Hey, Soldiers: Quit Whining! By Ted Rall

Dandelion Salad

By Ted Rall
10/26/07 “ICH

Troops Suck Up to Bush, Ask for Support


COLUMBUS, OHIO–Over a year ago, in March 2006, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes published the results of a Zogby poll of troops serving in Iraq. 72 percent said U.S. forces should withdraw within a year. Twenty-five percent thought we should pull out right away. But 85 percent said a major reason they were there was “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the September 11 attacks.” These people are confused, to say the least.

Even more confusing is the persistent flow of complaints by Iraq War veterans that Americans on the home front are partying like it’s 2009 while their comrades back in Vichy Mesopotamia are getting blown up.

Army infantry officer Will Bardenwerper gave voice to this oft-stated sentiment in an October 20th New York Times op/ed. “As I began my 13-month deployment (in Tal Afar, Iraq),” wrote a dispirited Bardenwerper, “I imagined an American public following our progress with the same concern as my family and friends. But since returning home, I have seen that America has changed the channel.” He was struck by “the disparity between the lives of the few who are fighting and being killed, and the many who have been asked for nothing more than to continue shopping.”

Typical suggestions for fairer distribution of sacrifice and a military draft–the latter to obtain additional manpower and inspire antiwar marchers to fill the streets like they did during Vietnam–follow. At least he left out the usual calls for victory gardens and gas rationing.

The war sucks. On that point, the millions of Americans who were against it from the start (and the many millions more who’ve come around to agreeing with us) agree with the soldiers serving in it. Forced reenlistment through the “stop-loss” loophole is placing thousands of lives in suspended animation, destroying marriages and small businesses. Troops aren’t getting enough protective gear.

It’s also true that Americans have stopped paying attention. I’m a news junkie. And even I flip the page past the same old “2 Dead, 7 Wounded in IED Blast” headline.

But hey, soldier, you volunteered. If not for you, there wouldn’t be a war in the first place.

“Supporting the troops means supporting their mission.” That’s been the mantra of the pro-war right. It’s been hard for those of us who oppose the war to argue with them because so many of the troops have repeatedly allowed themselves to be used as propaganda shills for Bush Administration officials and the Republican Party in general.

It’s bad enough that a majority of soldiers voted for Bush in 2004. Over and over since the war began, American troops have been seen on television applauding Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice and others whose cynical recklessness have sent their buddies to their graves. Sailors cheered wildly when Bush staged his notorious “Mission Accomplished” photo op on an aircraft carrier. They swooned when he joined them for Thanksgiving dinner in Baghdad.

“The shocked and elated soldiers jumped to their feet, pumped their fists in the air, roared with delight, and grabbed their cameras to snap photographs,” reported CNN about Bush’s visit. A “standing ovation” followed. “It gave us a little extra oomph,” said a member of the 1st Armored Division. “It really boosted my morale,” said another. No one heckled or booed the imposter president. No one threw tomatoes. No one told him where he could stick his plastic turkey.

Even after soldiers get killed, their parents promote the war so their dead kids won’t be lonely in heaven. At Fort Benning, Georgia met Deb Tainsh, whose son was killed by a roadside bomb near the Baghdad Airport. She presented Bush with more than 100 e-mails from parents of soldiers who have died or are presently serving in Iraq. “Every one of these letters says, ‘Mr. President, we support you,'” she said. “The consensus is that they…want him to do everything he can to win this war and that our prayers are with him.”

“Bush, 61, has so far met with more than 1,500 relatives of the 4,255 American troops who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the Bloomberg News wire service reported last week. “In most of the meetings, [Bush’s] aides say, he hears support for his policies, hardening his resolve to stay the course in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Few Gold Star mothers tell him off. Those who do are polite to the man who murdered their children as surely and as viciously as if he’d shot them himself. Why don’t they spit at him?

Four years after the WMDs and liberation flora failed to turn up, people still enlist. After soldiers die, their parents insist that theirs was a noble sacrifice. Tell me again: Why should I care about the war? Why shouldn’t I go shopping?

Soldiers who want antiwar Americans to march to demand that they be brought home should take a cue from Vietnam veterans. They marched with peace protesters and threw their medals at the Capitol. Soldiers serving on the front refused orders. Some fragged their officers. Vietnam Veterans Against the War claimed more than 50,000 members by 1971. That year saw numerous dramatic acts of dissent by U.S. troops, including 50 veterans who marched to the Pentagon and demanded that they be arrested as war criminals. Fifteen vets took over and barricaded the Statue of Liberty for two days. These acts swayed opinions and helped convince lawmakers it was time to withdraw.

Some soldiers in Iraq have offered resistance. After being denied conscientious objector status, Petty Officer Third Class Pablo Paredes went AWOL in 2004. He was sentenced to two months in the brig and three months hard labor. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada refused to be sent to Iraq in 2006, telling the media that the war’s illegality would make him a party to war crimes. Army Specialist Darrell Anderson, faced with a second tour of duty after being wounded by a roadside bomb, deserted and fled to Canada. “I went to Iraq willingly,” said Anderson. “I wanted to die for my country. I thought I was going to go there and protect my family back home. All I was doing was killing other families there.” The Army decided not to prosecute him. Several other deserters have applied for political asylum in Canada, but they’re only a fraction of the thousands who went there during the 1960s and 1970s.

