Tuesday, August 27, 2013


According to Secretary of State John Kerry, the supposed use of chemical weapons in Syria, according to him and many others at least, by the government of Syria is a "moral obscenity".
It certainly seems like there is a drum beat towards war. This war drum beats all to regularly in the world, and most definitely has become part of politics as usual here in the United States.  Which country or group should be or will be attacked has become a common theme for those who occupy the White House and seats in Congress.  And of course, none of the proponents of military violence claim any harmful aspirations.  Each and every one argues that violence and destruction are simply the only way to bring about peace, the Nobel Peace Prize winning president included.
Now let's talk a bit about obscenities.  Obscene is the fact that the situation with Syria is happening in similar ways as did the situation with Iraq.  Claims are made that there is certainty that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.  Weapons inspectors are now on the ground to verify if the chemical weapons were in fact used at the request of certain world powers.  Even though these inspectors are doing the job requested of them, those same powers are trying to argue that it is too late despite the fact that experts are denying that it is too late.  Experts are saying that they indeed will be able to make determinations about the use of those weapons.
Obscene is the fact that the government which rushed to start a war in Iraq based on claims of certainty and whose claims were absolutely and completely disproved, is willing to make claims of certainty that would likely lead again to military action before any definitive results have been announced.
Obscene is that the government which chose to create an unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq has not ever found it prudent to prosecute the people responsible for the deaths of an incredible number of innocent lives, both Iraqi and American.
Obscene is that there really isn't an outcry by the American public demanding to bring those criminals to justice.  If a president's administration chooses not to pursue justice in order to pretend that there is something about the office of the president that places those who have held that office above the law, then that kind of administration cannot demand the kind of respect that it would hope for.  That kind of administration cannot be expected to base it's decisions on what's right and wrong.  And that kind of administration which has decided to not prosecute those who lied about the reasons which started a war which turned out to be unjustifiable, cannot be trusted to act in a way any better than the other.
Had the Obama administration attempted to have the war criminals punished for their crimes, all of their claims about obscenities in Syria wouldn't be as obscene as they are now.  No. We should not be launching military strikes against Syria based on assurances by the Obama administration that there is no question that Syria's government is guilty of doing something that hasn't even been investigated fully.
In fact, it would be illegal for the United States to launch any kind of aggression against Syria without a Security Council resolution supporting action.  It doesn't matter if Obama's administration claims that it would be in the U.S' interest.  Where is it in the Constitution that it is in the U.S.' interest to violate international law?  Where is it in the Constitution that it is the U.S.' role in the world to be the enforcer.  When was it that the U.S. gained the right the be the sole arbiter of what's right or wrong  and when a war is OK?  Never.  It's simply that our military might coupled with an unmatched arrogance and some sense of divine right gives the person who holds the office of the presidency enough confidence that he or she, whoever it may be, can do whatever they want.
We really need to look into the true obscenities that are around us.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chess in Miami

Fabiola Santiago took the time to write her version of the 50 year old chess match being played between two giants.  One is the imperialist giant, the United States.  The other is the tiny giant which has been a bulwark in the anti-imperialist camp since 1959, Cuba.  Sitting on the side of the imperialist power which is accustomed to getting its way, Santiago is a bit perplexed by how the game has gone so far and displays an uncertainty about what the outcome may be.  Hey, chess is a difficult game when your paying attention.  Imagine what happens if you only pay attention to half of the board.

Just as are most of the anti-Cuba commentators in Miami unable to recognize that changes are going on in the island, Fabiola Santiago seemed to not be able to figure them in to her prepackaged ideology, quite probably blocking her view of the chess match.  Metaphors aside, she is either unwilling or unable to factor in everything so her ability to formulate useful analysis of the situation is hampered by selective choice of information rendering it useless or just plain propaganda.

She passes off some statistics about the number of Cubans who have received visas in the recent period which shows an increase so high that the total exceeds the number the US agreed to in 1994.  That's impressive, I mean let's look at the good will of the United States to surpass its agreements.  Or, since the US often fell way short of meeting its agreed number, could the US just be trying to catch up?  She notes that the Obama administration has expanded tourist visas for Cubans to be valid for five years.  She failed to explain that on the other side of the chess board, the Cuban government had eliminated the "white paper" requirement for Cubans to travel.  Looking at the chess game as a whole, Obama's move might be considered a defensive one to protect himself from such a difficult situation in which Cubans, who had always been supposedly "trapped" on the island suddenly found themselves free to leave only to be prevented by visa denials by the United States.  Fabiola probably missed that one.

Even Ileana Ros-Lehtinen gets in on the confusion by saying that more or less even though anti-Cuba policy is the basis for her career "I don't know what to make of it."  Try looking at the entire game mam.  "It's a free for all," laments the most out of touch expert on the issue, failing to realize that the policy which allows any Cuban who touches our shores to get political asylum even though that might include Cubans who you don't approve of.  For years the policy was used as a way of padding the statistics to show how many people were "fleeing" Cuba.  Now some people don't know what to do about all of those "refugees" who want better relations with the island and have diluted the hard line narrative of South Florida.

For the fading hard liners, what may be even more troubling than the refugee "snitches and state security officers" living in Miami and other US cities, are the former hard liners who have been watching the whole chess board.  They are lining themselves up and are ready and willing to engage with Cubans on the island, some even wanting to grant loans for the small businesses that have been created on the island.  My goodness, if that were to happen the chances of the only acceptable change on the island, one which ushers in a return of pre-revolutionary Cuba with its corruption and domination a the capitalist elites at the expense of almost everyone else is likely never to happen!  It wouldn't happen anyway with or without the economic blockade, but the hard liners have to have some kind of hope.

Fabiola resorts to her expertise on international law to remind readers that besides the facts, Cuba remains a danger to the security of the United States.  In her infinite wisdom and ahead of the United Nations' experts who are looking in to the North Korean ship carrying out dated military equipment, she has declared it from her side of the chess board in Miami "a violation of international regulations."

Let's not forget that as long as there are people like Fabiola Santiago, the US funded dissidents on the island, and a press always willing to question things no matter how absurd, all things Cuban are "questionable."

Yes, as she said in her article, "a checkmate seems a long way off."  I'll add that when there is a checkmate, Fabiola Santiago may be one of the last people to learn of it.

In an article this week by Nelson P. Valdes about Fidel's 87th birthday, he stated one of the most logical and accurate analysis that can pertain to these types of handicapped chess players.  He asked "How come talking heads, editorial writers and wishful thinkers were so wrong about a post Fidel or a post Castro’s Cuba?"  Then astutely answers "One basic reason is that attention has not been paid to the real developments in the island.  Wishful thinking and lies dominated the debate."  Well said.

Friday, August 2, 2013

An Adequate Response

A lot of people here in the United States have a problem recognizing some uncomfortable truths about our government.  Sometimes an outsider can help point things out for us.  Russia had a great opportunity to lend us a hand in this regard.

With Edward Snowden being granted asylum in Russia, we have a great opportunity to refocus ourselves away from the drama about "where in the world is Snowden" and more towards the issues that his selfless actions brought to light. 

The secrets brought to our attention are serious enough that quite quickly even our deeply corrupted congress felt the need to address the issue by attempting to pass legislation which would have virtually ended these offensive and probably unconstitutional programs.  In their first attempt they almost succeeded.  The formerly secret programs aren't exactly winning the approval of a big chunk of the public.

As the Obama administration spent recent weeks huffing and puffing and flexing its muscles by having the great "democracies" of Europe force the plane of Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, to land after refusing entry to their air space, and making it abundantly clear which countries are more independent than others, it has become obvious that the empire doesn't wield the power that it imagines. 

Our Attorney General, Eric Holder, finally tried a less aggressive act by sending a letter to his Russian counterpart promising that if returned, Snowden wouldn't face the death penalty nor would he be tortured.  What an amazing fact that this country would have to clarify such a thing!

As far as I know, a direct response wasn't offered to Holder, but in the end asylum was granted to Snowden by Russia.  Perhaps that was the response.  But if a response would have been given, it could have said the following:

Mr. Holder,

The Russian government appreciates the seriousness of the situation that we find ourselves in.  Although it is likely that Edward Snowden has violated certain laws in the United States, and you have given your personal assurances that Mr. Snowden will be treated fairly by your legal system, also not facing the death penalty or torture, the latter being illegal, we prefer to exercise caution in this matter.

Given the recent history, we cannot be sure that your government's definition of torture meets the standards of the international community.  As we've witnessed your treatment of another of your citizens in a similar situation, Bradley Manning, we know that your courts ruled after the fact that he was indeed subjected to some of the kinds of things which may have been partly the grounds on which Mr. Snowden has requested asylum.

Along with that example, there are other instances which give us pause such as the descriptions of the treatment of prisoners of yours in Guantanamo Bay.  Also, the statements by some former government officials explaining the kinds of treatment they believed to be legal under your laws cause us to question exactly what may be your definition of torture.

We hope that the government of the United States understands and respects our decision on this matter.

Your partner,

The Government of the Russian Federation