:: The Fred Willard Fan Site ::


:: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 ::

Civilian casualties and accountability. This week, David Corn adds his voice to the chorus of those decrying U.S. apathy for the civilian victims of our bombing campaign in Afghanistan.

He gets some credit for not churning the same old Heroldesque tripe, fixating on number-crunching and equating civilian deaths incident to an attack on armed terrorists with those deliberately targeted by murderers.

But he comes dangerously close. Corn starts with a false analogy between the Dutch government’s handling of the revelations that its peacekeepers in Srebrenica stood idly by while 7,500 innocents were slaughtered, and the Pentagon’s handling of civilian casualties in Afghanistan. The Dutch should be lauded for their accountability, while the U.S. constantly tries to "shift blame."

The first problem with this, of course, is that the Dutch only recently demonstrated its moral courage, seven years later. One has to wonder what they would have done if no one had ever found out about their actions, but Corn lauds their "refreshing" candor nonetheless, while condemning the Pentagon for refusing to acknowledge culpability while the bodies are still warm.

But here’s the most glaring fallacy in his logic: the Dutch were in Srebrenica as peacekeepers – i.e., to protect civilians, not to wage war. At their sole mission, they failed miserably. By contrast, the Pentagon killed – even by the most generous figures (discounting shameless idiocy, of course) – small fraction of the Srebrenica figure, in the process of overthrowing the most heinous despotism the world has seen since Pol Pot, and decimating a terrorist network.

The two cases are not comparable, either in scale or in nature.

His basic argument is that the U.S routinely denies, or simply ignores, "credible reports" of civilian deaths:
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has acknowledged, in an abstract manner, that in war civilians are occasionally hit by accident. But he and the Pentagon have repeatedly refused to admit particular mistakes like the attack on the convoy [traveling from Khost to Hamid Karzai’s inauguration].

What?!? In addition to the case Corn himself cites (in which the CIA paid $1000 to the families of friendly Afghan forces in Hazar Qadam), there are several other specific instances in which the Pentagon has admitted fault.

The Pentagon's actual policy, when viewed outside of Corn's 1960's Revisionist prism, looks like this: they will not engage in the numbers game, but they do investigate invidual cases and take what they - and I - would deem an appropriate response. Abstract, my ass.

It is also noteworthy that, in the case of the Hazar Qadam raid, the fact that the Pentagon paid the families of those killed doesn’t seem to be good enough for Corn, because the U.S. won’t admit that the incident was completely their own fault. There are also "credible reports" that the American forces were on the receiving end of this "friendly fire" incident.

The one particular incident for which the Pentagon continues to deny fault (and I would dispute Corn’s claim of "repeatedly refusing") is the bombing of the Paktia province convoy. But there were also reports that the convoy fired SAMs at the approaching strike aircraft before it was attacked. I happen to find that to be a "credible report."

As an interesting side note to the Khost raid, here is what Hamid Karzai – who is also convinced that the raid killed innocent "tribal elders" -- himself had to say about U.S accountability for such actions:
But Karzai said the Americans have acknowledged their mistakes, sometimes with financial compensation. "They have immediately come to explain, immediately apologized, immediately sent representatives of their people to [offer] apology and explain," he said. The sensitive issue of civilian casualties during four months of U.S.-led military operations in Afghanistan has grown more pressing recently, as villagers and local leaders accuse U.S. military forces of killing the wrong people in attacks in their areas. Having risen to the Afghan leadership with strong U.S. support, Karzai now faces pressure from his countrymen not to ignore American errors.

Having said all of the above, I do not have a problem with Corn’s major point – that we should compensate the innocents killed in the Afghanistan war. Actually, any kind of financial compensation given directly to families – especially those mistakenly hit by our bombs – would make me happier than economic aid given to the Afghan government. And I don’t even care if someone tries to spin it as a "war reparation."

Contrary to Corn’s allegations, the U.S. has a strong tradition of rebuilding its vanquished enemies, and we are doing the same in Afghanistan. Whatever the level of aid we continue to give, the Afghan people will be better off in the coming years than they were before we acted on October 7. They are free of the periodic ethnic cleansing committed by the Taliban, not to mention the forced starvation, and other contributors to low life expectancy that can be directly attributed to their Khmer Rouge-style political Islam. Thousands of lives will have beeen saved.

And that should count for something.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:03 PM [+] ::
This is just sickening.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:14 PM [+] ::
Anti-Semitism vs. anti-Zionism. Richard Cohen's piece in this morning's Washington Post takes supporters of Israel to task for branding any criticism of Israel - or sympathy for the Palestinians - as anti-Semitism:
The only way out of the current mess is for each side to listen to what the other is saying. To protest living conditions on the West Bank is not anti-Semitism. To condemn the increasing encroachment of Jewish settlements is not anti-Semitism. To protest the cuffing that the Israelis sometimes give the international press is not anti-Semitism either.

Cohen also says that one can be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic. Agreed. But the whole premise of his argument is questionable, if not a complete strawman: just who has labeled that the criticism he describes as anti-Semitic? Some of us have even been critical of those same things, but we just haven't used them as a reason to excuse coldblooded murder.

But we have suggested a tinge of bigotry when addressing the more absurd claims made by "critics of Israel." When headlines scream "massacre" without a shred of evidence, and rush to judge the IDF as war criminals without so much as a mention of their side of the story, it may not be anti-Semitism, but it's still bigotry.

How about a Italian political cartoon depicting the IDF murdering the baby Jesus? May not be anti-Semitic, but it's still bigotry. Ditto for the headlines chastising Israel for "defying" the UN's fact finding mission, without mentioning it's valid concerns.

No, Richard, I don't think these critics of Israel are necessarily anti-Semitic. But they are full of shit.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:33 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, April 29, 2002 ::
Raping Okinawa. Today, David Carr at Samizdata noted a headline on the pro-jihad, pro-Milosevic Antiwar.com which read, "Latest US Menace to Okinawa: Falling Jet Parts." The website is notorious for plastering such sensational headlines on well-reasoned news stories from other sources (this one from Stars and Stripes), and this story was certainly a disappointment to anyone expecting to read about people being pelted to death by nuts, bolts, and landing gear falling from the sky.

One of Antiwar’s main feature writers, Justin Raimondo (who many of you may remember from this recent defense of Jean Marie Le pen) responded to Carr, on the Warblogger Watch weblog, no less. I guess he couldn’t find a public restroom with enough available wall-space for his diatribes, but the guy does write for Antiwar.com, so I shouldn’t expect any shame from him.

And honestly, I probably shouldn’t even give his childish, hate-filled rants the additional exposure that comes with rebutting it. But Raimondo’s letter to Warblog Watch is much more than the morally-obtuse sophistry he’s known for, and I cannot let such a bigoted smear of U.S. servicemembers go pass without the public flogging that it – and he – deserve. Here’s a sample of his response to Carr’s alleged trivializing of the story:
He doesn't identify the quote as coming from a representative of the US government [they all lie, you know]. But Carr is more than just merely a dishonest prick. He also ignores the rest of the article, which cites theKiyoshi Akamine, Okinawa City’s chief of base relations, as saying "This is a problem." Oh, but who are the Japs to say that? "Oh," the insufferable Carr writes, "the inhumanity! Oh the oppression!"

Nowhere does Carr claim that it isn’t a problem. Clearly, parts falling from aircraft mid-flight is a problem whether it’s over Okinawa, or Branson, MO. But Raimondo seems to believe that Yankee aviators revel in the opportunity to have their planes fall apart over helpless "japs."
Listen, Carr: American GIs have been raping Okinawan women, robbing people, pushing them around for YEARS -- and, you know what, the Japanese people don't like it. What a surprise! And they also think junk falling out of the sky and quite possibly landing on their heads is "a problem" -- no matter how much our government reassures them that it's not a problem.

Actually, the crime rate for American servicemembers in Okinawa is lower than that for the Japanese nationals who reside there. And I dare say that the consequences for those servicemembers who do commit crimes is far more severe than for the locals.
In addition to exposing his utter contempt for our guys in uniform, Raimondo appoints himself the defender of Japanese sovereignty:
The occupation of Okinawa is an affront to the Japanese, not the Americans (except insofar as American taxpayers have to pay for for it, including the cost involved in defending the lowlife rapists and other thugs stationed there).

What a gutless worm. I was stationed in Japan myself (Yokosuka), and spent a great deal of time in Okinawa. It’s true that there is a lot of resentment for the forces stationed there, but that resentment is due to the amount of real estate we use on that tiny island, not to the criminal behavior that Raimondo egregiously distorts.

But we’re there because the Japanese government allows us to be there - they even contribute a great deal to the cost of housing these "lowlife rapists and other thugs." And if they ever decide that we should no longer be there, we’ll leave, just as we left Subic Bay.

