Taliban will get International recognition

AUGUST 23, 2021

Taliban will get International recognition

From Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

46 allies, plus 11 supporter countries, totaling 57 countries, deployed 150,000 troops at peak time, all modern weapons, latest technology, advanced tactics, and trillions of dollars could not defeat the Taliban. Taliban were poorly equipped with light weapons, barefooted, empty stomach, and untrained, and poorly organized groups, yet, won the war. Americans must have learned a bitter lesson that it is not their war machines, not their military might, not their money, which can protect them or elevate them. It requires a different set of skills and qualities which save you from humiliation, disaster, and defeat.

What happened on 15 August 2021 in Afghanistan, is “Saigon-Plus”, with its consequences much more than the Saigon incident on 30 April 1975 in Saigon, Vietnam. The humiliation and economic loss are multiplied by many folds. The loss of lives and loss of face is also much higher in magnitude than the Saigon incident. The shock and trauma will remain for a much longer time and the US may require decades to recover completely.

However, the US has lost its two-decades-long war on the ground, yet trying to fight it politically, diplomatically, and on media. Western media is an expert in spreading fake news and fabricating stories. The US and allies are using media to distort the Taliban image, creating fuss and unrest, projecting a negative image of the Taliban. However, the world has witnessed that the Taliban are very much peaceful and even they have not fired a single bullet, have not killed a single person, have not injured a single person, have not harassed a single person, have not arrested a single person, have not threatened a single person while recapturing Kabul. Taliban has granted a general amnesty to all and ensured to protect each individual. Taliban has offered to provide full protection to all diplomatic missions, staff, and UN structures and all foreign media persons, and all foreigners in addition to all Afghan nationals. It is Western media creating confusion and spreading fake news to create unrest in the country.

The general public has welcomed the Taliban and has not offered any resistance while the Taliban were recapturing the country. Most of the local people were happy with the Taliban and supported them. In fact, the Taliban are the real son of the soil and representing Afghanistan. They were loyal to the country and looking after the national interest, they fought with the foreign occupation for two decades, they offered martyrdom and their lives. They won against the invaders and they deserve to rule the country.

The US has realized this fact long ago and initiated peace negotiations with the Taliban in 2017. The US knows very well that the puppets like Hamid Karzai or Ashraf Ghani are not the real people of Afghanistan, neither representing Afghanistan, that is why they ignored them and deliberately kept them out of negotiations. The US administration believes that the Taliban are the real pillars of power and so that they decided to negotiate with them. It is natural, while the US negotiated with them and concluded a peace deal in February 2020, it was indirect recognition of the Taliban. It is to emphasize that either USSR-backed or American puppets Presidents, all were traitors only and were not representative of Afghanistan. They served their masters and implemented their agenda. They all were not loyal to Afghanistan and never looked after the interests of the Afghan people. Only the Taliban are true representatives and looking after Afghan interests. In return, the Taliban enjoys public support and popularity.

Even, today, the US is in communication and collaboration with the Taliban for the evacuation process, the control of Kabul airport is due to direct communication between the Taliban and Americans. While the US is working in close liaison with the Taliban, there is no reason to accept the legitimacy of Taliban rule.

China and Russia have consented to work closely with the Taliban and many other countries in the region are in touch with the Taliban. It is expected in the coming few days when the Taliban declare their Government formally, there will be more than a hundred countries to recognize them officially. All countries in the region, OIC member states, countries under China or Russian influence will recognize Afghanistan soon. Most African and Latin American Countries will also recognize Taliban rule. Many countries in Europe will accept the Taliban government. As a matter of fact, the Taliban’s glorious victory is a ray of hope for all victims, suppressed, and developing and underdeveloped nations. Maybe America will face again a humiliated isolation if they persist to oppose the Taliban government. It is worth mentioning that in the recent past, the US faced embarrassing humiliation in the General Assembly, when a motion was moved to stop the Israel-Gazza conflict, the motion to shift the Capital of Israel to Jerusalem from Telaviv, etc. If the US has not learned a lesson from the past, must be ready to face such embarrassments in the future too. Informally, the US has recognized the Taliban and working closely with them. But politically may be hesitant to acknowledge their potential to rule Afghanistan. The Us may also convince a few of its close allies not to accept Taliban rule.

Afghanistan is an important country and known as the “Heart of Asia” is situated on very important trade routes, connecting East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, China, Russia, Eurasia, and through Gwadar to onward destination in Africa, Europe, and Middle-East. Afghanistan is rich in minerals and mines. The Fertile land and excellent climate are blessings for agriculture. Afghanistan has a long history, traditions, culture and is known for bravery. It is fact that Afghanistan is known as the “Graveyard of Great Empires”.

It is appealed to all peace-loving nations and individuals to extend support to the Taliban. A country that suffered four decades in the war due to superpowers and three generations suffered war destructions. The country suffered much more explosives than the combined explosive used in world war I and II. A country with total damaged infrastructure, no hospitals, no schools, no industry no social life, deserve your attention.

Those who destroyed Afghanistan have a responsibility to reconstruct it. The UN may initiate a case of war crimes and fix war compensation. Afghan people are not the people of lesser God, they deserve your attention and support. Be generous and be king. Save humanity, Serve Humanity!

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Kabul & Saigon: A Tale of Two US Failures

August 18, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Ali Hamouch

Each time the US decides to invade a country, it starts with a poorly thought-out mass mobilization and ends up dealing with disgraceful consequences.

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Kabul & Saigon: A Tale of Two US Failures

A new dawn is embracing Kabul today – a dawn that bears with it a load of uncertainty, bewilderment, and curiosity. What some have deemed as the fall of Kabul is seen as a rise by others, though what is certain is the massive failure of US foreign policy.

But, the real failure did not begin on the 15th of August 2021, but on the 30th of April 1975, the day the Americans lost control of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam after 17 years of invasion, intervention, and genocides. 

Despite the constant reassurance of top US officials that the Kabul retreat would not resemble that of Saigon 46 years earlier, the opposite turned out to be true.

Indeed, both scenarios bear a lot of resemblance in time and context, offering a great history lesson for those willing to learn. 

The Big Bad Wolf 

Vietnam

Each era leading to a US invasion was shaped or contained by an internal US policy which dictated the direction of the narrative. It stresses the view of different cultures or ideologies as an “other,” always opposed to the American Dream and its (ill-defined) values. 

In the ‘50s, McCarthyism shaped the populace’s view of communism as anti-American: Named after Senator Joseph McCarthy, this strategy was the political equivalent of witch-hunting in the US. It relied on spreading terror in the hearts of those who were deemed to have communist leanings and ousting them, going as far as accusing economics professors of being communists and questioning them for the simple act of teaching Marxist economic theory. 

The FBI led much of the maligned campaign, earning the title of “the single most important component of the anti-communist crusade” by historian Ellen Schrecker. The term “crusade” will be further used to justify an unjust invasion albeit half a century later.

The employment of the “Red Scare” within the US prepared the soil for any invasion as long as it pertained to “fighting communism,” which is the reason why the Vietnam War, pre-civil rights movement, was not contested much. 

The Vietnam invasion occurred in 1958 at the height of the Cold War, where the US was determined to push back any attempt by the USSR to expand even on an ideological level. 

This approach was backed by the Truman Doctrine, named after the 33d US President Harry Truman, which stated that “The United States would provide political, military and economic assistance to all democratic nations under threat from external or internal authoritarian forces.” In reality, this doctrine was a political frontline weapon to ensure that the US would be able to expand its military influence in any region of the world without receiving much backlash from within its apparatuses.

The war was waged against the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, commonly known as the Viet Cong, in an attempt to control the policymaking of the country.

The war went on to become the longest in the US history at the time; it was massively contested by Americans during the civil rights era, and was even challenged by the likes of Mohammad Ali who refused to enlist for the Vietnam War, voicing his rejection by saying “No Vietnamese ever called me nigger!” Simultaneously, the human and economic cost of the war kept growing at an alarming rate.

The image of the US as a liberator came to an end during the revelation of the My Lai Massacre in 1968 in which an army unit killed large numbers of unarmed civilians after raping them. 

In hindsight, the US wanted to spread “democracy” using universal values of respect and freedom as a pretext for amassing further geopolitical control of the world. All of this was planned in order to cement itself as the “Leader of the Free World.”

Afghanistan

Through what Noam Chomsky labeled as “Systematic Propaganda,” the US eventually had to change the labels of its reasons to go to war. “Anti-communism,” after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, became “The War on Terror.” Now, every group which espoused seemingly Islamic beliefs and did not see eye to eye with the US was deemed as “terrorist.”

But, what was peculiar about this approach and the new labeling of Taliban was the US’ support of Islamic movements from 1978 up until the end of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan – they were seen as a powerful tool in the defeat of the USSR. Afghan Islamic fighters were a powerful ally in the US war against communism, which was eventually concluded by the collapse of the Union a few years after it retreated from Afghanistan. 

Bin Laden: Once labeled as a
Bin Laden: Once a “freedom fighter,” later labeled a “terrorist.”

So what happened to this alliance? Was the US in need of a new enemy to present itself as the gatekeeper of the new century?

The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 took place after the occurrence of the 9/11 attacks. The shock of the Twin Towers falling signaled the end of the US’ impenetrable fort and the unipolarity of the world. In an attempt to preserve the last remnants of its power status, the US announced the “War on Terror” which would begin by invading Afghanistan and destroying the Taliban, who were accused of shielding Osama Bin Laden and other key members of Al-Qaeda.

The US decision was highly questionable, notably as most of the involved in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis and not Afghans, yet Saudi Arabia was never officially investigated or pointed at as a possible associate. The victims’ families are still demanding the release of FBI documents detailing the Saudi government’s involvement in the attacks.

Furthermore, the only nations to ever consider the Taliban as a legitimate party in power were Pakistan, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia – the latter two being close allies to the US. It now becomes clear that the invasion of Afghanistan was merely a thesis statement of sorts, a declaration of hegemonic persistence despite the severity of the attack. 

However, this time, the US needed wider support to perform its next step: It forcefully enlisted the assistance of the NATO as it provided a large portion of the funding. Subsequently, the UK, Japan, and a large part of the European Union became embroiled in a war they did not comprehend. 

In an infamous speech by then-President George W. Bush, he described his country’s upcoming response as a “crusade against terrorism,” voicing similar rhetoric as the one adopted during the Cold War: That of American exceptionalism and its divine right to shape the world in its image. Only this time, it did not want to shape anything, it simply wanted to preserve the shadow of its deflating empire.

The invasion of Afghanistan came just three weeks before the implementation of the Patriot Act, which legitimizes the Orwellian surveillance state. This comes in parallel with convincing a majority of Americans about the need for relinquishing their personal data to fight terrorism. Suddenly, the safety of the US became equivalent to a complete absence of privacy and personal thoughts. Through this tactic, fending off Islamic extremism just became the most radical objective of the nation, subsequently turning it into the boogeyman of the century.

Now the US was not vying to spread its value but to simply, and bluntly, preserve its interests.

A Fall from Grace

And now to the outcome of each invasion – the fall of Saigon and the fall of Kabul – not only do they bear narrative similitudes, but also picturesque ones: People being lifted from embassy rooftops, associate workers being left behind, journalists promised a safe flight back home left stranded, and a local government backed by Washington left to collapse.

But which country does the aforementioned scenery ascribe to?

Both actually, which goes to showcase how the US has learned nothing from its mistakes in Vietnam. The US should have learned its lesson by now: Guns and funds do not fundamentally alter the social structure of a country. 

People lifted off the US embassy in Kabul (2021) and Saigon (1975).
People lifted off the US embassy in Kabul (2021) and Saigon (1975).

The Viet Cong were insurgents in the US-dominated part of Vietnam yet they persisted despite all of their enemies’ wealth and military power. The Taliban, mostly formed of Pashto groups, remained an integral part of Afghanistan’s social and political life despite attempts to uproot it and the formation of a US-backed government. 

Foreign invaders will always be seen as “others” in the same way the invader describes his victims as an “other.” The dynamic is violent, with each party trying to impose its presence through all means necessary. Yet, one of them inherently adheres to the social and cultural components of the country, and the other cannot begin to comprehend it. 

But, perhaps the worst outcome of these wars is that the mere talk about both countries becomes constantly entangled with the talk about the US invasion. In the collective mindset of the world, these nations are only defined through their years of war with the US troops and not through their culture, their aspirations, or heritage.

Both countries have been scarred, left to fend off for themselves; their resources depleted and their economy suffering.

On the other hand, the US’ retreat in both cases was a crystal clear humiliation, an inadvertent announcement of their foreign policy and military strategy failure. In Saigon, it erased the image of America as the defender of liberties, and in Kabul, it drew the picture of a nation in shambles that leaves its allies behind.

Regarding the US retreat from Afghanistan, Joe Biden said that they aimed “to deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden.” But, given that the US has assassinated him in 2011, what was the aim of remaining there for an additional 10 years?

Biden follows up with the following remark: “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build,” which showcases a clear dissociation with the “democracy spreading” discourse used decades earlier.

The head of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, Armin Laschet, called the retreat “the biggest debacle the NATO has suffered since its founding.” British paper Daily Mail asked on its front page “What the hell did they all die for?”, showing a casket of a British soldier who died in Afghanistan.

So, after 20 years of endless battles in Afghanistan, what did they die for?

If the Viet Cong ruled all of Vietnam and the Taliban took Kabul in a matter of days, what was the point of wasting all of these taxpayers’ money, civilian lives, and the lives of soldiers on both sides?

A recent poll showcased that the US is mostly disapproving of Biden’s withdrawal strategy from Afghanistan….Though in reality, is there a best way to retreat from a country you have invaded after losing the longest war in your nation’s history? 

دروسٌ من هزيمة الأميركيين وحِلف الناتو في أفغانستان

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الإثنين 16 آب 2021

المصدر: الميادين نت

د. عبد العزيز بن حبتور

أهم الدروس هي للمتعاونين مع المحتل وأصدقائه بأنَّ التُربة الحُرة لن تقبلهم، وسيظلون هاربين في أرجاء الأرض مقابل خيانتهم لوطنهم ودينهم وتاريخهم.

سيتذكَّر العالم بِرمَّته هذا اليوم، وهذا التاريخ بالذات

سيسجّل التاريخ الإنساني يوم الأحد الموافق 15 آب/أغسطس 2021م، باعتباره يوم هزيمةٍ نكراء تجرَّع فيه حِلف شمال الأطلسي كُلّه بقيادة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية كأس الهزيمة المُر، وستبقى مرارته عالقة في نفسيات القادة السياسيين والعسكريين الغربيين وذهنياتهم لعقودٍ طويلة قادمة.

سيتذكَّر العالم بِرمَّته هذا اليوم، وهذا التاريخ بالذات، وأنَّ محطة جديدة إضافية من محطات الهزائم والنكسات التي صاحبت مسيرة “الإمبراطورية الأميركية” أضيفت إلى نكسات وهزائم في حروبٍ سابقة في فيتنام وكوريا والصومال والعراق ولبنان.

وكما هو حال الأحداث العظيمة التي حلَّت بالتاريخ الإنساني، والتي ينقسم حولها المفكرون والمنظرون والمحللون من الإعلاميين والسياسيين، تجد أن القِسم الأول يتشفى بفرحٍ عامر لمشاهدة سيناريو الهزيمة التي تُلطِّخ جبين الحِلف العسكري الأكبر على مستوى العالم، وأن ثمة قسماً ثانياً يتألم حسرةً لما آلت إليه النتائج بعد مضي 20 عاماً تقريباً على غزو الأراضي الأفغانية واحتلالها من قِبل حلف الناتو العسكري.

لقد كان يوم الأحد، ومُنذ الصباح الباكر، بكلّ ساعاته ودقائقه الثقيلة، محط اهتمام وسائل الإعلام الغربية العالمية الوازنة، ومعها الوسائل الإعلامية العربية والإسلامية، التي كانت تنقل مشهد الهروب المُخزي لطاقم الموظفين السياسيين والدبلوماسيين عبر الطائرات المروحية من الساحة الخضراء في العاصمة كابول، حيث تتواجد السفارات الغربية، والتي لا تبعد عن مطار كابول الدولي سوى بضعة كيلومترات معدودة.

ومع ذلك، إنَّ حركة المروحيات لم تتوقَّف جيئةً وذهاباً، وكانت تنقل طواقم السفارات إلى المطار حاملين الخفيف من أمتعتهم اليدوية ووثائقهم الأساسية، وكما يقول المثل الشعبي، “أخذ ما خف وزنه وغلي ثمنه”، لأنَّ طلائع المقاتلين الأفغان من جماعة “طالبان” بدأوا الزحف على العاصمة كابول من جميع الاتجاهات.

من بين المغادرين عبر المطار هو سفير الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، كآخر رمز من رموز الهزيمة المدوية. وقبلها بساعاتٍ معدودة، أقلعت طائرة الرئيس الأفغاني أشرف غني، وهو الصديق الصدوق للأميركيين، وبرفقته كبار أعوانه من أركان حُكمه، رغم أنَّه ألقى خطاباً حماسياً قبل يومٍ واحد في القصر الجمهوري، وقال ما معناه إنهم سيدافعون ويقاتلون عن أفغانستان والشعب الأفغاني، ولو بقوا يقاتلون لوحدهم في القصر الجمهوري. مثل ذلك الخطاب الأجوف ألِفنا سماعه مراراً من ساسة عرب ويمنيين، وما زال مُوثقاً في سجلات التاريخ المعاصر.

أبرز الدروس المستقاة من حدث التجربة الأفغانية 

أولاً: دأب الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن على القول في الأسابيع الأخيرة إنَّهم يرتبون لنقل المترجمين إلى بلدان عديدة، حتى يُؤَمِنوا لهم الإقامات اللازمة في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. وهُنا يُقصد بطبيعة الحال تلك الجماعات المتعاونة معهم من العُملاء والمرتزقة الأفغان، لأنَّ بقاءهم في البلاد يُعرِّضهم للانتقام والمحاسبة من قبل الشعب الأفغاني، وهو درس لجميع العُملاء والمرتزقة في العالم أجمع، ومنهم المرتزقة اليمنيون.

ثانياً: أية تُربة وطنية حُرة في العالم لا تقبل أي مُحتل، مهما كانت قوته وجبروته. ولذلك، إنَّ القواعد الأطلسية وجنودها من الأميركيين والبريطانيين والألمان والفرنسيين والإيطاليين، ومن بقية أعضاء الحِلف، أصبحوا مطرودين حاملين خسائرهم المادية والبشرية، وكذا جرحاهم. كُل ذلك سيبقى وجعاً دائماً في ضمير شعوب تلك البلدان المُعتدية على أفغانستان وشعبها المسلم.

ثالثاً: يتذكَّر العالم أجمع أحداث الحادي عشر من أيلول/سبتمبر 2001، أثناء تدمير بُرجي التجارة في نيويورك، والتي راح ضحيتها قرابة 3000 إنسان وأكثر، وتمَّ تحميل تنظيم “القاعدة” وجزء من “طالبان” هذا الفعل المتهور، لكن أنْ تأتي أميركا بقضها وقضيضها مع حلف الناتو، ويغزوا الدولة والبلد الأفغاني بقوة الحديد والنار في العام 2001م، دونما أدلة ثابتة على تورط حركة “طالبان” في الأحداث، فهذا هو قِمّة الصلف والعجرفة والتكبر، من دون أدنى اعتبار للإنسان والمجتمع الأفغاني بِرُمَّته. وقد مارسوا أثناء غزوهم أبشع أنواع الجرائم بحق المواطنين الأفغان. ولذلك، إنَّ الدرس المهمّ هُنا هو هزيمتهم وهزيمة مشروعهم الاستعماري الوقح.

رابعاً: طريقة التفكير الغربي المتعالي لم تتغير مع مرور الزمن، وهي مُحاولة لإخضاع الشعوب والأمم الحُرة بالأسلوب ذاته والطريقة ذاتها. ولذلك، تجدهم يُكرِّرون أخطاءهم كمنظومة سياسية ثقافية رأسمالية ليبرالية غربية. ما حدث في كابول تكرر في سايجون وهوشي منه ومقديشو.

خامساً: تكبَّد حلف شمال الأطلسي خسارة الآلاف من جنوده بين قتلى وجرحى ومفقودين، مع عتاد عسكري هو الأكثر تطوراً على مستوى العالم، وخسر الشعب الأفغاني من مقاومته ومواطنيه أضعاف تلك الأعداد. وبانهزام الحِلف اليوم، ترك بلداً مُمزَّقاً فقيراً تنعدم فيه وسائل الحياة العصرية، وهذا حال الغُزاة على مدار التاريخ، لكن تظل قيمة الحرية التي استعادها الشعب الأفغاني خير قيمة وأعظم دلالة في المشهد بِرُمَّته.

سادساً: بدءاً من اليوم الإثنين وما بعده، يقع على عاتق قيادة حركة “طالبان” استيعاب المتغيرات على المستوى الاجتماعي المحلي والمستوى الدولي لدول الجوار، وعليها استيعاب تحديات المرحلة القادمة لحُكم البلاد وفقاً للقانون، والتوافق مع جميع القوى السياسية والاجتماعية، وحتى المذهبية. هكذا تُدار الدول والحكومات. أما الانفراد بالسلطة واحتكارها، فنتائجه ستكون وخيمة، والتعلم من دروس 20 عاماً وما قبلها هو المحك للحركة وتوجهاتها المستقبلية.

سابعاً: أهم الدروس هي للمتعاونين مع المحتل الغازي وأصدقائه بأنَّ التُربة الحُرة لن تقبلهم، وسيظلون هاربين في أرجاء الأرض مقابل خيانتهم لوطنهم ودينهم وتاريخهم.

الخلاصة: يُنبئنا التاريخ الإنساني، ومُنذ فجر التاريخ، بأنَّ مصير الغُزاة الأجانب لبلدان غيرهم هو الفشل، حين يعود ذلك الغازي إلى بلده مهزوماً مكسوراً مُنكس الرايات، يرافقه المرتزقة الذين قبلوا أن يكونوا تابعين له.

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A Saigon moment looms in Kabul

August 13, 2021

See the source image
Vietnam Civilians try to board a US helicopter at the US Embassy in Saigon, 1975

August 12, 2021 will go down as the day the Taliban avenged America’s invasion and struck the blow that brought down its man in Kabul

A Saigon moment looms in Kabul

by Pepe Escobar,  posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

August 12, 2021. History will register it as the day the Taliban, nearly 20 years after 9/11 and the subsequent toppling of their 1996-2001 reign by American bombing, struck the decisive blow against the central government in Kabul.

In a coordinated blitzkrieg, the Taliban all but captured three crucial hubs: Ghazni and Kandahar in the center, and Herat in the west. They had already captured most of the north. As it stands, the Taliban control 14 (italics mine) provincial capitals and counting.

First thing in the morning, they took Ghazni, which is situated around 140 kilometers from Kabul. The repaved highway is in good condition. Not only are the Taliban moving closer and closer to Kabul: for all practical purposes they now control the nation’s top artery, Highway 1 from Kabul to Kandahar via Ghazni.

That in itself is a strategic game-changer. It will allow the Taliban to encircle and besiege Kabul simultaneously from north and south, in a pincer movement.

Kandahar fell by nightfall after the Taliban managed to breach the security belt around the city, attacking from several directions.

In Ghazni, provincial governor Daoud Laghmani cut a deal, fled and then was arrested. In Kandahar, provincial governor Rohullah Khanzada – who belongs to the powerful Popolzai tribe – left with only a few bodyguards.

He opted to engage in an elaborate deal, convincing the Taliban to allow the remaining military to retreat to Kandahar airport and be evacuated by helicopter. All their equipment, heavy weapons and ammunition should be transferred to the Taliban.

Afghan Special Forces represented the cream of the crop in Kandahar. Yet they were only protecting a few select locations. Now their next mission may be to protect Kabul. The final deal between the governor and the Taliban should be struck soon. Kandahar has indeed fallen.

In Herat, the Taliban attacked from the east while notorious former warlord Ismail Khan, leading his militia, put up a tremendous fight from the west. The Taliban progressively conquered the police HQ, “liberated” prison inmates and laid siege to the governor’s office.

Game over: Herat has also fallen with the Taliban now controlling the whole of Western Afghanistan, all the way to the borders with Iran.

Tet Offensive, remixed

Military analysts will have a ball deconstructing this Taliban equivalent to the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam. Satellite intel may have been instrumental: it’s as if the whole battlefield progress had been coordinated from above.

Yet there are some quite prosaic reasons for the success of the onslaught apart from strategic acumen: corruption in the Afghan National Army (ANA); total disconnect between Kabul and battlefield commanders; lack of American air support; the deep political divide in Kabul itself.

In parallel, the Taliban had been secretly reaching out for months, through tribal connections and family ties, offering a deal: don’t fight us and you will be spared.

Add to it a deep sense of betrayal by the West felt by those connected with the Kabul government, mixed with fear of Taliban revenge against collaborationists.

A very sad subplot, from now on, concerns civilian helplessness – felt by those who consider themselves trapped in cities that are now controlled by the Taliban. Those that made it before the onslaught are the new Afghan IDPs, such as the ones who set up a refugee camp in the Sara-e-Shamali park in Kabul.

A new generation of IDPs in Afghanistan. Image: Supplied

Rumors were swirling in Kabul that Washington had suggested to President Ashraf Ghani to resign, clearing the way for a ceasefire and the establishment of a transitional government.

On the record, what’s established is that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin promised Ghani to “remain invested” in Afghan security.

Reports indicate the Pentagon plans to redeploy 3,000 troops and Marines to Afghanistan and another 4,000 to the region to evacuate the US Embassy and US citizens in Kabul.

The alleged offer to Ghani actually originated in Doha – and came from Ghani’s people, as I confirmed with diplomatic sources.

The Kabul delegation, led by Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of something called the High Council for National Reconciliation, via Qatar mediation, offered the Taliban a power-sharing deal as long as they stop the onslaught. There’s been no mention of Ghani resigning, which is the Taliban’s number one condition for any negotiation.

The extended troika in Doha is working overtime. The US lines up immovable object Zalmay Khalilzad, widely mocked in the 2000s as “Bush’s Afghan.” The Pakistanis have special envoy Muhammad Sadiq and ambassador to Kabul Mansoor Khan.

The Russians have the Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov. And the Chinese have a new Afghan envoy, Xiao Yong.

Russia-China-Pakistan are negotiating with a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) frame of mind: all three are permanent members. They emphasize a transition government, power-sharing, and recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political force.

Diplomats are already hinting that if the Taliban topple Ghani in Kabul, by whatever means, they will be recognized by Beijing as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan – something that will set up yet another incendiary geopolitical front in the confrontation against Washington.

As it stands, Beijing is just encouraging the Taliban to strike a peace agreement with Kabul.

The Pashtunistan riddle

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has minced no words as he stepped into the fray. He confirmed the Taliban leadership told him there’s no negotiation with Ghani in power – even as he tried to persuade them to reach for a peace deal.

Khan accused Washington of regarding Pakistan as “useful” only when it comes to pressing Islamabad to use its influence over the Taliban to broker a deal – without considering the “mess” the Americans left behind.

Khan once again said he “made it very clear” there will be no US military bases in Pakistan.

This is a very good analysis of how hard it is for Khan and Islamabad to explain Pakistan’s complex involvement with Afghanistan to the West and also the Global South.

The key issues are quite clear:

1. Pakistan wants a power-sharing deal and is doing what it can in Doha, along the extended troika, to reach it.

2. A Taliban takeover will lead to a new influx of refugees and may encourage jihadis of the al-Qaeda, TTP and ISIS-Khorasan kind to destabilize Pakistan.

3. It was the US that legitimized the Taliban by striking an agreement with them during the Donald Trump administration.

4. And because of the messy withdrawal, the Americans reduced their leverage – and Pakistan’s – over the Taliban.

The problem is Islamabad simply does not manage to get these messages across.

And then there are some bewildering decisions. Take the AfPak border between Chaman (in Pakistan’s Balochistan) and Spin Boldak (in Afghanistan).

