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BP’s Slimy and Infamous History as the forefront of British Imperialism

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Arm of the British Empire British Petroleum’s Assault on America
June 15, 2010 by JackBlood

by John Hoefle

June 12–British Petroleum is not a corporation, at least not in the way that many Americans think of corporations. What British Petroleum {really} is, is an instrument of the British Empire’s unrelenting war upon the vast majority of the people of the world. British Petroleum is part of a network of giant imperial cartels, created with the aim of replacing sovereign nation-states as the ruling entities of the planet. Under this system, an imperial financier oligarchy runs the cartels, which in turn control the world. This system, marketed as “globalization,” is actually a return to the methods of the evil and corrupt British East India Company.

The drama now playing out in the Gulf of Mexico, in the halls of government in Washington and London, and in the boardrooms of Wall Street and Threadneedle Street, reflect both the astonishing success of this British assault upon humanity, and the necessity for the people of the United States to defeat this attack. If we are to survive, the British Empire and its instrumentalities must be destroyed.

No one should be surprised at the breathtaking arrogance of BP, which has a sordid history of disregard for human life, an imperious disdain for the environment, and a demonstrated unwillingness to pay for anything that cuts into its profits, such as safety equipment, basic maintenance, and oil-spill clean-up capability. The company has been convicted of felonies, one arising from the 2005 explosion of its Texas City, Texas, refinery, in which 15 people were killed, another involving the illegal dumping of hazardous materials in Alaska. It was still on probation for the latter offense, when its Gulf of Mexico well blew out in April. BP was also the company responsible for handling the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but proved so unwilling to meet its obligations that Exxon stepped in to handle the mess. It is, literally, a criminal operation.

That criminality is by design. British Petroleum was formed in 1909, as Anglo-Persian Oil Company, as a monopoly on the oilfields of what is now Iran. The British Monarchy was determined to convert its naval vessels from coal to oil, to maintain the empire’s supremacy on the seas. It was also determined to deny its rivals access to the oil, for the same purpose. This drive to lock up oil supplies led to the creation of an imperial oil cartel–a cartel of giant oil companies–which controls the global production, distribution, and processing of oil today, and controls the mechanisms by which prices are set. This corporate oil cartel does not control all of the world’s oil, but it controls enough to make it a significant factor in the empire’s dominion over nations. To this day, British Petroleum remains an asset of the British Monarchy.

British Petroleum’s sibling in this operation, is the Anglo-Dutch giant Royal Dutch Shell, the result of a 1907 merger between Royal Dutch Petroleum of the Netherlands and Shell Transport and Trading of the United Kingdom. One of the founders of Royal Dutch Petroleum was Sir Henri Deterding, who ran the company for 36 years, and was later notorious for his support of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Royal Dutch Shell also provided a cover for the intelligence operations of Lord Victor Rothschild, whose family played a major role in the company. Lord Victor’s son, Jacob, the current Baron Rothschild, today runs the Inter-Alpha Group of imperial financiers, which, as we shall see, is joined at the hip with British Petroleum and Goldman Sachs.

– Fascism –

Support for the Nazis runs deep in these companies and their controllers. The late, but not lamented, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was a card-carrying member of the Nazi Party, and part of the industrial espionage unit of the notorious I.G. Farben, of concentration-camp infamy. Prince Bernhard was a founder of the Bilberberg Group, and with Britain’s Prince Philip, of the World Wildlife Fund, two organizations dedicated to pushing imperial fascism. Philip is the creature who has dedicated his life to reducing the world’s population by two-thirds (including you), and has expressed his desire to be reincarnated as a deadly virus so that he may continue to play an active role in that genocide.

These two oil giants are an essential component of the British Empire’s control over raw materials, along with mining companies such as Rio Tinto, Anglo-American, Cargill, and others, which exert significant control over the minerals, metals, petroleum products, food supplies, communications facilities, and finance, necessary to run the modern world. The project to create these cartels was officially launched at the Bilderberg annual meeting in 1968, although this was merely the repackaging of a much older idea.

The plan, as introduced by Lehman Brothers banker and U.S. Anglophile George W. Ball, was for the creation of a “world company” as a replacement for the nation-state. The plan was explicitly Malthusian, based upon the idea that corporations were much better suited to managing the world’s scarce resources than were nations and their governments. Governments, the Bilderbergers complained, had an unfortunate tendency to place the welfare of their people–or at least some of them–above the welfare of the imperial fatcats of the Anglo-Dutch Liberal empire. Far better, the oligarchs insisted, to let bloodless corporations–answerable only to the empire–run the show. It was an explicitly corporatist conception, corporatism being the method by which Benito Mussolini ran his Venetian-dominated fascist state. Under corporatism, the state becomes an appendage of the corporations.

Which brings us back to the case of British Petroleum.

– Corporatism –

What is the U.S. Government under President Barack Obama, if not a corporatist state protecting an imperial cartel-company? At every step of the Gulf crisis, the Obama Administration has acted to protect British Petroleum. The same British Petroleum which has lied at every step, downplaying the volume of oil shooting out of the seabed, denying the existence of underwater plumes, pointing accusing fingers at its partners on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and wasting resources on public relations campaigns, when it needs to be fixing the problem. Through it all, the Obama camp is right there with the company, helping it spread its lies, while taking none of the obvious measures to stop the spill, launch the clean-up, and protect the nation from this attack.

Belatedly, as a sop to public fury, President Mustache has been talking tough, looking for, as he put it, some “ass to kick.” The British, for their part, have begun publicly complaining about Obama’s “anti-British” rhetoric, and wringing hands against the “bloodlust” directed at Britain. Others complain about calling the firm British at all, asserting that it is now a “global” (read, “imperial”) company without nationality. (Thanks for confirming our thesis.)

This “war of words” is a play staged for public consumption. The British Empire is accustomed to working in areas where the local populations hate it, and have developed their psychological operations accordingly. The colonial office learned long ago that, often the best way to protect your local political assets, is to publicly criticize them–sometimes the most vociferous anti-British voice is actually a British agent! So Obama, a British agent, talks tough, the British complain, and the spin machine paints a phony picture of trouble in a relationship that is actually quite cozy.

Obama may indeed be getting angry at the beating his reputation is taking, but his anger is irrelevant, as he remains fully under British control. He is a prisoner of his own Nero-like fantasies. He, and his Administration, remain servants of the Brutish Empire which controls both him and British Petroleum. As long as Obama remains President, the U.S. will remain a corporatist state.

– Behind the Lies –

And, as long as British Petroleum continues to control the crime scene in the Gulf, it remains impossible for outsiders to know exactly what went wrong in the well and on the rig, as well as what the real situation is with the well and its environs today. It has been shown that we cannot believe a word the company says. Neither can we believe the statements of our own government, which has already been forced by events to back off on earlier lies. What we can say, with a fair amount of certainty, is that the situation is far more dire than either party will admit, that much of what we are being spoon-fed is disinformation, and that the clean-up operations are far short of what is required.

British Petroleum has consistently treated this as if it were a public relations problem, rather than a physical disaster. CEO Tony Hayward publicly lamented that he wanted “his life back.” As if anyone gives a damn about his inconvenience, when 11 people died on his rig, a large section of the American economy and way of life has been destroyed, and the oil flows relentlessly into the Gulf, into the marshes and beaches, and out into the Atlantic.

