The Curtain Drawn, the Revolution Begun
Twitter by cthalupa: RT from Iran - all foreign satellite tv news has been stopped in Iran - they think a blinded man cannot see in the darkness - #Iranelection - 06/21/09-4:37:pm:Tehran
Fiery Winds and the Streets Below
Without even the slightest hint of appreciation for the irony, both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs have told reporters that the United States is closely watching the situation in Iran, where street riots continue in the aftermath of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stunning victory over his popular opponent, Mir Hossein Moussavi, who was favored by progressive voters that included the young, the educated, and the more urban.
In eerie parallel to the highly disputed 2000 presidential election in the United States, when the highest court in the land suspended the vote recount in the pivotal state of Florida and handed the victory to the Right-wing candidate, George W. Bush, Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has endorsed the official vote count in Iran, effectively shutting down any avenue by which Moussavi and his forces could seek meaningful legal remedy within the Persian nation's constitutional framework, other than through a perfunctory investigation by the so-called Guardian Council, which will rule on the matter next week, no doubt in favor of Ahmadinejad.
Just as former President Bush found his hard-core support through two controversial elections by appealing to rural, ignorant, backward, conservative voters, so too does Mr. Ahmadinejad rely on this same complex demographic/psychographic pool for his backing, with both men buttressing the supposed moral legitimacy of their position and means of acquiring it by way of backward-looking religious leaders Iran's being officially recognized as pre-eminent, America's being less so.
Despite the imprimatur of legitimacy Ahmadinejad has now obtained from the supreme leader of Iran, street riots continue across Iran, with the government retaliating with arrests of opposition leaders and shows of force against public demonstrations.
While many of the demonstrators are young, the outrage in Iran seems to be widespread. Unlike in the United States, where protests against the suspect elections of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 were minimal, at best, Iranians are taking to the streets in noticeable numbers despite the violent crackdown being chronicled by foreign journalists stationed there. Amid the thunder of stun grenades fired by riot police, one elderly woman shouted to a reporter for the The Times (UK), "We hate this government. It's my generation’s fault to have let them come in 1979 [when the shah was ousted]. These children are doing what we were not brave enough to do."
Those glib words could as easily have been spoken by an older person in the United States in both 2000 and 2004, except that here in this country, the preference is to allow suspect elections to go largely unchallenged in the streets. Far preferable for Americans is waiting for enough young people to come of age to make election fraud infeasible and, more importantly, inadvisable: the Republicans previously so desperate for the reins of power in Washington have found, after eight long years of progressive economic, military, and social degradation at their hands, that governance at the behest of the ignorant and reactionary is most inopportune, even when in league of convenience with the consent of supreme councils firmly ensconced in the technicalities of legal pronouncements that need and have no moral legitimacy.
The losers in Iran's elections this week will not be answered with justice, and the nation will plunge into a period of violent retribution against them and their leaders.
The Ayatollah Khamenei and his fellow reactionary mullahs will continue to have their chosen people in political power to press forward with the development of nuclear weapons and a concomitantly robust, forward-leaning posture in dealing with other nations, including the United States; but the disastrous end of this hubris in making a mockery of democratic elections will come soon enough, nonetheless.
The Right-wing forces in Iran may then wish they had dealt more generously with the reformist opposition now taking to the streets, which in retrospect will seem altogether peaceful, reasonable, and patient compared to the fiery winds of change from the skies as a much more violent, less patient, considerably better armed foe delivers its own version of reform for the intransigent.
You can read more about these Israeli conscientious objectors in Ed Asner's article, "The Shministim," at The Huffington Post.
If you support them, if you feel in your heart that they are right and that their treatment at the hands of the Israeli government is wrong, go to their Website, December18th.org, and sign the letter addressed to the Israeli Defense Minister.
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, chose as his White House Chief of Staff a Zionist of "good Irgun stock" who holds dual United States/Israel citizenship: Rahm Emanuel volunteered at an Israeli Defense Forces base to serve during the Persian Gulf War, yet he found no time or obligation to volunteer service in the armed forces of the United States of America, the nation that has so richly elevated him to the halls of Congress and now to the inner sanctum of the White House despite his deep ties to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a wing of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The kids you saw in that video have no power other than that of their own free will and the voices of those who would be outraged by their treatment.
President Obama has chosen Rahm Emanuel, Dennis Ross, Richard Holbrook, Hillary Clinton, Tony Lake, Susan Rice, and other supporters of a bellicose State of Israel to stand with him. Now, you may choose with whom you choose to stand. Do not make the mistake of believing that you can have it both ways.
The Shministim have not.
From Pakistan to Kenya, from Armenia to Burma, peoples of the world are rising up against the fist of oppression, rebelling against tyranny, demanding that they be given their property in freedom.
This day in Tibet, the people are in open revolt against the thugs in Beijing who would dare to pretend to legitimate leadership. Once again, men and women are turning away from the lies of rulers who speak of "freedom" in the same breath that they demand of their citizens surrender to "order" and "security." People across the world are choosing no longer to live in fear on their knees, but instead to fight and die for their future.
For their battle, the Tibetans are honored; for their sacrifice, they are praised; for their example, they are remembered.
The Murder of Osama bin Laden
For those who do not favor watching the dead speak, what she said in a matter-of-fact way is that Osama bin Laden is dead, "murdered" (to use her word for the happy event) by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh.
Although any self-respecting conspiracy theorist worth his salt should jump at a revelation such as this, it is most likely that Ms. Bhutto simply misspoke when she said that Omar Sheikh "murdered Osama bin Laden." More than likely, she meant that Omar Sheikh murdered Daniel Pearle, a crime for which he was convicted and sentenced to hang, although, as it turned out, he probably wasn't the man who actually slit Pearle's throat.
Conceding some hope to conspiracy-oriented folks, it is not entirely impossible that Omar Sheikh really did kill the almost pathetic Osama bin Laden, the term "almost" being the operative qualifier for "pathetic" only because our own President Bush elevated the previously worthless bin Laden to the status of leader of a non-existent nation-state worthy of being engaged in global combat by the last superpower on Earth.
It is true that the life and times of Omar Saeed Sheikh are, to say the least, interesting: he might have worked for British intelligence in the 1990s, as Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has claimed, and he might even have worked for Pakistan's very own Inter-Services Intelligence, a rather inconvenient complication when the Pakistani judiciary has deemed that the young fellow is to swing from the gallows. But even if he did play junior spook at one time or another in his life, "working for" spies is a terribly murky item on a terrorist's vita: many slithering sorts barely qualifying as humans serve as "assets" for one or more spy agencies (Judith Miller and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby come to mind), and it would be most surprising if Omar were the least reputable of those who have provided information to MI6 when such assistance was beneficial to both Her Majesty's secret service and the wannabe terrorist who, in Omar Sheikh's case, was just one of countless butchers in a part of the world where lawlessness is somewhat like wardrobe accessorization.
This, by the way, should be taken as a point of understanding for anyone touting the achievements of the Bush Administration in rounding up hundreds and hundreds of scrawny, brown-skinned men for permanent confinement and torture: going to South Asia to corral very mean, really nasty bad people is like going to Idaho for a bag of potatoes. You'll find them, and you will do so in embarrassing abundance. You'll be even more prolific in your claims of capture if you declare that all the dirt clumps around the potatoes are, themselves, potatoes, too. Inventing a blanket term like "al-Qa'ida" (or "al Qaeda," or whatever) to encompass every dirt bag associated with some other dirt bag connected to some total dirt bag that had something to do with the attacks of September 11, 2001, does not mean that all those dirt bags are worth even so much as the cost of the dental hygiene regimen that would make them stop looking so darned creepy. For the overwhelming majority of those idiots on which the United States has expended huge money and its respectability, the value comes in the fact that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney haul truckloads of dirt bags to the mainstream media, which immediately and compliantly declare, "Praise the Lord, there ain't gonna be no potato famine!"
Did Benazir Bhutto misspeak about Osama bin Laden? Probably, although some might consider it a little strange that Sir David, her interviewer, just sat there not having a myocardial infarction when she dropped that bombshell, but that certainly doesn't mean he already knew about the heretofore unmentioned murder of the putative mastermind of 9/11. All it means is that Sir David is British.
A more important question is this: Does it matter whether Osama bin Laden is dead or alive?
The answer to that is obvious. Of course it doesn't matter. Our murderously efficient, rag-tag, thuggish allies of the 1980swho helped us make the Soviets miserable during their occupation of Afghanistantransformed in the 1990s into decommissioned, armed "companies" like those that roamed the countryside in the Middle Ages after their service to kings was no longer needed. The modern day, post-useful mercenaries kept their wretched Misery Tour going only as a regional gig in the back alley club bars of awful places no self-respecting talent scout would venture. It was up to some of the more enterprising of the mercenaries-without-a-cause to figure out that marketing is everything, and the best advertising is on a billboard provided by the global presence of a superpower.
