Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Oct. 11: Christian Terrorism

There was a (brief) pleasure in opening the pages of the irving press today. Norbert Cunningham has at last noticed that climate change is happening - and quickly. And I can agree with him that no government at any level in this province has made any plans for dealing with it. (The last brilliant idea out of our provincial government was to make it worse by building a pipeline.)

And Carmel Higgins had a very interesting column on a United Church minister, Greta Vosper,  who spoke here about her book, With or Without God. (This is a minister who does not believe in God.) We need more ministers like that.

Instead, we have churches that put the emphasis on belief and, in doing so, largely ignore the thrust of Jesus' preaching about our responsibilities to each other. The result is a society of people who run about with excitement that since they believe, they will make the cut to get into heaven - and they completely ignore the importance of Christian behaviour.

The big news for the world section was that there wasn't any. (Well, there was one, small story about wildfires in California. That's kind of important because wildfires are things we can expect more of with climate warming.)

But the big news for the world in the view of the news editor was that a local man failed to sink a world record, long putt. Well, in fact, the only part worth reading is the story about the California wildfires.

The other notable development is that the Canada&World section has been cut down to 2 pages (2 sides of one piece of paper.) The other pages now serve to display puzzles and a dreadful comics page. This is not a newspaper that wants its readers to know what's going on.

So here's a story you'll never find in the irving press - or any other commercial news medium. It's all about the creation of terrorism in the form of murdering civilians, including women and children, in war.

The story began for me about 15 years ago. The National Film Board had made a film series called Canada At War.  Veteran's groups were furious about a section on the bombing of Dresden in WW2 because it said that bombing was deliberately aimed at civilian targets. It was terrorism by bombing. A senate investigation was set up, and I offered to answer its questions.

As I waited my turn to testify (it was on Nov. 11), a bomber veteran approached me almost in tears.

"My grandchildren asked me if it was really true that I had killed all those children. Do you know how that feels?"

Certainly, I could guess how it felt. But it was not his fault. He was young, caught up in a war, and he heard every day how the enemy was evil. He wasn't vicious. He had been used. What the Canadian government should have been doing for those pilots was the help them understand that they had been cruelly imstreated - by us.

The senate committee, all Conservatives, knew that I was going to support the film. So they asked very few and very harmless questions so they could get rid of me, and get back to their hatchet job on the film.  So I didn't have time to explain the origins of this business of bombing civilians.

It began in 1920 with Iraq. Britain was busy creating an artificial, puppet state of Iraq so British capitalists could rip off its oil. The obstacles were the Kurds of the region who wanted their own country. The colonial minister, Winston Churchill was worried that putting down the Kurds would be expensive, requiring an army of 100,000 or so. So he worked out a better way with his local air force chief, the man who, in World War 2, would become "Bomber Harris".

They settled on terror bombing of Kurdish villages and towns.  Lacking aircraft and AA guns, the villages would be easy pickings for the bombers. They would then bomb the civilians, paying special attention to the civilians who were usually the sole occupants of these villages. The theory was that the mass killing of civilians would terrorize the Kurds into surrender. To  help that along, Harris included small bombs that would wait until children picked them up, perhaps years later, as playthings.)

(Churchill, despite his WW2 reputation, was both murderous and the sort of racist that all empires produce. Harris, very similar in outlook, carried out the slaughter to the satisfaction of all of the Christian capitalists of Britain's oil industry.)

The British press, of course, did NOT carry the story.

Germany noted this experiment in terrorism, and copied it in an attack on Spanish civilians in a town called Guernica. This, of course, was publicized in the western world as a sample of how evil Germans were.

With World War Two, Churchill became P.M. and Harris his Air Marshal. Both voiced the view that terrorist bombing of civilians would hasten the end of the war. The U.S. was enthusiastic. So was Canada. And so they all bombed Dresden, the first of a series of terrorist raids deliberately aimed at civilians and children.