The British are arguing that punishing the company for this “accident” is unfair, because of the amount of British pension-fund investment in the company. Just as we have seen in the financial crisis, the empire is demanding that its assets be rescued, to save the “little people.” How shameless can they get, and how stupid do they think we are, to push such blatant lies?

However, with this lying line of argument, they do bring us closer to the truth. For British Petroleum, it is largely about the money. In fact, one can make a strong case that British Petroleum is more like a hedge fund that controls oil assets, than an industrial corporation. It outsources much of its operations to contractors. In the case of the well in question, it leased the drilling rig from Transocean, and hired Halliburton to perform some of the well maintenance; British Petroleum’s main role seems to have been stopping safety measures and improperly pushing for premature completion of the well.

We will not speculate in this article about what actually may have happened to this rig, and what is now occurring beneath the waters of the Gulf, but we will say that there are serious questions about British Petroleum’s version of events, and of the authenticity of some of the photographs and videos the company is providing. Given the consistent lying from these weasels, they are not entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

– Spooks –

On the night of June 7, 2010, according to a {Bloomberg} report, “a group including Vittorio Colao, head of telecom company Vodafone Plc, Martin Sorrell, chief of advertising for WPP Plc, and John Sawer, director-general of the [British] intelligence agency MI6,” gathered at British Petroleum’s headquarters in London “to show support for Tony Hayward.”

Just what, we wonder, is MI6’s involvement in this affair? MI6 is the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), which works, incidentally, for the Crown, not the government. Oil companies are, after all, known for providing cover for the intelligence services’ operations all over the world. Could the SIS be involved in any way?

We also note with interest the intelligence connections of Halliburton and Transocean–the latter of which is registered in Rothschild-dominated Zug, Switzerland. Halliburton not only is the company of former Vice President Dick Cheney, but has long-standing connections to the U.S. intelligence community, notably through the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Transocean is the result of a series of mergers, including the offshore drilling operations of Schlumberger, which, at least in part, is an intelligence agency operating inside an oil-services company. Schlumberger had a hand in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, through the person of Jean de Menil, husband of a Schlumberger heiress, a Schlumberger executive, and a member of Permindex, the Synarchist assassination bureau.

Could the presence of all these spook-related outfits on the Deepwater Horizon rig be related in ways which remain hidden? We don’t know at this point, but we do know that the official story is full of holes, and the whole affair cries out for investigation.

Finally, we note with interest the incestuous relationship between British Petroleum, Goldman Sachs, and the Inter-Alpha Group. Take the case of Sir Peter Sutherland, a Knight Commander of the British Monarchy’s Order of St. Michael and St. George. Sir Petey was, at the same time (2001-09), chairman of British Petroleum; chairman of Goldman Sachs International, the bank’s London branch; and a director of the Inter-Alpha Group’s Royal Bank of Scotland. Sutherland was previously chairman of AIB, the Irish member of Inter-Alpha, and is a former director-general of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor, the World Trade Organization, which plays an important role in promoting globalization. Sutherland, still at Goldman Sucks, is the chairman of the Fabian Society’s London School of Economics, which trained many of the jerks who blew up the world…

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Interview with Artist Carlos Latuff

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Interview with Carlos Latuff by Kourosh Ziabari

Independent freelance journalist, Iran, reposted on Uprooted Palestinians blog

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

West Bank Concentration Camp



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Bloody Barack: Murder is the New Torture

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The Accomodationists: Memo to Liberals on the White House Death Warrants PDF Print E-mail
WRITTEN BY CHRIS FLOYD
THURSDAY, 08 APRIL 2010 16:12
(UPDATED BELOW)

Let us hear no more excuses for Barack Obama. Let us hear no more defenses, no more special pleading, no more extenuations. Let us have no more reciting of the “pressures” he is under, of the “many obstacles” that balk him in his quest to do us good, of the “bad advisors” who are swaying him to unworthy acts against his will. Let us be done at last with all these wretched lies, these complicitous self-deceptions that are facilitating atrocity and tyranny on a monstrous scale.

Barack Obama has ordered the murder of an American citizen, without trial, without due process, without the production of any evidence. All it takes to kill any American citizen in this way is Barack Obama’s signature on a piece of paper, his arbitrary designation of the target as a “suspected terrorist.” In precisely the same way — precisely the same way — Josef Stalin would place a mark by a name in a list of “suspected terrorists” or “counterrevolutionaries,” and the bearer of that name would die. This is the system we have now, the same as the Soviets had then: a leader with the unchallengeable power to kill citizens without due process.

That this power has not been used on the same scale in the American system as in the Stalinist state — yet — does not alter the equivalence of this governing principle. In both cases, the leader signs arbitrary death warrants; the security services carry out the task; and the ‘great and good’ of society accept this draconian power as necessary and right.

This is what you support when you support Barack Obama. It does not matter if you think his opponents in the factional infighting to control a bloodsoaked empire and its war machine are “worse” than he is in some measure. When you support him, when you defend him, when you excuse him, it is arbitrary murder that you are supporting. It is the absolute negation of every single principle of enlightenment and human rights professed by liberals, progressives — indeed, by honorable people of every political stripe — for centuries.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about Obama’s order to kill an American citizen without trial or evidence, of course. George W. Bush claimed the same powers. As I have noted here and elsewhere for many years, our American presidents now claim the right to kill any person on earth whom they arbitrarily designate as an enemy — or even a suspected enemy — of the United States. Barack Obama embraced this power as soon as he took office, ordering a “surge” in the “targeted killings” on “suspected terrorists” in Pakistan. Hundreds and hundreds of innocent human beings have been murdered in these drone attacks; many thousands more have been driven from their homes, and terrorized into lives of mental anguish, their psyches lamed by trauma, upheaval and the ever-present dread of death raining down on them from the skies.

And of course, thousands of innocent people continue to die in the wars of dominion and profiteering that Obama has so eagerly embraced. In Afghanistan, they die directly at the hands of American forces — including secret assassins who raid villages by night, often slaughtering civilians, even those cooperating with the military occupation. As Obama’s hand-picked commander in the region, Stanley McChrystal, has openly admitted: “We have shot an amazing number of people [at checkpoints and on the roads], but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.” And in Iraq — the scene of the abominable, Nazi-like war crime of military aggression whose continuation by Bush’s “surge” was hailed by Obama as “an extraordinary achievement” — innocent people continue to die in droves at the hands of the vicious and violent forces unleashed and empowered by the American invasion and occupation, while they wait to see which brutal “hard man” will seize power over their riven and ruined society.

No, the only remarkable thing about Obama’s direct order to murder his fellow American citizen, Anwar al-Alwaki, is its openness. A few weeks ago, he sent his intelligence chieftain, Dennis Blair, to Congress to openly proclaim the president’s “right” to kill American citizens arbitrarily. Bush had kept this claimed power obscured, letting it out in dribs and drabs of directed leaks, and hints and winks in public statements; but Obama has taken us beyond that, to the open declaration and institutional entrenchment of the principle of death without due process for citizens. This indeed is “change” — with a vengeance.

(And to think that only a few years ago, capital punishment — with its vast and cumbersome legal machinery — was banished in America as too unjust and arbitrary in its application; now a president need not trouble himself with the slightest bit of legal process if he wants to have someone killed. I suppose this too is “progress”: more streamlined, more efficient, quicker, more modern — like wireless broadband. It’s simply there all the time at the president’s pleasure.)

