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 on: October 03, 2017, 04:43:58 PM 
Started by Tyehimba - Last post by DMayers
This Video has been deleted on Youtube. Was this a presentation by Prof.James Small by any chance?

 on: October 03, 2017, 04:26:09 PM 
Started by DMayers - Last post by DMayers
Yes. Thanks. I was satisfied with both of those answers. So we need to avoid prejudice...and have integrity. So Does not matter what types or what number of systems we use. It all comes down to us. Thanks again for helping me out!

 on: September 29, 2017, 07:51:13 AM 
Started by DMayers - Last post by Iniko Ujaama
I will examine the first two criteria which you point out above. Your first does not seem to be dealing primarily with transparency per say but rather that the actions of the government be scrupulous. This can be married with the second which is accountability i.e the government should act in the best interest of the society or population and can be held responsible for their actions. Both can be achieved under either system and both can and have been corrupted in various places and points in history. The fact that people vote for their representatives within a constitutional monarchy or in Western Style democracy generally does not prevent that system from being manipulated by corporate business or by corrupt politicians, nor does it necessarily prevent that system from perpetuating backward prejudices and narrow agendas.

With regard to the rule of law I will take the latter part of your statement as the general spirit of what you are communicating (you can correct me if it is not), that the government general acts with fairness, justice and morality. Again here I do not think this is unique to a particular system or is assured simply by having one particular system in place. Also I will add that laws in and of themselves do not assure fairness on the whole in a society. In many of our societies ideas of morality are dominated by classist, sexist, racist and other prejudiced ideas that often contribute to unfairness and injustice.

 on: September 26, 2017, 12:51:28 PM 
Started by DMayers - Last post by DMayers
The criteria are:
1) Transparency-"The implication of transparency is that all of an organization’s actions should be scrupulous enough to bear public scrutiny"

2) Accountability-"The implication of accountability deals with how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources, accountability is also an assurance that an individual or an organization will be evaluated on their performance or behavior related to something for which they are responsible."

3) Rule of Law-" The implication of rule of law is in the context that no branch of government is above the law, and no public official may act arbitrarily or unilaterally outside the law. Also no written law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain unwritten, universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice that transcend human legal systems"

 on: September 26, 2017, 02:17:54 AM 
Started by Seshendra Sharma - Last post by Seshendra Sharma
Although poetry appeared in many countries of the world from times immemorial, it was only in India that an enquiry started on the questions as to what is poetry, how it could be treated, and why it should be written. In the wake of this enquiry, a large body of scientific knowledge regarding the mechanics of poetry and its purpose developed and began expanding through the centuries. We have a plethora of evidence about this in the Vedic literature, Ramyana and Mahabharata. I don't wish to go into all that here. I shall only give one instance from Mahabharata (chapter 207 of Rajya lambha parva) Narada is described as "Paribhushaitaa vaachaam varnatah sarvatorthatah". It means Narada is also a poet. In those days, evidently, according to the scientists of poetry, a poet is one who adorned the word letter-wise and meaning-wise (i.e. word-beauty and sense-beauty). These words remind us of the great Bhamaha of the later period and his theory of Alankara. Those books of poetics are not available to us today. However from the Natyasastra of Bharata onwards, all the literature on poetics in not only available but also remains intact with a tradition of being read by scholars and taught to the students of literature (in Sanskrit).
The scientific knowledge that developed in this country on the dialectics of poetry, falls into 6 outstanding schools.
1.The Rasa theory of Bharatha,
2.The Alankara theory of Bhamaha,
3.The Riti theory of Vamana,
4.The Dwani theory of(otherwise called Chamatkaar).Jagannatha who said that last word in poetics says "putras te jataha dhanam te dassyaami iti vaakyaartha dhijanyasya aahlaadasya na lokottaravatvam.ataha na tasmin vaakye kaavyatva prasaktihi." This means sentences like 'son is born to your' ' I am giving you money' though produce immense pleasure, have no poetry in them. Because, they do not produce that uncommon pleasure which is not the same as the pleasure derived from the ordinary worldly experience. The American poet and Harvard professor Archibald Macleish says: ' words-in-the-poem? they seem to have, what I can only call, mere weight than the same words have when we run across them in ordinary coversation, or on the page of a newspaper.'

Long after in Greece:
A.B. Keith in his history of Sanskrit Literature holds the view that Bharata?s times was before Bhasa. Bhasa is held to be a few centuries earlier than Kalidasa who is assigned 2nd century B.C. Under these circumstances it seems reasonable to infer that Bharata must have lived a few centuries before Aristotle who belongs to 4th century B.C. I am not inclined to rely on the other view, which places Bhasa before Bharata,since it is based only on the technical aspects of the plays ascribed to Bhasa,whose authorship is not free from controversy. It is also necessary to note that research scholar's have considered on sufficient evidence that the bulk of Natya Sastra of Bharata is only a compilation of portions from the earlier texts on the subject. This pushes the date of literature on poetics in India far earlier than either Aristotle, or Plato or Socrates.
In the West, Aristotle's poetics is the only book available on the subject in the past. It contains 26 small chapters. Aristotle being a genius, there are instances in the treatise when his mind touches the fringes of profound thought. However his statements are not satisfactory to the mind trained in the Indian Poetics. He says "poet is a maker of fables". What he means by poetry is simply fiction. The bulk of his work deals with dramaturgy. There is one important thing to note in the 25th chapter, which is absent in our works of poetics: it is on the principles of literary criticism. Aristotle generally agrees with Indian poeticians on the question of what constitutes the soul of poetry? In the 22nd chapter, " The greatest distinction is to be metaphorical: for, it is the only one that demands originality and is a sign of genius," he said.

Then in Arabia:

In the year 908 Ibn-ul-Mumtaz in Arabia wrote a book discussing on what makes poetry. He was a poet and a scholar. He ruled as Khalif for one day Prof: Najibullah in his history of Islamic Literature called this work the book of Rehtorics: but Sir Hamilton Gibb in his History of Arabic Literature described it as a book of poetics. In the words of Najibullah, the book sums up saying, the "real eloquence consists of the expression of ideas with the fewest words." There is a chapter in the book classifying some figures of speech. Then Qudama in the 10th century A.D. and then Abu hilal-al Askari in the 11th centrury, wrote works on the subject. Out of the two, Askari is important. He says there is nothing new in a poem: the difference between poet and poet is only in the manner of making the poem, which alone constitutes the cause of the individuality of each poem or each poet. One of the theories of the Indian poetics holds the same view. "taa eva pada vinyaasaah taa evaartha vibhutayaha,tathaapi nootnam bhavati kaavyam grathana kausalaat." The same words, the same meanings, yet a poem becomes new due to the skill in making it. After the Greeks, in the world, the Arabs are great torchbearers of knowledge.


Bhamaha for the first time in our country separated the poetic language from the common language by his theory of Vakrokti. "Saishaa sarviwa vakroktihi anayaartho vibhavyate" said Bhamaha. Theory of vakrokti in fact owes its birth to Bhamaha. Kuntaka is perhaps only his commentator despite his original thinking and establishing vakrokti as a theory. Jagannatha's chamatkara form of the same theory, in the ultimate analysis.
Let us suppose there is no difference between the common language and language of poetry: then why should you call one a poet and not the other. The question naturally is, what is the differentiating characteristic here? Does this question arise or not? In fact there is considerable difference between the two kinds of language. In the language of the poet there is a commingling of strange meanings. It is to this that Valmiki referred to as "vichitraartha padam", in his Balakanda 4th sarga(275SL)without this element of strangeness called vaichitri,mere words and meanings, that is to say, the ordinary language, can never become poetry. Then, what is this vaichitri? (Otherwise called chamatkaar). Jagannatha who said the last word in Poetics says, "putras te jataha dhanam te daasayaami iti vaakyaartha dhijanyasya aahlaadasya na lokottaratvam. Ataha na tasmin vaakye kaavyatva prasaktihi". This means sentences like 'son is born',' I am giving you money', though produce immense pleasure, have no poetry in them. Because, they do not produce that uncommon pleasure which is not the same as the pleasure derived from the ordinary worldly experience. The American poet and Harvard Professor Archibald Macleish says: ' words-in-the poem? they seem to have, what I can only call, mere weight than the same words have when we run across them in ordinary conversation, or on the pages of a newspaper'.

The difference between the two languages:
Then where lies poetry? Jagannatha says: it is in "chamatkaara janaka bhaavanaa vishayaartha pratipaadaka shabdaatwam". This means it is in that word which makes us think and by such thinking reveals a certain skill or poetic cunning called "chamatkaar" which in its turn leads to the experience of an intellectual pleasure: it is in that word, lies poetry.
Even before Jagannatha,kuntaka in his "vakrokti jeevita" said of poetry "sabdaarthou sahitou vakra kavivyaapaara saalini". The word that everybody uses is 'vakrokti'(the skilled word),That is why he said "Mahaakavi prabandhaanaam sarveshaam asti vkrataa" What is this vakrataa(his skill) 'prasiddhaabhidadhaana vyathirekini vichitraivaabhidhaa',he explained. The same words well known in the common parlance joined in a certain skillful combination to produce a certain surprising strangeness about them, become vakrokti. After this skilled conbination, the same words behave contrary to the principles of their normal conduct, which they show in the course of the day-to-day usage. This is 'Vaichitri' or 'chamatkaar'.Archibald Macleish observes in the same context, "words as sounds are malleable and may be made to multiply their meaning by the management of their shapes and movements in the ear." When Vamana said "visishtaa padarachanaa rithihi",I believe,he meant the same thing. In the ordinary parlance, as there is neither the chamatkaar of Jagannatha nor the management of "shapes and movements" of Macleish nor "visistha padarachana" of Vamana,it is not poetry.

Word is the Basis of Poetry:
Though poetry is above the ordinary words and meanings (i.e. the common language),it should be noted that word forms its basis, Therefore Jagannatha said ?Ramaneeyartha pratipaadaka shabdaha kaavyam?(That word which unfolds beautiful meaning is poetry)and then he proceeded to establish it with formidable logic. ?sabdaarthayugalam na kaavya sabda vaachayam..sabda viseshasya eva kaavya padaartharthavam?,(it is not both the words and meanings: but it is only the special word that can be called poetry.).Graham Hough said the same: ?the medium of literature is verbal. Literature is made of words?. Look at the word of the French poet Mallarme, the high-priest of modern poetry,? poetry is not made with words-as-expressions-of-ideas, but with words themselves?.
The power of the word:

When it is concluded that the ?sabda visesha?i. e. The special word, is the basis of poetry, then a Himalayan weight of delving deep into the powers of the word descends on the shoulders of the poet (and the critic). It is here in his ?Symbolism? that Graham says ?Literature exploits other properties of words besides their referential ones; e.g, their capability of being organized into rhythmical groups, their auditory and muscular suggestions, their fortuitous kinships with other words. Latent and undeveloped in ordinary language, these qualities become decisive in literature?. From ancient days in our country all the scientists of poetry without exception have been investigating and meditating about the four forms of ?Vaak?(speech) called para,pasyanti,madhyamaa,vaikhari and the three powers of the sound(shabda)namely abhidha,lakshana,and vyanjana. This is an invariable chapter generally in every work of poetics.
It is above all these levels, nevertheless, that lies the origin of poetry, ninety nine per cent of which is the look with which the poet sees objects or rather the vision of the poet. ? The perfect rose is only a running flame emerging and flowing off and never in any sense at rest static, finished.? A mind which could clothe in a handful words, the eternal fire of life burning in creation, can not be a mere scrap of paper. D.H.Lawrence has adorned the horizons of the 20 Th century with a new sun. What is noteworthy is that the red rose did not appear to him as a flower; he saw only the running flame. We think that the running flame falls from the branch; but where does it go? It appears in the branch; it is another flower to one who is not a seer; but to the seer, it is the same old flower reappearing. The Japanese poet of the 15th century, Arkikida Moritake had a similar vision; ?The fallen flower- I see returning to its branch! O! A butterfly?? here the emphasis is not on the buttefly; it is on ? the fallen flower returning to its branch?.

