Archive for the Gaza Category

Hillary Clinton’s fake feminist branding [FAIR / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Afghanistan, Corporate Media Critique, Gaza, Honduras, Israel, Pakistan, Palestine, State Department, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US drone strikes, USA, Yemen, Zelaya coup on April 29, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“Hillary Clinton and the Feminism of Exclusion” – Media don’t ask which women she crusades for

By Rania Khalek
Jan 1, 2015


As the 2016 US presidential election nears, Hillary Clinton, the projected frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, is painting herself as a champion of women’s rights. As a result, she is being lionized in the corporate press as a feminist crusader across the globe.

On International Women’s Day, Clinton proclaimed that “the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century.” The New York Daily News (3/7/14) summed up, “Clinton has made women’s issues a centerpiece of her agenda.”

Clinton boasts of having incorporated feminism into US foreign policy. As Time (6/12/14) reported:

As the former US Secretary of State, Clinton discussed how feminism plays a key role in the US’s foreign policy. “Women and girls … [are] central to our foreign policy,” she said, explaining that nations that support women are more stable and “less likely to breed extremism.”

“Clinton has focused much of her career as first lady, senator and then secretary of State on issues affecting women and girls,” asserted (9/18/14), citing comments she made about the “glass ceiling.” Even the progressive American Prospect (6/25/14) labeled Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State “unabashedly feminist.”

None of these outlets bothered to compare Clinton’s statements with her actual record, choosing instead to act as stenographers and at times cheerleaders for Clinton’s feminist branding campaign. This suggests a definition of feminism so shallow as to be virtually empty, attaching automatically to any woman who wields power of any kind, toward any end.

An established foreign policy hawk, Clinton has vociferously defended the US drone strikes that terrorize, maim and kill women and girls in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan (Reuters, 6/7/12). As 9-year-old Nabila Rehman (Truthout, 11/1/13) — whose grandmother was obliterated before her eyes by a US drone strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan — told a US congressional briefing, “Now, I am always scared.”

Following Israel’s merciless bombing campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip last summer — which killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, 70 percent of them civilians, including 287 women and 190 girls (UNOCHA, 10/31/14, 10/3/14) — Clinton blamed Palestinians, telling the Atlantic (8/10/14) that “Israel did what it had to do,” accusing Hamas of “stage-managing” the slaughter of children to gain international sympathy.

Apparently Clinton’s version of female empowerment doesn’t extend to Palestinian women and girls living under the fanatical rule of Israeli lawmakers like Ayelet Shaked, a senior partner in the governing coalition Clinton vehemently defends. Just before the Gaza onslaught, Shaked called for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers to prevent them from birthing “little snakes” (Electronic Intifada, 7/7/14).

Another group of women and girls unworthy of Clinton’s empowerment agenda are those escaping violence in a nation she helped destabilize. As tens of thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing Central American violence were detained while crossing the US/Mexico border, Clinton told CNN (6/17/14) that “they should be sent back” to “send a clear message” to their parents that “just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay.”

The media generally fail to mention (Extra!, 9/14) that over 13,000 of the estimated 47,000 children detained between October 2013 to May 2014 came from Honduras, more than from any other country. This was more than 13 times as many Honduran children as were detained in 2009, the year a US-backed military coup ousted democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (Pew Research Center, 6/10/14)

In her book Hard Choices, Clinton acknowledged playing a key role in solidifying the coup leadership’s grip on power by preventing Zelaya’s return to office (to “render the question of Zelaya moot,” as she put it) — a move that helped plunge Honduras in further violence, causing children to flee for their lives (Al Jazeera America, 9/29/14).

If this suggests to some that Clinton’s feminism necessarily takes a back seat to foreign policy goals, her history on the domestic front is no better.

In her memoir, she brags about working tirelessly “to round up votes” in 1996 for her husband’s welfare reform bill (New York Times, 4/11/08), legislation that saw the number of households with children living in deep poverty skyrocket (National Poverty Center, 2/12). It was especially disastrous for single mothers (New York Times, 4/8/12).

No wonder Wall Street is prepared to shower this pro-austerity feminist hawk with an endless stream of cash to get her elected in 2016 (Politico, 11/11/14). Clinton’s version of feminism is one of exclusion, serving state power and capital under the banner of gender equality. It is the kind of feminism that Wall Street, US empire and corporate media outlets can get behind precisely because of who it shuts out.

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“France Under the Influence” – Outrages of Charlie Hebdo and French imperialism [Counterpunch]

Posted in Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Egypt, Ethnic purges, France, Gaza, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Islamophobia, Israel, Libya, NATO, Palestine, Syria, US "War on Terror", US imperialism, USA on February 24, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

I’m including this a bit late in the game since it included commentary on something weird I’d noticed, Charlie Hebdo’s favored method of taking already blasphemous depictions of Mohammed’s face and turning them into graphic penis jokes… e.g. why is his turban, unlike real turbans, distinctly bifurcated in their cartoons? – Zuo Shou

Jan. 20, 2015
by Diana Johnstone

The Charlie Hebdo terrorist assassinations struck France at a moment when it has an unpopular government and a weak President, when factories are closing and jobs are being lost, when French economic policy is determined by Germany via the European Union and its foreign policy is determined by the United States via NATO. Except for the therapeutic moment of togetherness on January 11, the country feels buffeted by winds of conflict it cannot resist.

There is a certain terrible symmetry playing out in France. Israel is deliberately and consistently doing all it can to excite fears among French Jews, in order to lure this desirable population into moving to Israel…

..At the same time, the so-called “Islamic State”, as well as “al Qaeda in Yemen” and associated fanatic Islamic groups are working hard to recruit fighters out of the Muslim communities in France and other European countries. Some 1,400 jihadists have traveled to Syria from France to join the Holy War. They are lured by the heroic prospect of helping to “build the Caliphate”, a sort of Israel for Muslims, a holy land restored.

Netanyahu’s recruitment drive enjoys the support of Western media such as Fox News that spread wild tales suggesting that Jews are not safe in France. This in turn threatens France with boycott by American Jews, a potential economic and public relations disaster which no doubt creates panic in French government circles. French leaders are not only closely attached personally to the Jewish community, they also fear the opprobrium of seeing their country slandered as “anti-Semitic”…

…Outside pressures are now pushing France into a war in the Middle East that it can neither afford nor win.

…France is obliged to take measures to stem the round trip traffic between Holy War in Syria and France. There is much talk of restoring authority and “republican values” to the schoolroom. But French leaders need to take a hard look at their own totally incoherent foreign policy, and there is no sign as yet of that happening. By taking the symbolic lead in the regime change war in Libya, France turned that country into a black hole of Islamic extremists. France collaborated in the murder of Gaddafi, whose “Green Book” philosophy was…an attempt to provide a modernizing and moderate version of Muslim principles to combat the Islamic fanaticism that had always been his main domestic enemy and which profited from his demise. The NATO destruction of Gaddafi’s Libya brought France into war in Mali, in pursuit of an elusive enemy that Gaddafi had managed to control.

France like the United States designates Islamic terrorism as its great enemy, while doing everything possible to favor its growth and extension. Constant support for Israel, even during murderous bombings of helpless Gaza, even when Mossad assassinates scientists in Iraq or Iran, or even when Israeli warplanes deliberately sink a U.S. Navy ship, the USS Liberty, makes the United States appear to be manipulated by Israel, while France appears to be manipulated by both Israel and the United States.

For over half a century, the West has systematically opposed the secular nationalist states in the Middle East, starting with Nasser’s Egypt…Israel was always most afraid of Arab nationalism, as it would potentially embrace Palestine. Religious fanaticism has seemed safer. Arab nationalism was the positive political hope of the region, and once that hope is destroyed, Islamic extremism rushes into the vacuum. This struggle continues in Syria, with France taking the lead in opposing Bachar al Assad, which means, in effect, supporting the Islamists just as it prepares to go to war against them.

The evident madness of this situation is the reflection of a French government which no longer seems able to devise a policy in its own national interest, and is floundering in the crosscurrents of “globalization”.

~Blasphemy and Pornography~

France is ringing with proclamations that we must continue to publish Charlie Hebdo-style cartoons attacking Muslims, or otherwise we shall have surrendered to Islamic demands. To assert our freedom we must prove that we are not afraid to commit blasphemy.

…The notion that it is very daring to commit “blasphemy” against a god in whom you do not believe makes no sense to me. Especially when this is not a god officially worshiped in the society where you live, but is rather the god of a somewhat unpopular minority. Certainly, in the milieu of Charlie Hebdo, insulting Islamic beliefs was the surest way to amuse one’s friends. It was supposed to help sell papers.

