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[P]
bin Laden, detention camps, hax0rs, chickens

By Otter in MLP
Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 08:07:50 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

A few WTC-related things I've read recently that I thought deserved wider notice: Did the US really create Osama bin Laden? How many Americans think Arab-Americans should be rounded up into camps? Skr1pt k1dd13s fell the Taliban and a rabbi and two chickens invade Israel.


Back To Front: This New Republic article debunks claims that the US supported Osama bin Laden. Is it correct? I have no idea. But it's better than hearing all these people who, last month, couldn't have found Afghanistan on the map who now gravely remind each other that, "after all, we did create his organization." (It reminds me of the same people, during the Kosovo campaign, holding forth on how the Serbian partisans held off multiple divisions of crack German troops -- pure nonsense. In fact, a few third-string Nazi units took and held Belgrade without incident until they were chased out by the Soviets. Meanwhile, the partisans on the left and right mostly killed each other.)

Jesse Jackson Redux: Meanwhile, as Jesse Jackson prepares for another round of dictator-kissing diplomacy, the editors decided the piece the wrote on his Serbian adventures could simply be reprinted to cover his new trip.

CNN poll:Meanwhile, a CNN poll reports that "[t]he respondents gave a resounding no to the idea of the Rev. Jesse Jackson traveling to Afghanistan to meet with Taliban leaders." and also that "most said they opposed any type of detention camps for Arab-Americans." The writeup doesn't link to the raw numbers which, according to a Wolf Blitzer report I can't find a permanent link to, had an astounding 31% in favor of such camps! Given those numbers, US leaders may deserve more credit than they've been getting for uniformly standing up for the rights and reputation of people of Middle-Eastern descent.

Taliban Surrenders bin Laden After Web Site Defaced: I thought this was funnier than any of the Onion articles everyone is raving about. ""The mighty power of these computer magicians is too much for the Taliban to endure. We would rather give up Bin Laden than to have our web site say '0wNz0r3d by 7h3 D4rK KnIgHt5'," said Taliban leader Mullah Omar."

Finally, from the Jerusalem Post, life gets back to what passes for normal in Israel:

Flying rabbi and two chickens spark Eilat security scare

Security forces in Eilat sprang into action early this morning to thwart what they thought might be a terrorist infiltration from Jordan on a motorized "Ultralight" parachute.

Instead, it turned out to be Rabbi Shimon Eizenbach, with two chickens and his pilot, intent on performing the ritual of kapporot - in which a chicken atones for one's transgressions before Yom Kippur - on behalf of the residents of Eilat.

Large numbers of police, soldiers, and border policemen prepared to shoot down the intruders, while efforts were made to establish contact with them by means of powerful megaphones. After about 20 minutes, the intruders landed their craft, surrounded by security forces. To their surprise, Rabbi Eizenbach disembarked holding a cage with a female chicken to atone for women and girls, and a male chicken to atone for men and boys.

Rabbi Eizenbach and his pilot were taken to the Eilat police station where they claimed they received permission for their flight from the control tower at Eilat Airport. They said they did not know they also had to inform the police and IDF. Eilat police intend to press criminal charges against them for disturbing the peace, the police spokesman said.

Rabbi Eizenbach told the Itim news agency, "Despite everything, I succeeded in carrying out the kapparot ritual above the city in a special, original way, and the residents of the city should be thankful for that." The chickens were taken to the ritual slaughterer, in keeping with the kapporot tradition.

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Related Links
o Back To Front
o Jesse Jackson Redux
o CNN poll
o Taliban Surrenders bin Laden After Web Site Defaced
o Also by Otter


Display: Sort:
bin Laden, detention camps, hax0rs, chickens | 100 comments (93 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Stupid Rabbi Tricks. (4.00 / 3) (#4)
by Apuleius on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 11:43:56 PM EST

Man, oh, man, those are the things that truly make me homesick about Israel. Though this Rabbi takes the cake..


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
I remember (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by itsbruce on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:57:03 PM EST

A few years ago there was a campaign by Orthodox Rabbis in Jerusalem against "lewd" posters (e.g. adverts with bikini-clad women). The news reports showed all these bearded men in hats furtively spraying paint on posters and trying to walk away innocently. They looked like a bunch of overgrown schoolboys. Made it hard to take them seriously. Which is a mistake.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

Chickens and Wolf (5.00 / 7) (#6)
by Otter on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 12:47:46 AM EST

For those unfamilar with kapparot, it's a symbolic atonement done before Yom Kippur. You swing a chicken around your head, "transferring" your sins to it. Originally the chicken was then donated to a poor family, but after the poor balked at eating the sins of the rich, the custom changed to eating the chicken yourself and donating its value to the poor. (The overwhelming majority of Jews have probably never heard of this practice.)

Regarding the 31% of Americans supporting detention camps for Arab-Americans, the numbers are in a report by Wolf Blitzer. There are some other interesting numbers there. I wouldn't take them that seriously, as everyone is still pretty hyped up, but I find the detention camp numbers shocking under any circumstances. My guess is that a large chunk of the 31% is immigrants who haven't assimilated American sensibilities, but there must be a lot more than that.

If anyone can locate a permanent link to the Blitzer piece or the raw poll data, I'd appreciate it.

I always wondered... (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by wiredog on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:10:55 PM EST

where some of the weirder aspects of Christianity came from.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
There isn't that much of a link (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by itsbruce on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:59:06 PM EST

Between the Rabbinical tradition (or much else in Jewish faith) and Christianity. Christianity was imported to Rome from Greece, where it had been transformed into a Mystery cult. An entirely different kind of Eastern tradition.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]
Rabbinical roots. try again. (4.33 / 3) (#31)
by Luyseyal on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:02:35 PM EST

While I agree that Christianity has a lot more Greek and Roman in it than Hebrew, there are quite a few crossovers. I would point out that the most glaring differences lie in the celebration, or lack thereof, of the various festivals. The ways the festivals are celebrated currently in Jewish life evolved long, long after Christianity expanded from a Jewish sect. Furthermore, since several are mainly spiritualized celebrations of historical events, it is pretty obvious why the Christians, who never associated themselves with the Jewish political homeland, never bothered celebrating them.*

As far as Christianity being a Mystery Cult versus Judaism... well, just depends on which subcategories of the respective groups you wanna look at. For every Dualist or Augustinian, there's a Hasidic and an Essene. That said, I would agree the only heirs of the Jerusalem church (under Peter), AFAICT, are the Messianic Jews. While Rome loves to draw its roots from Peter, the facts are that Augustine, and later Aquinas, erased most of its inheritance.

My favorite quote of Y'shua's is "Sabbath was not made for man, but man for the Sabbath"; which, as many scholars have noted, had been an en vogue aphorism of the Pharisees for a long time before Y'shua was even born. The Eucharist and other festivals that are celebrated by Christians are obviously derived from the Rabbinical tradition, with the caveat that they split off some eight hundred or so years ago.

If the Samaritans had not been ruled by such starch-shirted conservatives in a relatively isolated countryside, you'd've seen as much variation there as with Christianity. Er, also with the caveat that they did not have a commandment to "Go tell it on the mountain."

Cheers,
-l
Who just read The Jewish Festivals, by Hayyim Schauss.

* The Crusades weren't about the Christian homeland in the same sense that Jason Maccabees fought for his homeland. Furthermore, Rome was not considered a homeland in the same sense as Yisrael.

