"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”" ~~~~Samuel P. Huntington

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The TSA's Panic Searches & PETN: Quite Simply There Are More Ways To Blow Things Up Than You Could Ever Possibly Prevent

H/t: Professor Juan Cole, Informed Comment, for this post

Just in case anyone was wondering what the TSA's panic mode search procedures are all about...
Quite simply there are more ways to blow things up than you could ever possibly prevent.

Your government doesn't want you to know that.

Further, there only seem to be two solutions to the dilemma of non-state actor terrorism.

A: Learn to live in a totalitarian police state.

B: Do something (anything!) to ameliorate the reasons WHY someone from that region of (or anyplace in) the world would want to blow up airliners with civilians on board or commit other terror acts.

I fear most Americans will opt-in to the do-nothing method... "A", than sacrifice an inch, a second, of affluent lifestyle...

...a lifestyle BTW that could not possibly last very long under a totalitarian regime and an economy necessary to prevent terror attacks.

Your government doesn't want you to be aware of that last little detail either.

Something ELSE their friends in the Homeland-Security-Industrial Complex don't want you to be aware of...

The scanner companies have DRAMATICALLY increased their spending on convincing your elected representatives that THEIR vision of a police state is a safer state:
"As the national debate over airport screening practices intensifies, little attention has been paid to the increasing lobbying power the manufacturers of full-body scanning machines have in Washington.

USA Today reports L3 Communications has spent $4.3 million on lobbying, up from $2.1 million in 2005. L3 has sold nearly $40 million worth of machines to the federal government. Lobbyists for L3 have included Linda Daschle, the wife of former US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Meanwhile, Rapiscan Systems has spent more than $270,000 on lobbying so far this year, compared with $80,000 five years earlier. The company made headlines last year when it hired former US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who has become a prominent proponent of body scanners. The CEO of Rapiscan's parent company, Deepak Chopra, recently traveled with President Obama on his three-day trip to India."

(And, no, not that Deepak Chopra. The New Age guru would determine your terrorist potential by evaluating your aura, no machines or strip-searches necessary.) [Source]

Let me state this ANOTHER way..

From a comment I made to the professor on his post:
JC: Al-Qaeda is about using small numbers of men and low-tech techniques to paralyze a whole civilization...
Auntie Imp: Sort of like the CIA, right?



AFAICT, they're doing a GREAT job of supplying our Foreign Policy rationale for Central Asia, "where the Gas Pipes are", and the Middle East, "Where the Oil Wells are" and perhaps should STILL be on the CIA's payroll for doing that yeoman's work if they were ever actually relieved of duty.

(Removing tongue from cheek now)

TSA Checkpoint
Looking for PETN, Scanning Grandma at the Airport, and the Future of Air Travel

Posted on November 22, 2010 by Juan

In all the furor about the new TSA scanners and pat-downs at airports, what surprises me is that there is very little discussion of what exactly the inspectors are now looking for and why they are shifting tactics.

The old scanners and procedures designed to discover metal (guns, knives, bombs with timers or detonators) are helpless before a relatively low-tech alternative kind of explosive that is favored by al-Qaeda and similar groups.

The inspectors are looking for forms of PETN, or pentaerythritol tetranitrate, which is from the same family of explosives as nitroglycerin and which is used to make plastic explosives such as Semtex.

Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, used PETN, as did Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the crotch bomber, last year this time over Detroit. PETN was in the HP cartridges sent by a Yemeni terrorist in cargo planes recently. And, a suicide bomber put some up his anus and used it in an attempt to assassinate the son of the Saudi minister of the interior (which does counter-terrorism). Yes, he was the first ass bomber, and he missed his target, though he no longer cares about that, what with being dead and all.

The problem with PETN is that it cannot be detected by sniffing dogs or by ordinary scanners. But if you had a pouch of it on your person, the new scanners could see the pouch, and likewise a thorough pat-down would lead to its discovery.

The TSA guys are trying to look more systematically for PETN. That is why they have adopted these more intrusive methods. And, there has been chatter among the terrorist groups abroad about launching attacks on American airliners with this relatively undetectable explosive.

None of us likes the result, which is a significant invasion of privacy.

But if al-Qaeda and its sympathizers could manage to blow up only a few airliners with PETN, they could have a significant negative effect on the economy and could very possibly drive some American airlines into bankruptcy. Al-Qaeda is about using small numbers of men and low-tech techniques to paralyze a whole civilization, which was the point of the September 11 attacks.