On the other hand, drawing cartoons that will infuriate masses of people to the point of murder amounts to taking a dare, rather than “blasphemy”. You are always free to take a dare. But common sense tells you to ask yourself if it is worth it.

Suppose you dislike aspects of a particular religion, and would like to combat such beliefs. Is drawing cartoons that will unite millions in indignation an effective way to combat those beliefs? If not, this is intellectually no more significant than bungee jumping. Whee, look how daring I am. So what?

There are much more effective ways to argue about religion. Take as a model the enlightenment philosophers of the 18th century. Repeated insults are more likely to unite people in defense of their faith. That is just a practical consideration, regardless of “freedom”.

Or on the other hand, the insult could be a provocation intended precisely to make the believers come out in the open, so that they can be attacked. This may be a secret motive for promoting such caricatures. Provoke Muslims into defending their religion, in a way that strikes the majority of our population as totally absurd, so that you can ridicule them still more and perhaps take measures against them – war in the Middle East (alongside Israel), or even expulsion from our countries (an idea now being raised…).

In the specific case of Charlie Hebdo, the vast majority of supposedly “blasphemic” drawings…were more or less pornographic, featuring sketches of male sex organs. The presence of the phallus was “the joke”…

…This was apparently true of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo, published in seven million copies with a subsidy of a million euros from the French government. To this vast public, the cover drawing by the surviving artist Luz (Renald Luzier) was an image of peaceful reconciliation, showing the head of a man wearing a turban, explicitly intended to represent Mohammed, shedding a tear and holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign under the statement, “All is forgiven”…But Luz also wanted to make his colleagues laugh at his cover, and they reportedly laughed. Why? According to internet comments, the drawing was an inside joke, because it included two hidden outlines of penises – Charlie’s trademark. This was all good dirty fun for the Charlie kids. “We are like children”, said Luz.

…Muslims saw the latest Charlie cartoon as a repetition of obscene insults aimed against their Prophet – not only blasphemy, but a pornographic “in your face”…

…The Charlie Hebdo humorists were a bit like irresponsible children playing with matches who burned the house down. Or perhaps several houses.

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link:
For explication of Charlie Hebdo’s penchant for drawing penises, hidden or otherwise, see:
Other related articles:

“Racist provocation and the ‘war on terror'” [World Socialist Website] –

“Charlie Hebdo and War for Civilisation” [Media Lens] –

Charlie Hebdo, the free press and racism [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Black propaganda, Canada, Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, Fascism, France, Gaza, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Nazism, Palestine, Police, Police brutality, Police State, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Syria, Turkey, U.K., USA, USSR, Yugoslavia - former FRY on January 14, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Sara Flounders

January 13, 2015

How do we put in perspective the international media focus on the massacre of 12 journalists in Paris on Jan. 7 at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, notorious for its racist anti-Muslim caricatures and lack of response to the routine, daily, racist police murders of Black youth in the U.S.? Why were any protests banned in France of 15 journalists who were killed among the 2,000 deaths in the Israeli assault of Gaza this past summer? Don’t those lives matter?

The Charlie Hebdo assassinations strengthen the hand of the state, which is using them in an ideological offensive, even if the state had a role in arming and training the killers.

Why are other murders not mourned, not respected, not even reported — even the murders of other journalists? A crucial role of the corporate media is to try to shape the perception of which lives matter.

Consider the mass outpourings following several different, very public killings in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of youths have been in the streets again and again in the U.S. confronting the refusal of the state to prosecute killer cops, even when their murderous crimes have been seen on video by millions.

Hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets of Paris on Jan. 11. French, other European, U.S. and Israeli politicians led the march honoring the slain journalists.

Twice, on Dec. 27 and Jan. 4, thousands of police in uniform from all over the U.S. converged on New York City for separate funerals of two police officers shot in their patrol car in Dec. 20. Jet Blue offered free flights to all police traveling nationally to the funeral. The U.S. vice president, New York state’s governor and the city’s mayor attended the funerals. Roads in the areas were closed; giant outdoor TV screens were erected.

Not a free speech issue

The French government’s protection of the racist journal Charlie Hebdo had nothing to do with protecting freedom of speech. This is a deception that must be confronted. In 2012 the same government that protected this vile publication banned any demonstrations or protests or even public prayers opposing the racist publication.

