Of course as usual you can add and remove addresses for ZNet Updates via the ZNet top 
page which is at www.zmag.org/weluser.htm
And of course since last message there has been extensive updating of the site with 
new articles, etc.  
But the main thing I want to communicate this message is that we have placed on line 
an entirely revamped blog system for our writers a goodly number of whom are already 
participating, including chomsky, albert, majavu, podur, and others. 

The new system is much easier to use and to search than the old one and it has a much 
nicer display. It also can easily accomodate more bloggers, and new ZNet writers will 
be added periodically. But most of all, from the users perspective, it now 
accommodates commenting by users, free.
So come to the site for the usual content, and also take a look at the new blogging 
system (and if you don't know what blogging is, come and look, and then you will!).

The main link is http://blog.zmag.org/

Blog posts are of diverse types. Sometimes they point to interesting material online 
or review it. Sometimes they report from on the scene events, eyewitness. They may 
comment, often fairly briefly, on ideas. Sometimes they convey personal feelings and 
reactions, or they may debate. Chomsky's posts tend to come from a subset of his 
answers to queries in the Sustainer forum system. Albert tends to do a little of 
everything including posting new material in advance, seeking comments, and is 
currently placing draft chapters from a new book into the system. And so on.
By way of evidence that the content on the system has considerable merit and interest, 
not to mention volume, here are a few recent blog posts...there are many every day.

In Caracas
By Justin Podur
It has been an interesting night and day.  I have spent a substantial portion of the 
past 24 hours listening to Chavez speak.  The man speaks a lot.  But let me explain. 


My interest in Venezuela started with my interest and work on Colombia.  It seemed to 
me like the two countries, linked historically in so many ways, were living completely 
different histories today.  I remember the coup in April 2002 in Venezuela and a 
moment when I thought Venezuela was going to go that same route-of paramilitarism, of 
neoliberalism based on massacre and assassination.  But over the past two years 
Venezuelans have beaten repeated attempts at plunging them into that kind of future.  

But yesterday I learned that I had overlooked something else-that that history of 
murderous counterinsurgency is very much a part of Venezuela´s own history.  Last 
night, at the Complejo Cultural Teatro Teresa Carreno (which is a theatre built for 
the rich for their own use), there was a really moving event.  An auditorium of well 
over a thousand people, mostly young people, students-real people, not elites-came to 
a launch of the fourth edition of a book by a journalist who is now the Vice President 
of Venezuela, Jose Vicente Rangel.  The book, ´Expediente Negra´, is an investigation 
of human rights violations committed during the years of "democracy" here in 
Venezuela.  There was a guerrilla insurgency here, in the 1960s and 1970s, and it, 
like so much else, was repressed savagely-the whole gambit of disappearances, 
massacres, assassinations.  One President held publicly to the dictum of "shoot first, 
find out later".  

In addition to the strangeness of an elite theatre filled with people, the event 
itself was quite dignified, I thought.  It would have been easy to do wrong: to turn 
an event that was a kind of commemoration into a way of scoring political points.  
But-and this is not to deny that political points were scored-the dead were honoured.  
Several family members of the disappeared spoke, and told their stories.  There were 
cultural events, musical groups in between the speeches.  And yes, there was Chavez, 
on the screen and in person. 

The theme of the evening was "recovering memory" ("recuperar" in spanish has a deeper 
meaning than recovery in english).  The disappeared were shown on screen.  Their 
families held up their pictures.  Their names were named (Alberto Lovera, Alejandro 
Tejero, Andres y Jose Ramon Pasquier, Jose Carmelo Mendoza, Luis Alberto Hernandez... 
and on and on).  A famous musician of the era, Ali Primera, has a song, based on 
something a famous priest said during a service for one of the dead decades ago-"Those 
who die for life, cannot be called dead" (again, something is lost in the translation 
but you get the idea).  The photos were shown in a montage, to the music of Ali 

What was the political point of all this?  Well, at the beginning of this note I said 
that my initial interest in Venezuela was not that of someone looking for the 
authentic revolution or the next revolutionary fashion-it was, instead, a kind of fear 
of a situation that was close to the brink, with paramilitaries sharpening their 
knives and waiting for their chance to restore neoliberalism.  I thought of 
Colombia-but Venezuelans have their own, living memories of all this.  And it only 
made sense for Chavez's people to want to remind Venezuelans of what came before.  
Chavez does not do disappearances, torture, and massacres, though they accuse him of 
being a dictator.  Venezuelans know this.  And many of the people in the opposition 
are people who did participate in all this.  So the cry, "no volveran!" (they will not 

Chavez talks... 