Since the Bush administration hyped the ‘war on terror’ trope half to death, many in the American public no longer want to hear about this danger. But it is part of my business in life to deliver the horrific news that the threat is real.

The question is really what level of risk Americans are willing to live with. On the one hand, studies suggest that the crotch bomber could not really have brought down the airliner over Detroit last year, even if he had been able to detonate his payload. And, 500 million Europeans decline to take off their shoes when they travel by air, but there haven’t been any successful shoe bombings over there, nevertheless.

On the other hand... [In full...]
(The comments are well worth reading as well)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Sermon: A Word From The Governor Of One Of The Most (governmentally) Crude & Devolved States In America

"(Texas Governor Rick) Perry said that it’s important to “devolve power out of Washington, D.C., back to the states,” which he called the “laboratories of innovation.” ... Perry pointed to the fact that Texas created 850,000 jobs during the last decade." [Source, Washington Post]
Auntie's response...
Yeah, if privatized prison jobs and a 'foster care' industry which detains children forcibly, and many times illegally, when snatched from their parents by an archaic court system and then drugs (2/3rds plus) of the state's 'foster care' children using so-called 'medical' personnel, could be considered "Job Creation"
"From 1984-1996 private prisons spread like wildfire across Texas. In 1984 the first private prison opened in Texas, and by 1996 there were 38 private prisons either operating or soon to open in the state."
Texas Private Prison Map
[Click the map (or here) for a fully interactive version]

Tactical Briefing For A Week of Living Without Dead Time - An Anarchist's Guide To 'Flyposting'

"It's time to highlight the perversity of a system that has brought us to the zero point of systemic collapse."
Courtesy of Adbusters, the journal of the mental environment, who are calling for "Carnivalesque Rebellion" from November 22 until the 28th... "A sudden unexpected moment of truth, a mass reversal of perspective, a global mindshift – from which the corporate/consumerist forces never fully recover."

NOV 22–28, 2010

Day 1: The Awakening
Day 2: The Divestment
Day 3+4: The Meme War
Day 5+6: The Plunge
Day 7: We Rest

We have nothing to lose and a whole new world to gain!

For instance...
In 2008, an activist calmly climbed a three meter barbed wire fence and entered a high-security power plant in the UK. S/he sabotaged a turbine which disabled the power plant for four hours. The Guardian estimates that this single act reduced the UK's total climate change emissions by 2% for the day. The activist, who has never been identified, left a protest message before escaping.

There are dozens of actions that a solitary activist can do during the Carnivalesque Rebellion: passing out flyers, wheatpasting, billboard jamming, paint bombing, hacktivism, spoofing electronic road signs...
Your imagination is the limit.

Between November 22-28 the whole world will light up with seven days of Carnivalesque Rebellion!

Think of it as an adventure, as therapy, as Buy Nothing Day times a hundred ... think of it as the World Cup of global activism – a week of postering and pranks, of talking back at your profs and speaking truth to power. Some of us will poster our schools and neighborhoods and just break our daily routines for a week. Others will chant, cut up their credit cards in big box stores and pull off theatrical stunts that provoke mass cognitive dissonance. Others still will drop stink bombs in strategic locations and engage in the most visceral kind of civil disobedience.

In all, millions of people around the world will walk out of their schools, offices and factories for a week and live!

To pull this off, we need to learn from the failures of the recent G8/G20 protests.

A few sensational and spectacular acts of violence (police cars on fire, window smashing) will not provoke the kind of global mindshift that our world so desperately needs. And neither will sitting at home yelling at our screens.

If our Seven Days of Carnivalesque Rebellion are to succeed we’ll need a plethora of actions that cannot be dismissed as petty acts of vandalism, that genuinely challenge the power of megacorporations, that make people think about the climate tipping points now descending upon us and that highlight the perversity of a system that has brought us to the zero point of systemic collapse. [Read the first in a series of tactical briefings]

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pipelineistan Poker: It All Comes Down To The Top Two 'Players' In A Global "Grand Game" - Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Gleaned from Razer Raygun's Razed By Wolves...
From May 2009, but more apropos now than ever.

May 12, 2009 3:37 pm

Tomgram: Pepe Escobar, Pipelineistan Goes Af-Pak

Back in March, Pepe Escobar, that itchy, edgy global reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, began laying out the great, ongoing energy struggle across Eurasia, or what he likes to call Pipelinestan for its web of oil and natural gas pipelines. In his first report, he dealt with the embattled energy corridor (and a key pipeline) that runs from the Caspian Sea to Europe through Georgia and Turkey -- and the Great Game of business, diplomacy, and proxy war between Russia and the U.S. that has gone with it.

Now, in the second of what will be periodic "postcards" from the energy heartlands of the planet, he plunges eastward into tumultuous Central and South Asia and the great devolving battleground that, in Washington, now goes by the neologism of Af-Pak (for the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of operations). There, the skies are filled with planes and unmanned aerial drones, and civilians as well as combatants die every day in increasing numbers as ever more frequent attacks and expanding conflicts make daily headlines, while, in Afghanistan, Washington continues to build new military bases and ready itself to send in reinforcements.

Those are, of course, the front-page stories. Energy, especially in the form of oil and natural gas, fuels everything from civilization to its various discontents and means of destruction, and yet it remains largely on the business pages of our papers. Even in a time of relatively depressed oil and gas prices, energy runs like an undercurrent just beneath global headlines. Under the carnage of war, that is, courses what Escobar likes to call the Liquid War, and just how the energy flows and through which territories controlled by whom does turn out to make -- quite literally -- a world of difference, even if that isn't what captures our attention most of the time.

Today, let Escobar, whose latest book is Obama Does Globalistan, take you deep into the "New Great Game" that will determine the shape of our future planet. Tom

Blue Gold, Turkmen Bashes, and Asian Grids

Pipelineistan in Conflict
By Pepe Escobar

As Barack Obama heads into his second hundred days in office, let's head for the big picture ourselves, the ultimate global plot line, the tumultuous rush towards a new, polycentric world order. In its first hundred days, the Obama presidency introduced us to a brand new acronym, OCO for Overseas Contingency Operations, formerly known as GWOT (as in Global War on Terror). Use either name, or anything else you want, and what you're really talking about is what's happening on the immense energy battlefield that extends from Iran to the Pacific Ocean. It's there that the Liquid War for the control of Eurasia takes place.

Yep, it all comes down to black gold and "blue gold" (natural gas), hydrocarbon wealth beyond compare, and so it's time to trek back to that ever-flowing wonderland -- Pipelineistan. It's time to dust off the acronyms, especially the SCO or Shanghai Cooperative Organization, the Asian response to NATO, and learn a few new ones like IPI and TAPI. Above all, it's time to check out the most recent moves on the giant chessboard of Eurasia, where Washington wants to be a crucial, if not dominant, player.

We've already seen Pipelineistan wars in Kosovo and Georgia, and we've followed Washington's favorite pipeline, the BTC, which was supposed to tilt the flow of energy westward, sending oil coursing past both Iran and Russia. Things didn't quite turn out that way, but we've got to move on, the New Great Game never stops.

Now, it's time to grasp just what the Asian Energy Security Grid is all about, visit a surreal natural gas republic, and understand why that Grid is so deeply implicated in the Af-Pak war....

In Full @ TomDispatch

Travus T.Hipp @ Cabale News Service also has a few commentaries committed to audio at Archive.org on the topic:

[November 03 2009] Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: Facing Up To Reality In Central Asia - The West Is Losing The AfPakistan War... And Losing Badly [Here]

[August 04 2005] Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: A Laymans Guide to the 'Stans: Chapter 1 - 'Themistan' [Here]

[August 01 2005] Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: The 'Stans: Quietly, we are a very big part of it as Uzbekistan drops out of 'The Great American Alliance' [Here]

[March 24 2005] Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: The 'Stans & The U.S. Military Presence In Central Asia [Here]

Christmas Wish List... The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

"All I need is a Grand Jury in some little town in America, and
things will change very quickly, I promise"
~~Vincent Bugliosi

This video is 9:44 minutes Use The Pop Out Player?
In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, (Vincent) Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq. Bugliosi sets forth the legal architecture and incontrovertible evidence that President Bush took this nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses—a war that has not only caused the deaths of American soldiers but also over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children; cost the United States over one trillion dollars thus far with no end in sight; and alienated many American allies in the Western world.

As a prosecutor who is dedicated to seeking justice, Bugliosi, in his inimitable style, delivers a non-partisan argument, free from party lines and instead based upon hard facts and pure objectivity.

A searing indictment of the President and his administration, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder also outlines a legally credible pathway to holding our highest government officials accountable for their actions, thereby creating a framework for future occupants of the oval office.

Vincent Bugliosi calls for the United States of America to return to the great nation it once was and can be again. He believes the first step to achieving this goal is to bring those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.... [More]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How-To Guide: Hoodwinking Voters, Part One - The Disinformation Age

This pre-2008 election article reposted by permission of Razer Raygun, Razed By Wolves

"The League of Women Voters is withdrawing sponsorship of the presidential debates...because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.

It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions.

The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public
." ~~October 2, 1988, LWV trustees statement, issued by unanimous vote.
The Disinformation Age - Part I

By Carlton Meyer


A common computer adage is “garbage-in, garbage-out”; i.e. putting bad data in a computer produces bad information. This same rule applies to humans. It doesn’t matter if people are educated, intelligent, and logical. They will make bad choices if fed bad information. This happens frequently in American elections because voters are misled by a continual flow of disinformation. Ask any American which country provides the world’s best health care. Very few can provide an informed guess, yet most will exclaim that the United States has the best health care system. This is far from the truth, yet years of corporate advertising, corporate sponsored news programs, and speeches from corporate sponsored politicians have spread this disinformation. Even educated elderly people will parrot the line that socialized medicine doesn’t work, although they eagerly use the government’s Medicare program.

A frequent example occurs when seemingly intelligent Americans state that the media is "left-wing," as though CBS and CNN are run by hippies living in a flophouse.

The American media is owned and controlled by billionaires, who have many other corporate interests. They have little concern for working Americans. This should be obvious, yet these billionaires hire television and radio commentators to complain the media is "left-wing." It is in their interest to keep viewers ignorant and distracted by threats, like terrorists and liberals. American writer H. L. Mencken recognized this decades ago when he wrote: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."[1]

This problem worsened as the American news media no longer attempts to report facts that disturb viewers in order to boost their ratings. Fox News leads the way by hiring young models to deliver happy news or titillating stories about missing children. Walter Cronkite often notes that there are no anchormen anymore, just news readers.

Those attractive faces on television do not write or even edit news stories like he did. They read teleprompter news written by people who are part of network entertainment divisions.

News is designed to entertain Americans, not to inform them...

In Full @ WarandPeace.Ru (Was: Sanders Research, dead link)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

There ARE A Couple Of Things About The Saudi-Sponsored Haj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) That Explain al-Qaeda's Ability To Recruit

This is a critique of the Saudi government and it's relation to the U.S., NATO, and the West. IT IS NOT, IN ANY WAY, intended as a criticism of Islam and it's practices. ~~Auntie Imperial
Ask any CHRISTIAN Fundamentalist what they'd think about the Crass Commercialization of THEIR religion plus the ability of THEIR government to control a requirement of it, and they'd probably reach for their gun too.
In the run-up to the 'Pilgrimage to Mecca' (the Haj), the Saudi Arabian government is worried about an attack on their made-for-Islamic-media 'Religious' Spectacle.

Saudi Arabia on alert for al-Qaida attack on hajj

Saudi does not rule out Qaeda bid during Haj

Here's how the Saudi government has been 'preventing attacks' for quite a few years now:
So what do we know about Saudi Arabia?

They're incredibly rich, a nepotistic familial kingdom, a police state with the latest technology that allows them to exert authoritarian control on one of the most basic requirements in Islam, the Pilgrimage to Mecca (click the picture on the left to find out how), have control over a whole lot of oil that the US covets...
(and the NeoCons have always wanted to control, claiming OPEC's policies under Saudi control do not adequately suppress price swings, perhaps even secretly 'cheerleading' or covertly supporting enemies of the Saudi government (like 'straw man' Osama bin-Laden) to destabilize the Saudi government and wrest control of OPEC from them via other ME Oil producing countries (ostensibly) friendly to the West)

...And they're about to buy SIXTY BILLION DOLLARS worth of high tech armaments from the U.S.
Recent U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia have dramatically raised the level of military technology in the region, spurring arms races with other Persian Gulf states and with Israel. Having denied Egypt's request for the sale of Apache helicopters equipped with Longbow radar, the U.S. government has approved the possible sale of this technology to Saudi Arabia. This move opens the way for a further shift in the balance of power and technology in this region.
(FAS Search, Saudi Arabia Arms Sales)
The U.S is even supplying the Saudis with nuclear materials capable of producing Nuclear Weapons

(which many Islamic religious leaders, including the religious leaders of Iran consider 'unclean' as these weapons cannot distinguish the 'innocents' from the culpable, as prescribed by their religion's 'laws of war')
The truth is that the Saudis have been trying to get hold of nuclear weapons for decades, with the active help of their business partners, the Bush Family. As the New Yorker reported years ago (this is a link to Globalsecurity.org's coverage, which also notes Pakistani nuclear boogeyman A.Q. Khan's involvement with the U.S. government), the Saudis paid Saddam Hussein at least $5 billion from 1985 to 1990 to support his nuclear weapons program, with the understanding that they would get some of the big bombs for themselves.

