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Thursday, December 08, 2005

State terror in focus

Harold Pinter, winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Literature, delivers a scathing acceptance speech:

"The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.

"Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it."

The truth is starting to seep out.


Blogger Shabadoo said...

Pinter's one to talk, being that he's also an outspoken supporter of Slobodan Milosevic. I'll take my outrage from someone a little less selective, thank you very much.

He's also one of the worst poets of the modern era, which is saying a LOT.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:27:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Heh...naturally, I just found out he's also active in the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, which claims that Castro's prison is "the most democratic state in the world."

Really, Anty, is Pinter the best you can do?

Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:38:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Poor Shab,

Pinter must really have gotten to you. That's 2 bouts fo verbal diarrhea in a row.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 12:06:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

And, of course, ignore the initial charge of US crimes in the last decades. The US is always fighting for democracy, so any deaths or coups, well, shit happens.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 12:26:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Nice way to ignore the point, boyos.

Read up on your cold war history sometime.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 12:40:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Cold War history?
That the US deliberately exaggerated the threat from the Soviets? Read recently about the start of Vietnam war being a set-up? Or perhaps you mean the ways in which the US overthrew democratically elected govts, installed dictators, or supported despots?
I know my history, mate. You, on the other hand, without fail, are hilariously clueless when it comes to examining the role of the superpower.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 12:49:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Yes, just look at all the happy workers' paradises around the world the Soviets created - I'm sure you would have had fun being a 'brave dissenter' there. Warm-and-fuzzy Soviet revisionism is an old game, but I think you should have a look at items like the Venona Cables, the Black Book of Communism, etc.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 1:04:00 pm  
Blogger Stev said...

Out of curiosity Shab, do you disagree with the point that Pinter makes, or are you just using attacks on him to avoid said point?

I would think to really address the issue and not 'ignore the point' (boyo) one would need to respond to the allegations he makes rather than just attack his personal politics.

And on a side note, translating the Guardian article, which states that Pinter believe Milosevic to be 'ruthless and savage' into Pinter's support for Milosevic is negligent at best.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 1:07:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

No, I don't agree with him. I've travelled to many, many of the countries he's talking about, and I've been to many of their counterparts that got sucked (suckered?) into being Soviet satellites is night and day. Want to talk about damage that can never be undone? Go to Cuba sometime...or eastern bloc states.

Pinter is a vicious and vile self-aggrandizing little man with a bizarre streak of European anti-Americanism that he uses to impress the bien pensants (read Peter Berger's recent article on anti-Americanism in the New Republic for an interesting history of this strain of thought), and a crappy writer and poet to boot.

But if Anty thinks a man who defends Slobo (Pinter is highly critical of the sort of international justice arrangements in the case that one would think Anty applauds) and the Castro dictatorship is a worthwhile spokesman for his side, so be it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 1:14:00 pm  
Blogger Stev said...

So the point you're making is that the brutal dictatorships supported & installed by the Soviets are worse than those supported and installed by the US therefore we shouldn't hold the US responsible? Not being widely travelled, I can't really speak from experience, but I don't know how well we can judge the experiences of a country's people just by visiting the country. Perhaps you're right, perhaps the difference between dictatorships for which the US is responsible and Soviet states is night and day, but it hardly changes the fact that US foreign policy is responsible for a great number of dictatorships and therefore responsible for the many deaths under those dictatorships.

And again, one paragraph addressing the point to two paragraphs attacking Pinter's character. Everyone has an agenda Shab, even your good self. From what I understand of the Guardian article you posted, he's hardly defending the 'ruthless and savage' Milosevic, but rather claiming that he has been unfairly targeted. Maybe he has, maybe he hasn't - but let's not pretend (like you seem to be) that his position is 'Hey, Castro and Milosevic aren't such bad guys - let's cut them some slack'.

While his views on such subjects are worth remembering when considering his position on US foreign policy, they don't mean that we shouldn't consider his position at all. Otherwise we would have to rule out everything said by anyone with an agenda and that would leave us with very little to consider.

If you want to talk about irrelevant - let's talk about your feelings towards his artistic work. It's been mentioned twice now, quite frankly I don't think it makes a lick of difference to anything being discussed here.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 2:25:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Actually, Stev, I think that his artistic merits are worth pointing out, because it suggests really how in certain lefty elite circles, any sort of execrable trash can be trotted out so long as the person pushing it has the correct attitudes and ideas.

Look, I'm not saying that the US was angelic during the Cold War, just that you've got to be realistic about these things, and the sort of post-Soviet revisionism that tries to apologise for the crimes of communism and charge the Americans with making the whole threat up is patently, 100% false and dishonest.

Re: Cuba, Pinter is part of a group that actively promotes the evil fiction that Cuba is a great democracy, and re: Slobo, in the Guardian piece, he is described as having 'long argued that he has been unfairly demonised as the "butcher of the Balkans"' and saying that the ethnic cleansing was done by others...which is fairly "not such a bad guy", at least to me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 2:35:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Well, I do hope that you make a better art critic than you do a poilitical pundit or history buff, both at which you suck.

The US used the threrat of Cummunism to trash Latin Aemrica for decades.

Slobo may have been a nasty piece of work, but the fact remains that we never found those hundreds of thousands fo dead bodies after all, which is why his tril is going to hell in a handbasket. In fact, der old Shrub is responsible for many more deaths than Slobo will ever be. Thank god for exceptionalism right Shab.

And while you're trashing Cuba, spare a thought for the fact that Cuba's infant mortality rate makes the US look like a 3rd world country. Democracy doesn't mean much when you don't live to see it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 3:12:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Please - you believe the figures coming out of Cuba? Addamo, you're an even worse logician than you are speller - this is an old canard that's been debunked ages ago. Nick Kristof at the Times fell for this in re: China several months ago and was quickly set straight.

Cuba has 100% literacy, too...which is great use in a country with zilch freedom of speech.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 3:55:00 pm  
Blogger Armagnac Esq. said...

Shabby, don't hold back using every second comment to tell us how you really feel.

BTW brains, what's this about:

"one of the worst poets of the modern era"

I don't know about his poetry.

But he's pretty respected as a PLAYWRITE.

Exhibit #1085 in the case for literacy leading to leftyness...

Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:29:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Ever used Google Shab? Yes, never trust those Coimmunists at Unicef.

You need to take a holiday from Tim Blairs blog. It's making you loopy.

Friday, December 09, 2005 12:24:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Wait a second, Addamo, if you read the links you gave me, they prove my point - i.e., that the US infant mortality rate is higher because of a statistical fluke:

The result is that the statistics make it appear as if Cuba's infant mortality rate is significantly better than the United States', but in fact what is really being measured in this difference is that the United States takes far more serious (and expensive) interventions among extremely low birth weight and extremely premature infants than Cuba (or much of the rest of the world for that matter) does.

This does not diminish in any way Cuba's progress on infant mortality, which is one of the few long term improvements that the Cuban state has made, but infant mortality statistics that are that close to one another are often extremely difficult to compare cross-culturally.

Friday, December 09, 2005 10:21:00 am  
Blogger RapScallion said...

Astonishing to read that shab's dead keen to keep banging on about Pinter's artistic merits and is so convinced he's 'execrable' and 'one of the worst poets of the modern era', when it's obvious shab's unutterably ignorant about Pinter's work and almost certainly hasn't read a word of his plays NOT poems.

But the salient feature of this kind of attack is the prevalent inclination of the 'right' to set up the straw man in order to disparage and dismiss (rather than argue against) the substance of arguments made in relation to an issue. The rhetorical ranting of Bolt, Tim Blair, Akermans, Albrechtsen and others is replete with this kind of thing, it's their bread and butter, and shabadoo simply cannot comment without doing it too.

As for Cuba, the most relevant comparisons are with the rest of Latin America. You have to compare literacy, health standards, public services, and even 'freedom of speech' and political action with what pertains in countries like Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Colombia and even Brazil and Chile. Not to forget that for decades Cuba has been subjected to the same type of embargo as was imposed by the USA on Vietnam and Nicaragua, which might partly explain its poverty and isolationism.

If one does want to compare Cuba with the USA, this link:
is an interesting article about how Cuba managed to deal with a tremendous hurricane, contrasting its civil defence and evacuation procedures with what happened in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina. It's just one relatively small example, but shab will no doubt slag off at it in his usual way, if he bothers to read it, dismissing the writer and truthout with his invective. I don't submit it as proof of one country's superiority to the other, merely to show that there are numerous things as valuable to a people as 'free speech' or even 'democracy', neither of which are particularly strong in the USA.

Friday, December 09, 2005 11:23:00 am  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

Shabby, you're almost a Professor of Disinformation Theory. If only you could put that narrow minded relentlessness to some good use. The intensity of your phobias could provide the electricity US forces are still unable to generate in Iraq.

Friday, December 09, 2005 12:19:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Yes, it would be worth mentioning that Cuba even offered to send medical aid to NO after Katrina.

Anyone notice how Shad is the first out of the blocks to rebut every thread? Maybe he's on a reatainer from Tim Blair.

The economic isolation of Cuba would devastate any country and the US insist that Cuba's ailments are purely a result of it's own ineptitude. Even if Cuba's mortality rate is on par with the US, it is a shcoking indictment on the US that they are nor an order of magnitude better off.

Friday, December 09, 2005 12:45:00 pm  
Blogger boredinHK said...

AL - "That the US deliberately exaggerated the threat from the Soviets? Read recently about the start of Vietnam war being a set-up?'
This is an interesting point - could you provide the article or link to this second question ?
Thanks for the help.

Friday, December 09, 2005 2:25:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Sure thing:

Start with this:

then read this:

echoes of Iraq, anyone?

Friday, December 09, 2005 2:31:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Indeed the Bay of Tolkien incident has been widely regarded as a false flag operation to escalate the conflict in Vietnam.

There was a documentary thatwas supposed to be screened in Oz called "The Power Of Nightmares" that deals with how the Soviet threat was spun to prolong the cold war, among other things.

Friday, December 09, 2005 3:40:00 pm  
Blogger RapScallion said...

Bay of Tolkien, addamo??? Fraudulent Slip? Humourous wordplay? Or just a typo? You're forgiven. You're right in what you say about it.

The doco you refer to HAS been shown, it finished last night on SBS. Next week there's a three parter on that rebuts the theory put forward in PoN. No doubt they will be repeated if you missed the first series.

Yes, Cuba's offer of assistance was brushed off, of course. It was a bit like the black Tom Robinson's saying he 'felt sorry' for white trash Mayella Ewell at his phony rape trial in 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. That did him in as far as the jury were concerned.

Friday, December 09, 2005 5:17:00 pm  
Blogger boredinHK said...

AL, re the Us involvement in the Vietnam war -
"An insurgency was underway in Vietnam for nearly two decades before Lyndon Johnson committed large numbers of American ground forces to the fight in 1965. The U.S. had nevertheless maintained hundreds and then thousands of “advisors” there for years before that in an effort to help the South Vietnamese government of Ngo Dinh Diem fight off an attempt to remove him that had both internal and external components."
And a further comment -
"U.S. involvement in the military struggle in Vietnam followed the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, apparently with President Kennedy’s knowledge and consent, and his replacement by a series of military rulers with no real basis for legitimacy."
These are from Policy Review , article by Frederick Kagan.

From Z Mag October 1998 -"The U.S. became involved in Vietnam after World War II, first in supporting the French from 1945 to 1954 as they tried to reestablish control over their former colony following the Japanese occupation. After the Vietnamese defeated the French, the U.S. refused to accept the 1954 Geneva settlement, which provided for a temporary North-South division to be ended by a unifying election in 1956. Instead, it imported its own leader, Ngo Dinh Diem, from the U.S., imposed him on the South, and supported his refusal to participate in the 1956 election. Eisenhower conceded that Ho Chi Minh would have swept a free election, and from 1954/1965 a stream of U.S. experts conceded that our side had no indigenous base, whereas the Vietnamese enemy had the only "truly mass-based political party in South Vietnam" (Douglas Pike). Pacification officer John Vann stated in 1965 that "A popular political base for the Government of South Vietnam does not now exist," that our puppet regime is "a continuation of the French colonial system...with upper class Vietnamese replacing the French," and that rural dissatisfaction "is expressed largely through alliance with the NLF [National Liberation Front]."
The Bay of Tonkin event was needed as a basis for President Johnson to extend the involvement.The New York Times accepted the lies from the administration.And the Kennedy administration seems to have been involved in assasination !

Monday, December 12, 2005 8:06:00 pm  
Blogger boredinHK said...

Another link about the Gulf of Tonkin events -

Monday, December 12, 2005 9:14:00 pm  

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