The evening ended with a lot of Chavez.  First, Luis Britto, one of the old generation 
of leftists who is part of the government, showed some interesting videos.  To those 
who accuse us of censorship, he said, let me remind you of this freedom of press.  He 
then showed two videos of the current vice president, Jose Vicente Rangel, who was in 
the 1990s a TV personality, trying to interview Chavez, who was in jail after trying 
to overthrow the regime in a coup in 1992.  Both times, the interviews were censored, 
in a very crude way-a big red "CENSURADO" sign was pasted on Chavez´s face and the 
attempt ended. 

But then, Britto showed a video of a very long interview Rangel did with Chavez two 
days before Chavez won the elections of 1998.  That was an interesting interview-good 
questions, good answers.  Rangel asked about power-they say you are a man who wants 
power, Chavez... why?  Power for what?  Chavez said, power isn't like a glass of water 
you pick up-it is something you build... I want to build a new kind of power, 
democratic power, popular power.  

After the long interview, Chavez got up to speak himself.  "I will be brief", he 
began, and he was-he only talked for an hour.  He told a story of when he was in the 
army, and how he witnessed the torture of two campesinos where he was posted as a 
young sub-lieutenant in the 1970s.  He tried, and failed, to stop it, but decided then 
that he had to do something.  There were more stories, too, all trying to return to 
the point that all those who died fighting for change did not die in vain, that 
today´s process is built on their sacrifices. 

And talks some more... 

Then, this morning, I did what any good journalist should do once in a lifetime-I went 
to a mainstream press conference at the Presidential palace!  Now that was a genuine 
media circus.  Several hundred people, from mainstream media all over Latin America, 
Europe, and some of our friends from the United States as well.  Indeed, Venezuela´s 
good friend Juan Forero (read his NYT reports on Colombia and Venezuela if you have a 
strong stomach) was sitting just a couple of seats from me.  I got to watch him school 
another American journalist about all the money that Chavez is spending on frivolous 
things like education, health care, and Argentine beef.  I got to watch him elbow that 
same American journalist and chuckle when Chavez mentioned how infallible the new 
voting system and voting machines were (that gave me a bit of the chills, actually, 
especially after getting a chance to read Greg Palast´s latest... do they know 
something we don´t?  All sides here seem to like the machines.  Is that not a sure 
sign something is wrong?) 

The American journalists (you can probably read more about this on Narconews-there was 
a solid Narconews team there today) projected this air of world-weariness, cynicism, 
and wisdom to the ways of overblown politicians.  That attitude was striking, 
considering how little wisdom or doubt they exhibit when dealing with their own 
government.  But not, perhaps, surprising. 

At any rate, Chavez hit his usual notes in the press conference: Latin American 
integration, opposition to neoliberalism, the likely overwhelming victory in the 
referendum, the readiness and preparation for any 'irregularities', the long history 
of US destabilization (mentioning Chile many times) in the region.  

My two favourite quotes from the press conference were the following.  First, when 
asked about what he hopes for from the US, he said-"we could hope for a lot.  What 
couldn´t we accomplish with the US on our side?  What couldn´t we accomplish in 
fighting poverty, fighting for education, for health care, for literacy in the 
neighbourhoods?  What couldn't we accomplish for all of the Americas, or for the whole 
world?  I would be the first one to ally with the United States for something like 
that.  But we cannot hope for anything like that.  I read this morning that the US is 
about to take Najaf.  Instead of withdrawing from Iraq, as Spain did, in a very 
dignified way, as other Latin American countries did, they are making this terrible 
mistake, with its terrible consequences, even worse." He reminded the audience that 
Venezuela always opposed and continues to oppose the war in Iraq.  And he reminded 
those present that the reason the price of oil is climbing is because of that war, in 

