Sunday, June 20, 2010


I believe anyone who has lived the last forty years of the troubles of
occupied Ireland, has been politicized to the point, of where they are
well aware deep down, that beneath the many layers of denial, our
political leaders, administrators and opinion makers rather than being
genuine, are providing political theatre to distract. Given an
exclusive platform from the military establishment's control of the
media, their script of self interest to their corporate masters and
their own politically survival, where they all follow a set pattern of
talking tough while actually walking an illusionary easier softer way.
This has been honed over decades, interrupted occasionally by
imperialist wars of power, that includes occupied Ireland being used
in experiments of counter-insurgency and population control.

While the political actors have changed from the SDLP to Sinn Fein and
from Official Unionists to the DUP, the current leadership may be
perceived as more working class in origin but neither the policies or
the act has changed. They pander to the interests of a middle class,
scrambling over the crumbs from their wealthy powerful corporate
sponsors.As some keen observer has remarked, "the performers change,
the performance does not. The script changes, the story does not. How
many times can you trod the beaten path? How many times can you listen
to the same joke? How many times can you applaud being taken for a
joke or a ride? How many times can you appreciate being the clown at
the grotesque Halloween party?"

One of the potential attributes and possibilities of a blog like this
I believe, is that at this particular point in time in occupied
Ireland, a wealth of experience exists that can be shared, which was
condensed over the last forty years of struggle in the theatre of
insurgency, known as  the North of Ireland. In a few more decades, the
bulk of the participants and combatants will, be replaced by a new set
of actors, on the evolving political stage but with different
experiences and without the political experiences that should have be
learned from this struggle, to evolve progressively rather than suffer
another oppressive regime. The ruling classes have always recorded
history and the lessons therein  in such a way to protect their own
interests prevent a repetition of the same mistakes, recorded in a
way, that mercenary historians please their political masters, while
the dumbed down working class repeat the same old vicious circle of
division and betrayal..So the evolutionary lessons being learned and
applied in the struggle, generally tend to benefit the establishment.

If we are not to continue this same futile pattern of a dog chasing
its tail or enabling the process of electing leaders from working
class backgrounds, only to find they perform the same performance
again, we need to indentify correctly the problems and solutions, in a
more precise manner than we have in the past in Ireland. While the
Irish tradition has a rich heritage in this respect, we have in this
communication age, the resources, to both learn from international
progressive struggles and to record the experiences. Knowledge is a
very powerful tool but without the experiences to understand this
knowledge, it is of little benefit. Truly successful people tell us
"That the most valuable thing in life is experience." I agree and it
often is much more simple, than it appears but the critical factor, is
a correct analysis and interpretation of the facts and events. The
output depends on our input and unfortunately the history of the last
century up to the present day of revolution in Ireland, with  much
sacrifice, has delivered the same reactionary forces and
administrators, who serve the interests of Imperialism, not the people
of no property, impoverished by the gaelic, corporate, vuvulela,
Gombeens now being found in Croke Park and their bowler hatted Grand
Masters found at Down Royal.

I have come across a very interesting article that rings very true to
me from my own political experiences in Ireland and with the broad
left in England over the last forty years. This article principally
concerns the other Imperialist partner in the US and the puppet
masters of military intelligence in the Pentagon. I would be most
interested in other comrades experiences, analysis and interpretation
as they relate to the  following article and how much of it is true as
it relates to the Brits and their Irish puppets. Perhaps James might
consider a format so that it can be discussed as it relates to others

Truth Through a Soda Straw
By John Grant
The truth about American politics is this: disguised by the theatrics
of squabbling Democrats and Republicans, Washington governs according
to limits prescribed by a fixed and narrow consensus. The two main
parties collaborate in preserving that consensus. Doing so requires
declaring out-of-bounds anything even remotely resembling a
fundamental critique of how power gets exercised or wealth

-Andrew Bacevich

June 18, 2010 "This Can't Be Happening. " -- Barack Obama has two
serious leak problems.

One is a real leak -- of oil from the bowels of the Earth into the
Gulf of Mexico and onto the shores of the Gulf States. The other is a
metaphoric leak -- of information from the vast reservoir of secrecy
our military and its wars have become.

Dishonesty, the notion of “too big to fail” and Bacevich’s consensus
are at the core of both leak problems.

In the case of British Petroleum and the Deepwater Horizon explosion,
we know how a back-slapping, good ol’ boy network has led to a lack of
oversight and regulation. As we learned from the financial disaster,
the arrogant single-focus drive for profit leads to corners being cut
and, in the case of BP, the absence of any kind of Plan B to deal with
great gobs of uncontrollable orange goo gushing from a hole over a
mile beneath the sea’s surface.

