Friday, April 27, 2007


The Hattiesburg American reports today that Charles Yuri Wainwright has been transferred from the Forrest County Jail to the Lamar County Jail but won't "say why the transfer was made."

Also, USM police chief Bob Hopkins continues to keep to himself whatever evidence he has of a "threat" made by Wainwright. The only conclusion I can draw from Hopkins' refusal to produce any evidence is that there is none. There is absolutely no reason for Wainwright's "threat" to be a secret known only to Bob Hopkins, especially more than a week after Wainwright's arrest.

The Hattiesburg American did reveal the text of an April 15th MySpace bulletin heretofore unknown to the general public:

"Due to unbearable conditions in the lack of any self imporatance (sic) beyond a shallow narcissism and a commodity fetish sense of well being, I will not bother with a justification for my future actions," Wainwright wrote in a bulletin dated April 15. "America has become an insipid hypocrisy for the one virtue it was meant to represent, and the time has come to unleash that contradiction in the most violent, ruthless way possible."

As Rome was undone by barbarians, he continues, "the facism of Ameirca (sic) must be shown through the most obvious statement of its decadence. Collateral damage is an assumed casualty."

The prose is very untidy and awkward, the spelling careless, and the message incoherent. There's a little Marx in there (the "commodity fetish" part), and a poster on the Hattiesburg American forum thought he detected some Nietzsche.

I'm curious as to what Wainwright would define as the "one virtue" America was "meant to represent." I wonder what Bob Hopkins or a jury would think that "one virtue" is. It might be clearer if we had the entire text of this bulletin to work with, but then again, maybe it wouldn't. We do have the entire text of four other, post-Virginia Tech bulletins, and they're about as vague and rambling as this one.

What are his "future actions?"

I think Hopkins assumes, or wants the public (or a jury) to assume that what Wainwright is referring to as his "future actions" is an allusion to some threat. After all, Wainwright does go on to say that it's time to violently and ruthlessly "unleash that contradiction." However, the future actions are left to the imagination of the reader--maybe that was Yuri's one big mistake.

How does one "unleash" a contradiction, anyway? Especially if one isn't told the specifics of the contradiction--we understand that Yuri thinks America acts contrary to that elusive "one virtue" it's "meant to represent." But even then, how are contradictions "unleashed?" I mean, really--what the fuck is this dude talking about?

I think Wainwright's lack of clarity and lack of specificity will lead to his eventual exoneration. Words have meanings, Mr. Hopkins. One cannot read references to "future actions" and contradictions violently unleashed and "collateral damage is an assumed casualty" and just assign those words whatever meaning one would like them to have. By the way, that last bit seems to be saying that collateral damage will be done away with rather than that there will be a lot of innocent people killed.

But back to the meaning of words and sentences and contexts--Wainwright is obviously a blowhard--a smart blowhard, but still a blowhard--that wants to sound thoughtfully meancing but instead just kinda sounds like a guy regurgitating a bunch of "difficult" philosophical catch phrases meant to sound like dialogue from a "deep" sci-fi/action flick. And obviously this tripe was sent out as bulletins to his MySpace "friends," most of which would have deleted it without ever reading it, or would have understood where he was coming from and maybe even agreed. After all, they were his "friends."

Bottom line, writing a bunch of pretentious, vague bullshit to your friends shouldn't get you locked in jail on a million dollar bond just to let the police make a point. Is this still America or was Yuri absolutely right about the "insipid hypocrisy" and the "facism [sic]?"

Isn't it veeeerrry interesting that the day after the Senate passes an Iraq spending bill that contains a timetable, suddenly we're capturing (also killing) insurgents, taking back cities from the Taliban, and the Saudis are foiling "terror plots" to get this--fly planes into oil refineries?

What a series of convenient coincidences to help neocons make the case that we're succeeding in the war on our freedom...I mean, the war on "terror"...I mean, terror (no quotes)...

Here's what the AP had to say about the foiled "terror plot":
"They had reached an advance stage of readiness, and what remained only was to set the zero hour for their attacks," the ministry's spokesman, Brig. Mansour al-Turki, told The Associated Press in a phone call. "They had the personnel, the money, the arms. Almost all the elements for terror attacks were complete except for setting the zero hour for the attacks."
No "zero hour?"

