Sunday, January 25, 2015

Selected extracts from 
William Blum's Anti-Empire Report, January 20, 2015:


Murdering journalists … them and us

...Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age? Most of it comes – trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated – from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. During various periods from the 1970s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states in the Middle East region. And what had happened to these secular, modern, educated, welfare states?
In the 1980s, the United States overthrew the Afghan government that was progressive, with full rights for women, believe it or not, leading to the creation of the Taliban and their taking power.
In the 2000s, the United States overthrew the Iraqi government, destroying not only the secular state, but the civilized state as well, leaving a failed state.
In 2011, the United States and its NATO military machine overthrew the secular Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi, leaving behind a lawless state and unleashing many hundreds of jihadists and tons of weaponry across the Middle East.
And for the past few years the United States has been engaged in overthrowing the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. This, along with the US occupation of Iraq having triggered widespread Sunni-Shia warfare, led to the creation of The Islamic State with all its beheadings and other charming practices...
On January 11, Paris was the site of a March of National Unity in honor of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose journalists had been assassinated by terrorists. The march was rather touching, but it was also an orgy of Western hypocrisy, with the French TV broadcasters and the assembled crowd extolling without end the NATO world’s reverence for journalists and freedom of speech; an ocean of signs declaring Je suis Charlie … Nous Sommes Tous Charlie; and flaunting giant pencils, as if pencils – not bombs, invasions, overthrows, torture, and drone attacks – have been the West’s weapons of choice in the Middle East during the past century.
No reference was made to the fact that the American military, in the course of its wars in recent decades in the Middle East and elsewhere, had been responsible for the deliberate deaths of dozens of journalists. In Iraq, among other incidents, see Wikileaks’ 2007 video of the cold-blooded murder of two Reuters journalists; the 2003 US air-to-surface missile attack on the offices of Al Jazeera in Baghdad that left three journalists dead and four wounded; and the American firing on Baghdad’s Hotel Palestine the same year that killed two foreign cameramen.
Moreover, on October 8, 2001, the second day of the US bombing of Afghanistan, the transmitters for the Taliban government’s Radio Shari were bombed and shortly after this the US bombed some 20 regional radio sites. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the targeting of these facilities, saying: “Naturally, they cannot be considered to be free media outlets. They are mouthpieces of the Taliban and those harboring terrorists.”
And in Yugoslavia, in 1999, during the infamous 78-day bombing of a country which posed no threat at all to the United States or any other country, state-owned Radio Television Serbia (RTS) was targeted because it was broadcasting things which the United States and NATO did not like (like how much horror the bombing was causing). The bombs took the lives of many of the station’s staff, and both legs of one of the survivors, which had to be amputated to free him from the wreckage...

Let Cuba Live! 

The Devil’s List of what the United States has done to Cuba

On May 31, 1999, a lawsuit for $181 billion in wrongful death, personal injury, and economic damages was filed in a Havana court against the government of the United States. It was subsequently filed with the United Nations. Since that time its fate is somewhat of a mystery.
The lawsuit covered the 40 years since the country’s 1959 revolution and described, in considerable detail taken from personal testimony of victims, US acts of aggression against Cuba; specifying, often by name, date, and particular circumstances, each person known to have been killed or seriously wounded. In all, 3,478 people were killed and an additional 2,099 seriously injured. (These figures do not include the many indirect victims of Washington’s economic pressures and blockade, which caused difficulties in obtaining medicine and food, in addition to creating other hardships.)
The case was, in legal terms, very narrowly drawn. It was for the wrongful death of individuals, on behalf of their survivors, and for personal injuries to those who survived serious wounds, on their own behalf. No unsuccessful American attacks were deemed relevant, and consequently there was no testimony regarding the many hundreds of unsuccessful assassination attempts against Cuban President Fidel Castro and other high officials, or even of bombings in which no one was killed or injured. Damages to crops, livestock, or the Cuban economy in general were also excluded, so there was no testimony about the introduction into the island of swine fever or tobacco mold.
However, those aspects of Washington’s chemical and biological warfare waged against Cuba that involved human victims were described in detail, most significantly the creation of an epidemic of hemorrhagic dengue fever in 1981, during which some 340,000 people were infected and 116,000 hospitalized; this in a country which had never before experienced a single case of the disease. In the end, 158 people, including 101 children, died.  That only 158 people died, out of some 116,000 who were hospitalized, was an eloquent testimony to the remarkable Cuban public health sector.
The complaint describes the campaign of air and naval attacks against Cuba that commenced in October 1959, when US president Dwight Eisenhower approved a program that included bombings of sugar mills, the burning of sugar fields, machine-gun attacks on Havana, even on passenger trains.
Another section of the complaint described the armed terrorist groups, los banditos, who ravaged the island for five years, from 1960 to 1965, when the last group was located and defeated. These bands terrorized small farmers, torturing and killing those considered (often erroneously) active supporters of the Revolution; men, women, and children. Several young volunteer literacy-campaign teachers were among the victims of the bandits.
There was also of course the notorious Bay of Pigs invasion, in April 1961. Although the entire incident lasted less than 72 hours, 176 Cubans were killed and 300 more wounded, 50 of them permanently disabled.
The complaint also described the unending campaign of major acts of sabotage and terrorism that included the bombing of ships and planes as well as stores and offices. The most horrific example of sabotage was of course the 1976 bombing of a Cubana airliner off Barbados in which all 73 people on board were killed. There were as well as the murder of Cuban diplomats and officials around the world, including one such murder on the streets of New York City in 1980. 
This campaign continued to the 1990s, with the murders of Cuban policemen, soldiers, and sailors in 1992 and 1994, and the 1997 hotel bombing campaign, which took the life of a foreigner; the bombing campaign was aimed at discouraging tourism and led to the sending of Cuban intelligence officers to the US in an attempt to put an end to the bombings; from their ranks rose the Cuban Five.
To the above can be added the many acts of financial extortion, violence and sabotage carried out by the United States and its agents in the 16 years since the lawsuit was filed. In sum total, the deep-seated injury and trauma inflicted upon on the Cuban people can be regarded as the island’s own 9-11. 