Now, there can be no shuffling, no waffling on the matter. Obama has made it crystal clear for even the most avidly self-duping progressive: He will murder his fellow citizens without trial or evidence if he sees fit. The state can murder whom it pleases. This is the system we have. This is what you support when you support Barack Obama. You cannot escape this logic, this judgment. If you support Obama now, in this, then there is no crime he can commit that you will not support.

And thus you become one of those people that we all used to puzzle over, the accomodationists to brutal tyranny: “How did all those people go along with the Nazis? Why wasn’t there more opposition to Stalin? How could they countenance all those obvious abominations? What kind of people were they?”

Now you know. They were you. You are them.

**
NOTE 1: I should make it clear that I do not think that it is somehow more heinous for the American government to target and kill its own citizens, as opposed to killing foreigners by the thousands, which it has done, on a bipartisan basis, for many a year. I am merely laying out the case in this way so that American “progressives” — almost of all whom are deeply marinated in their own brand of American exceptionalism — can see that even by the standards of this exceptionalism, which puts American lives and ‘values’ above all else, Barack Obama is acting — undeniably — in a criminal, tyrannical manner.

NOTE 2: While I was writing this piece, I got the welcome news that Arthur Silber was back, after a long hiatus due to his chronic ill health. And, as usual, his insights cut straight to the heart of the matter. As I noted here the other day, Silber was one of the very few writers who saw through the shining cloud that surrounded the Obama campaign to the corroded core within. He also noted the greatest danger of an Obama presidency: that it would confirm, entrench, expand — and normalize — the worst aspects of the American imperium, precisely because the system’s crimes and atrocities would now be presented in a more pleasing package, with all “progressive” opposition to them completely disarmed by partisan adherence to their standard-bearer.

Ironically, one of Silber’s most incisive pieces on this subject was provoked by what many people — and almost all “progressives” — still consider Obama’s finest moment during the campaign: his speech calling for a “national dialogue on race” — part of a particularly brutal effort to knife his long-time friend, mentor and pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, deeply and repeatedly in the back.

Go read the new piece now, and follow the links, which provide chilling chapter and verse to underscore the insights. But here is brief excerpt, one of the conclusions that Silber draws today from that early speech:

If one truly and comprehensively understood Obama’s speech on race — the unending, deadly lies on which it was based, and the terrible consequences to which those lies have led and the devastation they will continue to cause — that speech told you everything you needed to know about Obama.

That is not hyperbole, not if you understood all of that: it told you everything. .. And what has already occurred during the Obama presidency is very far from all or the worst of the destruction that can reasonably be expected to transpire over the coming years.

UPDATE: David Swanson at Counterpunch nails the situation well: “Murder is the new torture,” indeed. As Swanson notes, now that torture — always with us, but previously shrouded — has been mainstreamed, acceptance of outright murder is the logical next step. And as Swanson observes, it is actually a much more efficient tool of imperial policy:

President Obama has ordered the murder of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. Like the innocent but tortured Abu Zubayda (innocent at least of any of the crimes he was accused of), Awlaki is now the mastermind terrorist of the universe. And once he’s dead, who’s to say he wasn’t? Who can demand a trail or access to documents? He’ll be dead. See the beauty of it?

If the top mastermind is in Yemen, what the hell are we doing building a quagmire in Afghanistan? Don’t ask. But notice this: we have dramatically increased the use of missile strikes to assassinate in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And we have increased the use of murderous night-time raids to such an extent that we now kill more civilians in that way than we do with drones. They’re the “wrong people,” or neighbors who came to help, or family members clinging to loved ones. Sometimes they’re young students with their hands tied behind their backs. Accidents will happen. But no U.S. officials’ future book tours are going to be interrupted by protesters, since there’s no torture involved. Civilization is on the march!

Splitting the Sky Goes to Trial

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Splitting the Sky, who attempted a citizen’s arrest of George W Bush for crimes against humanity, will be tried today in a Canadian court.

=Citizen’s Arrest of Alleged War Criminal George W. Bush in Canada

Splitting the Sky, indigenous activist, seized by security forces in Canada last year when he attempted to make a citizen’s arrest of George W. Bush will have his day in court on Monday, March 8th. According to Professor Anthony J. Hall, this case will demonstrate whether Canada is ruled by law or fear and highlight the need for new principles, the Calgary Principles to amend the victor’s justice of the Nuremberg Principles, in light of the new impunities for high level crimes against humanity and the Earth in this era, and the need to protect and honor civil resistance to those high crimes.

Dacajaweiah, John Boncore, or Splitting the Sky, is not a man of few words. If you read his hefty 653-page autobiography, it is very clear that he has lived an extraordinary life and has survived more than his share of violence, to find deep within himself a well of energy and spirit enabling him to not only endure hardships, but to serve his people and the land in the timeless struggle against oppression and tyranny. From the Attica Rebellion to Gustafen Lake to Calgary in 2009, when he attempted a citizen’s arrest of George W. Bush, “Dac” has consciously taken a leadership role to politically challenge the powerful forces that dominate the North American continent. Brutally arrested for his action, he earned his “day in court” to voice not only his defense, but “to highlight the hypocrisy and criminality of the Canadian government for allowing Bush into Canada, and to firmly establish the legal defense of ‘civil resistance’, the duty of citizens to act when our governments and their agents are derelict in their duty. This will be very useful in the future to rein these criminals in.”

Prior to Bush’s visit, the Canadian group Lawyers Against the War asked Canadian officials to bar entry or try Bush for his suspected crimes since Canadian Law prohibits “people suspected of any involvement in torture or other war crimes and crimes against humanity from entering Canada for any period and for any purpose. The most recent report of the War Crimes Program affirms the necessity of barring war crimes suspects from Canada: ‘The most effective way to deny safe haven to people involved or complicit in war crimes or crimes against humanity is to prevent them from coming to Canada.’”

Lawyers Against the War and protestors implored the government to do their duty and arrest Bush. “Dac” was carrying papers detailing the evidence against George W. Bush, which he had planned to serve him with on behalf of the victims and the people of the world, and he raised his hands to show that he was “non-violent.” Dac was then thrown down, stomped on, kicked, handcuffed and led off to be brutalized in a Calgary jail.

Monday, March 8, 2010, he will have his opportunity to put forward his case and present evidence, with support, testimony and affidavits on his behalf from respected scholars, including David Ray Griffin, Peter Dale Scott, and Michel Chossudovsky, as well as from former US Congresswoman, outspoken human rights advocate, and former Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. Professor Anthony J. Hall, author of The American Empire and the Fourth World and founding coordinator of Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge, stated last December:

“Splitting the Sky’s action in Calgary highlights the abject failure of law enforcement agencies to do their job. It highlights the unwillingness of police and those who direct them to apply the law equitably and independently…

“As the Nuremberg principles make clear, the implicated law enforcement officers cannot claim in their defense that they were merely following orders in deciding to arrest Splitting the Sky rather than George W. Bush.

“I propose that the trial of Splitting the Sky presents a platform for the elaboration of a new set of juridical rules and protocols to be known as The Calgary Principles.

“It has been six decades since the UN general assembly agreed to a succinct refinement of the principles that emerged from the trial of some of the top Nazis, as well as their juridical, medical, and industrialist accomplices. During those decades, there has been an intensification of the culture of impunity that immunizes those at the top of the hierarchy of wealth and power from any legal accountability for their crimes.

“Like the Tokyo trials of the defeated leadership of imperial Japan, the Nuremberg Trials were a classic example of victors’ justice.

