The War “Agents” – From Vietnam to This Day

agent orange
Nick Ut’s famous photo known as “Napalm Girl” is credited for raising the awarness of the Vietnam War. Nick Ut rushed Kim Phuc to a nearby hospital after the photo was taken. Nick Ut, Associated Press

In the middle of a global turmoil, whether it would be murders in the form of “wars” (against….what exactly?), global inequalities (e.g. gender, income, living conditions, human and civil rights), climate change effects and pharisaic politics (see EU vs Refugees, US vs Democracy etc), the combination of two pieces of information gave way to this article.
They both involve wars, American wars, unreasonable wars (as if there were reasonable) i.e. aggressive (as opposed to defensive) wars, which both destabilised or destroyed countries, caused casualties and distress and proved to be vain, even more than any war could prove.

The two said factors are:

I) Agent Orange

Agent Orange is a herbicide.
We read that: 
During the late 1940s and 1950s, the US and Britain collaborated on development of herbicides with potential applications in warfare.
Indeed, Americans used that herbicide during Vietnam war with the pretext of destroying Vietnam’s flora which was making their lives “difficult” (or terminated) inside country’s jungle.

We learn that:
Agent Orange was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical,
an information which nowadays makes sense, to say the least, as it explains the GMOs “regime”.

In a more…trivial level we are informed that:
It was given its name from the color of the orange-striped barrels in which it was shipped, and was by far the most widely used of the so-called “Rainbow Herbicides“.

We understand that in contemporary terms it was a chemical weapon, like these used in Syria and attributed only to country’s regime, [and which are German made and in fact have targeted Syrian people in order to force them to abandon their country and thus weaken Assad and pass to Turkey and…..  –read more about Turkey’s role, Germany, ISIS and EU].
Back to chemical weapons of the past with some more “unpleasant” information:
The 2,4,5-T used to produce Agent Orange was contaminated with 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), an extremely toxic dioxin compound. In some areas, TCDD concentrations in soil and water were hundreds of times greater than the levels considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

We are also informed that:
Although in the Geneva Disarmament Convention of 1978, Article 2(4) Protocol III to the weaponry convention has “The Jungle Exception”, which prohibits states from attacking forests or jungles “except if such natural elements are used to cover, conceal or camouflage combatants or military objectives or are military objectives themselves” this voids any protection of any military or civilians from a napalm attack or something like agent Orange and is clear that it was designed to cater to situations like U.S. tactics in Vietnam. This clause has yet to be revised
– 
which in a free translation means that international laws have always been tailored to mainstream – USA – interests.

To make a tragic story short, it was not only expected but also desirable that Agent Orange would harm people and not only vegetation, and it has, indeed.
Many handicapped children have been born since, unable (invalides, according to Napoleon’s conception) to function within society without help, victims of perverse minds and of the renowned imperialist war machine.  
The sad but also promising factor of the story/ history is that in Vietnam, the American veteran George Mizo founded in 1992 The Vietnam Friendship Village (See Village’s site) where children are taken care and are tought crafts with which they can support their lives -hopefully.

It’s not possible to explore George Mizo’s soul and mind.
Nevertheless, what formed half of this article’s “substance” is an episode of the Greek show/ travel documentary series World Party in which we watched kids between 7 and 17 years old who are affected by Agent Orange and who are now educated and supported by Vietnam Friendship Village.

Person presented, Mr Tsack, confessed/ admitted during the documentary something that we all know with certainty:
War is the worst failure of mankind.
It’s the failure of what is good and decent about human beings and represents/ reflects the worst aspects of all of us.”


