To judge by articles and reader-comments about 9/11, many Americans who think that the 9/11 attacks weren’t done by the Sauds working in conjunction with the U.S. Government, think that those attacks were done by Israel’s Government working in conjunction with America’s Government. I wrote the only critical analysis of the main ‘evidence’ that is cited for the Israel-did-it argument, and found the argument to be based on false timelines and misrepresentations of what was in the FBI files.
The U.S. Government blames Iran for 9/11. But that hypothesis is even more ridiculous than is the Israel-did-it hypothesis. Clearly, the Saud family (otherwise known as the Saudi Government) were the the U.S. Government’s partners in this operation. (However, on the day before President-Elect Donald Trump nominated Congressman Mike Pompeo to be the new CIA Director, Pompeo tweeted — 17 November 2016 — “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.” The U.S. regime don’t call the Sauds that, but they are, and the only terrorism that Iran has been associated with at all, has been some of the terrorism against Israel.)
The Wikipedia article, “Responsibility for the September 11 attacks”, mentions only “Saudi Arabia” in its section “Financing the attacks.” None of the proponents of the Israel-did-it hypothesis includes any coherent documented evidence that Israel financed the operation. And even the U.S. court that (based upon pressures from Israel and from the Sauds) ruled Iran to have caused 9/11, offered no evidence, that Iran, instead of Iran’s enemy the Saud family, was the main funder of the 9/11 attacks. None of the 19 alleged 9/11 terrorists was Iranian; none was even a Shiite, at all; 15 of them were Saudis, and all 19 were fundamentalist Sunnis; Al Qaeda is (so far as is known) a 100% fundamentalist-Sunni organization. (Furthermore, a google-search for “shiite member of al qaeda” produces: “No results found for ‘shiite member of al qaeda’.” Not even one such person has been publicly cited.) No real evidence exists that any of the money for the 9/11 attacks came either from Shias, or from Jews (nor from Israel’s Government).
9/11 was a well-planned operation, whatever it was. Substantial money paid for it, but little if any of that came from either Iran or Israel. It all came from fundamentalist-Sunnis.
And, if all of the money was fundamentalist-Sunni, then the only non-Sunni people who could have been involved in planning the operation would have been George W. Bush and his friends. One of his close friends happens to have been “Bandar Bush” — Saudi Prince Bandar, who was the Saud family’s chief geostrategist, and a longtime buddy of Bush’s, and whom the FBI found to have been personally funding at least two of the 19 hijackers, right up to 9/11.
Even Hillary Clinton, though supported by the Sauds, privately acknowledged that, “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” Al Qaeda is of Saudi origin, and it was the largest Sunni terrorist group worldwide. Osama bin Laden’s bag-man who personally picked up the suitcases full of cash from the biggest donors, said that “without the money of the — of the Saudi, you will have nothing”, and he named there most of the Saud princes (including Bandar) as having been people he had personally picked it up from. He said nothing whatsoever about Israel (nor about Iran).
And, then, there are the hypotheses that the U.S. Government wasn’t complicit in allowing the attacks to occur. 9/11 was just ‘failures by CIA, FBI, etc.’ That Wikipedia article ignores all evidence indicating complicity by the White House, but some of this evidence will be cited and linked-to here: “Politico Reports Bush Knew 2001 Terror-Attack Was Imminent and Wanted It”, I headlined on 17 November 2015, about this article in Politico, which had provided the evidence, but without analysis of it (and especially with nothing at all to the effect that Bush wanted serious terrorism in the United States by Al Qaeda to happen — just the evidence that he did).
When the 9/11 attacks happened, Americans didn’t conclude that George W. Bush was either incompetent or else evil (or some combination of both). This country was now the opposite of Harry S. Truman’s famous dictum about the Commander-in-Chief and President: “The buck stops here.” To the exact contrary: Gallup’s 7-10 September 2001 job-approval rating for Bush by Americans immediately before the attacks was 51% approval and 39% disapproval; and the very next survey, 14-15 September 2001, showed 86% approval and 10% disapproval. The number of Americans who disapproved of him declined around 75%, and the number of Americans who approved of him increased around 70%, as a result of 9/11. So, instead of causing his approval to decline around 75% to 13%, and his disapproval to increase around 75% to 70% — which would have made sense, under the circumstances — what happened was exactly the opposite. Democracy cannot function that way (and it doesn’t).
This shows, as clearly as can be, that extremely few Americans had basic intelligence — a basic ability to reason logically from the best existing evidence regarding a given matter. The best existing evidence made unequivocally clear that Bush was either catastrophically stupid or else catastrophically evil (or both), but his job-approval numbers just soared, instead of shrank. This was an enormous failure of our schools to teach basic critical-thinking skills, and also a failure by America’s press to control in the right way the public discussion about what had happened, a failure by its editors and producers, their failure to demand a focus on the key question: Which of the two possibilities — fool, or fiend — is the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief? After a catastrophe like this, there needs to be accountability; but, instead, Bush’s job-approval soared. Nobody was asking: What type of catastrophic leader is this? Not the media; no one. All U.S. institutions of supposed authority failed.
Accountability was thrown out the window immediately. That question wasn’t asked at all (except perhaps by some fringe component of the U.S. public, whose submitted op-eds and other commentaries to the press were being rejected en-masse by editors and producers — hidden from the public by them).
How can a country such as this be a democracy? The public aren’t prepared to function as a democracy, and the Establishment (as represented by the leaders and chief stockholders in the news media) have no interest in helping them to function as a democracy. What does this suggest — perhaps a country whose Establishment is so profoundly corrupt as to do everything they can to prevent there being accountability for the people at the very top of the nation’s power-structure? (The intense corruption happens also within states, too, not merely at the federal level.)
What the Politico story documented is that President Bush had instructed his staff to keep away from him the key intelligence officials (except, of course, in situations where they couldn’t have in-depth private discussions with him about what the facts are and what the options and likely consequences are for him in order to address the emerging situation). That, alone, means his complicity. (One might speculate that he hadn’t instructed Condoleezza Rice to block such private access to him, but in that case he would have fired her for having done so. She suffered no repercussions from enforcing his deniability — Bush’s entire life was instead a repudiation of accountability, a rejection of any “The buck stops here.”) Bush, clearly, needed to preserve deniability. He was, clearly, an evil man, even if he wasn’t necessarily a stupid one — and he was nobody’s fool.
And the press just looked away, while it all happened. This is what happens in a country that’s going to rot. And it’s what has, in fact, happened in America. 9/11 and its aftermath are just a sign of that. One of many signs, but a clear one.
This is no attempt to exonerate America’s enemy Israel. It is an attempt to document America’s enemy the Sauds. In both cases, the American public’s enemy is the American aristocracy’s friend. Israel’s Government is the American aristocracy’s friend, and Saudi Arabia’s Government is also the American aristocracy’s friend. And, clearly, the U.S. Government represents only America’s aristocracy, not the public.
The problem certainly isn’t Jews nor Muslims. The problem is the aristocracy, which controls Saudi Arabia, and the aristocracy which controls Israel, and the aristocracy which controls America. The victim is the public, and the victimizer is the aristocracy. It’s not just 9/11. It’s much bigger than that. And it is pervasive. And, also, that’s why, when 9/11 happened, “Accountability was thrown out the window immediately.” This system serves the aristocracy just fine. That’s why it exists.
In Praise of the Lioness of Law: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her Jurisprudence
The death of the US Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg has created an abyss in the court for the liberal voice where justice Ginsburg was seen as the linchpin of the liberal block of the Supreme Court at a time when that block was shrinking. Especially late judge had vociferously advocated for women ‘rights, environmental issues and often came up with unique dissents in delivering her judgements which were propelled by her jurisprudence which embodied the solemn ideal in American legal system “Equal Protection under the Law “. She was on a quest to defend the delicate balance between honoring the timelessness of American Constitution and recognizing the depth of its enduring principles in new centuries and under new circumstances.
