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12 Dec, 2010

‘Satanic cables’ latest blow to the U.S. empire

Originally Published: 12 December 2010

In the last few days of the first decade of the 21st century, the pen is proving mightier than the sword. A new world war is under way – a war against liars masquerading as truth-tellers. In line with the tenets of all great religions, the liars are losing.

Like the hapless Salman Rushdie fleeing the “fatwa” of a bunch of deranged mullahs following the 1988 publication of his book “The Satanic Verses”, global whistleblower Julian Assange is seeking to fend off the “fatwa” of deranged global power-peddlers who have had their lies, deception, double standards and hypocrisy exposed by his satanic cables.

As I confidently predicted in a September 2002 column, the whistleblowers, the real people of conscience, are rising up in what is shaping up as the first global e-revolution of the information age. As I have repeatedly stressed, unjust rulers always fall. Always.

The U.S. government now considers leaks, the bedrock of investigative journalism, to be “espionage.” Great. Let’s see them go after Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Seymour Hersh, too. Let’s see them go after the film-makers who produced “Fair Game” (which was showing in Thai movie-theatres until last week), about the lies that led to the U.S. attack on Iraq.

It’s not just Assange feeling the heat. In a Dec 2 speech to an Arab-American advocacy group in Dearborn, Michigan, former veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas yet again upset the establishment by saying, “We are owned by the propagandists against the Arabs. There’s no question about that. Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion. They put their money where their mouth is.”

She added, “We’re being pushed into a wrong direction in every way.”

Result: Wayne State University, from where Thomas graduated in 1942, announced the day after the address that it would no longer present the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity in the Media Award, the media outlet JTA reported. The university, according to JTA, released a statement reading in part that it “strongly condemns the anti-Semitic remarks made by Helen Thomas.”

Instead of condemning the remarks, it may be a better for Wayne State, as an academic institution devoted to scholarly discourse, to check whether they are true. Indeed, examining the satanic cables may prove Mrs Thomas right.

The most revealing aspect of those cables is the extent to which the U.S. foreign policy, defence and security apparatus has been hijacked by the Israelis and the Zionists, of both the Jewish and Christian ilks.

In just about every contact between U.S. officials and those of the Islamic countries, as disclosed by the WikiLeaks cables, the underlying subject of discussion was identical: Dealing with the Iranian “threat.” Not settling the 43-year Israeli occupation of Palestine, not finding Osama bin Laden, but dealing with Iran.

Iran must prove that its nuclear programme is peaceful, or face sanctions and isolation. Saddam Hussein, too, had to prove that he did not have weapons of mass destruction prior to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Well, he didn’t. That proved true only after thousands died because the world believed all the lies insisting that he did.

The U.S. government now wants the world to simply ignore those lies and move to the next agenda item – Iran. The modus operandi is the same – fan a global hysteria about the so-called “threat”, line up the diplomatic and political support, weaken the country via sanctions, foment internal dissent, and then find an excuse to start another war.

Well, that’s not going to happen so easily this time.

Let me again take readers down memory lane and give them the benefit of my experience, as arguably the only journalist in Asia today to have worked both in Asia and the Middle East during some of the most critical periods of shift in world history.

In the 1970s, five major developments shook the U.S. establishment and laid bare both the strengths and weaknesses of a superpower:

The 1973 Arab-Israeli war: The Arabs, supported by the former Soviet Union, came dangerously close to defeating the American-backed Israelis and retaking the territories occupied after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which the Arabs lost big-time.

The 1973 Arab oil embargo: Part of the same war, this was an effort by the Arab oil-exporting countries to shut down America’s energy supply, and exposed the U.S. vulnerability to the flow of Middle East oil.

Watergate: The August 1974 resignation of President Nixon following a steady stream of investigative reporting by the U.S. media showed the power of true democracy, a fundamental tenet of which is that elected leaders must be held accountable when they lie.

Vietnam: The 1975 exit of U.S. forces in Vietnam was partly the result of media exposure of the lies about U.S. military “victories” and whistleblowing by Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the game-changing “Pentagon Papers.”

Iran’s 1979 revolution: The ouster of the U.S.-backed dictator, the Shah, and the taking of the U.S. embassy hostages was another shock to the system. Tape-recorded sermons by the Ayatollah Khomeini in the mosques of Iran fomented an uprising that even the Shah’s dreaded secret police, the Savak, could not suppress.

The U.S. has never forgotten these virtually back-to-back sequence of events. Since the 1980s, rebuilding U.S. (and Israeli) security has meant fixing these weaknesses by strengthening U.S. military and corporate power, dismantling or neutralising the threats, spreading the tentacles of “globalisation” and ensuring access to energy supplies.

Nobody and nothing must be allowed to stand in the way – not the United Nations, not Russia nor China, not the Arabs nor the Islamic world.

And certainly not Julian Assange.

However, it is when great powers become victims of their own hubris, abandon their democratic principles and over-extend themselves, that they begin to die.

This is where drawing upon my Indian birthright provides a learning curve.

The Mughal Empire which ruled India between 1526-1857 went into decline when the last emperor Aurangzeb embarked upon military adventurism and expansion which could not be sustained and relied far too heavily on the use of force.

The British colonial empire, which began in India soon after the Mughal empire faded under the name of an innocuous sounding trading group called the East India Company, fell after it was confronted by a loincloth-clad ‘fakir’ named Mahatma Gandhi who knew that the way to sap a colonial force is to break its back economically and rally the masses politically.

The United States is facing all these forces simultaneously, and I wager it will not prevail. It simply cannot, no matter how many dollars it prints nor how many “Islamic terrorists” it kills, nor how many tanks and missiles it produces.

So the second decade of the 21st century is going to be entirely dominated by the story of the slow-and-steady fall of the American empire.

Julian Assange is one of the millions of people who have had enough of being lied to by the empire. As he says on his website:

“The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in “client states”; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.

“This document release reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors – and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what’s going on behind the scenes.

“Every American schoolchild is taught that George Washington – the country’s first President – could not tell a lie. If the administrations of his successors lived up to the same principle, today’s document flood would be a mere embarrassment. Instead, the US Government has been warning governments — even the most corrupt — around the world about the coming leaks and is bracing itself for the exposures.”

A new world war has broken out. All the people cannot be fooled all the time. The pen will vanquish the sword.

Think about that in church this Christmas.