Sowing the seeds of conflict in the Middle East

Time for the old professor’s historical perspective (something you all have been dreaded for a long time)…..

The Middle East….some will pass around the bullshit that it has always been a violent and destructive region….that is what they want to believe and no amount of disputing evidence will change their minds….because they know all and see all….

Some experts will have you believe that all the problems started with the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement…..my opinion is that it was the beginning but not the sole reason for the violence.

But now onto the perspective……

Whatever else they were guilty of, the two authors of the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, George Bush and Tony Blair, displayed an astonishing ignorance of history.

Many people, understandably, are perplexed by the violence and disorder of the Middle East. They look at, say, the conflict in Syria and ask: how did it come to this?

Part of the problem is that the media focus on the crowded foreground and neglect the all-important historical background – in particular, the formative period in the emergence of the modern Middle East, in the age of empire.

Source: Sowing the seeds of conflict in the Middle East | openDemocracy

A little reading will help you understand…that is if you want to understand or to stand by your idiotic perspectives…….

Damn!  I love history and the perspectives that can make understanding so much easier…..but only if you want to understand…..

Who Was Witold Pilecki?

In these days of all the “patriotism” goons that have lots to say but are real short on acts…..there are heroes and those that pretend to be heroes…..there are those that wrap themselves in a flag and speak loud and then there are those that do with little said…..Witold Pilecki was a hero….

But who was Witold Pilecki?

Witold Pilecki was a soldier of the Second Polish Republic, the founder of the Secret Polish Army Polish resistance group, and a member of the Home Army. He is now recognized as the only known person to volunteer to be imprisoned at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.

Pilecki was born on May 13, 1901 in Karelia, Russia where his family had been forcibly resettled by Tsarist Russian authorities after the suppression of Poland‘s January Uprising of 1863-1864. In 1910, Pilecki moved with his family to Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) where he joined the secret ZHP Scouts organization. In 1918, during World War I, Pilecki joined Polish self-defense units in the Wilno area with which he helped collect weapons and disarm retreating German troops in what became the prelude to the Vilna offensive. During the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920, Pilecki commanded a ZHP Scout section that was overrun by the Bolsheviks. He later joined the regular Polish Army and fought in the Polish retreat from Kiev. On August 5, 1920, Pilecki joined the 211th Uhlan Regiment and fought in the Battle of Warsaw and at Rudniki Forest and took part in the liberation of Wilno.

During World War II, Pilecki smuggled himself into Auschwitz under the false name Tomasz Serafinski in 1940 and began recruiting members for an underground resistance group that he organized into a coherent movement. He began sending information about what was going on inside the camp and confirming that the Nazis were seeking the extermination of the Jews to Britain and the United States as early as 1941. Pilecki used a courier system that the Polish Resistance operated throughout occupied Europe to channel the reports to the Allies. Documents released from the Polish Archives that provided details of these reports again raised questions as to why the Allies, particularly Winston Churchill, never did anything to put an end to the atrocities being committed that they learned of so early in the war.

In 1944, Pilecki was captured while fighting in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp. He joined the Free Polish troops in Italy in July of 1945 and agreed to return to Poland and gather intelligence on its takeover by the Soviets. Pilecki was caught by the Polish Communist regime, tortured, interrogated on his espionage, and executed following a trial at which he was given three death sentences. Pilecki was executed on May 25, 1948 at Warsaw’s Mokotow Prison.

Now that my friends is the definition of a hero.

Sabra And Shatila–34 Years On

Today’s news is the all important “one eyed snake” test that Trump had or that some late night host messed his hair up….this is what passes for news these days…your Pulitzer awaits!

30 years ago today the IDF allowed Lebanese militias enter a Palestinian refugees camps and allowed a massacre of woman, children and old people…..

Source: BBC News | PANORAMA | Sabra and Shatila: Dealing with facts

An interview with a person that was there that fateful day…….

On Sunday, the 30th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre was commemorated by people of different nationalities around the world. In Lebanon the commemoration was only observed by Palestinians living in refugee camps; Lebanese people were not concerned.

The massacre carried out by the Phalange, a Christian Maronite militia acting in full cooperation with Israel, was among the most atrocious episodes of recent history. But it is still absent from our collective Lebanese memory.

The Sabra and Shatila massacre is another taboo in Lebanon that needs to be addressed publicly and soberly; maybe admitting the wrongdoing could prevent us from further subjugating the Palestinian refugees who are residing here temporarily until they return to their occupied homeland.

Source: “They shot my father in the head”: interview with survivor of Sabra and Shatila massacre | The Electronic Intifada

Sadly this will not be reported….just like the IDF attack on the USS Liberty….this will be swept under the rug like anything negative about Israel.

Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.)

Hi Dee Ho my loyal readers…..today is Labor Day when the country celebrates our workers and the jobs they do……

Back in the 80’s and 90’s I was an organizer for the IWW……so today I thought I would give my readers a look into this union and its activities for the last 100 years……

The role of Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) in the history of the United States of America.

The Industrial Workers of the World was established in Chicago, in 1905, by members of the socialist-led Western Federation of Miners and other groups opposed to what they saw as “class collaboration” by the American Federation of Labor (A.F.L.).

The driving force behind the I.W.W. was William D. Haywood, the leader of the Western Federation of Miners, which had established a reputation for work stoppages in Colorado mines. Joining Haywood at the launch of the I.W.W., which he described as the “first continental congress of the working class,” were Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party and Daniel De Leon of the Socialist Labor Party. Also present were Mother Jones, the “angel of the miners,” and Lucy Parsons, whose husband had been executed in the Haymarket affair.

Source: Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.)

Most Americans have NO idea about the IWW and the important part they played in American Labor……

This may not be my only post today….for I want to spend some time with family…..doing the BBQ thing and a few beers…..but Labor Day is an important day and an important part of our history.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day…..I will be back tomorrow.

Frederick Douglass on Capitalism, Slavery, and the ‘Arrant Nonsense’ of Socialism

Yes I know…I am a history nerd and I am proud of it.

One of my favorite people from around the Civil War time was the abolitionist Frederick Douglass…..I recent did a press of an article in slavery and capitalism and I saw another related article in Reason ….I thought I would pass it along….

Understanding the political philosophy of the abolitionist leader.

In November 1848 a socialist activist gave a speech at the 13th annual meeting of the Rhode Island Anti-Slavery Society. “Mr. Ingliss” began his remarks well enough, reported the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, who was present to give a speech of his own that day, “but strangely enough went on in an effort to show that wages slavery is as bad as chattel slavery.”

Douglass soon became infuriated with the socialist speaker. “The attempts to place holding property in the soil—on the same footing as holding property in man, was most lame and impotent,” Douglass declared. “And the wonder is that anyone could listen with patience to such arrant nonsense.”

Frederick Douglass heard a lot of arrant nonsense from American socialists in those days. That’s because most socialists thought the anti-slavery movement had its priorities all wrong. As the left-wing historian Carl Guarneri once put it, most antebellum socialists “were hostile or at least indifferent to the abolitionist appeal because they believed that it diverted attention from the serious problems facing northern workers with the onset of industrial capitalism.” The true path to social reform, the socialists said, was the path of anti-capitalism.

Source: Frederick Douglass on Capitalism, Slavery, and the ‘Arrant Nonsense’ of Socialism – Reason.com

Douglass is a fascinating individual that does not get the attention he should in our educational system….read an learn about a true American hero….a hero that some would just as soon forget…..but that will not happen as long as I breath….period.

You may thank me later…..

Lies Make The War

Lies are a large part of the political sphere here in the good old U.S. of A. but no more so than when it comes to war.  Most Americans do not like a history lesson for it usually bites their dicks off and they have to come up with some lame excuse for why it was done….

I recently helped a professor friend over the Summer by teaching a lesson on the first Gulf War….I was amazed at how little is known about a war people think we won.  About the only incident they remember is first that Saddam invaded Kuwait and second that his army raided a hospital and stripped it bear even leaving a baby behind after they stole its incubator…..this story was told by a young woman as an eye witnessed the problem was she was a diplomats daughter who had been in Kuwait only for her first five years and has never been back.

The war had its moments when it possibly could have been avoided….I wrote an article for my fiends at Ace News Room on this subject…..

I have been writing about the Middle East for decades….I hit my stride back in 1990 with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.  Most of my saved writings were lost in Katrina…the winds took out a window in the room where I did my research and writing, my office, if you will……I had files upon files of saved material that was lost to wet damage….or so I thought…..I was doing some spring cleaning and found 5 plastic storage bins that I had no idea what is within…after a thorough search I located all my saved articles and stuff from the Desert Storm days…..a eureka moment!

Source: 1991: Operation Desert Storm: A Look Back

Just a bit of negotiation could have saved lives….but nope war was on the bill and it was going to happen no matter what….

Now about the “incubator baby” thing……

Many Americans whose memories reach back to the Dark Ages of Gulf War 1 remember the “incubator babies” story: according to a weepy testimony of a Kuwaiti “nurse,” Saddam Hussein’s soldiers threw newborn babies out of incubators in a Kuwaiti hospital and left them to die. The “discovery” so outraged the American public, it helped generate public support for turning “Desert Shield” (originally sold as protection of Saudi Arabia from a phantom Iraqi attack) into “Desert Storm.”

There was only one problem with the story: none of it was true.

Source: Gray Falcon: The Real Incubator Baby

Ah the power of propaganda……is it possible that they would be lying to the people now?

“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”  George Orwell

How Slaves Built American Capitalism

My regulars will know that I am a bit of a history buff….there is so much fascinating stuff in our history that there is just no end to the stories……

Slavery was a dark hour in the history of this country….but thanx to the practice American capitalism flourished….

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in America and contrary to popular belief, slavery is not a product of Western capitalism; Western capitalism is a product of slavery.

The expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American Independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States.

Historian Edward Baptist illustrates how in the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy.

Source: How Slaves Built American Capitalism

This ought to get the juices flowing in my “alt-Right” (new media term) brethren flowing……

“Alt-Right”?  What the Hell is that?

Does that answer the question?

GOOD!