Monday, March 30, 2009

"Washington has considered backing Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay,

and the U.S. official who spoke on Monday repeated Washington's position that nationality should not be a bar to anyone taking up the position."
The problem is, Peter Mackay is the son of Elmer Mackay, a bagman for Brian Mulroney, a former Prime Minister of Canada, who famously sang "Irish eyes Are Smiling" at a cheesy-beond-belief meeting with Ronald Reagan in Canada, Mulroney now being investigated by a Canadian judicial inquiry, the substance of which includes a deal with Thyssen Industries in Germany to found an armoured car plant in Nova Scotia, which is the political base for Elmer Mackay, and now Peter Mackay his son, Peter having served for six months with Thyssen in an unspecified job in Germany.

Still with me, people? And now, this guy, Peter Mackay, is being proposed as a Secretary General for NATO? In a way, it makes sense. NATO gets the candidates it deserves.

And in fact, Peter is the perfect bridge to Neddie Seagoon, Twelfth Secretary General.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Swords Into Plowshares


“And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Isaiah 2:4

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Dwight Eisenhower, 1961

Ike was right. But people need something to do, and a lot of people need projects they can believe in. The problem is that the “defence” or “defense” industries are the “killing people and breaking things” (KPABT) industries (an apt description whose source I can't locate; help me, people), which is unproductive. There's a good reason for this of course, which is that such industries were apparently essential in the previous and ultimately successful struggle against Total Totalitarian Evil (TTE) and were therefore Killing People And Breaking Things In The Public Interest (KPABYITBI). Obviously, I'm being seriously influenced by reading The Mogambo Guru.

The Guru's point is well taken though, as anyone reading ISAF documents will see: words are few and acronyms are frequent.

The trouble is that the American MIC seems to have insidiously taken over NATO, and fused itself to NATO MIC's, resulting in a multiheaded international MIC whose loyalty is to itself rather than any civilian government, and which sends off shoots into places like the Middle East. Furthermore, the NATO MIC has as its reason for being the opposition of MIC's in places like Iran, China and Russia, thus creating mirror image MIC's with the same reason for being. The total budget for the WW-MIC is incalculable, but large.

The idea of suddenly abandoning this enterprise is not practical. For one thing, the American MIC is Socialism Militant, an organization that provides welfare, medical benefits, education, and research money to a considerable fraction of the American population not otherwise protected. Furthermore, the American MIC has fused itself to the legislative branch, The Best Congress Money Can Buy (TBCMCB), and the corruption runs deep.

I therefore propose a Stealth Initiative of Subversion (SIS) to turn the WW-MIC to other purposes. The goals of this initiative might be as follows:

1.To land, as a matter of urgency, a vehicle on Mars capable of transporting a wheelchair-bound ex-Vice President of the United States, and to return safely to Earth without him.
2.To establish a powerful laser on the far side of the Moon, to signal neighboring galactic and intergalactic bodies deemed at high risk for producing hostile forces.
3.To establish a United Nations Special Forces base on Venus, with the object of intercepting intergalactic hostile forces whose attention would be distracted by a high powered laser on the Moon.
4.To establish an Asteroid Degrading Capability (ADC) on Pluto.

Obviously, much work needs to be done. Only intense co-operation as demonstrated by the International Space Station (ISS) will suffice.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

To Insanity and Beyond!

Gary Goodyear and Canada's Delusional Public Policy

Canada recently had a federal election in which the (minority) conservative government had no platform. Also featured were an economic platform of doing nothing, an Afghanistan strategy of continuing whatever it is we're doing but with no idea why, and a climate-change policy of trying to figure out what Washington is going to do and then sucking up without changing anything in Alberta.

There's a pattern here. It's like Henry Chickenhawk determined to bring home a chicken because his dad told him to, although he had no idea what a chicken was or what to do with it when he found one.

Likewise, Canadian public policy is now overtaken by an intense desire to be in charge of chickens, or it could be elephants, but we've no idea why, or what we're going to do with them. We're desperately trying to see which way the wind is blowing -- chickens? elephants? -- and impatiently wait for instructions from somebody cool like Obama, or Colin Powell, Tony Blair, Buehler.....anybody? The idea that we can think for ourselves seems to be a difficult concept in Ottawa. And independent thought is precisely what we need to avoid a lemming like leap into a very deep pit being dug by NATO.

In addition to a lack of economic policy, lack of climate change policy, and lack of foreign policy other that what we can pick up in Brussels, Canada has no science policy. Nevertheless, we are keenly ambitious to get a seat on the Security Council, although we have no United Nations policy worth talking about, and to insert a Canadian as head of NATO, which would be absurd since NATO appears already to determine Canadian foreign policy. In short, the government of the day is out to lunch.

As a stunningly clear example of that, we have Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, who met with a group he should be naturally sympathetic to, The Canadian Association of University Teachers, and by all reports took a hissy fit and stomped off when the positive message he wanted to convey was disputed. This is not encouraging. Subsequently, there have been discussions about whether Gary "believes" in evolution.

What seems stone-cold totally obvious, no matter whether Gary believes that the universe is run by a cosmic jelly bean or what, is that the methodology of science works, that it is one method of searching unflinchingly for truth, and there is no other way to understanding the world, or designing helicopters that stay in the air, than an unflinching search for truth. It also leads to technology (like Research in Motion) and should be vigorously championed by the Minister for Science.

This interest in the truth is conspicuously, horribly, lacking in the current government in Ottawa, and in the ISAF Public Affairs Department at NATO, who would be better suited to designing a new Disneyworld in Kabul.

[March 22 Update; A CEO for Kabul Disneyworld is to be announced March 31, at a conference allegedly organized by the United Nations in The Hague. You just can't make this stuff up. If that happens, wouldn't every legal assumption for "UN-mandated troops" in Afghanistan be invalidated? If the UN Security Council approves it, it would be a United Nations occupation of Afghanistan.]

Finally, we have Canada's economic policy, which is basically selling raw material to the rest of the world, the mysterious part of the world that Magically Makes Things, which return to Canada as finished consumer products from overseas, a sort of Cargo Cult that grips us such that we cannot even think that we could do the manufacturing ourselves, and be relatively self-sufficient. As far as I can see, we've got everything we need except cotton, tropical fruit....

... and an assertively healthy political imagination.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Credible Plan

From the Edmonton Sun
by Eric Margolis

This is the clearest thinking on Canada's position in Afghanistan that I've seen. I can't find a flaw in it.

What's the rebuttal? This?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gulf Security Conference to be held in The Netherlands

Press Release of Opening Remarks to be given by BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations

United Nations Conference on Afghanistan and Regional Security, March 31, 2009

by Neil Kitson from GoogleCrypt, world security website.

Good Morning.

On behalf of The United Nations, I am pleased to welcome you all here to The Hague for this one day Gulf Regional Security Conference on Afghanistan. We are a long way from the Gulf of Arabia but a short distance from NATO headquarters, which is perfect. One day should be enough to sort this out.

For those of you travelling with family and significant others, I encourage you to take advantage of tours to the International Criminal Court, where some of you should be indicted in the near future, and Amsterdam coffee houses, where consumers of Afghanistan agricultural products can be located.

The United Nations has always taken an interest in Afghanistan and the welfare of its people, despite the fact that our mine-clearing program has run out of money. Security Council Resolution 1386 and subsequent extensions makes clear the resolve of the UN to "root out" the problem of international terrorism, while at the same time fostering the development of a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous Afghanistan.

It's a lovely thought.

[March 22 -- paragraph with incorrect information omitted. Invitations for this conference can be found at the Dutch Foreign Ministry website. Apologies for lousy editing. On the other hand, there is a plan to "unveil" a new "executive" for Afghanistan at the same conference. --NK]

I note that there has been extensive co-operation between the United Nations operation in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the NATO-led International Stabilization and Assistance Force (ISAF), in that they meet once a week. I'd really like to be in on some of those meetings but I don't have adequate security clearances. I would particularly like to discover how UNAMA and ISAF arrive at such divergent estimates of civilian casualties caused by ISAF air attacks. I'm sure there must be a reason. Just like there must be a good reason Afghanistan is short over $100 million for the UN mine clearing program.

Anyway, I look forward to a constructive conference that will produce an action plan that will later, at some point, be communicated to the Afghan people in a form they can understand.

Please turn off all personal electronic devices including GPS locators, and visit the NATO and NSA hospitality suites.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bent out of SHAPE Part 2

NATO's propaganda campaign to influence Afghanistan policy of its own member countries.

