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Member since: 2002
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That only works with followers.

I liked Dean when he said the right things, in 2003-2004. That doesn't make me a follower of Dean. So when he says the wrong things, as he often has, being an establishment politician in the end, I don't really give a fuck.

Following is a problem for a lot of people, of course, as we see with the Obama followers on this board. (These are just one of 101 varieties of followers of idols or celebrities or leaders in the world, nothing exceptional about them.) The heads of real followers never explode. This only happens if their preference was for the right thing, i.e., in those cases where they became followers only because they trusted in the leader they chose to do the right thing. However, most followers come to prefer the personality to whatever the moral question is. It makes things simple. You can never go wrong, all you have to do is assume your idol is always right.

You're welcome.

How many people did the US kill in Iraq?

How many will it kill in the next war?

Under international law and treaties dating back to the Kellog-Briand pact of 1928, war is a no-no.

Aggressive war is considered the highest international crime according to the Nuremberg principles that established modern international law. It is seen as the war crime that combines and contains all of the other war crimes.

In the post-World War II era, the government that has most often broken the prohibition on aggressive war -- by invading or bombing other nations not for reasons of self-defense -- is without a doubt the United States government (here called U.S.G. to distinguish it from the country and its people).

In the post-WWII era, this government is also responsible for killing easily the greatest number of combatants and non-combatants outside its own borders.

This government outspends the military budgets of almost all other governments combined.

It is responsible for at times more than 2/3 of the international arms trade, thus maintaining an international order based on force and guaranteeing that regimes that carry out their own atrocities will be armed to the teeth.

No top-level architects, commanders, planners, corporate profiteers or major perpetrators of U.S. government operations of war have ever been brought before U.S. or international courts to pay for their crimes.

In fact, some of the worst perpetrators of war crimes in world history, such as Kissinger and the war cabinets of the Bush administrations (father and son) enjoy incredibly rich rewards stemming directly from their activities as mass murderers. They do so publicly; some are consulted or at least hailed even by the present administration.

Sooner or later, all of the U.S.G. wars come to be whitewashed as in some way noble. We see this currently with the absolutely horrific and genocidal 20-year invasion the U.S.G. conducted in Indochina.

War means profits and war is celebrated as heroic.

These are surely among the reasons why U.S.G. officials so readily resort to renewed wars, even when, as in the current case, every other country turns against the operation, including (astonishingly) even the UK.

What are you going to do about all this, hm?

The U.S.G. as one of the most frequent violators of international law has no standing to play enforcer of it. Don't be blaming Assad or whoever the latest designated "Hitler" will be for the next bloody war started to justify the U.S.G. war machine.


The USG just blocked complete investigation...

by declaring the case against Assad definitive on the basis of Israeli intel reports and preparing immediate bombardment, causing the UN to withdraw the inspection team that was already in place before the gas attack. The USG "evidence" meanwhile is Israeli intel hear-say and supposed super-secret intercepts. (This is the same USG that many times has confabulated the cause for wars and that more recently was officially denying any form of NSA spying on domestic targets just before the Snowden revelations exposed that as a total lie.)

Why didn't the USG wait for the UN inspectors to make a proper investigation and issue a finding, rather than force them out of the country on the basis of extremely weak "evidence"?

I don't know what to think...

Since the report does not present an overwhelming, multi-source case using multiple bodies of evidence. On the face of it, Syrian regular army far better equipped to have carried out the attacks, but that's not proof either. Nor is "cui bono."

For me the most interesting circumstantial bit here is that the USG and its media lackeys are all calling their case definitive even as USG actions have prevented the UN inspectors from doing their work, forcing them out of the country. Why not wait for the UN inspection team that was already in Syria to do their mission, before declaring the case closed on the basis, apparently, of Israeli intel that is even sketchier than Ababneh's report?

The Examiner is not the source for this!

It's a pub called Mint Press News. Currently the article page is down due to traffic but you can see the front page with a blurb for the article explaining that the report on the scene is Yahya Ababneh collaborating with Dale Gavlak (who also writes for AP) in Jordan.


EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack

By Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh

Clarification: Dale Gavlak assisted in the research and writing process of this article, but was not on the ground in Syria. Reporter Yahya Ababneh, with whom the report was written in collaboration, was the correspondent on the ground in Ghouta who spoke directly with the rebels, their family members, victims of the chemical weapons attacks and local residents.

Gavlak is a MintPress News Middle East correspondent who has been freelancing for the AP as a Amman, Jordan correspondent for nearly a decade. This report is not an Associated Press article; rather it is exclusive to MintPress News.

Ghouta, Syria As the machinery for a U.S.-led

It's important to always find the original published news story (or the primary source in cases where one is original) and not just use a link from whatever other site re-publishes it. In this case, linking to The Examiner allows for distraction through an irrelevant discussion about The Examiner's unreliability.

As for MintPress, doesn't seem so bad, but here too, the relevant sourcing (as they make clear, wishing to have their own asses covered) is that the source is Yahia Ababneh in Damascus reporting via Dale Gavlak.

Incompetent attempt at distraction, sir.

No one here mentioned any of the items you bring up, and they have no relevance whatsoever here. Invoking these distractions means you have very little to offer in the first place. Might as well talk about Miley Cyrus, while you're at it.

Also, I missed the part where anyone here has said "your government" "invented" a chemical attack. What does "invented" mean? Fabricated something that didn't happen? Actually carried out the attack? I don't see people saying either about "your" (the US) government.

However, the "incubator babies" in Kuwait, the WMD lies and "Curveball," the Gulf of Tonkin fake-outs... these are among many blatant lies told by "your government" to start wars or justify invasions, with extremely bloody consequences. Are these what you would like us to ignore?

Is it "anti-American paranoia," for example, to say said government invaded Indochina against the wishes of its peoples and murdered 2 million or more of them, in large part by bombing and burning civilians from the air? Napalm was a chemical attack. White phosphorus bombs in Fallujah continue the tradition, which also further back includes dropping atomic bombs on cities.

Bravo Obama!

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat" - Barack Obama, 2007

Well, he's probably not earning the Bravo. Premature of me, like the Nobel.

But bravo majority in House of Commons!

What is the administration's policy on banking?

When it transitioned to power in 2008-9, whom did it appoint to the Treasury and the economic advisory positions? Did these happen to be Geithner and Summers, leaders of the late 1990s financial deregulation wave that directly set up the later bubble and crisis? In the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, how did the new administration treat the megabanks that had engaged in the biggest known financial frauds of all time and thus caused the crash? Were these banks refused bailouts? Were they at least brought under control by the bailout packages? Were they forced to again operate by the rule of law under strict regulation? Were they broken up, given the systemic dangers of TBTF? Were executives investigated and prosecuted for the control frauds?

We could go on to the MIC, but first, do you begin to understand the difference between what you wish were true, which you deliver in the form of assertion only, and actual, empirical reality?

Nice pictures of a smiling couple you would like to idealize as good people and enshrine as role models cannot substitute for political analysis. They are actually not very important, and serve as a distraction to institutional reality. Politics and the business of power have little to do with the theatrical personality narratives that the propaganda and cultural systems forefront as a substitute.

Here's an assertion: No one becomes president if they are not serving Wall Street and the MIC. The present administration does not differ from others in this. It represents policy continuity and a further development along predictable lines, in which (partly due to crisis) the powers of globalized finance capital and of the US-based military empire have become ever more explicit, unconditional, absolute, and beyond the reach of the law. One would have to be blinded by an ideal approach to the US government and power arrangements to think a change in administrative personnel would affect that short of an accompanying popular revolution.

Defining away your crimes by legalism.

Yes, what the US did in Iraq was genocide. Murdered hundreds of thousands of people for imperial gain. Made millions of refugees, of whom the largest share fled to Syria.

I'm well aware of the current definition of the term and it is deficient, a long-ago compromise so that the great powers would even accept it as a crime under international law. It allows you to define away the crime by legalism. Fine.

The US committed mass murder in a war of unprovoked aggression. The present government just filed a motion to give immunity to the perpetrators of this war! It has also escalated the "global war on terror" under new names in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and is about to do so in Syria.

This country has a permanent government of the military-industrial complex with rotating administrations that inevitably serve the war machine.


And you actually say it's fine since the Iraqi population is rising?

Yeah, what's the big deal, start wars around the planet, kill millions, poison countries with agent orange and depleted uranium, poison their water... to call it genocide you have to meet a definition written by the empire.

And then presume to sit in judgement as the world policeman and executioner!

That's right, Belgium and before that Germany

I certainly didn't say otherwise. So I don't know why your title line should imply I did.

Germans were the first European imperialists to colonize Rwanda, in the late 19th C., and the Belgians took over after World War I. The racially obsessed, controlling, census-taking European administrations forced a solidification of the previously porous and flexible categories of "Hutu" and "Tutsi"; another way in which the eventual genocide was the product of direct European intervention (rather than indifference or failure to intervene, as the modern-day liberal imperialists would have it).

In the post-colonial era Rwanda was mainly a French client state, as I wrote, and as your long quoted text confirms.

Thank you for posting that, it's very interesting. You bolded a passage about the French military invasion. Their intervention indeed set up a zone in which civilians were relatively protected, though there is no way to confirm the self-serving French claims of how many lives therefore were saved. What is certain, however, is that the French military invasion allowed the retreat from the advances of the RPF of the actual genocidaires, the Hutu Power forces -- the French allies! What is also certain is that as a result, the Interahamwe remnants were able to set up new bases in the Congo, from which they continued to attack Rwanda, setting off a very bloody series of consequences. So I have to call bullshit on the claim that there was any noble intent behind the French military intervention, and assess its purpose (as we should generally judge these things) by its actual effect, which was to support the genocidaires.

In Germany at the time, a broad spectrum of political opinion viewed the French intervention as an unacceptable imperial adventure, leading to an break of consensus in the usual German-French unity on foreign affairs. It was German influence that may have prevented the French plans for an expansion of their intervention.

I was in Germany in 1994 and their mainstream press covered the French military intervention in Rwanda on behalf of the Hutu Power forces, very thoroughly.

Here's an expose on the French role from an implicitly pro-US position, found on an anarcholibertarian site. It is an excellent and yet totally one-sided history of how France intervened in Rwanda to assist the genocide:

"1990-1994: The genocide and war in Rwanda"

It's one-sided because the RPF is presented as the good guys who happened to wander in from Uganda. The U.S. role in creating the RPF in the first place is cut out altogether.

For a one-sided version of the U.S. role, deemphasizing the (greater) French role in the crime, see here:

"The US was behind the Rwandan Genocide:
Rwanda: Installing a US Protectorate in Central Africa"

by Michel Chossudovsky

I do not agree with that headline.

The truth is, the two powers are both responsible for aspects of what happened in Rwanda -- both France and U.S. intervened, both exacerbating the situation, and neither cared for stopping the genocide. Both acted only on behalf of imperial interests. This is as one might expect, given the prior history of the Great Powers.

I shall quote from the first account, because it already suffices to demolish the myth of "Western indifference" at what happened in Rwanda.

France intervened in 1994 to help the Interhamwe militias, after already doing much to prop up the Habyarimana government in its former colony:

France arms and trains the killers

Habyarimana would soon have fallen to the the well armed and trained RPF but for French military intervention. In October 1990 French forces seized Rwanda's international airport and turned the tide against the rebels. The battle with the RPF was used as a pretext to arrest up to 8,000 people in the capital Kigali, mostly Tutsis, and to launch pogroms in the countryside.

There were beatings, rapes and murders. Rwandan intelligence distributed Kalashnikovs to municipal authorities in selected villages. They gathered with ruling party militants, most of whom carried staves, clubs and machetes... they went from field to field in search of Tutsis, killing thousands... "Civilians were killed, as in any war" said Colonel Bernard Cussac, France's ranking military commander in Kigali. (Frank Smyth, The Australian 10.6.94)

French arms and military advisors poured into the country. In the following two years the Rwandan army grew from 5,000 to 30,000. The BBC's Panorama program said that the Rwandan Government 'thanked France for help which was "invaluable in combat situations" and recommended 15 French soldiers for medals after one engagement in 1991.' (Reuters World Service 21.8.95)

Then, in 1994:

In 1994 the Rwandan regime was rapidly crumbling before a rebel army the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) - which, as it advanced, was putting a stop to the genocide in one region of the country after another. The speed of the rebels' advance meant life or death for tens of thousands of Tutsis. France intervened to create 'safe havens', supposedly to protect the lives of civilians from the majority Hutu group from Tutsi revenge. In reality they were attempting to slow the rebels' advance and protecting the remains of the Rwandan regime from them.

As it turned out the French could not save the regime but did save the organisers of the genocide from capture. The 'safe havens' became a base from which these people engineered the flight of almost two million Hutus into neighbouring countries, where they have since languished in disease-ridden squalor under the control of the soldiers and militias of the fallen Government.

In Germany at the time, I remember it was specifically the German uproar within the EU at what France was doing not to stop but to *extend* the genocide in Rwanda that led to the withdrawal of the French force, albeit too late to prevent the next chapter of the tragedy, in Congo.

The Hutu Power militias continued to raid Rwanda from the Congo, until Rwanda invaded and backed the Kagame overthrow of one of the worst of all dictators, Mobuto (who had been put in power by the US, Belgium and France in the early 1960s after the overthrow and assassination of Lumumba, and who had been plundering ever since).

This set off the Congo wars that have killed so many since.

In short, portions of the U.S. imperial apparatus had a war by proxy in the 1990s against France and French interests, all over Africa, continuing to this day in the Congo.

I'm sure in 1994 Mitterand knew all about what French imperialism was up to - small-time powers like France need to keep a tighter and more centralized control over their operations. And it's not like French Socialists had not already been part of coalitions that supported genocide as a response to the aspirations for independence of the Vietnamese and Algerian peoples. So the decades of merely propping up the old regime in Rwanda may have seemed minor by comparison.

Of course, Mitterand as the C-in-C would have had to give direct approval on the order to INTERVENE in 1994 with actual French troops on BEHALF of the Hutu Power forces that are accused of COMMITTING the genocide. (Sorry, this stuff requires caps, because although it was all over the European press at the time, for some reason a different history has been written about "how the West stood by."

Kagame's official site reads:

"He served as a senior officer in the Ugandan army between 1986 and 1990 during which time he attended a staff and command course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA. In October 1990, Paul Kagame returned to Rwanda after thirty years in exile to lead the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) in the struggle for the liberation of Rwanda."


His opposition agrees:

* Link now dead *


"In October 1990, while Kagame was participating in a military training program at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the RPF invaded Rwanda. Only two days into the invasion, Rwigema was killed, making Kagame the military commander of the RPF. Despite initial successes, a force of French, Belgian, Rwandan, and Zairan soldiers forced the RPF to retreat. A renewed invasion was attempted in late 1991, but also had limited success."

Um, hm, Kansas? Does this sound like the U.S. was supporting the RPF? Of course. In 1990 and until 1994, is the U.S.-backed RPF fighting the French-backed Rwandan government? Why, yes.

So what do you call that? A proxy war.

Was the incoming Clinton aware of this small portion of U.S. worldwide operations? Dunno. It's not like presidents have actually been responsible for most of foreign "policy" (operations of war and plunder) since, oh, I'll be charitable and say Nixon. Clinton's a smart guy and I'm sure by the time of the genocide he figured what a few of the heads on the far-reaching U.S. octopus had been doing in Africa.

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