When Bill Clinton was president, Republicans said he should be afraid to speak at military bases. That should go double for Bush. The next he shows up to use you as a TV prop, soldiers and fellow Americans, boo the crap out of him. What’s the worst he can do? Kill you?

Ted Rall is the author of the new book “Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?,” an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge. Visit his website http://www.rall.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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Murdoch’s Cuckoo’s Nest: The Wall Street Journal’s Op-ed Page By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
10/26/07 “ICH

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page is the ideological headwaters for far-right fanaticism in the US. It is less of a forum for open debate than it is a breeding ground for noxious ideas that undermine democratic institutions. Every day, there’s a whole new slate of extremist opinion pieces defending one absurdity or another. Typically, the articles focus on the two issues of primary importance to all conservatives; war and taxes. It’s astonishing how many variations there are on the same hackneyed theme.

Conservatives are naturally distrustful of ideas, so they’ve created a platform where they can couch their reactionary views in academic-sounding jargon without any real attempt at upgrading social policy. There appears to be an endless reservoir of Reagan-era “supply side” zealots and think-tank windbags who are more than eager to promote the topic-du jour, whatever that may be. By using right wing celebrities as their standard-bearers, the WSJ is able to elevate the most mundane, nonsensical arguments to a level of respectability. And that’s the objective—to make hard-nosed, narrow-minded chauvinism look like enlightened policy.

Typically, the editorials take aim at any regulation which restricts industry or any law which protects the citizen. Articles are chosen on the basis of how they appeal to a small group of corporate mandarins whose views about “how the world should be organized” are nearly identical. In other words, it is an “echo chamber” for the investor class. That’s why liberals should pay attention. The men who currently run the world are not shy about revealing what they have in mind for the rest of us. Isn’t it worth the price of a subscription to find out what that is?

In the last few days the WSJ has run articles defending Exxon against the $2.5 billion punitive damages that were ordered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for its massive oil spill in Alaska nearly 2 decades ago. They’ve run another tiresome apology for Judge Robert Bork, the alleged victim of a left-wing witch hunt. They’ve provided a lawyerly defense of the Marines who went on the “killing spree” in Haditha; another promotion for the extortionist World Bank, an emotional plea to “Save the Bush Tax Cuts”, and, of course, an over-the-top 1500 word thesis on why “Victory Is Within Reach In Iraq” by neocon nutcase Michael Ledeen.

On Monday, October 22, the WSJ ran an article by David Rivkin, “Getting Serious about Torture”, which essentially defends the “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment of terror suspects by pointing out the relative nature of these terms. (Isn’t it odd that questions related to torture never came up before Bush took office?)

As Rivkin says, “The words cruel, inhuman and degrading, whether or nor a particular interrogation method shocks the conscience depends very much on the circumstances.”

Sure, David, it’s all relative, isn’t it? How about “eye gouging”; is that okay, too?

Remember when conservatives used to rail against “moral relativism”? At the time, it seemed like a matter of principle. Now we can see that it was just empty posturing.

At the end of his article Rivkin reminds us that, “There is no free lunch. Coercive interrogations have been key in preventing post 9-11 attacks on American soil.”

Indeed. Sounds like a pretty spirited defense of torture to me. Am I missing something?

No theory is too whacky or obscene for the WSJ’s editorial page as long as it conforms to the far right mind-set of its readership. For just one dollar, anyone can take a seat in the enemy’s camp and listen in. Sounds like a bargain to me.

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Freedom Writ Large By John Pilger

Dandelion Salad

By John Pilger
10/27/07 “ICH

This is John Pilger’s address to a London meeting, ‘Freedom Writ Large’, organized by PEN and the Writers Network of Burma, on October 25.

Thank you PEN for asking me to speak at this very important meeting tonight. I join you in paying tribute to Burma’s writers, whose struggle is almost beyond our imagination. They remind us, once again, of the sheer power of words. I think of the poets Aung Than and Zeya Aung. I think of U Win Tin, a journalist, who makes ink out of brick powder on the walls of his prison cell and writes with a pen made from a bamboo mat – at the age of 77. These are the bravest of the brave.

And what honor they bring to humanity with their struggle; and what shame they bring to those whose hypocrisy and silence helps to feed the monster that rules Burma.

I had planned tonight to read from my last interview with Aung San Suu Kyi, but I decided not to – because of something Suu Kyi said to me when I last spoke to her. “Be careful of media fashion,” she said. “The media like this sentimental version of life that reduces everything down to personality. Too often this can be a distraction.”

I thought about that, and how typically self effacing she was, and how right she was.

In my view, the greatest distraction is the hypocrisy of those political figures in the democratic West, who claim to support the Burmese liberation struggle. Laura Bush and Condoleezza Rice come to mind.

“The United States,” said Rice, “is determined to keep an international focus on the travesty that is taking place in Burma.”

What she is less keen to keep a focus on is that the huge American company, Chevron, on whose board of directors she sat, is part of a consortium with the junta and the French company, Total, that operates in Burma’s offshore oil fields. The gas from these fields is exported through a pipeline that was built with forced labor and whose construction involved Halliburton, of which Vice President Cheney was Chief Executive.

For many years, the Foreign Office in London promoted business as usual in Burma. When I interviewed Suu Kyi I read her a Foreign Office press release that said, “Through commercial contacts with democratic nations such as Britain, the Burmese people will gain experience of democratic principles.”

She smiled sardonically and said, “Not a bit of it.”

In Britain, the official public relations line has changed, but the substance of compliance and collusion has not. British tour firms – like Orient Express and Asean Explorer – are able to make a handsome profit on the suffering of the Burmese people. Aquatic – a sort of mini Halliburton – has its snout in the same trough, together with Rolls Royce and all those posh companies that make a nice earner from Burmese teak.

When the last month’s uprising broke out, Gordon Brown referred to the sanctity of what he called “universal principles of human rights”. He has said something similar a letter sent to this meeting tonight. It is his theme of distraction. I urge you not be distracted.

When did Brown or Blair ever use their close connections with business – their platforms at the CBI and in the City London – to name and shame these companies that make money on the back of the Burmese people? When did a British prime minister call for the European Union to plug the loopholes of arms supply to Burma, stopping, for example, the Italians from supplying military equipment? The reason no doubt is that the British government is itself one of the world’s leading arms suppliers, especially to regimes at war. Tonight (October 25) the Brown government has approved the latest American prelude to its attack on Iran and the ensuing horror and bloodshed.

When did a British prime minister call on its ally and client, Israel, to end its long and sinister relationship with the Burmese junta. Or does Israel’s immunity and impunity also cover its supply of weapons technology to Burma and its reported training of the junta’s most feared internal security thugs? Of course, that is not unusual. The Australian government – so vocal lately in its condemnation of the junta – has not stopped the Australian Federal Police from training Burma’s internal security forces in at the Australian-funded Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation in Indonesia.

There are many more of these grand, liberal hypocrites; and we who care for freedom in Burma should not be distracted by the posturing and weasel pronouncements of our leaders, who themselves should be called to account as accomplices – unless and until their fine words are matched by deeds that make a genuine difference and they themselves stop destroying lives. We owe that vigilance and that truth to Aung San Suu Kyi, to Burma’s writers and to all the other bravest of the brave.

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Iran: The Road to Armageddon? by Felicity Arbuthnot

Dandelion Salad

by Felicity Arbuthnot
Global Research, October 27, 2007
Global Research and the UN Observer

Reminder to the crusading Armageddonists …..

“Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20: 13

They are at it again. Remember when Milosovic was labelled “the butcher of Belgrade”, the new Hitler? Then Saddam Hussein was “the butcher of Bagdad” and, of course the most dangerous man since Hitler – with weapons of mass destruction which could be unleashed on the world “in forty five minutes”.

Colin Powell lied to the U.N., about the danger Iraq posed to the planet; George Bush lied to anyone who would listen; Tony Blair lied to Parliament and aides concocted dossiers so dodgy they were laughable, yet in spite of the millions who marched, protested and knew the lies for what they were, there were millions who bought fiction as fact.

And here we go again. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (wait for “the tyrant of Tehran”) threatens the planet, is supplying weapons to Iraq’s resistance, is destabilising the region and the paradise that is occupied Iraq. Whilst there are indeed plenty of Iranians or Iranian sympathisers in Iraq, they came in with the occupiers. Many in high places in Iraq’s corrupt, militia driven, American puppet government, speak Farsi, not Arabic.

The increasingly hysterical claims regarding Iran, the latest threat to life as we know it, is being brought to you by the very same warmongers who wrought the duplicity that resulted in Iraq’s murderous decimation, the hawks’ nest which is the American Enterprise Institute and their friends.

A glance at the AEI website lists those including: Paul Wolfowitz (“entrepreneurship and development”), Michael Rubin (“Arab democracy”), Richard Perle (“defence …intelligence”), Joshua Muravchik (“global democracy”), John Bolton (“foreign policy”), Lynne Cheney, whose husband, as ever, is believed a driving force behind the attack plan (“culture and education”), Michael Ledeen (latest book: “The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots Quest for Destruction”), Daniell Pletka (“Vice President for foreign and defence policy studies”) who, writing in the “Wall Street Journal” (28th September 2007) referred to Iran’s “illegal nuclear weapons … Washington’s impotence” and “clear information of a link to a weapons of mass destruction programme”. This in spite of the International Atomic Energy Authority finding no indication of such programmes. It all sounds chillingly familiar.

Interestingly, an item on the Institute’s list of “Research Projects” is “Global Investment in Iran”. Surely a matter for Iran – or does the AEI already regard Iran’s oil fields and assets as their fiscal frolic zone?

Orchestration is continuing apace: “Even as we are succeeding in Iraq” (really?) “Iran is working against us … we will not achieve peace in the region if we ignore this threat”, writes Ledeen. Further, there are clear plans to liberate Iran’s women, Afghan style: “Since 1979, Iran has changed from a society where women could attend university and have careers, to one where they are second class citizens … sold as slaves …”. writes Diana Furchgott-Roth in the New York Sun (14th September 2007.)

There must be two Irans: “Literacy is well over ninety percent, even in the rural areas and in 2005, more than sixty five percent of students entering university were women. The voices that come through most strongly on the Iranian blogosphere are those of this educated, young generation.” Over sixty five percent of this country of seventy million are under thirty years old.

