Saturday, September 17, 2011

How to spread war fever

Throughout the Iraq War, the Turkish military has bombed northern Iraq. The latest wave of assaults began August 17th. As Iraq's air space was repeatedly violated, this week, rumors began circulating that Turkey was planning to enter Iraq by land. Aswat al-Iraq reports, "Northern Iraq’s border areas are witnessing military tension, along with Turkish air flights over the area, a Kurdistan Border Command's source reported on Saturday." The source states, "In the event of entrance by the Turkish forces into the Iraqi borders under justification of chasing their opposition forces, belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), we shall wait for instructions from the Supreme Command in Kurdistan Region to face those forces. The biggest loser from such tensions are the inhabitants of these areas, who lost their lands and cattle."

Turkish warplanes have bombed northern Iraq for a month now. They've forced farmers and shepherds to flee the region creating new Iraqi refugees and they've also killed civilians in their bombings.

How do you sell a war to a people?

With lies and more lies. One way is taking a country and linking it to another. Remember Bully Boy Bush's "Axis of Evil"? Lying to sell illegal war is not solely an American pattern, there is no copyright on that approach. To start the Iraq War, the British and Australian governments also lied to their citizens. And lies from the government work best when the press -- intentionally or not -- works hand-in-hand with the government. And, of course, in all territories, there will always be those willing to do the bidding of a foreign government -- whether it's a pompous Brit repeating Bush's lies as truth or what have you. And that's how we get Dr. Othman Ali.

Oh, look, who crawled back to Iraq. It's everyone's favorite Canadian educated coward Othman Ali. I guess if I were going to fake my way through a doctorate on the issue of Kurds, I'd go to the University of Toronto as well -- I mean, who's going to question you too hard in Canada about the Kurdish issue? So he stayed around and he taught there (in Canada, not at the University of Toronto -- he was much smaller at Woodbridge College where he was a lecturer and not actually a professor). But all that was before the start of the war. Like many a cowardly exile, he slinked back to Iraq after the US invaded and now, when not fielding calls from foreign governments, he operates out of a college in Erbil.

If you want to sway Turkish opinion, what do you do?

This issue really isn't being covered in the US press -- the assault on northern Iraq. And so we should probably back up and explain that Turkey has seen several strong demonstrations against continued assaults on northern Iraq. There is a vibrant peace movement in Turkey. To get the kind of assault that the Turkish government wants, they're going to need to silence that movement. They're going to need to confuse people. Probably 30% in any population can be easily swayed because they don't follow the news (usually due to being too busy and overworked). So they're the ones that a Dick Cheney can fool with the help of the press. (I'm thinking of NBC and the New York Times enlisting to sell the Iraq War providing Dick Cheney with the perfect media movement, he goes on NBC's Meet The Press and waves around the front page of the New York Times at the cameras while insisting it's not just Bully Boy Bush's claims, it's also the New York Times.)

To silence that movement in Turkey, they need to further demonize northern Iraq. PKK isn't really enough for them to sell a ground incursion. PKK and Turkey is an issue that's gone on for years and, truly, the recent assaults by the PKK are neither 'epic' or 'grand' when compared to previous years. Equally true, questions are being raised about how the Turkish government made promises regarding the Kurds in Turkey and failed to keep them but does continue to jail Kurdish politicians.

Facts and movements have to be overwhelmed with hysteria to reach that 30% and bring them (or some of them) over to the side of war.

So along comes Othman Ali and his hysterical piece for Zaman linking the PKK with . . .

Think about it. Whose Turkey's biggest opponent these days?

Did you say Israel?

You won the door prize.

In his really bad "Israel's out to get us and backing the PKK" article, Othman's proof or 'proof' is laughable if anyone examines the claims -- but this hysteria rarely allows anyone to examine.

As proof of his assertion, he basically offers two things. First up, Seymour Hersh wrote about it in The New Yorker!!!!! Sy also told us the US was going to war with Iran. That was when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House and it never happened. It's kind of what he's most famous for in the '00s. In the '90s what he was most famous for, now forgotten, was writing that trashy book about JFK and how, he claimed, JFK liked to choke women he was having sex with or hold their heads under water because it intensified the sexual experience allegedly for JFK. Now I'm not a worshiper of JFK but I'm not a fan of tawdry either and, most importantly, his book included quotes from Gore Vidal that didn't sound like Gore Vidal and, no surprise, Gore publicly rebuked the book and those quotes. I know Sy was flying high in the '00s and everybody wanted to ignore his past which did include rumors of being linked to the US intelligence in the early 70s and did include rumors that he was actively working to stop a protest around the White House. But, hey, kid bloggers, you all know best, right? History be damned, right? The world didn't begin until the moment you paid attention to it, right?

Point being Sy Hersh is a questionable source. (And I kept that on public terms. I could have gone personal very easily. I know Sy and I know his history.)

And yet even citing a questionable source, Othman Ali's unable to back up his claim. Because what Sy Hersh wrote about in 2006 were rumors that the US and Israel were helping PJAK. PJAK and the PKK are not the same things. Again, Ali had to get his doctorate at the University of Toronto. Anywhere with a sizable Kurdish population and/or knowledge would never have signed off on his thesis because it was so implausible.

So rumors that the US and Israel (rumors in one single article five years ago) are helping PJAK are turned into 'truth' that Israel (and the US -- I'm aside-ing that intentionally) is in league with the PKK.

Having 'proved' his point by distorting and linkage, Ali Othman now offers up his second attempt at 'proof':

Hersh's account of Mossad involvement with the PKK was corroborated by the accounts published by WikiLeaks in November 2010. The documents show that the US and Israel have been helping the PKK. A US military document referred to the PKK as "warriors for freedom and Turkish citizens" and said the US had freed arrested PKK members.

That does seem damning. And the 30% easily swayed is made up of people with limited time, none of whom are going to dig around to find a WikiLeak document from a year ago. (Othman Ali provides no hyperlinks. But when you're lying, you really can't back up your claims.)

So since most poeple won't go to the WikiLeak document, let's not either.

There's no reason to. When these whores and liars of war invent their charges, you can footnote until you're blue in the face, that doesn't sway and, honestly, it only confuses the 30% more because, again, they've got limited time to follow anything.

But you don't need to know the WikiLeak document to refute Ali.

Let's refute Ali's writing that we just quoted.

"Hersh's account of Mossad involvement with the PKK was corroborated by the accounts published by WikiLeaks in November 2010."

But Hersh wrote nothing about Mossad and the PKK, he wrote about Mossad and PJAK -- as even Ali had to admit earlier in his article.

"The documents show that the US and Israel have been helping the PKK."

If the US and Israel are helping the PKK according to the WikiLeak documents, why is your article linking the PKK to Israel and not also to the US? Why do you keep ignoring alleged US involvement and never decry that?

"A US military document referred to the PKK as 'warriors for freedom and Turkish citizens' and said the US had freed arrested PKK members."

A document, US military, said that the US had freed the PKK "warriors" they had arrested? Didn't the US turn over those prisons to Iraq and didn't they free prisoners? Who is the US still holding as prisoner in Iraq? In what prison? But if the US did bad by freeing one group of prisoners, why aren't you decrying the US? And how is the US freeing a prisoner or prisoners implicating Israel in some grand plan?

"For this reason, US and Israeli officials were apprehensive about the WikiLeaks materials."

How inflated is your ego?

Do you really think the biggest concern over the WikiLeaks documents -- documents that detail UN concern with a US military assault on civilians in Iraq who were handcuffed and then shot in the head -- was that one page noted that a few PKK members were released from prison?

No, he doesn't think that. But he's spinning and lying to enrage the 30% of the Turkish population that might be swayable. If he can get even 8% of that 30%, he can get the opinion ball rolling.

Qassim Khidhir (Kurdish Globe) reports
that some family members of victims of the Turkish bombings are planning to take legal action:

Sherwan Hussein Mustafa had seven family members killed, including his mother and father, last month "in a massive raid by Turkish warplanes" against the hideouts of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) guerillas inside Iraqi Kurdistan Region territory. Mustafa told The Kurdish Globe he will do anything, "no matter how many years it takes", to get justice for his family.
[. . .]
Mustafa's family was working on the farm in the mountainous area of Qandil. As they heard Turkish warplanes bombing the Qandil Mountains, the family decided to leave the farm to go to their second house in Ranya city, near the Qandil Mountains. On the way to Ranya in their pickup truck, "Turkish warplanes targeted them and turned their bodies into many small pieces." Their deaths created a furious anger across the Region and led to tens of demonstrations. A mass funeral was held for the family in Ranya.

And Wally and Cedric updated today and we'll note them and non-community sites On The Wilder Side, Jane Fonda and the ACLU:

Due to Blogger/Blogspot problems, not all permalinks are reading when they are updated. For that reason we'll note today, yesterday and Thursday's community posts:

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