The Man Who Knew

CBS News

An excerpt:

In the run-up to the war in Iraq, one moment seemed to be a turning point: the day Secretary of State Colin Powell went to the United Nations to make the case for the invasion.

Millions of people watched as he laid out the evidence and reached a damning conclusion — that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Correspondent Scott Pelley has an interview with Greg Thielmann, a former expert on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Thielmann, a foreign-service officer for 25 years, now says that key evidence in the speech was misrepresented and the public was deceived.

Please click on: The Man Who Knew

The London Bombs, July 2005

By Wayne Northey

July 9, 2005
21780 18th Ave.
Langley BC
V2Z 1P8

Dear Editor:

The ringing condemnation by Western leaders of acts of terror is obviously fully deserved. As far as it goes…

On July 7, 2005 Prime Minister Tony Blair called the London bombings “barbaric attacks.” On September 1, 1939, President Roosevelt wrote to the major powers that aerial bombing of civilians had “profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity” and called it “inhuman barbarism.” He later referred to the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour as a “date, which will live in infamy.” President Bush designated the September 11, 2001 attackers “evildoers.All very true. But…

James Berardinelli in a review of Errol Morris’ documentary The Fog of War wrote: “[Former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara] served in World War II under the unrelenting command of General Curtis LeMay, the commander of the 20th Air Force. In 1945, LeMay was in charge of a massive firebombing offensive in Japan that resulted in the deaths of nearly 1 million Japanese citizens, including 100,000 in Tokyo during a single night. LeMay’s B-29 bombers raked 67 Japanese cities, sometimes killing more than 50% of the population. McNamara points out that, had the United States lost the war, he and LeMay would have been tried as war criminals.”

General Curtis LeMay, au contraire the most decorated military officer of the United States of America, boasted of the Tokyo raid: “[W]e scorched and boiled and baked to death more people in Tokyo on that night of March 9-10 [1945] than went up in vapor at Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.” (For the record, he was mistaken.)

The Chief of Staff for Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, William Leahy, memoired of the atomic bombs that killed at least 120,000 civilians instantly in Hiroshima and Nagasaki: “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan… My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. (italics in original)”

Prime Minister Churchill nonetheless described the thousands of carpet and fire bombing campaigns against over 100 German and Japanese cities, including the two atomic detonations, as “moral bombing”…

Columnist Bob Herbert (New York Times, November 1, 2004) draws on reliable sources to inform us there were by last year already 100,000 civilian deaths due to the American invasion of Iraq. President Bush recently said however, “It is worth it,” echoing former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s judgment, some of whose family lived through the Nazi Holocaust, that one million civilian deaths from sanctions against Iraq were “worth it.”

Historian Tami Biddle wrote that when aerial warfare was still only imagined in the 19th century, it meant “English-speaking peoples raining incendiary bombs over the enemy to impose the customs of civilization.” Rudyard Kipling applauded the ruthless conquering of the Philippines after the Spanish-American War with: “Take up the White Man’s burden–/The savage wars of peace –.”

Shakespeare expressed in Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” He might have been describing a gaggle of 20th- and 21st-century Western leaders, most recently Prime Minister Blair and President Bush. In that same play, Shakespeare wrote: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” In place of Denmark might have been inserted: “Western civilization.”

Pete Seeger sang, “When will they ever learn?” Chris Hedges wrote in War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning: “We forget what war is about, what it does to those who wage it and those who suffer from it. Those who hate war the most, I have often found, are veterans who know it.” The little child in The Emperor’s New Clothes blurted out the obvious: “But the Emperor has nothing on at all!!!” Catholic anthropologist Gil Bailie claimed of war, including by “the good guys,” the West: “If we humans become too morally troubled by the brutality to revel in the glories of the civilization made possible by it, we will simply have to reinvent culture. This is what Nietzsche saw through a glass darkly. This is what Paul sensed when he declared the old order to be a dying one (I Cor. 7:31). This is the central anthropological issue of our age.”

Michael Scheuer, the “Anonymous” CIA author of Imperial Hubris, in an interview said of mass slaughter of civilians: “That’s the way war is. I’ve never really understood the idea that any American government, any American elected official is responsible for protecting civilians who are not Americans.”

In the West, no less than anywhere else in the world, the “clash of civilizations” (Samuel Huntington) seems still in truth to be the “clash of barbarisms” (Gilbert Achcar). The ancient Babylonian creation myth established the ubiquitous maxim: Might is right. Jared Diamond in The Third Chimpanzee, wrote – and substantiated his conclusion with long lists of evidence – that the only consistent signature of our species is genocide.

Mahatma Gandhi once was asked, “What do you think of Western civilization?” He responded, “I think it would be a good idea.


Wayne Northey

The 14 Characteristics of Fascism

Sobering. Canada anyone?

An excerpt:

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article about fascism (“Fascism Anyone?,” Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine’s policy.

