The way to win is to attack the opposition’s civilian population

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August 6, 1945, the United States used a massive, atomic weapon against Hiroshima, Japan. This atomic bomb, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, flattened the city, killing tens of thousands of civilians. While Japan was still trying to comprehend this devastation three days later, the United States struck again, this time, on Nagasaki. ( 9th August 1945)

68 years on from Hiroshima, The Nuclear Madness Remains

 

The 69th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, reminds me of Chomsky’s observation that the way to win a war is to attack the other side’s civilian population … it worked in Japan, and (particularly at the moment) it is obviously the strategy.

More than ever before, we are being brought face to face with the horrors of the bloodshed.  The genocidal intent of the Israelis in Gaza, the barbarism of ISIS in Iraq, the murderous gas pipeline power struggle in Syria, the little reported ethnic and cultural ‘cleansing’ of the Donbass region of Ukraine and many unreported massacres in the Congo, Sudan and more.

Chomsky illustrates the effectiveness (and hypocrisy) of the strategy in recent piece about downing of the passenger plane in the Ukraine:

Every literate person, and certainly every editor and commentator instantly recalled another case when a plane was shot down with comparable loss of life: Iran Air 655 with 290 killed, including 66 children, shot down in Iranian airspace in a clearly identified commercial air route. The crime was not carried out “with U.S. support,” nor has its agent ever been uncertain. It was the guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes, operating in Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf….It was a major factor in Iran’s recognition that it could not fight on any longer, according to historian Dilip Hiro. 

http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/44265-outrage.html

Naturally, if it is ‘their’ forces, it is described as a massacre and an outrage, but if the killing is from ‘our side’, it is simply collateral damage, unreported or reported as if legitimate.

This is not new, as Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed details in his lecture ‘The Hidden Holocaust’, reposted below.  Historically, this was the pattern of colonisation.  Millions of indigenous peoples were systematically exterminated and their cultures erased.  The remaining population was cowed and of necessity compliant.

But the killing continues.  It may be overt as in Gaza, Donetsk or Iraq… or it may be hidden in the statistics about ever increasing global poverty or the million children who die every year from Malaria or from the unrecorded effects of sanctions or from polluted environments or the people dispossessed of their land by corporations or poverty wages or by removing social security or from climate change.  None of these need be happening.

Nowadays, colonisation is less about occupying a land mass and more about controlling the economy. For example, in order to eradicate the socialism of Allende and impose strict free market-oriented neoliberal economic reforms, the US-backed Pinochet’s armies killed or ‘disappeared’ at least 3,000.  These were representatives from the cultural world, intellectuals, university staff and students, forcing 200,000 Chileans into exile – up to 80,000 people were interned and as many as 30,000 were tortured during the time Pinochet was in government.  The proposed trade deals, TTIP, TPP and TISA are the latest way to achieve the same, by setting corporate rule above national governments, to the detriment of ordinary people and threat to the most vulnerable.

But in addition to all of this, the other side’s ‘massacres’ are exploited to persuade populations that their side are the ‘good guys’  and if required, they should go and fight…  Pearl Harbour and 9/11 spring to mind.  Jim Grundy writes of the start of WW1:

A hundred years ago today the most advanced military machine in the world, the Germany Army, invaded its neighbours.  Within 48 hours, the first massacres of civilians took place, not by accident but as a matter of deliberate policy. Thousands were to be murdered in the coming weeks.  British public opinion, that had not been sympathetic to Serbia after the Sarajevo assassinations, was appalled by the stories of mass murder committed against a defenceless population.  The British State might have gone to war to protect the European balance of power, its own imperial interests but the reason for war was clear to most British people – the avoidance of the fate meted out by an aggressive military power to women and children here at home.

 

Massacres and atrocities are brilliant tools for galvanising ordinary people into the required behaviour…  Capitulation to stop the killing, compliance on the part of the oppressed and public support for conscription, surveillance and draconian security clamp-downs.  The global power elites need to convince us because they cannot further their own interests, without our being frightened or fooled into backing them.  Don’t believe the hypocritical and sanctimonious talk about the outrage of killing civilians.  It is palpably untrue.

As Chomsky says – Israel could “defend” itself by withdrawing from territories it illegally occupies.

When the powers-that-be talk about security, it is not for you and me .. the security they mean is security for the rich and powerful to stay rich and powerful.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed : The_Hidden_Holocaust

 

Political analyst on security, conflict and global crisis. Director of Institute for Policy Research & Development, London. Author of “The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry” (Duckworth, 2006) and “The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism” (Arris, Olive Branch, 2005).

