Updates & Weekly Round Up for March 14

‘What’s up with the Boiling Frogs?!’ and A Few Noteworthy Articles

I want to start this update with a major ‘Thank You’ to those of you who’ve been helping us with our fundraising campaign. Last Thursday we made it to 500 donations supporting Boiling Frogs Post and the team. Those of you who’ve been wondering about the absence of new posts: Please check out my fundraising message, and read it again. A lot of hard work and time went into the first four months of BFP operations in order to establish the purpose, mission, and a track record for what this site intends to be.

In order to produce solid articles, editorials, analyses, and in depth interviews we need our readerships’ support. Without that we cannot afford to spend the required time and resources. We all have personal, family, financial, medical…obligations to fulfill. I do. Our team member journalists, analysts, radio host, and researchers do. As you can see, this is not one of the gazillion sites where headlines from here and there are posted with the addition of two-liner rants. Neither is it a place where personal gossip and chats form the general site content.

A thoroughly-researched, carefully written and edited editorial piece such as this one takes me an average of 12 hours, and far more is required for more complex investigative analyses. In addition to one hour of interview conducted, Peter B Collins and I have to take the time to research and read the articles and books (including the reviews) written by our guests, coordinate and schedule the interview, and afterwards edit and publish. So this is work; a fair amount of work requiring a fair amount of time. Like some of you, I am a parent; a mother to a 19 month old handful. Like many of you I have to help support myself and my family. This applies to all our team members.

Now back to our fundraising campaign. We are about to begin our 4th week, and we hope to reach the needed level to pursue this site, and do so in full force. I certainly hope that we do. What if we don’t; at least for this round? Well, then I will have to do as much as humanly possible with very limited resources and time. We may start offering Podcast interviews every other week, instead of every week. We will still have editorial pieces and other articles, but not as many or as frequent as we’d like. Or maybe in a few months we’ll have to offer this site only to those who’ve been and are willing to be supportive. I don’t know. At this point I’m hoping that we make it, and we’ll continue from where we left off for as long as we can, for as long as we have your support.

Noteworthy Articles & Links

Here is decent coverage of the ongoing power struggle in Turkey by Spiegel:

Is Erdogan Strong Enough to Take on the Generals?
Daniel Steinvorth

The Generals Last week's arrest of military brass amid allegations of a plot against the Turkish government have dealt a serious blow to the country's secular elite. But some are asking if Prime Minister Erdogan has bitten off more than he can chew.

Four-star General Cetin Dogan, 69, has a fondness for luxury. Shortly before his retirement, the army veteran, who until five years ago was the commander of the First Army of the Turkish armed forces and a feared hawk, bought a three-story beach villa in the resort town of Bodrum on the Aegean Sea, where he intended to spend his golden years.

But that vision is not likely to materialize, at least not for the foreseeable future. Last Monday, police officers with Turkey's counter-terrorism force TEM searched Dogan's dream house. The general himself was arrested in Istanbul, where he was taken away in handcuffs. No one had ever treated him like that before.

Ibrahim Firtina, 67, was also taken by surprise. The heavyset four-star general, with his bushy, Leonid Brezhnev-style eyebrows, was the commander of the 60,000-member Turkish Air Force, the pride of Anatolia, for four years. Like Dogan, he too was considered a member of the country's top military brass, an untouchable "pasha."

That was until last Monday, when police rang the doorbell at his villa in Ankara. When the pasha opened the door in his robe, his wife called out: "What do they want from you?" "You are under arrest," one of the officers said. "You have half an hour to say goodbye. Please take only a few essentials with you."

Arresting 'Golden Boy'

At about the same time, a special task force paid a visit to Özden Örnek, 67. The retired commander-in-chief of the Turkish navy, a man who was considered highly talented from an early age, a high flyer his wife affectionately referred to as "Golden Boy," was worshipped like a demigod while in office. Even after going into retirement, Örnek was fond of wearing sparkling, white uniforms in public. The police officers took him into custody while he was having breakfast. "Excuse us, Admiral, but we must arrest you now," they said politely.

As many of you are aware, significant cases and developments like this never have any coverage here in the US; thanks to the State Department. And when I say ‘significant’ I don’t mean only as a domestic issue in Turkey. These recent cases on Ergenekon have significant international implications, especially for the United States. Here is a fairly decent summary of Ergenekon for those of you who are not familiar with it: Link.

