Thursday, February 26, 2015

It Ain't Your Grandfather's Fascism, But It's Still Facism - John Pilger

There's a form of fascism that's flourishing today and it's even considered pretty respectable.  Then again, old school fascism prior to WWII was also considered respectable in some pretty high places.

Journalist, documentary filmmaker, social critic John Pilger sees the face of fascism in much of Western foreign policy.  An important essay published in Asia Times Online.  If what Pilger claims is remotely accurate, we have been well and truly had - by our own governments.

"To initiate a war of aggression…," said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, "is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

...Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.

Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission.

...The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a "rebel" bayonet was greeted by the then US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, with the words: "We came, we saw, he died." His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning "genocide" against his own people. "We knew ... that if we waited one more day," said President Barack Obama, "Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."
This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be "a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda". Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for Nato's inferno, described by David Cameron as a "humanitarian intervention".

Secretly supplied and trained by Britain's SAS, many of the "rebels" would become ISIS, whose latest video offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte, the city destroyed on their behalf by Nato bombers.

...The "humanitarian war" against Libya drew on a model close to Western liberal hearts, especially in the media. In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent Nato to bomb Serbia, because, they lied, the Serbs were committing "genocide" against ethnic Albanians in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as "225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59" might have been murdered.
Both Clinton and Blair evoked the Holocaust and "the spirit of the Second World War". The West's heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal record was set aside. The British foreign secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.

With the Nato bombing over, and much of Serbia's infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume evidence of the "holocaust". The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing "a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines".

A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide. The "holocaust" was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.

...The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic crime in Indochina. In his lauded and much quoted book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a popular democracy, because "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion … Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation."

He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed, a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski, then president Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by dealing a death blow to Afghanistan's first and only democracy. Who knows this vital history?

In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.

The new government introduced free medical care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan's doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers.

Pilger contends that it was progressivism in Afghanistan that the US sought to destroy by launching the mujahadeen against the Kabul government, the first step in the evolution of the Taliban, al Qaeda and today's nemesis, ISIS.  This corner of the Muslim world was thrown to the dogs of brutal Islamist fundamentalism, sacrificed in order to destabilize what was then the Soviet Union.

Such fanatics might have remained in their tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political liberation and "destabilise" the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, "a few stirred up Muslims". 

His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region. In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them.

Pilger contends that the manifestation of modern fascism is the Hellfire missile launched from a drone far overhead, obliterating targets hand picked by Obama himself.

"For goose-steppers," wrote the historian Norman Pollock, "substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while."

Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being," said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, "The sovereign is he who decides the exception."

This sums up Americanism, the world's dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates Western culture.

...During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting the rise of Greek fascism. In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist military junta in Athens - as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America. Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the "father" of both the Nazi V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.

In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of Nato, the heirs to a Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its "new wave" hailed by the enforcer as "nationalists".

This reached its apogee in 2014 when the Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected government. The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and Svoboda. Their leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of the "Moscow-Jewish mafia" and "other scum", including gays, feminists and those on the political left.

These fascists are now integrated into the Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get "the USA to give us highly precise modern weaponry". If he succeeds, it will be seen as an act of war by Russia.

No Western leader has spoken up about the revival of fascism in the heart of Europe - with the exception of Vladimir Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the borderland of Ukraine.

At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime. She referred to the German Defence Minister as "the minister for defeatism". It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev. The wife of Robert D Kaplan, a leading "neo-con" luminary of the far-right Center for a New American Security, she was foreign policy advisor to the fascist Dick Cheney.

Nuland's coup did not go to plan. Nato was prevented from seizing Russia's historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea - illegally annexed to Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 - voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they had done in the 1990s. The referendum was voluntary, popular and internationally observed. There was no invasion.

At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleaning. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions. More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the Western media, they became unpeople escaping "the violence" caused by the "Russian invasion".

...The intensity of the smear campaign against Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America's most distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote recently, "No European government, since Adolf Hitler's Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly.

"Yet across the West's media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established ... If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three - much as it did into world war one a century ago - all you need to do is look at the madness over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason."

In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media: "The use made by Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack .... In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons."

This speaks to the warning from the leading German financial newspaper, Handelsblatt, last summer that we in the West are being "mentally mobilized" for war.  I agree wholeheartedly with Pilger when he calls on each of us to prevent the final conquest - the conquest of ourselves.

...The responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states.

Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust beckons.



Pamela Mac Neil said...

The ongoing propaganda by the Western governments and the out and out lies supported by media and exposed by
John Pilger is truly astounding Mound!
How can people come to know that they have been and still are continuously lied to, particularly about western foreign policy? The most recent propaganda about Russia being the agressor is an out and out right lie. I'm not convinced people in the west will finally figure out that there governments for the most part have been lying to them particularly since the second world war. Maybe it has to do with most people not really being interested in the truth. The western leadership is about acquiring and holding on to power. Power over the rest of the world and over their own citizens. John Pilger is a rare enlightened voice in an intellectual wasteland.

The Mound of Sound said...

Pamela, I agree with Pilger's claim that we are being fed wholesale falsehood. One example was the recent heavy bombardment of Donetsk. Our media regularly faulted pro-Russian separatists for the artillery barrages yet that made no sense. The place getting shelled was in the pro-Russian sector. They would have had to be shelling their own without anyone being the wiser. Yet we kept getting sold this nonsense which was unquestioningly accepted even though it was coming from Kiev government sources.

Toby said...

The Nuremberg Trials accomplished two objectives. They blamed WWII and its Holocaust on Hitler and his henchmen. In doing so they also absolved the rest of us. As Curtis Lemay supposedly said, it was fortunate that America was on the winning side or he would have been put on trial.

We won't have a healthy world until we can see our own flaws.

WILLY said...

Great post MoS.

And i agree that you can see it in the media reports.

When it is Ukraine breaking the struggling ceasefire or blowing up a building, the nightly media is vague, never saying who bombed whom.

But is usually followed by a quote from Harper/Baird/Kenny or who ever the PMO drag out to say that Canada will continue with it's pressure on Russia.

Implying by omission and association that it was the Russian backed rebels that were the aggressors.

The Mound of Sound said...

What scares me, Willy, is that we're practically giving Putin the pretext he needs to stay in power - the latest threat to the Rodina from the West.

I think there's something that resides deep within many Russians that causes our 'sanctions' to resonate as threats to the homeland.

Steve said...

Hey Mound if you want to fight what side should you choose? This is the mastery of the media that prevents a direct charge.
I am fighting with Norman Bethune.

The Mound of Sound said...

Not sure what that means, Steve, in the context of Bethune. As far as I recall he didn't fight but supported the Chinese through medical assistance.

Pilger isn't advocating insurrection but resistance and rejection. We need a revival of the "great popular movements" like the rise of progressivism a century ago. We have to find a way to reinstate the middle class to safeguard democracy through the revival of popular control, politically and economically.

Government of the people, by the people, for the people. The best shot we have today is the Green Party and the environmental movement.