31 March, 2008

Any Questions?




Fake Fake Fake!!


src="http://www.reopen911.org/ReOpen911_2007Archive/images/amputeeplane.JPG">

Hologram! Real footage... who would fake footage with a wing missing?




Fake airplanes!




Nose out? impossible




Bird vs Plane -- any questions?

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posted by u2r2h at Monday, March 31, 2008 0 comments links to this post

ZBIG gives the word - US oil export TO Iraq

The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War

By Zbigniew Brzezinski -- Sunday, March 30, 2008; Page B03

Both Democratic presidential candidates agree that the United States should end its combat mission in Iraq within 12 to 16 months of their possible inauguration. The Republican candidate has spoken of continuing the war, even for a hundred years, until "victory." The core issue of this campaign is thus a basic disagreement over the merits of the war and the benefits and costs of continuing it.

The case for U.S. disengagement from combat is compelling in its own right. But it must be matched by a comprehensive political and diplomatic effort to mitigate the destabilizing regional consequences of a war that the outgoing Bush administration started deliberately, justified demagogically and waged badly. (I write, of course, as a Democrat; while I prefer Sen. Barack Obama, I speak here for myself.)

The contrast between the Democratic argument for ending the war and the Republican argument for continuing is sharp and dramatic. The case for terminating the war is based on its prohibitive and tangible costs, while the case for "staying the course" draws heavily on shadowy fears of the unknown and relies on worst-case scenarios. President Bush's and Sen. John McCain's forecasts of regional catastrophe are quite reminiscent of the predictions of "falling dominoes" that were used to justify continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Neither has provided any real evidence that ending the war would mean disaster, but their fear-mongering makes prolonging it easier.

Nonetheless, if the American people had been asked more than five years ago whether Bush's obsession with the removal of Saddam Hussein was worth 4,000 American lives, almost 30,000 wounded Americans and several trillion dollars -- not to mention the less precisely measurable damage to the United States' world-wide credibility, legitimacy and moral standing -- the answer almost certainly would have been an unequivocal "no."

Nor do the costs of this fiasco end there. The war has inflamed anti-American passions in the Middle East and South Asia while fragmenting Iraqi society and increasing the influence of Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent visit to Baghdad offers ample testimony that even the U.S.-installed government in Iraq is becoming susceptible to Iranian blandishments.

In brief, the war has become a national tragedy, an economic catastrophe, a regional disaster and a global boomerang for the United States. Ending it is thus in the highest national interest. Terminating U.S. combat operations will take more than a military decision. It will require arrangements with Iraqi leaders for a continued, residual U.S. capacity to provide emergency assistance in the event of an external threat (e.g., from Iran); it will also mean finding ways to provide continued U.S. support for the Iraqi armed forces as they cope with the remnants of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The decision to militarily disengage will also have to be accompanied by political and regional initiatives designed to guard against potential risks. We should fully discuss our decisions with Iraqi leaders, including those not residing in Baghdad's Green Zone, and we should hold talks on regional stability with all of Iraq's neighbors, including Iran.

Contrary to Republican claims that our departure will mean calamity, a sensibly conducted disengagement will actually make Iraq more stable over the long term. The impasse in Shiite-Sunni relations is in large part the sour byproduct of the destructive U.S. occupation, which breeds Iraqi dependency even as it shatters Iraqi society. In this context, so highly reminiscent of the British colonial era, the longer we stay in Iraq, the less incentive various contending groups will have to compromise and the more reason simply to sit back. A serious dialogue with the Iraqi leaders about the forthcoming U.S. disengagement would shake them out of their stupor. Ending the U.S. war effort entails some risks, of course, but they are inescapable at this late date. Parts of Iraq are already self-governing, including Kurdistan, part of the Shiite south and some tribal areas in the Sunni center. U.S. military disengagement will accelerate Iraqi competition to more effectively control their territory, which may produce a phase of intensified inter-Iraqi conflicts. But that hazard is the unavoidable consequence of the prolonged U.S. occupation. The longer it lasts, the more difficult it will be for a viable Iraqi state ever to reemerge.

It is also important to recognize that most of the anti-U.S. insurgency in Iraq has not been inspired by al-Qaeda. Locally based jihadist groups have gained strength only insofar as they have been able to identify themselves with the fight against a hated foreign occupier. As the occupation winds down and Iraqis take responsibility for internal security, al-Qaeda in Iraq will be left more isolated and less able to sustain itself. The end of the occupation will thus be a boon for the war on al-Qaeda, bringing to an end a misguided adventure that not only precipitated the appearance of al-Qaeda in Iraq but also diverted the United States from Afghanistan, where the original al-Qaeda threat grew and still persists.

Bringing the U.S. military effort to a close would also smooth the way for a broad U.S. initiative addressed to all of Iraq's neighbors. Some will remain reluctant to engage in any discussion as long as Washington appears determined to maintain its occupation of Iraq indefinitely. Therefore, at some stage next year, after the decision to disengage has been announced, a regional conference should be convened to promote regional stability, border control and other security arrangements, as well as regional economic development -- all of which would help mitigate the unavoidable risks connected with U.S. disengagement.

Since Iraq's neighbors are vulnerable to intensified ethnic and religious conflicts spilling over from Iraq, all of them -- albeit for different reasons -- are likely to be interested. More distant Arab states such as Egypt, Morocco or Algeria might also take part, and some of them might be willing to provide peacekeeping forces to Iraq once it is free of foreign occupation. In addition, we should consider a regional rehabilitation program designed to help Iraq recover and to relieve the burdens that Jordan and Syria, in particular, have shouldered by hosting more than 2 million Iraqi refugees.

The overall goal of a comprehensive U.S. strategy to undo the errors of recent years should be cooling down the Middle East, instead of heating it up. The "unipolar moment" that the Bush administration's zealots touted after the collapse of the Soviet Union has been squandered to generate a policy based on the unilateral use of force, military threats and occupation masquerading as democratization -- all of which has pointlessly heated up tensions, fueled anti-colonial resentments and bred religious fanaticism. The long-range stability of the Middle East has been placed in increasing jeopardy.

Terminating the war in Iraq is the necessary first step to calming the Middle East, but other measures will be needed. It is in the U.S. interest to engage Iran in serious negotiations -- on both regional security and the nuclear challenge it poses. But such negotiations are unlikely as long as Washington's price of participation is unreciprocated concessions from Tehran. Threats to use force on Iran are also counterproductive because they tend to fuse Iranian nationalism with religious fanaticism.

Real progress in the badly stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process would also help soothe the region's religious and nationalist passions. But for such progress to take place, the United States must vigorously help the two sides start making the mutual concessions without which a historic compromise cannot be achieved. Peace between Israel and Palestine would be a giant step toward greater regional stability, and it would finally let both Israelis and Palestinians benefit from the Middle East's growing wealth.

We started this war rashly, but we must end our involvement responsibly. And end it we must. The alternative is a fear-driven policy paralysis that perpetuates the war -- to America's historic detriment. Zbigniew Brzezinski was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. His most recent book is "Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower."

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/27/AR2008032702405_2.html

==============================

Bush Oil Policy in Iraq War

Conservative Magazine Blasts Bush Administration

by Sherwood Ross -- March 29, 2008

Just in case you think all conservatives are cheering on President Bush for persisting in his war against Iraq, I call to your attention the March 10th cover story of "The American Conservative" magazine, titled, "Oil For War." Accompanying the drawing of a fuel hose pumping gasoline into the desert sands, which is what the Pentagon is doing at a fabulous clip, there are two telling subheads: "Fuel Imported Into Iraq---3 million gallons/day" and "Cost to the U.S.--$929 million/week."

That.s right.  The article by author Robert Bryce, a.k.a managing editor of "Energy Tribune" magazine, leaves little doubt that he views the Bush regime.s oil policy as bankrupt.  Just look at his conclusion: "As the U.S. military pursues it occupation of Iraq---with the fuel costs approaching $1 billion per week---it.s obvious that the U.S. needs to rethink the assumption that secure energy sources depend on militarism."

Bryce observes sagely, "The emerging theme of the 21st-century energy business is the increasing power of markets. The U.S. can either adapt or continue hurtling down the road to bankruptcy." (Sounds like a pro-business, anti-military posture to me. Maybe conservatives and liberals do share common ground.)

Going back to a few months before the invasion, Bryce noted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared the looming war had "nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil." This assertion (okay, so it.s a lie, not an assertion) was undercut, Bryce pointed out, as "The first objectives of the invading forces included the capture of key Iraqi oil terminals and oilfields." Sadly, Marine Lt. Therral Childers, the first American combat casualty, was killed fighting to gain control of, yup, the Rumaylah oil field.

And when U.S. troops reached Baghdad on April 8, Bryce wrote, "the National Library of Iraq, the National Archives, and the National Museum of Antiquities were all looted and in some cases burned" while "the oil ministry building was barely damaged" as a detachment of G.I..s plus assault vehicles stood guard to preserve this vital edifice and its records. 

The American Conservative scrolls forward to an October, 2006, press conference at which Bush declared the U.S. could not "tolerate a new terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East with large oil reserves that could be used to fund its radical ambitions or used to inflict economic damage on the West." (Not a war for oil?)

Today, Bryce writes, the average G.I. in Iraq consumes 20.5 gallons of fuel per day, so that in order to secure the third-richest oil country on the planet (9.5% of the world total), the Pentagon is chugalugging over 3 million gallons per day in Iraq, "and nearly every drop of that fuel is imported." About 5,500 tanker trucks are involved in this lovely, oil-burning up exercise so that "the U.S. is spending $923 million per week on fuel-related logistics in order to keep 157,000 G.I.s in Iraq." Lovely, that is, for the "defense" contractors.

Little, if any, of Iraq.s own oil is being used by the U.S. military. Instead, it.s being trucked in from an oil complex south of Kuwait City and from Turkey, which, in turn, gets some of its oil from as far away as Greece. Those who have followed this oil importation scandal closely will recall that Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney.s former place of employment, got a controversial, multi-billion no-bid contract to truck in the oil. Cheney, of course, boosted the Iraq invasion from the get-go.  As Paul Buchheit, founder of Global Initiative Chicago,  writes in "American Wars: Illusions and Realities"(Clarity), Halliburton "is the most notorious war profiteer, with over half the Pentagon contracts for war services. Halliburton.s revenue in 2006 was $22.5 billion, three times its revenue from 2004."

Recall it was Cheney.s goodbuddy, war architect Paul Wolfowitz,  who told a Congressional panel in March, 2003, Iraq.s oil revenues would fetch up to $100 billion over the next several years and predicted "we are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon." As historian James Carroll noted in "House of War"(Houghton Mifflin)Wolfowitz as far back as 1992 wrote a "Defense Planning Guidance" document that "imagined war against, yes, Iraq. And the justification for such a war was blatantly identified: the protection of U.S. access to .the region.s oil.."

American motorists are painfully aware the price of a gallon of gas since Bush took office has doubled and that the oil majors are reaping record profits, in Exxon.s case the largest profits of any corporation in history. What many do not know, as Greg Palast pointed out in "Armed Madhouse"(Plume), is the oil firms hold title to vast underground deposits that are super gushers as prices rise at the pump. The value of Exxon.s reserves, Palast says, have increased by $666-billion since the war began, and other oil outfits have enjoyed like windfalls. During World War II, a conflict that began when America was attacked and not the other way around, defense contractors were thrilled to get an eight percent profit. Today, Big Oil is reaping record billions while motorists and home owners struggle to find a way to pay for groceries and heating fuel.  And, of course, every time President Bush threatens Iran, he further destabilizes the oil market, pushing prices up higher, "The New Yorker" magazine has reported.

Getting back to The American Conservative article, Bryce writes, "In today.s multi-polar world, economic interests, not military force, predominate." He quotes G.I. Wilson, a recently retired Marine Corps colonel back from Iraq and  terrorism authority as stating: "It used to be that the side with the most guns would win." Today, the side "with the most guns goes bankrupt."

Hey, isn.t that us? Quick, somebody, warn that man in the White House! 


Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Fl-based public relations consultant and writer who covers military and political topics. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com.

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posted by u2r2h at Monday, March 31, 2008 0 comments links to this post

30 March, 2008

TIBET - you must not know this

During the Vietnam era, the United States eagerly supported the brutal regime of Ngo Dinh Diem, a man who brutally oppressed the Buddhists; yet today our government has risen in defense of the Dalai Lama and Tibet. Has our sordid history finally led to compassion for the people of Tibet? One must wonder which people we want to protect for there are 41 races in Tibet, including Tibetan, Menpa, Luopa, Han Chinese, Hui, Sherpa, Deng, and so on; although by far, the majority are Tibetans. Perhaps the US is reaching out to the Dalai Lama - again?

It seems that the US government excels at propaganda for it continues to win over the very people it has betrayed and caused to be killed; buying their trust, it offers a friendship that is only self-serving. Oblivious to the past havoc wreaked by the CIA in Tibet, the innocent gather around the storm, stare into the eye, ready to be sucked into it. Not too long ago, the Truman administration attempted to use the young Dalai Lama against China's new Communist regime. The CIA offered to provide him financial support as part of the deal. Its subsidies to the Dalai Lama lasted, at an unspecified level, until 1974. However, the CIA officials seem to have misled the Tibetans into thinking they had American support for the establishment of an independent Tibet[i]. They did not.

Once again, the Tibetans are thinking they have the support of the United States. It should be mentioned that such names as Tom Lantos (a Holocaust survivor) endorsed the promotion of a free Tibet. He also promoted the International Campaign for Tibet, a campaign which receives grants from the National Endowment for Democracy . a State Department operation which engages non-suspecting NGOs to openly do what the CIA did/does. Neoconservative queen, Jean Kilpatrick was pushing The Committee of 100 for Tibet with artists such as Richard Gere as unsuspecting fronts[ii]

What is the reason behind America.s sudden interest in Tibet, the Buddhist ideology of 1649 Dalai Lama preserving animal and nature (we certainly could be preserving nature at home) or is it what is under nature? Tibet has the world.s largest reserve of uranium, and in addition to gold and copper, large quantities of oil and gas were discovered in Qiangtang Basin in western China's remote Tibet area[iii]. A friendly Dalai Lama would help reimburse the CIA subsidies, and much more.

There are other more important factors. Israel.s interest is undeniable. In fact, they have been helping this ancient green land with .agriculture techniques. in recent years[iv]. Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, is recruiting fellow Nobel winners to press China on Tibet. Other notables such as Spielberg have already cooperated, and Sarkozy is considering boycotting the Olympics. One has to ask why these humanitarians are not concerned with the well-being of 1.4 million Palestinians described by the UN and the ICRC as being subjected to worst possible human disaster witnessed.

China has always shown reluctance to impose sanctions on Iran. From an Israeli and American perspective, China became a veritable short-term liability (versus a long term power challenging the US) when Iran and China engaged in talks to allow for a military base for China in one of Iran.s Persian Gulf ports. This was in response to Sarkozy making an announcement that France and the UAE were negotiating a deal in which France would have a small base in that region. Such a cooperation between Iran and China would make Iran less vulnerable to an attack by Israel and/or the United States.

China has far surpassed the United States in Public Diplomacy. During the G.W. Bush presidency, while the world watched in dismay an do-it-alone America that made a blunder at every turn, China, in spite of human rights issues that remain to be resolved, has won .hearts and minds. in South America, Middle East, and Africa. It is attempting to win over its regional neighbors by developing economic, political, and diplomatic relations, and exercising skillful diplomacy.

Engaging China in a Tibet uprising, threatening the public image it has worked so hard to build around the world would distract or dissuade it from building alliances with Iran. Iran must be kept isolated at all costs.

Tel-Aviv hopes that Cheney will push Bush to launch a military attack on Iran, just as he persuaded Bush to attack Iraq. Given that the Iraq tactics are old, new ones have to be sought. As such, many experts suspect that a false flag operation would be required to launch an all out war. In October 2006, when Anti-terrorism officials conducted a helicopter survey of New York City's radiation sources in preparation for a so-called "dirty bomb" attack, they came across an unexpected radiation hot spot which has been kept out of the media as it is a political hot spot . A strong radiation spike from the area of the Israeli Embassy. Officials would not comment on why they thought that particular area showed such a stunning peak in radiation[v].

Can America afford another war? Will the world withstand another assault on humanity?

In 1787, George Washington said: .The power under the Constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can, and undoubtedly will, be recalled..

Let us recall our servants who do not represent us, who do not serve our interest, and who are killing in our name.


Notes:

[i] Jim Mann, Los Angeles Times: Jun 16, 1999. p. 5).

[ii] http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/crs/RL30983.pdf  

[iii] http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/nts44532.htm ).

[iv] (http://www.tew.org/archived/agri.israeli.html  

[v] http://cleveland.indymedia.org/news/2006/10/22798.php 
 

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an Iranian-American studying at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is a member of World Association of International Studies society, Stanford. Her research focus is US foreign policy towards Iran, Iran.s nuclear program, and influence of lobby groups. She is a peace activist, essayist, radio commentator and public speaker.


======

interesting, huh? Of course all the facts in this article check out,
and all contradict our perception we are given by our western media.

The CIA will intervene with weapons and bloodshed as it has done
many times in the past, we should be aware of that.
But what we need to investigate further is the role of the NED:

===========

Moreover, I am equally shocked by the ongoing antidemocratic work of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) . an Orwellian .nongovernmental organization. that was formed in the early 1980s to wage the cultural cold war that was formerly fought by the CIA. William Colby, who directed the CIA from 1973 until 1976, noted that the beauty of the NED.s PR-friendly approach to imperialism is that: .It is not necessary to turn to the covert approach. Many of the programs which. were conducted as covert operations [can now be] conducted quite openly, and consequentially, without controversy..

Professor William I. Robinson has described this rhetorical shift in US foreign policy . from CIA to NED (and CIA) . in much detail; most notably in his seminal book Promoting Polyarchy (1996). With regard to Chile, Robinson highlights how with NED aid Patricio Aylwin rose to the Chilean presidency in 1990 a fitting reward for an individual who worked with the CIA to play a critical role in facilitating the 1973 military coup. As Robinson observes:

.The Chilean coup was part of a pattern in Latin America of military takeovers in the 1960s and 1970s with U.S. approval and often active assistance, in the face of mass struggles that broke out everywhere against the prevailing social and economic inequalities and highly restricted political systems. But Washington abruptly switched tracks in the mid-1980s and began to .promote democracy. in Latin America and around the world. In Chile, Aylwin and his party once again received U.S. assistance, this time as part of a .democracy promotion. program channelled through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), which would help Aylwin become president. Ironically, the return to power in 1990 of Aylwin and the party that openly participated in the 1973 military coup was projected around the world as the culmination of a .democratic revolution. sweeping Latin America..

Understanding this shift of .democratic. aid from the CIA to the NED is critical to understanding the nature of contemporary imperialism, but unfortunately it is a shift that for the most part has remained unchallenged (in both the corporate media and alternative media alike) . for a discussion of The New York Times. coverage of the NED see here. Consequently it is not surprising that critical attention has not turned to the activities of the NED in China . either in the mainstream or alternative press . despite the fact that in 2006 the NED distributed $5.7 million of grants to China-related groups. This sum is more significant because the NED is active in .over 90 countries. and in 2006 they distributed a total of $94 million to groups all over the world, which means that in 2006 Chinese groups received a massive six percent of their total grants. [2]   

In order to begin to remedy this information deficit surrounding the work of the NED in China, this article examines the .democratic. background of one group that obtained excellent access to both the alternative and corporate media, this group is Human Rights in China.

.Human Rights. in China

Human Rights in China (HRIC) was founded in 1989, and according to their website they are an .international, Chinese, non-governmental organisation with a mission to promote universally recognised human rights and advance the institutional protection of these rights in the People.s Republic of China (China).. According to the NED.s senior program officer for Asia, Louisa Coan Greve, .Human Rights in China is considered as reliable as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as a source of accurate human rights information.. Moreover, despite the fact Human Rights in China have received ongoing support from the NED, one of their reports (from 1997) disingenuously notes that their work is .independent of any political groups or governments.. [3]

According to the NED.s project database, Human Rights in China received their first NED grant in 1992 (which was worth $74,000) to .support a Legal Education and Assistance Project that provides legal advice and support for prisoners of conscience and victims of political persecution in China.. [4] This legal project then received a further $120,000 in 1993, and another $155,000 the ensuing year. On top of this $155,000 grant, they obtained an additional $20,000 in 1994 to help them prepare for the UN World Conference on Women which was held in Beijing in September 1995.

In 1995, as a result of Human Rights in China.s .emergency response to the .May crackdown. in Beijing. they received a supplement NED grant worth $10,000 for its Human Rights Education and Assistance Project. They also obtained $25,000 for its Women's Rights Assessment Project, and a further $140,000 to produce their twice-monthly radio program, and to help them engage .with international NGOs, the media, governments and intergovernmental bodies to maintain pressure on the Chinese government to improve its human rights record..

Human Rights in China obtained continued NED support in 1996 and 1997, and in 2001 they received a grant to allow them to publish their quarterly journal China Rights Forum and maintain a web site. Since 2000, Human Rights in China have been given a further five NED grants worth a total of $1.8 million . which have increased in size each year (the largest being their most recent $0.5 million grant). [5]

.Democratic. Directors

Human Rights in China (HRIC) work appears to be closely related to that undertaken by it.s better known counterpart, Human Rights Watch, as Robert L. Bernstein, the founder and former chair of Human Rights Watch is currently the chair of HRIC.s board of directors (he is also a member of the national council of the .democratic. Human Rights First). Not surprisingly Human Rights Watch and HRIC regularly work together to publish human rights reports, which is fitting as extremely close ties exist between Human Rights Watch and the global democracy manipulators (like the NED).(For further details see, Hijacking Human Rights: A Critical Examination of Human Rights Watch.s Americas Branch and their Links to the .Democracy. Establishment.)

The founder of Human Rights in China, Fu Xinyuan, is Associate Professor of Pathology at Yale University School of Medicine; he also sits on the advisory board of the Israel Science Foundation (which is .Israel.s predominant source of competitive grants funding for basic research.). [6] Ironically, in 2005, The Guardian (UK) reported that foreign grant reviewers were boycotting the Israel Science Foundation due to the Israeli government.s human rights violations.

Since 2002, Human Rights in China.s executive director has been Sharon Hom . an individual who also serves as a member of Human Rights Watch.s Asia Advisory Committee, and is an emerita professor of law at the City University of New York School of Law. Prior to Hom.s appointment to Human Rights in China, the organization.s longstanding executive director . from 1991 to 2002 . was Qiang Xiao, who was formerly the vice-chair of the steering committee of the NED-initiated World Movement for Democracy, and presently acts as the director of the China Internet Project (at the University of California at Berkeley), sits on the board of advisors for the NED-funded International Campaign for Tibet, and is the chief editor of China Digital Times.

The China Digital Times (formerly the China Digital News) at which Qiang Xiao is chief editor, describes itself as a .collaborative news website covering China.s social and political transition and its emerging role in the world.. The project receives funding from the MacArthur Foundation amongst others, and their executive editor, Sophie Beach, was formerly a senior research associate for Asia at the .democratic. Committee to Protect Journalists. In addition, the chair of the China Digital Times advisory board is Orville Schell who is an emeritus board member of Human Rights Watch and a vice chair of their Asia Advisory Committee, is a director of the .democratic. National Committee on United States-China Relations, a member of the core founding group of the Dalai Lama Foundation (a group whose president, Tenzin Tethong, is also the founder of the NED-funded Tibet Fund), and has worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia. In 2004 (at least) Schell was a director of Human Rights in China, and he also acts a member of the elite planning group, the Council on Foreign Relations, is the founder of the Pacific News Service, and ironically serves on the advisory board of the Center for Investigative Reporting. Finally, John Gage, another member of China Digital Times. advisory board with strong .democratic. ties, currently serves on the advisory board of the deceptively named US Institute of Peace (the NED.s sister organization), and is a director of Relief International.

...

The corporate media do not provide an accurate reflection of society, thus it is not surprising that the democracy manipulating nature of Human Rights in China (and Human Rights Watch) remain unmentioned in their coverage. This is because as Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky suggested in their seminal work Manufacturing Consent, the mass media.s primary (usually unstated) goal is to manufacture public consent for elite interests. Bearing this in mind, it is logical . in spite of contrary evidence . that the mass media portrays a NED-funded group as a progressive organization, and that this critique of Human Rights in China will be rendered invisible in the mainstream media. (It probably doesn.t help that even the BBC World Service Trust received a grant from the NED in 2006.) Thus the anti-democratic nature of mainstream media is an obvious impediment to progressive social change: indeed concerned citizens:

..need to consider whether the same media system that serves to naturalise and legitimise elite decision-making, can really encourage its antithesis, collective grassroots decision-making. It seems an anathema to even consider that by working on the terms set by the mass media, social movements are actually legitimising and tightening its hegemonic power over society, even while it simultaneously acts to de-legitimise or ignore the global justice movement..

Short of working with others (like Media Lens) to challenge the (il)legitimacy of the mainstream media, another immediate solution to some of the problems identified in this article involves supporting independent investigative journalism by giving money to the alternative media instead of the corporate media. To pay for their valuable services simply click on one of the following links, Centre for Research on Globalization, CounterPunch, Medialens, Monthly Review, Spinwatch, Znet, or alternatively support a local outlet of your choice.

Furthermore, to prevent elite manipulation of human rights and democracy, first and foremost progressive citizens will also have to educate themselves about the work of democracy manipulators (like the NED) a process that has been made easier by the launch of two groups, the International Endowment for Democracy and In the Name of Democracy. However, although it is certainly important to develop a comprehensive understanding of the role of the democracy manipulating establishment in circumscribing progressive social change, people can begin to rectify the democratic dilemma posed by the NED and its supporters by publicly denouncing their activities, and by refusing to work with them in the future. It seems that only then can progressive groups begin considering adopting more participatory funding arrangements that will help to allow them to promote a popular form of democracy that serves people not imperialism. [10]

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posted by u2r2h at Sunday, March 30, 2008 0 comments links to this post

24 March, 2008

SPITZER for President???

NY Times article questions official explanation of sex probe that forced New York governor to resign

By Barry Grey 24 March 2008

Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the author

An article published by the New York Times on March 21 raises serious questions about the official explanation given by federal prosecutors for the high-powered investigation into the sexual activities of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer that led to Spitzer.s public humiliation and forced resignation on March 12.

The article, written by David Johnston and Philip Shenon, cites Justice Department lawyers and former federal prosecutors who make it clear that federal criminal investigations into public officials, like Spitzer, who are identified as clients of prostitution rings are extraordinarily rare.

The article also points to anomalies in the 47-page affidavit filed March 5 along with the federal complaint against four employees of the Emperor.s Club prostitution ring which Spitzer allegedly patronized. The affidavit lists ten clients of the call-girl ring, but does not name them, referring to them only by number. Spitzer, client number 9, is the only one whose identity was leaked by federal officials to the press.

And, as the Times article points out, the affidavit "provided far more detail, some of it unusually explicit, about Client 9.s encounter with the prostitute than about any of the nine other clients identified by number in the document."

The implication is that the affidavit was drawn up in such as way as to provide quasi-pornographic grist for a media-promoted sex scandal that would compel the recently elected governor to resign.which is precisely what occurred. Within two days of the first reports of Spitzer.s links to the call-girl ring.published by the self same New York Times.the governor announced his resignation.

The article underscores the point as follows: "Several current and former federal prosecutors and prominent defense lawyers who reviewed the document said the inclusion of such salacious details about Mr. Spitzer.s encounter with the prostitute went far beyond what was necessary to provide probable cause for the arrests and for searches, the purpose of the affidavit."

While questioning the official explanation, the article draws no conclusions as to the motives behind the Spitzer investigation. However, the only plausible interpretation is that the Justice Department/FBI probe was a political operation directed by the Bush administration for the purpose of reversing an election and removing from office the Democratic governor of the third largest state in the country.

This conclusion is reinforced by a March 22 McClatchy Newspapers report that Roger Stone, a resident of Miami Beach and notorious Republican "dirty trickster" since the Nixon era, had a role in the probe of Spitzer. The Kansas City Star reported that Stone.s lawyer sent a letter last November to the FBI alleging that Spitzer had hired prostitutes while in Florida.

