Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 19, 2006

Raider Becomes Twix

Up to 1991, Twix, the candy bar by Mars Inc., was sold in Europe under the name Raider. When the name was globalized and changed to Twix, product sells fell dramatically and several chain stores delisted it. 

After some month into the debacle Mars launched a huge advertising campaign. The slogan for that campaign, Aus Raider wird Twix ... sonst ändert sich nix (Raider becomes Twix ... nothing else changes), has become a metaphore for somewhat botched introductions of "new" products by sole relabeling.

U.S. Moves to Weaken Iran, says the LA Times. The piece describes the State Department program run by Dick Cheney's daughter Elizabeth and David Denehy, a former deputy directory of the CPA’s Office of Democracy and Governance in Iraq. They work on Voice of America programing in Farsi, financial support for opposition groups and they send special "Iran watchers" diplomats to countries with Iranian expatriats.

Writes the LA Times:

officials emphasize that this time around, State Department diplomats rather than Pentagon war planners are in charge

So this looks new, but further down we read:

The administration's efforts are taking shape on the second floor of the State Department, where a new Office of Iranian Affairs has been charged with leading the push to back Iranian dissidents more aggressively, boost support to democracy broadcasters and strengthen ties with exiles.

Nearby at the Pentagon, an Iranian directorate will work with the State Department office to undercut the government in Tehran.
[T]he Pentagon's directorate began with six full-time staff members. But they can draw on expertise throughout the government, providing access to potentially hundreds of specialists.

This new Iranian directorate is indeed a very well known shop:

At the Pentagon, the new Iranian directorate has been set up inside its policy shop, which previously housed the Office of Special Plans.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Venable declined to name the acting director of the new Iran office and would say only that the appointee was a "career civil servant." Among those staffing or advising the Iranian directorate are three veterans of the Office of Special Plans: Abram N. Shulsky, its former director; John Trigilio, a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst; and Ladan Archin, an Iran specialist.

The Office of Special Plans was, as you well remember, the place where the false Iraq intelligence was prepared and stovepiped into Cheney's office.

Let's look up the people named.

Seymour Hersh on Shulsky:

The director of the Special Plans operation is Abram Shulsky, a scholarly expert in the works of the political philosopher Leo Strauss. Shulsky has been quietly working on intelligence and foreign-policy issues for three decades; he was on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the early nineteen-eighties and served in the Pentagon under Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle during the Reagan Administration, after which he joined the Rand Corporation.

Karen Kwiatkowski on Trigilo:

Trigilio and I had hallway debates, as friends. The one I remember most clearly was shortly after President Bush gave his famous "mushroom cloud" speech in Cincinnati in October 2002, asserting that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction as well as ties to "international terrorists," and was working feverishly to develop nuclear weapons with "nuclear holy warriors." I asked John who was feeding the president all the bull about Saddam and the threat he posed us in terms of WMD delivery and his links to terrorists, as none of this was in secret intelligence I had seen in the past years. John insisted that it wasn't an exaggeration, but when pressed to say which actual intelligence reports made these claims, he would only say, "Karen, we have sources that you don't have access to." It was widely felt by those of us in the office who were not in the neoconservatives' inner circle that these "sources" related to the chummy relationship that Ahmad Chalabi had with both the Office of Special Plans and the office of the vice president.

And Jeffrey Steinberg on Archin:

Ladan Archin, an Iraqi-American Wolfowitz protégé from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, who came to the OSP from the International Financial Corp. of the World Bank, and reportedly serves as a liaison to Ahmed Chalabi and the INC.

These people, who have worked on the Iraq campaign in the Office of Special Plans, have now moved on to the "Iranian directorate". Conveniently, they did not even had to change their rooms, only the door plates.

Aus Raider wird Twix ... sonst ändert sich nix.

The former "WMD and terrorists" product was named Iraq and it sold quite well at its time. It has now been rebranded to Iran but it is prepared by the same people to the same recipe in the same old factory.

Now somehow I have the impression the traction for this new product seems to lack the enthusiasm and demand the old one had.

To a lot of people the old product did taste well at that time, but they still have this crappy stomach feeling. The serving was just a bit too big.

Even with the rebranding campaign underway, they just may not buy this product again.

Posted by b on May 19, 2006 at 14:51 UTC | Permalink


The point is that lots of us didn't buy it the first time round.

God only knows what will happen domestically here in the UK if the attack on Iran goes ahead. People are really, really pissed off here already with Bliar & co as evidenced in the kicking New Labour got in the local elections a couple of weeks ago - the local council in my London borough, which has been Labour-controlled for 35 years, was hammered, and the leader, a sanctimonious New Labour solicitor, lost his seat. Ha!

No-one here buys that cuts to the NHS (£35m slashed from mental health provision alone), reductions in budgets for maintaining desperately needed social housing and school buildings in good repair are to be accepted when the govt has apparently got £4bn to spend on an illegal war of choice in Iraq.