“I feel cold when I think about a possible war against my homeland”, wrote one blogger: “My picture of war hasn’t come from Hollywood movies, I have seen the pain, the kids tears, bloody streets …” In a picture showing a meeting of the Tehran Photographers Association, the venue is packed with vibrantly dressed women – and one man. (See : Inside Iran, New Internationalist, March 2007: www.newint.org )

Iran is not perfect, but where is? Britain’s Prime Minister Brown “refuses to rule out” joining the US military intervention – to decimate for “democracy” and plunder resources. According to the Sunday Telegraph (1st October 2007), a dossier is being drawn up on Iran’s violations of International Law, as with Iraq. “Violations of International Law”? Two countries, Britain and America have not alone violated, but torn up International Law. Yet again, who guards the guards?

Can a nation who even invaded Grenada (which has no armed forces, main exports: bananas, nutmeg, mace; a war for nutmegs?) in 1983, totalling a psychiatric hospital (24th anniversary, 25th October) population 94.103 (1994) v. United States, population 260.713.000 (1994) because it was a “threat”, be trusted?

But the war drums are beating: “WE MUST bomb Iran”, is the header for Josua Muravchik’s Los Angeles Times article (19th June 2007.)

He begins with quotes straight from the Pentagon’s Iraq propaganda handbook: “…since the country’s secret nuclear programme was brought to light … the path of diplomacy and sanctions has led nowhere.” Tehran has “spurned” a “string of concessions”; the UN Security Council was derelict in its duty toward the Iranian threat.

The completion of Iran’s nuclear arsenal grows closer daily, this “premier state sponsor of terrorism” could “slip nuclear material to terrorists”. The bomb Iran doesn’t have, would, of course “constitute a dire threat to Israel’s six million population”. No mention of Israel being the fifth largest nuclear power on earth, without a blink towards the non-proliferation treaty, or indeed even an admission of having such weapons.

However Iran’s non-weapons: “would spend finis to the entire non-proliferation system”. The “…global struggle” with Iran is “akin” to the forty year one with the Soviet Union and – wait for it – “a clash of civlisations”.

“The only way to forestall these frightening developments is by the use of force … by an air campaign against Tehran’s nuclear facilities. We have considerable information about these facilities; by some estimates they comprise about 1,500 targets…. What should be the timing of such an attack? If we did it next year, that would give time for U.N. diplomacy to further reveal its bankruptcy …’” is Murachik’s conclusion. “Deja vu, all over again.”

Not mentioned, anywhere, in the demented rhetoric regarding an attack on Iran, is the “A” word: Armageddon. “Likely targets for saturation bombing” (that look likely to involve tactical nuclear weapons) “are the Bushehr nuclear power plant” (where Russian and other foreign national technicians are present) “a uranium mining site at Saghand” (near a major city, Yazd) “the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, a heavy water plant and radioisotope facility at Arak, the Arkedan Nuclear Fuel Unit, the Uranium Enrichment Facility and Nuclear Technology Centre in Isfahan, the Tehran Nuclear Research Cnetree, the Tehran Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility …. a reportedly dismantled uranium enrichment plant at Lashkar Abad and the Radioactive Waste Storage Units in Karaj and Anarak”. (Wayne Madsen: http://www.entimesreport.com/Attack_on_Iran.html )

These were facilities, many begun after the US/UK overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected, democratic Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, after he had nationalised the country’s oil. The coup was engineered by the CIA’s Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore. General Norman Schwartzkopf’s father then travelled to Iran, to help train Savak, the murderous, ruthless, secret police of America’s friend, the Shah.

However, modern history aside, forget global warming.

Consider the enormity of the seemingly proposed attack, apart from the unimaginable horror of those fried and irradiated in the immediate vicinity and surrounding countries (including “allied”, troops throughout the region.).

This is a succinct description of what the explosion of just one nuclear power plant generated, Chernobyl, in 1986: “Irradiated human cells splinter into fragments called micronuclei … a definitive pre-cursor of cancer. During the nuclear reactor disaster at Chernobyl, the …radiation released was the equivalent of four hundred atomic bombs … Exposed Russians quickly developed blood cell micronuclei …” (The Radiation Poisoning of America, Amy Worthington, 9th October 2007: http://www.globalresearch.ca )

The plight of the children and the Chernobyl region’s cancers twenty one years on, have become an ongoing, tragic, global health study, as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the residents of the Pacific islands, after the British and French nuclear tests. Chernobyl’s radiation traversed the globe within days. In the highlands of the U.K., Wales and Cumbria, livestock straying in affected areas are still inedible and unsaleable. Chernobyl was doused from the air with fire retardant, by crews, which, in spite of protection by heavily leaded cockpit floors, reportedly, not one has survived the ravaging resultant cancers. If Chernobyl was four hundred atomic bombs, see the above list and do the maths. Don’t forget to add the “coalition’s” democratic nuclear weapons dropped on them.

