Shaming the serial killers
Journal of a Futurist - 19 April 2004
AN EXISTENTIAL VACUUM ARMED
TO THE TEETH
So sad and stupid what is happening now in the Middle East, so tragic, so utterly predictable, even by lightweights like me. Each day I shake my head in shock. What drugs are our leaders on? The opposite of ecstasy, for sure. They're on the drugs of thuggery, spilling buckets of innocent blood, just like the terrorists. The collective consciousness of our leaders keeps contracting.
In championing Israelis annexation of West Bank settlements, Blair looked and sounded like a tout outside a strip club. George Bush is floored by an unscripted question on whether, since 9/11, he has suffered a long dark minute of the soul. As for John Howard, pink faced from the effort of lying for a living, he rebukes an Australian woman, Donna Mulhearn, for entering Falluja on a mission of mercy. Howard said it was unfair, reckless and unacceptable for her to be distributing humanitarian aid. Obviously she should be modelling herself on the marines, and murdering children.
At last count, about 880 inhabitants of Falluja had been killed by their liberators. All of them terrorists, according to US Command and the Murdoch media, neither of which were inside the city. Hospital staff keep insisting the victims are mostly women, children and the elderly. Asked about the civilian dead, Marine Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne said, "What I think you will find is 95% of those were military age males that were killed in the fighting... the Marines are very good at what they do".
Even the "reckless" Donna Mulhearn said she was fired on by US troops. However, our Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, dismissed her report as "improbable". What would he know?
WHY ARE THEY KILLING BABIES?
Several other aid workers in Falluja reported indiscriminate slayings by US snipers. One of these is DAHR JAMAIL, who was delivering medical supplies during the so called cease-fire. "Instead of calm, I found a city under siege from American artillery and snipers. At one of the city's clinics I saw dozens of freshly wounded women and children. The Americans have bombed one hospital, and, numerous sources told us, were sniping at people who attempted to enter and exit the other major medical facility".
This might sound improbable to our cloistered foreign minister, but its all too familiar in the successive reports from Iraq.
And all too visible on the websites of Al Jazeera.
"I hold her until Maki, a consultant and acting director of the clinic, brings me to the bed where a child of about ten is lying with a bullet wound to the head. A smaller child is being treated for a similar injury in the next bed. A US sniper hit them and their grandmother as they left their home to flee Falluja" - Jo Wilding.
"One woman, shot in the gut, was making rasping, gurgling noises as the doctors worked frantically to extract a bullet and patch the wound. All around were the sounds of muffled moaning. The woman's small son had a bullet wound in the neck; his eyes glazed, he vomited continually as other doctors raced to save his life" -.Dahr Jamail
I can't believe the number of children here, we were at the hospital and it's full of dead and wounded kids.The ones that aren't dead have lost limbs and are wailing in pain, begging for their parents. What parents? he screams. I dont have the heart to tell them that their parents are in pieces. Back at our office the Americans are shooting at us - Odai Sirri .
"WE ARE THE MOST HUMANE ARMY
IN THE WORLD"
Yes, that's what US Deputy Secretary of State told Australians last weekend, the scarily charming Richard Armitage. In all the bubbling interviews he's reeled off since the invasion, not once has he been asked about his unsavoury role in Vietnam, his illegal weapons smugglings to Iran and the Contras, nor his up-to-the-elbows "covert operations, drug smuggling and the expansion of organised crime operations in Russia, Central Asia and the Far East." According to one special forces veteran, Armitage liked to 'sit ambush' on the trails in Laos and Cambodia and ... "he enjoys killing". It is in this context his assessment of the Pentagon's humanity can be considered. It's as if Pol Pot had said that the Killing Fields were Freedom's Finest Hour.
What are we missing here? For all I know, Richard Armitage and Alexander Downer could truly believe the US marines are angels of mercy. The critics, especially the civilians in Falluja bearing medical supplies, are routinely slandered as "anti American". But even senior British officers have slammed the excessive use of force in Falluja, as have members of the Iraqi provisional government. One British officer that American troops viewed Iraqis as 'untermenschen' - the Nazi expression for "sub-humans".
Battle hardened Australian soldiers have told me of their contempt for the blood spilling antics of our allies, evoking a scene of Tarantino meets Apocalyspe Now. But not our Downer, a downer indeed, he doesn't get it . Howard and Bush are so locked in denial they cannot dare to blink, or to think. It's all about pacifying the people in order to bring them Pizza Hut, never mind the dead babies.
But hawks close to the throne are less convoluted. George Will writes in the Washington Post: In the war against the militias every door American troops crash through, every civilian bystander shotthere will be manywill make matters worse, for a while. Nevertheless, the first task of the occupation remains the first task of government: to establish a monopoly on violence.
