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still defiant after 30 years | peter lazenby

scottish identity what is that? | lesley riddoch

the man who sank argentina | greg palast

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writing worth reading

Special ISSUe
ISS U E 8 8


of gaza
Nine essays by David Edwards and David Cromwell l philip
giraldi l Ramzy baroud l Linda McQuaig l Jonathan Cook
John reiner l Chris Hedges l richard pithouse l Deepa Kumar
Cover: Israeli tank fires a shell into
Gaza in a propaganda photograph

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from the Israel Defence Forces


ColdT ype
Issue 88 / AUGUST 2014

3. Book excerpt / The vulture: chewing argentinas living corpse greg palast
6. predators in the field stacey warde
11. the absurd hell that is americas police state john w. whitehead
15. worse than orwells worst nightmare john pilger
20. superbugs threaten to return us to the dark ages trevor grundy
24. still defiant after 30 years peter lazeny & joan heath
32. Book excerpt / Scottish identity: what is it? Lesley riddoch
Cover stories / the murder of gaza

42. disgustingly biased david edwards & david cromwell
47. israel, right or wrong philip giraldi
51. it is not just an israeli war on gaza Ramzy baroud
54. whow stephen harper betrayed canada Linda mcquaig
58. stake rises for israel as rockets reach airport jonathan cook
61. with a heavy heart over gaza john reiner
66. palestinians have a right to self defence chris hedges
69. gazas future is everones concern richard pithouse
72. telegenically dead deepa kumar

76. crime (israel) and Punishment (russia) pepe escobar

79. delusions of grandeur william blum
Editor: Tony Sutton

2 ColdType | August 2014

Book excerpt

The Vulture: Chewing

Argentinas living corpse
In this excerpt from Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, Greg Palast tells
how hedge fund investor Paul Singer forced a nation into default

call came in from New York to my to screw down the compensation promised to Singer had seized
bosses at BBC Television Centre, the workers. He offered them peanuts. And, Perus Air Force
London. It was from one of the dying, they took it. Like the Ice Man, Singer One presidential
knuckle-draggers on the payroll of The Vulture used the cudgel of tort reform jet; for the payoff,
billionaire Paul Singer, Number One funder to beat the weakened workers into submis- Singer handed the
for the Republican Party in New York, mil- sion. With asbestos workers buried or bought- fleeing president
lion-dollar donor to the Mitt Romney super- off cheap, Singers asbestos death factories Fujimori the keys to
PAC, and top money-giver to the GOP Senate were now worth a fortune... and Singer made his getaway plane
campaign fund. But better known to us as his first killing.
Singer The Vulture. Then it was on to Peru, where Singer had,
We have a file on Greg Palast. through a brilliant financial-legal maneu-
Well, of course they do. ver too questionable for others to attempt,
And I have a file on them. grabbed control of the entire financial system
I had just returned from traveling up the of the country. When Perus scamp of a presi-
Congo River for BBC and the Guardian. Sing- dent, Alberto Fujimori, decided it was a good
ers enforcer indicated that Mr. Singer would idea to flee his country (ahead of his arrest on
prefer BBC not run a story about him espe- murder charges), Singer, Perus lawyer Mark
cially not with film of his suffering prey: chil- Cymrot of Baker & Hostetler told me, let Fu-
dren, cholera victims. jimori escape in return for the Murderer-in-
Like any vulture, Singer feasts when vic- Chief ordering Perus treasury to pay Singer
tims die. Literally. For example, Singer made $58 million. Singer had seized Perus Air
a pile buying asbestos company Owens Corn- Force One presidential jet; for the payoff,
ing out of bankruptcy. The company had con- Singer handed him the keys to the getaway
cealed from its workers they would get asbes- plane.
tosis from handling their product. And by the way, I didnt give Singer the
You dont want to die of asbestosis. Your name Vulture.
lungs turn to mush and you drown inside His own banker buddies did with admi-
yourself. ration in their voices.
The asbestos company was forced to pay What provoked the threatening call to
tens of thousands of its workers for their BBC from Singers tool was my film from the
medical care and for their families after their Congos (there are two nations in Africa called
deaths. Congo). There is a cholera epidemic in West
But then Singer used his political muscle Africa due to lack of clean water. Our investi-

August 2014 | ColdType 3

Book excerpt

Either the Greek gation learned that Singer paid about $10 mil- start sifting through garbage to feed myself.
government would lion for some debt supposedly incurred by Christoulas then shot himself in the head. The
pay Singer and Dart the Republic of Congo. To collect on his $10 government had cut his pension as part of an
several times what million, Singer had begun seizing about $400 austerity plan to pay foreign creditors. One in
the speculators million in the poor nations assets. four workers also lost their jobs.
invested, or Singer Clean water for the Congo? Forget it Sing- Greeces creditor banks took their pound
and Dart would er and his vulture colleagues grabbed it all. of flesh, but gave up some of theirs, canceling
undermine the In Africa, I spoke with Winston Tubman, 80 percent of the loan principal. That is, all
entire bailout deal, the former deputy secretary-general of the but two bankers: billionaires Ken Dart and
bringing down UN. He asked me to ask the Vulture and his Singer The Vulture told the European Central
the remnant of cronies, Do you know you are causing babies Bank and Greek government, they wanted it
Greeces economy to die? all. Singer and Dart would not cancel 80 per-
and the rest of Its legal, its sick, its Singer. cent or even 8 percent of the bonds they held,
Europe with it Well, not legal in most of the civilized even though Singer and Dart, apparently, only
world. Britain, Germany, Holland, and many paid a fraction of the face value for them only
others have outlawed Singers repo-man sei- a few weeks before. Either the Greek govern-
zures. In Europe, Singer is a financial outlaw. ment would pay Singer and Dart several times
But in the USA, hes a job creator. what the speculators invested, or Singer and
Singer The Vulture gets loads of positive Dart would undermine the entire bailout
press, in the New York Times especially, where deal, bringing down the remnant of Greeces
the corpse-chewer offered an open checkbook economy and the rest of Europe with it.
to any state Republican who would vote for Held hostage, the Greek government
the right of gays to marry. Dont think of this dipped into its emptying purse and paid
as an unselfish act of moral courage: it was Singer and Dart every penny they demand-
more droit du seigneur, the right of the Lords ed. Singers co-investors in his fund Elliott
of the Manor to deflower the virgins of choice Management made a killing including the
on their lands. The Vultures son wanted to blind trust of one Mittens Romney.
marry another man, and so Vulture But the Vultures gravy train of greed was
would buy the New York State Legis- about to run into an unexpected obstacle on
lature to approve the nuptials. (That the track. On April 4, just hours after Christou-
almost all Singers money would go to las took his own life, in a courtroom in Wash-
national candidates who would make ington, DC, the President of the United States
gay marriage illegal, well, money is and his Secretary of State hit Singer with a
thicker than blood.) legal brick. Without any public announce-
But, under press cover of funding ment, without the usual press release and in
the GOP for social rights, Singers influ- language so abstruse only a lunatic journalist
ence in the state legislature has paid back who went to the University of Chicago Law
a hundredfold. He lobbied the legislature School would notice, Obamas Justice Depart-
to change the law on the calculation of in- ment nailed the Vulture to the wall.
terest charges on his vulture loan-sharking It was Ash Wednesday and Obamas boys
operation, a change that will guarantee him drove those nails in: they demanded a US
hundreds of millions of dollars more from the federal court to stop Singer from attacking
Billionaires Congo. Argentina.
& ballot bandits The Vultures latest hit was a pay-off from In this case, Singer had sued to get mil-
Greg Palast the bankrupt government of Greece. On April lions, even billions, from the government of
Seven Stories Press 4, 2012, seventy-seven-year-old Greek phar- Argentina for old debt that President Ronald
macist Dimitris Christoulas wrote, I find no Reagan had already settled in a deal involv-
other solution for a dignified end before I ing the biggest US banks. But Reagans deal

4 ColdType | August 2014

Book excerpt

was not good enough for Singer and his hedge advisor Dan Senor currently on the payroll Obama and Clinton
fund NML Capital. Singer demanded that a US of . . . Paul Singer.) told the court that
court order Argentina to pay him ten times Does Obama have the stones to stick with the Vulture was
the amount hed get under the Reagan deal. his decision? And do Singer and friends, undermining
And to get his way, the Vulture also sued to working with Karl Rove, have the money- the safety of
stop the Big Banks from getting their own knife which could cut them off? the entire world
payments from the Reagan deal. The Rove-bots are already flashing their financial system,
But then a bolt of legal lightning cooked blade: in June 2012, Republicans on the House destabilizing every
the Vultures goose: Obamas Justice Depart- Committee on Financial Services held an un- financial rescue
ment and Hillary Clintons State Department precedented emergency hearing about the mission from South
together filed an amicus curiae, a friend of presidents stealth move on the Vulture. They America to Greece
the court brief in the case of NML Capital et sat for testimony by Ted Olsen, George Bushs to the Congo
al. v. Republic of Argentina. It wasnt all that former solicitor general, who attacked Obama
friendly. Obama, a constitutional law profes- and Clinton with code words and inscrutable
sor, suddenly remembered that the president legalismo, not once mentioning Singer or his
has the power, unique to the Constitution hedge fund by name.
of the USA, to kick the Vultures ass up and But in the White House and on the top
down the continent, then do it again. floors of the Wall Street towers, they knew
Specifically, Obama and Clinton demanded exactly what this was all about. And in the
the court throw out Singers attempt to bank- golf carts on Marthas Vineyard, they knew
rupt Argentina (because that is what Singers the Vulture had to be put in his place. Rob-
demand would have done). ert Wolf, golfing with President Obama on
This was Singers nightmare: that the Pres- the Cape, was furious. The CEO of UBS (a.k.a.
ident of the United States would invoke his United Bank of Switzerland), had put to-
extraordinary constitutional authority under gether the Argentina deal. And Swiss bankers
the Separation of Powers clause to block the dont allow anyone to move the hole on their
Vulture and his hedge-fund buddies from green.
making superprofits over the dead bodies of Wolf bundled plenty of campaign loot for
desperate nations. Obama, who made Wolf his economic recov-
The stakes in the legal-financial-political ery advisor. UBS has recovered nicely (with
war are enormous, yet the real battle is hid- a sweet plea-bargain deal on criminal tax-eva- Greg Palast is
den from the public view. sion charges). an investigator of
A titanic struggle had now been set in Now, UBS, JPMorgan, and Citibank chief- corporate fraud
motion, a battle over billions, between the tains are lined up with Obama and Clinton. and racketeering
Obama administration and the wealthiest The Establishment banks look upon the nou- turned journalist.
men in America, the hedge-fund billionaires, velle vultures like Singer as economic ber- He is the author of
all out of sight of the public and press. serkers, terrorists in a helicopter ready to pull New York Times
Argentinas consul called me from DC, the pin on the grenade. If Singers demands bestseller The Best
stunned by the Clinton move. WTF? Did I arent met, hell blow up the planets finance Democracy Money
have any info? system. In this war of titans, Obama and Clin- Can Buy and
I said, this action goes way, way beyond ton are merely foot soldiers, not the generals. Armed Madhouse.
Argentina. Obama and Clinton told the court Its billionaire banking-powers versus billion- His previous book
that the Vulture was undermining the safety aire hedge-fund speculators. One is greedy was Vultures
of the entire world financial system, desta- and scary and the other is greedy and plain Picnic: In Pursuit
bilizing every financial rescue mission from dangerous. Take your pick. of Petroleum Pigs,
South America to Greece to the Congo. (What Here is the real battle a winner-take-all Power Pirates
would Romney do? His expected replacement war over the control of the world financial and High-Finance
for Clinton would be his chief foreign policy system. CT Carnivores (2012)

August 2014 | ColdType 5

Country life

Predators in the field

Stacey Warde worries about big cats with sharp claws

The proximity of s a farmhand, I spend a lot of time Authorities found the previous cyclists
the cougars print in the orchards that border cougar body partially buried nearby after tending the
to my workplace country in rural coastal central Cali- traumatized woman, and discovered a healthy
made me reflect fornia, halfway between Los Angeles 2-year-old male lion, weighing 115 pounds,
on the many days and San Francisco. lurking in the shadows, standing guard over
Ive spent alone There are frequent sightings, from ranchers his earlier quarry. Sheriffs deputies shot and
in the middle of and people who live out in the wild, which sur- killed the lion.
the avocado and rounds our little beach village, Cayucos, the The proximity of the cougars print to my
orange groves, out little town that time forgot, and, although workplace made me reflect on the many days
of shouting range Ive had the good fortune, so far, of avoiding Ive spent alone in the middle of the avoca-
direct contact with one of these mountain li- do and orange groves, out of shouting range,
ons, Ive met far worse predators in the hills hunched over, concentrating, like the cyclist,
they roam. on the task at hand, oblivious to predators.
A recent posting of a photo on Facebook And believe me, theyre out here.
from a neighboring farm showed the clear Im an easy target for a hungry lion.
M-shaped padding of a California mountain Lately, Ive spent most of my work hours in
lions paw. and between the rows, in the deep dark mid-
Holy shit! I commented. dle of a forest of green avocado trees, pruning,
Thats so close, I thought, in cougar time, trimming suckers and deadwood, tending irri-
just minutes away. That beast could pounce gation lines that provide water and nutrients,
and Id never know it. enjoying the fresh air and serenity of the out-
It happened not long ago in Orange County. doors.
A competitive and sponsored cyclist hunched Its quiet steady work and I like it. It keeps
over a broken bicycle chain in the Whiting me fit and no one bothers me, I go at my own
Ranch wilderness area took a crushing bite to pace. Im alone. No office politics or subter-
the back of his neck, as is the habit of cougars fuge, no irritating phone calls and needless in-
on the prowl for easy prey, and was dragged terruptions. I just go, and occasionally pause to
off the path and into the brush. He was eaten. observe the leavings and scat and rustlings of
Not long after that, the same lion, appar- previous visitors from the surrounding wild.
ently, dragged a woman cyclist by her head I have the run of the orchard, which plays
into the brush, but an alert friend grabbed the host to a myriad of beasts small and large.
womans leg, fended off the lion, and saved Wild boars, piglets, skunks, turkeys, deer,
her from certain death. quail, coyotes, bobcats, squirrels, rats and

6 ColdType | August 2014

Country life

quite possibly mountain lions. Ive seen all the al, a rancher known for his daring, who pio- Im somewhat
creatures in both orchards, with the exception neered big wave surfing with his friend Jerry clueless about
of mountain lions and wild boars, which is Lopez on the North Shore of Oahu, told me of the otherworldly
fine with me. an encounter with a cougar during the night stealth and
Yeah, well, theyre out there, says the that had him crawling under his vehicle for elusiveness of
ranch boss, stating the obvious, when I men- protection. He had pulled up to a watering sta- these incredible
tion the image of tracks posted on Facebook, tion on his ranch, just a few canyons down the creatures that cover
but theyre mostly looking for deer or he highway from the orchards where I work. It huge swaths of
hesitates, sheep. was dark out and he did not see the animal. ground in a day
Sheep means domestic, which means close As he was about to adjust the valves, he heard
to home, next to the orchards. And there are a blood-curdling scream from the beast not 10
plenty of deer in the orange grove, which yards away.
means plenty of food for mountain lions. I Ive never been so terrified in my life, he
see deer lounging in the shade between rows said, explaining why he crawled under the
of large leafy green trees, tails twitching, ears four-wheeler instead of bolting. I was shaking
alert, keeping watch, bolting into the brush in my boots. After slipping away, he returned
when they see me. the next day to find the lions kill on the other
The bosss remark only slightly assures me. side of the tree where hed been standing.
Theyre mostly nocturnal, he adds of the big I stretch with my long-handled cultivator
cat. Small comfort, I think. and breathe and feel the earth beneath my
Now, throughout the day I keep close watch boots and know that Id last about two seconds
over my shoulders, frequently peering up and in such an encounter. My only consolation, I
down and between the trees, searching for tell myself, and believe as much as possible:
signs of life other than my own. At least I wont go down without a fight.
Im somewhat clueless about the other- Still, I strive to be vigilant and know that
worldly stealth and elusiveness of these in- sooner or later, if its not the mountain lion,
credible creatures that cover huge swaths of something else is going to get me. Its going to
ground in a day. Generally, they tend to shy get us all, whatever youre afraid of, its going
away from encounters with humans. As de- to get you. Ive accepted that, even if daily I
velopment creeps into their range, however, protest loudly against it. Being alone, mindful
encounters become more likely. of the risks, ever watchful, Im constantly re-
I imagine that I could fend one off with minded of my mortality and the shortness of
my long-handled cultivator, which has sharp life. Against the odds, I plow forward, lunging
heavy metal tines at one end and give the against the rocks and hardness of clay, which
effect of a claw. I carry it with me during my will eventually pull me down, while I scream:
treks through the orchards, twirling and spin- I have a right to be here!
ning it like the wood staff I learned to wield as ________________
a weapon through years of aikido training. There is a way that seems right to a man,
Id throw myself into the combat with that but its end is the way of death.
or with a much longer, extended pruning saw I read that the other day as I was thinking
that I also carry and which cuts sharp. about the mountain lion prowling the fields
Experts advise those who may find them- nearby, wondering about its range and wheth-
selves face-to-face with a mountain lion to er it might ever come into the orchard, and
make themselves big, throw up their arms and why was I still laboring as a farmhand. I read
yell and make lots of noise, the opposite of it on the marque of the community church
what we might want to do instinctively, which downtown, a quaint, Third Street edifice that
is to run. gives food to the poor on Wednesdays and
My landlord, no chicken-hearted individu- serves a community dinner at Thanksgiving.

August 2014 | ColdType 7

Country life

I could get eaten The quote is from the book of Proverbs in out: This is the way that has seemed right to
by a mountain lion. the bible, calling into question our ability to me, staying here, building ties, getting ground-
It might be better choose aptly, calling out our need for guidance ed, hoping for a better future, even if my budget
than alternatives and protection. Whatever way one chooses, no allows me to take one day at a time.
like poverty, matter how right it may seem at the time, its Another day whips by, I keep watch over
cancer, a collision end is determined by forces beyond our con- my health, critters in the wild and ill-tempered
on Highway 1, or trol. men, and wonder: What are my options and
worse, encounters You may think youre wise and doing right, opportunities? With no retirement, no sav-
with some local but God and the harsh determinist nature of ings? Whats next? Hi, Im Stacey! Welcome
ranchers, bullies at the universe is the final judge of that. to Wal-Mart? That option certainly seems
the corporate office, The sign irritated me at first but I kept like death to me. But what real options are
or men in suits thinking about it: Am I on the right path? Do there for the millions of Americans like me
I belong here in the orchards? In this town? displaced forever through the greed of Wall
What guides me through these uncertain days Street bankers selling fraudulent loans?
where there are predators in the field? Am I I could get eaten by a mountain lion. It
making wise choices? What is the end of my might be better than alternatives like poverty,
way? What is the end of anyones way? cancer, a collision on Highway 1, or worse, en-
Whats next? counters with some local ranchers, bullies at
It doesnt look too hopeful, at least not the corporate office, or men in suits. Every day
from here, not yet. Ive been working in these I think about the shortness of life, about pos-
hills and fields since 2008, when the economy sibilities and how I might live more wakefully.
drew near collapse, altering countless lives, in- The cougar has helped me with that.
cluding mine, putting millions on notice that I seek the companionship of those who
nothing is secure, not your job, not your life, have been touched in an honest way, whove
not institutions you trusted with your hard- been broken and humbled, rather than jaded
earned savings, not your investment in real and embittered, by their experiences, who
estate, nothing. I found farm labor one of the know their limits and yet keep aiming beyond
few viable options. Everything that Id known what they know, without losing their sense
until that point had been completely altered, of what is possible and humane. Life is short,
or disappeared entirely, jobs, opportunities, as weve heard so often, and so, between the
the future. mountain lion and choosing a path, Ive been
I gave up publishing, one of the hardest hit thinking a lot about how quickly time passes.
industries during the near-collapse brought on At 55, Im not so young any more.
mostly by Wall Street bankers who traded in Im an old man! Id yell at the mountain
and got filthy rich off of bad loans, and took to lion. You dont want to eat me! Id taste like
the local farm, exposing myself to an entirely shit!
different way of life, one that is full of unique ________________
hardships: dust, molds, chemicals, heat, ex- Turkey vultures and red tailed hawks, a
posure. Its wild and wonderful out here but golden eagle, circle above, lifted by updrafts
it doesnt pay well, barely a living wage, and from the surrounding hills, which are barren
there are plenty of risks. I live from one pay- and rocky. The trees, thankfully, are merely
check to the next. I chose this path because it green with leaves, buds and new fruit, and
was the only one available at the time. So far, nothing lurks in them.
I like it yet keep wondering, wheres the beef? I scan the ridge lines and arroyos, searching
Wheres the real money, the real security? for movement in the dry weeds and grasses
Now, five years later, entering into my gold- common to the coastal sage region after years
en years, as so many millions of other hapless of drought.
boomers, I wonder how my choices will play About a year ago, the ranch lost a sheep to a

8 ColdType | March 2014

Country life

mountain lion. I was drinking coffee with the ner escaped into the forest night. For whatever I grabbed my
boss, going over the days work plan for my reason, call it a fools curiosity, a death wish, flashlight and
solo duties in the orchard, when he blurted, the need to hail the beast, I whistled at it like shined it on the
Oh yeah, and watch out for the big cat! a bird. creek below
It took me a moment to register the big The animal turned to face me and began to where Id heard
cat part of his comment. I was heading out walk across the creek. the steps, and saw
the door when I realized what he meant. I Oh fuck! I yelled. the unmistakable
turned to face the boss, You mean, mountain [For every Oh fuck! Ive blurted, I wonder sleek shape and
lion? how different my life would be if I had shout- brown coloring of a
Yeah, got one of our sheep last night. ed, Oh yeah!] mountain lion not
Should I be carrying a gun? I offered. Fortunately, perhaps it was instinct, I had 30 yards away
You can if itll make you feel better but already jumped out of my bag before turning
youll be all right. on the flashlight. I was on my feet, standing
I spent that entire day creeped out by the next to the pile of dead wood Id stacked for
possibility of crossing paths with that noctur- the morning fire. I tossed several large pieces
nal sheep rustler. of the dry wood onto the hot coals and they
________________ burst into flame with a suddenness that star-
I encountered a mountain lion once in the tled even me. I shouted loudly through the
wild of coastal northern California while fire, Yeah!
camping on a sandbar on a creek between The cougar turned quickly away and ran
towering redwoods. I had just tucked into back into the forest across the creek. Whats
my sleeping bag next to my wife, who was going on? my wife asked sleepily.
already sleeping. We rested beneath a tarp I I told her.
had rigged into a lean-to so we could look Sometimes youre not so bright, she said,
up at the stars and stay protected from the turning to go back to sleep. I sat by the fire
moisture of nightfall. The coals were still for as long as possible, restless and unsettled,
burning hot on the campfire Id built in the feeling stupid.
sand at the opening to our shelter, keeping Now, as the shadows grow long, Im keenly
us warm. A full stack of deadwood Id gath- alert to any signs of intruders in the orchard. I
ered in the forest stood ready to stir the fire watch for tracks, scat, and anything that would
again in the morning chill. warn of the presence of a mountain lion.
I had dozed off when I was awakened by The bosss Well, yeah, theyre out there
the quick flip-flapping sound splish, splash, keeps playing through my mind. I spend less
splish of a ducks webbed feet, scooting along time crouched beneath the trees and more
the creek just below the sand bar. time looking over my shoulders, listening for
I thought nothing of it until, seconds later, I crackling leaves and twigs, basically any sign
heard the slow deliberate steps of a man walk- of life in the darkening grove.
ing up river. My watch showed just past 1 a.m. Ive attuned my ears to the presence of rap-
Who would be walking upstream at this tors winging overhead in search of prey, the
hour? whoosh of air from their wings swooping like
I grabbed my flashlight and shined it on a phantom past the tops of avocado trees. Ive
the creek below where Id heard the steps, and developed an eye for signs of coyotes chewing
saw the unmistakable sleek shape and brown on irrigation lines and pigs pushing up leaves
coloring of a mountain lion not 30 yards away. in search of food.
It stood frozen in the unnatural light, its legs Ive spotted deer and bobcats, wild turkeys
stuck like posts in the middle of the dark and the remains of skunks shredded by preda-
creek. tors, perhaps a great horned owl or coyote.
The duck had long ago disappeared. Din- The orchards teem with wildlife.

March 2014 | ColdType 9

Country life

There are worse Experts advise against solo ventures into we lost our harvest, and possibly thousands of
predators in the wild. A good way to protect oneself from dollars.
this town than harm is to travel with a companion. I dont I pleaded for water long before it got so bad.
mountain lions, have that option and rather like working alone You of all people, a farmer, must know how
people who call in the orchards. important it is for me to harvest those berries
themselves It feels right most days. Still, I often won- and get them to market, I argued.
Christians, people der what Im doing here, thinking that I might Well, get yourself a water tank, he said
who love to hate, do better for myself, and long for the editors after a moment.
people who refuse chair and wish for another chance to publish a Just let us have some water to get through
to give you water magazine (where lions of another sort can be the harvest, I said, and then well get out of
when you need it confronted, even tamed). here. He did not want us there.
In the five long years since the so-called I dont know to this day what we did to turn
Great Recession, Ive worked in the fields, him on us. Once, he said: How come you
picked up side jobs in landscaping and win- have to be a fucking liberal? Maybe it was po-
dow cleaning, pushing wheelbarrows and litical as much as it was personal. I thought he
climbing ladders. Ive been mostly a laborer was a good guy, a good Christian who attends
and work hard for my money. At my age, the church whose marque warns of the perils
thats no easy feat. The lion doesnt frighten of the paths we choose.
me half as much, however, as the vultures on Oh yeah, hes a straight up guy, a local
Wall Street, who were mostly responsible for businessman, once said of him. I thought so
the crash of 2008, and some of the people Ive too until he put me out of business. Now, he
met here, who have their own predatory hab- refuses to acknowledge me. There are worse
its, which are more insidious, I think, than the predators in this town than mountain lions,
much-maligned cougar. people who call themselves Christians, people
Ive witnessed beauty here that few ever who love to hate, people who refuse to give
get to see, and Im grateful for that. Theres you water when you need it.
blight out here too, but mostly its fresh and The way of death really belongs to them.
clean, the air swept cool from coastal breezes, Frankly, Id rather be eaten by a mountain
the land tended and watched, scrubbed by sun lion than make friends with someone who is
and drought. more like a wolf in sheeps clothing and goes
Water is a precious resource in this dry, to church. Thats the choice I want to make,
semi-arid climate but there seems to be plen- the path that seems right to me: Steer clear of
ty of it in this part of the country. It can vary predators, hypocrites and trouble.
from one canyon to the next, though, and not I heard a story once about a hunter who
far from here farmers are hauling truckloads was tracking a mountain lion in the hills not
of water and paying lots for it to keep their far from here. He found himself going in a cir-
trees alive. cle after a while and then got a creepy feeling.
We havent had that problem in this can- He turned on instinct and not 15 yards behind
Stacey Warde is yon yet and hope that we never will. But if the him was the very lion he had been tracking.
publisher of The drought continues, the worst on record, as it Maybe its a true story, maybe its not. But
Rogue Voice. This has for these many years, it could get ugly. it shows we are never far from trouble if we go
article is adapted Ive seen ugly when a farmer gets stingy looking for it. For now, I like working alone and
from an earlier with water. I suffered the loss of a full seasons keeping vigilant watch in cougar country. CT
version that harvest of blueberries because we were refused
appeared on his water from our supplier, a long-time farmer. Stacey Warde is publisher of The Rogue
blog. Green berries about to turn color, promis- Voice. This article is adapted from an earlier
ing a well-deserved bounty, fell off the plants version that appeared on his blog,
by the buckets full. The plants went dry and http:?/

10 ColdType | March 2014

criminal injustice

The absurd hell that

is the US police state
Stupidity and malice are rapidly becoming the new trademarks
of a corrupt US justice sustem, writes John W. Whitehead

The greatest evil is not now done in those in state custody after allowing the 9-year-old Police charged
sordid dens of crime that Dickens loved to to spend unsupervised time at a neighbor- the boy with
paint. It is not done even in concentration hood playground while the mom worked manufacturing
camps and labour camps. In those we see its a shift at McDonalds. Mind you, the child and distributing
final result. But it is conceived and ordered asked to play outside, was given a cell phone child pornography
(moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in in case she needed to reach someone, and and issued a
clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted the park a stones throw from the moms search warrant to
offices, by quiet men with white collars place of work was overrun with kids en- medically induce
and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven joying its swings, splash pad, and shade. an erection in
cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. A Connecticut mother was charged with the 17-year-old
Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for leaving her 11-year-old daughter in the car boy in order to
Hell is something like the bureaucracy of unsupervised while she ran inside a store photograph his
a police state or the office of a thoroughly despite the fact that the child asked to erect penis
nasty business concern. C.S. Lewis, The stay in the car and was not overheated or
Screwtape Letters in distress. A few states away, a New Jersey

man was arrested and charged with endan-
hether its the working moth- gering the welfare of his children after leav-
er arrested for letting her ing them in a car parked in a police station
9-year-old play unsupervised parking lot, windows rolled down, while he
at a playground, the teenager ran inside to pay a ticket.
forced to have his genitals photographed A Virginia teenager was charged with
by police, the underage burglar sentenced violating the states sexting law after ex-
to 23 years for shooting a retired police dog, changing sexually provocative videos with
or the 43-year-old man who died of a heart his girlfriend. Instead of insisting that the
attack after being put in a chokehold by matter be dealt with as a matter of parental
NYPD officers allegedly over the sale of un- concern, police charged the boy with manu-
taxed cigarettes, the theater of the absurd facturing and distributing child pornogra-
that passes for life in the American police phy and issued a search warrant to medi-
state grows more tragic and incomprehen- cally induce an erection in the 17-year-old
sible by the day. boy in order to photograph his erect penis
Debra Harrell, a 46-year-old South Caro- and compare it to the images sent in the
lina working mother, was arrested, charged sexting exchange. The police had already
with abandonment and had her child placed taken an initial photograph of the boys pe-

August 2014 | ColdType 11

criminal injustice

Any deviations nis against his will, upon his arrest. nalization, government surveillance, milita-
from the norm In Georgia, a toddler had his face severely rized police, neighbors turning in neighbors,
especially those burned when a flash bang grenade, launched privatized prisons, and forced labor camps,
that offend the by a SWAT team during the course of a no- to name just a few similarities is tracking
sensibilities of knock warrant, landed in his portable crib, very closely with what we saw happening in
the government- detonating on his pillow. Also in Georgia, a Germany in the years leading up to Hitlers
knows-best police officer shot and killed a 17-year-old rise to power.
nanny state or boy who answered the door, reportedly with When all is said and done, what these in-
challenge the a Nintendo Wii controller in his hands. The cidents reflect is a society that has become
powers that be cop claimed the teenager pointed a gun at so bureaucratic, so legalistic, so politically
become grist her, thereby justifying the use of deadly correct, so militaristic, so locked down, so
for prosecution, force. Then there was the incident wherein self righteous, and so willing to march in
persecution a police officer, responding to a complaint lockstep with the corporate-minded police
and endless that some children were chopping off tree state that any deviations from the norm
tribulations for the limbs creating tripping hazards, pulled especially those that offend the sensibili-
poor souls who a gun on a group of 11-year-old boys who ties of the government-knows-best nanny
are caught in the were playing in a wooded area, attempting state or challenge the powers that be be-
crosshairs to build a tree fort. come grist for prosecution, persecution and
While the growing phenomenon of cops endless tribulations for the poor souls who
shooting family pets only adds to the in- are caught in the crosshairs.
sanity (it is estimated that a family pet is ________________
killed by law enforcement every 98 minutes Then there are the incidents, less colorful
in America), its worse for those who dare perhaps but no less offensive to the sensi-
to shoot a police dog. Ivins Rosier was 16 bilities of any freedom-loving individual,
when he broke into the home of a Florida which should arouse outrage among the
highway patrol officer and shot (although populace but often slip under the radar of a
he didnt kill) the mans retired police dog. sleeping nation.
For his crime, the teenager was sentenced For instance, not only is the NSA spying
to 23 years in prison, all the while police of- on and collecting the content of your com-
ficers who shoot family pets are rarely rep- munications, but its also going to extreme
rimanded. lengths to label as extremists anyone who
Meanwhile if youre one of those hop- attempts to protect their emails from the
ing to live off the grid, independent of city governments prying eyes. Adding insult to
resources, you might want to think again. injury, those same government employees
Florida resident Robin Speronis was threat- and contractors spying on Americans pri-
ened with eviction for living without utili- vate electronic communications are also
ties. Speronis was accused of violating the ogling their private photos. Recent revela-
International Property Maintenance Code tions indicate that NSA employees routine-
by relying on rain water instead of the city ly pass around intercepted nude photos,
water system and solar panels instead of the considered a fringe benefit of surveillance
electric grid. positions.
Now we can shrug these incidents off A trove of leaked documents reveals the
as isolated injustices happening to other governments unmitigated gall in labeling
people. We can rationalize them away by Americans as terrorists for little more than
suggesting that these people must have being suspected of committing any act
done something to warrant such treatment. that is dangerous to property and intended
Or we can acknowledge that this slide into to influence government policy through in-
totalitarianism helped along by overcrimi- timidation. As The Intercept reports: This

12 ColdType | August 2014

criminal injustice

combination a broad definition of what anism, Arendt warned that the greatest A recent report
constitutes terrorism and a low threshold evil perpetrated is the evil committed by released by
for designating someone a terrorist opens nobodies, that is, by human beings who re- Human Rights
the way to ensnaring innocent people in fuse to be persons. Watch reveals
secret government dragnets. All the while, This is where democracy falls to ruin, that nearly
the TSA, despite the billions of dollars we and bureaucracy and tyranny prevail. all of the
spend on the agency annually and the liber- As I make clear in my book, A Govern- highest-profile
ties to which its agents subject travelers, has ment of Wolves: The Emerging American domestic
yet to catch a single terrorist. Police State, we have only ourselves to terrorism plots
No less disconcerting are the rash of in- blame for this bureaucratic hell that has in the United
cidents in which undercover government grown up around us. Too many of us will- States since
agents encourage individuals to commit ingly, knowingly and deliberately comprise 9/11 featured
crimes they might not have engaged in what Arendt refers to as cogs in the mass- the direct
otherwise. This make work entrapment murder machine. involvement
scheme runs the gamut from terrorism to These cogs are none other than those of us of government
drugs. In fact, a recent report released by who have turned a blind eye to the govern- agents or
Human Rights Watch reveals that nearly ment corruption, or shrugged dismissively informants
all of the highest-profile domestic terror- at the ongoing injustices, or tuned out the
ism plots in the United States since 9/11 mayhem in favor of entertainment distrac-
featured the direct involvement of govern- tions. Just as guilty are those who have trad-
ment agents or informants. ed in their freedoms for a phantom promise
Most outrageous of all are the asset for- of security, not to mention those who feed
feiture laws that empower law enforcement the machine unquestioningly with their tax
to rake in huge sums of money by confis- dollars and partisan politics.
cating cash, cars, and even homes based on And then there are those who work for
little more than a suspicion of wrongdoing. the government, federal, state, local or con-
In this way, Americans who havent been tractor. These government employees the
charged with a crime, let alone convicted soldiers, the cops, the technicians, the social
of wrongdoing, are literally being subjected workers, etc. are neither evil nor sadistic.
to highway robbery by government agents Theyre simply minions being paid to do a
offering profit-driven, cash-for-freedom job, whether that job is to arrest you, spy
deals. on you, investigate you, crash through your
________________ door, etc. However, we would do well to re-
So who or what is to blame for this bureau- member that those who worked at the con-
cratic nightmare delivered by way of the po- centration camps and ferried the victims to
lice state? Is it the White House? Is it Con- the gas chambers were also just doing their
gress? Is it the Department of Homeland Se- jobs.
curity, with its mobster mindset? Is it some Then again, if we must blame anyone,
shadowy, power-hungry entity operating off blame the faceless, nameless, bureaucratic
a nefarious plan? government machine which having been
Or is it, as Holocaust survivor Hannah erected and set into motion is nearly im-
Arendt suggests, the sheepish masses who possible to shut down for the relentless
mindlessly march in lockstep with the gov- erosion of our freedoms through a million
ernments dictates expressing no outrage, laws, statutes, and prohibitions.
demanding no reform, and issuing no chal- If there is any glimmer of hope to be
lenge to the status quo who are to blame found, it will be at the local level, but we
for the prison walls being erected around cannot wait for things to get completely out
us? The author of The Origins of Totalitari- of control. If you wait to act until the SWAT

August 2014 | ColdType 13

criminal injustice

This much I team is crashing through your door, until ours. In the same way, the governments ap-
know: we are not your name is placed on a terror watch list, pointed purpose is not to threaten or under-
faceless numbers. until you are reported for such outlawed mine our freedoms, but to safeguard them.
We are not cogs in activities as collecting rainwater or letting Until we can get back to this way of
the machine. We your children play outside unsupervised, thinking, until we can remind Americans
are not slaves. We then it will be too late. what it really means to be a free American,
are people, and Obedience is the precondition to totali- and learn to stand our ground in the face
free people at that tarianism, and the precondition to obedi- of threats to those freedoms, and encourage
ence is fear. Regimes of the past and present our fellow citizens to stop being cogs in the
understand this. The very first essential for machine, we will continue as slaves in thrall
success, Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, is a to the bureaucratic police state. CT
perpetually constant and regular employ-
ment of violence. Is this not what we are John W. Whitehead is a constitutional
seeing now with the SWAT teams and the attorney and author. He is founder and
security checkpoints and the endless wars? president of The Rutherford Institute and
a. As the Founders understood, our free- editor of His latest book
doms do not flow from the government. A Government of Wolves: The Emerging
They were not given to us, to be taken away American Police State (SelectBooks) is
at the will of the State; they are inherently available at

John Whitehead is one of the most

eloquent and knowledgeable
defenders of liberty, and opponents of
the growing American police state,
writing today. I am pleased to
recommend A Government of Wolves
to anyone interested in learning how
modern America increasingly
resembles a dystopian science fiction
film instead of a Constitutional
Republic.RON PAUL

14 ColdType | August 2014

Propaganda boom

Worse than Orwells

worst nightmare
John Pilger is appalled at the lack of dissident voices
in the mainstream media

he other night, I saw George Or- period, says an Observer headline, and why The once hopeful
wells1984performed on the London politics dont make good art. Consider this in concept of
stage. Although crying out for a con- a newspaper that promoted the bloodbath in reform now
temporary interpretation, Orwells Iraq as a liberal crusade. Picassos lifelong op- means regression,
warning about the future was presented as a position to fascism is a footnote, just as Orwells even destruction.
period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost radicalism has faded from the prize that appro- Austerity is
reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had priated his name. the imposition of
revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then pro- extreme capitalism
digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had fessor of English literature at Manchester Uni- on the poor and the
never said, To be corrupted by totalitarian- versity, reckoned that for the first time in two gift of socialism
ism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian centuries, there is no eminent British poet, for the rich: an
country. playwright or novelist prepared to question ingenious system
Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production the foundations of the western way of life. No under which the
was a measure of our cultural and political Shelley speaks for the poor, no Blake for uto- majority service the
times. When the lights came up, people were al- pian dreams, no Byron damns the corruption debts of the few
ready on their way out. They seemed unmoved, of the ruling class, no Thomas Carlyle and John
or perhaps other distractions beckoned. What Ruskin reveal the moral disaster of capitalism.
a mindfuck, said the young woman, lighting William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George
up her phone. Bernard Shaw have no equivalents today. Har-
As advanced societies are de-politicised, the old Pinter was the last to raise his voice. Among
changes are both subtle and spectacular. In ev- the insistent voices of consumer feminism,
eryday discourse, political language is turned none echoes Virginia Woolf, who described
on its head, as Orwell prophesised in 1984. the arts of dominating other people of rul-
Democracy is now a rhetorical device. Peace ing, of killing, of acquiring land and capital.
is perpetual war. Global is imperial. The At the National Theatre, a new play,Great
once hopeful concept of reform now means Britain,satirises the phone hacking scandal that
regression, even destruction. Austerity is the has seen journalists tried and convicted, includ-
imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor ing a former editor of Rupert MurdochsNews
and the gift of socialism for the rich: an inge- of the World. Described as a farce with fangs
nious system under which the majority service [that] puts the whole incestuous [media] cul-
the debts of the few. ture in the dock and subjects it to merciless rid-
In the arts, hostility to political truth-telling icule, the plays targets are the blessedly fun-
is an article of bourgeois faith. Picassos red ny characters in Britains tabloid press. That

August 2014 | ColdType 15

Propaganda boom

A precision is well and good, and so familiar. What of the declares: Toppling Saddam was right, but we
500-pound bomb non-tabloid media that regards itself as reputa- pulled out too soon. This ran across a promi-
fell directly on ble and credible, yet serves a parallel role as an nent article on 13 June by a former Blair func-
their small mud, arm of state and corporate power, as in the pro- tionary, John McTernan, who also served Iraqs
stone and straw motion of illegal war? The Leveson inquiry into CIA installed dictator Iyad Allawi. In calling for
house, leaving phone hacking glimpsed this unmentionable. a repeat invasion of a country his former mas-
a crater 50 feet Tony Blair was giving evidence, complaining ter helped destroy, he made no reference to the
wide. Lockheed to His Lordship about the tabloids harassment deaths of at least 700,000 people, the flight of
Martin, the planes of his wife, when he was interrupted by a voice four million refugees and sectarian turmoil in a
manufacturers, from the public gallery. David Lawley-Wakelin, nation once proud of its communal tolerance.
had pride of place a film-maker, demanded Blairs arrest and Blair embodies corruption and war, wrote
in theGuardians prosecution for war crimes. There was a long the radicalGuardian columnist Seumas Milne
advertisement pause: the shock of truth. Lord Leveson leapt in a spirited piece on 3 July. This is known in
to his feet and ordered the truth-teller thrown the trade as balance. The following day, the
out and apologised to the war criminal. Lawley- paper published a full-page advertisement for
Wakelin was prosecuted; Blair went free. an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing
Blairs enduring accomplices are more re- image of the bomber were the words: The
spectable than the phone hackers. When the F-35. GREAT For Britain. This other embodi-
BBC arts presenter, Kirsty Wark, interviewed ment of corruption and war will cost British
him on the tenth anniversary of his invasion of taxpayers 1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors
Iraq, she gifted him a moment he could only having slaughtered people across the develop-
dream of; she allowed him to agonise over his ing world.
difficult decision on Iraq rather than call him In a village in Afghanistan, inhabited by the
to account for his epic crime. This evoked the poorest of the poor, I filmed Orifa, kneeling at
procession of BBC journalists who in 2003 de- the graves of her husband, Gul Ahmed, a car-
clared that Blair could feel vindicated, and pet weaver, seven other members of her family,
the subsequent, seminal BBC series, The including six children, and two children who
Blair Years, for which David Aaronovitch was were killed in the adjacent house. A precision
chosen as the writer, presenter and interviewer. 500-pound bomb fell directly on their small
A Murdoch retainer who campaigned for mili- mud, stone and straw house, leaving a crater 50
tary attacks on Iraq, Libya and Syria, Aarono- feet wide. Lockheed Martin, the planes manu-
vitch fawned expertly. facturers, had pride of place in theGuardians
Since the invasion of Iraq the exemplar of advertisement.
an act of unprovoked aggression the Nurem- The former US secretary of state and aspir-
berg prosecutor Robert Jackson called the su- ing president of the United States, Hillary Clin-
preme international crime differing only from ton, was recently on the BBCsWomens Hour,
other war crimes in that it contains within it- the quintessence of media respectability. The
self the accumulated evil of the whole Blair presenter, Jenni Murray, presented Clinton as
and his mouthpiece and principal accomplice, a beacon of female achievement. She did not
Alastair Campbell, have been afforded gener- remind her listeners about Clintons profan-
ous space in theGuardianto rehabilitate their ity that Afghanistan was invaded to liberate
reputations. Described as a Labour Party star, women like Orifa. She asked Clinton nothing
Campbell has sought the sympathy of readers about her administrations terror campaign us-
for his depression and displayed his interests, ing drones to kill women, men and children.
though not his current assignment as advisor, There was no mention of Clintons idle threat,
with Blair, to the Egyptian military tyranny. while campaigning to be the first female presi-
As Iraq is dismembered as a consequence of dent, to eliminate Iran, and nothing about
the Blair/Bush invasion, a Guardian headline her support for illegal mass surveillance and

16 ColdType | August 2014

Propaganda boom

the pursuit of whistle-blowers. life. He had in mind a speech by Blair in which Todays grand
Murray did ask one finger-to-the-lips ques- the then prime minister promised to reorder illusion is of an
tion. Had Clinton forgiven Monica Lewinsky for the world around us according to his moral information age
having an affair with husband? Forgiveness is values. when, in truth,
a choice, said Clinton, for me, it was absolute- Richard Falk, the respected authority on in- we live in a media
ly the right choice. This recalled the 1990s and ternational law and the UN Special Rapporteur age in which
the years consumed by the Lewinsky scandal. on Palestine, once described as a self-righteous, incessant corporate
President Bill Clinton was then invading Haiti, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive propaganda
and bombing the Balkans, Africa and Iraq. He images of western values and innocence por- is insidious,
was also destroying the lives of Iraqi children; trayed as threatened, validating a campaign of contagious,
Unicef reported the deaths of half a million unrestricted political violence. It is so widely effective andliberal
Iraqi infants under the age of five as a result of accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable.
an embargo led by the US and Britain. Tenure and patronage reward the guardians.
The children were media unpeople, just as On BBC Radio 4, Razia Iqbal interviewed Toni
Hillary Clintons victims in the invasions she Morrison, the African-American Nobel Laure-
supported and promoted Afghanistan, Iraq, ate. Morrison wondered why people were so
Yemen, Somalia are media unpeople. Murray angry with Barack Obama, who was cool
made no reference to them. A photograph of and wished to build a strong economy and
her and her distinguished guest, beaming, ap- health care. Morrison was proud to have talk-
pears on the BBC website. ed on the phone with her hero, who had read
In politics as in journalism and the arts, it one of her books and invited her to his inau-
seems that dissent once tolerated in the main- guration.
stream has regressed to a dissidence: a meta- Neither she nor her interviewer mentioned
phoric underground. When I began a career in Obamas seven wars, including his terror cam-
Britains Fleet Street in the 1960s, it was accept- paign by drone, in which whole families, their
able to critique western power as a rapacious rescuers and mourners have been murdered.
force. Read James Camerons celebrated reports What seemed to matter was that a finely
of the explosion of the Hydrogen bomb at Bi- spoken man of colour had risen to the com-
kini Atoll, the barbaric war in Korea and the manding heights of power. In The Wretched
American bombing of North Vietnam. Todays of the Earth,Frantz Fanon wrote that the his-
grand illusion is of an information age when, in toric mission of the colonised was to serve as a
truth, we live in a media age in which incessant transmission line to those who ruled and op-
corporate propaganda is insidious, contagious, pressed. In the modern era, the employment of
effective andliberal. ethnic difference in western power and propa-
In his 1859 essayOn Liberty to which mod- ganda systems is now seen as essential. Obama
ern liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mill wrote: epitomises this, though the cabinet of George
Despotism is a legitimate mode of government W. Bush his warmongering clique was the
in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be most multiracial in presidential history.
their improvement, and the means justified by As the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to the jihad-
actually effecting that end. The barbarians ists of ISIS, Obama said, The American people
were large sections of humanity of whom im- made huge investments and sacrifices in order
plicit obedience was required. Its a nice and to give Iraqis the opportunity to chart a better
convenient myth that liberals are peacemakers destiny. How cool is that lie? How finely
and conservatives the warmongers, wrote the spoken was Obamas speech at the West Point
historian Hywel Williams in 2001, but the im- military academy on 28 May. Delivering his
perialism of the liberal way may be more dan- state of the world address at the graduation
gerous because of its open-ended nature: its ceremony of those who will take American
conviction that it represents a superior form of leadership across the world, Obama said, The

August 2014 | ColdType 17

Propaganda boom

If Israels atrocities United States will use military force, unilateral- a promise made to Soviet President Mikhail
in Gaza become ly if necessary, when our core interests demand Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand
too gruesome to it. International opinion matters, but America one inch to the east, Nato has, in effect, mili-
ignore, it would put will never ask permission tarily occupied eastern Europe. In the former
Egyptian President In repudiating international law and the Soviet Caucasus, Natos expansion is the big-
Abdul-Fattah rights of independent nations, the American gest military build-up since the Second World
el-Sisi under president claims a divinity based on the might War.
pressure to open of his indispensable nation. It is a familiar A Nato Membership Action Plan is Washing-
the Egyptian message of imperial impunity, though always tons gift to the coup-regime in Kiev. In August,
crossing into Gaza bracing to hear. Evoking the rise of fascism in Operation Rapid Trident will put American
the 1930s, Obama said, I believe in American and British troops on Ukraines Russian border
exceptionalism with every fibre of my being. and Sea Breeze will send US warships within
Historian Norman Pollack wrote: For goose- sight of Russian ports. Imagine the response if
steppers, substitute the seemingly more in- these acts of provocation, or intimidation, were
nocuous militarisation of the total culture. And carried out on Americas borders.
for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer In reclaiming Crimea which Nikita
manqu, blithely at work, planning and execut- Kruschev illegally detached from Russia in
ing assassination, smiling all the while. 1954 the Russians defended themselves as
In February, the US mounted one of its they have done for almost a century. More than
colour coups against the elected government 90 per cent of the population of Crimea voted
in Ukraine, exploiting genuine protests against to return the territory to Russia. Crimea is the
corruption in Kiev. Obamas national security home of the Black Sea Fleet and its loss would
adviser Victoria Nuland personally selected the mean life or death for the Russian Navy and a
leader of an interim government. She nick- prize for Nato. Confounding the war parties in
named him Yats. Vice President Joe Biden Washington and Kiev, Vladimir Putin withdrew
came to Kiev, as did CIA Director John Brennan. troops from the Ukrainian border and urged
The shock troops of their putsch were Ukrai- ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine to abandon
nian fascists. separatism.
For the first time since 1945, a neo-Nazi, In Orwellian fashion, this has been inverted
openly anti-Semitic party controls key areas of in the west to the Russian threat. Hillary Clin-
state power in a European capital. No Western ton likened Putin to Hitler. Without irony, right-
European leader has condemned this revival wing German commentators said as much. In
of fascism in the borderland through which the media, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis are sani-
Hitlers invading Nazis took millions of Rus- tised as nationalists or ultra nationalists.
sian lives. They were supported by the Ukrai- What they fear is that Putin is skilfully seeking
nian Insurgent Army (UPA), responsible for a diplomatic solution, and may succeed. On 27
the massacre of Jews and Russians they called June, responding to Putins latest accommoda-
vermin. The UPA is the historical inspira- tion his request to the Russian Parliament to
tion of the present-day Svoboda Party and its rescind legislation that gave him the power to
fellow-travelling Right Sector. Svoboda leader intervene on behalf of Ukraines ethnic Rus-
Oleh Tyahnybok has called for a purge of the sians Secretary of State John Kerry issued
Moscow-Jewish mafia and other scum, in- another of his ultimatums. Russia must act
cluding gays, feminists and those on the politi- within the next few hours, literally to end the
cal left. revolt in eastern Ukraine. Notwithstanding that
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kerry is widely recognised as a buffoon, the se-
United States has ringed Russia with military rious purpose of these warnings is to confer
bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part pariah status on Russia and suppress news of
of its Nato Enlargement Project. Reneging on the Kiev regimes war on its own people.

18 ColdType | August 2014

Propaganda boom

A third of the population of Ukraine are ernment Says. Obama congratulated the Summon from
Russian-speaking and bilingual. They have long junta for its restraint. history the ghosts
sought a democratic federation that reflects On 28 June, theGuardiandevoted most of a of Vietnam,
Ukraines ethnic diversity and is both autono- page to declarations by the Kiev regimes pres- Chile, East Timor,
mous and independent of Moscow. Most are ident, the oligarch Petro Poroshenko. Again, southern Africa,
neither separatists nor rebels but citizens Orwells rule of inversion applied. There was Iraq; note the
who want to live securely in their homeland. no putsch; no war against Ukraines minority; same tags.
Separatism is a reaction to the Kiev juntas at- the Russians were to blame for everything. We Palestine is the
tacks on them, causing as many as 110,000 (UN want to modernise my country, said Poroshen- lodestone of this
estimate) to flee across the border into Russia. ko. We want to introduce freedom, democracy unchanging deceit
Typically, they are traumatised women and and European values. Somebody doesnt like
children. that. Somebody doesnt like us for that.
Like Iraqs embargoed infants, and Afghani- According to his report, the Guardians re-
stans liberated women and girls, terrorised porter, Luke Harding, did not challenge these
by the CIAs warlords, these ethnic people of assertions, or mention the Odessa atrocity, the
Ukraine are media unpeople in the west, their regimes air and artillery attacks on residential
suffering and the atrocities committed against areas, the killing and kidnapping of journalists,
them minimised, or suppressed. No sense of the firebombing of an opposition newspaper
the scale of the regimes assault is reported in and his threat to free Ukraine from dirt and
the mainstream western media. This is not un- parasites. The enemy are rebels, militants,
precedented. Reading again Phillip Knightleys insurgents, terrorists and stooges of the
masterlyThe First Casualty: the war correspon- Kremlin. Summon from history the ghosts of
dent as hero, propagandist and mythmaker, I Vietnam, Chile, East Timor, southern Africa,
renewed my admiration for the Manchester Iraq; note the same tags.
GuardiansMorgan Philips Price, the only west- Palestine is the lodestone of this unchang-
ern reporter to remain in Russia during the 1917 ing deceit. On 11 July, following the latest Is-
revolution and report the truth of a disastrous raeli, American equipped slaughter in Gaza 80
invasion by the western allies. Fair-minded and people including six children in one family an
courageous, Philips Price alone disturbed what Israeli general writes in theGuardian under the
Knightley calls an anti-Russian dark silence headline, A necessary show of force.
in the west. In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and
On 2 May, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians asked her about her films that glorified the Na-
were burned alive in the trade union head- zis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting
quarters with police standing by. There is techniques, she produced a documentary form
horrifying video evidence. The Right Sector that mesmerised Germans; it was herTriumph
leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre of the Will that reputedly cast Hitlers spell. I
as another bright day in our national his- asked her about propaganda in societies that
tory. In the American and British media, imagined themselves superior. She replied that
this was reported as a murky tragedy re- the messages in her films were dependent
sulting from clashes between national- not on orders from above but on a submis-
ists (neo-Nazis) and separatists (people sive void in the German population. Did that
collecting signatures for a referendum on a include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? I
federal Ukraine). TheNew York Timesburied asked. Everyone, she replied, and of course
it, having dismissed as Russian propaganda the intelligentsia. CT
warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic
policies of Washingtons new clients. TheWall John PIlgers new film, Utopia, has
Street Journaldamned the victims Deadly received glowing reviews in the UK and
Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Gov- Australia

August 2014 | ColdType 19

The great FLU

Superbugs threaten to
return us to Dark Ages
The last pandemic to kill millions of people was the Spanish flu outbreak
at the end of World War I. Trevor Grundy wonders when the next will hit us

In the course of he pandemic that swept across the food and shelter which was not the case in
three months, over globe at the end of the First World countries such as India, China or most places
43,000 soldiers War (1914-1918) has been described in Africa. Mortality ranged from about five
succumbed to the by various historians as the great- per 1000 in Europe and USA: nine per 1000 in
disease. One of the est medical holocaust in history alongside Latin America: 15 per 1000 in Africa and 20-34
most striking of AIDS, tuberculosis, smallpox, malaria, cholera per 1000 in Asia.
the complications and typhus. The Dutch researcher and specialist in Af-
was haemorrhage Some media commentators have drawn rican social history Professor JanBart Gewald
from mucous parallels between the devastation caused by told a gathering of academics in 2007 that
membranes, Spanish flu with the Black Death from 1347- Spanish influenza originated not in Spain
especially from 1351 when the rat and flea carried bubonic (which was neutral throughout the 1914-1918
the nose, stomach plague wiped such a large percentage of the conflict) but in France at a military camp
and intestine European population. Such comparisons are where over 100,000 men lived beside pigs and
exaggerated. The bubonic plague wiped out poultry.
close to 200 million people, roughly one third Others say it started in China and then
of Europes population in the tumultuous spread to Kansas USA, crossing over into Eu-
14th century. rope and then Africa and other parts of the
Although no-one is able to tell us exactly world by German and Allied soldiers locked
how many died, it is common to focus on the in one of the most appalling slaughters in his-
impact Spanish influenza had in 1918 on West- tory.
ern countries where systematic information In March 1918, the deadly virus struck at
on mortality has been available for a number military camps in America, where soldiers
of years. Estimates are anything from 20 mil- waited shipment to the war in Europe.
lion to 40 million, substantially more than the In the course of three months, over 43,000
estimated 18 million (10 million combatants soldiers succumbed to the disease. One of the
and eight million civilians) killed in the war most striking of the complications was haem-
itself. More died in a single year than were orrhage from mucous membranes, especially
killed in the four years of the Black Death from the nose, stomach and intestine. Bleed-
from 1347-1351) ing from the ears and skin also occurred but
But the highest death rates were neither the majority of deaths were from bacterial
in America or Europe. They were in Asia and pneumonia. The disease killed 20 percent of
Africa not surprisingly because the majority those infected, as opposed to the usual flu
of Westerners had access to reasonably decent epidemic of 0.5 percent.

20 ColdType | August 2014

The great FLU

Lawrence Vambe in a photo takenshortly after Zimbabwes Independence in 1980 at Domboshava outside Harare. He
became a leading journalist and author. Photo: Trevor Grundy

The epidemic did not kick off in Spain but dugouts of horrendous war the disease spread Like so much else,
the name stuck Spanish flu. like wildfire and lay the seeds for further out- the devastating
Like so much else, the devastating impact breaks further afield. impact of the
of the epidemic was played down by the vic- Hundreds of thousands of men were epidemic was
torious Allies and within a few years the pub- shipped to Africa where a fierce war between played down by
lics memory of the Spanish flu fell away and the Germans and British (backed by South Af- the victorious
historians call it the forgotten epidemic. The ricans and Rhodesians) raged in East Africa. Allies and within
names of millions of the war dead are remem- In 1998, Professor Howard Phillips in the a few years, the
bered on stones and walls around the world, Department of History at the University of publics memory
but theres no clear division between those Cape Town and Professor David Killingray, of the Spanish
who died in combat and those who died of in- organized a conference entitled Refections flu fell away and
fluenza at the wars end in November. on the Spanish Flu Pandemic after 80 years: historians call it
But forgotten?? Causes, Course and Consequences. Little the forgotten
Well, almost. It was seen as an extension of known studies were examined including Pro- epidemic
one of the many tragedies of the war. fessor Terence Rangers The Influenza Pan-
On the battlefield of Northern France, demic in Southern Rhodesia: A Crisis of Com-
Gewald explains, troops on either side of prehension, which he compiled in 1988.
the line, sometimes 500 meters apart, were There have been hundreds of learned ar-
infected by airborne diseases. In the prisoner ticles about the impact influenza made on
of war camps and gas-ridden trenches and America, Britain, and Europe relatively few

August 2014 | ColdType 21

The great FLU

Every morning, on the devastation it caused in Africa.

one of them would In the north-eastern districts of Northern
milk a cow and Rhodesia (Zambia) the pandemic arrived in
feed me with fresh the context of war and famine.
milk. Without those German soldiers under Lettow von Vor-
dedicated nuns, beck had routed British colonial forces, sacked
I would not have Kasama and seemed set to continue onwards.
survived Ian Phimister tells us in Wangi Kolia
Coal, Capital and Labour in Colonial Zim-
babwe 1894-1954 (Baobab Books Harare,
1994) that the first case of Spanish influenza
in neighbouring Southern Rhodesia (Zimba-
bwe) came in October 1918, one month before
the wars end.
He writes: From there the epidemic spread
swiftly to Gwelo (Gweru), Que Que (Kwekwe)
and Salisbury (Harare) before engulfing other
towns and districts the line of rail. Wankies The poor, the old, the wretched and the hungry
turn came on October 14, 1918 and within will always be the most vulnerable during
the space of a few days nearly two thousand epidemics. The next one could bemainly man
natives were prostrated. The influenza pan- made. Photo: Trevor Grundy
demic struck the colliery with explosive force.
Like most other large Southern Rhodesian cause of the drop in production in Zambia.
mines, Wankies overcrowded, filthy com- The pandemic spread, fast as a bullet and
pound provided optimum conditions for the against the fear of an invisible foe there is no
rapid spread of the disease. Underground la- heroic combat.
bourers, subject to variations in temperature Lawrence Vambe MBE, the Zimbabwean
as they left hot and confined working con- journalist and author (An Ill-fated People
ditions below ground for the surface where and From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe (both
there were no change houses, to suffer most published by William Heinemann, London
from the pandemic. Hundreds of miners drew 1972 and 1976 respectively) was born in March
the appropriate conclusion and fled to the 1917. His mother died the following year, a
compound into the surrounding countryside. victim of Spanish influenza. Vambe and his
Some undoubtedly carried inflection into siblings were brought up by German nuns at
outlying villages but many more unquestion- Chishawasha Mission (Roman Catholic) out-
ably saved their own lives by escaping from side Salisbury (Harare). Every morning, one
the colliery. By 24 October, an estimated 100 of them would milk a cow and feed me with
black workers had died and by the end of the fresh milk. Without those dedicated nuns,
month the total number of dead had more I would not have survived, he told me. I
than doubled. One white miner died in the wonder how many young Zimbabweans to-
same period. For nearly two weeks Wankie day know what happened the devastation
was at a complete standstill. caused by that terrible epidemic.
Francis L. Coleman records in The North- Blacks blamed whites: whites blamed
ern Rhodesian Copper Belt 1899-1962 (Man- blacks.
chester University Press, 1971) that the price In South Africa, the authorities reacted by
of copper rose from 61 to 170 a ton by the passing more segregation legislation the Na-
end of 1916, but it was Katanga, in neighbor- tive Urban Areas Act to separate the races.
ing Congo (Zaire) that prospered the most be- Although in some hospitals white nurses

22 ColdType | August 2014

The great FLU

were told to treat blacks because the authori- hardly matters where the epidemic started or Africans started
ties were so frightened it would spread even who was responsible. to believe that
further without treatment. It was no respecter of race or ethnic group. the whitemans
In Black Peril, White Virtue: Sexual Crime All human beings were fair game, as they are chimurenga in
in Southern Rhodesia 1902-1935 (Bloom- now if British Prime Minister David Cameron Europe (they
ington: Indiana University Press, 2000) Jock is right that super bugs resistant to antibiotics were drawn into
McCullough tells us that the natives were could return us to the European Dark Ages, a it because they
forbidden from travelling on trains. Chiefs time so chillingly and brilliantly described by were then part of
were instructed to keep their people con- the American historian Barabra Tuchman in the British Empire)
fined to their villages. The state requisitioned The Distant Mirror (Macmillan, 1979) had caused the
cattle and petrol supplies. Almost ten times A report in the Times (July 2, 2014) said epidemic
more Europeans about 1,300 of them died that a team of economists will lead an inter-
from Spanish flu than were killed in the first national group of experts aiming to spur on
chimurenga (war in the Shona language) of a new generation of antibiotics. Jim ONeill,
1897. a former chief economist at Goldman Sachs
Africans started to believe that the white- has been asked to consider how governments
mans chimurenga in Europe (they were would be able to afford to pay pharmaceutical
drawn into it because they were then part of companies to produce the right drugs which
the British Empire) had caused the epidemic could overcome future epidemics and how
which turned customary life upside down in poorer countries (many of them in Africa)
both of the Rhodesias (Zambia and Zimba- can be encouraged to improve the control of
bwe). existing antibiotics which are often sold over
So many women were sick. Men had to the counter in shops.
grind corn and prepare meals. Diets changed. Jeremy Farra, director of the Wellcome
Cassava a relatively easy crop to grow requir- Trust, says that drug-resistant bacteria, vi-
ing less labour than maize became suddenly ruses and parasites are driving a global health
popular. crisis. This, he says, threatens not only our
Melvin E. Page writing in The Chiwaya ability to treat deadly infections, but almost
War: Malawians and the First World War every aspect of modern medicine from can-
(Boulder Press Colorado, 2000) tells us that cer treatment to caesarean sections, therapies
the connection between the war and the pan- that save thousands of lives every day rely on
demic of influenza was not only immediate antibiotics that could soon be lost.
but causal. A common expression was that But only five new types of antibiotics
war air had brought the new and devastat- have been introduced since the 1960s and the
ing disease into Africa because of white men supply of newly developed drugs is dwindling
fighting one another thousands of miles away as companies see little profit in working on
in Europe. treatments designed only to be used as a last
A young woman in the Eastern Cape, Non- resort, said the Times.
tetha Nkwenkwe, was overcome by Spanish And, as usual, it will be the poor, the home-
flu but she recovered and said she had re- less, the already ill and hungry who will bear
ceived divine messages. She began preaching the brunt of the next medical cataclysm given
and prophesizing that influenza was a divine that were all to silly, greedy or both to let any-
warning of things to come a taste of what thing like that happen again. CT
God was bringing on Judgment Day.
The colonial authorities out her and her Trevor Grundy is a British journalist who
followers into prison. lived and worked in Central, Eastern and
Against the background of an estimated Southern Africa from 1966-1996. He works in
30-50 million deaths in just over one year, it wEngland as a researcher and author

August 2014 | ColdType 23

in the picture

Still defiant
after 30 years
No coal mines survive in County Durham
in England, but this years annual miners
gala in the city still attracted 150,000
supporters who remembered the part played
by Margaret Thatchers Tory government
in the destruction of the coal mining industry
and Britains most powerful trade union
Words: Peter Lazenby Photos: Joan Heath

Durhams narrow urham is a small and ancient English
streets are cathedral city with a history stretch-
thronged and ing back more than 1,000 years. The
lined with tens cathedral was founded in 1093 on
of thousands of the site of an old church in the era of Roman
people to see the Catholic domination of Britain. It took more
march of trades than 70 years to build. Sons followed fathers
union banners and in the building of the cathedral stonema-
their bands sons, carpenters. One can only marvel at their
achievements in a time when only the most
basic tools were available. To the secular the
cathedral is a tribute to the skills of the work-
ers who built it, rather than to a deity.
Adjacent to the magnificent cathedral thousands of people watching the parade
is Durham Castle, a medieval fortification of trades union banners and bands. At the
which is now part of the University of Dur- bottom of the incline, the marchers walk
ham. Cathedral and castle sit atop a rocky across a bridge over the River Wear before
promontory and are the striking feature of arriving outside the County Hotel, used as
the skyline far beyond Durham city. Ancient headquarters for gala organisers and their
streets wind down to the city centre from visiting guests.
the cathedral and castle streets which have The march covers a short distance, may-
been trod by monks, pilgrims, worshippers be a mile, yet takes up to six hours as each
and warriors over the centuries. band stops beneath the balcony of the hotel
On Durham Miners Gala day these to play a piece specially selected and prac-
streets are thronged and lined with tens of ticed for the occasion.

24 ColdType | August 2014

A stirring moment as the Easington Lodge banner is
preceded by its band, past Durhams County Hotel

By mid-morning the sidewalks are almost supporters, and filling even more with the The march covers
unpassable, such is the density of the crowd drawn-out arrival of the procession. a short distance,
applauding the groups of marchers. Each The gala has a carnival atmosphere. But maybe one mile,
banner has as many as six carriers two the speeches from the platform, lasting yet takes up
holding the banners poles, with two at the around two hours, are a serious business to six hours
front and back holding ornate ropes fixed highly political, rousing, but drawing laugh- to complete
to the top of the banner poles, to secure the ter as well as cheers as speakers lampoon the
banner from gusts of wind. Behind the ban- government, the boss-class, and other targets
ners follow thousands of union members of the day.
and their families. By late afternoon the gala is over, but the
The gala field, approached via a short streets remain thronged until after midnight,
slope, is already occupied by thousands of the citys pubs packed with revellers.

August 2014 | ColdType 25

in the picture

Marching on from the County Hotel in front of the

Durham Miners Association banner.

Craighead Lodge band marches along the street. Banner of the Chopwell Lodge of the NUM.

The effect of mine The first coal miners union in the Dur- Union of Mineworkers Britains most pow-
closures was ham area was founded in 1869, and staged erful trades union. Destruction of the union
shocking: no jobs its first gala in 1871. At its peak, when hun- through the closing of the coal mines wreaked
for young people, dreds of coal mines operated in the North havoc on Britains close-knit mining commu-
helplessness, of England, it attracted crowds of 300,000 nities. The loss of a mine meant the loss of
frustration, seven times the population of the city of each communitys economic base, along with
followed by a Durham. This years gala, the 130th in its his- the businesses which depended on the min-
growth in drug tory, took place during the 30th anniversary ers wages.
abuse and crime in of the start of the year-long 1984-5 miners The effect was shocking: no jobs for young
many communities strike against pit closures. There were 150,000 people, helplessness, frustration, followed by
attendees, although Durham no longer has a growth in drug abuse and crime in many
any coal mines, or miners. The last deep coal communities. The Conservatives threw more
mine in the Durham coalfield was shut down than 150,000 coal miners out of work, mean-
in 1993 by the Conservative Government, as it ing near-destitution for many of them and
fulfilled its intention to destroy the National their families. For every miners job there

26 ColdType | August 2014

Brass band leads the banner and balloon of the Unison Union.

were reckoned to be three more in associat- trades union members in Britain. Today there The Conservatives
ed industries equipment manufacture and are 6.5 million. After wrecking Britains coal threw more than
transport among them. So the Conservatives mining industry the countrys only long- 150,000 coal
act of political vandalism against the mining term indigenous source of fuel the govern- miners out of
industry cost some 600,000 jobs. ment attacked manufacturing industries such work, meaning
There was more to the Conservatives as steel and ship-building. Such was the Con- near-destitution
planned destruction of the National Union servatives determination to wreck Britains for many of them
of Mineworkers, though. The miners were trades union movement. and their families
the shock troops of Britains trades union Why? Because the movement was the only
movement. In 1974 they had brought down barrier between the Conservatives and their
a Conservative government; with the miners ultimate goal: the transformation of Britain
gone, the way was open to attack rest of the from a social-democratic nation, with a wel-
unions. It is significant that when the Con- fare state, publicly-owned national health
servative Government of Margaret Thatcher service, publicly-owned housing, and pub-
came to power in 1979 there were 13.5 million licly-owned industries, including the supply

August 2014 | ColdType 27

in the picture

Among the speakers (from left): Christine Blower, National Union of Teachers; Dennis Skinner MP; Dave Hopper, Durham
Miners Association; Steve Gillan, Prison Officers Association; Paul Kenny, GMB.

The historic Follonsby banner is paraded through the narrow streets of Durham .

After wrecking of power, operated for the benefit of all the The Conservatives have enthusiastic sup-
Britains coal people. Into what? Into a country where every port for their project from the media. Eighty
mining industry, service would be based on profit. per cent of the British Press pours out a daily
the government The transformation continues as publicly- flood of right-wing propaganda, while the
attacked owned health care services are being handed state-owned British Broadcasting Corporation
manufacturing to private companies. The welfare safety net is manipulated by the Government.
industries which assisted disabled and unemployed peo-
such as steel and ple and others is being dismantled. All that All is not lost, however, for the unions that
ship-building was once owned by the state, and operated remain many operating in what is left of
in the interest of the people, is being handed the public sector are fighting back. An esti-
to corporations whose only motive is profit. mated 1.5 million public sector workers took
Extra taxes are being piled on the poor, while strike action on July 10. Resistance is growing.
taxes on Britains wealthiest people have been More strikes are planned.
cut. Billions of pounds has been transferred The growth in support for the Durham
from the poor to the rich. Miners Gala is another sign of the fight-back.

28 ColdType | August 2014

A pipe band leads the Eldon colliery union branchs ornate banner

It is also evidence that while the mining com- After the mine closures, across the former Eighty per cent of
munities were wrecked by the coal mine clo- coalfield of Durham banner support groups the British Press
sures, the spirit of many of those communi- sprang up. In many communities, where a pours out a daily
ties lives on. For many in the Durham area it banner had disappeared after the closure of flood of right-
focuses on the preservation of the banners the coal mine, a replica is created. Damaged wing propaganda,
of the National Union of Mineworkers. Each banners have been meticulously repaired. while the state-
coal mine, employing roughly 1,000 miners, There are regular exhibitions of banners, owned British
had its own branch of the union, and its own which are brought out each year for the Dur- Broadcasting
union banner. Durham used to have 70 deep ham Miners Gala. More banners are being re- Corporation is
coal mines. discovered or recreated every year, and these manipulated by
Among the union officials elected annually new banners are greeted with great ceremony the Government to
by each branch was the position of banner at the Gala. suit its ends
man. To this miner fell the responsibility of The gala is known historically as the Big
caring for the branchs trades union banner, Meeting, and seeing the crowd of tens of
keeping it maintained and ready for use. thousands listening attentively to the outspo-

August 2014 | ColdType 29

in the picture

Kibblesworth Lodge banner celebrates Aneurin Bevin. Crowds pack the racecourse awaiting the banners.

More banners ken speeches explains why. When the speak- there will be more banners representing former
are being re- ers including national union leaders, so- mining communities of the Durham coalfield.
discovered or cialist Members of Parliament, international The spirit of the miners will live on. CT
recreated every guests and two miners from Eastern Ukraine
year, and these finish, the banners are marched from the Peter Lazenby is a lifelong British trades
new banners are field, again led by their bands. But in the city union activist and journalist, and is a
greeted with centre the four newly discovered or re-created reporter for the Morning Star newspaper, a
great ceremony banners take another route, up a steep incline left national newspaper supporting Britains
at the Gala to the hill-top cathedral that dominates the labour and trades union
city, where a congregation of 1,200 awaits the
arrival of the new banners, to be blessed by Joan Heath is a university lecturer,
the Bishop of Durham. journalist, former practising solicitor, and a
This year there were 80 mining union ban- member of the management committee of
ners at the gala, although only three deep mines the co-operative which owns the Morning
remain in Britain. There were many more from Star. She is also a member of a collective
other unions and organisations, and also ban- which makes banners for the labour
ners from schools, carried by pupils. Next year movement.

30 ColdType | August 2014

The banners and bands arrive at the racecourse, where the festivities are already under way.

This year there

Legacy of an industrys destruction were 80 mining
union banners
The destruction of Britains deep coal mining industry meant the abandonment the countrys only at the gala, even
indigenous fuel which would have lasted for 200 years. Also abandoned was the worlds most ad- though only three
vanced research into Clean Coal Technology, which would have vastly reduced the environmental deep coal mines
damage caused by burning fossil fuel. Gas and oil reserves beneath the North Sea are running out, so remain in Britain
more than 50 million tons of coal a year are imported for Britains power stations from countries which
include Russia, and Colombia which has a record of exploiting child labour in its mines.
Fuel bills in Britain have soared as a result. The gas and electricity industries and power stations,
once publicly-owned, are now in private hands. The owning companies only motive is profit. Britain
now suffers the existence of fuel poverty people facing a choice of eating or heating. They cant do
both. Every winter 30,000 pensioners die from cold-related illnesses, while food banks have sprung
up across thew country, providing parcels of non-perishable food for families facing hunger.
This is the legacy of the destruction of Britains coal mining industry and of the National Union of
Mineworkers. Peter Lazenby

August 2014 | ColdType 31

Book excerpt

Scottish identity
what is it?
In this excerpt from her new book, Blossom, Leslie Riddoch argues
that Scotland has the resources, the history and the character
to become an independent nation, ruled from Edinburgh, not London

Scotland has ets lay this one to rest straight away arguing over what we already know Scot-
natural and Scotland has a more distinctive land has some of the worst health, employ-
cultural assets personality than many independent ment and social outcomes in Europe and one
other countries nations. We have massive energy of the biggest income gaps. If you live in one
would give resources Ireland has next to none. We of the ten per cent poorest neighbourhoods
their eye teeth have a strategic location the Vikings once you are five times more likely to experience
to possess killed for (literally). We have more viable crime, twice as likely to have chronic or se-
and internationally ranked cities than Eng- rious health problems that result in emer-
land. We land a third of the fish caught by gency hospital admission and your kids will
the fish-mad Icelanders and a natural sce- score only half the combined academic re-
nic splendour that makes other Europeans sults of their most affluent S6 peers in the
weep. We have more coastline than Germa- ten per cent richest neighbourhoods. These
ny, a richer folk tradition than the are dramatically unequal outcomes.
Irish (OK, we could have a wee The picture of income
row over that one) a list of inven- inequality is equally
tors proportionately longer than stark. In 2010/11 the
any other nation on earth and poorest 30% of Scots
world-renowned food, energy received 14% of national
and engineering firms as a re- income and theres been
sult. very little change in this
We have natural and cul- income inequality since
tural assets other countries 1998/99.
would give their eye teeth So lets not spend too
to possess but somehow much time arguing. Income
the overall result is not a and health, education and
generally healthy nation employment outcomes in
with affordable energy, Scotland are very uneven.
comfortable homes, inventive The only real question is
industry and creative lives spent Blossom whyIn fact, Scotland has a long
sailing, rowing, fishing, ski-ing, legacy of unequal access to
Lesley Riddoch
walking and generally guddling wealth, opportunity and assets
around in nature. Luath Press, Edinburgh so unequal that Scotlands natu-
We could spend a lot of time 11.99 ral advantages are like familiar,

32 ColdType | August 2014

Book excerpt

Yes Scotlands first annual Independence rally in Edinburgh in 2012. Photo: Phyllis Buchanan

family heirlooms for the few and untouch- the Establishment. Ownership
able, almost imaginary treasures for the This country can blossom but we need of assets and
many. Inequality has nipped Scotland in to recognise the real problem first. decision making
the bud. Scots currently inhabit a large, beauti- power are held
Over generations this blight has inhibited ful garden whose owners cant manage it in relatively few
confidence, soured capacity, silenced hope, properly and wont trust anyone else to do hands and modern
repelled the independent-minded and erod- the job. As a result monocultures run riot, Scotland too
ed confidence in Mother Scotlands ability dominant plants stifle diversity, native spe- often resembles
to care for all her weans. In some ways thats cies grow in the shade, climbers are unsup- a medieval
to our credit. Most Scots feel uneasy enjoy- ported, soil is exhausted, seeds are blown fiefdom run by
ing pleasures that cannot be shared. Sadly elsewhere, weeds run unchecked and litter the top, from the
most also believe the few will fix things fills corners. Passers-by admire the back- centre and for the
without pressure. We might as well expect drop, spot the potential but puzzle over the Establishment
Black Buns to vote for Hogmanay. general lack of care. There are a small num-
Confidence arises from owning assets, ber of stunning exhibits but in general, all
running lives and taking decisions. That in the garden is not rosy. Somewhere under
confidence the life-blood of a nation the weeds the little white rose of Scotland
should pump around the whole of the Scot- is still alive growing, budding but never
tish body politic. It doesnt. Ownership of quite flowering for more than a few pre-
assets and decision making power are held cious days.
in relatively few hands and modern Scot- How can it? A competent gardener is
land too often resembles a medieval fief- needed to restructure the garden from the
dom run by the top, from the centre and for grassroots upwards but the best candidate

August 2014 | ColdType 33

Book excerpt

The current is busy. That best candidate is the Scottish look like anyone real.
working definition people. We could inhabit a well-tended, di- Nonetheless at some point all Scots have
of Scottishness is verse garden, home to foreign exotica, har- tried to pour themselves into the part. Like
male to the core dy hybrids and flowering, reproductive and 90 minute Christians who appear in church
and ties a nation distinctively Scottish plants. But it would for marriages and funerals, 90 minute Scots
psychologically take a collective commitment of time and turn out for Burns Nights, Stag nights, Hen
and symbiotically effort and we must start from where we nights, Rugby matches, Tartan Army events,
to a neighbour are. Divided. weddings, funerals and barmitzvahs. When
uber Scots would Some see Scotland as a viable proposi- identity is demanded or ritual is required,
rather not emulate tion, others privately think the country is a men advance and women recede the kilt
hopeless basket case with large, sick, hope- appears, a few poems or songs are dusted
less urban populations who cannot fend for down, bawdy sideways snipes are made at
themselves and dispersed rural communi- women and serious drinking helps lads fo-
ties inhabiting land so barren its only fit for cus on the only point of Scottish identity
grouse moors. If we are to move forward, we that seems to matter.
must move forward together. So lets try to Not being English.
tackle this divided opinion not deny it. Not indulging in pedantry, moderation,
Scotland has inequality. Does it have an village greens, David Cameron, New Labour,
underlying identity beyond that some- house-price discussions, real ale, cricket or
thing that genuinely unites all its people? morris dancing.
Something you might call a national iden- Its easy to sneer. But if this describes the
tity? English what does it make the Scots?
Yes it does in so far as any nation does. Immoderate, excessive, concrete-jungle
But it may not revolve around the symbols tolerating, Old Labour, vodka drinking,
of nationhood most commonly associated football-worshipping, hard men? The cur-
with the Scots. rent working definition of Scottishness is
And thats a paradox worth dwelling on male to the core and ties a nation psycho-
a little. logically and symbiotically to a neighbour
Its more than 300 years since the Treaty uber Scots would rather not emulate.
of Union. Britain PLC has partly de-merged If anyone hadnt noticed, the English are
its acquisitions. currently on a quest of their own driven to
Scotland has regained a parliament, is self-discovery by the apparently resurgent
set to vote on independence and feelings of Celts. Jeremy Paxman, Kate Fox, David Star-
Scottishness abound. No wonder. It would key, Simon Schama the bookshelves are
be hard to think of a nation with more vis- groaning with attempts to scrape together
ible, durable and internationally accepted a DNA of the English that does not rely on
calling cards of identity Tartan, Bagpipes, Empire, Good Queen Bess, 1966, Dunkirk
Auld Lang Syne, Haggis, Burns Whisky, and Eastenders.
Golf. If being English is currently a puzzle
And yet. being not English is an absolute nonsense.
Do all Scots identify with these Balmora- Expressed succinctly in Rentons speech,
lised symbols of nationhood? by Irvine Welsh in Trainspotting,
Disconnected from the environment I hate being Scottish. Were the lowest
that created them, kilt wearing, single-malt of the fucking low, the scum of the earth,
quaffing, Pringle wearing, golf-mad Scots the most wretched, servile, miserable, pa-
seem strangely inauthentic. Like an iden- thetic trash that was ever shat into civili-
tikit picture on a Wanted poster each piece zation. Some people hate the English, but
may be accurate but the whole face doesnt I dont. Theyre just wankers. We, on the

34 ColdType | August 2014

Book excerpt

other hand, are colonized by wankers. We hed listen to a witheringly sarcastic phone- Andys dad did
cant even pick a decent culture to be colo- in about the days football (Off the Ball) work in the
nized by. We are ruled by effete arseholes. watch a sitcom about two auld geezers on a shipyards, lived in
Its a shite state of affairs and all the fresh bleak housing estate (Still Game), and stay a council house,
air in the world will not make any fucking in guzzling lager because he had no cash to refused to buy it
difference. buy a round. on principle, voted
Its no wonder young Scots want out Ever thought of going out and just buy- Labour until the
into a bigger or smaller world where iden- ing a pint for yourself, Andy? shipyards closed,
tity can be defined by sex, drugs, music, Dinnae be daft. switched to the
shoe size, Facebook friends anything oth- Aye Andy disnae quite speik proper SNP, decided
er than the dull, out-dated strait-jacket that English when he disnae huv tae either. they were Tartan
accompanies the geographical accident of With Scotlands best fishing on the door- Tories . . .
being Scottish. step, does Andy own a fishing rod or a
And yet. boat perhaps?
Try believing Scots are not a distinctive Naw and he disnae dae country danc-
group but just self-deluded northern Brits ing or shoot deer up the arse either.
surfing the net and watching MTV in a glo- Do any of his family own land?
balised world devoid of local cultural refer- Cmon, we live in a council house.
ence. Andy does. This earnest Scottish TV OK Andy.
researcher came over to chat after a BBC Did you vote for Britains favourite paint-
discussion programme in which I was the ing in 2005 Turners Fighting Temeraire
only person to think Scottish independence (The Battle of Trafalgar)? Or Britains favou-
was a perfectly reasonable political choice. rite poem in 2009 Rudyard Kiplings If?
The comment seemed to bother him. Like Nope Andys top marks would go to
I had otherwise been on or near his wave- Dalis Christ of St John of the Cross (a pic-
length but with one apparent endorsement ture he knows in great detail because unlike
of Scotland as a meaningful entity, had many English galleries, access to Scottish
jumped straight onto another planet. public art has always been free). And on
Looking at this well-meaning, back- best poem hed be torn between Burns Tam
ground-denying product of modern Britain, OShanter, MacDiarmids Drunk Man Looks
it seemed like time for mischief. at the Thistle and McCaigs lines about his
Was Andy watching MTV in a terraced best poem being two fags long.
house the traditional unit of British And yes, before I ask, Andys dad did
housing? work in the shipyards, lived in a council
Nope he lived in a tenement. house, refused to buy it on principle, voted
Did he take A levels like most British stu- Labour until the shipyards closed, switched
dents? to the SNP, decided they were Tartan Tories
Nope he took Highers. A more rounded and then supported Tommy Sheridan until
education according to his mum. the Parliament Building costs overran at
Did his parents own their house like which point he stopped voting altogether
the average Briton? and died (prematurely) from lung disease
Nope, and unlike most English students five years ago.
he stayed in their council flat during univer- Andy how did your mum vote?
sity. Cheaper. Dyou know her son never actually
After MTV would he stay in to watch the asked.
Ashes followed perhaps by the Vicar of Dib- Andy, catch a grip.
ley? The Scots are not just what happens
Nope. Unlike anyone south of the Border when you vary Englands default settings

August 2014 | ColdType 35

Book excerpt

Try suggesting more rain, less winter daylight, more pov- The Nordic nations differ by only a few
Spain and erty, more hills, more cloud, less sun, fewer shades of grey. The Low Countries have pas-
Portugal, the people, less ethnic diversity. Though these tel coloured borders. And yet try suggest-
Netherlands and basic physical and social truths have cer- ing Spain and Portugal, the Netherlands
Belgium, Norway tainly helped shape identity and behaviour. and Belgium, Norway and Sweden should
and Sweden Scots are not just intemperate versions merge. Try it and stand well back. In main-
should merge. of our more measured southern cousins. We land Europe, slight but important points of
Try it and stand dont live in the same houses, laugh at the cultural distinction form the cornerstone of
well back same jokes, read the same books, or share each nation state. I remember interviewing
the same life expectancy. We dont have the the Sinn Fein leader and former IRA man
same capacity to commercialise ideas. We Martin McGuinness for Channel Fours Peo-
dont have the same informal rules about ples Parliament during that bizarre period
collective behaviour. We dont speak quite in the 80s when his voice was banned on
the same language and we dont (publicly) TV and radio. If Sinn Fein got their wish and
aspire to the same social goals. We dont Northern Ireland became part of the Irish
have the same history, weather, geology, Republic, I asked, what would be visibly dif-
bank notes, education system, legal system ferent to the casual onlooker.
or tradition of ownership. We dont vote the He thought for a while and said, the
same way, we dont die the same way. street signs would be in Irish Gaelic.
Scots are no more northern variants of The same thought occurred to every
the English than the Irish are western ones. member of the production team is that
Indeed, our mission may be to offer the all? Could such a tiny change possibly jus-
English a (currently undesired) revival as tify those long decades of struggle, death,
southern Celts or the Anglo-Norse. grief and violence?
Neither is the Scottish identity just a And yet, travel from Germany to the
bundle of remnants a set of random be- Netherlands and street signs are often the
haviours by mindless contrarians welded only visible evidence of border crossing. In
together into a dangerously unstable and fact, Scotland does look different there
unpredictable personality. Although on a are virtually no terraced houses in Scottish
bad day it can feel that way. Scots are quite cities and virtually no tenements in Eng-
obviously and consistently different from lish ones (though Ill grant you Newcastle
their neighbours English, Irish or Norwe- stretches the point). And yet we speak the
gian. But different enough? same language, share institutions and re-
Scots are (characteristically) in two cent centuries of history with our southern
minds. Most folk believe national difference cousins. So the Martin McGuinness ques-
must be enormous before policy or gover- tion arises again. Does a very different his-
nance arrangements need pay the blindest tory once upon a time justify change today?
bit of attention. Thus Scotland must be as Do real social and cultural differences jus-
unlike England as Brazil is unlike Denmark tify full, political independence?
before difference is worth recognising or Look around. Some distinctive nations
nurturing. National difference must be as choose to go it alone others opt to remain
stark as two primary colours, as absolute within larger states. Former parts of Den-
as gender and as non-negotiable as the Iron mark are now within the Federal Republic
Curtain before it can hope to justify na- of Germany, the population of the United
tionhood. In practice, this high bar of States of America contains more Spanish
distinction is not louped by many indepen- speakers than Spain, Russia straddles five
dent European states. And yet, perversely, time zones and the single state of Brazil is
the Scots demand it of themselves. physically larger than the fifty states of Eu-

36 ColdType | August 2014

Book excerpt

rope. Enormous diversity can remain with- state or does recent banking collapse sug- The urge to break
in some single states (though usually with gest Scotland cannot rely on its own re- away from an
more devolution than Britain has tolerated) sources to stand alone? Can Alex Salmond existing union
whilst other nations depart from remark- guarantee Scots will be better off in an inde- political, marital or
ably similar states as soon as war, occupa- pendent Scotland? financial is rarely
tion or revolution permits. Of course he cant. totally rational,
Of course Scotland is a sufficiently dis- If Scots need guarantees and cast-iron or economically
tinctive nation to consider political inde- certainty, the country will remain forever prudent
pendence. But distinctiveness alone is not a grudging and grumbling part of the UK.
enough. Another vital ingredient is needed None of our small, independent neighbours
before a set of people are ready to go the broke away from larger states to be better
extra mile. And since even David Cameron off. Far from it. When Norway announced
concedes Scotland could wash its face independence from Sweden in 1905 it im-
economically lets not spend time on dis- mediately became the second poorest na-
tractions. tion in Europe. The tiny independent nation
The missing ingredient is more impor- of Iceland which boasted the worlds first
tant and less tangible than money. You parliament reluctantly returned to Norwe-
could call it a form of love. That warm, mu- gian control in the 13th century after tree-
tual feeling of confidence and trust between felling turned the island into a northern
independent people that encourages them desert. Still their tiny population (smaller
to join forces, share resources and change than Dundee) seized its chance for inde-
living arrangements to face the future to- pendence without a moments hesitation
gether. when the Germans occupied Stepmother
But hey love? In a debate about Scot- Denmark in 1944.
tish independence? Back then, Iceland had no geo-thermal
Thats a toughie for a nation that doesnt power, nor had it fought and won the Cod
do emotion (without a large skelp of Wars nor gambled and lost everything
drink). thanks to a bunch of cocky young bankers.
So instead of examining the strength of It did have an influx of confident American
bonds that exist between Scots we focus soldiers at the Keflavik airbase. And then it
on the bonds that would be broken if we left took a leap in the dark.
the UK. Instead of considering the vitality of So it goes. The urge to break away from
new working relationships we concentrate an existing union political, marital or fi-
on the pain of dissolving old ones. The con- nancial is rarely totally rational, or eco-
stitutional debate focuses on detail, process, nomically prudent. There may be prepa-
money and currency like a divorce where ration, debate and plans but eventually
hurt, betrayal and despair cannot be dis- caution becomes an anchor and the voyage
cussed and practicalities assume paramount must begin.
and disproportionate importance. Who will Of course, the cautious Scots may yet be
have the stereo and can its future be sensi- the exception that proves the rule. Scotland
bly discussed in isolation from the CDs? approaches the independence question
But national self-determination isnt with another big current running local-
about technicalities its about identity, ism. It may not be necessary for Scotland to
confidence and trust. prove its people are dramatically different
The technical questions are not trivial. or guaranteed to have short-term economic
Almost everything written about Scottish success to argue that 5 not 55 million people
independence eventually touches on the is a better size for governance. And dont
Black Gold. Will oil sustain a new Scottish forget events. With a public-sector disman-

August 2014 | ColdType 37

Book excerpt

No offence to tling coalition government at Westminster cal outlook, despite devolution. In the last
speakers of who knows what MacRubicon a cost-cut- Westminster elections just 1.7% of Scottish
Welsh, Gaelic ting London government may soon cross MPs were Conservative compared to 20% of
or Scots, but and how Scots will react. Welsh MPs and 56% of English MPs with the
language alone Culture, oil, politics, history and size. Northern Irish water muddied by different
does not sustain Scotland has as many reasons for seeking political loyalties as is their prerogative.
nor fully define a independence as any other restless nation 1.7%, 20% and 56%. Those figures tell us
nation at least although currently the argument convinces something.
not this one more voters south of the border that north The distinctiveness of Wales is largely
of it. A majority of English people has con- cultural not political or institutional. Welsh-
sistently supported Scottish independence ness is kept alive by male-voice choirs,
since the 2007 SNP victory raised the ques- Welsh language schools, S4C, the Method-
tion. Some like English socialist Mark Per- ist Chapel and (once upon a time) by cam-
ryman think the departure of the collec- paigns against holiday homes. No-one can
tivist Scots would provide a long overdue be in any doubt the Welsh are culturally
jolt to the complacent English left. Others distinct from the English. But has that been
like ex Sun-editor Kelvin McKenzie think enough to create feelings of nationhood or a
Scots are whingeing, subsidy junkies and drive towards a new Welsh state? Like defi-
cannot wait to halt the gravy train head- ant prisoners whistling Home of our Fathers
ing north. Mind you, Im sure he thinks the as the firing squad take aim, Welsh culture
same about Yorkshire. has been the last defence against economic
Such strong southern support for Scot- and social domination. The Scots have al-
tish independence could have been har- ways had more.
nessed to prompt a UK-wide debate about No offence to speakers of Welsh, Gaelic or
federalism, devolution and democratic Scots but language alone does not sustain
change right across the paternalistic, top- nor fully define a nation at least not this
down United Kingdom. But it hasnt. one. Law abiding, rational, dour-old souls
Its been far easier to portray Scotlands that we are, Scots are defined by outlooks
endless agonising over constitutional sta- created by institutions that predate (and
tus as a right royal pain. We do want more have survived) the Union. By an educa-
powers, dont we? A bit... no a bit more... no tion system that seeks breadth not special-
thats too maybe its fine......what ism. By a legal system based on statute not
about a referendum with one question.... or precedent. By a Kirk not led by the Head
two wait of State. By housing policy not historically
Its been far easier to mock northern based on sale and inheritance but (for bet-
indecision, view Scottish independence as ter and worse) on tenancy and rent. By an
Alex Salmonds personal obsession and his economy based (recently) on state activity
partys landslide majority in 2011 as a form not private enterprise. And by an endless
of mass hypnosis. Its not so easy to regard and hopeless quest for kinship and connec-
the plodding Scots as a revolutionary van- tion in lieu of the social democratic state
guard destined to challenge Britains cen- Scots have lacked the opportunity (and de-
tralised, top-down, class-ridden, unequal termination) to build.
society until something better emerges. But All that most Britons notice about Scots
who else will? The conservative English? Or is that we wear kilts but who doesnt these
the Welsh? Gubbed by their neighbours in days and have two public holidays at Hog-
1283, our Celtic cousins were forced to dance manay.
to an English tune in education, health, lo- In fact, we do many things differently
cal government, housing and even politi- north of the border but since we dont quite

38 ColdType | August 2014

Book excerpt

understand why any more, theres no rea- So Scots generally ignore the paradox of We reassert
son anyone else should. As a result Scots are an empty rural landscape in which there our collective
often propping up what doesnt matter and is somehow no affordable space for us to proletarian
ignoring what does. live. We blame the resulting sky-high prop- identity with every
Occasionally we catch the scent of a blos- erty prices on wealthy incomers seeking curry we order,
som that has been taken from the room second homes instead of an absurd land every sun-bed
like Hugh MacDiarmids little white rose of scarcity tolerated by successive Scottish we occupy, every
Scotland that smells so sweet and breaks governments. We allow city to remain divid- triple voddie
the heart. ed from country and therefore uniquely we demolish in
What is it then? What is Scottishness? at our latitude have no weekend hut or the name of a
It isnt the Scottish football team how- cabin culture. We are at home in the pub, good time and
ever convenient a repository that is for out- on the terracing, in the DIY store or on the every year of life
pourings of male emotion. couch not in nature. We live indoors like expectancy we
It isnt sadly organised communitar- troglodytes amongst the finest natural scen- thereby lose
ian endeavour. Scots dont do credit unions, ery in northern Europe. Land remains over-
local energy companies, community trusts priced and under-used people-free thanks
or local asset ownership (at least not on the to planning preference, economic difficulty
scale of our English and Irish neighbours al- and landowner diktat. Empty, man-made
though we are finally catching up). We dont desolation is now Natural Scotland.
do local governance perversely in a tiny We tell ourselves it doesnt matter. Mod-
country we do extremely large. ern Scots are predominantly urban Scots
It isnt a tradition of healthy living. We after all with gyms for exercise, parks for
dont do the body as a temple, exercise, eat- dog-walking, some of Europes most popu-
ing vegetables or getting outdoors. We dont lar cities for leisure and trips abroad for
live in nature. We dont build in wood. guaranteed sunshine. What happens in run-
Our national dish is Chicken Tikka Masa- down rural areas is not our problem. What
la washed down with Irn Bru or super la- goes wrong in wrecked urban communities
ger. is not our fault.
We reassert our collective proletarian Life is good by and large. Scotland
identity with every curry we order, every bumps along. Most of the nations health
sun-bed we occupy, every triple voddie we problems are concentrated in a few post-
demolish in the name of a good time and codes the rest dont visit. Folk are gener-
every year of life expectancy we thereby ally happier than they are down south. And
lose. All to prove we are Scottish the un- when the economy improves / Labour gets
derdogs against the British Bulldogs. David back into power/ Scotland votes for inde-
against Goliath. Wee, tough Billy Bremner pendence everything will get better.
against louche, decadent David Beckham. But no matter which constitutional sce-
Real men against New Men.with women nario is favoured an underlying assumption
making the tea. is shared that the rising tide will lift all
We cling to a tough-talking, self-mock- boats. And of course it will except those
ing, cynical world outlook instead of rec- that are beached, poorly made, badly an-
ognising such gallows humour for what it chored or holed below the waterline. In
is a coping mechanism created in days of some parts of Scotland, those are the ma-
appalling poverty and maintained by afflu- jority. Inequality is fiercely resistant to well-
ent descendants of impoverished Scots out meaning warm words, pilot projects, su-
of guilt and solidarity with those still mired perficial change, sticking plaster and rising
in near-permanent inequality. A world we tides. It would be great if there was an easier
dare not fully acknowledge, tackle or fix. way to restore the great overgrown garden

August 2014 | ColdType 39

Book excerpt

Polls consistently of Caledon than hoiking out the virulent sions, old money and all?
show Scots want weeds and staking up overwhelmed native This may seem a harsh, even alarmist
more economic climbers. There isnt. critique of a country thats evidently not on
control and Scots are currently being asked to define its collective knees. The blight of inequality
tax-raising Scottishness through the constitutional affects only some by definition. The fear of
based here prism of independence alone. But perhaps falling behind encourages just as strong
but maybe that isnt a wide, searching or engaging and self-improving a reflex amongst oth-
not total enough ball-park. Polls consistently show ers. On a good day, no symptoms of general
independence. Scots want more economic control and tax- malaise are visible. But look closely. Just as
Not yet raising based here but maybe not total disease spreads when herd immunity falls
independence. Not yet. Desire for the Full below 90%, just as a barrel is soured by one
Monty is being blocked, perhaps by gen- badly bruised apple so the whole of Scot-
eral happiness within the UK, perhaps by land is impacted by the acute problems of
300 years as a junior partner but possibly the few.
by something thats been around longer. Look closer still. Our collective response
Chronic disempowerment. The kind that contains symptoms of low-grade damage
arises from centuries living on land we hesitation, poor self-esteem and chronic
could not own, piers we could not use, rivers fear of making mistakes.
we could not fish and forests we could not No matter how few are truly crippled
enter. Centuries inhabiting homes we could by the Scottish Effect we all pay for it. In
not (till recently) own, improve or inherit cash terms of course but in the more
and cities, towns and villages whose shape important matter of outlook too. Trust in
we (still) cannot really determine. Centuries the capacity of others, belief there is such
speaking in dialects and languages we could a thing as society and our very identity as
not use in official situations, thinking about equality-loving Scots all these precious so-
realities, histories and people we would cial goods are threatened by the existence of
never hear on the radio or TV channels of no go zones, jobless, loan-shark patrolled,
our own public broadcasting service. drug dependent ghettos, fear of others and
The Scots much discussed lack of con- the corrosive cynicism of the dispossessed.
fidence cannot be remedied by simply Aye right. We are the only nation who could
pulling ourselves together developing turn a double positive into a negative and
positive self-talk or thinking big. Our bestow that withering outlook on a leading
disempowerment arises from several cen- Book Festival.
turies experience of keep out and keep Above all, inequality eats away at leader-
off signs. A sense of involvement cant sud- ship. Who knows what pace of change can
denly just be switched on especially when reasonably be sustained when some can run
involvement in Scottish democracy has be- marathons whilst others can hardly walk
come so limited. to the chippy? How can such an unevenly
Awash with credit, homes, cars, jacuzzis, empowered group cross the road together
flat-screen televisions, patios, fridge-freez- when one persons uncertainty causes ev-
ers and leather three piece suites most eryone else to falter? Blight on healthy
modern Scots are leading lives of relative plants doesnt arise by mistake or accident.
comfort compared to our forebears. But are Its the fairly predictable outcome of diffi-
we in control of this country? Are Scots ac- cult climate, poor soil conditions, a lack of
tively shaping Scotland or are we still pas- protection, shelter and nourishment. As it is
sively shaped by it absent experts, distant in the orchard so it is in society.
officials, old choices, old loyalties, old divi- Of course Scotland is not doing too badly.

40 ColdType | August 2014

Book excerpt

Of course there have been successful Scots. lective expectations. That grip weakened The Scottish
Of course there always will be exceptions slightly with devolution and weakened fur- Establishment has
but none as powerful as the rule. The ex- ther with the surprise election of two SNP used wealth,
pectation of exclusion is at the core of Scot- governments. The move towards a more brass-neck,
tish identity and the root of the Scottish empowered, equal, community-focussed, cultural
Effect. Even though the children and great- Nordic-style society has begun. But the confidence and
grand-children of the dispossessed have movement is hesitant and ironically di- long control of
wealth and material goods they dont have vided by the all-consuming political battle valuable assets
the collective power to shape their local over Scotlands constitutional future. to keep a grip on
lives or feel Scotland is unequivocally their The task for Scots, quite simply is to weed Scotlands psyche,
country and their responsibility to use well. out old inequalities and associated ways of institutions
Across much of Europe land and wealth was thinking to let Scotland blossom. This book and collective
redistributed centuries back and democracy tries to show that amongst ordinary Scots expectations
deepened in the process. It didnt happen far from the chattering classes and cen-
here. That single fact has allowed privilege tres of establishment power and against
and exclusion to thrive and normalise incredible odds, that process has already
even as Scots try to entrench their broadly begun. CT
social-democratic values at Holyrood.
The Scottish Establishment has used Lesley Riddoch is an awarding winning
wealth, brass-neck, cultural confidence and broadcaster and journalist who writes
long control of valuable assets to keep a grip regularly for the Scotsman and Guardian,
on Scotlands psyche, institutions and col- Her website is



ColdT ype




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August 2014 | ColdType 41

The murder of gaza / 1

Disgustingly biased
David Edwards & David Cromwell on the dismal performance
of corporate media during the latest Gaza massacres

Despite this small oon after Malaysian Airlines MH17 Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to address
number of military crashed near Donetsk, Ukraine on the nation shortly.
deaths compared July 18, killing 298 people, the BBC Despite this small number of military
to the Palestinian website quickly, and rightly, set up deaths compared to the Palestinian toll,
toll, it seems clear a LIVE feed with rolling reports and com- it seems clear that the killing of the Israeli
that the killing of mentary on the disaster. This was clearly an troops triggered the BBC live feed. It focused
the Israeli troops important and dramatic event involving hor- intensely on these deaths, with entries of this
triggered the BBC rific loss of life with serious political implica- kind:
live feed tions. The public would, of course, be search- Ben White, writer tweets: Israel has lost
ing for the latest news. more soldiers in a 3 day old ground offensive
However, since July 8, ten days prior to than it did during Cast Lead & Pillar of De-
the crash, Israeli armed forces had been fense combined (12).
bombarding the trapped civilian population And: View to the Mid East, a writer in
of Gaza with airstrikes, drone strikes and Ashdod, Israel tweets: One of the soldiers
naval shelling. As the massive Israeli assault who was killed in Gaza tonight prays at the
ramped up on July 9, the World section of the same synagogue I go to. Grew up in the same
BBC News website had this as its headline: neighbourhood.
Israel under renewed Hamas attack The feed incorporated no less than five
By July 18, around 300 people had been photographs from two funerals of the Israeli
killed in Gaza, 80% of them civilians. The soldiers but none from the far more numer-
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a key political ous Palestinian funerals (one picture showed
issue of our time, one that was clearly de- Palestinian relatives collecting a body from a
veloping by the minute after July 8. And yet morgue), with these captions:
at no point had the BBC set up a LIVE feed Friends and relatives of Israeli Sergeant
with rolling news. Adar Barsano mourn during his funeral at
That finally changed on July 20 after so the military cemetery in the northern Israeli
many days in which so many Palestinians city of Nahariya.
had been killed. Why July 20? The answer And: Sagit Greenberg, the wife of Israeli
appears to be found in the fourth entry of the soldier Maj Amotz Greenberg, mourns dur-
live feed under the title Breaking News: ing his funeral in the central town of Hod
Some 13 Israeli soldiers were killed over- Hasharon.
night in Gaza, news agencies, quoting Israeli Obviously, Israeli suffering also merits
military sources, say. Israeli Prime Minister compassion, but these military deaths were

42 ColdType | August 2014

The murder of gaza / 1

overshadowed by a far higher loss of Pal- next few days or weeks, or not? The level of
estinian lives, most of them civilian men, In other words, BBC News presented BBC bias was
women and children. At the time of this writ- Hamas rocket attacks as the stumbling block emphasised by
ing, the toll stands at 746 Palestinians killed to peace, exactly conforming to Israeli state an article headline
and 4,640 wounded. Israel has suffered 32 propaganda. that placed
military and two civilian deaths. One foreign In a report on the same edition of News at inverted commas
worker from Thailand has also been killed. Ten, the BBCs world affairs editor, John Fi- around the siege in
In the following days (and at time of writ- dler-Simpson CBE, asserted that one reason Gaza, as if it were a
ing) the live feed was cancelled; a period that why casualties on the two sides are so out matter for debate:
has seen hundreds of Palestinian deaths and of proportion is because Israel has devel- Palestinian PM
a handful of Israeli military deaths. oped the worlds most effective anti-missile says lift Gaza
For some time on the morning of July defence. siege as part of
21, the sole Gaza content on the BBC News This suggested a more or less equal fight ceasefire
home page was Breaking News of an Israeli with Israeli simply better able to protect it-
soldier missing in Gaza. self. Fidler-Simpson added:
Remarkably, on the morning of July 23, The Iron Dome systems ability to knock
when 18 Palestinians were killed, the BBC set Hamas missiles out of the sky has been a re-
up a live feed for the wrecked Italian cruise markable achievement for Israel during this
liner Costa Concordia, which showed the crisis. The success rate is quite phenomenal.
ship being towed to Genoa. There was no live Back in the real world, weapons experts
feed for Gaza. Ted Postol of MIT and Richard Lloyd of Tesla
The BBC has supplied names, ages, pic- Laboratory, argue that claims for Iron Dome
tures and emotive background stories of are wildly exaggerated, estimating a suc-
the Malaysian air crash victims while, with cess rate of less than 5 per cent. Peter Coy of
rare exceptions, Palestinian dead have been BloombergBusinessweek comments:
presented as nameless figures, briefly men- Lloyd e-mailed me a copy of a 28-page
tioned, then forgotten. analysis thats the most detailed critique yet
The level of BBC bias was emphasised by of the holes in the Iron Dome system holes
an article headline that placed inverted com- so big that, if hes right, would justify calling
mas around the siege in Gaza, as if it were a it Iron Sieve.
matter for debate: Palestinian PM says lift BBC bias has also been typified by its
Gaza siege as part of ceasefire. The BBC downplaying, or complete blanking, of large-
subsequently changed the title, but a tweet scale demonstrations in several UK cities pro-
promoting the article with the original word- testing BBC coverage. As activist Jonathon
ing remains. Shafi noted of the BBCs lack of interest:
The BBC has also implied that Rockets It is misinformation of the worst, and it is
fired from Gaza are comparable to Gaza tar- an insult to journalism.
gets hit by Israel. Readers are to understand After the four Palestinian Bakr boys, aged
that attempted attacks by unguided, low-tech between 9 and 11, were killed by an Israeli
rockets are comparable to actual bombings shell, the New York Times headline on July
by state of the art bombs, missiles and shells. 16 read:
The BBCs source? Israel Defence Forces. Boys Drawn to Gaza Beach, and Into Cen-
On July 21, BBC News at Ten presenter ter of Mideast Strife
Huw Edwards asked a colleague live on air: This worked well to obscure the truth
...the Israelis saying theyll carry on as that the boys had been killed while play-
long as necessary to stop the Hamas rocket ing football on a beach. Artist Amir Schiby
attacks. Do you detect any signs at all that produced a wonderful, moving tribute to the
theres a hope of a coming together in the Bakr boys.

August 2014 | ColdType 43

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Many expert Even indisputable evidence here and here A study of news performance in 2001 by
commentators that Israel had fired on hospitals in Gaza, ma- the Glasgow Media Group noted that Israe-
argue that the jor war crimes, brought little outrage from lis were six times as likely to be presented
deeper cause politicians and media. Jonathan Whittall, as retaliating or in some way responding
behind the latest Head of Humanitarian Analysis at Mdecins than were the Palestinians.
violence is in fact Sans Frontires/Doctors Without Borders The US media watchdog, Fairness and Ac-
Israels opposition (MSF), reminded the world: curacy in Reporting, observed that the cur-
to the Palestinian Our role is to provide medical care to war rent conflict is usually traced back to the
unity government, casualties and sick detainees, not to repeat- kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teen-
including Hamas, edly treat the same patients between torture agers on the West Bank. When their bodies
formed earlier sessions. were found on June 30, Israel retaliated by
this year Despite the unequal battle and high civil- attacking Gaza. The July 2 killing of a Pales-
ian death toll, no high-profile advocates of tinian teenager, allegedly a revenge murder
the Wests responsibility to protect (R2P) by Israeli extremists, was reported as further
civilians in Iraq, Libya and Syria have been escalating the conflict.
calling for intervention. On the BBCs News at Ten (July 23), re-
We asked passionate R2Pers like David porter Quentin Sommerville commented (at
Aaronovitch, Jonathan Freedland and Men- 14:31):
zies Campbell if they felt we must do some- The kidnapping and murder of three Is-
thing. They did not reply. Freedland com- raeli teenagers, blamed on Hamas, sparked
mented in a BBC interview that the death this conflict.
toll was very lopsided a polite euphemism The Guardian readers editor, Chris Elliott
for a massacre that, according to Unicef, has ostensibly the newspapers watchdog on
claimed 10 children per day. E-International bias in language and presentation echoed
Relations website reports: Israeli propaganda, describing Israels cur-
While the conflict has generated near rent attack as a counter-offensive.
blanket international media coverage it has NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyel-
been strangely ignored by the three most din supplied a rare example of dissent:
prominent and vociferous organisations es- But even before the kidnapping of three
tablished to promote the idea of The Re- Israeli-Jewish teenagers and killing of the
sponsibility to Protect, namely The Inter- Palestinian teenager last week, two Pales-
national Coalition for the Responsibility to tinians were killed back in May and didnt
Protect (ICRtoP), the Global Centre for the trigger the kind of international outcry and
Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P) and the international outrage that the killing of the
Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to three Israeli teens have.
Protect (APCR2P)... Corporate media have generally not iden-
Since the operation began these groups tified these deaths as initiating a cycle of
have published myriad tweets, posts and violence. According to human rights group
articles on issues ranging from the rights BTselem, 568 Palestinians had been killed
of women, the treatment of refugees, mass by Israeli security forces from January 2009
atrocity cries and the provision of medical till the end of May 2014; 84 of those fatalities
aid... Yet, coverage of the crisis in Gaza has were children. Over the same time period, 38
been negligible. Israelis were killed by Palestinians in Israel
and the Occupied Territories.
Who Starts The Cycle Of Violence? Many expert commentators argue that
The term cycle of violence often occurs in the deeper cause behind the latest violence
corporate reporting of the Israel-Palestine is in fact Israels opposition to the Palestinian
conflict. But who starts the cycle spinning? unity government, including Hamas, formed

44 ColdType | August 2014

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earlier this year which has been recognised described what a return to the status quo ac- A cessation of the
even by the US. tually means: current violence
Israel strikes Gaza from time to time and would not mean
No Ceasefire Its The Siege, Stupid kills Palestinian civilians there and in the an end to war and
If Palestinians are blamed by corporate me- West Bank without garnering much scrutiny suffering for the
dia for starting the violence, they are also from the international media and, by exten- Palestinians
blamed for refusing to end it. A Guardian ar- sion, the international community.
ticle title read: In February 2013, Ben White commented:
Pressure mounts on Hamas to accept Three months have passed since the
ceasefire as Gaza death toll tops 300 Hamas ceasefire that brought an end to Israels
left isolated by its refusal to accept a truce as eight-day attack on the Gaza Strip known as
death toll rises and UN chief heads for the Operation Pillar of Defence... Since late No-
region to help broker peace vember, Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have
Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sher- averaged over one a day, every day. These in-
wood commented: clude shootings by troops positioned along
But with the Palestinian death toll rising the border fence, attacks on fishermen work-
over 300, it is the Hamas leadership that has ing off the Gaza coast, and incursions by the
come under increasing pressure from mul- Israeli army.
tiple international sources to accept an im- These attacks are mentioned in passing,
mediate ceasefire in Gaza. or ignored, by a corporate media system that
The objective is to convince all the Pal- is so clearly indifferent to the loss of Pales-
estinian factions to accept the ceasefire, one tinian life. Israel-based journalist Jonathan
western diplomat told the Guardian. Cook observed of the latest conflict:
But a cessation of the current violence Its depressingly predictable that the cor-
would not mean an end to war and suffering porate media have swallowed the line of Is-
for the Palestinians. Ali Abunimah of Elec- rael accepting the ceasefire proposal and
tronic Intifada commented: Hamas rejecting it. What Hamas did was re-
[T]he two Palestinian resistance groups ject a US-Israeli diktat to sign away the rights
Hamas and Islamic Jihad have set forth ten of the people of Gaza to end a siege that cuts
conditions for a ceasefire and ten-year truce them off from the rest of the world.
with Israel.
They include an end to all armed hos- Corporate Filtering A Top-Down
tilities, the end of the siege of Gaza, and the Intimidation Campaign
construction of internationally supervised The bias in failing to report the brutalisation
air and seaports. of a trapped, impoverished people under oc-
Abunimah explained the rationale behind cupation is staggering. Many might wonder
these conditions: why journalists fail to speak out. But several
Its the siege, stupid. Talk to virtually any- journalists who have exposed Israeli actions,
one in Gaza and they will tell you the same. and media bias favouring Israel, have been
The siege is living death, slowly crushing the punished.
life out of Gaza. It has to end. Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News corre-
This is a main reason why Hamas did not spondent who witnessed the killing of the
accede to the attempt by Israel, through its four Bakr boys, and whose reporting of the
ally the Egyptian dictatorship, to impose a tragedy moved many readers around the
unilateral ceasefire about which Hamas world, was subsequently told by NBC execu-
says it was never even consulted, hearing tives to leave Gaza immediately. Glenn Green-
about the initiative only through the media. wald reports that NBC executives claimed the
Jerusalem-based journalist Mya Guarnieri decision was motivated by security concerns

August 2014 | ColdType 45

The murder of gaza / 1

Biased US-UK as Israel prepared a ground invasion. But NBC that we see in Gaza.
journalism is then sent another correspondent, Richard Jebreal said that in her two years as an
empowering Engel, into Gaza with an American producer. MSNBC contributor, she had told her produc-
the Israeli After a storm of protest on social media, NBC ers: we have a serious issue here. But every-
governments announced it had reversed its decision. The bodys intimidated by this pressure and if its
effort to terrorise broadcaster dissembled: not direct then it becomes self-censorship.
the Palestinian As with any news team in conflict zones, Blumenthal reported than an NBC pro-
people into deployments are constantly reassessed. ducer, speaking anonymously, had confirmed
accepting gradual Weve carefully considered our deployment the reality of a top-down intimidation cam-
genocide as their decisions and we will be sending Mohyeldin paign aimed at presenting an Israeli-centric
land and resources back to Gaza over the weekend. view of the attack on the Gaza Strip.
are stolen The day after Mohyeldin was pulled out, Pressure on the executives responsible
CNN correspondent Diana Magnay was re- for disciplining journalists is also intense. Jill
moved from covering the conflict after she re- Abramson, former executive editor of the New
ported Israelis cheering the bombing of Gaza York Times, has said Washington often played
from a hillside overlooking the border. When the terrorist card to get stories spiked:
the people cheering allegedly threatened to Sometimes the CIA or the director of na-
destroy Magnays car if I say a word wrong, tional intelligence or the NSA or the White
she described them on Twitter as scum. House will call about a story... You hit the
On July 21, journalist and MSNBC con- brakes, you hear the arguments, and its al-
tributor Rula Jebreal said in an interview on ways a balancing act: the importance of the
MSNBC of MSNBC: information to the public versus the claim of
Were ridiculous. We are disgustingly bi- harming national security... Over time, the
ased when it comes to this issue. Look how government too reflexively said to the Times,
many [sic] air time Netanyahu and his folks youre going to have blood on your hands if
have on air on a daily basis, Andrea Mitchell you publish X and because of the frequency
and others. I never see one Palestinian being of that, the government lost a little credibil-
interviewed on these same issues. ity... But you do listen and seriously worry...
The MSNBC interviewer responded: We Editors are Americans too... We dont want to
have had Palestinian voices on our show. help terrorists.
Jebreal replied: Maybe for 30 seconds, But editors should remember that they
and then you have 25 minutes for Bibi Ne- are human beings first, Americans second
tanyahu... to behave otherwise risks supporting their
Max Blumenthal reported on AlterNet: own governments terrorism and that of its
Within hours, all of Jebreals future book- allies.
ings were cancelled and the renewal of her For in truth, biased US-UK journalism is
contract was off the table. empowering the Israeli governments effort
Later that day, Jebreal tweeted: to terrorise the Palestinian people into ac-
My forthcoming TV appearances have cepting gradual genocide as their land and
been cancelled! Is there a link between my resources are stolen. As we have discussed
expose and the cancellation? here (see also Gideon Levy here), the hid-
David Edwards and Jebreal commented: den backstory is that this land grab can not
David Cromwell I couldnt stay silent after seeing the be conducted under conditions of peace. It
are co-editors of amount of airtime given to Israeli politicians requires Perpetual War; a phoney, one-sided
Medialens, the versus Palestinians. They say we are balanced war dominated by Israels perennial trump
British media but their idea of balance is 90 percent Israeli card: high-tech military power supplied
watchdog guests and 10 percent Palestinians. This kind by that eternal peace broker, the United of media is what leads to the failing policies States. CT

46 ColdType | August 2014

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Israel, right or wrong

But whats in it for America? asks Philip Giraldi

t is a familiar scenario. Israeli is killing piece by Michael Oren, former Israeli Am- The US media did
hundreds of civilians, mostly women and bassador to the US and current CNN ex- not report how
children, and the Zionist propaganda ma- pert, entitled Israel Must be Permitted to Israelis watching
chine is working overtime. The President Crush Hamas as well as the featured ap- the bombing
of the United States reaffirms Americas pearances by Prime Minister Netanyahu on from their lawn
solemn pledge to protect Israel at all costs national television. chairs on a hill
and justifies the carnage by stating that Is- Orens call to crush Hamas is particu- near Sderot were
rael has a right to defend itself. Secretary of larly ironic as it runs directly contrary to photographed
State John Kerry repeats the message and American interests. The US intelligence cheering and
the US House and Senate pass unanimously community believes that the group would applauding each
American Israel Public Affairs Committee likely be succeeded by something far more time a target in
(AIPAC) drafted resolutions affirming the radical. Gaza exploded
same. The media, Congress, and Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Ne- all also connive to ignore the deliberate
tanyahu lies repeatedly and the US media targeting of civilians to include hospitals,
gives him a bully pulpit to spread his disin- schools and private homes by the IDF,
formation about what is occurring, includ- producing massive infrastructure damage
ing a propaganda cartoon explaining why and increasing the numbers of dead and
he had to use artillery and bombs to level a wounded.
residential district, killing nearly 100 civil- The US media did not report how Israe-
ians in what was described as a heinous lis watching the bombing from their lawn
massacre. chairs on a hill near Sderot were photo-
The mainstream media obligingly toes graphed cheering and applauding each
the line, depicting something like a battle time a target in Gaza exploded. They were
between equals pitting the Israeli Army also sharing popcorn and one described
(IDF) against Hamas militants, obfuscat- the event as just good fun.
ing the essential asymmetry of a conflict Also missing in the discussion is the
that has killed more than 1,000 Palestin- damage that the conflict does to the United
ians civilians. States, which is seen throughout the world
A very large percentage of the commen- as Israels puppet, manifested most recent-
tators on television and radio as well the ly when Washington alone opposed and
authors of mainstream print media opinion will presumably veto any United Nations
are American and Israeli Jews, to include a inquiry into possible war crimes connected

August 2014 | ColdType 47

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Washington has to the Gaza conflict. dead and that the abduction had not been
no obligation America diplomats are supposed to sup- carried out by Hamas cynically used the
to protect the port American interests while the Found- kidnapping as a pretext to attack Hamas
Netanyahu ing Fathers created an army and navy to on the West Bank, blaming the group for
government in defend the United States, not Israel, a fact the crime without producing one shred
international fora that seems to have escaped the notice of of evidence. An Arab teenager was subse-
nor is there any many in the White House, Congress and in quently burned to death by Jewish extrem-
treaty obligation the media. In reality, Washington has no ists and the boys American citizen cousin
to defend Israel obligation to protect the Netanyahu gov- was badly beaten by police when he joined
or anyone else ernment in international law nor is there a demonstration.
outside the NATO any treaty obligation to defend Israel or Netanyahu may or may not have cared
alliance anyone else outside the NATO alliance. Is- who was killing or kidnapping whom on a
rael is neither an ally nor is its self-defined micro level, but he knew a good opportu-
security a compelling US national inter- nity when he saw one. He took advantage
est if one excludes the drumbeat of the of the situation to launch a plan to destroy
domestic lobby that protects it no matter Hamas and pari passu the Palestinian uni-
how badly it behaves. ty government.
The sequence of events leading up to the Hundreds of arrests were made, again
current slaughter is clear, though Israels without any evidence linking those de-
friends pretend that it all started when the tained with the kidnapping, and homes of
first homemade rocket landed inside Isra- suspects were demolished. When Hamas in
el, justifying any subsequent steps neces- Gaza eventually struck back with its home-
sary for defense. But the Israel-Palestine made rockets, killing or injuring no one,
problem truly began in 1948, when armed Israel unleashed its modern army and air
Jews deliberately terrorized and then drove force on the largely unarmed and defense-
more than 700,000 Palestinians from their less Palestinians.
homes. Israel also has found allies in the usual
It was exacerbated when in 1967 the places in the US media and political circles
military occupation of the West Bank and to help explain the ensuing massacre. Ay-
Gaza began, leading to the creation and man Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspon-
expansion of illegal settlements on Arab dent who personally witnessed and report-
land. ed the killing by Israel of four Palestinian
The current cycle of violence, rooted in boys on a Gazan beach was ordered by
the denial of viable statehood for the Pal- NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately,
estinian people, began in April when Israel presumably because he had strayed from
deliberately torpedoed US brokered peace the acceptable message, which is that the
talks by accelerating settlement building deaths of Palestinians is somehow their
and failing to comply with an agreement own fault. CNN also reassigned reporter
to release prisoners. Diana Magnay who tweeted regarding an
On May 15, Israeli soldiers shot dead two Israeli mob that threatened her when she
Palestinian teenagers, an event that was filmed their celebration of missile strikes
videoed. They were among the 26 Palestin- in Gaza. She called her attackers scum
ians killed by Israelis since January, with and was quickly removed.
no one being held accountable. The far fewer deaths of Israelis in the
Four weeks later, three Israeli teenag- conflict are, however, rather more cele-
ers from Hebron were kidnapped and later brated than the mass high tech execution
discovered dead. Netanyahu, who knew of Palestinians. American volunteers in the
that the three young men were already IDF are depicted as somehow doing their

48 ColdType | August 2014

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patriotic duty, albeit in a foreign army. The media. There is also a strong dose of racism A comprehensive
Washington Post described how the Death and ethnocentrism in is political matrix, ten year truce
of two Americans in Israel brings conflict with broad popular support for either dis- offer by Hamas
home. enfranchising or expelling all non-Jews. Or has been rebuffed
Both men identified in the article even killing them, with crowds in Tel Aviv by Israel and
though born in the US had chosen to live routinely chanting Death to Arabs. the slaughter
in Israel, producing some pushback in the An Israeli member of parliament Ayelet will presumably
blog comments. Shaked of the ultra-nationalist Jewish continue until
One noted that bearing arms for a for- Home party has called all Palestinians ter- Netanyahu
eign country that is not in NATO is ille- rorists, saying women should be especially decides to stop
gal (and used to lead to automatic loss of targeted for killing during the ongoing
citizenship) while another comment ob- Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip
served that if you are by choice fighting because they give birth to little snakes.
in a foreign army you are no longer really She explained They have to die and their
American. I might add that directly sup- houses should be demolished so that they
porting Israels militarized colonization of cannot bear any more terrorists, adding
Palestinian lands is against stated US gov- They are all our enemies and their blood
ernment policy and does actual damage to should be on our hands. This also applies
American interests. to the mothers of the dead terrorists. A
The Gazans are, to be sure, an easy tar- prominent Rabbi has also endorsed com-
get, crowded into a narrow strip of land plete destruction of Gaza and genocide, as
with no place to go as they are controlled a deterrent measure to exterminate the
on all sides by Egypt and Israel. enemy.
Fleeing inhabitants cannot even turn to Perhaps most discouraging is the vis-
the sea which is controlled by the Israeli ceral hatred directed at American critics of
navy. A comprehensive ten year truce of- Israeli policies that surfaces occasionally
fer by Hamas has been rebuffed by Israel among that nations most zealous support-
and the slaughter will presumably con- ers.
tinue until Netanyahu decides to stop. The Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, former Michael
United Nations has suggested that what Jackson spiritual adviser and self-designat-
Israel is doing might fit the definition of ed Americas Rabbi, has penned a piece
a war crime, just as was the case back in entitled, By Condemning Israel, Presby-
2009 for Operation Cast Lead, when more terians Condemn Themselves. He writes
than 1,400 Gazans were killed and schools regarding the Presbyterian decision to di-
run by the UN were deliberately targeted, vest from companies supporting the Israeli
as has been the case also currently. occupation of the West Bank, stating that
That the US is so tied to a rogue nation The rotting corpse of the Presbyterian
like Israel would be incomprehensible but Church suffered another nail in the coffin
for the action of what has been described with its general convention vote on Friday
as the Israel Lobby. to divest from companies doing business
As Harvard Professor Stephen Walt with Israel.
puts it, AIPAC is the only explanation for Boteach, who has also become close to a
Americas morally bankrupt Israel policy. number of prominent politicians, received
Israel is in reality a place that most Ameri- no mainstream censure for this comments
cans would find unsympathetic. It is a cor- attacking a major Christian denomination
rupt theocracy that denies equal rights to in the vilest terms.
Christians and Muslims, a fact that is con- His article also plays fast and loose with
veniently overlooked by Congress and the the facts. He observes In the wake of the

August 2014 | ColdType 49

The murder of gaza / 2

Boteach and his Oslo Accords, in which Israel granted the friends, most certainly to include the
friends, most PLO political autonomy in the West Bank, likes of multi billionaire casino magnate
certainly to about 60,000 Americans were murdered in Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas, have no
include the likes Israel. Since Oslo in 1993 the actual figure dual loyalty at all.
of multi billionaire for dead Americans, many of whom were Their only concern is for Israel and they
casino magnate Israeli dual nationals, is 53. stay in the United States to cash in and to
Sheldon Adelson That the United States has provided po- make sure that the rest of the American
of Las Vegas, litical support for a monster like Benjamin people are coerced and propagandized suf-
have no dual Netanyahu is criminal but it is a tribute to ficiently so as to guarantee that the US will
loyalty at all the grip that Israels lobby has on Ameri- remain Israels patsy. But more and more
cas political class and media. Americans are waking up to the fraud and
For starters, one might reasonably the ongoing slaughter of another thousand
suggest that people like Boteach and or so Palestinians in Gaza virtually guar-
the American volunteers including antees that there will be more questions
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel who go about the relationship with Israel than an-
to fight for Israel while eschewing any swers. Eventually the truth will out. CT
service in the US Army should perhaps
move permanently to the country that Philip Giraldi is a former CIA case officer
they love most. The charge of dual loy- and Army intelligence officer.
alty which surfaces regularly regarding He is now executive director of the
Israels most passionate Jewish support- Council for the National Interest at
ers misses the point. Boteach and his

South Africa
before the


Photographs by
Duncan Mangham

ColdT ype


Download ColdTypes photo essays at

50 ColdType | August 2014

The murder of gaza / 3

It is not just an Israeli

war on Gaza
Benjamin Netanyahu is not the only leader culpable of Gazas bloodbath;
others in western capitals are also responsible, writes Ramzy Baroud

o some, US secretary of state John fending Israels Operation Protective Edge Obama has
Kerry may have appeared to be a war the slaughter of thousands of inno- been a dedicated
genuine peacemaker as he floated cent civilians in Gaza. stalwart of Israel
around ideas during a Cairo visit on On 5 March, 2014, a Congressional bill and copper
25 July about a ceasefire between Israel and The United States-Israel Strategic Partner- bottoming its
Palestinian fighters in Gaza. But behind his ship Act (H.R. 938, S. 462) declared that vision of its
measured diplomatic language, lies a truth Israel is a major strategic partner of the security by
not even Americas top diplomat can easily United States. going as far
hide. His country is very much involved in The sweeping bill covered many pro- as defending
fighting this dirty war on Gaza which has grams from energy, to research pilot pro- Israels Operation
killed over 1,050, injured thousands more, grams between Israel and the US Depart- Protective Edge
and destroyed much of an already poor, di- ment of Homeland Security. What is most war
lapidated space that was barely inhabitable important to note is that Congress now
to begin with. requires additional reports that would up-
US economic and military aid to Israel date the government on the US commit-
is measured annually in the billions, and ment to Israels Qualitative Military Edge
the US government continues to be Israels (QME).
strongest and most ardent ally and politi- This is merely one of many bills and gov-
cal benefactor. In fact, the US-Israel spe- ernment initiatives that continue to give
cial relationship is getting more special Israel a special undeserved status. But this
by the day even though Israel is sinking military edge is used mostly to maintain
further into the abyss of a well-deserved Israels illegal military occupation. Most
isolation. of Israels victims in its latest war on Gaza
True, there are some, even in the justice are civilians who are killed by US weapons.
for Palestinians camp, who speak of how There is no escaping the fact that the US is
exceptional and fair the Barack Obama Ad- a partner in the Israeli crimes in Gaza and
ministration has been in comparison to its the rest of Palestine.
predecessors. Without a complete reversal of US atti-
However, they neglect the fact that aside tude towards Israel, the US will continue
from a few particularly strong-worded to lack any credibility as a peacemaker or a
statements, Obama has been a dedicated mere ceasefire mediator.
stalwart of Israel and copper bottoming its But Americas support for Israel is
vision of its security by going as far as de- crossing new red lines. There are report-

August 2014 | ColdType 51

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The French edly over 1,000 US citizens fighting in the than some protesters chanting some slo-
government Israeli army according to reports that are gans during a solidarity rally that may or
imposed a ban to now resurfacing due to the recent killing may not be deemed anti-Semitic?
prevent French of two US-Israeli soldiers Max Steinberg, Indeed, not only are western govern-
society from 24, of California, and Nissim Sean Carmeli, ments providing Israel with arms, funds
showing its 21, of Texas. Like the rest of the IDF sol- and political cover to sustain its occupa-
solidarity with diers killed in recent fighting, they were tion and war, but they are also contributing
the besieged killed while invading parts of the besieged thousands of military experts and boots on
and massacred Gaza Strip. But the number must be an un- the ground in order to fight a war in Gaza
Palestinians in derstatement since some of Israels most where war crimes and crimes against hu-
Gaza ardent Jewish settlers are also American, manity are being committed on an hourly
and happen to be armed and dangerous. basis.
Although this is causing a bit of a media Consider this: While British citizens
buzz, there is no political crisis. Instead, fighting against the Syrian government of
only condolences are offered to the fami- Bashar al-Assad are being detained and
lies of the Americans fighting the genocid- persecuted, British citizens who are fight-
al war on Gaza. ing for Israel are not. The British govern-
The US is not alone in this. European ment is turning a blind eye to what should
governments display an incredible amount be considered a criminal act.
of hypocrisy as they continue to utilise Western hypocrisy on this is as profound
doublespeak in their approach to Middle as the phenomenon of westerners killing
East conflicts in general, and the situation Palestinians, which some are now calling
in Palestine in particular. Israeli Jihadists.
The pressure mounting from European Belgium also stands accused of allowing
civil society makes it a bit more challeng- such criminality. Although Belgian civil
ing for EU governments to endow Israel society is one of Palestines strongest sup-
with the same unconditional love and sup- porters, their government is cloaked with
port as that bestowed upon it by the US. EU unmistakable dishonesty. Many Belgian
hypocrisy is too palpable even for clever citizens are also taking part in Israels le-
politicians to hide. thal wars in Gaza and military occupation
of the occupied territory, with little or no
Shameless Britain protest from their government.
The British government is shamelessly on The recruitment of Belgians is mostly
the Israeli side, even while entire families in done through the same organisations that
Gaza are being pulverized by western weap- recruited thousands of foreign fighters for
ons and military technology.Meanwhile, the IDF. Think of them as terrorist head-
the French government imposed a ban to hunting organisations that operate in a
prevent French society from showing its perfectly legal environment.
solidarity with the besieged and massacred Recently, Mayor of Antwerp, Bart De
Palestinians in Gaza. Wever, called on the Belgian government
But why ban mere demonstrations of to cancel dual citizenship of Syria jihadis.
solidarity while France, the US and other His call was made during a recent visit to
Western governments are allowing their a synagogue in Brussels after four people
Jewish citizens to be enlisted in the Israeli were shot by an alleged French-born citi-
Defense Forces (IDF) which is actively kill- zen suspected of having spent time fight-
ing Palestinian civilians? ing in Syria.
Shouldnt that be a much greater con- The countrys Minister of Justice An-
cern to the duplicitous French government nemie Turtelboom took the initiative fur-

52 ColdType | August 2014

The murder of gaza / 3

ther by calling on EU countries to block civil society initiatives to bring criminals to The French are
jihadists from going to Syria, suggesting justice for the sake of exposing the orga- now considering a
the creation of a list of all known Syria nizations that recruit them, the support six months ban on
jihadists. groups that sustain them, and govern- those travelling
But what about the number of Belgians ment silence and hypocrisy that tolerate to Syria and Iraq,
who are fighting, killing and committing the entire criminal enterprise. so as not to take
war crimes on behalf of Israel? Why is the Western involvement in the war on the any chances that
Belgian government keeping silent about Palestinian people is indeed going beyond some of them
those in the Israeli army, with no state- the usual and known support of funds, may be recruited
ment yet issued, even after the killing of military technology and economic aid, to in the ongoing
Belgian citizen Eytan Barak? actual participation in the slaughter of Pal- strife there
Not only is the Belgian government estinians in Gaza. This is not a matter than
miserably failing to prevent Belgians from can be addressed within the larger argu-
fighting in Gaza, but the mainstream me- ment of Western double standards in Israel
dia is also failing to report such events. and Palestine, but an urgent issue that de-
Only alternative media seems interested mands immediate attention.
in what should be a major story in Brus- By preventing those who leave their
sels. countries to kill Palestinians in Gaza, fewer
The same questions apply to other civilians are likely to be murdered.
western governments. The hyper-sensitive Legal cases should be brought before
French government turned a blind eye courts throughout western capitals to try
when a French citizen was killed during known names of US-EU soldiers, and new
the Gaza onslaught. lists should be composed of others who
use dual citizenship status to further the
Looking the other way suffering of the Palestinians so that legal
While the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on action may immediately take place.
the killing of staff Sgt. Jordan Bensemhoun, It is one thing to fail to stop war crimes
most of the French media and government from being committed, it is a whole oth-
have looked the other way. The very gov- er level of failure to defend, finance and
ernment that continues to make life diffi- take active part in carrying out these war
cult for African immigrants in France, sees crimes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
no problem of its own immigrants taking Netanyahu is not the only leader culpable
part in foreign wars that are in violation of of Gazas bloodbath; others in western cap-
its own citizenship laws. itals should also be held to account.
In fact, the French are now considering (Thanks to Laila Benallal for her help with
a six months ban on those travelling to the research for this article.) CT
Syria and Iraq, so as not to take any chanc-
es that some of them may be recruited in Ramzy Baroud is a PhD scholar in Peoples
the ongoing strife there. As for travelling to History at the University of Exeter. He is the
Israel to join the IDF? Well, for Paris, thats Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. Baroud
a whole different matter. is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a
The list of participating countries is media consultant, an author and the founder
growing as is the number of those suspect- of His latest book is
ed war criminals fighting and killing in the My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gazas
name of Israel. This is not met with enough Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

August 2014 | ColdType 53

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How Stephen Harper

betrayed Canada
Linda McQuaig discusses the moral ertain minimal standards are ex-
disconnect at the heart of the Canadian pected of a national leader in what is
known as the civilized world.
Governments stance on Israels One of those standards would
attack on Gaza seem to be that, when massive numbers of de-
fenceless civilians are being killed, a national
Photos: Pro-Gaza demo in Toronto, by Tony Sutton leader should call for the killing to stop.
Questions about responsibility, blame,

54 ColdType | August 2014

Thousands of
protestors express anger
and sorrow outside the
US consulate in the heart
of Toronto

punishment, repercussions, etc., can always rael has a right to defend itself. And the mili- Paul Heinbecker,
follow. But surely the first order of business tant group Hamas is criminally responsible a former Canadian
the one with moral urgency is to halt the for launching hundreds of rockets into Israel ambassador,
killing of innocent people. in the past week with the intent of causing noted on CBC TVs
So its quite extraordinary, as well as ap- death and destruction, killing one Israeli at Power and Politics
palling, that Canadas prime minister Ste- the time of writing. that international
phen Harper has steadfastly declined to join But the lopsided nature of the death law prohibits
other world leaders in calling for a halt to toll (200:1) highlights the enormous power Israel from, for
Israels bombing of Gaza, which has killed imbalance between the two sides one instance, attacking
more than 200 people and left more than equipped with home-made rockets and no a military target
1,500 injured. air defence, and the other fielding the most if it is located in a
Instead, Harper has asserted that Canada sophisticated laser-guided missiles and a densely populated
is unequivocally behind Israel a ringing state-of-the-art defence system, backed up building
endorsement uttered not long after Israeli by nuclear weapons.
bombs ripped through a house in Gaza, kill- Harper insists that Israel goes to great
ing five children and thirteen other members lengths to avoid killing civilians. But Paul
of an extended family, and also destroyed a Heinbecker, a former Canadian ambassador,
centre for the disabled, killing two. noted on CBC TVs Power and Politics that
The message from Harper seemed to be: international law prohibits Israel from, for
Let the killing continue! instance, attacking a military target if it is lo-
Of course, Harper is correct in saying Is- cated in a densely populated building.

August 2014 | ColdType 55

Demonstrators chant slogans outside the US consulate in Toronto during one of several protests against US and Canadian
government support for the latest Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Officially, Harper maintains that Israel notifies flict a position that still appears on the Ca-
according to the residents of its impending attacks, but Hei- nadian governments website.
website, Canada nbecker points out that there is essentially Officially, according to the website, Can-
does not condone nowhere to flee to safety in Gaza a tiny, ada does not condone Israels military occu-
Israels military poverty-stricken strip of land where some pation and supports UN resolution 242 call-
occupation and 1.8 million people live crowded together, ing for Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders.
supports UN trapped on all sides. While youd never know it from listening to
resolution 242 What is striking about Harpers intensely Harper, Canada still supports the creation
calling for Israel one-sided approach is the way he resolutely of a sovereign, independent, viable, demo-
to withdraw to its avoids dealing with the central fact of this cratic and territorially contiguous Palestin-
1967 borders decades-old conflict: that millions of Pales- ian state.
tinians in the West Bank and Gaza have been Canadas official website further states
living under Israeli military occupation for that Israeli settlements in the occupied ter-
more than forty-five years, and that Israel ritories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva
has effectively annexed what used to be their Convention and that the settlements also
land, building settlements on it that now ac- constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a
commodate more than 600,000 Israelis. comprehensive, just and lasting peace.
Harpers refusal to take any of this into Of course, these positions, updated on the
consideration flies in the face of Canadas website last January, were developed under
long-standing position on the Mideast con- earlier Canadian governments that recog-

56 ColdType | August 2014

The murder of gaza / 4

Captions here

The peaceful march in Toronto against the latest Israeli attacks on Gaza was preceded by clashes between supporters of
Israel and protestors at Queens Park, home of the Ontario legislature.

nized the land issue as integral to a peaceful ficial withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 has
solution. resulted in tighter, not looser, Israeli military
The Harper government hasnt yet had control over the territory.
the nerve to renounce these positions, appar- Canadians are often asked to imagine
ently fearful of drawing fresh attention to its the plight of Israelis, who must endure in-
abandonment of Canadas tradition of sup- discriminate rocket attacks.But were rarely
port for the UN and our role as peacekeepers asked to imagine the plight of Palestinians, Linda McQuaig
traditions many Canadians still revere. who not only endure far more devastating is the winner of a
By keeping his focus exclusively on the attacks with no place to hide, but also watch Canadian National
current bombing (and only on the bombing as their land is slowly but inexorably taken Newspaper Award,
by Hamas), Harper helps divert attention over with the apparent support of seem- who has been
from the real story behind the conflict: the ingly fair-minded people, like the Canadi- a reporter for
relentless takeover of Palestinian land. ans. theGlobe and Mail,
In statements that have received little no- Of course, most ordinary Canadians know and columnist
tice (at least here in Canada), Israeli Prime little about all this. Theyre caught up in for theNational
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently in- their daily lives, and trust their government Postand Toronto
dicated that Israel has no intention of ever to represent their values and speak for them Star. She was the
giving up control ofthe West Bank, where 2.5 in world matters. New Democrat
million Palestinians live. In other words, the Under the Harper government, that trust candidate in Toronto
military occupation will continue.Israels of- couldnt be more flagrantly abused. CT Centre in 2013.

August 2014 | ColdType 57

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Stakes rise for Israel

as rockets reach airport
Temporary air blockade of Israel reveals deeper issues
to its citizens, writes Jonathan Cook

In Israel, air sraels effective loss of its only interna- about how deeply disappointed my two
links to the rest tional airport for a couple of days last young children would be if my wife could
of the world are week and the cloud of uncertainty that not find a way home from Chicago last
considered not continues to hang over its operation in week.
just a luxury but the future has deeply unsettled Israelis. Others drew grander parallels. One lead-
also an almost The US Federal Aviation Administration ing analyst even compared Israels situation
existential issue (FAA) banned American carriers from fly- to the blockade of Berlin by Russia at the
ing to Israel, a move soon followed by many start of the Cold War.
European airlines, after a rocket from Gaza It would be satisfying to write that Israe-
landed close to Ben Gurion airport, near Tel lis, in experiencing a very temporary and
Aviv, on July 22. The FAA and the airlines partial air blockade, gained a little insight
seemed especially jittery after the downing into the far worse conditions for Palestin-
of a Malaysian passenger jet over war-torn ians in Gaza, who have spent the past eight
Ukraine a few days earlier, killing 298. years under an Israeli-imposed siege, denied
The suspension of flights was overturned most contact with the outside world.
barely 48 hours later, following great pres- The coastal enclave of Gaza is penned
sure from Israel. Nonetheless, it was a warn- in on all sides by fences, walls and watch-
ing to Israelis that, now Palestinian factions towers. It has no airport or seaport because
in Gaza have longer-range rockets, there is Israel destroyed them long ago. Fishermen
a potentially more serious, collective price are barely allowed to get further than shal-
to be paid for Israels repeated military as- low waters before being fired on by Israeli
saults on the tiny enclave. gunboats, while the air above Gaza is the
In Israel, a country that views itself, in domain of Israels surveillance and weap-
the words of a former prime minister, as a onized drones.
villa in the jungle, air links to the rest of The central demand Hamas has made
the world are considered not just a luxury for an acceptable ceasefire is that the siege
but also an almost existential issue. ends and Gaza be allowed to reestablish sea
Some fourteen million passengers pass and air links to the world.
through the airport every year, many of But most Israelis have appeared to make
them visiting, or being visited by, Jewish no connection between their own experi-
relatives abroad. Israels economy also ben- ence and the gnawing frustration, fear and
efits from a large number of tourists. fury of the people of Gaza at their long im-
I felt the anxiety personally, worrying prisonment. Instead, they have focused on

58 ColdType | August 2014

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their resentment on Hamas and the foreign rael had only one fatality. Israel has
airlines for inflicting on them a small incon- But if Israelis really were under such a developed
venience. serious threat, surely it would be unwise, a rocket
The brief suspension of flights also ex- even reckless, for international airlines to interception
posed deeper issues concerning Israels cur- be risking their passengers lives by flying system mostly
rent attack on Gaza, dubbed Operation Pro- into an airport next to Tel Aviv, well within paid for by the
tective Edge issues usually skirted by the the range of rockets. US called Iron
war rhetoric of Israel and Hamas. Confronted with this argument, Israeli Dome that it says
The first concerned Israels much-vaunt- officials suddenly and dramatically changed is protecting
ed right to self-defense against the rock- their tune. Even as most other carriers can- population center
ets from Gaza, a principle backed even by celled flights, all of Israels own airlines,
US President Barack Obama. such as El Al, continued to fly in and out of
Harvard law professor and vocal Israel Ben Gurion as normal.
supporter Alan Dershowitz set out a retro- Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime
spective logic for Israels attack, saying: Ev- Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tried to reas-
ery country in the world would do every- sure the airlines: Our airport is safe; our
thing in its power to keep open its airports, airport is secure.
the lifelines to its economic viability. But which was it? Were most Israelis in
True enough. But Dershowitzs argument danger from the rockets, despite the low
hardly justified Operation Protective Edge. casualty figures, or was most of Israel safe?
Given that Israel has been enforcing a siege Regev tried to deflect attention from this
on Gaza for at least the past eight years in conundrum with a quite astounding state-
fact, it destroyed the airport in 2001 it was ment.
an eloquent reminder that Hamas had a re- Israel has developed a rocket intercep-
sponsibility to do everything in its power, tion system mostly paid for by the US
including attacking Israel, to restore Gazas called Iron Dome that it says is protecting
own economic lifelines. population centers. Regev argued that Israel
Inadvertently, Dershowitz was exposing had tracked the rocket near the airport and
not only the hypocrisy of Israels support- allowed it through because we saw that it
ers, but also reminding us that international wasnt going to hit inside the airport.
law gives the Palestinians alone a right of Though few bothered to check, a quick
self-defense against Israels belligerent oc- look at a map showed how improbable that
cupation and the siege of Gaza. account was. The path of a rocket from Gaza
Then there was the issue of Israels stren- to Yehud, the neighborhood that was hit,
uous efforts to end the FAAs suspension would have passed over part of the airport,
of flights. Its activities were hard to square through its air space, close to aircraft tak-
with the image it portrayed of a country un- ing off and landing. The idea that Israel was
der a barrage of Hamas rockets, terrorizing not concerned about this happening, given
its population. Israels heightened security fears about Ben
Last week, Israels ambassador to the Gurion, is simply inconceivable.
United Nations, Ron Prosor, echoed the of- So it must indicate something else. There
ficial refrain, that Hamas was hell-bent on were a few possibilities.
Israels destruction. He added: There is It may be, as several missile interception
no country in the world that would tolerate experts both in Israel and abroad have sug-
such an assault on its citizens. gested, that Iron Domes true success rate is
The casualty figures told a different story. far lower than claimed. It could be as low as
Before Israel invaded Gaza, the Palestinian 5 percent, says Ted Postol, of Massachusetts
death toll stood in the hundreds, while Is- Institute of Technology. Some have branded

August 2014 | ColdType 59

The murder of gaza / 5

The reality is that it iron sieve. limitations noted above, is that whatever
an Iron Dome Or it may be that Israel does not have its rhetoric Hamas has mostly avoided
interception either enough Iron Dome launchers or targeting Ben Gurion, accepting, however
missile is far more enough interception missiles which cost reluctantly, that there are certain unwrit-
dangerous to a as much as 50,000 US dollars a time to ten rules in these now almost ritual engage-
plane if it locks intercept all the rockets being fired as Pales- ments.
onto it by mistake tinian factions get better at reaching popu- Cynically, Israel prefers in Gaza to mow
than the rockets lation centers. the lawn, as the Israeli military term it:
fired from Gaza Or, as one analyst with close ties to the remind Hamas and ordinary Palestinians
Israeli military claimed, it may be that the who is boss through intermittent bouts of
Iron Dome crew was ordered to be extra extreme violence. The goal is to weaken
cautious about interceptions near the air- Hamas without actually overthrowing it
port that could interfere with the planes fly- and thereby leave the enclave lawless and
ing above it. While this seemed a plausible unmanageable.
explanation, it did not address the FAAs Hamas, by contrast, wants to inflict
concerns about safety. It simply reframed enough psychological and economic dam-
them. age on Israel to encourage Israel to change
The reality is that an Iron Dome inter- policy, but not so much that Israel will feel
ception missile is far more dangerous to a compelled either to topple the Islamic group
plane if it locks onto it by mistake than or to reoccupy Gaza.
the rockets fired from Gaza, which means The rocket on Ben Gurion airport risked
that if Hamas fires rockets at Ben Gurion, it changing Israels calculations. Is it possible
creates a double threat from the rockets that Hamas decided to increase the pressure
and from the interception missiles. on Israel with a kind of warning shot in
Whatever the correct explanation, Isra- growing frustration at Israels mounting at-
els airport patently isnt safe during these tacks on its core infrastructure, such as its
confrontations and is likely to get less safe tunnel network in Gaza, and Israels refusal
in the future. Hamas rockets can reach Ben to engage in meaningful ceasefire negotia-
Gurion and, though not exactly precise, tions?
need only to hit in the vicinity to shut Is- Whatever the truth, that rocket suggests
raels gateway to the world. the stakes in the conflict are only getting
So why isnt Hamas barraging Ben Gurion higher for Israel. CT
airport in the hope that one or more rockets
get past Iron Dome, or that Israel mistaken- Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn
ly shoots down a plane with an interception Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books
missile? That way, it could give Israel a taste are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations:
of what a real blockade feels like. Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle
Some Israeli analysts claim that is pre- East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing
cisely what Hamas has been doing, but Iron Palestine: Israels Experiments in Human
Dome has saved the day. Despair (Zed Books). His website is
But another possibility, suggested by the

Read all back issues of ColdType & The Reader at
and at

60 ColdType | August 2014

The murder of gaza / 6

With a heavy heart

over Gaza
John Reiner describes the flood of memories of his 2009
trip to Jenin provoked by Israels latest assault on Gaza

uring the past several weeks, Ive doctors and human rights groups who are The atrocities
spent a lot of time thinking about witnesses to the slaughter. Videos showing being committed
the Jenin refugee camp in the West the death and destruction of Gazans of all by the Israel
Bank. I visited the camp back in ages are viewed by millions and are lead- Defense Forces
2009 during my trip to the Occupied Pales- ing to mass actions of protest by people all (IDF) are being
tinian Territories (OPT). I vividly remem- over the world who are making their voices documented
ber with a broken heart how camp leaders heard. by doctors and
described the psychological damage done Whether it was a young man looking human rights
to the children following the 2002 Israeli for relatives who was repeatedly shot and groups who are
massacre at the camp. killed by an Israeli sniper or four young witnesses to the
We were told about children who re- boys playing soccer on a deserted beach slaughter
fused or were unable to sleep for fear of who were targeted and blown up by an Is-
Israeli helicopters bombing them in their raeli gunboat, the theme remains constant
homes while they slept. We were told about the lives of Palestinians, regardless of
14- and 15-year-olds wetting themselves in age, are worthless to the Israeli forces be-
school because of how traumatized they ing sent to destroy them.
were. Ive thought about all this as Ive seen In order to fully understand what is oc-
the horrors of the current Israeli onslaught curring, it is necessary to put this onslaught,
on Gaza unfold day after day. this massacre, into the larger context of
Whats happening in Gaza by most ac- the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation, and
counts is worse than previous Israeli as- in the case of Gaza, the illegal siege and
saults there in 2006, 2009 and 2012. An all- blockade. During my trip to the OPT, a trip
too-common and utterly heart-wrenching that did not include Gaza, we saw firsthand
theme is the reporting of entire families the impact of the occupation on virtually
being virtually wiped out. The numbers every aspect of Palestinian life.
eight, nine, 12, 18, 25 members, including ________________
17 children, of individual families are al- We saw the true face of the occupation
most beyond ones ability to comprehend. in Hebron in an old woman who, despite
This latest episode of Israeli war crimes, living across the street from the cemetery
like the previous ones, is being played out where her loved ones were buried, is forced
in front of a global audience. The atroci- to walk more than a mile to pay her respects
ties being committed by the Israel Defense because the street that separates her home
Forces (IDF) are being documented by from the cemetery is a Jews-only road.

August 2014 | ColdType 61

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Just as the We experienced it walking through the Israel, continue to support the resistance,
occupation streets in Hebron below a wire netting that regardless of whether or not they are sup-
dominates life for is necessary to block the rocks and feces porters of Hamas. The consistent message
Palestinians in thrown down on them from the Jews who from the people of Gaza has remained defi-
the West Bank, live above them. Sadly, the netting was not ant, and that message is that as long as the
the siege and nearly as effective at blocking the verbal siege stands, the resistance must continue.
blockade choke abuse that was hurled down upon the Pal- Their demands have always been the
the life out of the estinian citizens of Hebron. same, and that is for the crippling siege
people of Gaza We saw it in the faces of the old and the to be lifted so that the people of Gaza can
young in the Dheisheh refugee camp lo- have access to food and water, medicine
cated just south of Bethlehem. There, like and medical supplies, and other necessi-
in Jenin, we met people over the age of 60 ties that they have been denied for years
who had spent their entire lives inside the on end. Palestinians in Gaza have access to
camp as refugees. We saw it in the faces water for just three hours every three days
of people stranded for hours at a time at and have power for between only four and
the various checkpoints that dot the West eight hours a day.
Bank. These checkpoints are designed to The siege must be lifted so that they can
make the lives of Palestinians even more have the freedom of movement to escape
impossible. what has been accurately described as the
At the infamous Qalandiya checkpoint, worlds largest open air prison. For far too
we met students who told us they were long, the besieged of Gaza have been de-
forbidden from even bringing pencils nied the most basic of human rights, suf-
through. This was confirmed by students at fering what many describe as a slow and
Birzeit University, near Ramallah, who told calculated death at the hands of Israel. If
us that it was impossible for them to make the conflict ends with Gaza still under siege
it to class on time due to the checkpoints. as it has with the previous assaults, then
Many were therefore forced to spend what nothing will change, and it will simply be
little money they had renting rooms with a matter of time, perhaps another year or
many other fellow students as it was the two, before the next assault by the occupy-
only way they could be close enough to ing Israeli military forces takes place.
school to make it to class on time. As I write this, more than half of Gaza
At Birzeit, we were told of the horrors has been destroyed by the current Israeli
of administrative detention, a policy that assault. Due to the blockade that severely
arrests Palestinians without charge or trial restricts the importation of building and
for periods up to six months. What makes construction materials, many structures
it worse is that when the six-month period destroyed during Operation Cast Lead
is up, Israeli authorities can simply renew more than five-and-a-half years ago have
the six-month period, and the cycle contin- yet to be rebuilt.
ues on and on, with Palestinians, including ________________
many students, spending years in deten- I dont pay much attention to conspiracy
tion without ever even being charged with theories. The things we already have docu-
a crime. mented evidence of are more than enough
Just as the occupation dominates life to terrify us, yet throughout this entire
for Palestinians in the West Bank, the siege nightmare, the Israeli government has cov-
and blockade choke the life out of the peo- ered up the truth about what led to this lat-
ple of Gaza. It is for this reason that the est assault on Palestine. The cover-up sur-
inhabitants of Gaza, despite suffering con- rounding the abduction and tragic murder
stant bombardment and slaughter from of three settlers has been a crime in and

62 ColdType | August 2014

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of itself. This is a direct contradiction of what This latest

What we do know is that Israeli intel- the Israeli establishment has said for slaughter has
ligence forces knew that the three Israeli example, Netanyahu asserted, Hamas is allowed us to
teens had been killed within the first day responsible and Hamas will pay. Yet, the see another
of their abduction. Yet, they carried out damage was already done, and the justifi- parallel with
the charade of trying to rescue them with cation Israel sought by waving the war flag recent history,
a military engagement called Operation around the deaths of three illegal settlers specifically
Brothers Keeper. What followed was an 11- was achieved. For the past three weeks, the the sham
day rampage through the West Bank that people of Gaza have been massacred by an ceasefire
saw the killing of at least five Palestinians occupying force hell-bent on inflicting as agreement
as well as the arbitrary arrest of more than much death and destruction as possible. concocted
500 Palestinians, including virtually every ________________ between Israel
Hamas leader in the West Bank. Events like this and the apartheid condi- and the
In addition, the IDF engaged in a mas- tions that Palestinians are forced to live un- anti-Hamas
sive campaign that saw them loot, pillage der have many on the Israeli left increas- Egyptian
and destroy countless Palestinian homes ingly fearful that the state of Israel is more government that
all this being done while their leaders, led and more resembling Nazi Germany during came to power
by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the 1930s. This opinion, which many Pales- through a coup
and his Economics Minister Naftali Ben- tinians and their supporters have held for
nett, constantly spewed the most disgust- years now, is even expressed by some who
ing rhetoric, thereby inciting the violence survived the Nazi Holocaust.
that followed. Reports of bands of thugs beating Ar-
Ayelet Shaked, a member of Bennetts abs and leftists opposed to the occupation
ultra-right Jewish Home Party in the Israe- while chanting Death to Arabs, death to
li Knesset, recently referred to Palestinian leftists and Throw all Arabs in the gas
children as little snakes and said that ev- chamber leaves me with an ominous
ery Palestinian was an enemy combatant. chill. On my visit to the OPT, it was easy
Sadly, the vile sentiments expressed by the to see why these comparisons are drawn.
political leaders of Israel seem to reflect We witnessed Jewish-only roads and spe-
the sentiments of a majority of their con- cial license plates and IDs for Palestinians.
stituents. Their call for Palestinian blood Even Palestinian citizens of Israel are de-
was answered by the shocking kidnapping nied many of the basic rights that Jews en-
and murder of 17-year-old Mohammad joy, and now they are forced to take loyalty
Abu Khdeir, who was burned alive on the oaths to a government that has systemati-
morning of July 2 while he was on his way cally denied them of their basic rights for
to the local mosque for morning prayers. more than 65 years. Added to this is the
Finally, after more than a month of continuous construction of illegal settle-
claiming that Hamas was responsible for ments on occupied Palestinian land and
the kidnapping but without providing the destruction of Palestinian homes and
any evidence to support this claim, a BBC land at an ever-increasing pace.
reporter has revealed that Israeli police This latest slaughter has allowed us to
spokesperson Mickey Rosenfeld told him see another parallel with recent history,
that the kidnappers were a lone cell that specifically the sham cease-fire agree-
was not operating under orders from the ment concocted between Israel and the
Hamas leadership. Rosenfeld also said that anti-Hamas Egyptian government that
if kidnapping had been ordered by Hamas came to power through a coup. Two weeks
leadership, theyd have known about it in ago, they proposed a deal that would put
advance, according to the reporter. an end to this latest round of killing, but

August 2014 | ColdType 63

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When it was only which would leave in place the siege and reckoning of the crimes committed by the
Palestinians blockade of Gaza and provide absolutely state of Israel and its chief benefactor, the
dying, mostly no relief to its 1.8 million inhabitants. United States of America.
civilians, there They did this without consulting Hamas, Israel constantly boasts of its technical
was not a peep knowing full well they could never accept superiority when it comes to the precision
about the need for but giving Israel political cover to justify of its weapons. It has long claimed that its
a ceasefire coming more air strikes and a ground invasion, smart weapons possess pinpoint accura-
from anyone in thus intensifying the wholesale slaughter cy. If indeed that is the case, then they have
Washington of Gaza. This deadly charade is reminiscent committed atrocities worthy of the most
of the 2000 Camp David Summit when all despicable of war criminals. The IDF has
the blame for failing to come up with an targeted and killed people undergoing sur-
agreement was placed at the feet of Pales- gery when the hospitals they were in were
tinian National Authority President Yasser shelled. They have killed people in schools,
Arafat. hospitals, mosques, sports stadiums, mar-
US President Bill Clinton and Israeli kets, media centers, rehabilitation centers
Prime Minister Ehud Barak knew that Ara- and other medical facilities, including
fat could not accept the terms of the Camp those for the handicapped and disabled.
David agreement, which would have forced Ambulance drivers and EMS workers have
massive concessions on the part of the Pal- been targeted as well as being prevented
estinians but demanded virtually nothing from retrieving the dead and wounded
of the Israelis. Yet both leaders placed all leading to more senseless deaths.
the blame for the summits failure at his An unimaginably despicable example of
feet. Clearly, this has been a recurring their pinpoint accuracy occurred July 24,
theme for as long as the peace process when the IDF bombed a school in Beit Ha-
has existed. noun being used as a United Nations shel-
________________ ter, killing 16 and wounding more than 200.
So now we are once again witnessing the While Netanyahu has consistently blamed
widespread destruction of the Gaza Strip Hamas for using Palestinians as human
and its inhabitants. Sadly, the only lan- shields, this worn-out argument has never
guage coming out of Washington is the been backed up by any evidence and has
same as it always has been: Israel has the in fact been repeatedly refuted by one re-
right to defend itself. Israel continues to port after another. What has been verified,
enjoy a free pass from its greatest enablers however, is the IDFs use of Palestinians,
allowing it to kill and destroy with impu- including children, as human shields [3].
nity. It is only now, when a small number This policy, which they have employed for
of Israeli soldiers have been killed, that we many years, was recently used during the
hear President Obama say that we must Shejaiya massacre that saw the killing of
have a ceasefire. 72 Palestinians.
When it was only Palestinians dying, Netanyahu had the unmitigated temer-
mostly civilians, there was not a peep ity recently to say that he actually cared
about the need for a ceasefire coming from about the safety of the people of Gaza, im-
anyone in Washington. With the number ploring them to heed the warnings of the
of dead in Gaza now more than 1,300, in- IDF when they were told to evacuate. The
cluding more than 220 children, and climb- question the people of Gaza have for him
ing steadily each day as Israel continues it is, Where, Mr. Prime Minister, should we
assault, an end to the killing is of course evacuate to? Where is it safe to go when
needed. Yet, what is needed even more hospitals, clinics, schools, mosques and
than that is a long overdue accounting and homes are targeted? The wounded cannot

64 ColdType | August 2014

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even find refuge. Gaza, even under the best ists. The effectiveness of the strategy was The failure of any
of circumstances, is a shoebox. There is no- impressed upon me when I told people of politician in this
where to run, nowhere to hide. There is no my plans to visit the West Bank just be- country to hold
safe haven for the besieged of Gaza. fore the first anniversary of Operation Cast Israel accountable
________________ Lead. Many people expressed shock that for crimes
All we ever hear from our politicians is, Is- I would be going to such a dangerous committed against
rael has the right to defend itself...Israel has place and asked if I was scared that I would Palestine is what
the right to defend itself, and No country be killed by a terrorist or suicide bomber. allows them to
could be expected to live like this. This is It was my proud duty to inform them continue to exist
of course unless that country is Palestine. that the only threat we faced during our as the worlds
According to virtually every major Ameri- stay was from the Israelis, whether it was last remaining
can political leader beginning with Presi- from a member of the IDF pointing a high- colonial-settler
dent Obama, regardless of whether theyre powered rifle at us at a checkpoint or a sus- state
the most ardent conservative Republican, picious bureaucrat at the airport interro-
such as Sen. Ted Cruz, or the most liberal gating us as to why we had come to Israel.
progressive Democrat, such as Sen. Eliz- The people we met in Palestine simply
abeth Warren, there is no distinction when desired to live peaceful lives, free from oc-
it comes to Israel. cupation. The level of kindness and hu-
The failure of any politician in this coun- manity we were shown was something I
try to hold Israel accountable for crimes know none of us will ever forget. Having
committed against Palestine is what allows the opportunity to meet people who have
them to continue to exist as the worlds had their lands confiscated, their orchards
last remaining colonial-settler state. of olive trees destroyed, some of them hun-
The outrageous influence exercised on dreds of years old, their water stolen, their
US political leaders by AIPAC and other houses demolished, and their relatives ar-
pro-Israeli organizations is a great place rested and even killed while they still talk
to look for an answer to the question as to of an unquenchable desire for peace and
why the US is so endlessly supportive of freedom will always serve as an inspiration
the racist and apartheid polices practiced to all of us dedicated to the continued fight
by Israel. for Palestinian freedom and justice. CT
The goal of such groups and their sup-
porters is to relentlessly portray Palestin- This essay was published by Socialist
ians as terrorists or religious extrem- Worker at

Get your FREE e-copy of

Danny Schechters new book
When South Africa
Called, We Answered
How International Solidarity Helped
Topple Apartheid
Download your copy in pdf format at

August 2014 | ColdType 65

The murder of gaza / 7

Palestinians have
a right to self defence
Chris Hedges says Gaza is justified in taking action against Israeli attacks

No world body, f Israel insists, as the Bosnian Serbs did Violence, even when employed in self-
including the in Sarajevo, on using the weapons of in- defense, is a curse. It empowers the ruthless
United Nations, dustrial warfare against a helpless civilian and punishes the innocent. It leaves in its
appears willing or population then that population has an aftermath horrific emotional and physical
able to pressure inherent right to self-defense under Article scars. But, as I learned in Sarajevo during
Israel through 51 of the United Nations Charter. The inter- the 1990s Bosnian War, when forces bent on
sanctions to national community will have to either act your annihilation attack you relentlessly,
conform to to immediately halt Israeli attacks and lift and when no one comes to your aid, you
the norms of the blockade of Gaza or acknowledge the must aid yourself. When Sarajevo was be-
international law right of the Palestinians to use weapons to ing hit with 2,000 shells a day and under
defend themselves. heavy sniper fire in the summer of 1995 no
No nation, including any in the Muslim one among the suffering Bosnians spoke
world, appears willing to intervene to pro- to me about wanting to mount nonviolent
tect the Palestinians. No world body, includ- resistance. No one among them saw the
ing the United Nations, appears willing or UN-imposed arms embargo against the Bos-
able to pressure Israel through sanctions to nian government as rational, given the rain
conform to the norms of international law. of sniper fire and the 90-millimeter tank
And the longer we in the world community rounds and 155-millimeter howitzer shells
fail to act, the worse the spiral of violence that were exploding day and night in the
will become. city. The Bosnians were reduced, like the
Israel does not have the right to drop Palestinians in Gaza, to smuggling in light
1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on weapons through clandestine tunnels. Their
Gaza. It does not have the right to pound enemies, the Serbs like the Israelis in the
Gaza with heavy artillery and with shells current conflict were constantly trying to
lobbed from gunboats. It does not have the blow up tunnels. The Bosnian forces in Sa-
right to send in mechanized ground units rajevo, with their meager weapons, desper-
or to target hospitals, schools and mosques, ately attempted to hold the trench lines that
along with Gazas water and electrical sys- circled the city. And it is much the same in
tems. It does not have the right to displace Gaza. It was only repeated NATO airstrikes
over 100,000 people from their homes. The in the fall of 1995 that prevented the Bos-
entire occupation, under which Israel has nian-held areas from being overrun by ad-
nearly complete control of the sea, the air vancing Serbian forces. The Palestinians
and the borders of Gaza, is illegal. cannot count on a similar intervention.

66 ColdType | August 2014

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The number of dead in Gaza resulting rael to change the physical character, demo- At what point
from the Israeli assault has topped 650, and graphic composition, institutional structure do the numbers
about 80 percent have been civilians. As I or status of the Palestinian and other Arab of dead and
write this, the number of wounded Pales- territories occupied since 1967, including Je- wounded justify
tinians is over 4,000 and a substantial frac- rusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal self-defense?
tion of these victims are children. At what validity and that Israels policy and prac- 5,000? 10,000?
point do the numbers of dead and wounded tices of settling parts of its population and 20,000? At
justify self-defense? 5,000? 10,000? 20,000? new immigrants in those territories consti- what point do
At what point do Palestinians have the el- tute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Ge- Palestinians have
emental right to protect their families and neva Convention relative to the Protection the elemental
their homes? of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also right to protect
Article 51 does not answer these spe- constitute a serious obstruction to achiev- their families and
cific questions, but the International Court ing a comprehensive, just and lasting peace their homes?
of Justice does in the case of Nicaragua v. in the Middle East.
United States. The court ruled in that case Israel, as an occupying power, is in di-
that a state must endure an armed attack rect violation of Article III of the Geneva
before it can resort to self-defense. The defi- Convention Relative to the Protection of
nition of an armed attack, in addition to be- Civilian Persons in Time of War. This con-
ing action by regular armed forces across vention lays out the minimum standards
an international border, includes sending for the protection of civilians in a conflict
or sponsoring armed bands, mercenaries or that is not international in scope. Article
irregulars that commit acts of force against 3(1) states that those who take no active
another state. The court held that any state role in hostilities must be treated humanely,
under attack must first request outside as- without discrimination, regardless of racial,
sistance before undertaking armed self-de- social, religious or economic distinctions.
fense. According to UN Charter Article 51, a The article prohibits certain acts commonly
states right to self-defense ends when the carried out against noncombatants in re-
Security Council meets the terms of the ar- gions of armed conflict, including murder,
ticle by tak[ing] the measures necessary to mutilation, cruel treatment and torture. It
maintain international peace and security. prohibits the taking of hostages as well as
The failure of the international commu- sentences given without adequate due pro-
nity to respond has left the Palestinians with cess of law. Article 3(2) mandates care for
no choice. The United States, since Israels the sick and wounded.
establishment in 1948, has vetoed in the UN Israel has not only violated the tenets of
Security Council more than 40 resolutions Article III but has amply fulfilled the con-
that sought to curb Israels lust for occupa- ditions of an aggressor state as defined by
tion and violence against the Palestinians. Article 51. But for Israel, as for the United
And it has ignored the few successful reso- States, international law holds little impor-
lutions aimed at safeguarding Palestinian tance. The US ignored the verdict of the
rights, such as Security Council Resolution international court in Nicaragua v. United
465, passed in 1980. States and, along with Israel, does not ac-
Resolution 465 stated that the Fourth cept the jurisdiction of the tribunal. It does
Geneva Convention relative to the Protec- not matter how many Palestinians are killed
tion of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 or wounded, how many Palestinian homes
August 1949 is applicable to the Arab terri- are demolished, how dire the poverty be-
tories occupied by Israel since 1967, includ- comes in Gaza or the West Bank, how many
ing Jerusalem. The resolution went on to years Gaza is under a blockade or how many
warn Israel that all measures taken by Is- settlements go up on Palestinian territory.

August 2014 | ColdType 67

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America funds Israel, with our protection, can act with im- have lost hope that foreign governments
and abets these punity. will save them. They know their fate rests
crimes with The unanimous US Senate vote in sup- in their own hands. The revolt in Gaza is an
$3.1 billion a year port of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the me- act of solidarity with the world outside its
in military aid dias slavish parroting of Israeli propaganda walls. It is an attempt to assert in the face of
to Israel. We are and the Obama administrations mindless overwhelming odds and barbaric conditions
responsible for repetition of pro-Israeli clichs have turned the humanity and agency of the Palestinian
the slaughter us into cheerleaders for Israeli war crimes. people. There is little in life that Palestin-
We fund and abet these crimes with $3.1 ians can choose, but they can choose how
billion a year in military aid to Israel. We to die. And many Palestinians, especially
are responsible for the slaughter. No one in young men trapped in overcrowded hovels
the establishment, including our most lib- where they have no work and little dignity,
eral senator, Bernie Sanders, dares defy the will risk immediate death to defy the slow,
Israel lobby. And since we refuse to act to humiliating death of occupation. CT
make peace and justice possible we should
not wonder why the Palestinians carry out Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning
armed resistance. reporter, writes a regular column for
The Palestinians will reject, as long as Truthdig every Monday. Hedges most recent
possible, any cease-fire that does not include book, written with Joe Sacco, is Days of
a lifting of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. They Destruction, Days of Revolt


what we TheREADER

the 2009 GAZA
Massacre of a nation

of Gaza

68 ColdType | August 2014

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Gazas future
is everyones concern
Richard Pithouse explains why we are all obligated to be
in solidarity with the people of Gaza

Every time a man has contributed to the Some Palestinians are Christian, many In many parts of
victory of the dignity of the spirit, every are secular and Palestinian resistance to Is- the world, like
time a man has said no to an attempt to raeli oppression has often been organised Ireland or South
subjugate his fellows, I have felt solidarity on the basis of nationalism or left wing Africa, popular
with his act. Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, ideas. solidarity with
White Masks, 1952 Edward Said, one of the most compel- the Palestinian

ling advocates of the Palestinian cause, struggle is
he ruthless assault on Gaza has was born into a Christian family. And while generally rooted
sometimes been presented in leading Christian figures, including Des- in a shared
South Africas media, and on occa- mond Tutu, have taken a clear position in history of colonial
sion in some solidarity efforts too, support of justice for the Palestinian people oppression
as an issue that is solely of concern to Mus- it is also true that, from the United States rather than
lim people. It is true that in recent years to Uganda, many of the most impassioned shared religious
state politics in both Palestine and Israel defenders of the Israeli state are right-wing convictions
has taken on a more religious inflection. Christians.
There has also been a growth in popu- In Israel, in South Africa and around the
lar movements in both Palestine and Israel world many Jewish people, religious and
that frame the conflict in religious terms. secular, have taken a clear position against
Moreover there is a historical religious di- the Israeli state and in solidarity with the
mension to the origins of this conflict in so Palestinian struggle. You cannot deduce a
far as the long persecution of the Jews in persons religion from where they stand in
Europe, which is the root cause of Zionism this conflict nor can you deduce their posi-
as an armed colonial project, cannot be di- tion on this conflict from their religion.
vorced from a murderous European intol- Moreover in many parts of the world,
erance, that, for a thousand years, framed like Ireland or South Africa, popular soli-
itself as Christian. Europe, long imagined darity with the Palestinian struggle is gen-
as a Christian space, displaced its historic erally rooted in a shared history of colonial
moral debt to the Jews of Europe onto the oppression rather than shared religious
Palestinians. convictions.
But this conflict began as a colonial oc- But although not all Palestinians are
cupation. It did not start as a religious war Muslim and not all Jews, or Christians,
and has never been reducible to the ques- support the oppression of Palestinians by
tion of religion. the state of Israel, this conflict does have

August 2014 | ColdType 69

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One result of an inescapable contemporary religious di- ethical conflicts within religions. All of the
the construction mension resulting from the fact that, since major world religions Buddhism, Christi-
of Islam as the the latter years of the Cold War, American anity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism have
new enemy of imperialism has actively sought to politi- enabled profoundly ethical orientations to
the West is that cise Islam. This was first undertaken in or- the world and they all also carry entirely
Palestinians are der to cultivate an ally in opposition to the perverse currents that all decent people,
presented as Soviet Union. irrespective of the accidents of their birth
irrational, without After the Cold War the politicisation and their own religious choices, must op-
regard for the of Islam was used to manufacture a new pose.
sanctity of enemy that could legitimate American at- The particular stake that Muslim people
human life tempts to control the worlds oil. Among have in opposing the demonization of Is-
and as part other crimes this led to the devastation of lam is not unique. After all women have a
of a lower form Iraq in the name of human rights and free- particular stake in opposing sexism, black
of culture dom a crime for which the butchers in people have a particular stake in opposing
Washington will never have to account to anti-black racism and gay people have a
any court because global power relations particular stake in opposing homophobia.
are such that white and Western power But just as this does not let men, white
continues to be equated with reason, mo- people or straight people off the proverbial
dernity, virtue and civilization even when hook when it comes to the necessity to op-
it engages in mass murder for the purpose pose these systems of oppression people
of wholesale theft. who are not Muslim have a moral obliga-
One result of the construction of Islam tion to be in solidarity with all Palestinians
as the new enemy of the West is that Pales- as people, and, also, with Palestinian Mus-
tinians are presented, from the Jerusalem lims who are oppressed, in part, as Mus-
Post to the New York Times, as irrational, lims.
without regard for the sanctity of human The assault on Gaza is, like the devasta-
life and as part of a lower form of culture tion of the Congo, or the ongoing disaster
that is a threat to what is assumed to be in Iraq, everyones concern. In the particu-
the enlightened, democratic and, in every lar case of Gaza the way in which Islamo-
respect, superior culture of Western civili- phobia is used to legitimate oppression
zation. is also everyones concern. It is also true
This means that there is a degree to that the way in which Islam is sometimes
which Muslim people, around the world, misused to legitimate oppression, as in the
have a particular stake in contesting the Iraqi cities of Mosul, Fallujah and Tikrit at
way in which a set of pejorative ideas the moment, is everyones concern.
about Islam are mobilised to dehumanise In 1940 the Nazis forced more than
Palestinians. But this does not mean that 400,000 Jewish people into a tiny corner
the conflict in and around Palestine can be of Warsaw that became known as the War-
reduced to one of religious identity. saw Ghetto. More than half of these people
Even when religious identities are mo- were sent to the Treblinka death factory
bilised in support of political objectives, a in 1942. In 1943 the residents of the ghet-
process that is particularly easy in this part to began a campaign of armed resistance
of the world given its place in the history against the Nazis.
and imagination of Judaism, Christianity They held out, in a heroic struggle, for
and Islam, we are still not dealing, at the three months before the Nazis burnt and
ethical level, with a conflict between two blew up the ghetto, building by building,
or three religions as monolithic blocks. murdering everyone they could find.
On the contrary there are always acute In 2002 Mark Edelman, who was a Dep-

70 ColdType | August 2014

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uty Commander of the Jewish Military Or- few. But in my heart I am not parted from We are all
ganization in the uprising in the Warsaw them, from the forgotten. irrespective of
Ghetto, wrote an open letter to the lead- Continue the rebellion. A different re- the accidents of
ers and soldiers of all the militant groups bellion of the here and now against evil, our birth or our
in Palestine. He critiqued their methods even the evil befalling our own and only religious choices
but, nonetheless, addressed the Palestin- beloved country. Rebel against racism obligated to be in
ian militants as militants, and, by implica- and violence and hatred of those who are solidarity with the
tion, endorsed their struggle as a struggle different. Against inequality, economic people of Gaza
for justice. gaps, poverty, greed and corruption. Rebel
A few months ago Chavka Fulman-Ra- against the Occupation.
ban, one of the last survivors of the War- This is what an ethical orientation to the
saw Ghetto, gave a speech at the Ghetto- world looks like. We are all irrespective of
Fighters House Northern Israel in which the accidents of our birth or our religious
she declared that: choices obligated to be in solidarity with
All of my nearest, most beloved com- the people of Gaza. CT
rades fought from the rooftops, in the fires,
from the bunkers. Most of them perished. Richard Pithouse teaches politics at
I hurts me that I can no longer remember Rhodes University. at Grahamstown, South
all their names. We memorialize only a Africa

Bendibs world Khalil Bendib,

August 2014 | ColdType 71

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Telegenically dead
Deepa Kumar on Israels crumbling media war

Among the sraeli propaganda has hit a new low. While as a way of gaining credibility and trust. To
various shifts the world was still trying to come to terms make sure that the point is understood, the
it suggests, the with the mass deaths in Shejaiya, Benja- manual repeats again (in bold and under-
manual notes that min Netanyahu went on CNN to state that lined this time) the instruction use Empa-
it is important Hamas uses the telegenically dead to fur- thy the suggestion being that empathy is
to distinguish ther their cause. He added that for Hamas: an important tool to be used in the propa-
between the The more the dead, the better. Even while ganda war.
Palestinian people Netanyahu followed the propaganda script, When innocent Palestinian children and
and Hamas which is to first show sympathy and express women are killed, the first response should
remorse, by reducing dead Palestinians to be to show empathy; the next is to reframe
a photo-op he showed how his own mind the issue stating that Israel is not to blame
works. and that it is only defending itself and fur-
There is a standard script for how to ther that it only wants peace. Even when it
deal with Palestinian casualties. After Israel is raining death and destruction on Palestin-
killed four boys on the Gaza beach on July ians, the manual is clear: Remind people
16th, the US establishment media fell in line again and again that Israel wants peace.
behind Israels PR framework: acknowledge Developed after the 2008 Gaza war, when
the tragedy, but blame Hamas. This is ex- Americans began to show greater sympathy
actly what Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev for Palestinians, this propaganda manual
said on Channel 4 News when grilled by tries to address some of the shortcomings
the anchor Jon Snow. It is also how the US during Operation Cast Lead. Among the
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki various shifts it suggests, the manual notes
responded using the same word-for-word that it is important to distinguish between
talking points. the Palestinian people and Hamas. Ayman
This framework, developed in 2009, can Moyheldin, one of the few international re-
be found in the Israel Projects 2009 Global porters who covered Cast Lead, noted that
Language Dictionary. The Orwellian manual Israel sought to portray everyone in Gaza
provides a detailed outline on how to com- as a Hamas sympathizer, as a terrorist sym-
municate effectively in support of Israel. pathizer as a way to justify its indiscrimi-
One of its first instructions is that pro-Is- nate killing.
raeli propagandists need to show empathy. The 2009 manual counters this strategy
The manual insists that they should show stating that while Americans get that
empathy for BOTH sides (caps in original) Hamas is a terrorist organization. . .if it

72 ColdType | August 2014

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sounds like you are attacking the Palestin- fied of covering Israel than any other issue. The US political
ian people. . .you will lose support. It care- Jon Stewart comically made the same point elite, the elite
fully emphasizes again: Right now, many in his segment We Need to Talk about Is- in Israel, and
Americans sympathize with the plight of rael. the owners of
the Palestinians, and that sympathy will The end result is that news coverage of the corporate
increase if you fail to differentiate between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict follows pre- media share a
the people from their leaders. dictable pro-Israeli patterns that are out- set of common
In other words, in order to decrease sym- lined in an educational video produced by economic and
pathy for the Palestinian people new tactics media scholar Sut Jhally called Peace, Pro- political interests
were needed to augment older ones. paganda, and the Promised Land: US Media that ensures
Israeli propaganda has a long history. In and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. that pro-Israeli
1982 the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was But something new has been happen- propaganda
met with international condemnation. In ing in the establishment media, particu- dominates in the
particular, the massacre of Palestinians larly since the July 16th tragedy. Ayman establishment
in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila Moyheldin now working for NBC witnessed media
damaged its public image. and covered Israels cold blooded murder of
Israel then instituted a permanent PR four young Palestinian boys playing soccer
establishment that would work to cultivate on the beach. Moyheldins coverage was gut
good media coverage in the US. The Hasbara wrenching but it was carried by NBC nev-
project involved training Israeli diplomats ertheless.
and press officers on how to speak in ways However, NBC immediately recalled
that ensured favorable media coverage. Moyheldin, giving no explanation for why
The media watchdog group, Committee its best journalist on this topic (Moyheldin
for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in has covered Gaza before, speaks Arabic, and
America (CAMERA) was formed to monitor has a good understanding of Middle East
and respond to unfair media coverage of politics) might be pulled out of Gaza.
Israel. This is standard establishment media
But pro-Israeli coverage isnt simply the protocol. But what happened next is any-
product of good talking points rather it thing but standard.
stems from the special relationship be- Following Glenn Greenwalds article
tween the US and Israel and their mutual on this at the Intercept, large numbers of
interests in the Middle East. It is not a coin- people, primarily through social media,
cidence that Jen Psaki would use the same held NBCs feet to the fire. In contrast to
language as Mark Regev. Or that John Kerry standard patterns where the only pressure
would echo Benjamin Netanyahu. comes from well-funded pro-Israeli groups,
The US political elite, the elite in Israel, this time ordinary people who are reeling
and the owners of the corporate media from the Palestinian death toll organized
share a set of common economic and po- their dissent.
litical interests that ensures that pro-Israeli The result was that Moyheldin was re-
propaganda dominates in the establish- instated. He tweeted: Thanks for all the
ment media. Should journalists and media support. Im returning to #Gaza to report.
organizations break from the script, vari- Proud of NBCs continued commitment to
ous pro-Israeli groups, such as CAMERA, cover #Palestinian side of the story.
generate flak and bring enough pressure to Similar outrage at ABCs Diane Sawyer
bear on editors and reporters that they are who misidentified the devastation and suf-
brought back into line. fering of Palestinians as Israeli, prompted a
As Glenn Greenwald noted recently, me- rare apology from the slavishly pro-Israel
dia figures and executives are more petri- corporate media.

August 2014 | ColdType 73

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Children, The dynamic at work is as follows: First, while the framework of Blame Hamas
maybe four feet independent media have played a crucial dominates mainstream media coverage, the
tall, dressed in role in countering Israeli propaganda and humanity of Palestinian people is cracking
summer clothes, offering alternative accounts. Second, social through the decades long, well established
running from media have provided a forum from which faade of pro-Israeli propaganda.
an explosion, independent journalism, as well as first And how can it not? When the actual
dont fit the hand reports from Palestinian people in experience of journalists contradicts the
description of Gaza, are circulated. Third, in these spaces propaganda narrative, if they have a heart
Hamas fighters, Israel is losing the propaganda war, despite or a brain, they cannot help but see Zionist
either its vast resources of trolls and misinforma- propaganda for what it is. This is possibly
tion experts. Fourth, grassroots activists why Israel kept out foreign journalists dur-
using social media have been able to bring ing the 2008 Cast Lead operation.
pressure to bear on the establishment me- Another journalist, CNNs Diana Magnay,
dia. Fifth, this climate has enabled establish- hearing the cheers of Israelis as Palestin-
ment journalists on the ground to be more ians were being bombarded, and somewhat
forthcoming about the horrors of what is horrified by it said spontaneously on the air
happening in Gaza. it is really astonishing, macabre and an
Thus, Tyler Hicks, a photojournalist for awful thing really to watch this display of
the New York Times, who also witnessed the fire in the air. As a trained journalist, she
Israeli attack on the beach was allowed to seems to have self-censored and substituted
contribute a story in the Times about his ex- the words fire in the air for what she actu-
perience. Calling the lie to Israels claim that ally thought about the people cheering on:
it only bombs Hamas targets, he wrote: A scum, the word she would later tweet.
small metal shack with no electricity or run- Magnay wrote: Israelis on hill above
ning water on a jetty in the blazing seaside Sderot cheer as bombs land on #gaza;
sun does not seem like the kind of place threaten to destroy our car if I say one word
frequented by Hamas militants, the Israel wrong. Scum.
Defense Forces intended targets. Children, Despite the serious intimidation faced by
maybe four feet tall, dressed in summer journalists, in this case to bomb Magnays
clothes, running from an explosion, dont fit car if she got even a word wrong, such
the description of Hamas fighters, either. pressure seems to be working less and less.
At the beach when this tragedy occurred, While Magnay was called away from Gaza
Hicks asked: If children are being killed, by CNN, a vigilant social media sphere com-
what is there to protect me, or anyone bined with mass protests around the world
else? has created a climate where if media institu-
Ben Wedeman, CNNs veteran foreign tions are to retain their credibility they have
correspondent, found out first hand that to at least appear to be balanced.
nothing can protect journalists. He was hit This is the opening that Palestinian rights
in the head by an Israeli rubber bullet. Fol- activists and supporters need to harness in
lowing this, he filed a report of a family in order to reframe the debate. While our side
Gaza who were evacuating their neighbor- lacks lobby groups, media watchdog outfits,
hood in anticipation of an Israeli attack. paid trolls, disinformation experts, and the
The scream of horror and panic of a little vast financial resources of the Israeli side,
girl hearing a missile strike close to her loca- we do have one thing going for us the
tion filled the screens of CNN viewers. truth. CT
For the first time, perhaps, Americans
are witnessing the suffering of Palestinian Deepa Kumar is an associate professor of
people in the establishment press. Even media studies at Rutgers University.

74 ColdType | August 2014

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T /

T /

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August| 2014 | ColdType
power & hypocrisy

Crime (Israel) and

Punishment (Russia)
Pepe Escobar wonders why the West has ignored Israels war crimes
while imposing sanctions on Russia

Israel gets away The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Eurotrash mob is now determined to act.
with unlawful Hate was not that one was obliged to act No, not against Israel because of Gaza;
premeditated a part, but that it was impossible to avoid against Russia because of Ukraine. Such a
mass murder of joining it ... lovely Orwellian symmetry: the extended
civilians, while A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, Two Minutes Hate from Israel towards Ga-
Russia gets a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces zans morphs into the extended Two Min-
framed for a in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow utes Hate from the West towards Russia,
(smaller-scale) through the whole group of people like an mirroring the extended Two Minutes Hate
airborne mass electric current, turning one even against from Kiev towards Eastern Ukrainians.
murder ones will into a grimacing, screaming Not even Hollywood could come up
of civilians lunatic George Orwell, 1984 with such a plot; Israel gets away with un-

lawful premeditated mass murder of civil-
o Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hol- ians, while Russia gets framed for a (small-
lande and Italian Premier Matteo er-scale) airborne mass murder of civilians
Renzi lets call them the Fab Five that has all the makings of being set up by
get on a video conference call to the Kiev vassals of Russias Western part-
muster their courage and increase pres- ners.
sure asking for a ceasefire in Gaza. Later Sanctions, sanctions, sanctions is the
in the day, Israels Benjamin Bibi Ne- one and only official Obama administra-
tanyahu delivers his answer, in plain lan- tion policy on Russia. On top of the next
guage: he remains dead set on achieving European Union sanctions, coming soon,
his version of a Final Solution to Gaza. [1] the US will be piling up what else more
With or without pressure. sanctions. After all, Washington is so con-
So whats left for the Fab Five after hav- cerned that Moscow will sooner or later
ing their illustrious Western collective invade Ukraine; that would certainly, and
behinds solemnly kicked? They decide to finally, answer all those In God We Trust
dump Gaza and instead sanction Russia prayers.
again! How brilliant is that as an exit strat-
egy? Where we stand now
Spectacular non-entity Tony Blinken, Lets follow the facts. Washington from the
who doubles as deputy national security get-go said it was Russian President Vladi-
adviser to Barack Obama, was keen to stress mir Putins missile that downed MH17.
to Western corporate media that the unruly They swore they had evidence. Like in We

76 ColdType | August 2014

power & hypocrisy

know. Trust us. The historical record for fiscated the recordings of Kiev control How come all
the past 60 years at least shows they can- tower talking to MH17. That would cer- this trillion-dollar
not be trusted. There was never any evi- tainly explain why MH17 was overflying a Full Spectrum
dence. Just spin. war zone (Malaysian Airlines revealed they Dominance
Moscow, via the Defense Ministry, pre- were forced to). Hefty bets can be made the apparatus cannot
sented hard evidence. And called for an un- recordings are now being doctored. come up with a
biased international investigation. Wash- Then there are the black boxes, which single, conclusive
ington ignored it all the call and the hard will not de decoded by the Malaysians or by piece of evidence?
evidence. the Dutch, but by the Brits acting under
The US Navy, crammed with state-of- Washingtons orders. As The Saker blogger
the-art missile defense radars, has been summed up the view of top Russian spe-
in the Black Sea for weeks now. As much cialists, the Brits will now let the NSA fal-
as the Russians, they have tracked every sify the data and that falsification will be
particle flying over Ukraine. The NSA goes coordinated with the SBU in Kiev which
for signals intelligence; the National Geo- will eventually release the recordings who
spatial-Intelligence Agency goes for phe- will fully confirm the authenticity of the
nomena in the imagery realm; the Defense NSA-doctored recordings from the UK. To
Intelligence Agency adds Humint; theres make it more palatable, and erase suspi-
the CIA; and theres the all-seeing, all- cions about Anglo-American foul play, the
knowing Director of National Intelligence. Dutch will announce it. Everyone should
How come all this trillion-dollar Full Spec- be forewarned.
trum Dominance apparatus cannot come NATO heads, for their part, are droolin.
up with a single, conclusive piece of evi- Kievs forces/militias will hold joint ex-
dence? ercises with the North Atlantic Treaty
The only risible evidence presented so Organization in Ukraine in slightly over a
far pictures the acronym salad of US intel month from now, on September 1; red alert
agencies spending their time reading blogs applies, because this is when Ukrainian
and Twittering. As in the State Department President Petro Poroshenko said the slow
head in Kiev twittering satellite imagery motion ethnic cleansing of Donbass will be
that the New York Times parroted proved finished.
Russia is shelling Ukraine from across the As for the R2P (responsibility to pro-
border. The proverbial senior US officials tect) angle, it sounds quite improbable.
even had to tersely admit on the record True, Moscow can always say that unless
they have no proof whatsoever about Pu- the slow motion ethnic cleansing of Don-
tins missile. If they had, NATO would be bass stops they will recognize the Donetsk
ready to flip burgers in Red Square. and Luhansk Republics. In that case, Mos-
Based on the wealth of info now in the cow would be replaying Abkhazia and
open, the top probability of what caused South Ossetia; a de facto R2P backed by
the MH17 tragedy was an R-60M air-to-air military muscle.
missile shot from a Ukrainian Su-25 and Under international law which Wash-
not a BUK (theres also the possibility of a ington never respects, by the way this is
double down; first an R-60M and then a not the same as invading Ukraine. The
BUK). The R-60M is very fast, with an ideal frankly scary Samantha Power, the US Am-
engagement distance of up to five kilome- bassador to the United Nations, would ob-
ters. Thats how far the Su-25 detected by viously freak out but thats a dose of her
the Russians (they showed the graphics) own medicine. It would indeed be compa-
was from MH17. rable to what the Americans are doing to
SBU Ukrainian intel for its part con- the benefit of those Salafi-jihadis in Syria;

August 2014 | ColdType 77

power & hypocrisy

Khodorkovsky and better yet, to what the US did in Ko- line: the Russian state simply wont al-
was found guilty sovo. low itself to be robbed by a dodgy ruling
not only by the on behalf of a bunch of oligarchs. In paral-
Russian judicial The $50billion vultures lel, a case can be made that not only the
system but also And now, on top of sanctions, Moscow also Return of the Living (Neo-Con) Dead but
by the European has to contend with a massive US$50 billion also substantial sections of the deep state
Court of Human theft attempt. The International Arbitration in Washington DC and environs as well
Rights Court in The Hague found that the Krem- as Western plutocracy want to provoke
lins pursuit of Yukos and its main share- some sort of NATO war against Russia,
holder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a decade sooner rather than later.
ago was politically motivated. Moscow cant And in another parallel line, Moscow
appeal but it will pursue all legal avenues rumor has it that the Kremlin finds this
for trying to get this ruling set aside. protracted post-Yukos battle just an after-
Well, its The Hagues decision itself that thought compared to the economic war
is political. Khodorkovsky was found guilty about to convulse Europe and eventually
not only by the Russian judicial system pit Europe against Russia: exactly what the
but also by the European Court of Human Empire of Chaos is praying and working
Rights. Yukos and Menotep shareholders for. Two Minute Hate? Talk about hours,
were and remain a bunch of oligarch gang- days, weeks, and years. CT
sters to put it mildly.
So heres the Empire of Chaos once again
in action, manipulating a Dutch court after 1. Netanyahu: Were prepared for an
literally stealing Germanys gold and fining extended operation in Gaza, The Jerusalem
France for selling warships to Russia. In Post, July 28, 2014.
this case though, the West has more in-
vestments in Russia than the Russian gov- Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan:
ernment in the West. Payback could be a How the Globalized World is Dissolving into
bitch as in Moscow, for instance, freezing Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red
all US and EU energy investments especial- Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during
ly in the new ultra-profitable frontier, the the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and
Arctic oil fields. Western Big Oil will never Obama does Globalistan: (Nimble Books,
allow this to happen. 2009). This article first appeared at
This could go on forever. The bottom

Read all back issues of ColdType & The Reader at
and at

78 ColdType | August 2014

anti-empire report

Delusions of grandeur
William Blum looks at recent statements from American leaders
and finds that their views are not shared by the rest of the world

S Secretary of State John Kerry, July ership is essential, even if we must often Let me say
8, 2014: In my travels as secretary lead in new ways. it clearly: The
of state, I have seen as never before Senator Barack Obama, April 23, 2007: United States can,
the thirst for American leadership In the words of President Franklin must, and will
in the world. Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling im- lead in this new
President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014: mediate evils and promoting the ultimate century. Indeed,
Heres my bottom line, America must al- good. I still believe that America is the last, the complexities
ways lead on the world stage. If we dont, no best hope of Earth. and connections
one else will. Gallup poll, 2013: Question asked: of todays world
Nicholas Burns, former US Under Sec- Which country do you think is the greatest have yielded a
retary of State for Political Affairs, May 8, threat to peace in the world today? new American
2014: Where is American power and lead- Replies: Moment . .
ership when the world needs it most? United States 24% Hillary Clinton
Mitt Romney, Republican Party candi- Pakistan 8%
date for President, September 13, 2012: China 6%
The world needs American leadership. Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea,
The Middle East needs American leadership each 5%
and I intend to be a president that provides India, Iraq, Japan, each 4%
the leadership that America respects and Syria 3%
keep us admired throughout the world. Russia 2%
Paul Ryan, Congressman, Republican Australia, Germany, Palestinian territo-
Party candidate for Vice President, Septem- ries, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea,
ber 12, 2012: We need to be reminded that UK, each 1%
the world needs American leadership.
John McCain, Senator, September 9, 2012:
The question is not what pacifism has
The situation in Syria and elsewhere cries achieved throughout history, but what
out for American leadership. has war achieved?
Hillary Clinton, September 8, 2010: Let Remark made to a pacifist: If only every-
me say it clearly: The United States can, one else would live in the way you recom-
must, and will lead in this new century. In- mend, I would gladly live that way as well
deed, the complexities and connections of but not until everyone else does.
todays world have yielded a new American The Pacifists reply: Why then, sir, you
Moment a moment when our global lead- would be the last man on earth to do good.

August 2014 | ColdType 79

anti-empire report

After the I would rather be one of the first. pan to think again of being and acting like a
communists came Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, Great Power. various US-Japanese secu-
to power in China 1947, words long cherished by a large ma- rity and defense cooperation treaties, which
in 1949, the United jority of the Japanese people: called on Japan to integrate its military
States opted for Aspiring sincerely to an international technology with that of the US and NATO
a strong Japan peace based on justice and order, the Japa- the US supplying new sophisticated mili-
safely ensconced nese people forever renounce war as a sov- tary aircraft and destroyers all manner of
in the anti- ereign right of the nation and the threat or Japanese logistical assistance to the US in
communist camp. use of force as means of settling interna- Washingtons frequent military operations
For pacifism, its tional disputes. in Asia repeated US pressure on Japan
been downhill In order to accomplish the aim of the to increase its military budget and the size
ever since preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forc- of its armed forces more than a hundred
es, as well as other war potential, will never US military bases in Japan, protected by
be maintained. The right of belligerency of the Japanese military US-Japanese joint
the state will not be recognized. military exercises and joint research on a
This statement is probably unique missile defense system the US Ambas-
amongst the worlds constitutions. sador to Japan, 2001: I think the reality of
But on July 1, 2014 the government of circumstances in the world is going to sug-
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with- gest to the Japanese that they reinterpret or
out changing a word of Article 9, announced redefine Article 9.
a reinterpretation of it to allow for mili- Under pressure from Washington, Ja-
tary action in conjunction with allies. This pan sent several naval vessels to the Indian
decision can be seen as the culmination of Ocean to refuel US and British warships as
a decades-long effort by the United States part of the Afghanistan campaign in 2002,
to wean Japan away from its post-WWII then sent non-combat forces to Iraq to assist
pacifist constitution and foreign policy and the American war as well as to East Timor,
set it back on the righteous path of being another made-in-America war scenario
a military power once again, only this time US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004:
acting in coordination with US foreign pol- If Japan is going to play a full role on the
icy needs. world stage and become a full active partici-
In the triumphalism of the end of the pating member of the Security Council, and
Second World War, the American occu- have the kind of obligations that it would
pation of Japan, in the person of General pick up as a member of the Security Coun-
Douglas MacArthur, played a major role in cil, Article Nine would have to be examined
the creation of this constitution. But after in that light.
the communists came to power in China in In 2012 Japan was induced to take part
1949, the United States opted for a strong in a military exercise with 21 other coun-
Japan safely ensconced in the anti-commu- tries, converging on Hawaii for the largest-
nist camp. ever Rim of the Pacific naval exercises and
For pacifism, its been downhill ever war games, with a Japanese admiral serving
since step by step MacArthur himself as vice commander of the combined task
ordered the creation of a national police force.
reserve, which became the embryo of the And so it went until, finally, on July
future Japanese military visiting Tokyo in 1 of this year, the Abe administration an-
1956, US Secretary of State John Foster Dull- nounced their historic decision. Abe, it
es told Japanese officials: In the past, Japan should be noted, is a member of the Liberal
had demonstrated her superiority over the Democratic Party, with which the CIA has
Russians and over China. It was time for Ja- had a long and intimate connection, even

80 ColdType | August 2014

anti-empire report

when party leaders were convicted World El Salvador. The State

War II war criminals. The particularly severe increases in Hon- Department was
If and when the American empire en- duran migration are a direct result of the virtually alone
gages in combat with China or Russia, it ap- June 28, 2009 military coup that overthrew in the Western
pears that Washington will be able to count the democratically-elected president, Manu- Hemisphere in
on their Japanese brothers-in-arms. In the el Zelaya, after he did things like raising the not unequivocally
meantime, the many US bases in Japan minimum wage, giving subsidies to small condemning the
serve as part of the encirclement of China, farmers, and instituting free education. The Honduran coup
and during the Vietnam War the United coup like so many others in Latin America
States used their Japanese bases as launch- was led by a graduate of Washingtons in-
ing pads to bomb Vietnam. famous School of the Americas.
The US policies and propaganda not only As per the standard Western Hemisphere
got rid of the annoying Article 9, but along script, the Honduran coup was followed by
the way it gave rise to a Japanese version of the abusive policies of the new regime, loy-
McCarthyism. ally supported by the United States.
A prime example of this is the case of Ki- The State Department was virtually alone
miko Nezu, a 54-year-old Japanese teacher, in the Western Hemisphere in not unequiv-
who was punished by being transferred ocally condemning the Honduran coup.
from school to school, by suspensions, sal- Indeed, the Obama administration has re-
ary cuts, and threats of dismissal because of fused to call it a coup, which, under Ameri-
her refusal to stand during the playing of can law, would tie Washingtons hands as
the national anthem, a World War II song to the amount of support it could give the
chosen as the anthem in 1999. coup government.
She opposed the song because it was This denial of reality still persists even
the same one sung as the Imperial Army though a US embassy cable released by
set forth from Japan calling for an eternal Wikileaks in 2010 declared: There is no
reign of the emperor. At graduation cer- doubt that the military, Supreme Court
emonies in 2004, 198 teachers refused to and National Congress conspired on June
stand for the song. 28 [2009] in what constituted an illegal and
After a series of fines and disciplinary unconstitutional coup against the Execu-
actions, Nezu and nine other teachers were tive Branch. Washingtons support of the
the only protesters the following year. Nezu far-right Honduran government has been
was then allowed to teach only when anoth- unwavering ever since.
er teacher was present. The questions concerning immigration
into the United States from south of the bor-
Yankee Blowback der go on year after year, with the same is-
The number of children attempting to cross sues argued back and forth: Whats the best
the Mexican border into the United States way to block the flow into the country? How
has risen dramatically in the last five years: shall we punish those caught here illegally?
In fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2009 Sep- Should we separate families, which happens
tember 30, 2010) about 6,000 unaccompa- when parents are deported but their Amer-
nied minors were detained near the border. ican-born children remain? Should the po-
The US Department of Homeland Secu- lice and various other institutions have the
rity estimates for the fiscal year 2014 the right to ask for proof of legal residence from
detention of as many as 74,000 unaccom- anyone they suspect of being here illegally?
panied minors. Approximately 28% of the Should we punish employers who hire ille-
children detained this year are from Hon- gal immigrants? Should we grant amnesty
duras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from to at least some of the immigrants already

August 2014 | ColdType 81

anti-empire report

The protest in here for years? on and on, round and have the perfect storm of suffering followed
Rome involved round it goes, decade after decade. Those by the attempt to escape from suffering.
around three in the US generally opposed to immigration Its not that all these people prefer to live
million people, make it a point to declare that the United in the United States. Theyd much rather
and is listed in the States does not have any moral obligation remain with their families and friends, be
2004 Guinness to take in these Latino immigrants. able to speak their native language at all
Book of World But the counter-argument to this last times, and avoid the hardships imposed on
Records as the point is almost never mentioned: Yes, the them by American police and other right-
largest anti-war United States does indeed have a moral ob- wingers.
rally in history. ligation because so many of the immigrants
Madrid hosted the are escaping a situation in their homeland Mlady Hillary
second largest made hopeless by American intervention Madame Clinton, in her new memoir, re-
rally with more and policy. ferring to her 2002 Senate vote supporting
than 1 million In addition to Honduras, Washington military action in Iraq, says: I thought I
protesters. About overthrew progressive governments which had acted in good faith and made the best
half a million were sincerely committed to fighting pov- decision I could with the information I had.
marched in the erty in Guatemala and Nicaragua; while in And I wasnt alone in getting it wrong. But I
United States El Salvador the US played a major role in still got it wrong. Plain and simple.
suppressing a movement striving to install In a 2006 TV interview, Clinton said:
such a government. Obviously, if we knew then what we know
And in Mexico, though Washington has now, there wouldnt have been a vote. And I
not intervened militarily since 1919, over certainly wouldnt have voted that way.
the years the US has been providing train- On October 16, 2002 the US Congress ad-
ing, arms, and surveillance technology to opted a joint resolution titled Authoriza-
Mexicos police and armed forces to better tion for Use of Military Force Against Iraq.
their ability to suppress their own peoples This was done in the face of numerous pro-
aspirations, as in Chiapas, and this has tests and other political events against an
added to the influx of the oppressed to the American invasion.
United States, irony notwithstanding. On February 15, 2003, a month before
Moreover, Washingtons North Ameri- the actual invasion, there was a coordinated
can Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has protest around the world in which people in
brought a flood of cheap, subsidized US some 60 countries marched in a last desper-
agricultural products into Mexico, ravaging ate attempt to stop the war from happening.
campesino communities and driving many It has been described as the largest protest
Mexican farmers off the land when they event in human history.
couldnt compete with the giant from the
north. The subsequent Central American Estimations of the total number of par-
Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has brought ticipants involved reach 30 million. The pro-
the same joys to the people of that area. test in Rome involved around three million
These free trade agreements as they people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness
do all over the world also result in govern- Book of World Records as the largest anti-
ment enterprises being privatized, the regu- war rally in history. Madrid hosted the sec-
lation of corporations being reduced, and ond largest rally with more than 1 million
cuts to the social budget. protesters. About half a million marched in
Add to this the displacement of commu- the United States. How many demonstra-
nities by foreign mining projects and the tions in support of the war can be cited? It
drastic US-led militarization of the War on can be said that the day was one of human-
Drugs with accompanying violence and you itys finest moments.

82 ColdType | August 2014

anti-empire report

So what did all these people know that war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war The audience, it
Hillary Clinton didnt know? What informa- rhetoric (and she of course gave them a tiny should be noted,
tion did they have access to that she as a bit of that as well out of the other side of booed Hillary
member of Congress did not have? her mouth), so we can assume that this is Clinton,
The answer to both questions is of course how she really feels, if indeed the woman for the second
Nothing. She voted the way she did be- feels anything. year in a row
cause she was, as she remains today, a whol- The audience, it should be noted, booed
ly committed supporter of the Empire and her, for the second year in a row.
its unending wars. We came, we saw, he died. Hillary
And what did the actual war teach her? Clinton as US Secretary of State, giggling, as
Here she is in 2007, after four years of hor- she referred to the uncivilized and utterly
rible death, destruction and torture: depraved murder of Moammar Gaddafi in
The American military has done its job. 2011.
Look what they accomplished. They got rid Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other
of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a Islamic leader speaking of September 11,
chance for free and fair elections. They gave 2001: We came, we saw, 3,000 died, ha-
the Iraqi government the chance to begin to ha. CT
demonstrate that it understood its responsi-
bilities to make the hard political decisions William Blum is the author of Killing
necessary to give the people of Iraq a better Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions
future. So the American military has suc- Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide
ceeded. to the Worlds Only Super Power, West-Bloc
And she spoke the above words at a con- Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir, and
ference of liberals, committed liberal Demo- Americas Deadliest Export Democracy:
crats and others further left. She didnt have The Truth About US Foreign Policy and
to cater to them with any flag-waving pro- Everything Else


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August 2014 | ColdType 83

Writing worth

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