While the New York Times has treated the lopsided outcome of Belarus’
presidential election as confirmation of the allegations of the US-backed candidate
Aleksandr Milinkevich that the vote was rigged, major media outlets have ignored
their own previous reporting that predicted the incumbent, Aleksandr Lukashenko,
was by far the most popular candidate and would likely score an overwhelming
A September 25, 2005 Los Angeles Times report said that, “even [Lukashenko’s]
fiercest opponents don’t question the accuracy of independent polls that
rate him the most popular politician in this country.”
An InterMedia poll reported on by the Los Angeles Times on March 19, and a
Gallup/Baltic Surveys poll, cited by the Times of London on March 10, predicted
an overwhelming Lukashenko win.
Major media outlets have since ignored their own reporting, to echo the charges
of opposition forces.
These opposition forces have openly worked with Washington to oust
Lukashenko, who runs an economically nationalist government that resists privatization,
imposes conditions on foreign investment, and nurtures domestic industry behind
tariff walls, while presiding over the region’s lowest unemployment rate,
highest rate of economic growth, and flattest distribution of income.
The people are doing well, but the economy, from the point of view
of Western investors and transnational corporations, is not.
That’s why the United States, Britain and Germany have worked with forces
within Belarus opposed to the government’s economic policies, to bring
down Lukashenko and replace him with a pro-Western regime that will sell off
profitable state-owned enterprises and open the country to penetration by Western
capital and exports, on terms favorable to Western corporations.
According to an April 22, 2005 New York Times report, Condoleezza Rice met
Lukashenko’s opponents in Lithuania on April 21, where they discussed
the use of “mass pressure for change.”
“Rice’s meeting,” the report went on, “appeared to
be aimed at preparing opposition officials for the elections, which Rice said
would be an ‘excellent opportunity’ to challenge the government.”
This is consistent with the view that Lukashenko’s popularity was recognized
as a barrier to change, and that the opposition, under Washington’s guidance,
developed plans to use extra-electoral means to force the incumbent to step
Election coverage in the early part of the campaign pointed out that opposition
forces were doing little to contest the election, and were preparing instead
for an insurrection. (The election would act as the context, and a trumped up
charge of electoral fraud, as the pretext.)
The New York Times reported on January 1 that “Mr. Lukashenko’s
opponents seem not to be running an election campaign, as much as they are trying
to organize an uprising,” and on February 26 reported that Milinkevich
“is campaigning not for the presidency but for an uprising.”
While the outcome of the election appears to be suspiciously lopsided (Lukashenko
took 83 percent of the vote to only six percent for Milinkevich) on February
26, the New York Times reported that “the results of a poll, paid for
by the [International Republican Institute]…showed the ratings of Milinkevich
and other opposition leaders in the single digits.”
Inasmuch as the New York Times reported that the poll was done for the Milinkevich
campaign, which was being advised by Terry Nelson, the national political director
for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign, the lopsided Lukashenko electoral victory
was surely anticipated, and should have been known by the New York Times to
be a possible (indeed, the probable) legitimate outcome of the election.
Instead, the newspaper has followed the script adhered to by other major media
outlets of echoing the allegations of the US-backed opposition forces, offering
not a shred of evidence that the allegations are true.
In this way, the New York Times acts in its accustomed way as the propaganda
arm of the US state, conveying, not so much a set of facts, as an understanding
of the world, which in turn defines which facts are reported (when), and which
facts are omitted (when.)
That understanding is consistent with the interests of the investors and transnational
corporations on whose behalf the US state acts. Lukashenko stands in the way
of the profit-making opportunities of US corporations, so Lukashenko must go.
The US state, in the person of Condoleezza Rice, rushes to Lithuania to enlist
agents to operate on its behalf within Belarus. The agents execute Washington’s
plan. Trumped up charges are made. Pressure is put on Lukashenko to step down.
The press plays its part.
BUSH SARCASM AT ITS FINEST
By Peter Fredson
I saw a news item an hour ago which gave me great amusement. The headline
US wants new Belarus poll
The story said: “The United States does not accept results of
the Belarus election and believes the campaign that re-elected President Alexander
Lukashenko was conducted in a ‘”climate of fear’", the
White House said today.’”
What a coincidence. I was thinking exactly the same thing about the
last election that re-elected President George W. Bush. It too was conducted
in a “climate of fear” by which he and Colin and Condi and Dick
and Donald scared the entire nation into believing terrorists would strike us
any moment in a great mushroom cloud. His lies about weapons of mass destruction
led us into this present failed attempt to make Iraq into a neocon colonial
Today the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan said: "We support the
call for a new election," and that too was exactly what most of my friends
have been thinking for the past 5 years.
Then Mr. McClellan warned Belarus politicians against "threatening or
detaining those exercising their political rights in their coming days and beyond",
in reference to protests reported in Belarus. This kind of claim has been coming
from the Bush White House perpetually, anytime they did not care for results
of actions from other countries.
This kind of insincere arrogance is now so typical of Bush and his thugs that
few Americans now give it any credence, attributing it to the egomaniacal and
imperial desire of a would-be emperor to think the world is his oyster and must
be served to him on a gold platter. Perhaps this is Cheney satire breaking through
his usual snarl.
For instance, recently in Palestine the reportedly honest elections did not
come out the way Bush wanted, so he is withholding acceptance or aid and is
threatening reprisals for any violence against Israel. We here in the U.S. too
have been protesting mightily against those “threatening or detaining
those exercising their political rights.”
"The United States does not accept the results of the election. The election
campaign was conducted in a climate of fear. It included arrests and beatings
and fraud," Mr. McClellan said. Our last election too included arrests
and beatings and wholesale fraud with voting machines that kept no records.
We may expect many more threats, aggressive expressions of dissatisfaction
with other nations from the Bush bullies. They are desperate to succeed at something,
anything, and with total control of our troops and arsenal, they might well
succeed at playing war. Their corporate sponsors will be delighted to put the
industrial machinery of war into high gear.
For the neocons and corporate executives it means mansions, Lear Jets,
beach houses on the Riviera, Mediterranean isles, servants galore, barbecues
for despot or billionaire friends, and the world at their beck and call. For
others it means death, destruction, orphans, that come with the Shock and Awe
of blowing up billions of dollars of munitions on other people.
But the Bush supporters don’t like to think of it that way. They don’t
like to feel sad. After all, their God promised them dominion over the entire
world, and, when they get around to it, expansion to other planets which they
will gleefully destroy if there is any profit in doing so.
Meanwhile the people of Belarus had better watch the skies for the
shiny Peacemakers that could come any moment if Bush gets annoyed enough. So
had the people of Venezuela and Brazil and Peru and Syria and North Korea and
maybe, maybe, even China sometime later.
We all know that the entire Bush cabinet has recently been voicing their dissatisfaction
with the way that Iran is not obeying the dictates of King George. We might
hear the rumble of tanks, except that most of them are busy destroying the infrastructure
and domestic economy of Iraq. We might hear the marching of foot soldiers, but
they are busily killing Muslims in Iraq.
So perhaps this is where the mighty air-force, that cost us billions of dollars,
will drops its bunker buster bombs, its peacemaker missiles, and even some of
the new tactical nuclear bombs Bush has been preparing secretly for this moment.
After all if a guy is our Commander-in-Chief he should be actively using his
powers to kill, maim and destroy or he might be thought to be a wimp. Certainly
the Republican Senators won’t try to stop him. Good work, George.
You deserve some kind of throne. We had one on our farm when I was young that
I might send you.