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News Features  


 

World hasn’t moved much since Dag Hammarskjöld

On September 18, 1961, a Swedish diplomat, economist and author was killed when the airplane he was travelling in was shot down over Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. ‘Killed’ is the word used by Harry Truman: ‘Dag Hammarskjöld was on the point of getting something done when they killed him; notice that I said, “when they killed him”.’ Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld at the time was the Secretary General of the United Nations. The murder was covered up by British colonial authorities.

Research by Goran Bjorkdahl, a Swedish aid worker, has clearly implicated British and US authorities in what was brushed aside as a plane crash, but now appears to have been a cleverly and comprehensively orchestrated assassination. The US and Britain were at the time livid that Hammarskjöld ordered UN intervention on behalf of the Congolese government against a rebellion backed by Western mining companies and mercenaries in the mineral-rich Katanga region. He was a strong advocate of decolonisation and was on the verge of being re-elected on the back of widespread support from developing nations.

Civilian killings
The only survivor of the crash, Harold Julian, was allowed to die in a poorly equipped local hospital. Before he died, Sergeant Julian told police he had seen sparks in the sky and an explosion before the crash.
What’s the relevance, though? It’s simple. This is typical of how the US and Britain operate. It’s not about democracy or concern for civilians. It’s about propping friendly thugs committed to protecting commercial interests.

The White House has (naturally) condemned the release of over 90,000 secret US military documents about operations in Afghanistan by Wikileaks which detail covert action against the Taliban, unreported civilian killings and torture. Thousands of civilians have been killed in these operations. All ‘collateral’, none accounted for, and no apologies or change of policy. It’s called, in watered-down language of course, ‘incoherent process in dealing with civilian casualties’. And these are the people who went to war against Gaddafi for attacking (yes!) ‘civilians’.
To recap the Libyan case, the US and Britain wrangled a resolution from the UN Security Council to set up a no-fly zone, quickly brushed aside the limiting clauses of that resolution and waged open war on Libyan security forces, killing civilians, bombing residential areas and committing all manner of crimes against humanity. Chief of the US Navy, Gary Roughead has admitted that US forces ‘had already taken up positions against Libya’ way back in March, indicating that the operation was planned and had little to do with Gaddafi or his tyrannical ways (which of course can be forgiven considering the leeway given to worse tyrants who are useful to Washington). It was about taking control of oil, ensuring the safety of Israel, preventing the liberation of the Arab world, hindering African unity and setting up NATO as the watchdog of Africa. Business as usual, folks!

Torture chambers
Then there’s Iraq. It’s now revealed that Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defence, lied to Congress about atrocities committed by US forces, including the horrendous torture chambers in Abu Ghraib. Tony Blair is being hauled over the coals these days. David Miliband should be shackled to the former Prime Minister for being so blind to what happened under his very nose while happily purchasing lies provided by voters who were upset that their best loved terrorist, Velupillai Prabhakaran was bested by a Sri Lankan citizenry that refused to play ball in a London-authored script.
Conspiracy theory, did someone say? Here’s some ‘conspiracy’ for those who remain credulous. Wesley Clark, the supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe between 1997 and 2001, who supervised the bombings in Yugoslavia was candid: ‘In 2001, at the Pentagon, a general told me: I just received a classified memo from the Secretary of Defence; we will take seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and finally, Iran.’ There seems to be a delay, but the objectives remain. To be taken. One by one.
This is why when Barack Obama, his civil servants and happily half-blind loyalists in the media try to make out that the USA is the beacon of global peace and goodness, it is hard to keep a straight face. The only difference between him and his predecessor is that Bush’s wars appeared to be crusades of some dumb white people while Obama’s have the veneer of ‘goodness’, liberation struggles on behalf of poor, weak, oppressed people led by decent, intelligent, sophisticated, modern leaders. Results? Same! I would pick a Bush over an Obama any day because nudity has its virtues and disguise nauseates.

New World Order
As for the media, it would have us believe that it is ok for good people (so defined) to bomb, kill, invade, slaughter entire villagers, rob oil and resources, give legitimacy to terrorists dressed as rebels, arm them, give logistical military support and even lead them against other sections of the same population etc., while the bad folks (so defined) can be bombed and subjected to summary execution along with any poor suckers who happen to be around when bombs are dropped or bullets sprayed.
Dag Hammarskjöld was assassinated 50 years ago. George Bush (Snr) talked about a New World Order, 20 years ago. Half a century after the first and two decades after the first invasion of Iraq, there’s nothing new in the New World Odour. ‘Same old shit,’ as someone observed during a protest in Boston in the first days of that adventure.

And people actually wonder why most people in most countries in the world, responded to the 9/11 attacks (and this was before questions were asked about it being an inside job) with sympathy for victims followed by a telling, ‘but still….!’ I can only imagine how loud the cheering will be when it all bursts as it must according to the primordial principles first articulated by Siddhartha Gauthama, the Buddha, some 2,500 years ago: ‘All things are impermanent; they are born, decay and perish’. I am no clairvoyant, but I think I will live to see the day and when it comes I will meditate on the millions who had to die to please this grotesque affront to human civilisation.
www.malindawords.blogspot.com