Category Archives: Communist

Croatia’s entry fee


Engineer Duje Kovai, who has worked in the shipyard at Split for 40 years, asks: “Why does Europe want to stop Croatia building ships?” He has no answer. The country has a long coastline and history of sailors, fishermen and shipbuilders, but EU membership will probably put an end to one of its oldest industries. The yards had to be completely privatised before Croatia officially joined the EU on 1 July.

Croatia had five shipyards, dating back to the 19th century: Uljanik in Pula, and 3-May at Rijeka, Kraljevica, Trogir and Split. They were the economic backbone of the coastal regions. Ships built in Yugoslavia used to sail the world, and for decades Dalmatia’s shipyards rivalled those of Trieste and Saint-Nazaire. Shipbuilding was key to the political imagination of the socialist years: Josip Broz Tito had worked as a mechanic at Kraljevica in the 1920s. Split’s history is linked with the shipyard: the famous Hajduk football club — which is to Croatia what Olympique de Marseille is to France — was founded by shipbuilders who joined the Communist partisans when Dalmatia was annexed by the Italian fascists in 1941.The termination of all public subsidies is stipulated in chapter 8 (Competition Policy) of the accession treaty admitting Croatia to the EU, and the European Commission has been monitoring the implementation of the “restructuring” programme. “All over the world, states help shipbuilding,” said Zvonko Šegvi, president of Split’s shipbuilders’ union. “In Italy, the Fincantieri shipyards are entirely in public hands; in France, the state is still a minority shareholder in the biggest yards such as STX-Chantiers de l’Atlantique. Even in South Korea, the world leader in naval construction, the state subsidises shipbuilding. What’s acceptable in every other country is forbidden in Croatia in the name of European integration.”

A few months before EU accession, the state put its shipyards up for sale. But this proved more difficult than expected: debts were underestimated and some potential buyers were put off by the requirement that they shoulder 40% of restructuring costs. Kraljevica didn’t find a buyer and went under. Only the privatisation of the small site at Trogir seems a comparative success: one pier will be turned into a marina and chandler’s yard, and shipbuilding will continue. It was bought by a Croatian businessman, Danko Konar. The state will contribute €60m ($80m) to its restructuring over five years, and the agreement includes cutting the workforce from 1,200 to 900. Slavko Bilota, an engineer, hopes though that as older workers retire new ones will be taken on.The yards in Split were purchased by the DIV group for the nominal sum of 500,000 kunas ($88,600). DIV, which is owned by the businessman Tomislav Debeljak, has not put forward any serious plan for getting them back in operation, and announced in June that almost all of the 3,500 workers would be laid off: 1,500 of these will be rehired on short-term contracts, but the selection criteria are unclear. DIV has also promised to recruit 500 former employees, also on temporary contracts.

Split is not going down without a fight, and DIV has brought charges against union leaders for alleged acts of violence and has had them banned from the site.The identity of Istria is likewise inextricably linked to the Uljanik shipyard at Pula. In this tiny region of 200,000 people, shipbuilding accounts for nearly 30,000 jobs, direct and indirect. Production has continued and the order book is full, despite a reduction in state aid since 2006. Uljanik even made a bid to buy the 3-May shipyard in Rijeka. But the future remains uncertain. The site is attracting attention for its touristic rather than industrial potential: the islet on which the shipyards are located is in the middle of Pula bay, visible from the promenade and the town’s Roman amphitheatre. For now, Pula’s tourist future is focused on Muzil, a former military base built in 1859 for the Austro-Hungarian fleet and used by the Yugoslav then Croatian navies until it was closed in 2007. Pula residents currently stroll, bathe, fish, and picnic on the site, which also hosts alternative festivals, but there are plans to privatise it and turn it into a tourist complex with a 2,500-bed hotel, golf course and marina.

The planned demise of the shipyards will complete Croatia’s deindustrialisation. But can the country rely on tourism? The coastal regions have the highest unemployment, with 22% officially out of work overall, and a third of those under 25. Many young people get by on casual work on the black market, earning as little as $250 a month. Zvonko Šegvi says Croatia is joining the EU “without any real preparation … our economy has been devastated, and all we can do is provide services to the rich countries in the north. In the EU, Croatia is going to be a second-rank country, like all the other states in the south.”

via Croatia’s entry fee – Le Monde diplomatique – English edition.

FARC, Meet The IRA: Colombian Rebels Get Advice On Peace From Ex Guerrillas – All News Is Global |


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BOGOTA – Negotiators for rebel group FARC — engaged now in historic peace talks with the Colombian government — received an interesting visit in Havana last month. During a pause in negotiations with Bogota officials in the Cuban capital, FARC loyalists met with a group of former members of the IRA.

Indeed, the veterans of Northern Ireland’s Irish Republican Army would have worthwhile experiences to share with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the guerrilla “people’s army” in search of a peace deal after a decades-long war with the Colombian government.

Putting emphasis on their disarmament strategy implemented in the early 2000s, which eventually led to the success of the Northern Irish peace process, IRA members shared their experience.

Of course, the transition to a post-conflict Northern Ireland was by no means easy. In his paper The IRA disarmament process in Northern Ireland: lessons for Colombia, Vicença Fisas, director of the School for the Culture of Peace at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, warns that the Good Friday Agreement — signed in 1998 and marking the official start of the Irish peace process — did not explain in detail how to proceed with regard to disarmament. Instead, the agreement limited itself to expressing the advisability of disarmament, and inviting the parties to collaborate with the International Independent Committee for Disarmament (IICD).

There was much skepticism, Fisas recounts, even though it was clear that resolving the problems surrounding disarmament was essential to the negotiations. The IICD was led by Canadian General Jon de Chastelain, who was responsible for overseeing the gradual disarmament process and the destruction of collected weapons. In total, the IICD supervised four IRA disarmament acts between October 2001 and September 2005.

Guerillas weigh in

But it is not just former IRA members who have been in discussions with the FARC negotiators. There has also been talk about the continued presence of former Central-American guerrillas — from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in El Salvador, now one of the country’s two main political parties following the 1992 peace process, and from the Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua, also now a main political party — as well as others from South Africa.

To advance discussions about demobilization and disarmament, the FARC has also made enquiries about another sensitive topic: pardons and reparations to victims. “The simple fact that we are discussing these topics already enables us to move negotiations forward and, for this reason, there are some who dare to say that the final agreement could be very close,” says a source close to the negotiating process.

Regarding the thorny issue of disarmament, one proposal purportedly gaining favor is the possibility of surrendering weapons to the custody of an international or humanitarian organization. The FARC may have warmed to this idea after their meeting with the IRA, particularly if they have taken into account the fact that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has signalled that he won’t allow the group to enter politics while they are still armed. The government has viewed very positively the fact that the guerrilla group is taking an interest in successful peace processes from around the world.

The FARC aims to re-enter politics

Whatever route the negotiations may take, everything is pointing toward a single overarching objective: establishing political participation. This would be the logical next step following disarmament and the signing of an agreement to end the conflict. And the government’s recent decision to return legal status to the Patriotic Union (UP), the FARC’s political wing, is intricately linked to what is happening in Havana. In fact, according to sources consulted by El Espectador, the FARC has apparently started to solidify plans to fully re-enter the political arena, focusing on the local and regional elections in 2015.