I’m going to keep this disgusting invective of Raimondo’s. And I hope everyone remembers it the next time this pitiful excuse of a pundit spouts off about how "disloyal" supporters of Israel are.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:49 PM [+] ::
Just posted on Drudge. Several national cable networks have turned down those Saudi Embassy advertisements.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:00 PM [+] ::
This is news? Well, to the Washington Post, I guess it is. Always ahead of the power curve, the Post has now uncovered the "unlikely" alliance between neo-Nazis and Muslim extremists. Unlikely? Why, because the Muslims aren't white?

I could have written this headline back in November. The real news here is why it has taken the Left so long to realize that Muslim extremists aren't their allies. I've often wondered how the Lindh's would have reacted if their son had announced that he was joining the Church of the World Creator, or even the Latter Day Saints *gasp*.

But I guess the Left's penchant for "identity politics" and the romanticization of all things Third World (UBL as a modern day Che Guevara) blinded them to the overt fascism of the "resistance."
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:33 PM [+] ::
Also from the Daily Wanker. The Guardian also has this story on the aborted Venezuelan coup. It quotes an ex-Navy intelligence analyst who claims that the U.S. Navy provided EW (jamming) and other support to the coup plotters.

I'm going to go out on a limb here: this story is complete horseshit. Apart from the sheer impropriety of anyone giving this kind of information to an outsider months in advance (he claims the military attache in Caracas told him in June), I'm a little tired of people "in the know" claiming they had prior knowledge of events, but not divulging information until long after. As a Navy vet myself, I can tell you that you can't always believe what we say - especially the civilian employees.

Despite an adamant denial by the U.S. embassy in Caracas, the Wanker went with the headline, "American navy 'helped Venezuelan coup,'" with nary an "alleged" nor "claimed" in sight. Same old Wanker.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:05 AM [+] ::
Fox News come-uppance. I've become quite ambivalent on Fox News' coverage. I have to admit that I'm warming to their coverage of the Middle East - they were the first to break through the nonsense on Jenin, and are the only network to give significant coverage of the real reason Israel objects to the UN fact-finding mission.

But I have always detested their constant drumming of the "fair and balanced" mantra, when in fact, their bias is more overt than any of the other networks. And Bill O'Reilly is the worst thing to happen to TV punditry since Morton Downey, Jr. And you have to wonder about the judgement of a network that would hire Geraldo now(and stand behind him on one of the most embarrassing gaffe in recent memory.

Now this: theNew York Times has just exposed one of their so-called "military experts."
The Fox News Channel thought it had found an asset when it hired the gruff, barrel-chested former military man as a consultant to help in its coverage of the fighting in Afghanistan. He claimed to have won the Silver Star for bravery, served in Vietnam and was part of the secret, failed mission to rescue hostages in Iran in 1980.

For more than four months, Mr. Cafasso assisted and shared tips with reporters, producers and on-air consultants. Then on March 11, he abruptly left Fox amid complaints that he had overstepped his bounds and had become an annoyance. Soon afterward, Fox News, and many associates of Mr. Cafasso, learned that his office style may have been the least of his problems. The real story, many people say, was that he was not who he said he was.

He released a statement on Sunday in which he said he was the victim of a "gossip campaign" by "self-centered individuals with their own political agendas."

This is truly rich. Not only does it expose journalistic sloppiness (personnel records of American service members are incredibly easy to verify), but it also leaves the American viewing public with one less "expert" to listen to.

This one just happened to be part of the TWA 800 conspiracy theory crowd. This level of humiliation couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:29 AM [+] ::
"Palestinians killed." Careful not to repeat their hysterical coverage on Jenin, the Daily Wanker has this headline on the IDF incursion into Hebron: "'Palestinians killed' in Hebron attack."

The Norwegian consulate can breathe a sigh of relief.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:16 AM [+] ::
A little gratitude. Time to give some thanks to everyone who has linked to me and given my three-week-old blog some kind words. Not just the heavyweights like the professor, Charles Johnson, and Damian Penny, but also Jason Kenney, Ribstone Pippin, and Chris Seamans. A special thanks to Brian Carnell, for his compliments, and to Lex Gibson for this accolade:
Typical warmongering tripe and pro-Israeli propaganda with the occasional snide comment directed towards the Saudi's. Which is to say, I like it.

I can't pay for endorsements like that!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:20 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, April 28, 2002 ::
Fun with Google.Charles Johnson has been getting some unwelcome traffic. He's been monitoring the keywords of the hits he gets from search engines like Google, and has found such oddities as "saudi girl ass photo."

Of course, I immediately went to my own hit counter to see if I have been the subject of any bizarre web searches. Alas, the only weirdo who linked to me was someone looking for "raimondo le pen."

UPDATE: someone looking for "mpeg funny taxes president" linked to me earlier. Funny, but still not of the same caliber that "saudi girl ass photo" denotes.r
:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:25 PM [+] ::
Tell me again why we need this UN fact-finding mission? Human Rights Watch is the latest NGO to come to the conclusion that there was no massacre at Jenin. Maybe someday the Independent will at least report that there are doubts that such an atrocity was committed there. But I'm not holding my breath.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:18 PM [+] ::
The story has legs (pun intended)! The news about Saudi prince Abdullah's request for male-only air traffic controllers while flying over U.S. airspace will not go away. Picked up by Charles Johnson (of course), then Drudge, now CNN has gotten in on the act. Their coverage includes this, from Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO):
We have very, very fine air traffic controllers. Men and women -- they do their job, they do a fine job, and there's no sense in us trying to bend to their culture.

A public statement has now been leveraged from just about everyone (except the White House), and I have no doubt that the blog world is responsible for that.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:01 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, April 26, 2002 ::
Hizbullah now uncontrollable . Jane's Defense Weekly has this report on Hizbullah's resurgence in Lebanon. Largely because of a redeployment of Syrian forces to maintain order at home, Hizbullah now has almost total control over southern Lebanon. It is unlikely that Lebanon or Syria would be able to reign them in, even if they wanted to. Their inroads are quite deep, and impossible to uproot without creating dozens of Jenins:
Hizbullah maintains its command and control facilities in crowded urban areas that cannot be targeted without significant collateral damage. It is for this reason that the preferred Israeli targets are the utility and telecommunication centres of Beirut. Anticipation of such strikes may have precipitated the Syrian redeployment from their usual urban positions in the city.

Hizbullah is also working with PFLP-GC to increase its front against Israel.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:16 PM [+] ::
Sharon's popularity. Reuters reports that Ariel Sharon's poll numbers have risen 19 points from their nadir just before Defensive Shield began, to 64 percent. I'm sure the accusations of a "Wag the Dog" scenario from the black helicopter crowd are forthcoming.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:41 PM [+] ::
Charles Johnson rules! He's made quite a niche for himself catching Arab leaders in lies. Now, the eminent bullshit detector has exposed the bald-faced whoppers told by provisional House of Sod government foreign policy advisor Adel Al-Jubeir's whopper told on Meet the Press this Sunday. Al-Jubeir, you may recall, denied to Tim Russert that the infamous Saudi telethon for "martyrs" was not to raise money for terrorists, but for Palestinians who have "died innocently." Linking to the National Review piece on enslaving Jewish women, he finds this smoking gun, from the Saudi Jerry Lewis himself:
Which is a better choice, to de on your bed, or to die perseverant, fighting, not retreating. Which is better to suffer long before death many days, or taste death quickly?

Nice catch.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:34 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, April 25, 2002 ::
This is ironic on SO many levels! The Saudi government -- er, the provisional government which currently controls much of the Arabian peninsula, I mean -- has apparently formed its own Office of Strategic Information, in an attempt to penetrate the constant barrage of anti-Muslim agitprop the American people are bombarded with on a daily basis by their so-called "free press," and convince them that their war is not against the American people -- it's just their misguided leaders. Their first foray is a couple of advertisements airing in several American media markets:
"Prejudice, fear and conflicting views can distort what we see and hear," says one 30-second spot. "Please keep your eyes, ears and especially your minds open."

Roger that. One slight problem, though, Cochise. The more I open my eyes and ears to your "ideas," the more my mind seems to clam up. This initiative was undertaken by their American embassy, ostensibly part of the same diplomatic service which dispatched a poet to teach Britain the virtues of "dying to honor God's word." As Charles Johnson reports, that same poet has fired a particularly nasty letter in response to the British Jews who refused to appreciate his artistic expression.

Level 2: I wonder when FAIR will issue an alarmist media advisory warning of the dangers of this media campaign to our democracy. I seem to remember a lot of concern by them that we might pollute the pristine waters of public discourse in the Muslim world with "inaccurate information." When forced to choose between our lies, and their own folklore about Jewish Purim celebration rites, one might tend to get confused.

Level 3: The provisional government loyal to the House of Saud probably had to pay for these ads, rather than call our network execs and say, "make it so." The indignities these Samaritans have to suffer on our behalf.

