Thursday, October 22, 2009

How We Live Today (The Murders at al-Sukariya & in the US)

Growing up in the 50's and early 60's I never thought I would need to apologize for being an American citizen. It never crossed my mind that the horrors I read about which were rationalized by the Germans during their Holocaust moment would become commonplace in my country when I was an adult. Where is the shame today? (As an aside I should mention that my comments during my 25-year aerospace software engineering career against this type of technology usage led to my permanent inability to ever get a job again. And my comments about how Hillary allowed her sex to be used by the Murdochians as a get-out-of-jail-free card on defense issues has led to the same by my friends in my former progressive liaisons.) Peter Coyote co-reports that (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

On October 26, 2008, U.S. helicopters stormed a farm near the Iraq-Syria border in order to assassinate leading al-Qaeda operative Abu Ghadiya. One year later, the authors report from Syria that the raid may have been botched, and the lives of seven innocent civilians were mistakenly taken instead. . . . Akram Hamid scrubs the grease off his hands after a day of labor in Abu Kamal, a small Syrian town not far from the Iraqi border. Twenty minutes later, the mechanic rides his motorcycle past the autumn-dry rushes along the west bank of the placid Euphrates River, to al-Sukariya, happy to start fishing. It is dusk on a Sunday in October and the turned earth of the fields is pungent. Scattered farmers amble slowly home. A few late-season frogs pulse beneath the birds, chattering and thrashing in the rushes, as Hamid gets off his bike and scoots down the bank to drop his line.

He feels the rhythmic thwup-thwup in his stomach before he sees the helicopters. He stops to watch. He has seen helicopters, but not like these, and never four so close together. They display no markings of the Syrian Air Force, and they are the wrong color, painted black. He sees a B and a four. And they are flying low. When the door-gunners open fire, Hamid throws himself against the angled bank of the river. The men are shooting everywhere, firing from the air, spraying the ground.

Suddenly, the formation splits apart. Two helicopters hover just above the cinder-block walls that enclose a small farm, 300 feet away. One disappears inside the farm, and the last one lands about halfway between him and the wall. Eight men in uniform leap out and run quickly, crouching low, carrying weapons. They are not Syrians. They take cover farther up along the same bank, several hundred yards away.

Shells from the air are tearing out chunks of concrete, punching holes through the cinder blocks as if it were paper. The noise of the guns and motors is deafening. Hamid pulls himself along the rutted ground, peers fearfully over the edge of the bank, and slithers away, taking advantage of a lone tree for cover. He does not understand what is happening.

Some of the eight soldiers on the ground move forward and take up positions outside the high walls, but they don't seem to notice him. The hovering helicopters continue firing, tearing up the ground between him and the farm. “I thought it was safe because they didn’t shoot at me,” Hamid says later. After watching for about 15 minutes, he jumps on his bike to escape but, he says, “that’s when they shot me.” A bullet rips through his right arm, breaking it, mangling the muscles and nerves badly, and knocking him to the ground. Struggling to his feet, he sees the soldiers watching him as they climb into the helicopters and leave. “I was the last one they shot,” he recalls. “No one was shooting at the soldiers,” Hamid continues with certainty. “No one was shooting back.”

Despite his serious wound, Hamid was lucky. U.S. troops — possibly special operations, according to some sources — killed seven people inside the walled farm that day: a father, his four sons, including a teenage boy, the father’s visiting friend, and the night watchman. They also severely wounded the night watchman’s wife. She and her six-year-old son, along with Hamid, would be the only survivors.

John Pilger. Love him or leave him. His thoughts don't exactly line up with official policy papers, but they do with mine. I have long wondered how Obama can look at his own little girls everyday without wincing when considering the policy he has continued against the children of Afghanistan and Iraq (not to mention the recent events in Honduras). Gird you loins for Orwell's ultimate "peace" candidate. (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