[ Parent ]

I don't see (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by itsbruce on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:44:38 PM EST

The Eucharist as much of a Rabbinical tradition. The Greek Orthodox church refers to it explicitly as the third Mystery of Initiation. This used to be more evident in the Catholic church when the central parts of the ritual were peformed behind the Rood screen.

That's how I see the Eucharist - part of the Greek tradition of personal revelation by degree through an ever more esoteric sequence of mystical experiences. It isn't a long road from the Eucharist to Eleusis.

And that's without getting into the argument about whether the whole concept of the Passover meal as Eucharist is entirely a creation of Paul (whom some call a Hellenist Gnostic rather than the Pharisee he claimed to be). It has been alleged that the whole concept was stolen from the Mithraists (Zoroaster is said to have hosted a meal for his followers where he said "Eat of my flesh, drink of my blood"). The Christian concept of the Eucharist is certainly based more upon Paul's account of the meal than that of the gospel writers (and Paul claimed to have learned details of the last supper through divine revelation, not directly from the disciples).

If there is any truth in that thread of argument then the Eucharist is an example of one religion borrowing a ritual from another and using it for its own unique purposes, not a sign of inheritance.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

unique purposes (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by Luyseyal on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:58:02 PM EST

If there is any truth in that thread of argument then the Eucharist is an example of one religion borrowing a ritual from another and using it for its own unique purposes, not a sign of inheritance.

If this argument is to be accepted, then you have to look at Judaism as not a continuum but as 3 different religions altogether. The rituals of the nomadic Jews were as different philosophically and celebratorily from agrarian Jews as the Christian communion is from Passover. Same for agrarian vis. modern Judaism and nomad vis. modern. Don't take my word for it; read the book I mentioned in the previous post.

That said, I was just referring to Passover qua Christian reinterpretation, not necessarily the philosophical import of the ceremony. On analogue, witness how the writer of the latter bits of the Torah attempts to imbue Passover and other nomadic festivals with new spiritual and pseudohistorical symbolism not present in the mythological roots of nomadic Judaism.

If nothing else is learned from the Rabbinical tradition, it ought to be learned that ancient traditions, rituals, etc. can, have been, and should be reinterpreted for contemporary times. My point is simply that Christians have done nothing other than this. Due to two factors, lack of blood relations (and the political relations on top of this) and length of time (and the expected change over time) we call Christianity something other than a sect of Judaism, a religion of its own with its own evolved philosophies and newer traditions.

Personally, I'm much less familiar with the Greek Orthodox so I cannot say yay or nay to anything you've said there. As far as Paul's credentials, I dunno, that's always been a tough call historically. Either way, the more significant aspect is whether or not his communications with the Jerusalem church are accurate. If they are, then the most significant event was when the Jerusalem church agreed that non-Jews did not have to be prosyletized into Judaism to believe that Y'shua qua messiah would keep their souls for the new Earth rather than be cast to Gehenna. If not, then you'd be forced to say the entire Pauline section of the canon is based on a lie.

Cheers,
-l

[ Parent ]

I make one little joke... (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by wiredog on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 07:44:30 PM EST

And you guys go off on a serious religious history discussion. I was thinking of snake handling Pentecostals and the concept of waving dead chickens over recalcitrant hardware, myself.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the example (none / 0) (#55)
by itsbruce on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 12:37:46 PM EST

I was thinking of snake handling Pentecostals

And the Pentecostalists present a classic example for my thesis: Pentecost is a Jewish holiday celebrating Moses' receipt of the Ten Commandments but to the Christian Pentecostalists it represents the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, yet another sign of mystical initiation.

Given time I'm sure I can do something with the dead chickens.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

the dead chickens (none / 0) (#57)
by wiredog on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:19:19 PM EST

Given time I'm sure I can do something with the dead chickens.

I recommend roasting them for about an hour and a half at 325 degrees F. Baste with butter every 10 minutes or so, and turn them 1/4 the way around every 20 minutes or so.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]

experiments and modelling (none / 0) (#81)
by Luyseyal on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:48:45 PM EST

I would merely contend that these sorts of examples do not really differentiate our views. It's sort of like looking for the example that favors one of QM or Relativity.

<shrugs>
-l

[ Parent ]

Ah, cmon, (2.00 / 1) (#86)
by itsbruce on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 05:03:26 PM EST

Can't you see my tongue, wedged in the cheek of a dead chicken?


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

Semi-permanent Link to Blitzer piece (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by Ebon Praetor on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:25:18 PM EST

Here's the closest thing I could find to a permanent link to the Blitzer piece you wanted. Its in the google cache here.


[ Parent ]
The Onion articles weren't meant to be funny. (3.00 / 6) (#8)
by Apuleius on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:34:58 AM EST

Unless I'm smoking crack, the idea was to use the Onion's style to express the reactions all of us have had to the WTC attack. The articles were right on target, respectful, a Good Thing (TM), but to me and everyone else I asked, they weren't the slightest bit funny. In fact, a friend of mine cried after reading them; but still liked them a great deal.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
They were funny (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by premier on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 02:28:34 AM EST

I thought they were hilarious. I laughed out loud several times, and most of the people I know that read the site also thought most of the stories were funny as hell.

[ Parent ]
Some were funny, some were serious. (3.33 / 3) (#12)
by Carnage4Life on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:08:10 AM EST

This is an example of one that was serious: Talking To Your Child About The WTC Attack

This is an example of one that was funny: On TV Tonight

[ Parent ]
Serious? (4.00 / 4) (#14)
by amanset on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:35:12 AM EST

This is an example of one that was serious: Talking To Your Child About The WTC Attack

To be honest, I saw this as a quite funny attack on how little the average US citizen knows about what goes on outside their country. The parents are told to tell these things to their children, but the irony is that the parents probably have no idea about the finer points of what is going on, instead they just want someone bombed.

Another way of looking at it is it being about how the US educates their children about political matters, blindly telling what the media/government says without trully understanding it themselves. It is this that creates the isolationism that the US is accused of today.

[ Parent ]

Here's what the White House says... (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by ardeel on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:49:23 PM EST

... you should say to your children. Although I'm tempted to be cynical (30/15 seconds is real "sound-bite" stuff), there's no denying that recent - and possibly forthcoming - events could have a profound impact on children (even though they are typically more resilient than adults). It's worth reminding people that their children, although unable to comprehend the details of the situation, can sense that something is wrong.
This is the absolute other extreme to the "Talking to Your Child" article, though, isn't it? "Daddy, why did the bad men do that terrible thing?" "Don't worry, kid, everything's gonna be alright. I love you." (Of course, it'd be unreasonable to expect the White House to provide background on the matter at the moment, for purely diplomatic reasons, not to mention intelligence reasons. I'm sure that, at some stage, they'll be issuing statements, though)
I thought that article in The Onion was excellent: it's supposed to be the nice, "kiddy" version of the story and it's already beyond the scope of so many of the people who would be hoping to use the advice. As such, it came across as a little bit patronising and propagandist ("You don't know anything, so we're gonna tell you what's going on. All you need to know is that there are bad guys"). It was quite ironic, too: if you have to tell your child that much, how much is there to not tell?
The reason why The Onion is such an effective critic, I think, is that it criticises everyone, puts everyone in their place (in the case of the hijackers, that place was hell). God came out of this one pretty well, though...