The 14 characteristics are:…

Please click on:
The 14 Characteristics of Fascism

Thank A Trained Killer Week, December 19 – 25, 2005

By Wayne Northey

An excerpt:

The week before Christmas south of the border has been designated “Thank a Soldier Week”. It may be dubbed as accurately “Thank a Trained Killer Week”.1 [American soldiers are not “evil”. All kinds of social, economic, and political pressures, not least ethically dubious recruitment methods, propel thousands to sign up. They become killers not because they started that way, but because they are so shaped by the military. See below.] Retired Lt. Col. David Grossman indicates that no institution in America pays more attention to brutalization and desensitization of its recruits than the modern U.S. military: “This brutalization is designed to break down your existing mores and norms and to accept a new set of values that embrace destruction, violence, and death as a way of life. In the end, you are desensitized to violence and accept it as a normal and essential survival skill in your brutal new world (Grossman, no date)”2 [See also his website on “killology”, here].

Please click on: Thank A Trained Killer Week, Dec 19 – 25, 2005


We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us

talk by Jim Forest

An excerpt:

In the dawn of time, back in the fifties, my favorite comic strip concerned an assortment of animals living in Florida’s Okefenokee Swamp. The artist, a whimsical man named Walt Kelly, referred to them as “nature’s schreechers.”

You may wonder why Jim Forest, who is supposed to be talking about “Following Christ in a Violent World,” is instead talking about a comic strip on the 1950s? The answer is that, while I was thinking about what I might say here in Canton, I found myself haunted by a single sentence that Pogo said many a time during the years this strip was being drawn: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

This is a key verse from the Gospel According to Pogo.

We have met the enemy and he is us, as I was to learn later in life, sums up a lot of the writings of the Church Fathers, the principal theologians of Christianity’s first millennium.

Please click on: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us

Mr. Harper, But Emperor Bush Has Nothing on At All!!!

By Wayne Northey

Stephen Harper is a scary man. He is at best sycophant, at worst dupe, of the confidence racket called American Foreign Policy.

There is a growing collection of articles on my computer about American Empire and “Emperor” George W. Bush. The assortment exceeds to the point of crescendo journalist Serge Schmemann’s agonizing in a recent New York Times article, in review of a mounting spate of publications on America: “Though I have lived abroad for many years and regard myself as hardened to anti-Americanism, I confess I was taken aback to have my country depicted, page after page, book after book, as a dangerous empire in its last throes, as a failure of democracy, as militaristic, violent, hegemonic, evil, callous, arrogant, imperial and cruel.”

He writes further, “[T]he new American order has generated a tsunami of anti-Americanism, with the United States perceived in some quarters as a greater threat to world peace than Al Qaeda.” He quotes at the end billionaire and international democracy crusader George Soros, a Jew from Hungary who lived through both German and Soviet occupation: “This is not the America I chose as my home.”

Article titles from mostly leading newspapers are revealing: “A Fiction Shattered by America’s Aggression”; “A President Beyond the Law”; “Administration Lawyers Ascribed Broad Power to Bush on Torture”; “Broad International Coalition Condemns U.S. Torture”; “Bush the Would-Be Torturer”; “Dismay at Attempt to Find Legal Justification for Torture”; “General Karpinski: Iraq Abuse ‘Ordered From the Top’”; “Guantanamo Abuse Same as Abu Ghraib, say Britons”; “Guantánamo: Pentagon Approved Intense Interrogation Techniques”; “Halliburton: a hand in every pocket”; “How Chlabi and Bush conned the New York Times”; “Insanity in America”; “Interrogation Abuses Were ‘Approved at Highest Levels’”; “Iraq Tactics Have Long History With U.S. Interrogators”; “Justice Dept. Memo Says Torture ‘May Be Justified’”; “Pentagon Report Set Framework For Use of Torture”; “Retired Officials Say Bush Must Go”; “Rumsfeld Backed Saddam Even After Chemical Attacks”; “Secret World of U.S. Interrogation”; “Secret World of US Jails”; “Sexual Humiliation is the Norm in Military Prisons”; “The Lies for War Unravel”; “The Lying Game”; “The Plain Truth [About WMD’s and Hussein/Al Qaeda connection in Iraq”]; “The Torturer-in-Chief”; “Torture and Casuistry”; “Torture at Abu Ghraib Followed CIA’s Manual”; “Torturing Mr. Bush”; “U.S. Develops Lethal New Viruses”; “US Justice Department authorizes torture”; “US seeks to block enforcement of anti-torture treaty”; “Yes, Bush lied”.

According to The Langley Advance, February, 2004: “Harper [still] clearly accepted a connection between Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, and added that the current war is ‘necessary to the interests of the world and our key allies.’ He garnered thunderous applause when he pronounced that Canada ‘should be there [in Iraq], shoulder to shoulder, with our allies.’ ‘This is a defining issue in our country,’ Harper said.”

Mr. Harper and Mr. Stockwell Day in a Wall Street Journal article last year jointly apologized to America for Canada’s non-support of the Iraqi War. Repeatedly, Mr. Harper and his party have declared for American foreign policy. They would double our military spending to move towards lock-step with Mr. Bush. They embrace the proposed American Ballistic Defense System, patently unworkable according to significant scientific opinion, ultimately destined to weaponize space, notwithstanding disingenuous reassurances to the contrary.

In Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes, fibbers and fawning freeloaders foist a fantastic fiction upon a fabled kingdom, until a little child “discovers” the Emperor’s preening nakedness. “But the Emperor has nothing on at all!!!” blurts out the child who reveals what was in fact plain for all to see.

American Empire currently does what empires throughout history invariably have done: take what they want and the vanquished be damned!, lauded “empire lite” (pace Michael Ignatieff) notwithstanding, which proves to be de facto “torture lite” à la Bush-doctrine, and wantonly worse. It is no surprise that increased calls are emerging for impeachment of President Bush, and for his indictment as a war criminal. Yet this is Bush’s America Mr. Harper and the Conservatives would embrace with open arms! When Mr. Harper and his Conservatives deny “something is rotten in the state of America”, overwhelming evidence and significant world opinion to the contrary, what might they believe – and do! – if ever in power, on behalf of and to us Canadians, that is dangerously false, singularly self-serving, irreversibly destructive? Mr. Harper is right: “This is a defining issue in our country” – perhaps the defining issue.

Canadians on June 28 have a choice to make: either vote for parties that attempt to keep at least some distance from the juggernaut of global pax Americana expansionism, or a Conservative régime that sees no American evil. This is a party whose leader and mandarins blithely go on with the charade of American munificence, “holding their heads higher than ever and taking greater trouble to pretend to hold up as exemplary American global benevolence – which isn’t there at all!”, to slightly paraphrase Andersen’s fairy-story ending.

If Canadians on Election Day choose to become accessories to the Conservative embrace of America, we deserve the inevitable: imperiously increased doses of cultural, foreign policy, and economic Americanization. Ominously, we also choose with Britain to experience blowback from the growing worldwide abhorrence of America’s imposed pax Americana, a “peace”, as with all empires before, that is predominantly one of the graveyard.

Mr. Harper, fellow Canadians, can’t you see?! – Emperor Bush has nothing on at all!!!

Sifting Dresden’s ashes

Sixty years after the Allies’ bombing of Dresden enveloped the city in flames, controversy persists over whether the attack was militarily justified or morally indefensible. But another question, no less crucial, is seldom asked: Did wartime conditions allow military leaders to look away as they violated their own principles?

The Wilson Quarterly Spring, 2005

Please click on: Sifting Dresden’s Ashes

Secret World of US Jails

By Jason Burke
The Observer U.K.

An excerpt:

The United States government, in conjunction with key allies, is running an “invisible” network of prisons and detention centres into which thousands of suspects have disappeared without trace since the “war on terror” began.

In the past three years, thousands of alleged militants have been transferred around the world by American, Arab and Far Eastern security services, often in secret operations that by-pass extradition laws. The astonishing traffic has seen many, including British citizens, sent from the West to countries where they can be tortured to extract information. Anything learnt is passed on to the US and, in some cases, reaches British intelligence.

The disclosure of the shadowy system will increase pressure on the Bush administration over its “cavalier” approach to human rights and will embarrass Tony Blair, a staunch ally of President George Bush.

Please clock on: Secret World of US Jails

Secret World of U.S. Interrogation

By Dana Priest and Joe Stephens
Washington Post

An excerpt:

In Afghanistan, the CIA’s secret U.S. interrogation center in Kabul is known as “The Pit,” named for its despairing conditions. In Iraq, the most important prisoners are kept in a huge hangar near the runway at Baghdad International Airport, say U.S. government officials, counterterrorism experts and others. In Qatar, U.S. forces have been ferrying some Iraqi prisoners to a remote jail on the gigantic U.S. air base in the desert.

The Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where a unit of U.S. soldiers abused prisoners, is just the largest and suddenly most notorious in a worldwide constellation of detention centers — many of them secret and all off-limits to public scrutiny — that the U.S. military and CIA have operated in the name of counterterrorism or counterinsurgency operations since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Please click on: Secret World of US Interrogation


This is illustrative of all war.

An excerpt:

Above all, it is the premeditated attack on life, the human casualties, that make “the scourge of war” so horrible and dehumanizing.

The first Gulf War in January-February, 1991, is a classic example of the human destructiveness of war as an end in itself. The Pentagon states it conducted 110,000 aerial sorties against Iraq in 42 days, one every 30 seconds, unleashing 88,500 tonnes of bombs. Iraq was essentially defenceless.

On March 1, 1991, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf said, “We must have killed 100,000,” according to the Los Angeles Times. On March 20, the Wall Street Journal reported that Schwarzkopf provided Congress the figure 100,000 Iraqi military killed. On May 22, the Defense Intelligence Agency placed the number of Iraq soldiers killed at 100,000.

On March 3, the London Times reported allied intelligence estimated 200,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed. A French military intelligence source gave the same 200,000 figure to the Nouvelle Observateur. In the summer of 1991, former secretary of the navy John Lehman told a gathering of business and political leaders the Pentagon estimated 200,000 Iraqis were killed in the war.

Please click on: Ramsey Clark on Tragedy of War