II) Gulf War Syndrome

This sad outcome/aftermath of another chapter of absurd American wars, 
… refers to the complex of symptoms that affects veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War at significantly excess rates. It is characterized by multiple diverse symptoms not explained by established medical diagnoses or standard laboratory tests, symptoms that typically include a combination of memory and concentration problems, persistent headache, unexplained fatigue, and widespread pain, and can also include chronic digestive difficulties, respiratory symptoms, and skin rashes,
according to an article of Global Research.

gulf-war-syndrome2

Also, in Wikipedia we can find that:
According to a report by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan may also suffer from the syndrome.
Suggested causes have included depleted uranium, sarin gas, smoke from burning oil wells, vaccinations, combat stress and psychological factors.

while many other sources (e.g. Medical Dictionary, veterans’ site Military.com but also US Dept Of Veterans Affairs) outline a number of symptoms caused by psychological or physical factors.
Saying that “they are lucky to be alive” would only be an insensitive and tragic irony in fact.

Consequences to other nations are not yet allowed to reveal and history is still being written.
So, maybe several decades later, someone, somewhere, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, in Syria, in Central Africa, in Eastern Europe, will acknowledge the harm caused to local people and the pointlessness, the irrationality, the absurdity and the cruelty of any and each war and maybe will create a friendship village or, better yet, a friendship Earth.

Or, people will keep in mind Mr Tsack’s comment:
“Most of us
took the easy way which was to submit and to do what we were told.
It’s much more difficult and much more courageous to say “no”, and I would try to convince my grandchildren to have the strength and the courage and the personal conviction to say “no”.
We
didn’t learn anything from Vietnam. That’s the real tragedy of Vietnam.
We could have learned lessons that would have made the world a very different place.”  

From my part, I won’t stop wondering how many kilometers of wall (other than China one), would be necessary if ALL millions of real victims had to be carved, mentioned and honored.

Relative reads:

The Multifaceted Russian-Turkish Conflict

russian pilots
© Sputnik/ Alexander Vilf Relatives of Russian Su-24 Pilot ‘Refuse to Believe He is Dead’

The following article was written on 27th November, therefore some of the details might have changed.
Wherever possible, I have made adjustments.

Just a few days after Turkish F-16s shot down the Russian Su-24 aircraft on 24th November, tens of scenarios and analysis have been published and broadcasted and they all have a common factor:

They accept that the players after the incident are much more than two and that a new chapter in foreign policies has opened.
The time perspective of the event itself will reveal the whole spectrum of participants, those concerned and the stakeholders, the number of who appears to be growing.
In the foreground, there are Russia, its president Vladimir Putin and their recent involvement in the war against ISIS in Syria on one hand, and the NATO member Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the other.
Inevitably, the European Union and its two most powerful countries, Germany and France, become parts of this equation to a more or less obvious extent. They are both NATO members and that’s a role they have to support.
France’s wound of 13th November is fresh as much as are its president’s Francois Hollande declared intentions (and actions) to intensify war against terrorism of ISIS by cooperating with allies and not-so-allies, as is Russia.
To this end, all predictions and signs favored a joint effort with Russia and Mr Hollande’s meet with US president Barack Obama included smoothing of edges and bridging the gap between US and Russia in the name of the common cause.
An aspect of these policies is that Russia’s decision to operate against ISIS in Syria has been vindicated and it can be seen as a win of Vladimir Putin, whose country is blacklisted by NATO, USA and EU, i.e. from the West.
Even if NATO members defended the “right of Turkey to protect its land”, they didn’t provide any further support through public statements.
Therefore Erdogan, who at first seemed to have deterred the approach between West and Russia and the reinforcement of powers against ISIS willingly or not, failed to promote his country as a decisive regional factor.
Irrespective of Turkish president’s instability, as German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on 25th November, and “exuberance”, by the defensive-aggressive movement of shooting a NATO non-friendly country’s war craft, Turkey repeated its practice of establishing de facto conditions (Cyprus occupation is one of them) and attempted to demonstrate and “tout” its role and status of NATO member.
Also, the overt and straight support to Turkmens could be interpreted as a “declaration” implying the “Kurdish factor”, i.e. Turkish friendly Vs Turkish hostile populations.
Only a short time before, Erdogan had highlighted Turkey’s ambitions to become member of EU and used the refugee crisis and the “need” of EU to ensure Turkish cooperation, in order to extract a promising result.
The obvious benefits though have been a few and so far limited to a financing from EU.
[During the conference of 29Nov., EU promised 3 billion euros which could, and they possibly will, increase and visa regime “rearrangements” and everyone turned a blind eye to the flagrant human rights violations. But then again, that’s the EU …]
So, Turkey decided to use the “NATO card”.