These raids did not, in fact, hasten the end of the war. Even the ultimate terrorist raids of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not do that. But the U.S. picked up the idea of killing large numbers of innocent people for its empire building after 1945. Part of the reason was that the British and American publics did not want wars with high casualties from home. So their governments concentrated on massive bombing, particularly against weakly armed opponents. Lots of women and children got killed - but very few bomber pilots, as compared to ground troops, got killed. Thus the enthusiasm for chemical bombs (agent orange and napalm), cluster bombs.....

The result was the Korean War with far the highest proportion of civilian deaths in history.  The total death toll was 33% of the WHOLE population. In world war two, the more common proportion, civilians and military, was 1% or so.

Similar attacks were carried out in Cambodia, Vietnam, Iraq, and the terrorist air attack became standard practice in western countries. That's why, when Canada bombed Libya, not a single pilot was lost.

So where do Muslims come in? In the 1970s, Russia was attacking Afghanistan. So the CIA sent agents there to teach the Afghanis the methods of terrorism.

Yep. Muslims learned all about terrorism from our side. And I'll betcha never see that story in the irving press.

Yes. Our climate is changing. And very, very rapidly. So, gee, it might not be a really good idea to build more oil pipelines. Will the oil industry understand that?


Will it be the subject of the sermon at the Irving Chapel this Sunday?

Watch for both Russia and China to get more aggressive with the U.S. in the coming weeks. Though most of our press hasn't noticed it, the U.S. empire is in terminal decline. And it's not just because of Trump. U.S. business has been running wild all over the world since 1945, caught up in the delusion that it would now conquer the world.

Reality should have settled in with the U.S. aggressions of Bush to the present which made a mess of the middle east, and turned much of world opinion away from the U.S. Watch for that world opinion to continue to drift from the U.S.

And Canada now has some uncomfortable decisions to make, too.

The irving press used to carry David Suzuki's columns on the environment. But I guess the irvings figured they know more about these things than a scientist like Suzuki does.

The great threats to this world are not nations. They are the super-rich of all countries. Commonly, they do not pay taxes - and, if they do, they are severely reduced ones. They are accumulating all of the world's wealth in their own pockets. They own governments. They are greedy, indifferent to the needs of others, and very, very short-sighted.

They kill people by the millions for what they want - as in Vietnam, Korea, the middle east, Guatemala........  And their wars are paid for by the rest of us.

They come in all languages and religions.

And Canada is very nice to them.

It must have been seven or eight years ago that the leading irving wrote a column in his papers. He was going to plan the New Brunswick economy. He had no qualifications to do any such thing. And, since nobody had elected him, he had no right to do it.  But as soon as he announced his plan, the province's university presidents dropped to the ass-kissing position, and vowed to help him.

That's one of the problems of privately-owned universities. Student fees, high as they are, cannot be high enough. The schools have to raise money, and that means they have to scrape and bow before the very wealthy who sit on their boards. And some professors, not many but some, openly become shills for the wealthy.

Many countries, even poor ones, get around that by supporting the universities financially. This means a tremendous saving for students; it means the universities can offer equal opportunities to all; and it means less interference of the wealthy in the affairs of the universities.  (And maybe, just maybe, it would encourage the universities to learn how to teach.)

But Canada and the U.S. have not caught on to that. Neither seems to realize that equality of people begins with equality of opportunity. The one person who has caught on is Senator Bernie Sanders of the U.S.

New Brunswick has a 'culture of compliance'.  By that, I mean its people are reluctant to think for themselves. They avoid serious political discussion, fearful of not thinking the same as everyone else. But there's a price for having a 'culture of compliance'.

This is actually an old story, but still a true one. Canada is a wonderful place for white-collar crime because Canadian governments seem to like it that way.

News has been lacking on one story that is really quite important. World War Two brought many opportunities to the U.S. In fact, those opportunities are why it joined the war.  Among them was the opportunity to take over the British Empire.