Although a few rounds of blowing up some U.S. military assets and embassies overseas was nice, breaking into the big league required, first, an inattentive defense of the American homeland and, second, a President who would help with the post-advertising name-recognition blitz.
Sadly for the Osama bin Ladens of the world, the Clinton Administration, by thwarting the Millennium Plot, denied them the big-screen show here in the United States. Gladly for those same Osama bin Ladens, Mr. Bush was considerably more willing to do a long-term co-branding deal.
The United States of America versus al Qaeda. All terror, all the time, forever and ever. Drop what you're doing, put down that Bill of Rights, another episode is coming right up after a brief break for less important news about everything else.
Alive or dead, who really needs Osama bin Laden at this point in the game? For that matter, who needs al Qaeda? Benazir Bhutto certainly didn't. The tapes clearly show that she was dropped by a lone gunman.
That's how it usually works, of course.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
The Lioness Fallen
U.S. President George W. Bush, whose Administration has coddled the military junta while trying to assist in building a conciliatory relationship between the pro-democracy Bhutto and the authoritarian Musharraf, said of the assassination, "The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy." For his part, strongman Musharraf took the occasion to declare, "This is the work of those terrorists with whom we are engaged in war," taking advantage of the tragedy to wave the bloody flag of Islamic fundamentalism at internal forces and to remind the Bush Administration of his alliance with the United States against terrorism, a platform of fear-mongering and repression that has served both Musharraf and Bush during their respective and otherwise troubled tenures as leaders.
The White House had gambled on some means by which Bhutto could once again become prime minister of Pakistan while Musharraf retained the office of the presidency, even though Bhutto was widely believed to have been committed, with our without the help of a former dictator of her country, to assisting the United States in continuing its war on terrorism in western Asia and the Indian sub-continent. The Administration's continuing loyalty to Musharraf further reinforced long-standing questions about the extent to which the United States wishes to deal effectively with global threats to peace and stability versus merely using U.S. military power and financial resources to construct solidly loyal spheres of political influence and economic control.
In 2003, the United States attacked Iraq despite the fact that it was Pakistan, through the long-term, ongoing efforts of nuclear scientist and entrepreneur Dr. A.Q. Khan, which was the principal wellspring from which not only the technology of nuclear weapons was spreading, but the actual parts to build the bombs, themselves, was flowing to countries like North Korea, Iran, and Libya; but instead of crushing the operation, arresting the participants, and punishing Pakistan and its leaders for their support of this global bazaar of weapons of mass destruction, the Bush Administration, through its very own top-level officials, outed a CIA non-official cover spy, Valerie Plame, and thereby destroyed her network that was tasked to tracking these very WMD proliferators. Moreover, the Bush Administration, which now expresses outrage at the assassination of the best hope for Pakistan to emerge from years of authoritarian rule, has poured billions of dollars of aid at the corruption-riddled Pakistani leaders, even as the junta-led Pakistani armed forces have been entirely ineffective in preventing the country's western frontier from falling solidly into the hands of Taliban forces and their sympathizers, who have pumped combatants, war materiel, and ideological strength into the debilitating war of attrition being waged against U.S. and other NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Yet, despite the fact that terrorist organizations are alive and well in Pakistan, feeding allied groups and assorted malcontents that foment trouble and kill locals and American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, George W. Bush is able to keep a straight face and express outrage at one more consequence of a failed war on terrorism, which commenced with tens of billions of dollars in property damage to the largest city in the continental United States and thousands of lives lost, and now proceeds across the Middle East and into Asia Minor, western Asia and the Indian sub-continent, billowing forth with American military casualties by the thousands, deaths and injuries to indigenous peoples of the region in the hundreds of thousands, the utter collapse of moral and financial leadership by the U.S., and political instability that ripples across vast swaths of the world.
Today, that death-swollen legacy of disastrously incompetent policies made a brief stop in Pakistan for the assassination of a once and future leader, a champion who died a martyred heroine even as our own President will live on as a catastrophic failure.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
China, the Internet, and Censorship
Through a massive, expensive, and complex system of computers, government agencies, and private citizens, the People's Republic of China has constructed a nationwide control zone over what people in the country can see and hear on the Internet. Highlighted recently in an article at CNN.com, this information embargo has come to be known as "The Great Firewall of China," a systematic work in progress by the leadership of that nation to prevent its people from knowing what the Communist government does not want them to know about everything from what naked people look like clear through to the details and photographs of the 1989 Chinese military's massacre of thousands of unarmed, peaceful demonstrators at Tiananmen Square.
