Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are about independent corroboration of Seymour Hersh’s article on the Osama bin Laden killing.
Two years later, when I was researching my book, I learned from a high-level member of the Pakistani intelligence service that the ISI had been hiding Bin Laden and ran a desk specifically to handle him as an intelligence asset. After the book came out, I learned more: that it was indeed a Pakistani Army brigadier — all the senior officers of the ISI are in the military — who told the C.I.A. where Bin Laden was hiding, and that Bin Laden was living there with the knowledge and protection of the ISI.
After one of the SEALs’ Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound, neighbors called the police and reported hearing both the crash and the subsequent explosions. The local police told me that they received the calls and could have been at the compound within minutes, but army commanders ordered them to stand down and leave the response to the military. Yet despite being barracked nearby, members of the Pakistani Army appear to have arrived only after the SEALs — who spent 40 minutes on the ground without encountering any soldiers — left.
The NBC News sources who confirm that a former Pakistani military intelligence official became a U.S. intelligence asset include a special operations officer and a CIA officer who had served in Pakistan. These two sources and a third source, a very senior former U.S. intelligence official, also say that elements of the ISI were aware of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The former official was emphatic about the ISI’s awareness, saying twice, “They knew.” Another top official acknowledged to NBC News that the U.S. government had long harbored “deep suspicions” that ISI and al Qaeda were “cooperating.” And a book by former acting CIA director Mike Morrell that will be published tomorrow says that U.S. officials could not dismiss the possibility of such cooperation.
Bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011. Three months later, on August 7, Hillhouse posted a story on her blog “The Spy Who Billed Me” stating that (1) the U.S. did not learn about bin Laden’s location from tracking an al Qaeda courier, but from a member of the Pakistani intelligence service who wanted to collect the $25 million reward the U.S. had offered for bin Laden; (2) Saudi Arabia was paying Pakistan to keep bin Laden under the equivalent of house arrest; (3) Pakistan was pressured by the U.S. to stand down its military to allow the U.S. raid to proceed unhindered; and (4) the U.S. had planned to claim that bin Laden had been killed in a drone strike in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but was forced to abandon this when one of the Navy SEAL helicopters crashed.
Hillhouse also claims that one of her sources told her a particular detail that she did not include in 2011 because she could not confirm it: that the Navy SEALs threw bin Laden’s body out of the helicopter while traveling over the Hindu Kush mountains from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Hersh’s story includes an assertion from his main source that “during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains.” While this seems bizarre in retrospect, it would be plausible if the SEALs had believed at the time that the Obama administration planned to say publicly that bin Laden had been killed in a drone strike.
What do you think? Comments?
Many of you might have heard about the recent expose by Seymour Hersh on the official government story about the american raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. As usual, the white house has issued a statement calling it “utter nonsense”. A few supposedly left-wing journalists have tried to refute the accusations made in the expose by making ad hominem attacks on Hersh. Others seem to have taken a more sympathetic attitude towards the accusations made by Hersh. Still other basically agree with his expose, but with some caveats.
In my opinion, the basic framework and course of events presented in the Hersh expose on the bin Laden killing are infinitely more plausible than the action-movie script published by the american government and promoted by its presstitutes. Here is why..
1: As some have noted, the basic narrative and main points of Seymour Hersh’s expose on the bin Laden killing are not new. Infact, another well-known journalist published a very similar series of reports on that event in August 2011, less than three months after the event. The journalist in question- R.J. Hillhouse is a former professor, Fulbright fellow and novelist whose writing on intelligence and military outsourcing has appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times wrote that bin Laden was betrayed by an informant from the main intelligence agency of Pakistan on August 7, 2011. She wrote a further update to that piece, a few days later, on August 11, 2011 in which she once again talked about the Saudis paying Pakistan for keeping bin Laden alive and under government surveillance. While a few newspapers outside the USA and many internet websites did carry this story, it was largely ignored by the “main stream media” in USA- both on the right and left.
2: The basic chain of events described by both Hersh and Hillhouse are almost identical, though they did not get information from the same sources. Moreover, they do fit the real nature of the relationships between USA, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. As some of you might know, Pakistan was a client state of the USA from the early 1950s to 1972, when it realized that all the weapons and assurances of support from the USA could not prevent it from being defeated (and humiliated) by India. Since then, Pakistan has been increasingly dependent on Saudi money and Chinese weapons to keep itself from falling apart. Now this does not mean that Pakistani elite are averse to getting money and weapons from the USA. Indeed, they has no problems with doing all that as long as it serves their own interests. Also, all organisations contain more than a few greedy and duplicitous people, who would drop their proverbial trousers for the right price.
