Archive for the ‘Psychology – war & peace’ Category

TFF PressInfo # 438: Aleppo’s Liberation one year ago – Anybody ashamed today?

By Jan Oberg

December 12, 2017, marks the anniversary of the liberation – the West called it fall – of Aleppo in Syria. What happened is conveniently forgotten today by the West.

Some of us can’t and won’t forget what was both world, regional and local history.

Important for Syria, for the West and for the future world order – for at least 5 reasons.

1. The Western mainstream media’s deceptive – constructed, ignorant, or both – narrative since 2011 was debunked.

Perspectives that media and political decision-makers deliberately omitted (remember omitted stuff is more important than fake):

• History and the colonialists’ role in Syria.
• The immense complexity of the Syrian society.
• Syria as a 7000 year-old civilisation and as end of the Silk Road.
• The decades-long conflicts underlying the violence, since CIA’s coup in 1949.
• The Western-driven regime change policies years since before 2011.
• Other causes of the conflicts than “Assad the dictator and his regime” such as environmental crisis, oil and gas, and its being partly occupied since 1967 by Israel.
• That nothing of the conflict complexity can de facto be reduced to a matter of one man’s role – like it couldn’t with Milosevic (now exonerated), Saddam, or Ghadafi;
• That this may have been a civil war for about a week but then almost 7 years of international aggression by thousands of foreign groups, Western governments/arm suppliers and their Saudi-led allies.
• Syria’s right under such circumstances to self-defence according to Article 51 of the UN Charter.
• The major role in the utter destruction of Syria played by NATO countries, Turkey particularly when it comes to Aleppo, and Western allies such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states; all was simply ”the dictator/regime killing his own people”…
• That Russia and Iran was the only foreign powers legitimately present according to international law.
• That the UN was sidelined – again – and tasked with the impossible role of making peace out of such member state policies.
• The media interest in Syria disappeared immediately after Aleppo’s liberation as if orchestrated by one conductor. Silence.
• And Facebook and Google Search changes algorithms…

The media coverage stopped there and then – like musicians under a conductor, obeying the tiniest move.

2. It marked the end of the West’s attempt at regime change since 2012

It had started formally on Dec 12, 2012 – on the day four years earlier, in Marrakesh. “Friends (!) of Syria” declared Assad’s government illegitimate and set up a Syrian National Council – without, of course, asking the Syrian people it was supposed to represent. Here’s AlJazeera’s/AFP’s coverage of that cruel decision.

Read the rest of this entry »

Trump in Philippines: Are human rights deteriorating?

By Jonathan Power

November 14th 2017

When Donald Trump stretched his hand across our television screens on Sunday to shake the hand of the Philippines’ president, Rodrigo Duterte, and then said he had “a great relationship” with him I felt my gorge contracting.

Having tasted the great, if sometimes flawed, (remember the totally counterproductive policy of arming the Afghani mujahedeen against the Soviet invaders) campaign of another US president, Jimmy Carter, to put human rights at the centre of American foreign, to see this bald regression is a bitter fruit to swallow.

Duterte recently boasted that he personally killed a man in a fight when he was 16. During his presidential campaign he darkly hinted at other killings he had made and since then has waged a no-hands-barred fight against suspected drug dealers.

Arrests, courts, justice? Forget it.

But then under President Donald Trump we have seen presidential support, as we did under President George W. Bush, for torture. (President Barack Obama reversed the Bush policy.) Read the rest of this entry »

PI 435 Likely: Nuclear Use Within Months (Part 2) – How to avoid it and build peace with Korea?

By Jan Oberg*

Part 1 about the risks here

Fact is that we are dealing here with a conflict that is the most threatening to humankind’s survival and it would be rather more easy to solve than most other conflicts.

This has recently been pointed out by TFF Board Member and former Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, IPPNW, 2004-2008, Gunnar Westberg, in a short analysis.

• The West – the EU or NATO, if not the US itself – takes a serious mediation initiative. As long as people talk, they don’t start wars. That in itself would de-escalate the tensions and risks in sharp contrast to continued tit-for-tat sandbox thinking and reckless statements, last by defence secretary Mad Dog Mattis at the border between the North and South.

• The vastly superior side stops every military activity in the waters close to the North while South Korea’s leadership take up contact with the leadership of the North.

• The type of provisions of Jimmy Carter’s old deal with the North Koreans are dusted off and used as inspiration for more: Give the North Koreans all the economic assistance they believe they need and give them civilian energy technology too – as a quid-pro-quo for very tight IAEA inspections and a written guarantee that it will not acquire nuclear weapons as long as the West keeps its side of such a deal. (President George W. Bush just destroyed that deal and thought it appropriate to include North Korea in his Axis Of Evil speech).

• Sign a non-aggression or non-attack pact between North and South Korea and between North Korea and the US. That is, undermine any fears the North Koreans may have. The overwhelming superiority of the adversaries of the North implies that such a pact would be risk-free to write and sign.

