Romney wins Iowa straw poll as expected + Straw Poll Results + Ron Paul After the Straw Poll (video)

Dandelion Salad

By MIKE GLOVER
Associated Press Writer
Aug 11, 9:50 PM EDT

story here

***

Straw Poll Results: A Win For Romney

The Fix
washingtonpost.com’s Politics Blog
Chris Cillizza’s Politics Blog
Aug. 11, 2007

Here are the results from the Iowa GOP straw poll:

1. Romney: 4516 (31.5)
2. Huckabee: 2587 (18.1)
3. Brownback: 2192 (15.3)
4. Tancredo: 1961 (13.7)
5. Paul: 1305 (9.1)
6. T. Thompson: 1039 (7.3)
7. F. Thompson: 203 (1.4)
8. Giuliani: 183 (1.3)
9. Hunter: 174 (1.2)
10. McCain: 101 (1)
11. Cox: 41 (.1)

14,302 ballots cast

By washingtonpost.com Editors | August 11, 2007; 9:24 PM ET

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***

August 11, 2007
From: EmergencyCheese

Congressman Ron Paul reacts to his fifth-place showing at the Iowa Straw Poll.

see:

Ron Paul Iowa Straw Poll (Asylum Inmates) + Political Animals and a Ron Paul Parade (videos)

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Daily Show explores mysteries of missing stuff in Iraq by David Edwards and Nick Juliano (video link)

Dandelion Salad

by David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Raw Story
Published: Friday August 10, 2007

Daily Show host Jon Stewart has a novel explanation for the fact that the military has lost nearly 200,000 firearms in Iraq.

The military says the misplacement of 190,000 AK-47s and pistols was just a “clerical error.” Stewart tries to clarify that explanation by displaying “Army Field Weaponry Procurement Form 1-A-3,” which has two boxes; check one for “lose these,” and another for “don’t lose these.” Turns out the Army just checked the wrong box.

“This is not the first mysterious happening of our four-year venture in Iraq,” Stewart notes, citing previous disappearances of 380 tons of explosives, $12 billion in cash and 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

“How does this happen?” he asks. “Explosives, guns, oil, money. These aren’t things people would just take for no reason, and they they’ve vanished without a trace in Iraq. Coincidence? Or profound incompetence?

“I say neither,” Stewart continues. “As a geographical cartologist — amature — I believe the unique topographical features of Iraq form a natural — but extremely powerful — magicians hat.”

The satirical host says if we could just “reach our hands deep enough into the sands of the Euphrates, we would find the money, the weapons, the oil and — let’s say — 40 percentage points of President Bush’s approval rating.”

LINK


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Democrats Say Leaving Iraq May Take Years By Jeff Zeleny and Marc Santora + New Strategy for Iraq: Bring Back the Draft! (short video)

Dandelion Salad

By Jeff Zeleny and Marc Santora
Published: August 12, 2007

DES MOINES, Aug. 11 — Even as they call for an end to the war and pledge to bring the troops home, the Democratic presidential candidates are setting out positions that could leave the United States engaged in Iraq for years.

John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, would keep troops in the region to intervene in an Iraqi genocide and be prepared for military action if violence spills into other countries. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York would leave residual forces to fight terrorism and to stabilize the Kurdish region in the north. And Senator Barack Obama of Illinois would leave a military presence of as-yet unspecified size in Iraq to provide security for American personnel, fight terrorism and train Iraqis.

Continued…

h/t: Jake ♥s Sibel Edmonds

***

New Strategy for Iraq: Bring Back the Draft!

August 10, 2007
From: IraqSummer Gen. Lt. Lute calls a draft — someth…

Gen. Lt. Lute calls a draft — something “that’s always been on the table.”


h/t: Jake ♥s Sibel Edmonds

The Media Kaleidoscope of Memory by Norman Solomon

Dandelion Salad

by Norman Solomon
Aug. 11, 2007

News coverage often fixates on many aspects of digital memory. The products, services, technologies and near-infinite implications of the Internet are constant media fodder. And enormous attention gets focused on the power of hard drives and small chips to do amazing things.

There’s no denying that the Internet and miniaturized computer technologies add up to a huge multilayered story that’s constantly evolving. The story runs the gamut from effects on individual lives to politics, economics, political machinations and global relations.
But meanwhile, the emphasis on the tangible and the measurable tends to overshadow what is far less defined — and, arguably, far more human. Computers can “remember” facts so prodigiously that human memory can seem feeble, even pathetic. Yet a lot of what humans remember is far beyond the realm of digital recall — and routinely beyond the grasp of media outlets.

Whether media organizations are reporting on events around the world or across town, the technical capabilities of speed and clarity are truly awesome. But, in terms of actual human experience, how true are the stories they convey?

Continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

The Tail End of Free Trade by Jacob Hill

Dandelion Salad

by Jacob Hill
Dissident Voice
August 10th, 2007

A Preliminary Evaluation of the Impact of NAFTA on the Manufacturing Sector

In this, the fourteenth year of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it is of the utmost importance—in terms of its continued application in the future—to look back and examine the economic impact of free trade on the U.S. and Mexico over the last decade and a half. A major component of the exercise will be NAFTA’s impact on the proliferation of the maquiladora sector, which repeatedly has resulted in a precipitous drop in manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and Mexico as well as a reliable precedence for the weakening of labor standards in much of the third world.

Human Rights Abuses in Mexican Manufacturing

One of the most drastic and disturbing results of NAFTA has been a boom in the Mexican maquiladora sector. In the U.S. and the developed world, these manufacturing units would deservedly be known as sweatshops. The maquiladoras operate within Latin America because of the abundance of cheap labor and the poor conditions being tolerated. Due to the removal of protective tariffs by free trade pacts, raw components are imported to the maquiladoras without being taxed. Additionally, the machinery involved in the maquiladora process is also allowed to enter Mexico tariff-free under NAFTA’s terms. Then, Mexican laborers work to turn the raw goods into finished products, adding value to the goods. The end products are then exported to developed nations, with minimal tax levied that is based only on the value added during production.

Although one could argue that within the capitalist model, Mexico’s comparative advantage would be its inexpensive labor, the human rights abuses often associated with the maquiladora process thus bring with them a heavy economic disadvantage. The sweatshop problem has been well known since the inception of NAFTA. In 1995, just a year after the implementation of the free trade agreement, The New York Times reported on the exploitation of Mexican young girls by the maquiladoras. U.S. companies, often working through third parties, pay children as young as 14 years of age wages under 40 cents per hour. Maquiladoras located within walled and barbed wired free trade zones are not only exempt from import taxes, but are also exempt from state and local imposts for up to 10 years. Once a corporation structure is set up as a free trade zone and secures a manufacturing contract with a large multinational company, the owner of the facility maximizes profits by informally sanctioning a number of abuses, including offering low wages, tolerating dismal safety standards, refusing to provide health benefits and insisting upon unpaid overtime.

Continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Why the Government Tests Few Chinese Imports by Joel S. Hirschhorn

Dandelion Salad

by Joel S. Hirschhorn
Saturday, 11 August 2007

Massive amounts of Chinese imports are threatening public health and safety. Many food and consumer products pose risks. Lead in children’s toys and jewelry. Toxins in foods for pets and humans, and in toothpaste. Unsafe automobile tires. Many prescription drugs made with few safeguards. The list is endless. The federal government is not safeguarding American citizens through thorough testing of imports. Why?

Simple: The Chinese have us by our budget-deficit balls. Our government depends on China for loaning us money and for not dumping the vast hoard of over one trillion dollars it has accumulated by financing our huge deficits and selling us virtually everything. Dumping dollars is called the Chinese economic nuclear option. They can wreck the American economy any time they want. America is being held hostage because of our government’s disastrous fiscal and trade policies. And, yes, all this middle-class-killing free trade globalization favors corporate interests.

It is hard to keep track of all the ways the American public is being sold out by the federal government as our Constitution and rule of law are shredded. Our jobs are sent overseas and shifted to lower paid illegal and special-visa-legal immigrants. There is no economic security. Banks and credit card companies rape us financially through criminal interest rates and fees. Mortgage companies took advantage of millions of home buyers that now face foreclosure and financial ruin. We pay outrageous amounts for gasoline and, in many parts of the country, for electricity and natural gas. And still 15 percent of the population lacks health insurance, and those with insurance face rising costs. And millions of Americans face hunger and homelessness. And by the way our education system sucks.

Yet the vast majority of Americans that are not in the Upper Class and living lavishly are not fuming, screaming and ready to revolt. They may feel cheated and screwed, but they have not yet concluded that they are politically oppressed – that their government is criminally selling them out, with no end in sight – that their democracy is delusional.

The following facts are typical of so many that should help Americans wake up and prepare for the Second American Revolution:

The top 300,000 income earners in America make more than the bottom 150 million combined.

Ninety percent of the Fortune 1,000 companies have set up deferred pay plans that let their top executives set aside, tax-free, retirement income far above 401(k) limits, and 69 percent have set up “supplemental executive retirement plans” that shield execs from company-wide pension cutbacks. That’s how these fat cats obtain tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. All this continues even though an amazing 77 percent of Americans say corporate executives “earn too much” and 61 percent believe wealthy Americans “should be taxed more.” according to a new Harris Poll.

Billionaire Warren Buffet paid just 17.7 percent of his $46 million in income last year, without trying to avoid taxes, compared to his secretary who paid 30 percent of her $60,000 salary.

The top two execs at America’s largest private equity partnership took home over $600 million last year — and paid taxes on that windfall at the capital gains bargain rate of just 15 percent. And Congress shows no desire to close that tax loophole.

Millions of non-wealthy Americans face home foreclosure and bankruptcy, but right now there are five residential properties in the United States listed at $100 million or more.

Like some science fiction fantasy, millions of hard-working Americans are popping anti-depressants with abandon to dull the pain of obscene political and economic realities. American puppets, slaves, and victims obediently obey laws, pay taxes, borrow and consume, and endure stress, fatigue and sleeplessness. Meanwhile, the mainstream media feed them propaganda and entertainment. Worst of all, far too many believe they can elect Democratic or Republican politicians that will make things better. Though millions are suffering, bitching and moaning, they remain stuck in a political stupor. They are unready to rebel politically and take back their country from corrupt politicians and the moneyed interests that control them. They have not become political dissidents – the kind that throughout human history rise up and overturn dreadful ruling classes and governments.

Rather than contagious political activism we have compulsive consumerism. Americans keep borrowing and spending, providing about 75 percent of the economy that mostly benefits the Upper Class. That spending is their potential political power. Yet they do not understand that only by using their spending (and debt) as a political force will they get the government to serve and protect them. That means reducing spending to obtain specific political actions, like cutting spending by 10 percent until President Bush ends the Iraq War.

Cheap Chinese products help keep consumers pacified and distracted, even as Americans lose jobs as industry after industry collapses because of floods of Chinese imports. Our delusional democracy produces delusional prosperity. How much worse must life for ordinary Americans become before the masses rise up in rebellion? Apparently, a lot worse.

By then, China will probably become the world’s only superpower, built with the wealth extracted from the USA . The lesson of history is the rise and fall of great (arrogant, self-indulgent) nations. The USA is in free-fall. Soaring economic inequality is just one symptom.

Cheap Chinese products are a powerful and insidious destructive force. Free trade globalism more than violent terrorism or military attack is bringing America to its knees. But no presidential candidate is making this their main campaign theme. Shame on them. And shame on anyone voting for them. Perhaps if voter turnout dropped to, say, 20 percent, then we might stop playing our bipartisan delusional democracy game and take our country back.

Joel S. Hirschhorn is a founder of Friends of the Article V Convention at www.foavc.org and author of Delusional Democracy at www.delusionaldemocracy.com.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see:

Nickel and Dimed from The American Ruling Class (video)

PBS: NOW: Income Inequality (video link)

Kucinich on NAFTA + Digging a Hole to China (videos)

Et tu, Fisher-Price? by glitzqueen

Gaza: The Auschwitz of our Time – Largest detention camp in the World by Khalid Amayreh

Dandelion Salad

by Khalid Amayreh

Global Research, August 11, 2007

Palestinian Information Center – 2007-08-09

In 1940, several months after invading Poland in September 1939, the Nazis forced about 500,000 Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto, surrounding it with a high wall. Tens of thousands died from hunger and disease. Eventually, 300,000 were sent to death camps, mainly Treblinka in eastern Poland.

Similarly, Israel is now incarcerating nearly a million and a half helpless Palestinians in the Gaza Strip into a hell similar in nature to the Warsaw Ghetto. The Gaza concentration camp is not only fitted with a wall, but also with every conceivable tool of repression, such as electric fences and watch towers manned by Gestapo-like trigger-happy Jewish soldiers who shoot first and ask questions later.

Moreover, thousands of Israeli soldiers, are surrounding Gaza in a hermetic manner, shooting and killing any Palestinian trying to escape, e.g. enter Israel to search for work or even food.

Palestinian kids survive on bread and tea

Even Palestinian kids playing soccer near the hateful fences, are routinely riddled with bullets or reduced into pieces of human flesh by the “most moral army in the world.”

As a result of these genocidal designs, Gazans in the thousands are dying of malnutrition and illness resulting from anemia. Moreover, Children in great numbers are surviving on a meager and totally inadequate diet consisting mainly of bread and tea.