3: Though Pakistan has elections and is officially run by a democratically elected government, the armed forces and its intelligence agencies have always been the real and unaccountable power in that country. Even worse, there are many factions within those two organisations, who frequently work at cross purposes if large financial considerations are at stake. The idea that bin Laden was kept as a guest of one (or more) of those factions in exchange for payments from the Saudis and as leverage over some factions of the Taliban is therefore extremely feasible. Pakistani elite have no interest in letting Afghanistan remain peaceful or become a less regressive society because that would kill their cash,weapon and influence cow from the USA.
4: We also cannot forget that Saudi Arabia is a frenemy of the USA. Though it requires the support and security provided by USA, its own internal situation and dynastic policies result in it spending tens of billions each year to support islamic militancy and extremists all round the world. It is perfectly plausible, and even desirable, for them to have paid Pakistan for keeping bin Laden alive- especially if doing so would allow them to influence his actions. Furthermore, the peculiar master-slave like relationship between the higher echelons of the Saudi and Pakistani administrative are not exactly secret. Some of you might have heard that Saudi Arabia paid for part of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon program and is expected to receive a few ready-made warheads from it if Iran ever becomes a declared nuclear power.
5: It is also no secret that USA has no significant independent human intelligence assets in Pakistan. I mean, they have tons of assets- but almost every single one works in collaboration with somebody in one of the many factions in the armed forces and intelligence agency of that country. Also, the whole idea that a person like bin Laden could have purchased, built and lived in a large house in one of the poshest and most exclusive army towns in Pakistan without drawing attention from nosy neighbors is very hard to believe. I mean, that whole town is crawling with the security details of all those Pakistani elite who maintain their exclusive summer homes in that town. Do you really think that all those people living in Abbottabad were that stupid, incompetent or oblivious for many years?
6: The whole idea that you can fly two large, low-observability but NOT stealth, helicopters into a town crawling with security details, army personal and defended by multiple air defense systems (including non-USA sourced radar and weaponry) without raising any alarms is laughable- at the very least. I mean, even some guy living a km or two away from that house who was live tweeting the event remarked about the noise caused by these supposedly stealthy “top-secret” american helicopters. You cannot seriously believe that nobody in a town crawling with army personal noticed something very odd about all those noise and commotion at that location and put two plus two together. Either more than a few people in that town knew exactly what was going down or that town is filled with retarded and partially deaf people.
7: The killing of bin Laden in May 2011 did give all the involved parties an easy way out of what would otherwise have been a PR disaster. The USA, and Obama, got their Hollywood action movie ending and bragging rights for killing that guy. Pakistani elites were able to avoid a public, and likely costly, spectacle. Also, some of them received extra money and other favors from the USA in return their cooperation. The Saudis were able to quietly wash their hands of the whole affair and maintain their public facade. I mean, doing it the way they did it in the end was likely the most profitable and easy route for all the major players in that game. Everybody except that guy was happier at the end of that day.
It is therefore my opinion that the basic facts and narrative framework of the report by Seymour Hersh (and R.J. Hillhouse) are consistent with what we know about the countries, organisations and individuals involved in that event, including their motivations to do what is described by both of those journalists. The “official” story, on the other hand, requires potential believers to suspend their critical thinking abilities.
What do you think? Comments?
These links are NSFW.
Outdoor Cuties: May 10, 2015 – Outdoor nekkid cuties.
More Outdoor Cuties: May 10, 2015 – More outdoor nekkid cuties.
One of the more peculiar, if often ignored, feature of recent popular protests that have followed many of the seemingly routine extrajudicial executions of black men by cops and white vigilantes in the USA has been the profile of those killed. To put it another way, the majority of black protesters are no longer restrained by CONservative and LIEbral whites talking about the so-called “criminal histories” of those that were murdered. While some white readers of this post might believe that this was always the norm- even a little honest historical research will clearly show otherwise.
What changed? Why have so many blacks (especially those born after 1980) stopped caring about appearing respectable and acceptable to whites? Why haven’t the supposed “criminal histories” and “public personas” of Trayvon Martin, Micheal Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurle and Freddie Gray NOT put a damper on demands for justice for their executions? And perhaps more interestingly, why did so many blacks from previous eras and generations strive for white respectability and acceptability? As I will show you in the rest of this post- all those questions are closely linked to each other.
