Ghosts of Vietnam and the 'Evil Empire'
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British Empire Mesopotemia 1920 - American Empire Iraq 2004





Ghosts of Vietnam and
the "Evil Empire"

"Just like Apocalypse Now, except without the grass and acid,"
a US marine sergeant murmured...
"I got one... I didn't even
have to think about it... I took aim, saw two guys running, opened up and
one fell. I don't just think I got him -- I know it. Man, was that exciting."

"I...was briefed on special poisons and assassination
weapons that left no traces."


MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 8 December: More and more even in Washington circles these days one hears...but in spoken whispers certainly not in the corporate print or TV media..."police state", "fascism", "Good Germans". As for Capitol Hill, it looks more like a "no-go-zone" these days -- beyond being 'Occupied Israeli territory' -- than the Congress of a free and brave democracy.

Most Americans of course are amazingly naive about the world they live in and the history of anywhere else other than their own 'God blessed' brave new land. But when this innocence becomes crusading imperialistic hubris on a worldwide rampage; and when the very social, political, and economic fabric of the country begins to noticeably weaken putting even the near future in doubt; the time for taking note and speaking up is now at hand for far more than before. But the forums for doing so -- especially anywhere near the corridors of power and influence -- are limited, credible forums even more so, potent forums almost non existent.

Under these circumstances some of the best commentary about what the Americans are really doing in the world, as well as to themselves, often comes from abroad these days. Foreigners away from American shores and the restrictions of the big corporate media and political propaganda machine are ironically often more able and more free to thoughtfully reflect on the ways of the American Empire than are its own. The following with echoes about Vietnam comes from Australia; and following that with echoes of the "evil empire" Soviet Union comes from Canada.



Iraq echoes an apocalypse past


The scene is Iraq and the Euphrates but it is
eerily similar to Vietnam and the Mekong of
yesteryear, writes Anthony Loyd

The Australian - 08dec04: THE ghosts of Vietnam drift through Iraq. Denied and dispelled by advocates of the war, they slink back in the "mission creep", "quagmire" and "bodybag" accusations of its critics.

On the north bank of the Euphrates river on Sunday they gathered again, chattering through the rotorblade throb of two overhead Hueys; whispering through the tall rush-beds dividing the paddy fields and irrigation ditches; lurking beneath the palm trees and shadows thrown by a fat orange sun; echoing the words of the young American soldier driving Bravo Company's commander to the starting line of the day's sweep-and-search mission.

"My father was in the Special Forces in Vietnam," said Private Scott Carlisle, 25.

"He did four tours there between 1969 and 1973. He was shot in the Mekong Delta, but survived, hiding beneath the body of one of his buddies after his platoon took 90per cent casualties and the VC went through them, finishing off the survivors.

"He was a great soldier. but a lousy husband and an even worse father. He died when he was 48. He lived life hard."

It was early morning. Private Carlisle and more than 100 other Bravo Company troops of the 44th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division -- backed by Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and Humvees -- were deploying on Operation Bear, a lengthy mission to search for the weapons caches of an otherwise invisible enemy.

Across the oily brown, slow-moving expanse of the Euphrates sat the city of Ramadi, obscured by a line of palms and thick vegetation.

A hotbed of insurgent activity, the area has taken the lives of 41 soldiers and wounded 300 more of the 5500 men in Private Carlisle's brigade since they deployed to Ramadi in September.

Dismounting from their vehicles, the American sappers moved forward in lines across the paddy fields, some bearing mine detectors, all laden with up to 27kg of equipment including their M16s, grenades, 9mm pistols and ammunition. The sun climbed and the heat bore down. Of combat-age Iraqi males, there was no sign. Instead, as the American searchlines converged on the few dismal farms, they found only women and children.

"Seen any suspicious activity in the area?" Captain Duncan Smith, a civil affairs officer whose father served twice in Vietnam, asked the women through an interpreter. The answers were identical: "No, nothing."

