Notes From The Overground

Progressive-minded weblog devoted heavily to politics and media with some music and popular culture sprinkled throughout working on the assumption that anything that comes out of Washington or the mass media is bogus propaganda unless proven otherwise.

Created by Tom

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Thursday, March 13, 2003

Preemptive Preemptive Strike

ABC News reports that Hussein may launch a preemptive strike against U.S. forces once Bush gives the signal that our preemptive war is inevitable.

— U.S. officials fear that once President Bush signals the U.S. is headed to war, Saddam Hussein will strike pre-emptively, administration sources told ABCNEWS.

But if the United States takes action to stop an Iraqi first strike, especially if they try to seize and protect the oil fields, U.S. officials admit they may end up starting the war itself.

To clarify, if the U.S. preemptive strike appears imminent, Saddam will launch a preemptive strike against the U.S. forces. So, based on fears of Saddam's preemptive strike, the U.S. may preemptively take action to stop an Iraqi first strike -- action that would likely lead to war.

Thus, the originally preemptive war of the U.S. will be scrapped in favor of a preemptive strike against Saddam's preemption of American preemption. Either way, this will all likely lead to some post-emptive death and destruction on both sides.

Really, who needs the U.N. (That irrelevant "debating society") when you have logic like this?


Freedom of Speech and You

The American Prospect examines the American media's refusal to cover the U.N. bugging allegations. The story only gets stranger: Great Britain's Observer reported that an employee of Government Communications Headquarters was arrested on suspicion of leaking the information.

In yet another case of stifling information, chairman of the Defense Policy Board (a Defense Department advisory group) Richard Perle is suing Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker for libel. Hersh's offending story points out conflicts of interest involving Perle and alleges that he is using his position at the Pentagon to benefit financially from the war on Iraq and the broader war on terrorism. Perle brought the suit to the U.K. where there is no First Amendment protection of the press, libel laws are much friendlier to the plaintiff and the burden of proof lies on the defendant.


New York City Council Takes Stand Against Iraq War

New York joined almost 150 other U.S. cities and counties by passing a resolution against the Iraq war.

The City Council passed a controversial anti-war resolution yesterday, following passionate debate about whether the action is anti-American.

With emotions running high, the council voted 31-17 for Resolution 549A, opposing war with Iraq except as a last resort.

"With our economy in peril, a war in Iraq will drain urgently needed resources for our cities, our suburbs and our small towns," said Deputy Majority Leader Bill Perkins (D-Harlem), who sponsored the legislation.

Of course there were the inevitable cries of "anti-Americanism" and irrational ties to 9/11 and democracy by the hawks in the council...

However, other council members expressed shame in the resolution and called it "anti-American." They said it was an unseemly action in New York especially, since the city bore the brunt of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

In dramatic fashion, Councilman Allan Jennings Jr. (D-Queens) held up a work identification photo of a close friend lost in the Sept. 11 attack as he sought to rally votes against the resolution.

Jennings' actions and words illustrate the myopic narrow-mindedness of those who support this war. There is no connection between Iraq and the events of 9/11/01. Using the specter of 9/11 to support Bush's folly is nakedly ignorant revenge-mongering; it is an attempt to tap into an irrationally visceral emotion to create a connection that does not exist.

Yet there are still those who believe that Saddam must be disarmed in order to prevent future 9/11s (despite the fact that he has no connection to the perpetrators of those terror attacks). The idea that a war with Iraq would prevent future attacks does not stand up to scrutiny as there are other countries that harbor and support Islamic fundamentalists of bin Laden's ilk. Remember that a wide majority of the alleged 9/11 bombers were Saudi Arabian nationals (Saudi Arabia being a "friendly" ally and trade partner). As has been claimed time and again, violent action against Iraq could solidify anti-Americanism in the Arab world and fuel the hatred that led to 9/11.

"Our troops are in the Middle East at this time to fight for our democracy," Jennings said. "I think this resolution sends the wrong message to our men and women in uniform."

Bush's actions have nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with the narrow interests of his cabal. To suggest that this resolution sends a "wrong message" to the troops on the front lines is a disgusting perversion of truth. The resolution represents a stand against the policies of those in charge. It is a stand against policies that will put the "men and women in uniform" in harm's way. To suggest that being against the war means being against the men and women on the front-lines is propagandistic manipulation and irrelevant to the truth.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Shaky Arrest

Reuters reports that Pakistan has been accused of staging the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A grainy video purporting to show the arrest of two al Qaeda leaders has done little to deflect accusations that Pakistan may have staged this month's raid to give it leeway to abstain in a U.N. vote on an Iraq war.

On Monday, the powerful military Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) held an unprecedented news conference to show foreign journalists what it said were images of a March 1 raid in Rawalpindi that netted al Qaeda kingpin Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

But few of journalists present were convinced the video -- which did not show Mohammed's face nor any sign of a struggle -- was genuine. Many said it looked like a crude reconstruction.
On Tuesday, a former ISI chief said he believed Mohammed was actually arrested some time ago in a different city.

"They are trying to cover up," Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul told Reuters. "I believe he was arrested before, probably in Karachi."

One intelligence source said Mohammed had been arrested three days before, from the Tench Batta suburb of Rawalpindi.

Rumors of Mohammed's arrest had circulated in Pakistan for months, but were consistently denied.

Gul said news of the arrest appeared to have been leaked at a critical time, just as Pakistan was facing huge U.S. pressure to support a U.N. Security Council vote authorizing war on Iraq. Read more...

This revelation just adds to the shroud of mystery. The details of Sheikh Mohammed's capture are ambiguous and questionable. An article published in Asia Times last October suggests that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was killed in a September 11, 2002 raid in Karachi. Yet his supposed capture (alive) publicized in March 2003 has great P.R. and propaganda value for both the United States' "War on Terror" and Pakistani leverage. Regardless, the paradox, misdirection and intrigue surrounding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed suggests that his purpose as a propaganda tool equals or supercedes all other function.

Echoes of George Orwell's Emanuel Goldstein?

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Britain Stepping Back?

America's closest ally in Bush's Iraqi folly may still back out. At the very least, Britain is looking to extend Hussein's deadline and shift more focus to disarmament as Tony Blair's political future is in turmoil over strong anti-war sentiment in the UK. CBS News reports:

Great Britain – America's closest ally – may find it politically impossible to commit its military to a U.S.-led attack on Saddam Hussein. And that could force the United States to go it alone in Iraq.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld hinted as much Tuesday.

"To the extent that they are able to participate that would obviously be welcomed. To the extent they are not, well, there are workarounds," Rumsfeld said.

War in Iraq is now supported by fewer than 20 percent of Britons, and Prime Minister Tony Blair has told Washington he needs U.N. authorization, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Plante. Read more...

Get ready for the new breakfast snack: Liberty Muffins.


What's Next? Give Back the Statue of Liberty?

More from the "Freedom" front...

Republican lawmakers successfully lobbied to have "French Fries" and "French Toast" changed to "Freedom Fries" and "Freedom Toast" in three House cafeterias.

The name changes were spearheaded by two Republican lawmakers who held a news conference Tuesday to make the name changes official on the menus.

It's refreshing to know that our nation is governed by solemn maturity and that our lawmakers are not distracted by more important matters in these trying times.

Monday, March 10, 2003

One Story (of many) You're Not Hearing from the American Mass Media

U.K.'s Observer reports that the U.N. has begun a "top level" investigation into the United States' bugging of delegations.

The leak [of the NSA documents that suggest the bugging] was described as 'more timely and potentially more important than the Pentagon Papers' by Daniel Ellsberg, the most celebrated whistleblower in recent American history.

In 1971, Ellsberg was responsible for leaking a secret history of US involvement in Vietnam, which became known as 'the Pentagon Papers', while working as a Defence Department analyst. The papers fed the American public's hostility to the war.

The revelations of the spying operation have caused deep embarrassment to the Bush administration at a key point in the sensitive diplomatic negotiations to gain support for a second UN resolution authorising intervention in Iraq.

Writing for (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), Norman Solomon examines the frightening implications of the American media's refusal to cover the story in a timely manner. While noting that "belated coverage would be better than none at all," Solomon asserts that this information is vital to a well-informed American citizenry. If widely publicized by the mass media this information could turn more Americans against the war and ultimately save lives.

But perhaps we are expecting too much from a corporate media institution that has worked as a virtual megaphone for the Bush administration's propaganda.


Patriot Poetry

There is a website devoted to pro-war poetry called, shockingly, "Poets for The War." One would think that being "poets" they would have come up with a prettier or catchier moniker. Perhaps, "Tomahawk Cruise Troubadours" or "Poets for Punishment." How about the painfully realist "Poets For the Death and Destruction of Innocents"?

Poets for the War
“War is terrible, but inaction is unforgivable!” -- Tony Pahl, Australian Vietnam Veteran and Webmaster, International War Veterans Poetry Archive

This is a site for poets who support and understand President Bush’s policies, the war on terrorism, or the liberation of Iraq from under Saddam Hussein al Tikriti’s crushing heel. If you have poetry to submit on those topics, or related topics such as supporting the troops or incidents with the anti-war crowd, click on the “Connect” button to submit them.

This is a site for poets who support and understand President Bush's policies, the war on terrorism...
You see?! All us naysayers just don't understand because we don't have that poetic touch. But seriously, any person or "poet" who actually understands Bush's policies and the war on terror and still supports them must be mentally ill. I can almost wrap my head around the countless misinformed brainwashed who follow like sheep because they don't understand. I can write them off as, "well if they understood, they'd see the evil hypocrisy..." But to understand Bush's sadistic, cold-heartedly evil, anti-democratic policies and still support them? Frightening. But this begs the question: do they understand? Most likely what they understand is the surface propaganda, the patriotic decoy of "compassion" and "love" -- as T.S. Elliot or Marshall McLuhan would say, "the juicy piece of meat that distracts the watchdog of the mind." This must be the case for I find it hard to believe that only a handful of people with a vested interest in an America that has forsaken democracy would be able to understand and support Dubya.

Getting back to the poetry of it all...

Check out the scathing anti-French ode to "Freedom Fries." (In case you're out of the loop, a North Carolina restaurant owner renamed his French fries, "freedom fries" to show his solidarity with the troops.)

Well I guess it's all a step up from "There once was a man from..."


The Goose-step Towards War Continues Despite Obstacles

The AP reports that France and Russia have vowed to used their veto power to stop the U.S. war resolution.

Yet the point may be moot as the Cowboy in Chief has claimed the U.S. will go in with or without the U.N.

Here's one reason why.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Forging War

The Washington Post reports that the U.N.'s chief nuclear inspector claimed certain documents that link Iraq to a nuclear weapons program were fabricated.

Click here to cast your vote now in the national referendum to stop the war in Iraq.