zaterdag 8 juni 2019

Remember The USS Liberty and Israeli Terrorism

On June 8, 1967 the Zionist state of #israel carried out a brutal attack on a US naval vessel sailing off the coast of #Gaza, the USS Liberty.

Israeli torpedo boats blew holes the hull while jets streamed back and forth strafing the sailors with bullets - and dropping napalm on the deck. They even tried to kill all the sailors in escape rafts.

By the end of the hours long attack, the USA had suffered nearly 200 casualties with 34 sailors dead.

Without a doubt their intention was to kill all on board the #USS_Liberty and send it to the bottom then put the blame on Egypt with the intention that #US would retaliate and attack #Egypt, and draw the US into the #Six_Day_War on the israeli side.

The POTUS and Admirals were complicit in a coverup to protect israel — year . 1967 .

For the sake of #justice#truth and the murdered and surviving sailors, this is a story demanding to be told.


Electoral Politics Versus Democracy

Electoral Politics Versus Democracy

The 1885 inauguration of Grover Cleveland – Public Domain
Party Politics for Party People
American Party politics would be a complete farce if the consequences weren’t so grave. Were either of the dominant Parties to achieve 100% consensus on any issue, it would represent the views of about 18%* of eligible voters. And while a diversity of views would represent social vitality in a functioning democracy, in the winner-take-all American system, it represents continued rule by the oligarchs.
This matters because there is majority support, if not outright consensus, around some of the larger issues confronting the collective ‘us’ of the planet. Something akin to a Green New Deal would in theory— unadulterated and uncorrupted by those who make it necessary, 1) address climate change + mass extinction, 2) employ a lot of people in jobs that pay a living wage and 3) demonstrate that government has a role in useful social endeavors.
However, collective self-interest must first wind its way through an architecture of aggravated taking, the circumstance where some— those with the power to do so, have organized society for their own benefit. As both Marx and Gramsci put it, the existing distribution of buildings, bank accounts and baubles is the starting point for social explanations of their possession. The explanatory process is to start with who ‘owns’ what, and then work backwards.
Graph. Beginning around the time that the American war against Iraq became a certifiable catastrophe, eligible voters began fleeing the dominant political Parties to declare themselves ‘Independents.’ The dominant Parties currently have a 30% / 31% split in favor of Democrats. Successfully expanding their voter base would give either Party nominal control of the political system. But they choose instead to fight over as small number of politically retrograde bourgeois voters. Source: Gallup.
This wasn’t precisely the argument. It was over capitalist production. Ownership is an imperial claim, the imposition and arithmetic of taking from the taken from. This comes to bear politically when what is consumed is necessary to physical existence— the air, water, land and means of sustenance. For instance, here is the IPCC (UN) saying that resolving climate change is urgent. Here is the IPBES (UN) saying that resolving mass extinction is urgent.
More fundamentally, neoliberal governance exists to benefit grim oligarchs who use it to build monuments to themselves. Donald Trump is iconic in this regard, born a lord of the land into an empire of taking; a righteous braggart, thief and wastrel, elevated through circumstances not of his making to monarch and high priest of social pornography. As with co-inheritance colleague George W. Bush, stumbling upward was a birthright, never evidence of capability.
The technologies for managing the polity learned in the twentieth century— that go back millennia in one form or another: the personalization of systemic tendencies and the use of manufactured fear of an ‘external’ enemy, function through psychology and social mythology that are onerous, if not impossible, to disentangle. Gramsci grappled with how to get around the generating mechanisms of social mythology prior to the ever-presence of coercive technologies.
The political impetus, if not the idea, for a Green New Deal arose in 2018 from activists who were both 1) horrified by the personage of Donald Trump and 2) cognizant of the reactionary role of the Democratic Party establishment. Since their (minor) political victory, the political establishment has been downplaying the activist critique and watering down its policy proposals. The role of the political establishment here is to ‘manage’ activist tendencies out of existence.
The (AOC, etc.) insight that Mr. Trump is a symptom, not the cause, of current political travails is being transformed by time and retrograde political forces into a cult of personal loathing. The longer that Mr. Trump is in office, the greater becomes his role in perpetuating the neoliberal order that brought him to power. This is different from describing his policies as neoliberal— the division that has him on the outs with liberal Democrats. The realm of the American critique remains bounded by neoliberal ideology.
Why this matters is that ‘defeating Trump’ leaves the world that created him intact and largely untouched. As metaphor, the insight regarding class and the ‘right’ to abortion is an entre to the logic. Poor women have less access to legal abortion than rich women do. The ‘right,’ while necessary, isn’t enough if getting an abortion means losing a job and / or incurring expenses that the poor can’t afford. Political rights are a conceit of the bourgeois. Economic democracy (power) is needed to make them enforceable.
Breaking down political barriers by erecting economic barriers is the method of neoliberalism— people are ‘free’ to do as they wish if they can afford to. A class of people— Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney etc., was born free to do as they wish through inheritance. And another class of people, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, etc., was made rich through government fiat (see Dean Baker here). And yet other classes were born unfree, impoverished through their poor choice of parents and the circumstances of their birth.
‘Markets’ are a transfer mechanism; they aren’t ‘free.’ The imbalance of market power behind trade agreements is instructive. One group of capitalists owns thousands of acres of farmland and has access to the infrastructure needed to move millions of bushels of corn to Central America. Another has the land they live on and a few pesos if times are good. ‘Free’ competition between these two groups is an exercise in imperial taking by the powerful from the powerless.
The complaint / critique that Donald Trump is using government to make himself and his family rich is true. However, only through an ideological, and wholly implausible, reading of American history was it ever not true. The Marx / Lenin theory of the state explained this process accurately a century ago. Neoliberal ‘freedom’ is for the oligarchs to have their way with the rest of us. America was ‘founded’ in oligarchy.
The liberal critique of Mr. Trump’s corruption amounts to: he cut out the political middlemen through direct self-enrichment. Barack Obama’s policies boosted the fortunes of the American oligarchs— through stock prices and real estate holdings, as surely as Mr. Trump has enriched himself. This isn’t a slam against Mr. Obama, it is a recitation of history. And there were / are workable alternatives to service to oligarchs.
The overwhelming circumstance at present is that unless giant, huge, very large changes are made to Western political economy right away, both the current ‘costs,’ in terms of irreversible environmental decline, and the future costs of environmental resolution, will rise at an increasing rate. This environmental dysfunction is both fact and metaphor for the broader social ills that neoliberalism is wreaking.
