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Because of the high maintenance needed to monitor and filter spammers from the RF Cafe Forums, I decided that it would be best to just archive the pages to make all the good information posted in the past available for review. It is unfortunate that the scumbags of the world ruin an otherwise useful venue for people wanting to exchanged useful ideas and views. It seems that the more formal social media like Facebook pretty much dominate this kind of venue anymore anyway, so if you would like to post something on RF Cafe's Facebook page, please do.

Below are all of the forum threads, including all the responses to the original posts.


 Post subject: U.S. Pledges $350 Million
Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2004 7:20 pm 
 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 451
Location: Erie, PA
Someone posted a criticism of the U.S. on another thread here today, that suggested Americans should be ashamed for "only" pledging $35 million.

It went like this:
KEY AID PLEDGES
World Bank: $250m
UK: $96m
Sweden: $75m
China: $60m
France: $56m
EU $44m
Netherlands: $36m
US: $35m :(
Canada: $33m
Japan: $30m
Australia: $27m
Denmark: $15.6m
Saudi Arabia: $10m
Norway: $6.6m
Taiwan: $5.1m
Finland: $3.4m
Kuwait: $2.1m
UAE: $2m
Source: Reuters, United Nations[/quote]


Now, read this:

U.S. Boosts Tsunami Aid Tenfold to $350M

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20041231/D87AQ4FO0.html

We didn't do it because we were shamed into it. We did it because that is what Americans do. You can bet it'll end up higher.

So, which country will one-up us? Eh?


- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024


 
   
 
 Post subject:
Posted: Sat Jan 01, 2005 9:50 am 
Another $1/3 Billion to a predominantly Muslim are, not to mention the human resources (largely Christian) than we're sending to help. I think it's a good thing, but the World will still will hate us. Fortunatley, we Americans have pretty much tuned out the rest of the World's opinions and just do what is right.

Americans have given more across the golbe than any other nation. France and Germany and Russia and Chain and all the other countries have ignored the U.N's corruption in the Iraq Food for Oil scandal and the atrocities in Africa. It is only because of our insistance that something is beginning to get done there.

So people of the World, what fault do you find in us now with the $350B? Money not the right color, wrong size?


 
  
 
 Post subject: U.S. Companies Give Millions in Aid
Posted: Sat Jan 01, 2005 8:05 pm 
 
Site Admin
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Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 451
Location: Erie, PA
U.S. corporations are donating millions of dollars in cash and supplies to victims of the tsunamis along the Indian Ocean, easily eclipsing the initial $35 million in aid earmarked by the U.S. government...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,142966,00.html


Dang stingy Americans!


- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024


 
   
 
 Post subject: Foriegn aid for Florida damage?
Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2005 12:41 pm 
"Florida's hurricane season, which officially ends Tuesday, left about 125 dead and from $29 billion to $41 billion in damage."

Listed in detail below is the amount of foreign aid offered to the United States to help with the damage:

Cash: $0
Personnel: $0
Equipment: $0
Food & Clothing: $0
Medicine: $0
Temporary Housing: $0
Counseling: $0


Hmmmm....did I miss anything? Wouldn't want to not give credit where credit is due.


 
  
 
 Post subject:
Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:26 am 
FYI guys.... read below:

The neocons have a hand in Aceh, too

US support for Indonesia's army is compromising its relief effort

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday January 6, 2005
The Guardian

Two days after the tsunami struck, President Bush, who had made no public statement, was vacationing at his ranch in Texas, and a junior spokesman was trotted out. The offer of US aid was $15m - $2m less than the star pitcher of the Boston Red Sox was paid that year.
On December 27, UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland had criticised wealthy nations for "stinginess". The next day Bill Clinton described the tsunami as a "horror movie", and explained that international leadership was required for a sustained effort once the "emotional tug" waned.

