greydog

Linda Ross aka greydog is a native Chicagoan who lives and works in Prague. greydog is the founder and editor of 99GetSmart.

Aug 132014
 

By William Blum, 99GetSmart

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During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.

E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:

Dear Editor,

Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”

Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:

Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.

– William Blum

I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. I’ve been reading the paper for 25 years – six years during Vietnam (1964-1970) and the last 19 years (1995-2014) – usually spending about three hours each day reading it very carefully. And I can say that when it comes to US foreign policy the newspaper is worse now than I can remember it ever was during those 25 years. It’s reached the point where, as one example, I don’t take at face value a word the Post has to say about Ukraine. Same with the State Department, which makes one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s wholly inconclusive and/or unsourced or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. 1 Do they have something to hide?

The State Department’s Public Affairs spokespersons making these presentations exhibit little regard or respect for the reporters asking challenging questions. It takes my thoughts back to the Vietnam era and Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the reporters exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied: “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid.” 2

Such frankness might be welcomed today as a breath of fresh air compared to the painful-to-observe double-talk of a State Department spokesperson.

My personal breath of fresh air in recent years has been the television station RT (formerly Russia Today). On a daily basis many progressives from around the world (myself included occasionally) are interviewed and out of their mouths come facts and analyses that are rarely heard on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox News, BBC, etc. The words of these progressives heard on RT are typically labeled by the mainstream media as “Russian propaganda”, whereas I, after a long lifetime of American propaganda, can only think: “Of course. What else are they going to call it?”

As for Russia being responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Flight 17, we should keep in mind that the current series of events in Ukraine was sparked in February when a US-supported coup overthrew the democratically-elected government and replaced it with one that was more receptive to the market-fundamentalism dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. Were it not for the coup there would have been no eastern rebellion to put down and no dangerous war zone for Flight 17 to be flying over in the first place.

The new regime has had another charming feature: a number of outspoken neo-Nazis in high and low positions, a circumstance embarrassing enough for the US government and mainstream media to turn it into a virtual non-event. US Senator John McCain met and posed for photos with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok (photos easily found on the Internet). Ukraine – whose ties to Naziism go back to World War Two when their homegrown fascists supported Germany and opposed the Soviet Union – is on track to becoming the newest part of the US-NATO military encirclement of Russia and possibly the home of the region’s newest missile base, target Moscow.

It is indeed possible that Flight 17 was shot down by the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine in the mistaken belief that it was the Ukrainian air force returning to carry out another attack. But other explanations are suggested in a series of questions posed by Russia to the the Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by radar information, satellite images, and other technical displays:

“Why was a military aircraft flying in a civil aviation airway at almost the same time and the same altitude as a civilian passenger aircraft? We would like to have this question answered.”

“Earlier, Ukrainian officials stated that on the day of the accident no Ukrainian military aircraft were flying in that area. As you can see, that is not true.”

“We also have a question for our American colleagues. According to a statement by American officials, the United States has satellite images which show that the missile aimed at the Malaysian aircraft was launched by the militants. But no one has seen these images.” 3

There is also this intriguing speculation, which ties in to the first Russian question above. A published analysis by a retired Lufthansa pilot points out that Flight 17 looked similar in its tricolor design to that of Russian President Putin’s plane, whose plane with him on board was at the same time “near” Flight 17. In aviation circles “near” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. 4 Could Putin’s plane have been the real target?

There is as well other serious and plausible questioning of the official story of Russia and/or Ukrainian anti-Kiev militias being responsible for the shootdown. Is Flight 17 going to become the next JFK Assassination, PanAm 103, or 9-11 conspiracy theory that lingers forever? Will the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Syrian chemical weapons be joined by the Russian anti-aircraft missile? Stay tuned.

Will they EVER leave Cuba alone? No.

The latest exposed plot to overthrow the Cuban government … Oh, pardon me, I mean the latest exposed plot to bring democracy to Cuba …

Our dear friends at the Agency For International Development (USAID), having done so well with their covert sub-contractor Alan Gross, now in his fifth year in Cuban custody … and their “Cuban Twitter” project, known as ZunZuneo, exposed in 2012, aimed at increasing the flow of information amongst the supposedly information-starved Cubans, which drew in subscribers unaware that the service was paid for by the US government … and now, the latest exposure, a project which sent about a dozen Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of stirring up a rebellion; the travelers worked clandestinely, using the cover of health and civic programs, or posing as tourists, going around the island, on a mission to “identify potential social-change actors” to turn into political activists. Can you believe that? Can you believe the magnitude of naiveté? Was it a conviction that American exceptionalism would somehow work its magic? Do they think the Cuban people are a bunch of children just waiting for a wise adult to come along and show them what to think and how to behave?

One of these latest USAID contracts was signed only days after Gross was detained, thus indicating little concern for the safety of their employees/agents. As part of the preparation of these individuals, USAID informed them: “Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you. Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.” 5

It’s most ironic. The US government could not say as much about most of their allies, who frequently make use of physical abuse. Indeed, the statement could not be made in regard to almost any American police force. But it’s this Cuba that doesn’t beat or torture detainees that is the enemy to be reformed and punished without mercy … 55 years and counting.

The United States and torture

Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America.

Thus it is somewhat to the credit of President Obama that at his August 1 press conference he declared “We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we torturedsome folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

And he actually used the word “torture” at that moment, not “enhanced interrogation”, which has been the euphemism of preference the past decade, although two minutes later the president used “extraordinary interrogation techniques”. And “tortured some folks” makes me wince. The man is clearly uncomfortable with the subject.

But all this is minor. Much more important is the fact that for several years Mr. Obama’s supporters have credited him with having put an end to the practice of torture. And they simply have no right to make that claim.

Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.” 6

The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to name some of the known torture centers frequented by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business. The same for the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.

Moreover, the Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?

The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions.

After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ – picking terrorism suspects off the street and sending them to a third country. But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.” 7

The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely because they were willing and able to torture them.

No official in the Bush and Obama administrations has been punished in any way for torture or other war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries they waged illegal war against. And, it could be added, no American bankster has been punished for their indispensable role in the world-wide financial torture they inflicted upon us all beginning in 2008. What a marvelously forgiving land is America. This, however, does not apply to Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, or Chelsea Manning.

In the last days of the Bush White House, Michael Ratner, professor at Columbia Law School and former president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, pointed out:

The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure that those who were responsible for the torture program pay the price for it. I don’t see how we regain our moral stature by allowing those who were intimately involved in the torture programs to simply walk off the stage and lead lives where they are not held accountable. 8

I’d like at this point to once again remind my dear readers of the words of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”, which was drafted by the United Nations in 1984, came into force in 1987, and ratified by the United States in 1994. Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity.

The Convention Against Torture has been and remains the supreme law of the land. It is a cornerstone of international law and a principle on a par with the prohibition against slavery and genocide.

“Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States.” – United States Attorney General Eric Holder, July 26, 2013

John Brennan, appointed by President Obama in January 2013 to be Director of the CIA, has defended “rendition” as an “absolutely vital tool”; and stated that torture had produced “life saving” intelligence. 9

Obama had nominated Brennan for the CIA position in 2008, but there was such an outcry in the human-rights community over Brennan’s apparent acceptance of torture, that Brennan withdrew his nomination. Barack Obama evidently learned nothing from this and appointed the man again in 2013.

During Cold War One, a common theme in the rhetoric was that the Soviets tortured people and detained them without cause, extracted phony confessions, and did the unspeakable to detainees who were helpless against the full, heartless weight of the Communist state. As much as any other evil, torture differentiated the bad guys, the Commies, from the good guys, the American people and their government. However imperfect the US system might be – we were all taught – it had civilized standards that the enemy rejected.

Just because you have a right to do something does not make it right.

The city of Detroit in recent months has been shutting off the supply of water to city residents who have not paid their water bills. This action affects more than 40% of the customers of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, bringing great inconvenience and threats to the health and sanitation of between 200 and 300 thousand residents. Protests have of course sprung up in the city, with “Water is a human right!” as a leading theme.

Who can argue with that? Well, neo-conservatives and other true believers in the capitalist system who maintain that if you receive the benefit of a product or service, you pay for it. What could be simpler? What are you, some kind of socialist?

For those of you who have difficulty believing that an American city could be so insensitive, allow me to remind you of some history.

On December 14, 1981 a resolution was proposed in the United Nations General Assembly which declared that “education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development are human rights”. Notice the “proper nourishment”. The resolution was approved by a vote of 135-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.

A year later, December 18, 1982, an identical resolution was proposed in the General Assembly. It was approved by a vote of 131-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.

The following year, December 16, 1983, the resolution was again put forth, a common practice at the United Nations. This time it was approved by a vote of 132-1. There’s no need to tell you who cast the sole “No” vote.

These votes took place under the Reagan administration.

Under the Clinton administration, in 1996, a United Nations-sponsored World Food Summit affirmed the “right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food”. The United States took issue with this, insisting that it does not recognize a “right to food”. Washington instead championed free trade as the key to ending the poverty at the root of hunger, and expressed fears that recognition of a “right to food” could lead to lawsuits from poor nations seeking aid and special trade provisions.

The situation of course did not improve under the administration of George W. Bush. In 2002, in Rome, world leaders at another UN-sponsored World Food Summit again approved a declaration that everyone had the right to “safe and nutritious food”. The United States continued to oppose the clause, again fearing it would leave them open to future legal claims by famine-stricken countries.

I’m waiting for a UN resolution affirming the right to oxygen.

Notes

  1. See various examples at RT.com, such as “Jen Psaki’s most embarrassing fails, most entertaining grillings”, or simply search the site for “Ukraine Jen Psaki”
  2. Congressional Record (House of Representatives), May 12, 1966, pp. 9977-78, reprint of an article by Morley Safer of CBS News
  3. “Letter dated 22 July 2014 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General”, released by the UN 24 July, Document No. A/68/954-S/2014/524
  4. “Pre-WWIII German Pilot Shocker, MH17 ‘Not Hit By Missile’”Before It’s News, July 31 2014
  5. Associated Press, August 4, 2014
  6. Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
  7. New York Times, February 6, 2009
  8. Associated Press, November 17, 2008
  9. Associated Press, November 26, 2008
  10. Washington Post, November 18, 1996
  11. Reuters news agency, June 10, 2002
Aug 112014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

israel-war-on-gaza-photo

Introduction

Outside of Israel and its organized supporters in the major Zionist organizations, world public opinion and most experts in international law see the Jewish State’s invasion of Gaza and its systematic attack on civilians and basic infrastructure as a crime against humanity.

The purpose of this essay is 4-fold:  1. To identify the nature of the crime – the genocidal character of the armed assault and the sequence leading up to it; 2. To identify the direct perpetrators of the war crimes and their domestic and international accomplices; 3. To explain the ties binding leaders, policymakers, propagandists, accomplices and followers, including their  ideologies, material interests and organizational structure which make these crimes not only possible, but met so far with impunity and 4. To identify the larger imperial interests with which Israel allies with the US, and in pursuit of which, the Gaza assault is a horrifying dress rehearsal.

The ‘Morality’ of Prison Guards in a Genocidal State

Policymakers in the genocidal state run a highly militarized society where citizens and soldiers, criminals and professionals, torturers and sociopaths can and do coexist within the same person.  Cold rationality is harnessed to mass murder, technology to massive devastation , language to euphemisms and executioners parade themselves as victims (and vice versa).  Moral precepts become debased and supplanted by the ethics of mass murder.  Moralists, rabbis and ethical philosophers all join to bless the bombs dropped on hospitals and schools and homes and all living things – even the dead and buried do not rest in peace when the cemeteries are bombed.

Rulers, imbued with a genocidal vision, see only military objectives – an oppressed people do not exist – all human existence and institutions in the target areas are to be demolished.   The destruction of human life, of Palestinian daily existence has become the ultimate goal of this obscene operation.

The practical decision to exterminate Palestinians was conscious, planned and pursued with implacable resolve at the very top and carried out with savage enthusiasm by Israel’s ‘citizen army’.

The unfolding of this deadly plan began with what appeared a ‘generous’ peace offer.  In 2004, Israel’s war criminal Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon ‘granted’ the Palestinians self-government in Gaza and in August 2005 withdrew a few thousand Jewish settlers and their Israeli ground troops.  The consequence of this benevolence:  Over 1.4 million Palestinians were to be locked and crowded into the most densely open air prison in the world:  the largest ghetto in history.  This was a sickening reminder of the Nazi roundup of Polish Jews herding them into the Warsaw ghetto . . . where they too were granted ‘self-government’.  Once the Jewish settlers were removed (and paid up to $300,000 per family ‘compensation’), Israel’s military closed all of Gaza’s entrances and exits.  Land, sea and airspace were blockaded and total control imposed on the entrance of food, medicine, school books and the exit of Palestinians for medical treatment, university studies, normal travel and commerce of any kind.  This mirrored the Nazi policy toward those trapped in the Warsaw ghetto.  Palestinian farmers were shot tending their fields, acts of brutality reminiscent of the Nazi starvation blockade of Leningrad…  And the world was appalled!

Gaza and the Ghetto were first set up to be open-air prison camps . . . temporary measures to mask the real plans.  Gaza’s young population had grown to over 1.8 million entrapped human beings by 2014.  Obviously, if the Gazans could not travel, farm, fish and trade by normal means, they would dig tunnels for supplies and fight against their relegation to the status of caged animals by the Israeli state.  The next steps after the successful enclosure would be systematic and pre-meditated: the Zionists, like the Nazis, launched total war against the inevitable acts of resistance by the oppressed.  They sent planes, tanks, missiles and bombs to level populated areas, especially neighborhoods where young fighters rose up to resist this unendurable cruelty.  The heroic young fighters of Gaza, like their Warsaw predecessors, resisted their totalitarian enemies time and again.  Meanwhile, the vast majority of Israeli Jews cheered the devastation while claiming to be the victims and young overseas Jews volunteered to join the IDF in its slaughter of the Palestinians, just as the German population celebrated, along with the overseas German Bund, their leaders’ totalitarian crimes.  Their responses were almost identical although in different times and places: Chosen People and Arians of the world have united against what they both termed ‘terrorists’ claiming their tunnels will become their graves!

In line with this super race mythology,  Israel’s killing machine is really most effective at murdering unarmed civilians– invalids who cannot run, doctors who stay to care for the wounded and mothers and children in their flimsy shelters– and rather pathetic when it confronts face to face  determined  armed resistance fighters.  As of 8/6/14 the Israeli Air Force, Navy and artillery slaughtered 1,594 Palestinian civilians –via long distance high tech warfare -compared to 3 civilians in Israel (one Bedouin, one Thai farm worker and an Israeli Jew), a mind-boggling ratio of over 1,500 Palestinian civilians to one of the ‘Chosen’.  But when it came to ‘ground fighting’, 64 Israeli soldiers were killed compared to 281 Palestinian partisans, a 4.4 to 1 ratio.  Despite all the Israeli air cover support and high tech protective gear, the Israelis took heavy military casualties when their invasion came down to a more level fighting field where poorly equipped partisans are willing to die for their homes and liberation.

The War Criminals:  Who are They and What are their Crimes

Clearly the commanding officers of the Israeli armed forces, the self-styled Israel Defense Forces, who are responsible for the systematic land, aerial and maritime attacks on civilians, hospitals, schools, refugee sanctuaries are first in line for the war crimes docket. They should be joined by Israeli military strategists and policy makers who systematically and criminally targeted homes, neighborhoods, water purification and sewage plants, electrical grids and power plants in a deliberate planned effort to destroy any possibility of normal daily existence for almost 2 million Palestinians: They have committed grave Crimes against Humanity, according to the Geneva Conventions and legal standards established at Nuremburg.  There is eye-witness testimony and documentation showing middle and lower rank soldiers engaged in wanton shootings of school children, shoppers and mothers with babies fleeing combat zones.  War crimes prosecutions cannot be confined merely to a few dozen senior officers – these crimes were committed at all level of the IDF.

Political leaders and policymakers, starting with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his Cabinet, leading Party and Knesset members, who were the prime movers in launching the blitz against Gaza and justified the massive civilian killings, clearly should be at the center of any International War Crimes Tribunal.

But what about the Israeli public, the great mass of Israeli Jews, who view themselves as morally above world public opinion despite a near-universal revulsion over Israel’s crimes?  More than 90% of Israeli Jews gave unstinting support to the ongoing blood bath, knowing, indeed cheering daily from grandstands erected on hills overlooking Gaza, the criminal consequences of their support – they also are an essential part of this criminal enterprise.  They celebrated the carnage and they violently attacked the few Israelis who openly questioned this ‘war’.  Israelis have no claim to ‘innocent ignorance’; they cannot call this a “tragic conflict between two peoples”.  No Israeli can absolve himself by claiming ignorance of the nature of the crimes committed in their name – nor do they want to claim ignorance!  The majority of informed Israeli Jews demanded this war from the beginning, many joining racist marches with banners and chants demanding ‘Death to Arabs’!  They wear their endorsement of the Gaza holocaust as a badge of honor.  Ninety percent of the Jewish citizens in Israel rejected any humanitarian ceasefire: Newspaper columnists and the vast majority of letter writers in the daily press argued openly for extermination!  Self-declared war criminals are feted as Israeli heroes by their overseas brethren who hasten to endorse or even join the slaughter.  Gidon Levy, Haaretz’s lonely dissident journalist, is spat upon in all the fashionable cafes and has to take his coffee at home now.

What can be said about the ‘moralists’, the famous chief rabbis, who have no qualms in piously urging on the mass slaughter:  is there a High Court of Religious Authority to hold these “holy men” accountable for their incitement of war crimes?  What about the worldwide network of international Zionist organizations who secure billions of dollars of the murderous arms shipments from the corrupt and craven US Congress and Executive?  Are they not accomplices to genocide before and after the fact?

However, it is a blatant, conscious lie and fabrication to claim, like some phony critics on the ‘Left’, that ‘America shares responsibility’ for the Israel’s crimes against Gaza.  Who asked the American people to endorse this slaughter?  When did the American people organize a “lobby” to buy Congressional votes?  Did the American people organize multi-million dollar fundraisers at the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria where Republican and Democratic elected leaders pledged to give an additional $225 million dollars in missiles and tanks to Israel, to resupply its arsenal used up in razing thousands of homes and obliterating entire families in Gaza?  Any serious researcher, who has looked at American domestic politics, knows that the Presidents of the 52 Major American (sic) Jewish Organizations are complicit in Israel’s terror bombings of Gaza.  And polls show that a majority of young Americans sympathize with the rights of the Palestinians…

Is there any clause in the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal proceedings which can bring charges against the overseas accomplices to war crimes?  What about prominent leftist academics and ‘progressive’ journalists who cover-up for the overseas accomplices by falsely accusing “America” (and implying the American people) in this slaughter?

The Ties that Bind

We have identified a chain linking Israel’s political elite, military command and the mass of the Israeli public directly to war crimes and genocide with the active material complicity of overseas Zionist organizations.  They act as one cohesive force plunging forward into the blood and gore of total war against the Palestinians – the original inhabitants and rightful owners of what is now called ‘Israel’.

The question arises: What unites them in this horrible undertaking? What moral blindness so afflicts them that they ignore the bookshelves cluttered with the writings and humanist teachings of Spinoza, Kant, Babel, or Buber?  Are these tribal loyalties derived from Old Testament tales of vengeance and infanticide?  Are these expressions of an ethno-religious fanaticism linked to the quest for a regional empire and plunder?

Racist ideology and its virulent expression both from high office and the “Jewish Street” are wide-spread and open.  Degrading Palestinians, while claiming to be a superior race above the laws of the rest of the world, serves to justify all crimes against the people of Gaza.  Near and far, this expression of “collective Jewish identity and solidarity”, based on ethnic-religious superiority always threatened by hostile, inferior ‘native’ people, accounts for the unflinching support by top Hollywood moguls, Ivy League professors, French intellectuals, British peers and prominent investment Wall Street bankers.

Ideological affinities and ethno-religious loyalties aside, many Israeli Jews also have a major,  material stake in robbing and expelling the people of Palestine:   Seized Palestinian lands result in new cheap subsidized housing, swimming pools for Jews only, developments on lands where olive groves once flourished and extended families had lived and died.  Middle and working class Jews obtain free housing; real estate speculators seize choice ocean front properties for luxury condos and tourist destinations.  Building contractors secure lucrative construction contracts from the state.   Pillage forms  an important material basis for Israel’s high standard of living, many times higher than that of Palestinians, much higher that that of Israel’s non-Jewish population and higher even than the Americans who have been forced to subsidize the ‘Jewish State’ for almost 50 years.