[ Parent ]
NY 2032 (none / 0) (#65)
by urgan on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:03:38 PM EST

A kid and his father walk the NY downtown, and the man says: - This is were the Twin Towers used to stand. - What is a twin tower ? - Well, there were two of them actually, but the arabs destroyed the back 31 years ago. - Dad, what is arabs ?

[ Parent ]
punchline (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by Refrag on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:46:36 AM EST

You must've missed the punchline to "Talking to your child about the WTC attack." Here it is:
Hopefully, though, the above will serve as a start, helping your child better understand why the bad men did this terrible thing.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

I thought your first link was pretty funny (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by Wing Envy on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:34:08 PM EST

Considering how many kids are on ritalin/have ADD nowdays. Reread it again aloud to a kid and see how long they'll keep listening.


You don't get to steal all the deficiency. I want some to.
-mrgoat
[ Parent ]
Oh, and the punchline is...... (none / 0) (#24)
by Wing Envy on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:44:30 PM EST

No doubt, your child will have more questions. (Do you think any child could truly understand what this article tells parents to say?)


You don't get to steal all the deficiency. I want some to.
-mrgoat
[ Parent ]
You thought that was serious?? (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by dennis on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 07:36:37 PM EST

Jeez, if you have kids they must be in a constant state of confusion.

[ Parent ]
I disagree ... (5.00 / 4) (#11)
by vrai on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 04:29:59 AM EST

I, and everyone else in my office found them very funny indeed. Especially the point/counter-point column and the 'U.S. Vows To Defeat Whoever It Is We're At War With' article.

The Onion is probably the most consistently funny site on the web and this issue was no exception. It was also in remarkably good taste given the events it was satirising.

[ Parent ]

Define "funny" (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by Herring on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:13:13 AM EST

(If you could, I'd be impressed.)

Over in Europe, we hear that "Ironic" is not something North Americans aren't good at (at least Alanis is not real familiar with the term). Irony doesn't have to be "funny" - witness Private Eye's treatment of the Diana incident (which got pulled from the newstands). Sometimes it's too close to the bone to actually laugh.

I like the Onion a lot, but I'm waiting for the Brass Eye special ...


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
irony (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by Luyseyal on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:23:57 PM EST

I find North Americans to be rather adroit at irony. Maybe it's just the Austin, TX, in me, but most everyone I knows enjoys a good row of wit, sarcasm, and irony. Such popular shows as the Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, 3rd Rock, etc. exploit situational/dramatic irony on a regular basis, to say nothing of the more run-of-the-mill irony.

I would agree that the US newspapers and weeklies tend to shy away from irony except in the Editorial page, but I attribute that to a difference in philosophy of reporting from the Brits rather than any incapacity in the writers or readers. The US journalistic vision tends to be to seek a relatively objective view by presenting multiple views on any given topic. The Brits appear to have given up on objectivity in newspapers, though the BBC has plenty of reporting in the same vein as the US philosophy.

I'm not seeking an argument over whether journalistic objectivity is possible or should be pursued at all. I'm just calling it like I see it. Feel free to boo and hiss as necessary.

Cheers,
-l

[ Parent ]

Right and wrong (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by itsbruce on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:04:04 PM EST

  • Right: too many Brits like to say that Americans don't do irony. It's cheap bigotry and wilfully ignores the evidence.
  • Wrong: no objectivity in UK papers. Stop reading the tabloids, then. Open any of the broadsheets and you'll find the comment and opinion pages deliberately including pieces from people across the spectrum. Ignoring that does involve a little glass-to-the-eyepatch activity.

The UK and US papers choose different ways to attempt balance and each has its pros and cons. From a British perspective the US papers often seem timid to the point of servility, so afraid of facts that aren't triple-checked and triple-balanced that they seek a tame consensus in a way that greatly favours government and the vested interest. This is unfair but not exactly untrue.

It's interesting that you single out the BBC for praise. To me it seems that the BBC have become entirely supine. They have almost completely abandoned investigative journalism, exiling it to 11pm on the minority channel. Their main news broadcasts rarely show anything that hasn't been announced in a press conference first.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

style vs. research (none / 0) (#41)
by Luyseyal on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 07:01:44 PM EST

Never been to the UK, all I hear about are tabloids and that they've replaced the old style newspaper. Glad to hear that's false, actually. I agree they have pros and cons, each. I was attempting to show that they took different views, not which one is better. As far as BBC, I'm just talking about the website and the sorts of articles that pop up there. I've never watched BBC TV. -l

[ Parent ]
CIA and bin Laden (4.58 / 12) (#10)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 04:13:57 AM EST

Some people beg to differ about CIA involvement in Afghanistan in the 80s. The article in TNR you cite clearly states that the US poured generous amounts of money and at the end they just disappeared. To think that some of that money did not find its way into bin Laden's pockets (in purpose or by accident) or associates is plain childish. Anyway the CIA knew they were backing religious zealots, so has not been bin Laden, other people would have been ready to continue the "struggle".

Now, CIA will not tell us if they created bin Laden, will they? Having a long history of creating or appeasing similar creatures, the CIA's credibility regarding this matter is , hmmm, very close to nil.
------------------------------------
"They only think of me as a Mexican,
an Indian or a Mafia don"
Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn on
Hol

They must have a good memory (4.00 / 4) (#15)
by Malatesta on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:06:11 AM EST

Well you could believe what the CIA say, they poured $32 billion of arms to whatever fanatic they could find, the nastier the better, to fight the soviets, and they reckon that none could have found it's way to Bin Laden. Well by the volume of arms supplied they probably just don't remember his face. After all they were giving stinger missiles to just about any character with a beard and a copy of the Koran they could find. After all all those arabs look the same from Langley. It is worth noting that Bin Laden gave a detailed account of his introduction to the CIA in a 1993 interview with AFP. Anyway there are some intersting quotes from American leaders back when the Taliban were the good guys, in an interview with AP Ronald Reagan said the fanatics of the mujahadeen were 'the moral equivalents of our founding fathers'. Robert Fisk (Independant newspaper UK) the longest serving Western Journalist in the middle East recounts how he was forced to refer to the Mujahadeen as 'freedom fighters' whenever he mentioned them in his articles at the time. Now these people are the devils. Ever feel like a sheep in the face of the mass media?

[ Parent ]
Afghans are not Arabs (5.00 / 2) (#21)
by wiredog on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:09:58 PM EST

And the CIA is quite aware of that. I knew a CIA guy who worked that area during the early 70's.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
Bin Laden is Saudi (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by Malatesta on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 09:17:13 PM EST

Bin Laden and most of the key figures in the Mujahadeen were recruited from arab countries, not afghanistan (which supplied the foot-soldiers). It is also worth noting that of the named suspects in the WTC bombing, the majority are Saudis.

[ Parent ]
I've noted it (none / 0) (#49)
by wiredog on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:01:44 AM EST

And, from what I hear on the grapevine, so have others.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
So what? (3.16 / 6) (#25)
by physicsgod on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:56:19 PM EST

Even if the CIA funded bin Laden (and I'm pretty sure they did) so what? The CIA funded a lot of people in the fight against communism, not all of them are declaring war against every american on the planet, how would you expect the CIA to tell them apart? Do you think the CIA turned bin Laden into a relgious zealot? The CIA didn't give him his personal forturne of millions of dollars. Isn't it concievable that bin Laden might have used his own money to fight in Afganistan and later recieve training from someone like the Palestinians? Bin Laden created himself, and while the CIA might have helped I don't think that help was instrumental.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
The point is... (3.50 / 2) (#26)
by Anon 20517 on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:14:19 PM EST

The CIA has quite a history of supporting all sorts of nasty people in the name of fighting "the evils of communism". God forbid these empoverished 3rd world countries have brutal, genocidal leaders calling themselves "communists". No, no, much better to have a brutal, genocidal extreme right-wing governments instead.