This week, this writer contacted several Gaza families and asked to speak with the kids. The answers I received were truly horrifying. I did speak with 10 kids and was shocked to find out that seven of the kids told me their diet during the previous week consisted mainly of bread and tea in addition to some tomatoes.

The grown-ups, especially the parents, wouldn’t reveal the extent of the unfolding tragedy they are facing. They would only say a terse “al hamdulillah” (thank God). But the tone of their voices tells us that they are in real distress.

The Gaza Strip into the largest detention camp in the World

The harsh blockade of Gaza didn’t start in mid June when Hamas took over the small seaside region after defeating and ousting the American-backed Fatah forces led by Muhammed Dahlan and cohorts who had been planning, with American dollars and arms, to murder the Hamas leadership in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from the Bush Administration and Israel.

In fact, Gaza has been effectively under siege since 2000 when the second Palestinian intifada or uprising broke out. Since, then Gazans have been barred from exporting their products and produces.

Moreover, Israel, which has been telling the world that it had ended its occupation of Gaza, still retains full control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, thus reducing the Gaza Strip into the largest detention camp in the world.

To make a long story short, Gazans are being pushed into a situation very similar to that which prevailed at the Ghetto Warsaw. They are not allowed to work (unemployment in Gaza stands at more than 70%), they are not allowed to travel abroad, they are not allowed to enter Israel for work, they are not allowed even to go fishing offshore since Israeli gunboats would open fire at any fishing-boat daring to go more than a mile off the shore.

The criminal and draconian measures are meant to further impoverish Gazans to the extent that they won’t be able to purchase food.

The declared Israeli goal behind starving and tormenting the people of Gaza is to force them to revolt against the democratically-elected government, led by the Hamas movement, and settle for a quisling-like government that would sell-out Palestinian national rights, including the paramount right of return for Palestinian refugees uprooted from their homes and villages by Jewish gangs in 1948, when Israel was created.

It is believed that up to two thirds of the inhabitants of Gaza are refugees. Hence, the intensive repression and coercion being meted out to these people in order to force them to give up their right to return to their homes and villages in what is now Israel.

It is crystal clear that Israel is steadily but certainly effecting a Nazi-like approach toward the people of the Gaza Strip.

The PR-conscious Israeli government, however, is hoping that the world will not take proactive measures to expose the creeping genocide in Gaza . This is why Israel is allowing limited shipments of food products , such as flour and cooking oil, into Gaza , to avoid a possible international outcry.

However, the supplies are conspicuously meager and don’t meet the basic nutritional needs of the vast bulk of Gaza children.

Unfortunately, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) seems to be conniving and colluding with Israel to keep the unfolding Gaza tragedy as silent as possible.

UNRWA officials do make idle statements from time to time, warning of an impending “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza. However, the UN agency often refrains from “saying it as it is,” probably for fear of upsetting the Israelis and the Americans, who apparently don’t like to hear words like “starvation, and concentration camps” with regard to the situation in Gaza find their way to the international media.

Israel is undoubtedly the central culprit in this man-made tragedy in Gaza, since it is up to her to allow Gazans to obtain food and export their products and especially their produces to the West Bank. Such a step, which would cost Israel nothing, would help Gazans obtain some meager income to feed their children.

However, Israel, as always, has apparently chosen to be faithful to long traditions of callousness and moral depravity, not unlike the way the Nazis treated their victims.

US administration, Abbas as guilty as Israel

But Israel is not the only guilty party in this tragedy. The US is actually as criminal as Israel, since the Bush administration is urging Israel to keep up the pressure on Gaza.

In fact, American officials keep congratulating their Israeli colleagues on the “success” of the blockade against Gaza. I wonder what kind of politicians are those who enjoy watching children starve to death? Are they human beings or cannibalistic beasts? This question ought to be directed to Condoleezza Rice whose behavior toward the Palestinian people is probably a thousand times worse than the behavior of the worst American white slave masters toward here forefathers.

Maybe it is naive to appeal to Rice’s sense of justice and morality since her manifestly criminal record with regard to the Palestinian cause leaves no doubt as to the woman’s unethical and evil character.

But if the Bush administration, which has been carrying a holocaust in Iraq, and Israel, which has been effecting ethnic cleansing in Palestine in the name of Jewish nationalism, can be “excused” on the ground that only evil can be expected from evil governments, the Palestinian regime of Mahmoud Abbas has no excuse whatsoever to collude and connive with Israel against the very people it is claiming to serve.

Such behavior, including the tacit and implicit encouragement of Israel to tighten the blockade of Gaza, and keep hundreds of thousands of encircled Gazans hungry and thoroughly tormented, characterizes quislings and agents of a foreign occupation.

Clearly, Abbas and his aides have much to explain to the Palestinian people. They also have much to atone for. This is if they still possess any sense of shame

Global Research Articles by Khalid Amayreh

 


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The CIA’s Attempts to Destabilize Venezuela by Chris Carlson

Dandelion Salad

by Chris Carlson
Global Research, August 11, 2007

VenezuelAnalysis.com – 2007-08-08

How RCTV President’s CIA Connection Links Venezuela and Nicaragua

The president of Venezuela’s RCTV, Eladio Larez,[1] is no stranger to the CIA. In fact, Eladio’s contact with the agency goes back nearly twenty years. Back in 1989, Larez helped the CIA funnel money through Venezuela to the Nicaraguan opposition as they worked to topple the Sandinista government through massive violence and destabilization. Larez was actually so kind as to set up a fraudulent foundation in Venezuela, called the National Foundation for Democracy, as a front organization to receive money from the CIA and pass it on to fund the operations of a major opposition newspaper in Nicaragua.[2]

“As a journalist,” Larez said to his Nicaraguan counterparts, “I understand the problems with freedom of expression in these countries and the necessities and difficulties with written and spoken media.”[3] A few weeks later, Larez’s friend and political ally Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez would order the national army to fire on innocent protesters, killing hundreds, possibly thousands, of activists in the streets of Caracas. Larez’s RCTV helped mask the reality by not televising images of the massacre.[4]

Likewise, on April 13th, 2002, after RCTV and other Venezuelan media supported and participated in a coup d’état against President Hugo Chavez, as many as 60 pro-Chavez protesters were shot down by the temporary government of Pedro Carmona.[5] RCTV refused to broadcast the violence, instead playing cartoons and soap operas as people were killed in the streets of the capital.[6]

Apparently, Larez’s fictitious concerns about “freedom of expression” haven’t changed much over the years. One has to wonder, though, if his relationship with the CIA has also not have changed? A look at Larez’s role in the CIA’s destabilization of Nicaragua sheds some light on how Eladio Larez and his RCTV are using the same methods in Venezuela.

