Posts Tagged ‘blockade’
Obama at the UN: The arrogant voice of imperialism
By Bill Van Auken
24 September 2010
President Barack Obama used his speech at the United Nations General Assembly Thursday to defend US wars and state terror abroad and to proclaim that the economic crisis has been resolved thanks to his Wall Street bailout.
The US president received a noticeably tepid response from the assembled UN delegates. While in his first address to the body last year, he was able to pose as a fresh alternative to the crimes carried out by the Bush administration, by now it has become clear to most on the international stage that his administration’s policies are largely in continuity with those of its predecessor.
In its tone and its content, the Obama speech was the authentic and arrogant voice of US imperialism.
Parroting remarks delivered by George W. Bush from the same podium, Obama began by invoking September 11, 2001, once again exploiting the terrorist attacks of that day to justify the acts of military aggression committed by both US administrations in the intervening nine years.
In the same breath, he referred to Wall Street’s financial meltdown of September 2008, as an event that “devastated American families on Main Street,” while “crippling markets and deferring the dreams of millions on every continent.”
These two events were presented as the source of the core challenges confronting the US administration. Supposedly in response to the first, the Obama administration has continued and escalated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan-Pakistan, while reaffirming Washington’s “right” to carry out unilateral military aggression anywhere on the planet.
In response to the second, the administration continued the massive bailout begun under Bush, committing more than $12 trillion to propping up the US banks and financial institutions, while holding none of those involved responsible for the criminal forms of speculation practiced on Wall Street.
Obama claimed that the so-called Wall Street reform legislation passed by his administration would ensure “that a crisis like this never happens again.” It does nothing of the kind, placing no serious limits on the speculative activities and profitability of the big banks and leaving Wall Street to continue with “business as usual.”
“The global economy has been pulled back from the brink of a depression,” Obama told his UN audience. This statement flies in the face of the grim conditions confronting working people on every continent. This includes the US itself, where the official unemployment rate remains near 10 percent, the unemployed and underemployed account for 17 percent of the workforce, some 30 million people, and one out of every seven Americans is living below the poverty line.
While profits have returned to pre-crisis levels, the reality is that none of the underlying contradictions that have given rise to the deepest world economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s has been resolved. They have only grown in intensity. The response of the ruling classes throughout the world has been to redouble their attacks on the working class in an attempt to force it to pay for this crisis.
Obama followed his assertion about the economy being pulled back from “the brink” with an even more absurd claim that he would not “rest until these seeds of progress grow into a broader prosperity, not only for all Americans, but for peoples around the globe.”
In the US, throughout Europe and in much of the rest of the world, governments are pursuing unprecedented austerity policies that are ripping up basic social rights and dramatically lowering the living standards of working people. Meanwhile, Obama himself spoke before a global poverty summit the day before his speech, warning the world’s poorest that Washington was determined to break their cycle of “dependency.”
The US president’s lies about the economy were followed by the fraudulent claim that the military operations his administration is pursuing abroad are aimed at upholding “our common security.”
Obama said that he is “winding down the war in Iraq” and will pull out all of its occupation troops by the end of next year. At the same time, he declared Washington’s intention to forge “a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people,” by which he means maintaining a US protectorate over the oil-rich country in order to advance the geo-strategic interests of American capitalism.
He said that the drawing down US troops in Iraq had allowed the US military to be “refocused on defeating al Qaeda and denying its affiliates a safe haven” in Afghanistan. This is another lie. US military and intelligence officials acknowledge that there are no more than 100 al Qaeda members in all of Afghanistan. The nearly 100,000 US troops deployed in that country are not combating “terrorism,” but asserting US neo-colonial control in a bid to advance Washington’s quest for hegemony in Central Asia.
In one of the speech’s more chilling passages, Obama bragged that “from South Asia to the Horn of Africa, we are moving toward a more targeted approach” in the war on terror, that did not require “deploying large American armies.” In other words, while constrained in its ability to carry out another major military occupation, US imperialism is pursuing its policies by means of assassinations, drone missile attacks and the deployment of elite killing squads, and has arrogated to itself the right to target and kill its perceived opponents anywhere on the planet.
Obama used the speech to once again threaten Iran. Only days before his appearance at the UN, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech urging elements within the Iranian ruling elite to carry out regime change in the country. He reiterated the vow made in his speech last year that Iran “must be held accountable” for its alleged violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
At least a quarter of Obama’s address was dedicated to the US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian “peace talks” that appear to be on the brink of yet another breakdown in the face of Israeli intransigence and provocation.
For all the hackneyed rhetoric about the “Holy Land” and “our common humanity,” the Obama administration is pursuing these negotiations as a means of solidifying support among the Arab regimes for its escalating threats of aggression against Iran and to further its domination of the Middle East.
The content of the speech made clear the US administration’s unwavering complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Obama urged that a limited moratorium declared by the Israeli government be extended beyond September 26, when it is set to expire. He said Israel should do this because it “improved the atmosphere for talks,” not because the entire settlement activity in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is a violation of international law and multiple UN resolutions. In the same breath, the US president asserted that “talks should press on until completed,” presumably regardless of what Israel does.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted that his government will not extend the moratorium, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had initially insisted that his delegation would be forced to walk out if it does not. An ever-pliant servant of Washington, Abbas has since indicated that he might back down on this threat.
The rest of Obama’s remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian question had an Orwellian flavor, in which Israel was presented as the victim. “The slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance—it’s injustice,” Obama declared. He made no mention of the slaughter of 1,400 Palestinians in the US-backed siege of Gaza in 2008-2009 or the criminal attack on the Gaza aid flotilla that killed nine Turkish civilians last May. The day the US president spoke, the UN issued a report charging that Israel’s actions were illegal and employed an “unacceptable level of brutality,” meriting war crimes prosecution.
The US president concluded his speech with an exaltation of “democracy” and “human rights,” which again echoed similar language employed by his predecessor, George W. Bush.
In Bush’s case, this phony democratic rhetoric was employed to justify US imperialism’s drive for dominance in the Middle East, where Washington demonstrated its commitment to “human rights” by carrying out mass killings, the detention of tens of thousands without charges or trial, and the infamous acts of torture at Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantánamo.
In Obama’s case, the posturing as the global champion of democratic rights is no less contemptible. The target, however, appears to have shifted.
The Council on Foreign Relations, the establishment thinktank that enjoys close ties to the administration and the State Department, spelled this out. Noting Obama’s “full-throated endorsement of democracy as the best form of government,” it commented: “Yet the appeal of such an idea faces challenges at bodies like the UN. This is not, for example, the future world that Chinese leaders envision.”
Indeed, Obama followed his celebration of democracy by calling attention to his upcoming trip to Asia, ticking off the countries he will visit—India, Indonesia, Korea, Japan—and praising each for having promoted “democratic principles in their own way.” The itinerary includes the four largest countries that US strategists envision as bulwarks against the expansion of Chinese influence.
On the same day that Obama delivered his speech, the New York Times published a front-page article on the increasingly tense US-China relationship that was clearly based on the perspective of the US administration. The Times reported that “rising frictions between China and its neighbors in recent weeks over security issues have handed the United States an opportunity to reassert itself—one the Obama administration has been keen to take advantage of.”
It noted that Washington has inserted itself into territorial disputes between China and Southeast Asian countries, organized provocative joint military exercises with South Korea near Chinese waters and has solidified its alliance with Japan, largely in opposition to China’s influence.