French law allows for the prosecution of “public insults” based on religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. But the racist, sexist, bigoted, grossly insulting cartoons in Charlie Hebdo magazine were never once a source of any successful legal action.

However, France did ban anyone from even protesting the cartoons that insulted Muslims or the prophet Muhammed.

In 2012, as protests swept the Muslim world in response to an anti-Muslim film made in the U.S., French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects had orders to prohibit any protest and to crack down if the ban was challenged. “There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up.” (Daily Mail, Sept. 21, 2012) Even prayer meetings and street prayers were banned. (CNN, Sept. 19, 2012)

In the same week Charlie Hebdo put out an extra run of cartoons featuring a grossly obscene caricature of a naked prophet Mohammed. The magazine was given extra police protection.

Freedom of speech and of the press is hardly sacred in France. It was punishable by a year in prison to even post on the Internet a notice of a demonstration opposing the Israeli onslaught on Palestine during the Israeli 2014 summer offensive on Gaza. France was the only country in the world to bar all demonstrations and protests in any form supporting Palestine during that time. The penalty was one year in jail and 15,000 euro fine.

It is worth noting the double standard: There is no similar crackdown against the current right-wing, fascist demonstrations against immigrants.

Role of Nazi caricature

Charlie Hebdo serves a very important purpose for French imperialism, and that is why its virulent racism has been protected at the very time that protests against it are prohibited.

Charlie Hebdo may have run cartoons to ridicule the powerful 40 years ago when it claimed to be left wing, irreverent and nonconformist. But there is a big difference between satire ridiculing the powerful — a French tradition going back to Voltaire — and the current imagery promoting fear and loathing of the oppressed and powerless. The latter is right wing and fascist in character.

In this period when Muslims are facing increasing, extreme right-wing attacks, and fascist mobilizations are growing in Europe, Charlie Hebdo functions as did the Nazi publication Der Sturmer with its vehemently anti-Semitic caricatures. Jewish people in Der Sturmer, as Muslims in Charlie Hebdo, were depicted with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. Both publications use obscene, sexually explicit caricatures.

The Nazi newspaper’s caricatures were part of a policy to make Jews an object of hatred, fear, ridicule and disdain. At the end of World War II, Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer — though he didn’t run death camps but used the press to incite hatred — was put on trial, convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.

Charlie Hebdo is protected because it hardens the population against Muslim people in order to divide the population. The French government has announced a grant to Charlie Hebdo of 1 million euros, and Google donated 250,000 euros.

Charlie Hebdo is not freedom of expression and freedom of press. It is an instrument of war mobilization. It ran cartoons demonizing Serbs during the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia, and it supported NATO’s attack on Libya.

No free press

Although “free speech” and “free press” are being lauded and glorified in the murder of the French journalists, no such thing exists in any capitalist state. The press in France or in the U.S. is not free, open or accessible. The media are owned by and serve the interests of the ruling class. What can be said and who can say it is tightly controlled. The corporate media in capitalist society are owned to serve class rule. What is covered depends entirely on who can pay for publication or airtime. A handful of multibillion-dollar media conglomerates control almost all information, culture and entertainment in the Western capitalist countries — though in the past decade social media and the Internet have opened a few cracks in this overwhelming corporate control.

The media industry has an enormous impact in shaping what lives have value and what deaths go unreported, unmarked or consciously covered up.

The hundreds of thousands of deaths in wars initiated by U.S. imperialism, and with full support of French and British imperialism, are unmarked, unmourned and callously labeled “collateral damage.” The media ignore or barely mention the enormous toll in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. No mass sympathy is created when a U.S. drone wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan or a whole village with a hellfire missile.

The assassinations of journalists in these wars are hardly noted. There were no state funerals for the 166 journalists killed in Iraq under U.S. occupation. Chelsea Manning is in prison for releasing videos of U.S. helicopters gunning down two Reuter’s camera operators in Iraq and then circling to kill the family that stopped their van to try to help them.

According to The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, 15 journalists were killed in the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza. They “were killed in civilian sites which are supposed to be safe for civilians.” Eight media centers were targeted and bombed.

U.S. bombers targeted and destroyed the RTS, Radio TV Serbia, in the 1999 U.S./NATO war on Yugoslavia, killing 17 journalists.

The most dangerous country in the world for journalists is Honduras. Since the U.S.-backed coup, 46 media and information workers have been assassinated.

The International Federation of Journalists sharply criticized NATO 2011 air strikes against Libyan television, which killed three people and injured 15. The IFJ stated that the strikes violated international law and U.N. resolutions.

If a free press existed, then Chelsea Manning would not be in prison or Edward Snowden and Julian Assange on the run, living in exile.

What media are even allowed coverage in imperialist countries demonstrates how little freedom of the press is respected. For example, PRESS TV, an Iranian news channel broadcasting in English, is banned from broadcasting via satellite throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. Al-Manar, a Lebanese satellite station affiliated with Hezbollah, has also been banned by France, Germany and the U.S. Both Press TV and Al Manar have protested, to no avail, that this is a grave breach of freedom of speech. While both news channels are available via the Internet in limited form, Apple and Google have removed Al-Manar mobile apps.

National oppression

National oppression and racism in France cannot be ignored. There are 5.5 million residents of African origin, many of them born in France and most of them citizens. A large number are from Muslim background, although not all are practicing. They are isolated by poverty in suburbs that have high unemployment, inferior schools and substandard housing.

Just as prisons in the U.S. overwhelmingly imprison Black and Brown youth, so too do French prisons. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population. (Washington Post Foreign Service, April 29, 2008)

Imperialism needs hatred of targeted peoples. Western politicians have cynically used Islamophobia to advance right-wing political agendas and curtail freedoms.

Who benefits?

Regardless of whether a police conspiracy is ever exposed, we do know that the French ruling class and the corporate media are always primed to take full advantage of such acts to reinforce the repressive state apparatus and sow division among the working class.

There should not be an iota of confidence in the news stories of this massacre at Charlie Hebdo. We know only what we are being told in the corporate media by French military police and state intelligence agencies. We do know that three men, who are now dead, were tools of imperialism in their wars of conquest in Syria and Libya. More than 1,000 French citizens of Arab and North African descent have been recruited, trained, armed and used as weapons conduits, saboteurs and terrorists in the efforts of U.S. France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to overthrow the government of Syria.

This leads to the fundamental question of whose policies are responsible for the massacre and who gains from the massacre?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. imperialism, aided by the old colonial powers of Europe, has been engaged in a whole series of wars to reconquer countries that had achieved a high level of development based on sovereignty and control of their resources.

In their frantic efforts to recolonize Iraq, Syria and Libya, they have cynically whipped up sectarian divisions, organized deadly militias and promoted fanaticism and anarchy. That has aroused deep-seated rage against the U.S., France and Britain.

It is also highly unpopular that French imperialism is widely involved in Africa, primarily in the majority-Muslim countries of Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast and Djibouti, and in Abu Dhabi on the Arabian peninsula.

The French ruling class wants to divert mass attention from their expanding wars and increasingly militarized society. The mobilizations claiming to defend a free press by defending racism must be opposed and countered.

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Copyright © 2015

“Stop pretending the US is an uninvolved, helpless party in the Israeli assault on Gaza” by Glenn Greenwald [Guardian]

Posted in Corporate Media Critique, Gaza, Israel, Palestine, US imperialism, USA on December 9, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

* The Obama administration’s unstinting financial, military and diplomatic support for Israel is a key enabling force in the conflict *

Nov 17, 2012


A central premise of US media coverage of the Israeli attack on Gaza – beyond the claim that Israel is justifiably “defending itself” – is that this is some endless conflict between two foreign entitles, and Americans can simply sit by helplessly and lament the tragedy of it all. The reality is precisely the opposite: Israeli aggression is possible only because of direct, affirmative, unstinting US diplomatic, financial and military support for Israel and everything it does. This self-flattering depiction of the US as uninvolved, neutral party is the worst media fiction since TV news personalities covered the Arab Spring by pretending that the US is and long has been on the side of the heroic democratic protesters, rather than the key force that spent decades propping up the tyrannies they were fighting.

Literally each day since the latest attacks began, the Obama administration has expressed its unqualified support for Israel’s behavior…

Full article:

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Cuba condemns Israeli aggression against Palestine [Granma Internacional]

Posted in Cuba, Gaza, Israel, Palestine on November 21, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba is following with great concern the new escalation of violence and death which the actions of the Israeli armed forces are provoking in the Gaza Strip.

Once again, Israel is utilizing its technical and military superiority to brutally repress the Palestinian population, causing innocent civilian victims as well as enormous material damage, thus aggravating the already precarious living conditions of the population in this small and besieged territory.

In the face of this new aggression against the Palestinian people, Cuba reiterates its most energetic condemnation and calls on the international community to urgently take all measures necessary to halt this criminal act.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms its most steadfast support for the just cause of the Palestinian people and their inalienable rights, which include the creation of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Havana, November 16, 2012.

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“UN chief ‘greeted’ by shoes in Gaza” – US puppet Ban Ki-moon enables genocidal Israel’s blockade [Xinhua]

Posted in EU, European Union, Gaza, Israel, Palestine, Russia, US imperialism, USA, Zionism on February 16, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

GAZA, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) — Families of several Palestinian prisoners threw shoes at the convoy of UN Secretary General Ban Ki- moon as they entered the Gaza Strip from Israel Thursday morning, witnesses said.

The prisoners’ families, gathering near Erez crossing, also tried to attack Ban’s vehicle with batons but were stopped by Hamas policemen.

The protesters said they were disappointed with the agenda of Ban’s third visit to Gaza, which does not include a meeting with the families of the prisoners held by Israel.

The demonstrators held banners blaming the international organization for not condemning the arrest of some Palestinian lawmakers and the blockade against Gaza by the Jewish country.

Israel imposed the closure on Gaza after the Islamic movement Hamas took over [sic] the Palestinian enclave in 2007.

The UN chief headed to southern Gaza to inaugurate a housing site the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had been building for years. The project was interrupted by the closure but was later resumed after some restrictions were eased in 2010.

During his few hours in Gaza, Ban is not scheduled to meet officials from Hamas, which Israel, the United States and most European countries [defame as] a terrorist group.

The UN is a member of the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers, which also include the United States, the European Union and Russia.

The Quartet recently facilitated six rounds of “exploratory” talks between Israel and the Palestinians in Jordan to help restart their direct peace negotiations that broke down in 2010.

Edited by Zuo Shou

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TurtleLeaks: Wikileaks proves UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon is a blatant US stooge, plus the political origins of this model Korean tool of Uncle Sam [Foreign Policy / Turtle Bay / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]]

Posted in Bill Clinton, China, DPR Korea, France, Gaza, Iran, Israel, Korean War, Kosovo, Myanmar, Obama, Palestine, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Russia, Seoul, south Korea, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, U.K., UNSC, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks, Yugoslavia - former FRY on September 25, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Colum Lynch

April 29, 2011

Original article title: “TurtleLeaks: How Obama learned to stop worrying and love the Ban”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s unbridled pro-Americanism has helped win over an Obama administration whose top officials once viewed him as weak and uninspiring…according to diplomats and previously unpublished U.S. diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks.

The U.S. communications show how Ban has secured the support of the full spectrum of Washington officialdom, from the most conservative Republican critics of the U.N., including John R. Bolton, who famously sneered that the U.N. could lose 10 top floors without missing a thing, to the Democrats’ most vocal champion of multilateral diplomacy [sic], Susan E. Rice, by delivering consistently on American priorities.

The confidential cables, obtained by Turtle Bay in partnership with the Washington Post, detail Ban’s private exchanges with American diplomats from his 2006 election campaign through late 2009, when he began quietly building support for a second term. They show that if there has been any unifying thread of U.S. attitudes toward the secretary-general, it has been Washington’s appreciation for his pro-Americanism.

When Ban first approached the U.S. Embassy in Seoul in 2006 to gauge support for his bid to become secretary general, U.S. officials had clear reservations. While acknowledging Ban was a “consummate diplomat,” embassy officials expressed their concern that the South Korean foreign minister had neither held a job outside the Korean Foreign Ministry nor managed a substantial re-structuring of a large institution, according to a July 2006 cable.

But “on one credential we have no doubt,” according to that assessment by the U.S. embassy in Seoul, Korea: Ban was unswervingly pro-American and could be counted on to offer a sympathetic ear when the U.S. came looking for something. “When we need something from the South Koreans — ranging from sending Korean troops to Iraq to resolving bases issue for USFK [U.S. Forces Korea] — we turn to Ban,” according to the cable, classified by then U.S. ambassador to South Korea Alexander Vershbow. “He has always been sympathetic and helpful. We have no doubt Ban’s relations with the USG would be the same if he were the UNSYG…”

…he has shown a special affection for the United States, proving himself to be among the most pro-American secretary-generals in the U.N.’s history.

