Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Israel, perfidious US ally

The reactionary Israeli prime minister 'Bibi' Netenyahu has informed US president Obama that Israel won't give America warning when it attacks Iran.
By agreement, the US is not obligated to come to the Zionist state's aid, since Israel will have initiated war like actions. But, owing to mad temper of the times in the US, it probably shall for its own pigheaded policy towards Iran.
If Israel carries out its threat, Tehran will rain down missiles on Israel, killing more civilians than military. You can say, Israel deserves it, but the broader geopolitical implications spell disaster for the Zionist state, the region, and the tyranny its holds on oil & gas.

Admiral Robert Willard confirms use of food aid as weapon

As the parliament of fowls cackle in the White House, department of state, and Pentagon, US policy towards North Korea has reached another rung in desperation.
Admiral Robert Willard, commander of the US Pacific Command, acknowledged that the Obama administration, as GuamDiary has long commented, is using food aid to bend North Korea to its demands to abandon the DPRK nuclear program.
The US has used food aid as a weapon before; it has worked, though he sent many children and the elderly to an earlier death. Consider Iraq, the Bush administration had to mount a duplicitous Madison Avenue like campaign to get America behind his invasion of Iraq. And today, the Iraqi are picking up the pieces of a disaster Bush & co. visited on their country.
GuamDiary keeps scratching its head, asking, as it has done time and time again before, hasn't the US North Korean clerisy learnt a thing about North Korea. The DPRK basks in its ultra nationalism; it is fiercely proud of its history and country, so threats like denial of food aid won't work. For the US, under Obama, cut off all aid since 2008, and somehow North Korea hasn't collapsed. That should tell our fine feathered North Korean experts something, but, alas, it doesn't. They keep chirp, chirp, chirping the same hoary melody of sanctions, punitive measures, and the like which have always run into a stonewall of failure. You'd think they'd learn something. Wrong!
What a waste of taxpayers' money! And, the tragedy is: the Obama administration will continue on its path of folly. Hasn't anyone read Mike Chinoy's 'Meltdown'?

US use food as weapon in talking to DPRK

The US-North Korea exploratory talks in Beijing will broke on the question of food aid. The Obama administration had already promised aid in food shortly before the sudden death of Kim Jong il. His untimely demise allowed it to put the matter on hold until Washington could revisit it with the new North Korean leadership.

And yet, as we learn from the press, North Korea and the US are in disagreement on what is meant by "food aid".

The US is offering 240, 000 tons of food, with a large dollop of fortified milk and high energy bars; North Korea is wanting 300,000 tons mainly in grain.

For North Korea, fortified milk and high energy bars simply won't meet the feeds of its people on the verge of starvation; for milk is hardy a staple in the country's diet and high energy chocolate bars is more fitting for US GIs' mess kits. Grain will go a long way in feeding North Koreans.

You have to really wonder if the US is ingenuous in its desire to "coax back" North Korea if it continues to play games with food aid. It is important to recall that the Obama administration cut off all aid in food to North Korea; it has used food as a political weapon to bend Pyongyang to agree to Washington's demands. The results of this policy have been nil, and yet, the US continues a wrong headed policy.

You have to wonder if after more than 60 years, the US has learnt anything about North Korea.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hillary Clinton explodes in Tunis

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton hogged the air waves by denouncing China and Russia for vetoing the US and Arab League sanctions against Syria, and call for Bachar Al Assad to step down.
Her anguish and frustration are at fever pitch. She's mad, really mad, but like the Brother Grimms' big bad wolf huff and puff as she likes China's and Russia's support of Syria won't blow down.
Has no one in Washington read old KGB spy and journalist Primakov's writings on the Arab world he knows so well?
Assad is no poster boy of cheer and benevolence, yet Moscow and Beijing think the US assault on Syria not only ham fisted and wrong. US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan tell a sorry tale of what Syria would be like if the US had its way. Chaos and civil strife. The turmoil in Lebanon should serve as a moral tale, and the worm of confessional war in Lebanon's roots lie in Eisenhower's decision to send in the Marines in 1958.
China and Russia are looking to ease Assad out in a way to avoid Syria's collapse, we think.
We also know that like the Bourbons, the US, from its own history, has learnt nothing and forgot everything.

US DPRK talks end inconclusively

'Made some progress'...'opened a window of opportunity', says Glyn Davies, the US North Korea co ordinator. Diplomatic speak. Go back to mid Summer and mid October 2011, please: the language is more or less the same.
The best, GuamDiary, can say: the US is talking to North Korea.
If the Obama administration thought that it could make headway with Pyongyang because it has a young 'untested' leader Kim Jong eun, they thought wrong.
We wonder in what lofty stratosphere or bottomless pit float the US North Korea clerisy. The North Koreans have consistently formulated positions, but the jesuits in Washington, think tanks, and ivory university tours parse words for hidden meanings; they would challenge adepts of the Kabbala or the alchemists on Swift's floating island Laputa.
Talks will continue in months down the line, yet unless the US softens its tack, well...and in this presidential election year, nothing new will happen.
If Lee Myung bak GNP loses the Blue House in 2012, well, we can hope a 'thaw' in US DPRK relations might happen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bravo Jake Trapper

Jake Trapper woke up the sleepy press briefing at the White House today.
The ABC White House correspondent took issue with Jay Carney, Obama's press secretary during a tribute to two fallen journalists in Syria--Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik.
Trapper caught Carney unawares by saying that although the US president likes reporters' aggressive and challenging work abroad, he is quietly 'killing journalism' on the home front.
By that he meant, the department of justice combative behaviour in going after whistleblowers, as well as reporters doing their job in pursuing a good story without taking cues from government or private interests, to get at the truth.
The Obama administration's record tells the story in going after whistleblowers in the press, even though it itself readily 'leaks' information cut to fit its own purposes in the press. Under Obama and his predecessor Bush fils, freedom of the press in the US has been pushed on the ropes. The White House has come in swinging hard and fast.
Little wonder someone like Bill Keller of the 'New York Times', backed by the Gray Old Lady's lawyers run to Washington to clear stories, lest the newspaper of note will face the government's wrath.
Bravo Trapper. Let's hope the feckless media drink deeply from the source of your courage. Let American journalism at home be as brave and daring as it is covering hot spots abroad.

Will food aid sink US DPRK talks?

US has still to live up to its promise of us$900m in food aid to North Korea.
The sudden death of Kim Jong il in December 2011, provided the Obama administration with a handy excuse to reconsider its offer. The White House figured that with a new, younger, untested leader at the DPRK helm, well, you roll back the odometre to zero and begin all over again with North Korea.
The Obama administration cut off food aid to North Korea very early in 2008, at a time when it was most needed. North Korea has suffered the vagaries of Mother Nature who has blown very cold, sent unforgiving, heavy rains, and the like, that destroyed promising crop yields, which would go a long way to feed a population on the verge of starvation.
Contrary to noble words, the US has withheld food aid to NGOs, as a stick to beat over North Koreans heads, for political reasons the DPRK leadership find not only unacceptable but draconian. It is as though the Obama White House were saying, 'it's my way or the highway' or 'like it or lump it'. Well, Pyongyang took the highway. Which raises the matter of Washington's inflexible diplomacy towards North Korea.
The DPRK is a highly nationalist country. And any move to question its integrity is quickly challenged. Even though the US says that it is wanting to bring North Korea back to the six party talks in Beijing, its calculus is so calibrated that its demands are so fashioned for rejection.
Glyn Davies, the US co ordinator for North Korea, waxed hopeful that the talks now going on in Beijing between Washington and Pyongyang will lead to some happy outcome, the question of will the US honour its pledge of food aid remains.
The US has used slippery diplomatic language that there are wrinkles to be ironed out. The Obama administration has always raised the specter that any food aid would go first to feed the million man standing army, not the people who need it.
Contrary to claims, say, of Mercy Corp., an NGO conduit of food aid, that they have tracked in the past the funneling of food to the needy in the provinces from port to point of distribution, their words carry little weight in the diplomatic war the US is carrying out against the DPRK.
Other NGOs from Europe corroborate Mercy Corp.'s assertions, but to little avail.
Which raises the question: is president Obama willing to live up to its word on us$900m in food aid?

US DPRK talks in Beijing

US co ordinator on North Korea Glyn Davies has come out of the Beijing talks with North Korea [23 February 2012] with a hopeful evaluation: 'the talks', the first since the rise to power of Kim Jong eun, were 'serious and substantive'. And they will continue another day.
Since 2011, in the US and now in Beijing, the US and DPRK have met three times. After an exchange of views on North Korea's nuclear programme, the first two session in July and October 2011, went nowhere.
The Obama administration has been trying to lure the DPRK back to six party talks for the last two years. A quick glance at the record will explain its failure: one, it has coordinated its policy with the revanchist South Korean president Lee Myung bak's reactionary course of action to do everything to push Pyongyang to the verge of collapse; two, it has intensified sanctions and penalties, an ham handed, inept approach which led nowhere; three, it beefed up joint military exercises along the NLL within a spittle's throw of North Korea waters; and last but not least, has intensified a propaganda war, the only effect of which was doomed to failure.
Now, has the US had a change of heart? Perhaps. Late 2011, Obama elaborated a new military doctrine aimed at isolating China. Does he think a softer policy towards an untested leader like Kim Jong eun could drive a wedge between him and his neighbour and ally China? If that idea has ever graced the minds of America's policy makers, it is off the wall.
The US would be on more solid ground if it engaged diplomatically North Korea. And more to the point, in a rush to disengage in wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, it would do well to finally put an end to the Korean War by signing a peace treaty with China and North Korea.
[GuamDiary readers may very well know, that South Korea refused to sign the 1953 Armistice Agreement, and thus, technically, it has not place at the table.]
If Washington is unwilling to end the Korean War, well, it could be wise and large enough to grant North Korea's wishes for direct talks without preconditions.
The US hides behind the smoke screen of not wanting to slight its clients in Seoul, but the US has enough clout to keep Lee Myung bak on a tight leash if it wants to. And besides, there is a strong undercurrent in South Korea wanting a more open and nuanced approach towards North Korea.
Let's see where tomorrow's talks will go. Guarded optimism is welcome, but one should be prepared for the usual do nothing by the Americans.

South Korea's naval drills along the NLL and Kim Jung eun

If South Korea's president Lee Myung-bak thinks that the new DPRK leader Kim Jong-eun will provocatively respond to the ROK five live-fire drills Pyeongyang island a along the Northern Line Limit 10 kilometers from North Korea's territorial waters, he is harboring an illusion. North Korea will only respond to South Korean military manuevers only when they violate North Korea's territory.

The current military exercises are a link in a long chain of saber rattling drills, usually with the US, to rattle the North Korean leadership. Usually, Pyongyang bombastically protests and then warns that North Korea will retaliate if provoked. And in the end of November 2010, South Korean shells fell in North Korean waters, and Kim Jong-il's defense forces riposted immediately: their target was Pyeongyang island that serves as a forward military base, but is often characterized as a peaceful fishing village.

North Korea's rapid response raised fears of the reopening of the quiescent Korean War, frozen in place by the 1953 Armistice Agreement which South Korea never signed. Although Lee wished to return fire, the Obama administration stayed his hand. South Korea in live-fire joint military posturimuchng along the NLL to give North Korea much cotton to thread since Pyongyang has resisted US terms to denuclearize a divided Korean peninsula. (The US and DPRK will meet on February 23.)

North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong-eun, 28, is a blank page for not only South Korea and the US but for the global community in general. With his father's death on December 19 last, he has assumed the full trappings of head of state, completing a seamless transition of power in North Korea. Little is known about him. Google him, and you will see endless photographs of the "Young General," but little of substance.

Two months in office, he has displayed a talent for silence, which confuse North Korean watchers. His reflective stance simply underscores what former US ambassador to South Korea as "US intelligence's greatest failure"; for our knowledge of what is going on in the DPRK remains skimpy and unrewarding.

