Archive for June 13, 2014

Stop pretending wealthy CEOs pushing for charter schools are altruistic “reformers.” They’re raking in billions

News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch (Credit: AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Last week, Los Angeles provided yet another example of a cadre of anti-public-school millionaires swooping in to try (and in this case, fail) to buy a big-city school-board election. And once again, that sparked a round of Orwellian newspeak that distorts what’s really happening in education politics.

You know how it goes: The pervasive media mythology tells us that the fight over the schoolhouse is supposedly a battle between greedy self-interested teachers who don’t care about children and benevolent billionaire “reformers” whose political activism is solely focused on the welfare of kids. Epitomizing the media narrative, the Wall Street Journal casts the latter in sanitized terms, reimagining the billionaires as philanthropic altruists “pushing for big changes they say will improve public schools.”

The first reason to scoff at this mythology should be obvious: It simply strains credulity to insist that pedagogues who get paid middling wages but nonetheless devote their lives to educating kids care less about those kids than do the Wall Street hedge funders and billionaire CEOs who finance the so-called reform movement. Indeed, to state that pervasive assumption out loud is to reveal how utterly idiotic it really is, and yet it is baked into almost all of today’s coverage of education politics.

That, of course, is not all that shocking; after all, plenty of inane narratives are regularly depicted as assumed fact in the political press. What’s shocking is that the other reason to scoff at the Greedy Teachers versus Altruistic Billionaire tale is also ignored. It is ignored even though it involves the most hard-to-ignore facts of all — the ones involving vested financial interests.

Yes, though it is rarely mentioned, the truth is that the largest funders of the “reform” movement are the opposite of disinterested altruists. They are cutthroat businesspeople making shrewd financial investments in a movement that is less about educating children than about helping “reform” funders hit paydirt. In that sense, they are the equivalent of any industry leaders funding a front group in hopes of achieving profitable political ends (think: defense contractors funding a front group that advocates for a bigger defense budget). The only difference is that when it comes to education “reform,” most of the political press doesn’t mention the potential financial motives of the funders in question.

While I’ve written about this reality before, recent news perfectly exemplifies how the “reform” movement is really just a sophisticated business strategy.

First, there was the Washington state ballot initiative expanding publicly subsidized, privately run charter schools. As the Seattle P-I reported at the time, the initiative was effectively underwritten by Amazon and Microsoft. This was part of the latter’s larger education “reform” push through the massive foundation of company founder Bill Gates.

Yet, in most of the coverage of that ballot measure, just like in most of the coverage of Gates’ foundation work, there is no mention of the fact that both Amazon and Microsoft just so happen to be technology companies — that is, for-profit entities with their eyes on lucrative education technology contracts.

Those contracts are much easier to land in privately run charter schools because such schools are often uninhibited by public schools’ procurement rules and standards requiring a demonstrable educational need for technology. That reality, no doubt, is part of why charter schools often spend so much more on “administration” and “business services” than do their public school counterparts. Though it is rarely mentioned in the political coverage of education, that spending promises to benefit tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft. (Ready for proposals to give every kid an Amazon Kindle or Windows laptop, paid for by public money?)

Then, as mentioned before, there was last week’s high-profile Los Angeles school board race. The anti-public-school “reform” slate was bolstered by a $1 million contribution from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who has been making similar contributions to other education “reform” campaigns across the country. As he pours money into buying these local elections, he is loyally portrayed in the press as a high-minded humanitarian using his perch as New York mayor to earnestly raise issues. Somehow, few bother to mention that he is the founder of a massive information technology company that seems well positioned to break into the burgeoning education business and profit off “reformers”‘ technology triumphalism (seriously, does anyone think we won’t soon see a Bloomberg School Terminal sometime soon?).

Read the full article at: Salon.com

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Please contact the Author of this site for any further information via the “Leave a reply” box below.

Peter Coleman speaking passionately about breeding out Indigenous Australians on ABC Q&A on Monday.

This week on ABC Q&A Liberal “elder” and former NSW Opposition Leader Peter Coleman advocated the policies of assimilation – the breeding out of First Nations’ Peoples – a feature of the White Australia Policy and the Stolen Generations. Rather than Coleman’s voice being a relic of the past, John Pilger shows his abhorrent racist ideas, which are based on the principles of eugenics, are still widely practiced in Australia today, especially in the Northern Territory.

THE TAPE IS SEARING. There is the voice of an infant screaming as he is wrenched from his mother, who pleads:

“There is nothing wrong with my baby. Why are you doing this to us? I would’ve been hung years ago, wouldn’t I? Because [as an Australian Aborigine] you’re guilty before you’re found innocent.”

The child’s grandmother demands to know why

“… the stealing of our kids is happening all over again.”

A welfare official says:

“I’m gunna take him, mate.”

This happened to an Aboriginal family in outback New South Wales. It is happening across Australia in a scandalous and largely unrecognised abuse of human rights that evokes the infamous Stolen Generation of the last century.

Up to the 1970s, thousands of mixed race children were stolen from their mothers by welfare officials. The children were given to institutions as cheap or slave labour; many were abused.

Described by a Chief Protector of Aborigines in 1933 as the “breeding out the colour”, the policy was known as “assimilation”.  It was influenced by the same eugenics movement that inspired the Nazis.

In 1997, a landmark report, ‘Bringing Them Home’, disclosed that as many 50,000 children and their mothers had endured

‘… the humiliation, the degradation and sheer brutality of the act of forced separation … the product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state.’

The report called this genocide.

Assimilation remains Australian government policy in all but name. Euphemisms such as “reconciliation” and “Stronger Futures” cover similar social engineering and an enduring, insidious racism in the political elite, the bureaucracy and wider Australian society.

When, in 2008. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised for the Stolen Generation, he added:

“I want to be blunt about this. There will be no compensation.”

The Sydney Morning Herald congratulated Rudd on a ‘shrewd manoeuvre’ that

‘… cleared away a piece of political wreckage that responds to some of its supporters’ emotional needs, but changes nothing.’

Today, the theft of Aboriginal children – including babies taken from the birth table – is now more widespread than at any time during the last century.

As of June last year, almost 14,000 Aboriginal children had been ‘removed’. This is five times the number when ‘Bringing Them Home’ was written. More than a third of all removed children are Aboriginal — from 3% of the population. At the present rate, this mass removal of Aboriginal children will result in a stolen generation of more than 3,300 children in the Northern Territory alone.

Pat (not her real name) is the mother whose anguish was secretly recorded on a phone as four Department of Child Services officials and six police descended on her home.

On the tape, an official claims they have come only for an “assessment”. But two of the police officers, who knew Pat, told her they saw no risk to her child and warned her to “get out of here quick”. Pat fled, cradling her infant, but the one-year-old was eventually seized without her knowing why. The next morning a police officer returned to apologise to her and said her baby should never have been taken away. Pat has no idea where her son is.

Once, she was “invited” by officials to bring her children to “neutral” offices to discuss a “care plan”. The doors were locked and officials seized the children, with one of the youngest dragging on a police officer’s gun belt. Many Indigenous mothers are unaware of their legal rights. A secretive Children’s Court has become notorious for rubber-stamping removals.

Most Aboriginal families live on the edge. Their life expectancy in towns a short flight from Sydney is as low as 37. Dickensian diseases are rife; Australia is the only developed country not to have eradicated trachoma, which blinds Aboriginal children.

Pat has both complied with and struggled bravely against a punitive bureaucracy that can remove children on hearsay. She has twice been acquitted of false charges, including “kidnapping” her own children. A psychologist has described her as a capable and good mother.

Josie Crawshaw, the former director of a respected families’ support organisation in Darwin, told me:

“In remote areas, officials will go in with a plane in the early hours and fly the child thousands of kilometres from their community. There’ll be no explanation, no support, and the child may be gone forever.”

In 2012, the Co-ordinator-General of Remote Services for the Northern Territory, Olga Havnen, was sacked when she revealed that almost $80m was spent on the surveillance and removal of Aboriginal children compared with only $500,000 on supporting the same impoverished families.

She told me:

“The primary reasons for removing children are welfare issues directly related to poverty and inequality. The impact on families is just horrendous because if they are not reunited within six months, it’s likely they won’t see each other again. If South Africa was doing this, there’d be an international outcry.”

She and others with long experience I have interviewed have echoed the Bringing them Home report, which described an official ‘attitude’ in Australia that regarded all Aboriginal people as ‘morally deficient’.

A Department of Families and Community Services spokesman said that the majority of removed Indigenous children in New South Wales were placed with Indigenous carers. According to Indigenous support networks, this is a smokescreen; it does not mean families and is control by divisiveness that is the bureaucracy’s real achievement.

I met a group of Aboriginal grandmothers, all survivors of the first stolen generation, all now with stolen grandchildren. “We live in a state of fear, again,” they said.

David Shoebridge, a State Greens MP told me:

“The truth is, there is a market among whites for these kids, especially babies.”

The New South Wales parliament is soon to debate legislation that introduces forced adoption and “guardianship”. Children under two will be liable – without the mother’s consent – if “removed” for more than six months.

For many Aboriginal mothers, like Pat, it can take six months merely to make contact with their children. “It’s setting up Aboriginal families to fail,” said Shoebridge.

I asked Josie Crawshaw why:

“The wilful ignorance in Australia about its first people has now become the kind of intolerance that gets to the point where you can smash an entire group of humanity and there is no fuss.”

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Please contact the Author of this site for any further information via the “Leave a reply” box below.

Adam Henry 5 June 2014, 8:30pm

Source: Independent Australia

Historian Dr Adam Hughes Henry says Western media – and notably our own ABC – are presenting a self-serving and grossly distorted account of the 1989 ‘Tiananmen Square massacre’.

READING THE ABC ONLINE NEWSWIRE, I am provided with a significant amount of information outlining the ‘Tiananmen Square massacre’, much righteous indignation from western observers and pundits, and calls for the Chinese Communist Government to come clean about these events, including by luminaries such as Hamish MacDonald.

Yet this is a confusing situation.

On the one hand, a tyrannical Communist Government is certainly not a far-fetched narrative bereft of numerous facts that could outline such a story with little difficulty. Neither is the tragic story of human rights in China — there are numerous examples of the kinds of injustices that occur and continue to occur and they are well documented.

On the other hand, it occurs to me that amongst all of this condemnation over the ‘Tiananmen Square massacre’, is this not the same government which nations like Australia and the rest now consistently praise for those sweeping economic reforms; whose economic growth is held to be some kind of validation of the neo-liberal fundamentalism that has engulfed the globe? There is no mention of the irony of this in any of the ABC coverage I have examined.

Are they suddenly a different type of government, a nicer, friendlier type of authoritarian regime?

Why then do we trade so extensively with such a nation, why do our mining companies grow fat from Chinese purchases, what exactly did the great economic reforms allow China to provide to the world economy that makes neo-liberal advocates swoon?

I should like to come back to this, but first I’d like to outline some well documented points about Tiananmen and the Western reporting of this event.

Throughout the ABC coverage online, there was not one specific mention of crucial pieces of information that effectively deconstruct the standard western analysis of the ‘Tiananmen Square massacre’. These pieces of information are all easily found in this digital age and it is difficult to fathom exactly how the ABC might have omitted any – and indeed all – references to them.

The simple story of a pro-democracy protest by university students in Tiananmen Square and their subsequent massacre by members of the Chinese armed forces fits neatly into Western perceptions of what occurred and highlight the selectivity of the Western human rights condemnation. Consistent throughout the ABC coverage is the moral high ground occupied by the West, as per the standard requirements of mainstream journalism — an unquestioned truism.

According to a former U.S. correspondent who covered the protests, Jay Matthews, and a number of other sources, the Western reporting of what happened in Tiananmen Square was littered with misinformation and numerous inaccuracies.

The falsehoods that became part of the preferred Western narrative of the event quickly becoming embedded in news reports throughout the Western world. Matthews highlights, that despite numerous inferences otherwise then and now, no students – as far as we know – were actually killed in Tiananmen Square and that those that had stayed to the end were allowed to leave the square by security forces.

Just to make this clear: there was no wholesale massacre of protesting students in Tiananmen Square.

Why then does it feel that, by coming to this reasoned conclusion using solid evidence easily accessible to those who care to look, one enters into a world of atrocity denial?

I would suggest this is because it runs counter to the preferred Western narrative of ‘The Tiananmen Square massacre’ and its righteous indignation and selective empathy with the thwarted attempt to be ‘free’.

Students did die that night and this is, of course, awful — but so did far greater numbers of non-students, in and around the connecting suburbs and streets not far from Tiananmen.

There was a massacre, but not the one the Western media propagated through its careless reporting and continues to peddle.

As Black and Munro noted in 1993:

The phrase “Tiananmen Square massacre” is now fixed firmly in the political vocabulary of the late twentieth century. Yet it is inaccurate. There was no massacre in Tiananmen Square on the night of June 3. But on the western approach roads, along Chang’an Boulevard and Fuxingmen Avenue, there was a bloodbath that claimed hundreds of lives when the People’s Liberation Army found its path blocked by a popular uprising that was being fuelled by despair and rage. To insist on this distinction is not splitting hairs. What took place was the slaughter not of students but of ordinary workers and residents – precisely the target that the Chinese government had intended.

In reading the ABC coverage, the focus on the students perpetuates the idea that they and ­only they were the targets of the crackdown.

In fact, the workers of the surrounding suburbs were also protesting that night and supported the student protests, and were the true target:

The official conspiracy theory demanded other threats and other scapegoats – “outside elements” with “ulterior motives.” This meant dissident intellectuals and workers. After their ruthless repression under Mao, the intelligentsia had been granted a kind of historic compromise by Deng. But by the spring of 1989, they had come to be seen as the agents of bourgeois liberalization, of China’s “peaceful evolution” toward Western-style pluralism. After Tiananmen, they would be singled out for punishment. The working class, meanwhile, had become the carrier of an even more dangerous virus – the Polish disease…The students initiated the Tiananmen movement, and they brilliantly out maneuvered and embarrassed a leaden-footed government. But after the mass demonstrations of mid-May, the threat from the students was dwarfed by the intervention of much broader social forces.

Again, this is not difficult to verify, nor is the information obscure. They were angry at the economic reforms — the same reforms that have since turned Chinese workers into sweatshop fodder for Western corporations to much Western applause and rampant government corruption.

The treatment of the workers – and any protesters who found themselves in the streets around Tiananmen – was a violent and furious struggle against the security forces. Again easily documentable and easy to verify.

Totally ignored by the ABC is that the main target of the crackdown was not actually the students – who would certainly feel unjust political persecution following Tiananmen – but the workers in the surrounding areas, where the violent clashes actually took place in the streets and many people were killed by the security forces, were the carriers of the ‘Polish disease’.

Where is their story on the ABC, why are we not told why they were protesting, what were they protesting against, what happened to them?

No doubt, the Australian Embassy and many foreign correspondents saw terrible things that night in the streets and suburbs, but surely not a massacre of unarmed students gathered peacefully in Tiananmen Square. What they actually saw is provided in fragments, fragments that do not tell any reader the real context of the crackdown.

Why is it that the far greater and more significant workers protests and workers resistance is not the main focus of the story, or at least given some serious copy? Why is it that they have simply been written out of the ABC coverage and, in fact, appear to be irrelevant to their coverage.

If a wholesale massacre of students in Tiananmen Square remains a primary component of the 1989 story – and indeed this was the story seemingly told by the Western media almost immediately – and the university students (as the peaceful face of a pro-democracy movement) ruthlessly crushed are the worthy victims, what of the workers?

Could it be that the student protests appealed far more to the foreign correspondents and the West?

This could all be neatly understood in much the same simple way as what was happening in Eastern Europe; they were not really expressing historical and cultural dissent from decades of tyranny and corruption, or asserting their human rights as citizens, freedom of expression as unique human beings, or as workers tired of being exploited by governments — what they were really asking for, as far as we were concerned, was Western style democracy; or, in other words, to be just like us.

This would no doubt be natural conclusions by the Western media because, after all — who wouldn’t want to be just like us?

Yes, it is true that the Chinese Government is an authoritarian and corrupt regime, however – as demonstrated by the relationship with numerous other corrupt and authoritarian regimes – foreign multinationals and governments from the enlightened and freedom loving west apparently think nothing of creating military and or financial partnerships that not only prop up these regimes and protect them, but guarantee strategic gains and massive exploitative profits for shareholders while perpetuating human misery. The continued cost is to block, as a matter of daily diplomatic and economic practice, the very freedoms and human rights crushed so ruthlessly by the Chinese Government in 1989, which of course we condemn.

They will censor and attempt to whitewash the history of 1989 in order to preserve their order and control, but then so have we. They have been assisted in their propaganda efforts by the Western media whose inaccuracies, then and now, maintain the focus on a ‘Tiananmen Square Massacre’ of unarmed students by security forces.

The main story, missed or ignored by the Western media appears to be the suppression and destruction of the workers in and around Tiananmen Square.  Through its inaccurate and selective condemnation, the Western media have effectively helped the Chinese Government to bury the story of 1989.

As a detailed 1989 study of U.S. media coverage highlights:

…this study nonetheless concludes that some of the media should have come closer to a rounded appreciation of the events of June 3-4 within the first week. Wildly inflated casualty figures and the use of the geographically erroneous catch phrase “Tiananmen Square massacre” gave the Chinese government a pretext for deflecting the central moral issue raised by its brutal response to the protesters. If some of the media were wrong about how many people died, and where, were they also wrong about the significance of the killings? No, they were not. But the exaggerations and the error of geography permitted that question to be raised, and undercut the media’s credibility in some quarters. 

Surely, even a most cursory moment of philosophical reflection would provide a some obvious conclusions for the ABC – the successful crackdown in 1989 made certain that

  1. the Chinese communist party would continue its rule without challenge; and
  2. that the so called economic reforms, routinely applauded by the West, would continue to be implemented on Chinese workers, no matter what the human cost.

There is no need for Western media condemnation of the human cost of the economic reforms buttressed by the crackdown. The result was a cheap Chinese workforce with few rights – let alone strong human rights – paid a pittance, who work under oppressive conditions for numerous Western multinationals under the watchful eye of the Chinese Communist Party — the same people we hypocritically condemn for the 1989 crackdown.

Not one Australian journalist and, particularly, the ABC appear at all interested in the very stark contrast between the tear stained reaction of the Australian Labor Party to events in China in 1989 and events much closer to home.

I can personally vouch for this.

I pitched a very reasonable and detailed program idea ‘The Tale of Two Massacres’ to the ABCs Hindsight program on Radio National; their response was, without explanation, to cease responding to my very genuine emails.

Is this comparison between the Australian Government reaction to Tiananmen and East Timor so outrageous, so beyond the pale, that the response from a top ABC current affairs radio program should be the coldest of shoulders?

Apparently so.

In 1989, Australia signed the Timor-Gap Treaty with Indonesia — a treaty that, in the clearest breach of international law, recognised the acquisition of territory by blatant and illegal armed aggression. It also ignored the maintenance of illegal Indonesian control by the most horrendous and ruthless of methods.

In 1991, the Labor Government did not publicly cry over dead East Timorese of the Dili Massacre; in fact, they downplayed the event and continued the Australian love affair with Suharto’s New Order Regime — aka one of the most corrupt, anti-human rights and murderous regimes of the 20th Century.

The student protesters of the ‘Tiananmen Square Massacre’ are worthy victims, the workers and residents irrelevant, while the Timorese and Indonesian victims of Suharto and his brutal military regime are to be conveniently forgotten.

Should we wait with bated breath for any comparable ABC expose on the Timor Gap or Dili Massacre as prominent and as outraged as we have seen recently on the ABC over Tiananmen?

The Western reporting of what was a most significant Chinese event in 1989 – the worker and student protests – has so distorted what actually happened, that it has promulgated the preferred Western narrative at the expense of the whole historical truth.

The current ABC coverage is little better; in fact, given the materials around to examine any or all of these points, a few of which are provided in this article, it is arguably worse.

I agree with Hamish MacDonald, it is never too late for the Chinese government to come clean over their repressive crackdown in 1989 and after — but I would also add, it is never too late for MacDonald, fellow journalists, and programs such as Hindsight to want get it right too.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Please contact the Author of this site for any further information via the “Leave a reply” box below.

The fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a group from which even Al Qaeda has broken because of its excessive violence and sectarian fanaticism, constitutes a searing indictment of the crimes carried out by US imperialism in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

The overrunning of Mosul on Tuesday has been followed by the capture of Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, as well as parts of both Samara—barely 75 miles from Baghdad—and Kirkuk to the north. Troops of an Iraqi army created by the US at the cost of some $20 billion have melted away, their commanders first, stripping off their uniforms and throwing down their weapons.

It was reported late Wednesday that Iraqi government special forces troops were forming a defensive line 20 miles north of Baghdad in anticipation of an assault on the capital.

Over half a million people have fled the fighting in Mosul, described by one aid agency as “one of the largest and swiftest mass movements of people in the world in recent memory.”

This city, like the rest of Iraq, was devastated by the US war and occupation that began in 2003. Its infrastructure was destroyed and whatever reconstruction efforts took place were mismanaged exercises in corruption that did little to ease the suffering of the population. The city’s professionals—doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, journalists and scientists—were either killed or forced to flee for their lives.

A sectarian civil war ignited by the US occupation’s divide-and-conquer strategy wrecked the multi-ethnic character of the city, as Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, Assyrian and other populations were driven out of areas where they constituted minorities in a bloody exercise in “ethnic cleansing.”

This sectarian policy has been continued under the Iraqi regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the leader of a Shia religious-based political party, who was installed under the American occupation. Jailing, exiling and killing prominent Sunni politicians and treating any opposition to his rule among the Sunni population as “terrorism,” Maliki has increased the desperation of the population of predominantly Sunni Anbar province, creating a base of support for elements such as ISIS.

The reaction of the US media to the debacle in Iraq has been dominated by stunned disbelief combined with questions as to how this could have happened after all of the “sacrifices” made by the United States—4,500 troops killed and tens of thousands of wounded, along with trillions of dollars spent.

What hypocrisy! The catastrophe unfolding in Iraq is the direct product of the crimes—both past and present—carried out by US imperialism in its attempt to assert its hegemony over the Middle East and its massive energy reserves.

The US invaded Iraq in March 2003 on the pretext that the regime of Saddam Hussein was developing “weapons of mass destruction” and cementing ties to Al Qaeda, which supposedly raised the imminent threat of a nuclear 9/11.

As the entire world now knows, this pretext was a lie from start to finish. There were no WMDs, and Saddam’s regime, whatever its crimes, was secular and opposed to Al Qaeda, which had no presence in Iraq until the US invaded and devastated the country.

The crimes carried out under Bush in Iraq—leading to over one million Iraqi deaths and the destruction of an entire society—have been followed by those of the Obama administration in Libya and Syria, where US imperialism has fostered and armed proxy forces based on Sunni Islamist and Al Qaeda-linked elements to wage wars for regime-change. One result has been an immense strengthening of these forces throughout the region.

These wars have been based on the “war on terrorism” narrative used by the Bush administration and still employed by the Obama White House as a justification for global militarism. Wars launched in response to a terrorist attack carried out by 19 individuals—15 of them Saudis—who were allowed to enter the US and hijack airplanes, have now led to the creation of a de facto Al Qaeda state that straddles the Iraq-Syria border and stretches from Aleppo, near the Mediterranean Sea in the west, toward the border with Iran in the east.

The Obama administration has made the overthrow of the Assad regime in Damascus a central US policy objective. It suffered a humiliating setback last year when it was forced to back down from plans to launch US air strikes on Syria in the face of overwhelming popular opposition at home, internal divisions among policy makers, and lack of support from its principal imperialist ally, Britain. Instead, it was compelled to accept a Russian-brokered plan to secure Syria’s chemical disarmament and start talks between the Assad regime and the so-called “rebels.”

The result has been a series of strategic reversals for the US-backed “rebels” in Syria, who are dominated by Islamist Sunni militias, including ISIS. Washington is desperate to change the situation on the ground.

There has been an increasingly intense debate within ruling circles over the arming of the “rebels,” with the former US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, writing a column for Wednesday’s New York Times urging the provision of mortars, rockets and surface-to-air missiles to “moderates” among the Islamist-led militias, as well as placing them directly on the US payroll. Of course, Ford, like other US officials, claims that such aid to the “moderates”—whose organizations are never named—would serve as well to isolate the Al Qaeda-linked elements. This caveat, however, is meant merely to cover up the real criminality of US operations, in which these very elements play the decisive role.

While official Washington publicly wrings its hands over the fall of Mosul, the effect of this development on the US proxy war in Syria may not be all that unwelcome within sections of the US military and intelligence apparatus.

The fall of Iraqi military stockpiles to ISIS has provided one of the most dramatic increases in the firepower of the forces seeking to topple the Syrian government since the US-backed civil war began. Hundreds of armored vehicles have been captured—enough to outfit a full armored division, according to one source. ISIS has overrun the Mosul airport, gaining access to military helicopters and other aircraft. Huge amounts of arms and ammunition have been seized, and virtually all of it is being sent back across the border into Syria. Thousands of Islamist prisoners have been freed from Iraqi jails to go and fight there.

The demand to provide US arms to the “rebels” has been largely met in practice by the developments in Mosul. The result will be a further escalation of the bloodbath in Syria.

In every case where Washington attempts to utilize militarism to advance US imperialism’s interests and offset the economic decline of American capitalism, it is the masses of people who suffer, from the millions killed and displaced in nearly nine years of US war and occupation in Iraq, to the carnage unleashed on the people of Syria, and now the turning of a half a million impoverished residents of Mosul into homeless refugees.

No one has been held accountable for these actions, which indisputably constitute war crimes. Those responsible include not only George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others in the previous administration. Both major political parties, the media, the corporations and every American institution are responsible for the lies that have pervaded US policy—both foreign and domestic—for the past decade and a half. All of the criminal policies under Bush—aggressive war, torture—have been continued and deepened by the Obama administration. With its “pivot” to Asia and coup in Ukraine, it is preparing military confrontation with Russia and China and laying the groundwork for a nuclear Third World War.

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Please contact the Author of this site for any further information via the “Leave a reply” box below.

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Please contact the Author of this site for any further information via the “Leave a reply” box below.

Syria held its first democratic presidential elections on June 3, 2014. While the US Government and it’s allies condemn the election, international observers from a wide variety of countries contradicted them. What the international observers saw on the ground across Syria was enthusiastic throngs of Syrians rushing to the polling stations setup in their areas to cast their ballot.

GRTV Documentary by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, one of the international election observers that went to watch the voting process during the Syrian Presidential elections, this is what he witnessed in the Mediterranean Syrian Coastal provinces of  Latakia and Tartus.

Nazemroaya is an award winning author, well known Geo-political analyst and sociologist.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Please contact the Author of this site for any further information via the “Leave a reply” box below.

In a speech last night, Joe Hockey said his unpopular Budget is fair and that everyone who opposes it is engaging in class war. Bob Ellis comments.

IMAGINE, IF YOU WILL, a 27-year-old woman in a country town who loses her job as a waitress on a Friday and finds she is pregnant the following Monday.

Under Joe Hockey’s new rules, she will get no money for six months, and must fend for herself until the baby is born and, after it is born, will get no Paid Parental Leave either, because she has no job.

What is happening to her is “fair” Joe Hockey says and complaining about her is

“… the class war rhetoric of the 1970s.”

Some of us would think it was unfair — and if there’s a class war on, he’s declared it.

Joe would argue that the woman can, in her ninth month, move to another town and work for the dole, away from her family and their support system, and give birth in the workplace, but some of us would find this unfair also.

Joe would argue this is an ‘isolated case’, probably no more than twenty women will be in this position in the next two years — but the trouble is, 10 million women will have heard of it and will vote his Government out because of it.

This inability to join the dots characterises Joe.

He may be the most incompetent politician in our history. He is certainly the most incompetent Treasurer.

He imagines $7 is no great sacrifice to an old woman in a nursing home with a chronically treatable condition who must go to the doctor twice a week, spending $20 on two visits and four bus fares. He imagines she too is an isolated case and 10 million women will not hear of her.

But of course they will. And they will not find her treatment by him “fair”.

Read the full article and see further video via: Independent Australia

Original Source: http://youtu.be/XfnNzq-_w_A

With the upcoming first anniversary of investigative journalist’s Michael Hastings untimely death last June 18th, so much circumstantial evidence surrounding his so called fatal accident points more to yet another inside government job that has become notorious for murdering those who speak the shameful truth about the US government. More than any other government entity especially since 9/11, US intelligence services have enjoyed carte blanche immunity from any actual oversight (by Congress, the president, and least of all the American people) and continue to lie and get away with murder both here in the US as well as all around the world because that is how they make their living.

The very day 33-year old Michael Hastings died last year, he was busily contacting friends and associates including WikiLeaks to report that he was under an FBI investigation. He feared that his car had been tampered with, and even went so far as to ask a neighbor friend if he could borrow her car just hours before his death. Hastings also announced that he was about to release a major bombshell of a news story involving covert operations deployed by US intelligence agencies, specifically targeting current CIA Director John Brennan. The UK’s Daily Mirror published an August 15, 2013 article stating the CIA contractor Stratfor’s president claimed that Brennan was on a “witch hunt” for investigative journalists, which of course is consistent with the Obama administration.

Though the FBI has consistently lied in denying it was investigating Michael Hastings, in fact it had been tracking and bugging him and his every whereabouts for well over a year prior to his death. In June 2012 Hastings’ Rolling Stone article portraying former Prisoner of War (POW) Bowe Bergdahl and his family depicted a disillusioned soldier who was guilty and sick of fighting another immoral American war he wanted no part of. So he simply walked away from his unit in Afghanistan the end of June 2009 and within 24 hours was captured by the Taliban enemy. To write the article, Hastings went both to Idaho to talk to Bowe’s parents as well as to the Afghan battlefront. Despite a gag order that military command had placed on soldiers not to speak at all about the Bergdahl case, several peers in his unit did candidly talk to the reporter.

The Bergdahl affair shares some similarity with the Pat Tillman case. The patriot left a successful NFL career to voluntarily fight in Afghanistan, then once there suffered misgivings about the war and was becoming more vocal about his anti-war views. Afraid that Bush and Cheney’s poster boy for their imperialistic war might go public, speculation abounds that Pat’s death from friendly fire was actually murder to silence him for turning against the war. To make this tragedy worse, the US government proceeded to cover up and conceal the actual cause of Tillman’s death from both his family and the American public.

Several years later when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were even more unpopular and clearly both losing causes, in its effort to avoid more bad publicity, the Obama administration did its best to once again squelch the truth behind the Bergdahl story. Prior to Hasting’s POW article, the reporter had been responsible for writing two Rolling Stone stories that resulted in the abrupt scandalous ending of one Afghanistan commander’s career in General Stanley McChrystal, and then a year later an unflattering reality check for the failed surge of the next Afghan War commander in General Petraeus, soon to be rushing off leaving his military career, war mission and losing warfront behind to become CIA Director.

As Michael Hastings was forging a very successful career in journalism, clearly he had become a painful thorn in the side of some very powerful men whose careers were damaged by the truth he revealed. On multiple occasions when Hastings interviewed military officers attached to the generals he was featuring in his articles, he heard the same comment more than once that he would be killed if they did not approve of what he wrote about them. By the time he was writing about a POW who in good conscience was ashamed to be an American refusing to participate in another immoral imperialistic war, the powerful US intelligence agencies had had enough. Already perceiving Hastings as a serious threat worthy of keeping tabs on, they launched an ongoing investigation. Then by the time the courageous young writer set his sights on investigating the very same agencies already investigating him as his next target to expose the unfavorable truth on, the US intelligence agencies most likely made the decision to silence him.

Then came the remote controlled hack job that most likely took control of Michael’s car once he was behind the wheel, speeding up and exploding into a fireball just before crashing into a tree burning his body beyond recognition with the ejected engine landing more than 30 yards from the wreckage. The message was clear. Tell the truth about the dirty lowdown US government, and you die.

Just weeks before Hastings’ demise a year ago, Obama had declared war on any journalists who dared to reveal the truth about the government’s criminal and unethical activity. AP reporters’ computers and phone records were confiscated and a number of journalists were under extensive covert surveillance. More journalists and whistleblowers under Obama’s reign of terror have been indicted under the Espionage Act for both refusing to disclose sources as well as exposing any governmental wrongdoing than any other prior administration in US history. Private Bradley/ Chelsea Manning saw US war atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq and for releasing evidence to WikiLeaks, the Nobel Prize nominee is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence. Just over a year ago former NSA analyst and apparent spy Edward Snowden revealed the unconstitutional practices of the National Security Agency (NSA) invasively conducting pervasive surveillance and collection of private data on all Americans as well as many other nations and their leaders. While living in Russia with temporary asylum, the US government is determined to return Snowden to America to also try him on espionage charges and put him away for life after he lets the world know about the government’s unlawful surveillance.

During the present regime, more filed Freedom of Information Act requests have been denied than under any other presidency. After getting elected on the promise of open transparency and honesty, Obama has been the least transparent, most secretive and most dishonest president in US history, making it unsafe for both whistleblowers and reporters to do the right thing in telling the truth. Many who would come forth and speak with reporters simply don’t for fear of Obama’s recrimination and punishment that may include murder and lifetime imprisonment.

The FBI, CIA, National Security Council and NSA among a half dozen other federal agencies that work undercover cloaked in absolute secrecy is the world in which they live and operate. But when it comes to murdering innocent Americans whose only crime is possessing the courage and conviction of telling the truth, these rogue intelligence agencies have grossly overstepped their legal and ethical authority and boundaries by criminal leaps and bounds. Yet they continue getting away with murder.

The CIA has regularly engaged in killing and deposing democratically elected leaders from sovereign nations around the world, committed state sponsored terrorism on every continent, triggered wars killing millions of innocent people, executed false flag events resulting in mass murder (nearly 3000 of its own people on 9/11 alone), and have regularly gotten away with assassinating US Presidents (Kennedy), journalists (Hastings and former San Jose Mercury reporter Gary Webb) and government whistleblowers whenever threatened with public exposure. Running amok for nearly seven decades now, these hired gov assassins need to be exposed, finally reigned in and ultimately held accountable for the grave harm they have perpetrated on so many individuals both here in America and around the globe.

Evidence exists implicating the CIA and internal governmental agency guilt for the JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King assassinations. Prior to their murders both Kennedy’s were in the process of reeling in the wayward power of the CIA. A jury in Miami in February 1985 ruled that John Kennedy’s murder involved the CIA. A December 1999 Memphis jury found intelligence agencies within the US government responsible for MLK’s murder. America’s greatest leaders of our times have all been killed by an out of control intelligence community bent on having its way exercising at will the means to murder and get away with it, regardless of the influence and power of its high profile victims.

Moreover, we now have a US president who was literally born into the CIA. His mother worked for the CIA in Hawaii, Indonesia and India. She also married a man from Africa sent to study at the University of Hawaii by the CIA, and later married another man in Indonesia who also worked with the CIA. The president’s maternal grandparents saddled with mostly raising Barrack Hussein Obama in Hawaii also both were closely aligned with the CIA. His grandmother was employed for decades in a bank that money laundered for the CIA and his grandfather was not just a furniture factory owner but had close CIA ties himself. So we now have a “Manchurian Candidate” president who long ago was groomed to become the most powerful man in the so called “free” world. If anything, Obama’s shady roots reveal the story of how the rogue CIA answers more to the global oligarchs than the US president, who is but an oligarch created puppet himself, the front man in black face who preyed on America’s hopes and then turned around and showed his true colors by betraying the people and their Constitution that he swore an oath to protect.

The CIA used to be prior US presidents’ personal secret army at the cutting edge of their foreign policy. But in recent decades the CIA has become an autonomous force unto itself unleashed on the world without central control or oversight from either the president or Congress. It was recently discovered that for decades the CIA has been lying to the Congressional Intelligence Committee about its torture policy illegally carried out in illegal secret detainment centers located throughout Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Long before death squads in the Middle East, Central Asia and now Africa, the CIA and Special Operations were training, financing and arming Latin American death squad commandos Reagan affectionately called his “freedom fighters” that massacred thousands of its own citizens in Central America in the 1980’s. Those same American military and State Department perpetrators have been redeployed years later in places like Iraq and Syria. Their brutal policies only continue.

Speaking of brutal policies, in the face of increasing flack for his terrorist drone operations, in his insipid, self-aggrandizing foreign policy speech at West Point last month, Obama promised to transfer US drone deployment out of the hands of the CIA to military control. That feeble gesture is but token lip service to mounting criticism directed at his personal favorite warfare that he himself relishes pulling the cherry picked trigger on, targets that include Americans. Knowing how the CIA never relishes relinquishing its power, we will have to see who is really managing the US drone policy in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Algeria, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, the Congo and places we probably have yet to find out.

A handful of very brave American patriots who have spent long careers employed as CIA agents around the world motivated by their conscience have boldly come out of the shadows as CIA whistleblowers at incredible risk to themselves. Cold Warriors such as Ralph McGehee, John Stockwell, Phillip Agee and most recently imprisoned John Kiriakou for exposing the CIA torture practice of waterboarding have all gone public with disclosure of numerous atrocities violating every international law that the CIA has systematically been practicing since the early 1950’s. As a result, these true patriots have suffered horrendous harassment for their heroic choice to come clean with their part in revealing CIA wrongdoing over the years. Murder, assassination, coups, terrorism, propaganda, disinformation, torture and false flags are all typical CIA weapons in its arsenal. The CIA whistleblower consensus is that US intelligence agencies are all very self-serving, devoting unlimited time, energy and money to sealing the real truth at any cost from both the American government and its citizens in order to eliminate any chance of oversight and accountability.

Realizing its disconnect with Americans who are increasingly onto the destructive abuse of its power while attempting to keep up with the times, this last weekend the CIA officially launched its social media Facebook and Twitter pages in a pandering effort to reflect a more open and transparent positive image of itself to the American public. Projecting a superficial public profile cannot cover up its darkened sinister past nor its countless heinous acts of terrorism and murder regardless of the sugarcoated gloss from an internet makeover.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing.

Source: Global Research

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Please contact the Author of this site for any further information via the “Leave a reply” box below.

BAGHDAD — Islamic militants who seized cities and towns vowed Thursday to march on Baghdad to settle old scores, joined by Saddam Hussein-era loyalists and other disaffected Sunnis capitalizing on the government’s political paralysis over the biggest threat to Iraq’s stability since the U.S. withdrawal.

Trumpeting their victory, the militants also declared they would impose Shariah law in Mosul and other areas they have captured.

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2014/06/12/3145003/islamic-gunmen-push-into-iraqs.html#storylink=cpy