Render Unto Caesar: The End of Law

Written by Chris Floyd 01 November 2005 6368 Hits

As oft noted here, Colin Powell is one of the consummate liars of the age. But last week, in an extraordinary development, his former chief of staff did something almost unheard of in official Washington, especially from an ex-high muckity-muck in the Bush Regime: he spoke the truth.

And what a truth. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson confirmed, openly, what Bush critics have been saying for years: that the regime of systematic torture that has been established in Bush's worldwide Terror War gulag was instigated and condoned by the White House. Here's a quote, from the FT:

"The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was 'a concrete example' of the decision-making problem, [Wilkerson said],with the president and other top officials in effect giving the green light to soldiers to abuse detainees. “You don't have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you've condoned it.'"

The colonel had more hot beans to spill about how the "cabal" of Cheney and Rumsfeld "hijacked" the government and ran circles around their clueless and incurious boss; you can find it all here. But of course, in so many ways, this is old news: torture, rendition, wanton, murderous lawlessness in the highest reaches of the Bush government. Below, in another excerpt from the "Empire Burlesque" book, you can see how all these things were operating very early on in the Terror War -- operating in broad daylight, where any member of the media/political Establishment could have seen it, and tried to stop it, or at the very least spoke out against it. But as we now know, our high and mighty ones, our good and great, our eminent worthies, turned a blind eye and kept a closed mouth as the atrocities mounted.

And while we applaud Colonel Wilkerson's candor now, we also must ask: Where was he then? And why did he keep silent as his own boss helped facilitate the ultimate international crime of aggressive war?

Render Unto Caesar: The End of Law
March 15, 2002

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Freedom's Just Another Word for Blowing up Buddhas and Killing People

Written by Chris Floyd 19 October 2005 13868 Hits

The peculiar understanding of "liberation" that George W. Bush imposes upon the countries he conquers was on vivid display in Afghanistan this week. AP reports that the Taliban wild man in charge of blowing up two giant, 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha in 2001 -- an unconscionable crime against culture, against history, indeed, against humanity -- has been duly elected to parliament, where he will add his wise voice to the guidance of policy in the regime of warlords, druglords and virulent extremists installed by Bush.

No doubt the Rt. Hon. Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi, MP -- former governor of Bamiyan province -- will work comfortably with President Hamid Karzai, whose "religious adviser," Mohaiuddin Baluch, has been busy jailing magazine editors who dare speak up for women's rights, religious freedom and protection from barbaric punishment. Baluch has also been keeping an eye -- a very close, focused, intense, riveted eye -- on Afghan hussies who are appearing "half-naked" in beauty pageants around the world. Their actions are "illegal under Islamic law," says Baluch, who will doubtless have the expatriate harlots jailed should they ever return to their homeland.

The Buddha-busting MP will also approve of Karzai's use of secret executions to silence whistleblowers who threaten to spill the blood-dripping beans about his partners in Bushpower. The International Herald Tribune reported this disturbing story last year -- a scandal involving mass murder, wanton terror and gruesome atrocities. Naturally, this dull subject matter was completely ignored by the American media, which at that time was fixated on the all-important question of John Kerry's 35-year-old war wounds. But as Patricia Gossman reported, Karzai's premptory execution of Abdullah Shah put the kibosh on attempts to unearth the truth of Afghanistan's anguished past -- and the key role played by Bush-backed warlords in causing that anguish.

Excerpts: Shah was widely known to be a commander under Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, the leader of a militia that human rights groups say was involved in mass rape and the disappearance of hundreds of people.
When I interviewed Shah in jail in February, he did not deny his part in war crimes, but said Sayyaf gave the orders. He did not ask for release or claim that he was innocent - only that he be transferred to the custody of another ministry where he might have some protection from what he said were plans to silence him....

Since the defeat of the Taliban, Sayyaf has had extraordinary power over Karzai. Shortly after the interim government was established in December 2001, Sayyaf leaned on Karzai to appoint as Supreme Court chief justice Mawlavi Fazl Hadi Shinwari, an extremely conservative former head of a religious school in Pakistan. Shinwari has since appointed like-minded mullahs as judges across Afghanistan, with the power to ban any law they deem contrary to the "beliefs and provisions" of Islam.
In a revealing move, Shinwari said that Shah should be executed, even before the trial was over. And the trial, Amnesty International said, fell short of international standards: Shah had no defense counsel and witnesses were not subject to cross-examination. The execution, Amnesty said, "may have been an attempt by powerful political players to eliminate a key witness to human rights abuses." [End excerpt]

Ignorance, repression, brutality, corruption, extremism, violence and death: this is what Bush means by "freedom," in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in that other sad and broken land he conquered: the United States of America.

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Big Time Crooks

Written by Chris Floyd 18 October 2005 5518 Hits

The New York Daily News reports that a "senior" White House figure has flipped on the Bush gang, and is now cooperating with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. The speculation -- and of course that's all it is (but who cares, let's enjoy the moment anyway) -- is that Bigtime Dick Cheney himself is the main target of the "secret snitch" as Fitzgerald edges "closer to a blockbuster conspiracy charge." (via Carolyn Kay)

Now, if there is any fire whatsoever to this most savory smoke, any bets on which "senior" White House figure has decided to throw Cheney and his crew to the wolves? Could it possibly be a certain jowl-quivering, trotter-trotting porcine presidential puppetmaster who has now appeared before the grand jury four times? For make no mistake: if push comes to shove (or is that Bush comes to shove?), Big Dick will go out the window before Bush lets go of his beloved Karl "Curlytail" Rove.

Oh what a savagely splendid spectacle, to watch these gangsters devour each other! Eat hearty, boys, eat hearty!

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Planet Waves

Written by Chris Floyd 14 October 2005 7143 Hits
This article was originally published in the Oct. 14 edition of The Moscow Times. You can find annotations and links here.

Humankind received yet another harsh message from its landlord last week. In the agony of Kashmir, in the laments of Guatemala, the planet once again laid down the hard truths of its brutal gospel: The earth doesn't love you. The earth doesn't need you. The earth doesn't know you are here.

All across the Hindu Kush, spreading through Central and South Asia, an underground tsunami of stone sent tens of thousands down to Sheol - old and young, male and female, good and evil alike. On that same day, on the other side of the world, hundreds more were drowned in mud and rock when the backwash of a hurricane tumbled down on the Mayan Indians of Panabaj.

As on the day when the ocean surges and river floods destroyed America's Gulf Coast, the blind, implacable processes of nature made short work of humanity's pretensions to significance. All of the petty, pointless human divisions into religions, tribes, races and political factions, all the prideful ambitions for power and wealth, all the private hopes for love and fulfilment, all the prayers of the faithful and the scorn of the defiant - everything of human worth and meaning - all were obliterated without mercy by the swift, iron hand.

"The situation is very, very bad," an official in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province told The New York Times after Saturday's quake. "There are bodies lying everywhere. Those who have survived are lying in the open without food, shelter or medicine. The situation has been made worse by the rain and hailstorm that followed the earthquake. There is no way we can reach out to them."

"Entire families have disappeared," a local aid worker in Santiago Atitlan told Reuters after Saturday's storm-triggered mudslide buried Panabaj in 40 feet of mud. "In some cases, there is no one that can identify the cadavers. And in other cases, it is because of the state of decomposition that we are going to have to bury them without names."

Bury them without names. The earth doesn't know your name. The earth doesn't care. The earth doesn't dote on your children. The earth doesn't tend your sick and your old. The earth neither accepts nor rejects you. You are simply one of the literally innumerable organisms battening on its flanks. For billions of years, there were none of your kind here; billions of years from now, your kind will be long gone - buried without a name - and even the planet itself will be consumed in the great slow fiery death of the sun. And the earth doesn't care about that either.

So where is the human factor in this vast indifferent planetary engine? Obviously, our accelerating rapine of the earth is destabilizing global weather patterns, exacerbating killer storms, bringing droughts here and floods there, quietly targeting untold millions of people living on the coastlines of rising oceans. But this, too, doesn't trouble the earth; its mechanics grind on irregardless of the particular mixture of heat and gases fed into the system. If the oceans boil, they boil; if nations starve, they starve; if the human community tears itself to pieces in a vicious war of all-against-all for dwindling resources - as even the Pentagon now predicts for the coming century, The Observer reports - why then, so be it. The aftermath rain will still lash the survivors lying in the open without food, shelter or medicine; it won't ask who supported the Kyoto Treaty or who voted for President George W. Bush.

