Insightful as always, award-winning Australian journalist John Pilger has written his assessment of what’s happening in Haiti. Here’s an excerpt:
The theft of Haiti has been swift and crude. On 22 January, the United States secured “formal approval” from the United Nations to take over all air and sea ports in Haiti, and to “secure” roads. No Haitian signed the agreement, which has no basis in law. Power rules in an American naval blockade and the arrival of 13,000 marines, special forces, spooks and mercenaries, none with humanitarian relief training.
When I was last in Haiti, I watched very young girls stooped in front of whirring, hissing, binding machines at the Port-au-Prince Superior Baseball Plant. Many had swollen eyes and lacerated arms. I produced a camera and was thrown out. Haiti is where America makes the equipment for its hallowed national game, for next to nothing. Haiti is where Walt Disney contractors make Mickey Mouse pjamas, for next to nothing. The US controls Haiti’s sugar, bauxite and sisal. Rice-growing was replaced by imported American rice, driving people into the cities and towns and jerry-built housing. Years after year, Haiti was invaded by US marines, infamous for atrocities that have been their specialty from the Philippines to Afghanistan.
Not for tourists is the US building its fifth biggest embassy in Port-au-Prince. Oil was found in Haiti’s waters decades ago and the US has kept it in reserve until the Middle East begins to run dry. More urgently, an occupied Haiti has a strategic importance in Washington’s “rollback” plans for Latin America. The goal is the overthrow of the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, control of Venezuela’s abundant oil reserves and sabotage of the growing regional cooperation that has given millions their first taste of an economic and social justice long denied by US-sponsored regimes.
Seymour Hersh writing in The New Yorker magazine, July 2008:
Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.
Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.
(read the full story)
"… designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership".
The article goes on to say:
The Finding was focussed on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change.
Now think about the activities of the last couple of weeks. Starting to add up for you?
And who was running JSOC? General Stanley A. McChrystal, President Obama’s recently anointed Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan.
While there is some doubt as to the author of this article in AlterNet (the byline says it’s by Clive Anderson, while the bio down the bottom says it’s by Australia’s own Clive Hamilton), the subject matter is fascinating. And a little bemusing. I had always assumed that George W. Bush’s religiosity was a sham, a cynical attempt to convince the unthinking American God-fearing public to go along with his crazy schemes. This article, however, claims that Bush told French President Jacques Chirac that:
"This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins".
Apparently Chirac himself confirms this in a new book published in France last March and the conversation had been published earlier by a French theology professor who the French government turned to for clarification about what the hell Bush might have been talking about.
I seriously never thought of Bush as really nuts. I figured he just put on the whole Jesus-lovin’ Texan ol’ boy routine purely as manipulation, just as a way to squeeze extra votes out of the Religious Right. Could I have been wrong? Is Bush simply insane?
And if Obama continues his "war" in Afghanistan (I still laugh at how the US likes to declare that it’s a war but refuse to classify their prisoners as Prisoners Of WAR under the Geneva Convention), is he perpetuating Bush’s Holy Jihad?
Yet again we see Christianity used as a justification for the murder of tens of thousands of civilians. It’s just another reason why we need to treat Christianity in the same way we treat any other intolerant, violent philosophy – with extreme disdain and our own (non-violent) intolerance.
Last night I went to the cinema to see "The Baader Meinhof Complex", an excellent film about the rise and fall of The Red Army Faction (RAF), an urban guerilla movement started by disaffected students in West Germany in the 60s who carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, and robberies in an attempt to bring awareness to the corruption in the West German government which, they felt, was being run by former Nazis with the support of large American corporations. Were they terrorists, guerillas or freedom fighters? It all depends on who is telling the story.
I totally recommend this film although it’s not for the faint of heart and you won’t come out of the cinema feeling uplifted or positive about the state of the world. The issues that the RAF were protesting in the 60s are still around – and in a worse state – today. American imperialism runs rampant across the globe, using the ‘free media’ as its propaganda tool and manipulating the minds of the populace with suggestion that an Obama is really more than a couple of degrees different from a Bush.
The film stars a couple of familiar faces –
Horst Herold, who played Hitler in the brilliant DOWNFALL (which has served for unlimited parodies on YouTube) and here plays the president of the Federal Police, and warns the politicians that the guerillas won’t stop until their issues are actually addressed, something none of the politicians wants to hear.
Moritz Bleibtreu who I remember as the lead role in DAS EXPERIMENT, another brilliant film, and here plays Andreas Baader, the flawed but fearless leader of the RAF. As his girlfriend says at one point "Andreas has more revolution in him than the rest of us put together."
Anyway, go see the movie.
With the question of "terrorist or freedom fighter" fresh in my mind, I was reading from Robert Fisk’s excellent book "The Great War For Civilisation – The Conquest of the Middle East" today and the following lines jumped out at me. He’s writing about Afghanistan in the late 70s:
For "terrorists", read "guerillas" or – as President Ronald Reagan would call them in the years to come – "freedom fighters." Terrorists, terrorists, terrorists. In the Middle East, in the entire Muslim world, this word would become a plague, a meaningless punctuation mark in all our lives, a full stop erected to finish all discussion of injustice, constructed as a wall by Russian, Americans, Israelis, British, Pakistanis, Saudis, Turks, to shut us up. Who would ever say a word in favour of terrorists? What cause could justify terror? So our enemies are always "terrorists." In the seventeenth century, governments used "heretic" in much the same way, to end all dialogue, to prescribe obedience. Karmal’s policy (CR Note: Karmal was the President of Afghanistan who was in support of the Russian invasion) was simple: you are either with us or against us. For decades, I have listened to this dangerous equation, uttered by capitalist and communist, presidents and prime ministers, generals and intelligence officers and, of course, newspaper editors.
Click on the book cover to order the book from BookDepository in the UK – free worldwide shipping!
As Fisk points out – every time you read or hear the word "terrorist", be aware that it’s being used to shut you up. It’s a manipulative word, a weasel word, and the use of it by politicians or the media should tell you something about their true agenda.
Update 21/05/09: According to Gulf Times, Hersh is denying he ever said that Cheney’s hit squad killed Bhutto. AmericanThinker delights in providing more details.
Original Post: According to Dawn.com, US journalist Seymour Hersh claims a US government hit squad assassinated Benazir Bhutto on the order of Dick Cheney. Why? Apparently because she announced (on the below TV interview with David Frost) that Osama Bin Laden. Remember how the BBC, when they ran the clip (originally aired on Al Jazeera), edited out the comment about Bin Laden? Hersh says the US was pissed that she leaked that Bin Laden is already dead, which would reduce their justification for continued occupation of Afghanistan and so they had her whacked. And who did the job? Probably JSOC, the top top secret "snake-eating, throat-slitting" black ops team formerly lead by Obama’s new Afghanistan leader, General Stanley McChrystal.
Do I buy it? Yes and no. Do I believe the US assassinates foreign leaders from time to time? Of course I do. They have admitted it. Do I believe they might have been involved in killing Bhutto? Yes, I do. But not because she spoke out about Bin Laden. More likely because the US had invested a LOT ($10 billion) in Pakistan’s military dictator Musharraf and they didn’t want to see that go to waste under a Bhutto government. Of course, it didn’t buy them much time. Musharraf was forced to resign in August 2008 amid corruption allegations and Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, is now President.
Watch Bhutto’s interview on Frost:
Watch Hersh interviewed on Gulf News: