Saturday, July 27, 2002

Circular No 37

Newsletter for past alumni of The Abbey School, Mt. St. Benedict, Trinidad and Tobago, W.I.
Caracas, 27 July 2002. Circular No.37
Dear friends now a few lines form Cheche, clarifying his views on a “literary” slip up that occurred in my circular.
I believe that the sentences and feelings expressed by Cheche are common to all Mount boys, we did have differences but on the long run the spirit that we learned at the Mount has made a mark in our lives.
Dear Ladislao,
First of all let me say this: I don't know what you are talking about my Good Friend ! I just never received that text where I am apparently being the object of unpleasant expressions. I must have done harm to this person .... but I am not aware of that .. at all. If I was I would not hesitate in presenting my sincere apologies and try to repair the damage.
But you know how they say "...whatever everyone else think of me is not my problem ..." We are all humans Ladislao and we are filled ... at certain points in life .. with incredible frustrations that may mark us for the rest of our lives ... or perhaps ... for important periods of time.
What really amazes me is that I never believed I could be so important as to remain in the mind or heart of a person for such a long time. I feel that my mind and heart are clean. I never harmed ... on purpose ... any of my fellow students at Mount. I always felt very proud of all my fellow students .. MOUNT BOYS ... even my enemies. I had two or three fights ... never won any of them. But I strengthen my resolute and those who dared mess with me ... never dared again to do so. So I learned. We all did !. I have to admit that I always had lots of problems in Mount. They just hated me ... and my brother ... for no reason ... just for free ... they just could not stand ... I guess ... that we were some sort of privileged individuals. I admit that. AND ...I admit ... specially me !!! The fact is that I was the son of the Venezuelan Ambassador at the time and I certainly was ... I think I still am ... a very "forward" type of person. My activities in music and my personal relationships always reflected that kind of personality which seemed to create strong resentments in others. That can't be helped. That is just the risk I had to take for being who I am and how I am. I have played fair. That behaviour seems to have always created a lot of reactions from my fellow students who judged me as being too conceited ... or believing I was some "great stuff". Right now I laugh at the words someone told me once in Mount ( I remember who said this but I am not going to mention his name .. I don't want or create more resentment)... this guy looked at me and shouted ..."who do you think you are ??? ... GOD ??? "
Ladislao, my good friend, please do not feel bad. It is not your fault. You are doing a GREAT JOB making an effort to bring people together .. THE MOUNT BOYS ... and you have made me so happy bringing the greatest and happiest moments of my life .... and giving me the opportunity once again to get in touch or communicate with great people I did not know about for the last 35 YEARS !!!! So, please do not feel any regrets. You do not need to apologize whatsoever.
You keep being the same old good Ladislao. I have a lot to thank you for . All Mount Boys have a lot to thank you for !!!!!!
Please, have this message included in your next Report. I want everybody to know my thoughts and feelings about this issue. If I have been slighted or offended as your have related, I believe I deserve the right to express my opinions.
So, please extend my good feelings to everyone, specially Don who made the wise remarks about the legal risks and expressed his opinion "if I was an attorney" ... well .. I am an attorney... in International Private Law ... and I would never raise a finger against you Ladislao. You have only done good things and your intention was always THE BEST !!! Let us not harm our friendship and your good work, for the erroneous behaviours of others.
Remember that I asked you to send me the Reports from 1 to 11 !!!!! I am preparing an incredible brochure which I hope to share with you in the future. I will also be sending some incredible photos of my last Rock presentation with the Group BLONDER. We play 60's ... you know .. Beatles and stuff ... Rolling Stones ... At 54 ...with five kids and two granddaughters ... I still play Rock'n roll ... it all started in MOUNT ST. BENEDICT ... with "Chains".
Your Mount Boy Friend !
Rafael Echeverría G.
I would like to express my regrets to all, hoping to avoid future embarrassing situations due to my lack of journalistic eye.
As for the reports 1 to 11, these are difficult to provide immediately as I am revising the email sent to make sure these circulars can be reconstructed. Remember that the first 10 circulars were really email contact letters all of the about half a page long. Your replies made this about a page long in the worst case. Thank you for the support.
Continuing the Who is Where, thanks to Roger Henderson:
26. Richard Waddell is deceased
To my friends in TT, I would like to meet you in August when I am returning for a week´s vacation to your beautiful island. Naturally going to visit the Monastery and the priests that were part of our lives. Maybe even take some pictures for my September circulars.
God Bless
Listado: C37.xls
Photo: Rafael Echeverria Rafito 2
7 Port of Spain 1964
Column: 020707 wvb Following the money
FOLLOWING THE MONEY – By Wayne Brown: Sunday, July 07, 2002
IN the politically feverish days of Watergate, the unnamed insider nicknamed Deep Throat who helped guide the investigations of the two Washington Post reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, repeatedly advised them to 'follow the money'. It's a paper trail whose value I'd learned 10 years earlier in '63 as a cub reporter with the Trinidad Guardian (at which time it explained why the Port-of-Spain City Council had suddenly given permission for the construction of a gas station in the middle of a somnolent residential suburb). And when this column began in 1984, I soon found that 'Follow the Money' was one of two great axioms which between them explained pretty much all the doings of the PNM -- and then the NAR, and then the UNC -- government. (The other was 'Confusion'.)
Now, as John Maxwell pointed out recently, the American networks have with startling spinelessness embraced the role of mindless cheerleaders for the Bush administration's much-ballyhooed 'War on Terrorism' (an unremarked oxymoron, that, virtually indistinguishable from the frankly nonsensical construct, 'War on War'). And so they were in no position to ask the real question arising from the latest outrage of 'friendly fire' (an even more ghastly oxymoron) last week: the American bomb which killed or wounded 150 Afghan wedding guests. That question is:
With the Taliban routed and the members of al-Qaeda either dispersed or fled across the border into Pakistan, why is the US still flying missions in force over Afghanistan? Indeed, why are America's armed forces still in Afghanistan at all?
Because they're engaged in mopping up operations, is the Pentagon's glib reply. Four months after the Afghan phase of the war was allegedly won, it rings increasingly tinny; and it doesn't begin to explain why the US commitment of men and material on the ground there has by all reports been growing, not shrinking.
These thousands of men -- and the hundreds subsequently seconded to the 'war on terrorism' in the Philippines, with the government there under intense pressure from Washington to permit the expansion of their numbers -- join the 60,000 US troops engaged in operations in 100 countries prior to September 11th. The bases they are currently constructing in Afghanistan (because, forget the mopping-up business, they clearly intend to hunker down there quasi-permanently) take their place beside other bases the Pentagon has established in the region, chief among them the huge US military base in Kosovo.
With Milosevic in jail, on trial, and Serbia under the control of a US-puppet government, American forces have nonetheless been installed in Serbia on an apparently permanent basis. Why?
Seeking to answer that question, journalist Stephen Gowans found the following, written in 1919 by one Joseph Schumpteter, describing ancient Rome:
'There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest - why, then it was the national honour that had been insulted. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbours [cf. Bush's 'axis of evil': WB]...The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs.'
The parallels are depressingly exact; and, as with Rome, so is the covert rationale, which is to terrorise the home population into supplying more money for more forces of occupation and overseas wars.
If anyone thinks, by the way, that Mr Bush will long be dissuaded from attacking Iraq, with or without the support of the European and 'moderate' Arab states, he or she has not begun to recognise the puppeteers behind this Republican adminstration. They are the same ones Eisenhower warned Americans about, more than 40 years ago, the 'military-industrial complex'; and they comprise the Pentagon, the military contractors, and - of paramount importance wherever the Bushes, father or son, are involved - the big oil and pipeline companies.
Bush has asked Congress for a total of $28 billion for the war in Afghanistan for this year alone. But for months American forces have done nothing over there but kill a lot of innocent people through 'friendly fire', and by next year some other Evil is going to have to be identified to justify that kind of spending.
Such reckless greed is likely to hasten the overthrow of the secular Muslim regimes in the Middle East and Pakistan by militant Islamists. And, in the nuclear age, our children will just have to live (or die) with the consequences of that.
(From last Friday's New York Times, under the headline, ''Busharraf' Is a Figure of Ridicule':
'...Nine months after joining the Western coalition against terrorism, General Musharraf, 58, is isolated in his own land, increasingly a figure of ridicule and the focus of a growing anti-Western fury that is shared by Islamic militants and the middle class alike...General Musharraf's dutiful carrying out of Washington's demands is galvanising a widespread feeling here that he has largely traded away Pakistan's sovereignty to the United States and that Pakistan's new policy toward Kashmir is the latest in a series of humiliations he has endured at America's hands...'.)
But these are the years - beginning indeed with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but given a fresh impetus and alibi by the events of September 11th - when the 'sole remaining superpower' establishes itself militarily in the, till-recently, off-limits region of Central Asia, awash in oil and natural gas. That is the centrepiece of American strategic design; and most of the rest is smokescreen and hogwash.
It wouldn't surprise this columnist to learn that the White House knows perfectly well that Osama bin Laden is dead but is keeping the news a secret in order to ward off Democrats' demands that it stop pouring men, material and money into the region. Indeed, 10 months after September 11th, there hasn't been a single terror attack on the US, and all the available evidence suggests that al-Qaeda has shut its bolt for the time being. But the Bush administration -- with, to repeat, the thoroughly disappointing compliance of the American media -- has managed, via a long series of groundless but loud alarm bulletins, to keep the Americans living in fear of their lives.
The distinctly uncivic consequence of such chronic anxiety is the beating that Wall Street has been taking of late. But, say what? Protecting the retirement investments of Americans was never part of the agenda of the military-industrial complex.
In fact, it is sobering to recognize the single-mindedness with which, since taking office, George W Bush has been about his father's business -- or, more precisely, his father's 'father': the aforesaid oil companies and military contractors. September 11th was pressed into service to justify a range of billion-dollar weapons and a national missile defence, programmes so manifestly irrelevant to the 'war on terrorism' that Bush & Co will soon have to make a real enemy of China in order to justify them. An electricity shortage in California was co-opted into a passionate push for drilling in Alaska (which would have produced no electricity, and hardly any oil, for the next 10 years.) A recession, largely the product of the canny demoralisation of the US citizenry by its political leadership, was an occasion to push through a tax cut that hardly stimulated economic activity but had the wealthy breaking out the champagne, and that will put a terrific strain on the US budget in a few years' time.
And more alarming than sobering is the rightwing grab for autocratic powers by an administration comprising the likes of Bush, Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft (the last mentioned, incidentally, a dangerous character, with distinctly fascistic leanings and tactics).
The planned Department of Homeland Security, it transpires, is to be exempted from both whistle-blower protection and the Freedom of Information Act.
In due course, the occupant of the White House will have the right to imprison indefinitely anyone he chooses, including US citizens, without judicial process or review.
Perhaps least 'American' of all, when Mr Bush addressed students at Ohio State University recently, they were threatened beforehand with expulsion and arrest if they heckled him.
The loud warnings emanating from Washington last week, that US forces will be withdrawn from their 'peacekeeping' roles around the world unless exempted from the jurisdiction of the newly-established International Criminal Court, are the threats of a bully and a coward, and the UN should call Washington's bluff.
It's a bad time for the world when its sole superpower, under pretext of protecting American lives, resorts to not-so-subtly terrorising that self-same citizenry, while at the same time disengaging from the culture of consensus among the international community -- and all for the sake of making various ridiculously wealthy people wealthier

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