. Yet 63.4% of the votes cast went to Bush.

An important story this morning from Greg Palast on the theft of Ohio:

Although the exit polls show that most voters in Ohio punched cards for Kerry-Edwards, thousands of these votes were simply not recorded. This was predictable and it was predicted.


We saw this in Florida in 2000. Exit polls showed Gore with a plurality of at least 50,000, but it didn't match the official count. That's because the official, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, excluded 179,855 spoiled votes. In Florida, as in Ohio, most of these votes lost were cast on punch cards where the hole wasn't punched throughcompletely—leaving a "hanging chad,"—or was punched extra times. Whose cards were discarded? Expert statisticians investigating spoilage for the government calculated that 54 percent of the ballots thrown in the dumpster were cast by black folks.

First and foremost, Kerry was had by chads. But the Democrat wasn't punched out by punch cards alone. There were also the "challenges." That's a polite word for the Republican Party of Ohio's use of an old Ku Klux Klan technique: the attempt to block thousands of voters of color at the polls. In Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida, the GOP laid plans for poll workers to ambush citizens under arcane laws—almost never used—allowing party-designated poll watchers to finger individual voters and demand they be denied a ballot. The Ohio courts were horrified and federal law prohibits targeting of voters where race is a factor in the challenge. But our Supreme Court was prepared to let Republicans stand in the voting booth door.

A Moscow headline, larded with likely unintended irony: "Russian Observer Shocked by US Election Procedures":

A Russian parliamentarian taking part in international monitoring of the U.S. presidential elections has said that the elections were held in violation of U.S. law and that that he was shocked after seeing how the elections were held.

"In my opinion there are possibilities to forge the elections results and these possibilities are caused by serious, as we see it, violations of the electoral law,” the MP said in a telephone interview.

Ostrovsky also noted that all Americans who he talked to had said they did not like voting by computer. "Often people simply do not understand how to vote and nobody really tries to explain it to them," the observer said.

Author Mark Crispin Miller writes in today's Salon:

First of all, this election was definitely rigged. I have no doubt about it. It's a statistical impossibility that Bush got 8 million more votes than he got last time. In 2000, he got 15 million votes from right-wing Christians, and there are approximately 19 million of them in the country. They were eager to get the other 4 million. That was pretty much Karl Rove's strategy to get Bush elected.

But given Bush's low popularity ratings and the enormous number of new voters -- who skewed Democratic -- there is no way in the world that Bush got 8 million more votes this time. I think it had a lot to do with the electronic voting machines. Those machines are completely untrustworthy, and that's why the Republicans use them. Then there's the fact that the immediate claim of Ohio was not contested by the news media -- when Andrew Card came out and claimed the state, not only were the votes in Ohio not counted, they weren't even all cast.

And here is a joint venture worth noting:

NEW YORK, Nov. 3 /BSNewswire/ -- Diebold, ChoicePoint and Sproul - in a new partnership between government and business involving unprecedented interagency cooperation between the RNC/PNAC, the Patent Office, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security - and funded in part by venture capital from Microsoft's capital-markets division - have announced plans to form a joint venture to leverage core software patents and other intellectual property for the purpose of maintaining America's strategic edge at providing "the best democracy money can buy."

I didn't think I would see a funnier headline today than "Bush Wins; Healing Begins" on the front page of the Toronto Sun, but here it is: "Bloggers blamed for misleading poll information." Associated Press conducted the exit polls for America's news giants, but apparently bloggers are at fault for disseminating the "misleading" results. Again, and likely forever, the integrity of the unaudited, Republican-controlled e-vote goes unchallenged. Because goodness, golly gee: that sounds like "conspiracy theory," and ya gotta have a screw loose to buy into that hooey.

The eyes, they just keep rolling along.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Virtual Despotism

"I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President." - Wally O'Dell, CEO of Diebold.

