Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, Bobby Fischer in Iceland: Alone and Self Reliant to the End

Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam,
“A Lone King Has Wandered Off,”
New In Chess, 2008, No. 2.

A long memorial article on Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) was just published in New In Chess detailing the author’s trip to Iceland after Bobby died. The author interviewed as many people in Iceland as he could find who knew Fischer and he gained invaluable information from several people including Saemi Palsson, a special person who had the ability to calm all kinds of situations and issues. Saemi served as Bobby’s bodyguard for the 1972 match and for a short time afterwards when Bobby returned to the States, and once again befriended Bobby in 2005 when he came to spend his last years in Iceland.

According to the article, Bobby could’ve lived for another decade or two had he chosen to accept medical treatment in Iceland for his failed kidney. As it was he died prematurely – and apparently in great pain. He would only allow the doctors to arrange for blood tests, but would allow no further medical treatment, least of all a replacement kidney which could have been arranged; or more routine medical assistance which could have saved him. The author believes that Bobby’s ideology kept him from accepting any outside help including medical help.

The article details some of the extraordinary lengths made by particular Icelanders to arrange for the world championship match in 1972 and to get Bobby out of jail in Japan in 2005. One reader (me) guesses that the reason that the Japanese authorities imprisoned him was on the orders of the Bush administration who wanted to punish him and make him suffer.

The Icelandic Parliament passed a special act awarding Bobby an Icelandic passport which enabled him to travel and live there for his last years. Reading once again between the lines, one can guess that the U.S. and Japan backed off when Iceland went public with its initiative to provide a home for Bobby.

One of Bobby’s traits was his lifelong suspicion and detestation of anyone making a buck off his name and his fame. Even when discussions took place about a documentary about Bobby focusing on his last years in Iceland, Bobby for a time turned against his friend, Saemi Palsson, because the latter was to get fifteen per cent while Bobby got forty.

This reminded me of an incident that I had heard about decades earlier which supposedly took place around the time Bobby became U.S. Chess Champion at the age of 14. The way I recall the story is that a promotional event was arranged for Bobby in the Catskills where he was to be paid for an appearance there. After the event, the unscrupulous promoter left the young and friendless Bobby with nothing, not even the fare to return home. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was incidents like this which helped to form Bobby’s paranoia.

In an accompanying article by Jan Timman, formerly one of the world’s top 10 grandmasters, which details some of Bobby’s deep analysis of positions from grandmaster games, the author recalls a conversation that Bobby had as a young man with one of his friends about an upcoming international tournament. “So what’s the big deal if you lose a game or two – that won’t be the end of the world,” the friend said to Bobby. Bobby’s response was to look at his friend strangely, as if his comment was outlandish. Such a response perhaps sheds some light on Bobby’s attitude regarding competitive chess after he won the world championship.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Jeffrey St. Clair: Hillary's Berserker Ambition

Some (much?) of St Clair's piece is fevered well past where I would go (i.e., the stuff on Ford, Reagan, Carter, Obama) however, it's most useful for its collection of some of the sordid history of the Clintons. St Clair is the only one I've seen (doubtless there are others) who has hinted if not made the case that the Clintons purposefully worked to ensure a Republican congress in 1994, 1996 (2000?)so as to be able to resist pressure to enact a progressive agenda.

St Clair also leaves out Clinton's responsibility for WTC 93 and Oklahoma City both of which involved the FBI and perhaps (doubtless!) other government agencies.

St Clair mentions the bombing of Serbia. Has someone done more on Clinton & GW Bush (and GHW Bush?) and the KLA? If it were only GW Bush I could understand the connection to criminal enterprises. But why would three administrations ally themselves with the KLA, especially as GHW Bush had strong connections with the Serbs, their enemies? Nor do I understand why GHW Bush and Clinton allowed the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Many will recall that when Clinton needed to be reelected in 1996, he finally put a stop to the wars there very quickly.

St Clair also misses the point I've made elsewhere that Hillary's "mishandling" of the health care initiative was a deliberate and sophisticated operation intended to ensure that no universal single payer option would be allowed.

March 24, 2008
Hillary's Berserker Campaign ... for 2012
Blonde Ambition


Hillary Clinton can not win the Democratic nomination for president. The numbers tell the story. Even with robust victories in Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, Hillary will trail Obama in popular votes and pledged delegates as they enter the convention hall in Denver.

Any other candidate would have been shamed into dropping out long ago. But these are the Clintons and they have no shame.

So why does Hillary persist? Because she hasn't abandoned her aspiration for the White House. Not in 2008, but for 2012. Here's the perverse logic at work.

If Obama defeats McCain in November, it will take an act of treachery beyond anything even the Clintons have ever conjured from their grimoire of political demonology for Hillary to challenge him in 2012. She will be 69 in 2016, almost ready to move into one of the Beverly Nursing Homes, owned by a company she once represented as a corporate lawyer, aggressively protecting the bottom line against such extravagances as healthy meals, clean sheets and proper medical care for the elderly.

Hillary Clinton is the prisoner of an unimpeachable mathematics. So she makes the most of a remorseless situation by doing what the Clintons do best: commit political fratricide. Quite literally, in this case, by knocking off a brother.

In order to realize her vaulting ambition, Hillary must mortally wound Obama as candidate in the fall race against John McCain so that she can run against McCain in 2012.

McCain is at best a one term president. The signs of this are as clear as the scar jagging down his face. McCain, whose resemblance to Lon Chaney becomes eerier by the day, is already an old man, older than Reagan when he was first elected. He is plagued by a cancer he refuses to speak about, a war he refuses to end and an economy that is collapsing beyond the point of recovery. Add to this prospectus, the fact that McCain is prone to the most self-destructive impulses of any American politician since Aaron Burr. His political fate will be sealed before he even swears his oath.

Thus Hillary's berserker strategy against Obama. (For more on "berserkerism" see the SF novels of Fred Saberhagen.)

Down in Mark Penn's dark computer lab, the data culled from pulse polls and focus groups probing the hidden prejudices in the psyche of white America are being packed like shrapnel into political landmines set for Obama: he's unpatriotic, he's un-Christian, he's a Palestinian symp and, yes, he's black. That's three strikes and one head shot.

Exploitation of racial panic is second nature to the power couple Ishmael Reed calls Ma and Pa Clinton. Bill Clinton launched his 1992 campaign by personally overseeing the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a brain-damaged young black man. He wagged his finger at the rapper Sister Souljah, denouncing her music and political opinions as a danger to young minds. The Clintons pilloried their one-time friend Lani Guinier, for her legal writings on the status of blacks and women and booted Dr. Jocelyn Elders from her position as Surgeon General for her refreshingly candid statements about the utility of condoms and masturbation for sexually active youths.

And that's how they treated people they knew. At a structural level, the Clintons' economic and social agenda, incubated at the conservative Democratic Leadership Council, struck directly at poorest precincts of America, targeting blacks and Hispanics with a fervor not seen since Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips crafted the infamous Southern Strategy for Richard Nixon. Hence, the dismantling of welfare, harsh federal crime bills, the refusal to intervene against racial profiling or redress the grievous injustices caused by the racially-motivated sentences handed out for crack cocaine.

The fallout from Ms. Clinton's racially-tinged blitz against Obama will spread far and wide across her party like the toxic particles from a nuclear blast. They've done it all before. The Clintons' reckless first two years in the White House, from the heavy-handed Travel Office fiasco to the fires of Waco and HRC's sophomoric bungling of the health care reform, spurred the GOP takeover of congress in 1994, which they used to their political profit. Then in 1996, Clinton refused to allocate DNC money to tight senate and congressional races, a miserly tactic that allowed the faltering Republicans to retain control of both houses of Congress. It was a cynical decision that many high-ranking Democrats believe constituted a deliberate sabotage of the party's prospects, designed to secure a monopoly-like control of the party apparatus for the Clintons, turning the DNC into their own private PAC.

Read more:

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky, will be published this spring. He can be reached at:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eric Alterman: Why (Many?) Jews fear Obama

In the last paragraph of his very good Nation column on why some Jews fear an Obama presidency, Eric Alterman nails it: he cites Obama's brave honesty in front of a Jewish audience in Cleveland. Such a glimpse into the man suggests why we should vote for him and why so many will oppose him.

