Sunday, January 31, 2010

In the West Bank's Stony Hills, Palestine is Slowly Dying

By Robert Fisk


In the richest of the Occupied lands, Israeli bureaucracy is driving Palestinians out of their homes. Continue

*

Inside Israeli land grabs


The Real News investigates the mechanism by which Israeli settlements come about and expand in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Go to story | Go to homepage



*

Q&A: ''Hamas Accepts Existence of Israel Within 1967 Borders'':

. . . We have already stated repeatedly that we accept the existence of Israel within the 1967 borders as a political reality even if we do not approve its moral legitimacy. . .


Israeli Confessions: If one wants to know why and how the conflict started in Palestine more than 60 years ago, the "confessions" of Israeli and Zionist leaders should make it very clear.

Click on heading to play video



Saturday, January 30, 2010


"...truly the last nail in the coffin of 'American Democracy'..."

Secret Banking Cabal Emerges From AIG Shadows

By David Reilly

The idea of secret banking cabals that control the country and global economy are a given among conspiracy theorists who stockpile ammo, bottled water and peanut butter. After this week’s congressional hearing into the bailout of American International Group Inc., you have to wonder if those folks are crazy after all. Continue


This Corruption in Washington is Smothering America's Future

By Johann Hari

This week, a disaster hit the United States, and the after-tremors will be shaking and breaking global politics for years. Continue


Corporations are people too!

Supreme Court Ruling Spurs Corporation Run for Congress

By ERIC HENSAL AND WILLIAM KLEIN

"It's our democracy. We bought it, we paid for it, and we're going to keep it." Murray Hill Inc.

Continue


Your Disappointment In Obama Is Your Teaching Moment

By Carolyn Baker

Last week's Supreme Court ruling lifting limits on campaign financing by corporations was truly the last nail in the coffin of democracy and sealed the fundamental definition of fascism attributed to Mussolini which was simply, "the corporate state."

Abramoff rules, and politicians no longer have any reason to function other than corporate whores.

Continue



Thursday, January 28, 2010

You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

Remembering Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn, US historian and activist, dies aged 87

By Alison Flood

January 28, 2010 "The Guardian" --
American
historian, playwright and social activist Howard Zinn died yesterday, aged 87.

The author of the million-plus bestseller A People's History of the United States, which gave a leftist view of American history, died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California, his daughter Myla Kabat-Zinn told the Associated Press today.

Zinn wrote more than 20 books and his plays have been produced around the world, but it is for A People's History, first published in 1980 with a print run of just 5,000 copies, which the historian is best known.

Told from the perspective of America's women, Native Americans and workers, the book provides a revisionist view of American history from the arrival of Christopher Columbus – who Zinn charges with genocide – to president Bill Clinton's first term.

"My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality," wrote the author in the bestselling book. "

But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all) – that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth."

Growing up in an immigrant, working-class family in Brooklyn, Zinn became a shipyard worker at 18, later joining the air force and flying a bomber during the second world war. His experiences shaped his opposition to war, and on his return he took a PhD in history at Columbia University, later working with civil rights movement activists including Alice Walker and Marian Wright Edelman, and leading antiwar protests.

Professor emeritus at Boston University, Zinn received a host of honours, most recently the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr Humanitarian award from New York University for embodying "a vision of peace, persistence in purpose, and inspirational action".

In December, a documentary narrated by Zinn and based on A People's History aired on the History Channel. Intended to give a voice to those who spoke up for social change throughout US history, producers on the film included Matt Damon and Zinn himself, with performances from Morgan Freeman, Bob Dylan, Viggo Mortensen, Bruce Springsteen and others.

The Zinn Education Project, which promotes the teaching of A People's History in schools throughout America, said it was "deeply saddened" to learn of Zinn's death.

"His incredible energy, wit, knowledge, political analysis, vision, and dedication had us convinced that he would outlive us all," the project posted on its website. "At 87, he continued to inform and inspire in his presentations across the country, radio interviews, essays, and film-making."


You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train


*

Howard Zinn (1922-2010):

A Tribute to the Legendary Historian

with Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Naomi Klein and Anthony Arnove


*

Daniel Ellsberg: A Memory of Howard:
I just learned that my friend Howard Zinn died today. . .The interviewer asked me who my own heroes were, and I had no hesitation in answering, first, “Howard Zinn.”
. . . in my opinion, the best human being I’ve ever known. The best example of what a human can be, and can do with their life.


*

Howard Zinn, author of 'People's History of the US,' dead at 87

Howard Zinn (pictured last July), an anti-Vietnam war activist, died Wednesday at the age of 87

My son was barely nine when we attended a talk by Howard Zinn at the Le Moyne College in upstate New York.

Normally very shy, he had no hesitation walking up to Zinn after the talk with an old, yellowed copy of The People’s History of the United States for an autograph.

The graciousness with which Zinn, besieged by hundreds of admirers, received this little boy and made him “my young friend” was an unforgettable moment, and prompted him to read the book more seriously.

My son learned from Zinn to question mainstream narratives of history and to understand that history is very often, as Napoleon said, “a fable that has been agreed upon.”

Zinn, capable of making even children think for themselves, died Wednesday. He was 87.

The Huffington Post reported that Zinn died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California.

It quoted linguist and fellow peace activist Noam Chomsky as saying: "I can't think of anyone who had such a powerful and benign influence. His historical work changed the way millions of people saw the past."

Vietnamese readers have had the opportunity to come to know Zinn through the translation of his most famous book. Lich Su Dan Toc My was published in Vietnam late last year by Alphabooks.

Zinn, a bomber pilot during World War II, turned to history to understand how people could be brought to inflict such wanton violence on other people. He came to understand how history was authored by the elites and written primarily to serve their agenda to exploit and subjugate.

In an act of incredible bravery, his “People’s History of the United States” broke centuries of propaganda and myth that was taught in schools, colleges and universities.

The book showed how historical figures like Christopher Columbus and other celebrated explorers actually engaged in genocidal actions, and how the lack of a common person’s perspective of events distorted history, condemning it to repetition.

The Huffington Post reported that Zinn was born to Jewish immigrants in New York in 1922. Strongly influenced by the novels of Charles Dickens that explored the misery of those exploited by an industrializing society, his political awakening began when he was beaten unconscious by police when he was attending a rally in Times Square.

After the World War, he was thoroughly disillusioned by institutionalized violence. In 1956 he took up a teaching position at an all-black women's school in then-segregated Atlanta.

He was very active during the civil rights movement, encouraging his students to request books from the segregated public libraries and helped coordinate sit-ins at downtown cafeterias, the Huffington Post reported.

Zinn was also a prominent opponent of the Vietnam War and was a strong peace advocate until his death.

The Post report said that one of Zinn's last public writings was an essay published last week in The Nation, about the first year of the Obama administration.

"I've been searching hard for a highlight," he wrote, adding that he wasn't disappointed because he never expected a lot from Obama.

"I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president – which means, in our time, a dangerous president – unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction."

Zinn’s passing is a major blow for the peace movement in the US and the world, but his works will continue to inspire millions to question mainstream historical narratives.


By Hari Chathrattil

http://www.thanhniennews.com/commentaries/?catid=11&newsid=54994




* * *


An Illegal War is State-Terrorism

By Yamin Zakaria

The war had no mandate from the UN Security Council; it was a unilateral and barbaric act of aggression by the Anglo-US regime. Without a legal backing – the invasion was state terrorism dispensed to the innocent civilians of Iraq.

Continue



British Invasion of Iraq Was Illegal: Ex-govt Lawyer

By Alice Ritchie

"I considered that the use of force against Iraq in March 2003 was contrary to international law," Michael Wood, chief legal advisor to the Foreign Office between 1999 and 2006, told the Chilcot inquiry in London. "In my opinion, that use of force had not been authorised by the Security Council, and had no other legal basis in international law."

Continue


Wanted: Tony Blair for War Crimes.

Arrest Him and Claim your Reward

By George Monbiot

Chilcot and the courts won't do it, so it is up to us to show that we won't let an illegal act of mass murder go unpunished.


...So today I am launching a website – www.arrestblair.org – whose purpose is to raise money as a reward for people attempting a peaceful citizen's arrest of the former prime minister.

I have put up the first £100, and I encourage you to match it. Anyone meeting the rules I've laid down will be entitled to one quarter of the total pot: the bounties will remain available until Blair faces a court of law. The higher the ­reward, the greater the number of ­people who are likely to try.

At this stage the arrests will be largely symbolic, though they are likely to have great political resonance. But I hope that as pressure builds up and the crime of aggression is adopted by the courts, these attempts will help to press ­governments to prosecute.

There must be no hiding place for those who have committed crimes against peace. No ­civilised country can allow mass ­murderers to move on.


Continue


*

Does Israel Use The Holocaust As A Blackmail Weapon?

This is a 'must watch' video!

Norman Finkelstein and Israel W. Charny discuss the issue in a revealing debate.



Continue


The Kidnapping of Haiti


By John Pilger

January 27, 2010 "Information Clearing House" --

The theft of Haiti has been swift and crude.

On 22 January, the United States secured “formal approval” from the United Nations to take over all air and sea ports in Haiti, and to “secure” roads. No Haitian signed the agreement, which has no basis in law. Power rules in an American naval blockade and the arrival of 13,000 marines, special forces, spooks and mercenaries, none with humanitarian relief training.

The airport in the capital, Port-au-Prince, is now an American military base and relief flights have been re-routed to the Dominican Republic. All flights stopped for three hours for the arrival of Hillary Clinton. Critically injured Haitians waited unaided as 800 American residents in Haiti were fed, watered and evacuated. Six days passed before the US Air Force dropped bottled water to people suffering thirst and dehydration.

The first TV reports played a critical role, giving the impression of widespread criminal mayhem.

Matt Frei, the BBC reporter dispatched from Washington, seemed on the point of hyperventilation as he brayed about the “violence” and need for “security”. In spite of the demonstrable dignity of the earthquake victims, and evidence of citizens’ groups toiling unaided to rescue people, and even an American general’s assessment that the violence in Haiti was considerably less than before the earthquake, Frei claimed that “looting is the only industry” and “the dignity of Haiti’s past is long forgotten.”

Thus, a history of unerring US violence and exploitation in Haiti was consigned to the victims. “There’s no doubt,” reported Frei in the aftermath of America’s bloody invasion of Iraq in 2003, “that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially now to the Middle East … is now increasingly tied up with military power.”

