Tuesday, October 11, 2011

There are fewer sham stories with Obama in charge than with Bush, but they're no less irritating, and it is, of course, the same unelected corporate media monopolizing the public airways to incite wars we can't afford with sham stories.

1. Los Zetas make billions in profits a year. The idea that someone would consider hiring them to work as hit men against an ambassador in Washington, potentially alienating and inciting the US government against them, for $1.5 million is not credible;

2. Everyone with a cursory knowledge of covert affairs knows that Los Zetas, like every major drug trafficking organization, is infiltrated. The idea you would hire such an organization for such is hit is not credible;

3. It is a published, verified, and mutually agreed upon fact that Los Zetas was founded by graduates of the School of the Americas. What caused these graduates to go into this livelihood is a matter of speculation, but the idea that a bunch of Iranians would hire Los Zetas to attack the US knowing this, which everyone knows, is not credible;

4. There is no evidence whatsoever linking this plot to the Iranian government. The corporate media says that Attorney General Holder "stopped short" of linking the plot to Iran, which means he didn't say it;

5. The idea that Iran would choose the US as a place to kill a Saudi ambassador, considering the viability of such an attack in the US and the potential ramifications of such an attack in the US, makes no sense whatsoever to Iran;

6. The consensus among regional scholars that this is completely uncharacteristic of how Iran conducts itself diplomatically, while war hawks like Elliott Abrams, whose judicial censure for giving misleading testimony to Congress on three separate occasions makes him a perfect columnist for the New York Times, are jumping on the opportunity to call for increased sanctions on Iran;

7. With regard to Iran, folks like Ray McGovern have recently raised concerns about an attack against them in the works. My take on this is that if any potential attacker knew what to attack, that is, had solid knowledge of a nuclear weapons facility in Iran, it would be all over the media, since the reticence of international institutions to condemn Iran further has been hindered by a lack of a shred of evidence. We are seeing psychological warfare but there is no self-interest on anyone's part to attack a facility that most certainly doesn't exist (Update 10/14: McGovern on the "plot");

8. I hope that seven is true, but the fact that Hillary Rodham Clinton would say we could "obliterate" a country of 70 million people, more than those obliterated by Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot combined, and be confirmed as Secretary of State is something historians will find revealing about the times and culture we live in;

9. This has the stamp of the Axis of Evil tactic: fabrication of a coalition of expedient enemies. It has been proven that the Mexican government, with the assistance of the US, has sided with the Sinaloa Cartel against Los Zetas. Presidential candidates are talking openly about the US military getting involved in the Mexican drug war in the same breath of talking about the Iranian threat.

Update 10/14: This sham story is predictably falling apart like a cheap suit, with a chorus of regional specialists having to bring up how sloppy the yarn is.. Iran expert Gary Sick says "I find this very hard to believe. In fact, this plot, if true, departs from all known Iranian policies and procedures.." "Iran has never conducted — or apparently even attempted — an assassination or a bombing inside the US. And it is difficult to believe that they would rely on a non-Islamic criminal gang to carry out this most sensitive of all possible missions. In this instance, they allegedly relied on at least one amateur and a Mexican criminal drug gang that is known to be riddled with both Mexican and US intelligence agents. Whatever else may be Iran’s failings, they are not noted for utter disregard of the most basic intelligence tradecraft." Patrick Cockburn: "The claim ... goes against all that is known of Iran’s highly sophisticated intelligence service." Glenn Greenwald put it succinctly: "The most difficult challenge in writing about the Iranian Terror Plot unveiled yesterday is to take it seriously enough to analyze it." But Hillary and co. is still banging on the war drums and the cartel in Sinaloa is celebrating a major Los Zetas kingpin getting nabbed.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Conversation from '68 on leaderless movements and specifying demands:

Daniel Cohn-Bendit: We must abandon the theory of the "leading vanguard" and replace it by a much simpler and more honest one of the active minority functioning as a permanent leaven, pushing for action without ever leading it... In certain objective situations - with the help of an active minority - spontaneity can find its place in the social movement. Spontaneity makes possible the forward drive, not the orders of a leading group.

Jean-Paul Sartre: What many people cannot understand is the fact that you have not tried to work out a program or to give your movement a structure. They attack you for trying to "smash everything" without knowing - or at any rate saying - what you would like to put in place of what you demolish.

DCB: Naturally! Everyone would be reassured, particularly Pompidou, if we set up a Party and announced: "All these people here are ours now. Here are our aims and this is how we are going to attain them." They would know who they are dealing with and how to counter them. They would no longer have to face "anarchy," "uncontrollable effervescence." Our movement's strength is that it is based on an "uncontrollable" spontaneity, that it gives an impetus without trying to canalize it or use the action it has unleashed to its own profit. There are clearly two solutions open to us today. The first would be to bring together half-a-dozen people with political experience, ask them to formulate some convincing immediate demands, and say, "Here is the student movement's position, do what you like with it!" That is the bad solution. The second is to try to give an understanding of the situation not to the totality of the students nor even to the totality of the demonstrators, but to a large number of them. To do so we must avoid building an organization immediately, or defining a program; that would inevitably paralyze us. The movement's only chance is the disorder that lets men speak freely, and which can result in a form of self-organization. For example, we should now give up mass-spectacular meetings and turn to the formation of work and action groups.

Foucault in 1972: "(In May '68) the intellectual discovered that the masses no longer need to gain knowledge: they know perfectly well, without illusion; they know far better than he and they are capable of expressing themselves. But there exists a system of power which blocks, prohibits, and invalidates this discourse and this knowledge, a power not only found in the manifest authority of censorship, but one which profoundly and subtly penetrates an entire societal network. Intellectuals are themselves agents of this system of power - the idea of their responsibility for 'consciousness' and discourse forms part of the system."

Current account of active minority:

"... things started in very late july or early august. Adbusters made a call. Some activists spotted it online and decided to go with it. The website (occupywallst.org) was built by anarchist friends in a "let's make this real" drive as we were more or less expecting something to happen. Activists in NYC decided to do something as well, many of them linked to Bloombergville, but also assorted syndicalists, progressives, and communists (the WWP was active at least in the early days, I'm not sure whether they still are), and anarchists... David Graeber came although he seemed initially mostly to observe things, and informed that he'd just been told the week before that Adbusters wanted him to represent them."