So this supposed attack could have theoretically taken place any time between today and the end of time?

Huh...I guess that's why they had to move on it, then. Surely the U.S. Senate having passed their Iraq sort-of-but-not-really withdrawal bill the day before the arrests had nothing to do with it...

Monday, April 23, 2007

WAINWRIGHT--The more I read...

...the more suspicious I am that this is all about using the arrest to make USM look tough. The Sun Herald mentions a Wednesday, April 18th (the day of Wainwright's arrest) press conference held by Bob Hopkins. Perfect timing to make USM look like they're tough on crime--two days after Virginia Tech and two days before the Columbine anniversary.

Here's another thing that's odd--Hopkins assures us that Wainwright posted this material on MySpace before Virginia Tech. That means that whatever Wainwright posted had to be posted at the latest on Sunday, April 15. Then why wait until Wednesday the 18th to arrest him?

The Sun Herald reproduces the email that was sent out to everyone at the university after the arrest, and they lay it on thick:

University Police are sensitive to heightened concerns in the wake of Monday’s tragic incident at Virginia Tech University.

Our critical incident response system was successful in this case. It worked because a member of the campus community came forward with information that we were able to assess and then act upon,” said Dr. Joe Paul, vice president for student affairs at Southern Miss. “We want our faculty, staff and students to come forward any time they feel the need.”

Wow! A good reason to email everyone on campus and let them know that "our cops are on the beat" despite what Student Printz writer Haskel Burns referred to as "the considerable amount of crime which takes place on the Southern Miss campus" in an April 17 editorial headlined "Campus crime surge intolerable." Then a press conference smack dab in the middle of the week of Virginia Tech and the Columbine anniversary.

But still no word on what it was that Wainwright said that got him arrested. The Sun Herald mentions Hopkins' certainty that the threats were real, but "he would not elaborate" on what Wainwright wrote, supposedly because he is still "in the early stages of the investigation."

What is there to investigate? Presumably Hopkins was tipped off that Wainwright said something bad on MySpace, investigated it, and arrested Yuri. Therefore, what we want to know has already been investigated. They may go through Wainwright's computer or notebooks or whatever and find lots of other stuff, but the charge he was arrested for--"Posting of Messages through Electronic Media for Purpose of Causing Injury to Any Person"--has already been investigated.

I hope my suspicions are proven wrong...then I could go back to having a life.

updated--added 4-24-07

The story so far:


-Charles Yuri Wainwright logs into his MySpace page for the last time


-Charles Yuri Wainwright was arrested at a gas station in Lamar County

-Wainwright charged with "Posting of Messages through Electronic Media for Purpose of Causing Injury to Any Person" (Sec. 97-45-17 of the MS Code)

-Wainwright's home is searched and a number of guns found--also, his computer and other writings are seized


-Wainwright questioned by authorities


-Wainwright appears in Forrest County Justice Court and his bond is set at $1,000,000

-Wainwright is interviewed by the Hattiesburg American, calls the situation a "misunderstanding" and mentions 3 MySpace bulletins he posted

-Poster "Hcinms" joins Hattiesburg American forum and claims to be one of Wainwright's "potential targets"

-Poster "efevans" claims threats were made against 2 USM faculty members by name

-Poster "dorkface" joins the forum, says his wife worked with Wainwright and went to high school with him


-Dorkface posts the text of Wainwright's bulletins


-Hattiesburg American claims authorities are withholding from the paper the text of Wainwright's offending writings

-efevans claims that Wainwright's threats were not in the bulletins, but rather in MySpace emails

-I talk to sources involved with the USM press who confirm that UPD Chief Bob Hopkins is withholding the text of the threats from the press


-Student Printz publishes MySpace bulletins from forum, two columns questioning Wainwright's detention.

