|25/11/04||Ukraine Erupts In Great Power Rivalries By Peter Schwarz|
A struggle for power has broken out between the two candidates, acting head of the government Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, following the Ukrainian presidential elections last Sunday. The official electoral committee pronounced Yanukovich to be the winner, but the opposition has refused to recognize the result. It maintains that the election results were falsified and Yushchenko was the legitimate winner.
On Monday, Yushchenko allowed himself to be sworn in as president by the delegates of the opposition in the Kiev parliament. At the same time, crowds of up to 200,000 have demonstrated in the city centre of Kiev since Monday, with many camping out on the streets. They are seeking to secure Yushchenko’s recognition as president with a campaign of civil disobedience. Their models are the so-called “Rose Revolution” which one year ago led to the ousting of Shevardnadze in Georgia and the events that toppled Milosevic in Serbia.
In the Western media, this struggle for power is portrayed as a conflict between the forces of dictatorship and democracy, between an autocratic regime and a democratic opposition. But a closer examination presents a very different picture. Both Yushchenko and Yanukovich have their roots in the new elite which divided the wealth of the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Differences between the two camps are of recent origin.
From 1993 to 1999, Yushchenko was head of the Ukrainian central bank, and from 1999 to April 2001, he was prime minister—serving in both posts under President Leonid Kuchma, who is now considered to be the power behind Yanukovich. As head of the central bank and prime minister, Yushchenko was one of the most important architects of a policy of economic liberalisation and privatisation, which has had devastating social effects. With an average monthly income of 65 euros, the Ukraine has one of the poorest populations in Europe, while an infinitesimal layer of nouveau riche has accumulated enormous wealth.
The conflict within the new elite revolves around the question of how best to defend its privileged status—in a close alliance with Russia, or by a further opening up to Western capitalist interests.
President Kuchma, who came to power in1994 and must now step down, carried out a careful balancing act. On the one hand, he strived to establish close cooperation with the European Union and the US. He made several agreements with the European Union aimed, so far unsuccessfully, at gaining admission to NATO, and even sent 1,500 soldiers to support the US occupation in Iraq. On the other hand, he maintained close relations with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.
It is no longer possible to maintain this posture. The Ukraine has suddenly become the focal point of intense rivalries between Russia, on the one side, and the US and the European Union, on the other. Both sides intervened in a massive fashion in the election campaign and supported without scruple their respective favourites—Russia backing Yanukovich and the Western powers supporting Yushchenko. Both sides are pursuing their own economic and geo-political interests.
Given the alliance between a number of Eastern Europe countries and NATO, and the establishment of American military bases in former Soviet republics in Central Asia, Putin is determined to prevent the Ukraine falling into the Western sphere of influence. For some time he has been pursuing a policy aimed at more closely binding the former Soviet republics economically and politically to Russia.
For the US and the European Union—in particular, Germany—the Ukraine, with its nearly 50 million inhabitants and strategic location, is a potentially lucrative market and a critical transportation route for oil and gas. Approximately 80 per cent of Russian natural gas supplies to Western Europe flow through the Ukraine.
The German financial newspaper Handelsblatt summed up German interests, writing on November 23: “[T]he Ukraine is much too important as a transportation route for sources of energy, both Russian oil and gas and the reserves in the Caspian Sea, to allow the country to become the play thing of the Kremlin.”
The vehemence with which the interests of Russia and the Western powers collide in the Ukraine recalls the darkest days of the Cold War. It shows the how strained and explosive relations between the great powers have become.
Just three weeks ago, Russian President Putin was the first to congratulate Bush on his re-election. Now, Washington and Moscow confront one another as irreconcilable opponents over the issue of the future Ukrainian president. If the conflict is not resolved soon, differences threaten to escalate further. As was the case in the first half of the 20th century, the fight for influence, markets and raw materials threatens once again to lead to armed conflicts between the great powers.
In the Ukrainian election campaign, Putin backed Yanukovich, whose base lies in the coal and steel region of the Donetsk Basin and the city of Dnepropetrovsk. The Donetsk heavy industry magnate Rinat Achmetov is considered his most important backer. The oligarchs in heavy industry fear Western competition and rely on support from Russia. In addition, the east of Ukraine has a large Russian-speaking population. Yanukovich speaks Russian as his native language.
The Western press made a great fuss about Putin’s interference in the Ukrainian election campaign. He briefly visited Kiev on two occasions before the election. This, however, is not so extraordinary, given the fact that prior to 1991, Russia and Ukraine had for centuries been part of a common country, and a large proportion of the population is Russian-speaking.
On the other hand, the substantial interference by Western governments and institutions in favour of Yushchenko was portrayed as completely normal, and justified as facilitating a further “opening up to the West” (i.e., opening up to Western capitalist interests), and a “continuation of the reform process” (i.e., “free market” liberalisation of the economy).
Yushchenko’s strongholds are situated in western Ukraine, which has long been a centre of Ukrainian nationalism and oriented strongly towards Europe. His standpoint corresponds to that of the new dominant layer in Poland, Hungary and other Eastern European countries, which see their future as junior partners of the Western great powers.
Yushchenko was supported in his propaganda and finances by outside advisors. European and American politicians continually praised him, describing him as an exemplary democrat. As soon as the polls closed, they raised accusations of electoral fraud.
US Senator Richard Lugar, who spent time in Kiev as an election observer, spoke of a “concentrated and energetic program of fraud and abuse on election day.” The foreign policy speaker of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), Gert Weißkirchen, declared Yushchenko to be the winner. He demanded international reprisals should the ruling powers in the Ukraine refuse to reverse themselves and recognize the election of the opposition candidate.
The governments in Washington and Berlin have demanded an examination of the election result and threatened sanctions. Together with his American colleague Colin Powell, the German foreign affairs minister, Joschka Fischer, demanded a recount of the vote under the control of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
It is quite possible, and even probable, that substantial fraud occurred in the Ukrainian election. Certainly the hand-picked candidate of Kuchma and Putin, both of whom rule on the basis of authoritarian methods and preside over corrupt regimes, is entirely capable of such tactics. And among the anti-Yanukovich demonstrators are many people genuinely motivated by democratic concerns.
But the democratic posturing of the US and Europe is entirely hypocritical. When pro-Western regimes defend their power with autocratic methods, as is the case with many states in Central Asia, Washington, Berlin and the other European capitals look the other way. In Iraq they are preparing the “democratic” election of a puppet regime by waging a brutal war against the civilian population.
The Ukrainian population has become a plaything in the struggle for power between Yanukovich and Yushchenko, and the great powers pulling the strings in the background. Nevertheless, there are real social concerns and fears that animated the voters.
Not all of those who voted for the government candidate did so because of manipulation by the official Ukrainian media, despite the claims of the opposition. Workers in heavy industry have justified fears of losing their jobs if the Ukraine continues to open up to the European Union, as occurred in Poland and other Eastern European countries. In addition, the Russian-speaking minority fears discrimination should Ukrainian nationalism prevail. In this respect, the Baltic states are horrific examples of what could go wrong.