If you have ever read about the peaceful black civil rights movement from the 1950s and 1960s, it is hard to miss that many leaders of that movement went to great lengths to ensure that plaintiffs in cases of racial discrimination had a “socially acceptable”, “respectable” and “gentle” demeanor. This desire by blacks for “respectability” and “acceptability” by whites intensified after the 1960s and went on well into the late 1990s and early 2000s, when for some inexplicable reason, it started to quickly fade away.
You might have noticed that a lot of popular (and rich) black entertainers from the now-disgraced Bill Cosby, Eddy Murphy, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Chris Rock, Tyler Perry and Dave Chappelle made a lot of money by either playing “respectable” black men or by criticizing “all those other” black men. Similarly a lot of political figures from Barack Obama and Colin Powell to almost every black cop they interview on TV after some black guy was murdered by cops try to avoid the central issue by talking about education, respectability, acceptability and other assorted bullshit.
So, what is going on? Why did most blacks initially embrace the idea that respectability and acceptability would somehow result in “true” equality with whites? Why did this quest for respectability and acceptability strengthen after the civil rights movement only to collapse in the last decade? And why did it collapse?
The genesis of the idea that respectability and acceptability would somehow result in “true” equality with whites is probably the easiest to understand. It probably came about due to a peculiar side-effect of post-1865 american apartheid. Basically, most white people who interacted with blacks (especially in northern states) came in two flavors- a minority who treated black people well and the majority who treated blacks as subhuman but did not have the balls to be honest about it. Consequently many blacks, who had limited exposure to white hypocrisy, wanted to believe that the racist majority of whites might ultimately them as equals like the non-racist minority did if only they could somehow show themselves to be respectable and acceptable. It goes without saying the racist white majority fed that lie by pretending to believe in it and treating supplicant blacks a bit better than those with self-respect.
Ironically, the aftermath of the civil rights movement as the numerous anti-discrimination legislations passed in that era in combination with the growing economy did actually increase the quality of life for a substantial percentage of the black population in USA. This trend maintained momentum through the 1980s and even the 1990s until it hit a series of not-so-unexpected roadblocks.
The first and most obvious roadblock was the massive increase in incarceration, socially sanctioned extrajudicial executions and legalized discrimination that followed the “war on drugs”. It is now no secret the so-called “war on drugs” was about reestablishing the ‘Jim Crow’ quo. However many blacks who had benefited from the civil rights movement were initially unwilling to see the “war on drugs” for what it really was. They thought that acting respectable and gaining more social acceptability would somehow insulate them from the abuse of ‘Jim Crow 2.0′.
Well.. it sorta did that for a time, especially during the 1980s. However the “war on drugs” kept on growing in scope and soon expanded into increasingly aggressive, violent and militarized policing of black-majority neighborhoods. Of course.. this was to justified under the guise of protecting “good and respectable” blacks from drug crazed and violent “n***ers”. By the later half of the 1990s, the children of “respectable” blacks found out that the police were incapable and not really interested in distinguishing between them and their “drug-dealing” poor counterparts.
However the biggest and most important blow to the idea that most whites are decent human beings came from a completely different source- namely, an increase in real life interactions with whites. You see, the most far-reaching effect of the civil rights movement was that it resulted in a vast and almost unprecedented increase in daily interactions between whites and blacks. Prior to the late 1960s, whites were able to exclude blacks from most of their lives and could therefore pretend to be more honest and nicer than they were. The ability to exclude blacks fell rapidly after 1965 and in the next two decades many got a chance to find out what white people really were like. The growth and spread of the internet after 1995 allowed blacks to appreciate the extent and depth of white racism.
Consequently the vast majority of black people born in the last 30 odd years have a very good and accurate understanding of what white people actually think about them. They understand that white racism is not driven by anything beyond the sadistic desire to hurt and kill more vulnerable people. They understand that whites hate blacks because they are alive. They understand that all that talk about education, respectability and social acceptability is just a smoke screen that whites use to justify racial discrimination. They also understand that whites are a rapidly aging and declining part of the population whose glory days are now just a memory. It is now a waiting game or failing that one of attrition- something that the rest of humanity is now as good at as whites used to be.
What do you think? Comments?
Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are about two lies whites tell blacks and, sometimes, themselves believe.
A: Systemic racism in the USA is largely confined to the areas of the country where owning slaves was legal before 1865.
B: Black people can escape persecution by acting respectable and being engaged in respectable occupations.
The text messages the officers exchanged discussed lynching African-Americans and proposing that African-Americans “should be spayed.” One text read “White Power.” Some referred to African-Americans using a racial slur. Other texts contained denigrating comments about gays, Mexicans and Filipinos, who make up a significant number of residents in one of the nation’s most culturally diverse cities.
In addition to the text messages, the task force is also investigating gladiator-style fights among San Francisco jail inmates that the city’s public defender, Jeff Adachi, has said were arranged by sheriff’s deputies. The jail guards, according to a report by Mr. Adachi, bet on the fights and threatened inmates with violence or withheld food if they did not take part. A third area being examined is the possibility that hundreds of convictions in criminal cases may have been compromised by analysts at the police laboratory who appear to have improperly handled DNA samples.
Alexandre and his colleagues — Sheila Penister, Annette Thomas-Prince and Samuel Washington are all black New York State Parole officers. The parole officers have filed a civil lawsuit, alleging that they were racially profiled by the white officers and that their detainment was unnecessarily malicious and reckless. The parole officers contend that the Ramapo Police Department and the city “failed to adequately trains its police officers concerning the rights of citizens, in particular against racial bias/profiling and the use of force,” according to the lawsuit.
The parole officers state that they were all wearing their department-issued bullet proof vests with their gold badges displayed prominently around their necks. Additionally, they said their car had an official New York State placard displayed conspicuously on the dashboard, according to court documents. Alexandre and his colleagues were ordered to “raise their arms high in the air.” Alexandre stated he was “punched” by a police lieutenant and was “forced out of his vehicle despite having identified himself as a parole officer,” the documents state.
Policing in this country really seems to be going to the dogs. Yes, that’s a silly euphemism, at least unless you live in Vineland, New Jersey. A video filmed a week ago Tuesday appears to show local police allowing a K9 dog to tear into the face of what looks to be an unarmed black man while he is curled up on the ground. The man, identified as 32-year-old Phillip White, later died while in police custody.
This is the second death involving police in Cumberland County since last December, when Jeramie Reid was shot and killed by Bridgeton police during a traffic stop after officers allegedly saw a handgun. It was later revealed that Reid was suing the county for allegedly being assaulted by corrections officers while he was in the county jail.
Less than 16 hours after the deadly encounter, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck stood before reporters and said he was “very concerned” about the shooting, which was recorded by a security camera. “Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that,” Beck said. “I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances.”
Tim Pardue, who manages a homeless center on Windward Avenue, said Glenn stopped by the center Tuesday evening and admitted he had been drinking since 11 a.m. He left about 8 p.m., thanking Pardue for the noodles and crackers he had given him. At some point, he stopped to visit with other friends, including Bill Hinson, 37. Hinson said his friend told him he wanted to find some money to buy a beer, and took off for the boardwalk. About 11:30 p.m., gunshots broke out. Pardue said he walked out of the center and saw Glenn on the ground.
What do you think? Comments?
Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are about the widespread and persistent nature of racist mindset among whites in the USA.
That comment, and Rand Paul’s boast that “I am sympathetic to the plight of the police [in Baltimore],” prompted me to look back at his father and “hero,” Ron Paul, and how he reacted the last time urban blacks rose up in outrage against police brutality in a major city—the Los Angeles riots of 1992. In the newsletter, bylined by Ron Paul himself, black people were described as “terrorists,” “animals” and worse. A few months later Paul’s newsletter also passed along this advice on how to get away with shooting black teenagers.
Link 2: Baltimore & The Walking Dead
Hillary Clinton is one obvious example of this: Her husband’s mass incarceration policies, which she supported, are policies she’s just now decided to campaign against. In her book “It Takes A Village,” Hillary 1.0 boasted about her husband’s tough on crime policies as if they were her own (h/t Zaid Jilani). Her replacement as Secretary of State, John Kerry, had caused some controversy just weeks before the LA riots with a speech he gave to Yale denouncing affirmative action and welfare programs, and defending resentful whites accused of racism. Kerry described inner city neighborhoods as “ruled not simply by poverty but by savagery.” And another up-and-coming New Democrat at the time, Bill Bradley, also scolded blacks to blame themselves after over a decade of Reagan-Bush mass incarceration policies.
As for Jeb Bush’s father—President Bush blamed the 1992 LA riots on liberal social welfare programs in the 1960s and 70s, and the breakdown of the family structure in black communities. While for Vice President Dan Quayle, the LA riots were his moment to shine. And shine he did, blaming the uprising on a popular TV character Murphy Brown, and single mothers everywhere (not too different from Rand Paul’s latest analysis, come to think of it). Quayle produced some startling insights into the causes of the Los Angeles uprising, such as:“Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.”
What’s vexing actually predates the riots: It is movement conservatism’s general, longstanding blindness to massive rights violations by police. The myopia has somehow persisted even in an era when an hour on YouTube provides incontrovertible evidence of egregious brutality by scores of thuggish cops. Per usual, let us acknowledge the many U.S. police officers who serve their communities with honor, courage, empathy, and restraint. One needn’t disrespect them to see that bad policing is common. It is more than “a few bad apples”.
Many conservatives show no evidence of caring. And many are complicit in abusive policing. (Conservative voters keep reelecting Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for example, despite his presiding over civil rights violations costing tens of millions of dollars, prisoners zapped with stun guns while strapped in restraint chairs,and the hiring of a private investigator to tail the wife of a federal judge, among many other sins).
What do you think? Comments?
Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. These are on the apparent necessity of violence for any real changes, even if those changes are right, just or popular.
Beyond the firewall of rhetoric about the crisis in Baltimore lies a stark reality: There is no social change without coercion. Authoritarians do not step down because people are saying mean things about them on Facebook or Twitter; social elites do not relinquish their privilege simply because they saw people walking down the street, arms locked, singing kumbaya. One has to speak to power in a language it understands. It must be made clear that there are consequences for ignoring dissidents, that a return to the status quo is not an option. Shy of this, there is no change.
Mobilizing waves of the disenfranchised to assemble at seats of power underscores this threat further: right now, the angry mob at your doorstep is committed to non-violence. But should they grow disillusioned with pacifism, they may return with torches and pitchforks—and under the sway of revolutionaries who will not be placated with piecemeal reforms or patiently strive to accumulate small concessions, nor will they turn the other cheek in the face of repression. That is, it is violent movements (or other forms of coercion) that motivate elites to engage at all, even if progressives and pacifists are their preferred interlocutors.
Link 2: Why the CVS Burned
Informed by this history, when I look at the Baltimore riots of the past week, I see something more complicated than mere hooliganism. To me, the riots reflect fury not just at the police, but at the constraints of the ghetto’s retail economy, where the poor pay more. As I see it, the indignity of being roughed up by the cops is of a piece with not being able to afford to shop in your own neighborhood. Much of the violence that erupted this week took place at and around West Baltimore’s Mondawmin Mall, a retail stretch that is part of the same system of exploitation and humiliation rioters in ’68 stood up to fight.
Many poor Americans don’t cash their paychecks at banks (which typically require a minimum deposit), and are forced to use the services of cash-checking shops, which tend to take 2 percent off the top. On the 1600 block of North Avenue, where a police van held Freddie Gray on the night he was arrested, the storefront of payday lender Ace Cash Express advertises “PAY BILLS. CHECKS CASHED.” Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau denounced Ace Express’ payday lending, which “used false threats, intimidation, and harassing calls to bully payday borrowers into a cycle of debt … drain[ing] millions of dollars from cash-strapped consumers who had few options to fight back.”
These days, riots are almost universally associated with black urban communities. But before the 1960s, “race riots” meant white riots, almost universally directed against blacks. Whether it was competition for jobs (Cincinnati: 1841), resentment at black veterans (Memphis: 1866; many cities: 1919), paranoia over black sexuality (Atlanta: 1906), or resentment at blacks moving into white communities (Detroit: 1943), American whites have historically needed little excuse to conduct mob violence against African-Americans.
This violence was not random or accidental. It was part of the American system of racial domination. It was not a coincidence that when a riot got going in 1921 in Tulsa, white mobs, assisted by local authorities, proceeded to loot and torch the entire black district of Greenwood — then the richest black community in the nation — burning over 1,200 homes and killing dozens. More generally, as Hamden Rice points out, semi-random psychotic violence against black men was the keystone institution of Jim Crow. It was what kept blacks in terrified submission, lest they be lynched on the slightest (or no) pretext.
Relatedly, violence often does solve problems. The Native Americans cleansed from North America were “problems” to the settlers, and violence dealt with that problem just fine. Fascist Germany was a problem to most non-German countries, Jews, Gypsies, Socialists, Gays, and many others and violence solved that problem. Carthage was a problem to Republican Rome and violence solved that problem. And riots, rather better organized than the Baltimore ones, granted, solved the Parisian problem with the old Regime, while the Terror, terrible as it was, did make sure that there was to be no going back–even if France was to alternate between Republics and Empires for some time. Violence often solves problems and it often does so rather permanently.
I don’t know if violence is ever justified. But I do know that violence often does “solve” problems and I do know that peoples who insist on being entirely non-violent or bad at violence eventually discover that everything they have they hold at the sufferance of those who are good at violence.
What do you think? Comments?