In a sense, he was right. Never before in so-called peacetime have human relations been as militarised by rapacious power. Never before has an American president subordinated his government to the military establishment of his discredited predecessor, as Barack Obama has done. In pursuing George W. Bush’s policy of war and domination, Obama has sought from Congress an unprecedented military budget in excess of $700 billion. He has become, in effect, the spokesman for a military coup.

For the people of Haiti the implications are clear, if grotesque. With US troops in control of their country, Obama has appointed George W. Bush to the “relief effort”: a parody surely lifted from Graham Greene’s The Comedians, set in Papa Doc’s Haiti.

As president, Bush’s relief effort following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 amounted to an ethnic cleansing of many of New Orleans’ black population. In 2004, he ordered the kidnapping of the democratically-elected prime minister of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and exiled him in Africa. The popular Aristide had had the temerity to legislate modest reforms, such as a minimum wage for those who toil in Haiti’s sweatshops.

When I was last in Haiti, I watched very young girls stooped in front of whirring, hissing, binding machines at the Port-au-Prince Superior Baseball Plant. Many had swollen eyes and lacerated arms. I produced a camera and was thrown out. Haiti is where America makes the equipment for its hallowed national game, for next to nothing. Haiti is where Walt Disney contractors make Mickey Mouse pjamas, for next to nothing. The US controls Haiti’s sugar, bauxite and sisal. Rice-growing was replaced by imported American rice, driving people into the cities and towns and jerry-built housing. Years after year, Haiti was invaded by US marines, infamous for atrocities that have been their specialty from the Philippines to Afghanistan.

Bill Clinton is another comedian, having got himself appointed the UN’s man in Haiti. Once fawned upon by the BBC as “Mr. Nice Guy … bringing democracy back to a sad and troubled land”, Clinton is Haiti’s most notorious privateer, demanding de-regulation of the economy for the benefit of the sweatshop barons. Lately, he has been promoting a $55m deal to turn the north of Haiti into an American-annexed “tourist playground”.

Not for tourists is the US building its fifth biggest embassy in Port-au-Prince. Oil was found in Haiti’s waters decades ago and the US has kept it in reserve until the Middle East begins to run dry.

More urgently, an occupied Haiti has a strategic importance in Washington’s “rollback” plans for Latin America.

The goal is the overthrow of the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, control of Venezuela’s abundant oil reserves and sabotage of the growing regional cooperation that has given millions their first taste of an economic and social justice long denied by US-sponsored regimes.

The first rollback success came last year with the coup against President Jose Manuel Zelaya in Honduras who also dared advocate a minimum wage and that the rich pay tax. Obama’s secret support for the illegal regime carries a clear warning to vulnerable governments in central America.

Last October, the regime in Colombia, long bankrolled by Washington and supported by death squads, handed the US seven military bases to, according to US air force documents, “combat anti-US governments in the region”.

Media propaganda has laid the ground for what may well be Obama’s next war.

On 14 December, researchers at the University of West England published first findings of a ten-year study of the BBC’s reporting of Venezuela. Of 304 BBC reports, only three mentioned any of the historic reforms of the Chavez government, while the majority denigrated Chavez’s extraordinary democratic record, at one point comparing him to Hitler.

Such distortion and its attendant servitude to western power are rife across the Anglo-American corporate media. People who struggle for a better life, or for life itself, from Venezuela to Honduras to Haiti, deserve our support.

www.johnpilger.com


*

Focus on Haiti

The Politics of Rice

Video Report By Al Jazeera

How a fertile country became dependent on food aid.

Continue



Monday, January 25, 2010

Middle Eastern and Latin American Media
A Thorn in the Side of the U.S. Military in Haiti


By Nikolas Kozloff

Watch the U.S. media and its coverage of the crisis in Haiti, and you get the impression that Washington is a benevolent power doing its utmost to help with emergency relief in the Caribbean island nation. But tune into al-Jazeera English or South American news network Telesur and you come away with a very different view...

....Al-Jazeera has always proven to be a thorn in the side of the U.S. military. Now, Washington must also contend with rising star, Telesur. In the coming days, as the relief effort proceeds in Haiti, relations between the Pentagon and these new media outlets could prove testy.


Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2008). Visit his blog here.


Continue to read the complete story here


*

'Christian' Crusaders and Failures of Intelligence in the US Military

By Eileen Fleming

The militarization of Christianity and all terrorism committed in the name of God must be challenged in a world desperate for Christians who actually follow what Jesus was all about. Continue

*

Time for George Mitchell to Resign

By Stephen M. Walt

Why should Mitchell step down now? Because he is wasting his time.

The administration's early commitment to an Israeli-Palestinian peace was either a naïve bit of bravado or a cynical charade, and if Mitchell continues to pile up frequent-flyer miles in a fruitless effort, he will be remembered as one of a long series of U.S. "mediators" who ended up complicit in Israel's self-destructive land grab on the West Bank. Continue

*

Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

By Chris Hedges

Corporate forces, long before the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, carried out a coup d'état in slow motion.

The coup is over. We lost.

Continue the full story

*

David Kelly Post Mortem to be Kept Secret for 70 Years

Doctors accuse Lord Hutton of concealing vital information

By Miles Goslett

The body of former United Nations weapons inspector Dr Kelly was found in July 2003 in woods close to his Oxfordshire home, shortly after he was exposed as the source of a BBC news report questioning the Government’s claims that Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which could be deployed within 45 minutes.
Continue


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dutch Inquiry Finds Iraq War Illegal

By Ann Talbot

January 23, 2010 "WSWS" - -

A Dutch commission of inquiry has concluded that the US-led 2003 Iraq war was illegal under international law. The conclusion has far-reaching implications. Potentially, it could open up leading politicians and military figures in the US and Britain to prosecution for war crimes....

