My reflections on politics, human rights, philosophy, economics and other social issues.

10 years since 9/11

 “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.”
– George W. Bush, commenting a memo “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US”, 6 August 2001

Today, we honour thousands of lives lost that September day, ten years ago. There is nothing to be said but “rest in peace” to all innocent victims, to all fallen heroes of 9/11. And though this event contributed to division and hatred, to rise of islamophobia, Park51 is a new hope that all citizens of the United States, regardless of their country of origin or religious beliefs, may live in peace and harmony in a free, multicultural society.

This horrific event was misused by the US Government to justify imperialist conquests in Afghanistan and Iraq and to turn America into an Orwellian police state. Though I may not agree with those who question the official account of 9/11, I will defend to death their right to say it and I will continue to oppose labelling everyone who dissents as “conspiracy theorist.” I would also like to remind the readers that it is the United States who created, armed and trained Osama bin Laden. Without CIA most likely nobody would have heard of him. 9/11 was carried out with American weapons and thanks to military trainings US government provided to the Taliban. In the end, 79 commandos and one dog raided his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan and instead of arresting Osama bin Laden and putting him on trial, they decided to murder a man who has not been convicted of any crime. They executed Osama bin Laden extrajudicially and thus deprived not only  him of right to fair trial but also families of the victims of justice, of the right to know who is behind the attack in which their loved ones were killed. Because he may have told the world something the US Government did not want us to hear – an inconvenient truth.

My Afghan friends kept reminding me of the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud two days before 9/11. The Lion of Panjshir, a freedom fighter who resisted both Soviet occupation and Taliban terror, warned the world of the terrorist threat. “Our beloved martyred commander”, as they call him, never received any help from CIA. Instead, it was Osama bin Laden who got it. However, revenge is not justice and murder of anyone is unjustifiable. That is a principle that must be respected in each and every democratic society.

"The Falling Man" symbolises the victims of 9/11.

Socialism with a human face: 43 years later

On this day, 43 years ago, the Soviet tanks entered Czechoslovakia preventing a truly revolutionary idea, the authentic socialism, “socialism with a human face” as it was known then, from being implemented, since it presented a threat to the domination of the USSR. It was not in accordance with its colonial interests and the Soviet Union proved once again that it was nothing but an imperialist power. It was neither the first nor the last time its expansionist foreign policy was implemented with tanks – do not forget East Germany 1953, Hungary 1956 and, finally, Afghanistan 1979.

United States and Soviet Union are actually very similar – Soviet imperialism does not differ significantly from the American, except that the latter killed to a greater extent. Both countries carried out purges against political opponents, against those critical of the régime and its policies, though Stalin murdered far more people.

There is the alternative – democratic socialism or “socialism with a human face.” Prague Spring is the alternative, the true, anti-imperialist left and the authentic, humanist marxism. The struggle continues.

Czech students surround Soviet tanks and urge the invading soldiers to join them, Prague, 21 August 1968

70th anniversary of Balkan butcher’s birth

“Für Frieden Freiheit und Demokratie nie wieder Faschismus Millionen Tote Mahnen.”
– A monument stone at the site of the birth of Adolf Hitler, Braunau am Inn, Austria

Today, we mark 7 decades since Slobodan Milošević, the Balkan butcher, was born. The aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which genocide took place, resulted in tens of thousands of dead and millions of displaced. Here, in Serbia, he killed journalists and political opponents and attempted electoral fraud at least two times. Milošević remains one of Europe’s worst dictators and his crimes are among the most atrocious in the post-war world. The Balkan butcher was arrested on April 1, 2001 and extradited to the United Nations detention unit in The Hague, Netherlands 3 months later. His trial started on February 12, 2002 and ended on March 11, 2006 with Milošević’s death.

Anarchy in the UK

“London’s burning! London’s burning!
Now I’m in the subway and I’m looking for the flat
This one leads to this block, this one leads to that
The wind howls through the empty blocks looking for a home
I run through the empty stone because I’m all alone.”
– The Clash, “London’s Burning” (1977)

“A riot is the language of the unheard.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr. in an address given in Birmingham, Alabama, 31 December 1963

The people protesting against the injustices of capitalism, against the Tory cuts and the police brutality, are being called “looters”, “hooligans” and “thugs”, and while it is true that there is much needless violence and vandalism, it cannot be taken out of context – this is a logical consequence of capitalist exploitation. Nobody is talking about what caused all this, not even about the trigger – the murder of Mark Duggan. Of course we should condemn the destruction of people’s property, but what is far more deplorable is what caused it.