The Pakistanis closed their side of the border. Every day tens of thousands of people, overwhelmingly Pashtun and Baloch, from both sides cross back and forth alongside a mega-convoy of trucks transporting merchandise from the port of Karachi to landlocked Afghanistan. To shut down such a vital commercial border is an unsustainable proposition.

All of the above leads to arguably the ultimate problem: what to do about Pashtunistan?

The absolute heart of the matter when it comes to Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan and Afghan interference in the Pakistani tribal areas is the completely artificial, British Empire-designed Durand Line. 

Islamabad’s definitive nightmare is another partition. Pashtuns are the largest tribe in the world and they live on both sides of the (artificial) border. Islamabad simply cannot admit a nationalist entity ruling Afghanistan because that will eventually foment a Pashtun insurrection in Pakistan.

And that explains why Islamabad prefers the Taliban compared to an Afghan nationalist government. Ideologically, conservative Pakistan is not that dissimilar from the Taliban positioning. And in foreign policy terms, the Taliban in power perfectly fit the unmovable “strategic depth” doctrine that opposes Pakistan to India.

In contrast, Afghanistan’s position is clear-cut. The Durand Line divides Pashtuns on both sides of an artificial border. So any nationalist government in Kabul will never abandon its desire for a larger, united Pashtunistan.

As the Taliban are de facto a collection of warlord militias, Islamabad has learned by experience how to deal with them. Virtually every warlord – and militia – in Afghanistan is Islamic.

Even the current Kabul arrangement is based on Islamic law and seeks advice from an Ulema council. Very few in the West know that Sharia law is the predominant trend in the current Afghan constitution.

Closing the circle, ultimately all members of the Kabul government, the military, as well as a great deal of civil society come from the same conservative tribal framework that gave birth to the Taliban.

Apart from the military onslaught, the Taliban seem to be winning the domestic PR battle because of a simple equation: they portray Ghani as a NATO and US puppet, the lackey of foreign invaders.

And to make that distinction in the graveyard of empires has always been a winning proposition.

Related Video

سلاح الكلمة The weapon of the word.

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation**

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29/06/2021

بثينة شعبان 

المصدر: الميادين نت

استمرّ الغرب بتطوير نهجه بالاهتمام بالكلمة إلى جانب الطلقة، فكانت الحرب الإعلاميّة لا تقلّ أهميّة عن السلاح المستخدم في الحروب.

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إنّ الكلمة في هذا الصراع هي من أمضى الأسلحة، كما أن المثقفين والمفكرين والكتّاب المؤمنين بقضاياهم جنود أساسيون.

متى سيدرك العرب أنَّ أهمية أيّ حدث تقاس بديمومة نتائجه وآثاره والقدرة على التأثير في الواقع من خلال هذه النتائج؟ ومتى سيكفّون عن التهليل والترويج، ويبدأون بتكريس الوقت والجهد لمراجعات حقيقية معمّقة وشاملة، تعزّز الصواب وتصحّح الأخطاء، لمنع الوقوع فيها مرة أخرى وتكرارها؟ 

من يتفكَّر في التاريخ الحديث للسياسات الغربية في المنطقة والعالم، لا بد من أن يصل إلى استنتاج مفاده أنهم يستفيدون من كلّ تجربة يخوضونها، ويتخذون القرارات التي تجنّبهم الوقوع في الأخطاء ذاتها مرة أخرى، وتمكّنهم من تحسين أدائهم في المرات القادمة. 

على سبيل المثال لا الحصر، اكتشفت الولايات المتحدة إبان حربها على فيتنام أنَّ الإعلام الحرّ في حينه أدى دوراً مهماً في صناعة الرأي العام الأميركي والعالمي لمصلحة فيتنام وإيصال حقيقة جرائم العدوان الأميركي فيها إلى معظم البشر؛ فقامت بعد ذلك بتغييرات جذرية في البنى الإعلامية، من الملكية إلى المواضيع والأسلوب، وحتى إلى اللغة والجمل والصياغة، بحيث لم نشهد أيّ صرخة إعلامية حين احتلَّت الولايات المتحدة العراق في العام 2003 لأسباب واهية، بل قامت في هذه الحرب بتطوير سيطرتها الإعلامية، ليصبح الإعلام المسموح به هو الإعلام المرافق للقوات فقط، بحيث يحتاج أي خبر إعلامي لموافقة القائد العسكري الأميركي في العراق. 

وقد استمرّ الغرب بتطوير نهجه بالاهتمام بالكلمة إلى جانب الطلقة، فكانت الحرب الإعلاميّة المضلّلة التي شنّها لتبرير قصف ليبيا، والعدوان على سوريا من خلال أدواته الإرهابية، والترويج للحرب على شعب اليمن، وهو ما لا يقلّ أهميّة عن السلاح المستخدم في هذه الحروب. 

ولهذا كله، توقف الغرب وقفة مهمة، إذ تمكن الشباب الفلسطيني والعربي وأحرار العالم من كسر الاحتكار الغربي للإعلام خلال الهبّة الفلسطينية المباركة، واستخدموا الإعلام الجديد لإيصال حقيقة ما يجري إلى أرجاء الأرض، وكشف كذب الصهيونية والوسائل الإعلامية المماثلة لها، والتي اعتادت أن تكون الوحيدة التي توصل النسخة التي تريد عن الأحداث إلى عقول الشعوب وقلوبهم في البلدان الغربية، بحيث أصبح دعم هذه الشعوب لجرائم الكيان الصهيوني ضد الفلسطينيين أمراً مسلماً به لا يجرؤ أحد على تحديه.

حين خرج مئات الآلاف في الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا وفرنسا وكندا وأستراليا يحملون الأعلام الفلسطينية، ويعبرون عن دعمهم للحق الفلسطيني ولشعب فلسطين في أرضه ودياره، دقّ ناقوس الخطر لديهم بأن إحدى أهم أدواتهم، وهي “التضليل الإعلامي”، تتعرّض لتحدٍّ غير مسبوق من قِبل من فَهِم الآلية وقرر أن يستخدمها لمصلحته حقوقه.

من هنا، يجب أن نقرأ أيضاً قرار السلطات الأميركية حجب مواقع قنوات “العالم” و”المسيرة” و”اللؤلؤة” و”فلسطين اليوم” و”نبأ” و”الكوثر” على الإنترنت، لأنَّ هذه القنوات هي قنوات مقاومة، وهي توضح الوقائع لجمهور المقاومة كي لا يكون ضحيّة للتضليل الإعلامي الغربي. لقد وصل قلق الولايات المتحدة إلى أنها اتخذت قرارات قضائية، واستولت على 33 موقعاً يستخدمها اتحاد الإذاعات والتلفزيونات الإسلامية، و3 مواقع إلكترونية يستخدمها “حزب الله”.

وفي الوقت الذي يُعتبر هذا العمل تقييداً صارخاً لحرية التعبير، وعملاً شائناً لكمِّ الأفواه غير المنسجمة مع الإرادة الأميركية، فإنّ هذا العمل يعبّر عن مدى القلق الذي يشعر به أصحاب القرار في الولايات المتحدة، وفي الغرب عموماً، من اتساع مساحة الفهم الحقيقي لما يقومون به من جرائم بحق الإنسانية، ودور الشبكات الإعلامية المقاومة والإعلام الجديد في إرساء أسس هذا الفهم المستحدث إلى حدّ ما. 

كما يتزامن ذلك مع إعلاء صوت الإعلام الرسمي والخاص في الصين وروسيا، وتصدّي القيادات الصينية والروسية لكلّ تصريح ينطلق من الغرب، وتقديم الجواب المناسب له، وضمان نشر هذا الجواب في الفضاء الإعلامي الغربي. هذا كلّه يعتبر جزءاً لا يتجزّأ من تشكّل العالم المتعدّد الأقطاب، والوعي بأهمية امتلاك الشرق لصوته وأدواته، وأن لا يصل هذا الصوت إلى الدول المستضعفة فحسب، وإنما إلى الدول التي تمتلك أدوات التضليل والهيمنة وتشغّلها أيضاً.

وفي هذا الإطار، إنّ تصفية المقاوم العربي الشريف نزار بنات، والذي استخدم الكلمة والفكر سلاحاً ضدّ العدوان والمعتدين، تعتبر سابقة خطيرة ومشؤومة في أعقاب الهبّة الفلسطينية والمنجزات التي تتحقّق ببطء، ولكن باستمرار، من حيث إنارة درب الناس بالكلمة الصادقة المعبّرة عن الواقع، بعيداً عن النفاق الغربي وتلاعبه بالحقائق والوقائع والأسلوب والجملة والكلمة.

إنّ أكثر ما تأثّرتُ به لخسارة الشهيد نزار بنات هو ما قالته والدته المكلومة: “أعطوا الحرية للمثقفين؛ فنزار كان موسوعة، وحرام أن يموت هكذا”. في هذه الجمل، عبّرت هذه السيدة المقاومة، والتي ربّت نزار على المقاومة، عن حرصها على القضية وعلى فلسطين، رغم خسارتها الشخصيَّة لابنها، لكنها اعتبرته خسارة لفلسطين وللقضية، لأنه كان موسوعة.

 كم هي نبيلة أولاً! وكم هي محقّة ثانياً! لأنهم في الحرب على امتلاك الصوت، يريدون تصفية الأصوات الحرّة والمنتمية في كلّ مكان، كما فعلوا دائماً، من ناجي العلي، إلى غسان كنفاني، إلى مئات الشباب المثقف المقاوم، وفي الوقت ذاته يحجبون المواقع ووسائل الإعلام.

لقد لفت نظري في مؤتمر الأمن الدولي الذي عُقد في سانت بطرسبرغ منذ أيام أنّ وزير خارجية الجزائر شكر روسيا على دعم سوريا في مكافحة الإرهاب. وفي المؤتمر ذاته، حذّر الرئيس بوتين من أنّ النظام العالمي يتمّ تقويضه، وأنّ محاولات البعض لتحقيق مصالحهم وتعزيز أمنهم على حساب أمن الآخرين مستمرةٌّ من دون رادع، بينما أكّد أنّ روسيا تحاول توسيع قاعدة التعاون الخلّاق بين الدول على أسس متساوية وبالوسائل السّياسية والدبلوماسيّة. وفي الأمم المتحدة، أكّد مندوب الصين، في وجه المحاولات الغربية لفرض فتح المعابر إلى سوريا، أنّ “تحسين الوضع الإنساني في سوريا يتطلّب جهوداً عالمية مشتركة ونهجاً شاملاً”.

إذاً، اليوم في المنطقة والعالم، وصلنا إلى نقطة يشعر فيها الغرب بأنّه يكاد يفقد سيطرته وهيمنته على منابع الثروات العربية التي ينهبها، من خلال قمع شعوبنا وتصدير أدواته الإرهابية، وهو يتحسّس بداية خلل في احتكاره التاريخي لإيصال الصورة التي يريد إلى أذهان الشعوب. 

من ناحية أخرى، هناك يقظة صينية – روسية – إيرانية – فنزويلية – سورية – فلسطينية – جزائرية، تشمل عدداً كبيراً من دول العالم، ضاقت ذرعاً بالهيمنة الغربية، وقرّرت اجتراح الأساليب والسبل لإيصال صوتها إلى مبتغاه. نحن في مرحلة قلق شديد لدى القطب الواحد من فقدان هيمنته، وإدراك متسارع للأقطاب الأخرى بقدرتهم المؤكدة على بناء عالم جديد على أساس المصير المشترك والكرامة المتساوية لبني البشر. 

إنّ الكلمة في هذا الصراع هي من أمضى الأسلحة، كما أن المثقفين والمفكرين والكتّاب المؤمنين بقضاياهم جنود أساسيون. علينا جميعاً الانتباه إلى محاولات الفتك بهم أو تشويه ما يكتبون وما يقولون لمصلحة القوى المعادية، فالعملاء المأجورون اليوم يعملون في الداخل والخارج، وقد يكون عملاء الداخل أكثر قدرة على إلحاق الأضرار بقضايانا. لا وجهات نظر في مسألة الحقّ والباطل، ولا وجهة نظر بين الانتماء والخيانة. المرحلة مرحلة حسم ووضوح وشجاعة على تسمية الأشياء والأشخاص بمسمّياتها، وعلى تأبّط الصبر والمثابرة والإيمان بالانتصار زاداً مستمرّاً لكلّ الشرفاء المؤمنين بقضايا شعوبنا المحقّة والعادلة. فلنُعِد للّغة مكانتها، وللكلمة المقاومة مكانها المشرّف، وللمثقفين المقاومين الدعم والاحترام والتقدير والمؤازرة في مهمتهم التاريخية النبيلة.

The weapon of the word.

The West continued to develop its approach to taking care of the word alongside the shot, and the media war was as important as the weapon used in the wars.

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The word in this conflict is the one who has spent the weapons, and intellectuals, intellectuals and writers who believe in their causes are essential soldiers.

When will The Arabs realize that the importance of any event is measured by the permanence of its consequences and its effects and the ability to actually influence through these results? When will they stop cheering and promoting, and start devoting time and effort to real, in-depth and comprehensive reviews that promote right and correct mistakes, to prevent them from falling back and repeating them?

Those who reflect on the recent history of Western politics in the region and the world must come to the conclusion that they benefit from every experience they experience, make decisions that avoid making the same mistakes again, and enable them to improve their performance in the coming times.

To name a few, during its war on Vietnam, the United States discovered that free media at the time played an important role in making American and global public opinion in Vietnam’s interest and communicating the truth about the crimes of American aggression to most people; The war is developing its media control, so that the permitted media is only the media accompanying the forces, so that any media news needs the approval of the U.S. military commander in Iraq.

The West has continued to develop its approach to taking care of the word alongside the shot, and the misguided media war it has waged to justify the bombing of Libya, the aggression against Syria through its terrorist tools, and the promotion of war against the people of Yemen, which is as important as the weapon used in these wars.

For all this, the West stopped an important pause, as the Palestinian and Arab youth and the free world were able to break the Western monopoly of the media during the blessed Palestinian gift, and used the new media to convey the truth of what is going on all over the earth, and uncovered the lies of Zionism and similar media, which used to be the only one that brought the version of events to the minds and hearts of the peoples in western countries, so that their support for the crimes of the Zionist entity against the Palestinians became taken for granted by no one dares to Challenged.

When hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, Britain, France, Canada and Australia came out carrying Palestinian flags and expressing their support for the Palestinian right and the people of Palestine in their land and homes, they sounded the alarm that one of their most important tools, “disinformation,” was subjected to an unprecedented challenge from understanding the mechanism and decided to use it for its own benefit.

Hence, we should also read the decision of the U.S. authorities to block the sites of the channels “Al-Alam”, “March”, “Pearl”, “Palestine Today”, “Akhbar” and “Kawtar” on the Internet, because these channels are channels of resistance, and they clarify the facts to the audience of resistance so as not to be a victim of Western media misinformation. The United States is concerned that it has taken judicial decisions, seizing 33 sites used by the Islamic Radio and Television Union and three websites used by Hezbollah.

While this action is a blatant restriction of freedom of expression, and an outrageous act of unconscionable mouths with American will, this action reflects the extent to which decision makers in the United States, and in the West in general, feel about the breadth of real understanding of their crimes against humanity, and the role of resistance media networks and the new media in laying the foundations for this fairly new understanding.

This also coincides with the raising of the voice of the official and private media in China and Russia, the response of Chinese and Russian leaders to every statement emanating from the West, providing the appropriate answer to it, and ensuring that this answer is published in the Western media space. All of this is an integral part of the multipolar world, and awareness of the importance of the East having its voice and tools, and reaching not only vulnerable States, but also states that possess and occupy disinformation and hegemony.

In this context, the liquidation of the Arab resistance, The Honorable Nizar Banat, who used the word and thought as a weapon against aggression and aggressors, is a dangerous and ominous precedent in the wake of the Palestinian donation and the achievements that are being achieved slowly, but constantly, in terms of lighting the path of the people with a sincere word expressing reality, away from Western hypocrisy and manipulating facts, facts, methods, sentences and words.

What was most affected by the loss of martyr Nizar Banat was what his grieving mother said: “Give freedom to intellectuals; Nizar was an encyclopedia, and he must die like this.” In these sentences, this resistance lady, who raised Nizar on the resistance, expressed her concern for the cause and Palestine, despite her personal loss of her son, but considered it a loss for Palestine and for the cause, because it was an encyclopedia.

How noble she is first! And how right she is again! Because in the war on the possession of sound, they want to filter free and belonging voices everywhere, as they have always done, from Naji al-Ali to Ghassan Kanafani, to hundreds of educated resistance youth, while blocking websites and the media.

I was struck at the International Security Conference held in St. Petersburg a few days ago that the Algerian Foreign Minister thanked Russia for supporting Syria in the fight against terrorism. At the same conference, President Putin warned that the world order was being undermined, that attempts by some to achieve their interests and enhance their security at the expense of the security of others continued unchecked, while stressing that Russia was trying to expand the base of creative cooperation between states on an equal basis and by political and diplomatic means. At the United Nations, in the face of Western attempts to force the opening of crossings into Syria, the Chinese representative stressed that “improving the humanitarian situation in Syria requires joint global efforts and a comprehensive approach.”

So, today in the region and the world, we have reached a point where the West feels that it is almost losing control and dominance over the sources of Arab wealth that it plunders, by suppressing our peoples and exporting its terrorist tools, and is feeling the beginning of a flaw in its historical monopoly to convey the image it wants to the minds of peoples.

On the other hand, there is a Sino-Russian-Iranian-Venezuelan-Syrian-Palestinian-Algerian vigilance, which includes a large number of countries in the world, fed up with Western hegemony, and has decided to go through the methods and ways to get its voice to its goal. We are in a period of great concern among the pole of the loss of its dominance, and an accelerated realization of other poles of their proven ability to build a new world on the basis of common destiny and equal dignity for human beings.

The word in this conflict is the one who has spent the weapons, and intellectuals, intellectuals and writers who believe in their causes are essential soldiers. We should all pay attention to attempts to kill them or distort what they write and what they say for the benefit of hostile forces, as the paid agents today work at home and abroad, and agents at home may be better able to harm our causes. No views on the question of right and wrong, nor a view between belonging and betrayal. The stage is a stage of determination, clarity and courage in naming things and people by their names, and on the patience, perseverance and belief in victory has continued to increase for all honest people who believe in the issues of our peoples that are right and just. Let us return to the language of its place, the word resistance has its honorable place, and the resistant intellectuals have support, respect, appreciation and support in their noble historical mission.

NEO – Is Vietnam gravitating toward a Russian orbit now?

Is Vietnam gravitating toward a Russian orbit now?

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -May 1, 2021

by Phil Butler, …with New Eastern Outloook, Moscow, …and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa.

[ Editor’s Note: Phil Butler gives us an update on the trending Russia-Vietnam relationship in practical terms, a topic that gets almost no publicity inside the US, and why VT enjoys its cross publishing relationship with NEO.

There is too much going on to keep one’s eye on, particularly in far away places with different languages and the myriad of evolving geopolitical situations. The strength of VT has always been the depth and breadth of its people.

The new twist coming on like gang busters is consolidated pandemic planning, covering everything from monitoring for an early warning on the next outbreak, and where the response can still allow for a functioning economy.

The old school malevolent actors have had their wings clipped in that the old divide and conquer tools are outmoded, as they can be spotted a mile away from over use.

Notice how little publicity the result of the Covid economic damage has been in the US, buried under trillions of new debt, which neither China nor Russia have. They are still in the black.

Look at the respective leaderships the above countries had at the time, with the US having “Mr. Fakin It” at the helm, who could never get himself out of TV host mode.

Biden is still an unknown foreign policy player, in some respects. The Republicans will be painting him for as weak as they can, which could push him to be more aggressive than needed.

To date he is betting all his marbles on the domestic economy, to create a contrast with the Trump clown show we have endured, to leadership with decades of experience in how government works… Jim W. Dean ]

Moscow

First published … May 01, 2021

Given Russia’s significant shift eastward, news of new cooperation with Vietnam and other southeast Asian nations bears watching. President Putin’s recent call with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong over Sputnik V shipments highlights moves by Moscow to engage the region.

Vietnam began vaccinating citizens using the AstraZeneca vaccine. The second registered vaccine is Sputnik V. The initial batch was just handed over by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev to Vietnam for free.

But vaccines are not the only new cooperation signaling closer Moscow-Hanoi relations. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin only recently announced so-called multifaceted initiatives aimed at creating a closer strategic partnership.

Moscow is now forging forward with bilateral cooperation between the two countries on trade, economically and investment-wise. A good example is a recent move for cooperation between Vietnam and Russia in artificial intelligence (AI).

A recent online conference organized by Vietnam Software & IT services (VINASA), Russoft, and other vested interests focused on leading-edge AI technologies to discuss the future.

Another critical aspect of this Russia-Hanoi synergy is the apparent uptick in policy leveraging from Washington in the region. The west is trying desperately to counter China, and particularly in the South China Sea, and Hanoi plays a vital role in this.

This becomes apparent reading the narrative from sources like Rand Corporation, where political scientist Bonny Lin used Vietnam’s play to dampen China’s response on the issue using a Russian oil rig as a chip.

But these kinds of moves to appease the west seem to be fewer in numbers recently, which could indicate a more significant shift. Experts say Vietnam’s “mediation diplomacy,” if this is indeed their hand, may fall apart over the Myanmar test.

Vietnam has done a stellar job of taking advantage of being the chair of ASEAN and its new UN Security Council seat. Regional and world attention is now focused on Hanoi’s every move. But, the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea issue Vietnam leads the discussion on will not be the long-term policy point past 2022.

Western think tank narratives try to pit Vietnam against China for obvious reasons. But the long term will see the dominance of the Chinese regionally expand.

It’s a bit comedic how outlets like Voice of America try to dictate Vietnamese policy and intentions. This story, headlined “Vietnam Advancing Ties With Russia to Hedge Against China, US,” says what the US State Department wants everyone to think if that is not obvious.

Russia is not bartering arms and oil for clout, as VOA summarily insists. Hanoi is seeking a much more comprehensive pact with Moscow than western analysts and policymakers let on.

This report via Phnom Penh Post relays Mr. Putin’s conversation with General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, which covered specific measures to foster their cooperation in security, defense, energy, oil and gas, economy, trade, education, training, and tourism.

At the end of their talk, the Vietnamese party chief invited President Putin to officially visit Vietnam to attend the closing ceremony of the Vietnam Year in Russia and the Russia Year in Vietnam. Putin accepted the invitation, naturally.

Finally, all over Vietnam news, we find reports of Russia-Vietnam mutual trade strategies for agricultural products with export potentialities like meat, wheat, fertilizer, milk in the Russian market. At the same time, business and political sources tell of Vietnam exporting seafood, coffee, tea, black pepper, fruit, rubber, etc. in the Vietnamese market.

So, one has to moderate the narratives coming from US State Department and western corporate media, versus the more logical and meaningful discussions, talked about in Russia or Vietnam. Only in this way, does the big shift in the Southeast Asia region come fulling into view.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

BIOGRAPHYJim W. Dean, Managing Editor

Managing EditorJ

im W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

Read Full Complete Bio >>>

Jim W. Dean Archives 2009-2014https://www.veteranstoday.com/jim-w-dean-biography/jimwdean@aol.com

NEO – The Nasty Secrets behind Pentagon Treason and America’s Rogue Nuclear Threat

Roosevelt found the Army not just unfit, but a threat to democracy with an officer corps largely aligned with Adolf Hitler

April 28, 2021

by  Gordon Duff, Senior Editor … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscsow, 

We will begin with a short and painless history lesson. Just before the US entered World War II, General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff for the US Army, was tasked with getting America ready for war.

To do so, he removed 30,000 incompetent officers, most of them West Point Graduates, from their positions with the Army and Reserve/National Guard Commands. Eventually, he ended up putting an obscure Lt. Colonel named Dwight Eisenhower in charge of all European operations.

From the 1972 hit song by the Scottish music group Steelers Wheels:

“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…Stuck in the Middle Again”

Roosevelt found the Army not just unfit but a threat to democracy with an officer corps largely aligned with Adolf Hitler.

Vietnam

Vietnam was worse but the problem was sloth and cowardice. Here the Pentagon set up luxury resorts as military bases for brass and visiting “dignitaries” while those fighting the war starved and died in numbers unseen since the darkest days of World War II.

In the North/I Corps we had 3MAF Headquarters, the “Puzzle Palace,” with top rated chefs and high-end brothels while in the South we had MACV Forward, the infamous Westmoreland Compound, originally set up by MSUG’s Wesley Fischel, architects of the corrupt Diem regime.

This author enjoyed a firsthand view of Vietnam as a Marine infantryman serving in units commanded by privates and lance corporals while commanders were never seen.

A true story, from 1970. This author was being released from active duty as a corporal in the Marine Corps, stationed at that time at LZ Rockcrusher at Dai La Pass outside Da Nang. I was called into Da Nang to meet with General Nickerson, then III MAF Commander and an officer selection board.

I was offered an immediate commission if I chose to remain in the Corps and a slot, at a later date, at Annapolis. I was told the Marine Corps was getting rid of the “dead wood,” and I was asked to stay on.

My response, you mean “combat vets?” General Nickerson’s response: “That’s exactly what we mean.” My attempt at irony either zoomed past him or he did not care.

I was a combat vet, but I must have been the “right kind” of combat vet, tall, blond, white and educated and, seemingly “compliant.” They might have been wrong about that. Today’s “Dancing boy village” at Kabul with its million-dollar condominiums puts both to shame and we do not want to discuss the Green Zone in Baghdad.

Today

Our point is this, the military gravitates toward proving the Peter Principle and is, in fact, the best possible example of the worst principles of management. From Wikipedia:

“The Peter Principle is a concept in management developed by Laurence J. Peter, which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their “level of incompetence”: employees are promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent.”

The military now takes it to a whole new level with promotion based on servile gullibility and adherence to a blend of approved conspiracy theories, where Dispensationalism and Dominionism, both stressing the Pentagon’s role in bringing about nuclear Armageddon or the newest versions under Trump, Qanon, COVID denialism and a blend of Fascism and Hucksterism.

The Viper Academies and the January 6 Coup Attempt

This week, the director of the Air Force Academy, Lt. General Richard Clarke, director of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs decided to comply with presidential orders to investigate right wing extremism and white supremacism, which has virtually drowned the American military, by blaming “both sides.”

Several of the leaders of the January 6, 2021 coup attempt were Air Force Academy graduates with high security clearances. Secretary of Defense Austin ordered all military commands, and especially the Air Force Academy, to investigate extremism in the ranks.

It is supposed to be a highest priority that as few paranoid schizophrenics as possible enter the highest levels of America’s nuclear command structure. If you feel this statement reflects sarcasm, it is obvious that you have been asleep for the last couple of decades or more.

Asleep or Complicit?

This is the same military that has overseen the export of hundreds of tons of processed heroin from its bases in Afghanistan, that watched ISIS steal millions of tons of oil from Iraq and Syria and is now directly involved in that process itself, at presidential order.

At one point in 2015, ISIS (banned in Russia) had 12,000 oil trucks lined up 4 abreast headed into Turkey, a convoy visible from the surface of the moon with the naked eye. Yet, America’s drones, satellites and surveillance aircraft saw nothing, not until Russian Aerospace Forces decided to intervene.

These are facts that prove that every American military commander was and is fully complicit in protecting the operational activities of named terror groups.

We can make the exact same statement about the world heroin trade as well. At one point, the US Air Force asserted that the Taliban (banned in Russia) was flying heroin out of Afghanistan secretly from American bases.

As American humorist Jim W. Dean so often says, “You just can’t make this stuff up.”

Bin Laden Again

There are issues that should never be forgotten or allowed to be pushed aside. One is Osama bin Laden, longtime CIA asset chosen as “patsy” for the fake War on Terror and the other 9/11, one of the world’s greatest false flag events.

Note that Trump appointee, Clarke, was the architect of the Bin Laden raid. This “made” Clarke as an American hero and moved him into a position where he could, potentially, be very useful to extremist elements.

In 2009, this author traveled to Pakistan and met with Imran Khan, currently Pakistan’s Prime Minister, then ISI Chief General Pasha and discussed bin Laden’s death. The group also included former Head of the Army General Aslem Beg, former ISI Head and VT Editor General Hamid Gul and Chairman of Pakistan’s JCOS, Admiral Sirohey, also a member of VT’s Advisory Board.

This author also reviewed classified files on bin Laden and interviewed one of the men who buried bin Laden in Afghanistan. According to records, including reports from Fox News and other sources, bin Laden died in December 2001. From Fox News:

“Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader.

‘The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation, but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead,’ the source said.

Bin Laden, according to the source, was suffering from a serious lung complication and succumbed to the disease in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief.”

It gets much worse. In a further interview with White House intelligence coordinator Lee Wanta, I was told that bin Laden had been in the US on 9/11 receiving medical care at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center under the name Colonel Timothy Osman.

Wanta described his meetings in the US with bin Laden/Osman, which included Oliver North and other Bush officials, and of an earlier meeting with bin Laden in Peshawar, Pakistan, which included top CIA officials.

Wanta reported that Oxford educated bin Laden spoke better English than he did.

Yet, for years, SITE Intelligence, an Israeli run organization, provided videos of strange looking versions of bin Laden, followed by years of audio tapes as the world had apparently lost the ability to record or upload video in the interim, or we would supposedly be brought to believe.

Americans are still in Afghanistan hunting for the “dozens of vast underground fortresses” Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld spoke of when he ordered the hunt for long dead bin Laden, part of an American war that cost the lives of millions of innocents.

Every minute of it was fake and the Pentagon at it up like a dog at vomit.

Minot Barksdale and an Earlier Coup Attempt

The issue at the Air Force Academy began many years ago. This author was contacted by cadets (158) there back in 2008 who complained of religious persecution and a curriculum that promoted treason and extremism.

The root of the command meltdown within the US military is generally traced to the US Army Psychological Warfare Command at the Presidio, a base in San Francisco that is today a city park. At the time a strange Satanic child abuse scandal within the military had attempted to implicate commanders there including Colonel Michael Aquino, founder of the Temple of Set, a Satanic cult powerful within the Pentagon and the service academies.

Aquino was cleared but an investigation led to broad allegations of abuse through 15 major military commands including and especially the US Air Force Academy and the US Air Force nuclear command at Minot Air Force Base. From New Eastern Outlook (2014):

“During the Bush (43) administration, something far more serious happened. America’s nuclear command structure was compromised at every level, culminating in the theft of nuclear weapons from Minot Air Force Base in 2007, an undisclosed number of thermonuclear weapons loaded onto a B 52 which later landed — or more appropriately, was forced to land at Barksdale Air Force Base some hours later.

Immediately thereafter, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates ordered the Department of Defense to remove all oversight of nuclear weapons from the United States Air Force, placing an Army general in overall command of what had previously been Air Force weapons inventories.

Soon thereafter, 84 personnel in America’s largest nuclear command were removed, 12 permanently due to accidents and suicide. Since that time, over 200 members of that command have been forced out, and America’s entire nuclear command has been put under direct oversight.

Greater Israel

The real problem is twofold and involves a breakdown of command authority and discipline, as well as treason. Not long after Bush (43) took office, his backers in the extremist Christian evangelical community approached Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

They wanted to assure that all military command personnel would follow the tenets of the obscure religious sect Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and Ashcroft belonged to.

This sect seeks to bring about a nuclear apocalypse tied to the expansion of “Greater Israel” in order to bring about what they call the “rapture” and “end times.” Their religious beliefs are a mix of “Ufology,” belief in alien influence, satanic worship and that a select group will be called to rule the world at the side of an alien master race, while those “left behind” will die in misery.

Their religion is a mix of misinterpreted biblical prophecy, science fiction and the occult. In fact, many of those at the highest levels of US government retain no actual Christian beliefs at all, not by any conventional standard.”

Given Enough Rope…

Blindly cheerleading for the military is called “patriotism” but, often as not it is treason in its purest form. There is now and there has been in the past, time and time again, no bigger threat against freedom than the military and America’s military is among the worst.

There are no simple truths, but we will distill it down as much as possible. The Pentagon is a feeding ground for extremists, bottom-feeders and “mama’s boys” in uniform. It is all haircuts and fancy uniforms, of saluting, strutting and conspiracy.

The Pentagon lives on conspiracy and treason that is held in check only by a few decent and honorable leaders.

The problem, initially, was the revolving door that placed potentially traitorous military leaders, after retirement, at Fox News as commentators or moved them into White House advisory positions.

Some gravitated to think tanks like the infamous Atlantic Council or Heritage Foundation and almost all have, predictably, embraced Fascism in his many forms.

Conclusion

The current political climate in the US is extremely dangerous. The Supreme Court, stacked with extremists, is openly tossing the constitution aside as recently cited by Justice Sotomayor.

Extremists in Arizona have seized the ballots from the recent presidential election and are doctoring them, in an attempt to justify a military takeover of the government. Their stated goal is to set up a “whites only” ruling party that will oversee elections where only the “righteous” will be allowed to vote.

A recent investigation of the military’s role in the January 6 coup attempt by General Honore’ found widespread complicity between military commands in and around Washington DC and coup plotters.

Simply put, were the US to be evaluating another nation, a nuclear power, judging whether its nuclear arsenal was at risk or its command structure capable of overruling elected officials and unleashing a nuclear war, based on the “situation on the ground” in the US today, America would be considered a “highest threat.”

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

BIOGRAPHY

Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

Senior Editor , VTGordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is a disabled veteran and has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.

Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.

Gordon’s Archives – 2008-2014gpduf@aol.com

American plans something but ends up differently

American plans something but ends up differently

April 23, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

“I flew to Afghanistan, to the Kunar Valley — a rugged, mountainous region on the border with Pakistan. What I saw on that trip reinforced my conviction that only the Afghans have the right and responsibility to lead their country and that more and endless American military force could not create or sustain a durable Afghan government.” President Joe Biden explained in his remarks in the White House on 14 April 2021, where he announced the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan starting from 1 May 2021 and completes on 11 September 2021.

The US invaded Afghanistan to fight against the tribal system of Afghanistan and create a modern democratic government based on American vision. The US, with the help of its allies, and full military might, after spending Trillion Dollars, killing millions of human beings (from either side), devastating the whole country completely, is concluded that the Afghan war is unwinnable and the American must leave Afghanistan. Today in war-torn Afghanistan, there is no electricity because all dams & powerhouses were bombed. No infrastructure, all damaged in the ruthless bombing, no education, no health care, scarcity of food, medicine, fuel, etc. Homes were damaged, crops were destroyed, businesses were damaged—– one of the heaviest bombing and explosive used in the history of humankind. The poor Afghans are living a miserable life, all due to prolonged imposed war.

The US used state of the art, latest, advanced, most lethal weapons, modern war tactics, well-trained troops, and all possible technologies to win this war but failed adversely. The Allies, who were very much proactive in the early days of the war but calmed down gradually and today are not so supportive of the US on the Afghan war.

The number of Nato forces peaked at about 140,000 in 2011 but decreased in subsequent years as Nato countries wound down combat operations, handing over control to local security forces. Countries with troops still in Afghanistan include the US, Georgia, Germany, Turkey, Romania, Italy, the UK, and Australia. The US and allies created an Afghan Army of around 300,000 on the most modern lines and trained & equipped with the Western latest weapons. Yet failed to gain control over Afghanistan. Yet more than 70% of Afghanistan is under Taliban control.

Although the Afghan war has destroyed Afghanistan severely, it at the same time has also cost heavily to the US itself too. Not only Trillion dollars cost of the war, but thousands of servicemen’s lives, and substantial mental disturbance to servicemen involved in the Afghan war. Yet, the most prominent impact has been visible that instead of fighting the tribal system in Afghanistan, America itself has turned into a tribal society. The recent number of shootings and killings are increased sharply, depicting the visible change in the American society – tribal society – where might is right – gun culture. The exponential growth of crimes is undesired at all. Although President Trump created hate in American society and supported white-supremacist, the roots of hatred have existed for a long time, he was just a catalyst. It might take decades to normalize the situation in America.

Afghanistan is an old civilization and one of the oldest countries, which foreign invaders in history never defeated. Afghans have their own tradition of bravery. They might fight internally but are united against any intruders. Their tribal society is strong enough to resolve their issue, and any interference from outside or imposed system may not succeed. It took two decades for to American understand the nature of Afghan society and the solution to their problems. It is never too late; even if the American troop’s exit from Afghan, there might be a vacuum for the time being, and danger of bloodshed moves around. Ultimately, it is the Afghans only who have to resolve their issues. An Afghan let, Afghan-owned solution can be sustainable only.

The Americans should focus on how to help Afghanistan in reconstruction after the troops’ withdrawal. It might require several trillion dollars to rebuild Afghanistan. The US and allies who destroyed Afghanistan have the moral obligations to help Afghanistan generously.

However, the UN may also proactively pursue the reconstruction of Afghanistan after the withdrawal. After the world wars, an agreement like German and Japanese (Potsdam Agreement) agreements needed to be reached between Afghanistan and America, including allies, for war compensation. China and Russia may become guarantors of such an agreement for implementation.

However, Afghans are not the sons of lessor God and deserve equal treatment and access to a quality life. After spending four decades in war, at least they deserve a peaceful and prosperous life. It needs enormous funding, and only those who are responsible for this destruction are supposed to help them appropriately.

It is not the first time which happened with America, where it plans some things and ends up in entirely opposite. I recalled my days in China in the early 1980s, when American and European entrepreneurs were entering China to occupy the vast niche market of China. That was the era of China opening to the outside world and introducing economic reforms. China facilitated market access, and American & European businessmen and investors flooded the Chinese market with foreign products. Those were the days when China was facing a shortage of everything like food, consumer products and etc. A quota system was introduced to buy items of daily life. They made huge profits in the early days, but gradually, they shifted their industry to China to avail themselves of China’s cheap raw material and cheap labor cost. It was in the best interest of foreign companies to manufacture in China to cut down the cost and maximize their profit. But sooner, they became the market of China.

Against their original plan to occupy the Chinese market, they became a market for Chinese products. The worst phenomenon was visible in the early days of the Pandemic when America was dependant on China on essential items like Masks, Sanitizers, Ventilators, Testing kits, and toilet papers, etc. China has become the manufacturing factory for the world, and no other country can compete with China in daily consumer products.

China has emerged as the second-largest economy in the world and the biggest trading partner with most of the nations. China shares one-third of the global economy and supplies almost 70% of consumer products to the whole world. China has become a global power already.

The American experience in Vietnam War, Somaliya War, Syrian War, and Middle-East wars is not much different. In Seven Decades, hardly any war Which Americans can claim a total victory. However, during the World wars, the US was a winner.

Trust, next couple of decades, the US must focus on its domestic issues and re-evaluate its mistakes in the perspective of changed geopolitics. Stop meddling in other nations and countries, stop thinking to change the world order as per the wishes of America. Let others live the life as they desire and live your own life according to your own wishes. Let peace, stability, and prosperity boom around the world, avoid imposing wars on other nations. Respect humanity and respect human lives.


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

The Yankees Are Coming Home: The Taliban Won. Get Over It

American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family.

By Philip Giraldi

Global Research, April 09, 2021

Strategic Culture Foundation 8 April 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

***

It hardly made the evening news, but the New York Times reported last week that after twenty years of fighting the Taliban are confident that they will fully control Afghanistan before too long whether or not the United States decides to leave some kind of residual force in the country after May 1st. The narrative is suggestive of The Mouse that Roared, lacking only Peter Sellers to put the finishing touches on what has to be considered a great humiliation for the U.S., which has a “defense” budget that is larger than the combined military spending of the next seven countries in order of magnitude. Those numbers include both Russia and China. The Taliban, on the other hand, have no military budget to speak of. That enormous disparity, un-reflected in who has won and lost, has to nurture concerns that it is the world’s only superpower, admittedly self-proclaimed, which is incapable of actually winning a war against anyone.

In fact, some recent wargaming has suggested that the United States would lose in a non-nuclear conflict with China alone based on the obsolescence of expensive and vulnerable weapons systems that the Pentagon relies upon, such as carrier groups. Nations like China, Iran and Russia that have invested in sophisticated and much cheaper missile systems to offset U.S. advantages have reportedly spent their money wisely. If the Biden foreign policy and military experts, largely embroiled in diversifying the country, choose to take on China, there may be no one left around to pick up the pieces.

Those who are warning of the apparent ineffectiveness of the U.S. armed forces in spite of their global presence in more than one thousand bases point most commonly to the historical record to make their case. Korea, fought under United Nations auspices, was a stalemate, with the peninsula divided to this day and a substantial American military force continuing to be a presence along the DMZ to enforce the armistice that not quite ended the war. Vietnam was a defeat, resulting in more than 58,000 Americans dead as well as an estimated 3 million Vietnamese, most of whom were civilians. The real lesson learned from Vietnam was that fighting on someone else’s turf where you have no real interests or stake in the outcome is a fool’s game, but the Pentagon instead worked to fix the mechanics in weapons and training at great cost without addressing why people fight wars in the first place. The other lesson was that the United States’ military was perfectly willing to lie to the country’s civilian leadership to expand the war and keep it going, a performance that was repeated in 2001 with the “Iraq is supporting terrorists and will have nuclear weapons” lies and also with the current crop of false analogies used to keep thousands of Americans in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War army, I can recall sitting around with fellow enlisted men reading “Stars & Stripes,” the exclusive in-house-for-the-military newspaper that was covering the war. The paper quoted a senior officer who opined that the Soviets (as they were at that time) were really envious of the combat experience that the United States Army was obtaining in Vietnam. We all laughed. That same officer probably had a staff position away from the fighting but we draftees knew well that the war was a very bloody mistake while he may have tested his valor post-retirement working for Lockheed-Martin. The “Soviets” in any event demonstrated just how much they envied the experience of combat when they fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, eventually withdrawing with their tails between their legs just as the U.S. had done in Vietnam after they lost 15,000 men. The “Grave of Empires,” indeed.History: Reversing the Vietnam Verdict

Since Vietnam there have been a number of small wars in places like Panama and Grenada, but the global war on terror has been a total disaster for American arms. Afghanistan, as it was for the Russians, is the ulcer that keeps on bleeding until it ends as a major defeat for the United States with the Taliban fully in control, as they are now predicting. Likewise, the destruction of a secular Iraq, regime change in Libya, and a continuing war against a non-threatening Syria have all failed to make Americans either safer or more prosperous. Iran is next, apparently, if the Joe Biden Administration has its way, and relations with major adversaries Russia and China have sunk even lower than they were during Donald Trump’s time as president. The White House has recently sent a shipload of offensive weapons to Kiev and the Ukrainian government has repeated its intention to retake Crimea from Russia, a formula for a new military disaster that could easily escalate into a major war. What is particularly regrettable is the fact that the United States has no compelling national interest in encouraging open warfare between Moscow and Kiev, a conflict that it will be unable to avoid as its is supplying Ukraine with weaponry.

There was almost no discussion of America’s wars during the recent election. One should take note, however, of a recent article by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb that appeared on National Review which seeks to provide an explanation for “The Real Reason the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore” in spite of the fact that it is “the most powerful country in the history of the world.” To be sure, Kolb largely blames the policymakers for the defeat in Vietnam, aided and abetted by a culture of silence in the military where many officers knew that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which escalated the conflict, was a fraud but chose to say or do nothing. He also observes that the war itself was unwinnable for various reasons, including the observation by many working and middle class Americans that they were little more than cannon fodder while the country’s elites either dodged the draft or exploited their status to obtain national guard or reserve commissions that were known to be mechanism to avoid Vietnam. Kolb notes that “…the four most recent presidents who could have served in Vietnam avoided that war and the draft by dubious means. Bill Clinton pretended to join the Army ROTC; George W. Bush used political connections to get into the Air National Guard, when President Johnson made it clear that the reserve component would not be activated to fight the war; Donald Trump, of course, had his family physician claim he had bone spurs, (Trump himself cannot remember which foot); and Joe Biden claimed that the asthma he had in high school prevented him from serving even though he brags about his athletic exploits while in high school.”

Kolb also reveals how America’s presumed prowess on the battlefield has distorted its “democracy building” endeavors to such an extent that genuine national interests have been ignored. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, success in overthrowing the Taliban was derived from critical assistance from Iran, which correctly regarded the extremist Sunni group as an enemy. But the Bush White House, far from showing gratitude, soon thereafter added Iran to its “axis of evil” list. A golden opportunity was wasted to repair a relationship which has poisoned America’s presence in the Middle East ever since.

One might add something else to Kolb’s assessment of failure at war. Most American soldiers have been and are proud of their service and consider it an honor to defend their country but the key word is “defend.” There was no defending going on in Vietnam nor in Afghanistan, which did not attack the U.S. and was willing to turn over Osama Bin Laden if the White House could provide evidence that he was involved in 9/11. Nor was there anything defensive about Obama’s destruction of Libya and the decades long “secret” wars to overthrow the Syrian and Iranian governments. Soldiers are trained to fight and obey orders but that does not mean that they can no longer observe and think. Twenty years of “Reconstruction” duty in Afghanistan is not defending the United States and the morale of American soldiers in the combined Democratic and Republican Parties’ plan to reconstruct the world is not a sufficient motivator if one is being asked to put one’s life on the line. Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family. That is what the people who run Washington, very few of whom are veterans and most of whom first ask “But what’s in it for me?” fail to understand.

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Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.orgaddress is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Canada Ties to the U.S. Empire: Lester Pearson and the Myth of Canada as “Peaceable Kingdom” Part I

By Richard Sanders

Global Research, March 31, 2021

CovertAction Magazine 30 March 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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[T]here are two sides whose composition cuts across national and even community boundaries. The issues … can be described as freedom vs. slavery…. [T]wo powerful leaders of these opposed sides have emerged—the United States of America and the USSR.

We are faced now with a situation similar in some respects to that which confronted our forefathers in early colonial days when they ploughed the land with a rifle slung on the shoulder. If they stuck to the plough and left the rifle at home, they would have been easy victims for any savages lurking in the woods. ”

As Canada’s Minister of External Affairs, Lester Pearson delivered the above statements in his speech entitled “Canadian Foreign Policy in a Two Power World” to a joint meeting of the Empire Club of Canada and Canadian Club of Toronto. (April 10, 1951)

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For centuries, self-righteous state myths have depicted the imperial Canadian project as a victory for democracy and human rights. Despite Canada’s long record of genocide, land plunder, and war profiteering, official narratives about noble “Canadian values” still reign in this imagined “peaceable kingdom.”

Canada’s ethnonationalist propaganda demonized First Nations as hostile sub-humans to be enslaved, imprisoned on reservations and made Christian in residential schools. This White-Power racism served imperialist containment policies designed to turn “Red Indian” enemies into captive nations.

By the early 1950s, then-external affairs minister Lester Pearson was pioneering a new containment policy. During the transition to the new world order of the Cold War, he rallied his powerful allies in Canada’s racist old-boys’ clubs.

Pearson’s status as a national hero was consolidated when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his role in helping to establish a UN peacekeeping force.

But Pearson was far from a progressive. In 1951, he compared the new Red Menace of communism to what he called “savages lurking in the woods.” These “savages,” he declared, had violently threatened the peaceful lives of innocent white Europeans whom he lovingly called “our forefathers.”

By conjuring unsettling images of a Red-Indian bogeyman, Pearson helped manufacture consent for a new, politically Red enemy to meet the needs of NATO’s capitalist powers.

On the home front, Pearson’s fierce anticommunism justified Canada’s systematic abuses of civil rights. As Ian MacKay and Jamie Swift note in Warrior Nation: “Pearson enthusiastically supported a Cold War against any Canadians suspected of viewing the world outside the newly hegemonic framework of the American imperium.”[1]

Headline in Toronto newspaper pointing to repressive political environment in the early Cold War. [Source: opentext.bc.ca]

Targeted for abuse by Canada’s Cold War elites were “peaceniks,” radical unionists and anyone branded as too leftwing. “Pearson had become an ever-more-aggressive accomplice,” said MacKay and Swift, “in government attacks on dissidents.”[2]

To Pearson and other Cold Warriors, the world was torn. As chief architect of Canada’s postwar anti-Red foreign policy, Pearson demonized the Soviet Union as the epicenter of evil. The USSR was still reeling after 27 million of its citizens had been killed by Hitler’s anti-communist crusade.

This is the cover of the Canadian edition (1947) of a U.S. comic by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society. [Source: coat.ncf.ca]

Anti-communist propaganda which Pearson echoed. [Source: coat.ncf.ca]

After the Red Army liberated Eastern Europe and led Germany’s defeat, the U.S. replaced the Nazis as global leaders in the war on communism. NATO efforts to destroy the USSR used Cold-War “containment” strategies: surrounding the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons, isolating it with political and economic sanctions, and vilifying it with propaganda. Pearson had a central role in this new phase of the West’s war on communism.

Lester Pearson, far right, with Halvard Lange of Norway and Gaetano Martino of Italy. They were known as the “Three Wise Men” who were ardent in supporting NATO. [Source: nato.int]

The Red Scare had been going on for decades. In Pearson’s youth during WWI and the First Red Scare (1914-20), Canada ran slave-labor, concentration camps that interned thousands of single immigrant men, mostly Ukrainians, who had been laid off from rural work camps. Elites feared their growing protests in urban centers might spark a socialist revolution.[3]

Ukrainians interned during World War I and the First Red Scare. [Source: infoukes]

And, in 1919, Canada was among thirteen countries that invaded newborn Soviet Russia with 150,000 troops to intervene in its civil war and reverse its revolution. Canada’s allies in the war, led by Admiral Alexander Vasilevich Kolchak, killed at least 100 civilians for every one killed by the Bolshevik Red Army, according to General William S. Graves, who headed the U.S. contingent.[4]

Members of the Canadian Army’s 67th Battery pose for a photo following the Battle of Tulgas, Russia, on November 11, 1918. [Source: ipolitics.ca]

During the Depression, when Pearson was a bureaucrat working closely with Canada’s prime minister, some 170,000 single, unemployed men were forced into remote work camps to prevent a potential revolution.[5]

One means of dismantling Canada’s prevailing peace mythology is to examine this country’s support for U.S. militarism throughout the Cold War. This study leads to the conclusion that little if anything has changed.

Plaque commemorating Pearson and Truman and signing of original NATO treaty in 1949. [Source: tcdb.com]

Always a stalwart NATO warrior giving solid allegiance to U.S.-led military, political, economic and propaganda warfare, Canada has taken leading roles in a new Cold War being waged by the American empire.

Lester Pearson at West Germany’s accession to NATO in 1955. [Source: nato.int]

Facing Canada’s history of duplicity is especially difficult because it means challenging the villainous hypocrisy of some of this nation’s most-beloved leaders. It also means confronting the powerful, political descendants of Canada’s much-glorified peace cult heroes, and debunking pernicious narratives that are still perpetuated, even by many mainstream progressives.

Pearson As Peace-Cult Hero and Cold-War Hatemonger

While state-sponsored myths have helped to create an institutionalized cult around Pearson, Canada’s beloved Nobel Peace Prize winner was actually a vociferous Cold Warrior. Besides using hateful anti-Red rhetoric to whitewash U.S.-backed wars, Pearson rallied support for various covert actions that squashed anti-colonial struggles in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Canada’s largest political, corporate, religious and media institutions shared with their Western allies a fierce loathing for anyone who could be labelled communist. Their global crusade maligned all individuals, groups, parties, movements and governments that dared to threaten the freewheeling reign of predatory corporations. In Lester Pearson, these fear-mongering elites found a believable voice whose skilful devotion to Cold War tropes served their shared, vested interests.

Pearson was useful to British and American power elites because he leveraged Canada’s well-crafted reputation as a neutral “middle power” to cheerlead their neocolonial adventures. This included lending Canada’s respected voice to the ousting of elected, socialist-friendly governments that tried to limit the exploits of foreign corporations.

As Canada’s most influential confidence man, Pearson exuded faith in America’s supposed devotion to peace. “It is inconceivable to me that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive war,” said Pearson in 1955, and “it is also inconceivable that Canada would ever take part in such a war.”[6]

Captivated by the era’s extreme anti-communism, Pearson ignored Western war crimes. In fact, he artfully glorified these crimes with phobic narratives that painted assaults on democracy as if they were part of a noble, god-inspired plan to wipe communist evil off the face of the earth.

Before examining Pearson’s key role in leading Canada’s support for these American adventures, it is worth examining the cultural influences in his early life that helped create his pious devotion to Cold War causes.

The Early Origins of Pearson’s “Muscular Christianity”

That Pearson slipped so easily into sermonizing about the Red Menace can be explained largely by his ultrareligious upbringing. His father, and both grandfathers, were Methodist ministers. [NOTE: Not sure what a “staunch” Methodist minister is.]

Methodism, which was then Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, was central to the imperial project of spreading “Christian values” at home and abroad.

This religious exercise, to build the moral muscles of a global Anglo-based civilization, fixated on the Social Gospel movement. Its mission was to take up the “white man’s burden” and uplift atheist heathens and inferior races through such genocidal institutions as Indian Residential Schools.[7]

Pearson describes his maternal grandfather, Rev. Thomas Bowles, as “a pillar of the church and the Liberal party.” He had been elected county warden three times, township reeve (mayor) ten times, and was appointed first sheriff of Dufferin County, Ontario. Pearson notes that his paternal grandfather Rev. Marmaduke L. Pearson, one of the Methodist “church’s most distinguished divines,” was a devoted Tory who seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about and playing baseball, lawn-bowling and cricket.

This obsession was passed on to his sons, including Lester’s father, Rev. Edwin A. Pearson. He was described by historian John English, as “a strong imperialist” whose “three boys shared his enthusiasm for sports and the empire.”[8]

Lester Pearson (bottom left), at home in Hamilton, 1913, with brothers, parents and grandfather. His father and grandfather were both Methodist ministers who zealously supported British imperialism. [Source: coat.ncf.ca]

Pearson’s memoir also reveals the great influence of certain novels he found in his Sunday School library. “From its shelves I learned of life and adventure,” said Pearson, “through Horatio Alger, G.A. Henty and similar heroic books.”[9] Alger, a disgraced Unitarian minister who became one of the most popular novelists of the late 1800s, is best known for perpetuating the American dream’s “rags-to-riches” myth.

George A. Henty though, revealed Pearson, was “the author whom I knew the best among all English writers before I went to college.” [10] As a British war correspondent, Henty’s travels across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, were always sure to promote British imperialism. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his work epitomized that blatantly jingoistic literary genre known as “imperial adventure fiction.”Canada’s Secret War: IRAQ – Ten Years After “Shock and Awe”

Henty’s books embodied the spirit of so-called “Muscular Christianity.” This Victorian movement glorified the pious athleticism and virile masculinity of tough, white saviors who would happily knock heads together (and kill if need be) for the glory of god, king, country and empire.

Always ready to save the brutish, lower-class savages from themselves, Henty’s heroes enthralled impressionable juveniles, like Pearson, who lapped up this macho vision of a missionizing, tough-love fundamentalism that was hopped up on just wars and imperial steroids.[11]  “To be a true hero,” explained Henty when interviewed, “you must be a true Christian.”[12]

Henty’s 122 novels were riddled with white supremacist heroes who spouted the era’s outrageously popular racist, sexist and anti-semitic beliefs. His books also targeted left-wing, cartoon villains from the ruthless labour leaders of striking English coal miners[13] to the eroticized socialist women who ran loose in the 1871 “Paris Commune.”[14]

Considering his class and the strong religious leanings of his family and community, it is not surprising that Pearson would be so captivated by Henty’s writings. While Pearson’s 1972 memoir offers no critique of Henty, it praises the author’s historical fiction for having provided a knowledge of the world that informed and inspired him throughout his political career:

“His exciting stories based on history’s more romantic episodes stirred my imagination mightily and, I suspect, had much to do with my liking for and concentration on history in my educational progress. When years later I traveled extensively abroad as Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs, there was hardly a place I visited which I had not known through that prolific but now almost forgotten writer of adventure stories for boys.”[15]

Pearson’s exceedingly sheltered childhood kept him cozy in the warmth of positive feelings for imperialism. “[T]he parish was my world,” he confessed. “As for the rest of the world, I thought about it … largely in terms of the British Empire which was looking after the ‘lesser breeds’ and keeping the French and Germans under control.”[16]

Admitting that his was “an absorbing mind rather than a questioning mind,” Pearson also disclosed that he had “a rather superficial approach to life.” His “limited” world, Pearson says, “did not broaden much” until 1913 when, at age 16, he entered Toronto’s Victoria College.[17]

Named for Queen Victoria, and founded by the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1836, this was no breeding ground for radical thought; it was a hotbed of imperialist education.

Rather than freeing Pearson’s mind from its fetters, college life further narrowed Pearson’s “limited” worldview. And, it was here that Pearson first made contact with influential men who led him along the political path to power.

Victoria College was where he began what he called his “long and … rewarding association”[18] with Vincent Massey, a history lecturer and dean of the residence building which his family had built and furnished. Massey’s Methodist father, owning one of Toronto’s biggest industrial concerns, had close links to the highest echelons of the Liberal Party. Massey was already a good friend of Mackenzie King, who became Canada’s longest-standing prime minister.

Massey became one of Pearson’s most important Methodist mentors. His deeds included being a leader of Toronto’s Cecil Rhodes-inspired Round Table Society (1911-18); marrying Alice Parkin, daughter of Sir George Parkin, secretary of The Rhodes Trust (1915); being appointed to Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s cabinet war committee (1918) and to the Liberal cabinet (1925); being appointed Canada’s first envoy to the U.S. (1926-30) and its high commissioner to Britain (1930, 1935-46); being president of England and Wales’ National Liberal Federation (1932-35); being made Canada’s delegate to the League of Nations (1936) and being appointed to represent the Queen as Canada’s governor general (1952-59).[19]

Massey, who Pearson notes was “personal friends of the Royal Family, and … seemed to know every duke by his first name,”[20] was able to open doors for Pearson throughout his career. This included funding Pearson’s BA and MA studies at Oxford (1923-25).[21]

Pearson’s subservience to the moneyed interests of empire helped ensure his rise through the Department of External Affairs. He joined that bureaucracy in 1928, during the King government, but when Conservative Prime Minister Richard “Iron Heel” Bennett took power in 1930, “Pearson was a beneficiary.”[22]

Bennett, who was also a devout Methodist, earned his nickname after an inflammatory 1932 speech in which he said:

“What do these so-called groups of Socialists and Communists offer you? They are sowing their seeds everywhere…. [T]hroughout Canada this propaganda is being put forward by organizations from foreign lands that seek to destroy our institutions. And we ask that every man and woman put the iron heel of ruthlessness against a thing of that kind.”[23]

Crushing communism was clearly the order of the day, and Pearson was ambitious and eager to comply.

Talent-spotted by Bennett, Pearson was soon appointed to two royal commissions on economic issues. As journalism professor Andrew Cohen noted: “Pearson liked Bennett who treated him as a protegé.”

In early 1935, Pearson accompanied Bennett to London where they took part in the Jubilee to celebrate King George V’s 25-year reign. During their lavish sea voyage with its sumptuous cuisine, Pearson learned he would receive the Order of the British Empire and asked Bennett for a raise of $25 per week.[24]

This increase boosted Pearson’s salary by an extra $25,000 per year in today’s dollars. This was distasteful considering all those who were hungry for food and justice during the Great Depression.

Unmentioned by Cohen or Pearson is that, between 1932 and 1935, Bennett’s government rounded up 170,000 single, unemployed, urban men and forced them into slavery in army-run “Relief Camps.”

Army-run relief camp during Great Depression, designed to remove “red” agitators from the cities. [Source: sutori.com]

General Andrew McNaughton’s internment plan makes it clear why. “In their ragged platoons,” he explained to the cabinet, “here are the prospective members of what Marx called the ‘industrial reserve army, the storm troopers of the revolution.’”[25]

General McNaughton further told Bennett that “[b]y taking the men out … of the cities” and forcing them into remote work camps, “we were removing the active elements on which the ‘red’ agitators could play.”[26]

In 1935, Bennett approved Pearson’s posting to Canada’s High Commission in London. When Bennett was replaced by King, Pearson’s move was confirmed and he continued his climb, becoming second in command under High Commissioner Vincent Massey (1939-42).

In 1940, Pearson was recruited by Sir William Stephenson to be a “King’s messenger” carrying secret documents to Europe. Nicknamed “the Quiet Canadian,” Stephenson was the Canadian intelligence agent, codenamed “Intrepid,”[27] who inspired Ian Fleming’s fictional, anti-communist superspy, 007.[28]

James Bond was also the violently racist and sexist Cold War equivalent of the Victorian era’s manly, white, imperial adventure heroes, so admired by Pearson.

From London, Pearson was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he was Canada’s ambassador and envoy extraordinaire to the U.S. (1942-46).

After returning to Ottawa, he was appointed foreign minister for the last few months of Prime Minister King’s time in office (1948). When King’s protégé, Louis St. Laurent, took over, he retained Pearson as foreign minister (1948-57).

Pearson’s early decades of pliable innocence were over. Having been moulded and mentored into form by family, church, schools and government, he had thoroughly internalized the deceitful scripts of elite institutions.

But though he became a manager and manipulator in his own right, Pearson’s role on the global stage was still directed by external forces in Washington and London. While just following his social orders, Pearson’s acts of complicity in Cold War coups, wars, invasions and occupations cannot be excused. He was culpable for the criminality in which he willfully engaged. Let’s look at a few examples.

The Korean War and Its Planning, 1947-1953

Pearson was a strong supporter of the Korean War (1950-1953), which devastated the Korean peninsula and left a legacy of conflict and division that persists to this day.

Pearson considered the war part of a moral crusade against communism.

His understanding overlooked the fact that the northern communist regime, led by Kim Il-Sung, had led the fight against Japanese colonialism. By contrast, the southern regime, led by Syngman Rhee and dominated by Japanese colonial collaborators, killed over 100,000 of its own citizens and launched raids into the north, all of which provoked the onset of the war.

Image from Pyongyang museum of American war crimes depicting U.S. soldiers brutalizing North Koreans. [Source: peacehistory-usfp.org]

Pearson’s hawkish position contrasted with Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s, who said that “Canada should not automatically support the United States in all its endeavors.”[29]

Pearson also clashed with Defense Minister Brooke Claxton who opposed sending Canadian troops to Korea presciently because the U.S. was “getting [Canada] into something to which there is really no end.”[30]

When Pearson was dispatched to Washington to meet with President Harry S. Truman in 1948, he conspired behind the scenes with Truman to undermine King’s direct orders regarding the pursuit of an independent Canadian foreign policy, and assisted U.S. State Department officials in crafting a letter that urged King to support the Korean War.[31]

King’s successor, Louis St. Laurent, assisted the war effort by deploying a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) squadron of transport planes to airlift U.S. troops, weapons and other materiel across the Pacific.

Canadian soldiers playing ice hockey, the national sport, on a rink they built in South Korea. [Source: bardown.com]

Military historian David Bercusson,[32] who continues to spread official narratives promoting this and other wars, wrote:

“Pearson was correct about what the Korean War meant in the global confrontation between Soviet Communism and the Western democratic powers and correct too in believing that Canada could not sit out the war if the Americans insisted that Canadian troops were needed. He was far wiser than Claxton in knowing this. With Pearson leading the way, Claxton came on board.”[33]

Pearson told St. Laurent that he supported troop deployments based on his anti-communist views about “the menace which faces us, … the expression of that menace in Korea, and the necessity of defeating it there by United Nations action.” Pearson’s efforts paid off. “St. Laurent came around,” said Bercusson, because “he and the nation really had little choice.”[34]

The speech St. Laurent gave over the radio announcing Canada’s commitment to the war was probably crafted in part by Pearson. It was deep in Orwellian newspeak:

“The action of the United Nations in Korea,” St. Laurent intoned, “is not war; it is police action intended to prevent war by discouraging aggression.” Since “the war to end all wars” had already come and gone 30 years hence, the Korean War was framed as “important to all of us who want to avoid another world war.” The need to “defeat the Communist aggressors in Korea,” said St. Laurent, was like fighting “fascist aggression” in WWII. He concluded his deceit with “We owe it to to ourselves, to each other, to our children, and each other’s children … to prevent the disasters of a third world war.”[35]

This launched Canada’s four-year collaboration—under the UN’s respectable cover—in a barrage of napalm-saturated bombings that slaughtered some three or four million Koreans.

This supposed non-war, also caused “six to seven million” more to be “rendered refugees,” says historian Jeremy Kuzmarov, who also notes that the onslaught destroyed “8,500 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, and 600,000 homes.”[36]

Canadian troops marching in North Korea during a brutal 40-day U.S.-UN occupation. [Source: thecanadianencyclopedia.ca]

To aid and abet this mayhem, Canada supplied its good name, plus more than 20,000 troops (516 of whom died), numerous war planes, eight destroyers and a wealth of strategic minerals and military hardware.

Canadian troops after the Battle of Kapyong in April 1951. [Source: veterans.gc.ca]

In return, the St. Laurent government exploited the war as an excuse to vastly expand Canada’s army, navy and air force and to accelerate the production of jet fighters, jet engines, naval vessels, weapons, ammunition, radar and more.

“We are working in the closest co-operation with the United States,” said St. Laurent, so “that our joint resources and facilities are put to the most effective use in the common defence [sic] effort.” The government, he went on, was also “looking forward confidently to an acceleration and an intensification of our joint [military] production efforts” through the “U.S.-Canada industrial mobilization planning committee.”[37]

While devastating Korea itself, the Korean War sparked the blossoming of Canada’s military-industrial complex, which fueled its complicity in Cold War adventures for decades to come.

Similarly, anti-communism was harnessed by Western governments to repress the civil liberties of anti-war activists. Quebec’s “Padlock Law” (1937-57) made it illegal to copy, publish or distribute anything deemed pro-communist. Although the King and St. Laurent governments could have struck down this law, they didn’t. It was used against peace activists opposing the Korean War.

In May 1951, an “anti-subversion squad” raided a Montreal home where about thirty labor and civil rights activists were meeting with James Endicott, president of the Canadian Peace Congress. Literature was seized and male police invasively searched activists, including the women, who lodged a complaint to Pearson’s office, which did nothing.[38]

In January 1952, Endicott denounced the “Padlock Law” at a meeting in London, England. “Under American pressure,” he reported, Canada’s treason act had been amended “so that a cabinet committee can order secret arrests and hold people indefinitely and incommunicado without trial. They are doing that against peace workers.”[39]

Coup in Iran, 1953

Pearson’s foreign ministry supported the coup that installed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as Iran’s dictator in 1953.

This CIA/MI5-led coup ousted Mohammad Mosaddegh’s elected government after it dared to nationalize Iran’s UK-owned oil industry in March 1951. Although not a socialist, Mosaddegh worked with Iran’s communist party, Tudeh, which had played a key role in Iran’s struggle to gain control of its own oil resources.

As revealed by anti-war writer Yves Engler, Pearson “was not happy with the Iranian’s move”:

In May 1951 External Minister Lester Pearson told the House of Commons the “problem can be settled” only if the Iranians keep in mind the “legitimate interests of other people who have ministered to the well-being of Iran in administering the oil industry of that country which they have been instrumental in developing.”[40]

Mossadegh’s duly-elected government also angered Pearson. “In their anxiety to gain full control of their affairs by the elimination of foreign influence,” he told parliament, Iran had exposed itself “to the menace of communist penetration and absorption—absorption into the Soviet sphere.”[41]

As Engler notes, “Pearson did not protest the overthrow of Iran’s first elected prime minister” and three days after the coup, Canada’s ambassador expressed concern with what he called the “disturbing factor” of “the continued strength of the Tudeh party.”[42]

In response, the Shah’s CIA-trained secret police (SAVAK) quickly began arresting thousands of Tudeh members. By 1958, SAVAK torture and assassination campaigns had decimated Tudeh and other popular, democratic forces.[43] This “progress” allowed Canada to begin diplomatic relations with Iran in 1955.

By May 1965, when deposed Prime Minister Mossadegh was still under arrest, Pearson was prime minister and hosted the Shah’s state visit to Canada.

Upon his arrival in Ottawa, aboard a Canadian military plane, the Shah was greeted by Pearson, Foreign Minister Paul Martin, Sr., and Governor General George Vanier, who literally gave him the red-carpet treatment.

Vanier intoned “I greet Your Imperial Majesty as an able and valiant head of state and as a great leader with progressive policies,”[44] while Pearson said the Shah “had given outstanding leadership in bringing his country forward into the modern world.”[45]

During his eight-day visit to five cities, the Shah attended top-government meetings, inspected an honor guard, waved to the public, laid a wreath, spoke at press conferences and elite clubs, was feted at gala luncheons and black-tie dinners, dined privately at Pearson’s home, was honored at a state banquet and reception by Vanier in his palatial mansion, and was regaled by Canada’s mass media. Pahlavi and his Empress were a hit.[46]

Special police precautions were taken for fear of Iranian student protests, which the Shah “dismissed …  as the work of communists.”[47]

Summing up the visit, Pearson said it had “brought our two countries even closer together in our approach to problems of peace and the United Nations.”[48]

Coup in Guatemala, 1954

A CIA-led coup toppled Guatemala’s elected government and ushered in decades of dictatorships that killed about 200,000 people.

Diego Rivera painting, Glorious Victory, which depicts Secretary of State John Foster Dulles shaking hands over a pile of dead corpses with Castillo Armas who deposed Guatemala’s left-leaning president Jacobo Arbenz. CIA Director Allen Dulles stands next to the pair, his satchel full of cash, while Dwight Eisenhower’s face is pictured in a bomb. [Source: wikipedia.org]

As a U.S. State Department official said, Guatemala’s elected President Jacobo Arbenz—the target of the coup—had a “broad social program” to aid “workers and peasants in a victorious struggle against the upper classes and large foreign enterprises.”

This, he admitted, had “strong appeal to the populations of Central America.”[49] Arbenz was not allowed to pose the threat of a good example.

Even before Arbenz’s 1950 election, Ottawa’s trade commissioner in Guatemala had characterized him as “unscrupulous, daring and ruthless, and not one to be allayed in his aims by bloodshed or killing.”[50]

Prior to the coup, Arbenz’s Foreign Minister Guillermo Toriello asked Canada to allow embassies to open in their two countries.

Pearson’s department refused. “At external affairs and in Canadian board rooms,” said reporter Peter McFarlane, “the coup was chalked up as another victory of the Free World against the [Red] Menace.”[51]

Afterwards, U.S.-led counter-insurgency operations directed against left-wing rebels who sought to restore Arbenz’s political program benefited from the use of Canadian military hardware. The key U.S. warplanes used in this CIA operation were P-47 and F-47N fighter planes and C-47 and C-54 cargo planes. Owned and operated by the CIA, they were flown by American pilots.[52]

These aircraft in the CIA’s “Liberation Air Force” were powered by Wasp-series engines built in Montreal, Quebec, by Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC).[53]

Throughout the 1980s, when the Guatemalan air force attacked villages, they employed U.S. Bell 212 and 412 helicopters—made famous in the Vietnam War—that were powered by PWC’s PT6T engines.[54]

PWC has long been one of the highest government-subsidized war industries in Canada. For example, between 1982 and 2006 it was Canada’s top corporate welfare recipient, raking in about $1.5 billion.[55]

Vietnam War, 1952-1974

From the beginning, Pearson was a gung-ho supporter of the Vietnam War. When France initiated the first Indochina War (1946-1954) in an attempt to reclaim its former colony, Pearson led Canadian efforts to supply weapons for use by French forces in Indochina (now Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia).[56]

This was done under the radar through NATO’s Mutual Aid Program. Between 1950 and 1954 alone, about $650 million (in 2021 dollars) worth of Canadian “armaments, ammunition, aircraft, and engines were transferred … to the Indochina war theatre.”[57]

In 1952, Pearson “okayed the deal” to allow Canadian arms, sold to France for use in Europe only, to be diverted to Indochina. This materiel included “antitank and anti-aircraft guns, ammunition, rangefinders and telescopic sights.” Behind the cabinet’s back, Pearson decided that arming France’s Indochina War was lawful because it “help[ed] assure the preservation of peace.”[58]

In one of Pearson’s many 1951 tirades affirming his support for that war, he suggested that if the independence of Indochina were to fail, “all of South-East Asia, including Burma, Malaya and Indonesia, with their important resources of rubber, rice and tin, might well come under communist control.”[59]

Pearson at the same time was claiming in the early 1950s that the “‘Soviet colonial authority in Indochina’ appeared to be stronger than that of France.” Considering that there was “not a Russian anywhere in the neighborhood,” Noam Chomsky wrote, “[o]ne has to search pretty far to find more fervent devotion to imperial crimes than Pearson’s declarations.”[60]

Pearson’s collaboration in the Vietnam War included his backing of Canadian government collaboration in “spying, weapons sales, and complicity in the bombing of the North.”[61]

Many Canadians believe the myth today that Pearson helped keep Canada out of the Vietnam War. However, 40,000 Canadians joined the U.S. armed forces during the war.[62] This was 50% more than the 26,000 Canadian soldiers who had served in Korea.

In 1954, when Pearson was minister of external affairs, he helped gain American backing for Canada’s bid for a seat on the International Control Commission (ICC)—whose purpose was to enforce the 1954 Geneva accords.

Pearson served as the handler of Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., Arnold Heeney, who forged an agreement with U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of State Robert Murphy, that Canada would illegally supply the U.S. with secret intelligence obtained through its involvement in the ICC mission.[63]

Canada’s best-known ICC spy was Blair Seaborn, a long-time friend of America’s ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. In late April 1964, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk met Prime Minister Pearson and External Affairs Minister Paul Martin, Sr., to discuss the “Seaborn Mission.” A month later Pearson conveyed to Johnson his “willingness to lend Canadian good offices to this endeavour.”

The Pentagon Papers later revealed that Pearson told Johnson at this meeting that, although he “would have great reservations about the use of nuclear weapons,” in Vietnam, America’s “punitive striking” with “iron bomb attacks” (i.e., unguided, air-dropped conventional munitions) was fine.[64]

Seaborn conveyed U.S. threats to the North Vietnamese that, unless they surrendered, the U.S. would unleash massive military attacks.

Seaborn also “gathered intelligence for U.S. authorities” on many strategic issues that aided and abetted America’s war. The Pentagon Papers showed that the U.S. informed Canada, seven months in advance, of closely guarded U.S. plans for a major bombing campaign against the north in December 1964.[65]

Victor Levant’s groundbreaking book, Quiet ComplicityCanadian Involvement in the Vietnam War (1986), reveals that Pearson’s government (he was prime minister from 1963 to 1968) was aiding and abetting domestic war industries to cash in on the bonanza.

This was despite the fact that, as a member of the ICC, one of Canada’s duties was “to restrict the entry of arms into Vietnam from anywhere.”[66] But, said Levant, “[f]ar from trying to curtail U.S. purchases of Canadian military equipment, the government in Ottawa actively encouraged the process” with grants to so-called “defense industries” between 1964 and 1968, that were worth just over $1 billion in 2021 dollars.[67]

This investment of taxpayers’ money paid off, at least for Canadian corporations that received over $2.16 billion (in 2021 dollars) “in 1965 [alone] by making military equipment, ranging from green berets to airplanes, for the U.S. war effort in Vietnam.”[68]

Prime Minister Pearson tried to absolve himself and the government of complicity in this war profiteering by claiming in 1967 that Canada could not determine the whereabouts of military equipment purchased in Canada by the U.S., though he conceded that a “small percentage of Canadian arms could be reaching the battlefield in Vietnam.” [69]

While cheered by virulently anti-communist groups, Pearson became a main target of the anti-war protesters who carried banners that read “End Canadian complicity in Viet Nam War,” “Pearson accomplice in genocide” and “Accomplice in mass murder.” A chant that was familiar in those days,was “Pearson, Martin, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”[70]

On the nation’s 100th anniversary (July 1, 1967) in Montreal, when thousands marched to protest Canada’s role in the Vietnam War, French chants included “Johnson assassin. Pearson Complice.”[71]  The fact that Pearson was an accomplice to mass murder in Vietnam was then well known to the peace movement. This institutional memory has now been all but erased.

*

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Richard Sanders is an anti-war activist and writer in Canada. In 1984, he received an MA in cultural anthropology and began working to expose Canada’s complicity in U.S.-led wars. In 1989, he founded the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), which led to a 20-year municipal ban on Ottawa’s arms bazaars. Richard can be reached at overcoat@rogers.com

Notes

[1] Ian MacKay and Jamie Swift, Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety, 2012, p. 128.

[2] Ibid., p. 118.

[3] Richard Sanders, “War Mania, Mass Hysteria and Moral Panics,” Captive CanadaPress for Conversion!, March 2016, pp. 5-14. http://bit.ly/RedScare-1

[4] See Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano, The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2018).

[5] Richard Sanders, “Left-Right Camps: A Century of Ukrainian Canadian Internment,” Captive Canadaop. cit., pp. 40-55. https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/68/68_40-55.htm

[6] Lester Pearson, Statements and Speeches, 55/10, March 24, 1955, cited by Levant, op. cit., pp. 12-13.

[7] Richard Sanders, “The Occupation(al) Psychosis of Empire-Building Missionaries,” Captive Canadaop. cit., pp. 18-19.https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/68/68_18-19.htm

[8] John English, “Pearson, Lester Bowles,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 2003- http://bit.ly/EdwinP

[9] Lester Pearson, Mike: The Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. Lester B. Pearson, Vol.1, 1972, p. 10.

[10] Ibid.

[11] For more on this genre and its Canadian exemplar, Charles Gordon, see Richard Sanders, “Religious Guardians of the Peaceable Kingdom: Winnipeg’s Key Social-Gospel Gatekeepers of Canada West,” Captive Canada op. cit., pp. 22-29. https://coat.ncf.ca/P4C/68/68_22-29.htm

[12] Ray Van Neste, Review of The Boy’s Guide to the Historical Adventures of G. A. Henty, March 3, 2006. http://rayvanneste.com/?p=686

[13] G.A. Henty, Facing Death: A Tale of the Coal Mines, 1883. https://books.google.ca/books?id=rRcCAAAAQAAJ

[14] Matthew Beaumont, “Anti-Communism and the Cacotopia,” Utopia Ltd.: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England 1870-1900, 2005, pp. 152-154. https://brill.com/view/book/9789047407096/BP000006.xml

G.A. Henty, Woman of the Commune: A Tale of Two Sieges of Paris, 1895. https://books.google.ca/books?id=9mZWAAAAMAAJ

[15] Pearson 1972, op. cit., p. 10.

[16] Ibid., p. 15

[17] Ibid., pp. 14-15.

[18] Ibid., p. 15.

[19] Claude Bissell, The Young Vincent Massey, 1981, passim.

[20] Pearson 1972, op. cit., p. 105.

[21] Ibid., p. 45.

[22] Andrew Cohen, Lester B. Pearson, 2008.

[23] Thomas Green, “Bennett Raps Socialism, Communism,” Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Nov. 10, 1932, p. 5. https://www.newspapers.com/image/508724453

[24] Cohen 2008, op. cit.

[25] Canada: A People’s History, Vol. 2http://books.google.ca/books?id=2fcXAAAAYAAJ

[26] In Jean Barman, The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia, 1991. http://books.google.ca/books?id=JbYe6fCOSTAC

[27] A Man Called Intrepid: The Incredible True Story of the Master Spy Who Helped Win WWII, 1976, pp. 191, 216.

[28] Guy F. Burnett, “Ian Fleming’s Coldest Warrior: The Anticommunist Origins of James Bond,” Dissident, Nov. 17, 2015. http://bit.ly/antiRedBond

(The above archived article, from the anti-communist, “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation” website, celebrates both Fleming and his Bond character as those “who fought to save the world from tyranny and oppression.”

[29] Pearson 1972, p. 139.

[30] David Jay Bercuson, Blood on the Hills: The Canadian Army in the Korean War, 1999, pp. 31-32. https://books.google.ca/books?id=eCizi80V1M0C

[31] Pearson 1972, op. cit., pp. 140-141. https://books.google.ca/books?id=nXM2CwAAQBAJ&pg=PA140

[32] Bercuson is a director of two right-wing, Calgary-based think tanks, the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies (funded by the Canadian war department’s “Security and Defence Forum”), and the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (which has accepted funding from General Dynamics and publicly promoted the company’s exports of major Canadian-made weapons systems, such as LAVs, to Saudi Arabia.

[33] Ibid., p. 33.

[34] Ibid.

[35] “St. Laurent Text on Resisting Reds,” Windsor Daily Star, August 8, 1950, p. 14.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/72910987/the-windsor-star/

[36] Jeremy Kuzmarov, “The Korean War: Barbarism Unleashed,” United States Foreign Policy, History and Resource Guide website, 2016. http://peacehistory-usfp.org/korean-war/

[37] Windsor Daily Starop. cit.

[38] See author’s collection of seven newsclips, May 25-28, 1951.

[39] “Says working for peace in America hard,” Ottawa Citizen, Jan. 10, 1952, p. 10.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73516103/the-ottawa-citizen/

[40] Engler 2012, citing Pearson, Hansard, May 14, 1951, 3002.

[41] Lester Pearson, Hansard, Oct. 22, 1951, p. 253, cited by Engler, op. cit., pp. 75.

[42] Engle, ibid., p. 76.

[43] Ervand Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran, 1999, pp. 89-101. http://bit.ly/SAVAK-Tudeh

[44] “Shah, Empress in Ottawa,” Ottawa Journal, May 19, 1965, p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73543166/the-ottawa-journal/

[45] “Shah starts visit,” Ottawa Citizen, May 19, 1965, p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73528451/the-ottawa-citizen/

“Shah in Canada,” Ottawa Citizenibid., p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73534362/the-ottawa-citizen/

[46] “Shah has busy schedule here,” Ottawa Citizen, May 17, 1965, p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73524704/the-ottawa-citizen/

“Shah of Persia in Canada, 1965.” https://www.britishpathe.com/video/shah-of-persia-in-canada

(Note: These film clips from the Shah’s visit include footage of the state dinner with Governor General Vanier at Rideau Hall.)

[47] “Shah in capital,” Ottawa Citizen, May 19, 1965, p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73534362/the-ottawa-citizen/

[48] “Royal Visits Top News Events,” Brandon Sun, May 31, 1965, p. 12. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73525463/the-brandon-sun/

[49] Cited by Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, 1991, p. 419. http://bit.ly/Chomsky1991

[50] James Rochlin, Discovering the Americas: Evolution of Canadian Foreign Policy towards Latin America, 1994, p. 35. http://bit.ly/Roch94

[51] Peter McFarlane, Northern Shadows: Canadians in Central America, 1989, pp. 98, 100, cited by Engler op. cit., p. 79.

[52] Guatemala: Air Force History

http://www.aeroflight.co.uk/waf/americas/guatemala/Guatemala-af-history.htm

[53] Pratt & Whitney Canada ; http://bit.ly/PWC-WASP; Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_P-47_Thunderbolt; Douglas C-47 Skytrain [Dakota]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_C-47_Skytrain#Postwar_era; Douglas C-54 Skymaster

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_C-54_Skymaster

[54] Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_Canada_PT6T

Bell 212 in Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca (Guatemalan Air Force) 1980 to present https://www.helis.com/database/modelorg/Guatemala-Bell-212/

Bell 412 in Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca (Guatemalan Air Force) 1982 to present https://www.helis.com/database/modelorg/Guatemala-Bell-412/

[55] Mark Milke, Corporate Welfare: A $144 billion addiction, Nov. 2007. https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/corporate-welfare-a-144-billion-addiction.pdf

[56] Levant, op. cit., p. 42

[57] Ibid., p. 43

[58] Levant, op. cit., p. 43 [NOTE: I believe “Idem.” in italics would be appropriate here.]

[59] Chomsky 2012, op. cit., p. 9.

[60] Noam Chomsky, “Imperial Presidency,” Canadian Dimension, Jan/Feb 2005. http://bit.ly/CDchom

[61] Noam Chomsky, Foreword, in Yves Engler, Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt, 2012, p. 8.

[62] Ryan Goldsworthy, “The Canadian Way: The Case of Canadian Vietnam War Veterans,”  http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vol15/no3/page48-eng.asp

[63] James Eayrs, In Defence of Canada: Indochina – Roots of Complicity, 1983, pp. 242-243, cited in Levant, op. cit., p. 193.

[64] Levant, op. cit., pp. 178-79.

[65] Ibid., p. 178

[66] Harry Trimborn, “Canada-US Tieup? Some Other Time!” Los Angeles Times, Aug. 23, 1966, p. 82.  https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73697853/the-los-angeles-times/

[67] Levant, op. cit., p. 57.

[68] Trimborn, op. cit.

(Note: The article noted a figure of $260 million, which the Bank of Canada, when corrected for inflation, says is worth $2,164,578,313.25 in 2021 dollars.)

[69] Lester Pearson, Statements and Speeches, March 10, 1967, Levant, ibid.

[70] Alex Young, “Heavy guard for PM: ‘Vietniks’ at airport, club,” Province, Mar. 31, 1967, p. 1 https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73069053/the-province

Peter Loudon, “Like French Revolution Some Feast Others Chant,” Times Colonist, Apr. 1, 1967, p. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73616904/times-colonist/

(Note: This article, covering a protest the next day outside a gala banquet attended by Pearson, notes the same “Pearson, Martin, LBJ…” chant.  The reporter mocked the protesters’ appearance, and said they were “denouncing Canada’s alleged support of the US in Vietnam.” Emphasis added.)

[71] Nick Auf der Maur, “Vietnam Protesters March Through City, Montreal Gazette, July 3, 1967, p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73067312/the-gazette/

Featured image: Former Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs (1948-1957), Lester B. Pearson, at his desk in Ottawa. As leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, he served from 1958 to 1968. [Source: journal.forces.gc.ca]

The ‘Cancel Culture’ phenomenon: kind of hate-hush all over the world

The ‘Cancel Culture’ phenomenon: kind of hate-hush all over the world

March 01, 2021

by Ghassan and Intibah Kadi for the Saker Blog

Who remembers the Herman’s Hermits and their 1967 song ‘There’s a Kind of Hush’? The hush the song speaks of is a hush of love, and it was a world of dreams in the sixties in the West, despite the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights protests in the USA and other global conflicts. The peace movements were strong and vibrant, and there was hope that the peace-loving youth will have their way and make a difference; because they genuinely believed in the slogan that ‘all you need is love’.

Alas, the love-hush seems now to be replaced with a hate-hush, and it is engulfing the world, particularly the West, with unprecedented anger and vile displays of demeanour, and this seems to be part of the ‘New Normal’ that some are pushing down our throats.

Not long ago, inspired by another song of the 1960’s, the article pondered where have all the flowers and peace movements gone. In such a short period since, discord and trouble has steeply risen to unprecedented levels, where we are witnessing now an ominous step forward into the abyss and a huge fall in the trajectory of humanity.

In comparison and as an example, when the Lebanese civil war erupted in 1975, it didn’t really come as a surprise to anyone as the specter of such calamity had always hung in the air and sat on the agendas of opposing political groups, as well as on the narrow minds of religious groups that held back unsettled sectarian scores for decades, even centuries.

In hindsight, it seems unfathomable as to how did the German people become so brainwashed and vulnerable to Nazi propaganda. They incrementally discarded all the humane values they had known before, replacing them with nationalist, exclusionist and supremacist values, eventually engaging, wittingly or unwittingly, in supporting or perpetrating injustices on minority groups including Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, the disabled, just to mention a few. Shockingly, when the civil war began in Lebanon, the Lebanese people actually saw a similar phenomenon happen right in front of their eyes. The world witnessed town turning against town, suburb against suburb, neighbour against neighbour, inflicting the most horrendous crimes of maiming, sniping, torturing and killing each other. The same happened again in Yugoslavia as it fell apart.

In more ways than one, latent hatred was expected to eventually manifest itself. If and when old sentiments are not dealt with and brought to closure, such an outcome of a build-up and explosion is to be expected.

But what we are witnessing today, in the West, is something quite different; a case where many people develop boiling, seething, foaming and frothing rage and hatred against others for no apparent reason or history at all.

In America at least, there are a number of actual issues that cause rage and dismay, such as unresolved racial tensions and injustices, perceptions of stolen elections, mishandling of the Corona Virus, the economy and so on. However, these issues are dealt with so vehemently, often with grave, unjust, illegal and disproportional measures, leaving many wondering if America is teetering on the brink of a civil war.

Most striking is the alarming phenomenon of other Western countries taking on board many of the divisive American-specific issues, all with the rage and social divisions that define America’s social status quo. People make ‘all or nothing’ stands and polarity on so many issues, reaching new frenetic levels each day. Even when a legitimate reason for anger exists, the expressions of these can be increasingly extreme and irrational and treated as a defining issue, one worthy of labelling, whether in America or elsewhere.

The authors observed that many people from all different sides of the political divide, within and outside the USA, when asked, are unable to rationally express the reason behind their extremely heated stands. Such a psychological situation can destroy the West; or what is left of it. Close friends, friends who have known and loved each other for decades accuse each other of the most heinous of ‘crimes’, attach labels to each other, just because they ask simple questions, trying to understand the rationale behind their feelings.

And feelings they are, because they are not well-conceived and fact-finding-based views, and their answers provided are merely emotionally based.

In the very near past, people and friends in particular, used to have deep political discussions with peers. They disagreed quite often, but such diverse views were discussed in a civil manner with the assumption that people had the right to have different views and opinions.

In the West today however, it seems that the ‘agree-to-disagree’ principle is no longer. The current rule is ‘you are either with me or against me’. Where have we heard this before? Instead of ‘me’ it was ‘us’?

Not only are we witnessing extreme and unwarranted actions between disagreeing individuals, we are also witnessing this on a collective level, one we often refer to as ‘thought-policing’. Its repercussions in recent times are rapidly morphing into what can only be described as torture ‘techniques’ such as the likes of ‘Cancel Culture’. This is exactly synonymous to the act of ‘banishment’ during the Spanish Inquisition days and the Witch-Hunt eras. Nothing much has changed, or perhaps things have gone full-circle.

In that time, ‘banishment’ meant that the banished ones lost their jobs, became socially isolated, prohibited from trading or buying goods, and quite often, this preceded being burnt alive at the stake. And, now it appears that ‘Cancel Culture’ means virtually the same thing. Whilst the victim may still be lucky enough to trade and buy commodities online, it still generally involves losing one’s job, stature, friends, memberships of associations, and facing humiliation and defamation among many other things. The only basic difference today is the absence of being put to death.

Prior to any banishment or ‘Cancel Culture’ being implemented, just like in the past where such people were branded as heretics, they are now given labels such as ‘denialists’ (disagreement with climate change theory), ‘anti-vaxxers’ (questioning the effectiveness and safety of COVID vaccines) and others. What is interesting here in all this madness, is that a person could be labelling another, only to end up themselves being labelled for something else. Someone who labels another as a ‘denialist’ may find him/herself branded as an ‘anti-vaxxer’.

What is most sinister perhaps is that, on one hand we see this violent, unexplainable, unwarranted irrational level of anger, but on the other hand, we see the West endorsing and accepting other irrational policies that can destroy it, but yet no one is batting an eyelid. Any keen observer can see that a whole myriad of changes have been imposed on the Western society, each of them alone can destroy the Western culture. Without much effort, we can see many such changes, but it suffices to mention the following:

  1. Political correctness that has gone way too far and continues to erode personal freedom of expression.
  2. The climate change debacle/hoax that elevated Greta to the level of becoming Time Magazine’s person of the year.
  3. The destruction of Western family values.
  4. The over-emphasis on LBGTI rights and all the changes imposed on the mainstream society, including such things as banning the use of words like mother and father.
  5. The COVID-thing; lockdowns, conflicting information, the vaccines that we know little about, the presence of nefarious people of influence like Fauci and Gates in decision-making.
  6. Confusing young school children with gender issues and almost encouraging them to become homosexual and/or transgender.
  7. The silence of the public regarding the censorship regulations of Facebook and Twitter.
  8. The silence of the public about the plans of the WEF’s ‘Great Reset”.
  9. The growing acceptance of thought policing and compliance to the state and media.
  10. The public indifference towards the groundless sanctions against Russia and their possible effect on global stability and peace.
  11. The public lack of knowledge and indifference about the support of their governments to Neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
  12. The West losing its industrial base under the watchful eyes of Western Governments.
  13. The West suffering from a huge drop in number of students majoring in STEM subjects.
  14. The West suffering from a growing lack of desire of young adults to have children and raise families.
  15. Giving blanket and unconditional support to abortion, even in the absence of any medical, psychological and justifiable reasons, including late-term abortion, and considering it (ie abortion) as a human right.

When people in the West are asked, why do those who do not agree with the above or accept it say nothing? The response is invariably fear, fear of being targeted and being subjected to the ‘Cancel Culture’.

Coerced to endorse the revolution of anger and phantom ideology, Westerners, especially the youth, have been socially engineered to become the corner stones of ‘controlled opposition’, all the while, they seem to have been conditioned to ‘unsee’ the real issues that threaten their survival in the future.

Coming to the crunch question; with what appears as increasing irrationality and insanity all around, have people been recently, or maybe incrementally, subjected to systemic brainwashing that renders them into such a state of irrationality, anger, volatility and blindness? If that is the case, then how was this achieved?

This brings to mind the tactic of subliminal advertising, a technique developed as early as in the 1950’s in which a person is subjected unknowingly to an advertisement. It can be sound-based or visual. A visual one is based on techniques like inserting a single advertisement frame, say of a bag of popcorn, into a movie. Movies show motion by playing a series of still frames, around twenty per second. In a single frame it is not noticeable by the conscious mind, but is picked up by the subconscious, and in this example given, will create a stimulus to buy popcorn. There is much evidence of more sinister or politically motivated subliminal messages inserted into Hollywood movies. Legal questions arose around this technique.

From such a simple, unsophisticated technique, in the same decade, a secretive project on behaviour modification was undertaken named Project MKUltra, eventually becoming the subject of an American Senate Intelligence Hearing . Mind-control technology took off, reaching ever new heights (or lows?), not just enhancing business and socio-political agenda, but becoming a crucial component of warfare, even with special strategies for social media, to target the public and their perceptions, making them compliant or malleable and even activating them to the extent this discussion indicates. Intibah Kadi’s work on this is cited in the preceding link to an academic paper.

The question is where else, apart from media and social media, have such techniques been used? What kind of technology and to what extent and what ends has this been taken to? And has such systemic brainwashing that we suggest, been ramped up in these last few years when Trump was President of the USA? This is predicated on the suspicion of Trump acting at times as the ‘disruptor” of a particular set of the ‘establishment’, or ‘swamp’ as he named it, one that either rejected him or he alienated.

This also brings to mind an old movie in 1977 by the name of Telefon, a fiction based on a few people who on the surface appear to lead a normal life, but in reality, are a team of professional assassins designated to kill certain individuals upon receiving a vocal message they had been hypnotized to respond to like robots.

Have we actually reached such days of a ‘New Normal’ in terms of the evident, debased level of social discourse, labeling, shaming and damning? Ironically, ‘New Normal’ is a term we hear every day, courtesy of world leaders, various officials and, of course, from the head of the World Economic Forum. Or is it ironic? Will brainwashing and behaviour modification techniques go far beyond that of what we commonly understand and well into the realms of Artificial Intelligence and Electromagnetism? And in these new realms, what extent, if any, do these play a role in these shocking days of ‘Cancel Culture’, the suspension of critical thinking and general mob-rule behaviour permitted for some in the West in recent years?

But above all, did the Western mind deteriorate naturally as a result of attrition or did social engineering cause it to devolve in a manner that fires it up chasing red herrings all the while being totally blind to what really matters? Or has it been manipulated by a devious master plan that makes any science fiction movie look like a Batman Comic?

أنيس النقاش: جدليّة الاستراتيجيا والإيديولوجيا

سيف دعنا

سيف دعنا 

الميادين

25 شباط 15:50

لم يكن أنيس يحلم باليوم التالي لتحرير فلسطين فحسب، بل كان يعرف أيضاً، أنه قادم حتماً.
لم يكن أنيس يحلم باليوم التالي لتحرير فلسطين فحسب، بل كان يعرف أيضاً، أنه قادم حتماً.


الاشتباك في حالة أنيس النقاش ومن سبقه وعاصره من رجال بذلوا أنفسهم من أجل فلسطين في مواجهة الصهيوني والإمبريالية الغربية هو وعي الأهمية لأن تصبح المقاومة حقلاً معرفياً قائماً بذاته.

“تكليفنا لا يقتصر على قتال إسرائيل، تكليفنا هو الانتصار عليها” (الشهيد عماد مغنية).

قبل أكثر من 100 عام بقليل، وتحديداً في تمام الساعة 9:40 من مساء السادس من تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 1917 (25 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر، بحسب التقويم اليولياني)، أطلق الطراد “أورورا”، الراسي حينها على ضفاف نهر نيفا الَّذي يقطع مدينة بطرسبورغ الروسية، رصاصة مدوية في الهواء. كانت تلك إشارة لأنصار البلاشفة بأمر الهجوم على قصر الشتاء. بعدها بدقائق قليلة، كانت فرق الجيش الأحمر تقتحم قصر الشتاء كالإعصار، ليدخل بعدها تاريخ الإنسانية والعالم مرحلة جديدة سيتغيّر معها العالم. 

بعد تلك الليلة بتسعة وثلاثين عاماً، في 26 تموز/يوليو 1956، ومن ميدان المنشية في الإسكندرية، أعلن الرئيس جمال عبد الناصر تأميم قناة السويس. في 9 كلمات فقط (“قرار من رئيس الجمهورية بتأميم الشركة العالمية لقناة السويس”).

لم يكن الرئيس عبد الناصر يصدر الأمر للسيطرة على مكاتب “الشركة العالمية لقناة السويس” فحسب، بل كان يعلن بداية انقلاب العرب على اتفاق “سايكس بيكو” ووعد “بلفور” ومفاعيلهما، بفتحه الأفق والطريق للوحدة العربية كعملية تاريخية. هكذا كان إعلان المنشية إيذاناً بتحوّل فكرة الجماعة العربية والأمة العربية لقوة تاريخية فعلية ومضادة للاستراتيجية الاستعمارية القائمة على التجزئة. 

 بعدها بتسعة عشر عاماً (وأكثر من نصف قرن على رصاصة الطراد أورورا)، وتحديداً في 29 نيسان/أبريل 1975، أعطى الجنرال الفيتنامي فان تاين دونغ الأمر للجيش الشعبي الفيتنامي باقتحام سايغون. بعدها بيوم واحد فقط، كان العالم يشاهد مذهولاً اقتحام دبابات الفيتكونغ لبوابات القصر الرئاسي في سايغون، كإعلان صارخ لهزيمة الإمبراطورية الأعتى في التاريخ (والثالثة بعد فرنسا واليابان).

 بعد ذلك اليوم بخمسة وعشرين عاماً، وتحديداً في 25 أيار/مايو 2000، وفي نهاية مشهد مذلّ من الانسحاب الفوضوي لطّخ سمعة كلّ عسكري صهيوني إلى الأبد، أغلق ضابط صهيوني مهزوم ومكسور الروح اسمه بيني غانتس بوابة فاطمة في جنوب لبنان، ظناً منه ومن حكومته أن باباً حديدياً يمكنه أن يوقف مفاعيل تلك الهزيمة المُرَّة عند تلك النقطة، لكن ذلك اليوم وتلك الهزيمة المُرة والأولى في تاريخ الصراع العربي- الصهيوني أسست لمسار يقوده الأمين لحزب الله السيّد حسن نصر الله بعبقرية، وبَشَّرَنا بخاتمته بصلاة العرب في الأقصى الراحل أنيس النقاش في مقاله “اليوم التالي للصلاة في الأقصى”.

أنيس المثقّف المشتبك: جدليّة الفعل والفكر

خلف كلّ تلك المشاهد العظيمة والمدهشة التي غيّرت وستظلّ تغيّر العالم، فكرة ونهج تفكير عرفه الراحل أنيس النقاش وأتقنه جيداً، ولخّصه سيد المقاومة في ذلك اليوم العظيم من أيار/مايو بكلمتين: “مصيرك بيدك”، فخلف كلّ تلك المشاهد التي تختصر وتختزل جوهر حركة التاريخ وتغييره كانت جدلية الفعل والفكر، ديالكتيك الممارسة والنظرية. 

وليس غريباً أنها تجلَّت أولاً، وبوضوح، في مشهد الثورة البلشفية، فمع فلاديمير لينين فقط، يقول الفيلسوف الفرنسي لوي التوسير في “لينين والفلسفة”: “يمكن للعبارة النبوءة في الأطروحة الحادية عشرة لـ (الفيلسوف الألماني) لودفيغ فيورباخ أن تكتسب أخيراً الشكل والمعنى: حتى الآن، قام الفلاسفة بتفسير العالم بطرق مختلفة، بينما الهدف هو تغييره”، فزعيم الثورة البلشفية تجاوز معرفة ماهية الفلسفة إلى معرفة ماهية ممارسة الفلسفة، تجاوز النظرية للفعل والممارسة. هكذا أصبحت الماركسية عند لينين السياسي والقائد ممارسة (جديدة) للفلسفة، وهو ما لم يغير الفلسفة فحسب، ولكن غيّر العالم أيضاً في تشرين الأول/أكتوبر 1917.   

لهذا السبب بالضبط، يجادل التوسير بأنه مهما حاول أحد الإيديولوجيين دفنه (أي لينين) تحت دليل من التحليل التاريخي، فسيظل هذا الرجل يقف دائماً على سهل التاريخ والحياة، وسيواصل الحديث بهدوء أو بحماس. سيواصل الحديث عن شيء بسيط: “عن ممارسته الثورية وعن ممارسة الصراع الطبقي. سيواصل الحديث عما يجعل من إمكانية الفعل في التاريخ. وليس ذلك لإثبات أن الثورات حتمية، ولكن لجعلها (حقيقة) في حاضرنا الفريد”.

أنيس النقاش، المثقف المشتبك بامتياز، أدرك ذلك جيداً، فالاشتباك الثوري، كما هو في حالة المثقف المشتبك، من تشي غيفارا إلى وديع حداد، ومن عماد مغنية إلى غسان كنفاني، هو ديالكتيك الفعل والفكر في أرقى صوره على الإطلاق. 

الاشتباك، كما عرفه أبطال المقاومة، ليس الاشتباك الثقافي البحت مع مثقفي الطرف الآخر في صفحات الجرائد والمجلات أو في شاشات التلفزة فحسب، ولا حتى مجرد تسخير للمعرفة والثقافة المكتسبة في الأكاديميات والجامعات في خدمة النضال السياسي والقضايا الكبرى. 

الاشتباك في حالة أنيس النقاش ومن سبقه وعاصره من مقاومين عرب من أجل فلسطين في مواجهة العدو الصهيوني والإمبريالية الغربية هو وعي الأهمية الفائقة لأن تصبح المقاومة حقلاً معرفياً (علم المقاومة) قائماً بذاته فعلاً، مختبره الميدان الفعلي للمواجهة، وأن تصبح المقاومة أيضاً مادة المعرفة الأولى والأخيرة والهم الدائم للمثقف التي يختبرها بنفسه ومباشرة في الخنادق والدشم والمتاريس وبين أزيز الرصاص. 

في حواره مع صقر أبو فخر، عبّر النقاش عن هذه الفكرة بوضوح لا لبس فيه: “بدأت بالفعل البحث عن مجالات سياسية تلبي رغبة الفاعلية والجهد المباشر. وأكثر ما كان يضايقني، حتى الآن، قلة الفاعلية أو انعدامها، أي من يقول ولا يفعل، لأن أي قول، لكي يكون ذا أثر، يجب أن يقترن بالعمل المباشر، وإلا أصبح كلاماً وتنظيراً فقط، ولا سيما في القضايا الكبرى مثل الدفاع عن العدالة”.

الأهم من كل ذلك، أنّ أنيس لم يكن مثقفاً فقط، كما لم يكن مقاوماً فقط، بل جمع الصفتين، فكان لما يقوله كمثقف مشتبك وزن أكبر بكثير من أي قائل آخر لم يعرف المقاومة في الميدان، مهما كانت مستوى ثقافته، فلم يكن لمثقف غير مشتبك، مهما كانت درجة ثقافته فعلاً، أن يعرف متى يعطي إشارة اقتحام قصر الشتاء، أو تأميم قناة السويس، أو اقتحام سايغون، أو طرد الصهاينة وهزيمتهم في لبنان. لم يكن لأيّ مثقّف غير مشتبك، مهما كانت مستوى ثقافته، أن يتحدث بالثقة المطلقة والقناعة الحاسمة التي تحدث بها أنيس النقاش عن حتمية تحرير فلسطين، فالمعرفة في القضايا الكبرى تشترط انخراط المثقف في ميدان المواجهة المباشرة، ولا يمكن تحصيلها في الأكاديميات التقليدية. 

كانت هذه الفكرة لوحدها دليل أصالة روح أنيس المقاومة وصدق انتمائه المطلق إلى مشروع تحرير فلسطين، ففي عُرف أنيس النقاش، وفي عرف المقاومة، كل مقاوم لا يؤمن حتى النخاع بحتمية تحرير فلسطين وزوال الكيان الصهيوني، لم يُهزم قبل أن يبدأ فقط (وربما كان عليه أن يبقى في بيته)، بل أصبح بروحه المهزومة وعقله المستعمر عبئاً حقيقياً وخطراً جدياً على مشروع المقاومة. هذه هي معضلة بعض قادة الثورة الفلسطينية الأساسية وسبب فشلهم الأهم، فمن لم يكن منهم على اقتناع بحتمية زوال الكيان الصهيوني، انتهى إلى طاولة المفاوضات متنازلاً عن الأرض والشعب. 

أنيس الاستراتيجي

تعالوا إلى كلمة سواء: نحو استراتيجيا شاملة لبلاد الشام“. كان هذا عنوان وفكرة مقال نشره الراحل أنيس النقاش مباشرة عقب انتصار تموز 2006 في صحيفة الأخبار اللبنانية. ورغم أن العنوان يكشف عن محتوى المقال، كما يختزل ويختزن فكرته الأساسية إلى حد كبير، فإنه يكشف أيضاً بعض ملامح المنظومة المفاهيمية التي شكَّلت أسس التفكير السياسي للراحل.  

ويكشف منطق المقال أيضاً بعض ما يربط التفكير السياسي للنقاش بمنهجية وآلية تفكير سياسي لتيار عروبي وحدوي جنوبي الهوى ومتنوع المشارب الإيديولوجية (يساري، قومي، إسلامي)، تطور منذ عهد الرئيس الراحل جمال عبد الناصر وثورة يوليو، وما زال سائداً عند كل من يعتقد من العروبيين وثوار الجنوب وأحرار العالم بكل مشاربهم العقائدية بأولوية اللحظة الإمبريالية على ما عداها في التحليل السياسي. 

فكرة الوحدة في هذا التقليد السياسي ليست مجرد اتفاقية بين بلدين أو أكثر أو اندماج بين شعبين أو أكثر، بل هي استراتيجية مؤسسة على وعي وإدراك عميق بجوهر السيطرة الإمبريالية وطبيعتها، فلا يمكن، وفق هذه الرؤية، تحقيق الاستقلال والسيادة والأمن لشعوب أمتنا ومنطقتنا في عصر الاستعمار الغربي وإمبراطورياته الكبرى، إلا عبر رؤية ترى في الوحدة أولاً وأساساً تكتلاً مضاداً من القوى المناهضة للهيمنة الإمبريالية والمتضررة منها. لهذا، إن منطق الوحدة العربية كاستراتيجيا في مواجهة الكيان الصهيوني، مثلاً، يستند إلى قاعدة سياسية بسيطة أجملتها في مقال آخر في “الميادين نت” سابقاً بعبارة: “كلما كبر العرب، صغرت إسرائيل”.    

هذا الفكر المؤسّس على الوحدة والعروبة كاستراتيجيا أكثر من كونها إيديولوجيا، يؤشر إلى إدراك صاحبه العميق بأن التجزئة الاستعمارية للوطن العربي، وللمنطقة بمجملها، هي من أهم متطلبات الهيمنة الامبريالية الغربية، ومن أهم متطلبات النهب الإمبريالي، ويؤشر كذلك بالتالي، وبالضرورة، إلى إدراك النقاش أن الوحدة ليست أهم آليات ومتطلبات المواجهة والانتصار فحسب، بل وأهم متطلّبات الدفاع عن النفس والوجود أيضاً. 

هذا المنهج في التفكير السياسي الذي اعتمده الراحل أنيس النقاش يتجاوز مجرد المعاداة الإيديولوجية والعقائدية للإمبريالية الغربية القائمة على أساس التناقض الاجتماعي أو الاقتصادي-السياسي البحت (الطبقي على مستوى عالمي)، كما في بعض الإيديولوجيات اليسارية، كما يتجاوز إدراك بعض الإيديولوجيات القومية ذات الفهم القاصر لمفهوم الأمة، والتي كانت ترى في الوحدة “فكرة مطلقة”، فالأولى بقيت أسيرة رؤية قطرية ضيقة تبحث عن عدالة اجتماعية غير ممكنة الإنجاز والتحقيق في سياق منظومة نهب عالمية تتحكّم بها القوى الإمبريالية الغربية، فيما اصطدمت الثانية بتباينات الواقع الاجتماعي القطري الذي يكشف ارتباط بعض شرائحه الاجتماعية عضوياً بالإمبريالية الغربية.

لهذا، كانت نتيجة هذه الاستراتيجيا، يقول النقاش، “التي عُرفت في الماضي بسياسة فرّق تسد، تُمارس اليوم على أكثر من صعيد، وأهم ما فيها أنها تستهدف المفاهيم المكونة للمجتمع وعقائده أكثر مما تستهدف تفريق الصفوف فقط، كما كان في السياسات القديمة لاستراتيجيات فرّق تسد، أو مجرد السيطرة على الأرض والمواد الأولية، فهي تحوي كل هذا في آن واحد”.

الأهم أنَّ هذه الرؤية القائمة على أساس الوحدة كاستراتيجيا، وجوهرها التأسيس لأكبر تكتل مضاد في مواجهة العدو، تستتبع بالضرورة مركزية قضية فلسطين ومركزية تحريرها، كما توفّر الآلية الأكثر فاعلية وإمكانية لتحقيق النصر وإنجاز التحرير.

 ولهذا، يستنتج النقاش: “على استراتيجيتنا الشاملة أيضاً أن تنقض على بقايا الاستعمار القديم وقراراته بتقسيم المنطقة، من خلال وحدة الجهاد والاجتهاد والصحوة والعمل التنموي، وخصوصاً العمل الوحدوي في مجتمعاتنا المستهدفة في وحدتها الاجتماعية وسلامها الأهلي، وبالتالي في مستقبلها وآمالها. إنها استراتيجيا بلاد الشام قاطبة، محورها بيت المقدس، وساحتها أكناف بيت المقدس كساحة جغرافية لحركتها”.

ولأنَّ هذه الفكرة كانت تعبيراً عن منهج تفكير عند النقاش، يمكننا رؤيتها في تعاطيه مع أغلب القضايا السياسية. هذا التفكير هو الذي يرى الأهمية الوجودية لعلاقة العرب مع إيران وفنزويلا وكوبا وبوليفيا وغيرها من مجتمعات الجنوب المتضررة من الهيمنة الغربية، والمهددة مثل أمتنا تماماً بوجودها، فليس انتصار العرب وغيرهم من أهل الجنوب وتحررهم فقط، ولكن استمرار وجودهم نفسه أيضاً، أصبح مشروطاً بهذه الاستراتيجية: أن نكون جزءاً من تكتّل مضادّ يدرك أنّ المعركة مع الإمبريالية الغربية، وليس فقط مع ممثلها في منطقتنا (العدوّ الصهيوني)، هي معركة وجودية بامتياز، تتطلب وتفترض اندماج هذه القوى، وليس مجرد تعاونها فقط. 

وداعاً أنيس فلسطين

لم يكن أنيس يحلم باليوم التالي لتحرير فلسطين فحسب، بل كان يعرف أيضاً، كما كتب عن ذلك اليوم، أنه قادم حتماً. كان يعلم أنَّ ثمة من يعمل لذلك اليوم في الليل والنهار. يومها، وبينما تقرع أجراس كنائسنا في المهد والقيامة إجلالاً للشهداء والمقاومين، سنسوّي صفوفنا، ونعتدل خلف إمامنا وقائد حركة التحرير العربية والأمين عليها، السيد حسن نصر الله، لنصلّي في المسجد الأقصى. ولأنَّ النّصر سيكون كبيراً، فإن الفرح سيكون أيضاً كبيراً، لكن ستكون في القلب غصة، لأنَّ بعض من أحبّ فلسطين، وأفنى عمره في سبيلها وفي سبيل أن نصل إلى ذلك اليوم، لن يكون معنا. 

يومها، سنفتقدك جداً يا أنيس، كما سنفتقد كل مقاوم استشهد على طريق فلسطين، لكنَّ عزاءنا يكمن في أنَّنا نعرف أنَّكم عشتم وقاومتم واستشهدتم وأنتم ترددون خلف سيد المقاومة: “اللهم إنّك تعلم أنه لم يكن الذي كان منا منافسةً في سلطان، ولا ابتغاء لشيء من الحطام، وإنما كان إحياءً للحق، وإماتةً للباطل، ودفاعاً عن مظلومي عبادك، وإقامةً للعدل في أرضك، وطلباً لرضاك والقرب منك. على هذا قضى شهداؤنا، وعلى هذا نمضي ونواصل العمل والجهاد، وقد وعدتنا يا رب إحدى الحسنيين: إما النصر وإما التشرف بلقائك مخضبين بدمائنا”.

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‘Beyond Vietnam’: Where Do We Go from Here?

January 14, 2021

Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968)

By Benay Blend

In “Beyond Vietnam” (1967), his speech delivered at the Riverside Church in New York, Martin Luther King opened by quoting from Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. “A time comes when silence is betrayal,” King explained, then concluded: “That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.”

King’s words that followed still ring true today. In what was perhaps the most significant, but least appreciated, speeches of his career, King warned against falling into “conformist thought,” in particular regarding official policy during times of war.

There is no war today like Vietnam, but there is an ongoing foreign policy that commits imperialist acts abroad. As Peter Dreier notes, over 50 years since King’s Riverside Church address, the US remains involved in several ground wars as well as a war on “terrorism,” which is principally a battle against Muslims as well as immigrants, the latter of whom are motivated to flee their countries because of US-sponsored violence abroad.

In particular, there is foreign aid that goes, among other destinations, to the state of Israel. In this way, the Unites States allows the Zionist state to continue its Occupation of Palestinians by using all the brutality that we used in Vietnam.

As Ramzy Baroud observes, by going against “not only the state apparatus” but also the “liberal hierarchy” which posed as if they were his allies, King’s self-described “inner truth” cost him some support. “It was a lonely, moral stance,” wrote Michelle Alexander. “And it cost him.”

In her landmark Opinion Piece published one year ago in the New York Times, Alexander goes on to hold up King’s example as a standard that still holds true today. In particular, Alexander is concerned with questioning her own silence on what she calls “one of the great moral challenges of our time: the crisis in Israel-Palestine.”

Alexander circumvents King’s well-known advocacy for Israel’s “right to exist” by suggesting that “if we are to honor King’s message and not merely the man, we must condemn Israel’s actions.”

It is impossible to know how King’s position on the Middle East would have changed over time. Building on Alexander’s piece, David Palumbo-Liu cites King’s opposition to apartheid South Africa as a clue to how he would feel towards the same practices in Israel today.

“The fact that King explicitly linked colonialism and segregation suggests that he would indeed recognize the expansion of the occupation as a settler-colonial project. If he did, he would then have to reevaluate his support for Israel pre-1967, as so many others have in recent years. He might well have come to recognize the absolute continuity between the 1948 dispossession, exile, and colonization of Palestinians and the post-1967 occupation.”

Indeed, Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, Israel’s largest human rights organization, has just called for the end of “the systematic promotion of the supremacy of one group of people over another,” i.e. apartheid very similar to what existed in South Africa.

In other ways King’s voice speaks to present-day concerns. In his 1968 call for an “economic bill of rights,” King challenged the notion that this country could afford both “guns and butter,” a conundrum that still prevails today. “We have come to see that this is a myth,” he explained, “that when a nation becomes involved in this kind of war, when the guns of war become a national obsession, social needs inevitably suffer.”

Theoretically we are not at war. On the other hand, as long as we give military aid to countries that repress their people we are not at peace. At a time when Congress continues to propose huge increases in the country’s military budget by cutting programs for the poor, King’s speech holds true today.

As Ramzy Baroud observes, there has been very little direct aid to Americans struggling under the impact of the virus, yet Congress continues to provide Israel with enormous sums of money ostensibly for defense. In reality, these funds are very much needed at home.

“The mere questioning of how Israel uses the funds – whether the military aid is being actively used to sustain Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, finance Jewish settlements, fund annexation of Palestinian land or violate Palestinian human rights,” Baroud explains, remains a “major taboo.”

Many years ago, Reverend King described “adventures like Vietnam” as “some demonic, destructive suction tube” that drew “men and skills and money” into the effort to keep it going. What would he think now of massive funds that go to another country which oppresses its people in ways similar to the Jim Crow South in which King was born?

At the closing of her memorial to Martin Luther King, Alexander pledges “to speak with greater courage and conviction about injustices beyond our borders, particularly those that are funded by our government, and stand in solidarity with struggles for democracy and freedom. My conscience leaves me no other choice.”

King, too, chose to address his vision “beyond Vietnam,” thereby to “a world that borders on our doors.”

In a statement regarding the January 6th right-wing riots in D.C., the US Peace Council reiterated that guns at the expense of butter were part of the root cause of disaffection. “While a record $740B military appropriation sailed through Congress with only 20 Democrats in opposition,” the statement read, “desperately needed reforms that benefit working people have been sidetracked.”

Moreover, the statement refuted a comment often heard in response to recent riots. According to the press and much of social media, what happened at the Capital was “sedition,” because this is America, and its “not who we are.” In reality, notes the Peace Council, what is happening today

“is a microcosm of what the capitalist financial institutions and elites have wreaked upon the planet through trade agreements and an imperialist foreign policy that has suppressed populations through illegal acts of interference, aggression, and economic warfare designed to create the conditions for exploitation, the theft of land and resources and environmental destruction.”

Because the root causes of our problems extend beyond our borders, the Council calls for solutions very much in the manner of King’s focus on the global nature of oppression. Accordingly, the statement concludes that:

“A unified grassroots mass movement is needed to address the fundamental class contradictions of the system as a whole and not limit itself to fighting against the symptoms solely by seeking cosmetic changes through elections and reforms from above. We need to bring all contingents of the people’s movement — labor, social justice, civil rights, human rights, environmental, peace — together under a single coordinated network, with a clear agenda that addresses the root causes of the present crisis and not only its variegated symptoms.”

In this way, more people will come to understand that the catastrophes we face will not be solved as long as what we allow to be done in our name abroad comes home to our nation’s capital. King knew that local police, in conjunction with para-military hate groups, used violence in much the same way as the far-right factions that more recently invaded D.C.

In both cases, the Klan and other groups were/are motivated by a desire to oppose the struggle for civil rights at home. Nevertheless, “our actions cannot be limited to the US,” concludes the US Peace Council, “because if the global elites are willing to oppress and exploit people anywhere, the crises we face will continue.”

The United States, concluded King, is “on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.” In order to solve domestic problems while promoting global peace, he suggested “giv[ing] up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments,” and, he might have added, ending aid to countries like Israel that use the funds to wreak violence on Palestinians under the Occupation.

With “Beyond Vietnam,” concludes Baroud, King “courageously broke free from the confines of American exceptionalism,” thereby joining the civil rights struggle to “a worldwide movement of struggles against racism, colonialism and war.”

In 2021, it is more important now than ever to heed King’s words. Indeed, as Baroud suggests, “new strategies” will have “to replace the old ones” for the Palestinian struggle to succeed. His vision calls for unity among all factions, bringing together Palestinians in the homeland and elsewhere to formulate a blueprint for One Democratic State that would grant the Right of Return.

Harking back to King’s international idea, Baroud calls for “a global solidarity movement that rallies behind a unified Palestinian vision,” a plan that bypasses official circles that have done little to promote peace. While Baroud’s strategy focuses on freedom for the Palestinian people, if such a movement becomes one of transnational mutuality, it would be possible to bring about the liberation of all oppressed people worldwide, thereby remaining true to the “other, more revolutionary, radical and global King” that Baroud explains is more often “hidden from view.”

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Compilation – Amerika: who we are!

Are You sure about that Joe?

Coronavirus Lessons That Vietnam Could Teach Americans and the World

December 5, 2020

Vietnam May Have the Most Effective Response to Covid-19 | The Nation
American writer and investigative historian

Eric Zuesse

All of the data here can easily be found at the world’s best website for tracking each day’s national and international coronavirus (or covid) cases and deaths: www.worldometers.info/coronavirus.


——

After America hit a world-record high of 204,163 new covid-19 cases on November 20th, that number declined down to 145,576 new daily cases a week later, on November 26th, which was, of course, very welcomed news. Meanwhile, Vietnam, with a population of 97,693,204 as compared to America’s 331,790,984, had only 1 new case on November 20th, and 10 new cases on November 26th. Proportionally, that 10 daily new cases would have been equivalent to 34 daily new cases in the U.S. But, instead, U.S. had 145,576 daily new cases on that date: That’s 4,282 time higher than the proportionally adjusted 34 new cases that a Vietnam with 331,790,984 population would have had. And, yet, America is so haughty as not even to be discussing whether or how it could learn from Vietnam’s experience.

The next day, on November 27th, U.S. had 164,103 new cases, and Vietnam had 8. Pn November 28th, U.S. was down to 143,373, and Vietnam was down to 2.

America is in its second wave, which started rising from a low on September 7th of 25,906, to that high of 204,163 on November 20th. Meanwhile. Vietnam rose from a low of 0 new daily cases on both October 3rd and 4th, to a high of 26 new daily cases on November 11th, and then down to 12 new daily cases on November 18th, and not higher than that number since. Vietnam’s highest-ever number of new daily cases was on July 30th: 50. That was the peak of Vietnam’s second wave, and the 26 new cases on November 11th was the peak of their third wave, which seems now to be subsiding.

How does Vietnam manage to be thousands of times as effective at controlling this disease than America is? Does Vietnam crush its economy by being so uncompromising to reduce the illnesses and deaths from this disease to as low as they can go, and keeping them there? The exact opposite is true. Here are highlights from an article which appeared in the October 20th issue of Britain’s Guardian about Vietnam’s coronavirus experience, written by Tran Le Thuy, the director of the Centre for Media and Development Initiatives in Hanoi, titled “Vietnam is fighting Covid without pitting economic growth against public health”:

Beyond contact-tracing, why has Vietnam been so good at dealing with the pandemic?
The central reason is perhaps the way the government has depoliticised the pandemic, treating it purely as a health crisis, allowing for effective governance. There was no political motive for government officials to hide information, as they don’t face being reprimanded if there are positive cases in their authority area that are not due to their mistakes. I haven’t heard about any religious opposition to the government’s strategy either. With the head of the Hanoi centre for disease control being arrested for suspected corruption in relation to the purchase of testing kits, and small traders getting fines for price-gouging face-masks, the government has also been clear that public health cannot be entangled with commercial interests. …
In January, when Wuhan announced the first death, Vietnam tightened its border and airport control of Chinese visitors. This wasn’t an easy decision, given that cross-border trade with China accounts for a significant part of the Vietnamese economy. … It took precautionary measures above and beyond World Health Organization recommendations. … Preparations for a pandemic were implemented a week before the outbreak was officially a public health emergency of international concern, and more than a month before WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic.
The government also decided to embrace freedom of information on Covid-related matters. … The motto for the first phase was that if we stay alive, the question of wealth and the economy can come later. …
But now the government has shifted its anti-Covid strategy towards the economy. … Lockdown and isolation are more selective. …
For now it looks like Vietnam has seen off the threat of a second wave. … Given that Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world currently experiencing positive GDP growth, the supposed trade-off between the economy and public health, which countries around the world are negotiating, looks to be something of a false choice.

Vietnam’s experience is just an extreme example of correct decisions in the face of a crisis — an epidemic. So, it has been extremely successful. Similarly, America is an example of incorrect decisions in the face of an epidemic; and, so, America has been extremely unsuccessful.

On November 22nd, I wrote at greater length about “Which Coronavirus Policies Succeed, And Which Fail: N.Y. Times Analysis Confirms Mine”, which discussed not only the comparisons of the 200+ nations but of the 50 U.S. states; and the experiences and results in Vietnam and in the U.S. are in line with those of the world’s other countries. Bad polices everywhere produce bad results; good policies everywhere produce good results.

On November 24th, Statista headlined “Has Europe Broken the Second Wave?” and reported that, “A couple of weeks after several European countries went on (at least partial) lockdown once again in the face of surging COVID-19 cases, the tightening of restrictions appears to be paying off.” This was shown there in a graph, which displayed especially that whereas the EU was now declining markedly in those numbers, the U.S. was continuing to soar and was now clearly heading to surpass the EU’s daily coronavirus-intensity, yet again, as it hadn’t been doing ever since September. That same article was republished on November 28th at the popular American Zero Hedge news site, with reader-comments, which were overwhelmingly hostile to this information, such as this string there:

Crazed Smoker
Cardiovascular diseases kill 10x as many people, 16 million/year, than this dud fomented into a mass hysteria.
marketvviz
And ironically since it almost exclusively kills off the elderly and the already sick (comorbidities) it could actually be a long term net benefit to the economy if people ignored it and didn’t freak out or shut down.
JimmyJones
2nd wave broken, it appears the lockdowns worked? Are freaking kidding me, you know what happened, they ran out of Karen’s running to get a test that gives over 50% false positives.

Another interesting comparison is between Vietnam and the world’s most coronavirus-ravaged country, tiny Andorra, a statelet sandwiched between France and Spain. Andorra has been doing everything possible to downplay the severity of its infestation, partly because around half of that country’s economy is tourism. As of November 29th, Andorra had 85,403 cases per million. That is more than twice America’s 41,024, and is 6,100 times Vietnam’s 14. Whereas Andorra has a coronavirus death-rate of 983 per million (nearly one person per thousand), America’s is 821, and Vietnam’s is 0.4. (America’s is nearly as high as Andorra’s because Andorra has a superior healthcare system, and has cured 98.7% of its cases, whereas America has cured 96.7%. Vietnam has cured 97.0%.)

The international, and even the state-by-state, data, have lessons to teach, all of which lessons turn out to be remarkably consistent with one-another, but lots of people, in some countries (such as in the United States), are simply refusing to learn them. Perhaps those lessons don’t happen to fit those persons’ ideology.

The Triumph of Mankind Over the Great Reset: Guns, Books, and the Social Contract

Joaquin Flores

November 20, 2020

In The Dystopic Great Reset and the Fight Back: Population Reduction and Hope for the Children of Men , our Part I, we developed on our previous essays on planned obsolescence and the problems of the old paradigm as we enter the 4th Industrial Revolution. We looked at how several science fiction works like ‘The Virus’ and ‘Children of Men’ in culture actually predicted and lent to us an understanding the new reified nightmare being built around us. Finally, we looked at Althusser’s ‘ISA’, Ideological State Apparatus and how this was developed towards a politically correct elite culture which opened the door to the so-called ‘new normal’, where slavery and self-harm are virtue signals.

At the end of ‘The Dystopic Great Reset and the Fight Back […]’ that it would be necessary to trace aspects of the history of the social contract in order to lay the foundation of understanding

In our previous essay ‘Capitalism After Corona Lockdown: Having the Power to Walk Away, we also then posed the question of the social contract itself.

Because the vast majority of us today are born into civilization, we don’t always think about its origins in terms of the agency of individuals who joined or formed the first civilizations. We tend to be taught through our institutions that it was something in between voluntary and natural, and the great 19th century nationalist romanticism promoted a view of self-determination of peoples, a view that would later be taken up by nationalist and leftist movements around the world in the 20th century – later enshrined in the UN.

But much of the story of the first state-building civilizations, understanding that people are a resource when organized and put to work, is that some balance between slavery and half-freedom rests at its foundation.

The mass production of books and guns, which came about within the same historical period, entirely upended the old foundation of class society. The mass production of guns and books may have, at a certain point, been seen as powerful reinforcements for the status quo. Larger armies could be effectively armed at lower cost. The Ideological State Apparatus, as we can infer from Althusser, could be disseminated and internalized more effectively. But as with technology, came its dual-use features. The very technologies developed with an eye at perfecting the control mechanisms within the status quo of oligarchic orders, in keeping up with the technologies that other competing power networks (countries, kingdoms, nations, etc.), can be turned on its head if these technologies were democratized and fell into the hands of the broadest possible numbers of people. Such was the process both in the American Revolution, and also for instance in the Vietnamese resistance to Japanese, French, and American colonialism in the last century.

For the first time in many centuries, knowledge and brute force were no longer an insurmountable near-monopoly held by the state or those it could compromise. The gun – the great equalizer of men, and the book – the great liberator of minds.

Since that epoch of great emancipation and promise, technology has continued with this contradictory path of dual-use. However, the balance of power and the natures of technologies hitherto developed has shifted tremendously, favoring the status quo and disempowering the broad masses. This lamentable condition, however, is upended by the applied technologies which the real 4th Industrial Revolution (not the World Economic Forum’s model) brings into being.

In the last epoch of the 20th century, we had begun a dangerous trajectory to a blind-sighted overspecialization (compartmentalization/fachidiotizmus) which are the hallmarks of technocracy, and away from the liberatory epoch of centuries past which gave rise to constitutional republics.

In the past, before the old liberatory epoch, just as a military class was reliant on exclusive access to armaments, today is characterized by a combination of pharmaceutical and social programming through media which are powers out of the reach of the people. This rise and perfection of what Heidegger would define and what Marcuse would characterize as a permanently stable techno-industrial bureaucratic mode of society, characterizes today’s world of social-media influencing, anti-depressants, mass psychological operations such as virtual or holographic pandemics (HIV, Covid-19, etc.), and the surveillance state.

This part is most important in establishing that for the foreseeable future, escaping the 4th Industrial Revolution is an impossibility. At the same time, the dual-use nature of the technologies still hold some liberatory potential, but the past methods of arriving at these has changed.

This means that the ideology of the ruling class is tremendously important. Unlike revolutionary republican and bolshevist conceptions of power and change which share an insurrectionist presumption premised in the liberatory age of guns and books (which made the ‘political soldier’ a possibility), we have increasingly entered a zenith point in social-control technologies wherein the likelihood of a controlled group winning a contest for power against the controlling group approaches zero, if we imagine this as a contest between armed groups wherein the military acts not in the interests of their extended families, but in the interests of those writing the checks.

Such limitations were already understood by those influenced by bolshevism, such as Antonio Gramsci in his discussion of hegemony in his Quaderni del Carcere. Cultural hegemony is a war of attrition over the entire ideological terrain, a component of what today we might call full-spectrum dominance. This parallels (and must have influenced) the later Althusserian conception of the Ideological State Apparatus (ISA).

The single-most revolutionary legal document to have arisen in the course of the last three-hundred years in the western tradition was the U.S. Constitution. At its foundation rests the assumption that man is born free, and enters into a social contract willingly, a view supported by a view of natural rights, natural law, and an equality of the soul endowed by the creator.

It is a social contract that man enters into every-day, and can exit any-day.

To understand the liberatory potential of a 4th Industrial Revolution is to understand the dual-use nature of technology in the history of liberatory epochs.

Before the rise of computers and robots performing much of the labor in society, societies grew in strength as they grew in people. With automation and roboticization, human beings become a surplus cost of no consequence to production provided that society itself is not anthropocentric.

The new normal being proposed, is one with no freedom of thought, let alone expression. It is one with social credit, tagging people as if they were animals on a wildlife reserve, and the total regimentation of every-day life. The contours of what techno-industrial civilization can lead to, of what scientific tyranny looks like, is not only visible to us now, but has been creeping into our lives for the past century.

The response to this in the U.S. has been an increasing support for Trump and the phenomenon that can really be described as ‘Trumpism’, which despite the media hologram of a Biden victory will most probably result in a second Trump administration. Trumpism has become synonymous with Constitutionalism, despite the revenge-fantasy language and tropes employed by a disconcerting segment of its base. In England, we have seen a parallel movement of the post-left, and a rise in ‘common law’ activism and an activist education campaign surrounding the meaning of the Magna Carta. For these parallel reasons, we had also previously characterized the Trump phenomenon as the child of a frustrated Occupy Wall Street movement after its affair with the Tea Party, but back in numbers and strength by a dispossessed working class long ago betrayed by organized labor, the DNC, and imbalanced trade deals with China.

But while these responses (with their defects and limitations) are a healthy sign, they do not yet have the depth to articulate a countering vision for society which also takes into account the state of technology as it exists today. That is why we have not seen a very thorough public discussion on the reality of technology, and the state of matters which are real and present.

Instead, we see from the conservative reaction to the 4IR – a reaction which raises all of the correct concerns and levies all of the correct criticisms against the banker’s version of it. This historically parallels the Luddites, who saw at the start of the 19th century that mass industry was replacing the work of the skilled trades and craftsmen with machines.

Their solution, to destroy the machines, failed primarily because machines produce more in volume than men. Even if they had won the political battle, it would have only been a matter of time before a competing society fully utilizing industry would over-take theirs. And perhaps this here tells the entire story of the conquest over nomadic and agriculturalist societies at the hands of the state-building, techno-industrial societies even thousands of years ago.

And so we arrive at the stark truth – there is no running or hiding from the future.

It is the task of free citizens to take ahold of the emerging new technologies into their own hands, for their own purposes: to live in society that acts towards human freedom and dignity of the soul. A world where our small children can grow up in a world without unnecessary humility or fear. A world where there is promise and hope, a promise truly justified by a real-existing society around them based upon what is true, what is beautiful, and what is good.

RCEP hops on the New Silk Roads

Source

RCEP hops on the New Silk Roads

November 16, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted on Asia Times

Ho Chi Minh, in his eternal abode, will be savoring it with a heavenly smirk. Vietnam was the – virtual – host as the 10 Asean nations, plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, on the final day of the 37th Asean Summit.

RCEP, eight years in the making, binds together 30% of the global economy and 2.2 billion people. It’s the first auspicious landmark of the Raging Twenties, which started with an assassination (of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani) followed by a global pandemic and now ominous intimations of a dodgy Great Reset.

RCEP seals East Asia as the undisputed prime hub of geoeconomics. The Asian Century in fact was already in the making way back in the 1990s. Among those Asians as well as Western expats who identified it, in 1997 I published my book 21st: The Asian Century (excerpts here.)

RCEP may force the West to do some homework, and understand that the main story here is not that RCEP “excludes the US” or that it’s “designed by China”. RCEP is an East Asia-wide agreement, initiated by Asean, and debated among equals since 2012, including Japan, which for all practical purposes positions itself as part of the industrialized Global North. It’s the first-ever trade deal that unites Asian powerhouses China, Japan and South Korea.

By now it’s clear, at last in vast swathes of East Asia, that RCEP’s 20 chapters will reduce tariffs across the board; simplify customs, with at least 65% of service sectors fully open, with increased foreign shareholding limits; solidify supply chains by privileging common rules of origin; and codify new e-commerce regulations.

When it comes to the nitty gritty, companies will be saving and be able to export anywhere within the 15-nation spectrum without bothering with extra, separate requirements from each nation. That’s what an integrated market is all about.

When RCEP meets BRI

The same scratched CD will be playing non-stop on how RCEP facilitates China’s “geopolitical ambitions”. That’s not the point. The point is RCEP evolved as a natural companion to China’s role as the main trade partner of virtually every East Asian player.

Which brings us to the key geopolitical and geoeconomic angle: RCEP is a natural companion to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which as a trade/sustainable development strategy spans not only East Asia but delves deeper into Central and West Asia.

The Global Times analysis is correct: the West has not ceased to distort BRI, without acknowledging how “the initiative they have been slandering is actually so popular in the vast majority of countries along the BRI route.”

RCEP will refocus BRI – whose “implementation” stage, according to the official timetable, starts only in 2021. The low-cost financing and special foreign exchange loans offered by the China Development Bank will become much more selective.

There will be a lot of emphasis on the Health Silk Road – especially across Southeast Asia. Strategic projects will be the priority: they revolve around the development of a network of economic corridors, logistic zones, financial centers, 5G networks, key sea ports and, especially short and mid-term, public health-related high-tech.

The discussions that led to the final RCEP draft were focused on a mechanism of integration that can easily bypass the WTO in case Washington persists on sabotaging it, as was the case during the Trump administration.

The next step could be the constitution of an economic bloc even stronger than the EU – not a far-fetched possibility when we have China, Japan, South Korea and the Asean 10 working together. Geopolitically, the top incentive, beyond an array of imperative financial compromises, would be to solidify something like Make Trade, Not War.

RCEP marks the irredeemable failure of the Obama era TPP, which was the “NATO on trade” arm of the “pivot to Asia” dreamed up at the State Department. Trump squashed TPP in 2017. TPP was not about a “counterbalance” to China’s trade primacy in Asia: it was about a free for all encompassing the 600 multinational companies which were involved in its draft. Japan and Malaysia, especially, saw thought it from the start.

RCEP also inevitably marks the irredeemable failure of the decoupling fallacy, as well as all attempts to drive a wedge between China and its East Asian trade partners. All these Asian players will now privilege trade among themselves. Trade with non-Asian nations will be an afterthought. And every Asean economy will give full priority to China.

Still, American multinationals won’t be isolated, as they will be able to profit from RCEP via their subsidiaries within the 15-nation members.

What about Greater Eurasia?

And then there’s the proverbial Indian mess. The official spin from New Delhi is that RCEP would “affect the livelihoods” of vulnerable Indians. That’s code for an extra invasion of cheap and efficient Chinese products.

India was part of the RCEP negotiations from the start. Pulling out – with a “we may join later” conditional – is once again a spectacular case of stabbing themselves in the back. The fact is the Hindutva fanatics behind Modi-ism bet on the wrong horse: the US-fostered Quad partnership cum Indo-Pacific strategy, which spells out as containment of China and thus preclude closer trade ties.

No “Make in India” will compensate for the geoeconomic, and diplomatic, blunder – which crucially implies India distancing itself from the Asean 10. RCEP solidifies China, not India, as the undisputed engine of East Asian growth amid the re-positioning of supply chains post-Covid.

A very interesting geoeconomic follow-up is what will Russia do. For the moment, Moscow’s priority involves a Sisyphean struggle: manage the turbulent relationship with Germany, Russia’s largest import partner.

But then there’s the Russia-China strategic partnership –which should be enhanced economically. Moscow’s concept of Greater Eurasia involves deeper involvement both East and West, including the expansion of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), which, for instance, has free trade deals with Asean nations such as Vietnam.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is not a geoeconomics mechanism. But it’s intriguing to see what President Xi Jinping said at his keynote speech at the Council of Heads of State of the SCO last week.

This is Xi’s key quote: “We must firmly support relevant countries in smoothly advancing major domestic political agendas in accordance with law; maintaining political security & social stability, and resolutely oppose external forces interfering in internal affairs of member states under any pretext.”

Apparently this has nothing to do with RCEP. But there are quite a few intersections. No interference of “external forces”. Beijing taking into consideration the Covid-19 vaccine needs of SCO members – and this could be extended to RCEP. The SCO – as well as RCEP – as a multilateral platform for member states to mediate disputes.

All of the above points to the inter-sectionality of BRI, EAEU, SCO, RCEP, BRICS+ and AIIB, which translates as closer Asia – and Eurasia – integration, geoeconomically and geopolitically. While the dogs of dystopia bark, the Asian – and Eurasian – caravan – keeps marching on.

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil Part II:

October 22, 2020

The cold, reptilian eyes of William Colby

By Ken Leslie for the Saker Blog

One of the persisting delusions of the modern liberal thought states that the humanity has succeeded in overcoming its worst primitive instincts and is happily sailing towards some kind of liberal utopia populated by reasonable, objectively-minded, educated technocrats who are capable of reducing any problem to a linear combination of variables to be modelled and resolved rationally. In spite of the pre-eminence of this delusion (I could call it the Dawkins delusion) in the Anglo-Saxon world, one only needs to scratch the surface to discover that not only is humanity as prone to superstition and feral hatred towards others as they have ever been but that same old racial and religious tropes which should have died a long time ago under the onslaught of modernity are not only alive but thriving and successfully being used by the Empire in its total war against potential challengers. Nothing ever changes…

If the above were true, the world would not have been rocked by a series of fratricidal wars instigated by the United States and its vassals ever since the end of WWII.[1] More recently, the final phase of the push towards the East began in the Balkans with the neutralisation of the Serbs as a possible pro-Russian counter to the fascist NATO’s takeover of Europe. Once the European flank was secured, the United States moved to destabilise Russia’s immediate neighbourhood, namely Georgia and the Ukraine. The shift towards the Middle East was prompted by Israel’s ambition to decapitate any Arab government willing and able to assert its independence from the Anglo-Zionist nexus (this is the first time I have used Saker’s label—it fits). A number of Arab countries were destabilised or destroyed rendering the geopolitical position of multi-polar forces difficult. The undeclared war of aggression of a belligerent and imperialist West against anybody who might pose a challenge to its supremacist ambitions goes on and to understand how best to defend themselves, the nations under attack must have no illusions about the nature of the enemy.

The phenomenon I am going to discuss here is in my opinion crucial for understanding the melding of super-modern military technology and primitive murderous instincts which characterise modern warfare. The deadly secrecy and the blurring of the boundaries between combatants and non-combatants, the ruthless dehumanisation of the enemy with elements of medieval torture and unforgivable crime of the murder of a large number of innocent people combined with a bureaucratic and technical mini empire whose sole purpose was to find the targets for the killings and record the kills accurately—those were the characteristics of the infamous Phoenix Programme designed by the CIA in the mid-1960s with the aim of decapitating the secret government established by the Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam. Known by the acronym of COSVN (Central Office of South Vietnam), this clandestine and elusive body was the brain behind the successful resistance to the American occupiers and their Vietnamese vassals.

As a brief prelude, even before Diem’s demise, the question posed by the US military experts was how to counteract the growing insurgency. It was clear even then that standard military approaches wouldn’t work against a popular battle-hardened guerrilla movement which did not follow the prescribed methods of waging war. A more sophisticated strategy was needed based on the experience of other empires in crushing rebellious peasants especially the British empire which at that time was fighting rear-guard battles around the world trying to stem or control various independence movements. Since the Americans lacked the necessary experience, Diem invited Sir Robert Thompson who had masterminded the defeat of the Communist insurgency in Malaya to advise him on counter-insurgency. Thompson proposed a number of relatively sensible measures which could have helped Diem including practicing cultural sensitivity and economy of force. Diem found it impossible to act rationally and the rest is history. In 1962, worried about his prospects in the face of a large-scale popular insurgency, Diem invited an Australian Military Advisory Team (Australian Army Training Team Vietnam) to help with the growing uprising. The first commander of this unit was Colonel Ted Serong, a staunch Roman Catholic of Portuguese ancestry whose anti-Communist fervour played an important part in the genesis of the Phoenix Programme.[2]

Following the introduction of US combat troops into Vietnam in 1965 (they had been there long before this but hey!) the newly installed head of the US military command, General William Westmoreland thought that the best way to eliminate the Communist threat was to blast the hell out of the Vietnamese countryside by means of massive air raids by B-52s (“Arclight”) and large-calibre artillery bombardments which were followed by “search and destroy” deployments of large military units reinforced by tanks, BTRs helicopters and fighter jets.[3] Whole districts were declared “kill zones” (“free-fire” zones in the perverted parlance of the Pentagon) allowing psychopathic generals to satisfy their racial hatred and ideological bloodthirst by destroying vast tracts of fertile land and more importantly, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Given the horrific impact of the Westmorland’s slash and burn policy, it is a minor miracle that the puppet government in Saigon lasted as long as it did.

This was truly slaughter on the industrial scale which created a massive demographic shift measured in millions of migrants from the destroyed villages into the cities and caused social problems which eventually contributed to the rapid fall of the Saigon regime. However, in spite of the fearsome firepower unleashed against the guerrillas (and increasingly North Vietnamese regular soldiers), victory eluded an exasperated Lyndon Johnson. The enemy was tactically sophisticated and fully aware of the power differential which favoured the Americans. It weaved and bobbed into and out of flooded rice fields, forests and jungles to strike the enemy when he least expected it. Well-equipped and highly motivated fighters harassed the American behemoth relentlessly while avoiding major battles.

A vast system of tunnels stretching for hundreds of kilometres was built in the province of Cu Chi containing entire underground townships complete with kitchens, hospitals, ammunition, food stores, ventilation systems and dormitories. Unlike American soldiers who lived in the comparative luxury of air-conditioned rooms, cold beer and ice cream, their opponents lived on a handful of rice a day. Sometime in 1966, it became clear even to the most intransigent of military hawks that the traditional military approach wasn’t working. The raw firepower of the US military could not best a determined and motivated peasant guerrilla army. A radically different approach was needed—a strategy much less costly in terms of American lives and much more expensive for those on its receiving end.

The need for a strategic turn in Vietnam was exacerbated by a substantial societal change taking place within the United States. Not content with blind Dullesian Cold War patriotism, younger generations of Americans began to question the wisdom of their country’s engagement in Vietnam, especially when the draft and possible death by a punji stick started to threaten the cosseted white middle class. All of a sudden, the war ceased to be cool and a beleaguered Cardinal Spellman was finding it hard to sustain the crusading zeal that characterised Diem’s rule in the 1950s.[4]

The Phoenix (or Phung Hoang) Programme was a brainchild of William Colby the then Chief of CIA Station in Saigon.[5] This is a slight exaggeration because other people on the lower rungs of the greasy pole also played their part (e.g. Nelson Brickham and many others). Phoenix, which was supposed to symbolise the rebirth of the American war effort was a complex administrative, logistical, intelligence and enforcement system supposed to facilitate what CIA and belatedly President Johnson saw as the task number one and the solution for the incipient quagmire in which America was increasingly bogged down. The task was to decapitate the clandestine “infrastructure” of the resistance movement in South Vietnam by any means possible. The definition of “infrastructure” was vague from the beginning.

What the planners in the CIA had in mind was the political personnel or cadre—the individuals who supported the insurgency at any level of the organisational hierarchy—from a hamlet party treasurer, district and province party functionary to the party leader for the South Vietnam. The problem (not that Colby saw it as one) was that these individuals were civilian non-combatants. Thus, in order to be successful, the Phoenix had to abjure the laws of war as well as the Geneva convention which prohibits the targeting of civilians. Naturally, CIAs clandestine agent and assassin networks had been active in South Vietnam ever since the 1950s. The difference this time was that a civilian (of a strong religious persuasion) was going to conduct a war of extermination against other civilians belonging to a different religion or none.

In order to understand the depth of Colby’s involvement with this murder programme, it must be remembered that he was an old Vietnam hand first sent into the country in 1959 to support the Catholic dictator Diem at the time when the disgruntled Buddhists and members of the Viet Minh started to rebel openly against his bloody repressive regime. Unlike Edward Lansdale who enjoyed the limelight, Colby worked in the shadows. His links with the Diems were deep. He became close friends with Diem’s brother Ngo Dihn Nhu, the ultra-Catholic eminence grise, chief ideologue and puppet master of the regime whose secret intelligence apparatus sowed terror and fear throughout the country through another of Colby’s friends—Tran Kim Tuyen, chief of Diem’s intelligence service. It was these structures and the relationships between them and their American advisers that formed the basis of the Phoenix programme that was to arise from the ashes of Tet six years later.

The efficacy of Colby’s killing machine depended on a successful synchronisation of conflicting local interests and bureaucratic norms. Put simply, the Phoenix mechanism consisted of three major components: intelligence gathering, capture and interrogation. The first two tasks were entrusted to so-called Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs) which consisted mainly of zealous Catholic anti-communists, criminals and converted Viet Minh fighters.[6] They were dressed in black, well-armed and led by American “advisors”. Their training took place in a former Catholic seminary on the Vung Tau peninsula where the future killers and torturers were initiated into the program in a faux mystical torch-lit ceremony resembling the initiation into the Waffen SS.

Their job was to scour the countryside following tips from agents and search for anybody resembling the blurry printout of a face or a description by an agent. PRUs were infamous for their cruelty and are as close as any unit in the modern history to the Nazi Einsatzgruppen (Extermination squads). Their ideology (anticommunism), purpose (elimination of the Communist civilian infrastructure) and modus operandi (indiscriminate killing of civilians) were identical. The crimes of PRUs have been described in detail by Douglas Valentine in his book about the Phoenix Programme: they would often break into thatched peasant huts in the middle of the night and kill all people inside before ascertaining whether any of them actually belonged to Viet Cong. They measured their kills by strings of ears they would show their American commanders as proofs required for a monetary reward. Needless to say, most of those ears were innocent of any Communist affiliation. In some ways, those killed in bed had it easy. Many suspected Viet Cong cadres were taken in for interrogation and it is this aspect of the Phoenix program that chills the blood the most.

The essence of Phoenix was the vast system of interrogation centres that dotted the country. The speed with which these were built boggles the mind. Most districts had one as did most provinces and regions (including the country centre in Saigon). These centres were staffed by Vietnamese officers and soldiers and overseen by CIA advisors. In reality the anonymous architecture and anodyne titles hid some of the worst torture centres known to modern history. In the warped minds of Colby and his many Catholic minions, the only way to purge South Vietnam of “godless communism” was to bring back a turbo-charged version of the Holy Inquisition. The bow-tie wearing Savonarola understood that his war was only as good as the reports he sent to Robert Komer (the old CIA hand and Head of Pacification in Vietnam) and Johnson. To ensure a co-ordination of information, the centres were connected by telephone and teleprinter to other centres and the collation of the huge amounts of information produced by the tens of thousands of tortured prisoners was performed by super modern computers located in a dedicated centre in Saigon. This is what gave Phoenix its specific “flavour”—the blending of medieval cruelty and super-modern technology.[7]

And the torture was truly medieval. The prisoners were left to the tender mercies of criminal ARVN staff who employed everything from electroshocks to the genitals, deadly beatings and removal of nails, waterboarding, rape, sleep deprivation and other techniques still used by the CIA to extremely sadistic acts that remind one of the Sack of Magdeburg or Pavelic’s extermination camps. Kenneth Barton Osborn, an army military intelligence officer who worked with Phoenix in 1967 and 1968 flatly told the US House Operations Subcommittee that not a single VC suspect survived interrogation under his supervision. He discussed two of the murders that he witnessed personally: on one occasion, a piece of wood was inserted into the ear canal of a detainee and hammered into his brain; in another, a woman was simply left in a small cage to starve to death.[8]

The idea that the Americans were innocent bystanders in all this is another myth that is difficult to shatter. US special forces (the Green Berets) and the Navy Seals were intimately involved in the hunt for, interrogation and elimination of suspected communist cadres. According to a former Navy Seal Elton Manzione who was interviewed by Douglas Valentine: “We wrapped [detonator] cord around [prisoners’] necks and wired them to the detonator box. And basically what it did was blow their heads off [… the] general idea was to waste the first two. They planned the snatches that way. Pick up this guy because we’re pretty sure he’s VC cadre — these other guys just run errands for him. Or maybe they’re nobody; Tran, the farmer and his brother Nguyen. But bring in two. Put them in a row. By the time you get to your man he’s talking so fast you got to pop the weasel just to shut him up. I guess you could say that we wrote the book on terror.” Some like the infamous Phoenix co-ordinator John Paul Vann deserve (and have been given) much more attention.

Needless to say, the programme soon fell victim to bureaucratic entropy. It was not the torture that let Colby down but the inability of the programme to benefit from it. Inadequate or false information was fed to the central database giving a distorted picture of the success of the programme or lack thereof. In order to save or boost their careers, both Vietnamese executioners and their CIA mentors targeted innocent people and faked their “kills”. Corruption and sloth soon set in and Phoenix became a synonym for senseless and mindless murder of innocent civilians. By 1970, as Paul Ham notes in his Vietnam: The Australian War, “Phoenix had degenerated into “squads of wild-eyed, often drugged, Vietnamese killers roam[ing] the countryside and indiscriminately round[ing]up and tortur[ing] suspects or civilian sympathisers”.

From the book “The Betrayal” by William Corson: “Almost immediately in the wake of the first operations of the Phoenix hit squads in I Corps, the rapport in the CAP (Combined Action Programme) hamlets between the Marines, the PFs (Popular Forces, a local anti-communist militia), and the people, as well as the intelligence flow, dried up. Upon examination we found out that the people and the PFs were scared shitless that the Phoenix hoodlums would come and take them away, or kill them. The Phoenix tactics reeked of the same kind of terrorism practiced by Ngo Dinh Nhu’s thugs in the Delta region during the early 60s, and I knew it had to be stopped, at least in the CAP hamlets.” So, not only did the crazed assassins of Phung Hoang target innocent civilians, but were slaughtering their own allies, not dissimilar to Pavelic’s ustashe whose thirst for Serb blood caused serious problems to their Nazi masters.

It is this period between 1967 and 1971 that recorded the worst excesses of the “Bird of happiness (the meaning of the Vietnamese sacred bird Phung Hoang which was used to symbolise a Phoenix to the Vietnamese)”. Anybody could be suspected of being a secret communist cadre and end up in one of the PICs having his/her nails pulled or worse. The fear and loathing of the Phoenix created an atmosphere of… fear and loathing. Following the murderous offensives by the US military in in 1967, millions of displaced country dwellers poured into Saigon and regional cities creating unprecedented problems for the puppet government of Nguyen van Thieu (whose Catholicism was not advertised loudly) and for the country more generally. The younger generations succumbed to the lure of the dollar and gave the nation large numbers of drug dealers, smugglers and prostitutes. The climate of fear and corruption hung over the country like a dark cloud when at the end of January 1968, the Viet Minh (with the help of reinforcements from the North) executed a fantastically bold co-ordinated attack on the South Vietnamese and US military, intelligence and propaganda assets. Despite the fact that the offensive was eventually defeated, its psychological impact was immense. Not only did it contribute to the view that the United States could not win the war but it also intensified attempts to strangle the leadership of the armed resistance. Phoenix was spreading its deadly wings especially since the Tet offensive had exposed many secret Viet Minh agents especially in the Saigon area. Prisons, camps, interrogation centres and execution sites were heaving with barely-alive victims—many if not most of whom were completely innocent.

Despite the impressive statistics conjured up by computer scientists sitting in the hyper-modern collation centre in Saigon, very few if any high-level COSVN functionaries were ever caught. Instead, innocent suspects were held in the so-called “Tiger cages”—remnants of the French colonial cruelty which were simply holes topped by metal cage doors. Exposed to elements, starvation and torture, most prisoners perished without ever having had a proper trial. To make things slightly easier for its torturers, the CIA initiated another programme through its cut-outs USIS and USAID, namely, Cheu Hoi or “Open hands”. This was an attempt to get the weaker-willed members of the resistance to surrender and recant.

After a gruelling interrogation, they would be offered clemency and a chance to join ARVN. However, many if not most Cheu Hoi returners were Viet Minh soldiers or cadre who would spend some time in different ARVN units to rest, recuperate and gather information on the enemy only to escape and return again in six months’ time. Essentially, the programme such as Phoenix could have never worked. The sympathy of the people for the Viet Minh was real and even where it didn’t exist, there was little enthusiasm for the American occupiers and their Saigon vassals. The close familial bonds between the conflicted sides were so strong that many top South Vietnamese officials and top ARVN generals had close relatives in the Viet Minh and the hellish reincarnation of the Holy Inquisition could do little to sever them.

At the helm of this religious purge stood a quiet man in glasses and bow tie who would eventually reach the very top of the US intelligence pyramid—William Colby—a descendant of Irish immigrants whose religious zeal was matched only by his hatred for “godless communism”. The question of how Colby together with many other right-wing Irish Americans achieved such prominence at the apex of the American deep state has been partially addressed in a couple of my previous essays. This is still something of a taboo and I hope to shed more light on this important subject. Despite his Ivy League education, Colby was an ultramontane Catholic who attended mass every day even as a CIA station head in Saigon. I shall never understand how he managed to reconcile his religiosity with the sadistic and satanic system of murder, torture and extortion that he controlled from the US embassy annex.

This is an aspect of the US engagement in Vietnam that has been kept away from the prying eyes of the media—not that they have been particularly interested. From its inception, the Republic of South Vietnam depended completely for its survival on a tight-knit Roman Catholic network of officers, priests, politicians and agents. Although their allegiance was maintained by access to loot and power, the ultimate binding agent that kept the apparatus going was their membership of the Catholic Church. Of course, in a country which was 80-90% Buddhist, the system would not have functioned without the tacit collusion of a number of corrupted Buddhists who were ready to overlook the persecution of their co-religionists in exchange for wealth and promotion (e.g. Nguyen Cao Ky).

It is this rich resource put in place by the CIA through its man on the ground, namely Diem, that led directly to Phoenix and its excesses. Torture, forced relocation, public recantations, cold-blooded murder of innocent people, mass conversions and other forms of religious persecution—it was all there by the time Colby unleashed the CIA’s Hellboyish brainchild.[9] The primary motivator for the cruelty and sadism that characterised Phoenix was the fear by the mainly Catholic apparatus of repression of the justice that would eventually be meted by the victorious Viet Minh. This resembled the fear of retribution experienced by most German soldiers withdrawing from the scene of their giga-crime in the Soviet Union.

Unsurprisingly, these crusaders were helped and supported by the Vatican and the West. The Catholics in Vietnam knew they were an absolute minority and that their dominance and safety could only be safeguarded by means of a bloody dictatorial regime inspired by their faith. Although the foundations of the system were laid by the French, the consensus is that they were amateurs compared with the Americans and “their Vietnamese”.[10] As mentioned in part I, many Catholics found the excesses of Diem and his successors unpalatable and this led to an increase in the Catholic participation in the liberation movement.

However, the religious orgy of mindless killing and torture could not go on forever. The death of Pius XII in 1959 signalled a change of tack by the Vatican towards a less bellicose posture towards its enemies. Although attempts at a détente and lowering of tensions were being made in the West, the exotique places such as Vietnam were safe from prying eyes, at least for the time being. One can speculate that with Pius’s death Diem lost his main supporter and became supremely vulnerable from that moment on. However, all was not lost for the Catholic cause, for Pius’s first lieutenant for the Americas, Cardinal Francis Spellman was well and more belligerent than ever and the loyal soldier of the Vatican, William Colby, was hurriedly dispatched to Vietnam to bolster Diem’s murderous dictatorship. Spellman’s support for the American intervention was such that to the young non-conformist generation of the 1960s, the War in Vietnam became known as “Spellman’s war”. There was no stunt, religious or otherwise that Spellman wouldn’t pull in order to strengthen the case for a continued slaughter of innocent Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians. His continued advocacy of the war and immense power over the faithful ensured that at least for a while, Colby was free to run the programme as he saw fit. His moment came in 1968, when he was pulled from his new job as the Chief of the CIA’s Soviet Block Division and sent to Vietnam to co-ordinate Phoenix.

As stated above, the orgy of killing and torture went on for a couple of years fuelled by the need to avenge the embarrassment of Tet. However, times were changing—if not substantially. The fake patriotic fervour of the 1950s bolstered by the right-wing certainties of the era was eroding fast especially in contact with a never-ending procession of coffins of young (increasingly middle-class) Americans. The main supporter of the war, Spellman, died in 1967 and the shaky consensus regarding the importance of the war began to crumble. Let me stress that the shift away from the gung-ho approach by Kennedy (no, he actually hugely increased the number of US “advisers”) and Johnson was not motivated by any reflection or consideration of ethical precepts.[11] Rather, the war was beginning to take unprecedented toll on an exhausted America. Those were the years of strife, deadly riots, loss of confidence and assassinations and the financial situation was becoming dire. Not even the exquisitely-timed launches of different flavours of Apollo could restore the faith in the righteousness of the American cause. Add to that the publication of the Pentagon Papers by that enfant terrible of the US deep state Daniel Ellsberg which documented the lies and subterfuge inflicted on the American people by its government and things were starting to unravel fast.

The crimes committed by the Americans in Vietnam could not be hidden any longer, especially after the atrocity at My Lai when over 500 innocent men, women and children were murdered in cold blood, gang raped, tortured and mutilated by a company of crazed grunts led by a sadistic captain (Ernest Medina). There is evidence that the unit responsible was linked to the Phoenix programme and needless to say, it was later congratulated by the murderer-in-chief Westmoreland (another Catholic convert). More important, a young black major named Colin Powell made sure that no serious inquiry took place thus clearing a smooth path to promotion, a debt he would be asked to repay once again in 2003 before the eyes of an unbelieving world.

Increased scrutiny of the Phoenix programme and the loss of Colby in 1971 meant that the programme was quickly atrophying helped by the paramount goal of Richard Nixon to withdraw the US troops from Vietnam. The enthusiasm of the early days was replaced by cynicism and defeatism. The programme passed into the South Vietnamese hands (under the strategy of “Vietnamisation”) and limped on for another couple of years. By that time, the writing was on the wall and after witnessing the North Vietnamese troops’ liberation of Saigon, Colby himself was dismissed from his post as Head of the CIA. Time had come to put the skeletons back into the closet. A man of huge chutzpah, Colby wrote two books about his experiences and denied that any atrocities had taken place within Phoenix. His victims were unavailable for comment.

In spite of Colby’s best efforts, the gargantuan and technologically superior war machine of the US Empire ground to a halt and slowly withdrew under the ever-bolder jabs by the resistance. Phoenix was wound down under political and fiscal pressures and finally burst into flames sometime in 1972 generating a never-ending debate on how successful it was, notwithstanding the fact that it was an extrajudicial inquisition successful only in propagating horror and suffering.

Although America’s Vietnamese inquisition died in infamy, it never really died. Like the mythical bird which is reborn periodically, the Phoenix Programme has been reincarnated many times since the halcyon days of PRUs and PICs. The lessons of Phoenix survived the nadir of the early 1970s and were faithfully implemented in South America (Operation Condor—see e.g. Alfredo Astiz) and later in the Middle East and the Ukraine. Techniques of torture have been perfected with the help of the American Psychological Association (thank God for small mercies) and as a result of convulsions experienced following My Lai, the power of the media to question the criminal transgressions of the US military has been curtailed. And while the CIA still pulls the strings, most of the fighting these days is left to its various (mainly RC and Islamist) proxies.

To prove me wrong, the great Clint Eastwood has filmed an ode to the Hmong (sorry, I waited for so long).[12]

  1. One possible argument is that the world would be better off if people behaved rationally. Perhaps, but it is a bit like the choice between a dormant Swiss town and the explosion of life in all its forms one encounters in India and elsewhere. 
  2. According to some sources, Serong was a member of the CIA and a keen promoter of his fellow RC criminal Colby’s assassination programme. From https://newmatilda.com/2009/05/12/australias-vietnam-style-killing-program/: “”Yes,” he said, “we did kill teachers and postmen. But it was the way to conduct the war. They were part of the Viet Cong Infrastructure. I wanted to make sure we won the battle.” Another Australian Catholic officer David Kilcullen argued as late as 2004 that Phoenix had been “unfairly maligned”. 
  3. According to Avro Manhattan, Westmoreland whom many consider a premier war criminal converted to Catholicism at some point (like Tony Blair, Shiro Ishii, Adolf Eichmann and many other war criminals). 
  4. To illustrate the degenerate bloodthirst of the demonic Spellman, here is a quote from Ron Capshaw’s article available on http://libertymagazine.org/article/the-war-within. “A priest approaches the weapon, blesses it, and then sprinkles holy water on it. He does so because the weapon will be used for “Christ’s war.” The scene is not from the Middle Ages, but given the mind-set of the priest, it might as well be. It’s 1965.The weapon blessed is a B-52 bomber about to go on a mission. “Christ’s war” is the American effort in Vietnam. The priest is Cardinal Francis Spellman.” 
  5. William Colby like many of other heads of the CIA was a zealous and ruthless Roman Catholic who hid his total devotion to the aims of the Vatican and murderous instincts behind a studied façade of horn-rimmed glasses and bow ties. In this, he emulated other RC murderers and their useful idiots such as Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, Walt Rostow and Allen Dulles. However, with Colby, this attempt to project respectability fails the moment you look into his cold, merciless, reptilian eyes. 
  6. Other ethnic groups including the Hmong were trained by the US Special Forces to fight the Viet Minh. 
  7. Any similarity with Abu Ghraib, CIA black prisons and rendition centres, Guantanamo and Ukrainian SBU centres in the Donbass is accidental. 
  8. From Douglas Valentine’s book “The Phoenix Program”. About 50000 people are known to have been killed by Phoenix (the true number could be double that) from 1968 until 1972. A much larger number (up to half a million) were tortured and imprisoned without trial. 
  9. If you think I am being flippant, think again. The blockbuster “Hellboy” was directed by ultra-Catholic Guillermo del Torro and starred ultra-Catholic master actor John Hurt (great actor!). In it, a cabal of black-clad Nazis attempts to summon a demon from the depths of Hell in order to stop and reverse the downfall of the Reich. In this, they are guided by none other than the Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin(!). This device satisfies both the Roman Catholics and Zionists in Holywood who will happily agree on the irredeemable evil of the Russian Orthodox faith as well as the need to shift the blame for collaborating with the Nazis from the likes of Pius XII, Petain, Franco, Menachem Begin and Vladimir Zhabotinsky onto their common enemy—a completely innocent Russian monk. The key is that the little baby demon called “Hellboy” is adopted by an ultra-Catholic academic (played by an ultra-Catholic actor) who works for a CIA-like secret institute. Hellboy is then used by the deep state (with the guidance by his mentor) to fight evil (or rather life forms which refuse to conform to the diktat of the “Judaeo-Christian” empire). Hellboy’s real name is An Ung Rama—a clear slight directed at the Hindu deity. 
  10. As became known during the war in Algeria, the French had nothing to learn when it came to manipulating a blowtorch and a pair of pliers. 
  11. A quick scan of the numbers suggests that JFK was responsible for a 20-fold increase in troop levels. In 1959, there were 760 US personnel in Vietnam. In 1963, there were 16300. So much for the liberal paeans to the “peacemaker” Kennedy. 
  12. The Hmong are an indigenous ethnic group (neither RC nor Islamist) from the central highlands of South Vietnam that fought on the side of the Americans (the film is called “Gran Torino”). 

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil part I:

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil part I:

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil part I:

By Ken Leslie for the Saker Blog

The Poglavnik of the East[1]

“I know no way of judging the future but the past.”

Patrick Henry, 1765

“This time, it’s different”

Any gambler bleeding thousands of dollars at a table in Las Vegas

These days we all seem preoccupied with daily events which are taking a turn for the worse. No, not everything is “bad” but only those who are sound asleep do not hear the cold winds of war rattling the windows. My previous essay “Two clicks to midnight” has caused quite a stir with over 20000 views and hundreds of comments. I put it to you that this is not the result of my brilliant writing and analytical skills (I mean this) but the ability to express something that many people keep hidden inside—questions about the true nature of the system in which we live, their inchoate fears and half-buried memories. I believe in the cathartic power of the truth (the way I see it) and it appears that so do many others. This in itself is encouraging because it means that under layers of lies, anxieties, complexes and dogmas, there lies a good human heart capable of love and redemption. Given the current state of the world, this is the only way I know of fighting for a more hopeful tomorrow—warts and all.

Our gracious host has achieved fame (he might disagree!) through a knowledgeable and timely analysis of the Western military-political nexus that is using all its power to destroy Russia and China. His prescient and nuanced assessments of the situation in the “East” have made many of us loyal visitors and contributors to this blog. Now, I can’t hope to offer anything like the military analysis a la Saker of Andrey Martyanov. And that is just as well because they are doing an excellent job. What I can do well is to observe certain historical patterns and try to interpret them in the modern setting. As knowers say, history does not repeat itself but it rhymes. It is these “rhymes” or similarities between historical events that tell us all we need to know about the limited cognitive grasp of the human beings as well as partial predictability of human behaviour. Of course, the complexity of the systems in question precludes any confident claims but nevertheless—past is all we have and we’d better learn how to use its lessons pronto.

Of course, there is danger of overestimating the importance of past events but it is equally dangerous to ignore them. In applied probability, these two types of bias are called “Hot Hand” and “Gambler’s fallacy” and they hamper any analysis of complex events. Yet, as noted by Patrick Henry above, all we have is the past and we’d better study it carefully—if judiciously.[2] And then, there are the emotions—yearning for justice in the face of a blatant injustice and anger at the abandon with which criminal elites hiding behind the holiest of principles have destroyed innocent human lives. After decades if not centuries of demonisation of Russia in all its forms, the time has come to fight back—to turn the light of history on its enemies. As some of you might have noticed, I have focussed almost exclusively on Roman Catholicism at the risk of alienating some readers. This does not mean that evil is the exclusive province of the Vatican but that a large proportion of recent historical tragedies are closely linked with if not caused by it. Given the nature of these tragedies, I intend to explore the nefarious role of this “Official” Christianity in some detail.

In the infernal Encyclopaedia of human beastliness that is kept bound and chained to the gates of Hell there are few events as heart breaking and anger provoking as the War in Vietnam, one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts in modern history. “Conflict” is not the right term here. Rather, the Wars in Vietnam which started in 1945 and ended in 1975 represent an archetype of naked criminal aggression and genocide waged by all weapons in the arsenal of the Western “democracy” against an old and proud people which only wanted to see the backs of foreign invaders. 19th Century was very unkind to the peoples of East Asia in that it brought with it an unstoppable surge of Western imperialism greedy for raw materials and cheap labour. The British, the Dutch and finally the French swooped on the rich rubber and timber-growing fields of Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam respectively, crushing any resistance with the aid of modern weapons and advanced political warfare techniques. Although each of these examples deserves in-depth treatment, I wish to devote and dedicate this essay to Vietnam, whose suffering brings tears to any feeling person’s eyes even today 45 years after colonel Ted Serong clambered up the rickety ladder on the roof of the Saigon embassy leaving the long-suffering country in utter ignominy. If you are wondering who this is, you’ll need to wait for part II.

You may ask—why now? There are several reasons. First, historical amnesia is very dangerous and as stated by President Putin, deliberate attempts by those who fought on the side of evil to embellish their role and soothe their ravaged consciences can only bring us closer to another global tragedy. Change is inevitable and needed but not at the expense of the rehabilitation of the worst human instincts and thirst for iniquity. Second, even in the bloody milieu of European colonial conquest, Vietnam stands out as a symbol of martyrdom—in the Christian sense, despite or because most crimes against the Vietnamese people were committed in the name of a Church which calls itself the only true Christian faith. Third, obsessed by Eurocentrism, we tend to forget that lives and struggles of other peoples are equally as important. Finally, the topic I shall focus on is highly relevant in the modern era of limited and “targeted” military and paramilitary operations underpinned by a vast human and electronic intelligence apparatus and the largest military in the world. There are a lot of parallels between what happened in South Vietnam from 1967 to 1973 and more recent US-sponsored or executed crimes in different parts of the world.

Although I’d love to expound, this is not the place to retell the story of the tragedy of Vietnam which began with a mid-19th Century scouting expedition by several French Jesuits on behalf of French capital. Their demise at the hands of Vietnamese patriots served as a pretext for what Wikipedia describes as follows: “Vietnam’s sovereignty was gradually eroded by France, which was aided by the Spanish and large Catholic militias in a series of military conquests between 1859 and 1885.”[3] Although the Vietnamese fought bravely against the legions of newly-converted “rice Christians”, they could not withstand the onslaught of one of the premiere imperial powers of the day.[4] After a couple of decades of resolute resistance, the kingdom of Vietnam became another French colony to be exploited and visited by adventurers.

In their obsession with the hard-nosed “it’s all about the money” agenda, many seem to ignore the fact that the conquest of a people requires the destruction and erasure of their spiritual and cultural identity. While money is of paramount importance, it is useless if the people resisting are aware of their history and culture. This allows them to draw from deep wells of history and replenish their strength. Very often, they come out victorious in the end. The strategists of the global spiritual conquest in the Vatican have been well aware of the power of religion as a weapon to be wielded against indigenous cultures. The psychology of religious conversion is a fascinating psychological topic which deserves a separate article. Once a person converts (for personal gain or under duress), he or she becomes isolated from or ostracised by their family and wider community. Exposed to the opprobrium and shame, the new convert turns to his new family—priests and laymen who are masters at leveraging the sense of guilt and anger. This is combined with the “carrot”—the convert is told that they are special because they belong to the “true” faith. They are initiated within the new ingroup and are soon ready to turn their anger against their former friends and kin.[5]

In Vietnam, this spiritual war (which for me is the most pernicious and least explored form of aggression) resulted in the formation of a class of Vietnamese Catholic converts who struggled to reconcile their origins with a foreign religion and culture to which they were now irrevocably bound. These people became members of a nascent Vietnamese middle class whose ambition to better themselves involved supporting the French occupation and generally renouncing their Buddhist heritage. They often received a French education and tried to emulate French culture and mores. The ones who excelled were employed as low-level bureaucrats or officers. This soon brought them into conflict with those Vietnamese who saw French presence and religious encroachment for what it really was—a brazen attempt to behead the Vietnamese civilisation (which owes a lot to China) and replace it with a docile population of useful “supplétifs”, that is, deracinated aboriginals who are given just enough incentives to keep them in check. The hatred of their community would do the rest.

The ignominious defeat of the French state in 1940 was momentous for France’s colonies which soon had to decide between Petain’s Vichy and De Gaulle’s Cross of Lorraine. That same year, the seemingly unstoppable Japanese Imperial Army occupied the French Indo-China and hammered out a pragmatic agreement with the Vichy colonial government which allowed the latter to continue governing the colony with the Japanese taking on a largely overseeing role. Needless to say, the fruits of the colonial plunder started travelling due East resulting in deadly famines and the birth of a movement of Vietnamese patriots who were guided by (but never subservient to) the precepts of Marxism-Leninism.[6] This cell of exceptional individuals who devoted their lives to the struggle for freedom having spent (cumulatively) over 300 years in French prisons were led by the most exceptional of their number—one Nguyễn Sinh Cung better known as Ho Chi Minh. A tireless revolutionary, socialist, humanist and fighter against oppression, Ho had led an incredible life of adventure, adversity and reincarnation. After being largely side-lined for most of his political life, Ho grabbed the moment in 1944, when he and his comrades organised and led the indigenous guerrilla resistance to Japanese occupation. The name of the movement for the liberation of Vietnam became world-famous as the Viet Minh.

Following the war, Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of Vietnam in August 1945. He was keen to enlist the help of the United States whose anticolonialism under Roosevelt offered hope to many liberation movements. However, with the death of FDR, the US foreign policy doctrine experienced a U turn. Instead of continuing their assistance to Ho provided by the OSS in the fight against the Japanese, the newly-hatched American Empire decided to defend the colonial status quo on the pretext of fighting communism. Although exhausted and shamed by its wartime record, France reneged on any promises made by the pre-war Blum government and decided to restore its colonial empire in the hope that the false grandeur of pith helmets and white dress shoes would constitute a sufficient recompense for being a willing partner of Hitler’s own empire just a year earlier (resistance excepted).

To cut a long story short, after eight years of bloody struggle, the Vietminh succeeded in liberating their country following a brilliant victory at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. This gave rise to an international conference at which the USSR and China convinced Ho to agree to a temporary partition and a unification following a “free and fair” election in 1956. There was some anger at the time at the role Ho’s two mentors played but their reticence was understandable given the current political and economic situation as well as the hawkishness of the US foreign policy apparatus. Nevertheless, this was the crucial point in the evolution of Vietnamese Golgotha because the names of Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap became household names overnight—the great heroes of the liberation struggle—so much so that even the Americans knew that were an election to take place, the Viet Minh would take the vast majority of votes. This was absolutely unacceptable to warmongering criminals the Dulles brothers and their minions. A free Vietnam friendly to China and the USSR was a nightmare which called for a nightmarish solution. The first task for the dark cabal was to find somebody who could rival Ho as a figure of national prominence and significance. This was impossible in principle because most prominent Vietnamese politicians (including the emperor Bao Dai) were in France’s employ and the people of Vietnam at that point would rather eat raw nettles than countenance another French puppet ruling over them. However, everything was not lost.

In one of many Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States, an austere, celibate Vietnamese man, short in stature but full of noblesse oblige was waiting to be interviewed by one of the leading RC politicians of the era, Senator Michael Mansfield. Diem had left Vietnam in 1950 ostensibly to take part in a Vatican celebration but in reality, to lobby for the RC takeover of Vietnam under his family. Diem’s reputation as a nationalist who equally opposed the French and the Vietminh was played up for the media.[7] What was kept in the background was that Diem was a scion of the most powerful RC family in Vietnam as well as the fact that he had collaborated with the Japanese during the war. One of his brothers, Bishop Ngô Đình Thục was one of the most senior RC clerics in Vietnam and the co-ordinator of the takeover of this largely Buddhist country. Having been vetted by “Hitler’s Pope” Pius XII, Diem immediately acquired access to various offices discretely tucked away inside the massive brownstone buildings of Georgetown in which the fate of Vietnam was being decided at that very moment.[8] Having received the necessary instructions from his Padron in Rome, the ultra-powerful Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Francis Spellman put into motion a process that would result in one of the greatest instances of unprovoked carnage in history.

Diem’s religious zealotry and hatred of Buddhism made him an immediate hit with the Roman Catholic elites in the USA who yearned to redeem the catastrophic “loss of China” to the Communists. Immediately, a “Vietnamese Lobby” was formed consisting of some of the most prominent and influential Roman Catholic personalities on the US scene including Cardinal Spellman, Joseph and John Kennedy, judge William O. Douglass, senator Mike Mansfield and many others. Needless to say, Diem was favoured by the Dulles brothers who would play a crucial role in the formation of his semi-secret system of oppression. Under their tutelage and boosted by American money, the hitherto unknown Catholic zealot would turn Vietnam into a bulwark of anti-Communism modelled on fascist Catholic satrapies such as Spain, Croatia and Slovakia. It did not matter that Diem was almost completely unknown to the people or that up to 90% of Vietnamese population was Buddhist. These inconvenient facts would be overcome by enthusiastic CIA engineers of chaos whose task was to ensure Diem’s rule at all costs.

What happened after this is generally well known. With the help of the CIA man Edward Lansdale, Diem crushed his opponents and became president of Vietnam after a 98.2% victory in a sham election. Soon after, he instituted a reign of terror primarily targeted against Buddhists, Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sects as well as members of the Viet Minh who had remained in South Vietnam after the partition. On the instigation of his American bosses, he reneged on the promise of reunification and in order to strengthen his shaky hold on power organised a massive transfer of Roman Catholics from North to South Vietnam. Despite the North’s leniency towards their religion, many fell for the expensive and effective propaganda campaign funded by various US Catholic Charities and the CIA. “Virgin has gone to the South” was a potent call for hundreds of thousands of Catholic believers to leave their ancestral homes and start afresh in the newly born Civitas Dei.[9]

This unprecedented demographic shift had a twofold effect: it strengthened Diem’s popular base with Northern Catholics being vastly over-represented in his oppressive apparatus including military, intelligence, police as well as countless Catholic militias strewn around South Vietnam (e.g. Father Nguyen Lạc Hoa’s “Sea Swallows).[10] On the other hand, the population movement increased the political homogeneity of the North making its preparations for a war of liberation easier. Here is a quote from a research essay by Peter Hansen: “Jean Lacouture, for example, suggested that Ngô Đinh Diệm deliberately created a “ring of steel” by strategically placing settlements of loyalist Bắc Di Cư around Sài Gòn to protect himself both from communists and from potential enemies within the RVN: ‘As a result, surrounded by fortifications turning them into strategic hamlets, some villages filled with refugees formed a sort of a belt surrounding Saigon; it was as though the beleaguered [Ngô Đinh Diệm] regime wanted to fortify its capital with an iron guard composed of those people most hostile to communism and most violently attached to militant Catholicism.’”[11]

By 1955 everything was in place. The influx of American military and academic advisers, law-enforcement officials and economic experts gave Diem an ostensibly modern system of state repression together with his own FBI, special units, a plethora of secret services and even his own political party (Can Lao, a child of his brother Nhu’s political ambitions) which underpinned the regime’s security through the infiltration by its members into all important institutions. Diem’s secret police was headed by Dr Tran Kim Tuyen, a Catholic who excelled at cruelty and pro-regime zeal. The signal was given for an all-out campaign of anti-Buddhist and anti-left terror. Tens of thousands of innocent Buddhists were imprisoned in animal-like cages or killed by Diem’s assassination squads (akin to the Nazi Einsatzgruppen).

Like in Croatia, whole villages converted to Catholicism in order to avoid imprisonment, torture and death.[12] Hundreds of thousands were relocated into American-funded Potemkin villages called Agrovilles which were supposed to disrupt the traditional patterns of village life deemed unfriendly to the ways of the Catholic puppet Poglavnik. The terror reached its peak in 1958 and 1959. Hitherto dormant on the orders of the Hanoi government, the surviving remnants of the Vietminh started to organise and offer minimal resistance to the crazed crusader. The signal from the North to transition to armed struggle was issued with great reluctance—only after the vast majority of old and experienced cadres was eliminated by Diem’s death squads and there was a serious risk of a rebellion against the Socialist Lao Dong party by the disgruntled activists in the south.

Despite his best (worst) efforts, Diem could never overcome the ultimate barrier which separated him from the people of Vietnam—his religion. He always viewed his role as that of a Roman Catholic autocrat who holds the power of life and death over his flock. Like most religious transplants, he did not appreciate the deep animistic, Buddhist, Confucian and Daoist roots of the ancient Vietnamese civilisation. He did try to emulate these superficially for the sake of appearance but ultimately failed. He even emulated Pavelic and his successors by trying to create a congregation of “loyal” Buddhists who would support his anti-Buddhist crusade.[13] Nevertheless, for a short time, Diem was lionised by his masters in Washington as… oh, think of something… George Washington of Asia who stood alone in his deadly struggle against “Communist oppression”!. The honeymoon might have lasted longer but for the rapaciousness and zealotry of Diem, his family and his regime enforcers. The rumours of the nation-wide killing spree which had resulted in a large number of dead, imprisoned, dislocated and dispossessed non-Catholics started to reach the pricked ears of the Western media. No amount of slick propaganda could hide the horrors of Diem’s torture chambers and death squads (shades of Papa Doc Duvalier and his Ton Ton Macoutes). Not only did Diem antagonise the absolute majority of Vietnamese people including many hitherto loyal Catholics, but his masters in Washington were starting to get alarmed—similar to the German and Italian unease with the genocidal rage of Pavelic’s Ustashe whose cruelty threatened to upset Hitler’s European apple cart.

John F. Kennedy who had by then replaced an aging Eisenhower was faced with a serious problem. As a loyal Roman Catholic and a protégé of Cardinal Spellman, he was a passionate supporter of Diem and his Independent Croatia on the Mekong. As a young senator, Kennedy owed the support of his (mainly Irish Catholic) Boston constituents who were clamouring for a war against the USSR to his rabidly anti-Soviet and anti-communist pronouncements. Once he reached the top spot, he had to face some hard truths: First, Roman Catholics were still a minority in the USA and he had to moderate his inclinations and instincts in order to appeal to the majority. Second, the instability of South Vietnam caused by Diem’s persecution of the Buddhists (large-scale resistance started only in 1961) was threatening America’s wider interests in South-East Asia. Until the very last moment, he procrastinated. Removing Diem would not only end Spellman’s dream of a Catholic Vietnam but Kennedy would have to betray all that he held dear.

To assuage his guilt, he decided to revamp the war strategy in order to bolster Diem’s regime. First, he ordered a large increase in the number of “military advisers” who by now were taking an active part in the fighting. Second, following the doctrine outlined by General Maxwell Taylor, Kennedy placed the accent on the role of the special forces—specially trained paramilitary units used for targeted attacks, sabotage, training various collaborationist forces and assassination. The so-called Green Berets have their origins in the darkest days of the Cold War when the 10th Special Forces Group was placed in Germany in order to create an elite stay-behind army. The Lodge-Philbin act ensured that large numbers of East European Catholics, many of them with strong Nazi inclinations, received the green headgear and later proved their “mettle” in Vietnam.[14]

Kennedy’s efforts proved in vain. The elan and fighting spirit of the Viet Minh (now called Viet Cong by its enemies) could not be matched even by the heavily armed and US-assisted South Vietnamese ARVN (Army of the Republic of South Vietnam). Helicopters and fighter-bombers flown by American officers and large-calibre artillery were largely helpless against a lithe and mobile guerrilla force motivated by patriotism and belief in a better future. The most egregious example of the impotence of Diem’s military and their US advisers was the battle of Ap Bac which took place in early 1963 and was described in great detail by Neil Sheehan in his famous book.[15] The defeat of Diem’s army and the US strategy reverberated far and wide. But this was only a side issue. By the spring of 1963, the Buddhists of Vietnam had had enough. Having failed to stop Diem’s terror through protest and civil disobedience, they resorted to the ultimate weapon of non-violent religions—public suicide.

A number of monks and nuns burned to death in city centres in full view of foreign news cameramen. Diem’s obduracy and unwillingness to heed the protest convinced many in the United States that Diem was beyond salvation (pun not intended) and that America’s interest would be better served by somebody else. The two quarrelling factions bickered for months until the newly-appointed ambassador to Saigon, Henry Cabot Lodge (a protestant and a political rival of the Kennedys) started organising a coup. Diem and his brother Nhu were aware of America’s deadly grudge and tried at the last minute to start negotiations with the North Vietnamese government. But time had run out. The ever-loyal Kennedy had to accept his advisers’ recommendation and OK the removal of the would-be Catholic emperor of the East. This was executed by a junta of non-Catholic generals with a little help from an experienced CIA agent of French extraction, Lucien Conein.

Diem was overthrown soon and after an adventurous escape attempt ruthlessly killed, together with his brother while on his way to surrendering to the new government. When he heard the news, Kennedy was genuinely distraught and bereaved. Clearly, his emotions had nothing to do with the fight against communism in which Diem had been failing terribly, and everything to do with the fact that he himself was responsible for the murder of the last openly Catholic leader in Asia. Only three weeks later, he, the first Catholic leader of America would meet the same fate.

The early hope that a less repressive regime in Saigon would motivate the people to turn against the Viet Cong proved empty. Disaster after disaster followed with the guerrillas strengthened by infiltrators from the North Vietnam destroying large ARVN units without suffering major losses. Indeed, the Buddhists were not as good as Diem at killing “commies” and after a couple of years of chaos, the chastened and worried US empire decided to up the ante. The new strategy was two pronged. On the one hand, the old Catholic hands had to be quietly reactivated in order to form a “patriotic” core within the government and the army and second, the fighting would have to be done by the Americans.

By 1964, the stage was set for a drawn-out and bloody denouement of Vietnam’s struggle for freedom and independence. In its attempt to crush the Vietnamese resistance, the Americans employed every weapon and killing technique known to (in)humanity. Having laid out the broad historical context, in part II of this essay I shall analyse the strategy behind and impact of one of the most horrifying weapons wielded in an already horrific war—the Phoenix Programme.

  1. “Poglavnik” was the official title (meaning the Head or Leader) of Ante Pavelic, the leader of one of the bloodiest regimes in modern history—The Independent State of Croatia. 
  2. Another analogy is the distinction between a person suffering from delusions seeing connections and references everywhere (which does not necessarily mean they don’t exist) and another person with amnesia who is incapable of learning from past experiences. 
  3. This is not quite correct. The Jesuit infiltration into Vietnam began much earlier. The fact that these early “explorers” happened to be Portuguese is relevant for what is to follow. Numerous Catholic militias existed well into the 1960s and were an inextricable part of the French and American war efforts. They are also mentioned in Grahame Green’s “The Quiet American”. 
  4. There are close parallels between the Vietnamese struggle and the Chinese Boxer rebellion which was also triggered by the excesses of the (mainly RC) missionaries. 
  5. Please remember this bit because it is directly related to the topic of the essay. Also, what I describe here has been the modus operandi not only of the right wing of the Roman Catholicism but also many militant schools of Sunni Islam. 
  6. An excellent analysis of Vietnamese communism can be found in Gabriel Kolko’s “Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience”. 
  7. That this was total nonsense became clear when Diem started to arrest, kill and torture anyone who had fought against the French. 
  8. This refers to the book by John Cornwell: Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII. 
  9. The personal accounts by Catholic refugees largely fail to mention Lansdale (who might have been inflating his own role) and ascribe the decision to move to the local clergy—disciplined soldiers of the Vatican. 
  10. JFK was particularly impressed by Father Hoa and his fiery anticommunism. 
  11. Hansen, P. (2009). Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 4, Issue 3, pps. 173–211. 
  12. Exactly the same thing happened in the Independent State of Croatia. 
  13. From “Vietnam: Why did We Go?” by Avro Manhattan: “Before engaging upon a thorough persecution against the Buddhists, President Diem attempted to form a body of Buddhists who would support his policies of coordination and integration.” 
  14. See William Simpson’s “Blowback” for a detailed account of this infamous episode. 
  15. The book “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam” is an excellent if sanitised source of facts on the American strategy in Vietnam. One just needs to fill in the gaps with executions, secret torture chambers and other CIA special desserts. 

Trump Condemned for Calling US War Dead “Suckers”

Trump Condemned for Calling US War Dead “Suckers”

By Staff, Agencies

Current and former members of the military, elected officials and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden reacted with outrage and sadness on Friday, as ex-Trump administration officials confirmed key details of a bombshell report in which the US president referred to fallen soldiers as “suckers” and “losers”.

The Atlantic magazine published a story on Thursday in which four sources close to US President Donald Trump said he cancelled a visit to pay respects at an American military cemetery outside Paris in 2018 because he thought the dead soldiers were “losers” and “suckers” and did not want the rain to mess up his hair.

Elizabeth Neumann, a former assistant secretary of counter-terrorism in the Department of Homeland Security, and Miles Taylor, a former chief of staff in that department, said the account was true, asserting that Trump’s low opinion of soldiers killed and wounded in combat was well known inside the administration.

The White House moved to deny the report unusually quickly and forcefully. Trump himself dismissed it as a politically motivated “hoax” and claimed 11 current and former officials supported his account.

“There is nobody feels more strongly about our soldiers, our wounded warriors, our soldiers that died in war than I do,” he told reporters at the White House on Friday. “It’s a hoax. Just like the fake dossier was a hoax, just like the Russia, Russia, Russia was a hoax. It was a total hoax: no collusion. Just like so many other things, it’s a hoax. And you’ll hear more of these things, totally unrelated, as we get closer and closer to election.”

Asked why John Kelly, a retired marine corps general and Trump’s former chief of staff, was not among those defending him, the president added: “He was with me, didn’t do a good job, had no temperament and ultimately he was petered out, he was exhausted. This man was totally exhausted. He wasn’t even able to function in the last number of months. He was not able to function.”

The Atlantic’s source, he speculated, “could have been a guy like a John Kelly”.

Trump tweeted that he would not defund the Stars and Stripes newspaper, which serves US servicemen and women worldwide, after a Pentagon memo ordering its closure was reported by USA Today, causing huge controversy.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, also defended Trump, but the denials were met with widespread skepticism because of his past remarks about military veterans.

And in an unusual intervention, the first lady, Melania Trump, also weighed in, tweeting that the Atlantic story “was not true”.

“It has become a very dangerous time when anonymous sources are believed above all else, & no one knows their motivation,” she wrote.

A visibly angry Biden called the alleged comments “disgusting” and said Trump was “not fit to be commander-in-chief”.

“When my son volunteered and joined the United States military – and went to Iraq for a year, won the Bronze Star and other commendations, he was not a sucker,” Biden said, his voice rising, in remarks in Wilmington, Delaware.

His son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, deployed to Iraq in 2008.

“If these statements are true, the president should humbly apologize to every Gold Star mother and father and every Blue Star family,” Biden said. “Who the heck does he think he is?

“I’m always cautioned not to lose my temper,” Biden said. “This may be as close as I come in this campaign. It’s just a marker of how deeply the president and I disagree on the role of the president of the United States of America.”

Veteran Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who saved the lives of 155 people in 2009 when he guided his stricken plane onto the Hudson river, said: “For the first time in American history, a president has repeatedly shown utter and vulgar contempt and disrespect for those who have served and died serving our country.”

“While I am not surprised, I am disgusted by the current occupant of the Oval Office. He has repeatedly and consistently shown himself to be completely unfit for and to have no respect for the office he holds.”

On a press call hosted by Biden’s campaign, the Democratic Illinois senator Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs in combat in Iraq, accused Trump of attempting to “politicize and pervert our military to stroke his own ego”.

“This is a man who spends every day redefining the concept of narcissism; a man who’s led a life of privilege, with everything handed to him on a silver platter,” she said.

“Of course, he thinks about war selfishly. He thinks of it as a transactional cost, instead of in human lives and American blood spilled, because that’s how he’s viewed his whole life. He doesn’t understand other people’s bravery and courage, because he’s never had any of his own.

“I take my wheelchair, and my titanium legs over Donald Trump’s supposed bone spurs any day,” she added, referring to one reason Trump received draft deferments during the Vietnam war.

The call also included the congressman Conor Lamb, a marine veteran, and Khizr Khan, a Gold Star father whose son was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004 and who was himself famously attacked by Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Khan said Trump was “incapable – let me repeat it again – he is incapable of understanding service, valor and courage”.

“His soul cannot conceive of integrity and honor. His soul is that of a coward.”

In an interview with the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Mike Pompeo defended the president’s support of the military.

“I’ve never heard that,” the secretary of state said of Trump allegedly calling the war dead “suckers”.

“Indeed, just the opposite. I’ve been around him in lots of settings where there were both active-duty military, guardsmen, reservists, veterans. This is a man who had the deepest respect for their service, and he always, he always interacted with them in that way. He enjoys those times. He values those people.”

The Biden campaign released a video quoting the president, based on the Atlantic story and later corroborating reports by the Washington Post and the Associated Press. Other media outlets, Fox News among them, also corroborated the Atlantic story.

With the tagline “If you don’t respect our troops, you cannot lead them,” the Biden campaign video displayed the alleged Trump quotes over images of military cemeteries.

At Friday’s briefing, Trump was asked about his past mockery of the late senator John McCain, who served in the military and was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. “I say what I say,” he told reporters. “I disagreed with John McCain on a lot of things. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect him. I respected him but I really disagreed with him on a lot of things and I think I was right. I think time has proven me right to a large extent.”

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