Under conditions of rising conflicts between Washington and Beijing over currency and trade relations, Obama’s praise for “democracy” at the UN represents a thinly veiled threat of new and far more catastrophic eruptions of American militarism.
It Can’t Happen Here – But It is
To millions of Americans, the “end times” seem to be on us. The BP disaster in the Gulf may leave 25% of America virtually uninhabitable, eco-systems destroyed for sure but maybe much more, a destroyed sea floor, toxic gas clouds moving inland and warnings of something worse, a geological disaster of biblical proportions sitting offshore like a ticking time bomb. Millions of American believe the president is a foreign born Muslim, a puppet of the terrorists while millions believe he is working for Israel. Every speech, every state visit, everything done is seen to support one side or another, sometimes both. The destruction of the American presidency is only part of it, part of a program of racial division, fear, hate and a descent into class warfare and violence.
The end result of the disasters, political infighting, religious extremism, the total collapse of trust in America’s system of government and the infiltration of terrorist elements into every institution, America’s military and political core, financial terrorists working to destroy America’s standard of living, its industrial base, its currency and, eventually the last of its freedoms will be the division of America, starting with an apartheid state and ending in “Balkanization” and the world’s largest nuclear arsenal being unleashed on the world. This has been heard before, it is a story that faith based broadcasting has been sending out to the American people for the past thirty years. The biblical flood began when the money disappeared.
The serious side is the economic meltdown. Even with the hundreds of billions Americans borrowed to give to our “banksters” who our “congress critters” decided were too big to allow to fail, we have no banks, simply depositories for stolen money while it waits to be shipped overseas. Money is taken in, none loaned out, not for jobs in America anyway. All the government did was to push the burgeoning debt left us by the Bush/Cheney failures even higher, topping $13 trillion dollars this month, money we owe to pay back money we never got from people who had no right to print it in the first place.
More and more Americans are becoming aware of the fact that our system, the Federal Reserve, is nothing but a racket where foreign bankers, all thinly disguised Rothschilds, sell us our own money while maneuvering us into debt, really a massive mortgage on America’s future, we can never keep up the payments on. America has been systematically destabilized, the most powerful nation in the history of the earth, living on borrowed money and, frankly, borrowed time.
TOO MUCH TO STOMACH, BP BUYING OUR GOVERNMENT AND LIEBERMAN CONTROLLING THE INTERNET
When Americans look at television and see half their politicians crying about BP, a company that laid waste to more of the planet than any in history, they see a world upside down. They know their politicians take money, everyone knows this, but to think they would be brazen enough to scream out “yes, we are crooks, what are you going to do about it?” is more than that. It is an announcement that anyone in government can do anything they want, anything, and never answer for it, not even face reelection problems. The more crooked a politician, the more favorable press he gets, the more the Israel lobby supports him, the more the Tea Baggers support him, the more “heroic” he is portrayed by the pundits and fear mongers.
Things have gotten so bad that Senator Josef Liebermann (I-srael) has introduced a bill that would allow the internet to be closed down in case of “emergency.” Liberman talks about terrorism or espionage but the real problem was that the “corporate press” got caught lying over the Freedom Flotilla massacre and millions of Americans have turned to the internet for the news, news sometimes bizarre, conspiratorial and fringe, often however, much more accurate and truthful than the newspapers and TV networks. His bill, written in Tel Aviv, is designed to make Americans who depend on the internet for news and communication feel helpless, isolated and ready to turn to violence.
Picture yourself going to the computer. Your email is blocked, nothing in, nothing out. You are looking at one screen, the same thing on every computer in the country. The logo, a simply, DHS, Department of Homeland Security. In the middle of the screen is a new search engine, “Safety Friendly Family Approved Searches.” Below that are approved news stories, linking you to ABC, CNN, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, the WSJ, NYT, WP and Family Security Matters.org. Below that is a warning:
“Your microphone and webcam are in active mode. Do not attempt to mute, shield or disable under penalty of law.”
Senator Lieberman is trying to start a civil war, more than just planting the seeds, this is a provocation, a clear and present danger to American freedom.
BUILDING THE MECHANISM OF APOCALYPSE, THE MOVE TO APARTHEID
Let’s talk about “social cohesion.” Israel has shipped their five million Palestinians to Jordan, Lebanon or Gaza to have social cohesion, one country, one race, one religion, no room for outsiders, no matter how long they have been around. America did the same thing with the Indians (Native Americans), eventually wiping most of them out in a series of wars, treaties and resettlement programs. However, America’s problems with social cohesion are far greater than Israel’s or even those of America during the pioneering years. Today, we are a society divided on, not only race and ethnicity but region, religion and, worst of all, extremist political views. The government that is supposed to join us together and the constitution that is meant to guarantee our belief in equal justice for all have been ground into the dust, twisted, bought, obliterated and disfigured.
America is heading for a meltdown. Another civil war is possible, even likely. 40% of states are bankrupt. This means they can’t pay police or teachers or fix roads except with borrowed federal money. It also means their pension plans, all that is meant to keep millions of Americans out of dire poverty in retirement, are gone. The states lost their pension plans in the 2007 collapse. Only federal bail outs, which aren’t going to happen, will cover this massive shortfall. Eventually, workers, hundreds of thousands of families who worked and saved for financial security will be told it isn’t there anymore. This isn’t the future, it happened, its real and it can’t be hidden very long.
There is no federal government to step in and carry the load. Wars have left it drowning and political corruption has crippled America to where it is no more stable than many of the nations of Africa. Hiding behind years of scare tactics, terrorism, tiny countries with nuclear weapons, or the real problem of Mexico’s collapse under the rule of drug lords and the millions flooding into our country, financial criminals have looted America and a worldwide criminal conspiracy of financial criminals, headquartered in Tel Aviv and New York, protected by congress and Mossad death squads traveling the world with German passports. The press, something we generously call either the “mainstream media” or “corporate controlled press” isn’t just a mechanism for censorship, its part of a long term effort to destroy the faith Americans have in their own ability as people to rule themselves and trust, not the criminals presented to vote for in elections, but their own ability to reject the lot of them.
THE MANY FACES OF THE AMERICAN TALIBAN
Radicalization of America has been the goal all along. Who would have ever believed that internet conspiracy theory would end up being, not only more believable, but more fair and certainly more balanced than traditional media sources that have been discredited to such a degree in recent months. A key area of division in America has been religion. For awhile, financed by the Israeli lobby and the “bankster” criminal elements, the “neo-cons” were able to build a bridge uniting Evangelical Christians with Christian Zionists, groups that are, from a scriptural standpoint light years apart. To this, the abortion/women’s rights issue drew many Catholics to abandon their traditional values and join with these groups which had shared little in common with them. Catholics are urban, typically well educated with a Euro-centric culture, while Evangelicals shun higher education for religious instruction.
The first American Taliban may have been the Puritans but they have been eclipsed in American history by the atavism of the Mormon Church, whose beliefs deeply parallel the most frightening and profound heresies of Islam, church over state, no rights for women and an undercurrent of violence unrivaled by any sect seen in a western society since the Albigensians. Mormons, chased across America, seized much of the Southwest and set up a defacto government, one with little in common with the rest of America. As the Mormon regions of America come into conflict with the massive Hispanic Catholic population, the roots of dissolution, border wars, draconian race laws and eventually full apartheid will take hold. It will start in Arizona and spread through the American West.
Perhaps the largest threat is the religious theory of Zionism. Originally a race theory based on Jewish racial superiority and political supremacy, offshoots of Zionism have entered Evangelical Christian belief systems creating the heresy known as Christian Zionism. Original Zionism, a violent and radical offshoot of Judaism is more racial than religious or political in nature. Though a minority of American Jews practice Zionistic beliefs, most are coerced into either financial support or even into sending children into military servitude in Israel in order to avoid social ostracism.
As the result of the founding of Israel in Judea or Palestine, a slow decline in social,cultural and intellectual traditions has infected the Jewish community in America, one known for the advancement of social causes and broad advocacy of American freedoms. With the increased radicalization of America and her economic decline, many Jews have looked to Israel as an anchor, failing to take into account the role Israel has played in the onset of the entropy they fear. This situation could be equated with burning down your home to save your garage.
Christian Zionists have only anecdotal similarities with the Judaic variety. They tend to be rural, poorly educated, envious and resentful, not only of what they call “elites” but many other groups as well but primarily African Americans. The basis of Christian Zionism is hatred of African Americans. All other monikers or descriptions are a subterfuge to escape the labels these same groups had been associated with in the past, Klan, racist or bigot.
Hiding behind tortured and obscure biblical references and using bizarre stories of disaster and apocalypse, stories oddly well supported by current times, these simple rural people unable to grasp much of the complex modern world. They have been melded into a political front serving the interests of Israel, a state they understand poorly, and the class of economic criminals, many associated with Israel but also with the movement in America called “conservatism.” Their political role has been to serve as a vocal and sometimes violent front for the economic oligarchy, a very real monied elite, that has assumed broad control over America’s policitcal and social life.
THE DOOM SO MANY PRAYED SO HARD FOR IS HERE
America’s security has been tied, for 65 years, to NATO. Today, our newspaper and TV gurus are telling us to dissolve NATO. With the breakdown of the alliance between Israel and Turkey, Israel, who controls 444 members of congress and 50% of America’s wealth has demanded that America either throw Turkey out of NATO or leave herself. As yet, Israel is allowing the United States to remain in the United Nations because America’s security council veto, used hundreds of times to save Israel from sanctions for war crimes or nuclear proliferation violations, is vital to the welare of Israel.
This week, Israel was discovered on the verge of bombing Iran. Little real damage would have been done. Iran has no nuclear infrastructure tied to weapons manufacture. The intent would be, as Israel had planned it, to enter Iran from the north where there are few defenses, bomb useless and remote targets, safe targets so all planes could return and claim a major victory, destroying that which did not exist. As Saudi Arabia has already been set up as the fall guy, said to have allowed the attack in advance, something the Saudis deny, they would become hated among Muslim nations.
Israel’s plan is to force Iran to attack Saudi Arabia, close the Straits of Hormuz and push America and Western Europe into total collapse. With 60% of the world’s oil supply eliminated, world financial and currency markets would collapse and the world’s armaments industry would explode with orders. Israel is the third largest exporter of weapons. Israel prides itself as the inventor of “game theory,” the method of strategic planning making use of deception, manipulation, “false flag attacks,” assassinations, bribery and blackmail in a complex chess match meant to bring the world to a chaotic state subject to their mathematical models. Israel is filled with Nobel Prize winners. This is what they work on.
The apolcalypse that Christian Zionists prayed for, the “end times” though to begin with a series of natural disasters has been hurried along. Pushing for a nuclear war has always been a part of it but the possiblity, not yet proven, that the BP disaster in the Gulf could eventually turn the Gulf Stream and leave Europe uninhabitable is a continual subject of discussion with America’s religious broadcast community.
HOW DESTABILIZATION BECOMES APARTHEID
With collapse in the trust in America’s institutions, a Supreme Court with five neo-Fascist judges, congress with 444 “Israeli-firsters,” and millions of Americans believing the president is the Anti-Christ, one more economic disaster, the one Israel is attempting to stage right now, would make the 2007 collapse seem like a joke. With the broadcast media having worked the country into fear, distrust and ready to pick up weapons to use against their neighbors, all carefully staged, the scripts have been passed out.
You will know when you see the face of Sarah Palin on every network, perhaps in a pantsuit with a miltiary cut. Do you think she will be wearing a beret? There will be a flag behind her and the Star Spangled Banker will fade to silence as she makes the announcements.
Nuclear arsenals will be seized by patriotic groups from within our military, led by Israeli commandos and helped by our armies of private defense contractors. Those secret “FEMA/UN” prisons will suddenly turn out to be real, with local police in riot gear, American flags on their cars and uniforms, hunting down journalists, activists and, eventually, the educated.
Senator Lieberman will pull the plug on the internet. Private logins will carry arrest lists.
After the educated classes and politially progressive groups are rounded up, then the African Americans and Hispanics will be cataloged, given travel restrictions. Pass laws will be enacted.
Then, surprise of surprises, they will start rounding up Jews.
Welcome to the hell of your own making.
* Gordon Duff is senior editor of Veterans Today.
The hero of “freedom of speech”, boycotted by the corporate, mainstream media that are irresistible against the astringent truth: this is the most precise and accurate introduction which I can present about Carlos Latuff. Born in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he is an artist of conscience whose artistic commitment and morality prevented him from becoming the pawn of imperialism.
Carlos Latuff is a world-renowned cartoonist who has long brought into existence artistic works and cartoons in which the footsteps of creativity, novelty, intelligence and decency can be traced noticeably. He has never been given the opportunity to showcase his matchless cartoons in the New York Times, Guardian, Washington Post, BBC or CNN; however, the narrow hallways of personal blogs and independent media outlets which allowed his cartoons to breathe in the atmosphere of publicity, made him a man of genuineness and reality, known by those who seek something beyond the outdated, obsolete propaganda of “all options are on the table”.
Carlos Latuff has drawn numerous cartoons which depict the pains of oppressed nations around the world; from the Palestinians being suffocated under the Israeli occupation to the Iranians receiving the spates of psychological operation co-manufactured by the White House and Tel Aviv.
Here is the complete text of my interview with Carlos Latuff, conducted for Iran’s best-selling newspaper Jame-Jam, where we elaborately discussed his intellectual mission and the prospect of his artistic trajectory.
Kourosh Ziabari: Dear Carlos; it seems that you’ve dedicated your entire mission to independent, freelance journalism and one can clearly figure out that you are not usually paid in lieu of what you draw for the magazines, newspapers and websites since a complete set of your cartoons and caricatures are available on your website for free. Do you accede to draw cartoons which are contrary to your ideological mindset should you be offered remarkable, irresistible payments?
Carlos Latuff: No way! I will only make artworks according my own Leftist beliefs. I don’t trade ideology for money. I work for Leftist trade union (workers) press since 1990, that’s what I make for living. Mainstream media would never pay me for making anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist artworks. But I have what I call of “artistic activism”, producing cartoons and making them available on the Web for free of charge reproduction; cartoons with a different point of view from the Western mainstream media; cartoons exposing what Michael Moore would call of “the awful truth”. I already refused payments for my drawings about Palestine. Solidarity can’t be measured by dollars.
KZ: You’ve received serious death threats from the Zionist circles and Israeli groups a number of times. Would you please explain for us a little about the details of these threats and the consequential events that followed them? Have you ever thought of putting aside your professional and artistic mission in order to preserve your safe, tranquil life?