War is peace. Ignorance is strength - Pilger on Obama In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger draws on George Orwell's inspiration to describe the Call of Obama: "attractive to liberal sensibilities, if not to the Afghan children he kills". Barack Obama, winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, is planning another war to add to his impressive record. In Afghanistan, his agents routinely extinguish wedding parties, farmers and construction workers with weapons such as the innovative Hellfire missile, which sucks the air out of your lungs. According to the UN, 338,000 Afghan infants are dying under the Obama-led alliance, which permits only $29 per head annually to be spent on medical care. Within weeks of his inauguration, Obama started a new war in Pakistan, causing more than a million people to flee their homes. In threatening Iran – which his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said she was prepared to “obliterate” – Obama lied that the Iranians were covering up a “secret nuclear facility”, knowing that it had already been reported to the International Atomic Energy Authority. In colluding with the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, he bribed the Palestinian Authority to suppress a UN judgment that Israel had committed crimes against humanity in its assault on Gaza – crimes made possible with US weapons whose shipment Obama secretly approved before his inauguration. At home, the man of peace has approved a military budget exceeding that of any year since the end of the Second World War while presiding over a new kind of domestic repression. During the recent G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, hosted by Obama, militarised police attacked peaceful protesters with something called the Long-Range Acoustic Device, not seen before on US streets. Mounted in the turret of a small tank, it blasted a piercing noise as tear gas and pepper gas were fired indiscriminately. It is part of a new arsenal of “crowd-control munitions” supplied by military contractors such as Ray­theon. In Obama’s Pentagon-controlled “national security state”, the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, which he promised to close, remains open, and “rendition”, secret assassinations and torture continue. The Nobel Peace Prize-winner’s latest war is largely secret. On 15 July, Washington finalised a deal with Colombia that gives the US seven giant military bases.

“The idea,” reported the Associated Press, “is to make Colombia a regional hub for Pentagon operations . . . nearly half the continent can be covered by a C-17 [military transport] without refuelling”, which “helps achieve the regional engagement strategy”. Translated, this means Obama is planning a “rollback” of the independence and democracy that the people of Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Paraguay have achieved against the odds, along with a historic regional co-operation that rejects the notion of a US “sphere of influence”. The Colombian regime, which backs death squads and has the continent’s worst human rights record, has received US military support second in scale only to Israel. Britain provides military training. Guided by US military satellites, Colombian paramilitaries now infiltrate Venezuela with the goal of overthrowing the democratic government of Hugo Chávez, which George W Bush failed to do in 2002. Obama’s war on peace and democracy in Latin America follows a style he has demonstrated since the coup against the democratic president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, in June. Zelaya had increased the minimum wage, granted subsidies to small farmers, cut back interest rates and reduced poverty. He planned to break a US pharmaceutical monopoly and manufacture cheap generic drugs. Although Obama has called for Zelaya’s reinstatement, he refuses to condemn the coup-makers and to recall the US ambassador or the US troops who train the Honduran forces determined to crush a popular resistance. Zelaya has been repeatedly refused a meeting with Obama, who has approved an IMF loan of $164m to the illegal regime. The message is clear and familiar: thugs can act with impunity on behalf of the US. Obama, the smooth operator from Chicago via Harvard, was enlisted to restore what he calls “leadership” throughout the world. The Nobel Prize committee’s decision is the kind of cloying reverse racism that has beatified the man for no reason other than he is a member of a minority and attractive to liberal sensibilities, if not to the Afghan children he kills. This is the Call of Obama. It is not unlike a dog whistle: inaudible to most, irresistible to the besotted and boneheaded. “When Obama walks into a room,” gushed George Clooney, “you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere.” The great voice of black liberation Frantz Fanon understood this. In The Wretched of the Earth, he described the "intermediary [whose] mission has nothing to do with transforming the nation: it consists, prosaically, of being the transmission line between the nation and a capitalism, rampant though camouflaged”. Because political debate has become so debased in our media monoculture – Blair or Brown; Brown or Cameron – race, gender and class can be used as seductive tools of propaganda and diversion. In Obama’s case, what matters, as Fanon pointed out in an earlier era, is not the intermediary’s “historic” elevation, but the class he serves. After all, Bush’s inner circle was probably the most multiracial in presidential history. There was Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, all dutifully serving an extreme and dangerous power. Britain has seen its own Obama-like mysticism. The day after Blair was elected in 1997, the Observer predicted that he would create “new worldwide rules on human rights” while the Guardian rejoiced at the “breathless pace [as] the floodgates of change burst open”. When Obama was elected last November, Denis MacShane MP, a devotee of Blair’s bloodbaths, unwittingly warned us: “I shut my eyes when I listen to this guy and it could be Tony. He is doing the same thing that we did in 1997.”