Posted by: Dismal Science | May 19 2006 15:32 utc | 1

Even with the rebranding campaign underway, they just may not buy this again.

It doesn't not matter whether or not we buy it, it will be shoved down Murkuz neck.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 19 2006 17:27 utc | 2

excuse me, but why would anyone buy a twix or whatever you want to call it in Europe when so many, much better alternatives are available from Italy and Belgium, for instance?

...just wondering.

Posted by: fauxreal | May 19 2006 17:50 utc | 3

You really know how to fill in when Billmon is off on his junkets. :-)

Thanks b. I look forward to the comments on this one. (Hope that doesn’t jinks this thread)

Posted by: Juannie | May 19 2006 18:50 utc | 4

excuse me, but why would anyone buy a twix or whatever you want to call it in Europe when so many, much better alternatives are available from Italy and Belgium, for instance?

As a German - we have had various bad experience with attacking Belgium and Italy and about any other country around, so we will go with Twix now.

Posted by: b | May 19 2006 19:17 utc | 5

Looks like radical rightwing Brit. PM Blair worried that Brit. soldiers may not be buying either:

SOLDIERS who object to taking part in a military occupation of a foreign country will face life in prison under measures due to be rubber-stamped in the House of Commons on Monday.

The little-noticed Armed Forces Bill will have its third reading in the Commons on Monday and left-leaning MPs are alarmed that it will legitimise pre-emptive military strikes.

It will change the definition of desertion to include soldiers who go absent without leave and intend to refuse to take part in a "military occupation of a foreign country or territory".

Under the current Army Act, desertion is defined as "going absent intending not to come back, going absent to avoid any service overseas, or going absent to avoid service when before an enemy".

Campaigners have seized on the inclusion of "military occupation" as evidence that ministers are trying to scare soldiers from objecting to future preemptive strikes - a charge denied by the Ministry of Defence.

The move comes as tensions escalate with Iran and follows a reported rise in soldiers absconding from the British Army since the invasion of

Posted by: jj | May 19 2006 20:03 utc | 6

(candy bars)

Made from agricultural surplus - read pork fat and left-over cereals that are made crunchy (heating with sugar syrup etc.) - and sold at ‘profit’ by TV advertising, down the chain supermarkets, all of it subsidised from A to Z.

Never heard of Twix. Will buy one tommora, if possible, and report back.

Maybe Twixes could be turned into bio-fuel and contribute to reducing US dependency on 'terrorist' fuel?

Posted by: Noisette | May 19 2006 20:06 utc | 7

this is really very clever. It becomes even more apt is you consider that white men are sometimes called crackers by brown people and that black people are sometimes referred to as chocolate.

So we have chocolate (Kindasleezy Rice) covered crackers (neocons from the White House Iraq Group) who were once called Raider and are now called Twix.

Posted by: dan of steele | May 19 2006 20:45 utc | 8

Rebranding....... remember when a Marathon became a Snickers and then a Snickers Marathon.

Rebranding the same shit keeps the mushrooms happy.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | May 19 2006 21:58 utc | 9


Don't get too excited. Twix bars are layered crispy wafers -- the kind you can get as cookies, with some sort of sweet gunk holding the layers together -- covered in chocolate. They aren't very good -- even for cheap supermarket candy, they use low-grade chocolate. (Chocolate is made cheaper by adding wax, according to my high school chemistry teacher who had worked for a chocolate company. Something to ponder.)

If you don't like them, they taste somewhat different if you freeze them first. But 'different' and 'better', as always, are not the same thing...

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | May 19 2006 22:16 utc | 10

"Aus Raider wird Twix ... sonst ändert sich nix."

Wouldn't that make a great catch-line to a little cabaret number? I have this little tune running through my head. Is it Weill or Spoliansky? Is that Lotta Lenya singing, or Ute Lemper? Or maybe Sally Bowles down at the KitKat (another candy bar!) Klub.

Posted by: catlady | May 20 2006 1:09 utc | 11

As far as American supermarket candy goes, Twix are pretty good. But that's about as far as it goes.

I wish I had something coherent to say, but mostly it goes "In the same office as the OSP? Shulsky again? GAH!" and lots of hitting my head on walls.

The Bush administration really just doesn't care, do they? They're like a poker player who just keeps bluffing the same way. First the Republican mavericks fold. Then the Democrats. Then the press. Then the people. They're holding a 7-2, but laughing, quite literally, all the way to the bank.

Posted by: Rowan | May 20 2006 1:52 utc | 12

b, wtf? When I clicked post I got redirected to a filter from the Orlando Police Department, with a bunch of links to casinos and the like, and a little code to type in at the bottom.

Posted by: Rowan | May 20 2006 1:53 utc | 13

the best candy is of course, Dots

Posted by: anna missed | May 20 2006 2:13 utc | 14

Dark chocolate.

Posted by: beq | May 20 2006 2:21 utc | 15

@Rowan ???

Posted by: b | May 20 2006 4:19 utc | 16

Yeah, well great, dark chocolate this, you f--king hobbitses :

$10B to Kofi Annan for AIDS in Africa, so he'll buy into the Iraq invasion. Then nothing. Not a f--king thing in Africa except faith groups and NGO's and little hospices here and there.

$10B to Hamid Karzai, so he'll put the hammer down on the intifada fighting for freedom from foreign occupation, colonistas just waiting for the oil pipeline dominoes and price at the pump to fall in their cosmic occlusion. Nothing. Not a f--king thing happening in Afghanistan except the Japanese and the Indians volunteers.

So where did our $20B go? And the $30B they supposedly offered up for Katrina to get the media off their case for FEMA's fuckups? And the $60B since then appropriated for Louisiana fatback. And the THREE QUARTER TRILLION that DoD/DHS sucks down each and every f--king year to create death and destruction in the world.

Where the f--k did our $780B disappear to?

I mean, it's bad enough to have a president and a vice president and SecDef and SoS who are Nazi war criminals. That shows some twisted balls.

But telling the world we're going to help out, and then stuffing our tax money up their fat asses, that's gotta make Joe 6-Pak blow chunks.


Nothing but f--king dark chocolate, you wankers.

Posted by: M E Preceious | May 20 2006 4:27 utc | 17

Yikes, am I the only one around here who thinks Paris has the more exciting sports event starting a week from Sunday til June 11??

Posted by: jj | May 20 2006 5:08 utc | 18

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad: Inside Iraq's hidden war

"Look, a full-scale civil war will break out in the next few months. The Kurds only care about their independence. We the Sunnis will be crushed - the Shia have more fighters and they are better organised, and have more than one leadership. They are supported by the Iranians. We are lost. We don't have leadership and no one is more responsible for our disarray than [Abu Musab al-] Zarqawi, may God curse him," he said.

The logic of Adel The Patriot's new sectarian struggle against the Shia is driving him and his fellow Sunnis into radical new directions. Asked what will save the Sunnis, he replies almost instinctively.

"Our only hope is if the Americans hit the Iranians, and by God's will this day will come very soon, then the Americans will give a medal to anyone who kills a Shia militiaman. When we feel that an American attack on Iran is imminent, I myself will shoot anyone who attacks the Americans and all the mujahideen will join the US army against the Iranians.

"Most of my fellow mujahideen are not fighting the Americans at the moment, they are too busy killing the Shia, and this is only going to create hatred. If someone kills one of my family I will do nothing else but kill to avenge their deaths."

And then the U.S.will free Saddam and let him take over again ...

Posted by: b | May 20 2006 5:27 utc | 19

b, I dunno - I'm just getting some weird things asking for codes after I click on Post. I press back, and post again, and it's normal, but it happened on both messages this thread.

Posted by: Rowan | May 20 2006 6:38 utc | 20

I've hit that, too. I think it's deliberately random. The idea is that it will stop the spambots a few times and they'll give up. Dunno if that would work, though.

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | May 20 2006 6:48 utc | 21

@Rowan - that is the spam protection build into the typepad system this blog uses. Nothing to fear about it. It does come when one does multiple posts in short time and sometimes just random.

And yes, it does keep away most of the spamming. I am down to kill one spam comment per day manually from 10 per day some time ago.

Posted by: b | May 20 2006 7:15 utc | 22

U.S. to Send More Troops, Official Says

U.S. military commanders are sending several hundred additional troops to Iraq to bolster security as a new government takes shape in Baghdad, a defense official said.

The extra troops are from a 1st Armored Division battalion that has been stationed in Kuwait as a reserve force.

Details of the movement, including timing, were not immediately available.

Posted by: b | May 20 2006 7:20 utc | 23

Wow, jj, that is some new clause on desertion:

intend to refuse to take part in a "military occupation of a foreign country or territory".

So a British soldier can now be jailed for life for an intention?

Bliar's got four kids, any of them signing up for this?

Posted by: Dismal Science | May 20 2006 13:45 utc | 24

Ladan Archin is Iranian and not Iraqi, you ignorant fools! Why don't you get your information rigth? And if you can't the discontinue your idiotic pseudo-blog. Clearly you're not capable of distinguishing Iranians from Iraqis which disqualifies you from doing what you're doing. Racist dolts!

Posted by: Catayoun | Oct 8 2006 16:54 utc | 25

@Catayoun - I cited Jeffrey Steinberg in my above post who claims Archin is an American - Iraqi. I never asserted that myself so why are you insulting me? I fail to find a bio of Archin on the web. Maybe you can help?

Posted by: b | Oct 8 2006 17:43 utc | 26

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