We have to remember that both Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Junker “suggested” common Greek and Turkish rescue operations in Greek territorial waters.
When Greece rejected such type of Turkish involvement, Ms Merkel underlined that “both countries are NATO members”, as if it should be understood that the membership would allow common territorial grounds or that insured territorial security -for Greece.

It also goes without saying that inside his country Erdogan emphasizes in every possible way the factors of security and stability and projects the image of a strong, powerful, competent and determined leader.
This image covers and entertains impressions and reactions against his controversial “relationship” with civil rights and has even supported his party AKP in recent parliamentary elections.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has a more moderate approach and made efforts to express more peaceful intentions after the downing of the Russian jet.
Turkish and Russian presidents have several similarities as leading personalities and some observers would find similarities even in governing.
It’s their differences, though, which make the “difference” together with the roles of their countries with regard to international relations.

Within the recent picture, Syria remains the hot spot and the threat of ISIS is the global factor.
President Hollande had to suffer a second hit of French capital and citizens, in order to consider a plan of joint action, not restricted inside NATO frame and interests, but comprising several regional powers.
In this frame, while Vladimir Putin has taken a positive initiative (if war can ever be considered positive), Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears as the negative factor.
[The disclosures (within the country and after Putin had spoken about it publicly) of Turkish role and involvement in oil smuggling, triggered Erdogan’s beloved practice of overt censorship.]

The downing of jet incident brought to the forefront the many and “artfully” non-promoted by western media, dark spots of Turkish involvement and role in Syria crisis.
The day-after has brought Russian resolutions about sanctions to Turkey -and Russians know a lot about sanctions as imposed on them by USA allies.

Although some analysts have spoken about a WWIII, on one hand this seems to be happening now with all these open fronts all over the world, and on the other it is highly undesirable even by US, the “usual suspect” of initiating wars and invasions and at least during Obama’s administration.

The nightmare of a generalized regional war could involve:
Lebanon, a tormented country which recently has (silently) suffered major inland hits by terrorism,
Egypt, a country which is revising, rebuilding and expanding its foreign relations,
Jordan, because of proximity and as the hosting country of thousand of refugees,
and probably Iran as a Russian and Syria ally but also against ISIS.
It could also involve Israel, its phobic and pro war policies and, worst case scenario, its nuclear weapons.

The news “run”, tension intensifies or discharges sequentially, anything written could be soon outdated and the so called “diplomatic thriller” between Russia and Turkey continues. with Erdogan’s invitation to Putin to a meeting during World Climate Conference (COP21) in Paris.

[It is imperative to remember, although Davutoglu’s statements and attitude leaved no chance to forget, that Turkish diplomacy is among the (two in my opinion) most insolent of the world.
Another feature of their policies is (again among the two) to create «guilt complexes» to their interlocutors.
The combination of antidemocratic practices, together with the assassination of Tahir Elci, pro-Kurdish activist, made EU-Turkish approach more bitter.
]

At this point of time we can conclude that although hopes and fears are significant yet invisible and neglected factors of foreign policies, prudence, sangfroid and sobriety combined with care about people, are better consultants and should prevail for all participants, at last.

 

Human Rights and Dying Migrants

This morning Greek media reported the arrival of 1,800 migrants, mainly from Middle East, in central Athens square. They were added to 100,000 people (refugees and migrants) who have crossed Mediterranean since start of 2015 according to UNHCR, “with record numbers now arriving every day in the Greek islands. Official figures show that as of 8 June a total of 103,000 refugees and migrants had arrived in Europe: 54,000 in Italy, 48,000 in Greece, 91 on Malta and 920 in Spain.”

