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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 12 maart 2016

William Blum

American Exceptionalism Presents an Election Made in Hell


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If the American presidential election winds up with Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, and my passport is confiscated, and I’m somehow FORCED to choose one or the other, or I’m PAID to do so, paid well … I would vote for Trump.
My main concern is foreign policy. American foreign policy is the greatest threat to world peace, prosperity, and the environment. And when it comes to foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is an unholy disaster. From Iraq and Syria to Libya and Honduras the world is a much worse place because of her; so much so that I’d call her a war criminal who should be prosecuted. And not much better can be expected on domestic issues from this woman who was paid $675,000 by Goldman Sachs – one of the most reactionary, anti-social corporations in this sad world – for four speeches and even more than that in political donations in recent years. Add to that Hillary’s willingness to serve for six years on the board of Walmart while her husband was governor of Arkansas. Can we expect to change corporate behavior by taking their money?
The Los Angeles Times ran an editorial the day after the multiple primary elections of March 1 which began: “Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States,” and then declared: “The reality is that Trump has no experience whatsoever in government.”
When I need to have my car fixed I look for a mechanic with experience with my type of auto. When I have a medical problem I prefer a doctor who specializes in the part of my body that’s ill. But when it comes to politicians, experience means nothing. The only thing that counts is the person’s ideology. Who would you sooner vote for, a person with 30 years in Congress who doesn’t share your political and social views at all, is even hostile to them, or someone who has never held public office before but is an ideological comrade on every important issue? Clinton’s 12 years in high government positions carries no weight with me.
The Times continued about Trump: “He has shamefully little knowledge of the issues facing the country and the world.”
Again, knowledge is trumped (no pun intended) by ideology. As Secretary of State (January 2009-February 2013), with great access to knowledge, Clinton played a key role in the 2011 destruction of Libya’s modern and secular welfare state, sending it crashing in utter chaos into a failed state, leading to the widespread dispersal throughout North African and Middle East hotspots of the gigantic arsenal of weaponry that Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi had accumulated. Libya is now a haven for terrorists, from al Qaeda to ISIS, whereas Gaddafi had been a leading foe of terrorists.
What good did Secretary of State Clinton’s knowledge do? It was enough for her to know that Gaddafi’s Libya, for several reasons, would never be a properly obedient client state of Washington. Thus it was that the United States, along with NATO, bombed the people of Libya almost daily for more than six months, giving as an excuse that Gaddafi was about to invade Benghazi, the Libyan center of his opponents, and so the United States was thus saving the people of that city from a massacre. The American people and the American media of course swallowed this story, though no convincing evidence of the alleged impending massacre has ever been presented. (The nearest thing to an official US government account of the matter – a Congressional Research Service report on events in Libya for the period – makes no mention at all of the threatened massacre.)
The Western intervention in Libya was one that the New York Times said Clinton had “championed”, convincing Obama in “what was arguably her moment of greatest influence as secretary of state.”  All the knowledge she was privy to did not keep her from this disastrous mistake in Libya. And the same can be said about her support of placing regime change in Syria ahead of supporting the Syrian government in its struggle against ISIS and other terrorist groups. Even more disastrous was the 2003 US invasion of Iraq which she as a senator supported. Both policies were of course clear violations of international law and the UN Charter.
Another foreign-policy “success” of Mrs. Clinton, which her swooning followers will ignore, the few that even know about it, is the coup ousting the moderately progressive Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in June, 2009. A tale told many times in Latin America. The downtrodden masses finally put into power a leader committed to reversing the status quo, determined to try to put an end to up to two centuries of oppression … and before long the military overthrows the democratically-elected government, while the United States – if not the mastermind behind the coup – does nothing to prevent it punish the coup regime, as only the United States can punish; meanwhile Washington officials pretend to be very upset over this “affront to democracy”. (See Mark Weisbrot’s “Top Ten Ways You Can Tell Which Side The United States Government is On With Regard to the Military Coup in Honduras”.)
In her 2014 memoir, “Hard Choices”, Clinton reveals just how unconcerned she was about restoring Zelaya to his rightful office: “In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere … We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.”
The question of Zelaya was anything but moot. Latin American leaders, the United Nations General Assembly, and other international bodies vehemently demanded his immediate return to office. Washington, however, quickly resumed normal diplomatic relations with the new right-wing police state, and Honduras has since become a major impetus for the child migrants currently pouring into the United States.
The headline from Time magazine’s report on Honduras at the close of that year (December 3, 2009) summed it up as follows: “Obama’s Latin America Policy Looks Like Bush’s”.
And Hillary Clinton looks like a conservative. And has for many years; going back to at least the 1980s, while the wife of the Arkansas governor, when she strongly supported the death-squad torturers known as the Contras, who were the empire’s proxy army in Nicaragua.
Then, during the 2007 presidential primary, America’s venerable conservative magazine, William Buckley’s National Review, ran an editorial by Bruce Bartlett. Bartlett was a policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan, a treasury official under President George H.W. Bush, and a fellow at two of the leading conservative think-tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute – You get the picture? Bartlett tells his readers that it’s almost certain that the Democrats will win the White House in 2008. So what to do? Support the most conservative Democrat. He writes: “To right-wingers willing to look beneath what probably sounds to them like the same identical views of the Democratic candidates, it is pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative.”
During the same primary we also heard from America’s leading magazine for the corporate wealthy, Fortune, with a cover featuring a picture of Mrs. Clinton and the headline: “Business Loves Hillary”.
And what do we have in 2016? Fully 116 members of the Republican Party’s national security community, many of them veterans of Bush administrations, have signed an open letter threatening that, if Trump is nominated, they will all desert, and some will defect – to Hillary Clinton! “Hillary is the lesser evil, by a large margin,” says Eliot Cohen of the Bush II State Department. Cohen helped line up neocons to sign the “Dump-Trump” manifesto. Another signer, foreign-policy ultra-conservative author Robert Kagan, declared: “The only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton.”
The only choice? What’s wrong with Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate? … Oh, I see, not conservative enough.
And Mr. Trump? Much more a critic of US foreign policy than Hillary or Bernie. He speaks of Russia and Vladimir Putin as positive forces and allies, and would be much less likely to go to war against Moscow than Clinton would. He declares that he would be “evenhanded” when it comes to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (as opposed to Clinton’s boundless support of Israel). He’s opposed to calling Senator John McCain a “hero”, because he was captured. (What other politician would dare say a thing like that?)
He calls Iraq “a complete disaster”, condemning not only George W. Bush but the neocons who surrounded him. “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.” He even questions the idea that “Bush kept us safe”, and adds that “Whether you like Saddam or not, he used to kill terrorists.”
Yes, he’s personally obnoxious. I’d have a very hard time being his friend. Who cares?

CIA motto: “Proudly overthrowing the Cuban government since 1959.”

Now what? Did you think that the United States had finally grown up and come to the realization that they could in fact share the same hemisphere as the people of Cuba, accepting Cuban society as unquestioningly as they do that of Canada? The Washington Post (February 18) reported: “In recent weeks, administration officials have made it clear Obama would travel to Cuba only if its government made additional concessions in the areas of human rights, Internet access and market liberalization.”
Imagine if Cuba insisted that the United States make “concessions in the area of human rights”; this could mean the United States pledging to not repeat anything like the following:
Invading Cuba in 1961 at the Bay of Pigs.
Invading Grenada in 1983 and killing 84 Cubans, mainly construction workers.
Blowing up a passenger plane full of Cubans in 1976. (In 1983, the city of Miami held a day in honor of Orlando Bosch, one of the two masterminds behind this awful act; the other perpetrator, Luis Posada, was given lifetime protection in the same city.)
Giving Cuban exiles, for their use, the virus which causes African swine fever, forcing the Cuban government to slaughter 500,000 pigs.
Infecting Cuban turkeys with a virus which produces the fatal Newcastle disease, resulting in the deaths of 8,000 turkeys.
In 1981 an epidemic of dengue hemorrhagic fever swept the island, the first major epidemic of DHF ever in the Americas. The United States had long been experimenting with using dengue fever as a weapon. Cuba asked the United States for a pesticide to eradicate the mosquito involved but were not given it. Over 300,000 cases were reported in Cuba with 158 fatalities.
These are but three examples of decades-long CIA chemical and biological warfare (CBW) against Cuba.   We must keep in mind that food is a human right (although the United States has repeatedly denied this.
Washington maintained a blockade of goods and money entering Cuba that is still going strong, a blockade that President Clinton’s National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, in 1997 called “the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed on a nation in the history of mankind”.
Attempted to assassinate Cuban president Fidel Castro on numerous occasions, not only in Cuba, but in Panama, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
In one scheme after another in recent years, Washington’s Agency for International Development (AID) endeavored to cause dissension in Cuba and/or stir up rebellion, the ultimate goal being regime change.
In 1999 a Cuban lawsuit demanded $181.1 billion in US compensation for death and injury suffered by Cuban citizens in four decades of “war” by Washington against Cuba. Cuba asked for $30 million in direct compensation for each of the 3,478 people it said were killed by US actions and $15 million each for the 2,099 injured. It also asked for $10 million each for the people killed, and $5 million each for the injured, to repay Cuban society for the costs it has had to assume on their behalf.
Needless to say, the United States has not paid a penny of this.
One of the most common Yankee criticisms of the state of human rights in Cuba has been the arrest of dissidents (although the great majority are quickly released). But many thousands of anti-war and other protesters have been arrested in the United States in recent years, as in every period in American history. During the Occupy Movement, which began in 2011, more than 7,000 people were arrested in about the first year, many were beaten by police and mistreated while in custody, their street displays and libraries smashed to pieces.   ; the Occupy movement continued until 2014; thus, the figure of 7,000 is an understatement.)
Moreover, it must be kept in mind that whatever restrictions on civil liberties there may be in Cuba exist within a particular context: The most powerful nation in the history of the world is just 90 miles away and is sworn – vehemently and repeatedly sworn – to overthrowing the Cuban government. If the United States was simply and sincerely concerned with making Cuba a less restrictive society, Washington’s policy would be clear cut:
  • Call off the wolves – the CIA wolves, the AID wolves, the doctor-stealer wolves, the baseball-player-stealer wolves.
  • Publicly and sincerely (if American leaders still remember what this word means) renounce their use of CBW and assassinations. And apologize.
  • Cease the unceasing hypocritical propaganda – about elections, for example. (Yes, it’s true that Cuban elections never feature a Donald Trump or a Hillary Clinton, nor ten billion dollars, nor 24 hours of campaign ads, but is that any reason to write them off?)
  • Pay compensation – a lot of it.
  • Sine qua non – end the God-awful blockade.
Throughout the period of the Cuban revolution, 1959 to the present, Latin America has witnessed a terrible parade of human rights violations – systematic, routine torture; legions of “disappeared” people; government-supported death squads picking off selected individuals; massacres en masse of peasants, students and other groups. The worst perpetrators of these acts during this period have been the military and associated paramilitary squads of El Salvador, Guatemala, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay, Haiti and Honduras. However, not even Cuba’s worst enemies have made serious charges against the Havana government for any of such violations; and if one further considers education and health care, “both of which,” said President Bill Clinton, “work better [in Cuba] than most other countries”   , and both of which are guaranteed by the United Nations “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and the “European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”, then it would appear that during the more-than-half century of its revolution, Cuba has enjoyed one of the very best human-rights records in all of Latin America.
But never good enough for American leaders to ever touch upon in any way; the Bill Clinton quote being a rare exception indeed. It’s a tough decision to normalize relations with a country whose police force murders its own innocent civilians on almost a daily basis. But Cuba needs to do it. Maybe they can civilize the Americans a bit, or at least remind them that for more than a century they have been the leading torturers of the world.
Notes
  1. Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy”, updated March 4, 2016.
  2. New York Times, February 28, 2016
  3. Mark Weisbrot, “Top Ten Ways You Can Tell Which Side The United States Government is On With Regard to the Military Coup in Honduras”, Common Dreams, December 16, 2009
  4. Roger Morris, former member of the National Security Council, Partners in Power (1996), p.415. For a comprehensive look at Hillary Clinton, see the new book by Diane Johnstone, Queen of Chaos.
  5. National Review online, May 1, 2007
  6. Fortune magazine, July 9, 2007
  7. Patrick J. Buchanan, “Will the Oligarchs Kill Trump?”, Creators.com, March 08, 2016
  8. William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (2005), chapter 14
  9. Ibid., p.264
  10. White House press briefing, November 14, 1997, US Newswire transcript
  11. Fabian Escalante, Executive Action: 634 Ways to Kill Fidel Castro (2006), Ocean Press (Australia)
  12. Huffington Post, May 3, 2012
  13. Miami Herald, October 17, 1997, p.22A

The U.S. Of Corruption

Two Corrupt Establishments 

 

Exclusive: The insurgent campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have staggered Official Washington’s twin corrupt establishments on the Republican and Democratic sides, but what happens next, asks Robert Parry.


The United States is led by two corrupt establishments, one Democratic and one Republican, both deeply dependent on special-interest money, both sharing a similar perspective on world affairs, and both disdainful toward the American people who are treated as objects to be manipulated, not citizens to be respected.
There are, of course, differences. The Democrats are more liberal on social policy and favor a somewhat larger role of government in addressing the nation’s domestic problems. The Republicans embrace Ronald Reagan’s motto, “government is the problem,” except when they want the government to intervene on “moral” issues such as gay marriage and abortion.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
But these two corrupt establishments are intertwined when it comes to important issues of trade, economics and foreign policy. Both are true believers in neo-liberal “free trade”; both coddle Wall Street (albeit seeking slightly different levels of regulation); and both favor interventionist foreign policies (only varying modestly in how the wars are sold to the public).
Because the two establishments have a chokehold on the mainstream media, they escape any meaningful accountability when they are wrong. Thus, their corruption is not just defined by the billions of special-interest dollars that they take in but in their deviations from the real world. The two establishments have created a fantasyland that all the Important People treat as real.
Which is why it has been somewhat amusing to watch establishment pundits pontificate about what must be done in their make-believe world – stopping “Russian aggression,” establishing “safe zones” in Syria, and fawning over noble “allies” like Saudi Arabia and Turkey – while growing legions of Americans have begun to see through these transparent fictions.
Though the candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have many flaws, there is still something encouraging about Americans listening to some of straight talk from both Trump and Sanders – and to watch the flailing reactions of their establishment rivals.
While it’s true Trump has made comments that are offensive and stupid, he also has dished out some truths that the GOP establishment simply won’t abide, such as noting President George W. Bush’s failure to protect the country from the 9/11 attacks and Bush’s deceptive case for invading Iraq. Trump’s rivals were flummoxed by his audacity, sputtering about his apostasy, but rank-and-file Republicans were up to handling the truth.
Trump violated another Republican taboo when he advocated that the U.S. government take an evenhanded position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and even told pro-Israeli donors that they could not buy his support with donations. By contrast, other Republicans, such as Sen. Marco Rubio, were groveling for the handouts and advocating a U.S. foreign policy that could have been written by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trump’s Israel heresy brought the Republican foreign-policy elite, the likes of William Kristol and other neoconservatives, to full battle stations. Kristol’s fellow co-founder of the neocon Project for the New American Century, Robert Kagan, was so apoplectic over Trump’s progress toward the GOP nomination that he announced that he would vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Clinton’s Struggles
Clinton, however, has had her own struggles toward the nomination. Though her imposing war chest and machine-driven sense of inevitability scared off several potential big-name rivals, she has had her hands full with Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old “democratic socialist” from Vermont. Sanders pulled off a stunning upset on Tuesday by narrowly winning Michigan.
While Sanders has largely finessed foreign policy issues – beyond noting that he opposed the Iraq War and Clinton voted for it – Sanders apparently found a winning issue in Michigan when he emphasized his rejection of trade deals while Clinton has mostly supported them. The same issue has worked well for Trump as he lambastes U.S. establishment leaders for negotiating bad deals.
What is notable about the “free trade” issue is that it has long been a consensus position of both the Republican and Democratic establishments. For years, anyone who questioned these deals was mocked as a know-nothing or a protectionist. All the smart money was on “free trade,” a signature issue of both the Bushes and the Clintons, praised by editorialists from The Wall Street Journal through The New York Times.
The fact that “free trade” – over the past two decades – has become a major factor in hollowing out of the middle class, especially across the industrial heartland of Middle America, was of little concern to the financial and other elites concentrated on the coasts. At election time, those “loser” Americans could be kept in line with appeals to social issues and patriotism, even as many faced borderline poverty, growing heroin addiction rates and shorter life spans.
Despite that suffering, the twin Republican/Democratic establishments romped merrily along. The GOP elite called for evermore tax cuts to benefit the rich; demanded “reform” of Social Security and Medicare, meaning reductions in benefits; and proposed more military spending on more interventions overseas. The Democrats were only slightly less unrealistic, negotiating a new trade deal with Asia and seeking a new Cold War with Russia.
Early in Campaign 2016, the expectations were that Republican voters would again get behind an establishment candidate like former Florida Jeb Bush or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, while the Democrats would get in line behind Hillary Clinton’s coronation march.
TV pundits declared that there was no way that Donald Trump could win the GOP race, that his high early poll numbers would fade like a summer romance. Bernie Sanders was laughed at as a fringe “issue” candidate. But then something unexpected happened.
On the Republican side, blue-collar whites finally recognized how the GOP establishment had played them for suckers; they weren’t going to take it anymore. On the Democratic side, young voters, in particular, recognized how they had been dealt an extremely bad hand, stuck with massive student debt and unappealing job prospects.
So, on the GOP side, disaffected blue-collar whites rallied to Trump’s self-financed campaign and to his promises to renegotiate the trade deals and shut down illegal immigration; on the Democratic side, young voters joined Sanders’s call for a “political revolution.”
The two corrupt establishments were staggered. Yet, whether the populist anti-establishment insurrections can continue moving forward remains in doubt.
On the Democratic side, Clinton’s candidacy appears to have been saved because African-American voters know her better than Sanders and associate her with President Barack Obama. They’ve given her key support, especially in Southern states, but the Michigan result suggests that Clinton may have to delay her long-expected “pivot to the center” a bit longer.
On the Republican side, Trump’s brash style has driven many establishment favorites out of the race and has put Rubio on the ropes. If Rubio is knocked out – and if Ohio Gov. John Kasich remains an also-ran – then the establishment’s only alternative would be Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a thoroughly disliked figure in the U.S. Senate. It’s become increasingly plausible that Trump could win the Republican nomination.
What a Trump victory would mean for the Republican Party is hard to assess. Is it even possible for the GOP establishment with its laissez-faire orthodoxy of tax cuts for the rich and trickle-down economics for everyone else to reconcile with Trump’s populist agenda of protecting Social Security and demanding revamped trade deals to restore American manufacturing?
Further, what would the neocons do? They now control the Republican Party’s foreign policy apparatus, which is tied to unconditional support for Israel and interventionism against Israel’s perceived enemies, from Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, to Iran, to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Would they join Kagan in backing Hillary Clinton and trusting that she would be a reliable vessel for neocon desires?
And, if Clinton prevails against Sanders and does become the neocon “vessel,” where might the growing ranks of Democratic and Independent non-interventionists go? Will some side with Trump despite his ugly remarks about Mexicans and Muslims? Or will they reject both major parties, either voting for a third party or staying home?

Whatever happens, Official Washington’s twin corrupt establishments have been dealt an unexpected and potentially lasting punch.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

Hubert Smeets Bekritiseert Journalistiek NRC


In Nederland wordt door de mainstream-pers zelden iets uitgevochten met rationele argumenten. Doorgaans vecht de zelfbenoemde 'politiek-literaire elite' doorgaans niets uit aan de hand van feiten. De journalist die kritiek krijgt wordt ziedend, maar zal niet openlijk de kritiek van zijn tegenstander beantwoorden.  Op feiten gebaseerd kritiek wordt dood gezwegen, en een vakgenoot met fundamentele kritiek wordt domweg gemarginaliseerd. Het is het enige wapen van de bekritiseerde journalist zodra hij de kritiek niet kan weerleggen. Met een typerend voorbeeld van deze mentaliteit werd ik gistermiddag laat geconfronteerd toen ik op de Amsterdamse Nieuwmarkt NRC-buitenland redacteur Hubert Smeets tegen het lijf liep. Na elkaar te hebben begroet, vroeg ik hem of zijn anti-Poetin campagne in zijn krant naar wens verliep. Die vraag was kennelijk een schop tegen het zere been, want  al snel meldde Hubert op hoge toon zich ernstig te hebben gestoord aan mijn kritiek op zijn corrupte journalistiek, die ik met ondermeer zijn eigen citaten heb aangetoond. Als voorbeeld gaf ik hem gistermiddag opnieuw zijn uitspraak:

Het is typisch Russisch, om altijd alles om te draaien.

Bij de vorige ontmoeting met hem ontkende Smeets categorisch dit gezegd te hebben. 'Waar heb ik dat gezegd?' brulde hij als een onvervalste Feldwebel. 'Je eigen krant,' antwoordde ik. Hij ontkende met grote stelligheid dat zijn bewering in de NRC had gestaan. Gisteren gaf hij toe dat zijn uitspraak inderdaad door de webredactie van zijn krant was verspreid. 


Poetin stunt met opiniestuk in NYT - lees hier duiding bij zijn ...

www.nrc.nl/.../poetin-schrijft-opiniestuk-in-nyt-en-werpt-zich-op-als-vo...



12 sep. 2013 - In de brief van Poetin staat alles wat de Russen vinden van de situatie in Syrië, zegt .... 'Het is typisch Russisch, om altijd alles om te draaien.'  

Niet langer meer in staat dit feit te ontkennen, meldde hij mij dat hem door de NRC 'woorden in de mond zijn gelegd.' Dit is een journalistiek uiterst verwerpelijke praktijk, en dient ogenblikkelijk aan de kaak te worden gesteld door een rectificatie te vragen. Dus vroeg ik mijn collega waarom hij dit niet had gedaan. Die vraag overviel Hubert, en dus probeerde hij langs dit onderwerp weg te glibberen. Vanzelfsprekend stelde ik de vraag opnieuw. Met een rood aangelopen gezicht kwam zijn antwoord erop neer dat hij het allemaal niet belangrijk genoeg vond.  Aangezien dit voor mij geen afdoend antwoord was, vertelde ik Hubert dat ik hem niet geloofde. Nog meer woede, terwijl toch duidelijk is dat een serieuze journalist nooit kan accepteren dat er woorden in zijn mond worden gelegd, zeker niet als die ook nog eens de hele Russische bevolking demoniseren, inclusief zijn echtgenote Olga, geboren en getogen in het land van Poetin. Behulpzaam als ik ben, vertelde ik Smeets dat ik daarom op mijn weblog zou melden dat hem 'woorden in de mond zijn gelegd.' Ook daaraan ergerde hij zich, want zijn enige reactie was misnoegen dat ik dit bekend zou maken. 'Maar Hubert,' zei ik 'dit heet in de journalistiek een follow-up, daar kun je toch niet tegen zijn?' Volgende keer meer over mijn zo illustrerende ontmoeting met collega Hubert Smeets. 

Zie ook: http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.nl/search?q=hubert+smeets++