The New Cold War with Russia?

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Is the West backing a Gangster State in Ukraine? asked what the hell is going on in the Ukraine.  Now the temperature has been hugely ramped up by the downing of the Malaysian passenger plane.   Professor Steven Cohen speaking to Democracy Now says that we may never know who was responsible… whether it was vested interests or a horrible mistake.  However, he says: I don’t want to prioritize death—I mean, whose death is worse or not so worse. But the reality is… if you’re going to ask an historian…. that the conflict in the Middle East, including Iraq, is going to affect regional politics, but the conflict in Ukraine is going to affect global politics, because we are now in a new Cold War with Russia. Furthermore, Professor Cohen discounts the role of Russia because ‘the Russians certainly had no motive here. This is horrible for Putin and for the Russian position.’

Nevertheless, our corporate press leans towards, or is even overtly blaming Russia, whilst the US are pushing for greater and greater sanctions to be applied. This is a profoundly dangerous situation and it seems that we are again being badly served by our media.  Intelligence author William Engdahl was reported as saying that there is a ‘… tiny power cabal that have so much power in Washington, they want not only a new cold war, they want a new hot war.’

The dread is that such a tiny power cabal are intent on replicating the conditions from a  handbook for ‘world domination':  Nineteen Eighty Four revisited – Is there a ‘world domination’ study course?

Transcript of the Democracy Now interview with Professor Steven Cohen is reposted below:

 

Stephen Cohen: Downed Malaysian Plane Raises Risk of War Between Russia and the West - transcript of video interview which was posted on democracynow.org 18.07.14

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 298 people has exploded and crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing everyone on board. U.S. and Ukrainian officials say the Boeing 777 was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, but it’s unclear who fired the missile. The plane was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with passengers from at least 10 countries on board, including 173 Dutch nationals, 44 Malaysians and 27 Australians. As many as 100 of the world’s leading AIDS researchers and advocates were reportedly on the plane en route to a conference in Australia, including the pioneering researcher and former president of the International AIDS Society, Joep Lange. Both sides in Ukraine’s conflict are blaming each other for downing the plane. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak vowed to launch a full investigation into what happened.

PRIME MINISTER NAJIB RAZAK: We must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone will be left unturned. If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice.

AMY GOODMAN: After the plane crashed, Russian media quoted witnesses saying they saw the plane being hit by what looked like a rocket. There have been several other recent disputes over planes being attacked over eastern Ukraine. On Thursday, Ukrainian officials blamed the Russian air force for shooting down one of its ground attack jets and a transport plane earlier in the week. Over the past few days, Western governments have expressed growing concern that Russia is ramping up its military support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. The United States strengthened its economic sanctions against Russia this week, but the European Union has so far declined to follow suit.

For more, we’re joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. His most recent piece for The Nation is headlined, “The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities.” His book, Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, is out in paperback.

Professor Cohen, welcome to Democracy Now! What do you think we should understand about what has taken place?

STEPHEN COHEN: The horror of it all, to quote Conrad, watching your reports on Gaza, knowing what I know but what’s not being reported in the mainstream media about what’s been going on in eastern Ukraine cities—these cities have been pounded by Kiev—and now this. “Emeritus,” as you call me, means old. I’ve seen this before. One function of cold war is innocent victims. The people who died, nearly 300, from many countries, are the first victims, nonresidential victims, of the new Cold War. This crash, this shootdown, will make everything worse, no matter who did it.

There are several theoretical possibilities. I am not a conspiracy buff, but we know in the history of the Cold War, there are provocations, people who want to make things worse. So, in Moscow, and not only in Moscow, there are theories that somebody wanted this to happen. I just can’t believe anybody would do it, but you can’t rule anything out.

The other possibility is, because the Ukrainian government itself has a capability to shoot down planes. By the way, the Ukrainian government shot down a Russian passenger jet, I think in 2001. It was flying from Tel Aviv to Siberia. It was an accident. Competence is always a factor when you have these weapons.

Another possibility is that the rebels—we call them separatists, but they weren’t separatists in the beginning, they just wanted home rule in Ukraine—that they had the capability. But there’s a debate, because this plane was flying at commercial levels, normally beyond the reach of what they can carry on their shoulders.

There’s the possibility that the Russians aided and abetted them, possibly from Russian territory, but I rule that out because, in the end, when you don’t know who has committed a crime, the first question a professional investigator asks is, “Did anybody have a motive?” and the Russians certainly had no motive here. This is horrible for Putin and for the Russian position.

That’s what we know so far. Maybe we’ll know more. We may never know who did this.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, the Obama administration has expanded U.S. sanctions on Russia in the latest round of a standoff over Ukraine. Speaking at the White House, President Obama said Russia has failed to drop military support for pro-Russian separatists.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Given its continued provocations in Ukraine, today I have approved a new set of sanctions on some of Russia’s largest companies and financial institutions. Along with our allies, with whom I have been coordinating closely the last several days and weeks, I have repeatedly made it clear that Russia must halt the flow of weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine, that Russia must urge separatists to release their hostages and support a ceasefire, that Russia needs to pursue internationally mediated talks and agree to meaningful monitors on the border.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Your response?

STEPHEN COHEN: Sanctions are beside the point. Obviously they’ll cause economic pain, possibly equally to Europe, which doesn’t want them, didn’t want them. Major American corporations took out ads in major American newspapers before Obama did this, asking Obama not to do it. When you resort to sanctions, it means you have no policy. You have an attitude. And the anti-Putin attitude in Washington is driving American policy.

Let me mention, because I think it’s relevant to what you’re covering here, your very, very powerful segments before I came on today about what’s going on in Gaza, the pounding of these cities, the defenselessness of ordinary people. The same thing has been happening in East Ukrainian cities—bombing, shelling, mortaring by the Kiev government—whatever we think of that government. But that government is backed 150 percent by the White House. Every day, the White House and the State Department approve of what Kiev’s been doing. We don’t know how many innocent civilians, women and children, have died. We know there’s probably several hundred thousand refugees that have run from these cities. The cities are Donetsk, Luhansk, Kramatorsk, Slovyansk—a whole series of cities whose names are not familiar to Americans. The fact is, Americans know nothing about this. We know something about what’s happening in Gaza, and there’s a division of opinion in the United States: The Israelis should do this, the Israelis should not do this. But we know there are victims: We see them. Sometimes the mainstream media yanks a reporter, as you just showed, who shows it too vividly, because it offends the perception of what’s right or wrong. But we are not shown anything about what’s happened in these Ukrainian cities, these eastern Ukrainian cities.

Why is that important? Because this airliner, this shootdown, took place in that context. The American media says it must have been the bad guys—that is, the rebels—because they’ve shot down other airplanes. This is true, but the airplanes they’ve been shooting down are Ukraine’s military warplanes that have come to bomb the women and children of these cities. We don’t know that.

AMY GOODMAN: There have been several discussions—in the corporate media, it was said that this plane might have had a sort of unusual path, had gone further south, and that they thought it was a Ukrainian military plane.

STEPHEN COHEN: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Also, in terms of the black boxes, that Ukrainian officials and NTSB cannot get there because it’s rebel-held territory, and that the rebels might have taken the black boxes.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, the rebels have said they’re going to turn them over to Moscow, and Moscow will not conceal them. I mean, Moscow is going to play openness, so far as we know. But what’s preposterous, of course, is the prime minister of Malaysia coming out and telling us that Malaysia will uncover this mystery, when it still can’t find its missing airliner. This is just absolutely preposterous. But you’re right, the investigation is going to be politicized. Will we ever know?

Let me make the point again, though, because you hearkened back to it: This is a war zone. It’s a war zone. It’s been a war zone, an air war zone, for at least a month. Americans don’t know that. I hear you’ve shown it. But that’s—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, that’s one of the reasons that—well, what I wanted to ask you is, because of what’s been going on in Syria, in Iraq, and now with the Israeli attacks on Gaza, it’s almost as if what’s going on in Ukraine has receded in the consciousness of the media here in this country, even though it’s conceivably much more dangerous and has more long-term impact on the United States.

STEPHEN COHEN: I don’t want to prioritize death—I mean, whose death is worse or not so worse. But the reality is, if you’re going to ask an historian, that the conflict in the Middle East, including Iraq, is going to affect regional politics, but the conflict in Ukraine is going to affect global politics, because we are now in a new Cold War with Russia. We have been for several months. One aspect of cold war is civilian deaths. We’ve had these shootdowns. We had them in the old Cold War. This is going to get worse. It also brings us closer to war between Russia and the West, NATO and the United States. So, if you’re going to ask which is more important—Russians have a saying that, which is worse? And the answer is, both are worse. They’re all worse. But if you’re going to ask which is going to have impact for our grandchildren, it’s what’s going on in Ukraine now.

AMY GOODMAN: We only have 30 seconds, but Obama announcing stricter sanctions against Russia, how significant is this? It was a day before the downing of the plane.

STEPHEN COHEN: I’ll repeat what I said before: By resorting to sanctions, Obama reminds us he has no policy toward Ukraine or Russia other than to blame Putin. That’s not a policy; that’s an attitude.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics, New York University and Princeton University. We’ll link to his piece in The Nation. His latest book, just out in paperback, Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to“democracynow.org”.

Support the Striking teachers 10th July 2014

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We are told that Michael Gove’s reforms to education are a real success story.

In spite of lacking a formal mandate from the electorate, Gove has launched headlong into massive funding of ‘free schools’ and attempting to turn all schools into academies, outside council control.  Many recognise this to be preparing for the next step of profit-making and privatisation of education.

However, this ‘success’ can hardly be said to be reflected in the polls.  According to a Guardian/ICM poll last April, there is strong public opposition to major planks of Michael Gove’s education reforms.  For example, 68% of Labour supporters, 58% of Lib Dems and 58% of Ukip supporters voted for councils retaining their responsibilities towards schools.  Overall, a majority of 57% agreed that councils should have an important role in over-seeing education.

Furthermore, in 2012:

Gove gave all academies the right to hire teachers who had not undergone formal training, arguing that this mimicked the freedom enjoyed by private schools to bring linguists, engineers and other specialists into the classroom, and there is evidence that the new free schools have made especially extensive use of this facility.’

This policy was even less popular.  63% of voters said that “teaching is a profession which requires dedicated training”.

The last few days (doubtless in response to the strike) there have been a spate of articles/quotes from Michael Gove referring to the ‘vested interests’ of ‘the Blob’ – by which he means the teachers, academic experts and the teaching unions.  However, YouGov found in February 2014 that:

When it comes to educational reforms, Britons tend to give the benefit of the doubt to ‘the Blob’: by 46%-19%, people hold the view that teaching unions and the educational establishment are “right in most of their concerns about education policy and school reforms” rather than believing these groups pose “an obstacle to necessary reforms”. 

When it comes to teachers themselves, over 92% oppose Gove’s reforms (the wonder is not the overwhelming opposition, but that there are 8% of teachers to support them).

But in addition to the reforms in the classroom, schools, the total lack of consultation and the centralised control from Whitehall – not to mention the scandals (financial and organisational) – teachers have also had their pay and pensions cut drastically.  Not only are they suffering from a pay freeze less than inflation but they are also having to find increased pension contributions, and are expected to work to 68y.

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The Government is still failing to make progress on our trade dispute over teachers’ pay, pensions and workload. The talks are still only about the implementation of Government policies, not about the fundamental issues we believe to be detrimental to education and the profession.

“For teachers, performance related pay, working until 68 for a full pension and heavy workload for 60 hours a week, is unsustainable. 

“This action is the responsibility of a Government and Education Secretary who are refusing point blank to accept the damage their reforms are doing to the teaching profession. The consequences of turning teaching into a totally unattractive career choice will most certainly lead to teacher shortages. 

“Strike action is a last resort for teachers and we deeply regret the disruption it causes parents and pupils. This date has been chosen to cause minimum disruption to examinations.

“Teaching is one of the best jobs in the world but is being made one of the worst under Michael Gove and the Coalition. It is time they listened. Michael Gove can still avoid the strike by engaging in serious negotiations on substantive issues.”

Finally, in solidarity (and by popular demand) to cheer striking teachers on their way … What does OFSTED stand for…

FASCINATING AIDA : very funny OFSTED song for teachers

What is the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership?

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Published on Jul 2, 2014

The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership is a trade deal between the EU and the US – and is anything but harmless. The deal boosts corporate power and endangers people and the planet.

This video, made by international campaigning organisation Attac, sets out the problems with the deal in a really clear, informative way. More Informations:
http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/05/… ,
http://www.attac.org/en/node/16244 .

Objections to the Investor State Dispute Settlement can still be registered with the EU Commission – closing date 6th July 2014.  The US will not sign up to TTIP without ISDS so an objection to the Corporate Tribunal is effectively registering your rejection of the EU-US Trade deal.

Information here – Only 3 days left to stop hidden rules within the EU-US trade deal allowing corporates to sue the state

See also – Are we already in the post-democratic era?