Nicaragua’s La Prensa: A model for Venezuela’s RCTV

In the same year that the Sandinista rebels overthrew the brutal, decades-long dictatorship of the Somoza family in 1979, the U.S. State Department was already searching for a way to avoid any significant changes in the country and create what they referred to as “Somocismo without Somoza”.[7] In the years of Sandinista rule that followed, the United States and the CIA tried nearly every strategy at their disposal, including all out violence and warfare through U.S.-funded “counter-revolutionary” forces called the “contras,” in order to undermine, destabilize, and eventually topple the revolutionary Sandinista regime. The use of the media would be a critical element in the campaign.

In its attempts to create a hostile media atmosphere, the United States aided, created, and financed media outlets both inside and outside Nicaragua in order to shape public opinion and destabilize the Sandinista government. In the early years, the CIA broadcast into Nicaragua from radio stations in neighboring countries like Honduras, and gave financial assistance to existing opposition radio stations inside Nicaragua. But later, the United States eventually set up its own station inside the country called Radio Democracia with money from the CIA’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The mission, according to the director of the station, would be to “offset the [Sandinistas’] instruments for consciousness formation.”[8] This was logical, after all, since a conscious population might not agree with Washington’s plans for “Somocismo without Somoza.”

The most important media for the U.S., however, would be the well-known opposition newspaper La Prensa. From the very beginning of the Sandinista government, the Managua daily received millions of dollars in payments from the CIA and NED, much of it funneled covertly through third-party connections like Eladio Larez and the Venezuelan government of President Carlos Andres Perez.

Larez met with La Prensa’s owner, and Washington’s preferred candidate for the 1990 elections, Violeta Chamorro, the year before the elections to set up a fraudulent foundation to receive money from the CIA and pass it on to the opposition newspaper.[9] According to one document, Larez’s front organization, the National Foundation for Democracy, “would probably not actually have to serve as a pass-through other than on paper.”[10]

Larez collaborated in, and witnessed first hand, the U.S. efforts to orchestrate the Nicaraguan opposition media campaign and to promote the opposition candidate. Their efforts would allow the United States to “buy” the 1990 Nicaraguan elections for the opposition as explained by California Congressman George Miller: “We have taken Mrs. Chamorro and we pay for her newspaper to run, we funded her entire operation, and now we are going to provide her the very best election that America can buy.”[11]

CIA assistance enabled the paper to play a key role in the campaign against the government; the same role, in fact, that the CIA had cultivated in other countries that were victims of destabilization programs. The El Mercurio newspaper in Chile, for example, had played the same role in the CIA operation against the Allende government in 1973, as had the Daily Gleaner in Jamaica against the Manley government in 1980.[12] The media could be a very useful tool in getting rid of popular, yet “undesirable,” governments. In Venezuela, Eladio Larez’s RCTV appears to be playing that very same role.

Destabilizing Venezuela

In the few years I have been observing the media in Venezuela, there has been one aspect of RCTV news coverage that has really stuck out: everything centers on the president. On a daily basis, from morning to night, RCTV news coverage and political talk shows seem to tie every single problem in the country back to the Chavez government.

Interestingly, this strategy appears to be straight out of the CIA handbook, and was implemented in the same fashion against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. One CIA manual used by anti-Sandinista groups instructed them to determine “the needs and frustration of the target groups” and to channel them into “generalized anti-government hostility.” The goal was to make the population identify the current government as “the cause of their frustration,” according to the manual, and believe that these frustrations could only be gotten rid of with the elimination of that government.[13] Linking all the problems in the country back to the central government, or even the president himself, is the strategy used to create general anti-government hostility and frustration.

In Venezuela, crime, corruption, kidnappings, strikes, unemployment, poverty, problems with infrastructure, and general inefficiencies are always blamed directly on the central government or even the president himself, almost as if none of these problems ever existed before Hugo Chavez, and as if his government was the only possible cause. The kidnapping and murder of three children in 2006, for example, was used for months on end to criticize the Chavez government, as was the collapse of a major bridge near Caracas the same year. Even an increase in the nation’s homicide rate has literally been attributed to “the president’s fiery rhetoric.”[14]

And nearly every person interviewed by RCTV almost always has some message or other for the president of the country, even if the issue at hand is simply a hole in the road, or a flooded street. The complaints of the common citizen seem to be frequently directed to President Chavez himself. It seems likely that RCTV does this on purpose, presumably by asking their interviewees if they have anything to say to the president, then airing their response in order to create a direct connection between local problems in communities and the central government. By channeling all problems back to Chavez himself, the media creates the impression that Hugo Chavez is the root “cause of their frustration.”

The United States also used a whole variety of other covert psychological operations in destabilizing Nicaragua and waging an informational war against the government. These involved manipulating and paying off journalists, planting disinformation and propaganda, and influencing international coverage of the country. As one U.S. official admitted, the media war in Nicaragua sought to “demonize the Sandinista government” in order to “turn it into a real enemy and threat.”[15]

This appears to be the identical strategy used in Venezuela. Recent revelations have also shown that some of the principal journalists from the Venezuelan opposition have received payments from the U.S. government in recent years,[16] and U.S.-funded organizations frequently make press releases and call for press conferences to make public criticisms of nearly every policy decision of the Chavez government.

On a constant basis, the U.S. State Department releases propagandistic reports to the international press criticizing the Venezuelan government on everything from drug enforcement, to human rights, to corruption. These reports pretend that Venezuela has a worse record than previous Venezuelan governments or even Venezuela’s neighbors including, for example, U.S.-allies such as Colombia with much worse human rights situations.[17]

Opposition media such as RCTV work in unison with the U.S. propaganda effort and give unwavering coverage to U.S. reports and denunciations from U.S.-funded organizations like Sumate or Primero Justicia. Government opponents are given almost daily coverage to make accusations of political persecution, threats to democracy, curbed freedoms, and economic problems, over and over again week after week, year after year. As William Robinson says in his book about the Nicaraguan destabilization, A Faustian Bargain:

“Like worn-out records, the themes of a lack of democracy in Nicaragua, political repression, persecution of the church, economic disaster, militarization, the export of revolution, and so forth, were repeated on a daily basis during the course of a decade.”[18]

All of this, with opposition media like RCTV consistently putting all the blame on the government, comes together into a very effective “demonizing” of Hugo Chavez. For many Venezuelans as well as U.S. citizens, the media campaign has managed to repeat the strategy in Nicaragua and “turn [Hugo Chavez] into a real enemy and threat.”

