Thursday, June 14, 2012

Look Here, Not There
     In dictatorships the government tells the media what and what not to say.  It’s different here where the media repeat what the government says and ignores what the government ignores.  In my three score and twelve years I scarce recall an instance in which our press didn’t dance to the official line with the definitude of Fred and Ginger.
    A current example of this precision duet is the unholy mess in Syria. The brutal Assad regime is battling an assortment of ruthless rebels (including the local branch of Al Qaeda). Though it is by no means the biggest or baddest blood bath on planet Earth, Syria’s been getting big-time daily media coverage here and in Europe.
    There's no pretense at objectivity despite the fact that we really don’t know diddely about what’s happening and who’s doing it.  Washington is openly calling for the removal of the Assad regime and McCain and other Reps are itching to jump into the fight. Anyone who doubts that our special forces, the Israelis, the Saudis and such are not already in the middle of it ought to go back to Sunday school.
    The stakes are big: Syria’s a serious country bordering on Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. It’s gotten away with disobeying the empire for decades. Installing a docile regime in Damascus in place of its willful one would be a major gain for Washington and Tel Aviv.
    I'd say fat chance!  Sects and sectarians from Morocco to Pakistan are scrambling for power--but what they all share is mistrust of the U.S. and hatred of Israel. Changes in government are not about to change that. Washington's puppets are simply no longer tractable. U.S. hegemony is fast fading in that part of the world, and as for the Israelis, I would buy their ten year bonds but not their 30 year ones. 
    Meanwhile, there’s a nearer nation in which a quarter million people have been killed and three to four million driven into internal and external exile. They are the victims of a longtime right-left civil war in which Washington arms and trains the rightists. The massacres there makes Syria look like Sweden. But those monstrous facts get minimal media hereabouts. The country where blood flows in torrents is instead portrayed as a democratic ally whose human rights record is steadily “improving.” 
    The culprit of course is Colombia, Washington’s leading satrap in Latin America and our numero uno supplier of cocaine. Columbia is too embarrassing for media to talk about.  Except for occasional chamber of commerce-type plugs for its putative economic advances (fancy malls in the cities distracting from the same old misery in the countryside), our media mostly ignore the place. 
    The reason is obvious: how, for example can they explain why hundreds of thousands of supposedly prospering and democratic-minded Colombians keep fleeing from U.S.-sponsored military death squads to supposedly suppressive Venezuela and Ecuador?  Acknowledgement of such facts would merely confuse Americans. So let's keep sympathizing with the Syrians and pretending that Colombia is no more than a seraglio for our Secret Service.