Norman Podhoretz, one of the founding fathers of neo-conservatism in the United States, is gung-ho, another one reportedly urging Bush to bomb Iran. He told Bush: “You have the awesome responsibility to prevent another holocaust. You are the only one with the guts to do it.”(Sunday Times, 1st October 2007.) A holocaust by any other name …

Mohammad Mossadegh and Saddam Hussein made fatal mistakes. They nationalised their countries’ oil. Saddam Hussein finally tied the noose around his neck, when he switched Iraq’s oil revenues out of US Dollars and into Euros in 2000.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also vowed to switch from US Dollars and move to a currency “further east”.

As Iraq, is this really about a nuclear threat?

Will the millions who believed the last great lie, be fooled again? If they are not, will it make any difference, in the illegal space the US and UK Administrations inhabit?

On the ground in the Middle East (or in this case on the water) it seems not. Here is a communication from a Landing Signals Officer* (an LSO directs carrier aircraft whilst landing) on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most strategically vital oil routes, which is controlled by Iran.

The LSO is convinced Iran will be attacked, commenting that “… all Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished (meaning) all targets have been chosen, prioritized and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers …” Further, the LSO comments, there is deep disquiet amongst senior officers about “staging a massive attack on Iran”. However, “I have seen more than one senior Commander disappear …”; it’s weird, because everyone who has “disappeared” has questioned this mission.

How limited would the attack be?

“I don’t think it’s limited at all. We are shipping in and assigning every Tomahawk, we have an inventory. I think this is going to be massive and sudden (with) thousands of targets. I believe no American will know when it happens, until after it happens.” The LSO ponders that discussing a secret attack is “treason” but is so concerned “something tells me to tell it anyway.”

“Yes, we are going to hit Iran big time. Whatever political discussion that is going on is window dressing … a red herring. I see what’s going on here below deck, in the hangers and weapons bay – and I have a sick feeling about how it is going to turn out.’”

Would the US Administration really endanger the entire planet?

Here is a story told to me by Bernard Lown, one of co-founders of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) during the Reagan era. http://www.ippnw.org Lown worked closely with another eminent fellow cardiac surgeon, the (then) USSR’s Yevgeny Chazov. Since physicians know no borders, they had formed a friendship, then a movement, which bridged the cold war, the Reagan “Evil Empire” (re. the Soviet Union) nonsense and within two years, had doctors and surgeons from eighty two countries spreading the word, that even cardiac arrest paled against nuclear war.

In 1995, IPPNW collectively won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Since Lown travelled, lecturing, to the USSR frequently and had built trust over many years at all levels, the US State Department asked if he would engage in some unofficial diplomacy. Relations between the two countries were far worse than most realised. After one such visit to Moscow, I met Lown in Paris. We sat in dappled Spring sun, at a pavement breakfast café – fresh squeezed orange, coffee, croissants.

“I came back two days ago and went to talk (at the State Department) of the concerns in Moscow. Afterwards, a senior official – a household name (he declined to divulge) walked me to the exit. As we neared the exit, he put his arm round my shoulders:

‘Don’t worry, Professor Lown, if there is a nuclear war, we will be the first ones to rise up and meet Jesus in the sky.’” Lown, used to the vagaries of the unwell, responded: “Tell me, does anyone else in this building feel as you do?”

“Oh yes, many of us do.”

The swathe of “household names”, from the Reagan era, are now in the Bush Administration and the American Enterprise Institute.

The Armageddonists are back.

The world should be very afraid – or should the physicians in white coats move in?

Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist and activist who has visited the Arab and Muslim world on numerous occasions. She has written and broadcast on Iraq, her coverage of which was nominated for several awards. She was also senior researcher for John Pilger’s award-winning documentary,

“Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq”. http://www.johnpilger.com/page.asp?partID=4

see

Paying The Price: Killing The Children Of Iraq-A documentary film by John Pilger (video; 2000)

and author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of “Baghdad” in the “Great Cities” series, for World Almanac Books (2006.)

Note

*Regarding the LSO, this came from a second, but highly trusted source, who for obvious reasons, would not divulge the name or further details of the LSO.

Please also see:

Livni behind closed doors: Iran nukes pose little threat to Israel
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/916758.html

Religious Extremists in America (Christian Zionists)
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_UoHfCUBiEM

Kill Or Convert, Brought To You By the Pentagon
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?bid=15&pid=220960

Military Religious Freedom Foundation http://militaryreligiousfreedom.org

Al-Bushra http://www.al-bushra.org

Christians be aware!
http://www.nwo101.com/2007/10/christians-be-aware.html

Felicity Arbuthnot is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Felicity Arbuthnot

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Felicity Arbuthnot, Global Research and the UN Observer, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7193

Truth Matters by Charles Sullivan

Dandelion Salad

by Charles Sullivan
Dissident Voice
October 26th, 2007
I have been writing political essays for a few years now. I do so as a reluctant enthusiast, not because I wanted to write on these themes; but because, it seemed to me, that professional journalists were not telling the whole story; that significant parts that would allow people to connect the dots and understand what is happening from a historical perspective, was being deliberately omitted from the official version of current events, and from history.

As propaganda, the elements that are deliberately left out of media are as important as those that are retained. It is propaganda by omission, as much as by content. What people are not told shapes their world view and influences their behavior, as surely as what they are told. Imposed ignorance and selective knowledge go hand in hand to forge public opinion and to shape cultural identity. These conditions set the stage for belligerent government and aggressive nationalism.

