Saturday, 7 June 2014

The murky past of Senator John McCain

Navy Releases McCain’s Records

USS Forrestal, July 29, 1967 - The worst accident aboard a US Navy surface vessel since WWII


The Navy released John McCain’s military record after a Freedom of Information Act request from the Associated Press. The record is packed with information on McCain’s medals and commendations but little else. The one thing that the McCain campaign does not want to see released is the record of McCain’s antics on board the USS Forestal in 1967. McCain was personally responsible for the deadliest fire in the history of the US Navy. That catastrophe, with 27 dead and over 100 wounded trumps McCain’s record as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

WMR has learned additional details regarding the deadly fire aboard the Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal, on July 19, 1967 in the Gulf of Tonkin. The additional details point to then-Lt. Commander John McCain playing more of a role in triggering the fire and explosions than previously reported.

On January 16, 2006, WMR reported that according to a US Navy sailor who was aboard the Forrestal on the fateful day of the fire, “McCain and the Forrestal’s skipper, Capt. John K. Beling, were warned about the danger of using M-65 1000-lb. bombs manufactured in 1935, which were deemed too dangerous to use during World War II and, later, on B-52 bombers. The fire from the Zuni missle misfire resulted in the heavy 1000 pound bombs being knocked loose from the pylons of McCain’s A-4 aircraft, which were only designed to hold 500-pound bombs.”

WMR further reported, “The unstable bombs had a 60-second cook-off threshold in a fire situation and this warning was known to both Beling and McCain prior to the disaster.” WMR also cited the potential that McCain’s Navy records were used against him by the neo-cons in control of the Pentagon, “The neo-cons, who have had five years to examine every file within the Department of Defense, have likely accessed documents that could prove embarrassing to McCain, who was on board the USS Forrestal on July 29, 1967, and whose A-4 Skyhawk was struck by an air-toground Zuni missile that had misfired from an F-4 Phantom.”

WMR has been informed that crewmen aboard the Forrestal have provided additional information about the Forrestal incident. It is believed by many crewmen and those who have investigated the case that McCain deliberately “wet-started” his A-4E to shake up the guy in the plane behind his A-4. “Wet-starts”, done either deliberately or accidentally, shoot a large flame from the tail of the aircraft.

In McCain’s case, the “wet-start” apparently “cooked off” and launched the Zuni rocket from the rear F-4 that touched off the explosions and massive fire. The F-4 pilot was reportedly killed in the conflagration. “Wet starting” was apparently a common practice among young “hot-dog” pilots.

McCain was quickly transferred to the USS Oriskany (the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred). Three months later, McCain was shot down over North Vietnam on October 26, 1967.

As WMR previously reported, at the time of the Forrestal disaster, McCain’s father, Admiral John McCain, Jr., was Commander-in-Chief of US Naval Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR) and was busy covering up the details of the deadly and pre-meditated June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the NSA spy ship, the USS Liberty.

The fact that both McCains were involved in two incidents just weeks apart that resulted in a total death count of 168 on the Forrestal and the Liberty, with an additional injury count of 234 on both ships (with a number of them later dying from their wounds) with an accompanying classified paper trail inside the Pentagon, may be all that was needed to hold a Sword of Damocles over the head of the “family honor”-oriented McCain by the neo-cons.

WMR has also been informed by knowledgeable sources, including an ex-Navy A-4 pilot, the “wet-start game” was a common occurrence. However, it is between “very unlikely” and “impossible” for the Forrestal “wet start” to have been accidental. “Wet starts” were later rendered impossible by automated engine controls.

Wayne Madsen reports on military and political affairs in Washington at his website,

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

From the 1948 Nakba to the 1967 Naksa

Live From Occupied Palestine

Dear friends,

Today, June 5, marks the 47th anniversary of the Naksa (Arabic for setback/calamity). In 1967, Israel invaded Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian controlled territories seizing the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. For the Palestinian people, the June 1967 war and subsequent occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem resulted in Israel's illegl military occupation of what was left of their historic homeland. After the 1948 Al Nakba (the catastrophe), the 1967 Naksa (the setback/calamity) it is the single most important objective factor that defines the Palestinian people's struggle for self-determination, freedom and justice.