EU obviously faces a humanitarian problem and evidently turns a blind eye to it, as its latest political (non) decisions show. (TWTP article Sea of War and Death)

The problem contains several contradictions:
– Human beings lose their lives while trying to escape their countries just to save their own and their children lives. 
– Civil and offensive wars, hunger, turmoil or evictions force people to abandon their residencies, fortunes, homes, jobs, families and homeland in order to survive. The oxymoron here is that a series of events beyond their power, force educated and working, respected and “normal”, until yesterday, people to be uprooted, then to become victims of traffickers and in the end to be treated as “interlopers” in European countries.
– The majority of the problems that their countries face are western-made and EU plays a major role in these. Libya’s (not so) civil war Lethal attempt of USA for a regime change in Syria.
– “Breeding and nurturing” by the West of islamic extremists in order to destabilize so-called enemies during the last decades.
– The consequent empowerment of armed sectarians who turned into a threat even for their funders.
– The newfound (?) “exploitation” of ISIS as a threat requiring restrictions and intercepts and which attempts to generate fear and to boost xenophobia, racism and far right parties in Europe,
and last but not least:

 – The perpetual and never stopped crimes of evictions, settlements, imprisonments and inhuman treatment, to the limits of genocide, in Palestine.

A western person could and should imagine itself and its family threatened by all these dangers. And then, to put itself in the same conditions that all these younger or elder people, women, men and children face when they arrive into european countries.
Dignity is a human right and it is not limited into one’s home or country’s borders and of course not in religion, race or ethnicity.
The self-proclaimed advocates and the self-appointed “defenders” of human rights use double standards, depending on their political and dominating purposes. They invade lands to defend freedoms and they violate major rights inside these lands.

In the present situation, in which Europe does not heed labor force anymore, the victims of western wars address to the instigators of their problems for relief. And the West condemns them for a second time in misery, threats, loss of dignity, inhuman conditions or in the ever existing and present, marginalization – if they survive.

The next thing to wait is an augmenting demonization of migrants – beloved practice of western propaganda. They will all be considered as islamist terrorists and they will be placed in new Guantanamos.

In the name of “safety” of course.

The “Impose Sanctions and Conquer” Doctrine of USA

Americas Summit Panama

 

Also published in: Reader Supported News/Writing for Godot

Within a time of days, since the start of April, two countries have come very close to get rid of the long imposed sanctions by USA.
First Iran and then Cuba have reached in a good point of amelioration of relationships with their foe and are close to an ending of the imposed sanctions.
“Disfavor” and “punishment” have started 50 years ago in Cuba, during Cold War, and soon after the Islamic revolution of 1979, in Iran. In both cases, the sanctions followed the revolutions and the change of regimes, non capitalist policies, nationalization of oil (in Iran), of companies, services and country’s wealth. Also in both cases, before the revolutions, US had deeply involved in internal affairs and had secured conformity of the governments.
After revolutions they never stopped attempting the overturn of regimes – their endearing practice worldwide. Cases of US espionage in Cuba as well as attempts to organize dissident movements (according to the successful “arab spring” standards) reveal until recently.

In Iran, as Juan Cole in Informed Comment reminds us: “It is worth pointing out that one of the reasons Obama has difficulty in his negotiations with Iran is that its leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, distrusts Washington because of its long history of intervention in Iran. The US along with its WWII allies invaded and occupied Iran in the 1940s; the allies overthrew the ruler, Reza Shah Pahlevi in 1941. In 1953 the CIA conducted a coup against popular Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh because he led the nationalization of Iranian oil.
After the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the US allied with Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who had invaded Iran in a wanton act of naked aggression in 1980. When Saddam used chemical weapons against Iranian troops, the US ran interference for Baghdad at the UN Security Council, ensuring that Baathist Iraq was not sanctioned for its war crimes against Iran.
So maybe Obama needs a sidebar with Khamenei to reassure him that Washington is not trying to overthrow him, either.”

Timing, capitalism and profit

The question which arises after the recent developments is “why now?” Although the two “cases” are completely different, a first insufficient answer is the attempt of President Barack Obama to ensure his own and Democratic Party’s legacy during the last year of his presidency.
It is not a totally satisfying answer, even if Obama might actually be “an honest man”, as Cuban President Raoul Castro said. Apart from honest though, Obama still is the President of the almighty USA.

