Ruminations of an Afghan Girl Burning to Death in a Hospital Bed
by David Swanson - War Is a Crime Life is a very jumbled mixture. The pain of it, if you're awake and thinking, brings into your mind the happiest moments you can remember and transforms them into agony unless you resist bitterness with every drop of strength you have left, if not more. Physical pain makes clear-thinking and generous thinking more difficult, until death appears in front of you, and then the physical pain is as nothing.
I know that I'm not supposed to be bitter, and yet that somehow makes it harder not to be. When my father and sister and two cousins were blown into little pieces last year, it was the action of some distant office worker pushing a switch on a remote-controlled airplane. And I'm supposed to believe that they meant well.
And this is supposed to make it better. But somehow it makes it worse.
The ceasefire in Ukraine has been widely respected and the security situation has improved, French President Francois Hollande said after a meeting of the ‘Normandy Four’ countries today in Berlin. However, the Minsk peace accords are unlikely to be fully implemented by the end of the year.
The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany meet in Berlin on Oct 2, 2015
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Presidents Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko had moved closer to one another during the talks. Footage released prior to the meeting showed the Russian and Ukrainian leaders shaking hands.
Hollande and Merkel agreed that the talks, which lasted almost five hours, concluded with a positive outlook. The four leaders managed to reconcile issues concerning the withdrawal of heavy weapons in Eastern Ukraine, Merkel said. “There is hope for progress. We are narrowing the gap between us,” she said after the Normandy Four meeting.
Hillary Offers Syria a Libyan-Iraqi-Style Paradise
by David Swanson - War Is a Crime Americans may find Syria a bit confusing. David Petraeus, sainted hero, has proposed arming al Qaeda, organized devil. Vladimir Putin, reincarnated Hitler, is bombing either ISIS or al Qaeda or their friendly democratic allies, but he shouldn't be because he's against overthrowing the Syrian government, also run by Hitler living under the name Assad. Hillary Clinton, liberal socialist, wants to create a no-fly zone, but wouldn't that make it hard to bomb all the scary Muslims?
Wait, are we against Assad or the scary Muslims or both? Aaaaaarrrrgghh! How does this make any sense?
Let's start over, shall we?
Some basic facts?
We'll start with the most uncomfortable fact, but one that helps begin to make sense of everything, OK?
Israel remains in the grip of a kind of collective schizophrenia. Not only its governors but the majority of its Jewish population have delusions of both grandeur and persecution, making for a distortion of reality and inconsistent behavior.
Israeli Jews see and represent themselves as a chosen people and part of a superior Western civilization. They consider themselves more cerebral, reasonable, moral, and dynamic than Arabs and Muslims generally, and Palestinians in particular.
At the same time they feel themselves to be the ultimate incarnation of the Jewish people’s unique suffering through the ages, still subject to constant insecurity and defenselessness in the face of ever-threatening extreme and unmerited punishment.
Such a psyche leads to hubris and vengefulness, the latter a response to the perpetual Jewish torment said to have culminated, as if by a directive purpose, in the Holocaust. Remembering the Shoah is Israel’s Eleventh Commandment and central to the nation’s civil religion and Weltanschauung. Family, school, synagogue, and official culture propagate its prescriptive narrative, decontextualized and surfeited with ethnocentrism. The re-memorizing of victimization is ritualized on Yom Ha Shoah and institutionalized by Yad Vashem.
Vancouver Island-born actor Pamela Anderson and American singer Miley Cyrus have rightly weighed in on British Columbia’s wolf cull, resulting in a stage tantrum by our elected entertainers, i.e. provincial politicians.
Premier Christy Clark’s awkward and derisive response to Anderson and Cyrus for having called out the unscientific, unethical and unwarranted B.C. wolf cull was inappropriately personal toward the two celebrities, while being factually incorrect about the cull. Evidently, Clark’s B.C. Liberal Party sitcom is in dire need of new scriptwriters.
In fairness to the premier, representatives from all the provincial parties in the B.C. legislature have, to varying degrees, repeated the misinformation and misconceptions propagated by anti-science, anti-large- carnivore, pro-wolf-cull cheerleaders such as the B.C. Wildlife Federation.
[Remarks at the launch in London of The WikiLeaks Files, with an introduction by Julian Assange.]
George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
These are dark times, in which the propaganda of deceit touches all our lives. It is as if political reality has been privatised and illusion legitimised. The information age is a media age. We have politics by media; censorship by media; war by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of clichés and false assumptions.
Wondrous technology has become both our friend and our enemy. Every time we turn on a computer or pick up a digital device – our secular rosary beads — we are subjected to control: to surveillance of our habits and routines, and to lies and manipulation.
Edward Bernays, who invented the term, “public relations” as a euphemism for “propaganda”, predicted this more than 80 years ago. He called it, “the invisible government”.
He wrote, “Those who manipulate this unseen element of [modern democracy] constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of …”
After UK and US bombs have been devastating the Middle East for over a decade, killing certainly tens and probably hundreds of thousands of people, including many thousands of children, the media have suddenly noticed this morning that bombs kill an awful lot of civilians. But only Russian bombs, of course. British bombs are cheerful, happy and their shrapnel and blast are brilliantly engineered only to go in the direction of bad guys.
The UK/US bombing of Sirte was approximately 500 times more devastating than the Russian bombings yesterday. Yet strangely there was not one single BBC report on the thousands of civilian casualties they caused in just one of many towns they bombed in Libya.
It is worth pointing out that whether yesterday’s bombing by the Russians was against ISIL or against a different bunch of crazed Islamist rebels, one still supported by the CIA and Saudi Arabia, makes no difference whatsoever to the legal position.
The key sentence in The New York Times’ lead article about Russian airstrikes against Syrian rebel targets fell to the bottom of the story, five paragraphs from the end, where the Times noted in passing that the area north of Homs where the attacks occurred had been the site of an offensive by a coalition “including Nusra Front.”
What the Times didn’t say in that context was that Nusra Front is Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, an omission perhaps explained because this additional information would disrupt the righteous tone of the article, accusing Russia of bad faith in attacking rebel groups other than the Islamic State.
The World Trade Center’s Twin
Towers burning on 9/11. (Photo: National Park Service)
But the Russians had made clear their intent was to engage in airstrikes against the mélange of rebel groups in which Al Qaeda as well as the Islamic State played prominent roles. The Times and the rest of the mainstream U.S. media are just playing games when they pretend otherwise.
Plus, the reality about Syria’s splintered rebel coalition is that it is virtually impossible to distinguish between the few “moderate” rebels and the many Sunni extremists.
The 2016 election campaign is certainly a billionaire’s playground when it comes to “establishment candidates” like Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush who cater to mega-donors and use their money to try to rally party bases.
The only genuine exception to the rule this time around has been Bernie Sanders, who has built a solid grassroots following and funding machine, while shunning what he calls “the billionaire class” that fuels the super PACs.
Donald Trump, like Ross Perot back in the 1992 and 1996 elections, has played quite a different trick on the money-saturated American political system.
He has removed the billionaire as middleman between citizen plebeians and political elites, and created a true .00001% candidate, because he’s... well, a financial elite unto himself, however conveniently posed as the country’s straight-talking “everyman.”
Despite his I-can-buy-but-can’t-be-bought swagger, Trump’s persona has been carefully constructed to deflect even the most obvious questions of conflict of interest that his wealth and deal-making history should bring up. He claims that he would govern (or dictate) as he is, no apologies or bullshit. But would he?
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a blistering critique of US foreign policy to the UN General Assembly.
On Tuesday, Barack Obama shoved a knife in Putin’s back. This is from Reuters:
“France will discuss with its partners in the coming days a proposal by Turkey and members of the Syrian opposition for a no-fly zone in northern Syria, French President Francois Hollande said on Monday…
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius “in the coming days will look at what the demarcation would be, how this zone could be secured and what our partners think,” Hollande told reporters on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly…
Hollande is a liar and a puppet. He knows the Security Council will never approve a no-fly zone. Russia and China have already said so. And they’ve explained why they are opposed to it, too. It’s because they don’t want another failed state on their hands like Libya, which is what happened last time the US and NATO imposed a no-fly zone.
But that’s beside the point. The real reason the no-fly zone issue has resurfaced is because it was one of the concessions Obama made to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the use of Incirlik airbase. Washington has kept the terms of that deal secret, but Hollande has let the cat out of the bag.