Daily Archives: September 9, 2008

9/11 Accomplices vie for US Presidency

Obama and McCain campaigns fan “war on terrorism” hysteria

Global Research | Sep 7, 2008

by Larry Chin

In his much-ballyhooed acceptance speech, Barack Obama declared that he would “finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11”. If Obama wishes to be true to his promise, he could begin with his own running mate, Senator Joe Biden.

Biden and the ISI chief

Biden was one of several top Washington officials who met with Lieutenant General Mahmoud Ahmad, the head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) on and around September 11, 2001.

The ISI is a foreign branch of the CIA. “Al-Qaeda” is a covert operation that is managed by Anglo-American military-intelligence. Ahmad, the “9/11 money man” who delivered funds to alleged lead suicide hijacker Mohammed Atta prior to the attacks, met personally with Biden on September 13, 2001.

This case, detailed in Michel Chossodovsky’s Political Deception: Missing Link Behind 9/11, remains one of hundreds of smoking guns revealing direct US connections to 9/11, for which Biden has never provided a credible explanation.

At the same time that he was meeting with a man directly connected to the alleged hijackers, Biden was among the loudest and most bellicose voices joining Bush-Cheney for the bombing of Afghanistan, in retaliation for 9/11. Biden expressed an interest in “personally shooting Osama bin Laden”. Not surprisingly, John McCain expressed the same post-9/11 bloodlust, in his infamous editorial, “War is hell. Let’s get on with it.”

Biden’s tune has remained unchanged, to this day. He wants to “finish the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban”, and (in language that appears to be the new neoliberal “talking point”) “take out the ones who actually attacked us on 9/11”.

The fact that Biden and McCain, two major shills for the “war on terrorism” lie, are vying for White House power speaks for itself.

When recently confronted by an independent journalist about his meeting with Mahmoud Ahmad, Biden offered a series of non-sequitors, and then had his security guards escort the inquiring individual away.

Biden the insider

Dirty politics and back-door deals are nothing new for Biden, the perfect neoliberal establishment insider who has made a career of opportunism, obstruction, and political cover-up.

Biden, the senator of Delaware, the largest tax haven for corporations in the US, has played a key role in virtually every major US policy decision over the past two decades. Every military conflict. Supreme Court confirmations. Cabinet confirmations. Judiciary appointments. Congressional probes (cover-ups) of major political scandals.

Biden, a longtime Council on Foreign Relations stalwart, is a leading architect of “Homeland Security”. He considers his “national security credentials” to be “unimpeachable”.

Joe Biden and his longtime Senate colleague and war criminal/Keating Five “friend” McCain are as responsible for the current world crisis as anyone else alive.

Obama’s bombastic deception

If Barack Obama genuinely wishes to “take out” those who “actually attacked us” on 9/11, he would “take out” the legions of elite sponsors who have made his own rise to power possible.

He could begin with his own foreign policy guru, super-elite Zbigniew Brzezinski, the virtual creator of Islamic terrorism during the Carter administration, who suggested that a Pearl Harbor-like attack, a “massive and widely perceived external threat” would be useful; the man whose vision of “American primacy” and destablization across the Eurasian “Grand Chessboard” has been a lifelong obsession.

Obama might also “take out” the Clintons, and other neoliberal bigwigs supporting his campaign, given the fact that they were instrumental in sowing the seeds of 9/11 throughout the 1990s. Obama should “take out” members of Bush-Cheney, and members of Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies, and a worldwide legion of covert operatives, policy advisors, think tank figures (Project for a New American Century, etc.), and oil executives who “lit the match”. He might also tell the truth about the global war for oil.

Obama, of course, will do nothing of the sort. (And Bush-Cheney will not be prosecuted, no matter what he and Biden say on the campaign trail to the contrary.)

Obama will do nothing. He will leave intact the abomination of the Patriot Act, permit illegal surveilliance, torture and renditions. He will endorse the cover-up of the 9/11 Commission, and deepen the militarization of the US homeland.

The winner of the 2008 election: the Big Lie

In the book The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era by Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter, the authors describe how the combination of government recalcitrance and public acquiescence hampered attempts to limit presidential power and CIA abuses in the 1970s and 1980s.