The rise of the global political right is tied to the interests of capital. The American John Bolton wants to steal Venezuela’s oil just as Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil wants to bulldoze indigenous lands for industrial agriculture. The impeachment movement has it perfectly backwards. Get rid of capitalism if you want to get rid of Donald Trump. Because otherwise, there is an infinite supply of future Trumps that will support the interests of capital.
As onerous as doing so may be— particularly for the already vulnerable, there is no configuration of existing political economy that will facilitate a shift toward a livable future. Donald Trump and the Republicans will do everything they can to perpetuate the system that has made them rich and ‘successful.’ The Democrats will talk a better game, but they too worship at the altar of this same ‘success’ and answer to the oligarchs.
Expand the Electorate
Tacticians for the political establishment(s) understand that electoral politics is antithetical to democracy, which is why they use strategies of exclusion to maintain their lock on power. This unity through exclusion is what makes the pretense that they— Democrats versus Republicans, are ideological combatants so self-serving and implausible. Either Party could expand the electorate by bringing in unaffiliated and disaffected voters, and in-so-doing dominate American politics. But to do so, they would have to offer a political program that voters want.
The U.S. has a very low electoral turnout rate compared with other so-called democracies. The question then is why Democrats would focus their efforts on luring a small number of suburban Republicans to vote for Democrats rather than on the large number of eligible voters from urban, suburban and rural working class and poor neighborhoods? The answer is class. The oligarchs + the richest 9.9% won’t support policies that benefit poor and working-class voters. They might oppose racism, but not poverty.
One easy way to expand the electorate is to stop excluding it. Old news here— voter suppression is rampant in the U.S. While this is a favorite tactic of Republicans, Democrats have passed up every opportunity to 1) force Republicans to stop doing it and 2) enact universal suffrage. Here’s the rub— even if Democrats accepted 20% voter suppression as a background level, they could still craft policies that support the poor and working class and bring in tens of millions of voters by doing so. But they apparently don’t want ‘those people’ voting.
In 2018 in my poor and working class, 98% Democrat, neighborhood, the Democrats left door tags with two messages: property tax ‘relief’ that has little appeal in a 90%+ renter neighborhood and ‘stopping Trump.’ This neighborhood suffered horribly in the Bush / Obama years from the twin catastrophes of de-industrialization and financialization. De-industrialization took away the jobs and then financialization made housing unaffordable while growing a below living-wage chain-store economy that bankrupted local businesses.
When Al Gore lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush based on a dubious vote count in the state in which Mr. Bush’s brother was Governor (Florida), the working premise was that once the Democrats regained the power to do so, they would put every effort into 1) shoring up the voting system to assure a fair count, 2) stopping Republicans from using dubious means to exclude voters 3) expanding the voter base by bringing in eligible voters who don’t vote.
That election was consequential. Oligarch George W. Bush launched a war that killed a million Iraqis and destabilized the wider Middle East. He did so with support from the Democratic Party establishment and a coterie of liberal hawks. From his office as Vice President, Dick Cheney actively solicited business proposals from oil and gas executives, munitions dealers and infrastructure rebuilders. That was corrupt.
Outside of a few legal challenges put forward by the Obama administration, very little effort has been put into maintaining the fiction that electoral politics have democracy as their goal. Again, were either of the dominant Parties to bring in a substantial portion of unregistered and / or unaffiliated voters, they would control American politics. But once impediments to voting were gotten out of the way, these Parties would have to put forward political programs that voters would vote for. And this is what they won’t do.
Where to Take This
The political intuition exists on the left to take the fight to the people. Bernie Sanders went on Fox News and made his case to an audience trained to hate Democrats. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accepted an offer to go to West Virginia to make her political case to coal miners before the offer was withdrawn. I speak with right-wingers— about half who describe themselves as liberals, all the time and here’s the problem— they have never heard ideas from the left. Professional-class caricatures have no bearing on who these people are.
Irrespective of the political establishment’s lock on the electoral process, it is only targeting a sliver of Independents + eligible voters who don’t vote. The class relations that define American electoral politics have left a huge majority of potentially politically engaged people without a Party to represent them. The people who are represented by the Democrats + Republicans have class interests that are 1) closely aligned with one another and 2) antithetical to those of the unrepresented majority.
This is why Bernie Sanders should have 1) called the Democrats publicly on their machinations against him in 2016, 2) refused to endorse their candidate and 3) stayed in the race. It is understood that doing so would have been beyond the pale in the respectable circles the people who screwed him run in. Ralph Nader is lucky to have survived the 2000 electoral debacle. But 1) the Democrats screwed him and his supporters and 2) they went on to lose to Donald Trump.
The existing Party system exists to exclude both voters and candidates. Much has been written since 2016 about the Democrat’s ongoing efforts to prevent party-line-challenged candidates from running as Democrats. And they are preventing them from running as independents. By providing evidence of the Democrats’ bad faith, the broader system of electoral politics might have been pried open. That Mr. Sanders chose not to take this route suggests the broader limitations of electoral politics as a route to democratic participation.
That the Democrats have invested little energy in expanding the voter base is evidence of their satisfaction with representing the oligarchs + the 9.9%. This begins to explain the paradox of working-class voters ‘voting against their own economic interests’ that Thomas Frank identified in the 1990s. The premise that urban liberals— the professional class, represent the interests of anyone but themselves reframes the conundrum as a self-legitimating conceit. Phrased differently, if neither Party represents your economic interests, what is the conundrum?
Neoliberalism hasn’t benefited the politically unrepresented. This was understood by Paul Krugman and his allies in globalization early on. Their premise was that the benefits would be redistributed to compensate those whose circumstances were diminished by it. Surprise! The Donald Trumps of the world chalked up their success to their own brilliance and called it a day. The premise was never, as Democrats and the American left have more recently insisted, that large swaths of the working class wouldn’t be harmed.
An unrepresented majority exists to be brought into a left political movement. Such a movement showed signs of awakening in 2018 before being sidelined by the Democratic establishment. The urban bourgeois who brought AOC to congress are nevertheless class allies of the Democrats. Their lease buyouts and stock market gains are polluting cities around the country with real estate speculation. Resentment is building with every tick higher that stock market and house prices move.
The stakes are: organize or perish. The astro-turf and greenwashing groups, Democrats and Republicans, will absorb the organizing energy unless political clarity around competing class interests is brought to the fore.
*Ds and Rs each have 30% of registered voters. Total registered voters are 60% of eligible voters. 30% * 60% = 18% of eligible voters.

