What's Left

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There Will Be No Peace, Without An End To This Terrorism

[December 24, 2004] On a visit to Jerusalem just before Christmas, British PM Tony Blair expressed optimism about reviving “peace talks” but warned, “There is not going to be any successful negotiation or peace without an end to terrorism.” Blair wasn’t talking about Israel ending its terrorism. And he certainly wasn’t talking about ending the war of terror Britain is pursuing as junior partner to the United States. But he could have been. [More...]

Regime Change: A Necessity of Inter-Imperialist Rivalry?

[December 23, 2004] The Americans create commercial opportunities for rivals when they use their military and economic might to pry open closed economies. When embargoed states fall to their knees, rather than capitulating and throwing their doors wide open to US investment, they look to US rivals to provide much needed capital.  This poses a problem for Washington: How to isolate a country economically and bring it to its knees, if rival big powers are going to take advantage of the fact that US sanctions keep US capital on the sidelines?  Understandably, the threatened, sanctioned and bombed governments are uninterested in allowing the corporations of their American tormentor access. So when the economies are opened up, they’re opened up to US rivals only, not US corporations. That’s one reason why regime change has become an indispensable fixture of Washington’s foreign policy. [More...]

North Korea: How Washington works to crush threats to US capital (and turn them into investor paradises)

[December 19, 2004] US cold war strategist Robert McNamara had a plan to crush the Soviet Union, which, in its broad outlines, is being used today by Washington to bring down communists hold-outs Cuba and north Korea. [More...]

Is the US a free trade country?

[December 19, 2004] Unrestricted trade is often presented as the best possible plan for the best possible state of society. Indeed, George W. Bush's September 2002 National Security Strategy even elevates free trade to a moral principle. “The concept of 'free trade' arose as a moral principle even before it became a pillar of economics," remarked Bush. But this is more rhetorical than real. For example, no sooner had Bush used his national security strategy to place 'free trade' on a moral pedestal than he began backpedaling, promising that "the benefits of free trade would not come at the expense of American workers." And of course they won't if free trade is one way. [More...]

Deterring Threats to US Capital: What Drives Washington to Crush North Korea and Other Foreign Policy Bogeymen

[December 10, 2004] Economic domination pervades US foreign policy as a principal, if not the principal, aim. Find a regime that isn't amenable to carving a wide-open space for US capital, and you'll find a regime that Washington is hostile to, and will work, through economic warfare, military confrontation, or civil society -- and sometimes all three -- to overthrow. The aim is to get US capital in, European capital out, and keep the natives down. [More...]

War Hawks in Dove's Clothing

[December 7, 2004] While the US has launched an open ended "war on terror," so far claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who had no connection to Osama bin Laden, Washington demands that Russia find a political, not military, solution to its own "war on terror" in Chechnya. There's even an improbably named American Committee for Peace in Chechnya to press the case for diplomacy, whose membership just as improbably includes Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter national security advisor who sparked the Afghanistan war by secretly arming Afghan warlords, and who, in 1997, wrote a book, The Grand Chessboard, explaining how the United States could achieve global primacy by dominating Eurasia, a huge chunk of real estate that happens to not only include Afghanistan, but Chechnya, as well. [More...]

An Interview with Stephen Gowans

[November 3, 2004] Stephen Gowans, whose articles can be found at Counterpunch, Media Monitors, etc., and his own web site, "What's Left?" possesses the heart and soul of the traditional political Left. SF-IMC poster, Angie, in a wide ranging interview with Stephen recently, found him to be intelligent, analytical, and, yes, funny. [More...]
[Alternative link]

Hail the Reds

[October 19, 2004] Over the seven decades of its existence, and despite having to spend so much time preparing, fighting, and recovering from wars, the Soviet Union managed to create one of the great achievements of human history: a great industrial society that eliminated most of the inequalities of wealth, income, education and opportunity that plagued what preceded it, what came after it, and what competed with it; a society in which health care and education through university were free (and university students received living stipends); where rent, utilities and public transportation were subsidized, along with books, periodicals and cultural events; where inflation was eliminated, pensions were generous, and child care was subsidized. By 1933, with the capitalist world deeply mired in a devastating economic crisis, unemployment was declared abolished, and remained so for the next five and a half decades, until socialism, itself, was abolished. [More...]

Pro-Capitalist, Pro-Investment and Fiscally Conservative
What Brazil Is And The Two Remaining Members Of The Axis Of Evil Aren't

[October 6, 2004]Brazil isn't on Washington's hit list. Iran and north Korea are. The latter have a survival interest in developing nuclear weapons to make Uncle Sam think twice about bombing them. As dark people who "resent US power" i.e., haven't a yen to become economic subjects of the US ruling class, they're just the kind of people US supremos like to wage war on. And Brazil, under the tutelage of Lula da Silva, isn't threatening "the balance of power," New York Times-speak for challenging US military supremacy or saying no thanks to becoming a hyper-exploited annex to the US economy. [More...]

Target Iran 2005
Will A Kerry Presidency Make A Difference?

[September 30, 2004] The Pentagon has appointed a panel managed by two defense industry executives to determine whether the US military is large enough to meet its anticipated missions. (Anticipated missions? Is there a martial game plan already drawn up, whose purpose is to ensure the US sticks to its tradition of robust militarism?) [More...]

The Milosevic Trial
Up Against These Laws, International Law (And Milosevic) Haven't A Chance

[September 15, 2004] It would be naïve to expect there can be anything other than a guilty verdict in the Milosevic case, if only because the trial ý its wheels set in motion by the same parties whose interest in dismembering Yugoslavia eventually led to a Democratic President's drive to war in the spring of 1999 -- has served a patently political purpose from day one. [More...]

Notes From Bedlam

[September 1,2004] Why is it that Darfur, after having been frozen out of economic development and political participation for years ý and where the killing began more than half a year ago -- is only now "on the map." Or why, for that matter, no one seemed to notice, much less care, about "a similar campaign against ethnic groups in the south"? [More...]

A Lost Cause?

[August 20, 2004] No amount of dissembling, self-delusion and rationalizing will make marking an X for Kerry not equal to backing him, or not equal, by extension, to backing the continued occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, looming confrontations with North Korea ("we will seek dismantlement, not a freeze"), Iran ("we are going to do more than simply allow Iran to continue down the path it's on"), plundering the oil producing regions of the world ("the degree to which were are dependent on foreign oil is a vulnerability we need to try to alter") and God knows what else, in the service of aggrandizing corporate America, its beneficiaries and representatives. That hardly seems to be the kind of thing anyone who considers himself politically Left should be backing. [More...]

Sudan: Round Gazillion

[July 27, 2004] The US doesn't care about ethnic cleansing. It's seeking to dominate the oil producing regions of the world: to secure its own oil supply; to ensure oil sales continue to be denominated in US dollars (thus propping up the dollar in the face of a yawning trade deficit); and to ensure strategic competitors Japan, Europe and China remain dependent on the US for access to oil. [More...]

Human rights or sweatshops?

[July 16, 2004] The US has no intention of normalizing relations with North Korea -- that is, not until the communist regime of Kim Jong Il abandons its US export and investement-unfriendly policy of economic self-sufficiency and becomes a US satellite, joins the WTO and ushers in a phalanx of US-owned sweatshops. [More...]

Humor: The toe bone's connected to theývagina?

[July 16, 2004] For Groucho Marxists only. [More...]

Critiquing the critique: Pandering to the lies the Left tells itself about the Democrats

[July 7, 2004] Robert Jensen, a professor of journalism at the University of Texas,  has written a penetrating and mostly cogent critique of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, in which he argues the filmaker's documentary panders to the lies Americans tell themselves about the US military protecting Americans' freedom, rather than projecting US power abroad.

Calling the film conservative, and not the far-Left critique it's believed to be,  Jensen takes issue with Moore's attributing the US drive to war to the business dealings of the Bush family, rather than recognizing empire-building as a regular feature of US foreign policy, as ardently pursued by Democrat as Republican presidents.

Isn't Clinton responsible for more Iraqi deaths than both Bush presidents combined? And didn't regime change become official US foreign policy when Clinton was president, before Bush? [More...]

US to North Korea: Trust Us, We'd Never Lie

[June 24, 2004] Picture this: Al-Qaeda offers Washington a "provisional" guarantee not to attack the country or seek to target US interests abroad in return for the US dismantling its military. The agreement would depend on the US giving international inspectors access to US military sites and meeting a series of deadlines for disabling and dismantling its military facilities, and then shipping them out of the country. Would Washington agree? Never. No country would deliberately leave itself defenseless, simply because an enemy promised not to attack, and then only provisionally. Yet absurd as the proposal is, this is what Washington is offering North Korea. [More...]

The predatory policies of the world's de facto government

[June 22, 2004] You don't have to look much further to see that Washington intends to act as a de facto world government than Bush administration lawyers arguing the president isn't bound by US or international laws that prohibit the use of torture. In this, and in other ways, it is understood that the president is free to act according to his own laws, defined by reference to national security interests, and senior to all others, including the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Laws, the Geneva Conventions and numerous other international treaties and protocols. [More...]

Social imperialists and Brahimi's back-seat driver

[May 26, 2004] Kerry-backers say they're just being practical. They don't like Bush, so they're forming a kind of Left imperialist bloc to back the only candidate who has a chance of beating Bush, even though their candidate is as unreservedly imperialist as Bush. Who says Lenin's obloquy "social-imperialists -- socialists in words, imperialists in deeds," is out of date? [More...]

Bad apples or a bad barrel?

[May 24, 2004] Rarely is it said, and certainly never in the mainstream Left, that wars of conquest, sweatshops and exploitation are inevitable outcomes of capitalism. Instead, all deplorable conditions are attributed to bad apples, the barrel in which the apples are stored either being assumed to be good, or irrelevant. Which means the Left is hardly Left in the sense of seeking to alter conditions that engender deplorable outcomes like wars of conquest and exploitation, and is simply comprised of the equivalent of Sunday School teachers who believe that if only people in power can be pressured to make the right moral choices the world can be a beautiful place. [More...]

Bullshit aficionados -- meet your champion!

[May 18, 2004.] When I read that Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch used the Abu Ghraib prison horror show to wallop countries the US government frequently takes sanctimonious swipes at, I wondered if Bob had read the same, and nodded his head in approval, exclaiming, "That's good bullshit!" Any aficionado of fine bullshit would. I did. [More...]

Watch the Left Line Up Behind Bush/Kerry Agenda: Building Democracy in Iraq and Other Absurdities

[May 14, 2004.] US militarism hardly looks like a policy of a group of people in power. It looks more like something that is built in -- systemic and hoary and bound to carry on in the usual fashion no matter whose name plate sits on the desk in the Oval Office. [More...]

A realistic election strategy the Left can really get behind

[April 23, 2004.] Seeing as how my campaign to dissuade the US Left from endorsing the wholly un-Left-like candidacy of John F. Kerry has about as much hope of succeeding as my parallel campaign of getting Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake re-united for next year's Super Bowl, I've decided to pursue a new tack. [More...]

My What Would Chomsky Do? penpals

[April 21, 2004.] It turns out there's a whole movement of Noam ditto heads, who reply to the challenge, "Tell me why Kerry is slightly better?" with, "Well, gosh, everyone knows Kerry's better, even if only marginally, because, well, because, well...damn it, because Noam says so."

That's Noam, as in Noam Chomsky, the US Left's great oracle, keeper of the truth and defender of the faith, and head, whether he knows it or not, of the WWCD movement -- What Would Chomsky Do? I've nothing against Chomsky. In fact, I like him. But the lamb-like ductility of the guru-seekers who hang on his every word can be grating.  [More...]

The Real Stakes in Iraq

[April 13, 2004.] Sandy Berger and Maqtada al-Sadr may not agree on much, but they do agree on this: America is a divided society. The only thing is, most Americans don't see it. Sadr, the Shia cleric who's the figurehead of the Iraqi resistance in Najaf, draws a distinction between Americans, and the people who rule Americans ý and for the moment, who rule Iraqis, too. He's called for "the American people to stand beside their brethren, the Iraqi people," who he says, "are suffering an injustice by [American] rulers and [their] occupying army." Berger, former US President Bill Clinton's national security advisor, also draws a distinction between Americans and the rulers of Americans (and Iraqis.) Only Berger, a Democrat, doesn't call the rulers, rulers. He calls them "we." [More...]

Communists for Capitalism?

[April 3, 2004] Ten years ago this month, Agnes Sehole, a black South African cast a ballot for the first time. Like millions of others, she voted for the African National Congress, the ANC. "I had my hopes to live a better life," she recalls. Swept into power, the ANC, backed by the South African Communist Party and a coalition of trade unions, set out to fulfil Sehole's hopes. But in the end, the only hopes they fulfilled were those of South Africa's corporations, global investors, and the white minority. The dreams of the black majority for a better life were dashed. "I curse the day that I voted on the 27th of April, 1994," Sehole says. "From the frying pan right into the fire. If I died now, I would spin in my coffin forever because I have left my children in this terrible place." "Democracy," she concludes, "has done nothing." [More...]

Kerry vs. Kerry-lite

[March 23, 2004] If Kerry has a problem with Bush, it's that he didn't drag France, Germany and Russia into the war, preferring to strike a grabby, it's all mine, pose, rather than the "let's divide up the loot" approach the Democrats favor. Apparently, a gang rape is better than a rape carried out by a lone assailant, which, I gather, would make a gang rapist a rapist-lite, and therefore more worthy of our backing than a rapist who goes it alone. [More...]

Telling the imperialists to go to hell

[March 10, 2004] That business people and professionals comprise the Democratic Convergence (or Democratic Platform) and the Group of 184, the main opposition groups that successfully sought to oust Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, should have been a tip off that Aristide's alleged democratic lapses weren't at the heart of the groups' enmity toward the reformist leader. Aristide's committing the unpardonable sin of jacking up the daily (not hourly) minimum wage to $1.30 from 80 cents two years ago, and his doubling of the minimum wage in February, surely left opposition kingpins Maurice LaFortune, head of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce, and Andy Apaid, a US national who owns a number of Haitian factories that depend on low-wage labor, seeing red -- literally and figuratively. [More...]

Neo-conservatives not the problem

While the US reliance on military force to assert control over ever wider areas of the globe is often attributed to Washington having been hijacked by a neoconservative cabal, analyses of why the Bush administration went to war in Iraq have nothing to do with a uniquely neo-conservative ideology, but with safeguarding and promoting the interests of corporate America relative to those of its French, German and Russian competitors. [More...]

Who, and what, is behind America's recurrent drive to war?

Defending his government's decision to invade Iraq on entirely spurious grounds, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared, "I know in my heart and brain that America ain't what's wrong in the world."

If by America, Rumsfeld means Blair Doan, who works at the hardware store on Main Street, or Cynthia Firsby, a cubicle worker with Hewlett-Packard, he's right.

Doan and Firsby and hundreds of millions of other Americans ain't what's wrong in the world.

Rumsfeld is.

Or more precisely, what's wrong is the recurrent theme in US foreign policy of seeking to dominate foreign territory, a theme that has roots in capitalism itself, and spans Republican and Democratic administrations. [More...]

An angry man

Like forensic pathologists who went looking for a genocide in Kosovo and found none, David Kay went looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and found nothing. But anyone whose IQ hovers even a shade over 95 knew, short of Washington doing a Mark Furman and planting its own evidence, that this was all but inevitable. Few mouths are agape. [More...]

In Iraq, the word for US profits is caucuses

Washington is balking at demands that direct elections be held to select a provisional government in Iraq, because it fears the "moderates" it backs won't win, imperilling its plans to make over the country as a Middle East model of free markets, free trade and free enterprise, thoroughly ensconced in the US economic orbit. [More...]

Gilding imperialism's friendly mask

Is it that Washington and London and their imperialist rivals seek to preserve their monopoly over devastating weapons so they can push other countries around, without having to face stiff resistance -- that is, so they can continue to be imperialist powers, reaping imperialism's full rewards? [More...]

Nothing changes

If Iraq were made to disgorge debt payments for the benefit of Russia, France and Germany for an unlimited period of time, it would hardly be possible for American exporters and investors to engage in the kind of profitable business deals their eager minds associated with the coming reconstruction of Iraq. [More...]

An Idiot's Guide to US Foreign Policy

What the publisher Macmillan really needs to add to its stable of Complete Idiot's Guides, is a Complete Idiot's Guide to US Foreign Policy, but not one brimming with claptrap about Washington promoting democracy and human rights abroad, in which the author expresses his thanks to members of the US foreign policy establishment for their kind assistance in helping him write the book, but one that is quite different, which is to say one that tells the truth. In other words, one that Macmillan isn't going to publish, the truth being incompatible with that most American of virtues -- blind, unthinking patriotism. [More...]

Different head, same dick

What the ousting of a president in Georgia says about the next US presidential election. [More...]

Winners and losers

George Shultz is a multimillionaire. And he has a very important board appointment -- at Bechtel, the giant construction firm. If wars don't have winners, how do you explain Shultz? Or Bechtel?

Shultz was Ronald Reagan's Secretary of State, for a time.  Not too long ago he surfaced as chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

The committee is one of dozens, if not hundreds, that pop up every now and then, trumpeting high-faulting mandates, behind which lurk so many private economic interests. They're usually made up of high fliers who are as at home on Wall Street as they are in Washington.

Shultz's committee, zealously pro-war, was committed to seeing to it that Washington did more than simply oust Saddam Hussein. It also wanted "to work beyond the liberation of Iraq to the reconstruction of its economy."

Today, Shultz's Bechtel, is sitting on a $1 billion contract to rebuild Iraq. [More...]

When a billionaire's buying elections is called "promoting democracy"

The Washington Post says "George Soros, one of the world's richest men, has given away nearly $5 billion to promote democracy in the former Soviet bloc, Africa and Asia."

Saying Soros promotes democracy is kind of like saying Augusto Pinochet restored democracy to Chile -- it works, if you're willing to really stretch and allow a certain laxity in the use of the word "democracy." Otherwise, the claim is pure nonsense.

Soros doesn't promote democracy. He spends money to get his favored candidates elected, usually ideologues who will implement "free market reforms" to allow Soros to add to his growing billions. [More..]

A higher law

Journalist and author Naomi Klein makes a good point. "Any movement," she says, that's "serious about Iraqi self-determination must call not only for an end to Iraq's military occupation, but to its economic colonization as well."

Which means, in Klein's words, "cancelling all privatization contracts."

In September, the US occupation authority "ordered the overhaul of fundamental elements of Iraq's socialist economy and instituted wide-ranging free-market reforms that will allow full foreign ownership in every sector except oil."

"At least 192 state companies will be sold to foreigners. " [More...]

Questions, questions

It could be true that George W. Bush set out to finish off Saddam for Papa Bush, but even so, this lined up with the interests of the class of people who exert enormous influence over US public policy, in whose name US public policy is formulated, and of which Bush and his cabinet belong, namely, the class of CEO's and investors who own and control the economy. No matter what the genesis of the idea, or the stated motivations, the idea survived through a kind of natural selection, where selection pressure was provided by the material interests of the class of people running the show. Indeed, so thoroughly are their interests served by the conquest of Iraq, that it would be astonishing if Iraq hadn't been invaded. [More...]

Can public opinion change the world?

A country's status as a democracy hardly seems to have any bearing on whether public opinion makes a difference. Leaders of Western democracies have made a fetish of ignoring public opinion, declaring with puffed up pride that they take the hard and necessary decisions, not the popular ones. And indeed, they often do ignore popular opinion. In the months before US and British troops marched on Baghdad, Tony Blair was asked what he'd do if a majority disagreed with his decision to commit British troops to Iraq. He would simply work all the harder to bring the public onside, he said. There was no question of his bowing to public pressure. That, it's often pointed out, is not what leadership is all about. Others, including Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, backed the US-led invasion, over the objections of a majority of their citizens. And Americans have long wanted a single-payer health insurance program, need one, and can readily afford one, but don't have one, and don't appear to be likely to get one anytime soon. Few would deny that in the battle between the economic interests of the corporate sector, and public opinion, economic interests have prevailed. The US being a democracy hardly matters. [More...]

A more sensible alternative to replacing Bush with a Democrat

Bush can be beaten, Leslie Cagan, Pete Seeger and Noam Chomsky assure us, but so what? Beating Bush isn't the same as beating the drive, through military force or otherwise, to dominate the world. That exists independent of Bush, or whoever else occupies the White House. And if you think anyone, even slightly to the left of Bush, has to be better, take a long, hard look at Tony Blair. Or consider Clinton's record, free from the distorting mythology that Clinton respected international law, engaged every ally, and never by-passed the UN. It's not Bush that has to be beaten; it's a drive to dominate the world that has to beaten, which means beating something much more fundamental than Bush. [More...]

Am I a jackbooted Trotskyist working as a secret agent of Karl Rove?

I ignored my own rule: You can never, ever, be too simple, so spell it out in black and white. Which isn't to say I'm only occasionally remiss in following the rule. I often am. But I shouldn't be. If I weren't, I probably wouldn't have been inundated with as many angry replies to "A more sensible alternative to replacing Bush with a Democrat" from readers who've arrived at as many interpretations of what I was trying to say, as there are interpretations of the Bible. Indeed, within the last 24 hours, I've received notes accusing me of occupying almost every possible point on the political continuum (with Democrat, predictably, left out). I've been described, variously, as: A fascist; a right-winger; a secret operative of Karl Rove; a Trotskyist; a member of the International Socialist Organization (ISO)...in disguise; a Trotskyist fascist (whatever that is); an anarchist. [More...]

Michael Moore digs himself a deeper hole

I was wondering how filmmaker Michael Moore would react to the avalanche of criticism, outrage, and shock set off by his paean to retired General Wesley Clark, the ex-Supreme Commander of NATO forces in Europe, who's thrown his hat into the ring for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Turns out Moore's reached for the shovel. [More...]

Robert Mugabe and the Human Rights Imperialists

There's no question the West is pressuring Robert Mugabe to step down as President of Zimbabwe, in favor of Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, who would prove far more congenial to Western economic interests. Tsvangirai has no serious plan for land redistribution, and wouldn't challenge Western interests that stand in the way. Rather than calling for Mugabe to be prosecuted, anyone genuinely interested in justice in Zimbabwe should be demanding the West support the country's land reform program, and free Harare from the IMF's neoliberal dictates. [More...]

The Butcher of Belgrade

There were hundreds, if not thousands of civilians killed by former General Wesley Clark's bombers. And while he was only able to destroy a handful of Serb tanks after 78-days of intensive bombing, what he did destroy liberally were bridges, roads, factories, schools, hospitals, homes, petrochemical plants, electrical power stations, an embassy, and a radio-TV building, none of which had anything to do with the Yugoslav military, or its presence in Kosovo.  The obloquy "Butcher of Belgrade" is a fitting tag for Clark. [More...]

Even a liberal candidate of stirling qualities would make little difference, but an "antiwar" war criminal?

What filmmaker Michael Moore forgot to point out in a letter to friends and supporters urging them to contact former general Wesley Clark and ask him to run for the Democratic Paty presidential nomination, is that Clark -- who Moore says opposes war -- led NATO's illegal 1999 war of aggression on Yugoslavia, a war that compelled Human Rights Watch (renowned for pulling its punches where the US is concerned) to condemn Clark's forces for grave breaches of humanitarian law. Clark ordered NATO warplanes to bomb civilian targets, bridges, roads, factories, power stations, petrochemical plants, a radio-TV building --  all war crimes. [More...]

Washington's war on terrorism is not misguided...Bush and company know exactly what they're doing

While it may be cathartic to ridicule members of the Bush cabinet as boneheads, it would be a mistake to assume those who shape policy in Washington are misguided and unaware of what they're doing. On the contrary, they know exactly what they're doing. Preventive war and regime change have put Washington in the position of being able to embark on the project of making over Iraq and Afghanistan  into models of "free markets and free trade," which is to say markets, labor and natural resources once formerly closed to US capital, are being open on favorable terms. [More...]

Washington's new approach to North Korea hardly new

According to the New York Times, a senior administration official predicted the North Koreans would never go for the new step-by-step approach, and for obvious reasons -- it's no different, in any fundamental way, from the old approach the North Koreans have already rejected. So why, if it genuinely wants to move toward a settlement, is the Bush administration putting forward a position it knows is unacceptable? [More...]

The end of North Korea

U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security John Bolton, a far-right fanatic who worked for Barry Goldwater, befriended North Carolina Senator Jesse Helm, worked in the 80's to counter efforts to register Black voters, and spearheaded the Bush administration's opposition to the International Criminal Court, is central to Washington's North Korea strategy. After Bolton delivered a cataract of invective aimed at the country and its leadership ("a hellish nightmare," he called it) the North Koreans shot back, calling Bolton "human scum." On the surface, the North Korean rejoinder seemed excessive, but when you think about it, it's not too far off the mark. Bolton is hardly a cuddly guy. But he is direct. Asked by the New York Times what the administration's policy on North Korea is, Bolton "strode over to a bookshelf, pulled off a volume and slapped it on the table. It was called 'The End of North Korea.'" "'That,' he said, 'is our policy.'" [More...]

Dependent as ever on war and its booty

The price of the war of terror comes cheap or high depending on who you are. Thousands of desperately poor denizens of the Third World are dead, while others have lost limbs and parents and children. But Washington is more firmly in control of Central Asia and the Middle East, US investors are sitting on bigger investment opportunities, and the American economy -- kept alive on an IV drip of military Keynsianism -- chugs on, as dependent as ever on war and its booty. [More...]

Yugoslavia=Iraq=North Korea

The hot-cold reaction to recent US imperial interventions can be puzzling. Popular demonstrations against Washington's march to war on Iraq were large, and in happening before the invasion by US and British forces, unprecedented. Few people who consider themselves left politically were in favor of the invasion; most did at least something to work against it.

On the other hand, many people who consider themselves left, progressive or liberal, supported NATO's 78-day bombing campaign of Yugoslavia, despite numerous parallels with the 2003 Anglo-American attack on Iraq. In both cases, the attacks, led by the United States, were unprovoked, undertaken without UN Security Council authorization (and were therefore illegal), and were justified on the basis of flagrant lies (in the case of Yugoslavia, that a genocide was in progress; in the case of Iraq, that Saddam was hiding banned weapons.) It can be argued that both were blatant instances of imperialism run amok. But not for left, progressive and liberal supporters of the 1999 bombing campaign. Is it the case that commitment to anti-imperialism is not absolute, or that matters seemed otherwise to backers of the 1999 intervention? [More...]

We don't do peace

A non-aggression pact between North Korea and the United States is not in the cards, not because Kim Jong Il, North Korea's leader, is hell-bent on threatening the US, but because Washington's not interested. "We won't do non-aggression pacts or treaties, things of that nature," declared US Secretary of State Colin Powell, rejecting Pyongyang's long standing demand for a non-aggression treaty and diplomatic relations.

For his part, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is eager to see talks with North Korea fail because that would "make it easier to rally support from other countries for more economic and political pressure and, eventually, military confrontation."

Who's threatening who?

Why doesn't Washington do non-aggression pacts?

And didn't Powell say "We don't do peace"? [More...]

A failed system's failed promises

With communism's demise, and the return of Eastern Bloc countries to the capitalist fold, the world was promised a new age of peace and prosperity. The shadow of war would lift. Military expenditures would be cut back, and troops would be brought home from Cold War postings. There would be more money for new wars -- on poverty and homelessness, this time. And capitalism, the single sustainable model of success (it had, after all, emerged triumphant in a decades long battle with communism) would deliver the poor from poverty, and bless the world with a bonanza of consumer goods.

Talk about failed predictions. [More...]

Yikes! Should old-style socialism be on the agenda?

Germany has the world's highest wages, which, were the Wall Street Journal to be believed, should leave Germans hanging their heads in shame. Words like "soft," "mollycoddled," "spoilt," and "uncompetitive," come to mind. Of course, had Germany the world's highest profits, most handsome dividends, or greatest number of millionaires per capita, Germans would be told to hold their heads high, though one can hardly imagine why. Since most Germans are wage earners, not CEOs, millionaires, or dividend collectors, you'd think it would be high wages, not high profits, that would give them boasting rights. And seeing as how high profits often come at the expense of high wages, cheering because your country boasts high profits is kind of like cheering for the executioner at your hanging. [More...]

Was the US behind the single greatest act of ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia?

Operation Storm was "the largest single act of ethnic cleansing of the Yugoslav civil war," according to Even Dyer, a journalist with CBC Radio. "And yet not one person has been arrested and brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia." Canada's Major-General Andrew Leslie says he doubts the Croats (who ethnically cleansed the Krajina region of 200,000 Serbs) could have pulled off Operation Storm themselves. "That was done by people who really knew what they were doing." Leslie's colleague, Major-General Alain Fourand, agrees. He says he suspects it was MPRI, a private military contractor headed by a former US Army Chief of Staff, that was behind the operation. [More...]

The last refuge of an imperialist: History made me do it

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says that hesitating to wage war on Iraq, as well as on future targets (and therefore, hesitating to blow away thousands of Iraqis for no reason other than crass commercial gain and conquest) "is something history will not forgive." History is indeed a stern taskmaster. Especially when it goes by the name imperialism. [More...]

When Mr. Bremer comes to call

The US proconsul in Iraq, L.Paul Bremer, isn't the kind of guy you look forward to having over. When he comes to call, you better hide the silverware. Still, some foreign policy critics, who never miss the warts and hideous lesions of target regimes, seem not to have noticed. [More...]

Bwana Bush goes to Africa

You'd think after having just blasted away thousands of Iraqis in an illegal war based (to put it charitably) on twisted intelligence, that the Bush administration would be a tad reticent about claiming, as US National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice has, that its foreign policy is motivated by the wish to make life better for people around the world. [More...]

Bad dudes and boneheads

"A bad dude," a relative remarked, in reference to Saddam. And while he recognized the entire case for war was dodgy, he was prepared to write it off, if it went ahead, as something he would have preferred hadn't happen, but, knowing that it did, at least he could say something good had come from it. [More...]

US departure from Iraq can't come too soon

The Ba'athist regime was, in large measure, reprehensible, but anyone who believes the Anglo-American occupation regime has any genuine interest in democracy, is welcome by Iraqis, and cares one whit about the locals, is sorely mistaken. The best thing that could happen for the local population is for Americans, and their British acolytes, to be driven out. [More...]

The garbage collector

When I was growing up there were three to a truck. One guy, usually the oldest, sat high up in the cab, a bored expression permanently etched on his face. On cold winter days, he had the best job, warm and safe in his heated cab, a thermos of piping hot coffee beside him. He would drive the truck a few yards and stop. The other two, who rode on the back, bundled up against the stinging wind in winter, their sweat-soaked shirts clinging to their skin on hot, humid, summer days, would jump off before the truck had rolled to a complete rest, taking a few steps toward the garbage bins waiting at the side of the road, whose contents they would toss into the maw of the beast at the back. Grabbing the railings at the side, they would jump lightly back aboard the monster as it lurched forward, ready to alight at the next stop and repeat the cycle. [More...]

US imperialism and its feckless opposition

Washington, which has always been ruthlessly assertive in pressing US corporate interests, even if it has meant outraging the sovereignty of unwilling nations and intensifying exploitation of its own population, has, for the collapse of an effective opposition abroad, and not much of an opposition at home, become far bolder. It aspires to primacy and acts as global hegemon, because it can, and because the imperatives of economic expansion and the profit-making demands of its firms push it in that direction. By sheltering its own population from the storms that attend its crimes abroad, it's free to carry on more or less as it pleases. What's more, there's no hyper-power to enforce its compliance with international law and no competing superpower to check its campaigns of conquest. [More...]

Shame on us

With each passing day, it becomes ever more apparent that Iraq never had the weapons of mass destruction George Bush said it had. And there never was any link to al-Qaeda.

The last president ordered a cruise missile attack on an aspirin factory in Sudan, justifying the brazen shredding of international law with a deception: the factory was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.

He also stooped to what the Washington Post calls ""a hoary tradition of presidential embroidery" to justify an attack on another target: Yugoslavia. There was a genocide going on, he said.

Problem was, Clinton's "there's a genocide going on" was as bogus as his claim that "I never had sex with that woman." Of 100,000 corpses said to be scattered across Kosovo, forensic pathologists--who came, saw and left complaining they'd been deceived--found only a few thousand.

"Fool me once, shame on you," goes the old saying. "Fool me twice, shame on me." We've been deceived twice, three times, four times, and more. Shame on us. [More...]

Getting rich on Iraqi oil

The US and Britain now control the proceeds of sales of Iraqi oil, to be used to rebuild a country Washington and London destroyed, through two wars and over a decade of ruinous sanctions they bloody-mindedly insisted on maintaining, despite the consequent deaths of well over one million. The rebuilding will be done by US and British firms, on terms that profit US and British firms indefinitely. [More...]

You and whose army?

Anyone who says the sun will rise tomorrow runs the risk of being wrong. Which is to say that when it comes to matters of prediction, only time can tell for sure. So, with the American and British occupying armies having had more than ample opportunity to uncover the nasty weapons Tony Blair and Colin Powell assured us Saddam Hussein had waiting on the shelf, ready to be deployed faster than you can say "Emmanuel Goldstein," it now appears that time has told. There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, at least none that anyone can find -- not UN inspectors, and now, not the US or British militaries. [More...]

Even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged

George W. Bush's September 20, 2002 National Security Strategy begins with a bold declaration: There is, it says, "a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy and free enterprise." Declaring free enterprise to be a summum bonum is a rather odd way to set out on the task of putting forward a plan to safeguard the security of a nation, if "nation" is taken to comprise the 300 million or so people who claim US citizenship. For whatever has free enterprise -- or Bush's commitment, set out in the same document, to "actively work to bring...free markets and free trade to every corner of the world" -- to do with safeguarding the personal safety of ordinary Americans? [More...]

Round Three

Round three of the war on terrorism was kicked off yesterday when US President George W. Bush expressed concerns "that the Iranians may be developing a nuclear [weapons] program." [More...]

American Fiction

The way most Americans see it, their peace and security is menaced by rogue states with appetites for weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorists.

US President George W. Bush sums it up perfectly: "Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups or has weapons of mass destruction is a grave threat to the civilized world." And Bush goes further, putting menaces to civilization on notice, warning that they will be "confronted."

The problem with the Bush view is that while there may be outlaw states with keen appetites for terrible weapons who have ties to terrorists, the most dangerous of all countries to fit the bill is the United States itself, which is (a) an outlaw, (b) possessor of history's largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (with a proven track record of using them) and (c) has a long history of backing terrorists groups and sheltering terrorists from prosecution abroad. Moreover, the country engages in "state" terrorism; it has, on more than one occasion, deliberately set out to terrorize civilian populations to achieve its political and strategic goals. [More...]

Who could ask for anything more?

A New York Times story has an Iraqi scientist saying that Iraq destroyed its banned weapons on the eve of the invasion, which of course is what any self-respecting military does: destroys its best weapons just before the enemy attacks, so that it can fight on with far less formidable weapons. Novelist Arundhati Roy once complained: "It's not the lies we are being told but the quality of those lies that is truly insulting." Her comment no less applies to this laughable tale, as to any of the flagrant whoppers the Bush team has told, some of which surely would have even made Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraq's former Information Minister, blush.[More...]

Double Standards in Menken's Land

It would be considered the height of political incorrectness to wonder whether the United States is home to the largest collection of dunderheads in the world, though the American journalist H.L Menken ("no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people") seemed to get away with it. Nicer people point to the awesome power of the US propaganda system as explanation for the idiocy of millions of Americans, who are prepared at any moment, as acts of patriotism, to accept the most flagrant lies of their leaders. So it is that the President can boldly declare, without fear of being reduced to a laughing stock, that Saddam for damn sure had weapons of mass destruction, only he cleverly hid them or destroyed them so they'll probably never be found. Bill Clinton had a similar story: Slobo for damn sure killed all those people, only he cleverly hid the corpses or destroyed them, so they'll probably never be found. To be charitable, a lot of bright people, who wanted to believe in something, have been fooled into believing all kinds of nonsense, so it's not the intelligence of Americans that's in question, but their overwhelming need to believe in the goodness of their country and its leaders that make them saps for unscrupulous, lying, thugs. [More...]

The perfect dictatorship

It's difficult to imagine how American foreign policy could be democratic in even the mildest sense of the word. It's not formulated to advance the interests of the majority. And decisions about intervention abroad are taken without the merest consideration being given to consulting the American people,  (the majority of whom can be relied on to support US interventions abroad automatically, anyway, as a matter of "patriotism," which in the US is synonymous with blind obedience) and Americans, though they consider themselves to be great democrats, would hardly ever suppose that they ought to be consulted, much less allowed to shape foreign policy.  This makes American decision-making a dictatorship of sorts, for the wishes of the people, as in nominal dictatorships, is immaterial. But more than this, it makes American decision-making the best of all dictatorships, for Americans' propensity to blind obedience on matters of foreign policy, furnishes the dictatorship with what nominal dictatorships would kill for, figuratively and literally: unqualified, unquestioning, support. And since Americans in a majority automatically support whatever direction the dictatorship takes, the dictatorial nature of the decision-making remains concealed. It is, therefore, the perfect dictatorship. [More...]

Regime change in Iraq: A new government by and for US capital

The new tyranny, to be imposed without the merest thought of asking Iraqis what they want, goes by the name "democracy," but it is hardly democracy, unless democracy means: any political system which fattens the bottom lines of US firms and makes Wall Street's corporate boardrooms a little plusher than they used to be. Lauded by Washington as the paragon of human political achievement, "democracy" in this Washingtonian sense, features two or more (business) parties, whose principal offices are occupied by people on loan from the lofty reaches of the corporate world, side-by-side with a coalition of the "willing to ingratiate themselves to moneyed interests in return for help getting elected." The Iraqi brand of the best democracy that money can buy will feature pro-Western Iraqis (Chalabi and company vs. the INA) who can be counted on to act as an executive committee for advancing the interests of Washington and its corporate clients at the expense of the domestic population, which is to say, either party will act as the compradors of a vassal state. [More...]

If only Americans were as good as their leaders in recognizing where their own interests lie

Much as Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Bolton, DeLay, Ashcroft and Libby are scorned for not serving in Vietnam, you have to admire them for being smart enough to see where their self-interest lay. Would that other Americans would do the same. What the chickenhawks need to be reviled for is not avoiding service in Vietnam, but for preying on the gullibility of their compatriots, urging them to fight wars they would never fight themselves, wars that enrich themselves and people like them, while leaving the gullible either dead, bereft of loved ones, or empty of pocket. (More...)

Raytheon destroys it, Bechtel rebuilds it, stolen oil pays for it

The charmed circle of American capitalism. Raytheon's Tomahawk and cruise missiles destroy it. Bechtel's construction equipment rebuilds it. Stolen oil pays for it. Kevin, the Marine, who risks his life to steal the oil, makes it possible. Monica, who works nights at Wendy's, helps pay for it. Richard Perle shows well-heeled clients how to get rich off it.  War is good business.  Unless you're Monica or Kevin. Unless you live in Iraq. (More...)

Whose side is the media on?

Asking whose side the media are on is like asking whether moustaches are in vogue in Saddam Hussein's inner circle. The answer is obvious, unless your blind. But the question is rarely ever asked that way. Instead, it's often asked this way: Are (or following the everyday convention of treating "media" as singular, Is) the media biased?  Media critic Norman Solomon calls the media an echo chamber -- it echoes what those deemed important have to say: presidents, secretaries of state, prime ministers, CEOs. These are the people conventional wisdom tells us run the affairs of state and run the economy and so are supposed to have views which it is the job of the media to make known. The rest of us aren't supposed to have views, except on such matters as who should be voted off the island, and if we do have views on weightier matters, they're apparently of little moment. The editor of a major British newspaper was asked why his paper had presented Tony Blair's views on war with Iraq repeatedly but not those of prominent antiwar critics, like Noam Chomksy and Scott Ritter. He said the reason was that Blair is in charge and Chomsky and Ritter aren't. (More...)

While the war will have winners, Iraqis, and most everyone else, will be losers

"There will only be losers in this war, no winners," says Ali Abul-Ragheb, the Jordanian Prime Minister. To be sure, the losers will be many. But there will be winners. Not Iraqis, who we were told would welcome the invaders, but haven't. The real winners will be the people who stayed at home, and lobbied for the invasion, and planned the battles, and directed the war, who will line their pockets with lucrative contracts to rebuild the infrastructure the Pentagon will devastate, who will take advantage of the business opportunities the war creates, who will fill new orders at a handsome profit to replenish the Pentagon's depleted reserves of munitions and cruise missiles, who will collect the dividends from sales of Iraqi oil. (More...)

This is what war looks like

She's eight, maybe nine years old. Hair matted, clothes tattered, she hangs limply in the arms of a man who stands before a pile of corpses. Her pants are ripped and out the end, where her feet should poke, pokes something else: pulp and clumps of bone, twisted beyond all recognition. (More...)

An ugly regime's ugly war

After a year of the groundwork being laid for an invasion of Iraq through an increasingly strident campaign of demonizing Saddam Hussein, and years after the invasion was planned by those later appointed to the Bush cabinet and its circle of advisors, the invasion has happened. War only in the last instance, said leaders of the countries who opposed it, a sound enough statement if not hypocritical coming from leaders who would have only been too glad to climb aboard the killing machine if there were something in it for them or the corporations they represent. But as there wasn't, and in fact, as there were only promised setbacks for the French and Russian and Chinese oil firms whose rights to develop Iraqi oil will be lost in the American conquest, they took to pointing out (quite accurately) that with Bush it was war in the first instance, never the last. It's not so surprising that a country that touts capitalism as its ideology, which it sells with hypocritical drivel about democracy and freedom, which has built up the largest military in history, would favor war in the first instance to push American capital into all corners of the world (including the dark corners, as George W. Bush calls them.) (More...)

When saying "we're all Palestinians" really means something

Imagine, if you will, that Washington wanted to demonize Israel. The death of Rachel Corrie, a young American who died after an Israeli bulldozer ran over her as she tried to protect Palestinian homes in Rafah, would have been splashed across the front-page of every newspaper. We'd know who she was, where she went to school, who her parents were, what her aspirations were, what her college marks were. But as it is, Rachel Corrie's death will be quickly forgotten, if it were even noticed, and the script will continue as the script-writers in Washington have written it: Sharon is a man of peace defending Israel from Palestinians, who are terrorists and would-be suicide bombers consumed by irrational hatred of Jews. (More...)

UN authorization can't make rank imperialism just

Tam Dalyell, a British Labour MP, says "that if (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair goes ahead with his support of an American attack (on Iraq) without unambiguous UN authorizationýhe should be branded as a war criminal and sent to The Hague." Dalyell's views are similar to those of many people opposed to war on Iraq. A war without UN authorization, they say, would be wrong. But if a war without UN authorization would be wrong, does that mean that a war with UN authorization would be right? (More...)

The war that must be won before the battles end

The American war machine rolls on, ever closer to an all-out attack on Iraq, rolling over the objections of world opinion, ignoring the views of religious leaders and legal scholars and UN arms inspectors, as if they don't matterýand they don't. Millions march in the street, and then go home, and the war planners stay at their desks, planning.  Protests, one million strong, two million strong, invigorate the protestors, for a while, until they realize the war planners are still at work, undeterred, and that an attack will go ahead anyway. (More...)

North Korea no threat to the US

US and South Korean troops held war games near the North Korean border yesterday. The Pentagon said the war games were aimed at deterring North Korea's military threat. Predictably, the media echoed the Pentagon's charge, though the charge is preposterous. North Korea poses no real military threat to either the United States or Japan, and while in principal it could threaten South Korea, it isn't threatening its neighbor in practice. (More...)

Letting London set the agenda on Zimbabwe

Western governments don't intervene in other countries for moral or humanitarian reasons. Tony Blair doesn't denounce Robert Mugabe because he thinks Mugabe holds democracy and human rights in contempt. He denounces Robert Mugabe because he has a non-humanitarian interest in intervening in Zimbabwe and denouncing Robert Mugabe provides a justification (as denouncing Saddam Hussein provides a justification for supporting Washington's designs in controlling Iraq's oil and dominating the Middle East.) (More...)

Capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed raises questions about war on terrorism

It's easy to see, and always was if you weren't locked into the "we're going to kick ass to exact revenge for 9/11" mentality, that from the perspective of hunting down al-Qaeda's principals, the Afghan campaign was sheer idiocy, all the more so now that the ostensible objective of capturing Osama bin Laden has yet to be achieved (and may never be, his being at large too useful), while the capture of the newly minted "mastermind" was achieved by the very means the antiwar critics proposed all along. From another perspective, that of oil industry executives, new American century-boosters, and masters of war like Bruce P. Jackson, the Afghan campaign was sheer brilliance. It allowed Washington to effectively take control of Afghanistan and much of the geo-strategically significant Caspian Basin, with the backing of large parts of the American population, fooled into believing the capture of bin Laden was the mission's objective. It also provided a rationale to pursue a broader campaign of conquest, in whose sights lie Iran, North Korea, Syria, and today, Iraq. (More...)

The ruling view is the view of those who run the show

MediaLens, a group that scrutinizes the British media, asked various newspapers why their coverage of Iraq is dominated by the views of the Prime Minister and his cabinet, while dissenting voices are marginalized. The answer: the government is running the show; the dissenters aren't. By this reasoning, the role of the media is to act as an instrument for disseminating the views of those in charge, (because they are the views of those in charge), while giving scant coverage to the dissenting views of those who aren't in charge, (because they aren't in charge.) (More...)

Enough is enough

Monday morning after the largest antiwar demonstrations in history and my morning newspaper runs the headline "'Enough is enough,' U.S. says," a reference to U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice saying that Washington's trigger finger has a nasty itch her boss George II can't wait to scratch. The headline seems widely off the mark, if you expect newspapers to represent what's going on in the world, rather than what the people who run the world would like to go on in the world. Shouldn't the headline have read "'Enough is enough,' world tells U.S."? As a statement of fact, yes, but that would create the impression that the U.S. was "defying the world," a phrase held in reserve for exclusive use in connection with Saddam. Surely the U.S. would never defy the world. (More...)


Billions of dollars of your money are about to be spent to wage a war against a country that poses no more than a trumped up threat to the United States. The war could result in the deaths of up to one-half million Iraqis, and will ratchet up the misery level of countless others who have already suffered from a decade of sanctions and the after-effects of the Persian Gulf War. The war will almost certainly deliver control of Iraq's vast oil wealth into the hands of US oil firms.

The same billions could be spent on healthcare and education at home. It could also be spent feeding six million children who otherwise will die from starvation. Sanctions on Iraq could have been lifted. But if billions were spent on food for the hungry, on education and healthcare for everyone, US oil firms wouldn't get the prize of Iraq's oil.

If that's not a scam, what is? (More...)

Blair's contempt

A careful reading of the transcript of a February 7th BBC Newsnight Town Hall Meeting, raises questions about whether British Prime Minister Tony Blair really believes Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. It also suggests: Britain intends to press ahead with war on Iraq, whether explicit authorization is obtained from the UN Security Council or not; Blair doesn't particularly care whether his own people are opposed to war; the US-UK alliance intends to pursue more wars after Iraq.

If it wasn't already clear, the transcript shows the British Prime Minister to be an unctuous liar given to uttering Orwellian absurdities who has clearly aligned himself with Washington, not international law or British public opinion, both of which he clearly holds in contempt. (More...)

Web of lies

One newspaper got it right, though unintentionally. "Web of Lies" it shouted, summing up how Iraq is said to have failed in complying with UN Resolution 1441, as detailed in US Secretary of State Colin Powell's brief to the UN Security Council on Wednesday.  But "web of lies" may be more fitting as a description of Powell's evidence. Of course, no one but the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon know how much of Powell's evidence is based on outright deception, but motive and history suggest that much of it, if not all of it, is a web of lies. (More...)

When a child screams in Baghdad, will anybody hear?

There's nothing that makes Americans struggle with their support for their government's wars of conquest more than seeing what those wars do to other people, who, for all their differences in religion and language and culture, are just like them. They too grieve the deaths of loved ones, even if you don't see it. (More...)

State of the Union Address: A Case Study in Projection

Americans, most of whom can't find their own city on a map, have no sense of geography, little grasp of history, and therefore no idea of how puny, how weak, and how desperate its government's foreign policy victims are. Americans are, as a consequence, blind to the immense absurdity of their president's claim that Iraq is building weapons to "dominate, intimidate and attack" the United States.  It is the US that has built history's vastest arsenal of weapons to dominate, intimidate and attack. "President girds his country for war," say the headlines. They should say, "President declares his intention to slaughter the weak." (More...)

No contortion too extreme in support of US imperialism

UN inspections of Iraq, which the US administration has been backing for the last few months, are now, we're told, useless. "Looking for a smoking gun is a fool's mission," says former chief UN weapons inspector David Kay. And US Secretary of State Colin Powell points out that it's impossible "to look under every roof and search the back of every truck in a country the size of California."

The shift from supporting inspections, to calling them into question, came on the eve of inspectors delivering a report to the UN that said no evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction had been found. The inspections have failed to furnish Washington with what it has been so assiduously looking for -- a pretext to oust Saddam Hussein by means of a military invasion. Hence, the shift. If inspections can't provide the pretext, inspections must be denounced as "a fool's mission." (More...)

Washington-engineered misery worse than Saddam

If a shadowy group started detonating bombs throughout the United States on the understanding that the bombing would stop once the Bush regime stepped down, to be replaced by one the bombers specified, it would be denounced for what it is: blackmail and terrorism. But when the United States does it, it's called foreign policy, or a moral crusade, or making the UN legitimate, or audaciously, a war on terrorism.(More...)

War Games

Almost all analysis of the "Iraq crisis" in the media is concerned, not with whether a war is legitimate, but with identifying a case that can be made for war that will get enough people, and allies, to back the slaughter as necessary.

War, or more particularly, the selling of it, is a game. The object of this game, for those strong enough to pursue it, is to impose policies on other countries that will benefit one's own country, or a small elite within, while making a case for war that's sufficiently compelling that the majority, (which probably won't benefit and may very well be harmed), goes along. If you can convince the majority of the need for war, you win. Fail in this task, and you lose. (More...)

What the North Korean "standoff" is really about

Nuclear stand-off on the Korean peninsula. The Korean crisis. North Korea playing with matches. Pyongyang becomes increasingly belligerent. President Bush won't reward North Korea's bad behavior. An irrational regime plays brinkmanship.

From the headlines you'd think North Korea had declared the United States part of an axis of evil, and had put the country on a nuclear hit list, rather than the other way around.

You might also think North Korean submarines, equipped with nuclear tipped missiles, were lurking off the coast of the United States, while tens of thousands of North Korean GI's lay in wait in Mexico, ready (according to a thin official story) to push back an American invasion of Mexico, should it come. You might think this was true, though it is North Korea, not the United States, that is surrounded by a vast, nuclear-equipped, and hostile military presence.

What's more, you might think there was far more to the "stand-off" than this: Washington says North Korea can't have nuclear weapons, and Pyongyang says "piss off." (More...)

Threats or victims?

Recent media coverage of "the crisis on the Korean peninsula," as it's preposterously called, is absurd in the extreme, if not decidedly Orwellian. As happens so often where Washington is involved, the truth of the matter is precisely the opposite of what Washington and its faithful media janissaries allege. The only crisis on the Korean peninsula is one faced by Pyongyang of Washington's devising. (More...)

Ex-Bush speechwriter: I was to provide a justification for war

In his new book The White House in The Right Time: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush, former presidential speechwriter David Frum recounts how he was asked to provide a justification for a war that would put Washington more wholly in charge of the Middle East that any power since the Ottomans. (More...)

On criticism of Israel

A standard accusation made by Israel's boosters is that criticism of Tel Aviv's policies is motivated by anti-Semitism. And while it is said fervently that the accusation is not intended to deter criticism, it plainly is. Indeed, so sweeping is the statement, and so patently political in intent, it's surprising that those who make it keep getting away with it. (More...)

Bullies, hypocrites, conservative-authoritarians, fascists: Anything but champions of human rights

Conservative-authoritarianism doesn't sound as bad as fascism, but what separates the two, but the element of identification on ethnic lines? Dictatorship does, but in the United States, with electoral politics dominated by two virtually identical political parties, both in the thrall of an investor class, the distinction between the dictatorship of an individual and the dictatorship of identical parties with a single master is largely academic. It's still a dictatorship, and one that increasingly is getting away with breaching checks and balances on its power. The framers of the American Constitution assumed one branch of government would constrain the other. They didn't count on two of the branches -- as well as the American people -- rolling over. (More...)

Washington violates agreement, forces North Korea's hand, researcher Gregory Elich reveals

The United States has forced North Korea, which suffers from a critical energy shortage, to reopen its mothballed Yongbyon nuclear power plant, after Washington violated every provision of a Clinton-era agreement to normalize relations with the Communist country and provide it with light water nuclear reactors to meet its energy needs, says Gregory Elich, an independent writer and researcher.

"Targeting North Korea," published December 31 at http://www.globalresearch.ca/, points out that a 1994 agreement between the two countries obligated North Korea to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities, which are capable of producing weapons grade plutonium, in exchange for Washington arranging to provide light water reactors by 2003. (More...)

Pro-Israeli apologist sets the agenda

Shira Herzog suggests some parameters, including understanding of Israel's need to defend its citizens and Israel's legitimacy as a state, as necessary to prepare supporters of Israel to hear and debate criticism of Israeli policies and actions. But the parameters she urges critics of Israel to accept are the central claims on which the Israeli side of the dispute rests. Accordingly, rather than preparing the way for debate, accepting Herzog's parameters would end debate -- in Israel's favor. (More...)

The semi-chauvinistic American left

Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun Magazine wants me to join him in condemning both the United States for its threat of war against Iraq and Saddam Hussein for his "morally outrageous behavior and genocidal policies." Lerner is part of the semi-chauvinistic American left - a group of progressives and liberals that condemns Washington's enemies unreservedly while at the same time condemning their own country for failing to live up to its rhetoric about being liberal and democratic in its foreign policy. (More...)