In the last paragraph of his column entitled: (Some) Jews Against Obama, Eric Alterman writes:

What is it that these neocons and their media mouthpieces really fear about an Obama presidency? Perhaps it is honesty about the issue. Speaking to a largely Jewish audience in Cleveland, Obama explained, "There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, you're anti-Israel and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel." Then came his kicker: "One of the things that struck me when I went to Israel was how much more open the debate was around these issues in Israel than they are sometimes here in the United States." No wonder he scares them so...

Read the entire column:

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Alexander Cockburn: Hillary and Bill: Destroying the Safety Net

Hillary Rodham Clinton brags about bringing the right wing extremist, Dick Morris, into the Clinton administration. Even after Morris was exposed as allowing a prostitute, Sherry Rowlands, to listen in on conversations with the President, Morris still remained an important confidante of the White House and continued to shape White House policy until the very end of Clinton's term. (I have this on the authority of a member of Clinton's policy making team. "We'd be working for hours or days or more on a domestic policy issue. We'd send the memo to the White House and all it took was one phone call from Dick Morris and the policy was trashed."

When Clinton was elected, one of his problems was to block the reforms that he promised as a candidate but that he and Hillary -- who started out as a Goldwater girl -- opposed. So he did nothing about stopping the war in Bosnia -- perhaps his greatest crime. He totally folded on gays in the military when he could have made history and struck a blow for justice.

As a result he was soon a laughing stock on right wing radio and effectively gave Congress over to the Republicans. At that point he was comfortable since he now had an excuse not to push progressive legislation.

But before that, while he still had a Democratic majority in Congress, he had to deal with health care. What to do? The big threat was universal single payer health care which was enormously popular. But he was opposed to that because he is essentially a right winger and because the health care lobby was a big contributor. So he handed it off to Hillary who had the same problem but didn't mind facing down the opprobrium as long as nothing positive was done on the issue. What do you think she'll do when she becomes president?

In Alex Cockburn's March 3, 2008 Nation column he reminds us that it was Monica Lewinksy who saved us from the Clintons' plan to privatize Social Security. Here's the relevant excerpt.

This [handing over the Social Security trust fund to Wall Street] was never a job for Republicans, any more than was welfare "reform." Eradication of the social safety net is a job for the Democratic Party, and by late 1998 Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin and a secret team were far advanced in the attempt. As Robin Blackburn described it on the CounterPunch website in 2004, "It was a desperately close run thing. On the account of members of Clinton's secret White House team, mandated to map out the privatization path for Social Security, they had got as far down the road as fine-tuning the account numbers for Social Security accounts [to be] released to the captious mercies of Wall Street." Then came the Lewinsky scandal. Clinton needed the liberal Democrats in Congress to stave off successful impeachment.

Read the whole article:
Note that copyright issues may apply.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Evidence from Vanity Fair: Bush-Cheney-Abrams Plotted Hamas Victory and Palestinian Civil War

The Electronic Intifada summary below of Vanity Fair's article on "The Gaza Bombshell," by David Rose (April 2008) is excellent and includes valuable links. In addition, the quotes from the Vanity Fair article immediately below my comments are noteworthy in revealing at least one thing I, for one, didn't know, i.e., Condi Rice is as hard line as Elliott Abrams. I had previously thought that she was reluctantly going along with the most vicious of the Bush-Cheney plans to destroy the Palestinian people (as part of their permanent war agenda) in part because she realized that she couldn't stop them.

Another item that one can deduce from the Electronic Intifada summary is the US hand in assassinating Arafat. Previously I had thought that it was an entirely Israeli operation, which confused me because I knew that the Israelis well understood his value as the great boogeyman they could always hold up to justify their outrages. Bush ordering Arafat’s death is much more understandable.

Reading the entire 14 page Vanity Fair article is not exactly a waste of time, but it's filled with typical Zionist omission, misdirection and misinformation. However it has at least one (or two?) redeeming elements. Between the lines one can deduce that the Hamas victory over Fatah in the January 2006 Palestinian Parliamentary elections was the INTENTION of Bush-Cheney-Elliott Abrams. Abbas and Fatah had for months been complaining to the U.S. that they "weren’t ready” for elections. Thus, despite US protestations quoted by Vanity Fair, it was as clear to the U.S. as it was to Fatah that Hamas would win. Vanity Fair quotes a Fatah commander, Khalid Jaberi (who happens to be opposed to Fatah leader Dahlan):

“You know,” he says, “since the takeover, we’ve been trying to enter the brains of Bush and Rice, to figure out their mentality. We can only conclude that having Hamas in control serves their overall strategy, because their policy was so crazy otherwise.”