Suzan (weeping) _________________________


Marja said...

Very shocking information susan. So Obama is not the man everybody hoped he was. Would have been a miracle anyway as power has always been fed by bloodstained money
I am happy to read blogs like the red cross one as well to have a sense that there are still many good people in the world
Arohanui Marja

Suzan said...

Thank you for your positive thoughts, Marja.

It's a fact that he seemed too good to be true to those of us hoping for a progressive future, and after the Cheney/Bush media-sponsored disaster(s) I'm guessing that the powers-that-be took their eight years of profits and found a much seemlier candidate (to put it mildly).

Too bad it all (fantasy and reality?) came apart so quickly. And now, on to more murder and mayhem?

Thank whomever for organizations that actually try to help the needy without the overwhelming endgame of enriching those at the top.


power has always been fed by bloodstained money

susan said...

I noticed your comment to me about the Red Book on Liberality's site and thought I'd come to visit. Essentially, what we're witnessing with this presidency is how totally illogical it is to have an empire called a liberal democracy. It's been true a very long time but what's different now is the ability that ordinary citizens have to obtain information unfiltered by the msm. It makes for an extraordinary cognitive dissonance when we're trying to relate our understandings to most of our contemporaries. Most people prefer to live in in the simple land called Hope but the Shadow looms larger with each passing day. It's getting harder to ignore our pain and sense of personal responsibility and that, in its own way is a good thing. Keep up the good work and please don't despair.

Liberality said...

Suzan-all the candidates I've supported over the years have never even gotten close to being elected. If you don't kiss the powerful's ass, you aren't going to make it to the top.

Suzan said...

Welcome aboard, Susan. Nice name!

And I try not to despair too overwhelmingly every day, but as you've already noted, it gets harder and harder.

I have been agreeing with you and your liberal democracy ideas since the Cheney/Bush takeover - glad to know there's someone else there with me, but how long will it take for the info available from the intertubes to be disseminated to those uninterested/dazed and confused millions? The saddest part is that democracy in the wrong hands has proved to be much more evil than Communism ever was.

Really. Think about it. Communism educated everyone and gave them a job. No one was starving there after the monsters (Stalin, etc.) were gotten rid of. They just got forced out of business by the spectre of more - which is not in itself a bad thing, but considering the dirty hands its been in lately . . . (and I hope I'm not being too subtle here or leaving out too much edifying commentary).

I'm with you too, L!

Dennis was my first pick and will be from now on as no one else has the balls to take on the greed-guys (I've always used the term guys in a gender nonspecific manner).

How can we mobilize our own cadre of generous, liberal-guys, knowledgeable about the real issues that challenge us all and that will actually help to build that bridge to the future?

I saw the President of Singapore on Charlie Rose the other night as he burned the greyed-out Charlie figure a new one on what was really going on in the real world of deals between his country, China, Iran and Russia.

Charlie looked like he had swallowed poison by the end of the show.

Would that they all did.


what we're witnessing with this presidency is how totally illogical it is to have an empire called a liberal democracy. It's been true a very long time but what's different now is the ability that ordinary citizens have to obtain information unfiltered by the msm.

Dave Dubya said...

It's difficult for people to see through Obama's facade of pseudo populism/progressivism. They need to cling to their Hope(TM) for Change(TM).

Few of us can see he is no liberal at all, but a corporatist. His FISA vote was enough proof for me. Now he is just another executive for Wall Street(Still no regulation or accountability) and the defense industry.(Still promoting the "necessary war") He would not be in the White House if he were not a company man.

Democracy will stay dead in America until we eliminate corporate personhood, dismantle corporate media conglomeration, and publicly fund election campaigns.

I won't be holding my breath waiting for that real change.

Suzan said...

Oh Dave.

You are soooooo right (correct!), and thank you for your comments, sir!

They need to cling to their Hope(TM) for Change(TM).

Can we trademark that phrase? Copyright it?

No? No corporate personhood for us!

I won't be holding my breath until then either (although I'll undoubtedly have no breath left to hold by the time any real change occurs).

Again, my thanks to you.

Democracy will stay dead in America until we eliminate corporate personhood, dismantle corporate media conglomeration, and publicly fund election campaigns.