Missing or Bad links? Letters to the editor? E-mail: email@example.com
(Scroll page for more essays)
The Politics of Genocide
An excerpt - Chapter 1 - of the new book by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, published by Monthly Review Press, New York
The Iran Threat in the Age of
It is intriguing to see how whoever the United States and Israel find interfering with their imperial or dispossession plans is quickly demonized and becomes a threat and target for that Real-Axis-of-Evil (RAE), and hence their NATO allies and, with less intensity, much of the rest of the “international community”. If and when the need arises, any bit of news that is damaging to the targeted state will be fed into the demonization process – and in the marvelous propaganda system of the West, the grossest distortions will be swallowed and regurgitated without much guilt or apology
Liberals and Military
Back in 1971, the military dictator of Brazil, General Emilio Medici, commented somewhat regretfully that “The economy is doing fine but the people aren’t.” Of course he was claiming at the same time that the people would some day do better under military rule. But that was pie in the sky. It was the very design of the Brazilian military dictatorship to keep the people down, atomized, and exploitable in the interest of the elite that had supported and participated in the 1964 overthrow of civilian rule (the local elite, the transnationals, and the Brazilian and U.S. military establishments).
The Construction of
the Iran 'Threat'
It is spell-binding to see how the U.S. establishment can inflate the threat of a target, no matter how tiny, remote, and (most often) non-existent that threat may be, and pretend that the real threat posed by its own behavior and policies is somehow defensive and related to that wondrously elastic thing called “national security.”
Corporate Reform in an Age of Intensified Class warfare
"In a system where corporations are central in economic activity, economic crises have always and necessarily produced plans and programs of renovation and improvement designed to make corporations more responsive to the public interest. Of course there have always been some who urged nationalization or worker control; i.e., the replacement of the corporate system with a genuinely new order. Thus far the system has been able to fend off all such demands . . . ”
Civilian Plane Shootdowns and Civilian (In)Justice
It is enlightening and sometimes even amusing to see how the treatment of the shooting down of civilian planes is politicized, and how in this area, as in so many others, the media propagandize in the service of the government’s agenda and party line. On the humorous side, consider the following New York Times editorial statements: On the Soviet shooting down of Korean Airliner 007 on August 31, 1983: “There is no conceivable excuse for any nation shooting down a harmless airliner.”
Look Forward, Not Back
One of my favorites cliches of today is “look forward, not back,” also a favorite of President Obama and Vice President Biden. These leaders are under a certain amount of pressure to prosecute, or at least investigate, the Bush-Cheney gang’s war crimes and violations of U.S. and international law. There is also the matter of principle: That is, whether there can be said to be a “rule of law” when high level but serious violators of law are beyond prosecution. Barry Bonds must be pursued because he allegedly may have lied to a grand jury on his use of steroids, but Bush-Cheney-Rice-Rumsfeld-Powell lied many times on issues involving mass killing and violations of domestic and international law.
NATO: The Imperial Pitbull
One of the deceptive clichés of Western accounts of post World War II history is that NATO was constructed as a defensive arrangement to block the threat of a Soviet attack on Western Europe. This is false. It is true that Western propaganda played up the Soviet menace, but many key U.S. and Western European statesmen recognized that a Soviet invasion was not a real threat.
From the Reagan era onward I have been impressed with how regularly liberal and left-leaning economists I knew, who went to work in industry and finance, very soon became pro-business, anti-labor, and politically rightwing. I think that what got to them was not only the impact of association with businesspeople, but the fact that business profitability became central to their own performance.
Principles Of The
Imperial New World Order
(with David Peterson)
We have to recognize that in the Imperial New World Order (INWO), with the Soviet Union gone, and an aggressive and highly militarized United States projecting its great power across the globe, destabilizing and devastating in all its major areas of operation in the alleged interest of liberation and stability, a revised set of principles should be discernible. Most of these are hardly new, but even more audaciously than in the past they translate power relationships into affirmations of rights or the denial of these very same rights, with the ensuing double standards applicable pretty much across the board.
"The human capacity for compartmentalization of thought and suppression of inconvenient facts always continues to break new ground in service to evolving political demands. After 9/11, the long U.S. effort to build up al-Qaeda, bin Laden and other Afghan rebel groups (including the Taliban), with Saudi and Pakistani aid, to entice the Soviet Union into Afghanistan, get it bogged down and eventually defeated was finally seen to have backfired.”
There Is No 'War On Terror'
(with David Peterson)
"One of the most telling signs of the political naiveté of liberals and the Left in the United States has been their steadfast faith in much of the worldview that blankets the imperial state they call home. Nowhere has this critical failure been more evident than in their acceptance of the premise that there really is something called a 'war on terror' or 'terrorism' – however poorly managed its critics make it out to be – and that righting the course of this war ought to be this country’s (and the world’s) top foreign policy priority”
Great and Little Satan
“In the discussions about Iran among the leaders in the 'international community,' their expressed dire fears about Iran and its nuclear program never cause them to raise any questions about Israel’s nuclear program, even though it is well known that Israel not only has a “program” but has several hundred nuclear weapons, built in secret but with U.S., French, and British aid, and of course done outside the authority of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) designed to prevent proliferation”
The US Aggression Process and Its Collaborators: Guatemala to Iran
“We are living in a very dangerous period in which a predatory superpower has embarked on a series of aggressive wars in rapid succession – three on two different continents during the past decade alone . . .”
Genocide Inflation is the
Real Human Rights Threat
We have all heard about “genocide denial” and “holocaust denial” as very bad happenings that have focused attention, indignation, and concern to the point of laws passed to criminalize such behavior in Austria, Belgium, France, and elsewhere. But very little attention has been paid to genocide inflation, where killings are wildly exaggerated and claims of genocide are made based on hearsay, rumor, knowing lies, and otherwise problematic “information.”
How Market-Democracy Keeps
'It was interesting to see the New York Times editorialize recently against the growing role of money in elections, pointing to “the sheer volume of money it [the current election campaign] is generating,” and the “ludicrously premature handicapping of the race based on the ability to raise cash” (ed., “Running for Dollars,” April 5, 2007). The editors note that the “political industry” is “ordaining mega-fund raising as the sine qua non of a credible candidacy,” when “in principle” a political race should be a “competition…if not of ideas, then at least of personalities and positions.'
The Hariri Special Court vs
the Imminent US Attack on Iran
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, responding to the UN Security Council vote to set up a special court to prosecute the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri two years ago, stated before the Council that, “By adopting this resolution, the council has demonstrated its commitment to the principle that there shall be no impunity for political assassinations in Lebanon or elsewhere” . This is, of course, unmitigated nonsense . . .
The United States Now Poses The Greatest Threat To Civilization
The harsh title of this essay is not based on the belief that U.S. leaders are the most vicious ever, although they are amply arrogant, ruthless and even vicious, rendered more hypocritical by the veneer of self-righteousness and Godly service. Rather it rests, first, on the facts that they have far more destructive power than any predecessors, have already used it and threaten to escalate their violence, and are not only subject to inadequate constraints but operate in a political culture that is volatile, manipulable, and contains threatening irrational elements
Hegomony & Appeasement
(with David Peterson)
"Still digesting their recent and ongoing aggressions in the Middle East, the Bush and Israeli regimes now threaten to attack Iran. As these warrior states cast their long shadow across the region, they find themselves aided and abetted by the Security Council, the other major powers, parties of the opposition, and the media.
Iraq: The Genocide Option
"It was claimed early in 2005 that the United States was considering resort to what has been called the “Salvadoran Option” in Iraq, in which, as had been done in El Salvador in the 1980s, U.S. Special Forces would train paramilitary squads to hunt down and assassinate rebel leaders and their supporters. A year earlier, it was reported that a sizable fund had been appropriated for the creation of an exile-based paramilitary unit for Iraq, and that the money would more broadly “support U.S. efforts to create a lethal, and revengeful Iraqi security force.” It was expected that this would lead to “a wave of extrajudicial killings” of armed rebels, but also of “nationalists, other opponents of the U.S. occupation and thousands of civilian Baathists.”
A Standard Form
"It has become absolutely standard practice for parties of the left, or that at least claim to represent mass constituencies, to make populist and peace-stressing promises and gestures that are betrayed instantly on the assumption of power. Sometimes, as with Tony Blair in 1997, a close reading of the pre-election political statements would make one aware that neither service to ordinary citizens nor peace are likely to be high on the leader’s agenda. Also, a study of the funding and economic and political connections of the incoming leadership is often a giveaway as to likely political direction. But occasionally the leaders seem genuinely surprised that meeting their constituency’s demands will not be practicable, and that the political costs will be more than they care to accept"
"It is striking and chilling to see the leader of the Free World, George W. Bush, the Decider, seeking and gaining legislative approval for his government’s now widespread use of torture, and exemption of himself and his top level associates for any earlier applications of torture. It has been pointed out that such ex-post exemptions have been sought by the most notorious state terrorists such as Augusto Pinochet and the Argentinean generals, whose ranks the Decider aims to join."
With Israel engaged once again in a major war of aggression in Lebanon, and protected once again from any effective global response by U.S. power and veto, it becomes clearer than ever that the central global problem of organized violence and lawlessness in the early 21st century lies in the aims, collaboration and power of the U.S.-Israeli axis.
The mainstream media have long had a high gullibility quotient when it comes to dealing with demonized external threats, which makes it easy to manage them and guide them into propaganda service. In the case of the ludicrous Guatemalan security threat of 1953-54, the publisher of the New York Times was persuaded by a United Fruit agent to send a reporter to Guatemala who “dutifully wrote a series of alarming reports about ‘Reds’ in the country”. Another United Fruit public relations man commented sardonically on the media’s gullibility in that case: “It is difficult to make a convincing case for manipulation of the press when the victims proved so eager for the experience.”
Some years ago Noam Chomsky and I found it useful to distinguish between three categories of terrorism—constructive, benign and nefarious – the classification based strictly on the utility of the terrorism to U.S. interests as perceived by the ruling political elite. Thus, when terrorism is seen by U.S. officials as highly advantageous to U.S. interests, it is treated by those officials, and hence by the media, as a positive development and hence “constructive.”
The fourth US supreme international crime in seven years is already under way, with the support of the free press and ‘international community’ say Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, in their latest indictment of US foreign policy, this time over the future of Iran.
The March 11 death of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in his prison cell in The Hague was greeted by Western political circles and media alike with an outpouring of venom that reflected the demon role assigned to him in the myth-making of the past 15 years, Edward S. Herman and David Peterson look for reasons why this demonisation occurred
The media,UN and coalition of the cowardly and bribed – have isolated Iran and set her up for possible aggression, says Edward S. Herman. The folks likely to make those decisions are proven killers, torturers and law violators, confident in their military superiority and invulnerability to prosecution
The cause of violence in Israel and the West Bank is not seen as Israel’s occupation and ethnic cleansing but rather the Palestinian resistance to these abuses. This perspective, says Edward S. Herman, is a vicious rationalization of the racist and politically opportunistic support of Israel’s ethnic cleansing project.
Good Versus Evil Ed Herman looks at Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting, a book by Peter Brock, that tells how the media, pushing for more aggressive action, in the interests of stopping ethnic cleansing, helped produce moreand killing than might have taken place without their bellicosity and war propaganda service
"On October 6, 2005, Carla Del Ponte, prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), gave a talk before an audience at Goldman Sachs in London that throws light on the role of the ICTY as well as the character and qualities of Ms. Del Ponte and her efforts. Speaking before this business audience, Ms. Del Ponte emphasized that the ICTY and other UN organizations are not profit-making bodies, but that they, and the ICTY specifically, facilitate profit-making for others."
"It is a bit frightening to see how, even in the midst of the catastrophic aggression and occupation of Iraq, the United States, having engaged once again in the 'supreme crime,' is still able to mobilize the UN and its NATO allies to focus on, browbeat, and threaten Iran to abandon its nuclear activities or face some kind of retaliation," say Edward S. Herman & David Peterson.
So now George W. Bush is committed to bringing democracy to other nations, says Edward S. Herman, who finds seven reasons to doubt the sincerity of a band of ideologues who seem as ready to trample the rights of their own people as they are to impose their misguided political vision on the world.
Now check out ColdType.net
Click here to go to the COLDTYPE home page - read John Pilger, George Monbiot, Norman Solomon, Robert Fisk, Michael I. Niman, Danny Schechter and much much more. Download free books, magazines, newspapers and photo essays . . .