Blatant Criminality In The Pentagon

Alan Scott:

Government corruption in Turkey . . . . Uh oh, sorry, the United States of America :-(

Originally posted on Ronmamita's Blog:

The Pentagon Washington D.C.
Before, during and after 9/11 terror the DOD has shown the world how to steal trillions of dollars in plain sight.
Steal & Kill With Impunity
PhD. Joseph P. Farrell has the latest “Pentagram, er… Pentagon” money heist in his report below. ~Ron

U.S. Marines, from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, patrols through a poppy field near the town of Garmser in Helmand Province of Afghanistan Thursday May 1, 2008. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)


Need a few billion dollars for your black budget?
A few covert operations projects?
Then you need to hire the Pentagon to manage your ledgers. Mr. V.T found this article, and it seems that  the Pentagram is missing a few more billions of dollars:

$45 Billion in Tax Dollars Goes Missing in Afghanistan

Now, if you’re like me, the idea of missing billions in Afghanistan conjures all sorts of images, most of them having to do with opium poppies and drug trade, a point driven home by the fact that the article conveniently frames an American soldier…

View original 402 more words

Selective Amnesia – Armenian tragedy ignites international hypocrisy

The New York Times claims a readership of 1.3 million. I’m not going to examine here who owns the company and what their motives might be for constantly publishing anti-Turkey material – I’m sure those readers are educated, intelligent people well aware that there may be another side to the stories told on the Times’s paper and digital pages.

For Turkey, it's 18 March. Who else is interested?

For Turkey, it’s 18 March. Who else is interested?

I had resolved a year or so ago that I would stop writing about the issue of what happened to the Armenians back in 1915. I felt I had pretty much covered all aspects of the business and nothing remained to be said. Alas, the sad fact is that the same specious arguments keep repeating. This year especially, the centennial of whatever it was that happened, there has been a major campaign to flood the news media with impassioned cries for the modern Republic of Turkey to man up and shoulder the blame for the alleged sins of the Ottoman Empire. According to received wisdom, the voice of Armenia can speak no wrong – and Turkey can do no right. Never mind that much of the so-called scholarship behind the Armenian case has been discredited, that Adolf Hitler never uttered the damning words attributed to him, that Barack Obama has become more informed on the complexity of the matter since his pre-election vote-catching utterances – the same strident voices parrot the same repetitious mantra: Muslim bad; Christian good! An editorial in the Times (April 17) spoke of an event ‘widely recognised as the first genocide of the 20th century’ except by Turks who ‘continue to furiously attack anyone who speaks of genocide.’ The writer asserts that Turkey’s President, Tayyip Erdoğan has done an about turn on the issue after last year ‘offering condolences to descendants of the Armenian victims and suggesting that a panel of international historians be formed to examine the historical evidence. No such panel was convened.’

Circassians protesting about the Sochi Olympics

Circassians protesting about the Sochi Olympics

Is it Turkey’s job to set up such a panel? As far as I am aware, Mr Erdoğan’s position on this issue has always been clear, and it has not changed. Why do these friends of Armenia insist on drawing a line at the beginning of the 20th century? In February last year, when Russia held its $51 billion showcase Winter Olympic extravaganza in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Circassians the world over tried to draw attention to the vast campaign of ethnic cleansing perpetrated in the Caucasus by Czarist Russia. 2014 marked the 150th anniversary of the year when “according to the official tsarist documents, more than 400,000 Circassians were killed, 497,000 were forced to flee abroad to Turkey [Ottoman Anatolia], and only 80,000 were left alive in their native area.” And that’s the official Russian count. And the Circassians were peacefully living in their own land. And Russia was under no outside military threat. And getting rid of the Muslim Circassians was an explicit policy of the Czarist government. In 1915 the Ottoman Empire was fighting a war for survival on at least three fronts. The Russian aim of expanding to the shores of the Mediterranean involved cynical use of Armenians in the east to create havoc behind the Ottoman lines. The French government had a similar policy in the southeast (near present-day Syria) of using Armenian troops against the Ottomans. What government could tolerate such a situation? Not all Armenian combatants were wearing uniform. Few villagers would risk turning them in to Ottoman authorities. A bad thing happened, for sure – but who was to blame?

Who invented the concentration camp?

Who invented the concentration camp?

A few years previously, in its war against the Boers in South Africa, the imperial British government had invented the concentration camp as a means of destroying guerrilla resistance to its questionable land grab. ‘The abhorrent conditions in these camps caused the death of 4,177 women, 22,074 children under sixteen and 1,676 men, mainly those too old to be on commando.’ Possibly that’s one reason why British prime Minister Tony Blair, despite his well-deserved reputation for political expediency, refused to bow to pressure and use the ‘g’ word for the Armenian event. It is also likely that America’s Obama is a little wary of calling other kettles black when his own nation’s pot is somewhat less than squeaky-clean. Turkey’s Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, responding to the European Parliament’s vote last week to come out of the closet and shout ‘genocide’ from the rooftops, was moved to ask rhetorically, ‘Where now are the native Americans? The aborigines of Australia?’ He didn’t add, ‘Why are there so many people of Irish extraction living in the United States?’ but he might have. As far as I am aware, he wasn’t ‘furious’ and he didn’t ‘attack’ anyone – but he might have been a little sad at such unjust treatment at the hands of his supposed NATO allies, and possibly felt some righteous indignation. Why are Armenians tolerated when they employ terrorist tactics to assassinate Turkish diplomats and silence voices of opposition as they did in the 1980s – yet Turkish politicians and American historians are accused of bias and ‘denialism’ when they use reasoned arguments and historical documents to dispute Armenian assertions?