-In Student Printz story, Hopkins still refuses to comment on the nature of the "threat"

My take on all this

It is now approaching a week since Wainwright's arrest, and the offending statements that Wainwright supposedly wrote have not been made public. My suspicion is that Wainwright is being used to demonstrate that USM is on top of things in the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy.
Certainly headlines such as these make it look as though UPD chief Bob Hopkins has everything under control at USM:

"Authorities Say USM Arrest Averted Tragedy", 4-19-07
"USM police: Student was planning attack", no date given

However, like many people who have read Wainwright's MySpace blogs, bio and bulletins, I don't think that he should have been thrown in jail and slapped with a million dollar bond. And that is my whole concern about this issue: did what he wrote warrant jail? But the authorities won't tell the public or the media what he wrote. This has a rather chilling effect on free speech, methinks, as evidenced by the reluctance of dorkface to post the bulletins.

There may in fact be some more Wainwright writings that we have not yet seen that do threaten bodily harm to specific people. But if that were the case, one would think the UPD would charge him under Sec. 97-45-15--that's the part of the Mississippi code that deals with cyber-stalking and threatening people with bodily harm, to wit:

"(1) It is unlawful for a person to:

(a) Use in electronic mail or electronic communication any words or language threatening to inflict bodily harm to any person or to that person's child, sibling, spouse or dependent, or physical injury to the property of any person, or for the purpose of extorting money or other things of value from any person."

The law he was charged with violating, Sec. 97-45-17, seems rather vague and inconsistent with what seems to be the thrust of the investigation and the innuendo surrounding it, i.e., he threatened professors, he had guns, he was planning an attack but we don't know when, etc. To commit an offense under Sec. 17, one would have to "post a message for the purpose of causing injury to any person." That's it--that's the long and short of it.

That statute seems like it could apply to almost any situation and does not have the caveat that 97-45-15 has, which is that political speech does not fall under its purview.

I can't say for sure that Wainwright didn't do anything wrong--he very well may have. And if he did, then it's good that action was taken. But each day that goes by without a revelation of what Wainwright wrote that got him thrown in jail creates more suspicion that Wainwright is being used as a stalking horse to make the university look tough on crime.

However, my feeling is that Wainwright is guilty of nothing more than bad, distasteful, juvenile, and purposely shocking writing. And maybe also dissatisfaction with his college courses. He may be "guilty" of being an atheist, or being off his meds, or owning a lot of guns. But I think if they really had something on him, we'd already know what it was.

But I could be wrong--we shall see.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


My father is a very educated man and consequently has a lot of books. When I was younger, I would occasionally skim through the titles in his library, which took up a whole wall in our house.

One day I ran across a book with a split spine and the cool artwork you see here:

I asked my father about the novel and he didn't know that much about it--he seemed to know who Vonnegut was, but didn't really remember the book. At any rate, he said I could borrow it and read it (not sure how old I was then--late teens?). So I did.

And I completely loved it. In my estimation, both then and now, it's the perfect book--provocative and challenging but easy to read. It's highly imaginative and takes on so many aspects of the human condition that "Slaughterhouse-5" pales in comparison. To me, anyway--to be honest, I never finished "Slaughterhouse-5."

I then began to haunt secondhand bookstores and collected all of his writing I could find. I meant to read every one of them, but I still have yet to do that. After all, as the man himself said:

"Listen: We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."

So I farted around some, but I did read a lot of his books multiple times. His sense of humanity and his iconoclastic take on the world is one of a kind. Given that, I am so glad that he lived long enough to help us make some sense of the Bush II years. Vonnegut wasn't afraid to point out that the emperor had no clothes, or to put it another way:

"No damn cat, no damn cradle."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Three stories caught my eye today. They all have something in common--trying to minimize costs while sacrificing people's livelihoods.

Here's the first one about Citigroup eliminating 17,000 jobs--yes, 17,000:

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc. (C.N: Quote, Profile , Research) said on Wednesday it would eliminate 17,000 jobs, or about 5 percent of its workforce, in a broad restructuring designed to cut costs, boost profit, and bolster a lagging stock price.

An additional 9,500 jobs will move to lower-cost locations, including two-thirds through attrition, meaning 8 percent of the bank's 327,000-person workforce will be affected by the restructuring."

