November 26th, 2012 § 2 comments

(I expect I’ll get tired of numbering the days – a beginner’s ploy. We’ll see.)

“A sad figure, not too well educated, who doesn’t get out of America much. He’s leading the country towards fascism” Larry Hagman on George W. Bush. Larry, alias J.R. died yesterday; evil schemer, liver cancer sufferer, A.A. member, etc. Today’s picture…

Larry Hagman

But I won’t post a Dallas trance remix, or even ‘I Hate Dallas’ as today’s music. There are limits.

And the London march… it was the largest I’ve ever seen for Gaza, crowding Kensington High Street in the dismal rain. (But we’ve had larger demonstrations against the war in Afghanistan, where a majority of Brits favour withdrawal anyway; without effect.)

Today’s photo

 Schools open day at Hebron Technical University, 7th November; students explaining about chemical indicators.  Given that almost everything I have read (or written) about Hebron concerns dire conflict and extremist settlers under army protection, this is an encouraging picture to say the least.

Droning on…

It’s worth pointing out, as my last post did, that the ‘mathematics’ behind a drone strike is only partly there to make it accurate – to ‘ensure’ it gets its man. It’s also there to persuade the world at large – journalists, legislators, the ‘public’ – that it’s accurate, whatever evidence there is to the contrary. As I said, this can’t be true, and it isn’t. John Paul Vann (US advisor) said of the Vietnam war that ‘the best weapon for killing would be a knife, but I’m afraid we can’t do it that way. The worst is an airplane.’ Drones fall somewhere on a line in between knives and aeoplanes; how far along the line depends on their ‘rules of engagement’.

In fact, my previous argument is based on the assumption that drones are being operated according to some ‘strict’ rules, and argues that the strict rules don’t, or can’t work. The second more general part of the case, which explains why so many civilians and children are killed, is that they aren’t being operated in that way anyway. Here, from the growing documentation on the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s website, is a description of how, and why, rescuers and funerals are attacked. Of course, this is anything but ‘surgical’.

On June 23 2009 the CIA killed Khwaz Wali Mehsud, a mid-ranking Pakistan Taliban commander. They planned to use his body as bait to hook a larger fish – Baitullah Mehsud, then the notorious leader of the Pakistan Taliban.

‘A plan was quickly hatched to strike Baitullah Mehsud when he attended the man’s funeral,’ according to Washington Post national security correspondent Joby Warrick, in his recent book The Triple Agent. ‘True, the commander… happened to be very much alive as the plan took shape. But he would not be for long.’

The CIA duly killed Khwaz Wali Mehsud in a drone strike that killed at least five others. Speaking with the Bureau, Pulitzer Prize-winner Warrick confirmed what his US intelligence sources had told him: ‘The initial target was no doubt a target anyway, as it was described to me, as someone that they were interested in. And as they were planning this attack, a possible windfall from that is that it would shake Mehsud himself out of his hiding place.’

Up to 5,000 people attended Khwaz Wali Mehsud’s funeral that afternoon, including not only Taliban fighters but many civilians.  US drones struck again, killing up to 83 people. As many as 45 were civilians, among them reportedly ten children and four tribal leaders. Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud escaped unharmed, dying six weeks later along with his wife in a fresh CIA attack.

Just to bring threads together: news of an IDF drone allegedly shot down in Gaza. As the resident conspiracy theorist points out, this was perhaps a deliberate attempt to locate Hamas command headquarters. (But surely they knew that anyway?)

The DJ

Aside from the march, there has been rain all over not to mention flooding, and my musical choice was a tossup between  Steve Reich’s ‘It’s Gonna Rain’ and Bessie Smith – who won -

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