Achieving radical change: A hard look at the American left

Suspicion of statist solutions and an absence of vocation for governance among those committed to radical transformation means the prospects for radical change in the United States are dim, and that conservative forces, which share none of the left's disdain for governance, are free to maintain, if not enlarge, their hegemony over the country's politics. In place of a vocation for governance many American leftist have set their energies to building oppositional movements (as in anti-capitalist movements, antiwar movements, anti-WTO movements.) American leftists, it is said, know what they're against, they just don't what they're for. (More...)

Can war be avoided?

"Absolutely I think war can be avoided," says actor Sean Penn, currently on a tour of Iraq sponsored by the Institute of Public Accuracy, a U.S. group of policy analysts.

"But obviously it's going to take enormous commitment on the part of the Iraqi government as well as the United States," Penn adds.

The actor may soon have to change his name to Pollyanna Penn.

The war, sadly, has already started. Stepped up bombing raids in the illegally imposed no-fly zones attest to that.

And a war that began as the Persian Gulf war over a decade ago and has simply changed form -- morphing from high-level aggression into sanctions of mass destruction and low-level conflict marked by regular bombing sorties -- has never ended. (More...)

Regime change begins at home

Regime change needs to begin at home. This is not democracy. It's a plutocracy. The people don't rule here. Wealth rules. The corporations rule.  They rule the Congress. They elect the President. They run the Pentagon. They own the media.(More...)

Israel's "left" apologists

Now that we've heard from such self-proclaimed "leftists" as Tod Gitlin and David Corn declaring the budding antiwar movement to be "dead on arrival" and captive of apologists for "evil monsters" like Saddam Hussein, it's time to turn to Israel, another front in which disillusioned "leftists" are attacking their political confreres as a discredited force.

Philip Berger (a physician), Jeff Rose (a trade unionist) and Clayton Ruby (a lawyer), who say they've established solid credentials as progressives over the years, insist the left is anti-Semitic, and must confront its ugly anti-Jewish racism. This they've done on the pages of The Globe and Mail, Canada's establishment newspaper, which has never been fond of the left, though it has always been fond of put-downs of the left, especially by "leftists." (More...)

Useful idiots

When Amnesty International condemned British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's release of a dossier detailing Iraqi human rights abuses, Michael Gove, a columnist with The Times of London, called the organization's Secretary-General, Irene Khan, one of "Saddam's useful idiots...who pollute the British Left." But Gove's blindness to the report's obvious propaganda value suggests the truth of the matter is the inverse of what he purports it to be.  It is Mr. Gove who is London's useful idiot. (More...)

Coercive external forces, not personnel, behind America's cruel and inhumane foreign policy

Left Democrats or Green Party candidates who find themselves in government are just as much confronted by coercive external forces (of markets and lenders and threats of capital flight and strike and geostrategic imperatives) as Republicans are, and while they may resist, rather than celebrate those forces, in the end they must either comply or be swept aside; that's the nature of the game. Making any difference then, means throwing out the rules, and starting over with a different game; replacing Bush with someone else who leaves the rules in place, means no end to Washington's aggressive and murderous foreign policy. Making the rules over in humane, egalitarian and non-exploitative ways is the key. (More...)

Real solutions to the real Iraq crisis

The only real crisis in Iraq is what the West's sanctions of mass destruction are doing to ordinary Iraqis. The only real looming crisis is the death and devastation US bombers and GIs will leave in their wake if Washington decides to escalate its aggressive war. The only real solution is to leave Iraq alone. (More...)

War, NATO expansion and the other rackets of Bruce P. Jackson

Unless you think democracy is equivalent to fattening the bottom lines of US defense contractors and Western multinationals, then NATO expansion and promoting "democracy" in Eastern and Central Europe are rackets;  unless you believe boosting the profits of US oil companies and Lockheed Martin is synonymous with liberating a country from a tyrant and rooting out terrorist infrastructure, then the impending war on Baghdad, and the ongoing war on terrorism, are also rackets; and Bruce P. Jackson, former Vice-President for Strategy and Planning at Lockheed Martin Corporation, is one of the principal racketeers. (More...)

The King can't fall, until the game is over

Little has changed in almost a century. In 1928, Arthur Ponsonby, a British MP, could write about WWI in ways that shockingly adumbrate George Bush's war on terrorism.

In building support for war, "it is necessary to detach [from the enemy] an individual on whom may be concentrated all the vials of the wrath of an innocent people who are only defending themselves from 'unprovoked aggression'," explained Ponsonby, in his book, Falsehood in Wartime.

"[U]p to 1919, the Kaiser as the villain of the piece, was set up in the Allied countries as the incarnation of all iniquity...There can be no question that ... thousands ... [believed] the primary object of the war was to catch this monster, little knowing that war is like chess: you cannot take the King while the game is going on; it is against the rules. It would spoil the game."

Today, there can be no question that thousands believe the primary object of the war on terrorism is to catch the monster, Osama bin Laden (or Saddam Hussein) little knowing that war is like chess: you cannot take the King while the game is going on.

The game, today, as in Ponsonby's time, is conquest, and as the game is still going on (and will for decades we're told), bin Laden, the King, has not been taken. (More...)

Arthur Ponsonby's Dream

Sometime before 1928 Arthur Ponsonby, Member of Parliament for Stirling Burghs, hit on the idea that if people were warned about the lies their governments had told to win consent for a global conflagration that had blotted out the lives of 30 million a decade earlier, they might be less likely to be led into another war.

Ponsonby had been sceptical of the stories the British, French and German governments had told in WWI, about the enemy's corpse factories, where the bodies of dead soldiers were said to be rendered for fats and lubricating oils, about a Canadian soldier who had been crucified by the Germans, his hands and feet pinned to a wall with bayonets, about a Belgian girl whose hands had been lopped off by German soldiers, about how the passenger liner Lusitania, sunk by a German U-boat, carried only passengers, not arms and munitions.

The stories, he discovered, were false, fabrications intended to whip up support for the war effort. (More...)

Osama bin Laden and the new American century

If you were to take the Bush administration at its word, you would have to conclude it's thoroughly incompetent. How else would you explain that its attack on, and subsequent occupation of, Afghanistan has neither led to the capture of Osama bin Laden nor disrupted al-Qaeda (but has blasted away thousands upon thousands of Afghans who had nothing whatever to do with the Taliban,  al-Qaeda, or terrorism)? (More...)

Is there any doubt Washington will cheat?

According to the media, one thing seems clear about the new Security Council Resolution on weapons inspections in Iraq:  "There is no doubt that Saddam will cheat." But how is it known that Saddam will cheat? A history of deception? A motive to lie? Perhaps. But if we take history and motives into account, there's another conclusion to be drawn: There's no doubt Washington will cheat. (More...)

Disturbing speculation vs. comforting speculation

Petr Lom, who teaches politics at the George Soros-funded Central European University in Budapest, wants to swat away a few conspiracy theories that just don't want to go away, especially the ones that have the name Gore Vidal on them. It's one thing for a guy named Jared Israel to say Bush was complicit in 9/11 -- who's Jared Israel? -- but Gore Vidal's another matter.

Lom says the "Bush had foreknowledge" theory (which Vidal isn't uncomfortable with) "is interesting; very interesting; but nonsense," which makes me wonder how he knows. Apparently, Lom is like the Pope, only while the Pope has a personal 1-800 line to God, Lom's runs straight into the Oval Office.

It seems Lom has his own theory, which he isn't calling a theory (maybe to avoid being dismissed as someone whose views are interesting; very interesting; but nonsense) but it's a theory all the same. It says all the events that conspiracy theorists wonder about are due to "bad planning, incompetence or ill-fortune." (More...)

Small "m" and  big "M" monsters

There is little that is certain about the war on terrorism. No one knows for sure how many Afghan civilians were bombed to death (although the number probably runs to the thousands), or whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (doubtful, but possible.)  Who's responsible for the Bali bombings is unclear, and what role Osama bin Laden played in various terrorist attacks, including the Sept. 11 horrors, remains murky. Clearly, bin Laden is the head cheerleader, but whether he's a mastermind is uncertain, and unlikely. "This is bigger than one man," said US President George W. Bush in a Sept. 11 anniversary interview, which it almost certainly is.  (More...)

Compliance or not, Saddam's ouster inevitable

What are the chances war with Iraq will be averted? Not very good. There's only one way out:  Saddam Hussein steps down, handing Iraq over to Washington. Short of that, war--or, to be more precise, a US-led slaughter -- is inevitable. (More...)

Secret War: US and EU Intervention in Yugoslavia

By Gregory Elich

For one long decade, the West waged a fierce campaign to subjugate Yugoslavia.  Every means was utilized: support for violent secessionists, the imposition of severe sanctions, a 78-day bombardment, followed by forcible occupation of the region of Kosovo.  The Yugoslav Federation withstood it all, but it was Western covert operations that finally brought disaster. (More...)

God, disaster, or an improvement on what came before, and followed?

There are no model societies. Never have been. Never will be. Some have been better than others, but none have ever been completely free of excesses, abuses, corruption, bigotry, cruelty, inhumanity and plain stupidity.  And there's no society today that can't be made better. But perfect? Any human enterprise is necessarily flawed. Still, belief that a perfect society can be built stubbornly persists, and no greater hostility has been known than that of true believers whose God -- what they believed was the perfect society -- has failed. (More...)

The ad hominem distractions of America's liberals

It's a crafty argument.

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz says the critics of Israel who are leading a petition campaign on North American campuses to persuade universities to divest from companies that do business with Israel are singling out the Jewish state (Treatment of Israel strikes an alien note, The National Post, November 4, 2002).

"There are no comparable petitions seeking any action against other countries that enslave minorities, imprison dissidents, murder political opponents and torture suspected terrorists," says Dershowitz. (More...)

Turning a lie into a received truth

If you were writing a book about propaganda, or equally, about monumental stupidity, you would have shouted with glee on opening the October 30, 2002 edition of Canada's National Post, for there on page A14 was a news story that could surely become the centrepiece of your book.
The story was about the release of three Afghans from captivity at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay.

The newspaper painted a picture of a barbarous, inhumane captivity, against which the captives understandably bristled. One of the released prisoners, Haji Mohammed Sediq, an old man, thought to be in his 70's, or older, said: "We were eating and defecating in the same place. We were kept like animals." Still, the National Post thought the story merited this headline: Guantanamo prisoners have few complaints. (More...)

Unwitting conscripts

It would do ordinary people, Americans as much as Russians, a whole lot of good if they realized that the wars their governments wage abroad against other people in the name of national security do nothing to enhance their own personal security, and do quite the opposite. Had they died at the hands of Chechen terrorists, the deaths of the Russian hostages would have come at the end of a long chain of events set in motion by governments jockeying for position over control of oil, not the physical safety of their citizens. As it turned out, the Russians died from gas administered by their own government, but they died for oil, as unwitting conscripts, caught in the crossfire. (More...)

Bankers don't like it, corporate directors don't like it, and the White House sure doesn't like it, but for the rest of us, it's...
A model with many charms

With demand for sugar depressed, forcing the shutdown of scores of sugar mills in Cuba, you would think that personal tragedies would be magnified a thousand-fold as Cuban sugar-industry workers are turfed out on the street to fend for themselves, as Americans, Canadians and Brits regularly are under similar circumstances. But that hasn't happened. (More...)

Where profit is king, who cares about fighting a pandemic?

With the UN short $48-billion of the $50-billion it's calling for over the next five years to fight HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, some people are asking, Where is the money to fight a pandemic? The pandemic could see up to 75 million new infections by 2010. But there's little profit to be extracted in fighting a pandemic. Instead, Washington will spend $9-billion if it escalates its war against Iraq, and that's per month, not per annum. In other words, what Washington could spend on one month of war, would almost entirely fund the fight against a pandemic for a whole year. But controlling Iraq's oil, is far more lucrative. And in Washington -- indeed, in much of the world -- profit is king. (More...)

The American Majority: Angels, Devils, or Just Powerless?

The American majority is neither completely moral and compassionate nor completely self-interested and heartless; but it is distracted, lied to, besotted by patriotism, unable to see its common interest with non-Americans, and encouraged to shut up, fall into line, and accept American democracy as the best political system there is. And above all else, it's almost entirely powerless, except in an extraconstitutional way, held hostage to a political system that smiles on those who own and control the economy, putting the instrument of state in their hands to pursue their own narrow interests, both abroad and at home, just as much at the expense of ordinary Americans as anyone else. Replacing the "Bush gang" with more humane trustees of the same system won't change US foreign policy in any fundamental way, or make the majority any less powerless.  The shape of things to come will largely depend on whether the majority can be shown that fundamentally reordering the political and economic life of its society, is as necessary as, and far more basic than, turfing rogues out of office. (More...)

Threat to world peace, or threat to Washington's imperial ambitions?

Although it says it has crude nuclear weapons, North Korea is no more a threat to world peace than any other poor, semi-starved, beleaguered country is, and is far less a threat to world peace than the United States is, with its bloated arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and its doctrine of pre-emptive attacks and nuclear first strikes. No, what North Korea has become is a threat to how far the United States can easily push around a country it has designs on, with impunity. (More...)

Canada racks up another surplus as social programs wither

Wasn't another year of Ottawa taking in billions of dollars more than it spent worthy of more than a ho-hum acknowledgement?  It seemed so out of step with the zeitgeist. Weren't schools being closed and emergency rooms shut down for...want of money? Wasn't there a trial balloon floated to see how Canadians would react to an increase in the GST...to raise new money for health care, money we apparently didn't have? Didn't the editorial pages of the country's newspapers ring out with alarm when the Chretien government announced new spending plans in its Throne Speech because...we can't afford it? (More...)

Profits, not defense, behind calls for more spending on military

The US ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, says Canada should spend more on defense. "We cannot defend North America alone."

On the contrary, so vast is US military spending, not only in absolute terms, but relative to any country that poses a threat,  the US could defend North America many times over, and still cut the Pentagon's budget.

What Cellucci is really saying is that Canada needs to buy more tanks, more airplanes, and more weapons from, guess where? The United States.

It's profits, not "defense," the US ambassador is really concerned about. (More...)

Hitmen for Uncle Sam

Inconsistency doesn't trouble Lisa Schmidt. Schmidt is the wife of Major Harry Schmidt, an Illinois National Guardsmen who killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, after dropping a bomb on a training exercise, ignoring standard protocols. "He would never, ever, have intentionally hurt or killed anyone," Schmidt's wife says. And I'm sure the former Top Gun instructor had no intention of killing the Canadians, and deeply regrets he did. But saying Schmidt would never intentionally hurt or kill anyone is like saying a Mafia hitman would never intentionally hurt or kill another person. What does Mrs. Schmidt think her husband does for a living? He flies over foreign lands, dropping bombs to hurt and kill, and that means hurting and killing kids as young as his own two children, when he's not accidentally taking out soldiers on his own side. In other words, he's a hitman, in the pay of Uncle Sam, which makes him a whole lot more dangerous than your garden variety Mafia murderer. (More...)

Bush to Saddam: Hand over your country, or I'll take it

Bush's proposed Security Council Resolution, which he talks about as if it's reasonably limited to a demand for full and immediate compliance with inspections, is actually an ultimatum: hand over control of the country, or we'll take it. The resolution says US forces can establish no fly and no drive zones, can go anywhere they want, can remove from the country anyone they want, and can establish bases wherever they want. In other words, to comply with the resolution, and avoid military intervention, Iraq must allow military intervention. "I could never imagine Iraq agreeing to this," says John Pike, head of the Washington military think tank, GlobalSecurity.com. "If you're going to be invaded, you might as well make the invading force shoot their way in. It's the sort of proposal meant to be rejected." (More...)

"When the administration talks about democracy in Iraq and regime change, they don't mean an Iraq where there's full participatory democracy. They mean an Iraq run by another Sunni general." Former UN arms inspector, Scott Ritter (Globe and Mail, Oct. 7, 2002)

Rejoice: Mass murder is moral

Thomas Axworthy, former chief of staff in the early 80's for Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, now John F. Kennedy School of Government sophist, says "progressives everywhere" should "rejoice that a President of the United States is prepared to back ethical ends with American power." (More...)

"As part of our plan for Iraq, in addition to identifying the political leadership and the coalition and building democracy, we're going to run the oil business...we're going to run it well, we're going to make money, and it's going to help pay for the rehabilitation of Iraq." Senator Richard Lugar,  (Globe and Mail, Aug. 2, 2002.)

To rid the world of bogeymen

There have been plenty of bogeymen: Communism, Castro, the Sandinistas, Noriega, the Soviets, Kaddaffi, the Ayatollah, Saddam Hussein, terrorism, Slobodan Milosevic, the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, and, making his return engagement, Saddam Hussein. To follow: someone from Iran, when Washington closes Act II of its war on terrorism, and opens Act III: the conquest of Iran's oil fields, billed once again as the exercise of American military power for high moral purpose. (More...)

"Among my toughest moments in Baghdad were when the Iraqis demanded that I explain why they should be hounded for their weapons of mass destruction when, just down the road, Israel was not, even though it was known to possess some 200 nuclear weapons." Former chief UN arms inspector, Richard Butler (Sunday Morning Herald, Oct. 3, 2002)

Bush's national security strategy: Protecting Americans at home, or promoting the interests of American corporations abroad?

"Free markets and free trade are key priorities of our national security strategy." George W. Bush, September, 2002, National Security Strategy

Washington's new national security strategy is, above all else, what Bush says it's about: free markets and free trade as priorities; standing firmly for private ownership of the economy (and those who own it); and standing against rogue countries, which reject, by the strategy's definition, such basic human values as respect for private property, or, to put it another way, that commit the cardinal sin of public ownership, thereby expropriating the actual, or potential, profits of American firms. It is, in short, what American foreign policy has always been about. (More...)