The letter, released by Stone.s lawyer, states: "The governor has paid literally thousands of dollars for these services. It is Mr. Stone.s understanding that the governor paid not with credit cards or cash but through some pre-arranged transfer."

Stone, recruited by the 2000 Bush campaign to block a recount of votes in the disputed Florida election, is credited with organizing the near-riot of Republican congressional staff members and other operatives that succeeded in shutting down the vote recount in Miami-Dade County. According to the Star, the letter from Stone.s lawyer was in response to requests from FBI agents investigating Spitzer to speak with his client.

.... the essential issue raised in this case is the role of the state apparatus, utilizing the immense financial and technological resources and police powers of the federal government, enhanced by the new domestic spying powers granted under laws enacted in the name of the bogus "war on terror," in manipulating political life and intimidating, silencing or removing those deemed to be political obstacles.

The March 21 New York Times article sheds additional light on the scope and intrusiveness of the Justice Department investigation into the former New York governor, and makes clear that it was anything but routine. It begins: "The Justice Department used some of its most intrusive tactics against Eliot Spitzer, examining his financial records, eavesdropping on his phone class and tailing him during its criminal investigation of the Emperor.s Club prostitution ring.

"The scale and intensity of the investigation of Mr. Spitzer, then the governor of New York, seemed on its face to be a departure for the Justice Department, which aggressively investigates allegations of wrongdoing by public officials, but almost never investigates people who pay prostitutes for sex.

"A review of recent federal cases shows that federal prosecutors go sparingly after owners and operators of prostitution enterprises, and usually only when millions of dollars are involved or there are aggravating circumstances, like human trafficking or child exploitation."

On the massive scale of the dragnet, the article states: "The focus on Mr. Spitzer was so intense that the FBI used surveillance teams to follow both him and the prostitute in Washington in February. The surveillance teams had followed him at least once before.when he visited the city in January but did not engage a prostitute, officials said, confirming a report in the Washington Post. Stakeouts and surveillance are labor-intensive and often involve teams of a dozen or more agents and non-agent specialists."

On the extraordinary nature of the Justice Department decision to pursue a criminal investigation into Spitzer.s use of call-girl services, the Times cites Bradley D. Simon, described as "a veteran Justice Department trial lawyer who was federal prosecutor in Brooklyn throughout the 1990s." The newspaper writes:

"Mr. Simon said it was unusual for the department to bring criminal charges in a prostitution case in which there was no allegation of the exploitation of children, human trafficking or some more serious crime.

"He said that in his eight years in the Brooklyn office in the 1990s, he could not recall a single major criminal case that centered on prostitution charges. .There were a lot of serious crimes.organized crime, narcotics cases, major financial crime investigations,. he said in an interview. .Prostitution was not a high priority.."

The article concludes: "Justice Department officials insist that it has a strong record of breaking up large prostitution rings around the country, but many of the cases they cite involve cases brought several years ago, especially before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks; after that, the department vowed to focus its attention on national security threats.

"And for years, they acknowledge, the department has rarely, if ever, prosecuted or even identified the clients of a prosecution ring."

The Times cites unnamed government officials who defend the Spitzer investigation and repeat the official story that it began when one of the then-governor.s banks filed reports with the US Treasury Department of suspicious transactions in his account. "The reports suggested to investigators," the newspaper writes, "that Mr. Spitzer might have been trying to keep anyone from noticing transfers of his own funds. That is the kind of activity that can bring an investigation of the possibility of corruption."

However, even if this account of the origins of the investigation is true, it does not explain why a decision was made by the Department of Justice.s Public Integrity Section and the US attorney of the Southern District of New York to continue the probe after no evidence was found of bribery, influence-peddling, illegal use of campaign funds or any other form of political corruption.

The Times article cites the unidentified government officials as saying that "once they learned that such a prominent figure was involved in soliciting prostitutes, and had seemed to be arranging sex in violation of the statute that prohibits travel across state lines to engage in sex, they wanted to follow the evidence."

Why? At the point where no evidence was found of corruption, there was no legitimate reason for the Justice Department to press ahead with a criminal investigation of the governor of New York.

The statute referred to is a 1910 law known as the Mann Act, banning the interstate transport of females for "immoral purposes." This federal law has been used numerous times for reactionary purposes, including the cases of black boxer Jack Johnson, Charlie Chaplin and singer Chuck Berry. The Justice Department and FBI had to invoke this law to justify a federal probe of Spitzer.s sexual activities.

But none of the Public Integrity Section reports for 2004, 2005 or 2006, which cite dozens of cases of bribe-taking and influence-peddling by public officials, have a single reference to prostitution or the Mann Act.

The Times cites "senior political appointees" at the Justice Department in Washington as saying they had "little involvement in the case," and asserts that Attorney General Michael Mukasey, a former federal judge in New York, was not even told about the case until shortly before March 5, when the complaint was filed against four of the prostitution ring.s employees.

This flatly contradicts previous reports that Mukasey signed off on the Spitzer probe. Moreover, it is wholly unbelievable that top officials in the Justice Department would not have been consulted about a criminal investigation of a powerful and nationally prominent elected official.

The information contained in the New York Times article confirms the analysis ... that the investigation of Spitzer was a politically motivated dragnet organized by the Bush administration ...

It was well known that Spitzer had presidential aspirations. He had also made many enemies on Wall Street, because of his well-publicized investigations, during his time as New York State attorney general, of prominent bankers and stock market officials.

A political "hit" against Spitzer would be entirely in line with the modus operandi of the Bush administration, which came to power on the basis of electoral fraud and the suppression of votes, and continued its anti-democratic and conspiratorial practices by dragging the country into war on the basis of lies and using the Justice Department to carry out trumped-up voter fraud prosecutions of Democratic candidates and their supporters, as revealed in last year.s scandal over the firing of nine US attorneys.

...

==============

Young Guantánamo detainee details abuse

By Naomi Spencer 24 March 2008

In an affidavit released last week, a Canadian-borne detainee held in the US military-run prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has detailed coercion, torture and other crimes committed by his American captors over the past six years.

The detainee, Omar Khadr, now 21 years old, has been held by the US for more than a quarter of his life, on inconsistent allegations and forced confessions, and in the most heinous conditions. He was only charged in 2007.with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, spying, and providing material support for terrorism.after being held for five years.

In his statement, Khadr said US interrogators threatened him with rape, tortured him, and forced him to swear to false statements. The affidavit was drawn up in February and released March 18.albeit in heavily redacted form.after Canada.s Supreme Court ruled that Khadr.s lawyers could present evidence before the court that his detention violated international law.

Beginning with his nearly fatal wounding and capture after a July 27, 2002 firefight, when he was only 15 years old, Khadr has been subjected to extreme physical and psychological abuse. The boy was flown to a tent hospital at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, along with US Sergeant Chris Speer, whom Khadr is charged with killing with a grenade.

Interrogations began there almost immediately: .I was unconscious for about one week after being captured.... During the day I was guarded by a young blond soldier who ... had paper and took notes.. Two interrogations took place within three days. time after he regained consciousness.

This section of the affidavit is heavily blacked out; nevertheless, the substance of the statement is clear. .Due to my injuries, this caused me great pain.... I was unable to even stand at this time, so I was not a threat,. he stated. .I could tell that this treatment was for punishment and to make me answer questions and give them the answers they wanted..

Another soldier involved in the interrogations .would often [redacted]. He would tell nurses not to [redacted] since he said that I had killed an American soldier. He would also [redacted] me quite often. There were no doctors or nurses present when I was interrogated. During the interrogations, the pain was taking my thoughts away..

Affidavits issued by other detainees have stated that Khadr had been denied types of surgery and pain medication.

After two weeks at the hospital, Khadr was transferred to the horrid Bagram prison, where he was .immediately taken to an interrogation room.. One of his interrogators .would often [redacted] if I did not give him the answers he wanted.. .Interrogators threatened to have me raped, or sent to other countries like Egypt, Syria, Jordan or Israel to be raped,. he said.

During one particularly abusive interrogation, Khadr stated, .the more I answered his questions and the more I gave him the answers he wanted, the less [redacted] on me. I figured out right away that I would simply tell them whatever I thought they wanted to hear in order to keep them from causing me [redacted]..

Absurdly, US officials have justified the censorship by citing security and strategic secrets. A March 18 report by Canwest News Service said censors were concerned that .terrorists could discover.and presumably prepare to resist.specific interrogation techniques..

There is little doubt that Khadr, like other inmates, was tortured at length in the makeshift prison camp at Bagram and at Guantánamo. The redactions are merely crude attempts to obscure further evidence of torture and war crimes that are committed routinely by soldiers, with the encouragement and approval of military brass and the Bush administration.

During his three-month imprisonment at Bagram, Khadr estimated he was interrogated 42 times. For weeks he was brought in on a stretcher. He said soldiers routinely videotaped dressing changes for his wounds. Some statements refer to his being hooded, sexually humiliated, being threatened with attack dogs, and the painful handling of his still open bullet and shrapnel wounds. All of these abuses were well established at Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere.

One of Khadr.s interrogators, Sergeant Joshua Claus, was one of 15 US military personnel charged in connection with the murder of two men at Bagram five months after Khadr.s arrival. Claus, brought before military court on the most minor charges.assault and .maltreatment of a detainee..pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a mere five months in jail.

