Wednesday, February 10, 2010
It has been said that for neo-"conservatives" of a certain kind, it's always 1939, with an emboldened Hitler poised to invade Poland and set Europe aflame.
For the people running the JBS, apparently, it's always 1979: The Soviets are running rampant in Africa, funding revolution in Latin America, and poised to invade Afghanistan.
Why does Appleton's bankrupt brain trust want to cultivate conflict with Moscow?
Perhaps it's a generational thing. More likely, it's a marketing ploy. But it seems clear that the opportunistic clique in charge of the JBS pines for a revival of the Cold War.
How else are we to interpret the following comments by Art Thompson, the organization's CEO (ellipses are used to enhance intelligibility; Thompson is an undisciplined writer who displays a Palinesque aversion to cogency and clarity):
"The terrorist network is run out of Moscow, which is something The John Birch Society has proven over and over, but certain conservative circles refuse to recognize this.[...]
The terrorist network is armed and trained by Russian KGB/FSB agents. Yet our government calls Russia a partner in the war on terror. As a result we will never win this war anymore than we have won the war on drugs, which has dragged out now longer than any combat war we have ever engaged in.
Our government’s policy is tantamount to the State of Pennsylvania invading New Jersey because Newark street gangs are harassing Philadelphia. Even though the Newark gangs are essentially supplied with drugs, guns, and direction from the New York mafia bosses, the Pennsylvania governor and National Guard leaders keep this information from their citizens and soldiers.
It is all rather like attacking the tentacles of an octopus rather than the body. And it is what we are doing in the war on terror."
Thompson muddled the cliche, which usually builds on a distinction between the "tentacles" and the "head" of an octopus -- but never mind. On this construction, isn't Thompson calling for a triumphant decapitation strike against the supposed head of the Terror Octopus, Russia? His logic -- such as it is -- seems to demand a concentrated strike at the "source" of the problem in order to achieve "victory" in the "war on terror."
Thompson's statement that the JBS (meaning the ruling clique in Appleton, rather than the better-informed and more principled people who are volunteer members) has "proven" that Moscow controls the international terrorist network is puerile and foolish.
Sure, Russian intelligence cultivated Muslim assets, just as the CIA did. The latter were much more successful, because they had more money to play with. Practically every Arab/Muslim dictator and his intelligence apparatus was on Langley's payroll. The Saudis, who fund most of the Jihadists, have never been pro-Soviet. It was Washington, not Moscow, who built the European Jihadist network in the Balkans during the 1990s.
In fact, Russia (acting out of historic cultural and religious affinities) supported Serbia's admittedly brutal efforts to contain Islamic expansion in the Balkans, a fact which on at least one occasion (Kosovo, spring 1999) quite nearly led to war between the U.S. and Russia.
It was the CIA that funded and organized the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s, not the KGB. As Zbig Brzezinski has admitted in a January 1998 interview with the French newspaper Le Nouvel Obserateur, the CIA cultivated the Afghan Mujahadeen before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan:
"According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention."
Brzezinski certainly qualifies as an "Insider" as the JBS uses the term. Here he admits, candidly and on record, that it was Washington, not Moscow, that catalyzed the modern phenomenon of revolutionary Islam.
The same CIA, working through Pakistan's ISI, continued to arm and support terrorist training camps in Afghanistan long after the Soviets had left. It likewise funded, armed, and trained the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army and helped entrench Islamic radicals in Bosnia.
Thompson is aware of all of this, yet he dishonestly tries to shoehorn it into a contrived indictment of Moscow as the global "Terror Masters." Either he's trying to misdirect anybody who takes him seriously into supporting a bellicose posture toward Moscow, or -- perhaps -- he's trying to curry favor with neo-cons who would like nothing more than a ripping good war (either hot or cold) with Russia.
Much of this information regarding the CIA's role in fomenting Islamic terrorism has been published by the JBS. In fact, a great deal of it can be found in the last article I was permitted to publish before Thompson and his comrades fired me in October 2006: "Civilizations in Conflict."
That essay was one of seven articles composing the cover story package: "Iran: Behind the Veil." It was nestled uncomfortably among articles depicting Tehran as a world-menacing terrorist uber-power. At the time, according to the hyper-expensive "Madison Avenue" PR team Alan Scholl had hired to run the organization, this was the message that would resonate with the public Appleton sought to attract. (At that time the same Alan Scholl, as I've pointed out elsewhere, was promoting a genocidal nuclear attack against Iran.)
I was off-message with Appleton's efforts to find favor with the War Party. Weeks later, I was gone. Draw your own conclusions.
Robert Welch, whatever one thinks of him, was not a warmonger. In 1979, when the rest of the Washington-centric conservative movement was ready to go to DefCon 1 and let the missiles fly, Mr. Welch was actually condemning Washington's policy of "imperialism by the dollar, as its substitute for the sword." He often warned that those who seek to destroy freedom employ a simple formula: "War, money, and hatred."
Yet the supposed protectors of Robert Welch's legacy are cynically exploiting hatred in a way that could eventually lead to war.
There is a government that behaves in much the same way the Soviets did circa 1979, but it's headquartered in Washington, not Moscow. I tried to make that point in a "Last Word" essay for The New American back in March 2005, but that column -- which noted some interesting parallels in the respective official personality cults being created on behalf of Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush -- was spiked by the JBS editorial collective.
"For all the superficial parallels that can be drawn between Mssrs. Putin and Bush, they made an oddly matched pair during their February 24 meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia," I wrote. "After all, it could be said, one of them heads an increasingly authoritarian and lawless government that is pursuing a radical vision of global revolution rooted in the teachings of the Soviet Union’s founders. The other is merely the president of the Russian Federation."
Comments of that kind simply couldn't be published by the "largest, most effective freedom organization." They were welcome, however, at the news site run by the president of an organization actually worthy of that description, the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
JBS management grandly claims that they can be found "Standing for Freedom and Family." Yet their efforts to ingratiate themselves with the War Lobby -- the most powerful enemy of individual liberty and all families everywhere -- are as transparent as a new windowpane.
Sure, money is tight, and some people will do anything for a buck. Appleton, which has gone from its supposed "surge" to an employee "purge," is desperate to get some of the slop-off from the funds collected by the War Lobby.
That Art Thompson and Jack McManus would do anything for money is pretty clear. I would expect, however, that they wouldn't be quite so obvious; their present conduct would strike a Tijuana whore as unacceptably shameless.