VHeadline's Washington DC-based commentarist Chris Herz writes: The nomination by US President Barack Obama of Admiral Dennis Blair to head the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) exposes, perfectly, the sort of weakness one must expect from the new regime in the USA.
- This conservative is a personal friend of the militarists, most specifically General Wiranto, of the cabal that still runs Indonesia.
When commander of US forces in the Pacific, Admiral Blair, was publicly taxed by the Clinton administration with attempting to limit the violence being inflicted on East Timor under the Indonesian occupation. Instead, intercepted cable traffic (and more on this below) revealed his encouragement of his buddies in a course of massive, reckless, pointless violence.
Apparently the joint US/Australian wireless intelligence installation at Alice Springs, Northern Territories, intercepted Indonesian military radio traffic which indicated that not only was Admiral Blair not in obedience to his purported instructions, but he was promising delivery of more arms to the Indonesians. Intercepts by the Alice Springs people must be shared between the USA and the Australian Defense Ministry.
The famous war correspondent, Allan Nairn at the time reported seeing in police stations in Timor crates of ammunition labeled, Remingtom Arms Company, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.
Anyway, at that moment the Australian government was in the process of being tasked by the United Nations Organization with restoring peace in East Timor and, for some strange reason, did not see why their soldiers should be threatened by US-provided arms and ammunitions. They leaked the contents of this wireless traffic to Mr Nairn.
As is usual in these matters the corporate media in the USA never reported on these matters.
No ... they were mentioned only by the reporter Amy Goodman in her daily program on Pacific Radio. This show, I would like to say as an aside, is an essential for any person wishing to be well-informed as to what is really going on in the USA.
- Even so, this guerrilla media exposure was enough so that when later Admiral Blair was questioned on the matter before the Congress his response was to lie like a rug.
We are left with two suppositions. First, as was customary during the Clinton years, the military high command were often openly disobedient. Or, second, as was also often the case, the Clinton administration were putting about one story in public and their military emmissary had been instructed to confidentially tell the Indonesians something entirely different. Either is entirely possible, take your pick.
The fact that Blair is not being tasked now with this past misdeed, indeed he seems to have the support now for his bid to head CIA of the major figures in the Congress, suggests the insincerity of the Clinton government vis a vis the matter.
The only other alternative analysis is that the Congress, which as we now know was attacked with anthrax back in 2001 from within Washington's defense/ intelligence apparatus, still remains terrified of offending these institutions.
Another sign of the weakness of the new government is the ability of a few right-wingers to stall the pending nominations of two individuals to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Commission on the Environment.
In the USA, such appointments, like that of Admiral Blair, must pass a vote in the Senate. The fact is that a person, who may well have lied to that body in the past, will face no challenge, and two who are guilty of nothing other than having done an effective job in lower positions on issues of environmental protection may fail of appointment ... obviously this should speak volumes as to the real locii of power in Washington.
I grant that Obama seems willing to stop the worst abuses of the late Bush government on torture and unlawful imprisonment ... but, within the military, these issues meet with divided opinion. Some officers of my acquainance have always felt that such behaviors on the part of the USA only exposed captured US personnel to similar abuse.
On other issues where military or security officials and interests have more unified positions, such as the US relationship to unpleasant client regimes as Indonesia, Obama's options remain limited.
Our new US president may not challenge corporate or military power in any substantial way, even in the unlikely event he is so inclined, or as Venezuela's President Chavez has said, Obama might well face assassination.
The fact that he has had to chose a vice president from the right wing of the Democratic Party, Joseph Biden, must be a constant reminder of this threat and of the very real weakness of his position...
From the imperial capitalChris Herz