CL: In 2006 a website associated to Likud (Likudnik) published a long article about me, my art, my support to Palestinians and labeled me as an agent at the service of a supposed “Iranian propaganda machine”, comparing me with Nazi propagandists. The author of the article argued why Israel didn’t take care of me before and urged readers to take steps against me. Let me be straight, I really don’t care about threats. Along the Palestinian cause I also support human rights organizations against police brutality in Brazil. This kind of activism alone could put me in high risk of life. But, as I said, I don’t care; I will continue with my artistic support, ’cause if Zionists worldwide are pissed off about my cartoons, it’s because I’m doing something right. Death can stop me yes, but not my cartoons. That’s why I make them run free around the world through Internet.
KZ: You belong to a prosperous country which is the 8th economic power of the world and the 10th trade partner of the United States. Brazil also maintains normal ties with Israel and this is something which many anti-war and anti-imperialism activists dislike. Coming from such a country, you profoundly grasped the essence of oppressed nations’ suffering and sympathized with them wholeheartedly. How did you rise from Brazil and came to assist the oppressed nations?
CL: I grown up in the suburbs of Rio and my parents worked hard to give me study and a humble but decent life. Being the 8th economic power makes no difference to the ordinary people in Brazil. We have poverty, corruption, criminal and police violence, influent and strong landowners in countryside, people dying of dengue fever and malaria, and a mainstream media which is always trying to convince public opinion that everything is ok with capitalism. As someone living in a Third World country I can’t turn a blind eye to this situation here and in other parts of the world. Last year I was in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, places very similar to Brazilian slums (favelas). It wasn’t hard to realize that the language of poverty is universal, as universal must be the solidarity with people in need.
KZ: You’ve for years cooperated with a number of media outlets in the Western countries and can precisely estimate the veracity of the slogan of “freedom of expression” in the countries who introduce themselves as the harbingers of liberty and tolerance. I clearly remember the spates of verbal and political attacks on the artists who had participated in Iran’s International Holocaust Cartoon Competition. Even the then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan had condemned the contest and this could simply demonstrate the lopsidedness of “freedom” which they claim to be the pioneers thereof. What’s your idea about that? Are the western media outlets really free?
CL: Still today I’ve been accused of denying Holocaust because of that artwork for which I won the second place in the Iranian cartoon contest. It’s funny since the cartoon shows a Palestinian elderly wearing a concentration camp uniform, which not only affirms the existence of the Nazi Holocaust as well as making a comparison between it and the suffering of the Palestinians. I believe that this contest had exposed the Western’s double standard. When you ridicule and attack Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Islam or Muslims, then this is called “satire”, “humor”, “freedom of speech”, whatever. Joking about Islam is pretty acceptable. Islamophobia is popular in the US and Europe, specially after September 11. However the same freedom you have for making cartoons about Islam and its Prophet you won’t have while dealing with Holocaust and Israel. If you dare draw Israeli soldiers killing Palestinians (isn’t a fact?), you will be automatically labeled as anti-Semitic. While Muhammad cartoons were wide spread in Europe, Holocaust cartoons weren’t not reproduced in any European newspaper.
KZ: Your stance towards Iran’s nuclear program (Iran intends to meet its energy, electricity needs through nuclear reactors) and Israel’s nuclear program (Israel possess up to 200 nuclear warheads, according to the Federation of American Scientists) is delicately accurate and specific, indicating your extensive acquaintance with the regional equations and developments. Iran is being lethally pressured to halt its civilian nuclear program and Israel has been unconditionally safeguarded by Washington to keep up with its military atomic program. What’s your take on this?
CL: In fact all this turmoil about Iranian nuclear program has more to do with the fear of US, Europe and Israel of having a country in Middle East with nuclear capability. It will change the geopolitics in the region, since no Arab country was ever allowed by US of having anything nuclear. Only Israel can have not only nuclear plants but also nukes, immune to inspections and international law. If Iran will develop nuclear capabilities for civilian or military use, it doesn’t matter. The point is, if US, Europe and Israel are so concerned about threats to peace, why don’t they start proposing sanctions against Pakistan and India, since both countries have a nuclear arms race since long time? Because both countries are allies of Washington? Why not a single word about the Israeli nuclear program? Why Mordecai Vanunu is prevented to speak about it?
KZ: Most of your critics accuse you of arising anti-Semitic sentiments by drawing cartoons which condemn the State of Israel and its leaders for the atrocities and felonies they commit. Is this the case that you’re opposed to Jews as the followers of a divine religion, or do you simply go up against the expansionist Zionists who commit crimes against humanity and massacre the defenseless people of Palestine?
CL: I’m not a religious man, and none of my cartoons deal with Judaism. You won’t find any of my artworks attacking the Jewish. My issue with Israel and their supporters is only about politics, imperialism. Even not being Muslim, I do support Muslims against Islamophobia, since I can’t agree with prejudice against religion. Of course anything that may be slightly perceived as criticism towards Israel will be associated with hatred towards Jews. This old trick is applied to anyone who dares speak against Israeli apartheid. But everyday more activists understand this misuse of anti-Semitism and keep the struggle regardless of the false allegations and smear campaigns from Zionists.
KZ: Have the global mainstream media outlets (the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Los Angeles Times, BBC, Reuters, Associated Press and so forth) which universally rule the public opinions ever published your cartoons? Why don’t such media outlets which assert to be the pioneers of freedom of expression accept allowing the publication of disparate viewpoints which are contrary to their focal approach?
CL: Reuters made a video interview with me last year about my art and views. I had some of my cartoons shown on Al Jazeera and George Galloway show at Press TV, but this is an exception. Usually only Arab media outlets are interested in my opinions. Western mainstream media isn’t interested in giving space to a Leftist artist who supports people’s struggle in Palestine, Iraq and elsewhere. But in a way or another, I find a place to make my opinions visible. Internet is my best ally. You see, even not being a famous artist promoted by mainstream media, you and your newspaper know about me and my cartoons. Internet has broken the obstacles imposed by corporate media. And I won’t make concessions for mere 15 minutes of fame; will keep fidelity with my principles.
KZ: The subjugated people of Palestine and other countries which have been subject to the brutality of imperialism throughout the history will be encouraged and hopeful when they find conscientious artists like you sympathizing with them. Have you ever felt the courage and valor you present to the people of Palestine with your artistic endeavors?
CL: I’m very suspicious for talking about the Palestinians. I have never seen such a brave and courageous people like them. I started making cartoons about Palestinians since my trip to West Bank in 1999 and since then my sympathy for their cause only grow up. After my recent visit to Jordan and Lebanon, invited by Al Hannouneh Society for Popular Culture, I realized that my relation with Palestinians is not only political. I have pure love for that people.
KZ: Please tell us about your latest activities. How was the experience of winning a prize in the Iran-based International Holocaust Cartoon Competition? Do you like to come to Iran once again and touch the pains and difficulties of the Iranian people in person?
CL: Usually I don’t participate in contests, since I’m not interested in the prizes and stuff. The purpose of my art is supporting social movements, rather than feeding my own ego. But I saw the Holocaust cartoon competition as a timely opportunity for making visual comment about Palestinian suffering. In that occasion, I was invited by my good friend Massoud Tabatabai to attend the prize award ceremony in Teheran but unfortunately I wasn’t able to travel. But of course if I had another chance, I would be more than glad to visit Iran.
Posted by Gilad Atzmon at 2:37:00 AM
Carlos Latuff Cartoons
West Bank Concentration Camp
Ken O’Keefe: ‘We, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are the modern example of Gandhi’s essence’ « P U L S E. …as opposed to Biden the All-American quisling…
3 June 2010
The Israeli military’s killing of nine civilians and wounding of scores more on a ship carrying humanitarian supplies in international waters was an act of cold-blooded murder and a war crime.
For millions of people around the world, this military assault on an aid convoy carrying wheelchairs, cement, water purification systems, children’s toys and notebook paper to Gaza—all items barred by Israel’s blockade of the occupied territory—epitomizes the role played by Israel, as well as that of its US sponsor, in global affairs.
As always in the aftermath of such atrocities, the Israeli government has blamed its victims. In a televised speech Wednesday, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu described the aid convoy as a “flotilla of terror supporters” and praised the slaughter on the high seas as an act of self-defense by besieged Israeli commandos.
Those who engaged in self-defense were the passengers on the ship, and they had every right to do so. The fact that nine of them were killed, while the Israel Defense Force (IDF) commandos suffered not a single fatality, is evidence as to who was the aggressor.
This is a regular pattern. The massacre in the Mediterranean comes just a year and a half after Operation Cast Lead, the far greater slaughter that the Israeli regime unleashed against the suffering people of Gaza. Claiming then as now to act in “self defense,” in December 2008 and January 2009 Israel rained bombs, missiles and tank and automatic weapons fire upon Gaza, killing over 1,400 Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of them unarmed men, women and children. This one-sided war by one of the world’s most powerful military machines against a relatively defenseless civilian population claimed just 13 Israeli lives, all but three of them soldiers.
The aid convoy was a response to the barbaric blockade that has subjected an entire population of 1.5 million people in Gaza to hunger, disease and misery.
Since the tightening of the blockade in 2007, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the number of Gazan refugees living in abject poverty has tripled.
The UN reported at the end of 2009 that “insufficient food and medicine is reaching Gazans, producing a further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire civilian population since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the territory.” Among the starkest expressions of Israel’s deliberate starvation of an entire population was a finding by the Food and Agriculture Organization last year that 65 percent of babies between the ages of nine and 12 months suffer from anemia.
Israel is able to carry out this kind of medieval siege as well as piracy and murder not merely because of its own military might, but thanks to the unwavering patronage and funding of Washington. This latest mass killing has only underscored that—as with so much else—the advent of the Obama administration has effected no significant change in US policy.
While issuing a hypocritical expression of “deep regret at the loss of life,” the Obama administration is doing everything it can to assure that Israel bears neither blame nor consequences for these killings. It quashed any criticism of Israel’s action at the UN Security Council and has implicitly adopted the Zionist state’s justification for the massacre.
Israel’s criminality and Washington’s role as its unconditional enabler both have a long history. It is worth recalling another Israeli attack on a vessel in international waters that took place 43 years ago. In that attack, 34 sailors aboard the USS Liberty were killed by Israeli napalm, missiles and machine-gun fire, while another 171 while wounded—the worst casualties suffered by the US Navy in a hostile action since World War II.
An intelligence ship, the Liberty was attacked off the Sinai Peninsula on June 8, 1967 in the midst of the Six-Day War. While Israel called it a tragic “mistake,” ample evidence emerged that the Zionist state attacked the ship because it wanted to stop Washington from listening in to its communications. Intercepts flatly contradicted Tel Aviv’s claim that it was acting in self-defense and revealed that Israel wanted to conceal evidence of its aggressive intentions as it moved to seize Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights, all of which remain under illegal occupation to this day.
Much of the criticism of this week’s attack on the aid convoy, including within Israel itself, has treated it as a “botched” operation, an excessive use of force and a public relations fiasco. But this is not a matter of a government losing its head. The Netanyahu regime’s policies are directed to a definite socio-political base, composed of religious extremists, right-wing settlers and the most politically reactionary layers within Israeli society. Its orientation is personified by the fascistic background and ideology of its foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
Deeply reactionary and in deep political crisis, the Israeli government is driven more and more to act as a global pyromaniac, threatening renewed wars against Syria and Lebanon and, according to a report in the London Times this week, sending submarines armed with nuclear missiles to the waters off Iran.
The unconditional support and approximately $3 billion in annual aid to Israel bestowed by Washington—and continued under Obama—pose a mortal danger to people across the globe.
This is not a matter merely of a single outlaw regime, but of a general descent of world affairs into a state of criminality and the disintegration of any semblance of international law, with Israel’s main patron setting the pattern.
The Obama administration continues two wars of aggression initiated under Bush and has maintained intact a police state apparatus of unlawful detentions, rendition and torture. It has now earned the ignominious designation as the number one practitioner of “targeted killings”—assassinations—through CIA drone attacks that have killed “many hundreds of people” in Pakistan, according to a United Nations report released Wednesday. The report condemned Washington for claiming a “license to kill without accountability.”
The behavior of the US and other governments as if they were the state incarnation of Murder Inc., acts of state terrorism and piracy like that committed by Israel this week, and the constant threats of new aggression have created a global climate that bears ever closer resemblance to the conditions that prevailed on the eve the Second World War.
These developments are driven by the mortal crisis of world capitalism and will not be reversed by either protests or pacifism. Only by uniting the working class, including both Jewish and Arab workers in the Middle East, in a common struggle to put an end to the profit system can a new global conflagration be prevented.
By Stephen Lendman, May 29th, 2010 5:22 AM
Professor Jeremy Salt teaches political science at Ankara, Turkey’s Bilkent University. He’s also the author of “The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands.” On January 9, 2009, during Israel’s war on Gaza, he wrote “A Message to the brave Israeli Airmen,” asking:
— “What’s it like, firing missiles at people you can’t see?
— Does that help, that you cannot see who you are killing?
— does it ease your conscience that you are not deliberately targeting civilians,” when, in fact, you are under Israel’s Dahiya Doctrine to use enough “disproportionate force (to inflict) damage and met(e) out punishment” against civilian infrastructure, “economic interests and the centers of civilian power,” willfully slaughtering noncombatant men, women and children;
— “How does this sit on your conscience?
— Do you sleep well at night or do you have nightmares of the women and children you killed in their homes, in their beds, in their kitchens and living rooms, in their schools and mosques?
Do you really believe they threaten your security – farmers in their fields, mothers with their children, teachers in classrooms, imams in mosques, children at play, the elderly, frail or disabled?
Do you ever question what you’ve done and why? Have you no shame, no sense of decency, no idea of the difference between right and wrong? Will you follow orders blindly and do it again and again, mindless about crimes of war and against humanity you, your superiors, and government officials are accountable for under fundamental international law?
“Brave” Israeli airmen, soldiers, sailors, and other security force personnel have acted lawlessly for decades, including committing appalling human rights crimes – a snapshot of some victims follows.
Persecuting Mazin Qumsiyeh
Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in the West Bank. Earlier he taught at Yale, Duke, and the University of Tennessee. Interested mainly in media activism and public education, he’s been a board, steering, and executive committee member of numerous activist organizations, and is President of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Apartheid Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour. His most recent book is titled, “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment.”
On the morning of May 6, Qumsiyeh and three others were arrested, handcuffed, and taken to an unknown destination. He explained what happened.
In Al-Wallaja, his “ten hour ordeal” began at 8:30AM. The village is near the Green line. Israel’s Separation Wall route will encircle it. It’s already lost much of its land. Residents fear losing the rest, so to prevent it they resist.