Impoverished Irish emigrating to America

Impoverished Irish emigrating to America

Another debate has arisen recently over a clash of dates for commemorating two centennials this year. Armenians arbitrarily selected 24 April as their date of choice for commemorating their ‘great Evil’. Nations of the former British Empire, especially Australia and New Zealand, have long gathered on 25 April to remember their young men who died in the tragic and ultimately futile Gallipoli Campaign. Turkey’s commemorative activities take place on 18 March, the day when their Ottoman ancestors turned back the might of the British and French navies – effectively saving their capital Istanbul from invasion and occupation. More importantly for the modern Republic of Turkey, however, is the significance of the Gallipoli/Çanakkale victory in the rise of its founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Apparently the President of Armenia, Serzh Sergsyan, kindly invited Turkey’s President, Tayyip Erdoğan, to attend a memorial event in Yerevan on April 24. Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders have been planning for a year or more to be present on the Gallipoli Peninsula for their big day on the 25th. The Turkish government decided, for reasons of its own, to hold its official international ceremony on the 24th, and thoughtfully issued an invitation to Mr Sergsyan. Well, few Anzacs would have turned up in Turkey on 18 March – and few Turks have any interest in joining the Armenian activities, so call it what you will.

Turkish diplomats assassinated by Armenian terrorists

Turkish diplomats assassinated by Armenian terrorists

Interestingly, retired diplomats of Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs are planning an activity of their own for 25 April. They intend to hold a march in Ankara to honor Turkish diplomats assassinated by Armenian radicals.’ According to a spokesman for the organising committee, ‘We still carry in our hearts the agony of the ruthless assassination of over 40 Turkish diplomats, government employees and their family members by Armenian terrorist organizations between 1973 and 1985.’ An article in the New York Times dated 29 January 1982 reported one of these assassinations: ‘Two gunmen assassinated the Turkish consul general in Los Angeles this morning as he sat alone in his automobile at a busy intersection in the Westwood section. An organization called the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide said it was responsible for the slaying of the consul general, Kemal Arıkan. The organization is one of several Armenian terrorist groups that have said they want to avenge a massacre of Armenians by Turkey in 1915. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation found the getaway car at a house in Pasadena, 20 miles away, and detained four people inside the house for questioning. All four were later released [My emphasis]. According to the State Department, Mr. Arıkan was the twenty-first Turkish diplomat to be killed in the past 10 years in this country and abroad. Armenian groups also claimed responsibility for the previous killings. The assassination followed a number of other attacks on Turkish officials in southern California that police investigators have attributed to members of the city’s large Armenian community, which is estimated at 100,000.‘ For full details of the Armenian terrorist attacks, click this Youtube link. It may give you food for thought.

The price of defending your home against invaders

The price of defending your home against invaders

I came across two other pieces of interest, adding fuel to the fire of anti-Turkish sentiment currently raging in Western ‘news’ media. One was in the UK Independent entitled ‘The Gallipoli Centenary is a shameful attempt to hide the Armenian Holocaust.’ The author is Robert Fisk, who has had a lot to say previously on this issue. I have been referred to him in the past as though he is some kind of authority, when in reality he is just a journalist with a neo-Lawrence of Arabia complex. I have no intention of wasting energy refuting his lengthy tirade. It may be enough to comment on the title itself, which sets the tone for the rest of the piece. Does Turkey have any interest in commemorating 25 April? As stated above, 18 March is their date of choice. They might also have opted for 9 January 1916 when the last British troops departed after their failed invasion. Out of respect for their former enemies, the people of Turkey maintain the cemeteries of all the fallen, welcome visitors with true Turkish hospitality and accept that the British and their allies prefer to forget those two embarrassing dates. It is the descendants of the Anzacs who want to gather on 25 April. The other piece appeared on an American neo-con website Newsmax, and contained an interview with a German, Michael Hesemann. The article calls him a historian, but like Fisk, it seems he is just another journalist with an axe to grind. In fact, comparing him to Fisk is probably a tad unfair to the latter as Hesemann apparently wrote several books on UFOs and extraterrestrial visitors to earth before becoming a major apologist for Roman Catholicism. Well, on second thoughts, perhaps the two fields are not so far apart. Mr Hesemann, it seems, argues in a recent book that the Vatican had tried to stop Ottoman expulsions of Armenians back in 1915. Well, maybe they did, but it seems to have blunted their enthusiasm for such protests, given that they maintained a deafening silence over the more recent German extermination of Europe’s Jews.

Yeah, well . . .

Yeah, well . . .

Another New York Times article on 16 April called the Armenian tragedy the greatest atrocity of the Great War’. The writer possibly overlooked the fact that the entire war was a monumental atrocity of stupendous proportions. It has been estimated that total military and civilian casualties in the ‘Great’ war exceeded 37 million – over 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded (a good number of them Muslims). Many argued at the time, and many still believe that it was an imperialist war fought largely for the benefit of international capitalism. Conscientious objectors to conscription in my own country, New Zealand, were subjected to horrifyingly inhuman treatment. How much attention does that atrocity get? Those with a genuine interest in gaining an objective view of what happened with Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (not Turkey) in 1915 may care to visit the webpage of Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It addresses the following issues:

  • How many Armenians died?
  • How many Muslims died during those years?
  • How reliable are sources quoted in support of the Armenian story?
  • Do the deaths constitute genocide?
  • Why were Ottoman officials tried by the British for war crimes acquitted by the Malta Tribunals.
  • Should we be influenced by Armenian terrorists who have engaged in a vigilante war that continues today?
  • The archives of many nations ought to be carefully and thoughtfully examined before concluding whether genocide occurred.
  • The Jewish Holocaust bears no meaningful relation to the Ottoman Armenian experience.

