Category Archives: Rendition

The Monster that was Obama

Thankfully the  words of adulation for  ex-president Obama are now dying down and we are instead  now innundated with hate media  (not altogether underserved)  for President Trump.

Obama was above all  things a con-artist. The sweet  honeyed words of the used car  saleman,  masking  sociopathic   intent . A man  who  talked peace and made war. A man  who  preached enviromentalism  and destroyed much  more than he preserved. A man  who  faked humanity while ruthlessly killing  innocents by  drone.

And a man  who  has set  the scene for the  destruction of what little remains of the U.S democratic  process, through  his  persistent undermining of his successor.

By  why  let me drone on?

Please look at this excellent  record of  his legacy by  Samuel Johnson   for yourself,  and decide….


Links

View story at Medium.com

 

Obama and the Baseball Cards

Obama’s legacy; and  this may  well be his prime legacy- and  one he may  remember in his  older years as he stands before the International War Crimes Tribunal, (once its decisions are no  longer controlled by  the U.S.  State Department), was his omnipotent capacity to  decide who shall  live and who  shall   die by  drone anywhere in  the world,  based on  limited pieces of information  provided on baseball  cards. (a kind of  Roman Emperor  type role: – thumbs- up  or down at  the Coliseum)

Baseball Card Kill List DEPICTION
Lawfareblog.com notes ‘This is a mock-up/depiction of what an actual kill-list baseball card looks like. It is not a real baseball card and is not based on any classified information.’

 

Taken together, the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an over-reliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects. They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the U.S. has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents, in the process exacerbating the very threat the U.S. is seeking to confront. The Intercept 

One might almost be forgiven therefore  for coming to  the conclusion that  the intent of the U.S. targeted killing process is  not to  eliminate the sources of terror, but to  exacerbate them.

drone operator
Drone operator cabin- Daily Mail Australia

As we have seen in many a colonial  war, those who  ‘hand in’ terrorists to  the colonial  power inevitably have their own  agendas;  feuding families and clans, or perhaps financial   or property interests, but rarely because they  are in  fact  ‘terrorists”.  In addition we  can be certain  that  US military  and State Dept claims of minimal   ‘collateral  damage’ (accidental  killing of civilians who  get in the way  of a  drone  missile’s large detonation area)  are complete fabrications. And we can be certain too  that drone operators have less than minimal  knowledge of foreign cultural  issues- e.g. the difference between a  wedding party celebrating by firing automatic weapons into  the air and a  terrorist  group in weapons training , let alone  their drone “eyes” having sufficient  definition to  pick  up  who  is who  on the ground.

So,  when  dear President Obama  gives the thumbs down  on that particular baseball  card, he really has no  idea what  he is agreeing  to; other than that  his decision will  kill  someone or more likely , quite a few  people, out there . But of course, if  that Hellfire  missile with  its 9kg warhead  just  happens to  kill a few other  ‘military-age males’  in the vicinity of the explosion,  all  to the good.  By  using  remote killing mechanisms  the US president can appear to  take a Herod-like hands-off approach  to  the art of murder, with  the added benefit of limited  capacity of verifying what  carnage has  actually occurred on the ground.

In addition the United States’  penchant for targeting  supposed ‘leaders’ of terrorist  groups, rather than  their supply lines, infrastructure or financial  backers, means that  drones can be used over and over to  kill  the next leader who  takes the deceased’s  place in  the leadership line; or as in  many cases , the United States simply ‘kills’ the same person  over and over again; such  is the usefulness of remote unverified killing.

United States government lawyers have in  the past contorted themselves in  all  sorts of unusual  positions to justify  remote murder by  executive order,  much as their  contracted psychiatrists  managed to  create a lofty argument that  putting  prisoners through  ‘stress positions’  was not in  fact  totally illegal,  inhumane  torture and contravened  international  human  rights on  a grand scale.

President Obama has even been known  to joke publicly about his life and death  decision-making powers, not too  dissimilar from his psychopathic Secretary  of State ,  Hilary Clinton.

I hope I will  be around to  see  them  stand before the International  tribunal.


Links

https://theintercept.com/drone-papers/the-assassination-complex/

http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-presidents-kill-list

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/2013.05.23_fact_sheet_on_ppg.pdf

https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-comment-presidents-national-security-speech

https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/targeted-killing

https://www.aclu.org/foia-collection/targeted-killing-foia-database

https://www.aclu.org/foia-document/joint-targeting-cycle-and-collateral-damage-estimation-methodology

https://theintercept.com/document/2015/10/14/geolocation-watchlist/

https://www.lawfareblog.com/kill-list-baseball-cards-and-targeting-paper-trail

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2249252/Brandon-Bryant-Drone-operator-followed-orders-shoot-child–decided-quit.html

Patriotism: The Refuge of Scoundrels

The blog heading is one of Mark Twain’s quotes. But here is  a much  better one from Mr Clemens.

Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood of his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man”- with his mouth.
– “The Lowest Animal”- Mark Twain

Today, in my little part of the world; it is once again  Anzac Day, originally  commemorated to  mark  the bloody  failure  of the  British  Empire’s coordinated attack on Turkish  positions in the Dardanelles at  Gallipoli   in World War One, but now, ( supposedly) it ‘acknowledges the sacrifice of all those who have died in warfare, and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.” Strangely however  this commemoration of all  who  have died in  wars is marked by   artillery salutes, marching uniformed men and much  fanfare about  this country’s patriotism. We are encouraged to  believe that Anzac Day now promotes a sense of unity, perhaps more effectively than any other day on the national calendar. People whose politics, beliefs and aspirations are widely different can nevertheless share a genuine sorrow at the loss of so many lives in war, and a real respect for those who have endured warfare on behalf of the country we live in. (New Zealand Government).

I for one,  am  appalled  that  the majority consensus in New Zealand appears to  be that  ‘plucky little New Zealand’  became a real  country  with its own  identity, and not just  a member of the British  Empire, by  maiming and killing its way through  a series of foreign “adventures”.  The one possible exception to this catastrophic jingoistic litany of murder and mayhem, is New Zealand’s very  real  contribution to  the war  against  Nazi Germany and  Japan  during the Second World War, when  a New Zealand invasion by  the Japanese Imperial Army was a high  probability at  one point.

Every  other war  we have fought, we have fought at  the behest  of others-  from  the genocide inflicted on the Boers during the Boer Wars as part of the British  Imperial  Army’s need to maintain  control of South African assets, the First  World War’s bizarre clash of European monarchies , the  staggering level  of genocide  inflicted on Koreans  by  the “Allies’ (including New Zealand naval  bombardment  of civilian areas) during the Korean War, our implicit involvement in American  genocide in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, our explicit connection to  rendering of Afghan suspects to   U.S. torture centres in Afghanistan, and our ongoing  complicity in the Five Eyes  intelligence project,  which  currently serves American  and U.K. interests in  promoting terrorism  around the world and destroying  human rights.

All in all,  it is not a record I for one am proud of.  Our ongoing subservience to  the  paranoid and psychopathic American  war machine and its  business interests, serves no-one’s interests  on this planet, other than  a few  crazed right wing  American  idealogues and the military/industrial  complex.

I was proud of my country  when our prime minister of the time, Norman Kirk, sent frigates to  Muroroa Atoll  in the south Pacific,  to protest  the French  destroying that island with nuclear bombs and contaminating the environment for thousands of miles.  I was proud when  our prime minister of the day,  David Lange, announced we would henceforth  be a nuclear-free nation, and even a little proud when prime minister Helen Clark refused to send   significant ground troops to Iraq  to  support the American  invasion there.  But we have sunk to new lows since those times, in obsequiously following our U.S.  masters into Iraq once more, to   fight a stupendously foolish  war  in Afghanistan,  and to  mouth support for America’s duplicitous  ‘war on terror’   while  unconditionally  supporting the key  centres of terror in the world; Saudi Arabia and Turkey,  along with support for the 60  year  old  brutal  Israeli  occupation of Palestine .

Despite successive  New Zealand governments’ posturings that  we are now a sovereign nation  because of Anzac Day, when are we truly going to be a proud and  independent nation  who  stands in truth  for peace and international justice?

 

 

The Death of Boris Nemtsov: A Quick Analysis

The recent murder of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian  opposition politician  and ex-physicist, on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge very  near to  the Kremlin in Moscow, raises many questions.

Predictably,  Western  politicians  and  mainstream  media are pointing  the finger at  Vladmir Putin, the President of Russia, as the man  who  signed off on Nemtsov’s execution. In  remarkably similar  ways to  the their response to  the  downing of MH 17 over Ukraine last  year,  they have leapt at  the opportunity to  once more demonise Putin. Proof of course, is immaterial in  this game.

Let us be under no  illusions, Putin  as an  ex-KGB officer is perfectly capable of signing Nemtsov’s death  warrant and may have done so, but , as I will  attempt  to  demonstrate, that   is the more unlikely  scenario in this instance.  Western media point to   other deaths of Russian  opposition politicians and oligarchs where  some of the evidence points to Russian  state apparatus involvement as proof that  this time, once again, another key  opposition to  Putin  has been  removed.  This despite the fact  that  Putin’s approval  rating in Russia  remains  at  around 86% while Nemtsov’s appears to  have been  less than  5% at  the time of his death.