"Where are your menfolk?"

"Away at work."

"It's always the same," Captain Smith said. "Ninety-nine per cent of the time they tell you nothing, and the men have all skedaddled at the first sign of the military."

A child offered him an orange. He accepted it, smiled and turned away. "Better not suck it in case it explodes," he quipped.

Four Small Unit Reconnaissance Craft, crewed by marines and engineers, joined the operation. Bristling with mounted machineguns, the small boats careered across the river from bank to bank, their heavy wash slapping at the reed beds.

"Just like Apocalypse Now, except without the grass and acid," a US marine sergeant murmured as he watched the boats' progress.

One of the craft soon discovered a large weapons cache of mortar rounds and 130mm shells concealed on the bankside. They blew it up.

The blast reverberated up the river. A discussion ensued between the craft's crew and the sappers' commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Tommy Mize. "We usually sink all the Iraqi boats along the banks when we find a cache," a marine insisted. "Well, you're not sinking all the boats today," Lieutenant-Colonel Mize declared.

By late afternoon a brooding tiredness had settled on the soldiers. No longer were the searchlines straight.

Then, contact. A burst of gunfire, joined by another, then another, and the nought-to-ninety-in-a-second rip and roar of the adrenalin rush that momentarily leaves the mind cartwheeling in its wake.

Concealed insurgents, lying on both banks, had ambushed one of the craft and turned their fire on to Bravo company. In the boat, a sapper was hit and killed, another wounded.

The craft fired back and, in the turrets of two Bravo company Humvees, machine-gunners joined the fray. Beside his commander's vehicle, Private Carlisle dropped to the ground and raised his M16. He saw two men ahead of him and opened fire. An hour later, long after the gunfire had finished, confusion reigned still. As news of the casualties spread, the men's mood sank palpably, except for Private Carlisle.

"I got one," he exclaimed. "I didn't even have to think about it. We took fire, I dropped down, took aim, saw two guys running, opened up and one fell. I don't just think I got him -- I know it. Man, was that exciting."

Of the insurgents there was no sign. And the murmur of the Mekong whispered again.



Uncle Sam has his own gulag

Behaving like the Soviet secret police won't make
America safer, Eric Margolis says.

12/05/04 -- The Lubyanka Prison's heavy oak main door swung open. I went in, the first western journalist to enter the KGB's notorious Moscow headquarters -- a place so dreaded Russians dared not utter its name. When they referred to it at all, they called it "Detsky Mir," after a nearby toy store.

After interviewing two senior KGB generals, I explored the fascinating museum of Soviet intelligence and was briefed on special poisons and assassination weapons that left no traces. I sat transfixed at the desk used by all the directors of Stalin's secret police, on which the orders were signed to murder 30 million people.

Descending dimly lit stairs, I saw some of the KGB's execution and torture cellars, and special "cold rooms" where naked prisoners were beaten, then doused with ice water and slowly frozen.

Other favoured Lubyanka tortures: Psychological terror, psychotropic drugs, prolonged sleep deprivation, dazzling lights, intense noise, days in pitch blackness, isolation, humiliation, constant threats, savage beatings, attacks by guard dogs, near drowning.

Nightmares from the past -- but the past has returned.

According to a report leaked to the New York Times, the Swiss-based International Red Cross has accused the Bush administration for a second time of employing systematic, medically supervised torture against suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay, and at U.S.-run prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The second Red Cross report was delivered to the White House last summer while it was trying to dismiss the Abu Ghraib prison torture horrors as the crimes of a few rogue jailers.

According to the report's allegations, many tortures perfected by the Cheka (Soviet secret police) -- notably beating, freezing, sensory disorientation, and sleep deprivation -- are now routinely being used by U.S. interrogators.

The Chekisti, however, did not usually inflict sexual humiliation. That technique, and hooding, were developed by Israeli psychologists to break resistance of Palestinian prisoners. Photos of sexual humiliation were used by Israeli security, and then by U.S. interrogators at Abu Ghraib, to blackmail Muslim prisoners into becoming informers.

All of these practices flagrantly violate the Geneva Conventions, international, and American law. The Pentagon and CIA gulags in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan have become a sort of Enron-style, off-the-books operation, immune from American law or Congressional oversight.

Suspects reportedly disappear into a black hole, recalling Latin America's torture camps and "disappearings" of the 1970s and '80s, or the Arab world's sinister secret police prisons.

The U.S. has been sending high-level anti-American suspects to Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and, reportedly, Pakistan, where it's alleged they are brutally tortured with violent electric shocks, savage beatings, drowning, acid baths, and blowtorching -- the same tortures, ironically, ascribed to Saddam Hussein.

Protests over this by members of Congress, respected human rights groups, and the public have been ignored. President George W. Bush just named Alberto Gonzales to be attorney general, his nation's highest law officer. As White House counsel, Gonzales wrote briefs justifying torture and advised the White House on ways to evade or ignore the Geneva Conventions.

Grossly violating the Geneva Conventions undermines international law and endangers U.S. troops abroad. Anyone who has served in the U.S. armed forces, as I have, should be outraged that this painfully won tenet of international law and civilized behaviour is being trashed by members of the Bush administration.

Un-American behaviour

If, as Bush asserts, terrorism suspects, Taliban, and Muslim mujahedeen fighters not in uniform deserve no protection under the laws of war and may be jailed and tortured at presidential whim, then what law protects from abuse or torture all the un-uniformed U.S. Special Forces, CIA field teams, and those 40,000 or more U.S. and British mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan euphemistically called "civilian contractors"?

Behaving like the 1930s Soviet secret police will not make America safer. Such illegal, immoral and totally un-American behaviour corrupts democracy and makes them no better than the criminals they detest.

The 20th century has shown repeatedly that when security forces use torture abroad, they soon begin using it at ho me,firstonsuspectedterrorists,thendissidents,thenonordinarysuspects.

It's time for Congress and the courts to wake up and end this shameful and dangerous episode in America's history.







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December 2004


Magazine



PLEASE FORWARD this about MER to friends and family.
(December 18, 2004)
Unique and Exclusive: News, Views, & Analysis Governments, Lobbies, & the Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know. MiddleEast.Org

MER Article Causes Conf Cancellation as Palestinian Speaker Abruptly Backs Out
(December 17, 2004)
The organization it seems then quickly changed the homepage of it's elaborate website, removing the main lead picture at the top which showed members of the organization posing with senior National Security Council neocon Elliot Abrams. Also removed quickly was the picture of Khalidi. Additionally all information about the phone conference which was advertised to feature Khalidi at 8pm Thursday evening simply disappeared; all mention of something that had previously been prominently promoted simply vanished without explanation or comment as if it never was to be.

Prof Rashid Khalidi helps Israeli and American Jewish Zionist groups
(December 16, 2004)
While courageous Israeli academics like Tanya Reinhart at Tel Aviv University, long time Israeli writers like Uri Avneri, and brilliant journalists like Robert Fisk are in fact speaking up loudly warning about what Sharon and Peres and their armies of propaganda agents and client organizations are up to; tragically Palestinian academics like Rashid Khalidi are cowering more than ever even to the extent of allowing themselves to be more blatantly used by the Zionist organizations than ever before.

Egypt pushed and bribed to Economic 'Intercourse' with Israel
(December 15, 2004)
Since the first Camp David Middle East summit estimates are that overall, including economic, military, CIA, and AID American monies, Egypt has received in one way or another approaching $100 billion for agreeing to the American-pushed 'peace agreement'... The once proud though poor greatest of the Arab countries, Egypt, constantly feels the stain of historic political prostitution.

ABBAS/ALA/SHAATH Regime Running Fast - Half Palestinian People Not Allowed to Vote
(December 14, 2004)
In a few weeks the U.S. and Israeli approved and financed 'election' will take place. The most credible and respected Palestinian leaders are gone. The widely supported Hamas organization is boycotting. 'Israeli Palestinians' are not allowed to vote. 'Jerusalem Palestinians' will have to vote absentee. And forgotten most of all are the majority of Palestinians -- most of them still living in refugee camps throughout the region from Jordan to Syria to Lebanon -- who will have no vote at all thanks to the policies of Israel, the United States, and the 'new Palestinian leadership'.

Latest Washington Israeli Spy Scandal Escalating
(December 13, 2004)
There are some in Washington who think that the current spy investigations, possibly now expanding further, can be used to put a little pressure on the Israelis when it comes to the political deal making that may lie ahead both in the region and with the Palestinians. But there are others who think the Israelis are far better at this game than the Americans and that their list of Washington skunks and scandals involving many senior government officials now and past is considerably more extensive than what the Americans can pin on them should it ever come to that.

MER Track Record and the Assassination/Coverup of Yasser Arafat
(December 13, 2004)
Looking ahead, the historical stakes have become much higher, the costs in bloodshed and treasure already far greater, and the new 'peace process' already considerably more convoluted with even greater ominous implications for all in the international community of nations.

AMERICA the TITANIC
(December 11, 2004)
From the heart of the Washington Republican 'National Security' establishment, Harlan Ullman warns that the U.S. has sailed into very dangerous times and appears like the TITANIC headed for disaster. The dangers Ullman warns are in many ways as much from within as from without. The TITANIC metaphor is a powerful one, and Ullman repeats it a number of times for emphasis.

Palestinian Push - Over and Under
(December 10, 2004)
The big U.S. and Israeli Palestinian push is on. Put in place a new 'moderate' under control Palestinian regime, pump in some money for bribes and payoffs, train more regime 'security police', declare an end to the uprising against occupation (the Intifada), hard repress any and all opposition, kill and arrest those who continue to fight, and presto maybe you have a new police-state client-regime dutifully labled 'moderate' and 'democracy' however quisling in reality.

CHENEY Did It! Smoking Gun Court Case About WMD Scandal
(December 9, 2004)
In this eye-opening story today about a very unusual court case brought by a former senior CIA analysis which could serve as the smoking gun that the Bush/Cheney administration purposefully cooked the WMD books there's not a single mention of the unprecedented 9 or more once secret visits to the CIA of VP Cheney or the real potential significance of this legal political bombshell.

Ghosts of Vietnam and the 'Evil Empire'
(December 8, 2004)
More and more even in Washington circles these days one hears...but in spoken whispers certainly not in the corporate print or TV media..."police state", "fascism", "Good Germans". As for Capitol Hill, it looks more like a "no-go-zone" these days -- beyond being 'Occupied Israeli territory' -- than the Congress of a free and brave democracy.

Iraq and Palestine - Gloomy Predictions
(December 7, 2004)
Whether the further explosions and greater yet bloodshed and civil war will erupt in weeks, or months, or years, the course is now far more clear than the corporate media usually deals with. But today the New York Times is used for major leaks from the under-purge under-blame CIA about what to really expect in occupied Iraq, and recently the brilliant British journalist Robert Fisk wrote in The Independent about what to really expect in occupied Palestine.

America's Mubarak Regime
(December 6, 2004)
Moreover Mubarak is cooperating with the Israeli-American plan to now bring in Egyptian military forces to guard Gaza's southern border and help police the Palestinians into submission. If allowed to proceed by the Palestinians they can expect European and/or U.N. forces to be forced on them in the future in the deceptive guise of an expanded 'roadmap peace plan' to control the West Bank if the new Palestinian regime isn't up to the job.

Anti-Semitism? Rubbish!
(December 4, 2004)
Now what's going on with the Presbyterians is not at all "anti-semitism" as that term has been known over the years. It is anti-Israel, and many of the American Jewish Zionist organizations will insist it is anti-Jewish -- which in a sense is true if the positions these Jewish organizations take are fair game for protest, which indeed they are.

Ziad Asali - Latest Washington Palestinian Quisling
(December 3, 2004)
One of the many reasons the Palestinian people are in the terrible predicament they find themselves has been the extraordinarily co-opted quisling persons that so tragically have been allowed to represent them in Washington and to the American media for so many years. For those wondering about this choice of words, the definition of 'quisling', admittedly very pointed and harsh, does not give the full explanation of what has happened in Washington but it will have to do for now. During the German ooccupation of Norway in World War II the head of the Nazi-installed regime was Vidkun Quisling. His very name has since come to mean: A traitor who serves as the puppet of the enemy occupying his or her country.

9/11 was foreseeable one way or another
(December 3, 2004)
What has happened in recent years, indeed what happened on 9/11 and then it's aftermath, were in general quite foreseeable, no matter how much official Washington keeps pretending otherwise. The aggressive, imperialistic, self-righteous, deceptive, and oh-so-arrogant policies of the United States and Israel were at work for decades provoking and creating a kind of historical blowback that the whole world is now forced to live with. The following MER Editorial was published on Thanksgiving day in November 1997.

To Book Publishers and Literary Agents
(December 3, 2004)
MER is now looking for a literary agent and a publishing house. With events in the Middle East now gripping the headlines, with another round in the Israeli-Palestinian 'Peace Process' now at hand, and with the crusading 'neocons' firmly empowered in Washington, serious book publication on these subjects is more timely and more needed than ever. We have a unique compendium of exclusive MER articles, plus program and speech transcriptions, in addition to a number of highly qualified individual expert authors, which we are now interested in publishing.

FBI and Israeli-Jewish Lobby Square Off
(December 2, 2004)
You'd think that when the Capitol Hill offices of the most important foreign policy/Middle East 'lobby' are invaded by the FBI, computers and files seized and subpoenas served against top officials, this would be important news in Washington.

War Crimes Escalating - From Guernica to Fallujah
(December 2, 2004)
The new American-Israeli crusade, masquerading as the bringing of 'democracy and freedom' to the Muslim and Arab peoples, is marching on with new targets now in sight: Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas, N. Korea, Pakistan (if, or is it when, Musharraf falls)...and who knows who else as all are being coerced or forced to march into the bleak unknown. Fallujah is not meant to be an end for the coalition of fundamentalist and Zionist Neocons who now have Washington firmly in their grip; it is rather another new escalating beginning.

NewsFlash - Barghouti IN! After All
(December 1, 2004)
Now with Barghouti's entrance into the Palestinian election race and with Hamas in part threatening to 'boycot' if their own interests are not met -- and with Iraq exploding in greater hatred and violence against the Americans -- the entire U.S.-Israeli strategy for January 'elections' in both occupied Palestine and Iraq is very much in doubt.

Sharon - Past and Future - MER FLASHBACK
(December 1, 2004)
"Sharon was a killer obsessed with hatred of Palestinians. I had promised Arafat that his people would not get any harm. Sharon, however, ignored this commitment entirely. Sharon's word is worth nil." -Ambassador Philip Habib, Ronald Reagan's Special Middle East Envoy*

America's 'GUERNICA'
(December 1, 2004)
Pablo Picasso's haunting painting, 'Guernica', has immortalized that Spanish city whose brutal destruction was a precursor to all the horrendous death and suffering of World War II, now a finally fading generation ago. It was on Thanksgiving Day that we published detailed foreign reports about what has been done this month by what many in the world now consider to be the imperial crusading forces of the United States and Great Britain, 'on our watch', to the Iraqi city of 'Falluja' -- Falluja in Memoriam on Thanksgiving. Now this haunting essay, "Fallujah: America's Guernica", suggests a historical twist in time and fate we all should be pondering.




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