Monday, February 27, 2017

Feb. 27: when the insane are in charge of the asylum

A reader posted a cmment to a recent blog to question my criticism of the Amnesty International report on Syria. He said he cannot find any reason to believe that Amnesty International has admitted to finding no evidence of the mass torture and executions it recently reported on. In my  response, I couldn't find the evidence (and the admission)  that it had misrepresented the case.
But, today, I did find it.

Most of the "witnesses" were anonymous. Most appear to be living in Britain. That is not evidence. What they say are charges. But they are certainly not evidence.

That led me to a more general search of Amnesty International reports of recent years. Interesting reading.

For example, it has accused Syria of  using chemical weapons. I don't know whether that's true. But I do know that the U.S. leads the world in chemical weapons. Remember Agent Orange? The chemical that washed over much of Vietnam? The one that destroyed forests and crops and killed people and still produces babies with horrible birth defects - almost all of whom die? But that seems not to have  caught Amnesty's attention.

Remember the young, Vietnamese girl in flames after being hit with the napalm that was sprayed over Vietnam?  That was a chemical weapon.

Ever hear of the mass shelling and bombing carried out to this day with depleted uranium - shells and bombs which will go on killing years from now?

Amnesty International names Russia for its bombing of Aleppo which killed civilians. Hey! I guess they never heard that the U.S. has been the world champ in the bombing of civilians in Japan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq  with far the heaviest raids in history, and directed, deliberately, against civilians. Over the last seventy years and more, the U.S.has dropped more bombs than all the rest of the world put together.

There is also no mention of the U.S. blockading Yemen to starve its population, no mention of the U.S. supplying 'terrorists' with weapons, money and training.
I notice, too, it criticized Russia for its 'aggression' in Crimea. That is, to say the least, a very twisted, American version of what happened. It never mentioned the more dangerous act of the U.S. in overthrowing the elected government of Ukraine. Nor did it bother mentioning that the population of Crimea is largely Russian.

And Latin America? Terrible, terrible place. Lots of disorder, assassination of environment activists, rebellion led by dictators ....  There is no mention that the disorder is largely the result of American interference, and of the death grip American and Canadian businesses have on political and economic divisions in that continent.

A reading of Amnesty International reports does not fill me with confidence in that organization's honesty. Indeed, what it offers is an American view of the world. It's report on Syria denounces Russia bombing - but doesn't mention U.S. (or Canadian) bombing in that country. It mentions Syrian torture  (for which it has no evidence). But it lets the American use of torture off with a tut-tut.
These aren't reports. These are propaganda.

Writing this reminded me of the Guatemalan civil war that lasted 36 years. It began with an American invasion in the early 1950s. (Well, of course, it wasn't American. It just suddenly appeared fully armed and trained with the participation and blessing of the CIA. Guatemala was helpless, and soon had a U.S. supplied dictator.

The war continued, turning into a war between U.S. controlled dictators and the Guatemalan people. It happened because U.S. capitalists, mostly mine owners, wanted the resources of Guatemala. and it wanted them on the cheap with no environmental safeguards.

This radicalized the Christian churches of Guatemala who joined the fight against the dictators and their mining bosses. Accordingly, the dictators (supported closely  by the CIA) murdered priests, nuns, missionaries in large numbers. In the late stages alone, 200,000 native peoples and clergy were murdered. It wasn't really a war. It was a genocide, a mass murder of men, women, children. For the whole period, the number was somewhere over 300,000. One of the murdered was a lay mssionary from Buctouche, New Brunswick, where he now lies in the Catholic cemetery.

But the Canadian and American news media ignored the whole story. And our local chamber of commerce has made no mention of honouring the murdered New Brunswicker with a dinner - clap, clap.  So I checked Amnesty International for its scoop on the story.
Notice that "United States" does not appear. The bad guys are the locals. There's no mention of the U.S. working though the CIA. The mention of mining companies is there - but very brief, and naming no company. It's doesn't even say that most of them are American.   Nor does it mention that the U.S. president who put on the big push for mass killing was George Bush Sr. in his days as head of the CIA.  
Every day, people are drowning, often by the hundreds, as they flee the horrors of the middle east to seek refuge in Europe. And who is at fault for this? Well, it's those non-government agencies that are interfering to save the drowning. Of course.

