James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Criminal Gangs

I don't like the way the major media packages the news. I was disgusted throughout 2003 when newsreaders would refer to Iraqi insurgents fighting invasion as "Saddam loyalists." I didn't celebrate when Saddam was captured, and never felt that the world was better off without Saddam. The following year, something was disturbing about how the Ukrainian elections were covered, as well as other democratic "revolutions." These days, I am at best agnostic about poisoned Russians and other anti-Putin reporting. It is ridiculous for the mainstream to dismiss the idea of conspiracies in America, and then concoct their own conspiracy theories for events overseas. If it's possible over there, it's possible over here, and if it's impossible over here, why is it so plausible over there?

I am open to "conspiracy theories." Many of them are logically sounder than "coincidence theory." Further, I think Occam's razor could be modified; sometimes the theory with the fewest assumptions is not so likely if they are the biggest assumptions. What I do doubt, however, is that politicians would be involved, beyond a wink and a nudge, unless they were already secret agents.

I'm more inclined to agree with what Jeff Wells says, that "rogue elements" can give the state the cover of plausible deniability:
This is the essence of the case for the "rogue element," that unnamed "intelligence sources" tout as the most likely agent for Litvinenko's poisoning, and possibly Yegor Gaidar's as well. Also, its beauty. Even when a murder weapon can be traced to state actors - the polonium 210 to a Russian nuclear plant or, say, the anthrax to Fort Detrick - the state can deny institutional culpability by claiming its assets acted without consent. And there is even some truth to the claim, but only because a state's intelligence is structurally dissociative: compartmentalized concretions of unadmitted will, providing deniability to the regime while enacting its ugliest measures.
"Rogues" is the "bad apples" argument. It's to say a state is accountable for the crimes of its henchmen only if it first calls "Simon says." And how often does that happen? It's frequently said by many still that it was "rogue elements" within the CIA that were responsible for the assassination of John Kennedy and its subsequent cover-up, and not the CIA itself, even though those rogues have included some of its most senior and celebrated officials. If a new David Kelly investigation ever actually investigates his death, you can expect the trial balloon of "rogue elements" to be floated to relieve the pressure on the institutions of intelligence.

A lot of smart people have said Vladimir Putin didn't benefit by Litvinenko's murder, because he too obviously benefited, making him and his government the perfect frames. But if the government of Russia's a suspect, who's to prosecute? British investigators have preemptively "ruled out any official involvement" by the Russian state, though they go on to say only those with access to state nuclear laboratories could have carried it out. Naturally Britain would provide Putin an out: the damage to relations makes anything less a prohibitive disruption. (Similarly, Putin hasn't blamed Washington for 9/11, though several Russian commanders have publicly expressed disbelief at its account of the attacks.)
Blaming "rogue elements" spares the institutions of state, which is why the institutions breed them. And who could blame them for that?

It is a libertarian cliche to call the State a criminal gang. We say this in acknowledgement of the rank injustice of taking the wages of working people, and the depravity of throwing people in jail for things that are nobody else's business, such as smoking the wrong stuff, or allowing smoking on their premises.

But even if such lawless laws were valid, and that the State had something called "legitimacy," it is still safe to assume that criminal "gangs" do exist within the State, and that they have more power than most of us want to admit.


  1. Anonymous2:26 PM PST


  2. Anonymous, how insightful! Thanks for sharing.

  3. GreginOz10:03 PM PST

    Now that IS funny, Jimbo! A puzzling thing, to many libos, is this: why the fuck ARE Governments so...fucked. How does a person CHOOSE to BE EVIL? It honestly bewilders me that people like Bush or Kissinger EVEN exist!!! HOW can a man look at himself in the mirror fully aware that he is directly responsible for the death of 650,000 Iraqi civilians??? HOW?