“Remember Pearl Harbor,” “Never Forget 9/11,” “Putin Did It”

Imperial Mind Tricks

“Remember Pearl Harbor” was the mantra used to enlist the US population in the imperial war in the Pacific.  When it became obvious that the interests of the Japanese empire collided with its own, the US triumphantly and successfully baited the Japanese imperial force into military conflict by squeezing Japan with a trade embargo, war propaganda and military provocations.

There were many common threads between the Japanese empire and the US empire.  Both were vehemently anti-communist, colonial and militaristic. There just couldn’t be two capitalist empires in the Pacific. The immediate US actions after the war—the war which was supposed to fight off the imperial Japanese—clearly indicate that the US was there to dominate the Pacific:  the devastating Korean War to kill off communist forces, resulted in the deaths of 1/4 of the Korean population; US colonial policies against Pacific nations and beyond; and commencement of the Cold War with USSR and its allies.

The US nuked Japan to state who was the top dog in the Pacific and beyond.  After the war, the two empires became one.  The US establishment utilized willing Japanese war criminals in shaping the trajectory of post-WW2 Japan within the US imperial framework.  Today,  the phrase “remember Pearl Harbor” is used to keep the US Pacific ally under control, while justifying its imperial trajectory across the globe.

Now, such an angle also helps us see 9/11 from a fresh perspective.  All the unanswered questions surrounding the event, the use of the event to start a string of colonial wars against the Middle East, the use of the event to introduce draconian laws against the US population and so on delineate the nature of the imperial trajectory.

Most of us avoid talking about 9/11 without following the narratives provided by the establishment because the topic has been stigmatized as “conspiracy,” and it has become an industry independent from the historical context of colonial wars, capitalist expansion and loss of civil liberties.  However, it is clear that the world is suffering as a result of actions that followed the event—as 1 out of 100 people become refugees, while millions are killed by the US-backed colonial wars, which have destroyed many countries in the name of “democracy,” “freedom” and “justice.”

I bring up “remember Pearl Harbor” because recently I was told to remember it when I mentioned the dropping of nuclear bombs on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  One would like to hope that nuclear incineration of a few hundred thousand innocent civilians would be condemned without any attempt for a justification. However, the US school system still teaches the children that the decision to massacre so many people was necessary to end the war.  Of course, such a position represents racism, American exceptionalism and colonial mentality, and it is successfully refuted by many reputable scholars and journalists as well as testimonies by US military officials at the time of the events.  By the time nuclear bombs were dropped, the Japanese government was seeking ways to end the war.  It was totally unnecessary for the stated purpose; however, it functioned as an unimaginably gruesome live human experiment, a threat against communist powers and collective punishment against any imperial competitor which gets in the way of the US empire building.  If you or your family members are not familiar with the accurate  version of the event,  I highly recommend reading works by Gar Alperovitz and others.

But I was not alive in 1941.  By the time I was born (1968), Japan was firmly in the hands of the US empire, violently repressing the segment of the Japanese population which stood against Japan’s complicity in the US militarism.  So can you see where those people stand when they tell you to “remember Pearl Harbor”?  It is the voice of the US empire chastising any element that goes outside of the imperial framework of colonialism, corporatism and militarism.

In the same way, I see people saying “remember 9/11”, “never forget 9/11” and so on.  But 9/11 regularly happens in Yemen today at the hands of the US-led coalition.  Countless 9/11s have happened in Syria, which have killed 1/2 million Syrians, inflicted by the US-backed terrorists. Incidentally, those terror groups include associates of Al Qaeda, the original 9/11 attackers. The US establishment is breaking its law in giving material support to terror groups, turning its own military forces into an auxiliary of Al Qaeda forces. ((“The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance,” by Robert Parry.)), ((“Syria – U.S. Moves To Protect Al-Qaeda And ISIS in Daraa,” by Moon of Alabama.))  And speaking of the origin, Osama Bin Laden was once a US-backed “freedom fighter” in Afghanistan. The US embarked on a deadly proxy war against socialist Afghanistan, and in the process, they created a justification for the highly lucrative war on terror as well. In that sense, no matter where the truth lies, there is something to the claim that 9/11 was an inside job.  One can observe that the US capitalist hegemony is actively shaping the imperial hierarchy by any means necessary.

But there is much more.  There have been over 10,000 victims of many 9/11s inflicted by the US-backed Ukrainian coup government in the Russian-speaking eastern region of Ukraine. Those who are still parroting the US propaganda lies about Ukraine, or Crimea, please do watch Oliver Stone’s excellent documentary Ukraine On Fire. It meticulously describes how the CIA fomented Nazi forces in the region, which had become vital in the US backed coup against the democratically elected deposed government. Furthermore, in 2017, protester killings—which were quickly blamed on the elected Ukraine government by the media—were revealed to have been carried out by Georgian snipers.  In their testimonies, they claimed that they were ordered to shoot anyone to cause chaos at the scene. Shockingly, they also stated that they were under command of an American military officer. The US has been arming and training Ukraine military, continuing to add numbers of victims in Ukraine. Those people who have contracted the Putin panic, an epidemic-spewing hatred against anything Russian, need to recognize the gravity of the matter. Our species has suffered deaths and destruction of imperial violence for some time.

Now, we have those same people in the west who have promoted the colonial savageries of murder and destruction against “others” telling us that Russians are destroying our “democracy”. For those who do not know the history, Russia was subjected to political and economic intervention by the US in the 90s. The US backed Boris Yeltsin—the US establishment openly bragged about him being their agent—even attacked his own parliament with tanks killing many officials.  Swarmed by the US neoliberal restructuring forces, the country’s socialist fabric was ripped apart to be sold away.  A prominent anti-imperial historian Luciana Bohne summarizes the era succinctly:

The Neoliberal Great Terror,” known as economic “shock therapy.” Between 1992 and 2000, there were between five and six million “surplus deaths,” 170,000 people were murdered, the GDP fell by 50% (more than during German occupation in WW II), 70 million fell into poverty, death rates increased by 60%, like countries at war, life expectancy decreased in males to 57, abortions increased spectacularly, birth rates fell, suicides, tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria (eradicated in the 1930s) … In short (and this was supposed to be a short post) Russia, under “shock-therapy” “reforms” became the site of an economic genocide.

It’s worth reading what Luciana has to say about the century long US intervention against Russia.

Let’s put the dynamics in a perspective here regarding the “Evil Russian Empire.” Russia’s economy is about the size of South Korea. Its military spending is about 1/12 of the NATO forces. The US continues to encroach on Russia with hundreds of military bases. The US has been supporting right-wing coups around Russia despite its promise not to expand NATO forces. It continues to economically pressure Russia with embargoes. Russia is a geographically huge country with rich natural resources.  It is a strategic ally of the emerging economic giant China. What is the US doing here? The empire has been waiting for Russia to jump on its Pearl Harbor or a 9/11, hasn’t it? But after seeing what the US hegemony does to a country like Russia, why would anyone bite the bate?

Then we’ve got this insane Putin panic epidemic, which is nothing more than a product of psychopathic delusional projection by the establishment that has been hacking, intervening, destroying, hijacking and stealing other countries’ political processes for generations. Two years of allegations, accusations and speculations have not provided any proof of the Russian President stealing the election. The same thing can be said about the 12 Russians indicted recently. ((“Clinging to Collusion: Why Evidence Will Probably Never Be Produced in the Indictments of ‘Russian Agents’,” by Joe Lauria.)), ((“No Evidence In Mueller’s Indictment Of 12 Russians – Release Now May Sabotage Upcoming Summit,” by Moon of Alabama.)) The government’s own intelligence officer, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, is warning the people that the alleged “Russian hacking” is unfounded while speculating that it is most likely the work of its own agency.

In any case, I am rather surprised that many people are buying such an obvious scheme of imperialism. What the US establishment is concocting is a classic momentum heading toward a war described eloquently by Smedley Butler in War is a Racket. It is a tactic of fascist manipulation described by Nazi war criminal Herman Goering:

The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.

According to how history has unfolded what comes next are millions of horrible deaths and destruction.

We have been living in an empire that requires great sacrifices among the oppressed. There isn’t a future for such a scheme that stands on a pile of lies and deceptions. Every action to cover up a lie confirms the lie. The empire has been attempting to keep order by force. They’ve hired hitmen, many of them. But there is a time when the interests of the armed forces and the rich men collide in propping up the hierarchy. The late stage capitalism, as gruesome and atrocious as it is, isn’t entirely about protection racket, extortion, murder and theft. At some point, capitalists must fight among themselves for their own survival as its economic sphere suffers from its own violence and greed.  This is what we are facing today. We are looking at the empire disintegrating as its economic sphere is losing its power and legitimacy while “enemies” of the empire are gaining a sphere of influence. Corporate political parties, war industry, government agencies and the rest of the imperialists are struggling to assert their own interests within the imperial framework of corporatism, colonialism and militarism, while picking fights with Russia, China, Iran and any country that defies the imperial hegemony, desperately seeking ways to metastasize for their survival. But the entire imperial order is collapsing.

We must not be a voice for the capitalist lords nor for the hitmen.  This is a time we must reach out to people like us in Russia, China, Syria, Iran, and other peoples of the planet, and people like us in our communities, with messages of peace, sharing and mutual respect. The corporate power is already embarking on colonizing the momentum (see the work done by the Wrong Kind of Green on the non-profit industrial complex, for instance).  We, the people of the planet, somehow must assert our desire to bring about a new era for our species beyond the sufferings and deaths of neo-feudalism.  You might feel isolated.  But we are everywhere on this planet. We want to live as brothers and sisters.  We want to live in harmony with our planet.  We share our angles and facts for a better tomorrow for our children and their children. This is an urgent challenge of our time. Peace to us all.

Hiroyuki Hamada is an artist. He has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe and is represented by Lori Bookstein Fine Art. He has been awarded various residencies including those at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Edward F. Albee Foundation/William Flanagan Memorial Creative Person’s Center, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the MacDowell Colony. In 1998 Hamada was the recipient of a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant, and in 2009 he was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. He lives and works in New York. Read other articles by Hiroyuki.