Level 4: Coming soon, a madrassah in your home town.

UPDATE: James Lileks has apparently been subjected to one of these lectures on peace and tolerance by our Wahhabist friends, and has weighed in.
If the House of Sod is taking ads in Midwestern talk radio stations they know they're in trouble. But it reminded me of how I used to view the House of Sod - cynical, corrupt, giving lip service to piety in public then going back to the palaces for cocktails and blondes.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:45 PM [+] ::
Photos from the April 20 demonstrations. I'm sure you won't find pictures like this on CAIR's website, but much to their chagrin, there are less subtle people out there who aren't ashamed of them.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:22 AM [+] ::
To America-haters everywhere. You have to wonder about people who can seethe about a country that has a muppet testify before its legislature. The next time I see a jihadi, anti-globo, or French demonstration involving the usual flag and effigy-burning, vows to kill the infidels, and a lot of frothing at the mouth, I will remember this picture, and ask myself, "Why?"

Talk about having something up your...
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:33 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, April 24, 2002 ::
Overwhelming support for U.S. role in Philippines. According to a survey by Manila pollster Social Weather Stations, our presence and assistance in destroying abu Sayaff is supported by 76 percent of Filipinos, with only 17 percent opposed.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:27 AM [+] ::
A new reason to hate Jews. You've heard all the nonsense about Muslim blood being used to make Purim pastries, and the one about the 4,000 Jews who called in sick on 9/11. Now, Warblogger Watch (not linking to the worm, sorry) has some new r ed meat for you - they are responsible for Le Pen's strong showing at the polls:
I wonder how many warbloggers are going to comment on the support Le Pen recieved[sic] from French Jews beacuse[sic] of his anti-immigration, anti-muslim platform?

He links to this story and this story.

The first story managed to find one Jew who supported Le Pen. I guess it hadn't occurred to this international man of mystery that the sheer oddity of this is what made it newsworthy. The second story doesn't mention any Jewish support for Le Pen. It m erely notes that he may be trying to get Jewish votes by playing on fears of Arab violence and trying to distance himself from his infamous remarks about the holocaust.

Only an idiot or a bigot would assume from this that there is any significant suppor t for Le Pen among Jews. Which one is this faux blogger? a
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:25 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 ::
Further bastardization of the term "peace activist." A mob of anti-Navy "protesters" viciously attacked a group of U.S. marines in Puerto Rico last night. Wielding bats and pipes, they put one Marine in the hospital with a serious head injury. This was the second attack on servicemembers there in two weeks.

"We are all Palestinians." That certainly stands to reason. The discourse over "human rights" in Vieques has reached the same level of hypocrisy as in the Middle East conflict. The assailants are the real victims here, we are told, and the Sailors and Marines who "humiliate" the viequenses by conducting exercises on their land are the oppressors.

In October of last year, Vieques mayor Damaso Serrano compared the Navy's training to the 9/11 attacks themselves:
"These bombings, which are no different from those in Afghanistan or the terrorist attacks against the "Twin Towers" [in New York] have killed beings of flesh and bone," said Serrano in a written message read by his daughter Lizamarie Serrano during a solidarity act called "A hug for Damaso."

In his message, the mayor questioned the difference between the bombs dropped against Afghanistan and "those that during 62 years have taken away the lives of so many Viequenses."

"We could also call this an act of terrorism against Vieques, because [the bombings] have been dutifully planned in dark rooms and perpetrated by the Navy and the incumbent governments with the intention of causing harm and panic to the population in the name of the so-called democracy," added Serrano, who has served 69 days of his four-month prison sentence.

Peculiarly, many of the anti-Navy "activists" don't actually want them to leave. They stand to lose too much money. Keep the bases there, just don't let them do anything.

UPDATE: It now appears that the Monday night incident was a drunken melee, and not politically motivated.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:17 PM [+] ::
Check out what I'm using as my new desktop wallpaper.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:07 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, April 22, 2002 ::
Ted & Me. This post was going to be a serious discussion of civilian casualty figures during OEF. However, I began with Ted Rall's latest insult to our intelligence, which completely derailed it. His op-ed was not to be the focus, as it only mentioned such casualties in passing:
The moral high ground has eroded out from under the U.S. in the months following September 11th. First our bombing campaign killed 10,000 innocent Afghan civilians as we sought vengeance for the murder of 3,000 Americans.

Needless to say, I was curious about this quote.

So I actually emailed him, and asked for a source (hey, I was civil). He (at least I assume it was he, and not Danny Hellman) responded:
CNN and The New York Times. The figures are, if anything, conservative.
Leftie sources claim 15,000 to 20,000.

Ya don't say! I wasn't sure if I should try to contact Marc Herold, to let him know he was now officially irrelevant. But I emailed Rall again, after I had done a few quick searches on google, CNN's website, NYT's website, and Lexis-Nexis. I found no such reference, I wrote him. In fact, NYT had only mentioned Herold's figure (which were the highest estimates I had heard) in contrast to the much lower figures cited by the Project on Defense Alternatives, declining to arbitrate between the two.
The stats are out there; just keep hunting and you'll find them. When I complete my column for each week all the citation info gets deleted
from my hard drive (my computer is ancient and easily gets too full) and sent to the syndicate. I understand why people want to discuss previous columns, but it's all I can do to work on the next one without getting into the old stuff.

Keep hunting I shall do. I only hope that if I ever find such an outrageous figure on either of those sources, that the authors are a bit more willing to stand behind their claim than Rall was.

I have a genuine distaste for this guy. I mean really, isn't the role of the satirist supposed to be to gouge holes into other sources of arrogance and pretension?

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:01 PM [+] ::
Get them. The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot has this story on the USS COLE bombing investigation (yes, it's still ongoing):
``I didn't want to be in that room,'' he recalled. Lopez was badly scarred, with second-degree burns over more than a third of her body. Seventeen sailors were dead, and Reuwer was determined not to do anything that might slow the recovery of someone who easily could have become No. 18.

Finally, five days after the bombing, he stopped for a visit. ``I wasn't about to interview her,'' Reuwer said. He smiled at Lopez and stood near the door, just wanting her to know that he was praying for her.

After a few minutes, the wounded sailor motioned him to her bedside. The effort was excruciating, but she had something to say.

Reuwer couldn't make it out. He leaned forward and she tried again, but the words were too weak, too muffled to understand.

Worried that Lopez was in pain, the agent summoned a nurse. Again the sailor struggled to speak; the nurse cocked an ear inches from Lopez's lips and then nodded.

She turned to relay the words: ``Get them.''

:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:26 PM [+] ::
Case Closed. It's hard to believe that it's been only a week since the leftist British press "unearthed evidence" of a massacre at Jenin. Though the Independent seems to be hoping its readers will forget it's premature (and false) headlines from last Monday, the Guardian has printed what amounts to a retraction. They are now focusing on the possiblity of "other kinds of war crimes," such as keeping humanitarian assistance out of Jenin. For almost a week, the press held off on admitting that there may not have been a massacre at Jenin, because so many bodies had yet to be unearthed from the rubble. Now, we're left to wonder how many of these crushed bodies could have been saved, if only the IDF had let the Red Crescent in earlier (earlier than, say, immediately after the last gunmen surrendered). The world may never know.

Even rock-thrower Edward Said does not make the allegation in his latest piece, but does accuse Israel of a disproportionate response, as well as having desires of destroying "Palestinian civil life":
By what inhuman calculus did Israel's army, using dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers, along with hundreds of missile strikes from US-supplied Apache helicopter gunships, besiege Jenin's refugee camp for over a week, a one-square-kilometer patch of shacks housing 15,000 refugees and a few dozen men armed with automatic rifles and no missiles or tanks, and call it a response to terrorist violence and a threat to Israel's survival?

This criticism sounds like it was lifted from a Saturday Night Live sketch. You're only supposed to use measures that are commensurate with those used by your enemy? Israel has refrained from blowing up Palestinian Ramadan celebrations, and other expressions of "civil life," but I don't suppose they get credit for that. For a bird's eye view of just how inhuman that calculus was, check out Charles Johnson.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:40 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, April 21, 2002 ::
Darrell Hammond rules! I've never seen a comedian who does such a wide range of impersonations (he does Richard Dreyfus. Who the hell does Richard Dreyfus?), and his Geraldo Rivera (featured on this week's opener) was right on.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 1:32 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, April 20, 2002 ::
Do you smell something? Why it's Ted Rall's latest cartoon, of course. Apparently, he lacks the courage to give an encore of 9/11 widow-bashing, but still thinks it's acceptible to make fun of soldiers dying in friendly fire incidents and aircraft crashes.