And why is there terrorism in the middle east?  Is it because of terrorists? Well, as a matter of fact, the killing in the middle east goes back over a century. And it was begun by western powers eager to get control of the oil. Remember the film "Lawrence of Arabia"? Getting British control over Saudi Arabian oil is what Lawrence was all about.

And the first terrorism in the region - killing for the purpose of creating fear - was not by arabs. It was created by European Jews fleeing the terror of Naziism. Immediately after World War Two, thousands fled the death camps to illegally enter Palestine. (They couldn't flee to Canada or the U.S. because we wouldn't let them in.)

Once in the middle east, they formed terrorist groups, killing Palestinians and British even before Israel existed. It began with the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946. Mass murder of Palestinian civilians by gangs of Jewish terrorists continued at least to the early 1950s. And they murdered quite innocent civilians - men, women, and children. After all, terrorism is about terrorizing.

Muslims do not seem to have got into the terrorism game until Russia invaded Afghanistan. The was when the CIA organized and financed Afghanist terrorist groups like al Quaeda. And it still funds and trains Muslim terrorists like ISIS in the middle east.

Virtually all countries today practice terrorism, particularly in the form of bombing civilians. A giant step in that was the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Neither bombing had anything to do with military targets. Both were acts enitrely of terrorism.

As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy. And he is us."

Isn't it just terrible the way NGOs are saving refugees from drowining?
Here's the story on the Canada/EU trade deal. It's a death blow to democracy and to national governments. Funny our new media haven't said much about it. And, for all his blather, it's essentially what Donald Trump represents.

There is no limit to greed. There is no limit to the stupidity produced by greed.
Donald Trump is not different, except in rhetoric, from most of the presidents before him. He makes it sound like he's fighting the establishment while, in fact, he's defending the establishment. And so is Trudeau.
One of the great challenges facing us (but which most of our news media and political leaders haven't noticed) is automation.  It is destroying jobs at an amazing rate. And it's doing it all over the world because robots are cheaper than people. That's what happens when countries are run  according to the wishes of corporations.

As robotization floods into the work place, jobs disappear. Do our governments and corporations have anything to say about this?

Of course not. They're concerned only with making money. But there are consequences for us all, even the rich, in making more money by firing people. And obvious consequence is one hell of a drop in the purchasing power of our society. That should be obvious. But we have had the gospel of capitalism drummed into us - make the rich wealthier and that will benefit all of us.
In fact, it won't. Cheap labour has plunged much of the world into deep poverty - think of Congo, South America. Think of a British empire which enriched  wealthy British while leaving the vast lower classes in vile conditions.

We cannot survive as unemployment rates soar as a result of robotization. But corporation bosses aren't good at thinking out of their very tiny boxes. That's why, not that long ago, Canadians often had to work ten hours a day, six days a week. Household servants had to work all day, every day, with an hour off on Sunday to go to church. Salaries were low. There were no benefits, no pensions. Most of our society was miserably poor. That really didn't change until World War Two. Now, the corporation world is busily turning back the clock.

The lesson, especially for Canadian Liberals and Conservatives and for American Republicans and Democrats is that we have to govern to meet the needs of the whole society. Governing to serve the rich is not going to work. It never has.

The prosperity that came to Canada and the U.S. for a few decades after World War Two was essentially a product of the war as government maintained support for the war by promising it was being fought to create a better world.

But promises to us peasants are soon forgotten by political parties owned by the wealthy.
We often think of the refugee problem as a sign of what is wrong in places like the middle east. And the sense of much reporting is that the people of the affected region are the cause of the problems.

In fact, the problem is far, far wider than news reports tell us. It includes much of the middle east, Africa, South America....  And the people of those places are not the cause of the trouble. It was not Iraqis who invaded Iraq, not Syrians who invaded Syria. It was not the people of South America who created the civil wars and poverty that have forced people to flee to the U.S.

Western aggression, exploitation, murder are what have made large parts of the world into governmental chaos. We did it. And the chaos is transporting itself to the countries the hostages flee to. And, no, we have not killed millions to bring them democracy. We have done it for the financial benefit of a very small number of us.

