Archive for July, 2011

What did Obama try to prove ?

Friday, July 29th, 2011

The Anti-Empire Report

July 28th, 2011
by William Blum
www.killinghope.org

Arguing Libya

On July 9 I took part in a demonstration in front of the White House, the theme of which was “Stop Bombing Libya”. The last time I had taken part in a protest against US bombing of a foreign country, which the White House was selling as “humanitarian intervention”, as they are now, was in 1999 during the 78-day bombing of Serbia. At that time I went to a couple of such demonstrations and both times I was virtually the only American there. The rest, maybe two dozen, were almost all Serbs. “Humanitarian intervention” is a great selling device for imperialism, particularly in the American market. Americans are desperate to renew their precious faith that the United States means well, that we are still “the good guys”.

This time there were about 100 taking part in the protest. I don’t know if any were Libyans, but there was a new element — almost half of the protesters were black, marching with signs saying: “Stop Bombing Africa”.

There was another new element — people supporting the bombing of Libya, facing us from their side of Pennsylvania Avenue about 40 feet away. They were made up largely of Libyans, probably living in the area, who had only praise and love for the United States and NATO. Their theme was that Gaddafi was so bad that they would support anything to get rid of him, even daily bombing of their homeland, which now exceeds Serbia’s 78 days. I of course crossed the road and got into arguments with some of them. I kept asking: “I hate that man there [pointing to the White House] just as much as you hate Gaddafi. Do you think I should therefore support the bombing of Washington? Destroying the beautiful monuments and buildings of this city, as well as killing people?”

None of the Libyans even tried to answer my question. They only repeated their anti-Gaddafi vitriol. “You don’t understand. We have to get rid of Gaddafi. He’s very brutal.” (See the CNN video of the July 1 mammoth rally in Tripoli for an indication that these Libyans’ views are far from universal at home.)

“But you at least get free education and medical care,” I pointed out. “That’s a lot more than we get here. And Libya has the highest standard of living in the entire region, at least it did before the NATO and US bombing. If Gaddafi is brutal, what do you call all the other leaders of the region, whom Washington has long supported?”

One retorted that there had been free education under the king, whom Gaddafi had overthrown. I was skeptical of this but I didn’t know for sure that it was incorrect, so I replied: “So what? Gaddafi at least didn’t get rid of the free education like the leaders in England did in recent years.”

A police officer suddenly appeared and forced me to return to my side of the road. I’m sure if pressed for an explanation, the officer would justify this as a means of preventing violence from breaking out. But there was never any danger of that at all; another example of the American police-state mentality — order and control come before civil liberties, before anything.

Most Americans overhearing my argument with the Libyans would probably have interjected something like: “Well, no matter how much you hate the president you can still get rid of him with an election. The Libyans can’t do that.”

And I would have come back with: “Right. I have the freedom to replace George W. Bush with Barack H. Obama. Oh joy. As long as our elections are overwhelmingly determined by money, nothing of any significance will change.”

Postscript: Amidst all the sadness and horror surrounding the massacre in Norway, we should not lose sight of the fact that “peaceful little Norway” participated in the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999; has deployed troops in Iraq; has troops in Afghanistan; and has supplied warplanes for NATO’s bombing of Libya. The teenagers of those countries who lost their lives to the US/NATO killing machine wanted to live to adulthood and old age as much as the teenagers in Norway. With all the condemnation of “extremism” we now hear in Norway and around the world we must ask if this behavior of the Norwegian government, as well as that of the United States and NATO, is not “extremist”.

The Berlin Wall — Another Cold War Myth

The Western media will soon be revving up their propaganda motors to solemnize the 50th anniversary of the erecting of the Berlin Wall, August 13, 1961. All the Cold War clichés about The Free World vs. Communist Tyranny will be trotted out and the simple tale of how the wall came to be will be repeated: In 1961, the East Berlin communists built a wall to keep their oppressed citizens from escaping to West Berlin and freedom. Why? Because commies don’t like people to be free, to learn the “truth”. What other reason could there have been?

First of all, before the wall went up thousands of East Germans had been commuting to the West for jobs each day and then returning to the East in the evening; many others went back and forth for shopping or other reasons. So they were clearly not being held in the East against their will. Why then was the wall built? There were two major reasons:

1) The West was bedeviling the East with a vigorous campaign of recruiting East German professionals and skilled workers, who had been educated at the expense of the Communist government. This eventually led to a serious labor and production crisis in the East. As one indication of this, the New York Times reported in 1963: “West Berlin suffered economically from the wall by the loss of about 60,000 skilled workmen who had commuted daily from their homes in East Berlin to their places of work in West Berlin.” 1

In 1999, USA Today reported: “When the Berlin Wall crumbled [1989], East Germans imagined a life of freedom where consumer goods were abundant and hardships would fade. Ten years later, a remarkable 51% say they were happier with communism.” 2 Earlier polls would likely have shown even more than 51% expressing such a sentiment, for in the ten years many of those who remembered life in East Germany with some fondness had passed away; although even 10 years later, in 2009, the Washington Post could report: “Westerners say they are fed up with the tendency of their eastern counterparts to wax nostalgic about communist times.” 3

It was in the post-unification period that a new Russian and eastern Europe proverb was born: “Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.” It should also be noted that the division of Germany into two states in 1949 — setting the stage for 40 years of Cold War hostility — was an American decision, not a Soviet one. 4

2) During the 1950s, American coldwarriors in West Germany instituted a crude campaign of sabotage and subversion against East Germany designed to throw that country’s economic and administrative machinery out of gear. The CIA and other US intelligence and military services recruited, equipped, trained and financed German activist groups and individuals, of West and East, to carry out actions which ran the spectrum from juvenile delinquency to terrorism; anything to make life difficult for the East German people and weaken their support of the government; anything to make the commies look bad.

It was a remarkable undertaking. The United States and its agents used explosives, arson, short circuiting, and other methods to damage power stations, shipyards, canals, docks, public buildings, gas stations, public transportation, bridges, etc; they derailed freight trains, seriously injuring workers; burned 12 cars of a freight train and destroyed air pressure hoses of others; used acids to damage vital factory machinery; put sand in the turbine of a factory, bringing it to a standstill; set fire to a tile-producing factory; promoted work slow-downs in factories; killed 7,000 cows of a co-operative dairy through poisoning; added soap to powdered milk destined for East German schools; were in possession, when arrested, of a large quantity of the poison cantharidin with which it was planned to produce poisoned cigarettes to kill leading East Germans; set off stink bombs to disrupt political meetings; attempted to disrupt the World Youth Festival in East Berlin by sending out forged invitations, false promises of free bed and board, false notices of cancellations, etc.; carried out attacks on participants with explosives, firebombs, and tire-puncturing equipment; forged and distributed large quantities of food ration cards to cause confusion, shortages and resentment; sent out forged tax notices and other government directives and documents to foster disorganization and inefficiency within industry and unions … all this and much more. 5

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, of Washington, DC, conservative coldwarriors, in one of their Cold War International History Project Working Papers (#58, p.9) states: “The open border in Berlin exposed the GDR [East Germany] to massive espionage and subversion and, as the two documents in the appendices show, its closure gave the Communist state greater security.”

Throughout the 1950s, the East Germans and the Soviet Union repeatedly lodged complaints with the Soviets’ erstwhile allies in the West and with the United Nations about specific sabotage and espionage activities and called for the closure of the offices in West Germany they claimed were responsible, and for which they provided names and addresses. Their complaints fell on deaf ears. Inevitably, the East Germans began to tighten up entry into the country from the West, leading eventually to the infamous Wall. However, even after the wall was built there was regular, albeit limited, legal emigration from east to west. In 1984, for example, East Germany allowed 40,000 people to leave. In 1985, East German newspapers claimed that more than 20,000 former citizens who had settled in the West wanted to return home after becoming disillusioned with the capitalist system. The West German government said that 14,300 East Germans had gone back over the previous 10 years. 6

Let’s also not forget that Eastern Europe became communist because Hitler, with the approval of the West, used it as a highway to reach the Soviet Union to wipe out Bolshevism forever, and that the Russians in World War I and II, lost about 40 million people because the West had used this highway to invade Russia. It should not be surprising that after World War II the Soviet Union was determined to close down the highway.

We came, we saw, we destroyed, we forgot

An updated summary of the charming record of US foreign policy. Since the end of the Second World War, the United States of America has …

1.   Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of which were democratically-elected. 7

2.   Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries. 8

3.   Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries. 9

4.   Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries. 10

5.   Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders. 11

In total: Since 1945, the United States has carried out one or more of the above actions, on one or more occasions, in the following 69 countries (more than one-third of the countries of the world):

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Australia
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia
  • Brazil
  • British Guiana (now Guyana)
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Congo (also as Zaire)
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • East Timor
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Fiji
  • France
  • Germany (plus East Germany)
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Palestine
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Seychelles
  • Slovakia
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Soviet Union
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Syria
  • Thailand
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam (plus North Vietnam)
  • Yemen (plus South Yemen)
  • Yugoslavia

(See a world map of US interventions.)

