More Aftershocks

by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

CounterPunch Vindicated!

We reported Friday on this site the exile of vice president Dick Cheney to Camp David. The White House line is that the threat of further terrorist assaults demand that the President and Vice President never been in same building. We cited a different interpretation: that the White House decided that Cheney’s commanding presence was undercutting Bush’s already frail stature as the Commander in Chief. Confirmation of our view came on Saturday with official White House pictures of Bush and Cheney sitting on the same couch in Camp. Or is the assumption of the Secret Service that Muslim kamikaze terrorists take the weekend off?

Alone of Either Sex!

CounterPunch Salutes US Representative Barbara Lee, a Democrat from Berkeley, the only one from any party in the House or Senate who voted against the resolution authorizing all necessary and appropriate military force.

Russian Colonel Remembers Afghanistan: “Don’t Try It!”

The White House huddles with the Pentagon, reviewing options and scenarios to requite the attacks of September 11. Top of the publicized options, an attack on Afghanistan, sanctuary of the supposed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden. Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, a seasoned blowhard of the right, has said that the US response would include “ending” states that support terrorism. If the US government persists in identifying bin Laden as the perp, this presumably heralds an attempt to overthrow the Taliban.

There’s a considerably irony here, since previous US governments did much to install the Taliban, just as the CIA underwrote bin Laden’s first trip to Afghanistan from Saudi Arabia. It was the CIA and the Pakistani intelligence organization, ISI, which nourished the Taliban’s growth, seeking to ensure that there would never be a modern-minded, reforming government in Afghanistan. Though the Taliban has a flouted a pledge to cut back the opium production that has made Afghanistan the world’s leading supplier of heroin and morphine, the present Bush administration recently sent the Taliban many millions in the name of the War on Drugs.

Now, it’s one thing to lob cruise missiles from a safe distance, or to attack water systems. Such tactics end up mostly killing innocent civilians, just as the dreadful assaults of September 11 ended up slaughtering thousands of blameless ordinary people and their would-be rescuers. It’s entirely a different matter to mount a full-scale invasion, particularly of a remote and geographically forbidding country like Afghanistan. Across the past 150 years powers such as Great Britain and the Soviet Union have seen agony and humiliation as the fruit of invasions in force.

The British disasters came in the nineteenth century, the Soviet ones in the 1980s. A Russian who remembers the campaigns vividly is Col. Yuri Shamanov, who spent five years as a regiment commander in the war again the CIA-financed Mujahiddeen. “If the Americans go to war,” he told a Reuters reporter last week, “I pity these boys and their mothers and sisters and brothers. It will be ten times worse than Vietnam. Vietnam will be a picnic by comparison. Here they will get it in the teeth. Oh. They will get it good. Rockets won’t save you: there’s nothing out there to shoot at. Blast away years’ worth of ammo. The mountains will survive anything. The Afghans will be ready to fight, no worse than they fought against us, and they fought very well against us. What will the US do there? Unless a narrow mission is set to destroy the camps and the most odious figures ? if they do only that then God bless them. Paratroopers can take the camps. But if you don’t send infantry, there is nothing for tanks and planes to do. If you don’t actually march through the territory, it will come back to life again. And there will be camps and the same bandits. You can get rid of bin Laden, then another will grow. You have to dig out this whole system by its roots.”

Bin Laden as Capitalist?

In the four trading days before the attack on September 11, the stocks of three of the world’s largest reinsurance companies, AXA in France, Swiss Re and Munich Re, all lost between 13 and 15 per cent of their value. At the time, these drops bewildered market analysts who said that the reinsurance business was booming and that premium payments were trending upwards. On many a desk on Tuesday morning would undoubtedly have been copies of that morning’s London Financial Times, giving a glowing assessment of the reinsurance business. The following morning, amid the ruins of the World Trade Center, an executive for Swiss Re said that the exposure of the reinsurance business, which spreads the possible risks in any insurance sector, were “completely inestimable”.

So how to account for the mysterious drop in value of the reinsurance companies before the planes struck on Tuesday? One answer is reported in the Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s biggest newspapers. The paper says that investigators believe that associates of bin Laden may have been short- selling their shares in these reinsurance companies, making a bundle off the knowledge that even if one of the hijacked planes hit the Trade Center, values of the reinsurance companies would plummet. CP

CounterPunch’s Complete Coverage of the Attacks on the World Trade Center/Pentagon

Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch. Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

November 26, 2015
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey
November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
November 23, 2015
Vijay Prashad
The Doctrine of 9/11 Anti-Immigration