This is not going to be a popular thing to say, but you’ll pardon me if I start by saying I am SO over the hysteria of Western governments and media about the Pussy Riot trial and the mayhem in Syria.
And yes, I did dither before writing the above because it sort of goes against the tide. But I ‘ve been pissed off by the hysterical responses by Western governments and news organisations to the trial and the situation in Syria. Apart from the monumental hypocrisy, it’s a brilliant diversion from the huge problems facing Western governments – the crisis in the European Union; the huge US debt burden; unemployment; a rapidly widening gap between the rich and poor in virtually every Western nation; a poverty of politicians without any ethics and increasing cynicism about the whole political process as a result.
One of the reasons I’ve been giving this some thought is because I’ve been looking at the two situations from the perspective of Neptune being in Pisces. These are watery, emotional signs and while I love Neptune because its position in my astrological chart means I can take off for the mysterious realms quite easily and see into people and what makes them tick, it also represents illusion, dreams, subterfuge, deception and so on.
I happen to think there’s a big difference between the genuine sentiment of people with passion about the well-being and free speech of others (as in Avaaz) and the faux sentiment of Western governments and media who try to whip up hysteria against governments they want to undermine. And that is the reason why people like Hilary Clinton and William Hague are proselytising about free speech and defending the Syrian people – they want to get their mitts on both Russia and Syria.
Yes, I think the Russian penal apparatus looks absolutely stupid with its show trial of the three women for their one-minute performance in a priests-only section of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The intention of the performance was to draw attention to the special relationship with President Putin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. Neither Putin nor the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church come of this smelling of roses.
Yes, there is a free speech issue here and jailing the three women for two years is a huge over-reaction. But when I see the hysterical response from the leaders of Western nations screaming about Putin and what’s happening in Russia, well, sorry, my own reaction is that they are trying to undermine the Russian state so they can get their nasty little tentacles into a country which has not allowed them free rein.
Why do I say this? Because free speech is not a given if you happen to be an ordinary person in the West. I recall the shameful treatment of the Dixie Chicks. Performing in the UK, they said to their British audience: “We don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas”. It certainly went down well with the Brits because so many opposed the war. But in the US, band members were bad-mouthed by right-wing shock jocks and Government leaders. Their albums were discarded in public protest. They were boycotted for exercising their right to free speech. (And please, don’t get me going on “Freedom Fries” instead of French fries, because I thought that was one of the most sodding stupid things I’ve ever seen, absolutely pathetic).
I didn’t see then any wailing and breast-beating by other Western nations about the Dixie Chicks right to freedom of speech. Sure they weren’t put on trial but they endured vicious, McCarthy-like attacks and intimidation for having the guts to publicly oppose a war waged for control of oil supplies by the cabal in the White House and the stupidly named “Coalition of the Willing”, a motley collection of nations mainly cobbled together by the blackmail and bullying of the White House, particularly led by ex-Vice-President, Dick Cheney.
I didn’t see any angry defence of the Dixie Chicks from media outlets or Western governments outside of the US. Nor do I see much government and media spruiking about free speech when it comes to the treatment of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange over the Wikileaks affair. Bradley Manning, who allegedly gave the documents to Wikileaks which sparked such a furore, has been tortured and humiliated by the US Army with the support of Obama, the Democrats and the Republicans. The only support for Manning has come from rank and file people in the US and around the world. They are the fair dinkum, decent people who really do care about free speech and civil liberties.
The US government put pressure on PayPal to stop accepting donations to Wikileaks. Silence from the UK, French and other European government leaders, and hardly a squeak in the major newspapers of European nations. Now those same British newspapers which roared so loudly about Pussy Riot are quiet as a mouse about the real issue surrounding Sweden’s attempted extradition of Assange to Sweden. I do feel very, very sorry for the two women involved in the rape charges against Assange because they are victims in this whole sorry saga too. But the sexual assault charges are also part of the deception to try to undermine support for Assange and Wikileaks.
The fact that neither Sweden nor the US authorities would agree there would be no attempted extradition of Assange to the US is a sure sign that the subterfuge and illusion of Neptune is working in the background – the sexual assault charges are a front for a vengeful US state apparatus, which doesn’t give a stuff about free speech (or whether women are raped or not) when it affects US wheeling and dealing in the world, and wants to get its hands on Assange, prosecute him and jail him for life/execute him. That the US is working in hidden ways to get its hands on Assange was confirmed when it was revealed in Australia that the Aussie ambassador to the US, Kim Beazley, had requested advance notice of any US move to extradite Assange from Sweden so that cabinet ministers could have the right answers ready. Cue for upchuck at the monumental hypocrisy of the Australian government, it’s gutless refusal to look after Assange’s interests and its crawling to the Obama administration.
And now let’s look at the situation in Syria. The British and American governments have been railing against the Chinese and Russian governments for not agreeing to Security Council resolutions they have proposed. There has been very little mention that these two powers consider European and American governments untrustworthy after they supported a resolution for a “no-fly zone” over Libya, only to find that those governments then gave armed backing to opponents of the regime. Nor has much attention been paid to suggestions by the Chinese and Russian governments that efforts be made to bring the two sides together to sort out a negotiated peace. The rebel factions refused any efforts to achieve a result which would minimise the suffering of ordinary people. That’s glossed over too.
Yes, the Libyan regime was repressive and Gaddafi was clearly mentally ill. And yes, people must decide their own fate in their own interests, not those of foreign, Western, meddling nations. But the whole idea that anyone who rebels must automatically be supported is again deceptive. If you know anything about Middle East politics it is that it is a morass of intrigue, double-dealing, factional and sectarian warfare, and much more. Saudi Arabia and Yemen are secretly arming the Syrian rebels. The British and US governments are working overtime to secretly assist the rebels. Iran is backing up the Assad regime. But the essence of Western support for rebels in Syria isn’t some deep, abiding respect for the terrible suffering of the people. It’s to increase Western control and meddling in the Middle East and let’s be quite clear: the ultimate goal is to destabilise Iran and control its oil resources. Nothing has been learned from the 1953 coup by the CIA and the installation of the Shah of Iran which led to revolution and the current administration. And nothing has been learned from the monumental cock-up and disaster of the Iraq war. The arrogance and refusal to learn from past mistakes is frightening.
If you think I’m being cynical, just take a look at Oman, Yemen and Bahrain. There are plenty of demonstrations in both countries and people being killed because of popular opposition to the ruling elites. Do you hear wails of anguish from Western governments and media about the suppression of the rebels and killings by the government? Not a cracker. Not a peep. Because these countries and governments are of strategic importance to the US. Where is the loud condemnation by European, US and British governments and media of the highly repressive government in Saudi Arabia and its appalling repression of women? It doesn’t exist because the country is again of strategic importance and it is a major supplier of oil.
And if the US and Western governments were genuinely supportive of people’s rights and an end to their suffering, why haven’t they given more support and aid to the pitiful situation of those in refugee camps between Sudan and South Sudan. Two thousand children a day are turning up to live in these camps and god knows how many die on the long treks undertaken when families flee the conflict. Medecins Sans Frontieres has described the situation as “horrific” and likely to get far worse when the heavy rains at this time of the year eventuate. Where’s the huge headlines about this tragic situation? Where’s the Establishment yelling and bawling about the thousands who are dying in these camps? Nada, zilch, zip. Why? Because the poor bastards don’t have oil in their countries so they’re ignored.
What’s the answer? I think we all need to be alert to the subterfuge of Western governments and media which seek to use popular movements for their own interests. The rise of social media and the independent organisations which have flourished on the internet make it easier to keep a track of what real situations are around the world. I happen to think that we need to keep ourselves well informed of world developments so that we can act judiciously, independently and with informed knowledge in whatever action we need to take to support genuine free speech and genuine popular people’s actions.