Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Don't mess with our Tutu

Desmond Tutu, ever the good man, has just shown what true moral action looks like by announcing his refusal to share a platform with Tony Blair at a forthcoming event in South Africa.

What a deeply inspiring human being.

One shouldn't underestimate just how difficult it can be for major figures to snub establishment-protected elites like Blair.

How much easier it is just to be part of the cosy, hierarchical assembly, mixing with the global illuminati, ensconcing oneself at the top tables of political celebrity, sitting 'pragmatically' alongside leaders and ex-leaders with considerable blood on their hands.

Patronage and incorporation can be a particularly difficult thing to resist at the high altitudes of power.

Where, one wonders, does Tutu's principled decision leave all those top Labour Party suits and their media acolytes who recently feted Blair as part of his celebrated comeback? No less shamefaced, one suspects.

Yet, Tutu's decision is all the more significant in helping others now to follow his courageous example.

And the strength of his case lies not in any personal animus or actual hatred towards Blair the human being, but in a consistent desire to see appropriate legal and moral justice for his crimes. That's what makes his decision all the more laudable.

And what of those who have sponsored and shielded Blair in his role as Middle East 'peace envoy'?

Tutu's announcement came on the same day that an Israeli judge finally handed down his state-protecting verdict against the parents of Rachel Corrie. Another unsurprising example of big power ensuring that their own perpetrators of violence go unpunished.

While Desmond Tutu has consistently stood up for occupied and oppressed Palestinians, denouncing Israeli apartheid, Blair has doggedly advocated for their occupiers and oppressors, supporting its continuation.

In appointing Blair as 'peace-maker' and encouraging his apologetics for Israeli crimes, could there be any greater example of how the powerful seek to occupy the moral high ground while also using it as propaganda space to shelter their criminal own?

Tutu's carefully-considered decision is not just a welcome statement on Blair, it's an indictment of the whole protective apparatus of power.

As Tutu's own dark experience of South African apartheid and its aftermath shows, peace and reconciliation can come, even from the most painful of conflicts - a set of lessons and wise counsel he shared in his role as conciliator in Northern Ireland.

But with that difficult reflection and healing must also come due legal and moral process.

How, Tutu is asking, can the mass crimes carried out by Blair and others against Iraq and elsewhere be simply ignored or even relegated as 'regrettable mistakes'?

Blair has no apparent regrets over his actions. Quite the contrary.

And why should such mass suffering be rendered subservient now to the 'more immediate priorities' of 'onward development'?

Any just resolution must involve sincere, open admission of one's actions alongside proper assessment of all the evidence in a fully impartial court of law. Perhaps we might one day see both a meaningful set of war crime trials and a South African-style truth and reconciliation process to accompany it.

The honourable Desmond Tutu's latest stance may be dismissed by his critics as an indulgent gesture, a refusal to engage in the 'real world' of 'reconstruction' and 'peace-seeking diplomacy'.

But for the patiently gathering movement still seeking the arraignment of Blair and his war-consuming associates, Tutu's brave action is a landmark moment in their resilient pursuit of true legal and moral justice.


Tutu defends his decision and calls for Blair and Bush to be sent for trial at the Hague.
See also.

Monday, 27 August 2012

A most convenient out: Guardian drops Treviño

The Guardian has finally figured a way out of its latest 'liberal predicament': how to maintain its appearance as an 'open, pluralist' newspaper while harbouring a militant Zionist who has called directly for the murder of peaceful pro-Palestinian activists.

The Guardian had hired Joshua Treviño in a seeming effort to broaden its US online readership. In more simple market terms, it was seeking ways of enhancing its profit base.

Following his appointment, some vigilant observers, readily aware of Treviño's arch-conservative views, reminded the Guardian of his words, tweeted in 2011, in relation to the Gaza aid flotilla:
"Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me"
Treviño also issued this comment in 2010 after Israel had shot dead nine activists aboard the Mavi Marmara:
"After examining the facts of the flotilla, I condemn Israel: For being too nice, too soft, too accomodating to the scum of the earth."
Stung by major criticism from Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada and other Palestinian support groups, as well as many of the paper's own readers, the Guardian went into damage limitation mode, allowing Trevino a clarification days before his first appointed column. None of it was remotely convincing, casting the Guardian in even darker light.  

Having fudged and obfuscated in denouncing and firing Treviño, it has now used a desperate pretext to offload him, citing 'conflict-of-interest' business links in Malaysia.

Rather than an open apology and statement of contrition, the whole affair has been handled as a 'contractual problem'.

As noted by Electronic Intifada, the Guardian's Readers' Editor, Chris Elliot, has only added to the paper's shameless excuses in his evasive justifications:
"I have reviewed Abunimah's complaint. While I think it likely that a reasonable person might well believe this was the intent of the tweet, I don't think it is possible to make an objective finding of inaccuracy about his denial. The tweet states clearly that he would be "cool" ie relaxed about them being shot. In the article he denies absolutely that he meant this to be taken as an encouragement to the IDF to kill Americans. I believe the complaint would require a judgment on Treviño's sincerity: a matter of opinion, not a decision based on factual accuracy." 
Asking where we draw the line between a paper's efforts to "host vigorous debate among people who disagree" while eschewing this kind of "open hate speech", Abunimah concludes that:
"Elliott has avoided taking a position on whether the mountain of evidence that Treviño regularly “applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings” meant that he was being dishonest about his “life and record.”"
And what kind of indignant response did Treviño's actual appointment produce amongst the Guardian's other major writers?

As Joe Emersberger, at ZNet, laments:
"One will search in vain for articles by other Guardian “team members” stating the obvious about Treviño and their bosses who hired him. The Guardian tried to defend Treviño's hiring by claiming a desire for a “plurality” of views. However, judging by the total absence of any articles by Guardian team members about Treviño’s deranged outbursts, plurality isn’t valued at all. Is the Guardian team virtually unanimous in their support for, or indifference to, Treviño’s hiring or to what he said? No strong feelings at all from such an otherwise very opinionated group?"
On the back of its vilification of Julian Assange, the Guardian's dealings over Treviño confirms its sharp corporate practices, the dutiful silence of its leading writers and the weasel methods of its editors.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Sixto Rodriguez - Searching for Sugar Man

A memorable recent evening watching Searching for Sugar Man. Its' difficult to discuss this utterly sublime little film without essential spoilers. So I won't. If you, like me, had/have never heard of Sixto Jesus Rodriguez, so much the better. Don't do any online search or review checking, just go see the movie and let it just unfold. This is one of the most poignant, absorbing, heartfelt and humanitarian music documentaries I've ever seen. I'm now a belated devotee of Rodriguez, the enigma, the voice, the humble, compassionate man. Watch, listen and love.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

The liberal monstering of Assange

Not so very long ago, Julian Assange, posting vital information allegedly leaked by Bradley Manning, helped expose some of America's and the wider West's darkest crimes.

In particular, we now know, thanks to Manning, Assange and his fellow activists at Wikileaks, the gruesome video-specific details of how US pilots ruthlessly took out innocent civilians on an Iraqi street.

Possibly no other journalist has ever been able to expose so many crimes of the powerful.

And no other journalist has ever been exposed to such wrathful retribution from those same powerful forces.

Noam Chomsky asserts that Assange should be awarded "a medal" for his services to humanity.

Instead, while Manning is incarcerated and tortured in a US jail, Assange is vilified and ridiculed by a hateful liberal media.

Following his speech from the Ecuadorean embassy, the Guardian's Luke Harding was among multiple liberal editors and journalists rushing to press with scurrilous, pantomime pieces, as in his "The balcony Bolivar of Knightsbridge".

Sarah Smith from Channel 4 News continued the tired theme with the headline smear that Assange had "appeared like Evita" at the embassy window.

And so it went on, the clamour of liberal joviality over Assange's situation too long and cringing to list.

While avoiding such obvious ribaldry, the Guardian's clawing editorial 'the balcony defence' left the reader in no doubt as to the same 'opportune' nature of Mr Assange's residency at the embassy: 
"This is his traditional method of argument: to conflate a number of causes – big and small, international and individual – into one, so that Mr Assange is WikiLeaks, which is freedom of speech, which holds powerful states to account; and so on, ever upwards. Yet Mr Assange is not facing a show trial over the journalism of WikiLeaks; he is dodging allegations of rape."
Here we saw the Guardian, once again, in its true, virulent colours, a gushing, righteous organ calling out Assange's 'hypocrisy' in a bid to offset the real reasons for his enforced asylum and shield its own hypocritical backstabbing.

As John Pilger, in collective indictment of Britain's diplomatic aggression and Guardian apologetics notes:
"It is as if the Olympics happy-clappery has been subverted overnight by an illuminating display of colonial thuggery. Witness the British army officer-cum-BBC reporter Mark Urban “interviewing” a braying Sir Christopher Meyer, Blair’s former apologist in Washington, outside the Ecuadorean embassy, the pair of them erupting with Blimpish indignation that the unclubbable Assange and the uncowed Rafael Correa should expose the western system of rapacious power. Similar affront is vivid in the pages of the Guardian, which has counselled Hague to be “patient” and that storming the embassy would be “more trouble than it is worth”. Assange was not a political refugee, the Guar­dian declared, because “neither Sweden nor the UK would in any case deport someone who might face torture or the death penalty”. The irresponsibility of this statement matches the Guardian’s perfidious role in the whole Assange affair. The paper knows full well that documents released by WikiLeaks indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters of civil rights." 
It was also, once again, open season on anyone seen defending Assange, notably, for the Independent, George Galloway, the "Bradford MP and notorious polemicist" who dared to air an honourable defence of Assange and honest opinion on the alleged nature of the sexual encounter.

Whether one agrees entirely with Galloway's interpretations here, his words contain not the slightest indication that rape is anything other than rape. Indeed, besides serving to highlight the real political agenda behind the pursuit of Assange, Galloway's central point is that such abuse of the evidence actually demeans the true, brutal reality of rape and wider violence against women. Ignoring such argument, and further clarifications, the vilification, all too predictably, flowed.

True to form, some 'safe leftist' commentariat joined the attack on Galloway, keen, it seems, to be on the 'pure side' of liberal-establishment opinion.  

Craig Murray, the dissident ex-UK diplomat, was, likewise, attacked on Newsnight for naming one of the women making the allegations against Assange. It should be said here that any alleged rape victim has a lawful right to anonymity - as has the accused. Yet, as Murray shows, her name has already been stated countless times across the mainstream media and massively trailed across the  internet.

Rather than address the cynical ways in which Swedish state prosecutors, urged on by the US, have utilised these women to pursue Assange, Murray's key point on how serious whistleblowers can suddenly find themselves facing stigmatising charges got completely swamped by shrill liberal journalists.

The Independent's Laurie Penny also joined the fray with the spurious proposition that this must be seen as a showdown issue either for women's rights or freedom of speech.

Unequivocally, in matters of sexual engagement, no always means no. Yet, as Naomi Wolf, citing eight major areas of concern, insists, no reasonable observer of the available evidence in the Assange case can be in any doubt about disturbing inconsistencies in the presentation and pursuit of these particular allegations:
"Based on my 23 years of reporting on global rape law, and my five years of supporting women at rape crisis centers and battered women’s shelters, I can say with certainty that this case is not being treated as a normal rape or sexual assault case. New details from the Swedish police make this quite clear. Their transcript of the complaints against Assange is strikingly unlike the dozens of such transcripts that I have read throughout the years as an advocate for victims of sex crimes."
The campaign group Women Against Rape have also seen through the political charade and spoken out:
"When Julian Assange was first arrested, we were struck by the unusual zeal with which he was being pursued for rape allegations. It seems even clearer now, that the allegations against him are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction.Justice for an accused rapist does not deny justice for his accusers. But in this case justice is being denied both to accusers and accused."
Highlighting a deeper disregard for violence against women, Women Against Rape condemn the real motives driving Assange's accusers:
"Whether or not Assange is guilty of sexual violence, we do not believe that is why he is being pursued. Once again women's fury and frustration at the prevalence of rape and other violence, is being used by politicians to advance their own purposes. The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will, usually to increase their powers, this time to facilitate Assange's extradition or even rendition to the US. That the US has not presented a demand for his extradition at this stage is no guarantee that they won't do so once he is in Sweden, and that he will not be tortured as Bradley Manning and many others, women and men, have. Women Against Rape cannot ignore this threat."
Nor, as Women Against Rape, remind us, has Assange or his legal team at any time rejected questioning by the Swedish investigative authorities. Despite having conducted other police enquiries with suspects in foreign countries, Sweden's refusal to speak with Assange here in the UK, or now at the open invitation of the Ecuadorean embassy, is the most telling signal of darker political motives.

While both women in this case, as in any other, have the standing legal right to have their allegations addressed, Assange also has the ultimate right to protect himself from political persecution.

What's at stake here is the highly likely possibility of Assange's onward extradition to the US, a view founded on the very reasonable suspicion that these allegations have been deliberately fabricated to ensnare the world's foremost whistleblower.

In an admirable defence of Assange, Michael Moore and Oliver Stone offer the sobering reminder that:
"a grand jury has already returned a sealed indictment of Mr. Assange. And history indicates Sweden would buckle to any pressure from the United States to hand over Mr. Assange. In 2001 the Swedish government delivered two Egyptians seeking asylum to the C.I.A., which rendered them to the Mubarak regime, which tortured them. "
One might reasonably expect all that key context to be highlighted by the liberal media pack. Instead, as noted in a bravura piece from new Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald:
"Assange has clearly demonstrated what happens to real adversarial dissidents and insurgents – they're persecuted, demonized, and threatened, not befriended by and invited to parties within the halls of imperial power – and he thus causes many journalists to stand revealed as posers, servants to power, and courtiers."
Seumas Milne, the other resident exception at the Guardian, also asks readers not to lose sight over why the US is out to grab Assange:
"Can anyone seriously believe the dispute would have gone global, or that the British government would have made its asinine threat to suspend the Ecuadorean embassy's diplomatic status and enter it by force, or that scores of police would have surrounded the building, swarming up and down the fire escape and guarding every window, if it was all about one man wanted for questioning over sex crime allegations in Stockholm?"
Both of these excellent analyses stand out against the herd media establishment, taking apart, in Greenwald's particular piece, the legalities set out by the New Statesman's legal correspondent David Allen Green, a long-standing critic of Assange.

Greenwald also, in updates to the piece, commends links to other legal opinion refuting Green's points, including Green's insistence that Sweden has no power to guarantee Assange assurances on any onward extradition to the US.

And while the Guardian itself is not indicted directly here, Greenwald and Milne allude strongly to its mendacious record in castigating Assange.

For good measure, Greenwald notes:
"As one long-time British journalist told me this week when discussing the vitriol of the British press toward Assange: "Nothing delights British former lefties more than an opportunity to defend power while pretending it is a brave stance in defence of a left liberal principle." That's the warped mindset that led to so many of these self-styled liberal journalists to support the attack on Iraq and other acts of Western aggression in the name of liberal values. And it's why nothing triggers their rage like fundamental critiques of, and especially meaningful opposition to, the institutions of power to which they are unfailingly loyal."
Greenwald may have stopped prudently short of openly naming and shaming the Guardian itself, his new employer, but the point will have been uncomfortably registered by its editor Alan Rusbridger and his editorial/journalist circle. One can only hope that both Greenwald and Milne come to articulate even more forcefully just what kind of power-enhancing role the Guardian serves in its guise of 'vanguard leftism'.

The predicament faced by Assange, the dark collusion between America, Sweden and Britain, the punitive ramifications now faced by Ecuador, the sudden blackening of its president Rafael Correa, the political hijacking of the rape issue and, let us not forget, the painful penury of Bradley Manning - these are all key issues that any serious, radical media would be focusing on rather than the vicious jibes and character assassination we're seeing against Assange and his defenders.

The liberal media's resort to such crude monstering and gleeful mockery only serves to expose its subservience, its shallowness and its own, much darker underside.


Friday, 17 August 2012

An exchange on Syria and Media Lens

An exchange with Muhammad Idrees Ahmad (co-editor of Pulse) at the Media Lens Facebook page:

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad:

[To Media Lens]

You'll have to summon all your creativity to spin this one. Perhaps it'd be easier if you simply apologized. I'm sure you'll agree that blaming the victims was a pretty despicable thing to do.

[Link follows to BBC report: Houla massacre: UN blames Syria troops and militia ]

John Hilley:

Spin what? The UN published its latest report and Media Lens posted the BBC's linked piece on the commission's findings. What needed spinning, and why would ML seek to do so?

Apologise for what? If you care to read ML's various alerts and associated pieces it's perfectly clear that their primary criticism is aimed at media reports which, without any verified evidence, had blamed Assad and Syrian militia forces for this atrocity. They discuss, quite reasonably, how the cautious preliminary findings of the UN were wilfully ignored or misrepresented by most media outlets.  

The central point of such work is to illustrate how, notably on the key issue of war, the establishment/liberal media fall into line when dealing with 'our' official enemies and how, in this case, false media presentation of Houla was being used to hype the case for Western intervention.

Please also show me where ML have ever stated any support for the Assad regime. All their writings on this issue consistently indicate the opposite. 

Blaming the victims? The actual victims here are the dead souls of Houla. And there are many more of them in this tragic conflict, victims of atrocities committed by both sides. If you're implying that the rebel fighting forces, rather than the dead of Houla, are the victims being 'blamed' by ML, please specify.

And if you do mean this, please explain how that particular campaign of violence, cynically driven by US/Nato and religio-Gulf zealots, in any way serves a progressive outcome for the Syrian people or, indeed, the memories of those killed at Houla.        

Despicable? Please be more careful with your language.

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad:

Yes, there was no 'verified evidence' except on camera testimonies of survivors. But those are mere facts, they don't carry the solid heft of gut and ideology. You are no doubt a genius -- and certainly not a hypocrite. I am sure you also condemn 'both sides' for violence in all comparable situations -- say in Gaza. As you imply, the question of proportion is irrelevant. Context too doesn't matter. There are only victims and no perpetrators. Even those who slit the throats of children, we must ignore. Isn't that exactly what we do when the Israeli airforce bombs a Palestinian home? We blame 'both sides' for violence and refuse to condemn. Why, it'd make us hypocrites at best and antisemites at worst if we condemned collective punishment carried out by Israelis and found excuses for it when done by someone else.

Because we are given to reasonable scepticism, we must not condemn anyone for suggesting that those who were killed (remember all Sunnis are 'militants') were indeed the perpetrators, and those who did the killing (an Alawite militia) the victims. All of that is excusable because there is a 'campaign of violence' -- cynical of course -- directed at a regime which was only minding its own business before the children of Der'aa manipulated its soldiers into opening fire and then deviously positioned themselves in the firing line -- just to make Bashar al Assad look bad. What reasons did the Syrians have for demanding rights or self-determination had they not been manipulated by 'US/Nato and religio-Gulf zealots'. Sounds just like the Palestinians of Gaza, manipulated by Iran into thinking there is something wrong with military occupation.

John Hilley,you have restored my faith in humanity: today I've realized how little there is that separates Israeli hasbaraniks from some pro-palestine activists. Neither have use for principle and both are equally impervious to reason -- and, most importantly, they are all united by a common language. For the partisan, its all about affiliation, not justice or human rights.

John Hilley:

With respect, please stay with the actual issues rather than facetious comment, notably the puerile 'hasbaranik equivalence'.

For the purposes of clarity:

1. In the Palestinian situation, there's a clear aggressor and an occupied, subjected people. There are no 'two sides' here, a power narrative which permits the convenience of saying 'each side is equally to blame'. Israel is the principal perpetrator, Palestinians the primary victims.

2. The Palestinians have every right to resist their occupiers. I don't condemn or condone the reality of Palestinian armed resistance. I understand why it happens. Being asked to condemn Palestinian violence is to accept the dominant narrative. The radical position, the one that searches for a truly just solution, is to say: "we can talk about the symptoms or we can talk about the actual causes."

3. While understandable, Palestinian counter-violence takes the Palestinian cause nowhere useful. Again, that's not condemnation of such violence - as required by the dominant narrative. It's both a strategic and moral view of its ineffectiveness. The greatest advance being made for the Palestinian cause is peaceful activism and BDS-based resistance.

4. In more general terms, little of positive, lasting good ever comes from violence. Look no further than the zionist state itself, which can never be at peace given the bloodshed it's founded on.

5. The conflict in Syria is different in important ways from Palestine-Israel. It's not an occupation. It's a civil war, one in which a significant part of the population either still support Assad or see the alarming vacuum that's opening up as self-interested, external forces call the shots.  In the Syrian situation there are contending aggressors. Firstly, Assad against his own people. Secondly, the Western-Nato-Israeli axis allied with Saudi and other Gulf forces. Having witnessed the latter alignment's zero-sum 'solution' for Libya, Assad understands perfectly what's at stake. Assad is a criminal tyrant. But, as Galloway reminds us, it's vital to understand the agenda of the bigger criminal tyrants trying to oust him 
Which, nullifying any prospect of a peaceful negotiation, makes the Syrian people double victims caught up in the violence perpetrated by those dual aggressors. 

6. As Galloway correctly says, the Syrian people have every right to resist Assad and his oppressive regime. But the resort to Western-Saudi-aligned violence has utterly compromised the basis of any progressive revolution.  As Galloway asks: do you really believe the West/Nato, Saudi and Israel are working for the same thing as suffering Syrians? As with Libya, any outcome will now be largely determined by those interests. Leftists who can't comprehend or blindly refuse to see that stark truth are also, by default, serving the interests of those external forces.    

7. So, yes, it's about affiliation, the disastrous affiliation to parties with no interest in seeing the delivery of real justice and human rights. Supporting the Syrian people means opposing the dark manoeuvrings of 'our' elites in order to help prevent further bloodshed - and limit the West's related aggressions in the region, most immediately against Iran.

9. It also means helping to expose the slavish, contorted media output that, as with support for all other Western warmongering, is serving that aggressor agenda. 

10. On which vital note, you haven't responded to my main comments about your spurious charges against Media Lens. 

[Please excuse numbering error.]

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad:

"In the Palestinian situation, there's a clear aggressor and an occupied, subjected people." Right. And there is no clear aggressor in Syria, no subjected people? Yes, Israeli Hasbaraniks don't see clear aggressors and subjected people in Israel-Palestine either.

This conversation is over.
On 16 August, the Pulse site published an article entitled What happened in Houla in which it referred to: "Stalinist outfits like Media Lens".

At some point on 17 August the word "Stalinist" was replaced with "reactionary".

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Syria: adapting the story of 'intervention'

As the killing in Syria's civil war deepens, the central role of external, self-interested states in feeding the mayhem is now manifestly evident.

But as the imperialist aspirations and regional war-encouragements of the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel intensify, Guardian liberals and rhetorical leftists alike are maintaining a convenient blindness to such mendacious meddling.

Thus, regular Guardian columnist Richard Seymour asserts:
"The main popular forces in the Syrian opposition are neither pawns nor proxies, nor are they under the domination of pawns and proxies. The armed contingent is too diverse, too localised and to disart[i]culated to be a proxy army, or simply a force of reaction as some claim. Those Turkish-based exile leaders who have looked to imperialist intervention neither control the revolution nor have unrivalled status as its political leadership. By every plausible report, the actual involvement of the imperialist powers has not been very significant; the regional sub-imperialisms are playing a more important role, for some of their own reasons, but even they aren't dominant in this situation. The principal contradiction is the class antagonism within Syria, and practical activity internationally, including antiwar activism, should be based on this understanding." [My italics.]
So runs the dual fiction of 'class-based uprising' and 'insignificant foreign involvement', a narrative needed to hold together the spurious claim of a developing, homegrown revolution.

One could only wish this were so. Yet the 'evidence' for it is contradicted both by the now open sectarian nature of the conflict and the crucial sponsorship of 'rebel' forces by various outside parties with no interest in a progressive, people-serving outcome.

As Seumas Milne puts it:
"For Syrians who want dignity and democracy in a free country, the rapidly mushrooming dependence of their uprising on foreign support is a disaster – even more than was the case in Libya. After all, it is now officials of the dictatorial and sectarian Saudi regime who choose which armed groups get funding, not Syrians. And it is intelligence officials from the US, which sponsors the Israeli occupation of Syrian territory and dictatorships across the region, who decide which rebel units get weapons."
Alas, Milne is an almost lone dissenting voice at the Guardian - if still unwilling to amplify the Guardian's own part - via its whitewashed editorials and senior columnists - in the wider distortion.

Now more seemingly 'aware' of the West's shifting concerns, the paper's Julian Borger contends that, 'suddenly alarmed' by the gathering dominance of Salafist/jihadist fighting forces and their Gulf patrons, the West are re-focusing their support towards a more Turkish-aligned promotion of selected rebel groups:
"Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, flew to Istanbul on Saturday to meet Syrian opposition activists and boost military and intelligence co-operation with the Turkish government to prevent the violence spreading across the border. Jon Wilks, Britain's special envoy to the Syrian opposition, was also in Istanbul last week for a meeting with someone the Foreign Office described as "a senior political representative" of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), during which he stressed the importance of human rights and respect for minorities as a condition of future co-operation. 
On Friday, the UK announced £5m in new non-military aid to Syrian opposition groups, pointedly insisting that all the recipients should be organisations inside Syria, therefore excluding the SNC. Clinton's meetings in Istanbul were also intended to sidestep the exile group, on the grounds that it had little influence on events inside Syria."   
Again, the dutifully-repeated pitch here is of a still 'concerned' West, now adapting its position in 'benign' response to developments they hadn't, apparently, anticipated.

No talk here, either, of Clinton's true mission, which, as any critical analyst should see, is to foment conflict and destabilisation in pursuit of more interventionist excuses rather than "prevent" the spread of violence.

How noble also of Borger to report Britain's latest 'quiet dealings' in Istanbul as some kind of gentlemanly visit and 'cautioning' of the FSA on human rights.

In another prominent piece, Luke Harding appears to acknowledge many of the sectarian divisions on the ground, using testimonies of assorted Syrians to show the diverse range of social and religious backgrounds within the Free Syrian Army.

Yet, this questionable account, like many shifting liberal others, displays, by its very own claims, the equally heterogeneous nature of those either still supporting Assad or, much more significantly, the probable majority fearful of any violent escalation and volatile vacuum still to come.

True to Guardian form, Harding's piece is also at pains to report how Assad is 'playing the sectarian card', but not the zealot rebel factions and their Saudi-Wahabbist backers.  

Meanwhile, the Guardian's Ian Black, echoing standard cries from the 'diplomatic community', is still pointing the most damning finger at Russia and China. 

In a tortuous piece of reasoning, Black seemingly concedes that Kofi Annan's peace plan was never a viable proposition given the realpolitik of contending forces and zero-sum interests at play, yet still insists on holding Russia and China primarily "responsible" for the tragedy.

As Milne also reminds us:
"The Syrian regime is of course backed by Iran and Russia, as it has been for decades. But a better analogy for western and Gulf involvement in the Syrian insurrection would be Iranian and Russian sponsorship of an armed revolt in, say, Saudi Arabia."
And so the liberal media's lamenting of selected others and 'failing intervention' goes on, much like the West's own hypocritical castigations and 'humanitarian' re-positioning, all part of the effort to maintain the illusion of Clinton et al as 'adapting donors' and 'available facilitators' rather than (as with Russia and China) 'regime-supporting obstructionists'.

The deeper, darker nature of the Syrian conflict may now be unravelling, revealing more complex layers of sectarian and social division, an awkward public enlightenment for the Western powers and their regional friends, requiring, as we see here, new lines of political posturing and media adaptation to support the lie of dutiful intervention.

As for those leftist adaptations of the interventionist deceit, one can but watch and learn how liberal incorporation and radical pretension so often combine to help service the lie.


Monday, 6 August 2012

Hiroshima and the greater abilities of science

6 August 1945. The day on which science helped deliver atomic catastrophe on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

6 August 2012. The day on which science delivered its exploration rover, Curiosity, onto the surface of Mars.

Sixty seven years on from the supreme criminal action ordered by American president Harry S Truman, a more peaceful craft has landed its more benign payload. 

The significance of such may be lost on those who still view 'necessary aggression' and scientific exploration as two distinct issues.

But it's worth considering on this landmark day just how little the terrifying technology and threat of Western-led bombing has changed, notably now against Iran, while other Western science has forged ahead in its more fascinating quest to understand and appreciate life, even in its extraterrestrial form.

While one, the science of militarism, is still obsessed with developing ways of wiping out civilian populations, the more beautiful science of discovery offers us, at least, a little more hopeful glimpse of what may exist across our wondrous universe.

To the greater rejection of unwarranted and merciless state bombing.

To the greater illumination of conditions and life beyond our tiny, war-driven planet.

To the thoughtful remembrance of the sacrificed souls of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.