Although we've already passed the tipping point on global warming, we could still mitigate some of the effects, we could lessen the blow - but we won't. Too many of those meaningless divisions bind us: too much greed, too much self-righteousness, too much ignorance and fear. And of course there is no mitigation for the tectonic plates shifting beneath the skin of the earth; they'll continue to push on relentlessly, creating new deadly fissures, ripping open ocean floors, bringing down mountains and raising mountains up. Against this no human action can prevail.

Where the human factor shows most starkly is in the extent of unnecessary suffering in these unavoidable catastrophes. In Pakistan and Guatemala - as in New Orleans - the poor died in overwhelmingly greater proportions than the rich, who build their homes on higher, firmer ground. The rickety apartment blocks that collapsed in Islamabad caught no mine-owners or telecommunications entrepreneurs in their ruins. The poor drowned by the hundreds in low-rent Gulf Coast districts shorn of protection by ruthless commercial development, insufficient funding of levees and reclamation projects, and bipartisan, corruption-bloated political posturing, as The Washington Post shows in a devastating report.

And as in all disasters, those with political pull will benefit most from "reconstruction" aid. In Sri Lanka, poor villagers are being banned from re-settling on tsunami-hit beachfronts for "safety reasons" - yet their land is being given to developers for five-star hotels, the Guardian reports. In New Orleans, the feasting on the dead by Bush cronies has grown so brazen that Washington has now been forced to re-bid some of the early pork payoffs, The New York Times reports. This is largely a show to allay public outrage, of course; billions more will remain safely stuffed in Bushist coffers.

At every turn, human greed compounds our suffering. The urge to eat each other alive for power and profit, to consign whole sections of the common human family to degradation and exposure is a cruel mimicry of the planetary indifference that shadows us all. Of course, the earth isn't human, it has no capacity for conscience and compassion - but what's our excuse for cruelty?

Chris Floyd

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The Big Fix

Written by Chris Floyd 12 October 2005 6302 Hits

Jonathan Schwarz continues his ruthless exposure of the lies of Colin Powell in yet another outstanding post at A Tiny Revolution. Step by step, with relentless detail, he shows how almost every assertion of "fact" Powell made during his pre-attack UN presentation (which "clinched the deal for war," as the mooing herd of punditry all agreed afterward) was unsupported by intelligence data -- and that Powell knew this when he spoke. Jon has chapter and verse, link and source -- it's devastating. Powell was the "human face" of a monstrous conspiracy to lead the United States into an unnecessary war, an act of aggression, a war crime of Nuremberg proportions. And tens of thousands of innocent people lie dead because of it. How many thousands more will die in the global chaos and instability that this act of criminal insanity has unleashed?

These murdering liars: it just chokes you with fury, what they've done -- and what they will get away with. For be assured: even if Patrick Fitzgerald makes all our dreams come true, handing down indictments for Karl Rove, "Scooter" Libby and even the great sulphurous belch of corruption that is Dick Cheney, Bush will simply pardon them all -- just like Papa did in his last days in office, with a bagful of pardons that quashed the investigation into the Iran-Contra scam (which was, in many respects, a very similar act of warmongering treason).

What's more, even if -- in the wildest dream on the edge of possibility -- Bush himself gets caught in the cross-hairs, there's always the old Nixon-Ford ploy. You take a pliable outsider and say: "I'll make you Vice President if you promise to pardon me when I'm gone and you take over." Cheney -- an old Nixon White House hand who became Ford's chief of staff and was a top insider in all the Bush I machinations -- knows how to play this game. Sure, if worst comes to worst, you may have to step down from office -- but nobody does time, and more importantly, nobody loses any money.

No, these guys will sleep on feather-beds for the rest of their lives, feted -- and fattened with cash -- in the gilded bubble of the right-wing elite. The fix is in -- and as always, it is the innocent, the weak and the most vulnerable in the world who will pay the cost for the crimes of these bloated, bloodsoaked liars.

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Even Better Than the Real Thing

Written by Chris Floyd 11 October 2005 3427 Hits

Officials Find No Evidence of Subway Bombing Plot
Excerpt from the Chicago Tribune: A reported plot to bomb [New York] subways with remote-controlled explosives has not been corroborated after days of investigation, law enforcement officials said Sunday amid an easing sense of concern.
Interrogations of suspects captured in Iraq last week after a tip about bomb-laden suitcases and baby carriages have yet to yield evidence that the plot was real, officials said.

"The intelligence community has been able to determine that there are very serious doubts about the credibility of this specific threat," Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke said. [end]

How many times will they pull this stunt – directing massive resources to bogus threats issued for transparently political reasons – before the real thing happens while first-responders and security services are off on a wild goose chase?

