ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfuly detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press. Ramsey County Sherrif Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.
Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC (Video)
Thereby Covering Themselves -For whom do corporate news media speak? -The State, of course. 
The State simply can not allow law-abiding citizens to accuse the State of doing what the State does; so it commits “preemptive” violence against non-aggressing, liberty-exercising individuals on private property. And when independent media or dissenting public intellectuals threaten to expose these State crimes, the apparatus ”preempts” them too.
But these illicit acts can eventually go “viral,” thus requiring massive PR (Propaganda Reconnaissance) to whitewash the State’s crimes against the people. That’s where corporate-statist news media come in. They do the same thing as the government, only on a different level: they commit preemptive information warfare on the minds of their unsuspecting audience, numbing the consciences of those who trust them and inhibiting the will to recognize — much less resist — federal tyranny.
The inherent illicitness of Leviathan is legitimated when the central government and its various organs get the first, most, and last words in any dispute versus the individual. (Thus, e.g., AP stands for Absolutist Propaganda.) Sometimes the urgency to accomplish this can be daunting, especially with the ever-present and dire necessity to conceal media-state incest. That’s why the most successful state-propagandists have always stressed not only the repetition of lies and the omission of truths, but also the use of filler material — family “entertainment,” as Nazi war criminal, Joseph Goebbels, would call it — to make the observer feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Still, editors often trip over themselves in the effort to pose as credible and conscientious news sources while peddling federally sponsored, unconstitutional thuggery:
Convention security plan going well, police say
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Police Sunday saw little disruption prior to a Republican National Convention greatly scaled back due to Hurricane Gustav. 
Note to CNN editor: Please remove “due to Hurricane Gustav,” or at least qualify the assertion somewhere in the body of the report. Also, remove either the word little or the phrase greatly scaled back. No biggy: it happens to the best. Thanks.
The red-inked ”balance” (a.k.a., editorializing) of CNN’s report amounts to the following. If not for a looming natural disaster, the looting of an extra fifty-million in U.S.-taxpayer dollars to pay for the violent, preemptive, and unconstitutional police-state measures would be even more necessary than federal and local officials claim.
According to Concealing Necessary News (CNN), an anticipated ”flood” of protesters (thus the Gustav mention?) at the Republican National Convention must be “handled” by the Secret Service and local police. If not for necessary and unavoidable disasters, you see, there would be a lot more avoidable ones at the hands of the uh-thor-uh-taze.
The necessary disasters, of course, being the local and federal gangsterism against law-abiding citizens — a.k.a., that unavoidable ”flood” (of hurricane proportions?) comprised of those ever-dangerous free-speech practitioners:
On Saturday law enforcement officers say they uncovered evidence of an anarchist conspiracy to riot and disrupt the convention during a series of pre-convention raids.
In the raids, sheriff’s deputies for Ramsey County — which contains the convention host city of St. Paul –arrested a number of what they described as anarchists. They also found bricks and human waste they say was meant to be thrown at police, slingshots to launch projectiles, tacks meant to puncture tires and Molotov cocktails.
Note to CNN editor: To whom do you attribute that last sentence? Also, are those “tacks” also ”meant to puncture … Molotov cocktails,” or have those ”sheriff’s deputies” actually “found … Molotov cocktails”? Please relate this item more coherently and with attribution. Thanks.
The reference to the raids begins at the 13th paragraph. But it should have opened the report; it should have been the subject of the report; and there should have been more than just a couple sentences from family members of the abused and accused, up against the 90+% “balance” of the report, which pats the State-sponsored thugs on the back.
CNN’s government monologue, instead, inverts the violations of civil liberties into an acts of statist heroism, leaving the less-savvy observer to strongly suspect the “ANARCHISTS!!!!!“
But it’s easier to create a convincing boogeyman when he is framed as part of a maligned movement or group. It makes it easier to rally support for attacking him too. The threat, existent or not, becomes more imposing via pure conjecture, innuendo, group-think, and lies.
That’s why the implied justification for the illegal violence against law-abiding U.S. citizens in Minnesota boils down to a “flood” of protesters “intending to disrupt.”
Meanwhile, the most important questions are not asked: Were the raids constitutional? Were the search warrants lawful; did they exist? What proves intent to commit a crime? How do the alleged plotters respond to the intent charge and the ”anarchist” label? How many slingshots? How and where was the waste being stored? Were they everyday thumbtacks? How did the accused individuals respond?
And how crushing was the “deadline” (FLOOD!) the folks at CNN were up against, that they should paraphrase in defense of the accused, then, qualify it with a quote that apologizes for the accuser-attackers:
Geneva Finn, a lawyer for the protesters, also said the they were not planning to do anything illegal or violent.
“Since there is no way of knowing what’s true in advance of the convention, the authorities see a danger in underestimating the potential for disruption,” he said.
But lo! “Official” oblivion — understated and uncriticized, of course — is owned in the last sentence of the report :
On Sunday, Holtz of the St. Paul Police Department said he was unaware of any specific threat from anarchist.
Note to Holtz, CNN, et al.: Are you aware of the threat posed by your actions?
Indeed. Those “pre-RNC” raids are actually pre-protest aggressions. CNN, AP, and the rest of the corporatist agitprop cartels are leading the illicit crusade against the people. Employing misinformation and guile to rig the apparatus, they preempt the free speech of those who would dissent.
If so-called mainstream news media were credible and worthy of our time, they would be reporting honestly and comprehensively, allowing the observer to weigh the facts on legal and moral grounds. Which would help to incriminate the tyrannical State (redundancy) and help to restore and secure the people’s rights.
Instead, they use pseudo-patriotism, false choices, and other fallacies and lies to sell to us our own demise. But for good reason, of course: corporatist news media aren’t about to intentionally incriminate themselves.
 Also known as the establishment, the status quo, etc., the State, simply put, is central government, its members, and the political and economic systems by which it loots life, liberty, and property of the individual for its own expansion and enrichment — all on account of “the common good” and so on. For more on this, see: “The Anatomy of the State” (lifted from Murray Rothbard’s Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays).
 CNN.com: “Convention security plan going well, police say.” August 31, 2008. Accessed September 1, 2008 (cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/31/rnc.security: “updated 11:04 p.m. EDT, Sunday, August 31, 2008″). All other block quotes and direct quotes (but not all scare quotes) are ibidem.
Dancing With Chaos
By MANUEL GARCIA, Jr.
01/09/08 “Counterpunch” – – The first, and also previous, nuclear war consisted of two atomic bomb attacks that destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, on August 6 and August 9 of 1945. These attacks by the United States of America against an utterly defeated and prostrate Japan occurred in the last month of the Pacific War (which occurred between December 7, 1941 to August 15, 1945 for the USA) and were demonstrations of remorseless American power intended to deflate the triumphant spirit of a Soviet Union victorious against Nazi Germany (May 8, 1945), and to check the Soviet leadership from advancing its forces into Japan (despite being implored to do so by the Allies at the Yalta Conference six months earlier).
Tsarist Russia had lost its 1904-1905 war with Imperial Japan for control of Manchuria (northern China) and Korea, both of which Japan occupied until 1945. During World War 1 (1914-1918) and the Russian Civil War (1917-1923), a dozen nations invaded Russia, occupying many regions and fielding troops that supported the pro-tsarist, anti-Bolshevik White forces between 1918 and 1920. Japan supplied 37 percent of the troops in this Allied Intervention, 70,000 of the 188,000 total and by far the single largest contingent; they were all deployed in the Vladivostok (northwestern Pacific) region and were the last to leave, in 1922. A series of Soviet-Japanese border wars occurred between 1938-1945, primarily a 1938 war along the Siberian-Manchurian border (western-eastern) just northeast of Korea, a 1939 war along the Mongolian-Manchurian border (eastern-western), northwest of Korea, and the Russian invasion of Manchuria on August 8, 1945.
With the demise of the Japanese Empire, the Russians and Chinese consolidated their adjoining domains of control spanning the Eurasian landmass east of the Baltic and north of the Black Sea, Caucasus and Himalayas, for over four decades until the breakup of the Soviet Union. Over the last twenty years, the United States has actively sought to encircle Russia with military forces implanted in client states that are former Soviet Republics or Eastern European Socialist Republics, now independent, whose compliance has been bought. A similar policy applies to China and its surrounding south and central Asian states. This US policy is often personified by Zbigniew Brzezinski (the Carter Administration National Security Advisor credited with funding the advanced militarization of the Afghani mujahideen that included Osama Bin Laden), who characterizes it as geostrategic dominance radiating from the control of Caucasus and Central Asian republics, several rich in oil.
In recent weeks, US commentators (e.g., P. C. Roberts and W. S. Lind) on Russia’s intervention into the Republic of Georgia (a US client state in the South Caucasus Mountains) to reverse the Georgian invasion of breakaway region South Ossetia, believe the blundering belligerence of US policy toward Russia could escalate to the point of armed confrontation, and this would erupt into a nuclear war.
The logic assumed is that the US would have to rely on missile-borne tactical nuclear warheads launched by air and naval forces to counter Russian troops and armor in the Caucasus, since the US is too distant to transport its troops quickly, and many of them are bogged down in Iraq, Afghanistan, and who knows, maybe also Iran by that time. The Russians could be assumed to use their tactical nuclear weapons to compensate for their possible disadvantage of having less technically sophisticated weapons systems relative to the ”smart bomb” precision-guided munitions and “stealth” delivery vehicles of the US military. Once a shooting war starts, the natural tendency is to reach for your biggest guns and fire away before the other guy can clear his holster.