Israeli bulldozers have demolished numerous homes. Heroic villagers inspired others, “including Internationals and Israelis to join them in their popular resistance….Today’s started as we came through the woods and sat in front of the bulldozer.”
“As the soldiers gathered their forces around us, you could feel (them) preparing themselves for attack. We remained calm and peaceful. They dragged us one by one forcefully from the bulldozed lands. They picked the four of us for arrest for no obvious reason” – Qumsiyeh, two Palestinian brothers, and a Canadian activist.
They beat, clubbed, rifle-butted, and pepper-sprayed the two brothers. All four were then taken to a military checkpoint, told to sit and wait, then ordered “to sign a paper claiming….we were not beaten or mistreated.”
They refused, then taken to “the investigation offices near Qubbit Raheel (Rachel’s tomb), (and) locked up in a metal container.” Hours later, they were interrogated individually, asked, but refused, to sign other papers. Painfully handcuffed, they were returned to the container.
Next on to Talpiot police station to be fingerprinted and photographed. “It was now nearly 5:30 and we were starving….Finally they br(ought) us some bread, each a slice of cheese and a small packet of jam.” Together they were “dragged in front of a new investigator who asked us to sign a release form that says we are told to stay away from the wall….for 15 days and if we don’t we will (each) have to pay” about $1,200. They signed, were released, but not given their ID cards. Later they got them. “Life goes on in the land of Apartheid. Stay tuned.”
As coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Apartheid Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour, Qumsiyeh leads Palestinian grassroots resistance against “Israeli occupation and colonization” as well as “stopping and dismantling” what the International Court of Justice (ICJ) called illegal, ordering the Wall’s demolition and for Israel “to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction….including in and around East Jerusalem.”
As the “main national grassroots body mobilizing and organizing resistance against” the Wall, the Campaign “coordinates the work of 54 popular committees in communities” targeted for (or now being) destroyed by its construction.
Strategies against it include raising awareness internationally; national and community resistance; mobilizing solidarity among affected communities, the Arab world, civil society, and unions; calling for global boycott, divestment and sanctions; and enlisting international popular support for justice.
Attacking Disabled Palestinians in Gaza
Besides the occupation, siege, regular incursions, and overall reign of terror against 1.5 million people, Israel targets the disabled, explained by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in a December 2009 report titled, “Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Disabled Persons in the Gaza Strip,” from September 1, 2003 – November 30 2009.
It covers willful assaults against disabled civilians, and others incapacitated by attacks. Of most concern was Operation Cast Lead’s 23-day assault from December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009, inflicting massive numbers of deaths and injuries, as well as widespread destruction, mostly against civilians, their homes, mosques, businesses, factories, farms, schools, and hospitals – clear non-military targets. The siege’s effect on health, education, and other vital services was also addressed.
During the reporting period, 31 disabled Palestinians were killed, including four women, and six children. Another 600 sustained permanent disabilities, mostly physical. In addition, because of inadequate or unavailable food, medicines, medical equipment, fuel, clean water, sanitation, and the ability to leave or enter freely, the negative impact has been enormous.
“At the same time, foreign medical and technical personnel have not been able to enter (Gaza) to help the disabled and provide them with necessary medical and rehabilitation services.” As for the overall effect of the siege, the longer it continues the more harm it inflicts on those least able to cope. Precisely Israel’s strategic aim – to strangle and smother all Gazans, the elderly, infirm and disabled the most vulnerable.
Amnesty International (AI) on Israeli War Crimes
In its 2010 annual report, AI accused Western nations of shielding Israel from accountability during the Gaza war and for nearly three years of siege, depriving the population of vital essentials to survive and endure. At the same time, it praised the Goldstone Commission for heroically telling the truth.
In documenting Israeli crimes of war and against humanity, AI said:
“Among other things, (Israel) carried out indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against civilians, targeted and killed medical staff, used Palestinian civilians as ‘human shields,’ and indiscriminately (used) white phosphorous (and other illegal weapons) over densely populated residential areas.” As a result, the toll was devastating.
In response, the US State Department downplayed the accusations, saying it “supports the need for accountability for any violations that may have occurred in relation to the Gaza conflict by any party,” ignoring Israel’s premeditated aggression, willfully attacking civilians and committing horrendous war crimes.
AI also condemned America’s human rights abuses, saying:
“In the counter-terrorism context, accountability for past human rights violations by the USA remains largely absent, particularly in relation to the CIA programme (sic) of secret detention. In litigation, the US administration continues to block remedy for victims of such human rights violations. 181 detainees remain in Guantanamo despite President Obama’s commitment to close the detention facility by January 2010. A new Manual for Military Commissions released by the Pentagon in April confirmed that even if a detainee is (uncharged or) acquitted by a military commission, the US administration reserves the right to continue to hold them in indefinite detention.”
Obama Administration’s Brazen Lawlessness
The latest example comes from a just revealed September 2009 secret directive about expanded covert military activity in the Middle East, Central Asia, the Horn of Africa or anywhere in the world to counter alleged threats. In other words, the Obama administration reserves the right to send US forces anywhere clandestinely, with or without host nation approval, to “penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy” designated targets by state terrorism, war, or any other means on the pretext of defending national security – a justification only scoundrels would invoke.
Italian New Weapons Research Committee (NWRC) Accuses Israel of Contaminating Gaza Soil
In its May 11 press release, NWRC (a group of independent scientists and doctors) said Israel’s 2006 and 2009 bombings left a high concentration of toxic/carcinogenic metals residue in soil and human tissue, likely to cause tumors, fertility problems, and serious harm to newborns, including deformities and genetic mutations.
Of particular concern were “wounds provoked by weapons that did not leave fragments in the bodies of the victims, a peculiarity that was pointed out repeatedly by doctors in Gaza. This shows that experimental weapons, whose effects are still to be assessed, were used.”
Some elements found are carcinogenic, including mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and uranium (from weapons with depleted uranium). Others are potentially carcinogenic, including cobalt and vanadium, and still more are fetotoxic (harmful to fetuses), including aluminum, copper, barium, lead, and manganese. All of them in high enough amounts produce genetic mutations as well as pathogenic effects on human respiratory organs, kidneys, skin, neurological development, and other bodily functions.
The combination of environmental contamination, direct wounds or inhilations, aggravated by dire living conditions, presents a serious risk to large numbers of people, worsened by repeated armed incursions. According to Paola Manduca, NWRC’s spokesperson:
“Our study indicates an anomalous presence of toxic elements in the soil (and human tissue). It is essential to intervene at once to limit the effects of the contamination on people, animals and cultivations.”
Thus far, Israeli-Western collaborators still prevent 1.5 million Gazans from getting the critical help they need, while Moshe Kantor, president the European Jewish Congress, equated NWRC’s research to “ancient blood libels against the Jewish people, when rumors were spread about Jews poisoning wells. Today we are seeing a recurrence of all the worst excesses of anti-Semitism and diatribes that we perhaps naively thought had remained in the Dark Ages.”
The pro-Israeli NGO Monitor’s Gerald Steinberg called the accusations “designed to stigmatize Israel and erase the context of mass terror, (similar to other) false or unverifiable claims.” These are typical responses from rogues and their defenders caught red-handed.
But clear evidence they deny can’t be hidden. Nor can the growing disenchantment of young American Jews, a phenomenon Steven Rosenthal discussed in his 2001 book “Irreconcilable Differences: The Waning of the American Jewish Love Affair with Israel,” citing policies that transformed the relationship from uncritical “Israelotry” to disapproval and distress. The 1982 Lebanon invasion, repressive occupation, Intifada, regular incursions, and greater concern about home-grown issues shattered American Jewish unanimity, diluting Israel’s next generation support.
On May 10, 2009, The Forward and Brandeis University Professor Jonathan D. Sarna asked why, noting “a critical difference between support for Israel in the past and today. For much of the 20th century, the Israel of American Jews – the Zion that they imagined in their minds, wrote about and worked to realize – was a mythical Zion, a utopian extension of the American dream.”
They imagined a “social commonwealth,” an “outpost of democracy, spreading America’s ideals eastward in a Jewish refuge where freedom, liberty and social justice would someday reign supreme.” Utopias, of course, are illusions, now dispelled to reveal “unlovliest warts.” Today, bloom is off the rose, unsurprising given convincing reasons to remove it.
A Final Comment
On May 26, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire paid “Tribute to the People of Gaza,” saying:
“I never cease to be amazed at the power of the human spirit to survive….In a triumph of hope over adversity and tremendous suffering, love still abides….Gaza’s people have suffered an Israeli occupation for over 40 years,” enduring wars and current medieval-type siege.
Lives have been shattered, crops destroyed, soil poisoned, and sustainability comprised, so “Where is the hope? Where is the love in the midst of such suffering and injustice?” In the will to survive; in growing worldwide solidarity; in the “Freedom Flotilla” defying the blockade to deliver aid, Maguire on it, “inspired by the people of Gaza whose courage, love and joy in welcoming us, even in the midst of such suffering gives us all hope. They represent the best of humanity,” no amount of Israeli repression can extinguish, nor their redoubtable “nonviolent struggle for human dignity, and freedom.”
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
From Politics Unspun
Posted: 25 Jan 2010 03:05 AM PST
“Good evening, and welcome to WTFN’s inaugural Oscar preview show. I’m your host Lance Boyle coming to you from Los Angeles. The ceremony may still be weeks away but there’s a lot to talk about. Joining us in The Cutting Room is veteran movie columnist and critic Miriam Kale.”
(Lance Boyle turns to face Miriam Kale. They are sitting in high-backed upholstered chairs across from each other. A black coffee table is between them and all around are enlarged stills and posters of the nominated movies.)
Before we get into the movies themselves, Miriam, what’s your opinion on the Academy’s decision to include 10 best-picture nominees instead of the usual five.
Miriam Kale: “In a word—embarrassing. It amounts to handicapping the big Hollywood studios because their movies can’t compete with the best independent and foreign films. In contrast to inventive, entertaining films like last year’s winner Slumdog Millionaire (a British film shot in India), Hollywood churns out an insipid diet of zombies, vampires, cartoonish action, angels, devils, torture, comic books, teen sex farces, sequels, prequels, remakes and bastardizations of TV shows. Recycling may be good for the planet, but in a creative medium like movies, it’s an admission of intellectual bankruptcy. All the Academy did was debase the award.”LB: “Surely, you don’t think all Hollywood films are recycled dross.”
MK: “No, of course not. Last year’s The Devil Wears Prada from 20th Century Fox was a deserving nominee, especially because of Meryl Streep’s performance as tyrannical magazine editrix Miranda Priestly. My point is that so few award-worthy movies are being made that the odds of one being nominated for, much less winning, the Best Picture Oscar are slim to none. Unfortunately, rather than rely on the studios to improve the quality of their movies, the Academy changed the rules to give the illusion that such movies are worth consideration, which is kind of fitting for an industry based on presenting illusions.”
LB: “What happened to Hollywood?”
MK: “The same thing that happened to the big U.S. automakers: it fixated on short-term profits, became afraid to take risks, and lost respect for its market. Hollywood studios still think that the average 12-year-old boy is its key demographic. On the other hand, independent and foreign filmmakers are more willing to make intelligent movies that have the grace, wit and sophistication to attract an adult audience. Such thinking does not compute in Hollywood where studios have gone to great lengths to inure filmgoers to such things as grace, wit and sophistication. Let’s face it: where else but in Hollywood could Adam Sandler have a career, or great films like Carrie, Psycho and The Manchurian Candidate be remade into inferior knockoffs?”
LB: “The Academy said the doubling of the Best Picture nominees is just an experiment. Do you think it will continue past this year?”
MK: “Sadly, yes. Once you handicap an industry it’s nearly impossible to get it to stand on its own two feet.”
LB: “Well, we’ll have to wait until 2011 to see if your prediction comes true, but right know I’d like to move on to the Academy’s newest category, one that should be getting more attention than it has so far—The Leni Riefenstahl Award for Excellence in Propaganda. First, Miriam, tell us how this award came about.”
MK: “Two years ago, the Academy came to the belated realization that holocaust movies and documentaries are getting a disproportionate amount of nominations just because of their subject matter. Moreover, many of these films are thematically repetitious, stereotypical and historically dubious. They don’t so much present historical entertainment as they do historical dogma. As such, they constitute propaganda. Of course, you can criticize any film genre, but since the U.S. movie industry is dominated by a hierarchy of Jews, many of whom support Israel, the Academy felt that holocaust movie genre was compromising the aesthetic and moral integrity of the awards. Therefore, it decided to create a special category for holocaust-themed propaganda—‘The Leni’ for short.”
LB: “Leni Riefenstahl, for those who may not remember, was a great 20th-century German filmmaker, but because she portrayed Hitler and the Nazi Party sympathetically, her movies have become scorned as fascist propaganda.
MK: “Sad, really, because her films were otherwise excellent, as evidenced by her numerous awards.”
LB: “So Miriam, what’s your pick?”
MK: “Inglourious Basterds—no contest!”
LB: “I had a feeling you’d say that, but…”
MK: “Uh, just one thing first, Lance…”
LB: “Sure, go ahead.”
MK: “The Academy created The Leni precisely to avoid the kind of tasteless spectacle we saw at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. By honouring Inglourious Basterds SAG enphasized the image of Hollywood as a holocaust propaganda factory. To all intents and purposes, SAG seems to be forcing us to respect Inglourious Basterds as a legitimate film, rather than the Grand Guignol schlock it really is. I have had to sit through scores of World War II/holocaust films in my career, and none can compare to this one’s reprehensible dishonesty. Shame on SAG!”
LB: “On the surface, it seems that Inglourious Basterds is a strange choice for The Leni, since one of the award’s defining criteria is to serve Israel by promoting sympathetic or even pathetic images of Jews. It shows Jews committing torture and dehumanizing their enemy with unapologetic, sadistic glee. Does this film not debunk the Jew-as- victim stereotype and therefore undermine its propaganda value?”
MK: “Excellent observation, Lance, and I share your ambivalence, but the needs of Israeli propaganda have changed. The Jew-as-victim shtick is still important, but Israel can no longer rely on it alone. The Internet has exploded the illusions of Israel as a poor, victimized state and bastion of democratic virtue. Israel has been forced to recognize that it can no longer pretend to be something it’s not and expect to be believed. Inglourious Basterds depicts the changing face of Israeli propaganda.”
LB: “Which is?”
MK: “A country that commits torture and dehumanizes other human beings with unapologetic, sadistic glee. This is why Inglourious Basterds is so deserving of The Leni. Even though it is yet another unnecessary remake, it normalizes Jewish cruelty to make it easier for the world to accept it in real life. I’d like to show a brief clip from early in the film that makes this point. The leader, Aldo “the Apache,” played by Brad Pitt gives orders to the basterds: (They turn to look at the film screen behind them.)