She grew up in an era where men held the helm in every aspect of social life and especially the legal profession was utterly dominated by men. Recalling her legal studies at Harvard law school in the 50’s judge Ginsburg had stated later how she was once asked by the Dean of Harvard law school to justify her position as a law student that otherwise would have gone to a man. Yet she had the spunk to overcome all the obstacles stood on her way and excelled as a scholar becoming the first female member of the Harvard Law Review.
In tracing her legal career that it becomes a salient fact, Judge Ginsburg marked her name in American legal history even decades before she joined the bench. While at the American Civil Liberties Union in the early seventies she made an upheaval in American in legal system in famous Supreme Court Case Reed Vs Reed. In Reed Vs Reed the brief drafted by Ginsburg provided an astute analysis on the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause. Ginsburg’s brief changed the aged long practice existed in the State of Idaho on favoring men over women in estate battles by paving the path for a discourse on gender equality rights in the USA.
Judge Ginsburg’s appointment to the Supreme Court in 1994 during Clinton administration marked the dawn of new jurisprudential chapter in the US Supreme Court. Two terms later, in the United States v. Virginia (VMI), Justice Ginsburg applied her lucid perspective to a sharply disputed constitutional claim. The United States challenged Virginia’s practice of admitting only men to its prestigious military college, the Virginia Military Institute. Writing for six Justices, Ginsburg held this policy unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. In reaching this result, Ginsburg adroitly cut away potentially confounding issues about women’s participation in the military or the advantages of single-sex education.
Her robust activism in securing gender equality often attracted the admirations of the feminist scholars and activists, but it should be noted that her contribution was not only confined to the protection of gender equality. She was a robust critique of racial dissemination which still pervades in American society and she frequently pointed out how racial discrimination has marred the constitutional protections guaranteed to every citizen. Especially in the case of Gratz Vs Bollitnger, she stressed on the commitment that the state ought to fulfil by eliminating the racial biases existing employment and education. Moreover, disabled citizens. In Olmstead v. Zimring, she held that “unjustified institutional isolation of persons with disabilities is a form of discrimination” violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.45 She elaborated a two-fold concept of discrimination, noting that unneeded institutionalization both “perpetuates unwarranted assumptions that persons so isolated are incapable or unworthy of participating in community life”.
In remembering the mortal departure of this prudent judge that one cannot forget her keenness in incorporating international law into her judgements regardless of the disinclination shown by conservative judges like Antony Scalia. Going beyond the mere textualism approach to the law, Ginsburg’s jurisprudence was much more akin to using international law to make substantive decisions. For instance, in her concurring verdict in Grutter Vs Bollinger, Justice Ginsburg relied upon international human rights law, and in particular upon two United Nations conventions, to support her conclusions.
Indeed, the demise of Ruth Ginsburg is a major blow for the liberalists in the USA, especially in an era where liberalist values are at stake under the fervent rise of populist waves propounded by Donald Trump. Especially late judge had been one of the harsh critics of Trump even before ascendency to the Oval office. The void created by the demise of judge Ginsburg might change the role the US Supreme Court if the successor to her position would take a more conservative approach and it will fortify the conservative bloc in the US Supreme Court. Trump has already placed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh and the third pick would more deeply entrench the conservative views in the US Supreme Court, which would inevitably undermine the progressive policies taken during Obama’s administration towards issues such as the environment. The political storm appeared after the death of the late judge has already created a tense situation in US politics as president Trump is determined to appoint a judge to fill before the presidential election in November.
The Politics of (In)security in Mexico: Between Narcissism and Political Failure
Security cannot be that easily separated from the political realm. The need for security is the prime reason why people come together to collectively form a state. Providing security is, therefore, one of the most basic functions of the state as a political and collective entity.
