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 Mass Murder in Falluja3 comments
picture13 Nov 2004 @ 19:19

Die, then vote. This is Falluja

Iraqi elections were postponed to save Bush. That led to today's carnage

Naomi Klein
Saturday November 13, 2004
The Guardian

The hip-hop mogul P Diddy announced at the weekend that his "Vote or Die" campaign will live on. The voter registration drive during the US presidential elections was, he said, merely "phase one, step one for us to get people engaged".

Fantastic. I have a suggestion for phase two: P Diddy, Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest of the self-described "coalition of the willing" should take their chartered jet and fly to Falluja, where their efforts are desperately needed. But first they are going to need to flip the slogan from "Vote or Die!" to "Die, then Vote!"

Because that is what is happening there. Escape routes have been sealed off, homes are being demolished, and an emergency health clinic has been razed - all in the name of preparing the city for January elections. In a letter to United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, the US-appointed Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi explained that the all-out attack was required "to safeguard lives, elections and democracy in Iraq."

With all the millions spent on "democracy-building" and "civil society" in Iraq, it has come to this: if you can survive attack by the world's only superpower, you get to cast a ballot. Fallujans are going to vote, goddammit, even if they all have to die first.

And make no mistake: it is Fallujans who are under the gun. "The enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He lives in Falluja," marine Lt Col Gareth Brandl told the BBC. Well, at least he admitted that some of the fighters actually live in Falluja, unlike Donald Rumsfeld, who would have us believe that they are all from Syria and Jordan. And since US army vehicles are blaring recordings forbidding all men between the ages of 15 and 50 from leaving the city, it would suggest that there are at least a few Iraqis among what CNN now obediently describes as the "anti-Iraqi forces".

Elections in Iraq were never going to be peaceful, but they did not need to be an all-out war on voters either. Mr Allawi's Rocket the Vote campaign is the direct result of a disastrous decision made one year ago. On November 11 2003, Paul Bremer, then chief US envoy to Iraq, flew to Washington to meet George Bush. The two men were concerned that if they kept their promise to hold elections in Iraq within the coming months, the country would fall into the hands of insufficiently pro-American forces.

That would defeat the purpose of the invasion, and it would threaten President Bush's re-election chances. At that meeting, a revised plan was hatched: elections would be delayed for more than a year, and in the meantime, Iraq's first "sovereign" government would be hand-picked by Washington. The plan would allow Mr Bush to claim progress on the campaign trail, while keeping Iraq safely under US control.

In the US, Mr Bush's claim that "freedom is on the march" served its purpose, but in Iraq, the plan led directly to the carnage we see today.

Mr Bush likes to paint the forces opposed to the US presence in Iraq as enemies of democracy. In fact, much of the uprising can be traced directly to decisions made in Washington to stifle, repress, delay, manipulate and otherwise thwart the democratic aspirations of the Iraqi people.

Yes, democracy has genuine opponents in Iraq, but before George Bush and Paul Bremer decided to break their central promise to hand over power to an elected Iraqi government, these forces were isolated and contained. That changed when Mr Bremer returned to Baghdad and tried to convince Iraqis that they weren't yet ready for democracy.

Mr Bremer argued that the country was too insecure to hold elections, and besides, there were no voter rolls. Few were convinced. In January 2004, 100,000 Iraqis peacefully took to the streets of Baghdad, and 30,000 more did so in Basra. Their chant was "Yes, yes elections. No, no selections." At the time, many argued that Iraq was safe enough to have elections and pointed out that the lists from the Saddam-era oil-for-food programme could serve as voter rolls. But Mr Bremer wouldn't budge and the UN - scandalously and fatefully - backed him up.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Hussain al-Shahristani, chairman of the standing committee of the Iraqi National Academy of Science (who was imprisoned under Saddam Hussein for 10 years), accurately predicted what would happen next. "Elections will be held in Iraq, sooner or later," he wrote. "The sooner they are held, and a truly democratic Iraq is established, the fewer Iraqi and American lives will be lost."

Ten months and thousands of lost Iraqi and American lives later, elections are scheduled to take place with part of the country in the grip of yet another invasion and much of the rest of it under martial law. As for the voter rolls, the Allawi government is planning to use the oil-for-food lists, just as was suggested and dismissed a year ago.

So it turns out that all of the excuses were lies: if elections can be held now, they most certainly could have been held a year ago, when the country was vastly calmer. But that would have denied Washington the chance to install a puppet regime in Iraq, and possibly would have prevented George Bush from winning a second term.

Is it any wonder that Iraqis are sceptical of the version of democracy being delivered to them by US troops, or that elections have come to be seen not as tools of liberation but as weapons of war?

First, Iraq's promised elections were sacrificed in the interest of George Bush's re-election hopes; next, the siege of Falluja itself was crassly shackled to these same interests. The fighter planes didn't even wait an hour after George Bush finished his acceptance speech to begin the air attack on Falluja. The city was bombed at least six times through the next day and night. With voting safely over in the US, Falluja could be destroyed in the name of its own upcoming elections.

In another demonstration of their commitment to freedom, the first goal of the US soldiers in Falluja was to ambush the city's main hospital. Why? Apparently because it was the source of the "rumours" about high civilian casualties the last time US troops laid siege to Falluja, sparking outrage in Iraq and across the Arab world. "It's a centre of propaganda," an unnamed senior American officer told the New York Times. Without doctors to count the dead, the outrage would presumably be muted - except that, of course, the attacks on hospitals have sparked their own outrage, further jeopardising the legitimacy of the upcoming elections.

According to the New York Times, the Falluja general hospital was easy to capture, since the doctors and patients put up no resistance. There was, however, one injury: "An Iraqi soldier who accidentally discharged his Kalashnikov rifle, injuring his lower leg."

I think that means he shot himself in the foot. He's not the only one.

ยท Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo and Fences and Windows  More >

 Ruppert's Economic War8 comments
category picture9 Nov 2004 @ 08:48
Three days of mourning the election and then Michael Ruppert Snaps Out Of It to come back with an article that explains his future strategy and why we cannot depend on the political process, but instead will need to battle this corruption with economics.

"All around the globe we see newly forming economic and political alliances. In South America and elsewhere new regional common markets are evolving rapidly. The Euro is rising to new significance as a world currency and a way to pull the rug from under the Empire. From Russia, to Iran, to China to Venezuela, to Saudi Arabia the world is drifting inexorably to a decision to price oil in Euros. China has just raised interest rates. In 2005 Iran is planning on opening an oil bourse trading futures in Euros and is quietly building consensus support. This is, in my opinion, the major motive for pressuring Iran just as Saddam Hussein's decision to price oil in Euros was his chief crime."

"I can show these people how they and all of us can make more money by fixing money and what it does. But the first requirement is that people understand that they have to stop feeding the tapeworm that is creating all of this."

- Get out of debt.

- Spend your money and time on things that give you energy and provide you with useful information.

- Stop spending a penny with major banks, news media and corporations that feed you lies and leave you exhausted.

- Learn how money works and use it like a weapon.

It is already becoming clear that as Peak Oil becomes a stark reality, survival will become a place-based, local phenomenon. Local economies, to the degree that they exist and are flourishing will provide strength to resist what is coming. Everyone who sees this essay should compare the return on investment they got with the election against something that offers more payoffs, an opportunity to become real, independent actors on the fields of their own lives.

Go to Fitts' web site and look at the section "Coming Clean". Not until each one of us looks at the ways that we feed the beast and accept responsibility for that do we have a chance for today and for tomorrow.

As I have said in Crossing the Rubicon and in almost every lecture for the last three years, "We will change nothing until we change the way that money works."

This is what quite a few of us at NCN have been saying for some time, and now is the time to act on that swarm impulse that has been making us so antsy.  More >

 The Vote Was Hacked10 comments
picture7 Nov 2004 @ 20:27

Kerry may have given up on challenging the theft of yet another election, and I am wondering if his function all along was as political strawman. Fortunately the citizens haven't given up even though the politicians have, and that is perhaps the most important lesson to be learned by this latest exercise in "government by the people for the people."

Bev Harris at is continuing to gather evidence, and jumping through all the hoops set up by the Freedom of Information act to get vital public informtion. She needs money so if you have some to spare it's for a good cause.

Discrepencies between exit polls and final results are a major cause of concern. The biggest differences were in those districts that used paper ballots counted by optical scanning equipment (Diebold once again) and the percentages between the voters registered to a party, and the votes that were actually cast, were reversed.

"In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry. In Dixie County, with 4,988 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush."

Another area of concern is that the central computer for tabulating all the votes is a Windows based PC. A video clip at shows how easily the data file can be opened with an Excel spreadsheet and the data changed. (I know I'm a cynic but four years ago Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, was the lobbyist for Microsoft to Bush, and we know that the Microsoft monopoloy crisis was resolved, and I'd always thought that this was due to campaign contributions, but now I'm starting to wonder if it might have been software backdoors.)

The complete article by Thom Hartmann is posted below.  More >

 Freedom's Taboo1 comment
category picture6 Nov 2004 @ 23:53
Freedom, feifdom, feedom all are such a lisp away from reality, the truth we cannot face for fear of Medusa's gaze, paralyzed in deed and voice, the meek so secure in bondage chains, and free of the consequence of choice. Freedom is such a loaded word, and sounds so much finer, more refined, divinely destined, from the unaccountable, irresponsible, bullies rule and fuck the weak way in which it always unwinds. We are so enraptured by the sound of this word we can't percieve the Nimue spell woven through the cultural milieu. Who could possibly say a mordant word against freedom, and even though the fruit is poisonous to eat, the tree looks lovely hung with mordent grail questers of Modred's defeat. The roots of freedom compost in heroic empires of mythology.

Now beneath the preface of subliminal syllogism there is a taboo surrounding the root of all evil. The spectacle that stimulates our senses, and primes the adrenalin pump, the flight or fight oh hell lets take them both, the clash of the moral and immoral, the dramatic battle ignores the banal of the amoral. Add to this the minor premise of the problem of freedom is for what or for who, that mutually exclusive field of the many and the few.

P.S. This little rant is more interesting if you consult a dictionary.

P.P.S. I composed this as a comment in Shakti's blog and then before I had a chance to submit the article disappeared. Though I thought it was a provacative piece of prose so I suppose to post it on its own.  More >

 Stupidity Defense for Treason1 comment
category picture4 Nov 2004 @ 00:26
Over at The Smirking Chimp there was an article about how Bush won the election because he kept his platform to a very simple agenda, which turned out to be a successful strategy since the majority of Americans were stupid. The author also mentioned that the real reason driving the US foriegn policy was oil. So I made this reply and thought I would repeat it here and perhaps with a little more research expand this into a publishable article.

There are three aspects of the oil thing 1)as a consumer product for energy and transportation 2)as the means to mobilize the military -- if you can control all the oil you can shut down every other countries military (or at least restrict it to the MADD of nukes), and the most urgent is 3)that of petrodollars vs petroeuros - which is the only thing that is keeping the US from bankruptcy.

Digging deeper though is that every US political arguement must start with the premise that the "American Dream" is legitimate and must be defended at all costs. To bring morality into the discussion is a direct threat to American hegemony and subconsciously the Americans know this; at the intuitive hive level of the herd they are much more intelligent than the intellectuals. When the long term good of the planet is in opposition to the short term gain of America then it is indeed a with us or against us situation, and to go against the American interest is treason. The problem is compounded by the fact that stupidity is not a crime but treason is, so stupidity is a defense mechanism of the wise.

Howl now and let me know how close to the core of the taboo I have touched.  More >

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