And yet, "Rodong Shinmum," at the end of January quoted him as saying: "Even whne I work night after night, once I have brought joy to [our people], the weariness vanishes and a new strength through my whole body. This is what revolutionaries should live for."

His words may sound odd to our ears, but are an expression of filial piety and loyalty which underpin the idea of virtue North Koreans value. They signal that he will remain ture to his responsibilities to his people and nation, in the same way his grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong-il did. In a way, his work ethic is ironically mirrors the long hours of an investment banker keeps.

By keeping his own counsel and his silence, he will continue to flummox the outside world; these "virtues" will enhance his aura, as well as projecting him, in spite of his youth, as the unifying symbol of communal culture, political continuity, and improving the commonweal of the North Korean people.

US and South Korea sanctions and boycotts have failed. Unless these two countries and their allies began talking to Kim Jong-eun, he and his country will feed the gossipy press in the west and elsewhere, floating rumors which have no substantive basis.

A good start would be ending the 64-year-old Korean War with a peace treaty.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

America sinks into intellectual and moral darkness

Americans, like most people, think well of themselves.
Their level of general culture is low, and sliding further towards the abyss of knownothing ism.
Consider the calibre of the slate of Republicans vying for the GOP standard bearer status in the 2012 elections.
All are college educated. All financially have nothing in common with the vast majority of Americans; all espouse reactionary social, political, and economic ideas that have one goal: the iron rule of finance capital and corporatism.
Take Newt Gingrich, ph.d. in history, criticising Mitt Romney for knowing French, which he learnt as a Mormon missionary in France as a way to escape military service in Vietnam.
A European would laugh at the very notion that knowing a second language is a political sin.
You can say that Gingrich's is a cynic, he knows better. Perhaps, but he is not loathe to inflame the ignorance of the American people at a time of great economic stress.
The general state of US education is something not to be desired. Endless studies lament that the US is dumbing down, and what can you say to someone who thinks the state of Wyoming is a foreign country?
People like Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, and Paul are willing to starve education budgets to trim a 'fat government'. Well, a farmer could call them on that idea: if you don't put enough manure on a field, you're betting on a poor harvest.
A decline in the level of general culture indicates a general decline of the US in the comity of nations. Robert Kaplan challenges this idea: he's for more military spending. Translation: beggaring the general health of America to keep it on a warfare state. And in an age where the US has shown it cannot win wars it began in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kaplan thinks it alright to beggar the ordinary citizen to feed the monster that is the military industrial ogre. Ironically, Kaplan's nostrum will push the rock of US decline faster towards the bottom of the hill.
The global recession of 2008 unhinged the minds of America's elites. They turn towards the past for a fix. As such, they willingly sacrifice the country's future.

Bill Keller--government shill

"New York Times' Bill Keller is full of himself. And he lets you know it in his opinion pieces.
He is well known for going after Julian Assange, and making a bundle of money from his attack against the 'Wikileaks' founder.
Keller like his boss Sulzberger fils run to the government every time the 'NYT' has a hot potato on its hands. It did just that with the few documents it published from 'Wikileaks' quarter million diplomatic cables.
Puffing out his chest as defender of freedom of the press, Keller showed the documents to the US government before printing them. Why? To distance the paper of note from any government retributions. The jailing of Judith Miller put the bejeezus into Keller who at that time was executive editor. So to avoid messing around with the department of justice, he showed his hand to the government in advance, and hid behind his own smokescreen that he was a defender of the first amendment.
Aussange called him on his lack of journalistic integrity, and what's more denied the NYT documents.
The slap in the face was too much to bear: thus, he began his smear campaign against Assange which he continues today. And as a result, his purse has swelled since he sold his story to Hollywood. We can well image the scenario: Keller the knight in rusty armour defending the faith and soul of a free press. Phooey!
Bill Keller has shown than he is a government stooge when all is said and done.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Will Israel attack Iran?

Even if Israel attacks Iran, it won't destroy Tehran's push for a nuclear power industry. Logistically, it would be a folly for the Zionist state to send its fighter jets to do its nastiness: the immediate fly in the tactical ointment is that the aeroplanes have to refuel in mid air. They are then at the mercy of Iran's air force. Strategically speaking, the plan is a disaster from its inception: it goes to show you Israel's desperation as its power declines in the Middle East.
Even its rockets, in spite of loss of civilian life and damage in Iran, will hardly inflict a decisive blow.
Which leaves Israel's nuclear arsenal: will the right wing Netenyahu government risk using atomic weapons and perhaps biological weapons on Iran?
We cannot ignore that possibility for the Zionist leadership has been on the road to madness and self destruction for a good many years. And in a reenactment of Wagner's 'Goetterdaemmerung', it see Israel destroyed to quell its 'existential fright and fear' of Iran.

Salazar, Mosca, Pareto: the revenge of proto fascist corporatism in the US

The Supreme Court's split decision to allow unrestricted corporate funding of US elections under the guise of 'super PACs' unveils to the public the strings that the super rich and corporate America pulls so that their puppets in the US Congress carry out their wishes.
The fascist economist Antonio Salazar, the fascist dictator of Portugal, who rule his country from 1932 to 1968, has to be smiling wherever his dust has settled. The same goes for the economists Gaetano Mosca and Vilfredo Pareto. (Pareto's curve has great currency among America's more conservative and right wing economists.)
The rise of corporatism, a building stone of fascism, is taking form in the US. Already, through think tanks and lobbies, funded by Corporate America, position papers and, yes even, legislation are drafted by corporate actors and passed on to the US Congress. Republicans are notorious for changing neither a jot nor a tiddle of legislation that their corporate handlers have given them for a white envelope of money.
As such, any pretense of democracy becomes a mockery. Finance capitalism has emerged relatively unscathed from the general world recession it created in 2008, thanks to the monies extracted from the middle classes, the working class, and the poor. And the laws are so skewed against them so that the super rich grow fatter on the benefits from tax breaks, which, in turn, the froth of their wealth is used to corrupt already corrupt politicians who will do their will.
No, the US has not entered a new age of 'robber barons', per se; it is sliding down the slipping road of corporatism, a fundamentalism element of Salazarian fascism.

Malcolm X 47 years dead

Malcolm Little, Michigan Red, Malcolm X, El Hadj Malik As Shabazz...gunned down at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan 47 years ago.
His name appears on street signs; his gaunt face on posters, tee shirts, and sweat shirts. Children are named after him, and yet he has slipped through the cracks of the larger US society, where radicals are rarely embraced.
The late Manning Marable's life work, 'Malcolm X: a life of reinvention' came out in 2011 immediately after the Columbia University professor's untimely death. The book challenged many look held notions about the Black Muslim leader, and has lead to much discussion among black American intellectuals, social critics, and scholars.
Malcolm X's ideas today have relevance still. As the Republican Party has embraced Nixon's and Reagan's 'southern strategy', even among the Party's candidates, vying for the Elephant party's nomination for its standard bearer in the 2012 presidential election, the old code words, the old shibboleths attacking Afro Americans have taken on new life. Not only that, the GOP has caved into to its reactionary wing, and in states with Republican governors there is a consistent campaign to deny the blacks, the elderly, and the poor the right to vote.
Suddenly, the clock is turned back to the worst practices of segregationist America.
Suddenly, too, the timeliness of some of Malcolm X's preaching take on new life. Even though the US has much changed since Malik As Shabaaz's pilgrimage to Mecca and his adoption of Sunni Islam, the 2008 global recession and the racism which the Republican party wear on their arm makes him significant today.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Balkanisation of the Middle East

Syria, the touts say, will collapse before the US presidential elections. Sanctions against the Assad regime are working, arms are flowing in to encourage resistance to attacks of the Syrian army, and the dominos of internal collapse will fall into place.
Will this scenario work itself out so neatly? Most likely not. What might have is what happened to the collapse of Yugoslavia. Syria will split off into various religious and tribal factions, each fighting the other in a kaleidoscope of alliances that come together and end like a brief half life of an atom. Lebanon comes to mind, and more recently, the endless feuding in a 'democratic' Iraq that a dumb US war has bequeathed to the country's Kurds, Shi'a, and Sunni.
Balkanisation of the Middle East suits the US and its client and ally Israel, it goes without saying.
And yet, the collapse and possible disintegration of Syria brings to the fore more regional confrontation among the Iranians, Saudi, the Egyptians, and the Turks, all vying for a place, if not a duel, in the sun.
China and Russia are wiser in evaluating the costs: they vetoed the US and Arab League resolution in the UN Security Council, to delay foreign intervention or a foreign war with Syrian opposition proxies, in favour of negotiations and easing out Assad. They got 'spit on' for their efforts.
More likely the military will dump Assad and Alouite control of the country will continue with minor accommodations to Sunni and Shi'a demands.

Imprisoning Japanese Americans--70 years later

Seventy years ago, FD Roosevelt signed the order to put into camps in the interior of the US 110.000 Americans of Japanese ancestry, mostly born on American soil and living on the west coast, solely on the grounds of racial origin.
We know, and knew then, they posed little threat to America's security in the wake of Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbour.
And yet, Americans Japanese living in Hawaii escaped imprisonment. Demographics, geography, politics, economics, and racism played their role in interning the Japanese on the west coast; in Hawaii, the Japanese were too numerous to intern, and yet, it was in the territory of Hawaii that Japan struck destroying the US Pacific fleet.
The Japanese were no more a threat to the security of the US than a handful of Japanese or Germans or Italians represented to ports on the east or west coasts.
Imprisoning west coast Japanese fit like a glove into the politics of racialism and economic envy and competition long simmering in California, in particular. The issuing of Roosevelt's proclamation allowed white American to seize billions in property at bargain basement prices since the American Japanese could only bring what they could carry to the camps that they themselves had to build for themselves in desert areas.
Seventy years later, we see spying on and targeting Muslim Americans on the sole criterion of religion.Even though polls have shown that the vast majority are law abiding citizens and loyal to the red, white, and blue, 9/11 casts a long shadow on Muslims in America.
Laws passed 70 years ago allowing internment camps remain valid and on the books. And Guantanamo remains a shadowy reference to what could happen even to good Muslim American citizens when preventive detention gets out of hand as it did 70 years ago against American Japanese.
Although the US beat its breast in shame for the internment of Japanese Americans in 1988, the stain and the shame remain, as well as the temptation of expediency to brand Americans with the stigma of a Cain on the shakiest of grounds to quell popular fear and serve provincial political purposes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The bishops, buggery, and the pill

The bishops in the Roman church are a curious lot. They look the other way when it comes to priests buggering little boys or diddling little girls, but thump on bibles and church law when it comes to the pill.
A court case in Philadelphia will now shine the spotlight on a bishop who did look the other way when it came down to the clergy's paedophilia. Knowingly he transferred his buggering priests to other parishes where the could once more rape boys.
Now he is going to be in the dock and if convicted, his 'crime' will send shivers through the church which has been shelling out millions to quiet the sins of its clergy.
On the other hand, president Obama undercut the bishops high dudgeon on having to pay for medical plans that include contraception. What has come out of all this brouhaha of righteous indignation and canon law and biblical lore is that the faithful cherry pick on what church discipline they will follow or simply ignore. For the majority of Catholics do practise birth control and take the pill, and, yes, will abort.

Lin fever

What can one say about Jeremy Lin that hasn't been said before?
The veil of invisibility has been torn on the Asian America. Suddenly, the point guard of the New York Knicks basketball team has been catapulted into stardom.
In the short span of two weeks, he has breathed new life into a team down on its luck, and everyone, including the rather myopic owners, coach, and sportscasters and reporters, sat up and took notice.
It simply goes to show you, how much the big money lacks imagination and foresight: the big boys of sports are mired in the tried and true and cautious and in stereotypes.
Michael Lewis' 'Moneyball' highlights the shortsightedness of the sports world.
For the moment, Jeremy Lin has broken through the muck and mire of conventional wisdom: he put new energy into a team on the way to the bottom; he saved a coach's job; and he made the US and the world clean their glasses and look at Asian America again.
And yet, sad to say, there are thousands of Jeremy Lins out there, talented that they are suffer from the simpleminded common wisdom of pigeonholing people by race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, etc., do not get the chance to succeed.
Lin grew mouldy on the bench until out of desperation his coach threw him into the game. And we know the rest. And so does the world over. Let's hope, there will be other like Harvard's Jeremy Lin, who will get their chance.

Rupert Murdoch: damaged goods

Try as he might to save his newspapers in Britain, Rupert Murdoch is damaged goods.
The cops have got him dead to rights on bribery, that is, the systematic corruption of the police by the senior editors of 'The Sun'.
Already the old man shuttered the venerable and profitable 'News of the World' at the time of the telephone hacking scandal. Murdoch & son's appearance before a parliamentary committee of inquiry fooled no one by the extent of the father's and the son's facile twisting of obvious truths.
James the heir to News Corp has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar by the surfacing of e-mails proving he did know the when and where and how of phone hacking. He, too, is swiss cheese, and without the protection of his father, he would have packed his things and shown the door.
The cancer is fast metastasising in the Murdoch empire, the profits from other corporate ventures notwithstanding. Rupert Murdoch cannot stop the inevitable collapse of a life time's work in publishing. It will follow him to the grave and his stockholders and institutional investors will gladly shovel the dirt on his coffin.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Iowa corn

Xi Jinping was in Iowa. Iowa, it seems, is a must spot to visit for foreign dignitaries especially if they come from a Communist country and represent an 'existential danger' to the US.
Nikita Krushchev came there more than a half century. Few remember he had tried to raise farm output in the USSR. Cyrus Eaton, powerful financier and businessman, hosted the Soviet premier.
Few also remember that it was in Iowa, Mr. K. threatened to bury the US in the Cold War game. His boast or threat set the US ruling class' teeth to clatter.
For his words, the Eisenhower administration, in a mean spirited act, wouldn't let Krushchev visit Disneyland. That decision almost sank the premier's tour.
Now Xi has come and gone from Iowa. He didn't threatened; he didn't boast; he even recalled more halcyon days of his first visit to America where he spent time in 'hawkeye/corn state'.
The future leader of China did something more, he left us$4.3 billion behind by purchasing Iowa soybeans at a time when the US economy is still on the ropes.
After Iowa, off he went to Los Angeles. Will he visit Disneyland, even though he easily could do so in Shanghai or Beijing?
Why wouldn't he? Xi is here on a charm offensive.

India won't go along with the US on Iran

India puts its national interests ahead of the Obama administration's efforts to cripple Iran through tough sanctions.
New Delhi has to live in Central Asia; its policy is shaped by its own place on the map, and it won't in this instance cut off its nose to spite its face to please Washington.
India knows more than a little about US arm twisting: it survived the economic snubbing that the US subjected it to, during the early Cold War, because it chose not to take sides along the US USSR divide. It chose the spirit of Bandung; it decided its young democracy would be better served through 'non alignment'.
The US didn't agree and did everything it could to make life hard for New Delhi. Today, we are far away from that memory, on one hand, Washington is cultivating India's friendship. Nonetheless the White House does tend to forget that even the most closely favoured ally has needs of its own. Does it not recall that the Shah of Iran who owed his throne to a CIA coup, saw no reason not to defy the US, if it served its national interests.
A more recent incident says it all: Egypt is going to bring a group of US NGO representatives--a son of Obama's cabinet minister is among them--to trial for interfering in Egypt's internal affairs. Congress' reaction came fast and swift, threatening a cut off of us1.3 billion in military and economic aid.
Cairo did not tremble a jot and a tiddle. In fact, a minister, a holdover from the disgraced Mubarak regime, threatened that should that happen, Egypt would move closer to Iran.
You get the idea!

US DPRK meeting

The US will sit down again with North Korea on 23 February 2012. A mid summer and early autumn meeting in 2011 proved inconclusive.
The Obama administration is pinning its hopes on a change in leadership in Pyongyang will move talks off dead centre. The question then arises is the US willing to soften its harsh rhetoric and demands? GuamDiary cannot say for sure, but is not holding its breath that there will be some movement on outstanding issues.
North Korea has long wanted talks with no preconditions. It still does.
America negotiators bitterly complain that North Korea plays with cards close to their chest, finessing weaker cards more advantageously to the US players seemingly stronger hand.
A quick review of past negotiations show that the US 'team' is good at threats, sitting on its hands, and losing the initiative because 'skilled' negotiators are driven by a zealousness that blinds them to openings favourable to a solution which they would support.
Instead, 'team America' has done everything to ramp up tensions, and, yes, during the GW Bush administration pushed North Korea to explode a nuclear device which shifted the balance in negotiations to Pyongyang.
GuamDiary is not the only ones who have decried the US' dirt poor intelligence on the DPRK, even though it has with a large hand distributed millions to think tanks, scholars, journalist, and the like, to beef up its knowledge on North Korea. The results, alas, are spotty and the return on the dollar invested poor.
A 'breakthrough' of sorts might occur on 23 February, even then, the US has much work to do to quiet tensions it has encouraged allied that it is with a revanchist the South Korean regime of Lee Myung bak in South Korea. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Netenyahu condemns bombings

You've got to hand it to right wing Likud Israeli prime minister 'Bib' Netenyahu for his unmitigated gall.
Riding his high horse of indignation, he blamed Iran for the car bombing of an Israeli vehicle in New Delhi and the failed bombing of another in Tbilisi. He cast thunderbolts of condemnation against a terrorist regime in Tehran. Indigent, he put himself on the side of the angels.
Hold your horses, 'Bibi'! What about the assassination and murder of Israel's enemies by the Zionist state's own hit squad?
Is the public's memory so short that it forgot the killing of Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai? Yet, the operation was a colossal embarrassment for Israel. CCTVs captured the entire Mossad run operation on tape and exposed Israel to charges that it was guilty of identity fraud by friendly government like Australia, Britain, and Ireland, who usually support Israel up and down, front and centre from condemnation.
The laundry list of Israel hit squad targets is long and documentable if you take the time to surf the web. Yes, Israel is not without sin, and when it serves its purposes will betray even its proconsul the US.
Was Iran's hand behind the New Delhi and Tbilisi bombings? And yet, no one but the non traditional media linked to the idea that the bombings, which killed no one, but injured two, happened on the fourth anniversary of an Israeli killing of a Hizbullah leader.
Iran blames Israel for the training of terrorists who on motor scooters plonk mines on automobiles which already killed two atomic scientists. Israel has rejected blame.
Nonetheless, Israel's war of attrition goes on unabated. It deserves censure for it engages in bold displays of terrorism that deserve condemnation before international courts of justices.

US China groupies

GuamDiary highly recommends the reading of Perry Anderson's 'China under western eyes' in the 9 February 2012 issue of the 'London Review of Books'.
Anderson rips into the obsequious flattery of Ezra Vogel's 'Deng Xiao Ping and the transformation of China' and Herr Kissinger's 'On China'.
Two doorstop books long on bootlicking and short on critical analysis.
Vogel and Herr Kissinger are poster boys for authoritarian figures. One is professor emeritus of sociology at Harvard, the other once taught there but went on to have a checkered and controversial career in government and now is a paid hack of the Chinese government. The two once sat on the National Security Council, and took up the cause of propping up brutal dictators.
Anderson doesn't let either one off the hook for political shortsightedness though spare them the harsh damnation they deserve.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Five 16 year old North Korean accordionists make a splash on YouTube

Yep, whilst the US and it allies pooh pooh anything about North Korea, five 16 year old accordionists from North Korea's Kum Song School have hit YouTube in a big way: appearing at Norway's Barents Spektakel in Kirkenes [8-12 February 2012], three boys and two girls' version of A-ha's 'Take on me' catapulted to 'instant world attention'.
GuamDiary suggests watching the 4 minute version which clearly shows the five caught up in spirit and verve and captivating rhythm of a pop song that the Western mind does not associate with North Korea. How parochial!
The group's programme has a Mozart piece, jazz, Korean folk tunes, ending with a rousing rendition of 'Take on me'.
Forget about politics, the five North Koreans in less than 4 minutes lit up YouTube, thanks to their amazing talent.
We know of the musical talent from South Korea, but we hardly know little of the musicality of North Koreans, owing to a tight blackout in the West, broken only by moments when it serves western propaganda to display hundreds of North Koreans dancing like robots, to underscore the monotonous uniformity of a 'cruel regime'.
Yet, during the New York Philharmonic concert in Pyongyang, televised worldwide on 8 February 2008, it was obvious in master classes the NYP held that students at the musical academy displayed talent worthy of concert halls in Europe, Asia, and the US, for example.
That one moment of 'detente' with the US had no follow up, sorry to say. And the west's forged steel curtain crashed down again.
What should surprise us, but doesn't, that Norway, an founding member and active member of NATO, has welcomed these North Korean youth to participate in a cultural festival. The main street western media nary breathes a word of it, nor existing Norwegian cultures ties with North Korea. Curious, isn't it?
BR Myers 'Cleanest race: how the North Koreans see themselves and why it matters' paints the usual picture of a people whose every moment is staged and choreographed by big brother. An easy and obvious observation after eight years of reading everything he could about North Korea with occasional trips to the DPRK.
Were the shoe on the other foot, a North Korea scholar could return the favour by compiling a long laundry list of 'staged' and culturally managed, say, Americans. In fact, in a US State Department tour of the US after V E day, Jean Paul Sartre wickedly commented on the faceless conformity in America.
'Take on Me' is the payoff for Kim Il Sung. North Korea flattened to a heap of dust by US bombers during the Korean War; as it was being rebuilt, the founder of North Korea saw to it that the children of his country should and would learn a musical instrument, and the accordion became part and parcel of North Korean education. And here we are more than a half century later in Norway that five accordionists from the DPRK are displaying the fruit of a well rounded education. In this sense, North Koreans have nothing to envy in this world.
And what's more, the immediate embrace of these three lads and two lasses forces open further the doors of exclusion that the US and its allies have tried to keep shut on North Korea.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Growing class divide in the US

Years ago 'Hidden injuries of class' by sociologists Sennett and Cobb, hit the book market. In its way, it pooh poohed the idea of an even playing field in the US.
Toqueville banged the pots and pans of the indelible imprint of equality on the American soul, a sort of safety value to dampen war among the classes. The Horatio Alger myth holds strong still.
The working class and the poor know where they stand, and always and have internalised the shame of who and where they are: the hidden injuries of class, in other words.
In today's America, the class divide has sharpened. 'Occupy Wall Street', in a way, brought discussion of class warfare into the arena of respectability by shining the light of power and corruption on the 'one percent' who own 34 or more percent of the country's wealth, and that percentage is increasing. Money is power and the entire political class suckles at its breast. The recent Supreme Court ruling enshrines and blesses it.
The respectable media now publishes investigative articles on the sinking of the children of the shrinking middle classes, the working class, and the poor who remain disadvantaged by the growing class divide.
Consider New York City, the mecca of finance capital. A billionaire mayor has seized control of the public schools and has begun to dismantle them in favour of more or less private charter schools, usually owned by investment bankers or real estate barons. And early results show, charter schools have done hardly little to improve reading and math scores. What is behind this attack on public education is busting the teachers' union.
In the City, the rich vie fiercely for places in private academies. There are too many applicants for a seat at the richly appointed table that will ultimately lead to Harvard, Yale, and the schools that count. It is interesting to note that the rich breed larger families on the 2.1 children but 3 to 5 is more like it. And they can afford to pay us$40.000 a year for elementary and secondary schooling. Do the sums for 12 years at least for two$980.00. Could a working class family afford that amount?
As the class divide grows so does the narrowing of the route of the pulling oneself up by the bootstraps to fulfill the American dream.
In a not so odd way, the pattern mirrors Huxley's '1984' with its Alphas, Betas, and the like. In other words, we have a class and caste system.
The rule of corporate America is showing signs of incipient fascism: already, the US is a prison culture for its underclass, and now, more and more, the subversion of constitutional rights to expression and thought are being thinned out as the laws permit intrusive invasion into the thoughts and ways of everyday life of Americans.

Monday, February 6, 2012

US support for Syrian opposition

Now that the US campaign in the UN Security Council to knock Syria's strong man Bashir al Assad off his pedestal of power has failed, what will it do to achieve it aims by other means?
If America's record is anything to go by, you can bet your bottom pence that it will fund in liquid and military training and supplies the armed Syrian resistance in what everyone is saying is turning out to be a civil war in Syria.

Goldman Sachs CEO backs same sex marriage

Far be it from us to question Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's decision to back same sex marriages at a time when the powerful investment bank is heavily contributing to Republican candidates for the party's nomination for president in 2012. They all condemn such marriages as an anathema. Blanckein may be sincere in his support of civil rights and full equality before the law of all citizens regardless, in this instance, of sexual preference.
Yet, you have to wonder that this man who has become the poster boy for everything that is wrong on Wall Street, has chosen this moment to 'come out' in support of gay marriage. He who is the embodiment of what Matt Taibbi called 'the vampire squid' with tentacles sucking the economic blood globally for the greater glory of Goldman Sachs' principals and stockholders.
Let's see how much clout Blankfein can bring to the fight for same sex marriages through his affiliation with the number one investment banking house on Wall Street.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

US Israel obsessed billionaire supports buys Republican candidates

Sheldon Adelson, billionaire casino owner, has already thrown us$15 million to keep alive Newt Gingrich's bid as the Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012.
Now, if Gingrich stumbles in the race for the nomination, Adelson is willing to pump more millions into Mitt Romney's super Pac.
Old Newt and Adelson go back a long time: Adelson, American born, is, at heart, an 'Israeli firster'. He is willing to pour, almost all plugs pulled out, his money to be a king maker in determining US policy towards Israel. He shouldn't worry too much, owing to the heavy tilt of America's support for Israel since 1948. He doesn't see it that way as the balance in opinion shift in letting Palestinians have their own homeland, in spite of Israel's illegal land grab and colonisation on the West Bank.
Newt first got Adelson attention when he was speaker of the House of Representatives in the 1990s by proposing to shift the US embassy to Jerusalem. It didn't happen. And more recently, the 'trained historian' that he is, proclaimed loud and clear that there is no such thing as a Palestinian people. And Gingrich has been generously rewarded by Adelson in contributions to his campaign and use of the power the Las Vegas mogul exercises in opening doors for his friend from Georgia.
Adelson supports confiscation of Palestinian land in territory Israeli Zionists call 'Judea and Sumaria'. In other words, if there is no such thing as a Palestinian people, Israel has the right to claim hoary biblical claims to all the land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan river as its own.
Unfortunately Barack Hussein Obama doesn't share Adelson's standpoint. So, Adelson will do any and everything to deny him a second term in office.
Even though he's an American citizen, Adelson first and foremost concern is not the welfare of the land of his birth, but the welfare of Israel.
Ironically, as GuamDiary has often pointed out, it looks as though Israel is leading the American dog by its tail, and the Republican candidate whoever he will be, is willing to put ambition before country for another country.

US crocodile tears at UN Security Council

No one ca say Syria's Bashir al Assad is a poster boy for the boy scouts, yet the gnashing and wailing and riling of the US in the UN Security Council against the double whammy veto of the Arab League's resolution for Assad to step aside by Russia and China is hypocritical in the extreme.
'You betrayed the Syrian people', the US in the persons of secretary of state Hillary Clinton and ambassador to the UN Susan Rice seemingly imply. Cynical, hard hearted, cold blooded...figure on the list of condemnation of Moscow and Beijing.
The eye that has not followed the 'Sturm und Drang' in the Council or the corridors of the UN would blink in surprise that after tweaking the failed resolution to condemn Assad, Moscow and certainly the unexpected China had not come around to support the American position.
Are we living in the world of juvenile story telling? Seems so. What naivete on the part of the Obama administration. It shouldn't have tried so hard to pin the tail of rebuke on the Russian bear. Moscow veto immediately assured condemnation far and wide.
Saying that, GuamDiary wonders at the sheer gall of America. In this instance, they weep at the violence visited on the Syrian people, but in its endless use of the veto in the well of the Security Council, it casts a thumbs down with no feeling or emotion when it comes to the aspirations of the Palestinian people.
The US has cast 76 vetoes so far, and mostly to protect Israel's illegal land grabbing and settler colonies on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bradley Manning is left out to dry

A general court marshall for Bradley Manning, that is recommendation of the military tribunal cum department of justice panel, in December 2011.
Now two generals signed off on the tribunal's expressed verdict, and Bradley Manning will go before a general court martial.
Were he tried in a civilian court, circumstances of his imprisonment, treatment, humiliation, and cruel and [un]usual punishment might have been such to throw his case out of court.
In a court martial, his witnesses for the defence may very well be denied testifying on Manning's behalf for any number of reasons, most of which would be flimsy at best.
As GuamDiary previously suggested 'military justice is to justice as military music is to music'.
In essence, don't expect a fair trial for Manning, he's condemned in advance. And, he will be convicted and left out to dry during many years if not life in prison.

Russia and China torpedo US effort for Iran sanctions

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton made a passionate speech calling for the tyrant Bashir al Assad to step down at a meeting in Germany. She, along with her French ally and the Arab League, thought by tweaking a much rewritten resolution calling for the Syrian president's withdrawal from power, among other items, Russia who, from the word go, opposed any such step, would roll over and sign on to the seemingly modified resolution which, in essence, called for regime change in Syria.
Clinton & co. saw a red lining of hope on the eve of the vote in the UN Security Council, Russia had not suggested further emendations. But the Russkis fooled her. Russia, joined by China, cast a veto killing the resolution.
The US can huff and puff all they want, but they've little cause to complain: simply look at the number of vetoes they used when it was question of condemning Israel!
America does not take rebuffs lightly, yet, like it or not, they may think that they are the cock of the walk but, in truth, they do not always get their way.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lighten up Lee Myung bak

South Korea's president Lee Myung bak's regime has indicted Park Jung geun, 22, an activist and photographer of babies for violating the country's National Security Law.
His crime: the 'alleged' posting of tweets from North Korea's, which, reporter Choe Sang hun writes "South Korean news media regularly cite".
The NSL is controversial; it infringes on freedom of expression; Park's imprisonment has been taken up by Amnesty International.
Is Park a Communist? Most likely not. Yet, his posting of uriminzokkiri messages brands him as 'benefitting the enemy'. How? we ask.
If that is so, then why does the Lee keepers of the anti North faith gag the South Korean press? It dare not, fearing as it does, a firestorm of protest inside and out of the ROK.
Lee's thought police are not efficient in their work: a documentary on the protest movement against the building of naval base in Jeju island has a punch of rockers sarcastically using the name of Kim Jong il, the very crime Park is accused of.
It is time to think of scrapping the vague, faulty NSL which can be used by a hard line regime like Lee's in pursuit of his mad policy to rollback the North and force it to collapse; not only that he is using it to cower his own people and rolling back their basic freedoms of expression.
It is also time to release Park Jung geun from prison and drop all charges against him.
And it is time to scrap a vague, faulty law which attack basic freedoms of South Koreans and of course, immediately release Pakr Jung geun from detention and drop all charges against him.
Not only that: do the right thing and release Park Jung guen immediately.
Lighten up Lee Myung bak, old dour puss that you are. Anyone reading the press from the North cannot but be hit over the head with its wooden language and exaggerated expressions, which are the grist for much sharp and often satirical treatment.
Perhaps it is time to scrap the faulty, vague law which is an instrument in a hard line regime like Lee Myung bak who looks to quash basic freedoms of South Koreans.
If there is fascination with the North, the blame is laid at the doorstep of Lee himself and his mad policy for regime change in North Korea.

Israel pushes bombing forward to Spring 2012

Israeli war drums are increasing in tempo and outrage. Moshe Ya'lon, deputy prime minister and minister of strategic affairs, is floating the rumour that Iran's advanced rocketry can now deliver a long range missile, possibly with an atomic payload, to hit the US 6000 km away.
Although this is seemingly patently untrue, Ya'lon is turning the screws on the US to caution Israel's attack on Iran in the next few months.
The Obama administration is playing down this Zionist hawk's assertion; its defense depart and intelligence services put little sock in Ya'lon's words. Nonetheless, Washington is feeling the heat behind the scenes. How can did stop Israel's mad designs to ignite yet another war in the Middle East, one obviously doomed to failure, and one that the crazy trioka of Netenyahu, Barak, and Ya'lon placed bets on the US coming into the fray to protect and fight for Israel's mad forward designs on Iran.
GuamDiary has already commented on investigative reporter Ronen Bergmann's article detailing Israel's push to get the US into an Israeli war with Iran that is from the beginning a failure. It recalls the Imperial Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in thinking.
This Zionist gambit is done with malice of foresight: it is a presidential year and as GuamDiary has always contended, Israel is also an American domestic issue. If Obama does stay Israeli designs in a crass way, he will lose his bid for a second term, so goes the evil trioka's reasoning.
Obama should do what Eisenhower did at the time of the 1956 Suez crisis, quietly threaten to immediately end all economic and military aid to the Zionist state, no matter the costs, and save Israel from itself.
For an attack on Israel will prove a disaster for its own civilians, and may even destroy it as a state. And of course, we can never rule out that Israel will nuke Iran.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pakistan goes huffy puffy over leaked NATO report

Who does Pakistan think its kidding? A leaked NATO report rips the veil of deniability that its intelligence service the infamous ISI and its own military and civil government have played hanky panky in the maintenance of Pakistani dominance in Afghanistan.
Foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar can jolly well dismiss the report as 'frivolous', but its contents simply connect the dots of Pakistan's collaboration, collusion, protection, and favouring the Taliban in Afghanistan at the same time its own home grown version is tearing the country's own loins by accelerating its own brand of fanaticism and terrorism.
Let's not forget, Pakistan intelligence services and military have kept Mullah Omar under wraps for the last 10 years in or around Quetta. It offers 'sanctuary' to Afghan Taliban in the tribal regions of Waziristan. And more insulting to its paymaster the US, it allowed Osama Bin Laden breathing space in Abbotabad before US Navy Seals took him out of action.
What a rum little mess the US and its NATO allies find themselves in. In a way, the chickens have come home to roost for America.
GuamDiary has already recommended the reading of Mohammed Hanif's wonderful novel, 'the Case of exploding mangoes' which in an engaging way tells of the tight collaboration of the US and the then dictator General Zia ul Haq who wound up the Islam toy lorry and set it on its way; today, we are witnessing the results of this incestuous political alliance which is causing Washington much 'agita'.
And what has it gained the US taxpayer? A colossal burden to prop up a dirty military and spy network that works to sabotage America's war against terror to the tune of billions of dollars. And then it was the Pakistani top rogue atomic scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan who sold nuclear technology to the US' nemesis: Iran, Libya, and North Korea. He got off scot free and the Bush White House had to swallow its pride on that one because Pakistan has a stockpile of atomic weapons and is thought of as a 'good' ally even though it does everything to screw its paymaster.
The US, during the Cold War, made a Faustian bargain with Pakistan because India opted for neutralism [remember Bandung?] and cooperation with the Soviet Union. And now the US is reaping the whirlwind its has sown.