…………

Speaking of Turkey and related matters, the following articles are on the latest developments involving passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution in the US Congress:

U.S. vows bid to halt Armenian genocide measure
Reuters

ObamaMar14 The Obama administration on Friday sought to limit fallout from a resolution branding the World War One-era massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces as "genocide," and vowed to stop it from going further in Congress.

Turkey was infuriated and recalled its ambassador after a House of Representatives committee on Thursday approved the nonbinding measure condemning killings that took place nearly 100 years ago, in the last days of the Ottoman Empire.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, facing questions about the issue while traveling in Latin America, declared Congress should drop the matter now."The Obama administration strongly opposes the resolution that was passed by only one vote in the House committee and will work very hard to make sure it does not go to the House floor," she said in Guatemala City.

We should go ahead and add this to a very long list of Obama flips since taking office. Remember how Obama vowed to support the measure during the campaign, netting considerable support from Armenian-Americans as a result. Well, like everything else he had vowed, since his election he has reversed his stance on this issue too, and now vehemently opposes it. Surprised? I didn’t think so!

Unfortunately ‘real’ coverage of the ‘real’ issues involving the genocide is nowhere to be seen. Here is a failed attempt by a fairly ignorant (or painfully misinformed) researcher published by one of my favorite websites. Unlike many other publications the author doesn’t seem to have a specific agenda or propaganda to promote, nonetheless, the superficial points he covers here, and extremely important facts he omits, makes it a fairly shallow, misguiding, and ignorant piece. Sorry to see at AntiWar.Com.

Here is another related story by Independent on a different, more human aspect of this same issue:

Robert Fisk: Living proof of the Armenian genocide
Independent

The US wants to deny that Turkey's slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 was genocide. But the evidence is there, in a hilltop orphanage near Beirut.

It's only a small grave, a rectangle of cheap concrete marking it out, blessed by a flourish of wild yellow lilies. Inside are the powdered bones and skulls and bits of femur of up to 300 children, Armenian orphans of the great 1915 genocide who died of cholera and starvation as the Turkish authorities tried to "Turkify" them in a converted Catholic college high above Beirut. But for once, it is the almost unknown story of the surviving 1,200 children – between three and 15 years old – who lived in the crowded dormitory of this ironically beautiful cut-stone school that proves that the Turks did indeed commit genocide against the Armenians in 1915.

Barack Obama and his pliant Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton – who are now campaigning so pitifully to prevent the US Congress acknowledging that the Ottoman Turkish massacre of 1.5 million Armenians was a genocide – should come here to this Lebanese hilltop village and hang their heads in shame. For this is a tragic, appalling tale of brutality against small and defenceless children whose families had already been murdered by Turkish forces at the height of the First World War, some of whom were to recall how they were forced to grind up and eat the skeletons of their dead fellow child orphans in order to survive starvation.

You can read the entire piece here.

……………

Now another important topic:

Natural law brings AfPak crashing
M K Bhadrakumar, Asia Times

Be it a baseball struck in a neighborhood sandlot game or in high-wire diplomacy, an elementary principle of physics holds good - what goes up must come down. In a way, the sheer dynamics of the nosedive of the United States' AfPak diplomacy in the four weeks since the London conference on Afghanistan on January 28 can be attributed to gravitational pulls.

Earth's gravity does not permit animated suspension, and US's AfPak special representative Richard Holbrooke has found it difficult to keep up the entente cordiale worked out in the British capital. United States President Barack Obama may need to act faster than he would have thought.

The US's AfPak special representative Richard Holbrooke has run into head wind almost simultaneously in four key capitals in and around the Hindu Kush - Islamabad, Kabul, Tehran and New Delhi.

Holbrooke no doubt achieved spectacular success in London, by rushing an agenda of "reintegration" and reconciliation of the Afghan Taliban through the assembled gathering of statesmen. The gathering included such inveterate critics of the doctrine of the "good Taliban" as India, China and Russia. But Holbrooke kept the lot together. That was probably the finest hour of AfPak diplomacy.
 