As “peace” and conciliatory policies are not typical of US, a more realistic version could be the need to close any “unnecessary” open fronts worldwide despite pressures from neocon Republicans and jingoes of NRA.
On the other hand, progressives within the country are demanding less aggressive policies, as longstanding wars have not only proved ineffective and costly but have also showed their wrongful and detrimental motivations.
Furthermore, the dominant principle in US (i.e. in capitalism) is profit. Sanctions burden American economy, not only that of the “punished” countries and don’t give earnings from sales of weaponry.

So sanctions, especially long-standing ones, have political cost apart from economic and reach a crucial point, when it becomes necessary to lift them.
American companies are going to seek profits from Cuba and it is Cuba’s responsibility to manage and control hawks’ involvement in national affairs (a danger that EU is close to suffer if they sign TTIP neglecting people’s objections).
There is also strong possibility that US will use normalization of relationships with Cuba as a means to succeed closer approach to other South American countries.

US has opened a huge front against Russia, under their own crafted pretext of Ukraine, and until their own and EU pressures pay back, they simply lose profits while they do not have the anticipated gains of their expansionism.
They also continue sanctions as well as attempts to overturn government in Venezuela* and, additionally, they have to “pay” the cost of past nourishing of fighters who became the core of ISIS.

Imperialism behind human rights

“Axis of evil” has shrunk significantly since Iraq became a conquered country, after Libya was destroyed and after Syria entered the US-crafted and non ending war. It is also going to further weaken as soon as a final deal will be signed with Iran. A large part of “destruction policies” could be attributed to the former Secretary of the State and new candidate for US presidency, Hilary Clinton. As far as it concerns the remaining North Korea, Japan could be the first frontier if necessary.

However, military threat is not the only reason which US invoke when it comes to sanctions. Human rights and their strictly American interpretation often form a pretext for imposing sanctions. Never mind if human rights are violated by numerous “allies” and within US.
It makes no difference if a society is functional despite whatever problems.
If a country doesn’t follow a certain model of life, if its government does not conform to Western standards, if strategic considerations or intelligence want them to “reform”, either a war or sanctions will be the consequences.
The internal administration and the sovereignty of any such country, surely threaten “democracy” and therefore, US have to take initiative. In case that propaganda by NGOs and press and attempts of erosion and/or overturning of government do not succeed, intelligence takes control and isolation follows.
Venezuela is a representative sample of this doctrine. That is why after several attempts of coups in collaboration with opposition have been made and failed, Obama issued an executive order on 9th March with which declared the country an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security”.*
On the eve of Summit of the Americas in Panama, where Castro and Obama met, People’s Summit of the Americas, issued a document, which was approved by more than 2,000 representatives and condemned what it called, “military aggression and threats by the United States and their strategic allies carried out through the establishment of military bases in the region” according to teleSUR information.

Aggressiveness and domination

The case of Russia does not follow above rule of “safeguarding” human rights. Russia has a record of human rights violations which didn’t bother in the slightest the “democratic” West. The manufactured rising in Ukraine ended with outrage and autonomy of pro-Russian Crimean regions and with a war induced by NATO.
If Russia had retracted, if Putin had succumbed without acting, a large part of population would have been led into EU’s and NATO’s “embrace” and no sanctions would have been imposed.
Alternatively, another way of isolating Russia would have been induced.
In the same time, propaganda would persuade the world that rising in Ukraine was spontaneous and that people’s future is in their hands.
In the meantime, the “compliant” EU loads an extra weight on the backs of its people by imposing sanctions and suffering the consequences.

Though world changes (even Tayyip Erdogan visited Iran), let’s not fool ourselves and let’s hope that neither Iranian and Cuban people nor their governments fool themselves by believing that the “war” has ended.

* South American countries back Venezuela and UNASUR, the Non-Alignement Movement, CELAC and the G77+China, condemned Obama’s Executive Order. 

Relative from the web:
Hope on the Horizon and It Comes from Greece – Paul Craig Roberts

Neocon ‘Chaos Promotion’ in the Mideast – Consortiumnews.com