February 18, 2012 archive

Feb 18

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Feb 18

You’re Only A Terrorist When We Say So

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. ~ Arabian Proverb

Since 9/11, one of the more interesting stories to emerge in recent years about terrorist organizations and the ubiquitous War on Terror has been the not so secret bipartisan relationship and support of American politicians and high ranking government officials with the Iranian terrorist organization, MEK, Mujahedin-e Khalq. So just what is MEK:

Mujahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK) is the largest and most militant group opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Also known as the People’s Mujahadeen Organization of Iran, MEK is led by husband and wife Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. MEK was added to the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist groups in 1997 and to the European Union’s terrorist list in 2002 because its attacks have often killed civilians.

MEK was founded in 1963 by a group of college-educated Iranian leftists, supporters of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq and opposed to the country’s pro-Western ruler, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The group participated in the 1979 Islamic revolution that replaced the shah with a Shiite Islamist regime led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. But MEK’s ideology, a blend of Marxism, feminism, and Islamism, put it at odds with the post-revolutionary government, and its original leadership was soon executed by the Khomeini regime. In 1981, the group was driven from its bases on the Iran-Iraq border and resettled in Paris, where it began supporting Iraq in its eight-year war against Khomeini’s Iran. In 1986, after France recognized the Iranian regime, MEK moved its headquarters to Iraq, which used MEK to harass neighboring Iran. MEK maintained its headquarters in Iraq until the American invasion in 2003 when many members surrendered their weapons.

Under US law it is a felony to provide any “material support” to a terrorist organization but this high profile group has received large fees and passionate support in recent years without the Justice Department so much as blinking. The list includes such luminaries as Republicans Michael Mukasey, Fran Townsend, Andy Card, Tom Ridge, Rudy Giuliani and Democrats Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark. The meetings first came to light in December, 2010 when “America’s Mayor” Rudolph “9/11” Guiliani, along with former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former White House adviser Frances Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, flew to Paris to speak in support of the group. As Glenn Greenwald points out, “there are several remarkable aspects to this story”:

The first is that there are numerous Muslims inside the U.S. who have been prosecuted for providing “material support for Terrorism” for doing far less than these American politicians are publicly doing on behalf of a designated Terrorist group. [..]

Yet here we have numerous American political figures receiving substantial fees from a group which is legally designated under American law as a Terrorist organization. [..]

If we had anything even remotely approaching equal application of the law, Dean, Giuliani, Townsend and the others would be facing prosecution as Terrorist-helpers.

Glenn’s next questions are “How has this rag-tag Terrorist cult of Iranian dissidents, who are largely despised in Iran, able to fund such expensive campaigns and to keep U.S. officials on its dole?” and why. An NBC News report by Richard Engel and Robert Windrem helped shed some light on this:

Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders. [..]

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement. [..]

“The relation is very intricate and close,” said Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, speaking of the MEK and Israel.  “They (Israelis) are paying … the Mujahedin. Some of their (MEK) agents … (are) providing Israel with information.  And they recruit and also manage logistical support.”

Moreover, he said, the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, is training MEK members in Israel on the use of motorcycles and small bombs.  In one case, he said, Mossad agents built a replica of the home of an Iranian nuclear scientist so that the assassins could familiarize themselves with the layout prior to the attack. [..]

Two senior U.S. officials confirmed for NBC News  the MEK’s role in the assassinations, with one senior official saying, “All your inclinations are correct.” A third official would not confirm or deny the relationship, saying only, “It hasn’t been clearly confirmed yet.”  All the officials denied any U.S. involvement in the assassinations.

As it has in the past, Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined comment. Said a spokesman, “As long as we can’t see all the evidence being claimed by NBC, the Foreign Ministry won’t react to every gossip and report being published worldwide.”

For its part, the MEK pointed to a statement calling the allegations “absolutely false.”

Glenn concluded that besides the fact that those who are politically and financially well-connected are free to commit even the most egregious crimes, this “love affair” with MEK underscores how meaningless term “terrorism” is:

it’s just a cynical term designed to delegitimize violence and even political acts undertaken by America’s enemies while shielding from criticism the actual Terrorism undertaken by itself and its allies. The spectacle whereby a designated Terrorist group can pay top American politicians to advocate for them even as they engage in violent Terrorist acts, all while being trained, funded and aided by America’s top client state, should forever end the controversy over that glaringly obvious proposition.

MEK has been attempting to present itself as the sole legitimate opposition to the Iranian regime, going so far as to claim that they are the Green Movement or the government in exile, which the Green Movement denies and a very aggressive and organized lobby effort in Washington D.C. It has obviously found support from anti-Muslims and those politicians who would like nothing more than a war with Iran.  

Feb 18

Just How Crass Can Right Wing Get

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Pretty damned crass. GOP candidate Sen. Rick Santorum’s supporter Foster Friess appearing with on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell made the incredible statement that women should use an aspirin held between their knees as birth control. Ms. Mitchell was left virtually speechless.

Too bad his mother didn’t follow those directions

Feb 18

End games

So many end-games to play, so little time.

Fat sperm whales, become hummingbirds!

We’ll get you more oil (at certain costs), but use it

wiser!  Obama’s economic disasters advisors

suggest a strike on Iran a payroll tax cut

while the economy strengthens…wait…whut?

That whole Peak Oil myth is like the myth

Of Sisyphus, sez Obama’s Citi’s Orszag.

Guns ‘n’ Butter.  Think, man, think!  Thinker,

Thunker!  Drinker, drunker!  Finker…Funker!

Yes, that’s it!  Spy on your neighbors!

The Mooslim hordes, the crazy Joos, of course,

Department of Homeland Security?  Hello?

I tink I taw a puddy-tat!  Woof.

Feb 18

Cartnoon

Duck Dodgers, Episode 4 Season 3.

Feb 18

On This Day In History February 18

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

February 18 is the 49th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 316 days remaining until the end of the year (317 in leap years).

On this day in 1885, Mark Twain publishes his famous, and famously controversial, novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Considered as one of the Great American Novels, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective).

The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Satirizing a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.

The work has been popular with readers since its publication and is taken as a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It has also been the continued object of study by serious literary critics. It was criticized upon release because of its coarse language and became even more controversial in the 20th century because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes and because of its frequent use of the racial slur “nigger”, despite that the main protagonist, and the tenor of the book, is anti-racist. According to the January 20, 2011 Chase Cook/The Daily article, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn novel will be released in a new edition. Two words will be changed throughout the whole book, “injun” and “nigger” to “indian” and “slave”. The book is being changed as quoted in the article, “only to make it viable to the 21st century”.

Feb 18

Behind the shrinking labor force

  There appears to be a lot of confusion and debate concerning the shrinking labor force participation numbers. People seem to have very strong opinions on both sides.

 On one side you have the people who believe that the government is messaging the data to hide the unemployment rate by simply not counting unemployed people.

 To these people I say: if it is a conspiracy it is a poorly concealed one, since the topic is debated even in the news media.

 On the other side you have two groups: a) those who believe that people are simply retiring early, or b) that this is nothing more than a continuation of a long-term trend.

 It is this latter group’s beliefs that I would like to address directly

Feb 18

Die Mauer im Kopf

The Wall in the Mind….literally.

The Berlin Wall may have come down but America built a bigger one!

Commercials on lamestream about “Borderlands”.  It’s about “America’s”  War on Terror, complete with dramatic music as “the authorities” scour remote woodlands looking for dangerous boogeymen.

Come on Apocalypse.  Bring it!  Let’s get this crap over with already!

Kurt Haskell.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&g…

Just some of the storylines are entertaining.

Washington DC: FBI foils own terror plot:Again

Why Andrew Napolitano was fired.

Private Prison Company demands 90% Occupancy Rate

Rahm Imanuels Chicago:Snipers in response to NATO/G8 Protests

Bill Gates Favors Dead Panels and Vaccines to Decrease World Populations

Israel US Expand False Flag Attacks to ramp up propaganda campaign

Feb 18

Late Night Karaoke

Feb 18

Random Japan

Photobucket

 Brave new (digital) world

      “Silent camera” apps are being blamed for a rise in complaints from women about perverts snapping illegal upskirt photos. The National Police Agency says the number of such incidents increased from 1,068 in 2006 to 1,702 in 2010.

   An LDP lawmaker got a surprise when he discovered that someone hacked into his YouTube account and uploaded a Russian-language porn video.

   Meanwhile, a hacker disabled the website of the government committee investigating the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

   Two Japanese companies were fined a total of ¥17 million by the Intellectual Property High Court for broadcasting copyrighted TV programs over the internet.

   An Osaka man became the first person in Japan arrested for breaking a six-month-old law against creating computer viruses.

Feb 18

Popular Culture (Music) 20120217: A Brief History of The Who. 1978

Those of you who have been reading this series know that this will be the last installment about the history of The Who.  Although The Who continued to record new material and tour after 1978, to me the band really ended then and what was left was sort of what we now call a tribute band.

For 1978 to be such a disaster, it started off well enough, actually really well.  The Who were at the top of their game insofar as business interests went, Townshend, after being burnt by Kit Lambert, with whom he never reconciled, developed a high degree of business acumen, and The Who as a band were never strapped for cash again, although Moon and Entwistle had chronic money woes because of their lifestyles.  Daltrey was pretty conservative and also had a fairly successful acting career post 1978.

Although it pains me greatly to write this last installment, we might as well get on with it.  There are a number of ironies in 1978, and I shall point them out as we encounter them.  Please follow after the fold.

Feb 18

Equality…except at the lunch counter

Being an aging lesbian transwoman, I’d rather be writing about the problems of aging GLBT people, but sometimes events make me so furious, that what I would rather be writing about must take a back seat to expressing my fury.

As I wrote about in January, Baltimore County, Maryland has been considering whether or not transpeople deserve the respect inherent in equal rights.  A bill was introduced by Democratic Councilman Tom Quirk to enumerate and protect the rights of transpeople, and had three co-sponsors (two Republicans and a Democrat).  With 4 out of 7 of the council members sponsoring the legislation, it seemed like a shoe-in to pass.

It likely will still pass, but the changes made to it make it into something unrecognizable as a bill to protect equal rights.

Councilman John Olszewski Sr., a Democrat, has introduced an amendment to strip public accommodations from the rights enumerated by the bill.

How we are treated in public is the main concern many of us have.  Yes, we need protection in the workplace, in housing, and in credit, but if we cannot safely conduct ourselves in the public sphere, then we are not equal citizens.  Have we forgotten the sit-ins at lunch counters from the 60s?  Are we so willing to restrict equality that segregation is actually being considered as the solution?

Shame.