Tag Archives: War

The Empire Continues to Strike

JOHN PILGER

Last July, American historian William Blum published his “updated summary of the record of US foreign policy.” Since the Second World War, the US has:

Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of them democratically elected.
Attempted to suppress a populist or national movement in 20 countries.
Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.

In total, the United States has carried out one or more of these actions in 69 countries. In almost all cases, Britain has been a collaborator. The “enemy” changes in name – from communism to Islamism – but mostly it is the rise of democracy independent of Western power or a society occupying strategically useful territory, deemed expendable, like the Chagos Islands.

The sheer scale of suffering, let alone criminality, is little known in the West, despite the presence of the world’s most advanced communications, nominally freest journalism and most admired academy. That the most numerous victims of terrorism – Western terrorism – are Muslims is unsayable, if it is known.

That half a million Iraqi infants died in the 1990s as a result of the embargo imposed by Britain and America is of no interest. That extreme jihadism, which led to 9/11, was nurtured as a weapon of Western policy (“Operation Cyclone”) is known to specialists, but otherwise suppressed.

While popular culture in Britain and America immerses the Second World War in an ethical bath for the victors, the holocausts arising from Anglo-American dominance of resource-rich regions are consigned to oblivion. Under the Indonesian tyrant Suharto, anointed “our man” by Thatcher, more than a million people were slaughtered. Described by the CIA as “the worst mass murder of the second half of the 20th century,” the estimate does not include a third of the population of East Timor, who were starved or murdered with Western connivance, British fighter bombers and machine guns.

These true stories are told in declassified files in the Public Record Office, yet represent an entire dimension of politics and the exercise of power excluded from public consideration. This has been achieved by a regime of noncoercive information control, from the evangelical mantra of consumer advertising to sound bites on BBC news and, now, the ephemera of social media.

Excerpt from “The War On Democracy”, John Pilger, TRUTHOUT http://truth-out.org/world-war-democracy/1326986241

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How Iran Sees the World

War Ends, War Continues; Never-ending Wars: Change of Scenery, No Change in Policy

NEWS RELEASE
PEACE ACTION
December 14, 2011

President Obama’s announcement today at Fort Bragg that the Iraq War is ending has been long-awaited by Americans and the peace movement.

“This war nearly ends at a tremendous cost of Iraqi and American lives and to U.S. taxpayers. While the U.S. footprint of the largest embassy and other personnel left behind is too large, it’s good that President Obama is doing what he said on the campaign trial,” observed Paul Kawika Martin, the political and policy director of Peace Action — a group founded in 1957 and the largest grassroots peace organization in the U.S.

Opposing the war from the start, Peace Action participated in the February 2003 protest where tens of millions around the world voiced their opposition. Afterwords, Peace Action continued to help organize all the large demonstrations and was a key group focusing opposition on Congress.

The groups also warns that the U.S. government needs to remember the long-lasting affects on millions of Iraqis and the more than one million U.S. service members. Additionally, the U.S. will continue to pay the costs of the war with the debt and honoring our commitments to our veterans will bring the total cost of the Iraq War to over $3 trillion.

“Now that the Iraq war is ending, President Obama must end the other war that the majority of Americans oppose: Afghanistan. The Obama Administration needs to end the Afghanistan within a year, which is American voters want,” concluded Martin.

John Pilger, The Strange Silencing of Liberal America

Think that Censorship is something that only the Corporations and the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy does? No, they are joined by some of the officially Liberal Establishment. As Keith Olburmann and Cenk Uygur were canned for fear that their truth-telling would upset the White House so too an independent film finding Noble Peace Prize winner Obama is a War-maker was censored. Read John Pilger’s account.

How does political censorship work in liberal societies? When my film, ‘Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia’, was banned in the United States in 1980, the broadcaster PBS cut all contact. Negotiations were ended abruptly; phone calls were not returned. Something had happened. But what? ‘Year Zero’ had already alerted much of the world to the horrors of Pol Pot, but it also investigated the critical role of the Nixon administration in the tyrant’s rise to power and the devastation of Cambodia.

Six months later, a PBS official told me, “This wasn’t censorship. We’re into difficult political days in Washington. Your film would have given us problems with the Reagan administration. Sorry.”

In Britain, the long war in Northern Ireland spawned a similar, deniable censorship. The journalist Liz Curtis compiled a list of more than 50 television films in Britain that were never shown or indefinitely delayed. The word “ban” was rarely used, and those responsible would invariably insist they believed in free speech.

The Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, believes in free speech. The foundation’s website says it is “dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity”. Authors, film-makers, poets make their way to a sanctum of liberalism bankrolled by the billionaire Patrick Lannan in the tradition of Rockefeller and Ford.

Lannan also awards “grants” to America’s liberal media, such as Free Speech TV, the Foundation for National Progress (publisher of the magazine Mother Jones), the Nation Institute and the TV and radio programme Democracy Now! In Britain, Lannan has been a supporter of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, of which I am one of the judges. In 2008, Patrick Lannan personally supported the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, he is “devoted” to Obama.

On 15 June, I was due in Santa Fe, having been invited to share a platform with the distinguished American journalist David Barsamian. The foundation was also to host the US premiere of my new film, ‘The War You Don’t See’, which investigates the false image-making of war-makers, especially Obama.

I was about to leave for Santa Fe when I received an email from the Lannan official organising my visit. The tone was incredulous. “Something has come up,” she wrote. Patrick Lannan had called her and ordered all my events to be cancelled. “I have no idea what this is all about,” she wrote.

Baffled, I asked that the premiere of my film be allowed to go ahead as the US distribution largely depended on it. She repeated that “all” my events were cancelled, “and this includes the screening of your film”. On the Lannan website “cancelled” appeared across a picture of me. There was no explanation. None of my phone calls were returned, nor subsequent emails answered. A Kafka world of not-knowing descended.

The silence lasted a week until, under pressure from local media, the Foundation put out a brief statement that too few tickets had been sold to make my visit “viable” and that “the Foundation regrets that the reason for the cancellation was not explained to Mr. Pilger or to the public at the time the decision was made”. Doubts were cast by a robust editorial in the Santa Fe New Mexican. The paper, which has long played a prominent role in promoting Lannan events, disclosed that my visit had been cancelled before the main advertising and previews were published. A full-page interview with me had to be hurriedly pulled. “Pilger and Barsamian could have expected closer to a packed 820-seat Lensic [arts centre].”

The manager of The Screen, the Santa Fe cinema that had been rented for the premiere, was called late at night and told to kill all his online promotion for my film, but took it upon himself to re-schedule the film for 23 June. It was a sell-out, with many people turned away. The idea that there was no public interest was demonstrably not true.

Theories? There are many, but nothing is proven. For me, it is all reminiscent of the long shadows cast during the Cold War. “Something is going to surface,” said Barsamian. “They can’t keep the lid on this.”

My talk on 15 June was to have been about the collusion of American liberalism in a permanent state of war and the demise of cherished freedoms, such as the right to call government to account. In the United States, as in Britain, serious dissent – free speech – has been substantially criminalised. Obama, the black liberal, the PC exemplar, the marketing dream is as much a warmonger as George W. Bush. His score is six wars. Never in US history has a president prosecuted as many whistle-blowers; yet this truth-telling, this exercise of true citizenship, is at the heart of America’s constitutional first amendment. Obama’s greatest achievement is having seduced, co-opted and silenced much of liberal opinion in the United States, including the anti-war movement.

The reaction to the Lannan ban has been illuminating. The brave, like the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, were appalled and said so. Similarly, many ordinary Americans called into radio stations and have written to me, recognising a symptom of far greater suppression. But some exalted liberal voices have been affronted that I dared whisper the word, censorship, about such a beacon of “cultural freedom”. The embarrassment of those who wish to point both ways is palpable. Others have pulled down the shutters and said nothing. Given their patron’s ruthless show of power, it is understandable. For them, the Russian dissident poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko once wrote, “When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”

http://www.johnpilger.com/articles/the-strange-silencing-of-liberal-america

Obama Violates Constitution

Contrary to appearances the Congress is not a potted plant, it is a co-equal branch of government; a government subject to a Constitution. The powers of the Presidency are not to be found in media polls nor in the United Nations charter but in the Constitution.

Excerpt by John Nichols at The Nation which may be found in its entirety at
http://www.thenation.com/blog/159353/wars-should-be-declared-congress-not-merely-launched-presidents

And anyone who takes the Constitution seriously should
have a problem with the fact that, once again, the
United States is involved in a war that has neither
been debated nor declared by the Congress of the United
States.

The penchant of presidents of embark upon military
adventures without consulting Congress is now so
pronounced that it is barely noted anymore that the
Constitution says [2] “Congress shall have power
to…declare War.”

Unless the United States is immediately threatened,
presidents aren’t supposed to declare wars or launch
them on their own.

Of all the checks and balances outlined in the
Constitution, none is more significant than the power
to declare war.

Yet, since World War II, presidents have launched
attacks, interventions and wars without declarations.
And now that has happened again.

There are plenty of explanations for why this happens.
Treaties that require to bind the United States to the
United Nations [3]. The War Powers Act. The general
sense that members of Congress would prefer to let
presidents call the shots.

But the Constitution does not establish any exit
strategies for members of the Congress, They are
supposed to provide advice and consent–or to deny it.

Unfortunately, that just does not happen anymore.

When the United States ratified the United Nations
treaty after World War II, Henrik Shipstead and William
Langer were the only senators to cast “no” votes on the
UN Charter. Other senators, California’s Hiram Johnson
and Wisconsin’s Robert M. La Follette Jr., expressed
reservations.

What was their fear? The senators worried that, under
the agreement with the United Nations, presidents would
involve US troops in wars launched by the United
Nations–without ever consulting Congress.

That fear proved to be well founded, as history would
soon confirm, when President Truman sent US troops to
Korea as part of a UN mission–but without a
Congressional declaration.

President Obama’s approval of an intervention in Libya
has also skipped the Congress.

Was this necessary? Of course not. Obama could have
consulted Congress; indeed, if the issue was pressing,
he could have asked that the House and Senate be called
into session over the weekend.

That is what Congressman Dennis Kucinich proposed, when
he declared last week that “Congress should be called
back into session immediately to decide whether or not
to authorize the United States’ participation in a
military strike. If it does not, the action of the
President is contrary to [the] US Constitution. Article
1, Section 8 of the Constitution clearly states that
the United States Congress has the power to declare
war. The President does not. That was the Founders’
intent.”

 

Hermann Goering, Deputy Fuhrer, on War:

“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Kucinich on the Theft of BILLIONS

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the
following statement on the floor of the House
concerning an expected vote on a $33 billion
supplemental war funding bill:

“In a little more than a year the United States flew
$12 billion in cash to Iraq, much of it in $100 bills,
shrink wrapped and loaded onto pallets. Vanity Fair
reported in 2004 that `at least $9 billion’ of the cash
had `gone missing, unaccounted for.’ $9 billion.

“Today, we learned that suitcases of $3 billion in cash
have openly moved through the Kabul airport. One U.S.
official quoted by the Wall Street Journal said, `A lot
of this looks like our tax dollars being stolen.’ $3
billion.  Consider this as the American people sweat
out an extension of unemployment benefits.

“Last week, the BBC reported that “the US military has
been giving tens of millions of dollars to Afghan
security firms who are funneling the money to
warlords.” Add to that a corrupt Afghan government
underwritten by the lives of our troops.

“And now reports indicate that Congress is preparing to
attach $10 billion in state education funding to a $33
billion spending bill to keep the war going.

“Back home millions of Americans are out of work,
losing their homes, losing their savings, their
pensions, and their retirement security.  We are losing
our nation to lies about the necessity of war.

“Bring our troops home. End the war. Secure our
economy.”