Thursday, 18 August 2011

"Hezbollah in Latin America - Implications for US Homeland Security".
The line-up of witnesses consisted of Roger Noriega, visiting fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute; Douglas Farah, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center; Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council and journal editor for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs; and Brown University professor Dr. Melani Cammett, the only testifier who bothered to provide an accurate history of Hezbollah and to refrain from referring to the Lebanese political party and resistance movement as a terrorist organisation directed by Iran.
Cammett's co-witnesses more than made up for her dearth of creativity. Given the quality of what is consistently allowed to pass as evidence of the threat posed to the US by the supposed love affair between Iran and leftist Latin American regimes, it is perhaps only surprising that the first three expert-propagandists did not invoke Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's joke in the Oliver Stone documentary "South of the Border" - in reference to a corn-processing facility - that, "This is where we build the Iranian atomic bomb."
Stripped of its facetious intent, the comment would have proved an able companion to the clique's existing arsenal of justifications for increased US militarisation of Latin America as well as potential military manoeuvrings against Iran.
The Caracas-Tehran one-stop
No congressional subcommittee hearing would have been complete without testimony confirming that it is currently possible to travel by air from Caracas to Tehran with only one stop in Damascus.
This bit of trivia, mentioned by both Noriega and Farah, has for the past several years been a favourite among neoconservative pundits as well as members of the Israeli foreign ministry.
During his June 2009 expedition to Honduras to attend the 39th General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon warned: "We know that there are flights from Caracas via Damascus to Tehran." The superior urgency of the "Iranian attempt to penetrate into the continent" was unclear given that no representatives of the Islamic Republic or any other non-American state had been present at said assembly.
In addition to Ayalon's appearance in Honduras, other instances of proof of the facility of transatlantic travel include the 1983 training in Israel of Carlos Castano, father of modern Colombian paramilitarism, who acknowledgedinheriting the concept from the Israelis. It comes as no surprise that Israeli-Colombian models of terrorisation and displacement of populations infringing economically, ideologically, or ethnically on the interests of power are deemed far less deserving of contemplation in certain circles than, for example, the "dangerous 'caudillo-mullah' axis"advertised by the Honourable Noriega.
Noriega's scary secret fantasy stash
Roger Noriega, one of various Iran-Contra relics recycled into subsequent US administrations, served under the Bush II regime as US ambassador to the OAS and then as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. The Iran-Contra portion of his curriculum vitae suggests that he has already had considerable experience with a different sort of caudillo-mullah axis, according to which profits from arms sales to the axis' latter half went to benefit supporters of right-wing dictatorships in Nicaragua.
Noriega's transparent fear-mongering efforts against the new axis often employ a vocabulary of limited range, such that in the past ten months alone we have been alerted to the existence of rightist Honduran President Pepe Lobo's "Secret Pact with Hugo Chavez" as well as "Chavez's Secret Nuclear Program" and "Argentina's Secret Deal With Iran?", and have been reminded that the Caracas-Tehran one-stop is part of "Hugo Chavez's Scary Anti-American Campaign."
The sensational effects of Noriega's strategic reliance on "secrets" are somewhat mitigated by his inability to sustain his own allegations. As Nicaragua-based journalist Charles Davis points out in a March 2011 piece for Right Webwith regard to Noriega's October 2010 detection of Venezuela's clandestine nuclear weapons programme:
"[T]hat show-stopping claim of nuclear proliferation on the US's 'soft underbelly' isn't mentioned in [Noriega's] more recent, 2,700 word policy guide for the new Congress. According to leaked State Department cables released by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, US diplomats have privately mocked the notion that Venezuela is assisting Iran's nuclear program or developing atomic weapons - or even capable of developing a civilian nuclear power program."
In a dispatch entitled "Chavez the Cocaine Capo?", Noriega speculates that the Venezuelan leader "should be very troubled that a man whom President Obama has branded one of the world's most significant drug kingpins, Walid Makled-Garcia, may soon be telling US federal prosecutors everything he knows about senior Venezuelan officials who have abetted his cocaine smuggling operations". The attempt to discredit leftist governments by saddling them with drug trafficking ties should be juxtaposed with the fact that CIA facilitation of the accrual by right-wing Nicaraguan paramilitaries of revenues from cocaine distribution in the US is no secret.
Farsi tattoos, Mexicans and geography
The tendency to heap socialists, Islamists, drug traffickers, and other undesirables into a single nexus of malevolence is also observable in a 2010 letter from US Representative Sue Myrick to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, hyping the idea that Hezbollah is cooperating with drug cartels on the US southern border.
Apparently unconcerned that the friendly Mexican government may also be cooperating with drug cartels on the same border, Myrick delivers the smoking gun:
"Across states in the Southwest, well trained officials are beginning to notice the tattoos of gang members in prisons are being written in Farsi. We have typically seen tattoos in Arabic, but Farsi implies a Persian influence that can likely be traced back to Iran and its proxy army, Hezbollah. These tattoos in Farsi are almost always seen in combination with gang or drug cartel tattoos."
Myrick's argument was compelling enough to merit regurgitation by Douglas Farah at last month's congressional subcommittee hearing and then by Texas' Rio Grande Valley KRGV news station, which cautioned: "Terrorists Use New Identifying Markers To Recognize Each Other". As for Myrick's contention that, thanks to the bond between Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranians can now learn Spanish in Venezuela and then cross the US border posing as Mexicans, the need for enhanced racial profiling in the US has also been suggested by the global intelligence firm STRATFOR's analysis that Hezbollah looks Mexican.
Farah's testimony meanwhile also included the allegation that Venezuela is an "ideal launching pad" for drug trafficking due to its "geographic proximity to West Africa". That Farah is unable to present his arguments without resorting to such preposterous calculations does not aid his overall credibility, which is further obviated via his announcement that Iran, the Bolivarian states, Hezbollah, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC):
"Share a doctrine of asymmetrical warfare against the United States that embraces the use of weapons of mass destruction, massive civilian casualties as acceptable collateral damage and the underlying belief that the acquisition of nuclear weapons to destroy the United States is a moral or religious imperative. This is not a statement of capacity, but a clear statement of intention."
The problem here, of course, is that it is not clear what the "this" that is allegedly a clear statement of intention is referring to aside from Farah's own fabrications, given that none of the listed entities has ever expressed belief in the necessity of a nuclear destruction of the US and that the practice of inflicting massive collateral casualties has in recent history been monopolised by the US-Israel axis.
Argentina, penetrated
Relentlessly invoked as evidence of the malicious continental designs of Iran/Hezbollah is the extermination of civilians in Buenos Aires in terrorist attacks on the Israeli embassy and the AMIA, the Jewish cultural centre, in 1992 and 1994, respectively. The standard argument is that the attacks were conducted as revenge for Argentina's cancellation of nuclear contracts with Iran.
However, as historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter points out in an in-depth report for The Nation, a top Argentine nuclear official has confirmed that negotiations to resume cooperation with Iran continued throughout the period in which the bombings occurred and that it appeared the outcome would be favourable to the Islamic Republic. This raises the possibility that revenge may have instead been the priority of a non-Iranian party.
Walking down the street in Buenos Aires in July 2009, I quickly learned from the disproportionate number of sidewalk billboard advertisements featuring Chavez and Ahmadinejad clasping hands - accompanied by a warning of "Iranian penetration in Latin America" - that the annual observance of the anniversary of the AMIA attack constituted a prime occasion on which to intensify the dissemination of paranoia. The penetration ads directed consumers to an articleby a certain Ely Karmon in Veintitres magazine and were interspersed with posters depicting an unoccupied bed with white sheets in commemoration of the "85 goodbyes", which I first assumed was a reference to the current Argentine swine flu epidemic rather than the AMIA fatalities.
Veintitres defines Karmon as a Senior Academic Investigator at the International Counterterrorism Institute and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. His senior academic investigatory techniques in this case include plagiarising three paragraphs from a 2007 Miami Herald article by Andres Oppenheimer, whose observation that "Ahmadinejad must love the tropics" because he has spent more time in Latin America than George W. Bush, Karmon does attribute to the Herald - albeit without explaining how it is that the former US president has become the standard against which travel frequency to places other than Crawford, Texas, should be measured.
Karmon's investigation exposes worrisome trends such as that Farsi is being taught at Venezuelan universities, that a number of Iranian engineers have learned basic Spanish, and that Hezbollah operations have recently been "thwarted in Azerbaijan and an unidentified European country". He additionally draws attention to a 2008 Los Angeles Timesarticle that reports word of a joint scheme between Hezbollah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Venezuelan airport workers to exploit IranAir's Venezuela service in order to capture Jewish businessmen in Latin America and smuggle them to Lebanon. The "Western anti-terrorism official" to whom knowledge of the plan is ascribed does not explain why the one-stop to Tehran is not thus a non-stop to Beirut.
As for other functions of the Caracas-Tehran trajectory, these have been revealed by Roger Noriega, who, two weeks after declaring that "We can only guess who and what are aboard these flights", managed to inform the congressional subcommittee: "The Hezbollah networks use these flights and others to ferry operatives, recruits, and cargo in and out of the region."
Nicaragua misplaces mega-embassy and canal
Another persistent cause for concern is the Iranian diplomatic presence in Latin America, as exemplified in Douglas Farah's testimony: "In Bolivia recently the Iranian embassy reportedly asked for more than two dozen spaces in the international school for children of their newly-arrived diplomats there." It is not clear why the Iranian embassy in Bolivia is inherently more sinister than the Iranian embassies in Canada and the UK.
