Category Archives: War in Afghanistan

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 Exodus: the Refugee Crisis

The swirl  of humanity across the globe has been  a constant since ancient times.

In my little corner of the world, the traversings and re-travsersings of the Polynesians across the wide Pacific,  travelling thousands of miles in their double hulled canoes  , was a constant  over hundreds of years , settling both inhabited and uninhabited islands .

In Eurasia and across Africa, the flow of humanity has ocurred for millennia. Our species has been wanderers from  our first  arrival  on this planet  as a specific  primate species, as the International Organisation for Migration website attests.

Having said that, we know that  wars  and natural  disasters create the necessity for families to  flee  to  safer ground, and safer countries. In addition the gross discrepancies in  living standards between  various populations across the globe creates a drive for those who  consider themselves disadvantaged to   travel  to more prosperous environments.

None of this would be unremarkable -indeed it is an obvious response for any human to    move to  a better place- we are indeed nomads on this planet. What  makes it remarkable at  this moment are the obvious drivers behind the disasters  and impoverished societies of those immigrants;  and the fact  that most of those drivers are created by  the very  countries the immigrants want to migrate to!

The devastation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria – to name just  a few of the countries bombarded by  Western countries; predominantly the U.S.,  U.K., France , Italy, and to  some degree Germany,  with  a few tag-alongs from  other Western  European and  non-European western governments elsewhere, is the most significant cause for the huge influx of  refugees and migrants from  the Middle East  into  Europe. The  decision by  the West to  support  the anti-government groups   in Syria prolonged  what would likely have been  a short but brutal war by  the Syrian dictatorship against  a few western oriented  groups   and many more  salafist sunni  extremist groups. The decision by  the U.S., the U.K. France and its proxies in Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar  and Turkey (not to  mention Israel)  to  actively fund arm and train  these  terrorist  groups, has created a life of hell  for much of the Syrian  population. unfortunately for the population of Yemen, the sea and land blockades by Saudi  forces  and their “allies” means those desperate Yemen peoples have no chance of escape from  the  war hell imposed by  the Gulf dictatorships.

It is likely that,  just  as in Iraq and Libya  the creation of totally destabilized  middle east territories with  no  central  governing structure  and ripe for total  exploitation, was exactly the intent of these Western  governments. Now the chickens have come home to roost. While we know Western  “intelligence” agencies are in  fact  far from being “intelligent”, we can  anticipate that, even they,   after first  seeing the catastrophe that Iraq has become as a result of Western  sanctions and military  intervention,  would understand the implications of repeating that exact same  process  in Libya and Syria.  It is a supremely beautiful but vicious  irony that  those impoverished and desperate people from those brutalized countries  are  now “invading” the West . Well, that is what  mainstream  media would have us believe.  Recent reports query  for instance why suddenly, previously safe  refugees in Turkey  are now fleeing that country  to  Europe.

What  would seem  a just   response therefore, would be for those countries involved in  the defilement  of Middle Eastern countries  through  war and economic rapacity, to   take a commensurate  number of refugees into  their countries based on  their military  input into the ravagement  of those destroyed  environments. The United States will  of course have to  take many millions of refugees, as will  the U.K; followed next by  France, the Gulf dictatorships and Israel  and some of the other  western counties like Canada , Australia and New Zealand.

http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/map-world-refugees/

The BBC link here, gives a more detailed graphical  analysis of the  source, the routes and European destinations of refugees.

In addition,  those  western  corporations and their complicit governments  that  have despoiled the vulnerable economies and environments of Africa ad other developing countries around the globe , will  make corresponding redress to  those countries in the tangible  form of infrastructure development,  re-development of  sustainable agriculture  and  the return  of environments to their former natural states as directed by  the populations of those  developing countries.

Too much to  ask?-


 

Links

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/28/migrants-refugees-and-asylum-seekers-whats-the-difference

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/09/selective-demonization/

http://syrianrefugees.eu/

http://levantreport.com/2015/09/09/guest-analysis-by-steven-chovanec-the-refugee-crisis-isnt-the-real-problem/

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

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 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/