||Issue No. 184||27 June 2003|
To the Victors The Spoils
History: Nest of Traitors
Interview: A Nation of Hope
Unions: National Focus
Safety: The Shocking Truth
Tribute: A Comrade Departed
History: Working Bees
Education: The Big Picture
International: Static Labour
Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Technology: Google and Campaigning
Review: Secretary With A Difference
Poetry: The Minimale
Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
The Locker Room
The Story in General
Thinking of America
Letters to the Editor
Thinking of America
I recently watched the TV presentation "What The World Thinks Of America" in Australia.
I acknowledge the limitations of sampling etc, however the acquired results are indicative of global regional attitudes. I am convinced in that the apparent paradoxes in statistics are indicative of the limitations of the exercise, and would have been clarified with further exploration.
I generally like Americans (but in carefully metered doses). I have American friends, I have observed US military operations first hand, have visited American military installations in the past, as well as having spent some time in the USA. I can state first hand of their generally overwhelmingly inward cultural focus, and was initially appalled at how little the average 'Joe' actually knew about the world historically, politically and even geographically. I distinctly remember a conversation with a pin stripe suited business man from New England, on a trip from Washington to Shady Grove. On answering his question in that I was Australian, he rubbed his chin, squinted and looked at me sideways and said "Australia, lemmee see now, that's next to New Mexico now, aint it?" I can say without hesitation that I have met much better informed and educated Cubans than I have Americans.
The US Economic Military Show
As the default world power, the US needs to look in retrospect. The global disapproval of George Bush Jnr may have to do with the Bush's 'Union Bank' past, whose profits derived, ultimately, from laundering Thysson Industrial War Profits which were, in part derived from Nazi slave / death camp labor. Prescott Bush (George Bush Snr's father) received a massive payoff from German clients shortly after WW2 ended, and used the money to go into politics, and so began the Bush dynasty. This was by no means unique. Between 1932 and 1939 for example, bosses of General Motors poured $30 million into I.G. Farben plants. Ford and Dupont, amongst many others were also implicated as supporting the fascist regimes for the money.
After the war, the US largely exonerated war criminals (despite the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials), in exchange for data and scientists i.e. Project Paperclip, which smuggled ex-Nazi scientists and S.S. officials into the USA and to spy on Russia or develop rocket technology. The Japanese Imperial Army's Unit 731 killed thousands of Chinese and Russians held prisoner in Japanese-occupied Manchuria, in experiments to develop chemical and biological weapons. Yet in autumn of 1945, Macarthur granted them immunity in exchange for their biological research data. Subsequently, the US have even covertly exposed selected US populations to various agents and substances i.e. infecting human subjects with cancer cells, Tuskegee Syphilis Study, The Pellagra Incident, Malaria infections in Chicago, mustard gas experiments on approximately 4,000 servicemen, Program F, administering intravenous doses of radioactive substances to human subjects, etc, ad nauseaum.
In Laos, the CIA airline, Air America, was running opium for Vang Pao and the Hmong during the Vietnam war. Many veterans of CIA drug operations in Asia went on to star in the agency's secret wars in Central America in the 1980s, where the above pattern was repeated. The Nicaraguan contras were partially funded by cocaine operations, smuggled to and from the US on customs-free supply flights. CIA assets in Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama helped facilitate the trade.
On the Industrial front, shortly after midnight on December 3, 1984, methyl isocyanate gas (MIC) leaked from a storage tank sited at a Union Carbide pesticide manufacturing facility in Bhopal India. As it leaked from the tank, the gas drifted across the neighboring communities with devastating consequences. Some 3,800 people died and thousands more were injured as a direct result of exposure to the lethal fumes. To date, no prosecution has resulted.
Many things that the US has recently done are not so clear cut however, i.e. the Echelon system. The UKUSA Agreement forged an alliance in 1948 among five countries--the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand--to geographically divvy up SIGINT-gathering responsibilities, with the U.S. as director and main underwriter. Its successor, originally a Cold War tool aimed at the Soviets, ECHELON has been redirected at civilian targets worldwide. In fact, as the European Parliament report noted, political advocacy groups like Amnesty International and Greenpeace were amongst Echelon's targets. The EU has leveled accusations that the systems resources are being used to promote American business, i.e. Industrial Espionage.
Tomes of documented incontrovertible evidence could be quoted. Suffice it is to say, that the world can generally draw the distinction between the American people, as distinct from American military / economic interests, and has had enough of their self serving Wars on Drugs, Terrorism, etc. Therein lies the crux of the problem. The average 'Joe' cannot. The quality of education, focus of current affairs, and the pervading, almost psychotic sense of patriotism colludes to produce, in large, an ignorant populace, whose total focus is inwards. This serves the current status quo, and a lot of time, money and effort are expended to ensure it continues.
Can we feel safe in assuming the USA has the world's best interests at heart? The American people may overall have the potential. However, benevolence is simply not a word to be found in the military / industrial dictionary. Let's not kid ourselves. We can't afford to.
I generally feel sorry for Americans, given their proud and hard fought historical and cultural legacy (Declaration of Independence, The Civil War, Articles Of Confederation, the Constitution, Bill Of Rights, etc), and by virtue of American global domination, share such empathy and concerns for the world at large. The American Constitution and Bill Of Rights are undoubtedly one of mankind's most humane, altruistic and ethical expressions of political aspirations. I can't help but wonder what Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, Adams or Lincoln, amongst others, would have to say were they alive today.
The American populace really ought to do some serious soul searching and put aside their mindless and undeserved patriotism to a Government and Institutions, which regard their revered constitution with utmost scorn and obvious contempt. They (and the world) need to rediscover the vision and values that made America a great nation, to rediscover true patriotism and pride once again, and as a nation stand squarely on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all. The mindless accumulation of power and capital without scruple, boundaries or any form of constraint is hardly something to aspire to or to be proud of. It is, by definition, inhumane, an antithesis to the spirit, legacy and memory of its founding fathers, and the root cause for much of the world's discontent with the current American Nation.
"History teaches us that history teaches us nothing"...Hegel
Tau C Ceti
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