Before being transferred to Guantánamo, Khadr said detainees were denied any food or water for two nights and a day .so that we would not have to use the bathroom on the plane.. Upon their arrival, a military official announced, .Welcome to Israel.. Then, .They half-dragged, half-carried us so quickly off the plane that everyone had cuts on their ankles from the shackles,. Khadr stated. .They would smack you with a stick if you made any wrong moves..

At Guantánamo, Khadr said, .I was not provided with any educational opportunities, no psychological or psychiatric attention, and was routinely interrogated.. He was also subjected to prolonged periods of isolation, sensory deprivation, stress positions, temperature exposure, and humiliation.

The affidavit also highlights the cowardice and complicity of the Canadian ruling establishment in the .war on terror.. In 2003, Khadr stated that a Canadian delegation paid a visit to Guantánamo, and that he tried to explain to them that he had been threatened and abused into false statements. .I showed them my injuries and told them that what I had told the Americans was not right and not true,. he said. .I said that I told the Americans whatever they wanted me to say because they would torture me. The Canadians called me a liar and I began to sob. They screamed at me and told me that they could not do anything for me..

Out of the hundreds of detainees that have been held at the military prison, Khadr is one of only four Guantánamo detainees that have been prosecuted under the 2006 Military Commission Act. Details in a separate affidavit of his military lawyer, also released last week, suggest that the decision to charge Khadr at that time was motivated by political requirements of the Bush administration.

Khadr.s lawyer, Lieutenant Commander Bill Kuebler, described a January 2007 discussion between former Guantánamo chief prosecutor Colonel Morris Davis and James Haynes, the general counsel at the Defense Department, in which Haynes told Davis that it was .necessary. to charge Australian detainee David Hicks.

According to the Canadian Globe and Mail, Davis objected because the military tribunal system was not yet functioning. The paper quoted a portion of Kuebler.s statement: .Mr. Haynes also said that it would look strange if just Hicks were charged and therefore asked Colonel Davis if there were any other cases that could be brought at the same time.... Colonel Davis indicated that Mr. Khadr.s case was one of two cases for which charges were sworn so that Hicks would not be the only detainee facing charges..

Omar Khadr.s affidavit is available in redacted form here.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Affidavit_of_Omar_Ahmed_Khadr

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posted by u2r2h at Monday, March 24, 2008 0 comments links to this post

23 March, 2008

USA aggressive war bullying im March 2003

U.S. Pushed Allies on Iraq, Diplomat Writes

Chilean Envoy to U.N. Recounts Threats of Retaliation in Run-Up to Invasion

Source: washingtonpost.com

3/22/2008 UNITED NATIONS -- In the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration threatened trade reprisals against friendly countries who withheld their support, spied on its allies, and pressed for the recall of U.N. envoys that resisted U.S. pressure to endorse the war, according to an upcoming book by a top Chilean diplomat.

The rough-and-tumble diplomatic strategy has generated lasting "bitterness" and "deep mistrust" in Washington's relations with allies in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, Heraldo Munoz, Chile's ambassador to the United Nations, writes in his book "A Solitary War: A Diplomat's Chronicle of the Iraq War and Its Lessons," set for publication next month.

"In the aftermath of the invasion, allies loyal to the United States were rejected, mocked and even punished" for their refusal to back a U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein's government, Munoz writes.

But the tough talk dissipated as the war situation worsened, and President Bush came to reach out to many of the same allies that he had spurned. Munoz's account suggests that the U.S. strategy backfired in Latin America, damaging the administration's standing in a region that has long been dubious of U.S. military intervention.

Munoz details key roles by Chile and Mexico, the Security Council's two Latin members at the time, in the run-up to the war: Then-U.N. Ambassadors Juan Gabriel Valdns of Chile and Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico helped thwart U.S. and British efforts to rally support among the council's six undecided members for a resolution authorizing the U.S.-led invasion.

The book portrays Bush personally prodding the leaders of those six governments -- Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan -- to support the war resolution, a strategy aimed at demonstrating broad support for U.S. military plans, despite the French threat to veto the resolution.

In the weeks preceding the war, Bush made several appeals to Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and Mexican President Vicente Fox to rein in their diplomats and support U.S. war aims. "We have problems with your ambassador at the U.N.," Bush told Fox at a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Los Cabos, Mexico, in late 2002.

"It's time to bring up the vote, Ricardo. We've had this debate too long," Bush told the Chilean president on March 11, 2003.

"Bush had referred to Lagos by his first name, but as the conversation drew to a close and Lagos refused to support the resolution as it stood, Bush shifted to a cool and aloof 'Mr. President,' " Munoz writes. "Next Monday, time is up," Bush told Lagos.

Senior U.S. diplomats sought to thwart a last-minute attempt by Chile to broker a compromise that would delay military action for weeks, providing Iraq with a final chance to demonstrate that it had fully complied with disarmament requirements.

On March 14, 2003, less than one week before the invasion, Chile hosted a meeting of diplomats from the six undecided governments to discuss its proposal. But then-U.S. Ambassador John D. Negroponte and then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell moved quickly to quash the initiative, warning them that the effort was viewed as "an unfriendly act" designed to isolate the United States. The diplomats received calls from their governments ordering them to "leave the meeting immediately," Munoz writes.

Aguilar Zinser, who died in 2005, was forced out of the Mexican government after publicly accusing the United States of treating Mexico like its "back yard" during the war negotiations. Valdns was transferred to Argentina, where he served as Chile's top envoy, and Munoz, a Chilean minister and onetime classmate of Condoleezza Rice at the University of Denver, was sent to the United Nations in June 2003 to patch up relations with the United States.

In the days after the invasion, the National Security Council's top Latin American expert, John F. Maisto, invited Munoz to the White House to convey the message to Lagos, that his country's position at the United Nations had jeopardized prospects for the speedy Senate ratification of a free-trade pact. "Chile has lost some influence," he said. "President Bush is truly disappointed with Lagos, but he is furious with Fox. With Mexico, the president feels betrayed; with Chile, frustrated and let down."

Munoz said relations remained tense at the United Nations, where the United States sought support for resolutions authorizing the occupation of Iraq. He said that small countries met privately in a secure room at the German mission that was impervious to suspected U.S. eavesdropping. "It reminded me of a submarine or a giant safe," Munoz said in an interview.

The United States, he added, expressed "its displeasure" to the German government every time they held a meeting in the secure room. "They couldn't listen to what was going on."

Munoz said that threats of reprisals were short-lived as Washington quickly found itself reaching out to Chile, Mexico and other countries to support Iraq's messy postwar rehabilitation. It also sought support from Chile on issues such as peacekeeping in Haiti and support for U.S. efforts to drive Syria out of Lebanon. The U.S.-Chilean free trade agreement, while delayed, was finally signed by then-U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick in June 2003.

Munoz said that Rice, as secretary of state, called him to ask for help on a U.N. resolution that would press for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. The United States had secured eight of the nine votes required for adoption of a resolution in the Security Council. Munoz had received instructions to abstain. "I talked to [Lagos], and he listened to my argument, and we gave them the ninth vote," he said.

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posted by u2r2h at Sunday, March 23, 2008 0 comments links to this post

21 March, 2008

Robert Fisk on Iraq War - and 911

The only lesson we ever learn is that we never learn

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Five years on, and still we have not learnt. With each anniversary, the steps crumble beneath our feet, the stones ever more cracked, the sand ever finer. Five years of catastrophe in Iraq and I think of Churchill, who in the end called Palestine a "hell-disaster". But we have used these parallels before and they have drifted away in the Tigris breeze. Iraq is swamped in blood. Yet what is the state of our remorse? Why, we will have a public inquiry . but not yet! If only inadequacy was our only sin.

Today, we are engaged in a fruitless debate. What went wrong? How did the people -- the senatus populusque Romanus of our modern world -- not rise up in rebellion when told the lies about weapons of mass destruction, about Saddam's links with Osama bin Laden and 11 September? How did we let it happen? And how come we didn't plan for the aftermath of war?

Oh, the British tried to get the Americans to listen, Downing Street now tells us. We really, honestly did try, before we absolutely and completely knew it was right to embark on this illegal war. There is now a vast literature on the Iraq debacle and there are precedents for post-war planning -- of which more later -- but this is not the point. Our predicament in Iraq is on an infinitely more terrible scale.

As the Americans came storming up Iraq in 2003, their cruise missiles hissing through the sandstorm towards a hundred Iraqi towns and cities, I would sit in my filthy room in the Baghdad Palestine Hotel, unable to sleep for the thunder of explosions, and root through the books I'd brought to fill the dark, dangerous hours. Tolstoy's War and Peace reminded me how conflict can be described with sensitivity and grace and horror -- I recommend the Battle of Borodino -- along with a file of newspaper clippings. In this little folder, there was a long rant by Pat Buchanan, written five months earlier; and still, today I feel its power and its prescience and its absolute historical honesty: "With our MacArthur Regency in Baghdad, Pax Americana will reach apogee. But then the tide recedes, for the one endeavour at which Islamic people excel is expelling imperial powers by terror or guerrilla war.

"They drove the Brits out of Palestine and Aden, the French out of Algeria, the Russians out of Afghanistan, the Americans out of Somalia and Beirut, the Israelis out of Lebanon. We have started up the road to empire and over the next hill we will meet those who went before. The only lesson we learn from history is that we do not learn from history." How easily the little men took us into the inferno, with no knowledge or, at least, interest in history. None of them read of the 1920 Iraqi insurgency against British occupation, nor of Churchill's brusque and brutal settlement of Iraq the following year.On our historical radars, not even Crassus appeared, the wealthiest Roman general of all, who demanded an emperorship after conquering Macedonia -- "Mission Accomplished" -- and vengefully set forth to destroy Mesopotamia. At a spot in the desert near the Euphrates river, the Parthians -- ancestors of present day Iraqi insurgents -- annihilated the legions, chopped off Crassus's head and sent it back to Rome filled with gold. Today, they would have videotaped his beheading.

To their monumental hubris, these little men who took us to war five years ago now prove that they have learnt nothing. Anthony Blair -- as we should always have called this small town lawyer -- should be facing trial for his mendacity. Instead, he now presumes to bring peace to an Arab-Israeli conflict which he has done so much to exacerbate. And now we have the man who changed his mind on the legality of war -- and did so on a single sheet of A4 paper -- daring to suggest that we should test immigrants for British citizenship. Question 1, I contend, should be: Which blood-soaked British attorney general helped to send 176 British soldiers to their deaths for a lie? Question 2: How did he get away with it?

But in a sense, the facile, dumbo nature of Lord Goldsmith's proposal is a clue to the whole transitory, cardboard structure of our decision-making. The great issues that face us -- be they Iraq or Afghanistan, the US economy or global warming, planned invasions or "terrorism" -- are discussed not according to serious political timetables but around television schedules and press conferences.

Will the first air raids on Iraq hit prime-time television in the States? Mercifully, yes. Will the first US troops in Baghdad appear on the breakfast shows? Of course. Will Saddam's capture be announced by Bush and Blair simultaneously?.But this is all part of the problem. True, Churchill and Roosevelt argued about the timing of the announcement that war in Europe had ended. And it was the Russians who pipped them to the post. But we told the truth. When the British were retreating to Dunkirk, Churchill announced that the Germans had "penetrated deeply and spread alarm and confusion in their tracks".Why didn't Bush or Blair tell us this when the Iraqi insurgents began to assault the Western occupation forces? Well, they were too busy telling us that things were getting better, that the rebels were mere "dead-enders".On 17 June 1940, Churchill told the people of Britain: "The news from France is very bad and I grieve for the gallant French people who have fallen into this terrible misfortune." Why didn't Blair or Bush tell us that the news from Iraq was very bad and that they grieved -- even just a few tears for a minute or so -- for the Iraqis?

For these were the men who had the temerity, the sheer, unadulterated gall, to dress themselves up as Churchill, heroes who would stage a rerun of the Second World War, the BBC dutifully calling the invaders "the Allies" -- they did, by the way -- and painting Saddam's regime as the Third Reich.

Of course, when I was at school, our leaders -- Attlee, Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, or Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy in the United States -- had real experience of real war. Not a single Western leader today has any first-hand experience of conflict. When the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq began, the most prominent European opponent of the war was Jacques Chirac, who fought in the Algerian conflict. But he has now gone. So has Colin Powell, a Vietnam veteran but himself duped by Rumsfeld and the CIA.

Yet one of the terrible ironies of our times is that the most bloodthirsty of American statesmen -- Bush and Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfovitz -- have either never heard a shot fired in anger or have ensured they did not have to fight for their country when they had the chance to do so. No wonder Hollywood titles like "Shock and Awe" appeal to the White House. Movies are their only experience of human conflict; the same goes for Blair and Brown.

Churchill had to account for the loss of Singapore before a packed House. Brown won't even account for Iraq until the war is over.It is a grotesque truism that today -- after all the posturing of our political midgets five years ago -- we might at last be permitted a valid seance with the ghosts of the Second World War. Statistics are the medium, and the room would have to be dark. But it is a fact that the total of US dead in Iraq (3,978) is well over the number of American casualties suffered in the initial D-Day landings at Normandy (3,384 killed and missing) on 6 June, 1944, or more than three times the total British casualties at Arnhem the same year (1,200).

They count for just over a third of the total fatalities (11,014) of the entire British Expeditionary Force from the German invasion of Belgium to the final evacuation at Dunkirk in June 1940. The number of British dead in Iraq -- 176 -- is almost equal to the total of UK forces lost at the Battle of the Bulge in 1944-45 (just over 200). The number of US wounded in Iraq -- 29,395 -- is more than nine times the number of Americans injured on 6 June (3,184) and more than a quarter of the tally for US wounded in the entire 1950-53 Korean war (103,284).

Iraqi casualties allow an even closer comparison to the Second World War. Even if we accept the lowest of fatality statistics for civilian dead -- they range from 350,000 up to a million -- these long ago dwarfed the number of British civilian dead in the flying-bomb blitz on London in 1944-45 (6,000) and now far outnumber the total figure for civilians killed in bombing raids across the United Kingdom -- 60,595 dead, 86,182 seriously wounded -- from 1940 to 1945.

Indeed, the Iraqi civilian death toll since our invasion is now greater than the total number of British military fatalities in the Second World War, which came to an astounding 265,000 dead (some histories give this figure as 300,000) and 277,000 wounded. Minimum estimates for Iraqi dead mean that the civilians of Mesopotamia have suffered six or seven Dresdens or -- more terrible still -- two Hiroshimas.

Yet in a sense, all this is a distraction from the awful truth in Buchanan's warning. We have dispatched our armies into the land of Islam. We have done so with the sole encouragement of Israel, whose own false intelligence over Iraq has been discreetly forgotten by our masters, while weeping crocodile tears for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died.America's massive military prestige has been irreparably diminished. And if there are, as I now calculate, 22 times as many Western troops in the Muslim world as there were at the time of the 11th and 12th century Crusades, we must ask what we are doing. Are we there for oil? For democracy? For Israel? For fear of weapons of mass destruction? Or for fear of Islam?We blithely connect Afghanistan to Iraq. If only Washington had not become distracted by Iraq, so the narrative now goes, the Taliban could not have re-established themselves. But al-Qa'ida and the nebulous Osama bin Laden were not distracted. Which is why they expanded their operations into Iraq and then used this experience to assault the West in Afghanistan with the hitherto -- in Afghanistan -- unheard of suicide bomber.

And I will hazard a terrible guess: that we have lost Afghanistan as surely as we have lost Iraq and as surely as we are going to "lose" Pakistan. It is our presence, our power, our arrogance, our refusal to learn from history and our terror -- yes, our terror -- of Islam that is leading us into the abyss. And until we learn to leave these Muslim peoples alone, our catastrophe in the Middle East will only become graver. There is no connection between Islam and "terror". But there is a connection between our occupation of Muslim lands and "terror". It's not too complicated an equation. And we don't need a public inquiry to get it right.

========== about 911 conspiracy theories =================


Robert Fisk: Even I question the 'truth' about 9/11

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Each time I lecture abroad on the Middle East, there is always someone in the audience -- just one -- whom I call the "raver". Apologies here to all the men and women who come to my talks with bright and pertinent questions -- often quite humbling ones for me as a journalist -- and which show that they understand the Middle East tragedy a lot better than the journalists who report it. But the "raver" is real. He has turned up in corporeal form in Stockholm and in Oxford, in Sao Paulo and in Yerevan, in Cairo, in Los Angeles and, in female form, in Barcelona. No matter the country, there will always be a "raver".

His -- or her -- question goes like this. Why, if you believe you're a free journalist, don't you report what you really know about 9/11? Why don't you tell the truth -- that the Bush administration (or the CIA or Mossad, you name it) blew up the twin towers? Why don't you reveal the secrets behind 9/11? The assumption in each case is that Fisk knows -- that Fisk has an absolute concrete, copper-bottomed fact-filled desk containing final proof of what "all the world knows" (that usually is the phrase) -- who destroyed the twin towers. Sometimes the "raver" is clearly distressed. One man in Cork screamed his question at me, and then -- the moment I suggested that his version of the plot was a bit odd -- left the hall, shouting abuse and kicking over chairs.

Usually, I have tried to tell the "truth"; that while there are unanswered questions about 9/11, I am the Middle East correspondent of The Independent, not the conspiracy correspondent; that I have quite enough real plots on my hands in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Iran, the Gulf, etc, to worry about imaginary ones in Manhattan. My final argument -- a clincher, in my view -- is that the Bush administration has screwed up everything -- militarily, politically diplomatically -- it has tried to do in the Middle East; so how on earth could it successfully bring off the international crimes against humanity in the United States on 11 September 2001?

Well, I still hold to that view. Any military which can claim -- as the Americans did two days ago -- that al-Qa'ida is on the run is not capable of carrying out anything on the scale of 9/11. "We disrupted al-Qa'ida, causing them to run," Colonel David Sutherland said of the preposterously code-named "Operation Lightning Hammer" in Iraq's Diyala province. "Their fear of facing our forces proves the terrorists know there is no safe haven for them." And more of the same, all of it untrue.

Within hours, al-Qa'ida attacked Baquba in battalion strength and slaughtered all the local sheikhs who had thrown in their hand with the Americans. It reminds me of Vietnam, the war which George Bush watched from the skies over Texas -- which may account for why he this week mixed up the end of the Vietnam war with the genocide in a different country called Cambodia, whose population was eventually rescued by the same Vietnamese whom Mr Bush's more courageous colleagues had been fighting all along.

But -- here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It's not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled? Why did flight 93's debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I'm not talking about the crazed "research" of David Icke's Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster -- which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone directory.

I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin towers -- whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480C -- would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.) What about the third tower -- the so-called World Trade Centre Building 7 (or the Salmon Brothers Building) -- which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in its own footprint at 5.20pm on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the ground when no aircraft had hit it? The American National Institute of Standards and Technology was instructed to analyse the cause of the destruction of all three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7. Two prominent American professors of mechanical engineering -- very definitely not in the "raver" bracket -- are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final report on the grounds that it could be "fraudulent or deceptive".

