Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 23, 2008

'Certainty' On the Neocon NATO Report

Yesterday's post speculated about neocon influence on the report that urges an imperial NATO strategy. There now is "an increase in certainty" that pure neocon thinking is at the base of the proposal.

While the media reported only yesterday about the report, it had been launched on January 10 at the US Center of Strategic Studies. The 150-page paper is titled Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World - Renewing Transatlantic Partnership (pdf).

The report by the five former NATO generals was financed through "generous sponsorship" of the Dutch Noaber Foundation. The foundation is the private fiefdom of the Christian fundamentalist Paul Baan, a failed 1990s "new market" entrepreneur. In 2000 Business Week portrayed The Fall of Baan :

[S]ales sextupled between 1994 and 1997, and the Baan brothers, both members of the conservative Dutch Reformed Church, flew in their jet between Barneveld, Silicon Valley, and a host of charities they sponsored around the world.
Pummeled by questions about its finances, blindsided by an industry downturn, and undermined by poor management, Baan's stock collapsed in 1998, and the company limped along without much hope of recovery. The Baan brothers departed two years ago and pocketed most of their profits before the final cave-in.
At the heart of Baan was a fatal split, one represented by the brothers and their dual fascinations: God and geld.
Baan [started] as a consulting firm in 1978. Most of Baan's engineers back then were members of the Dutch Reformed Church. They kept their labs free of swearing, mandated long skirts for women, and shut down on Sundays--even when customers were clamoring for help.

The Noaber Foundation Advisory Board is chaired by Henk van den Breemen, former Chief Defence Staff of the Dutch Armed Forces and one of the five generals that signed the study. He also chaired the 12 meetings the generals held to devise the report. But one can not write 150 pages in 12 committee meetings and the report acknowledges that it was written "With Benjamin Bilski and Douglas Murray".

Who are these guys?

The first of only few google entries for this "Benjamin Bilski" links to Make jokes about Islam!. Bilski is "a Fellow in the Department of Jurisprudence in the Law Faculty of the University of Leiden" who translated and published the Iranian ex-Muslim Afshin Ellian at the rightwing British Social Affairs Unit.

Douglas Murray is:

a bestselling author and commentator based in the UK and Director of the London-based Centre for Social Cohesion.

His most recent book is the critically acclaimed Neoconservatism: Why We Need It which Christopher Hitchens praised in the Washington Examiner as "a very cool but devastating analysis" and which caused Andrew Roberts to hail him 'The right's answer to Michael Moore', continuing, 'This book shows how to fight and win the War on Terror'.

Murray's "bestselling" book (no. 589,358 in Amazon's sales rank) was favorably reviewed by Iran royalist and neocon news fabricator Amir Taheri and in the Weekly Standard.

The London Centre For Social Cohesion, where Murray is director, publishes islamophobic papers like "Hate on the State: How British libraries encourage Islamic extremism".

Hitchens (rather lame) review of Murray's book provides this excerpt:

It is my contention throughout this book that neoconservatism provides answers to many of the problems facing America and the world today. On all these matters, not just the war on terror, I am aware that not everyone sees that these problems even exist. Among other things, there is always the easy expedient of avoiding a threat by pretending that it is not there … .

While one certainly can deny the existence of "threats", one can also construct "threats" that do not exist at all, but help to justify otherwise unjustifiable policies.

This is exactly what the generals' and Murray's report does. It starts from non-existent threats to devise policies that have no other legitimate reason. Here are three out of many examples:

On page 47 the paper claims:

At present, 25 countries possess WMD. Of these, 17 possess active offensive chemical weapons capabilities and 12 possess offensive biological weapons.

