In The News, March 20, 2011

Topics: Japan, 3000 Mile Island; The War on Libya, Cruise Missiles and Cleavage; Big Bank Bingo; Saudi Arabia; Rachel Madcow Disease; Queen Clintopatra and the Referendum in Egypt; Lenin–so it turns out the blind lady wasn’t the shooter after all…

Japan, 3000 Mile Island

It’s been obvious from the start that the Japanese government has been understating the amount of radiation escaping the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It was  only a couple of days ago that they raised the threat to a level approximate to the Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania. This despite photos of the extensive damage to the buildings housing the reactors, at least two of which have had their roofs blown clean off. The radiation has now reached the West Coast of North America, which is of particular concern to me as I live there. We have been assured that the levels reaching Washington State are not deleterious. I suspect it might even be so.

Why is there nuclear energy when it seems that the legal liability, among other things, for the producer would make it impractical? Because nuclear energy is the downstream application of the nuclear weapons industry. The nuclear energy industry is wholly dependent on its synergy with the production of the world’s most lethal munitions.

The War on Libya, Cruise Missiles and Cleavage

As usual, the reporting on the air campaign against Libya has been nothing short of disgraceful. The  media has been fulfilling its mission–gin up support for the assault–by treating us to all manner of  mischief. No sooner had they reclassified the conflict there from revolution to civil war, than they began to demonize Gaddafi for  “killing his own people.” Are not his opponents doing the same? By this standard Abe Lincoln was guilty of this crime. If it’s a civil war then by definition one is killing one’s own. The enervating stupidity of this line of invective passed, as it must, unchallenged.

Above the din of feigned outrage, not a single word of protest is heard. No one asks whether the US-European forces have any right to get involved in Libyan affairs. There is no talk that this is a war of aggression whose aim is securing Libya’s oil and preventing this second Arab Revolt from spreading. Instead our broadcast media insists that the US is reluctant to become involved, and is suffering from “Iraq and Afghanistan Syndrome,” or “intervention fatigue.” As absurd as these contentions are, they find universal acceptance on both right- and left-wing media broadcasts.

My favorite bit of  chicanery involves Nic  Robertson  and his taxi driver.  A few days ago,  CNN’s correspondent spun a  yarn so entertaining that his “contacts” in the Pentagon must have been quite pleased. He said that some of Gaddafi’s “thugs” had seized his taxi driver and were angry that the driver was transporting journalists around Libya. Robertson insisted that his driver was not working with the rebels and was guilty of nothing. He then received assurances that the man would not be harmed and would be released soon. He then added that six days later he heard that the poor driver was still being held. Robertson didn’t say how he came by this bit of information. Apparently he didn’t consider that important.

Needless to say, this report met with no skepticism from CNN’s host, yet it demands a little scrutiny. Just how well does Robertson know this taxi driver that he can state with journalistic confidence that the man in question was not working with the rebels? Certainly the opposition would want to get press coverage of Gaddafi’s excesses, which is precisely what Robertson was en route to investigate, it is quite possible the driver was acting on behalf of the revolution. Who could blame him if he was? Robertson could not possibly know that the driver wasn’t a spy, but he could know that he was. The story was in line with the propaganda war waged by his employers and it just might be as simple as that, but it has been well documented that Western intelligence services have thoroughly infiltrated the media [Operation Mockingbird, Carl Bernstein’s The CIA and the Media, and many, many more]. I will not here allege that Robertson is a spy as I do not know it to be the case, and I have more regard for the truth than do he or CNN, but his reporting of this incident does lend itself to suspicion. In any case, what Robertson clearly is not is a journalist.

Perhaps the worst coverage of this latest lucrative liberation in the Middle East was hosted by MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer. She was clad in a low-cut shirt which revealed a generous  but not quite scandalous swath of her bosom. Her decolletage was in every shot of the beautiful young anchor, every one.

She interviewed a series of politicians, soldiers, and other media figures and each and every one supported the attack on Libya, and always on humanitarian grounds. She asked media drone Jonathan Alter “How can we counter the propaganda coming from the Gaddafi regime.” Astonishingly, an earnest discussion of how to do just that ensued, no pretense to journalistic objectivity attempted. The word “propaganda” was heard literally dozens of times during her hours as host with this the worst example: “Speaking of propaganda,” Brewer blustered, “a Libyan official is about to hold a press conference.” One might think it only fair to wait and see what  the official might say before denouncing him, but such prudence eluded Ms Brewer all day long.

Brewer interviewed former ambassador to Morocco, Marc Ginsburg. Unhampered by fact or scruple, and employing a dodge that had proven useful in the recent past, the  Clinton appointee eagerly informed his host that Gaddafi still had weapons of mass destruction. Brewer nodded in agreement to this stupefying revelation. As if disappointed by the lethargic response, Ginsburg then averred that “there are a million Egyptian workers in Libya which Gaddafi could take hostage.” Again Brewer made no reply, leaving these garish lies to linger in the air.

The Sunday morning chat shows offered more of the same. They prepared us for the possibility that Gaddafi might remain in power at the end of this war or that Libya might be split into two states. This is a clear indication that the point of this war is to retain control over Libya’s oil and contain the spread of revolution. For at least the last eight years, Gaddafi has allowed international capital a free hand in Libya’s markets. They have no problem with him short of his inability to stem the tide of rebellion. If at the end of the “intervention” the real revolutionaries are defeated and Gaddafi is once more secure, the mission will be accomplished. If the Libyan dictator needs to be made a human sacrifice, then that will be done.

I fear for the revolutionaries of Libya, as there new allies are more ruthless than the regime they endeavor to overthrow. The cure will almost certainly be worse than the disease.

Big Bank Bingo

The quantitative easing policy adopted by the Fed has worked as planned and the big banks now hoard even more money. Under the cover of the air attack on Libya, the banksters announced dividend hikes and stock buy-back initiatives. The former rewards their shareholders ( i.e. the owners), the latter benefits the banks themselves (i.e. the majority owners).

It seems they have come the financial crisis in better shape than before it began. Well, whaddaya know!

Saudi Arabia

1,  In solidarity with the oppressed women of the kingdom.

Inshallah, dear sisters, inshallah!

2, The government is trying to offer meaningless reforms to stem the tide of unrest. Fortunately, the people are not succumbing to this subterfuge:

” But what the royals need to know now is that what has changed is that people are no longer asking for benevolence; and they know, to paraphrase, that the hour is getting late, and this [negotiating] table just offers false talk.”

Rachel Madcow Disease

I gave up on Rachel Maddow long ago when she demonstrated time and again a squalid racist bias in favor of the  Jewish colonists of Palestine (as distinct from those who wish to live in peace and equality with the gentiles of that occupied land).  I’ve only tuned in a few times in the last couple of years, and every time she says something completely outrageous and offensive. Some months ago she had a segment in which she claimed that Barak Obummer had achieved “about eighty percent of his campaign promises,” and is “way ahead of schedule.”

Even the Prez knows that is not true.

Worse however, was about a week ago when she said to the people of Wisconsin “You have won.” She came to this ridiculous conclusion because Governor “Street” Walker was negotiating with the Democrats who had fled the state. The working people of Wisconsin (and beyond) have suffered a terrible loss, one that will cost them dearly, and this asshole is calling it a victory. She ought to be ashamed of herself.

Queen Clintopatra and the Referendum in Egypt

Poor Hillary, she just couldn’t contain her excitement at being in Tahrir Square. She breathlessly exclaimed that it was an honor to be in that historic place where an embattled,  determined people  overthrew a despot and launched a democracy.

If only it were true. The Western media insisted that the revolution was about Mubarak and his corruption, and that the army was on the side of the people. What Clintopatra and the long-departed international media have not been so forthcoming about is that the Egyptian army is conducting a murderous crackdown on the  revolutionary students and trade unionists who toppled Mubarak.,,

One victim of the terror was famed pop singer Rami Issam, who was tortured in army custody:

Here’s a particularly harrowing account of another abduction and murder of revolutionaries ( follow the link to a subtitled video and transcript):

The counterrevolution is underway, and has been from the beginning.

There is a referendum on constitutional reform in Egypt. The measures up for consideration are woefully inadequate and are an obvious attempt to perpetuate the oligarchic nature of Egyptian governance. If adopted, the reforms would leave enormous arbitrary power in the hands of the executive. Mostly the amendments proposed ensure that nobody will be dictator as long as Mubarak was, they do not however, put power directly in the hands of the people.

One of the Mubarak loyalists consecrated as an opposition leader by the international media was former IAEA chief Muhammad elBaradei. He was pelted with stones as he tried to vote.

The charlatan attributed the attack to counterrevolutionary forces.

The Islamic right (including the Muslim Brotherhood), the bourgeoisie,  and former regimists comprise the “yes” faction. Trade unionists, other wage workers, students, and Copts are expected to vote no. Those figures like elBaradei who have announced that they will run for the presidency have hedged their bets and, publicly at least, oppose the reform.

It would be unwise to infer too much from the outcome of the vote. It’s a preliminary measure undertaken to determine public sentiment. A “yes” vote  maintains the ancien regime. “No” swings power back to  Tantawi and the army.  Neither benefits the people. Mubarak is gone, but his government lives on either way. For there to be a real revolution, it must be overthrown.

Lenin–so it turns out the blind lady wasn’t the shooter after all…

There was an assassination attempt on Lenin in 1918. Fanny Kaplan, a member of the rival Socialist Revolutionary Party,  was on scene and was reported to be the shooter.

Although she confessed, and did have a motive, from the very beginning there were doubts. Most of them centered on the fact that she was blind. At times she regained partial sight, but even then she needed someone to take care of her.

Some at the scene insisted that it was someone behind the SR who fired the shot and dropped the gun. Others say they saw Kaplan fire the gun.

It was rumored that the British were behind the plot. Lenin had been aided in his ascent to power by the Germans who knew he would withdraw Russia from the First World War, which he did. It was argued that the Brits hoped that Lenin would be succeeded by one from the Bolshevik faction which supported Russia’s participation in the war, or that the murder might lead to the fall of the  regime. The official  Bolshevik version is that a British agent named Lockhardt recruited Kaplan to make the attempt on Lenin’s life. Russian textbooks refer to the event as the ” Lockhardt plot.”

The Brits have long dismissed the accusation as propaganda and Lockhardt denied he was involved in any way. However new evidence has come to light. The spy’s son has revealed that his father may have played a larger role than admitted.

If it’s true that it was a British plot, and it is plausible given the facts as we know them today, then it is quite likely that they did not recruit Fanny Kaplan to be the shooter. It seems she was chosen as a  suitable patsy because of her oft-voiced, fulsome hatred of Lenin. It is also possible that she was asked by Lockhardt to kill Lenin but that there was a second gunman, presumably not blind, behind Kaplan also targeting the Bolshevik.

In either case, this is yet another example where something which we have been taught about an historical event is now thrown into considerable doubt. Caveat emptor.

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