Document from Wikileaks.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Comment is free, but facts are awkward; Richard Perle in The Guardian

"His unpaid debt to George W Bush. The withdrawal plan is right, but Obama should acknowledge both the surge's success and Iraq's progress to democracy"

From "Comment is free....."

by Richard Perle, Friday 27 February 2009 19.00 GMT

"So, President Obama, who pledged a quick withdrawal from Iraq when many thought we were facing defeat there and crucial Democratic primary voters were demanding withdrawal yesterday, has decided on a slower, measured drawdown that will leave up to 50,000 American troops behind. They could remain until the end of 2011, the date on which the Bush administration agreed with the Iraqi government to complete the departure of American forces.

"The irony is that the success of the surge, which Obama predicted would fail, has put his plan well within the range of responsible policy. It is disappointing that the President is still yet to acknowledge this fully, when plainly it is that very political progress that has enabled this announcement. The reality, rhetoric aside, is that Obama's timetable doesn't look very different from what would have been a logical extension of George W Bush's departing view."

The complete quote from C.P. Scott's essay is, as noted on the Guardian website and given below: "Comment is free, but facts are sacred." Mr. Perle states as "fact" that an increase ("The Surge") in American troop numbers (also known in a previous and ignominious war as an "escalation") has been a "success". This sort of statement is not a fact, it is a contentious argument. An alternative hypothesis (the airing of which seems more in keeping with Scott's essay) is that of Patrick Cockburn, reporter for The Independent:

"The perception in the US that the tide has turned in Iraq is in part because of a change in the attitude of the foreign and largely American media. The war in Iraq has now been going on for five years, longer than the First World War. The world is bored with it. US network television maintains expensive bureaus in Baghdad but little of what they produce gets on the air. When it does viewers turn off. US newspaper bureaus are being cut in size. The result of all this is that the American voter hears less of violence in Iraq and might suppose that America’s military adventure there is finally coming good.

"An important reason for this optimism is the fall in the number of American soldiers killed. The 30,000 US soldiers wounded in Iraq are seldom mentioned. This has happened because the war which was being waged against the American occupation by the Sunni community, the 20 per cent of Iraqis who were in control under Saddam Hussein, has largely ended. It did so because the Sunni were being defeated not so much by the American army as by the Shia government and the Shia militias."

Or as I understand Cockburn's view, the carnage in Iraq decreased dramatically because the Shia won the Sunni-Shia civil war, and when the Americans withdraw it's going to be Open Season, and the Iranian government is going to hold all the cards.

As George Orwell said, Richard Perle's type of prose “falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details.”

Nowhere does Mr. Perle acknowledge any alternatives to his view of Iraq, a lack of interest in the truth that is the opposite of what Scott clearly intended for The Guardian. And of course there are many ways of not telling the truth, such as leaving out inconvenient, well, facts. And there are some facts in this sorry Iraq mess.

1. Iraq never possessed any weapons worth talking about.

2. Invasion of another sovereign country is a violation of Nuremberg Principle VI:

"Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;"

for any nation that has signed the UN Charter.

3. Horrendous damage has been inflicted on the Iraqi civilian population as a direct result of invasion and occupation.

4. The United States cannot afford a trillion dollar a year military-industrial budget.

So to go on with part of Mr. Scott's essay:

"Character is a subtle affair, and has many shades and sides to
it. It is not a thing to be much talked about, but rather to be felt.
It is the slow deposit of past actions and ideals. It is for each man
his most precious possession, and so it is for that latest growth of
time the newspaper. Fundamentally it implies honesty, cleanness,
courage, fairness, a sense of duty to the reader and the community.
A newspaper is of necessity something of a monopoly, and its first
duty is to shun the temptations of monopoly. Its primary office is the
gathering of news. At the peril of its soul it must see that the supply
is not tainted. Neither in what it gives, nor in what it does not give,
nor in the mode of presentation must the unclouded face of truth
suffer wrong. Comment is free, but facts are sacred. “Propaganda”,
so called, by this means is hateful. The voice of opponents no less
than that of friends has a right to be heard. Comment also is justly
subject to a self-imposed restraint. It is well to be frank; it is even
better to be fair. This is an ideal. Achievement in such matters
is hardly given to man. Perhaps none of us can attain to it in the
desirable measure. We can but try, ask pardon for shortcomings, and
there leave the matter."