Nemtsov’s political  colleagues argue that  he was killed to  pre-empt his imminent disclosure of  proof of Russian  military  direct  involvement in Ukraine.  Why his death  would prevent that  disclosure happening is unknown, or even  why  Nemtsov would have access to information that  was not  immediately available  to  Western politicians via  high-resolution  spy satellite imagery,  is a mystery.

His death  certainly resulted in  a Moscow march  of  many  thousands  of supporters and also  presumably included some  who  want an end to violence murder and political  intimidation in  the city . The Guardian  newspaper disparagingly reported that Moscow  Police estimated 7,000 on the march,  whereas in  fact  the police estimates from  RT.com  talk  of   around 50,000.

Boris Nemtsov was undoubtedly an  interesting  person.  With  a Phd in physics and a significant number of academic papers under his belt for quantum physics, he turned , instead to  politics, and quickly became a rising star  in Boris Yeltsin’s alcoholic haze of a government after the fall  of Soviet Russia becoming Deputy Prime Minister  for four months under Yeltsin in  1998 . Credited as being a “reformist”,  he later co-founded  the the “Union of Right Forces ”  party  in 1999 , and then opposed its inevitable merge to  survive as part of the ‘Right Cause’ party in 2008.  In 2012,  Nemtsov was appointed co-chair of the Republican Party of Russia – People’s Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS) which  is a  member of the  Alliance of Liberals and Democrats  for Europe Party . 

Nemtsov and many of the parties he has been  affiliated to have been  accused, with  some truth, of being funded supported and guided by  European  and American  political interests such  as the  (European) Endowment for Democracy – an agency  with  distinctly  U.S. business  and right wing agendas, but portraying itself as a supporter of  local democracy.   Such  philosophies  are clearly on  a collision course with rising  nationalist  fervour in  many parts of Eastern Europe.   Implicated in  many of the “colour revolutions” in  places like Ukraine and Georgia, and in support of the “moderate” rebels in Syria, the agency  plays a lead non government role in  supporting  U.S.  government  power and control agendas. Very  much because of this American  bias and Russian  nationalism,  rather than  their neo-liberal agenda,  the political  parties Nemtsov was active in, played  to  an increasingly  smaller Russian audience over the years.

Russian  opposition activists see Nemtsov’s death  as an  opportunity; “We need to seriously think what to do from now on,” Leonid Volkov, an opposition leader and organizer of the March 1 memorial, said by phone. “We were at a low point but now some things have crystallized that allow us to make plans. I think it’s the start of a new wave of protests. It’s a real shame it took such an event for that to happen.”

The  answer to  the question  therefore, of “cui  bono” ( who  benefits) by  this death  remains complex.  It is still  certainly possible that  Nemtsov’s death  was ordered or orchestrated by  President Putin or  members of his coterie, but given  Putin’s professed wish  to  re-establish  positive relations with  the West  after the annexation of Crimea and supposed military  involvement in Eastern Ukraine, this seems unlikely.  Russia Today (rt.com)  stated that  “At the moment, investigators are looking into five possible motives behind Nemtsov’s assassination.   ” According to Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee, the murder could have been a provocation to destabilize the political situation in Russia. It could also be linked to threats Nemtsov received over his stance on the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris or the current war in Ukraine. The politician’s business activities and a possible assault related to his personal life are also being looked into.”  Notably,  and understandably for their personal  safety perhaps! the Moscow Police  excluded a  state political  motivation for the  murder.  Could Putin have removed Nemtsov because he  might be seen to be a  leading contender for Presidency if the economic situation deteriorated even  further in  Russia?- a possible but rather obscure motivation in  my view.

Nemtsov certainly had links to  what has been  termed as  the Russian Mafia and oligarchs -to-be ,  in his role in selling off state assets at  bargain  prices to criminals after the fall  of the Soviet Union- did he still  have enemies from  those days?-that  also  seems unlikely; although his recent links to  Russian  business interests are deemed to  be extensive, but  unknown to this blogger.

The role of the  young girl who  accompanied him  onto  the bridge where he was shot and who escaped entirely unharmed after 4 shots were fired into  Nemtsov’s back, warrants investigation. Indeed one may wonder why  Western mainstream media is so  indignant that  she is being held for questioning  (as is standard Police practice internationally),  and not allowed to return  home to the Ukraine. Nemtsov’s was  very  much  opposed to  Russia’s annexation of Crimea and  the Russian  connection to  the Eastern Ukraine rebellion. Such  a political  view is extremely unpopular and deemed to  be unpatriotic in  Russia today; was he murdered by Novorussians perhaps because he was considered a traitor?

Or alternatively, was he murdered by  his  Western intelligence handlers because he was now  worth more to  them dead than  alive? Certainly the track  record of Western “intelligence”,  would indicate they  have absolutely no  qualms about torturing, murdering or destroying the lives of anyone who  gets in their way to  create that ‘better world’  ruled by  their funders.  Clearly the immediate  benefit of his death is to  further undermine  Putin’s credibility in  the eyes of those who  read and believe  Western mainstream media. The impact  on a Russian audience is likely to be negligible given  Putin’s high standing with  the Russian public.

The Russian  opposition is ever hopeful  however: “We need to seriously think what to do from now on,” Leonid Volkov, an opposition leader and organizer of the March 1 memorial, said by phone. “We were at a low point but now some things have crystallized that allow us to make plans. I think it’s the start of a new wave of protests. It’s a real shame it took such an event for that to happen.” 

So, we are left with an implausible reason for Putin  and/or Russian intelligence to  kill Nemtsov, i.e. “proof” of Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine;  a possible  business deal gone wrong,   a murder to meet  the needs of  anti-Russian sentiment in  the West, an  opportunity for Russian opposition parties to  garner local  support, or possibly, but unlikely  given the murder ‘s locality on  a very public bridge,  a murder  to  avenge  a romantic relationship  gone sour. The death  certainly has the look of a targeted killing rather than  an act of revenge, and the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge is an ideal  public location to  stage opposition solidarity demonstrations after the death with  a Kremlin backdrop. And four single bullets to the back? hmmmm

 


Links

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/27/russian-opposition-politician-boris-nemtsov-shot-dead-moscow-reports

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/garry-kasparov-speaks-out-on-assassination-of-boris-nemtsov-2015-2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Cause_%28political_party%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Right_Forces

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.nz/2015/02/breaking-news-false-flag-in-moscow.html

The Funny Little Ways of Western Governments…

(a shortened version of this  post was rejected  as a letter to  the editor of my local newspaper….)

The ongoing media and political  frenzy  about the sudden  emergence of ISIS as the new international  terrorist  threat would be laughable if it were not tragic for those  who  stand in  the path of both  ISIS and  the Western  military “response”.
The reality is that  ISIS, like most of the previous terrorist threats before them, are Western  and  Arabian Gulf state creations.
As with  Osama bin Laden before them (funded if not trained by  the CIA to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan) , the members of ISIS have been trained, financed and equipped  by  the US, the UK, France and Saudi Arabia, Turkey   and Qatar to  fulfill  other agendas;  namely  the dismemberment of functioning middle eastern states who  cannot be relied upon to agree to  US demands; eg Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and  Syria .  This  trail  of failed states, brought about first  by Western funded terrorism  and then by Western aerial bombing campaigns, has brought death,  destruction, starvation  and  fear to  their populations  with no  positive  outcome in  sight. While Western governments  will deny their direct  involvement with  ISIS and pretend they  are financing “moderate” islamacists, the reality is that those  men in  the training camps in Turkey and  Jordan  run  by  western governments and Gulf dictatorships, are indeed one and the same men  who  sign up  to  ISIS or who  share resources, kidnapped  people and equipment with ISIS.
See this delightful  CNN interview of former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark, who  clearly doesn’t have a clue about anything much at  all..

For Turkey particularly, the opportunity to  both eliminate the Kurdish  threat  within  its own borders using ISIS, whilst   enabling the ‘necessity’ for  ‘humanitarian’ border corridors and no-fly zones  along the Syrian/Turkey border which  can then lead to  further incursions by Turkish  or even NATO  troops into Syria , is a double win for the Turkish  government.
For Israel, actively supporting  ISIS with  bombardment of Syrian government position on the Golan  Heights and  shooting down  Syrian   military  aircraft attacking ISIS military  positions,  furthers their long-term agenda of destabilizing any  Arab (or Iranian) state that  could potentially threaten Israel’s   territorial  integrity at  some time in the future.
For Western governments and their ‘intelligence’ agencies, hyping up  the threat  of ISIS terrorists re-invading the West and blowing up  defenseless white people, is a wonderful  method to  maintain  the level  of fear and hysteria in the public’s mind. and hence the rationale for more and more  “defence” purchases,  and more  surveillance and control of those who  do not abide by  the corporate agenda.  A new “thirty-year war” by  the U.S. is promised against   a rag-tag bunch of psychopaths and mercenaries. The reality is  that turning off the tap  of funding from  Western supported agencies, closing the supply routes and “rat-lines”,  and shutting down  the training camps would turn current ISIS victories into  a rout within  weeks.
 For Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the dream is  the predominance of  the Sunni   Wahhabi  ideology in the middle east  and beyond,  the destruction of  Shi-ite Iran, and ultimately the elimination of the Shi-ite sect .   ‘Perhaps’ ironically,  it is those Shi-ite ‘terrorists’ ;  Syria, Iran,  and Hezbollah who  are actually making the difference in  eliminating the threat  from  ISIS.
This cynical reality is  well-known to  most of the middle eastern public . The destruction of those states and their infrastructure  who  do not  toe the Western party line, and who  have resources than  can  be appropriated by  Western  companies, or who  might possibly threaten Israel’s hegemony in the region at  some future date, is the  grim  reality for the men women and children who inhabit those desolated countries  and who therefore must  be made to  suffer.


Links

ANZACS- for King and Country

Every  year in this fair little country of New Zealand, we “celebrate” Anzac Day on 25th  April. We remember our “glorious dead” who  fought in  all  those wars for king and country;  beginning way  back  then  with  the  Second Boer War of 1899 in South Africa, supporting our British  countrymen  in  the British  Empire’s  fight against  the “evil” Boers, to  ensure  South  Africa could become a safe place for English  speaking white men to  colonise and rule over the black man.

Since then we have had the First  World War where 100, 000 New Zealand  men  (and some women) were shipped overseas, out of a total  population of just over 1 million people. 18,500 New Zealanders  were killed in  that  ‘war to  end all  wars’ and  more than 40,000 wounded. Anzac Day  “celebrates” the day  New Zealand and Australian  troops along with  troops from other parts of the Empire,  India, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland,  India, and Newfoundland  as well  as French  forces invaded Turkey   (a German ally) at Gallipoli. IfYeBreakFaith_VictorybondsposterThe “Great War”, as it was once known, was initially at  least, a European  war  to divide up  the spoils of empire, with  each  countries’  soldiers  the cannon fodder for money  and power.

‘Only’ 2799  New Zealand soldiers died at  Gallipoli attempting to  break  the Turkish  defences in  the harsh  hills above the beaches, where 87,000  Turks died defending their homeland. Nothing in comparison to the many thousands killed and wounded  in  the trenches  in Flanders and other parts of France;  machine gunned, shelled and gassed by  the “Hun” -the Germans.

Yet  New Zealand collectively now  glorifies  Gallipoli;  it was apparently (according to later  New Zealand historians who  should know)  our “nation-buildng”  exercise.  Yet after that  first  world war to end all  wars,  every  cenotaph

The Unknown Soldier
The Unknown Soldier

in  every  little town  and city across New Zealand which  named their dead, inscribed  the lines “Lest We Forget”.  In my imagination perhaps , it is ‘lest we forget”  those  who  died for nothing,  the horror,  the stupidity , the inhumanity to man of soldiers at  war;  not “lest we forget” our glorious war dead. Let us not forget  also, those brave conscientious objectors who  also chose to  suffer because of their fundamental  objection to  war.  Let us not forget  either, the many thousands of women and children  who  suffered at  the hands of those damaged men returning from the wars;  the family  and community violence caused  by  the trauma of war  and death.

 

            The Send-off: a Poem  by  Wilfred Owen: -English  soldier poet, 1918

And then  we have the “good war”;  the war  against the Nazis and the Japanese between  1939 and 1945,  where 140,000  New Zealand men and women were conscripted to  fight overseas.  Kiwi soldiers, while comparatively  small  in  numbers, played a significant role in  the European war  against  Germany  and later   against  the Japanese in  the Pacific. Could  that war have been  avoided  without appeasement of Nazi  and Japanese supremacism?  There are many  historians who  say , that  had the terms of  the  Versailles Treaty  not been so  punitive against  Germany , German nationalistic fervour would   never have produced  such  a cancer as the national  socialists. Similarly there are those who  argue that  had the Japanese also been able to  obtain  their  Imperial   “place in  the sun” , Pearl Harbour would never have happened.   Hindsight is a wonderful  thing.

New Zealand’s obligations for self-defence against  the Japanese is  inarguable;  The Japanese were planning to invade New Zealand as part of their Greater East Asia Co Prosperity Sphere,  along with Australia.  The evil  of the Nazis  is also  inarguable and the horrors committed by  them; New Zealand soldiers helped to bring  those horrors to an end.  Ultimately 11,900  New Zealand soldiers lost their lives  in the second world war. However New Zealand is implicated  in the war crimes resulting  from  the bombing missions undertaken  by  the Allies against  German dams   and the firebombing of Dresden.  And, we might  ask, why  weren’t we opposing the Japanese in their 1937-1945 horrific  occupation of China prior to  Pearl Harbour in December 1941?

New Zealand’s role in wars since the second world war has (aside from  several  small  UN peace-keeping missions) been less than exemplary.  4,700 New Zealand soldiers fought  in Korea  between 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953, with 49  men  killed in  action. New Zealand  (under U.N. auspices but without Russian attendance at  that  security council  meeting ) was a party to  the genocide committed largely by  the Americans carpet bombing  every North Korean  town and city over that period.

Fighting as part of ANZUS, New Zealand enthusiastically  supported the American  pretext  for invading Vietnam from  1963 to  1975   ( supposedly to halt the insidious spread of Communism  across Asia), while the New Zealand national  government  supported the  bombing by  the U.S. of  cities and towns across Vietnam  Laos and Cambodia, causing more than  a million deaths.  37 New Zealand  soldiers were killed in that  war and many more  afflicted by  the  impacts of “Agent Orange”, the chemical warfare “defoliant” sprayed by   U.S.  planes  over the jungles and hamlets of  South  Vietnam.

Once again  supporting the U.S., New Zealand  inserted a small  number of troops into  southern  Iraq  near Basra during the second Iraq War.  While for most of its service there, NZ troops were confined to base, it is highly likely that  NZ troops were  well aware of  the  wide-spread  torture and murder of Iraqi  civilians in  that  area by  British troops . New Zealand  is,  by  its support of that  war,  also implicated in  the deaths of  the  hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who  died as a result of a war  based on  the pretext of Saddam’s  non-existent  “weapons of mass destruction.”

New Zealand continues its commitment to “freedom  and democracy” by  supporting the Americans in Afghanistan.  Initially promoted to the public as an incursion  to eliminate Al Qaeda as a threat   after the 9/11  bombing of the New York  towers,  the war has dragged on since its inception in  2001 and morphed into  the elimination of the Taleban  (an Afghan  Pashtun  tribal  entity with  previous links to Al Qaeda). New Zealand troops have likely been  involved in capturing Taleban  fighters and sending them  to  the US Bagram air base in Kabul  for torture. A rather dubious analysis suggest that  up  to  20,000  civilian  casualties alone have been  killed in  Afghanistan  since 2001- the mortality  figures for direct  war impacts are likely to be  in  the many many thousands. ( the U.S. doesnt “do  headcounts” anymore.)

New Zealand continues to  be a key  member of the U.S. run  western  intelligence community “Five Eyes”, which   attempts to  maintain the U.S state’s power and control  over most of the world, and while NZ has  publicly been  cast  in  the shadows of ANZUS because of its nuclear-free stance, it in  reality maintains an  extremely  active role.

However , even with  the huge  amount of information provided  by  internet   and phone tapping  provided to  “Five Eyes”  intelligence ‘experts”, it is clear  that  those security operatives have over the years since the second world war, acquired a farcical  level  of incompetence and  lack  of intelligence and judgment. Their wild misinterpretation of other  states’  and non-state entities’ intent and motives has resulted in  massive  suffering to  millions of  human beings. It is highly likely that  incompetence is not going to be changing any time soon.

In summary,  ANZAC Day;  that  tribute of poppies and wreaths and guns , celebrates not  our glorious dead, but  the utter farcical  futility of war and the greed of the powerful.

At  the time of writing,  the jingoistic   drumbeats of war  are sounding to  fight once more   the Russian  threat  against  “poor little”  Ukraine.

As the late and great  Pete Seeger sang: When  will  we ever learn?

 

Living by the Sword….

“Those who  live by  the sword,  die by  the sword”

Through its abrogation of key  elements of the Geneva Convention by  using torture, genocide and illegal  incarceration of people it thinks could  do  things to US interests that  the state might not  like, the US has  progressively negated key  aspects of the constitutional  protections for its own  citizens.  In addition, professional  bodies such  as the American Pyschological  Association and the American Medical  Association, in  tacitly    legitimizing torture and murder ( drones or otherwise)  and  random  indefinite imprisonment of people the state thinks might be a risk  to the US, have  destroyed their legal   and moral authority .

The Orwellian  legal  and  state  double-speak ( what is evil  is good,  what  is war is peace) by  US political  and legal figures,  is now accepted as truth by  the vast  majority of US citizens and many in the Western world. Many US citizens are consequently  no  longer able to differentiate between right and wrong/truth  and lies.

The US has been fighting wars to  protect  its “interests” (read  companies) for most of its existence, beginning with the genocide of the North American  Indians who  populated much of North America at  the time of European settlement and leading to the wars with Spain in  the Carribbean  and the Philippines in  order to  develop  an empire to exploit , as with  other Western powers of the time.

But it is really only in the years after the end of Second World War in 1945, that the power of the corporations in the US has finally overturned all  semblance of  human rights,  decency  and fairness  in the US . These wars, and particularly the  genocides committed  in North KoreaVietnam, Cambodia and Iraq, have  lead to  no  negative national consequences for the US ,   and have thus  resulted in those in power in the US believing  that they are immune to the  impact of the death  and destruction they inflict on others.

Moreover, over those intervening 65 years of constant war, the US has  steadily become a “war machine”- its raison  d’etre being to fight and kill others for what they have. Each marine that returns home brutalised  and scarred by  the reality of war;  each  soldier who  returns to  his home town finally knowing the truth of what  “the greatest nation in  the world ” really stands for, is a time bomb of death  and destruction to  that community. A culture of violence as the solution to  anything  has now  totally permeated every  aspect  of American  society.   To  quote another of those biblical  aphorisms -“what ye sow, so  shall  ye reap”

And with each  war, the targets of American state violence  become ever more  aware of the complete and viciously laughable  hypocrisy of the United States; it’s  Presidents mouthing  ghastly platitudes of the US being the ” shining city on  the hill” , the exemplar to  the world of peace and democracy,  while raining terror and death on the helpless. For the families and communities of the  millions killed by  the US military since the second world war, there remains no  justice – no resting place.

What is now desperately  needed is an international  legal body  that is truly impartial-no longer  controlled by those  rich  and powerful states who commit the the vast majority of the  terror and death  they so  loudly condemn in others.  An international  body  that  seeks justice, not vengeance,  that  ascribes appropriate  compensation to those whom  the powerful have done injustice to.

When every war-mongering state, not just as is currently ,  its head of state,  knows that, regardless of the colour of the skin of those in power, the  warring state will be punished with heavy financial reparations for the evil  it has done- only then  will the incentive for war   rapidly recede and justice prevail.

The American Psychological Association and Torture

The Guardian, in  an  article of 22nd January, notes that  the The American Psychological Association (APA) has declined to  rebuke one of its members,  Dr John Leso for his known  complicity in  the torture of  the US kidnapped suspect  Mohammed al-Qahtani, who  was ” charged” by  the Pentagon  in  2008 for his suspected  involvement in 9/11.
The Guardian notes that  “the APA did not deny Leso took part in the brutal interrogation of the suspected 20th 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani, whose treatment the Pentagon official overseeing his military commission ultimately called “torture”.
The American Psychological Association describes itself as ” the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA is the world’s largest association of psychologists, with more than 134,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members. Our mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.”

APA’s communications chief, Rhea Farberman has stated that a seven-year ethics investigation could not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” by Leso, and said it was “utterly unfounded” to fear the organization has condoned professional impunity.

The evidence of John Leso’s complicity in  torture is incontrovertible in creating an  inhumane environment for Mohammed al-Qahtani to  be tortured by  his “interrogators”. Dr John Leso   therefore both  unequivocally  breached the APAs code of conduct  and the universal  medical  ethic of “do no  harm” .

No  labyrinthine legal  argument can  allow the APA to  escape its responsibilities to ensure its members behave in  ethical  and humane ways to their  patients.

The APA has clearly now abrogated that  responsibility and most certainly undermined the rights of human beings to  the right to be treated humanely by  state apparatus, and has consequently eliminated any professional  credibility it may have had in  the eyes of the  global  public  and clinical  professionals around the world.

It would therefore  be  expeditious for the APA to re-consider its astounding   decision to  condone torture by  its members and to immediately and permanently  dis-bar John Leso  from its membership. However,  this is unlikely to happen.

Since the beginning of the “War on Terror” in  the United States,  and the various Western  countries who  have been complicit in  the  fictional  “war on terror”, we have seen  increasing use by  the state of  statements by  their “legal experts” to  justify  war  crimes,  torture and   murder on  an ever-expanding scale.
The APA’s excuse that the evidence about Dr Leso’s complicity in  torture did not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” is clearly at odds with the facts. It does however reflect  the fear by  a  supposedly ethical  and professional  body,  of the power of the state to inflict  harm on  even such  a prestigious professional  body  as the APA .
 Weasel  words and legal  sleight of hand  must  instead   be used by  the APA’s legal  advisors to  justify  this cowardice. However when such  a  professional body, which  in their words, exists to   “benefit society and improve people’s lives”, abrogates it’s right to instill  justice, ethics and fair play out of fear of state retribution , there  appears little hope for the foreseeable future of  a fair and just   society in the United States.

 

“The Government and the police have a duty to protect the public and our national security”- from truth

In the latest  absurdity upon  absurdity in this  fictitious “war  on  terror”, the UK Police have defended their actions in holding and interrogating for 9 hours  Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda on the grounds that Miranda was suspected of terrorism  because  he may  have been relaying truthful  information about  a wide range of Western governments’  illegal   spying on   its citizens.

As the headline above notes; the UK Police’s rationale for the infringement of Miranda’s rights,  was that they  “had a duty to  protect the public and our national  security ” (from  such unwarranted journalism).  With  both  the UK and US police forces being increasingly accused of both corrupt  and violent behaviour, it is little wonder the public  in  those countries feel  a sense of betrayal by  the state.  Who are their police and armed forces in  fact  protecting?

Certainly the deliberately manufactured farce of  muslim  terrorism ( funded with enthusiasm  by  the CIA, and various other “intelligence” western  agencies around the globe- not to mention our “allies”-  the Saudis), is providing an ever more thinly stretched excuse for heavy handed enforcement behaviours,  surveillance and the  erosion of civil  rights.

Who and what  is  it all for?

DublinBaysmallIt would appear that much of this deterioration in  rights and freedoms is simply to  improve the profits of those international  corporates ,  whether media, arms manufacturers ,  energy  companies telecommunications or security companies that  are able to buy the required  influence in  western  “democracies”.

As it becomes increasingly clear  that  we  are nearing the end of the free capitalistic lunch-with  the remainder of  the world’s  natural  resources  being rapidly frittered away for a few quick  bucks  – the corporate billionaires are rushing for the exits, and trampling us “little people” in  the stampede.

 

The Predator from the West

Everywhere you look  in  mainstream Western media you see the utter “reasonableness’ of our need to  destroy  this or that country because it is evil  and isn’t democratic or reasonable enough.

History tells us  a different story,  but for some reason,  we choose to ignore it. The recent non-revelation of the CIA and UK  ‘intelligence” community’s  overthrow of the democratically elected prime minister Mossaddegh of Iran, beginning on  19th August  1953 once again  highlights what  the Wikipedia  entry aptly describes as the ongoing “grubby” adventures by these two  states.  Foolishly, Mossaddegh’s  government had  voted to  nationalise the  UK “owned’  oil fields production in  Iran and so Mossaddegh  and Iran  had to pay the price-  a lifetime of imprisonment and the re-installation of the brutal  pretend-King of Persia -the Shah.

The UK and France’s ongoing adventure in  Syria is another such  example of history repeating itself, where the so-called socialist  president of France, Hollande is salivating at  the mouth  with the opportunity to  once again invade their old colony under the pretense of protecting its  inhabitants ( identical  story  to last time), and the evil little UK Foreign  Minister  Hague will do  absolutely anything to please his  Israeli  masters. Funding and supporting Al Qaeda is absolutely not a   problem  to  Hollande and Hague and Obama -as it was no  problem for the US in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. Read a great  account of the French aerial bombing of Damascus  in 1925  and again  in  1926. The US has a 60  year history of conflict  with Syria, as noted by  Adam Curtis in  his wonderful  blog, “The Baby and the Baath  Water.”

In  Afghanistan,the US repeats the old adventures played out by  its now junior ally,  “Great  Britain”,  in its  nineteenth century wars of 1839-1842,  and 1878-1880 and  then 1919.

Were those wars about peace, justice and  democracy and the rights of women?  Then,  as now, protecting opium  production was one of the driving forces; protecting the  Western  interests who make  huge monies from  addicting and selling  opium  and now heroin to Chinese, Russians or any other brutalised public.

Protecting  Western  oil  interests and profits  is of course, the other game; a game that heavily relies on Israel  forming a “western”  buttress against  the Arab hordes revolting against  the ‘masters and betters’. Hence the less than subtle tacit  support for the Egyptian  Army generals and their counter-revolution,  and the West’s unconditional  support for the Wahhabi  extremist fiefdoms in  Saudi Arabia  Qatar and the UAE.

“The celebrated anthropologist Clifford Geertz has half-jokingly suggested that all  states can be parceled into four types: pluralist, in  which the state is seen by  its people as having moral  legitimacy;  populist, in  which government is viewed as an  expression of the people’s will’; “great beast” in which the ruler’s power depends on  using force to keep  the populace cowed,  and “great fraud” in  which  the elite uses smoke and mirrors to  convince the people of its inherent authority” – 1491- New Revelations of the Americas”: Charles C Mann.   I leave you to  judge  which  of those categories of statehood the UK and US fit into.

The problem with all of these Western adventures is that they benefit only a tiny minority of the UK and US populations;  the very  very  rich (or the less then ‘one-per cent’) , with the trickle-down effects to  the British  and US wider public  negligible. The process can only continue while those publics can continue to be propagandized into  believing that these wars and adventures are about peace democracy  and justice and stopping evil  terrorists blowing us all up..

The desperation of those in  power  and their mercenary backers can be seen in the massive state investment   in  knowing what  everyone is writing and saying online and on the phone  and the need to silence  any whistleblowers quickly.

Time is running out for the predators.

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Links

An  excellent analysis  of the impacts of interventionism in Libya   from  the Belfer Institute by Alan  Ku[perman

Counterpunch http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/08/23/manning-snowden-and-the-u-s-coup-in-iran/