A Brazilian defeat would have been a disaster for FIFA, sharpening the Brazilian anti-corruption, anti-FIFA protest movement. A conspiracy theorist might say that explains the appalling refereeing decisions. Others might say that is nonsense and the referee was just honestly incompetent. As a complete neutral who loves football, my evening’s enjoyment was ruined either way. If the officials are going to behave like this, why not skip the next month and just give the cup to Brazil now?
Was it a Brazilian or a FIFA official who stole the budget for the opening ceremony? Over a billion people just watched that rubbish.
For years, neo-con apologists for the invasion of Iraq have parroted the lie that at least life is better than it was under Saddam Hussein. That was always blatantly untrue, from the massive destruction of water, power and healthcare infrastructure; not to mention the million dead, two million maimed and five million displaced. The neo-con commentators, of course, have not actually been there. Those of us who have, found the situation far worse than anything reported in the mainstream media. Indeed, perhaps the most irrefutable proof of the propaganda model of Western media is that 59% of the population believed less than 10,000 people died as a result of the Iraq War. That poll itself only made the mainstream media in a letter by known dissenters published on the Guardian’s letters page – a way of “othering” the information.
It is now extremely difficult for the media to pretend that everything is OK in Iraq, bar the odd car bomb. The AL-Maliki regime has been in the remarkable position of being both pro-Iranian and supported by the West with masses of military hardware – substantial quantities of which is now in the hands of ISIS. I don’t expect Al-Maliki to fall soon, but his area of control is decreasing by the hour. Whether the Al-Maliki regime has been any less vicious than that of Saddam Hussein is arguable. Certainly there has been a great deal less social freedom in Iraq.
I abhor dictatorship, but waging massive high technology war on a country, destroying its infrastructure and many of its people, because it has the misfortune to suffer under a dictator, is crazy. Those who genuinely believe in “liberal intervention” must finally admit that the revival of the concept of the “civilising mission” of imperialism has failed, disastrously, and brought massive misery to the world.
The harder-headed men on whose behalf Blair and Bush were acting, who never believed or cared about spreading liberal democracy, but simply wanted to gain vast wealth through control of natural resources, are less likely to be disillusioned. “Liberal intervention” has successfully acquired for these men assets in the diamond and rutile mines of Sierra Leone, and the oilfields of Iraq and Libya. My main hope from the current violent convulsions is that as few people are killed or harmed as possible. But over the next few years, it is essential that mineral riches are removed from Western interests in those countries that suffered “liberal intervention”. Otherwise we will see more of it, if it continues to appear a viable business model to the establishment.
What is Tony Blair’s current personal wealth?