Lacking any talent or command of pertinent issues, Rall continues to try to get by on shock value. But his insults are getting repetitive and tiresome. Are we so poor in political satire talent that this creep gets a billing on the New York Times' website?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:04 PM [+] ::
Seeds of hope. I haven't seen much from this weekend's anti-everything-that-exemplifies-Western-values protests in DC. More of the same stale sloganeering in lieu of oratory, designed to get some kind of Pavlovian imprint into our collective memory.

If there has been a low point, I'd say it was the parading of orthodox Jews on stage, whose statement pleaded for the world not to judge Judaism by Zionism. They also blamed Israel for the recent rise in anti-Semitism in the world, just as their intellectual cellmates have blamed the fathers of Zionism for the holocaust.

But I did find one thing heartening: on Newschannel 8's coverage of yesterday's bicycle protest and subsequent arrests, one dmeonstrator was interviewed about her ordeal at the hands of DC's finest.

In addition to not being forewarned that riding into oncoming traffic was illegal, this Unshorn Sister of the Apocalypse claimed the police had no right to confiscate their bikes.

"Those are our private property," she wailed.

Hypocrisy, or progress? We report, you decide.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:05 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, April 19, 2002 ::
Welcome back. The USS COLE is fully restored and is heading back to Norfolk for further tasking.
She came to us wounded but unbowed," said Philip Dur, president of Northrop Grumman's shipbuilding sector. "We couldn't be prouder that she has been restored to full operational readiness and will soon rejoin the fleet and take her place on the line."

On a personal note, a close friend of mine has just left the DC area and will soon report as the ship's new Weapons Officer. He couldn't be prouder or more enthusiastic.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:32 PM [+] ::
Casting call. This Stephen Hayes column on the Weekly Standard website reprints this damning email from a CNN producer looking for leads:
Hi everyone! I hope someone out there can help me. I'm looking for a young black entrepreneur--under 40, tech savvy, who has started his own dot-com or company--to profile for CNN NewsNight. Since this will be part of a series about race in America, the ideal candidate is someone who struggled or encountered discrimination while looking for jobs or working in the tech sector (also could be someone who became frustrated by the predominantly white male culture) and subsequently decided to strike out on his/her own. Or something along those lines. Could be anywhere in the U.S. If anyone knows of such a person or knows someone who does, please get in touch. Many thanks!"

Hayes cites this as "a disturbing example of the way CNN views race in America," but it really uncovers a much larger, and more scandalous, phenomenon: the email looks more like something from central casting than "news gathering," regardless of the topic. No matter what the issue, the idea that someone who writes a storyline and then looks for "leads" to fill in the blanks would call him or herself a journalist is shameful. CNN should have just posted a 1-800 number a la Jenny Jones, and dropped the charade that this was to be a news story.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:44 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, April 18, 2002 ::
More Jenin coverage. CNN ran this Christianne Amanpour interview with Col. Miri Eisen of the IDF:
AMANPOUR: And joining me here now, in Jerusalem, is Colonel Miri Eisen, an intelligence official with the Israeli Defense Forces. Colonel, thank you for joining us. First of all, I want to ask you directly, what the international community and certainly the U.N. representative has been asking for, and that is Israeli help in shifting the rubble. Heavy bulldozers, heavy equipment to move the rubble after what has happened there, to find out exactly what is under the rubble.

MIRI EISEN, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES: The rubble itself is one of the issues that the international world is talking about. We have been taking care of the rubble at the beginning, but mainly to try and find the booby traps. The structures themselves that were knocked down, were knocked down with an incredible amount of booby traps within them. When I say booby traps, I am talking about explosives within the structures, surrounding the structures. We found them inside refrigerators, along the road. That's the reason the structures were knocked down in the first place. And that's one of the problems of clearing them out.

AMANPOUR: Now that they have been knocked down, and presumably the booby traps have gone off under the force of those explosions and the destruction of all of that infrastructure, journalists are there, aid workers are there, people are there now. Will you bring in? Will you help in this humanitarian effort with the heavy equipment that they don't have on the other side?

EISEN: I think that is one of the questions that we'll be asked at the moment, but we will try and send in. We have tried until now, and not stopped. One of the problems we have at the moment is trying to go against a pack of lies at this stage along the way, of what we did or did not do. Because when we were stopping along the way, ambulances and checking them, not not allowing them into the camp during the fighting, but also during the fighting and after it. It was because we found within those ambulances terrorist's explosives, a very cynical use of ambulance ambulances.

At the moment we have not tried to stop or hinder any of the work going on. We sent in our home front units to help out in different structures. We ourselves have already found different people still wounded under the rubble after nine days. As you know, we ourselves are the ones in the world who have a lot of unhappy experience in the fallen structures.

AMANPOUR: What do you say to people who are asking questions? And not only that, the Israeli process is quite full of anecdotes, if you like, reports from Israeli soldiers themselves. I have heard one Israeli soldier say what we did in Jenin was Vietnam. I have heard them talk about the process of using these images, and explaining why they did it. Because they feared the rooms or the houses were booby trapped -- this and that. How do you answer those things that are coming from your own side? Is that something that the Israeli Defense Force sanctioned? The systematic use of human shields?

EISEN: The Israeli Defense Forces have the highest morals. And when we went into the camp itself, just the fact that we went in as an infantry shows our own moral values. What would have been easier than to go in without any of the officers or infantry soldiers killed there and bomb with an F-16. We didn't do so. We didn't use any civilians as human shields. I have heard some of the other side, also...

AMANPOUR: Your own soldiers are saying that.

EISEN: Our own soldiers who have not posed themselves with any names with any names whatsoever. I oppose that on both sides. People who have things to say...

AMANPOUR: Names have been posed, though.

EISEN: We go also and have been trying to find these people. You've probably also read about the fact that there have been different people who have been brought to trial for different things that they have done, because we stand behind our own moral standard. There was a harsh fight within the city of Jenin. That's definite.

AMANPOUR: That's clear and we know that many soldiers were killed, particularly in that booby trap incident. But, I guess, what I want to ask you is this: You say that you went in an infantry. Obviously that is true to an extent. But you also went in with armored bulldozers. You just talked about bulldozing these houses because of booby traps. There were also helicopter gunships which were firing in that area. That has been recorded and seen. The secretary of state to the United States warned Israel that -- about the excessive use of force in military operations. And the U.N. director, here, has said you had a just cause but the means, he felt, were unacceptable and excessive. And, in fact, I think he used the word morally repugnant?

Do you have any answer at all? Do you feel that maybe it was excessive even under the circumstances that you describe?

EISEN: Not only do I go -- I don't accept that because of the amount of casualties we had, which is because we tried to do it pinpointed and not with our heavy guns. We didn't use a cannon or artillery anywhere. We did not use an airplane anywhere.

The gunships themselves when you talk about the helicopters, the helicopter firing a missile is a very pinpointed exact missile. It does not make a structure fall down. It hits in a window. Yes, it will destroy the one building itself, not the building itself only the room that it hits into. That was only used in assistance. Mainly in that type of fighting was only in Jenin.

And if you look in the other cities we went in this operation into six cities within Judea and Samaria. You do not have the destruction like the center in the camp. There's one point I would like to make. In Jenin, itself, the reason that we went in there, the Passover massacre that you mentioned before. The fact that 29 people were killed and that the suicide bombers themselves were mainly coming out of Jenin.

In the last year and a half, 28 suicide bombers came out of the camp of Jenin. And it was the Palestinians themselves in their own general intelligence report, who called Jenin the capital of suicide bombers.

AMANPOUR: Do you think -- and this is the last question we have. We have no time left. Do you think that this will eradicate suicide bombing?

EISEN: No, I don't. And we've never said that. This operation goes in and where we are, it makes a huge difference. There's been a huge difference in the amount of terrorist attacks within Israel over the last two weeks during this operation. Any city that we're within, it makes a big difference. When we evacuate a city, yes they do come back.

The more that we find them, arrest them, find the explosives and find the people, for us, less suicide bombers in our cities.

AMANPOUR: On that note, thank you very much. When we come back after a short break we'll have much more LIVE FROM JERUSALEM.

London's Guardian also devoted space to Eisen's account, but lead with details of the damage to Jenin's real estate, rather than human lives.

The Independent, it's frontal lobe still intact, did not.

Finally, you could not call yourself fully updated without reading this story and this editorial, both from Ha'aretz.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:53 PM [+] ::
More "biased" and gutless" coverage of the current Middle East by the U.S. Media. This excerpt of a Christianne Amanpour interview with UN Special Envoy Terje Larsen is further proof of "the cowardly, idle, spineless way in which American journalists are lobotomising their stories." She actually asks him for (gasp) evidence to support his claims of an Israeli atrocity in Jenin:

AMANPOUR: The Israelis deny all the charges of a massacre. They say that what happened here was a very fierce battle, and they admit there were major casualties, both on their side and on the Palestinian side. What do you think happened? Are you ready to make accusations, or are you basically now evaluating? What do you think is the reality of what happened?

