“I hope you can read my heart in this, as my intention from the beginning and through all the land and house hunting that we have done here for you folks was to help you as much as possible and that we three love you both and are doing our best to keep you from getting scammed and taken for a ride, plus we are trying to negotiate the best possible deal that we can as though it was our money that was being spent. We haven’t asked the contractor for a dime, if you buy his house, we have been doing what we have done with a servants heart, we are here to serve and that is what I do, no strings attached! You have faithfully covered my expenses and I feel that if I stay out of the money end from either side I can be a negotiator that is not biased and free to barter what is right for both sides. You folks are friends and we don’t charge friends and family for helping them. My gas and other expenses are covered by your offerings and so all is well for us in whatever decision you make, you will not offend me at all.” The minister.
I am not easily fooled. But I was taken in by an expert; a Christian minister whose allegiance was to a pagan and whose sales pitch was well honed and convincing.
Several years ago my wife and I tried to purchase property in Argentina. We flew to Santiago, Chile then over the majestic Andes Mountains to Mendoza, Argentina. The rental car we reserved was not available so we bused south to San Rafael where we looked at several properties. One we liked and would have purchased except the pricing for Gringos was in dollars instead of the common but less valuable Peso. In dollars it was a bad investment and since we could find no way to purchase Argentine real estate in the common currency we had a very enjoyable trip but did not find property.
A year or so later we met a man from Costa Rica at our church. He and his family had been living in Central America for several years and he said he could help us acquire property in Costa Rica valued in their common currency. A couple of years went by before we were able to explore his offer.
In June, we flew to Costa Rica and stayed in a hotel in the San Jose suburb of Escazu. Street signs are scarce in Costa Rica and in a generous gesture the minister drove 30 miles to the airport, met us at the car rental office, and led us to our hotel. It was a vacation for us but we reserved time to drive to the town where the minister lived to look at real estate.
When we arrived it was lunch time and we offered to buy lunch. They took us to an upscale restaurant where he and his son ordered several expensive items which they consumed with relish. I picked up the tab.
Our objective had not changed from our trip to Argentina; we wanted a complex that would provide a place for us to use and some income property that would support the investment. We had a budget.
The minister lived up at the top of a steep, rocky mountain road. Though he drove an old car and the rental property was not fancy it was well appointed with television, internet, and some new, expensive appliances. He took me aside and told us that some of the Christians he had tried to help had not offered to cover his expenses. We donated to his ministry generously more than once.
Down the hill from his house he took us to meet with a contractor who had a home for sale. It was new and well built with concrete block and stucco. We liked the house but the backyard was a mess and the asking price was above our budget.
The minister and his son both emphasized that we needed to understand that things in Costa Rica are done differently than in United States. “I already assume that you have this mindset, but, I just want it said so that there can be no misunderstandings later! You are not in the US when you come here to buy anything and as such you need to be open to the customs of this country.”
We then drove to the nicely appointed home of a local Real Estate Agent. He joined us in the minister’s car and directed us to several properties; only one was attractive and it turned out to be too expensive.
As we were about to leave the real estate agent said that he could build three apartments on a lot and keep the cost within our budget. I said I would be interested. We returned to Florida.
Shortly after our return we received a CD that contained detailed pictures of all the properties we had visited.
I was still interested in the three apartments and the minister provided lengthy emails detailing the extensive work he and his son were doing to find property for us. His work was efficient with pictures of properties to be considered and detailed information on the status of each property.
We sent him our criterion: “As we evaluate lots we need to keep in mind that the lot must be near public transportation so renters can get to work; it must be on a paved road and not be precipitous or in a tacky or industrial neighborhood.”
He found a lot and sent pictures. I sent him this email: “Here is where we stand. If this lot is as good as it seems and we can construct the three apartments on it and stay under budget I will come down. However, I do not want to spend the money coming down only to find that the cost is going way over budget. I must depend on your judgment.”
Shortly after, I received this email: “Are you interested in this lot? You haven’t advised me….if not, I’m wasting a lot of time and fuel in checking it out. If so the owner has asked me multiple times if you are interested and I don’t know what to tell him…my son thinks that he wants to know so he can start letting others know about it and if he goes that route he will be selling for more now that he is clearing the land and preparing to put in the road between the properties. I think we need to give him some kind of answer soon just to be fair with him, he has done everything we asked so far as the clearing of the lot was our suggestion to him as a way to help you see what the actual lot looks like.”
This lot soon fell by the wayside and I was urged to fly down immediately because the contractor who owned the house down the hill was now willing to build two apartments behind the house for a price within our budget. We were told that he needed the money for another transaction and was only willing to make this deal if he could get the money immediately. I could not leave immediately and as it turned out the urgency was not necessary as he was willing to wait until the end of the month.
We were interested in this proposition because we had seen and liked the house and even though we had not scrutinized the entire property we believed the minister would properly evaluate it for us. I emailed back, “I want to purchase this property but please understand that I will not leave loose strings that may or may not tie together following the purchase.”
Almost immediately a contract to purchase the property arrived by email and a phone call came to wire $2,000 to bind the contract and hold the property until I could fly down and sign the final draft. These are the words of the next email. “If you can read Spanish it is a straight forward option to buy at a fixed price with a description of what is promised by the seller. It also says the the deposit paid today was $500 with a promise to pay the remaining $1500 by no later than Monday. It is for the normal time period of 30 days as that is pretty much what was agreed upon. With you coming down the end of this month this is more than sufficient time to secure the property until you get here.” I cannot read Spanish but we had the contract translated and it seemed legitimate. (Stupid me – I wired the money.)
At the end of the month, I few to Costa Rica. The minister had been called to a conference in the States and was not there. His wife and son picked me up at the airport and took me to a local hotel. It was lunch time and, though I had not offered, they drove me to the same fancy restaurant for lunch. I picked up the tab.
The next day we met at the property with the contractor. There were several loose ends and some serious questions. The house was an excellent buy but it had been built on land that had been created by piling tons of dirt behind a retaining wall. The retaining wall had been built with concrete block but the exterior concrete and stone facing had only been finished about half way to the top, reinforcing bars were protruding through the concrete. There were drainage problems and the stone wall that surrounded the property was in need of repair. The back yard had a large hole in the ground and several structures that had not been completed; they did not match the house. We determined the builder was putting in a hot tub, a wet bar, a half bath, and a storage room. Finishing the items would add at least ten percent to our budget and would still leave several expensive problems. Costa Rica is an earthquake zone and I was concerned about the integrity of the retaining wall and the safety of the house itself.
We had been urged to accept the ways of Costa Ricans but since we were providing the money we expected the properties to conform to our expectations. I declined to go forward with the purchase. The minister had about $3000 of our money and I had out of pocket expenses of a thousand or so more. At his urging I had put money into a property I had not fully evaluated. It was a foolish thing to do.
Much of this fraud involved my failure to see through some expert manipulations. The real estate market is dead in Costa Rica just as it is in the States and I suspect all the urgency was contrived. I was depending on being protected by a man who told me that his loyalty was divided between me and the individuals he was attempting to “lead to Christ”. My trust was misplaced. The $2000 I wired to bind the contract was sent to and signed for by the minister. I should have picked up on the excesses at the restaurant or on the manipulative urgency to secure the deal. In retrospect it is easy to see the mistakes that contributed to being defrauded but when one is intent on an accomplishment there is a strong tendency to overlook important warning signs. I was foolish and I was fooled.
In spite of the pressure sales tactic and an apparent intent to defraud, this minister may not think he has done anything wrong. Antinomian Charismatics can easily fall into the sin of pragmatism because they do not understand that in God’s Kingdom the end does not justify the means. God expects obedience to His legal standards; He expects the means to justify the end. He is not pragmatic. Fraudulent works produce rotten fruit. He is wrong to believe he can serve both buyer and seller; attempting to do so creates an untenable conflict. Defrauding gringos to enrich domestics in the Name of Christ cannot produce good fruit.
The procedures used have been practiced over a period of several years and others may have fallen prey. If you are involved with a Christian minister in Costa Rica be very careful. Do not send money until you have personally seen and evaluated everything! Those that seem to be Christian sheep sometimes turn out to be pagan wolves.
The friendship expressed at the beginning of this article did not survive the deception; we have not heard from the minister since my return to the States.
Lester Brown, author of Plan B 4.0 Saving Civilization said, “The world has set in motion environmental trends that are threatening civilization itself. We are crossing environmental thresholds and violating deadlines set by nature. Nature is the timekeeper, but we cannot see the clock.”
In October of 2011, the 7th billion human being will land on this planet. From that threshold, humans will continue multiplying by 1.0 billion every 13 years to reach more than 10 billion within 39 years at the mid century. The ramifications stagger the mind of any thinking American. This series will give you an idea of what our civilization faces.
Following the recent loss of life in Haiti, Chile and China due to earthquakes or the loss of life from Hurricane Katrina or the tsunami that killed 100,000 in Sri Lanka in 2005—it reminds me of a 39 year old column by the late Dr. Garrett Hardin: “Nobody ever dies of overpopulation.” It is reprinted with permission from Science, 12 February 1971, Volume 171, Number 3971, C 1971 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (www.thesocialcontract.com ) Professor Hardin taught in the biology department of the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Not mentioned, but increasing in numbers as the human race accelerates its own populations across the globe-an astounding 18 million human beings starve to death or die of starvation related diseases every year. (Source: World Health Organization) The breakdown: eight million adults and 10 million children perish at the hands of starvation annually. Fully 2.0 billion humans subsist on less than $2.00 per day. That same number cannot obtain a clean glass of drinking water.
For example: India sports 1.16 billion people. Out of that number, 10 million do not possess a toilet to use, so they squat onto the land every day. They contaminate ground water, lakes and rivers with their human waste. The Ganges runs in raw sewage 24/7 and its dead zone expands to over 10,000 square miles-contaminating and killing ocean life. Result: 1,000
Indian children die of diarrhea, dysentery and other water borne diseases-DAILY. (Souce: www.populationmedia.org) Yet, Indians do not practice birth control as they add another 12 million people annually on their way to surpassing current-day China and hit 1.6 billion in 40 years.
For whatever reason, Americans as well as citizens of many countries never make the connection of overpopulation and their vulnerability-to disease, famine and Mother Nature’s rage. Nature thrives on destruction, i.e., hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, forest fires, famines, hail,
tornadoes and epidemics.
INCREASING HUMAN NUMBERS ON EARTH CREATES GREATER SCENARIOS FOR MASS HUMAN DEATHS
For some reason, call it hubris or “false pride”; or massive ignorance or ethnocentrism-Americans cannot and do not think they would ever find themselves on the receiving end of water shortages, food scarcities or energy deficiencies. Thus, they happily grow their numbers, by adding 3.1 million people annually, ironically, mostly through other humans fleeing overpopulation pressures worldwide.
Dr. Garret Hardin, author, Stalking the Wild Taboo, brings home our dilemma:
“Those of us who are deeply concerned about population and the environment -”eco-nuts,” we’re called, – are accused of seeing herbicides in trees, pollution in running brooks, radiation in rocks, and overpopulation everywhere. There is merit in the accusation.
“I was in Calcutta when the cyclone struck East Bengal in November 1970. Early dispatches spoke of 15,000 dead, but the estimates rapidly escalated to 2,000,000 and then dropped back to 500,000. A nice round number: it will do as well as any, for we will never know. The nameless ones who died, “unimportant” people far beyond the fringes of the social power structure,
left no trace of their existence. Pakistani parents repaired the population loss in just 40 days, and the world turned its attention to other matters.
“What killed those unfortunate people? “The cyclone,” newspapers said. But one can just as logically say that overpopulation killed them. The Gangetic Delta is barely above sea level. Every year several thousand people are killed in quite ordinary storms. If Pakistan were not overcrowded, no sane man would bring his family to such a place. Ecologically speaking, a delta belongs to the river and the sea; man obtrudes there at his peril.
“In the web of life every event has many antecedents. Only by an arbitrary decision can we designate a single antecedent as “cause.” Our choice is biased – biased to protect our egos against the onslaught of unwelcome truths. As T.S. Eliot put it in Burnt Norton:
“Go, go, go,” said the bird, “Human kind cannot bear very much reality.”
“Were we to identify overpopulation as the cause of a half-million deaths, we would threaten ourselves with a question to which we do not know the answer: How can we control population without recourse to repugnant measures?” said Hardin. “Fearfully we close our minds to an inventory of possibilities. Instead, we say that a cyclone caused the deaths, thus relieving ourselves of responsibility for this and future catastrophes. “Fate” is so comforting.
“Every year we list tuberculosis, leprosy, enteric diseases, or animal parasites as the “cause of death” of millions of people. It is well known that malnutrition is an important antecedent of death in all these categories; and that malnutrition is connected with overpopulation. But overpopulation is not called the cause of death. We cannot bear the thought.
“People are dying now of respiratory diseases in Tokyo, Birmingham, and Gary, because of the “need” for more industry. The “need” for more food justifies over fertilization of the land, leading to eutrophication of the waters, and lessened fish production – which leads to more “need” for food.
“What will we say when the power shuts down some fine summer on our eastern seaboard and several thousand people die of heat prostration? Will we blame the weather? Or the power companies for not building enough generators? Or the eco-nuts for insisting on pollution controls?
“One thing is certain: we won’t blame the deaths on overpopulation. No one ever dies of overpopulation. It is unthinkable.”
As Hardin said, we abhor dealing with reality. In fact, in Joel Kotkin’s recent book, he celebrates adding 100 million people to the United States as if it amounts to a “Red Badge of Courage” in a diminishing world. He speaks on NPR with glowing reviews from Jennifer Ludden. He enjoys interviews in papers as he crosses the country to pitch his book. He leads
Americans down a primrose path of more denial, stupidity and ignorance of their predicament.
Yet, they fully embrace his message. Should he strut his book in Bangladesh, that grows by six children a minute, with a population of 157 million people in a landmass the size of Iowa, they would toss tomatoes into his face. Change that! They would eat the tomatoes and throw sticks!
Reality has already manifested in very ugly ways for the people of Bangladesh. They live in pure daily human misery with no way out! They live in what Kotkin celebrates: overpopulation.
On July 9 I took part in a demonstration in front of the White House, the theme of which was “Stop Bombing Libya”. The last time I had taken part in a protest against US bombing of a foreign country, which the White House was selling as “humanitarian intervention”, as they are now, was in 1999 during the 78-day bombing of Serbia. At that time I went to a couple of such demonstrations and both times I was virtually the only American there. The rest, maybe two dozen, were almost all Serbs. “Humanitarian intervention” is a great selling device for imperialism, particularly in the American market. Americans are desperate to renew their precious faith that the United States means well, that we are still “the good guys”.
This time there were about 100 taking part in the protest. I don’t know if any were Libyans, but there was a new element — almost half of the protesters were black, marching with signs saying: “Stop Bombing Africa”.
There was another new element — people supporting the bombing of Libya, facing us from their side of Pennsylvania Avenue about 40 feet away. They were made up largely of Libyans, probably living in the area, who had only praise and love for the United States and NATO. Their theme was that Gaddafi was so bad that they would support anything to get rid of him, even daily bombing of their homeland, which now exceeds Serbia’s 78 days. I of course crossed the road and got into arguments with some of them. I kept asking: “I hate that man there [pointing to the White House] just as much as you hate Gaddafi. Do you think I should therefore support the bombing of Washington? Destroying the beautiful monuments and buildings of this city, as well as killing people?”
None of the Libyans even tried to answer my question. They only repeated their anti-Gaddafi vitriol. “You don’t understand. We have to get rid of Gaddafi. He’s very brutal.” (See the CNN video of the July 1 mammoth rally in Tripoli for an indication that these Libyans’ views are far from universal at home.)
“But you at least get free education and medical care,” I pointed out. “That’s a lot more than we get here. And Libya has the highest standard of living in the entire region, at least it did before the NATO and US bombing. If Gaddafi is brutal, what do you call all the other leaders of the region, whom Washington has long supported?”
One retorted that there had been free education under the king, whom Gaddafi had overthrown. I was skeptical of this but I didn’t know for sure that it was incorrect, so I replied: “So what? Gaddafi at least didn’t get rid of the free education like the leaders in England did in recent years.”
A police officer suddenly appeared and forced me to return to my side of the road. I’m sure if pressed for an explanation, the officer would justify this as a means of preventing violence from breaking out. But there was never any danger of that at all; another example of the American police-state mentality — order and control come before civil liberties, before anything.
Most Americans overhearing my argument with the Libyans would probably have interjected something like: “Well, no matter how much you hate the president you can still get rid of him with an election. The Libyans can’t do that.”
And I would have come back with: “Right. I have the freedom to replace George W. Bush with Barack H. Obama. Oh joy. As long as our elections are overwhelmingly determined by money, nothing of any significance will change.”
Postscript: Amidst all the sadness and horror surrounding the massacre in Norway, we should not lose sight of the fact that “peaceful little Norway” participated in the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999; has deployed troops in Iraq; has troops in Afghanistan; and has supplied warplanes for NATO’s bombing of Libya. The teenagers of those countries who lost their lives to the US/NATO killing machine wanted to live to adulthood and old age as much as the teenagers in Norway. With all the condemnation of “extremism” we now hear in Norway and around the world we must ask if this behavior of the Norwegian government, as well as that of the United States and NATO, is not “extremist”.
The Berlin Wall — Another Cold War Myth
The Western media will soon be revving up their propaganda motors to solemnize the 50th anniversary of the erecting of the Berlin Wall, August 13, 1961. All the Cold War clichés about The Free World vs. Communist Tyranny will be trotted out and the simple tale of how the wall came to be will be repeated: In 1961, the East Berlin communists built a wall to keep their oppressed citizens from escaping to West Berlin and freedom. Why? Because commies don’t like people to be free, to learn the “truth”. What other reason could there have been?
First of all, before the wall went up thousands of East Germans had been commuting to the West for jobs each day and then returning to the East in the evening; many others went back and forth for shopping or other reasons. So they were clearly not being held in the East against their will. Why then was the wall built? There were two major reasons:
1) The West was bedeviling the East with a vigorous campaign of recruiting East German professionals and skilled workers, who had been educated at the expense of the Communist government. This eventually led to a serious labor and production crisis in the East. As one indication of this, the New York Times reported in 1963: “West Berlin suffered economically from the wall by the loss of about 60,000 skilled workmen who had commuted daily from their homes in East Berlin to their places of work in West Berlin.” 1
In 1999, USA Today reported: “When the Berlin Wall crumbled , East Germans imagined a life of freedom where consumer goods were abundant and hardships would fade. Ten years later, a remarkable 51% say they were happier with communism.” 2 Earlier polls would likely have shown even more than 51% expressing such a sentiment, for in the ten years many of those who remembered life in East Germany with some fondness had passed away; although even 10 years later, in 2009, the Washington Post could report: “Westerners say they are fed up with the tendency of their eastern counterparts to wax nostalgic about communist times.” 3
It was in the post-unification period that a new Russian and eastern Europe proverb was born: “Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.” It should also be noted that the division of Germany into two states in 1949 — setting the stage for 40 years of Cold War hostility — was an American decision, not a Soviet one. 4
2) During the 1950s, American coldwarriors in West Germany instituted a crude campaign of sabotage and subversion against East Germany designed to throw that country’s economic and administrative machinery out of gear. The CIA and other US intelligence and military services recruited, equipped, trained and financed German activist groups and individuals, of West and East, to carry out actions which ran the spectrum from juvenile delinquency to terrorism; anything to make life difficult for the East German people and weaken their support of the government; anything to make the commies look bad.
It was a remarkable undertaking. The United States and its agents used explosives, arson, short circuiting, and other methods to damage power stations, shipyards, canals, docks, public buildings, gas stations, public transportation, bridges, etc; they derailed freight trains, seriously injuring workers; burned 12 cars of a freight train and destroyed air pressure hoses of others; used acids to damage vital factory machinery; put sand in the turbine of a factory, bringing it to a standstill; set fire to a tile-producing factory; promoted work slow-downs in factories; killed 7,000 cows of a co-operative dairy through poisoning; added soap to powdered milk destined for East German schools; were in possession, when arrested, of a large quantity of the poison cantharidin with which it was planned to produce poisoned cigarettes to kill leading East Germans; set off stink bombs to disrupt political meetings; attempted to disrupt the World Youth Festival in East Berlin by sending out forged invitations, false promises of free bed and board, false notices of cancellations, etc.; carried out attacks on participants with explosives, firebombs, and tire-puncturing equipment; forged and distributed large quantities of food ration cards to cause confusion, shortages and resentment; sent out forged tax notices and other government directives and documents to foster disorganization and inefficiency within industry and unions … all this and much more. 5
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, of Washington, DC, conservative coldwarriors, in one of their Cold War International History Project Working Papers (#58, p.9) states: “The open border in Berlin exposed the GDR [East Germany] to massive espionage and subversion and, as the two documents in the appendices show, its closure gave the Communist state greater security.”
