Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Astroturf movements and blog comments

A comment left by someone on the 12th for my post about the recent Blackwater legal maneuver seemed a bit odd to me. After searching a bit I found the identical comment posted on three different blogs that were commenting on this story. While I can understand the desire to post a comment on a subject that you feel strongly about, the overall tone and attempt to redirect attention away from Blackwater and into “ambulance chaser” hatred didn’t sit right with me. While I only did a quick search for similar comments on blogs, finding 3 identical comments in only a minute from a loose search query makes me wonder if the anonymous poster of the comment (using the name “scar’d” in the other postings) has a dog in this fight, so to speak.

Astroturf movements get started in similar ways as this and viral advertising gets spread in a similar manner as well. Individuals with an agenda to spread an idea with ulterior motives do tend to seek out open comment sites such as message boards and blog comments. While I can’t say with certainty that the poster is an agent tasked with seeding this idea their action fits the mold. Is this comment poster hitting other blogs and message boards with this same message in an attempt to sway attention away from the direction of the Blackwater suit and stir anti-lawyer sentiment as the means of distracting us from the subject?

For your own thoughts here are links to the comment posted here at my blog as well as the other three blogs.

Burning embers

This morning’s news about the bombing of the Askariya shrine adds to a foreboding situation throughout the middle east. The shrine is one of the holiest to Shiite Muslims and is prophesized as the place where the 12th Imam will return. The bodies of the 10th and 11th Imams are interred at the Mosque. With an increase of violence in Iraq, battles in Gaza spreading between Hamas and Fatah factions and verging on civil war and a tenuous cease fire being declared between Kurdish rebels and the Turkish government, we are heading into a tense summer.

Old tensions are increasing throughout the region and even the cold war between the US and Russia is beginning to pick up steam once again. International tensions such as this are not new but there seems to be a sense of urgency and hair-trigger response that we haven’t seen since the late 60’s and early 70’s at the height of Israeli/Arab tensions. I believe we truly are entering a phase where one event could trigger a cascade of events that sends all of us into a real world war. The idea was floated last summer at the height of the fighting between Israel and Lebanon last summer.

As usual, watch for periphery events to guide you as to what could be in store for the future. The decision to oust General Pace as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and replace him with an Admiral who had a command level role in the Serb bombing campaign, who also has close career ties to the new head of CENTCOM, the US appears to be getting it's own ducks in order for more combat. The placing of Admirals Mullen and Fallon into these positions are a clear indication that a Naval-centric approach to US strategy in the middle east is coming.

My pet theory right now is that yet another "surge" or increase of troops in Iraq will occur within a year while the Navy begins a surface warfare strategy against Iran. Those troops already on the ground will need to dig in before the Navy begins its operations and hell will break loose once they do.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Blackwater gets serious

There has been quite a bit of discussion going on at various blogs and alternative news sites over the past few days regarding the lawsuit by Blackwater Security Consulting against the families of the 4 Blackwater contractors who were killed in Fallujah in 2004 in a now infamous attack. The background and shadowy details of Blackwater and it’s right-wing extremist president, Erik Prince, has been garnering more and more attention of late with books being published about him and this private army, as well as the troubling rise of contractors in Iraq. I’ve posted briefly about Prince in an earlier post but to get a more well rounded set of information about him I strongly advise the reader to spend some time Googling his name.

One of the most worrisome aspects of this lawsuit against the families is the effect it could have on other families who may wish to sue Blackwater in the future if their loved ones meet their demise in Iraq or elsewhere in the world. It could also have a chilling effect on any potential Government investigations into their work in the “War on Terror”. Among the attorneys who are pursuing the lawsuit against the families are Fred Fielding (current counsel to President Bush), Joseph Schmitz (former Inspector General of the Pentagon), Kenneth Starr (of the infamous Starr investigation of President Clinton) and Cofer Black (former Director of the CIA Counter Terrorism Center).

What Blackwater has done in retaining these lawyers in this case is troubling when you consider their connections to the upper echelons of the recent power structure in Washington. Fielding’s involvement is quite troubling as his presence creates a direct pipeline of information between the President, Rove, Cheney and Blackwater. Attorney/Client privilege is supposed to prevent information from leaking out of cases like this but do we really believe that these people care about the law and privacy? One thing about those who wield true power in this country is that they do not view the laws of this nation as something that applies to them.

The last thing Blackwater needs is to have it’s inner workings exposed before the American public, especially in a case that would generate public sympathy for the families of the deceased contractors. In fact, a full disclosure of the inner workings of Blackwater is what this nation needs. We need to wake up to the dangers presented by a rogue, private army being led by a far right-wing extremist that is being supported by extremist ideologues within our own Government.

Turkey, Kurdistan and the Bilderberg Group

A potential widening of the war in Iraq is currently underway with Turkey amasing troops, tanks and artillery on its border with Iraq. This is what happens when ancient politics and emotions are allowed to run free. Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr is now claiming that he and his forces will defend the Kurds from Turkish forces which have already been bombarding Kurdish villages after suicide attacks against Turkish forces inside Turkey.

The Al Sadr comments alone are worthy of concern for the fate of the region. Al Sadr, a Shiite, is claiming the Kurdish people to be an integral part of Iraq. These are difficult comments to dissect considering the fact that the Shia are a minority in the Kurdish culture. What is equally concerning to me is the timing of the end of the Bilderberg meeting in Istanbul with this troop buildup along the Iraq border.

Did the Bilderbergers give Ankara the green light to invade Iraq and begin what will probably be a slaughter of the Kurdish people? What will be the outcome of such a move. I think it’s easy to say that if Turkey does indeed invade the Kurdistan region we will see a major uptick in extremist attacks throughout the region, not just Iraq and Turkey.

July 22nd will be the date to keep in mind for anything happening with Turkey as this is the date of their next elections and their Parliament is currently in recess. A border skirmish or incursion in the region, such as this scenario or an escalation somewhere else such as the Syrian/Lebanon border could be the key to the next phase in the chess match being played in the region. Last summer’s action between Israel and Lebanon was a preview of what we can expect in the future.