Category Archives: Intervention

Discussing NATO with a former U.S. Ass. Sec. of Defence

A 30 min debate about NATO, Ukraine, Crimea, Yugoslavia, Syria the eternal enemy images and the – obsolete – philosophy on which NATO builds.

Time for something new, I argue in the debate with former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defence under Reagon, Mr. Lawrence J. Korb who at the time was in command of 70% of Pentagon’s budget.

Here in TFF PressInfo # 403  is a little longer text about this debate and there is also a little about my experience and policy vis-a-vis the media.

MS – Markedsført Sandhed og Syrien? Med tillæg om en god dialog

Introduktion tilføjet den 7. februar 2017

Som det fremgår i en kommentar under denne artikel blev både MS’ forkvinde, Helle Munk Ravnborg og generalsekretær, Tim Whyte, kede af min udlægning omkring MS “markedsføring” og holdning til Syrien. Naturligt nok.

Mit indlæg var skarpt formuleret – der skal af og til sparkes i løgsovsen også for den gode sag som MS i sig selv jo er. Men de valgte alligevel til min store glæde at invitere mig til en snak.

Det møde havde vi så i dag den 7. februar over deres kaffe og min medbragte mazarintærte.

Jeg indledte med at undskylde at der i min artikel (som står herunder som den blev skrevet) findes et par formuleringer, der kunne tolkes af de to som et personangreb; det var ikke tilsigtet og jeg mener jo som alle andre fornuftige mennesker – oh, Gandhi! – at man skal gå efter bolden og ikke spilleren.

Vi havde 90 minutters sober snak og gensidig lytten, udforskning af vigtige temaer. Man kan sige at min konfrontation ledte til dialog og endog nogle konstruktive idéer til fremtiden.

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Jeg lærte at det er svært at balancere når man – de såvel som jeg – bliver vred over den lidelse vi ser uskyldige udsættes for. Og at man let kommer til at tage parti i kampens hede for den ene eller den anden part i stedet for måske at tage afstand fra alles vold.

At det kan være svært at have alle fakta på plads (og at vide hvad der er empirisk holdbart og hvad der er fordrejning) inden man tager stilling og mobiliserer opinion. Aktivisme går jo gerne gå lidt hurtigere end det dér 5-10 årige forskningsprojekt.

At MS ikke – som jeg havde fået indtrykket af – har et markedførings-firma, der hjælper dem med den stil, de har på hjemmesiden, på blogger og i taler; det er deres egne folks måde at gøre det på.

At de er dybt bekymrede over at mennesker føler så stor magtesløshed og at det vigtigt at organisationer som MS forsøger at skabe møder, pladser og forløb hvor denne magtesløshed – der er så farlig for demokratiet – kan erstattes af fællesskaber og konstruktiv aktivitet.

Og at MS så at sige arbejder med sig selv og har en løbende intern debat om både form og indhold i kampagner.

Jeg følte både åbenhed og respekt og det er jeg glad for.

Derfor delte jeg også lidt af min erfaring med hensyn til hvordan man kan analysere de underliggende konflikter, som volden er symptomer. Jeg mener at symptom-diskussioner let leder til golde debatter om skyld. Det ville være bedre at fokusere mere på konflikternes karakter over tid end på “hvem der er værst” til at bruge vold – fordi symptom- og skylddiskussioner ikke kan lede frem til dialoger om fredens muligheder.

Og at det er freden, der er MS’ historie eller essens og ligger både Tim Whyte og Helle Munch Ravnborg varmt om hjertet – ja det er der jo ingen tvivl om.

Jeg foreslog så nogle konkrete ting som jeg mener MS måske kunne tænke over og måske gøre fremover og at det er vigtigt at være for nogen eller noget snarere end at være imod – og de blev opfattet med stor interesse.

Så meget at vi blev enige om at mødes igen når jeg er hjemme fra næste rejse til Syrien.

Dét ser jeg meget frem til. Så tak for idag, kære venner.

• • •

Mellemfolkeligt Samvirkes nye stil og måden at håndtere Syrien på bør blive en parentes i organisationens liv. For der må være tale om enten uvidenhed eller uhæderlighed.

Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke er slået ind på den amerikansk inspirerede linje med professionel markedsføring, reklamesprog og iscenesat aktivisme samt – og ikke mindst – en bestemt politisk holdning vedrørende visse internationale spørgsmål.

 

Den nye humanitære industri

Det er muligvis en del af den nye humanitære industri hvor regeringer, humanitære og menneskerettigheds-organisationer samt medier gør fælles sag vedrørende krigszoner. Det indebærer selvsagt at “N” i NGO, Non-Governmental Organisations, kommer til at stå for “Near” og ikke “Non.”

Civilsamfundet tenderer at udhules og demokratisk dialog mellem folk og regering forsvinder. Langsomt men sikkert.

Organisationer som Læger Uden Grænser og Human Rights Watch påtager sig roller som både partiske medier i felt og politiske eksperter og gør det politisk korrekt i forhold til især vestlige militære interventioner.

Det er altsammen affødt af den kendte men tvivlsomme doktrin om humanitær intervention eller Responsibility to Protect (R2P) – hvor spørgsmålet i en begrænset verden er: Intervention hvor? Mod eller med hvem? Af hvem? Vil vi gøre mere skade end gavn? Og hvor gider vi ikke intervenere?

Svaret på det sidste er: dér hvor største menneskelig behov findes og hvor der samtidig ikke findes strategiske interesser eller mulighed for at bruge våben.

I dagens verden flyver de fleste landes humanisme F16. Også det officielle Danmarks. Ren humanisme, medmenneskelighed og ægte solidaritet er faldet ud af den politiske værktøjskasse.

 

M for Markedsføring – og USAs valg

Vælger man denne let smarte markedsføring-og-politik strategi i denne nye industri skal man være godt klædt på forinden.

Det findes der, som jeg ser det, to årsager til at MS ikke synes at være. Continue reading

Aleppo’s evil humanitarians

The third photo story from the days of the liberation of Aleppo in Syria

Unique photos with text from Aleppo’s Jibrin reception center for people finally liberated in Eastern Aleppo December 11-12, 2016.

Documentation of the fact that it was the Syrian authorities, the Syrian Army, Russian doctors, the Syrian Red Crescent and volunteering Syrian youth who took care of these destitute internally displaced people.

In short, the evil guys – the only ones at that – according to most Western media.

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University volunteer and soldier hand out bread © Jan Oberg 2016


No Western humanitarian organisations were seen, neither any leading Western media.

The media have also conveniently stopped writing about Aleppo – beyond doubt a world historic event – and ignored the suffering of the innocent, non-armed victims in this crisis: the largest humanitarian crisis in the world since 1945.

The last article about Aleppo in New York Times is from December 19, about 7-year old Twitter-girl Bana and written by a marketing expert. The level can hardly get lower.

The story of Aleppo cannot be silenced.

TFF’s first two photo reports have already been seen by close to 50.000 people. There are many other eyewitness reports – all on social media, de facto barred from the mainstream media.

The attempt to ignore the historical turning point that Aleppo is and to silence on-the-ground reports will fail.

A larger truth is emerging. The moral and political failure of Western and allies’ policy since 2012 makes the story of Aleppo just too embarrassing, something neither politicians nor governments nor media want to be reminded of.

But 13 million Syrians who are in need of humanitarian help – thanks to non-UN sanctions since 1979 and the war – need a more truthful story.

And they need the world’s attention and help – to all of them and not to the politically chosen few.

The little girl from Eastern Aleppo

New year’s night, January 1, 2017

This girl had come out of Eastern Aleppo after four dark years of occupation by Western-backed terrorists – too many to name. People who for no reason had destroyed her home, her part of that beautiful city.

Perhaps half of her life living in fear, perhaps having lost family members.

I do not know.

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“The Little Girl From Eastern Aleppo” – © Jan Oberg 2016

I met her on December 14 at the Jibrin reception and registration centre in Western Aleppo where Syrian soldiers and volunteers from Aleppo University had just given her this bread with some vegetables inside.

She was one of thousands, old and young people who had been hit by unspeakable evil, death and destruction.

Victims of the dozens of conflicting parties and their criminal games. Destroying her life, her family, livelihood and her home town.

Of which there is nothing left. Nothing.

It was a rainy gray day. She was in a queue to get this little and she was so very grateful.

So hopeful. A little to eat to begin all over again.

Her standing there, her gesture. And the media tell you that Eastern Aleppo fell, that it wasn’t liberated?

Ask this girl.

Grasp her gratitude for what little most of the world take for granted. And those eyes.

I could not hold back tears in mine when I shot this image. Neither while I returned to process it and now writing this.

I’m a peace researcher and art photographer. The two sides come together in this image.

It’s the most important among thousands of pictures I took in 2016. Perhaps in all my years.

I have no wishes for myself this year. Have everything.

But I have many other wishes.

That this little but formidably strong girl and the thousands of other children and adults of Aleppo will live in some little peace in 2017.

That they will have the strength to return to what is left of their homes, if anything, and rebuild them. Go to a school and play in safety.

That the inhuman international “community” – it is no community – will lift the sanctions on Syria and show their humanity. Sanctions only hit innocents like her.

That she will live forever in security and peace and that she will not carry traumas from her childhood for the rest of her life.

That she will be able to, eventually, forgive the satanic forces who did this to an innocent child.

And that I may go back in 2017 and find her and ask how I can help her.

That’s the very very least I can do in gratitude for what she has taught me about the utter meaninglessness and cruelty of war.

No I can’t. I can’t wish anybody dead.

But I can express my rage through Bob Dylan. Who, fifty-three years ago, spoke to “The Masters Of War” – and I include the arms traders among them – thus:

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.

As we move into the new year – 2017

The old years went – in as little a time as it takes to turn around and see who is tapping you on your shoulder. And it is the new, the next year.

I hope it will pass too – in as little time as it takes for me to turn my head and look forward again – because the face of 2017 doesn’t look good or kind to me.

Neither do the next ten or so years.

Beyond that the world will become a better place. If, that is, if we survive and don’t destroy it all.

It is actually already becoming a better place!

The thing that has too pass – or pass away – is the United States Empire.

In a few years it will go the way Rome and all the rest plus the Ottoman, British and Soviet empires did. No empire lasts forever.

But before we go for it – a video from Beirut, December 2016:

 

Some indicators of Empire dissolution

The indicators, the cracks, in the Empire are there for all to see – the Americans and other Westernes will be the last and remain in denial for some time until the discrepancy between the self-image and the reality, the self-delusion, has grown too big. Like East Germany or Russia at in the early 1980s.

The rest of the world, the non-West sees some of these cracks quite clearly: Continue reading

Humans in liberated Aleppo

Have just published the second of a series of photo stories from Syria – “Humans in liberated Aleppo”.

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Boy in Eastern Aleppo demonstrating to me, as a visitor there during the days of the liberation, that he sees this as a liberation, as a victory – I hope he will soon see a beautiful re-built Aleppo – full of energy. He indeed deserves that after four years of living in what many described as hell.

You can subscribe to this page for photo stories which ensures that you’ll get an email as soon as they are posted on my Exposure page.

I’d be most grateful if you’d share this link too.

And here is a little background to this photo story:

Unique photos with text from Eastern Aleppo’s liberation, December 11-12, 2016.

Of some of the roughly 100,000 who were finally liberated, of the real humanitarians, the transport between East and Western Aleppo – and of the military, the children, street scenes, a bread queue and the devastation of this once so beautiful, bustling city.

Photos of heart-breaking suffering and sorrow in children’s eyes but also of smiles and hope.

Photos of the fellow human beings who did not fit the general Western political and media narrative since 2011 and therefore got no attention:

– the civilians who suffered for four years from the brutal occupation under Western- and allies-backed terror groups and from the Syrian-Russian military’s defence and liberation of the city.

This is my story.

The photos are genuine, not constructed by a marketing corporation.

This story is about our handling of Syria and its people – yes the lives of 23 million people should be central.

What you see here is the consequences of arms trade, sanctions and ignorant divisions of terribly complex societies into two groups – the good and the evil.

And it is a story about Western de facto support to terrorm since the US started history’s most counterproductive war: the war on terror that has only increased the problem 80 times.

We hate terrorists when they hit us in Europe – understandably.

But we support terrorists when they fight those “we” just don’t like.

Here are some of those – innocent fellow human beings – who pay the price of that cruel way of thinking.

I’m afraid the West has lost it. Are you?

 

Udefinerede menneskelig fejl da danske F-16 var med til at dræbe snesevis af syriske soldater. Ikke andet?

Den 29. november fortæller Danmarks Radio på sin hjemmeside at det var et antal sammenfaldende og beklagelige menneskelige fejl, der forårsagede at danske F-16 fly i september var medvirkende til at dræbe mellem 60 og 80 syriske soldater – eller “mindst 15” som den amerikanske rapport herom angiveligt udtrykker det – og såre over 100.

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Hvilke menneskelige fejl? Hvor? I Danmark, USA eller hvor? 

Hvorfor “mindst 15” dræbte når alle kilder angiver højere tal? Eller hvorfor ikke “mindst 1”? 

Hvorfor i en periode med våbenhvile?

Hvem bærer det endelige ansvar i Danmark og i USA?

Har man bedt nogen om undskyldning for drabet på så mange?

Véd russerne virkeligt bedre end amerikanerne hvor amerikanerne bomber?

Denne pressekonference forekommer mig at være en klokkeren snakken-udenom.

Danmarks Radios – og Ritzau – gengiver kun de officielle forklaringer fra dansk og amerikansk forsvar, der altså har forårsaget disse omfattende drabstal.

Ingen research. Ingen placering af begivenheden i den militærtaktiske og strategiske ramme dér og da. Ingen spørgsmål af den type jeg stiller ovenfor. Ingen reference til kilder, der mener noget andet – af hvilke der er nok så mange på nettet.

Ingen tvivl – det var bare sådan et lille uheld som vi skam beklager. Tænk hvilken dækning man havde givet det hvis så mange danske soldater et eller andet sted var blevet pløkket af Ruslands flyvevåben og russernes forsvarsmyndigheder meddelte at det bare var sådan et hændeligt uheld på grund af beklagelige menneskelige fejl.

De gjorde det jo “i god tro”.

DR igen som talerør for den officielt markedsførte fortælling.

Der efterlader en ubehagelig mistanke: Var det måske alligevel ikke en fejltagelse?