Thursday, July 28, 2011

Will the US 'roll back' its hard nosed policy towards North Korea?

Smiling faces on a 15 second shot on American television of North Korea's top nuclear negotiator and vice president Kim Kye gwan as he deplaned at JFK aeroport on Sunday 25 July for preliminary talks with the US on breathing life into the on hold six party talks in Beijing. The US media have hardly given much space to the two day talks beginning today in New York.
After three years of pursuing a hard nosed, give no quarter stance on the matter of North Korea, oxen yoked to South Korea's Lee Myung bak's take no prisoner policy towards the DPRK, it is a legitimate question to ask 'is the US 'rolling back' on its own intransigeant policy on North Korea?'
A meeting of the minds of the two Koreas on the margins of the Asia Pacific countries in Indonesia during which the North and South agreed to talks, has forced the US to come around to discussions with Pyongyang? It certainly seems so.
Sanctions, withholding of food and fertilisers, joint military exercises with live ammunition along the NLL [Northern Limit Line] within spitting distance of North Korea's territorial water brought the two Koreas to an exchange of gunfire when the ROK shells fell into DPRK territory in November 2010, have not brought North Korea to its knees, let alone cry 'Uncle!', implode, or simply disappear as the US and South Korea longed hoped.
Short of war there is only out for the US and South Korea: renewed talks.
Secretary of state Hillary Clinton invited North Korea to New York for 'discussions' on its nuclear and rocket programmes, among other subjects. And yet her invitation lacked the smoothness of practised diplomacy; she sternly warned the DPRK the US wouldn't put up with its wiles, and called on it to 'behave itself' in the manner the US wanted. Clinton looks as though she is more concerned with 'moral nicety' than tackling more than 60 years of issues concerning the US and North Korea.
Who would have thought that with long dealings with the DPRK, the American diplomacy, policy, and its North Korean clerisy could still not manage to negotiate 'realistically' and 'without neglecting geophysical realities' and 'with attention to history'?
GuamDiary hopes that some light of a new dawn is shining on the talks.
Today's 'Financial Times of London' [29 July 2011] devotes a 300 word article on the joint talks. Written by two 'FT' reporters on Korea--Anna Fifield in New York and Christian Oliver in Seoul--it makes for interesting reading. The two rely on commentary from the US and South Korean perspective. Did not anyone try to elicit a comment from the DPRK Mission to the UN or Kim himself? Let's move on.
The 'FT' quotes US North Korean clerisy who in March 2010, agreed to a man, in a report issued under the aegis of the CRF {Council on Foreign Relations] on Korea, called for 'rolling back North Korea'. The reader's ear will hear the words of the bilious former senior diplomat, ex president of the New York Korea Society, and now a member of Madeleine Albright's think tank, Evans Revere, who spins like a weather vane on the US government's convoluted policy on North Korea. In fact, he was a cheer leader for the CFR's report calling for 'rolling back' the DPRK in the same Cold War terms reminiscent of Korean War.
Revere is looking for 'sincerity'. Why do American diplomats look for 'sincerity' and South Koreans for 'repentence' in negotiations among supposed equals? Such attitudes simply confuse and complicate and, above all, transgress the sound advice by that superb survivor Talleyrand 'surtout pas trop de zele'. And diplomats like Revere & co. are nothing but zealous and highly motivated by morality! We also hear the cautious observation of Asia Society's Scott Synder, the man who wrote the CFR report, advancing the obvious that the talks are part of an unacknowledged process. And then the 'kicker' that Clinton is willing to give North Korea another chance, based on an analysis by Victor Cha of the CSIS, as well as backer of the CFR report, that talking with Pyongyang will stay its hand on any provocative actions.
But will it stop hostile moves by Seoul and Washington? After all provocative moves during the last few years have come from the in your face yoked US and South Korean policy towards the North. Let's face it: this coordinated policy has meet the enemy and in the words of the immortal Pogo, 'it is us!'
Saying this, North Korea has its own reasons that are plain as the nose on one's face in feeding its citizens, owing to the whims of mother nature who has been unnaturally cruel to its crops, lack of fertiliser embargoed by the South and US inspired sanctions, and the like. What makes the DPRK a critical player is its 'putative' nuclear arsenal and advanced rocketry programme. The Bush administrative utter stupidity, and opportunistic dealing with North Korea [an axis of evil nation, remember] shoved the DPRK into nuclear club, for the US offered Pyongyang no other option but ratcheting up the ante, and in doing so, turned a North Korea open to discussions into a feared dragon. In other words, Bush's ignorance and castle in Spain policy concerning North Korea lacked clarity but contained enough misdeeds of others with misplaced clarity that doomed it to failure. And the Obama administration hasn't done much better.
North Korea is no one's patsy. It has shown that it can deal with America's petty malice and stupidity, but in a way that may go so far as saving America's face. Kim Kye gwan knows the US team is going to deal with. To him, they are no strangers, and he is prepared to listen to the endless catalogue of DPRK's wrongs. He probably will counter with America's yet he is a more subtle negotiator who knows what wants, as he does know the holes in the US' position. He is here to get results but are the US team?
They better let their barriers fall for the US is in a terrible bind at home and with two failed wars in Asia and a frozen one in Korea.
You would think the US would want to lighten its load of a 61 year old war on its books? In any case, let's hope that both sides are on their good behaviour, without the US proceeding to 'enlighten' the DPRK on the ignorance of its ways. Too much is in the balance this time for letting an opportunity to slip!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jobs the Achilles foot of US economic recovery

Barack Obama addressed the nation last evening, to make his case for raising the US' debt level, bring in spending, and raise much needed revenues. He was quickly followed by John Boehner, speaker of the lower house of the US Congress to critique his president.
Obama did not mention jobs once. Boehner did but once the word left his mouth its vanished into the hot air of partisan rhetoric. The blame falls on Obama's shoulder for not addressing straightaway the problem of putting Americans back to work. The official unemployment rate has notched up to 9,2 percent, but the figure is at least double or perhaps higher.
The Republicans regained control of the house of representatives in the 2010 bi elections on a platform to create jobs. Once in control they cynically went for Obama's jugular to cut expenditures and feather more comfortably the beds of big business, to continue shifting the tax burden on a vanishing middle class and the working poor, and above all, to make a sitting president unelectable for a second term.
In a way, Boehner and his partner in the Senate Mitch McConnell sized Obama up properly: a vain man who has no idea of how to throw the gauntlet down to best his opponents. The so called big deal which the president and Boehner sort of worked out showed that Obama was further to the right than the House leader; furthermore Obama was willing to betray his base on social security, medicare, for example.
Love the Republicans for shooting themselves in the foot: owing to the tilt towards the reactionary right, exemplified by the Tea Party like a viper within its breast, Boehner walked out on any meeting of the minds with Obama. A line thereby was drawn in the sand.
So far, the markets have kept cool, but for how long? The US will default. It will a list of ill managed economies, notably Argentina. Ideology triumphs over 'liberal politics'. This crisis once again illustrates the fatal flaws of leadership in the White House.
Ideology is trumping commonsense. In a way, the US through its propensity to war, outsourcing of work abroad, and lack of will and ideas is crumbling from within.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The DBS campaign spotlights TIAA-Cref

TIAA-Cref is, as its website tells us: a Fortune 100 AAA rated finance service and insurance company’ investing pension funds for a fee, and good returns. TIAA is also the object of pressure from the worldwide Boycotts Divestment Sanctions movement, to peacefully persuade TIAFF clients to stop helping Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, including building the long dividing wall and illegal Jewish colonization. has support by Jewish peace groups, even though the Israeli government tries to tar and feather it with the smear of ‘Islamic terrorism’. The organization is adept at adapting its message through song and dance, slogans and determination to shine the light of shame of, say, the following companies in TIAA-Cref portfolio: Northrop Grumman, Veolia, Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, and Motorola.

Protests spotlight the activities of these companies which they would best like kept under wraps. Consider Northrop supplies the Israeli occupiers with parts for helicopters, Hellfire missiles, etc. Veolia, a French company, exploits Palestinian natural resources for the sole use of illegal Jewish settlers and is building a light rail system for their exclusive use by connecting it to Israel proper. Caterpillar’s bulldozers have a long and notorious role in clear the ground of Palestinian houses and even killing peace protesters as it did in the case of Rachel Corey; the company also supplies armour plated bulldozers mounted with weapons for the ‘tsahal’ or Israel Defence Force, which US taxpayers money. Elbit Systems is an Israeli defence electronics manufacture whose equipment drones to the IDF and electronic surveillance and electronic systems to keep Palestinians under 24 hour control. And, finally, Motorola that has developed surveillance systems for illegal Jewish settlements and military bases on the West Bank.

BDS is in the movement for the long haul. You cannot gainsay it for lack of inventiveness and flexibility in bringing its message to the largest audience it can. So far as TIAA prepares for its annual meeting, it has managed to persuade 20.000 persons to sign a petition calling on TIAA’s investors to stop aiding and abetting illegal Israeli seizure of Palestinian land and providing the infrastructure of illegal Jewish settlements.

The boycott movement has also spotlighted products, such as cosmetics, soap, food, honey, and the like produced by illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

The BDS is a few years old but in spite of Israeli subterfuge, sabotage, deceit, and black propaganda, keeps growing and growing and growing. As the old song from the German Peasants War reminds us ‘thoughts and ideas are free’ and no weapons can kill them, nor can prison cells stop them.

Has the US a more nuanced approached to North Korea?

Lord love a duck: US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has never relaxed a muscle when it comes to confronting North Korea at a time when, once again, Pyongyang has called for reconvening six party talks in Beijing, in abeyance for the last few years, without preconditions.
A breakthrough of sorts has occurred during side discussions between North and South Korea at the ASEAN meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
ROK’s Lee Myung bak’s hard nosed policy can hardly go any further short of restarting a shooting war on the Korean peninsula. Its sanctions against the North has not brought it any closer to humbling Lee’s ‘nemesis’, Kim Jong il.
The North for its part will argue for resumption of food aid by its willingness to better discuss its nuclear and rocket programmes.
Pyongyang is willing to make ‘concessions’ but the South also has to bite the bullet, in order to restore a status quo ante of civility.
Will the US play the role of spoiler? It looks as though it might. Clinton pointing her stern school mistress finger at the DPRK has once more recited her rosary of sorrows in telling North Korea what it has to do.
You would think that after more than 65 years of elaborating policy against and towards the DPRK, she and her entourage at the department of state would have learnt some simple ground rules. And then again, she might have.
The walls of resistance thrown up by South Korea, Japan, and the US are showing signs of cracking. These three countries formed an anti North front by proposing terms which North Korea and China and Russia would find unacceptable to return to talks in Beijing.
Now that the ROK and DPRK have reached an understanding, Clinton has invited a top ranking official from the North to the US for ‘talks’. Clinton’s response is in line with Lee Myung bak’s approach. Since US policy towards North Korea is coordinated with the South’s, Washington had to go along.
Km Kye Gwan, North Korea’s first vice minister and former chief nuclear envoy, is no unknown quantity to US senior officials. He is scheduled to meet with senior US officials in New York.
The US has grown weary with dealing with North Korea, owing to its lack of patience in long drawn out talks that Pyongyang is skillful in pursuing. Although Clinton says the US will offer nor concede anything, her explanation is a smokescreen for what the Obama administration is willing to offer to restart talks in Beijing.
The US has come to a decision to offer food aid but at what price? If it expects an apology for the ‘Cheonan’ or the shelling of Pyeongyong, it might be disappointed. As it is, its approach yoked to Seoul’s and Tokyo’s has proved less than successful. North Korea feels it is time to ‘open’ talks, which is too tempting for the South and the US and Japan to ignore.
If there is a meeting of the minds, events towards the nuclear problem, food aid, and other issues might take off at a quicker pace than we would have thought possible a few months ago.

Timber! James Murdoch's fall from grace

Labour MP Tom Watson has referred James Murdoch’s case to Scotland Yard for false testimony before the House of Commons select committee looking into the News Corp’s telephone hacking scandal.
Not to put a fine point on it, Murdoch is ‘damaged goods’. His smooth performance before the MPs is an example of studied guileness, bluster, and MBA cant. The lenses of his eyeglasses magnified his wide opened eyes as he slalomed around the questions asked. Seated behind him was the recently hired Joel Klein, the man who prepped him and wrote the script from which he read from.
Klein fresh from trying to reform New York City’s schools in favour of charter schools, much favoured by Wall Street, has been tapped by Rupert Murdoch to carry out an ‘in house’ investigation of the ‘criminality’ endemic within News Corp, in pursuit of sensationalism in his media empire—print and television—and the profits it brings.
Klein comes with a CV which makes corporate boards’ eyes grow large and mouths water: he is the man that made Microsoft say ‘Uncle!’. The man who has the task of cleaning up Murdoch’s Augean stables is a take no prisoners ‘reformer’. However, we have to wonder how ‘independent’ he truly is. Consider that the law firm he engaged to represent News Corp is his wife’s!
James Murdoch has managed to fend off calls for him to step down as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting. Yet day to day management is left to a surrogate in senior management. Already the shuttering of the very profitable ‘The News of the World’ and the huge amounts of money spent to buy off people who brought lawsuits against the Sunday weekly. The breaking scandal, which in many ways mirrors Watergate, has nipped in the bud the Murdochs from grabbing 100 percent control of SBS by gobbling up a remaining 61 percent escaping their control.
Klein may not be able to fully protect the younger Murdoch as more and more details come to light. No one thought that the break in of the US Democratic party headquarters would lead to the resignation of Richard Nixon; well, the younger Murdoch’s days are numbered. Even if he manages to hang on to the father’s skirt tails, he is damaged goods, and the noxious odour that envelops him is something which makes institutional investors antsy since his presence affects a good return on a dollar invested.
In the end, James Murdoch is destined to depart under a dark cloud, as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, completing a design of subterfuge, deception, and, emphatic denial becomes clearer and clearer. The scandal surrounding the Murdoch empire has had an immediate healthy effect: the spell of the wizard of Oz Rupert Murdoch is broken. Wounded like a bull elephant, he has become an easier, yet not less dangerous target, to fell.
If anything, Rupert’s and James Murdoch’s appearance before the panel in the House of Commons, shows that the magic is gone: gone, too, is the image of cultivating ‘harmlessness’ and no forethought of malice and greed. Gone, too, is the idea of a benevolent pursuit of profits and influence at whatever the cost.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Roil, moil, bubble and trouble for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang ROK?

After the announcement weeks ago that the International Olympic Committee awarded South Korea the 2018 Winter Games to be held in Pyeongchang mountainous district on the country's east coast, trouble is brewing. Banished from memories of the fanfare and the outsized bragging of the Lee Myung bak government. In the place of joy and allegria comes the fear that North Korea is trying to muscle in on the South's moment of triumph.
Well the suggestion that Korea host a joint North South team comes not with urgency from Pyongyang but from Seoul itself.
Now, according to the gatekeeper of South Korea's ideological and political purity Donald Kirk, that suggestion will take close to centre stage in the next two presidential elections.
The very thought of easing the taut relations between North and South that Lee himself has created by his draconian 'Drang nach Norden' policies which almost brought about a shooting war, is abhorrent to Kirk.
A strong supporter of Lee, he shudders that the Grand National Party which came back to power in 2008, will probably have as its standard bearer Park Geun hye, daughter of dictator Park Chung hee [whose memory has become the object of nostalgia and reputation is getting a wholesale re evaluation] favours lowering the temperature of attacks on North Korea.
Lee's four years in power have not been all wine and roses; it looks as though South Koreans have grown weary with his in your face style of governing. A lull in tensions is very much on the agenda.
Park is not the only one pushing for a joint North South presence at the 2018 winter games. Other political parties like the Democratic Party see the value in presenting a common front in Pyeongchang. So, the call is beyond partisanship, it seems.
The idea of a North South team is not new, and we have seen it in other Olympic and Football World Games.
Nevertheless the very idea of a 'united' Korean effort sends shivers down Kirk's spine. GuamDiary suggests if you can afford the high price of his book, 'Korea betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and sunshine' to see where this unreconstructed Cold Warrior is coming from. As a US citizen he has donned the cloak of knowing what is best for South Korea better than South Koreans themselves.
For him, the weakening of Lee's aggressive, short of war policy towards the DPRK is fraught with dangers. It may very well bring back a modified 'Sunshine Policy', which Kirk has never shied away from damning. What imperial arrogance!
He may think that he knows what is best for South Koreans, yet he misses by a wide margin the existential pride Koreans North or South have for the land of Korea. So 'Korea' as an ideal takes pride of place in this instance over political differences, in a competitive international sports venue.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Alfred E Murdoch says What me worry, I am not responsible

