/ Algeria

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dale1968 - on 21 Jan 2013
What sort of response should there be? Should it be Political or Military?
drunken monkey - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968: Eh?
EeeByGum - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968: Well the Iraq war is well and truly finished now and Afghanistan is due to finish next year so I guess the army will be looking for something to do very soon?
cander - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968:

Well if I'm not mistaken - there's already been a military response.
estivoautumnal - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968:

I'd leave leave that up to the Algerians.
dale1968 - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to drunken monkey: To AQ in the region, ignore it/help out/send troops in/other?
redsonja - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to EeeByGum: i agree. they will be back in northern ireland soon at a guess aswell
dale1968 - on 21 Jan 2013
elsewhere on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968:
Having fought a bloody awful civil war in the 1990's, if anybody is qualified to take on AQ it's the Algerians.
redsonja - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968: i reckon the bulgarians would be pretty good aswell after the kicking they gave the guy who put a gun to the head of one of their politicians!
drunken monkey - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968: The Algerians have been fighting extremists for years. Hence their no-nonsense guns blazing assault on the gas plant, which recklessly put more lives at risk IMO.

They are well reknowned for erm lets say...not messing about.
Indy - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to drunken monkey:
> (In reply to dale1968) The Algerians have been fighting extremists for years.
'Extremists'? anyone that disagreed with the governments cancellation of the free and fair elections when it was clear that undesirables were going to win.
Indy - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to elsewhere:
> (In reply to dale1968)
> Having fought a bloody awful civil war in the 1990's, if anybody is qualified to take on AQ it's the Algerians.
Its doubtful that the Algerian's will limit themselves to AQ. Not a good time to be a civilian in Algeria

drunken monkey - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Indy: Call it what you like. They are well versed.
Eric9Points - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968:
> (In reply to drunken monkey) To AQ in the region, ignore it/help out/send troops in/other?

What do you think?
elsewhere on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Indy:
Yes, it was a bloody awful civil war - some barbaric acts.
redsonja - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to elsewhere: "some" should read "many, many". it was sickening. poor people
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Indy:
> (In reply to drunken monkey)
> [...]
> 'Extremists'? anyone that disagreed with the governments cancellation of the free and fair elections when it was clear that undesirables were going to win.

That's a pity disgusting thing to say! The bastards who killed between 100 000 to 200 000 Algerians during the civil war were not peace loving democrats, they were butchers who murdered whole villages with axe and knife, often forcing children to watch their parent's throats being slit before themselves being dispatched. There are plenty of books on this particularly horrible period of Algerian history, you should read one before you insult a whole nation, and one that has suffered quite enough already.
Indy - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

I find what the Islamists did to be as repugnant as any right minded person would but your one sided assessment is rather odd. Can I suggest you look at independent reports from the likes of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch etc into the conduct of the authorities in all this. It wasn't just the Islamists that turned to torture and massacres.
BigBrother - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Indy:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
>
> independent reports from the likes of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch etc

Independent???

Bruce Hooker - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Indy:

You put a new twist on the word "independent"!

Seriously, please read a book or two by Algerians themselves, not all of whom are pro-government, about the period of the civil war then come back and tell me that it was as you suggest. The Algerian government has the privilege of being one of the few remaining truly independent governments in N Africa, one that came to power in one of the bloodiest war of independence of recent history - widespread torture by the French, executions massacres etc which resulted in between 1/2 a million and 2 million Algerian deaths out of a total population of about 8 million... their country was born in blood.

Since they have tried to remain independent, became at times a leader of the unaligned nations, and held on to this independence despite the cost. The islamic extremist movement, the GIA and others was just another attempt to bring them down, which failed but after colossal suffering. Independent journalists, writers, just ordinary people, especially women, were in permanent danger, and many were assassinated, usually in the most horrific way. Many gave up and left for France.

Things have been getting better of late, they thought the troubles were behind them so that when this attack took place not many Algerians questioned the way the army dealt with it. There will always be armchair critics, many with an axe to grind (literally in some cases) but out of nearly 800 on the site it's difficult to see how they could have done much better than losing the 38 hostages known at present to have died. No consolation for them, of course, but with 40 heavily armed men, prepared to die for their cause in the middle of natural gas plant it seems pretty miraculous to me.
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Again your willingness to ignore or even apologise for the anti-democratic, or at best - quasi-democratic nature of the Algerian regime is very odd. I don't see why you can't hold that French imperialism was a sin that the Algerians had every right to throw off; that 1992 was essentially a military coup; AND that the GIA committed horrendous atrocities during the civil war. None of these facts necessarily exclude the others.

If people are interested in Algerian politics this primer on last year's election is interesting: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/05/201251011038530582.html

If anyone is interested in a deeper history of Algeria's civil war and its legacy this report from the International Crisis Group from 2004 is an excellent place to start: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/middle-east-north-africa/north-africa/algeria/029-islamism-vio... from that page you can download the whole pdf report).
ice.solo - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968:
> What sort of response should there be? Should it be Political or Military?

The country should be left to its own within the parameters of UN intervention policy (another subject).

Incidents involving foreign nationals should be either insurgents or hostages should include the relevant nations.

As a famous isolationist nation the recent hostage event has had a worst possible outcome that will now spiral badly. They made a series of extremely bad decisions that will be capitalized on by both threatening and saviour nations.

haworthjim on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968: never mind Algeria what about bradford going to wembley
Bruce Hooker - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

As usual you present a simplistic view of events, especially as you admit yourself that you know little of Algeria, as if events were unconnected and black and white applied, as if the history of a Algeria, it's occupation by the Ottomans then by the French and the disastrous situation that the French deliberately left there when finally they left after killing a very large slice of the population, meant that the country's history and development could fit in with the rosy gentility of the Home Counties. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and put it down to ignorance rather than a deliberate attempt to mislead.

To rub salt in the wound you suggest that Al Jazeera could possible provide an objective view of the situation, a network financed by the same country that helped finance the butchers of women and children during the civil war!

You then point us towards a government financed "think tank" as another source of wisdom!

Many Algerians are quite capable of writing books about their country, I'd suggest turning to them for information rather than their enemies. Going through an article is hardly sufficient, especially using the sources you propose.

dale1968 - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: I suspect that Larbi has forgotten more about Algerian politics than you have ever known Bruce. And to be honest, you look a bit of a fool if you write off the Crisis Group's reporting.

But let's leave aside your traditional "I've read other -never quite specified- stuff, so I'm not going to pay any attention to anything that might challenge my assertions", and go back to my original point. Do you think that Algeria under Bouteflika is a democracy?
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> As usual you present a simplistic view of events,

What exactly have I said that is simplistic? You are the one who is painting a rosy picture on the post-92 regime in that country and seems unwilling to accept that both sides in a conflict can be in the wrong.

> ...meant that the country's history and development could fit in with the rosy gentility of the Home Counties.

Again who is claiming this? It just seems to be you who is suggesting that post colonial regimes shouldn't be expected to respect fundamental human rights. Once again (like Assad) as long as you see them as "anti-imperialists" you seem to be able to get past the torture and murder.
Bruce Hooker - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> and go back to my original point. Do you think that Algeria under Bouteflika is a democracy?

And going back to the point I've been trying to make to you over the years, do you really think that such a simplistic question has any meaning at all?

The USA is a democracy but is responsible for more wars and suffering than any other country on the planet over the last decade. Israel is a democracy but is also a racist state in it's own definition and has been carrying out the slow but sure genocide of the Palestinian people since Israel was founded.... On the other hand Qatar, the country that is providing finance for the GIA and its descendants in Algeria since the ghastly civil war of the 90's is most certainly not a democracy and yet you consider that their very own propaganda organisation, Al Jazeera, can be taken as a reliable source of information about the very country they have been destabilizing for decades!

Are you really incapable of going a bit beyond Mrs Clinton style platitudes?

PS. In answer to your question, yes Algeria is a democracy... perhaps you need to talk to an Algerian or two if you have any doubts. In fact you really should try and get a bit more contact with reality rather than relying on all these government financed sources you love to quote. They won't give you a job however much you lick their boots.
Bruce Hooker - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> Again who is claiming this? It just seems to be you who is suggesting that post colonial regimes shouldn't be expected to respect fundamental human rights.

Again, more Clintonisms! Just think a bit, when a country is destabilised by the sending of hundreds of trained and totally ruthless individuals, who then set about slitting the throats of entire villages, decapitating mother before children of husband before wife can you expect the reaction, both by those who organise their own auto-defense or by the hard pressed and often quite terrified army to be 100% by the Queensbury rules? That's how terrorism functions, terror to provoke a reaction which can then be used politically... That's what the GIA did in Algeria.

Most countries would have gone under, as most already have, but Algeria is made of stronger stuff, they fought one of the most bloody wars of independence of recent history, with little outside help, and won. This experience enabled them to come though the civil war imposed by the salafist extremists, just, really only just, and since then they are coming back slowly towards normality. The Algerian people as a whole are sick of the fighting, are often highly critical of their own government, but above all they don't want to return to civil war, they accept patience and hope that they can keep their country out of more bloodshed.

Obviously such an attitude doesn't fit in with the plans of those who you are in bed with (assuming your choice of references indicates something) and you'd love them to become another failed state, ripped to pieces in the quest for your version of "democracy". As I said months ago after Libya went down, it could either be Syria or Algeria next on the hit list, it turned out to be Syria which is at present benefiting from the the petal covered path to paradise, but present events suggest that maybe Algeria is being lined up. Lets hope they keep cool heads and block their ears to Sirens like yourself and those whose nasty propaganda you spread.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> but Algeria is made of stronger stuff,

What is this "Algeria" that you speak of? A military junta? As ever you seem to be supporting some idea of a state completely separate to poor bloody people who have to live there and suffer under the misrule of the elites who claim sovereignty and get your support. Because surely you don't mean the villagers who were being massacred, with - at the very best - the indifference of "their" government (villages massacred over a night with army barracks just a few hundred metres away and no one coming to help), to at worst the direct collusion of the military intelligence in those massacres. Out of all your Algerian refugee friends have you not met any that fled because they were scared of the state, rather than or as well as the takfiri groups?
Bruce Hooker - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> I suspect that Larbi has forgotten more about Algerian politics than you have ever known

Just had a look at your first link in case I was being unfair and frankly a more biased bit of writing is hard to imagine... in the first lines:

"This round of parliamentary elections is no more than a measure of the oddity of politics after Algeria's own aborted "Arab Spring" of the early 1990s and the subsequent civil war that raged for nearly a decade."

Anyone who can compare the danger the FIS presented to Algeria with the overthrow of the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt is either daft or dishonest. In his case it is clearly the latter - the whole article is just propaganda. Obviously Algeria has problems but this article is not an objective appraisal of these, hardly surprising given the man's paymasters - he who pays the piper calls the tune and the tune of the Qatari dictatorship is one of the ugliest going.

How come you support such people?

As for your other link, like many you post one only has to go to them and click on the "about" button to see where they are coming from. In this case the financing is openly displayed and, as usually those who give money like to see it recognised, there is often a list of names - you posted one the other day which had everyone from the US military to a list of oil companies. Will you never come round to questioning the motives of bodies that are backed and financed by the like? Do you really think they can be objective? If you do then I'd suggest I am not the only "fool", as you so charmingly put it, posting on this thread.
Bruce Hooker - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

That's the sort of shit one hears from the worst kind of French racist who has never forgiven the Algerians for booting the French out! Pretty disgusting to blame the horrors of the GIA on the Algerian Army - which is a conscript one, not a professional one. They lost many men themselves but to blame them for the massacres is atrocious... Try reading this book if it's available in English: FIS de la Haine - Rachid Boudjedra - Editions Denöel – Paris 1992. It's just a start - he gets very worked up about people like you who blame the victims and not the butchers.

Also check out the GIA, most of the present salafist actors in the news at present come from there - trained and dehumanized in Afghanistan by the US/Saudi jihad operation, then working back to where they came from according to need. A very nasty lot, and again one really wonders why you would support them.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> Anyone who can compare the danger the FIS presented to Algeria with the overthrow of the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt is either daft or dishonest.

It's a difficult one isn't it? Probably voting in the FIS would have been bad for Algeria, but a) we don't know and b) why shouldn't the Algerian people be allowed to make their own mistakes. The New York times said in 1991:

"In Algeria, which has made the greatest strides toward multiparty democracy in the region over the past two years, the biggest opposition party and major contender for power is the Islamic Salvation Front, a militant fundamentalist group whose leaders oppose constitutional rule."

"The Algerian elections, which are scheduled to be completed with a second round of voting on Jan. 16, may well define a major quandary throughout the Middle East: how to move toward democracy when free elections bring to the fore fundamentalists who are hostile to the notion of democracy."

But the military didn't let anyone find out how good or terrible the FIS would have been in power - and after the coup hundreds of thousands died anyway. It's hard to imagine how much worse a FIS govt. could have been. Perhaps they just would have become an Iranian style religious dictatorship, maybe not, but the Algerian people got a dictatorship they didn't vote for anyway.

Were the Algerian people wrong? Was the army legitimate in taking power in 1992? If so, under what sort of grounds is it right for militaries to stage coups?

> given the man's paymasters - he who pays the piper calls the tune and the tune of the Qatari dictatorship is one of the ugliest going.

Oh FFS grow up Bruce, his "paymasters" are Exeter University as it clearly says, next to the bit about it being the authors own opinions, not al Jazeera's. Have you never written an op-ed or a letter to the editor?



In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> A very nasty lot, and again one really wonders why you would support them.

Again, don't be childish. Even in this thread I wrote: "the GIA committed horrendous atrocities during the civil war".

Nevertheless, surely in all your reading on Algeria you've come across the persistent claims of DRS controlling certain factions within the Islamist groups. These claims continue to the present day with some, normally leftist anti-US/French commentators - Jeremy Keenan for example - saying the GSPC/AQIM is being manipulated by Algerian intelligence. When I looked in some depth into the Saharan situation a few years back I was sceptical, but less so about in the north during the 1990s. The GIA fractured itself many times murderously, then there were totally separate islamist guerrilla groups.

The links to Afghanistan and AQ (and also to the jihadi scene in London in the 90s) are fascinating but much more complex than what you say about the GIA suggests.



Timmd on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to TobyA)

> As for your other link, like many you post one only has to go to them and click on the "about" button to see where they are coming from. In this case the financing is openly displayed and, as usually those who give money like to see it recognised, there is often a list of names - you posted one the other day which had everyone from the US military to a list of oil companies. Will you never come round to questioning the motives of bodies that are backed and financed by the like? Do you really think they can be objective? If you do then I'd suggest I am not the only "fool", as you so charmingly put it, posting on this thread.

It's interesting how you've picked up on the US Military and the oil companies, but not on the other 50+(?) donors. Have you thought that with a wide enough spread of donors, there may possibly be next to no influence at all from your examples?

Which of the other donors have you looked into Bruce? Have you genuinely looked into all of them to form a balanced opinion on what influence they might have on the material on the site Toby linked to?
Timmd on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:Actually i'm not fussed to be honest.
Bruce Hooker - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> It's hard to imagine how much worse a FIS govt.... etc

Not for anyone who knew who the FIS were.

> but the Algerian people got a dictatorship they didn't vote for anyway.

They didn't though, they went back to the sort of democracy they have today.. You do know that Algeria is not a dictatorship, unlike Qatar that you seem to approve of, they have elections frequently? Fortunately for them they also have a long memory too. It must be infuriating for all those crew cut kids in the Pentagon (or wherever) who would just love to spark off an "Arab spring" and get rid of another oil rich country which has too strong an idea of their own importance, and independence.
Bruce Hooker - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> Again, don't be childish. Even in this thread I wrote: "the GIA committed horrendous atrocities during the civil war".

You appear to think it would have been better if the ALN (Algerian Army) had not prevent the elections that could have allowed the FIS into power... does this not imply "support"? Saying you think someone should have been allowed to take power is usually seen as a sign of support.
Bruce Hooker - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Timmd:

Seriously timmd would you want to support a body who has the US Army as a supporter?
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> Seriously timmd would you want to support a body who has the US Army as a supporter?

You mean like the Algerian government that has significant US military support and cooperation, including probably allowing the US military or CIA to at time use Tamanrasset as a base for their "Saharan counter-terrorism" operations?

In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> Saying you think someone should have been allowed to take power is usually seen as a sign of support.

Don't be ridiculous, I don't support the Conservative party, but I don't think the British army should have staged a coup against them to stop them taking power in 2010. I don't support Hamas, but neither do I think the Palestinian people shouldn't be allowed to vote because they might vote for Hamas.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> It must be infuriating for all those crew cut kids in the Pentagon (or wherever) who would just love to spark off an "Arab spring" and get rid of another oil rich country which has too strong an idea of their own importance, and independence.

You really should try understanding US policy on Algeria better. There has been plenty of US-Algerian military cooperation and intelligence cooperation since 2001. The Trans Sahel Initiative/Trans-Saharan counter terrorism initiative were centrally about building Algeria as a partner for EUCOM. The US also has lots of trade relations with Algeria.



Bruce Hooker - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Concerning the difference between judging the independence and objectivity of a source of information by looking at where it's cash comes from and judging a country by it's contacts with other countries, I'll leave you to work that one out!

Secondly, I don't think the tories coming to power in Britain represents the same danger as an extremist party whose avowed objective is to destroy democracy and impose the sharia in Algeria. If you disapprove the intervention of the ALN to prevent the latter then this can only be because you can see no fundamental reason to be against the FIS and what they were trying to do. You appear to refuse to look at context and want to apply blanket replies to all cases.. perhaps you are simply being disingenuous?

Finally, you really take it all at face value, don't you? The USA et al were all playing cosy with Gaddafi just before they bombed Libya to bits and had him murdered. One moment he was being wined and dined in Paris and elsewhere, a very few years later he was lying dead and butchered with a branch of wood up the backside after those who had been so friendly showed their real faces. Don't forget, "white man speaks with forked tongue"... as do most other men too when in power, but white men pretend to be honest with such sincerity.

And of course Algeria trades with the USA, it has oil and gas as you may have noticed lately. They have a national oil company, the Sonatrach, but allow foreign oil companies too, BP in the recent case. They also work with a lot of Chinese companies, who even bring their own teams of workers for the construction industry... they are a non-aligned country and have been for decades.

In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> Secondly, I don't think the tories coming to power in Britain represents the same danger as an extremist party whose avowed objective is to destroy democracy and impose the sharia in Algeria.

Nor do I, but if the majority of the Algerian people voted for that, why are they wrong and you right? That's the thing with democracy, sometimes the people vote for parties you don't like. Again, this gets back to the questions you haven't really answered: what is Algeria (or any other country for that matter)? If it's not the democratically expressed will of the majority of the citizens of that country, then what is it? You're just saying the people were wrong and their votes shouldn't count.

I suspect you are right that at least large parts, the FIS weren't interested in democracy but as it was, it wasn't them who "destroyed democracy" in Algeria as they never got chance. That was the army when they seized power in a coup, deposing the president and also sparking a civil war in which probably hundreds of thousands died. There is no way to sugar coat that. I understand why you might have supported that coup, but facts are facts.

> If you disapprove the intervention of the ALN to prevent the latter then this can only be because you can see no fundamental reason to be against the FIS and what they were trying to do.

Don't be ridiculous. By the same logic if you don't see why military coups in democracies are wrong, you are pro-Pinochet, but I know you're not. I'm against anti-democratic methods be they carried out by secular militaries or Islamist governments.

> and butchered with a branch of wood up the backside

You do seem to have an unhealthy obsession with stating that bit.

> they are a non-aligned country and have been for decades.

With extensive military and intelligence cooperation with the US.

Bruce Hooker - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> I suspect you are right that at least large parts, the FIS weren't interested in democracy but as it was, it wasn't them who "destroyed democracy" in Algeria as they never got chance. That was the army when they seized power in a coup, deposing the president and also sparking a civil war in which probably hundreds of thousands died. There is no way to sugar coat that. I understand why you might have supported that coup, but facts are facts.

This shows a rather superficial approach to Algeria's politics. The ALN is not just like any old army any more than the FLN is any old political party, they have a far greater signification to Algerians, at least the older ones. The army is seen as the basic protector of the independent state, they, in their role as the organised military force of the Algerian people, fought the French and finally triumphed after years of absolute horror.

You should read a few books by Algerian fedayins to get a feel for what this involved, or even watch the film "The Battle for Alger". So the role of the army is a bit like that of the Red Army in China, or the Turkish army until recently, and that of the FLN that of the Chinese or Soviet Communist Parties. In all cases their birth in periods of war, suffering but ultimately in triumph give them a different status to that of their equivalents in most more developed countries. To find something of a similarity nearer home look at the role of the New Model Army and Cromwell in England.

So when the situation arrived that all democrats dread, what to do if a force pledged to destroying democracy looks like being elected, the army did what it felt it had to do and saved the country from itself. To say violence followed is nonsense, violence and intimidation were already rife, that's how the FIS got the support it did. Democracy is a means to an end, not the end itself. So if any sugar coating is going on it is from your side of the fence. The Algerian army didn't "seize power", they already held it by force of arms since the Revolution.

Once things had settled down, the GIA "Afghans" had been beaten, with as you say about 200 000 civilian deaths, often in the most atrocious circumstances, elections were once again held regularly, which is the case today. Not perfection, but the choice is not between a leafy democracy in a prosperous modern state (UK style) or a semi-military regime with elections troubled with irregularities (the case of Algeria), it's between the latter imperfect situation or one of chaos and death for years to come. I don't go for "better dead than red", nearly anything is better than being dead... which is about what the weary Algerian people seem to think.

Again discussing this without the historical context is a bit futile. The fundamental problem that faced Algeria after independence comes from the social make up of the population. Algeria was a population colony, not like many British colonies with a few sahibs and the day to day work done by trained locals, there were over a million French "colons" in Algeria... they occupied all the middle class and blue collar jobs, even on the railways, so Algerians themselves, who had no status, no vote even after WW2 and fighting for France in the war, were relegated to the lowest paid jobs, in agriculture, heavy labour and such like. The blood bath of the war of independence killed of many of the best, more dynamic elements. The French left in panic and anger and far from doing what they could to help the new state off to a good start they did all they could to prevent this. So Algeria found itself with a victory but no middle classes, no technicians, and a country to rebuild.... pride doesn't feed your kids.

Can't remember why I started this waffle, but there's so much waffle behind a country like Algeria, and most is ignored by this sort of forum exchange.
Bruce Hooker - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> With extensive military and intelligence cooperation with the US.

And?

On the other hand they are keen on their independence, all the security guards on the site attacked the other day were unarmed - no US based "security companies" in Algeria. I think they need to be careful, they are clearly in Uncle Sam's gun-sights, quite a scary place to be at present. One can feel the slow propaganda build-up against them. I wonder when we'll start to get a few "spontaneous" demonstration?
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Please don't patronise me by suggesting I don't Algerian history. Ironically the film you suggest is on my book shelf and has been for a decade. I would rather suggest that you have a rosy romantic view of FLN's resistance and victory over the French for which you are willing to then forgive their descendents when they turn against their own people.

The free elections of the end of the 80s and early 90s were a gamble because the post-colonial regime having gained legitimacy to lead from that endeavor, had subsequently lost it through misrule. This domestic process was of course set against the toppling on totalitarian regimes in eastern Europe and the hope that went with that. It seems you supported the just side during the end of colonialism, but then couldn't see them objectively in their attempt to rule an independent country. I was UK-member of the ANC through my teenage years up to the end of apartheid and Mandela coming to power. It's sad to see the corruption, nepotism and sectarianism that now is so visible in the ANC - Mandela deserved better. But it what it is, and wishful thinking to say otherwise.

Clearly the majority of the Algerians who voted against the FLN in 89-91 didn't see the party or the army in the way you depict them, otherwise they wouldn't have rejected them. Basically your argument is that Algerian people were so damaged by the end of colonialism they weren't ready for democracy and it was better for the army to take over in a coup. Going against the will of the people for the good of the state is why Pinochet took over too wasn't it?
MikeTS - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Most people do not understand what democracy is. They think it means that there was once an election where the majority prevail.

The best test is: have elections been repeated as scheduled? Other tests are: has there been ever a handover of power? and: is there a concept of a loyal opposition? (or, similarly, a distinction between the state and the elected government?) And: are there rights for minorities?

So Algeria seems to me to be just below the line. It holds elections, but hasn't transferred power from one as far as I can see. And being in opposition or a member of a minority is probably not fun.
Bruce Hooker - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> Please don't patronise me by suggesting I don't Algerian history.

Umm... I am quoting you, on previous threads you said you didn't know much about Algeria and not reading French wouldn't help.

> It's sad to see the corruption, nepotism and sectarianism that now is so visible in the ANC - Mandela deserved better.

Give them time, how many centuries did it take our countries to get to the imperfect democracy we have today? Without outside interference they'll get on better.

> Clearly the majority of the Algerians who voted against the FLN in 89-91 didn't see the party or the army in the way you depict them, otherwise they wouldn't have rejected them.

In the first round the FIS got about 40% and there was about 40% abstention IIRC... hardly a landslide. And this despite the power of the imams, intimidation, especially in the countryside, a catastrophic economic situation etc etc.

> Going against the will of the people...

Like Hitler came to power with "the will of the people" in a pure democratic way?

You are doing your bit repeating anti-Algerian propaganda but I don't think you measure what you are proposing. With peace Algeria is progressing, as concerning the Berbers, for example, and despite the islamists pulling them back as in the new "Family Code" as a counter example... two steps forward, one step back is better than civil war and melt down as in all those Arab states who have benefited from multi-coloured springs of late. Us whiteys should try to understand them and their history not slag them of from the comfort of our rich, safe, prosperous lands.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> Us whiteys should try to understand them and their history not slag them of from the comfort of our rich, safe, prosperous lands.

It was you above who suggested the people were too damaged by the colonial period to know who they should be voting for. But I'm happy that from this discussion if nothing else you've stated that in some cases you see military coups as acceptable.

The German case is a very interesting counterpoint - but I guess the point is no one did step in there to correct the German people's mistake. They made their choice and faced the consequences. This is why Pinochet's coup makes another interesting counter-point, because the Chilean people, like the Algerians, were never given the chance to see where their democratic choices took them, good or bad. In both case the military believed they knew better.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> In the first round the FIS got about 40% and there was about 40% abstention IIRC... hardly a landslide.

47.3%, more than double what the FLN got. It was a 'landslide' which is exactly why the army cancelled the next round. Let's remember that in the UK the majority party in power normally only gets 35%-ish of the popular vote.

The FIS also had taken 54% of vote in the local elections the year before. I don't think you can really dispute their popularity.
Bruce Hooker - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> It was you above who suggested the people were too damaged by the colonial period to know who they should be voting for.

I didn't say that at all! Sometimes you come across as a bit thick, good at cutting and pasting but not on comprehension. My point was the difficulties Algeria faced after a enormously destructive war of independence and a "scorched earth" policy of the French, in both social and material ways. I never suggested that this prevented them from voting.

Some people in Germany tried to resist, communists for example but by then the nazis were too strong and so they were eliminated. My point was that Hitler did get a majority vote from the German people, but given the level of intimidation was this democratic? Same for the FIS, they got a small relative majority but again by both physical intimidation and the pressure of the imams every Friday in the mosques.

There was no "coup d'etat" like in Chile though, the ALN accepted it's responsibility to defend the secular republic. Elections were resumed once the GIA et al had been destroyed militarily, and free elections became possible again, they have continued ever since, even if you don't seem aware of this and refer to Bouteflika as a dictator.

In Chile the army had absolutely no theoretical or historical political role, Chile was the most stable democracy of S America. Their intervention went against all their traditions of political neutrality, they intervened in the name of a minority of the rich, and after heavy encouragement from the USA defending the interests of US mining companies in Chile, against the wishes of the old army commander who was assassinated. Allende's government was elected in elections which were free and took place without intimidation. The two situations are different, don't you see that?
Bruce Hooker - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> I don't think you can really dispute their popularity.

Popularity at the end of a knife, and the Koran! Hitler had the SA, the FIS had their "Afghans" and imams.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> Same for the FIS, they got a small relative majority but again by both physical intimidation and the pressure of the imams every Friday in the mosques.

They got twice as many votes as the opposition and a almost an over all majority against all the other parties combined. Many contemporary observers said the elections had been notably free and fair as well. I'm sure there were some incidents of intimidation, but I would be very interested to see the evidence that it was as widespread as you are claiming. And "pressure from the imams"? Well so what? People who go to mosques and churches can hardly be denied votes can they?

> There was no "coup d'etat" like in Chile though, the ALN accepted it's responsibility to defend the secular republic.

Sorry, but that's just pure propaganda. It doesn't matter what we think of the FIS, and my opinion of what type of party they were is not so different from yours seemingly, the army forced the president from power and banned elections. If that's not a coup, what is? And the idea that they pure secularists is a bit of joke when you look at why the FIS had become so popular and the FLN so despised by the Algerian people: "The National Liberation Front led the Algerian people in their struggle against French colonialism, then deprived them of their voice by monopolizing power for thirty years. The result was political sclerosis, nepotism and corruption. The social injustices had been aggravated in recent years by the regime's wholesale conversion to "free enterprise."

And from the same interesting contemporary account:

"The old parliamentary assembly was disbanded and President Chadli Benjedid, who favored compromising with the F.I.S., was forced to resign. Parliamentary and presidential elections were put off until the beginning of 1994. Until then presidential powers will be exercised by a five-man High State Council, set up after three days of confusion. It is headed by 74-year-old Mohammad Boudiafe, one of the leaders of the 1962 revolution, but its strongman is 54-year-old Gen. Khalid Nizar, the Minister of Defense. The government of Sid Ahmed Ghozali will remain in power but the army will rule. The incensed Islamicists, deprived of their prize, called on the people to rise against "the clique of foreign agents that has usurped power," but they have not issued any specific orders. The army is waiting for a pretext to declare a state of siege and it has begun a crackdown, arresting an F.I.S. leader and banning political activities in mosques." http://www.thenation.com/article/coup-algeria#

I guess you will not be convinced that Algeria now isn't democratic, but others might be interested in this description of the extent and limitations of voting in there currently. http://www.economist.com/node/21554565

And clearly the armed Islamists were never really beaten, some were given amnesty after reaching essentially a stalemate with the military, and groups transformed and fractured, but Algeria still suffers from numerous acts of terrorism.

Bruce Hooker - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

As I said you're good at copying and pasting. I could find you a dozen other quotes by Algerians even more violently against the FLN, they take politics seriously, far more than in Britain and don't pull their punches, but you can also find others who say the opposite.

All of which plays into the hands of those who have never forgiven Arabs and others for fighting for their freedom, especially as often it was ceded before the full extent of the mineral wealth of these places was realised... some old colonialists must really be kicking themselves for giving in too easily (all with hindsight, of course). For proof, Britain had pretty well given the Malvinas back to Argentina then when someone mentioned oil everything changed and the "rights of the Falklanders" was rediscovered. They can't do this with N African and Middle Eastern countries so they set about destabilizing them and putting puppets in place, one by one.

Now Syria is, as I predicted, under pressure, to put it mildly, it's only normal that the next domino will start to receive the ol' softening up treatment... the attack on the gas works was by all accounts planned long before the French move in Mali, and, of course, we will all be "reminded" what an evil lot the Algerian government is... How they are dictators and anti-democrats and all the other half truths, exaggerations and simplifications.

Concerning the reality of the FIS I gave you a reference above, "FIS de la Haine" by Rachid Boudjedra Editions Denöel – Paris 1992, but that's just one I read and noted the title of, there are doubtless others.

The infighting that went on before, during and after the war of independence was of an intensity equivalent to the violence of the French repression - widespread destruction of entire villages, people included, systematic torture (admitted), often followed by a one way helicopter trip out to sea once the prisoner had been milked empty, as mentioned at least half a million deaths and many put the figure at 2 or three times higher. All this violence made gently, gently tactics difficult and with the constant use of torture to "turn" militants, treachery and reprisals, it's hardly surprising that emotions still run high today, and internet is a perfect place for voicing them

So yes the elections were unsound, intimidation was widespread - you do realise that often men would vote for their women, don't you? and that in villages where the FIS was present in force your vote would be controlled... Finally do you think that it is normal for religious leaders to tell people who they should vote for? It wouldn't go down too well in most countries, and when it is accompanied by big blokes with beards hanging around the mosques sharpening their blades it hard to imagine how the election could be free and fair! You may find it normal, of course.

Bruce Hooker - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Having read the article it doesn't seem to correspond to your summary. The main problem seems to be the low turn out
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> I could find you a dozen other quotes by Algerians even more violently against the FLN,

Do please. I'm interested, particularly about how those elections in 89-91 took place.

> All of which plays into the hands of those who have never forgiven Arabs and others for fighting for their freedom,

Some Arabs. Because you don't seem to have much sympathy for Libyan, Egyptian and Syrian Arabs who have fought for their freedom in the last few years. They seem to be to you just stooges and patsies of foreign powers according to your reading

> So yes the elections were unsound, intimidation was widespread - you do realise that often men would vote for their women, don't you? and that in villages where the FIS was present in force your vote would be controlled...

Did you note the turn out and results of the 1988 Algerian Presidential election? It gives quite a lot of context to what happened in 89-91. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_presidential_election,_1988

> Finally do you think that it is normal for religious leaders to tell people who they should vote for?

Where don't religious leaders try that? From Iran to the US, from Uganda to Italy, that seems rather the norm. Their success is just a reflection of the religiosity of the society.
Bruce Hooker - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Out of curiosity I looked at the results for these elections that the Economist was so critical of just before they took place. I found an article from the Figaro, a French Daily Telegraph equivalent, so definitely not lefty or pro-Algerian, and it seems that the elections went off with no major problems, according to EU reps present anyway, the turnout was better than in the past - about 43%. Not brilliant but comparable with Morocco and little lower than Egypt or Tunisia... despite the continued election boycott by some parties.

The pro-government parties - FLN and RND are in a position to govern without the support of the islamic parties, which far from increasing their vote as forecast by some, flopped heavily.

Funny how reality often differs from what people with axes to grind predict! It must be frustrating that life goes on as normal despite the augurs of doom.
Bruce Hooker - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> Because you don't seem to have much sympathy for Libyan, Egyptian and Syrian Arabs who have fought for their freedom in the last few years.

I'm not convinced that those who helped NATO destroy Libya, were "fighting for freedom", they didn't give much to the blacks they massacred. Some were a regional grouping, others islamic mercenary extremists and many were exiles who came back from the USA and elsewhere to overthrow a government they disliked.

Elsewhere I'm no convinced the Muslim Brotherhood are fighting just for freedom either, nor those planting car bombs killing civilians 50 at a time in Syria, or how many students taking exams did they kill the other day , 80 or 90, was it? It just got up their freedom loving noses that young people would be positive, study all year then, full of exam tension get in there for the first sitting to be blown to bits by these nihilist bastards... it symbolises all that your "freedom fighters" stand for, they can't stand hope and effort to help their country advance, they kill knowledge because all they believe in is ignorance, fanaticism and dogma.

PS. Here's the link to the Figaro article:

http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2012/05/11/01003-20120511ARTFIG00662-le-fln-rafle-la-mise-aux-l...

Google translate works.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> I'm not convinced that those who helped NATO destroy Libya, were "fighting for freedom",

The turnout in Libya's main election last year was at least a third higher than in Algeria, possible two thirds higher, if those who dispute the Algerian government's turnout figures are correct.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> it symbolises all that your "freedom fighters" stand for, they can't stand hope and effort to help their country advance, they kill knowledge because all they believe in is ignorance, fanaticism and dogma.

BTW, making trite points out of such horror seems beneath you. I'm sure you know that pro-govt. militias have killed plenty of children and govt. artillery has hit schools in rebel controlled areas too. I don't know of anyone who is denying that jihadi groups are now fighting against the Assad regime including with the use of terrorist tactics, but that's because Assad suppressed a popular uprising with violence leading to a civil war; indeed not a totally different path from what happened in Algeria in 91 I suppose.
Bruce Hooker - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> I'm sure you know that pro-govt. militias have killed plenty of children and govt. artillery has hit schools in rebel controlled areas too.

That's what those trying, quite successfully, to destabilise Syria want us to believe.

> Assad suppressed a popular uprising with violence leading to a civil war; indeed not a totally different path from what happened in Algeria in 91 I suppose.

Actually it is very different, but you don't bother with details, do you? What is similar is that the organised provocations, murders and so on did get a civil war going, with all the suffering this leads to, in both cases.

Your methods of saving people from tyranny and leading them to freedom at least have the advantage of reducing the number of people suffering, the dead feel no pain. Good in terms of getting rid of old infra-structure too... plenty of building contracts for the boys afterwards, all very win win.
Bruce Hooker - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> if those who dispute the Algerian government's turnout figures are correct.

And who would they be? Not extreme islamists by any chance? The more moderate ones took part in the elections.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> And who would they be?

Lahouari Addi, an analyst of Algerian politics at the Institut d’Études Politiques of Lyon, is who the NYT quoted, but the chair of the FFS, the secular social democratic party said much the same as did many of the other opposition parties.

http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/2012/05/17/old-habits-die-hard-us-and-eu-policy-in-algeria/ath9
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/12/world/africa/algerians-skeptical-of-election-results-favoring-part...
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> That's what those trying, quite successfully, to destabilise Syria want us to believe.

I don't really know how to discuss these things when you say stuff like this. It seems if any reputable news source reports that one of jihadi opposition groups in Syria has carried out a terrorist attack, well that's a fact and that's fair enough. But then if the same reputable news sources reports that government artillery or bombings kill civilians, or Shabiha groups butcher innocents - then that's what "those" want us to believe and the news source is American propaganda or whatever. It's really quite a bizarre world view where one side has to be blacker than black (and monolithic) and the other whiter than white (and also monolithic).

Bruce Hooker - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> It seems if any reputable news source reports that....

But what reputable news sources are there for Syria? None as far as I can see, either one way or the other. At present I don't think any reports can be relied on. Saying I believe one slant more than another is simply what is called a "straw-man" method... putting words in my mouth then knocking them down. A bomb goes off killing numerous civilians, the Syrian government denounces a terrorist bomb, the rebels denounce a government air attack, which is accurate? We can only guess, there is no way of knowing who is right - or if those being quoted even know.

Tell me what is to stop anyone in Syria sending the story of a massacre which is entirely invented, or on the other hand how many massacres take place which are never reported? The last serious enquiry carried out on the ground was by an Arab League team. They verified various claims found that some "massacres" were nonexistent, pure invention, that others attributed to the government were in fact attacks on government forces... surprise surprise, the team was recalled and the report hushed up until leaked, it didn't say what it was supposed to.

So any analysis can't be based on reports as we only have lies. There are some facts though, we know there is a civil war going on, we know who started it and we also know that because of this tens of thousands of people are dead and a country is being destroyed. If we have even a smattering of memory we can remember the same thing happening in another country quite recently... It's possible to draw a conclusion that the lives of millions of people would be better if such events hadn't taken place.

On the other hand we could like you and many others - Bernard Henri Levy, for example - think that such collateral damage on the road to "freedom" (as achieved in Iraq, Afghanistan etc) is a price worth paying (by somebody else, of course). I disagree.
In reply to Bruce Hooker: > But what reputable news sources are there for Syria?

There are dozens if not hundreds of foreign journalists in Syria at any one time, from all sorts of countries and all sorts media. Some are in rebel controlled areas, some are in govt. held areas. They interview people and go places and see things. Additionally because of cameras on phones there is more raw footage from civilians and combatants than in any other war before. Of course there are lies and distortions, but there is also huge amounts of evidence of what is and isn't happening.
Bruce Hooker - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> but there is also huge amounts of evidence of what is and isn't happening.

OK then, who blew up all those students taking exams the other day then? None of your "sources" seem to have provided an answer to even such a basic question as that either in the French or British media... maybe in Finland you are better informed?
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> None of your "sources" seem to have provided an answer to even such a basic question

Why is it a basic question? Both sides say it wasn't them so why would it be easy to establish?

Most military types seem to agree that the videos suggests a large missile, as opposed to a truck bomb or similar, but from what I've read no one seem to know from where it came yet.
In reply to TobyA:
Similar conclusion on it being a missile strike but from different perspectives:

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/video-suggests-missile-hit-syrian-university/

http://angryarab.blogspot.fi/2013/01/who-bombed-aleppo-university-retired.html

Anyway, we should discuss this on a Syria thread as this one is meant to be about Algeria.
Bruce Hooker - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I think it is fundamental as killing students is killing the future of a country, more than killing the same number of other innocent civilians. Whoever did this would show them selves as beyond the Pale. Personally I cannot see why the government would do it. The missile theories suggest that this could be missiles fired by rebel forces, or accidental firing, but all in all this rather disproves your idea that we have reliable reporters at work in Syria.

It is true that this is about Algeria, but just as Syria can be seen as "Libya 2 - The Sequel", Algeria may, alas turn into "Libya 3, The Sequel of the Sequel". These things seem to run in threes before they change the scenario significantly. Fortunately China and Russia refused to play ball for Libya, so maybe that will be left on bloody hold and they'll move straight on to "Algeria, the Struggle for Freedom", aka "Libya 3"... What do you think?
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> Personally I cannot see why the government would do it.

The Syrian government has been bombing even suburbs of Damascus let alone more remote areas of the country for months - this is completely indisputable; there is plenty of film where the planes are very clearly visible. They have also fired their Scuds at rebel controlled areas. The only question around the Aleppo university attack is that it is in a govt. controlled sector of Aleppo, so why would they attack that? But then again defectors have accused the Assad regime of staging attacks to discredit the opposition before: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/18/syrian-military-defectors-damascus-blasts?CMP=twt_gu
Bruce Hooker - on 29 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

How do you know all this is not just propaganda? You have no way of knowing, it's just what your prexisting prejudices lead you believe.

One fact is a fact though, if the rebellion hadn't started and hadn't been pushed and aided by people who should know better there wouldn't be a civil war in Syria, tens of thousands of people would still be alive, many more would not have been injured or driven from their homes and Syria would not be wrecked. These are facts, the rest is not. But you and others who reason like you don't care about such simple things, you are quite happy, apparently, for others to suffer in the pursuit of fine sounding principles - "democracy and freedom à l'Americain" or failing this death. Better dead than .... (fill in whatever it is you want to get rid of).

At least is will please Israel, if you keep on "helping" the people of the Middle East so successfully they'll be able to take over the lands empty of all but corpses and ruins for their "greater Israel". Every cloud has a silver lining.

Arriba la Muerte!
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Once again you seem to believe what you want to and call everything else propaganda. Again, I don't really know how to discuss that with you? Do you think those bodies pulled out of the canal today weren't real? Or are they only real if Jahbat al-Nusra shot them?

The rebellion started after the Assad regime choose to suppress peaceful protests inspired by the revolutions around the Arab world. I think fundamentally we disagree on what countries are, I see Syria as being the people who live there, not the government that controls them. It is in the citizens that sovereignty resides. I don't really get why you respect governments that don't represent their people and don't even offer them much security either in the national- or social- sense.

By the way, your mention of Israel reminded me of something I read earlier:

http://www.lb.boell.org/web/113-1173.html

Even the ruling family’s most devoted loyalists never followed the media until March last year, not just because the media had no credibility, but because news reports were almost entirely superficial and absurd accounts of the president’s latest movements or events in Palestine, a subject that must be ready to be evoked at any time.

At first the government media seemed stunned and confused, existing in a state of permanent denial. There were no demonstrations, no demands from the street: it was all a conspiracy to undermine Syria’s patriotic stance on Palestine and its support of the Palestinian resistance. There were utterly bizarre attempts to claim we were watching Hollywood-like staged scenes and photo-shopped images of imaginary cities.


Don't worry though he goes on to criticize the pro-revolution media just as much!
Bruce Hooker - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> Do you think those bodies pulled out of the canal today weren't real?

No, why should I?

> Or are they only real if Jahbat al-Nusra shot them?

Again no, again what makes you think that?

Now a question for you: do you know who killed them? I don't.

As for your take on how it all started, I'd say you are as far out here as you were for Libya. You choose to believe what you need to believe it would seem.

As for Assad, I'll pass over your continued deliberate misinterpretation of my attitude to him, being against the present senseless slaughter doesn't equal positive support for the regime, although the fact is many Syrians do support the present regime, otherwise it would have crumbled years ago. I've already pointed out why they do and who they are but for you, apparently the only good Syrians are the Sunnite rebels and their bloodthirsty pals.


In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> As for your take on how it all started, I'd say you are as far out here as you were for Libya. You choose to believe what you need to believe it would seem.

In Mid-March 2011, Syrians started protesting mainly for the release of political prisoners, inspired no doubt by the protests across the Arab world. The Assad regime responded with violence, at first police and plain clothes thugs with batons like in Cairo, but soon also shooting people. The killing of a teenager in custody in Dara was one particular spark in that region. There are thousands of news stories recounting all this. The violence provoked more protests, the protests more violence from the security forces. Some soldiers defected and formed the FSA some months in, at first to defend the protesters by fighting the army - this became just simply insurgent fighting. What do you disagree with then, in that summation?

If you don't support the Assad regime why don't you ever criticise it then? Or admit that it's security forces have committed crimes? Or that the rebellion against it could be for domestic reasons of its mis-governance, not a tool of foreign powers?
Bruce Hooker - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

All spontaneous eh? No NGOs involved training people in the use of internet to get things going? No snipers? Same as in Libya in fact, for you?

Whatever, keep your eyes on Algeria... watch more closely this time and maybe the third time round you'll notice the real chain of events.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> All spontaneous eh?

Of course it wasn't spontaneous, the people of Syria have lived under the authoritarian and corrupt rule of Assad family for half a century! They also watched protests and uprising in countries all around them.

> No NGOs involved training people in the use of internet to get things going?

I'm sure that NGOs and things the National Endowment for Democracy have probably been trying to support Syrian democratic opposition for decades, but as we all know, until the uprising happened from within Syria, the exile opposition was toothless and completely ineffective.

> No snipers?

You mean the ones from the army told to shoot protesters? Yep, it seems plenty of them.
MG - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to TobyA)
>
> All spontaneous eh? No NGOs involved training people in the use of internet to get things going? No snipers?

Rather than endless cryptic insinuations, could you spell out what you think happened? You seem to be implying that external bodies (directed by whom?) deliberately destabilised Libya, Syria etc. Is this what you are saying?
In reply to MG: I'm surprised anyone else has actually kept reading this thread MG! :) But I'm also interested if Bruce could be more specific.

I do actually agree with him that there are of course people outside countries trying to have an impact on them when governments are undemocratic - Amnesty and Human Rights Watch right their reports, certain NGOs (the type that Soros would fund!) do media training and the like. Some of these organisations aren't NGOs as they get govt. support.

But generally when they're not having any real impact (lets say in China, Russia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc.) everyone just ignores them - but when a revolution happens like in Syria, for some people like Bruce they are the cause (or at least one important cause) of it.

This accusation only seems to be made against revolutions/uprising they don't support though. The Cuban revolution for example therefore wasn't a tool of the Soviets, but a genuine expression of the majority of Cubans. The Syrian revolution a tool of Israel/US, not a genuine expression of Syrians; etc.

Bruce Hooker - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:

> You seem to be implying that external bodies (directed by whom?) deliberately destabilised Libya, Syria etc. Is this what you are saying?

Are you naive or something? I'm not implying it I've been saying directly for years, and I'm hardly original in saying this! It's nothing new though, destabilising countries has been a government activity since governments existed. Since WW2 google a bit and see how many countries the USA has screwed up... the Bay of Pigs, Chile, the "contras" scandal all went over your head apparently? Just look at a map of Eurasia a follow the movement Eastward of the Western zone of influence over the last decades... remember how the Shah came to power in Iran, how E European countries changed one after the other, then Yugoslavia, Kosovo being a text book example of what has become a standard method. All well documented for those interested.

Toby's reply on snipers is quite typical, the assumption of who was sniping who despite evidence that such methods are classic tools of the terrorist arsenal... Remember nearer home, Bloody Sunday, exactly the same method, with an enormous political victory for those who organised it. The British army fell into the trap just as many others have since. Again the reports are there to be read... you just need to want to see and open your eyes.


MG - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> [...]
>
> Are you naive or something? I'm not implying it I've been saying directly for years, and I'm hardly original in saying this!

Well that's clear. So who do you think is doing this -the Americans? And what is your evidence for it?
Bruce Hooker - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> The Cuban revolution for example therefore wasn't a tool of the Soviets..

Check it out, was Castro a communist at first, or did they turn to the Soviet Union as the only country that would help them?

Same for Vietnam, was the Vietminh communist at first, when they helped British troops against the Japanese, or did they turn to those who would help them when the Brits betrayed them, went back on their promises, even armed Japanese prisoners of war to fight against the Vietnamese in order to give Indochina back to France at the end of the war?

> but a genuine expression of the majority of Cubans.

You are strawmanning again, when have I said that the Cuban revolution was a mass movement of the Cuban people? One of the bones of contention between Communist Parties and Che Guevara was his theory of the setting up of small revolutionary "foci" which would lead the masses to a revolutionary conscience. Many accused him of "adventurism". Given the way he died they seem to have had a point, despite the role of the CIA in his actual death.

What about this, do you even admit the CIA had him killed? Maybe you don't? If not what do you think all those thousands in the Pentagon do, eat donuts all day? Although this question should really be for MG.
MG - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
If not what do you think all those thousands in the Pentagon do, eat donuts all day? Although this question should really be for MG.

Not sure why that is for me but anyway, I reckon, they probably have the occasional bagel too.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> Again the reports are there to be read... you just need to want to see and open your eyes.

I read many reports but can you point us toward these reports please - in relation to the start of the uprising in Syria (or perhaps Libya)?

And do you think the type of governance in Syria under Assad sr. and jr. had anything to do with creating the preconditions for the uprising, even if external actors were stirring as well?
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> What about this, do you even admit the CIA had him killed?

Who Guevara? Don't know. Just read the Wiki article on him which names the Bolivian soldier who was the executioner, although I'm sure the Bolivian govt. at the time cooperated with the US closely. Didn't all the CIA stuff come out in the Church Committee - like the numerous attempts to Lumumba and Castro? But what has that got to do with Syrian in early 2011? Who did the CIA try to assassinate there?
In reply to MG:
> I reckon, they probably have the occasional bagel too.

Interesting as well that Bruce is get his facts all in a muddle once again, because what they're chowing down on at the Pentagon doesn't really matter in comparison to snacks of choice in Langley. ;)

Bruce Hooker - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:

Going back a bit, do you recognise the role of the USA in South and Central America after WW2?

Do you recognise the role of the UK and the USA in getting rid of the democratically elected government of Iran and putting the Shah into power?

Moving on a bit do you admit the role of the USA and the UK in Afghanistan in arming, financing and generally encouraging the Jihad against the Soviet troops there? It also involved Egypt under Sadat, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and is very well documented.

Then coming on a bit, do you admit that Ben Ali and Mubarak were supported by the USA? That when the so called "Arab spring" got under way there the initial efforts to resist were not pursued, both leaders quietly gave in without a fight? If you admit this do you think that the attitude of their US backer might not have been significant?

Coming on to Libya, sorry, I forgot about Kosovo and the "victory" of the KLA, which morphed over night from being a "terrorist" organisation to being on the side of the good guys, while the Serbs morphed from being "our" allies against the nazis to being the enemies of the free world and meriting NATO's first major bombing campaign of recent times... remind me which country has since built itself an enormous military base in Kosovo to supplement the income from drug trafficking?

So to Libya, do you admit that after getting UN resolution 1973 voted, one that allowed undefined means to be used to prevent civilian casualties in the civil war there, NATO, principally the USA, UK and France then proceeded to bomb hell out of the country, including hitting the very civilians they were supposed to be protecting? Do you admit that despite claims to the contrary there were US, UK and French feet on the ground there, helping sight the bombs, training and arming the rebels and so on? Did you see the famous video clip in which Mrs Clinton boasted "We came, we saw, he died!" followed by a giggle when she got the news of Gaddafi's murder? If so who do you think the "we" was if it didn't include the USA?

Now on to Syria, do you admit that the USA, aided and abetted by the UK and France, tried fervently to push a resolution through similar to the 1973 one but which was blocked by the Russian and Chinese vetoes? Following on from there is getting recent but I don't think one can seriously deny the role of ONGs and so other "pro-democracy" movements have "helped" destabilise Syria, Toby admits this, do you? Doubtless the truth will come out with time, as it has for all the other examples I've given.

On the other hand if you don't admit all of this, where exactly do you stop?

If you admit it but don't condemn the Western governments concerned why is this? Do you think that what has been achieved merits all the blood or do you simply think that the strong have the right to clobber the weak when their "vital interests" are at stake?
MG - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Ignoring your hyperbolic exaggerations then yes I agree that most countries have intervened in others' affairs by backing or obstructing various leaders and militaries, for better or worse reasons and in more or less transparent ways.

Do you accept however that sometimes things happen without significant outside interference? Or can you only ever see things as being the results of US/Western/NATO action?

All your examples above had clear motives such as the perceived communist threats. By contrast Libya, Syria, Tunisia Egypt were all stable under strong arm rulers, providing trade, oil, bases to the West with no problem. After revolutions they are much less stable, resource supplies are less reliable and in many cases they no longer offer military bases. What motive would there be for a concerted effort at regional destabilisation for your bogeymen?
Bruce Hooker - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I just googled "death of che guevara" and the first hit after the photos was this from the "National Security Archives"

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB5/index.html

Frankly you could have done the same. The connection with Syria is that this is a well documented example of what the USA does in the world. They have an MO on such activities.

Concerning Libya and Syria all this was reported at the time, and if you want you can find the reports as easily as I just did for Che, from the Asia Times, Global Research or any of dozens of other sources. You don't admit the reliability of these sources, preferring Al Jazeera and US inspired think tanks, apparently, but this doesn't mean they don't exist.

If you want just one quote, an undeniable one that sums it all up there's Clinton's "We came, we saw, he died! (giggle)"... the video's all over utube, it's hard to be more explicit... nor more arrogant, she just doesn't see any problem in boasting about who "we", came, saw and murdered the head of state of a sovereign state.
Shani - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to dale1968:
> What sort of response should there be? Should it be Political or Military?

John Pilger gives a different slant on what is going on in Africa - all to do with mineral rights and China's economic expansion:

http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/world-affairs/2013/01/modern-times-are-upside-down-invasio...
Bruce Hooker - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:

> By contrast Libya, Syria, Tunisia Egypt were all stable under strong arm rulers, providing trade, oil, bases to the West with no problem.

Tunisia and Egypt were no threat to US/Western interests but they did have social problems which brimmed over, mostly from internal causes. In Tunisia is was sparked by a stall holder who burnt himself to death in protest at administrative problems he was having.. it was so sudden that a French minister was on holiday there when it blew up and at first offered Ben Ali police advice on how to deal with it! She got a bit of flack from this, as did another who was holidaying in Egypt at the same time. In both cases I think the US influence came after - they chose not to support the two leaders who were told to accept defeat, which they did quite quickly.

The situations in other Arab states where US interests were strong was different, the rulers of Bahrain, for example, were not told to back down, there were even troop movements from Saudi Arabia to quash the "spring" there. So this shows two quite different reactions to the movements according to US interests.

The third case is that of countries like Libya, Syria and Algeria, where an under-swell of unrest, often localised or "ethnic/religious" exists, and has done for years, but where the governments are stronger, partly due to the size and wealth of the countries. It's here that the Western interference seems to be the most evident and iniquitous IMO. The case of Libya gives the clearest example and is finished, for now, so easier to look at. Here Gaddafi, despite appearances, was still a considerable source of irritation. He was setting up an African currency union which would have squeezed the dollar out of quite a lot of oil dealing, he encouraged an independent attitude in Africa, financially even, which gave him many friends on the continent just at a time when the USA is trying to consolidate a grip that it has never really had there. In terms of oil deals, for example, Gaddafi was renegotiating with China and Russian squeezing Western companies... All the deals were cancelled when he fell, which feathered many a pocket.

So although Libya was stable, more stable than now, it was also heading on an independent path, not something appreciated by the West who see themselves as the natural boss of the world. Concerning Syria, one of Iran's last allies, do you really think that the US and it's Israeli proxy have no interest in doing away with Assad and replacing him with more amenable people? Did you see that Israel just carried out an air raid on Syria? Not a squeek from Western "democracies" apparently.

Finally Algeria, the last fully independent minded country of any size in the Maghreb, it is not that well known in the UK but for historical and geographical reasons is more in the news in France. It has not the openly belligerent attitude of Assad or Gaddafi but it is not in bed with the West as Morocco is... It was a leader of the unaligned nations lobby and as such a source of irritation... with the present intervention in Mali and the unstable situation throughout the mineral rich Sahara it must be tempting to intervene there. I think it would be a horrendously bloody thing to do but unfortunately the country is vulnerable. It is not well governed, there are huge youth unemployment problems, much corruption, a smouldering Berber minority which could be easily manipulated. I'm sure they are tempted.

Al that could stop them, apart from Russia and China, is if public opinion in the West saw through the lies and said no... but this doesn't seem likely for the moment.
MG - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
So this shows two quite different reactions to the movements according to US interests.

Well yes I agree but now you are talking about "reactions to events" not, as higher, deliberate destabilisation.


> So although Libya was stable, more stable than now, it was also heading on an independent path, not something appreciated by the West

Except for decades it had been *much* more independent.


Did you see that Israel just carried out an air raid on Syria? Not a squeek from Western "democracies" apparently.


Hasn't there? Interesting you believe that immediately but question everything else reported about the conflict. Anyway, I heard Philip Hammond on the radio this morning discussing it, and reasonably enough, suggesting waiting until more was known before making definitive statements. As a possibility though, bombing chemical weapons doesn't seem a bad plan to me given the instability in the area.

> is if public opinion in the West saw through the lies

Back to the conspiracy. Do make you mind up.
Bruce Hooker - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to MG:

> Hasn't there? Interesting you believe that immediately

No, there still hasn't unless you count Obama warning Syria not to deliver arms to Hezbollah as a reaction! From the BBC:

"White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes did not confirm details of Israel's raid itself, but had a warning to issue to Syria.

"Syria should not further destabilise the region by transferring weaponry to Hezbollah," he said."


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21281923

Why would I not believe this raid took place, it's all over the press and protests have been lodged at the UN. If you think that one country bombing it's neighbours is acceptable then I agree it's unlikely we will agree about much.



dek - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
The Israelis taking out more missiles has got you chewing your keffiyeh Bruce.
You didnt whine about the terrorists firing thousands at them 'Jooz' from Gaza, do you seriously expect the 'Izzaraeliz' not to take pre-emptive action when they can, to defend themselves?
Your chinless hero, is now attacking his own Syrian civvies fleeing across the Jordanian border. 2 million displaced, and near a million refugees! And the pesky Jews are whats really bothering you!
MG - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (
> Why would I not believe this raid took place, it's all over the press and protests have been lodged at the UN. If you think that one country bombing it's neighbours is acceptable then I agree it's unlikely we will agree about much.


FFS, above you were berating Toby for believing the press!
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Sorry, but the idea that Egypt was somehow unimportant to the US in comparison to Bahrain is just ridiculous. Egypt is the second biggest recipient of US military aid in the world after Israel and the guarantor of the peace treaties with Israel, the US's central strategic interest in that reason. The US didn't do anything because they didn't know what to do and had no tools to stop the uprising against an autocrat they had supported for so long.

I'd be interested if you can actually show any evidence of the US telling the Bahraini leadership to "not step down". That was the GCC countries, hence the Saudi military support, although I know you have a big problem in thinking that Arabs can actually make decisions for themselves and aren't all just patsies of us white, rich westerners!

And Gaddafi and the currency union!? Lolz, as the kids says. You have been reading too much Global Research!
Bruce Hooker - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
>
> FFS, above you were berating Toby for believing the press!

Don't you believe weather forecasts, or when an earthquake is reported? Do you really not understand that one can draw information from the mass we see, read and hear but distinguish between what seems likely and what doesn't?

Clearly schools went downhill between when I was a kid and when you were, in my day we had lessons about how the press works, how to read a selection of newspapers with a critical eye and draw our own conclusions about what we read... and I went to school in leafy Kent not some revolutionary republic.
MG - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Bruce 11.26 Tuesday
"But what reputable news sources are there for Syria? None as far as I can see, either one way or the other. At present I don't think any reports can be relied on. "


Bruce 10.37 Friday

"Do you really not understand that one can draw information from the mass we see, read and hear but distinguish between what seems likely and what doesn't?"
Bruce Hooker - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Egypt was and is important to the USA but signs are they have adopted a new policy. The enormous aid to Egypt, which gave the army the power it clearly still has is public knowledge but to say the USA did nothing is true and not true. When the demonstrations started at first the army reacted violently (do you remember this? It's why the man is on trial at present, many were killed) but at a moment this ceased and Mubarak stepped down, despite the implications this had for him personally - he didn't escape as Ben Ali did. So the main arms provider and economic support for Egypt's rulers, those who financed the army, made it clear what they wanted. "Doing nothing" is in fact doing something in that it withdraws positive support and forced a step down and compromise with the Muslim brotherhood.

Ben Ali is in Saudi Arabia, lodged in a palace, again do you think that SA did this without the OK from Uncle Sam?

Last point, Israel has said nothing about the air raid on Syria, which despite Dek's suggestion is not even claimed as part of Israel, unlike Gaza, whereas the USA replied for them - treating the victim - Syria - as the wrongdoer. Doesn't this suggest even to you who is pulling the strings, that Israel OKed the raid with Obama before doing it?

Concerning the currency union, and you can add the AfricaSat communications project, they are not inventions, they may have been more in Gaddafi's head than on the ground, or in space, but there have been enough articles about them if you want to educate yourself. Each one in itself wasn't enough to tip the balance, most probably it was the plans for oil deals with China that did it, but all in all something clearly happened between Libya being brought in from the cold in an anti-islamist cooperation and US cruise missiles being launched.
Bruce Hooker - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to MG:

Don't you see the difference between reports about who is killing who in some crowded kasbar in Syria, with few if any journalist present to check the reports, and news stories of a military strike from outside Syria? The attack has been confirmed by both sides, and is subject of a major diplomatic incident, although what was hit has not... which demonstrates the difficulties on the ground in Syria.

Really it's not hard to understand.
Gudrun - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> In Mid-March 2011, Syrians started protesting mainly for the release of political prisoners, inspired no doubt by the protests across the Arab world. The Assad regime responded with violence, at first police and plain clothes thugs with batons like in Cairo, but soon also shooting people.

What of the attacks and murder of 7 police officers by *armed* protesters in March 2011?

Or are all protesters- 'a mix of activists and jurists, writers, journalists, young academics, and family members'. As al-Arabiya would have us believe?

You seem blinkered when faced with evidence even when it comes straight from the mouth of the whiter than white horse you so look up to.Nothing will stain the image of the Great American Empire in your eyes Toby so i don't think i should indulge in ruining your image as i don't like to see a grown man cry.
Gudrun - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to MG:
> All your examples above had clear motives such as the perceived communist threats. By contrast Libya, Syria, Tunisia Egypt were all stable

As if being Communist is an excuse for murdering millions of people who wanted to govern themselves and their own resources rather than some rich western elites.

If i pound any harder on these keys i fear i'll bust this laptop!

Ok was Iran Communist?Haiti?Iraq?Brazil?Bolivia?Portugal?Grenada?Fiji?panama?Peru?Venezuela?Indonesia?Kosovo?

> You seem to be implying that external bodies (directed by whom?) deliberately destabilised Libya, Syria etc.

The pentagon as told by Gen.Wesley Clark.

It really is quite fasinating to see all the different methods used by the Nato and assorted intelligence agencies in destroying countries through the years,do you think they have stopped?Do you think they have seen the error of their ways after recently murdering a million in Iraq/Afghanistan?Perhaps the Pentagon and the US military m/c have become all compassionate and altruistic now,stopping the habits of a lifetime.

> Back to the conspiracy.

Ah so there was WMD in Iraq?
Oh and it was Chavez supporters and not opposition snipers who killed opposition marchers?
And isn't it funny how any Presidents of countries who disagree with the Empire are removed sooner or later in military coups?
I don't suppose for one minute that the empire interferes in other countries elections,or trains reactionary elements in their military against their populations.
Of course not it's all a conspiracy.
The truth is the empire/Nato mob and it's allied countries and dictatorships with the compliance of its PR arm,which is the media corporations keep many things from the general public view.They also manipulate and twist the news to suit their own objectives.

MG - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to GudrunEnsslin: And I even said perceived...
In reply to GudrunEnsslin:

> What of the attacks and murder of 7 police officers by *armed* protesters in March 2011?

What of them beyond the Daara killings being the start of the civil war? BTW, I had to dig around a bit to find some details, it seems the main source* for the story on Global Research and pro-Assad sites that repeated it, was ironically an Israeli religious Zionist news channel. So we believe them now do we?

*(there is actually Xinhua story as well but that just quotes a Damascus news website)
Gudrun - on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I don't make up my mind on who to believe without much homework and consideration Toby,perhaps you should be a little more skeptical when reading the news from Nato's PR arm.An example of this is illustrated perfectly above ,insomuch as it has been shown many times that we in the West receive much less information concerning important local incidents in the Middle East compared to Israel.See -'Do what we say or else' 2001 by Chomsky.Where he shows that there are many important incidents well known to Israeli's that are deliberately excluded from Western news media.
In reply to GudrunEnsslin: I read the Israeli news quite often, generally Haaretz, but sometimes others that publish in English. What sort of incidents have been in the Israeli press but not reported in UK/US/European media? Knowing the way news agencies work, I'd be interested to hear.

And what do you consider to be NATO's PR arm?

By the way I can't find a Chomsky book or article of that name. Are you sure that's the right name? I did read Manufacturing Consent back in the 90s but don't remember anything about difference between Israeli and European/US coverage in that, although its a long time ago that I read it.

Anyway, over all my point remains - that people of your persuasion seem to take everything in the media to be govt. propaganda until one story comes along that somehow is useful to your narrative. That is then pounced on, and held up totemically as if that has to be true. I've studied the counter-jihad movement in the past, the type that influenced Breivik so much. That's exactly the same; it's all "al-BBC" and "al-Reuters" and the "lamestream media" until the BBC reports something bad somewhere done by someone who might be a Muslim, then that story has to be true as it 'proves' their bigotry.
Bruce Hooker - on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Your remark is self confirming as when someone gives an opinion, you or others immediately ask for a reference, then when one is given you can say "Aha! You believe the BBC, or whatever, when it suits you." If one gives an obscure or non-Western reference, RT for example, you won't have that either. All rather dishonest.

Obviously we all get our input, true or false from various news agencies, radios, tvs etc and then we pick and choose. Some of it may be going for views that fit in with one's own views, but it can also be a question of comparing several views which confirm each other but it is more often when a media, whose basic editorial line we know, reports an item that goes against this. When this happens there is a stronger chance that it could be true. Overall the sum of all this enables one to believe or not the item, and then give it as a reference worthy of consideration and worth citing.

The alternative to citing an article, which one may only consider true in part, is to type a post going over the subject in depth,rewriting an article, which is not realistic on this sort of forum. I've seen forums made up of long texts debating a subject but on a general forum like ukc they wouldn't be read to the end, even this post is too long really.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> If one gives an obscure or non-Western reference, RT for example, you won't have that either.

You don't seem to distinguish between news and opinion pieces.
Bruce Hooker - on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> You don't seem to distinguish between news and opinion pieces.

Care to elucidate? Is all Russian stuff opinion and no news then?

Gudrun - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> although its a long time ago that I read it.

Ditto and that's why i got the title and date of the book i mentioned wrong,it should have been-

http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/What_We_Say_Goes.html?id=A3y5hKR0eY4C&redir_esc=y

Now how we get from Gen.Wesley Clark saying he seen a top *secret* report that stated that they will 'Take 'Syria out and that they were pumping money into Syria since 2007 in order to de-stabalise it,to Anders Brevik i don't know.
What i do know is this,if Gen.W.C. did not slip up and make public this top *secret* memo we would all be thinking it's just another Libya et al but we have no evidence.
What is no secret except perhaps only to you is that-

' the Pentagon’s established a special planning group within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan a bombing attack on Iran, that this is coming as the Bush administration and Saudi Arabia are pumping money for covert operations into many areas of the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, in an effort to strengthen Saudi-supported Sunni Islam groups and weaken Iranian-backed Shias — some of the covert money has been given to jihadist groups in Lebanon with ties to al-Qaeda'.

So what seems to be the problem here?
In reply to GudrunEnsslin: You or Bruce was going on about the Wesley Clark thing some weeks back. I watched the interview on YouTube IIRC. As I remember he reported being told by a Pentagon official in the weeks after 9/11 that they were making plans to intervene or invade a list of countries including Iraq and Afghanistan. But the list also included quite a few countries where 12 years later the US hasn't done anything (Sudan), or hasn't done anything beyond occasional drone or air strikes (Somalia). It sounded like exactly the type of thing the Pentagon would be doing? They plan stuff continually, some plans they implement, many they don't.

BTW, your quote is Amy Goodman, the journalist, suggesting something Hersh wrote to Clark! Not him revealing anything. His reply is "Well, I don’t have any direct information to confirm it or deny it." If you're going quote something at least say when its a journo's supposition!

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