The Fifth Estate

Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious

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Pipelines and Propaganda

A couple of months into the third millennium, a few months before 9/11, and an American wearing a big Stetson, who really did remind me of that notorious misogynist J.R. Ewing, strolled into the room at the engineering consulting company where I was providing language training. The walls of the room were plastered with adhesive, easily removable, plastic sheets and on those sheets tradables and non tradables had been listed. The negotiations were in full swing with the students showing an ability to compromise by moving from the first conditional to the second conditional when tentatively turning a non tradable into a tradable. The Texan was told that the ongoing role-play represented negotiations between the government of Turkmenistan and the engineering company to build a pipeline down to Karachi, but everything was, unfortunately,hampered by the fact that we had Afghanistan in the middle. “Don’t worry”, the J.R. look-alike told me, “we will soon have that problem sorted out”.

Martin Bröckers and Paul Schreyer in their book, “Wir Sind die Guten:Ansichten eines Putinverstehers oder wie uns die Medien manipulieren” (‘We are the Good Guys: a “Putin expert’s  views or how the media manipulate us’) would have known exactly what the visiting cowboy meant when he refered to “sorting out” the problem. In their book they say that whoever thinks the war in Afghanistan is about women’s rights and opening schools for girls, or the war in Iraq was about democracy, or Libya was all about getting rid of a mad dictator, is a sad victim of that propaganda that the “morally superior” West needs to sell its imperialism (Bröckers M., Schreyer P.:15).

The “spreading democracy”, “fighting terrorism”, and “providing humanitarian aid” gobbledygook is given a proper perspective by Michael Klare in his book, ‘Blood and Oil’, when he writes: “….., it is getting harder to distinguish U:S: military operations designed to fight terrorism from those designed to protect energy assets. And the administration’s tendency to conflate the two is obvious in more than just the Gulf and Caspian areas” (Klare: 72). Of course, we might go a step further and argue that these military interventions are only designed to protect energy assets and geopolitical interests. This, of course, is not about terrorism, nasty dictators, and humanitarian intervention. It is all about “full spectrum dominance”, and, those terrorists, nasty dictators, and mass murderers who are willing to participate in it will most certainly have no problems with Washington. In retrospect our J.R. clone was refreshing. At least he couldn’t be accused of being hypocritical and he most certainly did not need some ridiculous pretext like the shortage of girls’ schools in Kandahar to address the problem.

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Alison Weir …. The Link ….. and a case of mistaken identity

My interest in Palestine, coupled with a general aversion vis-a-vis the inaccurate reporting of the main stream media on this topic in particular and, indeed, on many other issues, led me to add Alison Weir’s website to my links. However, before I did so, I ended up at the British Historian  Alison Weir’s homepage. She informed me that her website was not the website for the “American Alison Weir, founder of the organisation ‘If Americans Knew'”.

When I finally got to the “right” Alison Weir’s website I was left in no doubt as to the good sense in the British Historian making a point that she wasn’t that Alison Weir, when I read:

“As I write above, I am not the author of books about British history. That Alison Weir, who is English, tells me that she is receiving harassment and threats because some people mix her up with me. These are causing her extreme concern and forcing her to end her book tours in the U.S. PLEASE, ISRAEL PARTISANS, LEAVE HER ALONE. If you must threaten to kill someone because you wish facts about Israel-Palestine to remain hidden, I’m the one you mean.”. ……Shocking when you think about it!

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A word on Israel’s oxymoronic “Jewish democracy”

The title of Petra Wild’s book, Apartheid und ethnische Säuberung in Palastina (Apartheid and ethnic Cleansing in Palestine) sums up the reality that will continue behind the farcical oxymoronic “Jewish Democracy” and with an eye on the Israeli elections Stephen Lendman pulls no punches when he writes, “Herzog/Livni are as viciously racist as Netanyahu. They deplore democracy. They’re extremists masquerading as moderates.”

It is, therefore, offensive when we are confronted with the garbage spouted out by the mainstream media and in The Guardian’ we can already read, “The exit polls – if confirmed in the final official results – would seem to give Netanyahu the advantage in forming a coalition, even as Israeli president Reuven Rivlin indicated he would seek a national unity government.”

However, the “marvelous, plucky” little “Jewish Democracy” keeps us all in suspense and we are told that Herzog’s Zionist Union have still not given up hope of forming a government without the Likud Party. However, as Lendman says, if that does happen it will be a case of more of the same “wrapped in more friendly rhetoric”.