Amongst the supporters of Yushchenko, on the other hand, there are young people and students who are honestly shocked over attacks on free speech and political expression. They find themselves, however, in the very dubious company of priests and nationalists, whose tradition, to put it mildly, does not embody democratic convictions. Anti-Semitism was common in nationalist circles in Ukraine for a long time, and assisted the Nazis in the recruitment of accomplices during the German occupation of the country.
So far, the power struggle in Ukraine has remained largely peaceful. The situation is, however, extremely tense. Violence by the government camp against the demonstrators cannot be ruled out. If the conflict escalates, the country confronts the danger of a civil war, with results similar to the catastrophes that have engulfed the Balkans over the past decade.
In both cases, the responsibility rests, in the first instance, with US and European imperialism, which seek to manipulate and exploit internal tensions within these countries for their own predatory ends. For his part, Putin acts in the interests of an aspiring national bourgeois elite in Russia with its own imperial ambitions.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Analysis: Ukrainian crisis pits past against possible future By SABRA AYRES
…For the West, there also is a lot at stake in the outcome of the Ukrainian election. The United States has given billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine in the last 13 years, and there are currently more Peace Corps volunteers in Ukraine than anywhere else in the world.
Much of the U.S. money went toward dismantling Ukraine's huge arsenal of nuclear weapons under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which was initiated by former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., and current Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. The United States placed great hope that Ukraine would be a strategic buffer zone between Europe and Russia.
The European Union also would like to see a stable Ukraine now that it shares a border with the former Soviet country.
“Because of the geopolitical situation, Europe cannot afford to ignore Ukraine, nor can Ukraine afford to ignore Europe,” said Nikolai Petrov, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center.
Both the United States and the European Union have declared the election illegitimate. International monitoring groups, as well as Lugar, who was President Bush's envoy to monitor the elections, said the balloting was “a concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday the United States could not recognize the results unless the allegations of fraud were thoroughly investigated. Canada and several other countries followed…
MAKING US STATE TERRORISM DISAPPEAR:
[excerpted from ]
Abu Hanifa and its terrorists
November 26, 2004
What gives violence legitimacy? Last Friday, in Baghdad, Iraqis attending mosque were interrupted by a US-led military assault. Several accounts of the event circulated in the hours following. Among them I would like to briefly compare two: one by an independent journalist and a second by a major newspaper.
…there is a stipulation in the State Department definition of terrorism that exempts the actions of the US military in Fallujah and Abu Hanifa: actions are terrorist provided that they are undertaken by “subnational groups or clandestine agents.” This condition disqualifies the actions of US armed forces as terrorist, even though such actions would qualify as “attack directed against a civilian population” and the “deportation or forcible transfer of population <dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000136.php>”—crimes against humanity as considered by the International Criminal Court.^9 The assumption that terrorism cannot come from a state, explicit in at least one definition, tacitly circumscribes public discussion of terrorism, and accordingly of what constitutes legitimate and illegitimate uses of violence. It seems that such legitimacy depends less on the violence deployed than on who deploys it…
the language of terrorism is language of the state. But this is today both less true and more true than would seem: the language of terrorism is unavailable to some states while it has been used by the United States against fellow states. The US government has extended its monopoly on violence from “a given territory” to every territory^10 , doing so under the rubric of legitimate violence deployed by a state under international conventions (war) against an illegitimate use of violence (terrorism). The first violence of “The War on Terrorism,” it appears, is its violence unto language.
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
STATE TERRORISM AS WAR CRIMES
Killing on Tape and the Broader War Criminality by Paul Street
Why do they hate us? Because “we” are, among other things, war criminals. If you are Arab and/or Muslim today, chances you have been watching, hearing about, discussing, and feeling deep rage over some terrible film footage. It’s been the story of the day on Al-Jazeera, played and discussed and denounced over and over again.
The white imperial Marines walk into a mosque in ravaged Fallujah, where the bodies of dead and injured resistance fighters lay prone on the floor. We hear one Marine speak to another, talking about one of the wounded: “He’s fucking faking that he’s dead.” Response: “yeah, he’s breathing.” The American release video goes black but we are permitted to hear a rifle shot. “He’s dead now.”
A series of television pool images shot by NBC shows a U.S. Marine shooting dead a wounded and unarmed Iraqi in a Falluja mosque November 13, 2004. U.S. Marines rallied round the Marine now under investigation for killing the Iraqi during the offensive in Falluja, saying he was probably under combat stress in unpredictable, hair-trigger circumstances. (Reuters TV/Reuters)
The Arab-release video is more graphic, showing the full imperial snuff job. The American corporate state censors — the masters of imperial war propaganda — might have helped construct an Orwellian and therefore officially amnesiac society but they are not entirely ignorant of history. They don’t want to repeat the notorious imagery of 1968, when American television viewers watched a “Viet Cong” resistance fighter fall to the ground with blood spurting out of his head after being crudely executed by a “free world” South Vietnamese officer.
Sorry Semper Fi: that’s a war crime.
But probably not all that out of the ordinary…probably closer to standard operating procedure in a bloody occupation that has designated key parts of Iraq as de facto “free fire zones.”
What’s out of the ordinary is that the atrocity has been caught on tape and released for partial public view.
The action we see is certainly consistent with the training and rhetoric handed down from the higher-level military authorities, from the much bigger war criminals, who speak of the Fallujah “enemy” as “Satan” (never forget that this is a “new crusade,” as Rahul Mahajan says). The bigger mafiosi tell the smaller US military personnel that they are avenging 9/11 in Iraq (despite fact that Iraqis and 9/11/al Qaeda had nothing to do with one another). The big dons certainly encourage the GIs to kill as many “sandniggers” and “ragheads” as they can.
Anti-Arab racism is critical to this ongoing imperial savagery, making it possible for the White House and the military authorities to easily blend Osama and Saddam, al-Qaeda and Iraq, 9/11 and Baghdad in the first place and providing the essential moral lubricant of dehumanization that makes it possible for supposed moral agents of “freedom” and “democracy” to kill more than 100,000 of their fellow human beings in a distant land. These damaged men and women, these hit men of American empire, will return home as dangers to themselves and others, bearing evil inner demons that will carry a considerable cost in the imperial “homeland” (lovely word that).
Watch the American release video (the only one I’ve seen, on PBS at 6 PM and a few minutes ago on ABC’s “Nightline”) and the thing that stands out is how nonchalant and routine the killing is. It all looks and sounds quite normal for the perpetrator and his colleagues. My strong suspicion is that such a blatant US violation of the Geneva Conventions is commonplace in Fallujah and in other parts of Iraq where open season has been declared on dirty Arabs.
Since this one was caught on tape we will repeat the post-tragedy farce and false resolutions of My Lai and Abu Ghraib: there will be trials that seek to pin all the blame on the individual soldier, whose senseless amoral and racist criminality has been instilled from above and without. His crime is just a drop in the ocean of imperial criminality. He is a much smaller perpetrator than the truly evil ones in the White House and the Pentagon.
Interesting to see the timing of this high-profile war crime with the resignation of Colin Powell, who broke into the public record by helping cover up the My Lai massacre and the significant extent to that epic war crime was the tip of the American atrocity iceberg in Southeast Asia.
Other and broader war crimes for which no trials or investigations are planned: bombing civilians in Fallujah; mortaring civilians in Fallujah; shooting civilians in Fallujah; attacking ambulances and otherwise impeding medical services; sending back male civilians who tried to leave Fallujah before the American assault; denying the Red Crescent Society access to Fallujah; dropping 500-pound bombs on slums; raining cluster bombs on city streets; bombing clinics; attacking a hospital. “Our” snipers are boasting of how they kill anyone they get in their sites. A Fallujah man recently watched his 9-year-old slowly die from a U.S. shrapnel wound. He couldn’t safely take his boy to a hospital under the glorious conditions of liberation delivered by American F-16s, A-10 Jets, and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
It’s not for nothing that Bush recoils in horror at the notion of “benevolent,” exceptional, God-Blessed America being subjected to — imagine — the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
Truth is, the whole invasion — kind of hard to call it a “war” given the astonishing disparity in the combatants’ military power — has been a monumental war crime from the beginning. International law forbids resort to war for any purpose other than defense of one’s own territory against imminent attack.
But of course war crimes are never committed by the winners.
What did Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (? sorry I don’t know how to spell that popular radio fascist’s name) and the rest of the in-power far-right noise machine have to say about it all? What do you think they said…that the noble young warriors of freedom and democracy have a very difficult job and are doing their very best and probably didn’t actually do anything wrong. That the killing is being overplayed by those evil freedom-hating anti-American propagandists over at Al-Jazeera and that the brutal terrorist killing of M. Hassan is the real story, not the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis. Of course that’s what they say…they are fascists or something damn near.
To really see how right wing American society has become you have to go the liberal extremes. Last night on the PBS News Hour I briefly saw that insufferable Ray Suarez interview three outside experts commenting on the Powell resignation: Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle (the influential arch-neoconservative ultra-imperialist who was forced off the Defense Policy Board because of an embarrassing conflict of interest), an obsequiously subservient reactionary foreign policy academic from the University of Michigan (a Dr. Tanter, who I saw argue on behalf of “war” in Chicago in March 2003),
and some veteran member (did not get her name) of the National Security Council, who wished to defend Powell’s supposed noble record as a voice of multilateralist decency. Some spectrum, PBS.
Tonight [November 17] leftist PBS has a three-person roster of experts on the sickening Fallujah snuff tape. We heard from a former Marine Lieutenant Colonel (last name Liddy), who informed us that the Marines have thoroughly instructed their troops in the Geneva Conventions but that those troops still must deal with the chaotic “friction of war” and make “split-second decisions.”
Sorry, I saw the film…it was all rather routine. The “bad guys” were bleeding and motionless on the ground (apparently, though, the resistance is now “booby-trapping dead bodies”).
The second expert was a former soldier turned lawyer (Eugene Fidel), who finds the tape “problematic” and said that the troops are being placed in “truly insane circumstances” that are like “the battle of Stalingrad” (meaning fierce block by block urban combat and the like). Ok, the circumstances are surely insane, but Stalingrad?
The third expert was Middle East area specialist Juan Cole of the University of Michigan, who seemed less impressed by the shooting than about the broader US public relations stupidity (and war criminality Dr. Cole?) of turning the Red Crescent Society away from Fallujah and about the plight of everyday ordinary civilians trapped without food and water in the besieged town.
Cole didn’t seem all that terribly upset, however. Thinking about why I realized that I’d run into Cole before. See my April 13 2004 ZNet article, titled “Scholars to Working America: You Must Sacrifice Your Children for Oil and Empire,” where I quote him saying that “there is no way” for the US “to get out of” Iraq because the Middle East cannot be allowed to fall into chaos” when “two thirds of the proven oil reserves in the world are in the Persian Gulf.”
Which reminds me of a pertinent question that is getting lost in the fog of conflicting barbarisms: why are “we” killing and dying (doing a lot more of the former than the latter) in Iraq? Listen to the following few well-crafted lines from Monthly Review, that wonderful Marxist journal that has been coming out of mid-town Manhattan for the last 50-plus years:
“An example of blunt telling-it-how-it-is can be seen in recent statements by Fadel Gheit, a leading oil analyst for the prestigious Wall Street firm Oppenheimer and Co. Linda McQuaig tells us in an article in the September 20, 2004 Toronto Star (based on her new book, It’s the Crude, Dude) that Gheit simply smiles at the notion that oil was not a major factor in the invasion of Iraq, and quotes him as saying: ‘Think of Iraq as virgin territory…This is bigger than anything that Exxon is involved in currently…It is the superstar of the future. That’s why Iraq has become the most sought-after real estate on the face of the earth.’ In addition to its own oil, Iraq is strategically located so that the occupying power is well placed to dominate the other oil countries of the Middle East. Gheit explains: ‘Think of all of Iraq as a military base with a very large oil reserve underneath…You can’t ask for better than that.’ And it is not just direct control of the
Middle East that is at issue, since other regions such as Europe, Japan, and China would be vulnerable to any power that has military, economic, and political ascendance over the Middle East and its oil” (”Notes From the Editors,” Monthly Review, November 2004, p.65).
I recall marching with thousands in March 2003. We were chanting “No Blood for Oil” (occasionally I would substitute “empire” for “oil”) and “one, two, three, four, we don’t want your racist war.”
We were right on all counts. We are going to need to hit their streets, I mean our streets, some more, and that’s just for starters…
God Bless America.
Paul Street is a writer and researcher in Chicago, Illinois. His book Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 is now available from Paradigm Publishers. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related Article: Speaking of War Crimes by Steven A. Hass
“International Terrorism” is a Contrived Threat
Elias Davidsson, www.globalresearch.ca
26 November 2004
According to the report Patterns of International Terrorism 2003, issued by the US Department of State on April 2004, thirty-five (35) American citizens died from international terrorism world-wide in 2003. They were killed in the following countries:
Palestinian occupied territories: 6
Saudi Arabia: 9
for further details see www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2003/33771.htm
The above distribution demonstrates that “terrorism” against US citizens is directly related to US intervention and occupation and has little to do with an alleged hatred for Americans, as such. Some of the above victims were involved in illegal or military activities. No U.S. citizen died in 2003 as a result of international terrorism in Europe, Africa, Australia and North America. In South America, only one U.S. citizen died from international terrorism (in Colombia). That person was a pilot of a plane owned by [US] Southern Command.
International terrorism against U.S. citizens is limited to locations where the United States is engaging in occupation or in supporting repressive practices. [i.e. US -Israeli STATE terrorism -liz]
The extent of the harm to U.S. citizens does not warrant a “war on terrorism”: In the same year as 35 U.S. citizens were killed for political reasons world-wide, 16,503 persons were murdered and 93,433 persons were raped in the U.S. alone (FBI statistics). This alone demonstrates that the motive for the “war on terrorism” is not the number of victims nor their identities.
International terrorism is contrived threat, a monumental deception carried out by governments and facilitated by mass media to justify aggression, occupation, intervention and the curtailment of human rights. This deception must be exposed as an attack by colluding governments on democracy, human rights. By permitting states to engage in gross human rights violations and aggression, the contrived threat of international terrorism may itself be considered as threat to international peace and security.
[note-liz: international state terrorism by the US & Israel is very real, not contrived. The bogus US “war on terrorism” is contrived as a cover for the US agenda of war against the world, especially oppressed nations, in their crusade for white supremacist world domination.
Global Research Contributing Editor Elias Davidsson lives in Reykjavik, Iceland. He is a composer, author, human rights activist and a member of the Icelandic chapter of the 911-Truth Movement.
[note-liz: AS USUAL, A REPORT OSTENSIBLY CRITICAL OF GOVT., CITES PROBLEMS IN ORDER TO 'JUSTIFY' FURTHER CONSOLIDATION OF A NATIONAL SECURITY STATE : barely between the lines, article exposes critical role of STATE PROPAGANDA in US CRUSADE FOR DOMINATION OF ARAB COUNTRIES, THE 'MIDDLE EAST', & THEN ENTIRE WORLD.]
Panel cites many U.S. failures in dealing with Muslim world
By THOM SHANKER
WASHINGTON — A harshly critical report by a Pentagon advisory panel says the United States is failing in its efforts to explain the nation's diplomatic and military actions to the Muslim world, but it warns that no public relations plan or information operation can defend the United States from flawed policies.
The Defense Science Board report, which has not been released to the public, says the nation's institutions charged with “strategic communication” are broken, and calls for a comprehensive reorganization of government public affairs, public diplomacy and information efforts.
“America's negative image in world opinion and diminished ability to persuade are consequences of factors other than the failure to implement communications strategies,” says the 102-page report, completed in September. “Interests collide. Leadership counts. Policies matter. Mistakes dismay our friends and provide enemies with unintentional assistance. Strategic communication is not the problem, but it is a problem.”
The study does not constitute official policy, but it is described by the Pentagon's civilian and military leadership as capturing the essential themes of a debate that is now roiling not just the Defense Department but the entire U.S. government. The debate centers on how far the United States can and should go in managing, even manipulating, information to deter enemies and persuade allies or neutral nations.
There is little disagreement about the importance and utility of battlefield deception to help assure the success of a military operation and protect American or allied soldiers. But there is great concern among public-affairs officials in the military at proposals for regional or even global information operations, especially if those efforts include falsehoods.
The rub is that in an environment of 24-hour news and the Internet, overseas information operations easily become known to the American people, and any specific government-sponsored information campaign not based on fact risks damaging the nation's overall credibility.
The Defense Science Board report, “Strategic Communication,” proposes a permanent “strategic communication structure” within the White House National Security Council and urges elevated roles and responsibilities for a designated senior officer within other government organizations, including the State Department and Pentagon.
The report compares the national security challenge of the post-Sept. 11 world to the decades-long struggle against Soviet Communism. But the study then argues that the government's Cold-War-era communications institutions have not understood that the Islamic world — and extremists operating in the Islamic world — present different challenges. The report scolds the government for casting the new threat of Islamic extremism in a way that offends a large portion of those living in the Muslim world.
“In stark contrast to the Cold War, the United States today is not seeking to contain a threatening state empire, but rather seeking to convert a broad movement within Islamic civilization to accept the value structure of Western Modernity — an agenda hidden within the official rubric of a 'War on Terrorism,'…” the report states.
“Today we reflexively compare Muslim 'masses' to those oppressed under Soviet rule,” the report adds. “This is a strategic mistake. There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-U.S. groundswell among Muslim societies — except to be liberated perhaps from what they see as apostate tyrannies that the U.S. so determinedly promotes and defends.”
The report says that “Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather they hate our policies,” adding that “when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”
In the eyes of the Muslim world, the report adds, “American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering.”
The report also says: “The critical problem in American public diplomacy directed toward the Muslim world is not one of 'dissemination of information' or even one of crafting and delivering the 'right' message. Rather it is a fundamental problem of credibility. Simply, there is none — the United States today is without a working channel of communication to the world of Muslims and of Islam.”…
[”privacy” = code for “Total Information Awareness” via govt. spying & surveillance in american police state]
Friday, November 26, 2004
New U.S. passports raise privacy concerns Chip inside could be 'read' from distance
THE NEW YORK TIMES
WASHINGTON — The State Department will soon begin issuing passports that carry information about the traveler in a computer chip embedded in the cardboard cover as well as on its printed pages.
Privacy advocates say the new format — developed in response to security concerns after the Sept. 11 attacks — will be vulnerable to electronic snooping by anyone within several feet, a practice called skimming. Internal State Department documents, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act, show that Canada, Germany and Britain have raised the same concern.
“This is like putting an invisible bull's-eye on Americans that can be seen only by the terrorists,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU Technology and Liberty Program. “If there's any nation in the world at the moment that could do without such a device, it is the United States.”
The organization wants the State Department to take security precautions such as encrypting the data, so that even if it is downloaded by unauthorized people, it cannot be understood.
The technology is familiar to the public in applications such as highway toll-collection systems and “smart cards” for entering buildings or subway turnstiles. In passports, the technology would be more sophisticated, with a computer having the ability to query the chip selectively for particular information.
The passports would contain chips that stored all the printed data on the passport, as well as digitized data on the traveler's face. At an immigration checkpoint, an antenna could read a passport waved a few inches away. A digital camera could look at the traveler's face and compare it with the data from the chip.
Two opponents of the US occupation assassinated in Iraq James Cogan, WSWS
Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: www.uruknet.info?p=7589 <www.uruknet.info?s1=1&p=7589&s2=27>
FLASH BACK & FORWARD:
The Invasion of Iraq: Dollar vs Euro
Re-denominating Iraqi oil in U. S. dollars, instead of the euro
by Sohan Sharma, Sue Tracy, & Surinder Kumar
Z magazine, February 2004
What prompted the U.S. attack on Iraq, a country under sanctions for 12 years (1991-2003), struggling to obtain clean water and basic medicines? A little discussed factor responsible for the invasion was the desire to preserve “dollar imperialism” as this hegemony began to be challenged by the euro.
After World War II, most of Europe and Japan lay economically prostrate, their industries in shambles and production, in general, at a minimum level. The U.S. was the only major power to escape the destruction of war, its industries thriving with a high level of productivity. In addition, prior to and during WWII, due to extreme political and economic upheaval, a considerable amount of gold from European countries was transferred to the U.S. Thus, after WWII the U.S. had accumulated 80 percent of the world's gold and 40 percent of the world's production. At the founding of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1944-45, U.S. predominance was absolute. A fixed exchange currency was established based on gold, the gold-dollar standard, wherein the value of the dollar was pegged to the price of gold-U.S. $35 per ounce of gold. Because gold was combined with U.S. bank notes, the dollar note and gold became equivalent, which then became the international reserve currency.
Initially, the U.S. had $30 billion in gold reserves. But the United States spent more than $500 billion on the Vietnam War alone, from 1967-1972. During these years, the U.S. had over 110 military bases across the globe, each costing hundreds of millions of dollars a year. These expenses were paid in paper dollars and the total number given out far exceeded the gold reserve of the U.S treasury. By then (1971-72), the U.S. Treasury was running out of gold and had only $10 billion in gold left. On August 17, 1971, Nixon suspended the U.S. dollar conversion into gold. Thus, the dollar was “floated” in the international monetary market.
Also in the early 1970s, U.S. oil production peaked and its energy resources began to deplete. Its own oil production could not keep pace with growing home consumption. Since then, U.S. demand for oil continually increased, and by 2002-2003 the U.S. imported approximately 60 percent of its oil-OPEC (primarily Saudi Arabia) being the main exporter. The U.S. sought to protect its dollar strength and hegemony by ensuring that Saudi Arabia price its oil only in dollars. To achieve this, the U.S. made a deal, some say a secret one, that it would protect the Saudi regime in exchange for their selling oil only in dollars.
Throughout the late 1950s and 1960s the Arab world was in ferment over an emerging Nasser brand of Arab nationalism and the Saudi monarchy began to fear for its own stability. In Iraq, the revolutionary officers corps had taken power with a socialist program. In Libya, military officers with an Islamic socialist ideology took power in 1969 and closed the U.S. Wheelus Air base; in 1971, Libya nationalized the holdings of British Petroleum. There were proposals for uniting several Arab states-Syria, Egypt, and Libya. During 1963-1967, a civil war developed in Yemen between Republicans (anti-monarchy) and
Royalist forces along almost the entire southern border of Saudi Arabia. Egyptian forces entered Yemen in support of republican forces, while the Saudis supported the royalist forces to shield its own monarchy. Eventually, the Saudi government-a medieval, Islamic fundamentalist, dynastic monarchy with absolute power-survived the nationalistic upheavals.
Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer with the largest known oil reserves, is the leader of OPEC. It is the only member of the OPEC cartel that does not have an allotted production quota. It is the “swing producer,” i.e., it can increase or decrease oil production to bring oil draught or glut in the world market. This enables it more or less to determine prices.
Oil can be bought from OPEC only if you have dollars. Non-oil producing countries, such as most underdeveloped countries and Japan, first have to sell their goods to earn dollars with which they can purchase oil. If they cannot earn enough dollars, then they have to borrow dollars from the WB/IMF, which have to be paid back, with interest, in dollars. This creates a great demand for dollars outside the U.S. In contrast, the U.S. only has to print dollar bills in exchange for goods. Even for its own oil imports, the U.S. can print dollar bills without exporting or selling its goods. For instance, in 2003 the current U.S. account deficit and external debt has been running at more than $500 billion. Put in simple terms, the U.S. will receive $500 billion more in goods and services from other countries than it will provide them. The imported goods are paid by printing dollar bills, i.e., “fiat” dollars.
Fiat money or currency (usually paper money) is a type of currency whose only value is that a government made a “fiat” (decree) that the money is a legal method of exchange. Unlike commodity money, or representative money, it is not based in any other commodity such as gold or silver and is not covered by a special reserve. Fiat money is a promise to pay by the usurer and does not necessarily have any intrinsic value. Its value lies in the issuer's financial means and creditworthiness.
Such fiat dollars are invested or deposited in U.S. banks or the U.S. Treasury by most non-oil producing, underdeveloped countries to protect their currencies and generate oil credit. Today foreigners hold 48 percent of the U.S. Treasury bond market and own 24 percent of the U.S. corporate bond market and 20 percent of all U.S. corporations. In total, foreigners hold $8 trillion of U.S. assets. Nevertheless, the foreign deposited dollars strengthen the U.S. dollar and give the United States enormous power to manipulate the world economy, set rules, and prevail in the international market.
Thus, the U. S. effectively controls the world oil-market as the dollar has become the “fiat” international trading currency. Today U.S. currency accounts for approximately two-thirds of all official exchange reserves. More than four-fifths of all foreign exchange transactions and half of all the world exports are denominated in dollars and U.S. currency accounts for about two-thirds of all official exchange reserves. The fact that billions of dollars worth of oil is priced in dollars ensures the world domination of the dollar. It allows the U.S. to act as the world's central bank, printing currency acceptable everywhere. The dollar has become an oil-backed, not gold-backed, currency.
If OPEC oil could be sold in other currencies, e.g. the euro, then U.S. economic dominance-dollar imperialism or hegemony-would be seriously challenged. More and more oil importing countries would acquire the euro as their “reserve,” its value would increase, and a larger amount of trade would be transacted and denominated in euros. In such circumstances, the value of the dollar would most likely go down, some speculate between 20-40 percent.
In November 2000, Iraq began selling its oil in euros. Iraq's oil for food account at the UN was also in euros and Iraq later converted its $10 billion reserve fund at the UN to euros. Several other oil producing countries have also agreed to sell oil in euros-Iran, Libya, Venezuela, Russia, Indonesia, and Malaysia (soon to join this group). In July 2003, China announced that it would switch part of its dollar reserves into the world's emerging “reserve currency” (the euro).
On January 1, 1999, when 11 European countries formed a monetary union around this currency, Britain and Norway, the major oil producers, were absent. As the U.S. economy began to slow down during mid-2000, Western stock markets began to yield lower dividends. Investors from Gulf Cooperation Council nations lost over $800 million in the stock plunge. As investors sold U.S. assets and reinvested in Europe, which seemed to be better shielded from a recession, the euro began to gain ground against the dollar .
After September 11, 2001, Islamic financiers began to repatriate their dollar investments-amounting to billions of dollars-to Arab banks, as they were worried about the possible seizure of their assets under the USA PATRIOT Act. Also, they feared their accounts might be frozen on the suspicion that such accounts fund Islamic terrorists. Iranian sources stated that their banking colleagues felt particularly hassled as Washington heated up its war of words and threats of military intervention. This encouraged Tehran to abandon the dollar payment for oil sales and switch to the euro. Iran also moved the majority of its reserve fund to the euro. (Iran is the latest target of the U.S., which has interfered by stirring up opposition forces, and making covert threats.)
OPEC member countries and the euro-zone have strong trade links, with more than 45 percent of total merchandize imports of OPEC member countries coming from the countries of the euro-zone, while OPEC members are the main suppliers of oil and crude oil products to Europe. The EU has a bigger share of global trade than the U.S. and, while the U.S. has a huge current account deficit, the EU has a more balanced external accounts position. The EU plans to enlarge in May 2004 with ten new members. It will have a population of 45 million; it will have an oil consuming-purchasing population 33 percent larger than the U. S., and over half of OPEC crude oil will be sold to the EU as of mid-2004. In order to reduce currency risks, Europeans will pressure OPEC to trade oil in euros. Countries such as Algeria, Iran, Iraq, and Russia-which export oil and natural gas to European countries and in turn import goods and services from them-will have an interest in reducing their currency risk and hence, pricing oil and gas in eros. Thus momentum is building toward at least the dual use of euro and dollar pricing.
The unprovoked “shock and awe” attack on Iraq was to serve several economic purposes: (1) Safeguard the U.S. economy by re-denominating Iraqi oil in U.S. dollars, instead of the euro, to try to lock the world back into dollar oil trading so the U.S. would remain the dominant world power-militarily and economically. (2) Send a clear message to other oil producers as to what will happen to them if they abandon the dollar matrix. (3) Place the second largest oil reserve under direct U.S. control. (4) Create a subject state where the U.S. can maintain a huge force to dominate the Middle East and its oil. (5) Create a severe setback to the European Union and its euro, the only trading block and currency strong enough to attack U.S. dominance of the world through trade. (6) Free its forces (ultimately) so that it can begin operations against those countries that are trying to disengage themselves from U.S. dollar imperialism-such as Venezuela, where the U.S. has supported the attempted overthrow of a democratic government by a junta more friendy to U. S. business/oil interests.
The U.S. also wants to create a new oil cartel in the Middle East and Africa to replace OPEC. To this end the U.S. has been pressuring Nigeria to withdraw from OPEC and its strict production quotas by dangling the prospects of generous U.S. aid. Instead the U.S. seeks to promote a “U.S.-Nigeria Alignment,” which would place Nigeria as the primary oil exporter to the U.S. Another move by the U.S. is to promote oil production in other African countries-Algeria, Libya, Egypt, and Angola, from where the U.S. imports a significant amount of oil-so that the oil control of OPEC is loosened, if not broken. Furthermore, the U.S. is pressuring non-OPEC producers to flood the oil market and retain denomination in dollars in an effort to weaken OPEC's market control and challenge the leadership of any country switching oil denomination from the dollar to the euro.
To break up OPEC and control the world's oil supply, it is also helpful to control Middle East and central Asiatic oil producing countries through which oil pipelines traverse. The first attack and occupation was of Afghanistan, October 2001, in itself a gas producing country, but primarily a country through which Central Asia and the Caspian Sea oil and gas will be shipped (piped) to energy-starved Pakistan and India. Afghanistan also provided an alternative to previously existing Russian pipelines. Simultaneously, the U.S. acquired military bases-19 of them-in the Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan in the Caspian Basin, all of which are potential oil producers. After the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. controlled the natural resources of these two countries
and, once again, Iraq's oil began to be traded in U.S. dollars. The UN's oil for food production program was scrapped and the U.S. Iaunched its Iraqi Assistance Fund in U.S. dollars. In December 2003, the U.S. (Pentagon) announced that it had barred French, German, and Russian oil and other companies from bidding on Iraq's reconstruction.
How would a shift to the euro affect underdeveloped countries, most of which are either non-oil producing or do not produce enough for their home consumption and development? These countries have to import oil. One of the advantages that may accrue to them is that they are likely to earn more euros than dollars since much of their trade is with the European countries. On the other hand, a shift to euro will pose a similar dilemma for them as dollars. They will have to pay for oil in euros, have enough euros deposited-invested in EU treasuries, and borrow euros if they do not have enough for their oil purchases. If, as is projected, the dollar and euro are in a price band (that is, prices will stay within an agreed upon range), they may not have much of a bargaining position.
Oil for euros would be tar more helpful if oil-importing underdeveloped countries could develop some form of barter arrangement for their goods to obtain oil from OPEC. Venezuela (Chavez) has presented a successful working model of this. Following Venezuela's lead, several underdeveloped countries began bartering their undervalued commodities directly with each other in computerized swaps and counter trade deals, and commodities are now traded among these countries in exchange for Venezuela's oil. President Chavez has linked 13 such barter deals on its oil; e.g., with Cuba in exchange for Cuban doctors and paramedics who are setting up clinics in shanty towns and rural areas. Such arrangements help underdeveloped countries save their hard currencies, lessening indebtedness to international bankers, the World Bank, and IMF, so that money thus saved can be used for internal development.
Sohan Sharma is a professor emeritus at California State University in Sacramento. Sue Tracy is a hazardous waste material scientist in Sacramento. Surinder Kumar is professor of economics In Rohtak, Inala.
…His discursive capital is mostly invested in performatives; utterances that perform an action and determine a new reality as they are being uttered…
Liberals and Bush’s Performatives
Morning conversations around the copy machine used to be more relaxed, if not more civilized. These days it may turn out as randomly violent as a trip to the corner shop may in the Occupied Gaza Strip. Around the copy machine, of course, the violence is only discursive and not physical.
A liberal American colleague, who once mistakenly ventured to advise me what was good for me, by invoking credibility in voting for Kerry based on his ‘economic plan’, just the other day was about to commit another folly. “So, Powell’s out …” Huge flashes of lib-talk rapidly fast-forwarded in my head, giving my stomach a piercing jab of pain, in a split second, since I knew only too well what was to come next.
It seems that for most American liberals, much like for my colleague at the copy machine, Powell is the “only voice of moderation” in Bush’s cabinet; without him all wheels will come off and all hell will break loose; Powell held the last line of sanity; now that he’s gone, things are really gonna get f*#ked up; and so, sane people must get together and pray that he sticks around and not disappear completely, since God knows what else these guys have coming down the pipes!
As ridiculous as it may appear, this is actually a perfect full-proof mindset for somebody who is ultimately comfortable with the way things are. Only a person from a luxurious position can be so relaxed, politically speaking, as to muster the insight necessary to discern the differences between two or three leaves on a tree in the jungle that’s engulfing us, and forever avoid seeing the forest. For to see and to acknowledge the forest is to have to do something, and that is painfully clear to the liberal mind; that forever lazy and guilt-ridden mind whose every move is filled with indecisiveness, obfuscation and contradictions, and brimming with a desire for stasis.
Liberals refuse to own up (since that would give the game away) that organizational division of labor dictates different personnel at different junctures for any political maneuvering with strategic goals. Just for one item, it is too easily forgotten that Powell was an integral part of the machinery of flatly lying to the UN Security Council (due to his false credibility as a ‘moderate’) in order to get legal cover for the illegal invasion they had planned for Iraq from the first days of the Bush regime. As it turned out, the Security Council simply refused to act blind, since, taking one to know one, ‘Old Europe’ knew fully well that this was a calculated strategic move on the part of the US, and refused to budge in the Security Council.
When, failing to secure a legal cover, open piracy was inaugurated, Powell was integral again in showcasing a conveniently thrown together group of the ‘coalition of the willing’, as if to present the invasion as legal by the mere participation of many. Some logic of moderation there!
Another one of our morning conversations by the copy machine concerned France’s liberal stance, according to my colleague; meaning their moderation and sensibility in recognizing the insanity of invading Iraq and trying to ‘talk some sense to the US before the invasion’. Observe France’s cooperation with Uncle Sam (along with the shameful participation of Lula’s armies from Brazil) in Haiti, in a most vicious act of openly decimating an entire democratic movement, an act just as vicious as what the US and the UK are doing in Iraq. This Haiti mass murder, illegal coup, and the open rule of death squad leaders sponsored by the US, Canada and France, again, under the watchful eyes of Monsignor Powell, one of the best servants of empire if there ever was one.
And let us not forget too quickly that he has been a crucial part of the policy of allowing Sharon a completely open field of maneuver in his reign of terror unleashed on the captive Palestinian population, committing innumerable war crimes in the process, all of which any law-abiding (forget party affiliation, or degree and severity of moderation) Secretary of State would be under obligation to not only expose, but actively oppose and organize international sanctions against.
In all these instances of human catastrophes desperately crying out for displays of moderation, a true moderate Secretary of Sate, who by definition must uphold international law, may have at least made a show of not supporting a total junking of Geneva Conventions. Not this moderate.
In fact, Powell has paved the way so smoothly that now, with an open sycophant scheduled to take over, things are in full swing already. All Condi has to do now is simply do what she does best: bullshit and lie openly, act and speak belligerently, and all the while look pissed off. That will be remarked upon as statesmanship.
The fact that in the mind of a liberal, for whom legality and human rights are supreme, the nation’s top diplomat may actively break international law and support every murderous act of the American and Israeli governments, and still be a moderate, is proof enough that a liberal mind is simply incapable of explaining reality. What difference did the presence of this so-called moderate make? The differences were entirely to the benefit of the Bush administration’s policies. Were the other ‘Bushist’ crazies going to nuke the people and Powell stopped them, or something? [ in using uranium-enriched munitions, an egregious international illegality, they have been nuking people daily in Afghanistan and Iraq with Powell around.]
Is it ignorance alone that blinds the US liberal supporters of the Democratic Party, or is it something to do with a degree of comfort? Not comfort in a positive sense, but in the sense of lack of agony. As in, “If I really follow my conclusions, I will experience pain.” So, one backs off from one’s conclusions preemptively, so that radical actions may not need be pursued. So … “Let’s just hope that the situation simply goes away all by itself. Let’s hope those crazy Bushists will find sanity. Let’s hope they’ll see the light. Let’s pray for that day to come sooner. Let’s pray for our Party. And in the meantime, let’s also join the moral majority.”
Here is a point that most, if not all, liberals simply do not comprehend. When President Bush announced, for example, that world’s nations had a simple choice of either being, “With us, or with the terrorists,” he was not offering an analysis of the geo-political situation ‘according to his point of view’, such as would be presented by a social scientist, nor describing the political reality in what has fashionably (and erroneously) come to be talked about as a kind of Manichean mode of thinking. No, that’s not his style. His discursive capital is mostly invested in performatives; utterances that (according to linguists working within the ‘speech act’ paradigm) perform an action and determine a new reality as they are being uttered; such as a bride’s or groom’s, “I do!” which determines and dictates a new reality.
Bush and his cronies do determine history. Our choice is either to make our own counter reality/history, or let them make ours in their own image. They are clearly doing all they can to determine and shape the facts on the ground to their own liking. Such is their style. Naked aggression. Nothing unclear about it.
The sheer and amazing ability of the liberal in conjuring fog where the picture is so clear is stunning indeed.
Let’s pose a different question for the liberal. Are we to go on describing and chronicling the atrocities with archival and observational mindsets, or are we to be organizing mass disobedience with the outrage of a wronged people? Put differently, if a group of people breaks into your house and starts kicking your family around while bagging your jewelry and savings, and raping your sisters while at it, would you take out your pen and your notebook to take notes, or would you defend yourself (i.e. act to intervene in the situation)? I am not advocating against journalism here. Not at all. I am questioning the mindset.
A liberal will invariably suggest a good note taking, and a thorough investigation of all the angles possible, first. Thoroughness at all costs. What better way to avoid real action, than to look like your doing something. ‘We’re investigating the hard facts!’ And so, a ‘liberal’ establishment like NPR, can without a smirk in their conscience refer to, ‘The ALLEGED shooting of an unarmed, injured civilian,’ after the entire world has seen, for the four hundredth time the video of the shooting. From all the evidence, the liberal will in very least he advocate to the victims that they should consider note taking alone, and not active resistance, as an option.
It cannot be repeated enough that the people running the executive branch of capital in the US do have sanity. They do see the light. They are carrying out a very well practiced, time-honored rational activity of helping themselves to other people’s goods (rational, in the sense that it can be carried out systematically and is rule-driven). Which part of ‘foreign occupation’ is unclear to liberals?
And besides, the Bush administration has consistently announced clearly what else is coming down the pipe. They announce it routinely on TV. They give out the schedules. Much like they did as they escalated their rape of Vietnam, they may soon discuss in Congressional Committees the tonnage to be dropped. Sooner after that, they will establish quotas for such tonnage, so as to further rationalize the profits of the bomb makers, and assure their five-yearly plans for evading business cycles and incurring income explosions. Many a scientists and engineers will cram their resumes with their contributions to ever increasing lethality of the weaponry of mass killing, and will receive scientific and humanitarian awards and prizes for services rendered to the sciences and even peace.
For those living outside the Gated USA, and especially for those paying with their families, communities and cities so that the oil guzzling US-ordained urban planning can continue its sprawl, the mentality is painfully familiar. It is the same mentality that advertised the Anybody But Bush, which meant that all that was heard during the dreadfully long months of elections campaign, were the echoes of racist pissing fights, if you will, and the most atrocious macho talk back and forth between two figures heads promising their respective constituents that they can better bring the neo-colonies under submission.
>From this perspective, it was sad indeed that a majority of the US peace
But, one person we can safely predict to come out strongly against shedding illusions is our persistent liberal friend by the copy machine, and millions upon millions of his ranks in the Homeland. Kerry’s corpse-like and heavy-footed oratory having sent all the necessary voters to sleep, as opposed to the polls, we now have to endure, ad nauseum, irrationalities that do not cease to amaze: like self-absorbed brats who refuse to see the problem in the mirror (even as they fall increasingly in love with the mirror) they point the finger at all manner of things from rigged voting technology, to rigged voters, to ignorant masses, to Christian jihadists, and the ‘moral values’ gap, whatever that turns out to be by the next farce in 2008. Anything But the Truth does it for the liberal.
One advantage of being born and raised in a modern day, so-called Third World dictatorship such as Iran is that you lose your illusions about all states; you discern clearly the commonality that all states share with organized crime gangs and organizations. When it comes to voting in elections, we know the game is rigged any which way you go about it. Whether entrance into the officially available political machinery as, say, a candidate is controlled by money and private property, or ideologically determined by some state run institution (be it located inside or outside the government per se; the ideological state apparatuses), or a combination of these in varying measures, the game is rigged against the interests of a majority of any and all national populations. The variations in political systems are determined mainly by the degree of force and overt violence needed to reinforce the hegemony or outright brute rule of the ruling classes in different nations.
And since all functionaries of all states are equally aware of this universal fact, it is easy for the more brutal states to develop obvious chips on their shoulders. There are, for example, a great many things that truly piss off the butchers of Tehran, those “Un-Goldly” representatives taking care that our good, supposedly super-Muslim nation may not go astray, and who in the process have drained all morality from our social fabric. But the one thing that most surely must piss them off is no doubt the success of the US government in blindsiding the US public so effectively, and with such ease.
The seeming ease, however, is deceptive. One qualitative difference between the two countries, besides the giant abyss separating their GNPs and other assorted statistics that can be arrayed against Iran, is the sheer number of layers of the organic intellectuals that form the cushion, the buffer zone, between the people and the state in the United States; one among many luxuries available in the bosom of the empire.
To the rude displeasure of the liberal, the comforts available (at a cost) in the bosom of the empire must by definition be denied the ordinary citizen of Fallujah, Ramadi, Mosul, and Baghdad. In Fallujah, empire spoke nakedly, just as in Jenin, and Ramllah, and all the slums from Brazzaville to Port au Prince, empire has been speaking only too loudly and for far too long.
The deepest reasons for the liberal being so weary of right wing aggression is the anguishing thoughts of all the cushioning, and all the explaining away that it demands of the liberal. Hence the liberal’s deepest desire for stasis. Endowed with only a pessimistic imagination, the liberal is easily capable of fathoming that any change will only mean a change for worse. Oh, the dreaded woes of rationalizing yet another barbarity! It must indeed get tiring being a liberal since by iron law of political nature a liberal must not do anything to intervene, but merely observe, analyze, take notes, and whitewash. Neurosis extended indefinitely can be a very exhausting, if not dangerous, thing.
But, when it comes to politics, it ultimately boils down to force. Nothing Maoistic or Kissingerian about it. This is a far too ancient a disease to easily lend itself to being copyrighted by modernity. As Marx observed, we still do live in our prehistory.
Which gets us back to Bush’s performatives. He means it literally when he declares you either with his gang or a (eventual if not present) problem, because his gang’s plans create problems and enemies at a great rate. He and his gang will make it so that sooner or later, you will have to make a clear choice.
Since the ‘Iranians’ are getting increasing news coverage, and we can clearly see the rapid rise in the acreage given to their ‘nuclear issue’ by all the too-respectable-to-make-a-mistake media, let’s see how a liberal mind may distract us. Bet anything on hearing them talking more about the European angle and less about the Israeli angle.
The ‘European angle’ meaning: The European Three (Germany, France, Britain) have just concluded a deal with Iran, and we must likewise pursue the route of dialogue and engagement. Entice them with trade deals, bring them into the fold. We cannot manage the region without the help of the region’s most populous and biggest country, and it is much more productive to have a cooperative Iran, than an obstructive one. The Mullahs in Tehran would of course nod in agreement to that.
The ‘Israeli angle’ being the reality angle. As in, since their good friends, their bestest big buddy friends with the biggest guns on earth are in the neighborhood, so they are sure as hell NOT going to just sit by, when they can use this historic moment and achieve some serious strategic 'parity' like they would never, ever, EVER get under any other circumstances, come hell or come hell fire.
And, in case the butchers of Tehran are breathing a sigh of relief at having made it around another corner of yet another turn of nuclear events with their provisional deal worked out with the European-3 powers, they may serve themselves well by reading repeatedly the warnings by the Americans to none other than the Europeans regarding the global satellite system that Europe is launching (to rival the US’s Global Satellite Positioning System) to the effect that, should the rival global satellite system come under the control of the 'terrorists' or a hostile state, they will not hesitate in shooting down the entire system.
In other words, considering the ease with which pretext-production is privatized and outsourced these days, the Americans will not spare anybody.
Unfortunately for the trapped people of Iran, with or without an invasion by the US armed forces, our liberation remains ultimately in our own hands, and remains equally an international effort, just as the liberation of Iraq remains an international project, since they must coincide with at least a partial liberation in the Homeland.
But since the news from the fronts in the Homeland is grim, we can only keep sighing deeply and daily for lack of breathing space and relief.
But, our time too will come.
When in the position of the US Secretary of State, which in effect is the CEO in-charge-of-the-rest-of-the World, we lose Powell and get Condi we know that the project (for another American century) must be deemed well on course, and ready for certain acceleration. So, Good-fucking Bye to the ‘voice of moderation’ within the Bush’s murderous administration; Powell’s moderating charms covered up tracks so preemptively well and did his hard sell brand of lying and cheating and performing any required intellectual slut dance for Uncle Sam so astutely and so marvelously, we can only jeer as he exits!
We can safely assume that Hitler too must have had numerous advisors and functionaries in his ranks, who may have been a few shades less power crazy. All is relative, of course, but it is easy to miss a most significant element in all fascistic formations. It takes an army of little tyrants to make a baboon look like a ‘Great Dictator’. It is due to this dynamic that all dictators are fantastic comical caricatures.
Here is a comical moment I may have to bring to the attention of my liberal colleague next time we meet at the copy machine. ‘Hey, did you see Condi Vice, finishing her acceptance speech, and getting a pat on her back and told, “Good job!” by Bush, and blushing?” But, you see, I fear that my American liberal colleague may heartily laugh at that, exactly because Condi, being a colonized subject at the same time as making millions of dollars , is more easily prone to being subjected to racist and misogynistic attitudes.
If we have learned anything from Frantz Fanon, it is that the colonized subject behaves exactly like the colonial master, be that colonized subject’s skin black or white. And so, it is only expected for Condi to reciprocate the racism onto others, the ones that are the current 'niggers', the Afghans, the Arabs, and if signs are true, upcoming soon the Iranians. Which would merely extend the number of doors open to Hell.
Whatever the case, however, we can rely on our liberal friends to stay consistent and not get the point, whatever the point may be. That, and ceaselessly sound like Thomas Friedman, and pass his articles around.