LARSEN: I cannot judge at this point in time. I can only report on what I saw, and what I heard, and what I smelled. I cannot say that there wasn't a massacre, but I cannot say there was a massacre. But I think that the question of an international investigation is a highly relevant question on the basis of what I saw, and I think it isn't unnecessary to penetrate to find out exactly what is the situation there, and why did it happen.

AMANPOUR: So, what needs to happen now, what needs to happen? Aid agencies have said they can't begin to search under the rubble because there is not the equipment. What are you asking for now?

LARSEN: First and foremost, we are asking for two things. One is that international search and rescue teams are allowed to go in immediately, and there are reasons for criticizing severely the government of Israel for not themselves conducting a search and rescue operation, and what I could see for the few hours I was there today, the people with their bare hands digging out bodies -- this should have been done by the Israeli military occupiers for the time they were there.

Now, the government of Israel had to give access -- to give us access with the proper expertise, expertise and the proper instruments for doing such a search in an effective manner. Then, secondly, equally important is that we get in food, medicine, and water to the needy population, and also to build temporary shelters for the thousands of people, about half of them being under the age of 15, who now are suffering in there. And also -- this, of course, comes second -- there is a situation of anarchy and chaos not only in the refugee camp, but in the city and in the governor -- in the government. The Palestinian Authority's institutions are more or less destroyed. There's no security apparatus. There's no police functions. There is no apparatus to take care of law and order. The situation is very dangerous. And I would like to add that the situation is not only dangerous for the population, the situation is also, security-wise, dangerous for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Because it may be that the infrastructure of the terrorists have been destroyed or damaged here, but what is more important is that there is now built a mental infrastructure of hatred and aggression, which is very dangerous.

AMANPOUR: The Palestinians have charged the Israelis with war crimes. They point to not allowing ambulances throughout the battles, and even thereafter from evacuating wounded, even the dead. They point to the use of human shields, and, of course, the Israelis accuse Yasser Arafat of war crimes for sending suicide bombers into Israel. What, in terms of international law happened, do you think? How does one describe not allowing ambulances in, using human shields?

LARSEN: I will not at this stage go into a legal discussion, but what I can say is that it is evident, because international humanitarian organizations have not been given access, that there are very clear violations of basic humanitarian principles, but I would not like to go into the legal issues right now, but it's evident from what I saw today that the question is relevant.

AMANPOUR: You are going to have or gather together a meeting of some of the major donors to deal, presumably, with the devastation, the infrastructure devastation, that has taken place over the last several weeks in the Palestinian territories. What is the level of need there in the territories?

LARSEN: I cannot assess that here and now. There will, next Wednesday on the 24th in Oslo, be a major donor meeting where my office, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and others will give an assessment of what is needed here, and -- but it is very evident that a major donor effort is required, because what we have being reporting from Jenin today is also by and large the case in many other of the other Palestinian cities.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 6:21 PM [+] ::
"You were right honey. We should have taken our vacation in the Sudan."
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:25 PM [+] ::
Tell me a joke. I'd particularly like to hear the one about how Israel is intentionally moving solely against "moderate" terrorist factions like al-Aqsa/Tanzim, so that the more extreme groups like Hamas are intentionally being left alone, so that Israel has an excuse not to negotiate with rejectionists. It's an oldie, but a goodie.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:11 PM [+] ::
Has anyone asked the Army? Today, there is yet another editorial that admits that there is no proof that the Secretary of the Army is guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, but nonetheless demands his resignation:
Army Secretary Thomas White has repeatedly pledged that if questions stemming from his ties to Enron became too much of a distraction, he would resign. They now have, and he should.

A distraction? For whom? Besides editorial writers, I mean. The gravity of his alleged ethical lapses include the “underreporting” – not denial, mind you -- contact he had with his former employer, and the editorial muses that that contact may have constituted insider trading, as it was timed suspiciously with his divestiture of Enron stock holdings. At the time, he – and many other Bush appointees in the Defense department, were being accused of dragging their feet in unloading their interest in defense contractors. But the most outrageous part is this:
Mr. White's most damning liability may be his own résumé. His affiliation with the once-vaunted Enron, the credential that got him hired by the Bush administration, is looking more like a disqualifier a year later. If the president was looking for a canny administrator who could make things work, he was obviously looking at the wrong company.

I cannot remember the last time I read such an unabashed charge of guilt by association. Is it not possible that there were at least a few scrupulous people working for Enron? If the management of the company was as inherently flawed as the New York Times suggests, few of us would have noticed its demise. Obviously, someone had to have done something right along the way, and so far there isn’t even an allegation – much less evidence to support it, that White was part of the cabal that drove it into the ground.
But more importantly, the “distraction” argument should take into account whether the secretary can still command respect and confidence from the department he’s been entrusted to lead. But no one seems to care about that.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:03 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 ::
CIA Dirty Tricks in Venezuela. Centuries of seamless democratic transitions in Latin America will probably pass before the U.S. is not immediately blamed for any coup in the region, regardless of the circumstances. There are certainly valid reasons for that presupposition, and Hugo Chavez’s two-day “sabbatical” fits the standard script.
I hope the knee jerk left-wing accusations are wrong, but doubt they could ever be proven wrong . Proving a negative is seldom easy, especially when the “who stood to gain” cards are stacked against you. But some of the “evidence” of U.S. complicity is rather suspicious.

Stories have noted that high level Bush administration officials met with Gen. Lucas Rincon, chief of Venezuela’s armed forces, and business leader Pedro Carmona, the country’s president from Friday until Sunday, but they offer no evidence of any “quid pro quo” or April Glaspie-style nudges and winks.

A Sydney Morning Herald headline reads “US gave green light to Chavez coup plotters.” One might expect to find information in the accompanying story that suggests Bush administration officials spoke approvingly of a coup plan, but there isn’t any. It does, however, note “conflicting” versions of what was said in those meetings:
One senior official said it was insisted that the Venezuelans use constitutional means. "They came here to complain," the official said. "Our message was very clear: there are constitutional processes. We did not even wink at anyone."
But a United States Defence Department official involved in the development of policy towards Venezuela said the Administration's message was less categorical.
"We were not discouraging people," the official said. "We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like this guy. We didn't say, 'No, don't you dare', and we weren't advocates saying, 'Here's some arms; we'll help you overthrow this guy'. We were not doing that."

If accurate, the second version of events certainly suggests a disregard regard for democratic institutions, but is it really tantamount to “complicity,” or a “green light?” So they didn’t like Chavez. There’s never been any secret about that. Were they required to like him?

All this suggests is that they may not have told the coup plotters “don’t do this.” That certainly would have been a good thing to say – the right thing to say. But it suggests that their opinion must necessarily be given some weight by the Venezuelan military, which seems to run counter to the whole idea of “self determination.”
In other words, if we’re not supposed to meddle in the internal affairs of our Latin American neighbors, then why does our perceived lack of disapproval even matter? Are we expected to simultaneously keep our noses out of their affairs and firmly oppose all attempts to usurp democratic rule?

This seems to me to be a good argument for Clintonian “liberal internationalism,” and for the idea that we should stop the charade that we should never influence other countries. Nearly every aspect of public policy – certainly trade, immigration, and fiscal policy, has a direct impact on the internal politics of other countries, whether it’s intended or not. I suspect that our only “guilt” in the Venezuelan coup -- if there is any at all -- is not that we meddled, but that we didn’t meddle enough.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 6:22 PM [+] ::
Jason Kenney just doesn’t get it. Here’s his take on Meryl Yourish’s take on Andrew Sullivan’s take on the booing of Paul Wolfowitz at Monday’s Israel Solidarity Rally:
You say you care about all innocents, yet you boo when the loss of them is mentioned? I don't care if you're trying to rally for solidarity, you BOOED AT THE DEATHS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE AT THE HANDS OF YOUR OWN!!! How dare you?!! It was completely uncalled for and I for one believe Andrew Sullivan was completely right in saying it was disgraceful, and that was putting it kindly.
And I don't care if your rally wasn't as bad as others or you at least didn't have signs saying "Death to Arabs" as you say or you didn't go beat up Palestinians afterwards, you booed at the death of innocent lives. There is no excuse for that. None.

No, Jason. As Meryl was trying to point out – and I certainly got it, was that the crowd was not booing the deaths of Palestinian innocents. They were booing at the presumption that they didn’t care about those innocents, which was what they were hearing from Wolfowitz’ lecture.
I was not at the rally Monday, but I know the feeling. It is a common assumption among Israel’s critics on both the Left and Right that those of us who support Israel – and it’s current military operation – don’t care about innocent Palestinian lives. Frankly, it’s insulting. We do care about them, and I would argue that we care more than the Palestinian terrorists themselves, and certainly more than those who make excuses for people who send their children to “martyrdom.”
It was the condescension they were booing, not the idea that Palestinians could be innocent.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:01 PM [+] ::
Robert Fisk’s latest work is worth a read. Once you get past the irony of his whining about our media bias on coverage of the Middle East – before the dust has even settled on the embarrassingly unsupported pronouncements of the Jenin “war crimes” made by his own country’s media, it’s quite candid about the depressing turnouts (well, for him anyway – heartening for the rest of us) he gets at his lectures here in the U.S. He even owns up to attracting conspiracy nuts, anti-Semites, and other “victims.” Shrewdly, he offers no advice to his fans when they ask of him, "How can we make our government reflect our views?" The only possible answer, of course, would have been a violent overthrow by this admittedly insignificant segment of our electorate.