It is not coincidental that professional journalists, those who write for profit in the mainstream media, are the least likely to tell us the truth, the whole truth; whereas, free-lance writers, who operate under a different set of rules and out of the mainstream, are more likely to serve the public interest, and tell us what we need to know in order to be a free people, and good world citizens.

Professional journalists are beholden to a code of ethics and personal conduct that free-lance writers are not. Namely, they are part of a fraternity, a part of the cultural orthodoxy, with an incentive in maintaining the established order. The incentive is always financial and professional, and involves creating the acceptance and trust of those in power, which may, when properly executed, even result in the celebrity status of the journalist.

Journalists who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo or advancing their careers do not operate in the public interest. Their purpose is not to inform but to deceive.

When a major news anchor reports upon the invasion and occupation of sovereign nations, uncritically putting forth pentagon propaganda as justification for the attack, he or she is in essence acting in the manner of a celebrity athlete endorsing a product. The basketball star may endorse Nike sneakers, manufactured by indentured servants in foreign sweatshops; while the news anchor is endorsing war and disaster capitalism projected around the world by Lockheed Martin and the Carlyle Group. Both are prostitutes.

Mainstream corporate journalism is not about speaking truth to power, it is about selling products and perceptions. It is about creating a culture of ignorant consumers incapable of distinguishing between propaganda and news, fact and fiction.

This is marketing and perception management masquerading as unbiased, objecting reporting. I call it the big lie.

If the mainstream journalist wants to prosper, if they want to have access to the inner circles of power, they must play the game according to the established rules. They must toe the corporate line, and provide cover for the corporate assault on human freedoms, and the conquest of nature, while keeping hidden agendas concealed from public view. Journalists must be able to sell widely objectionable concepts to the people, packaged in the garments of seductive—often patriotic language, in order to make them palatable.

How many soldiers, outside of those under the private contracts of firms like Blackwater, would voluntarily stake their lives for corporate profits, and the subjugation of a sovereign people, if they knew that is what they are really fighting for, rather than the more popular and desirable goal of freedom or democracy?

Freedom, liberation, and democracy have never been corporate objectives; nor can they ever be the objective of corporate governance. They are only selling points that conceal hidden corporate agendas; the attractive packaging for war, occupation, and privatization, obtained at pubic expense.

If news stories are not believable to the multitudes, if they fail to garner popular support by masking corporate agendas behind deceptive language, the majority of governmental polices and private agendas could not be enacted. If the people knew what was being done in their name, and who is profiting from those policies, there might be widespread opposition and even social upheaval. It would be difficult to field a voluntary military that knows it is fighting for the bottom line of Halliburton, Bechtel, and Lockheed Martin, rather than for freedom and democracy, as they are told.

Thus those who would serve in the military as self-ordained patriots are sold a bill of goods. By invading and occupying Iraq, they are, in effect, undermining the very principles they claim to hold sacred, including those set forth in the Constitution and the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Likewise, the average US citizen is sold a similar bill of goods in order to garner support for policies they would, presumably, never voluntarily sustain, if they understood them better.

That is the genius of modern capitalism and its impressive marketing apparatus. The results have been breathtaking.

Skillful perception management always precedes empire. Well presented propaganda allows history to be presented as a kind of fairy tale that ignores the horrible things the government has always done in our name, at the behest of corporate America and our wealthiest citizens, which should be too well known to bear reiteration here.

In our capitalist culture, journalism must not be thought of as a reporting of facts, but as marketing propaganda—the selling of ideas that might not otherwise be embraced by those who must carry out hidden agendas, or the people on the receiving end of them. Seen in this way, the US soldier and the Iraqi citizen are both pawns in a rich man’s game: the former as the implementer of unjust war and occupation, the other as the unwilling recipient of them.

The end result for both soldier and Iraqi citizen is tragic: the soldier is told that he or she is protecting their country from foreign threats, something that is patently false; while the innocent Iraqi citizen, defending his or her home from foreign occupation, knows that she or he is not a terrorist, but is treated like one, nevertheless.

Both occupier and the occupied share a common foe, but it is not each other; it is the criminals, aided and abetted by the corporate media, who put them in formal opposition to one another for financial gain.

Our recent history would have been impossible without the consolidation of the media that occurred during the Clinton presidency, and has continued ever since. The entire spectra of mainstream media are now under the control of only four or five corporations. We no longer have reporting on local issues stemming from diverse perspectives rooted in local communities, but a monoculture of state and corporate propaganda that betrays the public trust in its pursuit of corporate profits.

Aided by the president and congress, the public owned airwaves were hijacked and are being used against the people by giant multinational corporations.

The result of this media monoculture, as purveyed by the likes of Judith Miller and Tom Brokaw, and countless others, is tragic. And they represent only the tip of the mainstream iceberg. Think of the horrible and shameless lies, the baseless fear and hate that are continuously voiced by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, and the hateful broadcasts that emanate from Bob Jones University, masquerading as Christian theology.

Corporate media is the vanguard of empire and environmental destruction on a global scale.

Unlike its corporate counterpart, reporting truth requires people of unassailable integrity. It requires a thirst for justice with the strength of character to oppose the powerful undertow of manufactured perception and conformity, and the seductive language created to execute the hidden agendas of corrupt governments. Uncovering truth requires commitment to the people, rather than to profit driven corporate agendas.

Only a handful of professional journalists have attained the kind of stature that makes such reportage possible in the United States. Their names are not at all well known, with the possible exception of Seymour Hersch, Robert Fisk, Bill Moyers and Greg Palast.

More often than not, that responsibility falls on the shoulders of independent journalists and unpaid free-lancers. The professional journalist must answer to his/her boss, and portray the corporation that employs them in a favorable light, even if they are profiting from unprovoked war and occupation. In contrast, the free-lancer is bound only by the constraints of conscience, imagination, and ability.

Occasionally, an astonished responder to one of my more poignant essays will tell me that I should forward the piece to the New York Times: to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, or even the BBC. I never have.

It would be hard for me to imagine any corporation undermining its own profitability by exposing its hidden agendas, and denouncing itself as a commissioner of murder and mayhem, motivated by insatiable greed and a lust for wealth and power that would astonish even the staunchest mafia don. Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen! Snowballs in hell have a better chance.

Its not that free-lancers like me wouldn’t like to get paid for what we do; it’s that our views do not enhance the bottom line of corporate giants and, in many cases, actually undermine them. Thus it behooves the professional journalist and the corporate media to ignore or discredit us as purveyors of truth and seekers of justice.

Soon it will be an act of sedition to speak truth in this country. Yet, truth will continue to exist, despite all attempts to destroy it.

Whether they admit it or not, virtually all of the best known journalists in the US subscribe to the racist and sexist ideologies of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny, and they go to great lengths to advance these ideas, by presenting them as something other than what they really are. Slight of hand is the rule of mainstream journalism, not the exception.

Conversely, by serving the people, free-lance journalists are, of necessity, undermining the corporate agenda. Thus they are treated as enemies of the state, which has become indistinguishable from the corporation itself. We live in a culture where one cannot value truth and carry forth corporate agendas. Truth is the enemy of empire.

This might also explain why so many unembedded journalists have been deliberately killed in Iraq and the Gaza strip by US and Israeli snipers. The world must not know what the occupiers do, or the propaganda veneer may no longer have its intended effect on the consumers of media.

Speaking truth to power, especially corrupt power, is dangerous business— particularly in war zones and fascist states, like the one evolving in the US.

Corporate media is the vanguard of colonialism and imperialist policy. It plays a key role in preparing the public mind for imperialist wars and occupations and their subsequent puppet governments; it also serves the emerging police state at home that erodes our freedoms, until there is nothing left of them.

Yet, occasionally, even in this artificially constructed myth loving culture, truth wins out simply because someone cares enough to tell it like it is, without sugar coating. Truth matters; and that is—and always will be—of primal importance to some people. Let future historical records show that there was opposition to what was being done in our name, that there were people willing to speak truth to power, to stem the evil tide by standing up for justice, cost what it may.

Future historians of the dominant culture are likely to cast these accounts into the memory hole and pretend that they never existed, carrying forth the myth that the people were always united behind the injustice and tyranny of our time. We saw this in Nazi Germany in the buildup to World War Two, and we are seeing it now in the US.

But a culture that does not value truth and justice is not worth preserving. Such cultures will self destruct and implode upon themselves; the world will eventually unite against them and bring them down. All of the military might in the world, all the subterfuge, is not powerful enough to overcome simple truth.

Any individual who values truth more than lies, who keeps truth alive in his or her heart, despite all efforts to dislodge it from its ethical moorings, is more powerful than even the most advanced weapons systems. Truth emerges unscathed from the rubble of fallen empire as immutable as an inviolable law of nature. Nothing can bring it down because it is real.

If we are to evolve into a justice loving people, truth must become our moral foundation, the basis of our existence as a people. Truth and justice are inseparable partners on the road to liberation from tyranny and fascism.

Concord’s greatest citizen, the poet-philosopher, Henry D. Thoreau, summed it up well: “The one great rule of composition…is to speak the truth. This first, this second, this third; pebbles in your mouth or not.” Perhaps more than anything, that simplistic ability to speak plain truth, and in all languages, is what I most admire about Thoreau. There is much to admire and respect in a man who spoke in those terms, and lived by that simple credo.

Truth is simple and uncomplicated, whereas lies and distortions are complex. Truth stands strong and unwavering without artificial support; lies and propaganda require elaborate schemes and constant propping up, the mask of deception.

More of us must learn the language of truth; we must be its faithful guardians, if we are to be valuable citizens in this world, rather than the useful idiots of empire. By holding truth and justice in the highest regard, we demonstrate that another world is not only possible, but highly probable.

As voracious consumers of media, we must be as careful about what we admit into our minds, as the food we put into our bodies. Food can nourish and sustain us, or it can produce disease and decay. And so it is with media.

To date, we have not been very discriminate, and the result is that we have become a culture of the mentally obese, fed on junk media. Our minds, our souls, have been deliberately poisoned; our perceptions twisted and distorted, our humanity abandoned to the quest for profits and power.

We must purge our minds of junk media and replace it with something more nutritious, if we favor health over disease. Peace is not possible without two essential ingredients: truth and justice. Neither is possible in the absence of the other. We must live as if truth still matters.
Charles Sullivan is a nature photographer, free-lance writer, and activist residing in the Ridge and Valley Providence of geopolitical West Virginia. Read other articles by Charles.