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Comments

  1. Kingfisher says:

    As I have said before the Armenian “genocide” resolution is a bad idea. I support Obama’s “flip flop” on this. This is not to excuse the actions of some members of the Turkish lobby; but this is not our fight. This is eye-sticking between two tribes.

    I find it interesting that right when the relationship between Armenia and Turkey begins to thaw, the diaspora starts up with the eye-sticking.

    KF

  2. contextofnocontext says:

    @ Sibel

    Your position is understandable, though obviously more frequent ’round-ups and updates’ (if nothing else) would be preferable to this avid reader and would be beneficial for fundraising. Since it’s a natural part of your research process anyway, I would suggest a feature of the site wherein available materials/texts/background information you and Mr. Collins compile for upcoming Podcast guests is displayed: In order to provide readers with a more in-depth view of the process, the relevant issues and to possibly solicit listener questions/areas of interest. Audience involvement + the site isn’t dark a week at a time + not much additional work.

    @ KF

    From a removed, pragmatic position it’s hard to disagree with you re: the resolution. But come on: pragmatism-as-ideology is one of the most vacuous, seductive and corrupting elements of our political wasteland. The Armenian Genocide Resolution, as opposed to several more recent episodes of “tribal eye-sticking”(the Balkan NATO action, Rwanda, Darfur, Somalia, etc) does not demand of us any direct police/military/economic action for unclear but heavily-propagandized ‘humanitarian’ causes. This resolution is a morally/ethically legitimate, politically agnostic gesture. If passed, it’ll at least have the benefit of ending some shadow-lobbying nonsense while potentially providing a minute amount of closure. As you said, every time the relationship seems to thaw, this gets brought back up. Do you think we’d completely lose Turkey as an ally? Spies would be exposed in retribution, drug-runners jailed. Anyway, Turkey will still be tight with Israel, which wouldn’t dare recognize Genocide: A deeply pragmatic, ironic gesture of denial regardless of whether or not Hitler’s quote on the subject is properly attributed.

    ——————-

    Separately, in the great annals of NYTimes double-speak/double-think, these two articles appeared in the same Headlines Email this morning:

    1) Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants: “By Mr. Pelton’s account, Mr. Furlong, in conversations with him and his colleagues, referred to his stable of contractors as “my Jason Bournes,” a reference to the fictional American assassin created by the novelist Robert Ludlum and played in movies by Matt Damon.”

    2) Hollywood’s Political Fictions: “But this opening act, and all the tragedies that followed, still awaits an artist capable of wrestling with its complexities. In “Green Zone,” everything is much simpler. “We” were lied to. “They” did the lying. The “we” is the audience, Matt Damon’s stoic soldier and the perpetually innocent American public. The “they” is the neoconservatives, embodied by a weaselly Greg Kinnear (playing some combination of Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Bremer and Douglas Feith) and capable of any enormity in the pursuit of their objectives.”

    Isn’t it better when they tell you exactly how to process information? Demography and the ‘Paranoid Style’ vs. the powerful actions of certain men, as always. Also, I’m not trying to recommend Green Zone/the Bourne movies/Syriana, but…The Hurt Locker? Gimme a break. It would have been interesting to hear Chris Hedges’ thoughts on the use of his quote at the beginning of that War/Merc-loving piece of mediocre trash.

  3. Kingfisher says:

    @Contex,
    Glad to hear from you again.

    “The Armenian Genocide Resolution, as opposed to several more recent episodes of “tribal eye-sticking”(the Balkan NATO action, Rwanda, Darfur, Somalia, etc) does not demand of us any direct police/military/economic action for unclear but heavily-propagandized ‘humanitarian’ causes.”
    The “tribal eye-sticking” is not the actual events of the alleged genocide; it is the bickering of ethnic lobbies in the US trying to sling mud at each other.

    “This resolution is a morally/ethically legitimate, politically agnostic gesture.”
    Its moral/ethical bearing is irrelevant; it’s not congresses place to make that judgment. It’s not politically agnostic; it’s sticking the Turks in the eye.

    “If passed, it’ll at least have the benefit of ending some shadow-lobbying nonsense while potentially providing a minute amount of closure.”
    It never ends with these people.

    “As you said, every time the relationship seems to thaw, this gets brought back up.”
    Russia is crafty like that.

    Also, God forbid the people who actually live in these countries benefit from the warming of relations between the two countries. But nooooo, rich members of the diaspora in LA and Chicago have to play stick the other tribe in the eye.

    “Do you think we’d completely lose Turkey as an ally?”
    In the past few years we seem to be trying to find out.

    “Anyway, Turkey will still be tight with Israel, which wouldn’t dare recognize Genocide: A deeply pragmatic, ironic gesture of denial regardless of whether or not Hitler’s quote on the subject is properly attributed.”
    That relationship was built on matters other than Genocide recognition. That relationship is also very strained right now – it’s almost on life support. Further, Israel’s concerns and interests are of little significance to me. The Israel lobby is another group of eye-stickers that I would like to set my sights on.

    “but…The Hurt Locker? Gimme a break. It would have been interesting to hear Chris Hedges’ thoughts on the use of his quote at the beginning of that War/Merc-loving piece of mediocre trash.”
    Dude you didn’t like The Hurt Locker? I didn’t think it was great, but it was a legitimately good movie in a very lackluster year for films. The movie is apolitical; I don’t see how you can call it “war/merc-loving”. Do you say that because the protagonist is a military bomb disposal guy? Those guys are heroes – even if you are anti-war.

    best,
    KF

  4. contextofnocontext says:

    @ KF

    Always a pleasure. Your points are well taken, though I have my suspicions about the real effect this would have on Turkey’s relationships with the US, Israel and Armenia. Much of it could very well be staged for public consumption (especially with Israel) and I always prefer a political football to be popped rather than kicked around the field forever; especially when it comes to acknowledging historical facts.

    Re The Hurt Locker: I remember your astute statement about the fascism of the antifascists. I would say the same about the misanthropy of the humanitarians and the politics of the ‘apolitical’. I call the film Merc-loving because it features a fawning portrayal of Mercenaries in combat, side-by-side with enlisted men (Ralph Fiennes’ men are Mercs, not British soldiers). I call the film war-loving because its effectiveness is solely contingent upon the visceral thrill derived from constantly escalating combat sequences. Under the cover of ‘realism’ (worse, ‘hyper-realism’) they’re trying to sell you on a war fetish while pretending to document the truth of it all. This has nothing to do with actual bomb disposal guys, despite the coding of the aesthetic.

    I could go on about the cynical, insincere use of PTSD and the Iraqi kid for plot movement as well as the ‘meaning’ behind the bomb-death of that Officer, but these points are really subordinate to my “the medium is the message” line of thinking. Also, the actors were trained by Blackwater, but that’s got little to do with the content.

    But hey, to paper tiger my way out, you’re talking to a guy who thinks The Crazies remake is awesome.

  5. If peoples perceptions remain unchanged, no one will be able to prevent their slaughter.

  6. so the relatively independent Erdogan gov refuses to be a cheerleader to Israel’s genocide and the junta drums start beating. They arrest the traitors and the jew’s running dogs in our Congress start the smear campaign against Turkey. I don’t know if there was an Armenian genocide, there probably was, but who the f is the US to point out other people’s crimes…laughable.

  7. Kingfisher says:

    “They arrest the traitors and the jew’s running dogs in our Congress start the smear campaign against Turkey.”
    Do you mean the Armenian Genocide resolution as part of the smear campaign? If that is the case, to be fair, I do not believe the Israel lobby is pushing for it, as they have been consistently opposed to previous resolutions. Perhaps the lobby is not active in opposing it this time?

    “I don’t know if there was an Armenian genocide, there probably was, but who the f is the US to point out other people’s crimes…laughable.”
    @contextofnocontext,
    You stressed the moral/ethical legitimacy of the resolution; what say you to this argument?

  8. Kingfisher says:

    “Re The Hurt Locker: I remember your astute statement about the fascism of the antifascists.”
    Thank you for noticing that one. The mirror imaging that goes on in this world just strikes me so hard and consumes a lot of my thought. It’s something that Richard Hofstadter touches on in ‘Paranoid Style’ and they get into it in ‘The Power of Nightmares’.

    “I would say the same about the misanthropy of the humanitarians and the politics of the ‘apolitical’.”
    I’m going to have to chew on this one. I’m not sure I understand it.

    “I call the film Merc-loving because it features a fawning portrayal of Mercenaries in combat, side-by-side with enlisted men (Ralph Fiennes’ men are Mercs, not British soldiers).”
    As I remember it, it was not a fawning portrayal. Rather unflattering, almost to the point of caricature.

    “I call the film war-loving because its effectiveness is solely contingent upon the visceral thrill derived from constantly escalating combat sequences. Under the cover of ‘realism’ (worse, ‘hyper-realism’) they’re trying to sell you on a war fetish while pretending to document the truth of it all.”
    I just can’t bring myself to over-intellectualize a film made by the same director who did ‘Point Break’, sorry dude. Cant suck the joy out of everything.

    “Also, the actors were trained by Blackwater, but that’s got little to do with the content.”
    By former Blackwater people, who were previously Navy SEALs. ‘Blackwater’ has also become colloquial term for private military contractors; just like someone may have a ‘xerox machine’ that is not actually made by Xerox. I wouldn’t sweat it.

    best,
    KF

  9. contextofnocontext says:

    @ KF,

    A) One day you’ll drop this misguided love of Hofstadter. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, etc. Intellectuals who approach issues, ideas and people as they would a marketing campaign have lost the battle at the very start. I say again, of course he was wrong about Goldwater, he was too busy talking about ‘Style’ to bother with ‘Substance.’
    B) Over-intellectualizing? Or does it all boil down to “It’s just a movie!”? Johnny Utah would agree with me here. He understood quite a bit about the use of masks, the banking system and Presidential lawlessness.
    C) My point about the mirror-image stuff (Humanitarians/Apoliticals) is that it gets even worse when you start to approach a belief in ideological transcendence. Folks in that position could be spinning from a chandelier and would still maintain their supreme clarity.
    D) Finally, regarding Zaknick’s statement: Towards a general synthesis of John Young’s approach, I think it would be unwise to take this ‘Smear Campaign’ angle too seriously. Hasn’t Russia, for instance, already recognized the Genocide? Switzerland? Venezuela? Who the f do these ‘jew-controlled’ Lebanese think they are? Meanwhile, as we wait for Jesus to return and start throwing some righteous rocks, we might as well agree on a few basic principles. Either it’s a crime or it isn’t, regardless of the accuser. That’d be my argument. Last time I checked, none of us are innocent.

    KF, I’m starting to really believe this whole ‘Resolution’ issue will end up being the reverse of your ‘stick in the eye’ theory. What a wonderful way for Turkey (and Israel) to drum up some much-needed national unity, right? 30 years from now Cryptome will run the minutes of a meeting between Erdogan and Netanyahu, both of them laughing hysterically at their easily-manipulated citizens. Bibi: “And then, as we defy any semblance of decency and bulldoze more homes (giggle, snort) we’ll distract the Israeli sheeple with anti-Semitic drivel!!!” Erdi: “Yes, yes (pees pants) and we will maintain a threadbare belief in some sort of political reality using just the same manipulation of ethnic/religious/national pride!!! God damn, we’re so good at this game.” They high-five. Fade out. See you next week.

  10. ZicaTanka says:

    @cOFc: That was awesome. I now look at you as a village elder. I also look at KF that way. BTW, you should be published more, so please comment more here.

  11. ZicaTanka says:

    Also, on your point C, the only real ideology is transcendence. That’s what keeps us going. Taku Skan Skan.

  12. Hi Sibel

    Be expecting something in your PO Box this week from me. 🙂

    Mailed yesterday, 16 March.

  13. Hi Sibel

    I am wondering about the package I sent. I have delivery notification and USPS says:
    Class: Priority Mail®
    Service(s): Delivery Confirmation™
    Status: Forwarded

    Your item was forwarded to a different address at 10:39 AM on March 18, 2010 in ALEXANDRIA, VA 22320. This was because of forwarding instructions or because the address or ZIP Code on the label was incorrect. Information, if available, is updated periodically throughout the day. Please check again later.

    Sorry about posting this on forum but ‘my computer sometimes doesn’t work quite right’ and worried that using CONTACT FORM might not work either.

    I’ll check USPS again later, hope you get it. 🙂

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