We substituted K. Rupert Murdoch's surname for that of 'Mad Magazine's' iconic non worrier Alfred E. Newman.
Anyone watching yesterday's questioning the media mogul and heir apparent son James would have tasted the bitter cup of tea of falsehoods the Murdoch's served up.
Consider here was a Rupert hale and hearty at 80 at his 'dacha' in Sun Valley with his personal trainer hardly a fortnight before he flew off to London to 'handle' the scandal that was shaking his media empire.
Look at a frail, at times, confused 80 year old man who knew nothing, assumed no blame for wrongs done, until his 'amour propre' tore off his trashy act of humility...humble he was like Dickens' Uriah Heep, some might say!, and off went the lamb's fleece: voila the man we always knew as a hands on, hard nosed publisher who took no enemies and cast fear into the hearts of movers and shakers, say, in the UK and US and Australia.
If anything he was practising the studied pose of Enron top executives: blind neglect.
It was too late for fawning and humbleness and other home spun virtues: the questioning in the House of Commons had shown that the emperor was naked.
As for James Murdoch, he was as smooth as he was clueless.
The scandal is not going is spreading like a cancer out of control like the way Nixon's Watergate did. A family empire won't survive him. David Cameron will fall as so will his party.
Journalism of the kind practised by the 'Guardian' and 'The New York Times' is seeing its finest moment in a long while. Some talking heads on the 'NYT' have come to the aid and defence of Rupert Murdoch: Roger Cohen and indirectly John Burns who see in Rupert a man who saved 'journalism' but at what cost?, we ask. Even the convicted felon and fellow newspaper mogul Conrad Lord Black in an opinion piece in the 'Financial Times of London' held his nose in criticising the founder of News Corporation, for the harm he and his style had wroth on the profession and the trail of lies and broken lives and reputation that Murdoch's pursuit of slime has brought yea this half century.
Yes, Alfred E. Murdoch, little wonder you do not worry!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

French 'Dignite/Karama hauled into Israeli port of Ashdod

'Everything went smoothly' proud thumps the Israeli chest. Refusing the Zionist naval authorities to desist from trying to run the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, they climbed aboard the 'Dignite/Karama' with we are a well mannered band of pirate' seizing a ship on the high seas not within its territorial waters.
What a difference a year makes, bad publicity and global condemnation by the killing of eight Turks and one American of Turkish origin on the 'Mavi Mamara', a Turkish ship part of Peace Flotilla 1, challenging the illegal blockade of Gaza by the Zionist state.
This year, Israel has used a number of tactics to stop a second flotilla by any means necessary short of murder: suborning foreign states, sabotage, calling on its pro consul and protector the US to apply pressure on a failing Greek state, as well as strong arming the Turkish state. And let's not forget, ramrodding through the Kenesset a law banning any protest against and boycott of Israel by its own citizens and foreigners.
And despite all this 'clever' pressure, a ship did break out of an Israeli designed blockade. And that ship was 'Dignite/Karama'. The ten people aboard and a Haaretz reporter and al Jazeera team did not expect to get to Gaza; what they did foresee was a thumbing their nose at an rogue state's violating international law. More than that, it is an example of how helpless and wounded is the 'lion of Judea'.

Murdock's Watergate?

As Rupert Murdock and son James give testimony at Westminster, no one, it seems, but former Nixon counsel John Dean sees the mess that the Murdock media empire is being sucked into, similar to Watergate which eventually forced then president Nixon to resign from office.
The hacking scandal has quickly spread like an uncontrolled cancer, which even few could have imagined even a fortnight ago, is shaking the pillars of a rough and tumble media baron's empire. Suddenly Murdock has turned into a 'Charles Forster Kane', humbly printing apologies in the major British press, sniveling before the British public with wafts of mea culpa, but not mea maxima culpa, and denying in the end of any responsibility for ruses and tactics that could make the underworld blush.
On the American side of the Atlantic, the FBI is asked to looked into phone hacking of 9/11 families and victims.
News Corporation, Murdock's media conglomerate, is circling the wagons, using the dodgy journalism of its Fox News and the 'Wall Street Journal' to obfuscate and throw the bloodhounds off the scent of the ever growing stronger scent of illegality, corruption, and brute use of power to run circles around democratic institutions of government in the UK and the US and elsewhere.
News Corp. board will back up Murdock even though the company's stock is falling; institutional investors are getting antsy before perhaps dumping the company's stock.
Murdock is not defanged, but he is damaged goods, as is his son James. His dreams of a family empire surviving a third or fourth generation is more and more just that a wish.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Israel launders spy money in Hollywood

GuamDiary encourages its readers to rush and buy when it appears Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman's 'Confidential: the life of secret agent turned Hollywood tycoon Arnon Chernon', published by Gefen Books, and scheduled for release on 30 July 2011.
As a foretaste, we recommend the 'New York Times' article by Michael Cieply 'New book recounts tale of Israeli agent at home in Hollywood'.
Agent in many senses of the world, the arms dealer and manufacturer, bag man for laundered Israel funds that remained outside the purview and control of the Israeli Kenesset and used for black and white operations in and outside the US, to further Israel's foreign policy aims, and convicted felon, Milchan enjoys a charmed life in Tinseltown.
If his 'louche' dealings are not enough, there is a money trail that connects him to Rupert Murdoch!
Will the book lead to investigations by the US for violation of the foreign agents act?

Israel's 'Lebensraum'