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

George Galloway: Iranian Sanctions + Zionism Is Not Israel (videos)

Dandelion Salad

setfree69

October 26, 2007

As usual Galloway hits the nail on the head. No wonder Parliament is so scared of him. Like him or not he is Honest in what he says and I believe he speaks for the disenfranchised Labour Supporters who have no-one left to vote for.

This time old Tory Frances Maude repeats the lie that has been repeated of what the Iranian President was accused of saying. Galloway puts him right.

Mosaic Intelligence Report: Sanctions – A Prelude to War? (video)

Dandelion Salad

linktv

For more visit http://www.linktv.org
Mosaic Intelligence Report – October 26, 2007

The US government imposes new sanctions on Iran ‘s military. What will be the impact on Iran? Will the international community back the US action? And will this lead to war?

Answers to these questions and more on Link TV ‘s Mosaic Intelligence Report.

Burn Baby Burn – The California Celebrity Fires By Greg Palast

Dandelion Salad

By Greg Palast
Oct. 26, 2007

The ‘Boo ain’t no N.O.

Plus: George Bush, Flame Retard

What color is your disaster? It makes a difference. A life and death difference.

Dig:

Population of San Diego fire evacuation zone: 500,000
Population of the New Orleans flood evacuation zone: 500,000

White folk as a % of evacuees, San Diego: 66%
Black folk as % of evacuees, New Orleans: 67%

Size counts, too. Size of your wallet, that is:

Evacuees in San Diego, in poverty: 9%
Evacuees in New Orleans, in poverty: 27%

The numbers would be even uglier, though more revealing, if I included evacuees of the celebrity fire in Malibu.

Read the rest:

BURN BABY BURN – The California Celebrity Fires

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Doing Something Positive To Impact Illegal Immigration by Guadamour (coffee)

GUADAMOUR

Dandelion Salad
featured writer

Guadamour’s Blog
Oct 27, 2007

With the passing and approval of the North American Free Trade Alliance (NAFTA) during the early years of the Clinton administration by Canada, Mexico and the USA in the 990s, millions of small farmers in Mexico, small subsistence farmers, were forced off their land through economic necessity.  They could no longer make a living on their small plots.

This fueled the massive illegal migration to the USA that started at that time, and continues to this day.

Nowhere was this more true than in the mountainous southern Mexican state of Chiapas, which borders on Guatemala.

The primary beneficiaries of NAFTA are large multi-national corporations.

NAFTA is the agreement that allowed Walmart to enter the Mexican market.

With financing secured and arranged by multi-national (primarily US) corporations, wealthy Mexicans and Mexican corporations took over a number of the small Mexican land holders and consolidated the lands.  This added further fuel to the spreading fire of illegal immigration.

Chiapas is one of the major coffee growing regions in Mexico.  With its high mountains, it is ideally suited for raising the very best of organic, shade tree, aromatic coffee.

The largest coffee consuming nation in the world is the USA, and most of the major coffee purchasers and roasters are US.

The US coffee purchasers are notorious for driving a hard bargain, and paying the absolute minimum for coffee.   This does nothing for the peon who sweats out tending the coffee bushes, but it maximizes corporate profit.

With the growing social consciousness of the 90s and into the new century, corporations realized that they could use this “social consciousness” as a selling point.

Starbucks and other overpriced coffee roasters started purchasing a tiny fraction of the coffee they buy at “Fair Market Value.”

Fair Marker Value means that the producers of the coffee bean, the humble tenders and cultivators of the Earth, are paid enough so that they can live on their land and support their families without having to resort to illegal immigration.   It doesn’t mean that they are getting wealthy, but they are receiving enough to maintain their humble lifestyles and even make slight advances.

This allows Starbucks and others to facetiously advertise that they pay Fair Market Value, a legal slight of hand.

There is one small non-profit coffee roaster that purchases all their coffee at Fair Market Value.  The company is Just Coffee.

They purchase their coffee in Chiapas and roast it in the Sonoran border community of Agua Prieta, paying the people who do the roasting a livable wage.

Just Coffee is a small roasting operation, but that works out to the advantage of the people who purchase their coffee.

After coffee is roasted it needs to set for three days so it can “gas out.”   This allows the unsavory and slightly toxic gases in all coffee beans to exit.  Once the coffee is gassed out, it remains at an absolute prime state for approximately a week to ten days.

The “prime” over-priced coffee you purchase at Starbucks or your local (more than likely) chain grocery store normally hasn’t been allowed to properly gas out, and is almost always older than ten days, and well past its prime.

Just Coffee sells its coffee online from its offices in Douglas, Arizona, just across the border from Agua Prieta.   It makes sure that all the coffee it ships is in a prime state.   If this coffee in a prime state is kept frozen until use, the prime state is extended a considerable length of time.

Just Coffee offers whole beans  and ground coffee in different roasts.   It can be ordered online at http://www.justcoffee.org.

If you are a coffee drinker who likes truly good coffee, do yourself a favor and try some especially roasted coffee from Just Coffee.   You will not only be doing yourself a favor, you will be doing something, in a small first step way, to stopped the tide of illegal immigration.