This is why many people have not been surprised that the discussion about peasant reserve zones — one of the points still waiting to be discussed, now that the first topic on the agenda, namely agricultural policy, has been closed — has migrated from Cuba to Catatumbo in the blink of an eye, becoming one of the most important issues for protest leaders in that region. Next week Catatumbo protestors will be joined by more striking miners, and it is believed that other agricultural sectors will also go on strike. These sectors are key for the guerrillas, who are trying to establish new topics for discussion to help guide their position at the negotiating table in Havana.

The aim is for these protests to mark the beginning of the FARC’s agenda for the elections to Congress next year — if negotiations reach a final agreement in time — or the local and regional elections in 2015. That said, the FARC must convince the other side to allow different conditions for its political wing, given that the law currently requires any movement or party to collect almost 450,000 votes in order to maintain its legal status. This figure is almost certainly unattainable for the FARC, but there is talk of creating a “special peace circumscription” that would aim to guarantee its political survival at a national level.

Regardless of how the situation is resolved, both the government and the FARC are well aware that the decision from the Council of State (which advises the Colombia government on administrative matters) to legalize UP has enabled the talks in Cuba to take several gigantic steps forward. And although nobody will admit it, discussions about the international “blind eye” — which needs to be turned to crimes against humanity, drug trafficking and money laundering for the sake of the peace process — have been underway for a little while.

U.S. looks to be on board

Peace is the ultimate goal, and it is believed that the United States would be willing to respect the compromises made to end the conflict in Colombia. For the time being, it is understood that the negotiations in Havana must cover many points and pass through many sets of hands, but the FARC wants to enter politics, and legally.

Speaking to El Espectador from Havana, leader of the FARC Jorge Torres Victoria — better known by his alias Pablo Catatumbo — declined to comment on any progress that may have been made on the topics of demobilization, disarmament or legal immunity for the guerrilla leaders. “Those issues will be discussed in depth in the future,” he says. “What we have said is that we will talk about them very seriously — but when the moment to do so arrives, according to the timetable established for the talks. For now, those topics aren’t on the table.”

But the FARC negotiator did mention the current crisis caused by the peasant strikes in Catatumbo in the north of Colombia: “We are concerned by the way the government has handled the protests, because it openly contradicts the message about laying down our weapons in order to defend our ideas in the public space. But when the peasants protest, they are stigmatized and repressed.”

via FARC, Meet The IRA: Colombian Rebels Get Advice On Peace From Ex Guerrillas – All News Is Global |.

Communist Posters -Cultural Revolution Campaigns (1966-1976)


Criticize the old world and build a new world with Mao Zedong Thought as a weapon, 1966

Criticize the old world and build a new world with Mao Zedong Thought as a weapon, 1966

The Cultural Revolution (文化大革命, Wenhua Dageming, 1966-1976) was a mass campaign of enormous dimensions. Aside from the general revolutionary high-tide that swept China, the period was marked by a large number of sub-campaigns. Indeed, whenever the situation called for a shift in orientation within the larger framework of the Cultural Revolution, this was engineered by setting in motion a new campaign. Factional struggles within the leadership also functioned as catalysts for campaigns.

Hold high the great red banner of Mao Zedong Thought to wage the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to the end--Revolution is no crime, to rebel is justified, ca. 1966

Hold high the great red banner of Mao Zedong Thought to wage the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to the end–Revolution is no crime, to rebel is justified, ca. 1966

Often, these sub-campaigns came so hard and fast that propaganda posters had to serve as the main source of information for the people. With the country in complete chaos, these images which contained clear and unambiguous indications of what behavior and slogans were acceptable at that particular moment, were seen as more dependable than the media. This was in particular the case in those localities where the “excellent revolutionary” situation that prevailed – according to the media, that is – had become completely unintelligible to the innocent bystander.

Hold high the great red banner of Mao Zedong Thought--thoroughly smash the rotting counterrevolutionary revisionist line in literature and art, 1967

Hold high the great red banner of Mao Zedong Thought–thoroughly smash the rotting counterrevolutionary revisionist line in literature and art, 1967

Locally produced posters are extremely interesting. Not only because they shed light on the local situation, but also from an artistic point of view. They are often striking in their simplicity of design and coloring, usually done in simple red, white and black, and are somewhat reminiscent of the block prints made in the war years. As such, they bear witness to the urgency of the times.

The 3 July and 24 July proclamations are Chairman Mao's great strategic plans! Unite with forces that can be united with to strike surely, accurately and relentlessly at the handful of class enemies, 1968

The 3 July and 24 July proclamations are Chairman Mao’s great strategic plans! Unite with forces that can be united with to strike surely, accurately and relentlessly at the handful of class enemies, 1968

Frederick Engels’ Speech at the Grave of Karl Marx


Frederick Engels’ Speech at the Grave of Karl Marx

London, March 17, 1883

On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes, and when we came back we found him in his armchair, peacefully gone to sleep — but for ever.

An immeasurable loss has been sustained both by the militant proletariat of Europe and America, and by historical science, in the death of this man. The gap that has been left by the departure of this mighty spirit will soon enough make itself felt.

Just as Darwin discovered the law of development or organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means, and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch, form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even the ideas on religion, of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore, be explained, instead of vice versa, as had hitherto been the case.

But that is not all. Marx also discovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalist mode of production, and the bourgeois society that this mode of production has created. The discovery of surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem, in trying to solve which all previous investigations, of both bourgeois economists and socialist critics, had been groping in the dark.

Two such discoveries would be enough for one lifetime. Happy the man to whom it is granted to make even one such discovery. But in every single field which Marx investigated — and he investigated very many fields, none of them superficially — in every field, even in that of mathematics, he made independent discoveries.

Such was the man of science. But this was not even half the man. Science was for Marx a historically dynamic, revolutionary force. However great the joy with which he welcomed a new discovery in some theoretical science whose practical application perhaps it was as yet quite impossible to envisage, he experienced quite another kind of joy when the discovery involved immediate revolutionary changes in industry, and in historical development in general. For example, he followed closely the development of the discoveries made in the field of electricity and recently those of Marcel Deprez.

For Marx was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation. Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival. His work on the first Rheinische Zeitung (1842), the Paris Vorwarts (1844), the Deutsche Brusseler Zeitung (1847), the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1848-49), the New York Tribune (1852-61), and, in addition to these, a host of militant pamphlets, work in organisations in Paris, Brussels and London, and finally, crowning all, the formation of the great International Working Men’s Association – this was indeed an achievement of which its founder might well have been proud even if he had done nothing else.

And, consequently, Marx was the best hated and most calumniated man of his time. Governments, both absolutist and republican, deported him from their territories. Bourgeois, whether conservative or ultra-democratic, vied with one another in heaping slanders upon him. All this he brushed aside as though it were a cobweb, ignoring it, answering only when extreme necessity compelled him. And he died beloved, revered and mourned by millions of revolutionary fellow workers — from the mines of Siberia to California, in all parts of Europe and America — and I make bold to say that, though he may have had many opponents, he had hardly one personal enemy.

His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work.

Posted in Blast from the Past, Real Heroes | Tagged Communism, Communist Manifesto, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx

via Proletarian Center for Research, Education and Culture | …in the new exuberant aggressiveness of world capitalism we see what communists and their allies held at bay. – Richard Levins.

via Proletarian Center for Research, Education and Culture | …in the new exuberant aggressiveness of world capitalism we see what communists and their allies held at bay. – Richard Levins.

Look Who’s Coming To Cyprus Now


Real estate agents from the troubled Mediterranean country have identified potential buyers in China, looking for both cheap real estate, and EU residency. But buyer beware.

