Edition No. 021
EDITED BY PATRICE GREANVILLE
Nuggets of clarity, irony, humor and wisdom seen & overheard on the Net
Dispatch first iteration 2017-08-31 | Collated and edited by Patrice Greanville
MAIN COMMENTERS: • Luciana Bohne • Paul O'Hanlon • Bill Purkayastha • Tyler Brown
We are hearing incessantly about the Houston Floods.
It’s just like the September 11th attacks which were given saturation coverage by the media. The deaths of round 3,000 people in the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon are known to all and the date 9/11 is virtually emblazoned on everyone’s forehead.
Contrast this with the now largely forgotten great Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami which killed 230,000–280,000 people in 14 countries. That’s 80 times as many than died on September 11th 2001. Sometimes called the Boxing Day Tsunami – it happened in what year? People might struggle to remember the year which was actually more recent than the 9/11 attacks – the devastating tsunami occurred in 2004.
What is the world’s greatest maritime disaster? The name which springs to just about everyone’s mind is the Titanic. This happened over a century ago in 1912 and resulted in the death of some 1,512 people. The Titanic sinking has inspired several books, numerous articles, six feature films and three TV mini-series. The sinking of the Titanic is not the world’s biggest maritime disaster however.
In 1987 – within living memory - The MV Doña Paz was a Philippine registered passenger ferry which sank after colliding with the oil tanker MT Vector on December 20, 1987. With an estimated death toll of 4,386 people and only 26 survivors, it remains the deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history. How many people remember that even though it is much more recent than the Titanic disaster? How many Hollywood blockbusters have been made about that? Not a one.
During the build-up to the attack on Iraq in 2003 we were told incessantly about Iraq’s `weapons of mass destruction` (WMD) which simply did not exist. What did people ever know about the horrific 10-year-long sanctions regime against Iraq which killed around a million Iraqis, half of them children. BBC foreign news editor John Simpson once said that if British people knew about the effect of the sanctions on the Iraqi people they would be outraged. I remember speaking to Channel 4 news reporter Julian Rush and I asked him “What do you think people ever knew about the sanctions on Iraq?” He answered, “Not very much, I’m afraid.” The point is WHY DIDN’T PEOPLE KNOW? Didn’t the media have a duty to inform the public about the sanctions? Instead they misled the public with stories about Iraq’s supposed `threat` which was pure fiction as Iraq was a country with no navy, no air force and only a badly equipped army. UNSCOM carried out over 7,000 inspections in 7 years destroying around 95% of Iraq’s weapons capability. Iraq was thus defenceless which is precisely why Bush and Blair attacked. The war was `nothing to do with oil` yet the first thing the invading armies did was to seize the oil fields and the ministry of oil in Baghdad while leaving museums and hospitals unguarded and looted. Right now, some 14½ years after the war (actually not a war but a one-sided slaughter) the electricity has not been properly fixed and many Iraqis only get a few hours of electricity a day. This in one of the hottest countries on earth in summertime when air-conditioning is a necessity rather than a luxury.
Suicide bombers were unknown in Iraq before the US led invasion - now they are a daily occurrence which are barely reported. I remember a particularly horrific multiple car bombing in Baghdad last summer which killed 300 people – it was reported on the BBC website but was actually below an item about the Wimbledon tennis. Tennis while an enjoyable sport to watch is really something trivial. The deaths of hundreds of defenceless human beings is surely more important.
The Vietnam war and the sideshows to it in Laos and Cambodia killed around 6 million people. How many films are there which show the awful suffering of the local people due to `strategic hamlets` (i.e. concentration camps), carpet bombing, napalm, agent orange, clusters bombs etc.? The numerous Hollywood films about the war like The Deer Hunter, Rambo, Apocalypse Now, The Green Berets, even the Oliver Stone ones which some say are less crass all invite sympathy for the invader and not the invaded.
The world of MASH: imperial propaganda by any means necessary
The TV series MASH depicted life during the Korean War through the eyes of a team of American military surgeons. The three-year war resulted in around 35,000 American deaths but the number of Koreans killed both North and South was around 3.5 MILLION – about 100 times as many. Watching the fictitious version of the glossily produced MASH you would never guess this. The series MASH was one of the most successful shows in TV history and the final episode drew an audience of over 120 million – more even than the Super Bowl. A documentary which gave a more realistic view of the war would never have achieved this kind of audience and would likely be relegated to a minority channel in the small hours of the morning.
The world’s longest serving prisoner of conscience Woo Yong-gak who participated in a North Korean commando raid spent an incredible 41 years in prison from 1958-1999 – this was in the `democratic` South Korea remember. At the time of the Korean War the South Korean leader was a brutal dictator called Syngman Rhee who had a notorious secret police. He had a `madman theory` which was to act crazy so that your opponents don’t know what to expect. Future US President Richard Nixon interviewed him and adopted his `madman theory` when he bombed civilian targets like hospitals and schools in Hanoi and Haiphong during the so-called `Christmas bombings` in Vietnam in 1972.
It would seem that the lives of rich, white-skinned, English speaking westerners are of much greater value than those of the people of the so-called third world.
Documentaries such as those made by Australian film maker and journalist John Pilger don’t have multi-million-dollar budgets and have to be crowd funded. When completed they are usually shown in `graveyard slots` when many are unable to see them. In one case, a documentary about nuclear weapons meant Pilger had to agree to a `balancing programme` being made which showed the opposite point of view. This is prohibitively expensive for a small production company and leads to the absurd situation where someone who watches one programme and not the other might become seriously `unbalanced`.
The third world is rich, it’s the people of the third world who are poor because their assets are effectively stolen by rich countries. Their lives are deemed to be less glamorous, less interesting. They don’t feature in Hollywood films except as victims being saved by some square jawed Caucasian Biggles figure from the rich north.
That may be changing, the proportion of white skinned people in the world is one in seven and falling. The economic clout is slowly drifting from Europe and North America to China and the BRICS countries. The world’s tallest buildings are no longer in North America but in Asia. The USA is an empire in decline like the British one was. All empires decline and fall, no exceptions.
Where will it all lead? Will China take over as the world’s leading imperial power? Will China take over at the United Nations as `the leader of the free world`? Will coalitions led by China go running around bombing small countries in to the Stone Age in the name of `freedom`? Instead of watching westerns starring John Wayne will we be watching `easterns` starring John Wu?
That’s all in the future of course which none of us can properly foresee. In the meantime, maybe our `news` could tell us more about the suffering of the third world who after all according to the United Nations Charter are equal with us.
The thick fog of anti-communist and anti-Russia disinformation
"How many of you know this episode, which killed hundreds (possibly up to 2000) of civilians, even happened?"--Bill Purkayastha
Putin's latest vile crime!
After the Russian parliament rose up in revolt against his criminal rule, which has destroyed Russian society, he has unleashed his army on the parliament building, shelling it with tanks and setting it on fire, while his stormtrooper squads are fighting their way through barricades set up by the people of Moscow.
Putin must pay!
....oh wait, no, that wasn't Putin. That was the West's favourite "democratic" president of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, who did that in 1993, to Western applause.
How many of you know this episode, which killed hundreds (possibly up to 2000) of civilians, even happened?
"In the so called “mistakes” of Stalin lies the difference between a revolutionary attitude and a revisionist attitude. You have to look at Stalin in the historical context in which he moves, you don’t have to look at him as some kind of brute, but in that particular historical context. I have come to communism because of daddy Stalin and nobody must come and tell me that I mustn’t read Stalin. I read him when it was very bad to read him. That was another time. And because I’m not very bright, and a hard-headed person, I keep on reading him. Especially in this new period, now that it is worse to read him. Then, as well as now, I still find a series of things that are very good.”--Ernesto Che Guevara
It must always understood that it is easier to demonise a man than an entire people and a great historical process. Thus the enemies of humanity and justice soon discovered that by demonising Stalin and making him shorthand for communism they could forever stain the reputation of communism and thereby block the path to revolution.
"The common or 'mainstream' view of Stalin as a bloodthirsty tyrant is a product of two sources: Trotsky’s writings of the 1930s and Nikita Khrushchev’s 'Secret Speech' to the XX Party Congress in February, 1956. This canonical history of the Stalin period - the version we have all learned - is completely false."
Via Luciana Bohne
Communist parties of the world protest the shameful anti-communist provocations by the presidency of the European Union:
"The provocatory equivalency between fascism and communism means to absolve fascism and the belly that generates it and nourishes it, that is to say, the system of capitalist exploitation. While the communists are persecuted and condemned, while the communist parties of the various countries of the EU are prohibited, at the same time it honors and grants pensions to the collaborators of the nazis and their political heirs."[See the original declaration below, by the Communist Party of Portugal]
Press Office Statement- August 24, 2017
The Portuguese Communist Party denounces and condemns with utmost indignation the promotion, under the Estonian Presidency of the European Union, on August 23 in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, of yet another serious display of anti-communism and historical revisionism.
Under the pretext of celebrating a self-proclaimed and provocative "European day of remembrance of the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes”, the European Union promotes and identifies itself with the most reactionary conceptions and falsifications of contemporary history, unscrupulously slandering the experiences of socialism and deplorably equating fascism with communism, exonerating and silencing the crimes of Nazi-fascism and the responsibilities of the great capitalist powers which - with the Treaty of Munich, which legitimized the annexation of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany - opened the way for the start of World War II and the invasion of the Soviet Union by Hitler’s hordes.
This is all the more deplorable, since in countries that are part of the European Union - as is the case of Estonia - racism and xenophobia are growing, communist parties are persecuted and banned, communist ideology is criminalised, fascist criminals are rehabilitated, symbols of the anti-fascist struggle and of the victory achieved over Nazi-fascism, with the decisive contribution of the Soviet Union, are being destroyed - without forgetting that in the Ukraine the accolade of fascism and anti-communism have become policies of the putschist power.
The PCP finds it is essential not to ignore this and protest strongly against such a serious display of anti-communist obscurantism, especially since it is promoted by an entity that, with the aim of teaching the world lessons on "democracy" and "human rights", is at the service of big business and great powers, pursues a policy of supranational impositions, aggression and limitation of national sovereignty and democracy, intensification of exploitation, attack on social and labour rights, and where repressive trends and practices of limitations on fundamental rights and freedoms and of militarist nature, are developing.
The PCP, while demanding from the Portuguese Government a clear demarcation from this type of operations of falsification of history and of anti-communism, will not allow fascism to be whitewashed and the ideal and communist project to be criminalised, let erase the decisive contribution of the communists and of the socialist system for the defeat of the tenebrous Nazi-fascism projects and for the great progressive and revolutionary advances achieved in the twentieth century.
Suicide bombers were unknown in Iraq before the US led invasion – now they are a daily occurrence which are barely reported. I remember a particularly horrific multiple car bombing in Baghdad last summer which killed 300 people – it was reported on the BBC website but was actually below an item about the Wimbledon tennis. Tennis while an enjoyable sport to watch is really something trivial. The deaths of hundreds of defenceless human beings is surely more important.
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