[Marxism] More on Belarus from Stephen Gowans
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Mar 20 16:39:49 MST 2006
March 20, 2006
Lopsided Lukashenko win anticipated as legitimate election outcome
By Stephen Gowans
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
[Lukashenkos] fiercest opponents dont 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 regions
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.
Thats why the United States, Britain and Germany have worked with forces
within Belarus opposed to the governments 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
Lukashenkos opponents in Lithuania on April 21, where they discussed the
use of mass pressure for change.
Rices 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 Lukashenkos popularity was
recognized as a barrier to change, and that the opposition, under
Washingtons 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. Lukashenkos 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]
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 Washingtons plan. Trumped up charges are made. Pressure is
put on Lukashenko to step down. The press plays its part.
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