READ MORE:
Official website of the author, historian, and U.S. foreign policy critic, William Blum.
Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to his website are given.


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Do you agree?. . .

Anti-Israel cartoon breached standards, Australian press organization finds: An Australian press organization has judged that a cartoon published in The Sydney Morning Herald violated press Standards of Practice by the way it linked symbols of the Jewish faith to criticism of Israel.


Sydney Morning Herald caricature, published during summer Gaza War, depicted a Jewish man watching a Gaza bombing from a hilltop.


An Australian press organization has judged that a cartoon published in The Sydney Morning Herald violated press Standards of Practice by the way it linked symbols of the Jewish faith to criticism of Israel.
The adjudication, issued by the Australian Press Council, concerned a cartoon drawn by Glen Le Lievre and published by the Morning Herald on July 26, in the midst of the most recent Gaza conflict. The cartoon depicted an elderly man with a sizable nose wearing glasses and a yarmulke, reclining in a chair emblazoned with a Star of David, and holding a remote control while watching from hilltop as a city, which by implication is Gaza, explodes.
Le Lievre is an internationally published cartoonist whose work has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, Reader’s Digest, and Mad Magazine.
In the adjudication issued January 17, the Press Council states, “A linkage with Israeli nationality might have been justifiable in the public interest, despite being likely to cause offense. But the same cannot be said of the implied linkage with the Jewish faith that arose from inclusion of the kippah and the Star of David."
In response to the adjudication, the Morning Herald republished an apology that it originally published onAugust 3, 2014, one week after the cartoon originally ran. That apology likewise regretted the use of the religious symbols of the yarmulke and Star of David, although it noted that Le Lievre’s work commonly depicts people with large noses, regardless of race or ethnicity, and that the image was inspired by news photographs of Israelis watching the bombardment of Gaza from the hilltops of Sderot.
The Press Council’s statement praised the apology and noted that the Morning Herald’s editor in chief and news director had attended “seminars facilitated by the Jewish Board of Deputies to raise awareness about imagery that could be construed as anti-Semitic."



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From AcronymTV.com
Rep. Alan Grayson: Put The TPP TO Death
(Featuring interviews with Rep. Alan Grayson and President of CWA Larry Cohen.)

(WATCH)

Recently, Dennis Trainor Jr. spoke with one of the members of the U.S. Congress, Alan Grayson, who has taken the time to read the top-secret trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). There is nothing redeemable in the entire TPP, Grayson told me, saying, “It is something that should be totally put to death.”

The Obama administration continues to favor what is referred to as “fast track” legislation to authorize the TPP.  Fast track,  Grayson tells me, would allow each member of congress “88 seconds of debate per member” meaning that there would be no meaningful debate on this trade deal carved out by the lawyers and advisors of 600 or so of the most powerful corporations in the world.

You have probably heard the TPP called “NAFTA on steroids” and for good reason. The TPP is a trade deal to dismantle democracy.

The TPP It is a secret global deal that combines all of the worst elements of NAFTA and Citizens United, shoots them up with steroids, sprinkles in a speedball and codifies these principles into a trade agreement that is in fact a Trojan horse to bore you and put you to sleep so that when you wake up a global corporate coup will be in place creating a parallel system of justice where three private attorneys would oversee a kangaroo court set up to defend corporate interests over the interests of people and the planet. 

To whit, the TPP would empower corporations to sue countries or states that take action (environmental regulation, consumer protection, you name it) that may harm the potential future profits of the corporation.

In other words, if the concept of corporate personhood puts you into a fit of rage, then take a moment to let the concept of Corporate Nationhood sink in.

Rep. Grayson does not think that we have to worry about Fast track legislation on the TPP being pushed through during this lame duck session of Congress, citing “people who agree with you for all the wrong reasons, and yet they still agree with you.” While Congressman Grayson states unequivocally that he is against fast track and the TPP “on the merits” there are many Republicans who oppose the TPP and Fast Track authority because they “hate President Obama.”

Strange bedfellows, according to Grayson, have created a situation where creating fast track authority for the TPP is unlikely.

Larry Cohen, President of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) acknowledges that the labor movement did not do enough to stop NAFTA over 20 years ago, but he is throwing his weight behind stopping fast track authority for the TPP. “There are a significant number of Democrats willing to support Obama on fast track,” said Cohen. “To them, we say: we will not support you going forward politically. We won’t be part of your fund raising base, but you are willing to have corporate America substitute for our support. Shame on you.”





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