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writing for godot

A view on the Ukraine crisis from Scotland

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Written by Paul O'Hanlon   
Saturday, 10 May 2014 12:57
Greetings to RSN readers from Edinburgh, Scotland. What state is that? Er, it’s not actually in a state but it’s in one of those infernal `other countries` which most Americans (please don’t take offence!) cannot find on a map.

There was some sad news in Scotland this week when Ukrainian born tennis player Elena Baltacha died of liver disease at the age of just 30. She had been raised in Scotland and was British number one for three years, reaching the top 50 in the world in 2010.

The Reverend Pat Robertson once described Scotland thus on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) website: `A widely-known character in America, Mr Robertson is proving to be hugely controversial here. Not least since he said that Scotland was a "dark land" where homosexuals ruled the roost. `
"In Scotland, you can't believe how strong the homosexuals are. It's just simply unbelievable," he told his viewers.

Well, it’s not quite like that although regarding ownership rather than sexual inclinations half of Scotland is reckoned to be owned by just 600 rich landowners like the Church of Scotland and the Duke of Buccleuch.

It’s the same in any country – as the Wall Street protesters said there are the 1% who own nearly everything and the 99%. who have to do one and a half jobs just to break even. If they protest which is their democratic right they are likely to be severely beaten and or arrested and jailed for exercising their rights supposedly enshrined in the US constitution. Or does “We, the people” really mean “We, the rich and powerful people who can employ thugs to protect us if the masses get uppity and start asking for what they perceive as their fair shake.”?

The two countries in the news today are Russia and the Ukraine – two very unequal countries largely controlled by Oligarchs. Russia contains 112 billionaires – while most of the 144 million Russian people just scrape a living working long hours as so many Americans and people everywhere do. They are only slightly better off than their `younger brother` The Ukraine which is described as a `basket case` - a phrase made famous by a still living Dr Henry Kissinger. His advice is still sought after at the age of 90. The powerful do not seek advice from still articulate octogenarians like former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark or linguistics Professor Noam Chomsky.

The American and British reporting of the Ukraine crisis has been abysmal. The media talk of the `Ukrainian Government` - yes, but who elected them? Viktor Yanukovych, corrupt though he was, happened to be an elected leader; he was removed from power by an illegal coup orchestrated by John `Wayne` McCain, Victoria (F*** the EU) Nuland, lots of American taxpayers money and well organised gangs of Neo-Nazis.

Just imagine the whole thing in reverse with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov handing out money to bandidos in Mexico or criminal gangs in Canada and exhorting people in Mexico or Canada to rise up (with Svetlana Medvedeva [wife of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev] enticing them with cookies) to overthrow their government and then warning the United States not to interfere in the new `democracy` he and his cronies had just created. Then Russia moves tens of thousands of troops and offensive missiles to within 50 miles of the US border (i.e. closer even than Cuba which is some 80 miles from Florida). What would the reaction of even mild-mannered Americans be let alone those of not so mild-mannered Americans like Richard Perle, John Bolton or Robert Kagan and Thomas Friedman?

You might like to watch Russia Today this weekend. Tomorrow (Sunday 11th May) is referendum day in Donetsk - `the city of a million roses`. Paula Slier of Russia Today has been doing some good stuff - unfortunately a Russia Today (RT) cameraman was critically injured during the reporting from the Ukraine. Yes, I know RT (Russia Today) can be ridiculed as Russian propaganda but could the same not be said for US news networks –especially Fox News with Bill O’Reilly and his “Put up or shut up” rants during the Iraq war of 2003. Remember the lies, not mistakes but bald faced lies that were told about Iraq’s non-existent `WMDs` - actually the only WMDs in Iraq were the `wells of major dimensions ` that the invading armies took on entering the country.

The war was nothing to do with oil we were constantly told, yet the first thing the invading armies did was to seize the oil fields and the Ministry of Oil while leaving the hospitals and museums to looters. By the way 11 years later the electricity and drinking water have not been properly restored and the violence is worse than under Saddam with a thousand people dying each month in a Sunni/Shia conflict encouraged by the US led invaders – what does Fox News or CBS or CNN have to say about that? The good old `Auntie Beeb` as the British BBC is so affectionately called has been guilty of wrongly showing news footage for example during the miner’s strike of 1984/1985 when the footage of the police (on Horseback) attacking the miners was reversed to make it look as if the miners had charged first.

The US media is effectively controlled by 6 big corporations – the rich and the powerful – “We the rich people” in other words. “We the ordinary people” need websites like RSN which hopefully could one day could compete with the big networks.

Robert Parry of Consortium News is writing good articles about the situation in the Ukraine (often on RSN) - unlike the mainstream American (and British) media.

NATO has sent 6,000 troops in to Estonia - right on Russia’s borders. The commander of NATO is General `Breedlove` - hopefully he is not quite as mad as General Jack D Ripper of the film Dr Strangelove who launches a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the then Soviet Union because he fears the Communists are infiltrating `his precious bodily fluids`. Sterling Hayden played the role of the demented general quite brilliantly I thought. The film is 51 years old - it was made in 1963 and the release was delayed until January 1964 because of the assassination of John F Kennedy in November 1963. It’s still a classic - let us just hope that it doesn’t turn in to reality with the aggressive American (and British) stance towards Russia just now.

Talking of our old friend Henry Kissinger it has been suggested that Dr Strangelove was him in thin disguise - though Kissinger was not a public figure at the time he went on to become US Secretary of State and one of the world’s most powerful men who dated the world’s most beautiful women (the aphrodisiac effect of power` or `Kissinger Syndrome`) – and he is still influential. Is there a `Richard Perle syndrome? ` Who’d want to go to bed with him? Oops hope he doesn’t read that! Or else I might be `next`.

Here’s the entire film – free of charge:
http://blip.tv/moviearchives/dr-strangelove-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-bomb-5462653 (also available on DVD)

Some notes on the film

Dr. Strangelove – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Paranoid Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper of Burpelson Air Force Base, he believing that fluoridation of the American water supply is a Soviet plot to poison the U.S. populace, is able to deploy through a back door mechanism a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union without the knowledge of his superiors, including the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Buck Turgidson, and President Merkin Muffley. Only Ripper knows the code to recall the B-52 bombers and he has shut down communication in and out of Burpelson as a measure to protect this attack. Ripper’s executive officer, RAF Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (on exchange from Britain), who is being held at Burpelson by Ripper, believes he knows the recall codes if he can only get a message to the outside world. Meanwhile at the Pentagon War Room, key persons including Muffley, Turgidson and nuclear scientist and adviser, a former Nazi named Dr. Strangelove, are discussing measures to stop the attack or mitigate its blow-up into an all-out nuclear war with the Soviets. Against Turgidson’s wishes, Muffley brings Soviet Ambassador Alexi de Sadesky into the War Room, and get his boss, Soviet Premier Dimitri Kisov, on the hot line to inform him of what’s going on. The Americans in the War Room are dismayed to learn that the Soviets have a yet as unannounced Doomsday Device to detonate if any of their key targets are hit. As Ripper, Mandrake and those in the War Room try and work the situation to their end goal, Major T.J. “King” Kong, one of the B-52 bomber pilots, is working on his own agenda of deploying his bomb where ever he can on enemy soil if he can’t make it to his intended target. (This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.) Peter Sellers is very good in his 3 different roles as an RAF officer, The American President and Nazi scientist Dr Strangelove.


Let us hope that life does NOT imitate art!

No, the `crazies` are not THAT crazy are they, are they? Assurance please as Edinburgh is on the same latitude as Moscow and 1,500 miles away – unlike the Eastern seaboard of the USA which is 4,500 miles from Moscow, further south and thus farther out of reach.

Peace Always to all RSN readers,

Best, Paul O’Hanlon




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