In 1967 more than 400,000 Palestinians were expelled by Israel from their land, marking the second expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland since 1948 when more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled to neighbouring Arab countries by Zionist terror militias and 150,000 Palestinians became internally displaced inside the newly established Israeli state. It took Israel less than one week to forcibly displace Palestinians for the second time, with ninety-five percent of Palestinians fleeing to Jordan. A small number also fled to Lebanon and Syria.

I have included below photos from the 1967, as well as an extract from a 2004 bulletin issued by Badil, the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refuge which gives a very good overview of the Naksa and its impact on Palestinian society.

I am also posting a link to an article I posted up a year ago about Israel's razing and ethnic cleansing of the Mughrabi neighourhood in 1967, which took place within days of Israel seizing control of Occupied East Jerusalem.  The Mughrabi neighbourhood was ethnically cleansed in order to build the plaza which now stands in front of the Western Wall. 

The article by Ben Lynefield originally appeared in the American Jewish Forward. In the article Lynfield notes that the destruction fo the Mughrabi neighbourhood “is an event either unknown or repressed by most Israelis and Jews who visit the Kotel. It is deleted from public discourse about the Old City". Lynefield's article offers some valuable information on the razing of the neighbourhood within days of Israel seizing and occuping East Jerusalem and the ethnic cleansing of up to 1000 or more Palestinians from their homes.

You can read his article by clicking here.

For an overview and facts on the 1967 war, see the Institute for Middle East Understanding's FAQ sheet (please click here).

in solidarity,

Al Naksa in Photos:

 Israeli military arrest Palestinians suspected of being members of Fatah

 Palestinians arrested by Israeli military forces

 Israeli soldier watch as Palestinian refugees flee across the Allenby Bridge into Jordan

A Palestinian girl carrying her sister as they prepare to cross the Allenby Bridge

 Palestinians refugees flee across the bombed out Allenby Bridge at the River Jordan into Jordan

Palestinian refugees flee across bombed out Allenby Bridge

Israel razes hundreds of Palestinian homes immediately after seizing East Jerusalem leaving thousands homeless 

Within days of seizing East Jerusalem, Israeli razes Palestinian homes, ethnically cleansing thousnad of Palestinians in order to build the Western Wall plaza


From the 1948 Nakba to the 1967 Naksa
Extract from BADIL Occasional Bulletin No. 18, June 2004 (to read the bulletin in full, please click here)

[Clipped section – Prelude to Al Naksa] 

During the second Arab-Israeli war in June 1967 some 400,000 Palestinians were displaced. Half of them were refugees who had been displaced from the part of Palestine that became Israel during the 1948 war. This second displacement took less than a week. Ninety-five per cent fled to Jordan and small numbers to Lebanon and Syria. About one million Palestinians remained in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza.

As in the 1948 Nakba, most refugees were displaced by Israeli military forces using tactics violating basic principles of international humanitarian and human rights law: attacks on civilians, massacres and other atrocities; expulsion; and destruction and looting of property. In Jerusalem, Israeli forces rounded up Palestinian men, forced them onto buses and sent them to Jordan. Some were beaten and then forced to sign papers saying they left voluntarily. At the border, refugees trying to return were shot at. 

Scope of Displacement

The Naksa altered the landscape of Palestine once again. About 1.4 million Palestinians lived in West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza on the eve of the 1967 war between Israel and neighboring Arab states. Until then, the majority of Palestinians living in the central (except the Jerusalem district) and eastern interior of mandatory Palestine had escaped the largescale displacement and dispossession of Palestinians living in other areas of the country. This included Nablus and Ramallah districts and portions of Jenin, Tulkarem, Hebron, Jerusalem and Gaza districts.

More than a third of the Palestinian population of West Bank and Gaza was displaced during the war. By the end of 1967 the proportion of the indigenous Palestinian population outside its homeland had more than doubled. Nearly half of all Palestinians were now living in exile. Seven villages in West Bank, several refugee camps in the Jericho area, half of the city of Qalqilya, and the Moroccan quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City were destroyed. Depopulated and destroyed villages included Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba in the Latrun salient west of Jerusalem, and the villages of Beit Marsam, Beit Awa, Jiftlik, and al-Burj. In the period immediately after the 1967 war, Palestinian ownership and control of land fell by nearly 15 per cent in these areas 

Denationalized and Dispossessed

In September 1967 Israel conducted a census in West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Only Palestinians (and their offspring) registered in the census were considered by Israel to be legal residents of the occupied territories. It is estimated that 60,000 West Bank Palestinians were abroad at the time of the war and so were not included in the census nor were up to 30,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. Administrative measure effectively prevented Palestinians abroad at the time of the war and Palestinian refugees displaced during the war from returning to their homes.

Israeli legislation and military orders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip applied many of the same property laws already in effect inside Israel. Military Order No. 58 Concerning

Abandoned Property (Private Property) enabled the government to acquire control of refugee properties in the West Bank. Unlike the 1950 Absentees’ Property Law applicable in Israel, the military order for West Bank has no time restrictions and thus enables Israel to continue to apply the Order subsequent to the original displacement of Palestinians from the occupied territories in 1967. Israel took control of state land under Military Order No. 59, Concerning Government Properties.

Israel did not apply these same military orders to eastern Jerusalem. Instead, it applied its own domestic law, under the 1968 Legal and Administrative Matters (Regulations) Law. This law also established procedures for Jews to reclaim lost property in eastern Jerusalem after the 1948 war. Under the same law Palestinian residents of eastern Jerusalem were exempt from the 1950 Absentees’ Property Law; however, Palestinians living in eastern Jerusalem who lost properties in western Jerusalem or other areas inside Israel in 1948 were still considered as absentees in regard to their property in these other areas. 

International Response

In June 1967 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 237 calling on Israel to ensure the safety, welfare and security of the inhabitants of areas where military operations took place and facilitate the return of those inhabitants who had fled the areas since the outbreak of hostilities. This resolution is reaffirmed annually by the General Assembly. Several months later the Security Council adopted Resolution 242 calling for a just settlement of the refugee problem. In July 1967 the General Assembly also requested the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), established in the aftermath of the 1948 war, to extend emergency relief and assistance to Palestinian refugees displaced in 1967.

[clipped section]

Since the Palestinian-Israeli conflict began, the UN Security Council has passed more than 200 resolutions on the subject but the trail of unimplemented resolutions is long. They include Israel’s failure to: rescind measures changing the status of Jerusalem; stop deporting Palestinians from the occupied territories; and abide by obligations and responsibilities in the 4th Geneva Convention. General Assembly Res. 194 on the right of return of 1948 refugees has not been enforced nor have Security Council Resolutions 237 and 242 on the return of 1967 refugees and withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories. Resolutions calling on Israel to comply with international law have been vetoed more than 50 times by the United States.

[clipped section]
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Provoking World War III Antagonizing the Dragon and Bear

June 07, 2014 “ICH” – “Dissident Voice” – -  It is not prudent and it is not safe to stick an iron rod into a dragon’s mouth. Whatever they say in the West about dragons… but here in Asia, the dragon is revered as the greatest fabled creature on Earth and in the sky. The dragon is wise and patient, and it hardly ever uses force first. But if treated with disrespect and aggression, it is capable of retaliating in a deadly, determined and powerful way.
It is also thoroughly idiotic to go and start terrorizing a sleeping bear. It is obvious what would follow if one descended into a bear’s hole and then started poking a hibernating creature in the head. Nothing good would follow, nothing good at all.
But it appears that those who are ruling the Empire are not obsessed with prudence. They seem to be tired of tiny conflicts, which they are continuously stirring all over the globe. Libya is not enough and Congo is not enough. They need something big, really big; even much bigger than what they had already ‘achieved’ a few decades ago – like the destruction of the entire Indochina or Indonesia.
The Empire needs a mortal fight with mighty opponents.
Instead of helping to build a decent and peaceful world, it needs to cover our planet with innumerable corpses.
This time, if it will be allowed to do it, like it was some 70 years ago, tens of millions, and maybe many more, will vanish.
Once again, it would have to be a dragon and a bear, this time in unison, facing fascism and fighting for the survival of the world.
The anti-Chinese and anti-Russian propaganda howl is reaching a deafening crescendo, especially in Asia. Western media outlets are in the highest gear, spreading propaganda through both their own outlets and through their local media affiliates in the client states, mostly owned by big business.
China and Russia are now vilified, openly insulted, and blamed for the escalation of tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, and for the military build up. The entire mighty Western propaganda machine is now at work, demonizing China, Russia and other independent countries.
It is because the West is obviously pushing this planet towards the war. Not to see it would require truly great discipline.
Politicians are parading, one after another, in front of television cameras, pledging allegiance to capitalism, the Western-style regime or simply put, to the Empire. All those derogatory and inflammatory speeches against their ‘enemies’ are embarrassing, see-through, but nobody in North America and Europe is laughing, as they are becoming the norm.
Many are warning that this can lead to a world war, that the West has lost all restraint and is ready to bathe the planet in blood, once again. A quarter of century ago it appeared that with the destruction of the Eastern block and with China then increasingly on a capitalist course, the West had finally got what it had fought for centuries for – the total and absolute control of the planet.
But recently, something went ‘wrong’ for the West. Latin America rose and most of it gained freedom, then spat on the Monroe Doctrine. China began pushing for socialist reforms in medical care, education, culture and many other spheres. And Russia refused to get bullied and humiliated, reminding both Europe and North America that it is as always powerful and will not be stepped on as happened in the era of Gorbachev and Yeltsin.
North Korea and Iran (countries that have never attacked anyone in modern history) realized that the only way to survive and not to be reduced to dust is by having their own nuclear capacity.
And all these nations: several in Latin America, China, Russia, Iran, joined forces and decided: “Never again!” Never again will they allow the world to descend to the horrors of Western colonialism.
The wet Western dream of unopposed rule over the world is beginning to disappear into thin air. Is the West going to risk the destruction of our planet simply because it cannot own it?
“Stephen Harper attacks Vladimir Putin and ‘evil’ communism”, reported the Canadian news outlet, CBC News on 31 May 2014, in reference to the “lengthy keynote speech” at a fundraising event that the right-wing Canadian PM gave in Toronto. The speech was spiced with “language reminiscent of the height of the Cold War”.
Grotesquely, the President of the most aggressive country on Earth, the United States, Barrack Obama, was promising to ‘curb the aggression’ of Russia and China, two countries that have not invaded anywhere in the last few decades.
In a speech clearly aimed at provoking China, the US Defense secretary Chuck Hagel, spoke more like a thug than a politician: “The United States will not look the other way when fundamental principles of the international order are being challenged.”
‘Which order?’ Some would ask. Was he talking about the order that is being imposed on the world from Washington and European capitals and has been for centuries, at the cost of hundreds of millions of human lives? Quite an order!
Christopher Black, a leading international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, provided an analysis for this report:
The speech made by President Obama at West Point, the American military academy, that the fulcrum of American policy will be to curb the “aggression” of Russia and China immediately followed by his Defense Secretary Hagel in Singapore accusing China of destabilization in the South China Sea, rightly characterized by Lt. General Wang GuanZhong as “threats and intimidation”, express the clear intent of the United States to wage war in all its aspects against the two most powerful nations that dare to develop independently of American domination.
The United States has attacked China several times since World War II, first in the Korean War, followed by decades of attempted sabotage and isolation and then by the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999. It now has continued that pressure by trying to destabilize China internally through various mechanisms of infiltration of “human rights” groups into Chinese society and within China’s military and administrative mechanisms and a constant propaganda campaign to defame China and its people around the world. The momentum of this strategy has been stepped up with the recent attacks by fanatical Muslim groups from western China against Chinese civilians in key cities and transportation hubs and use of provocateurs to attacks Chinese interests in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Africa and the recent absurd charges against Chinese military officers for cyber attacks.
The recent events in Ukraine show that the pace of this aggression is accelerating as America attempts to complete the encirclement of Russia and China by advancing NATO to Russia’s borders and by repositioning of 60 per cent of US military assets to the Pacific.
