The anniversary’s just around the corner, for the regime of Dr Mohammad Mosaddeq — popular and democratically-elected prime minister of Iran — was toppled by the CIA-MI6 on August 19, 1953. The military coup returned the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to power. A brutal dictatorship, not acknowledged as such by the US, UK and other western powers because he had served their interests.
Media interest (both mainstream and alternative) in CIA involvement was revived with the publication of the CIA’s official history of the 1953 coup in The New York Times on April 16, 2000. Continue reading “PART I: FIFTY-NINTH ANNIVERSARY OF CIA-MI6 COUP”
You wouldn’t think that the American government’s public commitment to bringing the “Hitlerite Huns” to justice would be accompanied by a secret agenda of “sanitizing, using, and absolving” Nazis, would you? (Earlean M. McCarrick, “American Anti-Nazism: A Cold War Casualty,” 1989). Of rewarding some as well, I must, add.
For those who haven’t heard of Operation Paperclip, here are some facts, but before presenting those, read this excerpt to be reminded of the terrible atrocities of the Holocaust,
The roundup of Jews began at 3AM? The local police, bolstered by reinforcements from the neighboring town of Zembin, surrounded the ghetto? The killing went on throughout the day?Some of the guards raped the younger women before forcing them into the pits. Continue reading “Holocaust ignored, in unlikely places”
It was seven years ago this July 7th, but deep suspicions still remain. That, the public have not been told as to what really occurred on that day when 56 people were killed and several hundred injured in four bombings, three on London underground trains before 9 am, and the fourth, an hour later, on a bus.
Initial media reports, as Tom Secker — British writer, researcher and filmmaker who specialises in terrorism, the security services and declassified history — points out, were “extremely confused.” Eight explosions had occurred on the underground, these were blamed on electrical power surges. Another three explosions were reported to have occurred, on buses. These initial reports later evolved “somehow” into a story of four explosions caused by suicide bombers (see Secker’s seven minute documentary released this July, “7/7 in 7 Minutes: Unanswered Questions“, available on YouTube).
Other skeptics point fingers at the government’s reluctance to conduct a public inquiry into the events. Strange, they say, given that disasters such as train accidents are investigated (as they should be), while the bombings, despite having been one of the “worst terrorist attacks” in Britain’s history, was not considered to be worthy of a public inquiry. Continue reading “SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY: London Bombings & Tony Blair's 'Ludicrous Diversion'”
I must write about Fukushima — I’ve been telling myself repeatedly for over a year.
The 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan’s north-eastern coast on March 11, 2011. A tsunami followed soon after, sweeping away cars, ships and buildings, crushing coastal communities. An estimated 15,800 people died; a three thousand still missing.
The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant was affected. How badly, and what this has meant for Japan, and, for the rest of the world, is still being debated. But not in the mainstream media any longer, activists allege. Continue reading “Fukushima: Coverup, Lies and Japan's Nuke Dictatorship”
In her public lecture “Reclaiming Life in Times of Death” Rahnuma Ahmed speaks about the urgent necessity to “think for ourselves” (Begum Rokeya), to reflect on Martin Luther King’s characterisation of life as being “something worth dying for” — in an age when the most powerful nation on earth pursues its so-called “war on terror” which has led to over a million deaths, and untold miseries and suffering. It is a war which has no limits, and after more than a decade, we should be able to question whether the “war” is for reasons publicly proclaimed by the US and its military allies. Unless we are able to think for ourselves, we are not — as King says, and Begum Rokeya, most likely would wholeheartedly support — “fit to be living.” Download the PDF file
Date?? : Thursday, 12 July 2012
Time?? :?10:50 am to 12:20 pm
Venue : ULAB Auditorium, House 56, Road 4/A (Satmasjid Road), Dhaka
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while on a surprise visit to embattled Libya, shows the V-sign as she poses with NATO-funded Libyan “rebels.? October 2011.
The US secretary of State Hillary Clinton is coming to Dhaka today, on a two day visit. Press reports inform us that her initial itinerary had involved attending the fourth round of US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing on May 3-4. That, the decision to visit Bangladesh (May 4-5) and India (May 7-8) was ?sudden.? A ?surprise stopover.?
Ms Clinton’s visit to Beijing was preceded by the Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng’s escape from house arrest to the US Embassy; while the western media furore has abated somewhat after US officials stepped in and brokered a deal on his behalf with the Chinese government, deep concern in western circles over his safety and security continue to be expressed.
Forty-year old blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng — who has suffered intimidation, beatings, jail and extralegal house arrest — escaped from being confined at home on April 22, 2012 and took refuge in the US embassy. He has since been escorted to a Beijing hospital where he was reunited with his family. The deal was brokered by US officials with the Chinese government. Chen’s release led Hillary Clinton to state, ?I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng’s stay and departure from the US Embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values? (May 2, 2012).
After being released, Chen, on May 3, phoned into a Congressional hearing to detail his ?predicament. He has also ?begged? that he wants to leave China with his family ?for the US on Hillary Clinton’s plane.? This has been followed by a Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry statement on its website which says that the blind human rights activist may apply to ?study abroad.? Interestingly, his dramatic journey to the US embassy — described as ?mission impossible? — was aided by US officials. The Guangcheng story has generated international headlines; while China experts, journalists and human rights activists discuss how the conflict may be further resolved, Chen has expressed his desire to meet Ms Clinton in person. To seek ?more help from her.? To ?thank her face to face.? The New York University meanwhile, has been kind enough to extend an invitation to Chen. (ABC News, May 4, 2012).
When Ms Clinton mouths ?our values,? one is forced to ask, pray, what may these be? Or, more pointedly, how far do these extend? Whom do they exclude?
Obviously not to the Palestinians, in whose case, as Philip Weiss reminds us, the US chooses its ?interests,? over its (purported) “values.? Former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter had said this spring, ?Whenever I send out a [twitter] message about the suffering, the detention without trial, civilian deaths by armed force in all these countries, I now get messages back that say to me, What about the Palestinians??
Scores of Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike presently but not a peep out of the US embassy there. No dramatic ?mission impossible? rescue efforts either. ?Nor do State Department officials dare write about the rights of the Palestinians, when they are in its employ.
Clinton’s ?our values? statement also reminds us, writes Weiss, that Israel has blocked the investigation of the massacre of 21 members of the al-Samouni family during the 2009 ?Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. That the US has helped Israel by quashing the UN’s Goldstone Report which had characterised the attack on the family as a ?war crime.?
According to the B?Tselem?s summary of the events that led to the family’s massacre:
?On 4 January 2009, soldiers gathered about 100 members of the extended a-Samuni family in the house of Wael a-Samuni, in the a-Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City. The next morning, at 6:30 A.M., when a few members of the family tried to leave the house, the military fired a missile or shell at them, killing Muhammad a-Samuni and wounding two other persons. A few seconds later, the military fired two more shells or missiles that hit the house directly. The house collapsed on its occupants, killing 21 persons, including many women and children, and injuring dozens of other family members.?
The Red Cross, B?Tselem and other human rights organisations had repeatedly requested that they be allowed to help remove injured persons, but permission had been granted two days later. By then, four wounded family members had bled to death. Of the 21 killed, nine were children, ranging in ages from 6 months to 16 years (Richard Silverstein, “IDF Closes Book on al-Samouni Killings, Whitewashes Massacre,” May 3, 2012).
On May 2, 2012 the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) informed B’Tselem that it intended to close the investigation. While ?mistakes [had been] made [which had] led to unfortunate consequences,? these had been ?inadvertent.? In other words, ?not culpable.?
Similar bouts of amnesia which exclude people selectively from ?our values? occurred when Ms Clinton, while testifying before a Senate committee on February 28, 2012, stated that Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad could be branded a ?war criminal.?
?Based on definitions of war criminal and crimes against humanity, there would be an argument to be made that he [Assad] would fit into that category.?
But this is part of the American political and media establishment’s rhetoric, writes Bill Van Auken, aimed at winning western public support for ?yet another imperialist intervention in the Middle East.? A regime change venture dressed up as a ?crusade for human rights.?
When the US Secretary of State speaks of war criminals and war crimes, which definition does she rely on? It could well be the International Criminal Court’s legislation, largely drawn from the Nuremberg tribunal, where war crimes are defined as a number of acts?including murder, extermination, torture, imprisonment and enforced disappearance of persons?knowingly ?committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population?? (Bill Van Auken, Hillary Clinton and Middle East War Crimes, Global Research, March 3, 2012).
Further, it could well be that the urge to define Assad as a war criminal gained ground after the 27-day seige of the Baba Amr neighbourhood of Homs, seized by armed militias, who, it must be noted, abducted and murdered non-Sunni residents of the city — ?had ended. The US-backed rebels were forced to pull out on March 1, since Syrian military strength had proven to be superior.
Hundreds of Syrians were undoubtedly killed in the month-long siege. Many of them had been unarmed civilians.
But when twenty times as many unarmed civilians had been killed over a shorter period, only 400 miles away from Homs, had similar outrage been expressed by Ms Clinton?
When the entire city of Fallujah in Iraq had been turned into a free-fire zone? When inhabitants had been warned to leave but men and boys had been turned back? Had been “forced to face an onslaught of napalm, cluster bombs, white phosphorus shells and other munitions” which had incinerated their victims? Had brought their homes crashing down on them?
Of the fifty thousand Fallujans who had been either unwilling or unable to flee, more than 6,000 had died.
Seven years on, Fallujans suffer an “epidemic of birth defects, childhood cancers and other ailments caused by depleted uranium shells and other ordnance dumped on the city.”
There are greater war criminals around than Syria’s Assad. Before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean.
While it is true that the Bush administration was in power when the Falluja massacre had taken place, it is also true that one woman had agreed with all the lies uttered by president Bush, as a YouTube video available here demonstrates http://prisonplanet.com/articles/november2007/271107Warmonger.htm.
Bush: [the] Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons (July 10, 2002).
Hillary Clinton: Saddam Hussein has worked, rebuilt his chemical and biological weapon stock (October 10, 2002).
Bush: Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists including members of al-Qaeda (January 28, 2003).
Hillary Clinton: He [Saddam] has also given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists including al-Qaeda members (October 10, 2002).
Bush: [the] regime is seeking a nuclear bomb (January 28, 2003).
Hillary Clinton: and [Saddam] will, keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. So, it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interest of our nation, it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President (October 10, 2002).
Bush: this war will end in the defeat of totalitarians (August 31, 2006).
Hillary Clinton: any vote that might lead to war should be hard. But I cast it with conviction? (October 10, 2002).
It is also true that Hillary Clinton later lied. That, as a Democratic contendor for the post of president in the 2008 elections, she had said, “If I had been president in October of 2002, I would never have asked for authority to divert our attention from Afghanistan to Iraq and I certainly would never have started this war.”
Hillary Clinton’s feminism has been called to question as well, for, when servile commentators gush over her “feminist foreign policy”, over how she “has gone out of her way to press feminist issues” — the growing gender imbalance in China because of the high abortion rate of female foetuses, sexual violence as a weapon of war (Democratic Republic of Congo), the need to provide clean cooking stoves to save women from smoke inhalation which kills 1.9 million per year (Madeleine Bunting, “Clinton is proving that a feminist foreign policy is possible — and works,” Guardian, January 16, 2011), others point out how, over 4 million Iraqis, mostly women and children, have been turned into refugees. How, Ms Clinton seems gung-ho ready to do it to Iranian women as well, having recently warned Iran that time is “running out for diplomacy” (Guardian, March 31, 2012).
Despite the fact that the IAEA’s latest reports on Iran’s nuclear programmes, and congressional testimony from the director of National Intelligence, asserts that “there is no strong evidence that Iran has decided to restart its nuclear program” (Reuters, March 23, 2012).
Warmonger, or, maybe, as some insist, a war criminal? I leave it to you to decide.
———————— Published in New Age, Monday, May 5, 2012, a special writeup on the occasion of Hillary Clinton’s visit to Bangladesh.
Hillary Clinton’s address to Bangladeshi youth. Live at www.drik.tv at 11:00 am BST. 6th May 2012
The so-called ‘black cat’ which the railway minister Suranjit Sengupta had promised to nab after his appointment in November 2011, seems to have nabbed him instead.
Tall promises made by the veteran parliamentarian, who had become a cabinet minister for the first time in a political career that spanned more than half a century — now lie exposed as hollow. After a mere less-than-five-months in office.
The “black” cat (like “black” money, “black”mail) — a metaphor born of racialised cultural ideas, has struck back. Taken revenge. Publicly.
As `Railwaygate’ scam unfolds, propaganda agents of the government — including top-ranking ministers — have made frantic attempts to disentangle the government’s image from the skeins of financial corruption and bribery which bedevil it. But not only have all attempts at resuscitation failed, each one has led to increased suspicion in its wake, has helped raise more questions than answered, thereby ensnarling the government further. Fingers caught in the till have not only remained unextricated, but frozen — as in ‘caught in the act’ — beneath swathes of inconsistencies, lies and deceit.
The latest scam story has possibly inflicted the greatest damage, leaving the government’s 2008 electoral pledge of fighting against coruption in shambles. In utter disrepute.
For how often is a minister’s APS, accompanied by two senior officials, discovered with a bag stuffed with 7 million takas in cash in the middle of the night (April 9-10, 2012)? Reportedly on their way to the minister’s house, with the APS’s personal car bearing the lawmaker’s sticker? How often does one hear that the driver had deliberately driven into the Bangladesh Border Guards (BGB) Headquarters in Pilkhana, had pulled up and yelled `bags of black money, stop, thief’? (conflicting press reports exist over whether he’d demanded a share of the loot, or had insisted that unsuccessful job-seekers be returned their bribe money).
How often do such a string of incidents follow? The four, who had been detained — Suranjit’s close aide and political appointee Omar Faruq Talukder, Railway General Manager (East)Yusuf Ali Mridha, Chief security commandant Enamul Huq, and the driver, Ali Azam — were soon released.
Azam, however?(who had belled the cat?) has since, ‘disappeared’. He remains missing. His family is deeply worried. I’m as shocked as everyone else is.
BGB personnel had informed the police, had requested that the four be taken into custody. But the police had declined on the grounds that no case had been filed.
And hence, the three walked out. Sauntered away. With the bag of loot. Free? Scotfree? Faruq tried to brazen it out at first, the money was for his sister’s wedding. But unfortunately, for him, no one bought the story. How had he acquired such a staggering amount? Surely not from legitimate earnings?? Suranjit made matters worse by rushing to his defence. It was Faruq’s personal money. Azam had conspired to abduct and blackmail him.
Faruq was suspended from service only after the the scandal could no longer be contained (on 11th morning).
Press reports, incriminating ones, soon followed. Railway sources divulged that a corrupt nexus existed which included the Railway Sramik League, ministers, lawmakers, ruling party leaders, and a section of corrupt railway officials (a chain of fat cats?). Recruitment had recently begun for 7,500 people, “Tk. 2 lakh to Tk. 5 lakh is being taken from each candidate” (Daily Star, April 12). A nine-member team is entrusted with collecting and delivering the bribe to the GM (Kaler Kantho, April 12). Father-in-law (Mridha) and his son-law (railway divisional engineer Arman Hossain) control the job ‘trade’ and tender bidding ‘trade’ for construction and purchases in the eastern sector (Samokal, April 12). Faruq owns a flat in Dhaka city, has 3 cars at his disposal, is the owner of a 32 lakh taka private car (Samokal, April 12). Security chief Enamul says, the car was headed for the minister’s home (Samokal, April 12). Six other railway officials live in the GM’s bungalow in Chittagong, despite having been allotted houses individually in Dhaka city. ‘The money was raised in the minister’s name’ (Kaler Kantho, April 14).
Suranjit tried first to save his skin by claiming victim status. Vested interests had hatched the plot. They had conspired against him because he was ridding the newly-created Railways ministry of corruption (his famous kalo beral). Two probe committees were formed, but both have failed to gain the slightest bit of public esteem and confidence, headed as they are by railway ministry officials themselves: joint secretary (administration) is looking into allegations against Mridha, while the minister’s personal secretary is entrusted with investigating Faruq’s involvement.
Suranjit had tried another tack, he had appeared non-committal. Its no big deal, if the situation demands, I will resign immediately (April 12).
But his stance soon changed. There’s no question of resigning, the allegations are not against me. The incident is “motivated.” Dishonest bureaucrats, corrupt contractors and communal forces have ganged up against me (BBC interview, reported in Samokal, April 13).
Resign he did, later. After the prime minister, reportedly “furious” at Suranjit, returned from her three day official visit to Turkey, and hauled him up for a meeting (April 15).
At a jam-packed press conference the next day, Suranjit had the gall to claim that by tendering his resignation he would be making history, “I want to create a unique instance in ?the politics of Bangladesh.” Not many politicians, he added, have the fortune of setting such a stellar example. Cooee.
But there were superior claimants to history-making. Sajeda Chowdhury, presidium member of the Awami League and deputy leader of the House crowed, “Our Prime Minister has created… history [by] taking action [in this] matter, [it has taken us a ] step forward on [the] journey to democracy” (BSS, April 17).
The step towards democracy however, flip-flopped many steps backwards in less than 24 hours when Suranjit returned to the cabinet as “minister without a portfolio.” Rumors abound that Big Brothers across the border have insisted that Suranjit be brought back. If so, it will only serve to inflame the fires further, public anger at border killings, at Tipaimukh dam, transit, takeovers of business enterprises and more, fusing together more forcefully to mark off the present government as one held in clientage to India.
The corruption story has grown knottier with news of Suranjit’s son, Soumen Sengupta, having been awarded a gateway licence worth Taka 50 million by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). The fees was paid between March 2 and April 2; he received the licence two days after Railway gate broke out. Soumen had worked for an IT firm, drawing a monthly salary of 50,000 takas, hence similar questions arose as they did for Faruq: where did Soumen get the money to pay for the licence? Where does he hope to get the additional 300 million taka needed to set up the telecom company?
Leading members of the opposition, noticeably pleased at the government’s disarray caused by Railway gate, have sat and smirked despite repeated reminders by commentators and analysts (not that we needed much reminding) about Hawa Bhaban, from where the former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s prodigal son Tareque Rahman, known also as the ‘ten percent man,’ had run a shadow government while she had been in power (2001-2006).
The opposition had smirked despite being reminded of the BNP-Jamaat led government’s cabinet ministers, infamous for corruption, Barrister Nazmul Huda, Mirza Abbas, Barrister Aminul Huq, Barrister Moudud Ahmed… Until Ilias Ali, the BNP’s organising secretary went missing in the early hours of Wednesday, April 18.
The BNP’s acting secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam has alleged that the abduction was a diversion tactic, to turn public attention away from the “cash scandal.” Sunday’s nationwide shutdown would be called off if Ilias was produced before the party, and his family. Sheikh Hasina had earlier insisted that Ilias has ‘self-disappeared.’
Since Ilias has remained missing, the BNP has gone ahead with its strike, the first one this year. It has received the support of its allies in the newly-floated 18 party alliance, formed obviously with the national elections looming ahead in 2013.
More than one independent analyst has expressed misgivings about the flurry of events. Is there more to it than meets the eye? Are there hidden forces at work, beyond even the government’s control? If its true, one can only blame the government for having made things exceptionally easy for them.
The Railway gate scam has probably proobably made things easy for the “good governance” folks as well.? For those who, despite the virtual explosion of corruption, financial fraud, ripoffs, bailouts, particularly in the US, persist in displaying an utter failure to think critically. To, not raise questions like, hey, but what went wrong with tackling corruption at home? How could the 2008 crash in the US happen? How come those who were responsible for it, have not only gone scot-free, but have been financially rewarded to boot? How come ordinary American taxpayers who have lost jobs, savings and homes, are now facing higher taxes and spending cuts? And, more crucially, does following the good governance model that you tout for us here, to “improve the climate for business and investments,” to “increase public confidence in government institutions” basically mean creating conditions more conducive for international capital, and not initiate pro-people programmes for the majority (like increased public spending, more subsidies)? For, if it had been the other way round, how could ordinary Americans (the 99%) have gotten ripped-off?
But lacking critical thinking faculties or gumption, or both, we will probably be served ever more roundtables, workshops, seminars, symposiums, press briefings where development experts will expound further on the benefits of good-governance-style anti-corruption, will persist in pontificating on the symptoms of the malaise, remaining persistently blind to its deep-rooted, structural causes. Will refuse to talk back and think independently, because they wouldn’t want to bite the hand that feeds them.
Black or white, nabbing no cat seems easy for those with their hands in some till or the other.
Revised copy. Earlier version published in New Age, Monday, April 23, 2012
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.
-President Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President. -President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.
– President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
Why remind readers about about dissent being “the highest form of patriotism”? The need to distinguish between “patriotism” and blindly following what the president, or the ruling party `dictates’? Between “honest dissent” and “disloyal subversion”? That too, at the very beginning of my column? Continue reading “FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT 'Bengalis are indigenous to their land' — an archaeologist contests”