The secrecy leak is different. In this case, President Obama is trying
to stop leaks that tap into the too-big-to-fail corruption and
dishonesty within a huge enterprise directly under his control: The

The United States Military is the largest self-contained,
self-aggrandizing enterprise in the world. As militaries everywhere
tend to do, it protects itself as an institution and uses its power to
co-opt whatever elements of the culture it feels it needs or can
benefit from.

Central America is the perfect small-scale model. In Guatemala, the
military is an institution that always trumps elected civilian
leadership. In El Salvador, military officers are deeply involved in
banks and business ventures. In Honduras, the general who mounted the
2009 coup has been appointed to run the lucrative Hondutel phone
system. In fact, the much-ballyhooed one-term limit for presidents in
Honduras exists precisely to limit a civilian politician’s power
vis-à-vis the more stable military institution.

Only naiveté or delusional patriotism explains why Americans do not
realize this dynamic also exists here in the US.

Since the Iraq debacle circa 2007, General David Petraeus has taken
over the US military by storm. He is clearly a very brilliant man. His
highly-touted counterinsurgency doctrine saved the war in Iraq from
disaster and, then, made continuing the war politically possible.

Disciples of the COIN Doctrine assure readers of Newsweek, in one
preposterous example, that, had it been employed in Vietnam, we could
have won that war. It is a doctrine based on seeing the military, not
as Karl von Clausewitz saw it – “a continuation of political activity
by other means" – but rather as politics itself, with a special focus
on humanitarian outreach and “nation-building.”

In Clausewitz’s day, there was politics and there was war. War was a
decisive step beyond politics. In Petraeus’ Pentagon, the distinctions
between politics and war are diminished or lost completely.

Thus, our military, which does not operate on a two, four or six-year
political cycle, has incrementally moved deeper and deeper into the US
policy decision-making realm. The 9/11 attacks and the feelings of
fear and revenge that followed have accelerated this dynamic.
Politicians from both parties now defer to Pentagon leaders for
decisions on war and peace -- something the founding fathers precisely
tried to avoid.

A man like Barack Obama with no military experience is forced to dance
to their tune or be seen as taking them on. So he dances.

In this sense, the true brilliance of General Petraeus and his COIN
Doctrine is less evident on the ground in Afghanistan – where the
situation is a disaster – than it is in the halls of power in
Washington DC. Petraeus is the prime reason our two disastrous wars
are so invulnerable to criticism.

Sustaining this Olympian image as the man on whose shoulders our war
policies rest must be incredibly stressful for General Petraeus, who,
after all, is just a human being. When he passed out in a Senate
hearing on Tuesday, it may have been dehydration, as Petraeus said,
but it also may have been due to the stress.

He had just been grilled by Senator Levin on sticking to the July 2011
withdrawal date publicly declared by President Obama and, then, was
being asked by Senator McCain for assurances he would not hesitate, if
necessary, to keep our soldiers in Afghanistan beyond the July 2011
date. At that point, kerplunk!, his head hit the table.

Clausewitz wrote a lot about confidence and doubt – or as Senator
McCain put it in the hearings, sounding “an uncertain trumpet.” Here’s
a good example:

After we have thought out everything carefully in advance and have
sought and found without prejudice the most plausible plan, we must
not be ready to abandon it at the slightest provocation. Should this
certainty be lacking, we must tell ourselves that nothing is
accomplished in warfare without daring; that the nature of war
certainly does not let us see at all times where we are going; that
what is probable will always be probable though at the moment it may
not seem so; and finally, that we cannot be readily ruined by a single
error, if we have made reasonable preparations.

Mere civilians can only imagine the vast, hidden reservoir of secrets
a man like David Petraeus carries within him: All manner of black
budget research projects and operations, a host of global special
operations missions, surveillance into everyday lives, hidden
detention centers and probably the largest element in that vast
reservoir, the record of screw-ups, the evidence of bad decisions and
embarrassing outcomes and, finally, the hypocrisies and outright lies.
And, of course, there’s the fact many of these matters are illegal or
unconstitutional and that the visual ugliness of war makes it hard to

His job, despite the setbacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, is to put a
good face on it and sell it to Congress, which still holds the purse
strings on our wars.

The New York Times reported that Petraeus’ goal before the Senate
hearing was to show that the military now has “the inputs right” in
the war in Afghanistan and that these promising inputs will lead to
positive “outputs” down the road. This as the war in Afghanistan
becomes the longest war in US history.

The seductive logic of the Petraeus COIN Doctrine is, while we may be
having a rough time now, if we only adhere to Clausewitz and persist
with the plan to keep sending young soldiers and our money into the
maw, we will someday come out smelling like a rose.

Forty years ago, it was called “the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Tapping into the reservoir of US secrecy

Julian Assange is the Australian who founded WikiLeaks, the web-based
entity created to leak military secrets. Assange may be about to
release critically embarrassing Pentagon video of a May 2009 US air
strike on the Afghan village of Garani that killed over 100 civilians
with a one-ton airburst bomb. At the time, General Petraeus said the
video would show the attack was justified. It was never released.

The US military is now reportedly hunting for Assange, who spends a
lot of time in Iceland, a nation very friendly to journalists and

For interesting video comments on Assange by Pentagon Papers leaker
Daniel Ellsberg, go to: Michael

In May the military arrested SP4 Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old
intelligence analyst in Iraq, for allegedly releasing to WikiLeaks
video from the nose of an Apache gunship as its pilots gleefully gun
down two Reuters cameramen and a number of Iraqis. In the incident,
the aerial gunmen seriously wound two children in a van.

As the two kids are removed from the van by US soldiers, the pilots
are heard commenting that they shouldn’t have brought kids to a
firefight. The fact the gunship is far enough away that the people on
the ground seem not to be aware of it and that the van seems to have
stopped to give assistance to the wounded from the first volley, makes
the pilots’ remarks seem sadistic and delusional.

Beyond the issue of “war crimes,” the Apache video is devastating as a
window into how US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are fought, how
one-sided they are technologically and how hi-tech war tends to debase
soldiers to the point of expressing glee at killing people – in this
case, people defending their own neighborhood.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was quick to condemn the video leak. He
said it was like looking at war “through a soda straw.”

It’s hard to disagree with Gates’ soda straw metaphor. (I’ll leave for
another day the question why the Bush appointee Gates is still running
the Defense Department.)

Gene Roberts, the famous editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer during
the 1980s when the paper was a crusading magnet for Pulitzer Prizes,
liked to describe his business this way: A city newspaper was a
lighthouse in the center of a darkened city, sending out a pencil-thin
line of light to illuminate tiny pockets in the life of the city.

Soda straw. Searchlight. It’s all the same. The only way to bring the
light of truth to a vast area of darkness is to illuminate small
pieces of that darkness. This is exactly what WikiLeaks is attempting
to do using the internet -- and it seems to scare the Hell out of the
US military and the Obama administration.

They are so scared, the man who campaigned for transparent government
is more dogged than George Bush in stanching journalistic leaks and
shutting down court hearings that might tap into the military’s
reservoir of secrecy.

Currently, the Obama administration is seeking to send whistleblower
Thomas Drake to jail under The Espionage Act for leaking material on a
National Security Agency program to a Baltimore Sun reporter. His
purpose was efficiency and the discouragement of waste. The intention
is clearly to make an example and intimidate future leakers.

Then, there’s the courts. All now agree Canadian Maher Arar was 100%
innocent when the US rendered him to Syria for a full year of
detention and torture. Still, the Obama administration argued the
Supreme Court should not hear his case.

Why? According to Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, it might raise
questions about “the motives and sincerity of the United States
officials who concluded that petitioner could be removed to Syria.”

Leaking is an honorable enterprise

In order to prevent the release of material damning or embarrassing to
them, the Pentagon and the Obama administration are criminalizing
good, honorable people whose instincts are to be open and fair.

There is no reason why Americans should not see what US soldiers in
Iraq and Afghanistan are doing in their name and with their tax
resources. In a free society, the fact something may discredit the
military is the military’s problem. Using the power of courts, prisons
or worse to quash the truth is, as a Times editorial put it,

In a Department of Defense Anti-Terrorism Awareness Training course,
the following question is asked:

Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism activity?

A. Attacking the Pentagon.

B. IEDs.

C. Hate crimes against racial groups.

D. Protests.

The correct answer is D. Protests.

If at the center of your government you have a huge, closed,
untouchable military institution that trains its personnel to see
legitimate civilian opposition as the enemy, you are in trouble. The
arbitrary rule of secret government becomes inevitable.

Decent, red-blooded Americans need to support courageous entities like
WikiLeaks and prevent the US government from making truth-seeking a
criminal act.

I steal a lot of my information from Information Clearing House over
the years. They need your support in whatever way you can , they have
been a great teacher for myself, below is their link.

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