"I flinch when I hear American, British and French fulminations against weapons of mass destruction, ignoring the fact that they are the proud owners of massive quantities of these weapons, unapologetically insisting that they are essential for national security, and will remain so." Former chief UN arms inspector, Richard Butler (Sunday Morning Herald, Oct. 3, 2002)

Oil, not Saddam Hussein's "evil," key to US invasion plans

A government that lets it be known it's prepared to destroy whole populations in first strike attacks to enforce the primacy of US values of open markets and free trade, can hardly be expected to be incensed by Iraq's regrettable record of human rights violations and military aggression. Access to oil, on terms suitable to US corporations, is a more interesting prize. (More...)

Washington's blueprint for world domination

Prepared in September, 2000, "Rebuilding America's Defense: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century," builds "upon the defense strategy outlined by the Cheney Defense Department in the waning days of the Bush Administration." That strategy "provided a blueprint for maintaining U.S pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests." (More...)

"There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack.  If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest --why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted.  The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbours...The whole world was
pervaded by a host of enemies, it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs." Joseph Schumpteter, Imperialism and Social Classes, 1919

Canadian Prime Minister's bogus history lesson

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien "gave US President George W. Bush a history lesson on Canadian support for the United Nations."  The problem is, the history lesson he gave was highly selective, kind of like a history of Germany without the events of 1933 to 1945. (More...)

Marketing a war of aggression

Owing to the efforts of people like Andrew H. Card Jr, most Americans haven't the faintest notion the US is the world's greatest rogue state. These days Card, the White House chief of staff, is co-ordinating efforts to build support for the stepped-up mass murder of Iraqi civilians, as part of what he calls a "marketing" campaign. The administration, he explains, is "following a meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat of Saddam Hussein." That campaign was rolled out last week.  "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August," Card told the New York Times. The chief of staff, however, didn't spell out what the new product is, the obliteration of civilian infrastructure and innocents, including children, hardly being a "product characteristic" you want prospective consumers to be aware of. Better to draw attention to the more unappealing aspects of Iraq, like Mr. Hussein. Think of it as marketing a bug spray (kills evil dictators dead and keeps those nasty cockroaches out of the oil fields.) (More...)

Getting the media warmongers before they get us

Don't you wish media jingoes faced more danger for their contributions to building support for the slaughter of innocents than the prospect of carpal tunnel syndrome and a few paper cuts? Maybe then they wouldn't be so eager to act as cheerleaders for war criminals, mass murderers and guys with their sights on Middle Eastern oil who keep funnelling tax dollars to Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon.(More...)

Sanity in a maelstrom of madness

Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chretien committed Canadian troops to Afghanistan, but on Iraq, he's been model of sanity in a roiling sea of madness. That, however, could change come Monday; Canadian prime ministers have a habit of buckling when pressed by US presidents. But so far the Canadian Prime Minister, like most world leaders, has shown none of Mr. Bush's ardor for war, arguing that three conditions must be met before a pre-emptive attack on Iraq can be justified, conditions it seems the United States is very unlikely to satisfy. (More...)

Wanted: A plan to topple a monster

A few days ago I saw an article titled, "How to topple Saddam peacefully." How much better I thought, were Americans to stop looking at the small monsters outside their borders, to address a question that would make the world a better place in a more significant and lasting way: how to bring down a much larger monster; one that has taken the lives of millions and condemned  numberless others to misery -- Washington's insistence on dominating the world, militarily, politically and economically. (More...)

Tony Blair defends the US for what it does best -- kill people

It would be highly embarrassing to a reflexive pro-American as Blair to be reminded that the Pentagon "wasn't so horrified by Iraq's use of gas" (against Iran during the Iraq-Iran war.) Indeed, not only was it not horrified, according to the New York Times, the US drew up the battle plans in which the gas was used. "It was just another way of killing people - whether with a bullet or with phosgene, it didn't make any difference," said a US officer involved in planning the attacks. (More...)

The politics of survival

In the chapter, "The Politics of Survival" of his Socialism for A Skeptical Age, the last book he would write, political scientist Ralph Miliband examined the powerful conservative forces that would be arrayed against a government seeking to implement a program of radical reform. A "Left internationalism" would be necessary to support a reforming government under siege, especially in the Third World, where governments would be particularly vulnerable to destabilization by large, and powerful Western governments. (More...)

Crimes against peace: What the Nazis were charged with at Nuremberg

"When a country simply takes it upon itself to displace a regime of which it disapproves by force of arms, this is aggression, described by the U.S. representative at the Nuremberg trials, Robert Jackson, as "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." (More...)

What Kalesh can tell you about Washington's foreign policy

"There were three people in civilian dress...They had a big stick with ropes at each end... I was asked to sit on the floor... At this time I am handcuffed and chained in my legs. The stick with the ropes was inserted through the folding of my knees...and the ropes were tied to my handcuffed hands. I became like a football... I was sitting/lying on the floor and these three devils... started kicking and beating me brutally with the rod... There are still marks... of that day on my body." (More...)

The under-appreciated merits and necessity of the F-word

In a world where great crimes are committed under the noses of the majority who would prefer to lead a quiet life, it is powerful emotions -- revulsion, an acutely discomfiting sense of injustice, and compassion for the weak -- that are the only hope against an immense bias toward inertia. Delberately toning down rhetoric, only serves the bias. (More...)

War and the powerlessness of the majority

"The stench of blood rises from the pages of history," remarked Joseph de Maistre. And until the majority takes control of the policy making elites claim as their exclusive domain, history will continue to be written in the blood of the powerless -- and acquiescent -- majority. (More...)

Steve Earle: A real American hero

Steve Earle, the Grammy nominated singer-songwriter who's been called the hillbilly Bruce Springsteen, is being denounced as a traitor for writing a song from the perspective of the "American Taliban," John Walker Lindh. The song follows Lindh's conversion from an alienated American teen interested in music videos to Islamic fanaticism.  "There's a time to write chick songs, and there's a time when there's too much else going on," says Earle. (More...)

The country with the world's largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction threatens another war

Fifty-seven years after it dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States, armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction, is preparing to wage all out war against a devastated country it has attacked and besieged for over a decade. Why? Because, we're told, the victim might acquire what the aggressor has in spades -- weapons of mass destruction. (More...)

No massacre at Jenin: Says who?

Good luck finding the sentence "there was no massacre," in the UN report on the killing of Palestinians at the Jenin refugee camp by the Israeli army, though newspaper headlines, and Israel, would lead you to believe the report was very explicit on the matter. But you don't have to wade very far into the report before it becomes clear that the indiscriminate killing of a large number of human beings did occur. And you don't have to spend much time reading the Human Rights Watch report on the events at Jenin to figure out a massacre, as the word is understood colloquially, did happen. What didn't happen, it seems, is as many deaths as some initially alleged. Rather than there being hundreds of deaths, there were probably dozens of deaths, a disparity Israel and its apologists have seized upon to "prove" there was no massacre. But this is equivalent to arguing that if three million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, not six million, there was no Holocaust. The question is, Were many people indiscriminately killed? The answer, according to both reports, is clearly, yes. (More...)

Innuendo as a weapon of war

How odd that those who talk of a multiracial, secular state in Palestine, where all are equal, and where race and religion have no place in the assignment of rights and privileges; how odd that these people are called racists. And how strange that those who call them racists would elevate one race above others, invoking the same rhetoric used by David Duke and his white supremacists: we're not trying to oppress other races; we're just trying to protect our own. (More...)

What's the war on terror really all about?

By David McGowan

If we count the 'Cold War' as World War III, then I guess technically we are now fighting World War IV. But the Cold War was really just an extension of World War II, and the current war is really just an extension of the Cold War, so it could be argued that we are still fighting World War II. But whatever number you assign to it, it really boils down to the fact that it's just the same shit, different year.(More...)

Prosecution's witness refutes charges against Milosevic, says he was tortured

Picture this. A man is on trial, accused of horrible crimes. The prosecution calls a former subordinate of the accused to give testimony. The witness is hailed as a key prosecution asset, a member of the accused's inner circle, who will help ace the prosecution's case. The witness takes the stand and the prosecutor begins his examination. Reporters prepare to take down the damning testimony, secure in the knowledge the accused -- who they've already convicted -- will soon be brought to justice. Then a bombshell. Rather than corroborating the prosecution's case, the witness refutes it.  No, the accused did not commit the crimes he's charged with, the key witness testifies. And then another bombshell: The witness says he was tortured to provide false testimony. Astonishingly, the judge rules the witness's revelations about torture irrelevant. The next day, reporters write nothing about the witness's torture claim. And the reporter from the newspaper of record says nothing of the witness exploding the prosecution's case, writing instead that "the prosecutors and observers (were) anxious to see (the accused) brought to justice."A 1930's era show trial, complete with suborned witnesses, torture, contrived charges, and press propaganda? (More...)

The deep roots of Israeli mendacity

Jews are encouraged to settle in conquered Palestinian territory, to establish "facts on the ground,"  de facto claims to what belongs to Palestinians. And though some factions of the Israeli ruling elite supported the Oslo accords, which would have legitimized previous Israeli territorial conquest, and while others, such as Sharon, reject the accords as being far too unambitious, the theme is common -- lay claim to more and more territory, use endless, insincere discussion of peace to temporize, and attribute rational opposition to anti-Semitism. There's never any question of whether Israel should consolidate past conquest; it's only a question of how vigorously to pursue more conquest.  (More...)

How long before the latest Israeli atrocity is consigned to the memory hole?

Even Washington had to admit the country it regularly runs interference for had stepped embarrassingly far over the line.

"This was a deliberate attack on the site knowing that innocents would be lost in the consequence of the attack," remarked White House spokesmen Ari Fleischer.

Fifteen died, nine of them children, including a two-month old and a 15-month old, after an Israeli F-16 fired a one-ton bomb at a dwelling in Gaza occupied by Salah Shehada, a founder of Hamas.

The bomb hit at night, when residents of one of the most densely packed neighborhoods on earth were asleep. Afterwards, four apartment buildings were demolished, and half a dozen others were damaged beyond repair.

Some reports claimed that at least 140 were injured.

Israel Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, evincing unbridled chutzpah, claimed "The information we had was that there were no civilians near him." What he meant to say is, "The information we have is that people will believe anything." (More...)

Paying the price for peace on Sharon's terms

Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has no intention of ending the occupation, and never has. And so, by extension, is willing to live with Palestinian violence, as a necessary price. And that's why Israelis should be angry. It is their lives and their blood that are on the line. (More...)

What is John Walker Lindh guilty of?

One critic may have come closest to revealing the real reason Lindh may face up to 20 years in prison: to make an example of anyone who deviates "from the whitewashed mythology of pure American patriotism." (More...)

Total control, not self-defense, behind US plans to topple Saddam

"The United States reserves its option to do whatever it believes might be appropriate to see if there can be a regime change," said US Secretary of State Colin Powell. He was talking about Iraq, but he could have been talking about any country. The US not only reserves the right to change regimes it doesn't like, it has been actively doing so for decades. Saddam Hussein's regime simply stands at the summit of a long line of nationalist, socialist and communist regimes the United States has sought to topple, in favor of installing pro-US, pro-capitalist, quisling governments.  (More...)

America's Virtue: Mollycoddling the stinking rich

In the Canadian view, American-style capitalism becomes Bill Gate's palatial mansion and Harrison Ford's multimillionaire dollar movie deals and big screen TVs, and the world's greatest concentration of billionaires. You'd think it was a casino where everyone wins. And that's because the propaganda does what any good casino does -- draws attentions to a few winners, while hiding the myriad losers, who foot the bill. Meanwhile, slums and barrios, street people, decaying public services, and the sweatshops of the Third World, every bit as much a part of American-style capitalism as SUV's and mutual funds, are swept under the rug. (More...)

When's a conspiracy theory not a conspiracy theory?
When it's your own

One theory says Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated attacks on Russian buildings, which he then blamed on Islamists, to justify a war in Central Asia. Another says, U.S. President George W. Bush orchestrated attacks on US buildings, which he then blamed on Islamists, to justify a war in Central Asia. The former's treated sympathetically, is discussed in serious think pieces, by serious commentators, in serious newspapers. And it's not called a "conspiracy theory." The other is condemned, is spurned by serious commentators and serious newspapers, and is branded a "conspiracy theory." And what's the difference? Bush is American, Putin isn't. (More...)

Terrorism as foreign policy

While terrorism may seem the preserve of men with exotic sounding Arabic names, it is hardly exotic, or uniquely Arabic. On the contrary, most of the terrorism practised during and since World War Two has either been sponsored, or directly carried out, by the United States, with far more murderous and destructive consequences than Palestinian suicide bombings or 9/11. (More...)

The spectacular failure of state violence

Israel's modelling itself after the Nazis, with its racism, war crimes, contempt for international law, gross violation of human rights, expansionism and militarism, hasn't put an end to Palestinian terrorism. On the contrary, it has inflamed it.

And decades of the British Army cracking down on Irish terrorism hasn't stop terror attacks in Northern Ireland, either.

So why would the same dumb move work this time? (More...)

Fascism: It has happened here

In 1935, the American writer Sinclair Lewis, best known for his novels, Main Street and Babbitt, wrote It Can't Happen Here, a tale of an American president who becomes a dictator to save his country from welfare cheats, promiscuity, runaway crime, and a liberal press. Enraged by the fascism sweeping Europe, Lewis wrote his novel as a rejoinder to its title. Yes, fascism can happen here, he warned. (More...)

Victim takes heat for war criminals

When NATO bombed the Serb Radio-TV building on April 23, 1999, killing 16 people inside, it committed one of many war crimes it was to commit in its 78-days of terror bombing of Yugoslavia. As part of Yugoslavia's civilian infrastructure, the Radio-TV building was, under the conventions of war, exempt from attack. So too were factories, schools, hospitals, bridges, houses, trains, and power plants; still, they were bombed. NATO said the Radio-TV building was part of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic's "war machine." As presumably, were the roads, factories, bridges, houses and hospitals NATO also bombed.  Now, Dragoljub Milanovic, the former chief of Serb-Radio TV, has been sentenced to nine years in prison for "for failing to protect staff who were killed when NATO bombed the station's headquarters." (More...)

Pillar of his community, destroyer of others

One can empathize with a pilot whose blunder has had such a tragic denouement, but how is the killing of four innocent Canadian soldiers any different than the killing of innocent Afghan civilians, except that more innocent Afghans have been killed, and the Afghans are of the wrong tribe -- part of the faceless, nameless, throng of the world's poor, that North Americans barely acknowledge, and barely know exist? (More...)

Unpleasant Truths

American citizens can be declared 'enemy combatants," held indefinitely, and no one has any way of knowing whether the charges are legitimate or fabricated. That there's room for abuse should be evident. If the government decides it doesn't like what you say, if you're asking too many embarrassing questions in too visible a way, that you're agitating too many people, can you be declared an enemy combatant and locked away until the war on terror is over? Hard as it is to believe, that's what the arrest of al-Mahajir appears to mean.  And so a precious American principle disappears in a puff of smoke. (More...)

With Minor Edits, Colin Powell Actually Makes Sense

You've got to feel sorry for Colin Powell, the American Secretary of State. So many people asking him so many tough questions, and he has to come up with intelligent answers without even a moment's thought. Maybe that's why some of his answers seem, well, a little ham-handed. (More...)

Why Terror Stalks Israelis

The bounds of discussion on solutions to the Middle East crisis are quite narrow. Will the Israelis go for it? If not, the proposal is considered not on, no matter how soundly rooted in law or morality. The inevitable consequence is that, deprived of a just, moral or legal recourse, Palestinians have few options: quiescence, which is what Israel hopes it can enforce through military terror, or the terrorism of suicide bombings, the desperate attack of people with nothing left to lose. (More...)

The Name For Our Profits Is Democracy

U.S. foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of furthering America's foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free markets. Or so the official line goes. But as American songwriter Phil Ochs once said, "The name for our profits is democracy." Once you understand that, you understand American foreign policy. (More...)

Why Future Terror Attacks Are Inevitable

There is a mix of deception and truth in what vice-president Dick Cheney has to say about the prospect of future terrorist attacks. "Another attack is a matter not of if, but when."  That's true. "The President and I believe that one of our most important responsibilities is to do all that we can to ensure that an attack like 9/11 never happens again." That's deception.
If anything, Cheney and his boss have gone out of their way to ensure that "another attack is a matter not of if, but when." (More...)

Dan Rather's Change of Heart

Historian Howard Zinn once said, "In times of war, the most patriotic act is to ask questions." CBS news anchor Dan Rather agrees. Not that you would know it from Rather's generally fawning attitude toward the White House, State Department and Pentagon, post Sept. 11.  Rather says he has censored himself, but should have been asking tougher questions about America's war on terrorism. And he adds the White House is cynically exploiting America's practice of not questioning "the Commander in Chief."  (More...)

Count me out, along with Ralph Nader, Richard Swift, Fidel Castro and the US government

Democracy isn't the fair-haired child we've been led to believe it is. But then, we've never had the fair haired child. Only the illusion of one. And it's doubtful that that's want we want. What we really want -- some of us -- is  good public education, comprehensive public health care, work for all, adequate housing, nutrition and clothing, and an end to racism, homophobia and aggression. If given a choice between this, and strong democracy, I'll take the former. I'm betting Nader and Swift will too. Even if they're not admitting it. (More...)

Must We Always Learn Too Late?

We learn the truth years later. That, for example, the United States had completely invented the attack by Vietnamese gunboats in the Tonkin Gulf, which served as a pretext for starting the Vietnam War. That the horrifying theft of incubators from Kuwait City by the Iraqi Army was itself a complete fabrication, invented by a US public relations firm in 1990. (More..)

I hear 'dirty Arabs,' and I remember 'dirty Jews'
Has Israel become the Nazi's Successor?

"In my childhood, I have suffered fear, hunger and humiliation when I passed from the Warsaw Ghetto, through labor camps, to Buchenwald.  Today, as a citizen of Israel, I cannot accept the systematic destruction of cities, towns, and refugee camps. I cannot accept the technocratic cruelty of the bombing, destroying and killing of human beings. I hear too many familiar sounds today, sounds which are being amplified by the war.  I hear 'dirty Arabs,' and I remember 'dirty Jews.' I hear about 'closed areas,' and I remember ghettos and camps.  I hear 'two-legged beasts,' and I remember 'Untermenschen' (subhumans.)  I hear about submission, and I remember suffering, destruction, death, blood and murder...Too many things in Israel remind me of too many things from my childhood."  Dr. Shlomo Shmelzman, in an August 1982 letter to the Israel press.