I assume that "lower-cost locations" means somewhere outside the United States. And so it continues, the quest for profit over people.

Here's the second one, about Walter Reed hospital:

"In addition, the Pentagon made problems worse by ordering a hold-down on costs and expenses — dubbed "efficiency wedges" — even as Walter Reed began experiencing an influx of thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan."

The "hold-down on costs and expenses" means that profit takes precedence over caring for wounded soldiers. The move to privatize services at Walter Reed led to the exodus of many long-time employees.

And the third one, about Jefferson Davis County Schools in Mississippi:

"PRENTISS, Miss. -- The Jefferson Davis County school system is cutting 16 teaching positions in order to save money.

Superintendent Wayne Fortenberry made the announcement at a school board meeting Tuesday.

Fortenberry said that the teachers, who were let go based on seniority, are part of a reduction-in-force plan designed by state financial adviser Diane Day."

Iraq Effect, Fucked-up Priorities and the Triumph of the Corporatocracy

I'm not really sure how this fits into my little thesis here or if it even does--obviously there's not a corporation involved in this story, so there's not really a profit motive to cut jobs. But I suppose the connection to the other two stories is this--fucked-up priorities.

By which I mean, this school story is a perfect example of the "Iraq effect"--the sense created by the myth that we're doing a good thing "helping" people overseas yet our own children and communities go wanting. The conservative choir, directed now by John McCain, is always singing the tune called "But what about all the good things we're doing in Iraq?" By which they mean painting schools, building hospitals, insuring universal health care, and creating a haven for the corporatocracy.

The problem is, we're spending so much friggin' money to be in this unnecessary war that has only exacerbated terrorism and completely defeats its own supposed purpose, that Jefferson Davis County schools has to lay off teachers, which means classrooms that are more crowded, courses that aren't offered, etc. So Iraqi schools supposedly get painted and we have to lay off teachers.

And all to save money! Money that's going right down the shitter and into the hands of Halliburton and Blackwater and who the fuck knows who else in the wasteland of Iraq. Don't forget the pallets of billions of dollars in cash that just disappeared. Could some of that money been used to keep teachers at Jefferson Davis County schools?

The Crux of The Biscuit-round and round it goes

That's called "fucked-up priorities." That's how the school story is connected to the corporate stories--war is a racket for the corporatocracy which steals money away from our schools, our communities, and our future to make a buck off a protracted, ill-advised, immoral war that not only doesn't make us safer but also puts us in danger.

And then that profit is used in turn to eliminate 17,000 jobs and bid for services at veteran's facilities...and round and round it goes.

I thought we had debunked this whole Iran-in-Iraq thing. Maybe the Bushies thought that the Iranian detention of the 15 Brits set the stage for people to buy this bullshit story about Iran "destabilizing" Iraq.

The best post I've read so far about it is here at Americablog. The title of the post gets it just right:
" Iran reportedly training Sunni insurgents. In related news, government is full of it."

Here's a great quote from the CNN story linked above:

"The death and violence in Iraq are bad enough without this outside interference," Caldwell said. "Iran and all of Iraq's neighbors really need to respect Iraq's sovereignty and allow the people of this country the time and the space to choose their own future."

The sheer fucking arrogance of this is unbelievable--the U.S. is the "outside interference" that did not/does not "respect Iraq's sovereignty!" Who is fooled by this utterly transparent fakery? I guess the piddly one-third of the populace who still clings to Bush and his stupid, horrible war, that's who. Oh, and of course, the media.

From the same story, here's another way you know this shit is fake:

"We know that they are being in fact manufactured and smuggled into this country, and we know that training does go on in Iran for people to learn how to assemble them and how to employ them," Caldwell said. "We know that training has gone on as recently as this past month from detainees' debriefs."

Iraq and Iran established diplomatic relations in 1990 but still have a lot disputes. Caldwell doesn't given any specifics about the detainees he mentions, but one can imagine that if they're Iraqis and/or being tortured, why the hell wouldn't the Iraqis try to pin something on Iran? After all, these detainees may figure that the U.S. will leave Iraq to go after Iran, which is what people fighting againt the U.S. would like to see. So it's perfectly logical for an Iraqi detainee to blame "EFPs" on Iran.

