"Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results."
From the What-Goes-Around-Comes-Around Department, courtesy of the NYTimes:
An antitank grenade was fired into the heavily fortified American Embassy here on Friday just before dawn. The building was empty, but the attack nonetheless underscored deep anti-American sentiment here and revived fears of a new round of homegrown terror.
[ . . . ]
Panayiotis Stathis, a spokesman for the Public Order Ministry, said, “This was a violent act aimed to provoke Greek public opinion and disturb relations with the United States.”
As Mr. Stathis spoke to reporters Friday evening outside the embassy, a demonstrator waved a sign that underscored Greece’s often uneasy relations with the United States on issues from the war in Iraq and the longstanding tensions between Greece and Turkey to the American-supported military dictatorship that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974. “The C.I.A. was behind this,” the sign read.
Greek officials said a phone call placed anonymously to a private security company used by the embassy stated that the attack had been carried out by Revolutionary Struggle, a Marxist group with strong anti-American sentiments.
Awww . . . ain't that too bad? All they needed to complete the scene was a few helicopters filled with pêşmerge to drop down onto the building, arrest anyone inside, and secret them away to an undisclosed Kurdish prison. By the way, not only did the US support the Greek military dictatorship, it supported (and continues to support) the Turkish military dictatorship.
It looks like the people of Athens had the same kind of wake-up call that the people of Hewlêr had the other day:
Tassoula Foumeli, a retired seamstress, said she had been in bed when the blast shattered the windows in her ground-floor bedroom.
“The explosion was so loud I couldn’t even hear the smashing of the windows,” she said. “I’m nervous and I’m mad.”
Mad, she and other residents said, partly at the anti-American demonstrators who have rallied, at times violently, for years in front of the embassy. But she said some of her anger was at American policies that she said provoked demonstrators and angered many ordinary citizens.
Compare with the American raid in Hewlêr:
Startled Irbil [Hewlêr] residents said they saw U.S. troops drop from helicopters onto the Iranian Consulate in the center of town about 4 a.m.
The firefight that ensued on a residential street jolted residents in a city largely spared from the daily bloodshed of Baghdad, about 220 miles to the south.
Hogher Mahmoud, 30, who runs a dairy shop in Irbil [Hewlêr], woke to the sound of aircraft and gunfire.
"We were shocked this morning," Mahmoud said. "It has been awhile since we heard shooting and violence in our streets."
Yeah, it has been quite a while, bira, since May 4, 2005.
Meanwhile, back in Athens:
Mr. Stathis, the Public Order Ministry spokesman, said the grenade used in the attack was of Russian design, a model manufactured in several Eastern European counties. He said Greek and American officials were collecting evidence from the debris left by the explosion, from surrounding buildings and from security cameras posted around the embassy.
Hold it right there and think about this: Greece was also involved with the Gladio program since 1952. The British laid the groundwork for the Americans to take over by instigating the Greek Civil War in 1944. Apparently, the British violently objected to the objections of the pro-Communist National Liberation Front (EAM) to British interference in Greek domestic affairs, never mind that the EAM had been the resistance force that drove out the Nazi occupiers during the war. A British and Greek right-wing massacre of EAM demonstrators in 1944 was never investigated.
The IHT is running an article with some backgrond on the accused perpetrators. Notice the last line of the article:
"How is such an attack on the American embassy possible, when the site is the No. 1 target in the country?" said Alekos Papadopoulos, Socialist spokesman for public order. "This points problems with the police's capabilities."
Not only might it be a problem with police capabilities, it might also be a false flag operation in the finest tradition of Gladio. It might be a good idea for Papadopoulos to order an investigation of the police and all other unsavory characters . . . like all the "former" members of Operation Sheepskin.
There's more from the NYTimes on the standoff in Ainkawa between pêşmerge and American forces who were not authorized to be in South Kurdistan:
The standoff began around 11 a.m. in Einkawa, a pleasant and predominantly Christian suburb of Erbil where many Western officials live and keep offices. Possibly angered by the earlier raid, the Kurdish forces refused to let several American Humvees through a checkpoint.
“It was the Americans’ fault,” said a Kurdish guard from the checkpoint, who refused to give his name. “We asked them to stop but they did not stop. That is why we pointed our guns at each other.”
The standoff, while tense, was carefully controlled by the Kurds. The American who witnessed it said that as the lines of traffic lengthened on the blocked road, the Kurds began waving cars through and they drove directly past the stopped Humvees.
Now, if they're talking about the same checkpoint that I'm thinking of, there are American special operations types housed just a short walk away. . . and everybody knows it. Also, check something from page 1 of that article:
The American military said that it had been “conducting routine security operations in Erbil [Hewlêr] Jan. 11 and detained six individuals suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraqi and coalition forces. One individual was released and five remain in custody.”
That is pure bullshit because no one but Kurds conduct "routine security operations" in Hewlêr or in any other part of South Kurdistan. Additionally, this was no routine security operation; it more closely resembles a terrorist operation. I'm willing to bet these particular terrorists came straight from Baghdad, just like they did when they recklessly bombed Salahaddin University, located in the center of the city.
According to Hewlêr residents, the Iranian consulate processed paperwork for those who needed to go to Iran, most likely to Iranian-occupied Kurdistan--work typical of a consular office.
More on the standoff and the status of the consular office, from The Mercury News:
Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari, however, told McClatchy Newspapers that the Iranian office had operated in Irbil for more than 10 years and the Iranians were in Iraq legally. "This is very, very embarrassing," he said. "The Iraqi government was aware of who was in that office."
Later Thursday, U.S. forces staged a second raid, attempting to enter Irbil airport and abduct a group of unidentified individuals, he said.
Members of a Kurdish paramilitary force known as peshmerga confronted the Americans when they refused to identify themselves, and a gun battle was narrowly averted "at the 11th hour," said Zebari.
He said U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told him that the first raid was aimed at people who were trying to harm U.S. troops. Khalilzad said he was unaware of the operation at the airport.
Mmm, yeah . . . No wonder Iraq is a bloody mess since Khalilzad doesn't know what in the hell is going on. And how exactly were the consular workers "trying to harm US troops," by slapping Post-It notes on their backs that read, "Kick Me"?
More at that link, too, on the grilling of Condoleeza Rice at the Senate yesterday:
Biden, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, pressed Rice on whether operations against alleged Iranian and Syrian support networks would include cross-border strikes against "persons . . . or governments."
"Obviously the president isn't going to rule anything out to protect our troops, but the plan is to take down these networks in Iraq," she replied.
She sidestepped a question about whether Bush could mount cross-border operations without Congress' approval.
"I believe . . . he does need congressional authority to do that," replied Biden.
Biden later wrote to Bush asking him to state whether he believed he had the constitutional authority to order cross-border strikes without congressional authorization.
Rice's answers also failed to satisfy Hagel, an Army veteran of the Vietnam war, who said that former President Nixon "lied" in denying that he had ordered U.S. forces to invade Cambodia in 1970.
"No one in our government can sit here today and tell Americans that we won't engage the Iranians and the Syrians cross-border," said Hagel. "When you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous."
Ooooh . . . You know it's gotta be bad when a Vietnam vet goes all historical on you, and here's another one to remember from that war: the Degar people of Vietnam, referred to by the French colonialists as "Montagnards," from Wikipedia:
The Degar have a long history of tensions with the Vietnamese majority that is analogous to the tensions between American Indians and the population of European descent in the United States (or that between Aborigines and whites in Australia). While the Vietnamese are themselves heterogeneous, they generally share a common language and culture and have developed and maintained the dominant social institutions of Vietnam. The Degar do not share that heritage nor do they have access to the country’s dominant institutions. There have been conflicts between the two groups over many issues, including land ownership, language and cultural preservation, access to education and resources, and political representation.
[ . . . ]
The 1960s saw contact between the Degar and another group of outsiders, the U.S. military, as American involvement in the Vietnam War escalated and the Central Highlands emerged as a strategically important area, in large part because it included the Ho Chi Minh trail, the North Vietnamese supply line for Viet Cong forces in the south. The U.S. military, particularly the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, developed base camps in the area and recruited the Degar, roughly 40,000 of whom fought alongside American soldiers and became a major part of the U.S. military effort in the Highlands. The Degar’s legendary bravery and loyalty earned them the respect and friendship of the U.S. Special Forces as well as sympathy for the Degar struggle for independence.
[ . . . ]
. . . the Vietnamese government has steadily displaced thousands of villagers from Vietnam's central highlands, in order to use the fertile land for coffee plantations.
In spite of "respect," "friendship," and "sympathy," the Americans eventually abandoned the Degar, and that's a history lesson Kurdistan needs to take to heart.