"When I saw the Palestinians with their hands tied behind their backs, young men. I said, It is like what they did to us in the Holocaust. We are a people who have been through the Holocaust. How are we capable of doing these things?" -- Yaffa Yarkoni, Israel's "Singer of the Wars"

"If our job is to seize a densely packed refugee camp, he must before all else analyze and bring together the lessons of past battles, even--shocking though this might appear--to analyze how the German army operated in the Warsaw Ghetto."  An unnamed IDF officer, quoted in Ma'ariv. In Eric Ruder, The master of terrorism, Socialist Worker Online, May 17, 2002

"In (the March 12, 2002 issue of) Ha'aretz , Amnon Barzilai reports on the new opinion poll carried out by Jaffe Institute for Strategic Studies. According to it, 46% of Jews in Israel support mass deportation (transfer) of the Palestinians. If the question is asked in more 'soft' form, the support for the Final Solution raises to 60%.

Nazis never openly declared their intention to massacre Jews and Gypsies, they spoke of 'deportation' and 'transfer' as of their 'Final Solution'. Even in 1938, these ideas have not had such wholehearted support in Nazi Germany, as they have now in the Jewish state." Israel Shamir in Not Another Peace Plan, Media Monitors, March 14, 2002

Ninety-nine percent of the people reading newspapers or watching TV news all over the world (including Arabs) have simply forgotten -- if they ever knew -- that Israel is an illegal occupying power and has been for 34 years. So long as there is a military occupation of Palestine by Israel, there can never be peace. Occupation with tanks, soldiers, checkpoints and settlement is violence, and it is much greater than anything Palestinians have done by way of resistance. -- Edward Said

War in Afghanistan: A $28 Billion Racket

Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies...a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...We pay for a single fighter plane with half a million bushels of wheat.  We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than eight thousand people. Dwight Eisenhower

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear--kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor--with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil...to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real. General Douglas MacArthur, 1957

Smedley Butler, a US Marine General, said of war, "The nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few ý the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill."

This year, the general public could shoulder a $28 billion bill for Afghanistan alone. (More...)

Massacre or not? It depends on which side of Washington's ledger you're on

How is it that a massacre that probably happened can be largely sloughed off, while a massacre that probably didn't happen, can set in motion a 78-day air war, the ouster of a president, and a tribunal at The Hague? As always, it simply depends on which side of the US ledger a country is on. Israel facilitates the pursuit of US imperial ambitions in the Middle East, so its immense crimes are overlooked. Yugoslavia, with its largely socialized economy and refusal to join NATO, gets in the way. As a result, it no longer exists. (More...)

The United States vs Democracy

While we don't know for sure whether Washington engineered the coup through the offices of Deputy Secretary for Hemispheric Affairs Otto Reich, a man who's no stranger to Byzantine intrigues, we do know that Washington welcomed the coup led by former oil executive and head of Venezuela's largest business organization, Pedro Carmona Estanga, afterwards mouthing such absurdities as,  "Now there will be tranquility and democracy." And we also know that administration officials were in contact with the coup leaders in the days leading up to Chavez's ouster.

Moreover, we now know that "the United States channelled hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to American and Venezuelan groups opposed to President Hugo Chavez, including the labor group whose protests led to the Venezuelan president's brief ouster," according to The New York Times. (More...)

Would you buy RC Cola from Bob Rae?

George Carlin, the irreverent American comedian, has a routine about types of  idiots. What differentiates them is appearance, he says. Some look like idiots, while some look quite intelligent, like the guy who speaks authoritatively on  financial planning, but sinks all of his money into Nortel shares.

You may have met people like that. They drone on and on, using words like "paradigm" and "fundamentally," and then give themselves away with something like, "Reagan's black and white view of the world was the kind of genius the world needed at the time." You smile politely, thinking, "Wow, he looks smart, but he's a complete moron."

That's what I'm starting to wonder about Bob Rae,  former NDP premier of Ontario, and Rhodes Scholar. For all that he appears to have a head on his shoulders, is Rae really a complete moron? (More...)

Israel and Jenin

"When I saw the Palestinians with their hands tied behind their backs, young men. I said, It is like what they did to us in the Holocaust. We are a people who have been through the Holocaust. How are we capable of doing these things?" -- Yaffa Yarkoni, Israel's "Singer of the Wars"

"I've been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at the checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about." -- Archbishop Demond Tutu

"The scene (at the Jenin refugee camp) was horrifying and shocking. (A) blot that will forever live on the history of the state of Israel." -- U.N. envoy to the Middle East Terje Larsen

"I have never seen such a human tragedy as that I saw in Jenin. A Swiss seismic expert who accompanied me to Jenin was also shocked and even said he had never seen such a destruction in any part of the world for decades. I think that such massacres will never be wiped out of the human memory and their effects will be remembered by several Palestinian generations." -- Peter Hansen, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works for Palestinian Refugees

"Never Again" Applies to All Humanity

Along with others, Zev Tiefenbach, a Montreal Jew, recently occupied the office of a Canadian politician, Irwin Colter, to protest Canada's support for Israel. Mr. Colter, the protesters said, "embodies the hypocrisy of (Canada's) policy...(He) is a renowned international human-rights lawyer who pathologically ignores Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights."

Colter's human rights advocacy, in other words, stops at the Palestinians.

Ignoring Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights is nothing new in Canada, where the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation is presented free of context and history, the latest  Initifada understood  as little more than another chapter in an ongoing saga of hate. The occupation is rarely mentioned or understood. The question of what Palestinians who dwell in refugee camps have taken refuge from is never asked. Israel's defiance of international law and countless UN Resolutions is hidden away.

It's as if you were transported from Mars and plopped down in the middle of occupied France with not a word of explanation of what is going on.

Tiefenbach says he learned from his grandparents -- all of them Holocaust survivors -- that "never again" applies to all humanity, not just Jews. (More...)

Orwellian Inversion, Or Just Another Day At The New York Times?

A lie so bold that it turns truth on its head is more likely to be believed than a little lie. Hitler said it, George Orwell explored it in his novel 1984 (whence comes the eponymous "Orwellian inversion"), and the New York Times -- and congeries of New York Times wanna-be's -- practice it. So it was that when Venezuela's military high command told the country's elected president, Hugo Chavez, that he would have to step down for the intolerable crime of supposing his countrymen, 80 percent of whom live below the poverty line, should share in the country's immense oil wealth, the Western world's newspaper of record cheered the coup as a victory for democracy. "With yesterday's resignation of President Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be-dictator," the venerable newspaper intoned, matched only for boldness in mendacity by the White House's, "Now the situation will be one of tranquility and democracy."   (More...)

Israel's Iron Heel

The problem has never been terrorism. It's always been what makes people terrorists. Not irrational hatred, or bigotry, or anti-Semitism, or anti-Americanism. Not even poverty. Terrorism springs from unrelieved injustice, from victims who find themselves with no non-violent, lawful means of redress, often because lawful redress, as in the case of Washington sheltering Israel with its Security Council veto, has been blocked. Guns and tanks and helicopter gunships, army patrols and bulldozers and curfews, concentration camps, torture and slaughters, can't wipe out terrorism, because they can't resolve injustice. They only create more. (More...)

The Other Scalae Naturae

Judging by the outpouring of grief and outrage in Canada over the unintended bombing deaths of four Canadian soldiers by a US warplane in Afghanistan, and the absence of grief and outrage over the bombing deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians, some lives must be more worth more than others.

The scale of worthiness, based on the depth and breadth of attention their deaths received, from bottom to top: Afghan soldiers, Afghan civilians, Canadian soldiers, American GIs and CIA officers. A parallel to the scalae naturae which ranked slugs and worms at the bottom and angels at the top. (More...)

What if the question was asked this way?

On April 8th, journalist Tony Jones asked linguist and American foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky the following:

"If you accept that the (suicide) bombers are not justified, the argument then shifts to whether or not the victims of those terrorist bombings have the right to take whatever action they deem necessary to put an end to this, which has been Ariel Sharon's justification of his assault from the beginning."

A perfectly reasonable and unbiased question?

What if Jones asked the same question with a few of the words changed? Like this:

"If you accept that the occupation is not justified, the argument then shifts to whether or not the victims of the occupation have the right to take whatever action they deem necessary to put an end to this, which has been the Palestinian's justification of the suicide bombings from the beginning."

Still reasonable and unbiased? Many people would say no. But what has really changed?

What if pollsters asked these questions?

Questions often say more about the questioner than the answers reveal about those who answer. For example, a recent public opinion poll on the Middle East asked respondents whether they agreed there is "no basic difference between a suicide attack on the World Trade Centre in New York and a suicide bombing of a restaurant or teenage hangout in Israel."

How about:

Do you agree or disagree that there is no basic difference between a suicide bombing of a restaurant or teenage hangout in Israel, and attacks on a refugee camp by warplanes, helicopter gunships and tanks that indiscriminately kill women, children and the elderly?

Do you agree there is no basic difference between a suicide attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, which indiscriminately killed thousands of innocent people, and a sustained bombing campaign on Afghanistan, which indiscriminately killed thousands of innocent people? (More...)

Democracy in Venezuela cancelled

Hours after Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez had been ushered from his office into military detention, his successor, Pedor Carmona Estanga, a former oil executive and head of the country's largest business organization, committed a series of monumentally authoritarian acts. With the stroke of a pen, without a mandate from the public, backed only by the authority vested in him by the country's generals, Carmona dissolved the congress, disbanded the Supreme Court, closed the Attorney-General's and comptroller's offices, repealed 48 laws that shifted some of the country's wealth from the elite and oligarchs to the country's poor, and ripped up the constitution. Were there ever a model for autocratic rule, this was it. (More...)

Drive by smearings on the road to Baghdad

It's a long standing ploy to suggest that anyone who disagrees with how to deal with a common enemy must be secretly working with, or, at best, has naively identified with the enemy. Stalin was well acquainted with this method of silencing critics, as have been thousands of tyrants, dictators, and elected presidents and prime ministers since, to say nothing of authors and senior fellows of think-tanks. (More...)

A Necessary War, Unless You're In The Middle Of It

The Economist, that estimable UK magazine, wants me to do it "the honor of trying our publication risk-free." So they've sent me a colorful brochure with a photograph of what appears to be an Afghan boy, about four or five, carrying a young girl, perhaps his sister, about two years of age, on his back. Superimposed on the photograph, to the right of the The Economist's white on red logo, is the headline: A heart-rending but necessary war. (More...)

Shepherding Us Into History's Charnel House

The intellectuals, and the newspaper column brigadistas, beating out war tattoos on their keyboards, and the romantics rhapsodizing about glorious wars and heroic "people's" struggles and the necessity of building a homeland for people without a home, will desperately descend into abstractions. Every bit of it, while regrettable, is justified, they'll say. The racism, the repression, the killing, the fraud. All of it. Tell me no more of pain and suffering, they cry, nor of grief and dying, or snipers' bullets and suicide bombs and fuel air bombs and cluster bombs and the lives they destroy. Tell me of heroes and justice and the imperatives of history. Tell me of the word of God, of the evil empire, of black and white, of us versus them. (More...)

Conspiracy Theory As Received Wisdom

One of the reasons 9/11 conspiracy theories abound is because the view that the largest terrorist attack in history (apart from the much larger terrorist attacks organized by governments under the rubrics "war," and "humanitarian intervention") could be orchestrated by a "mastermind" operating out of a desperately poor country in Central Asia defies belief. Where the official conspiracy theory is so bad, other conspiracy theories rush in to fill the void. (More...)

Dealing With The F-Word

Try an experiment. Call America anti-Communist, jingoistic, expansionist, militarist, call it racist and governed by business parties which are indistinguishable on the fundamentals, point out that Americans are inclined to equate dissent with lack of patriotism and to discourage dissent accordingly, and most Americans will agree. Tell them America is fascist (for what is fascism, but all of these things together?) and they'll react as if you just said "fuck." (More...)

The Worst Day of the War?

Three, four, five thousand Afghans dead -- nobody knows the precise figure --  and no tears, no prayers, no photographs of anguished parents, spouses, children, mourning.

And then close to a dozen American GIs are killed, 11 are injured, and newspapers carry the president's picture in prayer, parents of the dead soldiers are shown grieving, pundits wonder whether the deaths will weaken America's resolve to kill more Afghans, or next on America's hit list: Somalis, Iraqis, Iranians, North Koreans.

A dozen American GIs dead and a headline reads, The worst day of the war.

Thousands of Afghan civilians dead and a headline reads, President's approval rating soars. (More...)

The best-laid plans of mice and tribunals go oft astray

Critics of the The Hague Tribunal, before which former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic stands accused of murder, deportation and crimes against humanity, say the tribunal is like no other court. This isn't a trial in any normal sense of the word. It's a show trial. And for the prosecution, it's all gone horribly wrong. (More...)

Understanding the F-Word: American Fascism and the Politics of Illusion

A new book by David McGowan

The current political system in place in the United States at the dawn of the twenty-first century is fascism. Of course, we don't like to call it that. We like to call it 'democracy.'  Nonetheless, it looks an awful lot like fascism. (Find out more...)

Know anyone who approves of 9/11?

The right wing benefited so much from Sept. 11 that, if I were still a conspiratorialist, I would believe they'd done it. (More...)

Can one-sidedness be found on one-side only?

It's axiomatic that parties to a dispute tend to be one-sided. They present their case in the best possible light, and the opposition's in the worst. An independent, impartial media, recognizes this. A dependent media, even if it calls itself independent, recognizes one-sidedness, but on one-side only -- the other. (More...)

Concealing the crimes of the powerful

We're told Israeli forces (an occupying army, but that's not what it's called in deference to concealing the crimes of a Mideast ally) enter a nearby Palestinian village to search for militants and weapons. How? By firing from helicopter gunships and tanks.
How a search can be conducted by lobbing shells and spraying the occupants of a village with machine gun fire isn't made clear, or questioned. But this wasn't a search for guns and militants, and it wasn't a retaliatory strike against the attack's -- already dead -- perpetrator. It was collective punishment, illegal under international law (like the occupation, but who's pointing that out?), and the object was clear: To attack Palestinians -- any Palestinians -- not for what they did, for those who died didn't attack the village, but for who they are. (More...)

A Triptych: Portraits of a Racist, a Stooge, and a Hypocrite

Israeli President Moshe Katsav, a racist. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change, a stooge of London, Zimbabwe's white minority, and the IMF. Pierre-Richard Prosper, US war crimes ambassador-at-large, a hypocrite. (More...)

Anti-Mugabe propaganda reaches fever pitch

The shortcomings of pro-Western Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's inaptly named Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are overlooked in the West, while the country's president Robert Mugabe, who recently told British Prime Minister Tony Blair to "shut up" and "go to hell," is demonized. (More...)

Russia Encirled: The Undeclared War

Russia is still a big country. And it does have a nuclear arsenal. And it isn't prepared to roll over completely to let Washington have its way in its own backyard. Not yet. Which means to establish primacy throughout Europe and Asia the United States has to have more oblique means of dealing with Russia than direct confrontation. So Washington uses another approach -- encirclement. (More...)

Lapse in judgement, or plan to oust Mugabe?

Imagine the leader of the opposition in a Western country demanding the government step down or be forced out by violence. Imagine the opposition being funded by foreign governments. Imagine the opposition leader begging those governments to impose sanctions on his own country. And imagine him attending a meeting abroad where the elimination of the head of state was discussed.

Would he be called a democrat, or a puppet willing to resort to violence to attain power?

Now meet Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change. Tsvangirai once threatened to unleash violence unless the elected ZANU-PF government of Robert Mugabe stepped down. He recently attended a meeting in Montreal at which the 'elimination' of Mugabe was discussed.

Reporters say Tsvangirai's call for violence, and his attending a meeting at which the Zimbabwean head of state's assassination was discussed, represents a lapse of judgement.

A lapse in judgement? It represent much more than that. (More...)

Media using double-standard in covering Zimbabwe election

Who's called a democrat, and who's called a dictator, and whether evidence of equal merit is celebrated as definitive or dismissed as a stretch, has nothing whatever to do with words or deeds, and everything to do with what suits the political aims of great powers. Dumb, blind and uncritically accepting journalists are the perfect conduit for this sort of  hypocritical bilge. (More...)

Munchausens At The Hague, Cowards At Woods Hole

With attacks on foreign leaders coming from all parts of the American political spectrum, that peculiarly American conceit is strengthened -- that "we" have a right, if not a moral obligation, to intervene in the affairs of sovereign nations to oust unpleasant leaders and impose our own. Were that not offensive enough, it's all done without a tittle of an effort made to substantiate whether the charges against foreign leaders are anything other than pure wind and self-serving pro-interventionist propaganda, or if there's substance to the charges, whether American leaders would be excused for doing exactly the same under similar circumstances. So it is that NATO's Munchausens have almost free rein to propagate pro-interventionist nonsense virtually unopposed. (More...)

When it comes to Milosevic stories, more than a little skepticism is in order

"What can we believe about what has been written about Milosevic in particular, and Yugoslavia more generally? After all, the demonization of Milosevic, and the Serbs more generally, perfectly fits with the propaganda aims of the NATO powers that went to war against Yugoslavia, including the US and Britain. Here we have seen that the media establishment in these two countries has produced stories about Milosevic's speech that are consistent with such a deliberate propaganda campaign." (More...)

Mugging Mugabe

Dictator, authoritarian, warlord, thug. These would all be hurled Mugabe's way.  The same epithets have been hurled at others, most recently former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and Belarus's president Alexander Lukashenko.  Scratch the surface of the sensational language,  and you find that all the targets of this name calling have defied the West in some way -- refusing to become part of NATO, insisting on a measure of economic independence, snubbing the IMF,  showing an unhealthy nostalgia for socialism, or in Mugabe's case, taking steps to resolve the long festering issue of land reform. (More...)

