Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Diego Garcia, Israel, South Africa

'Freedom Next Time' is a new book by the world famous journalist John Pilger.

It is about abuse in many parts of the world.

1. Diego Garcia

The US government wanted a military base at Diego Garcia on the Chagos Islands. The British removed the islanders from their homes. Pilger reminds us that the mainstream media kept pretty quiet about this act of abuse.

A secret UK government document, dated 1968, was called "maintaining the fiction".

This document was about telling deliberate lies, including the idea that the people of the Chagos islands were not permanent inhabitants.

2. Israel-Palestine

Britain is supposed to be fair to both Israel and Palestine.

Pilger points out that:

A. Britain has given more than £70m in military equipment to Israel in the past five years,

B. Britain is Israel's chief supporter in the EU.

C. Britain has resisted calls to end preferential trade arrangements for Israel.

Pilger claims that Britain and France gave Israel a "green light" to attack the West Bank in 2001.

Pilger explains that Ehud Barak never offered to give up 90% of the West Bank.

Pilger interviewed Liana Badr, the director of the Palestinian Cultural Centre, after the centre has been wrecked by the Israels.

Badr said: "We have been raped; and all the while, the perpetrators are crying that they are the victims, demanding the world's sorrow and perpetual silence about us while their powerful army demolishes our culture, our lives."

3. South Africa

South Africa is rich in minerals.

Pilger reports that, thanks to the World Bank, the average black household income has fallen by 19% since independence.

Pilger writes:

"The unspoken deal was that whites would retain economic control in exchange for black majority rule."

Pilger explains that, before 1994, there were secret meetings in Britain between Thabo Mbeki, the white elite and the big global companies with links to South Africa.

Mandela said to Pilger:

"We do not want to challenge big business that can take fright and take away their money . . . You can call it Thatcherite but, for this country, privatisation is the fundamental policy."

Pilger writes of Mandela that "as the first liberation president, he ordered a ridiculous and bloody invasion of tiny Lesotho. He allowed South African armaments to be sold to Algeria, Colombia and Peru, which have notorious human rights records. He invited the Indonesian mass murderer General Suharto to South Africa and gave him the country's highest award . . . He recognised the brutal Burmese junta as a legitimate government."

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