• Let North and South Korea freely decide if they want to unify. They have a perfect human and international legal right to do so, it’s nobody’s business but the Korean people’s. The world should assist them in doing so if they want.

• The US and North Korea sign a peace treaty (what exists today is only the 1953 ceasefire agreement). Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo # 434: Nuclear weapons use within months – Part 1: Why?

By Jan Oberg*

Part II here.

That’s what I hold quite likely in case the present US administration under Donald Trump’s formal leadership continues down the path its in-fighting militarist fractions seem to have chosen.

We’re in the worst, most dangerous situation since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sitting down and hoping for the best is neither responsible nor viable or wise.

I can only hope that I will be proved wrong. That the present extremely dangerous tension-building will die down by some kind of unforeseen events or attention being directed elsewhere.

The world could quite well be drifting toward what Albert Einstein called ’unparalleled catastrophe’. It’s something we may – or may not – know more about when President Trump returns from his trip to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam (APEC where he also likely to meet Russian President Putin) and the Philippines.

Except for 93-year old Jimmy Carter offering to go to North Korea, we witness nobody taking any mediation initiative – not the UN’ S-G Guterres, not the EU, not European NATO countries, not BRICS, not single countries like Sweden, not… well, you name them.

It’s about denial, about heads deep down in the sand, people hoping for the best at the moment when humanity’s future is in the hands of a couple of leaders from whom they would probably not buy a used bicycle.

That this silence all around is a roaring fact, is about as tragic and dangerous as the situation itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Good-Bye, See You Later

By Johan Galtung

Editorial #500

TRANSCEND Media Service & TFF Associate

We made it! Five hundred Mondays [from 3 Mar 2008] has Antonio from Brazil-Portugal posted an editorial by me from Norway and the world – sometimes with a coauthor. With the good support of the other members of our editorial committee, Malvin Gattinger from Germany, Naakow Grant-Hayford from Ghana and Erika Degortes from Italy. THANKS!

Five hundred times have I had the challenge of exploring what the UN wisely calls a “situation” – unlike me, avoiding the word “crisis”. Five hundred times have I tried to follow what I absorbed from when I was 2 years old at dining tables listening to my physician father and nurse mother–daughter of the director of health care in Norway–the program implicit in the three magic words Diagnosis-Prognosis-Therapy. DPT.

Five hundred analyses of something problematic to put it mildly; five hundred efforts to forecast, foresee what will happen if we do nothing, and five hundred efforts to end creatively with a proposal.

The editorials seem to have been widely read, particularly in the old superpowers, USA and USSR, today mainly Russia. Since most of them have been about something geopolitical, perhaps these two are the most geopolitically minded, trying for a long time to run the world. It could also be that they are simply the most literate in world affairs.

Anyhow, maybe I would have liked to have seen more readers from the new superpowers, China and India; not middle-sized like the old ones, but 37% of humanity. Hopefully more at peace than not.

And one bigger than even China: Islam, 1,650 million Muslims.

It has been a fascinating weekly challenge. Scanning the world for what is new, projecting a DPT on the wall, or the screen rather. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump as war criminal?

By Jonathan Power

September 26th 2017

Out of the blue the war in Vietnam is in the news. Yet it is not the fiftieth anniversary of America’s defeat in Vietnam when North Vietnam caused it to flee. It’s only the forty second.

Part of this must be fearful parallels with the moral and strategic blindness of President Donald Trump who seems to believe in uttering his life and death rhetoric, akin to President Richard Nixon’s on Vietnam, he can frighten the enemy into submission – in his case North Korea.

Many people are worried that Trump is ready to fight America’s biggest war since Vietnam. As did Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s National Security Advisor, he appears to be considering the use of nuclear weapons.

The second reason for Vietnam-consciousness are the rave reviews that are being given to Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s 10 part documentary on the Vietnam War.

It is being mentioned all over the place.

To my mind one of the big questions is, is Trump ready to be branded a war criminal by present and future generations? Read the rest of this entry »

The World – Where Are You Heading?

By Johan Galtung

Liu Xiaobo passed away. What is the – not so hidden – truth about him?

Answer: His speeches and writings show enthusiasm for the 100-year English colonization of Hong Kong, wishing 300 years colonization of China, celebrating the US war in Afghanistan, hoping for atomic weapons. He got the Nobel Peace Prize for democratization of China, had the freedom of speech, but the prize communicated as a provocation. The prize could easily have been given to their Charter, not to Liu Xiaobo.

Norway’s security – what are the threats?

Answer: Given the location, an invasion by USA or Russia to prevent the other from doing so. The situation is reminiscent of the threat from England, Germany and USSR to prevent one of the other from doing so in 1940; what happened was England and Germany violating Norwegian neutrality, fighting a battle on Norwegian territory. USSR nothing till they fought German troops in the extreme North losing more soldiers to liberate Norway than Norway during the war, stopping when the Norwegian government in refuge in London told them to do so, thereby making it possible for Germany to destroy Northern Norway.

Norway’s defense today – what is the story?

Answer: A one-sided offensive capacity directed at Russia for a first or second strike, the coast and inland defenseless with 248 of 249 districts (“Heimevernet“, home land defense) incapable of their job.

Why Russia as Chosen Enemy; the real story, the alternatives? Read the rest of this entry »

Evolving International Law, Political Realism, and the Illusions of Diplomacy

By Richard Falk

International law is mainly supportive of Palestinian grievances with respect to Israel, as well as offering both Israelis and Palestinians a reliable marker as to how these two peoples could live normally together in the future if the appropriate political will existed on both sides to reach a sustainable peace.

International law is also helpful in clarifying the evolution of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination over the course of the last hundred years. It is clarifying to realize how the law itself has evolved during this past century in ways that bear on our sense of right and wrong in the current phase of the struggle.

Yet at the same time, as the Palestinians have painfully learned, to have international law clearly on your side is not the end of the story. The politics of effective control often cruelly override moral and legal norms that stand in its way, and this is what has happened over the course of the last hundred years with no end in sight.

The Relevance of History

2017 is the anniversary of three crucial milestones in this narrative:

(1) the issuance of the Balfour Declaration by the British Foreign Secretary a hundred years ago pledging support to the World Zionist Movement in their campaign to establish a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine;

(2) the passage of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 seventy years ago proposing the partition of Palestine between the two peoples along with the internationalization of the city of Jerusalem as a proposed political compromise between Arabs and Jews; and

(3) the Israel military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip over fifty years ago after the 1967 War.

Each of these milestones represents a major development in the underlying struggle.

Each combines an Israeli disregard of international law the result of which is to inflict major injustices on the Palestinian people. Without due regard for this past, it will not be possible to understand the present encounters between Israelis and Palestinians or to shape a future beneficial for both peoples that must take due account of the past without ignoring the realities of the present.

Israel is sophisticated about its use of international law, invoking it vigorously to support its claims to act in ways often motivated by territorial ambitions and national security goals, while readily evading or defying international law when the constraints of its rules interfere with the pursuit of high priority national goals, especially policies of continuous territorial encroachment at the expense of reasonable Palestinian expectations and related legally entrenched rights.

To gain perspective, history is crucial, but not without some unexpected features. Read the rest of this entry »

Charlottesville Through a Glass Darkly

By Richard Falk

I suggest that Zionists fond of smearing critics of Israel as ‘anti-Semites’ take a sobering look at the VICE news of the white nationalist torch march through the campus of the University of Virginia the night before the lethal riot in Charlottesville.

In this central regard, anti-Semitism, and its links to Naziism and Fascism, and now to Trumpism, are genuinely menacing, and should encourage rational minds to reconsider any willingness to being manipulated for polemic purposes by ultra Zionists.

We can also only wonder about the moral, legal, and political compass of ardent Zionists who so irresponsibly label Israel’s critics and activist opponents as anti-Semites, and thus confuse and bewilder the public as to the true nature of anti-Semitism as racial hatred directed at Jews.

There must be less incendiary ways of fashioning responses to the mounting tide of criticism of Israel’s policies and practices than by deliberately distorting and confusing the nature of anti-Semitism.

To charge supporters of BDS, however militant, with anti-Semitism dangerously muddies the waters, trivializing hatred of Jews by deploying ‘anti-Semitism’ as an Israeli tactic and propaganda tool of choice in a context of non-violent expressions of free speech and political advocacy, and thus challenging the rights so elemental that they have long been taken for granted by citizens in every funcitioning constitutional democracy.

It is worth recalling that despite the criticisms of BDS during the South African anti-apartheid campaign, militant participants were never, ever smeared, despite being regarded as employing a controversial approach often derided as counterproductive in politically conservative circles.

And of course it is not only Zionists who have eaten of this poisonous fruit. Read the rest of this entry »

Nuclear sabre rattling with North Korea

By Jonathan Power

Does President Donald Trump (aka “Fire and Fury”) know what a nuclear war would be like?

I ask the question because President Roland Reagan confessed he did not until he decided to look at some movies (once an actor, he was a cinema man), like “On the Beach” that depicted a nuclear war. The exercise changed his thinking and he became an anti-nuclear weapons militant. Together with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev they cut their nuclear stockpiles sharply.

They also came near an agreement to destroy all their nuclear weapons.

The blasts at the end of the Second World War in Hiroshima and Nagasaki can now be repeated hundreds of thousand times. The remains would not just be the broken arches of the Caesars, the abandoned viaducts and moss-covered temples of the Incas, the desolation of one of the pulsating hearts of Europe, Dresden, but millions of square miles of uninhabitable desolation and a suffering which would incorporate more agony than the sum of past history.

It would be a time when the living would envy the dead and it would be a world which might well have destroyed the legacy of law, order and love that successive generations have handed over the centuries to one another. Read the rest of this entry »


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