Killing Afghanis and Yemenis and Iraqis and Congolese and Libyans will not solve the problem. Because the problem is not them. We are the ones who have made those countries dysfunctional. We are the ones who created the refugee problem that is tearing Europe apart. And, at best, it will take generations to undo the damage we have done.

And there is no sign are going to  attempt to undo it. Instead, we will fight more wars, and create more problems.
The United States has been at war for at least 16 years. (In reality, it has been at war with somebody almost every year since 1941.)  The excuse is the need to destroy terrorism. One problem with that is that the U.S. has become far the world's largest terrorist.

Nor can one ever defeat terrorism without attacking the cause of it. The terrorism by Jews in post war Palestine and Egypt was a product of the failure of the west to help European Jews before, during and after World War Two. Terrorism by Muslims is a product of severe abuse by western powers. Fighting terrorism creates more of it. If we want to stop it, we have to stop being abusers of other nations.

Every sign is that the U.S. wants a war - a world war.
I have followed Karl Nerenberg's reporting and analysis for over forty years. A Canadian journalist working out of Ottawa, he's one of the best.

Canada should be distancing itself from the U.S. now. Following the U.S., even quietly as Trudeau is doing, will simply drag Canada into the horror the U.S. political and business leaders are creating.

But Trudeau will be a good dog, and follow his master.
As most Canadians should know, the battle to destroy medicare in Canada is on. And the Trump government is passing on its ignorance to us.
Here's a story we don't hear often. Anne Frank could be taken by the Naziis to be killed at a death camp because the U.S. turned down her request for a visa. From the rise of Hitler to some years after the war, it was a standard practice for the U.S., Canada, Britain and many other (Christian) countries not to allow Jews in. I knew a Jewish couple in Montreal who got out of Berlin in 1937 only by paying a large bribe to Canadian immigration.

Did those countries know what was happening to the Jews? Of course they did, right from the start. And the majority of Canadians supported keeping Jews out.
American families are suffering downward mobility. Trump says that's due to refugees and other foreigners. Actually, it's due to people closer to home.
This warning is from a Canadian site that looks promising.
The US has spent very, very heavily on a fleet and weaponry that are primarily intended for the Pacific. But most of the news media seem no to have noticed - or to worry about it.
There has been an economic decline in the US. Of course, it can't possibly be caused by the rich. As my local paper daily reminds me, the rich create wealth for everyone. Still, something is happening.


  1. Hi Graeme. I just wanted to say that in Yemen the warehouses housing their food and the factories that produced their food, were pointed out to the Saudi's, so they would not bomb them. They bombed them anyway, some say intentionally. Also, I wanted to ask you, why does an organization like Amnesty propagandize for the west particularly the U.S.?

  2. I'm glad you raise that point. I know almost nothing about the people who run Amnesty International. But I would guess that most of the membership does NOT look for propaganda to help the U.S. It's possible there are fake news artists in the management - but there may not be. It's just as likely to be a very human reaction.
    You don't see Chinese or Russians or Muslims prominent in AI. The main support comes from citizens of countries like the U.S. and those closely associated with it.
    We humans are not good at seeing our faults. I have heard Americans mourn the loss of American lives in the war against Vietnam. They lost thousands. Those mourning were quite sincere. None of them knew that American soldiers had killed some seven million Vietnamese, most of them civilians.
    We see things that infuriate us - and we attack the perpetrators as evil. But even as we do it, we sincerely and unconciously are quite unaware of the horrors we inflict on others. That may not be the whole motive behind AI's heavy bias. But I would feel confident it's a major part. In the same way, Americans can get righteously furious about the revolt of Cuba. But there's not the slightest concern that the revolt was caused by decades of murderous dictators imposed by the U.S.
    And, even as we all decry the Nazi holocaust of Jews, we neatly forget that Canada, the U.S. and other countries refused to accept Jewish refugees trying to escape the holocaust -even though we knew what was going on.
    The U.S., in Iraq alone, murdered more people that Muslim terrorists have in the whole history of Al quaeda and ISIS and all the others. But it doesn't register on us. We see evil readily in other people. But we rarely see it when we are the evil ones.

  3. Thanks for the link.

  4. A Century Of U.S. Military Interventions By Dr. Zoltan Grossman
    Below the list is a Briefing on the History of U.S. Military Interventions.

    Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List (Regime Change)
    William Blum