It's honest, it's brutal, it gives license for actions like this:
"An Iraqi has died of his wounds after US troops beat him with truncheons because he refused to remove a picture of wanted Shiite Muslim leader Muqtada Sadr from his car. The motorist was stopped late yesterday by US troops conducting search operations on a street in the centre of the central city of Kut, Lieutenant Mohammed Abdel Abbas said.
After the man refused to remove Sadr's picture from his car, the soldiers forced him out of the vehicle and started beating him with truncheons. Qassem Hassan, the director of Kut general hospital, identified the man as Salem Hassan, a resident of a Kut suburb.
Improbable Mr Downer? No, inevitable.
This is a man, who, despite his extensive travels to glittering capitals, is still inhabiting a mental kindegarten. When Colin Powell finally admitted that the foundation of his case for killing Iraqis was built on sand. It left our Foreign Minister standing in the playground all alone, his pants around his ankles. Another kid, now the leader of the Opposition, and a bit of a scrapper, jeered at Downer for his blind allegiance, pointing out that his hero had misled the world . You shouldn't say that, croaked Downer through his tears, because if you ever do become head boy, then Colin Powell wont like you. That's the extent of his vision. No matter that Iraq is burning and our nation is colluding in war crimes. Not accidents, not errant missiles, but the methodical slaying of civilians.
Here's a puzzle. How come that the people who rule America are so different from their everyday citizens we meet on our travels? Funny, vulnerable, free speech loving. Put them in Washington, ship them to a war and they turn into prigs, liars and psychopaths. The current uprising was ignited by Paul Bremmer's ban on the magazine, Al Hawza, charging it with inciting violence. Not so, noted Robert Fisk, "the real reason for closing that paper is because of its satirical pieces against the person of Paul Bremer". Anyone who can't take a joke shouldn't be running an occupation. But anyone who can take a joke, wouldn't want to.
On the subject of censorship, the correspondent of the satellite channel Al Jazeera protested on air that his television crew had been targeted by US fire in Falluja. "Our team has become one of the objectives of the American Army", reported Ahmed Mansur. "Yesterday we were targeted by heavy American artillery fire and prior to that [their] snipers fired at us." The crew retreated to a less exposed area. AFP. Improbable, Mr. Downer? Nope, run of the mill.
The long and disgraceful history of US Military atrocities has been discussed in previous journals, including junior officer Colin Powell's attempt to stifle the investigation into My Lai. For you younger folk, too busy protesting the burden of Uni fees to question whether it really is in the long term interest of this country to blowjob Uncle Sam, take a squiz at these images and see if you can spot the difference:
My Lai, Vietnam, March 1968
Falluja, Iraq, April/05
The difference is merely one of geography. Will it ever change? Unlikely in our lifetime. It seems to be getting worse. The mass media has aligned itself with the ruling hard hats. Murdoch recently issued a statement on Iraq that was so loony (things are swell) that he would have been crucified by his media if he happened not own them. Even the independents fall into language traps, such as referring to the mercenaries as "civilian contractors", like they were re-building the city, instead of blowing away civilians. Assassinating quadriplegic clerics and shooting children is now an acceptable part of the Great Game. The strategy of tit for tat is elevated to Socratic wisdom. Ghandi is dead, Pol Pot wears the crown.
VIOLENCE IS A BRAIN DISEASE
I've long held that Hollywood movie violence is excessive, much to the irritation of my friends. While gore can be justified by a noble story, it's mostly used as an easy attention getter. Porno violence distracts from the witnessing and questioning of the hard core violence on which our lifestyle is founded. Why is it that Tarantino is cool and Mel Gibson is a saint, even if people drop dead in the foyer, when the only way to glimpse the results of our actions in the Middle East is to go online? On top of this, the latest research suggests that frequent exposure to graphic scenes of violence, fictionalised or otherwise, "changes our brain in harmful ways that we are only beginning to understand". (See The New Brain: How the Modern Age is Rewiring Your Mind (Rodale Books) by Richard Restak, a neurologist and neuro psychiatrist). The Generals of the Free World are putting snipers on the roofs of hospitals and the President can't think of a single reason to examine his conscience. Wait a minute, you say. Help is on its way. This is a democracy. Oh sure, and let's look at the Presidential hopeful, man of the people, idol of his bankers.
From Counterpunch.org: John Kerry admitted before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, [that] US soldiers in Vietnam "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country." Kerry admitted taking part in these war crimes. "Yes, I committed the same kinds of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages."Since the Winter Soldier investigation and his testimony before the Senate, however, Kerry has undergone a remarkable transformation from an antiwar activist to a Republican Lite senator who wants to send an additional 40,000 troops to Iraq to bomb mosques and shoot down protesting Iraqis - Kurt Nimmo
Mr Smith Goes to the Gold Coast
Let's not end this update on such a Downer. As a feral futurist I like to keep my eyes out for weak signals. These are portents of change ignored by the mainstream, which are longshots, rather like the bits of chatter from Osama's cave prior to 9/11, trashed by Condoleeza Rice. On April 13 When our Prime Minister John Howard was leaving a community meeting at the Tweed Head Bowls club, he was approached by Gareth Smith, a school counsellor from Byron Bay. "I was trying to catch him and make a citizen's arrest", Smith said later. Several of Howard's security staff "wrestled him away", reported to the tiny Hobart Mercury, while the Brisbane's Courier Mail reported he was "crash tackled". Mr Smith said he was from a Byron Bay anti-war group, Oz Peace, noted the Mercury, while the Courier Mail called him a member of the Renegade Activists Action Force.
Both papers agreed Smith was seeking to arrest the Prime Minister for perpetrating war crimes in Iraq: "John Howard has got blood on his hands now", said Mr Smith, "and he's got the blood of future Australian victims on his hands,". Well put Mr Smith. It is odd that this story was so scantily covered, and even more so that no charges were laid against Mr Smith. (If such an arrest attempt had been launched against Mr Bremer, the Oz peacenik would now be buried in a soccer field, as improbable as that might sound to dopey Downer). Howard was smart enough not to press charges. A trial before a jury of Mr Smith's peers could well have evolved into a public debate about Howard's role in the Iraqi Killing Fields. The former President of his own party, John Valder, has already accused the PM of sailing "perilously close" to a dock in the Hague. Here's hoping Mr Smith has another try, along with a few beefy peace loving deputies.
STOP PRESS: Jo Wilding's blog from Faluja quouted above has been revised and published in the UK Guardian. "The main hospital apparently has been destroyed by bombing and the second largest is covered by US snipers - the Iraqis call it sniper alley. So Iraqi people are not able to get to and from the hospitals". The world's mopst humane army is at it again.
PILGER IN THE NEW STATESMAN
"With the most lethal weapons that billions of dollars can buy, and the threats of their cowboy generals and the panic-stricken brutality of their foot soldiers, more than 120,000 of these invaders have ripped up the fabric of a nation that survived the years of Saddam Hussein, just as they oversaw the destruction of its artefacts. They have brought to Iraq a daily, murderous violence which surpasses that of a tyrant who never promised a fake democracy. - John Pilger, New Statesman, who also quotes an Amnesty International report that "US-led forces have "shot Iraqis dead during demonstrations, tortured and ill-treated prisoners, arrested people arbitrarily and held them indefinitely, demolished houses in acts of revenge and collective punishment". Downer would say "Improbable", but he's still in the sandpit.
San Francisco Protest
FLASHBACK to Journal of a Futurist, May 8, 2003:
The Massacre Murdoch Wont Mention
[His media didn't]
"Around the time President Bush landed on the deck of his big boat to laud the worlds mightiest military machine, his 82nd Airborne Division was in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, shooting civilians. Chris Hughes of the UK Mirror watched in horror as troops sprayed a crowd of unarmed people, including children. Why? It was triggered by a boy hurling a sandal at a US jeep. No, Im not making this up. The Mirrors report is supported by pics and other witnesses. A few days earlier, the same soldiers had murdered 14 Iraqis and injured another 70. A crowd had been marching in protest against the airborne divisions commandeering of the local Al-Kaahd school. Shots rang out for thirty minutes. A massacre, according to the Guardian. Ambulances were fired upon. Claims by Lieutenant Christopher Hart that his troops had been responding to shots from a motorocycle, were dismissed by on-scene reporters as implausible. An enquiry was promised, but a week later it was revealed that no US official had spoken to the Iraqi doctors who counted the bodies or even visited the homes of children who were among the dead.
The Americans appear to have acted with staggering recklessness, noted an editorial in the Guardian, turning a residential area full of kids into a murderous free-fire zone. And so on. Little of this was aired in the Australian media, and we can be sure CNN failed to consider it newsworthy. Instead of being prosecuted for war crimes, the killers of the 82nd airborne division will be showered with tickertape and adorned with trinkets." That's what I wrote almost a year ago, which made no difference to anything. Not a peep out of anyone in Governemt, no soldier reprimanded, no restitution for the family of the victims ... and now another massacre on a bigger scale. This time it was the weeping of a US marine which made it on the cover of the Sydney Morning Herald, not a mention of dead babies or even that 86 children had been killed by in Marines in the first salvos of the siege. To all my friends who supported the war, now is the time for your tears.
WAS IT WORSE UNDER SADDAM?
"As a result of our actions many more people have lost their lives (or, for that matter, been maimed or made homeless) than would have been occasioned by another ten years of Saddams rule. We should not have invaded their country, for our sake or theirs. What we should do now is say sorry, give them some money our most effective weapon and get the hell out". Rod Liddle, THINGS WERE BETTER UNDER SADDAM -