?yo apaam pushpam vedaa pushpavaan bhavati?, is the word of an ancient Vedic seer. Whoever knows the flower of the water, is the possessor of the flower.) This has no literal meaning. The entire universe appeared as water to the ancient Indian seers. The lengthy hymn in the 29th anuvaka of the taittariya upanishat is:?Aapovaa idagm sarvam vishvaa bhootanyaapaha??All this is water-the entire creation-the living beings who have ?prana? the food that is ?anna?,the Chandas whcihh are the metres,the jyothis-chakra th celestial world , the Vedas, the gods-every thing is water. This very hymn, which is in literal language, is condensed by a seer into one word?apaam pushpam?.

What appears to the physical eye is the flower, and what appears to the intellectual eye is the running flame. It is, perhaps this which Kant called ?the thing in itself?, in his critique of the pure reason. The poet expresses what the intellectual eye sees while the non-poet utters, what the physical eye sees. There is a subtle point here? the sage also has the intellectual eye in common with the poet; but that is up to the vision only. From that point they go their different ways. The sage conveys the vision in the ordinary language while the poet conveys it in a special language, which is his distinction. The poet exploits the uncommon powers of the word. It is perhaps for this reason that in a long list of priorities, the Veda places the poet a step higher than the sage. In the 12th anuvaka of Taittariya Upanishat, it is said?Bramhaa devaanaam,padaveeh kaveenaam,rishir vipraanaam,mahisho mriganaam,syeno gridhraanaam?.?. The greatest among gods is bramha, among poets the padaveeh. Among Brahmans the rishi,among animals the buffalo, among the birds the falcon and so on. To place the sage on a par with the poet would be a commonplace statement. But to place the poet above the sate and below only the gods is a statement of Vedic vision. Therefore one who wants to emerge as a poet has to become a sage first.

Since poetry begins from the very ?look? of the poet, he must commence his lessons of poetry with cultivation of this ?look?, if he has not received it by birth.

At a times a sage also speaks like a poet, Schopenhauer the German philosopher said, looking at the pillar carrying the weight of the roof of a temple,? this column is the symbol of the will to work. I am here to hold up this roof, murmurs this column ever struggling with the forces of gravitation?. Many people saw the column ?but with their two eyes, Schopebnhauer saw it with his third eye; and it looked as the ?symbol of the will to work?. That is its metaphysical personality.

Hemachandra said centuries ago, in his ?Kaavyaanusaasana? ?Naanrishih kavi rityuktham rishicha kila darsanaat,vichitra bhaava dharmaamscha tatva prakhyaacha darsanam?. This means one who is not a sage cannot be a poet. Then how to become a sage? By vision. Then what is vision? It is the ability to see the metaphysical content of the subject. Therefore you have to become a sage to become a poet. You cannot escape this disaster even by fleeing to the countries of the west. Because, even there the great poet Rimbaud declares ? I want to be a poet and I am working to make myself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by a long prodigious and rational disordering of the senses; there is unspeakable torture during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal and the great learned one among men; for he arrives at the unknown?.

It brings to our mind at once the life of Valmiki. One has to pass through all these tortures; there is no escape. See how wonderfully Rimbaud tells us this great truth ?so much the worse for the wood, to find itself a violin?. After all a mere wood before it becomes a fiddle and begins to emit melodies, what terrible experiences it has to pass through at the hands of the carpenter?s tool; for poet life itself is the carpenter?s tool.
(From ?Seshendra Sharma?s poet?s note book; The Arc of blood?)

-Seshendra Sharma

 on: September 26, 2017, 02:12:43 AM 
Started by Seshendra Sharma - Last post by Seshendra Sharma
]                                                       THE BURNING SUN
I am the drop of sweat, I am the sun
Rising from the hills of human sinews,
Hearts are my friends
I live in the city of sufferings
Although in my fist, I hold an ocean of history
I sculptured man silently –
Wings that carried birds
Did not bring them back;
I am drinking thick darkness
In the haunts of those forests
Which cry out in agony for the birds
That did not return;
Clutching at the garment woven of memories
I twine myself to the feet of my country.
Heads that were hanging to the trees
Smile as flowers today in the branches
Hearts that received the bullets
Ring in temples of our land like bells;
Blood of theirs nights squeezed and offered
By how many to bring forth this day;
They are hanging like icicles
On the ridges of our roofs;
Look, it is an iron fist I have;
I shall excavate the flame of light
From the rocks of time –
I will set fire to the sleep of resisting centuries –
To the rivers that run in passion after the sea
I cry halt, command them
To paint the colourless arid lands in green,
Invite back the smile which fled away
In terror from this land,
To the butterfly trudging hungrily for a flower
I shall give a garden –
Come children, eat
Bits of nights dipping them in moonlight,
I shall not allow the sun to cheat this sacred day;
If he wakes not on the horizon of this land
I shall tear my burning heart
And put it in its place
With the scarlet of my living flesh
Illuminate the earth
I am the drop of sweat, I am the sun
Rising from the hills of human sinews –
- Seshendra Sharma                                                              http://seshendrasharma.weebly.com
-This is the 1st poem in Seshendra Sharma’s second anthology of prose poems titled “The Burning Sun “
- In his intro to The Burning Sun   Seshendra says there has been an uninterrupted undercurrent in his life as a poet , that is his life nerve and that has assumed total expression in this poem 

 on: September 24, 2017, 08:46:51 AM 
Started by Tyehimba - Last post by Tyehimba
An African male is in love with an Indian female.

At the T&T Film Festival, this is the theme of two well-publicized local feature films being screened: Green Days by the River and Moko Jumbie, and perhaps the lesser-known Back to Freeport. These films come hot on the heels of another recently-screened local film entitled Bazoodee with the same theme.

This year also saw the release of another incarnation of the King Kong motion picture (Kong: Skull Island) by Warner Bros. The movie is often interpreted as a depiction of the Black man’s love for a White blonde woman for whom he is willing to face danger and even death.

Why the focus on relationships between black men and non-black women? Why ignore totally sexual relationships between Indian men and non-Indian women? Is there is sinister plot to emasculate, marginalize and erase images of Indian men in the mass media? This belief is based on the virtual absence of Indian men in advertisements in the print media, billboards and on television.

Shouldn’t filmmakers also base their scripts on sexual encounters between Indian men and White women? There are at least three Caribbean novels dealing with Indian men and White women: Tiger and Doreen in Samuel Selvon’s Turn Again Tiger (1958), and Romesh and Petra in The Plains of Caroni (1970), as well as Ranjit and Sandra in V.S. Naipaul’s The Mimic Men (1967).

There are intimate inter-racial liaisons between Indian men and Black women such as between Santosh and the hubshi woman in Naipaul’s short story collection, In a Free State (1971). And Ranjitsingh and Ajourda taste all the colors in the menu in their Port of Spain office in Peter Ramkeesoon’s sexual blockbuster novel, Sunday Morning Coming Down (1971).

The Martinique-born, Afro-Caribbean physician, psychiatrist and philosopher, Frantz Fanon, has framed a theory to explain this obsession of black men in his book, Black Skin White Masks (1952).

Fanon begins Chapter 3 with the following passage: “Out of the blackest part of my soul, across the zebra stripping of my mind, surges the desire to be suddenly white. I wish to be acknowledged not as a black but as a white. Now … who but a white woman can do this for me? By loving me, she proves that I am worthy of white love. I am loved like a white man…. I marry white culture, white beauty and white whiteness” (page 46).

Fanon explains that the black man wants to be accepted and loved by the non-black world. By entering into these inter-racial relationships, the black man seeks to “achieve denaturalization and (to use a loathsome word) deracialization.” He tries to emancipate himself from the bondage of his skin, his race and his culture and hope to have children that would not look like him (ref. Michael Jackson).

Post-colonial studies and critical theory explains that when black men rise in educational, political and financial status, their desire is to have an Indian, mixed (“red” or “Dougla”) or white woman to enhance their status. In a chapter on images of men and women in calypsoes, literary critic Gordon Rohlehr (1998) categorises “Idealised women” as the white woman, the high-brown woman and the Indian woman. Rohlehr observes that in the Black calypsoians’ confessions “lies the self-contempt of the black man, who considers himself unworthy of the woman of color whom he desires….”

This desire by black men for Indian, mixed (“red” or “Dougla”) or white women is the major cause of the destruction of the African family which is characterized by absent fathers, female-headed households and illegitimate children. In his MA Thesis submitted to Clark Atlanta University in 1996, Booker Edwards found that in African families, boys without fathers tend to become more gang-affiliated than those who have a two-parent home.

In discourses on race and beauty in post-colonial societies, the black woman is often not seen as a role model. When brown-skinned and straight-haired Janelle Penny Commissiong of T&T was crowned Miss Universe in 1977, it was an exceptional rupture to a long tradition of white beauty. In an article entitled “Contesting Beauty” in ReVista: Havard Review of Latin America 2017 edition, Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman states that the ways in which the perception of beauty negatively impact Black women have seldom been discussed in the context of racial prejudice.

In the Americas and the Caribbean, Indian, mixed (“red” or “Dougla”) or white women are used in visual advertisement in newspapers, magazines and billboards of to sell products and services. The subliminal message is that these colors as well as thin lips, narrow nose and straight or relaxed hair are promoted as superior.


 on: September 15, 2017, 05:28:51 AM 
Started by News - Last post by News
By Noam Chomsky
July  1, 2014 - tomdispatch.com


It goes without saying that the honchos of the national security state weren’t exactly happy with Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations.  Still, over the last year, the comments of such figures, politicians associated with them, and retirees from their world clearly channeling their feelings have had a striking quality: over-the-top vituperation.  About the nicest thing anyone in that crew has had to say about Snowden is that he’s a “traitor” or -- shades of the Cold War era (and of absurdity, since the State Department trapped him in the transit lounge of a Moscow airport by taking his passport away) -- a “Russian spy.”  And that’s the mild stuff.  Such figures have also regularly called for his execution, or quite literally stringing him up from the old oak tree and letting him dangle in the breeze.  Theirs has been a bloodcurdling collective performance that gives the word “visceral” new meaning.

Such a response to the way Snowden released batches of NSA documents to Glenn Greenwald, filmmaker Laura Poitras, and the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman calls for explanation.  Here's mine: the NSA’s goal in creating a global surveillance state was either utopian or dystopian (depending on your point of view), but in either case, breathtakingly totalistic.  Its top officials meant to sweep up every electronic or online way one human being can communicate with others, and to develop the capability to surveil and track every inhabitant of the planet.  From German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to peasants with cell phones in the backlands of Afghanistan (not to speak of American citizens anywhere), no one was to be off the hook.  Conceptually, there would be no exceptions.  And the remarkable thing is how close the agency came to achieving this.

Whether consciously or not, however, the officials of the U.S. Intelligence Community did imagine one giant exception: themselves.  No one outside the loop was supposed to know what they were doing.  They alone on the planet were supposed to be unheard, unspied upon, and unsurveilled.  The shock of Snowden’s revelations, I suspect, and the visceral reactions came, in part, from the discovery that such a system really did have no exceptions, not even them.  In releasing the blueprint of their world, Snowden endangered nothing in the normal sense of the term, but that made him no less of a traitor to their exceptional world as they imagined it.  What he ensured was that, as they surveil us, we can now in some sense track them.  His act, in other words, dumped them in with the hoi polloi -- with us -- which, under the circumstances, was the ultimate insult and they responded accordingly.

An allied explanation lurks in Noam Chomsky’s latest TomDispatch post.  If the “security” in national security means not the security of the American people but, as he suggests, of those who run the national security state, and if secrecy is the attribute of power, then Edward Snowden broke their code of secrecy and exposed power itself to the light in a devastating and deflating way.  No wonder the reaction to him was so bloodthirsty and vitriolic.  Chomsky himself has an unsettling way of exposing various worlds of power, especially American power, to the light with similarly deflating results.  He’s been doing it for half a century and only gets better. Tom


Whose Security?
How Washington Protects Itself and the Corporate Sector
By Noam Chomsky

The question of how foreign policy is determined is a crucial one in world affairs.  In these comments, I can only provide a few hints as to how I think the subject can be productively explored, keeping to the United States for several reasons.  First, the U.S. is unmatched in its global significance and impact.  Second, it is an unusually open society, possibly uniquely so, which means we know more about it.  Finally, it is plainly the most important case for Americans, who are able to influence policy choices in the U.S. -- and indeed for others, insofar as their actions can influence such choices.  The general principles, however, extend to the other major powers, and well beyond.

There is a “received standard version,” common to academic scholarship, government pronouncements, and public discourse.  It holds that the prime commitment of governments is to ensure security, and that the primary concern of the U.S. and its allies since 1945 was the Russian threat.

There are a number of ways to evaluate the doctrine.  One obvious question to ask is: What happened when the Russian threat disappeared in 1989?  Answer: everything continued much as before.

The U.S. immediately invaded Panama, killing probably thousands of people and installing a client regime. This was routine practice in U.S.-dominated domains -- but in this case not quite as routine. For first time, a major foreign policy act was not justified by an alleged Russian threat.

Instead, a series of fraudulent pretexts for the invasion were concocted that collapse instantly on examination. The media chimed in enthusiastically, lauding the magnificent achievement of defeating Panama, unconcerned that the pretexts were ludicrous, that the act itself was a radical violation of international law, and that it was bitterly condemned elsewhere, most harshly in Latin America.  Also ignored was the U.S. veto of a unanimous Security Council resolution condemning crimes by U.S. troops during the invasion, with Britain alone abstaining.

All routine.  And all forgotten (which is also routine).

From El Salvador to the Russian Border

The administration of George H.W. Bush issued a new national security policy and defense budget in reaction to the collapse of the global enemy.  It was pretty much the same as before, although with new pretexts.  It was, it turned out, necessary to maintain a military establishment almost as great as the rest of the world combined and far more advanced in technological sophistication -- but not for defense against the now-nonexistent Soviet Union.  Rather, the excuse now was the growing “technological sophistication” of Third World powers.  Disciplined intellectuals understood that it would have been improper to collapse in ridicule, so they maintained a proper silence.

The U.S., the new programs insisted, must maintain its “defense industrial base.” The phrase is a euphemism, referring to high-tech industry generally, which relies heavily on extensive state intervention for research and development, often under Pentagon cover, in what economists continue to call the U.S. “free-market economy.”

One of the most interesting provisions of the new plans had to do with the Middle East.  There, it was declared, Washington must maintain intervention forces targeting a crucial region where the major problems “could not have been laid at the Kremlin’s door.”  Contrary to 50 years of deceit, it was quietly conceded that the main concern was not the Russians, but rather what is called “radical nationalism,” meaning independent nationalism not under U.S. control.

All of this has evident bearing on the standard version, but it passed unnoticed -- or perhaps, therefore it passed unnoticed.

Other important events took place immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall, ending the Cold War.  One was in El Salvador, the leading recipient of U.S. military aid -- apart from Israel-Egypt, a separate category -- and with one of the worst human rights records anywhere.  That is a familiar and very close correlation.

The Salvadoran high command ordered the Atlacatl Brigade to invade the Jesuit University and murder six leading Latin American intellectuals, all Jesuit priests, including the rector, Fr. Ignacio Ellacuría, and any witnesses, meaning their housekeeper and her daughter.  The Brigade had just returned from advanced counterinsurgency training at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and had already left a bloody trail of thousands of the usual victims in the course of the U.S.-run state terror campaign in El Salvador, one part of a broader terror and torture campaign throughout the region.  All routine.  Ignored and virtually forgotten in the United States and by its allies, again routine.  But it tells us a lot about the factors that drive policy, if we care to look at the real world.

Another important event took place in Europe.  Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to allow the unification of Germany and its membership in NATO, a hostile military alliance.  In the light of recent history, this was a most astonishing concession.  There was a quid pro quo.  President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker agreed that NATO would not expand “one inch to the East,” meaning into East Germany.  Instantly, they expanded NATO to East Germany.

Gorbachev was naturally outraged, but when he complained, he was instructed by Washington that this had only been a verbal promise, a gentleman’s agreement, hence without force.  If he was naïve enough to accept the word of American leaders, it was his problem.

All of this, too, was routine, as was the silent acceptance and approval of the expansion of NATO in the U.S. and the West generally.  President Bill Clinton then expanded NATO further, right up to Russia’s borders.  Today, the world faces a serious crisis that is in no small measure a result of these policies.

The Appeal of Plundering the Poor

Another source of evidence is the declassified historical record.  It contains revealing accounts of the actual motives of state policy.  The story is rich and complex, but a few persistent themes play a dominant role.  One was articulated clearly at a western hemispheric conference called by the U.S. in Mexico in February 1945 where Washington imposed “An Economic Charter of the Americas” designed to eliminate economic nationalism “in all its forms.” There was one unspoken condition.  Economic nationalism would be fine for the U.S. whose economy relies heavily on massive state intervention.

The elimination of economic nationalism for others stood in sharp conflict with the Latin American stand of that moment, which State Department officials described as “the philosophy of the New Nationalism [that] embraces policies designed to bring about a broader distribution of wealth and to raise the standard of living of the masses.” As U.S. policy analysts added, “Latin Americans are convinced that the first beneficiaries of the development of a country's resources should be the people of that country.”

That, of course, will not do.  Washington understands that the “first beneficiaries” should be U.S. investors, while Latin America fulfills its service function.  It should not, as both the Truman and Eisenhower administrations would make clear, undergo “excessive industrial development” that might infringe on U.S. interests.  Thus Brazil could produce low-quality steel that U.S. corporations did not want to bother with, but it would be “excessive,” were it to compete with U.S. firms.

Similar concerns resonate throughout the post-World War II period.  The global system that was to be dominated by the U.S. was threatened by what internal documents call “radical and nationalistic regimes” that respond to popular pressures for independent development.  That was the concern that motivated the overthrow of the parliamentary governments of Iran and Guatemala in 1953 and 1954, as well as numerous others.  In the case of Iran, a major concern was the potential impact of Iranian independence on Egypt, then in turmoil over British colonial practice.  In Guatemala, apart from the crime of the new democracy in empowering the peasant majority and infringing on possessions of the United Fruit Company -- already offensive enough -- Washington’s concern was labor unrest and popular mobilization in neighboring U.S.-backed dictatorships.

In both cases the consequences reach to the present.  Literally not a day has passed since 1953 when the U.S. has not been torturing the people of Iran.  Guatemala remains one of the world’s worst horror chambers.  To this day, Mayans are fleeing from the effects of near-genocidal government military campaigns in the highlands backed by President Ronald Reagan and his top officials.  As the country director of Oxfam, a Guatemalan doctor, reported recently,

“There is a dramatic deterioration of the political, social, and economic context.  Attacks against Human Rights defenders have increased 300% during the last year.  There is a clear evidence of a very well organized strategy by the private sector and Army. Both have captured the government in order to keep the status quo and to impose the extraction economic model, pushing away dramatically indigenous peoples from their own land, due to the mining industry, African Palm and sugar cane plantations.  In addition the social movement defending their land and rights has been criminalized, many leaders are in jail, and many others have been killed.”

Nothing is known about this in the United States and the very obvious cause of it remains suppressed.

In the 1950s, President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles explained quite clearly the dilemma that the U.S. faced.  They complained that the Communists had an unfair advantage.  They were able to “appeal directly to the masses” and “get control of mass movements, something we have no capacity to duplicate.  The poor people are the ones they appeal to and they have always wanted to plunder the rich.”

That causes problems.  The U.S. somehow finds it difficult to appeal to the poor with its doctrine that the rich should plunder the poor.

The Cuban Example

A clear illustration of the general pattern was Cuba, when it finally gained independence in 1959.  Within months, military attacks on the island began.  Shortly after, the Eisenhower administration made a secret decision to overthrow the government.  John F. Kennedy then became president.  He intended to devote more attention to Latin America and so, on taking office, he created a study group to develop policies headed by the historian Arthur Schlesinger, who summarized its conclusions for the incoming president.

As Schlesinger explained, threatening in an independent Cuba was “the Castro idea of taking matters into one's own hands.”  It was an idea that unfortunately appealed to the mass of the population in Latin America where “the distribution of land and other forms of national wealth greatly favors the propertied classes, and the poor and underprivileged, stimulated by the example of the Cuban revolution, are now demanding opportunities for a decent living.” Again, Washington’s usual dilemma.

As the CIA explained, “The extensive influence of 'Castroism' is not a function of Cuban power... Castro’s shadow looms large because social and economic conditions throughout Latin America invite opposition to ruling authority and encourage agitation for radical change,” for which his Cuba provides a model.  Kennedy feared that Russian aid might make Cuba a “showcase” for development, giving the Soviets the upper hand throughout Latin America.

The State Department Policy Planning Council warned that “the primary danger we face in Castro is... in the impact the very existence of his regime has upon the leftist movement in many Latin American countries… The simple fact is that Castro represents a successful defiance of the U.S., a negation of our whole hemispheric policy of almost a century and a half” -- that is, since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, when the U.S. declared its intention of dominating the hemisphere.

The immediate goal at the time was to conquer Cuba, but that could not be achieved because of the power of the British enemy.  Still, that grand strategist John Quincy Adams, the intellectual father of the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny, informed his colleagues that over time Cuba would fall into our hands by “the laws of political gravitation,” as an apple falls from the tree.  In brief, U.S. power would increase and Britain’s would decline.

In 1898, Adams’s prognosis was realized. The U.S. invaded Cuba in the guise of liberating it.  In fact, it prevented the island’s liberation from Spain and turned it into a “virtual colony” to quote historians Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.  Cuba remained so until January 1959, when it gained independence.  Since that time it has been subjected to major U.S. terrorist wars, primarily during the Kennedy years, and economic strangulation.  Not because of the Russians.

The pretense all along was that we were defending ourselves from the Russian threat -- an absurd explanation that generally went unchallenged.  A simple test of the thesis is what happened when any conceivable Russian threat disappeared.  U.S. policy toward Cuba became even harsher, spearheaded by liberal Democrats, including Bill Clinton, who outflanked Bush from the right in the 1992 election.  On the face of it, these events should have considerable bearing on the validity of the doctrinal framework for discussion of foreign policy and the factors that drive it.  Once again, however, the impact was slight.

The Virus of Nationalism

To borrow Henry Kissinger’s terminology, independent nationalism is a “virus” that might “spread contagion.” Kissinger was referring to Salvador Allende’s Chile.  The virus was the idea that there might be a parliamentary path towards some kind of socialist democracy.  The way to deal with such a threat is to destroy the virus and to inoculate those who might be infected, typically by imposing murderous national security states.  That was achieved in the case of Chile, but it is important to recognize that the thinking holds worldwide.

It was, for example, the reasoning behind the decision to oppose Vietnamese nationalism in the early 1950s and support France’s effort to reconquer its former colony.  It was feared that independent Vietnamese nationalism might be a virus that would spread contagion to the surrounding regions, including resource-rich Indonesia.  That might even have led Japan -- called the “superdomino” by Asia scholar John Dower -- to become the industrial and commercial center of an independent new order of the kind imperial Japan had so recently fought to establish.  That, in turn, would have meant that the U.S. had lost the Pacific war, not an option to be considered in 1950.  The remedy was clear -- and largely achieved.  Vietnam was virtually destroyed and ringed by military dictatorships that kept the “virus” from spreading contagion.

In retrospect, Kennedy-Johnson National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy reflected that Washington should have ended the Vietnam War in 1965, when the Suharto dictatorship was installed in Indonesia, with enormous massacres that the CIA compared to the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.  These were, however, greeted with unconstrained euphoria in the U.S. and the West generally because the “staggering bloodbath,” as the press cheerfully described it, ended any threat of contagion and opened Indonesia’s rich resources to western exploitation.  After that, the war to destroy Vietnam was superfluous, as Bundy recognized in retrospect.

The same was true in Latin America in the same years: one virus after another was viciously attacked and either destroyed or weakened to the point of bare survival.  From the early 1960s, a plague of repression was imposed on the continent that had no precedent in the violent history of the hemisphere, extending to Central America in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan, a matter that there should be no need to review.

Much the same was true in the Middle East.  The unique U.S. relations with Israel were established in their current form in 1967, when Israel delivered a smashing blow to Egypt, the center of secular Arab nationalism.  By doing so, it protected U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, then engaged in military conflict with Egypt in Yemen.  Saudi Arabia, of course, is the most extreme radical fundamentalist Islamic state, and also a missionary state, expending huge sums to establish its Wahhabi-Salafi doctrines beyond its borders.  It is worth remembering that the U.S., like England before it, has tended to support radical fundamentalist Islam in opposition to secular nationalism, which has usually been perceived as posing more of a threat of independence and contagion.

The Value of Secrecy

There is much more to say, but the historical record demonstrates very clearly that the standard doctrine has little merit.  Security in the normal sense is not a prominent factor in policy formation.

To repeat, in the normal sense.  But in evaluating the standard doctrine we have to ask what is actually meant by “security”: security for whom?

One answer is: security for state power.  There are many illustrations.  Take a current one.  In May, the U.S. agreed to support a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Syria, but with a proviso: there could be no inquiry into possible war crimes by Israel.  Or by Washington, though it was really unnecessary to add that last condition.  The U.S. is uniquely self-immunized from the international legal system.  In fact, there is even congressional legislation authorizing the president to use armed force to “rescue” any American brought to the Hague for trial -- the “Netherlands Invasion Act,” as it is sometimes called in Europe.  That once again illustrates the importance of protecting the security of state power.

But protecting it from whom? There is, in fact, a strong case to be made that a prime concern of government is the security of state power from the population.  As those who have spent time rummaging through archives should be aware, government secrecy is rarely motivated by a genuine need for security, but it definitely does serve to keep the population in the dark.  And for good reasons, which were lucidly explained by the prominent liberal scholar and government adviser Samuel Huntington, the professor of the science of government at Harvard University.  In his words: “The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen.  Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.”

He wrote that in 1981, when the Cold War was again heating up, and he explained further that “you may have to sell [intervention or other military action] in such a way as to create the misimpression that it is the Soviet Union that you are fighting. That is what the United States has been doing ever since the Truman Doctrine.”

These simple truths are rarely acknowledged, but they provide insight into state power and policy, with reverberations to the present moment.

State power has to be protected from its domestic enemy; in sharp contrast, the population is not secure from state power.  A striking current illustration is the radical attack on the Constitution by the Obama administration’s massive surveillance program.  It is, of course, justified by “national security.” That is routine for virtually all actions of all states and so carries little information.

When the NSA’s surveillance program was exposed by Edward Snowden’s revelations, high officials claimed that it had prevented 54 terrorist acts.  On inquiry, that was whittled down to a dozen.  A high-level government panel then discovered that there was actually only one case: someone had sent $8,500 to Somalia.  That was the total yield of the huge assault on the Constitution and, of course, on others throughout the world.

Britain’s attitude is interesting.  In 2007, the British government called on Washington’s colossal spy agency “to analyze and retain any British citizens’ mobile phone and fax numbers, emails, and IP addresses swept up by its dragnet,” the Guardian reported.  That is a useful indication of the relative significance, in government eyes, of the privacy of its own citizens and of Washington’s demands.

Another concern is security for private power.  One current illustration is the huge trade agreements now being negotiated, the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic pacts.  These are being negotiated in secret -- but not completely in secret.  They are not secret from the hundreds of corporate lawyers who are drawing up the detailed provisions.  It is not hard to guess what the results will be, and the few leaks about them suggest that the expectations are accurate.  Like NAFTA and other such pacts, these are not free trade agreements.  In fact, they are not even trade agreements, but primarily investor rights agreements.

Again, secrecy is critically important to protect the primary domestic constituency of the governments involved, the corporate sector.

The Final Century of Human Civilization?

There are other examples too numerous to mention, facts that are well-established and would be taught in elementary schools in free societies.

There is, in other words, ample evidence that securing state power from the domestic population and securing concentrated private power are driving forces in policy formation.  Of course, it is not quite that simple.  There are interesting cases, some quite current, where these commitments conflict, but consider this a good first approximation and radically opposed to the received standard doctrine.

Let us turn to another question: What about the security of the population? It is easy to demonstrate that this is a marginal concern of policy planners.  Take two prominent current examples, global warming and nuclear weapons.  As any literate person is doubtless aware, these are dire threats to the security of the population.  Turning to state policy, we find that it is committed to accelerating each of those threats -- in the interests of the primary concerns, protection of state power and of the concentrated private power that largely determines state policy.

Consider global warming.  There is now much exuberance in the United States about “100 years of energy independence” as we become “the Saudi Arabia of the next century” -- perhaps the final century of human civilization if current policies persist.

That illustrates very clearly the nature of the concern for security, certainly not for the population.  It also illustrates the moral calculus of contemporary Anglo-American state capitalism: the fate of our grandchildren counts as nothing when compared with the imperative of higher profits tomorrow.

These conclusions are fortified by a closer look at the propaganda system.  There is a huge public relations campaign in the U.S., organized quite openly by Big Energy and the business world, to try to convince the public that global warming is either unreal or not a result of human activity.  And it has had some impact.  The U.S. ranks lower than other countries in public concern about global warming and the results are stratified: among Republicans, the party more fully dedicated to the interests of wealth and corporate power, it ranks far lower than the global norm.

The current issue of the premier journal of media criticism, the Columbia Journalism Review, has an interesting article on this subject, attributing this outcome to the media doctrine of “fair and balanced.” In other words, if a journal publishes an opinion piece reflecting the conclusions of 97% of scientists, it must also run a counter-piece expressing the viewpoint of the energy corporations.

That indeed is what happens, but there certainly is no “fair and balanced” doctrine. Thus, if a journal runs an opinion piece denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin for the criminal act of taking over the Crimea, it surely does not have to run a piece pointing out that, while the act is indeed criminal, Russia has a far stronger case today than the U.S. did more than a century ago in taking over southeastern Cuba, including the country’s major port -- and rejecting the Cuban demand since independence to have it returned.  And the same is true of many other cases.  The actual media doctrine is “fair and balanced” when the concerns of concentrated private power are involved, but surely not elsewhere.

On the issue of nuclear weapons, the record is similarly interesting -- and frightening.  It reveals very clearly that, from the earliest days, the security of the population was a non-issue, and remains so.  There is no time here to run through the shocking record, but there is little doubt that it strongly supports the lament of General Lee Butler, the last commander of the Strategic Air Command, which was armed with nuclear weapons.  In his words, we have so far survived the nuclear age “by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” And we can hardly count on continued divine intervention as policymakers play roulette with the fate of the species in pursuit of the driving factors in policy formation.

As we are all surely aware, we now face the most ominous decisions in human history.  There are many problems that must be addressed, but two are overwhelming in their significance: environmental destruction and nuclear war.  For the first time in history, we face the possibility of destroying the prospects for decent existence -- and not in the distant future.  For this reason alone, it is imperative to sweep away the ideological clouds and face honestly and realistically the question of how policy decisions are made, and what we can do to alter them before it is too late.

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among his recent books are Hegemony or Survival, Failed States Power Systems Occupy ,and  Hopes and Prospects,  His latest book, Masters of Mankind, will be published soon by Haymarket Books, which is also reissuing twelve of his classic books in new editions over the coming year. His website is www.chomsky.info.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook and Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me.

Copyright 2014 Noam Chomsky[/i]


 on: September 09, 2017, 06:57:33 AM 
Started by News - Last post by News
Dangerous Times: North Korea, China and the Threat of Nuclear War and Accident

By John Pilger and T.J. Coles
September 07, 2017

The threat is from the United States, which for more than two generations has bullied and provoked North Korea.

The U.S. continues to provoke North Korea with military exercises near its borders. It also fails to live up to diplomatic agreements. Western media continue to distort the chronology of cause and effect, inverting reality to claim that North Korea is provoking the West. John Pilger, author of "The Coming War on China," talks to T.J. Coles about the situation.

This interview contains material from our book, "Voices for Peace: War, Resistance and America’s Quest for Full-Spectrum Dominance," an edited collection of original works by Pilger, as well as Noam Chomsky, Cynthia McKinney, Ilan Pappe and other leading activists and scholars published by Clairview Books, 2017.

T.J. Coles: What is the threat from North Korea?

John Pilger: The threat is from the United States, which for more than two generations has bullied and provoked North Korea while denying Koreans a treaty that would finally end their civil war and open up numerous possibilities, including reunification. The one pause in this warmongering campaign, during the 1990s, demonstrated that negotiations can “work,” regardless of what (President Donald) Trump says.

In 1992, the North and South signed the Declaration of Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula called, “An Agreed Framework,” which established and resulted in a suspension of North Korea’s nuclear programs in exchange for a U.S. agreement to build two nuclear reactors within the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

George W. Bush tore this up in 2002.

Then there were six-party talks in Beijing. Today, China and Russia have said that if the U.S. and South Korea cease their provocative military exercises – which include regime change – North Korea will stop firing its missiles. Will the Trump administration agree to this?

T.J. Coles: How do you assess Trump’s China policy, as opposed to (former president Barack) Obama’s?

John Pilger: There isn’t a real difference. Obama – urged on by his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – initiated the so-called Pivot to Asia, which set the hare running of a U.S. confrontation with China. Trump has continued this. He has, however, hosted the Chinese president and said what a great guy he is, whatever that’s worth.

Trump’s subsequent histrionics over North Korea, over its provocative tests, have made real the possibility of miscalculation. This is a dangerous time.

T.J. Coles: Do you see much chance of a trade war between the U.S. and China?

John Pilger: No. Their interdependence has never been greater. Trump’s election campaign threat to impose 40 percent tariffs on certain Chinese imports came to nothing. Again, the real threat is a mistaken or accidental missile launch on China – for example, from the U.S.’s newly-installed THAAD ‘defense system’ in South Korea. The unspoken issue is the Pentagon, which has had unprecedented power in Washington since 9/11, especially since Obama’s presidency.

This article was first published by Plymouth Institute for Peace Research - http://johnpilger.com/

 on: September 07, 2017, 01:49:38 AM 
Started by News - Last post by News
By Mike Whitney
September 4, 2017

Here’s what the media isn’t telling you about North Korea’s recent missile tests.

Last Monday, the DPRK fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan’s Hokkaido Island. The missile landed in the waters beyond the island harming neither people nor property.

The media immediately condemned the test as a “bold and provocative act”  that showed the North’s defiance of UN resolutions and “contempt for its neighbors.” President Trump sharply criticized the missile test saying:

“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.”

What the media failed to mention was that,  for the last three weeks, Japan, South Korea and the US have been engaged in large-scale joint-military drills on Hokkaido Island and in South Korea. These needlessly provocative war games are designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea and a “decapitation” operation to remove (Re: Kill)  the regime. North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un has asked the US repeatedly to end these military exercises, but the US has stubbornly refused. The US reserves the right to threaten anyone, anytime and anywhere even right on their doorstep. It’s part of what makes the US exceptional. Check out this excerpt from an article at Fox News:

“More than 3,500 American and Japanese troops kicked off a weeks-long joint military exercise Thursday against the backdrop of an increasingly belligerent North Korean regime. The exercise, known as Northern Viper 17, will take place on Hokkaido — Japan’s northern-most main island — and will last until Aug. 28….

    “We are improving our readiness not only in the air, but as a logistical support team,” Col. R. Scott Jobe, the 35th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement. “We are in a prime location for contingency purposes and this exercise will only build upon our readiness in the case a real-world scenario occurs.” (US, Japanese troops begin joint military exercise amid North Korea threat”, Fox News)

Monday’s missile test (which flew over Hokkaido Island) was conducted just hours after the war games ended. The message was clear: The North is not going to be publicly humiliated and slapped around without responding. Rather than show weakness, the North demonstrated that it was prepared to defend itself against foreign aggression. In other words, the test was NOT a  “bold and provocative act” (as the media stated) but a modest and well thought-out  response by a country that has experienced 64 years of relentless hectoring, sanctions, demonization and saber rattling by Washington. The North responded because the Washington’s incitements required a response. End of story.

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