The Rohingya genocide is not yesterday’s news. There are an estimated 500 Rohingya still crossing the border to asylum in Bangladesh every week. Extended updates are necessary since they will be central to world politics for a very long time. There are attempts to reduce their humanity to the stature of livestock & we have to be roused to standing with them in ongoing attempts to deport them to an uninhabitable island. Updates coming soon here & you can follow Rohingya activists on FB & Twitter.
our fight should be
for us to live and
beyond mere rhetoric,
along with those
of thousands of
fathers and mothers
& their lost worlds,
it possesses me.
Almost every day I encounter people shaking their heads at how surreal the world has become. Not just how surreal, but how extremely violent & barbarous. Truth is, most of us want to live in harmony with each other so this stuff of war & deranged political leaders really gets us down. That’s why it’s so important to rebuild the movements of solidarity with those struggling against inequality, war, occupation, genocide. It’s standing together against the violence that makes us human, that gives us hope & all our children a future worth looking forward to. We’re in this mess together & we’ll get out of it together. There are no magical or deus ex machina options for us.
Let’s talk about Ray McGovern, the high-level CIA officer who advised seven US presidents between 1963 & 1990 when he “retired” with a rarely given commendation for outstanding service to the CIA & is now a leader of the corrupted US antiwar movement. For 27 years, he gave daily intelligence briefings to presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Ford, Carter, GHW Bush–all of whom collaborated with Kissinger in one form or another. While millions around the world marched to oppose the Vietnam War, McGovern was briefing the president on the role of the USSR in the Vietnam War & he continued this advisory function through several other wars, occupations, & invasions, including Laos, Cambodia, Panama, Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Grenada, Nicaragua & all of Central America, the First Gulf War in 1990–which again hundreds of thousands of antiwar activists actively opposed.
It was in 2003 that McGovern, along with other “retired” officials from the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence, NSA, Army Intelligence, US military, & State Department, morphed magically into a dissident against the 2003 invasion of Iraq & the use of torture. McGovern functioned for 27 years in a supervisory capacity & as a political milquetoast in the CIA in an era of several public exposures of CIA torture, assassinations, coups. But it wasn’t until thirteen years after his pension was secure that he developed a weak stomach for war & torture. He was advising Carter when exposures of torture by SAVAK, the secret police of the Shah of Iran, a US ally, were internationally denounced, along with documentation that the CIA had trained SAVAK. McGovern weasels his way around all that history by saying he was a CIA analyst & that CIA operations (like torture, assassinations, coups) were “hermetically sealed from each other.” Oh really, Ray? Because reports about CIA torture all over the world were so well-known that CIA recruiters were driven off most US college campuses by antiwar & human rights activists. Hermetically sealed, my ass!
Using artifice he probably learned from Reagan, McGovern, who was born in the Bronx, really plays up that avuncular, Irish thing, even reciting Yeats poems when he speaks. He continues to portray himself as a Russia expert when he was snooping on the USSR which collapsed in 1991 after McGovern “retired.” Russia under Putin is a capitalist, military-industrial complex just like the US which may explain why McGovern likes it so well. Our man is an ardent supporter of Assad & Putin which ironically puts him in lockstep with Stalinists who he snooped on for his entire CIA career. His politics are rightwing libertarian & indistinguishable from Fox News. He has not severed political relations with the US “intelligence community” & boasts of working secretly with active members of the CIA, NSA, Pentagon, et al. Like every other of his ilk, he sucks off the Palestinian struggle in order to distort reality about the counterrevolution in Syria. Let’s be frank: McGovern doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Palestinian self-determination any more now than he did for the entire 27 years of his CIA career when he was advising presidents in collaboration with Kissinger. They are merely a vehicle to get progressive credentials to disguise & defend the emboldenment of Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, & fascist forces.
The fact that McGovern & his ilk now lead the US antiwar movement is the hallmark of its corruption. Only in the surreal world of Fox News do CIA, FBI, & Pentagon officials become champions of the oppressed. The international antiwar movement must be rebuilt without such unsavory associations & on a principled basis. Ray McGovern will play no part in that because he is politically rotten to the core & quite frankly utterly banal as a political thinker.
(Photo is McGovern on the Charlie Rose show in 2004)
This video is of a man who claims to be the hooded man at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This photo became the symbol of the CIA secret rendition (sending suspected “terrorists” to special prisons in countries without human rights protections, like Syria) & torture program. This fellow has been challenged publicly, claiming it isn’t him, but according to people like Alfred McCoy who wrote “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror” about the development of CIA torture procedures, this was a standard torture procedure which countless suspected “terrorists” were subjected to. Human Rights Watch & other investigators also report that many were tortured in this way. Here the man has electric wires attached only to his fingers but in other reported cases, electric wires were attached to fingers, toes, & penis. Several have claimed to be the man here, not because they’re lying but because they were indeed similarly tortured.
To refer to them as “suspected terrorists” is a mockery since the CIA torture program is so psychotic & depraved that it requires only being in the wrong place at the wrong time to be deemed suspect. The CIA claims they have ended this program but it can be said with absolute certainty that they have not & will not. The CIA is an institution that must be dismantled & its members prosecuted for human rights crimes. Some of the tortures which it is certain Afghans, Iraqis, & others still endure in those prisons include waterboarding, rectal feeding, sleeping naked on concrete floors, sleep deprivation, Russian Roulette with guns, being threatened with things like drills, threatening harm to detainees’ children & families, loud music & white noise bombardment. Many may recall reports from the Shah of Iran’s gulag where his SAVAK secret police agents learned these techniques from the CIA in the 1950s & notoriously employed them against political prisoners.
There has been no justice for these monstrous human rights crimes & there likely will be none. A legal suit by some of those tortured has been in the courts for years & will remain there tied up in legal formalities & maneuvers. The only real justice is the dismantling of the CIA & the prosecution of its members–some of whom now lead the US antiwar movement.
Just a caveat to Assad supporters: there’s no point in leaving your droppings on my wall. I think of you politically as the Jerry Springer brigade armed with a multitude of cognitive derangements. Mostly, I delete & block you & will only leave your comment if it shows how hateful your political vision is. So don’t waste your time thinking up pithy insults. You haven’t got it in you to offend me, any more than Jerry Springer does.
Found this little girl today wandering in an alley. She’s the dirtiest dog I ever rescued, just layered in feces, with tumors, & low spirits. But she appears to have been groomed at one time & has a neuter tattoo on her belly. I posted it on lost & found dogs Rio Grande Valley & within minutes got a phone call from a young woman who lost one about 20 miles from here & over a year ago. Looks just like her little Bella so God willing, our little wanderer will be reunited with her caretaker.
Limping dog against the “king” & “queen” (with no offense to the lions) of the jungle. Or how the mighty oppressors are brought down.
This is truly a stunning album of Kashmiri working women by Bilal Ahmad who often photographs working people & always with respect.
(Photo by Bilal Ahmad from album)