January 21, 2002



Shooting fish in a barrel? Perhaps... but Raimondo's latest bitchslap at Damian Penny is particularly sad:

I understand that they don't have a lot up in Canada, including a sense of their own national identity which is perhaps why a foreigner like Mr. Penny takes such an inordinate and unseemly interest in what is, after all, an internal American debate over foreign policy. Call it xenophobia, and politically incorrect to the max Mr. Penny, it should be noted, likened me to David Duke but this is what American unilateralism really means. When it comes to deciding whether we're going to stay a republic, or become an empire, I'd rather foreigners stayed out of it, or at least had the tact to keep their voices reasonably low and their tone civil.

What a wonderfully imperial thing to say. Yes, all us little multicoloured chillun should leave the Americans to decide what they are going to do vis a vis the rest of the world, keeping our voices low so as not to disturb them. Maybe they'll become a Galactic Empire and Lord Over Us All, maybe they won't: but they'll get back to us when they've straightened it all out. In the meantime, we should just chill; it's none of our concern either way...

(And I didn't want to mention it, but... twenty-four dead Canadians. That was the price we paid on Sept. 11. Their bodies MAKE this a Canadian issue, so you can STFU now. )

Funnier, and more revealing of Raimondo's character, is what passes for the kind of journalistic truth he wishes the media would follow up, those ludicrous Fox allegations about Israeli spying being behind 9/11. Of course, Raimondo also believes a lot of silly historical nonsense (q.v.), so this isn't surprising itself, but the paucity of actual information in this case is remarkable. In the name of Mickey Kaus, then, let's do a little series-skipping time on Raimondo's incredible revelations:

1) In December, FoxNews ran a four-segment series on Israeli spying in the U.S.
2) FoxNews has since removed mentions of that series from their website.
3) The series uncovered the following pieces of "evidence":
*Jonathan Pollard was arrested for selling secrets to Israel in 1985;
*60 Israelis were arrested, mostly for immigration violations, in the months following Sept. 11; other Israelis have been arrested before that;
*Many of the Israelis arrested recently seem to have been selling kids' toys in mall kiosks;
*An Israeli telecommunications company, Amdocs, handles directory assistance and call records for a lot of American phone calls;
*Another Israeli company, Comverse, sells wiretapping equipment to the government;
*Los Angeles police once suspected organized criminals with (unexplained) connections to Israel had tapped their phones.
4) FoxNews' conclusion, just on the facts above? Obviously, the Israeli government had to have known precise details of the Sept. 11 plot, but didn't pass them on for fear of compromising its intelligence gathering in the States!
5) A site called Newsmax got a hedgy denial from the FBI and a total denial from Comverse when he phoned them asking about the Fox story. Newsmax also quoted a Washington crackpot named David Brown for 14 paragraphs saying the FBI's refusal to lay open their entire intelligence dossier to Newsmax was suspicious. He blames the "Clintonistas," who apparently haven't really left.

There you go, fellow bloggers! All we have to do is connect the dots, and the FoxNews-Raimondo-Blogger Pulitzer awaits! Why, oh why, can't the establishment media see that this is really the most important angle in this whole Sept. 11 story? Are they stupid? Bought? Or do they JUST NOT SEE ANY TANGIBLE BLOODY CONNECTION WHATSOEVER?

Posted by BruceR at 06:13 PM



This from Friday's Globe and Mail... apparently there are Norwegian soldiers at Kandahar base! Norwegians, I tell you! It's what we've always feared... that the whole Afghan adventure was part of an intricate Norwegian plot for world domination. Sure, they laughed at us before... but now? Hey, I thought we had put a man on the inside on this stuff... goddamn it Bjorn, you could have warned us! If I know my history of Viko-Norwegian incursions, we shall soon see elite Viking ski troops descending on the American heartland... say, somewhere in the mountains of Utah... but by then it may be too late... To arms!

Posted by BruceR at 02:19 PM



From the CBC, today:

Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat reacted with rage and defiance to the attacks [on Tulkarem]. "I swear to Allah I will see the Palestinian state, as a martyr or while still alive," he said.

Posted by BruceR at 01:27 PM



Hawkish U of T prof Clifford Orwin and son-of-a-famous-general Peter Worthington take a run at the Afghan POW issue.

Worthington's piece is memorable only for the way that the last half consists entirely of disjointed paragraphs, none of which connect to each other... for someone who believes the Talibs are really POWs, maybe calling the piece "Uproar over POWs is silly" is a bit of a mistake, but never mind. I do however, defy anyone to explain what side of the issue Worthington is on, based on this paragraph alone:

Because this is a war against terrorism doesn't mean we employ terrorist ethics. We don't. The Geneva Convention was designed for "civilized" societies. In WWII the Japanese ignored it by forced labour and brutality to PoWs. In the Korean War, the Chinese tried brainwashing and torture. And look at how North Vietnam treated American prisoners -- again not reciprocated by Americans.

Come on... Peter... wrestle... that point... to the ground...

Orwin takes the wrong side on the point on which, for me, the whole matter rests:

The prisoners are terrorists, not soldiers, for their allegiance is to no government but to an illegal unrecognized regime in Afghanistan (the Taliban) or to an international outlaw conspiracy (al-Qaeda. Or both, since in fact it's hard to distinguish between the two movements, each so intertwined with the other.)