The part that Vanity Fair doesn’t bother to explain is that a Hamas victory would enable the U.S. strategy of further squeezing the Palestinians since they would have a Zionist supported excuse to refuse to deal with Hamas.

Another tidbit from the Vanity Fair article confirms what we understood: Washington’s active involvement to ensure that attempts by Hamas and Abbas to form a unity government would fail.


Excerpt from Vanity Fair article: The Gaza Bombshell, by David Rose, April 2008.

Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America's behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment."

"We were sitting in Abbas's office in Ramallah, and I explained the whole thing to Condi. And she said, 'Yes, we have to make an effort to do this. There's no other way."

"Walles and Abbas both knew what to expect from Hamas if these instructions were followed: rebellion and bloodshed. For that reason, the memo states, the U.S. was already working to strengthen Fatah's security forces. "If you act along these lines, we will support you both materially and politically," the script said. "We will be there to support you." Abbas was also encouraged to "strengthen [his] team" to include "credible figures of strong standing in the international community." Among those the U.S. wanted brought in, says an official who knew of the policy, was Muhammad Dahlan.""Abbas, one official says, agreed to take action within two weeks. It happened to be Ramadan, the month when Muslims fast during daylight hours. With dusk approaching, Abbas asked Rice to join him for iftar—a snack to break the fast. Afterward, according to the official, Rice underlined her position: "So we're agreed? You'll dissolve the government within two weeks?" "Maybe not two weeks. Give me a month. Let's wait until after the Eid," he said, referring to the three-day celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. (Abbas's spokesman said via e-mail: "According to our records, this is incorrect.") Rice got into her armored S.U.V., where, the official claims, she told an American colleague, "That damned iftar has cost us another two weeks of Hamas government."

Read more:
"The Gaza Bombshell," Vanity Fair, April 2008 (



Report, The Electronic Intifada, 4 March 2008

United States officials including President George W. Bush
and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice participated in a
conspiracy to arm and train Contra-style Palestinian
militias nominally loyal to the Fatah party to overthrow
the democratically-elected Hamas government in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories, an investigative article
in the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair has revealed. [1]

The allegations of such a conspiracy, long reported by The
Electronic Intifada, are corroborated in Vanity Fair with
confidential US government documents, interviews with
former US officials, Israeli officials and with Muhammad
Dahlan, the Gaza strongman personally chosen by Bush.

The article, by David Rose, recounts gruesome torture
documented on videotape of Hamas members by the US-armed
and funded militias under Dahlan's control. Hamas had
repeatedly alleged such torture as part of its
justification for its move to overthrow the Dahlan
militias and take full control of the interior of the Gaza
Strip in June 2007.

Vanity Fair reported that it has "obtained confidential
documents, since corroborated by sources in the US and
Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by
Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams
to provoke a Palestinian civil war." The magazine adds
that the plan "was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed
with new weapons supplied at America's behest, to give
Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the
democratically-elected Hamas-led government from power."

Abrams was one of the key Reagan administration figures
involved in the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s, whereby
the US illegally armed militias in Nicaragua to overthrow
the ruling Sandinista government. Abrams was convicted and
later pardoned for lying to Congress.

While it has been known that the US engaged in covert
activity to subvert Palestinian democracy and provoke
Palestinians to shed each other's blood, the extent of the
personal involvement of top US officials in attempting to
dictate the course of events in Palestine -- while
publicly preaching democracy -- has only now been brought
to light.

Muhammad Dahlan's 13 July 2003 letter to then Israeli
defense minister Shaul Mofaz.

Bush met and personally anointed Dahlan as "our guy" in
2003. In July 2007, The Electronic Intifada reported on a
leaked letter written by Dahlan and sent to the Israeli
defense minister in which he confirmed his role in a
conspiracy to overthrow then Palestinian Authority
President Yasser Arafat for whose replacement Bush had
publicly called. Dahlan wrote: "Be certain that Yasser
Arafat's final days are numbered, but allow us to finish
him off our way, not yours. And be sure as well that ...
the promises I made in front of President Bush, I will
give my life to keep."