Journalist Charles Davis summarises the ruckus generated by Iran's reported ambassadorial mother ship in Nicaragua:
"In 2009, prominent neoconservatives like Michael Rubin drew attention to media reports claiming that Iran had built a new embassy in Nicaragua's sprawling capital Managua that was 'the largest diplomatic mission in the city'. The embassy, coupled with Iran's investments in Nicaragua and elsewhere in the region, Rubinwarned, indicated the Islamic Republic 'might see Latin America as a beachhead from which to conduct an aggressive strategy against the United States and its allies'.
"The claim was spread throughout right-wing policy circles. Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton picked it up. "The Iranians are building a huge embassy in Managua," she warned in 2009, just a few months after taking office. "And you can only imagine what that's for."
"But as the Washington Post reported in July 2009, that "huge embassy in Managua" could not be found. "It doesn't exist," a chuckling Ernest Porta, head of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce, told the paper."
As for last year's headline in the Israeli daily Haaretz according to which "Iran, Venezuela plan to build rival to Panama Canal," the prospect of an Iranian-funded "'Nicaragua Canal' linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans" becomes less convincing when the following detail appears at the end of the article: "A US State Department official told Haaretz's Washington correspondent Natasha Mozgovaya on Wednesday that the US is not aware of any plans to build a new canal in Latin America."
The non-tractors
In an October 2009 presentation to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs entitled "Iranian Penetration into the Western Hemisphere through Venezuela", Norman A. Bailey - former Mission Manager for Cuba and Venezuela under Director of National Intelligence and Honduran death squad ally John D. Negroponte - unearthed further insidious machinations on the part of the penetrators.
champion of the 2009 US-backed coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, Bailey converted Chavez's displeasure at intra-hemispheric neoliberal penetration into the result of Iranian inter-hemispheric penetration and the idea that "the Iranians had opened a 'maintenance' facility in Honduras for… 'tractors' produced in Venezuela, in reality a drug transshipment warehouse." International observers with a less keen eye, such as the Agence France-Presse news outfit, reported the delivery of Venezuelan tractors to Honduras without realising that they were not really tractors.
Bailey describes Iranian involvement in Latin America as "curious" given that "[t]here is no affinity at all between monarchic or Islamic Iran and the countries of the Hemisphere; historical, cultural, political, economic or otherwise." One might ponder what sort of cultural or political affinities exist between the US and monarchic Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Islamist guerrillas in Afghanistan, or whether trade between Venezuela and Iran does not constitute economic affinity. As for Bailey's assessment that "one of the principal motivations [for Iranian activity in the region] is to be able to retaliate against the [sic] United States if [Iran] is attacked," it is not clear whether Bailey is aware that he has just characterised Iranian penetration as defensive rather than predatory in nature.
Barrios of Caracas convert to Shia Islam
Ely Karmon's prediction concerning the possibility of sudden religious affinities and the inculcation of the Latin American poor with Shia teachings meanwhile appears to be as of yet unfounded given Chavez's contention that Jesus Christ was an anti-imperialist who died on the cross as a result of the class struggle. That some level of ideological convergence is nonetheless possible is suggested by Roger Noriega's observation that "radical Muslims from Venezuela and Colombia are brought to a cultural center in Caracas named for the Ayatollah Khomeini and Simon Bolivar for spiritual training."
The danger of Latin American collaboration with a foreign country that - unlike the US - has not in contemporary history engaged in such regional activities as inaugurating schools for aspiring dictators and death squad leaders, presiding over illegal detention centres, and infecting local populations with syphilis is meanwhile fairly straightforwardly spelled out by Douglas Farah:
"All of this [collaboration] comes at the expense of US influence, security and trade - including energy security and hence economic and infrastructure security (Venezuela is the 4th largest supplier of US petroleum imports, just behind Mexico; indeed Latin America is our 2nd largest source of supply overall, only slightly behind the Middle East)."
"Security", of course, is not to be confused with stability - a concept that has no place in the business of regionalmilitarisation and incitement.
Belen Fernandez is an editor at PULSE Media. Her book The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work will be released by Verso on Nov. 1, 2011.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent Al Jazeera's editorial policy. 
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  • asiajack 1 day ago
    The US should grow up, leave its neocolonial policies behind, take care of the US and let the rest of the world worry about itself. Until there is a direct credible threat against the US, the US has no business being in other countries business. It sounds like diplomacy from children: she likes him so I dont like her even though he does not like her, but likes that girl over there who likes me, but I dont like her I like that girl over there who likes she and him, but she does like her so its a threat to me.
  • Yeah, since the US is clearly the only country that gets involved in the rest of the world, everyone else just leaves each other alone and has no interests whatsoever.

    Everyone does diplomacy in a similar fashion, the US is just rather open about it.
  • This is a rather easy to dispute.

    1) the Monroe Doctrine, no other country in the world has declared as a matter of policy that no other country can interfere with two entire continents and half the world-- of course that only applies when its convenient and easy when England wants to maintain a colonial outpost in Argentina for the purpose of tracking Russian submarines as they move through international waters thats OK -- Argentina is on its own, when France or Britian want to put down a slave revolt or replace a dictator that the US has forgotten about that is OK too.

    2) No other country maintains military installations in countries which are not colonies, not enemies, not under threat or threatening, nonetheless try removing the US from say Diego Garcia, Japan, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Okinawa, Bahrain, Iceland (Oh sorry I forgot the base and treaty with Iceland is a secrete-- Sorry about that one). Why not put a base in Palestine -- the US said they are in favor of a 2 state solution, pre 1967 borders, viable independent country -- perhaps a land swap (maybe the Negev for Gaza) so please station US forces to Protect Palestinians the same way the US is protecting say S. Kore. Oh sorry again -- I forgot the US neocolonial country of So. Korea is important but Palestine is not -- so much for democracy in the ME -- lets see the stated goal of the Bush Admin democracy in the ME- I forget where were there fair elections -- Oh thats right Lebanon and Palestine, but the wrong guy won thats not the democracy the US wants they want the puppet democracy. 

    so the US is not protecting democracy, and they are not following their own stated policy -- where was the US Navy to protect Argentina -- they must have been busy painting the shiny new aircraft carriers.

    3) Speaking of Aircraft Carriers the US has 26 of them, backed up by land air bases in Cuba, Iceland, England, Germany, Italy, Spain land and takeoff rights, Israel landing and takeoff rights (rats another secrete sorry about that one too), Turkey, Diego Garcia (nice place I was thinking of getting a condo there -- they have some really nice ones on floots, so when the islands sink your home will be just fine- kinda like a poor mans Maldives stocked with all those cute bored Marines -- what  a deal), Singapore (landing and takeoff rights), New Zealand (landing and takeoff rights), Okinawa.

    Yep the US dipolmacy is just like everyone one else. Which is why the US Navy is larger than all of the other Navyies combined -- even with the planned expansions of France, India and China.

    So the answer is rather obviously No -- the US does not do diplomacy like everyone else

    Oh I purposely left out where the US is actually shooting at people, paying people, etc.
  • The United States government has a long history of engineering coup d'etat's or strong arming smaller countries when people go in directions they don't like, are not cronies, attempt to establish their own independence or democracies, when supplies or corporate profits are threatened or when they want something. Then they wonder why other countries see them as a threat and band together in opposition.
  • The problem is that the US is absolutely arrogant, it doesn't treat other countries as partners but as master and servant, Asiajack is correct, people around the world deserve dignity and a fair treatment, instead of this bullying using lies and deception, if the US were to treat other with respect I wouldn't see any problem with that.


    To your latest reply, dude, it is so obvious that you haven't left Canada, because you have no idea what you are talking about, is always nice to talk from your comfortable couch about things that you have never witnessed, but I have been in so many countries where US arrogance has caused so much harm to the locals, just to start with Latin America, where the US has thrown down governments, installed dictators, supported oppression, repression, death, train murderers, I mean, if you think that is a respectful way to treat others, then you are very f***ed up, because is not, there is no dignity in being treated that way, and if knowing about these things you think the biggest problem for the US is that is too hard on itself, then you are just an a**hole, we are talking about millions of people's lives that have been affected by the childish aggressive policies of the bully up in the north.


    I don't think anyone is here defending colonial policies of any country, personally I don't feel very much related to any country in particular but to some policies of just a few.

    That old thinking that others also do it is hardly an excuse for anything, certainly all injustices should be called upon as what they are, but that also means the US, and the latter is at that predominant position because of the extent of its influence, it is only logical that because of this extent the most attention should be focused on them, nothing more than that, I mean, which country is occupying 2 countries while bombing some more in a region far away from itself? the truth is that currently and for the last century there is no other country that using its power, be it by economical blackmail or brute force, has had such a global impact on people that have absolutely no reason to be affected by these predatory policies, it is only fair to say it.


    You know, your disregard for humanity is sickening, lack of subtlety? how can you be subtle when you go around pillaging other countries to enforce your kind of ideology no matter the dire consequences for others? lack of subtlety is the least of your problems when you have prisons all over the world where no jurisdiction is allowed and everything is permitted, not only that but I think you haven't learned anything from your trips, other countries are also into the spotlight when it comes to this kind of behavior, Africans by far are more distrustful about Europe than the US, and with reason, people in South East Asia do not trust China, also with reason, the only bias here is yours that pretends to be objective by equating a large amount of crimes that cannot be equated to anything in this moment, we are not living in the past, this is happening right now, and nothing can be compared to it.


    It does not excuse anybody, the US included, you are obviously trying to play down what the US is doing by putting it on the same level of other abuses committed by others, I do agree that they should also be in the spotlight, I would love if people all over the world rise up and help the people of Burma or Syria, the same as in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Honduras, and so on, but I do not agree with the taking out the relevance and exposure in global affairs of the US, this is a government that has worked hard to become the most hated in the world, we shouldn't take that from them, the worldwide bashing against it is well deserved, because that is the reach that it has, and this certainly does not help make your case in not disregarding anything, on the contrary it shows that you are being bias.
  • Bakdunis

    I think you are a bit misinformed. Let me clarify Latin American´s interests in what concerns the USA:

    a) We want you to stop the money printing press and that you pay our bonds back.
    b) We want to keep a safe distance from your ghetto scenes and irresponsible behavior.

    Go pay your underwater mortgage and leave us alone !

    You are too broke and China took your place as South America´s main trading partner some years ago.

    Best Regards
  • asiajack
    1) Other countries have had and still have similiar doctrines, though not to the same degree as 2 whole continents [the wording of teh doctrine actually said the whole Western Hemispehere, not just the Americas]. Saying the Monroe Doctrine itself is a bad thing is ingeniousness. The doctrine was issued by a weak country with no real external power to tell the europeans to quit with their meddling. What it has become however is a bit different but even then,  calling the US alone out on this is quite the double standard. See Russia and central Asia. See China and Taiwan. See Spain and Portugal dividing up the "New World". It is all a matter of degrees.

    2)Several other countries maintain military installations in countries which are not colonies, enemies, threats, underthreat. Just look at Russia for instance. Base in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Syria, krygystan, etc. Australia has a base in Timor, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Philippines and more. British have Germany, Qatar, Cyprus. French have Djibouti, UAE, Gabon, etc. The list could go on and on. China is even setting up a base in the Gulf of Aden. The US merely has so many since the US has lots of interests and a good deal of the time countries actually request bases so they can have a military force without the need to invest in their own.

    3)I am not even sure where that point was going. Yet, the US actually only has around ~11, though 1-3 more in the process of being made.You seem to have mistaken military for diplomacy. The US doesnt do military like everyone else yet, diplomacy is another beast altogether.

    And OMG, the US is shooting at people? And paying people? Heavens to Betsy, I can't believe a people would do that. Syrian government is shooting people, and I am fairly sure a handful of them may be being paid to do it. And who is this NATO group? I hear some of them are in places where they may be shooting at people too and probably get a pay check. You act as if the US is the only place that does these kinds of things. If you truly believe that you need only look around to learn otherwise.

    yahoo-3pqqvnmbjk4jlnysvhna7iusqi [Gary]
     Many countries have such a history. French[countless places], British[countless], Libya [Liberia], Cuba [it of all places Angola], Dutch[countless], Spain[countless],  Russia/Soviet [lots], I shall just quit listing places now, since if I wanted I could keep going with even dead countries and this would go on forever.

    Jose Stenio

    1) Must be why people, especially foreign peoples are buying US bonds now at a much increased rate ever since the downgrade. Even then, South America is the least of concerns in regards to holding US debt. The US isnt even the most indebt country.  If the US somehow put its full GDP behind repaying the debt, it would be gone in a bit over a year, where as if Luxembourg (where the debt if nearly $4million per capita) that tactic would take over 34 years. in The UK it would take 4 years,

    2) South America wants to stay away from the US' 'ghetto' scenes? Have you been to Brazil? You know, that country where people are literally paid to kill the street kids in Sao Paulo, who are so numerous and treated on the same level as rats? Also, I am not American, I am Canadian, though thank you for assuming I am.


    The US isn't really that arogant. To quote a Mr. Coville: "The problem is that America's problems also exist in other countries, a lot of the time they're actually worse." Think the US criminal system is bad? Just take a look at France or Japan. and

    The real problem with America is that Americans are too open about talking about their own faults. This merely highlights errors which have been made and are being made. Meanwhile, in most of the rest of the world the same, if not worse is going on and nobody talks about it or even knows about it. This lopsided communications lends to the appearance the the US is merely the only country messing things up.

    Edit: To your latest update: I have left Canada. I have lived in Egypt for 2 years, Kenya for 1 year, and India for half a year as well as extensive travels in my line of work (logistics for refugee camps). My comments by no means come from a comfortable couch.

    Also, I am by no means defending dickish international diplomacy. I am merely saying that everyone is essentially caught up on a loud but small issue and ignoring the quiet and large issue of "everyone does it, and often time to worse degrees".

    The fact others using such tactics does not excuse the use of such tactics, no question about that. However, it is a bit disingenuous to say that the US is the only one that uses economic blackmail or even brute force. UK, France, China, Russia and other have all engaged in such tactics within the past century, and continue too. Yes, yes, the US may be the most prominent example of these tactics at the moment but it isn't from a lack of trying on the part of other countries. Perhaps the US's biggest issue is a lack of subtly.

    Everything about what you are saying I agree with, aside from the suggestion that these are solely American activities.

    I have no vested interest in the US, I am merely defending it at the moment since I can't stand everyone trying to discredit it with lies. There are plenty of real things to criticize the US for rather than needing to resort to lies and hyperbole.

    ** My disregard for humanity? Where am I disregarding humanity? I am merely noting that somethings are much more widespread than you appear to accept. If anything I am doing the opposite of 'disregarding', is paying attention. Perhaps you misunderstood my rather poorly worded sentences. When I said the US' biggest issue was a lack of subtly, all I meant by that was that more than the US is doing it yet only the US gets called out in any way. The US may very well be the biggest perpetration yet that does not excuse everyone else.

    *** just reread my last sentence.
  • asiajack
    It is quiet simpler than it looks Mr. Asiajack, US believes in the law of "might makes right". That means if you are stronger than the rest, then no matter what you do, you are right.

    For example, if I'm stronger than you, and I punch you in the face for absolutely no reason, I'm right, because I'm stronger and you basically can't do anything about it, more so, no one can do anything about it.

    There is a reason why Hypocrisy and Double Standard have become US's nickname. Hypocrisy and Double Standards is only produced when you believe what you do is right, no matter what, and if others do the same thing, it is not right in any way or form. US derives this retarded logic from "might makes right".

    Eventually US will collapse, just like all the other arrogant empires before it, the worrying thing is that, worse than the Nazis, US has shown an attitude of "if I go down, the whole world goes down with me". This is very scary, even the financial crisis, US continually claims that this will effect the whole world, just a fear mongering, but it is a message to the world basically, a message which says, "if I go down, I'm taking you down with me".

    That is the only worry I have, other than that, the road which US is going leads to only one destination, and that destination looks worse than the dead end street USSR took.
  • Bakdunis

    You are absolutely right. Being 'in developing' is not a walk in the park. Still the situation is improving slowly and we should eradicate extreme poverty in 5 years, which is not great but I guess I can say it is an advance from a country that have been recovering from the *US* sponsored Washington Consensus in the last 8 years or so and spent over 30 years in economic crisis before that.

    And by the way, I am actually from São Paulo outskirts and can  tell you with no shadow of doubt that there´s nothing more ghetto than  torture. Poverty is hard but I guess it is more tolerable than loosing your dignity and sense of morals like you did in Abu Ghraib. Rednecks rapists in prison sounds too much like a bad script of  snuff porn to me. Then, this is just the major highlight of your series of atrocities.

    Another problem that I would like to point out is that the issue with the US debt surpasses the mere GDP/debt ratio. You must also take into account other factors like the persistent trade deficit and political instability, which leads many people, not only me, but major bond funds, Chinese authorities and many scholars to put in check America´s capacity of solvency. And again, devaluing your currency via QE like you are doing is already a 'de facto'  default.

    You should also  keep in mind is that the reserves the BRICS, Japan and Oil producing countries have accumulated have a huge financial cost. The yields are negative, your currency is melting and this is looking more and more like a scam we are forced to accept since the dollar is the worlds reserve currency, and there are no real diversification alternatives at this point. SDR´s could be an option but unfortunately the IMF needs to be reformed to make it happen and it is all a long and painful process.

    In short, we are not happy with you. Are we Anti-American? In spite of the miserable dictators you have sponsored in the past, the blood bath that was the Washington Consensus, I guess we are willing to get over the resentment. What we cannot accept in jump again in the redneck bandwagon and risk loosing our hard earned advances.

    Can America please stay away from us?
  • ozyism

    When has the US "punched" someone in the face for 'absolutely no reason"? There is always some reason, be  it real, flimsy, or incredibly self-interested. Just because you dont agree with the reason doesn't mean the reason is not there. At least the reasons are better than those of the Football War or Cod Wars, or even World War I.

    If the US solely believed in the law of 'might makes right', why even bother having diplomatic people? If nobody else believed in 'might makes right' why are there roughly 42 wars currently going on in the world? Just realize for a second that if the US truly followed a 'might makes right' ideology Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and a few other countries would all be smoldering radioactive ruins. Why even put your own soldiers at risk when you could comfortable decimate your enemies from the comfort of your bathtub?  The only reason would be to avoid the death of innocent people and the the international backlash. Resources such as oil could easily be extracted from a radioactive location with technology the US has handy. Americans in a way are putting their soldiers at risk in order to more accurately avoid innocent people (yes many still die anyway, but not as many as a nuke). Significantly less civilians have died in the US and NATOs current wars combined than any previous major war.

    I have never heard Hypocrisy and Double Standard as being the US' nicknames. Of all countries, the US seems to be the one least sure about what it is doing. Just take a look at US news for a second. The country pretty much rips itself a part with differing factions yelling at and criticizing each other. The US is far from a unified body.

     Nice to see you invoked the Nazis.  There is no question that the US will collapse, everyone and everything does eventually. The claim that the US' problems effect the whole world is no fear mongering. For instance, the US produces an astronomical amount of food which is mostly shipped abroad. If the US can't do that anymore everyone suffers. It is simple facts regarding an interconnected world, and holds true for more than just the US.  For instance, if Brazil suddenly collapsed, the world would reel if for no other reason that the world relying on Brazil for nearly half of all sugar production and their huge market suddenly vanishing.
    It is beyond hubris to imagine you can live in a world so interconnected and not feel some repercussions when one of the world's largest economies stumbles.
  • @Ari Lee

    It almost sounds like you conflate the US' mainstream media with that of views held by Americans. The mainstream media tries to stay away from "hot topics' such as the US' faults since that would alienate the insanely patriotic crowd. Seeing as the mainstream media is struggling to get viewers/subscribers/readers at the moment that would likely not be a wise move on their part. Many an American is quite ignorant and passively accepts any and everything, yet it is far from 'uniform' as you state. I pity your having lived with 'white trash' for so long, I had to grow up among the Canadian version. Your statements are quite accurate regarding that demographic of people and even several other demographics (thankfully not everyone though).

    In regards to your comment regarding landmines, that topic is probably not widely talked about since despite the Us not signing the Ottawa Treaty, it adopted its own policy in 2004 which surpassed the Ottawa Treaty's requirements. Regarding cluster bombs, well, from my understanding the reason why the US didn't agree with the Oslo Process was since they believed cluster munitions may still have some utility as opposed to no utility. That however is a bit suspect I have also witnessed quite a few protests regarding criminal incarceration rates in the US when I have been there.

    Being unbalanced is no way to properly counterweight unbalances elsewhere. That only prolongs the issue since then people will backlash against that counterbalance. What needs to happen is pervasive quality fact telling. I also find it somewhat interesting to read your claims while keeping in mind that AJE is actually the news provider of choice for the quite a lot of the US government and the intelligence community and it is even appearing on US television now.
  • @Jose Stenio

    If the South American countries really wants to be left alone perhaps they should take the first step and actually demonstrate that they want to be left alone. Until the South American countries quit having any sort of foreign relations and buy off any and all foreign owned companies on the continent and bring home all of their own companies abroad. I heavily doubt that will ever happen since that would not only be a significant loss to the world but a huge loss to the South America too.

    If you truly speak for all of the peoples "south of the equator", that would cover large parts of the Africa, and the Oceania too. I guess that would mean Venezuela could still be messed with since it is north of the equator

    Or if by "leave us alone" you just mean "quit messing with our governments". That seems like a reasonable request.
    However, if the US considers Iran to be an enemy and the Venezuela wants to get very friendly with them, don't get angry if the US takes interest in that.

    Also, you claim nobody is bashing the US? Certainly sounds like it to me. Correct me if I am wrong but 'heavily criticizing' is the definition of 'bashing'
  • It is a pleasure to see your detailed reply to bashing of America on AJ. I myself belong to the crowd who hardly say anything good about this country, but a rational reply is good for a change. It appears that many people on this forum who want to defend the USA have no other means to do so other than name calling, quotation of erroneous facts and total absence of historic or international perspective. I completely agree with you that American Evil is just an instance of much more general (and often more severe) problems permeating mankind at the most fundamental levels.

    Yet I would argue against your point that Americans are self-criticizing folks. I have lived in several cultures myself and in my experience the  combination of ignorance and arrogance is higher among common Americans that in other cultures. Real crimes against humanity in Dresden, Hiroshima, Latin America, the country's stance toward land mines, cluster bombs, rate of incarceration, etc. are rarely discussed by ordinary people with any other angle than that of rabid patriotism.

    It is precisely this uniformity of aggressive, ignorant and arrogant attitudes that drives so many of us from mainstream media into AJ. I do no see any serious self-critique on the main English-speaking sites. All their critique consists of splitting hairs between identical twins like Republicans and Democrats or Brits and Yanks. No opposition is represented, even such very civil and moderate critics as Chomsky equated with traitors. It is entirely possible that my perception is skewed after living for years among what other people would call "white trash" who do not know, do not care and proud of it.

    Yet, please recognize the fact that AJ prevailing public attitude is a backlash of English speaking community against ultra-right, patriotic, fascist leaning Christian demagoguery and SHOULD BE UNBALANCED to counterweight the trend. As all other people we "cherry pick" the facts, exaggerate and downplay various aspects of them at whim and bash people like you who appalled by this unfairness. It is unrealistic to expect a rape victim to either provide balanced evaluation of the perpetrator or persuade her that most other men are not all that different. To various degrees most AJ folk has been either victim of American policies or witness of thereof, so, please, don't judge us too harshly.
  • Zinhle

    I guess you missed my last posts. Let me repeat them for you:

    As I told you on my previous messages, the USA has not been our biggest trade partner or investor for quite sometime. China took their place and right now they represent only 14% of our foreign trade, which is probably going to decline since their economy is not in a great shape. It is also worth to mention that this diversification was the explicit policy from our foreign office, and it happened in the last 10 years. We also have our own MMC´s now, like Petrobrás, Vale/Bradesco and Embraer, which means, we do not really need America anymore and we did it deliberately.

    Also, we have paid all our IMF loans and now we are their *creditor *, meaning that I can criticize them as much as I like. Let's face it, 300 billion US is a lot of cash. If there's someone being bashed here, it is me that need to come up with the money. Then it is not like we became Sweden and that there aren't people here that need it.

    Again, in case you did not read my previous posts,  the  financial cost of maintaining these reserves is quite substantial. If I am not mistaken, it was something like 40 billion from 2004-2009 or enough to fund our successful AIDS program for 20-30 years. In simpler terms,  if you think it is okay to finance rednecks going to war,I think you should go ahead and do it but *please* use *your own colonized elite money, not mine*.

    Ultimately, I am not quite sure if enabling irresponsible behavior actually helps American people. In fact, i think that unless the madness they got into only benefits the financial 'markets' and the military industrial complex. As we say in Brazil, money does not grow up in trees sweetheart.

    Finally, South of Equator is just a reference to the Oliver Stone documentary. Maybe you should watch and get more information about South America's Pink Wave. We are far from heaven but it seems like we are moving away a bit from the catastrophic USA tutelage.
  • Zinhle van Aalsmeer

    I suspect more of the 2nd option of what "leave us alone" would mean.
  • Ari

    Nobody is bashing America. There's simply no need to do it anymore since you are too  busy destroying yourselves.

    Again, all we want here in the South of Equator is to be left alone.

    Can you do us this huge favor?

  • Relations between Venezuela and Iran absolutely nothing to do with the USA.
    Go Bolivarianism. Go Islam.
    Mind your own business America you've done no good for either nation.
  • What a litany of paranoia and fear. These think tank people need to find something constructive to do ... like ... digging ditches. Rather than be allowed loose on the world concocting war in the name of profits. What a degree will do for you in Washington.
  • I have to think about that -- after I finish digging this ditch (or whole depending on one's point of view).
  • May the people of Asia and Latin America succeed in their heroic and historic struggle against American imperialism. Ameen.
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The group's leader keeps his ear close to the ground, bonding with the dispossessed and speaking their language. ( 21-Jun-2011 )

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