by Alexander Cockburn
those eagerly awaiting the uproar from this writer on the unspeakable assaults on Palestinians on the West Bank, the carnage in the camps and the siege of the Holy Church of the Nativity by Sharon's troops, a word of warning: This column contains reflections on barbecue, a subject that arouses even more passion than matters affecting the peoples of what used to be termed The Holy Land, so parental discretion is advised. Onward.
Greer, S.C.: On the road again. This time the vehicle of choice is a 1985 Ford Escort station wagon. Nothing much to look at, but in the mid-1980s, Ford put 4-cylinder Japanese diesel engines into a few of those Escorts, and this is one of them: 50 or 60 miles to the gallon, tight gears and the feel of a sports car. I head off down the road from Greenville S.C., towards Birmingham, Ala., and my cell phone rings. It's a fellow from the New Republic who is eager to quiz me about some recent remarks of mine about the Internet being awash with anti-Israeli material.
Amid the crackle and hiss of the ether and the roar of the interstate, it's hard to hear Frank through the no-hands speaker on my dashboard, but eventually, I catch his purpose and ask him flatly, in more-or-less these words, "Frank, is your purpose to accuse me of disseminating anti-Semitic libels, under the guise of relaying rumors on the Internet?" Frank allows as how this is indeed his intent. I tell him that in my opinion, the stories about Israeli spies, as categorized in a DEA report discussed by John Sugg of the Daily Planet, by Justin Raimondo on antiwar.com, on Fox News, by the French newsletter Intelligence Online and various other news sources, including the British Jane's, are legitimate topics of comment, as are the stories about anthrax dissemination involving an anti-Arab researcher.
We go back and forth on such issues until the static gets too bad. Later, I retrieve a magnanimous message from Frank saying that he is conferring with associates whether to deal with me in the New Republic. So I assume that at some point, Cockburn will be stigmatized yet again as the purveyor of anti-Semitic filth. It's all pretty predictable. The viler the actions of Israel and the more rabid and undiscriminating the assaults of their troops on Palestinians in the camps, the shriller become charges here that almost any discussion of Israel or of the Israel lobby here is by its very nature anti-Semitic. The day there's a photo of an Israeli soldier shooting a child next to the font in that Bethlehem church you'll find a big story in the New York Times about the troubling resurgence of anti-Semites, with plenty of quotes from Abe Foxman of the ADL.
And on the topic of the NYT, have you noticed how that great paper has had a front-page piece rubbishing the Catholic Church as a nest of molesters every day for some time, especially since Sharon invaded Ramallah? The uncharitable could see this as a pre-emptive strike against Papal criticism of Israel's actions, and also to shift attention away from the blood-stained molestations of the adherents of one or the other monotheistic religions.
I'm now in Birmingham, Ala. Kathy Johnson and Dave Gesspass, stalwart outposts of the National Lawyers' Guild, take me to Dreamland, promoting it as homeport for some of Alabama's best barbecue. The pork ribs are succulent, the sauce not excessively piquant, nor too tomato-laden in flavor. I report as much to friends in the Pacific northwest and receive an e-mailed warning from Dave Vest, member of the region's hottest blues band, the Cannonballs. In earlier decades, Dave lived in the South, and as readers of my column know, he toured with Tammy Wynette in the early years. Dave warns that Cockburn "will observe a steady decline in the quality of the barbecue as he travels west. In Texas they will feed him saddle leather with ketchup on it. The Amoco station in Hattiesburg, Miss., will probably be his last chance for a decent bag of boiled peanuts."
I return from Dreamland to my motel and watch CNN reports of preliminary plans for Secretary of State Colin Powell's urgent trip to bring peace to the Middle East. His itinerary makes Odysseus' journey home from Troy to Ithaca look like a model of decisive brevity. From Morocco to Egypt to Spain, and maybe a chat with Arafat by the following weekend. It all looks like a conflict of interest to me. Is Powell a senior official of the U.S. government or under contract to Travel and Leisure? I suppose the plan is to give Israeli troops plenty of time to shoot more women and children, plus a few journalists, and push ahead with the project of rooting out "terrorism."
I check into a motel outside Meridian, Miss., hometown of Jimmy Rodgers, and take a look at e-traffic. The Trilateral Commission is in executive session. The Washington Times runs a silly piece where the reporter pours scorn on those mostly right-wing populists, who denounce the Commission as a "Secret World Government." Without irony, the reporter notes that among those attending are 250 political and business "leaders" from around the world, with the United States fielding a strong team, including Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Greenspan and Paul Volcker. Absent a few Chinese trillionaires too busy consulting their astrologers to attend, this sounds like World Government to me.
The thing the conspiratorialists miss is the disposability problem. In the old days, world leaders, captains of industry, bankers and politicians died of heart attacks or lung cancer not long after getting the gold watch for meritorious service. Or they went to the penitentiary. In less decorous parts of the world, the hangman or the firing squad performed the same purgative function as the First World's ribeye, gin martini or the Marlboro packet.
The elites are living longer, and so the executive sessions of World Government -- the Trilateral, Bilderberg, Davos, Sun Valley, Aspen, Dubai, the Bohemian Grove -- proliferate. Henry Kissinger pockets his speaker's fee and expenses, and anyone challenging the consensus of these peripatetic world governors gets cut off by the IMF. The Palestinians don't count, and neither does barbecue.
April 9 2002 (http://albionmonitor.com) All Rights Reserved. Contact email@example.com for permission to use in any format.
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