Sunday 25 Oct 2015, CPR Sunday’s Geopolitical Talk Show
Eric Draitser with security analyst Mark Sleboda and journalist/broadcaster Don DeBar.
Introduction by Eric Draitser:
This week we discuss the election in Portugal and the anti-democratic actions of the Portuguese president who has refused to recognize the results. We also discuss the rise of the far left and new right in Europe, and what this means for European politics and organizing. The conversation also touches on the latest developments in the war in Syria, and other regional issues. All this and much more in this hour-long weekly conversation.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.
IDF soldiers are a constant presence in the Old City, providing cover for the approximately 500 Israeli settlers who lord over and terrorize the tens of thousands of Palestinians who live in this part of Hebron.
Hashem was not someone who could be cowed or silenced by fear. Even after being sentenced by the IDF to house arrest for several years, a punishment that caused him to lose his medical job with the UN, Hashem did not stop advocating for the liberation of his people.
He managed a psychological support group for members of his community, encouraging them to speak about the trauma that was a part of their daily lives. Together with his wife, Nisreen, he created a social enterprise for Hebron’s young Palestinian women, helping them to learn skills and earn money to support themselves and their families.
An acclaimed philosopher and journalist who has recently visited Iran tells Fars News Agency that the reality of Iran is absolutely different from the way it’s being illustrated in the mainstream media.
Andre Vltchek says “Iran that you see when visiting the country has nothing in common with that imaginary, terrible and cruel Iran that the West’s mass media has created.”
Commenting on Iran’s nuclear program and the international responses to it, Andre Vltchek says the majority of the Middle East nations and the global public don’t have any objections to Iran developing nuclear technology, considering Iran’s peaceful nature and its long history of non-violence.
“I am actually horrified that such countries, such colonial powers like the United States, France and the UK have their nuclear arsenal and that the world is tolerating it. These countries are responsible for loss of hundreds of millions of human lives, all over the world. But Iran! Why should anyone fear Iran? Yes, Iran is transparent and accountable over its nuclear program,” he asserted.
Vltchek who has traveled to tens of countries in five continents talks of his experience in Iran with delight, noting that without visiting Iran, “one’s knowledge of the world could never be complete.”
Andre Vltchek was a keynote speaker at the International Congress on 17,000 Iranian Terror Victims held in Tehran last month.
FNA spoke to Mr. Vltchek about Iran’s relations with the West, the portrayal of Iran in the Western media and the international perceptions of the country’s nuclear program.
Q: You recently attended the International Congress on 17,000 Iranian Terror Victims, which commemorated the Iranian citizens and officials murdered by the terrorist groups following the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Isn’t it ironic that while Iran says it’s been a victim of global terrorism itself, it’s being accused by some of the major powers and their allies of sponsoring terrorism?
A: Yes it is ironic, but the entire arrangement of the world is more than ironic; it is grotesque. We have a group of several, mainly Western countries, ruling the world, brutalizing all continents, reigning over entire planet using dictatorial and often criminal means, but these countries are accusing others, mainly their victims, of being undemocratic [and] even of sponsoring terrorism.
Their propaganda is extremely advanced. It was being perfected throughout the centuries. I suggest one thing: keep telling the truth and continue presenting facts. But the countries like Iran should not engage in direct debate with the West over these issues. It is because the West and its propaganda are too advanced in their ways and in the methods to manipulate public opinion through distorting the facts. Their outright lies are now more convincing than the truth.
The video of 13 year old Palestinian Ahmed Manasrah bleeding to death on the pavement of an East Jerusalem neighborhood has been described as “shocking,” “disturbing,” and “painful to watch.” The callous verbal abuse and insults from Israelis watching the child writhe in agony are variously characterized as “heartless” and “cruel”; and indeed they are. “Die you son of a whore. Die! Die!” the Israeli onlookers can be heard shouting in the video which has since gone viral on social media.
While there has been much discussion of this video, and other similar incidents involving the extrajudicial executions of Palestinian youths accused by Israel of having stabbed Israelis (the veracity of some of these claims is disputed), there is decidedly little examination of the sociological implications. Specifically, it has become taboo to interrogate just what sort of ideological and psychological conclusions can be drawn about Israelis society – a society where such behavior is not an outlier; where, rather than being an anomaly, it is indicative of a significant, if not mainstream, attitude. Such undeniably barbaric treatment is not simple hate, and cannot be explained away or justified. But that is precisely what the corporate media does.
Suffice to say that there are many political analysts, activists, and others who are timid about outright condemnations of Israeli society and Israeli attitudes. They are, with much justification, fearful of being demonized as anti-Semitic, terrified that rather than open dialogue and critical examination, they will have their arguments twisted and portrayed as hateful and racist. While such accusations are sometimes warranted – as in the case of fascist bigots and neo-Nazis for whom “Jew” is synonymous with “evil” – more often than not these are willfully deceptive deflections designed to shield Israeli society from the criticism that it so clearly deserves.
Last year, I stopped travelling to Indonesia. I simply did… I just could not bear being there, anymore. It was making me unwell. I felt psychologically and physically sick.
Indonesia has matured into perhaps the most corrupt country on Earth, and possibly into the most indoctrinated and compassionless place anywhere under the sun. Here, even the victims were not aware of their own conditions anymore. The victims felt shame, while the mass murderers were proudly bragging about all those horrendous killings and rapes they had committed. Genocidal cadres are all over the government.
Don’t get me wrong: there is really nothing wrong with maturity. But instead of maturing elegantly into something noble, like a precious wine, Indonesia just decayed into disgusting vinegar, or spoiled milk, or most likely into something much, much more sinister – a monstrous decomposing carcass in the middle of a once socialist, progressive and anti-imperialist Asia.
After the 1965 coup backed by the US, Australia and Europe, some 2-3 million Indonesians died, in fact were slaughtered mercilessly in an unbridled orgy of terror: teachers, intellectuals, artists, unionists, and Communists vanished. The US Embassy in Jakarta provided a detailed list of those who were supposed to be liquidated. The army, which was generously paid by the West and backed by the countless brainwashed religious cadres of all faiths, showed unprecedented zeal, killing and imprisoning almost everyone capable of thinking. Books were burned and film studios and theatres closed down.
Women from the left-wing organizations, after being savagely raped, had their breasts amputated. They were labeled as witches, atheists, sexual maniacs and perverts.
Professional militant Christian cadres from Holland and other Western countries landed in Indonesia well before the coup. They were entrusted with the radicalization of Muslims, Hindus, Protestants, Catholics and the Indonesian military. They labeled Communists and other leftists as “dangerous atheists” and began an indoctrination and training campaign aimed to liquidate them.
“Fear isn’t so difficult to understand. After all, weren’t we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It’s just a different wolf.” ― Alfred Hitchcock
In an age dominated with news of school shootings, school lockdowns, police shootings of unarmed citizens (including children), SWAT team raids gone awry (leaving children devastated and damaged), reports of school resource officers tasering and shackling unruly students, and public schools undergoing lockdowns and active drills, I find myself wrestling with the question: how do you prepare a child for life in the American police state?
Every parent lives with a fear of the dangers that prey on young children: the predators who lurk at bus stops and playgrounds, the traffickers who make a living by selling young bodies, the peddlers who push drugs that ensnare and addict, the gangs that deal in violence and bullets, the drunk drivers, the school bullies, the madmen with guns, the diseases that can end a life before it’s truly begun, the cynicism of a modern age that can tarnish innocence, and the greed of a corporate age that makes its living by trading on young consumers.
It’s difficult enough raising a child in a world ravaged by war, disease, poverty and hate, but when you add the police state into the mix—with its battlefield mindset, weaponry, rigidity, surveillance, fascism, indoctrination, violence, etc.—it becomes near impossible to guard against the toxic stress of police shootings, SWAT team raids, students being tasered and shackled, lockdown drills, and a growing unease that some of the monsters of our age come dressed in government uniforms.
This piece by Tom Engelhardt is a must read for anyone who follows the follies of Empire in their quest to subdue the planet. As much as money and technology has been used to extend the Empire’s reach and control of the world, it is not a substitute to the salient fact that the world is fundamentally uncontrollable.
Tune into TomDispatch to read more about the world we live in.
That figure stunned me. I found it in the 12th paragraph of a front-pageNew York Timesstory about “senior commanders” at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) playing fast and loose with intelligence reports to give their air war against ISIS an unjustified sheen of success: “CENTCOM’s mammoth intelligence operation, with some 1,500 civilian, military, and contract analysts, is housed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, in a bay front building that has the look of a sterile government facility posing as a Spanish hacienda.”
Think about that. CENTCOM, one of six U.S. military commands that divide the planet up like a pie, has at least 1,500 intelligence analysts (military, civilian, and private contractors) all to itself. Let me repeat that: 1,500 of them. CENTCOM is essentially the country’s war command, responsible for most of the Greater Middle East, that expanse of now-chaotic territory filled with strife-torn and failing states that runs from Pakistan’s border to Egypt. That’s no small task and about it there is much to be known. Still, that figure should act like a flash of lightning, illuminating for a second an otherwise dark and stormy landscape.
And mind you, that’s just the analysts, not the full CENTCOM intelligence roster for which we have no figure at all. In other words, even if that 1,500 represents a full count of the command’s intelligence analysts, not just the ones at its Tampa headquarters but in the field at places like its enormous operation at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, CENTCOM still has almost half as many of them as military personnel on the ground in Iraq (3,500 at latest count). Now, try to imagine what those 1,500 analysts are doing, even for a command deep in a “quagmire” in Syria and Iraq, as President Obama recently dubbed it (though he was admittedly speaking about the Russians), as well as what looks like a failing war, 14 years later, in Afghanistan, and another in Yemen led by the Saudis but backed by Washington. Even given all of that, what in the world could they possibly be “analyzing”? Who at CENTCOM, in the Defense Intelligence Agency, or elsewhere has the time to attend to the reports and data flows that must be generated by 1,500 analysts?
History may eventually decide the ‘New World Order’ started on September 28, when Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama had a 90-minute face off at the UN in New York.
Irrespective of spin – “productive” according to the White House, “tense”according to a source close to the Kremlin – facts on the ground accumulated almost immediately.
Putin did press Obama for the US to join Russia in a real grand coalition bent on smashing ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. The Obama administration, once again, relented. I detailed here what happened next: an earth-shattering game-changer in the ‘New Great Game’ in Eurasia, straight out of the Caspian Sea, that caught the acronym fest of US intelligence – not to mention the Pentagon – completely off-guard.
So this was Putin’s first message to Washington, and the Pentagon/NATO combo in particular; your fancy ideas of stationing tactical nuclear weapons or expanding missile defense to Eastern Europe, or even Asia-Pacific, are just a mirage. Our cruise missiles are capable of wreaking real effective havoc; and soon, as this piece argues, there will be more hypersonic, high-precision long-range missiles added to the mix.
Old habits don’t die hard – they remain in a coma forever. The Pentagon’s response to the facts launched from the Caspian Sea was to conduct an airdrop of light weapons to “a select group of vetted leaders and their units,” as in those famously non-existent Syrian “moderate rebels.” The weapons will inevitably be captured by assorted Salafi-jihadi goon outfits in no time.