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:: Wednesday, December 17, 2003 ::

Loookeeng Gooood!!!

:: COINTELPRO Tool 4:52 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, December 11, 2003 ::

Objectively Pro-Fascist

This piece, written by Mark Gery for Middle East Times, is an especially crystalline example of the axiom, "they're not anti-war, they're just on the other side..."
In the past few months the graves of thousands of civilians have been unearthed in war-torn Iraq. Not surprisingly, the White House wasted no time in declaring the dead to be prime examples of Saddam Hussein's brutality and a further justification for the US-led invasion.

But a check of the historical record on this matter reveals yet another calculated distortion by the US administration and its supporters.

OK, at this point, you're probably thinking, as I was, "here comes another 'we can't use Saddam's brutality as a justification for the war, because we used to support him, and completely abandoned the Kurds and Shia in 1991" screed.

Actually, it's worse than that. Much, much worse ...
At the end of the 1991 Gulf War legions of Shia radicals – the kind we've seen clamoring for an Islamic state - assaulted and killed anyone associated with Iraq's secular government. Urged to 'take matters into their own hands' by the first Bush administration and wrongly believing that Iraq's army had been destroyed, armed militants went from city to city in southern Iraq mercilessly butchering scores of innocents.

As put forth by regional analyst Sandra Mackay: "The rebels utilized their guns and numbers to seize the civilian operatives of the Baath government while former Shia conscripts turned on officers of the army. They hung their captives from rafters of an Islamic school, shot them in the head before walls turned into execution chambers, or simply slit their throats at the point of capture.' (The Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein, page 24)

Notice the conflation of "innocents" with "civilian opertives of the Baath party" and "officers of the army." This guy says pretty much the same about the Kurdish north ...
Accepting Washington's pronouncements about a vanquished Iraqi military, up to 400,000 Kurds undertook a ferocious spree of mayhem that rivaled that of the Shia. According to Mackay, in Kirkuk "no one bothered to count how many servants of Baghdad were shot, beheaded, or cut to shreds with the traditional dagger stuck in the cummerbund of every Kurdish man. By the time Kurdish rage had exhausted itself, piles of corpses lay in the streets awaiting removal by bulldozers." (The Reckoning, page 26)

This unrestrained carnage, documented by several additional sources, is what the White House (and the media) characterize as "rising up against Saddam".

This blatant lie reminds me of an exchange I witnessed at a February Brookings forum, between Johns Hopkins scholar Victor Tanner (co-author of "The Internally Displaced People of Iraq") and an audience member who served in the autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq:
QUESTION: My name is [Hosha Aspsuweli]. I work as a Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Humanitarian Aid and Cooperation in [Irbil]. In fact, I left the region, Irbil, on Sunday. So with due respect the members of the panel don't seem to know much about Iraq and what's happening in Iraq because I am coming from region.

I have a few questions to ask the panelists, but I have an obvious one which is for Mr. Vic Tanner. You mentioned that reprisals [inaudible] which might happen in Iraq like Kirkuk. How much do you know about 1991 uprising when the Kurds took control of Kirkuk and they stayed inside that city for over three weeks. How many people? How many Arabs? How many Turkmen were you killed as you call the reprisal?

So there are other questions I'd like to ask and see clarification from the panel but this is the most important question because it has been exaggerated by outside regional countries that there might be bloodshed between the Kurds, the Turkmen, and the Arabs. I think the 1991 uprising is a good example and we have to learn from it. Thank you.
MR. TANNER: This is to answer the gentleman from Irbil. You're quite right. I should have prefaced my comments by saying that I do not believe the people of Iraq are at each other's throats. I do not think there is anything inevitable about Kurds going after Turkmen or Turkmen going after Arabs or Shia going after Sunni and so on and so forth. What I do think, however, and that was the main gist of what I tried to present, is that there is so much pent up violence, pain and resentment as a result of this regime that situations [inaudible] are prone to manipulation by world leaders, by outsiders, certainly by the regime itself as it goes down, by regional actors who you alluded to, and we're all aware of what we mean by that. And that there is not, on the contrary, I believe that many of the leaders in Iraq today in the south and in the north are committed to working together. I don't believe that civil war is inevitable.

But I really want to stress, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that. I was in Northern Iraq in '91 and the aftermath of the Intafada in the north or the uprising in Kirkuk. It is true that the record of the Kurdish authorities in Kirkuk were quite exemplary. There was very little abuse, you're quite right to point that out. However, you must also point out that the majority of the Arab population fled in the south, and this has to be said. And it was probably a good thing that it happened, but it must be said.

Of course, the aftermath of OIF, which has brought a more permanent Kurdish presence to Kirkuk, is further proof of what a colossal liar Gery is.

But the worst is still to come. While Gery considers retributive violence against Iraqi army officers and Baathist fedayeen to be a tragedy, he does not have much sympathy for the majority populations in Iraq:
What government in the world would refrain from using all necessary means to quell a violent uprising of this kind? No one denies that the regime's response was swift and merciless, or that many innocents were caught up in the retaliation and destruction. But if blame is assigned, shouldn't it start with the instigators of the carnage along with the foreign government who misled them about the forces they were going up against and yet egged them on?

This is actually typical of the revisionist, pro-fascist drivel that gets a link to Justin "circus freak" Raimondo's Web site, but I was actually surprised that its author, Mark Gery, is actually an "analyst" with the Orange County Peace Coalition.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:12 AM [+] ::

'West Bank of the Tigris' My Ass

More here and here.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:08 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, December 06, 2003 ::

Twenty, Ten, Whatever

Tony Adragna gives Mary Matalin a much needed history lesson.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:15 PM [+] ::

"Staged" Photos

Paul Vitello whines about the artificial quality of the photos usually chosen as the most memorable for a given year:
I keep seeing staged photos.

For those who are sticklers for definition, I am defining "staged" as any photo arranged through the efforts of the person pictured, or arranged to reflect that person's world view.

Hmm. That would seem to include just about every photo ever taken, either by a professional or amateur. Vitello's short list, of course, includes only those photos that do not reflect his own world view: the president landing on Lincoln, the president visiting troops in Baghdad for Thanksgiving -- quite possibly the only instance of a "staged" photograph which necessitated keeping the main subjects in the dark until the actual "moment" -- and, of course, the toppling of Saddam's statue in the center of Baghdad. That one was staged, Vitello says, by virtue of being "facilitated by 140,000 American and British troops entering a country uninvited and bringing with them a few thousand members of the media."

Even more peculiar than Vitello's definition of what constitutes a "staged" photo are those he considers to be represetentative of "life unfolding in all its unpredictability and awesomeness." First, he falsely claims that "there are no enduring photos, for instance, of the costs of the war in Iraq." I guess Vitello missed the double-truck spread of Ali Ismail Abbas -- the boy who lost both arms and suffered severe burns from a U.S. air strike -- in Time magazine.

Vitello doesn't deny that there are any such photos, but apparently believes, like most people who have touted the "sanitized war" meme, that our media should have treated them as gratuitously and as polemically as al Jazeera did.

But here's the real punchline. Vitello adds a slightly different example of one of the Most Compelling Photos Not Taken this year:
When a woman was trampled by a crowd of shoppers running for DVDs on sale at Wal-Mart last week, there was no photographer on hand to snap the picture.

But the image of that woman, huddled on the floor as others walked over her "like a herd of elephants," according to her sister, is near the top of my list of the year's indelible, if unphotographed, images. (The woman survived.)

When I think of Wal-Mart, or holiday shopping, or DVDs - or this year's model of the American conscience - I see that picture, the unedited emblem of American consumerism in its most extreme form: the willingness to kill for bargains.

Yeah, I'll bet the woman involved wishes she had photographic evidence as well.

You're a moron, Vitello.

:: COINTELPRO Tool 10:37 AM [+] ::

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