Saturday, June 09, 2007

Council of Europe nails Kwasniewski and WSI as CIA stooges?


The report headed by Dick Marty (above) claims that CIA prisons in Poland were known about by the then president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, and operated in collaboration with agents from the now disbanded Military Intelligence Agency (WSI).

The report’s main finding, I suppose, is that Poland and Romania both operated clandestine CIA prisons, but the one near Szymany airstrip in northern Poland was set up to hold so-called High Value Detainees (HVD) – in other words, the most dangerous of suspected al-Qaeda type terrorists. Poland was the site of the CIA’s most important and sensitive ‘prison’ in Europe.

The 9,000 word report – much of which I have waded through – paints a picture of the now disbanded Military Intelligence Service (WSI) as a ‘cartel’ operating on behalf of ‘self-interested elites’, and beyond the oversight of civil bodies, such as parliament, or even the prime minister’s office.

But not the president’s office. One ‘military intelligence source’ (the report is full of unnamed ‘sources’) told Dick Marty:

“Listen, Poland agreed top down…from the president, yes….to provide the CIA all it needed.”

The recruitment

CIA agents apparently identified ‘point men’ within the WSI – which the present PiS government, when giving reasons for disbanding it last year, described as operating as if it was a ‘state within a state’. The report seems to make the same allegations.

Once identified and recruited these ‘point men’ would be told things on a need to know basis, and that information stayed within this small circle of operatives.

The WSI had two functions, says the report, when aiding the CIA in the rendition program. It provided military security when prison transfers were taking place; and it infiltrated other state organs, such as the Air Navigation Services Agency, the Border Guards and Customs Office to make the smooth running of the transfers a very closed secret.

Top agent – Jerzy Kos?

One of the top agents was apparently Jerzy Kos, who was head of the Board of Mazury-Szczytno Airport Company. ‘He was our man,’ says one ‘source’.

Later Kos went to work for a private construction company (Wrocławska Jedynka – in which the public National Investment Fund has a stake, and which has received state loans in the past of over 1 million zloty to pay off redundant workers) which gained contracts in war torn Iraq. This Mr Kos is quite a guy.

The plot thickens

When, in June 2004, Kos became a kidnap victim in Baghdad, the American Special Forces staged a rare raid to free him (see Fox News report of rescue). The implication is that Kos is a very valuable guy to the CIA.

CIA sources said that they picked Poland initially, then Romania, as they believed that much of central and eastern Europe does not, yet, have trustworthy secret services.

But Poland, in particular, was different. One source told Marty:

“We have an extraordinary relationship with Poland. My experience is that if Poles can help us, they will.”

Poland negotiated its agreement with the CIA, says the report, in late 2002, early 2003.

“We have established that the first HVDs were transferred to Poland in the first half of 2003,” says the report’s author.

The most highly prized HVDs to have been detained in Poland were Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shekh Mohamed. Both were subjected to ‘enhanced interrogation techniques...' These ‘techniques’ have been controversial, to say the least (and described here).

The evidence for all this comes from the many ‘unnamed sources’, and from flight logs (see here), which have detailed the landings and taking off of CIA planes – evidence, most of which identified by Human Rights Watch when it first made the allegations back in November 2005.

The ‘new evidence’ – or ‘proof’ as Marty has termed them - appears to come from the interviews with the unnamed sources.

So they are impossible to verify.

But the picture that the report paints is plausible. The government disbanded the WSI because it thought it was out of control, and was operating, just as the report says, as a state within a state, on behalf of ‘elites’ – the present government, of course, would refer to these elites as the infamous ‘uklad’.

So it is perfectly possible that renditioned prisoners were being held in Poland, before being flown off to even more darker places, under the noses of prime ministers and parliamentarians. Hence their genuine ignorance.

But the accusation that former president Aleksander Kwasniewski was in on all this is a dangerous one for him, just as he is making his ‘political comeback’.

Yesterday, Kwasniewski said: “I deny it. I have as much many times.”

Yes, Olek, but do we believe you, anymore?

Read the report

62 comments:

nemeczek said...