One telling passage quotes Joe Biden:

“And when legislators tried to write a new CIA charter to limit presidential powers and check abuses, [President Jimmy] Carter’s people fought every inch of the way. Exhausted liberals caved in. To complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union, that the proposed charter was too permissive, Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del) said, “Let me tell you something, fellas. The folks don’t care. The average American could care less right now about any of this. You keep talking about public concern. There ain’t none.”

Today, Bush-Cheney and the respective presidential campaigns hold the people of the world in even greater contempt.

The election is already over.

The bipartisan consensus responsible for the “war on terrorism” lie has never been more ironclad. The next presidential administration will be a continuation of the Bush-Cheney nightmare—in substance, if not in style.

The only thing left to be decided (besides the exact choreography of the final electronic vote fraud) is which lie about “change”, which brand of poison to pour down the throats of the American populace.

Will it be the classic neoliberal establishment deception of Obama-Biden?

Or the more overt insult and slap in the face, and the most cynical appeal to the lowest of lowest common denominators: the insane and deeply corrupt John McCain, and the deeply corrupt insane, willfully stupid (George W. Bush-like), vitriol-spewing psychopath Sarah Palin (whose chief qualification appears to be her direct criminal ties to Alaskan energy interests)?

The “Big Lie” comes with both.

Madonna dedicates “Like a Virgin” song to Pope Benedict

Madonna crucified on the Confessions tour

Reuters | Sep 7, 2008

by Deepa Babington

ROME (Reuters) – Pop star Madonna, once accused by the Vatican of staging one of the most satanic shows in history, surprised fans by dedicating her hit “Like a Virgin” to the pope at a sold-out concert held in Rome.

“I dedicate this song to the pope, because I’m a child of God. All of you are also children of God,” the 50-year old “Queen of Pop” told the 60,000 fans that flocked to the Italian stop of her “Sticky & Sweet” world tour on Saturday.

Italian newspapers gushed over the singer’s electric performance and called the dedication a surprising provocation.

“At the Roman leg of her tour, Madonna didn’t miss the opportunity for a provocation that will certainly be discussed,” Italy’s top newspaper Corriere della Sera said in a front-page report.

Madonna, who comes from a devout Italian Catholic family, has raised the ire of the Catholic Church in the past with sexually charged antics designed to shock.

In 2006, she staged a mock-crucifixion at a concert in Rome to the backdrop of accusations from the Vatican of blasphemy.

The Vatican also condemned her controversial 1989 video for the song “Like a Prayer” that featured burning crosses, statues crying blood and Madonna seducing a black Jesus.

The Vatican later panned a show where she decked the stage out with religious imagery as one of the most “satanic shows in the history of humanity”.

Heavy metal music sweeping across the Middle East

Acrassicauda is the subject of “Heavy Metal in Baghdad.” They now live in Istanbul.

Metal is not just the torture-music of choice used by rendition-cell operatives, it’s seen by many Islamic clerics and politicians as satanic.

Heavy Metal in Baghdad: ‘our lives are heavy metal’

Telegraph | Sep 6, 2008

Suddenly, the Middle East is alive to the sound of riffs. Sukhdev Sandhu meets the makers of a new film about the phenomenon

The plaintive beauty of Iranian folk. The effervescence of Algerian rai. The street-wise stridency of Palestinian rap. The music of the Middle East is as diverse and eclectic as the region itself.

It’s unlikely, though, that even the most passionate world-music fan has heard Egypt’s Hate Suffocation, Israel’s Orphaned Land, far less Lebanon’s Scrambled Eggs.

All are part of a large and growing subculture of metal bands across the Middle East who play thrash, grindcore, doomy and bowel-churning noise.

Many of them do so at great risk to themselves: metal is not just the torture-music of choice used by rendition-cell operatives, it’s seen by many Islamic clerics and politicians as satanic. In 2003, 14 Casablancan musicians, among them members of Nekros and Infected Brain, were sent to jail in Morocco for moral subversion.

Heavy Metal in Baghdad, a new documentary by Canadian-born Suroosh Alvi and Eddy Moretti, looks at one of the bravest bands of them all: Iraq’s Acrassicauda. Named after the Latin for “black spider”, and inspired by Metallica and Slayer, they struggle to play their impressively dynamic music in a city where bombs rain down and blow up their rehearsal room, and where road checks and tight security make gigging almost impossible. In the end, they’re forced to flee as refugees to Damascus.

Acrassicauda deny that they’re a political band, but in the present situation their hyper-aggressive sound, their decision to sing in English, as well as how they wear their hair and their clothes, can’t help but lend them a radical edge.

“For a long time, especially in England with groups like the Darkness, metal has had a trivialised cultural currency,” says Moretti. “Its gravitas was impinged upon and diminished. But Acrassicauda are artless, plain and very real. I was drawn to the starkness and the impossibility of their situation. They have a level of authenticity unparalleled in the West.”

Metal, with the exception of a handful of bands such as Napalm Death and System of a Down, is not normally seen as a political genre. Compared to punk or to hip-hop, its imagery and lyrics are less rooted in a recognisable social present. Yet, in the context of modern-day Iraq, metal’s lexicon of terror, mayhem and apocalypse has unmistakable resonance. One of the musicians in Alvi and Moretti’s film claims: “We play heavy metal, because our lives are heavy metal.” It’s a sentiment that also appears in Heavy Metal Islam (Three Rivers Press), a newly-published study by musician and Middle East historian Mark Levine.

“Metal reflects schizophrenia: it both sounds like it and is a therapy for it. It’s a way of dealing with mental illness. At the very least, many young people across the Middle East are politically ill. They have no outlet for their dreams and creativity. They think they have two options: to be a Jihadi, or to sell out and become a yuppie.”

Both Levine and Moretti point out that the cost of buying instruments and amplifiers means that metal is currently confined to being a middle-class phenomenon across the Middle East. The bands, some of whom fell in love with the music after watching MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball on satellite television, are often forced to play before segregated crowds.

A female band, the riot-grrl-inspired Mystik Moods who hail from Morocco, face tricky ideological issues as much as they do those around gender: are they willing to be co-opted by the state by performing at a festival held “Under the patronage of His Royal Highness, King Mohammed VI”?

This raises another fascinating question: will Middle Eastern metal bands, if offered financial support by American proponents of international “self power” – as they surely will be in the future – be able to resist and to hold on to their creative independence?

Many bands face more practical issues. Levine, who has put together a compilation of Islamic metal entitled Flowers in the Desert, recalls how difficult it was for him even to get hold of a track by Sajid and Zeeshan, musicians from Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier province: “For months and months they couldn’t send their music to me because the Taliban kept knocking out the energy grid,” he says. “And they’re not allowed to send FedEx packages out of Peshawar. They’re risking a lot of personal freedoms by even trying to do that.”

As for Acrassicauda, Alvi tells me that their fortunes have declined since the film was completed. “They’re now refugees in Turkey. They’re hoping to resettle to America, but they’re stuck in the purgatory of Turkish bureaucracy and UNHCR stipulations. All they want to do is create, but they’ve run out of money and been forced to sell their instruments. Last time I spoke to the lead singer, he said: ‘I’m going cuckoo.'”

‘Heavy Metal in Baghdad’ is released on September 12.

Hear and read more about Middle Eastern metal on Mark Levine’s website: http://www.meaning.org/hmi-index.html

Venezuela to hold joint naval exercise with Russia

Venezuela will hold joint naval operations with Russia in the Caribbean even as the US re-establishes its Fourth Fleet to safeguard interests in the region and contain expanding Venezuelan influence.

Telegraph | Sep 7, 2008

By Jeremy McDermott

“This is of great importance because it is the first time it is being done [in the Americas],” said Venezuela’s Rear Admiral Salbatore Cammarata Bastidas, describing the exercises with four Russian ships planned for the November 10-14.

Venezuela has long been engaged in a war of words with Washington, but an escalation is feared as President Hugo Chavez develops strong ties with Russia, Iran and China, and is using offers of cheap oil to bind other Latin American nations into agreements with Venezuela.

Sat astride some of the biggest oil reserves outside the Middle East, Mr Chavez has engaged in an unprecedented arms buying spree, purchasing 24 Sukhoi fighter jets, as well as submarines and missiles from Russia. Mr Chavez has said that he would allow Venezuela to be a strategic base for Russian bombers should it be required.

“In Venezuela they will always have a green light, they will be welcome, because Russia is an ally of Venezuela,” said Mr. Chavez.

President Chavez has established close ties with Iran, amid fears that Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah has established a presence in Venezuela. Mr Chavez has announced he will visit China in the coming weeks with a view to buying more arms.

In June the US Navy announced it was re-establishing the Fourth Fleet, disbanded in 1950, which would direct naval operations in the Caribbean and Latin America. Both US presidential candidates have vowed to reduce US dependence on oil imports.