• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 3 april 2010

Henk Hofland 32


In de Groene Amsterdammer van deze week schrijft de NRC-columnist Henk Hofland een opiniestuk over 'de volgende oorlog,' waarin hij stelt dat het Amerikaanse en Israelische dreigen met geweld tegen Iran een 'vernietigende stok achter de deur' is. 'Door dit in bedwang houden van een roekeloos bewind in Teheran wordt het ertoe gedwongen beter over de consequenties na te denken en -- hopen we -- het gezond verstand te gebruiken.'

Ziedaar een illustrerend voorbeeld van ouderwets Koude Oorlogsretoriek. Als vanzelfsprekend gaat de spreekbuis van het establishment ervan uit dat de VS en zijn satelliet Israel het recht hebben om te dreigen met geweld. Dat is in Hofland's wereldorde een legitiem instrument om de eigen geopolitieke belangen (olie) veilig te stellen.

De gedachtewereld van onze NRC-columnist berust in feite op het volgende adagium van president Teddy Roosevelt, daterend uit de tijd toen de VS zijn buitenlands imperium flink begon uit te breiden: 'Speak softly and carry a big stick,' oftewel 'the idea of negotiating peacefully, simultaneously threatening with the “big stick”, or the military, ties in heavily with the idea of Realpolitik, which implies an amoral pursuit of political power that resembles Machiavellian ideals.'

Even wat achtergrondinformatie voor de jongelui die mijn weblog lezen: in Columbus in the Americas citeert de Amerikaanse auteur William Least Heat Moon admiraal Columbus nadat deze de Nieuwe Wereld had 'ontdekt' voor de Spaanse vorst en vorstin: 'May Your Highnesses believe that... this island and all the others are as much yours as Castile; for nothing is lacking except settlement and ordering the Indians to do whatever Your Highnesses may wish... Because I with the people that I bring with me, who are not many, go about in all these islands without danger; for I have already seen three of these sailors go ashore where there was a crowd of these Indians, and all would flee without the Spaniards wanting to do harm. They do not have arms and they are all naked, and of no skill in arms, and so very cowardly that a thousand would not stand against three. And so they are fit to be ordered about and made to work, plant, and do everything else that may be needed, and build towns and be taught our customs, and to go about clothed.'

Dit is kort samengevat al meer dan 500 jaar lang de ideologie van de westerse macht. Zolang de anderen zwakker zijn dan wij kunnen wij met geweld hen dwingen dat te doen wat ons rijk en machtig maakt. Het is in wezen niets anders dan terreur, en dat besefte al tijdgenoten van Columbus zoals Bartolome de Las Casas, de eerste Spaanse Dominicaanse priester die naar de Nieuwe Wereld werd gezonden om daar Indianen te bekeren tot 'het ware geloof'. In zijn History of the Indies schreef hij:

'Note here, that the natural, simple and kind gentleness and humble condition of the Indians, and want of arms or protection gave the Spaniards the insolence to hold them of little account, and to impose on them the harshest tasks that they could, and to become glutted with oppression and destruction. And sure it is that here the Admiral enlarged himself in speech more than he should, and that what he here conceived and set forth from his lips, was the beginning of the ill usage afterwards inflicted upon them,' en dat al snel uitliep op de genocide van de Indianen, zonder dat de blanke overheersers hierover enige wroeging toonden. Sterker nog, vier eeuwen later beschreef Theodore Roosevelt de continenten van volkeren die geen industrie bezaten als ‘braakliggende ruimtes’ die niet gereserveerd moeten worden voor het gebruik van verspreid levende primitieve stammen, wier leven slechts een paar graden minder betekenisloos, smerig, en meedogenloos is dan dat van de wilde beesten met wie ze het gebied delen.’ Het spreekt voor zich dat deze expansionistische ideologie alleen door massaal geweld in de praktijk kon worden gebracht, maar dat was geen probleem want zoals Roosevelt verklaarde: 'Geen enkele vredestriomf evenaart de gewapende oorlogstriomf.’

De ideologie waarmee dit geweld gepaard ging werd geformuleerd in de korte maar krachtige formule 'manifest destiny,' een door de christelijke god aan de blanke Europeanen en hun nazaten geschonken manifest recht om overal de dienst uit te maken. De Amerikanen zagen zichzelf als het nieuwe uitverkoren volk, de VS was de shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere' en bezat dus het morele recht overal met geweld in te grijpen. Ook Henk Hofland is van dit vanzelfsprekende 'recht' diep doordrongen, daarom werpt hij niet eens de vraag op of het dreigen met geweld in een geordende wereld juridische geoorloofd is, want in zijn optiek moet het recht wijken voor de realiteit van de superieure macht van de VS.

Maar omdat de goeden pas echt goed kunnen lijken, moet er ook slechten zijn, vandaar dat hij spreekt van 'een roekeloos bewind in Teheran.' Roekeloos? In welk opzicht Henk? Roekeloos, omdat ze zich niet ogenblikkelijk bij His Maters Voice neerleggen zoals jij doet? Ik zou juist zeggen dat de politiek van het Iraanse regime alles behalve roekeloos is. Luister Henk, als je goed ingevoerde bronnen leest, en ik bedoel nu niet artikeltjes in bladen, maar dikke boeken dan zal het je duidelijk worden dat sinds de moderniteit in die regio binnendrong Iran permanent buitenlandse imperia van het lijf heeft moeten houden. Eerst de Russen, toen de Engelsen, nu de Amerikanen. Het is niet Iran maar het Westen dat al sinds de negentiende eeuw 'roekeloos' handelt in die regio. Lees Devil's Game. How the United States helped unleash fundamentalist islam, van de vooraanstaande Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist Robert Dreyfuss, die schrijft: 'The central theme of this book is that the Islamic right was seen as a valuable U.S. ally during the Cold War... There is an unwritten chapter in the history of the Cold War and the New World Order that followed. It is the story of how the United States -- sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly -- funded and encouraged right-wing Islamist acitivism. Devil's Game attempts to fill in that vital missing link.' Of lees het werk van dr. Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, and adjunct professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, die het uiterst verhelderende Treacherous Alliance. The secret dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U.S. schreef. Luister naar mijn interview met hem: http://www.stanvanhoucke.net/audioblog/pivot/entry.php?id=43#body
Of lees Imperial Hubris. Why The West Is Losing The War On Terror van Michael Scheuer, directeur van de speciale CIA-eenheid die belast was met de opsporing van Osama bin Laden. Of lees de heldere analyse van de Amerikaanse hoogleraar Hamid Dabashi getiteld Iran. A people interrupted, waarin hij aantoont dat 'the story of modern Iran is one of defiance and rebellion against both domestic tyranny and globalized colonialism...Iranians (like the rest of the third world) received the universal promises of Enlightenment modernity through the gun barrel of European colonialism.'