Aldo: “We will be cruel to the Germans, and through our cruelty they will know who we are. They will find the evidence of our cruelty in the disemboweled, dismembered, and disfigured bodies of their brothers we leave behind us. Every man under my command owes me 100 Nazi scalps.” (The screen retracts.)
LB: “How does depicting and celebrating Jewish cruelty aid Israeli propaganda?”
MK: “If we can feel nothing for Germans who are tortured, because we have been brought up to view them as ‘evil,’ then it is easier for us not to feel anything for Arabs who are tortured, because Israel spreads the propaganda that they are ‘evil.’ For propaganda to succeed, it must control and politicize language to make independent thought impossible. Israel cannot expect to get away with an atrocity like Cast Lead if the world persists in viewing Palestinian Arabs as human beings with inalienable human rights. Inglourious Basterds helps Israel do this by making a cruel mockery of human compassion. As it is the Western world has done virtually nothing to punish Israel for its unprovoked slaughter, or demanded that Egypt stop building a wall to prevent humanitarian aid from entering the Gaza Strip.”
LB: “Let me read to you the following statement from Quentin Tarantino: ‘When you watch all the different Nazi movies, all the TV movies, it’s sad, but isn’t it also frustrating? Did everybody walk into the boxcar? Didn’t somebody do something?’ Isn’t Tarantino trying to show compassion for the Jews who are about to be murdered?”
MK: “That’s what were supposed to think, but in fact Tarantino cares far less about the Yiddish victims of Nazi Germany than he does about slaking the atavistic bloodlust of his zionist producers. Here’s what Lawrence Bender said to Tarantino: ‘As your producing partner, I thank you, and as a member of the Jewish tribe, I thank you, motherfucker, because this movie is a fucking Jewish wet dream.’”
LB: “What a horrid, perverse thing to say! How could anyone take pleasure in torture! What did Bob and Harvey Weinstein have to say. After all, it was their production company that made the movie?”
MK: “They also got off on the Jewish revenge theme. Significantly, though, many Jews were deeply offended by it, and some even walked out of screenings! But this fact should not be seen as a failure on Tarantino’s part; rather it shows how he has evolved—or devolved, if you like—from being a self-indulgent filmmaker into a willing propagandist for Jewish fascism. Then we have to look at a possible motive for the Weinsteins. Their company is such dire financial straits that they need a major hit in the worst way. What better gold mine than a farcical Holocaust story where Jews are shown to be sadistic ‘heroes’ who go medieval on Nazis. This illustrates what I said earlier about holocaust movies getting unfair, automatic recognition.”
LB: “Clearly, this a perfect example of why The Leni is necessaary, but I’d pick up on a point you just made: How do you make the leap from Jews fighting Nazis to Jewish fascism?”
MK: “Remember Aldo’s speech? Tarantino wants us to believe that the holocaust might not have occurred if Jews has been as cruel as the Nazis. First of all, this idea monstrously stupid. You might as well say that unarmed Palestinians deserve their own fate because they aren’t as murderous and cruel as the Israeli military. Second, it is blatantly anti-Semitic, to use a pet phrase of zionist propaganda!”
LB: “You’ve lost me.”
MK: “If we take Tarantino’s mission statement at face value, then he declares that Jews, not Nazis, were ultimately responsible for the holocaust. He stands the Jew-as-victim image on its head to give us the Jew as moral coward.”
LB: “But this does undermine Israeli propaganda. The idea that Nazis are uniquely responsible for the holocaust is a fundamental dogma, as is the idea that all Jews were victims of the Nazis. Has Tarantino not given ammunition to those who challenge the official holocaust narrative?”
MK: “In a general sense, yes, but as Bender said, the film is ‘a Jewish wet dream.’ The orgy of cruelty overrides any such thoughtful consideration of what is actually being depicted. This was a major risk both for the Weinsteins and Tarantino, because if people do stop to analyze Inglourious Basterds, they will see that, in effect, it justifies the holocaust! And by justifying the holocaust, the film reinforces the propaganda that Israel is necessary.”
LB: “Let me see if I get this straight: In the old propaganda, Jews are depicted as victims of the holocaust, and Israeli exploits this image to blackmail the world into silence about its treatment of Palestinians; in the new propaganda, the holocaust is downplayed as a historical event and Jews are reinvented as kosher Nazis?!”
MK: “Well, not kosher, exactly. The Jews that supported Hitler were anything but!”
LB: “Jews that supported Hitler?”
MK: “Lance, the great failure of holocaust movies is that they present an absolute moral dichotomy between Nazis and Jews that didn’t exist. A tiny minority of Jews, zionist Jews, actively collaborated with the Nazis because they also wanted to rid Europe of its Jewish population. The only difference was that zionists wanted ‘their people’ to go to Palestine. In exchange for Nazi support, they abetted the suffering of other Jews: they betrayed the Jewish resistance, helped the Nazis sabotage negative press reports, and prevented the vast majority of Jews from fleeing to other lands. The more these non-zionist Jews suffered, the easier it would be for zionists to force the world to agree to a Jewish state after the war. In effect, zionist Jews needed the holocaust, which is why they helped Hitler fill and administer the concentration camps. So, yes, Jews supported Hitler—fascist Jews, that is.
LB: “Still, though, the Basterds are killing Nazis, right? They’re not helping them.”
MK: “True, but the Nazis are mere props. They don’t matter because we’re supposed to identify with the killers and their motives, not with their victims and their suffering. By making torture look slick and morally defensible, Inglourious Basterds perverts our sense of justice, and that’s how it serves Israeli propaganda. Just replace Nazi soldiers with Arab civilians and the film imitates life. Whether he intended to or not, Tarantino has equated the murderers of Jews with the victims of Jewish murder in such a way that the torture and gleeful sadism in each case are contextually identical.
LB: “It didn’t entirely work, though. As you said, many Jews walked out of the screenings. Even if the producers loved the movie, its propaganda value seems weak.”
MK: “Ironically, Jewish alienation enhances the film’s propaganda value because it reinforces the new propaganda. Israel knows that its most effective critics are Jews: Richard Goldstone, Richard Falk, Ilan Pappé, Philip Weiss, Akiva Eldar, Norman Finkelstein, just to name just a few. The film is a declaration that the fascist Jew is superior to the moral Jew, and that the moral Jew is an enemy of Israel. If Tarantino and the Weinsteins wanted to make a legitimate film about preventing the nazi persecution of Jews, here is the film they should have made. (As he says this, the movie screen behind them comes down and a movie poster is shown.)
LB: (He looks at the poster and is a little startled.) “I don’t think Hollywood is ready for that.”
MK: “Of course is isn’t. It would be an indictment of Hollywood’s role as a zionist collaborator as well as a devastating refutation of Israel’s right to exist. Nevertheless, I suspect that Israel’s defenders would find a way to gush over it.”
LB: “We’re almost out of time, Miriam. Any last words?”
MK: “Yes. Appearances to the contrary, Inglourious Basterds is the face of the new propaganda and deserves The Leni. Also, since Avatar will clean up at the Oscars, the Academy could not have picked a more preposterous year to expand the list of nominees.”
LB: “Let’s pick it up there next time. Thanks for coming.”
MK: “Always a pleasure.”
LB: (To camera) Thanks for joining us. For Miriam Kale and our crew, I’m Lance Boyle. Good night!”