Posted by: quiscus | March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011

1.  “Indiana prosecutor told Wisconsin governor to stage ‘false flag’ operation

An Indiana prosecutor and Republican activist has resigned after emails show he suggested Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker stage a fake attack on himself to discredit unions protesting his budget repair bill.

In an email from February 19, Indiana deputy prosecutor Carlos F. Lam told Walker the situation presented “a good opportunity for what’s called a ‘false flag’ operation.”

“If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions,” Lam said in his email.

“Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions.”

On February 22, an alternative paper in Buffalo, New York managed to trick Walker into taking a call from their editor posing as tea party tycoon David Koch.

When the editor posing as Koch suggested planting some troublemakers in the protests, Walker responded that “we thought about that”

2.  “Attack on Libya: the barbarism of buffoons

The newness and arbitrariness of the attack on Libya is also exposed in the fact that it is being spearheaded, not by seasoned foreign policy hawks or serious diplomats, but by a new breed of rank amateur who knows next to nothing about geopolitical reality. Cameron has made himself spokesman for the military mission, yet this is a politician who has an utterly dysfunctional relationship with international diplomacy. In less than a year as British PM, he has isolated Islamabad and irritated the Israelis through his clueless, emotionally incontinent style of international politicking, which seems unanchored by anything so old-fashioned as a carefully worked-out geopolitical plan. He has also overseen a bizarre and hapless SAS venture in the very country – Libya – that he now claims to be saving. In France, two-bob philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy apparently played a key role in coaxing President Nicolas Sarkozy to take action in Libya, while in America former author of turgid tomes on genocide turned national security adviser, Samantha Power, was a key agitator for an attack. Never in the history of mankind has such a collection of know-nothings and narcissists led a military excursion into a sovereign state’s affairs.

The almost overnight formation of a Western ‘coalition’ against Libya does not spring from lingering colonialist instincts in Washington, London or Paris. Rather it speaks to a new and extremely dangerous reality. It reveals the incoherence and self-doubt at the heart of the West, to the extent that Western governments will go to quite extraordinary lengths to give the impression that their attack is not a Western initiative. It shows that foreign offices across the West are now staffed by people with little or no grasp of geopolitical reality. It has exposed the inability of the Western powers to drum up serious support or international consensus even for a relatively small-scale military operation: the Arab League, so keenly held up by Cameron as a moral fig leaf for the attack, expressed its concerns after just one night of bombings, while much of the Western media is warning about the possibility of ‘mission creep’ and getting bogged down, once again, in the unpredictable terrains of Africa.

Most of all, it speaks to the now almost complete rupture between Western political interests and Western political behaviour. We now have Western governments so incoherent, so shaken by crises of authority, so incapable of working out what their geopolitical aims should be and how they might pursue them, that they take military action that potentially runs counter to their long-term political interests. For the past decade or more, Libya was actually an area of relative stability in Western foreign-policy eyes, which explains Tony Blair’s and other mainstream Western politicians’ and thinkers’ relationship-building with the Gaddafi regime. Yet now, in a matter of days, Western observers have decreed that Gaddafi is evil and destructive and must go. The changeability of Western governments’ attitude to Libya is not driven by their sudden discovery of political principle or commitment to democracy in the Arab world, as some hawkish fantasists in the commentariat claim. Obama and Cameron’s ongoing support for the brutal suppression of the protests in Bahrain should put paid to that myth. Rather the changeability reveals the emergence of an interests-lite, unpredictable foreign policy that increasingly mirrors the flightiness and shallow PR sensibilities of the domestic realm – only it has far more dire consequences.

What we end up with is a Coalition of the Confused, a supposed union of Western governments which in reality are competing to see who can most speedily make short-term, self-serving political gains through dropping a few bombs on Libya. The French are desperate to be seen to be making amends for their serious mistakes in north Africa, including their offering of military assistance to the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia when it was challenged by the first Arab uprising in January. Cameron wants to demonstrate, in the wake of various international blunders, that he is actually statesman material. And Washington is hoping for a swift military triumph that might divert attention from the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan. Driven more by short-term desperation than the ‘long view’, more by a desire for quick and painless political pay-offs than by a careful weighing up of interests and consequences, Western governments have turned Libya into a stage for a politically shallow yet deeply destructive form of moral posturing.

It is bad enough when people like Cameron empty out the education system or harm healthcare through their elevation of a desire for short-term, PR gain over political depth. At least that kind of action is containable. But when they effectively expand their political instability into the international sphere, visiting their incoherence on to already unstable countries, then that really is a recipe for disaster. However unpredictable world affairs may have become, one thing we can be certain of is that the attack on Libya will be bad for the Libyan people and for global stability, zapping the democratic initiative from the Libyan people’s uprising and warping the dynamic in the unstable Arab world more broadly. This vain military venture must end. Now.”

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