Allen zullen je gedocumenteerd uitleggen wat de logica is achter Iran's politiek en zullen je duidelijk maken dat niet bij het Iraanse regime maar juist bij de westerse regimes de kwalificatie 'roekeloos' gepast is. Ze zullen je tevens duidelijk maken dat het westerse ingrijpen in 1953 als resultaat had de vernietiging van de democratische krachten in Iran en de opkomst van de ayatollahs. Het huidige beleid van Iran wordt bepaald door het langdurig westers ingrijpen in dat land, zoals in 1953 toen de Iraanse democratie door de CIA en de Britse geheime dienst om zeep werd geholpen nadat de democratisch gekozen regering van Mossadeq de Iraanse oliebronnen had genationaliseerd die voorheen in handen waren geweest van de Britten. In de jaren tachtig greep de VS weer in door Irak financieel en militair te steunen in de agressieoorlog tegen Iran die Irak was begonnen. Deze terreur liep op een bloedbad uit waarbij naar schatting een miljoen burgers en militairen om het leven kwamen, en dat allemaal omdat in de woorden van Henry Kissinger 'het uiteindelijke Amerikaanse belang… is dat beide partijen zullen verliezen.'

Geen woord daarover in de Koude Oorlogsretoriek van goed en kwaad bij Henk Hofland. Hij spreekt alleen eufemistisch van een 'vernietigende stok achter de deur', terwijl hij in werkelijkheid bedoelt grootscheeps geweld waarbij -- zoals gebruikelijk in moderne gewapende conflicten -- de meeste slachtoffers burgers zijn, vrouwen en kinderen, bejaarden zoals Henk zelf. En niemand in dit kikkerland die hem terechtwijst, want overal is hier het Orwelliaans taalgebruik klakkeloos overgenomen van onder andere de door Hofland geciteerde Amerikaanse bronnen als het het uiterst conservatieve Brookings Institution. Meer over Hofland later.



De Westerse Terreur 70

(3 april 2010 - Bericht van Ontwapen! en redactie Vredessite)


P E R S B E R I C H T


Ondanks regen 100 bomopruimers in Volkel


Volkel, 3 april 2010 -

Vandaag wordt Nederland, België, Frankrijk, Turkije, Groot

Brittanië en Duitsland (4 april), actie gevoerd worden bij

elke NAVO kernwapenbasis. In Nederland is de actiedag

georganiseerd bij kernwapenbasis Volkel in Noord Brabant.


'Wij willen een wereld zonder militarisme, een wereld waar

conflicten op een geweldloze manier opgelost of beheerst

worden. In zo'n wereld is geen plaats voor kernwapens', zo

zette Mikkie Venema namens het organiserende 'Ontwapen!' het

doel van de actie uiteen. Zij deed dit bij de basis in Volkel

tegenover zo'n 100 belangstellenden die regen en wind

trotseerden. Onder de aanwezigen was ook de burgemeester van

de gemeente Uden, op wiens grondgebied de vliegbasis ligt.


Na dit startsein spraken verschillende andere sprekers,

afgewisseld door muzikanten, zich uit over de noodzaak om te

komen tot afschaffing van kernwapens. Men beperkte zich

hierbij niet tot Europa, maar betrok ook de Israëlische

kernwapens en de vermeende nucleaire ambities van Iran

hierbij. 'Het is mijn overtuiging dat ‘de veiligheid van

Israël en de vrede in het Midden Oosten’ baat zouden hebben

bij toetreding tot van Israël tot het

Non-Proliferatieverdrag', zo zei José van Leeuwen namens Een

Ander Joods Geluid, 'in plaats van de confrontatiepolitiek

jegens Iran waarin Israël de wereld mee wil slepen - Amerika

voorop - door het voor te stellen alsof Iran ons allen

bedreigt'.


Aan het einde van de manifestatie bij de kernwapenbasis

werden de deelnemers opgeroepen om de basis te betreden en

metterdaad te beginnen met de zo noodzakelijke opruiming van

de daar gestationeerde kernwapens. Hier werd door velen

gehoor aan gegeven door over het hek te klimmen of zich via

gaten in het hek toegang te verschaffen. Op de basis werden

de opruimers echter door de marechaussee tegengehouden en van

de basis verwijderd, waarbij ook enige arrestaties werden

verricht.

11 september 2001 (52)

Who’s afraid of 9/11 conspiracy theories?

By Maidhc Ó Cathail

3 April 2010

Maidhc Ó Cathail views some of the more intriguing facts as reported in the mainstream media implicating Israel in the 9/11 attack on the New York Twin Towers.

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” – Queen Gertrude, Hamlet

Whenever someone insists too strongly about something not being true, we tend to suspect that maybe it is. In their denials of involvement in 9/11, do Israel’s apologists “protest too much”?

While it would take a small book to adequately document the Israeli connection to 9/11 – as Antiwar.com editor Justin Raimondo has attempted in The Terror Enigma – let us briefly recall some of the more intriguing facts as reported in the mainstream media, involving dancing Israelis, Odigo warnings and Zim’s timely move.

"The story of the five Israelis ... celebrating and filming as the Twin Towers burned and collapsed was investigated by Neil Mackay in Scotland’s Sunday Herald… Despite failing numerous polygraph tests, the young men were deported to Israel... Back home … one of them amazingly said, 'Our purpose was to document the event.'"

The story of the five Israelis who were seen celebrating and filming as the Twin Towers burned and collapsed was investigated by Neil Mackay in Scotland’s Sunday Herald. The so-called “dancing Israelis” worked for Urban Moving Systems, later deemed to be a Mossad front by the FBI. Despite failing numerous polygraph tests, the young men were deported to Israel two months later. Back home, several of the men appeared on a TV chat show, in which one of them amazingly said, “Our purpose was to document the event.”

Two employees of Odigo, an Israeli instant messaging service, received messages two hours before the World Trade Centre attack on 11 September predicting the attack would happen, Ha’aretz reported.

Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co., part-owned by the Israeli government, moved their North American headquarters from the 16th floor of the WTC to Norfolk, Virginia one week before the 9/11 attacks, incurring a 50,000-dollar fine for breaking its lease, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Despite being in the public domain, none of these relevant facts are mentioned in the 9/11 Commission’s 567-page report.

Moreover, Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, is concerned about the spread of such inconvenient facts to the wider public. “Our worry,” he says, “is when things become infectious ... [then] this stuff can be deeply corrosive to public understanding. You can get where the bacteria can sicken the larger body.”

But was Zelikow speaking here as an American government official or as a pro-Israeli insider?

In the same month that he authored the so-called “Bush Doctrine” of preemptive war, which provided the justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Zelikow made this candid admission: “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 – it’s the threat against Israel.”

"Two employees of Odigo, an Israeli instant messaging service, received messages two hours before the World Trade Centre attack on 11 September predicting the attack would happen, Ha’aretz reported."

Yet, instead of investigating the Israeli connection, Zelikow used the 9/11 Commission to sell the Israeli-inspired Iraq war to the American people.

Zelikow’s “bacteria” quote is cited in a 2008 paper entitled “Conspiracy theories”. Co-authored by Cass Sunstein, who currently heads President Obama’s White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the main focus of the paper “involves conspiracy theories relating to terrorism, especially theories that arise from and post-date the 9/11 attacks”.

Rather than attempting to debunk such theories, Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule claim that those who suspect Israeli involvement in 9/11 suffer from a “crippled epistemology”. This, the authors argue, is due to “a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources.” In other words, “they know very few things, and what they know is wrong”.

To counter these suspicions, Sunstein recommends “cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents, or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of those who subscribe to such theories. They do so by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.”

It could, of course, be argued that Sunstein’s work also suffers from a crippled epistemology – his research relies heavily on pro-Israeli sources, most notably the notorious Islamophobe Daniel Pipes.

"Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co., part-owned by the Israeli government, moved their North American headquarters from the 16th floor of the WTC to Norfolk, Virginia one week before the 9/11 attacks, incurring a 50,000-dollar fine for breaking its lease, according to the Jerusalem Post. "

Pipes is a bit of an expert on conspiracy theories, having written two books on the subject. “Conspiracism provides a key to understanding the political culture of the Middle East,” Pipes opines in The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy. “It helps explain much of what would otherwise seem illogical or implausible, including the region’s record of political extremism and volatility, its culture of violence and its poor record of modernization.”

Like Sunstein, Pipes is concerned that many in the region suspect Israeli involvement in 9/11. “The implications in the Middle East are quite profound,” Pipes told the Los Angeles-based Jewish Journal. “It’s one more brick in the edifice of fear and loathing of Israel and the Jews.”

In the absence of a proper 9/11 investigation, there remains a broad range of opinion about the precise nature of Israeli complicity. In The Terror Enigma, Justin Raimondo tentatively concludes that the Israeli connection to 9/11 amounts to “foreknowledge and passive collaboration with Bin Laden’s jihad.” Other experts, such as Alan Sabrosky, are less circumspect. Dr Sabrosky, a former director of studies of the Strategic Studies Institute at the US Army War College, has recently stated that “it is 100 per cent certain that 9/11 was a Mossad operation. Period.”

Either way, it’s hardly surprising that some of the most obsessive critics of 9/11 “conspiracy theories” have ties to Israel. If Americans ever find out that their “staunchest ally” had anything to do with the mass murder of their fellow citizens on 11 September 2001, the would-be conspiracy debunkers have good reason to be afraid.


Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published writer based in Japan.

http://www.redress.cc/americas/mocathail20100403

Israel als Schurkenstaat 90

The so-called “only democracy in the Middle East”

Israeli journalist secretly detained, another flees for life for exposing war crimes

By Gilad Atzmon

3 April 2010

Gilad Atzmon argues that the revelation that an Israeli journalist had been secretly held under house arrest and that another had fled to the UK for his life expose the hollowness of the Zionist claim that Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East”.

In Israel, the so called “only democracy in the Middle East”, a journalist has been held under house arrest since December for leaking a story about Israeli barbarism. In the Jewish democracy, another prominent journalist has had to run for his life for telling the truth about Israel’s murderous policies and its chief war criminals.

"in the “Jews only democracy”, people (even kosher citizens) are put under house arrest even when they are trying to suggest a breach of the state’s Supreme Court orders."

The Guardian reported on 2 April that Anat Kam, 23, an Israeli journalist “has been under secret house arrest since December on charges that she leaked highly sensitive classified military documents that suggest the Israeli military breached a court order on assassinations in the occupied West Bank”.

Seemingly, in the “Jews only democracy”, people (even koshercitizens) are put under house arrest even when they are trying to suggest a breach of the state’s Supreme Court orders.

Anat Kam will go on trial in two weeks time on treason and espionage charges and could face up to 14 years in jail. In the “democratic” Jewish state, a court-imposed gagging order is preventing media coverage of the arrest and charges in Israel. I am left puzzled here as it seems that Israelis can be prosecuted for reporting illegal activities.

A leading Haaretz journalist, Uri Blau, who has also been linked to the case, has had to escape Israel. He is now in London, apparently for fear he will be targeted for his reporting.

"A leading Haaretz journalist, Uri Blau, who has also been linked to the case, has had to escape Israel. He is now in London, apparently for fear he will be targeted for his reporting."

In November 2008, Blau reported in Haaretz that the Israeli armed forces had been carrying out assassinations of Palestinian militants in the West Bank in contravention of an Israeli high court ruling, which said efforts should be made first to arrest suspected militants rather than assassinate them.

According to Blau the Israel’s chief of General Staff, General Gabi Ashkenazi, allegedly approved the assassination operations. TheHaaretz piece was accompanied by copies of military documents and was approved by the military censor before publication.

I would suggest that if America still insists on “democratizing the world”, then it may have to start with its “best ally”. The time may also be ripe for neo-conservative British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who advocates “liberal interventionalism”, to face the fact that the Jewish state, the state that lists him as one of its propaganda (Hasbara) authors, is no less than a tyranny inspired by a deep Talmudic intolerance.


Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born musician, writer and anti-racism campaigner. His latest jazz album, "In loving memory of America", can be purchased here.

http://www.redress.cc/palestine/gatzmon20100403

De Westerse Terreur 69


Via Sonja:


Geen verbod op investeringen clustermunitie

DEN HAAG - Het kabinet voelt er niets voor Nederlandse financiële instellingen, zoals banken en pensioenfondsen, te verbieden om te investeren in clustermunitie. Een oproep daartoe van de Tweede Kamer legt het naast zich neer.

    Foto: ANP

    In een brief aan de Kamer hebben de ministers Jan Kees de Jager (Financiën) en Piet Hein Donner (Sociale Zaken) woensdag geschreven dat bij een verbod sprake zou zijn van „symboolwetgeving met averechtse werking”. Volgens de ministers maken veel financiële instellingen al een einde aan investeringen in omstreden wapenproducten. Daarbovenop wil het kabinet voor elkaar krijgen dat pensioenfondsen beter laten zien dat ze maatschappelijk verantwoord investeren en beleggen.

    Een verbod heeft volgens De Jager en Donner geen toegevoegde waarde en eigenlijk geen betekenis, want het handhaven ervan is moeilijk. Ze vrezen verder dat instellingen weer terug in hun schulp zullen kruipen en dat sommige zelfs mogelijk andere wegen zullen zoeken om het verbod te omzeilen.

    De Kamer sprak zich eind vorig jaar uit voor een verbod, op initiatief van SP en PvdA. Daarvoor was uit een rapport van IKV Pax Christi en het Belgische Netwerk Vlaanderen gebleken dat internationaal gezien bijna 140 financiële instellingen veel geld steken in acht producenten van clusterbommen. In Nederland waren instellingen al op de goede weg, zoals Fortis Nederland, ING en Rabobank. De pensioenfondsen ABP en PGGM sloten dat soort investeringen al uit, aldus het rapport.

    Clusterbommen bestaan uit honderden bommetjes die exploderen zodra ze de grond raken. Veel bommetjes ontploffen niet en vormen nog jarenlang een gevaar. Nederland heeft het verdrag op het verbod op clustermunitie ondertekend. De Kamer moet dat nog ratificeren. De Jager en Donner wijzen erop dat het verdrag wel landen bindt, maar niet individuele burgers en private instellingen.

    SP-Kamerlid Krista van Velzen en haar PvdA-collega Martijn van Dam begrijpen niet waarom de ministers weigeren de wens van de Kamer uit te voeren. „Ik ben laaiend. Dit is een schoffering van de democratie. Dit kan ik niet accepteren”, zei Van Velzen. Ze zal een spoeddebat aanvragen. Van Dam steunt dat, maar houdt er rekening mee dat het kabinet bij z'n weigering blijft. In dat geval moet de kwestie na de verkiezingen van 9 juni alsnog worden geregeld. „Met een progressief kabinet moet dat goedkomen”, zei Van Dam.


    http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/6425606/__Geen_verbod_investeringen_clustermunitie__.html


    The Empire 546


    Why Torture Is Necessary

    by: Davidson Loehr, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

    photo
    (Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted:duncan, Hayley Austin)

    Secrecy, torture and the murder of those who resist are necessary parts of this perfect storm of unimaginable violence in the service of unimaginable theft.

    Of our unambiguously evil actions, torturing humans or other animals must be among the most egregious. The UN Geneva Convention on Human Rights (1975 expanded version) defines torture as:

    any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind....

    The fight over torture is a battle between two very different world views that are, helpfully, also portrayed in the movie "Avatar." Col. Miles Quaritch commands a Blackwater-like private army, employed by the RDA Corporation to remove the Na'vi people so the corporation can mine their home for a rare metal. Quaritch is the embodiment of a god of war, for whom only the efficacy of behavior matters, not the morality. Violence, torture, slaughter are equally acceptable means to serve the master corporation's greed. The Na'vi represent the more empathic, compassionate and holistic perspective.

    Without getting too rhapsodic, this movie asks us how we see others. Do we see them as means to our ends, stepping stones whose heads we push under to create the illusion that we can walk on water? Or do we see even the people who have something we want - perhaps oil - as our brothers and sisters, children of God, the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself?

    Back on our own planet, Naomi Klein's 2007 book "The Shock Doctrine" took 466 pages to flesh out the worldview that can even be proud of torture, as Dick Cheney and Karl Rove have confessed to be. Though her book is a hard read, we need a better understanding of the marriage of greed and violence that has become our world's greatest enemy. Klein would side with the Na'vi, though her research shows the Quaritches and their corporate masters almost always win.

    Human history confirms Klein's research: the combined forces of greed and violence usually win. History also offers the testimony of General Smedley Butler (1881-1940), who wrote "War Is a Racket". One of only two Americans to win the Medal of Honor on two separate occasions, his words were as courageous as his actions, especially when he spoke about the real purpose of war:

    "The flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.... I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.... I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested."

    In the United States of 2010, the greediest corporations have won, and are consolidating their strength for a long reign. We need to understand how they can employ a degree of violence, torture and murder that simply paralyzes most of us.

    The Prototype of Disaster Capitalism

    Naomi Klein calls it "disaster capitalism"; she says the French call it "savage capitalism." Both names reflect the (so far) unstoppable power of violence and greed. The economist associated with the golden age of this supercharged greed was Milton Friedman who, along with others from "the Chicago School" of economics, showed many leaders from South America to first-world countries how to become wealthy by selling out their countries, offering national properties and resources at a fraction of their worth to corporate bidders - mostly from the United States. The Chicago School developed the wrecking ball that has been used in nearly all the episodes of disaster capitalism. However, the prototypical model was the CIA-backed coup of 1965 in Indonesia. Sukarno, Indonesia's first elected president, saw the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as agents of American greed and dreams of empire. He threw them out of the country. Naomi Klein describes what happened when Suharto came to power as dictator:

    His use of terror was so merciless, so far beyond even the worst expectations, that a people who only weeks earlier had been collectively striving to assert their country's independence were now sufficiently terrified that they ceded total control to Suharto and his henchmen. Ralph McGehee, a senior CIA operations manager during the years of the coup, said Indonesia was a "model operation.... You can trace back all major, bloody events run from Washington to the way Suharto came to power. The success of that meant that it would be repeated, again and again.

