30 September 2014

100 YEARS' WAR 1337-1453

The first 100 year war recorded was between England and France. This was started in approximately 1337 and continued until about 1453. Since then there have been many "100 Year Wars" including those in our times from about 1914 to 2014 and now the beginning of the next cycle from 2014 onwards. As the writer of the following article from CounterPunch explains, the United States is not part of the solution, it is the problem!

Imperial Rot

Washington’s Secret Agendas

One might think that by now even Americans would have caught on to the constant stream of false alarms that Washington sounds in order to deceive the people into supporting its hidden agendas.
The public fell for the lie that the Taliban in Afghanistan are terrorists allied with al Qaeda. Americans fought a war for 13 years that enriched Dick Cheney’s firm, Halliburton, and other private interests only to end in another Washington failure.
The public fell for the lie that Saddam Hussein in Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” that were a threat to America and that if the US did not invade Iraq Americans risked a “mushroom cloud going up over an American city.”  With the rise of ISIS, this  long war apparently is far from over.  Billions of dollars more in profits will pour into the coffers of the US military security complex as Washington fights those who are redrawing the false Middle East boundaries created by the British and French after WW I when the British and French seized territories of the former Ottoman Empire.
The American public fell for the lies told about Gaddafi in Libya. The formerly stable and prosperous country is now in chaos.
The American public fell for the lie that Iran has, or is building, nuclear weapons. Sanctioned and reviled by the West, Iran has shifted toward an Eastern orientation, thereby removing a principal oil producer from Western influence.
The public fell for the lie that Assad of Syria used “chemical weapons against his own people.” The jihadists that Washington sent to overthrow Assad have turned out to be, according to Washington’s propaganda, a threat to America.
The greatest threat to the world is Washington’s insistence on its hegemony. The ideology of a handful of neoconservatives is the basis for this insistence.  We face the situation in which a handful of American neoconservative psychopaths claim to determine the fate of countries.
Many still believe Washington’s lies, but increasingly the world sees Washington as the greatest threat to peace and life on earth.  The claim that America is “exceptional and indispensable” is used to justify Washington’s right to dictate to other countries.
The casualties of Washington’s bombings are invariably civilians, and the deaths will produce more recruits for ISIS.  Already there are calls for Washington to reintroduce “boots on the ground” in Iraq.  Otherwise, Western civilization is doomed, and our heads will be cut off.  The newly created propaganda of a “Russian threat” requires more NATO spending and more military bases on Russia’s borders.  A “quick reaction force” is being created to respond to a nonexistent threat of a Russian invasion of the Baltics, Poland, and Europe.
Usually it takes the American public a year, or two, three, or four to realize that it has been deceived by lies and propaganda, but by that time the public has swallowed a new set of lies and propaganda and is all concerned about the latest “threat.”  The American public seems incapable of understanding that just as the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth, threat was a hoax, so is the sixth threat, and so will be the seventh, eighth, and ninth.
Moreover, none of these American military attacks on other countries have resulted in a better situation, as Vladimir Putin honestly states.  Yet, the public and its representatives in Congress support each new military adventure despite the record of deception and failure.
Perhaps if Americans were taught their true history in place of idealistic fairy tales, they would be less gullible and less susceptible to government propaganda.  I have recommended Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s The Untold History of the US, Howard Zinn’s  A People’s History of the US,  and now I recommend Stephen Kinzer’s  The Brothers, the story of the long rule of John Foster and Allen Dulles over the State Department and CIA and their demonization of reformist governments that they often succeeded in overthrowing. Kinzer’s history of the Dulles brothers’ plots to overthrow six governments provides insight into how Washington operates today.
In 1953 the Dulles brothers overthrew Iran’s elected leader, Mossadegh and imposed the Shah, thus poisoning American-Iranian relations through the present day.  Americans might yet be led into a costly and pointless war with Iran, because of the Dulles brothers poisoning of relations in 1953.
The Dulles brothers overthrew Guatemala’s popular president Arbenz, because his land reform threatened the interest of the Dulles brothers’ Sullivan & Cromwell law firm’s United Fruit Company client. The brothers launched an amazing disinformation campaign depicting Arbenz as a dangerous communist who was a threat to Western civilization.  The brothers enlisted dictators such as Somoza in Nicaragua and Batista in Cuba against Arbenz. The CIA organized air strikes and an invasion force.  But nothing could happen until Arbenz’s strong support among the people in Guatemala could be shattered.  The brothers arranged this through Cardinal Spellman, who enlisted Archbishop Rossell y Arellano. “A pastoral letter was read on April 9, 1954 in all Guatemalan churches.”
A masterpiece of propaganda, the pastoral letter misrepresented Arbenz as a dangerous communist who was the enemy of all Guatemalans.  False radio broadcasts
produced a fake reality of freedom fighter victories and army defections.  Arbenz asked the UN to send fact finders, but Washington prevented that from happening.  American journalists, with the exception of James Reston, supported the lies. Washington threatened and bought off Guatemala’s senior military commanders, who forced Arbenz to resign.  The CIA’s chosen and well paid “liberator,” Col. Castillo Armas, was installed as Arbenz’s successor.
We recently witnessed a similar operation in Ukraine.
President Eisenhower thanked the CIA for averting “a Communist beachhead in our hemisphere,” and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles gave a national TV and radio address in which he declared that the events in Guatemala “expose the evil purpose of the Kremlin.”  This despite the uncontested fact that the only outside power operating in Guatemala was the Dulles brothers.
What had really happened is that a democratic and reformist government was overthrown because it compensated United Fruit Company for the nationalization of the company’s fallow land at a value listed by the company on its tax returns. America’s leading law firm or perhaps more accurately, America’s foreign policy-maker, Sullivan & Cromwell, had no intention of permitting a democratic government to prevail over the interests of the law firm’s client, especially when senior partners of the firm controlled both overt and covert US foreign policy.  The two brothers, whose family members were invested in the United Fruit Company, simply applied the resources of the CIA, State Department, and US media to the protection of their private interests.  The extraordinary gullibility of the American people, the corrupt American media,  and the indoctrinated and impotent Congress allowed the Dulles brothers to succeed in overthrowing a democracy.
Keep in mind that this use of the US government in behalf of private interests occurred 60 years ago long before the corrupt Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes. And no doubt in earlier times as well.
The Dulles brothers next intended victim was Ho Chi Minh.  Ho, a nationalist leader, asked for America’s help in freeing Vietnam from French colonial rule. But John Foster Dulles, a self-righteous anti-communist, miscast Ho as a Communist Threat who was springing the domino theory on the Western innocents.  Nationalism and anti-colonialism, Foster declared, were merely a cloak for communist subversion.
Paul Kattenburg, the State Department desk officer for Vietnam suggested that instead of war, the US should give Ho $500 million in reconstruction aid to rebuild the country from war and French misrule, which would free Ho from dependence on Russian and Chinese support, and, thereby, influence. Ho appealed to Washington several times, but the demonic inflexibility of the Dulles brothers prevented any sensible response. Instead, the hysteria whipped-up over the “communist threat” by the Dulles brothers landed the United States in the long, costly, fiasco known as the Vietnam War.  Kattenburg later wrote that it was suicidal for the US “to cut out its eyes and ears, to castrate its analytic capacity, to shut itself off from the truth because of blind prejudice.”  Unfortunately for Americans and the world, castrated analytic capacity is Washington’s strongest suit.
The Dulles brothers’ next targets were President Sukarno of Indonesia, Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of Congo, and Fidel Castro.  The plot against Castro was such a disastrous failure that it cost Allen Dulles his job.  President Kennedy lost confidence in the agency and told his brother Bobby that after his reelection he was going to break the CIA into a thousand pieces.  When President Kennedy removed Allen Dulles, the CIA understood the threat and struck first.
Warren Nutter, my Ph.D. dissertation chairman, later Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, taught his students that for the US government to maintain the people’s trust, which democracy requires, the government’s policies must be affirmations of our principles and be openly communicated to the people.  Hidden agendas, such as those of the Dulles brothers and the Clinton, Bush and Obama regimes, must rely on secrecy and manipulation and, thereby, arouse the distrust of the people.  If Americans are too brainwashed to notice, many foreign nationals are not.
The US government’s secret agendas have cost Americans and many peoples in the world tremendously. Essentially, the Foster brothers created the Cold War with their secret agendas and anti-communist hysteria. Secret agendas committed Americans to long, costly, and unnecessary wars in Vietnam and the Middle East.  Secret CIA and military agendas intending regime change in Cuba were blocked by President John F. Kennedy and resulted in the assassination of a president, who, for all his faults, was likely to have ended the Cold War twenty years before Ronald Reagan seized the opportunity.
Secret agendas have prevailed for so long that the American people themselves are now corrupted.  As the saying goes, “a fish rots from the head.”  The rot in Washington now permeates the country.
Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is How America Was Lost.


From the Mail and Guardian - South Africa

Jacob Zuma's secret nuke 'stitch-up'

As the government scrambles to limit fallout, we reveal how Jacob Zuma grabbed control of the R1tn deal and negotiated directly with Vladimir Putin.

President Jacob Zuma personally negotiated a nuclear deal with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, say highly placed government and ANC sources. This ensured that the intergovernmental agreement announced with fanfare this week took all but his most trusted and intimate inner circle by surprise.
A senior ANC leader, who Zuma entrusted with intimate details of the negotiation with Putin, said that Zuma had ironed out details directly with the Russian president on the sidelines of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in Brazil in July, and finalised details of the pact during his highly secretive visit to Moscow last month.
“It was simple. When Zuma came back from Brazil, it was done,” the senior ANC leader said.
The party leader and another well-placed ANC MP added that the details of the deal were finalised during Zuma’s trip to Russia in August.
The two sources said that Zuma subsequently instructed energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to sign the deal with the Russians on the sidelines of the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
A joint statement issued by the Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosatom and the South African energy department on Monday said that the agreement “lays the foundation for the large-scale nuclear power plants procurement and development programme of South Africa based on the construction in South Africa of new nuclear power plants with Russian VVER reactors with total installed capacity of up to 9.6GW (up to eight [reactor] units)”.
Deputy energy minister Thembisile Majola told Parliament’s energy portfolio committee, which met on Tuesday, that she had no knowledge of the nuclear deal and had first learned of it through the media.
The chairperson of the committee, Fikile Majola, said that he would call Joemat-Pettersson to explain herself to the committee. “We want her to tell us the details surrounding the deal,” he said.
Shrouded in secrecy 
Sources also said that the minister and Zuma did not take the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) into their confidence over the matter. Four NEC members independently said that there was no mention of an impending nuclear agreement with Russia at last weekend’s meeting. 
One added that some senior party figures were unimpressed that Zuma, instead of resting in Russia as initially planned, had negotiated deals that had not been agreed to by the leadership. He said Zuma only gave details of the deal to his most trusted Cabinet ministers and MPs.

This week’s announcement also startled politically connected nuclear lobbyists and industry insiders, some of whom frantically exchanged calls in a bid to understand its significance.
A respected nuclear industry leader said the statement looked “pretty definitive”, and news that Russia had clinched a deal to build nuclear reactors blazed unchecked across radio and television bulletins, as well as social media.
The announcement was followed by an apparent damage control exercise. A rival to Rosatom said that they had received written assurances on Tuesday morning from a leading member of the South African delegation to the IAEA conference in Vienna that “there will be other intergovernmental agreements signed with the other vendors before the procurement process will start”.
A new statement issued solely by the department of energy on Tuesday evening said that the agreement “initiates the preparatory phase for the procurement for the new nuclear build programme”.
“Similar agreements are foreseen with other vendor countries that have expressed an interest in supporting South Africa in this massive programme,” it said. “Joemat-Pettersson will lead a delegation to visit France, where bilateral discussions will culminate with the signing of a co-operation agreement between the two countries [and] the South African government is also in discussions towards concluding an intergovernmental agreement with the Chinese government.”
Russia leads the race 
But Zuma’s personal involvement with Putin means that even if similar agreements are concluded with other states, the Russians must be considered clear frontrunners.
Rosatom told the Mail & Guardian that Monday’s joint statement was “intended to solely serve as information on the agreement and not necessarily position Rosatom as a preferred bidder”.
“The agreement stipulates the overall development of various fields of nuclear power industry, and supplementary agreements will be signed in each field stipulating all details,” added a spokesperson.
Senior government and industry sources have been telling amaBhungane for the past 18 months that Zuma has taken a personal interest in the government’s planned procurement of 9?600 megawatts (an estimated R1-trillion’s worth) of nuclear power, regarding it as one of his “presidential legacy projects”.
A senior government official said that Zuma and Putin made initial strides towards a nuclear deal at the Brics summit in Durban in March 2013, but hammered out the details during Zuma’s working visit to the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi in May last year.
The M&G reported that Zuma had slipped into the driver’s seat the following month, replacing his deputy at the time, Kgalema Motlanthe, as chair of the national nuclear energy executive co-ordinating committee.
A month later, Zuma replaced energy minister Dipuo Peters with Ben Martins, in a move widely seen as being intended to tighten control over the nuclear procurement process and tie up a deal with the Russians.
Joemat-Pettersson took over from Martins in May this year.
Draft agreement
According to the official, a draft nuclear co-operation agreement began to circulate between the Russians and the South Africans in July last year. Initiated by the Russians, this apparently sought a commitment from the South Africans to deal exclusively with them. It allegedly contained four clauses that particularly alarmed South African government officials. They included:
·                        Limiting South Africa to acquiring Russian reactor technology;  
·                        Giving Russia exclusive say over the auxiliary construction contracts; 
·                        Giving Russia a 20-year veto on South Africa doing business with any other nuclear vendor countries; and 
·                        Making South Africa exclusively liable for all nuclear equipment procured from Russia as soon as it left that country. 
“These clauses either flouted sections of our Constitution, which guarantees an open, competitive and transparent bidding processes, or they were not in our national interest,” said the source.
The Russians were said to have pushed “aggressively” for the signing of the agreement, first at the G20 summit in St Petersburg in September last year and again before the Atomex nuclear conference, hosted by Rosatom, in Johannesburg in November. But South African concerns about the proposed exclusivity and liability clauses are said to have stymied an agreement.
At the two-day G20 summit, South African and Russian officials were unable to agree on key clauses in the nuclear co-operation treaty, including those relating to its financing.
The M&G has learned reliably that Zuma summoned then finance minister Pravin Gordhan, who had accompanied him to the summit, to a meeting and appealed to him for the necessary financial commitments. Gordhan apparently declined and warned Zuma such a step would be unwise.
Gordhan could not be reached for confirmation on Thursday.
Initial agreement
In October last year, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize accompanied a delegation of ANC-aligned businesspeople from the Progressive Business Forum on a four-day visit to Russia. The ANC signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia’s ruling United Russia party.
The M&G has previously reported that, before the Atomex conference, Russian state-owned media claimed a nuclear reactor deal was a fait accompli. News agency RIA Novosti reported as fact that Rosatom “are to build eight nuclear electricity units in South Africa. Formal agreements about this are to be signed … on the fringes of Atomex”.
But what was released at Atomex was a memorandum of understanding between Rosatom and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation.

A protester in front of a Rosatom building in Russia. (Alexander Nemenov, AFP)
Martins promised at the time that a co-operation agreement would be signed early this year, pending the finalisation of “legal procedures”.
After Atomex, a source said energy department officials had stopped answering Rosatom’s calls, suggesting that the Russians had overstepped the mark or that major South African government decisions were then placed on hold until after this year’s elections.
After the May poll, Zuma removed Martins, who had held the position for less than a year, and replaced him with Joemat-Pettersson.
Presidential loyalty
Several M&G and amaBhungane sources said that she was seen as being more loyal to the president than her predecessors and more likely to deliver the outcome required on the nuclear deal.
It is not clear whether the agreement signed on Monday differs materially from the draft haggled over by the Russians and South Africans last year.
Xolile Mabhongo, a member of the South African government delegation to Vienna, told Business Day on Thursday that the veto clause had been removed from the signed agreement. He also said that the text of the new agreement would not be made public.
But the announcement reveals the Russians have finally managed to get South Africans to put pen to paper, stretching their lead in the race for the trillion-rand nuclear tender.
Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj did not respond to questions. – Additional reporting by Sarah Wild & Pauli van Wyk
Qaanitah Hunter is an M&G political reporter and Lionel Faull is an investigator with the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Long and winding road to a nuclear nation

Politically, South Africa and Russia seem determined to get a nuclear build deal done with unseemly haste. But there are many obstacles to it becoming a reality.
 Before South Africa can start building nuclear power plants, Parliament must ratify every step of the process, from the broad country-to-country agreement down to the allocation of money. 
Two regulators, those for electricity pricing and nuclear power respectively, must sign off on specific details, and they are bound by their own statutes and rules on fairness and justifiability. The flow of vast sums of money to foreign suppliers, and the accompanying currency hedges, are subject to financial regulations. 
There are stringent local requirements for environmental impact assessments and consultations with the communities involved (Bantamsklip and Duinefontein in the Western Cape and Thyspunt in the Eastern Cape are currently proposed sites for the nuclear stations). 
The fairness of tenders – to bidders, but also the citizens ultimately doing the buying – is a constitutional imperative, giving the courts broad powers to review processes if an interested party cries foul. 
Nuclear build and the manufacture and transport of nuclear fuel are subject to a tangle of international agreements on nonproliferation and safety. South Africa has agreed to adhere to the International Atomic Agency’s 19 milestones for a nuclear build, an anomaly for a country that has an existing nuclear programme. 
They include securing the money to deal with nuclear waste and the decommissioning of the power plants decades down the line, and having a human resources plan to make sure there are enough skilled people to run the proposed fleet.
 The guidelines also include a very practical (not to mention time-consuming and expensive) requirement about upgrading the electricity grid to deal with the start-up requirements and output of the new nuclear stations.   
Early this month, as the United States and the European Union moved to impose sanctions against Russia because of the conflict in the Ukraine, Russian nuclear company Rosatom argued that politics should play no part in decisions on nuclear energy. With safety and enormous sums of money involved, the company said “temporary disagreements” between countries should not be a factor. 
Between 1998, when South Africa started considering new nuclear build, and 2007, when Jacob Zuma ousted Thabo Mbeki as ANC leader, Russia was not considered a serious contender for any contracts. – Sarah Wild & Phillip de Wet

DA demands full disclosure

The Democratic Alliance said on Thursday that it has applied for full access to all the documents relating to the nuclear deal. 
It said that under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, it would demand sight of everything related to the decision to co-operate with Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation on the new nuclear fleet, including the minutes of the interministerial committee on energy security chaired by President Jacob Zuma. 
The party has also written to the parliamentary oversight committee on energy, requesting that it subpoena Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to appear before it and produce a copy of the full agreement with Rosatom, and to clarify Rosatom’s statements. 
DA leader Helen Zille said that the “extraordinary and unprecedented” situation where both Rosatom and the department of energy issued identical statements made it clear that there was a deal to develop nuclear programmes in “South Africa driven by Rosatom and the Russian government”. 
Despite the department trying to reinterpret the statement retrospectively, “one can hardly believe that they would have issued the first statement, which is the identical version of Rosatom statement, if there wasn’t some validity to it”. 
She said there had been speculation for many months about a secret deal being reached between Zuma and Russian President Vladimir Putin concerning the nuclear programme, which will cost an estimated R1-trillion and have to be paid for by generations to come. 
“We have been very badly burned as a society in the past and with all the secrecy that surrounds this particular deal, we are absolutely determined to get to the bottom of it,” Zille said. – Andisiwe Makinana

Lionel is a reporter at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Amabhungane.
·                        Read more from Lionel Faull

14 September 2014


Breaking the Last Taboo

Gaza and the Threat of World War

“There is a taboo,” said the visionary Edward Said, “on telling the truth about Palestine and the great destructive force behind Israel.  Only when this truth is out can any of us be free.”
For many people, the truth is out now.  At last, they know.  Those once intimidated into silence can’t look away now. Staring at them from their TV, laptop, phone, is proof of the barbarism of the Israeli state and the great destructive force of its mentor and provider, the United States, the cowardice of European governments, and the collusion of others, such as Canada and Australia, in this epic crime.
The attack on Gaza was an attack on all of us. The siege of Gaza is a siege of all of us. The denial of justice to Palestinians is a symptom of much of humanity under siege and a warning that the threat of a new world war is growing by the day.
When Nelson Mandela called the struggle of Palestine “the greatest moral issue of our time”, he spoke on behalf of true civilisation, not that which empires invent.  In Latin America, the governments of Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, El Salvador, Peru and Ecuador have made their stand on Gaza. Each of these countries has known its own dark silence when immunity for mass murder was sponsored by the same godfather in Washington that answered the cries of children in Gaza with more ammunition to kill them.
Unlike Netanyahu and his killers, Washington’s pet fascists in Latin America didn’t concern themselves with moral window dressing. They simply murdered, and left the bodies on rubbish dumps.  For Zionism, the goal is the same: to dispossess and ultimately destroy an entire human society: a truth that 225 Holocaust survivors and their descendants have compared with te genesis of genocide.
Nothing has changed since the Zionists’ infamous “Plan D” in 1948 that ethnically cleansed an entire people. Recently, on the website of theTimes of Israel were the words: “Genocide is Permissible”. A deputy speaker of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, Moshe Feiglin, demands a policy of mass expulsion into concentration camps. An MP, Ayelet Shaked, whose party is a member of the governing coalition, calls for the extermination of Palestinian mothers to prevent them giving birth to what she calls “little snakes”.
For years, reporters have watched Israeli soldiers bait Palestinian children by abusing them through loud-speakers. Then they shoot them dead.  For years, reporters have known about Palestinian women about to give birth and refused passage through a roadblock to a hospital; and the baby has died, and sometimes the mother.
For years, reporters have known about Palestinian doctors and ambulance crews given permission by Israeli commanders to attend the wounded or remove the dead, only to be shot through the head.
For years, reporters have known about stricken people prevented from getting life-saving treatment, or shot dead when they’ve tried to reach a clinic for chemotherapy treatment. One elderly lady with a walking stick was murdered in this way – a bullet in her back.
When I put the facts of this crime to Dori Gold, a senior adviser to the Israeli prime minister, he said, “Unfortunately in every kind of warfare there are cases of civilians who are accidentally killed. But the case you cite was not terrorism. Terrorism means putting the cross-hairs of the sniper’s rifle on a civilian deliberately.”
I replied, “That’s exactly what happened.”
“No,” he said, “it did not happen.”
Such a lie or delusion is repeated unerringly by Israel’s apologists. As the former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges points out, the reporting of such an atrocity invariably ends up as “caught in the cross-fire”. For as long as I have covered the Middle East, much if not most of the western media has colluded in this way.
In one of my films, a Palestinian cameraman, Imad Ghanem, lies helpless while soldiers from the “most moral army in the world” blew both his legs off.  This atrocity was given two lines on the BBC website. Thirteen journalists were killed by Israel in its latest bloodfest in Gaza. All were Palestinian. Who knows their names?
Something is different now. There is a huge revulsion across the world; and the  voices of sensible liberalism are worried. Their hand wringing and specious choir of “equal blame” and “Israel’s right to defend itself” will not wash any more; neither will the smear of anti-Semitism. Neither will their selective cry that “something must be done” about Islamic fanatics but nothing must be done about Zionist fanatics.
One sensible liberal voice, the novelist Ian McEwan, was being celebrated as a sage by the Guardian while the children of Gaza were blown to bits. This is the same Ian McEwan who ignored the pleading of Palestinians not to accept the Jerusalem Prize for literature. “If I only went to countries that I approve of, I probably would never get out of bed,” said McEwan.
If they could speak, the dead of Gaza might say: Stay in bed, great novelist, for your very presence smoothes the bed of racism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and murder – no matter the weasel words you uttered as you claimed your prize.
Understanding the sophistry and power of liberal propaganda is key to understanding why Israel’s outrages endure; why the world looks on; why sanctions are never applied to Israel; and why nothing less than a total boycott of everything Israeli is now a measure of basic human decency.
The most incessant propaganda says Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel.  Khaled Hroub, the Cambridge University scholar considered a world leading authority on Hamas, says this phrase is “never used or adopted by Hamas, even in its most radical statements”.  The oft-quoted “anti-Jewish” 1988 Charter was the work of “one individual and made public without appropriate Hamas consensus …. The author was one of the ‘old guard’ “; the document is regarded as an embarrassment and never cited.
Hamas has repeatedly offered a 10-year truce with Israel and has long settled for a two-state solution. When Medea Benjamin, the fearless Jewish American activist, was in Gaza, she carried a letter from Hamas leaders to President Obama that made clear the government of Gaza wanted peace with Israel.  It was ignored. I personally know of many such letters carried in good faith, ignored or dismissed.
The unforgivable crime of Hamas is a distinction almost never reported: it is the only Arab government to have been freely and democratically elected by its people. Worse, it has now formed a government of unity with the Palestinian Authority.  A single, resolute Palestinian voice – in the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court – is the most feared threat.
Since 2002, a pioneering media unit at Glasgow University has produced remarkable studies of reporting and propaganda in Israel/Palestine. Professor Greg Philo and his colleagues were shocked to find a public ignorance compounded by TV news reporting. The more people watched, the less they knew.
Greg Philo says the problem is not “bias” as such. Reporters and producers are as moved as anyone by the suffering of Palestinians; but so imposing is the power structure of the media — as an extension of the state and its vested interests — that critical facts and historical context are routinely suppressed.
Incredibly, less than nine per cent of young viewers interviewed by  Professor Philo’s team were aware that Israel was the occupying power, and that the illegal settlers were Jewish; many believed them to be Palestinian. The term “Occupied Territories” was seldom explained. Words such as “murder”, “atrocity”, “cold-blooded killing” were used only to describe the deaths of Israelis.
Recently, a BBC reporter, David Loyn, was critical of another British journalist, Jon Snow of Channel 4 News. Snow was so moved by what he had seen in Gaza he went on YouTube to make a humanitarian appeal. What concerned the BBC man was that Snow had breached protocol and been emotional in his YouTube piece.
“Emotion,” wrote Loyn, “is the stuff of propaganda and news is against propaganda”. Did he write this with a straight face?  In fact, Snow’s delivery was calm.  His crime was to have strayed outside the boundaries of fake impartiality. Unforgivably, he didn’t censor himself.
In 1937, with Adolf Hitler in power, Geoffrey Dawson, editor of The Times in London, wrote the following in his diary: “I spend my nights in taking out anything which will hurt [German] susceptibilities and in dropping in little things which are intended to soothe them.”
On 30 July, the BBC offered viewers a masterclass in the Dawson Principle. The diplomatic correspondent of the programme Newsnight, Mark Urban, gave five reasons why the Middle East was in turmoil. None included the historic or contemporary role of the British government.  The Cameron government’s dispatch of £8 billion worth of arms and military equipment to Israel was airbrushed. Britain’s massive arms shipment to Saudi Arabia was airbrushed. Britain’s role in the destruction of Libya was airbrushed. Britain’s support for the tyranny in Egypt was airbrushed.
As for the British invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, they didn’t happen, either.
The only expert witness on this BBC programme was an academic called Toby Dodge from the London School of Economics. What viewers needed to know was that Dodge had been a special adviser to David Petraeus, the American general largely responsible for the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this, too, was airbrushed.
In matters of war and peace, BBC-style illusions of impartiality and credibility do more to limit and control public discussion than tabloid distortion. As Greg Philo pointed out, Jon Snow’s moving commentary on YouTube was limited to whether the Israeli assault on Gaza was proportionate or reasonable. What was missing – and is almost always missing – was the essential truth of the longest military occupation in modern times: a criminal enterprise backed by western governments from Washington to London to Canberra.
As for the myth that “vulnerable” and “isolated” Israel is surrounded by enemies, Israel is actually surrounded by strategic allies. The Palestinian Authority, bankrolled, armed and directed by the US, has long colluded with Tel Aviv. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Netanyahu are the tyrannies in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar — if the World Cup ever gets to Qatar, count on Mossad to run the security.
Resistance is humanity at its bravest and most noble. The resistance in Gaza is rightly compared with the 1943 Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto – which also dug tunnels and deployed tactics of subterfuge and surprise against an overpowering military machine. The last surviving leader of the Warsaw uprising, Marek Edelman, wrote a letter of solidarity to the Palestinian resistance, comparing it with the ZOB, his ghetto fighters. The letter began: “Commanders of the Palestine military, paramilitary and partisan operations – and to all soldiers [of Palestine].”
Dr. Mads Gilbert is a Norwegian doctor renowned for his heroic work in Gaza.  On 8 August, Dr. Gilbert returned to his hometown, Tronso in Norway which, as he pointed out, the Nazis had occupied for seven years. He said, “Imagine being back in 1945 and we in Norway did not win the liberation struggle, did not throw out the occupier. Imagine the occupier remaining in our country, taking it piece by piece, for decades upon decades, and banishing us to the leanest areas, and taking the fish in the sea and the water beneath us, then bombing our hospitals, our ambulance workers, our schools, our homes.
“Would we have given up and waved the white flag? No, we would not! And this is the situation in Gaza. This is not a battle between terrorism and democracy. Hamas is not the enemy Israel is fighting. Israel is waging a war against the Palestinian people’s will to resist. It is the Palestinian people’s dignity that they will not accept this.
“In 1938, the Nazis called the Jews Untermenschen – subhuman. Today, Palestinians are treated as a subhuman people who can be slaughtered without any in power reacting.
“So I have returned to Norway, a free country, and this country is free because we had a resistance movement, because occupied nations have the right to resist, even with weapons – it’s stated in international law. And the Palestinian people’s resistance in Gaza is admirable: a struggle for us all.”
There are dangers in telling this truth, in breaching what Edward Said called “the last taboo”.  My documentary, Palestine Is Still the Issue, was nominated for a Bafta, a British academy award, and praised by the Independent Television Commission for its “journalistic integrity” and the “care and thoroughness with which it was researched.”  Yet, within minutes of the film’s broadcast on Britain’s ITV Network, a shock wave struck – a deluge of emails described me as a “demonic psychopath”, “a purveyor of hate and evil”, “an anti-Semite of the most dangerous kind”.  Much of this was orchestrated by Zionists in the US who could not possibly have seen the film. Death threats arrived at a rate of one a day.
Something similar happened to the Australian commentator Mike Carlton last month. In his regular column in the Sydney Morning Herald, Carlton produced a rare piece of journalism about Israel and the Palestinians; he identified the oppressors and their victims. He was careful to limit his attack to “a new and brutal Israel dominated by the hard-line, right-wing Likud party of Netanyahu”. Those who had previously run the Zionist state, he implied, belonged to “a proud liberal tradition”.
On cue, the deluge struck. He was called “a bag of Nazi slime, a Jew-hating racist.”  He was threatened repeatedly, and he emailed his attackers to “get fucked”.
The Herald demanded he apologise. When he refused, he was suspended, then he resigned.  According to the Herald’s publisher, Sean Aylmer, the company “expects much higher standards from its columnists.”
The “problem” of Carlton’s acerbic, often solitary liberal voice in a country in which Rupert Murdoch controls 70 per cent of the capital city press — Australia is the world’s first murdocracy — would be solved twice over. The Australian Human Rights Commission is to investigate complaints against Carlton under the Racial Discrimination Act, which outlaws any public act or utterance that is “reasonably likely … to offend, insult, humiliate another person or a group of people” on the basic of their race, colour or national or ethnic origin.
In contrast to safe, silent Australia — where the Carltons are made extinct — real journalism is alive in Gaza.  I often speak on the phone with Mohammed Omer, an extraordinary young Palestinian journalist, to whom I presented, in 2008, the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.  Whenever I called him during the assault on Gaza, I could hear the whine of drones, the explosion of missiles. He interrupted one call to attend to children huddled outside waiting for transport amidst the explosions. When I spoke to him on 30 July, a single Israeli F-19 fighter had just slaughtered 19 children. On 20 August, he described how Israeli drones had effectively “rounded up” a village so that they could savagely gunned down.
Every day, at sunrise, Mohammed looks for families who have been bombed. He records their stories, standing in the rubble of their homes; he takes their pictures. He goes to the hospital. He goes to the morgue. He goes to the cemetery. He queues for hours for bread for his own family. And he watches the sky. He sends two, three, four dispatches a day. This is real journalism.
“They are trying to annihilate us,” he told me. “But the more they bomb us, the stronger we are. They will never win.”
The great crime committed in Gaza is a reminder of something wider and menacing to us all.
Since 2001, the United States and its allies have been on a rampage.  In Iraq, at least 700,000 men, woman and children are dead as a result. The rise of jihadists – in a country where there was none – is the result.  Known as al-Qaeda and now the Islamic State, modern jihadism was invented by US and Britain, assisted by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The original aim was to use and develop an Islamic fundamentalism that had barely existed in much of the Arab world in order to undermine pan-Arab movements and secular governments. By the 1980s, this had become a weapon to destroy the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The CIA called it Operation Cyclone; and a cyclone it turned out to be, with its unleashed fury blowing back in the faces of its creators. The attacks of 9/11 and in London in July, 2005 were the result of this blowback, as were the recent, gruesome murders of the American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. For more than a year, the Obama administration armed the killers of these two young men — then known as ISIS in Syria — in order to destroy the secular government in Damascus.
The West’s principal “ally” in this imperial mayhem is the medieval state where beheadings are routinely and judicially carried out — Saudi Arabia. Whenever a member of the British Royal Family is sent to this barbaric place, you can bet your bottom petrodollar that the British government wants to sell the sheiks more fighter planes, missiles, manacles. Most of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, which bankrolls jihadists from Syria to Iraq.
Why must we live in this state of perpetual war?
The immediate answer lies in the United States, where a secret and unreported coup has taken place.  A group known as the Project for a New American Century, the inspiration of Dick Cheney and others,  came to power with the administration of George W Bush. Once known in Washington as the “crazies”, this extreme sect believes in what the US Space Command calls “full spectrum dominance”.
Under both Bush and Obama, a19th-century imperial mentality has infused all departments of state. Raw militarism is ascendant; diplomacy is redundant.  Nations and governments are judged as useful or expendable: to be bribed or threatened or “sanctioned”.
On 31 July, the National Defense Panel in Washington published a remarkable document that called for the United States to prepare to fight six major wars simultaneously. At the top of the list were Russia and China – nuclear powers.
In one sense, a war against Russia has already begun. While the world watched horrified as Israel assaulted Gaza, similar atrocities in eastern Ukraine were barely news. At the time of writing, two Ukrainian cities of Russian-speaking people – Donetsk and Luhansk – are under siege: their people and hospitals and schools blitzed by a regime in Kiev that came to power in a putsch led by neo-Nazis backed and paid for by the United States. The coup was the climax of what the Russian political observer Sergei Glaziev describes as a 20-year “grooming of Ukrainian Nazis aimed at Russia”.  Actual fascism has risen again in Europe and not one European leader has spoken against it, perhaps because the rise of fascism across Europe is now a truth that dares not speak its name.
With its fascist past, and present, Ukraine is now a CIA theme park, a colony of Nato and the International Monetary Fund. The fascist coup in Kiev in February was the boast of US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, whose “coup budget” ran to $5 billion. But there was a setback.  Moscow prevented the seizure of its legitimate Black Sea naval base in Russian-speaking Crimea. A referendum and annexation quickly followed. Represented in the West as the Kremlin’s “aggression”, this serves to turn truth on its head and cover Washington’s goals: to drive a wedge between a “pariah” Russia and its principal trading partners in Europe and eventually to break up the Russian Federation. American missiles already surround Russia; Nato’s military build-up in the former Soviet republics and eastern Europe is the biggest since the second world war.
During the cold war, this would have risked a nuclear holocaust. The risk has returned as anti-Russian misinformation reaches crescendos of hysteria in the US and Europe. A textbook case is the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in July. Without a single piece of evidence, the US and its Nato allies and their media machines blamed ethnic Russian “separatists” in Ukraine and implied that Moscow was ultimately responsible. An editorial in The Economist accused Vladimir Putin of mass murder. The cover of Der Spiegel used faces of the victims and bold red type, “Stoppt Putin Jetzt!” (Stop Putin Now!) In the New York Times, Timothy Garton Ash substantiated his case for “Putin’s deadly doctrine” with personal abuse of “a short, thickset man with a rather ratlike face”.
The Guardian’s role has been important. Renowned for its investigations, the newspaper has made no serious attempt to examine who shot the aeroplane down and why, even though a wealth of material from credible sources shows that Moscow was as shocked as the rest of the world, and the airliner may well have been brought down by the Ukrainian regime.
With the White House offering no verifiable evidence – even though US satellites would have observed the shooting-down — the Guardian’sMoscow correspondent Shaun Walker stepped into the breach. “My audience with the Demon of Donetsk,” was the front- page headline over Walker’s breathless interview with one Igor Bezler. “With a walrus moustache, a fiery temper and a reputation for brutality,” he wrote, “Igor Bezler is the most feared of all the rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine …nicknamed The Demon  … If the Ukrainian security services, the SBU, are to be believed, the Demon and a group of his men were responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 … as well as allegedly bringing down MH17, the rebels have shot down 10 Ukrainian aircraft.” Demon Journalism requires no further evidence.
Demon Journalism makes over a fascist-contaminated junta that seized power in Kiev as a respectable “interim government”. Neo-Nazis become mere “nationalists”. “News” sourced to the Kiev junta ensures the suppression of a US-run coup and the junta’s systematic ethnic cleaning of the Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine. That this should happen in the borderland through which the original Nazis invaded Russia, extinguishing some 22 million Russian lives, is of no interest. What matters is a Russian “invasion” of Ukraine that seems difficult to prove beyond familiar satellite images that evoke Colin Powell’s fictional presentation to the United Nations “proving” that Saddam Hussein had WMD. “You need to know that accusations of a major Russian ‘invasion’ of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence,” wrote a group of former senior US intelligence officials and analysts, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Rather, the ‘intelligence’ seems to be of the same dubious, politically ‘fixed’ kind used 12 years ago to ‘justify’ the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.”
The jargon is “controlling the narrative”. In his seminal Culture and Imperialism, Edward Said was more explicit: the western media machine was now capable of penetrating deep into the consciousness of much of humanity with a “wiring” as influential as that of the imperial navies of the 19th century. Gunboat journalism, in other words. Or war by media.
Yet, a critical public intelligence and resistance to propaganda does exist; and a second superpower is emerging – the power of public opinion, fuelled by the internet and social media.
The false reality created by false news delivered by media gatekeepers may prevent some of us knowing that this new superpower is stirring in country after country: from the Americas to Europe, Asia to Africa.  It is a moral insurrection, exemplified by the whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. The question begs: will we break our silence while there is time?
When I was last in Gaza, driving back to the Israeli checkpoint, I caught sight of two Palestinian flags through the razor wire.  Children had made flagpoles out of sticks tied together and they’d climbed on a wall and held the flag between them.
The children do this, I was told, whenever there are foreigners around, because they want to show the world they are there — alive, and brave, and undefeated.
This article is adapted from John Pilger’s Edward Said Memorial Lecture, delivered in Adelaide, Australia, on 11 September. Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com


Welcome to my blog and let me know what you think about my postings.

My web pages also have a wide range of topics which are added to when possible. Look for them in any search engine under


I hope you find items of interest!

Search This Blog


Blog Archive

Total Pageviews

About Me

My photo
Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm