August 30, 2003

ANOTHER COMICAL ALI

Jim Nolan is on a roll lately. In todayís Age he pulls Tariq Ali apart:

The UN, he tells us, is viewed by Iraqis as "one of Washington's more ruthless enforcers" since it supervised the sanctions that were directly responsible for the deaths of half a million Iraqi children.

This was the favourite whopper retailed by the Saddam propaganda machine. Of course we now know that the food-for-oil program was diverted into Saddam's oil-for-palaces program. The tragedy was all Saddam's own work. He cynically starved his own people to garner the kind of credulous support he still appears to enjoy from the likes of Ali.

The entire piece is valuable, so rather than further ruin by extract Iíll just quote the conclusion:

Tariq's hyperbole may have the quality of stale, old-fashioned Stalinism, but its confected indignation and moral humbug gives it a faintly amusing tone. May his self-important exaggerations now situate him where he richly deserves to be - the intellectual moral equivalent of that other famous Ali, Comical.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 30, 2003 04:29 AM
Comments

Funny that then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright didn't refute the claim of 500,000 extra deaths due to sanctions as reported by UNICEF/FAO. In fact she said -

"I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it".

http://www.fair.org/extra/0111/iraq.html

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm199899/cmhansrd/vo981125/debtext/81125-08.htm

Funny also that two heads of the oil-for-food programme, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, both resigned over what they described as a genocidal policy. Neither mentioned the money being diverted to palaces - the same palaces occupied by the new unelected Emperor, Paul Bremer.

But then again, since this site clearly specialises in gross distortion and flat out lies, it isn't funny at all.

Posted by: Analogue Voter at August 30, 2003 at 08:50 AM

Analogue Voter :


"Dr Amer Abdul a-Jalil, the deputy resident at Baghdad's Ibn al-Baladi Hospital, has told the London Telegraph that "sanctions did not kill these children -- Saddam killed them Saddam killed them"."

Posted by: Gary at August 30, 2003 at 10:17 AM

No, Albright didn't refute it because she was incompetent. Lesley Stahl told her 500,000 had died and Albright took her at her word. Try reading this or maybe "Confessions of an Anti-Sanctions Activist".

Posted by: scott h. at August 30, 2003 at 11:25 AM

Analogue Voter,

Albright has since recanted

Quietly, a month after the World Trade Center attack, she finally apologized for her infamous performance. "I shouldn’t have said it," she said during a speech at the University of Southern California. "You can believe this or not, but my comments were taken out of context."

Posted by: Andjam at August 30, 2003 at 01:53 PM

Analogue Self-evidently money used to build palaces can't also be used to buy food and medicine. We know the palaces were built and we know that many innocents died for lack of food and medicine. Can't you connect the dots?

Posted by: Marko at August 30, 2003 at 03:15 PM

check out the Tariq Ali 'interview' in greenleft weekly.

Comical indeed.

Posted by: Spinoza. at August 30, 2003 at 05:09 PM

As an Australian expat living in New Zealand, I was shocked and appalled to read Mr Nolan's attack on the author and known humanist Tariq Ali (The Age 30/08/2003). Mr Nolan's text is filled with half-truths and outright untruths but, as someone originally from the former Yugoslavia, I must comment on his blatant distortions of the truth .

It would be good for Mr Nolan to establish his facts before making ridiculous allegations in Comical Ali's style. The number of '10,000 Kosovar Albanians executed by Serbs prior to the Nato intervention' was no more than a propaganda figure espoused by the bombers. Investigators of the International War Crimes Tribunal for Yugoslavia - itself a highly dubious and NATO-friendly institution, as evidence by their 'timely' indictment of Milosevic (just as public support for the bombing was eroding) - established a figure of exactly 2,108 victims, after they've had the run of occupied Kosovo for nearly a year. Of that number, they could not determine how many were Albanians, how many were civilians, and whether they died from the NATO bombs or otherwise. On the other hand, after the NATO occupation began, UN statistics spoke of 'one Serb being killed every 24 hours'. It has since tapered off to one Serb a week, or thereabout. Over 200,000 Serbs and non-Albanians in general have been expelled from Kosovo in 1999 alone. Over 100 churches and monasteries, some on UNESCO's monuments of culture list, were demolished as well.

It seems that Mr Nolan forgot how to do the math, or check his facts. Given that he is also a barrister, he is perfectly qualified to be a prosecutor at the Hague War Crimes Tribunal, whose practices match his own.

Regards,

Nebojsa Joveljic
Auckland, New Zealand

Email: nebojsa@xtra.co.nz

Posted by: Nebojsa Joveljic at September 4, 2003 at 10:45 PM

Letter to The Age re. Jim Nolan's characterization of Tariq Ali as a "Stalinist" for opposing intervention in Iraq and Yugoslavia:


From : "Nancy A. Hey"
To : letters@theage.com.au
Subject : Jim Nolan's editorial re. Tariq Ali
Date : Mon, 08 Sep 2003 13:51:58 -0400

To the Editor,

I am very disappointed that your columnist Jin Nolan would label Mr. Tariq Ali a "Stalinist" for his opposition to US and NATO
intervention in Iraq and Yugoslavia. For too long, this unfair label has been used to demonize anybody who has the courage to
speak out against the abuses of global capitalism and the wars that this system spawns.

As an American citizen, I have seen enough of the machinations of the military-industrial complex to know that American military
interventions in foreign countries alway serve only the interests of corporate power and greed, never having any noble purpose
of helping people in those countries.

For example, it is no secret to many people in the Balkans that one of the reasons for NATO military intervention in Kosovo was
to secure the transportation of massive oil resources from the Caspian Sea through the Balkans

NATO supposedly bombed Yugoslavia to stop "ethnic cleansing". However the bombing was actually part of a strategy to keep
the region safe for the Trans-Balkan oil pipeline that will transport Caspian oil through Macedonia and Albania. The pipeline is
slated to carry 750,000 barrels a day. Cooperation of the Albanians with the pipeline project was likely contingent on the U.S.
helping them wrest control of Kosovo from the Serbs. However, it is unlikely that anybody in the region will receive any of the
oil profits from the pipeline, as those will only go to the top CEO's of the oil companies. Meanwhile, the alleged "justification" for
NATO's intervention, the mass graves proving "genocide", have yet to be found or proven.

Likewise in Iraq, the supposed "weapons of mass destruction" used to justify invading that country have not been found. It is
increasingly evident that George Bush and Tony Blair lied to their respective constituencies to try to justify the invasion. The
Iraqi people themselves are suspicious of American motives, as evidenced by the remarks of Naseem Jawad, a merchant in Najaf,
who said in an interview with the New York Times on 4th October 2002: "Americans are not coming to help us, but for our oil."
Mr. Jawad has good reason for his suspicions, considering the large number of oil companies which have recently been granted
contracts for the "rebuilding" of Iraq.

Tariq Ali is right to question the motives for these wars. Rather than demonize him and any other opponents as "Stalinists",
people should be critical of the abuses of global capitalism, and the negative consequences of corporations trying to dominate the
globe.

Sincerely,
Nancy Hey
Arlington, VA


**********************************************

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/08/29/1062050663344.html

Tariq Ali's Middle East canards The Age, August 30, 2003


This man deserves to be exposed for what he is: a Saddam apologist. By Jim Nolan

Marx famously observed in his 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon that history repeated itself - first as tragedy and then as
farce. Tariq Ali's piece of invective masquerading as analysis ("Occupied Iraq will never know peace", on Wednesday)
called this instantly to mind.

Let's measure a couple of Ali's canards against the facts.

The UN, he tells us, is viewed by Iraqis as "one of Washington's more ruthless enforcers" since it supervised the sanctions
that were directly responsible for the deaths of half a million Iraqi children.

This was the favourite whopper retailed by the Saddam propaganda machine. Of course we now know that the
food-for-oil program was diverted into Saddam's oil-for-palaces program. The tragedy was all Saddam's own work. He
cynically starved his own people to garner the kind of credulous support he still appears to enjoy from the likes of Ali.

But the most bizarre claim by Ali is the casting of the Iraqi dead-enders as a heroic and doughty "resistance" - as if by the
mere invocation of the word "resistance", the murderers of UN workers morph into their moral opposites.

The readers of the popular press are only treated to what might be called Ali lite. The true believers, however, are privy to
the full-strength version. Consider the following samples from the May-June edition of the New Left Review.

According to Ali, the 2001 assault on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon was "a gift from heaven for the (Bush)
Administration".

Neither were the recalcitrant Europeans spared the invective. Germany's Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer is described as
"cadaver-green" sincerely hoping for the "rapid collapse" of Saddam's army.

Even the sainted Kofi Annan is described as the "African Waldheim" and "the dumb-waiter for American aggression". You
get the picture.

But the sting turns from absurd to nasty when Ali does a hatchet job on a pre-eminent member of the Iraqi opposition,
Kanan Makiya. Makiya's book Republic Of Fear, written pseudonymously for obvious reasons in 1989, did so much to alert
the world to the true character of Baathist horror.

Ali attacks Makiya, a Kurd, as a "quisling, fraudster and mountebank". It has been a charter position of the Saddam
apologists that the mass murder of Kurds needed to take distant second place to the plight of the Palestinians - a plight
much worsened by the mischief-making in which common cause was made by Saddam and the Islamists. Saddam's dirty
work was also done by the relentless attacks on Makiya.

While Ali has been on tour in Australia spooning out Ali lite, the hated Makiya has been engaged in the altogether more
worthy project of assembling the records of Baathist genocide - a topic in which Ali appears to show no interest.

The many repellent features of the Saddam regime are unpleasantnesses that Ali strives to avoid save for the occasional
grudging nod.

In Ali's long diatribe in the New Left Review one looks in vain to find a single mention of the genocide, the mass graves,
the torture chambers, or the fascist ideology that lies at the heart of Baathism.

Ali was also the champion of Milosevic and the opponent of "imperialist" NATO aggression, which he described as
"anti-Serbian racism". Apart from conveniently overlooking the concentration camps and genocide, this observation
contained a novel anthropological insight. The "racism" apparently mutated into virulent self-loathing by those numerous
Serbs who appeared to celebrate the demise of the Serb butcher.

Ali is also obviously chuffed by his insight that the much-maligned Tony Blair has been undervilified as merely a US
poodle. The poodle after all, calls up an altogether too benign and friendly image.

In his Age piece, Ali has Blair pegged as a "petty mastiff snarling at the leash" - a characterisation first used when Ali
attacked Blair for championing the NATO incursion in the former Yugoslavia. This was an intervention that could be
criticised only for coming too late. Too late to save - among many others - the 10,000 Kosovar Albanians who were
executed by the police and paramilitaries of that plucky nationalist Milosevic.

Tariq's hyperbole may have the quality of stale, old-fashioned Stalinism, but its confected indignation and moral humbug
gives it a faintly amusing tone. May his self-important exaggerations now situate him where he richly deserves to be - the
intellectual moral equivalent of that other famous Ali, Comical.

Jim Nolan is a Sydney barrister with an interest in human rights.


Posted by: Nancy Hey at September 10, 2003 at 05:17 AM