Now, isn’t that great news for Palestine and we can expect a “please get out off your land” and a “sorry we had to kill your family”, and who knows, a couple of rounds of useless talks during which the illegal building on Palestinian land, continues, before we get the Israelis and their American friends telling all and sundry that Palestinian intransigence has led to a break down in the negotiations, that no peace is possible, and there is no choice but to bomb them again.

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The Israel Lobby, the Neo-Cons and the Road to War

In their book ‘The Israel Lobby And US foreign policy’,Mearsheimer and Walt, when discussing Israel’s influence on Congress, conclude that “…. The bottom line is that AIPAC, which bills itself as “America’s pro-Israel Lobby”, has an almost unchallenged hold on Congress.”  (Mearsheimer and Walt: 162).

For anyone who sympathizes with those who are effectively the victims of an ongoing ethnic cleansing that in itself would be depressing enough. However, it is when the authors continue by contending that not only is there an absence of open debate on US policy toward Israel, but that this policy “has important consequences for the entire world” (ibid)  that we should worry on a very real and very personal level.

What that means is made clear earlier in the book, when the authors argue that not only was a drift to the right in the Israel lobby accompanied by the rise of the neoconservatives, but that the lobby and the neoconservatives are in fact synonymous (ibid: 128, 129, 130). When we consider that the neo-cons were virtually responsible for the ill-fated invasion of Iraq in March 2003, that contention becomes particularly ominous.

Furthermore, it is something that we should bear that in mind when we consider Benjamin Netanyahu’s antics on Capitol Hill on the March 2nd and the subsequent open letter on the 9th of the month addressed to the “Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” . The letter, which was signed by 47 Republican senators, basically told Teheran that any agreement on its nuclear programme would not be kept.

It might be worth pointing out that the letter was not only immoral, but that it was also illegal in that it contravenes the Logan Act of 1799, which “forbids any U.S. citizen — acting without official U.S. authority — from influencing “disputes or controversies” involving the U.S. and a foreign government”. However, we might be certain that neither the neoconservatives, nor the Israel lobby, nor Israel itself is going to be held accountable by any law and that is what should worry us.

The illegal occupation of Palestine continues and the ethnic cleansing continues apace, the invasion of Iraq has culminated in hundreds of thousands dead and ongoing sectarian strife. Syria’s sovereignty is being violated on a daily basis, and now we are being told that any agreement with Iran will be torn up. …. and then?

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Humanitarian interventions, the war against ISIS, and “Realpolitik”

A couple of months ago I watched the documentary Schattenkrieg in der Sahara” on the French/German channel ARTE. Unfortunately, it seems that it is only available in German and French. Therefore, it might be appropriate to begin this post with a brief summary of the film and to do that I will give a loose translation of the first paragraph of the text that can be accessed by clicking on the above link.

In 2013 France became involved in its biggest military intervention in North Africa since its days as a colonial power leading to what in all probability will be a turbulent decade for the Sahara region. The documentary researched the real reasons for the conflict and unveiled the interests behind the destabilization of the region, while asking if a new era of wars for resources is about to take place in the Sahel?

A couple  of salient points were made. Firstly, the French were  not acting on their own, but rather in collusion with the United States. Secondly, if the question at the end of the last paragraph is answered in the affirmative, then it might follow that what was supposedly an intervention on humanitarian grounds and against islamic extremism was in fact a pretext. Nevertheless, while those points might be unsettling enough, it is the conclusions we might draw from the further point made at the end of the film that should worry us most, because it is a point that demonstrates all too clearly that it is not only the wars for resources in North Africa that we should be concerned with.

The documentary concluded by pointing out that the French airforce didn’t prevent the Islamists from escaping north to Algeria using the only road available, even if they could quite easily have bombed that road and prevented that escape. Therefore, the  logical conclusion would be that they wanted them to escape. After all if there are no extremists and there is no humanitarian crisis, it is a bit difficult to justify military intervention which means that there is a very real Machiavellian, “Realpolitik” at play when dozens of militants escape and head “into the lawless desert of southern Libya, where they quickly melted into the dusty terrain.” 

Of course, we can only speculate as to whether any of them were involved in the massacre of the Egyptian Coptic Christians, which in turn led to the Egyptian Air Force bombing Eastern Libya. However, there is no need to speculate as to the real  raison d’être behind these humanitarian interventions and the war against ISIS. Instead, we might begin as Professor Michel Chossudovsky suggests in his article, “Obama’s “Fake War” against the Islamic State (ISIS)”, by trying to answer the question; “Why has the US Air Force not been able to wipe out the Islamic State which at the outset was largely equipped with conventional small arms not to mention state of the art Toyota pickup trucks?” Or maybe the Americans are just as incompetent as the French?

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The United States is dragging us to war with Russia

John Biden tells us today that Washington does not trust the Russians and that the US is determined to “allow Ukraine to defend itself”. What that means was made clear on Wednesday when Petro Poroshenko revealed that he was that he was confident that the US would supply Kiev with weapons. A confidence that was reflected in a little charade today when the Ukrainian President furnished “proof” that Moscow has soldiers are on the ground in Eastern Ukraine by holding up five passports which we are supposed to believe belonged to Russian officers.

One might of course ask, with Moscow continuing to deny any involvemet, would Russian soldiers actually carry their passports around with them? The pretexts are at least as flimsy as the weapons of mass destruction, but the evidence would seem to suggest that we are edging ever closer to another American war and that Hollande’s “last chance for peace“, represents more of a forlorn hope than any real opportunity.

No, the evidence would appear to suggest that this has been a war in the making for some time and that the United States is dragging us into another war made in Washington. Of course, in the kingdom of the blind we might continue to believe the drivel that is being pumped out by the mainstream media. However, we would do well to look elsewhere and look at the bigger pictue when doing so and that is why the video above has been attached.

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The Iron Wall and the Betrayal of History

IMG_9555I have just started reading Avi Schlaim’s The Iron Wall, Israel and the Arab World’. The first part of the title is a reference to the Zionist doctrine, which was first expressed by Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist Zionism, that any negotiations with the Arabs must be conducted from a position of military strength.

Although, I am only now about to embark on the first chapter, the prefaces and prologue to the book already pose the question we should consider before reaching a thesis of our own. Can there ever be any justification for ethnic cleansing?

This question was most certainly not lost on Jabotinsky, who was to write in his article The Ethics of the Iron Wall “If homeless Jewry demands Palestine for itself it is “immoral” because it does not suit the native population. Such morality may be accepted among cannibals, but not in a civilised world”. This was most certainly in keeping with a man who saw his people as being very much a part of a culturally superior Western Civilisation (Schlaim A.,The Iron Wall: 12,13 (prologue).

Yes, the West did tend to see itself as culturally superior and a few months after Jabotinsky had written his little ditty a certain Adolf Hitler was getting ready to formulate his own ramblings on cultural superiority in a book which, among other things, is also viewed as a blueprint for the Nazi death camps and so much for western cultural superiority.

A civilised world resorts neither to ethnic cleansing, nor to mass murder, and that is something we should think about when consider the post-Zionist narrative, which Ilan Pappe discusses in his book, The Idea of History: A History of Power and Knowledge’. It is this narrative which allows serious historians, such as Pappe and Schlaim, not only to reach the right conclusions regarding the historical facts, but also to come to the right moral conclusions because of those facts.

This is important, because, it is obviously not enough that Jabotinsky and, indeed, the “Nakba”a quarter of a century after his he formulated his doctrine, are revisited, but it is also important to emphasise that ethnic cleansing can never be justifiable or necessary. It is important, however, not only from a moral perspective, but also from a historical perspective.  as any other conclusion would imply that the Historian must inevitably consciously falsify history. After all, advocating ethnic cleansing after all is not going to go down well with the majority of us.

Therefore, because such a narrative is not sustainable, it has to be accompanied by blaming the Palestinians for any failure of the non-sensical imaginary peace process and to do that the history has to be falsified.  For instance, in Benny Morris’s article, ‘Peace? No Chance’, which was published in the ‘Guardian’ on 21 February, 2002 and which prompted a response from Avi Schlaim the following day accusing Morris “a betrayal of history“.

It it would appear that the “land without people for a people without land” and the “the Palestinians left their homes voluntarily” “schools of thought” have been replaced by a new breed of falsification “gobbledegookers” in the land of Zion, but, then, when you are ethnically cleansing a country, you’ve got to come up with something a bit better than, “it is necessary”, after all, we are civilised, aren’t we?


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