In his first official meeting with one of Bush’s U.N. envoys, Zalmay Khalilzad, Ban said that while U.S.-U.N. relations had gone through “a difficult period” in recent years, he believed that “without U.S. support for the U.N., nothing happens,” according to a May 2007 cable. Ban went on to offer Khalilzad his services in trying to persuade skeptical countries to back Kosovo’s independence drive, an initiative that was also backed by Britain and France. Ban assured that “he was ready ‘to assist the effort in any way possible.'”

Ban recognized that his effectiveness could be tempered if he was seen as too close to the Americans. In October 2007, he sought out Chinese support for a visit by his special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, to [Myanmar], a trip the U.S. also favored. But he encouraged Khalilzad at a lunch to “keep a lower profile on pressing for the November 1 date while this plays out. Otherwise, he will seen as doing the U.S.’s bidding he said,” according to the cable.

Obama’s national security team was initial cool to Ban…

…Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is said to have initially found Ban uninspiring, but she has been careful not to criticize him publicly. Before her current posting, Rice served in the Clinton administration, which had engaged in a bruising, and politically costly, campaign to block former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali from serving out a second term. She did not want a repeat, and did not want to do anything to weaken the U.N. chief at a time the U.S. was seeking to reengage with the United Nations, according to U.N.-based diplomats.

On June 29, 2009, India’s U.N. ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, in a private meeting with Rice, voiced concern about articles in the United States and Britain that sharply criticized Ban’s tenure. “Rice said the criticism had not come from the U.S. government; it was not helpful for the function of the U.N. We don’t need a lame-duck secretary general, said ambassador Rice; there is too much to get done,” according to a July 2009 cable that was previously published by WikiLeaks.

Ban eventually secured Rice’s backing as he proved supportive on issues the Obama administration cared about. In May 2009, Ban agreed under prodding from Rice to reject a call (by a U.N. board of inquiry he had commissioned) to carry out a far-ranging investigation into alleged excesses by Israel and Hamas during the 2008-2009 Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip. On Iran, Ban has been equally accommodating, publicly criticizing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and privately sending tough messages to the Iranian regime.

According to one cable, he even urged the Americans to go it alone in addressing Iran’s nuclear threat if efforts by the permanent five members of the Security Council, plus Germany, continued to stall. “The SYG said it is good to continue with the P5-1 structure for now, but if its effectiveness wanes, the U.S. should be prepared to take the reins,” according to the confidential June 2009 cable.

Despite the Obama team’s initial misgivings about Ban, they have since come around, recognizing a diplomat generally deferential to American demands who sincerely believes in the virtues of U.S. leadership…

…Ban is as much a product of the American century as any American national figure. During the Korean War, Ban and his family were displaced…and forced into a life of hunger and destitution, surviving on U.S. food donations. Among his most cherished memories is a student visit to Washington, memorialized in a class photo with John F. Kennedy. As a diplomat, he served three tours in the United States; as foreign minister, Ban vigorously pressed his government to support the United States, including by participating in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 alongside its historic military ally [sic]. When U.S. forces killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, it was Ban who sent a personal note to the State Department applauding the act.

“Ban understands completely American people [sic], values and government. More important, he is naturally sympathetic to all things American,” according to one July 2006 cable. “This is quite typical [sic] of well educated Koreans [sic] of his age. Their formative experience was the Korean War, and they remain convinced that the U.S. is a benign power, with shared ideals and goals for the region and the world.”

Ban also recognized the importance of the United States in his own professional advancement. As he campaigned for U.N. chief in 2006, Ban informed U.S. diplomats that “all interlocutors assessed that the most important voices were from the United States and China.” But he feared that China would not make an explicit endorsement, instead taking the position that any one of four East Asian candidates “were qualified and acceptable,” according to the July 2006 cable. “Ultimately, Ban opined, the race would hinge on the position of the United States and China. In a July 18 conversation, he for the first time voiced concern that, if the U.S. stayed non-committal much longer, his candidacy could falter,” according to the cable.

This time around, Ban appears to have locked in support, not only from the United States, but from China, Russia, and other key Security Council members. A phrase the Americans used back in July 2006 to describe Ban’s rise rings true today. “A consummate diplomat, Ban finds himself at the top of his chosen career largely because of his ability to get along with others.”

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