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Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.

Hoe Belgen Met Staatssteun Nederlandse Kranten Kochten

New post on Apokalyps Nu!

Hoe de Belgen met stille staatssteun de Nederlandse kranten in handen kregen

by NL-AG
08-06-19 08:19:00, 
Twee freelancers eisen voor de rechter een ‘billijke vergoeding’ van de Persgroep, de grootste krantenuitgever van Nederland. Onderbetaling van freelancers is een gevolg van het duopolie in Vlaamse en Nederlandse dagbladen van de Persgroep en Mediahuis. De twee uitgevers konden dit duopolie deels opbouwen dankzij een jaarlijkse subsidiestroom van de Belgische staat van tientallen miljoenen euro’s.
Over dit onderzoek
Wat hebben we ontdekt?
  • De Persgroep en Mediahuis bezitten samen ruim 85 procent van de Nederlandse dagbladen, regionaal en landelijk. In meerdere provincies ontstaat zo een monopoliepositie.
  • De Vlaamse uitgevers konden deze positie bereiken mede dankzij staatssteun. De Belgische overheid subsidieert dagbladbezorging door Bpost, de Belgische tegenhanger van PostNL.
  • Door deze subsidie kunnen de Persgroep en Mediahuis ieder jaarlijks rekenen op een voordeel van 32 miljoen euro. Dat is meer dan de Persgroep aan zijn 4500 Nederlandse freelancers uitgeeft.
Hoe hebben we dat onderzocht?
  • Dit verhaal is begonnen in de zomer van 2018 met een onderzoek door Follow the Money-stagiair Michelle de Clercq. Zij las jaarverslagen en andere documenten en voerde een aantal gesprekken, onder meer met Miriam van der Burg, een Nederlandse wetenschapper die in 2017 promoveerde op de machtsconcentratie in de Vlaamse en Nederlandse dagbladwereld.
  • Vanaf oktober 2018 zette ik het onderzoek voort. Voor dit verhaal voerde ik meer dan twintig gesprekken, merendeels met (oud-) bestuurders en -werknemers van dagbladbedrijven, maar ook met wetenschappers, consultants en journalisten. Belangrijke andere bronnen zijn de Belgische en Nederlandse jaarverslagen van de dagbladuitgevers, hun persberichten en de mediapublicaties over hen van de afgelopen tien jaar.
Waarom moet ik dit lezen?
  • Britt van Uem en Ruud Rogier slepen de Persgroep voor de rechter wegens structurele onderbetaling. De freelancers zijn daarmee de enigen die zich weren tegen de gevolgen van een stille overname door twee Vlaamse uitgevers van bijna alle Nederlandse kranten.
  • De Belgische miljoenensubsidies verdienen nader onderzoek, ook al is de Vlaamse verovering van de Nederlandse dagbladmarkt een voldongen feit. Want ondanks het verlies aan adverteerders en betalende lezers blijft de papieren krant een machtig medium en daardoor ook een belangrijk podium voor onafhankelijke journalistiek. Alleen de Persgroep al claimt met zijn Nederlandse kranten dagelijks miljoenen lezers te bereiken.

Voorbeeld van Waarom de Nederlandse Democratie Niet Werkt

Thierry Baudet doet een bijzonder verzoek in de Tweede Kamer | Openbaring gesprekken klimaatakkoord

Remember. 2014

History, history! We fools, what do we know or care? History begins for us with murder and enslavement, not with discovery.
William Carlos Williams. The Fountain of Eternal Youth. 1925 
Overal zijn de signalen te zien, de mens zelf dient alleen nog de samenhang zichtbaar te maken. Hij bezit daarvoor zijn intelligentie, ervaring, verbeeldingskracht. Degenen die dit niet begrijpen zullen nooit boven zichzelf weten uit te stijgen. Dit heeft niet met klasse te maken, maar met milieu. Zonder een oplichtende vonk blijft alles onzichtbaar. Het alledaagse, het voor de hand liggende is altijd verholen; pas bij nadere beschouwing blijkt het bijzonder te zijn, soms raadselachtig, een enkele maal zelfs magisch. In elk geval altijd wonderlijk. Waarom nu juist zo, op die manier, en net niet anders? Vanwaar het achteloze? Het nonchalante? Het onverschillige? Het weerzinwekkende?  In het fotoboek trip  (1999) met werk van Susan Lipper, schreef Matthew Drutt als 'associate curator for research at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum' dat 'trip' een 'joyride' is
through a landscape of imagery at once real and surreal. It takes us on a journey that begins and ends somewhere in the United States. Exactly where, or even when, is left for us to figure out…
The American Lipper shows us is light-years away from the fashionable icons celebrated in Hollywood cinema or in the music industry. Instead, she places us into a cultural milieu that seems to rarely open itself up to outsiders, preferring to remain complacent in, if not wholly indifferent to, its anachronistic simplicity… 
We are left undecided whether we are coming or going, and what follows is no better at making any of this easy for us to discern… a white picket fence that keeps nothing in and no one out, a fresh-fruit stand that looks as decayed as a dump site, or an election postern nailed to a tree in the middle of a rough bramble, for an African-American candidate for police juror with the nickname 'Blood.' 
A key element binding us to these photographs is our familiarity with the heightened sense of awareness that we have when we travel. Uprooted from everyday surroundings, the traveler renders everything as new and unfamiliar so that even the most commonplace object or event seems somehow strange and exotic. It is Lipper's sensitivity to this 'Twilight Zone' between familiarity and peculiarity that informs some of the most enduring and arresting images in this book… They are moments which occur again and again, interrupted here and there by periods of absurd normalcy.
Uit het fotoboek trip (1999) van Susan Lipper.

Ik heb een groot deel van mijn leven gereisd. Ik herken wat Drutt schreef. Het zijn niet de spectaculaire uitzichten die de diepste indruk nalaten, maar beelden van het vergeefse, het onaffe, het mislukte, het tragische, de 'absurde normaliteit': een jaren vijftig winkeletalage in het Mid-Westen van de VS, een armoedig wegrestaurant in Oezbekistan, een stervende zwarte man langs een weg in Mauritanië, twee in een zwart gewaad gehulde sjiitische vrouwen, hurkend in een smerig busstation ergens de Iraakse woestijn, een dronkaard slapend in een autowrak in Mongolië. En vooral ook die treurige, grijze gasbeton-blokken waarin overal ter wereld mensen zich verschuilen, dieselolie-lucht, kapotte feestverlichting, alles dat het allang heeft opgegeven, omdat de energie ontoereikend bleek, alles waaruit het menselijke onvermogen blijkt om de zogeheten vooruitgang bij te benen, alles dat de mens het liefst vergeet omdat het geen vertroosting biedt. Alles dat overbleef en eigenlijk nooit had moeten bestaan. Drutt:
And while these images seem somehow personal and idiosyncratic, they also carry that faint air of something seen before, conveying an experience that all of us can identify with in one way or another.
This familiarity is offset by an odd silence that permeates this series… Composed of the traces and remnants of events past, Lipper's work leaves unanswered the mystery of who or what we are looking at. This in turn becomes a kind of reflection upon our own search for identity. 
Het is wat Drutt 'this identity crisis' noemt, de westerling steeds wanhopiger op zoek naar het authentieke in een gefragmenteerde cultuur. De 'identiteitscrisis' als logisch gevolg van wat de auteur Wendell Berry in The Unsettling of America. Culture & Agriculture (1977) als volgt omschreef:
If there is any law that has been consistently operative in American history, it is that the members of any established people or group or community sooner or later become 'redskins' — that isa, they become the designated victims of an utterly ruthless, officially sanctioned and subsidized exploitation. The colonists who drove off the Indians came to be intolerably exploited by their imperial governments. And that alien imperialism was thrown off only to be succeeded by a domestic version of the same thing; the class of independent small farmers who fought the war of independence has been exploited by, and recruited into, the industrial society until by now it is almost extinct…
The only escape from this destiny of victimization has been to 'succeed' — that is, to 'make it' into the class of exploiters, and then to remain so specialized and so 'mobile' as to be unconscious of the effects of one's life or livelihood. This escape is, of course, illusory, for one man's producer is another's consumer, and even the richest and most mobile will soon fin it hard to escape the noxious effluents and fumes of their various public services.
Uit het fotoboek trip (1999) van Susan Lipper.

De 'broeikasgassen' van de 'Vooruitgang,' die de ondergang van ontelbare soorten bedreigen of veroorzaken, inclusief die van de mens zelf. In de Britse Guardian van 10 april 2014 gaf de Canadese journaliste Naomi Klein als antwoord op de vraag: 'Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine' als antwoord:
From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – what I call the shock doctrine.
The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the US Congress – one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) – that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin's fossil fuels, and enhancing US national security…

For this ploy to work, it's important not to look too closely at details. Like the fact that much of the gas probably won't make it to Europe – because what the bills allow is for gas to be sold on the world market to any country belonging to the World Trade Organization.

Or the fact that for years the industry has been selling the message that Americans must accept the risks to their land, water and air that come with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in order to help their country achieve 'energy independence.' And now, suddenly and slyly, the goal has been switched to 'energy security,' which apparently means selling a temporary glut of fracked gas on the world market, thereby creating energy dependencies abroad…

it's up to Europeans to turn their desire for emancipation from Russian gas into a demand for an accelerated transition to renewables. Such a transition – to which European nations are committed under the Kyoto protocol – can easily be sabotaged if the world market is flooded with cheap fossil fuels fracked from the US bedrock. And indeed Americans Against Fracking, which is leading the charge against the fast-tracking of LNG exports, is working closely with its European counterparts to prevent this from happening.

Responding to the threat of catastrophic warming is our most pressing energy imperative. And we simply can't afford to be distracted by the natural gas industry's latest crisis-fuelled marketing ploy.

Uit het fotoboek trip (1999) van Susan Lipper.

Het neoliberale kapitalistische systeem kan niet anders dan zichzelf vernietigen, het is  gebaseerd op onverzadigbare begeerte. De moderne tijd, die rond 1492 goed in beweging kwam is het natuurlijke product van het blanke, christelijke egoïsme dat vier eeuwen later, in 1880, de New York Tribune deed constateren:

The original owner of the soil, the man from whom we have taken the country, in order that we may make of it the refuge of the world, where all men should be free if not equal, is the only man in it who is not recognized as entitled to the rights of a human being.
De moderne geschiedenis is 'rationality without reason,' de wetenschappelijke, desastreuze uitbuiting van de mens en de natuur. De Amerikaanse dichter William Carlos Williams beschreef het in 1925 in zijn boek In the American Grain aldus:
History, history! We fools, what do we know or care? History begins for us with murder and enslavement, not with discovery. No, we are not Indians but we are men of their world. The blood means nothing; the spirit, the ghost of the land moves in the blood. It is we who ran naked, we who cried ‘Heavenly Man!’ These are the inhabitants of our souls that lie…agh…

Fierce and implacable we kill them but their souls dominate us. Our men, our blood, but their spirit is master. It enters us, it defeats us, it imposes itself. We are moderns — madmen at Paris — all lacking in a ground sense of cleanliness…

If men inherit souls this is the color of mine. We are, too, the others. Think of them! The main islands were thickly populated with a peaceful folk when Christ-over found them. But the orgy of blood which followed, no man has written. We are the slaughterers. It is the tortured soul of our world. Indians have no souls; that was it. That was what they said. But they knew they lied  — the blood-smell proof.  

Dat is ware geschiedschrijving en niet de barokke Reader's Digest-versie van de geschiedenis, zoals onder andere Geert Mak die in Nederland geeft. Het is alsof de jaren zestig van de vorige eeuw volledig aan de Makkianen is voorbij gegaan. In de VS en andere belangrijke cultuurlanden werd toen de basis gelegd voor een fundamentele herziening van de de eigen geschiedschrijving. Zo concludeerde in 1993 een historicus als David E. Stannard in zijn boek American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World na uitgebreid onderzoek:

The destruction of the Indians of the Americas was, far and away, the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world.

Terwijl de Amerikaanse historici, professor Robert V. Hine en John Mack Faragher van Yale University in hun studie The American West. A new interpretive history in 2000 tot de slotsom kwamen dat:

The empire ran on the suffering of millions of peons and slaves, Indians and Africans.

Op zijn beurt constateerde de Amerikaanse historicus Peter Montague dat

By then [1891] the native population had been reduced to 2.5% of its original numbers and 97.5% of the aboriginal land base had been expropriated… Hundreds upon hundreds of native tribes with unique languages, learning, customs, and cultures had simply been erased from the face of the earth, most often without even the pretense of justice or law.

De Amerikaanse auteur, Barry Lopez, wiens werk talloze onderscheidingen heeft gekregen,  schreef in The Rediscovery of North America (1991) over de 'violent corruption,' van de VS

We can say, yes, this happened, and we are ashamed. We repudiate the greed. We recognize and condemn the evil. And we see how the harm has been perpetuated. But, five hundred years later, we intend to mean something else in the world, 
namelijk de voortdurende herhaling van het gewelddadige expansionisme dat zo typerend is voor de blanke, christelijke geschiedenis van de VS. Niet voor niets werd vanaf de verovering van de Filipijnen rond 1900, toen het Amerikaans overzees imperium begon, tot aan de  Amerikaanse aanval met napalm en fosfor op Fallujah in 2004, het grondgebied van anderen omschreven als 'Indian Country.' De noodzaak van een nieuw 'grensgebied' dat moet worden veroverd, ligt diep verankerd in de cultuur van de VS, zo vertelde mij de Amerikaanse emeritus hoogleraar Richard Slotkin toen ik deze Amerikaanse historicus in 2010 interviewde. In zijn Gunfighter Nation. The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America (1992) stelde hij dat:
Kennedy’s use of ‘New Frontier’ tapped a vein of latent ideological power. While he and his advisers could not have predicted just how effective the symbolism would be, they certainly understood that they were invoking what was a venerable tradition in American political rhetoric. They knew from their own experience of American culture that figures of speech referring to this tradition would be intelligible to the widest possible audience – to Brooklyn and Cambridge as well as Abilene and Los Angeles. They had grounds for knowing – or at least intuiting – that this set of symbols was also an appropriate language for explaining and justifying the use of political power.

The exchange of an old, domestic, agrarian frontier for a new frontier of world power and industrial development had been a central trope in American political and historiographical debates since the 1890s. Sixty-seven years (almost to the day) before Kennedy’s address, Frederick Jackson Turner had delivered his epoch-making address on ‘The Significance of the Frontier in American History,’ in which he asserted that the contemporary crisis of American development had arisen from the closing of the ‘old frontier’ and the delay in finding a new one. His ‘Frontier Thesis’ would become the basis of the dominant school of American historical interpretation and would provide the historiographic rationale for the ideologies of both Republican progressives and Democratic liberals for much of the ensuing century.

For Kennedy and his advisers, the choice of the Frontier as symbol was not simply a device for trade-marking the candidate. It was an authentic metaphor, descriptive of the way in which they wished to use political power and the kinds of struggle in which they wished to engage. The ‘Frontier’ was for them a complex resonant symbol, a vivid and memorable set of hero-tales – each a model of successful and morally justifying action on the stage of historical conflict… it shaped the language through which the resultant wars would be understood by those who commanded and fought them. Seven years after Kennedy’s nomination, American troops would be be describing Vietnam as ‘Indian country’ and search-and-destroy missions as a game of ‘Cowboys and Indians’; and Kennedy’s ambassador to Vietnam would justify a massive military escalation by citing the necessity of moving the ‘Indians’ away from the ‘fort’ so that the ‘settlers’ could plant ‘corn.’ But the provenance and utility of the Frontier symbol did not end with the Kennedy/Johnson administrations: twenty years after Kennedy’s acceptance speech the same symbolism – expressed in talismanic invocations of the images of movie-cowboys John Wayne and Clint Eastwood – would serve the succesful campaigns of a Republican arch-conservative and former Hollywood actor…

Ook na filmster/president Ronald Reagan bleef de mythe van het Wilde Westen onaangetast en fungeerde  als rechtvaardiging voor het Amerikaanse expansionisme. David J. Morris, voormalige  officier van het Amerikaanse Korps Mariniers, schreef in 2004:

Only later, as I reflected on the profusion of American Indian call signs being used by several Marine units in Iraq and the repeated references to Iraq as the 'Wild West,' did it strike me that, however facile the idea may seem, the American mind-set is still stuck in Western frontier mode.

Thus our shortcomings in Iraq are a failure of the American imagination as much as anything else. We’re the cowboys, trying to get the Iraqis to make like Indians. I only hope that we’re wise enough to play sheriff for a while after our moment at the OK Corral has come and gone.

Uit het fotoboek trip (1999) van Susan Lipper.

Anno 2013 weten we dat dit laatste niet is gebeurd met als gevolg dat de Amerikaanse strijdkrachten de ‘gunfight’ en de strijd in Irak verloren, zeker als we de illegale Amerikaanse inval beoordelen naar de eigen Amerikaanse maatstaven. Hoe diep de Cowboys-Indianen metafoor het Amerikaanse bewustzijn bepalen blijkt ook uit de volgende voorbeelden:

From Stephen W. Silliman’s 'The “Old West” in the Middle East: U.S. Military Metaphors in Real and Imagined Indian Country,' American Anthropologist, Vol. 110, No. 2 (Jun., 2008), a sample of public media sources employing 'Indian Country' metaphor in Iraq and Afghanistan (via lexus search in 2006):

“From across the river, we hear a boom in the distance. And then another. ‘This is like cowboys and Indians,’ relays a Marine. Indeed it is.” (Hemmer, Bill, 2006 Reporter’s Notebook: Cowboys and Indians., March 30. Electronic document,,2933,189147,00.html.)

'Anbar has the savagery, lawlessness and violence of America’s Wild West in the 1870s. The two most lethal cities in Iraq are Fallujah and Ramadi, and . . . between them is Indian Country.'  
(West, Bing, and Owen West 2007 Iraq’s Real 'Civil War.' Wall Street Journal, April 5: A13.)

'I guess if this were the Old West I’d say there are Injuns ahead of us, Injuns behind us, and Injuns on both sides too… '
(Editors’ Report 2003 Indian Country of America. Indian Country Today, April 9. Electronic document)

'Even the base the Americans have set up on the edge of town, in an abandoned Iraqi police station, is called Forward Operating Base Comanche, with echoes of a fort in Indian country during the 19th-century expansion across the Great Plains.'

(Burns, John F. 2004 In the General’s Black Hawk, Flying over a Divided Iraq. The New York Times, January 12:2.)

“‘You have so much freedom and authority over there,’ one member of ODA 2021 said. ‘It kind of makes you feel like God when you’re out there in cowboy and Indian country.’”

(Sack, Kevin, and Craig Pyes 2006 Firebase Gardez: A Times Investigation. Los Angeles Times, September 24:A1.)

“LT. COL. RALPH PETERS, US ARMY (RET): ‘[T]he convoys, it’s harder to run them, you need more protection. Basically, the wagon trains now have to go through Indian country.’”

(Gibson, John, Mike Tobin, and Mike Emmanuel 2004 US Soldier Kidnapped by Terrorists in Iraq. 'The Big Story with John Gibson,' Fox News Network, April 16.)

“Ramadi is Indian Country—‘the wild, wild West,’ as the region is called.” 

(McDonnell, Patrick J. 2004 The Conflict in Iraq: No Shortage of Fighters in Iraq’s Wild West. Los Angeles Times, July 25:A1)

“We refer to our base as ‘Fort Apache’ because it’s right in the middle of Indian country.”

(Peirce, Michael 2003 A View from the Frontline in Iraq, April 13. Electronic document.

'Christ be careful out there. This is Indian country in the Hollywood sense of the word.'

(Adams, Jeff 2004 Comment on 'Greetings from Baghdad,' May 27. Electronic document.)

“Had he even lifted a finger towards it, there could have been a ‘situation’. Now you know why we call this place either the ‘Old West’ or ‘Indian Country.’”

(Reese, Christopher 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom through the Eyes of an Adventurer, May 2. Electronic document.)

Uit het fotoboek trip (1999) van Susan Lipper.

And as Silliman comments:

Contrary to statements made by U.S. military officials, the traffic in these metaphors may be part of the sanctioned but, perhaps, not 'official' lexicon of the U.S. government (see Bolger 1995). In October 2006, the Baghdad Overseas Security Advisory Council website had the following statement (which one year later no longer existed): 'We will post other things… so that your teams can have the best information available if they run into trouble out in ‘Indian Country’ “ (Baghdad Country Council n.d.). Recent newspaper quotations from Stephen Biddle, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and former professor at the U.S. Army War College, further emphasize the currency of this metaphor among military leaders and strategists. The Los Angeles Times quotes him with reference the U.S. Embassy: “If the government of Iraq collapses and becomes transparently just one party in a civil war, you’ve got Ft. Apache in the middle of Indian country, but the Indians have mortars now”(Zavis 2007: A1). The International Herald Tribune quotes Biddle saying “those convoys are going to roll through Indian country with no cavalry” (Knowlton 2006). Even U.S. country music superstar Toby Keith commented on traveling to Iraq to entertain soldiers “in Indian country, in the Wild Wild West” (Masley 2005: W16).

De frontier mythe wordt bekrachtigd door politici, opiniemakers, journalisten en filmmakers als de legendarische John Ford die meer dan vijftig Westerns maakte en algemeen gezien wordt als één van de belangrijkste en invloedrijkste filmmakers van zijn generatie, wiens speelfilms het beeld van vele miljoenen Amerikanen heeft bepaald. In John Ford and the American West schreef de filmhistoricus Peter Cowie dat

Ford’s Westerns flowed from a vibrant tradition in the visual arts – a tradition rooted in the aspirations of Manifest Destiny, the belief that propelled American society westward during the nineteenth century…

Ford’s films rarely err on the side of realism; rather they present us with a mythic vision of the plains and deserts of the American West, embodied most memorably in Monument Valley, with its buttes and mesas that tower above the men on horseback, whether they be settlers, soldiers, or Native Americans… Many of these have entered movie history as imperishable examples of the Western spirit… His best work unfolds at the interface between old and new, between the traditional Indian way of life and the inexorable tide of civilization… Ford’s greatest works in the genre show settlers and cattlemen at the mercy of elements and Indians alike…

Native American, lurking in forest and canyon alike, were regarded as dangerous vermin. Frederick Jackson Turner, writing in 1893, noted: ‘One of the most striking phases of frontier adjustment, was the proposal of the Reverend Solomon Stoddard of Northampton in the fall of 1703, urging  the use of dogs 'to hunt Indians as they do Bears.’ The argument was that the dogs would catch many an Indian who would be too light of foot for the townsmen, nor was it thought of as inhuman; for the Indians 'act like wolves and are to be dealt with as wolves.' Almost a full century of what Turner called ‘Indian fighting and forest felling’ was needed to advance the colonial settlements a mere hundred miles westward from the eastern seaboard…

By 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt could assert: ‘The conquest and settlement of the West… has been the stupendous feat of our race for the century that has just closed… It is a record of men who greatly dared and greatly did; a record of wanderings wider and more dangerous than those of the Vikings; a record of endless feats-of-arms, of victory after victory in the ceaseless strife waged against wild man and wild nature. The winning of the West was the great epic feat in the history of our race,’

en werd tegelijkertijd het model en de rechtvaardiging van het almaar voortgaande Amerikaanse expansionisme, maar dan buiten de eigen grenzen zonder enige rekening te houden met de wensen van de slachtoffers van Washington's imperialistische politiek. Overal zijn er wel ‘wild man and wild nature’ die onderworpen moeten worden aan de Amerikaanse economische en geopolitieke belangen. Voor de mainstream-journalistiek is het een onaanvechtbaardogma dat zelfs president Theodore Roosevelt streefde naar:

Orde, evenwicht tussen de verschillende machten, binnen Amerika en ook in de rest van de wereld, dat was zijn doel. De Amerikaanse individuele vrijheid hoefde daarbij niet in het gedrang komen, integendeel, het ging hem juist om de bescherming van die vrijheid,

aldus de journalist Geert Mak, die uit ervaring spreekt wanneer hij stelt dat hijzelf en andere Nederlandse ‘chroniqueurs van heden en verleden, onze taak, het “uitbannen van onwaarheid,”’  niet ‘serieus genoeg [nemen].’ Als hij de ‘waarheid’ wel had gerespecteerd dan had 'chroniqueur' Mak zijn lezers duidelijk gemaakt wat voor soort ‘orde’ Theodore Roosevelt voorstond, namelijk de gewelddadige wanorde van het blanke, christelijke expansionisme dat vijf eeuwen geleden begon met de zogeheten ‘ontdekking van de Nieuwe Wereld,’die ook op het grondgebied van de VS de genocide van Indiaanse volkeren inluidde. De ‘Indian’ waar dan ook ter wereld is kennelijk een te verwaarlozen detail, zijn dood is niet meer dan ‘collateral damage.’  De blanke identificeert zich met de cowboy en niet met de Indiaan, zoals tevens blijkt uit de uitspraak van de Schreibtischmörder Henry Kissinger:

I've always acted alone. Americans like that immensely.

Americans like the cowboy who leads the wagon train by riding ahead alone on his horse, the cowboy who rides all alone into the town, the village, with his horse and nothing else. Maybe even without a pistol, since he doesn't shoot. He acts, that's all, by being in the right place at the right time. In short, a Western. […] This amazing, romantic character suits me precisely because to be alone has always been part of my style or, if you like, my technique.

Hoe juist dat zelfbeeld is, bewees Kissinger nadat Oriana Fallaci haar interview in 1972 had gepubliceerd en Henry verklaarde dat het vraaggesprek ‘without doubt the single most disastrous conversation’ was geweest ‘I ever had with any member of the press,’ om vervolgens te beweren dat hij waarschijnlijk verkeerd geciteerd was of dat zijn uitspraken uit zijn verband waren getrokken, een leugen die Fallaci snel kon weerleggen door de geluidsbanden te laten horen. De Italiaanse journaliste reageerde tenslotte met de volgende woorden:

Henry Kissinger may have wished I had presented him as a combination of Charles de Gaulle and Disraeli, but I didn’t… out of respect for De Gaulle and Disraeli. I described him as a cowboy because that’s how he described himself.

Het Amerikaanse zelfbeeld wordt nog altijd gevormd door de mythe van de eenzame cowboy die, net als Lucky Luke,  na het recht te hebben hersteld, gezeten op zijn paard, westwaarts trekt, richting de ondergaande zon, al zingend ‘I’m a poor lonesome cowboy and a long way from home…’ De cowboy is het archetype voor één van de meest meedogenloze en doortrapte westerse politici van na de Tweede Wereldoorlog, die zelf als joods kind de nazi’s moest ontvluchten. Toen ik een paar jaar geleden over Henry Kissinger sprak met een joods-Amerikaanse vriendin van ons, Sheila Geist, oud-lerares geschiedenis in New York, vertelde ze me het volgende:

Met wie anders had Kissinger zich kunnen identificeren? Verplaats je in zijn positie: een klein, lelijk, joods mannetje, met een chip on his shoulder, wiens familie moest vluchten voor het Herrenvolk, en in een land terecht kwam met een cultuur waar winners de dienst uitmaken en losers geminacht worden. Natuurlijk identificeerde hij zich met het archetype van de cowboy. De Indianen waren de losers, die net als de joden massaal werden vermoord of in een kamp werden opgesloten. Dus koos hij voor de winners. Zo werkt nu eenmaal de menselijke psyche. En dit gaat op voor bijna alle mensen, zeker voor degenen die niet van nature behoren tot de winners, de meerderheid dus. Dat verander je niet van de ene op de andere dag. Je zult eerst de oorzaken moeten wegnemen. We hebben hier te maken met een diep cultureel probleem.

Interessant is dat ook de Indianen op zoek gingen naar hun geschiedenis. Macheelook Eekhokewitschik, (Many Nations):

Since they first came into contact with each other the original Americans and those who would later come to call themselves Americans remained strangers, separated by a Great Divide of enmity and misunderstanding.

They did not get off to a good start. Columbus arrived at San Salvador among the Arawak in 1492 obsessed with the futile pursuit of gold. He was blind to the uniqueness and beauty of the land and the people he had stumbled upon. The ensuing enslavement & slaughter of the native Taino he called 'Indios' established a pattern of ruthless expansion and dispossession that would define European treatment of the New World for centuries to come.

By the time the last groups of Sioux had moved onto reservation following 
Wounded Knee in 1890, this juggernaut had consumed an entire continent, 
digesting everything in its path. Systematically stripped of their territories & with casualties from warfare & disease in the millions, over 20,000 years of indigenous civilization was swept away in the virtual blink of an eye.

Those who managed to survive America’s solution to what was called the 'Indian problem' were now essentially exiles in their own lands and wards of a state which had little but contempt for them. Many were forced to assimilate and jettison their time-honored traditions and languages in order to survive within the dominant white culture. Those who did try to hold on to the old ways paid a high price. Most sank into crushing poverty, forgotten and invisible.

History was not kind to them either. Much exploitation was carried on in the name of ‘civilizing’ Indians, but for a long time this story was never told. Instead textbooks, popular novels, and plays conspired to create caricatures that either trivialized their civilizations, demonized or degraded them as exotic or primitive savages, or else swathed their image in nostalgic fable. Once Hollywood westerns came along these distorted & superficial stereotypes became imprinted upon the national subconscious. America learned not about the rich legacy of societies that had come before, or the brutality and misery that marked their demise, but rather about myths of the heroic frontier invented to justify a manifest destiny.