Never mind the fact this is completely contrary to anyone's reading of the Conventions. More bothersome is that by extension, anyone can forego any offering of PoW status, so long as they first "unrecognize" the government for which someone is fighting. Washington's rebels, the Confederates, the French partisans, the Warsaw uprisers... all had allegiance to "no government", too -- at least to some people's mind. That does not, cannot mean the brutalities exerted upon them because of their allegiance were just. The Convention purposely extends to anyone fighting for their government or their homeland... a straight-off, never-had-tea-with-Bin-Laden, doesn't-even-know-where-New-York-is Talib should be enfolded in its protections, or no one can ever be. (Is there anyone like that at Guantanamo? I don't know... does anyone?)

Posted by BruceR at 01:16 PM



The anti-war blogger attacks Chomsky this week. Here is the new information I gained in trade for 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back:

1) Raimondo doesn't know what words like "catalytic" mean, but doesn't mind using them anyway;
2) Raimondo still believes the by-now totally discredited Marc Herold study (q.v);
3) Raimondo also believes in the long-ago discredited Richard Stennitt allegations about Pearl Harbour being an FDR setup;
4) Based on his derogatory use of quotations, "Raimondo" believes the Indonesians were not repressive, and the East Timorese under their rule were not oppressed -- despite voluminous evidence to the contrary;

But the moral bankruptcy of Raimondo's beliefs (far worse in their way, than Chomsky's) is clear in this paragraph:

What [Chomsky's] principle, consistently applied, would have to mean is that every time some "oppressed minority" rises up and challenges the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a "repressive" government, the US should exert pressure including, presumably, the threat of military intervention until the bad guys submit to the dismantling of their country. But that is precisely what happened to Yugoslavia, and the pattern is being repeated in Macedonia, while real noninterventionists want to know: by what right?

Um, by the right all humans everywhere have not to live under the thumb of "bad guys?" You know, the one in the Declaration of Independence? So what IS the moral difference between that and saying, say...

"That would have to mean that... every time [the Jews] challenge the sovereignty and territorial integrity of [the Nazis], the US should exert pressure -- including, presumably, the threat of military intervention -- until the bad guys submit... By what right?"

As far as Raimondo's concerned, the Revolution for the Rights of Man ended in 1781... or maybe 1865... and World War Two was just a Stalinist Big Lie by that FDR chappie. Those of us who want to see the world become a better place than it is today, or yesterday, can find no common ground with this kind of bankrupt groundhogism. Chomsky, rightly or wrongly, wants America to live up to its stated principles (as he sees them). Raimondo wants those principles to be buried and forgotten so we can all go back to buying stuff and watching Oprah.

Posted by BruceR at 12:08 PM



Kaus makes all the objections I had to Black Hawk Down much more cogently than I ever could. I don't oppose the movie, or its message... I just think, as Kaus does, that we need to be careful to remember everything the filmmakers left out, both of the history and Bowden's print version of it, to make a cleaner story...

Posted by BruceR at 10:27 AM



In an effort to give full due to the other side (ie, you), I'm going to try something new on the Letters side, and do what we used to do at Lum the Mad... there's now a "discuss" link at the bottom of each story, with links to an EZBoard forum dedicated to Flit's content, and your replies thereto. I've already reposted the three letters I was going to post here up there: replies from Lisby and Shultz, on Guantanamo, and John K. on the Canadians' uniforms. We'll see if this works well, and can it if it doesn't. But it's silly for me to mediate these kinds of intelligent, thoughtful (lengthy) replies by retyping them myself all the time.

Posted by BruceR at 10:13 AM



A good summary of the latest news out of the Congo can be found here. It's been three days, people, and the first great African natural disaster of the new century isn't even on the WashPost's home page. This is a classic case for immediate military humanitarian intervention. Canada has its DART team, the Americans and others have something similar... those units should have been en route already. That's what you get when a volcano blows on a Friday night, I guess... gotta love those UN office hours in a crisis, don't you?..

One suspects that part of the problem, BTW, is that the only practical way to get supplies to Goma, now that the airport has been knocked out by lava flows, is going to be by road from the airport in Gisenyi, Rwanda to the east -- I did a little logistical analysis with my unit one time back when Canada was thinking of deploying peacekeepers to the Congo, so I know a little about the area. And no one's ever going to jump at the chance to get their troops entangled in RWANDA, again... the NGOs might even have to go solo this time around, as a result. Not to mention that the current Rwandan government isn't going to be wildly comfortable with opening to their borders to the refugees, which will no doubt include thousands of those Hutu exiles who've been staging incursions into Rwanda from across the border since they fled to Goma after the genocides... on the other hand, they're not going to be crazy about turning their own country upside down to send a whole lot of aid the other way, either...

NB: Gisenyi's also the only practical road OUT. Which means that all those Hutus still in exile now have a choice between the lava, and going back to the country they destroyed... and the few remaining Tutsis they didn't manage to massacre... But it gets even better... the walking to Gisenyi is uphill all the way... literally... that's probably part of the reason why you're getting stories today of a lot of people preferring to return to the piles of lava where their homes once were, rather than contemplate moving... As Rosanne would say, these people are so far past screwed the light from screwed may not reach them for several years...

Posted by BruceR at 01:27 AM