    While citizens were distracted by the terror, a group of US economists from the University of California at Berkeley handed out "tax holidays," and within two years, Indonesia's natural wealth - copper, nickel, hardwood, rubber and oil - was being divided up among the largest mining and energy companies in the world.[1]

    After Indonesia, this bloody pattern of shock, awe and robbery continued in Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina - as well as in larger first-world countries - including Britain, Russia and the United States.

    The Three 9/11's

    The rise of disaster capitalism from 1973 to today can be framed by three coincidental 9/11's marking its beginning, naming and application in the USA.

    The Beginning: 9/11/1973

    On September 11, 1973, the brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet killed Chile's President Salvador Allende and, with the backing of our CIA, established his fascist regime, killed tens of thousands of Chileans in a display of power so brutal that four decades of Chilean democracy ended immediately. [2] Pinochet's brutal tactics served as both model and inspiration for successive looting of countries from South America to The Soviet Union, to the aftermath of our own 9/11. The violent robbery of Chile and sale of government assets bought with citizens' taxes worked too well not to repeat: in Uruguay and Brazil in 1973, and in Argentina in 1976.

    The four key parts to this wildly effective scheme were solidified in Chile:

    First, there needs to be what Friedman called a crisis: a traumatic shock to paralyze or distract the citizens, to get them off-balance for awhile.

    Then a plan to sell off government assets to private buyers is quickly put into effect. The code word for this is "privatization."

    The third part of the plan is to remove all laws that could get in the way of this easy looting and allow foreign companies - especially US companies - free access to all their markets, without tariffs or taxes meant to protect the local economy. The code word for this is "deregulation."

    The fourth part is to disempower and begin to dismantle the middle and lower classes by eliminating labor unions and cutting most social support services - and transferring the money saved this way to the wealthy. The code words for this are "cuts to social spending."

    The feature that enabled these rapes and robberies was always a shocking, violent act that terrorized - and paralyzed - citizens. While military coups provided the shock in the four South American countries known as The Southern Cone, disaster capitalists later learned to take advantage of natural disasters like the 2004 tsunami and 2005's Hurricane Katrina to loot on whatever scale the disaster allowed.

    Nor were third world countries the only victims. Margaret Thatcher used the 1982 Falklands War to bring the radical capitalist transformation to a Western liberal democracy for the first time. Between 1984 and 1988, the British government "privatized" British Telecom, British Gas, British Airways, British Airport Authority and British Steel, while it sold its shares in British Petroleum. All these properties had previously been the property of all British citizens. Thatcher also broke the back of the mineworkers' union - firing 966 people from Britain's most powerful union. She later became close friends with Chile's General Pinochet.

    The Naming: 9/11/1990

    This marriage of unrestrained looting and unrestrained violence was publicly named on the second 9/11, when President George H. W. Bush introduced it to a joint session of Congress on September 11, 1990: it would be known, and is still known, as "The New World Order."

    David Rockefeller, a key driving force behind this New World Order, was quite candid about it:

    "We are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.[3]

    "Some even believe we (the Rockefeller family) are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it." [4]

    Secrecy, torture and the murder of those who resist are necessary parts of this perfect storm of unimaginable violence in the service of unimaginable theft. People will not willingly let others rob, disempower and enslave them. Pinochet demonstrated that an immediate campaign of shock and awe can paralyze an entire nation long enough to change their laws, and render them impotent - or dead - under the new regime.

    The arrest, torture and murder of those who resist the rape of their country must be done both quickly and brutally, in order to terrorize the citizens and let them know they may be only a careless word away from being arrested, tortured and "disappeared" by their own government. The "usual suspects" are workers' unions, intellectuals who defend them, other critics and anyone else who is seen as a threat to the unregulated robbery of their country. It's estimated that there were more than 30,000 "disappeared" people in Argentina alone. If the arrest, torture, imprisonment and murder of those who oppose this New World Order cannot be done outright, the fear that they might be arrested, tortured or killed can be enough to frighten a people into submission. The people must understand that their government has enough might to loot their taxes - to bail out the bankers whose greed took their homes, their jobs and their dignity, for example.

    In this context, consider the Senate bill introduced on March 4, 2010, by John McCain and Joseph Lieberman entitled "The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010." If passed, the bill will allow the US government to classify any US citizen as an "enemy belligerent," strip them of customary legal rights, take them into custody for interrogation and whatever unmentionable acts may follow.

    Bringing It Home: 9/11/2001

    The third 9/11 came in 2001, when we experienced firsthand the pattern of paralyzing shock, rewriting our laws to sell our government assets to well-connected bidders, and to begin curtailing our rights. Some leaders (Dick Cheney, John McCain, for example) are complacent about never-ending war abroad. Meanwhile, we experience a growing police state at home, with security cameras establishing a ratio of one camera for every 25-30 citizens (less than Britain's ratio of one camera for every 14 citizens). Police and security personnel are costumed in mini-Darth Vader black with their eyes hidden. Increasingly invasive searches occur at every airport. Our leaders insist that illegally invading Iraq and Afghanistan means that we are "at war," and this "war" necessitates draconian measures, both abroad and at home. We are terrorized daily by the incessant trumpeting of a "war on terror."

    These developments bear a family resemblance to the varied coups and/or looting that have occurred in Indonesia, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and Venezuela, as well as in Britain, Canada, Asian countries and Russia. The details differ, but the outcomes look alike: terrorizing the citizens as laws are changed restricting their rights, as public assets are sold out from under citizens to well-connected corporations.

    Naomi Klein describes our government giveaways in three main areas: security, warfare and reconstruction. With warfare and reconstruction shifting to corporations, our stock market is demonstrating for the first time that stock prices increase with the news of both reconstruction and new wars. War is terrific business, and both Israel and the US have hundreds of billions of dollars riding on the homeland security cash cow, permanent war and a growing police state at home - all dependent on maintaining a high level of fear.

    From one perspective, this is global terrorism done in the name of anti-terrorism - or even a war on terror. The terror is necessary to keep the troublesome masses from revolting and taking back their money, their rights and their countries.

    What Would "We" Do in "Their" Shoes?

    Try to imagine that getting money or power comes naturally to you, either through your talent, inheritance or connections. Your peers are equally gifted parts of your self-selected community. You see them at your country club, political meetings, concerts, at the gym and in professional organizations. Many have degrees from elite universities where tuition levels put them beyond the reach of ordinary citizens who will never - thank God - be your neighbors.

    Everything about you shows your higher class. You run in better circles, in the fraternities and sororities of your country's elite. You have a bigger share of the pie: you own the bakeries. You earned your entitlement through superior focus, effort, achievement and character. You're in the class of people who get streets, sports arenas and college buildings named after them. How much clearer can it be that you are exactly where you belong: at the top of the heap? You are among the best and brightest of your time. However, you are always being threatened by those whining bastards who feel entitled to what you - but not they - have earned. Your class, pedigree, wealth and collective power identify you as among the leaders necessary to keep America strong and faithful: God loves winners.

    You secretly cheer at the news about Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld paying himself half a billion dollars over the last decade, as you cheer the bill currently before the US Senate to remove legal protection for whistleblowers.

    Luckily, the times are encouraging. Soon the world will be set right, by those who have earned the right and who have the vision and power to remake it. You have seen your Supreme Court give corporations unlimited power to buy elections. If ever awakened, the slumbering Sheeple could topple you and set American progress back decades. Luckily, they're easily controlled through endless wars abroad and the growing police state at home.

    Those of you wielding or buying power are the real heroes of our great nation. You are trying to set America right, after decades of liberal pansies have favored the weak over the strong, welfare mothers over well-off investors, unearned health care for the unmotivated people, free public education using liberal texts, and an effeminate "progressive" vision of peace through talk rather than action. This is a battle for America's soul, and you have nearly won - the golden ring is just inches away. At this critical juncture, it is crucial that the masses know at all times that they can be arrested for a wayward word, imprisoned as an enemy of the state, exported to a prison far away, tortured and "disappeared." These things must be done so the right kind of people can build an America of which history will be proud.

    You might make it.

    [1] Naomi Klein, "The Shock Doctrine," p. 69.

    [2] Everything about Allende, from his election to the presidency in 1970 to his death on September 11, 1973 is still wrapped in controversy. Workers' groups claim he was killed by Gen. Pinochet's firing on his residence; more conservative sources say he probably committed suicide.

    [3] David Rockefeller in a statement to the United Nations Business Council in September 1994.

    [4] David Rockefeller, Memoirs (Reed Business Information, Inc., 2002), p. 405.


    http://www.truthout.org/why-torture-necessary58259

    Martin Luther King

    Dr. King's Economic Dream Deferred

    by: Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

    photo
    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: arabani)

    Forty-two years ago, on April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee. To those of us who were alive then, the images are etched in painful memory: One moment, Dr. King is standing with colleagues, including Ralph Abernathy and Jesse Jackson, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel; the next, he's lying there mortally wounded, his aides pointing in the direction of the rifle shot.

    Then we remember the crowds of mourners slowly moving through the streets of Atlanta on a hot sunny day, surrounding King's casket as it was carried on a mule-drawn farm wagon; and the riots that burned across the nation in the wake of his death; a stinging, misbegotten rebuke to his gospel of nonviolence. We sanctify his memory now, name streets and schools after him, made his birthday a national holiday. But in April 1968, as Dr. King walked out on that motel balcony, his reputation was under assault. The glory days of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott and the 1963 March on Washington were behind him, his Nobel Peace Prize already in the past.

    A year before, at Riverside Church in New York, he had spoken out - eloquently - against the war in Vietnam. King said, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death," a position that angered President Lyndon Johnson, many of King's fellow civil rights leaders and influential newspapers. The Washington Post charged that King had "diminished his usefulness to his cause, to his country, and to his people."

    With his popularity in decline, an exhausted, stressed and depressed Martin Luther King Jr. turned his attention to economic injustice. He reminded the country that his March on Washington five years earlier had not been for civil rights alone, but "a campaign for jobs and income, because we felt that the economic question was the most crucial that black people and poor people, generally, were confronting." Now, King was building what he called the Poor People's Campaign to confront nationwide inequalities in jobs, pay and housing.

    But he had to prove that he could still be an effective leader, and so he came to Memphis, in support of a strike by that city's African-American garbage men. Eleven hundred sanitation workers had walked off the job after two had died in a tragic accident, crushed by a garbage truck's compactor. The garbage men were fed up - treated with contempt as they performed a filthy and unrewarding job, paid so badly that 40 percent of them were on welfare, called "boy" by white supervisors. Their picket signs were simple and eloquent: "I AM A MAN."

    A few weeks into their strike, which had been met with opposition and violence, Dr. King arrived for meetings and addressed a rally. Ten days later, he returned to lead a march through the streets of Memphis that ended in smashed windows, gunshots and tear gas.

    Upset by the violence, he came back to the city one more time to try to put things right. The night before his death, King made his famous "Mountaintop" speech, prophetically telling an audience, "Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!"

    The next night he was dead. Twelve days later, the strike was settled, the garbage men's union was recognized and the city of Memphis begrudgingly agreed to increase their pay, at first by a dime an hour, and later, an extra nickel.

    That paltry sum would also be prophetic. All these decades later, little has changed when it comes to economic equality. If anything, the recent economic meltdown and recession have made the injustice of poverty even more profound, especially in a society where the top percentile enjoys undreamed-of prosperity.

    Unemployment among African-Americans is nearly double that of whites, according to the National Urban League's latest State of Black America report. Black men and women in this country make 62 cents on the dollar earned by whites. Less than half of black and Hispanic families own homes and they are three times more likely to live below the poverty line.

    The nonpartisan group United for a Fair Economy has issued a report that features Martin Luther King Jr. on the cover with the title, "State of the Dream 2010: Drained." Dr. King's dream is in jeopardy, the report's authors write, "The Great Recession has pulled the plug on communities of color, draining jobs and homes at alarming rates while exacerbating persistent inequalities of wealth and income."

    Nor will a recovery ameliorate the crisis. "A rising tide does not lift all boats," United for a Fair Economy's report goes on to say, "because the public policies, economic structures and unwritten rules of racism form mountains and ridgelines, and hills and valleys that shape our economic landscape. As a result, a rising economic tide fills the rivers and reservoirs of some, while leaving others dry and parched."

    This is a perilous moment. The individualist, greed-driven free-market ideology that both our major parties have pursued is at odds with what most Americans really care about. Popular support for either party has struck bottom, as more and more agree that growing inequality is bad for the country, that corporations have too much power, that money in politics has corrupted our system, and that working families and poor communities need and deserve help because the free market has failed to generate shared prosperity - its famous unseen hand has become a closed fist.

    It is hard to overstate the consequences of choosing more of the same - the very policies that have sundered our social contract. But hear the judgment of Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow, echoing Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and martyrdom. "The vast inequalities of income weaken a society's sense of mutual concern," Arrow said. "... The sense that we are all members of the social order is vital to the meaning of civilization."

    http://www.truthout.org/dr-kings-economic-dream-deferred58258

    Israel als Schurkenstaat 89


    John wees me op het volgende bericht over de Israelische doodseskaders. Deze, volgens het internationaal recht, terreur wordt geaccepteerd door onze minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, Maxime Verhagen. Tot hij zelf het slachtoffer wordt van een terreuraanslag. Dat spreekt. Hoe zou men deze politicus op een andere manier aan het verstand kunnen brengen dat doodseskaders in strijd zijn met het
    recht?

    April 3, 2010

    Israel arrests soldier Anat Kam over targeted-killings ‘leak’

    Israel has placed a former soldier under house arrest for allegedly leaking details of a controversial policy to kill wanted Palestinian militants, and has slapped a gagging order on the national media to prevent it from covering the story, according to sources in the Jewish state and abroad.

    The moves are being challenged by the media in a country that prides itself on its freedom of speech. An appeal is expected to be lodged this month by a television news channel and by the centre-left newspaperHaaretz, while the mass-market daily Maariv has satirised both the gag and the lack of media defiance by declaring: “Due to a gag order we cannot tell you what we know. Due to laziness, apathy and blind faith in the defence establishment we know nothing at all.”

    The case centres on a 23-year-old former soldier, Anat Kam, who was arrested in December after finishing her national service, which is compulsory in Israel. She is reportedly charged with having copied classified documents that showed that Israeli troops had broken their own rules of engagement by killing three Palestinian militants in the West Bank. Six months earlier an Israeli court had all but banned the practice of so-called targeted killings, permitting them only in cases where the wanted suspects could not be safely arrested.

    The story was subsequently published in late 2008 by Haaretz. The paper said that the military had apparently made a unilateral decision to relax its rules of engagement and returned to the practice of assassinating militants, a frequent occurrence in the early days of the second intifada, which began in 2000.

    According to the report, in March 2007 Major-General Yair Naveh, who was the senior Israeli commander in the West Bank at the time, allowed his men to shoot three leading Palestinian militants even though they did not pose a clear threat. The order was judged to be illegal by experts interviewed by the Haaretzjournalist Uri Blau.

    Ms Kam, who worked in General Naveh’s office at the time the document was allegedly leaked, has reportedly been accused of passing it to the newspaper, which says that it received it from other sources. She faces up to 14 years in jail if found guilty of charges said to relate to espionage.

    Haaretz has said that it intends to challenge the gagging order but, in the meantime, Mr Blau, who wrote the story, is said to be in London awaiting the outcome of the appeal.

    While the story has buzzed around Jewish blogs, the gag order has prevented it from appearing so far anywhere except in the foreign media and in Israel-related news agencies, such as the US-based Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Some Israeli newspapers, such as Yediot Ahronot, have published links to the JTA’s story with the message: “What does the Shin Bet [Israel’s domestic security service] not want you to know?”

    The Committee to Protect Journalists, also based in the United States, has also called for the gag order to be lifted so that the case can be properly investigated.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7086417.ece

    Israel als Schurkenstaat 88

    Ingezonden brief aan Trouw door Jan Elshout.

    Reageer (0)

    23-3-2010

    Geachte redactie,

    Uit diverse bronnen volg ik de berichtgeving over het Midden Oosten intensief en vaak vallen mij wat ik zie als onevenwichtigheden in Trouw op.

    Ik neem de afgelopen dagen als voorbeeld.

    Toen een raket een leven in Israel eiste kwam u op 19/3 met een bericht daar over van 22 x 16 cm, een grote kop en een foto.

    Toen Israel het afgelopen weekend 4 Palestijnen dood schoot meldde u daar niets over.

    Bij uw redactie heerst blijkbaar nog steeds een gevoel, dat ik sterk proefde tijdens Defensive Shield, dat Israel “onze kant” is (waar doden te betreuren zijn) en Palestijnen “de andere kant” (waar doden irrelevant zijn).

    Het zou u gesierd hebben als u melding had gemaakt van Palestijnse pogingen radicalisme te bestrijden. Ik noem enkele punten.

    The Jordan Times meldde op 14-2-2010 dat Hamas krachtig op trad tegen radicale Jihadi Safadis, die raketten wilden afschieten (vorig jaar kwamen bij zulk optreden niet alleen 16 Safadis maar ook 5 Hamas strijders en 5 burgers om). Vanwege de volkswoede in Gaza waren dergelijke groepen echter steeds moeilijker in toom te houden.

    The Jordan Times meldde op 14-2-2010 ook dat op de Westoever “Al Qaeda suspects” waren gearresteerd.

    Haaretz meldde op 12-1-2010 dat Hamas krachtig op trad tegen radicale groepen die toch weer raketten wilden gaan afvuren.

    Ik breng in herinnering dat er sinds 2000 diverse eenzijdige bestanden geweest zijn, waar ondanks veel moeite, Palestijnse groepen zich aan hielden, terwijl Israelisch geweld doorging en die alleen eindigden door een zeer grove vorm van Israelisch geweld.

    Een aantal jaren geleden heb ik de berichtgeving in Trouw enige tijd systematisch gevolgd (mijn brief aan Trouw 28-5-2004).

    Ook toen viel op dat Israelisch geweld grotendeels werd doodgezwegen, Palestijnse slachtoffers nauwelijks vermeld werden (zo’n 10-15 %, meestal alleen als getal) en er een vrijwel complete dekking was op Israelische slachtoffers (vrijwel 100 % vermeld, vaak met namen, achtergrond informatie, interviews met ouders, etc.). Legercommuniques werden vrijwel letterlijk overgenomen. In Haaretz las je dan nog “according to a military spokesman”, terwijl je bij Inez Polak dezelfde zin vond alsof ze het net gezien had.

    Blijkbaar is de opvatting dat doden aan “de andere kant” niet relevant zijn nog steeds aanwezig bij uw redactie.

    Wat mij vaak opvalt is dat u nauwelijks bericht over ontwikkelingen “on the ground”, gekenmerkt door een snelle achteruitgang van de Palestijnse positie.

    Guus Valk bericht van tijd tot tijd in de NRC over bezoeken aan Gaza en de Westoever, evenals Alex Burghoorn in de Volkskrant. Van Inez Polak lees je nooit over onderzoek ter plaatse.

    Bij zaken die momenteel spelen denk ik bijv. aan:

    - het met veel geweld bestrijden van vreedzame demonstraties en het vernielen van NGO kantoren (demo’s worden onmogelijk gemaakt door noteren autonummers en later toegang weigeren, gebied tot militair terrein verklaren, etc.; grote druk op de PA daar aan mee te werken; Haaretz ging in een editorial op 12-2-2010 fel te keer tegen dat wegnemen van “the life’s breath of democracy”)

    - het strengere visa regime (voor iemand van de Westoever, getrouwd met een Arabische Israëliër is nergens een legale plaats, NGO staf kan nog maar kort blijven, Bir Zeit Universiteit is al groot deel van zijn staf kwijt, mensen met dubbel paspoort komen er niet meer in, enz.),

    - de verscherpende wetgeving tegen Arabische inwoners (en hun enorme budgettaire achterstand, wat bijv. veel onderwijs onmogelijk maakt)

    - het toegenomen settler geweld (“price tag for the freeze”)

    - toegenomen arrestaties van kinderen en het verder beperken van rechtshulp (advocaten geweigerd bij check points)

    - huisvernielingen (waarmee niet alleen in Oost Jeruzalem maar ook hele wijken in Jaffa bedreigd worden, t.b.v. “Jews only”)

    The Guardian ging op 1-2-2010 in op die steeds wurgender greep door Israël op de Westoever (“crushed by Israels control regime”): “Israel is putting down the infrastructure of permanent domination”.

    Waar u zelf geen onderzoek doet vermeld u ook niet de resultaten van rapporten van anderen. Ik denk bijv. aan het rapport van het Rode Kruis over de onleefbare situatie, ook op de Westoever (16-2-2010) of het Amnesty International rapport over Gaza (januari 2010).

    Eigenlijk zie je alleen zo nu en dan iets in Trouw over uitbreiding van nederzettingen, maar niet over de eerder genoemde ontwikkelingen.

    Wat betreft nederzettingen wordt het ook niet aanschouwelijk gemaakt. In The Jordan Times kan je nog wel eens een foto vinden van een wijk in Oost Jeruzalem die de vorige dag is weggebuldozerd, maar dat ontbreekt typisch in Trouw. Je zult ook nooit interviews vinden met de slachtoffers daar van of met Gaza vluchtelingen (zoals er bijv. een aantal stonden in de CIDSE brochure) .


    Samenvattend stel ik dat de gemiddelde Trouw lezer geen idee heeft van wat er in Palestijnse gebieden gebeurt en dat betreur ik.

    Als er in Nederland geen feitenkennis in m.b.t. het Palestijnse probleem kan Nederland ook nooit een bijdrage leveren aan een oplossing van het conflict.

    Met vriendelijke groeten en hoogachting,

    Jan Elshout

    Nederland en Afghanistan 252

    McChrystal: We've Shot 'An Amazing Number' Of Innocent Afghans

    First Posted: 04- 2-10 04:47 PM | Updated: 04- 2-10 05:12 PM

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    Mcchrystal

    As reported in the New York Times last week, a significant number of innocent Afghans continue to be killed by US and NATO forces despite new rules issued by Gen. Stanley McChrystal meant to help reduce civilian casualties. Indeed, the number of Afghans who have been killed or hurt by troop shootings at convoys and military checkpoints has basically remained the same since McChrystal announced his directives.

    "We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat," said McChrystal during a recent video-conference with troops, the Timesreported.

    Talking Points Memo has obtained a longer transcript of McChrystal's statements, which you can read in full here.

    McChrystal spokesman Tadd Sholtis tried to place the general's comments in context in an email to TPM: "The general was urging his forces to exercise courageous restraint (by suggesting that it is unlikely that erratic behavior at a checkpoint constitutes a threat) while also expressing sympathy for the confusing and threatening situations in which both soldiers and Afghans find themselves" Sholtis wrote.

    From McChrystal's remarks:

    We really ask a lot of our young service people out on the checkpoints because there's danger, they're asked to make very rapid decisions in often very unclear situations. However, to my knowledge, in the nine-plus months I've been here, not a single case where we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it and, in many cases, had families in it. That doesn't mean I'm criticizing the people who are executing. I'm just giving you perspective. We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force.

    Since taking command last summer, McChrystal has worked to limit the killing of innocent civilians, which fuels resentment among Afghans and threaten to undermine local support for NATO's mission in the country.

    And yet the numbers remain essentially the same year over year:

    From the Times:

    Shootings from convoys and checkpoints involving American, NATO and Afghan forces accounted for 36 civilian deaths last year, down from 41 in 2008, according to the United Nations. With at least 30 Afghans killed since last June in 95 such shootings, according to military statistics, the rate shows no signs of abating.

    Despite McChrystal's efforts, Michael Cohen of Democracyarsenal.org argued earlier this week that the news that civilian deaths remained high shouldn't come as a surprise, given that a directive from even a top commander or a more people-focused counter-insurgency strategy is unlikely to be able to fundamentally alter the reality on the ground.

    The incessant mantra we've heard about population centric counter-insurgency and making "protecting civilians" the top priority of US efforts in Afghanistan is just incredibly deceptive.


    It's not that we shouldn't try to protect civilians - or even that the American military shouldn't take the issue incredibly seriously. We should and we do. But by placing 100,000 troops in Afghanistan we are actually increasing the likelihood that ordinary Afghans will be killed - no matter how much effort is expended to spare their lives. Our soldiers are trained to protect themselves and use overwhelming force when they are threatened.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/02/mcchrystal-weve-shot-an-a_n_523749.html