Sunday, September 30, 2007
Exit polls suggest their combined vote gives them a slender advantage over Russian-leaning PM Viktor Yanukovych. He took 35.5% of the vote, with Ms Tymoshenko's bloc second on 31.5%, exit polls suggested. Mr Yushchenko, the president, won just 13.5%, but is now expected to enter coalition talks with Ms Tymoshenko.
Bulgarian News agency: According to unofficial results of the preliminary elections in Ukraine becomes clear that leading is the Party of Regions with about 36% followed by Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc with about 27,5% and the Bloc of Our Ukraine party with about 12,5%. Ukraine’s early preliminary elections are acknowledged although the Ukraine’s National Security Service confirmed buying votes cases. About 57,53% of the electorate took part in the parliamentary elections. In case of victory of Our Ukraine Bloc and Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc they must sign an agreement for democratic coalition again.
Pro-West party leads in Ukraine poll
CIA sponsored Orange coalition ahead in Ukraine... Election results expected soon (1.oct 2007)
THE EVIL GAS AND OIL WITCH
In 1995 Yulia Tymoshenko became the president of "United Energy Systems of Ukraine" (UESU).
Remember Ahmed Chalabi finance-fraud criminal was supposed to become the saviour of Iraq? Yulia is a fraudster! Chalabi's bank-fraud seems small in comparision!
Her patron the former ukrainian PM Pavlo Lazarenko was convicted in the USA to have stolen and laundered 613 million IMF dollars. The Financial Times reports that Lazarenko received at least 72 mio in bribes from UESU for which he helped UESU become the biggest ENRON style private-tyranny.
At the time the boss of the ukrainian central bank was Yushchenko. The IMF later stated that he had systematically defrauded the International Monetary Fund.
He, like Yulia were never convicted of the crimes, they managed to present themselves as political prisoners.
After colouring her hair to a mythical blond and arranging it like a halo around head
the oligarch must be close to beatification.
In his book "Casino Moscow" (2001) Matthew Brzezinski tells us of his visit with the "11 billion dollar woman":
"...she was guarded by an entire platoon of ex-Soviet special forces bodyguards. She once sent a plane to collect Brzezinski from Moscow, fly him to Dnipropetrovsk to meet her for lunch, and drop him off back at Moscow in the evening. When Brzezinski said he didn't want to tie up the company plane, Tymoshenko said: "Don't worry. I have four of them." According to Brzezinski, as a result of Lazarenko's patronage, "Tymoshenko gained control over nearly 20% of Ukraine's gross national product, an enviable position that probably no other private company in the world could boast."
The first thing to examine when they are speaking of democracy is to see which democracy they (the US administration) are wanting to install.
In their mouths democracy is sounding as a real people’s democracy (no real intention from my part to write ‘popular’ democracy which is, as everybody knows, another body).
In fact a quick examination of the guys they are following and helping is showing these guys are attracted by the European model or wanting to evade an external influence. This is really evident in the Ukrainian case, where Yutschenko (married to an American woman) is politically binded to Yulia Timochenko, an Ukrainian billionaire, whose past was in business in Russian petroleum and gas. We have the oil and we have the democracy now. But is it really a democracy where the people in the street are having a word to say? Apparently yes, since the orange revolution, but we may not forget the river of money that flowed out of the pockets of Soros ‘s foundations as well as from American foundations (Freedom’s house directed by former CIA director Woosley, New Endowment for democracy known as a CIA relais since its implication in the Venezuelian coup d’état.
Up to now, the structure of Ukrainian power and democracy is based on some ploutocrat looking like a MAFIA mob. The difference with the former is that they are now a Western looking mob.
A BIT OF HISTORY:
Yulia Tymoshenko founded and headed a Komsomol video rental chain (which grew to be quite successful), and later privatized it.
During privatization in Ukraine, which mirrored that in Russia in terms of corruption and mismanagement, she became one of the wealthiest oligarchs in Ukraine, exporting metals. From 1995 to 1997, Tymoshenko was the president of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine, a privately owned middleman company which became the main importer of Russian natural gas to Ukraine in 1996. During that time she was nicknamed "gas princess" in the light of accusations that she has been reselling enormous quantities of stolen gas and avoiding taxation of those deals.
In the business period of her life, Tymoshenko involved business relations (either co-operative or hostile) with many important figures of Ukraine, first of all, in Dnipropetrovsk. The list includes Pavlo Lazarenko, Viktor Pinchuk, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, Rinat Akhmetov, and, of course, Leonid Kuchma - the then-President originating from Dnipropetrovsk. As part of her gas-dealing business, Tymoshenko has also been closely linked to the management of the Russian Gazprom.
In 2005, Yulia Tymoshenko was openly called Jewish by Yevhen Chervonenko (one of the leaders of Jewish community)
Present private life
Yulia Tymoshenko is still married to Oleksandr Tymoshenko, although their marriage is sometimes perceived as a formal one. During the early years of her political career the two were parted for years when Mr. Tymoshenko was escaping arrest. The couple appear together very rarely. They have a daughter Yevhenia (born in 1980). Yevhenia graduated from a British university and now lives in Ukraine with her husband, rock-musician Sean Carr, who was born in Yorkshire, England, though he spent most of his childhood in Spain
From 1999 to 2001, Tymoshenko was the Deputy Prime Minister for fuel and energy sector in the cabinet of Viktor Yushchenko. She was fired by President Leonid Kuchma in January 2001 after developing a conflict with the oligarchs in the industry.
In February 2001, Tymoshenko was arrested on charges of forging customs documents and smuggling of gas between 1995 and 1997 (while president of United Energy Systems of Ukraine) but was released several weeks later. Her political supporters organized several protest rallies near the Lukyanivska Prison where she was held in custody. According to Tymoshenko, the charges were fabricated by Kuchma's regime, under the influence of oligarchs threatened by her efforts to root out corruption and institute market-based reforms. In spite of being cleared of the charges, Moscow maintained an arrest warrant for Tymoshenko should she enter Russia until her dismissal as Prime Minister over 4 years later.
Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko on stage during a political rally, November, 2004.
In addition, Tymoshenko's husband, Oleksandr, spent two years in hiding in order to avoid incarceration on charges the couple said were unfounded and politically motivated by the former Kuchma administration.
Once the charges were dropped, she became one of the leaders of street-level campaigns against President Kuchma for his alleged role in the murder of the journalist Georgi Gongadze. In this campaign, Tymoshenko first became known as a passionate revolutionary-like leader, an example of this being a TV broadcast of her smashing prison windows during one of the rallies.
The following year Tymoshenko was involved in a mysterious car accident that she survived with minor injuries—an episode some believe may have been a government assassination attempt. During this time, she founded Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (Блок Юлії Тимошенко), a political bloc that received 7.2 percent of the vote in the 2002 parliamentary election. She is the head of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) political party.
Tymoshenko's critics have suggested that, as an oligarch, she gained her fortune improperly. Some have speculated that her familiarity with the illegal conduct of business common in Ukraine uniquely qualifies her to combat corruption—if she is willing to do so. Her former business partner, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, has been convicted in the United States on charges of billions-worth money laundering, corruption and fraud.
On 28 January 2005, following the Orange Revolution, Ukrainian prosecutors agreed, and closed the cases against then Prime Minister Tymoshenko and her family members due to lack of evidence. These cases included Tymoshenko's husband and her father-in-law, Henadiy Tymoshenko. Oleksandr Tymoshenko returned to Ukraine soon after that.
Despite this questionable past, her transition from oligarch to reformer was believed by many to be both genuine and effective. As energy Deputy Prime Minister, she virtually ended many corrupt arrangements in the energy sector. Under her stewardship, Ukraine's revenue collections from the electricity industry grew by several thousand per cent. She scrapped the practice of barter in the electricity market, requiring industrial customers to pay for their electricity in cash. She also terminated exemptions for many organizations which excluded them from having their power disconnected. Her reforms meant that the government had sufficient funds to pay civil servants and increase salaries.
After the Orange Revolution
On 24 January 2005 she was appointed as acting Prime Minister of Ukraine under Yushchenko's presidency. On 4 February 2005, at 2:54 p.m. (Kiev), Yulia Tymoshenko was ratified by the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) by an overwhelming majority of 373 votes (226 were required for approval).
On 28 July 2005, Forbes magazine named her third most powerful woman in the world, behind only Condoleezza Rice and Wu Yi. However, in the magazine's new list published on 1 September 2006, Tymoshenko did not even make the top 100.