The occult world of economics

When you read about economic issues in the news, like the crisis in Greece or the Wall Street/banking mortgage shambles are you sometimes left befuddled by the seeming complexity, which no one appears able to untangle or explain to your satisfaction in simple English? Well, I certainly can’t explain it all myself, but I do know that the problem is not necessarily that you and I are economic illiterates. The problem is often that the “experts” discuss these issues as if we’re dealing with hard and fast rules or laws, not to be violated, scientifically based, mathematically sound and rational; when, in fact, a great deal of what takes place in the real world of economics and in the arena of “expert” analysis of that world, is based significantly on partisan party politics, ideology, news headlines, speculation, manipulation, psychology (see the utter meaninglessness and absurdity of the daily rise or fall of stock prices), backroom deals of the powerful, and the excessive power given to and reliance upon thoroughly corrupt credit-rating agencies and insurers of various kinds. The agencies like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s are protection rackets — pay our exorbitant fees or we give you a bad rating, which investors and governments then bow down to as if it’s the result of completely objective and impressive analytical study.

Then there’s the exceptions made for powerful countries to get away with things that lesser countries, like Greece, are not allowed to get away with, but all still explained in terms of the unforgiving laws of economics.

And when all other explanations fail to sound plausible, the experts fall back on “the law of supply and demand”. But that law was repealed years ago; just try and explain the cost of gasoline based on it, as but one example.

So there’s a lot to cover up, many reasons why the financial-world players can’t be as open as they should be, as forthright as the public and investors may assume they are.

Consider the US budget deficit, about which we hear a great deal of scare talk. What we don’t hear is that the most prosperous period in American history occurred in the decades following the Second World War — from 1946 to 1973. And guess what? We had a budget deficit in the large majority of those years. Clearly such a deficit was not an impediment to growth and increasing prosperity in the United States — a prosperity much more widely shared than it is now. Yet we’re often fed the idea of the sanctity of a balanced budget. This and other “crises” are typically overblown for political reasons; the current “crisis” about the debt ceiling for example. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan, now an independent columnist, points out that “regardless of whether the debt ceiling is raised the US government is not going to go out of business. … If Goldman Sachs is too big to fail, certainly, the US government is.”

In economic issues that occupy the media greatly, such as the debt ceiling, one of the hidden keys to understanding what’s going on is often the conservatives’ perennial hunger to privatize Social Security and Medicare. If you understand that, certain things become much clearer. Naomi Klein points out that “the pseudo debate about the debt ceiling … is naked class war, waged by the ultra rich against everyone else, and it’s well past time for Americans to draw the line.”

Consider, too, the relative value of international currencies. Logically, reasonably, if the British pound is exchangeable for two dollars, one should be able to purchase in Washington goods and services for two dollars which would cost one pound in London. In real life, this of course is the very infrequent exception to the rule. Instead, at places called “exchanges” in New York and Chicago and London and Zurich and Frankfurt a bunch of guys who don’t do anything socially useful get together each day in a large room, and amidst lots of raised voices, busy computers, and numerous pieces of paper, they arrive at a value for the pound, as well as for a barrel of oil, for a pound of porkbellies, and for various other commodities that affect our daily lives. Why should these speculators and parasites have so much influence over the real world, the real economy, and our real lives?

As a general rule of thumb, comrades, as an all-purpose solution to our economic ills, remember this: We’ll keep going around in crisis circles forever until the large financial institutions are nationalized or otherwise placed under democratic control. We hear a lot about “austerity”. Well, austerity has to, finally, visit the super-rich. There are millions (sic) of millionaires and billionaires in the United States and Europe. As governments go bust, the trillions of dollars of these people must be heavily taxed or confiscated to end the unending suffering of the other 95% of humanity. My god, do I sound like a (choke, gasp) socialist?

Notes

1.   New York Times, June 27, 1963, p.12

2.   USA Today, October 11, 1999, p.1

3.   Washington Post, May 12, 2009; see a similar story November 5, 2009

4.   Carolyn Eisenberg, Drawing the Line: The American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-1949 (1996); or see a concise review of this book by Kai Bird in The Nation, December 16, 1996

5.   See William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, p.400, note 8, for a list of sources for the details of the sabotage and subversion.

6.   The Guardian (London), March 7, 1985

7.   http://killinghope.org/essays6/othrow.htm

8.   http://killinghope.org/bblum6/suppress.html

9.   See chapter 18 of Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower – add Palestine, 2006 to the list

10.                 http://killinghope.org/superogue/bomb.htm

11.                 http://killinghope.org/bblum6/assass.htm

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.

To add yourself to this mailing list simply send an email to bblum6 [at] aol.com with “add” in the subject line. I’d like your name and city in the message, but that’s optional. I ask for your city only in case I’ll be speaking in your area.

(Or put “remove” in the subject line to do the opposite.)

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission. I’d appreciate it if the website were mentioned.

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Obama’s SIN . . . Against Africa !!

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Scramble for Africa: Revolutions, Interventions, Land Grabbing and Free Trade

28.03.2011

Samir Amin (Third World Forum, Kairo/Dakar), Michel Chossudovsky (Author of “Globalization of Poverty”, Research Centre on Globalization, Kanada), Mamdouh Habashi (International Forum for Alternatives, Cairo), Nnimmo Bassey (Chair of Friends of the Earth International, Nigeria, and winner of the Right Livelihood Award), Wangui Mbatia (People’s Parliament, Nairobi), Eric Toussaint (Commitee for the Cancellation of Third World Debts, CADTM, Belgium), Immanuel Wallerstein (Yale University, USA), Evelyn Bahn (Inkota Network), Ibrahim Coulibaly (La Via Campesina / Coordination Nationale des Organisations Paysannes du Mail), Nicola Bullard (Focus on the Global South, Bangkok)

Revolutions in North Africa/ Intervention in Libya: Economic Backgrounds

28.03.2011

In the public debate, the economic root causes for the impoverishment  of North African countries and for the resulting revolts are barely discussed. We talked to the Canadian economist Michel Chossudovsky, head of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Samir Amin of the Third World Forum und Mamdouh Habashi of the International Forum for Alternatives about the role of the International Monetary Fund, the demands of the protest movements and the influence of the U.S. We also asked M. Chossudovsky about the possible motives behind the military intervention in Libya.

Pillage of a Continent

28.03.2011

How the former colonial powers and the International Monetary Fund have undermined the economic autonomy of Africa – and thus destroyed the health care systems, chances for education and food souvereignity of millions of people: We talked with Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International und awardee of the Right Livelihood Award, Nigeria, Wangui Mbatia, People’s Parliament, Kenya, Eric Toussaint, Committee for the Cancellation of Third World Debts and Immanuel Wallerstein, World System Theorist, Yale University, USA.

Land Grabbing: The New Scramble for Africa / E 10 Agrofuel Intensifies Hunger

28.03.2011

Since the food and financial crisis in 2008, a race for arable land has started worldwide. States, corporations, banks and funds of rich countries buy up large chunks of land to produce agrofuels and grow crops for food – or just to speculate. The consequence: Food prices are going up sharply, hunger increases. E 10 agrofuel also contributes to the food crisis, says Evelyn Bahn of the Inkota Network, our guest at the Berlin studio of Kontext TV. Also in the programme: Environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria, Wangui Mbatia from Kenya und Ibrahim Coulibaly of La Via Campesina. They talk about the concrete impacts of Land Grabbing on Africa.

EU Free Trade Policy: Increase of Hunger in Africa

28.03.2011

The appropriation of resources is one part of Europe’s relations to Africa, another part is the opening up of markets to European goods. We talked with Wangui Mbatia from Kenya, Kwame Banson from Fair Trade Africa and Nicola Bullard from Focus on the Global South about the impacts of EU trade policies and the so callled „Economic Partnership Agreements“ on Africa.

Obama, Sarkozy, Cameron = Murderers!

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Thanks to Stephen and rense.com

Washington’s Ongoing Libya Terror Bombing
By Stephen Lendman
7-18-11

On July 14, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile headlined, “The Libyan War ends.

Obama makes Moscow peace broker. NATO halts strikes,” saying:

“Bar the shouting, the war in Libya ended Thursday morning, July 14, when

(Obama) called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to hand Moscow the lead

role in negotiations with (Gaddafi to end) the conflict – provided only that the

Libyan ruler steps down in favor of a transitional administration.”

More about Obama’s demand below. For now, America’s Libya terror bombing

continues unabated, despite a White House July 13 Office of the Press Secretary

release, saying:

Obama thanked “Russia’s efforts to mediate a political solution in Libya,

emphasizing that (Washington) is prepared to support negotiations that lead to

a democratic transition….as long as (Gaddafi) steps aside.”

In fact, Obama spurns democratic values abroad and at home, intolerable

notions he won’t accept, nor peace, waging multiple imperial wars with no letup.

In Libya, moreover, at issue isn’t Gaddafi, it’s colonizing another country,

controlling its resources, plundering its wealth, and exploiting its people, the

same US aim always.

On July 15, Washington and about 30 European and Middle East countries illegally

recognized insurgent leaders as Libya’s legitimate government – the so-called

Transitional National Council (TNC). Meeting in Istanbul (without China and Russia),

the Libya Contact Group issued a statement, saying:

“Henceforth, and until an interim authority is in place, participants agreed to deal

with the (TNC) as the legitimate government authority in Libya.”

