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Journalism at its Best
~ Uncensored Commentary ~

John Pilger, Gary Zukav, Scott Kalechstein, Tamim Ansary

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Inevitable ring to the unimaginable


IF the attacks on America have their source in the Islamic world, who can really be surprised?

Two days earlier, eight people were killed in southern Iraq when British and American planes bombed civilian areas. To my knowledge, not a word appeared in the mainstream media in Britain.

An estimated 200,000 Iraqis, according to the Health Education Trust in London, died during and in the immediate aftermath of the slaughter known as the Gulf War.

This was never news that touched public consciousness in the west.

At least a million civilians, half of them children, have since died in Iraq as a result of a medieval embargo imposed by the United States and Britain.

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Mujadeen, which gave birth to the fanatical Taliban, was largely the creation of the CIA.

The terrorist training camps where Osama bin Laden, now "America's most wanted man", allegedly planned his attacks, were built with American money and backing.

In Palestine, the enduring illegal occupation by Israel would have collapsed long ago were it not for US backing.

Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have been its victims - principally the victims of US fundamentalism, whose power, in all its forms, military, strategic and economic, is the greatest source of terrorism on earth.

This fact is censored from the Western media, whose "coverage" at best minimizes the culpability of imperial powers. Richard Falk, professor of international relations at Princeton, put it this way: "Western foreign policy is presented almost exclusively through a self-righteous, one-way legal/moral screen (with) positive images of Western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence."

That Tony Blair, whose government sells lethal weapons to Israel and has sprayed Iraq and Yugoslavia with cluster bombs and depleted uranium and was the greatest arms supplier to the genocidists in Indonesia, can be taken seriously when he now speaks about the "shame" of the "new evil of mass terrorism" says much about the censorship of our collective sense of how the world is managed.

One of Blair's favourite words - "fatuous" - comes to mind. Alas, it is no comfort to the families of thousands of ordinary Americans who have died so terribly that the perpetrators of their suffering may be the product of Western policies. Did the American establishment believe that it could bankroll and manipulate events in the Middle East without cost to itself, or rather its own innocent people?

The attacks on Tuesday come at the end of a long history of betrayal of the Islamic and Arab peoples: the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the foundation of the state of Israel, four Arab-Israeli wars and 34 years of Israel's brutal occupation of an Arab nation: all, it seems, obliterated within hours by Tuesday's acts of awesome cruelty by those who say they represent the victims of the West's intervention in their homelands.

"America, which has never known modern war, now has her own terrible league table: perhaps as many as 20,000 victims."

As Robert Fisk points out, in the Middle East, people will grieve the loss of innocent life, but they will ask if the newspapers and television networks of the west ever devoted a fraction of the present coverage to the half-a-million dead children of Iraq, and the 17,500 civilians killed in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The answer is no. There are deeper roots to the atrocities in the US, which made them almost inevitable.

It is not only the rage and grievance in the Middle East and south Asia. Since the end of the cold war, the US and its sidekicks, principally Britain, have exercised, flaunted, and abused their wealth and power while the divisions imposed on human beings by them and their agents have grown as never before.

An elite group of less than a billion people now take more than 80 per cent of the world's wealth.

In defense of this power and privilege, known by the euphemisms "free market" and "free trade", the injustices are legion: from the illegal blockade of Cuba, to the murderous arms trade, dominated by the US, to its trashing of basic environmental decencies, to the assault on fragile economies by institutions such as the World Trade Organisation that are little more than agents of the US Treasury and the European central banks, and the demands of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in forcing the poorest nations to repay unrepayable debts; to a new US "Vietnam" in Colombia and the sabotage of peace talks between North and South Korea (in order to shore up North Korea's "rogue nation" status).

Western terror is part of the recent history of imperialism, a word that journalists dare not speak or write.

The expulsion of the population of Diego Darcia in the 1960s by the Wilson government received almost no press coverage.

Their homeland is now an American nuclear arms dump and base from which US bombers patrol the Middle East.