--Greg

[ Parent ]
Put yourself in the times. (2.75 / 4) (#38)
by physicsgod on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:23:41 PM EST

Back during the cold war US policy makers were absolutly convinced that any communist government would soon turn into a Soviet tool, with a similar government style. I think the policy makers honestly believed that a free-market dictatorship was better than a communist dictatorship, since the free-market would (in theory) allow rewards for individual initiative, create and grow a middle class, and eventually cause a transition to a democracy, none of which would happen under a communist regime.

I don't know if they were right or not, but they did make a mess, and we should clean it up.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Sorry, but (none / 0) (#51)
by itsbruce on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 09:32:27 AM EST

I think the policy makers honestly believed that a free-market dictatorship was better than a communist dictatorship,

In fact, they often chose a right-wing dictatorship over an inconvenient democracy.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

No... (1.00 / 2) (#60)
by physicsgod on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:29:50 PM EST

They chose a right-wing dictatorship over a left-wing democracy, which they felt (with good cause) would invariably lead to a left-wing dictatorship and dominance by the USSR.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Oh great (none / 0) (#61)
by itsbruce on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:05:51 PM EST

Let's go kill democratic people because of what they might do. Is there anything your government shouldn't do to people who have never harmed you to protect you from all possible futures? Or should the rest of us just slit our throats now?


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]
Ignoring history. (none / 0) (#71)
by physicsgod on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:03:01 PM EST

The USSR was trying just as hard as the US was to influence other countries. The left-wing rebels/political parties were being funded by the USSR so that they could influence the resulting government. This isn't an issue of what might happen, its an issue of what will happen if the US didn't get involved

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Interesting. (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 12:04:38 AM EST

As far as I can tell, there is *one* case where a left-leaning democracy voluntarily chose to go communist --- Czechoslovakia in 1948. Every other left-leaning democracy --- Britain, W. Germany, Italy (for example) --- chose not to, except for the ones where we, in the name of preserving freedom, prevented the people of the country from making their own choice.

[ Parent ]
Britain? (none / 0) (#78)
by odaiwai on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 04:47:10 AM EST

Britain is a left-leaning democracy? Only if you stand far enough to the right...

dave
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]
Confuse the past with the present .... (none / 0) (#80)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:23:58 PM EST

*Today* it isn't a left-leaning democracy. For most of the 50s and 60s it was. That's why Thatcher was such a big deal --- she represented a huge shift in political course.

[ Parent ]
Bullshit (none / 0) (#79)
by itsbruce on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:14:01 PM EST

You have a cheek accusing me of ignoring history when you obviously never heard of half the incidents I and others have raised here. And your argument is ludicrous. Where is your evidence that every left wing party was being funded by the Soviet Union? Bizarrely enough, most European nations have managed to have left wing governments and not join the Soviet block.

According to your argument, your government has the right to topple democratic governments, assassinate their leaders and impose any kind of murderous tyrant, so long as it protects you from even the whisker of a threat. What price international law, then? How do you expect to achieve any kind of secure peace if the bully with the biggest stick breaks any rule he feels like? Why should other countries respect international law and peace if your government ignores it?


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]
You continue to miss the point. (none / 0) (#82)
by physicsgod on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 02:03:39 PM EST

I don't have to prove that every left-leaning political movement was funded by the USSR, just that the US policy makers believed so. You cannot call their actions mistaken or wrong based on evidence you come up with later. To do so would be convicting them of the crime of not being omniscient.

I want to to pay attention to what I say next: There is no international law. There is no international civilization, there isn't even a real international community. There are just agreements between nations that can and are ignored whenever it is necessary. This is because there is nothing to ensure the survival of nations except the nation itself, thus nations cannot allow ethics or morals to stand in the way of survival.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

I have to jump in here (none / 0) (#83)
by peace on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 02:59:30 PM EST

Because your continuing claims that the CIA can not be criticised for past actions is ridiculas on many accounts.

1. The CIA does not release information neccesary to conduct truthfull investigations of their actions while the CIA is conducting them. Thus, any critisism of their actions are neccesarily well after the fact.

2. Given your arguments it would be impossible for any later generation to criticise the policies and actions of the past. Thus Hitler must be thought of as a product of his time and we should not abhor his policies.

3. You seem to assume that the CIA, given current information, would take the actions that would insure the least possible suffering to the peoples of the nation they are toying with. There is ample evidence to suggest that this is not the case. In fact, it can be demonstrated in places like Nicaragua that the CIA will adopt policies that maximise civilian suffering in order to control the population and destabalise the region.

I infer from your arguments that you would lke to believe that the US and it's agents have the best intentions even if they are sometimes misguided and go wrong. I would also like to believe this but the evidence against this conclusion is immense.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Then (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by itsbruce on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 03:59:13 PM EST

There is no moral difference between you and those who planned the WTC attack. Your argument is their argument.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

Right. (none / 0) (#88)
by physicsgod on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 12:18:50 AM EST

But by their actions they have become a threat to me, my family, and my country. I for one am not going to stop until that threat is eliminated. I will either kill them or they will kill me. I am not going to try and cloak myself with the niceties of morals, ethics, or rights; I am going to kill, because they have shown there is no other way to stop them. They do not want to talk, they don't want reason, they want blood, and I will do my damnedest to give it to them.

The President is right, there are no neutrals in this war. If you help them you are a threat to me. If you try to stop me I'm going to remove you using any means necessary.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Simply untrue (none / 0) (#85)
by itsbruce on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 05:02:11 PM EST

I want to to pay attention to what I say next: There is no international law.

This is not a statement of fact. The existence of international law may not chime with your pseudo-Darwinist beliefs, but to deny its existence is an untruth. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are legally binding human rights agreements for all UN members. Many have gone further and incorporated various UN conventions into their own constitutions, ratified by the same legislative bodies which ratify the laws of their respective sovereign states. The International Court of Justice in the Hague is the official judicial body of the U.N., again recognised by those same national bodies.

International law may be a personal annoyance to you and patchily enforced but it is as valid as your local parking regulations.

International law is also the only long term hope of any peace or end to international terrorism. Your foolishly romanticised "Rough Men", choosing the fallen in foreign countries you don't care about to protect your sleep, are a threat to that hope, not a solution.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

And... (none / 0) (#89)
by physicsgod on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 12:22:19 AM EST

If the US were to decide that it wasn't going to be bound by any of these treaties what would happen? If you said nothing much you'd be right. There is no authority to ensure compliance with international "law" except for the US, and to a lesser extent, Europe. It's not law, regardless of what it's called, it's explicit statement of actions.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#93)
by plug on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 05:02:48 PM EST

Fair enough.. but America may find that disrepecting international law, treaty and 'human rights' may could lead to airoplanes being crashed into buildings.

By the way.you do know that your sig is not unknown? It is infact a misquote of Goerge Orwell's essay on Rudyard Kipling (1942 ) critisizing Rudyard Kipling's Colonialist outlook.:

"[Kipling] sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilised, are there to guard and feed them."