My other favourite quote was about the CIA itself.  When asked about the CIA, he said: 
"You know, it is like James Bond.  Now, I love James Bond.  I think the Sean Connery 
James Bond movies are irreplaceable.  But James Bond is not as cool now as he was." 
(this is fairly loose translation, forgive me) "Look at Dracula!  Is the new Dracula 
as scary as Bela Lugosi´s Dracula?  Superman?  Even Batman, he's not scary any more, 
and neither is Robin!  The same is true of the CIA.  We, a third world, underdeveloped 
country, we have taped the CIA giving classes here in Venezuela-that is, we have 
infiltrated them.  I've called the US Embassy to ask them to stop trying to infiltrate 
our military-I know the military, when something is going on, they tell me..." When 
asked if the US would try to destabilize Venezuela, he said they probably would.  "But 
they will fail, again and again." 

Let´s make a deal? 

On the streets tonight, there are demonstrations.  One of the opposition, the 'Si' 
camp, which by the private TV networks looks like it has hundreds of thousands (check 
out venezuelanalysis.com for last Sunday's 'No' march photos).  And another, a street 
party at the palace, of the 'No'.  You see, there is no campaigning allowed on Friday 
and Saturday-so this is the last night to publicly campaign (we will see how this rule 
is bent or broken tomorrow...) I am in the wrong place, writing when I should be on 
the street.  But, I should mention the one thing that the mainstream media are likely 
to pick up about Chavez's speech today. 

There was a tone of wanting to play ball:  Chavez mentioned the pipeline deal with 
Uribe.  He quoted from many mainstream Wall Street journalists and analysts who 
predicted chaos, and who predicted that a Chavez victory would bring stability to the 
markets which the markets, especially the oil markets, need right now, whereas the 
opposition has no plan and no idea how to govern the country.  In the midst of some 
very solid talk about Latin American integration, the irreversible changes to the 
constitution and in terms of land reform, housing, education, health, that have been 
mobilizing and democratizing forces, there was also this sense, that the government 
could work with the multinationals, work on the megaprojects, and cooperate in some 
areas.  I imagine the mainstream media will seize on this.  

The next days of non-campaigning promise to be interesting.  Maybe a chance to get out 
of the media zone and talk to some people... 


Up and Down Oil
CP Pandya

A prime example of the Chavez government's economic mismanagement (according to 
ratings agency Standard & Poors) is Petroleos de Venezuela's ability to meet its debt 
obligations to foreign investors in a consistent and timely manner. For shame! PdVSA, 
as the state-oil company is called, recently bought back $2.5 billion of debt from 
foreign owners, leaving less than $1 billion in foreign hands. 

It was a move that prompted S&P - an important credit rating agency which effectively 
determines the economic soundness of a company - to lower its view of PdVSA. Usually, 
when a company displays monetary strength, S&P is quick to upgrade its rating, thus 
opening the financial floodgates for more investment to come pouring in. In 
Venezuela's case, such monetary strength poses a "threat" to global corporate 
influence. In addition to foreign owners having less hold of PdVSA, the S&P downgrade 
was possibly the result of Venezuela's cooperation with Cuba and the company's 
ideological communion with Chavez. One need only read the S&P's rather cryptic press 
release for the reasons given: 

S&P cited "decreased transparency with respect to PDVSA's physical and financial 
operations....and the general trend toward greater political interference in the 
operations of PDVSA by the government. In particular, the enhanced ability of PDVSA to 
sell its oil exports to buyers who are not designated customers..." as reasons for the 

Why should this technical nonsense matter to those of us intently watching the 
political and social scene in Venezuela? Aside from the up-is-down phenomena of news 
coverage about Venezuela - this could be the first in a series of bullying moves to 
rein PdVSA in. Beyond the referendum, which even the corporate sector thinks will be 
won by Chavez, pressure on PdVSA (and therefore the government) will quickly mount. As 
the price of oil continues to skyrocket, the U.S. will tighten its fist and stomp its 
feet at global oil exporters (of which Venezuela is the fifth-largest) to act on the 
U.S.'s behalf. The threat of capital flight and further company and country downgrades 
would be a fairly easy trump card to play in exchange for lower royalty rates for oil 
sector investment and more spending on production and exploration - and who knows what 
else. One can never underestimate the corporate world's forward-looking worldview. 


Refuting Horowitz and Collier
Noam Chomsky

To refute the criticisms[...] is trivial, and worth doing for only one reason. It 
teaches us something important: by even bothering to refute the criticisms, we are 
granting the critics a great gift, exactly what they want, and are falling into a trap 
that they would understand, and avoid.  

The best way to evaluate the critique is to look at the entire section to which it 
refers, the opening of chapter 5 of Fateful Triangle, entitled "Peace for Galilee," 
the name of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Note that the name is a complete fraud, 
a crucially important matter that the critics desperately want us to ignore, and 
succeed when we focus attention on their critique. 

Galilee was at peace before the invasion, though Lebanon was not, because of constant 
Israeli attacks, brutal and murderous, in a vain attempt to incite some action that 
would be a pretext for the planned invasion, as reviewed there and elsewhere. These 
are the crucial matters... 

The chapter opens by noting that "Since 1949, Israel has sought to remove the 
displaced Palestinian refugees from the border areas and to destroy their emerging 
political and military structures." That is entirely accurate, beginning with the 
displacement of Bedouins from the demilitarized zones and other actions for which it 
was regularly and harshly condemned by international bodies. Since that is not 
contested, let's proceed. 

The chapter then quotes Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur's 1978 explanation that from 1948 
Israel had been "fighting against a population that lives in villages and cities," to 
which he adds examples of major crimes against civilians. The context is Israel's 1978 
invasion of Lebanon, "in retaliation for a PLO terrorist attack on Israel" (my 
words-not Gur's). 

Next comes the characterization of General Gur's remarks by Israel's most 
distinguished, and quite hawkish military correspondent Ze'ev Schiff, keeping to 
Lebanon (though the atrocities Gur cites go far beyond): 

"In South Lebanon we struck the civilian population consciously, because they deserved 
it...the importance of Gur's remarks is the admission that the Israeli Army has always 
struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously...the Army, he said, has never 
distinguished civilian [from military] targets...[but] purposely attacked civilian 
targets even when Israeli settlements had not been struck." 

That is, Israel struck civilian targets when there was no credible pretext of 
retaliation, as Schiff stresses explicitly-and quite correctly, as the record shows. 

Note that Schiff's comments go beyond Gur's statement, interpreting Gur as saying that 
Israel "purposely attacked civilian targets" even when there was no credible pretext 
of retaliation. I presume the critics [...] did not criticize Schiff for extending 
Gur's comments this way, nor has anyone else to my knowledge. The reason is that 
Schiff's extension of Gur's comments is quite appropriate, given what Schiff, his 
readers-and if we are interested, we too-know about the record to which Gur was 

Returning to my text, next comes Abba Eban's response to Menahem Begin's review of 
attacks against civilians under Eban's Labor government, presenting a picture (in 
Eban's words) "of an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death and 
anguish on civilian populations in a mood reminiscent of regimes which neither Mr. 
Begin nor I would dare to mention by name." Eban is of course referring to the Nazis, 
to such famous crimes as Lidice and Oradour. Eban does not contest Begin's account, 
but explains the reasons: "there was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that 
affected populations would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities." Noted in 
a footnote is Ben-Gurion's earlier advice, in 1948, of the necessity for "cruel and 
strong reactions" in retaliation for any Arab attack: "If we know the family [we must] 
strike mercilessly, women and child included," with "no need to distinguish between 
guilty and innocent": that is, we must commit major crimes against humanity in 
retaliation (as I explicitly quoted). 

Ze'ev Schiff does indeed interpret Gur's comments, accurately, as describing the 
policy of attacking civilian targets "even when Israeli settlements had not been 
struck." Eban recognizes the horrific actions, and provides a rationale. I attributed 
nothing further to Eban, contrary to the critique..., though in fact Schiff did. I 
cannot see even the slightest basis for criticism of my chapter. 

[The question] "did Eban explicitly say that Israel's bombing under Labor in the 70's 
were not retaliation (whether to actual PLO attacks or fabricated attacks or whatever) 
but Israeli initiated attempts at terror?" No, he did not, nor did I state that he 
did. It was Ze'ev Schiff who stated this, not me. And correctly. He was, again, 
interpreting General Gur's comments on the entire period of Labor government, 
1948-1977, the same period to which Begin and Eban were referring. All of this is 
explicit in my rendition of these shocking facts, and Eban's disgraceful justification 
for attacks on civilians so that they "would exert pressure for the cessation of 
hostilities"-that is, outright war crimes. I added nothing, though Schiff in fact did. 

Note that Eban's rationale is the same as those given by Palestinian suicide bombers, 
who also do not say that their acts are "not retaliation," but rather describe them as 
retaliation for over 30 years of Israeli crimes in the occupied territories. Osama bin 
Laden offers the same rationale. Or to take the case to which Eban obliquely alludes, 
the more extreme Nazi apologists, if any can be found, would make the same claims 
about Lidice and Oradour, also "retaliations." 

I do not see any basis, even the slightest, for criticism of my rendition of Gur, 
Schiff, Ben-Gurion, Eban, and the significance of their statements and the actions 
they describe (also reviewed in the book, and far more extensively elsewhere, e.g., 
Morris's "Israel's Border Wars"). That includes the actual topic of the chapter: 
first, the criminal invasion of Lebanon in 1978 (a war crime "in retaliation" as I 
wrote), and crucially the far more extreme and murderous aggression of 1982, when, as 
distinct from 1978, there was not even a pretext of retaliation. 

It's understandable that accurate rendition of this shameful record should outrage 
apologists for mass murder, expulsion of huge numbers of people, destruction and 
devastation; and should drive them to seek desperately to find some error in it. But 
this attempt [...] is a total failure. To be precise, it is a total failure in narrow 
terms, keeping to the text and the critique. 

The critics are resorting to what is sometimes called the "thief, thief" technique, 
well known to any criminal or defense lawyer with a hopeless case. If you're caught 
with your hand in someone's pocket, point to someone else and shout "thief, thief." 
That may shift attention elsewhere, to someone else, who now has to prove that he is 
not the thief. The effort succeeds, if others spend even a moment on the deception; 
even more if the actual crime is then put into the background and ignored. As has just 
happened... I have spent a lot of time refuting the charges, meanwhile ignoring the 
issues, and immobilizing ourselves, taking time away from important activities that 
could be undertaken with regard to the ongoing and past crimes that are defended by 
these pathetic apologists. That's their highest goal. 

Let's turn now to what is being avoided. 

First, Operation "Peace for Galilee," the topic of the chapter. I mentioned that the 
name is a fraud: the region was basically at peace, apart from murderous Israeli 
attacks in southern Lebanon in an attempt to elicit a pretext for the planned 

Second, the invasion was indeed retaliation: retaliation against PLO diplomatic 
efforts, which were becoming a "veritable catastrophe" for Israel, as Israel's leading 
(and by no means dovish) academic historian of Palestine, Yehoshua Porath, pointed out 
at once in explaining the reasons for the invasion, confirmed by the highest political 
and military echelons, as I quoted. That is very important, for reasons that should be 
too obvious to review-though I did review them there, and in further detail later, as 
more evidence emerged. 

Third, the invasion was a major crime. The death toll of Lebanese and Palestinians may 
be on the order of 20,000 (with tens of thousands more, according to Lebanese records, 
in the following years of Israeli crimes in Lebanon and occupation for 22 years in 
defiance of Security Council orders). The bombing of Beirut was a major post-World War 
II crime in itself, the destruction of southern Lebanon even worse. 

Fourth, the atrocities are not properly described as Israeli crimes: they are United 
States-Israeli crimes. They could not have been carried out without the support of the 
US: military, economic, diplomatic (including veto of Security Council resolutions 
that sought to halt the carnage), and doctrinal. The doctrinal contributions are 
crucial: falsifying the record, suppressing the facts, and if everything else fails, 
resorting to the "thief, thief" technique, the ultimate resort of the scoundrel, which 
succeeds even if it fails if we fall for it, as [...] I have just done. 

The fourth point is the most crucial of all, for us... We are not speaking of the 
crimes of Genghis Khan, or of the Tamil Tigers, but of crimes for which you and I and 
the critics bear direct responsibility, and can therefore do something about, as we 
could then, and we can now-if we are not immobilized and diverted, by such shameful 
tactics as the "thief, thief" technique [...]. 