Is it a coincidence that the prestigious London 'Financial Times' and the American paper of note, 'The New York Times' have an editorial criticising Israel's law curtailing its citizens freedoms? The 'FT' is more lawyerly in thrust: it stresses that the new law 'mak[es] it illegal to boycott Israel and its colonisation of Palestinian lands'. The 'NYT' frets about Israel's 'chipping away' at free speech and political rights.
As GuamDiary earlier commented, Israel is now imposing the same 'rights' on its own citizens that the Zionist state has enforced with impunity on Palestinians in the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem under Israeli 44 year occupation. Israel's chickens have come home to roost.
By honing in on illegal colonisation, which raises the question of theft of Palestinian land, the veil has been lifted on what the implantation of Jewish settlement is: 'Lebensraum' or living or breathing space. It is a carbon copy of the policy Germany imposed on conquered land in Central and Eastern Europe during world war two. In other words, opening up lands occupied by Palestinians for Jewish colonies under the hoary biblical appeal to history, to the long forgotten and vanished Jewish kingdom of Judea and Samaria.
Israel for many reasons cannot push 'Lebensraum' to the German extreme, but it can and does drive the undesirable Palestinians out of house and home into what many have called 'bantustans' a la South African Apartheid regime, by force and draconian measures. In Arab East Jerusalem, it has not relaxed its harsh measures, but relies more on neglect of Arabs there to such a degree in the hope that they out of frustration will leave. To the Zionists' authorities chagrin, they mostly don't and protest under the eye of international observers.
'Lebenraum' is a policy that blackens the reputation of all parties in Israel but the radical left. Under the revisionist Zionist Likud party, it has accelerated, and what's more, although long ignored, the Likud party and its youth movement out of which the prime minister 'Bibi' Netenyahu emerges, in pre war Europe was considered by traditional Jewish and Bundist and Communist Jewish parties as 'fascist' in tendency, and outside of a common front effort against Nazi Germany.
Today, Likud and its allies are exhibiting proto fascist behaviour and manoeuvres to swing the Zionist state so far to the right that it can no longer claim to be a 'beacon of democracy' in the Middle East. In contrast, the Arab world once thought of authoritarian and feudal is emerging as 'beacons of democracy' as Israel slips into the ways of antidemocratic regimes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Israel suffers a defeat: a French boat sails from Greece to Gaza

You may dispute the use of 'defeat', but the mere fact that 'Dignite/Karama' left the Greek island Kastellorizo on 26 July 2011 heading south....for Gaza has cracked prime minister 'Bibi' Netenyahu's Likud led government's ham handed pressure on the Greek government to stop the 10 ship 'Freedom Flotilla 2' from ever leaving Greek ports. The Zionist state had the strong arm of the Obama administration behind it; Greece is in an eocnomic mess, wracked by students and applying draconian budgets impoverishing its own citizens, to save German and US and other EU banks. So it couldn't do anything less but cave into US Israeli pressure to block the Flotilla from challening the Zionist state's illegal blockade of the Gaza strip simply because of its animus against the democratically elected Hamas government which refuses to recognise the Zionist state, in spite of Israeli's blitzkrieg war called 'Cast Lead'.
The Netenyahu government has not shied away from bribery, threats, and sabotage, in order to stop any ship in the Flotilla to sail towards Gaza. Let's not forget in June 2010 in bald violation of international law of the seas and piracy, special Israeli defence forces killed eight Turks and one American of Turkish origin aboard the 'Mavi Mamara'. They boarded other ships in the Peace Flotilla 2010, directing their captains to put into Askalon, a port in Israel, to confiscate the cargo of food, building and medical supplies, and the like, interrogating everyone aboard the ships, impounded cameras, cell phones, and journalists' computers and notes, as well as putting names on a blacklist.
This year, the Israeli military first appealed to the 10 ships to put into Israeli ports, turn over their cargo, which the Zionist authorities would, willy nilly, funnel to Palestinians in Gaza. In other words, the peackniks had to rely on the good will and word of Israel, contrary to its sorry track record. If the Flotilla persisted in challenging Israel's illegal blockade of Gaza, the military will take any means necessary to stop them.
President Obama called on the 50 US participants that honoured him by baptising their boat 'Audacity of Hope', after his second book, to call off sailing for Gaza. Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, astonished everyone by saying if the Israeli military used live fire against the peace ships, they had only themselves to blame; for Israel had the right to defend itself...and here's the rub: on international waters where Israel has no jurisdiction. You've to wonder how stupid and absurdably US policy was wedded to the Zionist state's policy and objectives. In other words, she put the US on the side of 'terrorism' and 'piracy'.
The US 'Audacity of Hope' tried to run Greece's ban to leave port, it was stopped in Greek waters and taken back to its berth. And there it sits.
The French 'Dignite/Karama' has run the ban by sailing from the island of Kastellorizo, far from the Greek mainland, and off the Turkish coast. Ten peaceniks will brave the 'terror' of the Zionist state. Unarmed, they know that they are risking their lives faced with an Israeli military that shots first and asks questions later. Aboard 'Dignite/Karama' is the Israeli journalist Amira of the prestigious 'Haaretz' and a team from al Jazeera television.
Now that 'Dignite/Karama' has sailed, it would not surprise GuamDiary that other 'sequested' ships will follow suit, one by one.
We can imagine the fear that the peaceniks 'chutzpah' puts into the Zionist elite, and the audacity they exhibit by defying the pitiful giant that the superarmed Israel with a nuclear arsenal of 200 over weapons hidden in the Negev.
The peaceniks are not naifs; they have weighed the danger to life and limb in running the illegal Israeli blockade of Israel, with the US supports. Yet, they are bold as brass to say no to the Zionist state bully.
Will the Israeli military act according to script by using live fire? That scenario cannot be discounted judging by past performance.
Like it or not, by sailing out of Kastellorzio, the 10 French passagers with Israeli and al Jazerra journalist abroad, Israel has suffered an existential defeat of important implications.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Eric Cantor: John Boehner's bane

No doubt about it: Eric Cantor is after John Boehner spot as Republican leader of the lower house of the US Congress, and he's making no bones about it.
Brash, arrogant, take no prisoners Cantor that is who he is from Virginia. Bold as brass, he takes no prisoners, so cocksure he is of himself.
Cynical he will do anything to advance Eric Cantor and damn the country!
Spreaking of country, which country is Cantor loyal to? GuamDiary already remarked on Cantor's act of fealty to Israeli prime minister 'Bibi' Netenyahu as though he was a member of the Likud party. In the face of keen criticism, Cantor had to retract his act of fidelity to a foreign government.
Cantor is Jewish. He's observant but does he know the difference between his personal creed and allegiance to a foreign state? That is a critical question, which remains unanswered.
Let's recall it was Cantor who arranged with Boehner's acting as his shill, for Netenyahu to speak before the joint houses of Congress. Every act of Cantor is to advance his own agenda and that of Israel.
His cloudiness on his obligation to the country of his birth, the United States, opens him to the question of dual loyalty, as well as an opening for anti Semites to accuse him of 'dual loyalty'.
For the moment, with a swelled head, Cantor is riding the crest of the reactionary wing of the Republican party. Boehner may protect him from criticism for sabotaging 'a deal' on raising the US debt level, but Cantor is going for broke even though it might throw the country and the world in a global crash.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Israel: the gathering storm

The Keneset ban on demonstrations against the Zionist state is causing a backlash inside and outside Israel.
The right wing Likud led government under the iron grip of prime minister 'Bibi' Netenyahu has, it seems, bitten off more than he can chew. The object all sublime of the ban was to nip in the bud peace flotillas, fly in tillas, and protests of illegal settlements in the Palestinian occupied West Bank and Arab east Jerusalem, in violation of international law.
At the same time, as GuamDiary has noted, Israel has pulled out plugs on a multi million dollar media campaign to flagging tourism.
The Keneset ban may widen the boycott movement. Netenyahu's clever by half strategy is now boomeranging as it attacks fundamental civil liberties of citizens of Israel, which it long denied Palestinians under its 43 occupation of the West Bank, Arab east Jerusalem, which the International Court of Justice has defined as belonging to Palestine and not to Israel to steal and populate as it sees fit with its own citizens. Ariel Sharon returned the Gaza strip to the Palestinians but that did not stop the Zionist state from waging a 22 day preemptive war dubbed 'Cast Led' in December 2008 because its democratically elected Hamas government refuses to recognise Israel, and reserves the right to self defence against IDF attacks. Israel alone goes the Zionist's state argument has the right to defend itself by any means but denies it to others.
In any run of time, Israel is going to suffer condemnation at home and abroad and will see its inflexibility to come to terms with the realities of the day affect seriously its economy and standard of living.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Journal of Asian Studies 'discovers' North Korea

The current issue of 'The Journal of Asian Studies', published by the Association for Asian Studies [vol. 70, no. 2, May 2011] has provided space for a 'mini-forum' 'regarding North Korea'.
'Mini-forum' is an exaggeration: the reader finds two articles, one by the Charles Armstrong, Columbia University, on trends in the 'study of North Korea', the other by Nan Kim at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee on 'Korea on the Brink: regarding the "yonp'yong" shelling and its aftermath'.
North Korea is one of those subjects among America's scholars best left alone. A principle reason may be the dearth of scholars in various fields who concentrate on Korea. The lion's share tilt towards the ROK where they can teach, work, and pursue research. The DPRK is a dark mirror where US scholarship is at best spotty even though scholars do go make 'on the spot' visits with varying frequency. North Korea is a fertile field to explore but America's politics always get in the way: technically the US is still at war with North Korea for 61 years, a war which looks as though it might rival in length the Anglo French 100 Year War; in spite of a small period of detente, since the George W. Bush administration relations have come to a standstill, for the Six Party Talks in Beijing are in abeyance on the nuclear and rocket issues, the pursuit of sanctions to punish and bring back Pyongyang to the talks, and the Obama administration's yoking US policy to the aggressive and seeming vindictive approach to Kim Jong il by the Lee Myung bak government who has done everything to antagonise North Korea. Not to be left out are the joint military manoeuvres by these two allies along the NLL [Northern Limit Line] with live fire. The sinking of the ROK corvette Cheonan' in March 2010 remains open to interpretation, owing to the secretive and at times misleading ways Seoul and Washington have handled the matter.
Since many of the US North Korean clerisy have very close relations with the US government, it is not surprising that research follows a predictable trajectory.
GuamDiary has commented on the Council on Foreign Relations report on Korea in March 2010. To a man, the leading clerks who dabble in North Korea called on the US government to 'roll back' North Korea. 'Roll back' is an early Cold War policy of overthrowing Communist governments, which the war in Korea, the 1956 Hungarian uprising, and the 1968 Czech spring, showed to be more rhetoric than reality. [War in Korean proved a stinging stalemate for the US UN led troops and of course Vietnam proved a military, economic, and political disaster.]
Contrarian opinions get marginalised, ignored, or simply pigeon holed and hampered by lacking of public and private funding.
To be fair in a way, planning for JAS takes months if not a year or two, but you would think that given the headlines that North Korea has had in the media for the last 20 years, this journal would have devoted more attention to the DPRK?
Well, now, North Korea like the proverbial camel who first sticks its nose into the tent during a severe sand storm and eventually come into it, cannot but not be noticed, on one hand, and on the other, owing to the wide Swiss cheese holes on information and intelligence in the US, it is now, well, almost 'kosher' to be talked about in a 'mini-forum' in the 'prestigious' JAS.

Israel retreats a millemetre

Protests inside and outside Israel are not good for business. The Zionist state is waging an aggressive publicity campaign to bring tourists to Israel especially during summer holidays. So to 'spice' up the menu of spots to visit, Israel is appealing to Christians: it has unearthed and deactivated mines long buried along the Palestinian West Bank Jordan River border. The 'mine free' site is the traditional site where John the Baptist baptised Jesus. Now 43 years after Israel occupied the West Bank in the wake of the Six Day War, one of the most holy sites in Christendom is once more open to the faithful.
The Zionist state's gesture is an act of expedience to win friends and influence people. Will it work the more especially since Israel has embarked on draconian measures to quiet protests among its own citizens, thereby applying, to a degree, the harsh governance under which Palestinians have lived for more than four decades?

The denial of 40 percent of natural gas to Israel from Egypt is incrementally taking its toll on the Zionist state's economy, it goes without saying. The fall of Mubarak is putting a strain on state expenditures by shifting money away from industry to the military. Israel rapid growth in the past had gotten a boost by its alliance with Mubarak Egypt, which kept the lid tight on the blockaded Gaza Strip, thereby allowing Israel to devote more funds for more rapid economic development.

Mubarak's Egypt did not see any growth, but thanks to US billion dollar loans, Washington kept the authoritarian leader afloat. With his overthrow, the US is scrambling for a new policy that is not quickly coming and Israel, even with billions in American taxpayers money, which the US forgives as loans, will see a break on its economic growth.

So even opening the shores of the Jordan where Jesus is traditionally thought to have received baptism has to be seen as a retreat for Israel as its flounder to regain a pinch of economic balance.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Israel embraces a bunken mentality

On Monday 11 July 2011 the Knesset voted a law to ban protests in Israel of the Zionist state. The right wing Likud government led by 'Bibi' Netenyahu will now use this law to strip Israelis of their civil rights. Israel has come full circle: first it denied Palestinians in the occupied West Bank of their rights; now they are applying the same legal manoeuvres to their own citizens.
Israel claim it is the beacon of freedom, liberty, and democracy in the Middle East. It takes pride of place with its autocratic neighbours.
It was Assad or Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas in Gaza or Ahmedijinebad in Iran that forced the Knesset's hands. No, it was their own citizens, the peaceful protesters in the West Bank who are embracing Gandhi like passive resistance, and the peace flotillas who try to break the illegal Israel blockades, condemn the theft of Palestinian lands in the West Bank and Arab east Jerusalem, as well as the illegal settlements on Palestinian lands.
No, it's not rockets or guns or war that is making the Zionist state tremble and reach for repression to maintain power and the old ways of ruling, but ordinary citizens in Israel, Palestine, and around the world. In other words, it is people power that is rocking the pillars of the Zionist temple!
As such Israel is opting for repression. It may laugh at the chant heard round the world, 'the people united can never be defeated', but the people in Israel, the West Bank, in the refugee camps in Syria, in Gaza and elsewhere know that by this ban, the Zionist state is like the emperor naked.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A half-century of Sino-DPRK treaty of friendship

Hardly worth more than a mention in today's 'Financial Times of London', Chinese vice-premier Zheng Dejiang hand carried a letter of Hu Jintao to Kim Jong il confirming that China's ties of friendship and support of North Korea is an 'unshakable strategic policy', as the two countries mark the 50 anniversary of a friendship treaty.

If the US policy clerisy's bet that Beijing would jettison in any fashion its ally in Pyongyang, US North Korea watch have come up on the losing end.

Zheng's presence in the North Korean capitol should send an urgent signal to the Obama administration and to the Lee Myung bak regime in Seoul. At a time the US is criticising China in its forward policy in the South China Sea, Beijing has its own cards to play to make life difficult to US Korea policy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Malaysia: 'model democracy' stumbles

Malaysia' UMNO [United Malay National Organisations] led Barisan National [BN] government has not taken kindly to the long carried winds of the Arab spring that have wafted over the country.
In fact, under the leadership of Najib Razak, all stops are being pulled out against any demostrations challenging UMNO's role or even the mildest of reforms, which, willy nilly, would shine the light on the party's warts and corrupt practices.
Yesterday's arrest of more than 1600 protesters from all racial groups and parties out of government in the capitol Kuala Lumpur is indicative of Najib's determination to nip protest in the bud.
If anything it tore the mask off of a benign democracy. It is also the long hand of history taking its revenge against the UNMO inspired race riots of 13 May 1969: it is the sin of the prime minister's father who had a hand in this racialist putsch 42 years ago. In 2007, declassified documents on the Riots became available at the Public Records Office in London. Suaram, a Malaysian human rights group, with the assistance of scholar and activist Kua Kia Soong, published a book challenging government accounts of the events of 13 May 1969.
Malaysia's Internal Security Ministry, acting on the call of numerous politicians, seized and banned the book. [GuamDiary readers can order a copy from Select bookshop in Singapore.] The documents officially record a coup on the part of the elder Rajib & co., thereby establishing full Malay control of the electoral field, the economics, and setting up a hierarchy of privilege based on race through legally chaining Malaysian Chinese and Indians to second and third class citizenship in spite of constitutional protections.
UNMO benefitted from strong leadership of Mahatir Mohammed, copying the leadership style of Singapore's Lee Kwong Yew and the flush of oil revenues, dragged the country from a 'farnient' image to a bustling modern economy, whilst at creating a middle class which especially advantaged Malays and increasing corruption and imposed heavy restrictions on Chinese and Indians in education, work, land ownership, so on and on.
Under Mahatir, a break in UNMO leadership occured: his heir presumptive Anwar Ibrahim broke with him over how to deal with the 1998 Asian financial collapse. Anwar was arrested, tried and sentenced for among other charges sodomy, and banned from political life. The courts ultimately freed him, but his ordeal is being played out still in the courtroom on the same charges. However, in the meantime, his party ended up breaking UNMO's hold in key states. [Ironically, Anwar and his wife began emphasising early on a 'return to Islam' in dress, practice and piety. coincidentally, many young people attracted to his call ended up embracing strict interpresentation of Islam and may have fostered an attraction of Islamic terrorism'.]
Challenges to UNMO rule could no longer be swept under the carpet. UNMO had to descend into the political market place to thwart any further erosion of its power. Najib replaced the aging Mahatir, which earned him the old prime minister's spleen [vide, Mahatir's blog]. Razak is tainted with scandal in a hushed up affair of the murder of a Mongolian model; he was 'washed' of any involvement but the jury of public opinion is out on the matter until more documents are made public.
The rise of an urban youth with broader contact through the internet and social networks and travel and easy travel to neighbouring Singapore began chomping on the bit of a censorship, imposition of Islamic taboos even on non Muslims, and the lack of opportunities.
And now the Arab telegraph message of hope and change came loud and clear, adding more yeast to calls for reform.
It is hardly surprising that the UNMO led government mocked and condemned in no uncertain terms the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Clearly it is afraid of its own future and potential fall from power.
Protests in Malaysia raise concern in neighbouring Singapore, which has always offered a haven for Malaysians mainly of Chinese origin. Discontent there under the iron grip rule of the People's Action Party for the last half century, is beginning to show if we rely on the last elections. Polls reveal the widespread discontent with the PAP.
How protest will play out in Malaysia is a work in progress. UNMO cannot give more lest unless it is willing to deconstruct the work of the 1969 coup d'etat.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Irael flummoxed

Try as the right wing Likud led government tries to checkmate peace activists challenging Israel's blockade of Gaza or illegally taking over Arab east Jerusalem or theft of Palestinian land on the occupied Palestian West Bank or the Zionist state's implanting Jewish settlers on the stolen land, 'Bibi' Netenyahu & co's grip is slipping on the establishing a 'Greater Israel' from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. As for the Palestinians well the Zionist state has not forsaken them: they are being consigned to cantoonments a la Apartheid South African 'bantustans', thank you very much.
Try as Israel, it is being overwhelmed by vagues of activists, Jew and non Jew, who challenge Israel's occupation and denial Palestinians of their basic rights including the right to a state, in order to determine their destiny as they see fit.
Protesters in and outside the occupied West Bank and Israel are more and more adopting passive resistance. It is looking as though it is working even if their stated goal is momentarily thwarted.
The Peace Flotilla is but one example. Now, they are the people bringing Israel 'fly-tilla'. Netenyahu has applied heavy pressure on the Hungarian airline Malev, Italy's Alitalia, Germany's Lufthansa from embarking protesters belonging to 'Bienvenue Palestine' from flying to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.
Already they had to call out a phalanx of police to stop Israeli supporters with signs signs in English, Hebrew, and Arabic welcoming protesters to Palestine!
As a precautionary measure, Israel has drawn up a blacklist to deny visitors whom the Zionist state consider 'undesirable'.
The blacklist in a way 'gums up' a multi million dollar media campaign to draw tourists to Israel. Tourism has suffered since Israel's wars against Lebanon and Gaza. As such, in a sea of bad and unfavorable press, Israel is beefing up its propaganda machine to once again bring in hard currency. Peace protests are not helping this effort.
The kind, smiling face Israel is trying to present to the world turns ugly when the army and the police manhandle, injure, main, and kill civilians.
In a way, the delayed winds of the Arab spring is bathing Israel with a movement of the time which rock the pillars of the Zionist state. We may be overstating the case, yet in a strange way, passive resistance to the repressive Israeli military, police, and political authories is gathering the power to topple the walls of the Zionist political citadel in a metaphor

Friday, July 8, 2011

Israel goes from one Pyrrhic victory to another

Through sabotage and cynical propaganda and the heavy hand of the US, Israel has for the moment stalled the sailing of the Peace Flotilla to Gaza in defiance of its illegally imposed blockade by sea of the Gaza Strip after the democratically elected Hamas was elected to govern in 2008.
Israel, too, is hastily mending fences with Turkey, in order to heal the breach with Ankara after its commandos boarded the 'Mavi Mamara' in June 2010, killing eight Turks and one American of Turkish origin. The Zionist state is in a fast forward mode, to deflate the impact of a soon to be released UN report on the Israel attack on last year's Peace Flotilla, in violation of the laws of piracy and the laws of the seas. Israeli commandos killed and wounded unarmed civilians on the high seas a good many kilometres from its own territorial boundaries. In other words, Israel committed terrorism!
Another UN report has gone to the UN Security Council on the use of live fire on unarmed Palestinians refugees in Syria who peacefully jumped Israeli barbed and razor wire to 'reclaim' land that is theirs that Israel has occupied and incorporated since the Six Day War in 1967. The 'tsahal' or IDF [Israel Defense Force] use of live ammo to stop the peaceful protest resulted in killings and many wounded. Israel may claim 'self defence' but that position is hard to sustain owing to the immediate shooting of protesters with the intention to kill, main, and wound. [Will the US veto the report and once again let Israel continue its terrorism?]
And then there is the move to have the UN General Assembly recognise 'de facto' and 'de jure' an independent Palestine, even though it is under 43 years of Israeli occupation. The Zionist state has not only stolen Palestinian land on the West Bank but it has implanted its own settlers in violation of international law, arguing in a bait and switch tone that God gave the land to the Hebrews then known as 'Judea and Sumaria'.
So one way or the other, Israel is being thrown on the ropes, in spite of its protector and pro-consul the US.

At long last, promise of food for North Korea

The European Union has voted 100 euros in food aid for North Korea, under certain conditions of control of its distribution to the needy starving North Koreans, in other words, a good bookkeeping exercise from port to point of distribution by the EU itself.

It boggles the mind as to the delay in aiding the starving in North Korea. High mindedness and tsk, tsk, tsking surely played a part in denying until humanitarian aid. And of course politics, especially the 800 pound bully known as the US, who keep unearthing the red herring that any food goes to the pampered, well fed military that props up Kim Jong il & co.

As GuamDiary has observed, North Korea has had a similar arrangement with NGOs for years now. Consider the US Mercy Corp. which has done yeoman's work in distributing food from port to household pot until the US cut off the food aid it gave Mercy in 2008. At that time, the right wing Lee Myung bak became president of South Korea, and he did the same. To force North Korea to bend to these two countries' will, they coordinated draconian demands and policies which only worsened the food shortages in the North. Not only that, they blamed Kim for natural disasters which ruined crops, in cynical pursuit of a propaganda war.

Now the EU has had a change of heart it seems after slavishly following the Obama administration's tune. How fast it will act is open to question. We should forget that the road to hell is often paved with the elevated 'ideals' of the supposed virtuous US and ROK and the UK.

It's time to feed the starving North Koreans!