A knowledgeable commentator at the Arms Control Wonk site remarks:

Just sticking with the area that I know best, I don’t know how they’ve arrived at these unreferenced numbers. There are five declared chemical weapons possessor states under the CWC – India, Libya, Russia, South Korea and the US. The stockpiles in these countries are under international verification and are all at various stages of destruction. There are a further 12 countries that have not yet joined the CWC, but of those only four probably possess some kind of CW capability – Egypt, Israel, North Korea and Syria. So, five plus four makes nine, so which are the other eight countries the “manifesto” alleges have “active offensive chemical weapons capabilities”? Are they among the eight other CWC non-members (Guinea-Bissau, Bahamas et al) or is the “manifesto” saying that there are CWC states with “active offensive” capabilities that the OPCW has missed?

Finally, I would imagine that the “manifesto” was carefully worded, so why talk about “active offensive chemical weapons capabilities” but simply “offensive biological weapons”? And anyway, what does the latter mean? Wouldn’t any biological weapon be offensive? What is a defensive biological weapon? And again, which are the 12 countries claimed to possess “offensive biological weapons”?

It’s easy to paint a dire picture of the future when you simply pluck numbers out of the air with no evidence to back them up.

On page 40 the report asserts:

Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah was an armed conflict between a proxy non-state actor and a nation state, where the nation state was at a great disadvantage. Hezbollah did not shy away from war crimes: it positioned its militia in the midst of civilians and launched rockets from residential areas.

That claim is simply false:

Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch executive director, said there were only "rare" cases of Hizbollah operating in civilian villages.

"To the contrary, once the war started, most Hizbollah military officials and even many political officials left the villages," he said. "Most Hizbollah military activity was conducted from prepared positions outside Lebanese villages in the hills and valleys around."

On page 51 the report accuses China of "Abuse of Financial Leverage" because:

it is investing in infrastructure projects, undercutting Western competitors and development banks, building hydropower dams in Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria and Congo-Brazzaville; railways in Angola, Zambia, Congo, Gabon and Sudan; and telephone networks in Morocco, Algeria, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya, Angola and Zimbabwe.

The "western" capitalists see a "threat" in China actually paying for infrastructure development in foreign third world countries. They of course would never condone such "abuse" of their tax dollars.

The "threads" the report makes up are plucked out of thin air, simply false or obviously ridiculous. To avoid scrutinization of the "threat" assertions, the report is completely without footnotes and references.

Like most rightwing propaganda, the paper on the "uncertain world" and the made-up "threats" is aimed at people who feel basically insecure in the randomness of human life and history. Like all false prophets its writers offer "certainty" to them.

The authors believe that the proposed agenda could be a first step towards a renewal of the transatlantic partnership, eventually leading to an alliance of democratic nations and an increase in certainty.

Indeed the recommendations do deliver certainty.

A certain way to further proliferation of nuclear weapons is the threat of preemptive use of such against non-nuclear states. A certain way towards wider wars is NATO under "directorate" control dropping bombs wherever the "directorate" policies see advantage in doing so. And a certain way to madness is to get neoconned by this report.

Posted by b on January 23, 2008 at 17:40 UTC | Permalink


Former Reagan official Paul Craig Roberts on the "report": The Empire That Must Be Obeyed -
What Gives the US the Right to Claim a Moral Monopoly Over the World?

"The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."

Five Western military leaders.

I read the statement three times trying to figure out the typo. Then it hit me, the West has now out-Owellled Orwell: The West must nuke other countries in order to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction! In Westernspeak, the West nuking other countries does not qualify as the use of weapons of mass destruction.
The paper, prepared by men regarded as distinguished leaders and not as escapees from insane asylums, argues that "the West's values and way of life are under threat, but the West is struggling to summon the will to defend them." The leaders find that the UN is in the way of the West's will, as is the European Union which is obstructing NATO and "NATO's credibility is at stake in Afghanistan."

And that's a serious matter. If NATO loses its credibility in Afghanistan, Western civilization will collapse just like the Soviet Union. The West just doesn't realize how weak it is. To strengthen itself, it needs to drop more and larger bombs.

Posted by: b | Jan 23 2008 19:31 utc | 1

thanks b for this little revelation

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 23 2008 20:01 utc | 2

The Dutch Reform Church is hard core Calvinist. I believe Clifford Kiracofe is writing a book on how the DRC preformed spiritual duty for the fascist movements in Europe. And is apparently alive and well for both the neo-cons here and their counterparts in Europe.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 23 2008 20:41 utc | 3

Thanks b - there is no substitute for detective work, as much fun as meta- can be

Posted by: boxcar mike | Jan 24 2008 0:00 utc | 4

Wow, Bernhard, thank you! So, behind every curtain it is always the same pack of rabid rats scampering...

Posted by: Alamet | Jan 24 2008 1:04 utc | 5

looks like their editors put some extra, unnecessary characters in there - it reads better as

The authors believe that the propagenda could be a first step towards...

Posted by: b real | Jan 24 2008 2:42 utc | 6

this on the heals of the sunday london times finally giving sibel edmonds a voice..

She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

naturally those high ranking officials were the neocons.

seriously, how disingenuous to sell your 'enemies' nuke info and then turn around and claim their having them justifies your need to protect yourselves from thuse you nurtured.

what a circular flusterfuck.

Posted by: annie | Jan 24 2008 3:07 utc | 7

Enough of your BS and lies, hezbollah did operate from civilian areas, there is no doubt about it. Because they shot at Israel from civilian areas that is why the tragedy in Qana occurred, so learn your facts better and stop being so naive. By the way have you ever heard of Samir Kuntar, if not then read to learn how humane Hizbollah is!

Posted by: Ahmed | Jan 24 2008 3:17 utc | 8

Because they shot at Israel from civilian areas that is why the tragedy in Qana occurred, so learn your facts better and stop being so naive.

everybody knows the palanning for that war preceeded the events you speak of by six months. the US was preparing to invade iran and IS/US thought they could wipe out the threat of hezzbola prior to this becaue they know their would be retaliation.

"Never mind that the real timeline for the recent conflict started with the refusal of Israel and its US and European allies to recognize the democratically elected Hamas government in an election proposed and endorsed by the US and the EU. Never mind the crucial events of June 9th when an Israeli missile attack in the Gaza beach massacred a Palestinian family of seven [15]. Never mind another IDF missile attack on June 13th which killed nine Palestinian civilians and two activists [16]. Never mind that on June 24 , precisely one day before the capture of the soldier, Israel kidnapped a Palestinian doctor and his brother from Gaza [17], an event unreported and conveniently suppressed even later in the pro Israel western media. "

you are barking up the wrong tree ahmed, whining elsewhere may gain you more traction, or not. the world is awakening to the zionist threat.

Posted by: annie | Jan 24 2008 3:55 utc | 9

sorry about all my typos. lost my glasses.

Posted by: annie | Jan 24 2008 3:58 utc | 10

hezbollah did operate from civilian areas

As Jonathan Cooke showed in a report from Nazareth, the Israeli army also placed military positions in civilian areas (in Israel) in the 2006 war.

Posted by: Alex | Jan 24 2008 7:17 utc | 11

@Ahmed - now you want to attach some action the Lebansese Druze Samit Kuntar, who belonged to the Palestine Liberation Front, did in 1979 to Hizbullah which was founded in 1982. Nice try, but the dates seem not to match.

BTW: In 1979 Israel was occupying South Lebanaon and waging a brutal war (using christian proxy forces, the SLA) against the Palestinian refugee camps, i.e. civilians.
Kuntar acted in revenge and killed several Israeli policemen and civilians.

Hizbullah wants him freed like other Isreali prisoners. While I don't condone what Kuntar has done, I understand the point that he is a prisoner of war and usually those are exchanged to make peace.

But the whole story has nothing to do with Hizbullah fighting from populated areas in 2006 which Human Rights Watch says did not happen.

Now tell me how Hezbullah fought Israel from its area in South Beirut - bombed to rubbish by Israel. Somehow I missed that point.