The attempt to maintain the lie that the war was legal is becoming increasingly difficult. The Dutch report entirely rejects the central argument used to justify the actions of the British government and claim that there was a legal basis for the invasion...

Unlike the ongoing Chilcot inquiry in Britain on the war, the Dutch team included legal experts. As Professor Philippe Sands QC, an expert on international law, has pointed out, their conclusion is significant for that reason:

“There has been no other independent assessment on the legality of the war in Iraq and the findings of this inquiry are unambiguous. It concludes that the case argued by the Dutch and British governments, including the then-attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, could not reasonably be argued.

“This is the authoritative view of seven commissioners, including the former president of the Dutch Supreme Court, a former judge of the European Court of justice, and two legal academics.”....

The British political establishment is becoming increasingly uneasy about the application of international law to them and to their allies. That is why the government intends to bring in legislation that will override the principle of universal jurisdiction in Britain. This follows the issue of an arrest warrant for former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who was due to visit Britain.....

Universal jurisdiction is the well established legal principle that some crimes can be tried outside of the boundaries of the country in which they were committed, if they can be considered crimes against humanity or war crimes. It was expressed in the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals at the end of the World War II.

The Nuremberg judges concluded that the trials were “not an arbitrary exercise of power on the part of victorious nations,” but were “the expression of international law.” This principle was confirmed by the United Nations in 1946 and it was expressed in the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel for his part in the Holocaust. In 1998, the House of Lords upheld the principle in the case of former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet, who had been arrested in London.

With regard to war crimes, the Geneva Conventions require signatory nations, such as Britain and the US, to pass the necessary laws and “provide effective penal sanctions” for persons “committing, or ordering to be committed” any “grave breaches” of the Conventions. Crucially, Article 129 goes on to state that each signatory “shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts.”

Following the Davids Commission report, the Dutch government should therefore feel itself obliged to issue arrest warrants--not only for Balkenende, but for Blair and his cabinet, as well as all the senior members of the Bush administration, including the former president. Naturally, it has no intention of doing so. But that is far from being the end of the matter....

This situation is becoming intolerable for the international league of war criminals who head the governments of the world’s major powers. It has led to repeated efforts to curtail universal jurisdiction by the US, Israel Belgium, Spain and now Britain. In doing so, these governments and their representatives only place themselves more firmly on a collision course with the mass of the world’s population, who continue to believe that those responsible for the crimes committed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and elsewhere must be brought to justice.

Continue


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Crimes Against Humanity

Complaint Filed Against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al

International Arrest Warrants Requested

Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. has filed a Complaint with the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “Accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” perpetrated upon about 100 human beings. Continue

*

Astonishing Report: We're Executing Gitmo Prisoners and Calling It Suicide

The three "suicides" in June 2006 were not suicides at all. The men were killed during interrogations in a secret prison block and the murders were disguised to look like suicides.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Am The Resistance

You can call me names but history knows I am a hero

3 Minute Video

Whenever there is injustice, there are people fighting it with every possible means. We have seen it so many times before: the oppressed rise up, the oppressor dehumanizes them calling them such names as "terrorists", "saboteurs", "death loving" extremists... It is only normal that the oppressor will always lie to justify his actions and its crimes.

Continue



Monday, January 18, 2010

Criminal State
A Closer Look at Israel's Role in Terrorism

By Jeff Gates

With ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan poised to expand to Iran and Pakistan, it is time to take a closer look at how conflicts are catalyzed—by way of deception.

....The greatest threat to world peace is not Islam. The most fundamental threat that underlies all others is our [US] “special relationship” with a skilled agent provocateur [Israel]....

In the same way that lengthy pre-staging was required to induce the U.S. to invade Iraq, a similar strategy is now underway to persuade the U.S. to invade Iran or support an attack by Israel.

Pakistan is also now on the agenda of those marketing The Clash narrative with its vision of a perpetual war against “militant Islam.” Similar mental conditioning is again at work, including the high profile branding of the requisite Evil Doer: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinajad.

From its outset, the Zionist enterprise sought supremacy in the Middle East. To date, its alliance with the U.S. has enabled the deployment of American military might in pursuit of goals set by Jewish nationalists more than a half-century before a Christian Zionist U.S. president was induced to extend nation-state recognition.

Harry Truman made that fateful decision despite his fears that Israel would become what Zionist lobbyists assured him it would not become—and what it immediately became: a racist and theocratic state.

Only one nation had the means, motive, opportunity and stable nation state intelligence required to take the U.S. to war in the Middle East while making it appear that Islam—not Israel—is the problem.

When a long-deceived American public—especially the U.S. military—grasps the common source of this devastating duplicity, the response will shift the geopolitical landscape.

The facts suggest that “sympathy for Israel” is not among the probable reactions.

If Barack Obama continues to cater to these extremists, this Nobel peace laureate can rightly be blamed when the next attack features the usual orgy of evidence pointing to a pre-staged Evil Doer.

Should another mass murder occur, that incident may well be traceable to the U.S.-Israeli relationship and to the failure of our policy-makers to protect America—and world peace—from this enemy within.

Read the complete story - very revealing!


Amnesty: Israel 'collectively punishing' Gaza

Amnesty International on Monday accused Israel of "collectively punishing" the population of Gaza with "border" closures tightened after the democratically elected Hamas movement's 2007 takeover.

Israel's Gaza blockade continues to suffocate daily life: Amnesty International

Full report:

Israel must end its suffocating blockade of the Gaza Strip, which leaves more than 1.4 million Palestinians cut off from the outside world and struggling with desperate poverty, Amnesty International said one year on from the end of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.


Blackwater/XE behind terrorist bombings in Asia and Africa?

Wayne Madsen
Online Journal
Monday, January 18th, 2010

WMR’s intelligence sources in Asia and Europe are reporting that the CIA contractor firm XE Services, formerly Blackwater, has been carrying out “false flag” terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Sinkiang region of China, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq, in some cases with the assistance of Israeli Mossad and Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) personnel....

FULL STORY:

http://www.prisonplanet.com/blackwaterxe-behind-terrorist-bombings-in-asia-and-africa.html


The Right Testicle of Hell:
History of a Haitian Holocaust

Blackwater before drinking water

By Greg Palast

January 17, 2010 "The Huffington Post" - -

long way
















1.
Bless the President for having rescue teams in the air almost immediately. That was President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland. On Wednesday, the AP reported that the President of the United States promised, "The initial contingent of 2,000 Marines could be deployed to the quake-ravaged country within the next few days." "In a few days," Mr. Obama?

2.
There's no such thing as a 'natural' disaster. 200,000 Haitians have been slaughtered by slum housing and IMF "austerity" plans.

3.
A friend of mine called. Do I know a journalist who could get medicine to her father? And she added, trying to hold her voice together, "My sister, she's under the rubble. Is anyone going who can help, anyone?" Should I tell her, "Obama will have Marines there in 'a few days'"?

4.
China deployed rescuers with sniffer dogs within 48 hours. China, Mr. President. China: 8,000 miles distant. Miami: 700 miles close. US bases in Puerto Rico: right there.

5.
Obama's Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "I don't know how this government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has." We know Gates doesn't know.

6.
From my own work in the field, I know that FEMA has access to ready-to-go potable water, generators, mobile medical equipment and more for hurricane relief on the Gulf Coast. It's all still there. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who served as the task force commander for emergency response after Hurricane Katrina, told the Christian Science Monitor, “I thought we had learned that from Katrina, take food and water and start evacuating people." Maybe we learned but, apparently, Gates and the Defense Department missed school that day.

7.
Send in the Marines. That's America's response. That's what we're good at. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson finally showed up after three days. With what? It was dramatically deployed — without any emergency relief supplies. It has sidewinder missiles and 19 helicopters.

8.
But don't worry, the International Search and Rescue Team, fully equipped and self-sufficient for up to seven days in the field, deployed immediately with ten metric tons of tools and equipment, three tons of water, tents, advanced communication equipment and water purifying capability. They're from Iceland.

9.
Gates wouldn't send in food and water because, he said, there was no "structure ... to provide security." For Gates, appointed by Bush and allowed to hang around by Obama, it's security first. That was his lesson from Hurricane Katrina. Blackwater before drinking water.

10.
Previous US presidents have acted far more swiftly in getting troops on the ground on that island. Haiti is the right half of the island of Hispaniola. It's treated like the right testicle of Hell. The Dominican Republic the left. In 1965, when Dominicans demanded the return of Juan Bosch, their elected President, deposed by a junta, Lyndon Johnson reacted to this crisis rapidly, landing 45,000 US Marines on the beaches to prevent the return of the elected president.

11.
How did Haiti end up so economically weakened, with infrastructure, from hospitals to water systems, busted or non-existent - there are two fire stations in the entire nation - and infrastructure so frail that the nation was simply waiting for "nature" to finish it off?

Don’t blame Mother Nature for all this death and destruction. That dishonor goes to Papa Doc and Baby Doc, the Duvalier dictatorship, which looted the nation for 28 years. Papa and his Baby put an estimated 80% of world aid into their own pockets - with the complicity of the US government happy to have the Duvaliers and their voodoo militia, Tonton Macoutes, as allies in the Cold War. (The war was easily won: the Duvaliers’ death squads murdered as many as 60,000 opponents of the regime.)

12.
What Papa and Baby didn't run off with, the IMF finished off through its "austerity" plans. An austerity plan is a form of voodoo orchestrated by economists zomby-fied by an irrational belief that cutting government services will somehow help a nation prosper.

13.
In 1991, five years after the murderous Baby fled, Haitians elected a priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who resisted the IMF's austerity diktats. Within months, the military, to the applause of Papa George HW Bush, deposed him.
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. The farce was George W. Bush. In 2004, after the priest Aristide was re-elected President, he was kidnapped and removed again, to the applause of Baby Bush.

14.
Haiti was once a wealthy nation, the wealthiest in the hemisphere, worth more, wrote Voltaire in the 18th century, than that rocky, cold colony known as New England. Haiti's wealth was in black gold: slaves. But then the slaves rebelled - and have been paying for it ever since.

From 1825 to 1947, France forced Haiti to pay an annual fee to reimburse the profits lost by French slaveholders caused by their slaves’ successful uprising. Rather than enslave individual Haitians, France thought it more efficient to simply enslave the entire nation.

15.
Secretary Gates tells us, "There are just some certain facts of life that affect how quickly you can do some of these things." The Navy's hospital boat will be there in, oh, a week or so. Heckuva job, Brownie!

16.
Note just received from my friend. Her sister was found, dead; and her other sister had to bury her. Her father needs his anti-seizure medicines. That's a fact of life too, Mr. President.

***


Through our journalism network, we are trying to get my friend's medicines to her father. If any reader does have someone getting into or near Port-au-Prince, please contact Haiti@GregPalast.com immediately.

Urgently recommended reading - The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, the history of the successful slave uprising in Hispaniola by the brilliant CLR James.


*

The Militarization of Emergency Aid to Haiti:

Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion?

By Michel Chossudovsky

The overall humanitarian operation is not being led by civilian governmental agencies such as FEMA or USAID, but by the Pentagon.

Continue


Sunday, January 17, 2010

When the mainstream media now reports that Iraq's "Chemical Ali" is to be executed, will they tell the full truth about Western complicity in his crimes? I don't think so!
But you can find it here . . . .


Iraq’s ‘Chemical Ali’ sentenced to death for attack on Kurds

Saddam Hussein's notorious henchman "Chemical Ali" was on Sunday sentenced to death for ordering the gassing of Kurds in the Iraqi town of Halabja, a brutal attack that killed an estimated 5,000 people.


In case you missed it:

Did Saddam Hussein Gas His Own People?

No doubt, Saddam has mistreated Kurds during his rule. But it's misleading to say, so simply and without context, that he killed his own people by gassing 5,000 Kurds at Halabja.


In case you missed it:

Western Complicity in the Halabja Massacre

Shocking clip from a French documentary exposing how governments and corporations in the west knowingly aided and abetted Saddam's most ruthless crimes.




Saturday, January 16, 2010

Were Afghan Children Executed By US-led Forces?

Why Aren't The Media Interested?

By Media Lens

Ig
noring or downplaying Western crimes is a standard feature of the corporate Western media. On rare occasions when a broadcaster or newspaper breaks ranks and reports 'our' crimes honestly, it is instructive to observe the response from the rest of the media.

Continue


Friday, January 15, 2010

Haitian Earthquake:

Why the Blood Is on Our Hands

By Ted Rall

As grim accounts of the earthquake in Haiti came in, the accounts in U.S.-controlled state media all carried the same descriptive sentence:

"Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere..."

Gee, I wonder how that happened?

Continue


Our Role in Haiti's Plight

By Peter Hallward

If we are serious about assisting this devastated land we must stop trying to control and exploit it.

Continue


Help Haiti

The Unforgiven Country Cries Out

By Chris Floyd

Hope must not be blind; you have to acknowledge the grim realities in order to know just what you're up against. So let's take a long, hard look.

Continue


Friday, January 08, 2010

Viva Palestina Update From Gaza
Interview With George Galloway

By Press TV

Interview with George Galloway following his entry in Gaza with the Viva Palestina Aid Convoy.

Posted January 07, 2010
Aired at approximately 11am on 7th January 2010.

Viva Palestina Convoy Report On Democracy NOW!:

Report on the Convoy and interview with George Galloway.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Anti-Empire Report

The American elite

Lincoln Gordon died a few weeks ago at the age of 96. He had graduated summa cum laude from Harvard at the age of 19, received a doctorate from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, published his first book at 22, with dozens more to follow on government, economics, and foreign policy in Europe and Latin America. He joined the Harvard faculty at 23. Dr. Gordon was an executive on the War Production Board during World War II, a top administrator of Marshall Plan programs in postwar Europe, ambassador to Brazil, held other high positions at the State Department and the White House, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, economist at the Brookings Institution, president of Johns Hopkins University. President Lyndon B. Johnson praised Gordon's diplomatic service as "a rare combination of experience, idealism and practical judgment".

You get the picture? Boy wonder, intellectual shining light, distinguished leader of men, outstanding American patriot.

Abraham Lincoln Gordon was also Washington's on-site, and very active, director in Brazil of the military coup in 1964 which overthrew the moderately leftist government of João Goulart and condemned the people of Brazil to more than 20 years of an unspeakably brutal dictatorship. Human-rights campaigners have long maintained that Brazil's military regime originated the idea of the desaparecidos, "the disappeared", and exported torture methods across Latin America. In 2007, the Brazilian government published a 500-page book, "The Right to Memory and the Truth", which outlines the systematic torture, rape and disappearance of nearly 500 left-wing activists, and includes photos of corpses and torture victims. Currently, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is proposing a commission to investigate allegations of torture by the military during the 1964-1985 dictatorship. (When will the United States create a commission to investigate its own torture?)

In a cable to Washington after the coup, Gordon stated — in a remark that might have had difficulty getting past the lips of even John Foster Dulles — that without the coup there could have been a "total loss to the West of all South American Republics". (It was actually the beginning of a series of fascistic anti-communist coups that trapped the southern half of South America in a decades-long nightmare, culminating in "Operation Condor", in which the various dictatorships, aided by the CIA, cooperated in hunting down and killing leftists.)

Gordon later testified at a congressional hearing and while denying completely any connection to the coup in Brazil he stated that the coup was "the single most decisive victory of freedom in the mid-twentieth century."

Listen to a phone conversation between President Johnson and Thomas Mann, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, April 3, 1964, two days after the coup:

MANN: I hope you're as happy about Brazil as I am.

LBJ: I am.

MANN: I think that's the most important thing that's happened in the hemisphere in three years.

LBJ: I hope they give us some credit instead of hell.1

So the next time you're faced with a boy wonder from Harvard, try to keep your adulation in check no matter what office the man attains, even — oh, just choosing a position at random — the presidency of the United States. Keep your eyes focused not on these "liberal" ... "best and brightest" who come and go, but on US foreign policy which remains the same decade after decade. There are dozens of Brazils and Lincoln Gordons in America's past. In its present. In its future. They're the diplomatic equivalent of the guys who ran Enron, AIG and Goldman Sachs.

Of course, not all of our foreign policy officials are like that. Some are worse.

And remember the words of convicted spy Alger Hiss: Prison was "a good corrective to three years at Harvard."

Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be Nobel Peace Prize winners

In November I wrote:

Question: How many countries do you have to be at war with to be disqualified from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize?

Answer: Five. Barack Obama has waged war against only Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. He's holding off on Iran until he actually gets the prize.

Well, on December 10 the president clutched the prize in his blood-stained hands. But then the Nobel Laureate surprised us. On December 17 the United States fired cruise missiles at people in ... not Iran, but Yemen, all "terrorists" of course, who were, needless to say, planning "an imminent attack against a U.S. asset".2 A week later the United States carried out another attack against "senior al-Qaeda operatives" in Yemen.3

Reports are that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Norway is now in conference to determine whether to raise the maximum number of wars allowed to ten. Given the committee's ignoble history, I imagine that Obama is taking part in the discussion. As is Henry Kissinger.

The targets of these attacks in Yemen reportedly include fighters coming from Afghanistan and Iraq, confirmation of the warnings long given — even by the CIA and the Pentagon — that those US interventions were creating new anti-American terrorists. (That's anti-American foreign policy, not necessarily anything else American.) How long before the United States will be waging war in some other god-forsaken land against anti-American terrorists whose numbers include fighters from Yemen? Or Pakistan? Or Somalia? Or Palestine?

Our blessed country is currently involved in so many bloody imperial adventures around the world that one needs a scorecard to keep up. Rick Rozoff of StopNATO has provided this for us in some detail.4

For this entire century, almost all these anti-American terrorists have been typically referred to as "al-Qaeda", as if you have to be a member of something called al-Qaeda to resent bombs falling on your house or wedding party; as if there's a precise and meaningful distinction between people retaliating against American terrorism while being a member of al-Qaeda and people retaliating against American terrorism while NOT being a member of al-Qaeda. However, there is not necessarily even such an animal as a "member of al-Qaeda", albeit there now exists "al-Qaeda in Iraq" and "al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula". Anti-American terrorists do know how to choose a name that attracts attention in the world media, that appears formidable, that scares Americans. Governments have learned to label their insurgents "al-Qaeda" to start the military aid flowing from Washington, just like they yelled "communist" during the Cold War. And from the perspective of those conducting the War on Terror, the bigger and more threatening the enemy, the better — more funding, greater prestige, enhanced career advancement. Just like with the creation of something called The International Communist Conspiracy.

It's not just the American bombings, invasions and occupations that spur the terrorists on, but the American torture. Here's Bowe Robert Bergdahl, US soldier captured in Afghanistan, speaking on a video made by his Taliban captors: He said he had been well-treated, contrasting his fate to that of prisoners held in US military prisons, such as the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. "I bear witness I was continuously treated as a human being, with dignity, and I had nobody deprive me of my clothes and take pictures of me naked. I had no dogs barking at me or biting me as my country has done to their Muslim prisoners in the jails that I have mentioned."5

Of course the Taliban provided the script, but what was the script based on? What inspired them to use such words and images, to make such references?

Cuba. Again. Still. Forever.

More than 50 years now it is. The propaganda and hypocrisy of the American mainstream media seems endless and unwavering. They can not accept the fact that Cuban leaders are humane or rational. Here's the Washington Post of December 13 writing about an American arrested in Cuba:

"The Cuban government has arrested an American citizen working on contract for the U.S. Agency for International Development who was distributing cellphones and laptop computers to Cuban activists. ... Under Cuban law ... a Cuban citizen or a foreign visitor can be arrested for nearly anything under the claim of 'dangerousness'."

That sounds just awful, doesn't it? Imagine being subject to arrest for whatever someone may choose to label "dangerousness". But the exact same thing has happened repeatedly in the United States since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. We don't use the word "dangerousness". We speak of "national security". Or, more recently, "terrorism". Or "providing material support to terrorism".

The arrested American works for Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), a US government contractor that provides services to the State Department, the Pentagon and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). In 2008, DAI was funded by the US Congress to "promote transition to democracy" in Cuba. Yes, Oh Happy Day!, we're bringing democracy to Cuba just as we're bringing it to Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2002, DAI was contracted by USAID to work in Venezuela and proceeded to fund the same groups that a few months earlier had worked to stage a coup — temporarily successful — against President Hugo Chávez. DAI performed other subversive work in Venezuela and has also been active in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other hotspots. "Subversive" is what Washington would label an organization like DAI if they behaved in the same way in the United States in behalf of a foreign government.6

The American mainstream media never makes its readers aware of the following (so I do so repeatedly): The United States is to the Cuban government like al-Qaeda is to the government in Washington, only much more powerful and much closer. Since the Cuban revolution, the United States and anti-Castro Cuban exiles in the US have inflicted upon Cuba greater damage and greater loss of life than what happened in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. Cuban dissidents typically have had very close, indeed intimate, political and financial connections to American government agents. Would the US government ignore a group of Americans receiving funds or communication equipment from al-Qaeda and/or engaging in repeated meetings with known leaders of that organization? In the past few years, the American government has arrested a great many people in the US and abroad solely on the basis of alleged ties to al-Qaeda, with a lot less evidence to go by than Cuba has had with its dissidents' ties to the United States, evidence usually gathered by Cuban double agents. Virtually all of Cuba's "political prisoners" are such dissidents.

The Washington Post story continued:

"The Cuban government granted ordinary citizens the right to buy cellphones just last year." Period.

What does one make of such a statement without further information? How could the Cuban government have been so insensitive to people's needs for so many years? Well, that must be just the way a "totalitarian" state behaves. But the fact is that because of the disintegration of the Soviet bloc, with a major loss to Cuba of its foreign trade, combined with the relentless US economic aggression, the Caribbean island was hit by a great energy shortage beginning in the 1990s, which caused repeated blackouts. Cuban authorities had no choice but to limit the sale of energy-hogging electrical devices such as cell phones; but once the country returned to energy sufficiency the restrictions were revoked.

"Cubans who want to log on [to the Internet] often have to give their names to the government."

What does that mean? Americans, thank God, can log onto the Internet without giving their names to the government. Their Internet Service Provider does it for them, furnishing their names to the government, along with their emails, when requested.

"Access to some Web sites is restricted."

Which ones? Why? More importantly, what information might a Cuban discover on the Internet that the government would not want him to know about? I can't imagine. Cubans are in constant touch with relatives in the US, by mail and in person. They get US television programs from Miami. International conferences on all manner of political, economic and social subjects are held regularly in Cuba. What does the American media think is the great secret being kept from the Cuban people by the nasty commie government?

"Cuba has a nascent blogging community, led by the popular commentator Yoani Sánchez, who often writes about how she and her husband are followed and harassed by government agents because of her Web posts. Sánchez has repeatedly applied for permission to leave the country to accept journalism awards, so far unsuccessfully."

According to a well-documented account7, Sánchez's tale of government abuse appears rather exaggerated. Moreover, she moved to Switzerland in 2002, lived there for two years, and then voluntarily returned to Cuba. On the other hand, in January 2006 I was invited to attend a book fair in Cuba, where one of my books, newly translated into Spanish, was being presented. However, the government of the United States would not give me permission to go. My application to travel to Cuba had also been rejected in 1998 by the Clinton administration.

"'Counterrevolutionary activities', which include mild protests and critical writings, carry the risk of censure or arrest. Anti-government graffiti and speech are considered serious crimes."

Raise your hand if you or someone you know of was ever arrested in the United States for taking part in a protest. And substitute "pro al-Qaeda" for "counterrevolutionary" and for "anti-government" and think of the thousands imprisoned the past eight years by the United States all over the world for ... for what? In most cases there's no clear answer. Or the answer is clear: (a) being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or (b) being turned in to collect a bounty offered by the United States, or (c) thought crimes. And whatever the reason for the imprisonment, they were likely tortured. Even the most fanatical anti-Castroites don't accuse Cuba of that. In the period of the Cuban revolution, since 1959, Cuba has had one of the very best records on human rights in the hemisphere. See my essay: "The United States, Cuba and this thing called Democracy".8

There's no case of anyone arrested in Cuba that compares in injustice and cruelty to the arrest in 1998 by the United States government of those who came to be known as the "Cuban Five", sentenced in Florida to exceedingly long prison terms for trying to stem terrorist acts against Cuba emanating from the US.9 It would be lovely if the Cuban government could trade their DAI prisoner for the five. Cuba, on several occasions, has proposed to Washington the exchange of a number of what the US regards as "political prisoners" in Cuba for the five Cubans held in the United States. So far the United States has not agreed to do so.

Notes

  1. Michael Beschloss, Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes 1963-1964 (New York, 1997), p.306. All other sources for this section on Gordon can be found in: Washington Post, December 22, 2009, obituary; The Guardian (London), August 31, 2007; William Blum, "Killing Hope", chapter 27
  2. ABC News, December 17, 2009; Washington Post, December 19, 2009
  3. Washington Post, December 25, 2009
  4. Stop NATO, "2010: U.S. To Wage War Throughout The World", December 30, 2009. To get on the StopNATO mailing list write to r_rozoff@yahoo.com. To see back issues: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
  5. Reuters, December 25, 2009
  6. For more details on DAI, see Eva Golinger, "The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela" (2006) and her website, posting for December 31, 2009
  7. Salim Lamrani, professor at Paris Descartes University, "The Contradictions of Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez", Monthly Review magazine, November 12, 2009
  8. http://killinghope.org/bblum6/democ.htm
  9. http://killinghope.org/bblum6/polpris.htm

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.

To add yourself to this mailing list simply send an email to bblum6 [at] aol.com with "add" in the subject line. I'd like your name and city in the message, but that's optional. I ask for your city only in case I'll be speaking in your area.

(Or put "remove" in the subject line to do the opposite.)

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission. I'd appreciate it if the website were mentioned.

Home