BEIJING – In the international exhibition area of the just-concluded Beijing Real Estate Trade Fair, agents from one country won the favor of a surprising number of Chinese investors: Cyprus. Out of over 70 foreign exhibitors, 18 of them were Cypriot real estate agents.

This is all thanks to the newly promulgated immigration policy of Cyprus. The purchase of a property with a minimum market value of 300,000 euros will entitle the investor to obtain a Permanent Residence permit (PR).

At the 2013 edition of the annual trade fair, Cypriots were busy waving advertising flyers, not only with bargain prices and favorable financing, but also “Facilitation Of The EU Visa,” and “No More Immigration Prison Needed.”

Zheng had never bought a property overseas before. She is one of the people who took a fancy of this promotion and signed up for a bungalow for 400,000 euros in Larnaca, one of Cyprus’ main cities. She paid 80% of the house price and also placed another 30,000 euro as a fixed deposit in a local bank for three years, as required. She chose a German bank, believing that it might be less risky than a Cypriot one.

Despite the fact that a satisfying solution has yet to be found for solving the Cyprus bank crisis, Zheng is confident that this is the best moment to buy houses there. “My major consideration is to obtain the residence permit which will then facilitate applications for visas for other EU countries.”

Zhang Yu, a sales manager of a Beijing consulting firm for international investment, pointed out that the newly accelerated resident permit procedure will allow a qualified applicant to obtain approval within three months. Successful applicants will then have to visit Cyprus at least once every two years for the Permanent Residence visa not to be cancelled. During this time, the applicant must prove that he or she has a secured minimum annual income of 30,000 euros from sources other than employment in Cyprus.

Like Zheng who bought property after a visit to Cyprus, Chang is another person who is ready for the move. She is planning to send her daughter there for the “English-style education.” What the salesman didn’t tell her is that public schools in Cyprus teach in Greek. Only private schools will be offering teaching in English.

Other side of the coin

However, many worry about the risks of investing in Cyprus given its current economic situation. A Cypriot lawyer was trying his best to convince Chinese customers by stating that of the fixed 30,000 euro deposit, 10,000 euro will be guaranteed no matter what happens. Still, he failed to explain what will happen to the real estate.

Meanwhile, news filtered out that certain real estate developers owe the two major Cypriot banks large loans that they are incapable of paying off. So even a real estate license is not a guarantee of anything.

Cyprus needs to raise by itself 5.8 billion euro of relief funds. This requirement is written in the agreement reached by the tripartite committee and the President of Cyprus in dealing with the debt crisis. Meanwhile, over the past year, this beautiful Mediterranean republic has had the fastest growing year-on-year unemployment among EU countries.

In order to boost Cyprus’ economy, the new immigration regulations specify that non-EU nationals who intend to obtain the permit through purchasing of properties must not engage in any work or compete with the natives for employment in Cyprus. In addition, they must have a free and secured disposable annual income.

This is also confirmed by the Commercial Counselor’s Office in the Chinese Embassy to Cyprus. They are warning Chinese people who are interested in buying property or working in Cyprus not to believe certain unscrupulous intermediary Chinese agencies’ false propaganda. They point out that even if applicants have successfully obtained the country’s permanent residency, they are neither entitled to enjoy local welfare nor have the right to work.

In the view of Sun Yanhong, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, it is important to take into account both the housing prices and exchange rate when investing in overseas properties. “First is whether or not the price is at its lowest. Second, what the exchange rate is between the RMB and the euro. If the increase in the housing price can’t even keep up with the pace of the Chinese currency appreciation, then it will be a loss.”

As for Zheng Xiangdon, the Deputy Secretary General of the Organizing Committee of Beijing Real Estate Trade Fair, the most important of all is to “carefully assess the risks.”

“China’s housing prices can only rise; other countries’ markets have ups and downs. If the purpose of the purchase is as an investment, the market factors are to be emphasized. And if the investment is aimed at immigration, then it is necessary to understand the country’s immigration policy.”

Read the article in the original language.

Photo by – Worldcrunch montage

via Look Who’s Coming To Cyprus Now – All News Is Global |.

via Look Who’s Coming To Cyprus Now – All News Is Global |.

Battleship Potemkin 1925


Considered one of the most important films in the history of silent pictures, as well as possibly Eisenstein’s greatest work, Battleship Potemkin brought Eisenstein’s theories of cinema art to the world in a powerful showcase;

his emphasis on montage, his stress of intellectual contact, and his treatment of the mass instead of the individual as the protagonist. The film tells the story of the mutiny on the Russian ship Prince Potemkin during the 1905 uprising.

via Battleship Potemkin HQ – YouTube.

via Battleship Potemkin HQ – YouTube.

The Mutiny on the Potemkin

The Russian navy in the year of the abortive revolution of 1905 still preserved the harsh conditions and brutal punishments of an earlier age. The Potemkin was a new battleship of the Black Sea fleet, commissioned in 1903, with a crew of 800. It was not a happy ship and some of the crew harboured revolutionary sympathies, in particular a forceful young non-commissioned officer named Matyushenko, who took a leading part in what followed. At sea on June 14th (June 27th, Old Style), the cooks complained that the meat for the men’s borscht was riddled with maggots. The ship’s doctor took a look and decided that the maggots were only flies’ eggs and the meat was perfectly fit to eat. Later a deputation went and complained to the captain and his executive officer, Commander Giliarovsky, about worms in their soup. Their spokesman was a seaman named Valenchuk, who expressed himself in such plain language that Giliarovsky flew into a violent rage, pulled out a gun and shot him dead on the spot. The others seized Giliarovsky and threw him overboard. As he floundered in the water he was shot and killed.

Others of the crew joined in. The captain, the doctor and several other officers were killed and the rest of the officers were shut away in one of the cabins. The Potemkin hoisted the red flag and a ‘people’s committee’ was chosen to take charge. The chairman was Matyushenko.
The ship made for the port of Odessa, where disturbances and strikes had already been going on for two weeks, with clashes between demonstrators, Cossacks and police. The trains and trams had stopped running and most of the shops had closed. People began to gather at the waterfront after the Potemkin arrived in the harbour at 6 am on the 15th. Valenchuk’s body was brought ashore by an honour guard and placed on a bier close to a flight of steps which twenty years afterwards would play an immortal and immensely magnified role in the famous ‘Odessa steps’ sequence of Sergei Eisenstein’s film. A paper pinned on the corpse’s chest said, ‘This is the body of Valenchuk, killed by the commander for having told the truth. Retribution has been meted out to the commander.’

Citizens brought food for the seamen and flowers for the bier. As the day wore on and word spread, the crowd steadily swelled, listening to inflammatory speeches, joining in revolutionary songs and some of them sinking considerable quantities of vodka. People began looting the warehouses and setting fires until much of the harbour area was in flames.

Meanwhile, martial law had been declared and the governor had been instructed by telegram from Tsar Nicholas II to take firm action. Troops were sent to the harbour in the evening, took up commanding positions and at about midnight opened fire on the packed crowd, which had no escape route. Some people were shot and some jumped or fell into the water and drowned. The sailors on the Potemkin did nothing. The casualties were put at 2,000 dead and 3,000 seriously wounded.

Calm was quickly restored and Valenchuk was allowed a decent burial by the authorities, but the sailors’ demand for an amnesty was turned down and on June 18th the Potemkin set out to sea. The crew were hoping to provoke mutinies in other ships of the Black Sea fleet, but there were only a few minor disturbances, easily put down. The mutineers sailed west to the Romanian port of Constanza for badly needed fresh water and coal, but the Romanians demanded that they surrender the ship. They refused and sailed back eastwards to Feodosia in the Crimea, where a party landed to seize supplies, but was driven off. The Potemkin sailed disconsolately back to Constanza again, and on June 25th surrendered to the Romanian authorities, who handed the ship over to Russian naval officers.

