Thursday, March 15, 2007


"Whenever I go to Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurds tell me that they are our best allies, and that this friendship needs to be reciprocal. I am sorry, but this is wrong on many levels."
~ Michael Rubin.

A number of people are in a fit of pique over Michael Rubin's latest article, aptly titled, "Enabling Kurdish Illusions." There have been one, two, three, four, five, six, seven articles and a place for comments in the last few days on KurdishMedia alone about Rubin's article.

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of Michael Rubin or the American Enterprise Institute or The Weekly Standard (in which the article was published) would never get so excited over Rubin's latest pro-Turkish screed.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is the oldest and perhaps the most influential right-wing fascist think-tanks in the world today. It's neoconservative "thinkers" have shaped the current administration's outlook and policies, especially since the end of the Ford presidency when Ford himself brought a number of conservative "thinkers" with him to AEI. Gerald Ford is also remembered as the president who bequeathed Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, the Darth Vader of American politics, to today's American political scene.

After a bit of a financial slump in the middle of the Reagan years, AEI began a recovery:

With the 1986 appointment of Christopher DeMuth as president, AEI's fortunes and reputation began to recuperate. Twenty years later, DeMuth remains AEI's president and has taken the think tank to new heights of power and influence—and to an annual budget of more than $25 million, up from $8 million in the late 1980s.

Among the financial backers of the AEI are ExxonMobil, whose recent contributions have been offered by AEI to scientists in order to bribe them to publish propaganda discounting global warming. Other corporate backers include:

General Electric Foundation, Amoco, Kraft, Ford Motor Company Fund, General Motors Foundation, Eastman Kodak Foundation, Metropolitan Life Foundation, Procter & Gamble Fund, Shell Companies Foundation, Chrysler Corporation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, General Mills Foundation, Pillsbury Company Foundation, Prudential Foundation, American Express Foundation, AT&T Foundation, Corning Glass Works Foundation, Morgan Guarantee Trust, Alcoa Foundation, and PPG Industries. Wal-Mart is also a major contributor to AEI.

Foundation backers include the ultra-conservative "Smith Richardson Foundation, the Olin Foundation, the Scaife Foundation, and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. . ."

The AEI used to share a building with the now defunct Project for the New American Century (PNAC), among whose board of director members was one Bruce Jackson. Rastî readers should remember that Bruce Jackson was a one-time Lockheed Martin Vice-President for Strategy and Planning. While he held his position at Lockheed Martin, he was also the founder of the US Committee on NATO--but only in order to get all those former Soviet bloc countries into NATO so that they could become good Lockheed Martin consumers. Ditto for his position as president of the Project for Transitional Democracies. In 2002, he came up with a new scheme to increase Lockheed Martin's stock value--the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

Moreover, as Lockheed Martin Vice-President for Strategy and Planning, it's fitting that Jackson dabbled in the production of propaganda as well. To that end, he gave seed money to William Kristol so that he could found The Weekly Standard. Lockheed Martin, also supported Kristol's publishing endeavor "as a paying advertiser." For more on Jackson and The Weekly Standard, see Richard Cummings' article on Lockheed Martin.

Would it come as too much of a shock to know that AEI is a non-corporate sponsor of the American Turkish Council? Would it come as too much of a shock to know that Michael Rubin has served as a "consultant" for the Lincoln Group in Iraq? Yes, that's the same Lincoln Group that was planting propaganda in Iraqi media.

When you come right down to it, Michael Rubin is nothing more than a whore because in his business, the ideology follows the money. In this case the money is well represented by the financial backers of the AEI and it's organizational relative, the ATC. The ideology comes from Strauss, Leo Strauss, as Professor Shadia Drury explains:

All the similarities between Strauss and [Dostoevsky's] Grand Inquisitor notwithstanding, the Straussian position surpasses the Grand Inquisitor in its delusional elitism as well as in its misanthropy. This shows that while one need not be a religious thinker to be misanthropic, religion is an excellent vehicle for implementing misanthropic policies in public life.

