Archive for the ‘Libya’ Category

Random Thoughts on the Current Troubles

September 15, 2012

The growing inter-connectedness of the world does not always redound to our advantage. Case in point: a cheesy movie made in a strip mall in Monrovia, California, causes riots and the deaths of four people on the other side of the world. We are living in the Global Village, and just as Marshall McLuhan warned, it is filled with “panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence.” Fear increasingly becomes people’s normal state of existence, because they are increasingly bombarded with ideas and facts that they don’t understand or only partially understand.

Reading the comments on threads on other sites, I am struck by how many people have no desire to try to understand what is happening. We have an amazing informational tool in the form of the Internet, yet some people would prefer to use it for spewing hate and parading their ignorance. Sad.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, alias “Sam Bacile” is the auteur responsible for that blood and sand epic, Desert Warrior Innocence of Muslims. Nakoula is a Coptic Christian from Egypt, yet he told the Wall Street Journal that he is an Israeli and that the film was funded by Jewish donors. The kindest thing one cam assume here is that Nakoula wanted to prevent any blame for the film being placed on Egypt’s Coptic community, yet there is something sinister about the fact that Nakoula invented a story about non-existent Jewish donors. One has to question what game Nakoula is really trying to play.

The cast and crew of the film say they were duped, and I believe them. The 14-minuste clip on Youtube is heavily (and badly) dubbed. These people will be haunted by this for the rest of their lives. They were used by Nakoula, Steve Klein, Terry Jones and other right-wing Christians to advance their twisted political agenda.

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Mad Russians and the American Left

August 31, 2012


Soon to be a contributor to CounterPunch and Dissident Voice.

Back in the 1930’s, there was a radio comedian named Bert Gordon, who was billed as the Mad Russian. His tagline was “How do you dooo!”, which you can hear in some Warner Brothers cartoons from that period. Gordon was enormously popular in his time, but, alas, he is largely forgotten today. Yet, the spirit of the Mad Russian lives on at some left-wing websites. At CounterPunch, Israel Shamir has become their resident authority on Russia, the Dreyfus Affair, and conspiracy theories.

Not to be outdone, CP’s rival, Dissident Voice, have their own mad Russian, Andre Fomine. His latest article is entitled Pussy Riot, the CIA, and Cultural Terrorism. In this article, we learn the shocking truth about Pussy Riot:

    No doubt it was not a single spontaneous act by a group of dissolute individuals but an episode of a much wider global campaign to shake and eventually ruin traditional societies and institutions. It is being carried out by the same powerful circles which inspired — e.g. offensive caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper in 2005.

Oh, my. From Pussy Riot to Danish cartoons. Who could possibly be behind this fiendish global conspiracy? Need you ask?

    It is an open secret that avant-gardism became popular in the West in 1950-1960s thanks to unprecedented support from the CIA and was used by the United States as a powerful ideological weapon.

The CIA. Why, of course! Aren’t they behind everything?

Fomine ends his article with a dire warning: “The puppeteers of Modern Art and Cultural Terrorism keep carrying out their mission.” [Emphasis in the original.]

Modern Art! Run! Flee! Hide!

In another article, entitled The Last Victory of Muammar Gaddafi, Fomine exposes the sordid truth behind the “Arab Spring”:

    First, there was nothing spontaneous in the wave of 2011 North Africa and Middle East revolutions. The popular unrests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, etc were carefully prepared, organized, financed and supported through international media. Quite surprisingly, Al-Jazeera played a critically important role in fueling the conflicts within Arabic societies spreading disinformation and blocking truthful and sober voices.

The media did it! And, as we all know, media = CIA. Fomine, however, ends his article on a cheerful note:

    Thus we are entering very interesting, perhaps decisive times. Muammar Gaddafi has won his last battle despite eluding vigor and insolent pressure from everywhere. Will there be any new Gaddafis born by Muslim mothers to resist the new world order? We hope and pray for that.

More Gaddafis! That’s exactly what we need! The comments on the thread for this article were adulatory. (“Excellent article. I am glad that the author had the courage to write it.” I’m not sure that “courage” is the right word.) When one commenter was churlish enough to point out that Fomine offers no evidence to support his claim about the Arab revolutions, he was promptly smacked down by another commenter who wrote:

    How do you expect the writer can supply you with what you call proof?!
    Do you expect him to hack computers or bulglarise certain offices and displays the documents here for you to see??!! Is that make sense?!
    There is something called commonsense combined with knowledge of history, precedents and good analytical ability!

Yeah, who needs evidence?

As you can imagine, I wanted to learn more about this truly original thinker, Andre Fomine. I found out that he edits a web journal called Oriental Review. There, you can find excerpts from a book by Nikolay Starikov entitled Who Made Hitler Attack Stalin. The latest installment is titled Leon Trotsky, Father of German Nazism. Lest you think that this title is meant as a joke, here is how the article begins:

    Who organized the February and October revolutions in Russia and the November revolution in Germany? The Russian and German revolutions were organized by British intelligence, with the possible support of the United States and France.

That’s right, British intelligence must have engineered the Russian Revolution, since it was a strategic defeat for the British empire. This is common sense. Displaying his extraordinary narrative skill, Starikov tells us:

    Dropped into Russia by British intelligence, thanks to a secret agreement with German secret services aboard the “closed wagon,” the Bolsheviks refused to leave the political scene.

That’s right, the Bolsheviks (all of them) were parachuted into Russia inside a sealed train car. (It must have been awfully uncomfortable, but they were willing to endure anything for the revolution.) Later, we learn:

    The main funding supplied to the Russian Revolution from American bankers was transferred through accounts in neutral Sweden and briefcases of inconspicuous figures stealthily entering the country.

Because there’s nothing bankers love more than a government that’s dedicated to abolishing capitalism.

Just by clinking on certain links on the Dissident Voice website, you can find this treasure trove of occult knowledge.

How do you dooo!

Why I’m Not Keen on Seeing ‘The Dictator’

May 17, 2012

I’ve been debating in my mind whether or not I should go see Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film, The Dictator. Judging from what I’ve seen and heard about it, it doesn’t look very promising. First of all, the main character, Aladeen, is obviously modeled after Muammar Gaddafi: the sunglasses, the gaudy uniforms, the female bodyguards. The movie poster shows him posing on the back of a camel. (Gaddafi might have done this, but I can’t imagine any other Arab leader doing it.) The problem with this is that Gaddafi is dead. It would be just as timely for Baron Cohen to do a parody of Hitler or Stalin. It would be more relevant to make a film parodying the government of Saudi Arabia or Bahrain or the army generals who are trying to reverse the gains of the Egyptian revolution. One can only assume that Baron Cohen decided to make a film about Gaddafi because his notoriously eccentric personal behavior makes him an easy target.

And then there’s the trailer:

It starts with film clips of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and David Cameron. This is apparently meant to make the obvious Gaddafi connection even more obvious. However, it leaves out the fact that these leaders were all cozying up to Gaddafi until the uprising in Benghazi, when they suddenly decided to dump him. Western leaders do not oppose dictators unless they decide it is politically expedient to do so.

The synopsis on Wikipedia doesn’t make it sound any more promising:

    For forty years, the North African Republic of Wadiya has been ruled by Admiral General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen), a lecherous, anti-western and antisemitic despot who surrounds himself with female bodyguards and intends to develop nuclear weapons. After the United Nations Security Council resolves to intervene militarily, Aladeen travels to the UN Headquarters in New York City to address the council. During his stay, he is kidnapped and shaven by a hitman (John C. Reilly) hired by his traitorous uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley). Tamir intends to replace Aladeen with a political decoy, who he can manipulate into signing a document democratizing Wadiya and opening the country’s oil reserves for business. Aladeen escapes and is discovered by activist Zoey (Anna Farris), who offers him a job at her co-op. Following the advice of his ally Nadal (Jason Mantzoukas), Aladeen accepts the offer, as Zoey’s employees have access to the UN headquarters. Aladeen manages to acquire a new beard taken from a corpse, and infiltrates the headquarters, tearing up Tamir’s document in front of the UN delegation. Upon seeing Zoey in the room, he declares his love for her and vows to democratize his country. Upon returning to Wadiya, he marries Zoey, but is shocked when she crushes a glass and reveals herself to be Jewish.

If Tamir wants to open up the country’s oil reserves, why the hell would he want to democratize it? Instead, he would want all power for himself, so he could cut deals with trans-national oil corporations (as Gaddafi was doing). And how do you “democratize” a country just by signing a document?

Also, I find it interesting that Baron Cohen thinks he has to explain Aladeen’s opposition to Israel by making him an anti-Semite. It apparently doesn’t occur to him that there might be other reasons why an Arab leader would be opposed to Israel. (By the way, Gaddafi was warming up to Israel during the final years of his life.)

I suppose this is what happens when someone who isn’t interested in politics tries to make a political satire.

Now, maybe I would enjoy this film despite its problems. Maybe. But somehow I just can’t get enthusiastic about it. I would sooner see The Avengers again. At least it doesn’t pretend to be about anything other than itself.

The Libyan Revolution

August 26, 2011

Some on the left (Glen Ford, for example) have taken the view that the Libyan revolution is nothing more than a NATO-driven coup d’etat. I cannot share this view. Clearly, the rebels could not have succeeded without support from a substantial portion of the Libyan population. One thing we learned from the Afghanistan war is that dropping a lot of bombs and sending in special operations forces do not guarantee a victory. Civilian support – which the U.S. clearly lacks in Afghanistan – is an important factor.

No doubt the Western governments will try to profit as much as they can from the current situation in Libya. Some members of the ruling class are openly calling for a U.S. occupation of Libya. Richard Haas has written in the Financial Times:

    Nato’s airplanes helped bring about the rebel victory. The “humanitarian” intervention introduced to save lives believed to be threatened was in fact a political intervention introduced to bring about regime change. Now Nato has to deal with its own success. Some sort of international assistance, and most likely an international force, is likely to be needed for some time to restore and maintain order. Looting must be prevented. Die-hard regime supporters will have to be defeated. Tribal war must be averted. Justice and not revenge need to be the order of the day if Libya is not to come to resemble the civil war of post-Saddam Iraq in the first instance, or the chaos (and terrorism) of Somalia and Yemen down the road.

Haas, a diplomat, apparently did not notice that the U.S. military completely failed to stop the sectarian civil war in Iraq. I suspect Haas’s real concern is guaranteeing for the U.S. easy access to Libyan oil. Despite his knowing use of quotation marks, it is clear that Haas is actually making a more sophisticated version of the “humanitarian intervention” argument. I doubt, however, that Obama will take Haas’s advice. Among other things, the current political mood in the country is not favorable for such a move.

Is the revolution an unqualified victory for the U.S.? Bear in mind that the U.S. did not get everything it wanted in Iraq, and it certainly did not get what it wanted in Afghanistan. The U.S. may find Libya also hard to control.