Acting in sometimes open conspiracy with the Chinese government's wide-ranging engine of information repression are American companies that want to curry favor with China. Yahoo came under massive criticism for handing over private information within its possession about Chinese dissident Li Zhi, who was subsequently tried, convicted, sentenced, and imprisoned by Chinese authorities. While in negotiations to gain access to the huge consumer market in China, Google opted to acquiesce to demands by Chinese authorities that its search engine service in China, google.cn, actively prevent sites critical of the PRC government from being revealed in user queries (notwithstanding the subsequent blubbering by Google co-founder Sergey Brin about how "uncomfortable" the capitulation was). More broadly, Amnesty International has accused industry leaders, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, among others, of colluding with the Chinese government to operate in violation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights with respect to the censorship of information and the surrender of private user information to Chinese law enforcement authorities.
In addition, the United States government works at odds to itself with respect to China's censorship. On the one hand, the U.S.-sponsored Voice of America, at least at one time, was openly paying developers to create software that would provide alternate server relay services so Internet surfers in China could go around official servers and their filters. On the other hand, the U.S. government declines to view information as a trade commodity that is being officially and selectively embargoed by the Chinese in direct violation of international trade agreements.
With all of this as backdrop, writers and readers of online news and entertainment can find out what Websites are blocked by going to the Great Firewall of China or directly to their URL test page to key in any Web address to see if the servers in China are blocking the site. If you have a Website and find out that it is, indeed, being blocked by China, Great Firewall of China offers banners you can proudly display. Otherwise, if you are a blogger, please feel free to post one of the graphics at left and right in your sidebar to let visitors know that your blog is blocked in China. The code snippet for the larger, 175x175 graphic and the smaller, 125x125 graphic may be found here.
As readers may see in the right sidebar here at The Dark Wraith Forums, this Website is, indeed, blocked by China. A number of possible reasons for this exist. The video series "Money Economics," published here explained that the Chinese have willfully, systematically, and for years forced their currency to be massively undervalued against the American dollar. This has caused Chinese imports to the United States to be cheap here while concomittantly making American exports very expensive in China, the net effect of this exchange rate distortion being that enormous amounts of U.S. currency, along with millions of American jobs, have flowed to China. In "The Long Twilight of Economic Empire," I set forth the simple fact that the huge, year-over-year federal budget deficits being run by the fiscally reckless Republicans are being in large part financed by those very same U.S. dollars now in the hands of the Chinese, who acquired them through artificial manipulation of the yuan-greenback exchange rate to the effect of transferring control of U.S. jobs, equity, and even autonomy over to the Chinese. The just-mentioned articles are only the more recent in a continuing effort I have made to apprize readers of the economics of foreign trade and the destructive influence of the Chineseacting as the are in classical, mercantilist fashionon the welfare of this country and, perhaps, the Western World. Earlier articles highlighting these important matters include "Foreign Trade and Debt" and the follow-up article, "Exchange Rate Regimes," as well as the graphical post, "A Walk-Down Primer on the U.S. Trade Deficit with China."
The Chinese authorities most decidedly have good reason to block their citizens from reading articles I have written. They have yet, however, to find a way to keep the Chinese college students here in the United States from seeing this and other content that exposes the corrupt, brutal, violent, mercantilist nature of their leadership. Some of those young people know me, and I make sure, while they're here, that they see everything they won't be allowed to see when they return to China. They particularly like to see the Websites with lots of pictures of naked people, but they really do spend a lot of time surfing the Internet for more informative content, as well, always making sure, of course, that the few among them who are Chinese government informants don't know what's going on.
Over a period of time, such information consumers cannot help but become painfully aware that their leaders are nothing more than a cabal of lying, brutish thugs Hell-bent on wrecking other countries while systematically repressing the rights of the citizens. Awareness is, of course, only a first step; afterward comes the ugly part: rebellion or surrender.
Once the Chinese figure out which choice is best, they can let us know. Provided, of course, we can get to their Websites when the time comes.
The Dark Wraith wishes everyone a wonderful night surfing the Internet for good pictures of naked people and decent blog posts on how to crush Communist mercantilist thugs and their American neo-conservative soul-mates.