Just the other day, a historian in New Zealand, speaking about the 19th century wars fought between European settlers and the indigenous Maori people, said ‘Let’s not be selective about the history that we remember.’ It’s good advice.

Reality Buttocks, Papal Infallibility and the Armenian Issue

Turkey's 'Kim Kardashian' explains the secret of her buttocks

Turkey’s ‘Kim Kardashian’ explains the secret of her buttocks

One of the delights of our Istanbul newspaper is the daily insert that follows the lives of local glitterati: which wife of which well-known Turkish footballer was spotted at her neighbourhood shopping centre wearing clothes and accessories valued at 8,300 TL ($3,200) for example. The other day our social ‘butterfly’ supplement (Kelebek in Turkish) let us into the gluteus maximal secrets of a young lady with aspirations to becoming Turkey’s Kim Kardashian.

I can appreciate the appeal of a well-rounded derriere as much as any red-blooded male, and I am aware that Ms Kardashian’s charms in that anatomical region have attracted some media attention. Nevertheless, I am a little disappointed to learn that’s her major claim to fame. Well, that and blessing her baby with the name of North West.

How do I know these things? It’s hard to escape American pop culture disseminated through the international mass media posing as news and information for the global community. I haven’t seen Kim’s show, ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’. Thankfully it hasn’t achieved wide circulation in Turkey to date, but her doings still filter through. So I know, for instance, that Mrs Kanye West has just visited Armenia, the homeland of her paternal great great grandparents who immigrated to America in the late 19th century.

America's Kim Kardashian expressing her sorrow for the genocided Armenians

America’s Kim Kardashian expressing her sorrow for the genocided Armenians

The young lady doesn’t speak Armenian yet, but she says she’s working on it. She did, however, visit the memorial in Yerevan with her sisters, and lent her informed voice to demands for international recognition of the 1915 Metz Yeghern, (‘Great Evil’) as genocide. In gratitude, apparently the Kardashians have been presented with a plot of land in their ancestral homeland, so it will be interesting to see if they take up the offer to immigrate back. I can’t see it, though, can you? According to the CIA World Factbook Armenia ranks 148th in the world for per capita GDP and its economy is largely dependent on financial support from Russia and the IMF, and remittances from the diaspora. According to Global Democracy’s 2014 list, the country ranks 92nd out of 112 countries. A Wikipedia entry on human rights cites use of torture and forced confessions by police as a serious concern. There were accusations of electoral fraud after the 2008 presidential election. The new president declared a 20-day state of emergency, and large-scale demonstrations were put down by police using truncheons and electric shock devices resulting in at least ten deaths.

Nevertheless, the anti-Turkey lobby is renewing its efforts to hold that country responsible for the large-scale deaths of Armenians during the First World War. Activists in the cause have chosen 24 April as their day for focusing on the issue, and 2015 as the 100th anniversary. A plenary session of the European Parliament on April 15 will apparently vote on the question of whether to officially recognise the events of 1915 as genocide. Anticipating the vote, Pope Francis, titular head of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, trumpeted his opinion (in his role as the infallible spokesperson of God, I assume) that the “slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks was ‘the first genocide of the 20th century’”.

Pope Francis and Aram I engaging in ecumenical solidarity

Pope Francis and Aram I engaging in ecumenical solidarity

The Pontiff’s words won an accolade from Aram I, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, who was reported as saying that “genocide is a crime against humanity that requires reparation.” Here, of course, is the nub of the matter. The Armenian government would dearly love to force the modern Republic of Turkey to accept responsibility for whatever happened in 1915, opening the way to claims for enormous financial restitution.

The government of Turkey, needless to say, is extremely unlikely to shoulder the blame, and not merely from reluctance to pay up. First of all, the phrase “Ottoman Turks” is an historical inaccuracy. The Ottoman Empire was multi-national and multi-cultural, and anyway, came to an end in 1923. The Republic of Turkey that sprang from its ashes has no legal connection to that empire – no more than the modern United States has to pre-1776 Great Britain.

Modern Turkey is also unhappy that the Pope and other supporters of Armenian claims choose to ignore massacres and ethnic cleansing of non-Christian populations. The European Union’s two largest countries, France and Germany, have a pretty dark record in the business of genocide. Apart from the Jewish holocaust, it has been estimated that 1.5 million Algerians lost their lives in that country’s war of independence with France between 1954 and 1962. France, of course, is an almost exclusively Roman Catholic country, as is Spain, whose role in the virtual annihilation of the indigenous peoples of Central and South America is well documented.

As far as I can learn, the Vatican refused to involve itself in the Nazi German extermination of European Jewry (and Vichy French complicity) and subsequently refrained from condemnation of wartime atrocities. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, When mass killings began, the Vatican was extremely well informed through its own diplomatic channels and through a variety of other contacts. Church officials may have been the first to pass on to the Holy See sinister reports about the significance of deportation convoys in 1942, and they continued to receive the most detailed information about mass murder in the east. Despite numerous appeals, however, the Pope refused to issue explicit denunciations of the murder of Jews or call upon the Nazis directly to stop the killing.” Selective morality indeed!

Much has been made of Pope Francis’s Argentinian birth and upbringing, and this has been offered as one of the reasons for his sympathy towards the Armenian cause. It may have helped his election to the Papal See that his father and maternal grandfather were actually immigrants from Italy. Certainly, however, Argentina has a large Armenian diaspora – somewhere in the vicinity of 100,000, making it one of the largest Armenian populations in the world.

Don't cry for Eva Peron or her husband

Don’t cry for Eva Peron or her husband

A less publicised migrant community is the 5,000 Nazi war criminals who were granted sanctuary there after the Second World War. An article published in the UK newspaper Daily Mail on 19 March 2012, based on previously secret files made available by the governments of Brazil and Chile, revealed that “during the war Argentine President General Juan Peron sold 10,000 blank Argentine passports to ODESSA – the organisation set up to protect former SS men in the event of defeat.” The article named several leading Nazis who took refuge in Argentina, including Adolf Eichmann, Heinrich Himmler’s right-hand man, and Josef Mengele who was known for his horrific genetic experiments in concentration camps including the dissection of live babies and injecting dye into the eyes of prisoners.”

Can anyone inform me, are there equivalents in Spanish and Italian for the English proverb, People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?

Muslims View America Unfavourably Poll Finds

Murdered in North Carolina, Feb. 10, 2015

Murdered in North Carolina, Feb. 10, 2015

More than half of Muslims say they have unfavorable views of America, and 6 in 10 aren’t interested or don’t know whether they want to learn more about the country, according to a new poll. Older Muslims are the most likely to have positive views on America, be interested in learning about the country and have American friends.

Over 55 percent of Muslims had either a somewhat or very unfavourable view of America, while one in four said they were not sure how they viewed the country. Just 7 percent said they had a very favourable view of the country, and 14 percent said they saw it somewhat favourably.

While a majority had negative views, few seemed to base those judgments on knowledge or on relationships with Americans. Just thirteen percent said that they ‘understand the American political system’ either extremely well or very well.

The survey, conducted March 5 through March 9 among 1,000 Muslim adults using a sample selected to match the demographics and other characteristics of the world adult Muslim population, also asked if Muslims had ever been to America and if they would be interested in learning more about the country.

Teaching Yemeni kids to love America

Teaching Yemeni kids to love America

One in 10 said they had been to America, and 39 percent said they would be interested in learning more about the country. A higher share, 44 percent, said they would not want to learn more, and seven percent said they were unsure.

58 percent of those aged 18 to 29 had an unfavorable view of America, compared with 63 percent of those aged 45 to 64 and 40 percent of those 65 and over. People under 29 were less likely to have American friends, and were 20 points more likely than any other group to say they were not interested in learning more about America.

Well, I have to admit, the above text is a slight distortion of a report that appeared the other day on Huffington Post.

Substitute ‘Americans’ for ‘Muslims’ and vice versa, and make one or two other minor adjustments and you’ll have the real thing which you can find here. Then ask yourself what we can do to save the world!

Anzac Day – and foundation mythology in the national consciousness

Turkish handcraft marking the centenary

Turkish handcraft marking the centenary

Thousands of New Zealanders and Australians are getting ready for another pilgrimage to the battlefields and cemeteries of Gallipoli. This year, 2015, interest has been especially high since it marks the 100th anniversary of that long ago exercise in military futility.

As usual, however, Turks will have finished commemorating their victory by the time our contemporary pilgrims arrive on the beaches where their ancestors struggled ashore on 25 April 1915. For the people of Turkey, 18 March is the day they remember their grandfathers’ turning back the combined might of the French and British navies. In those early days of aviation, warships were the pre-eminent military force – and Great Britain had the world’s mightiest. The attack was the brainchild of Winston Churchill, at that time First Lord of King George’s Admiralty, and commanded by Admiral Sir Sackville Hamilton Carden.

Come out with your hands up - That was the plan

Come out with your hands up – That was the plan

The plan was for the navies to force a passage through the Dardanelles to the Ottoman capital of Istanbul/Constantinople obliging the sultan’s government to surrender. Military supplies could then be brought to the wavering Russians, strengthening the hand of the Czar so that Germany would have to divide its armies, thereby relieving the stalemate on the Western Front. To achieve this aim, Britain and France assembled one of the most powerful aggregations of naval firepower ever seen: the latest dreadnought battleship Queen Elizabeth; the battle cruiser Inflexible, twelve pre-dreadnought battleships; four light cruisers; fifteen destroyers; eight submarines; and thirty-five fishing trawlers converted into minesweepers. There were also two battalions of Royal Marines to serve as a temporary landing force if needed.

Unfortunately for the Brits and the French, it wasn’t enough. Possibly Western powers had swallowed their own rhetoric about the ‘Sick Man of Europe’ and convinced themselves that the decrepit Ottoman Empire would fold at the mere sight of the Union Jack and the French Tricolore. They didn’t. Minesweepers sent to clear the channel came under heavy fire from shore batteries (as one might have expected) and had to retreat. The British battleship Amethyst was badly damaged. Admiral Carden reported sick and had to be replaced by his 2nd-in-command. The French battleship Gaulois was hit and beached, and another, Bouvet, struck a mine and sank in 60 seconds with most of its crew. Three British battleships, Irresistible, Inflexible and Ocean were also lost . . . and the sea operation was called off.

Rather embarrassing, really. And that's not counting the French ones

Rather embarrassing, really.

That was 18 March. For the Ottomans, the greatest threat had been repulsed. What followed, the beach landings and eight months of pointless slaughter in atrocious conditions, never looked like posing the same danger. The Gallipoli campaign was an embarrassing military disaster for Britain and its allies – and a tragedy for New Zealand and Australia, whose politicians sent thousands of young men to die or be maimed in a land few could have located on a map. By July 1915 males up to the age of 45, and over 157 cm in height were being dispatched to the warzones.

Almost immediately, however, the myth-making began. Anzac ingenuity had enabled a withdrawal from Gallipoli under the very noses of Ottoman gunners, turning an abject military defeat into some kind of intellectual victory – ignoring the possibility that the defending forces may have been happy to see the invaders up sticks and leave. The ‘Anzac spirit’ came to represent an idealised rugged courage, disdain for mindless discipline, mateship, good humour and sense of fair play exhibited by the antipodean fighting man. The myth survived through to the 1960s when participation in the United States’ ill-fated Vietnam War supported by Returned Servicemen’s Associations led many to question traditional enthusiasm for following blindly in the footsteps of Mother England or Uncle Sam.

The recent resurgence in popularity of Anzac Day and, in particular, youthful pilgrimages to Turkey on 25 April, while preserving some vestiges of earlier myths, probably owes more to an emerging national consciousness among younger generations of Australians and New Zealanders. Because of our constitutional ties to the British Crown we lack a day for celebrating our uniqueness and independence like the Americans’ 4th of July, the French Bastille Day, or the Turkish Republic Holiday. Waitangi Day and Australia Day have been unable to escape the taint of colonial dispossession of indigenous peoples – and the April date has gone some way towards satisfying a need.

Quack quack, we're coming, mom

Quack quack, we’re coming, mom

It’s sad, however, to see news media invoking the myth of Anzac in support of the decision by New Zealand and Australian governments to join US military action against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. ‘Anzac spirit lives on as nations eye joint role in Iraq against ISIS’, trumpeted The Australian. The Australian edition of the International Business Times announced: Australia and New Zealand troops could team up once again to fight the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria after 100 years since the ANZAC alliance was forged in World War I.’ As far as I know, to their credit, Prime Ministers Abbott and Key have refrained from making such comparisons. Nevertheless, they have shown themselves only too willing to continue their countries’ tradition of following like ducklings after Jemima Puddleduck.

When will we learn? The commemoration of Anzac Day came under threat in the early 1970s because of opposition to military involvement in Vietnam. The very campaign itself quickly turned from ‘Great Adventure’ to a tragedy of mud, blood and mindless massacre. An Australian government website has recorded The nurses experiences of Gallipoli from their letters:

‘I shall never forget the awful feeling of hopelessness on night duty. It was dreadful. I had about 250 patients to look after, and one orderly and one Indian sweeper. Shall not describe their wounds, they were too awful. One loses sight of all the honour and the glory in the work we are doing. All we can do is feed them and dress their wounds … A good many died … It is just too awful — one could never describe the scenes — could only wish all I knew to be killed outright.’

Takes one to know one, we used to say

Takes one to know one, we used to say

The new role of Anzac Day for younger generations as a focal point for national consciousness and pride has something to commend it if it allows for the inclusion of indigenous peoples – and if scheming politicians can be restrained from exploiting it for their own questionable purposes. A century ago jingoistic political propaganda played a major role in persuading young men to travel half way around the world and die on the beaches and hillsides of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Posters urged them to enlist and ‘Destroy this Mad Brute’ (Germany). Notice any similarity to Tony Abbott’s calling ISIS a ‘death cult’ that ‘poses a threat to the whole world including Australia’?

In fact, the part played by the Çanakkale War (as Turks call the Gallipoli Campaign) in the establishment of modern Turkey is arguably more founded in truth. The personal qualities of Colonel Mustafa Kemal (later Atatürk) undoubtedly contributed to the Ottoman victory, which then gave him the credibility needed to gather his people for a war of liberation and be chosen as the new nation’s first president.

Military leadership of the invading forces was somewhat less inspirational. Mention has been made of Admiral Sir Sackville Hamilton Carden’s throwing a sickie at the crucial moment of the naval operation. Commander of the landings was General Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton. Well, with those names, it would be a fair guess that the military gentlemen concerned were blue-blooded scions of the English aristocracy – somewhat removed in experience from the lives of their own troops, never mind those of their colonial allies. Hamilton, watching the landing at Anzac Cove from the deck of the Royal Navy flagship Queen Elizabeth, is reported to have said, They are not charging up into this Sari Bair range for money or compulsion. They fight for love – all the way from the Southern Cross for love of the old country and of liberty.’

Possibly the dear old general was not aware that, according to the official New Zealand History website, 2600 conscientious objectors lost their civil rights, including being denied voting rights for 10 years and being barred from working for government or local bodies. Many received military punishments . . . were beaten and abused for their stance.

So that's what it was all about

So that’s what it was all about

‘Mark Briggs was called up in the third conscription ballot in early 1917. He refused to serve on socialist grounds. [Sent to] France in October 1917, he refused to walk, stand, salute or wear uniform. Field Punishment No. 1 failed to break his resolve, and he joined Archibald Baxter and Lawrence Kirwin in the trenches in February 1918. Every morning they were forced to walk 1000 yards up to the front line. Briggs refused. On the first day he was carried by sympathetic soldiers, but on the second day military policemen tied wire around his chest and dragged him to the front line, tearing his clothing and skin. At the line he was pulled through puddles of freezing water and told to ‘Drown yourself, now, you bastard.’ Dragged back to camp, he was denied medical treatment.’

Sad to say, in spite of heroic charges inspired by love of freedom and the old country, the invaders were unable to progress more than a few kilometres from the beaches, and General Hamilton was recalled to London on 16 October 1915, his military career at an end. The campaign stuttered along for another two months with little to show but 245,000 wounded and missing, and 59,000 confirmed killed. The defending Ottoman forces suffered similar losses.

Another high-level casualty in the region was Winston Churchill himself. Having failed to take a lesson from the Gallipoli fiasco, Winston and British Prime Minister Lloyd George attempted, in September 1922, to turn back the Turkish nationalist army, fresh from victory over the invading Greeks and now intent on liberating Istanbul/Constantinople. Outmanoeuvred politically this time by Mustafa Kemal, Churchill and Lloyd George failed to get support from their own parliament and imperial dominions. Obliged to back down in a major humiliation for Great Britain known as the Chanak Crisis, their government fell and Lloyd George’s political career was over.

In the last months of the Great War, a magazine, The Kia Ora Coo-ee was published in Cairo, ostensibly by Australian and NZ troops stationed in the region. I am quoting from the issue of April 15, 1918:

Fighting and falling in a glorious cause

Fighting and falling in a glorious cause

‘Just three short years, but in that period the names of Australia and New Zealand have penetrated every corner of the globe. The hearts of those “downunder” have glowed with pride, and the eyes of many mothers have filled with tears as they read of that wonderful landing on far away Gallipoli. They are proud of their sons, these parents. They know that in all the records of war they cannot find a parallel to the landing at Anzac. Their sons proved themselves equal to the veterans of the legions of Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Cromwell or any other warlord we may name . . . Those who are now mourning their dead feel that it is a privilege to fight and even to fall in so glorious a cause . . . Those who lie buried on or near the beach, among the gullies and ridges of Gallipoli have hung up their laurel-wreathed swords in the halls of the brave, bright with imperishable lustre. They heard the call of the Motherland and responded. Death has been their share of the conflict but they have gone under just as their forefathers went under, so that the grand old flag which carries freedom and civilisation to every corner of the world shall still fly above those they have left behind them.’

Possibly Prime Ministers Key and Abbott are lost in a time warp and actually still believe that kind of nonsense.

Anzac cemetery on Lone Pine Ridge

Anzac cemetery on Lone Pine Ridge

In 1988, New Zealand author Maurice Shadbolt published a book, ‘Voices of Gallipoli’. It was based on interviews he had recorded with Gallipoli veterans in old folks homes around the country. An 18 year-old in 1915 was well into his 80s by that time – but most of them had never spoken about their experiences to anyone in the intervening years. No one else wanted to know what it had really been like if it didn’t conform to the war according to Kia Ora Coo-ee. On Shadbolt’s recordings octogenarians could be heard breaking down in tears as they recounted their horrific experiences on those beaches, gullies and ridges – the hopeless bayonet charges into the mouths of machine guns firing 600 rounds per minute; the nightmarish injuries; the pathetic cries of mates dying in agony in no-man’s land; the realisation that they had more in common with the young guys in the enemy trenches than with the generals and politicians who were ordering them to charge and die.

What’s changed in a hundred years? In 1970 the Motown record label released one of the most successful anti-war songs of all time: Edwin Starr singing War? What is it good for? His conclusion was ‘Absolutely nothing’ – but that answer is, of course, extremely naïve. If it were true, there would be no more wars. The fact is, war is very good for some, namely those involved in the military-industrial complex and the transnational finance system that supports and is supported by it.

Harvey Broadbent, Associate Professor of history at Macquarie University, Sydney, published a book earlier this year, ‘Defending Gallipoli: The Turkish Story’. He dedicated it to ‘the memory of those soldiers whose stories have not been told and who perished by the folly of others’. Later he explains that those ‘others’ were ‘every person who was responsible for instigating that campaign and carrying it out in a way which led to all those deaths.’ Again, I take issue with the learned professor’s use of the word ‘folly’. I would substitute a phrase: ‘cynical self-interest and heedlessness of human life.’

As Kurt Vonnegut wrote in ‘Slaughterhouse-Five': ‘So it goes. Poo-tee-weet?’


Further Reading:

Busting the Anzac Myth

Anzac Legend is more pork pies than bully beef

Gallipoli Rewatched – Another look at Peter Weir’s 1981 movie

Right Wing Militia Prepares to Overthrow US Government – and Turkey to quit NATO

Armed and ready for the revolution

Armed and ready for the revolution

A journalist for the UK’s Telegraph newspaper recently interviewed members of an armed civilian militia based in West Texas. A spokesman for the group, Johnny Cochrane, was quoted as saying, ‘the greatest threat we face today is not terrorists; it is our own federal government’. Fireteam Diamondback is one of many such groups spread throughout mainland USA. ‘Our job as militia,’ said Cochrane ‘is to re-establish the government in a way George [Washington] and the boys intended. And to do that we can’t go and hide in the bushes; we have to take active participation in the overthrow that Thomas Jefferson point-blank told us was our duty as Americans.’ Ready for active participation at a moment`s notice, his personal Hummer is stocked for the coming conflict with ‘an AR15 assault rifle, a minimum 300 rounds of ammunition, a Cold Steel curved knife (“I can remove a human limb with that and the head of a white tail buck with one swat”), a Kimber .45 pistol and six spare magazines, a shotgun, first aid kit, combat boots and military-issue MREs (meals ready to eat) for three days.’

Polish school kids gearing up for battle

Polish school kids gearing up for battle

As far as I know, that article was not published in the New York Times, and probably most of our friends in the USA will reassure us that those guys are just fringe lunatics who don’t really pose a serious threat to the Obama regime or the security of the homeland. On the other hand, just last weekend the NY Times did publish an article headlined: Poles Steel for Battle Fearing Russia Will March on Them Next. The Times correspondent in Kalisz, Poland, interviewed 16 year-old Bartosz Walesiak, who said he had been interested in the military since playing with toy soldiers as a little boy, but had been motivated to join a paramilitary group, the Shooters Association, after Russia moved into Crimea. Young Bartosz was ‘one of thirty students who took an oath to defend Poland at all costs, joining nearly 200 other regional members of the association — young men and women, boys and girls — marching in formation around the perimeter of the dusty high school courtyard here. They crossed Polish Army Boulevard and marched into the center of town, sprawling in four long lines along the edge of St. Joseph’s Square.’

We sure are fortunate to have reputable newspapers like the Times keeping us up-to-date with these threats to world peace. How long before the US government is canvassing support for a coalition of sycophants and the jingoistic gullible to provide on-the-ground military support for the Polish Shooters Association and their high school student troops holding out against the evil Russian bear?

Maybe you think I’m being excessively cynical here. But I’d be prepared to bet that those Polish kids don’t have access to the kind of personal firepower available to Johnny Cochrane and his Texas militiamen. You might think those people at the New York Times would be better advised to keep an eye on problems in their own backyard. But that’s not what they do. Their expertise is far more attuned to identifying conflicts in other countries thousands of kilometres from their safe haven on 8th Avenue, Manhattan.

Take as another example, the editorial they published last Friday: Turkey’s Drift from NATO. The writer claims that the Turkish government is ‘not cooperating fully or . . . acting in outright defiance of NATO’s priorities and interests’. Their evidence for this is:

  • They are allowing thousands of ‘Jihadists’ to cross their border into Syria to fight with ISIS/ISIL.
  • They are not making military bases and troops available to the American-led coalition against ISIS.
  • They are considering the purchase of a $3.4 billion air defence system from China.
  • They are working on an agreement with Russia to build a natural gas pipeline through Turkey, bypassing Ukraine in defiance of ‘Western’ sanctions.
  • They are working with a Russian company to build Turkey’s first nuclear power station.

Now in my humble opinion the credibility of a newspaper that relies on the word of a 16 year-old high school kid as the basis for an article about a foreign country would have to be seriously suspect. But this is the New York Times; and that’s an editorial, not just some correspondent/blogger venting his spleen. So let’s see if the piece stands up to closer scrutiny.

First of all, whose ‘priorities and interests’ are we talking about here? The citizens of NATO member countries who voted to send troops back to Iraq and Syria (maybe I missed that)? Or the US industrial/military/finance nexus, for reasons of their own, looking for someone to bomb? And if it’s the latter, why is Turkey obliged to cooperate?

US military base at Incirlik, SE Turkey

US military base at Incirlik, SE Turkey

Turkey has in fact been a member of NATO since 1952, before Germany joined, and 30 years before Spain. Probably against their better judgment, but out of a sense of solidarity, they sent troops to America’s Korean War. According to a recently published book[1] the United States had ten military bases in Turkey during the Cold War. In addition they had five radar stations, six naval facilities and storage centres, ten ‘communication nodes’ and seven other ‘facilities’. The US had strike aircraft armed with tactical nuclear weapons based there, and almost 30,000 military personnel. Another writer on the subject, Robert E Harkavy[2], says ‘In the late 1950s, in response to the “missile scare,” . . . the U.S. based medium range ballistic missiles, Thor and Jupiter, in the U.K., Italy and Turkey.’ Making Turkey, I guess, a prime target for the USSR in the event of war with the West.

Read it for yourself - and be very frightened

Read it for yourself – and be very frightened

Furthermore, Holmes says, ‘Some of the more secretive aspects of the US presence included CIA operations and the establishment of a special warfare department.’ She quotes from a book by Daniele Ganser, NATO’s Secret Armies, which you can download here. It’s a scary read, and obligatory for anyone really wanting to understand the workings of NATO.

In recent years, the Turkish government has three times invoked Article 4 of the NATO charter, requesting discussion on: the Iraq War in 2003 and twice in 2012 over acts of aggression against Turkey by Syrian forces. As far as I am aware, NATO took no action to support one of its most loyal members.

On the subject of Turkey’s ‘porous’ border with Syria, more than a million refugees have crossed over, desperately seeking sanctuary from the four-year civil war. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has repeatedly called on richer countries to help out with this humanitarian disaster. According to the European University Institute the most porous border is actually the Mediterranean Sea. Refugees are constantly attempting to cross to European countries in unseaworthy boats. Some do succeed, and I have it from a reliable source that they are contributing to EU economies by supplying cheap labour in dodgy industries not much favoured by local citizens. Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, however, are having to absorb the bulk of the displaced Syrians – and short of ordering them back at gun-point, what would you have Turkey do? Incidentally, the border between Turkey and Syria is 822 km long, and far from Turkey’s main centres of population, industry and civilisation.

Refugees from Syria queuing at Turkey's 'porous' border

Refugees from Syria queuing at Turkey’s ‘porous’ border

The Turkish government has not, in fact, refused to assist the US coalition (let’s call it what it is). They have, however, insisted that their participation is conditional on the coalition’s having a plan for dealing with the chaos in the region, especially the civil war in Syria – and so far no such plan has been spelled out.

What about that missile deal with China? Surely that’s a bad thing? Depends on your point-of-view. US free-marketeers are quick to assert their right to purchase from the lowest bidder. Is that right exclusive to US business interests, or does it extend to others? The Chinese have apparently included in their deal provision of technical expertise that will allow the Turks to begin manufacturing components on their own soil. American and European arms manufacturers are understandably miffed at the idea of missing out on a lucrative contract, and have announced their refusal to integrate the Chinese weapons into their system should Turkey go ahead with the purchase.

Ralph Lauren uniforms - proudly manufactured in China

Ralph Lauren uniforms – proudly manufactured in China

Incidentally the US ran a $342 billion trade deficit with China in 2014. Trade with that country had more than doubled in ten years since 2004. A Huffington Post article listed iconic American products currently manufactured in China, including: Barbie dolls, Converse All Star sports shoes, Levi jeans, US Olympic uniforms, television sets, iPads, bicycles and, in 2010, $3.2 million worth of American flags. Among the US’s loyal allies, China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, and Australia’s Number One! It’s ok for them but not for Turkey?

Then there’s that gas pipeline from Russia. In defiance of Western sanctions. In fact most of the gas flowing through that pipe will go to EU countries that import more than 30% of their gas and oil requirements from Russia. In the days before Muammar Gaddafi was violently removed from office, France and Italy were his biggest customers for oil. It does seem that the United States and its European allies are trying to hold Turkey to standards they don’t expect of themselves. So Turkey is working with a Russian company to build their first nuclear power station. Well, I have to tell you I’m not a big fan of using nuclear energy to generate electricity, especially in a country criss-crossed by several seismic fault lines. But that’s not what the NY Times editor is complaining about. Energy-poor countries in the developed world generate electricity using nuclear power (eg France, Germany, Japan) – and Russia is Turkey’s nearest neighbour with the technological know-how. Who else is offering to help? The European Union has been holding Turkey at arms-length for more than 50 years. A little goodwill flowing in an easterly direction might strengthen the bonds of friendship.

And by the way, look at a map and ask yourself why Russia might be uncomfortable about the European Union’s efforts to add Ukraine to its membership. The United States have been punishing Cuba for 50 years for getting too cosy with Soviet Russia. Incidentally, the USSR actually did offer to join the NATO alliance in the 1950s, but was rejected.

Our American friends may be right in playing down the threat of Johnny Cochrane and his Texas militiamen. At the same time, they might be wise to weigh up the degree of trust they can put in their own news media, starting with the New York Times.


[1] Social Unrest and American Military bases in Turkey and Germany Since 1945, Amy Austin Holmes (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

[2] Strategic Basing and the Great Powers, 1200-2000 (Routledge, 2007)


Who is Supporting the Terrorists?

I’m passing on this article by Ralph Lopez
 from Global Research that was published on February 24, 2015

Bush Family Ties to Terror Suspects Re-opened by the 9/11 Classified “28 Pages”

As pressure builds to make public 28 pages of a joint congressional inquiry on 9/11 which was classified by President George W. Bush, the Bush family’s well-documented relationships to Saudi and other foreign terror suspects are again coming to the fore.

bush_war_criminalNorth Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones told the New Yorker last September, of what is now commonly known as the “28 Pages”:

““There’s nothing in it about national security…It’s about the Bush Administration and its relationship with the Saudis.””

Prominent in the rise of the political fortunes of both the 41st and 43rd presidents is the support of figures listed by the US government as terrorist financiers, as well as some connected to the now closed, Saudi-controlled criminal enterprise known as BCCI.

Two major investors in the 43rd president’s early business ventures, Arbusto Energy and Harken Energy, were Salem bin Laden, Osama’s older brother, and Khalid bin Mahfouz, a 20% stakeholder in BCCI, who was himself accused and investigated for financing terrorism. Mahfouz, who died in 2009, was known as the personal banker of the Saudi royal family.

The Saudi-controlled BCCI played a central role in acting as a conduit for renegade CIA operations run by Lt. Col. Oliver North and General Richard Secord, with the elder Bush overseeing the operations from his position as vice president to Ronald Reagan and as a former director of the CIA. Known as the Iran-Contra Scandal in the Eighties, the renegade operation illegally sold thousands of Stinger missiles to the new Revolutionary Government of Iran, in exchange for Iran hurting President Jimmy Carter’s prospects for re-election by holding onto American hostages in the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis. (Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report)

pc_8488f8a3328d56b827a6b4eff8b1718aThe Kerry-Brown Committee also reported on international groups, in particular Israeli, assisting in gunrunning and other illegal operations in league with BCCI. The report stated:

““In April 1989, a network of Israeli arms traffickers, operating out of Miami, made a shipment of 500 Israeli manufactured machine guns through the Caribbean island of Antigua for the use of members of the Medellin cartel. Later, one of these weapons was used in the assassination of Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan, and several other of the weapons were found in the possession of cartel kingpin Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha after his death in a gunfight with Colombian drug agents.””

At the center of the Israeli gun-running operation which provided weapons to the Medellin cartel was Israeli national and BCCI banker Bruce Rappaport.

Read the whole article