Now the White House spokesman reassured the country that Bush was "clearing some brush this morning; I think he has some friends coming in ... that he enjoys hosting; he's doing some biking and exercising ... taking walks with the first lady..." The spokesman said US aid would be increased to $35m, and added a jibe at Clinton: "The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'we feel your pain'. "

For Bush, the war on terrorism is the alpha and omega of foreign policy, and it did not occur to him or to his national security team that the tsunami disaster, devastating Muslim regions, provided an opportunity for the US to demonstrate humanitarian motives. In this crisis, his advisers acted in character: Vice-president Cheney was duck-hunting on the plantation of a Republican donor; Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, suggested nothing to disturb her boss; and Colin Powell, the secretary of state, defended Bush as "not stingy".

Eight days after the tsunami, Bush appeared in the White House flanked by his father and Clinton, who, he announced, would lead a private aid effort, and moreover that US aid would be increased tenfold to $350m. Attacking Clinton hadn't worked; so Bush recruited him to deflect criticism.

The coastline of south Asia has been radically altered, but the political landscape in Washington remains familiar. Behind the stentorian rhetoric about the battle between good and evil lies the neoconservative struggle to remove human rights sanctions against the Indonesian military, which is waging a vicious war against the popular separatist movement on Banda Aceh, the province hardest hit by the tsunami.

The war between the Indonesian military and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) has raged for more than two decades. A ceasefire negotiated in 2002, with the involvement of former general Anthony Zinni as US representative, was brutally broken by the military in May 2003. The Indonesian military is a virtual state within a state and is unaccountable for its human rights violations and criminal activities. After its war of ethnic cleansing against East Timor concluded with independence following diplomatic intervention, the military was determined not to lose Banda Aceh.

In its war there, the military has mimicked the language of the war on terrorism and the Iraq war, calling its operation "shock and awe", targeting the population as terrorist supporters, and expelling all international observers, including the UN, from the region. Human Rights Watch documented extensive torture and abuse.

Bush administration policy has been conflicted, confused and negligent. The leading neoconservative at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defence, has tried to overthrow US restrictions on aid to, and relations with, the Indonesian military. The neoconservative thrust is undeterred by the military's obstruction of the FBI investigation into the murder of two US businessmen in 2002, killings that appear to implicate the military. When the state department issued a human rights report on Indonesia's abysmal record, its spokesman replied: "The US government does not have the moral authority to assess or act as a judge of other countries, including Indonesia, on human rights, especially after the abuse scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."

On his tour of Banda Aceh, Powell made no determined effort to restore the cease-fire. Meanwhile, GAM reports that the Indonesia military is using the catastrophe to launch a new offensive. "The Indonesians get the message when you have no high-level condemnation of what they're doing," Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch told me. A renewed effort by Wolfowitz against sanctions is expected soon.

In the name of the war on terrorism, neoconservatives attempt to bolster the repressive military, which flings the Bush administration's sins back in its face. In the "march of freedom", human rights are cast aside. The absence of moral clarity is matched by the absence of strategic clarity.


 
  
 
 Post subject: The Other, Man-made Tsunami
Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:08 am 
January 07, 2005

The Other, Man-made Tsunami

By John Pilger

The west's crusaders, the United States and Britain, are giving less to help the tsunami victims than the cost of a Stealth bomber or a week's bloody occupation of Iraq. The bill for George Bush's coming inauguration party would rebuild much of the coastline of Sri Lanka.

Bush and Blair increased their first driblets of "aid" only when it became clear that people all over the world were spontaneously giving millions and a public relations problem beckoned. The Blair government's current "generous" contribution is one sixteenth of the £800m it spent bombing Iraq before the invasion and barely one twentieth of a billion pound gift, known as a "soft loan", to the Indonesian military so that it could acquire Hawk fighter-bombers.

On 24 November, one month before the tsunami struck, the Blair government gave its backing to an arms fair in Jakarta, "designed to meet an urgent need for the [Indonesian] armed forces to review its defense capabilities," reported the Jakarta Post. The Indonesian military, responsible for genocide in East Timor, has killed more than 20,000 civilians and "insurgents" in Aceh. Among the exhibitors at the arms fair was Rolls Royce, manufacturer of engines for the Hawks, which, along with British-supplied Scorpion armoured vehicles, machine guns and ammunition, were terrorizing and killing people in Aceh up to the day the tsunami devastated the province.

The Australian government, currently covering itself in glory for its modest response to the historic disaster befallen its Asian neighbours, has secretly trained Indonesia's Kopassus special forces, whose atrocities in Aceh are well documented. This is in keeping with Australia's 40-year support for oppression in Indonesia, notably its devotion to the dictator Suharto while his troops slaughtered a third of the population of East Timor.

The government of John Howard - notorious for its imprisonment of child asylum-seekers - is presently defying international maritime law by denying East Timor its due of oil and gas royalties worth some 8bn dollars. Without this revenue, East Timor, the world's poorest country, cannot build schools, hospitals and roads or provide work for its young people, 90 per cent of whom are unemployed.

The hypocrisy, narcissism and dissembling propaganda of the rulers of the world and their sidekicks are in full cry. Superlatives abound as to their humanitarian intent while the division of humanity into worthy and unworthy victims dominates the news. The victims of a great natural disaster are worthy (though for how long is uncertain) while the victims of man-made imperial disasters are unworthy and very often unmentionable. Somehow, reporters cannot bring themselves to report what has been going on in Aceh, supported by "our" government. This one-way moral mirror allows us to ignore a trail of destruction and carnage that is another tsunami. Consider the plight of Afghanistan, where clean water is unknown and death in childbirth common. At the Labour Party conference in 2001, Tony Blair announced his famous crusade to "re-order the world" with the pledge: "To the Afghan people, we make this commitment, we will not walk away... we will work with you to make sure [a way is found] out of the poverty that is your miserable existence."

The Blair government had just taken part in the conquest of Afghanistan, in which as many as 20,000 civilians died. Of all the great humanitarian crises in living memory, no country suffered more and none has been helped less. Just three per cent of all international aid spent in Afghanistan has been for reconstruction, 84 per cent is for the US-led military "coalition" and the rest are crumbs for emergency aid. What is often presented as reconstruction revenue is private investment, such as the 35m dollars that will finance a proposed five-star hotel, mostly for foreigners. An adviser to the minister of rural affairs in Kabul told me the government had received less than 20 per cent of the aid promised to Afghanistan. "We don't even have enough money to pay wages, let alone plan reconstruction," he said. The reason, unspoken of course, is that Afghans are the unworthiest of victims. When American helicopter gunships repeatedly machine gunned a remote farming village, killing as many as 93 civilians, a Pentagon official was moved to say, "The people there are dead because we wanted them dead". I became acutely aware of this other tsunami when I reported from Cambodia in 1979. Following a decade of American bombing and Pol Pot's barbarities, Cambodia lay as stricken as Aceh is today. Disease beckoned famine and people suffered a collective trauma few could explain. Yet, for nine months after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime, no effective aid arrived from western governments. Instead, a western and Chinese backed UN embargo was imposed on Cambodia, denying virtually the entire machinery of recovery and assistance. The problem for the Cambodians was that their liberators, the Vietnamese, had come from the wrong side of the cold war, having recently expelled the Americans from their homeland. That made them unworthy victims, and expendable. A similar, largely unreported siege was forced on Iraq during the 1990s and intensified during the Anglo-American "liberation". Last September, Unicef reported that malnutrition among Iraqi children had doubled under the occupation. Infant mortality is now at the level of Burundi, higher than in Haiti and Uganda. There is crippling poverty and a chronic shortage of medicines. Cancer cases are rising rapidly, especially *censored* cancer; radioactive pollution is widespread. More than 700 schools are bomb-damaged. Of the billions said to have been allocated for reconstruction in Iraq, just 29m dollars has been spent, most of it on mercenaries guarding foreigners. Little of this is news in the west.

This other tsunami is worldwide, causing 24,000 deaths every day from poverty and debt and division that are the products of a supercult called neo-liberalism. This was acknowledged by the United Nations in 1991 when it called a conference in Paris of the richest states with the aim of implementing a "programme of action" to rescue the world's poorest nations. A decade later, virtually every commitment made by western governments had been broken, making the waffle of the British Chancellor (Treasurer) Gordon Brown about the Group of Eight "sharing Britain's dream" in ending poverty as just that: waffle.

Not one government has honoured the United Nations "baseline" and allotted a miserable 0.7 of its national income to overseas aid. Britain gives just 0.34 per cent, making its "department of international development" a black joke. The US gives 0.15 per cent, the lowest of any industrial state.

Largely unseen and unimagined by westerners, millions of people know their lives have been declared expendable. When tariffs and food and fuel subsidies are eliminated under an IMF diktat, small farmers and the landless know they face disaster, which is why suicides among farmers are an epidemic. Only the rich, says the World Trade Organization, are allowed to protect their home industries and agriculture; only they have the right to subsidize exports of meat, grain and sugar and dump them in poor countries at artificially low prices, thereby destroying livelihoods and lives.

Indonesia, once described by the World Bank as "a model pupil of the global economy", is a case in point. Many of those washed to their deaths in Sumatra on Boxing Day were dispossessed by IMF policies. Indonesia owes an unrepayable debt of 110bn dollars. The World Resources Institute says the toll of this man-made tsunami reaches 13-18 million child deaths every year; or 12 million children under the age of five, according to a UN Development Report. "If 100 million have been killed in the formal wars of the 20th century," wrote the Australian social scientist Michael McKinley, "why are they to be privileged in comprehension over the annual [death] toll of children from structural adjustment programmes since 1982?"

That the system causing this has democracy as its war cry is a mockery which people all over the world increasingly understand. It is this rising awareness, consciousness even, that offers more than hope. Since the crusaders in Washington and London squandered world sympathy for the victims of 11 September 2001 in order to accelerate their campaign of domination, a critical public intelligence has stirred and regards the likes of Blair and Bush as liars and their culpable actions as crimes.

The current outpouring of help for the tsunami victims among ordinary people in the west is a spectacular reclaiming of the politics of community, morality and internationalism denied them by governments and corporate propaganda. Listening to tourists returning from stricken countries, consumed with gratitude for the gracious, expansive way some the poorest of the poor gave them shelter and cared for them, one hears the antithesis of "policies" that care only for the avaricious.

"The most spectacular display of public morality the world has ever seen," was how the writer Arundhati Roy described the anti-war anger that swept across the world almost two years ago. A French study now estimates that 35 million people demonstrated on that February day and says there has never been anything like it; and it was just a beginning.

This is not rhetorical; human renewal is not a phenomenon, rather the continuation of a struggle that may appear at times to have frozen, but is a seed beneath the snow. Take Latin America, long declared invisible and expendable in the west. "Latin Americans have been trained in impotence," wrote Eduardo Galeano the other day. "A pedagogy passed down from colonial times, taught by violent soldiers, timorous teachers and frail fatalists, has rooted in our souls the belief that reality is untouchable and that all we can do is swallow in silence the woes each day brings." Galeano was celebrating the rebirth of real democracy in his homeland, Uruguay, where people have voted "against fear", against privatization and its attendant indecencies.

In Venezuela, municipal and state elections in October notched up the ninth democratic victory for the only government in the world sharing its oil wealth with its poorest people. In Chile, the last of the military fascists supported by western governments, notably Thatcher, are being pursued by revitalized democratic forces.

These forces are part of a movement against inequality and poverty and war that has arisen in the past six years and is more diverse, more enterprising, more internationalist and more tolerant of difference than anything in my lifetime. It is a movement unburdened by a western liberalism that believes it represents a superior form of life; the wisest know this is colonialism by another name. The wisest also know that just as the conquest of Iraq is unraveling, so a whole system of domination and impoverishment can unravel, too.


 
  
 
 Post subject:
Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:57 pm 
 
General
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Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:47 am
Posts: 84
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
>Sidney Blumenthal

Blah, blah, blah, blahbitty blah blah. Bluh bluh bluh balaahhh; blahbitty blah blah. Blah, blah, blah! Blahbitty blah blah?

Blah.


>By John Pilger


Blah, blah, blah, blahbitty blah blah. " blah blah blah"! .....

Blah.




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