"If God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him."Mikhail Bakunin
[ Parent ]

I wasn't advocating it... (none / 0) (#97)
by physicsgod on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 12:47:29 AM EST

I just wanted to make the point that international law is not law in the ususal use of the word, which means countries like the US have only their own resources for defence.

I originally found my sig attributed to Orwell, but another poster here pointed me to a site saying he didn't say it, so I changed the attribution. Anyway I think I like this phrasing better, thanks for pointing out where it came from.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Don't you see a pattern here? (4.66 / 6) (#28)
by itsbruce on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:51:37 PM EST

Here's a little list of people given help and funding by the CIA (often in parallel with the UK and other western governments):

  • Pol Pot
  • Saddam Hussein
  • Jonas Savimbi
  • Idi Amin
  • Manuel Noriega
  • Mobuto Sese Seko

Only a partial list. Looking back over it, I have to ask where RealPolitik stops and lunacy begins. Not only did several of these murderers only achieve power with Western aid but also turned round and bit chunks out of the hand that fed them.

Giving support to these people wasn't just stupid it was criminal. Remember how, when Desert Storm started, we were all told Saddam was a monster because he had used chemical weapons against the Kurds? I remember that news first surfacing several years before the invasion of Kuwait. Only Saddam was our ally then, so the US and UK governments (under Reagan and Thatcher respectively) flatly denied the truth of those stories (even though they knew exactly what was going on) and continued giving him arms and money.

You may have no power to stop your government from doing this but turning a blind eye to it is just a small step short of complicity.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]
Selective sampling. (2.33 / 3) (#39)
by physicsgod on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:35:23 PM EST

Your list contains only those the CIA supported who later became problems. How many CIA supported regimes didn't?

As for Iraq's chemical weapons use I found references to two incidents, one in 1988 and one in 1991, but I can only find one CIA report about the 1991 incident. It's also possible that nobody in the US cared about Saddam or the Kurds in 1988, while after the war interest increased.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Irrelevant (4.60 / 5) (#45)
by itsbruce on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 07:47:16 PM EST

Your list contains only those the CIA supported who later became problems. How many CIA supported regimes didn't?

That's like saying "OK, so I beat my wife but there's plenty of women I never hit."

In several of the above cases (and a whole bunch I could have listed) the CIA (and MI6) actively helped depose the preceding democratically elected government and/or assassinate its leader(s). So they can't just plead "Oops, we backed the wrong guy." Not when they helped kill the right (or at least not wrong) quy.

  • Patrice Lumumba
  • Mohammad Mosaddeq
  • Salvador Allende
  • The hundreds of thousands of people killed after Suharto's rise to power, many of them killed because they were on death lists compiled by the CIA.

A short roll call of the dead. People murdered with the connivance of the CIA and MI6. Their deaths weren't accidents or the result of lack of foresight. Going to make a list of all the people the CIA didn't kill?


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

no... (2.00 / 6) (#46)
by physicsgod on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 08:07:05 PM EST

That's like saying "OK, so I beat my wife but there's plenty of women I never hit."
It's like saying "every mass murderer went to high school, therefore everyone in high school is a mass murderer."

Look, the CIA operates in a very grey area morally speaking. In order to do its job it has to deal with unseemly characters. Sometimes it turns out that backing someone caused more deaths than it prevented, but you can't know that ahead of time so you make the best choice on the information available. What if one of those people on the CIA compiled death lists was a potential Stalin, willing to kill millions?

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Eh? (4.50 / 2) (#48)
by davidmb on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:53:31 AM EST

What if one of those people on the CIA compiled death lists was a potential Stalin, willing to kill millions?

Your reasoning defies belief.

What if you are a potential Stalin? I don't know, do I? But I don't think you'd appreciate being added to a death list.
־‮־
[ Parent ]
that's right, you don't... (1.00 / 1) (#54)
by physicsgod on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 12:27:33 PM EST

But the CIA is supposed to know, that's their job. If there is a person commited to killing thousands of people you are morally obligated to stop him, even if it means killing hundreds of "innocent" people who might be duped by him. Of course this isn't an ideal world so there's no such thing as perfect knowledge, so you have to assign confidence levels to your information, and sometimes you screw up.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
RE: no... (2.50 / 2) (#53)
by peace on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 12:26:02 PM EST

The problem with your argument is that people "willing to kill millions" are on he CIA "life list". The fact the the CIA and it's clients might kill hundreds or thousands of "potential Stallins" is dwarfed by their willingness to kill millions or hundreds of millions of potential doctors, lawyers, farmers, teachers, firemen, etc. You claim the CIA works in "a very grey area morally". I'm interested to hear what you think the CIA's mission is in the world.

You claim that a previous posters list of CIA clients is incomplete, yet you fail to expand it. Do you have some information that could help change peoples opinion concering the motives and tactics of the CIA? If you can expand the list, please do.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

The CIA (none / 0) (#56)
by physicsgod on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 12:47:58 PM EST

The mission of the CIA is primarily to gather information. Because this is a covert process the CIA is also uniqely equipped to further the goals of the US via covert means, politics by means other than diplomacy or war.

During the cold war the policy of the US was to contain communism, which usually meant supporting non-communist dictators. I'd be willing to bet that the "death list" mentioned started out as a compilation of left-wing activists, who may or may not have been agents for the USSR, handed over to the right-wing government for neutralization, i.e. imprisionment. This was the big dilemma of the cold war: if, after advising against it, someone you support does something you find immoral do you withdraw your support and fail your objectives, and possibly disobey orders, or do you continue support?

You also need to look at the moral calculus: If you can stop one Stalin who will kill millions by killing 100 "innocent" (not innocent in the sense of people minding their own business, but people who want to help Stalin but don't support the killings) people should you?

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Your ignoring my main point (5.00 / 2) (#58)
by peace on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:38:02 PM EST

The CIA does not want to kill "potential Stallins". It wants to put actuall ruthless dictators in power and maintain their power against opposition.

Your line of argument implies that the CIA has been charged with the mission of killing "potential" mass murders. This would be easier to believe if they did not support actual mass murders.

You say that the mission of the CIA is "primarily to gather information". I'm not sure why you insist that this is a "covert process", "politics by means other then diplomacy or war". That statement is loaded with possible interpretations while still leaving the reader with no direct sense of what the author is saying. For instence, it is unclear to me why gathering information is a covert process. But that is a small point, the larger point is that it fails to address the full range of known activities undertaken by the CIA such as: insurgency, assasination, propaganda, and funding of dictatorships. Clearly these do not fall under the catagory of "gathering information", yet the CIA does these things. I can agree that in order to do these things much information is probobly gathered in the process, what you left out is that all that information is put to use for activities includeing the ones mentioned above. I doubt that you were unaware of these activities when you ventured to offer your description of the CIA's mission. It would instead seem that you want to argue your points from a narrow perspective, allowing only evidence that supports the position you have decided to defend.

The last little bit might seem like a personal attack, but I am only highlighting the argumentive style that you are using because in order to achieve a larger and more truthfull world picture, it will be neccesary to abondon it in favor of a style that is more inclusive of known facts.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Not really.. (none / 0) (#59)
by physicsgod on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:23:47 PM EST

My point was that during the cold war supporting these free-market dictators was seen as better than allowing communist governments into power, which seem to always be accompanied by "re-education camps" and massive killings. It was seen as better to support a dictator and use our influence to moderate him than to allow the Soviets to have influence over a communist government. You'll notice a lack of US supported dictators since the collapse of the USSR.

