Somewhere in northern Spain, May 13, 2011 – Friday the 13th! Fortunately, in Spain, they don’t observe this superstition. They have the Catholic religion instead; but that doesn’t really explain anything, because The Russians have their Russian Orthodox religion and many are despite this – or maybe because of it -- wildly superstitious. I suspect that Friday the 13th is simply a U.S. superstition that never made its way back across the Atlantic.
Anyway, I am legal in Spain again – or still. To renew my tourist visa, I went back to Marrakesh, Morocco, on May 1 for a week. Just three days earlier, on April 28, there had been a terrorist bombing at the Argana cafe in Djemaa el-Fna square there, in which at least 11 foreigner tourists and 3 Moroccans were killed and an estimated 80 injured.
Fortunately, I was not one of the 11 foreign tourists. Aside from the fact I was not in Marrakesh yet, it was three miles from the Zahia Hotel where I stayed and was not an area that I had visited – or would visit. I took a tourist bus to see it while I was there.
It was sad to see – by then all boarded up. But it had blown away an entire floor of the café. It didn’t keep the tourists from coming to the area to take pictures of the site and of snake charmers and other local tourist attractions. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but you’ve probably seen pictures of the devastation on TV.
I stayed a week instead of the three days required to renew a visa, because when I made my reservations, I was planning to live there with Misha and we were going to use this time to look for an apartment. But as I explained in my last column, I realized I didn’t have enough money to make the move there; by that time I had already made my reservation, so was out an extra hundred bucksi.
On my first morning there, Monday. May 2, when I awoke about 7 a.m. I turned on the TV. The TV in Morocco is mostly French, so I didn’t expect to understand it, but fortunately there were captions. There were pictures of Obama striding down the long hall of the White House and speaking into a microphone. Hey, this is important! And then the caption: “Bin Laden Mort.”
Hey, I know what that means! Bin Laden dead! And pictures of the spontaneous celebrations in front of the White House and in Manhattan. Obama had called Duhh-bya Bush to inform the guy who helped make it all possible. He was, after all, president when bin Laden masterminded the destruction of the Twin Towers and he used that as an excuse to launch the endless “war on terror,” the expenses of which have brought the U.S. to its knees and the ruthless waging of which has brought the U.S. to the level of its many enemies – and done much to destroy our way of life in the process.
I’d forgotten the terror in my own country that Duhh-bya inspired. We have had a normal intelligent human being in the White House now for almost three years and we Americans have a very short memory. So short that there is a great danger of returning a Bush-boosting Republican to the White House in 2012 – next year – or certainly in 2016.
I remembered a column from Chris Floyd from the early days of Bush’s War on Iraq about a guy whose named began with a “Z” whom the CIA had in its sights, but that Bush specifically told the CIA not to kill, because Bush needed him as a boogey man to keep the Americans stirred up for his vaunted War on Terror.
In trying to find this on the Internet, I came across a current column by somebody named Robert Parry recalling the curious “symbiosis” between Bush and bin Laden.
According to Wikipedia, Robert Parry is an American investigative journalist – must be one of the damned few left. And he has this title because he works for himself – not the New York Times or the Washington Post or any other major newspaper owned by a Bush crony. Wikipedia says he was awarded the George Polk Award for National Reporting in 1984 for his work with the Associated Press on the Iran-Contra story and uncovered Oliver North's involvement in it as a Washington-based correspondent for Newsweek. In 1995, he established Consortium News as an online ezine dedicated to investigative journalism. From 2000 to 2004, he also worked for the Bloomberg financial wire service.
So he has good credentials. Worth reading. Parry wrote:
At nearly every turn, President George W. Bush acted – presumably with incompetence, not complicity – in ways that enabled bin Laden to remain free, and the terrorist leader repaid the favor by surfacing at key political moments to scare the American people back into Bush’s arms.
Although Bush talked tough about getting bin Laden “dead or alive,” he consistently failed to follow through. In November 2001, when bin Laden and his top lieutenants [one of them was the guy whose name begins with a “Z” – Dane] were cornered at the Tora Bora mountain range in eastern Afghanistan, Bush ordered the U.S. military to prematurely pivot toward planning the next war with Iraq. [Interestingly enough, Iraq had nothing to do with the bombing of the Twin Towers; however, it did have oil and for this reason had been in Bush’s sights for a long time – Dane]
According to a later Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, Bush’s order to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to freshen up the plans for an Iraq invasion literally pulled Gen. Tommy Franks, head of the Central Command, away from planning the assault on Tora Bora.