Last Friday, the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) laughed during his daily morning press briefings over a national newspaper headline about 45 massacres during his presidency. This attitude summarises in a macabre way his approach to insecurity: it is not his top priority. This is not the first time that AMLO has showed some serious and deeply disturbing lack of empathy for victims of crimes. Before taking office, he knew that insecurity was one of Mexico’s biggest challenges, and he has come to realise that curbing it down will not be as simple as he predicted during his presidential campaign.
Since the start of the War on Drugs in 2006, Mexico has sunk into a deep and ever-growing spiral of violence and vigilantism as a result of the erosion of the capacity of the state to provide safety to citizens. Vigilantism is when citizens decide to take the law into their own hands in order to fill the vacuum left by the state, or to pursue their own very particular interests. Guerrero, Michoacán, Morelos, Tabasco, Tamaulipas and Veracruz have over 50 vigilante organisations that pose substantial danger to the power of the state.
Vigilantism is not the only factor exacerbating the security crisis in Mexico: since 2006, young people have also started to join drug cartels and other criminal organisations. There are important sectors of the population who feel that the state has failed to represent them. They also feel betrayed because the state has not been able to provide them with the necessary means to better themselves. These frustrations make them vulnerable to the indoctrination of organised crime gangs who promise to give them some sort of ideological direction and solution to their problems.
As a result, it is not enough to carry out a kingpin arrest strategy and to preach on the moral duties we have as citizens as well as on human dignity. People need to be given enough means to find alternative livelihoods that are attractive enough to take them out of organised crime, Mexico can draw some important lessons from Sierra Leone who successfully demobilised and resettled ex-combatants after the armed conflict. Vigilantism, recruitment by organised crime, and insecurity have also flourished because of a lack of deterrence. The judicial system is weak and highly ineffective. A large proportion of the population does not trust the police, or the institutions in charge of the rule of law.
A long-term strategy requires linking security with politics. It needs to address not only the consequences but also the roots of unemployment and deep inequality. However, doing so requires decisive actions to root out widespread and vicious corruption. Corruption allows concentration of wealth and also prevents people from being held accountable. This perpetuates the circle of insecurity. Mexico has been slowly moving towards a borderline failed state. The current government is starting to lose legitimacy and the fragility of the state is further perpetuated by the undemocratic, and predatory governance of the current administration.
Creating a safer Mexico requires a strong, coherent, and stable leadership, AMLO’s administration is far from it. His popularity has consistently fallen as a result of his ineffective policies to tackle the pandemic, worsening insecurity, and the economic crisis. Mexico has reached over 72,000 Covid-19 deaths; during his initial 20 months as incumbent president, there has been 53,628 murders, among them 1800 children or teenagers, and 5888 women (11 women killed per day) This criminality rate is double than what it was during the same period in the presidency of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012); and 55% higher than with the last president, Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018). Mexico is also experiencing its worst economic recession in 90 years.
Insecurity remains as the issue of most concern among Mexicans, seeing the president laughing about it, can only fill citizens with yet more despair and lack of trusts in the government and its institutions. AMLO’s catastrophic performance is not surprising, though. Much of his failures and shortcomings can be explained by both ideology and a narcissistic personality. Having someone with both of those traits ruling a country under normal, peaceful times is already dangerous enough, add an economic crisis and a pandemic to the mix and the result is utter chaos.
AMLO embodies the prototypical narcissist: he has a grandiose self-image; an inflated ego; a constant need for admiration; and intolerance to criticism. He, like many other narcissists, thinks about himself too much and too often, making him incapable of considering the wellbeing of other and unable to pursue the public interest. He has a scapegoat ready to blame for his failures and mistakes: previous administrations, conservatives, neoliberalism, academics, writers, intellectuals, reporters, scientists, you name it, the list is long and keeps getting longer.
AMLO keeps contradicting himself and he does not realise it. He has been claiming for months that the pandemic is under control: it is not. He declares Mexico is ready to face the pandemic and we have enough tests and medical equipment: we do not. He says Mexico is on its way to economic recovery: it is not. He states corruption is a thing of the past: it is not. He says Mexico is now safer than ever before: it is not. When told the opposite he shrugs criticism off and laughs, the behaviour of a typical narcissist.
AMLO, alike narcissists, due to his inability to face criticism, has never cared about surrounding himself by the best and brightest. He chose a bunch of flunkies as members of his cabinet who try to please and not humiliate their leader. A further trait of narcissistic personalities is that they love conflict and division as this keeps them under control. The more destabilisation and antagonism, the better. AMLO since the start of his presidency has been setting states against states for resources and for pandemic responses, instead of coordinating a national response. He is also vindictive: playing favourites with those governors who follow him and punishing those that oppose him.
Deep down, narcissistic leaders are weak. AMLO is genuinely afraid to lead. He simply cannot bring himself to make decisions that are solely his. This is why he has relied on public referendums and consultations to cancel projects or advance legislation. He will not take any responsibility if something goes wrong: It was not him who decided, it was the people, blame them. He inherited a broken system that cannot be fixed during his term, blame the previous administrations, not him.
AMLO is a prime example of a textbook narcissist, unfortunately he is not the only one: Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Recep Erdogan, Rodrigo Duterte are only a few more examples of what seems to be a normalised behaviour in contemporary politics. Every aspect of AMLO’s and other leaders presidencies have been heavily marked by their psychopathology. Narcissism, however, does not allow proper and realistic self-assessment, self-criticism, and self-appreciation therefore such leaders will simply ignore the red flags in their administration and have no clue how despicably and disgracefully they will be remembered.
Minor Successes And The Coronavirus Disaster: Is Trump A Dead Duck?
That reminder from the Bible, ‘He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone’ may give us pause — but not journalists who by all appearances assume exemption. And the stones certainly bruise.
Evidence for the bruises lies in the latest poll numbers. Overall, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump 50 to 43 percent, a margin that has continued to increase since January. It is also considerably wider than the few points lead Hillary Clinton had over Trump four years ago. It gets worse for Trump.
In the industrial states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, which Trump in 2016 won by razor thin margins, he is losing by over 4 percent. Also key to his victory was Wisconsin where, despite his success in getting dairy products into Canada, he is behind by a substantial 7 percent. Key states Ohio and Florida are also going for the Democrats.
Trump was not doing so badly until the coronavirus struck and during the course of his news conferences he displayed an uncaring persona larded with incompetence. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the man he fired for correcting Trumpian exaggerations became a hero and Trump the bully.
If that bullying nature won him small rewards with allies, he hit an impasse with China and Iran … while bringing the two closer to each other. Then there is the border wall, a sore point for our southern neighbor Mexico. President Lopez Obrador made sure the subject never came up at the July meeting with Trump, Thus Mexico is not paying for it so far and will not be in the foreseeable future.
The United Arab Emirates, a conglomeration of what used to be the Trucial States under British hegemony. have agreed to formalize its already fairly close relations with Israel. In return, Israel has postponed plans to annex the West Bank. Whether or not it is in Israel’s long term interest to do so is a debatable question because it provides much more powerful ammunition to its critics who already accuse it of becoming an apartheid regime. However, it had become Prime Minister Netanyahu’s sop to the right wing who will have to wait. Of course, the reality is that Israel is already the de facto ruler.
If Mr. Trump was crowing about the agreement signed on September 15, although it is akin to someone signing an agreement with Puerto Rico while the United States remains aloof. As a postscript, the little island of Bahrain also signed a peace deal with Israel. Bahrain has had its own problems in that a Sunni sheikh rules a Shia populace. When the Shia had had enough, Saudi and UAE troops were used to end the rebellion. Bahrain is thus indebted to the UAE.
How many among voters will know the real value of these historic (according to Trump) deals particularly when he starts twittering his accomplishments as the election nears?
There things stand. As they say, there is nothing worse than peaking too early. Bettors are still favoring Trump with their money. The longer anyone has been in politics the more there is to mine, and for an opponent to use to his/her advantage. Time it seems is on Trump’s side.
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