press**watch: npr mind control
Here's some typical reporting from NPR about the war in Afghanistan. Note the use of the word “counterinsurgency” and the concern over whether a certain strategy will “succeed,” that is, whether it will subject Afghans to the will of the Pentagon.
June 30, 2010
Gen. David Petraeus' nomination as top U.S. commander in Afghanistan comes at a critical time. June has been the deadliest month for the U.S.-led coalition in the nearly nine-year-old war: More than 90 foreign troops have been killed.
Concerns are also increasing over what is seen as a faltering war effort, and whether the new counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan will succeed.
Petraeus' confirmation hearing Tuesday clearly showed that there are high expectations for the four-star general, not only to seamlessly assume command in Afghanistan but to quickly try to salvage the war effort there.
You do get some useful information: the US has been occupying (though they don't use that word) for nine years—twice as long as the US involvement in World War Two, and 90 soldiers have died. How many people have died trying to resist the invasion of US troops, and how many have died just for being in a country invaded, bombed, occupied and shot to rags by the US mlitary? You won't find that in this NPR article. No, the question is to be raised within a proscribed limit, which though unstated, is obvious: There will be no questioning of the war itself, no recognition of the legitimacy of those who defend their land against invaders. Nor is the process merely to be described, as by a professional journalist without an obvious stake in the outcome; instead, we have the vague phrase “Concerns are also increasing over what is seen as a faltering war effort, and whether the new counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan will succeed.”
Who is concerned? In NPR propaganda, it is assumed you are. You, a US citizen, are presumed to be a supporter of this bloody, cowardly, and illegal invasion. The more you listen to NPR, day in and day out, the more likely you are to slide into this inverted cone of discussion: Are we doing the war right? Are we succeeding? Do the tactics work? Should there be a new tactic?
And once you fall in to that trap, how hard it is to think rationally-- to come up with the real questions: How can we stop this war? When will all the troops return? Should war crimes trials be held internationally for the war planners, or within our system? Should we move towards massive civil disobedience, work stoppages, or just demonstrations for now?
According to a wikkipedia article totting up available figures,the US has killed between thirteen and thirty-two thousand people in Afghanistan since the November 2001 invasion, which as you will recall, followed upon loud blaming by US officials for the airline hijackings; we were to believe that the attack was like Pearl Harbor, an attack by one sovereign nation upon another, and that this time it was not Japan but Afghanistan that had attacked. Yet in all this time there has been no proper trial-- using crime scene evidence and witnesses--that blames the Afghan people for the hijackings. Perhaps a few recall that it was largely Saudi citizens blamed for piloting the death planes. Yet it is clear, to anyone examining the evidence, that the New York buldings were packed with sequentially detonated thermite, and that the whole stunt was a false-flag setup intended to give fascist powers to the US secret police agencies and to the Pentagon and Presidency.
David Ray Griffin has written a new book onthe topic—here's an excerpt from his article in Global Research' web site:
What Was the Motive for the Invasion?
This conclusion is reinforced by reports indicating that the United States had made the decision to invade Afghanistan two months before the 9/11 attacks. At least part of the background to this decision was the United States’ long-time support for UNOCAL’s proposed pipeline, which would transport oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea region to the Indian Ocean through Afghanistan and Pakistan.15 This project had been stymied through the 1990s because of the civil war that had been going on in Afghanistan since the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.
In the mid-1990s, the US government had supported the Taliban with the hope that its military strength would enable it to unify the country and provide a stable government, which could protect the pipeline. By the late 1990s, however, the Clinton administration had given up on the Taliban.16
When the Bush administration came to power, it decided to give the Taliban one last chance. During a four-day meeting in Berlin in July 2001, representatives of the Bush administration insisted that the Taliban must create a government of “national unity” by sharing power with factions friendly to the United States. The US representatives reportedly said: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.”17
After the Taliban refused this offer, US officials told a former Pakistani foreign secretary that “military action against Afghanistan would go ahead . . . before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.”18 And, indeed, given the fact that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon occurred when they did, the US military was able to mobilize to begin its attack on Afghanistan by October 7.
It appears, therefore, that the United States invaded Afghanistan for reasons far different from the official rationale, according to which we were there to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.
Maybe that's why NPR can get away with handcuffed media coverage of the Afghan war; we are supposed to forget the cause, forget history, forget the lies, and just get on with the business of mass murder. Allow me, please, to indulge a moment of truth: The US wars are imperial corporate crimes, the wars must stop now, and war reparations must be paid to our victims. All troops must return; we have no right to occupy other people's countries, destroy their way of life, and murder their citizens.
Stop the wars.
Michael Snyder, writing for Pravda, points to the saber-rattling versus Iran and notes that there could be dire results. Here is an excerpt:
As each day passes, war in the Middle East seems increasingly likely. The truth is that Israel will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and Iran is absolutely determined to continue developing a nuclear program. So right now Israel and Iran are engaged in a really bizarre game of "nuclear chicken" and neither side is showing any sign of blinking. In fact, even prominent world leaders are now openly stating that it is basically inevitable that Israel is going to strike Iran. For example, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi recently made the stunning admission that the G8 nations "absolutely believe" that Israel will attack Iran. But a conflict between Israel and Iran would not just affect the Middle East - it would have staggering implications for the rest of the globe.
So just what would a war between Israel and Iran mean for the world economy?
The following are 7 potential economic effects of a conflict between Israel and Iran....
#1) The Price Of Oil Would Skyrocket - One of the very first things a war with Iran would do is that it would severely constrict or even shut down oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz. Considering the fact that approximately 20% of the world’s oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz, world oil markets would instantly be plunged into a frenzy. In fact, some analysts believe that oil prices would rise to $250 per barrel.
So are you ready to pay 8 or 10 dollars for a gallon of gasoline? What do you think that would do to the U.S. economy?
The truth is that every single transaction that we make every single day is influenced by the price of oil. If the price of oil suddenly doubles or triples that would absolutely devastate the already very fragile U.S. economic system.
#2) Fear Would Explode In World Financial Markets - Even without a war, the dominant force in world financial markets in 2010 is fear. We are already seeing unprecedented volatility in financial markets around the globe, and there is nothing like a war to turn fear into a full-fledged panic. And what happens when panic grips financial markets? What happens is that they crash.
#3) World Trade Would Instantly Seize Up - Once upon a time the economies of the world were relatively self-contained, so a war in one area would not necessarily wreck economies all over the globe. But all of that has changed now. Today, the economies of virtually every nation are highly interdependent. That has some advantages, but it also has a lot of disadvantages.
If a war with Iran did break out, nations all over the globe would start taking sides and world trade would seize up. The global flow of goods and services would be severely interrupted. That would be enough to push many nations around the world into a full-blown depression.
#4) Military Spending Would Escalate - Even if the United States was not pulled directly into a conflict between Israel and Iran, there is little doubt that the U.S. would be spending a lot of money and resources to support Israel and to build up military assets in the region in case a wider war broke out. The U.S. has already spent somewhere in the neighborhood of a trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If war does break out with Iran the amount of money the U.S. government could be forced to spend could be absolutely staggering.
The truth is that the U.S. is already drowning in debt. At this point the U.S. government is over 13 trillion dollars in debt, and another Middle East war is certainly not going to help things.
#5) Russia Would Greatly Benefit - Russia and other major oil producers outside of the Middle East would greatly benefit if a war with Iran erupts. Russia is already the number one oil producer in the world, and if supplies out of the Middle East were disrupted for any period of time it would mean an unprecedented windfall for the Russian Bear.
#6) Massive Inflation - A huge jump in the price of oil and dramatically increased military spending by the U.S. government would most definitely lead to price inflation. We would probably see a dramatic rise in interest rates as well. In fact, it is quite likely that if a war with Iran does break out we would see a return of "stagflation" - a situation where prices are rapidly escalating but economic growth as a whole is either flat or declining.
#7) The Price Of Gold Would Go Through The Roof - When there is a high degree of uncertainty in world financial markets, where do investors turn? As we have seen very clearly recently, they turn to gold. As high as the price of gold is now, the truth is that it is nothing compared to what would happen if a war with Iran breaks out. When times get tough, we almost always see a flight to safety. Right now none of the major currencies around the globe provide much safety, so investors are increasingly viewing precious metals such as gold and silver as a wealth preservation tool. ....
Could it be, as the writer says, that economic turmoil could resume merely with the expansion of US imperial wars? My guess is that the so-called recovery is fragile enough that such an event would be sufficient to trigger the inevitable. The US is set up right now to bomb Iran from aircraft and ships associated with the USS Eisenhower and USS Truman battle groups, which are today in the Persian Gulf, and from surrounding countries; imagine a map of Iran with a clock at the center, and you will find US troops and equipment not only in the Gulf but, at five 0'clock, Pakistan; at three o'clock, Afghanistan's US air bases; at noon, Turkmenistan' at eleven, Georgia; at nine, the massive imperial presence in Iraq; at eight, Bahrain. The country is utterly surrounded by US armor. And there's more on war preparations—this from an Israeli source:
Egypt allowed at least one Israeli and 11 American warships to pass through the Suez Canal as an Iranian flotilla approaches Gaza. Egypt closed the canal to protect the ships with thousands of soldiers, according to the British-based Arabic language newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi.
One day prior to the report on Saturday, Voice of Israel government radio reported that the Egyptian government denied an Israeli request not to allow the Iranian flotilla to use the Suez Canal to reach Gaza, in violation of the Israeli sea embargo on the Hamas-controlled area.
International agreements require Egypt to keep the Suez open even for warships, but the armada, led by the USS Truman with 5,000 sailors and marines, was the largest in years. Egypt closed the canal to fishing and other boats as the armada moved through the strategic passageway that connects the Red and Mediterranean Seas. .....
Meanwhile, back to the robust recovery that we've all heard about. This from the Boston Globe:
WASHINGTON — Unable to deliver more stimulus spending for President Obama, Democrats in Congress are trying at least to restore jobless benefits for 1.3 million laid-off workers.
Democrats in both the House and Senate planned to vote on bills today that would extend unemployment benefits through the end of November for people who have been laid off for long stretches. House Democrats postponed a vote scheduled for yesterday. Democratic leaders were hoping to pass the extension before Congress goes on a weeklong Independence Day recess.
Without an extension, every week a new 200,000 of the nearly 7 million people who have been without a job for at least six months will lose their unemployment benefits. About 1.3 million have already lost benefits — including about 40,000 in Massachusetts — since the last extension ran out at the end of May, state and federal labor officials said.
“We have a basic responsibility to help our constituents respond to emergencies,’’ said Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “We have a fundamental obligation not to deny them the help they need when they need it the most.’’
Congressional Democrats began the year with an aggressive agenda of passing a series of bills designed to create jobs. Only one has become law, offering tax breaks to companies that hire unemployed workers. Others stalled as lawmakers, after hearing from angry voters, became wary of adding to the national debt, which stands at $13 trillion.
Obama has urged lawmakers to spend about $50 billion to help states pay for Medicaid programs and to avoid teacher layoffs, but Democrats in Congress have been unable to come up with the votes.
This news of denial of piddly unemployment benefits is doubly noxious when you remember that the TARP bailout, plus the less-known Fed and Treasury bailouts for the super-rich, amounted to trillions of dollars and are being considered yet again. There seems to be plenty of money to keep the super-rich comfortable and to boost their profits, plenty of cash for imperial warmongering, while schools decide whether to cut their PE classes or shorten their staffs or school years. But of course this is no mistake, but merely represents the victory of the fascist owning class; their occupying army, the police, are ready to evict you and your family today.
Meanwhile, back at the shipyards.......
June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Commodity shipping costs measured by the Baltic Dry Index extended their longest losing streak in almost five years as an expanding fleet overwhelmed weakening demand for grain, coal and ore carriers.
Imports of coal and iron ore by China, the world’s biggest user of the commodities, fell for two consecutive months, customs data show. Grain shipments from South America slowed, leaving shipping lines with “the full force of vessel supply,” Martin Sommerseth Jaer and Erik Nikolai Stavseth, Oslo-based analysts with Arctic Securities ASA, said in a report.
The index fell 41 points, or 1.7 percent, to 2,406 points, the lowest since October 2009, according to the Baltic Exchange in London. That’s the 24th consecutive drop, the longest losing streak since August
2005. Daily rates for capesize ships, typically iron ore transporters that are three times the size of the Statue of Liberty, slumped 59 percent since reaching a 2010 high on June 2.
“The capes are the weakest element of the BDI and the capes are iron ore-” driven, Andreas Vergottis, research director at Tufton Oceanic Ltd., which manages the world’s largest shipping hedge fund, said by phone from London today. “Profitability of Chinese steel mills is zero now, we think.” ....
More on impending Iran war, from Israeli rabid right-wingers Debka:
debkafile's military sources report that Washington has posted a third carrier opposite Iran's shores. It is supported by amphibious assault ships and up to 4,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, bringing the total US strength in these waters to three carriers and 10,000 combat personnel.
The USS Nassau (LHA-4) Amphibious Ready Group 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, tasked with supporting the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet area of operations, is cruising around the Bab al-Mandeb Straits where the Gulf of Aden flows into the Red Sea. Its presence there accounts for Tehran announcing Sunday, June 27 that its "aid ship for Gaza" had been called off, for fear an American military boarding party would intercept the vessel and search it. This would be permissible under the latest UN sanctions punishing the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program.
The third US carrier group to reach waters around Iran consists of three vessels:
1. The USS Nassau Amphibious Assault ship is not just an enormous landing craft for the 3,000 Marines aboard; its decks carry 6 vertical take-off AV-HB Harrier attack plans; four AH-1W Super Cobra, twelve CH-46 Sea Knight and CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, as well choppers convertible to fast V-22 Osprey airplanes capable of landing in any conditions.
This vast warship has 1,400 cabinets for sleeping the entire Marine-24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard.
2. The amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde which carries 800 Marines equipped for instantaneous landing.
3. The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland which carries 400 Marines and 102 commandos trained for special operations behind enemy lines.
Also posted in the Arabian Sea, further to the west, is the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group.