Several months into her government, numerous inner conflicts inside the post- Revolution coalition began to damage Ms. Tymoshenko's administration. On 8 September 2005, after the resignation of several senior officials including the Head of the Security and Defence Council Petro Poroshenko and Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Tomenko, Yulia Tymoshenko's government was dismissed by President Victor Yuschenko during a live TV address to the nation. She was succeeded by Yuriy Yehanurov. Later, the President criticized her work as head of the Cabinet, suggesting it had led to an economic slowdown and political conflicts within the ruling coalition.
2006 parliamentary election
After her dismissal Tymoshenko started to tour the country in a bid to win the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary election as the leader of her Bloc. She soon announced that she wanted to return to the post of Prime Minister.
With the Bloc coming second in the election, and winning 129 seats, many speculated that she might form a coalition with Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party and the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) to prevent the Party of Regions from gaining power. Tymoshenko again reiterated her stance in regard to becoming Prime Minister. However, negotiations with Our Ukraine and SPU faced many difficulties as the various blocs scrapped over posts and engaged in counter-negotiations with other groupings.
On Wednesday June 21, 2006, the Ukrainian media reported that the parties had finally reached a coalition agreement, which appeared to have ended nearly three months of political uncertainty.
Tymoshenko's nomination and confirmation as new Prime Minister was expected to be straightforward. However, the nomination was preconditioned on an election of her long-term rival Petro Poroshenko from Our Ukraine as the speaker of the parliament. Within a few days after the coalition agreement had been signed, it became clear that the coalition members mistrusted each other, since they considered it to be a deviation from parliamentary procedures in order to hold a simultaneous vote on Poroshenko as the speaker and Tymoshenko as Prime Minister.
To aggravate matters, opposition members from the Party of Regions blocked the parliament from Thursday, June 29 through Thursday, July 6. The Party of Regions announced an ultimatum to the coalition, demanding that the parliamentary procedures be observed, asking membership in parliamentary committees to be allocated in proportion to seats held by each fraction, chairmanship in certain Parliamentary committees as well as Governorships in the administrative subdivisions won by the Party of Regions. The coalition agreement deprived the Party of Regions and the communists of any representation in the executive and leadership in parliamentary committees  while in the local regional counsils won by the Party of Regions, the coalition parties were locked out of all committees as well.
Following a surprise nomination of Oleksandr Moroz from SPU as the Rada speaker and his subsequent election late on July 6 with the support of the Party of Regions, the "Orange coalition" collapsed. After the creation of a large coalition of majority, led by the former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych and composed of the Party of Regions, Socialists and Communists, Viktor Yanukovych became Prime Minister, and the other two parties were left in the wilderness. Whilst Tymoshenko immediately announced that her political force would form a shadow cabinet to the current government, Our Ukraine stalled until October 4 2006, when it too joined the opposition.
2007 Foreign Affairs article
Tymoshenko wrote an article called "Containing Russia" in the May-June 2007 edition of the journal Foreign Affairs. In the article she sharply criticized alleged authoritarian developments under Vladimir Putin and opposed the alleged new Russian expansionism. Consequently, the article irked Russia and more than a week before the article was published, Russia responded to the article, calling it an "anti-Russian manifesto" and "an attempt to once again draw dividing lines in Europe."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov wrote an article called "Containing Russia: Back To The Future?" in the same journal and was apparently meant to be a response to Tymoshenko. He withdrew the article before publication, accusing the editors of changing his text and said his article was subjected to "censorship"
Political and economic processes in Ukraine continue to attract the attention of European and international organisations. Along with the Council of Europe's dissatisfaction with Ukraine's planned 16 April referendum, the IMF still has doubts about the proper use of its loans by the Ukrainian government. An international audit of the National Bank of Ukraine was launched earlier this year after the publication of an article in the Financial Times (28 January 2000) concerning the misuse of IMF funds in the period between December 1997 to January 1998. In the article, the Financial Times relied on the statement of Pavlo Lazarenko, former Ukrainian prime minister, who said that USD 613 million of IMF funds were transferred by the National Bank of Ukraine in December 1997 and invested in risky enterprises.
Although on 7 March, the Ukrainian central bank was ready to report that the newspaper's allegations had not been confirmed, the IMF's recent investigation in Kyiv proved to be only the first part of a complete audit. Almost at the same time that the IMF preliminary investigation was finished, the World Bank launched a second audit of the Ukrainian Finance Ministry concerning its loans to Ukraine since 1994. Explaining their action, the World Bank's representatives say that they are almost sure of the proper use of World Bank funds, however, "the World Bank wants 'to take advantage' of the ongoing audit to check its own loans, too," Radio Free Europe reported.
For its part, the Council of Europe has kept an eye to Ukraine's final decision concerning the legitimacy of the 16 April referendum [See this week's accompanying article for more on the referendum issue]. This week, the monitoring committee of the Council, following a meeting in Paris, adopted preliminary recommendations on this issue and asked Kyiv to cancel the referendum. The decision was made following the speech of Hanne Severinsen, Council of Europe's commissioner, who recently came back from Kyiv. The Council of Europe does not agree with Ukraine's intent to make changes in its Constitution by means of referendum nor with the nature of the referendum. Although the organisation is still awaiting the result of its Venetian commission, its disapproval seems clear enough.
The Yushchenko Mythos
Don't believe the U.S. government's fairy tale about what's happening in Ukraine
by Justin Raimondo
According to the U.S. government, and commentators on the left as well as the (neoconservative) right, the crisis in the Ukraine is a clear-cut case of "democracy" versus authoritarianism, "the people" versus "the oligarchs," and the forces of enlightened Europhilia up against the sinister specter of a resurgent Russia and a revivified KGB.
The only problem with this narrative is that it is unmitigated bunk.
Let's start with the central figures in this drama: the two Viktors – Yushchenko and Yanukovich. To begin with, you'll note that the former has a website in English, while the latter's site is only in the native Ukrainian and Russian. Yushchenko's audience is primarily the West, while Yanukovich is speaking to his own people. Right off the bat, the line of demarcation is drawn.
According to the conventional wisdom, Yanukovich is a dark demonic figure, a Soviet-type bureaucrat whose ties to Russia and the eastern power base of the ruling elite, automatically make him the bad guy. Besides that, we are told, Yanukovich is a man with a "criminal record," who served two jail terms. What they don't tell you is that Yanukovich was jailed by the Soviet regime on charges of robbery and assault. As the Los Angeles Times noted:
"A biography distributed on behalf of Yanukovich says that 'having suffered through a very tragic and tough childhood . . . the prime minister acknowledges regrettable youthful indiscretions, resulting in criminal charges that were eventually overturned by a Ukrainian court.'"
On the other hand, Yushchenko's indiscretions – which are not being reported in the Western media at all – were neither youthful nor the occasion for his public repentance. And if a youthful Yanukovich held up a Ukrainian gas station or knocked someone upside the head and took his wallet, Yushchenko was a key figure in a conspiracy to defraud the West of over $600 million.
The idea that Yushchenko is some kind of outsider, whose victory will cause the fresh winds of free-market reform to blow through the sealed chamber of corruption that is the Ukrainian economy is another Western fairy tale that has no basis in reality. Yushie is a key figure in the oligarchic system of "crony capitalism" that has enriched the few at the expense of the many since the fall of the USSR. He rose to power – as head of the Ukrainian central bank through a good deal of the 1990s, and then as prime minister in the thuggish Leonid Kuchma's government in 1999 – on account of the power of the oligarchs. These "entrepreneurs" who made their fortunes on the strength of their connections to the Communist apparatus control the commanding heights of the Ukrainian economy, and what is happening today in the Ukraine is a civil war involving the various oligarchic clans. As a Carnegie study of the Ukrainian political landscape by Anders Aslund puts it:
"In Russia, the financial-industrial groups provide financing to various parties and to the government. In Ukraine, the economic-political groups rather tend to own political parties. Lazarenko and Timoshenko created the parliamentary party Hromada, as a company party of the Unified Energy Systems. Vadim Rabinovich has reportedly 'bought' the Green Party. Surkis and Medevedchuk reportedly own the United Social Democratic Party. However, Bakai, Pinchuk and the Franchuks support Kuchma directly and possibly his party the National-Democratic Party. Characteristically, all these oligarchic parties are considered centrist, that is, always prepared to make a deal without any real ideology."
Yushchenko is a creature of this system, and his tenure at the National Bank of the Ukraine was marked by the corruption so characteristic of the political culture: a scandal involving falsification of the country's credit ledger – essentially lying to the International Monetary Fund about the quantity of Ukrainian cash reserves. As the Financial Times reports:
"Under his control, the bank was involved in a damaging row with the International Monetary Fund over the use of IMF loans to falsify the country's credit position - allowing some politicians, but not Mr Yushchenko, to benefit personally. He survived the ensuing scandal."
A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit confirmed the suspicions of IMF officials that Western lenders have been systematically deceived by Yushchenko's NBU:
"By giving a misleading impression of the size of Ukraine's reserves, the NBU's reserve management practices may have allowed Ukraine to receive as many as three disbursements under the stand-by arrangement in effect at that time that it might not otherwise have been able to obtain. … The three disbursements in question that would have been affected by the transactions examined in the PwC report were based on October, November, and December 1997 figures. They total SDR 145 million (about US$200 million)."
What happened to all that money? Pavlo Lazarenko knows, and he hasn't been shy about telling us what he knows. But is anybody listening?
According to Lazarenko – formerly prime minister, and a key figure in the oligarchy – $613 million of the IMF's money was embezzled and then laundered in December 1997. Like many other Soviet era bureaucrats, Lazarenko took advantage of the extensive network of overseas secret accounts established by the nomenklatura once the old Soviet Union started to unravel. With state funds secreted abroad, the oligarchs bought up the remnants of the old state industries, and divided the economic assets among themselves. Lazarenko was the chief patron of one of Yushchenko's biggest supporters, Yuliya Timoshenko of the United Energy Systems of the Ukraine (UESU), who made fantastic profits at a time of economic recession. However, Ms. Timoshenko, and her fellow oligarchs, as Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections explains,
"Could realize these profits only with the help of state support. … The amount of money involved has been highlighted by the Lazarenko affair. According to a report by the Financial Times, Pavlo Lazarenko, who was Ukraine's prime minister in 1996-97, received at least $ 72 mm in bribe money from gas importer UESU. In return, Lazarenko helped UESU to become one of Ukraine's leading companies with an annual turnover of $ 10 billion."
"When Lazarenko was sacked as prime minister, his successor Valery Pustovoitenko started a comprehensive investigation into the business of UESU, which led to the first accusations. In December of 1998, Lazarenko was arrested in Switzerland on charges of money laundering. He fled to the United States, where he was again arrested and charged with the laundering of $ 114 mm received as bribe money during his time in office.
"This June, while still being held in the United States, Lazarenko was sentenced for money laundering in Switzerland. Yuliya Timoshenko, who was president of UESU when Lazarenko was prime minister, has so far avoided criminal prosecution. In 1997, she left the company and went into politics."
Ms. Timoshenko went on to become a deputy prime minister, in 1999, with special authority over energy matters. Her husband, still a member of the board of UESU, was arrested on charges of embezzlement of state property. Ms. Timoshenko, too, was arrested, and – after much posing and posturing as a "political prisoner" – was freed.
It is entirely appropriate that the "gas princess," as Ms. Timoshenko is known, should become the La Passionaria of Ukraine's phony "velvet revolution." As she leaps atop the stage at the massive rallies taking place in the middle of Kiev, she speaks with Amazonian forcefulness and the authority of someone used to being obeyed, as The Australian reports:
"'Form a column and come with us to the presidency,' she shouted to a crowd on Wednesday. 'Once we arrive at the presidency, we won't leave until Yushchenko enters it as the new Ukrainian president and occupies his post.'"
The Lazarenko-Timoshenko wing of the oligarchy is naturally grateful to Yushie – after all, he fronted for them in bilking the IMF. Now they are paying him back with their fulsome support. This isn't the struggle of valiant pro-Western "democrats" versus sinister pro-Russian neo-communists: Timoshenko's histrionics represent a falling out among thieves.
In any case, from the Gas Princess to the Boadicea of the "democracy" movement in Ukraine is a fanciful transformation, at best, but Western propagandists are counting on the American public's ignorance of the Ukrainian scene to pull off one of the biggest frauds since the selling of convicted embezzler Ahmed Chalabi as the Iraqi George Washington.
Few remember now that one of the alleged economic benefits of the "cakewalk" war was supposed to have been a huge drop in the price of oil: Iraq would be pumping as much and as fast as required by Washington, and the profits were going to finance the reconstruction. Well, that didn't exactly work out, now did it? So our grand strategists in Washington have turned to the legendary Caspian "Silk Road" to oil riches, reviving the dream of a Trans-Caucasian oil pipeline that will fill the gas tanks of Europe, bring down prices rapidly – and hand over control of much of the world's hydrocarbons to U.S. corporate interests and their allies.
Forget all this melodramatic folderol about Ukraine's "orange revolution" – and follow the money. The mythologizing of the Ukrainian "democratic" opposition serves certain Western economic interests, as John Laughland has pointed out:
"Efforts are being redoubled to crank into action the various pipelines which are supposed to transport Caspian oil to Western markets. One of these is the Brody pipeline which runs between the Ukrainian town of that name and the Black Sea port of Odessa (a Russian city but also in Ukraine). The Brody pipeline was initially supposed to take US-controlled Caspian oil to Western markets, but it has instead been pumping Russia oil, something the Americans do not like.
"So the New World Order strategists are determined to put their man in control of Ukraine, at the presidential election on 31st October. Huge influence, and presumably money, is being pumped in to ensure a victory for Victor Yushchenko. Paul Wolfowitz said in Warsaw on 5th October that Ukraine should join NATO. Mark Brzezinski and Richard Holbrooke have rattled their sabers over Ukraine, and Anders Aslund, the architect of Yelstin's mass larceny, has eloquently outlined the West's strategic interest in that country.
"These national strategic interests are, as ever, supported by the private interests of the powerful people lobbying for this new anti-Putin policy. They include people like David Owen and Jacob Rothschild: the former is Yukos' representative in Britain, the latter put up much of Khodorkovsky's original money, and sits (together with Henry Kissinger) on the board of the Open Russia Foundation, a Yukos front. They also include Anders Aslund, one of the signatories of the AEI's Open Letter, who works for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which is funded by Yukos, Conoco Phillips – the strategic ally of Chevron, on whose board Condoleezza Rice sat for many years – has recently announced a "strategic alliance" with Lukoil, the second largest private oil company in the world, and Conoco Phillips is said to want a controlling stake in the Russian company. Before Khodorkovsky's arrest, indeed, it was said that he wanted to sell Yukos to an American company."
The bottom line is that our oligarchs have allied with a faction of Ukrainian oligarchs, who have agreed to add Ukraine to the European Union, sabotage the free trade zone recently established between the pro-Russian nations of the former Soviet Union, and, most important of all, join NATO. The Yushchenko-Timoshenko forces want to align with Georgia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova (the other nations in the GUUAM configuration of junior league NATO aspirants) in erecting a ring of iron around Putin and the former Soviet Union. U.S. troops are already in Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. How long before they are in Kiev, training "President" Yushchenko's NATO-ized military in the use of American equipment – and advising a spiffed-up Ukrainian military within striking distance of the Kremlin?
After all, as Jonathan Steele points out in the Guardian, American "advisors" have been directing and funding the entire Yushchenko operation, just as they did in the former Yugoslavia, with money pouring in not only from the U.S. Treasury but also from billionaire George Soros, who has his own interests in Ukraine and the former Soviet Union. According to the Ukrainian Center for Political and Economic Research (UCPER), a poll of the mostly pro-Yushchenko Ukrainian NGOs reveals that foreign sponsors pick up 60 percent of the tab, including:
"'Vidrodzhenya' (Revival) sponsored by George Soros - 36.3%, 'Freedom House' (the U.S.) - 22.7%, 'Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative' - 22.7%, USAID - 22.7%, National Endowment for Democracy (the U.S.) - 18.2%, the World Bank - 13.6% (the total percentage exceeding 100%, since the respondents often named several sponsors)."
Ms. Timoshenko, who boasts of having a fleet of six jets at her disposal, no doubt picks up the rest.
We are being sold a bill of goods, and, upon close inspection, they turn out to be pretty darn shoddy. Yushchenko is no more the "democratic" savior of Ukraine than the Gas Princess is a paragon of idealism and Western-style "free-market" reform. Like Yushie, the Robber Baroness of crony capitalism is a symbol, not of "democracy," but of the gullibility of Western public opinion when faced with a slick public-relations campaign – and a compliant media that goes for attractive narratives which mesh neatly with their ideological presumptions.
The complex web of lies that make up the Yushchenko mythos requires extensive debunking, and one could write a good-sized book on the subject, but a matter that needs to be cleared up at once is the story about Yushchenko's alleged "poisoning" – presumably at the hands of the KGB. The internet is filled with before-and-after pictures of the once-handsome Yushie: the sight of his puffy and ravaged face, pitted with unappetizing pustules, is not a pretty sight to see. But what is the evidence that he's been poisoned by the pro-Yanukovich forces? There is none. As the New York Times reported on September 29 :
"An Austrian hospital that recently treated Viktor A. Yushchenko, the Ukrainian presidential candidate and opposition leader, said Tuesday that accusations that he had been poisoned were baseless."
The hospital's announcement was the occasion for death threats directed at the team of doctors involved, and the staff wisely retreated to a position of official agnosticism on the question of what caused Yushchenko's transformation from a prince into a toad. After all, a member of the Ukrainian parliament who served on a commission investigating the incident, and who had publicly dismissed the idea of Yushchenko's "poisoning," had a land mine placed outside his home.
The "poisoning" of Yushchenko is a cock-and-bull story. As a news story in the Globe and Mail pointed out:
"The problem for conspiracy theorists is that a variety of standard laboratory tests should have turned up signs of such drugs in blood, hair or tissue samples in relatively short order."
Not that they are letting a few facts get in the way. Propaganda doesn't require facts – only a gullible public and constant repetition. If these techniques are all-too-familiar, then they ought to be: isn't this how we got bamboozled into the Iraqi quagmire, buying into a narrative of "heroic" "pro-democracy" dissidents pushing back the frontiers of liberty, with the U.S. by their side?
As the worst president ever once put it:
"There's an old saying in Tennessee – I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can't get fooled again."
The neocons are letting the Arab quagmire simmer, hoping that the Iraqi insurgency can be tamped down with the assistance of a Shi'ite majority government supported by the mainstream clerics and propped up by a growing indigenous military force acting in tandem with less-visible U.S. forces, a plan of dubious prospects. In any event, the Ukrainian events have given them the opportunity to move on another front while movement in the Iraqi theater is seemingly stalled.
The campaign against Vladimir Putin as the latest incarnation of Stalin has been going on for quite some time, its most recent crescendo having been reached with a neocon publicity campaign on behalf of "poor little Chechnya," as well as complaints about the uniformity of opinion in the Russian media – this, coming from the same crowd who regularly denounce the supposedly "antiwar" media as a "fifth column"! But fronting for the Chechens is another kind of hypocrisy altogether. That they are willing to bloc with Islamist terrorists allied with Osama bin Laden against Putin, and Russia, underscores their determination in pursuit of their latest victim. Russia is the latest front in what the more perfervid neocons call "World War IV," and Ukraine is the first battlefield, but not likely to be the last. John Laughland put it well:
"Chechnya borders Georgia, and Georgia, like Azerbaijan, is on the fast track to join NATO. There are already hundreds of US troops in Georgia, training the local forces. They are there for two reasons: first, to protect the US-built Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline; secondly – and this follows from the first – to assist Georgia in recuperating her two secessionist territories, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It will not do to have Russia anywhere close to the pipeline, and she has troops in both these areas. Pushing Russia comprehensively out of the Caucasus, and humiliating her, requires victory for the Chechens. An independent Chechnya may also be the prelude to the longer-term break-up of Russia herself: the CIA predicted that oil-rich Siberia might escape Moscow's control in its report, Global Trends 2015, published in April."
Russia, the Middle East, the Trans-Caucasus, and even China – there is no limit to the ambition of the neocons, which surpasses the dreams of Alexander – and the hubris of Icarus.
I might add that the true politics of the "liberal" opposition are revealed in their response to the prospect that the eastern pro-Yanukovich portion of the country (which is far richer, and more industrialized, than the western region) might secede. Already the Easterners – culturally and temperamentally close to our "red" states – are holding assemblies in major cities calling for autonomy. The reaction from Yushchenko:
"Those who are calling for separatism are committing crimes and will definitely receive severe punishment."
Thugs always revert to form. The prince becomes a toad – and, no, I seriously doubt that Yushie's physical deterioration has anything to do with a nefarious plot by Putin's KGB against his good looks. Instead, let me suggest an alternative theory, one not contradicted by expert medical testimony – and the account of a parliamentary inquiry – and it is this: perhaps the Faustian deal that Yushchenko made with the U.S. government has taken its toll, and, as in the dramatic climax of Oscar Wilde's famous tale, "The Picture of Dorian Grey," his sins are being visited on his once-handsome visage, ravaging it – and revealing his inner soul.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Worse Than Apartheid
In the latter half of 2006 Israel has been unleashing missiles, attack helicopters and jet fighters over the densely packed concrete hovels in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army has made numerous deadly incursions, and some 500 people, nearly all civilians, have been killed and 1,600 more wounded. Israel has rounded up hundreds of Palestinians, destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure, including its electrical power system and key roads and bridges, carried out huge land confiscations, demolished homes and plunged families into a crisis that has caused widespread poverty and malnutrition.
Civil society itself—and this appears to be part of the Israeli plan—is unraveling. Hamas and Fatah factions battle in the streets, despite a tenuous cease-fire, threatening civil war. And the governing Palestinian movement, Hamas, has said it will boycott early elections called by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, done with the blessing of the West in a bid to toss Hamas out of power. (Remember that Hamas, despite its repugnant politics, was democratically elected.) In recent days armed groups loyal to Abbas have seized Hamas-run ministries in what looks like a coup.
The stark reality of Gaza, however, has failed to penetrate the consciousness of most Americans, who, when they notice the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, prefer to debate the merits of the word “apartheid” in former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” It is a sad commentary on the gutlessness of the U.S. press and the timidity of the Democratic opposition that most Americans are not aware of the catastrophic humanitarian crisis they bear so much responsibility in creating. Palestinians are not only dying, their olive trees uprooted, their farmland and homes destroyed and their aquifers taken away from them, but on many days they can’t move because of Israeli “closures” that make basic tasks, like buying food and going to the hospital, nearly impossible. These Palestinians, after decades of repression, cannot return to land from which they were expelled. The 140-plus U.N. votes to censure Israel and two Security Council resolutions—both vetoed by the United States—are blithly ignored. Is it any wonder that the Palestinians, gasping for air, rebel as the walls close in around them, as their children go hungry and as the Israelis turn up the violence?
Palestinians in Gaza live encased in a squalid, overcrowded ghetto, surrounded by the Israeli military and a massive electric fence, unable to leave or enter the strip and under daily assault. The word “apartheid,” given the wanton violence employed against the Palestinians, is tepid. This is more than apartheid. The concerted Israeli attempts to orchestrate a breakdown in law and order, to foster chaos and rampant deprivation, are on public display in the streets of Gaza City, where Palestinians walk past the rubble of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Economy, the office of the Palestinian prime minister and a number of educational institutions that have been bombed by Israeli jets. The electricity generation plant, providing 45 percent of the electricity of the Gaza Strip, has been wiped out, and even the primitive electricity networks and transmitters that remain have been repeatedly bombed. Six bridges linking Gaza City with the central Gaza Strip have been blown up and main arteries cratered into obliteration. And the West Bank is rapidly descending into a crisis of Gaza proportions. The juxtaposition of what is happening in Gaza and what is being debated on the U.S. airwaves about a book that is little more than a basic primer on the conflict reinforces the impression most outside our gates have of Americans living in a distorted, bizarre reality of our own creation.
What do Israel and Washington believe they will gain by turning Gaza and the West Bank into a miniature version of Iraq? How do they think people who are desperate, deprived of hope, dignity and a way to make a living, under attack from one of the most technologically advanced armies on the planet, will respond? Do they believe that creating a Hobbesian nightmare for the Palestinians will blunt terrorism, curb suicide attacks and foster peace? Do they not see that the rest of the Middle East watches the slaughter in horror and rage—its angry, disenfranchised young men and women determined to overcome feelings of impotence and humiliation, even at the cost of their own lives?
And perhaps they do see and understand all this. Israel and Washington probably do get the recruiting value of this repression for Islamic militants. But these Israeli attacks, despite the rage and violence they breed against Israelis and against us, also create conditions so intolerable that Palestinians can no longer reside on their land. More than 160,000 civil servants have not received full salaries for almost nine months. These government employees support families that number more than a million Palestinians. And a United Nations report states that more than two-thirds of Palestinians are now living below the poverty line. The unemployment rate is more than 50 percent. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry says 10,000 Palestinians have emigrated in the last four months and almost 50,000 others have applied to leave.
Israel, with no restraints from Washington, despite the Iraq Study Group report recommendations that the peace process be resurrected from the dead, has been given the moral license by the Bush administration to carry out what is euphemistically in Israel called “transfer” and what in other parts of the world is called ethnic cleansing. Faced with a demographic time bomb, knowing that by 2020 Jews will make up only 40 to 46 percent of the overall population of Israel, the architects of transfer, who once held the equivalent status in Israeli society of the Ku Klux Klan, have wormed their way into positions of power in the Israeli government.
Washington and Israel, I suspect, know the cost of this repression. But it is beginning to appear as though they accept it—as the price for ridding themselves of the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has installed in his Cabinet a politician who openly calls for the expulsion of the some 1.3 million Israeli Arabs who live inside Israel. Avigdor Lieberman’s “Israel Is Our Home” Party, part of Olmert’s governing coalition, proposes involuntary transfer in a region populated mostly by Arab citizens of Israel, shifting those people to a future Palestinian state that would include Gaza, parts of the West Bank and a small slice of northern Israel. All Israeli Arabs who continued to reside in the territory of transfer would automatically lose their Israeli citizenship unless they took a loyalty oath to the state and its Jewish symbols. The inclusion of Lieberman, the David Duke of Israel, into the Cabinet is an indication to most Palestinians that the worst is yet to come.
The debate over Jimmy Carter’s book, one that dishes up a fair number of Israeli myths about itself and states a reality that is acknowledged even by most Israelis, misses the point. The question is not whether Israel practices apartheid. Apartheid is a fond dream for most Palestinians. The awful question is rather will Israel be able to unleash a policy so draconian and cruel that it will obliterate a community that has lived on this land for centuries. There are other, far more loaded words for what is happening to the Palestinians. One shudders to repeat them. But unchecked, unstopped, the current wave of violence and abuse meted out to the Palestinians will echo down the corridors of history as one of the greatest moral and tactical blunders of the early part of this century, one that will boomerang on Israel and on us, bringing to our own doorsteps the evil we have allowed to be delivered to the narrow alleys and refugee camps in Gaza. When it was only apartheid, we had some hope.
As all eyes turn to Myanmar with brutal crackdowns by the military junta (including reports of a Japanese reporter murdered and school children being fired upon), international condemnations, speculation of a "saffron revolution," and China caught between a policy of noninterference and brutal crackdown on its borders that could turn into a public relations disaster, there are stories at the micro-political level that deserve to be highlighted for the inspiration they might offer.
First, the role that technology has played in both mobilizing and broadcasting this information to the rest of the world through cell phones and the internet. News reports abound on the process of gathering reports in Myanmar as much as the actual reports of the brutal crackdowns by the military junta. The Democratic Voice of Burma has been praised for its role at the helm of collecting, hosting, and distributing information from the myriad of reports electronically smuggled out of the country. Despite the internet crackdown which The New York Times The Lede is reporting on, information is still apears to be making its way through to blogs like Global Voices and the Cbox aggregator of on-the-ground reports.
Just like the protests against a chemical plant organized by text messages in China a few months ago, this is not the story of technological triumphalism, but rather, of little victories that are applying pressures and compelling governments and international actors to move in certain, sometimes constructive ways.
Sharp increases in the prices of gasoline and other items on Aug. 15 sparked the demonstrations. The price hikes caused bus fares and other fees to soar, hitting the pocketbooks of ordinary citizens. Monks who rely on alms stood up in protest on behalf of the citizens. (...)
In Myanmar, it is customary for men to enter the priesthood at least once during their lifetime. As writer Michio Takeyama (1903-1984) described in his novel "Biruma no Tategoto" (The Harp of Burma), Buddhism is the spiritual mainstay of the people. The fact that monks, who distance themselves from mundane affairs, stood up in protest shows just how precarious everyday civilian life has become.
In return, DVB is reporting that local residents of all religions have been defending Bhuddist monks and thwarting attacks on monasteries, which have been targeted by the military:
In Rangoon, troops encountered resistance from local residents as they approached Sasana Alin Yaung, Sanana Wuntha and Min Nanda monasteries in Daw Pon and Tharkayta townships.
At Min Nanda monastery, which backs on to Pazuntaung creek, troops tried to approach from both land and water but retreated when they saw the strength of local resistance.
"There were not only Buddhist people but also Muslims, Christians and Hindus defending the monasteries," said a resident of Tharkayta township.
A similar story has been played out in other townships in Burma, as residents take action to resist government raids on monasteries.
Despite the much ballyhooed cedar, rose, and orange revolutions that turned out to be far more complex power struggles rather than purely democratic revolutions, there appears to be something qualitatively different about what is happening in Myanmar right now -- a much more organic galvanization of the population -- though I think we lack sufficient information to substantiate it. Nevertheless, the accounts above should provide sufficient cause to hope that a new social contract will arise out the battle unfolding in the country.
US prison population at all time high
By Naomi Spencer
29 September 2007
The “war on terror” is endlessly peddled by the American political establishment as a crusade for freedom and liberty around the world. Yet, as the latest prison figures again demonstrate, far from representing freedom, justice and democracy, the United States is notorious for its propensity to jail its own population.
The US incarcerates a far higher percentage of its population than any other country, with its prison population accounting for fully a quarter of the world’s prisoners. In 2006, newly released Census Bureau data indicate, the US incarcerated population stood at 2.1 million. According to separate figures put out by the Justice Department, by June 30, 2006, the prison population stood at well over 2.2 million.
No other country in the world comes close to these numbers. The far more populous China ranks second, with a prison population of approximately 1.5 million. The number of incarcerated persons in the US now exceeds the population of all but three cities in the country, and is equivalent to the combined populations of Seattle, Boston, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
The number of inmates held in US state and federal prisons in 2006 was more than double the 1990 prison population, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The research and advocacy group The Sentencing Project estimates that in 2006, one in every 133 Americans was in prison or jail. Excluding the child population from the total brings this ratio close to one in every 100 adults behind bars.
Minorities continue to make up an enormously disproportionate percentage of the incarcerated. Approximately 41 percent of the adult correctional population were black in 2006, and 19 percent were Hispanic. One in every nine black men between the ages of 25 and 29 were incarcerated in 2006, as were one in 26 Hispanic and one in 59 white men of the same age group. According to the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, black men have a one in three chance of serving time in prison at some point in their lives; Hispanic men have a 17 percent chance; white men have a 6 percent chance.
The Census survey also found an increase of the female incarcerated population. As a percentage of the total prison population, women increased from 8 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2006.
Since the late 1970s, the prison population has increased sixfold, and the number of people on probation or parole has also skyrocketed. The overall correctional population (either in prison or on parole) has grown during this time from 1.8 million to well over 7 million people. Another 4.3 million ex-convicts live in the US. The total population of the United States is approximately 300 million.
The figures from the Justice Department and Census measure the number of prisoners at any given time. However, during the course of one year, a far larger number of people spend at least some time behind bars. According to the 2007 Public Safety Performance review by the Pew Charitable Trusts, more than 600,000 people are admitted to state and federal prisons, and more than 10 million spend time in local jails, over the course of any given year.
Driving this increase in prisoners has been a shift from rehabilitative to punitive “tough on crime” policies. The incarceration rate increased dramatically beginning in the early 1990s, in tandem with a drastic growth in inequality and the dismantling of social programs. While the rich amass ever-higher concentrations of wealth, social infrastructure and economic opportunities have deteriorated.
The crumbling of industry, education, healthcare and drug rehabilitation programs in America finds its consequences in all the social ills plaguing society’s poorest layers—unemployment, debt, despair, addiction, homelessness—and gives rise to domestic disturbances, theft, and property and drug crimes. The response of the ruling elite to these problems is more prisons.
Another unsurprising consequence of this economic polarization has been an increasingly aggressive policing of minor crimes. State legislatures have enacted laws that have removed much of the judicial system’s ability to make independent decisions outside of severe sentencing laws. Drug possession, child support non-payment, shoplifting, and other various minor offenses catch more of the poor in “three-strikes laws,” which mandate long sentences for repeat offenders.
At the same time, funding has been redirected away from public defense and rehabilitation programs and toward prosecution and punishment. Even as violent crime has dropped over the past decade, longer and more rigid mandatory sentences for non-violent offenses have resulted in the huge growth in incarceration.
As Allen Beck, deputy director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, told the Washington Post, “The growth wasn’t really about increasing crime but how we chose to respond to crime. When you increase the likelihood of a person going to prison for a conviction, and then you increase how long you keep them there, it has a profound effect.”
According to a new report from The Sentencing Project, drug arrests have more than tripled in the last 25 years, to a record 1.8 million arrests in 2005. The so-called war on drugs has pushed the number of incarcerated drug offenders up by 1,100 percent since 1980. During this same period, rates of drug use declined by half.
The overwhelming majority of drug arrests are for possession of marijuana, and most persons in prison for a drug offense have no history of violence or high-level drug selling activity.
The racial disparity is enormous in drug sentencing as well. The Sentencing Project reports that while blacks constitute 14 percent of regular drug users in the US, they make up 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 56 percent of those held in state prison for drugs.
The number of prisoners held without being sentenced is also on the rise, according to the Justice Department figures. In 2006, 62 percent of jail inmates were awaiting trial, up from 51 percent in 1990 and 56 percent in 2000. Most were arrested on drug offenses.
The number of prisoners held in private, for-profit facilities rose by more than 10 percent in one year. This represents a dramatic leap in the growth of the for-profit prison industry that dovetails with the growth of police state measures at large. The prison industry—the network of private companies that operate the prison system—now has annual revenues of approximately $40 billion a year.
Virtually all of these prisons are horrifically overcrowded. State prisons were operating at 99 to 113 percent of capacity, and the federal prison system was operating at 134 percent of capacity. This compounds the dangers and brutality of prison life. Inmates are exposed to physical and sexual assault, and put at risk for diseases such as HIV/AIDS or developing mental illness.
Bush’s Iraq war. 2 million Iraqi excess deaths
Excess deaths (avoidable deaths, deaths that should not have happened) provide a key, fundamental, bottom-line measure of the human consequences of human actions. Excess deaths can be violence-related (from bombs and bullets) or non-violent (due to deprivation).
Recent authoritative estimates of violence-related post-invasion excess deaths in occupied Iraq (as of September 2007) are of 1.2 million (from the expert UK ORB polling company) and 0.8 million (from the top US Bloomberg School of Public Health group at Johns Hopkins University who estimated 0.6 million violent deaths as of July 2006).
Authoritative estimates of non-violent post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Iraq as of September 2007 are of 0.7 million (from the latest UN Population Division data) and of 0.8 million (calculated from United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, data on post-invasion under-5 year old infant deaths; for impoverished Third World countries the under-5 infant deaths are about 0.7 of the total excess deaths, as described in the MWC News article “Layperson’s Guide to Counting Iraq Deaths”).
We can now estimate total post-invasion violent and non-violent occupied Iraqi excess deaths and these clearly range from 0.7 million + 0.8 million = 1.5 million (minimum estimate) to 0.8 million + 1.2 million = 2.0 million (upper estimate).
I recently sent a letter to the Australian Green, Democrat and some Opposition Labor MPs informing them of the latest authoritative estimates of 1.5-2 million post-invasion Iraqi excess deaths, a US$2.3 trillion accrual cost for the Iraq War (according to 2001 US Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz), 4.2 million Iraqi refugees and huge war crimes associated with the US Coalition occupation of Iraq - yet now the latest US, UK and Spanish Mainstream media reports say that Bush rejected Saddam Hussein's pre-war offer to leave for a mere US$1 billion.
My conclusion from this immense disparity is that the war and occupation was about oil, hegemony and control as clearly indicated recently by the former US Federal Reserve Head Alan Greenspan and by outstanding US scholar Professor Noam Chomsky (from "63-Nobel-Laureate" Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT).
War for profit is a war crime. Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter has demanded war crimes trials for Bush and Blair, asking "“How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought." 2 million? More than enough, I would have thought.
For the thoroughly referenced letter with detailed documentation of all of these matters see; the letter to Australian MPs (with most links removed for ease of reading) is reproduced below for your information and convenience.
Dear Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr, Senator …,
Re 1.5-2 million Iraq War excess deaths, $2.3 trillion accrual cost & war crimes trials
As a senior scientist and responsible Australian citizen I have been writing to media and political representatives for the last 4 years alerting them to a mounting Holocaust in Occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. My representations have been overwhelmingly IGNORED in a process of continuing Holocaust Denial except by the Australian Greens, the Australian Democrats, some morally-responsive Labor Opposition MPs and a range of mostly Alternative media throughout the World. Indeed I have published and widely disseminated copies of a book on the subject, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: and MWC News ).
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has just published a book “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (ed. Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007) that includes a chapter by me entitled “Australian Complicity in Iraq Mass Mortality” in which I conservatively estimated Occupied Iraq post-invasion excess deaths of 0.4 million as of early 2005 (my estimate did not include violent deaths) (for on-line version see ) .
As of September 2007 the total post-invasion Occupied Iraq violent and non-violent excess deaths can be estimated at 1.5-2.0 million (the accrual cost of the war as estimated by Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia) is about $2.3 trillion; and recent “insider” revelations squarely expose oil and hegemony as the core reasons for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Post-invasion, violence-related deaths in Iraq have been estimated by the expert UK ORB polling company to be 1.2 million, this estimate being consonant with 5 estimates of post-invasion Iraq excess deaths from 4 other authoritative data sets. However the ORB report has been almost completely ignored by Mainstream media and politicians, leading to the following public statement from top US medical epidemiologists Professors Gilbert Burnham (Johns Hopkins University) and Les Roberts (Columbia University) (see: here):
It has now been reported that pre-invasion Saddam Hussein offered to go into exile for $1 billion (see the circa 27-28 September 2007 UK Daily Mail, UK Telegraph, and US Washington Post ). This is revealed from the transcript of talks on 22 February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President's Texas ranch which were recorded by a diplomat and which were published on 25 September 2007 in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Simply consider that $1 billion offer versus the horrendous human and financial cost of the Iraq War (US$):
1. $0.5 trillion cost accounting cost of the Iraq War to the US so far.
2. $2.3 trillion accrual cost of the Iraq War (according to 2001 US economics Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia) and his colleague Professor Linda Bilmes (Harvard University).
3. $2.5 trillion accrual cost of the War on Terror overall (according to 2001 US economics Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia) and his colleague Professor Linda Bilmes (Harvard University).
4. 4,101 US Coalition deaths and 28,000 US soldiers wounded so far.
5. 1.2 million post-invasion violence-related Occupied Iraqi deaths were recently reported by the expert UK ORB market analysis company (see: as compared to 0.8 million post-invasion violent deaths estimated (as of September 2007) from the latest medical literature data and 0.7-0.8 million non-violent post-invasion excess deaths (deaths from deprivation and estimated from UN agency data ). The ORB data has not been reported by Mainstream media except for the Los Angeles Times and the UK Guardian/Observer. The total post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths in Iraq now total 1.5-2.0 million.
6. 0.5 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths - 90% avoidable and largely due to gross US Coalition violation of the Geneva Convention that unequivocally demands that the Occupying Power does everything “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” to keep its conquered subjects alive (see Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War ); the “total annual per capita medical expenditure” permitted in Occupied Iraq by the US Coalition is $135 (2004) as compared to $2,560 (UK), $3,123 (Australia) and $6,096(the US) (see WHO).
7. More than 4.2 million Iraqi refugees have left their homes with more than 2 million fleeing the country (according to UNHCR).
Ergo, George W. Bush simply wanted to violently occupy Iraq for oil and hegemony - for a detailed strategic analysis indicating exactly that by outstanding US scholar Professor Noam Chomsky of 63-Nobel-Laureate MIT see: here ; and for the “oil confession” by former Reserve head Alan Greenspan, see: MWC News .
The Iraq War has been an immense war crime for profit and hegemony and because of the enormous loss of life involves capital offences under US Federal Law .
The time for Media, politician and bureaucrat lying by commission and omission is over. It is high time for war crimes trials and indeed formal complaints have been lodged. Such prosecution has been demanded by no less than UK Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter back in 2005 when Mainstream media who actually cared to report post-invasion Iraq civilian deaths estimated “100,000” (in his 2005 Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech.)
Two million? More than enough, I would have thought.
Silence kills and silence is complicity. We cannot walk by on the other side. Please send, publish, and otherwise disseminate this document to everyone in your ambit in the interests of Humanity.Yours sincerely,
Dr Gideon Polya
Macleod, Melbourne, Australia
28 September 2007
AP / Khalil Hamra
Water mixes with blood in a street of the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun in this Nov. 8 file photo. Israeli tank shells landed in a residential neighborhood, killing at least 18 people in their sleep, including eight children, according to witnesses and hospital officials.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
They gave him a Silver as a sign of trust and friendship.
about the AHMEDINJAD speech.... here is a comment worth reading:
Firstly I'm a Conservative voting, capitalist, proud British Citizen. I
don't read tabloid papers, and I don't believe everything I see on
television. I think the USA is an incredible country and having spent a
lot of time with it's people I'm constantly impressed by their welcoming
and generous nature.
Having read the FULL TRANSCRIPT, not some edited tabloid version I have to
say I'm impressed by the man.
I am disgusted by the hosts introduction, I think he forgot his manners,
his courtesy and above all his respect. Like him or not, Ahmadinejad is a
president, a leader of a foreign power, and he acted like such, what an
awful message Lee Bollinger has sent to the Iranian people on the etiquet
of American representatives.
Quick Summary -
Ahmadinejad correctly points out that, well before 9/11 Iran was attacked
by a terrorist group that is now state funded by America! During those
attacks the government was decapitated and over 4,000 Iranians were
killed! Double standards anyone? Lets see if the media points that one out!
He reminds us that American backed Saddam Hussein attacked his country and
killed thousands of his people using WMD's.
He points out that they have been an IAEA member state for 33 years.
He points out that the IAEA has not once raised concerns over the Iranian
He points out that they have accepted the offer for foreign provision of
nuclear fuel and technology in the past but have been repeatedly let down
on this, why should he allow it to happen again?
He points out that as a member of the IAEA they have a right to nuclear
He admits the the holocaust occured but would like to further research
it's causes, it's origin and it's current day implications.
He absolutely states that his country does not wish to harm any other.
He questions Israel's right to exist and to own the land which it claims.
He does not at any point say he wishes to remove it, nor does he deny
this. If Israel's land claims are wrong, should they have any right to
He asks for a referendum across Isreal and Palastine, he is promoting
democratic principles not followed by our leaders before we invaded Iraq!
He tells us that Jewish Iranians hold positions in the goverment.
He doesn't answer the questions about political detainees in Iranian
prisons, which will surely provoke a negative response. But I asked
myself, would Bush answer specific questions about specific prisoners at
Quantanamo, held without trial? I don't think so!
He correctly points out that America also uses draconian capital
punishment, and that however this is acheived the end result is the same,
death! Something we abolished a long time ago here in the UK.
He points out that Iranian women hold high positions in the government. I
watched a BBC programme not long ago that backed this up, with Iranian
business women claiming they are sometimes more respected than their male
He claims not to have homosexuality in Iran! This is either a deluded
comment, or something is lost in translation. He claims not to have the
"phenomenon" witnessed in the USA. I think it's fair to say that most arab
nations have not seen it either! Draw your own conclusions there.
He says that he wanted to go to 'ground zero' to pay his respects.
Personally I think he should have been allowed to go, after all he
dislikes Al Queda as much as the rest of us!
Personally he struck me as a composed, intelligent if not slighty too
religiously orientated, leader. I felt that he dealt with a blatent
display of disrespect with dignity and professionalism. I think he got his
point across well without needing to rant or try and stir emotions a'la
I think that for a country that has been continually attacked by western
leaders and media he is incredibly placid.
Compared to other leaders he answered questions directly and did well to
avoid been drawn into giving answers to loaded questions.
here is a brief history lesson.
Between about 1800 and 1500 B.C., it is thought that a Semitic people
called Hebrews (hapiru) left Mesopotamia and settled in Canaan.
The Assyrians conquered Israel in 722 or 721 B.C. The Babylonians
conquered Judah around 586 B.C
About 50 years later, the Persian king Cyrus conquered Babylonia.
Alexander the Great then conquered the Persian Empire. After Alexander's
death in 323 B.C.
his generals divided the empire. One of these generals, Seleucus, founded
a dynasty that gained control of much of Palestine about 200 B.C
In 167 B.C., the Jews revolted under the leadership of the Maccabeans and
either drove the Seleucids out of Palestine or at least established a
large degree of autonomy, forming a kingdom with its capital in Jerusalem.
About 61 B.C., Roman troops under Pompei invaded Judea and sacked
Jerusalem in support of King Herod.
Roman rulers put down Jewish revolts in about A.D. 70 and A.D. 132. In
A.D. 135, the Romans drove the Jews out of Jerusalem, following the failed
Bar Kochba revolt. The Romans named the area Palaestina, at about this
Palestine was governed by the Roman Empire until the fourth century A.D.
(300's) and then by the Byzantine Empire.
During the seventh century (A.D. 600's), Muslim Arab armies moved north
from Arabia to conquer most of the Middle East, including Palestine.
Jerusalem was conquered about 638 by the Caliph Umar (Omar) who gave his
protection to its inhabitants. Muslim powers controlled the region until
the early 1900's. The rulers allowed Christians and Jews to keep their
The Seljuk Turks conquered Jerusalem in 1071, but their rule in Palestine
lasted less than 30 years
The Fatimids took advantage of the Seljuk struggles with the Christian
crusaders. They made an alliance with the crusaders in 1098 and captured
Jerusalem, Jaffa and other parts of Palestine.
The Crusaders, however, broke the alliance and invaded Palestine about a
year later. They captured Jaffa and Jerusalem in 1099, slaughtered many
Jewish and Muslim defenders and forbade Jews to live in Jerusalem. They
held the city until 1187.
The crusaders left Palestine for good when the Muslims captured Acre in
In the mid-1200's, Mamelukes, originally soldier-slaves of the Arabs based
in Egypt, established an empire that in time included the area of
Palestine. Arab-speaking Muslims made up most of the population of the
area once called Palestine.
Beginning in the late 1300's, Jews from Spain and other Mediterranean
lands settled in Jerusalem and other parts of the land.
The Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamelukes in 1517, and Palestine became
part of the Ottoman Empire.
The Turkish Sultan invited Jews fleeing the Spanish Catholic inquisition
to settle in the Turkish empire, including several cities in Palestine.
In 1798, Napoleon entered the land. The war with Napoleon and subsequent
misadministration by Egyptian and Ottoman rulers, reduced the population
of Palestine. Arabs and Jews fled to safer and more prosperous lands.
(Revolts by Palestinian Arabs against Egyptian and Ottoman rule at this
time may have helped to catalyze Palestinian national feeling.)
Both Arab and Jewish population increased. By 1880, about 24,000 Jews were
living in Palestine, out of a population of about 400,000. At about that
time, the Ottoman government imposed severe restrictions on Jewish
immigration and land purchase, and also began actively soliciting inviting
Muslims from other parts of the Ottoman empire to settle in Palestine,
including Circassians and Bosnians. The restrictions were evaded in
various ways by Jews seeking to colonize Palestine, chiefly by bribery.
In the nineteenth century new social currents animated Jewish life. The
emancipation of European Jews, signaled by the French revolution, brought
Jews out of the Ghetto and into the modern world, exposing them to modern
Beginning in the late 1800's, oppression of Jews in Eastern Europe
stimulated emigration of Jews to Palestine.
The Zionist movement became a formal organization in 1897
The Zionists wished to establish a "Jewish Homeland" in Palestine under
Turkish or German rule.
The Zionists established farm communities in Palestine at Petah Tikva,
Zichron Jacob, Rishon Letzion and elsewhere. Later they established the
new city of Tel Aviv, north of Jaffa. At the same time, Palestine's Arab
population grew rapidly. By 1914, the total population of Palestine stood
at about 700,000. About 615,000 were Arabs, and 85,000 to 100,000 were
During World War I (1914-1918), the Ottoman Empire joined Germany and
Austria-Hungary against the Allies. An Ottoman military government ruled
Palestine. The war was hard on both Jewish and Arab populations however,
it was more difficult for the Jews
A large number of Jews were Russian nationals. They had been able to enter
Palestine as Russian nationals because of the concessions Turkey had
granted to Russian citizens, and they had used this method to overcome
restrictions on immigration. They had also maintained Russian citizenship
to avoid being drafted into the Turkish army. Therefore, a large number of
Jews were forced to flee Palestine during the war.
Britain and France planned to divide the Ottoman holdings in the Middle
East among themselves after the war. The Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916
called for part of Palestine to be under British rule, part to be placed
under a joint Allied government, and for Syria and Lebanon to be given to
In 1916, Arabs led by T.E. Lawrence and backed by Sharif Husayn revolted
against the Ottomans in the belief that Britain would help establish Arab
independence in the Middle East.
The United States and other countries pressed for Arab self-determination.
The Arabs, and many in the British government including Lawrence, believed
that the Arabs had been short-changed by the British promise to give Syria
to the French, and likewise by the promise of Palestine as a Jewish
homeland. The Arabs claimed that Palestine was included in the area
promised to them, but the British denied this.
In November 1917, before Britain had conquered Jerusalem and the area to
be known as Palestine, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration. The
declaration stated Britain's support for the creation of a Jewish national
home in Palestine, without violating the civil and religious rights of the
existing non-Jewish communities
After the war, the League of Nations divided much of the Ottoman Empire
into mandated territories. The British and French saw the Mandates as
instruments of imperial ambitions.
US President Wilson insisted that the mandates must foster eventual
independence. The British were anxious to keep Palestine away from the
French, and decided to ask for a mandate that would implement the Jewish
national home of the Balfour declaration, a project that would be
supported by the Americans. The Arabs opposed the idea of a Jewish
national home, considering that the areas now called Palestine were their
land. The Arabs felt they were in danger of dispossession by the Zionists,
and did not relish living under Jewish rule.
By this time, Zionists had recognized the inevitability of conflict with
the Palestinian and other Arabs. The Zionists and others presented their
case to the Paris Peace conference. Ultimately, the British plan was
adopted. The main issues taken into account were division of rights
between Britain and France, rather than the views of the inhabitants.
In 1920, Britain received a provisional mandate over Palestine, which
would extend west and east of the River Jordan. The area of the mandate
given to Britain at the San Remo conference was much larger than historic
Palestine as envisaged by the Zionists, who had sought an eastern border
to the West of Amman. The mandate, based on the Balfour declaration, was
formalized in 1922. The mandate provided for an agency, later called "The
Jewish Agency for Palestine," that would represent Jewish interests in
Palestine to the British and to promote Jewish immigration. A Jewish
agency was created only in 1929.
The area granted to the mandate was much larger than the area sought by
the Zionists. It is possible, that as Churchill suggested in 1922, the
British never intended that all of this area would become a Jewish
national home. On the other hand, some believe that Britain had no special
plans for Transjordan initially.
In 1921 Abdullah, the son of King Husayn of the Hijaz, marched toward
Transjordan with 2,000 soldiers. Two days later, Abdullah marched north
and by March 1921, he occupied the entire country.
In 1922, the British declared that the boundary of Palestine would be
limited to the area west of the river. The area east of the river, called
Transjordan (now Jordan), was made a separate British mandate and
eventually given independence (See map at right) . A part of the Zionist
movement felt betrayed at losing a large area of what they termed
"historic Palestine" to Transjordan, and split off to form the
"Revisionist" movement, headed by Benjamin Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky.
In the spring of 1920, spring of 1921 and summer of 1929, Arab
nationalists opposed to the Balfour declaration, the mandate and the
Jewish National Home, instigated riots and pogroms against Jews in
Jerusalem, Hebron, Jaffa and Haifa. The violence led to the formation of
the Haganah Jewish self-defense organization in 1920. The riots of 1920
and 1921 reflected opposition to the Balfour declaration and fears that
the Arabs of Palestine would be dispossessed, and were probably attempts
to show the British that Palestine as a Jewish National home would be
Jewish immigration swelled in the 1930s, driven by persecution in Eastern
Europe, even before the rise of Nazism. Large numbers of Jews began to
come from Poland owing to discriminatory laws and harsh economic
In 1936 widespread rioting, later known as the Arab Revolt or Great
Uprising, broke out. The revolt was kindled when British forces killed Izz
al din El Qassam in a gun battle. Izz al Din El Qassam was a Syrian
preacher who had emigrated to Palestine and was agitating against the
British and the Jews.
The Peel commission of 1937 recommended partitioning Palestine into a
small Jewish state and a large Arab one. The commission's recommendations
also included voluntary transfer of Arabs and Jews to separate the
populations. The Jewish leadership considered the plan but the Palestinian
and Arab leadership, including King Saud of Saudi Arabia , rejected
partition and demanded that the British curtail Jewish immigration. Saud
said that if the British failed to follow Arab wishes in Palestine, the
Arabs would turn against them and side with their enemies. He said that
Arabs did not understand the "strange attitude of your British Government,
and the still more strange hypnotic influence which the Jews, a race
accursed by God according to His Holy Book, and destined to final
destruction and eternal damnation hereafter, appear to wield over them and
the English people generally."
In response to the riots, the British began limiting immigration and the
1939 White Paper decreed that 15,000 Jews would be allowed to enter
Palestine each year for five years. Thereafter, immigration would be
subject to Arab approval. At the same time, the British took drastic and
often cruel steps to curtail the riots. Husseini fled to Iraq, where he
was involved in an Axis-supported coup against the British and then to
Nazi Germany, where he subsequently broadcast for the Axis powers, was
active in curtailing Jewish immigration from neutral countries and
organized SS death squads in Yugoslavia.
During World War II (1939-1945), many Palestinian Arabs and Jews joined
the Allied forces. though some Palestinian and Arab leaders were
sympathetic to the Nazi cause. There were growing suspicions that the
Nazis were systematically exterminating the Jews of Europe. These
suspicions were later confirmed, and the extermination of European Jews
came to be known as the Holocaust. The continued threat of extermination
also created great pressure for immigration to Palestine, but the gates of
Palestine were closed by the British White Paper. In 1941 the British
freed Jewish Haganah underground leaders in a general amnesty, and they
joined the British in fighting the Germans.
The Jews of Palestine responded to the White Paper and the Holocaust by
organizing illegal immigration to Palestine from occupied Europe, through
the "Institution for Illegal Immigration" (Hamossad L'aliya Beth). Illegal
immigration (Aliya Bet) was organized by the Jewish Agency between 1939
and 1942, and again in 1945 and 1948.
Despite the desperate need to find a haven for refugees, the doors of
Palestine remained shut to Jewish immigration. The Zionist leadership met
in the Biltmore Hotel in New York City in 1942 and declared that it
supported the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth. This
was not simply a return to the Balfour declaration repudiated by the
British White Paper, but rather a restatement of Zionist aims that went
beyond the Balfour declaration, and a determination that the British were
in principle, an enemy to be fought, rather than an ally.
On November 6, members of the Jewish Lehi underground Eliyahu Hakim and
Eliyahu Bet Zuri assassinated Lord Moyne in Cairo. Moyne, a known
anti-Zionist, was Minister of State for the Middle East and in charge of
carrying out the terms of the 1939 White Paper - preventing Jewish
immigration to Palestine by force. He was also a personal friend of
Winston Churchill. The assassination did not change British policy, but it
turned Winston Churchill against the Zionists. Hakim and Bet Zuri were
caught and were hanged by the British in 1945.
In the summer of 1945, the Labor party came to power in Great Britain.
They had promised that they would reverse the British White Paper and
would support a Jewish state in Palestine. However, they presently reneged
on their promise, and continued and redoubled efforts to stop Jewish
immigration. The US and other countries brought pressure to bear on the
British to allow immigration. An Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry
recommended allowing 100,000 Jews to immigrate immediately to Palestine.
The Arabs brought pressure on the British to block such immigration. The
British found Palestine to be ungovernable and returned the mandate to the
United Nations, successor to the League of Nations.
The United Nations Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP) recommended
that Palestine be divided into an Arab state and a Jewish state. The
commission called for Jerusalem to be put under international
administration The UN General Assembly adopted this plan on Nov. 29, 1947
as UN Resolution (GA 181), owing to support of both the US and the Soviet
Union, and in particular, the personal support of US President Harry S.
Truman. Many factors contributed to Truman's decision to support
partition, including domestic politics and intense Zionist lobbying, no
The Jews accepted the UN decision, but the Arabs rejected it. It soon
became evident that the scheme could not work. Mutual antagonism would
make it impossible for either community to tolerate the other. The UN was
unwilling and unable to force implementation of the internationalization
of Jerusalem. The Arab League, at the instigation of Haj Amin Al-Husseini,
declared a war to rid Palestine of the Jews. In fact however, the Arab
countries each had separate agendas. Abdullah, king of Jordan, had an
informal and secret agreement with Israel, negotiated with Golda Meir, to
annex the portions of Palestine allocated to the Palestinian state in the
West Bank, and prevent formation of a Palestinian state. Syria wanted to
annex the northern part of Palestine, including Jewish and Arab areas.
The War of Independence or 1948 War is divided into the pre-independence
period, and the post-independence period. Clashes between Israeli
underground groups and Arab irregulars began almost as soon as the UN
passed the partition resolution. During this time, Arab countries did not
invade, though the Jordan legion did assist the in the attack against Gush
Etzion, a small block of settlements in the territory allocated to the
Palestinian state, south of Jerusalem.
And the rest is as they say....History