“Crackdown” on freedom of expression

If the principal function of the La Prensa newspaper in Nicaragua was to destabilize the Sandinista government, one of the ways it did this was by creating the image that freedom of expression had suffered repression under the Sandinista government. Although there were other newspapers and opposition media in the country, La Prensa attempted to create the impression that it was “Nicaragua’s only independent newspaper,” and tried to appear as a victim of an authoritarian government. As William Robinson explains:

La Prensa’a activities are a textbook study in how a psychological warfare organ operates. In this role, La Prensa worked closely with U.S. Embassy personnel in Managua and coordinated its editorial policy in unison with overall U.S. strategy and the contra war. When the Sandinistas tried to curb the excesses in La Prensa’s openly destabilizing activities through limited censorship, the issue was pounced on as evidence of their ‘anti-democratic tendencies’.”[19]

Since the beginning of the Chavez government, private media such as RCTV have continuously accused the government of “repressing” the private media and have even claimed they are paying “armed groups” to attack journalists. None of these accusations were ever accompanied by evidence or supported by the facts, but the media did not cease their claims.

The more recent strategy of RCTV, however, seems amazingly similar to the strategy used in Nicaragua. After Hugo Chavez announced last year that he would not renew RCTV’s broadcast license when it expired on May 27th of this year, RCTV made every effort possible to appear as a victim of an “authoritarian” regime. And exactly as Nicaragua’s La Prensa had done, RCTV claimed the government was repressing the “only independent media” in the country.

For months leading up to the May 27th deadline, the RCTV news programming centered on what they referred to as the “closing” of the channel, and the “silencing of opposition.” Never did they mention, however, that the station would not be closed, but would simply go off the nation’s VHF spectrum and could continue to broadcast by cable.

The private channel, along with the opposition political parties (many of whom are indirectly funded by the U.S. State Dept.), organized public events, political marches, and street protests building up to May 27th, which was to be the climax of several months of protest and “resistance” to the “closure.” The street protests on and around the final days leading up to the deadline were used by RCTV and the international media to claim the Chavez government was “cracking down” on “independent” media and “repressing freedom of expression.” Isolated protests among certain sectors of the population were made to appear like a massive protest movement against a repressive regime.

Surprisingly, this “protest movement” was not unique to Venezuela. A very similar event in Nicaragua, organized with the help of the U.S. Embassy, had been used to create the image of a “burgeoning protest movement” against the Sandinistas. When a joint embassy-opposition activity ended in violence between police and protesters, the Sandinista government arrested many people and accused the CIA of organizing the incident to provoke violence. The incident was described as “repression” of civil liberties and a “Sandinista crackdown” in the U.S. and international press.[20]

Months later, the Sandinista accusations were confirmed when Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright affirmed that Congress “had received clear testimony from CIA people that they had deliberately done things to provoke an overreaction on the part of the Government of Nicaragua.” The goal had been “to provoke a riot or antagonize [Sandinista] officials.”[21]

Video of the protesters in Nicaragua show that they had initiated the violence by attacking the police just as RCTV protesters seemed to have intended the same when they attacked a police line in front of the National Telecommunications Commission two months ago.[22] And RCTV protesters tended to dress alike, using T-shirts and apparel distributed by RCTV and opposition political parties. The protesters in Nicaragua did the same, according to video footage, dressing in light colored guayabera shirts and dark pants.[23]

All of this is eerily similar to the section on “urban insurrection” in the CIA’s Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare manual used by anti-Sandinista forces. In the section dedicated to how to organize urban disturbances, the manual advises insurrectionary forces to dress alike so that they can easily identify each other and situate themselves strategically before they are incited to “violently confront the government” by a political ‘cadre’ in the crowd. When this political “cadre” has created “great hostility against the regime,” the conditions are ripe for the overthrow of the government, says the manual.[24] Not only is this very similar to the strategy of RCTV protesters during the May 2007 protests, but also of the opposition marchers who were urged on by RCTV during the April 2002 coup attempt that temporarily overthrew the Chavez government.

A little more than a month after RCTV finally went off the air on May 27th, the channel began to broadcast in Venezuela again, this time over cable and satellite. But, again, the channel immediately caused problems when it refused to follow the national media regulations that require all national media to broadcast government public-service messages as well as the national anthem on a daily basis. A new conflict was created with the government when RCTV asserted that it did not have to follow national law claiming that it was now an “international” channel with its headquarters relocated to Miami. The Venezuelan government responded warning RCTV that if it did not follow national law, it would force cable operators to remove the channel from their listings.[25]

Repeating the strategy used by La Prensa to create conflict with the government and then claim repression when the government responds, RCTV used the situation to initiate another campaign claiming “repression” of “independent media” and an “attack on freedom of expression.” Other private and international media joined in, but none ever mentioned the fact that the private media’s freedom to make these accusations was evidence enough of the complete freedom of expression in the country.

If the actions and strategy of the opposition in Nicaragua, and the CIA-financed newspaper La Prensa are any indication, it is apparent that RCTV is following the very same strategy of destabilization used by the CIA in other countries. As the CIA manuals and documents demonstrate, along with the evidence documented in William Robinson’s book A Faustian Bargain, La Prensa was an important instrument in the CIA destabilization of Nicaragua, and, with the help of Eladio Larez, the campaign eventually succeeded in overthrowing the Sandinista government.

In Venezuela, the CIA’s goal is the same and RCTV appears to be playing the same role. Although to date there is no documented evidence that RCTV is receiving any significant CIA funding, Eladio Larez’s previous connections to the agency seem to make it a good possibility.


[1] Not to be confused the TV station’s the more public representative, Marcel Granier, who is RCTV’s executive director and president of RCTV’s parent company, 1BC.

[2] CovertAction Information Bulletin, #34, Summer 1990

[3] William Robinson (1992) A Faustian Bargain: U.S. Intervention in the Nicaraguan Elections and American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era, Boulder CO: Westview Press, 1992, p. 246

[4] According to testimony from witnesses of the media coverage of the “Caracazo” massacre in February 1989, RCTV and other private media did not show the reality of events during and after the massacre. Footage taken from those days shows that the channels continued with normal commercial broadcasting. In editorials by Eladio Larez on live television in the days surrounding the massacre he praises the efforts of the government for bringing a “rapid end to the crisis.”

[5] Human Rights Watch, Informe Annual 2003 Venezuela, New York, 2003,
http://www.hrw.org/spanish/inf_anual/2003/venezuela.html

[6] During the popular uprising of Chavez supporters following the coup of April 11th 2002, RCTV and other private media declared that they would not show images that could “cause harm to the stability of the country.” Instead, RCTV and other private media broadcast entertainment programs despite demands from people in the streets to cover the popular rebellion taking place in the country.

[7] U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States spoke in favor of installing “Somocismo without Somoza.” That is, keeping the same basic political and economic system, but without the Somoza dictator. From Noam Chomsky (1993) What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Odonian Press

[8] CovertAction Information Bulletin, #34, Summer 1990

[9] In the Appendix to his book, Robinson shows an internal La Prensa fax from Cristina Chamorro, Violeta’s daughter, in which she describes their meeting with Eladio Larez and the plan to set up the foundation in Venezuela, pg. 247

[10] Robinson, pg. 93

[11] George Miller, (D- CA): “We are going into this election process [spending] $1 billion dollars. We funded the Contras, we have destroyed [Nicaragua’s] economy, we have taken Mrs. Chamorro and we pay for her newspaper to run, we funded her entire operation, and now we are going to provide her the very best election that America can buy.” Congressional Record (House), October 4, 1989, p. H6642.

[12] Robinson, p. 79

[13] Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare, The CIA’s Nicaragua Manual, a manual prepared by the CIA for the contras. New York: Vintage Books, 1985, p. 70

[14] Opposition media and political groups have frequently made the claim that Venezuela’s increased homicide rate is a result of the president’s “hateful language” (lenguaje de odio) and that he is “planting hate” (sembrando odio) in the society.

[15] Robinson, pg. 77

[16]Documents Reveal U.S. Effort to Influence Venezuelan Journalists,” Venezuela Analysis, May 26th, 2007

[17] See the 2006 U.S. human trafficking report or the 2006 U.S. human rights report in which Colombia and Mexico are praised for their “progress on human rights” while Venezuela is condemned as “outside the democratic norm.” Or recent U.S. drug reports that again praise U.S. allies like Colombia and Mexico while condemning Venezuela for “not cooperating” with U.S. officials. See the 2007 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2007/, and U.S. State Department report: Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2006, Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/shrd/2006/80591.htm

[18] Robinson, p. 71

[19] Robinson, p. 80

[20] Robinson, p. 43

[21] U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright, New York Times, September 20, 1988

[22]Protests For and Against RCTV Continue in Caracas,” Venezuela Analysis, May 28, 2007

[23] Robinson, p. 43

[24] Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare, pg. 80-90

[25] El Universal, “Chacón: Registro de RCTV Internacional ante CONATEL es un requisito exigido por la ley,” Sunday, July 29th, 2007.

Global Research Articles by Chris Carlson


see:

Chavez and RCTV: Tilting the Balance Against the “Bad Guy”

Hugo Chavez vs RCTV by Bart Jones

Is Free Speech Really at Stake? Venezuela & RCTV by Patrick McElwee

Venezuela’s RCTV: Sine Die and Good Riddance by Stephen Lendman

Venezuela’s RCTV Acts of Sedition By Stephen Lendman

Cartoon Coup D’Etat by Paul Haste (Venezuela; RCTV)

Media/Press/Propaganda/MSM

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Myths of Mideast Arms Sales By William D. Hartung

Dandelion Salad

By William D. Hartung
08/11/07 “ICH

The Bush administration’s proposal to send $20 billion worth of arms and $43 billion in military aid to U.S. allies in the Middle East has been promoted by repeating a series of time-worn myths that should have long since been abandoned. With a shooting war in Iraq and a war of words with Iran well under way, the last thing the region needs is a new influx of high tech weaponry.

The suggestions of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that this flood of armaments will be “stabilizing” in the short term while underscoring the U.S. commitment to “moderates” in the region over the longer term is a prime example of this historical amnesia.

Take Saudi Arabia, which continues to pursue policies that are moderate in name only. Not only is Riyadh one of the most undemocratic regimes in the world, but it has more often than not used its financial resources to promote extremism and repression elsewhere. From financing fundamentalist madrassahs in Pakistan to supporting Sunni insurgents in Iraq, the regime has a long track record of opposing the values of democracy and moderation that the Bush administration claims are the overarching principles of its foreign policy. It’s hard to see how selling Saudi Arabia more military equipment will change this pattern, any more than arming the Shah of Iran in the 1970s and the Afghan rebels in the 1980s promoted stability in those countries.

Some elements of the proposed package are particularly disturbing. Satellite guided bombs are not “defensive weapons”,” as the administration claims. Using them would be ill-advised, if not disastrous.

This raises the question of who exactly would Riyadh use these weapons against. Iran? Iraq? Israel? Internal opponents?

Iran has no intention of invading Saudi Arabia; if it wants to undermine Saudi security it is far more likely to work via proxy, a tactic that the Saudis are well-equipped to counter in kind.

An attack on Iraq in the context of a civil war would only exacerbate tensions and help savage any remnants of stability that remain there.

Attacking Israel would be a suicide mission, given Tel Aviv’s substantial military superiority. The only plausible scenarios – and the ones most feared by Israeli officials – would be if a rogue pilot attempted to strike without authorization or an even more extremist regime were to overthrow the current Saudi government.

Last but not least, using satellite guided bombs against armed extremists within Saudi Arabia would be the wrong tool for the job, like trying to kill a swarm of mosquitoes with a sledge hammer. Good intelligence would be a far more effective tool. What if the Bush administration tried to foster greater intelligence cooperation instead of casting its two top cabinet officials in the role of second-rate arms brokers?

In the short-term, these scenarios may not be high probability events, but as the U.S. experiences with arming the Shah of Iran and the Afghan rebels demonstrate, weapons supplied now can be used against U.S . interests down the road as political conditions change.

If a symbol of U.S. commitment to Saudi Arabia is needed, there are plenty of other tools at Washington’s disposal, in the realms of diplomacy, economic cooperation, and coordinated law enforcement efforts, among others. Not to mention the fact that the funds the Saudis expend for this proposed deal would be far more productive – and stabilizing – if they were invested in economic and social programs within the kingdom.

For all of these reasons, the U.S. Congress must take preemptive action to try to derail or reshape the Middle East arms package. Since Congress was granted the right to stop major arms deals via a joint resolution of disapproval under the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, it has never successfully done so via a formal vote. But there have been instances where the threat of Congressional action has led to the restructuring or delaying of specific deals.

A successful effort to block or reshape the Mideast arms package must begin with detailed hearings as soon as Congress starts its fall term. Waiting for a formal notification from the executive branch, as skeptics like Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Joseph Biden and House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Tom Lantos have pledged to do, will be too little too late. Given the inherent problems with this arms package, it is unlikely to withstand public scrutiny. It is up to Congress to take the lead in promoting a real debate on this critical issue.

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the New America Foundation.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Missing kids in the UK – Don’t you forget about me? (music video)

Obviously for my UK friends, please take a look at the pics of the missing children and contact www.missingkids.co.uk if you have any info on these kids.  ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

August 11, 2007
From:  setfree69

A Video remix of an old song Runaway Train by Soul Asylum with relevant pic inserts for the UK. Where is the Mainstream Media when they should be doing there job? Maybe it is down to us bloggers to take back the Media and help ourselves. Please watch and respond if you have ANY information. Contact Details included.

The Anti-Empire Report – Read this or George W. Bush will be president the rest of your life by William Blum

Dandelion Salad

by William Blum
Saturday, 11 August 2007

Separation of oil and state

On several occasions I’ve been presented with the argument that contrary to widespread opinion in the anti-war movement and on the left, oil was not really a factor in the the United States invasion and occupation of Iraq. The argument’s key, perhaps sole, point is that the oil companies did not push for the war.