So, is a new nuclear war possible? Let’s muse on this. After all, the time necessary for rationality to work its good is only available before the shoot-out, or after the killing is done and the survivors are ready to move on to the burials.
The purpose of war is to increase your degree of control OVER OTHERS. This is usually equated to having acquired greater political and military power. This is true even if the the war is conducted as nothing beyond brigandage and piracy: plunder, profit and wealth are seen as increasing your power to control events. Using this metric, it is easy to judge if you have won or lost a war.
We proceed by inquiring about the psychological and technical enabling factors, and the political and diplomatic restraining factors for the outbreak of a nuclear war:
1, psychology: are the prospective belligerents easily inclined to war?
2, technology: are their military establishments ready for nuclear combat?
3, politics: can the ruling class be assured of maintaining control of its own population?, could there be a revolution if the war fares badly?
4, diplomacy: is the potential estrangement of and isolation from European states, and other allies, a significant restraint?; is it possible that in a mid-war or post-war weakened condition your state becomes unable to control new rebellions by imperial subject states, or to stop encroachments into your domain of influence by imperial rivals?
We can contract the previous four major questions in these two: have we identified all possible contingencies and devised alternative plans for each?, does the cost-benefit ratio for the war outweigh that of diplomatic alternatives, and after what period of time? We consider the four factors in turn.
Psychology: Remembering World War Two
It is important to know that the overwhelming fraction of the Allied war effort against Nazi Germany was provided by the Soviet Union (Russia and its union of socialist republics), and they suffered the greatest losses as a result. Consider the following numbers. The combined 1939 population of the fifty-five countries involved in World War Two (WW2) was 1.962 billion; the total number of war dead was 72.8 million, which was 3.7 percent of the 1939 population of participants. Of course, many of these countries bore only a slight to moderate burden in carrying on the war, while a small number provided the greatest efforts and made the greatest sacrifices (see “World War II casualties” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties).
The combined human losses of the Soviet Union, China, Germany and Japan were just under 73 percent of the total deaths for WW2. The Asian theater of WW2 was essentially the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945, while the European theater of WW2 was essentially the Russo-German War of 1941-1945.
Let us look at the impact of WW2 on five selected countries, by using three ratios for each country, where these ratios are defined as follows.
the percentage of its 1939 population killed in WW2;
the ratio of its 1939 population to the 1.962 billion WW2 participants;
the ratio of its WW2 dead to the total WW2 dead;
(all ratios below are expressed as percents).
Soviet Union: 13.7; 8.6; 31.7.
China: 3.9; 26.4; 27.5.
Germany: 10.5; 3.6; 10.
Japan: 3.8; 3.6; 3.7.
USA: 0.3; 6.7; 0.6.
The Soviet Union lost nearly 14 percent of its population (every 7th person) in the war, and this mortality amounted to almost one third of the entire WW2 dead. China was three times as populous as the Soviet Union, so its loss of nearly 4 percent of its people (every 26th person) amounted to over one quarter of the entire WW2 dead. Germany lost over a tenth of its population (every 10th person), which amounted to 10 percent of the WW2 dead; and Japan’s loss of just under 4 percent of its people (every 26th person) amounted to nearly 4 percent of the WW2 dead.
Notice that the United States’ WW2 dead amounts to a fifty-fifth (1/55) of the Soviet total, and the 1939 national populations were comparable, the Soviet population being 29 percent higher. It would be very beneficial to the world if Americans, commemorating their Memorial and Veterans’ Days, would try imagining their feelings if they had suffered war as deeply as the Soviet people (every 7th person instead of every 172nd person lost). Now, we never trivialize the real pain of war veterans, their relatives and and friends, however small a portion of a nation’s population they may happen to be. But, clearly, the impact of a WW2 experience like that of the Soviets will imprint a dread of war far more deeply into the national consciousness than a WW2 experience like that of the United States.
Another interesting numerical result is that the combined losses of Germany and Japan amount to only 13.7 percent of the WW2 dead, and the combined population of these two Axis powers amounted to only 7.2 percent of the WW2 participating population. Advanced industrialized nations hell-bent on war can drag in a multitude of victims vastly more numerous than themselves. A reasonable assumption for today is that the state planners and popular historical memories in both Russia and China viscerally appreciate the importance of this point, but that it may be dimly perceived in US popular imagination, and even dismissed by US policy-makers. This is probably the type of caution introduced by European allies when the US engages them in multilateral diplomacy and planning, and which is so annoying to US unilateralists.
So, the US may have a more casual attitude about bellicose posturing and nuclear war threatening bravado, while the Russians and Chinese are likely to be very circumspect and deliberate about threatening nuclear war; if they do, pay attention!
Technology: The Military Is A Hungry Robot
The US military is a brainless stomach that always wishes to be fed, it is the very definition of fiscal cancer. It has no other goal beyond immediate ingestion of capital drained from the US treasury, so all its pronouncements, papers, studies, proposals and testimony are devoid of meaning beyond their role as advertisements aimed at the audience of policy-makers heading the capitalist, government and propaganda ministries of the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC). The purpose of these advertisements is to induce as many of these directorate-class individuals as possible to put their influence behind the many schemes for larding the military. So, we can expect any part of the military that sees initiating a nuclear war as an instant benefit to itself by calling its services into action, to lobby for it. A brainless stomach has no concept of consequences, or of others. “More” fills the conceptual space, and all the frenzied, convoluted babble is a drone of incantations intended to materialize that “more.”
While the hardware for nuclear war is complex, both the US and Russian military establishments have decades of experience with it, and they have maintained their training. These military forces could use their nuclear weapons as ordered without a significant number of technical or personnel failures. Some of the warheads launched might be duds, in that their detonation would be flawed and their full explosive yield would be unrealized; and some of the personnel might crack under the pressure of actual combat — either as a blind panic or an intentional rebellion — and fail at their posts. However, we can expect a low incidence of such failure in either the US or Russian forces.
This is unfortunate from the point of view of preventing nuclear war. We now know that “a guy named Arkhipov saved the world” during the Cuban Missile Crisis. “During a naval skirmish between an American destroyer and a Soviet B-59 submarine off Cuba on Oct 27, 1962,” where “the destroyer dropped depth charges near the submarine to try to force it to surface, not knowing it had a nuclear-tipped torpedo…that the submarine was authorised to fire it if three officers agreed. The officers began a fierce, shouting debate over whether to sink the ship. Two of them said yes and the other said no.”
This was no failure of Russian military training (which like that in the arts and sciences is of unparalleled rigor), but instead the operation of vivid historical consciousness. I fear that the culture of the United States is so shallow and immature that thorough military training can transform any callow youth into a robot soldier attuned to his or her assigned functions, and unlikely to have the psychological depth and historical consciousness to question orders and training under conditions of extreme danger, urgency and confusion, or to recognize moments of pivotal importance.
Military establishments are intended to be robotic performers, reliable agents implementing commands abstracted and codified from the political directives of the national leadership. So, we should assume that by far the best way to prevent the military from proceeding with a nuclear war is by influencing the policy that it operates under, so that it is one of restraint.
Still, let me make a direct plea to any US soldier or sailor who finds themselves charged with launching a nuclear weapon: don’t do it, mutiny, revolt. Think, the more and sooner the better. Be Arkhipov. I think the Russians will be more restrained than the Americans about first use, but will have zero hesitation about second use.
Politics: Popular Loyalty Or Popular Revolt?
Because Russia is a lesser power than the United States, and because of the many and obvious provocations made by the US against Russia as part of its encirclement strategy, as well as the shameless advantage US capitalism took of Russia during the immediate post-soviet period of political fragmentation and economic reorganization, the Russian people will have no trouble supporting their government regardless of how any potential war with the US transpires; they will always see themselves as the defenders, not the aggressors. This will be especially true if the US fires first, which it delights in boasting it feels free to do; and we can be sure that if Russia does fire the first nuclear shot, it will be an evidently defensive preemptive strike. The expectation of popular loyalty, won by the robust revival of the Russian economy under Vladimir Putin’s administration, as well as a reaction to US belligerence, frees the Russian leadership of any fear about revolution erupting in reaction to possible reverses in a potential Russo-US war, even a nuclear one. Russia is united.
The US public is unprepared for the sacrifices attendant to a nuclear war, no matter how “tactical” and “limited.” Every nuclear munition carries the destructive power of many conventional bombs or cannons, and shot for shot every fall of a nuclear munition will produce proportionately many more casualties. US soldiers and sailors will fill coffins or dematerialize at rates not experienced since the Civil War. The American public has been protected, shielded and distracted from the impact of war, especially since the Vietnam War, but the number of casualties to be expected from even a limited tactical nuclear war would be impossible to hide (as the casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan are hidden today), and the mollycoddled American viewing public would be traumatized on apprehending the magnitude and pace of the carnage.
The reactions to this fright would be varied, but in all cases they would contribute to the agitation of the public, a loss of placidity and thus an increased difficulty of social control. This triggers the primary anxiety of the ruling class. It is nearly inconceivable that US public agitation over the number of military casualties from a foreign nuclear war would rise to the same intensity as the Parisian public’s agitation about starvation in 1789, but the great fear of the US ruling class would be that it had become of the same type. Today’s paycheck-dependent US Americans are disunited by their fearful prejudices and diminishing expectations in an eroding economy, while the Russian people are experiencing historically significant economic growth and political stability. At what point of disaffection would the US public unite into storming its own Bastilles, at what level of unsatisfied wants — in a population indoctrinated to be self-governed by wants — would the US public acquire the motivational rage of a Cindy Sheehan and become the 21st century san-culotte whose pikes were now the subject of the 2nd amendment?