Zoals ik al in het begin stelde: overal zijn de signalen te zien, de mens dient alleen nog de samenhang zichtbaar te maken. In een nawoord bij In the American Grain, William Carlos Williams' geschiedschrijving over het continent Amerika, schreef de Amerikaanse dichter Horace Gregory:

History is a humiliating subject for any man to think of knowing; and however much, however little and however much, however little we know of it, we always care, and it is where the trouble is likely to begin. The desire to know history is a near relative of the desire to know truth, and that is where, for most of us, a pit lies waiting.

Geschiedenis is niet voor zwakke geesten die niet op zoek zijn naar 'truth,' maar naar een rooskleurige toekomst, omdat ze 'niet zonder hoop,' kunnen leven, 'Stan, dat klinkt misschien wat pathetisch, maar het is toch zo,' zoals Geert Mak mij in januari 2012 schreef. Ze hopen vergeefs in de geschiedenis de verlossing te vinden. 

April 13, 2014
Tomgram: Nick Turse, AFRICOM Becomes a "War-Fighting Combatant Command"

Let me explain why writing the introduction to today’s post by TomDispatch Managing Editor Nick Turse is such a problem. In these intros, I tend to riff off the ripples of news that regularly surround whatever subject an author might be focusing on. So when it comes to the U.S. military, if you happen to be writing about the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia,” really, no problem. Background pieces on that pile up daily. How could you resist, for instance, saying something about the U.S. refusal to send an aircraft carrier to China for a parade of Pacific fleets (after the Chinese refused to allow Japanese ships to participate)? It’s mean girls of the Pacific, no? Have an interest in the Ukrainian crisis? Piece of cake, top of the news any time -- like those curious pro-Russian protestors in eastern Ukraine who tried to liberate an opera house in the city of Kharkiv, mistaking itfor city hall, or the hints that U.S. troops might soon be stationed in former Soviet satellite states. Or, say, you’re writing about threats in cyberspace -- couldn’t be simpler! Not when you have Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel offering an amusing assurance that the country that launched the first cyberwar and isramping up its new cybercommand at warp speed “does not seek to militarize cyberspace.” And, of course, any day of the week U.S.-Iranian relations are a walk in the park (in the dark). At the moment, for instance, the Iranian nominee for U.N. ambassador -- previously that country’s ambassador to Belgium, Italy, Australia, and the European Union, but once a translator for the group that took U.S. embassy hostages in Tehran in 1979 -- has been declared “not viable” by the Obama administration. In a remarkable act of congressional heroism, the U.S. Senate, led by that odd couple Ted Cruz and Chuck Schumer, has definitivelybanned him from setting foot in the country. Mean girls of Washington? Who could resist such material? 

Unfortunately, there’s one place in that city’s global viewfinder that never seems to provides much of anything to riff off of, and so no fun whatsoever: Africa. Yes, today and Tuesday, Nick Turse continues his remarkable coverage of the U.S. military pivot to that continent, which promises a lifetime of chaos and blowback to come.  Admittedly, what’s happening isn’t your typical, patented, early twenty-first-century-style U.S. invasion, but it certainly represents part of a new-style scramble for Africa -- with the U.S. taking the military path and the Chinese theeconomic one.  By the time U.S. Africa Command is finished, however, one thing is essentially guaranteed: a terrible mess and a lifetime of hurt will be left behind. This particular pivot is happening on a startling scale and yet remains just below the American radar screen.  Explain it as you will, with the rarest of exceptions the U.S. media, riveted by Obama’s so far exceedingly modest pivot to Asia, finds the African one hardly worth a moment’s notice, which is why, today, without the usual combustible mix of what’s recently in the news and what’s newsmaking in Turse’s two pieces, I have no choice but to skip the introduction. Tom

AFRICOM Goes to War on the Sly 

U.S. Officials Talk Candidly (Just Not to Reporters) about Bases, Winning Hearts and Minds, and the “War” in Africa 

What the military will say to a reporter and what is said behind closed doors are two very different things -- especially when it comes to the U.S. military in Africa. For years, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has maintained a veil of secrecy about much of the command’s activities and missionlocations, consistently downplaying the size, scale, and scope of its efforts. At a recent Pentagon press conference, AFRICOM Commander General David Rodriguez adhered to the typical mantra, assuring the assembled reporters that the United States “has little forward presence” on that continent. Just days earlier, however, the men building the Pentagon’s presence there were telling a very different story -- but they weren’t speaking with the media. They were speaking to representatives of some of the biggest military engineering firms on the planet. They were planning for the future and the talk was of war.

I recently experienced this phenomenon myself during a media roundtable with Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When I asked the general to tell me just what his people were building for U.S. forces in Africa, he paused and said in a low voice to the man next to him, “Can you help me out with that?” Lloyd Caldwell, the Corps’s director of military programs, whispered back, “Some of that would be close hold” -- in other words, information too sensitive to reveal. 

The only thing Bostick seemed eager to tell me about were vague plans to someday test a prototype “structural insulated panel-hut,” a new energy-efficient type of barracks beingdeveloped by cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He also assured me that his people would get back to me with answers. What I got instead was an “interview” with a spokesman for the Corps who offered little of substance when it came to construction on the African continent. Not much information was available, he said, the projects were tiny, only small amounts of money had been spent so far this year, much of it funneled into humanitarian projects. In short, it seemed as if Africa was a construction backwater, a sleepy place, a vast landmass on which little of interest was happening.

Fast forward a few weeks and Captain Rick Cook, the chief of U.S. Africa Command’s Engineer Division, was addressing an audience of more than 50 representatives of some of the largest military engineering firms on the planet -- and this reporter. The contractors were interested in jobs and he wasn’t pulling any punches. “The eighteen months or so that I’ve been here, we’ve been at war the whole time,” Cook told them. “We are trying to provide opportunities for the African people to fix their own African challenges. Now, unfortunately, operations in Libya, South Sudan, and Mali, over the last two years, have proven there’s always something going on in Africa.”

ARD spricht Klartext: Blutbad auf dem Maidan von Putschisten-Regierung organisiert

Published on Apr 11, 2014

ARD-Monitor erblickt plötzlich die Schuld der ukrainischen Opposition, in Kiew auf dem Maidan am 20 Februar 2014 ein Blutbad durch Scharfschützen organisiert zu haben. 10 April 2014. Quelle:

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