The Matrix of (Un)Reality

Morpheus

I imagine that right now you’re feeling a little like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit-hole…I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth…Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here because you know something. What you know, you can’t explain. But you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. That there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, or when you go to church, or when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth…

-Morpheus, “The Matrix”

So how did this “prison for our minds” evolve, where did it begin. Lets start in 1917, when the “man of peace” Woodrow Wilson, was desperately trying to get us involved in World War I:

The Committee on Public Information, also known as the CPI and the Creel Commission, was established under President Woodrow Wilson as an independent agency by Executive order 2594, April 13, 1917. Consisted of George Creel (Chairman) and Secretaries of State (Robert Lansing), War (Lindley M. Garrison), and the Navy (Josephus Daniels) as ex officio members. Its purpose was to influence American public opinion toward supporting U.S. intervention in World War I via a vigorous propaganda campaign. Among those who participated in it were Wilson adviser Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays, the latter of whom had remarked that “the essence of democratic society” was the “engineering of consent”, by which propaganda was the necessary method for democracies to promote and garner support for policy. Many have commented that the CPI laid the groundwork for the public relations (PR) industry. The CPI at first used material that was based on fact but censored to present an upbeat picture of the war. Very quickly, however, the CPI began churning out raw propaganda picturing Germans as evil monsters. Hollywood movie makers joined in on the propaganda by making movies such as The Claws of the Hun, The Prussian Cur, and The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin. These titles illustrated the message the CPI tried to convey. CPI pamphlets were created and warned citizens to be on the lookout for German spies. Dozens of “patriotic organizations,” with names like the American Protective League and the American Defense Society, sprang up. These groups spied, tapped telephones, and opened mail in an effort to ferret out “spies and traitors.” The targets of these groups was anyone who called for peace, questioned the Allies’ progress, or criticized the government’s policies. They were particularly hard on German Americans, many of whom lost their jobs, and were publicly humiliated by being forced to kiss the American flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or buy war bonds. Committee work was curtailed after July 1, 1918. Domestic activities stopped after the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. Foreign operations ended June 30, 1919. The CPI was abolished by executive order 3154 on August 21, 1919.

Abolished, meaning “privatized”, or rolled into the all new “Public Relations” industry. This major problem the elites faced around the turn of the century, was how to control the public mind overtly. Rockefeller’s “goon squads” weren’t working so well, people were fighting back, it was easy to see the oppression and injustice when you had hired goons open fire on women and children. Emerging working class leaders like Eugene Debs, and Mother Jones were commonplace, and people had a unifying cause to get behind. This all ended when the elites discovered the power of psychology. And the vehicle would be “Public Relations”, and subsequently media ownership, as discussed here, and finally the school systems. Walter Lippman was one of the founders of the Public Relations industry. Noam Chomsky has written extensively on the matter. Here he is asked by an interviewer to explain the two concepts of “manufacturing consent” and “necessary illusions.”

Manufacturing consent comes from Walter Lippman, the Dean of American Journalism and one of the most highly respected public intellectuals of the 20th century. The other, necessary illusions, that comes from Reinhold Niebuhr who was the guru of the Kennedy intellectuals and George Kent and others, again highly respected. Both of them said that manufacturing consent, in Lippman’s case, and imposing necessary illusions is the central feature of a democratic society. The “responsible men,” as they called them, the small elite that has the talent and the ability — the major talent being to know how to serve people with real power, but they didn’t say that — but those who enter their category of skilled responsible intellectuals, they have the duty of making sure that the stupid and ignorant masses stay out of their way. They are “ignorant and meddlesome outsiders” as Walter Lippman put it. They don’t have the intelligence or ability to care for or run their own affairs, and we’re only doing them a favor if we control them, and since we can’t do it by force then we have to do it by imposing beliefs. This is a very widely held doctrine. Incidentally these are not reactionary people. There are sort of on the center to left. And I should add that Marxism/Leninism has exactly the same view. The Vanguard party of Lenin very much acts on the same doctrine. The people are just too stupid to be able to run their own affairs and we’re smart enough so we’ll run it for them. And they better do what we say or else.

How does the mass media play in this?

The mass media are simply part of the corporate system and their goal is roughly that of what you read in the manuals of the public relations industry, which is very frank about it. We have a very class conscious business community. The leaders of the public relations industry, which is the aspect of big business that is concerned with manufacturing consent, they talk quite openly about the need to “control the public mind,” to “fight the everlasting battle for the minds of men,” who have to be “indoctrinated with the capitalist story.” The leading manual of the public relations industry was written back in the 1920’s, incidentally by a good Roosevelt/Kennedy liberal, highly respected in Cambridge where he lived. The book opens by saying something like this, that the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the attitudes and behavior of the masses is the central task of the democratic system and we, the business classes, the responsible men, we have to do it. Well the mass media are just being imbued with that conception. Not just the mass media, the entertainment industry, the schools and everyone else. That’s a leading and understandable doctrine on the part of the elite sector, and they do it in various ways.

It is also important to not make the mistake of saying the elites “control” the media, as Chomsky says:

And you can’t say that they control the media, because they are the media. That’s an enormous, a huge sector of life that is out of public influence and control in a manner which would have absolutely appalled someone like, say, Thomas Jefferson, who already condemned the very early stages of it that he saw and said that they would bring an end to democracy and restore the worst kind of aristocratic rule. (see opening quotation in Part 2)

How did this happen? U.S. Congressman Oscar Calloway, stated in 1917:

In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding, and powder interests, and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press….They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. An agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies, and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers.

Anyone with “eyes to see” knows that in the US at least, there is nothing even resembling democracy. In fact, our leaders are outright contemptuous of the concept. Congressman have a 99% incumbency rate, and every four years, about half of the registered voters decide which business class representative they want. This provides the public with the illusion of meaningful participation. Meanwhile, almost none of the issues affecting the average American are even discussed in Congress. Take for example health care, around 75% of Americans support national health care legislation, yet it cannot happen because the health care companies have vastly more influence than the 225 million or more Americans who believe we have a democratic government, and want universal health care. Meanwhile, these same Americans actually believe we have the “greatest” democracy in the world, yet every developed nation (and many undeveloped nations) on Earth has universal health care except the US. Our syle of government is much more like what Benito Mussolini defined as fascism:

“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” — Benito Mussolini

The Banking System has been covered so often, I don’t think I can add much to the subject, so I will simply summarize. Take a look at this website, for the  film “Freedom to Fascism” .

Led by JP Morgan, the elites convened a secret meeting on Morgan’s private island off the coast of Georgia, “Jeckyl Island”. See the “The Creature from Jekyll Island” for all the details. The concept was simple, create a banking scare, which Morgan did after returning from England, by spreading rumors that New York’s Knickerbocker Bank was insolvent. This created a bank rush, and was the the incident used to create the Federal Reserve Bank, which, as Michael Ruppert says is “no more federal than Federal Express”. This is the “crisis, reaction, solution” tactic that has been used by rulers and tyrants for centuries. Create the crisis, wait for the reaction, and come to the rescue with the solution, which, in this case, was to convince the American people to accept a tax on their labor. Of course it was a scam though, income tax is, to this day, unconstitutional, and there is no law, anywhere, that says Americans have to pay tax on their wages. At first, the wealthy opposed this, but quickly quieted down when they realized that, at the same time, loopholes, or tax shelters were created, so the rich would not have to pay the tax. Why did they need the Income Tax? Simple, to pay the debt service on the magically created money. The Federal Reserve is simply a cartel of private banks. They buy paper and ink from the government, print whatever denominations they want with it, than sell the “fiat currency” back to the government, for the denominated amount, plus interest. They could only accomplish the ever increasing money supply scheme, with the interest payment being paid by the average American laborer.

The form of debt slavery that the Federal Reserve system reigned in, quite closely resembles the “machines” in the film “The Matrix”, utilising the life energy of the human race, to further the trend of the worlds wealth being funneled to the wealthy and powerful, away from those who simply want to survive. This is obvious today, as more than half of the human population lives off of less than it takes to feed and house a cow. Who is to blame?, how do we fix the problem? Mass psychology cannot simply be undone, by regulations, and compromises, or elections, this problem has roots in every aspect of our lives, from the day we were born. To quote Morpheus again:

…You are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. (Produces a box containing two colored pills, one blue and one red.) This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you awake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes

To get a better understanding of how things work, and why we are slaves, read Steven Yates “The Real Matrix” . An excerpt:

Let us conduct a thought experiment. Let us remove the obviously evil artificial intelligence and its minions—“agents” and “sentinels”—and substitute a power system controlled by a few hundred extremely wealthy and well-placed individuals—a super-elite, I will call it. I use this term to distinguish it from visible, national elites. This super-elite operates at an international level, outside all national loyalties. Its only loyalties are to money and power. It exercises control by controlling not just much of the Western world’s finances but much of the information released to the public. It controls the mainstream mass media (television networks and newspapers mostly owned by six or so megaconglomerates) and most education through top-down policies permeating the prevailing form of education in this land: government (“public”) schools. So-called higher education is part of this system. The super-elite bent academic disciplines such as history and psychology in the direction it wanted them to go by generously supplying foundation and grant money to compliant graduate students who then become compliant professors and administrators. Through the endowment system it gained control over Ivy League universities. The latter, via their enormous prestige and control of flagship organizations within academic disciplines (such as the American Historical Association or the American Psychological Association), set the course for those disciplines that others can be expected to follow automatically.

Automatic, this is our thinking process, many of us cannot “unplug” because we are trained as a child to trigger an emotional response when authority, or the status quo, are questioned. This happens because emotion always overpowers reason, you can’t really think for yourself until you abandon the reifying process of our culture, seperate emotional response from logical, and take a step back and really observe reality. Reification is the process by which an abstract concept or idea, is beleived to be material, or real. For example, patriotism or nationalism is reification. The concept is nothing, it means nothing, but people are willing to die for it. But in a decentralized, autonomous, localized community/economy, nothing matters outside of your community. It is the Matrix itself that instills its belief system in us, otherwise it can’t exist. So great measures are taken culturally to insure that everyone takes part in the servitude to the state, or the capitalists, or the congressman, or whatever they call themselves.

“The fundamental problem of political philosophy is still precisely the one that Spinoza saw so clearly (and that Wilhelm Reich rediscovered): Why do men fight for their servitude as stubbornly as though it were their salvation?” – Gilles Deleuze

Simple, it is how it has “always” been done. “Always” of course, means since the agricultural revolution, because, as we now know, human life was infinitely better for 99.9% of its history, as so eloquently laid out by Jason Godesky, in his “Thirty Theses”.
The educational system took a turn for the worse, via the usual method; “standardization”. Make everybody the same, make them think the same, act the same, dress the same. “Children should be seen and not heard”, is a good example. These tactics are used not only to force children to conform to social and cultural concepts, but to time itself. We are born oblivious to time, it doesn’t exist to children. Before you create slaves out of people whose deepest instincts and desire if freedom, you must acclimate them to the false construct of time. As John Zerzan writes:

For a while in my 20s, I asked visitors to take off their watches as they entered my home. Even today children must be broken of their resistance to time. This was one of the primary reasons for the imposition of this country’s mandatory school system on a largely unwilling public. School teaches you to be at a certain place at a certain time, and prepares you for life in a factory. It calibrates you to the system. French situationist Raoul Vaneigem has a wonderful quote about this: “The child’s days escape adult time; their time is swollen by subjectivity, passion, dreams haunted by reality. Outside, the educators look on, waiting, watch in hand, till the child joins and fits the cycle of the hours.”

Even now, at 31 years old, I still cannot get used to waking up at 6:00 A.M. to go to work. Waking to an alarm is not normal, it goes against the grain of 3 million years of human evolution.


Carroll Quigley of the School of Foreign Affairs at Georgetown University is quoted by Mr. Yates:

The chief problem of American political life for a long time has been how to make the two Congressional parties more national and international. The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy… [E]ither party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of those things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.

Problems accelerate at an incredible pace in the world, it is getting worse everywhere, inequality, poisoned air, water, and land, war, poverty, etc. Yet, all we need to do is elect the other party, and things should turn around! It is very simple. The concept is drilled into us through the education system:

a “real matrix” had to be constructed around middle America, quietly, quietly. Or as the idea was expressed openly at Carnegie Endowment facilities: “We must control education in the United States.” Centralization, of course, makes control easier. It is far easier to impose policy or a single line of thought on a centralized, top-down educational system than it is to impose it on hundreds of privately owned, independent schools and autonomous districts. The government school system was perfect for what the super-elite wanted. The Founding Fathers simply assumed that education would not be a function of the federal government. The Constitution does not mention education. The Founding Fathers themselves were privately educated. It is clear, also, from such events as the publication of the Federalist Papers in the major New York newspaper of the time, or from the literature that was published and sold well at the time (e.g., James Fenimore Cooper’s difficult, philosophically dense novels) that early generations of Americans had a command of language and intellect that is superior to today’s masses. Government schools got their start in the 1840s, when Horace Mann returned from Prussia bearing news of an amazing school system. The Prussian system was also rooted in Hegelian thought. Hegel had believed we lived in a universe of Absolute Reason that would be expressed politically as the Absolute State—the exact opposite of the limited government the Founding Fathers had established. In the Prussian system children were educated not for intellectual accomplishment but for obedience to the state. The word kindergarten is, in fact, Prussian. It suggests growing children, as in a garden (which may recall that disturbing scene in The Matrix where, under the malevolent supervision of AI machines, humans “are no longer born, we are grown”).

We are grown, it is true, no longer can we deny it.

History, as we know it is nothing but a government sponsored brochure designed specifically to garner support for the creation myths of our country. For example, Columbus “discovered” America, never mind the fact that there were as many people already here, as there were in Europe, he “discovered” America, and Americans will likely get agitated or uncomfortable if you tell them the following, from Howard Zinn’s “A Peoples History of the United States”:

Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:

“They… brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned…. They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

These Arawaks of the Bahama Islands were much like Indians on the mainland, who were remarkable (European observers were to say again and again) for their hospitality, their belief in sharing. These traits did not stand out in the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money that marked Western civilization and its first messenger to the Americas, Christopher Columbus. Columbus wrote:

“As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”

The information that Columbus wanted most was: Where is the gold? The Indians, Columbus reported,

“are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone….”

He concluded his report by asking for a little help from their Majesties, and in return he would bring them from his next voyage “as much gold as they need . . . and as many slaves as they ask.” He was full of religious talk: “Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.”

This is but a small sample of the indoctrination process, or what Bob Marley, and more recently, Manuel Valenzuela refer to as “Brainwash Education”. I will quote extensively from the article entitled The Dumbing Down of America, because I cannot articulate the concept as well as Manuel has in this article. I highly recommend reading the entire thing.

Brainwash Education

The education system in America has been carefully eroded over the course of time, altered in such a way as to make creative and curious children barren and submissive adults indifferent to the world around them. The system now in place begins robbing a child’s ability to think for himself or herself from the very start of the education process. The class structure itself eliminates individuality, personality and energetic ability, as one teacher must educate many students competing for attention. It is here when talents that need to be discovered get ambushed instead. Yet with a class structure that has endured for decades, the child must become part of the whole, learning from books laced with government and/or corporate propaganda.

In many school districts, mostly poor ones strapped for cash, books can be dozens of years old, lacking modern thought or progress. Many books are tools created by entities with special interests that have as a purpose the teaching of their ideology or the furthering of their goals. The absurd teaching of creationism is one such example. Many corporations now create and donate books to school districts that contain references and examples to their brand names and product descriptions. Even in school children cannot escape the growing omnipresence of the corporate Leviathan which thirsts to program the innocent the way it sees fit.

Indeed, the young mind is needlessly brainwashed with a history of a nation that in many instances contradicts and even subverts the true historical reality of the United States. Only the ‘good’ that America has fostered during its rapid and short rise is taught, without ever dealing with the requisite bad inherent in an Empire that has laid claim to land and man during years of brutal conquest, both militarily and economically. Glossing over national heroes, mythifying them into deities and transforming them into perfect human beings is the role of the school book, brainwashing the young to a fictional perfection when reality begs to differ. Yet humanity must be balanced and its reality etched in stone so that future generations learn the human condition as well as its civilization.

The genocide of indigenous Americans is whitewashed; the slavery of blacks that lasted hundreds of years, oftentimes suffering barbaric treatment at the hands of their white masters is easily covered up in a few paragraphs, deceiving readers to the true horrors their ancestors committed or suffered. The subservient role women were placed under for centuries is hardly mentioned, and the great civil rights movement that helped change history for the better never gets the coverage it deserves.

The war crimes and crimes against humanity America has perpetrated worldwide to millions of anonymous people under the rubric of freedom and democracy is never mentioned, rather, they are sugarcoated and glamorized, serving as examples of America’s ‘great history.’ Also, the corrosive and damaging effects of American capitalism disguised as democracy that has condemned untold millions to the dustbins of history is manipulated to look like a chivalrous attempt to save lives and free nations.

Brainwashing unquestioned patriotism into our young one’s minds government controlled education furthers the squashing of dissent and the questioning of our sovereign’s motives. We are conditioned that our elected leaders are gods walking among men, to be trusted and never to be questioned. Their intentions are always noble, their reasoning pure. Dissent and debate, protest and curiosity are seen not as patriotic manifestations of an informed citizenry but rather as an alien afterthought not worthy of nationalistic pride.

The ingraining of loyalty to flag and country, even when committing evil worldwide, is to be allowed to continue, eventually becoming the means by which the state is allowed to declare war, economic genocide and market colonialism, without so much as a whisper from its constituency. The elite therefore bask in the glow of the radiant bean called patriotic fervor, indoctrinated from childhood, lasting until death.

I must stress that it is not only the education system that indoctrinates us all, but, like the Matrix, it is the combination of stimulus consisting of education, media, advertising and marketing, sports, entertainment, religion, science, economics, even philosophy. All of these forces act as one to mediate all of our experience. Nothing is real unless TV says its real, because if it were true, it would have been disseminated by the “experts” and broadcast for all to see. We have almost no meaningful interaction with other people that aren’t commercial in nature, even our presumed meaningful relationships with friends and family almost always are mediated by the Matrix, since discussions are predictably limited to the above categories, like the latest idiotic sitcom, or fake reality show, or the latest home improvement, or great deal we got on that computer, or car, or clothing, or cell phone, or jewelry, or the escapades of some celebrity. Our entire consciousness is defined by the Matrix, and there is little discourse allowed to penetrate it, lest we be exposed as thought criminals. As Joe Bageant describes:

Once the monsters in the traffic reveal themselves, life can never be the same. We are left to go about doing all the ordinary things we always did, but with the building inexpressible moral outrage, living out our lives as rote actors in a theater of iron. Inside the iron theatre — a place surrounded by high walls of normalcy, where to discover a window to the outside is considered madness — the majority have apparently learned their scripts too well. So we are left in sitting in traffic jams to fester on our evil situation.

Now we stand at the threshold of uncharted territory, where the masses are now so docile and subservient, that they will fight for their god-given right to live like a slave in a virtual fantasy world. As Morpheus described:

The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

Most Americans today are so prone to this craziness, that they mostly appear to be nothing more than vacant eyed sheep, being led to the slaughter, much like the good German Jews who believed that somehow, someway, their oppressors would eventually release them, if only they did exactly as they were told, and never questioned the power structure:

What no one seemed to notice was the ever widening gap between the government and the people. And it became always wider the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about and kept us so busy with continuous changes and “crises” and so fascinated by the machinations of the “national enemies,” without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted,” that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these “little measures” must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. Each act is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone, you don’t want to “go out of your way to make trouble.” But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father could never have imagined.”
— Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955)

Sometimes there are glitches in the Matrix, this happens occasionally, and can be very disconcerting to those in power, especially when it comes from a highly visible individual like Keith Olbermann:

Olbermann-
Today, 135 years to the day after the last American President (Ulysses S. Grant) suspended habeas corpus, President Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006. At its worst, the legislation allows President Bush or Donald Rumsfeld to declare anyone — US citizen or not — an enemy combatant, lock them up and throw away the key without a chance to prove their innocence in a court of law. In other words, every thing the Founding Fathers fought the British empire to free themselves of was reversed and nullified with the stroke of a pen, all under the guise of the War on Terror.

Olbermann’s guest, Jonathan Turley had this to say:

Turley: “People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system. The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It’s otherworldly..People clearly don’t realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I’m not too sure we’re gonna change back anytime soon.”

So the vice begins to tighten around the necks of those thought criminals who have the audacity to challenge those in power. In the Matrix threats were neutralized when found, and these people were given a choice, start acting like good Germans’ or perish.

Morpheus:I’ve been looking for you, Neo. I don’t know if you’re ready to see what I want to show you, but unfortunately, you and I have run out of time. They’re coming for you, Neo, and I don’t know what they’re going to do.

Make no mistake about it, they are coming for us. They will soon come for anyone who steps out of line. Especially those of us who are speaking the truth, and revealing to the world the true nature of this Matrix. Don’t beleive me? Just look at what Michael Chertoff recently said at a press conference:

Disaffected people living in the United States may develop radical ideologies and potentially violent skills over the Internet and that could present the next major U.S. security threat, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Monday.
“We now have a capability of someone to radicalize themselves over the Internet,” Chertoff said on the sidelines of a meeting of International Association of the Chiefs of Police.
“They can train themselves over the Internet. They never have to necessarily go to the training camp or speak with anybody else and that diffusion of a combination of hatred and technical skills in things like bomb-making is a dangerous combination,” Chertoff said. “Those are the kind of terrorists that we may not be able to detect with spies and satellites.

Neo was able to defeat Agent Smith because he was finally able to KNOW that he had the power to defeat him. Once we deprogram ourselves in large enough numbers, we too can defeat the evil that controls us. It is only an idea that defines and confines us. It is time to break free…

“Rise like lions after slumber, In unvanquishable number, Shake your chains to earth like dew, Which in sleep had fallen on you, Ye are many they are few.”
– Percy Bysshe Shelley, a great revolutionary poet

Chertoff’s comment illustrate the fear that now encompasses the machines. They can no longer ignore us. Perhaps Neo said it best:

“I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. I’m going to show them a world without rules or controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

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The Triumph of Mass Psychology

Thomas Jefferson

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be…The People cannot be safe without information. When the press is free, and every man is able to read, all is safe. Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights. Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. The liberty of speaking and writing guards our other liberties. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

— Thomas Jefferson, author of the declaration of Indepedence, US President 1801–1809

Fast forward 175 years:

The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media. We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.

– William Casey, Director CIA (Quote from internal staff meeting notes in 1981)

In 1948 the CIA created Operation Mockingbird, the purpose of which was to, as Mr. Casey pointed out, spread disinformation in the media.

In 1977, Rolling Stone alleged that one of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists alleged by Rolling Stone Magazine to have been willing to promote the views of the CIA included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), Charles Douglas Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles Bartlett (Chattanooga Times). [5] According to Nina Burleigh (A Very Private Woman) these journalists sometimes wrote articles that were commissioned by Frank Wisner. The CIA also provided them with classified information to help them with their work. [6]

The Rolling Stone article mentioned was written by Carl Bernstein of “Woodward and Bernstein” fame. He claimed that “over a twenty-five year period over 400 American journalists secretly carried out assignments for the CIA”:

“Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested it the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles, and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad.”

In 1983 there were 50 different media companies who owned about 90% of the mass media.

Now think about the fact that the government was successful with 50 companies in control, imagine today how easy it must be for the CIA to have “assets” at the executive level of all 6 companies:

In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called “alarmist” for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly. In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote “in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media” — controlling almost all of America’s newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies. This was greeted with skepticism at the time. When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market. More than 1 in 4 Internet users in the U.S. now log in with AOL Time-Warner, the world’s largest media corporation. In 2004, Bagdikian’s revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations — Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) — now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric’s NBC is a close sixth.

So it is well established that the wealth of information, and diversity of opinion available (at least in the U.S.) is decreasing rapidly as it approaches absolute zero. Some examples:

“Full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad”. This is important because it is commonly used by the US government to portray its enemies as not having “freedom of speech”, as is the case in Venezuela today. Chavez has most likely jailed journalists whom he claims work for the CIA, and of course, he is almost certainly correct. There has been a massive CIA destabilization effort going on in Venezuela, and they almost succeeded in 2002, when Chavez was ousted for about 24 hours. The reason for using “Operation Mockingbird” in Venezuela, is because Chavez’s government nationalized their oil supply, and drastically reduced the major oil companies share in profits. Recently, an article in USA Today discussed the current profits of oil producing nations:

Of course, not every dollar spent at the pump props up a desert autocrat or funds global terror. Norway, a major producer of North Sea crude, uses its oil export earnings to fund its citizens’ retirement program. The Persian Gulf oil states are investing about half of their increased oil revenue in the region, spurring luxury hotel construction in places such as Dubai and sending shares on the Saudis’ Tadawul All-Shares index up 79.7% this year…

They do however, at the bottom of the article mention:

…At home, Chavez has lavished oil money on his constituents in Venezuela’s poorest neighborhoods. Through “Mission Mercal,” a network of government-run groceries, Chavez provides half-priced food to more than 10 million people. The social largesse cements the president’s political standing. But economists such as Claudio Loser, former head of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere department, say such spending can’t continue indefinitely. Already, inflation is galloping at 18% annually and is expected to hit 25% next year.

The message is clear, if you are Norway, a noble way of spending oil money is to invest in government employee pensions, but if you are Venezuela, spending your nations wealth on its people is “social largesse”. Of course this only partially reveals the truth. Tariq Ali of the independent “Counterpunch” wrote “Why he Crushed the Oligarchs“, where he explains what is actually happening in Venezuela:

Just under a million children from the shanty-towns and the poorest villages now obtain a free education; 1.2 million illiterate adults have been taught to read and write; secondary education has been made available to 250,000 children whose social status excluded them from this privilege during the ancien regime; three new university campuses were functioning by 2003 and six more are due to be completed by 2006. As far as healthcare is concerned, the 10,000 Cuban doctors, who were sent to help the country, have transformed the situation in the poor districts, where 11,000 neighbourhood clinics have been established and the health budget has tripled. Add to this the financial support provided to small businesses, the new homes being built for the poor, an Agrarian Reform Law that was enacted and pushed through despite the resistance, legal and violent, by the landlords. By the end of last year 2,262,467 hectares has been distributed to 116,899 families. The reasons for Chavez’ popularity become obvious. No previous regime had even noticed the plight of the poor. And one can’t help but notice that it is not simply a division between the wealthy and the poor, but also one of skin-colour. The Chavistas tend to be dark-skinned, reflecting their slave and native ancestry. The opposition is light-skinned and some of its more disgusting supporters denounce Chavez as a black monkey. A puppet show to this effect with a monkey playing Chavez was even organised at the US Embassy in Caracas. But Colin Powell was not amused and the Ambassador was compelled to issue an apology. The bizarre argument advanced in a hostile editorial in The Economist this week that all this was done to win votes is extraordinary. The opposite is the case. The coverage of Venezuela in The Economist and Financial Times has consisted of pro-oligarchy apologetics. Rarely have reporters in the field responded so uncritically to the needs of their proprietors.

The enormous success of disinformation campaigns is glaringly obvious when you hear things like “That crazy son of a bitch (Chavez) doesn’t give a shit about his people” spoken so eloquently by a right wing nut coworker of mine. Currently there is an email going around which declares:

Venezuela Dictator Hugo Chavez has vowed to bring down the U.S. government. Chavez, president ! of Venezuela, told a TV audience: “Enough of imperialist aggression; we must tell the world: down with the U.S. empire. We have to bury imperialism this century.”

Regardless of your feelings! about the war in Iraq, the issue here is that we have a socialist dictator vowing to bring down the government of the U.S. And he is using our money to achieve his goal! The Venezuela government, run by dictator Chavez, sole owner of Citgo gas co. Sales of products at Citgo stations send money back to Chavez to help him in his vow to bring down our government.

Very interesting, apparantly ending imperialism is a bad thing, or at least the CIA would like you to not know the difference between ending imperialism, and bringing down the US. Of course this sort of nonsense never explains that the CIA has been trying to overthrow Chavez for 4 years, nor does it explain that Chavez has only threatened to “bring down the U.S. empire” if we invade his country. The most enraging part of this is the fact that Chavez has also been making deals with U.S. congressmen to sell free and discounted oil to poor Americans, who otherwise would not be able to heat their homes:

The sale of heavily discounted heating oil by the Venezuelan government to poor citizens inside the US continues to spread despite opposition from the US government. Venezuela uses Citgo, the refining and distribution subsidiary of its state-owned oil company based in the US, to establish the means, with the aid of supportive politicians or community organisations, to distribute the heating oil. According to Citgo’s website (), 27.7 billion gallons of heating oil at prices discounted up to 40%, and 258,000 gallons of free heating oil, are being distributed as part of the program in New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Vermont…

Chavez insisted that Citgo’s program would continue, claiming that formerly “Citgo and the Venezuelan money was aimed at presidential election campaigns and US congressmen — now it is aimed at aiding and supporting poor people”, according to a March 5 statement issued by Venezuela’s ministry of communication and information. Despite the hostility, the program is expanding. According to Gonzalez, the program is soon to be extended to upper Manhattan, while Reuters reported on February 27 that the program had expanded into Connecticut.

And of course, there is nothing that Texas oil men hate more than using oil money to help poor people, so enter corporate lackey for the oil industry, Joe Barton, close alliy to the Bush Administration:

In response, the US Congress has launched what was described in an opinion piece by Juan Gonzalez in the February 24 New York Daily News as a “bizarre investigation” into Citgo over alleged anti-trust violations. The investigation was launched by “powerful Texan Republican” Joe Barton, the head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Barton, one of the highest recipients in Congress of campaign donations from the energy industry, sent a letter to Citgo on February 15 giving it 10 days to produce all records, minutes, logs, emails “and even desk calendars” relating to the program. While the deputy staff director for the energy and commerce committee, Larry Neal, claimed the cheap heating oil program was an attempt by the “bellicose” Chavez to “meddle in American energy policy”, Gonzalez claims the real reason for the opposition is that the program “has created a huge public embarrassment for Barton’s friends in the major oil companies, all of which recently announced record-shattering profits for 2005”. These profits are the result of the record prices and alleged price gouging, which have hit poor people dependent on heating oil during winter especially hard.

Certainly in terms of South American issues, everything the American public knows is false. Has anyone seen anything about this issue in the American press?
The real success of these sort of misinformation campaigns was before the invasion of Iraq, both the US and British media (this sort of thing is not limited to the US empire) created a rich tapestry of lies. George Monbiot reports:

All journalists make mistakes .… But the falsehoods reproduced by the media before the invasion of Iraq were massive and consequential: it is hard to see how Britain could have gone to war if the press had done its job. — George Monbiot, Guardian (UK), July 20, 2004

For example, a Harris Poll from February 2005 states:

On other issues concerning Iraq, the attitudes of large majorities of the public have not changed significantly in the past few months.

  • 88 percent of U.S. adults believe that Saddam Hussein would have made weapons of mass destruction if he could have (down slightly from 90% in November).
  • 76 percent believe that the Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein (same as November).
  • 64 percent believe that history will give the U.S. credit for bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq (up slightly from 63% in November).
  • 64 percent believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda (up slightly from 62% in November).
  • 61 percent believe that Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was a serious threat to U.S. security (down slightly from 63% in November).

More surprising perhaps are the large numbers (albeit not majorities) who believe the following claims not made by the president and which virtually no experts believe to be true:

  • 47 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001 (up six percentage points from November).
  • 44 percent actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis (up significantly from 37% in November).
  • 36 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded (down slightly from 38% in November).

These are absolutely staggering falsehoods. But the true monstrous nature is apparent when Americans simply turn on the television. The popular TV show “24” is about a “counter-terrorism” agent played by Keifer Sutherland, who routinely tortures subjects in order to “prevent” terrorist attacks. This is such egregious propaganda, it is sickening. A good friend of mine recently repeated this line of nonsense with something like “We need to torture to get information”.

Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine wrote in November of 2005:

There are really only three issues in this debate, and the Journal carefully turned a blind eye to all three: (1) is torture reliable, (2) is it consistent with America’s values and Constitution, and (3) does it best serve our national interests? No one has yet offered any validated evidence that torture produces reliable intelligence. While torture apologists frequently make the claim that torture saves lives, that assertion is directly contradicted by many Army, FBI, and CIA professionals who have actually interrogated al Qaeda captives. Exhibit A is the torture-extracted confession of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al Qaeda captive who told the CIA in 2001, having been “rendered” to the tender mercies of Egypt, that Saddam Hussein had trained al Qaeda to use WMD. It appears that this confession was the only information upon which, in late 2002, the president, the vice president, and the secretary of state repeatedly claimed that “credible evidence” supported that claim, even though a now-declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report from February 2002 questioned the reliability of the confession because it was likely obtained under torture. In January 2004, al-Libi recanted his “confession,” and a month later, the CIA recalled all intelligence reports based on his statements. Exhibit B is the case of Manadel al-Jamadi, an Iraqi deemed a “high-value” target by the CIA. After being beaten to an extent that he had several broken ribs, he was subjected to a form of crucifixion known as “Palestinian hanging.” Forty-five minutes later, he was dead, never having revealed whatever vital, ticking-bomb information his American interrogator was seeking.

Much like what happened during the Spanish Inquisition, you can get people to say anything once they have been tortured enough, which is why the concept almost always provides bad information. And this is only the tip of the iceberg, some of the reports coming out of Iraq are simply too much to comprehend. The next picture is an artists rendition of one of the unreleased photos from Abu Ghraib prison. It depicts US soldiers beating an 8 year old girl. This of course is done in front of the parents, in order to get them to talk. Of course, the parents of the girl must be guilty of something, yes?

According to the International Red Cross, close to 90% of the people being held are not guilty of the allegations and many were picked-up almost at random by US patrols on sweeps.

torture-rendition-1.jpg

A very interesting technique, sweep innocent people off the street, throw them in prison, and beat and rape their children in front of them, in order to get them to “talk”. Jack Bauer of “24” does this each week, and ALWAYS saves the day. According to Hollywood, we are ALWAYS on the brink of annihilation, and some brave patriot, whether a cop, or a “counter-terrorism” agent, (usually played by Tom Cruise) is able to stop the “terrorist” in the nick of time, only because of the necessary use of torture, to get the information needed to thwart the attack. Think about it, you know that is what we are conditioned to believe. Joe Bageant recently wrote:

As my late friend Timothy Leary put it, “An enormous industry, similar to the national projects of pyramid-building in Egypt, cathedral-building in medieval Europe, and prison-camp building in Stalinist Russia has emerged in America — the production of political martyrs, fallen heroes and concept outlaws. … The essence of ‘news’ is, of course, the modern version of Roman coliseum shows and gladiator combats.” And like clockwork, there is the nightly ritual bloodletting through televised wars and domestic murders, with detective Lenny Briscoe finding the corpses at seven, eight and eleven PM weekdays.

I know what you are saying, what about the terrorists, how will we stop them. What terrorists? Since the Department of State started keeping records, around 500-600 people every YEAR are killed in terrorist attacks. That average includes the 9/11 attacks, it would be much lower otherwise. Here is the DOS’s numbers:

Interesting, Terrorism didn’t really exist until around 1970, coincidentally the same year oil peaked in America. Also coincidentally, we got a spike around the time of world-wide oil supplies started peaking, or getting close. Personally, I don’t believe in coincidence. How can it be that every country the U.S. decides needs to be brought “democracy”, also has resources coveted by the U.S. Recently, Jeff Wells of Rigorous Institution, wrote:

And I’m reminded again of former German Cabinet Minister Andreas von Bulow’s advice: “When in doubt, it is always worthwhile to take a look at a map: where are raw materials resources, and the routes to them? Then lay a map of civil wars and conflicts on top of that – they coincide. The same is the case with the third map: nodal points of the drug trade. Where this all comes together, the American intelligence services are not far away.”

The “Cocaine Import Agency” otherwise known as the CIA, is another story altogether, so I digress.

As we can obviously see, the average fatalities since 1968 are around 500-600 per year. The total since 1968 is 17,166. We almost definitely killed more innocent Iraqi’s in the first few DAYS following the 2003 Invasion. In October of 2004, the Lancet journal released a report:

Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq,” researchers from Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, said in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal on Thursday. “Violence accounted for most of the excess death and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for the most violent deaths,” the report added.

In the first Gulf war, the U.S. bombing Campaign killed about 150,000 in the first 40 days, with the cruise missile equivalent of 7 Hiroshima bombs. We leveled the entire country, set up conditions that would cost the lives of aroung 1.5 million innocent civilians, mostly women and children, and left the dictator in power, actually rewarding him. As Noam Chomsky points out, this is like capturing a criminal who hijacked a schoolbus full of children, rescuing him, setting him free, and than burning the schoolbus with the children inside, in order to punish the hijacker. The absurdity speaks for itself. And regarding the economic sanctions, under the terrorist Clinton regime, Madeline Albright has publicly announced that the blockade was “worth it”.

So how do we measure a threat, worthy enough of dropping bombs on tens of thousands of women and children? Here are some more fatality statistics:

  • Tobacco 435,000
  • Poor Diet and Physical Inactivity 365,000
  • Alcohol 85,000
  • Microbial Agents 75,000
  • Toxic Agents 55,000
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes 26,347
  • Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs 32,000
  • Suicide 30,622
  • Incidents Involving Firearms 29,000
  • Homicide 20,308
  • Sexual Behaviors 20,000
  • All Illicit Drug Use, Direct and Indirect 17,000
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Such As Aspirin 7,600
  • Marijuana 0

As you can see, “Sexual Behaviors” alone (whatever that is) kills more people every year, than the cumulative total of international terrorism has, since they started keeping track 40 years ago. Furthermore, Lightning is responsible for about 60% more deaths each year than terrorism is.

Getting back to the Abu Ghraib picture above, this is not simply the work of some German’s imagination, this really is going on. Wayne Madsen has reported on the abuse, and the true origins of it as well. Doesn’t it strike you that it is always some low ranking officers, or “bad apples” that are punished for these crimes? Of course this is what we must believe because this way, the perpetrators of the crime have been caught, tried and convicted, the system works, this won’t happen again, trust us, we are the government. This flys in the face of reality, because NOTHING in the military happens that way. All orders come from the top, soldiers don’t think or plan, they obey. They are trained to take orders, and those orders come from the very top when it comes to things like trashing the Geneva conventions. From Wayne Madsen:

From WMR, Nov. 18, 2005: There is good reason for the embarrassment of the Pentagon in the affair. The orders to take the sexually-oriented photos and videos, some of which involve teenage Iraqi boys and girls and sodomization by their guards, came directly from a pedophile and closeted male homosexual ring operating in the White House, according to the intelligence sources. Copies of the tapes and photos were sent directly to the White House for the entertainment of senior members of the Bush White House, including officials in the Vice President’s office and the Executive Office of the President. When the photos at Abu Ghraib became public, the senior military command structure in Iraq “went nuts,” according to an individual who witnessed the cover-up of the affair. “They ordered an immediate policy of denial about details of the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib,” said the source. The source added that senior officers were disgusted that lower ranking guards were prosecuted and jailed when the order for the mistreatment came directly from the White House.

I think we have now established that, at least in terms of geopolitics, mostly everything the American public knows is demonstrably false. So how did it get this way, who is to blame? The origins of the deceit go way back, Americans believed these same absurdities 100 years ago, when Emma Goldman wrote:

We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that she will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations.

She said this in 1908, so we now see how long this has been happening. The consensus among Democrats is that this is a Bush administration tactic, and all we need to do is elect someone else, and everything will be swell. The fact is, this has been done for 100 years, and the hard core mind-washing didn’t even begin until 1917 with the beginning of the Public Relations industry, and the “Creel Commission”, which I will discuss next.

Cuba and U.S. Propaganda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above billboard reads:

“200 million children in the world sleep on the streets, none of them are Cuban.”

If you are going to measure the relative success of a nation, you must observe real, quantitative factors. Good indicators are poverty, literacy, and infant mortality. So lets look at what is actually there, as opposed to the disinformation we have had hammered into our collective subconscience.

The accepted perception of Cuba is a poverty stricken, politically repressed country. But this is illusory. The end product of 40 years of imperialist propaganda against a sovereign nation, with a democratically elected government. There is certainly political repression in Cuba, which is obviously not good, but we don’t know for sure how accurate the reports are, and neither do most people, because almost all reports of it, come from either the US media, or Cuban’s who disapprove of the Cuban government. But this is not the topic of this discussion, and besides, if we were really worried about political repression, we need only look to our own government. Come on, what political repression?, you say, we have no political repression here in the US, no, of course not, we have free speech. Yes, thats true, if you want to redress your grievances with the government as the constitution requires, you are free to do it in the barbed wire “free speach” pen down the street from the political event. As a disclaimer, let me say I don’t really know all the facts about the Cuban government and Castro, and I am not glorifying it, or voicing support for it. I am just trying to set the record straight. The statistics are readily available from the UN and even the CIA factbook. Because of this, I have a major problem witht some of the absurd rhetoric that I have been reading, for example: Aaron at peakoil.com wrote:

And Cuba’s economy is now largely based on the black market. The Cuban “solution” is widespread poverty, drugs, prostitution & gambling.

Black market? Think economic blockade, a criminal economic blockade, which has been unilaterally held up by the U.S. for 40 years, despite the efforts of the U.N. For example, here are the results from the 2004 UN vote for a resolution against the U.S., to end the economic blockade:

General Assembly calls for end to US embargo against Cuba
The resolution passed with a vote of 179 in favour, four – the Marshall Islands, the United States, Israel and Palau – against and the Federated States of Micronesia abstaining.

And the November 2005 vote:

– 2005: (A/60/L.9): 182 to 4

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the resolution means anything though. Fortunately, the “coalition of the willing”, the Marshall Islands, and Palau also voted with the US. Israel almost always votes with the US, and as you must know, the US, THE global empire, can veto any UN decision, all they need is Israel or the UK to vote with them, and from time to time, the Marshall Islands, and Palau. However, the United States deems all resolutions pertaining to the US itself to be irrelevant.

Can you imagine what would happen to the US if most of its trading partners were eliminated? You could watch the collapse unfold within days. I often hear the above arguments and laugh, especially when you compare some of the arguments to the United States, recently Bill Bonner from the Daily Reckoning wrote:

During the 1950s, Cuba was no paradise, but it must have come close. American tourists – especially the rich – came by the boatloads. There, they could gamble, drink, swim in the warm sea, take drugs, smoke fine cigars, fish, and relax. Everything was cheap, sweet and warm: the hotels, the liquor…the women. The island was growing rich off of tourism and exports to the United States. By 1957, Cuba had the lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America (the 13th lowest in the world), and the third-highest number of physicians and dentists per capita – more than Britain. In terms of literacy, daily nutrition, and access to mass media, Cuba was a leader in Latin America and crowding the heels of many developed, Western nations.

Valid points? I think not. The rich certainly did come by the boatloads, and many came for the “warm” women, because under Batista, women were denied reasonable employment:

Prior to 1959, the only “jobs” available to women were those of domestic servant and prostitute — Cuba was even known as the “whorehouse of the Caribbean.” Since the revolution those “jobs” have been all but completely eliminated, while an continually increasing number of women are entering into the labor force in all fields or taking up positions in government. Cuba has the world’s most advanced system of benefits for mothers-to-be, and free birth control and abortion has been made available to all women. Also, Cuban women are guaranteed a living wage whether they work or not, so they do not have to marry or remain married out of financial considerations. In Cuba, whether a couple or not, both parents are obligated to support their children. No child is considered illegitimate, and both men and women are responsible for the maintenance of the home.

Yes, Mr. Bonner’s warm women didn’t really exist after the revolution, as this source states:

Cuba, considered to be free of prostitution since the 1960s, is experiencing an increase in prostitution and prostitution tourism as a result of the poor economy. (Jeszs Zzqiga,”Cuba: The Thailand of the Caribbean” Independent Journalists’ Cooperative, 18 June 1998)

The increase, like the small percentage of the population that has fled, was a direct result of being cut off from oil supplies, ALL of Cuba’s problems are a result of this and the sanctions. Regarding women, here are some interesting numbers:

Women In Parliamentary Seats

  • Haiti 4%
  • Honduras 6%
  • Brazil 9%
  • Colombia 12.2%
  • United States 14%
  • Mexico 15.9%
  • Argentina 31.3%
  • Cuba 36%

Source:United Nations Development Program (UNDP) 2003 Human Development Indicators and Project On Human Development

The US is almost as impressive as Columbia. In Cuba, 50% of all skilled workers or professionals (including physicians) are women & 29% of management positions are held by women. Impressive, but Mr. Bonner would rather see women in their rightful place, yes? As prostitutes and domestic servants?

Next we hear that “Cuba had the lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America (the 13th lowest in the world), and the third-highest number of physicians and dentists per capita – more than Britain. In terms of literacy, daily nutrition, and access to mass media, Cuba was a leader in Latin America and crowding the heels of many developed, Western nations.” Today the statistics for infant mortality are as follows:

  • United States 7.00
  • Cuba 5.80

•The number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year.

Interesting, now it looks as though Cuba’s is one of the best in the world, not just in Latin America. And literacy in 1957 was about 50%, as Mr. Bonner notes, and was the best among Latin American countries, and today, it is a whopping 99.8%, again among the best in the world. Cuba is a great example of what to do in a post-peak oil scenario, because they did it. Certainly, Cubans lost an average of 25 pounds after the cutoffs, but they survived. What do you think America would look like with the same conditions applied to it? Do you think the worst that we would see is an increase in prostitution, and black market economies, and weight loss? And Doctors? He is right about that, but they were almost all Euroeans, isn’t that great!, Cuban’s didn’t have access to those jobs. Today 1 in 10 Doctors and Scientists in Latin America is Cuban, even though Cuba has only 2% of the population. So, my question is, how do you define widespread poverty? Here are the stats:
Human Poverty Index*

  • Haiti 42.3%
  • Honduras 20.5%
  • Brazil 12.2%
  • Mexico 9.4%
  • Colombia 8.9%
  • Cuba 4.1%

Lower is better.Source:United Nations Development Program (UNDP) 2003 Human Development Indicators and Project On Human Development

It is hard to find tables including the US with developing nations, although the US ranks below many, for example, as George Monbiot reports:

The US is the only rich nation with teenage pregnancy levels comparable to those of developing nations: it has a worse record than India, the Philippines and Rwanda

And what about the Human Poverty Index for the US, you ask? Human Development Reports says the US has a 15.8 compared to Cuba’s 4.1. And yes, Mexico has a much better Poverty Index than the U.S.

The total poverty in the US as of 2003 was:

In 2003, the poverty rate was 12.5 percent, or 35.9 million people, up from 12.1 percent, or 34.6 million people in 2002.

And in 2005 the USDA reported:

More than 38 million Americans go hungry, including nearly 14 million children Waltham, MA, Oct. 28, 2005 –Hunger in American households has risen by 43 percent over the last five years, according to an analysis of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data released today. The analysis, completed by the Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University, shows that more than 7 million people have joined the ranks of the hungry since 1999.

Who is it that has WIDESPREAD POVERTY? Not Cuba. America is the one with widespread poverty. But to really understand why the US media paint such a grim picture of Cuba, you must first pull back the curtain of propaganda, and also look past the imperialistic economic measurement that is GDP. As we all know, a countries poverty rate can go from 50% to 90% at a time of constant GDP growth. However, as globalsecurity.org point out after admitting that Cuba’s illiteracy rate and infant mortality rate are the best in Latin America, (they will not admit best in the world), they point out:

On the other hand, many economic and social indicators have declined since the 1959 revolution. Pre-Castro Cuba ranked third in Latin America in per capita food consumption; today, it ranks last. Per capita consumption of cereals, tubers, and meat are today all below 1950’s levels. The number of automobiles in Cuba has fallen since the 1950’s — the only country in Latin America for which this is the case. The number of telephone lines in Cuba also has been virtually frozen at 1950’s levels. Cuba once ranked first in Latin America and fifth in the world in television sets per capita. Today, it barely ranks fourth in Latin America and is well back in the ranks globally.

So there it is folks, right from the horses mouth, successful societies are not measured in terms of income equality, discrimination, social services, hunger, homelessness, health care, education, or any of these trivial ideas, “Development” is strictly and completely relegated to how many morbidly obese cell phone users, SUV drivers, McMansion dwellers, and foreign made plasma flatscreens owners you have! Welcome to America.

All above statistics were compiled from UNESCO, UNDP, UNSD, EPICA, CIA World Fact Book, UNICEF & the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.

African Great Lakes, and “Darwins Nightmare”


Probably the most alarming thing I have seen in a long time, is this documentary called "Darwins Nightmare" Devilstower at the Daily Kos wrote a great summary here. It is about the typical exploitation that occurs every day in Africa, especially the Great Lakes region, where much of Africa's wealth lies. It explores the current exploitation of fish, in Lake Victoria. From the website:

Said to be the birthplace of mankind, "The Great Lakes Region" is the green, fertile and mineral rich center of Africa. The region is also known for its unique wild life, snowy volcanoes and famous National Parks. At the same time, it is truly the "Heart of Darkness" of our world. Massive epidemics, food shortages and of course civil wars rage in this area, taking place in a kind of moral oblivion. These armed conflicts are the deadliest ones in history since the second World War. In the Eastern Congo alone, the casualties of war on each single day equal the number of deaths on September 11th in New York. If not totally ignored, the uncountable wars are often qualified as "tribal conflicts", like those of Rwanda, Burundi or Sudan. The hidden causes of such troubles are, in most cases, imperialistic interests in natural resources.

In this case we are talking about fish, Nile perch to be specific (above)

So what is happening there? Basically the Nile Perch fish are being flown out to 1st world countries because in the "free market" we are willing to pay more than Africans can for the fish. It used to be there main staple, but now they can't afford to BUY the fish that used to be free, however, never fear, they are allowed to eat the rotting guts, and fish heads. Sauper points out:

The idea of this film was born during my research on another documentary, KISANGANI DIARY that follows Rwandese refugees in the midst of the Congolese rebellion. In 1997, I witnessed for the first time the bizarre juxtaposition of two gigantic airplanes, both bursting with food. The first cargo jet brought 45 tons of yellow peas from America to feed the refugees in the nearby UN camps. The second plane took off for the European Union, weight with 50 tons of fresh fish. I met the Russian pilots and we became "kamarads". But soon it turned out that the rescue planes with yellow peas also carried arms to the same destinations, so that the same refugees that were benefiting from the yellow peas could be shot at later during the nights. In the mornings, my trembling camera saw in this stinking jungle destroyed camps and bodies.

Everywhere you go in Africa, if there is a valuable resource to extract, it is being extracted, and the results are always the same:

In DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE I tried to transform the bizarre success story of a fish and the ephemeral boom around this "fittest" animal into an ironic, frightening allegory for what is called the New World Order. I could make the same kind of movie in Sierra Leone, only the fish would be diamonds, in Honduras, bananas, and in Libya, Nigeria or Angola, crude oil. Most of us I guess, know about the destructive mechanisms of our time, but we cannot fully picture them. We are unable to "get it", unable to actually believe what we know. It is, for example, incredible that wherever prime raw material is discovered, the locals die in misery, their sons become soldiers, and their daughters are turned into servants and whores. Hearing and seeing the same stories over and over makes me feel sick. After hundreds of years of slavery and colonisation of Africa, globalisation of african markets is the third and deadliest humiliation for the people of this continent. The arrogance of rich countries towards the third world (that's three quarters of humanity) is creating immeasurable future dangers for all peoples.

I often use that very concept to try and convey to people why these things continue. We don't really SEE the machinations of modern capitalism, we may hear about them, but they are not broadcast on the nightly news, so we really don't understand the problem. In these times of electronic media, 100's of television channels, and the collective narcosis that compromises are better judgement, when we don't see the horror, we don't believe it. If it is not on CNN, or printed in USA today, it didn't happen.

The absolutely most heart wrenching thing about it is, the documentary is told through the eyes of a little girl, Devilstower writes:

As part of his documentary, Sauper focuses on the life of one young girl. Beautiful and educated, the girl can speak enough English to communicate with the visiting pilots. This opens to her the only job available, that of prostitute. When the girl is then killed by one of her drunken clients, a quick bribe is enough to see that the guilty party escapes the country without prosecution. That's Africa. That girl tells the story of the whole tropical world in her short, tragic life. We're working hard to see that it stays that way

And as long as the citizens of western nations continue to ignore the actions of their governments, and their multi-national corporate overlords, it will continue to stay that way. As Keith Snow pointed out, at Cyntia McKinney's forum:

And all this is hidden by the US media. Even the village idiot, if he opens his eyes, can see that the directors of the media corporations are the same directors of those corporations raping Africa. But too many people have a paycheck to worry about. And that includes humanitarian organizations and the United Nations and the OAU and the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda. Special torture centers and death squads and massive repression of the population are the rule in Togo, Cameroon, Kenya, Gabon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, and were so in Zaire. And these people–Eyadema, Biya, Bongo, Obasanjo, Abacha, Babangida, Mobutu, Compaore, Rawlings, Banda, Kaunda, Moi, Habyarimana, Kagame, Museveni, Garang, Ratsiraka–they provide the environment for pillage, and they are duly rewarded, with power, with all the perks.

Snow explains how the complexity issue of our modern culture helps to maintain the violence and chaos:

And then you have the whole misery industry, which profits from the wars and repression and population displacement which their affiliated institutions and their funding banks and materials-providing multinationals create. Again, you don't need a Ph.D. to figure out that thousands of highly paid western AID workers would be out of a job if there were peace in Sudan. And Toyota wouldn't sell all those shiny 4-WD SUVs. And who would buy the US made weapons? And all that business of feeding and clothing and interning the refugees would be lost by these multinationals who get huge tax write-offs and subsidies and whose products are purchased by USAID or other government agencies. And some of these relief organizations also have close ties to the corporate media executives. So I see it as a policy of depopulation in Africa. Because what I am talking about is access. That's all. Access to the animals. Access to the game parks and trophy fishing. Access to the minerals. Access to the cheap and replenishable labor pool. Access to uninformed populations to dump inferior and toxic and outdated products on. Access for military adventurism and special forces training and psyops operations. Access to biological and pharmaceutical testing grounds. Access to markets. And while at times it seems contradictory, at times it is, but it's all completely unethical, entirely arrogant and racist. It is driven purely by greed. And the profound human suffering is totally unnecessary.

While this activity has escalated in recent decades due to the dramatic drawdowns of resources required for a perpetual growth world economy, it is by no means a new tactic. In the second decade of the 20th century, General Smedley Butler, the most decorated marine in US history wrote:

"I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. I was a high class muscle man for Big Business, Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism." -Brigadeer General Smedley Butler, US Marine Corp.

Africa

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Although I had originally intended my first post to be introductory,

A post at peakoil.com describing the situation in Zimbabwe, really boiled my blood this morning:

Blacks kill white farmers and than starve to death, is this news? Wasn’t all this predictable once the USA worked to end apartheid? IMHO, This should serve as a good example of what will happen to Europe and the US if we continue to let in people with this repute. (Muslims, Blacks and Mexicans).

It seems this is a common argument, especially among racist, white supremacists, like the person quoted above, when it comes to Africa. Even decent people say “Oh well, there is nothing I can do about those crazy savages who keep killing each other”, and I respond, spare me the Dogmatic Imperialistic Neofascist Groupthink (DING for short). Comments like these are always short, overly-simplistic, and plain stupid. Never followed by any sort of evidence of such condemnation, just DING. Everybody believes it, so it must be so, besides, there is nothing I am doing to perpetuate these massacres, right? Lets take a trip into the heart of darkness, the geopolitical and socioeconomic quagmire that is Africa, and find out. Zimbabwe is a very complicated situation, which I will have to lead into. First we must understand the source of the problem. A good starting point is the central African Great Lakes region (depicted above), which includes Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda as well as portions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya. This is a very resource rich area, and of course this means there is constant warfare. Why? lets look at a speach that Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney gave in 2001:

I want to thank you all for coming today. I especially want to thank our esteemed speakers for traveling, in some instances quite a long way, to be with us today. Our speakers are courageous individuals who have gone to many of Africa’s most dangerous and desperately poor locations, not for wealth or riches, but in order to merely discover the truth. They provide us with a remarkable insight into what has gone on in Africa and what continues to go on in Africa today. Much of what you will hear today has not been widely reported in the public media. Powerful forces have fought to suppress these stories from entering the public domain. Their investigations into the activities of Western governments and Western businessmen in postcolonial Africa provide clear evidence of the West’s long-standing propensity for cruelty, avarice, and treachery. The misconduct of Western nations in Africa is not due to momentary lapses, individual defects, or errors of common human frailty. Instead, they form part of long-term malignant policy designed to access and plunder Africa’s wealth at the expense of Africa’s people. In short, the accounts you are about to hear provide an indictment of Western activities in Africa. The West has, for decades, plundered Africa’s wealth and permitted, and even, assisted in slaughtering Africa’s people. The West has been able to do this while still shrewdly cultivating the myth that much of Africa’s problems today are African made–we have all heard the usual Western defenses that Africa’s problems are the fault of corrupt African administrations, centuries-old tribal hatreds, the fault of unsophisticated peoples. But we know that those statements are all a lie. We have always known it. The accounts we are about to hear today assist us in understanding just why Africa is in the state it is in today. You will hear that at the heart of Africa’s suffering is the West’s, and most notably the United States’, desire to access Africa’s diamonds, oil, natural gas, and other precious resources. You will hear that the West, and most notably the United States, has set in motion a policy of oppression, destabilization and tempered, not by moral principle, but by a ruthless desire to enrich itself on Africa’s fabulous wealth. While falsely pretending to be the friends and allies of many African countries, so desperate for help and assistance, many western nations have in reality betrayed those countries’ trust–and instead, have relentlessly pursued their own selfish military and economic policies. Western countries have incited rebellion against stable African governments by encouraging and even arming opposition parties and rebel groups to begin armed insurrection. The Western nations have even actively participated in the assassination of duly elected and legitimate African Heads of State and replaced them with corrupted and malleable officials. Western nations have even encouraged and been complicit in the unlawful invasions by African nations into neighboring counties. Something must be done to right these wrongs. I invite you to listen and learn first-hand of the West’s activities in Africa.

Shocked?, Of course, since most people get their information from CNN, this is certainly shocking. The worst offenders, as any conservative will tell you, are the New York Times and Hollywood, and they are right. But not for the stated reasons of liberal bias, no no, that is just a distraction. The bias is a “Corporate” bias, not a narrowly defined “American Politics” bias. For example, the movie “Hotel Rwanda” really got your emotions stirring, didn’t it?, with the feel good slogan of “Never Again” and the story of the villified Hutu’s genocide of the Tutsies. So what actually happened in Rwanda, in 1994? Lets look at the excellent reporting of Wayne Madsen and find out:

America’s policy toward Africa during the past decade, rather than seeking to stabilize situations where civil war and ethnic turmoil reign supreme, has seemingly promoted destabilization. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was fond of calling pro-U.S. military leaders in Africa who assumed power by force and then cloaked themselves in civilian attire, “beacons of hope.” In reality, these leaders, who include the current presidents of Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Angola, Eritrea, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo preside over countries where ethnic and civil turmoil permit unscrupulous international mining companies to take advantage of the strife to fill their own coffers with conflict diamonds, gold, copper, platinum, and other precious minerals including one that is a primary component of computer microchips.

But what does this have to do with DING, and Hotel Rwanda, you ask? President Clinton has solemnly said his biggest regret was not stopping the Rwandan genocide. Really?

The present turmoil in central Africa largely stems from a fateful incident that occurred on April 6, 1994. That was the missile attack on the Rwandan presidential aircraft that resulted in the death of Rwanda’s Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana, his colleague President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, Habyarimana’s chief advisers, and the French crew. This aerial assassination resulted in a genocide coordinated by the successor militant Hutu Rwandan government that cost the lives of some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. This was followed by a counter-genocide orchestrated by the Tutsi-led Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) government that resulted in the deaths of 500,000 mostly Hutu refugees in Rwanda and neighboring Zaire/Congo.

So why couldn’t the presumably most powerful man in the world at the time, Bill Clinton, stop the genocide in a small African nation? simple, he (and his masters) were causing it:

Also, particularly troublesome is a conclusion the CIA is said to have reached in an assessment written in January 1994, a few months before the genocide. According to key officials I have interviewed during my research, that analysis came to the conclusion that in the event that President Habyarimana was assassinated, the minimum number of deaths resulting from the mayhem in Rwanda would be 500 (confined mostly to Kigali and environs) and the maximum 500,000. Regrettably, the CIA’s higher figure was closer to reality. Certain interests in the United States had reason to see Habyarimana and other pro-French leaders in central Africa out of the way. As recently written by Gilbert Ngijol, a former Assistant to the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN to Rwanda in 1994, the United States directly benefited economically from the loss of influence of French and Belgian mining interests in the central Africa and Great Lakes regions.

The way the corporate media lie to us is through omission, instead of fabricating wholey false allegations, they tell half truths, which can’t be disproven, the Hutu Rwandan government DID kill 800,000 Tutsies, but the filmakers and the NYTimes didn’t tell you that after the movie ends, the new Tutsi-led Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) killed almost the same number of Hutu refugees. The movie, as all African themed movies do, never mentions the assasination, and they certainly don’t mention that the leaders on the plane were returning from peace talks, in an attempt to bring stability to the region. So why would the US media, and its overlord multi-national corporations, want people to believe that the millitant Hutu’s were to blame?, simple, the US was currently fueling the wartorn area by supporting the RPF, the very same government that came to power after the initial genocide of the Tutsies. Madsen reports:

Immediately after the attack on the presidential plane, much of the popular press in the United States brandished the theory that militant Hutus brought it down. I suggest that following some four years of research concentrating on the missile attack, there is no basis for this conclusion. In fact, I believe there is concrete evidence to show that the plane was shot down by operatives of the RPF. At the time, the RPF was supported by the United States and its major ally in the region, Uganda. Prior to the attack, the RPF leader, the current Rwandan strongman General Paul Kagame, received military training at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Many of Kagame’s subordinates received similar training, including instruction in the use of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) at the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. It was Soviet-designed SAMs that were used to shoot down the Rwandan president’s airplane. By its own admission, the U.S. Defense Department provided official military training to the RPF beginning in January 1994, three months before the missile attack on the aircraft.

Basically what happens is the first world corporate mining interests are duking it out over the mining and mineral rights of the African great lakes region. In this case it was French and Belgian interests versus American and Canadian interests. These “liberation” forces, are almost always financed by first world powers, with the purpose of creating conflict in resource rich nations, and the offenders often have connections to powerful people:

One of the major goals of the Rwandan-backed Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD), a group fighting the Kabila government in Congo, is restoration of mining concessions for Barrick Gold, Inc. of Canada. In fact, the rebel RCD government’s “mining minister” signed a separate mining deal with Barrick in early 1999. Among the members of Barrick’s International Advisory Board are former President Bush and former President Clinton’s close confidant Vernon Jordan.

Would anybody reading the New York Times, believe a group of rebel forces in war-torn Congo, would have the stated goal of “restoring mining concessions for Barrick Gold, Inc.”, I don’t think so, it is much easier to tell one side of the story, and shout slogans like “Never Again”. The atrocities go on, and you don’t hear about them unless they serve some political purpose. The Democratic Republic of Congo, is the main source of this conflict, as evidenced by Madsen:

Currently, Barrick and tens of other mining companies are stoking the flames of the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Each benefits by the de facto partition of the country into some four separate zones of political control. First the mineral exploiters from Rwanda and Uganda concentrated on pillaging gold and diamonds from the eastern Congo. Now, they have increasingly turned their attention to a valuable black sand called columbite-tantalite or “col-tan.” Col-tan is a key material in computer chips and, therefore, is as considered a strategic mineral. It is my hope that the Bush administration will take pro-active measures to stem this conflict by applying increased pressure on Uganda and Rwanda to withdraw their troops from the country. However, the fact that President Bush has selected Walter Kansteiner to be Assistant Secretary of State for African, portends, in my opinion, more trouble for the Great Lakes region. A brief look at Mr. Kansteiner’s curriculum vitae and statements calls into question his commitment to seeking a durable peace in the region. For example, he has envisaged the splitting up of the Great Lakes region into separate Tutsi and Hutu states through “relocation” efforts and has called the break-up of the DRC inevitable. I believe Kansteiner’s previous work at the Department of Defense where he served on a Task Force on Strategic Minerals and one must certainly consider col-tan as falling into that category — may influence his past and current thinking on the territorial integrity of the DRC. After all, 80 per cent of the world’s known reserves of col-tan are found in the eastern DRC. It is potentially as important to the U.S. military as the Persian Gulf region.

Go look at the Hotel Rwanda website:

Over the course of 100 days, almost one million people were killed in Rwanda. The streets of the capital city of Kigali ran red with rivers of blood, but no one came to help. There was no international intervention in Rwanda, no expeditionary forces, no coalition of the willing. There was no international aid for Rwanda. Rwanda’s Hutu extremists slaughtered their Tutsi neighbors and any moderate Hutus who stood in their way, and the world left them to it.

No mention of the aftermath of continued genocide against Hutu’s, or the actions of the US trained and supported Kagame regime (RPF) after they gained power:

There is also reason to believe that a number of people with knowledge of Kagame’s plot against the presidential aircraft have been assassinated. These possibly include Tanzania’s former intelligence chief, Major General Imran Kombe, shot dead by policemen in northeastern Tanzania after he was mistaken for a notorious car thief. His wife maintains he was assassinated. Kombe had knowledge of not only the planned assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents but a plot against Kenya’s President Moi and Zaire’s President Mobutu, as well. There is a belief that Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bukavu, Emmanuel Kataliko, was assassinated last October in Rome by members of a Rwandan hit team acting on orders from Kagame. Other Tutsi and Hutu leaders who oppose Kagame’s regime continue to flee Rwanda to the U.S. and France in fear of their lives. Rwanda’s figurehead Hutu President Pasteur Bizimungu was forced to resign last year under pressure from the only power in Rwanda, his then-Vice President, Paul Kagame. Deus Kagiraneza, a former intelligence officer in Kagame’s Military Intelligence Directorate (DMI), interim Prefect of the Ruhengeri province, and member of the Parliament, is now in exile in Belgium. He charges that Kagame’s top government and military are responsible for torturing and executing their political opponents. Kagiraneza maintains that the RPF has pursued such policies since the time of the 1990 invasion of Rwanda from Uganda.

In conclusion, the movie “Hotel Rwanda” supports the notion that the crime committed was that of disinterest. That Clinton’s government was just ignoring the issue, which of course, is the furthest thing from the truth. Keith Snow, who addressed the same forum, writes:

The US took all the right decisions to allow the Rwanda genocide to unfold. And Clinton’s comment that “we didn’t know what was going on at the time” couldn’t have been a bigger lie. Do you suppose it was coincidental that a Rwanda delegate rotated on to the security council early in 1994 and then worked with US representatives to block all subsequent attempts to deal appropriately with the unfolding slaughter?

Plundering poor countries, murdering innocent people, for profit, this is the American way, the only way it has ever been done. And what is left behind after the plundering of Africa’s resources?

Multinational corporations– a very significant constellation of US companies and/or US citizens included, are everywhere stripping the resources, leaving pollution and disease and environmental disasters in their wakes. And you might probe into the whole classified nuclear waste transshipments programs. Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Togo, Niger, Madagascar and Burkina Faso provide examples, being massively exploited, where military repression and structural adjustment and the concomitant destitution suffice to enable lucrative western control and exploitation. Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana and Ghana are a few more examples where I have similarly witnessed profound human suffering amidst huge multinational profits and SAP. I mean, 120 years after the British invasion of western Zambia this is an area heavily burdened by refugee flows out of Angola and DRC and the concomitant insecurity of insurgent nomadic military forces — the people have absolutely no possessions. The schools don’t exist and even if they do there are no books and the kids are so destitute that they often can’t attend in any case. You can’t buy basic staples. I mean absolutely no food, no medicine, no drugs for malaria. Some 30% of people in Zambia don’t even know that malaria is caused by mosquitoes. But you can buy Coca-Cola and Sprite and Fanta virtually everywhere, but there are usually no basic foodstuffs, no books, no medical supplies. You cannot imagine the suffering until you live it yourself.

And it is not only the Great Lakes region where this is happening, anywhere natural resources exist, you will find horrible atrocities, like in the Niger Delta, as the US media today, paints the picture of murderous terrorists, kidnapping innocent Shell employees. But, once again, the truth is out there, you just have to look for it:

In Cameroon, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Niger in 1997, I found abundant evidence of unrestricted raw materials extraction by interests associated with the United States. The people of the oil-producing areas of the Niger River Delta are suffering horrendous atrocities. Again, on the Niger border with Burkina — famine, disease, despair, political repression for the most trifling reasons — and right next door there is a Barrick Gold mining operation. And Sumitomo and the Keidanren (Zaibatsu) out of Japan are all involved. And people in these (African) countries know what is going on, but they can’t tell their stories because most westerners are completely caught up in the mental illness of colonialism and imperialism, which disallows the simple truth to be seen. And those who tell their stories are often brutalized or disappeared.

For a great summary on the Niger river delta situation, and Royal Dutch Shell’s crimes, see Naomi Klein’s article A Noose, Not A Bracelet, (Also check out Naomi’s website, NoLogo.org). There you will read about Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, one of the so-called “terrorist” groups kidnapping Shell employees, and blowing up oil pipelines and platforms, personally I actively root for them, why? At the recent G-8 meeting, with all the humanitarian talk about using the Middle East countries oil wealth to help Africa, and debt forgiveness, Naomi points out the following:

With all this noblesse oblige focused on saving Africa from its misery, it seems like a good time to remember someone else who tried to make poverty history: Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was killed ten years ago this November by the Nigerian government, along with eight other Ogoni activists, sentenced to death by hanging. Their crime was daring to insist that Nigeria was not poor at all but rich, and that it was political decisions made in the interests of Western multinational corporations that kept its people in desperate poverty. Saro-Wiwa gave his life to the idea that the vast oil wealth of the Niger Delta must leave behind more than polluted rivers, charred farmland, rancid air and crumbling schools. He asked not for charity, pity or “relief” but for justice.The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People demanded that Shell compensate the people from whose land it had pumped roughly $30 billion worth of oil since the 1950s. The company turned to the government for help, and the Nigerian military turned its guns on demonstrators. Before his state-ordered hanging, Saro-Wiwa told the tribunal, “I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial…. The company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come.” Ten years later, 70 percent of Nigerians still live on less than $1 a day and Shell is still making superprofits. Equatorial Guinea, which has a major oil deal with ExxonMobil, “got to keep a mere 12 percent of the oil revenues in the first year of its contract,” according to a 60 Minutes report–a share so low it would have been scandalous even at the height of colonial oil pillage. This is what keeps Africa poor: not a lack of political will but the tremendous profitability of the current arrangement. Sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest place on earth, is also its most profitable investment destination: It offers, according to the World Bank’s 2003 Global Development Finance report, “the highest returns on foreign direct investment of any region in the world.” Africa is poor because its investors and its creditors are so unspeakably rich.

Next, “African Great Lakes, Darwins Nightmare”