Fire fighters and riot police survey the area as fire rages through a building in Tottenham, north London on Aug. 7, 2011. A demonstration against the death of a local man turned violent and cars and shops were set ablaze. (Lewis Whyld/PA/AP)

66 years since Hiroshima

“The only language [the Japanese] seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true.”
– Harry S. Truman, 11 August 1945, in a letter justifying his decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

“President Clinton said today that the United States owed Japan no apology for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War Two, and that President Harry S Truman had made the right decision to use the bombs.”
– Reuters, 7 April 1995

Almost 7  decades after one of the most unspeakable crimes in human history, American administration keeps justifying this fundamentally immoral atrocity and horrific act of barbarism. This shameful relativisation is an unbelievable insult to all the victims and the continuation of racism, demonisation and dehumanisation of Japanese by the U.S. government and the media in World War II. American citizens of Japanese descent were interned in concentration camps simply because their ancestry. Unfortunately, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only the last of the American crimes there – do not forget the carpet bombings of Japanese cities savagely killing hundreds of thousands of innocent, unarmed civilians.

May 22, 1944 Life Magazine Picture of the Week, "Arizona war worker writes her Navy boyfriend a thank-you-note for the Jap skull he sent her"

USS PT-341, Alexishafen, New Guinea, 30 April 1944

U.S government poster from WWII featuring a Japanese soldier depicted as a rat, 1941-43

Poster for Thirteenth Naval District, United States Navy, showing a snake representing Japan being bombed by an eagle, December 1941.

Example of Anti-Japanese sentiment and nationalist caricature employed during the war. It is one of many such racist pieces intended for domestic consumption to raise morale.

 More racist propaganda

Fjordman: the man who inspired Anders Behring Breivik

When the news of a bombing in Oslo broke out, blogger Fjordman asked his readers at  the Gates of Vienna to remember that Jens Stoltenberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister, was as much a “pathetic sucker for islam as it is humanly possible to be.” A few hours later, a shooting Utøya became known Fjordman reacted by describing AUF youngsters under attack as “a gang of antiisraeli, propalestine youth socialists.” However, after the identity of the attacker was revealed and when Fjordman learnt that he basically inspired the massacre he distanced himself from Anders Behring Breivik and calling him a “violent psychopath.”

Fjordman is however not only Anders Behring Breivik’s favourite contemporary author, he is also the one who inspired him. The whole islamophobic scene created Anders Behring Breivik, he is the product of Geert Wilders, of Filip Dewinter, of Pia Kjærsgaard, of Christopher Blocher, of Jörg Haider, of Robert Spencer, of Pamela Geller, of Fjordman and all others who are demonising Islam and representing Muslims as a threat and an enemy of the Western civilisation.

Fjordman (Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen) - the man who created Anders Behring Breivik

Oluja: 16 years since the joint criminal enterprise

Today is the 16th anniversary of the operation “Storm” (Oluja) in which the Croatian armed forces expelled hundreds of thousands of Serbian civilians from Krajina region. 5 August is celebrated as a public holiday and Croatian authorities keep insisting that it was a legitimate military and police operation. However, this year it became official – the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia sentenced Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač to 24 and 18 years in prison, respectively, and acknowledged the existence of the joint criminal enterprise, whose members were then- president of Croatia, fascist dictator Franjo Tuđman, minister of defence Gojko Šušak and the chief of the general staff Zvonimir Červenko. Unfortunately both of them died without being brought to justice. One of the most important questions raised after the ICTY delivered the verdict was U.S. involvement in the ethnic cleansing. If U.S. was not involved, it at least openly supported the operation and here is a video depicting then-secretary of defence, William Perry, praising one of the members of the joint criminal enterprise, Gojko Šušak, as a hero and a patriot on his funeral in 1998.