Hurray for privatization

Let out a loud cheer for privatization. C'mon. Cheering can deliver a quick rush of feel-good dopamine to your brain. And if you're a resident of B.C., you're going to need a few dopamine rushes to get through the next few years. Premier Gordon Campbell -- Mike Harris and Ralph Klien on steroids --  is about to go on a privatization bender. Trouble is, you'll get the hangover. Campbell, and his pals, will get the high. (More...)

On What Authority?

"One more," shouted the reporter, trying to hold White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer's attention. "By what authority, then, by what international authority is the United States shipping these people from their home country to Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba? Just the fact that we have them in our control and consider them dangerous and want to move them across the world?"

Fleischer, standing behind the podium in the White House's James S. Brady briefing room, didn't have to marshal his thoughts. As always, he had a quick and ready reply. Fleischer was being asked about the Taliban and al-Qaeda "battlefield detainees," who had been herded onto military aircraft, hooded, manacled, shorn of their beards, a few sedated, and flown 27 hours to the US naval station at Guantanamo Bay, where they are being housed -- caged, actually -- in chain-link fencing surrounding a concrete floor and supporting a metal roof,  measuring approximately six by eight feet.  Six by eight feet -- that's about the size of a small bathroom. And the cages leave prisoners partly exposed to the elements. (More...)

What Price American Primacy?

What price are Americans willing to pay to preserve the world as it is, with the US as the sole superpower and the country's preeminence unchallenged?  Americans, for the most part, have accepted a few thousand dead Afghans as an acceptable price to hunt down Osama bin Laden and members of his al-Qaeda network. Over a million Iraqis dead from sanctions is considered an acceptable price to bottle up Saddam Hussein. "We think it's worth it," said former Secretary of State Madeliene Albright. So, would it be any surprise if  Washington decided a few thousand American lives was an acceptable price to preserve America's primacy?

Charlie Brown and the Brownshirts

Given their leaders' addiction to lying, you'd think Americans would be a tad less trusting. Instead, their willingness to believe their leaders goes on unceasingly, just as strong as ever. Are Americans massively uninformed or just pathologically incapable of learning from experience? Journalists --  stenographers of those in power -- have much to answer for. And Washington's elite, architects of much of the misery in the world (including that in the US), have much to answer for, as well.

Peace on Earth?

Peace on Earth?  Rukia knows nothing of that.  She's 39. Old enough to know about getting caught in the middle of a war between the Soviet Union and the US backed mujahadeen. Old enough to know about civil war between squabbling mujahadeen factions. Old enough to know what bombs dropped from B-52s can do. For one, they can shatter your arm and leave shrapnel embedded in your abdomen. For another, they can kill your children. Rukia knows. She lost all five of her children when US bombs flattened the Kandahar neighbourhood that was, until a few days ago, her home. Now it's just a pile of rubble, and blood, and bits of shrapnel that tore through flesh. Americans who want to feel good about the war, sit in warm kitchens, eating toast, drinking coffee, their kids safely off to school, reading about Afghans dancing in the streets. Dancing in the streets? To Rukia that's a lie. Like peace on Earth. (Read more...)

This war is a fraud

Few things are certain, but one is: that Washington believes the American people are so befogged you can tell them anything and they'll believe it. Of course, there's a track record. Raised with an deep and abiding respect for authority, inculcated with the mistaken belief that Chauvinism is the same as patriotism, imbibing the lie with their mother's milk  that their interests line up with those of the monsters who run the country, Americans obediently hew to the line set down by  their "commander in chief."  Only some recognize that the president is not their commander in chief, but the military's, and that the idea of "the commander in chief"  is uncomfortably close to the idea of der Furher, the leader of another heavily militarized country inclined to manufacture threats as an excuse to extend its dominion by military means. (Read more...)

Injustice, not grief over the dead, key to Mideast violence

The key to the Mideast cycle of violence isn't anger and grief over the dead. The key is something Tel Aviv doesn't want to talk about and Washington doesn't want to talk about and the media rarely acknowledges. The key is something Palestinians have been forced to endure for over 50 years -- injustice. (Read more...)

How does this brand of anti-Semitic racism go unnoticed?

Arabs are a minority. They are poorer than the majority population. The governments limits what land they can own. They're not permitted to buy or rent in some communities. Arab schools are government run, and are separate from the government run schools for the majority population. The government spends less per capita on Arab students than it does on majority students and Arab classes are 20 percent larger than majority classes. This isn't separate and equal, the deception southern state governments used to justify the segregation of blacks into inferior schools. This is separate and unequal, and the government freely admits it. This is Israel. This is racism. (Read more...)

Sharon: A terrorist then, a terrorist now

Why is Israeli Prime minister Airel Sharon, once a member of a terrorist group fighting British rule, called a "fighter," while Osama Bahar and Nabil Halabiyeh, the two Palestinians who blew themselves up and took 15 others with them, are called "terrorists"? Both belonged to terrorist groups, yet Sharon is admired as a "fighter" while Bahar and Halabiyeh are reviled as terrorists. Shouldn't all three be reviled as terrorists? (Read more...)

US forces behind war crimes at Mazar-i-Sharif: Media covers up

There are two levels of deception being practised in connection with the horrible slaughter of Taliban prisoners at the Qaila Jangi fortress near Mazar-i-Sharif.  The first is the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil approach of the US media. You'll find little mention of the atrocity in US newspapers or newscasts. Another level of deception is being practised by the Canadian media. They're ready to acknowledge that the Mazar-i-Sharif story is being suppressed in the US. But they're not willing to say who was also directly involved. What's more, they're drawing attention away from the co-culprits entirely, saying their biggest crime was to stand by and watch a massacre happen, without intervening. Except, in reporting the massacre, they also show there were three culprits. It's only in the headlines and conclusion that two -- US and British forces -- mysteriously disappear. (Read more...)

Media using deception to build case for escalating war on Iraq

Paul Koring's (Toronto) Globe and Mail article, Bush directs grim warning at Hussein, is a good example of  how the media, either knowingly, or by dint of criminal stupidity, bamboozles the public.(Read more...)

It can't happen here

The "Decree for the Protection of the People and the State" has placed restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications and warrants for house searches ... permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

New anti-terrorism legislation? Close. Chancellor Adolph Hitler to German president Hidenburg, Feb. 28, 1933.

Time to bring this rogue in line with the international community

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 27 (Reuters) - The U.N. General Assembly, for the 10th consecutive year, voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday for an end to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, with Havana saying not even most Americans
approved of the 4-decade-old sanctions.

The vote was 167 to 3, identical to last year's record vote. Those opposing the resolution, in addition to the United States, were Israel and the Marshall Islands, the same countries who supported Washington in 2000.

Nations abstaining were Latvia, Micronesia and Nicaragua. All three nations abstained last year, in addition to Morocco.

Despite strong U.N. support for American positions since the Sept. 11 attack against the United States, sympathy for Cuba's financial plight and condemnation of the blockade remained unchanged.

This isn't justice. It's its very antithesis.

Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic's Belgrade lawyer, Dragoslav Ognjanovic says that strong spotlights have been left on all night in Milosevic's cell at the Hague, a subtle form of torture.

Why is Milosevic being deprived of sleep?

And why is the former Yugoslav president denied access to the media? After doing an interview with American media, Milosevic was reprimanded by Hague authorities, and warned against further breaches of rules that prevent the former president from talking to the press.

Why won't the Hague Tribunal allow Milosevic to conduct his own defense?

And why is Milosevic's microphone cut-off when he appears before the tribunal?

The usual reply is that Milosevic would make a mockery of the proceedings. And if  given access to the media he would have a platform to spout off nonsense. But surely, if it's nonsense he'll spout off, let him. Nonsense will be obvious for what it is, and the press will soon grow tired of it. But another answer seems more likely: Maybe it's not nonsense Milosevic has to speak. And maybe Milosevic's being allowed to conduct his own defense would expose the tribunal for what it is -- a mockery of justice.

The Dictatorship of Bullshit

Comedian George Carlin has a way of getting to the heart of a matter quickly. What the US produces in abundance, says Carlin, is bullshit and bombs. It can't produce a toaster worth shit, it can't furnish 80 million of its citizens with adequate health care, it can't keep all of its citizens productively employed, but it sure can bomb the shit out of other countries and it sure can pump out bullshit to justify it.

Democracy? When?

"In case you haven't noticed, there are no choices citizens are making about which they need to be informed. The shots aren't being called by you or me; they're being called in Washington and London, Washington mostly, and no one's asking for our opinion. You can nurture your precious illusions about living in a democracy where the citizens make choices and decisions, and maybe we make choices about who gets to be leader, but that's where our choices end. Grow up!"

Our Terrorists

Our Religious Monsters

Our Masters of Propaganda

Few willing to say they're for what this war is really about

What it really means to be for this war

It claims to be conducting a war on terrorism against a network (al-Qaeda) it helped create to fight proxy wars on its behalf (in Afghanistan and the Balkans.)

It says it must bring anthrax terrorists to justice, but has the world's largest stockpile of smallpox, anthrax, and other biological weapons. It continues to experiment with new weaponized pathogens. It refuses to agree to measures to strengthen a biological weapons treaty.  And there's evidence it has used biological weapons (in the Korean War.)

It has called some its past adversaries empires, bent on world domination (the Soviet Union), but it has 200,000 soldiers permanently stationed in dozens of countries around the globe. Its global military presence expands every year, encircling one of the few countries left to challenge its hegemony -- Russia.

In one country alone (South Korea), which it has occupied for over five decades, it has 45,000 soldiers.

The country's wars are always said to be fought for some high moral purpose: to stop ethnic cleansing, to prevent tyranny, to uphold international law, to defeat communist expansion, to root out terrorism, but somehow, while this is being done, the country always seems, as John Flynn once put it, to capture its enemies' markets while blundering into their oil wells. (More...)

Once a civil libertarian who sat on the board of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Justice Minister Anne McLellan is now fashioning legislation that will unceremoniously trample upon  civil liberties  and could get people who are not terrorists thrown into jail on terrorism charges. Asked by reporters whether protesters at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City last spring  could have been arrested under her legislation, MacLellan replied, "There may be those involved who would fit the definition of terrorism." Who? Jaggi Singh, to be charged with the terrorist act of using a catapult to lob teddy-bears over the security perimeter? Strange how what should have been an effort to bring the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks to justice, has now mushroomed into an unending war that could, according to US officials, last a lifetime, where anyone Western governments don't like -- like anti-globalization protesters who smash a few windows or disrupt essential services -- are elevated to the status of super-terrorist, on par with Osama bin Laden. You'd think that with the public terrified, governments have decided the time is ripe to settle more than a few scores. Carpe diem. (More...)

No one is owning up to the attacks on New York and Washington, or taking responsibility for the anthrax attacks, or saying why they've happened. There's a lot of guess work. There's a lot of inference. But significantly, all claims of responsibility, and all the reasons for the attack, have been made by people other than the presumed attackers.

So far, all Washington can say is, "bin Laden is evil, he's done this kind of thing before, therefore it was probably him." Yes, bin Laden has been behind terrorist attacks before - though on a smaller scale -- but when he has, he's taken responsibility. So why not now? (More...)

Ever ready to jump into the breach to help  administration officials deal with the danger of losing "the battle for the hearts and minds of the world in general, and Muslims in particular," the Globe and Mail's editorial writers have voluntarily signed on to the war on terrorism. Which means they've enlisted as propagandists, agreeing to question inconvenient facts, hide  what "the public doesn't need to know right now", and eschew critical questioning even more vigorously than accustomed -- at least until the war is over. (More...)

When it comes to the question of whether bin Laden is behind the recent cases of anthrax infection, government officials are urging caution in declaring bin Laden responsible. Both Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, and Attorney General John Ashcroft, have said there is no evidence linking bin Laden or his associates to the anthrax cases.

And indeed, there isn't. But there's no evidence either that bin Laden is behind the September 11th attacks. Still, that hasn't stopped Washington, its allies, and the media, from declaring he is. So why is Washington so concerned about the media not coming to the equally hasty conclusion that bin Laden's behind the anthrax cases?

Maybe because now that the reputations of the Taliban and bin Laden as menacing hobgoblins have been cemented, it's time to pull another favourite hobgoblin out the closet-- Iraq. (More...)

If Washington were sincere about protecting Americans from terrorism, really sincere, not just committed to it in a rhetorical way, it would have to support a comprehensive war on terrorism, not a selective one that's aimed only at terrorists they don't like.  But Washington harbors terrorists in Florida, supports terrorists in the Balkans, and paid for bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan. (More...)

Washington and London are dropping bombs on innocent Afghan civilians. They have put a million Afghans at risk of starvation by disrupting humanitarian food relief. Why? To punish the Taliban for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden. And yet neither Washington nor London have presented concrete evidence that bin Laden is behind the Sept. 11th attacks. Do they have evidence? If not, why are they putting so many innocent people at risk? If they do, why are they putting so many innocent people at risk?

The Taliban said they would hand over bin Laden if Washington could show them the evidence. Washington refused. Tony Blair announced to the world that he had seen the evidence and that it was overwhelming and incontrovertible. Then he put the evidence on the public record.

When it became clear that Blair's evidence was neither overwhelming or incontrovertible, he admitted that the evidence wouldn't stand up in a court of law. Does Blair know what "incontrovertible" means? (More...)

Meanwhile, the official account of what transpired on September 11th is full of holes. And the media's attempts to plug the holes reveal how absurd the stories really are. (More...)

And yet, by now, it's taken as a given that Osama bin Laden is our man. But how do we know?  All we know is that Washington says bin Laden's our guy. But they won't say how they know.  Given Washington's track record on telling the truth -- especially when it comes to reasons for initiating wars -- a sane person might treat this claim with a healthy dollop of skepticism. (More...)

Is there a lining of black gold in this dark cloud? Did George W. Bush act quickly to take advantage of the September 11th attacks? Are future attacks something he might not be altogether displeased with?  (More...)

Is the media onside, taking up its accustomed role as unofficial propagandists for the US government?

Imagine you opened your newspaper and discovered this: "A 'statistic' we see trotted out frequently says "12 million Jews died in Nazi gas chambers. Where did it come from?...In other words is it true?"

Outrage may soon yield to apoplexy if you discovered the answer was: "No, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. The original source of the oft-cited figure may be Israelis, trying to marshal support for their occupation of Palestine."

Of course, that wouldn't happen. It would be the vilest form of Holocaust-denial.  But what if the media cleverly wrote about the 1.5 million Iraqis who've died from sanctions-related causes in a way that made the story seem like a fiction concocted by Baghdad to arouse sympathy in the West? Would you start to think you were being lied to, and wonder why?...(More...)

How do you feel about Hitler sharing your religious faith?

The man who explained his refusal to fight in Vietnam by pointing out that no Vietnamese had ever called him nigger, showed that his words, if not his fists, still carry a punch.  Former heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali visited the ruins of the World Trade Center on Thursday. When reporters asked how he felt about the suspects sharing his Islamic faith, Ali responded pleasantly, "How do you feel about Hitler sharing yours?"

 We want to avoid civilian casualities in so far as possible

Now that Washington has let slip the dogs of war, issuing de rigeur commitments to avoid, or at least minimize, civilian casualties, we might remind ourselves of what President Truman had to say in August 1945, soon after Hiroshima was flattened, thousands were instantly vaporized, and tens of thousands more took the first painful steps toward an agonizing death from radiation sickness or cancer: "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in the first attack to avoid, in so far as possible, the killing of civilians." Or this, a New York Times article, from April 1999: "NATO began its second month of bombing against Yugoslavia today with new strikes against military targets that disrupted civilian electrical and water supplies..."(my emphasis).  (Read more.)

Bill O'Reilly and Osama bin Laden: Two Peas in a Pod

Fox  News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and Osama bin Laden: two men with similar views. Here's O'Reilly on why Afghans, Libyans, and Iraqis should be made to starve...Remember, the people of any country are ultimately responsible for the government they have. Here's bin Laden on why it's all right to kill US civilians in terror attacks ...Civilians "are not exonerated from responsibility, because they chose this government and voted for it despite their knowledge of its crimes."

Oh, the irony!

John Negroponte's nomination as US ambassador to the UN was approved by the US Senate on September 14, three days after the infamous attacks on New York and Washington. Among other foreign service posts, Negroponte was US ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985, a period during which Negroponte carried "out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinista government in Nicaragua," according to the New York Times. And in April,  the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Negroponte had, "concealed from Congress human rights abuses in Central America carried out by death squads trained and armed by the CIA." According to journalist Heather Cottin, "in addition to his work with the Nicaraguan Contra army, Negroponte helped conceal from Congress the murder, kidnapping and torture abuses of a CIA-equipped and -trained Honduran military unit, Battalion 316." The irony is that "Senators said the United States needed an ambassador in New York as soon as possible to mobilize international support for President Bush's campaign against terrorism," according to Reuters. (Read more...)

Made in the U.S.A

One of the most poignant drawings I've seen recently shows an Afghan family -- a man, his wife, and their two small children, huddled together in fear, the father vainly trying to draw his family  into a protective embrace, each staring with dread, skyward...waiting. And yet while ordinary Afghans may be waiting for the blinding explosions of cruise missiles, dread, in these early days of the Bush administration's open-ended, blank-cheque war on terrorism, is more likely to come from other places -- like the empty shelves of humanitarian relief centres. Washington has ordered Pakistan to end the shipment of food and other supplies to the poor and starving of Afghanistan. As US foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky puts it, "The US has demanded that Pakistan kill possibly millions of people who are themselves victims of the Taliban." The first salvo in the war against terrorism. (More...)

Alexander Lukashenko Gets The Milosevic Treatment

The United States undertook a massive campaign to subvert the September 9th Belarusian presidential election, but failed to topple Lukashenko. He won the election with a resounding majority. Washington's dump-Lukashenko campaign consisted of funnelling money to non-governmental agencies (NGO's) opposed to the Belarusian president, a youth group reminiscent of the US-backed Serb resistance group that was instrumental in toppling Slobodan Milosevic,  and Radio Free Europe broadcasts urging Belarusians to vote for Lukashenko's US-backed opponent. (More...)

Our Own bin Ladens

"How could anyone do this?"

Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in the September 11th terror attacks, has an  answer.  He points to the massive civilian casualties in the atomic  bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the tens of thousands of civilians massacred in American strikes against Middle Eastern targets. Americans and their governments have never had any qualms about destroying civilians, he explains. Bin Laden asks, Why should I?

Asked what Ottawa's reaction to innocent people getting hurt in a US  retaliatory strike would be, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs John  Manley replied, "Canada would feel that innocent people have already been hurt."

Al Haig, described those who would worry about civilian casualties that would inevitably follow massive US retaliation as led by a "misguided sense of social justice."

Arch-conservative Bill Bennet urged George W. Bush to order massive counter-strikes against countries associated with Muslim terrorist groups, even if it means massive civilian casualties. "They did this,  they asked for it and they should get it," he thundered.

"I say, bomb the hell out of them,'' Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga.,  said . "If there's collateral damage, so be it. They certainly found our civilians to  be expendable.''

Bin Laden says US civilians are legitimate targets in his holy war. They "are not exonerated from  responsibility, because they chose this government and voted for it despite their knowledge of its crimes," he explains.

24 Reasons to Oppose NATO

 NATO is a creature of the Cold War. For this, and 23 other reasons, NATO should be abolished, not expanded. (Read more...)

US Ambassador admits Washington is subverting the Belarus presidential election

The United States has launched a massive campaign to subvert the September 9th Belarusian presidential election in a effort to topple President Alexander Lukashenka, who has been moving slower on "free market reforms" than Washington would like. And Washington is using a strategy similar to one it used to oust the Nicaraguan Sandinista government in the 80's, and to depose Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia last year. (More...)

Inhumane Civilization

Canadian judge Ted Matlow has a point. People who are awaiting trial shouldn't be locked away in prisons. The law says they're presumed innocent, until proved guilty. So how can we justify locking them away? Those awaiting trial shouldn't be treated inhumanely. But what about convicted criminals? Is it all right to treat them badly? Matlow thinks so. (More...)

The speech the Hague Tribunal doesn't want you to hear.

During an appearance before Tribunal judge Richard May on August 30th, Slobodan Milosevic sought leave to make a 40 minute presentation on why the Tribunal is illegal. May cut him off. The presentation was never made. Here is what the Tribunal didn't want you to hear. (More...)

Who are the real racists -- Zionists, or Zionism's critics?

If Zionism means driving Palestinians from their homes to make way for Jewish settlements, if it means Palestinians must be denied their right of return lest the ethnic character of Israel change, if it means that Israeli Arabs must forever be relegated to second-class citizenship, then Zionism is racism. (More...)

Liberal caucus examines closer ties to US, more tax cuts, no more money for health care
This is not what democracy looks like

Liberal pollster Michael Marzolini told the caucus Wednesday that health care remains Canada's top concern...The provinces have argued that Ottawa is in a far better position to increase health-care spending than they are, pointing to a $15-billion surplus Mr. Martin is expected to annouce...However, that surplus will virtually disappear by 2002-2003, thanks to tax cuts already announced. (More...)

Free PR for private schools

For those who have made a business of education, Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente's diatribes against the competition are surely invaluable.  (More...)

More signs NATO is behind ethnic Albanian attacks on Macedonia

A Canadian journalist who visited ethnic Albanian guerillas in Macedonia's Tetovo region saw T-shirts that read "NATO Air - Just do it!", was shown impressive US-manufactured arsenals and told, "Thanks to Uncle Sam, the Macedonians are no match for us."(More...)

Declassified documents point to US war crimes in Iraq

The United States is knowingly violating Article 54 of the Geneva Convention which prohibits any country from undermining "objects indispensable to the survival of (another country's) civilian population," including drinking water installations and supplies, says Thomas Nagy, a business professor at George Washington University. Read more.

Anyone who dissents from U.S. foreign policy must be nuts, says Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. Read more.

A gusher of profits around the corner

Shareholders believe that every large organization carries around a spare tire of fat that clogs up the flow of profits to their pocket  books. No matter how austere a diet the organization is ordered to go on, no matter how long it's been starved, there's always more fat to be pared from the bone. And not small amounts. But great hunks that can be ripped from sinew -- humanely, of course. Everyone believes it, which is why everyone believes it. Bill next door believes  it, so Carl at work believes it, and because Carl believes it, Caitlin  believes it, and Caitlin's mother believes it because Caitlin believes  it, and because, well, everybody believes it, so if everybody believes it, it must be true. So when an executive says he or she is downsizing, (to hack away at unhealthy fat of course), shareholders applaud, and eagerly await a gusher of profits, and nod sagely, and  say, "That was the right thing to do. Ask anyone."More...

G8 leaders are hardly in a position to denounce violence

Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada, and one of the participants at the G-8 Summit at Genoa, denounces violence. "Violence, I reject," says the prime minister. "I'm a democrat, so violence is a criminal act, and there are laws for that."

One sentence, three lies. Chretien doesn't reject violence; he doesn't let law stand in the way of using violence; and that he's a democrat, is questionable, at best.  More...

Anti-racists who question Zionism are not racists

Keith Landy, the head of the Canadian Jewish Congress says that those who question the Zionist underpinnings of Israel as racist, are racists themselves, and are no better than Hitler. Yet a look at the Zionist face of Israel, suggests that those who question it, are hardly motivated by anti-Semitism, but are troubled by its double-standards, its brutal disregard for Palestinians who were displaced by the birth of Israel, and its inability to come to terms with the problems it has created.More...

Will NATO's lying ever stop?

The litany of lies and improbable stories grows ever larger, as each is exposed for what it is. In any normal court, the testimony of a witness who has lied repeatedly, who has a motive for spinning tall tales, would be dismissed, not even tolerated. But The Hague Tribunal is far from an  ordinary court, for the liar controls the prosecution and the judges, and the intention is not to uncover the truth. It's to exterminate it. More...

Even when they condemn victors' justice, the media supports it

The headline was promising enough. "International Law Should Not Be Victors' Justice." And  "Indicted or convicted war criminals are all citizens of small, poor countries."  Unfortunately, Richard Gwyn, the Toronto Star columnist whose July 4th column begins so auspiciously, never really got to the finish, tripped up by errors along the way. (more...)

                   Questions the media isn't asking  about the Milosevic indictment

There are instances where the long, drawn-out, expensive, and completely unnecessary work of courts, judges, jurors and witnesses serves a purpose -- show trials. In those instances, the show goes on with a foreordained outcome -- a verdict of guilty. Maybe today's journalists, like journalists in the Stalin-era Soviet Union, know a thing or two about a sure prediction. (more...)

Canadians should ask questions about Milosevic's transfer to The Hague and Canada's role in the war against Yugoslavia

The American historian Howard Zinn argues that the most patriotic act a citizen can undertake is to ask questions, not to rally blindly behind leaders, who, on occasion after occasion, have shown  themselves to be skilled and inveterate liars. Remember Jean  Chretien's, "I never said I would cancel the GST"? Patriots might ask themselves: Is the evidence against Milosevic compelling? Is it true that there are no leaders beyond the reach of international justice, or is it closer to the truth to say that leaders of small countries are not beyond the reach of international law, while the leaders of the big powers, and their strategic allies, are ?  (more...)

Charges against Milosevic reveal NATO's larger crimes

The mass exodus from Kosovo, like the massacres Milosevic is accused of ordering, happened after the bombing. In other words, Milosevic is in The Hague to answer for crimes that could not have been the reason for NATO's bombing, unless, somehow the universe has become disordered and cause follows effect. So why did NATO trample international law, don the cloak of humanitarianism, and reduce a country to rubble? (more...)

There was never any question that Milosevic wasn't above the law. But is NATO?

One newspaper headline astonishingly missed the mark by proclaiming: Milosevic is not "above the law.' Of that, there was never any doubt. The question is, Is NATO above the law? Sadly, there's little doubt about that either. (more...)

Claim that war criminals have nowhere to hide, self-serving claptrap of big powers

Lists of leaders who are accused of  committing war crimes and now have nowhere to hide, a list which includes Milosevic, doesn't include a single head of a Security Council country, or any of its strategic allies, though strong  cases of  war crimes and crimes against humanity can be made against Bill Clinton (Sudan, Afghanistan, Kosovo), Tony Blair, Gerhard Shroeder and other NATO leaders (Kosovo), Russian President Vladimir Putin  (Chechnya), Israel's Ariel Sharon (the Sabra and Shatilla massacres for starters) and former Indonesian dictator Suharto (East Timor and the slaughter of up to a million Communists in Indonesia.)(more...)

The democratic dilemma

With Tony Blair's New Labour taking roughly 40 percent of the popular vote in the UK  elections, and the voter turn out at 60 percent -- the lowest rate since 1918 -- the election  results shake out roughly like this: Labour had the support of 24 percent of eligible voters;  36 percent of the eligible vote was split among the opposition parties; and 40 percent abstained. Looked at in this way, it's clear that headlines that proclaimed a lopsided Labour victory were wrong. Labour didn't win the election. The Abstention Party did. (more..)

It can't happen here

Writer William Blum once remarked, ours is the ten-second democracy of the ballot box, accompanied by tolerance of dissent so long as it doesn't threaten established power. When dissent is effective, when it becomes disruptive, when the economy needs to be saved from chaos... It can't happen here. Can it? (more..)

Truth is the first casualty of war: Often uttered, rarely learned

hobýgobýlin,  hob'gob''lin, n. Something causing dread or unreasonable fear.

Fantastical tales have always been told of unbelievable, intolerable cruelties committed by the other side. Severed heads used as soccer balls, a W.W.I favorite, every now and then dusted off and pressed into service anew, along with equally gruesome, and entirely bogus stories. The history of tall tales of atrocities is as long as the history of war itself, and the people who craft the tales are as vital to waging war successfully as generals, pilots, infantrymen, and ordinance officers.

Which isn't to say that all allegations of atrocities committed in war are politically-inspired fabrications. The United States, with its Mai Lais, its Thanh Phongs, its No Gun Ris, its carpet bombings and cluster bombs and depleted uranium ordinance, its napalm and Phoenix programs, its Fat Boys and Enola Gays, knows all too well, or would, if it wasn't so deluded by its own myths. But the transgressions of official enemies are amplified, twisted, distorted, and spun, even manufactured out of whole cloth, like the story of the incubators dashed upon the floor of the Kuwaiti hospital. American atrocities, and those of  its allies, are covered up, minimized, rationalized, explained away... (more...)

Boston Globe's double-standard: What do you expect from a business?

When objections were raised to newspapers agreeing to place David Horowitz's ad questioning slavery reparations, the Boston Globe fired back: "Far more dangerous than offensive ideas is their censorship, because censorship knows no ideology and will eventually muzzle the views of the minorities as well."

Yet, when Forest Ethics, an environmental group, tried to place an ad criticizing the office supply chain, Staples, for using paper made from old-growth forests, the Boston Globe turned down the ad.(More...)

Fairness in school funding: It's just not on

When the UN asked the government of Ontario to fund all religious schools on top of the Catholic schools the province already funds, or fund none at all, the Education Minister, Janet Ecker, uttered the polite version of  "get stuffed."  We, not the UN, speak for the people of Ontario, she said. Butt out. Ecker would probably never say, "We, not the WTO,  or we, not a secret NAFTA tribunal, speak for the people of Ontario," but you say what you can get away with.(more...)

May 15th
53rd Anniversary of Al-Nakba, The Catastrophe

In 1948, Palestinians were driven from their homes at gunpoint, by acts of terrorism, and by the threat of war and further massacres. Some 750,000 men, women, and children became exiles living in refugee camps in neighboring Arab countries.  A whole society and way of life was destroyed through the establishment of the state of Israel.  To Palestinians, this is known as Al-Nakba, The Catastrophe, and it is the very core of the conflict between Israel, Palestine and their Arab neighbors. Under UN resolutions and international law, Palestinians have, and have always had, the right to return to their homes. Israel has refused to acknowledge this right and the U.S. has failed to enforce it. (more...)

Milosevic indictment unwelcome step forward for hypocrisy

The Toronto Globe and Mail's lead May 7th, 2001 editorial says Milosevic's being served an indictment for war crimes is a welcome step forward for Yugoslavia. Is it, or is it an unwelcome step forward for hypocrisy; more smoke to cover up Nato's own war crimes; another step to justify the unremitting encroachment of US control over another part of the world?  (more...)

Alliance defense critic's smoke could make us go up in smoke

When you haven't a leg to stand on, blow smoke. That's what Alliance foreign affairs critic Monte Solberg did, defending George W. Bush's Star Wars proposals and Washington's plans to unilaterally scrap the ABM treaty. (more...)

What slavery did for Moustapha

According to Globe and Mail columnist Marcus Gee, sweatshop workers, like Cambodian Deth Chrib, are better off because of sweatshops. Sweatshops have offered millions a better life, Gee says. Slavery offered a more materially secure existence to millions too, but it could hardly be said that plucking Africans from their homes, herding them into slave ships, and putting them to work in the New World, was a good thing. Still, had Gee been around at the time, he might have been writing articles in defense of slavery. Articles with catchy titles like, What slavery did Moustapha. (more...)

Who's doing the coping?

Health care systems are always said to be stressed by rising drug prices, and aging populations, and the prohibitive costs of new technologies and deficits, but never by the proactive decisions governments make, to, say, pitch-fork government revenue into income tax cuts for the wealthy, or plow surpluses into debt reduction (to the benefit of the well-to-do who hold government debt,) or lay off nurses to save money, or to pass drug patent legislation that allows drug prices to soar.(more...)

The man who would be Milosevic, but isn't

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the former Communist country he presides over as president has sunk into a deep economic crisis. In each of the past 10 years, the economy has unfailingly shrunk. Industrial production has plunged 70 percent, agricultural production has halved. Wages have imploded, contracting 70 percent, while prices for heating oil, electricity, bread and public transit have skyrocketed, along with unemployment. The country's debt has ballooned. And grinding poverty has left many ordinary citizens fed up.  (more...)

Milosevic's arrest occasion for more Nato lies and hypocrisy

"We cannot and must not forget the chilling images of...mass graves unearthed by UN investigators," said President George W. Bush, on the occasion of Slobodan Milosevic's arrest over the weekend. Images of mass graves are indeed chilling. But has anyone ever seen the mass graves in Kosovo?(More...)

Does the media see what it expects to see?

Told that former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is a dictator, ethnic cleanser and war criminal, responsible for the terrible economic plight of the Serbs, might journalists fit facts to the theory? (More...)

The roots of the Intifada? Revisited

When I said last week that the Palestinians should end their violent uprising" begins Marcus Gee, the international affairs columnist of Canada's newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail, in his 22 March 2001 column, The only path to peace: Palestinians must stop attacking, "many readers wrote to differ." (More...)

Putting missiles ahead of feeding people

As to the hungry of North Korea, and the Communist country's preoccupation with missiles, Washington's five-decade long economic blockade, and the 43,000 American GIs stationed on North Korea's border, may have more than a little to do with the country's paranoia, and the hunger of its people.(More...)

The Roots of the Intifada?

Marcus Gee, international affairs columnist for Canada's newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail, begins his March 15 column (The roots of the intifada) by asking who started the latest intifada, and then proceeds to supply the answer. Why, the Palestinians, of course. His reasoning: The intifada, the uprising of Palestinians against the Israeli military occupation started "because the Palestinians rose up against the Israeli occupation," a bit of  reasoning which puts him in the company of a former US president who once pointed out that unemployment happens when people lose their jobs. His argument is a tautology. It's necessarily true, on par with pointing out that bachelors are unmarried, but not very helpful, for it side-steps the question of why Palestinians launched their intifada in the first place, or, to go further, why Israel is occupying the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, in defiance of international law.(More...)

War is peace, freedom is slavery, and economic collapse is reform

Reforms in Russia led to a shrinking economy, the collapse of real incomes, soaring unemployment, wages that go unpaid, the recrudescence of diseases associated with poverty, a falling life expectancy and a shrinking population. In a land that once prided itself on its educational accomplishments, ten million children don't attend school. These days, the country's sole accomplishment is to do in one generation what it took many generations to do in reverse -- to go from being a Second World country to a Third World country. (More...)

Sorting through the lies of the Racak massacre and other myths of Kosovo

It seems that all of Milosevic's war crimes, but one, happened after the bombing -- highly curious, since the bombing was said to be necessary to stop a genocide, that, it seems now, NATO had no evidence of. (If they did, why haven't they brought it forward?)

Moreover, the one pre-bombing incident, the Racak massacre -- which the United States cited as a major reason for the bombing campaign -- is more likely to have been faked by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the guerilla army the Serbs were ensnared in a bloody civil war with, than to have represented the cold-blooded killing of ethnic Albanian non-combatants, as the KLA, and Washington's man in Kosovo at the time, William Walker, alleged. (More...)

How do you spell Vichy? C-A-N-A-D-A

We might revile Petain and Laval today, but how many of us would have reviled them at the time, especially contemporary Canadians, who are so accustomed to knuckling under to a country whose expansionist ambitions and ardent militarism surely make Nazi Germany a bush-league bully? (More...)

The Carla del Ponte defense

When you have a war criminal approving the appointment of a prosecutor looking into war crimes, is it any surprise that the prosecutor might be selectively deaf, dumb and blind? (More...)

The pimply idea of school choice

Of course, there are few markets that resemble the fantasy-land  markets that those comfortable in their pragmatism imbibed in their first year university economics courses. There's the real world and there's the spic-and-span world of economics seminars, where the muck of reality is banished to protect undergraduates from a blown cerebral cortex. And so it is too with grading schools. In a world scrubbed clean of all its irregularities and refractory refusal to be fit into tidy boxes boasting perfect right angles and unimpeachably straight lines, the idea might make some sense. But when has the world ever been clean and uncomplicated and unconfounded by the  million and one little inconveniences that mock our tidy theories? (More...)

Over a million dead in Iraq. Does Canada share some of the blame?

Iraq is a mess. People dying by the thousands every month from hunger and lack of medicines. The country's infrastructure is lying in ruins. The economy is shot. No one disagrees with that. They only disagree about who's responsible. (More...)

The era of big government is still with us...but isn't helping anyone you know

Welfare as we know it has ended. The days of big government are over, for you and me. But for others, welfare, and big government, are a constant. ( More...)