Posts Tagged ‘Forbes’

Before We Go to War with Iran, We Should Listen to Michael Moore and Neil Young

September 22, 2019

Yesterday I put up a piece commenting on Secular Talk’s video about the drone strikes on the Saudi oilfields. The host, Kyle Kulinski, stated that he believed the media would start lying and claim that these attacks were completely unprovoked. The reality is that they were committed by the Houthis in Yemen in retaliation for the genocidal war the Saudis are waging against their country. Kulinski also predicted that the media, including the Beeb, would tell us all that Iran, and only Iran, was responsible. He states that it’s possible that the Iranians have helped them, and that elements in Iran do support and celebrate it. But he fears a push for war, and doesn’t trust any of the actors – Trump, Netanyahu or the Saudis – to draw back.

I share his fears. And so, I believe, do very many other people. On my YouTube page the other day I found the video below from that old rocker, Neil Young. It’s of him playing ‘Rocking in the Free World’. I think its from the Michael Moore documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. In it the Capped Crusader showed how George Dubya, the American-Saudi oil interests and the military industrial complex pushed for war in the Middle East following the terror attack on 9/11. Wars that they were very careful not to let their sons or daughters become physically involved, while actively recruiting the working class, and particularly the Black working class, to be their cannon fodder.

The film ends with Neil Young’s ‘Rocking in the Free World’.

I know people, who don’t like the song because they think it’s actually a celebration of the capitalist west. So did the late Radio 1 DJ John Peel. He chose it as one of his favourite tracks in an interview on Radio 4 I can remember listening to in the ’90s. He didn’t like it for the same reason, until he listened to it properly. It’s an angry, bitter song, and as flag-wavingly patriotic as Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’. They’re both about how America gives working people nothing but poverty while sending them to fight wars.

Consider the lyrics to Young’s song:

There are warning signs on the road ahead

Some people are saying that we’re better off dead….

That’s another kid,

Who’ll never go to school,

Never fall in love,

Never get to be cool….

We got a thousand points of light

for the homeless man.

We got a kinder, gentler machine gun ham. 

The tunes played over footage of demonstrations in America against Bush, Young and his band in concert, recruiting sergeants going round Black neighbourhoods, and the chaos, grief and warfare in Iraq and the Middle East.

The clip begins with Dubya stumbling his way through the saying ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’ But he couldn’t remember it properly, and so ends with stating the saying’s message ‘Don’t get fooled again’. To which Moore adds, ‘For once, we agree’. Then into the song.

Moore’s absolutely right, as has been corroborated by the former Guardian journo, Greg Palast, in his book, Armed Madhouse. In it he provides copious proof that the Iraq invasion was started, not because Saddam Hussein backed Osama bin Laden, or to liberate the Iraqi people from his dictatorship, but because the Saudi and American oil interests wanted the Iraqi oil reserves. The multinationals wanted to get their grubby hands on Iraqi state enterprises, the Neocons wanted to remove another source of support for the Palestinians, and create the low tax, free market utopia of the kind they want to introduce in the US. The result was absolute chaos. Apart from the carnage of the war, the Iraqi economy was decimated under the impact of foreign imports. Iraqi domestic firms couldn’t compete and collapsed. There was 60 per cent unemployment.

This is what will happen to Iran if we get fooled by the right-wing political elite, the oil industry and the military-industrial complex. It won’t be to liberate the Iranian people from their despotic government, nor to defend an innocent Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are Wahhabis – militant Sunnis – who despise and fear the Shi’a. That’s why they invaded Yemen: the Shi’a Houthi had overthrown the Sunni government. A few years ago one high-ranking Saudi cleric, the Sharif of Mecca or Grand Mufti, declared that Shi’a Muslims were ‘heretics and worthy of death’. Iran supports the Shi’a nations in the Middle East, hence Saudi determination to destroy the country’s regime. Israel and its supporters here also wants the Iranian government overthrown, because they are intensely hostile to Israel, expressing their hate in genocidal language, and support the Palestinians. Western oil interests want to get their hands on the Iranian oil industry, because we used to own it before Prime Minister Mossadeq nationalised it briefly in the 1950s before we had him overthrown, and it was nationalised against during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Our multinationals want to seize Iranian industries, as under current Iranian legislation they cannot be invested in or owned by foreign companies. And this includes the 51 per cent of the economy held by the state or the bonyads, the Islamic charitable funds. In fact, Forbes was whining about how unfree Iranian industry was, meaning that westerners couldn’t get their mitts on it, a few years ago.

These are the forces pressing for war with Iran.

They fooled many people 18 years ago after 9/11. But not everyone. One million people in Britain marched against the invasion of Iraq, including our local priest. Since then, I’ve no doubt more people know how spurious the cause for war was. More people realise that the two chiefly responsible for the war, George Dubya Bush and Tony Blair, are liars and war criminals.

Don’t let them fool our people again!

Not one courageous squaddie should be sent to his or her death killing ordinary Iranians, just to make the oil industry and the multinationals rich!

 

 

 

American Scientists Plan March against Trump

January 28, 2017

After the massive numbers of people involved in the women’s marches against Trump held around the world last weekend, American scientists are also planning to organise their own demonstration against the Orange Caudillo in protest at his disastrous environmental and health policies.

In this video, TYT Nation’s Jeff Waldorf discusses a report in Forbes’ discussing the formation of the new group of scientists planning this march. The group has it’s own internet page, and in five days its members grew from 200 to 200,000 +. The group says it will include non-scientists as well as scientists, and is intended to advocate the greater involvement of science in government. It’s purpose is to defend climate science, evolution, and alternative energy. Waldorf states that he too believes strongly that science should be more involved in government. He also quibbles with the phrasing in the Forbes’ article, taking issue with the magazine’s description of the scientists as ‘believing’ in the environmental damage caused by the fossil fuel industries. Waldorf argues that scientists’ in these areas don’t believe, because they have proof that oil pipelines, such as DAPL, can rupture, creating massive oil spills and environmental destruction.

Waldorf also argues that, although he understands why people in America’s coal country wish to retain the industry for as long as possible for the sake of their jobs, renewables are now becoming cheaper than oil for the first time. It’s time to move from the horse and buggy to the automobile, is the metaphor he uses. He also notes that 75 per cent of Trumps’ own supporters are also in favour of solar and wind power, and natural gas. Waldorf himself is not in favour of natural gas, as it’s still a fossil fuel, with the environmental problems that poses. At the moment, the movement is still in the planning stage, but hopes to issue a mission statement soon. In the meantime, they state that a government that sacrifices science to ideology is a threat not just to America, but also the world.

I wish the scientists the best of luck in their campaigns against Trump’s attack on climate change and green energy. I think, however, Waldorf has a rather too optimistic view of science. There’s quite a debate in the philosophy of science over what constitutes ‘proof’. In one view, articulated by the great philosopher of science, Karl Popper, science advances through falsification. You can’t prove a particular theory. What you do instead is show that other explanations are false. In many areas of science, the observable effects of experiments, may be tiny and ambiguous. This is why scientists have developed very sophisticated statistical methods for sorting through their observations in search of factual evidence that will support or disprove their theories. Thus, at the risk of nit-picking, it might be fairer to say that climate change and environmental damage by the fossil fuel industry is far better supported by the available evidence, than the minority view that no such change or damage is occurring.

I also think you have to be careful about relying too much on science to solve social problems. The British philosopher, Mary Midgeley, in one of her books pointed out that in some areas, what is needed is a social and industrial solution to a particularly issue, rather than scientific innovation. For example, it could be argued that in the struggle against world hunger, what is needed is not new, genetically engineered crops which produce vast yields, but better transportation methods and infrastructure to supply people with the food that has already been grown.

Despite these very minor quibbles, it is true that orthodox, respectable science in the above areas has been under attack for a long time to serve powerful interests in the fossil fuel industries. Trump this week imposed gagging orders preventing scientists and government workers in the Environmental Protection Agency from revealing their findings. Climate change is happening, and is a real danger to America and the globe. But this awareness frightens the Koch brothers and their wealth in the petrochemical industry. So they, and millionaires like them, are spending vast sums to keep the facts from ordinary peeps. America’s scientists are right to challenge this. Let’s hope their march in support of proper science goes ahead and is well-attended.

Louise Mensch and American Republicans Demand War with Iran

January 16, 2016

Mike over at Vox Political has this piece reporting an article in the Canary commenting on the latest frenzy of sabre-rattling and jingoism from former Tory MP and full-time airhead motormouth, Louise Mensch: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/15/this-renowned-tory-wants-to-blunder-into-full-blown-war-with-iran/. Yesterday, an American ship strayed into Iranian waters and was duly captured. Its crew were later released. According to the Canary, the American military ain’t bothered by the incident. They’ve said it was a genuine mistake. So, from their point of view, it’s ‘My bad, no problem, guys!’

This isn’t good enough for the Repugs by far, and the usual suspects have worked themselves into a frenzy demanding Obama bomb them back into the Stone Age. The pro-war party naturally includes the usual recidivists like Tom Cruz. Cruz is almost as bad as Trump in his hatred of Muslims, but it more concealed about it. And in some of his proposed policies, he’s actually worse. He also has absolute no clue about affairs in the Middle East. He got very huffy with a group of Middle Eastern Christians he was addressing a few years ago, when they responded very badly when he started telling them they should support Israel. He really didn’t know that, although they’re Christians, the people to whom he was talking were also the indigenous peoples of the Middle East, Arabs and Assyrians. They share the comment resentment towards Israel across the Middle East as a modern settler state. Moreover, Christian Palestinians in Israel are monitored and have suffered discrimination by the Israeli authorities. They’ve also been attacked by their Muslim compatriots as collaborators. So the Christian population of the Holy Land has declined from about 25 per cent to 1 per cent.

As for attacking Iran, this would be a monumentally bad move. The article in the Canary, to which Mike’s piece is linked, list a number of very good reasons why attacking Iran would be a very bad idea. Not least is the fact that any attack in Iran would be countered by more military force and determination than the other campaigns in the Middle East, and would result in a nightmarish war would that would last for many, many years.

Iran is the Shi’a state, and so is the leader and protector of region’s Shi’a Muslims. Any attack on Iran would provoke the rest of the Shi’a into hostilities against America. The result would be that America and the West would end up fighting everyone in the Middle East, with the Israel and Turkey. As Shi’a, the Iranians are also the enemies of al-Qaeda and ISIS, who under the command of the Saudis have targeted and massacred Shi’a in Iraq and Syria as ‘rejectionist heathens’. By attacking Iran, America would be deliberately alienating and provoking a potentially useful ally.

Of course, the Republicans also hate Obama for what they consider to be his betrayal of America by signing a deal on nuclear power with Iran. If you listen to them, Obama has allowed the Iranians to develop nuclear missiles. A year or two ago they were running ads against the President’s negotiations with the Iranians, frightening Americans with pictures of America suffering a nuclear attack. In reality, Obama’s deal has actually ended any Iranian programme to develop a nuclear weapon, while still leaving them space for the peaceful development of nuclear power.

This is particularly a blow to Netanyahu, who was also trying to scare everybody with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, using pretty much the same scare tactics that were used in the ‘dodgy dossier’ about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed within 45 minutes. Netanyahu claimed that Iran was only a year away from building an atomic bomb. This was absolute rubbish, and senior Israeli generals and intelligence officers said so.

Netanyahu would like a war with Iran, because of the Iranian regime’s poisonous hatred of Israeli and its very ostentatious support for the Palestinians. The American Republicans publicly share these sentiments. But the reality is more likely it’s another, grubby attempt to nick their oil. Back in the 1950s, the Americans and Britain overthrew the Iranian Prime Minister, Mossadeq, after he dared nationalise the Iranian oil industry. This meant the seizure of the property of Anglo-Persian Oil, now BP. The oil industry was renationalised by the Iranians, who have made the date of this a national holiday. And while Iran is keen to sell its oil and other industrial products, it won’t allow foreigners to invest or own Iranian industry.

This has driven the plutocrats berserk. Forbe’s has place the country very high up in its list of countries lacking ‘commercial freedom’. Which seems to mean in their case, countries that won’t allow mega-rich multinationals to buy up their firms.

This is the real reason Cruz and the other Republicans want a war with Iran. It’s about more than American pride and jingoism, though that’s also one of the powerful drivers. It’s about more than defending Israel. It’s the same reason America and his poodle, Bliar, invaded Iraq: oil, and the seizure and looting of whatever industries and companies Haliburton and the rest of the American multinationals think worth getting their mitts on.

Bush at the beginning of the Iraq invasion convinced himself and his fellow Neocons that somehow, the American and western forces would be hailed as liberators by the Iraqi people. As events have shown, that has manifestly failed to occur. The result has been a further destabilisation of the country, along with the radicalisation that has spawned ISIS. The same would happen again if America went to war with Iran.

Like Iraq, Iran is a mosaic of different ethnic minorities. 51 per cent of the population speak Farsi, modern Persian. Other ethnic groups include Kurds, Various Turkic-speaking peoples, peoples speaking languages related to Persian, and Arabs in the West of the country. The Kurds have been fighting a war with the Iranian government to have their own, autonomous homeland since the 1970s. There have also been jihads by the Turkish peoples, after the government began seizing their land to give to Farsi speakers. If central government in Tehran was shattered, the result could be another bloody mess of ethnic conflict and cleansing such as has occurred in Iraq.

And all so that big oil can get its hands on yet another country’s supplies.

Cruz and co. are ignorant stooges for the big corporations. Mensch is also, though in this case I wonder if some of it’s the result of all the E she was trying to get her colleagues to take when she was a shop assistant in the 1980s. These people have nothing to offer the world except more blood, pain and suffering, all so that big business can once again boost their profits.

They should never be allowed anywhere near public office. Boot them out.

The Young Turks on Fox Lies over Obama Nuclear Deal with Iran

April 9, 2015

I’ve put up a number of videos recently of The Young Turks internet news programme reporting the negotiations between Obama and Iran about stopping the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme. The Americans are understandably worried about the Iranian nuclear programme, which is currently directed towards generating domestic electricity, being turned to developing nuclear weapons instead.

These talks, which are intended to guarantee peace and prevent another nuclear arms race in the Middle East, are extremely unpopular with the Republicans. Several of the Turks’ videos I’ve posted on this report the Repugs stubborn opposition to the talks and their attempts to undermine them with a letter to the Iranian president himself.

In the video below, the Turks’ anchor Cenk Uyghur, explains how the talks have been successful for America. In return for lifting the sanctions, the Iranians have promised to scale back massively their nuclear programme. The plutonium stocks, which could be used to develop bombs, have been removed. The number of centrifuges have been reduced from 19,000 to 6,000. They have also agreed to give up 97 per cent of their stockpile of enriched uranium. The International Energy Authority has also been given full rights of access and inspection.

This is a very, very good deal. And as you’d expect, the Republicans are resolutely against it.

Uyghur here goes on to comment on Fox News’ report on the talks by their expert, Katie MacFarlane. She claims this is merely a paper agreement, and talks about how the Iranians still chant ‘Death to America’ and demand the annihilation of Israel.

Now Uyghur points out that this is far more than ‘a pinkie agreement’. It’s backed by a number of other countries, apart from America and Iran.

But the Repugs don’t want a negotiated peace. They want war, and an invasion of Iran.

There are several reasons why the Repugs want to invade Iran. The country is deeply hostile to both American and Israel. The Iranians, as a Shi’a nation, are backing the Shi’a population in Iraq and aiming to gain influence there through them. There are also reports that they are backing the Houthi rebels in Yemen, though this is unconfirmed.

However, as the Sisters of Mercy sang, ‘The real truth is never spoken’. I think a major reason why the Repugs want to invade Iran is the self-same one that motivated their invasion of Iraq: Iran is an oil-rich country, which won’t allow outsiders to own its industries. The oil industry was nationalised in Iran after the 1979 Revolution. The mullahs involved have massively enriched themselves. The regime has also passed laws preventing foreigners from owning Iranian companies. Forbes have placed Iran at the top of their list of countries that don’t allow free trade.

When Mossadeq, the then prime minister, attempted to nationalise the oil industry in the 1950s, he was overthrown in a CIA backed coup that inaugurated the Shah’s White Revolution. This led to eventual proscription of all opposition parties and autocratic rule by the Shah himself. The Iranian oil industry was dominated by Anglo-Persian Oil, or British Petroleum, now BP. The Iranians themselves received little in return for Britain’s exploitation of their oil wealth, and the Iranian workers were paid much less than their British counterparts.

British domination of the oil industry was massively resented, and Britain’s interference in the country’s affairs since the 19th century has been and continues to be a source of bitterness. There’s an Iranian saying, ‘If you find a stone in your path, it was put there by an Englishman’. Mossadeq’s administration and his nationalisation of the oil companies was extremely popular. His fall, and the political repression that followed, was one of the major factors leading to the Islamic Revolution.

It looks to me very much like Iran’s oil wealth is still coveted by Big Oil, who would like to invade the country and grab it for themselves. All under the guise of safeguarding international peace and bringing the country democracy. Just like they did in Iraq.

And look how successful that was.

The last thing the Middle East, Iran, Britain and America need is another war. The chaos and bloodshed in the region is bad enough as it is, without extending the war into Iran.

Far too many lives have already been lost, and there have been too many coffins going past Royal Wotton Bassett draped with flags, let alone the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, killed and left homeless by the war.

It’s time any talk about war with Iran was shown up as the dangerous nonsense it is.