It added that Gaddafi no longer had legitimacy and must leave Libya with his family.

Explaining what’s clearly illegitimate, Secretary of State Clinton said:

“We still have to work through various legal issues (in other words, avoid them

entirely),

but we expect this step on recognition will enable the TNC to access additional

sources

of funding,” including $30 billion of up to $150 billion of Libya’s stolen wealth,

besides

its rich oil, gas, and water resources worth many multiples more.

At the same time, frustration grows after four months of stalemated ground and air

operations. As a result, despite saying Gaddafi must go, some NATO partners seem

willing to let him stay, though not in his present capacity.

Gaddafi, in fact, vows never to leave or surrender to insurgents or NATO. In a July 16

audio address, he told supporters:

“They are asking me to leave. That’s a laugh. I will never leave the land of my ancestors

or the people who have sacrificed themselves for me. After we gave our children as martyrs, we can’t backtrack or surrender or give up or move an inch.”

Libyans overwhelmingly back him, rallying in images (and reports) major media suppress, accessed through the following links:

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25630

http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2011/07/libya-ground-scenes-tripoli-july-2011

No one called them out. No one demanded support for Gaddafi. They came on their own, what usually happens when nations are lawlessly attacked. People rally overwhelmingly behind leaders against foreign aggressors. Libyans know Washington and NATO, not Gaddafi, is their enemy.

Moreover, they’re armed, ready to defend their country against invaders because Gaddafi gave about two million civilians weapons, more than enough to oust him if they wished. They don’t!

DEBKA also said that:

“From July 9, (its) military sources (said) NATO discontinued its air strikes against Libyan pro-government targets in Tripoli and other places. (Though unannounced, it signaled) that 15,000 flight missions (actually 15,308 through July 15) and 6,000 (actually 5,767 through July 15) bombardments of Qaddafi targets had failed to achieve their object.”

In fact, NATO’s web site (http://www.aco.nato.int/page424201235.aspx) states the following:

For July 9: 112 sorties conducted, including 48 strike missions;

For July 10: 139 sorties conducted, including 54 strike missions;

For July 11: 132 sorties conducted, including 49 strike missions;

For July 12: 127 sorties conducted, including 35 strike missions;

For July 13: No data posted. The above pattern likely continued.

For July 14: 132 sorties conducted, including 48 strike missions.

For July 15: 115 sorties conducted, including 46 strike missions.

Reporting from Tripoli on July 17, Middle East/Central Asian analyst Mahdi Nazemroaya emailed that “(l)ast night was very bad here. They bombed like crazy and everything was shaking.”

He elaborated in a Global Research.ca article, accessed through the following link:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25658

Calling it an overnight “Blitzkrieg,” he cited “large explosions….heard in the distance. Multiple urban areas were bombed simultaneously this morning.”

According to eyewitnesses, about 60 – 75 bombs hit Tajura (14 km east of Tripoli) and the city’s Seraj area. Continuing a regular pattern, civilian targets were struck, including residential areas. On July 16, Libyan state television reported mostly civilian casualties without specific numbers.

So far, in fact, for every combatant death, 10 civilians have been killed as a result of non-military sites struck, including residential neighborhoods.

Over night near bombing areas, “it was like an earthquake. Large buildings as far away as Al-Fatah Street….were shaking.”

July 16 strikes, however, differed from previous ones. Burning smells and “a strange smoldering filled the air” and lingered. “It even remained on the skin (after) the bombings….The sounds (and smoke plumes) were different.”

After previous bombings, smoke rose vertically “like a fire, but tonight (it was white and) horizontal….hovering above Tripoli.”

One explosion caused “a huge mushroom cloud, pointing to the possible use of (nuclear) bunker buster bombs.” Within a 15 km radius of targets, people “experienced burning eyes, lower back pain, (and) headaches,” unexplained symptoms not previously felt.

Last week, in fact, Libya’s prosecutor general Mohammed Zikri al-Mahjoubi accused NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen of war crimes, saying he’ll be criminally charged with:

“deliberate aggression against innocent civilians, the murder of children, as well as trying to overthrow the Libyan regime….(He’s) responsible (for) attack(ing) unarmed people, killing 1,108 and wounding 4,537 others in bombardment of Tripoli and other cities and villages.”

He also charged him with trying to murder Gaddafi.

On July 14, Rasmussen tried having it both ways, “encouraging all allies that have aircraft at their disposal to take part in operation,” while calling for a pro-Western political solution Libyans won’t accept, nor should they.

A Final Comment

Securing imperial control is the issue, an objective putting America at odds with millions of Libyans determined to resist and prevail.

In fact, Washington’s strategy may have backfired. Most Libyans united behind Gaddafi, together with regional and other allies, including China and Russia (for their own strategic interests), against exploitive Western “liberation.”

Though no end of conflict is imminent, perhaps this time people power may triumph. If so, the message to other imperial victims is don’t quit. Struggling long enough to prevail at times succeeds. Maybe this time for Libyans.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Why did Obama fall into the ditch?

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

We  can’t  say . . .  “We  never knew this!”

By W J Anthony

I am sure that we have often wished we could listen to someone on the front edge of an important event as it takes place in history so we might learn the truth of Why it happened.

The video link below gives an important front line report about why Obama’s illegal, unjustified attack on Libya is taking place.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DWPBxyiN8Y

Regime Change at the IMF … ?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Mounting Evidence that Dominique Strauss Kahn was Framed

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, July 7, 2011

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While the media has gone to arms length to obfuscate the matter, there is mounting evidence that Dominique Strauss Kahn was framed.

According to media reports, the 32-year-old Guinean Sofitel housemaid received the modest sum of 100,000 dollars paid into her bank account. The New York Times acknowledges the payment but fails to analyze the source of these payments. In an utterly confused statement, the NYT suggests that the money was deposited in the housemaid’s account by her Guinean boy friend who is serving time in a high security prison:

According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.

That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.

The investigators also learned that she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. The woman had insisted she had only one phone and said she knew nothing about the deposits except that they were made by a man she described as her fiancé and his friends. (NYT, July 1, 2011, emphasis added)

The bank records of the housemaid, not to mention the record of her telephone calls, are known to police investigators, yet both the media and the prosecutors have failed to reveal the identity of the persons who instigated these money transfers.

The reports suggest that they may be “drug related”, thereby casually dismissing the likelihood that the money could have been part of the framing of DSK. The reports also mention that the money deposits were made “over the last two years”, thereby conveying  the impression that they bear no relationship to the DSK affair.

The exact timing of these money transfers including the identity of  senders are known to police investigators. Why has this information not been released?

If the 100,000 dollars had indeed been deposited into her bank account in the course of the last two years, why on earth would she be working as a housemaid?

Regime change at the IMF

Why was the substance of the housemaid’s false accusations not released at an earlier stage?  Who was protecting her?

Why did the media wait to reveal information which confirms DSK’s innocence.

This information was known to the prosecutors at an early stage of the investigation, yet it was only released after the appointment of France’s Finance Minister Christine Lagarde as Managing Director of the IMF.

Lagarde’s candidacy was confirmed and accepted on June 26th. Her mandate was confirmed on June 28th following a decision of the IMF’s 24 member executive board.

Lagarde is an appointee of Wall Street and the US banking establishment. Her candidacy had been approved by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the 28th of June:

“I am pleased to announce our decision to support Christine Lagarde to head the IMF,” Geithner said in a statement hours before the 24-member IMF executive board was expected to select her as its managing director.

Careful timing. In a bitter irony, the report from the prosecutor proving DSK’s innocence was released on the day following the IMF’s executive board decision instating Lagarde as Managing Director of IMF for a five year term.

The frame-up has visibly succeeded. Who instructed prosecutors not to release this information until after the appointment of Lagarde as IMF Chief?

If this information had been revealed a few days earlier, Lagarde’s candidacy as IMF chief might have been questioned.

Regime change at the IMF has been speedily implemented, not to mention the implications of the DSK affair in relation to the French presidential elections.

Christine Lagarde commenced her five year term as IMF Managing Director on July 5th at the height of Greece’s debt crisis.

Sofar, the likely hypothesis of a frame-up directed against DSK is not being touched upon by the mainstream media.

Is the Indictment Fix … what it always used to be?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Was Dominique Strauss-Kahn Trying to Torpedo the Dollar?

by Mike Whitney

Thanks to Mike Whitney and  Global Research, May 19, 2011

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It’s all about perception management. The media is trying to dig up as much dirt as they can on Dominique Strauss-Kahn so they can hang the man before he ever sees the inside of a courthouse. It reminds me of the Terry Schiavo case, where devoted-husband Michael was pegged as an insensitive slimeball for carrying out the explicit wishes of his brain-dead wife. Do you remember how the media conducted their disgraceful 24 hour-a-day Blitzkrieg with the endless coverage of weepy Christian fanatics on the front lawn of the hospital while Hannity, Limbaugh and O’ Reilly fired away with their sanctimonious claptrap?

And now you’re telling me that that same media is just “doing their job?”

Give me a break.

Whoever wants to nail IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has really pulled out all the stops.  Their agents have been rummaging through diaries, hotel registries, phone records, yearbooks, yada, yada, yada. The UK Telegraph even paid a visit to a high-priced DC knocking shop to get a little dirt from Madame Botox; whatever it takes to make a randy banker look like the South Hill rapist. And they’re doing a pretty good job, too. The cops have made sure that the “Great Seducer” always appears handcuffed and dressed in a “pervie” raincoat with 3-days stubble before they parade him in front of the media.  On Wednesday–more grist for the mill–they released his mug-shot, an unflattering, deadpan photo that makes him look like Jack-the-Ripper. Was that the intention?

And, that’s not the half of it.  The Big Money is exhuming every woman he’s ever had contact with for the last 30 years hoping they can glean some damning tidbit of information that will convince the doubters that beneath that sophisticated manner and $25,000 suit lurks a closet Bluebeard ready to snap up your daughters and defile your wives.    Next thing you know,  they’ll be trotting out Paula Jones and Tanya Harding claiming they spent a torrid night with the Marquis de Kahn in a trailerpark outside Winamucca.

Where does it stop? Or does it stop? Are we in for another year-long Clinton-Lewinski feeding frenzy where everyday we hear more lurid details about the sexploits of people who don’t really interest us at all?

Aren’t you at all curious about who’s behind this “lynching by media” scam?  This is an all-out, no-holds-barred, steel-cage, take-down.  The big boys save that kind of action for the worst offenders, that is, for the insiders who have broken “Omerta” or wandered off the reservation.  I mean, they locked him up on Riker’s Island without bail, for Chrissake. What does that tell you? Even Bernie Madoff was allowed to stay in his $7 million Park Avenue penthouse while he waited for trial, but not Straus-Kahn. Oh, no. He get’s the royal treatment, even though he has no criminal record and nothing but the sketchy accusations of a chambermaid against him, he’s carted off to the state slammer where he can mingle with hardened criminals while dining on corn flakes and Wonder Bread.

You call that justice?

Can I tell you what this is all about? It’s about the dollar. That’s right. Strauss-Kahn was mounting an attack against the dollar and now the wrath of the Empire has descended on him like ton-of-bricks.  Here’s the scoop from the UK Telegraph:

“Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has called for a new world currency that would challenge the dominance of the dollar and protect against future financial instability…..

He suggested adding emerging market countries’ currencies, such as the yuan, to a basket of currencies that the IMF administers could add stability to the global system….Strauss-Kahn saw a greater role for the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights, (SDRs) which is currently composed of the dollar, sterling, euro and yen, over time but said it will take a great deal of international cooperation to make that work.” (“International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn calls for new world currency”, UK Telegraph)

So, Strauss-Kahn finds himself in the same crowd as Saddam Hussein and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, right? You may recall that Saddam switched  from dollars to euros about a year before the war. 12 months later Iraq was invaded, Saddam was hanged, and the dollar was restored to power.  Gaddafi made a similar mistake when “he initiated a movement to refuse the dollar and the euro, and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead, the gold dinar.” (“Libya: All About Oil, or All About Central Banking?” Ellen Brown, Op-Ed News)  Libya has since come under attack by US and NATO forces which have armed a motley group of dissidents, malcontents and terrorists to depose Gaddafi and reimpose dollar hegemony.

And now it’s Strauss-Kahn’s turn to get torn to shreds. And for good reason. After all, DSK actually poses a much greater threat to the dollar than either Saddam or Gaddafi because he’s in the perfect position to shape policy and to persuade foreign heads of state that replacing the dollar is in their best interests. And that is precisely what he was doing; badmouthing the buck. Only he was too dense to figure out that the dollar is the US Mafia’s mealticket, the main way that shifty banksters and corporate scalawags extort tribute from the poorest people on earth. Strauss-Kahn was rocking the boat, and now he’s going to pay.

Here’s a clip from CNN Money:

“The International Monetary Fund issued a report Thursday on a possible replacement for the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

The IMF said Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, could help stabilize the global financial system….SDRs represent potential claims on the currencies of IMF members…..The IMF typically lends countries funds denominated in SDRs. While they are not a tangible currency, some economists argue that SDRs could be used as a less volatile alternative to the U.S. dollar.

“Over time, there may also be a role for the SDR to contribute to a more stable international monetary system,” he said.

The goal is to have a reserve asset for central banks that better reflects the global economy since the dollar is vulnerable to swings in the domestic economy and changes in U.S. policy.

In addition to serving as a reserve currency, the IMF also proposed creating SDR-denominated bonds, which could reduce central banks’ dependence on U.S. Treasuries. The Fund also suggested that certain assets, such as oil and gold, which are traded in U.S. dollars, could be priced using SDRs.” (“IMF discusses dollar alternative”, CNN Money)

Wow. So DSK was zeroing in on US Treasuries as well as the dollar? That’s the whole shooting match.

So, what type of progress was he making in converting USDs to SDRs? According to Reuters: “The IMF general resources credit outstanding increased to 65.5 billion Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, ($104 billion) on May 12 from 6.0 billion SDRs at December 2007. The so-called new arrangement to borrow, which came into effect on April 1, increased the IMF’s available lending resources to 269 billion SDRs on May 12 from 120 billion SDRs on March 31.” (http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/05/17/idINIndia-57083920110517?type=economicNews)

Not a bad start for such an ambitious project. It looks like DSK’s dream of dethroning the dollar as the de facto “international currency” was beginning to gain momentum.  But didn’t he know that his actions would anger some very powerful and well-connected people?

Well, if he did; he never let on. In fact, he started mucking around in other stuff, too, like when he intervened on behalf of Irish taxpayers, trying to protect them at the expense of foreign bondholders. That’s a big “No no” in banker’s world. They keep a list of “people who count”, and taxpayers are not on that list. Here’s an excerpt from the Irish Times:

“Ireland’s Last Stand began less shambolically than you might expect. The IMF, which believes that lenders should pay for their stupidity before it has to reach into its pocket, presented the Irish with a plan to haircut €30 billion of unguaranteed bonds by two-thirds on average. (Irish finance minister) Lenihan was overjoyed, according to a source who was there, telling the IMF team: “You are Ireland’s salvation.”

The deal was torpedoed from an unexpected direction. At a conference call with the G7 finance ministers, the haircut was vetoed by US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who, as his payment of $13 billion from government-owned AIG to Goldman Sachs showed, believes that bankers take priority over taxpayers. The only one to speak up for the Irish was UK chancellor George Osborne, but Geithner, as always, got his way. An instructive, if painful, lesson in the extent of US soft power, and in who our friends really are.

The negotiations went downhill from there. On one side was the European Central Bank, unabashedly representing Ireland’s creditors and insisting on full repayment of bank bonds. On the other was the IMF, arguing that Irish taxpayers would be doing well to balance their government’s books, let alone repay the losses of private banks.” (“Ireland’s future depends on breaking free from bailout”, Morgan Kelly, Irish Times)

So, Strauss-Kahn stuck up for Irish taxpayers over the banks, the bondholders, the ECB, and the US Treasury. Naturally, that made him persona non grata among the ruling throng.

And, there’s more, too, because Strauss-Kahn’s vision was not limited to currency alone, but involved broad structural changes to the IMF itself that would have reversed decades of neoliberal policies.  DSK had settled on a new approach to policymaking; one that would abandon the worst elements of globalization and put greater emphasis on social cohesion, cooperation and multilateralism. Here’s an excerpt from the speech titled “Human Development and Wealth Distribution” he gave in November 2010:

“….Adam Smith—one of the founders of modern economics—recognized clearly that a poor distribution of wealth could undermine the free market system, noting that: “The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful and…neglect persons of poor and mean condition…is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.”

This was over 250 years ago. In today’s world, these problems are magnified under the lens of globalization….globalization also had a dark side. Lurking behind it was a large and growing chasm between rich and poor—especially within countries. An inequitable distribution of wealth can wear down the social fabric. More unequal countries have worse social indicators, a poorer human development record, and higher degrees of economic insecurity and anxiety. In too many countries, inequality increased and real wages stagnated—failing to keep up with productivity—over the past few decades. Ominously, inequality in the United States was back at its pre-Great Depression levels on the eve of the crisis….

An immediate task is to end the scourge of unemployment….Progressive taxation can also promote equity through redistribution, and this should be encouraged….“Inequality is corrosive” ….“it rots societies from within…it illustrates and exacerbates the loss of social cohesion…the pathology of the age and the greatest threat to the health of any democracy.” (“Human Development and Wealth Distribution”, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF)

Can you believe it? DSK is lecturing bankers about redistribution? That’s not what they want to hear. What they want to hear is why ripping off poor people actually makes the world a better place.  DSK’s speech just shows that he wasn’t drinking the Koolaid anymore. He was becoming a nuisance and they needed to get rid of him.

Does that mean he didn’t rape the woman who was in his hotel room?

Of course not. In fact, he could be guilty. But he deserves a fair trial, and someone’s making damn sure he doesn’t get one.
Mike Whitney is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Mike Whitney

If this charge is correct … what next ?

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Thanks to the journalistic courage of  World Net Daily


CERTIFIGATE

Subpoena targets ‘1961 typewritten birth certificate’

Case seeking light on Obama SSN says privacy concern irrelevant


Posted: July 08, 2011
1:00 am Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WND

President Barack Obama in the Oval Office April 4, 2011

A subpoena has been served on officials in the Hawaii Department of Health and the state’s attorney general demanding access to the original “1961 typewritten birth certificate #10641 for Barack Obama.”

The attorney behind the case, Orly Taitz, told WND she is asking a court to compel compliance.

The California attorney contends the state’s “privacy” regulations should be ignored, as Obama already has released what the White House purported to be a copy of the document to the public.

She has developed a case in Washington, D.C., seeking the original application for Obama’s Social Security number, a document that could provide significant information about the president’s early life that relates to his eligibility.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Royce Lamberth recently rejected a defense concern over procedure in the dispute. Taitz said that moved the case into the discovery phase, in which she can issue subpoenas to those holding documentation she is seeking.

Get the New York Times best-seller “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to be President,” by Jerome Corsi.

WND previously has reported on the issue that Obama holds a Connecticut-based Social Security number despite allegedly being born in Hawaii, starting his work career in the Aloha State, and never having lived in Connecticut.

The first three digits of a Social Security number indicate the state of the applicant’s mailing address. Obama’s number begins with 042, which falls within Connecticut’s range of 040 through 049.


The national news media have been virtually silent on this potentially criminal fact.

Indeed, when Fox News finally attempted to explain it, the news network broadcast false information and then scrubbed the report from its website.

When WND asked the White House about the issue, then–Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dodged the question.

Taitz’ case is against Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue explains that because of the numerous questions surrounding Obama’s eligibility, his birth certificate and his other records, the Freedom of Information Act request was submitted.

Blog posting with plans for motion to compel

According to a report in The Post & Email, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii had issued a subpoena that was served on the director of the Hawaii Department of Health this week.

The demand to Director Loretta J. Fuddy requires the “original 1961 typewritten birth certificate #10641 for Barack Obama … issued 08.08.1961, signed by Dr. David Sinclair, Stanley Ann Dunham Obama and registrar Lee, stored in the Health Department of the State of HI from 08081961 until now.”

Taitz told WND the document was delivered to the state’s attorney general as well, as he had dispatched a notice that he was representing the health department executive. She said the state might refuse to comply or argue in court that the subpoena should be dismissed, so she will ask the court to compel compliance.

In a statement today on her website, she explains, “The case at hand revolves around a … FOIA request for the original SS-5 application for CT SSN 042-68-xxxx, that Mr. Barack Obama is fraudulently using. According to his Selective Service certificate Mr. Obama is using this Social Security number … however Social Security administration states, that this number was never issued … Typically, individuals, who do not have valid birth certificates resort to using invalid Social Security numbers, therefore the birth certificate is at issue.”

She noted that Obama released an image the White House said was a copy of his Hawaiian certificate, but many experts have assessed it as a fake.

“Plaintiff filed multiple requests for access to the original birth certificate, which is supposed to be on file with the Department of Health in Hawaii. Plaintiff received a response from the registrar of the Department of Health in Hawaii, Mr. Alvin Onaka, stating that he and Ms. Loretta Fuddy, director of health, will not provide access to the original, due to considerations of privacy. Plaintiff filed an appeal, stating, that there cannot be a consideration of privacy, as Mr. Obama already released the document in question, and it is available to the public at large on the web site WhiteHouse.gov. There is no genuine issue of privacy, as all the information in the document in question is public, but there is an issue of forgery, as multiple expert testimonies show the document to be forged,” Taitz wrote.

Jerome Corsi, Ph.D., and author of “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to be President,” said he had been tipped off early in February that a long-form birth document for Obama had been forged and that the document was to be released.

“The information came from a mole within the Hawaii DOH who had been examining the vault logbook for months,” Corsi explained. “Until just prior to February 24, no Obama long-form hospital-generated birth record could be found in the Hawaii DOH.”

As WND has reported, there long have been concerns about the Social Security number.

“There is obviously a case of fraud going on here,” says Ohio licensed private investigator Susan Daniels. “In 15 years of having a private investigator’s license in Ohio, I’ve never seen the Social Security Administration make a mistake of issuing a Connecticut Social Security number to a person who lived in Hawaii. There is no family connection that would appear to explain the anomaly.”

Does the Social Security Administration ever re-issue Social Security numbers?

“Never,” Daniels told Corsi. “It’s against the law for a person to have a re-issued or second Social Security Number issued.”

Daniels said she is “staking my reputation on a conclusion that Obama’s use of this Social Security Number is fraudulent.”

“A person who wants to hide their true identity often picks up the Social Security Number of a deceased person, thinking that nobody would ever look into it,” Daniels added. “I think it was sometime in the 1980s that Obama decided to hide who he really is.”

There is no indication in the limited background documentation released by the Obama 2008 presidential campaign or by the White House to establish that Obama ever lived in Connecticut.

Nor is there any suggestion in Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams from My Father,” that he ever had a Connecticut address.

Also, nothing can be found in the public record that indicates Obama visited Connecticut during his high-school years.

An affidavit filed by Colorado private investigator John N. Sampson specifies that as a result of his formal training as an immigration officer and his 27-year career in professional law enforcement, “it is my knowledge and belief that Social Security Numbers can only be applied for in the state in which the applicant habitually resides and has their official residence.”

Daniels told WND she believes Obama had a different Social Security Number when he worked as a teenager in Hawaii prior to 1977.

“I doubt this is President Obama’s originally issued Social Security number,” she told WND. “Obama has a work history in Hawaii before he left the islands to attend college at Occidental College in California, so he must have originally been issued a Social Security number in Hawaii.”

The published record available about Obama indicates his first job as a teenager in Hawaii was at a Baskin-Robbins in the Makiki neighborhood on Oahu. USA Today reported the ice-cream shop still was in operation one year after Obama’s inauguration.

In April, some 11 months after WND began publicizing Obama’s Connecticut-based SSN, Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel briefly addressed the issue while reading his viewer mail on the air.

But the news anchor falsely asserted the president’s father lived in Connecticut.

In his viewer email segment April 13, O’Reilly was asked: “What about Obama having a Connecticut Social Security Number? He never lived there.”

“His father lived in Connecticut for several years,” O’Reilly claimed, adding that “babies sometimes get numbers based on addresses provided by their parents.”

However, there is no evidence Barack Obama Sr. ever lived in Connecticut. He left Hawaii in 1962 to study at Harvard in Massachusetts and then returned to his home country of Kenya.

When WND publicized O’Reilly’s error, the information vanished from the Fox News Channel’s website and BillOReilly.com.

O’Reilly’s full explanation of the “truth” of Obama “myths” is here:

The BirtherReport.com website, responding to complaints by Fox podcast customers that O’Reilly’s Social Security claim, broadcast on Fox, had gone missing from the audio archive, trumpeted the headline: “Busted: Fox News scrubbed Bill O’Reilly’s 4/13 mailbag segment on Obama’s Social Security Number reserved for Connecticut applicants.” The site added, “Not only did Fox News scrub the podcast, they also left out the viewer email about Obama’s Social Security number at O’Reilly’s website. I report, you decide!”
Read more: Subpoena targets ‘1961 typewritten birth certificate’ http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=319789#ixzz1ReNOG9eZ

… richer or poorer, sickness or health, till death do us … ?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Thanks to rense.com and Stephen
Health Care In Cuba And America
By Stephen Lendman
7-5-11

Under Article 50 of Cuba’s Constitution:

“Everyone has the right to health protection and care. The state guarantees this right:

— by providing free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the

rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized

treatment centers;

— by providing free dental care;

— by promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical

examinations, general vaccination and other measures to prevent the outbreak of

disease. All the population cooperates in these activities and plans through the

social and mass organizations.”

Cuba’s Article 51 also guarantees free universal education at all levels to young

people and adults. Cuba isn’t perfect, far from it, but imagine if America matched

these social benefits, ones Cuba provides at miniscule cost because services

eliminate bureaucratic and other waste that enrich Western healthcare provider

predators.

Nations should serve their people, not profiteers, even though Havana announced

hard times-forced service cutbacks. At the time, numerous reports explained

Cuba’s announced job cuts, including by Financial Times writer Marc Frank last

September 13 headlining, “Cuba to cut 500,000 from state payroll,” saying:

Those eliminated will be shifted “to the private sector in 2011,” and that “eventually

more than a million jobs would be cut,” according to the Cuban Workers

Confederation (CTC), its only union, saying that:

“Job options will be increased and broadened with new forms of non-state

employment, among them leasing land, co-operatives and self-employment

absorbing hundreds of thousands of workers in the coming years.”

Around half of them will be licensed as self-employed, an agenda begun in the

1990s, including for family-run restaurants, car repair shops, construction, artisan

work, and other small businesses. Cooperatives were another earlier initiative to

get greater emphasis ahead. Overall, it’s the biggest shift to private enterprise since

all 58,000 small businesses were nationalized in 1968.

In December 2009, Raul Castro’s government reported about five million state

workers, over 85% of Cuba’s labor force. The private sector employed 591,000,

mostly farmers and 143,000 self-employed. Cutting 10% of government workers in

2011 and more ahead represents a significant policy change. It remains to be seen

how radically a shift to a more market-run economy will affect Cuba’s 60 year

model, including its delivery of social services.

On September 13, 2010, Al Jazeera’s Juan Jacomino said all Cubans, including

private sector ones, will still get state-provided free healthcare, education, and

other longstanding social services, the constitutionally mandated hallmark of

Cuba’s revolution. However, CTC’s announcement said policy changes were

necessary: “to increase production and the quality of services, reduce inflated social

spending, and eliminate undue gratuities, excessive subsidies, (university) studies

as a source of employment, and early retirement.”

At issue is hard economic times like elsewhere. Nickel, for example, Cuba’s leading

export, plummeted from $50,000 a ton to less than $10,000. In addition, tourist

revenues and exile remittances fell sharply, forcing measures never before taken.

Hopefully, better economic times will improve all mandated services, especially

Cuba’s model health system that’s likely to see cutbacks.

Cuba Under Castro

An earlier 2006 article discussed it, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2006/08/cuba-under-castro_28.html

It discussed Cuba’s achievements under embargo, at first partial, then total in February, 1962 when it was expanded to include everything except non-subsidized sales of food and medicines. A month later it banned the import of all goods made from Cuban materials regardless of where produced. In 1992, the embargo further tightened with passage of the Cuban Democracy (Torricelli) Act that legalized the encouragement of pro-US opposition groups to forcefully target Castro’s government. In 1996, the Helms-Burton Act hardened it again by authorizing Washington the right to sue any corporation anywhere that does business with Cuba.

The US embargo remains in place despite sectors of America’s business community wanting access to Cuba’s market, including oil and other interests, concerned about profits, not ideology or politics.

Last November, the UN General Assembly, for the 19th straight year, called on Washington to end its economic, commercial, and financial embargo, calling it morally indefensible. The vote was 187 in favor, two opposed (America and Israel) with three abstentions (Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau).

On April 19, 2009, New York Times writers Sheryl Stolberg and Alexei Barrionuevo headlined, “Obama Says US Will Pursue Thaw With Cuba,” saying:

Obama “told a gathering of Western Hemisphere leaders (that) ‘the United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba,’ and (is) willing to have his administration engage the Castro government on a wide array of issues.”

Another promise made, another broken. Cuba is still waiting, though on January 14, the Obama administration eased travel restrictions for academic, religious, and cultural groups and will allow charter flights from more US airports. Americans will also be able to send money to non-government connected Cuban citizens. As always, it remains to be seen how the announced policy turns out. Like so many previous times, it may prove more rhetoric than change.

Revolutionary Cuba

In its early years, Castro made a clean break with world capitalism that turned Cuba into a brothel. He nationalized US industries, carried out land reform, closed the Mafia-owned casinos and ended longstanding, systemic corruption, replacing the former system with state-controlled socialism, a planned economy.

After the Soviet Union dissolved, Cuba modestly changed of necessity, allowing a limited amount of free enterprise, including in agriculture to increase output, relieve food shortages, and neutralize the country’s black market by having more readily available affordable food supplies.

Small retailing and light manufacturing were also permitted as private for-profit businesses. In the mid-1990s, 100% foreign commercial ownership was allowed in joint ventures, up from the 1982-established 49%.

Social services have been Cuba’s hallmark, its most notable successes, especially in areas of education and health care. Besides constitutionally mandated rights, Cuba (in 1983) adopted the Public Health Law that obligates the state permanently to assure, improve, and protect its citizens’ health, including those rehabilitating from physical or mental disabilities.

In 1989, the World Health Organization (WHO) called Cuba’s health system a “model for the world.” It cited its extensive system of family doctors and sophisticated tertiary care facilities, its emphasis on nutrition and preventive care, its low infant mortality rate at 6 per 1,000 population that equals the developed world’s average and betters America’s at 7%.

Cuba also matches America’s life expectancy, has double the number of physicians per 1,000 population, and an overall lower mortality rate. Moreover, it has the most complete infant immunization coverage in the developing world and an exemplary national health and nuitrition education program, emphasizing chemical-free, non-GMO, organically grown fresh produce which it planned to have enough of to feed its entire population in a climate thought inhospitable to grow chemical-free food. Cuba proved it could be done.

It also delivers top quality health care at miniscule cost compared to America with, by far, the world’s highest per capita expense, because corporate providers game the system for profit, regardless of quality of care delivered.

Yet America leaves over 50 million of its citizens uninsured, and about 40% of them will remain so under Obamacare, an outrageous program to ration care and enrich providers by leaving them mostly unregulated to operate as they wish.

In late 1990’s, shortages of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies impacted Cuba’s health system adversely, yet it devised innovative solutions, including development of a world-class biotechnology industry in state-of-the-art research labs where new drugs are developed for home use and export.

A May 2008 WHO assessment of “Cuba’s primary health care revolution, 30 years on” cited impressive achievements even under embargo. WHO again said Cuban indicators “are close (to) or equal those in developed countries,” including seven deaths per 1,000 children aged five or less, a decrease from 46 over 40 years earlier. At 77 years, Cubans also have one of the world’s highest life expectancies.

The nation’s centerpiece is its 498 community-based polyclinics, serving from 30,000 – 60,000 people. They act as organizational hubs for 20 – 40 neighborhood-based family doctor/nurse offices, and as accredited research and teaching centers for medical, nursing, and allied health sciences students. They’re the backbone of Cuba’s health system.

Most Cuban doctors practice general medicine because it’s mandated for over 97% of medical graduates. Later they can apply for a second specialty area.

Since 2002, 241 polyclinics underwent extensive renovation, a process continuing today to maintain high standards consistent with modern technology, including care formerly only available in hospitals.

As a result, 22 services are offered, including rehabilitation, x-rays, ultrasound, optometry, ophthalmology, endoscopy, thrombolysis, emergency services, traumatology, clinical lab services, family planning, emergency dentistry, pre and postnatal child care, immunization, diabetic and elderly care. Other specialties include dermatology, psychiatry, psychology, cardiology, family and internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology, mouth diseases, plus other services.

They include acupuncture, message therapy, electromagnetic therapy, mud therapy, reflex therapy, heat therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, adult and children’s gym, and more. At all times, quality care and patient satisfaction are stressed.

World Health Organization (WHO) Assessment of World Health Systems

In 2000, the WHO assessed them, using five performance indicators to measure effectiveness in 191 member states. They included:

— overall level of health;

— health distribution;

— responsiveness, including respect for patients, access, quality of basic amenities and choice of providers;

— distribution and amount of financing; and

— ability to perform certain functions, including investment, training, delivery of services, and overall stewardship of resources and those entrusted with them.

France performed best followed by Italy, Spain, Oman, Austria and Japan. America ranked 37th, despite spending double the average amount of other developed nations.

Highest rated Latin American countries were Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica and Cuba, rated 22nd, 33rd, 36th and 39th in the world respectively. In terms of fairness, Cuba ranked 23rd, America 54th.

In 2009, WHO issued a more detailed report, accessed in full through the following link:

http://www.who.int/whosis/whostat/EN_WHS09_Full.pdf

Some of its findings are as follows:

(1) Children aged five years underweight for age:

— no data for Cuba, but it likely matches developed world percentages;

— 1.3% in America

(2) Under age five mortality rate:

— 8 per 1,000 live births in America;

— 6 per 1,000 live births in Cuba;

(3) Measles immunization coverage among one-year olds:

— 93% in America;

— 99% in Cuba;

(4) Maternal mortality ratio per 100,000 live births:

— 11 in America; a 2010 Lancet study puts the figure at 16.7; Encyclopedia of the Nations data is 11 in 2005;

— 45 in Cuba; the same Lancet study has Cuba at 40.1; Encyclopedia of the Nations data is 29.4 in 2008;

(5) Births attended by skilled health personnel:

— 99% in America;

— 100% in Cuba;

(6) Contraceptive Prevalence:

— 72.8% in America;

— 73.3% in Cuba;

(7) Adolescent fertility rate per 1,000 girls aged 15 – 19:

— 41 in America;

— 42 in Cuba;

(8) Percentage of prenatal care:

— no data for America, though many poor women don’t get it;

— 100% in Cuba;

(9) Percent of unmet need for family planning:

— no data for America or Cuba;

(10) HIV/AIDS prevalence among adults aged 15 or older per 100,000 population:

— 452 in America;

— 67 in Cuba;

(11) Popular knowledge about HIV/AIDS among males aged 15 – 24:

— no data for America or Cuba;

(12) Comparable knowledge for females;

— no data for America;

— 30% in Cuba;

(13) Antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS infected persons;

— no data for America;

— 95% in Cuba;

(14) Successful TB Treatment

— 64% in America;

— 90% in Cuba; it’s also been successful in eradicating or minimizing other communicable diseases like dengue fever, polio and malaria;

(15) Access to “improved” drinking water sources:

— 99% in America;

— 91% in Cuba;

(16) Access to improved sanitation:

— 100% in America;

— 98% in Cuba;

(17) Life expectancy:

— 78 in America;

— 78 in Cuba;

(18) Health service coverage:

— partial data only for America but well under 100%;

— 100% in Cuba;

(19) Number of physicians per 10,000 population

— 26 in America;

— 59 in Cuba;

(20) Number of nurses and other medical professionals per 10,000 population:

— 94 in America;

— 74 in Cuba; and

(21) Number of dentists per 10,000 population:

— 16 in America;

— 9 in Cuba.

A Final Comment

In Cuba, health care is a human right. In America it’s a commodity to be sold for maximum profits, making it partly or fully unaffordable for millions.

In Cuba, the state is responsible for health care delivery. In America, it’s the private sector though government partly pays for those qualifying under Medicare or Medicaid. The latter provides less than full care, especially for expensive treatments, and Medicare recipients increasingly pay more for what was originally promised free, using payroll deductions to fund it.

According to WHO standards, health services must fulfill three model determinants:

— effectiveness;

— high “quantitative health indicators like infant mortality, nutritional status, and life expectancy;” and

— have social impact with regard “not only (to) social justice and the mobilization of community resources but the process through which people gain greater control over the social, political, economic, and environmental factors that affect their health.”

According to WHO measures, Cuba fulfills these standards. It has 21 medical schools and 70,000 doctors for a population of 11 million. It also has 284 hospitals, nearly 500 polyclinics, 11 research institutes, and a community-based system serving everyone.

All physicians must complete a nine year program, including five years of basic education, a one-year hospital internship, and three years in rural practice. Above all, preventive care and family medicine are emphasized. However, doctors wishing to specialize must fulfill three more years of training.

On graduation, they must abide by Cuba’s model health code to serve people, renounce private practice, cooperate with government policies, emphasize prevention and human welfare, and work for the common goal of national wellness.

In America, profit is the only goal, and it shows in effectiveness and cost. Cuba spends less than $200 per capita annually or about 4% of US expenditures, by far the world’s highest, yet millions are left partly or fully uncovered.

All Cubans get free health services. Americans must pay, including those on Medicare, and employed Medicaid recipients by payroll tax deductions plus out-of-pocket costs.

Removing profit from the equation minimizes or eliminates administrative costs, over-treatment, unnecessary drugs and frills, as well as exorbitant incomes, while stressing prevention and assuring everyone needing health care gets it. Cuba’s Constitution mandates it. America increasingly ignores it.

Cuba also sends thousands of doctors to about 70 other countries needing them, besides offering free medical education to thousands of students from about 100 countries at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). In return, they must provide their people Cuban-style healthcare in under-served communities.

Its model offers a better way to practice medicine, what millions of Americans lack and won’t get under Obamacare, designed for profit, not good health.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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Just in case Obama doesn’t know . . .

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011
War is a racket

Videos:

A very profitable war (4:36)

Afghan “War” reality check (2:37)

Afghanistan a mineral treasure trove (6:14)

Afghanistan and Vietnam (18:22)

America’s Growth Industry (3:17)

Banks, drugs and US-sponsored terrorism (10:00)

Bio warfare lab in Boston? (26:33)

CNN airheads cheer the latest war (6:42)

Disposable heroes (11:54)

Fox News sounding like Brasscheck TV (5:00)

Going on Patrol (22:00)

Heroin Inc. (10:00)

How the news media sells war (5:24)

How the world works (2:03)

Iraq for sale (1:15:40)

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers (3:07)

Is this what we’re fighting for? (7:59)

Just how corrupt are these guys? (7:00)

Mexican drug cartels trained by US (3:06)

Obama’s new war (5:22)

Remembering Panama (60:00)

Some truth about Afghanistan (9:00)

Telling it like it is (1:00)

“The Pathology of Power” (30:00)

The revolution continues (4:00)

The root of all war (2:00)

The US armed Saddam Hussein with chemical and biological weapons (9:56)

The US is no democracy (5:00)

There’s nothing ‘natural’ about war (8:49)

“They love war” (9:54)

War and finance (53:33)

War from inside the belly of the beast (8:27)

War Inc. (3:02)

War is a racket (updated for the 21st century) (9:23)

“War is a racket” (8:50)

War is theft (9:40)

“We’re going to war” (2:13)

Where Blackwater comes from (10:56)

Where is Bill Hicks when we need him? (10:06)

Who are the real terrorists? (4:37)

Who do you serve when you go to war (3:30)

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MURDER … by Obama Incorporated!

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

The Anti-Empire Report

July 1st, 2011
by William Blum
www.killinghope.org

Libya: Unending American hostility

If I could publicly ask our beloved president one question, it would be this: “Mr. President, in your short time in office you’ve waged war against six countries — Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. This makes me wonder something. With all due respect: What is wrong with you?”

The American media has done its best to dismiss or ignore Libyan charges that NATO/US missiles have been killing civilians (the people they’re supposedly protecting), at least up until the recent bombing “error” that was too blatant to be covered up. But who in the mainstream media has questioned the NATO/US charges that Libya was targeting and “massacring” Libyan civilians a few months ago, which, we’ve been told, is the reason for the Western powers attacks? Don’t look to Al Jazeera for such questioning. The government of Qatar, which owns the station, has a deep-seated animosity toward Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and was itself a leading purveyor of the Libyan “massacre” stories, as well as playing a military role in the war against Tripoli. Al Jazeera’s reporting on the subject has been so disgraceful I’ve stopped looking at the station.

Alain Juppé, Foreign Minister of France, which has been the leading force behind the attacks on Libya, spoke at the Brookings Institution in Washington on June 7. After his talk he was asked a question from the audience by local activist Ken Meyercord:

“An American observer of events in Libya has commented: ‘The evidence was not persuasive that a large-scale massacre or genocide was either likely or imminent.’ That comment was made by Richard Haass, President of our Council on Foreign Relations. If Mr. Haass is right, and he’s a fairly knowledgeable fellow, then what NATO has done in Libya is attack a country that wasn’t threatening anyone; in other words, aggression. Are you at all concerned that as NATO deals more and more death and destruction on the people of Libya that the International Criminal Court may decide that you and your friends in the Naked Aggression Treaty Organization should be prosecuted rather than Mr. Gaddafi?”

Monsieur Juppé then stated, without attribution, somebody’s estimate that 15,000 Libyan civilians had been killed by pro-Gaddafi forces. To which Mr. Meyercord replied: “So where are the 15,000 bodies?” M. Juppé failed to respond to this, although in the tumult caused bt the first question, it was not certain that he had heard the second one. (For a counter-view of the Libyan “massacre” stories, see this video.)

It should be noted that, as of June 30, NATO had flown 13,184 air missions (sorties) over Libya, 4,963 of which are described as strike sorties. You can find the latest figures on the Allied Command Operations website.

If any foreign power fired missiles at the United States would Barack Obama regard that as an act of war? If the US firing hundreds of missiles at Libya is not an act of war, as Obama insists (to avoid having to declare war as required by US law), then the deaths resulting from the missile attacks are murder. That’s it. It’s either war or murder. To the extent there’s a difference between the two.

It should be further noted that since Gaddafi came to power in 1969 there has virtually never been a sustained period when the United States has been prepared to treat him and the many positive changes he’s instituted in Libya and Africa with any respect. For a history of this hostility, including the continual lies and scare campaigns, see my Libya chapter in Killing Hope.

America and its perpetual quest for love

Why can’t we “get some of the people in these downtrodden countries to like us instead of hating us.”

– President Dwight D.Eisenhower, in a March,1953 National Security Council Meeting 1

The United States is still wondering, and is no closer to an understanding than Good Ol’ Ike was almost 60 years ago. American leaders still believe what Frances Fitzgerald observed in her study of American history textbooks: “According to these books, the United States had been a kind of Salvation Army to the rest of the world: throughout history, it had done little but dispense benefits to poor, ignorant, and diseased countries. … the United States always acted in a disinterested fashion, always from the highest of motives; it gave, never took.” 2

In 2007 I wrote in this report about the US military in Iraq:

I almost feel sorry for them. They’re “can-do” Americans, accustomed to getting their way, accustomed to thinking of themselves as the best, and they’re frustrated as hell, unable to figure out “why they hate us”, why we can’t win them over, why we can’t at least wipe them out. Don’t they want freedom and democracy? … They’re can-do Americans, using good ol’ American know-how and Madison Avenue savvy, sales campaigns, public relations, advertising, selling the US brand, just like they do it back home; employing psychologists and anthropologists … and nothing helps. And how can it if the product you’re selling is toxic, inherently, from birth, if you’re totally ruining your customers’ lives, with no regard for any kind of law or morality, health or environment. They’re can-do Americans, accustomed to playing by the rules — theirs; and they’re frustrated as hell.

Here now the Google Cavalry rides up on its silver horse. Through its think tank, Google Ideas (or “think/do tank”), the company paid for 80 former Muslim extremists, neo-Nazis, U.S. gang members and other former radicals to gather in Dublin June 26-28 (“Summit Against Violent Extremism”, or SAVE) to explore how technology can play a role in “de-radicalization” efforts around the globe. Now is that not Can-do ambitious?

The “formers,” as they have been dubbed by Google, will be surrounded by 120 thinkers, activists, philanthropists and business leaders. The goal is to dissect the question of what draws some people, particularly young people, to extremist movements and why some of them leave.

The person in charge of this project is Jared Cohen, who spent four years on the State Department’s Policy Planning staff, and is soon to be an adjunct fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), focusing on counter-radicalization, innovation, technology, and statecraft. 3

So … it’s “violent extremism” that’s the big mystery, the target for all these intellectuals to figure out. … Why does violent extremism attract so many young people all over the world? Or, of more importance probably to the State Department and CFR types: Why do violent extremists single out the United States as their target of choice?

Readers of this report do not need to be enlightened as to the latter question. There is simply an abundance of terrible things US foreign policy has done in every corner of the world. As to what attracts young people to violent extremism, consider this: What makes a million young Americans willing to travel to places like Afghanistan and Iraq to risk their life and limbs to kill other young people, who have never done them any harm, and to commit unspeakable atrocities and tortures?

Is this not extreme behavior? Can these young Americans not be called “extremists” or “radicals”? Are they not violent? Do the Google experts understand their behavior? If not, how will they ever understand the foreign Muslim extremists? Are the experts prepared to examine the underlying phenomenon — the deep-seated belief in “American exceptionalism” drilled into every cell and nerve ganglion of American consciousness from pre-kindergarten on? Do the esteemed experts then have to wonder about those who believe in “Muslim exceptionalism”?

This just in! American leaders do have feelings!

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s criticism of US and NATO forces in his country grows more angry and confrontational with each passing week. Recently, US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry was moved to reply to him: “When Americans, who are serving in your country at great cost — in terms of lives and treasure — hear themselves compared with occupiers, told that they are only here to advance their own interest, and likened to the brutal enemies of the Afghan people … they are filled with confusion and grow weary of our effort here. … We begin to lose our inspiration to carry on.”

That certainly may apply to many of the soldiers in the field. But oh, if only American military and political leaders could really be so offended and insulted by what’s said about them and their many wars.

Eikenberry — who has served in Afghanistan a total of five years as a senior US Army general and then as ambassador — warned that if Afghan leaders reach the point where they “believe that we are doing more harm than good,” then Americans may “reach a point that we feel our soldiers and civilians are being asked to sacrifice without a just cause,” and “the American people will ask for our forces to come home.”

Well, if Eikenberry is really interested, a June 8 BBC World News America/Harris Poll found that 52% of Americans believe that the United States should move to get its troops out of Afghanistan “now”, with only 35% believing that the troops should stay; while a Pew Research Center poll of mid-June showed 56% of Americans favor an “immediate” pullout.

“America has never sought to occupy any nation in the world,” the ambassador continued. “We are a good people.” 4

How nice. Reminds me of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, after the 1999 78-day bombing of the helpless people of the former Yugoslavia, a war crime largely instigated by herself, when she declared: “The United States is good. We try to do our best everywhere.” 5

Do these grownups really believe what comes out of their mouths? Does Mr. Eikenberry actually think that “America has never sought to occupy any nation in the world”? Sixty-six years after World War II ended, the United States still has major bases in Germany and Japan; 58 years after the end of the Korean War, tens of thousands of American armed forces continue to be stationed in South Korea; for over a century, the United States has occupied Guantanamo Bay in Cuba against the fervent wishes of the Cuban people. And what other term shall we use to describe the American presence in Iraq for more than eight years? And Afghanistan for almost ten?

George W. Bush had no doubt: The Iraqis are “not happy they’re occupied,” he said. “I wouldn’t be happy if I were occupied either.” 6

However, the current Republican leader in the House, John Boehner appears to be a true believer. “The United States has never proposed establishing a permanent base in Iraq or anywhere else,” he affirmed a few years ago. 7

If 18th century Americans could resent occupation by the British, when many of the Americans were British themselves, then how much easier to understand the resentment of Iraqis and Afghans toward foreign occupiers.

An excerpt from William Blum’s memoir of the 1960s-1970s: West-Bloc Dissident

What our natural enemies didn’t do to us, we naturally did to ourselves, as did many of the other underground newspapers and movement groups in the ’60s: disagreements developed, factions formed, and, eventually, a split that rent the organization hopelessly in two — the left’s traditional circular firing squad.

Putting it in the broadest terms, there were two species of activists in these large dysfunctional families who kept bumping heads, here, there, and everywhere. We can call them the “politicos” and the “yippies” (subspecies: hippies, anarchists).

The politicos placed their faith in organization and in the intellect — a mass movement, “vanguard” political parties, hierarchies and leaders, heavy on meetings, ideology, and tracts, at times doctrinaire sounding, using words and ideas to convince the great middle class, if not the great unwashed. There were theories to justify these tactics, theories based on class analysis, presented with historical annotation to certify their viability; theories that Norman Mailer disparagingly referred to as “the sound-as-brickwork-logic-of-the-next-step in some hard new Left program.”

The yippies looked upon all this with unconcealed impatience, scorn, and unbelief. Said a yippie to a politico back then: your protest is so narrow, your rhetoric so boring, your ideological power plays so old fashioned …

Let’s listen to Jerry Rubin, certainly the yippies’ most articulate spokesperson:

The long-haired beast, smoking pot, evading the draft, and stopping traffic during demonstrations is a hell of a more a threat to the system than the so-called “politicos” with their leaflets of support for the Vietcong and the coming working class revolution. Politics is how you live your life, not whom you vote for or whom you support.

The most important political conflict in the United States for Rubin was not of classes, but “the generational conflict”. “The respectable middle-class debates LBJ while we try to pull down his pants.”

Is [American society] interested in reform, or is it just interested in eliminating nuisance? What’s needed is a new generation of nuisances. A new generation of people who are freaky, crazy, irrational, sexy, angry, irreligious, childish, and mad … people who burn draft cards, people who burn dollar bills, people who burn MA and doctoral degrees, people who say: “To hell with your goals”, people who proudly carry Vietcong flags, people who re-define reality, who re-define the norm, people who see property as theft, people who say “fuck” on television, people who break with the status-role-title-consumer game, people who have nothing material to lose but their bodies … What the socialists like the SWP and the Communist Party, with their conversions of Marxism into a natural science, fail to understand is that language does not radicalize people — what changes people is the emotional involvement of action.

Hardly anyone, of course, fit precisely and solely into either of these classifications, including Jerry Rubin. Much of the yippie “party line” was to be taken metaphorically, unless one’s alienation had reached the level of an alien, while most politicos were independent of any political party.

Ray Mungo, one of the founders of Liberation News Service, later wrote of LNS:

It is impossible for me to describe our “ideology,” for we simply didn’t have one; we never subscribed to a code of conduct or a clearly conceptualized Ideal Society … And it was the introduction of formal ideology into the group which eventually destroyed it, or more properly split it into bitterly warring camps.

When Mungo speaks of “formal ideology”, he’s referring to the “politicos” who joined LNS after its inception. These people, whom he refers to as “the Vulgar Marxists”, as opposed to his own “anarchist” camp …

believed fervently in “the revolution”, and were working toward it — a revolution based on Marx and Lenin and Cuba and SDS and “the struggle”; and people were supported only on the basis of what they were worth to the revolution; and most of the things in life which were purely enjoyable were bourgeois comforts irrelevant to the news service, although not absolutely barred. … Their method of running the news service was the Meeting and the Vote, ours was Magic. We lived on Magic, and still do, and I have to say it beats anything systematic.”

Mungo would have one believe that ideology is a “thing” introduced from the “outside”, like tuberculosis, that is best to avoid. I would argue, however, that “ideology” is nothing less than a system of ideas in one’s head, whether consciously organized or not, that attempts to answer the questions: Why is the world the way it is? Why is society the way it is? Why are people the way they are? And what can be done to change any of this? To say you have no ideology comes dangerously close to saying that you have no opinions on — and perhaps no interest in — such questions. Ray Mungo, I believe, was overreacting to people whom he saw as too systematic and who didn’t appreciate his “Magic”.

Just as I knew instinctively that I wasn’t a Quaker or a pacifist, I knew I wasn’t a yippie, hippie or anarchist, which didn’t mean that I couldn’t enjoy and even take part in some of their antics. Jerry Rubin was mistaken in my case, as in many others — language, spoken and print, had played a major role in my radicalization; equally indispensable had been the sad state of the world, but it was language which had illuminated and brought home to me the sad state of the world and proffered explanations for why it was the way it was.

During the American Revolution, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, which sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the first few months of 1776, used language suffused with both reason and emotion to argue powerfully the case for independence, to strike convincingly at one of the greatest obstacles to separation: American veneration of royalty; and to point out that beyond the politics and legalities of the conflict, the colonies were sources of profit the crown would never voluntarily relinquish. This message clarified the revolution for thousands of confused rebels who had been debating points of law with London. Imagine if Paine had been a yippie instead of a politico — his primary message might have been to pull down the king’s pants.

It was the movement’s politicos who stayed the course, continuing to be activists well past the ’60s, while Rubin’s long-haired beast and Mungo’s Magic people — lacking the convictions of their courage — could more likely be found in the ’70s sitting cross-legged at the feet of the newest-flavor guru, probing interpersonal relations instead of international relations, or seeking fulfillment through vegetarianism, “the land”, or Rolfing. By the ’80s they had evolved into yuppies.

Notes

  1. New York Times, August 10, 2003
  2. Frances Fitzgerald, America Revised (1980), pp.129, 139
  3. Foreign Policy, “State Department Innovator Goes to Google“, September 7 2010; Washington Post, June 24, 2011
  4. Washington Post, June 19, 2011
  5. Washington Post, October 23, 1999
  6. Washington Post, April 14, 2004
  7. United Press International, July 26, 2007

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.

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