More on the irony of the “cowardly, idle, spineless way in which American journalists are lobotomising their stories from the Middle East…”
When Gayane Torosyan opened WSUI/KSUI for questions in Iowa City, a caller named Michael" – a leader of the local Jewish community, I later learnt, though he did not say this on air – insisted that after the Camp David talks in 2000, Yasser Arafat had turned to "terrorism" despite being offered a Palestinian state with a capital in Jerusalem and 96 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza. Slowly and deliberately, I had to deconstruct this nonsense. Jerusalem was to have remained the "eternal and unified capital of Israel", according to Camp David. Arafat would only have got what Madeleine Albright called "a sort of sovereignty" over the Haram al-Sharif mosque area and some Arab streets, while the Palestinian parliament would have been below the city's eastern walls at Abu Dis. With the vastly extended and illegal Jerusalem municipality boundaries deep into the West Bank, Jewish settlements like Maale Adumim were not up for negotiation; nor were several other settlements. Nor was the 10-mile Israeli military buffer zone around the West Bank, nor the settlers' roads, which would razor through the Palestinian "state". Arafat was offered about 46 per cent of the 22 per cent of Palestine that was left. I could imagine the audience of WSUI/KSUI falling slowly from their seats in boredom.

Hmm, only 22 percent of Palestine, eh? What exactly does 100 percent of Palestine include?

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:48 AM [+] ::
"I am still ready to become a martyr, but only after the international community comes to my rescue." Arafat has made a plea (again) for international assistance in ending Israel's siege, just after winding up his second meeting with Colin Powell:
"I have to ask the Bush administration, the international community, is this acceptable that I cannot go out the door," he said, his voice rising with apparent exasperation. Just next door, Israeli gunners peeked through half-opened windows and Israeli tanks ensured the confinement of the Palestinian leader.

Also from the Washington Post story...
Regarding his talks with Powell, Arafat said the two had "very important discussions and I have to thank him for what he has done and what he is going to do." But the Arab TV station Al-Jazeera quoted Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo as saying "the Powell-Arafat meeting was catastrophic."

Now this is one instance in which they got the story right!

:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:15 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, April 16, 2002 ::
Like I was going to travel there anyway... The Simon Wiesenthal Center has issued travel advisories on France and Belgium, due to the rising incidence of anti-Semitic violence in those two countries.

Link via Indymedia. Seriously!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:24 PM [+] ::
Finally, some sensibility. German police are looking for the man in that photo, and are intent on bringing charges of promoting violence.
Interior Minister Otto Schily, the German government's top law enforcement official, called it an "outrageous" abuse of a child as an "advertisement for terrorist acts."

Link via Drudge.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:49 PM [+] ::
Rush to judgement. So, all it takes is a few British tabloids to use the word “massacre,” and we’re all ready condemn the IDF as bloodthirsty Huns. Even Andrew Sullivan and the Torygraph have found the IDF guilty of such transgressions as “the humiliation of Palestinian civilians, and the brandishing of victory.”

Sullivan even takes Natan Sharansky to task for pointing out correctly that the IDF has been far more painstaking in their efforts to protect noncombatants than we had in Serbia and Afghanistan. We dropped ordnance from 30,000 feet, and Sullivan is concerned about houses being bulldozed. The IDF has also lost more soldiers in that week-long siege than we have in six months in combat actions undertaken in Afghanistan. Sharansky wasn't suggesting that we had conducted that war in a brutal fashion - he was merely putting the current allegations in perspective.

And the Torygraph notes astonishingly that there are dead bodies there – dozens of them. It's not as if it had been the scene of a tenacious battle or anything. Despite the public displays of pride in the "martyrdom" of children, and the homage expressed by Arafat's own wife to them, we now fid it impossible to fathom that some of these bodies were willful soldiers, who "died to honor God's word." So far, there hasn’t been a single confirmed noncombatant casualty, even though the IDF has been quite forthright in saying that there have been many. But how does the unfolding reality stack up to the allegations of up to 500 innocents killed, including 70 summarily executed? Not impressively, I’m afraid.

Nabil Shaath, “the Palestinian minister for planning and international cooperation”, has called for an international inquiry into Jenin, and his wish should be granted. It should be noted that he also fears for “the safety of Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouthi, captured by Israel on Monday and accused of masterminding militant attacks in Israel.” After all, Barghouti is yet another “innocent” who must be protected from Israeli cruelty.

I hope I’m not the only one to note today that the IDF’s actions in the aftermath of the Jenin battle have been constrained by a civilian court. And that they had allowed Red Crescent into the camp immediately after the surrender of the last combatants, no matter what you may have heard about “cover ups.”

The lack of moral consistency and sense of proportion in today’s coverage is shameful. It’s as if the Netanya massacre happened in the late 1800’s.

UPDATE: Canada's National Post has this account of the Jenin fruit massacre:
While the people of Jenin had vivid accounts of the fighting and destruction of homes, few seemed to have first-hand knowledge of the
massacres said to have taken place. The lack of solid information has fuelled the rumour mill.

A grocery store owner near Jenin spoke in a hushed voice about seeing Israeli troops loading the bodies of massacred Palestinians into a
refrigerated truck which he said was still parked on a nearby hill.

Asked to elaborate, he declined. "The people that are sitting there are collaborators," he said.

The refrigerated truck was parked on a grassy hill, where Israeli troops were resting with their tanks and armoured vehicles listening to Alanis Morissette on a stereo.

When a National Post reporter inspected the truck, it contained not bodies but apples and other food and supplies for the troops.

Link via Max Power via Dave Nieporent.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:26 PM [+] ::
Please tell me this is bullshit! This passage, from Oriana Fallaci's condemnation of the latest spate of European anti-Semitism:
I find it shameful that the Catholic Church should permit a bishop, one with lodgings in the Vatican no less, a saintly man who was found in Jerusalem with an arsenal of arms and explosives hidden in the secret compartments of his sacred Mercedes, to participate in that procession and plant himself in front of a microphone to thank in the name of God the suicide bombers who massacre the Jews in pizzerias and supermarkets. To call them “martyrs who go to their deaths as to a party.”

Link via The Counterrevolutionary.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:50 AM [+] ::
Most unnecessary apology of the week. According to the BBC, the producers of "The Simpson's" have apologised to the City of Rio de Janeiro for its "Blame it on Lisa" episode which portrayed the city as "teeming with monkeys and rats," and rife with crime and sexual perversions.

Arguing that the show had deleterious effect (hey, this is litigiousness in its ugliest form, so I'll use the most legalese term I can think of) on its tourism trade, the city had threatened legal action.
President Fernando Henrique Cardosa claimed it "brought a distorted vision of Brazilian reality".

And Rio tourism board president Jose Eduardo Guinle asked the board's legal team to look into what action could be taken.

A spokesman said: "What really hurt was the idea of the monkeys - the image that Rio de Janeiro was a jungle.

"It's a completely unreal image of the city."

(Ow, that one hurt).

:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:24 AM [+] ::
"I saw a man in his 90s, and babes in carriages, and all manner of folks in between. The rally was peaceful and friendly; people where warm and helpful--and not a single person called for the death of anyone. Not even for Arafat's." Forget the Washington Post. Read Meryl Yourish’s 1st-hand account of yesterday’s Israel Solidarity Rally here in DC.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:12 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, April 15, 2002 ::
Martydom is for “little people.” Fatah/Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti has been arrested in Ramallah. Found in a home of a fellow "activist," he reportedly offered no resistance.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:41 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, April 14, 2002 ::
You gotta get in on this email group! I'm speaking of course of the group which accompanies the Warblogger Watch blog (the blog itself is pretty fucking worthless, but you can't beat the good-natured ribbing between the "bloodblog" interlopers, and the beleagered anti-Israel/justice-for-terrorists/and-anything-else-that-might-benefit-mankind set, who are greatly outnumbered in their own forum!

This posting in particular (by a guy who should have his own blog) is worth greater circulation, as it skewers the "why aren't war bloggers serving in the military instead of spewing their venom" argument:
Lets do this one in Blog format...

WBW: ok, explain this to me.

ME: I will try, but to judge by your hysterical posts thus far, you seem peculiarly resistant to instruction in any form.