“As long as the power politics of victors’ justice continues to protect the likes of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the rule of law remains a fraud. Under present conditions, the rule of law is a sad hoax designed to disguise the role of law enforcement agencies as protectors of the ill-gotten wealth often stripped from the branches of humanity that Frantz Fanon once labeled ‘the wretched of the earth.’

“The elaboration of the Calgary Principles will have to entail the quest for new language and juridical concepts to capture the full extent and complexity of international crime in the twenty-first century…

“Consider, for instance, the nature of the crime that takes place when whole populations are sentenced to endless futures of disproportionately high rates of genetic deformity through the saturation of their mother lands with depleted uranium. Consider the nature of a crime that would see a drug company covertly introduce a new disease strain in order to market a prepared antidote of vaccine to cure the disease it had disseminated.

“What names, what prohibitions, and what punishments do we need to respond to and discourage crimes that infect populations, deform populations, and even destroy whole ecosystems, making the renewal of all kinds of life, including human life, impossible to sustain?

“Hence it can be said that these days the most important agencies of the military-industrial complex and the national security state are the media conglomerates. These agencies of propaganda for an aggressive war bombard us on a daily basis with mental missiles of psychological warfare.

“The constant barrage of messages we receive that peace is to be found in war, that freedom is to be found in slavery, that wealth is to be found in indebtedness, and that truth is to be found in lies, is pulling humanity away from our fragile inheritance of reason, rationality, and enlightened discourse on the real menaces we face…”

Splitting the Sky’s action mirrors the actions of countless people in countless demonstrations that are taking place across the world where lives, land, forests, lakes, jobs, homes, species, and communities are threatened by powerful forces, making decisions in luxury and comfort, protected by men with guns from citizens trying to make their voices heard to protect that which they love and care deeply about. The trial will illustrate whether or not Canada is ruled by laws or by fear. Whatever happens, the struggle for truth, justice, and peace will continue.

For Anthony J. Hall’s entire article and speech, see http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16377 .
More details about Splitting the Sky are posted at http://www.splittingthesky.net/

Splitting the Sky and Anthony J. Hall will be on the new weekly radio show, Community Currency, hosted by local activist, Carol Brouillet Thursday, March 11, 2010, 2 pm – 3 pm PST, on the Progressive Radio Network (http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com)

http://dailycensored.com/2010/03/07/the-tr…

Triumph of the Will: Hollywood’s Imperial Propaganda

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It’s enough that Obama is semi-Black; any atrocities he commits are thereby justified… It’s enough that Katherine Bigelow is a woman; any cinematic atrocities she creates are hereby justified… and just coincidentally, her role is to justify Obama’s reign of terror in Iraq.

Leni Riefenstahl was a piker. She has been succeeded by much more sophisticated practicioners. The Oscars were rigged from the start. There has to be a self-hating Nazi. Like we’ve never seen that before. Like you can’t find material from all the other Holocausts© since the 40s. Henry Kissinger, take a bow. Crazy Heart? What a totally predictable, inane premise — it’s been done to death. The Hurt Locker: Help, I can’t breathe. I’m in a locker, wrapped in a giant flag, and I’m suffocating! What about Mo’Nique. Is there some dicta that an award must now be given to a person with only one name? What’s with the apostrophe? Is this some cultural watermark? My how open-minded the trolls of the Academy have become. Unfortunately, their open-mindedness is as thin as their consciences. Again with the weird spelling: Inglourious Basterds, or how to make vicious and thoroughly brutal [pro-Jewish] revenge seem heroic. Wondering who the producers were of this expedient gem.

AVATAR should have swept the Awards. Normally, it would have.

*****

World Socialist Web Site wsws.org

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards: Hollywood celebrates itself, undeservedly

By Hiram Lee and David Walsh

9 March 2010

This year’s Academy Awards ceremony has come and gone. The broadcast Sunday night from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, at three hours and 32 minutes, was a long and dull affair in which relatively little of real life found its way into the proceedings. It is difficult to think of a sustained moment that one could single out for praise. Self-absorption, self-congratulation, insincerity and cynicism prevailed.

What stood out most glaringly about the ceremony was the extent to which the realities of life faced by millions of people were absent, both in the films honored (with few exceptions) and the program itself. The world and the country are gripped by the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, bringing with it high levels of unemployment and social misery, the Obama administration is prosecuting two neo-colonial wars and threatening more, the US seethes with social frustration and discontent, and yet none of this found the slightest expression in last night’s broadcast.

What does it say about the present state of the commercial film industry that an event bringing together its leading figures should find itself so thoroughly divorced from reality, including widespread popular moods in the US?

The opening number, starring Neil Patrick Harris, followed by the comic patter of co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, set the tone for the evening. Even the tepid “topical” humor of recent years was eliminated. Not a single reference was made to an event or individual outside Hollywood’s inner circles.

Is it accidental that political jokes at the Oscars entirely disappeared now that Barack Obama sits in the White House?

For the super-wealthy liberal milieu, the election of an African-American (or a woman, or…) is the apotheosis of their politics. They have reached the limits of their vision. This was reflected in the awards ceremony—the lack of genuine humor, sarcasm, let alone anger. No matter that the Obama administration is one of the most right-wing in modern American history.

Of the films nominated for Academy Awards, the more intelligent works—A Serious Man, A Single Man and Up In The Air—went entirely unrecognized while the most confused, banal, and in some cases downright filthy (Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, praised by presenter John Travolta for its “rewriting” of history), fared quite well. On this occasion, it seems, the Academy voters put aside whatever critical faculties and taste were available to them when it came time to cast their ballots.

In the acting categories, Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for her performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. Christoph Waltz [self-hating Nazi] won Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a brutal Nazi officer in Inglorious Basterds. It was pleasing to see the talented Jeff Bridges acknowledged for his role as “Bad” Blake in Crazy Heart, but, on the whole, the more sensitive and engaging performers nominated—from Maggie Gyllenhaal and Anna Kendrick to Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan—were passed over.

Mo’Nique was awarded the Best Supporting Actress trophy for her performance as Mary in the film Precious. The abusive mother of a struggling teenage girl in Harlem in the late 1980s, the Mary character was made into something horrific by the filmmakers.

As the WSWS review noted, “Mary is not a human being. She is a monster. Rather than explaining the social relations that produce such extreme forms of backwardness as hers, Precious obscures the causes and sensationalizes the results.” The film becomes a form of titillating (and alarming) the more privileged and complacent with fantasy views of oppressed working class life. It is troubling that the Academy would point to this grotesque portrait as one of the best performances of the year. Precious also won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar, which we were repeatedly told was the highest grossing film of all time, and perhaps the most talked about and high profile of the nominees, lost in all of the major categories, but received several technical awards—the only territory in which the film could be said to have broken new ground. In any event, it may be that the attacks from the right-wing on Avatar for its fairly forthright depictions of militarism on a fictional planet (with parallels to Iraq and Afghanistan) may have helped cost the film more awards.

In what amounted to an abandonment of any critical attitude towards the war in Iraq, the academy bestowed the awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing on The Hurt Locker. Telling the story of a US Army bomb squad serving in Iraq, the film is said to be an “apolitical” or “neutral” movie about the war. In fact, The Hurt Locker manages to glorify, or at least sanitize, the role of US troops in the region. Whether the filmmakers are entirely conscious of it or not, their work is meant to obscure the character of the conflict in the Middle East and make the public forget about Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, Haditha and every other horror that has been committed by the American military.

Those who created The Hurt Locker absurdly contend it is possible to tell a truthful story about the troops while ignoring the character of the war they are fighting, one that screenwriter Mark Boal admitted at the awards ceremony was “unpopular.” The war in Iraq is unpopular because its launching has been exposed as based on shameless lies, its conduct continues to be justified by lies, and much of the public, although the media does all it can to cover this up, suspects that oil and other such matters lie at the heart of the ongoing illegal occupation.

Rather than point to this important reality, director Kathryn Bigelow, Boal and company have created an abstract portrait of courage and “sacrifice,” which could be done in the case of any military force, including Hitler’s Wehrmacht, a portrait whose net effect is to encourage dangerous illusions in the US armed forces and their mission.

In accepting the awards for Best Director and Best Picture, Bigelow, said, “I’d just like to dedicate this to the women and men of the military who risk their lives every day in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world. May they come home safe.” She added later, “They are there for us, and we are there for them.” At this point in history, with vast numbers of Iraqis dead, a country destroyed by US brutality and recklessness, such comments are thoroughly reprehensible.

Much was made over the fact that Bigelow was the first woman to win a best directing award. On hand to present the trophy was singer Barbara Streisand, one of Hollywood’s leading millionaire liberals, who proudly declared, “The time has come.” That such a comment could be made and wild applause ring out, simply because Bigelow is woman, tells us what we need to know about the self-satisfaction and ignorance that hold far too much sway in this wealthy and insulated milieu.

That a female director has entered what was previously an “all-boy’s club” is considered a great victory, perhaps the greatest possible victory; that the woman in question has directed a film which might be taken for a pro-war work is beside the point to such people.

The awards ceremony underwent a number of changes this year, in the hopes of attracting a larger audience, particularly among younger viewers. In addition to expanding the Best Picture category to include 10 nominees (in a year in which it would be difficult to come up with 5 films truly deserving of recognition) so that more “popular” studio films would stand alongside smaller, “independent” works as contenders for the top prize, producers made a number of cuts to traditional Oscar night features now deemed too time-consuming or uninteresting to a youthful audience.

The Academy did a disservice to its viewers this year, and its younger viewers in particular, in eliminating the honorary Oscars and lifetime achievement awards from its broadcast. These awards, honoring veteran artists and performers in the cinema, were handed out at an earlier ceremony that was not televised.

Receiving honorary Oscars this year were actress Lauren Bacall, star of such remarkable films as To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, and Written on the Wind; and Gordon Willis, the cinematographer behind such films as The Godfather, Annie Hall, Manhattan, and All The President’s Men. Both Bacall and Willis, it should be noted, gave us far more substantial works than those being celebrated on the stage during Sunday night’s broadcast. In a healthier cultural climate, the Academy would have considered it a duty to encourage younger viewers to seek out the best works of an earlier period.

Even the traditional memorial segment, honoring those in the industry who died this past year, seemed rushed and perfunctory.

For now, Hollywood carries on as it has for some time, in a dismal state. A breath of fresh air is sorely needed. We have no doubt that important changes will occur. The social eruption that the present economic crisis is preparing will produce vast changes in artistic and cultural life. New moods will be introduced and new artists will emerge. Some of those currently at work will be reinvigorated. Many of those now celebrated will become irrelevant. This is all long overdue.

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A Brilliant Assessment of “A People’s History” as Zinn’s Flawed Chef D’oeuvre

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Apologies for the formatting problem with the article below. I’m looking into it!

This article helped to verify just what I felt were some of the weaknesses in “A People’s History”: 1) dualism (“us” vs “them”) that supposes that there are only 2 positions in every conflict  in US history, the “Establishment” and the “resistors.” Though the resistors seem to lose repeatedly, we are exhorted to join them! This is overly simplistic, defeatist and sentimental. Ultimately it is the end result of a victim mentality. It is a means of pre-emptive helplessness and surrender that allows fascism to flourish and proceed apace while retaining one’s self-image as a noble, yet resigned crusader. Okay, activists, time to take your Don Quixote pill. The only problem is, Don Quixote, with all his intelligence and noble ideals was delusional. Why? His mind was inundated with fantastic notions of a romantic quest for truth.

2) Eley discusses the 1960’s New Left time machine that trapped Howard Zinn, a machine that was incredibly useful in its time for debunking Victorian morality, American pretensions and social straitjackets, but which become outdated beginning in the 1980’s when the Right coopted its methods of deconstruction and revisionism, and used them to smear everything proactive, progressive, cooperative and constructive in our culture.  Where was Zinn when the think tanks rolled over and flattened the ideals of the New Left? Seeming stuck in the tire tracks: Eley finds that Zinn’s enduringly irrelevant New Left attitudes inform much of the weaker elements in A People’s History.

3) A People’s History’s limited treatment of economic issues. A historian cannot truly dissect or meaningfully oppose fascism without exploring its components: government, military, religious and corporate interests that incestuously feed off of each other. Zinn primarily dwells on the first two with little attention to the institutional religious sanctimony so necessary  to further the cause of empire and, surprisingly, even less to the rise of corporatism and the economic system that underpins all of it. Got capitalism?

Howard Zinn, 1922-2010

An assessment of A People’s History of the United States

By Tom Eley

15 February 2010

Howard Zinn, historian, activist, and author of A People’s History of the  United States, died on January 28 at the age of 87. Born in Brooklyn in 1922 to Jewish immigrant factory-worker parents, his father from Austria-Hungary and his mother from Siberia, Zinn came of age during the Great Depression in a sprawling working class neighborhood. The influence of socialism and the presence of the Communist Party were particularly pronounced in this time and place; Zinn recalled attending a CP rally as a youth where he was clubbed by a policeman. Books were few until his father purchased him a Charles Dickens compilation. Zinn served in
WWII as a bomber pilot. He was deeply troubled by his participation in a needless mission at the war’s end during which his plane dumped napalm — in its first-ever military use — on a target in France, killing both German soldiers and perhaps 1,000 French civilians. After the war he went back to the area of France he had bombed and dealt with the experience in his book, The Politics of History. Zinn was, by all accounts, humane.

His outspoken support of student civil rights activists and the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) led to Zinn’s dismissal from his first academic job,
at the all-black women’s school, Spelman, in Georgia, in 1963. He then secured a position at Boston University held until his retirement in 1988.  Zinn was also a
notable Vietnam War protester. In 1968 he visited Hanoi with the Reverend Daniel Berrigan and secured the release of three US prisoners of war, and in 1971 Daniel
Ellsberg gave Zinn a copy of what came to be known as “the Pentagon Papers.” Zinn would edit and publish it with his longtime collaborator, Noam Chomsky.

Zinn’s work as an historian spanned five decades and resulted in the publication of numerous books, articles and essays, but it was his People’s History of the United States, published in 1980, that brought him to a place of relative prominence. The book has sold more than 2 million copies in multiple editions. A television documentary based on it, “The People Speak,” was broadcast in 2009, and featured readings and performances by Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Bob Dylan, MarisaTomei, Bruce Springsteen and Danny Glover, among others. Given the book’s influence, any evaluation of Zinn requires serious consideration of his work as an
historian.

A People’s History is a much-loved book for good reason. In accessible, direct language, Zinn introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to aspects of US history written out of what was, in all but name, the official narrative, with its essentially uncritical presentation of the US political and economic elite. Zinn relentlessly
exposed the self-interest and savagery of “the Establishment,” as he called it, while at the same time bringing to life the hidden political and social struggles of
oppressed groups in US history — workers, the poor, Native Americans, African Americans, women and immigrants. Zinn did not hide his sympathies for the
oppressed in history. “[I]n such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners,” he wrote, “it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to
be on the side of the executioners.”  A People’s History grew out of, and in turn contributed to, a growing skepticism of the democratic pretensions of the American ruling class — particularly among the youth. These characteristics of Zinn’s work earned him the hatred of those who wish to see college and high school curriculum more tightly controlled; after Zinn’s death, right-wing ex-radicals David Horowitz and Ronald Radosh penned columns attacking him for exposing truths about the US government to a mass audience. Indeed, no one who has read A People’s History could in honesty endorse President Obama’s recent claim that Washington does

“not seek to occupy other nations” and is heir “to a noble struggle for freedom,” or the right wing’s absurd mantra that the US military is “the greatest force for

good in world history.”  The book’s 23 short chapters begin with Christopher Columbus’ landing in the Americas in 1492 and the brutal slaughter of Native

Americans. What follows is a chronological account of American history, focusing in particular on different social and political struggles, with Zinn providing a

varying degree of historical context depending on the period. This is, in the end, a limited method, a problem that we shall address presently. But the contributions of

Zinn’s essentially empirical approach — the inversion of the official narrative through the presentation of hidden or alternative facts — has much to teach.

This empirical strength runs through most of the book, but there are chapters where it combines with greater attention to context.

His treatment of WWII, “A People’s War,” is one of his better. As a rare honest accounting of what has been uncritically presented by most liberal and radical

historians as a “war against fascism,” it merits attention. The chapter lists Washington’s many imperialist interventions over the preceding decades, and points out its

indifference to fascist Italy’s rape of Ethiopia in 1935 and Germany’s and Italy’s intervention on behalf of the fascist forces of Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil

War. This was “the logical policy of a government whose main interest was not stopping Fascism but advancing” its own imperialist interests. “For those interests,

in the thirties, an anti-Soviet policy seemed best,” Zinn concludes. “Later, when Japan and Germany threatened US world interests, a pro-Soviet, anti-Nazi policy

became preferable.” This policy could be dressed up in anti-fascist guise, but “[b]ehind the headlines in battles and bombings, American diplomats and businessmen

worked hard to make sure that when the war ended, American economic power would be second to none [and] business would penetrate areas that up to this time had

been dominated by England.” At home, the hypocrisy of a “war against fascism” was not lost on African-Americans, who remained subject to job and housing

discrimination in the North and Jim Crow segregation, disenfranchisement and terror in the South, nor on Japanese Americans, 110,000 of whom ere rounded up —

many of these second and third generation citizens — and placed in internment camps on the order of President Franklin Roosevelt.

Still more hidden from popular memory was the immense struggle of the working class during the war. “In spite of no-strike pledges of the AFL and CIO there were

14,000 strikes, involving 6,770,000 workers, more than in any comparable period in American history,” Zinn wrote. “In 1944 alone, a million workers were on strike,

in the mines, in the steel mills, in the auto and transportation equipment industries. When the war ended, the strikes continued in record numbers — 3 million on

strike in the first half of 1946.” In spite of the strike wave, “there was little organized opposition from any source,” he notes. “The Communist Party was

enthusiastically in support… Only one organized socialist group opposed the war unequivocally. This was the Socialist Workers Party. In Minneapolis in 1943,

eighteen members of the party were convicted for violating the Smith Act, which made it a crime to join any group that advocated ‘the overthrow of the government.’“

The Socialist Workers Party was the Trotskyist movement in the US at that time.

Zinn writes movingly in the chapter of the savage bombings by the US and Britain of German and Japanese population centers; doubtless his own experience as a

bomber pilot  in Europe breathed feeling into these pages. Zinn also exposes the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which remain enshrined in the official
mythology as necessary military acts. In fact, the decision that incinerated and poisoned hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians was made with an eye cast
toward the postwar order. By forcing a rapid Japanese surrender before the Red Army moved further into the Korean peninsula, the Truman administration hoped to
assert US dominance in East Asia. It is to Zinn’s credit that he concludes the chapter with a discussion of the early Cold War and the Red Scare, which were prepared
by US victory in “the Good War.”  After the war, US liberalism quickly turned on its radical allies grouped around the Communist Party. The Truman administration
“established a climate of fear — a hysteria about Communism — which would steeply escalate the military budget and stimulate the economy with war-related orders.”
What was needed was a consensus that “could best be created by a liberal Democratic president, whose aggressive policy abroad would be supported by conservatives,
and whose welfare programs at home … would be attractive to liberals.”

Zinn’s chapter on Vietnam, “The Impossible Victory,” merits reading. In only 10 pages, he offers a good look at the history of Vietnam’s long struggle for
independence against France, Japan in WWII, then France again, and finally the US. With both statistics and vivid illustrations, he reveals the barbarity of US
imperialism. “By the end of the war, seven million tons of bombs had been dropped” on Southeast Asia, “more than twice the amount” used in both Europe and Asia in
WWII. Zinn’s presentation of the My Lai massacre, napalm, the US assassination program called Operation Phoenix, and other cruelties are damning of
Washington’s claim that the US military was there to defend the Vietnamese people. The second half of the chapter focuses on the growing popular opposition to the
Vietnam War within the US on the campuses, among working people, and in the army itself.

It is not possible here to consider all the book’s chapters, but in general, those that cover the century lasting from the end of Reconstruction in the post-Civil War to the
end of the Vietnam War are strong and empirically rich.  Zinn writes effectively on WWI (“War is the Health of the State”), describing vividly the insanity of trench
warfare, and detailing the mass opposition to US entry and the strenuous efforts to overcome this. His chapter on the US embrace of imperialism in the Spanish-
American War correctly spots the underlying drive as a struggle for markets by US capitalism. Zinn consistently turns up useful quotes to illustrate his points, here
presenting Mark Twain’s comments on the US effort to subjugate the Philippines after Spain’s defeat: “We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried
them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors. And so, by these Providences of God — and the phrase is the
government’s, not mine — we are a World Power.”

Zinn correctly places socialism at the center of the Progressive Era, circa 1900 until 1917, entitling this chapter “The Socialist Challenge.” Progressivism “seemed to
understand it was fending off socialism,” as Zinn puts it. The chapter includes brief accounts of the great garment workers’ strike of New York City in 1909 — and the
Triangle garment factory fire in its aftermath — the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Lawrence, Massachusetts textile strike, and the Ludlow massacre of coal
miners in Colorado in 1914.

Two chapters on workers’ and farmers’ struggles in the 19th century, “Robber Barons and Rebels” and “The Other Civil War,” demonstrate with examples the rich
history of egalitarianism that remains the patrimony of today’s working class. Zinn’s selection of an 1890 quote rom the Kansas populist Mary Ellen Lease seems
timely: “Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a country of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and
for Wall Street… The people are at bay, let the bloodhounds of money who have dogged us thus far beware.”

Yet while it is helpful in bringing to light facts written out of standard textbooks, Zinn’s work can only serve as a beginning to understanding US history. There is an
unmistakable anachronistic, even a-historical, thread in A People’s History. If it has a theme, it is an endless duel between “resistance” and “control,” two of Zinn’s preferred words. Populating his historical stage are, on the one side, a virtually unbroken line of “Establishment” villains who exercise this control and, on the
other, benighted groups who often struck out against their plight. The names and dates change; the story does not. Complexity and contradiction does not rest
comfortably in such a schema. The limitations of this approach are most evident in Zinn’s treatment of the American Revolution and the US Civil War, which he
presents as instances of the elite beguiling the population in order to strengthen its control. “Around 1776, certain important people in the English colonies made a
discovery that would prove enormously useful for the next two hundred years,” Zinn opens the first of his two chapters on the American Revolution. “They found that
by creating a nation, a symbol, a legal unity called the United States, they could take over land, profits, and political power from favorites of the British Empire… They
created the most effective system of national control devised in modern times.”  Zinn presents the Civil War in similar terms. Only a slave rebellion or a full-scale war
could end slavery, he wrote: “If a rebellion, it might get out of hand, and turn its ferocity beyond slavery to the most successful system of capitalist enrichment in the
world. If a war, those who made the war would organize its consequences.” (In fact, the Civil War became both a full-scale war and a slave rebellion.) “With slavery
abolished by order of government,” Zinn asserted, “its end could be orchestrated so as to set limits to emancipation,” a task that fell to none other than Abraham
Lincoln, who in Zinn’s presentation, was merely a shrewd political operative who “combined perfectly the needs of business, the new Republican party, and the
rhetoric of humanitarianism.” This deeply subjective rendering of the two most progressive events in US history calls to mind Frederick Engels’ comments on “old
materialist” philosophy, an approach that could not answer the question of what historical forces lay behind the motives of individuals and groups in history, the
“historical forces which transform themselves into these motives in the brains of the actors.” “The old materialism never put this question to itself,” Engels responds.
“Its conception of history, in so far as it has one at all, is therefore essentially pragmatic; it divides men who act in history into noble and ignoble and then finds that
as a rule the noble are defrauded and the ignoble are victorious.” Such, in short, was Howard Zinn’s operating thesis.

In his search for the origins of motives in history, Zinn at times lapsed into moralizing. He denied the characterization — writing on the American Revolution, Zinn
said he would not “lay impossible moral burdens on that time.” But this is precisely what he did, even in the case of the more progressive revolutionists. After
discussing the enormous circulation of Tom Paine’s writings in the colonies, Zinn concludes that Paine was too linked to the colonial elite. “[H]e was not for the
crowd action of lower-class people,” Zinn asserts, because Paine had “become an associate of one of the wealthiest men in Pennsylvania, Robert Morris, and a
supporter of Morris’s creation, the Bank of North America.” Paine “lent himself perfectly to the myth of the revolution — that it was on behalf of a united people,” is
Zinn’s verdict on one of the great revolutionists of the epoch. As for Thomas Jefferson, Zinn cited disapprovingly on two occasions that he owned slaves.

Thirty years ago, criticism of the mythology surrounding Lincoln or a Jefferson was perhaps useful. Such lines appear more wearisome today after decades of
moralistic attacks by well-heeled scholars like Lerone Bennett; if an historian does nothing else, he or she should concede that their subjects lived in a different time.
More importantly, in the cases of the Civil War and the American Revolution, Zinn’s anachronism distorted historical reality, minimizing the progressive character of

those struggles. It is worthwhile to note the work of historian Bernard Bailyn and Gordon Wood. Bailyn, in his Ideological Origins of the American
Revolution, demonstrated, through analysis of scores of commonly read political tracts in the colonies, that the thinking of the revolutionists was radical and
progressive and ultimately rooted in a century of Enlightenment thought. Wood, in The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1992), seems to address himself to Zinn’s sort of argument that the war for independence was “hardly a revolution at all.”  It was, Wood writes, “one of the greatest revolutions the world has known” and
“the most radical and far-reaching event in American history.” Wood concedes that the Founding Fathers, having recognized the social forces unleashed by the
revolution, sought to contain democracy through the Constitution. But Wood shows that this effort did not undo the radicalism of the revolution, which had been
broadly transfused into social consciousness. The American Revolution, like the French Revolution it helped to inspire, marked a great historical advance. It
proclaimed in stirring language basic democratic rights, and laid these out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. It repudiated the divine right of
kings to rule, and threw off restraints on economic development designed to benefit the crown. That the revolution raised up contradictions that it could not yet resolve
— the most obvious being its declarations of liberty while maintaining slavery — does not erase these achievements. The new ruling class, which Zinn tended to treat
as a monolithic whole, was in fact deeply divided over slavery and economic policy toward Great Britain. The Civil War would resolve these conflicts and put in place
new ones, bringing to the fore the struggle between the working and capitalist classes that has been the axis of US history ever since. Like other great progressive
causes, the American Revolution has in a certain sense transcended the limitations imposed upon it by its time by inspiring and animating the progressive struggles
that followed — including the struggle against slavery. To cite an example, Zinn himself noted that the Vietnamese anti-imperialists modeled their own declaration
of independence on that written by Jefferson.

It must be stated clearly that Zinn’s method had little to do with Marxism, which understands that history advances through the struggle of contending social classes,
a struggle rooted in the social relations of economic production. While this does not by itself negate the value of a scholarly work, Zinn’s limitations as an historian
require some attention be paid to his political views, which grew out of the traditions of American radicalism. The two were, as he himself declared, mutually
constitutive. Zinn drew his material not from his own research, but from a growing body of “revisionist” scholarship during a period when radicals made inroads on
US college campuses. Beginning in the late 1960s, new academic pursuits emerged: critical revisionist studies of political, diplomatic and labor history, and new fields
such as African-American history, women’s history, Native American history, and many more. This approach — the criticism of establishment history and the
presentation of the social history of the oppressed who had left behind little or no written record — was fresh and yielded, at least in its earlier stages, significant
results.

Later, beginning in the 1980s, revisionist history and campus radicalism became increasingly bogged down in the miasma created by identity politics and post-
modernism, with their generally reactionary agendas. At that point, the weaknesses and political confusion of the underlying approach, there from the start, became
much clearer. A People’s History, as a compilation of 1960s and 1970s revisionist scholarship, expressed its contributions as well its limitations. It is not
coincidental that the new studies developed concomitantly to the emergence of identity politics and the promotion of affirmative action on the campuses, as US
liberalism, trade unionism and the Democratic Party sought a new constituency for their policies outside of the working class. The new academic history served this
political development and has, in turn, been richly fed by it. Indeed, in the more facile historical studies, the oppressed groups of the past are presented as mere
transpositions of the various “interest groups” that emerged in the 1970s. It should not be surprising that the new history treated political economy and politics
superficially — or not at all — and tended to present the “agency” of oppressed groups as independent of the historical process, or as introduced to it by human will or
moral choice.

With this in mind, it is perhaps easier to confront the apparent contradiction between Zinn the historian and Zinn the political commentator, who wrote frequently for
the Nation and the Progressive and whose views were much sought-after in radical circles. As an historian, Zinn found nothing progressive in “the system.” Of the

two-party system, Zinn wrote, “to give people a choice between two different parties and allow them, in a period of rebellion, to choose the slightly more democratic
one was an ingenious mode of control.” Zinn wrote that elections are times “to consolidate the system after years of protest and rebellion.” And he invariably presented
reforms as means by which the elite bought off the loyalty of the masses. Yet the same Zinn, who (incorrectly) found few differences to parse over between the
Republican Party of Lincoln and the pro-slavery Democratic Party of Jefferson Davis, called for a vote for Barack Obama in 2008, arguing that Obama, while not mgood, was decidedly better than George W. Bush. Zinn qualified his endorsement by arguing that Democrats, once in office, could be pressured to enact reforms, evidently drawing no conclusions from the unrelenting rightward shift of the US political system from the 1970s on.His idolization of “resistance” in the pages of A People’s History masked a pessimistic outlook. In every case, resistance for Zinn was either co-opted or crushed by establishment control. Given this, surely the best that could be hoped for was co-option through reforms. There were no strategic lessons to be drawn; this was all to

repeat itself. Zinn’s general disinterest in A People’s History in politics and thought — the conscious element in history — becomes more pronounced in his last chapters. By the time he arrives in the 1970s, even Zinn’s resisters appear less heroic: angry farmers, trade unionists, Wobblies, and Socialists have given way to proponents of identity politics, environmental reform, and the pro-Democratic Party anti-war movement.
Zinn’s concluding chapter, “The Coming Revolt of the Guards,” in which he ponders how “the system of control” might ultimately be broken, brings into the clear the
link between his politics and his history. “The Guards” referenced in the chapter title, as it turns out, are workers. “[T]he Establishment cannot survive without the
obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and
social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, transport and communications workers, garbage men and firemen,”
according to Zinn. “These people — the employed, the somewhat privileged — are drawn into alliance with the elite. They become the guards of the system, buffers
between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls.”  “The American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history,” Zinn
writes. “With a country so rich in natural resources, talent, and labor power the system can afford to distribute just enough wealth to just enough people to limit
discontent to a troublesome minority.”  These words reflected the demoralized perspective of the “New Left” and the ideological influences of elements such as the
Frankfurt School, Marcuse and others who wrote off the revolutionary role of the working class, viewing it as a reactionary mass that had been bought off by the
capitalist system. Included in an updated version of the book in published in 2003, they now seem quite dated. These considerable theoretical and political limitations notwithstanding, Zinn’s contributions in A People’s History of the United States — its presentation of the crimes of the US ruling class and the resistance of  oppressed groups — are significant. The book deserves its audience.

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Creating Unnatural Disasters in Gaza: Floods & Earthquakes

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Haiti Hypocrisy Hides Another War Crime in Gaza

By Tammy Obeidallah

The human catastrophe gripping Haiti since a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated that nation on January 12 rightfully dominated nearly every newscast for a week. With devastation of such unimaginable proportions, there are the riveting stories of despair and courage, along with a relatively new and hideous phenomenon:  politicization of the disaster and its aftermath.

Media opportunists have reached new depths of hypocrisy and ineptitude in covering the tragedy. Mainstream television networks and newspapers touted the overwhelming US military response, as well as other countries that were among the first to reach the victims in Haiti, including Israel.

Conspicuously absent from the kudos list were two of the first responders, Cuba and Venezuela.

On January 13, one day after the quake, a C-130 transport plane was dispatched to Port-au Prince loaded with supplies, food and doctors. To date, six massive shipments from Venezuela have reached Haiti, totaling 5,000 metric tons of foodstuffs, as well as humanitarian aid teams and heavy machinery for reconstruction. Additionally, President Hugo Chavez pledged that his country will provide Haiti with free gasoline and diesel.

Cuba has maintained approximately 400 doctors who provide free medical services throughout Haitian communities for the last several years. Therefore, Cuban medical teams were first on the scene to set up two emergency hospitals. A group of 38 Haitians currently completing medical internships in Cuba returned to their homeland to assist in the relief efforts, along with an additional three Cuban surgical teams. The Associated Press reported on January 20 that Ena Zizi, a 69 year-old pulled from the rubble after a week, was taken to the Cuban hospital for treatment. Reportedly, Cuban teams are working 18-hour shifts in order to save as many of the injured as possible.

Meanwhile, in the most poignant outpouring of compassion for the Haitian people, Palestinians—themselves no strangers to widespread death and destruction—lined up at the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza to donate toiletries, toys, sweets and blankets. Unfortunately, none of the goods will be shipped to Haiti due to the Israeli siege. Some Gazans were able to donate money, apparently the only commodity allowed to leave the Strip.

While ignoring the contributions of political and ideological rivals, American media gave Israel special recognition at every turn. The field hospital set up by the Israeli army warranted an entire segment of NBC’s nightly newscast on January 19. One senior Israeli officer stated “If we save one life, it’s as if we save the whole world.”

So let us get this straight:  it is imperative to give Israelis singular credit in saving Haitian children, while ignoring the fact that last year’s assault on Gaza killed hundreds of children and maimed thousands more, not to mention the 360 Lebanese children slaughtered during Israel’s 2006 offensive.

With the American media locked in fierce competition as to who could lavish the most praise on the Israeli military for  saving Haiti, another disaster was brewing in Gaza. Israeli officials opened the Al-Wadi dam east of Gaza in the wake of torrential rainfall in the region, flooding the refugee camp of Al-Nusseirat, Johr al-Deek village and al-Mughraqa, a suburb of Gaza City. Villagers provided eyewitness accounts that Israeli forces stationed in the area opened the dam without warning and without coordination with Palestinian civil agencies. Media outlets from Brunei to China to Iran reported the disaster.

According to China’s Xinhua news agency, Israel had constructed the dam to hoard rain water, depriving Gazan farms and villages of this precious resource for years. As the dam was opened, houses that had been built along the dried-up ditch were inundated with flood waters, displacing approximately 100 Gazan families and drowning cattle and poultry. Palestinian Civil Defense Chief Yousef al-Zahar stated “…what happened was a deliberate act by Israel.”

Israeli officials were quick to deny opening any dams, or that a dam even existed in the area. Israel’s Eshkol regional council bordering Gaza dismissed the claims as “silly,” maintaining they knew nothing of such a dam.

Pro-Israeli bloggers took up the cries of “water libel,” adding that there were no coordinates on any map indicating the presence of a dam and that Palestinians had made up the whole story.  Of course, the Israelis would do well not to acknowledge the presence of such a dam, else admit to years of denying water to Gazan farmers.

However, pictures show that the deluge in Gaza could not have resulted merely from flash flooding. According to the Israeli Meteorological Service, up to five inches of rain fell in the area. The Gaza valley where the floods occurred runs nearly five miles from its eastern border with the Jewish state, descending to the Mediterranean Sea. The downgrade would allow for more severe flooding, but not to the levels seen in Gaza. Therefore, some other factor had to contribute to such massive amounts of water rushing into the area, i.e. Israel’s opening of the Al-Wadi dam.

Another instance of Israel’s disregard for environmental consequences—even more sinister given what happened in Haiti—took place in August 2009. Israel National News reported that tremors were created in the southern Negev in a joint project with the University of Hawaii and funded by the US Department of Defense. In the experiment, Israelis detonated 80 tons of explosive material to simulate the intensity of a magnitude 3.0 earthquake. Supposedly, this will help scientists improve seismological and acoustic readings to predict future earthquakes. It was not explained why the US Department of Defense was involved.

The tragedies of Haiti and Gaza are compounded by mainstream media’s exploitation of millions of innocent people in order to promote the US and Israel’s masquerade as benevolent societies. Good works done by governments at odds with the US-Israeli agenda are ignored, maintaining contempt for the very people who should be praised. And once again, while the world’s attention is elsewhere, Israel takes the opportunity to attack Palestinian lives and livelihoods, making a bleak existence even more unbearable.

– Tammy Obeidallah contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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