Random Thoughts

Re-runs of an Old Movie

A strong man took over the province and became its self appointed ruler. He intended to leave the province to the rule of his heir, who was young, inexperienced and lacked political savvy. There were millions (billions) in the treasury of the province, which raised a gleam in the eye of an adventurous, crooked and double dealing powerful man and his company, with  state of the art armed forces. There was economic and political turmoil going on in surrounding states and nations. The ruler was bullied by the foreign powerful corporation and one of the former associates of the ruler was encouraged to engineer a coup while the foreign power provided military support in return for partial confiscation of the province’s rich cash, jewelry and bullion. When the first new ruler by coup failed to toe the company line, he was assassinated and a second pretender was installed for a second percentage bounty of the reserve balance. This time the foreigner negotiated the exclusive trading rights without taxes of the rich resources of the province and dictated the terms to be the sole collectors of revenue of land resources and other taxes in the entire territory.

By now, the reader must be guessing that I am telling the story of Libya where Qaddafi became the self appointed ruler by marginalizing King Idris and was all set to anoint his son Saif with a bogus degree from the London School Of Economics. Qaddafi had refused to toe the US line and was considered responsible for bombing the Pan Am flight after Reagan bombed Tripoli in supposed retaliation of a terrorist bombing of a nightclub in Germany, which American troops frequented. Chomsky claims that there was no clear evidence to conclude that Libya was responsible for the nightclub bombing. 

There is no denying that Qaddafi is a madcap tyrant who has built no institutions in Libya, despite his huge oil revenues. He did however provide free education and healthcare and subsidized housing to all Libyans. He gave up his nuclear ambitions under pressure from the regime of “W”. The fool thus made himself vulnerable unlike North Korea and Iran. Qaddafi also tried to refuse dollars as payment for his oil, supported the African Union and gave low interest loans to its members and thus took away business and power from the World Bank and IMF. He has built the world’s largest man made water reservoir and pipe and canal system which the French water companies would love to get their hands on. The other attraction is Libya’s oil reserves, which China was exploiting but which the US, British, French and Italian oil companies would like to have total control over and have a larger share of the profits.

A false pretext was used to attack and occupy Iraq. Saddam came to power in a coup engineered by the CIA which overthrew the prior government. He was instigated to attack Iran, given the ingredients to make chemical weapons and protected from condemnation while he used them against Iran in contravention to Geneva Accords. He was given satellite surveillance to locate and bomb the Iranians and supported with military and agricultural credits. He was foolish enough to believe that he had America’s go ahead to take over Kuwait and then superior military force was used to destroy his army, sanction the country and make him give up nuclear ambitions, leaving him vulnerable to the  war of 2003 and execution.

The initial story was not about Libya or Iraq.

It took place in 1757 in Bengal. Alivardi was the self appointed Nawab of Bengal under the Moghul Sultanate of Delhi. He died and his nephew Siraj-ad-Daula inherited the Nawabi. Clive was the officer in command of the East India Company, which had its own army of collaborating traitorous Indians, the commonest variety. He intimidated the Nawab, instigated Mir Jafar to plot a coup and supported him for a percentage of the 40 million pound sterling state treasury (enormous money in 1757). After a while Clive soured on Mir Jafar, so he made a deal with Mir Kasim to take over the Nawabi for another hefty percentage of the state treasury and then negotiated with the weak Moghul ruler Shah Alam to become the sole land revenue and all tax-collector of Bengal. 

East India Company raised the farmers’ taxes from 10% of the harvest to 50% and then forced some of the farmers to switch from grain to cropping opium. This opium, the company forcibly sold to China using naval bombardment and occupation of Hong Kong to balance the huge trade deficit that Britain was running with China by importing tea, silk and porcelain. The Chinese Emperor in his delusions of grandeur demanded silver as payment and refused to buy any British goods to balance the trade. The current Chinese Emperor accepts Treasury bills and will be left holding money which is only good for burning as offerings to the dead ancestors. 

The policy in India led to reduced and failed grain crops and a famine in 1770. The East India Company increased the land tax from 50% to 60% of the harvest and even though it was the government in Bengal (company sirkar) its officers hoarded grain for higher personal profits instead of feeding the hungry. Ten million people died in Bengal. Most Company officers retired fabulously rich on return to Britain. Clive bought himself a castle in England, was made a Lord, but eventually died in misery as an opium addict. The rich as Croesus, Indian Nagarseth, who had financed the trade of the East India Company, was hanged by the British on some flimsy trumped up pretext. The foolish idiots who in their mercenary stupidity had become soldiers in the British Raj got their just desserts when their progeny got the privilege of dying all over the world fighting for their masters over the following 200 years. 

Tune in, a few years hence to find out what happened in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, where the old conniving thieves are being replaced by new ones pretending to be rebels and reformers, but in reality are curs and puppets whose strings are being pulled by the same imperialists, who make them dance to their dog whistles, which most stupid humans are deaf to. Oh, by the way, when Monopoly becomes an Olympic sport, China with $5700 of play money per person is sure to be the winner.


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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