Throughout the 1950s, the East Germans and the Soviet Union repeatedly lodged complaints with the Soviets’ erstwhile allies in the West and with the United Nations about specific sabotage and espionage activities and called for the closure of the offices in West Germany they claimed were responsible, and for which they provided names and addresses. Their complaints fell on deaf ears. Inevitably, the East Germans began to tighten up entry into the country from the West, leading eventually to the infamous Wall. However, even after the wall was built there was regular, albeit limited, legal emigration from east to west. In 1984, for example, East Germany allowed 40,000 people to leave. In 1985, East German newspapers claimed that more than 20,000 former citizens who had settled in the West wanted to return home after becoming disillusioned with the capitalist system. The West German government said that 14,300 East Germans had gone back over the previous 10 years. 6
Let’s also not forget that Eastern Europe became communist because Hitler, with the approval of the West, used it as a highway to reach the Soviet Union to wipe out Bolshevism forever, and that the Russians in World War I and II, lost about 40 million people because the West had used this highway to invade Russia. It should not be surprising that after World War II the Soviet Union was determined to close down the highway.
We came, we saw, we destroyed, we forgot
An updated summary of the charming record of US foreign policy. Since the end of the Second World War, the United States of America has …
- Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of which were democratically-elected. 7
- Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries. 8
- Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries. 9
- Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries. 10
- Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders. 11
In total: Since 1945, the United States has carried out one or more of the above actions, on one or more occasions, in the following 69 countries (more than one-third of the countries of the world):
The occult world of economics
When you read about economic issues in the news, like the crisis in Greece or the Wall Street/banking mortgage shambles are you sometimes left befuddled by the seeming complexity, which no one appears able to untangle or explain to your satisfaction in simple English? Well, I certainly can’t explain it all myself, but I do know that the problem is not necessarily that you and I are economic illiterates. The problem is often that the “experts” discuss these issues as if we’re dealing with hard and fast rules or laws, not to be violated, scientifically based, mathematically sound and rational; when, in fact, a great deal of what takes place in the real world of economics and in the arena of “expert” analysis of that world, is based significantly on partisan party politics, ideology, news headlines, speculation, manipulation, psychology (see the utter meaninglessness and absurdity of the daily rise or fall of stock prices), backroom deals of the powerful, and the excessive power given to and reliance upon thoroughly corrupt credit-rating agencies and insurers of various kinds. The agencies like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s are protection rackets — pay our exorbitant fees or we give you a bad rating, which investors and governments then bow down to as if it’s the result of completely objective and impressive analytical study.
Then there’s the exceptions made for powerful countries to get away with things that lesser countries, like Greece, are not allowed to get away with, but all still explained in terms of the unforgiving laws of economics.
And when all other explanations fail to sound plausible, the experts fall back on “the law of supply and demand”. But that law was repealed years ago; just try and explain the cost of gasoline based on it, as but one example.
So there’s a lot to cover up, many reasons why the financial-world players can’t be as open as they should be, as forthright as the public and investors may assume they are.
Consider the US budget deficit, about which we hear a great deal of scare talk. What we don’t hear is that the most prosperous period in American history occurred in the decades following the Second World War — from 1946 to 1973. And guess what? We had a budget deficit in the large majority of those years. Clearly such a deficit was not an impediment to growth and increasing prosperity in the United States — a prosperity much more widely shared than it is now. Yet we’re often fed the idea of the sanctity of a balanced budget. This and other “crises” are typically overblown for political reasons; the current “crisis” about the debt ceiling for example. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan, now an independent columnist, points out that “regardless of whether the debt ceiling is raised the US government is not going to go out of business. … If Goldman Sachs is too big to fail, certainly, the US government is.”
In economic issues that occupy the media greatly, such as the debt ceiling, one of the hidden keys to understanding what’s going on is often the conservatives’ perennial hunger to privatize Social Security and Medicare. If you understand that, certain things become much clearer. Naomi Klein points out that “the pseudo debate about the debt ceiling … is naked class war, waged by the ultra rich against everyone else, and it’s well past time for Americans to draw the line.”
Consider, too, the relative value of international currencies. Logically, reasonably, if the British pound is exchangeable for two dollars, one should be able to purchase in Washington goods and services for two dollars which would cost one pound in London. In real life, this of course is the very infrequent exception to the rule. Instead, at places called “exchanges” in New York and Chicago and London and Zurich and Frankfurt a bunch of guys who don’t do anything socially useful get together each day in a large room, and amidst lots of raised voices, busy computers, and numerous pieces of paper, they arrive at a value for the pound, as well as for a barrel of oil, for a pound of porkbellies, and for various other commodities that affect our daily lives. Why should these speculators and parasites have so much influence over the real world, the real economy, and our real lives?
As a general rule of thumb, comrades, as an all-purpose solution to our economic ills, remember this: We’ll keep going around in crisis circles forever until the large financial institutions are nationalized or otherwise placed under democratic control. We hear a lot about “austerity”. Well, austerity has to, finally, visit the super-rich. There are millions (sic) of millionaires and billionaires in the United States and Europe. As governments go bust, the trillions of dollars of these people must be heavily taxed or confiscated to end the unending suffering of the other 95% of humanity. My god, do I sound like a (choke, gasp) socialist?
- New York Times, June 27, 1963, p.12 ↩
- USA Today, October 11, 1999, p.1 ↩
- Washington Post, May 12, 2009; see a similar story November 5, 2009 ↩
- Carolyn Eisenberg, Drawing the Line: The American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-1949 (1996); or see a concise review of this book by Kai Bird inThe Nation, December 16, 1996↩
- See William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, p.400, note 8, for a list of sources for the details of the sabotage and subversion. ↩
- The Guardian (London), March 7, 1985 ↩
- http://killinghope.org/essays6/othrow.htm ↩
- http://killinghope.org/bblum6/suppress.html ↩
- See chapter 18 of Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower – add Palestine, 2006 to the list ↩
- http://killinghope.org/superogue/bomb.htm ↩
- http://killinghope.org/bblum6/assass.htm ↩
Iraq: Let us not forget what “humanitarian intervention” looks like.
Libya: Let us not be confused as to why Libya alone has been singled out for “humanitarian intervention”.
On April 9, Condoleezza Rice delivered a talk in San Francisco. Or tried to. The former Secretary of State was interrupted repeatedly by cries from the audience of “war criminal” and “torturer”. (For which we can thank our comrades in Code Pink and World Can’t Wait.) As one of the protesters was being taken away by security guards, Rice made the kind of statement that has now become standard for high American officials under such circumstances: “Aren’t you glad this lady lives in a democracy where she can express her opinion?” She also threw in another line that’s become de rigueur since the US overthrew Saddam Hussein, an argument that’s used when all other arguments fail: “The children of Iraq are actually not living under Saddam Hussein, thank God.” 1
My response to such a line is this: If you went into surgery to correct a knee problem and the surgeon mistakenly amputated your entire leg, what would you think if someone then remarked to you how nice it was that “you actually no longer have a knee problem, thank God.” … The people of Iraq no longer have a Saddam problem.
Unfortunately, they’ve lost just about everything else as well. Twenty years of American bombing, invasion, occupation and torture have led to the people of that unhappy land losing their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … more than half the population either dead, disabled, in prison, or in foreign exile … the air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children … a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again.
In 2006, the UN special investigator on torture declared that reports from Iraq indicated that torture “is totally out of hand. The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein.” Another UN report of the same time disclosed a rise in “honor killings” of women. 2
“It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post on May 5, 2007.
“I am not a political person, but I know that under Saddam Hussein, we had electricity, clean drinking water, a healthcare system that was the envy of the Arab world and free education through college,” Iraqi pharmacist Dr. Entisar Al-Arabi told American peace activist Medea Benjamin in 2010. “I have five children and every time I had a baby, I was entitled to a year of paid maternity leave. I owned a pharmacy and I could close up shop as late as I chose because the streets were safe. Today there is no security and Iraqis have terrible shortages of everything — electricity, food, water, medicines, even gasoline. Most of the educated people have fled the country, and those who remain look back longingly to the days of Saddam Hussein.” 3
And this from two months ago:
“Protesters, human rights workers and security officials say the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has responded to Iraq’s demonstrations in much the same way as many of its more authoritarian neighbors: with force. Witnesses in Baghdad and as far north as Kirkuk described watching last week as security forces in black uniforms, tracksuits and T-shirts roared up in trucks and Humvees, attacked protesters, rounded up others from cafes and homes and hauled them off, blindfolded, to army detention centers. Entire neighborhoods … were blockaded to prevent residents from joining the demonstrations. Journalists were beaten.” 4
So … can we expect the United States and its fellow thugs in NATO to intervene militarily in Iraq as they’re doing in Libya? To protect the protesters in Iraq as they tell us they’re doing in Libya? To effect regime change in Iraq as they’re conspiring, but not admitting, in Libya?
Similarly Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria … all have been bursting with protest and vicious government crackdown in recent months, even to a degree in Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive societies in the world. Not one of these governments has been assaulted by the United States, the UK, or France as Libya has been assaulted; not one of these countries’ opposition is receiving military, financial, legal and moral support from the Western powers as the Libyan rebels are — despite the Libyan rebels’ brutal behavior, racist murders, and the clear jihadist ties of some of them. 5 The Libyan rebels are reminiscent of the Kosovo rebels — mafiosos famous for their trafficking in body parts and women, also unquestioningly supported by the Western powers against an Officially Designated Enemy, Serbia.
So why is only Libya the target for US/NATO missiles? Is there some principled or moral reason? Are the Libyans the worst abusers of their people in the region? In actuality, Libya offers its citizens a higher standard of living. (The 2010 UN Human Development Index, a composite measure of health, education and income ranked Libya first in Africa.) None of the other countries has a more secular government than Libya. (In contrast some of the Libyan rebels are in the habit of chanting that phrase we all know only too well: “Allah Akbar”.) None of the others has a human-rights record better than that of Libya, however imperfect that may be — in Egypt a government fact-finding mission has announced that during the recent uprising at least 846 protesters were killed as police forces shot them in the head and chest with live ammunition. 6 Similar horror stories have been reported in Syria, Yemen and other countries of the region during this period.
It should be noted that the ultra-conservative Fox News reported on February 28: “As the United Nations works feverishly to condemn Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi for cracking down on protesters, the body’s Human Rights Council is poised to adopt a report chock-full of praise for Libya’s human rights record. The review commends Libya for improving educational opportunities, for making human rights a “priority” and for bettering its “constitutional” framework. Several countries, including Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia but also Canada, give Libya positive marks for the legal protections afforded to its citizens — who are now revolting against the regime and facing bloody reprisal.”
Of all the accusations made against Gaddafi perhaps the most meaningless is the oft-repeated “He’s killing his own people.” It’s true, but that’s what happens in civil wars. Abraham Lincoln also killed his own people.
Muammar Gaddafi has been an Officially Designated Enemy of the US longer than any living world leader except Fidel Castro. The animosity began in 1970, one year after Gaddafi took power in a coup, when he closed down a US air force base. He then embarked on a career of supporting what he regarded as revolutionary groups. During the 1970s and ’80s, Gaddafi was accused of using his large oil revenues to support — with funds, arms, training, havens, diplomacy, etc — a wide array of radical/insurgent/terrorist organizations, particularly certain Palestinian factions and Muslim dissident and minority movements in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia; the IRA and Basque and Corsican separatists in Europe; several groups engaged in struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa; various opposition groups and politicians in Latin America; the Japanese Red Army, the Italian Red Brigades, and Germany’s Baader-Meinhof gang.
It was claimed as well that Libya was behind, or at least somehow linked to, an attempt to blow up the US Embassy in Cairo, various plane hijackings, a bomb explosion on an American airliner over Greece, the blowing up of a French airliner over Africa, blowing up a synagogue in Istanbul, and blowing up a disco in Berlin which killed some American soldiers. 7
In 1990, when the United States needed a country to (falsely) blame for the bombing of PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, Libya was the easy choice.
Gaddafi’s principal crime in the eyes of US President Ronald Reagan (1981-89) was not that he supported terrorist groups, but that he supported thewrong terrorist groups; i.e., Gaddafi was not supporting the same terrorists that Washington was, such as the Nicaraguan Contras, UNITA in Angola, Cuban exiles in Miami, the governments of El Salvador and Guatemala, and the US military in Grenada. The one band of terrorists the two men supported in common was the Moujahedeen in Afghanistan.
And if all this wasn’t enough to make Gaddafi Public Enemy Number One in Washington (Reagan referred to him as the “mad dog of the Middle East”), Gaddafi has been a frequent critic of US foreign policy, a serious anti-Zionist, pan-Africanist, and pan-Arabist (until the hypocrisy and conservatism of Arab governments proved a barrier). He also calls his government socialist. How much tolerance and patience can The Empire be expected to have? When widespread protests broke out in Tunisia and Egypt, could Washington have resisted instigating the same in the country sandwiched between those two? The CIA has been very busy supplying the rebels with arms, bombing support, money, and personnel.
It may well happen that the Western allies will succeed in forcing Gaddafi out of power. Then the world will look on innocently as the new Libyan government gives Washington what it has long sought: a host-country site for Africom, the US Africa Command, one of six regional commands the Pentagon has divided the world into. Many African countries approached to be the host have declined, at times in relatively strong terms. Africom at present is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. According to a State Department official: “We’ve got a big image problem down there. … Public opinion is really against getting into bed with the US. They just don’t trust the US.” 8 Another thing scarcely any African country would tolerate is an American military base. There’s only one such base in Africa, in Djibouti. Watch for one in Libya sometime after the dust has settled. It’ll be situated close to the American oil wells. Or perhaps the people of Libya will be given a choice — an American base or a NATO base.
And remember — in the context of recent history concerning Iraq, North Korea, and Iran — if Libya had nuclear weapons the United States would not be attacking it.
Or the United States could realize that Gaddafi is no radical threat simply because of his love for Condoleezza Rice. Here is the Libyan leader in a March 27, 2007 interview on al-Jazeera TV: “Leezza, Leezza, Leezza … I love her very much. I admire her, and I’m proud of her, because she’s a black woman of African origin.”
Over the years, the American government and media have fed us all a constant diet of scandalous Gaddafi stories: He took various drugs, was an extreme womanizer, was bisexual, dressed in women’s clothing, wore makeup, carried a teddy bear, had epileptic fits, and much more; some part of it may have been true. And now we have the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, telling us that Gaddafi’s forces are increasingly engaging in sexual violence and that they have been issued the impotency drug Viagra, presumably to enhance their ability to rape. 9 Remarkable. Who would have believed that the Libyan Army had so many men in their 60s and 70s?
As I write this, US/NATO missiles have slammed into a Libyan home killing a son and three young grandchildren of Gaddafi, this after repeated rejections of Gaddafi’s call for negotiations — another heartwarming milestone in the glorious history of humanitarian intervention, as well as a reminder of the US bombing of Libya in 1986 which killed a young daughter of Gaddafi.
Two more examples, if needed, of why capitalism can not be reformed
Transocean, the owner of the drilling rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago, killing 11 workers and sending two hundred (200) million gallons of oil cascading over the shoreline of six American states, has announced that (through using some kind of arcane statistical method) it had “recorded the best year in safety performance in our Company’s history.” Accordingly, the company awarded obscene bonuses on top of obscene salaries to its top executives. 10
In Japan, even as it struggles to contain one of history’s worst nuclear disasters, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has proposed building two new nuclear reactors at its radiation-spewing power plant. The plan had taken shape before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and TEPCO officials see no reason to change it. The Japanese government agency in charge of approving such a project has reacted in shocked horror. “It was just unbelievable,” said the director of the agency. 11
Which leads us to A.W. Clausen, president of Bank of America, speaking to the Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, in 1970:
“It may sound heretical to some in this room to say that business enterprise is not an absolute necessity to human culture … Ancient Egypt functioned more than 3000 years without anything resembling what we today understand by the term ‘corporate enterprise’ or even ‘money’. Within our span of years, we have witnessed the rise of the Soviet Socialist empire. It survives without anything you or I would call a private corporation and little that approaches our own monetary mechanism. It survives and is far stronger than anyone might have expected from watching its turbulent beginnings in 1917 … It is easy to mislead ourselves into thinking that there is something preordained about our profit-motivated, free-market, private-enterprise system — that is, as they used to say of gold, universal and immutable.”
Items of interest from a journal I’ve kept for 40 years, part III
- Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez memoir, Wiser in Battle: A Soldier’s Story, pages 349-350: April 6, 2004. Sanchez was in Iraq in video teleconference with President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. One major American offensive was in operation, another about to be launched. According to Sanchez, Powell was talking tough that day: “We’ve got to smash somebody’s ass quickly, “Powell said. “There has to be a total victory somewhere. We must have a brute demonstration of power.” Then Bush spoke: “At the end of this campaign al-Sadr must be gone. At a minimum, he will be arrested. It is essential he be wiped out. Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can’t send that message. It’s an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal. … There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!”
- Noam Chomsky: “If there is really authentic popular participation in the decision-making and the free association of communities, yeah, that could be tremendously important. In fact that’s essentially the traditional anarchist ideal. That’s what was realized the only time for about a year in Spain in 1936 before it was crushed by outside forces, in fact all outside forces, Stalinist Russia, Hitler in Germany, Mussolini’s fascism and the Western democracies cooperated in crushing it. They were all afraid of it.”
- To Hitler, America was both the enemy and a role model, inspiring in its imperial seizure of great territories by force, its use of slave labor, its eradication of native populations.
- NATO’s secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, made clear in a speech to the Brookings Institution in Washington in 2008 that western interests in Afghanistan went well beyond good governance to the strategic interest in having a permanent military presence in a state that borders central Asia, China, Iran and Pakistan.
- CIA Special Collections of documents; “Instances Of the Use of US Armed Forces Abroad, 1798 – 2010“
- Michael Collon: “Let’s replace the word ‘democratic’ by ‘with us’, and the word ‘terrorist’ by ‘against us’.”
- Ron Paul: “Those who caution that leaving Iraq would be a disaster are the same ones who promised the conflict would be a ‘cake-walk’.”
- Spc. Alex Horton, 22, writing in a blog while a marine in Iraq in 2007: “In the future, I want my children to grow up with the belief that what I did here was wrong, in a society that doesn’t deem that idea unpatriotic.”
- Henry Kissinger in a 1970 memo to Nixon: “The example of a successful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on –– and even precedent value for –– other parts of the world, especially in Italy; the imitative spread of similar phenomena elsewhere would in turn significantly affect the world balance and our own position in it.”
- Paul Craig Roberts: “International polls show that the rest of the world regard the US and Israel as the greatest dangers to world peace. Americans claim that they are fighting wars against terrorism, but it is US and Israeli terrorism that worries everyone else.”
- Chris Hedges: “If you are a young Muslim American and head off to the Middle East for a spell in a fundamentalist ‘madrassa,’ or religious school, Homeland Security will probably greet you at the airport when you return. But if you are an American Jew and you join hundreds of teenagers from Europe and Mexico for an eight-week training course run by the Israel Defense Forces, you can post your picture wearing an Israeli army uniform and holding an automatic weapon on MySpace.”
- “The US has never had a ‘foreign policy’ but a fanatical domestic policy which, once it had bled through to the Pacific, sought new hosts on which to feed.” Patrick Wilkinson
- C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (1956): “The only seriously accepted plan for ‘peace’ is a fully loaded pistol. In short, war or a high state of war preparedness is felt to be the normal and seemingly permanent condition of the United States.”
- The United States goes around the world sprinkling democracy dust.
- Iran, the latest threat to life as we know it.
- “Iran hit back at US allegations that it has failed to crack down on fugitive al-Qaeda members, calling on Washington to apologize to the world for its own past support of the network. ‘The Americans should present a full apology to the international community for the support they gave to al-Qaeda,’ said the foreign ministry, referring to a period in the 1980s when millions of dollars of covert US aid was channeled — through the Pakistani secret service — to Islamist groups battling the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.” (Agence France Presse, June 2, 2003)
- Tom Hayden: They believe that the exposure of the generals to a civilian academic atmosphere may humanize the process of war-making, not worrying that the actual danger may be the militarizing of the university.
- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, in his 2007 book, “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World”: “I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.”
After an avalanche of commentary, Greenspan backpedaled and obfuscated in his comments. He insisted he was talking about “oil security” and “the global economy”. But this was just proving his own point that mentioning oil as a motivation for war is “politically inconvenient”. It’s no way to get young men to kill other young men who’ve never done them any harm.
- The American people have no more authentic control over their government than do people in countries that we call dictatorships, particularly on issues of foreign policy.
- Video of Rice talk ↩
- Associated Press, September 21, 2006 ↩
- Common Dreams, August 20, 2010 ↩
- Washington Post, March 4, 2011↩
- Washington Times, February 24, 2011; The Telegraph (London), March 25, 2011; Alexander Cockburn, “Libya, Oh What a Stupid War; Fukushima, Cover-Up Amid Catastrophe”; “Al Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” (PDF), Combating Terrorism Center, US Military Academy, West Point, NY, December 2007 ↩
- Associated Press, April 20, 2011 ↩
- Gaddafi’s history of supporting terrorism, real and alleged: William Blum, Killing Hope, chapter 48 ↩
- The Guardian (London), June 25, 2007 ↩
- Reuters news agency, April 29, 2011 ↩
- Washington Post, April 1, 2011 ↩
- Washington Post, April 6, 2011
Amidst all the stirring political upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East the name “Marshall Plan” keeps being repeated by political figures and media around the world as the key to rebuilding the economies of those societies to complement the political advances, which hopefully will be somewhat progressive. But caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware.
During my years of writing and speaking about the harm and injustice inflicted upon the world by unending United States interventions, I’ve often been met with resentment from those who accuse me of chronicling only the negative side of US foreign policy and ignoring the many positive sides. When I ask the person to give me some examples of what s/he thinks show the virtuous face of America’s dealings with the world in modern times, one of the things mentioned — almost without exception — is The Marshall Plan. This is usually described along the lines of: “After World War II, the United States unselfishly built up Europe economically, including our wartime enemies, and allowed them to compete with us.” Even those today who are very cynical about US foreign policy, who are quick to question the White House’s motives in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, have little problem in accepting this picture of an altruistic America of the period 1948-1952. But let’s have a look at the Marshall Plan outside the official and popular versions.
After World War II, the United States, triumphant abroad and undamaged at home, saw a door wide open for world supremacy. Only the thing called “communism” stood in the way, politically, militarily, and ideologically. The entire US foreign policy establishment was mobilized to confront this “enemy”, and the Marshall Plan was an integral part of this campaign. How could it be otherwise? Anti-communism had been the principal pillar of US foreign policy from the Russian Revolution up to World War II, pausing for the war until the closing months of the Pacific campaign, when Washington put challenging communism ahead of fighting the Japanese. This return to anti-communism included the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan as a warning to the Soviets. 1
After the war, anti-communism continued as the leitmotif of American foreign policy as naturally as if World War II and the alliance with the Soviet Union had not happened. Along with the CIA, the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, the Council on Foreign Relations, certain corporations, and a few other private institutions, the Marshall Plan was one more arrow in the quiver of those striving to remake Europe to suit Washington’s desires:
- Spreading the capitalist gospel — to counter strong postwar tendencies towards socialism.
- Opening markets to provide new customers for US corporations — a major reason for helping to rebuild the European economies; e.g., a billion dollars of tobacco at today’s prices, spurred by US tobacco interests.
- Pushing for the creation of the Common Market and NATO as integral parts of the West European bulwark against the alleged Soviet threat.
- Suppressing the left all over Western Europe, most notably sabotaging the Communist Parties in France and Italy in their bids for legal, non-violent, electoral victory. Marshall Plan funds were secretly siphoned off to finance this endeavor, and the promise of aid to a country, or the threat of its cutoff, was used as a bullying club; indeed, France and Italy would certainly have been exempted from receiving aid if they had not gone along with the plots to exclude the communists from any kind of influential role.
The CIA also skimmed large amounts of Marshall Plan funds to covertly maintain cultural institutions, journalists, and publishers, at home and abroad, for the heated and omnipresent propaganda of the Cold War; the selling of the Marshall Plan to the American public and elsewhere was entwined with fighting “the red menace”. Moreover, in its covert operations, CIA personnel at times used the Marshall Plan as cover, and one of the Plan’s chief architects, Richard Bissell, then moved to the CIA, stopping off briefly at the Ford Foundation, a long time conduit for CIA covert funds. One big happy family.
The Marshall Plan imposed all kinds of restrictions on the recipient countries, all manner of economic and fiscal criteria which had to be met, designed for a wide open return to free enterprise. The US had the right to control not only how Marshall Plan dollars were spent, but also to approve the expenditure of an equivalent amount of the local currency, giving Washington substantial power over the internal plans and programs of the European states; welfare programs for the needy survivors of the war were looked upon with disfavor by the United States; even rationing smelled too much like socialism and had to go or be scaled down; nationalization of industry was even more vehemently opposed by Washington. The great bulk of Marshall Plan funds returned to the United States, or never left, to purchase American goods, making American corporations among the chief beneficiaries.
The program could be seen as more a joint business operation between governments than an American “handout”; often it was a business arrangement between American and European ruling classes, many of the latter fresh from their service to the Third Reich, some of the former as well; or it was an arrangement between Congressmen and their favorite corporations to export certain commodities, including a lot of military goods. Thus did the Marshall Plan help lay the foundation for the military industrial complex as a permanent feature of American life.
It is very difficult to find, or put together, a clear, credible description of how the Marshall Plan played a pivotal or indispensable role in the recovery in each of the 16 recipient nations. The opposing view, at least as clear, is that the Europeans — highly educated, skilled and experienced — could have recovered from the war on their own without an extensive master plan and aid program from abroad, and indeed had already made significant strides in this direction before the Plan’s funds began flowing. Marshall Plan funds were not directed primarily toward the urgently needed feeding of individuals or rebuilding their homes, schools, or factories, but at strengthening the economic superstructure, particularly the iron, steel and power industries. The period was in fact marked by deflationary policies, unemployment and recession. The one unambiguous outcome was the full restoration of the propertied class. 2
The rising up of the people … and the conservative mind
James Baker served as the Chief of Staff in President Ronald Reagan’s first administration and in the final year of the administration of President George H.W. Bush. He was also Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan and Secretary of State under Bush. Thus, by establishment standards and values, inside marble-columned institutions, Baker is a man to be taken seriously when it comes to affairs of state. Here he is on February 3, during an interview by our favorite TV station, our very own shining beacon of truth, Fox News:
“We want to see the people in the Middle East have a chance at democracy and free markets … I’m sorry, democracy and human rights.” 3
Baker has a record of speaking his mind, whether Freudian-slip-like or not. When he was Secretary of State, on an occasion when the Middle East was being discussed at a government meeting, and Jewish-American influence was mentioned, Baker was reported to have said “Fuck the Jews! They don’t vote for us anyway.” 4
They couldn’t resist, could they?
News flash: “Judge Mustafa Abdel Jallil, the Libyan justice minister who resigned last week in protest over the use of force against unarmed civilians, said he has proof that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi ordered the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988. He would not disclose details of the alleged evidence.” 5
Hmmm, let me guess now why he wouldn’t disclose details of the alleged evidence … hmmm … Ah, I know — because it doesn’t exist! How could Gadhafi’s many enemies in Libya resist kicking him like this when he’s down? Or perhaps the honorable judge is simply protecting himself from a future international criminal tribunal for his years of service to the Libyan state? If you read any more of such nonsense — and you will — reach for some of the antidote I’ve been providing for more than 20 years. 6
The empire’s deep dark secret
“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined,” declared US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on February 25.
Remarkable. Every one of the many wars the United States has engaged in since the end of World War II has been presented to the American people, explicitly or implicitly, as a war of necessity, not a war of choice; a war urgently needed to protect American citizens, American allies, vital American “interests”, freedom, or democracy. Here is President Obama speaking of Afghanistan: “But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity.” 7
This being the case, how can a future administration say it will not go to war if any of these noble causes is seriously threatened? The answer is that these noble causes are irrelevant. The United States goes to war where and when it wants, and if a noble cause is not self-evident, the government, with indispensable help from the American media, will manufacture it. Secretary Gates is now admitting that there is choice involved. Well, Bob, thanks for telling us. You were Bush’s Secretary of Defense as well, and before that 26 years in the CIA and the National Security Council. You sure know how to keep a secret.
Items of interest from a journal I’ve kept for 40 years, part II
- In its more than 50 years of revolution Cuba has never reciprocated the US aggression against it; no military or terrorist assaults have emanated from Havana in spite of the many hundreds of CIA aerial bombings, ground attacks, acts of sabotage, and assassination attempts. Oh, did I mention all the chemical and biological warfare? Oddly, the State Department’s list of “State sponsors of terrorism” includes Cuba, but not the United States. The little nation of Cuba has defied all rational odds against its socialist survival.
- The wit and wisdom of Mr. Barack Obama: “To ensure prosperity here at home and peace abroad, we all share the belief we have to maintain the strongest military on the planet.” (December 1, 2008, Agence France Presse) How true. All Americans share that belief, as they rejoice in the strongest military on the planet and a veritable overflowing of prosperity at home and peace abroad.
- Steven Bradbury, Department of Justice lawyer under George W. Bush, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was discussing the legal status of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay: “The president is always right.” (Washington Post, July 12, 2006)
- “There are 3 billion people in the world and we have only 200 million of them. We are outnumbered 15 to 1. If might did make right they would sweep over the United States and take what we have. We have what they want.” – President Lyndon Johnson, 1966
- As the George W. Bush administration was entering office in 2000, Donald Rumsfeld exuberantly expressed grandiose ambitions for Middle East domination, telling the National Security Council: “Imagine what the region would look like without Saddam and with a regime that’s aligned with US interests. It would change everything in the region and beyond.” A few weeks later, Bush speechwriter David Frum declared to the New York Times Magazine: “An American-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the replacement of the radical Baathist dictatorship with a new government more closely aligned with the United States, would put America more wholly in charge of the region than any power since the Ottomans, or maybe even the Romans.”
- Shortly after Salvador Allende became president of Chile in 1970, Nixon’s National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, recorded a conversation in which Secretary of State William Rogers agreed that “we ought, as you say, to cold-bloodedly decide what to do and then do it,” but warned it should be done “discreetly so that it doesn’t backfire.” Rogers predicted that “after all we have said about elections, if the first time a Communist wins the U.S. tries to prevent the constitutional process from coming into play we will look very bad.”
- “The revulsion against war … will be an almost insuperable obstacle for us to overcome. For that reason, I am convinced that we must begin now to set the machinery in motion for a permanent wartime economy.” Charles E. Wilson, 1944. During World War II he held leading positions overseeing the huge US military production effort; after the war he resumed his position as CEO of General Electric, one of the leading defense corporations.
- Remember Ben Tre? That was the Vietnamese village the Americans destroyed in 1968, saying “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.” Since then the Americans have been saving towns all over the globe, in Cambodia, Laos, Panama, Nicaragua, Sudan, Iraq, Yugoslavia and more. Then on Sept 11, 2001, someone, no doubt overcome with gratitude, decided to save some Americans. – Bev Currie, Canada
- United Nations Resolution 1244, adopted in 1999, reaffirmed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to which Serbia was the recognized successor state, and established that Kosovo was to remain part of Serbia. Today, Kosovo is independent, because the United States wants it that way, because Serbia is still being punished for its refusal in the 1990s to act like a proper European state displaying subservience to the United States, the European Union, NATO, and capitalism. Independent Kosovo is perhaps the most genuinely gangster-state in the world. It’s led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, whom a Council of Europe investigation recently accused of being the boss of a criminal operation to kidnap people and steal their kidneys.(sic) (Associated Press, December 14 and 15, 2010) He and Washington, naturally, are on the best of terms.
- “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?” He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” (Associated Press, June 16, 2001; Press Trust of India, December 21, 2007)
- Senator John McCain, re: fighting in Georgia, 2008: “I’m interested in good relations between the United States and Russia. But in the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.” (Washington Post, August 14, 2008) One really has to wonder at times about the sanity of neo-conservatives, or at least their IQ.
- Re: “collateral damage” produced by US bombing in many countries: Killing innocent bystanders when targeting someone else has long been considered murder in Western law.
- “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” – Voltaire
- “The central aim of the war in Afghanistan — planned well before the attacks of September 11, 2001 — was to take advantage of the power vacuum in Central Asia created by the Soviet Union’s dissolution to assert US domination over a region containing the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world.” – Bill Van Auken, World Socialist Web Site
- “To me, I confess, [countries] are pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a game for dominion of the world.” Lord Curzon, British viceroy of India, speaking about Afghanistan, 1898
- Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban National Assembly, stated in 2008: Cuba allows CNN, AP and Chicago Tribune to maintain offices in Cuba, but the US refuses to allow Cuban journalists to work in the United States.
- Washington’s “Plan Colombia”, launched in 2000, was the militarization of the war on drugs.
- Michael Moore, March 24, 2008: “I see that Frontline on PBS this week has a documentary called ‘Bush’s War’. That’s what I’ve been calling it for a long time. It’s not the ‘Iraq War’. Iraq did nothing. Iraq didn’t plan 9/11. It didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. It DID have movie theaters and bars and women wearing what they wanted and a significant Christian population and one of the few Arab capitals with an open synagogue. But that’s all gone now. Show a movie and you’ll be shot in the head. Over a hundred women have been randomly executed for not wearing a scarf.”
- Michael Collon: “Let’s replace the word ‘democratic’ by ‘with us’ and the word ‘terrorist’ by ‘against us’.”
- The American Century went the way of the Thousand Year Reich.
- Reagan invaded Grenada in October 1983 because he cut and ran from Beirut after the United States lost 241 Marines in the infamous truck bombing. The United States invaded Grenada two days later.
- Noam Chomsky: “The whole debate about the Iranian ‘interference’ in Iraq makes sense only on one assumption; namely, that ‘we own the world’. If we own the world, then the only question that can arise is that someone else is interfering in a country we have invaded and occupied. So if you look over the debate that took place and is still taking place about Iranian interference, no one points out this is insane. How can Iran be interfering in a country that we invaded and occupied? It’s only appropriate on the presupposition that we own the world. Once you have that established in your head, the discussion is perfectly sensible.”
- In late 1997, according to Dana Priest’s book, The Mission, the Bill Clinton White House wanted CENTCOM commander Gen. Anthony Zinni to order his pilots to provoke a military confrontation with Iraq in the no-fly zone by deliberately drawing fire from Iraqi planes.
- Reagan accepted a fateful trade-off when he agreed not to complain about Pakistan’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons capability in exchange for Pakistani cooperation in helping the Afghan rebels.
- “The presumption of ‘government incompetence’ is seldom a useful assumption in evaluating the behavior of governments. We only reach such a conclusion if we take their official rhetoric at face value. In terms of ‘achieving democracy’, the official rhetoric, Bush has been ‘incompetent’ in Iraq. But in terms of the real agenda — building permanent bases and controlling the oil — he has in fact been successful. I have found that this is always the pattern: some real agenda is always being achieved by the policies in force, despite the apparent bungling in terms of the official agenda.” – Richard K. Moore
- The 9/11 attacks reflected the anger and rage that US foreign policy had produced in the past and then provided the excuse for US officials to continue such policy in the future.
Upcoming talks by William Blum
Saturday, April 2, 7:00 pm
University of Pittsburgh at Titusville, PA
504 East Main Street
Titusville is about 2 hours by car from Pittsburgh and 2 1/2 hours from Cleveland.
For further information call 888-878-0462
Or email Mary Ann Caton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, May 19
Conference: “Ethics and US Foreign Policy in the 21st Century”
Université de Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense, Amphi B-2
All day, beginning at 9 am
Email me for full schedule
- See William Blum’s essay on the use of the atomic bomb ↩
- For discussion of various aspects of the Marshall Plan see, for example, Joyce & Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power: The World and US Foreign Policy 1945-1954 (1972), chapters 13, 16, 17; Sallie Pisani, The CIA and the Marshall Plan (1991) passim; Frances Stoner Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the world of arts and letters (2000) passim ↩
- Crisis in Egypt – James A. Baker III on Middle East Political Change ↩
- The Guardian (London), December 12, 2000; Haaretz (Israel), November 14, 2008 ↩
- McClatchy Newspapers, February 26, 2011 ↩
- The Bombing of PanAm Flight 103: Case Not Closed ↩
- Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, August 17, 2009
Washington’s formula for regime change underwent a makover in the 1980s. In a bid to ensure US political and economic interests were safeguarded, CIA backed coup d’états ousted democratically elected leaders from Iran to Chile.
Washington’s formula for regime change underwent a makover in the 1980s. In a bid to ensure US political and economic interests were safeguarded, CIA backed coup d’états ousted democratically elected leaders from Iran to Chile.
In their place were brutal dictatorships and governments that committed heinous crimes against their people.
By the 1980s, the reign of terror that blazed across Latin America was too much for most people to stomach. From death squads to torture chambers and various massacres, the Latin American generals who trained in the US to spread democracy around the world quickly gained reputations for major human rights abuses.
To replace the overt support for dictatorships, a new concept for regime change was born; one that sounds and looks better – democracy promotion.
The concept of democracy promotion is simple; finance, train, and politically back local opposition forces around the world that support the American agenda.
Dr. William Robinson is one of the foremost experts on Washington’s democracy promotion initiatives, he wrote the book ‘Promoting Polyarhcy.’
“In Latin America, in Eastern Europe with the Velvet Revolutions, in Africa, in the Middle East, really all over the world, the U.S. set up these different mechanisms now for penetrating these civil societies in the political systems of countries that are going to be intervened and to assure the outcome is going to be pleasing to Washington’s foreign policy objectives,” said Robinson.
Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “We do this through surrogates and nongovernmental organization and through people who are less suspecting of the evil that may lurk behind their actions than perhaps they were before. Have we learned some lessons in that regard? You bet! Do we do it better? You bet? Is it still just as heinous as it has always been? You bet!”
So while the goal remains the same, it’s no longer the CIA but the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partners spearheading the effort.
Allen Weintein, one of the founders of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) explained to the Washington Post in 1991, “A lot of what we do now was done covertly by the CIA 25 years ago.”
And like the CIA, USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy and a number of similar organizations receive funding from Congress.
“Millions and millions of U.S. tax payer dollars go every year into funding for political organizations and campaigns in different countries in the world that promote US agenda. Most U.S. citizens are unaware of the fact that that is how their money is being spent, to meddle, and to influence and to interfere in other nation’s affairs,” said Eva Golinger who has been investigating the US’s democracy promotion efforts in Venezuela.
The concept of facilitating regime change through democracy promotion has garnered wide criticism not just abroad but also at home in the United States.
Congressman Ron Paul once wrote “It is particularly Orwellian to call US manipulation of foreign elections ‘promoting democracy.’ How would we Americans feel if for example the Chinese arrived with millions of dollars to support certain candidates deemed friendly to China?”
“I think it’s terrible, we use taxpayer’s money to go over and use our military and the CIA these programs that say ‘this is what you outta do’ and influence them. There is no authority for that, it doesn’t work, it teaches a lot of people to despise us,” Congressman Paul told RT.
Read the rest of the story: here
All free speech systems are works in progress: Prof. Craig LaMay…
Craig LaMay is an associate professor of journalism at the Northwestern University. H is a former editorial director of the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center and editor of Media Studies Journal; and a former newspaper reporter. LaMay’s articles and commentaries have appeared on New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Communication and the Law and a number of other media outlets.
LaMay has published several books on journalism and mass media of which we can name Journalism and the Problem of Privacy (2003), Commercial Transformation of the Nonprofit Sector, with Burton Weisbrod (1998) and Abandoned in the Wasteland: Children, Television and the First Amendment with Newton Minow (1995).
Prof. LaMay joined me in an exclusive interview to discuss the constraints of journalism in the United States, freedom of speech in the EU, the performance of local magazines as opposed to the national news outlets and the gradual disappearance of traditional media with the emergence of new internet-based technologies.
What follows is the complete text of my interview with Prof. Craig LaMay of the Northwestern University.
Kourosh Ziabari: Dear Craig; there’s a belief with regards to the mass media in the Western countries in general, and the United States in particular, which is undisputedly accepted by the international community: the widely-accepted belief is that the Western media are unrestrictedly free to publish whatever they want, to publish the viewpoints of the opponents of the government, the political dissidents and anti-governmental activists, without being harassed. Is it true that the mass media in the West are absolutely free to publish whatever they want? Isn’t there any implicit pressure on the media to publish the news and analysis in a way which is favorable to the interests of the government?
Craig LaMay: That belief is overstated. In the United States, for example, it has always been the law that restraints on publication, gag orders, are facially unconstitutional, and where they occur they get an immediate judicial review. Nonetheless, it is also the law that some materials are subject to what we call prior restraints, or injunctions against publication. Those materials fall into three broad categories: obscenity (which is subject to community standards, and thus what is ‘obscene’ in Alabama might not be so in New York); incitements to violence, but only when violence is likely and imminent, not when speech is mere advocacy, even advocacy that the government be overthrown by force; and risks to national security. The last of these is the most contentious for journalists, since even benign governments are apt to see national security threats where there are none.
In Western Europe, there is no rule against prior restraints even if the principle against them is generally accepted. So information that is libelous or invasive of privacy can be enjoined before publication. Particularly notable is the high regard that EU law, and many national laws, have for personal privacy, not only for private citizens but also for celebrities and public officials.
As for implicit pressure, there’s another matter. In any media system — ours or yours — it is much more that state control that determines what is published. So do social norms (ie, ethics, or cultural judgments about propriety and personal dignity); markets (ie, the decision about the costs of gathering and publishing some stories that might be hugely expensive to report in terms of personnel and legal costs, of interest to only a few people, the possibility that if a piece offends readers it might lead to loss of subscription, revenue, etc.); and last of all system architecture (ie, how you actually build your system to support free speech, eg, the Internet as a platform that anyone can use as opposed to a television station, where prerogatives belong to the owners). As you can imagine, each of these is linked to the other — none works entirely independent of the other.
KZ: In the majority of European countries, there are laws which restrict the publication of materials, articles, news and op-eds about Holocaust. Much of the journalists and academicians who publish materials which dispute the veracity of Holocaust get incarcerated immediately and have their respective media outlets banned or penalized with punitive measures. Isn’t this a violation of freedom of press and information on behalf of those who introduce themselves as the pioneers of freedom of speech?
CL: Interesting question. From the American point of view, the answer would be yes. But law is never abstract; it is always born of experience. The natural state of Europe for the last thousand years has been war, under Charlemagne, then Napoleon, then Hitler. The core purpose of the EU is to prevent future conflict, and in that system, and given the European experience with hate speech, it is hardly surprising that nation states from France to Austria would ban speech directed at certain minority populations. I get that. BUT, this does not explain the virulent anti-immigrant and racist speech you find all over Europe at any football game, for example, but also in public discourse. Sarkozy’s expulsion of the Roma last fall was the largest mass expulsion in Europe since the Holocaust, and yet it seemed to trouble few Europeans. The rise of anti-immigrant parties all over Europe is also a concern. So the problem the Europeans have, it seems to me, is that they have chosen to ban some hate speech directed at some minorities, but not all. I would say, however, that ALL free speech systems, including the United States’, are works in progress. The ideal of Europe regarding speech is contained in Article 10 of the EDHR, but it is far from realized.
I have to say also, as someone who has worked in developing media systems and post-conflict societies for many years — from Guatemala and Indonesia to Serbia and Chile — that it both unrealistic and chauvinistic to assume that every media system should look like, say, ours. It shouldn’t. The British system is very different from ours, for instance, and in ways works better than ours. And vice versa.
KZ: What’s in your view, the main difference between the local newspapers and magazines, with the national/international media outlets? Aside from the extent and area of their coverage which varies from the local media to the national and international media, what are the major differences in the mechanisms of performance, distribution of facilities and approaches to the current affairs in these media?
CL: The main difference I think is economic and have to do with audiences. Local media are often hyper-local, since that’s what people want to know about — their own neighborhoods, not the goings on in Washington or Tehran. And people consume much more local than national media. Our national media run the gamut from very good (eg, the NYTimes) to very bad (FOX News), but the difference there is, to me, economic. Each of those two media serve a small but well-paying audience. That market is only so big, and at the local level it is often too small to sustain anything of quality.
KZ: What are the main features and qualities of being a journalist in the United States? How should one’s performance be so as to keep up with the stream of professional journalism and avoid falling behind in contest with the other journalists? You have the experience of writing for several newspapers which are considered to be belonging to the category of “mainstream media”. What standards does a journalist need in order to secure a berth in such mediums? Do mainstream media investigate the journalists ideologically in order to hire them for cooperation?
The qualities one needs depend, I think, on the work one does. Many “prominent” journalists in the US, for example, have never spent a day in journalism school. Many also have poor reporting skills and poor ethics, too, though many are also exemplary. If your primary business is entertainment (FOX News), then reporting skills matter much less than personality does. If your business is highly specialized information with high market value (financial news perhaps), then you need research skills and real knowledge about your field. Assuming one is serious about news, however, the skills one needs today now include a host of production skills we did not used to worry about. So, for example, if you’re in Cairo right now it’s not enough to send back written copy. You need to be able to shoot and edit your own video, gather and edit audio, write for the Web and the newspaper, and to a TV stand-up from the hotel lobby. You need, in other words, to have at least the skills of the so-called “citizen journalist” with his cell phone and twitter account.
I personally believe — and here I am at odds with the tradition of US journalism — some real knowledge of history, economics, natural and physical sciences. It is shameful that so many of our national media in Egypt right now are there to interview not Egyptians, but other Americans and Westerners. It’s because most reporters there know little or nothing of 20th-century Egyptian history or that of the region, except in the most sketchy ways. You see the same thing in coverage of, say, global warming, where reporters — in the name of being objective — think it’s okay to know nothing about the actual science of their subject. This is unprofessional and irresponsible, it seems to me, but it is very, very common.
What’s in your view the main responsibility of a professional journalist? What qualities and characteristics make a professional, responsible, committed and reliable journalist?
This is a question for the ages, so I’ll give you a short answer. The responsibility of the professional journalist is much the same as that of the professional scholar: to give evidence. It is never to think that because something is possible it is either plausible or probable. It requires one to investigate, to be self-consciously open to other points of view, to study one’s subject.
And on the ethics side — it is to remember above all that free speech has a cost (as, in economic theory all “free” things do; if something is free that means its cost has been shifted to someone else). In journalism, the cost of free speech can be born by someone else who is publicly humiliated or ruined, a community harmed, a country undone. To me, ethics means remembering that God does not think I’m special, and I could be completely wrong and should be humble in case I am.
KZ: When we look at the list of the world newspapers by circulation, we find that Japan has occupied the first five ranks. What does this fact signify? What qualities do the Japanese newspapers have that have made them so powerful and influential?
CL: Some cultures are well known as ‘reading’ cultures and others as ‘visual’ ones. Americans get most of their news from TV, for instance. The Japanese are a reading people. It is also true that Japanese media post-WWII were developed as mostly national media, designed to serve the entire nation.
KZ: If you were to analyze and investigate the problems of newspapers and media outlets in the developing world, what main points would you have identified? Why don’t the people in these countries have an inclination and appetite for reading the newspapers and magazines?
CL: In the developing world the problems are many. One is the lack of civil society organizations, particularly in post-conflict or post-authoritarian states, where civil society was largely stamped out. A second is that these countries often have media laws left over from the old authoritarian or colonial regime, and those laws tend to be oppressive. A third is that these countries often have large and dominant state media sectors — in TV and print — and they essentially take over the market for advertising and other revenues, making it all but impossible for private media to sustain themselves. A fourth is that many developing countries are poor, and poor people aren’t going to spend money on newspapers that they need for bread. A fifth is that many developing countries have high illiteracy rates, and so TV and radio are much more important than print. This is the case over much of Latin America and Africa, for example.
There is a well-known economic principle called “rational ignorance.” It says that rational people in functioning markets do NOT, as much as we might think they should, consume public-affairs news and information. They would rather be entertained. And that’s because they know, or think they do, that their participation in electoral politics will make little difference to the outcome of an election. And so it is more efficient (rational) for them to spend their time and money doing other things than becoming well informed citizens. Obviously if large numbers of people reach this conclusion, democracy can become hollow and dysfunctional. As it often is.
KZ: Which is more powerful; the written media such as newspapers and magazines or the audiovisual media such as TV channels and radio stations? What’s your estimation of the rivalry between the newspapers and magazines with the audiovisual media outlets? Who will be the winner? Which factors make one more privileged than the other?
I have no particular insights on the future. I am biased, too, and favor the written word, which is infinitely better at explanation, detail, complexity and nuance than TV or radio. So I naturally think serious people are print people. At the same time, radio is the world’s most ubiquitous and popular medium, and I get most of my daily news that way. It goes places where print cannot or does not (eg, rural and far-flung parts of a country). TV is the last survivor of the digital revolution — American still spend 5 hours a day watching one, more time than they spend with any other medium, including the Internet. As for “privilege” in media, that is often a matter of system architecture and law. The West European countries, for example, hold on vigorously to their large public broadcasting systems (eg, the BBC), which are supposed to serve specific public interests, and provide specific public goods, that private media will not. I think that’s a good thing. So I don’t imagine that there will be one winner.
KZ: Will the emergence of new media outlets, including blogs, social networking websites and electronic magazines endanger the life of the traditional media? Will the people put the newspapers and magazines aside at some point?
CL: Clearly they already have, mostly by further dividing audiences and, more important, undermining or destroying the financial foundations of old media. US newspapers, for example, used to get most of their revenues from classified advertisements , but lost all of that advertising long ago to the Web, to which they have also lost readers and other forms of advertising. It is also the case that for many serious subjects — military affairs, the environment, international law and politics, health care, trade and commerce — I can and do get my best information from blogs, not TV or newspapers. I imagine you do, too. That said, my favorite regular media are traditional — a magazine and public radio.
I hope, for your sake and mine, that there will always be a place for honest inquiry and serious discussion, and above all for understanding. For that, you need journalists who are humanists, not mere technicians, not mere businessmen. When I work overseas I am always impressed by how little I know, how much I need to understand. I think, I hope, that makes me a better journalist, a better person.
A cautionary tale
In July of 1975 I went to Portugal because in April of the previous year a bloodless military coup had brought down the US-supported 48-year fascist regime of Portugal, the world’s only remaining colonial power. This was followed by a program centered on nationalization of major industries, workers control, a minimum wage, land reform, and other progressive measures. Military officers in a Western nation who spoke like socialists was science fiction to my American mind, but it had become a reality in Portugal. The center of Lisbon was crowded from morning till evening with people discussing the changes and putting up flyers on bulletin boards. The visual symbol of the Portuguese “revolution” had become the picture of a child sticking a rose into the muzzle of a rifle held by a friendly soldier, and I got caught up in demonstrations and parades featuring people, including myself, standing on tanks and throwing roses, with the crowds cheering the soldiers. It was pretty heady stuff, and I dearly wanted to believe, but I and most people I spoke to there had little doubt that the United States could not let such a breath of fresh air last very long. The overthrow of the Chilean government less than two years earlier had raised the world’s collective political consciousness, as well as the level of skepticism and paranoia on the left.
Washington and multinational corporate officials who were on the board of directors of the planet were indeed concerned. Besides anything else, Portugal was a member of NATO. Destabilization became the order of the day: covert actions; attacks in the US press; subverting trade unions; subsidizing opposition media; economic sabotage through international credit and commerce; heavy financing of selected candidates in elections; a US cut-off of Portugal from certain military and nuclear information commonly available to NATO members; NATO naval and air exercises off the Portuguese coast, with 19 NATO warships moored in Lisbon’s harbor, regarded by most Portuguese as an attempt to intimidate the provisional government. In 1976 the “Socialist” Party (scarcely further left and no less anti-communist than the US Democratic Party) came to power, heavily financed by the CIA, the Agency also arranging for Western European social-democratic parties to help foot the bill. The Portuguese revolution was dead, stillborn. 1
The events in Egypt cannot help but remind me of Portugal. Here, there, and everywhere, now and before, the United States of America, as always, is petrified of anything genuinely progressive or socialist, or even too democratic, for that carries the danger of allowing god-knows what kind of non-America-believer taking office. Honduras 2009, Haiti 2004, Venezuela 2002, Ecuador 2000, Bulgaria 1990, Nicaragua 1990 … dozens more … anything, anyone, if there’s a choice, even a dictator, a torturer, is better.
We are so good even our enemies believe our lies
I’ve devoted a lot of time and effort to the question of how to reach the American mind concerning US foreign policy. To a large extent what this comes down to is trying to counterbalance the lifetime of indoctrination someone raised in the United States receives. It comes in news stories every day.
On January 27, the Washington Post ran a story about the State Department personnel who were held hostage at the American embassy in Tehran, Iran for some 14 months, 1979-81. The former hostages were preparing to hold a 30th anniversary remembrance the next day.
“It was wrong on every conceivable count,” said L. Bruce Laingen, who was the charge d’affaires. “It was absolutely wrong. … That is my most vivid memory today.” Former political officer John W. Limbert agrees, saying that he “would take any opportunity” to tell his captors “what a terrible thing they had done by their own criteria.”
What criteria, I wonder, did the man think his Iranian captors were guided by? In 1953, the United States had overthrown the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh, resulting, as planned, in the return to power from exile of the Shah. This led to 26 years of rule by oppression including routine torture as the Shah was safeguarded continuously by US military support. Is this not reason enough for Iranians to be bitterly angry at the United States? What was Mr. Limbert thinking? What do Americans who read or hear such comments think? They read or hear distorted news reports pertaining to America’s present or historical role in the world every day, and like in the Washington Post article cited here — there’s no correction by the reporter, no questions asked, no challenge put forth to the idea of America the Noble, America the perpetual victim of the Bad Guys.
Atheist: “Blasphemy is a victimless crime.”
Salman Taseer was murdered in Pakistan a few weeks ago. He was the governor of Punjab province and a member of the secular Pakistan People’s Party. The man who killed him, Mumtaz Qadri, was lauded by some as a hero, showering rose petals on him. Photos taken at the scene show him smiling.
Taseer had dared to speak out against Pakistan’s stringent anti-blasphemy law, calling for leniency for a Christian mother sentenced to death under the blasphemy ban. A national group of 500 religious scholars praised the assassin and issued a warning to those who mourned Taseer. “One who supports a blasphemer is also a blasphemer,” the group said in a statement, which warned journalists, politicians and intellectuals to “learn” from the killing. “What Qadri did has made every Muslim proud.”2
Nice, really nice, very civilized. It’s no wonder that decent, god-fearing Americans believe that this kind of thinking and behavior justify Washington’s multiple wars; that this is what the United States is fighting against — Islamic fanatics, homicidal maniacs, who kill their own countrymen over some esoteric piece of religious dogma, who want to kill Americans over some other imagined holy sin, because we’re “infidels” or “blasphemers”. How can we reason with such people? Where is the common humanity the naive pacifists and anti-war activists would like us to honor?
But war can be seen as America’s religion — most recently Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and many more in the past — all non-believers in Washington’s Church of Our Lady of Eternal Invasion, Sacred Bombing, and Immaculate Torture, all condemned to death for blasphemy, as each day the United States unleashes blessed robotic death machines called Predators flying over their lands to send “Hellfire” (sic) missiles screaming into wedding parties, funerals, homes, not knowing who the victims are, not caring who the victims are, thousands of them by now, as long as Washington can claim each time –- whether correctly or not — that amongst their number was a prominent blasphemer, call him Taliban, or al Qaeda, or insurgent, or militant. How can we reason with such people, the ones in the CIA who operate these drone bombers? What is the difference between them and Mumtaz Qadri? Qadri was smiling in satisfaction after carrying out his holy mission. The CIA man sits comfortably in a room in Nevada and plays his holy video game, then goes out to a satisfying dinner while his victims lay dying. Mumtaz Qadri believes passionately in something called Paradise. The CIA man believes passionately in something called American Exceptionalism.
As do the great majority of Americans. Our drone operator is not necessarily an “extremist”. Sam Smith, the publisher of the marvelously readable newsletter, the Progressive Review, recently wrote: “One of the greatest myths draped over this land is that the so-called wing nuts mainly come from the far right and left. And that there is, however, a wise and moderate establishment that will save us from their madness. In fact, the real wing nuts are to be found in the middle. … having captured both public office and major media, [they] spread disaster, death and decay with impunity. Take, for example, the 60,000 some American troops killed in pointless wars beginning with Vietnam. Now count the number of political assassinations, hate murders, terrorist acts and so forth. There is simply no comparison. Yet every war that we have fought in modern times has been the direct choice of the American establishment, those who pompously describe themselves as moderates, centrists, or bipartisan.” 3
Extending the comparison: In 2008 a young American named Sharif Mobley moved to Yemen to study Arabic and religion. American officials maintain that his purpose was actually to join a terror group. They “see Mobley as one of a growing cadre of native-born Americans who are drawn to violent jihad.” 4 Can one not say as well that the many young native-born Americans who voluntarily join the military to fight in one of America’s many foreign wars “are drawn to violent jihad”?
Items of interest from a journal I’ve kept for 40 years
(Some written by me, most by others; for those lacking a source you can send me an email.)
- “The biggest crimes of our generation — torture, warrantless wiretapping, and extraordinary rendition — would not have come to light but for the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. For the hand-wringing “but we can’t willy-nilly reveal classified information” crowd, do you think Abu Ghraib wasn’t classified?” – Jesselyn Radack
- “The principal beneficiary of America’s foreign assistance programs has always been the United States.” – US Agency for International Development, “Direct Economic Benefits of U.S. Assistance Programs” (1999); i.e., most of the money is paid directly to US corporations.
- In 1963, the Kennedy administration was faced with a steadily disintegrating situation in Vietnam. At a turbulent cabinet meeting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked: If the situation is so dire, why not withdraw? Historian Arthur Schlesinger, present at the meeting, noted how “the question hovered for a moment, then died away.” It was “a hopelessly alien thought in a field of unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions.”
- I watched 21 Marines in full dress uniform with rifles, fire a 21-gun salute to the President. It was then that I realized how far America’s military had deteriorated. Every one of them missed the bastard.
- Soviet expansion was self-defense, not imperialism like with the United States. The Soviets, in World War I and II, lost about 40 million people because the West had used Eastern Europe as a highway to invade Russia. It should not be surprising that after WW2 the Russians were determined to close down that highway.
- In March 2010 Secretary of “Defense” Robert Gates complained that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace.
- The major problem in establishing both the United States and Israel as nations was what to do with the indigenous people. Same solution. Kill ‘em. Without legality. Without mercy.
- From the film “The Battle of Algiers”:Journalist: M. Ben M’Hidi, don’t you think it’s a bit cowardly to use women’s baskets and handbags to carry explosive devices that kill so many innocent people?
Ben M’Hidi: And doesn’t it seem to you even more cowardly to drop napalm bombs on defenseless villages, so that there are a thousand times more innocent victims? Of course, if we had your airplanes it would be a lot easier for us. Give us your bombers, and you can have our baskets.
- … the seamless transition from the Cold War to a perpetual Global War on Terrorism
- One of the reasons some countries allow US bases is because the leaders are worried about being overthrown in a coup and they think that the presence of the US military might discourage such action, or that if a coup breaks out the US can help to put it down. There’s also the large payments made to the government by the US and the prestige factor. Small countries can have inferiority complexes and, as absurd as it may seem to the likes of you and I, having an American base in the country can seem to be a feather in their cap; one of the same reasons they join NATO. Another reason for a base: the US can have intelligence information embarrassing to the country’s leader. This is known as blackmail.
- George Washington referred to the new American republic as the “infant empire”
- Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
- “He [Obama] is trying to say: ‘Do not hate us … but we will continue to kill you’.” – Ayman al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s second-in-command
- “Since both the US and France lost in Vietnam, then the ‘fight for our freedom’ must have been unsuccessful, and we must be under the occupation of the North Vietnamese Army. Next time you’re out on the street and you see a passing NVA patrol, please wave and tell them Tim says hello.” – Tim Moriarty
- The American Museum of History, on the Mall in Washington, DC: One of the popular exhibitions in recent years was “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War”. This included a tribute to the “exceptional Americans [who] saved a million lives” in Vietnam, where they were “determined to stop communist expansion”. In Iraq, other true hearts “employed air strikes of unprecedented precision”.
- “The United States became the target of terrorists on 9/11 not because of the country’s freedom and democracy, but because U.S. Middle East policy has had nothing to do with freedom and democracy.” – Stephen Zunes
- The Wikileaks documents raise issues of national embarrassment, not national security.
- Orange, Rose and Green Revolutions in other countries require coordinated US government intervention aimed at creating what has been called “genetically modified” grassroots movements.
- Mikhail Gorbachev: “I feel betrayed by the West. The opportunity we seized on behalf of peace has been lost. The whole idea of a new world order has been completely abandoned.” (Interview in 2000.)
- George Bernard Shaw used three concepts to describe the positions of individuals in Nazi Germany: intelligence, decency, and Naziism. He argued that if a person was intelligent, and a Nazi, he was not decent. If he was decent and a Nazi, he was not intelligent. And if he was decent and intelligent, he was not a Nazi. — (I suggest that the reader make any substitution for the word “Nazi” s/he deems appropriate.)
- “The whole art of Conservative politics in the 20th century is being deployed to enable wealth to persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power.” – Aneurin Bevan, Labour Party (UK) minister, 1897-1960
- “Which adversary has a navy justifying our expenditure of $90 billion for 30 Virginia-class submarines, and which enemy air force justifies our plans for about 340 F-22 fighter planes at a cost of $63 billion? This is pork and waste writ large, making the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ look like child’s play.” – Letter in the Washington Post, 2009
- So many foreign leaders keep silent in the face of US crimes, even when they’re the victim, that we’ve gotten used to that. So Hugo Chávez’s outbursts can seem weird and dangerous.
- William Blum, “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”, pages 187, 228 for sources
- Washington Post, January 5, 2011
- Progressive Review, January 27, 2011
- Washington Post, September 5, 2010
From: The Economic Collapse…
Have you noticed that most Americans seem to know far more about American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Justin Bieber and their favorite sports teams than they do about world affairs? Most Americans cannot even find Tunisia and Algeria on a map, and if you told them that food riots are happening in those nations right now most of them would not even care anyway. We have become a very self-centered, self-involved and self-absorbed nation. Quite a few people have accused this column of being obsessed with “doom and gloom”, but the truth is that the world really is falling apart out there. What are we supposed to do? Are we all supposed to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is going to be okay? Should we all not try to warn others so that they can prepare for what is coming? Until people understand that we are facing absolutely massive problems they are not going to be motivated to take significant action, and hopefully those of us that are proclaiming “doom and gloom” are doing a good enough job of describing what is really going on out there that some people are starting to wake up and actually make changes.
Most Americans may not care, but the food riots that are starting to erupt around the globe are actually very serious.
Do you remember what happened back in the summer of 2008?
That summer, the price of oil spiked to an all-time high of $147 a barrel and that caused a substantial increase in the price of food all over the globe. Suddenly millions of poor people couldn’t afford to feed themselves anymore and food riots erupted all over the world.
Well, here we are in 2011 and the price of oil hasn’t even reached $100 a barrel, and yet the food riots are already beginning.
Violent food riots are being reported in Tunisia, in Algeria, in Chile and in Mozambique.
In Tunisia, the riots have been so intense that the President of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has been forced to step down and flee for his life.
Yes, that is how serious things are getting already.
Unfortunately, it looks like the global food situation is only going to get even worse.
Australia is a major food producer and right now they are experiencing flooding of Biblical proportions. In fact, it has been reported that at one point the flooding covered an area greater than France and Germany combined.
In Brazil, another major food producer, horrific flooding has killed more than 500 people so far. This flooding is being called the “worst-ever natural disaster” in the history of Brazil.
Meanwhile, record cold temperatures and record snowfalls are playing havoc with winter crops all over the Northern Hemisphere.
But even before all of these weather disasters struck the price of food had been going up significantly. The UN recently announced that the global price of food hit an all-time high during the month of December, and world leaders all over the globe are openly expressing concern about what 2011 is going to bring.
Sadly, the truth is that there has been a trend of rising food prices for quite some time. According to Forbes, corn is up 94% since June, soybeans are up 51% since June, and wheat is up 80% since last June.
As one of my readers recently pointed out to me, it usually takes about six months for the prices of agricultural futures to filter down into the supermarkets. So the very high prices for agricultural commodities that we are seeing right now should really start to be felt around the globe by the middle of 2011.
In addition to everything else, reports continue to come in of thousands of birds and millions of fish suddenly dying all over the globe, and nobody seems to really know what is causing it.
Do you want some more doom and gloom?
*There are reports of “panic buying” of silver and other precious metals right now.
*Investors are bailing out of municipal bonds at an absolutely staggering rate.
*S&P and Moody’s have both warned once again that the United States is in danger of having its credit rating slashed if it does not get government debt under control.
*U.S. housing prices have now fallen further during this economic downturn than they did during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Meanwhile, America’s economic infrastructure continues to be taken apart piece by piece.
The United States is losing more jobs to China. In fact, the United States is losing more high technology “green jobs” to China.
Evergreen Solar, a company that manufactures solar panels, is closing their factory in Devon, Massachusetts and they are moving their production facilities to China. This is going to result in the loss of 800 good American jobs.
The following is what the company had to say in a statement about the move….
“Solar manufacturers in China have received considerable government and financial support and, together with their low manufacturing costs, have become price leaders within the industry.”
Is it any wonder that a recent survey found that 47 percent of Americans now believe that China is the world’s leading economic power while only 31 percent still believe that the United States is the world’s leading economic power?
As America continues to lose good jobs, millions of Americans find themselves simply unable to pay the bills. In fact, at this point one out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government-run anti-poverty program.
As things have fallen apart in the United States, many private citizens have tried to step forward and do what they can to help people, but now in many areas of the country the government is actually stepping in and shutting down these private avenues of assistance.
For example, in the city of Houston, Texas a couple named Bobby and Amanda Herring has been feeding homeless people for over a year. They never left behind any trash and no trouble was ever caused.
But now the city of Houston is shutting them down.
Because they don’t have a permit.
So will they be able to get a permit? Well, it turns out that city officials are saying that this “Feed a Friend” effort most likely will be denied one.
Apparently the city “officials” believe that the homeless “are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness” and that therefore the warm meals that the Herrings were providing for them were potentially dangerous.
Can you believe this?
This is what happens when political correctness and bureaucracy get wildly out of control.
Now it is illegal to go out and feed homeless people?
What is American turning into?
As the economy continues to fall part, the iron grip of the government is likely only going to get tighter as it desperately tries to keep order.
But do we really need to be giving tickets to 6-year-olds?
Yes, you read that correctly.
According to one recent report, police in Texas have given “1,000 tickets to elementary school children in 10 school districts” over the past six years.
For more examples of how America is turning into a police state, please see my recent article entitled “Almost Everything Is A Crime In America Now: 14 Of The Most Ridiculous Things That Americans Are Being Arrested For“.
America is rapidly becoming a very dark place.
The truth is that there is a reason why so many websites are now reporting so much “doom and gloom”. Things really are getting bad out there.
Sadly, most Americans have only known tremendous prosperity all of their lives, so they can’t even conceive of what it would be like to go through difficult times.
Most Americans have been conditioned to believe that while we may have brief “recessions” once in a while, in the end our economy will always get better and the good times will continue to roll.
But the good news is that an increasing number of Americans are waking up and are trying to warn their family and friends about what is coming.
Given the severity and uncertainty of the economic crisis we are all experiencing, I suggest we look once more at the work of Milton Friedman, the leading economist and a staunch advocate of hard capitalism.
During the 1960s -80s Friedman was regarded by many academics, politicians and world leaders as the most important post- World War Two economist. Friedman was chief economic advisor to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Menachem Begin. He also went on record advising the Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet.
It is far from surprising to note that more and more commentators have realised in recent years that it was Friedman’s ideology and advocacy of free enterprise, zero governmental intervention and privatisation that has led to the current financial turmoil. It was Milton Friedman’s philosophy that also contributed to the transformation of the West into a service economy.
But Friedman wasn’t just an economist: he was also a devout Zionist and a very proud Jew. Friedman was interested in the role of the Jews in world finance and politics. He also attempted to analyse and understand the attitude of Jews towards wealth. In 1972 Friedman spoke to The Mont Pelerin Society about “Capitalism and the Jews”. In 1978 he repeated the same talk, addressing Jewish students at the Chicago University’s Hillel institute.
I’d suggest that Friedman deserves our immediate attention, since he contributed to the rise of an ideology and school of thought that bears some responsibility for the rearrangement (some might say dismantling ) of the West’s economy.
The Jewish Paradox
Friedman was, no doubt, a sharp intellect, and could offer sharp and succinct criticism. Yet, Friedman was not entirely ‘a cosmopolitan’ in every sense of that word, since he was deeply involved in Jewish concerns and Zionist affairs, and he was deliberately open and transparent about being so.
In the talks he gave in 1972 and 1978, Friedman examined a unique Jewish paradox : “Here are two propositions,” he said. “Each of them are validated by evidence yet they are both incompatible one with the other.”
The first proposition is that “there are few peoples if any in the world who owe so great a debt to free enterprise and competitive capitalism as the Jews.“
The second proposition is that “there are few peoples or any in the world who have done so much to undermine the intellectual foundation of capitalism as the Jews.”
How do we reconcile these two contradictory propositions?
As one may gather by now, Friedman, the free enterprise advocate, was clearly convinced that monopoly and government intervention were bad news in general; but, more crucially for him, they were also very bad for the Jews.
“Wherever there is a monopoly, whether it be private or governmental, there is room for the application of arbitrary criteria in the selection of the beneficiaries of the monopoly—whether these criteria be color of skin, religion, national origin or what not. Where there is free competition, only performance counts.”
Friedman, clearly prefers competition. According to him “the market is color blind. No one who goes to the market to buy bread knows or cares whether the wheat was grown by a Jew, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, or atheist; by whites or blacks.”
Friedman’s elaborates further: “Any miller who wishes to express his personal prejudices by buying only from preferred groups is at a competitive disadvantage, since he is keeping himself from buying from the cheapest source. He can express his prejudice, but he will have to do so at his own expense, accepting a lower monetary income than he could otherwise earn.”
“Jews” Friedman continues, “have flourished most in those countries in which competitive capitalism had the greatest scope: Holland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and Britain and the U.S. in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Germany in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.”
According to Friedman, it is also no accident that Jews suffered the most in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, for these countries clearly defied free market ideology.
One may suggest at this point, that though it is undoubtedly true that Jews suffered in Soviet Russia and in Nazi Germany, and though it is also true that these countries defied free market ideology – Friedman fails to establish a causal or even rational relationship between the opposition to the free market, and anti Jewish policies.
However, the message Friedman conveys is clear – Jews do benefit from hard capitalism and competitive markets.
Yet, Friedman is also genuinely intrigued by Jewish intellectuals’ affinity with anti-Capitalism : “Jews have been a stronghold of anti-capitalist sentiment. From Karl Marx through Leon Trotsky to Herbert Marcuse, a sizable fraction of the revolutionary anti-capitalist literature has been authored by Jews.”
How could that be, Friedman wonders? Why is it that, despite the historical record of the benefits of competitive capitalism to the Jews; despite the intellectual explanation of this phenomenon that is implicit or explicit in much liberal literature from at least Adam Smith onwards, the Jews have been disproportionately anti-capitalist?
Friedman considers some answers –
Rather often we hear from Jews on the left that their affinity to humanitarian issues is driven by their ‘Jewish humanist heritage’. More than once I myself have commented that this is an utter lie. There is no such a Jewish heritage. Driven by tribal precepts, both Judaism and ‘Jewish ideology’ are devoid of universal ethics. If there are some remote patches of humanism in Jewish culture, these are certainly far from being universal.
Friedman, however, offered a further take on the subject: In direct reference to Lawrence Fuchs who argues that the anti-capitalism of the Jews is a “direct reflection of values derived from the Jewish religion and culture,” Friedman wonders – if Jewish culture is, indeed, inherently anti capitalist (as Fuchs suggests) how is it then, that Jews failed to successfully combat Capitalism and free markets throughout their history? Friedman analyses that whilst “Jewish religion and culture date back over two millennia; the Jewish opposition to capitalism and attachment to socialism, is at the most, less than two centuries.”
Being a sharp intellect then, Friedman managed to dismantle Fuchs’s argument. He managed to counter the argument that Jewish culture is inherently socialist or humanist. If Judaism is, indeed, inherently and innately bound to such ethics, how is it that this humanism failed to become dominant throughout Jewish history?
Friedman also reflects in a surprisingly respectful manner, on the writing of alleged anti Semite Werner Sombart’s The Jews and Modern Capitalism. Sombart identifies Jewish ideology at the heart of capitalism. “Throughout the centuries, the Jews championed the cause of individual liberty in economic activity against the dominating view of the time. The individual was not to be hampered by regulations of any sort. I think that the Jewish religion has the same leading ideas as capitalism . . . “(1)
Though Jewish intellectuals at the time were largely unhappy with Sombart’s book, Milton Friedman is brave enough to admit that there is nothing in Sombart’s book itself to justify any charge of anti-Semitism (though, he argues, there certainly is in Sombart’s later work). Friedman, a proud capitalist, tends actually to interpret Sombart’s book as “philo-Semitic”.
“If, like me”, says Friedman, “you regard competitive capitalism as the economic system that is most favorable to individual freedom, to creative accomplishments in technology and the arts, and to the widest possible opportunities for the ordinary man, then you will regard Sombart’s assignment to the Jews of a key role in the development of capitalism as high praise. You will, as I do, regard his book as philo-Semitic. “
Milton Friedman may even agree with early Marx, that Capitalism is Jewish ‘by nature’. Yet, while Marx believed that in order for the world to liberate itself from Capitalism it had better emancipate itself from the Jews (3), for Friedman capitalism is of profound value and to be respected, and Jews should be praised for their inherent bond with this philosophy and its diverse ramifications. As far as Friedman is concerned, for Capitalism to prevail, Jews should continue to do what they are good at: and that is to trade freely in an open and competitive market.
Friedman seems to dismiss the presumed ‘intellectual honesty’ behind Jewish affiliation with the left and anti capitalism: He tends to argue that the Jewish intellectual inclination towards the left is a direct outcome of some political and historical circumstances, rather than ethical or ideological choice. He explains that, in his view, Jewish affiliation with the left is the product of a particular occurrence in Europe in the nineteenth century.
“Beginning with the era of the French revolution, the European political spectrum became divided into a “Left” and a “Right” along an axis that involved the issue of secularism. The Right (conservative, Monarchical, “clerical”) maintained that there must be a place for the church in the public order; the left (democratic, liberal, radical) held that there can be no Church at all . . . .”
It was only natural, then, for the Jews to join the left – in fact Jews could only join the left.
“The axis separating left from right also formed a natural boundary for the pale of Jewish political participation. It was the left, with its new secular concept of citizenship, that had accomplished the Emancipation, and it was only the left that could see a place for the Jews in public life.”
Such a reasoning, then, views Jewish affiliation with the left as a politically opportunistic move instead of a form of ‘moral awakening’.
Such a reading of the ‘Jewish left’ reaffirms my own critical assessment. It also explains why some Jews join the left – they support cosmopolitanism, solidarity, an international working class; and yet, they themselves often seem to prefer to operate within ‘Jews only’ racially orientated cells such as the Bund, Jewish Socialists or even Jews For Boycott of Israeli Goods. Friedman’s reasoning might also explain why so many Jews who had their roots in the so- called ‘left’, ended up preaching moral interventionism and Neo Conservatism.(4)
Friedman argues also, that Jewish affiliation with the left might be better understood as an attempt to disown some anti Semitic stereotypes of the Jew as being “a merchant or moneylender who put commercial interests ahead of human values.”
According to Friedman, the Jewish anti capitalist is there to prove that, far from being money-grabbing, selfish and heartless, Jews are really public spirited, generous, and concerned with ideals rather than material goods. “How better to do so than to attack the market with its reliance on monetary values and impersonal transactions and to glorify the political process, to take as an ideal a state run by well-meaning people for the benefit of their fellow men?”
And yet, in Friedman’s logic then, it is not a ‘moral awakening’ that moves the Jew to the left; it is neither humanism, nor solidarity and nor is it kindness, but, instead, it seems to be a desperate attempt to replace or amend the Jewish image.
Surprisingly enough, I find myself in total agreement with Friedman, though I would phrase it differently. I do differentiate between ‘the leftist who happen to be Jewish’- an innocent category inspired by humanism, and ‘the Jewish leftist- which seems to me to be a contradiction in terms, for the left aims to universally transcends itself beyond ethnicity, religion or race. Clearly ‘Jewish left’ is there to maintain a Jewish tribal ethno-centric identity at the heart of working class philosophy. ‘Jewish left’ is there to primarily serve Jewish interests
I noticed that Richard Kuper, the European Jewish activist behind the recent Jewish Boat to Gaza, was quoted as saying that their goal was to show that “not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians.”
It seems to me that the message Kuper conveyed was pretty clear: Rather than being driven entirely by a genuine care for the Palestinians in Gaza, the Jewish boat was also engaged in a symbolic exchange. It was also there to save the image of the Jews rather than solely providing humanitarian support. This fact alone may explain why the Jewish boat hardly carried any humanitarian aid for the Gazans. Rather than a ‘humanitarian aid mission for the Palestinians,’ it was probably also an ‘image rescue for the Jews’.
Seemingly then, Friedman managed to resolve the paradox between his two initial propositions (Jews being the benefactors capitalism vs. Jews being profoundly anti-capitalist) by offering an historical and political explanation: Jews or Jewish intellectuals are not really against capitalism; it was just the “special circumstances of nineteenth-century that drove Jews to the left, and the subconscious attempts by Jews to demonstrate to themselves and the world the fallacy of the anti-Semitic stereotype.” It was neither ideology nor ethics.
This interpretation explains why left Zionism was doomed to disappear. During his talks, Friedman reviewed the right/left political division in Israel. He noticed that two opposing traditions were at work in the Jewish State: “an ancient one–going back nearly two thousand years– of finding ways around governmental restrictions (and) a modern one– going back a century– of belief in “democratic socialism” and “central planning.” Friedman was clever enough to gather already in 1972 that it is the “Jewish tradition”, rather than ‘socialism’, that would prevail. Friedman noticed already in the 1970’s that Israel was capitalist to the bone. He predicted that the short phase of Zionist ‘pseudo socialism’ was foreign to Jewish culture.
Yet. It isn’t just Israeli left that was doomed to die. Friedman’s reading of Jewish culture also explains why the Bund (5) died; it didn’t really spread to the West; it also explains why the legendary Mazpen and other Jewish tribal anti Zionist revolutionary groups have never attracted the Jewish masses.
Friedman is not free of fault. In spite of his succinct reading of the Jewish left/right divide there are a few crucial points that have to be made about Friedman’s reading of Jewish culture, and his reading of capitalism.
Friedman argues that the free market and competition is good for the Jews. Yet he is also adamant that Government intervention is a disaster that leads to anti Semitism and other forms of institutional bigotry. If Friedman’s model is valid, then Jews in the West had better brace themselves, for Western Governments are currently intervening in the markets in a desperate attempt to slowdown the inevitable collapse of what is left of our economy and relative wealth.
If Friedman’s model is correct, and intervention is indeed bad for the Jews, then anti Jewish bigotry could be immanent, especially considering the gigantic bailout intervention schemes put up by states in an attempt to save what remains of the Western economy.
But it goes further – it is also plainly clear that the bailout schemes are there to amend a colossal disaster caused by the endorsement of Friedman’s own ideology. We are all paying a very heavy price for free enterprise, hard capitalism, or, in general, the ideologies Friedman was so enthusiastic about.
There is something Friedman didn’t tell his listeners in the 1970s – He himself probably did not realise the full meaning of his economic model. He himself did not realise that the adoption of his philosophy by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher would eventually bring the West to its knees. He himself did not realise that it was his own advocacy of hard capitalism that would lead Western continents to poverty and deprivation. He perhaps did not realise back in the 1970s that it was his model that would eventually eliminate productivity, and every positive aspect of the welfare state. Milton Friedman did not realise at the time that service economy that suited some ethnic minorities for two millennia wouldn’t necessarily be a successful model once adopted into a macro model. As Friedman had gathered, throughout their history Jews and other ethnic minorities were very effective operating as service economy within competitive and productive markets. However, Jews and other ethnic or religious minorities did well because others were there to work around them. The transforming of the West into a service economy driven by relentless greed, a process that followed Friedman’s economic precepts, is now proving to be a disaster. It means poverty and global depression. It is translated into alienation from labour and productivity.
Friedman may have been correct when he predicted that governmental intervention may lead to anti Semitism – yet, he probably failed to realise that it was largely his own intellectual heritage that would be responsible for the current financial disaster. It is in fact his own economic model and prophecy that could also introduce Jews to far more suffering.
(3)“What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. Very well then! Emancipation from huckstering and money, consequently from practical, real Judaism, would be the self-emancipation of our time.” Karl MarxOn The Jewish Question, 1844
(4)David Miliband, David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen are all good examples of the above.
(5) East European Jewish Socialist Party was formed in 1897 as the tthe General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland and Russia.
The abolition of nationalism and borders under the guise of the free trade has been the ultimate Illuminati objective since the late 1700s, notably illustrated by Aaron H. Palmer who had a law office on Wall Street in the first half of the 19th century. He catered to individuals interested in transnational business and managed their commerce and paperwork with the European bankers who advocated trade. By February 1837 when the bankers and politicians shrunk the U.S. credit market, Palmer already had a working relationship with N M Rothschild & Sons, located in the City of London. Palmer supplied the Rothschilds with an account of all the financial failures, as many as 280, in the months just before the final crash. 1
The products of the labor of its citizens determine a nation’s prosperity. A brisk manufacturing base is essential, augmented by the service industry. Nationalists believe in reasonable tariffs that protect the nation’s industry. Free trade is detrimental to a nation’s wealth. So-called “conservatives,” those Republican “nationalists” who claim to put the U.S. first have promoted and participated, along with the Democrats, in the legislation of all of the nation’s free trade agreements. One cannot claim to cherish both sovereignty and accept free trade, through “multinational trade organizations and global financial conglomerates.” Marx, a mouthpiece minion for the elite, advocated both the income tax and free trade. He said of free trade, “it breaks up old nationalities” and eliminates the “bourgeoisie” (small businessmen). 2 Free trade functions to equalize the masses while elevating the elite and their acquiescent political devotees.
President Woodrow Wilson, advocating the elite’s agenda, promoted the League of Nations as a global forum for the settlement of territorial disputes by arbitration, along with the power of aggressive military enforcement or through less aggressive sanctions and free global trade, as elucidated in his Fourteen Points, “equality of trade” and “removal … of all economic barriers.” 3 On December 23, 1913, certain members of Congress instituted the Federal Reserve, a vital step to the ultimate globalization of currency. The elite established tax-free foundations to escape the income tax trap they set for the rest of American society. In October 1913, B’nai B’rith established the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) possibly to counter criticism of many of the individuals responsible for the Federal Reserve.
Proponents of the New World Order, the banker’s ultimate political monopoly, want the world’s citizens to abandon political and cultural nationalism in favor of internationalism. U.S. politicians, through their machinations, have rejected (in our behalf) the nationalism once espoused by Thomas Jefferson and others. Nations lose their self-sufficiency and independence through external military action and/or through the actions of corrupt political leaders. In the U.S. these are often the prominent leaders of each political party who dictate partisan policy which includes the decision to wage war. Banker-funded warfare opens a nation to free trade. After warfare, war-torn, devastated nations, no longer able to meet their own needs, must depend on other nations to supply essential needs – food, clothing and supplies to reconstruct the bombed-out infrastructure.
Swiss business journalist and author Gian Trepp said “War, a place where moneymen can gather, because money is stronger than nationalism. Even during the war the moneymen of different nations needed to keep in touch because when the war stops, you have to rebuild and you need free trade.” 4 Globalists have vilified the word “nationalist” in their battle to subtly convince us to accept world governance, a goal they hope to impose by 2025, according to their most recent 2010 publication, Global Governance 2025: At a Critical Juncture.
Our current economic woes began long before the elites installed Obama, their current presidential puppet to further implement global governance. By 1980, Dr. Mordechai E. Kreinin, Professor of Economics, along with Michael G. Plummer, an economics professor at Johns Hopkins University, evaluated the idea of North American economic integration. Kreinin, still pushing internationalism through free trade, compiled Building a Partnership, the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement, a series of papers presented by like-minded academics during the September 1998 conference at Michigan State University. He is the past president of the International Trade and Finance Association and has advised the UN, the State Department and the Commerce Department regarding trade relations.
In accordance with the exponents of internationalism, officials began negotiating the NAFTA in 1986 when Reagan was president. NAFTA was formally signed on December 17, 1992 under President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas. Bush had lost the November 1992 election and left the job of getting congressional approval of the agreement to his successor, Bill Clinton and his vice president, longtime elite internationalist, Albert Gore.
On July 18, 1993 Henry Kissinger (CFR, TC) allegedly wrote in The Los Angeles Times about NAFTA, “What Congress will have before it is not a conventional trade agreement but the architecture of a new international system…a first step toward a new world order.”
Gore approached Republican House Minority Whip (1989–1995), Newt Gingrich, just another internationalist still masquerading as a constitutionalist. He promised he could extract 132 votes for NAFTA, a treaty that author Ian Fletcher refers to as “a veritable case study in failure.” 5 Congressional bribery just for NAFTA, known as “pork barrel promises” totaled $50 billion, paid by the U.S. taxpayers. NAFTA cost the Democrats control of the House and Senate in 1994. Gingrich then became Speaker of the House in 1995. Voters automatically punish the party in power for the treasonous acts committed under their jurisdiction when in fact, congressional members of both parties act in concert. By 1997, due to NAFTA, U.S. job losses amounted to about 394,835, mostly women, Blacks and Hispanics. The figure increased to 600,000 by January 1, 1999. Wages in Mexico sank by 29%. Clinton and Gore, like typical politicians, engaged in orchestrated opposition. At the 1997 AFL-CIO Pittsburgh Convention, Clinton was pro-NAFTA, while Gore feigned an anti-NAFTA stance. This charade won the AFL-CIO’s endorsement of Gore in the 2000 elections. 6
Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gotari had endorsed the NAFTA concept in 1990, making it a political possibility. The Mexican public was the treaty’s most formidable obstacle as it had a history of distancing itself from its northern neighbor. U.S. labor unions were very vocal about their opposition and their intent to retaliate against all legislators who voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The House of Representatives approved NAFTA on November 17, 1993, by a vote of 234 to 200. Those who supported the treaty included 132 Republicans and 102 Democrats. It passed the Senate by a vote of 61-38. Clinton signed it into law on December 8, 1993; it went into effect on January 1, 1994. 7 NAFTA added Mexico to the prior treaty, the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1988. NAFTA eliminated tariffs and the majority of non-tariff prohibitions between the three countries. Additionally, investors in the three countries were to enjoy the same treatment as domestic investors. 8
NAFTA, promoted as a strategy to reduce US trade deficits, actually increased those deficits. In 1993, we had a $1.6 billion surplus in our trade with Mexico but by 2007, we had a $74.8 billion deficit. In 1994 we had an $8.1 billion yearly deficit with Canada, probably due to our oil importation despite our own adequate oil supply. NAFTA cost 525,000 US jobs between 1994 and 2002. Some figures state the total of jobs lost at 766,000, primarily among the non-college-educated population – the producers in the manufacturing segment. Mexico, as a US trading partner, is too poor, to be an export market for American goods. 9
Pat Buchanan, referring to NAFTA, wrote, “Two years after NAFTA, the predictions of its opponents had all come true. The U.S. trade surplus with Mexico had vanished; a trade deficit of $15 billion had opened up. Trucks heading north out of Mexico were hauling more and more manufactured goods, while those going south carried machinery and equipment for the new factories going up, pointing to endless and deepening U.S. trade deficits. By 1997, 3,300 maquiladora factories were operating, employing 800,000 Mexican workers in jobs that not long ago would have gone to Americans.” 10
Over 80% of the American population opposed NAFTA. Despite massive objections against Trade Agreements, both Democrats and Republicans habitually cater to the banks and corporations. George H. W. Bush (CFR, TC) and George W. Bush personally promoted NAFTA. It weakened U.S. and Canadian environmental laws and increased the misery in Mexico and ultimately, in addition to faulty currency policies and manipulations, contributed to the crash of the peso, further impoverishing the regular citizens. 11
Promoters sold NAFTA, trade with Mexico, by promising new job creation in the U.S. Yet, research studies and historical examples in other countries provided adequate information and experience to discourage any kind of free trade with two inequitable countries. Labor-intensive manufacturers, encouraged by NAFTA, relocated to Mexico where Mexican nationals were willing to work for less. To get it passed, the Mexican government spent millions on lobbyists and public relations.
U.S. capital, about $70 billion, went south with American jobs. New companies emerged in Mexico, along with debt in the form of interest for loans. There are about 90,000,000 people in Mexico, out of which 200,000 people control the entire wealth of the nation – thirty-two families.
Unfortunately, Mexico, along with many other third world countries, became victims of the economic hit men. John Perkins recently revealed their tactics in his Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Mexico was generating about $30 billion a year towards paying the debt service or interest on its international banking cabal loans. Yet the actual cost amounted to $40-45 billion per year. Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the privately owned Federal Reserve increased the interest rates in late 1994 which deliberately “devastated the Mexican Economy.” 12 In December 1994, Mexico devalued the peso by about 40%. 13 Congress immediately approved a $40 taxpayer funded billion-dollar loan despite debt-burdened Mexico’s inability to repay it. That loan was merely a transfer from our pockets into the international bankers’ coffers. The recent bailouts and Obama’s stimulus package, disguised as assistance to the populace, is a huge transference of wealth – again from the taxpayer’s pockets into the banker’s pockets.
After NAFTA, the Clinton administration hammered through 200 additional trade agreements. The World Trade Organization (WTO) replaced the GATT. 14 The WTO opened the world to corporate predators and further diluted environmental, labor and human rights. The Bretton Woods Agreement (1945), an amendment to the Federal Reserve Act, ultimately led to the establishment of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the GATT, a global economic system that managed free trade with the dollar as the world’s basic currency. The elite designed the system to ensure British and U.S. hegemony over monetary and trade issues. The Federal Reserve, a private enterprise, became master of the economic system.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is located in Geneva, Switzerland. Congress created the WTO as “a policeman, a global free trade enforcer, and a battering ram for the trillion dollar annual world agribusiness trade.” The WTO was devised “to advance the interests of private agribusiness companies.” It is not accountable to any nation’s laws. The WTO may impose disciplinary penalties or other measure on member countries that violate their regulations. The WTO may also force countries to accept genetically modified crops. The WTO is a product of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Seventy-five GATT members and the European Communities founded the WTO on January 1, 1995 as a result of Uruguay Round of trade liberalization talks, held in del Este, Uruguay, in September 1986, and concluded in Marrakech, Morocco, in April 1994. 15
According to Ian Fletcher, “The U.S. should seek strategic, not unconditional integration with the rest of the world economy. Economic openness, like most things in life, is valuable up to a point – but not beyond it. Fairly open trade, most of the time, is justified. Absolutely free trade, 100 percent of the time, is an extremist position and is not.” Free trade is certainly not inevitable. A former British colony, the U.S., for decades, protected their manufacturing base through protectionist tariffs. The regulation of commerce was included in the Constitution, Article I, Section 8 authorizes Congress “to regulate commerce with foreign nations,” a mandate that is in the best interests of the nation and its people. 16 Nation states are economically essential and relevant as most people, according to Fletcher, live in the country in which they were born. Consequently, their “economic fortunes depend upon the wage and consumption levels within that one society.” When trade laws, to benefit large firms, alter the economic nationalism of a nation, it impacts every resident. 17
Free trade, as currently practiced with chronic US deficits and a plethora of cheap imports, can actually “seduce” a population into “decadent consumption.” People have abandoned the tradition of saving and frugal living. Business owners often fail to reinvest profits and instead depend on bank loans. Seemingly, individuals in their personal or business circumstances prefer to mortgage their futures in order to obtain immediate gratification. Fletcher claims that Americans are addicted to debt as evidenced by the incidence of consumer credit. America’s combined household and government debt totals 243% of GDP as opposed to China where the government discourages personal debt. At least 500 million Chinese people have a cell phone but only one million Chinese residents have a credit card. 18 China is the world’s largest mobile telephone market. 19 I visited China in 2007 and was amazed at its thriving economy, the huge building projects throughout the country, and the presence of large US-based corporations, like Motorola, in Beijing.
Robert B. Zoellick (CFR, TC, Bilderberg, PNAC), current President of the World Bank, as Under Secretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs (1991-1992) helped seal the NAFTA accord with Mexico. He was also instrumental in launching the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. He was a U.S. Trade Representative (2001-2005) who attempted to fast track the Free Trade of Americas Agreement (FTAA) and negotiated the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in May 2004. He advised George W. Bush on foreign policy during the 2000 campaign as part of a group led by Condoleezza Rice called The Vulcans. Bush nominated Zoellick to replace Paul Wolfowitz (PNAC) as the new World Bank president. 20
Residents flee when their nation’s economy fails, or when it is devastated by war. Illegals in the U.S. increased from three million in the 1990s to eleven million with about 55% or six million individuals from Mexico. This resulted from Mexico’s economic crisis in conjunction with George W. Bush’s so-called “guest-worker” program, possibly associated with his secretive meeting in Waco, Texas on March 23, 2005 with then Mexican President Vicente Fox and then Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. They met to discuss the formation of the North American Community which is, by default, a done deal. The U.S. government has been deliberately ineffective in protecting the southern border in order to create a destabilizing cultural and economic crisis in the U.S.
NAFTA Vote by Party and City, Suburb and Rural Location: 21
Anti NAFTA Pro NAFTA
City 67.4% 32.6%
Suburb 59.6% 40.4%
Rural 52.2% 47.8%
City 22.2% 77.8%
Suburb 26.4% 73.6%
Rural 21.4% 78.6%
Some of the same treasonous scoundrels that voted for NAFTA are currently appearing on the privately owned media busily blaming the current administration for not fixing the economy, a direct result of NAFTA. Some of those neo-cons include Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Tom DeLay, Dick Durbin, Jeffrey Flake, Thomas Foley, John Kasich, Dick Armey, Dennis Hastert, and on the left, Nancy Pelosi. She, as Speaker of the House, pushed through the disastrous healthcare bill in the same manner. These politicians count on the fact that the US public has forgotten who voted on NAFTA and what it did. They are now blaming the bulk of the country’s economic woes on others, such as people who shouldn’t have borrowed money to buy homes (now in foreclosure) and a number of other issues – never on the fact that they imposed a treaty on the US that was deliberately designed to de-industrialize the country and cause an economic catastrophe. Neo-con Republicans continue to maintain that NAFTA was a good policy, but for who? Mexico, now a slave-wage corporate slum-burb from which desperate citizens attempt to escape is a direct result of NAFTA. Meanwhile, jobless, middle-class Americans struggle to stave-off foreclosure.
In March 2010 Rep. Gene Taylor, a Mississippi Democrat, lead a small group of twenty-eight lawmakers who introduced legislation that would require President Obama to relinquish our participation in NAFTA, the 16-year trade agreement that began the de-industrialization of America, a process that has created the current joblessness (10 to 12%) and the economic fallout. The National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, organizations that represent the elite, have always supported NAFTA. If Taylor’s legislation passes, Obama would have to give Canada and Mexico six months’ notice of the U.S. intentions to vacate the pact. 22
In his campaign speeches Obama opposed NAFTA but now is in the process of negotiating with officials in South Korea, Panama and Colombia to implement trade pacts with those countries. In March 2010, U.S. officials also began trade negotiations with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam and Brunei in what would be the Asia-Pacific regional free-trade agreement. Members of the House of Representatives are supposed to vote before the end of the year whether the U.S. is to retain their membership in the World Trade Organization. 23
Ian Fletcher says, “Free trade is inexorably bleeding our economy and preventing it from returning to true health. Nobody in the Obama administration wants to talk about the economics of free trade, because as soon as one seriously scrutinizes this doctrine, one begins to discover that free trade may be the biggest myth in American economics.” 24
1, There is no Need for Anyone to go to America: Commercial Correspondence and Nineteenth Century Globalization from Papers found by Jessica Lepler, Assistant Professor of American History at the University of New Hampshire, during research into the 1837 financial crisis in the US.
2, The Judas Goats, the Enemy Within by Michael Collins Piper, American Free Press, Washington, DC, 2006, p. 30
3, Rockefeller Internationalism by Will Banyan, Part 1, Nexus Magazine Volume 10 – Number 3, (April-May 2003)
4, Hitler’s Secret Bankers, the Myth of Swiss Neutrality During the Holocaust by Adam LeBor, Birch Lane Press, New York, 1997, p. 73
5, Free Trade Doesn’t Work, What Should Replace It and Why by Ian Fletcher, U.S. Business & Industry Council, Washington, DC, 2010, pp. 158-159
6, Al Gore: A User’s Manual by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, Verso 2000, pp. 160-171
7, Organized Labor’s Campaign Contributions after the NAFTA Vote: Rhetoric or Retribution? by Gretchen Anne Phillips and Edward Tower, p. 3
8, NAFTA, GATT Uruguay Round, and Fast Track 1998: a Brief Legislative History, Institute for International Economics, www.iie.com, p. 1
9, Free Trade Doesn’t Work, What Should Replace It and Why by Ian Fletcher, U.S. Business & Industry Council, Washington, DC, 2010, pp. 158-159
10, The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy by Patrick J. Buchanan, Little, Brown, New York, p. 269
11, Al Gore: A User’s Manual by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, Verso 2000, pp. 160-171
12, Texas and Mexico, Immediate Impact of the Mexican Crisis.
13, NAFTA and the Peso Collapse, Not Just a Coincidence by Robert A. Blecker, Economic Policy Institute, Briefing Paper.
14, Seeds of Destruction, the Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation by F. William Engdahl, Global Research, Center for Research on Globalization, Montreal, Quebec, 2007, pp. 216-247
15, Ibid, p. 217
16, Free Trade Doesn’t Work, What Should Replace It and Why by Ian Fletcher, U.S. Business & Industry Council, Washington, DC, 2010, pp. 20-21. This is a book that everyone interested in so-called free trade should read.
17, Ibid, pp. 23-24, 25
18, Ibid, pp. 48-49
19, Motorola’s Cell-Phone Stumble in China, Telecom August 28, 2008
20, Robert Zoellick
21, Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper, Washington, DC, Political Arithmetic of the NAFTA Vote by Lawrence Mishel and Ruy A. Teixeira, p. 12
22, Reuters, A small group of U.S. lawmakers unveiled legislation on Thursday to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement in the latest sign of congressional disillusionment with free-trade deals.
24, Free Trade Doesn’t Work, What Should Replace It and Whyby Ian Fletcher
Since The Great Flood hit Pakistan in July …
- many millions have been displaced, evacuated, stranded or lost their homes; numerous roads, schools and health clinics destroyed
- hundreds of villages washed away
- millions of livestock have perished; for the rural poor something akin to a Western stock market crash that wipes out years of savings
- countless farms decimated, including critical crops like corn; officials say the damage is in the hundreds of millions of dollars and it does not appear that Pakistan will recover within the next few years
- infectious diseases are rising sharply
- airplanes of the United States of America have flown over Pakistan and dropped bombs on dozens of occasions 1
I direct these remarks to readers who have to deal with Americans who turn into a stone wall upon hearing the United States accused of acting immorally; America, they are convinced, means well; our motives are noble. And if we do do something that looks bad, and the badness can’t easily be covered up or explained away … well, great powers have always done things like that, we’re no worse than the other great powers of history, and a lot better than most. God bless America.
A certain percentage of such people do change eventually and stop rationalizing; this happens usually after being confronted X-number of times with evidence of the less-than-beautiful behavior of their government around the world. The value of X of course varies with the individual; so don’t give up trying to educate the hardened Americans you come in contact with. You never know when your enlightening them about a particular wickedness of their favorite country will be the straw that breaks their imperialist-loving back. (But remember the warning from Friedrich Schiller of Germany: Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens. — “With stupidity even the gods struggle in vain.”)
Here’s a recent revelation of wickedness that might serve to move certain of the unenlightened: New evidence has recently come to light that reinforces the view of a CIA role in the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of The Congo following its independence from Belgium in 1960. The United States didn’t pull the trigger, but it did just about everything else, including giving the green light to the Congolese officials who had kidnaped Lumumba. CIA Station Chief Larry Devlin, we now know, was consulted by these officials about the transfer of Lumumba to his sworn enemies. Devlin signaled them that he had no objection to it. Lumumba’s fate was sealed. 2
It was a classic Cold War example of anti-communism carried to absurd and cruel lengths. Years later, Under Secretary of State C. Douglas Dillon told a Senate investigating committee that the National Security Council and President Eisenhower had believed in 1960 that Lumumba was a “very difficult if not impossible person to deal with, and was dangerous to the peace and safety of the world.” 3 This statement moved author Jonathan Kwitny to observe:
How far beyond the dreams of a barefoot jungle postal clerk in 1956, that in a few short years he would be dangerous to the peace and safety of the world! The perception seems insane, particularly coming from the National Security Council, which really does have the power to end all human life within hours. 4
President Eisenhower personally gave the order to kill the progressive African leader. 5
We can’t know for sure what life for the Congolese people would have been like had Lumumba been allowed to remain in office. But we do know what followed his assassination — one vicious dictator after another presiding over 50 years of mass murder, rape, and destruction as competing national forces and neighboring states fought endlessly over the vast mineral wealth in the country. The Congo would not hold another democratic election for 46 years.
Overthrowing a country’s last great hope, with disastrous consequences, is an historical pattern found throughout the long chronicle of American imperialist interventions, from Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s to Haiti and Afghanistan in the 1990s, with many examples in between. Washington has been working on Hugo Chávez in Venezuela for a decade.
Just like the commercials that warn you “Don’t try this at home”, I urge you not to waste your time trying to educate the likes of Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, who not long ago referred to “the men and women of the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps” as “the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century.” 6 What can you say to such a man? And this is the leading foreign policy columnist for America’s “newspaper of record”. God help us. The man could use some adult supervision.
A man named Barack Obama
For many years I have not paid a great deal of attention to party politics in the United States. I usually have only a passing knowledge of who’s who in Congress. It’s policies that interest me much more than politicians. But during the 2008 presidential campaign I kept hearing the name Barack Obama when I turned on the radio, and repeatedly saw his name in headlines in various newspapers. I knew no more than that he was a senator from Illinois and … Was he black?
Then one day I turned on my kitchen radio and was informed that Obama was about to begin a talk. I decided to listen, and did so for about 15 or 20 minutes while I washed the dishes. I listened, and listened, and then it hit me … This man is not saying anything! It’s all platitude and cliché, very little of what I would call substance. His talk could have been written by a computer, touching all the appropriate bases and saying just what could be expected to give some hope to the pessimistic and to artfully challenge the skepticism of the cynical; feel-good language for every occasion; conventional wisdom for every issue. His supporters, I would later learn, insisted that he had to talk this way to be elected, but once elected — Aha! The real genuine-progressive, anti-war Barack Obama would appear. “Change you can believe in!” Hallelujah! … They’re still saying things like that.
Last week Obama gave the traditional annual speech at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. 7 To give you an idea of whether the man now sincerely expresses himself “outside the box” at all, here’s what he had to say about Pakistan: “Since the rains came and the floodwaters rose in Pakistan, we have pledged our assistance, and we should all support the Pakistani people as they recover and rebuild.” Does he think no one in the world knows about the American bombs? Did he think he was speaking before sophisticated international diplomats or making a campaign speech before Iowa farmers?
Plus endless verbiage about the endless Israeli-Palestine issue, which could have been lifted out of almost any speech by any American president of the past 30 years. But no mention at all of Gaza. Oh, excuse me — there was one line: “the young girl in Gaza who wants to have no ceiling on her dreams”. Gosh, choke. One would never know that the United States possesses huge leverage over the state of Israel — billions/trillions of dollars of military and economic aid and gifts. An American president with a minimum of courage could force Israel to make concessions, and in a struggle between a thousand-pound gorilla (Israel) and an infant (Hamas) it’s the gorilla that has to give some ground.
And this: “We also know from experience that those who defend these [universal] values for their people have been our closest friends and allies, while those who have denied those rights — whether terrorist groups or tyrannical governments — have chosen to be our adversaries.”
Such a lie. It would be difficult to name a single brutal dictatorship of the Western world in the second half of the 20th Century that was not supported by the United States; not only supported, but often put into power and kept in power against the wishes of the population. And in recent years as well, Washington has supported very repressive governments, such as Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Indonesia, Egypt, Kosovo, Colombia, and Israel. As to terrorist groups being adversaries of the United States — another item for the future Barack Obama Presidential Liebrary; as I’ve discussed in this report on several occasions, including last month, the United States has supported terrorist groups for decades. As they’ve supported US foreign policy.
“Yes, of course it’s nice to have a president who speaks in complete sentences. But that they’re coherent doesn’t make them honest.” — John R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s Magazine. 8
The secret to understanding US foreign policy
In one of his regular “Reflections” essays, Fidel Castro recently discussed United States hostility towards Venezuela. “What they really want is Venezuela’s oil,” wrote the Cuban leader. 9 This is a commonly-held viewpoint within the international left. The point is put forth, for example, in Oliver Stone’s recent film “South of the Border”. I must, however, take exception.
In the post-World War Two period, in Latin America alone, the US has had a similar hostile policy toward progressive governments and movements in Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, and Bolivia. What these governments and movements all had in common was that they were/are leftist; nothing to do with oil. For more than half a century Washington has been trying to block the rise of any government in Latin America that threatens to offer a viable alternative to the capitalist model. Venezuela of course fits perfectly into that scenario; oil or no oil.
This ideology was the essence of the Cold War all over the world.
The secret to understanding US foreign policy is that there is no secret. Principally, one must come to the realization that the United States strives to dominate the world. Once one understands that, much of the apparent confusion, contradiction, and ambiguity surrounding Washington’s policies fades away. To express this striving for dominance numerically, one can consider that since the end of World War Two the United States has:
- Endeavored to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
- Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
- Waged war/military action, either directly or in conjunction with a proxy army, in some 30 countries.
- Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
- Dropped bombs on the people of some 30 countries.
- Suppressed dozens of populist/nationalist movements in every corner of the world. 10
The United States institutional war machine has long been, and remains, on automatic pilot.
The 9/11 Truth Movement
The Truthers have long been pressing me to express my support for their cause. Here’s how I stand on the issue. I’m very aware of the serious contradictions and apparent lies in the Official Government Version (OGV) of what happened on that fateful day. (Before the Truthers can be dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”, it should be noted that the OGV is literally a “conspiracy theory” about the fantastic things that a certain 19 men conspired to do.) It does appear that the buildings in New York collapsed essentially because of a controlled demolition, which employed explosives as well as certain incendiary substances found in the rubble. So, for this and many other questions raised by the 9/11 Truth Movement, the OGV can clearly not be taken entirely at face value but has to be seriously examined point by point. But no matter what the discrepancies in the OGV, does it necessarily follow that the events of 9/11 were an “inside job”? Is it an either/or matter? Either a group of terrorists were fully responsible or the government planned it all down to the last detail?
What if the government, with its omnipresent eyes and ears, discovered the plotting of Mideast terrorists some time before and decided to let it happen — and even enhance the destruction — to make use of it as a justification for its “War on Terror”? The Truthers admit that they can’t fully explain what actually took place, but they argue that they are not obliged to do so; that they have exposed the government lies and that the fact of these lies proves that it was an inside job. The Truthers have done great work, but I say that for me, and I’m sure for many others, to accept the idea of an inside job I have to indeed know what actually took place, or at least a lot more than I know now. It is, after all, an incredible story, and I need to know how the government pulled it off. I need to have certain questions answered, amongst which are the following:
- Were the planes that hit the towers hijacked?
- Did they contain the passengers named amongst the dead?
- Were they piloted or were they flying via remote control?
- If piloted, who were the pilots?
- Did a plane crash in Pennsylvania? If so, why? What happened to the remains of the plane and the passengers?
- Did a plane crash into the Pentagon? What happened to the remains of the plane and the passengers?
- Why do Truthers say that some, or many, of the named Arabic hijackers have been found alive living abroad? Why couldn’t their identity have been stolen by the hijackers?
If the Truthers can’t answer any or most of the above questions, are they prepared to consider the possibility of 9/11 being a “let-it-happen” government operation?
Do words have to mean something?
“Holocaust denier barred from leading tour at Auschwitz”. That was the headline over a short news item in the Washington Post on September 22. The story, in full, read: “British historian and Holocaust-denier David Irving will not be permitted to give tours at Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, museum officials said Tuesday after the controversial historian arrived in Poland to lead a tour of Nazi sites. Irving told the British Daily Mail on Friday that Treblinka was a genuine death camp but that Auschwitz was a ‘Disney-style tourist attraction’.”
So how can Irving be called a “Holocaust-denier” if he says that the Nazi concentration camp at Treblinka “was a genuine death camp”? I don’t know. Do you? Why don’t you ask the Post? They never reply to my letters. And while you’re at it, ask them why they and their columnists routinely refer to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a “Holocaust-denier”. You might even point out to them that Ahmadinejad said in a speech at Columbia University (September 24, 2007), in reply to a question about the Holocaust, “I’m not saying that it didn’t happen at all. This is not the judgment that I’m passing here.”
Indeed, I don’t know if any of the so-called “Holocaust-deniers” actually, ever, umm, y’know, umm … deny the Holocaust. They question certain aspects of the Holocaust history that’s been handed down to us, but they don’t explicitly say that what we know as the Holocaust never took place. Yes, I’m sure you can find at least one nut-case somewhere.
Speaking of nut-cases, two days after Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R.-CA) introduced legislation “To prohibit Federal grants to or contracts with Columbia University” (HR 3675, 110th Congress). I’m surprised he didn’t call for a Predator to fly over the campus and drop a few bombs. Don’t ya just love our Congressmembers? Soon to be joined it seems by a few Teaparty types who think that Barack Obama is a socialist. (If Obama is a socialist, what, I wonder, do they call Hugo Chávez? Or Karl Marx?) The new Madame Speaker of the House may be Alice in Wonderland.
- Wikipedia, Drone attacks in Pakistan
- AllAfrica.com, New Evidence Shows U.S. Role in Congo’s Decision to Send Patrice Lumumba to His Death, August 1st 2010
- The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (US Senate: The Church Committee), Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, November 20, 1975, p.58
- Jonathan Kwitny, Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World (1984), p.57
- New York Times, February 22, 1976, p.55
- New York Times, October 11, 2009
- White House Press Office, Remarks by the President to the United Nations General Assembly, September 23, 2010
- The Providence Journal, “Obama a very smooth liar“, June 17, 2009
- Reflections by Comrade Fidel, “What they want is Venezuela’s oil“, September 27, 2010
- A link to any of the first five lists can be obtained by writing to William Blum at email@example.com. The sixth list has not yet been uploaded to the Internet.
If another nation were to send Rhode Island a force of 7,000 troops, 200 helicopters, and 46 warships in an effort to eradicate drug trafficking, it is doubtful that the residents of Rhode Island would consider this offer “on-the-level.” Such a massive military force could hardly be efficiently used to combat drug cartels. The only logical conclusion is that the nation whose troops now are occupying this other country had another agenda in mind that it didn’t want to share.
In early July, by a vote of 31 to 8, the Costa Rican Congress approved the U.S. bringing into their nation the same military force described above, justified with the same dubious “war on drugs” rationale. According to the agreement, the military forces are supposed to leave Costa Rica by the end of 2010. This begs the question, however, if such an over the top display of military muscle is needed now to combat the drug cartels, what will be done in the next few months to make their presence unnecessary? The history of such U.S. military deployments around the world suggests a more credible outcome than what the agreement states. Once the U.S. moves such massive forces into a country, they rarely move them out.
When push comes to shove, the political machinery in Costa Rica is subservient to U.S. government and corporate interests. Nevertheless, there are many in Costa Rica who are declaring that the agreement is a violation of their national sovereignty and is unconstitutional. (In 1948 Costa Rica abolished its army, which was sanctioned in its constitution.) Legislator Luis Fishman has vowed to challenge the decision of the Congress in the courts.
Shifting Strategy and Tactics
The buildup of U.S. armed forces in Costa Rica is part of an escalating pattern that indicates a shifting of strategy and tactics for the U.S. in controlling what the Monroe Doctrine infamously described as the U.S.’s “backyard” — that is, all of Latin America. Since the U.S. government inspired covert coup d’etats and political reversals of popular governments and/or movements in Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, and El Salvador in previous decades, U.S. rulers had figured they had things stitched up to their liking in Latin America. The political elites in Latin America were uniformly in the pockets of the U.S. corporate empire and appeared to be more or less in control of their people. They commonly outlawed strikes and at times even trade unions, eliminated minimum wage laws, and gave enormous tax breaks to U.S. corporations.
Therefore, the U.S. Empire builders could use their political and economic might alone to subjugate these neo-colonies to a very profitable neoliberal agenda. This agenda included allowing U.S. corporations easy access to pillage these nations’ public sectors through privatization, letting multi-national corporations overrun these nations’ local markets and farms through the elimination of trade barriers, and increasing the exploitation of their workers and the devastation of their natural resources by tossing out national labor and environmental standards. Because of the profits enjoyed by a few as a result of these measures, they carried the day, though they, in turn, created a simmering spirit of rebellion in the semi-colonies’ peasantry and workers that would inevitably find expression.
As the U.S. began to set its sights on and send its resources to other parts of the world, most notably the Middle East and Asia, the web they had wrapped around Latin America began to unravel. This was most apparent in Venezuela where a U.S.-backed coup attempt in April of 2002 failed because of the massive mobilizing of the Venezuelan people in defense of their democratic rights. All subsequent attempts of the Venezuelan oligarchy, in collusion with the U.S. State Department, to get rid of Chavez resulted in their humiliation because of the constant support and organizing of the country’s lower classes. It became apparent to the U.S. ruling class that they could no longer rely on the Venezuelan oligarchy, which had lost direct control over the political situation. What is more, the popular upsurge witnessed in Venezuela in the past decade, opened up floodgates for anti-imperialist organizing across the continent, resulting in the election of a number of left-wing presidents.
Not only was the neoliberal agenda of the U.S. being blocked, an alternative to the U.S. Free Trade policies was being set up. The Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA), which was initiated by Venezuela and Cuba, began to build a trading block based on exchange according to different nations’ needs rather than U.S. corporate profits. While ALBA needs to be more substantially developed in order to fulfill its promise, especially in regards to organizing grassroots control to determine its priorities, it is a challenge to U.S. corporate and political dominance in the region.
U.S. Military Moves
As a result, the U.S. government began to shift its reliance from solely economic and political means to control Latin America towards taking military measures, even while engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What have been some of these measures?
In 2006 the U.S. conducted military exercises off the coast of Venezuela called “Operation Partnership of the Americas.” This exercise involved four ships, 60 fighter planes, and 6,500 U.S. troops.
In 2006 the U.S. State Department classified the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, with their military bases jointly contracted to Holland and the U.S., as “The Third Frontier of the United States.” U.S. aircraft carriers, war ships, combat planes, Black Hawk helicopters, nuclear submarines, and thousands of troops began to build up in Curacao in particular. In 2009 a U.S. military plane was intercepted in Venezuelan airspace that had flown from Curacao’s base.
In 2008 the U.S. reactivated the Fourth Fleet to patrol Caribbean waters. This fleet had been out of commission since 1950. Now it operates with the potential of acting as a floating base for the U.S. to conduct military strikes throughout Central and South America.
In 2009 the U.S. made a deal with Colombia to build up its military personal in seven bases, from 250 to 800 American troops with 600 civilian contractors, effectively taking control over these installations. This was widely denounced throughout Latin America as an action aimed at intimidating Venezuela. In December of that year a U.S. drone plane flying from one of these Colombian bases violated Venezuelan airspace.
From 2009 to 2010 the U.S. worked behind the scenes to legitimize a military coup in Honduras against lawfully elected President Zelaya, who had aligned the nation with ALBA. Part of the U.S.’s motivation behind its actions was to maintain control of Soto Cano’s Airbase, with its 550 U.S. troops and 650 U.S. and Honduran civilians. In the 1980′s the U.S. had used this base for a training ground and launching pad for the Contra terrorists in Nicaragua and El Salvadorian death squads opposed to the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). There is good reason for concern that this Airbase will again be used for similar operations today.
In 2009 the U.S. and Panama agreed to open up two naval bases in Panama, which will be the first time U.S. military forces will be based in this nation since 1999.
War on Drugs?
Most of these measures have been justified on the grounds of combating drug trafficking, including the military buildup in Costa Rica. However, they have not curtailed this problem at all. Such U.S. military buildups have generally been accompanied by an increase in drug trafficking, as has happened in both Columbia and Afghanistan. Based on this record it can only be concluded that the “War on Drugs” rationale is a red herring for public relations consumption, not the actual motivation.
This military build up in Costa Rica is the latest in a series of moves the U.S. has made in Latin America that seeks to use threats and arms to reverse the strength of popular anti-imperialist forces across the region. The U.S. is playing with the possibility of erupting a continental conflagration for the sake of corporate profits.
While it is doubtful that the U.S. wants to directly engage in a military conflict with, most likely, Venezuela right now, preparations for this possibility are being made. What is more likely in the short term is that the U.S. military will use its forces to engage in sabotage and intimidation in hopes of reversing support for the nations aligned with ALBA. It is also very possible that the U.S. military will help to support proxy armies, such as Colombia’s, in military conflicts that align with U.S. interests. However, this is a dangerous game. Even in the short term, the U.S. ruling class may drag the nation into another direct conflict, in spite of their intentions, that could spread to involve numerous other nations.
Peace and International Solidarity
While U.S. workers are suffering from unemployment, insufficient health care, drastic cuts to education and social services, as well as environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico created by the Obama governmental collusion with BP, the priorities of the U.S. ruling class are elsewhere. They are more concerned with pouring money into military buildups that threaten war. The target of such a war or wars would be the popular working class movements in Latin America, whose only crime has been to struggle to liberate themselves from super exploitation and political repression. It is the same economic and political elite in the U.S. that are denying U.S. workers what is rightfully theirs that are opposing the efforts of workers and peasants throughout the continent to empower themselves.
It is the task of the anti-war movement not only to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also to prevent future U.S. wars in Latin America. Wherever anti-war activists seek to mobilize people against war, they should also seek to educate about the U.S. empire’s military moves in Latin America.
Furthermore, it will require international solidarity to combat what the U.S. elite is doing in Central and South America. There was recently an event that could go some way towards preparing this solidarity. In Sanare, Venezuela, from June 21 – 25, a series of meetings were held entitled “Ecuentro of the Americas: Resisting Militarization and Promoting a Culture of Peace.” It consisted of delegates of organizations from 19 nations across the continent, including School of the Americas (SOA) Watch of the U.S. You can read more about this at http://www.soaw.org/.
Following the recent loss of life in Haiti, Chile and China due to earthquakes or the loss of life from Hurricane Katrina or the tsunami that killed 100,000 in Sri Lanka in 2005—it reminds me of a 39 year old column by the late Dr. Garrett Hardin: “Nobody ever dies of overpopulation.” It is reprinted with permission from Science, 12 February 1971, Volume 171, Number 3971, © 1971 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (www.thesocialcontract.com ) Professor Hardin taught in the biology department of the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Not mentioned, but increasing in numbers as the human race accelerates its own populations across the globe—an astounding 18 million human beings starve to death or die of starvation related diseases every year. (Source: World Health Organization) The breakdown: eight million adults and 10 million children perish at the hands of starvation annually. Fully 1.5 to 2.0 billion humans subsist on less than $2.00 per day. That same number cannot obtain a clean glass of drinking water.
For example: India sports 1.16 billion people. Out of that number, nearly one million do not possess a toilet to use, so they squat onto the land every day. They contaminate ground water, lakes and rivers with their human waste. The Ganges runs in raw sewage 24/7 and its dead zone expands to over 10,000 square miles—contaminating and killing ocean life. Result: 1,000 Indian children die of diarrhea, dysentery and other water borne diseases—DAILY. Yet, Indians do not practice birth control as they add another 12 to 15 million people annually on their way to surpassing current-day China and hit 1.55 billion in 40 years.
For whatever reason, Americans as well as citizens of many countries never make the connection of overpopulation and their vulnerability—to disease, famine and Mother’s Nature’s rage. Nature thrives on destruction, i.e., hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, forest fires, famines, hail, tornadoes and epidemics.
INCREASING HUMAN NUMBERS ON EARTH CREATES GREATER SCENARIOS FOR MASS HUMAN DEATHS
For some reason, call it hubris or “false pride”; or massive ignorance or ethnocentrism—Americans cannot and do not think they would ever find themselves on the receiving end of water shortages, food scarcities or energy deficiencies. Thus, they happily grow their numbers, by adding 3.1 million people annually, ironically, mostly through other humans fleeing overpopulation pressures worldwide.
Dr. Hardin brings home our dilemma:
“Those of us who are deeply concerned about population and the environment —”eco-nuts,” we’re called, — are accused of seeing herbicides in trees, pollution in running brooks, radiation in rocks, and overpopulation everywhere. There is merit in the accusation.
“I was in Calcutta when the cyclone struck East Bengal in November 1970. Early dispatches spoke of 15,000 dead, but the estimates rapidly escalated to 2,000,000 and then dropped back to 500,000. A nice round number: it will do as well as any, for we will never know. The nameless ones who died, “unimportant” people far beyond the fringes of the social power structure, left no trace of their existence. Pakistani parents repaired the population loss
in just 40 days, and the world turned its attention to other matters.
“What killed those unfortunate people? “The cyclone,” newspapers said. But one can just as logically say that overpopulation killed them. The Gangetic Delta is barely above sea level. Every year several thousand people are killed in quite ordinary storms. If Pakistan were not overcrowded, no sane man would bring his family to such a place. Ecologically speaking, a delta belongs to the river and the sea; man obtrudes there at his peril.
“In the web of life every event has many antecedents. Only by an arbitrary decision can we designate a single antecedent as “cause.” Our choice is biased — biased to protect our egos against the onslaught of unwelcome truths. As T.S. Eliot put it in Burnt Norton:
“Go, go, go,” said the bird, “Human kind cannot bear very much reality.”
“Were we to identify overpopulation as the cause of a half-million deaths, we would threaten ourselves with a question to which we do not know the answer: How can we control population without recourse to repugnant measures? Fearfully we close our minds to an inventory of possibilities. Instead, we say that a cyclone caused the deaths, thus relieving
ourselves of responsibility for this and future catastrophes. “Fate” is so comforting.
“Every year we list tuberculosis, leprosy, enteric diseases, or animal parasites as the “cause of death” of millions of people. It is well known that malnutrition is an important antecedent of death in all these categories; and that malnutrition is connected with overpopulation. But overpopulation is not called the cause of death. We cannot bear the thought.
“People are dying now of respiratory diseases in Tokyo, Birmingham, and Gary, because of the “need” for more industry. The “need” for more food justifies over fertilization of the land, leading to eutrophication of the waters, and lessened fish production — which leads to more “need” for food.
“What will we say when the power shuts down some fine summer on our eastern seaboard and several thousand people die of heat prostration? Will we blame the weather? Or the power companies for not building enough generators? Or the eco-nuts for insisting on pollution controls?
“One thing is certain: we won’t blame the deaths on overpopulation. No one ever dies of overpopulation. It is unthinkable.”
As Hardin said, we abhor dealing with reality. In fact, in Joel Kotkin’s recent book, he ‘celebrates’ adding 100 million people to the United States as if it amounts to a “Red Badge of Courage” in a diminishing world. He speaks on NPR with glowing reviews from Jennifer Ludden. He enjoys interviews in papers as he crosses the country to pitch his book. He leads Americans down a primrose path of more denial, stupidity and ignorance of their predicament.
Yet, they fully embrace his message. Should he strut his book in Bangladesh, that grows by six children a minute, with a population of 144 million people in a landmass the size of Iowa, they would toss tomatoes into his face. Change that! They would eat the tomatoes and throw sticks! Reality has already manifested in very ugly ways for the people of Bangladesh. They live in pure daily human misery with no way out! They live in what Kotkin celebrates: overpopulation.
If any of us, no matter what our race, creed or color might be, refuse to engage our U.S. Congress as we have not for 30 years as to the immigration equation creating overpopulation in this country—our children will find themselves living in a terribly degraded America where the American Dream will be described by the history books as a ‘fleeting fantasy’ from the era of 1950 to 2010. These are several of the top organizations where you can take action to change the course of American history.
Most of us Americans have a deep and abiding respect and admiration for our country’s fighting men who have served–and are serving–within the US Armed Forces. We appreciate their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way for the preservation of our nation’s liberty and independence. We honor their sacrifice. Indeed, many of us share that sacrifice with the deaths, dismemberments, and paralysis of our most cherished loved ones who were killed or injured in the line of duty.
It is time, however, that we awaken to the reality of what our military is becoming and where it is heading. Suffice it to say, this is not your father’s army.
On December 8, 1941, my father, Ed Baldwin–along with his two brothers, Bud and Gene–marched down to a recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas, to enlist. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor the day before, and no branch of service had to beg people to enlist that day. Bud joined the Navy. Gene joined the Marines. When government officials saw Dad’s resume, they selected him to help construct the atomic bomb. All three brothers served their country with distinction throughout the war.
But what all of us need to realize is, World War II was the last constitutionally fought war in which America has been engaged. The United Nations was created at the end of WWII, and ever since then, our military forces have increasingly become the “peacekeeping” arm of that evil institution.
Since WWII, American forces have fought major wars in South Korea, South Vietnam (including Laos and Cambodia), Kosovo, the Persian Gulf (Kuwait), Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan–all for the benefit of the United Nations. Add to these major wars lesser conflicts (except to those Americans killed or wounded in them) such as Lebanon, Dominican Republic, Congo (Zaire), Iran, El Salvador, Libya, Grenada, Honduras, Chad, Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, and Somalia. And this does not take into account the countless CIA-sponsored Black Ops missions that have taken place all over the world.
Yes, American forces have been used to both put people in power and take people out of power all over the world. And as often as not, the people we put in power were counted among the “bad guys,” while the people we removed from power were “good guys.” Remember, our own CIA was the organization most responsible for the rise to power of Osama Bin Laden. And it was the US government that surreptitiously set up the murder of Dr. Jonas Savimbi, who was one of the best friends the United States had overseas. Plus, does anyone remember how the US treated our friend, the Shah of Iran? Yes, some of us are old enough to remember when Iran was one of the best friends we had in that region of the world.
But mind you, not one single war in which American forces have been engaged since WWII has been constitutionally fought. Not one!
Ever since the United Nations was created, its interests have dominated the usage of US forces. In fact, our military today is quickly morphing into the tip of the spear for a burgeoning, global New World Order. To those with eyes to see, the evidence is everywhere. It’s not even being hidden anymore. Have you seen that new US Navy television commercial? It boldly proclaims, “The US Navy: A GLOBAL FORCE For Good.” (Emphasis added.)
This politically correct, UN-dominated New World Order has changed (and is changing) our US military right before our eyes. It has taken the greatest and proudest independent fighting force in the world–one created to defend the people and property of the United States–and turned it into a global military policeman for the evil Machiavellians at the UN.
In order to convert the US military into a true “Global Force,” several changes are being forced upon our fighting men.
First, more and more women are entering the US military.
Currently, women comprise about 20% of military personnel. And for the first time in US history, women are actively engaged in combat units in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The massive integration of women in combat may serve the interests of political correctness, but it does not serve the interests of combat effectiveness. Neither does it serve the interests of family and child rearing. And I don’t care how old fashioned that sounds!
Wives and mothers are the backbone of family nurturing. To willingly take mothers away from their children–and subject both mother and child to the separation and suffering that military life demands–is both unnatural and cruel.
And there is another stark reality that few people want to discuss: the fact that 30% of all women in the US military are raped. Yes, you read it right: 30%.
According to NPR, “In 2003, a survey of female veterans found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military. A 2004 study of veterans who were seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder found that 71 percent of the women said they were sexually assaulted or raped while serving. And a 1995 study of female veterans of the Gulf and earlier wars, found that 90 percent had been sexually harassed.”
See the report at:
Government and military brass know that the introduction of women into the military environment (especially the combat environment) is reaping problems of epidemic proportions, but they are deliberately ignoring and even covering them up.
For example, does anyone recall the name Jamie Leigh Jones? According to ABC News, “A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.
“Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.”
And this story leads into another phenomenon being created within this New World Order army: the way our government and military are increasing their use of “private” or “independent” contractors. In the past, these people were always known simply as mercenaries. Call them what you will, mercenaries are now a major component of the way our government wages war.
According to Global Research, “The growing use of private armies not only subjects target populations to savage warfare but makes it easier for the White House to subvert domestic public opinion and wage wars.
“Americans are less inclined to oppose a war that is being fought by hired foreign mercenaries, even when their own tax dollars are being squandered to fund it.
“‘The increasing use of contractors, private forces, or, as some would say, “mercenaries,” makes wars easier to begin and to fight–it just takes money and not the citizenry,’ said Michael Ratner, of New York’s Center for Constitutional Rights. ‘To the extent a population is called upon to go to war, there is resistance, a necessary resistance to prevent wars of self-aggrandizement, foolish wars, and, in the case of the United States, hegemonic imperialist wars.’”
See the report at:
Remember, at any given moment, there might be as many–if not more–mercenaries fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as there are US military forces. For example, according to the Christian Science Monitor, in early 2008, the number of mercenaries fighting in Iraq numbered more than 190,000. Remember, in addition to the benefit of not drafting US citizens to fight these perpetual wars (and thus avoid incurring the wrath and resistance of the American public), mercenaries enjoy the luxury of not having to comply with the military rules of engagement. And the stories of atrocities committed by US-employed mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan are too numerous to list.
In addition to the Jamie Jones case mentioned above, consider the case where Blackwater (now called Xe) mercenaries mowed down 17 Iraqi citizens in an unprovoked attack. And, of course, no one at Blackwater was held accountable for these murders. Reports of abuse, cruelty, and savagery by mercenaries in Iraq are commonplace. According to the Global Research report, “Many soldiers of fortune on private payrolls previously served dictators in South Africa, Chile, and elsewhere.”
The Washington Post quotes Brigadier General Karl Horst, an advisor to the U.S. Joint Force Command as saying, “These guys [mercenaries] run loose in this country [Iraq] and do stupid stuff. There’s no authority over them, so you can’t come down on them hard when they escalate force . . . They shoot people, and someone else has to deal with the aftermath. It happens all over the place.”
And you wonder why the United States is viewed so negatively around the world?
Granted, there is a place and proper use for mercenaries. Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor of The Progress Report, rightly observes, “One alternative to U.S. military action against terrorists who have attacked the U.S. and other countries, and are threatening further attacks, is to enact Letters of Marque and Reprisal. Article I, Section 8, paragraph 11 of the U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to ‘grant letters of Marque and Reprisal and make rules concerning captures on land and water.’ A ‘reprisal’ means an action taken in return for some injury. A reprisal could be a seizing of property or guilty persons in retaliation for an attack and injury. It could include forces used against the perpetrators for the redress of grievances. A reprisal could even involve killing a terrorist who is threatening further harm and cannot be captured.
“‘Marque’ is related to ‘marching’ and means crossing or marching across a border in order to do a reprisal. So a letter of Marque and Reprisal would authorize a private person, not in the U.S. armed forces, to conduct reprisal operations outside the borders of the U.S.A.
“Such Letters are grantable not just by the U.S. Constitution, but also by international law, which is why it was able to be included in the Constitution. The Letters are grantable whenever the citizens or subjects of one country are injured by those in another country and justice is denied by the government of that country, as happened with the attack by persons who were in Afghanistan.”
And that is exactly what Congressman Ron Paul attempted to do. He proposed H.R. 3076, the September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001, to authorize the U.S. State Department to issue such Letters. See Dr. Paul’s Press Release at:
However, neither the Congress nor the White House–Democrat or Republican–has any intention of following the Constitution; therefore, Letters of Marque and Reprisal were never authorized. As a result, no authority has been granted to these mercenaries to wage war on behalf of anyone, especially not the people of the United States.
But what unauthorized mercenaries do accomplish is to fulfill the demands of internationalists and globalists to use unaccountable and uncontrolled (at least by normal military protocols) private armies for their own personal and nefarious purposes.
The next step for our politically correct “Global Force” is the authorization for homosexuals to serve openly in the US military. This has long been the goal of globalists, and it is now about to happen.
It was globalist President Bill Clinton who introduced the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that allows homosexuals to serve in the US armed forces–but not openly. Of course, this was a major departure from US military history. From George Washington’s Continental army until the Clinton administration, homosexuality was deemed “incompatible” with military service. And now globalist Barack Obama is leading Congress to change the policy even further by allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the US military.
However, please consider this: if our governmental and military leaders would cover up the raping of American servicewomen by servicemen, don’t you know that they will cover up the raping of American servicemen by homosexual servicemen? Mark this down: mixing sex (heterosexual or homosexual) and military service is a recipe for disaster. And the potential damage inflicted upon military units (especially combat units) is exacerbated exponentially by the introduction of large numbers of homosexuals and women into those units. (This is the universal sentiment of virtually every active duty or retired serviceman I have ever spoken with.) But it does fit perfectly into the plans of the New World Order architects, who want to use the US military as much for the advancement of their politically correct agenda as they do for any actual military purpose.
Plus, dare I mention how that many violent gangs in North America are encouraging their members to join the US military in order to learn tactics and skills, which enable them to more effectively inflict their criminality upon the American people? Well, it’s true. And our military brass knows it’s true, and yet they still allow these thugs to enter our military. Hispanic gang members, especially, are entering the US military in droves.
According to a report in The American Conservative magazine, “[R]ecent figures indicate that gang membership in the Armed Forces significantly surpasses civilian levels. Stars and Stripes reported that 1 to 2 percent of the military are gang members, compared to 0.02 percent of the general population.”
See the report at:
No, ladies and gentlemen, it is not your father’s army. And, sadly, while many of our fine military leaders (not to mention many of our active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines) see all of this taking place, they are practically powerless to stop it, because political correctness and globalism run rampant in Washington, D.C., including at the Pentagon.
While in South America this month, I first visited the main cathedral in Santiago, Chile, and then I saw the main cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They were both highly lovely. And they both featured a multitude of paintings, murals and statues that glorified the strong physical and emotional bond that exists between adults and children. There were many statues depicting St. Mary nurturing and protecting the baby Jesus. Then there was St. Christopher, helping the young Jesus to safely cross a river. And of course there was St. Anthony. And I forget who all else. In the Buenos Aires cathedral especially, almost every icon there emphasized and illuminated the loving and protective nature of this strong protective adult-child bond.
There was also a bunch of artwork portraying the protective and nurturing bond that is supposed to exist between God the Son and all the rest of us poor lost sheep, God’s children.
The artwork in both churches made this very meaningful, holy and protective relationship absolutely jump out at me. “Adults are SUPPOSED to protect and nurture children,” these statues practically screamed. “There is a sacred and profound nature that exists within the parent-child bond.”
And face it, guys. The archetype of a benevolent god is based on the protective nature of adults toward children.
I bet that you know what is coming up next, right? The world’s adults today are NOT doing a good job of protecting their children. Napalm, white phosphorus, drones, Shock and Awe, child pornography, “spare the rod and spoil the child,” child prostitution, child slavery, child molestation, children soldiers, you name it. “How could ANYONE stoop so low as to hurt a child?” you might ask. And yet children’s trust in their adult protectors is violated daily and routinely at least a million times a day. Nothing justifies that. End of lecture.
Another thing about Chile and Argentina that almost blew my mind is that both countries used to be democracies and then both countries were seized by brutal dictatorships — dictatorships that involved torture, death squads, disappearances, concentration camps, assassinations and all that other messy stuff. Full-out dictatorships. No holds barred. CIA advisors in the background. Knocks on the door at midnight. Krystallnachts. Cattle prods. The whole nine yards.
And yet today both Chile and Argentina are democracies again. Go figure. It gives one pause. Perhaps this means that if the USA is ever taken over by dictators too, then we too might be able to find our way back. And I’m even going to go out on a limb here and suggest that had America and Britain not battled Hitler to the teeth, then sooner or later the German people would have given him the boot too. Look what happened in the Soviet Union. Eventually people do tend to speak up.
Maybe there is hope for the human race yet.
And maybe, just maybe, adults and governments will finally stop creating “collateral damage” that involves barbecuing babies — like what has happened or is still happening in places like Auschwitz, Rwanda, Baghdad and Gaza.
I just got some interesting information regarding Eva Peron from someone named Ivan Guarneti, stuff that I didn’t know. Apparently Eva was one of the first people to do battle with the IMF, among other things:
Unfortunately [many people] keep repeating all the arguments, word by word, that the Argentine oligarchy used between 1954-1983 to destroy my country and to commit the second genocide in our history, after the one perpetrated against our native nations. Juan Peron won free and democratic elections three times in Argentina. During none of those three times were there any claims of fraud, not even from the vicious pro-American opposition.
During his second presidency, Peron was kicked out of office by a military coup supported by the IMF and Washington.
The government which took office after mass-murdering unarmed civilians in Plaza de Mayo by bombing them from the air, went on to install firing squads as the new justice system — to such a point, that the popular imaginary named this new government la “Revolucion Fusiladora” (the way we all remember it nowadays) by twisting the self-denomination of “Revolucion Libertadora” given by the oligarchy.
They got Argentina immediately into signing agreements with the IMF (which Peron rejected in the 1950s) and into privitizing (of course, to American and British companies) the new exploration for oil fields. The process of murdering, torturing and encarcerating poltical opponents opened in June 1955, a few months after the bombing of Plaza de Mayo, and only ended in October 1983, after the whole country’s industrial base and a whole generation had been destroyed and disappeared.
Peron wasn’t either a socialist revolutionary, or a convinced democrat, nor a fascist, much less a dictator. Peron was an extremly ecclectic and pragmatic leader who saw an amazing opportunity to industrialize a rich but semi-feudal country. He was a man who understood that only the working class goes all the way although unfortunatly, himself didn’t want to go all the way.
Argentine women were able to vote for the first time because Peron and Evita legalized the female vote after Peron took office.
Millions of argentine workers bought the first homes in generations thanks to the Peron-Evita credit policies of buy today, pay when you can (if you ever can), no interest at all.
Workers for the first time in the history of Argentina had the right to eight-hour days, vacations, free health care for all, high salaries, and the right to free education for all, from elementary school all the way to university, Masters Degrees and PHDs — without paying a penny.
In only a decade, Argentina went froma stuck in the middle ages to having a home-grown aero-space industry, automobile industry, shipyards, oil industry, biochemistry industry, railways and highways all across the country, hopitals, schools, universities, etc, etc. And the same thing happened in culture and the arts: film, theatre, radio plays, literature, etc, (also sports). They all flourished during the late 40s.
Last, Argentine workers of that era had a very similar standard of life to the American workers, and way above European workers. No other country in Latin America to this day has ever built an equal-opportunity society with such levels of high salaries, such a volume of unionization and workers qualification and education as was had in Argentina of late 40s an early 50s.
That was the reason that Argentina got almost 30 years of “on and off” dictatorship between 1955-1983. The West (USA and Europe) needed to destroy the Argentine industrial base and the unionization of its working class — in order to integrate Argentina into their “International Division of Labor” design. Back then, there was no room in the world for an industrialized Latin American country.