The Grand Inquisitor presents his ruling elite as suffering under the burden of truth for the sake of humanity. So, despite his rejection of Christ, the Grand Inquisitor is modeled on the Christian conception of a suffering God who bears the burden for humanity. In contrast, Strauss represents his ruling elite as pagan gods who are full of laughter. Instead of being grim and mournful like the Grand Inquisitor, they are intoxicated, erotic, and gay. And they are certainly not too concerned about the happiness of mere mortals. They have little pity or compassion for them. On the contrary, the pain, suffering, and tragedies of the mortals provide them with entertainment.

Straussian ideology is the ideology of the elite, with its accompanying scorn for the masses of humanity, from Professor Drury at Open Democracy:

A second fundamental belief of Strauss’s ancients has to do with their insistence on the need for secrecy and the necessity of lies. In his book Persecution and the Art of Writing, Strauss outlines why secrecy is necessary. He argues that the wise must conceal their views for two reasons – to spare the people’s feelings and to protect the elite from possible reprisals.

The people will not be happy to learn that there is only one natural right – the right of the superior to rule over the inferior, the master over the slave, the husband over the wife, and the wise few over the vulgar many. In On Tyranny, Strauss refers to this natural right as the “tyrannical teaching” of his beloved ancients. It is tyrannical in the classic sense of rule above rule or in the absence of law (p. 70).

Now, the ancients were determined to keep this tyrannical teaching secret because the people are not likely to tolerate the fact that they are intended for subordination; indeed, they may very well turn their resentment against the superior few. Lies are thus necessary to protect the superior few from the persecution of the vulgar many.

The effect of Strauss’s teaching is to convince his acolytes that they are the natural ruling elite and the persecuted few. And it does not take much intelligence for them to surmise that they are in a situation of great danger, especially in a world devoted to the modern ideas of equal rights and freedoms.

With that in mind, is it really so surprising to see an ideological whore like Rubin embrace the Southern Kurds when his "elite" suddenly determine that Saddam must go, after sending their messenger boy and fellow ideological traveler, Donald Rumsfeld, to Baghdad in 1983 to pledge support for their Iraqi puppet? Saddam served their interests then, and that's why it was convenient for them to look the other way in 1988 during the Anfal campaign against the Southern Kurds. But twenty years later in 2003, Saddam no longer served their interests. In the elites' ensuing u-turn on the matter of genocide and human rights, the Southern Kurds served their interests. Now the Southern Kurds turn "bad" because they are beginning to express interests of their own, interests that don't coincide with the interests of the ruling elites.

Rubin is a well-paid propagandist because he propagandizes well. Take, for example, this little gem from November, 2005:

Take the case of the Iraqi Kurds. Long championed as a model of liberalization, they are becoming a regional embarrassment. Rather than pursue democracy, the Iraqi Kurdish leadership is more consumed with self-enrichment. Following Iraq's defeat in 1991, the Kurds rose in rebellion against Saddam Hussein. The leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party, Massoud Barzani, returned to Iraqi Kurdistan with little but respect for his family name. Fourteen years later, his personal worth is estimated at close to $2 billion. Corruption and nepotism are rife. No foreign businessman can strike a deal in his region without entering into partnership with Barzani or a favored relative. Human rights workers in Irbil say they have met Kurds imprisoned for failing to pay kickbacks. Across the region, the Barzani family conflates government, party, and personal property. Local militias uphold not the rule of law, but rather serve as Barzani's enforcers. The Kurdish Parliament, meanwhile, is flaccid; its power no greater than that of its Syrian or Libyan counterparts.

Those are not lies, but what purpose does it serve for Rubin to discuss them? If South Kurdistan were a real democracy, the very serious problem of corruption would be tackled head-on. But Rubin's idea of democracy will not allow for the growth of a real democracy in South Kurdistan; reference Professor Drury's comments on Straussian ideology. Instead, like a good neocon, Rubin's idea of democracy is that which benefits his masters, which is why the will of 98% of the Southern Kurds for independence is disregarded; for Rubin's elites, democracy is defined as globalization. Rubin is concerned about Masûd Barzanî's net worth solely because Masûd Barzanî is not as compliant as Rubin's elites would like.

It's interesting to note that Rubin has never had a thing to say about Ankara's extreme corruption, such as surfaced during the Susurluk Affair or its criminal network today, as the very credible Sibel Edmonds has been fighting.