It didn't entirely work. The U.S. didn't get China. But it did get much of the middle east and its oil. (Thus the American determination to this day to get control of Iran.)

Britain became a puppet of what had once been its colony. Thus its participation in American wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Much of Europe had to follow suit, as did Canada. But the spell has been broken.

The U.S. was not up to maintaining a world empire. And its decline began a long time ago - notably in its failures to conquer North Korea, Vietnam,  Afghanistan, and the complete mess it made of dealing with the Muslim world - not to mention its own, massive corruption. 

Trump did not create the downfall of American power. Trump is simply a product of a process already shaping in the years of Truman, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush, Obama.... Now it can still destroy; but it is not likely it can conquer. On the contrary, we seem to be watching the ungluing of the American empire in Europe and in the middle east.
I shall be away for a few days, and will miss the Oct. 13 blog - which may be just as well since that's a Friday 13.  I should be back on Oct. 16.


  1. I’ve been getting some pushback on your claim of 33% North Korean casualties in the Korean War. Not that I suspect your sources. It’s just that I don’t know how to deal with the incongruity. Do I cave? Argue? Cite sources?

  2. Here is a very, very pro-american view of the casualties in that war. It's from CNN which does not have a reputation for telling the nasty things about the U.S. Note in particular the references to General MacCarthur, a man not noted for being horrified by war killings.

    Nobody, in any war has a precise accurate of war deaths. And most countries prefer to lie about their figures. So any source one can quote will be dismissed by people who don't want to believe it.

    The most important quotation in this one is by General Curtis Lemay who brags about the intensity of the bombing - and about the targeting of civilians. Virtually nothing in that whole country was left standing. He then did the same in Laos and Cambodia. And note the figure for the tonnage of explosives dropped. and the types of explosives.

    In Vietnam, many died from Agent Orange and are still dying to day from it. It has also created generations of children with horrible birth defects ( no mouths, severely retarded, etc.) who usually die in childhood. Nobody has the faintest idea of how many of these there have been.

    If you go to google and punch in North Korea war casualties, you'll find a wide range of estimates - some huge, some impossibly small. (The U.S. claimed to have killed some hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Most news agencies refused to carry the very scientific study of the British Medical Society which estimated one and a half million. Nor did most news agencies mention that most of the killed were civilians. The reality is that the number was almost certainly higher because thousands - nobody knows how many - have have since died and are still dying of starvation, exposure, and drowning.)
    Many of the bombs are designed to go on killing for years - and, especially, to kill children and civilians. So it is with cluster bombs. commonly found and picked up as toys by children. Similar was the use of depleted uranium for shells in Iraq.

    Our news, if it mentions it at all, gives no credible figures for civilian deaths in Yemen. The U.S. admits to the low thousands - and that's not possible. For years, it has supplied unlimited bomb tonnage to Saudi Arabia, has directed the bombing, and has cut off all food to that country. If that has killed only in the low thousands, it's the most unsuccessful bombing campaign in history.

    And no course will convince those who do not want to believe.

    The U.S., in collaboration with Guatemala and to please mining companies, massacred 200,000 of the Maya people in the 1970s. And it never even made the news. (Though there is an NFB film about it.)

    It might help your doubters to read Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness on the capitalist enslavement, torture and murder of millions of the people in Congo back about 1900. That plunder and slaughter in Congo is still going on today.

    Seen much about it in the news?

  3. I should add that since there are no such things as reliable statistics on war deaths, we should look at ALL the numbers from ALL the sources.

    I have never seen a source that does not give an etremely high proportion of deaths for North Korea in that war. Our proportion in WW2 was 1% of total population. Just slightly more for Britain.

    I have never seen a figure for North Korea that was anywhere close to 1%. The most biased commentators admit to at least ten times that. And at that point, the debate no longer matters. All that is left is the reality.

  4. In a 1984 interview, Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, claimed U.S. bombs "killed off 20 percent of the population" and "targeted everything that moved in North Korea." from