Posted by: b | Jan 24 2008 8:12 utc | 12

A word in defense of the Dutch Reformed Church: I spent a year teaching in an Iowa college associated with the Dutch Reformed Church and found the people there to be memorably warm and friendly. Differences of opinion were tolerated as well as in any other academic institution I've ever been associated with. I agree with b's critique of the Nato report, but would not indict an entire church community for the political positions espoused by some of its members. Undoubtedly I am "preaching to the choir" in this regard.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jan 24 2008 8:27 utc | 13

The DRC has its moments. It was the church of Apartheid in South Africa while other members were on the forefront of the civil rights movement in America. Years ago, I interviewed Clarence Boomsma who was a former DRC moderator. He told me of an event early in Martin Luther King's career when he and Martin had a series of wonderful kitchen table talks about civil rights in both Africa and the US. One day a small child under the table kept wacking his leg with a toy dump truck and when he shoosed him away started wacking at Martin Luther King's ankles. Finally he yelled for Coretta to get the brat out of the kitchen. The brat's name? Jesse Jackson!

Posted by: Diogenes | Jan 24 2008 21:10 utc | 14

Lets see now: if we're allowed to pre-emptively nuke them, what's to keep them from pre-empting our pre-emption?

Or is pre-empting only allowed when its done by us?

And who will we be pre-empting, exactly? Canada has the technical knowhow to potentially build nukes. Should we nuke them now, just in case even if there's no evidence that they actually have nukes or plan on attacking the US? After all, "we can't wait for the mushroom cloud", right?

Posted by: hass | Jan 25 2008 23:08 utc | 15

Hey annie

sorry about all my typos. lost my glasses.

I can fo typos WITH my glasses.

This is a report from 23rd Jan for NATO forces in Afghanistam.

In Sangin, a RAF GR-7 (Harrier) used enhanced paveway II munitions(that's 2,000 lb. laser guided bombs at US$ 52,000 a pop) to destroy a coalition forces vehicle that had broken down, so enemy combatants would not have access to it. The on-scene joint terminal attack controller declared the mission a success.

As the vehicle of choice is a beat up old ute worth maybe US$5,000 it looks like overkill - but then if this is the military mindset of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)maybe nuking the "bad guys" first is probably quite easy to accept and recommend adopting.

Having read the daily reports for Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan I have to point out that "The on-scene joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) " have without exception " declared the mission a success."

Which not only (when it refers to the RAF) with a war5m patriotic glow, but wondering why after ivading Afghanistan in 2001 we seem to be going backwards.

Incidentally Aviation week 20/1/08

has a fascinating article "Military Hackers Turn To Commercial Electronic Attack Tools" which highlights how standard wired comms equipment is being used to bamboozle hi-tech , hi-cost wireless comms in the Middle East.

Asymmetric warfare hits another dimension and the mil - industrial complex have to re-examine the benefits of non-standard, unique methods of command and control.

But if "The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction." is the mantra of the Generals (albeit retired - but not without influence, Inge not only chairs Aegis but is a bosom buddy of fellow proselitysing Christian , CGS General Dannett - who looks so good in his Ruritanian Uniform) their future and the benefits for shareholders are like Mutual Destruction , assured.

PS ute = Utility vehicle - truck.

Posted by: Edward Stroudley | Jan 27 2008 16:34 utc | 16

ahmed - i'm sure you're just tom negev in drag

qana occurred because israel is carrying out a war of anhilation & to them the death of children means nothing. nothing at all. in the occupied territories it is a daily occurrence

& this of course was the secont time quana was the scene of massacre orchestrated by tshal. nothing can diminish the criminality & immorality of the govt of israel in this matter

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 27 2008 18:30 utc | 17

Edward Stroudley,

so the brits used a laser guided 2000 pound bomb to destroy an inoperative vehicle? Have pilots become so bad that they can't hit a parked truck with a dumb bomb?

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 27 2008 18:39 utc | 18

Paul Woodward has a long in-depth commentary on this that is worth reading.

Neoconservatism 2.0

Posted by: Bea | Jan 29 2008 21:19 utc | 19

The comments to this entry are closed.