Also, since it's probably very obvious what the U.S. forces want to hear during "interrogations," detainees--particularly if they're Sunni--are more than happy to blame something on Iran so that we'll go over to Iran and leave the detainees' domestic operations alone.

One more thing

One more quote from the CNN story:

"Munitions from Iran were found in a black Mercedes sedan in Baghdad's Jihad neighborhood on Tuesday after a tip from a civilian, he said. An Iranian-made rocket was found in the back seat and Iranian weapons were found in the trunk and around a nearby house, Caldwell said."

Let's suppose that it's actually true that Iranian weapons were found in Iraq. That does not necessarily mean that it is the stated policy of the current ruling government of Iran to provide Iraqi insurgents with weapons. For all we know, insurgents go into Iran and steal weapons.

Plus, so what if Iran trains Iraqi insurgents? The U.S. doesn't own the world--Iran is a sovereign country and has a right to conduct foreign policy according to international law. Is it anymore illegal under international law for Iran to sell weapons to Iraq than it is for us to rush cluster bombs to Israel in the midst of a conflict (which I guess would mean pretty much at any time)?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


A guy from my hometown died in Iraq recently and his funeral is this Thursday. His name was Jerry Burge--he's two years older than me and I'm trying to find pictures of him to see whether I knew him or not. The one picture I found doesn't look like anyone I know.

Another death for "freedom!" Fuck this fucking war and its death and waste and imperialism.

I read a good quote today from the Howard Zinn book I've been slowly going through (it's a collection of essays called "Passionate Declarations" and it's really quite good). Zinn's quoting a WWII veteran that said the following to Studs Terkel:

"It was a useless war, as every war is...How goddamn foolish it is, the war. There's no war in the world that's worth fighting for, I don't care where it is. They can't tell me any different. Money, money is the thing that causes it all. I wouldn't be a bit surprised that the people that start wars and promote them are the men that make the money, make the ammunition, make the clothing and so forth. Just think of the poor kids that are starving to death in Asia and so forth that could be fed with how much you make one big shell out of (p. 104)"

And then there is also this quote from Admiral Gene LaRocque, also speaking to Terkel about WWII:

"...I hate it when they say 'He gave his life for his country.' Nobody gives their life for anything. We steal the lives of these kids. We take it away from them. They don't die for the honor and glory of their country. We kill them (p. 105)."

R.I.P., Jerry Burge. Note to readers who may be considering joining the military--don't.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


On Morning Edition with Wolf Blitzer, Joe implies that we should go after Syria or at least not negotiate with them because they're a "state sponsor" of "terrorism," specifically mentioning Hamas.

Saudi Arabia also supports Hamas and maintains a state of war against Israel.

Joe says “I say this because we’re in a war. We’re in a war against the Islamic terrorists who attacked us on 9-11-01.”

According to the unlikely yet official story, 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and none was from either Iraq or Afghanistan. Yet our president receives Saudi officials at his Texas estate and holds their hands and kisses their cheeks.

But I want to make something clear: by pointing these things out, I am not advocating a war with or an attack on Saudi Arabia. Rather, I am trying to point out the glaring hypocrisy of the neocon/Bush/batshit-crazy hawk position. And not just the hypocrisy, but the wanton disregard for human life that has come about as a result of that hypocrisy.

I would ask the neocons--if our involvement in the Middle East is truly about freedom, democracy, morality, fighting "terrorism" and NOT about oil, then why are we not occupying Mecca? That's the reason I bring this up--because it points out the selective use of the neocon's already tortured (pun intended) logic when it comes to threats to Israel, state sponsorship of "terrorism," democracy, and treatment of women.

In other words, what George W. Bush and the neocons are saying to Saudi Arabia is the following:

"If you play our game, i.e., you don't try to get out from under the petrodollar and buy lots of weapons from us and let us have military bases there and invest in the U.S. and specifically with the family business of the President, then the following facts do not matter to us: that you are not a democracy, you're a state sponsor of terror, you oppress women, 15 of the 19 hijackers were from your country, and so forth."

That's just realpolitik, man--calm down!

That may in fact be realpolitik, but for George W. Bush to pretend to advocate democracy for the Middle East and send Americans to die in Iraq in a war of choice which he says will achieve a democratic Middle East while he chooses to have Saudi leaders to his ranch instead of bombing them, is a sign of a very sick man.

And here's my main point: why can't other state sponsors of terror be dealt with like Bush deals with Saudi Arabia, a state sponsor of terror? Why can't we negotiate with them like we do with Saudi Arabia? Why can't we avoid sending our soldiers to die in the countries of state sponsors of terror--that's what we are currently doing with Saudi Arabia?

I'm not sure I'm being entirely clear, so I'll rephrase what I'm trying to say: George W. Bush, supposedly the great slayer of terrorists and benevolent bringer of democracy to the Middle East, has taken very different approaches to the same problem in the cases of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Iraq--a state sponsor of terror which was no threat to its neighbors, was a secular regime and had no WMD--was invaded, resulting in an ongoing bloodbath which consumes American lives all but daily.

However, Saudi Arabia, not only a state sponsor of terror but also a threat to our main ally in the region (they maintain a state of war with Israel), an Islamic fundamentalist dictatorship, and the breeding ground for the head of al Qaeda and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers--gets to send its leaders to hold hands with our leader and is not subject to invasion.

Therefore, Bush has put the lie to his own rhetoric about the "war on terror" and the price Americans must pay. He's proven that state sponsors of terror do not have to be invaded and subjugated and the lives of our soldiers sacrificed.

My final point

My final point, then, is not to ask why we haven't invaded Saudi Arabia, but rather to ask why we have invaded Iraq, given the strikingly similar track records of the two countries. Or to say it another way--and taking Bush's own rhetoric to its logical conclusion--since we don't have to invade Saudi Arabia, we never had to invade Iraq (which I've already said a million times, but not with Saudi Arabia as a comparison).

Why aren't more people angry about this?

Friday, April 06, 2007


I've been doing a lot of writing on the forum this week...

No al Qaeda links

Here's an article published today that indicates Saddam had no links to al Qaeda:

Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Dick Cheney was on Rush Limbaugh yesterday contradicting these Defense Department findings, which were:

"(AP) Saddam Hussein's government did not cooperate with al Qaeda prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the U.S. Defense Department said in a report based on interrogations of the deposed leader and two of his former aides."

This was something I had hoped would be done before Saddam's execution--simply ask him whether he had ties with al Qaeda and if he had WMD. Now we see that they asked him about al Qaeda; I wonder if a Defense Department report will be released any time in the near future indicating that they asked Saddam about WMD.

More on Saudi Arabia

I found out something the other day that I was not aware of, namely that Saudi Arabia maintains a state of war with Israel. The Saudis are also known funders of Hamas and Hezbollah, and if one believes the official 9/11 story, 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. None of the hijackers were from Iraq or Afghanistan.

I am not advocating that we go to war with Saudi Arabia, but I am curious why Bush chose to invade Iraq instead of Saudi Arabia. I am curious why Bush holds hands with Saudi princes when they come to his villa in Crawford for cordial visits. After all, there is no doubt that Saudi Arabia had/has "al Qaeda connections" (Osama bin Laden is a Saudi, after all) and that they fund groups that are at odds with Israel and that they consider themselves to be in a state of war with Israel. Also, Saudi Arabia is a fundamentalist Islamic monarchy that tramples on the rights of women.

These are all arguments used to justify invading Iraq and Afghanistan, but somehow Bush is willing to overlook them in Saudi Arabia's case. What I'm trying to say is that, in light of these facts, Bush's claim to be fighting a "global war on terror" while simultaneously considering Saudi Arabia an ally is completely absurd.

Now I can think of a couple reasons why it wouldn't be a good idea to go to war with Saudi Arabia--namely, Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities in Islam. Arguing that we are not at war with Islam would be very difficult while bombing and/or occupying Mecca.
But also, the Bush family has been very cozy with the Saudis for decades now. Saudis helped George W. out of a couple jams in his business dealings. Also, the price of oil would be even more outrageous than it is now if we were to attack Saudi Arabia.