WBW: if you warbloggers are so fucking gung-ho about sending the us across the world to wage war

ME: I don't think gung-ho is the right description here. We (let me presume to represent the pro-military action side) have concluded, based on events we have witnessed, statements we have heard and images we have seen, that military action is the least bad option available to the U.S. in these circumstances.

WBW: and kill Muslims,

ME: Except for that fact that a certain strain of Islam (Wahabbism - for lack of a better term,) seems to promote the sort of behavior that we have decided calls for a military response, the religion of our opponents is purely incidental. Had it been 19 Druids that hijacked 4 airliners and murdered over 3,000 of my countrymen, the decision process and the action required would have been the same. Those responsible for making war on us must be put down. The infrastructure that supports them must be destroyed. Those who harbor them must be made to feel such pain that they will give up
our enemies and forswear aid to them in the future.

WBW: why don't you go down to the recruitment office and join up?

ME: I did. In 1985. I got to go to the Gulf twice. Once during the "tanker wars" and again for Desert Storm. I got out after the war, but stayed in the (active) reserves through grad school.

WBW: i may be wrong,

ME: As a general statement - you are, but specific to your next statement, I think you are (partly) correct.

WBW: but it seems the only warblogger who is actually in the military is sarge stryker, and even then, it looks like he's just a fucking army mechanic.

ME: The sarge has said that he is an E-5 in the Air Force. I would think that a bit more respect would be due - regardless of rank - to anyone who volunteers to put his/her life on the line in the defense of his fellow citizens. Without the support crews that maintain them, our fighters and bombers will simply be targets on a runway somewhere. Our ships would rust quietly at their moorings, and our tanks and trucks would be immobilized. Given the rigors of military (or even Air Force) service, how the sarge manages to post as prolifically as he does is a mystery to me. I never had that kind of time when I was on active duty (being busy with things like training and going to sea and standing watch and all). But he does, and I say good for him!

WBW: you're so casual about sending others to their deaths but there is no chance in hell you would kill or be killed.

ME: There is never anything casual about placing a service member in harm's way. It doesn't matter if it is an order to a squad to take a hill, or to a damage control party to enter a space on a ship lit only with the flames from a burning bulkhead, no leader will ever take a risk with the lives in his care that he doesn't have to. Military life has inherent dangers just like civilian life. On my one "peacetime" deployment to the Med, the ship I was on lost 3 men. One was murdered during a port visit, one was killed while performing routine maintenance (those "fucking mechanics" you disparaged earlier) and one was lost overboard. It also has dangers unique to the services. Think back to the Gulf War. Our single biggest personnel loss occurred when a Scud hit a barracks building housing a Pennsylvania reserve unit - their duties: support for the frontline troops. In this era, no one has to be "sent" to their deaths, death is quite capable of reaching well behind the lines to claim those it chooses. Sometimes it comes via a Scud to a barracks. Sometimes it comes in an airliner crashing into a building. In either case, the response is the same. Destroy the ability of those responsible to launch death at us again.

WBW: cowards.

ME: And what have you done for my country, beyond the denigration of those who would see it defended from those who mean it harm?

WBW: i put that bbc story up some maybe it would get through your little pin heads that war isn't a video-game and that bloodshed should be a final option, not the solution to every fucking problem that comes along.

ME: I was on the "Highway of Death" a few days after the ceasefire. On foot. I saw first hand the destruction modern weapons can bring. I also saw the damage inflicted on Kuwait both by the retreating Iraqi army and by the Allied liberation. I need no instruction from the likes of you on the difference between a Nintendo game and combat, although I suspect that a video game is about as close as YOU have ever come to it (and you called ME a coward).

WBW: as far as my own stance on military intervention, it comes close to what justin wrote over at anti-war: "No, libertarianism is not pacifism: violence is justified in self-defense, but only against those who initiate its use—and only in direct proportion to the original coercive act."

ME: You and Justin are wrong. War is justified against those who make war upon us, against anyone else who enables our enemy to continue the fight and against those who make war on our allies. (Neither Germany nor Italy attacked the U.S., Japan did that alone, but we made victory in Europe the priority because of the mortal threat to our allies). We may choose not to engage the allies of our enemy for tactical or strategic reasons (China during the Korean War is a good example). Or, we may decide to make no distinction between our enemy and our enemy's friend (as was the case with
the British attack on the French Fleet at Oran or the Allied landings in North Africa - both against the forces of supposedly "neutral" Vichy France). As for the level of force to apply, we have learned that by responding overwhelmingly we can minimize the loss of life on both sides. Somalia was a success when it was a limited mission supported by 25,000 soldiers. It turned to disaster when it became an open-ended mission with a limited U.S. contingent backing up a UN "Peacekeeper" force.

WBW: but that's not what's going on little ones,

ME: Really? We were attacked by a criminal gang that had taken over an entire country. We attacked (and liberated - much to the joy of the native population) the country in question while SIMULTANEOUSLY flying sortie after sortie of relief missions to drop food, even before the war ended. We attacked with weapons designed to minimize collateral damage and attacked only what we believed to be military targets. We are now seeing to it that this formerly enemy country has a chance to return to something close to "peace" after 23 years of war by providing ongoing military, financial, diplomatic and humanitarian assistance, while continuing our hunt for the remains of the criminal gang that we have not yet destroyed.

WBW: and if you pulled your head out of the ass of the military-industrial complex propaganda machine for one second maybe would would see that.

ME: Rant Rant Rant. You have confused disagreement with some sort of mental defect. From where I sit, you appear to be the one anally-impacted.

WBW: but i know anything beyond the party line is beyond your dumbed-down comprehension, so i don't know why i bother.

ME: You certainly aren't bothering to make a persuasive case for your point of view. Helpful Hint: More facts, fewer rants.

WBW: anyway, i started up warblogger watch not to argue

ME: Given the paucity of actual "argument" in your posts, I would agree.

WBW: with third-rate hacks

ME: A third-rate hack being defined as someone who doesn't follow your "party-line".

WBW: riding on the coattails of a new technology

ME: E-mail and web pages are hardly new technology. Both pre-date Al Gore's "invention" of the internet by many years - having their origins in the research efforts of the Pentagon and American Universities (that would be the "military industrial complex" to you) that began in the 1960's.

WBW: and the nerds and misfits that love them

ME: My 65 year old mother e-mails, my 69 year old father surfs the web. My 11 year old nephew uses the internet to help him do research for his school projects. At work I use it to help our clients be more productive. Here, I am using it to help demolish the hysterical ravings of people like you by providing actual facts instead of raw emotion. What about any of those activities qualifies us as nerds or misfits - beyond my disagreement with your tsunami of emotion and illogic?

WBW: but to expose your stupid little subculture

ME: That would be the "stupid little sub-culture" of the 90% of Americans who support the war effort?

WBW: to the rest of the world.

ME: You mean the idiot 10%?

WBW: yes it's true warbloggers! there is a world beyond the circle jerk of your blogs!

ME: Indeed. A world of reason and rational thought and fact and logic. Come, join us.

WBW: don't worry, the e-mail supporting me is far outweighing the hate mail now.

ME: How about the count of those who just respectfully disagree? I subscribe to this list as well and by my count, there are many more pro- than anti- posters here.

WBW: this warblogger thing is just a straw dog.

ME: No, it is a collection of individuals who hold the same or similar opinions on a matter of great national import who are read by an even greater number of like-minded fellow citizens.

WBW: it shouldn't be that hard to knock down.

ME: perhaps, but you haven't yet.

In addition to participating in discourse like this, you may even be insulted by the likes of Justin Raimondo!

:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:25 PM [+] ::
This is pretty funny. Not funny "ha ha," but funny nonetheless.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:57 PM [+] ::
:: Saturday, April 13, 2002 ::
Why "condemnation" is not enough. Here is an excerpt from the translated statement released by Arafat yesterday, which is apparently "good enough":
The Palestinian leadership and His Excellency President Arafat express their deep condemnation for all terrorist activities, whether it is state terrorism, terrorism by a group or individual terrorism. This position comes from our steady principle that rejects using violence and terror against civilians as a way to achieve political goals.

We declared this position beginning in 1988 and also when we signed the Oslo accords at the White House, and we have repeated it several times before, including our declaration on Dec. 16 last year. After that, we did not find any Israeli response but more Israeli escalation, a tighter siege, further occupation of our people, refugee camps, cities, villages, and more destruction of our infrastructure.[Emphasis mine]

Gosh, I guess the Israelis paid more attention to Fatah’s actions than their rhetoric. The statement goes on to call on international authorities to "investigate these massacres against our people because of the Israeli occupation," but seems to presume no investigation is needed into their own acts of terror. They’re certainly right about that. The international community already has all the information it needs.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:12 PM [+] ::
More on the falsely-accused "peace activists." Actually, this Nazimedia news item, along with the thunderous applause it’s getting, suggests Andrew Sullivan’s "fifth column" remark wasn’t far off the mark.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:10 PM [+] ::
No virgins for these guys. Ha’aretz, describes the surrender of the remaining combatants – er, I mean suffering innocents – as Jenin finally fell:
The battle of the Jenin refugee camp did not end precisely the way the Palestinians promised, with a suicidal battle to the last bullet. Instead, the remaining armed Palestinians in the camp asked through the Americans and Arab MKs, that their lives be spared and when the Israel Defense Forces acceded, 32 armed Palestinians handed over their weapons and surrendered.