Perhaps I should be more specific. The primary mission of the CIA is to gather information other people don't want gathered, thus it has to be a covert process. Since the CIA was the only government organization with experience in covert operations it has been tasked with other jobs requiring stealth, such as government overthrow and killings. The USSR had similar jobs/organizations during the cold war, its just their messes cleaned themselves up pretty quickly (except Afganistan, thanks guys ;) ).

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

But you are sidestepping it (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by peace on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:04:18 PM EST

My point was that during the cold war supporting these free-market dictators was seen as better than allowing communist governments into power, which seem to always be accompanied by "re-education camps" and massive killings.

My point is that the CIA insured mass killings would take place by putting murderous dictators in charge of countries and then defending them throughout their murderous raine. It is interesting that all your statements about what would have happend if the CIA had not taken the actions it did are always couched in potentialities. The things that I am saying are actual historical record. A few posters have mentioned the more notorious clients of the CIA. You can go look them up and follow the CIA's involvement with them. You claimed first that the list was incomplete, yet did not offer any additions. This is probobly because there are no additions to be made of the type you aluded to. The nature of the CIA does not allow for them.

You claim that the institution of left wing governments "seem to always be accompanied by "re-education camps" and massive killings." Again, I would like to know where you are getting your information on this. I'll provide the first obvious one myself, Communist Russia. But guess what, the USA was founded amidst "massive killings" and "re-education camps". You seem to want to claim some moral high ground and are unwilling to see the facts that are so clearly laid out.

Your argument seems to be that the CIA is ok as long as it is implementing government policy. I say that the CIA is just one component of a government that has no respect for human life. My opinion is born out by the events that I see around me and the historical record I have access to. Your argument does not convince me other wise as, to use your term, the "moral calculas" of 1 million dead = 1 million dead. That the CIA backed and defended the murders does not make me feel any better about it. That it was government policy to take such actions is simply horrible.

[ Parent ]

No, I'm not. (none / 0) (#69)
by physicsgod on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:56:49 PM EST

People were going to die. If the CIA did nothing people would have died when the country came under communist rule. The CIA got involved and people died. My argument is that the decision makers felt that CIA involvement lead to fewer deaths than no involvment. The reason the no-CIA case is couched in potentialities is because the no-CIA case is a potentiality, there is no evidence to show what might have happened in a given situation, just comparisons to similar situations.

As for massive killings in communist nations(off the top of my head): China, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, Cuba, Chezcoslovakia(sp?), Poland, and Yugoslavia. I'd be interested in seeing proof for the "massive killings" around the founding of the US, outside the war. There were killings, but they were not organized or systematic.

The reason I can't add to the list of CIA supported regimes is I haven't the faintest idea of where to start looking. I tried the CIA webpage, all their operations are classified, thus I can't think of a trustworthy source to look at.

My argument is that the US has followed the moral principle of "1 million dead is better than 10 million dead".

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Then let me clarify (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by peace on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 10:19:10 PM EST

First of all, your argument that right wing dictators kill fewer people then left wing dictators needs some supporting evidence as it is something you repeat as central to your argument. Being as you "haven't the faintest idea where to start looking" I'm not inclined to concider this as anything but wishfull fantasy on your part. I suggest you concider instead the conclusion that given evidence that is available, right wing dictatorships are in fact responsible for more killing and missery then left wing dictatorships. Or I should clarify my argument which is that US/CIA backed dictatorships cause the most harm to the populations subjected to them.

Now lets have a look at your list.

China: Sheepishly I don't know to much about the communist takeover of China.

Korea: The US military was directly involved in killing as many as 900,000 civilains during that war. President Rhee, the US supported dictator of southern Korea, executed thousands of communist sympatheziers and intellectuals. The North executed thousands of right wing sympatheziers during it's brief occupation of Southern Korea. It should be noted however that many of those executed by the North were people who had collaborated with the Japanese during their WWII occupation of Korea, and that the US employed in Rhee's administration.

Vietnam: Ho Chi Min was another one who was backed initialy by the US. He admired the US, spent time learning in the US and wanted to cooperate with the US. His communist leanings led to tensions and ultimatly US invasion. After the US left, 1 million Vietnamies dead and 10 million refugees. This war included, like the Korean war, a US policy of indescriminet bombing of cities and civilain targets.

Cambodia: The reign of Pol Pot was ushured in during the final days of the Vietnam war do to the instability and destruction to the region caused by the Vietnam War. The Khmer Rouge killed millions. Strange then that it was Vietnam who eventualy ousted his regiem. After which the US vehemently supported Pol Pot both financialy and in the UN, voting consistently for 10 years to get Pol Pots government re-established in Cambodia. I guess he was OK after all.

Chezcoslovakia: I know nothing about it and I'll spell it like you.

Poland: This is intersting because it was an extreme right wing government that killed millions of Polish during WWII (Not to mention 6 million jews and 20 million Russians). Not sure about the death tolls after Russia claimed it post WWII.

Yugoslavia: Another one I don't know to much about.

As for the US genecide against the native population of this land, I'm not sure how much I really need to say. Talk to a Native American, if you can find any.

[ Parent ]

The problem is. (none / 0) (#87)
by physicsgod on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 12:10:23 AM EST

There isn't much evidence. Everything the CIA has done is still classified, so there's no official eividence. The only reports we have are from those willing to work to find anonymous sources and scraps of documentations. The problem is that the people willing to go through all that work usually have an agenda, which biases their work, of course no one has taken the time to point to sources for the CIA's actions.

As for numbers: Pinochet's regime is supposed to have killed 3000 people, out of a population of ~23 Million. Which is the same number of people killed in the Tienanmin Square Massacre in China, out of a population of 1.1 billion, but that was just 1 day. Further research should probably be left to a PoliSci doctoral candidate.

I feel that all this talk of deaths and atrocities is tangental to my main point: The CIA is not some autonimous organization doing whatever it feels like, it is a tool of US foreign policy, just like the state department or the armed forces. You cannot use current facts to judge past actions.

During the Cold War the US tasked itself to defend capitalism, not because the US was corrupt, but because they felt (and some of us still do) that capitalism is best in the long run.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Simply not true (none / 0) (#91)
by peace on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 11:38:00 AM EST

Your claim that there is no evidence is not true. There is just no evidence that you find credible. There has been anuf evidence presented to the world court to cause it to condemn the US on multiple occasions. The US of course has vetoed the condemnations. Your argument is such that you set the CIA up to be the only credible source of information for its own actions. Thus, I'm not surprised you think the way that you do.

I feel that all this talk of deaths and atrocities is tangental to my main point: The CIA is not some autonimous organization doing whatever it feels like, it is a tool of US foreign policy, just like the state department or the armed forces. You cannot use current facts to judge past actions.

Yes, it is a tool of US foreign policy. Is'nt that a shame. Your statement that the CIA can not be criticised for past actions is ludicris, please see my response to that here.

During the Cold War the US tasked itself to defend capitalism, not because the US was corrupt, but because they felt (and some of us still do) that capitalism is best in the long run.

The best for you maybe, safely tucked away at night, but not for the millions slaughtered by US policy. Entire generations have been lost do to US policy and thier effects. All so you can sit at your keyboard and chide that it will be best in the long run. If killing millions of civilians so that you can sleep better at night is'nt corrupt, I'm not sure what is.

Truelly, thanks for the descusion. But I think we simply have different values.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

Lies, damn lies and statistics (none / 0) (#99)
by schwar on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 03:15:38 AM EST

You both seemed to be unable to find figures about who was worse than who. Here is an interesting site on that topic. http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

[ Parent ]
Interesting site (none / 0) (#100)
by peace on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:18:34 AM EST

But my argument is not really about who is worse, even though I do believe that the US supports the worst dictatorships around the world.

My point is that the CIA's mission is not to reduce killing and suffering. What I am responding to is the claim that the CIA/US Gov. acted in what it believed to be at the time the best interests of the populations of the countries it destroyed. I find that the CIA/US acted without any concideration for these populations and given a choice or the opportunity acted to increase thier suffering. For that I do have documentation, some of it is summerized in the post you responded to. I could go on and on but I am not writing a book, I am trying to make a point in a message thread. If my point is not clear, please let me know what needs clearification and I will do my best.

Additionaly, I was responding to the ludicrus claim that the CIA/US policies can not be examined in the present as we do not know what they were thinking when they made the decisions they did. I deal with that elswhere in this thread.

Everything else is either supportive or tangental.

[ Parent ]

Mistakes (none / 0) (#68)
by PhillipW on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:40:22 PM EST

My point was that during the cold war supporting these free-market dictators was seen as better than allowing communist governments into power, which seem to always be accompanied by "re-education camps" and massive killings.

That does not change the fact that these were serious mistakes. I can tolerate mistakes so long as people are willing to apologize for and help correct the mistakes. And bombing the citizens of that country does not count as either apology or correction.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Not mistakes. (none / 0) (#70)
by physicsgod on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:00:31 PM EST

You have no right to judge the actions of the past on information gained in the present. Any judgement must be made in light of the facts as they were known at the time. The fact is that the policy makers felt (as do I) that a country is better off under a free-market dictator than under Soviet rule. The actions of the presidents and the CIA were not mistakes, they were the least pessimal of the available alternatives.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
They may not have been mistakes (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 12:01:34 AM EST

but they were certainly hypocritical and probably unethical. The United States, the bastion of freedom and democracy, the standard bearer of personal liberty in the realm of international politics, for decades had a governmental arm that felt perfectly free to undermine and overthrow democratically elected governments with which the US disagreed politically. How that can be squared with stated US political beliefs about the sanctimony of personal political freedom is an exercise for students of Orwell and Goebbels.

[ Parent ]
The CIA (none / 0) (#67)
by PhillipW on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:28:46 PM EST

First off, the CIA supports dictatorships that will support US causes to make life that much easier for Americans, no matter how many innocent foreigners happen to die.

Second, most of the people that end up replaced with ultra-right wing dictatorships were democratically elected. I personally do not think that an organization from a country that so cherishes self-determination should be picking off, or assisting in the picking off of, foreign leaders that were elected.

And lastly, we could at least try to pick some revolutionaries who are tolerant, rather than militant rightists to kill elected leaders.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Yeah right! (4.33 / 3) (#50)
by CaptainZapp on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 09:23:11 AM EST

Your list contains only those the CIA supported who later became problems. How many CIA supported regimes didn't?

Augusto Pinochet - the man in charge of Chile after the democratically elected president Salvador Allende was killed with help from the CIA - sure as hell didn't become to be a US-problem.

Tens of thousands of maimed, killed, abducted and torchured Chileans might have a slightly different view though.

[ Parent ]

*If* the CIA funded him (none / 0) (#75)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:58:50 PM EST

then I would argue it has direct relevance to one of the things Congress did immediately after the attacks --- pass a law requiring that the ban on hiring operatives with questionable human rights backgrounds be removed.

If bin Laden was a CIA man (like, say, Noriega) who turned on us, then the irony of the story is rich: after an evil man that we built up in the hopes that he would be our ally turned on us, we made it easier to hire evil men in the future in the hopes that they will be our allies. Bright, wasn't it?

But the true point is this: it couldn't matter less if bin Laden per se was a CIA operative; the atmosphere in which he operates was largely influenced by the CIA's attempt to recruit non-Afghanis into the war against the Russians there, and to turn the cause of expelling the Russians into a holy war. While it's not our fault that these guys turned on us, it is our fault that they were all together in one place --- we encouraged them to go there.

[ Parent ]

It isn't karma. (none / 0) (#52)
by jolly st nick on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:36:00 AM EST

While I think there is plenty of historical precedent for the blowback theory, I just don't think it applies in this case. bin Laden inherited 80m$ and parlayed that into 300m -- quite an accomplishment to be sure, but much easier than parlaying 0 into 1m. While he may have received some American money, I don't think it made much of a difference. Afganistan probably could be bought for a few paltry millions by somebody with enough interest and presence there.

In short, there is little factual basis for believing the blowback theory in this case.

I think the real attraction of the blowback theory is that it imagines us in control of our destiny. If we only stopped being wicked, then bad things would never happen to us. Put that way it's obviously ridiculous, but I think this is a real part of its appeal.

It also psychologically emasculates the attackers -- makes them less terrifying. They are no longer moral agents choosing to do evil to us, but inanimate cogs in a karmic wheel.

I won't defend every act of American foreign policy, such as the Iraq sanctions, or dropping the second atomic bomb on Japan. These were complex and callous pieces of realpolitik, andI think in the end they were wrong headed. But whether they were right or wrong, every act of evil stands on its own, as the choice of somebody to do or not to do. I think the acts of September 11 where particularly heinous in that they will serve no purpose other than to increase misery and disorder, not among Americans, who will recover as a nation quickly enough, but among peoples of the middle and near east. The perpetrators thrive on these peoples' suffering and alienation.




[ Parent ]
You have to remember... (none / 0) (#96)
by makaera on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 11:42:13 PM EST

The CIA was just carrying out the will of the nation's political leaders. What would you blame, the gun or the arm that aimed it and the finger that pulled the trigger? The CIA is the intelligence weapon of the United States. However, it is aimed and fired by the elected political leaders. While the CIA may have made some mistakes, remember that it was only doing what it was told to do.


"Ninety rounds in there," Joel Andrews said. "If you can't take it down with 90 rounds, you better turn in your badge!" -- from Washington Post
[ Parent ]

No training in Afghanistan (4.77 / 9) (#17)
by Malatesta on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:17:15 AM EST

I just read this new republic article and it is a distortion of the worst kind in that it actually isn't an outright lie (although it does contain some) since its basic argument is that the US wasn't present in Afghanistan actually training fanatics until after 1987 and thus didn't know what was happening on the ground. Well it is true that the CIA didn't have training camps in Afghanistan and started supplying stinger missiles only in 1986, but the lack of training camps was caused by the fact that these camps were in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria and elsewhere in the muslim world. The 'blowback' has not only caused the rise of fanaticism in Afghanistan but also such nasty pieces of work as Hamas in Palestine and the GIA in Algeria. This is all well documented if you care to exercise critical judgement.

[ot] Holy Cow! It's another bad head! (1.00 / 3) (#27)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:30:28 PM EST

You wouldn't happen to be somehow related to the Leo Malatesta family from Wapakoneta, Ohio would you?

Regards,

Lee

[ Parent ]

It's not just Afghanistan... (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by rsidd on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 11:53:15 AM EST

it would have been so nice if it were.