Consequences of not playing the game by our rules

But I think the real reason we don't attack Saudi Arabia is because they have bought into our system. They have invested heavily in the U.S., they've let the U.S. have military bases there, they aren't threatening the hegemony of the petrodollar, etc.

In other words, they're playing our game and they benefit from it. The U.S. has never liked countries that don't play our game, i.e., Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Iraq, etc. We don't mind dictators as long as they know and remain in their place in the international system over which we rule--Saudi Arabia being a prime example of that principle. China is another example--they're a Communist country that violates human rights but since our biggest retailer Wal-Mart benefits so greatly from trade with China, we give them a pass.
However, we maintain a crippling embargo against Cuba supposedly because it is a Communist country. The real reason, however, is that Castro doesn't play our game.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Aren't we often told that we have to support Israel above all else when it comes to foreign policy decisions regarding the Middle East? And aren't we also told that those who wish harm to Israel are our enemies simply because of their antipathy for Israel? And that states shouldn't sponsor terrorism? And that countries that treat women badly are backwards? And that theocratic, fundamentalist absolute monarchies are anathema to us?

If that's so, why does George Bush stroll hand-in-hand with representatives of Saudi Arabia? After all, we are reminded in an AP report today that:

"Olmert specifically called on Saudi Arabia on Sunday to take the lead in holding a regional conference, the first time Israel has made such a request of the Saudis, who maintain a state of war with Israel but are pushing for a peace deal."

A few facts about Saudi Arabia

Fifteen of the 19 supposed 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

Here's a description of the restrictions on women in Saudia Arabia from Human Rights Watch:

"In interviews with roughly 100 Saudi women academics, educators and medical professionals, Human Rights Watch documented how male guardianship of adult women denies women the right to employment, education, health, and freedom of movement. Government policy often explicitly requires male consent for a range of everyday activities. This system, premised on the idea that women have limited or no legal capacity to act on their own behalf, affects all Saudi women across economic or social divides. While guardianship is construed as a form of protection for women, in fact, it fails to protect some of their most basic rights."

Here's some info from Amnesty International on Saudi Arabia's medieval system of law enforcement:

"There are still scores of political prisoners and possible prisoners of conscience. Saudi Arabia continues to use flogging and amputations as punishments. Executions, beheadings with a sword, occur regularly and are disproportionately carried out against foreign nationals. Foreign workers are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, particularly female domestic workers, who have virtually no protection at all."

And here's some info on Saudi Arabia's relationship with Israel:

"However, the fifth Arab nation contiguous to Israel, Saudi Arabia, now the dominant nation in the Arab League, remains in a formal state of war with Israel, having never agreed to any armistice or any semblance of a peace agreement with Israel. Instead, Saudi Arabia has consistently funded all terror groups at war with Israel, from Hamas to the 10 PLO terror factions based in Damascus.

Saudi Arabia has earned the distinction as the first nation since the Third Reich which is officially "Judenrein" - Jew free. By law, no Jew may visit or live in Saudi Arabia."

Let's Recap

Saudi Arabia is a known state sponsor of terror and yet is one of the U.S. defense industry's biggest clients.

Saudi Arabia has never made peace with Israel and forbids Jews to even enter their country.

Saudi Arabia calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied Palestianian territories and a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capitol.

Saudi Arabia oppresses women and has a horrible human rights record. Saudi Arabia is not a democracy and makes no pretense of being one--they don't even have demonstration elections.

And according to the official 9/11 story, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.

But the Bush admininstration considers Saudi Arabia to be a strong ally in the war on terror. What the fuck is wrong with this picture?

Many of the things we've established about Saudi Arabia were also true of Saddam Hussein. Many of the arguments neocons used to condemn Saddam Hussein (or Arabs and/or Muslims generally) are true of Saudi Arabia. So why was Saddam demonized while Bush holds hands with Prince Abdullah? I would sum up the difference in one word: Petrodollar.