The change came after the ambush that killed 13 IDF troops when the army began using more massive force, including demolishing houses on their way toward the armed men deep inside the camp. The Palestinian fighters reached the conclusion that under the circumstances, the IDF would not accept the surrender of those who wanted to give up, so apparently by phone they contacted officials from the Palestinian Authority, who made the approach regarding a safe surrender.

The Americans made the official request to Israel and that was followed by separate appeals from two Arab MKs with close ties to Arafat and the PA. The Americans were told that if the Palestinians who fought in Jenin were ready to surrender, they would have to obey the orders of the IDF negotiating team and leave their positions with their hands raised. The orders went out over loudspeakers -and after a while, the last 32 Palestinian fighters came out, handed over their weapons and surrendered, filmed by the IDF.

Immediately afterward, the IDF allowed Red Crescent ambulances into the camp. IDF Home Front civil engineering experts also were sent in to help find bodies of people buried under the rubble.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:18 AM [+] ::
It’s not just the French. According to London’s Telegraph, Irish poet Tom Paulin was interviewed by al-Ahram:
The interviewer wrote that Paulin, a consistent critic of Israeli conduct towards the Palestinians, clearly abhorred "Brooklyn-born" Jewish settlers. Paulin, a lecturer at Hertford College, Oxford, was then quoted as saying: "They should be shot dead.

"I think they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them." Earlier in the interview, he was quoted as saying: "I never believed that Israel had the right to exist at all."

Read the entire interview here.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:59 AM [+] ::
Speaking of terrorists and double standards... No, this isn’t a dig at the Bush administration’s coddling of Yasir Arafat. Ann Coulter said, in response to the 9/11 attacks, that "we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." One would expect her to have a Zero Tolerance posture on acts of terror across the board. But when it comes to anti-Castro fanatics, she has a soft spot.

Proving once again that she will never get over the Elian affair, she devotes her latest column, to vent her outrage at the terrorist label being applied to Cuban militant Orlando Bosch in Newsweek’s interview with Bill Clinton.

At issue is Newsweek’s allegation that the anti-Castro "activist" was responsible for a 1976 civilian airline bombing that killed 73 people. Bosch "was cleared of any connection to the airline bombing," she protests. "Twice. In Venezuelan courts."

Drawing legal parallels between Bosch’s legal status and that of Clinton – as if one could be drawn between lying about a blowjob and blowing up a passenger jet – Coulter points out that "Bosch's only known violent crime… was to fire a rifle at a Polish ship docked off of Miami in 1968."

Actually, it was a bazooka. And he fled the country in violation of his parole.
No one was hurt, and the ship was only slightly damaged, making it a more successful operation than John F. Kennedy's Bay of Pigs invasion. But, inexplicably, it is a crime to fire a rifle at communist freighters headed to Cuba.

To my knowledge, we weren’t at war with Poland in 1968 – or with Cuba, for that matter, but such particulars don’t matter to legal scholars like Coulter.

I suppose I could ask the same question of Coulter that I would ask those in the Muslim world who are convinced that Usama bin Laden is innocent: if Bosch’s didn’t commit any of the attacks he is accused of (and there are many), then why is he such a hero to right-wing Cuban fanatics?

:: COINTELPRO Tool 3:33 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, April 12, 2002 ::
Contribute to this woman’s campaign, NOW! Denise Majette, a former judge challenging Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic primary this year, has weighed in on the Congresswoman’s outrageous remarks:
"For McKinney to believe privately what she says is disturbing," she said. "To trumpet it publicly without proof or substance is highly irresponsible and damaging to our country."

Also, from Emory University political scientist Merle Black:
"It reinforces the view among serious people in her district that she's a very ineffective representative if this is how she chooses to spend her political capital."

Let’s hope she’s insolvent by this fall.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:47 PM [+] ::
Conspiracy Watch The Nazimedia flakes are all elated because Rep. Cynthia McKinney has bought into their nonsense about official "prior knowledge" of the 9/11 attacks, and is calling for hearings on the matter. They seem to be under the mistaken impression that this says more about themthan it does about her.

If she gets her hearings, I wonder if she’ll call on Delmart Vreeland to testify.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 11:50 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, April 11, 2002 ::
Man, these people are fucked up! Damian Penny provides this link to a group he has termed "the Jewish equivalent of the Taliban." Actually, they are far worse:

You know, I’ve always though of the term "Jewish self-hatred" as being roughly equivalent to the "Uncle Tom" slur used against those who challenge a racial-identity orthodoxy. But in this case, it’s appropriate.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:08 PM [+] ::
I think I’m in love!
:: COINTELPRO Tool 6:27 PM [+] ::
Diplomatically, the current crisis in the Middle East has largely been portrayed as Israel vs. the World, including its most stalwart allies. At the same time, Israel itself appears to be experiencing great unanimity, which would explain why Ha’aretz would print something like this:
And just a week before we celebrate the 54th anniversary of our independence - in the state the Jews established with their blood as a result of that Holocaust - we are being accused of the worst, most brutal and monstrous of crimes. One of those who compared what is happening in Ramallah to what happened in Auschwitz is the darling of those Israelis - Abu Mazen - Arafat's moderate deputy. In the doctorate he wrote for the Institute of Eastern Studies in Moscow, he completely negated the use of the term Holocaust. The Jews, he maintained, invented the whole story to emotionally blackmail the world. That is what helped them establish a state at the expense of the Arabs. In his view, only 800,000 Jews were killed in "acts of war." Why then is it so important for the Arab propaganda to compare the IDF to the Nazi army? If there was no Auschwitz, then why is it important to say that Ramallah is another Auschwitz? And above all, if there was no Holocaust, why does the Palestinian Authority, and with it Israeli Arabs, make such heroic efforts to compare what happened in 1948 to the Holocaust of the Jewish people?

We are today ignoring this diabolic propaganda because of the same mental eclipse that has caused us to show restraint over the past 18 months as suicide terrorists slaughter Jewish men, women, the elderly - two-thirds of those murdered on Seder night in Netanya were over 65 – and children. The Holocaust did not happen in a vacuum. It was preceded by an intense propaganda campaign in which Jew-haters demonstrated in the streets, inflaming passions and carrying signs and ugly caricatures, exactly as they are doing these days in many places throughout the world. They wrote inflammatory articles and delivered rabble-rousing sermons in churches. The portrait they painted of the Jews was so fiendish that it became permissible, even desirable, to kill them in all sorts of unthinkable ways.

Oh, it gets better:
Therefore, when the prime minister of the State of Israel is compared to the most evil of men, and IDF soldiers to the Gestapo, it is no longer incitement in the normal sense; it is an act of extreme violence. On Tuesday, Holocaust Memorial Day, writer Aharon Appelfeld said he could see some Jews here still tainted with the victim syndrome: they internalize the accusations of the aggressor - that they, the victims of the incitement, are guilty of aggression, while the aggressor becomes the victim. It is not only the Holocaust that we must not forget - even after ten generations have passed - but also the lessons of the horrific propaganda campaign that paved the way for it. We cannot, in the state in which the survivors of that European demonization found asylum, permit them to continue to hear that very same incitement coming from Israeli citizens. We must not allow that same satanic, Nazi-style propaganda to be used against the Jewish people in the Jewish state, under the guise of freedom of speech.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 5:50 PM [+] ::
The Horror! Ha’aretz gives this firsthand account firsthand account of a Shin Bet detention.

After a 15 minute interrogation (15 minutes!), the subject is given a medical examination, during which he must endure a condescending lecture about his smoking habits. Later, after being given stalag-quality bedding (a centimeter-thick mattress and only two blankets), the sadistic headgames continue, as the prisoner is given a daily ration of only four cigarettes. Worse yet, he is fed matza. Released 10 days later, he lives to tell of the ordeal:
Among those listening to Abu Farid's story was A., an older man who spent years moving from Arab country to Arab country, a "graduate" of the Lebanon war on the Palestinian-civilian side. "There, every person had a job to do. The newspapers came out, the ambulances reached the wounded and evacuated them. They didn't lie in the streets like in Jenin and Nablus. There wasn't paralysis throughout the entire civil society, like here. But when Abu Farid finished telling his tale, A. suddenly said, "It's still not like being in jail in an Arab country."

No shit? (Link via Glenn Reynolds)

:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:04 PM [+] ::

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