Gray Flannel Dwarf


Pleading the 5th.

I dunno what I can say about the fifth anniversary of 9/11 without sounding like I’m politicising about it. But really… no one, not the people, not the politicians, ever did what they said had to be done — stand up and avoid being fearful. If they’d done that, we wouldn’t be in the state of scrutiny we’re under now.

People always talked about “not being afraid to fly” as an example — “get back on the planes, travel, show that you’re not afraid”. But that’s as far as we’ve gone. Really, people are just as scared as ever, and they used that as an excuse to rationalise expanded surveillance and allow intrusion into personal lives.

The fact is — wiretaps, ability to hold US citizens w/o access to lawyers, even the “free speech zones” — the grounds for these things is fear. The fact that we, as a nation, allow them — or at least haven’t expressed a unified outrage, is evidence that this underlying fear has never dissipated.

“Get back on the plane, show them you’re not afraid.” check

“Get back out there, speak your mind, show them you’re not afraid.” Oops.

“Get back on those telephones, call your friends, show them you’re not afraid.” Oops.

And what I really can’t fathom is the people who say that it won’t be used against your good ole god-fearin’ Americans. Give the government the power to do it, they will. Give corporations the laws, they will use them for their own good. Give individuals the power to persecute others, they will! For chrissakes, we have journalists under DHS criminal complaint due to filmmaking? Prime example of giving someone — in this case, a Someone — an inch and them taking a mile.

There’s nothing wrong with vigilance in a post-9/11 world. But there is a lot wrong with going at it vigilante style, which, it seems, is how we’ve spent the vast majority of the time doing it, since then.

All I ever hear these days, in response to these sorts of thoughts, is something akin to “9/11 changed everything”. Yes, maybe that’s the case — and for all I know, maybe it is a war against a different, changing enemy. But that makes the 2,996 people who died front-line soldiers in this new war — and somehow, in the aftermath, we’re all less free than we were before. So if they didn’t “die for our freedoms”, a term bandied-about far too often, what, then, do they represent? Our way of life? Sorry, that answer fails too, because that way of life went the way of the dodo thanks to post 9/11 legislation. That I really can’t think of much we have gained due to the changes in the post 9/11 world, it only goes to illustrate how much we, as Americans, have lost.

Commemorating those lost on 9/11 makes me also think about the freedoms we’ve lost since then. Five years later, the fears of the American public must still remain — that’s the only way I can understand why we’d let our freedoms be trampled. People say America has come back, is stronger than ever, and isn’t afraid to fight a war against terror. But if this were truly the case, we wouldn’t allow our own freedoms to be so strongly curtailed in the process.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a non-partisan issue, other than the fact that too many people have fallen for the ruse that it is such, that somehow sitting on one side of the political fence or the other automatically makes one fall in the right or wrong camp. Take a step back at this notion, for a second? How ridiculous are we? Isn’t such a divide exactly something some scheming terrorist mastermind out there would look for? Aren’t such statements a freaking big neon sign with a blinking arrow reading, “I’m With Stupid”?

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:26 pm


This is what overzealous “national security” gets us.

Marshals: Innocent People Placed On ‘Watch List’ To Meet Quota

From the article:

“Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft … and they did nothing wrong,” said one federal air marshal.

“That could have serious impact … They could be placed on a watch list. They could wind up on databases that identify them as potential terrorists or a threat to an aircraft. It could be very serious,” said Don Strange, a former agent in charge of air marshals in Atlanta. He lost his job attempting to change policies inside the agency.

Boy, intended or not,  that sure sounds nothing like our own little cultural revolution, does it?  Tell you what, let’s step it up, let’s have our own Hundred Flowers Campaign, too!  Let’s make sure that once’s some has a mark on their name, legit or not, that it’s indelible.  Tell you what, while we’re at it, let’s even infiltrate popular dissent in the name of national security!

Oh wait, we’ve already taken that step.

God, I love the smell of authoritarianism!

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 11:37 am


Henry Rollins now ‘person of interest’ in Australia.

Well, if there’s one person I wouldn’t suspect of terrorism in the US, it’s Henry Rollins. Outspoken? Yes. Loud? Yes. Angry? …probably. Hater of western civilization? Not at all. However, it seems he’s caught the ire of the Australian authorities for reading a copy of Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia on the airplane. This raised the supicions of the passenger sitting next to him… and by all accounts, the end result raised Rollins’ hackles, too. In typical Rollins fashion, he sums up the event in a succinct and candid manner. From this bit on…

“The guy phoned me in to their, like, anti-terrorist board, and they found me – they looked me up,” he said. “They looked up the flight and found out who was sitting in seat 10A and they got to me. And they said, ‘OK, you’re now a person of interest. The man next to you does not agree with your politics and he didn’t like the book you were reading.’ This kind of provocation, I don’t respond very well to. I was furious. And so I wrote back, ‘You can tell everyone at your office, including your boss, to go f— themselves. This book has been read by a ton of people – I am not a threat to your state or any state or any republic.’ ” In the actual text of his online response, Rollins added: “Baghdad’s safer than my hometown, and your PM is a sissy.”

A capsule of this event was apparently reported as far back as February 16th in Australia’s Furthermore, Hank himself recalls the account to some degree in his Dispatches. Rollins, who opposes both the war and the current administration, nonetheless supports the troops insofar as he feels they do their duty in serving their country and that they’ve gotten screwed over by their government; he has done several USO tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Honduras. In that light, it’s a shame to see that Australian officials have consumed enough of the White House kool-aid to unquestioningly paint someone with the same broad brush. Hank won’t take it sitting down, however…

“He didn’t even leave his name and address [when he called], and that, to me, is pretty cowardly,” Rollins said. “The next time I get out to Australia — that is, if they let me in — I am going to talk about that guy in every interview I do. And it will get to him. It’s a small country, in that there aren’t a lot of people there and most of the country’s just sand and flies. So it will get to him.”