Responding to only this particular point: firstly, the executives of multinational corporations are not in the habit of making public statements concerning vital issues of American foreign policy, either for or against. And we don’t know what the oil company executives said in private to high Washington officials, although we do know that such executives have a lot more access to such officials than you or I, like at Cheney’s secret gatherings. More importantly, we have to distinguish between oil as a fuel and oil as a political weapon.

A reading of the policy papers issued by the neo-conservatives since the demise of the Soviet Union makes it clear that these people will not tolerate any other country or group of countries challenging the global hegemony of the world’s only superpower. A sample — In 1992 they wrote: “We must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”[1] And in 2002, in the White House “National Security Strategy” paper: “Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States… America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed… We must deter and defend against the threat before it is unleashed… We cannot let our enemies strike first… To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.”

As the world has been learning in great sorrow, the neo-conservative world-dominators are not just (policy) paper tigers.

Japan and the European Union easily fall into the categories of potential competitors or potential adversaries, economically speaking. They both are crucially dependent upon oil imports. To one extent or another so is most of the world. The Bush administration doesn’t need the approval of the oil companies to pursue its grandiose agenda of world domination, using the vast Iraqi oil reserves as one more of its weapons.

For those who would like to believe that there’s a limit to the neo-cons’ imperial arrogance, that even the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Rice, and the rest of the gang would never treat Europe as anything like an enemy, I suggest a look at a recent article by the former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, which appeared in the Financial Times of London. In it, the Cheney intimate and current senior fellow at the neo-con citadel, American Enterprise Institute, berates British prime minister Gordon Brown for implying that the UK could have a “special relationship” with both the United States and the European Union (which Bolton refers to as “the European porridge”). Like a hurt lover, Bolton exclaims that Britain has been brought to “a clear decision point… What London needs to know is that its answer will have consequences.” The article is entitled: “Britain Cannot Have Two Best Friends”.

Bolton goes on to ask: “Why does a ‘union’ with a common foreign and security policy, and with the prospect of a real ‘foreign minister’ have two permanent seats on the UN Security Council and often as many as three non-permanent seats out of a total of 15 council members? France and Britain may not relish the prospect of giving up their unique status, but what is it that makes them different — as members of the ‘Union’ — from Luxembourg or Malta? One Union, one seat. Mr Brown cannot have it both ways (nor will President Nicolas Sarkozy).”

The Empire has not yet made Europe an ODE (Officially Designated Enemy) like Iran, but, Bolton declares, “If Mr Bush decides that the only way to stop Iran is to use military force, where will Mr Brown come down? Supporting the US or allowing Iran to goose-step towards nuclear weapons?”[2]

Washington’s exquisite imperial mentality, its stated determination to “act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed”, sees “potential adversaries” in China and Russia as well of course. The United States — with hypocrisy breathtaking even for the Bush administration — regularly castigates China for its expanding military budget; and tries to surround Russia with military bases, missile shields, and countries with ties to Washington and NATO.
Moreover, the United States has been competing with Russia for the vast oil and gas reserves of the land-locked Caspian Sea area since the 1990s. The building and protection of pipelines in Afghanistan was in all likelihood a major factor in the US invasion and occupation of that country. And in this case we know that the American oil company UNOCAL met with Taliban officials in Texas and in Afghanistan before 9-11 to discuss the pipelines.[3]

A license to lie that never expires

I touched upon this a year ago, but our much-esteemed leader and his equally-esteemed acolytes continue to use the same argument in order to deflect attention from their deformed child, the War On Terror — the argument being that since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, US counterterrorism policy has worked. How do they know? Because there haven’t been any terrorist attacks in the United States in the six years since that infamous day.

Right, but there weren’t any terrorist attacks in the United States in the six years before Sept. 11, 2001 either, the last one being the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, with no known connection to al Qaeda. The absence of terrorist attacks in the US appears to be the norm, with or without a War on Terror.

More significantly, in the six years since 9-11 the United States has been the target of terrorist attacks on scores of occasions, not even counting anything in Iraq or Afghanistan — attacks on military, diplomatic, civilian, Christian, and other targets associated with the United States, in the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific, more than a dozen times in Pakistan alone. The attacks include the October 2002 bombings of two nightclubs in Bali, Indonesia, which killed more than 200 people, almost all of them Americans and citizens of their Australian and British war allies; the following year brought the heavy bombing of the US-managed Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, the site of diplomatic receptions and 4th of July celebrations held by the American Embassy; and other horrendous attacks in more recent years on US allies in Madrid and London because of the war.

When the Bush administration argues that the absence of terrorist attacks in the US since 9-11 means that its war on terrorism has created a safer world for Americans … why do I doubt this?

The past is unpredictable

As the call for withdrawal of American forces from Iraq grows louder, those who support the war are rewriting history to paint a scary picture of what happened in Vietnam after the United States military left in March 1973.

They speak of invasions by the North Vietnamese communists, but fail to point out that a two-decades-long civil war had simply continued after the Americans left, minus a good deal of the horror which US bombs and chemical weapons had been causing.

They speak of the “bloodbath” that followed the American withdrawal, a term that implies killing of large numbers of civilians who didn’t support the communists. But this never happened. If it had taken place the anti-communists in the United States who supported the war in Vietnam would have been more than happy to publicize a “commie bloodbath”. It would have made big headlines all over the world. The fact that you can’t find anything of the sort is indicative of the fact that nothing like a bloodbath took place. It would be difficult to otherwise disprove this negative.

“Some 600,000 Vietnamese drowned in the South China Sea attempting to escape.”[4] Has anyone not confined to a right-wing happy farm ever heard of this before?

They mix Vietnam and Cambodia together in the same thought, leaving the impression that the horrors of Pol Pot included Vietnam. This is the conservative National Review Online: “Six weeks later, the last Americans lifted off in helicopters from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon, leaving hundreds of panicked South Vietnamese immediately behind and an entire region to the mercy of the communists. The scene was similar in Phnom Penh [Cambodia]. The torture and murder spree that followed left millions of corpses.”[5]

And here’s dear old Fox News, July 26, reporters Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes, with their guest, actor Jon Voight. Voight says “Right now, we’re having a lot of people who don’t know a whole lot of things crying for us pulling out of Iraq. This — there was a bloodbath when we pulled out of Vietnam, 2.5 million people in Cambodia and Vietnam — South Vietnam were slaughtered.”

Alan Colmes’ response, in its entirety: “Yes, sir.” Hannity said nothing. The many devoted listeners of Fox News could only nod their heads sagely.

In actuality, instead of a bloodbath of those who had collaborated with the enemy, the Vietnamese sent them to “re-education” camps, a more civilized treatment than in post-World War Two Europe where many of those who had collaborated with the Germans were publicly paraded, shaven bald, humiliated in other ways, and/or hung from the nearest tree. But some conservatives today would have you believe that the Vietnamese camps were virtually little Auschwitzes.[6]

Has the conservative view of Vietnam post-US withdrawal already hardened into historical concrete? “The agreed-upon historical record”, to use Gore Vidal’s term?

The way of all flesh, the way of all wars

In 1967 and ’68 I was writing a column of a type very similar to this report, only it wasn’t online of course; it was for the Washington Free Press, part of the so-called “underground press”. In looking over those old columns recently I found three items whose relevance has not been dimmed by time at all:

(1) [From the Washington Post, 1968]: “It has never been clearer that the Marines are fighting for their own pride, from their own fear and for their buddies who have already died. No American in Hue is fighting for Vietnam, for the Vietnamese, or against Communism.”[7]
[Make the obvious substitutions and we have: No American in Baghdad is fighting for Iraq, for the Iraqi people, or against terrorism. And how many of today’s warriors can look around at what is happening in Iraq and convince themselves that they’re fighting for something called freedom and democracy?]

(2) Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, was the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the newsmen exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied, “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? — stupid.” And when a correspondent for a New York paper began a question, he was interrupted by Sylvester who said: “Aw, come on. What does someone in New York care about the war in Vietnam?”[8]

(3) The US recently completed an operation in the III Corps area of South Vietnam called “Resolved to Win”. Now, a new operation is being planned for the same area. This one is called “Complete Victory”, which should give you an idea of how successful “Resolved to Win” was. I expect that the only operation standing a chance of success will be the one called “Total Withdrawal.”

Libertarians: an eccentric blend of anarchy and runaway capitalism

What is it about libertarians? Their philosophy, in theory and in practice, seems to amount to little more than: “If the government is doing it, it’s oppressive and we’re against it.” Corporations, however, tend to get free passes. Perhaps the most prominent libertarian today is Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who ran as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president in 1988 and is running now for the same office as a Republican. He’s against the war in Iraq, in no uncertain terms, but if the war were officially being fought by, for, and in the name of a consortium of Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, Bechtel, and some other giant American corporations, would he have the same attitude? And one could of course argue that the war is indeed being fought for such a consortium. So is it simply the idea or the image of “a government operation” that bothers him and other libertarians?

Paul recently said: “The government is too bureaucratic, it spends too much money, they waste the money.”[9]

Does the man think that corporations are not bureaucratic? Do libertarians think that any large institution is not overbearingly bureaucratic? Is it not the nature of the beast? Who amongst us has not had the frustrating experience with a corporation trying to correct an erroneous billing or trying to get a faulty product repaired or replaced? Can not a case be made that corporations spend too much (of our) money? What do libertarians think of the exceedingly obscene salaries paid to corporate executives? Or of two dozen varieties of corporate theft and corruption? Did someone mention Enron?

Ron Paul and other libertarians are against social security. Do they believe that it’s better for elderly people to live in a homeless shelter than to be dependent on government “handouts”? That’s exactly what it would come down to with many senior citizens if not for their social security. Most libertarians I’m sure are not racists, but Paul certainly sounds like one. Here are a couple of comments from his newsletter:

“Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action.”

“Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the ‘criminal justice system,’ I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”[10]

Author Ellen Willis has written that “the fundamental fallacy of right libertarianism is that the state is the only source of coercive power.” They don’t recognize “that the corporations that control most economic resources, and therefore most people’s access to the necessities of life, have far more power than government to dictate our behavior and the day-to-day terms of our existence.”[11]

NOTES

[1] “Defense Planning Guidance for the Fiscal Years 1994-1999”, New York Times, March 8, 1992, p.14, emphasis added

[2] Financial Times (London), August 2, 2007

[3] BBC News, December 4, 1997, “Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline”

[4] Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative WorldNetDaily (www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56769), August 6, 2007

[5] Mona Charen, National Review Online, July 20, 2007

[6] Search Google News: <bloodbath iraq vietnam> for more examples

[7] Washington Post, February 20, 1968, article by Lee Lescaze

[8] Congressional Record (House of Representatives), May 12, 1966, pp. 9977-78, reprint of an article by Morley Safer of CBS News

[9] National Public Radio, Morning Edition, August 9, 2007

[10] Atlanta Progressive News, June 3, 2007 (www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/views/0024-views.html)
As far as I can determine, Paul does not deny that these remarks, and others equally racist, appeared in his newsletter, but he claims that a staff member of his is the author of those remarks.

[11] Ellen Willis, Dissent magazine, Fall 1997

William Blum is the author of:

– Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2

– Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower

– West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir

– Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see:

Ron Paul on Health Care h/t: Bon

Democratic Candidates attend first ever Gay Forum + Gay Democrat Debate in 10 Minutes (videos) + Link to the Debate

Dandelion Salad

August 10, 2007
From: clyde1952 The big loser: Bill Richardson, who l…

The big loser: Bill Richardson, who later tried to clarify his remarks. Could you imagine a Republican at a Gay Forum? The Family Research Council and Pat Dobson would have a nervous breakdown.

(Sorry video no longer available)

Gay Democrat Debate in 10 Minutes

August 09, 2007
From: TownhallVideos

Watch the debate on Logo TV/360 Gay:

LINK

see

Videos from Kucinich on LGBT Issues

Kucinich: Vote for Yourself By Rachel Dowd

Mumia Abu-Jamal — The Tragedies of Political Fear! (video)

Dandelion Salad

August 10, 2007
From:  Suryu

The Message Stupid!

Cheney Urging Strikes On Iran

by Warren P. Strobel, John Walcott & Nancy A. Youssef

WASHINGTON – President Bush charged Thursday that Iran continues to arm and train insurgents who are killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and he threatened action if that continues.

At a news conference Thursday, Bush said Iran had been warned of unspecified consequences if it continued its alleged support for anti-American forces in Iraq. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker had conveyed the warning in meetings with his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad, the president said:

Bush wasn’t specific, and a State Department official refused to elaborate on the warning.

Behind the scenes, however, the president’s top aides have been engaged in an intensive internal debate over how to respond to Iran’s support for Shiite Muslim groups in Iraq and its nuclear program. Vice President Dick Cheney several weeks ago proposed launching airstrikes at suspected training camps in Iraq run by the Quds force, a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to two U.S. officials who are involved in Iran policy.

The debate has been accompanied by a growing drumbeat of allegations about Iranian meddling in Iraq from U.S. military officers, administration officials and administration allies outside government and in the news media. It isn’t clear whether the media campaign is intended to build support for limited military action against Iran, to pressure the Iranians to curb their support for Shiite groups in Iraq or both.

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2…