It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes." - Joseph Stalin

How do record numbers of new registered voters, massive turnout, exit polls pointing to Kerry victories in battleground states, add up to returning an incumbent, let alone this incumbent, whose approval rating is in the mid-40s?

Easy. It doesn't.

Since when do exit polls - and oddly enough, just those of the states in contention - get it so wrong? Only since Florida 2000, and a funny thing about that: the exit poll turned out to be correct. If every valid vote had been counted in the state, Gore would have carried it.

Battleground states employing electronic voting saw Bush's vote up to five percent higher than their exit polls had forecast. The exit polls of other states proved to be accurate predictors of the returns.

And I don't know what to make of this scrubbing of history, but look at a screenshot of CNN's exit polling data for Ohio as of 12:21 this morning: 51% of men and 53% of women are voting for Kerry, and 49% of men and 47% of women are supporting Bush. Now, look at an update of the same page an hour later: Kerry has fallen to 47% and 50%, while Bush is up to 52% and 50%.

Until all Americans' votes are again verifiable, and none vanish into the proprietary software of Republican firms, Americans have no democracy. Or rather, they have one that would make Ferdinand Marcos proud.

Tremble, world.

PS, FYI, see Daily Kos on the Florida numbers. Also, here's a good page on the theft of the election, and an important release this morning from blackboxvoting.org:

Voting without auditing. (are we insane?)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON Nov 3 2004 -- Did the voting machines trump exit polls? There’s a way to find out.

Black Box Voting (.ORG) is conducting the largest Freedom of Information action in history. At 8:30 p.m. Election Night, Black Box Voting blanketed the U.S. with the first in a series of public records requests, to obtain internal computer logs and other documents from 3,000 individual counties and townships. Networks called the election before anyone bothered to perform even the most rudimentary audit.

America: We have permission to say No to this. It is our right.

We call on every candidate not to concede. Don't play along. It is your right.

Among the first requests sent to counties (with all kinds of voting systems -- optical scan, touch-screen, and punch card) is a formal records request for internal audit logs, polling place results slips, modem transmission logs, and computer trouble slips.

Such a request filed in King County, Washington on Sept. 15, following the primary election six weeks ago, uncovered an internal audit log containing a three-hour deletion on election night; “trouble slips” revealing suspicious modem activity; and profound problems with security, including accidental disclosure of critically sensitive remote access information to poll workers, office personnel, and even, in a shocking blunder, to Black Box Voting activists.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Palast: a million votes already stolen

From tompaine.com:

It's not even Election Day yet, and the Kerry-Edwards campaign is already down by a almost a million votes. That's because, in important states like Ohio, Florida and New Mexico, voter names have been systematically removed from the rolls and absentee ballots have been overlooked—overwhelmingly in minority areas, like Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, where Hispanic voters have a 500 percent greater chance of their vote being "spoiled." Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports on the trashing of the election.

The Democrats have the momentum, but the Bush team has its pitiless disdain of the process going for it, not to mention the means, motive and opportunity. We know what they want to do. Whether dirty tricks will be enough to frustrate the will of the people, again, we'll see.

Believe Nothing

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” – The Buddha

That's fine for him to say. The Buddha lived in a "reality-based community." Not like the senior White House aide who turned up his nose at such thinking, and sneered to Ron Susskind that "we're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

It's talk like that which has deservedly bred a new generation of skeptics, who have been struck by the daily indignities of things not adding up. More often than not, the best sense made of the past four years has come assuming the worst.

Here's the teeniest of examples, from a CBC report last week on the explosives missing from Al Qaqaa:

An Iraqi militant group said Thursday that it had obtained a large amount of explosives missing from a munitions depot near Baghdad.

Its members got the missing explosives by co-ordinating with officers and soldiers "of the American intelligence," said the group, which calls itself Al-Islam's Army Brigades, Al-Karar Brigade.

It's this kind of fall-between-the-cracks news, suggestive of hidden agendas, duplicity and corruption, which is the hallmark of the Bush - let's call it "Experience." It's this which has served to recruit, from those who've been paying attention, several new crack divisions of "conspiracy theorists," locked and loaded with questions, questions, questions.

And it's not just the minutiae that falls between the cracks. Consider the ambiguous role of Pakistan in the "War on Terror."

Pakistan, so the story goes, is America's linchpin ally in Central Asia.

Nevermind that a stronger case can be made for Pakistan's state sponsorship of 9/11 than for Saudi Arabia's.

Nevermind that FBI informant Randy Glass, working an undercover sting, was told by Pakistani ISI operatives that the World Trade Center towers were coming down, and his repeated warnings, including the mention of planes used as weapons, were ignored by federal authorities.

Nevermind that ISI director Mahmood Ahmed ordered al Qaeda's Omar Saeed Sheikh to wire $100,000 to Mohammed Atta.

Nevermind that Omar was both al Qaeda and ISI.

Nevermind that Ahmed was in Washington the week of September 11 meeting with senior officials.

Nevermind that, after the revelation of the wire transfer, Ahmed retired quietly and was never sought for questioning by American authorities.

Nevermind that Ahmed's name was struck from White House transcripts on the rare occassion that the story was mentioned.

Nevermind that best reports place bin Laden in Pakistan, protected by concentric rings of Pakistani forces.

Nevermind that Omar, 9/11 paymaster and ISI operative, hatched the plot to kidnap Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Nevermind that Pearl was murdered not because he was a Jew, nor because his killers "hated freedom," but because he was close to exposing the al Qaeda/ISI symbiosis.

Here's Bernard-Henry Levy's answer to his own question, in Who Killed Daniel Pearl?:

Isn't that, incidentally, what President Pervez Musharraf himself said when, the day after the murder, in an astounding, angry outburst, he exclaimed that Daniel Pearl had been "over intrusive" - too curious, sticking his nose in places he shouldn't have? Didn't Musharraf give it away when, in a comment cited in the Washington Post (among others) on 23 February 2002, he dared to declare, "Perhaps Daniel Pearl was over inquisitive; a mediaperson should be aware of the dangers of getting into dangerous areas; unfortunately, he got over-involved in intelligence games."

So the question then becomes: Why? What had Pearl discovered, or what was he in the process of discovering, that condemned him to death? What is the stolent secret that, for his captors, was out of the question for him to walk away with?

The relationship between al-Qaeda and the ISI, of course. The tight web of relations between the two organizations, the two worlds.

And finally, nevermind that the relationship is actually a triangle, with the ISI serving as the CIA's chief proxy in Central Asia, covertly sponsoring, training and sheltering Islamic terrorists since the Carter administration. It's the ISI which inspired and trained the "fired-up Muslims" for Zbigniew Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard.

Nevermind all that.

Would a John Kerry Administration return America to a reality-based community? Perhaps the semblance of one. But the exegencies of energy security will still drive American policy, Iraq will remain a failed vassal state (or perhaps be carved into three), and new fronts will open in the bogus and perpetual "War on Terror." Still, and undoubtedly, the world would be better spared four more years of Bush. (Even imperial Romans pining for the republic could recognize they were better off under a Trajan than a Caligula. Even Gauls, who wanted neither, could see that.) And at this time, it does look good for Kerry. But that's according to reality-based thinking, and I don't know when America and the world it's taken hostage will be governed by that again. Certainly not in this New American Century. Not while Dick Cheney's still at large.

And here's a head's up if ever there was one: it appears that tomorrow, under the auspices of the Office of National Preparedness, Cheney himself will be managing anti-terror drills which have been scheduled - rather oddly, I think - for Election Day. (And those who've been paying attention well know what Cheney was doing the morning of September 11.)

So one final, pre-election word of advice, borrowed from the movie Seven:

If Dick Cheney's head splits open and a UFO should fly out, I want you to have expected it.