When Rubin writes about "terrorism," it's always from an extremely selective definition. For example:

Too often Western powers try to make negotiating partners out of dictators and terrorists. Seldom does this curb terrorism.

But "making negotiating partners out of dictators and terrorists" is what Rubin's government does all the time, at least when it's not engaging in its own acts of terrorism. This was what the US did with Saddam, wasn't it? This is what the US does with the oligarchy of terrorists in Ankara, commonly known as the Turkish General Staff. Why? Because US business makes a lot of money from supporting their own terrorists, such as the recent $13 billion in Lockheed Martin fighter aircraft deals that the US secured through its "PKK coordinator," Joseph Ralston. That's what it did with Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war. In fact, that's why Peter Galbraith's economic sanctions against Saddam were nixed in the Congress--because it would have been bad business for American rice growers.

But to tell the whole story wouldn't be consistent with the propaganda campaign that Rubin's paid to push, such as this, from a book review:

She [Denise Natali] is also prone to exaggeration. If “early republican Turkey removed all opportunities for the Kurds,” then why did İsmet İnönü, an ethnic Kurd, succeed Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey’s founding father?

Sure, Mr. Rubin. Ismet Inonu was as Kurdish as Hitler was Jewish. Ignoring Ziya Gokalp's discussion of ethnicity, which formed the basis for the ridiculous "identity question" in Turkey today, serves the propaganda campaign of Ankara's oligarchic military elite. There's no question of Rubin's ignorance of the genocide of Kurds in Turkey; he's very much aware of the fact but, again, it doesn't serve elite interests to discuss it. On the other hand, labeling as "terrorists" all Kurds who resist severe oppression by America's good ally, Turkey, is in the interests of Rubin's masters.

It's very unfortunate that Southern Kurds have wasted time discussing Rubin's currrent spin on Kurdish "illusions." If they had paid attention to a little item carried in Hurriyet, last November, they would not be in shock today:

In his fax to me, Rubin explained that he had given this interview by email. He said: "I never said such things. In fact, I said the complete opposite. Here is precisely what I said concerning Turkey and Iraq's other neighboring countries: Whenever I go to Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurds tell me that they are our best allies, and that this friendship needs to be reciprocal. I am sorry, but this is wrong on many levels. First of all, it is great that the Kurds say that they are our allies, but if we think about the fact that Kurdish politicians change their policies along with the direction the wind is blowing, there is no reason to believe American politicians are going to have any more confidence in Kurdish politicians than they have in themselves. There are many political leaders who put trade before principles in terms of importance. There are now documents which have come out which show that some top Kurdish leaders were doing serious business with Saddam's sons, Uday and Kusay. Also, Turkey is an important enough ally for Washington that it is not going to be ignored.

The Iraqi Kurds can believe what they want about Turkey, but the fact remains that for as long as Iraqi Kurdistan is a home to terrorists, Washington will always be on the side of Ankara, and not Erbil or Suleymaniye. My belief is that Turkish-American relations are very important, and despite current administrations in both Washington and Ankara, they will remain so. Most Iraqi Kurdish newspapers print exactly what they think Mesut Barzani and Jelal Talabani want to hear.

Talabani and Barzani have spent thousands of dollars getting former US ambassadors to say good things about them. I thought that since the Iraqi Kurds have not been able to learn what Washington really thinks about them, it would be a good idea to say it directly to their newspapers. Iraqi Kurds must understand that Washington will absolutely not forget about Ankara, and that for as long as the PKK exists in Northern Iraq, the region will be seen as a terror supporting one.

In the end, the Northern Iraq leadership is responsible for whatever happens in their region. And if the situation continues, Northern Iraq is not looking at a good future. Turkey has just as much a right as the US, Israel, and other countries to struggle against terror coming from across the border to it.

I hope that my explanation has cleared up the incorrect report carried in your newspaper."

Very well said. It's always good to know what and how your enemy thinks.

Michael Rubin claims that "Kurds underestimate Turkish resolve." In reality, Rubin and his masters in the American and Turkish elites underestimate the resolve of Kurds under Turkish occupation and the resolve of PKK.

Wake up, South Kurdistan, and stop groveling. Spring is in the air; it's time for that which the elites fear most--Serhildan.

No comments: