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Lopsided Lukashenko win anticipated as legitimate election outcome

Posted in the database on Tuesday, March 21st, 2006 @ 18:26:37 MST (1317 views)
by Stephen Gowans    gowans.blogspot.com  

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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 electoral victory.

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 down.

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.


By Peter Fredson

Bella Ciao

I saw a news item an hour ago which gave me great amusement. The headline read:

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 nation.

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.

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