That's a rhetorical question, of course, but a cynic – i.e., any sentient being who has observed the Bush gang in action during the past five years – might be tempted to answer: They'll keep pulling it as many times as they have to – until Bush's approval ratings hit, oh, 15 or 20 percent. Then the real thing will happen.

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Bush Regime Thinks Holocaust Deniers Are "Scholars"

Written by Chris Floyd 11 October 2005 5486 Hits

Well, they would, wouldn't they? From Mark Crispin Miller via The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. Excerpt: A new U.S. government report refers to Holocaust-deniers as "scholars and researchers"..."Holocaust-deniers are not scholars or researchers -- they are bigots who try to hide their anti-semitism behind the mask of fake scholarship," said Wyman Institute Director Dr. Rafael Medoff. "For a U.S. government report to call them 'scholars' gives them the legitimacy they desperately crave but do not deserve."

But why all the hub-bub? It's just like "intelligent design," right? You know, the rejection of evolution that's rejected by 99.5 percent of actual scientists. The cranky ID minority funded by billionaire Christian "Dominionists" are also treated as legitimate scholars by the Bushists. Heck, why not just teach Holocaust denial in the public schools? You know, "teach the controversy," as the Bushists say about ID.

This is what you get when you denigrate science and reason in the name of political expediency. The Bushists want -- need -- to spread moral chaos throughout society, in order to mask their own crimes and push their radical agenda upon a demoralized, confused, divided and atomized public. This is a sinister ideology, and it will bear evil fruit.

For more historical context on the Bush Family's moral nullity -- and its curious, well-documented business links to Nazi Germany - see these past articles:

Prophet Margin: Prescott Bush Foresees the Future
Revise and Conquer: Bush Family History Makes Strange Bedfellows
Death Wish: The Presidential Prerogative of Murder

Plus these primary sources:
Heir to the Holocaust: Prescott Bush, $1.5 Million and Auschwitz (Clamor Magazine, May/June 2002)

Bush-Nazi Dealings Continued Until 1951: Federal Documents (New Hampshire Gazette, Nov. 7, 2003)

And for the Bush Faction's dangerous bent toward extremist religious rule, take a gander here:
Pin Heads: The Bushist Push for Theocracy

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I, Bagman: The Story of Colin Powell

Written by Chris Floyd 10 October 2005 13242 Hits

Jonathan Schwarz is back and loaded for bear over at Tiny Revolution, with a takedown of the tissue of lies that Colin Powell disgorged in an interview with ABC News last month. Powell's reputation as "one of the good guys" in the Bush Administration has been one of the most enduring mysteries of our sad, demented times. He was not only one of the chief enablers of Bush's war crime in Iraq, but his entire career has marked him out as a bagman for a bloody elite, ever willing to turn a blind eye -- or pitch in directly -- when there is dirty work to be done, from the My Lai massacre to Iran-Contra to the murderous excursion in Panama to the warm embrace of Saddam Hussein to his final apotheosis as Imperial Handmaiden in his sick-making appearance at the UN in February 2003, when he "made the case" for war.

Now, of course, Powell goes around with furrowed brow, dramatically declaiming how he was "betrayed" by unnamed intelligence agents into prostituting his (entirely vaporous) credibility at the UN. But as Jon shows, Powell knew full well that he was lying to the world during his UN fan-dance, claiming that his baseless assertions about Iraq's non-existent WMD were iron-clad gospel truth -- when, as we now know, those very same "unreliable" intelligence agencies had told Powell, in writing, that his charges lacked a solid foundation.

Jon has the goods, and promises that this is just part of a ongoing project "that will examine Powell's mendacity in all its glorious detail." For some historical context, you might examine this column that I wrote -- in May 2002 -- drawing on the excellent historical research of Robert Parry: General Principles: Colin Powell, Bagman.

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Written by Chris Floyd 09 October 2005 5208 Hits
The new CD, Wheel of Heaven, a musical collaboration between "Tennessee songwriter Chris Floyd and global musician Nick Kulukundis" (as the promo says), is now on sale from CafePress. You can find it here or via the Merchandise section of the blog, on the left. Various cuts from the album have been featured for months in the "Audio Burlesque" section on the right. Anyway, it's out now, so y'all come and get it if you want it. Below is an excerpt from the excerpt of the liner notes featured at the CafePress site. Add a comment