If the report is true, and it is based on leaks and 'unnamed sources' from the CIA, the agency should learn to be more professional. Who is going to cooperate with them in the future if all the dirt is eventually bound to be made public? I do not even touch on morality or legality of the extraordinary renditions - global politics has never been moral (we are just fooled into believing it has), so why start now? I just hope Poland is not targeted by some terror group because of the dick’s report... I checked out the enhanced interrogation techniques... "the detainees were also forced to listen to rap artist Eminem's ‘Slim Shady’ album" - no surprise then that none of them confessed.

beatroot said...

Yeah, the constant and repeated playing of Slim Shady is prohibited by the Geneva Convention, UN’s Declaration Against Torture, and the Constitution of the Salvation Army.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I think this is a crude attempt to divert media attention away from the two recent Polish sex scandals: Ryan Air, and, Tinky Winky

beatroot said...

nemeczek
It's not just based on 'sources' from the CIA but from within Poloand, too. Some have talked to Gazeta before.

More interesting is: who are the Polish sources? It seems a perfect story to me to discredit WSI, Kwasniewski and uklad. The only problem is: these guys were helping the Americans. It would be soo much easier for the government if they were helping Putin.

Redwine said...

The same scandal here (if a scandal at all), and the reaction very much the same. (I.e. G8, timing, etc.)

However, the Council of European is not the European Council, and not politically motivated.

On the other hand, in such cases only the president is involved, not the PM (in Romania that will be beautifully used in the present govern-mental crisis).

I wonder what idiot would have used here the Timisoara airport (an international one, hence open to the public journalists included) but that is another issue...

Redwine said...

Council of Europe, sorry. It is Saturday night after all.

roman said...
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Redwine said...

"that much of central and eastern Europe does not, yet, have trustworthy secret services." Forgot to add: at least 9 of them, not in very good terms. Another issue. On the very top level (Iulian Chifu) already denied. Let's see the rest, it's thrilling, really.

roman said...

I certainly hope that Dick Marty has the evidence to back up his latest accusations and that this suspiciously timed press release is not just some more baseless bloviating to insure his job relevancy and security.
So far it’s been much to do about nothing.
As a matter of fact, come to think of it, SO WHAT if there were a few transit flights with refueling stops in this extraordinary rendition of Al Qaeda terrorists?
Here in the states, we are amazed at the self-flagellation of conscience that European nations suffer each time there is the slightest hint of perceived injustices on the side of the fighters against world-wide terrorists who murder civilians. The terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center on 9/11 did transit through Europe on their way to kill innocents here in the US, did they not? Why doesn’t the EU investigate how Al Qaeda used extraordinary rendition to filter their terrorists via European nations?

Damien Moran said...

Now that Kw. has publically regretted involvement in the Iraq war he should be held accountable for making Poland involved in the war.

An SLD politician told me recently that he believed there was a CIA prison at Szy. but that it would have been immediately closed down when the exposure of complicity in extraordinary rendition was immanent.

Kw.'s return to leading the left is a disastrous move.

Harry said...

Roman:

Here in Europe we do see something wrong with kidnapping innocent people and holding them without trial or charge. You in the USA also see something wrong with it, which is why you do not hold and torture innocent people in the USA: you use other states to do that in.

Two questions:
Where were the 9/11 terrorists transitting from? A country which is the best friend of the USA and which has suffered no military consequences at all.
Would the terrorists have been able to even get into the USA if USA embassy employees had done their jobs properly? No, all 11 of the 15 hijackers for whom visa application forms are available should have been refused visas. They sure as hell would have been if they'd been Poles. But because they came from the country which owns the president of the USA, they got in without any problem.

Anonymous said...

"Here in the states, we are amazed at the self-flagellation of conscience that European nations suffer each time there is the slightest hint of perceived injustices against world-wide terrorists who murder civilians"

There in the states, you have lost any remnants of a moral compass and, hence, any claim to our sympathy and respect. We may still fear you, but that's all, and not for much longer, either.

geez said...

The Jerzy Kos story is pretty incredible. This is your chance for a "big book," BR!

geez said...

Roman wrote: Here in the states, we are amazed at the self-flagellation of conscience that European nations suffer each time there is the slightest hint of perceived injustices on the side of the fighters against world-wide terrorists who murder civilians.

<><

My guess is that considerably less than 50% of the voting-eligible populace in the US disagrees with the likes of Alan Dershowitz.

geez said...

But while Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shekh Mohamed are both "innocent until proven guilty," I wouldn't be so quick to proclaim their "innocence" either.

Harry said...

George W Bush is innocent. But a fair trial would prove him guilty.

roman said...

anon,

"There in the states, you have lost any remnants of a moral compass and, hence, any claim to our sympathy and respect. We may still fear you, but that's all, and not for much longer, either."

Eh? Care to elaborate?
Who's looking for sympathy and respect from you? I know you don't represent the entire EU, do you?

jannovak57 said...

So what’s new? Looks like the same old stuff with the addition of unnamed ‘sources’. If Dickhead Marty really has something then produce witnesses ready to testify and signed depositions otherwise shut-up. However our Dick plans to ride this gravy train along as he can.

Wasn’t it a simpler world when the Swiss limited themselves to stealing from the bank accounts of people who perished in the Holocaust?

Thus far the investigation into the sexuality of the teletubbies (or lack of the same) has been handled more professionally.

The international press is reporting this story with it usual double standards when it comes to Poland Dick Marty’s unsubstantiated charges are being put forward as fact which goes to show repeating the same nonsense often enough can result in manufacturing the desired reality.

Mr. Marty is a Swiss politician that belongs to a party that has as a corner stone of it social policy the legalization of drug use and legal recognition for same-sex couples, so any surprise why this guy on an anti-Polish crusade? But perhaps more surprisingly Marty had made his career as a state prosecutor and was noted for his energetic fight against small time drug users so much so that he received in 1987 an Award of Honour of the United States Department of Justice. It seems this guy jumps onto any vehicle that will advance him personally.

Put the proof on the table or shut-up Mr. Marty!

jannovak57 said...

It is amazing that all of those who claimed to have read the report are conspicuous in their omission to mention the following gem buried deep in the report.

“There is no formal evidence at this stage of the existence of secret CIA detention centres in Poland, Romania or other Council of Europe member states”

Furthermore the section on Poland does not have a single factual piece of evidence that could be used by any judicial body and is based purely on speculation about conspiracy theories.

Marty’s report ends with this summary:

“Whilst hard evidence at least according to the strict meaning of the law is still not forthcoming”

His report went to the printers with the Title starting with “Alleged”

opamp said...

Fascinating.

I am now awaiting their report on the U.S. imprisonment of extraterriestrials. The impact of this matter on future relations with potential alien civilizations warrants an immediate investigation!

opamp said...

Where were the 9/11 terrorists transitting from? A country which is the best friend of the USA and which has suffered no military consequences at all.

In fact while Atta & Co. were Saudis, they have operated before in Germany (Hamburg), and AFAIK came to the U.S. from there. The best part is that the German intelligence did investigate them and informed the US of what they were planning, but the Americans did nothing on that information.

beatroot said...

My opinion on this subject has not changed.

At the beginning the words that ‘journalists’ were using to describe the allegations were disgusting: ‘a US Auschwitz’ ….’a gulag’…clearly informed by a strange idea of Poland and central Europe in general.

The evidence has never supported such claims.

Now we have more evidence from unnamed sources. That is not surprising as the intelligence community does not like to be named for obvious reasons.

But on the basis of this evidence I think that what is clear is this:

The US has been using ‘extraordinary rendition’ to drag suspects off the streets and imprison them. They ate moved from place to place, they are offered no trial. That is clearly illegal under any sort of legal system in a civilized country and the US government is one of the biggest fuckwits in the entire history of governments.

Poland has been used as a connection between the more infamous prisons. They did not stay long and were in small numbers.

Members of the WSI have been colluding in this process, and the collaboration goes right to the top – Kwasniewski.

WSI was out of control and was acting as a ‘cartel’.

The secret transfer of prisoners into Poland has now stopped.

Though Szymany was never a ‘gulag’, much less an ‘Auschwitz’ members of a previous Polish administration have colluded in illegal activities. And they should be punished.

The present government is clueless about this, and was right to shut down WSI. But now they do know stuff and are covering it up because they do not want to embarrass their American patrons.

All in all, not a subject where anyone comes out smelling of roses....

geez said...

Harry wrote: George W Bush is innocent. But a fair trial would prove him guilty.

<><

Lotsa guilt around; not much innocence 'ceptin' for infants and young children.

geez said...

My guess is that considerably less than 50% of the voting-eligible populace in the US disagrees with the likes of Alan Dershowitz.

OOPS I meant to say "more" than 50% disagrees with the legality of torture and non-observance of due process as supported by Dershowitz, et. al.

beatroot said...

Wel, I am glad we have cleared that up....

geez said...

BR: Though Szymany was never a ‘gulag’, much less an ‘Auschwitz’ members of a previous Polish administration have colluded in illegal activities. And they should be punished.

<><

And now the current administration is involved in the collusion.

Is there any way in Poland to push to have an investigation? Is there any politician or any party that is doing so? Any newspaper? Any independent groups? Mighty pathetic if it's not happening. Where are the @n@chists, Trots, Greens, and assorted fellow travelers?

geez said...

BR: Wel, I am glad we have cleared that up....

<><

Well, not all citizens of the US America have lost all vestige of any claim to a moral compass which seemed to be the case made again us all. I'm sure not all Beatroots are all bad, either.

roman said...
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roman said...
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roman said...

beatroot,

Your quote "the US government is one of the biggest fuckwits in the entire history of governments."

WOW, such an emotional outburst, Mister Hyde.

You really can't site a worse government in the entire course of history than the present USA?
Time to brush up on History 101.

You're strong reaction is puzzling. There was ONE individual who was mistakenly scooped up due to faulty information. He was held, supposedly tortured (his story to get more $) and released when the mistake was realized. He received an apology and some kind of payment has been made or is forthcoming. He's still got his head sitting on his shoulders and walking and talking (a lot)unlike the other side's definition of torture.
You cite "legality in civilized countries" for the illegality of the rendition program. Al Qaeda has no country and hence your conclusion is that the terrorists are free to disregard all norms of civilized behaviour while their opposition abide by every conceivable international rule of conduct and political correctness.
Al Qaeda lobs off a few heads... not a peep from beatroot.
We arrest the head lobbers, throw them on a plane and fly them to a non-combat area to try them for war crimes... beatroot has his panties in a twist because they landed somewhere in Europe to refuel.
News flash: The USA is not an EU country, it was attacked, it has the right to retaliate and track down those responsible.

Anonymous said...

I knew you could not trust Kwasniewski when he gave citizenship to the Nigerian Olisdebe. If Kwasniewski thinks Olisadebe is Polish he needs an eye exam.

beatroot said...

That’s a very dumb thing to say, anonymous.

Roman. This current administration in the Whitehouse is certainly one of the worst your country ever had the misfortune to elect.

And let’s be clear: lobbing off people’s heads is NOT GOOD, and don’t try it at home kids.

As far as America’s right to defend itself – nobody is arguing it hasn’t. But it should keep to civilized norms, otherwise it becomes the thing it is fighting against.

Geez – who is suggesting that all Americans are bad?

Journalists have been digging around. But I remember when this story broke a year and a half ago one of these journalists claimed that they had very good contact with the security services and would ‘know’ what was going on. I think that journalists in Poland do not know half as much as they think.

Zebra said...

Polish journalists know as much as minister Ziobro feels inclined to tell them: that Dr. G. is a murderer, that the SLD has cash stashed away in Swiss banks, etc. etc.

geez said...

harry wrote: Here in Europe we do see something wrong

some anon (maybe harry) wrote: There in the states, you have lost any remnants of a moral compass and, hence, any claim to our sympathy and respect.

<><
Europeans being intellectual, cosmopolitan and wise; Americans being a bunch of dumbassees.

geez said...

"lobbing off people’s heads is NOT GOOD"

<><

Stop knocking the French left already, heh, BR?

And I still don't get why there is nobody making a really big stink, demos even, about the likes of Kos and the detention camps.

And Damien, when you gonna get the Warsaw CW going? I would think that there'd be more than a few folks receptive to it. Certainly, Tomasz Merton still has many interested readers of his books and books about him in Poland(there are quite a few translated to Polish) although I don't know if anything has been translated about D-Day and the CW.

Anonymous said...


Europeans being intellectual, cosmopolitan and wise; Americans being a bunch of dumbassees.


I dislike stereotypes, but must agree with you this time.

geez said...

Well, whose supporters are the dumbasses? Dumbassism doesn't seem to hold hegemonic sway given the split projections from the LA Times:


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/la-na-poll12jun12,0,6280343.story?page=2&track=mostviewed-storylevel

The most recent poll had:

Giuliani defeating Clinton, 49% to 39%, and Romney losing by double digits to Obama or Edwards. Also lopsided was Obama's margin over McCain: 47% to 35%.

Obama would defeat Giuliani, 46% to 41%, the poll found, and Edwards also ran ahead of the former mayor, 46% to 43%.

beatroot said...

I want to make clear that I do not share this Americans are dumb stuff. Americans are actually made up of Europeans plus loads of other people. So who is dumb?

And just cause they keep electing people like Bush does not make them dumb - it just shows that American politics is pretty dumb.

Harry said...

roman said...
News flash: The USA is not an EU country, it was attacked, it has the right to retaliate and track down those responsible.


So when are you invading Saudi Arabia? That's where the terrorists came from and where all their funding comes from.

Anonymous said...

Well, whose supporters are the dumbasses? Dumbassism doesn't seem to hold hegemonic sway.

How true, how true. Anyway, from a European perspective there isn't that much difference between the two political parties in the US: one is conservative, the other reactionary.

geez said...

That's why you guys vote in Blair, Sarkozy, etc. Truly superior.

beatroot said...

Blair, Sarkozy, etc. Truly superior.

Well, exactly. I don;t think there is much point in being continentalist about the decline of politics. It's a global thing...

Anonymous said...

Comapred to the smirking chimp, they are truly superior. But that's beside the point. The point I was trying to make is that there is no social-democratic party in the US. It's really difficult to find a major party in Europe, which is so far to the right as the Democrats. Maybe UK Tories under Thatcher would fit the bill.
And parties like the Republicans are just a far-right margin.
In the US, the simple Joe doesn't even realise that both major parties simply screw him. And he doesn't realise
it, because he's a dumbass (in addition to being brain-washed by "the greatest country on Earth"-stuff from birth onwards).

Anyway, just watch what will happen in France, if Sarkozy tries to dismantle the social state. The French practiced their street politics since 1789 and they are pretty much champions at it.

geez said...

Comapred to the smirking chimp, they are truly superior.

<><

Oh c'mon! They are the lickspittles of the dimwitted monkeyman. That makes them even worse. And throw Kaczynski in there, too.

I also think you overestimate the extent to which "the average joe" doesn't realize he's getting screwed. The problem is that too many such such realize it only too well and consquently refuse to ch choose between the only two realistic alternatives (however slight those alternatives might be).

beatroot said...

just watch what will happen in France, if Sarkozy tries to dismantle the social state.

You may be right but then again…

The French have just voted in the first round for Sarkozy’s party. They know what they are gonna get.

Many think that the unions will stop any reforms. But what folk forget is that union membership in France is just 11 percent – that’s pone of the lowest in Europe.

And I think you under estimate the decline of political choice in Europe. Look at UK. No difference between the parties at all.

There was little choice in the recent French election, even. Yes, Sarkozy is a reformer, more so that that Royal (the ‘socialist’ candidate was actually the more conservative – very 2007). But Sarkozy is not a classic rightwinger. During the campaign, he went so far as to associate himself with the legendary socialist leader, Jean Jaures. He also attacked ‘hooligan’ CEOs and – just like Royal – he criticised the European Central Bank for its Euro fort policy. Anticipating his 6 May speech, he declared on 14 January 2007, the day of his nomination as presidential candidate for the UMP, his intention to fight for the interests of ‘the France that suffers….’

He is a populist, taking bits from everywhere. Don’t think that France is the last bastion of left right political choice, because it ain’t. That kind of politics is finished.

Anonymous said...

Oh c'mon! They are the lickspittles of the dimwitted monkeyman. That makes them even worse. And throw Kaczynski in there, too.

OK, OK, point taken. I agree about Blair and Kaczynski - I think I want to reserve judgement in the case of Sarkozy.

As for the "average joe" and his economic and political self-awareness, I found Thomas Frank's "What's the matter with Kansas?" rather persuasive. It's exactly about this problem.

beatroot said...

I don't think you can blame the average Joe for a culture that lacks any kind of ideological choices. That kind of vacuusness comes from the very top.

jannovak57 said...

Beatroot said “a culture that lacks any kind of ideological choices”

What do you mean by ideological choices? For instances what kind of political parties are you hoping to see in the “ideal” political dynamic?

beatroot said...

I will try to answer that. Try.

Ok. So I would like to see free market social conservatives, v libertarians v communists v social democrats v …..problem is, any kind of political alternative to the status quo has gone. And into that gap stuff like religious extremism has taken its place. Not that surprising really.

I would like to see real political alternatives. The ‘end of ideology’ actually did happen. At the moment we have managerial politics. I would to see political parties that have a real vision of the future. At the moment the only time the future is mentioned is in apocalyptic terms, of doom and global warming so bad that it will fry your balls off.

geez said...

Ah, some good, reasonable discussion. Took a while, but here we are.

Frank's book is very important. And while I don't know all that much about Europe, my guess is that certain aspects of Frank's thesis are in many ways applicable there, too.

And BR, it sounds to me from what you've described above that Polish politrix approximate your ideal.

Frank looks at how in Kansas, a very populist/progressive (left) state at least through the 1940s, came under the hegemonic sway of the Republican party by its manipulative use of cultural issues like abortion, gays, the media, street crime, government excesses, etc.

Well, maybe these issues really do resonate in such a way with working class folks that the Democrats need to really take notice.

And I don't think its so much a matter of working class folks being dumbasses. Tis true more so the leaders of the Democratic Party.

Funny thing is that Ron Paul, formerly a Libertarian Party candidate for prez is now raising quite the ruckus as a presidential candidate in the Republican Party. He's pro-life, anti-war, and a Reaganite fiscal type. But he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell, so go figure. I'd vote for him if it wasn't for his economic attitudes and proposed policies.

Otherwise, too, it seems that Poland for BR constitutes something in the way of an ideal politrix (minus the religious extremism).

Well, you ain't gonna get rid of the religion in Poland. It's changing to be sure in some ways for the worse and some ways for the better. Damien, please get going with that Warsaw branch of the Catholic Worker!

peter said...

Otherwise, too, it seems that Poland for BR constitutes something in the way of an ideal politrix (minus the religious extremism).

Hmmmm….not sure about that. The religious extremism bit is a product of the failure of traditional political ways forward. For instance, the left is nowhere in Poland. It won’t ever be, either. One because the Left is associated with the ex-communists, but also because the old socialist nationalize everything is finished in Europe.

And in Poland as much as anywhere, politics is not seen as a real way of changing people’s collective experience. There no utopias or idealists or radical alternatives to the status quo.

Enter, stage right, Roman Giertych and Radio Maryja, with their msssages from the past.

geez said...

So I would like to see free market social conservatives, v libertarians v communists v social democrats ...

I would like to see real political alternatives. The ‘end of ideology’ actually did happen. At the moment we have managerial politics. I would to see political parties that have a real vision of the future




So in Polan, all parties are "stuck" and unable to move "forward"?

Seems to me that each party in Poland has a different ideological perspective on what constitutes "forward." Just like everywhere else. I've always found pronouncements about "the end of ideology," in my daze starting with Daniel Bell, to be wanting of any substantive validation.

What do you mean by "real political alternatives"? Where do these exist? And how is a nation's collective experience changed? And changed to what?

And the real and relative impact of League of Polish Families and Radio Maryja, istm, are exaggerated and even created by the mainline media.

beatroot said...
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beatroot said...

I've always found pronouncements about "the end of ideology," in my daze starting with Daniel Bell, to be wanting of any substantive validation.

That’s a fair comment in that ‘end of ideology’ was first coined by Bell – and a lot of other writers in the 1950s.

But I am not saying what Bell was.

If I remember right, Bell’s was ‘convergence’ thesis. It was about how technological and industrial advances were making communist and capitalist societies more and more similar. And this accounted for the lack of political choices in American life – and the rest of the western world.

Now I do not know where to begin with that – but the idea of a duality between Russia and the US – communism/capitalism simply was not correct. They were not opposites.

It also leaves out the small fact that though the centre in the UK, for instance, had a Butskle-ite pact – meaning strong welfare state plus free ish market – there was still surrounding it a labour movement, with all the trade union institutions that sustained it: there was also real old ‘elites’, institutions like well established 'old boy networks', the family (nuclear by that time) labour clubs, a jingoistic nationalism, and lots of other things that created different types of various social solidarity: etc.

All those things have gone. Political ideology has gone. That was not the same as in Bell’s day. He saw something, but it was too early to get a focus on what it was.

geez said...

Just becoz the old ideologies are outmoded doesn't mean that ideology has ended.

In the US (and let's face it, throughout the world), certain ideologues, ie. the neo-cons, still hold hegemonic sway although it looks like this is changing, for better or for worse. Ultimately, though, it's still politics that will make this determination. One ideology will win out over the other(s).

Also, it seems that you're saying that people are becoming more and more individualistic and there ain't much place in the world for social, class, cultural solidarities anymore. I'm not clear if you think that's good or bad.

And where has has any counter-mainline culture solidarity existed in the past (you mentioned trade unions etc but neglected Catholic groups of all sorts -- in the US they often complimented and fused with e.o.), or even now in some places?

What can be done to resurrect, revitalize, or refashion these alternative solidarities? Or create 'em anew? And aren't solidarities of these sorts antithetical to libertarian individualism.

I'm just rambling (I've given up on sustained thought a long time ago) but there are some critical things in there.

beatroot said...

I think being members of meaningful communities is Essentials for all individuals. Religion has certainly played that role, but again it is a declining force. The suicide bomber shows how atomized (literally) these new religious crazies are. That’s nothing to do with religion.

Lack of social solidarity is the problem of our age. How to get it back? Don’t know.

geez said...

A few years back, or decades(?) in the US at least, communitarianism was "the thang" at least in some intellectual circles.

There's quite an interesting bit on it on Wikipedia (never would have looked there if it wasn't for this conversation so thanks).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communitarianism

Includes this snippet on Libertarianism:

"Communitarianism and libertarianism emphasize different values and concerns. Libertarianism is an individualist philosophy, with a strong focus on the rights of citizens in a democracy. Communitarians believe that there is too much focus on these concerns, arguing that "the exclusive pursuit of private interest erodes the network of social environments on which we all depend, and is destructive to our shared experiment in democratic self-government" [1]. They believe that rights must be accompanied by social responsibility and a maintenance of the institutions of civil society if these rights are to be preserved, but libertarians believe that government actions to promote these ends actually result in a loss of individual liberty. In addition, libertarians reject communitarian attempts to promote character education and faith-based initiatives, arguing that government has no business engaging in what they see as social engineering."

I've read, struggled through and liked the Alasdair MacIntyre Reader(a collection of seminal essays by the Catholic philosopher now at Notre Dame)and his earlier _Marxism and Christianity_ and also some stuff by Amitai Etzioni.

Worth checking out although I don't know what it all pans out to in the real world. Don't know if its all the rage it used to be or if it ever amounted to anything more than intellectual jazzing (I made that word up coz I didn't want to consign it to intellectual masturbation).

Watched Hotel Rwanda last night. So much for philosophy and politrix.

geez said...

Hilarious! What next? Right in the thick of things! An Alaskan anti-communitarian "think tank":

http://nord.twu.net/acl/

beatroot said...
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beatroot said...

:-)))
Geez, I remember the communitarianism thing and it led into the Clinton/Blair Third Way thing. And it went nowhere.
ot
Can we guess why it went nowhere? Because this was an invention of think tanks, n real social movements.

I will give you an example. I was a member of the Labour Party for many years. On my membership card it had a quote from the ‘Clause Four’ of the party constitution. That said that the aim of the party was to ‘collectively own, by hand and by brain, the production, distribution, and exchange of the nations wealth’.

In other words, socialism.

Now that quote might have been written by Sidney Webb and other intellectuals (the founders of the LSE university) but it was an expression of a real social movement at the time (1920s) from collectivities in the UK.

Tony Blair decided to get rid of Clause Four.

But what to replace it with? He had meetings, he set up think tanks, etc. But finding a consensus to what should replace the icon of the socialist movement in Britain (when the socialist movement was no more) he found tricky. So, about 24 hours before he had to announce the new Clause to the Party Congress, he scribbled something on the back of an envelope. I can’t actually remember what it was but it was something about ‘equal opportunities and responsibilities for all…’ and other communitarian stuff.

The Labour Party voted for it, but it meant nothing because what Blair was trying to replace – something that came from a real social movement that had roots in society – was substituted by something that Blair wrote on the back on an envelope, in his living room.

Can you see what I am getting at?

geez said...

Yeah, tis mighty bleak, insofar as political movements go.

Where did all the passion go?

But methinks that it oftimes and on the whole did more bad than good.

beatroot said...

Maybe, but at least there was an alternative....that is important...