Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Somali pirates: Long may they prosper!

Most of us grew up reading stories or watching cartoons and films about pirates. Hollywood’s release of the Pirates of the Caribbean films a few years ago have brought piracy back into public consciousness. But the fictional accounts of piracy recounted in children’s stories and films bear little resemblance to the historical phenomenon called piracy. It is important to bear this in mind when one hears one-sided reports about the current piracy problem off the coast of Somalia.

We should begin by asking what the word piracy means. Piracy came into English around the 13th century via the French pirate. This word in turn was derived from the Latin pirata “sailor or sea robber”. The root of the word goes back to Ancient Greek peirates from the Greek verb peiran to attack, make a hostile attempt on, try. But the Greek word empeiros gives us the English experience in the sense of a trial, risk, experiment or danger. The Greek word denoting attack, trial risk and danger is an Indo-European cousin of the Irish word for vigilance ‘aire’.

Keep these notions of vigilance, trial, risk and danger in mind we will ask: who were these pirates and what did they do? Professor Marcus Rediker of the University of Pittsburgh has made a cogent contribution to our understanding of piracy. In his most recent book ‘Villains of All Nations’ he explains the historical causes of piracy. Pirates were predominantly poor and abused sailors who worked for pittance on the international trading ships of the French and British empires. These renegade groups consisted of sailors of many nationalities and races who could no longer bear the cruelty of their masters , the inhuman hardship of their working conditions and the obscene poverty of wage-slavery on the world’s imperial ships.

Far from the covetous, one-eyed barbarians, the Long John Silvers of folklore and fiction, pirates tended to come from highly skilled sailors who rebelled against the tyranny of their imperial masters. Once they had procured their own ship, articles were drawn up governing the conduct of the pirates. These articles were remarkably egalitarian. The captain of the ship was elected by the sailors and a quartermaster was elected to administer booty and to act as a counterweight in order to keep the captain’s power in check. Profits from shipping raids were distributed equally among all the sailors. When a pirate misbehaved, a meeting of all the sailors was called to determine the appropriate punishment. Far from being criminals, the pirates of the 17th and 18th centuries developed a unique form of distributive justice; they were, in fact, proto-communists.

Once a ship was raided, the captains were often lined up on the deck before the crew. They would then ask the crew members if they had been beaten by their captain. If the crew responded negatively the captain received his just merits.

In many respects today’s pirates off the coast of Somalia are similar. They too have deep grievances with European countries. Why? Because since 1991European companies have been dumping nuclear and toxic waste in their waters; polluting their fish; scaring the skin of their children, spreading cancer among their people and destroying their livelihood. Because European, Chinese, Indian, Russian, Japanese and Korean ships have taken over their waters looting and pillaging what is left of the fishstock that is safe to eat.

According to Nick Nuttal of the United Nations Environmental programme “European companies found it to be very cheap to get rid of the waste, costing as little as $2.50 a tonne, where waste disposal costs in Europe are something like $1000 a tonne." The EU talks about the disruption of Aid to Somalia due to the actions of the pirates but the people of Somalia. As in other Third World countries, EU aid is simply the payoff to their client regimes for our looting of their resources. The looting of Africa by the west is the cause of its poverty. Aid is our way of showing we care. Letting them starve would be bad publicity.

This is the reality of the Somali piracy crisis. The Somali fishermen have organised a hitherto effective resistance to the international looting of their waters. To their credit, they have also made a huge contribution to their local economies, extracting just ransoms in exchange for the Western terrorists who patrol their shores in our name. They treat their hostages well and often pour the ransom money back into their villages, buying generators for electricity and building up the local economy while the barbarians from the USA shoot and kill them with impunity.In one of the world’s poorest countries, these Somali pirates, these vigilantes of the people, these intrepid combatants of international criminality are worthy heroes.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Berlin Wall and the victory of the White Terror

Among the many anniversaries being celebrated this year, the fall of the Berlin Wall is perhaps the most important. We all remember the sense of hope and elation which accompanied that momentous event. The oppressed people of the DDR, so long immured in a dystopian world of media disinformation, violations of individual liberties and constant surveillance by the secret police were now at last marching on the road to liberty and democracy. The evil empire of the Soviet Union which had imprisoned its citizens in a police state was crumbling before our watering eyes as we watched those moving images on TV.

Communism had failed. The fall of the Soviet Union proved that communism in practice equals fascism. How could anyone disagree with that proposition now? This is indeed the story recounted by thousands of publications and documentaries today in the ‘free world’. It is, however, a vicious lie.

Western historiography of the Soviet Union is replete with deliberate omissions, ideological distortions and in many cases, downright lies. Any serious analysis of how good or bad Soviet communism was, must take account of the fact that the Bolshevik revolutionaries, who had the support of the vast majority of Russia’s poor, were ruthlessly attacked by the White Russian counter-revolutionaries in cahoots with 16 imperial powers, who invaded Russia after 1918.n fact, White Terror occured in many countries throughout the twentieth century. Communists and the poorest classes of society all suffered the terror inflicted by counter-revolutionaries in Finland, Bulgaria, Germany, Spain,Greece, China, Taiwan and Korea.Hundreds of thousands of people slaughtered in the name of liberty. The victory speeces of history arrogantly omit this uncomfortable fact.

Our libraries and bookshop shelves are keeling over with books on the ‘Red Terror’ and the purges of Stalin, yet there are only a handful of books at most which talk about the White Terror unleashed upon the Russian population by the agents of the imperial powers. These mass murderers are presented as agents of ‘democracy’ who fought to ‘save Russia’ from the evil of Leninism. But who has read about the careers of White Guard leaders such as Lavr Kornilov who declared ‘the greater the terror, the greater our victories’. Kornilov had very little mass support but that didn’t bother this terrorist; he had the support of the Western powers and was prepared to ‘ set fire to half the country and shed the blood of three-fourths of all Russians’.

And what about White Guard general Krasnov who ordered his troops to deliberately murder workers en mass ‘"It is forbidden to arrest workers. The orders are to hang or shoot them." Who has heard of general Kaledin who declared: "The orders are to hang all arrested workers in the street. The bodies are to be exhibited for three days". What about the counter revolutionary terrorist Admiral Kolchak who was an admirer of Japanese genocidal techniques? His advice was to “follow the example of the Japanese who had decimated the local population in the Amur Region of Russia

What about General Semenov who decimated entire villages killing thousands of Russian peasants. Genocide in the Soviet Union was a result of Marxist Leninism, the so-called historians tell us. But the Russian civil war imposed by the Western ‘democratic’ powers claimed the lives of over 15 million people!

There are many more lies widely disseminated concerning the Soviet Union. I will talk about those in another article. But to come back to Berlin, was not the wall the proof that the Soviet Union was totalitarian? The Berlin Wall was constructed for two principal reasons. Firstly, many East German workers were being recruited in the West, causing a brain drain on the socialist economy. Secondly and more importantly, the CIA and their puppet agencies in Europe had undertaken a campaign of terrorism and sabotage in the DDR. The US strategy was to make communism fail at any cost. They poisoned children’s milk with soap, derailed freight trains, damaged power stations, set fire to factories and destroyed factory machinery.

The sabotage, terror and infiltration perpetrated by the CIA and MI6 in East Germany became a nightmare for the fledgling socialist state. The CIA were experts in anti-communist terrorism. They had, after all, recruited thousands of NAZIs after the Second World War and the US ‘de-Nazification’ programme had resulted in the rehabilitation of prominent ex-Nazis in the Federal German Republic, who became the zealous guardians of ‘capitalist democracy’

When the Soviets launched complaints with the UN to take action against the CIA/MI6 terror and sabotage campaign, the Anglo-American dominated UN ignored their concerns. Nobody in the DDR wanted the Berlin Wall but what do you do when you are being attacked by a neo-fascist empire? The Soviets had been attacked by fascists before resulting in the slaughter of over 20 million people. They knew the kind of fanaticism which the CIA Nazis were capable of unleashing. Terrorism and war are the dark reality of profit-driven societies.

When I lived in East Berlin I spoke to many people about the old DDR. Most of the people I spoke to had fond memories of life in a socialist society, where there was guaranteed work, free health and education and hope for the future. “Capitalism offered us wealth and liberty but now we are unemployed and poor” they would tell me. Almost all the people I spoke to hated the wall and the excesses of the Stasi but most of them still believed that socialism was possible but that history had betrayed them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Limerick Soviet and the concept of meitheal

Bruree Workers' Soviet Mills, 1921 ( )

In this time of strikes, mass unemployment and general discontent, historical examples of successful worker solidarity movements could serve as useful templates for debate. Perhaps the most impressive episode of Irish working class revolt has to be the formation of the Limerick Soviet in 1919. As the war of independence was raging, the British government decided to impose a military curfew on the city of Limerick in April 1919. Limerick was proclaimed as a special military area. This policy enabled the British authorities to gather information about every worker in the city. Henceforth, all people going to and from the city would have to produce identification and receive permits from the British army. These draconian measures enraged the population of Limerick. Henceforth, factory workers would be harassed up to four times a day going and coming from work. Apart from harassment, vital supplies of food, milk and fuel were also disrupted by the military curfew. To discuss the issue a meeting was convened by Limerick United Trades and Labour Council was convened, where a motion was passed to declare a general strike in the city in protest against the British government. The Limerick United Trades and Labour Council’s proclamation was as follows:

‘The workers of Limerick, assembled in Council, hereby declare cessation of all work from 5am on Monday April 14, 1919, as a protest against the decision of the British government in compelling them to procure permits in order to earn their bread.’ For the next 14 days, the strike committee became the effective local government of Limerick. The city was being run directly by a council of workers. The Limerick Soviet was born. All business ceased in Limerick with the exception of the Post Office, which was kept busy through the international media attention the strike would provoke. Once the strike was declared all businesses of the city co-operated. But in order to feed the population, the bakers were allowed to work part-time. Farmers co-operated by delivering vegetables, meat and eggs directly to the workers at prices well below the market value. To communicate their revolutionary ideology to their fellow workers, they printed their own newspaper: The Workers Bulletin. Although the Unions agreed to pay the workers strike pay, some unions such as the National Railway Union refused. Money became particularly scarce, so the Soviet decided to print its own money! The security for the notes, which were rather like food vouchers, would be provided by the stocks of food donated from Cork, Clare and other counties.

However, the British eventually found a zealous ally in the Catholic Church who ordered the workers to abandon the strike, and they in their ignorance submitted to their ecclesiastical masters. Thus the Limerick Soviet came to an end. It could have continued for much longer had not the Church intervened. But, then, one could say the same about so many progressive moments in Irish history. However, the workers did force the British to abandon its military occupation of the city. The Limerick Soviet was not the only worker commune in Ireland at the time. Another soviet was formed in Broadford village in County Clare, when labourers took over a landlord’s estate and ran it themselves. There was another soviet in Knocklong creamery county Limerick when workers took over the premises and ran it themselves. They hoisted the communist red flag over the building with the slogan ‘ Knocklong Soviet Creamery :We make butter not profit’. There is an Irish word which existed long before Karl Marx formulated the theory of communism: meitheal- a group of workers or working party. It is a concept of worker solidarity deeply embedded in Ireland’s historical culture, a unique word the meaning of which we have tragically forgotten. It is the ninetieth anniversary of the Limerick Soviet this month. These stories and the ideals they proclaim are still too little known in Ireland today. When one considers the mess we are in now, one realises why they are consigned to oblivion like rusty machinery in the closed factories of our history.

For more on the Limerick Soviet, read the book ‘ Forgotten Revolution-The Limerick Soviet 1919’ by Liam Cahill.

The rightwing subversion of egalitarian discourse

Since the rise of Obama in America, the question concerning Europe’s immigrant children has come increasingly to the fore. Will Europe produce prime ministers or presidents who are themselves a reflection of the cultural diversity of European nations? To be sure, the Americans have outclassed us in the past few months. The euphoria that follows every foreign visit by the American president is not unlike the heady days of the Beatles. But this exaggerated optimism vis-a-vis the Obama phenomenon is more a reflection of a world in despair, screaming out for an alternative to the politics of destruction than a belief that someone who transcends traditional racial codes can actually make a fundamental difference to how the world is run. Nevertheless, it is not just Obama’s race and cultural heritage that is different; his rhetoric and demeanour also mark a significant break with the past. Europe’s reception of Obama has manifested a serious contrast with his predecessor. In France, for example, the Bush years nurtured an implacable anti-Americanism throughout the French political scene. However, this anti-Americanism, widespread throughout Western Europe, was not directed at the essence of what the United States could or should be; rather it a reaction to what the US was at that time under the bellicose unilateralism of the US administration. The ‘anti-American’ accusation has too often been used by both the American right and their supporters here in Europe to insinuate an irrational antipathy to all things American among those opposed to certain if not all aspects of US foreign policy. Now, however, the tide has definitively turned. On a symbolic level, America has taken the lead internationally in terms of racial and cultural diversity. The question now is, will Europe follow suit and when will this happen?

The nomination of Rachida Dati as French Minister for Justice in 2007 has made her one of the most talked-about high-profile ministers in recent French history. The daughter of Moroccan and Algerian immigrants, the second eldest in a poor family of eleven children, Rachida Dati is indubitably a symbol of cultural integration. However, her appointment to the ministry of justice has been fraught with controversy, malicious rumours and hyper-mediatisation. Dati has an extremely strong personality. Academically brilliant, her determination to succeed knew no bounds. While she was a student in economics, for example, she tapped into every possible social network in order to meet the kind of people who could open doors for her. Her indomitable ambition paid off. At a French-Algerian cultural event in Paris she met the wealthy and influential Jean Luc Lagardere, whom she managed to persuade to support her professional advancement. After spending a few years working as an auditor for Lagardere’s company Malta Communication, she entered the prestigious École Nationale de Magistrature to become a magistrate, again with Legardere’s financial assistance. Upon leaving law school, Dati worked her way up the social and political sphere becoming the spokesperson for Nicolas Sarkozy during his presidential campaign in 2007. After his election as president, Sarkozy made Dati Minister for Justice in his new government. Dati’s unbridled ambition, Sartorial elegance, sometimes shameless opportunism, together with a peremptory if not downright dictatorial approach to legislative reform, have raised the eyebrows of many political analysts in France. But apart from her shortcomings as a politician-and here she differs decidedly from Obama in having no real political convictions- she is in a sense the symbol of the modern European Muslim woman. She recently gave birth to a daughter. But she remains unmarried and refuses to disclose the identity of the father. This is, given her Muslim background, a radical change with the past.

What the recent accession of minority races and cultures in the USA and Europe to the highest levels of political power has shown is that political affiliation and race are no longer linked. Perhaps one of the most right-wing presidents in US history nominated two black people to the post of Secretary of State. Similarly in France under Sarkozy, the racial diversity of the government has been significantly widened. This means that racial and socio-economic equality are no longer inextricably linked. This also means that the distinction between left and right wing politics has been in a sense obfuscated by right-wing governments’ promotion of minorities. Yet the struggle for racial equality was traditionally never on the right-wing agenda. The worrying issue here is that this new right-wing consensus on racial equality has resulted in an adroit side-stepping of the question of socio-economic equality, so when we talk about equality we no longer understand what it really means.

Coláiste Lurgan: an oasis of culture in the land of the philistines

Those culture-vultures among you will be pleased to discover that the “crisis” has not yet inundated all spheres of Irish life. The demand for Irish language courses is rapidly increasing. An interesting example of this nascent cultural revival can be found in Connemara where the numbers signing up for summer courses in Colláiste Lurgan, the Irish language school based in Connemara have risen significantly over the past couple of years. If your hoping to sign up your teenage daughters or sons for a course there this year, brostaigh ort! Of the 1900 places for this year’s summer courses, over 90 percent of available places have already been filled. That’s a staggering 40 percent increase from this time three years ago!

It augers well for the intellectual development of the island and proves just how effective Coláiste Lurgan courses are in teaching and imparting the joy of speaking the oldest literary language in Europe. In order to cope with this burgeoning linguistic renaissance, Coláiste Lurgan have plans to build a new Le Corbusier style building which will enable them to expand their language programme as well as providing an attractive space for cultural and social activities in Irish. One look at their new high tech website leaves me lamenting the fact that the Bainisteoir Micheál Ó Foighil is not the minister for the Gaeltacht. This is clearly a man of vision: vitreous corridors welcoming the light of the Atlantic ocean, spacious rooms fully equipped with the latest in digital technology, a continental style cafeteria for students to mix and converse, theatres and audiovisual rooms to inspire creativity as Gaeilge. Coláiste Lurgan has created all its own pedagogical material utilising the best in information technology. Students taking the courses pursue a wide variety of outdoor activities through Irish. If Micheál Ó Foighil were running the department of education, this country would no longer have a problem with its own language. But the finance required for the implementation of this project will depend on the sagacity of our Government. I realise that the ‘sagacity of the government’ sounds like a contradiction in terms! They don’t exactly have a reputation for knowing what to do with our money, apart from dumping it into the banks in order to re-fuel the ignorant plutocracy. However, assuming that the present incumbents are ditched and the opposition minister for the Gaeltacht is progressive( imagine that!), the funds will be provided for this project in the next few years, thereby ensuring that at least the next generation of multi-cultural Irish people will have an educated view of what it means to be Irish. But what has been achieved so far by Micheál Ó Foighil is due in the main to his own pertinacity and he is highly critical of the government’s role in the promotion of the language. But will they listen?

I can hear cantankerous voices asking me again “but what’s the use in learning Irish?” “ what effing good is it?” You should ask my colleague Michal Boreslav Mechura, a Czech Gaelgeoir and regular contributor to this page. Ask him why, having wandered from the taverns of Bohemia, he decided to learn Irish? He not only speaks the language fluently, he writes and teaches it as well. His blog ‘An cainteoir dóchais’ meaning ‘a hopeful speaker’ is a pithy inversion of the common term ‘cainteoir dúchais’- native speaker. He organises conversation circles in Irish every fortnight in Dublin. He is another example of the contribution to Irish culture being made by so many emigrants in this country. Panu Höglund from Finnland is an Irish language blogger , who has made an enormous contribution to the promotion of Irish on the web. Ann Paluch, the Polish contributor to this paper, is another Gaelgeoir, who has presented a radio programme as Gaeilge for Radió na Life. There are many more. In fact, there are too many to name here. I have always believed that just as the culture of emigration lead to the decline of the Irish language, immigration will save it. If we could combine the energy and passion for culture of the cainteoir dúchais exemplified by people like Micheál Ó Foighil, with the originality of the cainteoir dóchais, Ireland could yet become a country worthy of its noble heritage.

On St Obama's letter to the Muslims

>'the powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole'.
Professor Caroll Quiqley, Tragedy and Hope

Last week was a momentous one for the US president, starting with a visit to Saudi Arabia, America’s closest despotic friends, then Obama’s erudite discourse in Cairo where some magnanimity was shown in mentioning at least one of the USA’s nefarious interferences in the affairs of other countries, namely the 1953 CIA coup in Iran which overthrew the democratic reformer Mohammed Mossadegh.

The mainstream media were unequivocal in their praise of the US president’s diplomatic overtures, yet many people remain unconvinced of the USA’s sincerity in this regard. After the Cairo visit President Obama visited Germany and the Buchanwald concentration camp where reference was made to Mahmoud Athmadinjed’s holocaust denials. President Obama’s tour ended in France with the D-Day commemoration.

The day-day commemoration was a chance for the US establishment to remind us about the ‘good wars’ it fought to save us all from tyranny. Now, I am not going to suggest that Hitler should not have been fought and that people should have said no to world war II. However, the real question about world war II concerns the international machinations which enabled Hitler to come to power in the first place. Who were Hitler’s financiers? Who financed the rise of Nazism in Germany from 1933? How could a bankrupt economy like Germany suddenly rise to the level of a world power capable of global destruction? Why, Wall Street of course, with a little help from the Bank of England!

Hitler’s rise to power was initially facilitated by a handsome loan from the Bank of England. The governor of the Bank of England was one Mantagu Norman a close personal friend of Hjalmar Schacht, chancellor of the Gearman Reichs Bank. The pro-Nazi British aristocracy were hoping to form an Anglo-German alliance against Franco-American hegemony in Western Europe. They also hoped that a strongman in Germany would attack the Soviet Union and defeat international communism. That’s why they pursued a policy of pacification with Germany. They didn’t want to lose interests on their investments!

Internationale Gesellschaft Farben was the most powerful chemical corporation in Hitler’s Germany. It played in integral part in the rise of the German war economy, producing, inter alia, explosives, fuel and the deadly poison gaz used in Auschwitz.

IG Farben’s American subsidiary American IG Farben was controlled by many of the top-brass in Wallstreet. Paul Warburg, chairman of the Federal Reserve, Walter Teagle of Standard Oil, Edsel T Ford and Carl Bosch of Ford Motor Company were all directors on the board of the American IG Farben subsidiary. JP Morgan, City bank, Henry Ford and a host of others all traded and profited from the German war machine before and throughout the Second World War.

In his book Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, the historian Antony Sutton writes ‘Without the capital supplied by Wall Street, there would have been no I. G. Farben in the first place and almost certainly no Adolf Hitler and World War II’.

It was US loans to the IG Farben and corporations in Germany which spawned the Nazi military-industrial complex. As one US senator put it before the end of the war, ‘Farben was Hitler and Hitler was Farben’. There is also little doubt that the Wallstreet gang were aware of what was happening. The historian Gabriel Kolko writes.

‘The business press [in the United States] was aware, from 1935 on, that German prosperity was based on war preparations. More important, it was conscious of the fact that German industry was under the control of the Nazis and was being directed to serve Germany's rearmament, and the firm mentioned most frequently in this context was the giant chemical empire, I. G. Farben

The story of US financial and technological support for Hitler is far to detailed for this column. I could mention IBM who supplied the punch-card proto-computer technology for the Holocaust. There are many more examples of full-scale collusion. In short, Wallstreet and criminals of global finance were the real cause of the Second World War. Has America really progressed since then? If you look closely at the top brass in Obama’s administration you will see Wallstreet written in capital letters. Henry Ford realised the danger of Wallstreet’s little secret. In his dairy, he wrote

'It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.'

The outsourcing of labour and war

Le Clem, French patriots affectionately call it. The Clemenceau Aircraft carrier has finally come to rest at Graythorpe in England where it is to be scraped. But this ship’s post marine twilight is likely to be of more historical significance than its heyday when it patrolled the Middle East.

Serving from 1961 to 1997, the Clemenseau took part in several missions to protest French interests. Most notably, Saddam Hussein’s war on Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when Western powers supported the Bagdad Butcher in his quest for regional supremacy, providing their puppet dictator with weapons of mass destruction. The USA was particularly generous to Sadam, offering him chemical weapons which he used to commit atrocities in Iran and even in his own country. The French provided significant aviation technology, while the Clemenseau took care of French ‘commercial interests’ in the Persian Gulf, protecting its capitalist looters from Iranian military boats.

The ship also played a distinguished role during the First Gulf War. Saddam hoped to regain control over the oil fields of Kuwait, a kingdom which he felt, with some justification, was part of Iraq. The American ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie brought up Saddam’s plans for Kuwait when she met him just before the war, expressing ambiguous concern but then assuring the dictator that America has “ no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America." Saddam, himself a creation of the CIA, should have known better. He fell for the trap and the US-led Western imperialist criminals went on another killing spree to ‘liberate’ the oil fields of Kuwait. The French made sure they played their part in America’s bogus war. Le Clem came in handy when it transported 40 helicopters (SA-341F/ -342 Gazelles, SA-330 Pumas), three Br-1050 Alizés and trucks to Iraq during 'Desert storm & Desert shield'.

After such a noble career of collusion in mass murder and looting, the French authorities decided it was time to dismantle their precious Clem. As the 27 ton ship contained so many noxious toxins such as lead, PCB, mercury and asbestos, there was only one option open to them: ‘outsource’ the problem to India. “The workers of Alang have nothing. Who cares if they fall seriously ill or die from our toxic waste. It’s cheaper for us and it gives these people a job.”

Outsourcing is the euphemism the plutocracy employs to cover up their despicable exploitation of the world’s poor. Sure, many of them like their sweat shops and scrap yards; are happy to have a job, buy more commodities, become credit-slaves etc. They are just like the African-American slaves who sang happy ditties in the cotton fields of South Virginia before the US Civil War. Exploitation works much better if you make the exploited believe they are free.

It was Greenpeace, the bete noire of the Elysée Palace, who exposed Alang scandal, once again. The last time they messed with the French government was 1985 during their war on Iran. President Mitterand had enough of their moralizing and got the secret service to blow them up! However, due to legal pressure from within India, the French were forced to concede and the Clem was sent to England where it lies today.

Working conditions in the Alang shipyard in India are to be expected: appalling. These people are the lumpen proletariat of the New World Order, salvaging and recycling the components of capitalism’s shipwreak. We live in a world of pathological externalization. The capitalist powers continue to grow by outsourcing labour and war. It’s the only way financial capitalism can continue to reward the few and enslave the many. There are two billion children in the world. Over half of them are living in poverty. Neither charity nor plutocratic philanthropy will do anything to change this. Mass poverty is the sine qua non for the globalisation of capital.

Further thoughts on the Irish language

Irish language media took a blow recently with the news that Foinse, the Irish language weekly newspaper, was to be taken out of circulation due to financial difficulties. Nevertheless Irish academia published a positive report last week concerning the advantages of bilingual education in Ireland. The research was carried out by Dr. Judith Wylie and Dr. Gerry Mulhern from Queen’s University Belfast’s School of Psychology. The school’s research concerns the cognitive development of children educated in Irish medium schools in Northern Ireland. The cognitive advantages shown in Irish medium schools were particularly striking in the areas of short-term memory and working memory. According to Dr Wylie “Short memory and working memory are centrally important in all learning, indeed everyday tasks such as reading, reasoning and mental arithmetic rely heavily on these processes. Using standardised tests of verbal and visual memory, our research compared
groups of children from Irish-medium schools with children from the more usual English-only schools in Northern Ireland “ .

The Irish language revival movement has proved to be particularly strong throughout nationalist areas of Northern Ireland. But there was also been a significant increase shown among Ulster Protestants in the Irish language and heritage. The divide and rule policy of British imperialism in the North has often led to a warped view of Irish identity on both sides of the political divide. The Irish language is too often seen as an instrument of Irish nationalism, a way for Northern nationalists to dissociate themselves from the hegemony of British culture in the province. In many respects this is true. But there is a significant number of nationalists in the north who are deeply cognisant of the importance of Protestantism to Irish language heritage. After all, the Bible was first translated into Irish by a Protestant clergyman William Bedel in the 17th century . Queen Elizabeth herself showed a healthy curiosity in Irish. She even asked Christopher Nugent the Baron of County Westmeath to provide her with an Irish primer! The Presbyterian clergyman William Nielson was a champion of the language writing a grammar and phrase book to encourage learning of the language among his congregation. In fact, a significant number of the original Scottish planters in Ulster were Gaelic speakers. The language, then, is as most a feature of unionist Ulster as it is of nationalist Ireland.

There was, of course, a significant number of Protestant nationalists too who contributed to the revival of Irish, Douglas Hyde being the most obvious example. A survey done by Smith and Robinson in 1991 revealed that 23 percent of Northern Irish Protestants believe that Irish should be a compulsory subject in schools. This is surprisingly high given the level of cultural confusion that exists among Northern Ireland’s divided communities. There have, however, been pockets of Irish learners among Ulster’s protestants, most notably, a group of female Irish learners in the staunchly loyalist Shankill( Sean Cille- Old Church) Road. The Unionist politician Chris McGimpsey is a speaker of Irish and the Irish language daily Lá featured regular columns from the Unionist writer Ian Malcolm.
According to Dr. Reamaí Mathers of Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta

“This groundbreaking work adds further evidence to the increasingly indisputable body of good science that shows that children
who are educated in Irish-medium schools are not only receiving the benefit of two languages but are also receiving tangible educational advantages. Earlier this year, Key Stage 2 assessments (Primary 7),which focus on the areas of English and maths, demonstrated that for the last three years attainment in Irish-medium education has been higher than the Northern Ireland average. What the Queen’s research provides is a deeper insight into the mechanisms at work in the superior performance by Irish-medium children when compared to the more usual English
language schools.”

There is a compelling case for Irish medium education in this country North and South. When one considers the diverse and often paradoxical ideologies that promoted the language throughout our history, it does not seem impossible that Northern Ireland could yet become the leading province promoting Gaelic culture in these Islands.

Lunar landing or lunacy expanding?

The 30 year anniversary of the NASA moon landings was universally celebrated this year with universal praise of the USA’s technological superiority in furthering human enlightenment. But there is another side to the lunar story that has been carefully concealed from the public’s attention, one which raises deep questions concerning the historical narrative of human progress, namely NASA’s direct links to NAZI Germany.

When Germany lay in ruins after the Second World War, American officials gained access to the secrets of Germany’s military-industrial complex. While many soldiers and officials were horrified by the savagery of the concentration camps in such places as Auschwitz, Dachau and Dora, certain commanders saw an opportunity to profit from the research and technological knowledge of the NAZI war machine. With the Red Army triumphant in East Berlin, military strategy to contain the advance of communism took precedence of moral integrity. The Cold War had already begun. The Americans were overwhelmed by the superiority of NAZI technology and feared lest such knowledge pass to the Soviets.

The Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, which encompassed all branches of US military intelligence, was determined to track down and employ these NAZI researchers in the interests of the United States. However, they failed to convince President Roosevelt of the necessity of giving high-level jobs to NAZI scientists in the expanding US military –industrial complex. William Donovan, the head of the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA, expressed grave concern over certain officials desire to recruit the NAZI scientists. But many of the scientists had already been captured after the D-Day landings in 1944 by the T-Forces of the Allies. The T-Forces’s mission had been to search for NAZI soft power and employ it in the services of the Allied Powers.

When President Truman assumed power in 1945, he took of the JIOA’s plan. When the CIA was founded in 1947, the drive for NAZI expertise became a covert plan known to history as Operation Paperclip. However, when the NAZI documents were initially presented to the US State Department, they were rejected as the dossiers proved that the scientists were ardent NAZI war criminals. The refusal of the US State Department to Nazify America infuriated Bosquet Wev, director of the JIOA who commented ‘the best interests of the United States have been subjugated to the efforts expended in 'beating a dead Nazi horse’ Wev’s dead NAZI horse would soon gallop across the prairies of an liberty –loving land, corrupting it from within unbeknownst to its own people. The CIA proceeded immediately to falsify the files of the NAZIs they wished to smuggle into the United States. They did this by bleaching the backgrounds of the NAZI criminals and covering them with new ones secured by paperclips, hence the name. Many of the scientists were located when a Polish lab technician discovered a list kept Werner Osenberg, a University of Hannover engineer–scientist, head of the Wehrforschungsgemeinschaft (English: Military Research Association) the scientific research section of the Gestapo, which he had recovered from a toilet bowl!

Among the beneficiaries of the CIA covert operation were Werner Von Braun, Hubertus Strughold and Arthur Rudolf. These were to be the men who would lead the Apollo Program putting the first man on the moon in August of 1969. Werner Von Braun aged just 32 in 1945 was a key engineer for the NAZI war machine. Commandant of the SS, Von Braun was in charge of developing the V2 rockets in Peenmunde, Germany. The parts for the rocket were constructed by slave labour in Dora concentration camp. After the war Von Braun was interned in Garmisch which was under the supervision of Colonel Holder Toftoy, who convinced Von Braun to move to the United States to work for the Americans. E.W Gruhn, one of the directors of the JIOA, then began to recruit hundreds of NAZIs to be employed in prestigious US military and academic research centres. The drive to recruit NAZis proved so intense, Operation National Interest was also launched in 1947. By now Allen Dulles the director of the CIA, had established a close an amicable relationship with Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s ex chief of intelligence. Gehlen was rewarded with a position as station chief in Germany for the CIA. He proceeded to recruit old NAZI comrades, people such as Emil Augsburg and Dr. Franz Six, who had formed death scuads during the war, murdering Jews and communist intellectuals en mass. Jews would now be safe but the mass murder of communists would continue throughout the developing and third world until the end of America’s cold war. The United Stateswould never be the same again. Henceforth all qualms about past NAZI crimes were to be disgarded as NAZIs were smuggles en masse into the United States to work . In the summer of 1947 Operation ‘National Interest’ was launched. Now NAZI war criminals were to be recruited into the highest echelons of US business. Otto Ambros the director of IG Farben, the company that was financed by the US during the war and the producer of Zyklon B used in the holocaust was awarded with executive positions in Dow Chemicals, WR Grave Company and the US Medical Corps.

There were hundreds if not thousands more. The NASA NAZIs would later be given the highest awards of the from the Us Government. Strughold would even receive the Americanism Medal from the daughters of the revolution. Others such as Rudolf were later indicted for war crimes. Few were ever convicted. The lunar landing in 1969 was the triumph of a Nazified America, the triumph of criminal lunacy.

The people's palace. The moscow metro as a monument to socialist construction

It is one of the wonders of the modern world,yet one which draws few tourists. Built in 1935 by Soviet governement, the Moscow Metro is more than just a public transport system. It is arguably one of the most ambitious and spectacular infrastructural projects ever undertaken.Over 7 million people use the Moscow Metro every day.

One of the many intriguing aspects of the Metro is the fact that it combines form and functionality in a truly unique way. The walls of each station, many of them curved, are covered with marble slabs while the ceilings are predominantly curved or covered by mosaics depicting the new soviet society under construction.
Mayakovskaya Metro station , for example,was inspired by the communist futurism of the Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. The design of the Mayakovsky station is a wonderful mixture of Art Deco and soviet functionalism. The columns are elegant with stainless steel and pink rhodonite while the walls contain white Ufaley and Diorite marble. As you ascend the gigantic elevator tunnel guided by rows of elegant lanterns, the captivating opulence of the walls, columns and flooring gives way to a scene of breathtaking magnificence as you gaze upon the iridescent mosaic covering the ceiling of the foyer.

Designed by the artist Deinika, the mosaic is entitled ' A Day in the Land of the Soviets' As you ascend the elevator tunnel, the narrative of the ceiling mosaic begins to unfold: workers rise in the morning, amble happily into the fields and factories to work not labour, then as you traverse the foyer you are accompanied by an image overhead of workers returning to their beds at sunset. This is pure architectural ecstasy, an ingenius marriage of form and function, and perhaps even of ideology and reality in so far as the magnificence of the Metro's design is truly uplifting and awe-inspiring. This is the effect which Stalin and his architects Kaganovitch and Dushkin wanted to create.

The elaborate design of the Metro was intended to raise the confidence and prestige of the working classes. It would show to the common worker what could be achieved if wealth was poured back into society and co-operation for the common good replaced the ideology of personal greed.

In fact, due to its sheer sumptuosity the Metro became known as the 'People's Palaces' and there was much discourse in Russia at the time about what the Metro was meant to represent. There were even children's books based on the Metro. One such book called 'Ready! Stories and poems from the metro' tells of a peasant whose daughter is working in the Metro. When he enters the subway he remarks to hs daughter
"what a rich life the tzars lived. It's like a fairy tale. And the train goes right up to the palaces- so that's how it was set up"
His daughter laughs and replies " it isn't the tzars who live so well, papa, it is we. I have brought you underground'" The old man is so overwhelmed by the beauty of the metro that he decides to move to Moscow to join his daughter where he rides the Metro every day. The story is a striking illustration of the transformation of consciousness which the Metro engenders.

Each station of this underground city has its own palace, its own unique design and style, combining the best architectural paradigms from the past from Greek classicism to Gothic and Art Deco styles, the Moscow Metro suffuses the entire history of public space with early optimism of revolutionary soviet man. The Moscow Metro is also the deepest in the world and one of the most efficient. It was designed to serve as a shelter during aerial bombardment.

Whatever one may think about the legacy of Stalin, the Moscow Metro is unquestionably one of his most profound achievements. Perhaps for the first time in human history the working class people were infused with a belief in themselves(albeit deeply problematic) and the possibilities of a better future. Now SUVs, Mercs and Audis rule Moscow's streets, while the working classes roam Moscow's subterranean palaces, haunted by the unfulfilled promises of a lost civilisation.

The left boot of history. Kyrgystan's return to feudalism

I lost my left hiking boot in Kyrgystan last week. I know, you are surprised it didn't make world headlines! It was, believe, me a deeply traumatic experience.Kyrgystan is a land of contradictions and contrasts; a small, poor country fighting for survival in the midst of the great imperial game being played out by Europe, US, Russia and China for control of Central Asia's natural resources. Arriving in Bishkek airport from Moscow is a perfect introduction to contemporary Kyrgystan, as one observes a company of American soldiers heading back to their military base in Manas. Kyrgystan is among the most Russian-oriented states in Central Asia, hence the American presence!

Making our way to the hostel we were accosted by a Kyrgyz lad who spoke little English and much German. He works part-time as a guide for Swiss tourists and wanted to practice German with us in preparation for the next tour, even offering to accompany us for free into the mountains of Tian Shan in the east. My girlfriend and I readily accepted, and so the three of us, an Irishman, French woman and Kyrgyz man, departed for the wilds of Kyrgystan all speaking German! I felt there was something fittingly peculiar about the whole thing!

The word Kyrgystan translates as the land of 40 maidens. On our trip around the country our guide gave us many insights into the nations troubled history. Like Irish, the Kyrgyz language has never attained the same status as Russian, although unlike Irish, Kyrgyz is still spoken by over 60 percent of the population on a daily basis. But most books, signposts and administrative paraphernalia are still in Russian. There is an interesting diglossia in this country that somehow seems to work. Most educated people are perfectly bilingual, but the two unrelated languages operated on two distinct sociological registers. There has been a concerted effort by the Governement to promote the Kyrgyz language since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 but unlike Kazahstan where the language is triving due to ambitious state guidance, the Kyrgyz authorities lack the funds and expertise to translate more books into Kyrgyz. Therefore, Russian is still the language of universities.

Kyrgyzstan also shares an important historical date with Ireland. A few months after Irish revolutionaries had seized the GPO in Dublin's nationalist rising, Kyrgyz rebels were fighting the Russian Czarist autocracy in the mountains of Tian Shan bordering China. The rebels opposed conscription to fight in the first world war and were brutally slaughtered by the Czarist forces. As many of the fighters were Bashmachis, that is to say, conservative muslims opposed to women's liberation and modernisation, the Kyrgyz slaughter known as the 'Urkan' or tragedy, was not taught in schools during the Soviet era.

Modern Kyrgystan pretty much begins and ends with the formation of the Kyrgystan Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936. Before the socialist revolution, Kyrgystan was a predominantly nomadic society. The Soviets, however, began a massage education and industrial progamme. Women were forced to burn their hijabs, attend schools and work to build socialism. The Bashmachi revolt was put down, agriculture collectivised and by the 1950s Kyrgystan was a modern and successful industrial republic with universal free education at all levels and a highly advanced free health system.

However,since the fall of the Soviet Union, Kyrgystan has actually gone backward, in some cases, it has gone back to pre-revolutionary poverty using donkeys instead of tractors, unthinkable during the Soviet era.Capitalism promised hope to Kyrgystan and delivered poverty.
As we strolled with Salamat through the many verdant parks of Bishkek, I was struck by so many poignant contrasts.Salamat's parents remember the Soviet era with fondness as they had a higher standard of living and less stress. My parents remember the past as a time of more poverty. My father came from the so-called 'free world' but did not have the money to go to university in the 1950s. Salamat's father lived in the 'unfree world' and had the luxury of free third level education and guaranteed employment. But now the Kyrgyz are free; free to be poor, free to be unemployed, free to vote for corrupt politicians, free to despair. As night throws its melancholy cloak over Bishket, a statue of Marx and Engels, deep in conversation, sits disconsolately facing the American University of Central Asia, and on the potholled roads that wind through the rugged landscape of Kyrgystan, mosques creep up behind futuristic soviet iconography.It seems that the forty maidens of Kyrgystan have, like me, lost their left boots. Thrust against its will into the piercing gaze of a globalised world, Kyrgystan hops precariously on a tired right foot!

Time to impose sactions on the US and Israel

They never change, those Western bullies, USA,UK and France. 6 years after the 21st century's first genocide, namely the Iraq war, and the Western powers are ranting and raving about Iran's so-called 'nuclear' weapons ambitions. Having told us a big lie about Saddam's 'weapons of mass destruction' a few years ago, they now feel they call lie again and get away with it. It's quite easy. All you have to do is make pompous press releases threatening to bomb Iran that are predicated upon some serious and imminent threat from that wicked and barbaric land in the east. Once the nonsense is diffused repeatedly throughout our pathetic 'free press', people will eventually get the message: It's ok to drop bombs on Iran!

The nasty prejudice that premeates this propaganda campaign against Iran is that "they are all fanatics" or "those mullahs are a threat to civilisation" "imagine the threat to international security if an Islamic state got its hands on nuclear weapons!" Of course, we never talk about Israel in this fashion in spite of the fact that they have an arsenal of nukes, illegally to boot, and the fact that they regularly use weapons of mass destruction regardless of the loss of life; or the fact that Israel is a denominational state where non-jews are automatically second-class citizens, or that it it is Israel which poses a threat to peace in the Middle East, not Iran.

President Obama's rhetoric about getting tough on Iran is consummate bluff. His own close advisor and mentor Zigibniew Brzezinski has alreay ruled out an Israeli attack on Iran, going so far as to warn that Israeli planes would be shut down if they dared to cross American airspace in their new colony called Iraq. So it looks like 'Theater Iran Near Term' or TIRANNT, the Pentagon's plans to attack Iran using Israel, is off for the 'near term'. Theatre Iran Long Term is going to have to be done with words of wisdom. The Iranians have already made their position clear. They want a comprehensive end to Israel's oppression of the Palestinians; and the right to develop nuclear energy for civilian purposes. The Ayatollah Khameini, echoing Khomeini, has recently reiterated the fact that nuclear weapons are contrary to the dictates of Islam.

So there is no 'threat' from Iran. On the contrary, the threat to international security is coming as usual from the UN security council, that new US- led global dictatorship, the same criminals who starved half a million Iraqis to death during the Oil for Food campaign; the same criminals who have never imposed sanctions on Israel inspite of their crimes against humanity; the same criminals who refuse to allow the files on French and German pharmaceutical companies who sold chemicals to Saddam in the 1980s(in full knowledge of their purpose) when the US persuaded him to invade Iran.It is high time we imposed sanctions alright, sanctions on the USA, sanctions on Israel, Britain, and all other warmongers of the past ten years!

Yes, I said, Yes I will yes!

So we answered that million euro question on the global political 'who wants to be a millionaire' show. We answered 'Yes', and we were Joycean to boot! Yes I said yes I will yes yes! Like a prostrate goddess pleasuring herself with the dildos of false hope, we opened our legs to the European commission. Take me, oh please take me, for if you don't I shall perish on the shores of Europe! Nothing like a good financial crisis to hoodwink the distressed rabble. The yes vote puts us 'at the centre of Europe'! Now we will have 'economic recovery', the barrage of lies and disinformation was spectacularly pinocchian. Since the beginning of the so-called Lisbon Treaty debate, those who were willing to discuss the details of the Treaty were subject to apriori exclusion; they were accussed of being 'parochial' 'backward' and 'anti European'.

We have now ratified the principal that reduces mankind to a commodity for exchange. The princical advocating the free movement of capital has superceded the dignity of man. Human being has now become human capital. In the months and years ahead we will see a new Europe emerge as European societies are surepticiously strangled by the banking interests of the world oligarchy; that is to say the emerging dictatorship of elite financial capitalism over the entire spectrum of human life.

Decisions will be made behind closed doors. This is already the case. Most legislation in the EU is decided in secretive 'trilogues' between the council, the comission and the EU parliament. Many of the 'policies' and global strategies of the EU are also discussed in private. The Trilateral Commision was formed in 1972 and was intented to be a 'think tank' of the US, European and Japanese elites, in other words a platform upon which the elites of the industrial world could manipulate democracies to further their lust for power. US senator Barry Goldwater was quite frank about the purpose of the commission when he said "The Trilateral Commission is international and is intended to be the vehicle for multinational consolidation of the commercial and banking interests by seizing control of the political government of the U.S." The same can be said for Europe today.
But as history has shown, when there is is plutocracy ( rule by wealth) there is always polemocracy ( rule by war). It is no surprise then to see that we are now moving towards the United States of Europe, shamelessly subtending our vast wealth with the military domination of other countries. Article 17(2) of the Lisbon Treaty concerns EU SOFA, the European Union Status of Forces Agreement. This is the blueprint for an EU army to be deployed wherever the Eurocrats decide is necessary to protect 'Europe's interests' The EU army will simply be the European company of the New World Order army, ie NATO. Needless to say, a pressing problem for the EU army will be domestic terrorism, as it was for Italian, German and Belgian government's in the 1970s ( gli anni di piombo, the years of weight in Italian) when NATO used fascist gangs to infiltrate so-called 'marxist' organisations to place bombs in metros killing hundreds of innocent civilians. The purpose was to strengthen the power of EU right wing governments by discrediting the left. It worked. Operation Gladio, as it was called, has never been fully investigated or debated by the European Commission. But it did happen and it will happen again whenever it is deemed necessary to curb democratic movements or drum up support for EU foreign military adventures.
Emmanuel Barroso once said that the EU is really an 'unimperial empire'. Perhaps a fitting synonym would be an 'undemocratic democracy.'!

Pax Obamana and the New World Disorder

Sometimes it is better not to think.Thinking is stressful but thanks to the global media disinformation machine blissful ignorance is becoming easier by the day. All we have to do is shut up and listen passively as the radios and television sets beam buckets of stultifying lies into our tired ears. Last week's big lie was, of course, the now notorious Nobel 'Peace Prize'. As President Obama met with the War Council in the Situation Room of the White House to discuss the escalation of the 'just war' in Afghanistan, which has killed more civilians than combatants- a war predicated on a mendacious conspiracy theory concerning a grave threat to civilisation emanating from the villages of Afghanistan- the august Nobel Prize committee in Norway were preparing to announce this year's winner: President Obama.

President Obama, according to the committee, is to be awarded the prize for 'extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons." ...His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population' Extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy? What a load of tosh! Let's look at the facts!
First of all, it should be pointed out that Obama did not even campaign on a peace ticket. Instead of rhetoric about world peace Obama rehashed the Bush line on the threat from the US-created Al Qaeda phantom enemy. He spoke of the need for an escalation of US-NATO troops in Afghanistan to counter the growing threat to humanity posed by illiterate Pashtun tribes. He has been true to his word. Since Obama's inauguration, the US military budget has increased by more than 35 billion dollars; this at a time when American citizens could do with some financial help from their government. Bush's GWOT, global war on terror has simply been renamed. It is now deceptively entitled 'Overseas Contingency Operations'.
By the end of his incumbancy, President Obama will have the distinction of overseeing the biggest US military operation since the Vietnam War. This is truely a man of peace.
What about Isreal's war crimes in January? What did Mr. Obama say about them? Nothing. Infact, US military aid to Isreal has also increased inspite of the subterfuge about a resolution to the 61 year oppression of the Palestinian people.
As for Latin America, the USA's favourite terror victim, very little has changed. Sure, Obama looked good exchanging pleasanteries with Hugo Chavez a few months ago. But plans were already in place to build more US military bases in Columbia right along the Venezuelan border. Here also Obama the peace maker has been true to his word. During his election campaign he spoke of the necessity of 'reclaiming' Latin America, bringing them back into the fold, as it were.

What about the people of Honduras, one of the world's poorest countries? They now live under an corrupt, oppressive US-friendly dictatorship, thanks to the inimitable machinations of the White House. Zelaya had threatened to close down the US military base in Soto Cano, the same base Washington had used to arm the death scuads that invaded Nicaragua during the eighties, killing, maiming, looting and raping all before them in the name of 'democracy'. Washinton could not allow their little terror hub to slip out of their hands, so they gave the go ahead to the fascist thugs how ousted the Honduras's democratically elected president.

As for Iraq, the US administrative and military presence in Iraq is permanent. The world's biggest embassy is currently underway right in the center of Bagdad. In reality, it be be a US citadelle which will function as the shadow governement of the country for decades to come. The citadell is still under construction and, according to some reports, could be a big as 80 football stadia when completed.It will have shopping malls, bars, swimming pools etc while the local population lives in poverty and fear. This is called Pax America.

So, what has changed so far under the Obama adminstration? There has simply been a further shift in our understanding of language. War now means peace. The antonym is now the synonym. As the Roman writer Tacitus put, ' they make a desert and call it peace'.But should we expect any better from a committee that once gave the Nobel Peace prize to one of the twentieth century's more nefarious war criminals, Henry Kissinger, now the eminence grise lurking in the corridors of the Obama administration?

On the subtleties of Iranian politeness

I’ve just returned from three wonderful weeks in the Islamic Republic of Iran. For Irish travellers seeking to explore that extraordinary country, a word of advice: tarof. The word tarof in Farsi roughly corresponds to politeness in English but its application involves scrupulous discretion. The Iranians are without question among the most civilised people in the world and the concept of tarof is an indispensable aspect of daily life in Iran. For Irish people, tarof should not pose insuperable problems. We in Ireland, although in a typically informal way, have our own form of tarof. I recall countless occasions in the past when my parents were visited by our neighbours. When my mother would offer tea, they would routinely refuse.

“ will you have a cup of tea” my mother would ask

“ no, I grand, I’m just after it” our neighbours would respond.

“ Ah go on, have a cup of tea” “no, no, I’m grand, don’t bother; really I’m fine, I just had five cups of tea before I left”

“Ah go on, have one cup, go on tis just made an all. Sit down and have a cup of tea for God’s sake. Go on sit down!”

“ Oh go on so. I’ll have one cup”

The Iranian tarof functions in a similar way. When offered something you must refuse even when you would like to accept it. In general, two refusals will be followed by a third offer designed to break your polite resistance. It is then polite to accept the offer, be it a cup of teas or an invitation to dinner. The Irish hold the distinction of being the friendliest people in Europe. There might be some truth in this but if there were a competition to determine the friendliest people on the planet, our Aryan cousins in the Orient would lap us ten times over.

It is perhaps one of the most grotesque injustices of our time that the international media should concentrate such inordinate resources in sullying and distorting the image of Iran throughout the world. During my travels throughout the country, one of the facetious questions most frequently asked was

“ Do you think the Iranians are terrorists?” In spite of government restrictions, most Iranians have access to satellite TV and are well-informed regarding the nasty and mendacious vocabulary diffused by the Western media which consists in demonising any country that refuses to conform to western ideologies about the good life.

On the subject of ‘Aryan’, there is, according to some Indo-European scholars, the possibility that Éireann and Iran are cognate, both being derived from the Aryan tribe. There are, however, many proposed etymologies of the word for Ireland and it remains an open question among the experts. But, there are certainly striking parallels between Irish and Persian mythology attesting common Indo-European origins.

The Persian language, although heavily coated with Arabic words since the Islamic invasion of 640 AD, is nevertheless fundamentally Indo-European. Persian or Farsi bears many curious and sometimes puzzling similarities to European languages. The Persian word for bad, for example is the same as the English, yet the consensus among linguists is that this is a coincidence. One word which struck me as I was learning the language was the word for woman. In Farsi it is ‘banu’. Could this be a cousin of the Irish ‘bean’? Speaking of women, young Iranian girls are, in spite of their hijab, exceedingly elegant. Their long coats are often worn as tightly as possible and the hejab only serves to accentuate the Parisian cosmetics, jewellery and ravishing chevelure exposed from the crown to the forehead.

But the cult of pulchritude is not only confined to Iranian women. With their manga haircuts, Italian jeans and t-shirts, Iranian lads are among the coolest dudes in the world of fashion. One of the differences between Ireland and Iran is that, whereas in Ireland it is the short-skirted ladies who are on display, in Iran it’s the men! Perfume, plucked eyes and nose-jobs are normal in Iran, even among the men. In Iran you can get into trouble if you kiss a girl on the street but kissing another man doesn’t raise any plucked eyebrows! Many Iranian men kiss and hold hands. In a country where homosexuality is illegal, it is sometimes difficult to tell who’s straight and who’s gay. What we consider effeminate is regarded as highly masculine among Iranians. By the time I left the country, I realised I had an imperfect nose, didn’t wear perfume, kiss or hold men’s hands. I must be gay! Iran is one of those country’s that makes you think deeply about everything, culture, history, tradition, religion and philosophy. It is quite simply an anthropological rollercoaster ride, a crash course on humanity. Get your visa, go there and learn but don’t forget the tarof!

Cogadh buan ar son na síochána

Le níos mó ná fiche tíortha ag glacadh páirt ann, is cosúil go mbeímid ag cloisteáil tuairiscí ón gcogadh san Afganistáin ins na míosa agus na blianta atá amach romhainn. Anois tá forsaí speisialta na h-Éireann sa Khaboul chomh maith.Tá stádus neodrach na h-Éireann críochnaithe le fada an lá!

Anois tá sé deacair a rá cén tír atá níos contúirtí idir Afganastáin agus Pacastáin. Tá na hionsaithe féinbhuamaí ag éirí níos minicí agus níos measa le cúpla bliain anuas agus ní dhealraíonn sé go bfhuil aon dheireadh na coimhlinte. Dár le scríobhneoir pacastánach Tariq Ali, má leaneann Eagríocht chonradh an Atlantaigh Thuaidh (ECAT) agus na Stáit Aonaithe ar aghaidh le buamáil na Pacastáin is mór an contúirt go scarfaidh arm na Pacastáine ó chéile idir saighdúirí atá báúil do Taliban agus siadsan atá i bhfabhar na Stát Aontaithe. Is í an fhadhb sa Phacastáin ná nach aon aontacht bhuan, sheasmhach sa tír agus tá coimhlint eithneach dochúil le haon lagú an Stáit san Islamabad. Cur i gcás muintir na Baluchistáine i ndeisceart na tíre. Is áit fhíorbhocht í an Bhaluchastán, réigúin atá sínte idir trí tíortha: an Iráin, Pacastáin agus Afghanistáin.

Tá gluaiseacht neamhspleáchais ann sa Bhaluchastán le roinnt blianta anois, go háirithe sa Pacastáin. Ní raibh na Baluchastáinigh sásta riamh le buanacht an Stáit na Pacastáine mar gur mhothaigh siad difrúil ó mhuintir i dtúisceart na tíre. Fadhb eile sa Bhaluchastán ná go bhfuil Cuan Gwador ann. Thogáil an tSín Cuan Gwador agus tá sé fíorthábhachtach dóibh chun ola a iompú ó Mhurascaíl na Peirse. Dá bhrí sin, tá Beijing an-bhuartha faoi eagobhsaíocht pholaitúil na Pacastáine agus na himpleactaí do mhaithe eacnamíochta agus geopholaitíochta na Síne sa réigúin. Is cúis eile í do láithreacht na Stáit Aontaithe i bPacastáine, cur isteach ar mhaithe na Síne ann agus tá Baluchastán i gcróilár an chluithe mhóir sin. Beidh Baluchastáin uirlis usáideach eile chomh maith do na Stáit Aontaithe chun eagobhsaíocht a ghríosú san Iaráin, straitéis atá ar súil cheana le grúpa sceimhlitheoireachta darb ainm Jundalah atá maoinaithe ag an CIA.

Tá gach cosúlacht go mbeidh impleachtaí do roinnt tíortha eile ón gcogadh freisin; táim ag smaoineamh faoi thíortha cosúil le Tadjikistán ina bhfuil Ioslamachas míliteach ag éirí níos láidire ó thosaigh an cogadh san Afganastáin. Dá bhrí sin, is feidir linn a rá go bhfuil cogadh buan i gceist, cogadh buan ar son na síochána!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Free Tibet scam: a mass media disinformation campaign to destabilise China

One political subject which resurfaces every now and then is the question of Tibet. There is much sloganeering on this issue in the West “Poor Tibet! Those poor Tibetans, cowering under the yoke of Chinese tyranny! Free Tibet!” There are hundreds of ‘free Tibet’ organisations scattered throughout today’s distracted globe, ranting and raving about ‘human rights’ ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. These organisations tend to take root among the university educated European bourgeoisie, who enjoy hiking in the Himalayas, Buddhist meditation and the romance of ascetic monks locking themselves away from this cut-throat capitalist world. Given the barrage of Western propaganda in recent years from Hollywood movies to copious Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhist publications, as well as the generous funding coming from the United States and Germany in particular, the Western hysteria regarding China’s nefarious governance of the region is not too surprising.

Almost any one you talk to in Europe will express sympathy with the Tibetan separatists and almost everyone loves the Dalai Lama. But what was Tibet like before those terrible Chinese communists invaded in 1951, a pristine land of prayer and tranquillity, high living standards and deep communal wisdom, a bastion of democracy? I’m afraid not.

Tibet was an absolutist theocracy. Over 90 percent of the population were serfs who were forced to labour for the Dalai Lama (not the present one)and his clerical aristocracy.

The conditions of the ordinary Tibetans were among the worst in the world when the Chinese communists ‘invaded’ in 1951. The Tibetan slaves had no rights and lived in abominable living conditions; torture, rape and execution were the norm for the Tibetan serf. Hands were cut off; people were skinned alive; eyes were gouged out, tongues torn out; hands and legs chopped off and disembowelment was common. Children were often kept as sex slaves by the lamas who enjoyed a Sybaritic lifestyle at the expense of the entire population.

This was the brutal autocracy of the cuddly and lovable Dalai Lamas, the hideous reality which the fanatical idiots of the ‘free Tibet’ campaign routinely ignore. When they talk about the sovereignty of the ‘Tibetan people’ what they unwittingly espouse is the sovereignty of the Tibetan oligarchy. Sure, the Dalai Lama claims he wants a democracy in Tibet and he talks about peace and love. But he also supports the genocidal US-led war in Iraq and Afghanistan just as he supported the US-NATO bombardment of Serbia. He actively intervened on behalf of the former Chilean dictator and mass murderer Augusto Pinochet when he was being protected by Margaret Thatcher, lobbying for him to be released without trial.

The Dalai Lama is the darling boy of the US Congress, receiving the prestigious Congressional medal for his untiring service to ‘human rights’ throughout the world. But the Dalai Lama’s real service to human rights has been to transpose the hideous cruelty of Lama rule in Tibet into a national liberation struggle against the People’s Republic of China. In fact, there may be signs that the extraordinarily successful propaganda campaign against China is coming to an end. The Los Angeles Times published an article on the 15th of September 1998 stating that the Dalai Lama has been on the CIA payroll for years with an annual salary amounting to a handsome 186,000 dollars. He has also received funding from the George Soros foundation and Indian intelligence. So much for the simple life of Buddhist anti-materialism! So that’s the Dalai Lama. But what about the human rights abuses of the Chinese government against the Tibetan people?

On March 18th 2008 rioters took to the streets of Llasa looting shops, burning schools and attacking innocent civilians throughout the city. Chinese state television showed horrific pictures of Tibetan rioters stoning people to death on the streets. Smashing peoples skulls was the Tibetan ‘freedom fighter’s preferred form of execution. The Tibetan hooligans set fire to over 200 residential houses and shops and more than 80 vehicles. Even Chinese fire fighters were the object of Tibetan aggression with fire engines set on fire. Meanwhile, our so called ‘free press’ was presenting the Tibetan aggression as a violent ‘crackdown’ by the big bad Chinese government on the ‘peaceful ‘ Tibetan protestors. The BBC and CNN manipulated images to portray the Chinese police as the aggressors. The German newspaper ‘Die Berliner Morganpost’ published pictures of police officers rescuing Han people as from Tibetan aggression as more evidence of a Chinese ‘crackdown’ on the peaceful protestors. German RTL television had to resort to more absurd lies to make their point by publishing picture of police aggression in Nepal! Hard to distinguish those Asians isn’t it!

The Free Tibet scam receives most of its funding from the Frederich Naumann Foundation in Germany and various CIA front organisations in the USA. The point of the Free Tibet campaign is to embarrass and destabilise the emerging Chinese superpower by manipulating groups who have issues with the Chinese government. It has received wide support from the EU and the USA who fear the imminent eclipse of their world hegemony by China. A Canadian-Tibetan by the name of Lladon Tethong is the director of the international Tibet student movement. The 2008 riots marked her first ever visit to her beloved country. When the Chinese People’s liberation army ‘ invaded’ Tibet in 1951, Tibetan serfs were liberated from centuries of brutal Lama tyranny. The Chinese communists built schools and hospitals, the liberated serfs were given land to farm and living standards improved. If anything the Chinese invasion was the liberation of Tibet from theocratic tyranny. To be sure , the Chinese government is no paragon of freedom and human rights. There have been many abuses and excesses but the Dalai Lamas were ten times worse!. The French socialist senator Jean-Luc Mélanchon is one of the few politicians to have debunked the Tibet freedom racket in public. Tibet is and always was part of China’s multicultural society. When will the West stop interfering in other countries about which it knows little and cares less?

An lámh cheilte a mhúnlaíonn eachtraí an domhain

Tá sé fíordheacair a thuiscint céard a tharla san Iaráin cúpla seachtaine o shin. Dearfá go bhfuil sé ‘fíordheacair’ dá ndéanfá tagairt don gcaidreamh tioblóideach idir an Iaráin agus an domhan Iartharach ó tháinig Khomeini i gcumhacht i 1979 agus an cur isteach seasta na Stát Aonaithe agus na Breataine go háirithe ar pholaitíocht inmheánach na tíre. Is miotas mór é go bhfuil mean cumarsáide saor againne san Eoraip. Is mean cumarsáide corparáideach, lúitéiseach ata i gceist don chuid is mó. Cuir i gcás, cé mhéad cláir faisnéise a chonaic tú san RTE nó BBC faoi stair an CIA mar shampla, agus na coup d’état frithdhaonlathach i ndiaidh coup d’état a rinne siad ar fud an domhain ó buníodh é i 1947?

Nuair a chuir an CIA agus an tseirbhís rúnda na Breataine Mohammad Mossadegh, uachtarán daonlathach, as cumhacht sa coup d’etat i 1953(Operation Ajax), ní raibh aon iriseoirí sa domhan iartharach a rá go mbfhéidir go mbeadh an CIA thaobh thiar de, cé go raibh fhios acu céard a bhí ag tarlú. Ag an am sin, bhí na meáin cumarsáide ar fud na Stát Aontaithe ag leathnú bolscaireacht i gcoinne an tAontais Sovéidigh. Toisc go raibh Mossedegh ag iarriadh ola na tíre, an chomhlacht British-Persian petroleum, a náisiúnú ionas go mbeadh an acmhainn nádúrtha sin i seilbh an phobail, bhí sé ina ‘chummanach ‘. Bhí láithreacht na Breataine an lag san Iaráin ó Réabhlóid Bunreachtúil i 1906. Mar gheall ar sin, ní raibh aon rogha acu ach glaoch a chur ar Na Stáit Aontaithe chun cabhair a fháil on CIA chun deireadh a chur ar Mhossedegh.

Ba chomoibríocht fhíoréirimúil í Operation Ajax. Bhain an CIA usáid as gach grúpa sa tír a bhí i gcoinne rialtais de Mhossedegh chun ciréibeacha a ghríosú. Fuair roinnt mullánna breab ón CIA chun a lucht leanúna a ghríosú. Chun eagla a chur ar na sluaite de dhaoine chráifeacha a bhí ag léirsiú sna sráideanna , chuir an CIA grúpaí de ghníomhaithe ar na sráideanna chomh maith agus iad ag déanamh aithris ar chumannaigh! “ Deireadh le Islam” an mana a bhí acu. Sa deireadh d’imigh Mossedegh thar lear agus chuir an CIA an Shah ar ais. Sheol Washington Norman Schwarzkoph (sinsearch) chun SAVAK an tseirbhís rúnda cruálach a bhunú. Seo é ráiteas d’Amnesty International a dfhoilsigh siad i 1976 faoi SAVAK ‘highest rate of death penalties in the world, no valid system of civilian courts and a history of torture which is beyond belief. No country in the world has a worse record in human rights than Iran.

Cé go bhfuilim i bhfabhar na léirseoirí san Iaráin, táim in amhras faoi iontaofacht na meán cumarsáide anseo. Níl ach ionadaithe bréagacha iad do pholaitaíocht an nua-liobrálachais don chuid is mó. Cuireann siad an bréag amach i gcónaí go bhfuil An Eoraip agus Na Stáit Aontaithe ag iarraidh ‘daonlathas’ agus ‘ saoirse’ a chothú ar fud an domhain; a mhalairt ar fad atá fíor! Mar sin, ní léiríonn siad choiche an lámh cheilte a mhúnlaíonn eachtraí an domhain.