To bring out what is at stake here, consider a thought experiment, taking off from 
Eban's oblique reference to such Nazi crimes as Oradour and Lidice. These are 
commonly, and rightly, bitterly denounced, usually without reference to the irrelevant 
fact that they were retaliation. Scholars and commentators commonly and rightly 
discuss the pronouncements of Nazi leaders, and use them as the basis for bitter 
condemnation, attribution of responsibility, even judicial prosecution. One rarely if 
ever finds such statements as: "let's strike mercilessly against women and children in 
the rational expectation that civilians may pressure the resistance to cease its 
actions." True, sometimes we do find such statements. One recently appeared in the NY 
Times, the discovery of orders to carry out "a massive bombing campaign" against 
another country: "Anything that flies on anything that moves." It happens to be 
Kissinger in this case, conveying his master's orders. But such direct calls for 
extreme war crimes are very rare. If Milosevic's prosecutors could find anything like 
it, glee would be unrestrained, the trial would be over, and he'd be sentenced to many 
consecutive life terms, the death sentence if it was a US court. In this case, the 
discovery was marginally noted and quickly disappeared, for the usual reasons: wrong 

Let's continue with the thought experiment. Suppose some analyst of Nazi crimes not 
only quoted statements of Nazi leaders describing and providing a rationale for them, 
but went on to attribute to these leaders a justification for striking civilians even 
when there is no pretext-as Schiff did in this case, and as the critics cite[d] 
falsely claim I did. Suppose now that we can find some Nazi apologist so grotesque as 
to condemn the analysts of Nazi crimes for this extended interpretation. Would we 
waste even a minute exposing their lies and deceit, or responding if their charge was 
correct (as in the Schiff example)? Or would we just leave them to rot in their 
sewers? I think the latter. 

Notice that the thought experiment is not quite fair. It would be shocking enough for 
us to find a Nazi apologist here who is willing to resort to this miserable device; it 
is far worse when the apologetics are offered for our own crimes, not those of others. 

I'd suggest thinking all this through, and paying attention to the morass into which 
we are being drawn by refuting, or even paying a moment's attention to, these 
desperate efforts of extreme apologists for horrendous crimes. 

If I may, I'll just refer [...] to something I wrote in the introduction to my first 
collection of political essays, 35 years ago. Discussing apologists for Nazi crimes, I 
wrote that we demean ourselves by even entering into debate with them, entering into 
the arena of footnotes, citations, distortions, lies, justifications, etc. That's 
correct, and even more correct when we allow apologists for our own crimes to draw us 
into this arena. It would be correct even if there were a shred of credibility to 
their charges, unlike the example...describe[d]. 

These, I think, are the important issues, all displaced by the "thief, thief" 


Al Qaeda
By Paul Street

As those of you have done your daily ZNet reading may suspect (see my August 12th 
piece titled "An American Hiroshima"), I've been reading CIA Analyst "Anonymous'" 
interesting book Imperial Hubris: How the West Is Losing the War on Terror (2004) 

One of the many instructive themes in this study is the dangerous disconnect between 
(A) official US state and corporate-state media pronouncements to the effect that 
American authorities and their "coalition" parnters are making Americans and the rest 
of the world safe from extremist Islamic terror threats and (B) the reality of Islamic 
terrorism and al Qaeda's remarkable resiliency and indeed expansion (and growing 
popular appeal amongst mainstream Muslims) in the wake of 9/11 and Bush's II's 
proclomation of a (new) War of (oops, we mean ON) Terrorism.  

"The West," Anonymous notes, "is deluged daily by newsmakers and the conveyors of 
their words and actions" with the claim that "the West is winning the war that 
intensified [on September 11].  An imagined but plausible synopsis of this news could 
be gisted in the following breathless, headlinelike manner: Victory in Afghanistan, 
Taleban destroyed.  Bin Laden and el Zawahiri cowering in Afghan caves.  Al Qaeda 
remnants soon to be captured.  Pro-Western democratic regime rules in Kabul.  
Enthusiasm for Islamism and jihad waning, becoming, per director of central 
intelligence, the "the fringe of the Muslim lunatic fringe." Israeli prime minister 
Sharon - "Man of Peace." War on al Quaeda not war on Islam.  Anti-terror war has 
nothing to do with religion.  bin Laden hates United states for its freedom, not its 
policies.  Islamists hate America for what it is, not what it does.  Pakistan, Saudia 
Araba support U.S. war on al Qaeda.  West dries up funds for bin Laden.  Road Map for 
Israel, Palestine working.  Victory in Iraq, no Islamist insurgency.  Iraq nears 
secular government, democracy, sovereignty. (Imperial Hubris, pp. 163-164) 