Equally important, Israel’s assault on Gaza serves as a testing ground for its weapons of mass destruction and its anti-missile Dome.  In this regard, the slaughter in Gaza serves as a dress rehearsal (and a graphic warning) for new wars across the region in association with the US and its clients.  NSA analyst Edward Snowden’s latest documents reveal that Israel works in tandem with the US throughout North Africa, the Middle East, The Persian Gulf, South Asia and Islamic countries in choosing targets and making war plans…  Greater Israel is no longer the crackpot dream of Jewish visionaries: it is underway and its bloody beginnings in Gaza foreshadow bigger and bloodier wars against humanity in the future.

Conclusion

Israel’s total war against Gaza has provoked condemnation from millions of people around the world, greater outrage at their crimes against humanity, and calls for an international war crimes tribunal.  If such a tribunal were to be convoked, the question arises of how wide the net should be cast – where to draw the line between leaders, soldiers, masses and complicit overseas supporters, all implicated to one degree or another?  How many ‘willing accomplices’ to mass murder should be investigated and tried?

The rising horror and indignation has isolated Israel from the greater majority of mankind, including from thousands of Jews – but it has hardened its leaders and aroused its powerful core of influential supporters, especially in the US.

Bitter-enders, in their luxurious suites, are on the counter-offensive.  Leading Hollywood producers denounce the morally outraged actors who have dared to criticize Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, labeling them ‘anti-Semites’ and threatening them with a lifetime of blacklists from any further work in ‘film or on stage’.  Powerful Zionist organizations, not only secure US opposition to any UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli war crimes, but unanimous (100%) Congressional and White House approval and an ‘emergency allocation’ of over $250 million tax-payer dollars’ to re-supply Israel with the bombs and missiles it had dropped on the people of Gaza.  The hardliners, who speak for the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations, have not relented in their support for Israel’s carnage even in the face of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marching around the world to support the rights of the people of Palestine.  The hardliners openly flaunt their blind support for Israel’s war crimes.  These fanatics are convinced that every critic of Israel’s war crimes, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew or atheist, is an anti-Semite, a pervert or terrorist to be censored or crushed!  Inside the Zionist bunker there is an iron-fisted reinforcement of loyalty to Israel, while outside, there is the smooth outpouring of propaganda which minimize Israel’s war crimes and vehement denials of overseas complicity with genocide.

Epilogue:  A Dialogue between Zionists

The Right Zionist says to the Left, “Crimes at the service of Greater Israel are virtues.”  The Left replies “There are crimes but America is ultimately responsible”.

A shrewd old Zionist observer comments with approval: “It’s our division of labor: the Right Zionists defend Israel and the Left Zionists confuse its critics.”

Jul 292014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

Obama-Syria

Introduction

Chaos reigns and spreads as enraged leaders in the US, Europe and their clients and allies pursue genocidal wars.

Mercenary wars in Syria; Israel’s terror bombing on Gaza; proxy wars in the Ukraine, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia.

Tens of millions of refugees flee scenes of total destruction.  Nothing is sacred.  There are no sanctuaries.  Homes, schools, hospitals and entire families are targeted for destruction.

Chaos by Design

At the center of chaos, the wild-eyed President Obama strikes blindly, oblivious of the consequences, willing to risk a financial debacle or a nuclear war.  He enforces sanctions against Iran; imposes sanctions on Russia; sets up missile bases five launch minutes from Moscow; sends killer drones against Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan; arms mercenaries in Syria; trains and equips Kurds in Iraq and pays for Israel’s savagery against Gaza.

Nothing works.

The Chaos President is blind to the fact that starving one’s adversaries does not secure submission:  it unites them to resist.  Regime change, imposing proxies by force and subterfuge, can destroy the social fabric of complex societies:  Million of peasants and workers become uprooted refugees. Popular social movements are replaced by organized criminal gangs and bandit armies.

Central America, the product of decades of US direct and proxy military interventions, which prevented the most basic structural changes, has become a chaotic, unlivable inferno for millions.  Tens of thousands of children flee from their ‘free market’- induced mass poverty and militarized state and gangster violence.  Children refugees at the US border are arrested in mass, and imprisoned in makeshift detention camps, subject to psychological, physical and sexual abuse by officials and guards on the inside.  On the outside, these pitiful children are exposed to the racist hatred of a frightened US public unaware of the dangers these children are escaping and the US government’s role in creating these hells.

The US-backed Kiev aviation authorities re-directed international passenger airlines to fly over war zones bristling with anti-aircraft missiles while Kiev’s jets bombed the rebellious cities and towns.  One flight was shot down and nearly 300 civilians perished.  Immediately an explosion of accusations from Kiev blaming Russian President Putin flooded Western media with no real facts to explain the tragedy/crime.  War-crazy President Obama and the slavering prime ministers of the EU ejaculated ultimatums, threatening to convert Russia into a pariah state.  ‘Sanctions, sanctions, everywhere . . .  but first… France must complete its $1.5 billion sale to the Russian navy.’  And the City of London exempts the Russian oligarchs from the ‘sanctions’, embedded as they are in London’s money-laundering, parasitical FIRE (Fire, Insurance and Real Estate) economy. The Cold War has returned and has taken an ugly turn… with exceptions…for business.

Confrontation among nuclear powers is imminent:  And the maniacal Baltic States and Poland bray the loudest for war with Russia, oblivious to their positions on the front lines of incineration…

Each day Israel’s war machine chews up more bodies of Gaza’s children while spitting out more lies.  Cheering Israeli Jews perch on their fortified hills to celebrate each missile strike on the apartments and schools in the densely populated Shejaiya neighborhood of besieged Gaza. A group of orthodox and secular entrepreneurs in Brooklyn have organized group tours to visit the Holy Sites by day and enjoy the Gaza pyrotechnics by night . . . night goggles to view the fleeing mothers and burning children are available at a small extra charge…

Again the US Senate votes unanimously in support of Israel’s latest campaign of mass murder – no crime is depraved enough to ruffle the scruples of America’s leaders.  They hew close to a script from the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations.  Together they embrace a Beast from the Apocalypse gnawing on the flesh and bones of Palestine.

But, Sacre Bleu!  France’s Zionists have prevailed on the ‘President-Socialiste’ Hollande.  Paris bans all anti-Israel demonstrations despite the clear reports of genocide.  Demonstrators supporting the Gazan resistance are gassed and assaulted by special riot police – ‘Socialist’ Hollande serves the demands of powerful Zionist organizations while trashing his country’s republican traditions and its sacred ‘Rights of Man’.

The young protestors of Paris fought back with barricades and paving stones in the finest traditions of the Paris Commune waving the flags of a free Palestine.  Not a single ‘red banner’ was in sight:  The French ‘left’ were under their beds or off on vacation.

There are ominous signs away from the killing fields.  The stock market is rising while the economy stagnates.  Wild speculators have returned in their splendor widening the gap between the fictitious and real economy before the ‘deluge’, the chaos of another inevitable crash.

In industrial America’s once great Detroit, clean water is shut-off to tens of thousands of poor citizens unable to pay for basic services.   In the midst of summer, urban families are left to defecate in hallways, alleyways and empty lots.  Without water the toilets are clogged, children are not washed.  Roscoe, the master plumber, says the job is way beyond him.

According to our famed economists, the economy of Detroit is ‘recovering . . . profits are up, it’s only the people who are suffering’.  Productivity has doubled, speculators are satisfied; pensions are slashed and wages are down; but the Detroit Tigers are in first place.

Public hospitals everywhere are being closed.  In the Bronx and Brooklyn, emergency rooms are overwhelmed.   Chaos! Interns work 36 hour shifts . . . and the sick and injured take their chances with a sleep-deprived medic.  Meanwhile, in Manhattan, private clinics and ‘boutique’ practices for the elite proliferate.

Scandinavians have embraced the putschist power grab in Kiev.  The Swedish Foreign Minister Bildt bellows for a new Cold War with Russia.  The Danish emissary and NATO leader, Rasmussen, salivates obscenely at the prospect of bombing and destroying Syria in a replay of NATO’s ‘victory’ over Libya.

The German leaders endorse the ongoing Israeli genocide against Gaza; they are comfortably protected from any moral conscience by their nostalgic blanket of ‘guilt’ over Nazi crimes 70 years ago.

Saudi-funded Jihadi terrorists in Iraq showed their “infinite mercy” by… merely driving thousands of Christians from ancient Mosul.  Nearly 2,000 years of a continuous Christian presence was long enough!  At least most escaped with their heads still attached.

Chaos Everywhere

Over one hundred thousand agents of the US National Security Agency are paid to spy on two million Muslim citizens and residents in the USA.  But for all the tens of billions of dollars spent and tens of millions of conversations recorded, Islamic charities are prosecuted and philanthropic individuals are framed in ‘sting operations’.

Where the bombs fall no one knows, but people flee.  Millions are fleeing the chaos.

But there is no place to go!  The French invade half a dozen African countries but the refugees are denied refuge in France.  Thousands die in the desert or drown crossing the Med.  Those who do make it, are branded criminals or relegated to ghettos and camps.

Chaos reigns in Africa, the Middle East, Central America and Detroit.  The entire US frontier with Mexico has become a militarized detention center, a multi-national prison camp.  The border is unrecognizable to our generation.

Chaos reigns in the markets.  Chaos masquerades as trade sanctions:  Iran yesterday, Russia today and China tomorrow. Washington, Watch out!  Your adversaries are finding common ground, trading, forging agreements, building defenses; their ties are growing stronger.

Chaos reigns in Israel. War-obsessed Israelis discover that the Chosen People of God can also bleed and die, lose limbs and eyes in the alleyways of Gaza where poorly armed boys and men stand their ground.  When the cheers turn to jeers, will they re-elect Bibi, their current kosher butcher?  The overseas brethren, the fundraisers, the lobbyists and the armchair verbal assassins will automatically embrace some new face, without questions, regrets or (god forbid!) self-criticism –if it’s ‘good for Israel and the Jews’ it’s got to be right!

Chaos reigns in New York.  Judicial rulings favor the pirates and their vulture funds demanding one-thousand percent returns on old Argentine bonds.  If Argentina rejects this financial blackmail and defaults, shock waves will ripple throughout global financial markets.  Creditors will tremble in uncertainty:  Fears will grow over a new financial crash.  Will they squeeze out another trillion-dollar bailout?

But where’s the money?  Printing presses are working day and night. There are only a few life boats . . . enough for the bankers and Wall Street, the other ninety-nine percent will have to swim or feed the sharks.

The corrupted financial press now advises warlords on which country to bomb and politicians on how to impose economic sanctions; they no longer provide sound economic information or advise investors on markets.  Their editorial rants will incite an investor flight to buy king-sized mattresses for stuffing as the banks fail.

The US President is on the verge of a mental breakdown: He’s a liar of Munchausen proportions with a bad case of political paranoia, war hysteria and megalomania.  He’s gone amok, braying, ‘I lead the world: its US leadership or chaos’.  Increasingly the world has another message:  ‘It’s the US and chaos.’

Wall Street is abandoning him.  The Russians have double-crossed him.  The Chinese merchants are now doing business everywhere we used to be and we ought to be.  They’re playing with loaded dice.  The stubborn Somalis refuse to submit to a Black President:  they reject this ‘ML King with drones’ . . . The Germans suck on their thumbs in total stupor as Americans monitor and record their every conversation…for their own safety!  “Our corporations are ingrates after all we have done for them”, the First Black President whines.  “They flee from our taxes while we subsidize their operations!”

Final Solutions: The End of Chaos

The only solution is to move on:  Chaos breeds chaos. The President strives to project his ‘Leadership’.  He asks his close advisers very hard questions:  “Why can’t we bomb Russia, just like Israel bombs Gaza?  Why don’t we build an ‘Iron Dome’ over Europe and shoot down Russian nuclear missiles while we fire upon Moscow from our new bases in Ukraine? Which countries will our ‘Dome’ protect?  I am sure that the people of East Europe and the Baltic States will gladly make the supreme sacrifice.  After all, their leaders were at the very front frothing for a war with Russia.  Their reward, a nuclear wasteland, will be a small price to ensure our success!”

The Zionist lobby will insist our ‘Iron Dome’ covers Israel.  But the Saudis may try to bribe the Russians to spare the oil fields as Moscow targets the US missile bases near Mecca.  Our radio-active allies in the Middle East will just have to relocate to a new Holy Land.

Do Obama and his advisers imagine reducing the Asian population by a billion or two?  Do they plan several hundred Hiroshimas because the Chinese crossed the  President’s ‘red lines’:  China’s economy and trade grew too fast, expanded too far, it was too competitive, too competent, too successful at gaining market shares, and they ignored our warnings and our unparalleled military might.

Most of Asia will inhale nuclear dust, millions of Indians and Indonesians will perish as collateral damage.  Their survivors will feast on ‘radiated fish’ in a glowing sea.

Beyond Chaos:  The New American Way:

Because our ‘Iron Dome’ will have failed us, we will have to re-emerge out of toxic ashes and crawl from our bunkers, dreaming of a New America free from wars and poverty.  The Reign of Chaos will have ended.  The ‘peace and order’ of the graveyard will reign supreme.

The emperors will be forgotten.

And we never will have found out who fired that missile at the doomed Malaysian airliner with its 300 passengers and crew.  We will have lost count of the thousands of Palestinian parents and children slaughtered in Gaza by the Chosen People of Israel.  We will not know how the sanctions against Russia panned out.

It won’t matter in the post-nuclear age, after the Chaos…

Jul 222014
 

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Corruption-translates-to-global-anger

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

A not-so-secretive home-raiding operation was unleashed just days after the Gulenist movement’s newspapers started revealing statistics of the AKP government’s increasing trade with the Israeli government despite the anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli rhetoric that is prevalent in the AKP party. The operation is taking place only two hours after Erdogan appeared on a TV show saying, “It’s time for a cleaning now.” This sentence was the start of an operation that spread to 22 cities into the morning.

At 2:00 AM on July 22nd, Turkey experienced yet another “first time” in its history, and contrary to the permitted rules of home-raiding operations and arrests, hundreds of doors were knocked on in the middle of the night and arrests began. According to the penal code, house searches and arrests can only be made between 5:00 AM and 11:00 PM. However, in exceptional cases when the operation is led by the Organized Crime and Terrorism Taskforce, home raids on high-level suspects can be carried out at unorthodox times.

At this very moment, hundreds of homes are being raided as this article is being written. Police officers and police chiefs are being arrested, including the ones who participated in the home-raiding operations and operations against the secret service officers who were also involved in the corruption probe investigation against the government ministers, prime minister, and their sons. Another group of police officers are allegedly the ones who uncovered secret Iranian cells operating in Turkey, especially Tawhid-i Salam (linked to Quds Forces/Jerusalem Army).

The charges against the police officers include espionage and forging legal documents that led to the corruption probe being prepared in the last two years. The same accusations had been made against Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) officers after another nighttime raid was carried out on May 31^st against TIB. After the December 17 and 25 corruption probe arrests of dozens of people related to government and business networks, Erdogan had said “we will raid their caves.”

The timing of the operation is also significant. The home raids are taking place just hours before Erdogan addresses the Parliament before it is dissolved for summer recess which, is the last time before presidential elections in August 2014. As the dawn breaks, the operation is spreading to other districts of Istanbul and several other cities. Government “Deepthroat” @fuatavni writes “psychological combat tools are being used to divert public perception right before the elections.” In social media, the operation has been likened to the“Night of the Long Knives” that happened 80 years ago in Nazi Germany.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Jul 152014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

Leading management consultants, top government officials and prominent financial journalists are proposing, what they dub, “labor reforms” as the solution for double-digit unemployment and underemployment, economic stagnation and the decline of capital investments.

“Labor Reform” as the Concentration of Power and Profits

First of all, the term “labor reform” is just a euphemism for labor regression, the reversal  of laws and practices that workers and employees secured through decades of struggle against employers.

The idea that “labor reforms” would create jobs for the unemployed has been tried and disproven over the past decade. Throughout Europe, in particular Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland and France, laws facilitating firings, pay differentials between short-term and long-term contract workers and speed-ups have not reduced unemployment, which still remains at depression levels.

What neo-liberal economists and journalists call “labor market flexibility” is really all about  increasing the power of the bosses to impose reductions in wages, dominate and dictate work rules, intensify management bullying in the workplace and  fire workers without just cause or redress.  Likewise “wage flexibility” means giving management the exclusive power to unilaterally lower wages, to alter work contracts, to stratify payments between workers, to downgrade job categories in order to lower wages and to increase output, and to pit unemployed workers against employed workers, temporary workers against long-term workers.

The Consequences of “Labor Reform”:  Rising Inequalities

Labor reforms” are not policies designed to end unemployment, encourage economic recovery and increase capital expenditure. They are not an economic strategy. The principle goal is to concentrate power in the hands of the bosses in order to lower labor costs, increase profits and double-up production from a reduced workforce.

The growing disparity of power between capital and labor resulting from “labor reforms” is the key factor producing inequality. Neo-liberals attribute growing inequality to technological changes, ignoring the fact that it is the growing power of capital that determines how productivity gains, from the introduction of technological innovations, are distributed between capital and labor.

Labor Reform” and the Astronomical Rise of Workplace Bullying

Most liberals focus on the problems of sexual harassment and intra-working class bullying.  These problems certainly require attention and correction. But far more pervasive and with far-reaching consequential is management harassment of all workers of both genders. Because ‘labor reforms’ allow management to fire workers without due process and because union shop stewards do not exist in 88% of the private and public workplaces, management intervenes in everyday workplaces, arbitrarily increasing work assignments and downgrading work performance. And many times it does so with verbal and some times, physical abuse. Management no longer faces workplace solidarity: it can abuse workers, isolate and harangue them, threaten and dictate ultimatums. Any self-defense is immediately interpreted as insubordination and the worker is fired – an example to others to unconditionally submit. Intimidation takes the form of hiring temporary low-wage workers to compete with permanent employees, or threatening to ‘relocate’ the factory. Macro and micro personal bullying is today an integral part of capital – labor relations.

Bullying has an economic function – it is designed to increase output, inculcate obedience and raise profits. But management bullying has profound negative psycho-social effects on workers. Verbal abuse, face to face intimidation, arbitrary downgrading without recourse and other everyday indignities cause depression, a loss of self-worth dignity. This leads  to self-abuse, worker and family violence and/or a ‘chain of bullying’ of those below … children, spouses, neighbors and outsiders (immigrants).

The bullying by management does not merely express itself in victimizing workers but also in forcing them to enter in “co-operative relations” where they are supposed to “share” tasks, responsibilities and innovations, without rewards or say in the distribution of material benefits or in the shaping of workplace power relations. It’s bad enough to be bullied and exploited, its worse to be forced to co-operate with management bullies, to smile at indignities and praise the degrading relationships.

The Most Vulnerable:  Unemployed, Temporary and Young Workers

The most brutalized sectors of the workforce are the unemployed and temporary young workers, which the neo-liberal ideologues argue will be the beneficiaries of “labor market flexibility”.  In fact, lowering the status of employed workers has not created jobs for the unemployed.  Temporary workers are hired at the lowest level, paid less than half the wage of permanent workers and can be fired with no notice. Most young ‘temps’ work with the promise of a permanent job and are driven to compete with a multitude of others . . .  yet only a few are rehired when the contract ends and, even among them, it is usually another temporary contract. Unemployed workers are subject to intense interviews that go far beyond their work capabilities: they are interrogated regarding their readiness to obey, submit and collaborate with management—this is a key factor in getting hired. Temporary workers are encouraged by management to exceed existing work norms, to work overtime without extra payment, thus fostering animosity and hostility among permanent workers. The unemployed are there to pressure the temp; the temp is employed to compete with the permanent; the young are hired to replace older workers near retirement age to lower pension payments. Veteran workers fear that the younger workers they are assigned to train will then take their jobs or force them into early retirement with a loss of their pension and benefits. Management fosters distrust, hostility, competition and bullying among workers which undermines solidarity by dividing workers between temps and ‘permanent’ workers so they can dominate, intimidate and exploit both.

The on-going drive to strip workers of all protective social legislation and eliminate trade union organization in order to increase profits has allowed capitalists to lessen capital investments in job creating activities. Management bullying at the workplace has become endemic because individual workers have no redress, lack solidarity and have the “choice” of submitting to daily abuse until it become unbearable, or quitting. Management can always find cheap replacements that are more submissive, more willing to endure added job tasks for lesser pay. In many cases, especially among public sector employees, management bullying is a tool to remove and replace competent professionals with political or family cronies. Organizational loyalty replaces professional competence, leading to a decline of public service and advocacy for the citizens, especially the most vulnerable.

Labor Market Reform as a Cover for the Failures of Capital

As we have noted, stripping labor of its rights and concentrating power in the hands of management has not created jobs. The reason is that unemployment and underemployment is a result of the behavior of the capitalist class. They are not investing in job creation!

Instead CEO’s are paying higher dividends to big stockholders, investment bankers and hedge funds. Corporate directors are channeling billions into acquisitions, buying out competitors and monopolizing markets or simply “broadening the portfolio”. They reap huge salaries and bonuses.

Corporate strategic planners and accountants relocate corporate offices overseas and stash hundreds of billions of dollars offshore to avoid taxes while reducing the availability of capital for job-creating investments at home.

The corporate elite relocates plants and operations “off-shore” to low-wage countries, in the process firing millions of workers and thus creating a massive pool of unemployed workers. ‘Capital flexibility’, not ‘labor inflexibility’ (job protection), is the decisive factor generating and maintaining high unemployment and underemployment: Capital has the “flexibility” to acquire existing firms instead of creating new plants and jobs; it has the ‘flexibility’ to ‘offshore’ its operations and displace millions and it has the ‘flexibility’ to hoard funds and profits overseas, hidden from domestic taxes.

Conclusion

The entire argument for “labor reform” and labor flexibility to create jobs is entirely without merit. Worse it is a subterfuge to cover up the fact that it is “capital flexibility”, which is the cause of unemployment.

Moreover, the vast imbalance between financial and productive investments has led to the diminution of stable well-paying jobs in productive sectors. The movement by the corporate and financial elite toward a high unemployment strategy is predicated on its supreme control over the executive branch of government at the top and iron-fisted control over the workplace at the bottom.

Political-corporate integration is at its highest point in history: “flexible capital”, unrestrained movements of capital, is the dominant state ideology. The inability of trade unions and other organized sectors to challenge state policy has led to their total subjection to threats of capital flight and their acceptance of the imposition of “labor reforms” destroying the social basis for organization.

Capital-State integration at the top is accompanied by worker fragmentation and isolation at the workplace. Here “labor reform” plays a major role in sustaining management absolutism: corporate power at the top corrupts and absolute power at the workplace absolutely corrupts – to paraphrase and adapt Lord Acton to the 21st century.

Workplace bullying by management, is the starting point in an extended chain or domination and exploitation that stretches from the highest levels of corporate headquarters to the lowest office and workplace. Frustrated atomized workers suffering indignities do not strike and do not vote.  They are the silent majority who tell the pollsters they oppose Wall Street, they want a national health system for their family, affordable higher education for their children and stable, secure employment for themselves—but feel powerless and voiceless!

This majority needs a movement to impose ‘capital reforms’: an end to capital flight, mergers, acquisitions and hoarding instead of capital investments. Perhaps the starting point is workplace reform: organizing and fighting management bullying in every day work.

Another response to the escalation of managements workplace bullying is the growth of self-employment, as skilled workers turn to small-scale enterprises and self-managed co-operatives to free themselves from managers constantly looking over their shoulders, barking for greater output and demanding “extra hours and overtime” without compensation.

Decades earlier, a whole generation was raised with the understanding that employment in a larger firm was a collegial experience of sharing knowledge and advancing through meritorious achievements. Today, few skilled workers hold that view:  orporate employment involves a merciless “grind”, abrupt changes in ownership, radical restructuring, high stress workloads and perpetual job insecurity.

The risk of exiting to small-scale individual enterprises may be preferable to the strains and indignities of everyday corporate bullying, even in the public sector. But the bankruptcy rates for small independents remain high.

Socialism anybody?

Jul 132014
 

By William Blum99GetSmart

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US Secretary of State John Kerry, July 8, 2014:
“In my travels as secretary of state, I have seen as never before the thirst for American leadership in the world.”

President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014:
“Here’s my bottom line, America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.”

Nicholas Burns, former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, May 8, 2014:
“Where is American power and leadership when the world needs it most?”

Mitt Romney, Republican Party candidate for President, September 13, 2012:
“The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership and I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and keep us admired throughout the world.”

Paul Ryan, Congressman, Republican Party candidate for Vice President, September 12, 2012:
“We need to be reminded that the world needs American leadership.”

John McCain, Senator, September 9, 2012:
“The situation in Syria and elsewhere ‘cries out for American leadership’.”

Hillary Clinton, September 8, 2010:
“Let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century. Indeed, the complexities and connections of today’s world have yielded a new American Moment — a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.”

Senator Barack Obama, April 23, 2007:
“In the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth.”

Gallup poll, 2013:

Question asked: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”

Replies:

  • United States 24%
  • Pakistan 8%
  • China 6%
  • Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea, each 5%
  • India, Iraq, Japan, each 4%
  • Syria 3%
  • Russia 2%
  • Australia, Germany, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, UK, each 1%

The question is not what pacifism has achieved throughout history, but what has war achieved?

Remark made to a pacifist: “If only everyone else would live in the way you recommend, I would gladly live that way as well – but not until everyone else does.”

The Pacifist’s reply: “Why then, sir, you would be the last man on earth to do good. I would rather be one of the first.”

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, 1947, words long cherished by a large majority of the Japanese people:

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

“In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

This statement is probably unique amongst the world’s constitutions.

But on July 1, 2014 the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, without changing a word of Article 9, announced a “reinterpretation” of it to allow for military action in conjunction with allies. This decision can be seen as the culmination of a decades-long effort by the United States to wean Japan away from its post-WW2 pacifist constitution and foreign policy and set it back on the righteous path of being a military power once again, only this time acting in coordination with US foreign policy needs.

In the triumphalism of the end of the Second World War, the American occupation of Japan, in the person of General Douglas MacArthur, played a major role in the creation of this constitution. But after the communists came to power in China in 1949, the United States opted for a strong Japan safely ensconced in the anti-communist camp. For pacifism, it’s been downhill ever since … step by step … MacArthur himself ordered the creation of a “national police reserve”, which became the embryo of the future Japanese military … visiting Tokyo in 1956, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Japanese officials: “In the past, Japan had demonstrated her superiority over the Russians and over China. It was time for Japan to think again of being and acting like a Great Power.”1  … various US-Japanese security and defense cooperation treaties, which called on Japan to integrate its military technology with that of the US and NATO … the US supplying new sophisticated military aircraft and destroyers … all manner of Japanese logistical assistance to the US in Washington’s frequent military operations in Asia … repeated US pressure on Japan to increase its military budget and the size of its armed forces … more than a hundred US military bases in Japan, protected by the Japanese military … US-Japanese joint military exercises and joint research on a missile defense system … the US Ambassador to Japan, 2001: “I think the reality of circumstances in the world is going to suggest to the Japanese that they reinterpret or redefine Article 9.” 2  … Under pressure from Washington, Japan sent several naval vessels to the Indian Ocean to refuel US and British warships as part of the Afghanistan campaign in 2002, then sent non-combat forces to Iraq to assist the American war as well as to East Timor, another made-in-America war scenario … US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004: “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full active participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article Nine would have to be examined in that light.”  3 …

In 2012 Japan was induced to take part in a military exercise with 21 other countries, converging on Hawaii for the largest-ever Rim of the Pacific naval exercises and war games, with a Japanese admiral serving as vice commander of the combined task force. 4 And so it went … until, finally, on July 1 of this year, the Abe administration announced their historic decision. Abe, it should be noted, is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, with which the CIA has had a long and intimate connection, even when party leaders were convicted World War 2 war criminals. 5

If and when the American empire engages in combat with China or Russia, it appears that Washington will be able to count on their Japanese brothers-in-arms. In the meantime, the many US bases in Japan serve as part of the encirclement of China, and during the Vietnam War the United States used their Japanese bases as launching pads to bomb Vietnam.

The US policies and propaganda not only got rid of the annoying Article 9, but along the way it gave rise to a Japanese version of McCarthyism. A prime example of this is the case of Kimiko Nezu, a 54-year-old Japanese teacher, who was punished by being transferred from school to school, by suspensions, salary cuts, and threats of dismissal because of her refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem, a World War II song chosen as the anthem in 1999. She opposed the song because it was the same one sung as the Imperial Army set forth from Japan calling for an “eternal reign” of the emperor. At graduation ceremonies in 2004, 198 teachers refused to stand for the song. After a series of fines and disciplinary actions, Nezu and nine other teachers were the only protesters the following year. Nezu was then allowed to teach only when another teacher was present. 6

Yankee Blowback

The number of children attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2009 – September 30, 2010) about 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. The US Department of Homeland Security estimates for the fiscal year 2014 the detention of as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors. Approximately 28% of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from El Salvador. The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 military coup that overthrew the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, after he did things like raising the minimum wage, giving subsidies to small farmers, and instituting free education. The coup – like so many others in Latin America – was led by a graduate of Washington’s infamous School of the Americas.

As per the standard Western Hemisphere script, the Honduran coup was followed by the abusive policies of the new regime, loyally supported by the United States. The State Department was virtually alone in the Western Hemisphere in not unequivocally condemning the Honduran coup. Indeed, the Obama administration has refused to call it a coup, which, under American law, would tie Washington’s hands as to the amount of support it could give the coup government. This denial of reality still persists even though a US embassy cable released by Wikileaks in 2010 declared: “There is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 [2009] in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch”. Washington’s support of the far-right Honduran government has been unwavering ever since.

The questions concerning immigration into the United States from south of the border go on year after year, with the same issues argued back and forth: What’s the best way to block the flow into the country? How shall we punish those caught here illegally? Should we separate families, which happens when parents are deported but their American-born children remain? Should the police and various other institutions have the right to ask for proof of legal residence from anyone they suspect of being here illegally? Should we punish employers who hire illegal immigrants? Should we grant amnesty to at least some of the immigrants already here for years? … on and on, round and round it goes, decade after decade. Those in the US generally opposed to immigration make it a point to declare that the United States does not have any moral obligation to take in these Latino immigrants.

But the counter-argument to this last point is almost never mentioned: Yes, the United States does indeed have a moral obligation because so many of the immigrants are escaping a situation in their homeland made hopeless by American intervention and policy. In addition to Honduras, Washington overthrew progressive governments which were sincerely committed to fighting poverty in Guatemala and Nicaragua; while in El Salvador the US played a major role in suppressing a movement striving to install such a government. And in Mexico, though Washington has not intervened militarily since 1919, over the years the US has been providing training, arms, and surveillance technology to Mexico’s police and armed forces to better their ability to suppress their own people’s aspirations, as in Chiapas, and this has added to the influx of the oppressed to the United States, irony notwithstanding.

Moreover, Washington’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has brought a flood of cheap, subsidized US agricultural products into Mexico, ravaging campesino communities and driving many Mexican farmers off the land when they couldn’t compete with the giant from the north. The subsequent Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has brought the same joys to the people of that area.

These “free trade” agreements – as they do all over the world – also result in government enterprises being privatized, the regulation of corporations being reduced, and cuts to the social budget. Add to this the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects and the drastic US-led militarization of the War on Drugs with accompanying violence and you have the perfect storm of suffering followed by the attempt to escape from suffering.

It’s not that all these people prefer to live in the United States. They’d much rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships imposed on them by American police and other right-wingers.

M’lady Hillary

Madame Clinton, in her new memoir, referring to her 2002 Senate vote supporting military action in Iraq, says: “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”

In a 2006 TV interview, Clinton said: “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote. And I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.” 7

On October 16, 2002 the US Congress adopted a joint resolution titled “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq”. This was done in the face of numerous protests and other political events against an American invasion.

On February 15, 2003, a month before the actual invasion, there was a coordinated protest around the world in which people in some 60 countries marched in a last desperate attempt to stop the war from happening. It has been described as “the largest protest event in human history.” Estimations of the total number of participants involved reach 30 million. The protest in Rome involved around three million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history. Madrid hosted the second largest rally with more than 1½ million protesters. About half a million marched in the United States. How many demonstrations in support of the war can be cited? It can be said that the day was one of humanity’s finest moments.

So what did all these people know that Hillary Clinton didn’t know? What information did they have access to that she as a member of Congress did not have?

The answer to both questions is of course “Nothing”. She voted the way she did because she was, as she remains today, a wholly committed supporter of the Empire and its unending wars.

And what did the actual war teach her? Here she is in 2007, after four years of horrible death, destruction and torture:

“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded.” 8

And she spoke the above words at a conference of liberals, committed liberal Democrats and others further left. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a tiny bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything. The audience, it should be noted, booed her, for the second year in a row.

“We came, we saw, he died.” – Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State,giggling, as she referred to the uncivilized and utterly depraved murder of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other Islamic leader speaking of September 11, 2001: “We came, we saw, 3,000 died, ha-ha.”

Notes

  1. Los Angeles Times, September 23, 1994
  2. Washington Post, July 18, 2001
  3. BBC, August 14, 2004
  4. Honolulu Star-Advertiser, June 23 and July 2, 2012
  5. Tim Weiner, “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” (2007), p.116-21
  6. Washington Post, August 30, 2005
  7. Washington Post, June 6, 2014
  8. Speaking at the “Take Back America” conference, organized by the Campaign for America’s Future, June 20, 2007, Washington, DC; this excerpt can be heard on the June 21, 2007 edition of Democracy Now!