Meanwhile, although 'Politics' is considered off-limits during the Haj...
OIC Chief Warns Against Politics During Haj

MECCA, 8 NOVEMBER, 2010: Secretary-general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, said the Haj pilgrimage is a time for worship with "no place for politics"
...apparently commercial operations are quite welcome:
"Meanwhile, telecommunication company, Mobily has launched two new offers for Haj pilgrims who want prepaid mobile service.

When subscribing to a Rihal prepaid line, pilgrims can choose between a Nokia 1280 for SR105 or a Nokia C100 for SR135, which supports the use of two SIM cards. Both offers include a SIM card from Mobily’s Rihal package with SR25 credit.

The offer is available at all Mobily outlets in the holy sites of Mecca and Medina and at every Mobily channel on land, and at seaports and airports." [2010's GONE! A NEW deal for 2011!]

So... Lets summarize what we know about the Saudi regime:
    • Commercialization of the site where a basic Islamic tradition takes place...
    • Control of a basic requirement of the Islamic faith...
    • 'Unclean' views of warfare that violate Islamic law...
Those are just a few of the reasons why Islamic fundamentalists, and others of the faith, despise the Saudi regime, and governments who support it.

--Salam Inshallah--

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"They're Just Bastards" - A Tribute To Edward Abbey

”Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.” -Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness 198
Oil-Fouled Water Bird - Gulf Coast

An interview with author and unwilling activist Edward Abbey [Wikipedia]
Phoenix Arizona PBS 1982, on 'progress', politics, the environment, and more.

Your browser is not able to display this multimedia content.
[This presentation is 23:34 minutes. Pop Out Player?]
Download this video from Indymedia (Windows R-click, AVI, 46.2Mb)

Sources: Interview Part 1, Part 2, Tom Russell

Twas in the town of Tuscon, it was 1983
A man named "Edward Abbey" came walkin' up to me
He pulled his 'Seagull' from his mouth said I smell lawyers here
The politician running dogs they crawled away in fear

Yippie doo rahy doo
Yippie doo rahy day

I wish Edward Abbey was walking 'round today

For the more 'Pacific'... Wendell Berry In Defense Of Edward Abbey

Documentary - Edward Abbey: A Voice In The Wilderness

Be like Ed
(Description... Personally uploaded to Archive.org. Download, un-zip, click on the file "inttxt.html")

"We aren't trying to overthrow EVERYTHING... ...but certain specific things.Business POLITICS Poverty, and Oppression." ~~Herbert Marcuse

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Get Up! Stand UP! Friends Of Bradley Manning Are 'Under The Gun'!

Thanks to my BESTEST BUDDY, Razer Raygun for the swiped HTML.

Get Up! Stand UP! Friends of Bradley Manning are 'under the gun'.

A number of people who are attempting to assist Bradley Manning in his legal defense are being spooked, illegally searched and stalked by agents of the US government.

Bradley Manning is the American Patriot (Capital 'P') who stands accused of, and is currently incarcerated for, releasing the Wikileaks helicopter gunsight video showing the assassination of an indigenous Iraqi MSM reporter/photographer and other innocent bystanders. One of the aircrew is heard lying to his controller about the presence of an RPG, when it's OBVIOUS from the video that the person, at best, was holding a piece of lumber, if not just a walking stick or broomhandle, and the helicopter's gunner seems quite eager to open fire pressuring his controller for a clearance to engage.

Is this an incident of "Hunting Afghani Civilians", Iraq edition?

Of COURSE it is...

Afterwards, they strafed a civilian vehicle carrying the wounded, and children.

One of the aircrew was heard commenting about the Good Samaritans who attempted to assist the wounded and were also murdered for their effort (along with one of the children I believe): "They shouldn't have brought their kids to a battle", when it is quite obvious to even the casual observer, there WAS NO 'battle'... Just a gun-happy, military-style murder by US military personnel.

The wrong guy's been arrested.

The aircrew should be brought up on court martial charges for simply LYING to their controller.

Yet the Pentagon is refusing (stalling according to this somewhat sympathetic-to-the-pentagon account that also touches on the Afghanistan incidents) to investigate their actions.

The Video (NOT for the squeamish)

For more on the harassment of the people attempting to help this true American Patriot (capital 'P') see
Glenn Greenwald's article in Salon

There Have Been

Visitors To Auntie Imperial's News & Blog Review
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