Obama – Making Your Mind Up 107


Barack Obama does not lie awake at night worrying what Craig Murray thinks of him. One day he will go to his grave without ever knowing what Craig Murray thought of him. But as an infinitesimal fraction of the spreading of views and information in the digital age, I thought I might tell you anyway.

I am not a socialist. I have to say that from time to time, because people imagine that I am, from my dislike of the abuse of power and wealth. But my view remains that organised socialism has generally turned out to be one of the nastier ways of concentrating power and wealth. I am a liberal. My political inspiration has come from Mill, Bright, Hobson, Gladstone, Lloyd George, Keynes and Grimond, from Paine, Cobbett and Carlyle, from Milton, Byron, Burns and William Morris. I am a radical. I am not a socialist.

The point of which disquisition is to explain to you why I was prepared to give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt. Many of my fellow campaigners against war and for human rights, were writing him off after a couple of weeks.

“Give the man time”, I said.

I corresponded with Democrat friends in the US, who explained that, in trying to turn round the neoconservative juggernaut, Obama needed a critical mass of support. His aim was to capture people to his side. Many of those retained, who had served Bush, were careerists not ideologues. Their loyalty was to the Commander-in-Chief. With his authority allied to his charisma, Obama would align them to the new agenda. Give it time – the result would be the most powerful change in modern US history.

The problem is, to believe that someone is changing course, you do have to observe them putting some pressure on the tiller. I see none. On human rights, Obama’s government lawyers have continued seamlessly the positions adopted by the Bush administration in seeking to deny any rights before US courts for detainees in Guantanamo Bay, arguing that they are not legal persons in the US.

The US detention centre at Baghram airbase in Afghanistan, where prisoners have been subject to terrible deprivation and torture, and many have died, is being expanded to take another 244 prisoners. That appears to be the plan for closing Guantanamo Bay, and is one of the few things that could actually make life worse for the prisoners there.

Extraordinary rendition has not been stopped. And to quote just one of myriad cases, Obama continued the Bush administration’s efforts to have the details of the torture suffered by Binyam Mohammed kept secret by the puppet UK government, which complied, and the British courts – the latter thankfully having resisted.

There are to be no prosecutions of Bush administration officals or security service personnel for instituting or implementing the policy of torture worldwide. Which policy, as far as records of the law are concerned, was entirely dreamt up by Ms Lyndie England.

Obama ought to have encouraged prosecutions to deter from it happening again – except it appears not to have stopped. But there are not just to be no prosecutions – the truth is to be buried forever. It was under Obama that Binyan Mohammed was still held, with the complicity of Miliband, while he was pressured to sign a condition of release that he would not tell anyone about his torture. We still don’t know which basements Khalil Sheikh Mohammed was held in over three years and precisely what tortures he was subjected too. At the very least, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Torture and Extraordinary Rendition.

Those rendered to the unspeakable torture of Uzbekistan came on CIA flights from Baghram and from the secret prison at Szymano-Szczytny in Poland. Most if not all now lie in graves in the Kizyl Kum desert. The Americans must have lists of who they transported. We – and their relatives all over the World – don’t know their names.

In January, one of Obama’s first foreign policy initiatives was to send General Petraeus to Tashkent for talks with President Karimov, with a view to reopening the US airbase in Uzbekistan. Diplomatic talks continue. Interestingly, I hear from my Uzbek government moles that they have stalled over Karimov’s demand for a photoshoot with President Obama. That sounds crazy if you don’t know Karimov’s megalomania, and his desire to revive a faltering personality cult.

Hillary Clinton is resisting this strongly. She has nothing against an alliance with Karimov, opening the airbase, paying him a large subsidy and resuming the Bush policy of denying Karimov’s massive human rights abuses at the UN, OSCE and elsewhere. But she has made plain that she will not under any circumstances be pictured with Karimov, who boils opponents alive (literally). She doesn’t think Obama should do it either. But there is now a split over this issue in Washington between White House and State Department, with White House senior staff seeing no harm in a photocall with a man that 99.9% of Americans have never heard of, and who (this is a telling factor) is strongly allied with Israel.

The Uzbek policy particularly interests me, and is a subset of Obama’s disastrous Central Asian policy. In Afghanistan we have presided over massive increases in opium production, to exceed all previous levels by over 50%. The Karzai family and the majority of the Ministers and Governors of the government we installed, are deeply implicated in the industrial scale refining of opium into heroin and its export – much of it through neighbouring Uzbekistan and in collaboration with the Karimov family and their bagman Gafur Rakhimov.

What Obama expects to gain by a massive surge of Western troops into this mess is beyond me. Meantime he has actually increased the rate of air strikes into Pakistan, killing many scores of innocent civilians and contributing to the destabilisaton and growth of radical insurgency in that country.

Then we have economic policy.

I praised Obama’s initial economic stimulus bill for old-fashioned Keynesianism, creating jobs in a recession through public works. But it has now been followed up by Geithner’s Public-Private Investment Program. No wonder Wall Street cheered. It represents a huge transfer of money from the man in the street, not just to the wealthy, but specifically to the speculators.

The plan will bankroll private investment firms and guarantee them huge profits in return for buying failed home loans and securities from the banks at vastly inflated prices. Its name conceals the fact that it involves no private investment of any value, and certainly no private risk. It aims to get the whole speculative hedge fund casino back up and running.

But this is not any casino. This is an exclusive casino with a very tough door policy, where the high rollers can keep their winnings, but know that if they lose, their losses will be taken by force from all the little people who were not allowed into the casino. What fun!

Barack Obama will always have the benefit of not being George Bush. I like him for that. But then I like my cat for not being George Bush. Does he really represent the positive change for which Americans yearned? Will he fulfil the aspirations of his ethereal oratory?

No.


107 thoughts on “Obama – Making Your Mind Up

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  • Anonymous

    Yeah eddie, retract the “self-hating Jew” thing or die an ignominious board death. I’ve been reading this and other debates with some interest, and it is really a give-away line. That historian may well be a rotten historian whipping up anti-Jewish sentiment by lying about Zionist involvement with the Nazis. Who knows, without reading? Personally, I really don’t want to know if a few corrupt conscienceless people who called themselves Zionists collaborated with the Nazis to save their own skins. Quite possibly, they did, since I assume that not all people who are born to Jewish parents are models of a beautiful character (though strangely, all my Jewish friends are). But to use that viciously meaningless ad hominem phrase, and to link it to Chomsky, are failures of logic and humanity. Have you read/watched Chomsky? The man does not appear to “hate” at all, unless he hates ignorance and deception. The “self-hating Jew” tag is both racist, and a slur used, as another poster pointed out, to try and demean people who criticise any of the Israeli government’s policies. Really, take it back.

  • MJ

    “I really don’t want to know if a few corrupt conscienceless people who called themselves Zionists collaborated with the Nazis to save their own skins”.

    I fear it went a little deeper than that.

  • eddie

    I take everything back to nothing. It’s all bollocks. Chomsky is certainly a hater though.

  • George Dutton

    March 28, 2009

    “Obama to Bring More Mercenaries to Afghanistan — Sound Familiar?”…

    http://tinyurl.com/cwua2o

    Bush/Obama…A rose by any other name.

    Craig

    I have told you before…”You don’t get to be President of the United States if you are not what has gone before” (well you could but you won’t be President for long,Dallas ring any bells).

  • MJ

    “I take everything back to nothing. It’s all bollocks”.

    Thank you eddie. That clarify things nicely.

  • Marvin

    >I am not a socialist.

    Well, that’s good to know, because the communist threat is very real – not at all, as some say, manufactured by the U.S. as a pretext to slaughter millions of innocent people, and expand its economic empire.

    Socialism is a menace ravaging Britain. Thank God you’re not a socialist!

    It’s when you say things like this that I suspect you’re still part of the British establishment trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes.

    Socialism to any sensible person simply means a mixed economy, a fair economy, universal health care, worker rights, and a safety net – all of which are currently being taken away from us.

    Along with Blair and others, you are assisting in removing this definition. So, we either say we’re for capitalism (as if it, too, has just one extreme form), or we get called “commies”.

    The world is in the grip of ORGANIZED CAPITALISM, so it would better if you told us what you are against than to ascribe to yourself qualities that mean nothing to the rest of us.

    What is a liberal? Do you agree with Bush and Obama when they say corporate globalization is INEVITABLE? Do you think consumers should have little to no protection against corporations? Do you believe that workers should have no rights, only property? Tell me how something that isn’t human has rights?

    >”Give the man time”, I said.

    >

    >I corresponded with Democrat friends

    >in the US, who explained that, in

    >trying to turn round the

    >neoconservative juggernaut, Obama

    >needed a critical mass of support.

    WE WERE HERE IN 1997!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? “Things can only get better!” It was a pack of lies. I knew it was a pack of lies. Anyone with a barely functioning brain knew. Obama’s campaign was straight out of Britain’s 1997 election playbook.

    While Palestinian children were being MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD, Obama remained silent, saying there is only one president at a time. That didn’t stop him, however, from working hard to push through Bush’s bank HANDOUT. Nor did it stop him from telling AIPAC that he will do all he can as president to protect Israel.

    In a recent interview Obama was laughing when discussing the dire state of the U.S. economy (google “Kroft to Obama: Are you punch-drunk?”). Steve Kroft responded:

    “You’re sitting here. And you’re – you are laughing. You are laughing about some of these problems. Are people going to look at this and say, ‘I mean, he’s sitting there just making jokes about money -‘…Are you punch-drunk?”

    Obama was found in equally good mood when Palestinian children were being killed in cold blood. He’s a rich lawyer who doesn’t care.

    It was evident what Obama was before he was elected.

    I criticise Noam Chomsky for being a capitalist selling his opinions, but I’ve read his articles, as some ARE worth reading. Chomsky covers all this – the myth that political leaders care. They do not! Visit his site and read what he has to say about Obama. He makes some of the points I make.

    “Democracy Now” has a good article on how it is JUST NOT TRUE that anyone can become president, and explains what you must do – and who you must get to support you – if you want a shot at the White House.

    Declassified government documents reveal the truth about our governments. Nowhere do our political “masters” express any concern for human rights.

    Let me quote Leo Szilard, a Hungarian-born physicist:

    “By and large, governments are guided by considerations of expediency rather than by moral considerations. And this, I think, is a universal law of how governments act. Prior to the war I had the illusion that up to a point the American Government was different. This illusion was gone after Hiroshima.”

    (For those that don’t know, the U.S. dropped two atom bombs on innocent civilians in order to prevent a struggle for power with the Soviet Union – all the evidence points to this! Germany was carved up, with the East going to Russia. The U.S. didn’t want to have to do the same with Japan. It was no coincidence that the bombs were hurriedly dropped just before Russia was due to invade. It was merely EXPEDIENT to claim it was to save U.S. lives)

    It’s time to knock some bitter truths into the public’s head – NOT continue lying to them.

  • Anonymous

    “I fear it went a little deeper than that”; I guess, in some few, terrible cases, it possibly did, MJ. There may have been people who were so obsessed with establishing a “Jewish homeland” that they were prepared to watch innocent people being tortured and gassed for it. I would not call them Zionists: it would be like calling Bush a Christian. I would call them murderers. Or did they, as you suggest, stop once they realised what Hitler was really up to? In which case, what’s the fuss?

    Eddie; what do you mean, Chmosky is a “hater”? Against whom has he roused hate?

  • MJ

    The basic thesis of Brenner’s book is this. At first there was quite an open and convivial relationship between Zionists and Hitler. This is because they shared a common aim: they both wanted to resettle Jews out of Germany. Hitler, like the earliest Zionists, didn’t particularly care where the new homeland might be. Herzl was keen on Kenya, Hitler I believe mooted Madagascar. It was only when the Rothschild’s took over the Zionist movement that Palestine became the main target because it suited their business interests. The medallion to which I linked earlier commemorates a joint Zionist/Nazi Party fact-finding mission to Palestine.

    Once we get to the holocaust, things get a bit murkier. Very few, if any, Zionist Jews ended up in the concentration camps. There were secret deals with Zionist leaders which ensured that Zionists Jews were quietly shipped off to Palestine leaving the rest to their terrible fate. The Polish Jews had the worst of it and it was Polish Jews who had collectively renounced Zionism just before the war.

    It’s not a particularly eddie-fying story but there it is. All scrupulously researched and referenced.

  • Anonymous

    Marvin,

    re “I am not a socialist” – it doesn’t mean I have anything against socialists. I don’t, at all. I happen to have a different political opinion, or rather theory. I quite agree that being a socialist doesn’t make you Stalin. Just as my not being a socialist doesn’t make me George Bush.

    Eddie is welcome on this board and argues well. He has different political views to most posters, but that makes for debate, which is good. Nobody’s perfect and his “self-hating Jew” jibe was a silly bit of non-argument. I am not perfect either.

    I would be grateful if people didn’t feel the need to discuss Zionism whatever I am posting, and I thought my original post was pretty interesting. Nor have I read the book in question. But I would make this observation.

    President Karimov of Uzbekistan has been much honoured by Israel and by US Zionist groups. The reason for this is that he allowed the large Jewish community in Uzbekistan, especially Bokhara, to emigrate, which even today Uzbeks citizens are not allowed to do.

    The Jews were happy because they could leave. Karimov was happy to get rid of them – reducing diversity in his multi-ethnic state is a major goal. He also got rid of 1.5 million Russians through emigration and the largest minority, the Tajiks, are undergoing forced “Uzbekisation” as detailed in “Murder in Samarkand” (and the cause of the particular murder of the title}.

    So the Zionists and Karimov have made common cause from entirely different motives. I can see that precisely the same dynamics could have applied to some early pre-holocaust contacts between Nazis and Zionists, both of whom wanted Jews to leave from entirely different motives.

    That is reprehensible if true – and I can see how it could be on the Karimov example. The Karimov example is almost equally reprehensible. But, as someone noted above, it is not at all the same as complicity in the Holocaust, which I would find very hard to believe, although you can always find an isolated nutter.

  • eddie

    MJ – I don’t know if that is your comment above because your name does not appear. I was starting to think there was someone called March! But it was you or your colleague who raised the self hating Jew tag with your continuing reference to a crappy book that reports Zionist collaboration with the Nazis. Self-hating Jews right? So I’m not inclined to retract the point.

    What does Chomsky hate? Himself, the USA, impartiality, the truth to begin with. Look at Bosnia, Cambodia and Faurisson to review his lies and evasions (passim) – he is well known as a dissembler who shot his bolt in the linguistics world decades ago.

    I’ve just been reading comments on another post about kabalistic (?) twaddle from researcher and all the conspiracy theories about 9/aa, and bilge about 15 year old girls being tortured by the Police. Wow, Loony tunes or what? It’s like Alesteir Crowley. I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that this site is a kind of on-line lunatic asylum. I don’t think most of you live in the real world of jobs and homes and raising children. You live in a fantasy world where “dark forces” are runnng things, like some bad Hollowywood film. In the eighteenth century they would have the public in to laugh at you. I don’t like to resort to personal abuse, but I would guess that many of you have a history of mental health problems, feelings of inferiority, dejection, paranoia, rejection? I suppose the site must therefore perform some kind of public service as it keeps you off the streets and stops you molesting people and this stuff makes you feel credible and “important”. It doesn’t really, does it? It’s just sad. And I think you know it. Getting and spending we lay waste our powers. Anyway, that’s it from me. Let the abuse flow.

  • researcher

    Just imagine what this world would look like

    without people with feelings and doubts,

    or if these precious people would feel unimportant.

    Often ignored and derided, yes,

    railroaded by opportunists hooked on power and money,

    but what a difference they make, people with empathy.

    Thank you 🙂

  • MJ

    Eddie, I suspect the anonymous post to which you refer was from Craig, rebuking us for discussing Zionism when that is not the topic of his original thread.

    “But it was you or your colleague who raised the self hating Jew tag with your continuing reference to a crappy book that reports Zionist collaboration with the Nazis”.

    Oh dear eddie, you remind me of those footballers who brazenly plead innocence even though we’ve all seen their blatant offences in crisp slow-motion. All the posts are still there for everyone to see. It was you who raised the “self-hating Jew” nonsense. It wasn’t due to any “continuing” reference to Brenner’s book, it was because I cited it once (and even then only because you requested it).

    “Self-hating Jew” was your first and indeed only response to the book. Presumably you were wanting to call it “anti-semitic” then saw that the author was Jewish so called him a “self-hating Jew” instead. Sorted! All angles covered. A racial slur for all occasions.

  • Marvin

    The comma wrote (well, I only see a comma – not a name!)

    “Marvin,

    re ‘I am not a socialist’ – it doesn’t mean I have anything against socialists.”

    Well, I didn’t know if you did or not. But it seems people are almost as frightened of being considered socialist as they are of being labeled gay – “I have nothing against gays” is a common retort. Whereas no one worries too much if others think of them as hard-nosed capitalists.

    So as to kill two birds with one stone: my comment about why Japan was atom bombed: President Truman from his published memoirs:

    “Anxious as we were to have Russia in the war again Japan, the experience at Potsdam now made me determined that I would not allow the Russians any part in the control of Japan. I made up my mind that General MacArthur would be given complete command and control after victory in Japan.”

    I got that from another book, “MacArthur: His Rendezvous with History”, by Courtney Whitney.

    The review says: “Makes some important contributions and will be indispensable to future researchers. Numerous documents are published in these pages for the first time. ?”New York Times”

  • Marvin

    @The Comma:

    But I still don’t know what you mean by not being a socialist. It’s better if you say what you are for, and what you are against, rather than to use these labels.

    As for me, I don’t call myself anything. I just express my opinion on matters, and you can pin a label on me, if you so wish.

  • Marvin

    Not “The Comma”, “The Colon”. I shouldn’t make posts at this time of night.

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