We should not let such florid rhetoric carry us on flights of fancy of Phil Gramm (‘let them whine for cake’) types arriving at their Sidney Carton moment, but neither should we underestimate the potential for outbreaks of real social unrest in the US as a consequence of losing people to a nuclear war of imperialistic hubris.
Diplomacy: Consolidating Conquest, Or Chaotic Collapse?
The imperialist imagination sees conquest as the method of consolidating power. The emperor projects a conception of order onto the world, and then seeks to subject each actual state and population into fulfilling an assigned role. Every country is a tile that fits into the grand mosaic of the imagined empire, adding its unique hue to the overall image and easing the interconnectedness of all others into a consolidated structure. Conquest is accomplished by force, bribery or inequitable alliance.
However, every tile of the world mosaic has its own conception of itself and its role in the world, so there is always opposition to empire. Most people call this freedom.
Imperialistic thinking assumes that power, the ability of superior force to hold sway, is the only dimension along which international relations operate. It ignores chaos, the ability of nature and reality to erupt with surprises, and entropy, the tendency of all structure to dissipate, as other dimensions of international relations. It is impossible to predict all possible outcomes of present situations, so it is impossible to devise perfect systems of control. While we are always free to take action, we can never be certain of all its possible consequences. Aside from our common-sense plans for managing the practicalities of our lives, the overall contingency plan that comes closest to perfection is to “go with the flow.” This is zen. The only thing we can ever really control is our own behavior. Because all known previous empires have collapsed, chaos and entropy being prominent in their demise, we can anticipate a similar fate for the American empire.
The Russian economy is booming in part because Russia is a major supplier of oil and gas to Europe. Russia is also a leading supplier of military and nuclear power technology. Many people easily ascribe the various conflicts occurring in Eurasia to rivalries over the control of oil and gas fields and the routing of pipelines. China’s exploding economy would love to plunge its straw — direct trans-border pipelines — into Iran’s oil pools and drain them without interference; Iran would love China to monetize its oil bonanza, so it wants to power itself with nuclear energy to maximize its oil profits. Russia is eager to supply Iran the nuclear power technology it wants, because it is a profitable business venture, and because they want the security of controlling the fuel cycle of a close neighbor, for the purpose of nonproliferation (of nuclear weapons).
However, these logical commercial synergies fail the most important acceptance criterion of US capitalism, “what’s in it for me?” The US would prefer a compliant Iran drained to its benefit, such as in the days of the Shah, it would prefer Central Asian oil to flow south through Afghanistan and east through the Caucasus, Black Sea and Turkey, and it would prefer Europe to limit its energy dependency on Russia. It is not just a matter of increasing the oil supplied to the US, it is about throttling the sources of Russia’s and China’s growing economic power; it is about control.
We can expect the Europeans to try soothing the neo-con fevered Bush Administration, quietly behind closed embassy doors, from working itself into a rabid lather for nuclear war with Russia, initially in the Caucasus. This will have some influence, because the failure of Europe to join in a diplomatic demonization campaign against Russia, like the earlier campaigns against Iraq, would make it more difficult for the US to proceed to war. Also, the US is mindful that were it to be seriously weakened by a unilateral nuclear war with Russia, an unscathed Europe would easily step into control of its empire. After all, this is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman did to Winston Churchill’s British empire.
Also, Europe would worry that a nuclear war in the Caucasus might spread, war usually does when one side becomes desperate. If Russia were being “bombed back to the stone age” it would most certainly bomb the US bases in the Central Asian republics along its southern border. These would be legitimate military targets, and would no doubt be actively involved in the US war against Russia (why else are they there?). This would draw the Central Asian republics into the war and probably topple their ruling classes, which Russia would see as their just deserts. A similar catastrophe might happen to Poland and other Eastern European states hosting US missile systems. For Europe, the thought of the disruption of their oil supplies from Russia and Central Asia, along with the possibility of sustaining casualties from nuclear bombardment, should be enough to propel them into vigorous and sustained diplomatic action to restrain US belligerency. They will probably say all manner of nasty things about Russia, to mollify their infantile US emperor, and do as little as possible to disrupt their existing commercial arrangements with Russia.
Analogous to the situation of the US public, if Europe and American “allies” were to suffer directly and severely from the war, they might unite in revolt and then use their military forces against the US, or Russia, or both as they guessed would offer the best relief. What is that level of “direct and severe suffering” that would trigger a European military response? Good question.
There are many other possibilities for mischief once the US is embroiled in a nuclear war and inattentive to its empire. Other nations could decide it was an opportune time to settle their own scores with each other, independent of the US-Russia war. China and India fought a border war in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is believed to have erupted because the US was completely preoccupied elsewhere. One can imagine Israel finding it opportune to accelerate its liquidation of the Palestinians, expand into Lebanon, attack Iran or a variety of its neighbors, or all of these, while the US was absorbed in a nuclear war radiating from the Caucasus.
Of course, a restraining consideration here is that the US might not be capable or willing to assist and even fund Israel during the course of its own major war with Russia, unless Israel were a full-fledged partner in that war. If Israel were so blinded by its own ambition that it did join the war against Russia, then Russian arms would quickly and forcefully be turned against it, and this would almost certainly be joined by military actions from many states in the Middle East. The intelligent course for Israel would be to stay out of a US war against Russia (which will really look dirty to the US public as they see their own forces being nuked), but even then it might have to accept a diminished level of support from its great protector, and consequently a more successful opposition from its many subjects and neighbors.
Once the chaotic dimension of reality is realized, it becomes easy to envision any number of disastrous developments for each of the initial combatants, and even the initial bystanders. From any perspective, it is easier to imagine a negative cost-benefit ratio to this war than a positive outcome. For this reason, I think it less likely to occur. However, one must not underestimate the stupidity of imperialists, if war does break out then I think the Russians will have a clearer view of how to proceed, and this will mean painful losses for the US, its allies and enablers.
The great fallacy of the imperialistic mind is that the threat of destruction is equated with the power to control. Control is an illusion, chaos is the reality. A successful warrior dances with chaos, and success means simply that one is still alive.
The War Will Go On
By C. G. ESTABROOK
01.09/08 “Counterpunch” – – In the late summer of 2008, as the American political parties convene to produce a new president, it seems clear that Americans will continue to kill and die — and suffer and inflict terrible injuries — in the U.S. war in the Middle East, regardless of who is elected president, well into the next administration and beyond.
The war is not limited to Iraq. The Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, in March of 2003, was preceded by their invasion of Afghanistan, in October of 2001. In the spring and summer of 2008, more Americans have been killed each month in Afghanistan than in the on-going war in Iraq.
Furthermore, there are undoubtedly members of the current administration — centered in the office of the vice president — who wish to attack Iran, and the military and the CIA are already conducting “special operations” there. But the foreign policy establishment in Washington — which cuts across party lines — believes, in the words of Democratic party deep thinker Richard Holbrooke, that “AfPak” [Afghanistan and Pakistan] is “even more important to our national security than Iraq.”
What he means is that that is where the most serious resistance to the U.S. attempt to dominate the region militarily is coming from. And therefore the Pentagon will send 12,000 to 15,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, as soon as the end of this year, with planning underway for a further force buildup in 2009.
Democracy Now! reported this week that “senior Pentagon officials are debating whether the US military should expand the Afghan war by carrying out military attacks against Islamic militants operating in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas. The move would be in defiance of Pakistan’s civilian government, which recently refused to accept a U.S. military training mission for the Pakistani army … The prominent military analyst Anthony Cordesman said the US should treat Pakistani territory as a combat zone if Pakistan does not act. Cordesman’s comment came in a new report in which he declared the US is now losing the war against the Taliban. Cordesman writes, “Pakistan may officially be an ally, but much of its conduct has effectively made it a major threat to U.S. strategic interests.’”
Both potential presidents approve. McCain and Obama try to outdo one another on how war-like they will be in AfPak: after Obama said he would send two more brigades to Afghanistan, McCain said he would send three; in his major speech in Berlin, Obama’s only specific exhortation to the Germans was, “The Afghan people need our troops and your troops … We have too much at stake to turn back now.”
What in fact do we have at stake? Recently an Afghan government newspaper loosed the proverbial cat when it asserted that the U.S. wants to keep Afghanistan unstable in order to justify the presence of the American military, given Afghanistan’s geographical location bordering Iran and central Asia’s rich oil- and gas-producing nations.
That’s not far wrong. It has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy since the Second World War that the U.S. must control the energy resources of the Middle East. Not because we need them here at home — the U.S. obtains the bulk of the oil used domestically from the Western hemisphere — but because control of energy gives the U.S. a strangle-hold on our corporations’ major economic competitors, the European Union and northeast Asia (Japan, China and South Korea).
Whether we call them al-Qaida, Taliban, insurgents, terrorists or militants, the people whom we’re trying to kill in the Middle East are those who want us out of their countries and off of their resources. In order to convince Americans to kill and die and suffer in this cause, the Bush administration has vastly misrepresented the situation, from trumpeting the non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” to, apparently, forging incriminating letters.
But even though a majority of Americans are now against the war in Iraq, many still think that the Bush administration was justified in invading Afghanistan, because it “harbored” Osama bin Laden. They forget that the government of Afghanistan tried to discuss the surrender of Osama bin Laden for trial, but the U.S. government refused to negotiate. It preferred a war that supported general U.S. policy in the region.
On the basis of the principles on which the U.S. and its allied governments hanged German leaders after the Second World War, the Bush administration has committed what the Nuremberg Tribunal called “the supreme international crime [i.e., worse than terrorism] differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” — and they’ve done it twice, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
More than a generation ago, the U.S. war against South Vietnam came to an end — after horrible suffering and millions dead — because of the conjunction of three factors: (1) the resistance of the Vietnamese people against foreign occupation; (2) the effective revolt of the American military in Vietnam, largely a conscript army; and (3) the opposition of the American people, seventy per cent of whom came to believe by the late 1960s that the U.S. war was “fundamentally wrong and immoral,” not a mistake.
As a character in Shakespeare’s Tempest says, “…what’s past is prologue, what to come / In yours and my discharge.”
By Timothy V. Gatto
02 September, 2008
Here we are, all primed and pumped for the Republican Convention. This has given the Democrats lots to talk about and also an opportunity to skewer McCain and his new running mate. This doesn’t surprise me, nor does it anger me, every demeaning thing that is said about GOP has this writer’s endorsement, they couldn’t pick on a more deserving target. The only thing that bothers me is their total lack of objectivity when they criticize what the GOP stands for. It hardly influences the masses when they harp on McCain’s war drum beating skills when everyone can observe that Barack Obama’s own predilection for blasting out a great beat on his own set of drums with a talent that has greatly improved over the past few months.
Political analysts and strategy advisers have grossly underestimated the American people this time. It has been painfully obvious that most Americans have let Bush and his henchmen in Congress get away with murder, and I mean that literally, while so many have been silent and complicit. Our leaders have no conscience, and hatch their schemes and plan for conquest, while millions of us wait for a chance to change this nation’s direction. Sadly, for all of us that are truly paying attention, we see that real change is only a mirage.
Just as hope cannot be instilled in society by the hopeless, honesty can not be taught by thieves, and justice can not be administered by criminals, change will not come from those locked into the status quo. The American people however, hoping against reason, tried desperately to believe that one of them would morph into one of us. It may have been just another time in the history of man when good would actually triumph over evil and when reason would replace insanity and we would have a fairytale ending to this national tragedy we have been witnessing during the last decade. The facts are, we have been offered two roads to travel, but they both take us to the same destination; war for resources and empire for profit.
Americans are a people that are slow to anger; in this case I am not describing the people, not their government. The people did not want to enter World War II until we were attacked directly, and once provoked; the people were willing to sacrifice all to ensure victory. We are not a nation of cowards, nor are we a nation of pawns. The mistake that those in power have made is the mistake of underestimating a cultures resolve. Once a certain line is crossed, once boundaries have been overstepped, it is impossible to undo the damage it has done. I believe that this is what’s happening to both political parties in America. The two corporate-led political parties have stepped over the line, both parties have asked Americans to accept the unacceptable, and both parties have lied to the people and both have been, unfortunately for them, caught in their lies.
While the Democrats have been decrying the war in Iraq, and have portrayed Senator John McCain as the “war candidate”, Senator Obama has tried to keep the focus on the economy while moving steadily in the same direction as McCain. The impassioned speech he gave in Denver was looked at skeptically by many, not because of what he said, but for what he failed to say. There was no mention of restoring what we had lost during the Bush Administration, things such as habeas corpus and the end of electronic surveillance of citizens or warrantless searches of homes and property. There was no mention at all of reviewing the draconian laws put in place by Bush and Cheney, or the torture that they have been accused of practicing. There were however, veiled threats against Iran and Russia, and proposals that the military should grow by 65,000 combat soldiers, 10,000 to be sent to Afghanistan so that we can prosecute the “right war” there while leaving tens of thousands of troops in Iraq. This in a time of economic uncertainty when this country spends more on its military than almost all other nations on Earth combined.
Obama didn’t skip a beat when he talked about “Russian aggression”, apparently supporting the lies from the government and the western corporate-owned media that Russia was the aggressor in Georgia when the truth was that Georgia initiated hostilities to regain the autonomous regions. He has supported Bush and his quest to put nuclear medium range missiles in Poland as Russia rightly declares that this would put them in an indefensible position and warned that they would take military action if this comes to pass. This threat by the Russians is completely understandable; it is the American government that is unreasonable. In 1963 we almost went to war over the same type if missiles being installed in Cuba. When JFK finally promised we would take out our medium range missiles in Turkey, war was averted. Now we must sit idly while Bush and Cheney orchestrate another nuclear crisis, this time America plays the villain.
We postulate that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable and that we will embark on a military solution to make sure that it doesn’t happen. The facts are that the United States over 18,000 nuclear warheads, most of them multiple warheads’ (MIRV’s). Iran’s most immediate threat, Israel, has according to most sources, over 300 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. This is a prime example of total hypocrisy. If Israel would agree to dismantle its nuclear weapons and its nuclear programs, would Iran follow suit? Nobody knows, as this line of thought has never been vocalized or written about. Do the majority of American citizens feel that Israel is so important in the scheme of things that they would rush into a situation that could very well provoke World War III? Would American mothers and fathers be willing to sacrifice the lives of their children to insure that Israel has military superiority over Iran? I hardly think so, but if you canalize the rhetoric coming from both political parties in this country, you would think that we would. The truth is that this nation seems to be willing to do anything in order to protect Israel, even if it means starting a thermo-nuclear war.
When it comes to civil liberties and foreign policy, the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans seem negligible. When it comes to domestic policy, we hear Obama say that he will not outsource our industries and pay workers a fair wage, but when will we hear about support for the unions? What about stopping the “privatization” of our resources that has become the mantra of the corporate world, and when will he propose doing something about the corporate influence of the media? In this country, where a handful of corporations control the bulk of newspapers, television and radio outlets in almost all of our major cities, when will we hear about a return to Federal regulation? Why do we allow this?
The truth is that we won’t hear about it. How can we when our media is so thoroughly controlled by so few corporate interests? Propaganda does not necessarily mean that governments are the only ones that put it out. This is corporate propaganda and it is just as detrimental to a free society as its government cousin. Benito Mussolini once remarked that “fascism could be called corporatism”. This is nothing new. When corporations and the government control the media and the resources in a nation, and the people have no voice, that’s simply fascism. This is where we find ourselves today.
The people of this country are finding that out. We have all heard of the police raids on protesters that occurred Sunday morning in St. Paul before any protests took place. We have heard about how the police went into houses occupied by college students, guns drawn, and how they handcuffed the “suspects” and made them lie face-down for hours. We have read about the warrantless searches and the confiscation of computers and other personal items. This was done by police that didn’t even come from St. Paul!
There were arrests of demonstrators in Denver also. Some of the same heavy-handed techniques were used there. Since when do peaceful protesters deserve this kind of treatment? What’s happening in this country? When did we lose the right to dissent?
The American people are simply fed-up with both the Republicans and the Democrats. We are tired of the wars and the lies. We are tired of the fear tactics and the police state we are evolving into. The thought of a third-party candidate winning this election is not so far-fetched as it once was. It’s about time.
clash in Black Sea
By Julie Hyland and Chris Marsden
01/09/08 “WSW” — -A build-up of naval forces is underway in the Black Sea, involving both NATO and Russian ships. The provocative actions by the US-lead military coalition create the danger of a clash with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Late last week, General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the Russian military’s general staff, claimed that 10 NATO warships were in the Black Sea and that more were on the way.
“In light of the build-up of NATO naval forces in the Black Sea, the [Russian] fleet has also taken on the task of monitoring their activities,” he said.
The ships include two US warships, ostensibly in the region to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia. These have since been joined by a third.
In addition, NATO admitted that four of its vessels are on a “pre-planned deployment” in the Black Sea, “conducting port visits with Romanian and Bulgarian forces”.
The “long-planned routine” exercise Active Endeavor—which is said to involve training in anti-terrorist and anti-pirate manoeuvres—comprises one warship each from Spain, Germany and Poland. They were reportedly later joined by a US frigate for a three-week schedule of port visits and exercises.
While denying a build-up, a NATO spokesperson said that other NATO countries may have ships in the sea. “Obviously, there are other NATO-affiliated nations out doing things,” Lt. Col. Web Wright said.
These reports confirm that at least six NATO vessels are in the Black Sea, meaning that Russian warnings that warships from the western alliance now outnumber their own fleet anchored off the western coast of Georgia are not as far off the mark as is claimed.
Russia has charged the US with using aid as a cover for rearming Georgia. “Normally warships do not deliver aid and this is gunboat diplomacy, this does not make the situation more stable,” said Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.
Cliff Kupchan at the Eurasia Group, a US-based consultancy, was cited as stating, “It is a clever policy to have chosen military-led humanitarian relief.” He went on, “Given this administration’s consistently aggressive approach to protecting American influence, one has to ask how long it will allow Russians to dictate which Georgian port to use.”
On Thursday a US coast guard cutter docked at the Georgian port of Batumi, after the American embassy in Tbilisi had initially stated that it was heading towards the Russian-controlled port of Poti, in line with Georgian requests. According to reports, this statement was later retracted and the Dallas instead unloaded its aid supplies in Batumi.
Last Sunday the US destroyer, USS McFaul, docked at Batumi. The US military says a third ship, USS Mount Whitney, the flagship of the US Sixth Fleet, will arrive in Georgia today.
The New York Times August 28 admitted the US was “pursuing a delicate policy of delivering humanitarian aid on military transport planes and ships, apparently to illustrate to the Russians that they do not fully control Georgia’s airspace or coastline.”
The report continued that this policy “has left American and Russian naval vessels manoeuvring in close proximity off the western coast of Georgia, with the Americans concentrated near the southern port of Batumi and the Russians around the central port of Poti. It has also left the Kremlin deeply suspicious of American motives.”
In a further provocative move by the US, the Dallas is to leave Georgia and visit the Ukranian port of Sevastopol the same day. The port is leased by Russia from Ukraine and is integral to its Black Sea operations. In a display of support for the US, Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko has said that the lease will not be extended beyond 2017 and has signed a decree requiring prior notice of all movements by Russian naval vessels and aircraft from Sevastopol.
Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper cited Nogovitsyn as claiming that the US ships are carrying nuclear missiles that could hit Russian targets as far away as St. Petersburg. The RIA news agency claimed that the NATO ships were carrying more than 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles, with more than 50 onboard the USS McFaul alone that could hit ground targets.
On August 26 Reuters reported that Russia’s flagship cruiser, the Moskva, had re-entered the Black Sea for weapons tests. The assistant to the Russian Navy’s commander-in-chief told Russian news agencies the cruiser had put to sea again two days after returning to its base at the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol.
Russian warships also reportedly arrived in the separatist region of Abkhazia. Russian deputy admiral Sergei Menyailo said they would “support peace and stability”. He said, “Our tasks include the control of Abkhazia’s territorial waters and the prevention of arms shipments.” The leader of the separatist region said he will invite Russia to establish a naval base at Sukhumi, a deep-water port in the territory.
In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin took the extraordinary step of accusing the US of instigating the assault by Georgia on South Ossetia.
“The suspicion arises that someone in the United States especially created this conflict to make the situation more tense and create a competitive advantage for one of the candidates fighting for the post of US president,” Putin said, clearly referring to Republican candidate John McCain, whose foreign policy advisor was a lobbyist for Saakashlivi government.
Putin also said he had reason to believe US military personnel were working with Georgian forces that fought Russians, a prospect he described as “very dangerous.”
The White House dismissed Putin’s assertions as preposterous. At the same time, McCain’s wife Cindy was visiting Georgia and US Vice President Dick Cheney planned to arrive this week, where he is expected to pledge American military assistance.
For his part, Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, has joined the bellicose threats against “Russian aggression” and said, if elected, his administration would be committed to protecting Georgia.
The Los Angeles Times ran an article under the headline, “Why Was Cheney’s Guy in Georgia Just Before the War?” on August 26. The piece named Joseph R. Wood, Cheney’s deputy assistant for national security affairs. It asked, “What was a top national security aide to Vice President Dick Cheney doing in Georgia shortly before Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s troops engaged in what became a disastrous fight with South Ossetian rebels—and then Russian troops?”
Nogovitsyn has charged that a US national was amongst the Georgian commando units who invaded South Ossetia. He produced a colour photocopy of a US passport belonging to Michael Lee White from Texas, born in 1967. He told a press conference, “There is a building in Zemonekozi—a settlement to the south of Tskhinvali that was fiercely defended by a Georgian special operations squad. Upon clearing the building, Russian peacekeepers recovered, among other documents, an American passport in the name of Michael Lee White of Texas.”
There is a growing body of evidence and commentary regarding the US role in building up Georgia’s military, with the aim of provoking a conflict with Russia. Writing in the New Statesman August 14 Misha Glenny noted how the US and Israel had worked to arm Georgia, so that “Saakashvili and the hawks around him came to believe the farcical proposition that Georgia’s armed forces could take on the military might of their northern neighbour in a conventional fight and win.”
Glenny noted that the Georgian minister for reintegration of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Temur Yakobashvili, had praised Israel for its military assistance. Following the assault on South Ossetia, Glenny stated, Yakobashvili had said “Israel should be proud of its military, which trained Georgian soldiers.” Thanks to its assistance, “We killed 60 Russian soldiers yesterday alone,” he said. “The Russians have lost more than 50 tanks, and we have shot down 11 of their planes. They have sustained enormous damage in terms of manpower.”
It is known that the US and Georgia held joint war games between July 15-31, codenamed Operation Immediate Response, which involved 1,000 US servicemen. One week later, on August 7, Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia.
As to the immediate future, the Times of London reported, “US military planners are now openly considering how to rearm Georgia’s forces” and cited a Pentagon spokesman as stating, “Down the road we will be looking at what may be required to rebuild the Georgian military… right now the mission of the United States military is to provide humanitarian assistance.”
The Times quoted the former British ambassador to Georgia Donald McLaren stating that NATO might have to send troops to the region. If Moscow rejected such a proposal, he said, NATO had only two choices: “To give up and surrender and say to the Russians, ‘It’s your backyard, you’ve won’, or to put men on the ground to protect Georgia’s sovereignty and the east-west oil and gas pipeline from the Caspian and Central Asia.”
McLaren wrote earlier in the Daily Mail that “Georgia is a part of Europe. It is our gateway to Central Asia and, with Russia and Turkey as neighbours and Iraq and Iran not far to the south, its location alone makes it of strategic significance.
“It is a friend and partner in one of the most highly-pressurised parts of the world. Georgia is a vital conduit for energy supplies from the Caspian to its East and the potential of the Central Asian suppliers beyond.
“There are few issues more immediate than energy security and Georgia’s fragile oil pipeline offers us one alternative to dependence on Russia.”
The US offensive against Russia is destabilising the entire region and inexorably drawing the European powers in its wake.
Asia Times reported, “The US-backed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline passes through Georgian territory and letting Russia dictate events in Georgia has a definite implication in terms of energy security, given the fierce pipeline geopolitics in the Eurasian landmass, Europe’s heavy energy dependency on Russia and Moscow’s willingness to rely on the energy card for security bargaining with Europe.
“This alone may explain why the European Union, which has been divided over a response to the Georgian crisis, has largely consented to the US’s muscular reaction. The issue has now turned into a defining moment of the post-Cold War era because of its broader implications.”
Both Germany and France have signalled they have retreated from their earlier opposition to Georgian membership of the European Union. EU and Ukranian leaders are to meet in France on September 9 and sign as association on closer relations. Although this does not spell out whether Ukraine will get EU accession, a recent report by the European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank argues that the EU cannot afford any more delays in defining and deepening its ties with Ukraine.
Tensions between Russia and Georgia continue to worsen. As Tbilisi announced Friday that it would sever diplomatic ties with Moscow, officials in South Ossetia stated they would seek absorption into Russia.
As well as pitting Georgia and the Ukraine against Russia, the US has embroiled Turkey in a bitter row with Moscow.
Russia argues that the NATO presence in the Black Sea violates the 1936 Montreux Convention, which limits the time non-coastal countries can sail military vessels on the sea to three weeks.
Under the treaty, Turkey—which controls the straits of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles—must be notified 15 days before military ships sail into the sea. These can not remain in the area for longer than 21 days. But Turkey only announced its approval of the US passage on August 20. Russia has warned that Turkey will be held responsible if the US ships do not leave when they are supposed to do so.
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By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
‘Without doubt, psychological warfare has proved its right to a place of dignity in our military arsenal.’ – Eisenhower
01/09/08 “ICH” — The recent De Telegraaf article[i] ‘revealing’ the Dutch intelligence cooperation with the CIA is a propaganda piece aimed at undermining the credibility of United Nations, its specialized agency, the IAEA, and its chief Mohammad ElBaradei. It also seeks to demoralize the Iranians and undermine their resolve in confronting outside enemies.
De Telegraaf would have the readers believe that the Dutch intelligence has been secretly operating inside Iran and the information gathered is being shared with the CIA. It is common knowledge that the American administration is frustrated with the lack of information it has on Iran and its civilian nuclear program. Equally frustrating is the Administration’s dissatisfaction at being in the dark about the complex Iranian society and its government. There are no or few Iran specialists; certainly few who are willing to cooperate with the CIA. Likewise, it is an open secret that the terrorist cult Mojahedeen-e Khalg which according to sources receives its information from Mossad, has been providing the CIA with — not reliable and accurate– information. There is no doubt that the Dutch are cooperating with the CIA – but the extent of their cooperation is limited to communication – disseminating rumors.
Writing in Mein Kamp, Adolf Hitler claimed that the masses were more influenced by their emotions than by their brains; to this end, “all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogans”. It would seem the neoconservatives are students and fans of Adolf Hitler.
Planting rumors with the intention of waging war against Iran, the neocons are well aware that misinformation which spreads through a third country lends more credibility to their propaganda. The psychological warfare waged on August 29 by the Dutch-Israel-American axis – De Telegraaf article, the threat by the former Labor Knesset Member, Eprahim Sneh[ii], and the Israeli lobby war games over Denver skies during the Democratic Convention[iii], are propagandist use of communication to achieve one objective – sacrifice peace to promote Israel’s expansionist policies in the Middle East.
Deceit has become an essential tool of statecraft with this administration and its allies. Lies have become more urgent and exaggerated as Iranians continue to succeed and Mr. Bush’s time to leave office draws to an end. While Iran proudly announces its peaceful accomplishments in various fields, the controlled media in the West hijack the news and undermine the success of such advances in order to weaken the morale of the people and the government’s credibility. Iranians are immune to this style of warfare.
When on March 31, 1949, VOA launched its first Farsi program, Harry Truman praised it and said that he hoped it would help facilitate greater understanding between Iran and America and promote prosperity and peace. His successor, Eisenhower, used it for covert operations to undermine the nationalist Mohammad Mossadeq in a CIA-backed coup. Today, Iranians are not affected by propaganda; whether they are planted in a Dutch paper or transmitted otherwise.
Tragically, the manipulation and propaganda has had its effect on the American people. Unruffled, the Conventions are hijacked and used to intimidate Americans into yet another war. And the Dutch continue to insult another Mohammad – this time one who was awarded a Nobel Peace prize in Oslo in accordance to Alfred Nobel’s will “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has a Master’s of Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg for Communication and USC School of International Studies. She is an independent researcher with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the influence of lobby groups. She is a peace activist, essayist, radio commentator and public speaker
via Teeth Maestro by Silence on 8/31/08
Guest Blog by Silence posted from Islamabad Observer
A perception is systematically being spread in West about Pakistan being a nursery for terrorists and with the recent unrest in Tribal regions of Pakistan, the western media has started a campaign to prove that a ‘civil war’ is going on in Pakistan and some have gone to the extent that Pakistan is going to fall in to hands of extremists just like Iran, in an Islamic revolution and her Nuclear weapons can go in to hands of terrorist, quite understandable, as this very fear was created and nourished by former dictator Pervez Musharraff to get western support for his illegitimate rule that if he steps down, the militants would take over and George Bush administration which wanted to keep Americans in a constant state of ‘fear’ marketed the idea to international community for its so called war on terror. “The main objective of the Islamophobes, particularly in the US media, academia and politics was pitting Muslims against each other. It was promoted in the name of a “war within Islam.”
Soon after 9/11 the calls for a “war within Islam” intensified. Pakistan was the high value target long before the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, but undermining the Soviet Union was a priority. Focus shifted to Islam and Pakistan after the Soviet withdrawal. Taliban became the perfect scapegoat. Instead of helping the Taliban to correct their approach and ways to living by Islam, Muslims fully participated in demonising the Taliban. Operation 9/11 was planned. A war on Afghanistan was planned even before that. The country was invaded and occupied not just for the sake of occupying Afghanistan but for encircling the cooperating Pakistan as well. Write Abid Ullah Jan a researcher and Author of famous book, “The Musharraff Factor: Leading Pakistan to its inevitable demise”.
Weather it’s a civil war, an Islamist revolution or a “United States sponsored terrorism for oil” and part of plan of Neo-conservatives and American oil giants who want an access to energy rich Central Asia and want to use Afghanistan, NWFP and Baluchistan region till Indian ocean as a route for their energy supplies. American CIA with the help of Pakistani dictator General Zia ul Haq and Pakistani intelligence service ISI successfully turned Soviet-Afghan war in to Jihad or a ‘holy war”, the students from religious schools around the world were recruited with help of Muslim clerics by CIA and sent to tribal regions of Pakistan where they were trained by ISI and armed with sophisticated Americans weapons before sending them to join the ‘holy war’ in Afghanistan. In 1986, the Soviets troops were forced to withdraw from many areas because of heavy casualties and finally, under heavy international pressure managed by USA and huge losses in the battlefield, Soviet Union withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan in 1988.
After withdrawal of Soviet troops, the President Najibullah was unable to resist the warrior groups for long and his shaky government finally tumbled to warlords. Around 1.5 million Afghans were killed, six million were forced to leave their homes to neighboring countries majorly Pakistan who hosted more then 3 million refugees, and the country’s infrastructure was badly damaged. The US, which was the main supporter of the so-called Mujahidin’s, had its aim achieved; its main rival, the Soviet Union was defeated and plunged into a process of disintegration. The US no longer needed those who were fighting for an Islamic cause, General Ziaul Haq’s plane mysteriously burst in air killing the entire team of top generals who played a key role in Afghan resistance against Soviet Union. Most Arab governments, directed by the US, also stopped helping the Mujahideen and wanted their citizens who fought in Afghanistan to go back home. Abdullah Azzam, who brought the Arab fighters to Afghanistan, was assassinated in a bombing, and Osama bin Laden who was sourcing arms for Mujahidin from international black market as a CIA middleman was put on the “most-wanted” list by the Saudi government.
The Afghan warlords, who were previously one united army on US payroll, were then divided into several groups as struggle for power started pushing Afghanistan in to a civil war, This was the time when Pakistani intelligence service ISI which has contributed a lot in terms of man power and resources in Soviet defeat and has deep strategic interests in region organized Taliban or students of religious schools who drive away the warlords in matter of no time. The Pakistan’s military establishment planned to install a ‘friendly’ government in landlocked Afghanistan which is heavily dependent on Pakistan for trade and food, in order to use it as a trade route to energy rich Central Asia. Benazir Bhutto’s government was swift to recognize the Taliban government and her foreign minister termed Taliban as ‘apney bachy’ meaning ‘our own kids. This enraged US whose intrestes were better served by an Afghanistan ruled by war lords, CIA and US oil companies have hailed the Caspian and Central Asia as a potential alternative to dependence on oil from the unstable Persian Gulf region, employed Osama Bin Laden who not only hijacked Taliban movement but also played a major role in downfall and dismissal of Benazir’s government after which she could never regain the trust of the west.
United States started negotiating Afghanistan pipeline route with Taliban government which was pushed by the US-based Unocal oil company from Turkmenistan across western Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean, and was engaged in intensive negotiations with the Taliban regime. However, once so called ‘our own kids’ proved to be tough negotiators and talks ended in disarray, the Clinton administration demanded handover of Osama Bin Laden who seek shelter in Afghanistan as a ‘guest’ of Taliban government as allegedly he played a role in bombing of US embassy in Tanzania and on Taliban’s refusal launched cruise missile attacks on alleged bin Laden training camps in eastern Afghanistan. According to a report in the Washington Post, the Clinton administration and Nawaz Sharif, then prime minister of Pakistan, agreed on a joint covert operation to kill Osama bin Laden in 1999. The US would supply satellite intelligence, air support and financing, while Pakistan supplied the Pashtu-speaking commandos who would penetrate southern Afghanistan and carry out the actual killing. The attack was aborted on October 12, 1999, when Sharif was overthrown in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf, who halted the proposed covert operation.
After disgraceful removal of Bill Clinton and the installation of George Bush in the White House, the talks with Taliban continued, Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth, written by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, the two French authors write that the Bush administration was willing to accept the Taliban regime, despite the charges of sponsoring terrorism, if it cooperated with plans for the development of the oil resources of Central Asia. The failure of these negotiations shifted the focus of American Neo-conservative policy in Afghanistan to preparing for a full scale military intervention directed at the Taliban regime as a whole and introduction of ‘state sponsored terrorism in Pakistan, Cline and Alexander suggested a definition of state sponsored terrorism: The deliberate employment of violence or the threat of use of violence by sovereign states (or sub-national groups encouraged or assisted by sovereign states) to attain strategic and political objectives by acts in violation of law. These criminal acts are intended to create overwhelming fear in a target population larger than the civilian or military victims attached or threatened.
According to Boaz Ganor, of ICT ‘for many years, terrorism was perceived as a contest between two sides: on the one hand, a group of people or an organization, and on the other, a sovereign state. However, during the course of the second half of the twentieth century, various countries began to use, and indeed have expanded their use of terrorist organizations to promote state interests in the international domain. Instead of the “weapon of the weak” – minority groups, liberation movements, and revolutionary organizations – terrorism has become a tool of states and even of superpowers. In some cases, states established “puppet” terrorist organizations, whose purpose was to act on behalf of the sponsoring state, to further the interests of the state, and to represent its positions in domestic or regional fronts. In other cases, states sponsored or supported existing organizations, thereby creating mutually profitable connections. In order to understand more clearly who is behind the acts of violence in Pakistan and what goals they want to achieve we would have to look in to chain of events followed by the failure of US-Taliban talks for pipeline. Surprisingly that dozens of so-called Islamic fundamentalists, many with known ties to Osama bin Laden, were able to carry out a wide-ranging conspiracy on three continents, targeting the most prominent symbols of American power ‘the Twin Towers’, on September 11, 2001, without any US intelligence agency having the slightest idea of what they were doing which gave US an excuse to invade Afghanistan.
The major problem in exploiting the energy resources of Central Asia is how to get the oil and gas from the landlocked region to the world markets. CIA opposes using either the Russian pipeline system or the land route, across Iran to the Persian Gulf, while the most feasible and relevant to the so-called war on terror, south from Turkmenistan across western Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean. The only way to achieve this goal is by installing a puppet government in Afghanistan along with control over NWFP region of Pakistan, disintegration of Pakistan resulting in to an autonomous Baluchistan. The hidden plan of Bush-Musharraff for Pakistan came in to light when the ‘Rand Corporation’ published a future map of Pakistan which included NWFP as a part of Afghanistan, Sindh as a autonomous state and Baluchistan shown as a part of Iranian Baluchistan as an autonomous region, the greater US plan for control over energy resources of Central Asia and a safe transit rout till Indian gulf s a part of “New Asia” plan of Neoconservatives which can only be achieved with disintegration of Pakistan and possession of her nuclear weapons in wake of fear of these weapons going in to hands of extremists followed by an Iranian invasion by US. The state sponsored terrorism became a tool to bring Pakistan to its knees by breeding militant groups sponsored by India-US alliance and at the same time to cultivate a public hatred towards Pakistan army by providing full support to a military dictator and involving armed force in to government affairs to take blames for a dictator’s decisions.
There is a wide perception that Musharraff gave up on ‘one phone call’ and supported the so called ‘war on terror’ which does not seems to be true, the very installation of Musharraff in Islamabad was part of plan for American invasion of Afghanistan, he was supposed to face a trial for his ‘military misadventure’ in Kargil when Bill Clinton administration offered Nazaw Sharif a cover up for Kargil and in return demanded assassination of Osama, a long time friend and supporter of Nawaz, this was a claver move as Clinton administration would get rid of two key operatives of Neo-cons, an army Chief in Islamabad and Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, however with fall down of Nawaz Sharif government in a ‘quo’ by Musharraff, the Neo-cons were able to protect both of their allies and key partners for future oil plan. On October 17, 1999, Musharraf told the nation: “Our aims and objectives shall be: No. 1- rebuild national confidence and morale; No. 2 – strengthen federation, remove inter-provincial disharmony and restore national cohesion; No. 3 – revive [the] economy and restore investors’ confidence; No. 4 – ensure law and order and dispense speedy justice; No. 5 – depoliticize state institutions; No. 6 – devolution of power to the grassroots level; and lastly, No. 7 – ensure swift … accountability.
Once Musharraf was in power many secular and nationalist politicians were disqualified for much less, including not having a higher education and through controversial NAB many were forced out of politics. Banned groups were allowed to continue working under new identities with the same leadership, Baitullah Mehsud, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee came back to Pakistan and started recruiting ‘Mujahedeen’ with American funds and agencies were not allowed to take action against him despite the fact that ISI has very strong presence in Tribal Areas. To fuel the sentiments of unemployed Baluch youth the elderly Baluch Tribal Chief who was demanding arrest and trial of a Pakistan army captain, a relative of Pervez Musharraff, involved in rape of a lady doctor, was assassinated because of personal rivalry by dictator pushing the entire province on mercy of Indo-American financed ‘separatists’, in NWFP several groups of so called Pakistani Taliban pop up and started implementing their own version of Islam but no action was taken against them until they become strong enough to challenge the security forces. Obviously, there can be no war on terror unless there are terrorists, and the Bush-Musharraff plan was to breed terrorists to give legitimacy to war on terror. Despite the late and half hearted military actions which majorly caused civilian causalities rather then damaging terrorists, the promised US aid for development of Tribal region which included building infrastructure, creating employment opportunities for locals and giving the products of areas a free access in international markets never materialized resulting in a broader local support for terrorists. At the same time terrorists became a symbol of justice and peace by taking over the administrative powers from corrupt administrators appointed as a favor by the dictator. As a result the tribal regions of Pakistan became a sanctuary for Afghan and local terrorists in disguise of Taliban giving a valid excuse to US to launch attacks inside Pakistan on pretext that these groups were involved in cross border attacks on US forces. Surprisingly most of these attacks were directed on civilian population resulting in a sentiment of revenge against government in locals rather then causing any substantial damage to terrorist hideouts. The Osama Bin laden is not access able by US even with the most sophisticated technology and more then a decade’s war although one of his tape surfaces when Bush was near to loose second term elections or Musharraff was being impeached, to develop a favorable public opinion for the both Many people inside military and civil establishment including the retired generals started asking if Musharraf was really putting the final nail in the coffin of a nation.
He used excessive force in Baluchistan to solve a political problem in return of valid demands of Baluchistan nationalist parties over natural resources, unemployment in Baluch youth and extreme poverty as compared to other provinces and thousands of political activists were arrested commonly referred as ‘missing Pakistani’s, apart from those were handed over to US as “Al-Qaida” operatives and later proved to be innocent and an international embracement for US.He removed the Chief Justice who was hearing the cases of “Missing Pakistanis” presently detained by US in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay and later sacked majority of superior judiciary snatching away the last hope for justice from people in order to push the country in to a civil war. However he never forgot to patronize the ethnic and religious armed groups and successfully assembled a ‘collation of religious extremists’ who formed their governments in 3 out of 4 provinces. The Neo-Con backed Bush-Musharraff collation’s primary goal was to create political turmoil, sectarian violence, religious rivalry, and an atmosphere of fear and terror and alienate public from government, and most importantly to show the failure of state institutions to establish proper stability and security. The assassination of Bhutto is also a part of US agenda with two aims; first to weaken the democratic and secular forces which will strengthen the US backed extremists and secondly to accelerate the distrust in provinces and various ethnic groups to weaken the federation.
It is not hard to understand who is behind this these terrorist groups, Pakistan posses irrefutable evidence that the growth of militancy in Fata and insurgency in Baluchistan together with suicide bombings in Pakistan are the handiwork of a India-US nexus based in Kabul which is indulging in dirty tricks to destabilize Pakistan politically and cause economic deathblow to Pakistan so that its nuclear assets could be possessed along with causing a disintegration which suits the US oil plan for ‘New Asia’. “There are reports of presence of highly encrypted communications gear with Mehsud. This communication gear enables him to collect real-time information on Pakistani troop movements from an unidentified foreign source without being intercepted by Pakistani intelligence” Pakistani officials claim. The forces behind the terrorists operating in Pakistan can also be identified by the “Asia 2025“, a study conducted by the US under secretary of defence (policy), and distributed in limited circles, these documents show that US defence planners are shifting their focus from Europe to Asia where they would wish to contain the threat of an Islamist Pakistan and an economically-resurgent China.
There are several training camps being run by Indian intelligence agency ‘RAW’ in US occupied Afghanistan to train the militant groups involved in Baluchistan and US is harboring an extremist group ‘Jind Allah’ which is involved in terrorist activities inside Iran and uses Baluchistan border areas to enter Iran, these both groups coordinate and support each others activities, the recent suicide bombing in Pakistan are widely believed to be work of ‘BLA’ and Mehsud, both of them backed and hosted by Indian intelligence and being armed by Northern Alliance from Afghanistan. Recently the CIA official were questioned by high level Pakistani officials why the CIA-run predator and the US military did not swing into action when they were provided the exact location of Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s enemy number one and the mastermind of almost every suicide operation against the Pakistan Army and the ISI since June 2006. Admiral Mullen and Kappes were both provided information about the activities of the Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad and were asked “We wanted to know when our American friends would get interested in tracking down the terrorists responsible for hundreds of suicide bombings in Pakistan and those playing havoc with our natural resources in Baluchistan while sitting in Kabul and Delhi,”, an official described the change in Pakistani mood after the newly elected government came in to power, during the July 12 meetings.
Pakistani intelligence service ISI was accused to be responsible for recent bombing in of Indian embassy in Kabul and Bush conveyed his concern to the newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister on his visit to Washington, conveniently ignoring the role of India and US in promoting terrorism inside Pakistan. India has a history of making such accusations and most of the time its own agency ‘RAW’ was staging such bombing similar to attack on Indian parliament. However involvement of ISI is not out of question as both agencies have a history of involvement in such acts on each others lands and it must not be a surprise when Indian-US backed terrorists are carrying similar acts inside Pakistan on daily basis killing innocent civilians and targeting security forces.
Conflict of interests is widening in US and Pakistan and establishment has come to a realization that it have to choose either Pakistan or US interests in the region, same thinking prevailed when in last elections Army refused to act upon the Musharraff plan of rigging elections and when Musharraff was being impeached establishment stayed neutral, the full scale military operation against militants began in tribal areas immediately after the new government came in to power resulting in displacement of more the 200,000 people but the world community and US, a champion of ‘war on terror’ never bothered to come forward to help these civilians rather a dirty campaign has been started against politicians through ‘CIA’ leaks. The expected victory of Barak Obama will also cause certain damage to Neo-Con agenda but would not create a major shift in long term US policies. There seems to be no visible end in US backed “state terrorism’ inside Pakistan in near future.
To what extent newly elected democratic government in Pakistan succeeds in developing counter terrorism measures against ‘US’ backed state terrorism in Pakistan is a question only coming time can answer but will certainly require a complete reversal of Musharraff’s policies, a crack down on extremists and terrorist groups and most required shift in foreign policy which can ensure less reliance on US while strengthening ties with China. However it would not be possible if there is lack of coordination between institutions. Visibly, Asif Ali Zardari is going to win the next presidential elections, he is very well aware of force behind assassination of Benazir Bhutto, in case he can stay away from practices associated with him in last Bhutto regime, and is willing to counter the conspiracy against Pakistan, he will require support and reconciliation with major opposition party PMLN and Nawaz Sharif as to achieve smooth working conditions for his government and Nawaz Sharif has expressed his willingness in case Zardari comes clean in national interest, similarly Justice Iftakhar Muhammad Chaudhry and judiciary sacked by Musharraff would be his natural allies in democratic process to ensure the impartial judicial system, General Ishfaq Pervez Kiani is a professional solider and his commitment of keeping army away from politics is unambiguous, he has shown his willingness to give political system a chance and stay impartial. If such coordination develops in all four major players in Pakistani establishment, it would not be difficult to face the terrorism and international conspiracies. However, if it happens, it will be a surprise in our history and a new experience, the main responsibility rests on politicians to show maturity and support and strengthen the national institutions to face the challenges
A. Clare Brandabur
By Schlomo Sand
Every Israeli knows that he or she is the direct and exclusive descendant of a Jewish people which has existed since it received the Torah (1) in Sinai. According to this myth, the Jews escaped from Egypt and settled in the Promised Land, where they built the glorious kingdom of David and Solomon, which subsequently split into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. They experienced two exiles: after the destruction of the first temple, in the 6th century BC, and of the second temple, in 70 AD.
Two thousand years of wandering brought the Jews to Yemen, Morocco, Spain, Germany, Poland and deep into Russia. But, the story goes, they always managed to preserve blood links between their scattered communities. Their uniqueness was never compromised.
At the end of the 19th century conditions began to favour their return to their ancient homeland. If it had not been for the Nazi genocide, millions of Jews would have fulfilled the dream of 20 centuries and repopulated Eretz Israel, the biblical land of Israel. Palestine, a virgin land, had been waiting for its original inhabitants to return and awaken it. It belonged to the Jews, rather than to an Arab minority that had no history and had arrived there by chance. The wars in which the wandering people reconquered their land were just; the violent opposition of the local population was criminal.
This interpretation of Jewish history was developed as talented, imaginative historians built on surviving fragments of Jewish and Christian religious memory to construct a continuous genealogy for the Jewish people. Judaism’s abundant historiography encompasses many different approaches.
But none have ever questioned the basic concepts developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Discoveries that might threaten this picture of a linear past were marginalised. The national imperative rejected any contradiction of or deviation from the dominant story. University departments exclusively devoted to “the history of the Jewish people”, as distinct from those teaching what is known in Israel as general history, made a significant contribution to this selective vision. The debate on what constitutes Jewishness has obvious legal implications, but historians ignored it: as far as they are concerned, any descendant of the people forced into exile 2,000 years ago is a Jew.
Nor did these official investigators of the past join the controversy provoked by the “new historians” from the late 1980s. Most of the limited number of participants in this public debate were from other disciplines or non-academic circles: sociologists, orientalists, linguists, geographers, political scientists, literary academics and archaeologists developed new perspectives on the Jewish and Zionist past. Departments of Jewish history remained defensive and conservative, basing themselves on received ideas. While there have been few significant developments in national history over the past 60 years (a situation unlikely to change in the short term), the facts that have emerged face any honest historian with fundamental questions.
Founding myths shaken
Is the Bible a historical text? Writing during the early half of the 19th century, the first modern Jewish historians, such as Isaak Markus Jost (1793-1860) and Leopold Zunz (1794-1886), did not think so. They regarded the Old Testament as a theological work reflecting the beliefs of Jewish religious communities after the destruction of the first temple. It was not until the second half of the century that Heinrich Graetz (1817-91) and others developed a “national” vision of the Bible and transformed Abraham’s journey to Canaan, the flight from Egypt and the united kingdom of David and Solomon into an authentic national past. By constant repetition, Zionist historians have subsequently turned these Biblical “truths” into the basis of national education.
But during the 1980s an earthquake shook these founding myths. The discoveries made by the “new archaeology” discredited a great exodus in the 13th century BC. Moses could not have led the Hebrews out of Egypt into the Promised Land, for the good reason that the latter was Egyptian territory at the time. And there is no trace of either a slave revolt against the pharaonic empire or of a sudden conquest of Canaan by outsiders.
Nor is there any trace or memory of the magnificent kingdom of David and Solomon. Recent discoveries point to the existence, at the time, of two small kingdoms: Israel, the more powerful, and Judah, the future Judea. The general population of Judah did not go into 6th century BC exile: only its political and intellectual elite were forced to settle in Babylon. This decisive encounter with Persian religion gave birth to Jewish monotheism.
Then there is the question of the exile of 70 AD. There has been no real research into this turning point in Jewish history, the cause of the diaspora. And for a simple reason: the Romans never exiled any nation from anywhere on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean. Apart from enslaved prisoners, the population of Judea continued to live on their lands, even after the destruction of the second temple. Some converted to Christianity in the 4th century, while the majority embraced Islam during the 7th century Arab conquest.
Most Zionist thinkers were aware of this: Yitzhak Ben Zvi, later president of Israel, and David Ben Gurion, its first prime minister, accepted it as late as 1929, the year of the great Palestinian revolt. Both stated on several occasions that the peasants of Palestine were the descendants of the inhabitants of ancient Judea (2).
But if there was no exile after 70 AD, where did all the Jews who have populated the Mediterranean since antiquity come from? The smokescreen of national historiography hides an astonishing reality. From the Maccabean revolt of the mid-2nd century BC to the Bar Kokhba revolt of the 2nd century AD, Judaism was the most actively proselytising religion. The Judeo-Hellenic Hasmoneans forcibly converted the Idumeans of southern Judea and the Itureans of Galilee and incorporated them into the people of Israel. Judaism spread across the Middle East and round the Mediterranean. The 1st century AD saw the emergence in modern Kurdistan of the Jewish kingdom of Adiabene, just one of many that converted.
The writings of Flavius Josephus are not the only evidence of the proselytising zeal of the Jews. Horace, Seneca, Juvenal and Tacitus were among the Roman writers who feared it. The Mishnah and the Talmud (3) authorised conversion, even if the wise men of the Talmudic tradition expressed reservations in the face of the mounting pressure from Christianity.
Although the early 4th century triumph of Christianity did not mark the end of Jewish expansion, it relegated Jewish proselytism to the margins of the Christian cultural world. During the 5th century, in modern Yemen, a vigorous Jewish kingdom emerged in Himyar, whose descendants preserved their faith through the Islamic conquest and down to the present day. Arab chronicles tell of the existence, during the 7th century, of Judaised Berber tribes; and at the end of the century the legendary Jewish queen Dihya contested the Arab advance into northwest Africa. Jewish Berbers participated in the conquest of the Iberian peninsula and helped establish the unique symbiosis between Jews and Muslims that characterised Hispano-Arabic culture.
The most significant mass conversion occurred in the 8th century, in the massive Khazar kingdom between the Black and Caspian seas. The expansion of Judaism from the Caucasus into modern Ukraine created a multiplicity of communities, many of which retreated from the 13th century Mongol invasions into eastern Europe. There, with Jews from the Slavic lands to the south and from what is now modern Germany, they formed the basis of Yiddish culture (4).
Prism of Zionism
Until about 1960 the complex origins of the Jewish people were more or less reluctantly acknowledged by Zionist historiography. But thereafter they were marginalised and finally erased from Israeli public memory. The Israeli forces who seized Jerusalem in 1967 believed themselves to be the direct descendents of the mythic kingdom of David rather than – God forbid – of Berber warriors or Khazar horsemen. The Jews claimed to constitute a specific ethnic group that had returned to Jerusalem, its capital, from 2,000 years of exile and wandering.
This monolithic, linear edifice is supposed to be supported by biology as well as history. Since the 1970s supposedly scientific research, carried out in Israel, has desperately striven to demonstrate that Jews throughout the world are closely genetically related.
Research into the origins of populations now constitutes a legitimate and popular field in molecular biology and the male Y chromosome has been accorded honoured status in the frenzied search for the unique origin of the “chosen people”. The problem is that this historical fantasy has come to underpin the politics of identity of the state of Israel. By validating an essentialist, ethnocentric definition of Judaism it encourages a segregation that separates Jews from non-Jews – whether Arabs, Russian immigrants or foreign workers.
Sixty years after its foundation, Israel refuses to accept that it should exist for the sake of its citizens. For almost a quarter of the population, who are not regarded as Jews, this is not their state legally. At the same time, Israel presents itself as the homeland of Jews throughout the world, even if these are no longer persecuted refugees, but the full and equal citizens of other countries.
A global ethnocracy invokes the myth of the eternal nation, reconstituted on the land of its ancestors, to justify internal discrimination against its own citizens. It will remain difficult to imagine a new Jewish history while the prism of Zionism continues to fragment everything into an ethnocentric spectrum. But Jews worldwide have always tended to form religious communities, usually by conversion; they cannot be said to share an ethnicity derived from a unique origin and displaced over 20 centuries of wandering.
The development of historiography and the evolution of modernity were consequences of the invention of the nation state, which preoccupied millions during the 19th and 20th centuries. The new millennium has seen these dreams begin to shatter.
And more and more academics are analysing, dissecting and deconstructing the great national stories, especially the myths of common origin so dear to chroniclers of the past.
Shlomo Sand is professor of history at Tel Aviv university and the author of Comment le people juif fut inventé (Fayard, Paris, 2008)
“For the better part of a century, from roughly the 1880’s to the 1960’s, radical movements and ideas played a major role in the lives of American Jews. Socialism was not a “one-generation” phenomenon, as most historians would have it.” (p.253)
The Jewish labor movements dual character-its universalism and particularity-wrested with itself constantly. Some individuals viewed socialism as a process of cultural assimilation; others considered it essential for Jewish national survival. Some imagined a world without Jews or other national groups; others anticipated an international brotherhood of peoples that included Jews…
A century later one is struck by the persistence of old arguments. A recent debate about the state of Israel attests, unresolved questions continue to burn even as specific applications change. (p.253)
Some disillusioned radicals broke ranks and joined older ex-socialists in becoming neo-conservatives. They would find a warm reception in influential Washington, D.C. think tanks and in the presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan and, more recently, George W. Bush…A thorough genealogy could trace a web of personal and organizational connections-from political parties and unions to schools and summer camps-that begins in New York’s tenement slums and stretches all the way to the White House, branching out in many unexpected directions along the way.” (p.259)
Here we have the history of the twentieth century in a nutshell-from Yiddish socialism in New York to Jewish neo-conservatism in Washington, D.C. It is the story of the failure of Marxism to the rise of Zionism. From the stretching of Marxist tentacles from New York to seize Russia to the stretching of Zionist tentacles from Tel Aviv to seize America, it is the story of the same Octopus which crushed Berlin. (Read more)