But now the true aggressors are blaming the victims for ‘aggression’. And it is nothing new under the sun. Nazi Germany and its propagandists employed the same ‘logic’ and arguments, before and during WWII. And the French used it in Algiers and their other colonies, as did the Brits all over their ‘dependencies’.
In Asia, on a local level, the servile press in countries like the Philippines is taking orders and often surpasses its handlers in the West by its zeal.
On May 25 2014, The Philippine Star began with lashing out at China, continued by quoting the words of Admiral William Locklear III, the commander of US Pacific forces, that “Russia has its own ‘pivot’ in Asia”. Then the newspaper finally produced a few pieces of ‘brilliant’ analyses: “Official sources said Russia’s incursion into Ukraine has raised concern in Washington that China may try something similar in staking its territorial claims, in the guise of protecting its citizens overseas.”
‘Russian incursion into Ukraine?’ That sounds more like propaganda shouting from the pages of the North American or European daily press. In some 15 years of work in the region, after interacting with hundreds of media people from all over Southeast Asia, I have to testify that such a thought as quoted above, could never have come from a local journalist. Here, knowledge about Eastern Europe is very near absolute zero. And after being brainwashed in London, New York and elsewhere, local journalists do not compare. Someone else wrote it. Who did it? We all know it. It is the same source, which sends trolls biting at all my reports written for RT.
Most of the local Philippine press generally concluded that the US has basically no choice but to expand militarily, because of ‘China’s aggressive moves.’ Almost all the newspapers mentioned the high cost of the permanent US military bases in the region, also arguing that ‘spokes’, bases belonging to local countries but wide open for use by US forces, are the real way forward. Such bases would also be located on Australian and Japanese territories, and possibly in Singapore and Thailand, as well as Malaysia.
Now Thailand is certainly ‘secured’, after the army that has been killing millions in the region on behalf of the West, overthrew the progressive and elected government, and took control of the country. The coup is truly timely, isn’t it?
As if it would not already be enough to have countless bases in Africa, the Middle East, Japan, Oceania and those few client states that are still left in Latin America. But of course, those are too far from the main targets – China and Russia.
The mainstream Philippine media is not even bothering to question the integrity of such a military agreement, which is in direct violation of the nation’s Constitution. It is because the journalists in Southeast Asia are not paid and flown for training abroad, to moralize. They are paid to write what suits the elites and their foreign handlers.
Eduardo Tadem, Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Philippines, explained, during our recent conversation in Manila:
The recently signed agreement between the Philippines and the United States is called EDCA (Economic Defense Cooperation Agreement). In this agreement the Philippine government offered virtually all the military bases in the Philippines for total access to American soldiers, for a ten-year period. But who knows for how long, really… This is very dangerous, because all military installations of the country are now open for ‘entry’ of the US forces. And this certainly goes against the Philippine Constitution, which bars the establishment of foreign bases on our territory.
Then what really happened? Why the sudden change?
It has to do with certain factors. One, of course, is the factor of the so-called ‘US pivot’ to Asia. Under Obama there is this strategy of ‘pivoting to Asia’. Second has to do with the so-called Trans-Pacific partnership proposal of the United States; to build some sort of integrated market in the Asia Pacific region. Except that the Philippines is not part of it for now… The third one has to do with the territorial disputes that are taking place in this region, both in the South China Sea and the North China Sea.
It is mainly an issue of nationalism. And it is also because here they were always asking for more assistance, including military assistance. And this is the way to get that assistance. Also remember that Philippine Presidents were consistently supportive of the US. You probably saw the survey that shows that the Philippine people love the United States more than Americans love themselves. So for the Americans it is easy to get support for their China policy here.
I asked both Teresa Tadem, Professor of Political Science at the University of Philippines, and Professor Eduard Tadem, how was it possible that a country, the Philippines, that suffered so severely during its occupation by the United States, during the colonial era, when there were human rights violations, massacres… How come it feels so positive towards its former brutal colonizer?
It has to do with the extremely intensive American propaganda machine, which depicted the colonial era as a benevolent type of colonialism. Atrocities during the Philippine-American War at 1898–1901, which saw 1 million Philippine people killed, which was then almost one tenth of the population, were made to disappear from the consciousness of the people… the genocide, torture… The Philippines was known as the ‘first Vietnam’… all of this has been conveniently forgotten, hidden in the history books. And then of course the image of Hollywood that we are bombarded with…
How dangerous is it to antagonize China and even Russia? For centuries, China had been a very peaceful country, and it still is to this day. Many Filipinos come from China; it is a natural, historical ally… While the West is liquidating, and bombing entire countries into the ground, overthrowing governments, China pulls one oil-rig into disputed waters, sprays a few boats with water cannon, and it is immediately defined as the aggressor.
“It is again all about propaganda. They depicted China as Communist and here they always attach a negative connotation to that word”, said Professor Teresa Tadem.
For me the most dangerous country on Earth now is the United States”, continues Eduardo Tadem. “It has been the most aggressive… intervening in many countries all over the world, thousands of miles from its shores, trying to impose on the planet its vision of a global capitalist system. So, if you compare what China is doing in the vicinity of its territory, and compare it to what the US is doing in all parts of the world, on every continent… then you clearly see the disparity in the image that has been created, depicting China as a danger to peace in the world.
Both professors then expressed deep concern over the fact that the Western propaganda is igniting Sino-phobia in the Filipinos and in other Asians. They pointed out that what the US is doing is actually fanning ultra-nationalism, which can easily mutate into fascism. This is, according to them, an extremely dangerous situation – planting seeds of Sino-phobia all over the continent.
“This can lead to a point of no return”, explains Eduardo Tadem. “I am afraid that this is what is happening now in the Philippines, as well as in other parts of Asia where territorial disputes are taking place.”
And it is clearly not only Sino-phobia that can lead to the destruction of the world, although Sino-phobia is partially, definitely is. Stirring hatred against Russia is also clearly on the menu of the Western masters of propaganda. Stephen Harper of Canada, Polish and Baltic politicians and their irrational anti-Russian speeches, is all leading to a frightening outcome: manufacturing racism against those nations that are standing in the way of US and European domination of the world.
Dehumanizing a potential enemy, unleashing racist and derogatory sentiments against him or her, is the first step in the Western ‘art’ of war, the first step towards a confrontation.
One should seriously question what is being planned? One should demand to know, because what is being planned is most likely really awful.
People are beginning to speak up. Geoffrey Gunn, a prominent Australian historian and Professor Emeritus at Nagasaki University in Japan, wrote to me, for this report:
The international media big notes the “China threat,” yet who is the provocateur? We observe the Japanese Prime Minister in Singapore (May 30) offering to lead an international coalition to check Chinese aggression offering ‘quality’ Japanese naval vessels to obliging clients as with the Philippines and Vietnam. This is madness coming from a nation without official contrition seeking as well to unpick its god-save, the “peace constitution.” Meantime, the neo-con government in Australia overreaches with matching rhetoric, together snaring the US Defense Secretary to offer his own “pivot” to the South China Sea. My spin is to let Asian nationalisms (China, Vietnam, Japan, Korea) resolve their own problems diplomatically – after all the central kingdom has been in place for several millennium – outsiders keep out, militarists watch your step, and China rise peacefully.
From Vietnam, saddened by the new wave of hostilities between two Communist neighbors, Vietnam and China, a renowned Western artist who did not want to be identified, explained the situation:
I have no doubt the West is delighted at the turn of events and will do all it can to further exacerbate the China-Vietnam etc. rift. Of course it serves the pivot to Asia and other nasty US-NATO agendas. But the Vietnamese are just angry at bully China and one can’t argue with them about it. The Vietnam’s PM has been sending text messages to the entire mobile network warning people not to listen to “bad guys” and to only protest within local and international law…
It is striking how emboldened and self-assured Vietnam is becoming, lately, considering that it is actually doing an identical thing as China is – drilling in the disputed area.
Many see tensions between Vietnam and China as dating back to the Chinese punitive expedition to Vietnam (after Vietnam entered Cambodia and deposed the Khmer Rouge), known as the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979. And it is almost bizarre to observe how unforgiving Vietnam is towards China, but how reconciliatory it has become towards the United States.
During the Sino-Vietnamese War some 10,000 Vietnamese civilians lost their lives – definitely not an insignificant number. But how could it even be compared to the millions of Vietnamese civilians who died in the “American War” (or the “Vietnam War” as it is known in the West). During the American War, entire cities were leveled into the ground, fields poisoned, women raped and people burned by napalm and other chemicals.
But, as in case of the Philippines, the creeping Western propaganda erased many of the horrors from people’s minds.
I spent 3 years in Hanoi. Holding US citizenship, I was treated with respect and never insulted. In a stark contrast, now Chinese businesses are being attacked and going up in flames, while Chinese people (from Mainland China, but also from Taiwan and elsewhere), are being chased, beaten, and even killed.
In the meantime, RT reported:
Visiting Washington, General Fang Fenghui also blamed the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia as a reason for heightened tensions in the region. He said some Asian nations have used the strategic shift to create mischief in the South and East China Seas.
Are we being dragged into the final global confrontation, to a possible WWIII? Observed from Asia Pacific or from Ukraine, it clearly appears so.
Christopher Black has no doubts that provoking, antagonizing and insulting powerful independent countries like Russia and China may be the next step towards the destruction of our human race:
All these actions are preparations for war. In fact, the positioning of American anti-ballistic missile batteries in Eastern Europe is in preparation for a nuclear first strike on Russia. Those batteries are deployed solely for the purpose of trying to intercept a retaliatory strike by Russian nuclear forces after a US first strike. They have no other purpose. These preparations for a war of aggression, in fact nuclear war, are a clear violation of the UN Charter and all international laws and can rightly be characterized as war crimes. But since the United States has contempt for all international laws and civilized standards of behavior we can expect these preparations to continue.
Mankind rests on the brink of annihilation for no other reason than the American pursuit of unlimited profit. They are the extremists of the capitalist system. We must hope that the skillful diplomacy we have seen employed by both Russia and China, the increased pace of their bilateral cooperation with each other and their increased steps to achieve multilateral cooperation throughout the world from Latin American to Africa and Europe and Asia will change the power dynamics of the world sufficiently to prevent the Americans and their allies from achieving their aims so that the peoples of the world can live in peace and devote their energies to solving mankind’s pressing problems.
André Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker, and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His critically acclaimed political revolutionary novel Point of No Return is now re-edited and available.Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and market-fundamentalism is called Indonesia: The Archipelago of Fear. He just completed a feature documentary Rwanda Gambit about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Who is actually destabilizing Ukraine?

Is Ukraine a battlefield or the prize for Washington? Obama claims Russia uses “dark tactics” in Ukraine, but who is actually destabilising the country? CrossTalking with Patrick Smith, Daniel Faraci and Patrick Young.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!


In April, 2014, I joined a delegation of over 40 people from around the world, visiting Syria in solidarity with their just struggle against an unjust, criminal, war from outside being waged on Syria. The premeditated nature of this war on freedom, war on human rights, is amply-documented (if you just step away from the chorus of the corporate media and larger “human rights” NGOs. Also well-documented is the fact that the vast majority of Syrians in Syria (and those outside) do not support this faux “revolution” nor the means by which the insurgents “rebel”. This vast majority flooded voting stations in Syria and embassies world-wide to voice their vote. [see also: The Real Farce: Media Distortions on the Syrian Elections, Jun 3, 2014, Counter Punch   and  Elections in Syria: The People Say No to Foreign Intervention, Jun 4, 2014, Ajamu Baraka, Oriental Review]
Even today, three days after the vote in Syria, Syrians were blasting music and dancing.
The delegation itself was in Syria for about one week, and I had the good fortune to stay on another two afterwards.
Today, I returned to Syria, via the Lebanese land-crossing at Masnaa, which 3 days ago was packed with Syrians eager to vote.
DSCN4083 (640x480)
From the border to Damascus along the impeccably smooth roads, normal transit would probably take an hour or less. Due to valid security concerns, there are checkpoints every so often, transit is longer.
In my desire to highlight the humanity, and generosity, of Syrians, I note a few exchanges from passing through the checkpoints today.
At the first, I get the standard–and genuine–”ahlan wa sahlan” (welcome).
DSCN4087At the next checkpoint, seeing a soldier shelling a pea-pod, I called out “sahtain!” (to your health), to which he replied “ala qelbek” (to your heart),bjiblek besilla? (can I bring you some peas?),  jumped over a road barrier and returned momentarily with a handful  of pea-pods for me. “Hon, deifna el deuf.”  (Here, we treat our guests.) Yes, peas…but it’s the idea that counts (and I was quite happy to see the peas).
DSCN4088At the next checkpoint, having eaten some of them, I offered the soldier on duty the remaining pods, to which he walked away to a booth and returned with fresh cherries for me.
(you’re thinking I was bartering my dinner, which could well have evolved)
I mention these simple, seemingly trite, anecdotes to highlight that while these soldiers are professional and are maintaining the security that the Western-backed terrorists would not like to see, they in addition retain their humanity and the Syrian playfulness, generosity.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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