The incident had petered out, though it caused the regime serious alarm about the extent of revolutionary feeling in the armed forces. Its most lasting legacy was Eisenstein’s film, The Battleship Potemkin, (1925) and a riveting essay in propaganda rather than history.

http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/mutiny-potemkin

A Sad State of Affairs as Asean AWOL Over Rohingya Issue and Another Fallen Angel


NOTE-

Another Fallen Angel 

SUYKI--621x414

 Aung San Suu Kyi’s refusal to condemn attacks on Muslims in Myanmar has dimmed the Nobel laureate’s lustre among global rights campaigners, but observers say her reticence will do her no harm with voters.

Nearly a month after religious riots killed 43 people in central Myanmar, the former political prisoner turned lawmaker finally voiced sympathy for Muslims targeted by violence that saw mosques and homes razed.

But Suu Kyi again failed to clearly condemn attacks against Muslims—who represent an estimated 4% of the population—or hate speech by some extremist Buddhist monks.

RANGOON — According to Burma’s government, the Rohingya do not exist. Denied citizenship by an internationally criticized 1982 law, the stateless “Bengali immigrants” have in the past faced pogroms, persecution from the Burmese government and more recently from other Burmese.

Thousands of Rohingya have fled to countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand over the past year, giving Burma’s neighbors and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) an ostensible stake in addressing the Rohingya crisis.

But despite launching a new human rights body at the most recent Asean summit in Phnom Penh in November 2012—including a surprise clause acknowledging “universal” human rights norms—the group has largely stuck to its non-interference mantra.

Since June 2012, over 220 people have died in what has widely been described as sectarian fighting between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma, with most of the deaths in Arakan State in the country’s west, where most of Burma’s estimated 800,000 Rohingya live.

In Arakan State last June, mobs of Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya clashed after the May rape and murder of a young Arakanese woman, a crime for which three Rohingya men were arrested. Arakanese retaliation quickly spread to Myanmar’s other Muslim groups, with ten pilgrims lynched by a Buddhist Arakanese mob in June—a crime for which nobody has been charged.

There were more Arakanese-Muslim clashes in October 2012, and in March this year, 43 were killed—some gruesomely and most of them Muslims—in central Burma, after which the sole arrests, to date, have been 3 Muslims who were involved in a shop row at the outset of the violence.

What at first looked like local sectarian fighting later took on the form of a vicious anti-Rohingya and then anti-Muslim campaign, with rabble-rousing monk Wirathu at the forefront. Burma’s current government has not only not done enough to prevent or stop the violence; it has been complicit, according to some.

The Rohingya say that they have lived in what is now Burma for generations. The Burmese government says they are illegal immigrants. Many Burmese, including senior members of the long-feted opposition National League for Democracy, men who themselves spent years in jail as political prisoners, also regard the Rohingya as illegal immigrants.

Asked last October whether the Rohingya should be granted Burmese citizenship, Tin Oo, a senior NLD figure, said that “those who are not legal citizens of this country cannot stay,” adding that it was difficult to establish how many Rohingya could be entitled to Burmese citizenship.

“This is a difficult problem to solve,” he said. “When I was a young man, there were no Rohingya in Burma.”

Tin Oo’s party colleague, the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has been criticized for her apparent reluctance to discuss anti-Muslim violence in Burma.

Breaking this silence in Japan last week, Suu Kyi called for a revision of the citizenship laws.

“There is discrimination among citizens in our country,” she said. “We should also determine if certain laws are a hindrance to equal rights among citizens in the country, and revise them if we can.”

Mentioning a meeting she had recently with Burmese Muslim leaders, she lamented the state of inter-faith relations in Burma, saying that “this is a very sad state of affairs. We must learn to accommodate those with different views from ours.”

There has been scant regional pressure on Burma to treat the Rohingya in a more humane way. Asean’s two biggest Muslim-majority member-states—Indonesia and Malaysia—have raised the Rohingya issue with the Burmese government and have sent diplomatic and humanitarian missions to Burma and to Arakan State. But they have for the most part shied away from blunt public condemnation, as is often the way in dealings between Asean countries.

However, the bloc as a whole has been reluctant to single out Burma. Speaking at the most recent summit in Phnom Penh last November, then-Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said that member states told the Burma delegation that “if the issue is not handled by the Myanmar government, there is a risk of radicalization and extremism in that region.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Vientiane on Nov. 6, a spokesman for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed unease about the plight of Muslims in western Burma.

“Malaysia remains extremely concerned about ongoing tensions between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine State of Myanmar,” he said.

For the most part, that is as far as Asean or its member states have gone in public, with the one exception being Indonesia. Foreign Minister Marty Natelagawa told The Irrawaddy at the ASEM summit that “one core issue in resolving the conflict is citizenship, and this is a matter the Myanmar government must address in the future.”

However, Burmese President Thein Sein told the Democratic Voice of Burma recently that the law would not be changed.

If they were of a mind to, the Burmese government could issue some sharp “heal thyself” type retorts to Jakarta or Putrajaya, in any case. Indonesia has been accused of letting anti-Christian and anti-Ahmadi sentiment get out of hand. Malaysia’s governing parties have dabbled in some sectarian brinkmanship in the run-up to the May 5 election. Hardliners linked to the government threatened to burn Bibles in an unwitting parody of the Rev. Terry Jones, that Perkasa, the group involved, said was in response to a row over whether Malaysia’s Christians should be allowed use the word “Allah” in their literature.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has been much more assertive than Asean with Burma over attacks on the Rohingya, which the OIC deems “genocide.”

Both Indonesia and Malaysia are part of an the OIC’s 11 country “Contact Group,” which has pushed Burma for greater humanitarian access to the roughly 100,000 Rohingya stuck in fetid camps in Arakan State.

The other nine members of the group are Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Djibouti, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Turkey, some of which have a torrid history of human rights abuses directed at ethnic and religious minorities.

Burma will, for the first time, chair Asean in 2014, another factor that will likely restrain the bloc’s members from tackling the Rohingya issue head on. Burma had to forego its turn as chair in the past, as Asean feared this would affect the groups’ relations with Western countries.

Next year will be a crucial one for Asean, the final year before it is scheduled to form a regional economic community, and arrangements for Burma’s role as Asean chair will likely take precedence over political or human rights concerns.

In late March, a United States-Asean meeting, looking ahead to Burma’s chairing of the association, gave the Burmese government every encouragement possible.

US Ambassador to Asean David L. Carden said: “I have every confidence Myanmar will be a leading contributor to Asean integration, including economic integration. We are pleased to see the government and private sector are focused on the road ahead and that other Asean member states are showing strong support.”

via A Sad State of Affairs as Asean AWOL Over Rohingya Issue | The Irrawaddy Magazine.

via A Sad State of Affairs as Asean AWOL Over Rohingya Issue | The Irrawaddy Magazine.

The Taliban Sends A Strongly Worded Email Message To Kim Jong Un


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The CIA has reported that its Electronic Logistical System (ELS) has just intercepted a personal email message that was sent from the Taliban headquarters to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

An unnamed source stated that the message was written by high-ranking Taliban Deputy General Shakur Doodah Hashimabad, 47, and was reportedly sent from a camel lot office located in downtown Karachi, Pakistan.

Taliban Deputy General Shakur Doodah Hashimabad’s favorite camel, whom he named “Cigarette.”

The email message which was very explicit was mailed at 2:05 a.m. Eastern Standard Time:

Hey Fat Boy – Either fire the damn, friggin missile or else shut the hell up!

Yours Truly,

Deputy General Shakur Doodah Hashimabad – The Taliban

2939 Camel Toe Road

Karachi, Pakistan

Reports are that when Kim Jong Un read the email message he was so mad that his horrendously looking hairdo reportedly stood up on end scaring the daylights out of his gorgeously svelte personal secretary identified as Chin Ho Bong, 22.

An inside source who is very close to the North Korean leader informed Political Salad Bar Magazine that Kim Jong Un has ordered his top general to point one of his missiles directly at 2939 Camel Toe Road in Karachi.

via The Spoof : The Taliban Sends A Strongly Worded Email Message To Kim Jong Un funny satire story.

via The Spoof : The Taliban Sends A Strongly Worded Email Message To Kim Jong Un funny satire story.

North Korean Missile Test Delayed by Windows 8


PYONGYANG (The Borowitz Report)—North Korea’s official news agency announced today that the military’s planned missile test had been put on hold because of “problems with Windows 8.”

Intelligence analysts said that the announcement gave rare insight into the inner workings of North Korea’s missile program, which until last year had been running on Windows 95.

The announcement from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not indicate a new scheduled time for a missile test, saying only that it was “working with Windows 8 support to resolve the issue.”

In the words of one intelligence analyst, “That means the test has been delayed indefinitely.”

A source close to the North Korean regime reported that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is furious about the Windows 8 problems and is considering a number of options, including declaring war on Microsoft.

via North Korean Missile Test Delayed by Windows 8 : The New Yorker.

via North Korean Missile Test Delayed by Windows 8 : The New Yorker.

The Cuba Lobby – Foreign Policy


Jay-Z and Beyoncé are discovering that fame provides no immunity from the Cuba Lobby’s animus for anyone who has the audacity to act as if Cuba is a normal country rather than the heart of darkness. After the pop icons’ recent trip to the island to celebrate their wedding anniversary, the Cuba Lobby’s congressional contingent — Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart — castigated the couple, demanding that they be investigated for violating the half-century-old U.S. embargo. (As it turned out, the trip had been authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department as a cultural exchange.) Still, celebrity trips to Cuba make headlines, and condemnation by the Cuba Lobby is always quick to follow. But what seems like a Hollywood sideshow is actually symptomatic of a much deeper and more dangerous problem — a problem very much like the one that afflicted U.S. policy toward China in the 1950s and 1960s. Then, as now, an aggressive foreign-policy lobby was able to prevent rational debate about an anachronistic policy by intimidating anyone who dared challenge it.

“A wasteland.” That’s how W. Averell Harriman described the State Department’s Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs when he took it over for President John F. Kennedy in 1961. “It’s a disaster area filled with human wreckage.… Some of them are so beaten down they can’t be saved. Some of those you would want to save are just finished. They try and write a report and nothing comes out. It’s a terrible thing.” As David Halberstam recounts in The Best and the Brightest, the destruction of the State Department’s expertise on Asia was the result of the China Lobby‘s decade-long assault on everyone, from professors to Foreign Service officers, who disputed the charge that communist sympathizers in the United States had “lost China.” The China Lobby and its allies in Congress forced President Harry Truman and President Dwight Eisenhower to purge the State Department of its most senior and knowledgeable “China hands,” while continuing to perpetuate the fiction that the Nationalist government in Taiwan was the “real” China, rather than the communist government on the mainland — a policy stance that persisted long after the rest of the world had come to terms with Mao Zedong’s victory. The result was a department that had little real knowledge about Asia and was terrified of straying from far-right orthodoxy. This state of affairs contributed directly to the debacle of Vietnam.

Today, U.S. relations with Latin America are suffering from an equally irrational policy toward Cuba — a policy designed in the 1960s to overthrow Fidel Castro’s government and which, more than 50 years later, is no closer to success. Like U.S. policy toward China in the 1950s and 1960s, policy toward Cuba is frozen in place by a domestic political lobby, this one with roots in the electorally pivotal state of Florida. The Cuba Lobby combines the carrot of political money with the stick of political denunciation to keep wavering Congress members, government bureaucrats, and even presidents in line behind a policy that, as President Barack Obama himself admits, has failed for half a century and is supported by virtually no other countries. (The last time it came to a vote in the U.N. General Assembly, only Israel and the Pacific island of Palau sided with the United States.) Of course, the news at this point is not that a Cuba Lobby exists, but that it astonishingly lives on — even during the presidency of Obama, who publicly vowed to pursue a new approach to Cuba, but whose policy has been stymied thus far.

Like the China Lobby, the Cuba Lobby isn’t one organization but a loose-knit conglomerate of exiles, sympathetic members of Congress, and nongovernmental organizations, some of which comprise a self-interested industry nourished by the flow of “democracy promotion” money from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). And like its Sino-obsessed predecessor, the Cuba Lobby was launched at the instigation of conservative Republicans in government who needed outside backers to advance their partisan policy aims. In the 1950s, they were Republican members of Congress battling New Dealers in the Truman administration over Asia policy. In the 1980s, they were officials in Ronald Reagan’s administration battling congressional Democrats over Central America policy.

At the Cuba Lobby’s request, Reagan created Radio Martí, modeled on Radio Free Europe, to broadcast propaganda to Cuba. He named Jorge Mas Canosa, founder of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), to chair the radio’s oversight board. President George H.W. Bush followed with TV Martí. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) authored the 1996 Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, writing the economic embargo into law so no president could change it without congressional approval.

Founded at the suggestion of Richard V. Allen, Reagan’s first national security advisor, CANF became one of the most powerful ethnic foreign-policy organizations in the United States and was the linchpin of the Cuba Lobby until Mas Canosa’s death in 1997. “No individual had more influence over United States policies toward Cuba over the past two decades than Jorge Mas Canosa,” the New York Times editorialized. In Washington, CANF built its reputation by spreading campaign contributions to bolster friends and punish enemies. In 1988, CANF money helped Joe Lieberman defeat incumbent Sen. Lowell Weicker, whom Lieberman accused of being soft on Castro because he visited Cuba and advocated better relations. Weicker’s defeat sent a chilling message to other members of Congress: challenge the Cuba Lobby at your peril. In 1992, according to Peter Stone’s reporting in National Journal, New Jersey Democrat Sen. Robert Torricelli, seduced by the Cuba Lobby’s political money, reversed his position on Havana and wrote the Cuban Democracy Act, tightening the embargo. Today, the political action arm of the Cuba Lobby is the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, which hands out more campaign dollars than CANF’s political action arm did even at its height — more than $3 million in the last five national elections.

In Miami, conservative Cuban-Americans have long presumed to be the sole authentic voice of the community, silencing dissent by threats and, occasionally, violence. In the 1970s, anti-Castro terrorist groups like Omega 7 and Alpha 66 set off dozens of bombs in Miami and assassinated two Cuban-Americans who advocated dialogue with Castro. Reports by Human Rights Watch in the 1990s documented the climate of fear in Miami and the role that elements of the Cuba Lobby, including CANF, played in creating it.

Today, moderate Cuban-Americans have managed to carve out greater space for political debate about U.S. relations with Cuba as attitudes in the community have changed — a result of both the passing of the old exile generation of the 1960s and the arrival of new immigrants who want to maintain ties with family they left behind. But a network of right-wing radio stations and right-wing bloggers still routinely vilifies moderates by name, branding anyone who favors dialogue as a spy for Castro. The modus operandi is the same as the China Lobby’s in the 1950s: One anti-Castro crusader makes dubious accusations of espionage, often based on guilt by association, which the others then repeat ad nauseam, citing one other as proof.

Like the China Lobby before it, the Cuba Lobby has also struck fear into the heart of the foreign-policy bureaucracy. The congressional wing of the Cuba Lobby, in concert with its friends in the executive branch, routinely punishes career civil servants who don’t toe the line. One of the Cuba Lobby’s early targets was John J. “Jay” Taylor, chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, who was given an unsatisfactory annual evaluation report in 1988 by Republican stalwart Elliott Abrams, then assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, because Taylor reported from Havana that the Cubans were serious about wanting to negotiate peace in southern Africa and Central America. “CANF had close contact with the Cuban desk, which soon turned notably unfriendly toward my reporting from post and it seemed toward me personally,” Taylor recalled in an oral history interview. “Mas and the foundation soon assumed that I was too soft on Castro.”

The risks of crossing the Cuba Lobby were not lost on other foreign-policy professionals. In 1990, Taylor was in Washington to consult about the newly launched TV Martí, which the Cuban government was jamming so completely that Cubans on the island dubbed it, “la TV que no se ve” (“No-see TV”). But TV Martí’s patrons in Washington blindly insisted that the vast majority of the Cuban population was watching the broadcasts. Taylor invited the U.S. Information Agency officials responsible for TV Martí to come to Cuba to see for themselves. “Silence prevailed around the table,” he recalled. “I don’t think anyone there really believed TV Martí signals were being received in Cuba. It was a Kafkaesque moment, a true Orwellian experience, to see a room full of grown, educated men and women so afraid for their jobs or their political positions that they could take part in such a charade.”

In 1993, the Cuba Lobby opposed the appointment of President Bill Clinton’s first choice to be assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, Mario Baeza, because he had once visited Cuba. According to Stone, fearful of the Cuba Lobby’s political clout, Clinton dumped Baeza. Two years later, Clinton caved in to the Cuba Lobby’s demand that he fire National Security Council official Morton Halperin, who was the architect of the successful 1995 migration accord with Cuba that created a safe, legal route for Cubans to emigrate to the United States. One chief of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Cuba told me he stopped sending sensitive cables to the State Department altogether because they so often leaked to Cuba Lobby supporters in Congress. Instead, the diplomat flew to Miami so he could report to the department by telephone.

During George W. Bush’s administration, the Cuba Lobby completely captured the State Department’s Latin America bureau (renamed the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs). Bush’s first assistant secretary was Otto Reich, a Cuban-American veteran of the Reagan administration and favorite of Miami hard-liners. Reich had run Reagan’s “public diplomacy” operation demonizing opponents of the president’s Central America policy as communist sympathizers. Reich hired as his deputy Dan Fisk, former staff assistant to Senator Helms and author of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act. Reich was followed by Roger Noriega, another former Helms staffer, who explained that Bush’s policy was aimed at destabilizing the Cuban regime: “We opted for change even if it meant chaos. The Cubans had had too much stability over decades.… Chaos was necessary in order to change reality.”

In 2002, Bush’s undersecretary for arms control and international security, John Bolton, made the dubious charge that Cuba was developing biological weapons. When the national intelligence officer for Latin America, Fulton Armstrong, (along with other intelligence community analysts) objected to this mischaracterization of the community’s assessment, Bolton and Reich tried repeatedly to have him fired. The Cuba Lobby began a steady drumbeat of charges that Armstrong was a Cuban agent because his and the community’s analysis disputed the Bush team’s insistence that the Castro regime was fragile and wouldn’t survive the passing of its founder. The 2001 arrest for espionage of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s top Cuba analyst, Ana Montes, heightened the Cuba Lobby’s hysteria over traitors in government in the same way that the spy cases of the 1950s — Alger Hiss and the Amerasia magazine affair — gave the China Lobby ammunition. Armstrong was subjected to repeated and intrusive security investigations, all of which cleared him of wrongdoing. (He completed a four-year term as national intelligence officer and received a prestigious CIA medal recognizing his service when he left the agency in 2008.)

When Obama was elected president, promising a “new beginning” in relations with Havana, the Cuba Lobby relied on its congressional wing to stop him. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the senior Cuban-American Democrat in Congress and now chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, vehemently opposes any opening to Cuba. In March 2009, he signaled his willingness to defy both his president and his party to get his way. Menendez voted with Republicans to block passage of a $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill (needed to keep the government running) because it relaxed the requirement that Cuba pay in advance for food purchases from U.S. suppliers and eased restrictions on travel to the island. To get Menendez to relent, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had to promise in writing that the administration would consult Menendez on any change in U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Senate Republicans also blocked confirmation of Arturo Valenzuela as Obama’s assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs until November 2009. With the bureau managed in the interim by Bush holdovers, no one was pushing from below to carry out Obama’s new Cuba policy. After Valenzuela stepped down in 2012, Senator Rubio (R-Fla.), whose father left Cuba in the 1950s, held up confirmation of Valenzuela’s replacement, Roberta Jacobson, until the administration agreed to tighten restrictions on educational travel to Cuba, undercutting Obama’s stated policy of increasing people-to-people engagement.

When Obama nominated career Foreign Service officer Jonathan Farrar to be ambassador to Nicaragua, the Cuba Lobby denounced him as soft on communism. During his previous posting as chief of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, Farrar had reported to Washington that Cuba’s traditional dissident movement had very little appeal to ordinary Cubans. Menendez and Rubio teamed up to give Farrar a verbal beating during his confirmation hearing for carrying out Obama’s policy of engaging the Cuban government rather than simply antagonizing it. When they blocked Farrar’s confirmation, Obama withdrew the nomination, sending Farrar as ambassador to Panama instead. Their point made, Menendez and Rubio did not object.

The Cuba Lobby’s power to derail diplomatic careers is common knowledge among foreign-policy professionals. Throughout Obama’s first term, midlevel State Department officials cooperated more closely and deferred more slavishly to congressional opponents of Obama’s Cuba policy than to supporters like John Kerry, the new secretary of state who served at the time as Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman. When Senator Kerry tried to get the State Department and USAID to reform the Bush administration’s democracy-promotion programs in 2010, he ran into more opposition from the bureaucracy than from Republicans. If Obama intends to finally keep the 2008 campaign promise to take a new direction in relations with Cuba, the job can’t be left to foreign-policy bureaucrats, who are so terrified of the Cuba Lobby that they continue to believe, or pretend to believe, absurdities — that Cubans are watching TV Martí, for instance, or that Cuba is a state sponsor of terrorism. Only a determined president and a tough secretary of state can drive a new policy through a bureaucratic wasteland so paralyzed by fear and inertia.

The irrationality of U.S. policy does not stem just from concerns about electoral politics in Florida. The Cuban-American community has evolved to the point that a majority now favors engagement with Cuba, as both opinion polls and Obama’s electoral success in 2008 and 2012 demonstrate. Today, the larger problem is the climate of fear in the government bureaucracy, where even honest reporting about Cuba — let alone advocating a more sensible policy — can endanger one’s career. Democratic presidents, who ought to know better, have tolerated this distortion of the policy process and at times have reinforced it by allowing the Cuba lobby to extort concessions from them. But the cost is high — the gradual and insidious erosion of the government’s ability to make sound policy based on fact rather than fantasy.

Through bullying and character assassination, the China Lobby blocked a sensible U.S. policy toward Beijing for a quarter-century, with tragic results. When Richard Nixon finally defied the China Lobby by going to Beijing in 1972, the earth did not tremble, civilization did not collapse, and U.S. security did not suffer. If anything, U.S. allies around the world applauded the adoption — finally — of a rational policy. At home, the punditocracy was surprised to discover that Nixon’s bold stroke was politically popular. The China Lobby proved to be a paper tiger; the Red Scare fever of the 1950s had subsided, robbing the movement of its political base.

Likewise, the Cuba Lobby has blocked a sensible policy toward Cuba for half a century, with growing damage to U.S. relations with Latin America. When a courageous U.S. president finally decides to defy the Cuba Lobby with a stroke as bold as Nixon’s trip to China, she or he will discover that so too the Cuba Lobby no longer has the political clout it once had. The strategic importance of repairing the United States’ frayed relations with Latin America has come to outweigh the political risk of reconciliation with Havana. Nixon went to China, and history records it as the highlight of his checkered legacy. Will Barack Obama have the courage to go to Havana?

via The Cuba Lobby – By William M. LeoGrande | Foreign Policy.

via The Cuba Lobby – By William M. LeoGrande | Foreign Policy.

The Myths of the Dalai Lama laid Bare


One of the greatest deceptions the world has witnessed is the Dalai Lama pretending to follow Ghandian non-violence – a pretence that won him the Nobel Peace Prize – when in reality he supports violence.

Part 1 The US embassy and state department notes make this totally clear- See Below

                       Part 2  Torture and Punishment in the Dalai Lama’s Tibet in pictures-  Nothing could be further from the truth than the popular myth of pre-invasion Tibet as a Shangri-la. These photos show horrific and inhumane punishments regularly meted out by the ruling classes right up to the time when the Dalai Lama fled his homeland.                        Part 3 below The Nazi buddies of the Dalai Lama                          Part 4 below The Dalai Lama enjoying the high life with Chairman Mao and other Chinese notables  Part 5  The Dalai Lama and  Shoko Asahara

Part 1

The Dalai Lama Cables: Follow the Money Recently declassified US State Department cables reveal the workings of the Dalai Lama and his inner circle. Throughout the 1950s the Dalai Lama negotiated with the US government for military and financial assistance. In the State Department document ‘United States Policy Concerning the Legal Status of Tibet – 1942 – 1956’, a summary of the US government’s response is given: ‘The United States was prepared to provide light arms, but it was not prepared to pay the expenses of the Dalai Lama and his retinue if they sought asylum abroad, because it assumed that the Dalai Lama had enough treasure to pay his own expenses.’ When the Dalai Lama finally did flee Tibet in early 1959, he sent his brother, Gyalo Thondup, to ask for financial and military assistance. Gyalo Thondup let it be known that: ‘The Dalai Lama did not bring out any treasures from Tibet and consequently was very hard up financially’. The declassified documents show that the Dalai Lama received a personal subsidy from the US government – a covert payment arranged by the CIA – of 180,000 US Dollars per year from 1959 through till at least 1974. To put this in a modern context 180,000 dollars in the 1950s would be worth nearly 1.5 million today, and 180,000 dollars in the seventies would be worth nearly 800,000 today. Considering the US intended not to support the Dalai Lama financially that’s a pretty generous subsidy to have squeezed out of them.

Camp Hale Colorado where the CIA Trained Tibetan guerrillas

The Dalai Lama with Tibetan Guerillas

Old Buddies meet up -John Kenneth Knaus, the CIA station chief who ran these covert actions in the late 1950s and 1960s. Above Photo approx 1995

Dalai Lama inspecting troops 1972

Part 2

Torture and Punishment in the Dalai Lama’s Tibet in pictures  Nothing could be further from the truth than the popular myth of pre-invasion Tibet as a Shangri-la. These photos show horrific and inhumane punishments regularly meted out by the ruling classes right up to the time when the Dalai Lama fled his homeland.

This photograph shows a Tibetan whose eyes were gouged out with the kinds of instruments that were used for this kind of punishment. Anna Louise Strong describes torture implements she saw when visiting Tibet in 1959: “There were handcuffs of many sizes, including small ones for small children; there were instruments for cutting off noses and ears, and other instruments for breaking off the hands. There were instruments for gouging out eyes, including a special stone cap with two holes in it that was pressed down over the head so that the eyes bulged out through the hole, in which position they were gouged out and hot oil poured in into the sockets.”

This photograph shows bKra-shis, a herdsman, whose foot tendons were taken out as punishment. Anna Louise Strong describes the torture instruments she saw in Tibet in 1959: “There were instruments for slicing off knee-caps, after which boiling oil was applied there. other instruments sliced off the heels or hamstrung men, making permanent cripples. there were instruments for sealing the forehead with a red hot brand. there were various kinds of whips for flogging, with wooden paddles, or with ropes or wires. there were special instruments for dis-embowelling.”

Stuart and Roma Gelder met Tsereh Wang Tuei in Tibet in 1962. He told them his story: “Without emotion he told us that he was born a serf of Drepung in the village of Peichang, on the edge of the grasslands where we met him. He became a herdsman, looking after sheep and yaks. when he was twenty years old he stole two sheep belonging to a petty official of the monastery, named Gambo. For this crime he was taken before the monastic magistrate who ordered that both his eyes should be put out. Tsereh Wang Tuei drew his hand across his face as he described how one was gouged with a knife and the other sucked from its socket with a half-hollowed ball. Then adding a little private punishment of his own, Gambo instructed the ‘executioner’ to tie up Tsereh’s left hand with rope and twist and pull it until parts of two fingers came off. To complete the torture, the bleeding hand was wrapped in salted yak hide. When the leather had shrunk it was permitted to be removed. What was left was a useless piece of flesh and crushed bone. we asked Tsereh Wang Tuei, ‘Are you a Buddhist?’ ‘I was,’ he said. ‘But not now?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘When a holy lama told them to blind me I thought there was no good in religion.’”

In her book, Tibetan Interviews, Anna Lousie Strong, recounts: “A herdsman, speaking at the big mass meeting with arms uplifted to show that the hands were long since broken off at the wrist. But the strong face spoke now neither of pain nor of horror but only of judgement as the man said: “This lord took away my wife and I never again saw her. He beat off my hands when I opposed him. He also beat of the hands of my younger brother, who was weaker than I and who died of shock and loss of blood. My sister died of the terror. My old mother is ill ever since.”

Public Torture in Lhasa These Tibetans are terrified as they await punishment. They were frontier guards who – following their standard proceedure – shot and killed some foreigners who were trying to enter into Tibet. Unknown to them a letter from the Tibetan Government was making it way to them instructing them to greet these foreigners and show them the highest respect. Unfortunately for these guards and the three men they killed, the letter arrived too late. As Frank Bessac, one of the surviving foreigners reported: ‘The leader was to have his nose and both ears cut off. The man who fired the first shot was to lose both ears. A third man was to lose one ear, and the others were to get 50 lashes each.’ The Tibetans were saved from mutilation only by one of the Americans they had shot at. Bessac tells us: ‘I felt that this punishment was too severe, so I asked if it could be lightened. My request was granted. The new sentences were: 200 lashes each for the leader and the man who fired the first shot.’ This 1950 photograph shows their public whipping in Lhasa. After their public whipping the leaders were then put in cangues indefinitely, unable to feed themselves they would only be able to eat through the kindness of others.

Public Whipping in Lhasa This 1950 photograph shows their public whipping in Lhasa. The Tibetans were saved from mutilation only by one of the Americans they had shot at. Bessac tells us: ‘I felt that this punishment was too severe, so I asked if it could be lightened. My request was granted. the new sentences were: 200 lashes each for the leader and the man who fired the first shot.’

Public Torture in Lhasa After their public whipping the leaders were then put in cangues indefinitely. Unable to feed themselves, they would only be able to eat through the kindness of others.

A Tibetan in cangue “A murderer at the prison of Muli. Permanent iron clamps hold the boards of the cangue together; he will wear this for five years, should he live so long. His hands cannot reach his face, so he must be fed a ball of barley flour twice a day by a monk.”

While the Dalai Lama enjoyed his 1000 room mansion the Potala Palace, at its foot was the Potala Shol prison were Tibetans would be tortured and even executed. This photograph shows a Tibetan in the cangue. Sometimes they would remain in the cangue for the rest of their lives.

The Prison below the Potala Palace Underneath the Dalai Lama’s luxurious Potala Palace, Tibetans languished in stocks.

Another prison photo under Potala Prison Another photo of Tibetans in stocks in the Potala Shol prison beneath the Potala.

PART 3

Below The Nazi buddies of the Dalai Lama

The Dalai with Jorge Haider

In 2006 and 2007, the Dalai Lama publicly gave Jorg Haider his blessings with a ceremonial white scarf (Katag). Haider had been the leader of the Far-Right Austrian Freedom Party (FPO), and known for publically airing his appreciation of the policies of Nazi Germany. So much so that when his party was brought in to form a coalition government in Austria the European Union imposed a diplomatic boycott on Austria because of the FPO’s extreme views.

Dalai Lama with Miguel Serranao

Another Nazi friend of the Dalai Lama was Miguel Serrano head of the Nazi Party in Chile and the author of several books that elevate Hitler to a god-like status. Whilst working as the Chilean ambassador to India between 1959 – 1962, Miguel Serrano, although openly a supporter of the Nazis, kept quiet about his view of Hitler as a god on earth… but even after he published books expounding these views in 1978 and claiming their close connection with Tantric Buddhism, the Dalai Lama maintained a close personal friendship, inviting him to private meetings in 1984 and 1992.

The Dalai Lama with Heinrich Harrer

The Dalai Lama maintained a warm relationship with Heinrich Harrer and both tried to play down his Nazi links. Gerald Lehner’s investigated the matter and found: “In his curriculum vitae for the SS, Harrer mentions his SA membership twice. Handwritten. Furthermore he was friends with and brother-in-law to the Gauleiter of Styria, the mass-murderer Siegfried Uiberreither. Both married the daughters of the German polar explorer Alfred Wegener who at the time had taught in Graz. Furthermore during his time at the Indian internment camp, Harrer boasted to have been there when the Graz synagogue was burnt down in the Crystal night. His contacts to the SA troup came about through the ‘Graz Gymnastic Club’ which was spearheading the (at the time) illegal Nazis in Austria. He remained a member of this club until his death.”

Heinrich Harrer with Hitler

Heinrich Harrer was a tutor to the young Dalai Lama in Tibet, and remained close to him through the decades in exile. Vanity Fair described him as the Dalai Lama’s ‘western guru’. Here he is standing next to Hitler. Harrer was a sergeant in the SS, Hitler’s elite soldiers. For more details about Heinrich Harrer’s nazi past, read Gerald Lehner’s book on the subject.

Another Pal Bruno Berger

nother close Nazi friend of the Dalai Lama’s was Bruno Beger, a war criminal convicted for his ‘scientific research’ on jewish prisoners at Auschwitz. Beger was convicted in 1970 for his part in a mass murder at the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp. This was part of the ‘Ahnenerbe’ (‘Ancestry Heritage’) programme run by August Hirt – one of the most repulsive parts of the Nazi’s grim history. Beger insisted to colleagues that they needed Jewish skulls and so 86 of his subjects were murdered. They were 29 women and 57 men who were transported from Auschwitz and gassed in August 1943, in a special chamber about sixty kilometres south-west of Strasburg, in the Vosges mountains, near Hirt’s headquarters. Beger had X-rayed their 86 skulls and determined their blood types, and after their murder, did work on their skeletons.

Bruno Berger during the war crimes tribunal

The Dalai Lama has maintained a close relationship with Bruno Beger despite his conviction as a Nazi war criminal. In exchange for the legitimacy the Dalai Lama’s friendship bestows on the Nazi scientist, Beger has in return offered writings on Tibet that support the Dalai Lama’s position:

This photo shows Reting, the regent of Tibet, with Bruno Beger, a key member of the SS expeditions to Lhasa.

  Part 4

Below The Dalai Lama enjoying the high life with Chairman Mao and other Chinese notables

The Dalai Lama shaking Chairman Mao’s hands on Oct 13, 1954

The Dalai Lama voting at a Communist Party Convention In March 1955, the Dalai Lama attended the first session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing and was elected vice chairman of the NPC standing committee. In April 1956, he was also appointed the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet.

The Dalai Lama with Deng Xiaoping in 1954

he Dalai Lama having dinner with Chairman Mao and Zhou Enlai. Stuart and Roma Gelder visiting Tibet in 1962, commented that the Dalai Lama and his public statements (such as ‘Learn from the Soviet Union and Construct Our Socialist Fatherland’ and ‘Strive for a Glorious Leap Forward in Tibet’) had been ‘Mao’s most valuable ally in Tibet’.

                                                               Part 5 –

The Dalai Lama and Shoko Asahara images (3)     Good friend of Dalai Lama and praised by the Dalai Lama after giving over a million dollars to Dalai Lama. Also an admirer of Adolph Hitler. Convicted of mass murder by placing poison Sarin gas in the Tokyo subway. The Dalai Lama lobbied for Shoko Asahara to be recognised as a Buddhist leader in Japan

The Ten Commandments of Eurozone Membership (for small states) | Brian M. Lucey


The quite wonderful Gavin Kostick of Fishamble Theatre has a comment on Irish Economy which is too good to linger there… It’s super.

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And Draghi came down from the mountain with two tablets of stone.

(1) Thou shall love the god of the market. Thou shall have no other god before it.

(2) Thou shall have no other engraved image except the Euro. There shall be no other image on thy coin, for I run a jealous central bank

(3) Thou shall not take the name of the Euro in vain or speak slightingly thereof, for those who seek to destroy confidence will not be held guiltless.

(4) Thou shall work all of the days, excepting none, for this is the will of the free market. And you shall remember that you are a debt slave as you once were in Egypt.

(5) Honour Germany and France and the contract they made in their betrothal at the altar of the European Coal and Steel Community: for these are your mother and father to whom you must be obedient.

(6) Thou shalt not kill the bondholders.

(7) Thou shalt not commit adultery with other nations, neither the Russians nor the Chinese, nor any other nation against which we set our face.

(8) Thou shalt not steal deposits with high interest, low tax or any other wiles against which we set our face.

(9) Thou shalt not falsely accuse the ECB of running a tyranny, or threatening to implode your banks, being subservient to German interest, nor any other false witness against them.

(10) Thou shalt not covet a living possessed by your neighbours, but rejoice in the purification of your impoverishment.

via The Ten Commandments of Eurozone Membership (for small states) | Brian M. Lucey.

via The Ten Commandments of Eurozone Membership (for small states) | Brian M. Lucey.

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