Recently I came across this history of the CIA. I don't know if it's all gospel truth, but there's a lot there which I'd heard before, and that scares me about the stuff I hadn't heard before.

sorry, corrected link... (5.00 / 2) (#20)
by rsidd on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 11:58:01 AM EST

Should have been http://www.ncf.ca/coat/our_magazine/links/issue43/issue43.htm

[ Parent ]
Intriguing (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by jd on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:03:41 PM EST

Most of it has been covered, to some degree or other, by the BBC (both by the news teams and the documentary teams), various other news sources, the Discovery Channel, papers released under time limitations by the British and/or Americans, etc.

In other words, if it's not "gospel truth", then it's simply public information with an editorial slant. If you ignore any slant, then you'll find information that is, by and large, the information that's publicly available.

(NOTE: "Publicly available" and "The whole truth" are two entirely different things. Otherwise, everyone - defendents, plaintiffs, witnesses, et al - appearing in court could be convicted for life, for contempt. Hmmmm.... Maybe the US courts could try that. It'd cut down on frivolous lawsuits.)

Further, BECAUSE there's going to be an editorial slant, I wouldn't waste too much time arguing over any interpretations, or phrasing. Opinions are everywhere, you're not going to run out of those, it's the facts, the underlying attitudes and the perceptions of the protagonists that are valuable and interesting. I suggest sticking to those.

Within those constraints, the directory does give a good idea as to how... ummm... subtle? our beloved leaders and their operatives can be.

On last note on this - really, there's nothing in that list that history books don't already have listed for many leaders in many countries, these past 100,000 years. Those up on English history might want to look up references to the Princes in the Tower, Morton's Fork, Nero's Rome, the various plots & intriguies of the Austro-Hungarian empire, etc.

[ Parent ]

no more comments? (none / 0) (#94)
by svampa on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 07:09:25 PM EST

This history is scaring

This is not godspell, and there are a lot of myths about CIA. But in all there are a lot of seriusly evil stories well documented. I knew some of this stories (south american ones) and most of them are History (with uppercase), not paranoid deliriums (Condor, Pinochet, Videla, contras..).

I never looked at it as a whole picture, and the whole picture is terrific, it makes dictators like Pinochet look as amateurs in evil.

On last note on this - really, there's nothing in that list that history books don't already have listed for many leaders in many countries

Sure, but..Rome Empire, Austro-Hungarian empire etc..., never pretend to be democracies, nor pretended to respect the human rights, nor pretended to be the "good police" of the world, not pretended to defend other countries freedom. People and governments of these empires never thougth or pretended that conquering weak countries and torturing dissidents was inacceptable, perhaps an ugly duty, but acceptable.

The distance between the moral the government pretends to honour, the moral teaches in its own scholls and its acts has never been so wide. USA is not the worst Empire of the history but probably the smartest and by far the most hypocritical

I am suprised this doesn't raise more comments



[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (none / 0) (#73)
by Scandal on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 10:49:18 PM EST

... suddenly, after following the history of the CIA link, the idea that the CIA could have fabricated the entire terrorist plot to generate American support for a broad campaign in the Middle East seems almost trivial to accept.

After seeing THIS stuff (the stuff I hadn't heard yet is even more sickening than the stuff I had...), conspiracy theorists should be suffering headaches from all the alarm bells going off.

Conspiracy apologists -- don't even bother. I'm sure none of the stuff listed herein (even though we have tons of documentation on it) ever happened or could possibly happen. Have a nice day! (In 50 years when the relevant documents about the current "crisis" are declassified, you can deny those, too!)

*Scandal*


[ Parent ]
Well.... (none / 0) (#95)
by makaera on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 11:34:08 PM EST

You have to remember that the CIA is just an instrument for American policy, not a creater of American policy. The "History of the CIA" correctly refers to 'American Leaders' as being responsible. Yes, the CIA is answerable to government officials, it only carries out what they ask it to do. It is not a rogue organization doing whatever it wants. It does not make policy. It is not fair to blame the CIA for carrying out what the political leaders of this country want it to do. No, instead you must blame the elected officials who are responsible for giving the orders.


"Ninety rounds in there," Joel Andrews said. "If you can't take it down with 90 rounds, you better turn in your badge!" -- from Washington Post
[ Parent ]

Say it enough and people believe it (2.00 / 4) (#62)
by Sheepdot on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 05:49:40 PM EST

But it's better than hearing all these people who, last month, couldn't have found Afghanistan on the map who now gravely remind each other that, "after all, we did create his organization."

Don't know if you noticed, but these same people rate each other up as if it hasn't been explained enough as well.

No offense, but if someone isn't adding anything new and just spills out re-hased "facts" as to why the US is the worst country in the world, they don't always deserve a high rating.

Sure, if it is new to you, adds a new light to the subject or precisely phrases it how you would, go for it. I'm just trying to make it clear that it is *really* easy to make a trusted user account on k5 right now, and all you really have to do is talk about how the US brought this upon themselves. (being careful to mention they don't deserve it)

Here's a few more ways:
Mention how much you fear this will turn into World War III.
Talk about how much our civil liberties are going to get wasted (Before the fact)
Mention that Islam is not bad, but these religious fanatics are (Do we even need to call them anything but international mass-murders? Do you really think K5 is so uneducated that you have to explain that religion isn't the target here?)
Mention items as if you are the "distinguished professor of Afgan studies", and yet don't provide links to data that you "recall".

I could go on, but I've lost the gusto I once had, maybe a vacation from k5 is needed. Still, I'm surprised the cabal let this one get posted, it actually makes the Bush administration (particulary Ashcroft, who's been handling this situation exceptionally well) look good. I thought we couldn't let that happen on K5?


Don't forget... (5.00 / 3) (#64)
by fnhyf on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:36:56 PM EST

Expounding upon and lamenting how deprivation of said civil liberties will lead us to an Orwellian-like state.

[ Parent ]
Oh yeah. (none / 0) (#66)
by Sheepdot on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:08:37 PM EST

I forgot the term "Orwellian-like" that's pretty common too.


[ Parent ]
Do you really think K5 is so uneducated .. (2.50 / 2) (#74)
by gbd on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 10:53:52 PM EST

Do you really think K5 is so uneducated that you have to explain that religion isn't the target here?)

One would hope so. But speaking as somebody who's posting from a country where nearly a third of the citizenry think that locking up all people who look like they're Arab would be a Great Idea, I think the point bears repeating.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

HAHA (1.00 / 1) (#90)
by Greek Wog on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 04:15:54 AM EST

Hackers rule all.. heh nah if that last article is true then its kinda weird how the taliban show off strong but then when it comes to hacking there are scared... *shrugs*
GW http://www.petepap.f2s.com/
HAHA, indeed (none / 0) (#92)
by phobia on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 02:42:27 PM EST

Uhm... nevermind.

[ "never talk to strangers" - RFC 1855, 2.1.2 ]

[ Parent ]
Source (none / 0) (#98)
by neoshroom on Sat Oct 06, 2001 at 07:59:29 AM EST

The writeup doesn't link to the raw numbers which, according to a Wolf Blitzer report I can't find a permanent link to, had an astounding 31% in favor of such camps!

The newest issue of Time magazine has that poll as well as the source. ...and I thought we made some progress since the rounding up of all who looked oriental in WWII...guess not...or at least guess not much.

bin Laden, detention camps, hax0rs, chickens | 100 comments (93 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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