Friday, November 29, 2002

Scientia est potentia

If you’re wondering what I ate on Thanksgiving--and I know you all are--I had spaghetti, commemorating the first Thanksgiving, when the Puritans were saved from starvation by the native Italians.

Ah, Thanksgiving week, when the government sneaks out the stuff it doesn’t want anyone to know about. Logging without environmental impact studies, school regulations designed to destroy schools and lead the way to vouchers, and the return of Satan himself, Henry Kissinger. Yes, Henry will get to the bottom of this! As long as it doesn’t involve foreign travel, since he’s wanted for questioning about his various war crimes in half the countries on earth.

You’d think this would be a good time to keep Kissinger under wraps. For a start, he’s a reminder to the Kurds that in 1972 the CIA supported a Kurdish uprising in Iraq at the behest of the Shah of Iran, and then pulled the plug, leaving them to be slaughtered, also at the Shah’s request. Kissinger explained to the Senate, “One must not confuse the intelligence business with missionary work.”

And Kissinger as an intelligence expert is hilarious. Here’s a paragraph from a paper I wrote some years ago:
An example of Kissinger acting on his own inaccurate interpretation of raw intelligence occurred in 1970. A U-2 flight over Cienfuegos, Cuba revealed a wharf and military barracks under construction. Behind the barracks was a recreational area with a soccer field. Kissinger, who insisted incorrectly that Cubans do not play soccer but Russians do, confronted Soviet ambassador Dobrynin with this "evidence" that the Soviets were constructing a nuclear-submarine base in defiance of the 1962 understanding. Dobrynin, while insisting that no such thing was occurring, agreed to guarantee that there would never be a Soviet submarine base in Cuba. Thus a crisis was created out of nothing.
And before the rehabilitation of Kissinger, that of John Poindexter. By the way, I’ve been meaning to point out that Poindexter’s “Total Information Awareness” program is operated by a Pentagon agency, the Information Awareness Office (IAO, no doubt appropriately pronounced Yeeeooow) whose slogan is “Knowledge is power.” And of course, total knowledge is total power. And total power corrupts, like, totally.

A primary school in Bedfordshire, England, has banned parents taking pictures of their children’s nativity play because they could wind up on the internet where pedophiles could see them.

So one of the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq has no relevant speciality but is a founding officer of Leather Conference Inc, which “produces training sessions for potential leaders of the sadomasochism/ leather/fetish community”.

Ariel Sharon says, bizarrely, that the latest terror attacks were an attempt to influence the Israeli elections.

Islamic clerics in Nigeria say that Muslims should ignore the fatwa on that fashion reporter, which was issued by a state government rather than by them.

The Germans (and the French) are wimping out on their own rules regarding the sharing of evidence with the US in death penalty cases. They will give information on Zacarias Mousssaoui, but only, they say, to prove guilt or innocence; the evidence can’t be used in the sentencing phase.

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