Imperial Hubris is dedicated to showing that all of these imperial bullet-points, 
sound clips, and headlines are pure unadulterated bullshit and that things are moving 
in a different, ominous direction. And "Anonymous" acknowledges that the reason for 
this is that the U.S. conducts itself in the Middle East in precisely the imperialist 
ways that bin Laden and other Islamists say: "military garrisons; economic 
exploitation and control; support for leaders, no matter how brutal and undemocratic, 
as long as they obey the imperial power; and the exploitation and depletion of natural 
resources" (p. 15). "With US tanks on the streets of Iraq's capital," it doesn't make 
much imagination for Muslims to accept al Qaeda's "view of the United States as the 
world's new, predatory colonial power." (p.16) 

At the same, "Anonymous" notes that careful Westen media watchers/listeners/readers 
who "dig deep enough" into the newspapers "will find stories claiming that [the 
official pronouncements] are incorrect, that al Qaeda is actually more dangerous than 
[before 9/11]. At the same time, the current newsmakers in power in the White House 
seem to have a vested interest in scaring the Hell out of us, encouraging us thereby 
to cower under the national Insecurity State Umbrella, so "to say the least, Americans 
are getting mixed and confused messages from their leaders" (pp. 165-165). 

Against that background, I present selected sections of a recent page one New York 
Times story showing that the reality of al Qaeda's resiliency is quite different than 
the victory story that Bush II is telling over and over again on his "Heart and Soul" 
campaign trail. 

August 10, 2004 
New Generation of Leaders Is Emerging for Al Qaeda 

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 - A new portrait of Al Qaeda's inner workings is emerging from the 
cache of information seized last month in Pakistan, as investigators begin to identify 
a new generation of operatives who appear to be filling the vacuum created when 
leaders were killed or captured, senior intelligence officials said Monday. 

Using computer records, e-mail addresses and documents seized after the arrest of 
Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan last month in Pakistan, intelligence analysts say they are 
finding that Al Qaeda's upper ranks are being filled by lower-ranking members and more 
recent recruits. 

"They're a little bit of both,'' one official said, describing Al Qaeda's new midlevel 
structure. "Some who have been around and some who have stepped up. They're reaching 
for their bench.'' 

While the findings may result in a significant intelligence coup for the Bush 
administration and its allies in Britain, they also create a far more complex picture 
of Al Qaeda's status than Mr. Bush presents on the campaign trail. For the past 
several months, the president has claimed that much of Al Qaeda's leadership has been 
killed or captured; the new evidence suggests that the organization is regenerating 
and bringing in new blood. 

The new picture emerged from interviews with two officials who have been briefed on 
some of the details of the intelligence and analytical conclusions drawn from the 
information on computers seized after Mr. Khan's arrest. But they did not identify the 
more senior Qaeda leaders, and they said it was not yet clear to what extent Osama bin 
Laden still exercised control over the organization, either directly or through his 
chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. 

Officials say they still do not have a clear picture of the midlevel structure that 
exists between Mr. Khan, who appeared to be responsible for communications but not 
operations, and the upper echelons of Al Qaeda. 

The new evidence suggests that Al Qaeda has retained some elements of its previous 
centralized command and communications structure, using computer experts like Mr. Khan 
to relay encrypted messages and directions from leaders to subordinates in countries 
like Britain, Turkey and Nigeria. 
In the past, officials had a different view of Al Qaeda. After the American-led war in 
Afghanistan, most American counterterrorism analysts believed that the group had been 
dispersed and had been trying to re-form in a loosely affiliated collection of 
extremist groups. 

It appears that Al Qaeda is more resilient than was previously understood and has 
sought to find replacements for operational commanders like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, 
Abu Zubaydah and Walid Muhammad Salih bin Attash, known as Khallad, all of whom have 
been captured.....


Mandisi Majavu

According to the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Accord, signed between the Burundi 
government and various rebel groups in August 2000; Burundi is supposed to go to the 
polls at the end of October.  

However, two months before the elections are due, almost nothing is ready - a 
constitution is yet to be drafted and debated, there is no electoral commission and 
voters are still to be registered. 

Even the regional summit to ratify a power-sharing agreement and reconfirm Burundi's 
election process and timetable that was scheduled to take place this week has been 
postponed to early September. 

Although a ceasefire agreement was signed by the government and the rebels in December 
2002, sporadic fighting in Bujumbura Rural Province still continues between the 
government and the Forces Nationales de liberation (FNL) rebels loyal to Agathon 
Rwasa. The FNL is the only rebel group in the country that has refused to sign a 
ceasefire agreement with the government. 

About three months ago the Burundi government suggested that the elections be delayed 
by a year, however, according to the Burundi government spokesperson Pancrace Cimpaye, 
the South African team in charge of Burundi's peace process rejected the proposal to 
extend the transitional period. 

Also, the South African government has promised to send about 475 National Defence 
Force personnel to the country to guard the politicians in the run-up to Burundi's 

Meanwhile, the South African minister of defence Mosiuoa Lekota, has been urging 
members of parliament to increase military spending so as to improve the military 
equipment the defence force requires and the training of the troops who would become 
peacekeepers in foreign countries. 

As much as South Africa wants to contribute to peace on the continent, one cannot help 
but think that South Africa's top priorities in the whole affair are its business 
interests and profits and making sure an environment that is conducive to business 
trade is fully implemented. 

After all, South African businesses are running the national railroad in Cameroon, the 
national electricity company in Tanzania, Rwanda and Cameroon. They are also managing 
power plants in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mali; building roads and bridges in Malawi and 
Mozambique, and a gas pipeline between offshore Mozambique and South Africa. South 
African Businesses control banks, breweries, supermarkets and hotels throughout the 
continent and provide TV programming to over half of all Africa's states.  


Moral Truisms
Noam Chomsky

There is no doubt that people have moral intuitions, and research-serious research is 
in very early stages-reveals that they are quite uniform without experience in complex 
situations, and in many ways surprising.  

There is little reason to doubt David Hume's observation that they are grounded in our 
nature-as we would restate it, adding nothing much substantive, in our genetic 
endowment.  We can learn little bits about these topics by the methods of science, but 
the issues of human life so vastly exceed the range of scientific understanding that 
we are almost always proceeding on the basis of moral intuition, which is subject to 
reflection, debate, sharpening, etc., but cannot be grounded... The same is true of 
the epistemological intuitions that guide scientific research, in fact.  Why should we 
seek what by our cognitive standards are simple, elegant theories?  In brief, we have 
to live our lives, without immobilizing ourselves by posing questions that are very 
remote from answers, or even coherent formulation.  That's not to say we shouldn't 
think about them, but without being immobilized by them. 

What I've called truisms I think are moral truisms: for example, that we should apply 
to ourselves the same standards we apply to others (in fact, more stringent ones).  
Suppose I run into someone who doesn't agree: say, someone who thinks it's outrageous 
for someone to cause severe harm to us, but just fine for us to cause far more severe 
harm to them?  Then discussion is pretty much at an end.  However, I think this 
situation is very rare.  The usual situation is denial that we are causing severe harm 
to them; rather, we are doing our best to help them, but sometimes failing because of 
our naivete, innocence, tendency to sacrifice ourselves too much for others, etc.  
That's the essence of what in honest days used to be called "propaganda," and is now 
called "news," or "information," or "sober commentary by public intellectuals," or 
"scholarship," etc.  I think that is overwhelmingly true.  One rarely comes across 
someone who says "I'm a Nazi and proud of it." But if so, that reveals that there is 
something of a common moral ground, and a basis for constructive interchange-which 
may, and sometimes does, sharpen moral intuitions as well.  We all know that very well 
in fact.  It's not that long ago, after all, that it was considered not just tolerable 
but in fact deeply moral to have slaves, beat one's wife if she is disobedient, lash 
children, torture a poor person who robbed a crumb of bread, etc. 

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