The White House also rebuffed CIA appeals for the dispatch of 1,000 Marines to cut off bin Laden’s escape routes, the report said. Denied the extra troops to catch bin Laden, U.S. Special Forces couldn’t nab the terrorist leader before he made his getaway to Pakistan.
The hunt for bin Laden was soon put on the back burner. As the Washington Post reported…, “A few months after Tora Bora, as part of the preparation for war in Iraq, the Bush administration pulled out many of the Special Operations and CIA forces that had been searching for bin Laden in Afghanistan, according to several U.S officials who served at the time.”
Just six months after 9/11 and three months after bin Laden evaded capture at Tora Bora, Bush personally began downplaying the importance of capturing al-Qaeda's leader. “I don’t know where he is,” Bush told a news conference. “I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.”
Yet, with bin Laden at large, Bush enjoyed an advantage. He could use the specter of bin Laden as an all-purpose bogeyman to scare the American people. A living bin Laden allowed Bush to create a plausible scenario for additional al-Qaeda attacks inside the United States and thus the justification for Bush to assert unprecedented powers as Commander in Chief.
….It was not until George W. Bush finally was out of office in 2009 that the U.S. government refocused its attention on getting bin Laden. President Barack Obama said he ordered CIA Director Leon Panetta to make the killing or capturing of bin Laden the agency’s top priority.
Obama also drew down U.S. forces in Iraq and bolstered the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Further, the new president authorized more aggressive use of Predator drones to attack suspected Taliban militants and al-Qaeda operatives inside Pakistan.
The pressure was building on bin Laden. However, the terrorist leader apparently had grown accustomed to his relative security at his compound in Abbottabad. He was careful not to use electronic communications or to step outside into the open, but the 54-year-old Saudi exile stayed put with his family and young wife.
When CIA analysts concluded that the preponderance of evidence indicated that bin Laden was in the compound, President Obama ordered the May 1 nighttime raid by U.S. Special Forces without telling the Pakistani government.
And writing just before the 2008 election which kicked Bush and the Republicans – temporarily – out of office, Paul Craig Roberts, the former Reagan appointee and devout andi-Bush Republican, wrote in a New York Times column:
The Democrats don't deserve to be in office any more than do the Republicans, but by putting Democrats in office, voters can strengthen Americans' ability to dissent from Bush's police state measures and Bush's commitment to interminable wars in the Middle East.
In one month we will know if Americans understand the danger of the Bush administration's fanatical preoccupation with terrorism combined with one-party control of the executive and legislative branches. If voters let pass the opportunity in the November election to take Congress out of Republican hands, America will experience a more rapid descent into a police state.
The Bush administration's response to 9/11, an event about which we have incomplete and unreliable information, has been to trample important civil liberties such as habeas corpus, the attorney-client privilege, privacy, due process, and prohibition against self-incrimination.
Today, "detainees" incarcerated by US government officials are held indefinitely without charges or warrants--essentially imprisoned without trial, denied access to lawyers and family, and tortured in an effort to attain self-incrimination, while US citizens are spied upon without court warrants.
These are the distinctive features of a police state….
Yes, as it turns out, the American voter had enough sense to vote the Republicans out of office in 2008, but the American memory is notoriously short. Americans had already forgotten about Vietnam when they let Bush invade Iraq.
And there is every reason to believe that the police state will again be visited on the United States by the Republicans under the guise of “security.” It’s one reason – one big reason – I am planning to move to Moldava next month: anyplace but the U.S.
And my plans to move to Moldova are moving ahead rather quickly. On my way back from Marrakesh, I had to wait several hours in the bus station in Madrid, during which I discovered that I could catch a two-day bus trip from Madrid to Bucharest Rumania for 80 euros, then catch a bus or train from Bucharest to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, where I will hook up with Igor for the beginning of my life in Moldova.
So I’ve contacted a tourist agency here where I can buy my bus tickets; Igor and I will figure out how to connect in Chisinau. I have already started packing my household goods to send by the company TNT to Igor’s mom’s home in Moldova. David Gremmels has agreed to lend me $ 2000 on the 4th or 5th of June, and I am going to buy tickets for Bucharest for the 15th of June, arriving there on the 17th, just a little over a month from now.
I will read about the resumption of the development of a police state in Amerika while surviving in the embryonic democracy of Moldova.
And I will be with Igor and Misha, who truly love and care for me, and I will love and care for them. Not a bad way to enter your 78th year – which I will do on the 6th of July – just two weeks after I move to Moldova.
See also related pages:
Chapt. #315 - Life getting complicated -- again