In Indonesia, in 1965/6, a million people were killed with the complicity of the US and British governments: the Americans supplying General Suharto with assassination lists, then ticking off names as people were killed.

"Getting British companies and the World Bank back in there was part of the deal", says Roland Challis, who was the BBC's south east Asia correspondent.

British behaviour in Malaya was no different from the American record in Vietnam, for which it proved inspirational: the withholding of food, villages turned into concentration camps and more than half a million people forcibly dispossessed.

In Vietnam, the dispossession, maiming and poisoning of an entire nation was apocalyptic, yet diminished in our memory by Hollywood movies and by what Edward Said rightly calls cultural imperialism.

In Operation Phoenix, in Vietnam, the CIA arranged the homicide of around 50,000 people. As official documents now reveal, this was the model for the terror in Chile that climaxed with the murder of the democratically elected leader Salvador Allende, and within 10 years, the crushing of Nicaragua.

All of it was lawless. The list is too long for this piece.

Now imperialism is being rehabilitated. American forces currently operate with impunity from bases in 50 countries.

"Full spectrum dominance" is Washington's clearly stated aim.

Read the documents of the US Space Command, which leaves us in no doubt.

In this country, the eager Blair government has embarked on four violent adventures, in pursuit of "British interests" (dressed up as "peacekeeping"), and which have little or no basis in international law: a record matched by no other British government for half a century.

What has this to do with this week's atrocities in America? If you travel among the impoverished majority of humanity, you understand that it has everything to do with it.

People are neither still, nor stupid. They see their independence compromised, their resources and land and the lives of their children taken away, and their accusing fingers increasingly point north: to the great enclaves of plunder and privilege. Inevitably, terror breeds terror and more fanaticism.

But how patient the oppressed have been.

It is only a few years ago that the Islamic fundamentalist groups, willing to blow themselves up in Israel and New York, were formed, and only after Israel and the US had rejected outright the hope of a Palestinian state, and justice for a people scarred by imperialism.

Their distant voices of rage are now heard; the daily horrors in faraway brutalised places have at last come home.

* John Pilger is an award-winning, campaigning journalist.

-Sept 13th

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Compassion and Revenge
by Gary Zukav

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are occasions of great significance. They are opportunities for you to feel inside, to find those parts of yourself that are in fear, and to make the decision to move forward in your life without fear. That is the challenge for each individual on this planet today. The pursuit of external power - the ability to manipulate and control - creates only violence and destruction. The painful events in New York and Washington are living examples of that reality.

The causal chain that created this violence is one in which compassion and wisdom are absent. Are wisdom and compassion present in you as you watch the television, and read the papers? It is important to realize that you do not know all that came to conclusion, or into karmic balance, as a result of these events. Because you are not able to know all that can be known about them, you are not in a position to judge them.

When you are able to look at the events of the Earth School from this perspective, you will see clearly the central importance of the role that you play in it. That role is this: It is for you to decide what you will contribute to this world. Many will be asking your opinion of these events. Each question is an opportunity for you to contribute to the love that is in the world or to the fear that is in the world. This is the same opportunity that presents itself to you at each moment.

If you hate those who hate, you become like them. You add to the violence and the destructive energy that now fills our world. As you make the decision to see with clarity and compassion, you will see that those who committed these acts of violence were in extreme pain themselves, and that they were fueled by the violent parts of ourselves - the parts that judge without mercy, strike in anger, and rejoice in the suffering of others. They were our proxy representatives. If you can look with compassion upon those who have suffered and those who have committed acts of cruelty alike, then you will see that all are suffering. The remedy for suffering is not to inflict more suffering.

This is an opportunity for a massive expression of compassion. It is also an opportunity for a massive expression of revenge. Which world do you intend to live in -- a world of revenge or a world of compassion?

Love, Gary

Author Gary Zukav ("The Dancing Wu Li Masters") challenges accepted thinking in an essay called "Compassion and Revenge," which he sent out to readers and can be found
at his website,

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Reflections On September 11

By Scott Kalechstein

Written on September 11th and 12th, 2001

"If I understand what Gandhi is saying, nonviolence requires something far more difficult than merely turning the other cheek; it requires empathizing with the fears and other feelings that provide that impetus for people to attack us. Being aware of these feelings we have no desire to attack back because we can see the human ignorance leading others to attack us; instead, our goal becomes to provide the education for our attackers which will enable them to transcend their violence and engage in cooperative relationships with us." - Marshall Rosenberg

On September 11, 1906, Mahatma Gandhi launched the first mass campaign of nonviolent struggle the world had seen, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

I am writing this exactly ninety-five years after Gandhi's actions, the day of the terrorist attacks.

I feel sad, shocked and tremendously shaken up by this. At times I also feel quite calm, as if I was the center of a hurricane, an Eye of peace in the tumultuous storms around me. My focus has been to breathe in the suffering of those in pain and breathe out my love and blessings to them. A Course In Miracles teaches us over and over that all perceived attacks are a call for love in disguise, and that miracles happen when that love is given.

Today I am sending love. Today I am asking the question of God: How can I relate to this event in a way that brings healing to the world? And the answer comes in a gentle, powerful and earth-shaking whisper: Extend compassion and empathy to everyone involved. And everyone is involved. Nobody on earth can pretend they are separate from this event. It is that big. What potential for joining and healing, movement and evolution!

Rather than just labeling the terrorists as evil, can you imagine the consciousness of those who would give rise to such behavior? Can you begin to empathize with the pain that would inspire people to hate that way? I can. And I believe we must, if healing is to come to our world. It is said that if we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all our hostility. I am not saying we should accept violence because these people have suffered so deeply. Empathy is not an excuse to condone terrorism. It is a way to create the climate for healing so it is not repeated.

Those who have experienced horror after horror and know not how to grieve, to process the layers of their pain, find their un-cried tears hardening into bullets and warfare. All energy moves to expression.

If at all possible, I believe these people must be caught and prevented from taking further actions of terrorism. And if force is needed to undertake such prevention, so be it. But force as a means to punish or to regain power only continues to feed the problem. In Gandhi's words: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

My hope is that we all allow ourselves to be shaken up by this, shaken out of our comfort zones that tower us Americans above the suffering and poverty that most of the world experiences. Perhaps all ivory towers of separation have to come crashing down for the healing of separateness in our world.

If healing is to come, it will come through the consciousness of oneness. I am one with the hearts of all the people affected by these events. I am one with the people who lost their mates, the children whose fathers and mothers didn't come home. And I am one with the tortured hearts of those who took these actions. We are all in this together.

Here is a question I am pondering: How do these terrorists reflect a part of my consciousness? Is there a part of me that believes that acting out my anger is justified, and that sometimes it is necessary to violate someone to make my point or express my frustrations? Have I ever thought that inflicting pain on someone would wake them up, teach them a lesson, or accomplish something of value? Do I ever feel so hurting and helpless that the best I can do is throw a tantrum? Of course! My actions may not ever be as dramatic as what has been acted out on this day, but I do own the shadow part of my consciousness that has contributed to such events.

The United States has a shadow too. We stampeded across this country through the genocide of the Native Americans, and we have contributed to violence all throughout the world since then. To the extent that this shadow is disowned and denied, a large part the world feels compelled to hate us and some even attack us. Just like an individual recovers from an addiction, we as a nation need to hit bottom, come out of denial, make amends for those whom we have inflicted violence upon, and own our weaknesses as well as our strengths. My hope is that the twin towers crumbling down can serve as our national bottom.

Are the terrorists evil and is our country an innocent victim? Are things ever that black and white?

I would like to quote the words of Michael Moore, who made the movie Roger and Me and has been a prominent political and social activist:

"WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden! Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA! Don't take my word for it -- I saw a piece on MSNBC last year that showed that when the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, the CIA trained bin Laden and his buddies in how to commits acts of terrorism against the Soviet forces.

We abhor terrorism -- unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing.

We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians.

We have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world, with our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador).

Will we ever get to the point that we realize we will be more secure when the rest of the world isn't living in poverty so we can have nice running shoes?

Let's mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate, let's examine our contribution to the unsafe world we live in.

It doesn't have to be like this...

To enjoy more of Scott's writings, please visit the San Diego sections of Awareness Magazine at:

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The Belly to Do What Needs to be Done

Tamim Ansary is the author of over 60 books, for kids and immigrants.

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."

And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.

But the Taliban and Bin Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan -- a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.

New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban -- by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.

So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that, folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.

And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the west, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else? T. Ansary We are not a government run web site. We do not support any act of terrorism; we condemn it in all its forms. This page is dedicated to the plight of the Afghan Woman. Currently, there are thousands of widows in the capital of Afghanistan. Women are forced to cover themselves from head to toe, denied access to education & proper health care, forbidden to work in order to support their families, and face brutal beatings if they do not comply with the rules set forth for them by their oppressors. The world needs to know about this tragedy; our hope is that this page will become a good source of recent news and information pertaining to the current struggle women in Afghanistan are facing. The current oppression of women in Afghanistan is due to politics and ignorance, not Islam!

courtesy of

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LINKS for Uncensored News The staff of New Dimensions radio invites you to sit in a virtual circle with us on the first day of every month, to pray and/or meditate, at the same instant, from wherever you are, for five minutes - to resonate with us and others as we focus on taking responsibility for who we are as a species on the planet, and on whatever situation you feel most needs healing. We can positively respond to any political and environmental "hot spots" by focusing our positive awareness. Z is an independent political magazine of critical thinking on political, cultural, social, and economic life in the United States. It sees the racial, sexual, political, and class dimensions of personal life as fundamental to understanding and improving contemporary circumstances and it aims to assist activist efforts to attain a better future. For unprecedented coverage of Indian Country response to the terror inflicted on the nation. This is journalism at its best, full of immediate articles by topnotch writers as well as many responses from tribal leaders and Native voices. Angry, poignant, combative -- no one will ever be able to say Indian people are not completely aware and responsive to the issues affecting our Great Turtle Island. Excellent stories complemented by a highly active chat-room. A site founded by Arianna Huffington as a place for citizens with a deep concern for the state of our country and its political system. The site centers on a call for political reform and antipoverty groups that can help people organize in a grassroots movement, beginning with this year's elections. A journal of opinion inspired by the great patriot Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense and The Rights of Man. Paine was a man of humble origins and modest education, but he became a writer of extraordinary skill and passion. He used his talent to advance the cause of liberty and democracy against distant and unaccountable rulers. John Tarleton formerly wrote as a news and sports reporter at several daily newspapers. Hitchhiker, juggler, English teacher, migrant farm worker and human right activist, he continues to travel and write as an independent web journalist. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Here are some of his most recent features and short stories. Indymedia is a collective of independent media organizations and journalists offering non-corporate, noncommercial coverage of important social and political issues in the San Francisco Bay Area and worldwide. Links to SF Bay Area Media and Activist Groups, Comprehensive list of links to newspapers (on and off-line), radio, history, and more. PLUS, list of National and International sites too! Holt Uncensored is a twice-weekly Email column and website about books and the book industry written by Pat Holt, former Book Review Editor and Critic for The San Francisco Chronicle. Australian view - Crikey will point out theft, corruption, deception and collusion whenever and where it can. It is our self appointed task to take a long thin spike to the bloated egos of political and corporate Australia and to take clear black and white snap shots of the men and women who have their fingers in the till or who simply get paid too much for doing shoddy work. World news too! British Broadcasting Corporation news world UK international foreign. The UK's most popular newspaper website. Unflinching daily political news, analysis and commentary. Alternative News Videos. The AFU & Urban Legends Archive


Page last updated: September 30, 2012
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