Journalistically, there were many odd things about 9/11. Initial reports of reporters that they heard "explosions" in the towers -- which could well have been the beams cracking -- are easy to dismiss. Less so the report that the body of a female air crew member was found in a Manhattan street with her hands bound. OK, so let's claim that was just hearsay reporting at the time, just as the CIA's list of Arab suicide-hijackers, which included three men who were -- and still are -- very much alive and living in the Middle East, was an initial intelligence error.

But what about the weird letter allegedly written by Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian hijacker-murderer with the spooky face, whose "Islamic" advice to his gruesome comrades -- released by the CIA -- mystified every Muslim friend I know in the Middle East? Atta mentioned his family -- which no Muslim, however ill-taught, would be likely to include in such a prayer. He reminds his comrades-in-murder to say the first Muslim prayer of the day and then goes on to quote from it. But no Muslim would need such a reminder -- let alone expect the text of the "Fajr" prayer to be included in Atta's letter.

Let me repeat. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Spare me the ravers. Spare me the plots. But like everyone else, I would like to know the full story of 9/11, not least because it was the trigger for the whole lunatic, meretricious "war on terror" which has led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan and in much of the Middle East. Bush's happily departed adviser Karl Rove once said that "we're an empire now -- we create our own reality". True? At least tell us. It would stop people kicking over chairs.

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posted by u2r2h at Friday, March 21, 2008 0 comments links to this post

20 March, 2008

Suharto - Mass Murder OK with USA

STOP PRESS.. latest news>. a new book:
Review: Masters of terror
Indonesia’s Military and Violence in East Timor
Richard Tanter, Desmond Ball and Gerry van Klinken (editors)
Lanham MD, Rowman and Littlefield, 2006
ISBN 978072538344 A$33.00

Masters of Terror: Indonesia’s Military and Violence in East Timor provides a detailed and rigorous account of the violence perpetrated by the Indonesian military and pro-Indonesian militias in East Timor during 1999.

The book commences with an unusually useful set of abbreviations, a select chronology, and a list of major violent incidents which occurred both before and following the independence vote in August 1999. The main chapters of the book then concentrate on clarifying the roles of individuals and the lines of responsibility for human rights abuses. This edition is based on a book published in 2002 by the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. Absent in the new version is an already widely available report by James Dunn. Added is a forward by Noam Chomsky, a revised introduction by Hamish McDonald and Richard Tanter, and an afterword by Gerry van Klinken, all of which help round out the book. At first glance the material may appear to have been outpaced by events. This edition was drawn together before the turmoil in East Timor in 2006 and 2007 brought further complications to the limited possibilities for justice. Moreover, various justice-related processes that have run their course are not examined in detail in the book. However, read as it is designed to be, namely a detailed text clarifying key events in 1999, the contents of this book remain of enduring value. Moreover, with a new publisher and in turn a potentially wider audience, this book serves as a reminder of the continuing need to bring high-level offenders to account for the violence and destruction that occurred in 1999.

Reviewed by Damian Grenfell (damian.grenfell@rmit.edu.au )
insideindonesia.org/content/view/1061/47/

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MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

February 12, 2008

MEDIA ALERT: SUHARTO - COVERING UP WESTERN COMPLICITY

The death of the former Indonesian dictator, Suharto, on January 27 could have unleashed a flood of revelations detailing British and American support for one of the 20th century?s worst mass murderers. Instead, the media continued the cover up that has so far lasted more than forty years.

The 1965-6 massacres that accompanied Suharto?s rise to power claimed the lives of between 500,000 and 1 million people, mostly landless peasants. A 1977 Amnesty International report cited a tally of "many more than one million? deaths. (http://www.fair.org/articles/suharto-itt.html) In the words of a leaked CIA report at the time, the massacre was "one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century". (Declassified US CIA Directorate of Intelligence research study, 'Indonesia - 1965: The Coup That Backfired,' 1968; http://newsc.blogspot.com/)

Infamously, while assuring readers of US involvement, leading New York Times commentator James Reston described these events as "a gleam of light in Asia". (http://www.fair.org/extra/9603/reston.html) Max Frankel, then the New York Times? Washington correspondent, wrote an article titled, "US Is Heartened by Red Setback in Indonesia Coup.? He commented:

"The Johnson administration believes that a dramatic new opportunity has developed both for anti-Communist Indonesians and for United States policies. Officials... believe the army will cripple and perhaps destroy the Communists as a significant political force."
(http://www.fair.org/extra/best-of-extra/indonesia-nyt.html)

The United States had been heavily involved, not just in bringing Suharto to power, but in arming, equipping and training his army. In May 1990, Kathy Kadane of the Washington-based States News Service reported admissions of US government officials that the US embassy in Jakarta had drawn up lists of 5,000 suspected Communist leaders. These ?zap lists? were given to the Indonesian military who used them to track down and kill party members. One former embassy official told Kadane: "I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that's not all bad." (http://www.fair.org/extra/best-of-extra/indonesia-nyt.html)

Ralph McGehee, a senior CIA operations officer in the 1960s, described the terror of Suharto's takeover as "the model operation" for the US-backed coup that later destroyed Chile?s Salvador Allende. McGehee indicated the key deception that had sparked Suharto?s massacre:

"The CIA forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders... [just like] what happened in Indonesia in 1965." (John Pilger, ?Our model dictator,? The Guardian, January 28, 2007; http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2247948,00.html)

The British government was secretly involved in the slaughter. Roland Challis, BBC south-east Asia correspondent at the time, later revealed:

"British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops down the Malacca Straits so they could take part in the terrible holocaust... I and other correspondents were unaware of this at the time... There was a deal, you see. In establishing the Suharto regime, the involvement of the IMF and the World Bank was part of it... Suharto would bring them back. That was the deal." (Ibid)

The ?deal? involved opening up what Richard Nixon had called "the richest hoard of natural resources, the greatest prize in south-east Asia". Suharto transformed Indonesia into an ?investors? paradise?. (http://www.fair.org/extra/9809/suharto.html) Foreign investment was attracted by a law which protected property from nationalisation for 30 years. The new regime also offered to return to their original owners American, British and Dutch firms which had been taken over by Suharto?s predecessor, Sukarno. In November 1967, Nixon?s ?prize? was delivered at a three-day conference in Geneva. The Freeport company got West Papua?s copper. A US/European consortium got much of the nickel. The Alcoa company got Indonesia's bauxite. America, Japanese and French companies got the tropical forests of Sumatra.

The West, unsurprisingly, was delighted to do business with Indonesia's new ?moderate? leader, who was "at heart benign," the Economist declared.
(http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Chomsky/ChomOdon_SEAsia.html)


Blood Red - Green Light

The United States and Britain were also key allies supporting Suharto?s December 1975 invasion of East Timor. The day before the attack, while visiting the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, secretary of state Henry Kissinger and president Gerald Ford gave Suharto the green light to invade.

In media coverage immediately following Ford?s death in December 2006, we found a single sentence in the entire UK press describing his complicity in the East Timor genocide. Christopher Hitchens wrote in the Mirror:

"It was Kissinger and Ford who gave permission to the Indonesian generals for their illegal annexation of East Timor, which turned into a genocide." (Hitchens, 'The accidental president,' Mirror, December 28, 2006)

Philip Liechty, CIA desk officer in Jakarta at the time of the invasion, gave an idea of the operative ethics:

"We sent the Indonesian generals everything that you need to fight a major war against somebody who doesn't have any guns. We sent them rifles, ammunition, mortars, grenades, food, helicopters. You name it; they got it. And they got it direct... No one cared. No one gave a damn. It is something that I will be forever ashamed of. The only justification I ever heard for what we were doing was there was concern that East Timor was on the verge of being accepted as a new member of the United Nations and there was a chance that the country was going to be either leftist or neutralist and not likely to vote [with the United States] at the UN.? (Quoted, John Pilger, Hidden Agendas, Vintage, 1998, pp.285-6. See our media alert for more detail: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/02/020601_east_timor.html)

The US supplied 90% of the weapons. Britain supplied armoured cars and advanced fighter-bombers used against East Timorese targets. The result was the death of 200,000 people out of a total of 700,000 - one of the worst genocides in history by proportion of population killed.

A month after Indonesia invaded, as tens of thousands of people were being massacred, a US State Department official told a major Australian newspaper that "in terms of the bilateral relations between the US and Indonesia, we are more or less condoning the incursion into East Timor... The United States wants to keep its relations with Indonesia close and friendly. We regard Indonesia as a friendly, non-aligned nation - a nation we do a lot of business with". (The Australian, January 22, 1976; http://www.fair.org/activism/east-timor-context.html)

In December 1975, the British ambassador in Jakarta informed the Foreign Office: "it is in Britain's interest that Indonesia should absorb the territory as soon and as unobtrusively as possible, and that if it should come to the crunch and there is a row in the United Nations, we should keep our heads down and avoid taking sides against the Indonesian government?. (Quoted, Mark Curtis, The Ambiguities of Power, Zed Books, 1996, pp.219-220)
US reporter Allan Nairn happened to witness, and narrowly survived, one massacre of unarmed protestors in the East Timor capital, Dili, in November 1991:

?The soldiers marched straight up to us [Western journalists]. They never broke their stride. We were enveloped by the troops, and when they got a few yards past us, within a dozen yards of the Timorese, they raised their rifles to their shoulders all at once, and they opened fire. The Timorese, in an instant, were down, just torn apart by the bullets. The street was covered with bodies covered with blood. And the soldiers just kept on coming. They poured in, one rank after another. They leaped over the bodies of those who were down. They were aiming and shooting people in the back. I could see their limbs being torn, their bodies exploding. There was blood spurting out into the air. The pop of the bullets, everywhere. And it was very organized, very systematic. The soldiers did not stop. They just kept on shooting until no one was left standing.? (http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/28/massacre_the_story_of_east_timor)


Burying The Dead - British Media Performance

How much of this information has been communicated by the mainstream media since Suharto?s death?

Jonathan Head wrote on the BBC website of Suharto:

?His accession to power coincided with the escalation of the Vietnam War, when the United States was desperate for reliable allies in the region and willing to turn a blind eye to his human rights record.? (Head, ?The lasting legacy of Suharto,? BBC online, January 27, 2008; http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7183191.stm)

As we have seen, this was about far more than just turning a ?blind eye?. In fact, the United States played a key role in bringing Suharto to power, and in providing weapons for his genocidal army. The M-16 guns Suharto?s troops used were American - the Hawk jets that bombed East Timor were British. But East Timor was not so much as mentioned in Head?s high-profile BBC report. When challenged by a reader, Head replied:

?I think it is entirely inappropriate to rank Suharto alongside Sadaam [sic] Hussein. There was never anything like the pervasive terror here that existed in Iraq. I in no way wish to diminish the enormous suffering of many Indonesians under his rule.? (Email forwarded to Media Lens, January 28, 2008)

In 1998, Jim Naureckas of FAIR (www.fair.org) responded to the argument that Suharto could not be compared to Saddam Hussein:

"?Suharto is no Saddam,? the New York Times? ?Week in Review? assured us on March 8. How so? The Indonesian dictator?s rule is no less autocratic than Saddam Hussein?s. Like Hussein, Suharto has attempted to annex a smaller neighbor - in fact, his ongoing occupation of East Timor has been far bloodier than Hussein?s assault on Kuwait. While Hussein?s rule has been brutally repressive, Suharto is directly responsible for one of the greatest acts of mass murder in post-World War II history: the genocide that accompanied his rise to power in 1965.? (http://www.fair.org/articles/suharto-itt.html)

BBC News online invited readers to ?Have Your Say?:

?Mr Suharto was accused of embezzling $600m (?303m) of state funds during his 32 years of power, but the criminal charges were dropped in 2006 on account of his ill health. A civil case brought by state prosecutors seeking $1.5bn in damages and funds allegedly stolen from the state was never settled.

?What are your memories of the former strongman? What is his legacy? Should the charges against him have been dropped? (http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?forumID=4166&edition=2&ttl=20080127171140)

The charges of mass murder apparently do not exist.

A Daily Telegraph news report accepted that Suharto was ?one of the 20th century's biggest killers and greatest thieves... It began with the massacre of at least 500,000 communists in 1965. Two hundred thousand were killed when he annexed the former Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1975.? (Marianne Kearney and Thomas Bell, ?Suharto death revives memories of the million killed under his rule,? Daily Telegraph, January 28, 2008)

But what of US-UK support for his killing, motivated by corporate greed for Indonesia?s natural resources?

?His friends among western governments, attracted by his strong anti-communism, helped protect him in office.?

As ever, media reporting promotes the alleged concern to save the world from the former bete noire, ?communism? (a role currently being played by al Qaeda) - just as a sincere concern to save the world from Saddam Hussein?s non-existent weapons of mass destruction was the motive for invading Iraq, not control of oil.

A single letter in the Guardian made the point that is unthinkable for mainstream journalists:

?The collusion of the British with Suharto's murderous regime is not some throwback to cold-war realpolitik, but an integral and ongoing dimension of a foreign policy in thrall to the avaricious interests of big business. In 1967, following Suharto's western-backed coup, oil companies and multinational corporations divided up Indonesia's vast natural resources. Now, 40 years later, they are doing the same in Iraq, with the British government trying to push through an oil law which, if passed, would allow Shell, BP and Exxon to take control of most of Iraq's oil reserves, depriving ordinary Iraqis of billions of dollars. Plus ca change.? (Stefan Simanowitz, Letters page, The Guardian, January 29, 2008)

A Daily Telegraph obituary observed:

?Suharto, however, had made a serious mistake in 1975 when he took advantage of civil war in East Timor to overthrow the forces of the dominant Fretelin guerrilla movement. In the face of widespread international disapproval, he proceeded to annex the country to Indonesia.? (?Obituary of General Suharto,? Daily Telegraph, January 28, 2008)

In fact, there was no ?widespread international disapproval? - while the Timorese buried their dead, Western politicians and journalists buried the story. In 1979, when Indonesia?s killings were reaching genocidal levels, there was not a single mainstream press article on the crisis in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Dissident journalist Amy Goodman reported the details:

"ABC, NBC and CBS 'Evening News' never mentioned the words East Timor and neither did 'Nightline' or 'MacNeil Lehrer' between 1975, the day of the invasion, except for one comment by Walter Cronkite the day after, saying Indonesia had invaded East Timor - it was a 40 second report - until November 12, 1991." (Amy Goodman, ?Exception to the Rulers, Part II,? Z Magazine, December 1997)

In its January 28 obituary, the Telegraph also referred to ?Western revulsion? at the 1965-6 massacres. Presumably they had in mind the exultation and joy expressed on both sides of the Atlantic. (?Obituary of General Suharto President of Indonesia,? Daily Telegraph, January 28, 2008)

The Independent chose to focus on lesser crimes - how Suharto had used his power to enrich himself and his family. The dictator had clung on too long, the paper lamented:

?Had Suharto stepped down earlier, Indonesia might have agreed that his achievement of three decades of economic growth out-weighed his failings.? (?Suharto: Former dictator of Indonesia,? The Independent, January 28, 2008)

As Allan Nairn notes, the idea that Suharto?s record can be defended on grounds of increased prosperity - he may have presided over vast massacres but he also presided over rapid economic growth - is ?Pravda thinking?. The argument being, after all, ?the same one once used to justify Stalin?. (http://newsc.blogspot.com/)

What of US-UK complicity in Suharto?s ?failings?? The Independent noted that his coup ?was particularly welcome to the United States, deeply embroiled in nearby Vietnam and very willing to back anti-Communist military dictatorships. American aid was offered and accepted...?

Again, we are to understand that the goal was to stave off ?the Commies?. Nothing more was said about US-UK involvement in the killings in Indonesia or East Timor.

To its credit, the Guardian shamed the Independent?s performance simply by publishing John Pilger's honest analysis of US-UK complicity in Suharto?s crimes: ?Our model dictator - The death of Suharto is a reminder of the west's ignoble role in propping up a murderous regime.? (January 28, 2007; http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2247948,00.html)

The Financial Times found that Suharto?s ?achievements? were punctuated by ?severe shortcomings?. (John Aglionby and Shawn Donnan, ?Corrupt autocrat who fostered stability,? Financial Times, January 28, 2008)

It is interesting to consider the language used. In 1998, the US media analyst Edward Herman compared press descriptions of the Suharto and Pol Pot regimes:

?When Pol Pot died in April 1998, the media were unstinting in condemnation, calling him ?wicked,? ?loathsome,? and ?monumentally evil? (Chicago Tribune, 4/18/98), a ?lethal mass killer? and ?war criminal? (L.A. Times, 4/17/98), ?blood-soaked? and an ?egregious mass murderer? (Washington Post, 4/17/98, 4/18/98). His rule was repeatedly described as a ?reign of terror? and he was guilty of ?genocide.?...?

?Although Suharto's regime was responsible for a comparable number of deaths in Indonesia, along with more than a quarter of the population of East Timor, the word ?genocide? is virtually never used in mainstream accounts of his rule.? (Herman, ?Good and Bad Genocide,? FAIR, September/October 1998; http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1433)

The FT identified one of the ?severe shortcomings?: ?Suharto drew international condemnation after he ordered the 1975 invasion of East Timor?. In fact, the ?international condemnation? was restricted to a small, US-based student protest, which grew over three decades to become a global mass movement. As we have seen, Western governments and media did not give a damn.

A single, cryptic comment on US-UK involvement followed: ?Suharto sought a more intimate relationship with the US, which remained a strong ally.?

Pilger?s article aside, it would be impossible to guess from this media performance the central role US-UK political and military support played in the rise and massacres of president Suharto.

In December 2006, we reviewed, with near-identical results, media coverage of the death of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. A Guardian obituary commented on Pincohet?s overthrow of Allende:

?The coup, in which CIA destabilisation played a part...? (Malcolm Coad, ?Augusto Pinochet,? The Guardian, December 11, 2006; www.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1968953,00.html)

And that, as we noted at the time, was that! No more information was provided. (See: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/061219_born_in_usa.php)

When former US president Ronald Reagan died in 2004, close to nothing was said about his crimes in Central America. (See: www.medialens.org/alerts/04/040610_Reagan_Visions_1.HTM and www.medialens.org/alerts/04/040615_Reagan_Visions_2.HTM)

When Bill Clinton?s presidency has been reviewed, his responsibility for suffering and death has been a non-issue. (See: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/04/040706_Covering_Mr_President.HTM)

And, as discussed, Gerald Ford?s complicity in Suharto's crimes was also blanked.

It is crucial that the truth of US-UK violence not be admitted or seriously explored. Within that silence the myth of benevolence can be cultivated - and this is the key illusion allowing the West to attack, invade and kill with impunity, freed from decisive public opposition. We always ?had to?. We always ?meant well?. We always 'have hopes for a brighter future'.


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posted by u2r2h at Thursday, March 20, 2008 0 comments links to this post

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