… and really, I think he could teach us all a lesson with this one. For far too long, those opposed to this war have allowed itself to be stereotyped as unpatriotic… and sans a bit of whining, navel-gazing, and weak, “but, but”-laden denials regarding such accusations, no one has stood up and made a bold statement against such claims. Will anyone have the cojones to tell these warmongers to step down next time the accusation is hoisted? Will you? When will we hear something like:

I don’t support the war or this President, but that doesn’t make me patriotic. And I would recommend that you think twice before questioning me again.

Or -

Opposing the war is not ‘treason’, and to say otherwise puts your own well-being at risk.

I’m sure some of you can come up with better slogans.

If the attacks on those who oppose the war continue to succeed, it will be due to the continued passivity, as opposed to pacificism, of the anti-war crowd. One can oppose the war without being afraid to stand up for one’s self, in a defensive posture if necessary, amidst personal attacks. In closing, I’ll quote Rollins one more time, from his account of this event, as to how he feels about rabid accusations:

I really don’t take kindly to that kind of shit. I like it though. Love it. Confrontation. Tension. Adversarial relationships. More please. It’s the only time it gets real.

Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 10:59 am


Valerie Plame nothing!

So remember last month’s “high value” terrorist bust of “computer whiz” Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan? Yeah, what about that… turns out that he was a double agent, one of which Britain’s MI5 and Pakistan’s ISI were well-aware. His “outing” by the DHS was blasted as premature by these agencies, which are now worried that the early narc has left remnants of the terror cell on the run.

Whether the sense of outrage exhibited by these agencies at the DHS’s actions is justfied, only time will tell. I must admit, though, it seems like “deja vu all over again”.

Further reading:
“How the Pakistani double agent was ‘burned’ by the US” (Daily Times, Pakistan)

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 3:10 am


Laurie Mylroie Simply Won’t Shut Up.

FrontPage magazine: The Saddam-9/11 Link Confirmed

Yep, she’s at it again, trying to lead on the American public, suggesting that Hussein had a role in the 9/11 attacks — and yet has little to show for it, in this article. Per the article,

Evidence is “something that indicates,” according to Webster’s. Proof is “conclusive demonstration.” The report of a well-regarded allied intelligence service that a 9/11 hijacker appeared to have met with an Iraqi intelligence agent a few months before the attacks is certainly evidence of an Iraqi connection.

She decides to quote Webster to define “evidence” and “proof” — and yet, when you read her article, the supposed meeting between al-Ani and Atta is, in no uncertain terms, a mesh of hearsay and circumstantial evidence. No need to quote them all here, go read the article for yourself.

Really, though, the bulk of this article looks more self-defensive in nature, and personally I am not surprised to see it, ever since Clarke’s book was published, and she was mentioned in it; indeed, she mentions Clarke in this article.

Former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke is a prime example of this phenomenon. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when President Bush asked him to look into the possibility of Iraq’s involvement, Clarke was “incredulous” (his word), treating the idea as if it were one of the most ridiculous things he had ever heard. On September 18, when Deputy National Security Adviser Steven Hadley asked him to take another look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, Clarke responded in a similar fashion.

Having been readily debunked, she resorts to personl attacks. However, again she makes arguments, in this case ad hominem attacks against Clarke, with no supporting evidence, simply making a blanket statement that Clarke “adamant refusal to even consider the possibility of an Iraqi role”, and makes some absurd, conspiratorial accusations that some shadowy “elite” refused to even consider an Iraq connection — and again, cites unnamed confidential documents.

Iraq was indeed involved in those assaults. There is considerable information to that effect, described in this piece and elsewhere. They include Iraqi documents discovered by U.S. forces in Baghdad that U.S. officials have not made public.

Seriously does anyone take this woman seriously anymore? Did they ever? For an author and scholar apparently so “well-respected”, I’ve never seen a more poorly structured article. If I were an editor, I’d refuse this on the spot — not because of the subject manner, but because it is so incoherent and poorly constructed.

There’s enough of an unseasonably warm front over Washington right now. We don’t need any more hot air, Ms. Mylroie.


“You’re a Liar and You’re Boring” (Henry Rollins)

Vanity Fair: “John Ashcroft’s Patriot Games
Mother Jones: “The Lie Factory”

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:57 pm


Another publication, The Washington Post,

Another publication, The Washington Post, has published an article similar to the previously mentioned New Republic editorial.

Article saved below…

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 11:16 am


From The New Republic: Why

From The New Republic:

Why does so much of the world think the Bush administration has hidden, nefarious motives for its war in Iraq…The responsibility for these misguided, toxic analyses lies mostly with other societies and other governments. But there’s a third reason for the world’s radical distrust of America’s war effort, and, for this, the Bush administration has only itself to blame: It keeps saying things about Iraq that turn out not to be true.

Of course, quoting and linking this article will cause some parties to immediately cast The New Republic aside as a liberal rag, when, in fact, it’s pretty centrist. In fact, it might be argued that, historically, it has been fairly conservative with regards to foreign policy. Regardless – for people who make such rash assumptions, I need not trifle with trying to change minds.

Article below…

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 1:12 pm