Archive | October 10th, 2013

Search Engine Manipulation. Google and YouTube Suppress Controversial 9/11 Truth?

NOVANEWS

 

Global Research

 

Let’s Make 9/11 Truth Go Viral

Global Research is committed to Counter-propaganda.

Forward this article far and wide.

Post it on social media, cross-post it on blog sites and independent media. (GR Editor M. Ch.)

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Introduction

With polls consistently showing that approximately 50% of Canadians and Americans doubt the official story of 9/11, the feat of keeping the lid on a public debate for over 12 years has been nothing short of miraculous.

This article presents a simple case study showing that this miracle is being performed with the assistance of Google and YouTube search engine interference

On September 8, 2013, the popular Russia Today “Truthseeker” program, with over a million subscribers on YouTube,[1] published a 13-minute newscast entitled “The Truthseeker: 9/11 and Operation Gladio (E23).”

Below the video frame ran the caption:

Bigger than Watergate’: US ‘regular’ meetings with Al-Qaeda’s leader; documented White House ‘false flag terrorism’ moving people ‘like sheep’; the father of Twin Towers victim tell us why he backs this month’s 9/11 campaign on Times Square and around the world; & the protests calendar for September.

This paragraph was followed by a list of interviewees, including four people representing three scholarly research organizations: Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth,[2] the 9/11 Consensus Panel,[3] and The Journal of 9/11 Studies.[4]

The “Truthseeker” video immediately started to gain popularity on YouTube, reaching 131,000 views in the first three days.[5](The history of the viewing statistics may be seen by clicking on the little graphic symbol under the video frame, and to the right)

Truthseeker posted its program to YouTube on Sept. 8. Russia Today tweeted the YouTube link to its 546,000 followers and to the interviewer, Daniel Bushell, that day:

RT ‏@RT_com 8 Sep

The Truthseeker: 9/11 and operation Gladio (E23) http://youtu.be/vka7Da6e9LY @DanielBushellRT

A MOXNEWS copy of the same newscast was also posted September 8 under the title “Russia Today News Declares 9/11 An Inside Job False Flag Attack!” which in turn started to escalate, with over 80,000 views in the first few days.[6]

Other uploads of the program also appeared, with less traffic, bringing the early viewing total to over a quarter of a million people.

What Happened Next?

In both the RT and MOXNEWS cases, the viewer statistics on YouTube suddenly flat-lined on the morning of September 11 — like a heart monitor when a patient dies.

The YouTube search engine had suddenly failed to locate these videos.

Oddly, although the RT video may still be viewed on YouTube through its direct link (if known) from the Google URL box,[7] it cannot be accessed on YouTube by its title, or by portions of its title, or by searching “Truthseeker.”

The MOXNET version was also decoupled from the YouTube search engine for a period of time after September 11, but has since been restored to normal indexing.


Below is RT’s “Truthseeker” “9/11 and Operation Gladio” reposted on GlobalResearchTV:


How Were the Search Engine Failures Detected and Verified?

Investigations carried out independently by a US engineering colleague and myself revealed the following:

I. YouTube Search Results and Rankings:

· Searching the exact title of the original “Truthseeker” posting (“9/11 and Operation Gladio”) does not yield the original RT post. It does yield other posts with far fewer viewings, but the original, which as we have seen still exists as a URL, is evidently no longer in the YouTube index.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=9%2F11+and+Operation+Gladio&oq=9%2F11+and+Operation+Gladio&gs_l=youtube.3..0l2.293984.293984.0.295154.1.1.0.0.0.0.217.217.2-1.1.0…0.0…1ac.2.11.youtube.MvZma9CXCtY

Its viewings have slowly risen over several weeks from 131,000 to 136,000 through the early news reports — but with by far the most views of all the uploads, it should appear at the top of the list.

  • Searching YouTube for the URL of the original escalating RT version produces no result either, although as we have seen, the URL is still a functioning direct link. (Experiment: Take any URL from YouTube or Google, plug it into the search box and watch it come up on top of the list — because there is only one.)
  • Searching YouTube for the program’s name, “Truthseeker,” displays titles from Episodes 1-22, and also Episode 24, but it fails to show Episode 23, “9/11 and Operation Gladio” in 15 pages of search results.
  • Searching for the MOXNET post on the third day of its existence (September 11) produced a similar result. It should have appeared second from the top with its 80,000 views, but it was difficult to get it to appear at all — except through its direct link (if one had saved this earlier).
  • Oddly enough, the MOXNET post is once again normally accessible on YouTube (as it was September 8-11) through a search of either: a) its full title, or b) its first few words.

II. Google Search Results and Rankings:

An exploration of the Google Web and Google Video search results revealed the following about access to the RT “Truthseeker” Episode 23:

· Google Web Rankings: On a search of “9/11 and Operation Gladio,” Google Web first brought up several news items, followed by an array of low-volume YouTube uploads that did not include the popular original RT version.

https://www.google.com/search?q=9%2F11+and+Operation+Gladio&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&cad=b&bvm=pv.xjs.s.en_US.qH4g2czDPNQ.O&ech=1&psi=51dPUsRPhbrgA6-cgcgK.1380931557920.3&emsg=NCSR&noj=1&ei=51dPUsRPhbrgA6-cgcgK

· Google Video Rankings: On the same search, “9/11 and Operation Gladio,” Google Video first listed the “Truthseeker” website page from which the video may also be watched and downloaded (as discussed below). This was followed by a half dozen uploads from other sources, mostly showing 50-200 video views. The original RT video that is still available by direct link and now records 136,000 views, did not show up at all — yet it should have been on top.

https://www.google.com/search?q=9/11+and+Operation+Gladio&noj=1&source=lnms&tbm=vid&sa=X&ei=6FdPUvfUD6z-4APhrIHQCA&ved=0CA0Q_AUoAA&biw=1680&bih=870&dpr=1

· On both Google Web and Google Video, searching the original RT URL failed to bring up the early version of the program that had started to go viral[8] — although its direct link still exists and shows up on several early September news websites.

III. The Truthseeker’s Own Website:

The “Truthseeker” produces a new show every two weeks. As of this writing, the “Truthseeker” home page shows Episode 24, dated September 22, right at the top, followed by Episodes 22, 21, 20, and 19.

Our case-study Episode 23, dated September 8, was displayed at the top of the home page from September 8-11, before it disappeared.

It was then located under a different date — August 1, 2012 — buried on a back page with earlier episodes from over a year ago.

This may have been a simple mistake on the part of a large investigative news network that is attracting personnel and audiences away from Western networks, or it may be the result of hacking or political pressure. [It should be noted that when a September 8 2013 posting is given a new date namely August 1, 2012, it no longer appears on Google News in the days leading up to and following September 11, 2013, the date of commemoration of the 9/11 attacks. This redating of the September 8 also affects is ranking in the search engines].

The bottom line is that at least with regard to the Google and YouTube (which is owned by Google) search engines, something highly unusual has gone awry.[9]

Failure of Email Transmissions Describing the Above Investigation

Perhaps the most disturbing element of this case study is that for more than two weeks after September 11, 2013, it was impossible for some people to transmit by email the link to the original YouTube Episode 23 that had started to go viral.[10]

An email containing this link would at first appear to have transmitted normally, for it would show up in the sender’s Sent Mail. But it would not be received by the addressees — including the sender, if copied to self.

To my knowledge, at least six people, including three IT professionals, experienced the failure of email transmissions containing this particular link.

Of these IT professionals, one concluded, “There is no benign explanation for this.”

Impact and Significance:

1. Impact: How popular videos behave statistically

When videos start to become popular on YouTube, the statistics curve usually continues to rise over

time. Some show an initial burst of interest, with the curve rising quite steeply, then settling into an upward sloping line over time. This may be seen with the 2011 “Ultimate Dog Tease” (145 million).[11]

Others have a slower start, then catch on and build steadily, as did the 2012 “Psy-Gangnam Style” video, the first to be viewed over a billion times.[12]

The same slow-start pattern was seen with the 2007 video, “9/11 Clues EVERYONE MISSED.”[13]

Now compare these graphs with the two flat-line interruptions in the case-study videos whose progress was truncated by search engine failure.[14]

The point is that if a particular video is catching on, and people can see the excitement and enthusiasm for it right there in the viewer stats, they are apt to jump aboard and watch it. They are far less likely to watch a video with 50-200 views that has been rated “ho hum” by the viewing public.

Those who covertly study the impact of “inconvenient” political broadcasts, and who take note and interfere with them, understand these things.

2. The significance of this interference:

The suppression of free political communication in our society has grave consequences for several reasons:

  • It is clear that that there is not just spying and data collection going on. There is also electronic interference in our media, search engines, and mailboxes that is suppressing freedom of expression at various levels;
  • Media and search engine suppression can be held up for public view, while evidence of individual email tampering, probably carried out by covert state agencies, is frightening. People are naturally reluctant to report it or write about it — for there is no one to report it to;
  • In the case of 9/11, which has torn the fabric of humanity down the middle — between Muslims and Christians, and between East and West — it is essential that the evidence backing this event be absolutely correct and open to question at all times;
  • The fact that the lid on 9/11 has been nailed down so firmly for so long creates great suspicion that this case study points to possible obstruction of free information transfer by government agencies recently identified through NSA whistleblowers Edward Snowden, William Binnie, Thomas Drake, and others.

This essay is offered to all citizens who believe the government should be investigated when state crimes against democracy are suspected.

It is further offered to all who pay taxes for government care, protection, and the guarantee of constitutional freedoms — and in particular to citizens who may have encountered chilling indications of covert state interference in their lives.

Notes

[1] The number of subscribers may be seen on any episode of “Truthseeker” — by searching YouTube for “RT Truthseeker.” Russia Today’s television outlets are available globally, via cable and satellite at: http://rt.com/where-to-watch/
[2] Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, ae911truth.org.
[3] The 9/11 Consensus Panel, consensus911.org.
[4] Journal of 9/11 Studieshttp://www.journalof911studies.com/
[5] The history of the viewing statistics may be seen by clicking on the little graphic symbol under the video frame, and to the right, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vka7Da6e9LY&feature=youtu.be
[6] The MOXNEWS posting and viewer history statistics are at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1Vi5YHxsLI&feature=youtu.be
[8]That the original two links were going viral may also be seen from an examination of Twitter records during the period September 8-11, 2013, This can be done by searching Twitter using: < 9/11 Operation Gladio > and scrolling down through the results.
[9] Internet users have long known that the highest-ranking results appear at the top of a search. A simple explanation of how ranking works is available at: YouTube Video Search Ranking Factors: A Closer Look http://www.seochat.com/c/a/search-engine-optimization-help/youtube-video-search-ranking-factors-a-closer-look/.

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US Globalized Torture Black Sites

NOVANEWS
Global Research

 

On October 5, US Delta Force commandos, CIA operatives, and FBI agents abducted Abu Anas al-Liby. Doing so highlights what’s been out-of-control since 9/11.

In the 1980s, al-Liby was one of many CIA-recruited mujahideen fighters. They were used against Afghanistan’s Soviet occupiers.

Ronald Reagan called them “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.” He characterized Contra killers the same way.

Bin Laden, al-Liby, and many other Al Qaeda fighters were used strategically as both allies and enemies. Most recently, al-Liby was an anti-Gaddafi “freedom fighter.”

In 2000, he was indicted for his alleged role in bombing US Kenyan and Tanzanian embassies in 1998.

He was one of the FBI’s most wanted. He had a $5 million bounty on his head. Washington abducted him lawlessly. It did so on Libyan territory.

US policy is out-of-control. Obama authorizes whatever he wants anywhere worldwide. Rogue leaders operate that way.

On October 8, AP headlined ”Did Obama Swap ‘Black’ Detention sites for ships?”

He ordered alleged “terrorists (interrogated) for as long as it takes aboard US naval vessels.” Al-Libi is held on the USS San Antonio. It’s an amphibious warship.

Throughout his tenure, Obama continued the worst of odious Bush administration practices. The Clinton administration began them. Guilt or innocence doesn’t matter. Suspects are lawlessly abducted.

They’re denied all rights. They’re held secretly at US black sites. Confessions are extracted through torture. Detainees say anything to stop pain.

Guantanamo is the tip of the iceberg. Dozens of US torture prisons operate globally. Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and many other complicit US allies host them.

They permit indefinite detention, interrogations, torture and other forms of abuse.

They assist in capturing and transporting detainees. They allow use of their domestic airspace. They provide intelligence information.

America is by far the world’s leading human rights abuser. No nation in history matches its ruthlessness. It’s out-of-control. It’s unaccountable. It’s waging war on humanity. It’s doing it globally.

Reprieve is UK-based. It promotes rule of law accountability. It works to “secure each person’s right to a fair trial.” It tries to “save lives.”

In June 2008, it said America “may have used as many as 17 ships as floating prisons.”

“About 26,000 people are being (lawlessly) held by the US in secret prisons – a figure that includes land-based detention centers.”

“(I)nformation suggests up to 80,000 have been ‘through the system’ since 2001.”

So have thousands more under Obama.

Former Pentagon spokesman Navy Commander Jeffrey Gordon lied earlier, saying:

“We do not operate detention facilities on board Navy ships.” They’re in “Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.”

They’re in at least 54 complicit countries. According to Reprieve:

“Prison ships have been used by the US to hold terror suspects illegally since the days of President Clinton.”

“US government sources have confirmed that both the USS Bataan and the USS Peleliu have been used to hold prisoners.”

“Reprieve investigations suggest that a further 15 ships have been used to hold prisoners beyond the rule of law since 2001.”

They’re “interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations.”

Reprieve legal director Clive Stafford later said:

“(W)e’ve identified thirty-two prison ships, sort of prison hulks you used to read about in Victorian England, which have been converted to hold prisoners, and we’ve got pictures of them in Lisbon Harbor, for example.”

“And these are holding prisoners around the world, as well. And there’s a bunch of proxy prisons – (in) Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and other countries – where this stuff is going on.”

“And this is a huge concern, because the world focus is on Guantanamo Bay, which really is a diversionary tactic in the whole war of terror or war on terror, whatever you’d like to call it.”

“And actually, most of these people who have been severed from their legal rights are in these other secret prisons around the world.”

According to a former detainee:

“One of my fellow prisoners in Guantanamo was at sea on an American ship before coming to Guantanamo.”

“He was in the cage next to me. He told me that there were about 50 other prisoners on the ship.”

“They were all closed off in the bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like something you see on TV.”

“The people held on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantanamo.”

Reprieve calls the USS Bataan one of America’s “most infamous ‘floating prisons.’ ”

John Walker Lindh was sent there. So was Australian David Hicks. Lindh was maliciously called the “American Taliban.”

Hicks was sold to US forces for bounty. Both men were lawlessly held. They were brutally tortured. Thousands of others have been treated the same way.

Obama promised to end lawless Bush administration practices. They continue out-of-control.

America’s war on terror authorizes anything goes. On September 18, 2001, Congress passed a joint House-Senate Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) for “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

On October 26, Patriot Act lawlessness followed. On November 13, Military Order Number 1 authorized the president to capture, kidnap or otherwise arrest non-citizens anywhere in the world for any reason.

US citizens are now vulnerable. Anyone can be arrested or abducted. They can be held indefinitely without charge, evidence, due process, trial, or other judicial fairness protections.

Torture is official US policy. Bush established it. On September 17, 2001, he signed a secret finding.

It authorized the CIA to “Capture, Kill, or Interrogate Al-Queda Leaders.”

It mandated establishing secret global facilities to detain and interrogate them. Doing so without guidelines on proper treatment was OK’d.

Detainees were declared “unlawful enemy combatants.” Obama calls them “unprivileged enemy belligerents.”

He authorized their murder or capture and indefinite detention. Torture remains official US policy. The worst of Bush administration practices continue.

International, constitutional and US statute laws no longer apply. Diktat power replaced them. Today’s America reflects out-of-control lawlessness.

In 2007, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) published a report titled Off the Record: US Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the ‘War on Terror.’ ”

It discussed ghost detainees held in secret black sites. It revealed how America lawlessly uses “proxy detention.”

It demonstrates that “far from targeting the ‘worst of the worst,’ the system sweeps up low-level detainees and even involves the detention of the wives and children of the ‘disappeared.’ ”

Doing so violates core rule of law principles. CCR documented torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Obama continues the worst of Bush administration policies.

Separately, CCR discussed ghost detainees and black sites. Forced disappearance victims became “ghosts.”

“Black sites” are secret US prisons operating globally – on land and at sea.

“What is ‘enforced disappearance,’ ” asked CCR? “Is it legal?”

The practice violates “numerous treaties binding on the United States” It spurns “international humanitarian law.”

It occurs when Washington “arrests, detains or abducts a person (without) acknowledg(ing) (having done so) or the location” where targeted individuals are detained.

Doing so denies them core legal protections. It’s official US policy. American citizens are vulnerable. No one anywhere is safe.

“What are conditions like in the ‘black sites,’ ” asked CCR?

CIA officials admit using so-called “enhanced interrogation (or ‘alternative interrogation’) techniques.”

Doing so constitutes the worst kind of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. Nothing too brutal is out of bounds. Virtually everything is OK.

Former detainees reveal horrific torture they experienced. They were fortunate to survive and be able to explain.

“What do CIA secret prisons have to do with other US detentions?”

Washington operates global black sites. It does so separately or jointly with host countries. It transfers some detainees to foreign-controlled facilities.

“In all cases, (they’re) deprived of any substantive protection of their rights, and reports of torture and abuse are common.”

“Who is held in CIA secret detention?”

Numerous individuals from many countries are targeted. Many were sold for bounty. Some were held because of mistaken identity. The great majority of victims committed no crimes.

Guilt or innocence doesn’t matter. Once abducted, all rights are lost. Boys young as seven were abducted.

“What should be done?”

Lawless abductions, secret detentions, torture and other forms of abuse violate core international, constitutional and US statute law provisions.

America remains unaccountable. So are complicit countries. CCR and other human rights organizations demand these practices cease. Obama pays them no heed.

“What is CCR doing about ghost detention?”

It filed lawsuits demanding release of information. It did so under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

It wants the shroud of secrecy removed. It largely remains. What’s known about Guantanamo diverts from full disclosure about America’s global black sites.

They hold the vast majority of US ghost detainees. They do so lawlessly. Globalized torture is official US policy. So are worldwide secret prisons.

Obama continues the worst Bush administration practices. He added more of his own. He governs by diktat authority. What he says goes.

He operates as judge, jury and executioner. He authorizes cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. He does so at home and abroad. It continues unabated. Millions are grievously harmed globally.

Rogue leaders govern this way. He’s Caligula writ large. He’s America’s worst ever. He threatens humanity’s survival. It may not survive on his watch.

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Corporate Child Abuse: The Unseen Global Epidemic

NOVANEWS
Global Research

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul”, Nelson Mandela says, “than the way in which it treats its children”.

Who would disagree?

Yet today children may be assaulted, diseased, or killed by pervasive corporate drugs, junk-foods and beverages, perverted by mindless violence in multiple modes, deployed as dead-end labour with no benefits, and then dumped into a corporate future of debt enslavement and meaningless work. How could this increasing systematic abuse be publicly licensed at every level? What kind of society could turn a blind eye to its dominant institutions laying waste the lives of the young and humanity’s future itself?

The abuse is built into the system. All rights of child care-givers themselves – from parent workers to social life support systems – are written out of corporate ‘trade’ treaties which override legislatures to guarantee “investor profits” as their sole ruling goal. Children are at the bottom, and most dispossessed by the life-blind global system. The excuse of “more competitive conditions” means, in fact, a race to the bottom of wages and benefits for families, social security, debt-free higher education, and protections against toxic environments to which the young are most vulnerable. At the same time, escalating sales of junk foods, malnutrition, and cultural debasement propel the sole growth achieved – ever more money demand at the top.

The mechanisms of abuse are not tempered by reforms as in the past, but deepened and widened. Omnibus Harper budgets stripping even scientific and social fact-finding bodies and transnational foreign corporate rights dictated in the name of “Trans-Pacific Partnership” and “Canada-Europe Trade Agreement” advance the Great Dispossession further. An unasked question joins the dots, but is taboo to pose. What war, ecological or social collapse is not now propelled by rapidly creeping corporate rights to loot and pollute societies, ecosystems and – least considered – the young?

I explain the entire system in the expanded second edition of the Cancer Stage of Capitalism. Omnivorous money sequences of the corporate rich multiply through their life hosts overriding social life defences at every level and silencing critics. None are bound to serve any life support function but only to maximize profits. They surround, they intimidate, they bribe and threaten with corporate lobby armies to overrun legislatures and launch attack ads and wars with the mass media as their propaganda vehicles. All the classical properties of bullying abuse are there – pervasive one-way demands, ganging up, threats of force, false pretexts, weaker opponents picked on and exploited, and brutal attack of what resists. Yet bullies are seen only among the young themselves, while government in the interest of children’s well-being is increasingly sacrificed to the fanatic doctrine that the market God’s “invisible hand” is Providence and all commodities are “goods”.

How Corporate Abuse Moves to the Insides of Children

Recall General Electric frontman and U.S. president Ronald Reagan broadcasting the post-1980 war againstunions, peace activists, environmentalists, and any community not subservient to U.S. corporate rights. Tiny and starving Nicaragua which had arisen against U.S.-backed tyranny by bringing public education and health benefits to poverty-stricken children was singled out for example. “All they have to do is say ‘Uncle’, Reagan smirked to the press when questioned on what Nicaragua could do to stop the U.S. attacks. They did not and the U.S. mined their central harbour and financed Contras with drug money for weapons to attack and burn the schools and clinics. The Reagan government and the media then ignored the six-billion dollar judgement of the International Court of Justice against the war crimes and the false claim of “self defense”. Abusers always continue if not named and children are always the primary victims.

With now the bank-engineered collapse of social-democratic Europe, oil-rich opponents cleared for corporate looting across the Middle East, and the Earth’s primary life support systems in slow motion collapse, we are apt to overlook the direct corporate invasion of the minds and bodies of children. As elsewhere, “giving them what they want” is the justification. And all the buttons are pushed to hook the young to addictive corporate products – child and adolescent fear of being left out, addictive desires for more sugar, salt and fat, primeval fascination with images of violence and destruction, craving for attention in stereotype forms, inertial boredom with no life function, the loss of social play areas by the great defunding, restless compulsion to distraction, and black hole ego doubts. All the enticements to addictive and unhealthy products form a common pattern of child abuse, and it is far more life disabling than any in the past. Beneath detection, a pathogenenic epidemic grows.

In response to commodity diseases from skyrocketing obesity and unfitness to unprecedented youth depression and psychic numbing to violence, almost no public life standards of what is pushed to the young are allowed into the super-lucrative market. Even while children’s growing consumption of multiplying junk foods, pharma drugs, and life-destructive entertainments addict them to what may in the end ruin their lives, preventative life standards are furiously lobbied against. As Joel Bakan’s Childhood Under Siege/ How Big Business Targets Your Children shows, the systemic abuse is ignored, denied and blocked against public regulation. Even with deadly diabetes by junk foods and beverages and hormonal disruption and body poisoning by the countless untested chemicals, materials and drugs fed into their lives, the young find no protection from this systematic and growing corporate abuse, not even mandatory package information to prevent their still rising profitable disorders of body and mind.

Understanding Corporate Child Abuse as System Pathology

Bakan’s classic film and book, The Corporation, has revealed step by step the “corporation as psychopath”. Professor of law as well as parent, he recalls the “overarching idea” of modern civilization which has been aggressively pushed aside: “that children and childhood need the kind of public protection and support that only society could offer” (p. 164). Now he observes, the big corporations are “free to – – pitch unhealthy ideas and products- – to pressure scientists and physicians to boost sales of their psychotropic drugs – – – to turn children’s environments – indeed their very bodies – into toxic stews – – and to profit from school systems increasingly geared to big business” (p. 164). Horrendous hours and hazards of child labour are what has long attracted attention, and Bakan reports that these are returning today (e.g., pp. 129-38).

R.D. Laing’s classic Massey lecture, The Politics of the Family goes deeper than issues of child labour by arguing that the young are made to live inside a dramatic play whose roles are mapped from one generation to the next. They are “good” or “bad” as they follow or resist the roles imposed on them. The sea-change today is that the stage and script are dictated by the pervasive marketing of big-business corporations (pp. 3-5 and passim). They set the stages and the props of youth activities and dreams across domains of sport, peer play and relations, identity formation, eating and drinking, creative expression, clinical care, increasingly schooling, and even sleeping. Their ads condition children from the crib onwards and hard-push harmful addicting substances. This is why, for example, “only 1% of all ads for food are for healthy nourishment” (p. 210). Selling unhealthy desires through every window of impressionable minds has multiplied so that almost no region of life including schools is free from the total agenda.

All the while corporately-controlled governments abdicate an ultimate obligation of modern government – enabling protection of the young’s lives and humanity’s healthy future. On pervasive corporate violence products, for example, the American Medical Association reports: “Aggressive and violent thought and behaviour are systematically induced in virtually all children by corporate games” (p. 201). The occupation of childhood and youth has now reached 9 to11 hours daily for ages 8-to-18-year-olds who are glued to multi-media orchestrated by commercial corporations (p. 207). Children are motivated by unneeded desires and adaptation to a surrounding culture which has a “panopticon marketing system” to hook into their “deep emotions” (pp. 17-27). Non-stop repetition of slogans and false images substitute for reason and life care, and the logic of ads is that you are defective without the product. In essence, addictive dependency to junk commodities of every kind drives the growth of corporate sales and disablement of children’s life capacities follows. What greater abuse of children could there be?

Bakan reports copious findings on Big Pharma buying doctors with favours, planting articles in name journals, inventing child illnesses to prescribe medications to, and drugging the young from infancy on with the unsafe substances they push (pp. 65-114). Along with the corporate invasion of children’s healthcare goes the invasion of public education (pp. 139-71, 245-56). Administrators with now corporate executive salaries for no educational function collaborate with the agenda, and mechanical testing devices closed to independent academic examination are the Trojan horse for a mass lock-step of miseducation (pp. 140-62). Bakan is aware that the whole trend of corporatization of the classroom and educational institutions “undermines the role of education in promoting critical thought and intelligent reflection” (p. 47). Indeed it wars against them in principle. For reasoning and critical research require learners to address problems independently of corporate profits and to penetrate behind market-conditioned beliefs. Big-business demands the opposite. It maximizes money returns as its first and final principle of thought and judgement, and selects against any truth or knowledge conflicting with this goal.

Corporate child abuse, in short, far surpasses all other forms of child abuse put together. But in a world where both parents are at work to survive and big money always wins elections, the life interests of children are bullied out of view. “Corporations [are] large, powerful and dominating institutions”, Bakan summarizes, “deliberately programmed to exploit and neglect others in pursuit of wealth for themselves” (p. 175).

So what is the resolution? Bakan emphasizes the pre-cautionary principle and laws against clear harms to the young. He emphasizes “values” and “teaching what is good for them and what is not” (pp. 49-50). Yet we have no principled criterion of either. They are self-evident once seen. The good for children is whatever enables life capacities to coherently grow, and the bad is whatever disables them. Corporate dominion goes the opposite direction. Thus unfitness, obesity, depression, egoic fantasies, aggressive violence, and aimlessness increase the more its profitable child abuse runs out of control. This is the heart of our disorder. Public regulation of corporations by tested life-capacity standards is the solution.

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The Liberation of the Death Camps

NOVANEWS
Source: The Liberation of the Camps: Facts vs. Lies, by Theodore J. O’Keefe
Presented with pictures, captions and extensive commentary by Lasha Darkmoon

Why is it illegal in 16 countries to doubt the gas chambers when not a singlegas chamber has ever been found?

Buchenwald_Victims_04508

Nothing has been more effective in establishing the authenticity of the Holocaust story in the minds of Americans than the terrible scenes that US troops discovered when they entered German concentration camps at the close of World War II.

At Dachau, Buchenwald, Dora, Mauthausen, and other work and detention camps, horrified US infantrymen encountered heaps of dead and dying inmates, emaciated and diseased. Survivors told them hair-raising stories of torture and slaughter, and backed up their claims by showing the GIs crematory ovens, alleged execution gas chambers, supposed implements of torture, and even shrunken heads and lampshades, gloves, and handbags purportedly made from skin flayed from dead inmates.

US government authorities, mindful that many Americans who remembered the atrocity stories fed them during World War I still doubted the Allied propaganda directed against the Hitler regime, resolved to “document” what the GIs had found in the camps. Prominent newsmen and politicians were flown in to see the harrowing evidence, while the US Army Signal Corps filmed and photographed the scenes for posterity. Famous journalist Edward R. Murrow reported, in tones of horror, but no longer of disbelief, what he had been told and shown, and Dachau and Buchenwald were branded on the hearts and minds of the American populace as names of infamy unmatched in the sad and bloody history of this planet.

For Americans, what was “discovered” at the camps — the dead and the diseased, the terrible stories of the inmates, all the props of torture and terror — became the basis not simply of a transitory propaganda campaign but of the conviction that, yes, it was true: the Germans did exterminate six million Jews, most of them in lethal gas chambers.

What the GIs found was used, by way of films that were mandatory viewing for the vanquished populace of Germany, to “re-educate” the German people by destroying their national pride and their will to a united, independent national state, imposing in their place overwhelming feelings of collective guilt and political impotence. And when the testimony, and the verdict, of the Nuremberg Tribunal incorporated most, if not all, of the horror stories Americans were told about Dachau, Buchenwald, and other places captured by the US Army, the Holocaust could pass for one of the most documented, one of the most authenticated, one of the most proven historical episodes in the human record.

A Different Reality

But it is known today that, very soon after the liberation of the camps, American authorities were aware that the real story of the camps was quite different from the one in which they were coaching military public information officers, government spokesmen, politicians, journalists, and other mouthpieces.

Larson

When American and British forces overran western and central Germany in the spring of 1945, they were followed by troops charged with discovering and securing any evidence of German war crimes.

Among them was Dr. Charles Larson, one of America’s leading forensic pathologists, who was assigned to the US Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Department. As part of a US War Crimes Investigation Team, Dr. Larson performed autopsies at Dachau and some twenty other German camps, examining on some days more than 100 corpses. After his grim work at Dachau, he was questioned for three days by US Army prosecutors. [1]

Dr. Larson’s findings? In an 1980 newspaper interview he said: “What we’ve heard is that six million Jews were exterminated. Part of that is a hoax.” [2] And what part was the hoax? Dr. Larson, who told his biographer that to his knowledge he “was the only forensic pathologist on duty in the entire European Theater” of Allied military operations, [3] confirmed that “never was a case of poison gas uncovered.” [4]

Typhus, Not Poison Gas

If not by gassing, how did the unfortunate victims at Dachau, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen perish? Were they tortured to death or deliberately starved? The answers to these questions are known as well.

As Dr. Larson and other Allied medical men discovered, the chief cause of death at Dachau, Belsen and the other camps was disease, above all typhus, an old and terrible scourge of mankind that until recently flourished in places where populations were crowded together in circumstances where public health measures were unknown or had broken down. Such was the case in the overcrowded internment camps in Germany at war’s end, where, despite such measures as systematic delousing, quarantine of the sick and cremation of the dead, the virtual collapse of Germany’s food, transport, and public health systems led to catastrophe.

Perhaps the most authoritative statement of the facts as to typhus and mortality in the camps has been made by Dr. John E. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of preventive medicine and epidemiology at the Harvard University School of Public Health, who was with US forces in Germany in 1945. Dr. Gordon reported in 1948 that “The outbreaks in concentration camps and prisons made up the great bulk of typhus infection encountered in Germany.” Dr. Gordon summarized the causes for the outbreaks as follows: [5]

Germany in the spring months of April and May [1945] was an astounding sight, a mixture of humanity travelling this way and that, homeless, often hungry and carrying typhus with them …

Germany was in chaos. The destruction of whole cities and the path left by advancing armies produced a disruption of living conditions contributing to the spread of the disease. Sanitation was low grade, public utilities were seriously disrupted, food supply and food distribution was poor, housing was inadequate and order and discipline were everywhere lacking. Still more important, a shifting of populations was occurring such as few countries and few times have experienced.

Dr. Gordon’s findings are corroborated by Dr. Russell Barton, today a psychiatrist of international repute, who entered Bergen-Belsen with British forces as a young medical student in 1945. Barton, who volunteered to care for the diseased survivors, testified under sworn oath in a Toronto courtroom in 1985 that “Thousands of prisoners who died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during World War II weren’t deliberately starved to death but died from a rash of diseases.” [6]

Dr. Barton further testified that on entering the camp he had credited stories of deliberate starvation but decided such stories were untrue after inspecting the well equipped kitchens and the meticulously maintained ledgers, dating back to 1942, of food cooked and dispensed each day.

Despite noisily publicized claims and widespread popular notions to the contrary, no researcher has been able to document a German policy of extermination through starvation in the German camps.

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No ‘Human Skin’ Lampshades

What of the ghoulish stories of concentration camp inmates skinned for their tattoos, flayed to make lampshades and handbags, or other artifacts? What of the innumerable “torture racks,” “meathooks,” whipping posts, gallows, and other tools of torment and death that are reported to have abounded at every German camp? These allegations, and even more grotesque ones proffered by Soviet prosecutors, found their way into the record at Nuremberg.

The lampshade and tattooed-skin charges were made against Ilse Koch, dubbed by journalists the “Bitch of Buchenwald,” who was reported to have furnished her house with objects manufactured from the tanned hides of luckless inmates.

Ilse Koch, known as “Buchenwälder Schlampe” or the Bitch of Buchenwald. We are told that “she reveled in torture and obscenity”, making lampshades out of human skin showing the tattoos of Jewish camp inmates. The alleged human skin, upon forensic analysis after WW2, turned out to be goat skin. Ilse Koch hanged herself in despair  at Aichach women’s prison on September 1, 1967 — yet another innocent victim of Jewish lies still which are still being perpetrated to this day. Here she is listed as one of the “10 Most Evil Women in History”,  along with Countess Elizabetrh Bathory of Hungary and childkiller Myra Hindley.

Ilse Koch, known as “Buchenwälder Schlampe” or the Bitch of Buchenwald. We are told that “she reveled in torture and obscenity”, making lamp shades out of human skin showing the tattoos of Jewish camp inmates. The alleged human skin, upon forensic analysis after WW2, turned out to be goat skin. Ilse Koch hanged herself in despair at Aichach women’s prison on September 1, 1967 — yet another innocent victim of Jewish lies which are still being perpetrated to this day. Here she is listed as one of the “10 Most Evil Women in History”, along with Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary and childkiller Myra Hindley.

But General Lucius Clay, military governor of the US zone of occupied Germany, who reviewed her case in 1948, told his superiors in Washington: “There is no convincing evidence that she [Ilse Koch] selected inmates for extermination in order to secure tattooed skins or that she possessed any articles made of human skin.” [7] In an interview General Clay gave years later, he stated about the material for the infamous lampshades: “Well, it turned out actually that it was goat flesh. But at the trial it was still human flesh. It was almost impossible for her to have gotten a fair trial.” [8]

Ilse Koch hanged herself in a German jail in 1967.

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Syria: “The Army of Islam”; Saudi Arabia’s Greatest Export

NOVANEWS
Global Research

Recent developments regarding “rebel” groups inside Syria have shed further light on the ideologies and political aims of the militants waging war upon the Syrian state.

On the 24th September, under the moniker of the “Islamist Alliance”, 11 of the largest and most recognisable rebel brigades – a mix of supposed “moderate Islamists” such as Liwa al-Tawhid, the largest “FSA”-branded brigade in Aleppo, alongside more hardline Salafi/Jihadi brigades such as Ahrar al-Sham, and Al Qaeda ideologues Jahbat al-Nusra – released a joint statement denouncing the western-backed expatriates of the “National Coalition” (NC), along with its equally impotent military arm, the “Supreme Military Council” (SMC). Following this statement of intent, on the 29th of September, up to 50 rebel groups operating primarily in the area of Damascus merged to form Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam). The Damascus merger also included a wide-ranging demographic of militant groups, from the supposed “moderate”, to overt Salafist hardliners. Jaish al-Islam is dominated by Liwa al-Islam, a large rebel group formerly of “FSA” branding, and led by Saudi-backed Zahran Alloush. Liwa al-Islam were also a signatory to the aforementioned statement of denunciation toward the western-backed political opposition.

These announcements have effectively put-to-bed the western propagated myth that was the “Free Syrian Army”. Militant groups the west ostensibly touted as “secular moderates” yearning for “freedom and democracy” from a tyrannical regime; have now openly declared their Salafi/Jihadi fundamentalist ideology, with the ultimate aim of creating a Syrian state ruled by Islamic law.

Already, these announcements are being portrayed as an attempt by Saudi Arabia – yes, ever tolerant and inclusive Wahhabi-preaching Saudi Arabia – and other leading Salafi factions supporting the insurgency to steer “vetted, or moderate Salafi” rebels away from the Al Qaeda aligned groups; particularly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), who are now portrayed as simply “foreign jihadists” and have become the leading fall-guy in Western and Gulf media for every atrocity committed by the rebels. This false perception has been built as a result of a Western and Gulf initiated public relations campaign to “moderate” the image of the Salafi/Jihadi fundamentalists (aswell as those more inclined to basic criminality, killing, and destruction) who may be more willing to meet the requirements of their Gulf donors and the United States. Yet, contrary to this divisive narrative, the same “moderate” Salafi’s who are now supposedly being encouraged to disassociate from their Al Qaeda affiliates have happily fought alongside – more often than not as a junior partner – the West’s supposed “number one enemy” (AQ) since the insurgency began in 2011.

In further contrast to the aforementioned “Awakening” narrative, Jabhat al-Nusra (JaN) – the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda ideologues – are still very much in the mix. Although various pundits and analysts have made efforts to publicise tensions between ISIS and JaN, the two groups still share a similar JIhadist ideology and cooperate in key areas, particularly on paramilitary operations; as do the hardline Salafi groups such as Ahrar Al-Sham, who in turn fully cooperate with the western friendly “moderates” who now form the backbone of Jaish al-Islam. In the recent ISIS takeover of the “FSA” held town of Azaz from the western-friendly Northern Storm brigade fame (of John McCain ), Liwa al-Tahwid quickly offered to broker a ceasefire and acted as interlocutor between the two warring factions. ISIS in turn, rejected any “FSA” authority and have since taken control of the town – not that Liwa al-Tahwid could have stopped them anyway. These events directly contradict the notion that the new “Army of Islam” is in any rush to disassociate, let alone be able to wage war upon the ISIS or its extremist affiliates. Moreover, the leader of Jaish al-Islam, Zahran Alloush, publicly disowned his own “captain” after he warned ISIS there would be open conflict if they “continued this chaos”. The leader claimed that the comments were “dangerous” and designed to “cause strife between muslims”.

Furthermore, in a recent interview (Preview) with Al Jazeera, Alloush, free of his “moderate” chains, lets loose on his ideals for a future Syria, in which he aspires to resurrect the Umayyad Empire (2nd Islamic Caliphate with Syria at its core and Damascus as its capital), and “cleanse” Damascus of “Majous” (pejorative Arabic term for Iranians) “Rafideh” (Shi’ites) and “Nusayris” (Alawites). Rebel leaders espousing openly sectarian rhetoric has been a running theme throughout the conflict; in line with this trend, Alloush’s statement can be taken as a clear indication that his new “Jaish al-Islam” is not in the least bit concerned with abiding by a western-friendly moderate image. Alloush, like the majority of rebel leaders, is a fundamentalist Salafist, who looks on at the minorities of Syria as kafir (unbelievers) who must submit to his interpretation of Salafi Islam or be killed.

The western/Gulf media narrative surrounding this new “Islamist Alliance” is a re-hash of failed PR campaigns of the past ; attempting to mitigate the inherent fundamentalist ideologies of the insurgents waging war upon the Syrian state. Syria has been a pluralistic secular society for decades, the majority of its Sunni muslim population are conservative and have coexisted peacefully alongside the many other religions and ethnic minorities that make up Syria’s diverse society, history, and culture. The people of Syria do not aspire to a Saudi sponsored Salafi/Wahhabi leadership or doctrine of law. Contrary to the popular narrative emerging in western and Gulf media that this new force will represent an indigenous “moderate Islamist” coalition capable of taking on the foreign elements and Al Qaeda, the majority of Syrians will be repelled by the sectarian language and ideologies of Zohran Alloush, his groups overt affiliations and pandering to Al Qaeda ideologues, and his “Army of Islam”.

Considering the above context, the narrative of home-grown (Preview) Salafis somehow being more amenable to the Syrian population than their ISIS/JaN fundamentalist colleagues becomes even less tenable. Alloush’s formation of Jaish al-Islam, alongside the “Islamist Alliance” denunciation of the western-backed political opposition, show a marked shift of the insurgency further toward the Al Qaeda ideologues fighting the Syrian regime, not further away from them.

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Lessons of the 1913 Dublin Lockout

NOVANEWS
LALKARONLINE

One hundred years ago a momentous class struggle came to a head in colonised Ireland: the Dublin Lockout. This struggle not only pitted the working class against the capitalist exploiters and the repression of the capitalist state. It also pitted the vast masses of unskilled, and hitherto unorganised, workers against the bought-off aristocracy of labour which had hitherto jealously guarded the trade union movement as its own exclusive fiefdom.

In the years preceding the First World War, the crisis of the capitalist system, which shortly was to drive workers to die like flies in the trenches, first of all triggered proletarian revolt against the poverty and worsening exploitation that they endured. This heightened class struggle, widespread across Britain, took a particularly acute form in Ireland, where to the yoke of wage slavery was added the yoke of national oppression.

Digging deeper

When James Larkin set about the task of unionising the vast mass of unskilled workers who constituted 75% of the Dublin workforce, he rapidly found himself in conflict not only with the employers but also with his own union. Larkin was viewed with instinctive suspicion by the traditional leadership of the British-based National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL), who were wary in equal measure of his industrial militancy and of his republicanism.

With one in five Dublin workers unemployed and poverty widespread, the employers had grown accustomed to sweating the workforce with impunity whilst the established unions stuck to defending the interests of the better-off, skilled workers whom they represented, with the centre of gravity in the industrialised north-east. In Dublin, with one in five workers unemployed and pay-rates barely half those in London, poverty was endemic. One in three families lived in one room in squalid multi-occupancy tenement, conditions which favoured the spread of disease and sent folk early to their graves.

Embarrassed by Larkin’s embrace of the sympathy strike as an instrument of proletarian solidarity, by his readiness to break unjust laws and by his frank recognition of the need to overthrow capitalism, the NUDL washed their hands of him in 1908. Undeterred, Larkin went on to establish the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU), setting himself the task of mobilising Dublin’s unskilled and un-unionised labour, assisted in this work from 1911 by James Connolly. By that time the union had signed up 4,000 members; by 1913 the membership had risen to 10,000, making it Ireland’s biggest union.

Capitalism declares class war

This fast-growing mass movement of unskilled workers, workers whose class interests had previously been championed by nobody but who had now found their voice, instilled terror in the hearts of the exploiters. For their salvation, the exploiters looked to their own tawdry champion, one William Martin Murphy. Murphy was a capitalist with many irons in the fire: he controlled three newspapers, owned a prestigious hotel and a department store and held shares in a steamboat enterprise. Most famously, though, he was the chairman of the Dublin United Tramway Company, some of whose employees had the temerity to join the ITGWU.

It seems that Murphy had no problem with the kind of union which had kicked Larkin out, unions which he termed “respectable”. Indeed, in 1884 he had helped fund the creation of Dublin Trades Council! But the ITGWU was the wrong kind of union, the kind of union that dug deeper into the working class, far beyond the privileged layer curdling at the surface.

Revolt from this quarter came as a surprise and an affront to Murphy. He was used to imposing harsh labour discipline unchallenged, keeping tabs on everything through company spies and forcing employees to work anything up to seventeen hour shifts. After all, there were plenty more unemployed workers to call on if people disliked his terms.

He responded to the challenge from the ITGWU in July, calling a council of class war. He convened a meeting of three hundred employers, who agreed to band together to stop unionisation. Backed up by his fellow parasites, Murphy threw down a challenge: all his tram workers must give up the notion of joining Larkin’s union or face the sack. True to his word, on 15 August Murphy summarily sacked forty workers who he thought might be union members, then over the next week sacked another 300.

On 26 August Larkin pulled the tram workers out on strike. When Murphy responded by locking them out, Larkin tapped into the solidarity of his own class, pulling out on sympathy strike not only workers employed in Murphy’s other enterprises but also workers employed by firms owned by Murphy’s co-conspirators in the employers’ federation. When the federation in turn responded by locking out every member of the ITGWU regardless of who they worked for, everything hung on the ability of the bosses to draft in strike-breakers under the direct protection of the state.

The capitalist state laid bare

For the thousands of workers rapidly drawn into this battle (20,000 workers plus 80,000 dependants by the end of September), this proved to be a priceless political education. Behind the individual employer stood the capitalist class, and behind the capitalist class stood the capitalist state. The role of the police as the bludgeon to which capitalism resorts when economic blackmail fails to keep workers quiescent could not have been more plainly expressed. Writing in August 1913, V.I. Lenin noted that in Dublin “the class struggle, which permeates the whole life of capitalist society everywhere, has become accentuated to the point of class war. The police have positively gone wild; drunken policemen assault peaceful workers, break into houses, torment the aged, women and children. Hundreds of workers (over 400) have been injured and two killed -such are the casualties of this war. All prominent workers’ leaders have been arrested. People are thrown into prison for making the most peaceful speeches. The city is like an armed camp.” (V.I. Lenin, Class War in Dublin, 29 August 1913)

At the end of August the police baton-charged a meeting Larkin was addressing in O’Connell Street (then known as Sackville Street) and arrested him. Pitched battles ensued, resulting in the deaths of James Nolan and John Byrne, with hundreds more injured. On 4 September 50,000 mourners followed James Nolan’s funeral cortege.

Another worker, Alice Brady, was shot dead by a scab on her way home with a food parcel from the union office. Finally, after Michael Byrne, an ITGWU rep from Kingstown, died after police torture, Larkin and Connolly formed a workers’ militia, the Irish Citizen Army, to defend workers’ demonstrations.

When Larkin was gaoled on a sedition charge, he succeeded in turning his own trial into an exposure of his own accusers, as Lenin goes on to recount. “At the trial Larkin became the accuser and, in effect, put Murphy in the dock. By cross-questioning witnesses Larkin proved that Murphy had had long conversations with the Lord-Lieutenant on the eve of his, Larkin’s, arrest. Larkin declared the police to be in Murphy’s pay, and no one dared gainsay him.”

How Dublin workers fought back

On the principle that sometimes the sincerest compliments arrive in the form of passionate denunciations by our enemies, it is worth quoting some of the outraged invective levelled at Larkin’s head by the Spectator magazine in September 1913. (‘Larkinism: The renewed activity of Mr. James Larkin in Dublin’) More than anything what is getting under the author’s skin was the truly heroic character of the resistance put up by the Dublin proletariat in 1913, which the author felt compelled to express in terms of personal vilification of Larkin himself.

“He has a contempt for the old methods of trade unionism, as he indeed made clear by his recent speech at Manchester. His ideal is to gather together the hitherto unorganized labourers below the ranks of the skilled workers, and to win improved conditions of employment for them by terrorizing employers. His weapon is the sympathetic strike, and be is able to put that into operation by the control he exercises over the transport services. The moment a dispute arises with any firm, the transport workers refuse to handle the goods of that firm, with the result that the firm is brought to its knees, not by the action of its own employees, but by the action of an outside force controlled by Mr. James Larkin… Larkinism is a force which operates not by fair bargaining but by sheer terrorism. It is perfectly justifiable for any single workman, or group of workmen, to say, “We will refuse to work for such and such an employer unless he pays such and such wages .” It is not justifiable to organize a system under which persons not in the least concerned in the quarrel, and who have no means of judging its merits, boycott any employer who happens to be at variance with his own workpeople. Such a method of industrial warfare is a social danger…”

In horror, the Spectator went on to quote some alleged words of Larkin’s at a meeting in Manchester, when he told his English comrades, ” Yohave murderers of the type of Murphy. The Englishman is in the same position as we are in Ireland. He is densely ignorant and he will not be taught or led. He allows a few chaps who call themselves respectable trade unionists to cajole him at the dictates of the employing class. Our whole trade union movement is absolutely rotten. If we were the men we think we are, the employing class would be wiped out in an hour, and we should become the employing class.”

How social democracy betrayed the struggle

Early in 1914, the long and unequal struggle concluded in defeat, despite the enormous courage and fighting spirit of the Dublin proletariat. In the end, what robbed the Dublin working class of victory in their titanic struggle were two things: the overwhelming repressive force applied by the state, and the treachery of the TUC and the labour aristocrat union leaders whose consistent refusal to bring other workers out on strike in solidarity sold the Dublin workers down the river.

When Larkin toured the north of England calling for sympathy action he everywhere won warm approbation from workers. But the TUC leadership, steeped in the same opportunism which in a few months would see social democracy acting as a recruiting officer for imperialist war, did not lift a finger to call workers out in solidarity with their Irish comrades. Support from that quarter was limited to lip service, supplemented by token contribution to a hardship fund.

Reformism or Revolution?

Needless to say, the Spectator wept copious crocodile tears over the sufferings workers were undergoing during the lockout, which of course it blamed on the strike, noting in a revealing aside the high esteem in which social democracy was held by a farsighted bourgeois. In the event of a general strike, he warned, “the result would be the starvation of large masses of the industrial population. This fact is properly appreciated by all the more thoughtful Socialists, and it is interesting to see that at the recent German Socialist Congress many speakers denounced as a ridiculous fantasy the idea that the condition of the working population could be improved by a general strike.”

Whilst the “more thoughtful Socialists” marched workers off, away from the struggle against capitalism and towards the sound of the guns, Lenin immediately recognised the revolutionary seed contained in the Dublin struggle, concluding that ” The masses of the British workers are slowly but surely taking a new path – they are abandoning the defence of the petty privileges of the labour aristocracy for their own great heroic struggle for a new system of society. And once on this path the British proletariat, with their energy and organisation, will bring socialism about more quickly and securely than anywhere else.”

Two world wars later, workers are again confronted with the urgent necessity of breaking with social democracy and shouldering ” their own great heroic struggle for a new system of society”.

 

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NHS: Continuing bourgeois attempts at dismantling

NOVANEWS
LALKARONLINE

Following the Second World War in which the major part in defeating fascism was played by the Soviet Union, its prestige rose, at that time, very high among workers in Europe. More people than ever were admiring the Soviet system, especially its publicly owned and free health service. The British ruling class, aware that the millions that they had trained in warfare were now coming home wanting something better than they had before the war, offered British workers the National Health Service as part of a package designed to keep them from the path of revolution.

The NHS is often seen as the sole creation of the ’45-50′ Labour Government headed by Attlee, but in fact some of the ‘groundwork’ for this had been laid by the previous wartime coalition Government under Churchill. It is therefore clear that its formation had been decided on by the ruling class independently of whatever was to be the outcome of the 1945 election. The NHS was an instant hit with British workers, and Government spending on health in the first 5 years of its existence leapt from £6 billion to £11 billion.

The years passed. Changes, not always good, came and went. But it was not long before elements of the bourgeoisie turned their greedy calculations towards the profits they thought could be extracted from healthcare. However, the NHS remained publicly owned and to some extent publicly accountable. Its main vulnerability, however, arose from the fact that when the NHS was formed, the right of privately owned medical services to exist alongside of it was preserved.

In 1979 the General Election resulted in a win for a Tory Government led by Margaret Thatcher. Initially this government had its hands full with war abroad on the back of which the 1983 General Election was also won by Thatcher. During that first Thatcher term there was an attack on the solidarity of nursing staff through a scheme for re-grading nurses on an individual basis which set them against each other. Those who gained from the scheme, with honourable exceptions, supported it, while the majority, who made no gain and even suffered as a result of it, opposed it. In the following Tory term a war on trade unionism in general and the NUM in particular was waged which resulted in considerable weakening of the entire trade-union movement. By the time Thatcher came to her third win in 1987 serious long term plans had been put in place for the NHS for profiteers to leech off the NHS. These included:

ŸThe idea of establishing the NHS as an independent statutory body with decentralised financial accountability and an end to national wage bargaining for NHS staff.

ŸBringing the NHS and private care together in an integrated market.

ŸIt was planned to devolve all responsibility for patient care to directly funded district Health Authorities while dismantling the Regional Health Authorities and, of course, their planning function. It was also part of these plans to encourage individual hospitals to compete for patients.

ŸAlso on this list was the plan to create a national health insurance scheme jointly with private companies to promote the use of the private sector and eventually support the practice of paying for all treatment.

ŸLastly, the idea was mooted to rename the ‘NHS’ to reflect a new business era.

It is very helpful to ponder on this list when trying to understand how we got where we are and how all governments, of whatever hue, have basically followed this 1987 programme to privatise the health service in order to divert taxpayer cash away from patient care and into corporate profit.

Competitive tendering

Between 1987-88 the introduction of competitive tendering for catering, cleaning and laundry services signalled the start of the privatisation campaign proper. Although there were some early victories by unions in some individual hospitals, the fight to save the ‘publicly-owned’ NHS never really became national in any significant way. The unions NUPE and COHSE took the matter to the TUC asking for national backing across all industries and they won near unanimous support on the conference floor. However, the support from the TUC leadership was minimal to put it as charitably as possible, and never went beyond words and a couple of ‘days of action’. The workers in individual hospitals fought as best they could within the confines of local struggles but the assault of the bourgeoisie against them was overwhelming.

In 1989 the so-called internal market was created. This created separate entities within hospitals splitting their functions, requiring the different entities to ‘purchase’ services from others when caring for a patient, rather than have a single budget for the whole hospital. This practice was absolutely pointless unless you were aiming at eventual privatisation – yet still we continued to hear the mantra that the NHS was ” safe in our hands” solemnly chanted by successive Health Ministers. This year also saw trials of GP practices becoming ‘fund-holding’ units buying services from hospitals.

The ‘internal market’

In 1997 the Tory Government under Major, which had obviously kept to the 1987 ‘script’ regarding the NHS, was replaced by a landslide Labour Government led by Blair. While this was greeted by many trade union leaders, as well as left opportunist groups and their publications as a great victory, it soon dawned on almost everyone else that, although the names of the parties and individuals in government had changed, the main direction of policy had not. It was business as usual under new management. This was the time of PFI which we were told was a brilliant way to use private money to bolster the cash-strapped publicly-owned services including the NHS. In reality it meant the private sector harvesting a regular and very rich income from NHS capital financing through knocking down hospitals (and other public buildings) rebuilding them as privately owned hospitals which are then rented back to the NHS on expensive long term contracts. This policy has seen the physical property of the NHS disappearing at an alarming rate. Servicing the often outrageously overpriced financial contractual obligations imposed by PFI is a constant drain on the funds that a hospital has, which for staff has invariably meant fewer jobs and more work for less money. For patients it has inevitably meant a seriously deteriorating service, long waiting times for essential clinic appointments, cancelled operations, and problems arising from staff being too few and massively overstretched.

Foundation Hospitals

Following a 2001 visit to Spain by Alan Milburn where he saw a hospital built by the Spanish Health Service, but entrusted to a private company (under a policy called ‘health foundation’ by the Spanish), the idea for developing the next stage of privatisation was formed. In 2003 Foundation Trusts were brought into being by the Labour Party. This scheme gave semi-independent status to ‘deserving’ hospitals. Basically a Foundation Trust is free to provide services as its directors see fit, as well as being free to borrow money on the private financial market, to enter into joint ventures with private companies, set its own terms of service for staff and, like all good private ventures, to go ‘bust’ and to be taken over by a private enterprise. In fact, the major cause of the Mid Staffs Hospital disaster was its striving to jump through the hoops for achieving Foundation status that had been set by the then Labour Government, resulting we are told in the unnecessary deaths of upwards of 400 patients. The deadly mixture, in the Mid Staffs hospital and health authority managements of greedy people and a few stupid ones thrown in to provide scapegoats should things go wrong was a recipe for disaster. Yet this is probably the same ‘mix’ that can now be found in most, if not all, hospitals and health authorities across the country. The greedy most responsible for the Mid Staffs disaster have mostly moved on to other lucrative positions within either the NHS or private health companies.

Other measures

In 2004 a new GP contract was introduced allowing corporate provision of GP services turning the local doctor’s practice into just another company whose main business is the realisation of maximum profit.

2007 saw a set of private sector providers identified to support the commissioning of services by the Primary Care Trusts.

2010 was a General Election year and, as we know, the Tory and Lib-Dem parties formed a coalition government. But before we discuss what this government has done since its election, we should remind ourselves, in case anybody is still delusional enough to believe that Labour is ‘better’ than the Tories or ConDems, of Labour’s manifesto for that election. It said “we will continue to press ahead with bold NHS reforms” and that ” all hospitals will become Foundation Trusts” warning that “underperforming Foundation Trusts will be taken over“. Lastly, for the avoidance of any doubt, the Labour manifesto promised that “Foundation Trusts will be given freedom to increase their private services“!

ConDem assault on the NHS

So now we come to the present situation and, as we are now talking about what is happening under the coalition government, I will quote from a doctor cum journalist, Max Pemberton, writing in that well known left-wing daily The Telegraph. On 1 April this year, the Health and Social Care Act came into force. This Act did away with the Primary Care Trusts and handed over everything to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which were new bodies it created whose function is to buying in medical services to meet local demand. Dr Pemberton, writing that same day, was quite candid about what was happening. After pointing out that initially on the surface there will seem to be no difference, he writes ” But, beneath the surface there will have been a dramatic shift in the way that healthcare is being delivered. Its impact should not be underestimated. ” He continues ” As of today CCGs are responsible for commissioning the work – that is to say, treatment – undertaken in the name of the NHS. They will be responsible for organising and paying for care, and deciding who will provide it. For the first time in NHS history, the majority of treatments will be put out to tender: private organisations will be competing to win contracts to provide NHS healthcare. ” He also reveals that “… the NHS Reform Bill, as first published, was like a jigsaw puzzle with crucial pieces missing, the pieces that would reveal exactly what was being planned. It wasn’t until a few weeks before the law came into effect that those missing pieces became available, when the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, quietly announced the new regulations and attempts were made to push them through parliament. What was now clear was that the regulations effectively forced CCGs to put all services out to tender to the private sector and forbade them to favour the NHS as the provider.

“After a public outcry and criticism from the House of Lords at the way the Government had slipped in the Section 75 regulations at the eleventh hour, Hunt had them hastily rewritten. But most experts agree that there was no meaningful change .”

Pemberton also tells us that GPs may be able to keep ” some services within the NHS, but only in particular circumstances, such as when no private sector provider comes forward to bid. Everything else is up for grabs. It will take time for this change to slowly spread throughout our healthcare system, but it will. 

Looking at a likely future scenario Dr Pemberton goes on: ” say for example you need a knee replacement. The provider commissioned to deliver this by your local CCG will have stipulated in the contract what work it will undertake and how much it will get paid. This is fine if you’re a straightforward case. They do the operation, you’re discharged and they are paid the set fee. But what happens if your knee operation is more complicated?

“What if your knee joint has twisted and is now deformed (it does happen), which means the surgeon has to avoid damaging the nerves that run down your leg? All of a sudden, the provider won’t turn such a tidy profit on your knee replacement. This is outside of the terms of their contract. So they reject you and discharge you back to the care of your GP. And what then? There’s no longer an NHS to pick you up because this private organisation has taken over knee operations in your area. So where do you go ?” And he states further ” In the new NHS, everything will be about payment by results, because this is all the private contractors are interested in.” Then he repeats the obvious question “…what about chronic conditions? Or treatments where the chances of success are low and complications high?” Max Pemberton ends his article somewhat pessimistically pointing out that the ” NHS’s strengths – resources, expertise and the united focus on the patient – are being replaced by a fragmented and atomised service, bound not by a duty of care but by a contract and driven, not by what is best for the patient, but by the cost of the encounter. It will be a slow, insidious creep but it’s coming. Be prepared. This is the way the NHS ends: not with a bang but a whimper .” We can forgive Dr Pemberton’s pessimism as, if nothing is done, his description is exactly what will happen. Doing nothing, however, is not a course of action we would recommend.

We know that the CCGs are already being formed into bigger and bigger clusters to buy in bigger and more widespread services; we know that the staff in the hospitals and ambulance services are being stretched beyond any hope of performing their jobs properly, the way they would want to do them, causing grievances and complaints. These are not generally made known to the public – NHS hospital trusts having recently spent £15 million on silencing almost 600 staff. An unknown but probably significantly higher number of potential whistle blowers have undoubtedly succumbed to threats and intimidation from management.

On 9 May, also in the Daily Telegraph, Laura Donnelly reported the speech of former Tory MP, David Prior, head of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), speaking to a conference held by the King’s Fund, the health think tank. Mr Prior is quoted as saying that NHS emergency care is “out of control” across large swathes of the country and that “… the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse and regulators cannot promise to prevent further scandals like Mid-Staffordshire.” But in classical farce style he followed that by claiming that “If we don’t start closing acute beds, the system is going to fall over.” He reaches this conclusion on the basis that because GPs have increasingly opted out of out of hours care, more work has been created for A&E departments. It must be remembered that this option had been given to GPs as an inducement to go along with the new GP contracts system, a measure aimed at further weakening the NHS as a wholly publicly owned service free of charge at the point of use – GPs opting out of out-of-hours care does of course place a further burden on A&E departments – albeit not nearly as much as staff shortages and low morale – but it is no answer to start starving one area of hospital care (acute beds) in order to keep another one going (A&E). How can neglecting one category of patients seriously be put forward as the solution for a shortfall in facilities for treating another category? No, the answer cannot be found through closing even more beds. As Professor David Oliver, former national clinical director for older people was quoted as saying in the article ” the loss of more hospital beds would mean more elderly people would be left being treated in corridors and on any flat surface available.” He might have added: “if they are lucky”!

Now looking back at that ‘jobs to do’ list produced in 1987, we can see that pretty much everything can now be ticked off – with the exception of the name change. This is a pity because if they’d changed the name perhaps most people would have seen through all the deceptions performed by the main political parties in (and, it could be argued, out) of office over the years.

Our response

So given that this is the state of our NHS, what do we do? It doesn’t matter who we vote for in a General Election does it? They have all done their bit in setting up the NHS for milking by the multi-nationals who want to get into this very lucrative business, haven’t they?

Kevin McKenna writing in The Observer, Sunday 16 June 2013 (‘Bring on a British revolution – it’s long overdue’). Mr McKenna has a romantic and rosy view of what the Labour Party used to be but, that apart, his words should ring some bells when he says: ” At least the Russians and the French got there in the end. In Britain… all we managed were a few uncoordinated riots and querulous behaviour at places such as Spa Fields, Bristol and Manchester. And, as the historian John E Archer has pointed out, many of these disturbances were carried out by people who wanted to maintain the status quo, not to overthrow it .” Mr McKenna mixes two different revolutions here, In Russia of 1917 there was both a bourgeois revolution and, in October, a proletarian revolution, while France only did the bourgeois revolution that Britain had already carried out! His theory on why the British never had a revolution (and here we must suppose he means a proletarian revolution) is simply that ” Britain, the world’s most belligerent country, was in a state of almost constant warfare in the 18th and 19th centuries. If we didn’t have our own wars to fight, we would soon find someone else’s war in which to get stuck in. Thus, there was simply no time for the working class to get properly organised. To fight a war, you need money and poor people. Britain always had an abundance of both. The money came from increased taxation of the poor who saw a war as an opportunity for a few years of guaranteed bed, board and wages, which was more than they could count on in Britain .” Again, this is a simplification ignoring the buying off of a significant portion of the working class by our masters, the creation of an upper working class elite who would mislead the workers in the interests of our imperialist rulers. And as for money for wars coming solely from increased taxation of the poor, why does Mr McKenna think Britain was fighting all those endless wars if not for spoils and putting whole nations in bondage? However, he goes on to ask why today “…in the face of so much inequality, corporate dishonesty, police brutality and political corruption, do we simply grumble and stage good-natured and orderly marches, with multigrain sandwiches and infants in prams? Why do we continue to be bought off with endless royal jubilees, worthless Olympiads and the creeping militarisation of a country whose soldiers are treated like heroes for fighting wars against developing world nations ?” He finishes this short article with the following fine sentiments ” The real wonder of the 2011 riots in England and Wales isn’t that they happened at all but that there weren’t more of them, that they didn’t last longer and that there was so little violence. A British revolution is long, long overdue … but perhaps we simply don’t deserve one .” We agree with much of this but would insist loudly that not only do we deserve a revolution, we will have one – and some of us are trying to educate workers and are organising for just that.

So why when talking about saving the National Health Service as a wholly publically owned and free at the point of use institution do we arrive at revolution as the answer? Quite simply, the NHS does not exist in a bubble: it is part and parcel of our society, where working class people are coming under growing oppression. The ruling class manages all too often to divide us on lines of colour, of employment, of sex, age and a host of other things, but people are starting to see beyond that and understand that if we want an NHS that is always accessible, publicly owned and free, if we want all our children to get a decent education, if we want decent homes and jobs for everyone and a quality retirement at the end of a working life, then we are going to have to change from a system that says protect the profits of the rich before all else! And that doesn’t come easily or without struggle but it can be done.

Posted in HealthComments Off on NHS: Continuing bourgeois attempts at dismantling

ZIMBABWE: Decisive electoral victories of Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF, a rebuff to imperialism

NOVANEWS
LALKARONLINE

On 31 July 2013, Zimbabwe held its presidential and parliamentary elections. Two days later (3 August) the results were announced by Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission declaring that, while the presidential election had been won by the veteran leader, Robert Mugabe, the contest for the National Assembly had decisively gone to his party – ZANU(PF).

In the presidential race Robert Mugabe received 61% of the vote, while his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T), secured 34%, with the breakaway MDC of Welshman Ncube getting nearly 3% and two other candidates managing less than 1% each.

As for the parliamentary poll, ZANU(PF) emerged victorious with a massive majority – 160 seats out of 210, while the MDC-T managed to secure just 49 seats. The strength of ZANU(PF) in the newly-elected National Assembly enables it to change the constitution, if need be, without the support of other parties. ZANU made surprising inroads into what were traditional MDC strongholds.

To the chagrin of imperialism and its Zimbabwean puppets, the results of the elections were endorsed as transparent, free and fair by election observers from the African Union (AU) and the regional trade bloc, the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Although, for reasons of their visceral hatred of President Mugabe’s government, the observers from the imperialist countries were not allowed in, the AU and SADC had been accredited with an extensive presence to monitor the conduct of the elections. To the further annoyance of the various imperialist powers, South African president Jacob Zuma, following the endorsement of the result by the AU and SADC, sent his profound congratulations to Robert Mugabe on his fifth electoral victory in a row.

Both ZANU(PF) and MDC-T had entered the contest full of confidence in their respective side’s victory. Tsvangirai even went to the extent of invoking the authority of the Almighty to assert that he was bound to win against Mr Mugabe this time. Launching his campaign in the eastern city of Marondera, he boasted that the election would bring to an end the 33-year rule of Robert Mugabe, telling his supporters that it was God’s will that MDC-T should win this time, forgetting that it takes more than faith, enthusiasm and prayers to win against an impressive figure like Robert Mugabe, who survived brutal colonial rule, a bloody guerrilla war, attempts without number to unseat him, as well as innumerable plots physically to liquidate him.

Robert Mugabe, too, entered the contest sure of winning and full of ideas to offer to the electorate. In a rare interview on the eve of the election, he dealt with concerns about his age in the following terms: ” The 89 years don’t mean anything. They haven’t changed me, have they? They haven’t withered me. They haven’t made me senile yet. No. I still have ideas, ideas that need to be accepted by my people”.

What is more, he promised to accept the result, even if he lost – something that his opponent has always refused to commit to.

Twice as many people voted in this election as in the one held in 2008. According to the figures of the Election Commission, Robert Mugabe benefited most from the flood of new voters. The total number of votes cast in his favour doubled, while the level of electoral support for Tsvangirai remained the same as before.

No sooner had the election results been announced than the MDC-T, as well as spokesmen of imperialism, chimed in with accusations of electoral fraud on the part of the winning party. To MDC-T and its imperialist patrons, every election is fraudulent and rigged unless Robert Mugabe and his ZANU(PF) lose.

It was a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people”, asserted Tsvangirai, who obviously is as little acquainted with the will of the Zimbabwean people as he is with the will of God. He added: “In our view, that election is null and void”. Speaking at a press conference at his residence, he asserted in hysterical and hyperbolic tones that ” the fraudulent and stolen election has plunged Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis”. He knows fully (and if he does not, one has reason to doubt his mental stability) that following these elections there is no crisis in Zimbabwe, for these elections have gone a long way towards laying to rest any constitutional and political crisis, as well as providing the right conditions for carrying forward the economic achievements made by the country in the face of non-stop imperialist demonization of Robert Mugabe’s government and the economic sanctions to which Zimbabwe has been subjected.

Tsvangirai demanded a new election so that Zimbabweans could “freely and fairly elect a government of their choice” – and this after an election in which the Zimbabweans freely, fairly and decisively elected a president and a National Assembly of their choice!

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, who is busy effecting regime changes in countries whose governments dare to pursue independent economic and foreign policies in defiance of the imperialist diktat, has naturally thrown his government’s weight behind Tsvangirai with this assertion: ” In light of substantial electoral irregularities reported by local and regional observers, the United States does not believe that the results announced … represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people”.

One is at a loss to know which regional observers, allegedly reporting substantial electoral irregularities, Kerry has in mind, for the AU and SADC have endorsed the election results. The truth is that, as the foreign secretary of the most powerful imperialist power, Mr Kerry is hankering after domination, not freedom. He is no more bothered by such a triviality as the will of the Zimbabwean people than he is bothered by the will of the Syrian people who have been subjected for over two years to a horrendous slaughter unleashed by US imperialism, its junior imperialist partners, and its stooges in the Middle East, from Turkey to the medieval relics of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, through several fundamentalist outfits and purveyors of obscurantism and jihadist terrorism. If to the likes of Mr Kerry these human-organ eating cannibals represent the will of the Syrian people, it goes without saying that neither the Zimbabwean government of Robert Mugabe, nor the Syrian regime headed by president Bashar-al-Assad measure up to the high standards of democracy set by US imperialism. The refusal of regimes like these to bow down to the demands of imperialism evidently makes them inherently incapable of representing the will of their people, howsoever clearly expressed.

Mark Malloch Brown, a former British minister for Africa and a former head of the UN Development Programme, writing in the Financial Times of 4 August 2013, without a shred of evidence accused the Zimbabwean government of tampering with the electoral rolls, as a result of which, he asserted, ” the opposition could have lost one million votes”. Further, in an election declared by all impartial observers to have been the most peaceful, fair, transparent and free, Brown claimed that the “…oppositionists were harassed and intimidated” – a claim not even made by the MDC-T.

But he has a problem, which he finds rather irksome, namely, that the AU observers’ chief, former Nigerian president Olesegun Obasamjo, has blessed the conduct of the election and, along with SADC, has endorsed the result. In endorsing the election result, the AU and SADC, he says, in a thinly disguised accusation of dishonesty levelled at them, that they have chosen stability over democracy.

Much more plausibly one could say that Brown and his ilk in the imperialist camp want neither democracy nor stability, neither of which they care a damn about in their pursuit of domination in every corner of the globe.

Stating that “development and freedom are not mutually exclusive”, as if anyone maintained otherwise – though doubtless Brown’s notions of freedom and democracy are merely a screen for denying real freedom and democracy to people waging a heroic struggle to free themselves from imperialist domination and exploitation – he goes on to express himself in the following optimistic, not to say threatening, vein: ” The new middle class, a feisty civil society [a euphemism for imperialist-funded NGOs that do the dirty work for imperialism in our times that was done by missionaries in an earlier period], and the disruptive power of the markets and capital will ultimately prevail over the stability-at-all-costs mindset that appears to have allowed Mr Mugabe to steal yet another election” (‘The dying art of stealing elections, Mugabe-style’).

Instead of hurling baseless accusations at the AU and SADC of allowing Robert Mugabe to steal yet another election, for Mr Mugabe has stolen neither this nor any earlier election, Mark Malloch Brown needs to get into his head the simple reality that Zimbabwe is not Rhodesia any more, ruled by a tiny minority of whites as the local representatives of British imperialism; that to reach the present state of affairs, the Zimbabwean people had to win their right to freedom through a bloody war of liberation in which several tens of thousands of Zimbabwean people lost their lives; that the right of Zimbabwe to exist as an independent state rests on this hard-won revolutionary struggle and not on some constitutional nicety introduced by British imperialism, let alone the goodwill of imperialist flunkeys in the mould of the Browns and Kerrys of this world.

President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF contest elections in Zimbabwe, not in Britain or the US. It is in Zimbabwe that they have to win. They win because they are popular with the people of Zimbabwe. And they are popular for two reasons: first, Robert Mugabe was the leader of the armed liberation struggle which resulted in the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980 from British imperialism and its surrogates – the white minority rulers of Rhodesia. As such he is held in high regard, and rightly so, not only in Zimbabwe but also in large parts of Africa. Not for nothing does he get rapturous applause on every occasion he makes an appearance before a large crowd in South Africa.

Second, by expropriating the tiny group of white farmers and restoring the land to its rightful owners, who were deprived of it at gunpoint by the colonialists, Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF have restored the most important means of livelihood, as well as self respect, dignity and pride to Zimbabwean people. This is now recognised even by those who are not at all well disposed towards Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF:

” Tens of thousands of families have benefited from Mr Mugabe’s land reform programme, under which white-owned farms were seized and transferred to black Zimbabweans”, wrote Mr Andrew England in the Financial Times of 2 August 2013 (‘Tsvangirai criticises election as farce’), as he tried to explain the support Robert Mugabe and his party command amongst the people of Zimbabwe.

Besides, far from the chaos which according to the imperialist media characterises the Zimbabwean economy, it is actually doing rather well. It grew by 10.5% in 2011 and by 4.6% last year, while this year it is expected to grow by 3.4% – more than the British economy is expected to grow over the next three years (see Andrew England, ‘Zimbabwe’s voters head for the polls’, Financial Times, 1 August 2013).

In this same article Mr England says that “the focus [in the election] for many is the poor state of the economy, as the country struggles to recover from years of economic chaos, in part triggered by Mr Mugabe’s land reforms that led to the seizure of white-owned farms”.However, not only does the alleged economic chaos not sit easily with the growing economy of which Mr England writes in the same article, but also is completely contradicted in the Financial Times of the following day (cited above) by the same Mr England, in which he speaks of thousands of families who “benefited from Mr Mugabe’s land reform programme…” Either it is a different Mr England who wrote the article of 2 August from the one who wrote the one on 1 August, or by 2 August he had forgotten what he had written the previous day, or he expects his readers of the 2 August article not to remember the content of the one written the day before.

Instead of writing about the economic chaos, Mr England and other members of the notorious imperialist journalist fraternity should be writing about imperialist attempts to throttle the Zimbabwean economy through a regime of imperialist sanctions. In the light of imperialist sanctions, Zimbabwe has reoriented its trade, commercial and industrial relations towards China, as a result of which it has managed to nullify western sanctions, while the soaring prices of minerals, such as diamonds, platinum, nickel and gold, have served to help the economy further still.

ZANU-PF has emerged from a very difficult period much strengthened. In the first round of the 2008 presidential election, Tsvangirai polled more votes than Robert Mugabe, a fact which jolted ZANU-PF out of its apathy and complacency. As a result it galvanised its support base for the second round, only to find that Tsvangirai, sensing that he would lose the re-run, refused to take part in it. As a result, Robert Mugabe won.

Tsvangirai had pinned his hopes to remove president Mugabe from office through a combination of pressure by the leading imperialist powers and members of SADC, especially South Africa. What actually transpired was a great disappointment to the imperialist powers who were bent upon regime change in Zimbabwe. In 2009, with the help of SADC, the two contenders agreed to form a unity government, with Robert Mugabe staying as president and Tsvangirai becoming prime minister, while the latter’s deputy, Tendai Biti, was given the finance portfolio.

During the 5 years of the unity government, while the economy strengthened and a new constitution was written and approved in a referendum, the MDC leadership was found to be mired in corruption and grown comfortable with the trappings of office. Various scandals and splits in its ranks further weakened the MDC, which was shown to have had no programme other than “Robert Mugabe must go”. It had nothing else to offer the electorate. Welshman Ncube, a former MDC leader, who has since 2005 led a smaller breakaway, also called the MDC, rejects ” a coalition of convenience, a coalition of opportunists”, whose main agenda is to remove Robert Mugabe rather than, as he puts it, to build a new Zimbabwe on the basis of “democratic values” that Tsvangirai does not share.

With the election out of the way, and the economy improving, ZANU-PF means to carry forward its indigenisation policy, requiring 51% of banks, mining companies, food, tobacco and other crucial enterprises to be owned locally. ” Now that the people of Zimbabwe have granted us a resounding mandate in the governance of the country”, says president Mugabe, “we will do everything in our power to ensure that our objective of total indigenisation, empowerment, development and employment is realised. This is our final phase of implementing the ideals of the liberation struggle” (quoted by Andrew England in ‘Africa – Mugabe undaunted’, Financial Times, 16 August 2013).

Saviour Kasukuwere, minister in charge of indigenisation, has correctly stated that this process of economically empowering the Zimbabwean people is ” meant to undo years of colonialism. If there is anybody scared, they had better stay away” (ibid.)

Far from scaring investors, driving foreign capital away, isolating Zimbabwe and being a hindrance to the progress of democracy, ZANU-PF’s electoral victory and its economic policies are bound to lay the basis for further economic consolidation and advances, and in the process promote real democracy by empowering the Zimbabwean people – economically and politically.

The latest electoral victories of Robert Mugabe and ZANU underline the utter failure of the attempts of imperialism and its stooges to effect regime change in Zimbabwe through economic sanctions and demonisation of the Zimbabwean regime on a grand scale.

We send our heartfelt greetings to Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF on the occasion of their historic victory and wish them further successes in the difficult, but noble, task of building a strong, prosperous, independent and proud Zimbabwe.

 

Posted in AfricaComments Off on ZIMBABWE: Decisive electoral victories of Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF, a rebuff to imperialism

Will 1,000 American ‘human shields’ stop another criminal war?

NOVANEWS

by hasta_la_victoria

Human shields from Britain are greeted as they cross the border into Iraq, February 2003

Human shields from Britain are greeted as they cross the border into Iraq, February 2003

Arriving first in Syria

by FRANKLIN LAMB
Damascus

A sort of roller-coaster atmosphere pervades Damascus these days, with both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ news rippling through the airwaves every quarter hour or so. Much of the population monitors it all closely. People listen; they read; they discuss their interpretations of the latest media reports or the rumours circulating – wondering, surmising, deliberating on the timing of the now-assumed American attack on their country.

In the very popular Abaa coffee house, on the edge of the old city, in what is called the Sarugha section, customers, many of them students, enjoy the fine cool mist that is sprayed from ceiling pipes, providing welcome relief from the 37 degree celsius temperatures prevailing outside.

You want a Damascus tradition? Gathering at the Abaa is it. Many are glued to their laptops or else in animated conversation, analysing the extent and likelihood of the strike upon their homeland by those who profess to be acting out of ‘humanitarian’ concerns.

This observer often meets interlocutors in the Abaa because it’s very pleasant. It is large with dozens of tables. It is also cheap and two blocks from my hotel. I have noticed that common greetings are changing from “kif hallack” (how are you?) and “Arak lahekan” (see you later), to “Get home safely” and “Good luck with the checkpoints.”

But there is also a growing esprit de corps, a coming together of much of the population, as the countdown to the firing of the American missiles begins. Much in evidence also is a rallying around the Assad government – the opposite, one would presume, of what the White House had hoped would result from its threats.

A good friend from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARCS) described how her friends are preparing for the American attack. “We gather our important documents, birth, marriage certificate and passport and make photo copies. Then we leave them with friends in ‘safe’ areas or even bury them somewhere. No one knows how bad the Americans will bomb us. At work we have been told during our final practice drill that the next siren will be the ‘real thing’ and we will do as we have planned for.”

SARCS, by the way, has been providing some amazing rescue and medical services for Syrians and Palestinians during this expanding crisis.

“Many of my friends and family are leaving,” she added. “But it’s not easy, and is very expensive now to go to Lebanon, and they don’t want us – and my family has decided to stay in our home no matter what happens in the coming days.”

One topic getting a lot of attention here is the reluctance of the American public to attack Syria, and whether or not Obama will ignore it. “What kind of democracy do you have that your president can ignore the will of the American public?” this observer is frequently asked.

One soldier stationed with his unit outside my hotel seemed to speak from his heart: “You Americans claim you are trying to help the Syrian people. Every child knows, both here and in your country I think, that the coming attack will make things much worse for the Syrian people and many others. The American people are good and we hope they can control their government, but we are preparing for the worst.”

The government is assuring the public that Syria is ready for the American attack and that public services will continue. Round-the-clock images of heroic Syrian army exploits air on local TV channels, along with martial and patriotic music. Meanwhile, youngsters, students, and workers have begun gathering at presumed targets to offer themselves as shields while challenging President Obama to bomb them.

Interestingly, an international human shield movement is also coalescing, say informed sources here. One initiative reportedly will bring 1,000 Americans, along with thousands of others, to Syria within the next ten days to guard likely bomb sites – not so very different from efforts to protect Palestinian homes from bulldozing in Occupied Palestine.

Here are some descriptive specifics that have been disclosed to this observer from an international organising committee working round-the-clock to bring the human shield initiative into being:

International Human Shields coming to Syria in solidarity with the Syrian people and in an effort to send a global message and hopefully deter an American attack next week.

Timing – While moves can be made fast and with all other key elements in place, time is not in our favor. Ten more days for preparation would be ideal. The HS initiative assumes that it must be done in such a way that very little time lapses from the official announcement of the action to the actual arrival of the human shields on the ground in Syria.

Impact – In order to achieve a significant impact, the objective is to have at least 1000 Americans and several thousand international human shields deployed in Syria. Ideally, this would include at least one representative from every UN Member State, and would serve as evidence of the true ‘international community’ opposing the American attack.

The US activist-based steering committee is quickly bringing together professionals in IT, marketing, logistical planning and implementation, public relations, accounting, documentarians, and experienced project managers.

Ferries from European ports will need to be arranged to carry significant numbers of human shields from major European cities. Ideally, several jumbo jets will be chartered from some of the world’s major cities to carry those joining the effort.

HS/Government Relations – The first objective of the enemies of Syria will be to portray the human shields as nothing more than pawns of President Bashar al-Assad. This was precisely what the mainstream media did in 2003, presenting human shields as pawns of Saddam.

To be effective, the human shields must be seen not only as independent supporters of the people of Syria, but also as representative of the will of the vast majority of people around the world—namely those opposed to the pending US-led western attack.

To this end, the HS should work with prominent leaders in the civilian sector of Syrian society. No effort should be spared to produce daily news stories of HS and Syrian people working hand-in-hand to protect the country from the ongoing foreign-instigated aggression. Once again, many details here need to be discussed and agreed upon if any action is to reach its full potential.

Strategy – The sites that HS deploy to must be very well publicized and must be identified as protected sites under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The White House is saying that they are not going to attack infrastructure (as they did with Iraq in 2003), but in point of fact, the infrastructure must be attacked if the goal is to drive Syria into the stone age and to make it so weak that Israel, through its Takfiri agents, will eventually take the country over. Moreover, it is well known that the Syrian people and military cannot be defeated without massive attacks on the infrastructure.

Therefore it becomes absolutely vital that human shields deploy to all power plants, water treatment facilities, bomb shelters (should they exist), civilian communications sites, food storage facilities, and any other sites critical to the civilian population.

As for military sites, although I personally feel such deployment would be morally defensible, the power of HS in the public relations realm would probably be significantly compromised, and intelligent public relations is absolutely critical.

At this point, a comprehensive list of protected sites needs to be produced immediately, and the sites will need to be verified by the most independent sources we can manage to obtain. UN representatives or former representatives, human rights attorneys, legal experts, and others of this type all could render invaluable assistance in this.

Deployment to sites not specifically listed in the Fourth Geneva Convention should also be undertaken, including ethnic and religious minority communities whose members are deathly afraid of the foreign invaders/terrorists. Special emphasis should be placed on christian populations as the western audience, sadly, has more sympathy for christians than muslims.

Public Relations – It cannot be over stated that smart public relations strategies are the key to success.

Our goal is to personalise the people of Syria and show their suffering through the eyes of the HS. This can be done with effective daily reports to be uploaded on the internet and reported by legitimate news agencies such as Press TV, RT and Telesur.

A massive effort must be made to educate the public about the reasons for the Fourth Geneva Convention (FGC) and the imperial powers’ undeniable record of knowingly destroying the lives of ‘protected persons’ as defined in the FGC. Essential to this effort are well-spoken Arabic/English speaking spokespersons.

We should be ready to provide evidence of any attack on such sites the moment it happens, and to have legal briefs prepared so as to immediately charge the aggressors with war crimes. This is why it is critical that the HS are almost exclusively at sites that are protected by the FGC.

We cannot necessarily stop them from doing what they intend to do, but we can make their aggression harm them far more than Syria and its people in the end. Herein lays the power, using the enemy’s momentum against him in the most advantageous way possible.

Note: a contract has been drafted to protect human shields in their home country courts against the accusation that they are aiding and abetting and providing material support to a foreign power that is considered hostile. Human shields are acting in a manner consistent with, and in promotion of, international law and to save innocent, civilian lives.

Time will tell which Americans will arrive first in Syria, the military or the American public. Many Syrians are today praying it will be the latter and have pledged to join them to defeat the coming aggression.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Will 1,000 American ‘human shields’ stop another criminal war?

Mairead Maguire: eye witness report from Syria

NOVANEWS
by hasta_la_victoria

“It’s a proxy war by outside forces and the world must stand up against it.”

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Mairead Maguire: eye witness report from Syria

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