October 2005


macrocosm.gif Psychology is a fascinating subject. Have you ever wondered why a person behaves this way or that, or why a person thinks that way or this? It’s an interesting facet of psychology, this study of personality.

A person’s attitudes, values and ideals are largely a product of his environment. The culture in which he lives–home, school, community and socioeconomic status–is a factor in the development of personality. Now one of these social factors is the need to belong to or identify with a community.

Nobody likes to be alone, and very few people live like hermits. This need to identify with a community and what a person perceives it stands for, determines a person’s values and his behaviour. In identifying with this community there is a cohesion, like birds of a feather flocking together.

Let’s say that one day, this community or someone in this community behaves out of norm. Putting this in a larger perspective, let’s imagine this person to be Japanese or German, belonging to the community of a nation, Japan or Germany. Now one of their leaders decides to murder people. As we all know from an historical context, this happened when Hitler decided to exterminate the Jewish race and under Hirohito, the Japanese massacred the Chinese in Nanking. So members of these communities went along with the ideas of their leaders, but there were also those who did not, for they recognised that the atrocities committed were abnormal behaviour.

Here is where the paradox comes in: Those who agreed with the atrocities will later deny that these atrocities were ever committed. They idealised the community to the extent that they believed in whatever values the community decides. And here lies a paradox in the psychological make-up of man. When the mind thinks that something is so incomprehensible, he denies the reality of it. It’s a psychological form of defence called suppression.

Knowing this, we understand the thinking behind the textbook revisions of Japanese history with regards to the Nanking massacre. It’s a form of denial. We also understand the thinking behind the Holocaust denials. According to Deborah Lipstadt, “Holocaust denial is a form of virulent anti-Semitism. But it is not only that. It is also an attack on reasoned inquiry… If this history can be denied any history can be denied.”

Robert Jensen also tells us that America should face the past honestly and recognise America’s genocide of the native American Indians. He states that: “The United States was built on the backs of non-white people. The Europeans and their descendants who created this country stole land and crushed souls. They killed and enslaved. These policies weren’t accidents but conscious decisions of people out to enrich themselves at the expense of others.”

Stanley Cohen analyses the ability to deny as an “amazing human phenomenon… a product of sheer complexity of our emotional, linguistic, moral and intellectual lives.” Some people cannot stand too much reality, but denying reality allows injustice to remain and to continue.

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” — Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

German Holocaust Denier on Trial
The Fight Against Holocaust Denial

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cia-logo.jpeg The Secret Government: The Secret Government is an interlocking network of official functionaries, spies, mercenaries, ex-generals, profiteers and superpatriots, who, for a variety of motives, operate outside the legitimate institutions of government. Presidents have turned to them when they can’t win the support of the Congress or the people, creating that unsupervised power so feared by the framers of [America’s] Constitution.

The National Security Act of 1947 gave us the National Security Council. Never have we had a National Security Council so concerned about the nation’s security that we’re always looking for threats and looking how to orchestrate our society to oppose those threats. National Security was invented, almost, in 1947, and now it has become the prime mover of everything we do as measured against something we invented in 1947. The National Security Act also gave us the Central Intelligence Agency.

… Its chief legitimate duty was to gather foreign intelligence for America’s new role as a world power. Soon it was taking on covert operations, abroad and at home.

In 1953, the CIA mounted its first major covert operation to overthrow a foreign government. The target was the Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh. He held power legitimately, through his country’s parliamentary process and he was popular…

We’ve turned the war powers of the United States over to, well we are never really sure who, or what they’re doing, or what it costs, or who is paying for it. The one thing that we are sure of is that this largely secret global war carried on with less and less accountability to democratic institutions, has become a way of life. And now we are faced with a question brand new in our history. Can we have the permanent warfare state and democracy too?

So one day, sadly, we are likely to discover once again that while freedom does have enemies in the world it can also be undermined here at home, in the dark, by those posing as its friends. — Bill Moyers

The Secret Government: Part 1 (wmv file, 11 minutes)
The Secret Government: Part 2 (wmv file, 11 minutes)

via: Information Clearing House: The Secret Government

mahmoud_ahmadinejad.jpg   You will find expressions of anti-Semitism all over the world. Some are expressed in discreet ways–a cold shoulder or an apathetic look, while others are expressed in bolder ways–the desecration of tombs or holding a conference on a World Without Zionism.The obvious question is: Why does Israel have so many enemies? We all know from Biblical times that the Jews had Jesus Christ crucified and the Christian world find it difficult to accept Jews as Christians. Also, Jews were slaves in the Arab world, but they became a wealthy class of merchants which in the 19th century was the envy of many who were not wealthy. They were ostracised in every possible way.

Then someone took it upon himself to rid the world of Jews. He did not succeed but because of that War, the State of Israel was created in 1948. And here I believe, lies the crux of the problem the world faces today.

In creating the State of Israel, the sovereignty of the Palestine State was severely compromised. Israel claimed the land of Palestine for their own–land that the Palestinians have lived on for thousands of years. And through time and wars, Israel also took bits of land from other Arab nations. Why Israel created enemies of its neighbours, will we ever know?

Israel is extremely manipulative, motivated perhaps by a will to survive. They succeeded in turning public opinion against its Arab neighbours. In addition to this, Israel has a powerful friend–one with a military power unrivalled by any of Israel's enemies. Through the years, the situation has become more and more complex.

If only Israel had made friends with its neighbours instead… The only impossible solution would be for Israel to move out of the neighbourhood. Or they could drastically change their attitude and behave in a way that they would be welcomed instead of despised. It does sound utopian, but diplomacy is always the better road to that of war.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Wipe Israel Off the Map
Jews For Justice for Palestinians

Israel's Arab Policy: The policy portrayed is one of deliberate Israeli acts of provocation, intended to generate Arab hostility and thus to create pretexts for armed action and territorial expansion. Sharett's [diary] document this policy of "sacred terrorism" and expose the myths of Israel's "security needs" and the "Arab threat"…

update: Ahmadinejad Did Not Say – "Wipe Israel Off The Map"

un-emblem.jpeg   On 1919, the League of Nations was born. It was established to promote international co-operation, peace and security after the First World War of 1914-1918. But the League of Nations ceased to exist after it failed to prevent World War II.On October 24, 1945 the United Nations Organisation was born. It was established to promote international co-operation, peace and security after the Second World War of 1939-1945. Its aim, like the League of Nations, was to "save the world from the scourge of war."

The questions now are: Will the United Nations continue to exist after its inability to prevent the United States of America from invading sovereign nations? Will the United Nations continue to exist with America's John Bolton making it extremely difficult for this organisation to function properly? Can the United Nations continue to exist with lack of funding?

France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands had voted against America being the seat for the United Nations. America has disregarded international laws and has abused its position as a world power.

We would now be better off if the United Nations were dissolved. It has failed the international community in its objective to prevent the scourge of war, America's corporate wars on nations with rich natural resources.

A third organisation should be created in its place. Its headquarters should be in Europe, and it must have a strong and firm leadership — with a mandate that transcends abusive hegemonies disturbing the peace.

BBC | On This Day

Koizumi visited the Yasukuni Shrine today. I didn’t have my camera when I passed by the Shrine this morning, but the main avenue leading to the Shrine was lined with blue-and-white police vans and police cars, and the area was surrounded with police in combat gear.

What does Koizumi think he will accomplish by visiting the Shrine when Japan’s neighbours are so sensitive to the past? The wounds of War remain unhealed.

Please don’t tell us that you are doing this as a private citizen. Do you take us for fools? As Prime Minister, you represent the Japanese people and whatever you do, you are above all, a Prime Minister. What private citizen has a contingent of police vans and police force accompanying him? If there is a conflict of interests between your role as Prime Minister and your wishes as private citizen, then you should think of alternative ways to express your patriotism that does not compromise your more obligatory function. Assuming you are aware of this, therefore the “I-am-here-as-a-private-citizen” is a very poor excuse.

And what date is it today, Mr Prime Minister? On this day, October 17 in 1978, fourteen Class A war criminals were enshrined at Yasukuni. Why did you choose to visit the Shrine today?

For the Japanese who are not against these visits, you are ignorant of the atrocities committed by your country during the War. I do not see how you can be proud of that and to express it by honouring the war criminals at the Shrine.

We see you are not afraid of the reaction from the people of Korea, China and other nations. So if you speak for the Japanese people with these visits, then you must understand when Japan’s neighbours see this as a provocation and lash out at Japanese people or Japanese corporations.

Koizumi is asking for trouble by visiting the Shrine. What he has done is a diplomatic blunder. I am surprised by his total lack of foresight and total lack of sensitivity for those who suffered during the War.
Japan’s Sins of the Past, by Justin McCurry: The reign of terror was the work of the notorious Unit 731, a secret arm of the Japanese army based near Harbin, north-east China, which since 1935 had combined expertise and unspeakable cruelty to develop biological weapons to help pave the Japanese army’s way into strategically important areas of south-east China.

Between 1939 and 1945, the unit is thought to have killed, maimed or poisoned more than a million mainly Chinese, Russian and Korean civilians by contaminating their water supply and showering towns and villages with pathogens such as the bubonic plague.

By 1942, the plague and other killer diseases had spread to several locations along the Zhejiang-Jiangxi railway. The Japanese showered seven pathogens on the province in what is thought to have been retaliation for the “Doolittle” air raids on Tokyo by US bombers.

In addition to the plague, the area was infected with typhoid, typhus, dysentery, cholera, para-typhus and anthrax.

Yet its work was to remain secret for years. The unit’s activities were referred to just once at the Tokyo war crimes trials. Rather than prosecute the unit’s senior members, the US occupation authorities in Japan granted them immunity in exchange for access to years of extensive research into biological weapons.

Wikipedia | Yasukuni Shrine: About 1,000 POWs executed for war crimes during World War II are enshrined here. This was not a political issue back then as Yasukuni was supposed to enshrine all Japanese war casualties. However, on October 17, 1978, 14 Class A war criminals (according to the judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East), including Hideki Tojo, were quietly enshrined [here] as “Martyrs of Shōwa.”

Japanese PM Visits Tokyo War Shrine
updates:

Young Ultranationalists Take to Blogging: “A lot of people are agitated, saying that any rightward leanings by young people are superficial, and that those who think Koizumi’s stance (re Yasukuni) is righteous, fail to understand the historical realities,” says an educator. “In the despair stemming from the present low-growth society, where many young people have difficulty in obtaining a grasp of which direction they’re headed, there’s a trend toward a ‘herd instinct,’ where more people gravitate to the same behavior as a way to relieve their anxieties. Nationalistic behavior and the support for Koizumi might both be considered examples of this phenomenon.”

snakesinthegrass.jpg  US Troops Starve Iraqi Citizens: A senior United Nations official has accused US-led coalition troops of depriving Iraqi civilians of food and water in breach of humanitarian law. “A drama is taking place in total silence in Iraq, where the coalition’s occupying forces are using hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population,” Mr Ziegler told a press conference.

United States Caught in the Act of Setting Up a Car Bomb in Iraq: Iraqis apprehended two Americans disguised in Arab dress as they tried to blow up a booby-trapped car in the middle of a residential area in western Baghdad on Tuesday. … Local people found they looked suspicious so they detained the men before they could get away.

Bush Declares Torture Vital to US Security: In an extraordinary declaration of the brutality of American foreign policy, the Bush administration denounced a Senate vote to bar the use of torture against prisoners held by the US military. Responding to the passage of an amendment to a Pentagon spending bill—approved by an overwhelming 90-9 vote Wednesday, the White House said the proposal would “restrict the president’s authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice.”

U.S. Military to Buy Huge Quantities of Anthrax: It has been revealed that the U.S. army plans to buy large quantities of Anthrax, raising questions over its commitment to treaties aimed at controlling the spread of biological weapons. Newscientist.com reported that Edward Hammond, director of the Sunshine Project, a U.S.-German organisation that designed to prevent the use of biological and chemical weapons, discovered numerous contracts that relate to the U.S. army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, in which they ask companies to tender for the production of huge quantities of a non-virulent strain of anthrax, and equipment to produce other biological agents.

America’s Torture Flights: The “extraordinary renditions” programme, which breaches every law on international human rights, sees the United States target suspected terrorists anywhere in the world, kidnap them, drug them, cuff and blindfold them, bundle them on to a secret CIA jet and whisk them off to a “friendly” nation such as Egypt, Uzbekistan or Morocco, where “friendly” secret policemen can torture, rape and murder them.

When the US arrests these people, it has no proof that they are terrorists. It is working on suspicion. No court will ever hear the accusations or test the evidence. These people are being “disappeared” by Western democracies.

warboatwbandaid.jpg “Does perfect leadership exist, Yaw?”

“Yes, it can exist, Mog, if you know what sort of leadership to implement. There are three kinds of leadership and these are the Autocratic, the Democratic and the Free-Rein. The autocratic form can be symbolised by the relationship between parent and child. The democratic approach is where ideas are suggested, discussed and decided upon as a group. The free-rein method is where the group members manage things by themselves and the leader exercises minimal control over them.

“The three kinds of leaderships all have their positive and negative points, largely depending on the needs of the group. Each form of leadership is suitable to a certain situation.”

“I understand, Yaw. Where there are wide disparities, for example, a gap between the rich and the poor, an autocratic form of leadership is suitable. The leader has to use radical means to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, this form of leadership is easily abused.

“Where there is equality in terms of social class, then a democratic leadership befits the group. A relative homogeneity in terms of language, religion, political affiliation and education should exist within the group for this to function. Unfortunately, where the majority of the group is of dubious intelligence, it is always the will of the majority that is followed.

“The free-rein method is where the leader provides direction and allows the members of the group to do their best in their own way. This works well where the members are largely individualistic. Unfortunately, this may lead to anarchy.

“Am I right on all counts, Yaw?”

“Yes, Mog, you are. It’s rather annoying though, to hear people insist on democracy as a panacea when it is inadequate to a particular group. Perfect leadership is where the form of leadership is suitable to the need and to the situation.”

(reference: “Techniques of Leadership” by Auren Uris, McGraw Hill, 1953)

In Iraq, a Rush Toward Democracy Could Trigger Civil War: Despite many good intentions, US policies have thus far brought Iraq to the brink of internal breakdown. This week’s referendum won’t stop that process. Within the next six to eight months, the best thing that could persuade Iraqis to hold their country together is a speedy and total exit of US troops.

Iraq Has Descended Into Anarchy: Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, painted a picture of deepening chaos and misery in Iraq more than two years after Saddam Hussein was toppled.

He said that the “constant, intensive involvement” in the Middle East by the West was a recurring pattern over centuries and was the reason why “so many Muslims in the Middle East hate us”. He added: ” We can close doors on history. They can’t.”

Fisk doubted the sincerity of Western leaders’ commitment to bringing democracy to Iraq and said a lasting settlement in the country was impossible while foreign troops remained.

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