The US planning to overthrow the government elected by
Palestinians under occupation began immediately after the
Hamas movement won a clear victory in the January 2006
election for the Palestinian Legislative Council. Hamas,
however, proved "surprising resilient."

At a meeting at Abbas' Ramallah headquarters in October
2006, Rice personally ordered Abbas to dissolve the
government headed by Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh "within two
weeks" and replace it with an unelected "emergency

When Abbas failed to act promptly on Rice's order, the US
stepped up its efforts to arm Dahlan in preparation for
the attempted coup. Hamas foiled the coup plot by moving
preemptively against Dahlan's gangs, many of whom refused
to fight despite being furnished with tens of millions of
dollars in weapons and training. The US-conceived
"emergency government" headed by a former World Bank
official, Salam Fayyad, was eventually appointed by Abbas,
but its authority is limited to parts of the
Israeli-occupied West Bank.

While the United States and Israel were the driving forces
behind the civil war and coup plot, others had a hand
including several Arab states and their intelligence
services. "The scheme," Rose writes, "bore some
resemblance to the Iran-contra scandal" in that "some of
the money for the [Nicaraguan] contras, like that for
Fatah, was furnished by Arab allies as a result of US

Endnotes [1] "The Gaza Bombshell," Vanity Fair, April
2008, (

Related Links:

Politics of fear, Osamah Khalil (8 October 2007)

Overcoming the conspiracy against Palestine, Ali Abunimah (18 July 2007)

Subverting democracy, Joseph Massad (4 July 2007)

A setback for the Bush doctrine in Gaza, Ali Abunimah, (14 June 2007)

Palestinian Pinochet Making His Move?, Tony Karon, (21 May 2007)

The American proxy war in Gaza, Ali Abunimah (3 February 2007)

Who is Mohammad Dahlan?, Arjan El Fassed (20 December 2006)

Pinochet in Palestine, Joseph Massad (11 November 2006)

ABOUT US: The Electronic Intifada (EI), found at, publishes news, commentary,

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ronald Bleier: Book Review: Annie Machon' s Spies Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5 & MI6, Agents of Terror

Here are the first three paragraphs of a review by Ronald Bleier of Annie Machon's 2005 book, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 And the Shayler Affair . To read the entire review (3800 words)go to:

Some of the main themes of corruption, illegality and sponsorship of terror in the British security services and in the broader culture are encapsulated by two quotes from the book.
We joined the services to stop terrorism, not become involved in it.”

“It appears that we have given up on the notion of due process, fair trials and democratic rights in Britain.”

-- Annie Machon

It’s the (Intelligence and Security) Services, Stupid: A review of Annie Machon’s Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 And the Shayler Affair

By Ronald Bleier
February 2008

In August 1997 two ex- MI5 officers, David Shayler and his companion Annie Machon, fled to France in connection with their plan to expose corruption and mismanagement in MI5 and MI6, Britain’s domestic and foreign intelligence services. Both highly rated agents, they had spent years unsuccessfully attempting to redress issues of corruption and mismanagement. Spies, Lies tells their story in remarkable and eye opening detail as they blow the whistle on outmoded procedures, low officer morale and drunkenness, and on misguided and illegal operations. Their book traces the steps by which they came to the alarming conclusion that the intelligence and security services have devolved into the enablers and initiators of terror.

At the heart of the book is the exposure of a sensational case of MI6 collusion with an Islamic extremist group that tried to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi. The public didn’t learn of the plot until the New York Times (NYT) published an account on August 5, 1998 under the interrogative title: “Did the British government try to assassinate Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi the Libyan leader, in February 1996 by planting a bomb under his motorcade?” The Times noted that MI6 paid $160,000 to the group. (pp. 247- 250) The NYT story was soon confirmed on BBC’s Panorama TV program and a few months later, in November 1998, the government of Libya showed TV footage of the attack.

Machon explains that she and Shayler decided to voluntarily leave the service about a year before they fled England. They coordinated their flight with the publication of an article by Shayler in the Mail on Sunday, the sister publication of Britain’s popular newspaper, The Daily Mail. They fled in order to give the newly elected Labour government led by Tony Blair time to investigate their evidence. They were optimistic about getting a fair hearing since Blair had just won an election by a landslide on a reform platform that included human rights and an ethical foreign policy. (p. 192)

Read more: