Global Research Editor’s Note

We bring to the attention of our readers the following text of Osama bin Laden’s interview with Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001. It was translated into English by the BBC World Monitoring Service and made public on September 29, 2001.

The authenticity of this interview remains to be confirmed. It is available in recognized electronic news archives including the BBC. Its authenticity has not been questioned.  

The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.

Osama bin Laden categorically denies his involvement in the 9/11 attacks.  Bin Laden’s statements in this interview are markedly different from those made in the alleged Osama video tapes.

In this interview, Osama bin Laden exhibits an understanding of US foreign policy. He expresses his views regarding the loss of life on 9/11. He focusses on CIA support to the narcotics trade.

He also makes statements as to who, in his opinion, might be the likely perpetrator of  the September 11 attacks.

This is an important text which has not been brought to the attention of Western public opinion.

We have highlighted key sections of this interview.

It is our hope that the text of this interview, published on 28 September 2001 barely a week before the onset of the war on Afghanistan, will contribute to a better understanding of the history of Al Qaeda, the role of Osama bin Laden and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

This interview is published for informational purposes only. GR does not in any way endorse the statements in this interview.

Michel  Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014


Full text of September 2001 Pakistani paper’s “exclusive” interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin

Ummat (in Urdu)

translated from Urdu

Karachi, 28 September 2001, pp. 1 and 7.

Ummat’s introduction

Kabul: Prominent Arab mojahed holy warrior Usamah Bin-Ladin has said that he or his al-Qa’idah group has nothing to do with the 11 September suicidal attacks in Washington and New York. He said the US government should find the attackers within the country. In an exclusive interview with daily “Ummat”, he said these attacks could be the act of those who are part of the American system and are rebelling against it and working for some other system. Or, Usamah said, this could be the act of those who want to make the current century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. Or, the American Jews, who are opposed to President Bush ever since the Florida elections, might be the masterminds of this act. There is also a great possibility of the involvement of US intelligence agencies, which need billions of dollars worth of funds every year. He said there is a government within the government in the United States.

The secret agencies, he said, should be asked as to who are behind the attacks. Usamah said support for attack on Afghanistan was a matter of need for some Muslim countries and compulsion for others. However, he said, he was thankful to the courageous people of Pakistan who erected a bulwark before the wrong forces. He added that the Islamic world was attaching great expectations with Pakistan and, in time of need, “we will protect this bulwark by sacrificing of lives”.

Following is the interview in full detail:

Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?

Usamah [Osama bin Laden]: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Praise be to Allah, Who is the creator of the whole universe and Who made the earth as an abode for peace, for the whole mankind. Allah is the Sustainer, who sent Prophet Muhammad for our guidance. I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin true Muslim people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon.

I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.

Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel.

There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia?

Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims .

The US has no friends, nor does it want to keep any because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates.

However, our case is different. We have pledged slavery to God Almighty alone and after this pledge there is no possibility to become the slave of someone else. If we do that, it will be disregardful to both our Sustainer and his fellow beings. Most of the world nations upholding their freedom are the religious ones, which are the enemies of United States, or the latter itself considers them as its enemies. Or the countries, which do not agree to become its slaves, such as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Syria, and the former Russia as received .

Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.

According to my information, the death toll is much higher than what the US government has stated. But the Bush administration does not want the panic to spread. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him.

Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This funding issue was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger.

They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of 40bn dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.

Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US president, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.

Ummat: A number of world countries have joined the call of the United States for launching an attack on Afghanistan. These also include a number of Muslim countries. Will Al-Qa’idah declare a jihad against these countries as well?

Usamah: I must say that my duty is just to awaken the Muslims; to tell them as to what is good for them and what is not. What does Islam says and what the enemies of Islam want?

Al-Qa’idah was set up to wage a jihad against infidelity, particularly to encounter the onslaught of the infidel countries against the Islamic states. Jihad is the sixth undeclared element of Islam. The first five being the basic holy words of Islam, prayers, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms Every anti-Islamic person is afraid of it. Al-Qa’idah wants to keep this element alive and active and make it part of the daily life of the Muslims. It wants to give it the status of worship. We are not against any Islamic country nor we consider a war against an Islamic country as jihad.

We are in favour of armed jihad only against those infidel countries, which are killing innocent Muslim men, women, and children just because they are Muslims. Supporting the US act is the need of some Muslim countries and the compulsion of others. However, they should think as to what will remain of their religious and moral position if they support the attack of the Christians and the Jews on a Muslim country like Afghanistan. The orders of Islamic shari’ah jurisprudence for such individuals, organizations, and countries are clear and all the scholars of the Muslim brotherhood are unanimous on them. We will do the same, which is being ordered by the Amir ol-Momenin the commander of the faithful Mola Omar and the Islamic scholars. The hearts of the people of Muslim countries are beating with the call of jihad. We are grateful to them.

Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks can bring down the American economy. Why is al-Qa’idah not targeting their economic pillars?

Usamah: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom. This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.

Ummat: Why is harm not caused to the enemies of Islam through other means, apart from the armed struggle? For instance, inciting the Muslims to boycott Western products, banks, shipping lines, and TV channels.

Usamah: The first thing is that Western products could only be boycotted when the Muslim fraternity is fully awakened and organized. Secondly, the Muslim companies should become self-sufficient in producing goods equal to the products of Western companies. Economic boycott of the West is not possible unless economic self-sufficiency is attained and substitute products are brought out. You see that wealth is scattered all across the Muslim world but not a single TV channel has been acquired which can preach Islamic injunctions according to modern requirements and attain an international influence. Muslim traders and philanthropists should make it a point that if the weapon of public opinion is to be used, it is to be kept in the hand. Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything that you asked for can be done.

Ummat: The entire propaganda about your struggle has so far been made by the Western media. But no information is being received from your sources about the network of Al-Qa’idah and its jihadi successes. Would you comment?

Usamah: In fact, the Western media is left with nothing else. It has no other theme to survive for a long time. Then we have many other things to do. The struggle for jihad and the successes are for the sake of Allah and not to annoy His bondsmen. Our silence is our real propaganda. Rejections, explanations, or corrigendum only waste your time and through them, the enemy wants you to engage in things which are not of use to you. These things are pulling you away from your cause.

The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that. You can understand as to what will be the performance of the nation in a war, which suffers from fear and helplessness.

Ummat: What will the impact of the freeze of al-Qa’idah accounts by the US?

Usamah: God opens up ways for those who work for Him. Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qa’idah or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qa’idah has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other. This system is operating under the patronage of those who love jihad. What to say of the United States, even the combined world cannot budge these people from their path.

These people are not in hundreds but in thousands and millions. Al-Qa’idah comprises of such modern educated youths who are aware of the cracks inside the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their hands. These are the very flaws of the Western fiscal system, which are becoming a noose for it and this system could not recuperate in spite of the passage of so many days.

Ummat: Are there other safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?

Usamah: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God. It is not the question of Usamah but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised. Jihad was still present when there was no Usamah and it will remain as such even when Usamah is no longer there. Allah opens up ways and creates loves in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property, and children. Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the after life. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.

Ummat: What do you say about the Pakistan government policy on Afghanistan attack?

Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are the same Pakistanis who are standing shoulder by shoulder with the Taleban. If such people emerge in just two countries, the domination of the West will diminish in a matter of days. Our hearts beat with Pakistan and, God forbid, if a difficult time comes we will protect it with our blood. Pakistan is sacred for us like a place of worship. We are the people of jihad and fighting for the defence of Pakistan is the best of all jihads to us. It does not matter for us as to who rules Pakistan. The important thing is that the spirit of jihad is alive and stronger in the hearts of the Pakistani people.

Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001

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THE 9/11 READER. The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

September 11th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

 

Note to Readers: Remember to bookmark this page for future reference.
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[scroll down for I-BOOK Table of Contents]

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GLOBAL RESEARCH ONLINE

INTERACTIVE READER SERIES

GR I-BOOK No.  7 

THE 9/11 READER

The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

9/11 Truth: Revealing the Lies,  Commemorating the 9/11 Tragedy

Michel Chossudovsky (Editor)

August 2012


The 911/ Reader is part of Global Research’s Online Interactive I-Book Reader, which brings together, in the form of chapters, a collection of Global Research feature articles, including debate and analysis, on a broad theme or subject matter.  To consult our Online Interactive I-Book Reader Series, click here.


 

INTRODUCTION

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history. a decisive watershed, a breaking point. Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.

September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society.

A far-reaching overhaul of US military doctrine was launched in the wake of 9/11.

Endless wars of aggression under the humanitarian cloak of “counter-terrorism” were set in motion. 

9/11 was also a stepping stone towards the relentless repeal of civil liberties, the militarization of law enforcement and the inauguration of “Police State USA”.

September 11, 2001 marks the onslaught of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification by the US and its NATO allies to carry out a “war without borders”, a global war of conquest. 

At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police investigation.

CIA Director George Tenet stated that same morning that Osama bin Laden had the capacity to plan  “multiple attacks with little or no warning.”

Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks “an act of war” and President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation that he would “make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey, without mentioning Afghanistan, pointed his finger at “state sponsorship,” implying the complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, “I think we will show when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in our retribution.”

That same evening at 9:30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11:00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.

The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage war on Afghanistan on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”.  Several prominent “progressive” intellectuals made a case for “retaliation against terrorism”, on moral and ethical grounds. The “just cause” military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11. 

In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country in Central Asia of 30 million people.

The myth of the “outside enemy” and the threat of “Islamic terrorists” was the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America.

Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress, which the mainstream media chose to either dismiss or ignore. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.

The 9/11 Commission Report has largely upheld the “outside enemy” mythology, heralding Al Qaeda as the “mastermind” organization behind the 9/11 attacks.

The official 9/11 narrative has not only distorted the causes underling the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, it has also erased the historical record of US covert support to international terrorism, while creating the illusion that America and “Western Civilization” are threatened.

Without an “outside enemy”, there could be no “war on terrorism”. The entire national security agenda would collapse “like a deck of cards”. The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.

After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive Al Qaeda “outside enemy” had been fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.

Click to view video

VIDEO: AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR

Special GRTV Feature Production
- by James Corbett – 2011-09-08

***

The 911 Reader is composed of a carefully selected collection of key articles published by Global Research in the course of the last eleven years.

9/11 was an important landmark for Global Research. Our website was launched on September 9, 2001, two days prior to 9/11. Our coverage of 9/11 was initiated on September 12, 2001.

Within this collection of more than 60 chapters, we have included several important reports from our archives, published by Global Research in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. These articles provide a focus on issues pertaining to the 9/11 Timeline, foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the attack on the Pentagon, the issue of insider trading on Wall Street in the days preceding 9/11 pointing to foreknowledge of the attacks.

What prevails is a complex web of lies and fabrications, pertaining to various dimensions of the 9/11 tragedy. The falsehoods contained in the official 9/11 narrative are manifold, extending from the affirmation that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind, to the assertion by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that the WTC buildings collapsed due to the impacts of fire. (see Part III).

Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

Is there any proof to the effect that Osama bin Laden, the bogeyman, coordinated the 9/11 attacks as claimed in the official 9/11 narrative?

According to CBS news (Dan Rather, January 28, 2002), “Enemy Number One” was admitted to the urology ward of a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan. He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as presidential speeches in the course of the last eleven years.

DAN RATHER. As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.

This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan. (transcript of CBS report, see http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CBS203A.html , see also http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/28/eveningnews/main325887.shtml

CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]

 

CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11.

CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]

The foregoing CBS report which  is of utmost relevance indicates two obvious facts:

1. Osama bin Laden could not reasonably have coordinated the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed;

2. The hospital was under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known to both the Pakistani and US military.

 U.S. military and intelligence advisers based in Rawalpindi. were working closely with their Pakistani counterparts. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed, at the time, that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown. According to Rumsfeld:  “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.

October 7, 2001: Waging America’s 9/11 War of Retribution against Afghanistan

The immediate response of the US and its allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden. By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Taliban were complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.

Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.

This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.

On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) is an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security. Under any stretch of the imagination, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon cannot be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.

Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.

The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away. Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. The war on Afghanistan was already in the advanced planning stages prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, almost immediately following 9/11 with the adoption of the PATRIOT legislation and the setting up of a Homeland Security apparatus, under the pretext of protecting Americans. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset

Important to the understanding of 9/11, US intelligence is the unspoken architect of “Islamic terrorism” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.

Bin Laden was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerrilla training camp. Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. With religious textbooks produced in Nebraska, the number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad.” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)

 ”The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..”, (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)

Under the Reagan administration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic “freedom fighters”. This endorsement has not in any way been modified.

In a twisted irony, throughout the post 911 era,  US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, an Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert support to the radical Islamist organization allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda and its various affiliated groups including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and factions within the Free Syria Army (FSA) are directly supported by the US and NATO.

In a bitter irony, the US and its allies claim to be waging a “war on terrorism” against the alleged architects of 9/11, while also using Al Qaeda operatives as their foot-soldiers.


Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Willian Webster; Deputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official,
Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987.
(source RAWA)


Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)

VIDEO (30 Sec.)

The Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings

Based on the findings of  Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings was not caused by fire resulting from the crash of the planes:

In more than 100 steel-framed, high-rise fires (most of them very hot, very large and very long-lasting), not one has collapsed, ever. So it behooves all of us, as your own former chief of NIST’s Fire Science Division, Dr. James Quintiere, said, “to look at real alternatives that might have been the cause of these collapses.”

Let’s start with temperatures – 1,340° F. temperatures, recorded in thermal images of the surface of the World Trade Center rubble pile a week after 9/11 by NASA’s AVIRIS equipment on USGS overflights. Such temperatures cannot be achieved by oxygen-starved hydrocarbon fires. Such fires burn at only 600 to 800° F. Remember, there was no fire on the top of the pile. The source of this incredible heat was therefore below the surface of the rubble, where it must have been far hotter than 1,340 degrees.

Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc., who was hired for the Building 7 cleanup, said that “molten steel was found at 7 WTC.” Leslie Robertson, World Trade Center structural engineer, stated that on October 5, “21 days after the attacks, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running.” Fire department personnel, recorded on video, reported seeing “molten steel running down the channel rails… like you’re in a foundry – like lava from a volcano.” Joe O’Toole, a Bronx firefighter, saw a crane lifting a steel beam vertically from deep within a pile. He said “it was dripping from the molten steel.” Bart Voorsanger, an architect hired to save “relics from the rubble,” stated about the multi-ton “meteorite” that it was a “fused element of molten steel and concrete.”

Steel melts at about 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit, about twice the temperature of the World Trade Center Tower 1 and 2 fires as estimated by NIST. So what melted the steel?

Appendix C of FEMA’s BPAT Report documents steel samples showing rapid oxidation, sulfidation, and intergranular melting. A liquid eutectic mixture, including sulfur from an unknown source, caused intense corrosion of the steel, gaping holes in wide flange beams, and the thinning of half-inch-thick flanges to almost razor-sharpness in the World Trade Center 7 steel. The New York Times called this “the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.”

NIST left all of this crucial forensic evidence out of its report. Why? Because it didn’t fit in with the official conspiracy theory.

Last year, physicist Steven Jones, two other physicists, and a geologist analyzed the slag at the ends of the beams and in the samples of the previously molten metal. They found iron, aluminum, sulfur, manganese and fluorine – the chemical evidence of thermate, a high-tech incendiary cutting charge used by the military to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter. The by-product of the thermate reaction is molten iron! There’s no other possible source for all the molten iron that was found. One of thermate’s key ingredients is sulfur, which can form the liquid eutectic that FEMA found and lower the melting point of steel.

In addition, World Trade Center 7′s catastrophic structural failure showed every characteristic of explosive, controlled demolition. … The destruction began suddenly at the base of the building. Several first responders reported explosions occurring about a second before the collapse. There was the symmetrical, near-free-fall speed of collapse, through the path of greatest resistance – with 40,000 tons of steel designed to resist this load – straight down into its own footprint. This requires that all the columns have to fail within a fraction of a second of each other – perimeter columns as well as core columns. There was also the appearance of mistimed explosions (squibs?) at the upper seven floors on the network video recordings of the collapse. And we have expert testimony from a European demolitions expert, Danny Jowenko, who said “This is controlled demolition… a team of experts did this… This is professional work, without any doubt.”

Fire cannot produce these effects. Fire produces large, gradual deformations and asymmetrical collapses. Thermate can produce all of these effects used in conjunction with linear shaped charges. If the thermate is formed into ultra-fine particles, as has been accomplished at Los Alamos National Laboratory, it is called super-thermate, and is very explosive.(Richard Gage, January 2008)

The following AE911Truth Video provides irrefutable evidence that the WTC center towers were brought down through controlled demolition.

According to David Ray Griffin: “The official theory of the collapse, therefore, is essentially a fire theory, so it cannot be emphasized too much that fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings to collapse—never, whether before 9/11, or after 9/11, or anywhere in the world on 9/11 except allegedly New York City—never.” (See David Ray Griffin).

According to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, based on solid scientific analysis and evidence, the collapse of the WTC towers was engineered through controlled demolition. While AE11Truth does not speculate on who might be behind the conspiracy to bring down the WTC buildings, they nonetheless suggest that the carrying out such an operation would require a carefully planned course of action with prior access to the buildings as well as an advanced level of expertise in the use of explosives, etc.

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven

The most grotesque lie pertains to the BBC and CNN announcement in the afternoon of September 11, that WTC Building Seven (The Solomon Building) had collapsed. The BBC report went live at 5.00pm, 21 minutes before the actual occurrence of the collapse, indelibly pointing to foreknowledge of the collapse of WTC 7.  CNN anchor Aaron Brown announced that the building “has either collapsed or is collapsing” about an hour before the event. (See WTC7.net the hidden story of Building 7: Foreknowledge of WTC 7′s Collapse)

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.

CNN anchor Aaron Brown seems to struggle to make sense of what he is seeing one minute after announcing that WTC Building 7, whose erect facade is clearly visible in his view towards the Trade Center, has or is collapsing.

Coverup and Complicity

The 911 Reader presents factual information and analysis which points to cover-up and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.

This body of articles by prominent authors, scholars, architects, engineers, largely refutes the official narrative of the 9/11 Commission Report, which is reviewed in Part IV. It  dispels the notion that America was attacked on September 11, 2001 on the orders of Osama bin Laden.

This is a central issue because US military doctrine since 9/11 has been predicated on “defending the American Homeland” against Islamic terrorists as well as waging pre-emptive wars against Al Qaeda and its various “state sponsors”.  Afghanistan was bombed and invaded as part of the “war on terrorism”. In March 2003, Iraq was also invaded.

War Propaganda

Fiction prevails over reality. For propaganda to be effective, public opinion must firmly endorse the official 9/11 narrative to the effect that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks. A well organized structure of media disinformation (Part XI) is required to reach this objective. Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend also requires defying as well smearing the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Throughout the post 9/11 era, a panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.

In turn, 9/11, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council.

September 11 and Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.

What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.

With September 11 there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because 9/11 as well as Al Qaeda have evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of media disinformation and war propaganda.

Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.

Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally.

Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?

People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!

The routine use of  9/11 and Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion. It prevents people from thinking.

All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained –by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World.

The Alleged Role of Iraq in the 9/11 Attacks

9/11 mythology has been a mainstay of war propaganda. In the course of 2002, leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003,  “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements circulated profusely in the news chain. While Washington’s official position was that Saddam Hussein was not behind the 9/11 attacks, insinuations abounded both in presidential speeches as well as in the Western media. According to Bush,  in an October 2002 press conference:

The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. .,..  We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability — even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source [Iraq], that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, October 7, 2002)

Barely two weeks before the invasion of Iraq, September 11, 2001 was mentioned abundantly by president Bush. In the weeks leading up to the March invasion, 45 percent of  Americans believed Saddam Hussein was “personally involved” in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. (See . The impact of Bush linking 9/11 and Iraq / The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com, March 14, 2003)

Meanwhile, a new terrorist mastermind had emerged: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

In Colin Powell’s historic address to the United Nations Security Council, in February 2003, detailed “documentation” on a sinister relationship between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was presented, focussing on his ability to produce deadly chemical, biological and radiological weapons, with the full support and endorsement of the secular Baathist regime. The implication of Colin’s Powell’s assertions, which were totally fabricated, was that Saddam Hussein and an Al Qaeda affiliated organization had joined hands in the production of WMD in Northern Iraq and that the Hussein government was a “state sponsor” of terrorism.

The main thrust of the disinformation campaign continued in the wake of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. It consisted in presenting the Iraqi resistance movement as “terrorists”. The image of “terrorists opposed to democracy” fighting US “peacekeepers” appeared on television screens and news tabloids across the globe.

Iran: Alleged State Sponsor of 9/11

In the wake of the Iraq invasion, the same alleged “state sponsorship” of terrorism accusations emerged in relation to Iran.

In December 2011, the Islamic Republic of Iran was condemned by a Manhattan court, for its alleged role in supporting Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.

The investigation into Tehran’s alleged role was launched in 2004, pursuant to a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission “regarding an apparent link between Iran, Hezbollah, and the 9/11 hijackers”. The 91/11 Commission’s recommendation was that the this “apparent link” required  “further investigation by the U.S. government.” (9/11 Commission Report , p. 241). (See Iran 911 Case ).

In the December 2011 court judgment (Havlish v. Iran)  “U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled  that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case”.

According to the plaintiffs attorneys “Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda formed a terror alliance in the early 1990s. Citing their national security and intelligence experts, the attorneys explained “how the pragmatic terror leaders overcame the Sunni-Shi’a divide in order to confront the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel (the “Lesser Satan”)”. Iran and Hezbollah allegedly provided “training to members of al Qaeda in, among other things, the use of explosives to destroy large buildings.” (See Iran 911 Case ).

This judicial procedure is nothing more than another vicious weapon in the fabricated “War on Terror” to be used against another Muslim country, with a view to destabilizing Iran as well as justifying ongoing military threats. It also says a lot more about the people behind the lawsuit than about the accused. The expert witnesses who testified against Iran are very active in warmongering neocon circles. They belong to a web of architects of the 21st century Middle-Eastern wars, ranging from high profile propagandists to intelligence and military officers, including former U.S. officials.

But what makes this case absurd is that in September 2011, a few months before the judgment, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has questioned the official 9/11 narrative, was accused by Al-Qaeda leaders of  “spreading conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks”. The semi-official media outlet of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, insisted that al-Qaeda “had been behind the attacks and criticised the Iranian president for discrediting the terrorist group.” (See Julie Levesque, Iran Accused of being behind 9/11 Attacks. U.S. Court Judgment, December 2011 (Havlish v. Iran), Global Research,  May 11, 2012)

Al Qaeda: US-NATO Foot-soldiers

Ironically, while Washington accuses Iran and Afghanistan of supporting terrorism, the historical record and evidence indelibly point to the “state sponsorship” of Al Qaeda by the CIA, MI6 and their counterparts in Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Al Qaeda death squads have been recruited to wage America’s humanitarian wars throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

In Syria Al Qaeda units were recruited by NATO and the Turkish High command: “Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels.” (http://www.debka.com/article/21255/  Debkafile, August 31, 2011).

In Libya, jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the “pro-democracy” rebels under the helm of “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj:

Western policy makers admit that NATO’s operations in Libya have played the primary role in emboldening Al Qaeda’s AQIM faction (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel in his article, “The New Al Qaeda Menace,” admits that AQIM is now heavily armed thanks to NATO’s intervention in Libya, and that AQIM’s base in Mali, North Africa, serves as a staging ground for terrorist activities across the region. http://www.globalresearch.ca/al-qaeda-and-natos-pan-arab-terrorist-blitzkrieg/

Table of Contents of the 9/11 Reader

In Part I, the 911 Reader provides a review of what happened on the morning of 9/11, at the White House, on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, at Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM), What was the response of the US Air Force in the immediate wake of the attacks?  Part II focusses on “What Happened on the Planes” as described in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Part III sheds light on what caused the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. It also challenges the official narrative with regard to the attack on the Pentagon.

Part IV reviews and refutes the findings of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Part V focusses on the issue of foreknowledge by Western intelligence agencies. Part VI examines the issue of how foreknowledge of the attacks was used as an instrument of insider trading on airline stocks in the days preceding September 11, 2001. The bonanza financial gains resulting from insurance claims to the leaseholders of the WTC buildings is also examined.

Part VII focusses on the history and central role of Al Qaeda as a US intelligence asset. Since the Soviet-Afghan war, US intelligence has supported the formation of various jihadist organizations. An understanding of this history is crucial in refuting the official 9/11 narrative which claims that Al Qaeda, was behind the attacks.

Part VIII centers on the life and death of 9/11 “Terror Mastermind” Osama bin Laden, who was recruited by the CIA in the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. This section also includes an analysis of the mysterious death of Osama bin Laden, allegedly executed by US Navy Seals in a suburb of Islamabad in May 2011.

Part  IX  focusses on “False Flags” and the Pentagon’s “Second 9/11″. Part X examines the issue of “Deep Events” with contributions by renowned scholars Peter Dale Scott and Daniele Ganser.

Part XI  examines the structure of 9/11 propaganda which consists in “creating” as well “perpetuating” a  “9/11 Legend”. How is this achieved? Incessantly, on a daily basis, Al Qaeda, the alleged 9/11 Mastermind is referred to by the Western media, government officials, members of the US Congress, Wall Street analysts, etc. as an underlying cause of numerous World events.

Part XII focusses on the practice of 9/11 Justice directed against the alleged culprits of the 9/11 attacks.

The legitimacy of 9/11 propaganda requires fabricating “convincing evidence” and “proof” that those who are accused actually carried out the attacks. Sentencing of Muslims detained in Guantanamo is part of war propaganda. It depicts innocent men who are accused of the 9/11 attacks, based on confessions acquired through systematic torture throughout their detention.

Part  XIII focusses on 9/11 Truth.  The objective of 9/11 Truth is to ultimately dismantle the propaganda apparatus which is manipulating the human mindset. The 9/11 Reader concludes with a retrospective view of 9/11 ten years later.


PART  I

Timeline: What Happened on the Morning of September 11, 2001

Nothing Urgent: The Curious Lack of Military Action on the Morning of September. 11, 2001
- by George Szamuely – 2012-08-12
Political Deception: The Missing Link behind 9-11
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2002-06-20
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
9/11 Contradictions: Bush in the Classroom
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2008-04-04
9/11 Contradictions: When Did Cheney Enter the Underground Bunker?
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-04-24
VIDEO: Pilots For 9/11 Truth: Intercepted
Don’t miss this important documentary, now on GRTV
- 2012-05-16

PART II

What Happened on the Planes

“United 93″: What Happened on the Planes?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-05-01
  Phone Calls from the 9/11 Airliners
Response to Questions Evoked by My Fifth Estate Interview
- by Prof David Ray Griffin – 2010-01-12
Given the cell phone technology available in 2001, cell phone calls from airliners at altitudes of more than a few thousand feet, were virtually impossible
Ted Olson’s Report of Phone Calls from Barbara Olson on 9/11: Three Official Denials
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-04-01
Ted Olson’s report was very important. It provided apparent “evidence” that American 77 had struck the Pentagon.

 

PART III

What Caused the Collapse of

The WTC Buildings and the Pentagon?

The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2006-01-29
The official theory about the Twin Towers says that they collapsed because of the combined effect of the impact of the airplanes and the resulting fires
Evidence Refutes the Official 9/11 Investigation: The Scientific Forensic Facts
- by Richard Gage, Gregg Roberts – 2010-10-13
VIDEO: Controlled Demolitions Caused the Collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) buildings on September 11, 2001
- by Richard Gage – 2009-09-20
VIDEO: 9/11: The Myth and The Reality
Now on GRTV
- by Prof. David Ray Griffin – 2011-08-30
Undisputed Facts Point to the Controlled Demolition of WTC 7
- by Richard Gage – 2008-03-28
VIDEO: 9/11 Explosive Evidence: Experts Speak Out
See the trailer for this ground-breaking film on GRTV
- 2011-08-03
9/11: “Honest Mistake” or BBC Foreknowledge of Collapse of WTC 7? Jane Standley Breaks Her Silence
- by James Higham – 2011-08-18
The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.
Interview. Comment by Elizabeth Woodworth
- by David Ray Griffin – 2009-10-17
  Building What? How SCADs Can Be Hidden in Plain Sight: The 9/11 “Official Story” and the Collapse of WTC Building Seven
- by Prof David Ray Griffin – 2010-05-30
Besides omitting and otherwise falsifying evidence, NIST also committed the type of scientific fraud called fabrication, which means simply “making up results.”
VIDEO; Firefighters’ Analysis of the 9/11 Attacks Refutes the Official Report
- by Erik Lawyer – 2012-08-27
VIDEO: Pentagon Admits More 9/11 Remains Dumped in Landfill
- by James Corbett – 2012-03-01
The Pentagon revealed that some of the unidentifiable remains from victims at the Pentagon and Shanksville sites on September 11, 2001 were disposed of in a landfill.
9/11: The Attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001
The Official Version Amounts to an Enormous Lie
- by Thierry Meyssan – 2012-08-16

PART IV

Lies and Fabrications: The 9/11 Commission Report

A National Disgrace: A Review of the 9/11 Commission Report
- by David Ray Griffin – 2005-03-24
The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571 Page Lie
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2005-09-08
September 11, 2001: 21 Reasons to Question the Official Story about 9/11
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-09-11
911 “Conspiracy Theorists” Vindicated: Pentagon deliberately misled Public Opinion
Military officials made false statements to Congress and to the 911 Commission
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-08-02
The 9/11 Commission’s Incredible Tales
Flights 11, 175, 77, and 93
- by Prof. David Ray Griffin – 2005-12-13
9/11 and the War on Terror: Polls Show What People Think 10 Years Later
- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-09-10

PART  V

Foreknowledge of 9/11

  VIDEO: The SECRET SERVICE ON 9/11: What did the Government Know?
Learn more on this week’s GRTV Feature Interview
- by Kevin Ryan, James Corbett – 2012-04-10
9/11 Foreknowledge and “Intelligence Failures”: “Revealing the Lies” on 9/11 Perpetuates the “Big Lie”
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-14
“Foreknowledge” and “Failure to act” upholds the notion that the terrorist attacks (“act of war”) “waged by Muslims against America” are real, when all the facts and findings point towards coverup and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.
Foreknowledge of 9/11 by Western Intelligence Agencies
- by Michael C. Ruppert – 2012-08-21

PART VI

Insider Trading and the 9/11 Financial Bonanza

9/11 Attacks: Criminal Foreknowledge and Insider Trading lead directly to the CIA’s Highest Ranks
CIA Executive Director “Buzzy” Krongard managed Firm that handled “Put” Options on UAL
- by Michael C. Ruppert – 2012-08-13
The 9/11 Attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC): Unspoken Financial Bonanza
- by Prof Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-04-27
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: Insider Trading 9/11 … the Facts Laid Bare
- by Lars Schall – 2012-03-20
Osama Bin Laden and The 911 Illusion: The 9/11 Short-Selling Financial Scam
- by Dean Henderson – 2011-05-09

PART VII

9/11 and the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT)

Political Deception: The Missing Link behind 9-11
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2002-06-20
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
9/11 ANALYSIS: From Ronald Reagan and the Soviet-Afghan War to George W Bush and September 11, 2001
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2010-09-09
Osama bin Laden was recruited by the CIA in 1979. The US spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings.

 

  The Central Role of Al Qaeda in Bush’s National Security Doctrine
“Revealing the Lies” on 9/11 Perpetuates the “Big Lie”
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2007-07-12
NATO’s Doctrine of Collective Security
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2009-12-21
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2010-08-30
What is now unfolding is a generalized process of demonization of an entire population group
Osamagate
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2001-10-09
The main justification for waging this war has been totally fabricated. The American people have been deliberately and consciously misled by their government into supporting a major military adventure which affects our collective future.
The “Demonization” of Muslims and the Battle for Oil
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2007-01-04
Muslim countries possess three quarters of the World’s oil reserves. In contrast, the United States of America has barely 2 percent of total oil reserves.
  Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11?
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-09-10
Much of US foreign policy since 9/11 has been based on the assumption that America was attacked by Muslims on 9/11.
  New Documents Detail America’s Strategic Response to 9/11
Rumsfeld’s War Aim: “Significantly Change the World’s Political Map”
- by National Security Archive – 2011-09-12

PART VIII

The Alleged 9/11 Mastermind:

The Life and Death of  Osama bin Laden

Who Is Osama Bin Laden?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2001-09-12
  VIDEO: The Last Word on Osama Bin Laden
- by James Corbett – 2011-05-24
Osama bin Laden: A Creation of the CIA
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-05-03
Interview with Osama bin Laden. Denies his Involvement in 9/11
Full text of Pakistani paper’s Sept 01 “exclusive” interview
- 2011-05-09
Where was Osama on September 11, 2001?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2008-09-11
On September 10. 2001, Osama was in a Pakistan military hospital in Rawalpindi, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan
Osama bin Laden, among the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives”: Why was he never indicted for his alleged role in 9/11?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-09-17
Osama bin Laden: Already Dead… Evidence that Bin Laden has been Dead for Several Years
- by Prof. David Ray Griffin – 2011-05-02
The Mysterious Death of Osama bin Laden: Creating Evidence Where There Is None
- by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – 2011-08-04
The Assassination of Osama bin Laden: Glaring Anomalies in the Official Narrative
Osama was Left Handed…
- by Felicity Arbuthnot – 2011-05-11
The Assassination of Osama Bin Laden
- by Fidel Castro Ruz – 2011-05-07
Dancing on the Grave of 9/11. Osama and “The Big Lie”
- by Larry Chin – 2011-05-05

PART  IX

 ”False Flags”: The Pentagon’s Second 9/11

The Pentagon’s “Second 911″
“Another [9/11] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity to retaliate against some known targets”
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-08-10
The presumption of this military document, is that a Second 911 attack “which is lacking today” would usefully create both a “justification and an opportunity” to wage war on “some known targets
Crying Wolf: Terror Alerts based on Fabricated Intelligence
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-08-20
This is not the first time that brash and unsubstantiated statements have been made regarding an impending terror attack, which have proven to be based on “faulty intelligence”.

PART X

“Deep Events” and State Violence

The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11
- by Prof. Peter Dale Scott – 2011-11-22
The Doomsday Project is the Pentagon’s name for the emergency planning “to keep the White House and Pentagon running during and after a nuclear war or some other major crisis.”
JFK and 9/11
Insights Gained from Studying Both
- by Dr. Peter Dale Scott – 2006-12-20
In both 9/11 and the JFK assassination, the US government and the media immediately established a guilty party. Eventually, in both cases a commission was set up to validate the official narrative.
Able Danger adds twist to 9/11
9/11 Ringleader connected to secret Pentagon operation
- by Dr. Daniele Ganser – 2005-08-27
Atta was connected to a secret operation of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the US. A top secret Pentagon project code-named Able Danger identified Atta and 3 other 9/11 hijackers as members of an al-Qaida cell more than a year before the attacks.
9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics
- by Prof. Peter Dale Scott – 2008-06-11
The unthinkable – that elements inside the state would conspire with criminals to kill innocent civilians – has become thinkable…
Al Qaeda: The Database.
- by Pierre-Henri Bunel – 2011-05-12

PART XI

Propaganda: Creating and Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend

September 11, 2001: The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11: Creating the Osama bin Laden “Legend”
- by Chaim Kupferberg – 2011-09-11
THE 9/11 MYTH: State Propaganda, Historical Revisionism, and the Perpetuation of the 9/11 Myth
- by Prof. James F. Tracy – 2012-05-06
  Al Qaeda and Human Consciousness: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda…. An Incessant and Repetitive Public Discourse
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-03-24
9/11 Truth, Inner Consciousness and the “Public Mind”
- by James F. Tracy – 2012-03-18

PART XII

Post 9/11 “Justice”

IRAN ACCUSED OF BEING BEHIND 9/11 ATTACKS.
U.S. Court Judgment, December 2011 (Havlish v. Iran)
- by Julie Lévesque – 2012-05-11
U.S. Court Judgment, December 2011 (Havlish v. Iran)
American Justice”: The Targeted Assassination of Osama Bin Laden
Extrajudicial executions are unlawful
- by Prof. Marjorie Cohn – 2011-05-10
ALLEGED “MASTERMIND” OF 9/11 ON TRIAL IN GUANTANAMO: Military Tribunals proceed Despite Evidence of Torture
- by Tom Carter – 2012-05-30
Self-confessed 9/11 “mastermind” falsely confessed to crimes he didn’t commit
- by Washington’s Blog – 2012-07-15
911 MILITARY TRIAL: Pentagon Clears Way for Military Trial of Five charged in 9/11 Attacks
- by Bill Van Auken – 2012-04-06
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s trial will convict us all
- by Paul Craig Roberts – 2009-11-25

PART XIII

9/11 Truth

Revealing the Lies,  Commemorating the 9/11 Tragedy

VIDEO: Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-01
VIDEO: AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR
Special GRTV Feature Production
- by James Corbett – 2011-09-08

*   *  *

Read about 9/11 in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller America’s “War on Terrorism”

According to Chossudovsky, the  “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

Order Directly from Global Research

America's War on Terrorism

Salafism and the CIA: Destabilizing the Russian Federation?

September 14th, 2012 by F. William Engdahl

Part I: Syria comes to the Russian Caucasus

On August 28 Sheikh Said Afandi, acknowledged spiritual leader of the Autonomous Russian Republic of Dagestan, was assassinated. A jihadist female suicide bomber managed to enter his house and detonate an explosive device.

The murder target had been carefully selected. Sheikh Afandi, a seventy-five-year old Sufi Muslim leader, had played the critical role in attempting to bring about reconciliation in Dagestan between jihadist Salafi Sunni Muslims and other factions, many of whom in Dagestan see themselves as followers of Sufi. With no replacement of his moral stature and respect visible, authorities fear possible outbreak of religious war in the tiny Russian autonomous republic.[1]

The police reported that the assassin was an ethnic Russian woman who had converted to Islam and was linked to an Islamic fundamentalist or Salafist insurgency against Russia and regional governments loyal to Moscow in the autonomous republics and across the volatile Muslim-populated North Caucasus region.

Ethnic Muslim populations in this region of Russia and of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and into China’s Xinjiang Province, have been the target of various US and NATO intelligence operations since the Cold War era ended in 1990. Washington sees manipulation of Muslim groups as the vehicle to bring uncontrollable chaos to Russia and Central Asia. It’s being carried out by some of the same organizations engaged in creating chaos and destruction inside Syria against the government of Bashar Al-Assad. In a real sense, as Russian security services clearly understand, if they don’t succeed in stopping the Jihadists insurgency in Syria, it will come home to them via the Caucasus.

The latest Salafist murders of Sufi and other moderate Muslim leaders in the Caucasus are apparently part of what is becoming ever clearer as perhaps the most dangerous US intelligence operation ever—playing globally with Muslim fundamentalism.

Previously US and allied intelligence services had played fast and loose with religious organizations or beliefs in one or another country. What makes the present situation particularly dangerous—notably since the decision in Washington to unleash the misnamed Arab Spring upheavals that began in Tunisia late 2010, spreading like a brushfire across the entire Islamic world from Afghanistan across Central Asia to Morocco—is the incalculable wave upon wave of killing, hatreds, destruction of entire cultures that Washington has unleashed in the name of that elusive dream named “democracy.” They do this using alleged Al-Qaeda groups, Saudi Salafists or Wahhabites, or using disciples of Turkey’s Fethullah Gülen Movement to ignite fires of religious hatred within Islam and against other faiths that could take decades to extinguish. It could easily spill over into a new World War.

Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus

Following the dissolution of the USSR, radical Afghanistani Mujahadeen, Islamists from Saudi Arabia, from Turkey, Pakistan and other Islamic countries flooded into the Muslim regions of the former USSR. One of the best-organized of these was the Gülen Movement of Fethullah Gülen, leader of a global network of Islamic schools and reported to be the major policy influence on Turkey’s Erdogan AKP party.

Gülen was quick to establish The International Dagestani-Turkish College in Dagestan. During the chaotic days after the Soviet collapse, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation officially registered and permitted unfettered activity for a variety of Islamic foundations and organizations. These included the League of the Islamic World, the World Muslim Youth Assembly, the reportedly Al-Qaeda friendly Saudi foundation ‘Ibrahim ben Abd al-Aziz al-Ibrahim.’ The blacklist also included Al-Haramein a Saudi foundation reported tied to Al-Qaeda, and IHH, [2] a Turkish organization banned in Germany, that allegedly raised funds for jihadi fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, and was charged by French intelligence of ties to Al Qaeda.[3] Many of these charities were covers for fundamentalist Salafists with their own special agenda.

As many of the foreign Islamists in Chechnya and Dagestan were found involved in fomenting the regional unrest and civil war, Russian authorities withdrew permission of most to run schools and institutions. Throughout the North Caucasus at the time of the Chechyn war in the late 1990’s, there were more than two dozen Islamic institutes, some 200 madrassas and numerous maktabas (Koranic study schools) present at almost all mosques.

The International Dagestani-Turkish College was one that was forced to close its doors in Dagestan. The College was run by the Fethullah Gülen organization.[4]

At the point of the Russian crackdown on the spread of Salafist teaching inside Russia at the end of the 1990’s, there was an exodus of hundreds of young Dagestani and Chechyn Muslim students to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other places in The Middle east, reportedly to receive training with the Gülen movement and various Saudi-financed organizations, including Salafists. [5] It is believed in Russia that the students trained by Gülen supporters or Saudi and other Salafist fundamentalist centers then were sent back to Dagestan and the North Caucasus to spread their radical strain of Islam.

By 2005 the situation in the Caucasus was so influenced by this Salafist intervention that the Chechen Salafist, Doku Umarov, cited by the UN Security Council for links to Al-Qaeda,[6] unilaterally declared creation of what he called the Caucasus Emirate, announcing he planned to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law encompassing the entire North Caucasus region including Dagestan. He modestly proclaimed himself Emir of the Caucasus Emirate. [7]

*  *  *

WWIII Scenario

*  *  *

 

Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition

Salafism, known in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism, is a fundamentalist strain of Islam which drew world attention and became notorious in March 2001 just weeks before the attacks of September 11. That was when the Salafist Taliban government in Afghanistan willfully dynamited and destroyed the historic gigantic Buddhas of Bamiyan on the ancient Silk Road, religious statues dating from the 6th Century. The Taliban Salafist leaders also banned as “un-islamic” all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Afghani sources reported that the order to destroy the Buddhas was made by Saudi-born jihadist Wahhabite, Osama bin Laden, who ultimately convinced Mullah Omar, Taliban supreme leader at the time to execute the act.[8]

Before and…After Salafist Taliban …

While Sufis incorporate the worship of saints and theatrical ceremonial prayers into their practice, Salafis condemn as idolatry any non-traditional forms of worship. They also call for the establishment of Islamic political rule and strict Sharia law. Sufism is home to the great spiritual and musical heritage of Islam, said by Islamic scholars to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam, going back centuries.

As one Sufi scholar described the core of Sufism, “While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise–after death and the ‘Final Judgment’– Sufis believe as well that it is possible to become close to God and to experience this closeness–while one is alive. Furthermore, the attainment of the knowledge that comes with such intimacy with God, Sufis assert, is the very purpose of the creation. Here they mention the hadith qudsi in which God states, ‘I was a hidden treasure and I loved that I be known, so I created the creation in order to be known.’ Hence for the Sufis there is already a momentum, a continuous attraction on their hearts exerted by God, pulling them, in love, towards God.” [9]

The mystical Islamic current of Sufism and its striving to become close to or one with God is in stark contrast to the Jihadist Salafi or Wahhabi current that is armed with deadly weapons, preaches a false doctrine of jihad, and a perverse sense of martyrdom, committing countless acts of violence. Little wonder that the victims of Salafist Jihads are mostly other pacific forms of Islam including most especially Sufis.

The respected seventy-five year old Afandi had publicly denounced Salafist Islamic fundamentalism. His murder followed a July 19 coordinated attack on two high-ranking muftis in the Russian Volga Republic of Tatarstan. Both victims were state-approved religious leaders who had attacked radical Islam. This latest round of murders opens a new front in the Salafist war against Russia, namely attacks on moderate Sufi Muslim leaders.

Whether or not Dagestan now descends into internal religious civil war that then spreads across the geopolitically sensitive Russian Caucasus is not yet certain. What is almost certain is that the same circles who have been feeding violence and terror inside Syria against the regime of Alawite President Bashar al-Assad are behind the killing of Sheikh Afandi as well as sparking related acts of terror or unrest across Russia’s Muslim-populated Caucasus. In a very real sense it represents Russia’s nightmare scenario of “Syria coming to Russia.” It demonstrates dramatically why Putin has made such a determined effort to stop a descent into a murderous hell in Syria.

Salafism and the CIA

The existence of the so-called jihadist Salafi brand of Islam in Dagestan is quite recent. It has also been deliberately imported. Salafism is sometimes also called the name of the older Saudi-centered Wahhabism. Wahhabism is a minority originally-Bedouin form of the faith originating within Islam, dominant in Saudi Arabia since the 1700’s.

Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism give the following description of Saudi conditions under the rigid Wahhabi brand of Islam:

Women living under Saudi rule must wear the abaya, or total body cloak, and niqab, the face veil; they have limited opportunities for schooling and careers; they are prohibited from driving vehicles; are banned from social contact with men not relatives, and all personal activity must be supervised including opening bank accounts, by a male family member or “guardian.” These Wahhabi rules are enforced by a mutawiyin, or morals militia, also known as “the religious police,” officially designated the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) who patrol Saudi cities, armed with leather-covered sticks which they freely used against those they considered wayward. They raid homes looking for alcohol and drugs, and harassed non-Wahhabi Muslims as well as believers in other faiths.” [10]

It’s widely reported that the obscenely opulent and morally-perhaps-not-entirely-of- the-highest-standards Saudi Royal Family made a Faustian deal with Wahhabite leaders. The deal supposedly, was that the Wahhabists are free to export their fanatical brand of Islam around to the Islamic populations of the world in return for agreeing to leave the Saudi Royals alone.[11] There are, however, other dark and dirty spoons stirring the Wahhabite-Salafist Saudi stew.

Little known is the fact that the present form of aggressive Saudi Wahhabism, in reality a kind of fusion between imported jihadi Salafists from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Saudi Wahhabites. Leading Salafist members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were introduced into the Saudi Kingdom in the 1950’s by the CIA in a complex series of events, when Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood following an assassination attempt. By the 1960’s an influx of Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia fleeing Nasserite repression, had filled many of the leading teaching posts in Saudi religious schools. One student there was a young well-to-do Saudi, Osama bin Laden.  [12]

During the Third Reich, Hitler Germany had supported the Muslim Brotherhood as a weapon against the British in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. Marc Erikson describes the Nazi roots of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thus:

…as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and ’40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and “supreme guide” Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini.[13]

After the defeat of Germany, British Intelligence moved in to take over control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ultimately, for financial and other reasons, the British decided to hand their assets within the Muslim Brotherhood over to their CIA colleagues in the 1950s. [14]

According to former US Justice Department Nazi researcher John Loftus,  “during the 1950s, the CIA evacuated the Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood to Saudi Arabia. Now, when they arrived in Saudi Arabia, some of the leading lights of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Dr Abdullah Azzam, became the teachers in the madrassas, the religious schools. And there they combined the doctrines of Nazism with this weird Islamic cult, Wahhabism.” [15]

“Everyone thinks that Islam is this fanatical religion, but it is not,” Loftus continues. “They think that Islam–the Saudi version of Islam–is typical, but it’s not. The Wahhabi cult has been condemned as a heresy more than 60 times by the Muslim nations. But when the Saudis got wealthy, they bought a lot of silence. This is a very harsh cult. Wahhabism was only practised by the Taliban and in Saudi Arabia–that’s how extreme it is. It really has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence.” [16]

Loftus identified the significance of what today is emerging from the shadows to take over Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, and the so-called Syrian National Council, dominated in reality by the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly led by the more “politically correct” or presentable likes of Bassma Kodmani. Kodmani, foreign affairs spokesman for the SNC was twice an invited guest at the Bilderberg elite gathering, latest in Chantilly, Virginia earlier this year.[17]

The most bizarre and alarming feature of the US-financed  regime changes set into motion in 2010, which have led to the destruction of the secular Arab regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muhammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the secular regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia, and which have wreaked savage destruction across the Middle East, especially in the past eighteen months in Syria, is the pattern of emerging power grabs by representatives of the murky Salafist Muslim Brotherhood.

By informed accounts, a Saudi-financed Sunni Islamic Muslim Brotherhood dominates the members of the exile Syrian National Council that is backed by the US State Department’s Secretary Clinton and by Hollande’s France. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is tied, not surprisingly to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood of President Mohammed Morsi who recently in a meeting of the Non-Aligned in Iran called openly for the removal of Syria’s Assad, a logical step if his Muslim Brothers in the present Syrian National Council are to take the reins of power. The Saudis are also rumored to have financed the ascent to power in Tunisia of the governing Islamist Ennahda Party,[18] and are documented to be financing the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council against President Bashar al-Assad. [19]

Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror

Indicative of the true agenda of this Muslim Brotherhood and related jihadists today is the fact that once they have power, they drop the veil of moderation and reconciliation and reveal their violently intolerant roots. This is visible in Egypt today under Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.

Unreported in mainstream Western media to date are alarming direct reports from Christian missionary organizations in Egypt that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has already begun to drop the veil of “moderation and conciliation” and show its brutal totalitarian Salafist colors, much as Khomeini’s radical Sharia forces did in Iran after taking control in 1979-81.

In a letter distributed by the Christian Aid Mission (CAM), a Christian Egyptian missionary wrote that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood “announced they would destroy the country if Morsi didn’t win, but they also said they will take revenge from all those who voted for [his opponent Ahmed] Shafiq, especially the Christians as they are sure we did vote for Shafiq. Yesterday they began by killing two believers in el Sharqiya because of this,” the missionary added, speaking on condition of anonymity.[20]

This report came only weeks after Egyptian State TV (under Morsi’s control) showed ghastly video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims. The footage showed a young man being held down by masked men with a knife to his throat. As one man was heard chanting Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity, another man holding the knife to the Christian convert’s throat began to cut, slowly severing the head amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), according to transcripts. In the letter, the Egyptian missionary leader added that, “soon after Morsi won, Christians in upper Egypt were forcibly prevented from going to churches.” Many Muslims, the letter claimed, “also began to speak to women in the streets that they had to wear Islamic clothing including the head covering. They act as if they got the country for their own, it’s theirs now.” [21]

Already in 2011 Morsi’s Salafist followers began attacking and destroying Sufi mosques across Egypt. According to the authoritative newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm (Today’s Egyptian), 16 historic mosques in Alexandria belonging to Sufi orders have been marked for destruction by so-called ‘Salafis’. Alexandria has 40 mosques associated with Sufis, and is the headquarters for 36 Sufi groups. Half a million Sufis live in the city, out of a municipal total of four million people. Aggression against the Sufis in Egypt has included a raid on Alexandria’s most distinguished mosque, named for, and housing, the tomb of the 13th century Sufi Al-Mursi Abu’l Abbas.[22]

Notably, the so-called “democratically elected” regime in Libya following the toppling of Mohamar Qaddafi by NATO bombs in 2011, has also been zealous in destroying Sufi mosques and places of worhip. In August this year, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expressed “grave concern” at the destruction by Islamic Jihadists of Sufi sites in Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli and urged perpetrators to “cease the destruction immediately.” [23] Under behind-the-scenes machinations the Libyan government is dominated by Jihadists and by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. [24]

The explosive cocktail of violence inherent in allowing the rise to power of Salafist Islamists across the Middle East was clear to see, symbolically enough on the night of September 11,th when a mob of angry supporters of the fanatical Salafist group, Ansar Al-Sharia, murdered the US Ambassador to Libya and three US diplomats, burning the US Consulate in Bengazi to the ground in protest over a YouTube release of a film by an American filmmaker showing the Prophet Mohammed indulging in multiple sex affairs and casting doubt on his role as God’s messenger. Ironically that US Ambassador had played a key role in toppling Qaddafi and opening the door to the Salafist takeover in Libya. At the same time angry mobs of thousands of Salafists surrounded the US Embassy in Cairo in protest to the US film. [25]

Ansar Al-Sharia (“Partisans of Islamic law” in Arabic) reportedly is a spinoff of Al-Qaeda and claims organizations across the Middle East from Yemen to Tunisia to Iraq, Egypt and Libya. Ansar al-Sharia says it is reproducing the model of Sharia or strict Islamic law espoused by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq. The core of the group are jihadists who came out of an “Islamic state”, either in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, or among jihadists in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003.[26]

The deliberate detonation now of a new round of Salafist fundamentalist Jihad terror inside Muslim regions of the Russian Caucasus is exquisitely timed politically to put maximum pressure at home on the government of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Putin and the Russian Government are the strongest and most essential backer of the current Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and for Russia as well the maintenance of Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base at Syria’s Tartus port is vital strategically. At the same time, Obama’s sly message to Medvedev to wait until Obama’s re-election to evaluate US intent towards Russia and Putin’s cryptic recent comment that a compromise with a re-elected President Obama might be possible, but not with a President Romney, [27] indicate that the Washington “stick-and-carrot” or hard cop-soft cop tactics with Moscow might tempt Russia to sacrifice major geopolitical alliances, perhaps even that special close and recent geopolitical alliance with China.[28] Were that to happen, the World might witness a “reset” in US-Russian relations with catastrophic consequences for world peace.

F. William Engdahl*  is the author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order

Notes:

[1] Dan Peleschuk, Sheikh Murdered Over Religious Split Say Analysts, RIA Novosti, August 30, 2012, accessed in

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120830/175517955.html.

[2] Mairbek  Vatchagaev, The Kremlin’s War on Islamic Education in the North Caucasus, North Caucasus Analysis Volume: 7 Issue: 34, accessed in http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=3334

[3] Iason Athanasiadis, Targeted by Israeli raid: Who is the IHH?, The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2010, accessed in http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0601/Targeted-by-Israeli-raid-Who-is-the-IHH.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, op. cit.

[6] UN Security Council, QI.U.290.11. DOKU KHAMATOVICH UMAROV, 10 March 2011, accessed in http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQI29011E.shtml. The UN statement reads: “Doku Khamatovich Umarov was listed on 10 March 2011 pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 1904 (2009) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “recruiting for”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” and “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” the Islamic Jihad Group (QE.I.119.05), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (QE.I.10.01), Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM) (QE.R.100.03) and Emarat Kavkaz (QE.E.131.11).”

[7] Tom Jones, Czech NGO rejects Russian reports of link to alleged Islamist terrorists al-Qaeda, May 10, 2011, accessed in http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/news/society/czech-ngo-rejects-russian-reports-link-alleged-islamist-terrorists-al-qaeda?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=enprofil&utm_campaign=twennews.

[8] The Times of India, Laden ordered Bamyan Buddha destruction, The Times of India, March 28, 2006.

[9] Dr. Alan Godlas, Sufism — Sufis — Sufi Orders:

[10] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, Center for Islamic Pluralism, May 21, 2012, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/2040/wahhabi-internal-contradictions-as-saudi-arabia

[11] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, May 21, 2012, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/2040/wahhabi-internal-contradictions-as-saudi-arabia.

[12] Robert Duncan, Islamic Terrorisms Links to Nazi Fascism, AINA, July 5, 2007, accessed in http://www.aina.org/news/2007070595517.htm.

[13] Marc Erikson, Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 2), AsiaTimes.Online, November 8, 2002, accessed in http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK08Ak03.html.

[14] Ibid.

[15] John Loftus, The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda,  Jewish Community News, October 11, 2006, accessed in http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/loftus101106.htm

[16] Ibid.

[17] Charlie Skelton, The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?: The media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look …, London Guardian, 12 July 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/12/syrian-opposition-doing-the-talking.

[18] Aidan Lewis, Profile: Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, BBC News, 25 October 2011, accessed in http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15442859.

[19] Hassan Hassan, Syrians are torn between a despotic regime and a stagnant opposition: The Muslim Brotherhood’s perceived monopoly over the Syrian National Council has created an opposition stalemate, The Guardian, UK, 23 August, 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/syrians-torn-despotic-regime-stagnant-opposition.

[20] Stefan J. Bos, Egypt Christians Killed After Election of Morsi, Bosnewslife, June 30, 2012, accessed in http://www.bosnewslife.com/22304-egypt-christians-killed-after-election-morsi.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Irfan Al-Alawi, Egyptian Muslim Fundamentalists Attack Sufis, Guardian Online [London],

April 11, 2011, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/1770/egyptian-Muslim-fundamentalists-attack-sufis

[23] Yafiah Katherine Randall, UNESCO urges Libya to stop destruction of Sufi sites, August 31, 2012, Sufi News and Sufism World Report, accessed in http://sufinews.blogspot.de/.

[24] Jamie Dettmer, Libya elections: Muslim Brotherhood set to lead government, 5 July, 2012, The Telegraph, London, accessed in http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/9379022/Libya-elections-Muslim-Brotherhood-set-to-lead-government.html.

[25] Luke Harding, Chris Stephen, Chris Stevens, US ambassador to Libya, killed in Benghazi attack: Ambassador and three other American embassy staff killed after Islamist militants fired rockets at their car, say Libyan officials, London Guardian, 12 September 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/chris-stevens-us-ambassador-libya-killed.

[26] Murad Batal al-Shishani, Profile: Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen, 8 March 2012, accessed in  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17402856.

[27] David M. Herszenhorn, Putin Says Missile Deal Is More Likely With Obama, The New York Times, September 6, 2012, accessed in http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/world/europe/putin-calls-missile-deal-more-likely-if-obama-wins.html. According to an interview Putin gave on Moscow’s state-owned RT TV, Herszenhorn reports, “Mr. Putin said he believed that if Mr. Obama is re-elected in November, a compromise could be reached on the contentious issue of American plans for a missile defense system in Europe, which Russia has strongly opposed. On the other hand, Mr. Putin said, if Mr. Romney becomes president, Moscow’s fears about the missile system — that it is, despite American assurances, actually directed against Russia — would almost certainly prove true.

“Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if current President Obama is re-elected for a second term? Theoretically, yes,” Mr. Putin said, according to the official transcript posted on the Kremlin’s Web site. “But this isn’t just about President Obama. “For all I know, his desire to work out a solution is quite sincere,” Mr. Putin continued. “I met him recently on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, where we had a chance to talk. And though we talked mostly about Syria, I could still take stock of my counterpart. My feeling is that he is a very honest man, and that he sincerely wants to make many good changes. But can he do it? Will they let him do it?”

[28] M.K. Bhadrakumar, Calling the China-Russia split isn’t heresy, Asia Times,  September 5, 2012, accessed in http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/NI05Ad01.html.

 

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December 30th, 2012 by Global Research News

A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:

“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”

What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.

As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:

Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.

And thanks to NATO, that is exactly what Libya has become – a Western sponsored sanctuary for Al-Qaeda. AQIM’s headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria. It should be noted that Riedel is a co-author of “Which Path to Persia?” which openly conspires to arm yet another US State Department-listed terrorist organization (list as #28), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to wreak havoc across Iran and help collapse the government there – illustrating a pattern of using clearly terroristic organizations, even those listed as so by the US State Department, to carry out US foreign policy.Geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar noted a more direct connection between LIFG and AQIM in an Asia Times piece titled, “How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli:”

“Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same – and Belhaj was/is its emir. “

“Belhaj,” referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion’s epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous “Terror-Emirate.” Belhaj’s latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” again, under the auspices of NATO support.

Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”

….

LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO’s attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.

In fact, ABC News reported in their article, “Al Qaeda Terror Group: We ‘Benefit From’ Libyan Weapons,” that:

A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.”We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”

It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.

French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design.

Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow’s doorsteps – and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia – using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.

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Image: Police officers wearing colored camouflage pants to protest against Bill 3, a controversial pension reform law, which would increase the officers’ contributions to their pension fund.

Ironically, student-led protests against austerity measures, including Bill 3, have been violently repressed.

 

This letter of concern was sent to His Worship Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal

CC: Chief Marc Parent, Director of the City of Montréal’s Police Service

Commander Ian Lafrenière, Head of SPVM Communications and Media Relations

The Honourable Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec

The Honourable Lise Thériault, Minister of Public Security

CJFE and the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) are deeply concerned by the brutal actions taken by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) to impede the work of journalists in the city over the last three years. The assault, detention, and arrest of reporters by the Montréal police is in violation of freedom of the press, as cited in Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as Section 3 of the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. To address these issues, CJFE and CAJ would like to arrange a meeting with you and SPVM Chief Marc Parent to discuss police policy on journalists covering protests in order to come up with a solution to end the existing practices.

Since 2012, there have been multiple well documented cases of journalists from both independent and mainstream media outlets being targeted for arrest, assault, or detention by police during their coverage of protests in Montréal. In 2012, OM99 Media released a video illustrating the experiences of journalists and photographers in their encounters with the SPVM; the journalists described being beaten with batons, tagged with paint, being shot with rubber bullets, and being pepper sprayed by police officers.

In 2013, a VICE Magazine photographer described her own incident of being kettled and arrested during her coverage of, ironically, an anti-police brutality demonstration; another video from June 2014, filmed by Concordia University Television, shows police preventing journalists from accessing an ongoing protest. As recently as March-April 2015, the Fédération Professionnelle des Journalistes du Québec documented numerous attacks on journalists by both protesters and police officers during student-led protests against austerity measures in Montréal; another video from OM99 Media documents police preventing journalists from filming the arrest of demonstrators. In most situations, the journalists either had valid press identification available or told the police that they were journalists.

This evidence highlights what appears to be an ongoing pattern of SPVM officers targeting journalists during their coverage of protests. Harassing and restricting journalists at these events is a clear violation of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly, rights that you have previouslyexpressed your support for. It is essential that journalists are able to safely and freely cover these events, as it is their duty to report on issues of public interest and hold law enforcement accountable for their actions.

While the police have engaged in some measures to address abuses perpetrated by some police officers, the punishments do not appear sufficient; the offending officer in this case was merely suspended without pay for a day. In order to meet the appropriate standard of punishment and to deter any future assaults by a police officer, the SPVM should reform its disciplinary policy to be more in line with Canada’s Criminal Code.

CJFE and CAJ request clarification on the motivation behind these incidents of excessive use of force against journalists by police. Further, we urge the municipal government of Montréal and the SPVM to collaborate on concrete policies to address these worrisome patterns and to hold officers who impede the work of journalists in the city.

Adnan is one of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, including hundreds (like him) held administratively uncharged and untried.

Israel’s military judicial system persecutes Palestinians viciously – especially under its Netanyahu-led fascist regime, racist, defiant of fundamental international laws, a testimony to Zionist ruthlessness.

The late Edward Said once called Israeli treatment of occupied Palestinians and Israeli Arab citizens a system of “demonization and delegitimization.” Brutalized control intends assuring they’ll “never be free,” he explained.

Adnan was arrested nine times earlier despite never committing a crime. He spent over six years in prison – mainly uncharged and untried.

He’s hunger striking for justice like three times before – notably from December 17, 2011 to February 21, 2012 for 66 days before Israel agreed to release him, improve prison conditions and lessen the practice of administrative detention.

Nothing promised followed. Israeli gulag harshness remains as vicious as ever. Earlier Adnan explained his struggle for justice, saying:

The Israeli occupation has gone to extremes against our people, especially prisoners. I have been humiliated, beaten, and harassed by interrogators for no reason, and thus I swore to God I would fight the policy of administrative detention to which I and hundreds of my fellow prisoners fell prey.

The only thing I can do is offer my soul to God, as I believe righteousness and justice will eventually triumph over tyranny and oppression.

I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on.

It is time the international community and the UN support prisoners and force the State of Israel to respect international human rights and stop treating prisoners as if they were not humans.

Israel’s militarized occupation harshness harms Jews and non-Jews alike. It’s a blight on humanity. It’s ghettoized slow-motion genocide against millions of Palestinians wanting only to live on their own land, in their own country in peace – what Israel systematically prohibits.

Adnan is dying for justice. Most recently he was arrested on July 8, 2014. He began hunger striking on May 6  2015- now in his 54th day as of Sunday, June 28.

The World Health Organization explains after 42 days on water alone, bodies shut down progressively – including loss of hearing, blindness, various forms of hemorrhaging, diminished metabolic activity, other functional disorders and eventual death by cardiovascular collapse and/or severe arrhythmias.

Adnan is hospitalized in extreme pain – shackled to his bed, constantly monitored by guards and surveillance cameras. He’s denied visits and contact with family members.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) commented after his 53rd day without food, saying he remains painfully shackled to his bed. His clothes are dirty.

His nails are untrimmed. He’s losing his hair. His body odor is pronounced. He lost a third of his weight. He endures extreme discomfort including chest pain.

He’s near death without relief. The ICRC said he’s “at immediate risk.” He refuses examination by prison doctors he distrusts for obvious reasons.

On Friday, thousands of Palestinians marched through the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound supporting his struggle for justice. They carried banners displaying his image and chanted slogans calling for his release.

His lawyer Jawad Bolous expressed concern saying his condition could cause “sudden death. Every minute, every second, every hour that passes makes his situation worse,” he explained.

He’s negotiating with Israel for his release – so far with no success. “Khader is a gift to humanity since he is willing to sacrifice his life, and all he asks…is to (be) treat(ed)” like a human being, he said.

Islamic Jihad leader Khalid al-Barsh in support of Adnan said “(w)e will not accept that our sons die inside jails on hunger strike while our enemies remain safe.”

“If Khader Adnan dies, the ceasefire will be at stake.” He urged PA officials, Egypt and the international community to intervene on his behalf.

Adnan said he’ll refuse food until either officially charged or released. His life hangs in the balance. Al-Aqsa University Professor Haidar Eid recited a poem dedicated to his courage, saying:

Extend your steps, the walk to freedom is still long

And we have no alternative

Every step on the road is a lantern

So how can we not go on?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Terrorism – Causes and Consequences

June 29th, 2015 by Jack A. Smith

This article was first published May 29, 2010.

“Terrorists” and “terrorism” have become Washington’s monomania since 9/11, guiding the foreign/military policies of the American superstate and holding its population in thrall.

“The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term,” President Barack Obama said April 11, is the possibility that terrorists might obtain a nuclear weapon. The second biggest threat to world history’s mightiest military state, it goes without saying, are terrorists without nuclear weapons but armed with box-cutters, rifles or homemade explosives.

It’s “terrorism” 24/7 in the United States — the product of a conscious effort by the Bush Administration to keep the American people in the constant clutches of existential fear, in large part to justify launching endless aggressive wars. Anything goes if the target is said to be “terrorism,” as long as the Pentagon’s violence takes place in smaller, weaker countries usually populated by non-Europeans.

But does the U.S. government really want to defeat terrorism? This is a serious question. All its major efforts so far have been focused on the effects of terrorism but not on its much more profound causes. In this article we shall discuss the causes, particularly the actions of the U.S. in the Middle East over the decades which contributed significantly to the rise of terror as a weapon.

After almost a decade, the Bush Administration’s “War on Terrorism” — at a cost of trillions of dollars, the erosion of a substantial portion of America’s civil liberties and its worldwide reputation, and the deaths of over a million foreign civilians — has not succeeded in its stated objectives.

And yet, judging by the Obama Administration’s 2011 war budget request, the recently released Quadrennial Defense Report and the Nuclear Posture report, and the widening of the wars, it is clear that President Barack Obama has no intention of deviating significantly from President George W. Bush’s unjust and failed policies.

President Obama’s troop buildup, implied nuclear threats against Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and his order to the CIA to assassinate an American citizen without a trial are but some of the most recent examples.

All that’s really changed in national security strategy from one administration to the other is the name of Bush’s “War on Terrorism.” The Obama Administration renamed it, in an excess of bureaucratese, an “Overseas Contingency Operation,” transforming its title to suggest it was a mere budget item. Not so mere, actually, since the Pentagon’s annual war budget has risen 67% since 9/11.

American national security policy since the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center nearly nine years ago has been aimed primarily at defeating a small number of ill-equipped non-state “terrorist” enemies by fielding a large professional army with advanced technology first to Afghanistan, then Iraq and now back to the Afghan theater with tributaries extending into Pakistan, Yemen and to a lesser extent Somalia and the Philippines.

Fewer than 100 al-Qaeda operatives are in Afghanistan against about 94,000 U.S. troops, so far, plus 40,000 NATO soldiers, and about 100,000 mostly higher paid “contractors” performing military duties. There are up to 15,000 part- and full-time irregulars associated with the Afghan Taliban, perhaps fewer. But — even though they are ultra-conservative religious extremists who were oppressive when in power — they are a national force with no designs on the United States, and are not technically terrorists but defenders of their country from foreign invasion. Many Americans don’t like to hear that, of course.

The Bush-Obama anti-terrorism policy has two aspects, one public, the other concealed. The public aspect is to “keep America safe” from specifically Arab and more broadly Muslim “terrorists.” The concealed aspect is to utilize the 9/11 tragedy to justify the projection of military might to extend U.S. hegemony throughout the oil-rich Middle East, especially the Persian Gulf region, and into geostrategic Central Asia through the occupation of Afghanistan.

We shall here discuss the public aspect, and why it was and continues to be the wrong response to 9/11, beginning with a paragraph from the Sept. 15, 2001, Activist Newsletter:

“Tuesday’s deplorable terror attacks did not occur in a political vacuum, despite the mass media’s effort to depict the events as simply the product of Middle Eastern ‘madmen’ with ‘no regard for human life’ driven by fundamentalist religious beliefs to hate the United States. In reality, Washington’s role in the Middle East, which it has dominated since the end of World War II to control the region’s vast petroleum resources, must be carefully examined to determine the roots of our present situation…. Many Americans ask, ‘Why do they hate us so?’ The honest answer to that question points the way toward a solution to the ‘terrorism’ crisis.”

Never once in all these years has the U.S. government acknowledged that its decades of interference in the region were a major factor in the growth of “terrorism,” the existence of al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, and the 9/11 attacks. Washington is hardly unaware of the connection — and indeed of the primacy of its own historic provocation in the region — but in the era of government deception and corporate domination of the mass media, “inconvenient” truths usually remain concealed from the masses of people.

Five Major Decisions

Washington implemented five major decisions during the last 65 years that turned public opinion in the Middle East against the United States and largely generated the conditions that led to the creation of al-Qaeda, jihadist warriors, and suicide bombers. We will describe these causes which ultimately led to the effects called terrorism, then, in part 3, conclude with brief “modest” proposals to rectify the situation.

(1) The first of these decisions took place immediately following the end of World War II in 1945, when the U.S. chose to extend its hegemony throughout the Middle East, and thus prevent its essential wartime ally, the Soviet Union, from gaining a foothold. Washington’s goal ever since that time — including the last two decades after the implosion of the socialist camp and the 16 months since Obama took office — has been directed toward establishing dominion over this petroleum-rich region to insure America’s global preeminence.

To accomplish this objective, the U.S. made deals with ultra-conservative monarchies in the region, offering them military protection and secure dynastic longevity in return for loyalty and concessions on oil supplies. Royal houses, such as exist in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and elsewhere, could have been swept away decades ago by their own people had they not been in America’s protective custody. Washington’s prolongation of monarchical rule has been a major impediment to democracy in the region.

When the people prevailed, as in Iran in 1951 after an elected democratic government gained power, nationalized the country’s substantial petroleum reserves, and replaced the monarchy with a republic, the U.S. and Britain launched a campaign for bloody regime change that by 1953 crushed democracy and restored the brutal Shah of Iran to power.

Washington also continually interfered with republics, not just monarchies, supporting, protecting and enriching those which destroyed their political left wing and bent the knee to U.S. hegemony, such as Egypt, while subverting those leaning left, as in Iran in the early 1950s, or who simply insisted upon maintaining independence from American domination, such as Syria. This, too, stifled democracy and social progress.

After 65 years of interference, Washington either controls or has considerable influence over virtually all the governments of the Middle East, with the exception of Iran, today’s imperial target par excellence. Syria remains in the middle. Turkey, which is sometimes not geographically included in the Middle East, is a member of U.S.-dominated NATO and seeks Washington’s support to enter the European Union, but has lately taken two positions totally opposed by the Obama Administration: It has sharply criticized Israel, which was considered Turkey’s ally, over its invasion and imprisonment of Gaza, and this month joined with Brazil in a move calculated to head off harsh sanctions against Iran.

In the process of gaining dominance over most Mideast regimes — the majority of which have remained undemocratic as a consequence — the United States has alienated the masses of people throughout the region.

In response, given that the U.S. has demanded of its Arab protectorates that the political left and progressive secular forces be weakened or crushed in country after country, it has been the Islamic resistance which has filled the vacuum and taken up the national struggle against American domination and undemocratic rule. A relatively small portion of this movement is influenced by extreme fundamentalist ideology, and a still smaller sector have joined the jihad (struggle) initiated by Osama bin-Laden’s al-Qaeda.

(2) The second decision that contributed principally to creating Arab and Muslim antipathy toward the U.S. was Washington’s total support of Israel to the detriment of the people of Palestine, particularly following the June 1967 war, when Israel invaded and occupied large swaths of Palestinian territory, where it remains today in utter violation of several key international laws.

“In Palestine,” according to British writer/filmmaker John Pilger, “the enduring illegal occupation by Israel would have collapsed long ago were it not for U.S. backing. Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have been its victims…. It is only a few years ago that the Islamic fundamentalist groups, willing to blow themselves up in Israel and New York, were formed, and only after Israel and the U.S. had rejected outright the hope of a Palestinian state, and justice for a people scarred by imperialism.”

Today, the Arab world agrees to normalize relations with Israel if the Tel Aviv government allows the establishment of two sovereign states, one being Palestinian. Israel refuses, and not only continues to illegally occupy Palestinian lands but to oppress the masses of people — the most gruesome recent example being the vicious attack on Gaza followed by blockading the territory to deprive its inhabitants of the basic necessities of life.

It is well understood that only U.S. military, economic and political support makes it possible for Israel to continuously subjugate the Palestinians. Israel often claims it is surrounded by “existential” threats of one kind or another, the latest being from Iran, but the only real threat it faces is that of losing Washington’s sponsorship, protection and economic support.

(3) The third Washington decision that led to 9/11 — and in this case directly — was to involve the U.S. in the Afghan civil war that erupted in 1978 after the communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), backed by the Afghan army and military officers, seized power and began to enact reforms to “bring Afghanistan into the 20th century.” The reforms — including substantial freedoms for women — aroused armed opposition from conservative Islamic war lords and fighting groups.

The U.S. began supporting these groups clandestinely in 1979 with great infusions of money and war materials, prompting the USSR to send troops to defend the leftist government. Both al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban developed out of this struggle, receiving American support in the process.

The Soviets were fought to a standstill and withdrew in 1989, but the left wing government managed to hold on until it was brutally crushed in 1992. The civil war then transformed into a war for control of Afghanistan between several of the strongest rebel groups. It lasted four years, and resulted in victory for the ultra-orthodox Taliban in 1996. Al-Qaeda used Afghanistan as one of its bases until the U.S. invasion in October 2001, then fled to western Pakistan. (A 2-part account of “The U.S. in Afghanistan,” including “The Origins of a Bad War,” were published in the November 5, 2009, issue of the Activist Newsletter, available in the blog archive.)

(4) The fourth U.S. decision that contributed substantially to the unpopularity of the American government was to impose cruel sanctions against the Iraqi people in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War. The war itself, resulting in the mortification of Iraq for occupying Kuwait, was intended to compensate for the Pentagon’s humiliating defeat in Vietnam 15 years earlier. The U.S. launched what has been called one of the “most devastating air assaults in history” against Iraq in mid-January 1991. It was all over in a couple of months. Overwhelming power succeeded: The U.S. lost 147 troops. The Iraqis lost 200,000, troops and civilians in the brief war and its immediate aftermath.

Ultimately up to 1.5 million Iraqis died as a result of a dozen years of draconian U.S./UN economic, trade and materials sanctions that accompanied the war, and which ended only after the U.S. invasion in March 2003. The UN suggests that half these civilian dead were children. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, a defender of the Iraqi people, said of the sanctions, “The goal was to cripple Iraq’s infrastructure and make civilian life unsustainable.” (His 1992 book, “The Fire This Time — U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf,” remains a classic account of the real causes and effects of the Gulf War.)

Most Americans were and remain indifferent to the terrible pain visited upon the Iraqi people by the sanctions. Secretary of State Madeline Albright famously said of the civilian deaths, “we think the price is worth it.” To the Arab people, Muslims in general, humanitarians, and anti-imperialists throughout the world, it was a cruel and vindictive act of genocidal proportions.

(5) The fifth decision was to respond to the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the U.S. by bombing and invading Afghanistan, instead of relying on international police work to capture al-Qaeda, a small, non-state, quasi-military organization dedicated to “propaganda of the deed,” with cells in several countries in addition to its Afghan component.

Bush’s decision to launch a war was precisely what al-Qaeda wanted to further discredit the U.S. in Arab eyes. The Bush Administration’s subsequent decision to invade Iraq — which was completely innocent of involvement in 9/11 and extremely weak militarily because of the sanctions — compounded the original miscalculation of invading Afghanistan. Secular President Saddam Hussein was probably fundamentalist al-Qaeda’s principal ideological enemy in the Arab world, and Washington ordered his execution. Meanwhile, the Iraqi national resistance forced the world’s only military superpower into a humiliating stalemate, another fact about which the U.S. public is blissfully ignorant.

The Iraq war itself, now seven years old, has killed another million Iraqi people and created at least four million refugees. Between the sanctions and the war, the U.S. has killed roughly 2.5 million Iraqis — almost 10% of the population. This does not seem to have penetrated the consciousness, much less the conscience, of the thoroughly propagandized American people. The only winner of Bush’s imperialist misadventure in Iraq was neighboring Shi’ite Iran, which had viewed Hussein’s Ba’athist Sunni regime as its main enemy.

President Obama’s decision to widen the Afghan war and to penetrate Pakistan and Yemen has once again played into al-Qaeda’s hands, and continues to increase anti-U.S. views on the part of the Arab masses. The good will Obama generated throughout the Muslim world by his warm, peaceful, convincing and ultimately deceptive words in Cairo a year ago has dissipated. His actions have strengthened the tiny splinter of the Arab and Muslim population attracted to fringe groups that engage in violence, led by al-Qaeda.

Washington Must Reverse Policy

If America’s long, unsustainably expensive and essentially stalemated wars are doing little to eliminate the so-called “terrorist” threat, what’s the alternative if Washington actually wants to eliminate terrorism?

The answer is to recognize that the history of America’s misdeeds in the Middle East is the main reason for the existence of al-Qaeda. Instead of more wars, Washington must reverse its policies:

• Call off the wars. Pull the troops out. Withdraw the fleet and air bases from the region.

• Insist upon an equitable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and take measures to enhance Israel’s compliance.

• Stop dominating and manipulating the countries of the Middle East to serve America’s interests. Discontinue support for undemocratic governments and monarchies. Apologize for decades of manipulation and violence.

• Pay a huge compensation to the Iraqi people in particular. Invest heavily in eliminating poverty in the entire region and improving social services for the masses of people.

• Allow the Arab people, and the Iranians as well of course, to work out their political, social and cultural contradictions and preferences without interference. The United States is not the divine instrument chosen to redeem the world, and should stop behaving as though it were.

This will end jihadist terrorism. And it can all be paid for with the money Washington saves by ending its wars and subversion in the region.

There is another problem as well, however, more dangerous and widespread than the small-group terrorism of a handful of individuals with homemade weapons. That problem is state terrorism.

What else other than “state terrorism” can describe Washington’s killer sanctions followed by the “shock and awe” bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq against an essentially defenseless people? What else but state terrorism can we call U.S.-enabled Israel’s horrendously disproportionate attack against the civilian population of Gaza, resulting in 1,400 Palestinian deaths and 14 Israeli deaths, followed by strangling sanctions?

At this stage, only the people of the United States have the power to force their government to stop interfering in the Middle East, thus ending the retaliatory threat of terrorism. And only the people have the power to end Washington’s ongoing state terrorism against small developing countries in order to enhance its geopolitical fortunes.

So far, the U.S. government, whether controlled by one or the other of the two ruling parties, has hoodwinked most Americans into actively or passively supporting its aggressive wars. This is surprisingly easy to do, not least because most of us Americans suffer not at all due to our country’s violent and criminal adventures abroad. It remains the task of those who see through the distortions and propaganda to speak up and take a public stand in opposition. To do less is to be indifferent to, or complicit with, a gross iniquity.

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Greek Democracy Is Back?

June 29th, 2015 by Andreas C Chrysafis

In a true Democracy no government, parliament or president, politicians or political parties have the legitimacy to make constitutional changes to alter the basic fabric of the nation without the overwhelming consent of the people.

Under an ungodly pressure imposed on Greece by the IMF EU-Troika lenders, the Tsipras government has refused their subservient conditions and decided to seek the consent of the people! This indicates that a Revolution of the Mind is underway to give people back the power they have lost due to bad governments of the past. Today, the Greek people have regained their constitutional right to decide what is best for them.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with the approval of the Greek parliament has announced that Greece will hold a Referendum on 5th of July to determine the fate of Greece.

Eurogroup had offered to release frozen funds held back if Greece accepts and implements their additional austerity demands under a new Mnimonio. Those conditions border on blackmail and the Tsipras government rejected them by recognizing the importance of going to the people. Obviously the opposition was quick to condemn the introduction of direct democracy.

This is a victory for common sense and democracy. The Greek people would decide on “YES or NO” to either accept IMF EU-Troika’s new austerity measures or reject them!

The proposed new measures are aimed at destroying Greece as a nation but also destroy its defence capabilities. Mr. Kamenos, the defence minster was infuriated at Eurogroup’s demands to cut Greece’s’ defence budget by 300 million Euros leaving Greece vulnerable to Turkey’s military provocations. In parliament – and in near tears – he stated that if such cuts were made, “no plane would be able to fly in defense of the nation.”

It seems that the Eurogroup has a hidden agenda to oust the Tsipras government that threatens its cozy co-existence in fear that other nations may follow suit. Today, they treat Greece not as an equal EU partner but as a thorn in their shoe and want to crush it. Public statements by IMF EU-Troika masterminds certainly point in that direction.

The Eurogroup’s failed austerity programme did not work for Greece and neither for Cyprus, Spain, Ireland or Portugal. The hardship and unemployment those people are experiencing are quite obvious contrary to government spin. Ask the citizens of those countries and they will tell you how badly they have been affected by Troika’s failed policies.  Reducing a nation to utter poverty it’s not the answer to economic growth but  an act of criminality and should be treated as such.

The Greek government is well justified in not accepting the Eurogroup’s humiliating demands, which for certain would reduce the nation deeper into chaos. Meanwhile, in Cyprus an obsessive Europhile government does not disapprove of the Eurogroup’s treatment of Greece, instead, it keeps making half-baked spin statements on the conviction that EU is a panacea and can never do wrong.

Tsipra’s government decision to hold a referendum took everyone by surprise and has infuriated the opposition, which considers Referenda anathema to their cliquey political relationship; a relationship that may now be in serious jeopardy.

If the Greek people reject Troika’s bailout conditions, Greece would most likely also drop the Euro currency and bring back the drachma. Such a decision would certainly cause a tsunami not only across Europe and Cyprus, but would also cause serious ripples to the stability of the entire financial system worldwide. That is precisely what the IMF – Eurogroup are afraid of; an economic instability which would reduce profits and hardly care about peoples’ well being!

Unavoidably, whatever happens in Greece would also affect Cyprus and it’s no wonder the Anastasiades government and his political party condemns Greece’s decision to reject Eurogroup’s demands. In fact the president – but especially his conservative financed minster – have both behaved appallingly towards Greece. On the sly, they have supported the Eurogroup’s dictatorial stand against Greece in fear they may be next to face the wrath of the people – a scenario that cannot be discounted!

The next few days will prove critical for the national survival of Greece. It will determine if Greece is to remain a nation free from EU shackles or to allow the Eurogroup govern the nation as it sees fit.

Serious choices indeed but in the end, only the Greek people can decide their fate and not inglorious politicians – unlike Cyprus where people have so far failed to demand their rights.

The Greek government has decided to challenge Eurogroup’s economic and social colonization of the nation and is now fighting for its national survival while in Cyprus, the Anastasiades government has chosen subservience to international bankers – what a difference!

Andreas C Chrysafis,  www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisAuthor

www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisArtGallery

Image: This black goop is what will be at the heart of the next generation of batteries.(Kieran Kesner for Quartz)

The world has been clamoring for a super-battery.

Since about 2010, a critical mass of national leaders, policy professionals, scientists, entrepreneurs, thinkers and writers have all but demanded a transformation of the humble lithium-ion cell. Only batteries that can store a lot more energy for a lower price, they have said, will allow for affordable electric cars, cheaper and more widely available electricity, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In the process, a lot of gazillionaires will be created.

But they have been vexed. Not only has nobody created a super-battery; a large number of researchers have lost faith in their powers to do so—perhaps ever. Entrepreneurs such as Tesla’s Elon Musk continue to tinker with off-the-shelf batteries for luxury electric cars and home power-storage systems, but industry hands seem generally to doubt that their cost will drop enough to attract a mass market any time soon. Increasingly, they are concluding that the primacy of fossil fuels will continue for decades to come, and probably into the next century.

This is where Yet-Ming Chiang enters the picture. A wiry, Taiwanese-American materials-science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Chiang is best known for founding A123, a lithium-ion battery company that had the biggest IPO of 2009. The company ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2012 and selling itself in pieces at firesale prices to Japanese and Chinese rivals. Yet Chiang himself emerged untainted.

In 2010, having rounded up $12.5 million from Boston venture capital firms and federal funds, Chiang launched another company. Again, it was in batteries. And today, after five years in “stealth mode,” he is going public. There may be a way to revolutionize batteries, he says, but right now it is not in the laboratory.

Instead, it’s on the factory floor. Ingenious manufacturing, rather than an ingenious leap in battery chemistry, might usher in the new electric age.

When it starts commercial sales in about two years, Chiang says, his company will slash the cost of an entry-level battery plant 10-fold, as well as cut around 30% off the price of the batteries themselves. That’s thanks to a new manufacturing process along with a powerful new cell that adds energy while stripping away cost. Together, he says, they will allow lithium-ion batteries to begin to compete with fossil fuels.

But Chiang’s concept is also about something more than just cheaper, greener power. It’s a model for a new kind of innovation, one that focuses not on new scientific invention, but on new ways of manufacturing. For countries like the US that have lost industries to Asia, this opens the possibility of reinventing the techniques ofmanufacture. Those that take this path could own that intellectual property—and thus the next manufacturing future.

This is the story of how that came about.

24M batteries.(Kieran Kesner for Quartz.)

24M batteries.(Kieran Kesner for Quartz.)

Manufacturing, the new frontier of innovation

Traditionally, big innovations have happened at the lab bench. A discovery is made and patented, then is handed off to a commercial player who scales it up. With luck, it turns out a blockbuster product.

But, according to a report published in February by the Brookings Institution, researchers are increasingly skeptical of the delineation between innovation and production. Breakthrough-scale invention, they say, happens not only in the lab, but also in factories.

This is not a new idea. Until 1856, for instance, steel was an ultra-expensive niche product. It was far more robust than iron, but no one knew how to make it economically. Its use was confined to specialty hand tools and eating utensils for the rich. But then British inventor Henry Bessemer, stirred by French gripes about the fragility of cast-iron cannons, devised a process that reduced the cost of steel by more than 80%, roughly equivalent to iron. Steel—along with oil—went on to propel the latter part of the Industrial Revolution, along with the gargantuan 20th century economic boom.

If Bessemer had made his breakthrough today, it would be called “advanced manufacturing”—a label that has been broadly applied to next-generation fabrication methods such as 3D printing, modular construction of skyscrapers, and robotics. There is some hype around this term: The Brookings report identifies 50 industries in the US alone as “advanced,” and historic factory hubs such as the English city of Sheffield are renaming themselves as variants of “advanced manufacturing cluster.”

To read the complete article on Quartz click here 

Copyright Quartz, 2015

….

Chiang and Wilder are about to embark on a third round of investment, seeking $20 million to $30 million. They would spend the money to scale up to production of a new machine that makes a cell every two to ten seconds. This machine, to be available for sale in two years, would be for stationary electric batteries—used to power businesses, neighborhoods and utilities, rather than cars.

The machine would have a capacity of 79 megawatt-hours a year and produce any kind of lithium-ion battery for a cost of about $160 per kilowatt-hour. By 2020, Chiang says, that will be down to about $85, 30% below where conventional lithium-ion batteries—whose cost is also dropping—may be by then. But most importantly, the machine would be priced at about $11 million. Hence, the startup cost of getting into lithium-ion battery manufacturing would plummet. “It’s so far out of the paradigm, you just don’t believe it,” said Wilder.

If 24M creates this machine, and if it can sell it into the market—an entirely different question—it will clearly shake up big industries, including stationary and electric car batteries, not to mention utilities. How quickly is anyone’s guess.

Chiang seems ambivalent as 24M begins to disclose what it’s been doing all these years. Until now, the entire industry has had a singular idea of how batteries are manufactured. Chiang’s own rivals were, until today, convinced that he was on a far-fetched crusade to figure out flow batteries.

But now, if they look hard at what he is really doing, and accept his approach, they may attempt to copy him. “If you haven’t seen the movie play out before, you don’t have the confidence it can be done,” he said. But staying a step ahead is also part of the startup game.

To read the complete article on Quartz click here 

Copyright Quartz, 2015

Image: Michael Gove: Facing a High Court challenge over selling services to the Saudis

Tomorrow the High Court will receive an application from  the Gulf Centre  for Human Rights to bring a judicial review over the Justice Secretary’s decision to bid for commercial work from the Saudi Arabian government because of the regime’s appalling record of public beheadings, torturing dissidents and flogging bloggers like Raif Badawi.

The case against Michael Gove is a legacy from his predecessor Chris Grayling but is linked to an appalling case of torture against a Saudi Arabian -simply known for his own protection as AB.

The Gulf Center, a non governmental organisation based in Beirut and Copenhagen, defends independent journalists, lawyers and bloggers in the Middle East, is applying to take over the case  started by AB after it appears the Ministry of Justice retrospectively removed legal aid from him.

Central to the case is the shadowy and secretive (we know this as it vigorously finds any way not to release information) Just Solutions International, a commercial arm of the Ministry of Justice set up by Chris Grayling.As readers of this blog and those who follow the excellent  Jack of Kent aka lawyer David Allen Green will know – Just Solutions has   provided services to Saudi Arabia and has a £5.9m bid for Saudi work at the moment.

The centre’s lawyers  want leave from the court to challenge whether the organisation has complied with official Whitehall guidelines before bidding for the contract and also whether Michael Gove or his predecessors  has acted illegally by creating this commercial organisation without any Parliamentary approval.

Their case cites information from  government documents on this blog and Jack of Kent’s blog. We have been separately pursuing the ministry over related issues.What they have found out is that there are no public documents saying that it followed the coalition’s  Overseas Judicial and Security Assistance guidelines.

These restrict all government departments from bidding for work from regimes which breach human rights if the Government’s reputation is damaged or is a serious risk to aiding or significantly increasing human rights abuses.These are spelled out as regimes that unlawfully detain people, have the death penalty, torture people and limit freedom of expression. Saudi Arabia ticks nearly very warning box.

Baroness Anelay: Saudi people want floggings

Until now the standard response has been that this help is meant to help improve standards. that is until a comment from  foreign office minister Baroness Anelay in reference to the flogging of Raif Badawi in the Lords : ““My Lords, I think we have to recognise that the actions of the Saudi government in these respects have the support of the vast majority of the Saudi population.”

Melanie Gingell, a member of GCHR’s advisory board, said::

“It seems to us that far from improving human rights standards in the detention systems of these  regimes, the UK is more likely to be simply improving the efficiency of the systems within which these notorious abuses are being carried out.  The British public has been horrified by the public beheadings and floggings carried out in Saudi Arabia, and now mirrored by ISIS, and they have a right to know exactly what role the UK government is playing in these systems.”

She added,

“We fear that the driving motivation behind these bids is purely commercial, and the veil of secrecy that has been drawn over them simply serves to deepen our concerns that the UK is making money out of the worst aspects of these regimes, that it condemns in public, but is happy to give support to in private.”

Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors (DPG) are acting for GCHR.  Adam Hundt, a partner at DPG, stated: “It is surprising that JSi’s activities have taken place shrouded in secrecy, and without parliamentary debate or approval.  If the UK is to sell its public services to regimes that behead people for sorcery, stone women to death and flog people for expressing pro-democracy views, then one would expect our Parliament to be consulted and given the opportunity to impose appropriate parameters on such activities.”

A campaign to crowd fund this action has also been launched by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights. The link is http://www.gofundme.com/saudiprisons 

The Ukrainian crisis is spreading to Transnistria and Moldova thereby contributing to aggravating the US-NATO confrontation with Russia.  

The Kiev regime is blocking the transit of Russian peacekeepers in Transnistria.

It is also related to political developments in Odessa.   

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Climate engineering is a completely runaway juggernaut of total insanity. The planet’s climate system is unraveling by the day as the geoengineers try frantically to control it with ever more desperate and destructive measures (which were a primary cause of the climate disintegration in the first place). As the photograph below clearly shows, powerful radio frequency transmissions have a profound effect on clouds that have been aerosolized by the jet aircraft spraying of toxic electrically conductive heavy metals.

RF transmissions over the Prince Edward Islands can be seen in the image below.

Massive Aerosol operations off the west coast of the North American continent, such heavy spraying is used in conjunction with RF transmissions.

Bizarre cloud configurations commonly occur due to the radio frequency bombardment of the atmosphere for climate modification purposes.

Lake Superior/Arrowhead region of N. Minnesota

The following image is from the Eastern Pacific, June 26, 2015. The 90 degree angle cut out of the aerosolized cloud cover is a signature of RF influence.

After over 65 years of climate “intervention”, very real damage has been done to the Earth’s life support systems (along with countless other forms of anthropogenic destruction to the biosphere). The climate engineers are now appear to be attempting to use the very same intervention methods which caused the damage in the first place, to mitigate the harm already done. There is no sanity in this equation. The visible RF influence in the noctilucent cloud image below indicates probable evidence of project “LUCY” and project “ALAMO” at work. The ongoing radio frequency saturation in our atmosphere is extremely harmful to living organisms, including us.

The 2 minute video below is an excellent capture of RF manipulation on weather systems, it is shocking and well worth the time to view.

If we are to have any chance whatsoever of salvaging the planet’s life support systems, climate engineering must be exposed and halted. Make you voice heard.

On Thursday, May 29, 2015, the UN Security Council’s 1718 Sanctions Committee was to present its mandated periodic 90 day report to the UN Security Council. Instead of a written report and an open presentation as has often been the case in the past, however, there were closed consultations and no public written report. One might ask what is going on that has necessitated the Security Council secrecy on the subject of 1718 Sanctions actions?

On May 8 an article was published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and reprinted on May 9 by the Xinhua News Agency. It was reported that “On May 6 the 1718 Committee of the UN Security Council took a step for freezing Mudubong, a trading cargo ship of our company.…(T)he 1718 Committee decided to freeze Mudubong…without any legal grounds.”(1)

The article quoted the manager of the Mudubong Shipping Co Ltd, of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). He asked that the Mexican authorities on humanitarian grounds allow the ship and its crew to safely leave the Mexican Port where it is being detained.

Background

A month earlier, on April 8, 2015, North Korean diplomats at the United Nations held a press conference at their mission for a few journalists who are part of the UN press corps. The subject of the press conference was the fate of the North Korean cargo ship, the Mudubong.

The DPRK spokesperson for the press conference was An Myong Hun, the DPRK’s Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN. Ambassador An explained that the ship was being detained by the Mexican government under pressure from the US Government.

The Mudubong had run aground on a coral reef off of the Gulf of Mexico on July 14-15 2014. The ship had to be removed from the reef, but then the ship was held by the Mexican government to negotiate the payment for the damage. When the ship ran aground, there were no sanctions on the Mudubong by the United Nations Security Council. The process of working out how to free the ship from the coral reef and indemnify the Mexican parties for the damage was a bilateral matter.

The process should have continued to be one where a settlement was decided through negotiations between the two nations. On July 28, 2014, however, the 1718 Sanctions Committee at the United Nations, a subsidiary committee established by the UN Security Council to implement sanctions against North Korea, decided to add the Ocean Maritime Management Company (OMM) to a list of sanctioned North Korean Companies maintained by the Security Council.(2)

The sanctions against the OMM were not restricted to forbidding the shipping company from participating in matters related to nuclear proliferation as one might expect. Instead the 1718 committee sanctions forbid the OMM from pursuing all business activity, including normal commercial activity. The list the UN Security Council submitted to UN member states about the entities that were under sanctions on July 28, 2014 included the OMM, but not the Mudubong. (See “Consolidated List of Entities and Individuals, July 30, 2014, List collected by Panel of Experts”.) There was no Security Council reference to any sanctions against the Mudubong.

Two days later, on July 30, the US Treasury Department announced US sanctions on the OMM forbidding US companies from any business relations with the OMM. The US Treasury Department said that the action by the Security Council against the OMM would insure that the sanctions were carried out not only in the US but also elsewhere around the world. The US Treasury Department included in its announcement the Mudubong as one of 18 ships the US Treasury Department claimed were owned by the OMM alleging these ships to be under the sanctions against the OMM. (3) By its unilateral sanctions against the Mudubong, the US interjected itself and the UN, into an otherwise bilateral process between Mexico and the DPRK.

The DPRK contests that the Mudubong is a ship owned by OMM or that OMM controls it. According to a statement by the manager of the Mudubong Shipping Co. Ltd published by KCNA, the ship is owned by a social cooperative organization set up in October 2008 with the money invested by individuals under the laws of the DPRK. The manager explains that though OMM is hired to perform some management functions, it is inappropriate to claim that a management company is the owner of the ship.

At its April press conference, North Korea said that Mexico had been ready to release the Mudubong in January 2015. The negotiations between the countries over payment for damage to the coral reef had been settled. But since the US pressured Mexico not to release the ship, Mexico asked the Security Council for a decision by the 1718 Sanction Committee on whether there was some action by the Security Council against the ship. Up to this point there had been no decision by the 1718 Sanction Committee about any action to be taken against the ship.

In February 2015 a group called the Panel of Experts appointed by the UN Secretary General to assist the 1718 Sanctions Committee, issued a Report. The Report contained allegations related to the claim that the Mudubong was under the control of OMM. It is important to keep in mind that the Panel of Experts is not an impartial body investigating an allegation. It is an enforcement body to advise the Security Council on how to better enforce its sanctions against North Korea. The Security Council provides no process of investigation into North Korea’s side of the conflict or opportunity to defend itself. And its Panel of Experts merely produced a Report making many allegations with no impartial entity to investigate the matter.

Before the Security Council decided whether it would act against the Mudubong, it had no basis to freeze a commercial ship as ships were not included among the so called assets of a sanctioned entity. Only after Mexico’s letter to the Security Council asking it for a decision about sanctions against the Mudubong, did the 1718 Sanctions Committee offer a rationale to claim a commercial ship can be considered to be an asset that is somehow subject to sanctions. This is months after Mexico was pressured to detain the ship while awaiting a Security Council decision on the issue.

Sanctions Regime

An article by Tim Johnson published by the McClatchy News Service on April 23, 2015,(4) describes a visit to Mexico by some members of the 1718 Sanctions Committee Panel of Experts. Albert Orozco, the Harbor Master at the Port of Tuxpan where the ship was moored to a wharf, accompanied them in an inspection of the ship. He reports that they found the cargo holds empty. According to Orozco, the ship was on its way to pick up a cargo of fertilizer in Mexico when it ran aground on the coral reef. The fact that the ship was not carrying any forbidden cargo, and was engaged in ordinary commercial trade, however, did not stop some members of the 1718 Sanctions Committee from recommending seizing the ship.

The McClatchy article quotes a former chief of the Northeast Asia division of the US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, John Merrill. Merrill calls the UN Sanction Committtee’s efforts to freeze a ship engaged in normal commercial activity “misguided.”

“People have to make a distinction between things that are prohibited and normal commercial activity,” says Merrill. “It seems a little bit ridiculous to keep holding these guys, and it’s going to have consequences,” Merrill warned referring to Mexico’s holding the ship.

The McClatchy article also cites a source who disagrees. William J. Newcomb was a former member of the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on North Korea sanctions. Newcomb’s view, according to the McClatchy article, is that “If sanctions are not enforced, then there’s no pressure at all on North Korea.”

Looking at the background of how such sanctions against North Korea have evolved leads to serious questions about the soundness of such a statement, and helps to shed light on the otherwise hidden actions of the UN Security Council and the impact they have toward supposedly impeding proliferation.

Looking at the role played by William J. Newcomb, who the McClatchy article cites as one of the experts on this matter, helps shed light on what is happening with the Mudubong. Newcomb provides an important link for clarifying the problem represented by Security Council Resolutions against the DPRK in 2006 and continuing as with the sanctioning of the Mudubong. Newcomb was part of the 1718 Panel of Experts from 2011 until June 2014. What is interesting about his biography, is that the 1718 Panel of Experts is not his first experience with North Korea and with activity that provoked North Korea to carry out its first nuclear test in October 2006. In the book “Treasury’s War” by Juan Zarate, the author describes his own activity for the US Treasury Department in 2003 when he had his first meeting with two State Department officials, David Asher and William J. Newcomb. (Zarate, p. 230) Asher and Newcomb were part of a State Department group referred to as the North Korea Working Group. One should keep in mind that in 2003 North Korea had not carried out any nuclear tests. In fact this was also a time when the six-party talks to provide for negotiations to resolve conflicts on the Korean Peninsula and North East Asia were in the process of formation.

The Six Party Talks

Initiated in August 2003, the six-party talks included the two Koreas, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan, US, Russia, and China. In the fourth negotiating session of the six-party talks, which took place from September 13 through September 19, 2005, an agreement was achieved. It was announced on September 19, 2005. It consisted of a set of agreements that provided a foundation for negotiations to resolve the conflicts in the region. (See Appendix I for text of the set of agreements.)

It is in this context that an Interagency Group including the State Department North Korea Working Group and a group from the Treasury Department acted to sabotage the Agreement that had just been reached by the representatives at the six-party talks. Newcomb’s biography indicates that from 2002 through 2005 he was Deputy Coordinator of the US State Department’s North Korea Working Group. It was this group working with a group in the US Treasury Department that worked out how to use a provision in the Patriot Act, known as Section 311, to freeze $25 Million of North Korean funds and also to deny North Korea access to the International banking system. [For a more in depth account see “North Korea’s 25 Million and the Banco Delta Asia (5) and also “Behind the Blacklisting of Banco Delta Asia”.(6)]

The provision of the Patriot Act used was Section 311, a Section ostensibly created to combat financing terrorism. The use the section was put to, however, turned out to be very different and a demonstration of the abuse possible by government officials under the Patriot Act.

Section 311 provided the US Treasury Department with the ability to accuse of wrong doing a financial institution in another nation’s regulatory system, using an administrative procedure in the Executive Branch of the US Government rather than having to go through an appropriate judicial legal proceeding.

Under Section 311, the accused was presumed to be guilty and the burden was on the accused to prove his or her innocence without knowing the evidence or the charges. The US Treasury Department brought charges against the Banco Delta Asia (BDA) bank in Macau in September 2005 just as the six-party agreement was reached and announced to the public. North Korea had $25 million in an account in the BDA. The Treasury Department action against the BDA resulted in the freezing of North Korean funds in the BDA account and blocking North Korea from being able to use the international financial system.

At the time of the US Treasury Department action against the BDA, North Korea had not carried out any nuclear tests. The provisions of the September 19, 2005 six-party agreement provided a foundation for the peaceful resolution of differences over nuclear questions.

But all this was changed by the US Treasury Department action against the BDA. Essentially the action taken by the US Treasury Department in collaboration with the State Department North Korea Working Group provoked North Korea to carry out its first nuclear test.

An article published in the Washington Post around this period written by Glenn Kessler helps to provide an understanding of the rationale operating within the US government during this 2005-2006 period. (7) Kessler writes:

At many points, the United States found itself at odds with other partners in the six-party process, such as China and South Korea, which repeatedly urged the Bush administration to show more flexibility in its tactics. Meanwhile, administration officials were often divided on North Korea policy, with some wanting to engage the country and others wanting to isolate it.

Kessler notes that there were those in the US government at the time wanting North Korea to carry out a nuclear test. He writes, “Before North Korea announced it had detonated a nuclear device, some senior officials even said they were quietly rooting for a test, believing that it would finally clarify the debate within the administration.”

The US Treasury Department action had the effect of derailing the six-party talks agreement. North Korea left the talks and said it would not return until its access to its $25 million account in the BDA and its access to the international banking system were restored. North Korea’s ability to use the international banking system was essential for its normal international commerce and for supporting its embassies around the world. China encouraged North Korea to negotiate with the US. But the US refused to negotiate. Left with few alternatives, North Korea carried out the test of a missile in July 2006 and in October, 2006, it carried out its first nuclear test.

The UN Security Council passed resolutions against North Korea in response to these actions. In July 2006 the Security Council passed Resolution 1695 and in October 2006 it passed Resolution 1718. The Security Council made little effort at the time to investigate what led North Korea to carry out these tests. Nor was the UN Charter provision (Chapter V, Article 32) implemented which states that the Security Council was obliged to invite North Korea into the discussion in the Council leading to the passage of the resolutions against North Korea.

The Charter states:

“Any member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council…if it is a party to a dispute under consideration by the Security Council, shall be invited to participate, without vote, in the discussion relating to the dispute.”

It is also significant that the US is the pen holder in the drafting of UN Security Council resolutions against North Korea.

In his article describing the activity in the Bush administration toward pressuring North Korea to carry out a nuclear test, Kessler quotes Condoleezza Rice’s claim that it was very unusual and quite significant that China supported the Security Council resolutions, especially Resolution 1718 against North Korea.

I don’t care how many times you visited Pyongyang,” Rice says, referring to a trip made by then Secretary of State Madeline K. Albright to the North Korean capital in 2000. “China had to be part of this regime to deal with the North Korea nuclear problem, and you’re seeing it….Not bad for a couple years’ work.

But China had been part of the non-punitive six-party talks, and the September 19, 2005 six-party agreement. So were North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan and the US. And that agreement was to prevent nuclear tests, not to provoke them. The actions that Condoleezza Rice, William J. Newcomb, and other US government officials were involved with during the years of the George W. Bush presidency (2001-2008) were actions provoking proliferation, not curtailing it.

In fact, as David Asher explained to a Congressional hearing during this period, the action against the BDA freezing $25 million of North Korean funds and leading to North Korea losing access to the international banking system was aimed at achieving certain political objectives, not to stop any alleged illegal activity. As Asher explained to the US Congress:

“Banco Delta Asia was a symbolic target. We were trying to kill the chicken to scare the monkeys. And the monkeys were big Chinese banks doing business in North Korea…and we’re not talking about tens of millions, we’re talking hundreds of millions.”

The purpose of the action against the BDA, Asher clarified was not only to target North Korea, and its access to the international banking system. But also to send a message to China. Hence the action was a carefully crafted political action. And the result was that it left North Korea with the need to find a means to defend itself against being used as a political football in the US policy against China.

Subsequently, in 2009 (under Resolution 1874) the Panel of Experts was appointed to advise the 1718 Sanctions Committee, and thus the Security Council, on how to implement the sanctions against North Korea. In 2011 William J. Newcomb who had been part of the US State Department and Treasury Department activities against North Korea, was appointed a member of the Security Council 1718 Panel of Experts.

It is important to keep in mind that the Panel of Experts (PoE) was not created to play an impartial role investigating a conflict. The PoE “has a mandate to gather, examine, and analyze information from States, relevant United Nations bodies regarding the implementation of the measures imposed in resolutions 1718 (2006), 1784 (2009), 2087 (2013) and 2094 (2013), In particular incidents of non-compliance.” So the panel of experts is in no way obligated to seek the facts, but instead is part of the Security Council efforts to build a case against North Korea and to ensure all UN member states comply.

In the article by Tim Johnson, William J. Newcomb is quoted saying that, “If sanctions are not enforced then there’s no pressure at all on North Korea.” But reviewing the history of the use of sanctions against North Korea, both by the US and then by the UN Security Council, the opposite proves true. Sanctions were used to sabotage the implementation of the September 19, 2005 six-party agreement so that even ten years later, the agreement has not been implemented. Sanctions continue to be used to ensure the continuing impossibility of any negotiation to resolve the conflicts on the Korean peninsula.

Another UN sanctions committee is the 1267 Committee. This Committee is used by the UN Security Council to bring sanctions against individuals and entities accused of being connected with al Qaeda. But European courts ruled that taking away property or rights from individuals or entities without due process and failing to provide the right to self defense before an impartial body are contrary to human rights treaty obligations of European states and not permitted even if the UN Security Council requires such actions

With the 1267 Committee, the Security Council had run afoul of the legal obligations of European states. (8) The European Courts would not allow European states to enforce the 1267 sanctions until the Security Council modified its procedures.

The US Uses the UN 

While little attention has been paid by the Security Council in how it applies sanctions, the Mudubong situation provides an example of how the US acts to use the UN to bypass legal obligations and to spread the process to other countries. An important example of this problem is described by IF Stone in his book “The Hidden History of the Korean War”.

Stone notes that the US took military action in South Korea in 1950 before any action had been authorized by the UN Security Council. By doing so it created a situation where other countries on the Security Council were obliged to support the Security Council taking military action in South Korea. Otherwise those countries would have appeared to be opposing the US. Such appearance of opposition might have had negative consequences for them.

Conclusion

The case of the UN Security Council actions against the Mudubong once again demonstrates how the US turned a ship that ran aground on a coral reef into a long contorted effort to claim the right of the UN Security Council to seize a commercial ship flying under the flag of the DPRK with no due process rights accorded to the DPRK or the owner of the ship for self defense. The obligation of the Security Council is to inform and publicly post information about any entity it sanctions. No such post has been made by the Security Council about the Mudubong. But through ad hoc processes the 1718 Sanction Committee supposedly agreed to action against the Mudubong.

This may seem inconsequential. But when one looks back at how Security Council Resolution 1718 was obtained it becomes evident that there is a pattern of action by some members of the UN Security Council to abuse the sanction process in order to carry out political objectives contrary to the obligations of member nations under the UN charter.

Recall how North Korea was provoked into carrying out a nuclear test by the US putting sanctions on a bank in Macau holding North Korean funds, and subsequently also preventing North Korea from having access to the international banking system. When Condoleezza Rice was challenged about these US government activities leading to a nuclear test, her response was that there was a positive result as the nuclear test led China to support chapter 7 sanctions against North Korea. Harming a state in order to provoke self defense and then using that act of self defense as an excuse for Security Council sanctions, is an act contrary to the obligations of the UN Charter.

In testimony before the US Congress, one of the planners of the Banco Delta Asia sanctions explained how the motive was a political one, that the target was not merely North Korea but China as well. The UN Security Council is obligated to help resolve conflicts peacefully, not to provoke them. If its processes are abused, there is a need for attention to the problem and to find a way to stop such abuse.

Notes

1. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-05/09/c_134222872.htm

2. http://www.un.org/press/en/2014/sc11499.doc.htm

3. http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2594.aspx

4. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/04/23/264224/mexicans-hold-n-korean-freighter.html

5. http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=362192&rel_no=1

6. http://english.ohmynews.com/ArticleView/article_view.asp?no=351525&rel_no=1

7. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/21/AR2006102100296.html

8. http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/28/28217/1.html


Appendix A

Six party Sept 19 2005 agreement

http://m.state.gov/mc15455.htm

The Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks was held in Beijing, China among the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America from July 26th to August 7th, and from September 13th to 19th, 2005.

Mr. Wu Dawei, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, Mr. Kim Gye Gwan, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the D.P.R.K.; Mr. Kenichiro Sasae, Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; Mr. Song Min-soon, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the R.O.K.; Mr. Alexandr Alekseyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; and Mr. Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the United States attended the talks as heads of their respective delegations.

Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei chaired the talks.

For the cause of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia at large, the Six Parties held, in the spirit of mutual respect and equality, serious and practical talks concerning the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula on the basis of the common understanding of the previous three rounds of talks, and agreed, in this context, to the following:

  1. The Six Parties unanimously reaffirmed that the goal of the Six-Party Talks is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.
    The D.P.R.K. committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards. The United States affirmed that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade the D.P.R.K. with nuclear or conventional weapons.
    The R.O.K. reaffirmed its commitment not to receive or deploy nuclear weapons in accordance with the 1992 Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while affirming that there exist no nuclear weapons within its territory.
    The 1992 Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should be observed and implemented. The D.P.R.K. stated that it has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The other parties expressed their respect and agreed to discuss, at an appropriate time, the subject of the provision of light water reactor to the D.P.R.K.
  2. The Six Parties undertook, in their relations, to abide by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and recognized norms of international relations. The D.P.R.K. and the United States undertook to respect each other’s sovereignty, exist peacefully together, and take steps to normalize their relations subject to their respective bilateral policies. The D.P.R.K. and Japan undertook to take steps to normalize their relations in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration, on the basis of the settlement of unfortunate past and the outstanding issues of concern.
  3. The Six Parties undertook to promote economic cooperation in the fields of energy, trade and investment, bilaterally and/or multilaterally. China, Japan, R.O.K., Russia and the U.S. stated their willingness to provide energy assistance to the D.P.R.K. The ROK reaffirmed its proposal of July 12th 2005 concerning the provision of 2 million kilowatts of electric power to the D.P.R.K.
  4. The Six Parties committed to joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The directly related parties will negotiate a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula at an appropriate separate forum. The Six Parties agreed to explore ways and means for promoting security cooperation in Northeast Asia.
  5. The Six Parties agreed to take coordinated steps to implement the aforementioned consensus in a phased manner in line with the principle of “commitment for commitment, action for action”.
  6. The Six Parties agreed to hold the Fifth Round of the Six-Party Talks in Beijing in early November 2005 at a date to be determined.

Neocons Urge Embrace of Al Qaeda

June 29th, 2015 by Daniel Lazare

Al Nusra Front

The latest neocon gambit is to build support for “regime change” in Syria by downplaying the evils of Al Qaeda, rebranding it as some sort of “moderate” terrorist force whose Syrian affiliate is acceptable to Israel and supported by Saudi Arabia. But this audacious argument ignores reality.

Just nine days after the fall of the World Trade Center, George W. Bush announced that he was imposing a radical new policy on virtually the entire globe: “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

As dramatic as the statement was, just about every phrase was open to question in one form or another.  But rather than launching into a long and vigorous debate about the meaning of terrorism or America’s right to impose diktat on the world at large, congressmen turned their minds off and gave Bush a standing ovation.

Today, the same Bush Doctrine is sinking beneath the waves as a growing portion of the punditocracy declares that some forms of terrorism are better than others and that harboring a terrorist may not be so bad if it advances U.S. interests. But once again, the response is not questioning, debate, or even applause, but silence.

The latest evidence of a sea change in establishment thinking is a blog that Ahmed Rashid, a prominent Middle East correspondent, recently published on The New York Review of Bookswebsite. Entitled “Why We Need al-Qaeda,” it argues that Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, Al Nusra, are evolving in a more moderate direction in growing contrast to its rival, the super-violent Islamic State. So why not use Al Nusra as a counterforce against both Bashar al-Assad and ISIS?

As Rashid puts it: “Unlike ISIS, which demands absolute subjugation of the inhabitants of any territory it conquers (surrender or be executed), al-Nusra is cooperating with other anti-Assad groups and recently joined the ‘Army of Conquest’ alliance of rebel militias in northern Syria. Moreover, in contrast to ISIS’s
largely international and non-Syrian fighting force, al-Nusra’s fighters are almost wholly Syrian, making them both more reliable and more committed to Syria’s future.

“Meanwhile, in interviews with Al Jazeera, al-Nusra leaders have vowed not to attack
targets in the West, promoting an ideology that might be called ‘nationalist jihadism’ rather than global jihad. In recent months, al-Nusra’s leaders
have toned down the implementation of their own brutal version of Islamic law, while putting on hold their own plans of building a caliphate.”

Thus, according to Rashid’s viewpoint, Al Nusra is cooperative, patriotic, unthreatening to anyone other than Assad, and in favor of a kinder and gentler form of shari‘a as well. Yet, Rashid argues, that while Turkey and the Arab gulf states recognize that change is afoot, the U.S. keeps its eyes resolutely shut:

“With 230,000 killed and 7.6 million people uprooted in Syria alone, the Arab states want a quick end to the Assad regime and a viable solution for Syria. They know that solution will never come from the weak moderate opposition, and that
any lasting peace will require support by the strong and ruthless Islamist
groups fighting there.”

Gulf States’ Favorite

So the gulf states are backing the second most ruthless Islamist group in Syria (Al Qaeda’s affiliate) in hopes of offsetting the first most ruthless (ISIS) and making short work of the Baathist regime in Damascus. But as Arab leaders prepare for direct negotiations with Al Nusra, Rashid warns, “the only one not at the table could be the
United States.”

This is dramatic stuff. After all, Rashid is not taking aim at some minor doctrine, but one that has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy since 9/11. Moreover, he’s not the only one talking this way. Since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Riyadh in early March to meet with Saudi King Salman and discuss ways of upping support for the Syrian Islamist opposition, there has been a veritable boomlet in terms of calls for a rapprochement with Al Qaeda.

Within days of the Riyadh get-together, Foreign Affairs went public with an article arguing that even though “the United States is the closest it has ever been to destroying al Qaeda, its interests would be better served by keeping the terrorist organization afloat.” Lina Khatib, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, wrote a few weeks later that “while not everyone likes Nusra’s ideology, there is a growing sense in the north of Syria that it is the best alternative on the ground – and that ideology is a small price to pay for higher returns.”

Charles Lister of the Brookings Institute’s Doha Center, wrote that Al Nusra is undergoing a “moderating shift.” Frederic Hof, Obama’s former envoy to the Syrian guerrillas and now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said the group has become “a real magnet for young Syrian fighters who don’t have any particular jihadist or even radical sectarian agenda.” They are drawn to Al Nusra, he explained, for two reasons – because it’s “well-resourced” and because it “seems to have been willing to fight the regime and not to engage in some of the corrupt activities and warlordism that you would find elsewhere within the panoply of Syrian opposition.”

So, Rashid’s views are hardly unique. Nonetheless, they’re the most explicit and upfront to date, an indication that support for an alliance with Al Qaeda is on the upswing and that advocates are growing bolder and more self-confident. So how should ordinary people who are not part of the elite foreign-policy discussion respond?

One-Sided Arguments

For one thing, they might notice that such articles are remarkably one-sided and poorly reasoned. Rashid may be “one of Pakistan’s most respected journalists,” as the BBC puts it, someone whose work has appeared in such publications as the Daily Telegraph and the Far Eastern Economic Review. Yet shooting holes through his arguments is child’s play.

Take his claim that “al-Nusra’s leaders have toned down the implementation of their own brutal version of Islamic law.” Whatever the difference between Al Nusra and ISIS on this score, it’s less impressive than Rashid lets on.

The Soufan Group, a New York-based security firm headed by a Lebanese-American ex-FBI agent named Ali H. Soufan, notes, for instance, that while Islamic State released a video in January showing its forces stoning an accused adulteress, Al Nusra released one around the same time showing its forces shooting two women for the same alleged offense. Since the victims in either case were killed, the difference, as the Soufan Group noted, was purely “stylistic.”

Rashid claims that Al Nusra is less extreme in its hostility to Shi‘ism, in part because it thinks “anti-Shia fanaticism” is backfiring and becoming “an impediment to gaining more territory.” Indeed, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, Al Nusra’s commander-in-chief, told Al Jazeera in a rare interview on May 27 that his forces were willing to welcome Alawites, as Syria’s Shi‘ites are known, back into the fold.

“If they drop weapons,” al-Julani said, “disavow Assad, do not send their men to fight for him and return to Islam, then they are our brothers.” But when he described Alawism as a sect that has “moved outside the religion of God and of Islam,” the meaning became clear: Alawite must either convert or die.

Whether this makes Al Nusra less genocidal than ISIS is open to debate. According to the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, Al Nusra recently massacred more than 20 Druze villagers in northwestern Syria – reportedly after a local commander denounced them as kuffar, or infidels, while al-Julani, in his Al Jazeera interview, specified that Christians must pay the jizya, a special head tax imposed by Islamic law, as well – a stipulation Syria’s ten-percent Christian minority is not likely to find very reassuring.

Ordinary people viewing this from afar might notice that the government that al-Julani is seeking to overthrow is officially secular and non-discriminatory and that even Obama has conceded that it has “protected the Christians in Syria,” as he told a Syrian Christian delegation last September. They might also notice that Rashid’s article is in other respects highly revealing, although not in ways he cares to admit.

For instance, Rashid writes that U.S. policy in the Middle East is beset by “growing contradictions.” This is obviously correct. But the problem is not that Washington refuses to face facts about Al Nusra’s alleged moderating trend, but that the U.S. is attempting to hammer out an accord with Iran while struggling to preserve its alliance with Israel and the Arab gulf states, all of whom regard Iran as public enemy number one.

Obama’s Fence Straddling

The effort has led to monumental fence straddling. While entering into talks with Iran, the Obama administration has given the go-ahead to Saudi Arabia’s two-month-old assault on Iranian-allied forces in Yemen while turning a blind eye to growing Turkish and Saudi support for anti-Iranian terrorists in Syria.

While paying lip service to the Bush Doctrine that he who harbors a terrorist is as bad as a terrorist, the Obama administration made no objection when the Saudis and Turks donated U.S.-made TOW missiles to Al Nusra-led forces in northern Syria or when the Saudi bombing campaign allowed Al Qaeda to expand in Yemen.

It’s a mixed-up policy that has people in the Middle East shaking their heads. Yet Rashid adds to the confusion by misrepresenting the Saudi role. He writes, for instance, that the Arab States are swinging behind Al Nusra because they “want a quick end to the Assad regime and a viable solution for Syria,” when, in fact, Saudi Wahhabists have sought from the start to impose a government much like their own, as a report by U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency observed back in August 2012.

Rather than “viable,” such a government would be precisely the opposite for a highly variegated society like Syria with its large Christian, Shi‘ite, and Druze minorities fearful of Sunni fundamentalist domination – yet the gulf states, backed by the U.S., have pushed on regardless.

On the issue of Al Qaeda’s brutal intolerance, Rashid adds, “For Arab leaders, determining whether al-Qaeda has really changed
will depend on the group’s long-term attitude toward Shias,” suggesting that the gulf states are seeking a fairer outcome for Syria’s Alawites.

Saudi Intolerance

But this is misleading as well since Saudi attitudes toward the kingdom’s own 15-percent Shi‘ite minority are deeply oppressive and seem to be getting worse.

According to the Cambridge scholar Toby Matthiesen, for example, Saudi Shi‘ites are barred from the army and the National Guard as well as the top rungs of the government.  State-mandated schoolbooks denounce them as “rejectionists,” while, according to the independent scholar Mai Yamani, they cannot testify in court or marry a Sunni and must put up with abuse from Wahhabist clerics who regularly preach that killing a Shi‘ite merits a greater heavenly reward than killing a Christian or a Jew.

Since Salman’s accession in late January, there is no sign of a softening. Indeed, by bombing Yemen’s Shi‘ite Houthi rebels and stepping up support for fanatically anti-Shi‘ite rebels in Syria, Salman gives every indication of intensifying his anti-Shi‘ite crusade and taking it abroad.

Neocons pushing for an explicit alliance with Al Nusra are thus attempting to plunge the U.S. ever more deeply into a growing sectarian war. Ordinary people might also notice that such “experts” expound their views from cushy posts financed by Qatar (the case with Brookings’ Doha Center) or by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain (the case with the Atlantic Council).

Yet Congress doesn’t care about such conflicts of interest and the White House is too intimidated to speak out, while the American people at large are not consulted. Questioning and debate are more imperative than ever, yet they are as absent as they were back in 2001.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Climbing into Bed with Al-Qaeda.”]

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

Interview with Vicki Nelson, founder of Fukushima Friends (nonprofit organization which facilitates trips to Hawaii for Fukushima radiation refugees), Nuclear Hotseat hosted by Libbe HaLevy, Jun 9, 2015 (at 16:30 in):

  • Vicki Nelson, founder of Fukushima Friends (emphasis added): We have a home that’s open for them to come and experience some time of respite and eat different food. What we’ve been experiencing also is that every single person that comes has reaction to the change as soon as they come here. There’s been people who have vomited, they’ve been having nosebleeds, they’ve been dizzy, they’ve been very ashen in color.
  • Libbe HaLevy, host: This is once they have left Japan? In other words, it is the lack of the radiation that allows them to then have these reactions?
  • Nelson: It’s like it is expelling from their body. There’s diarrhea, there’s nosebleeds— almost every single person has had nosebleeds on their pillow. I find blood, and they don’t want to tell me that they have these reactions, they’re embarrassed. Tokiko’s son [from Koriyama, Fukushima] vomited the whole first week practically, and had diarrhea. We actually took him to the hospital because we felt that he was dehydrated. They did run tests, and they said yes he was dehydrated. So he was kept overnight at the Hilo hospital on the big island and cared for.

Meeting hosted by Andrew Cash, member of Canadian parliament, Dec 2012 — Japanese mother (at 2:12:30 in): “My home town is Sapporo [northernmost island in Japan]… In my city, no one thinks about radiation. I found a group of escaped mothers from Tokyo and the Fukushima area, and I was very surprised… Most of them had thyroid problems, or eye problems, or nose bleeds… They are very worried about it. In Japan we knew about the meltdowns two months after the meltdowns happened, so we can have no information about radiation. Now the government is telling us to eat food from Fukushima. We can’t rely on government. The TV said Fukushima is safe, no problem… Fukushima is good to live. They want to invite a lot of tourists to Fukushima.

Full interview with Nelson here | Watch the meeting in Canada here

Амерички „агенти хаоса“

June 29th, 2015 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Напади у Македонији и Босни и Херцеговини су акти „агената хаоса“ које подржавају Сједињене Америчке Државе и чији је првенствени циљ спречавање евроазијских интеграција, сматра социолог и научни истраживач при канадском Центру за истраживање глобализација Махди Даријус Наземроаја.

Махди Даријус Наземроаја, социолог и научни истраживач при канадском Центру за истраживање глобализација, специјализовао се за геополитичка и стратешка истраживања Блиског истока и централне Азије. Извештавао је из Либије током агресије НАТО-а на ту афричку земљу. Његова књига „Глобализација НАТО-а“ прати развојни пут и стратегије контроверзног Северноатлантског војног савеза, који је директно или индиректно умешан у све велике конфликте у савременој историји човечанства.

Како видите ситуацију на Балкану у светлу недавних оружаних напада и инцидената у Македонији и Босни и Херцеговини?

— Ти напади су акти група које Сједињене Америчке Државе подржавају у ширем региону Евроазије. То су „агенти хаоса“, чији је првенствени циљ спречавање евроазијских интеграција, а на Балкану сада видимо ефекат њиховог преливања. Те снаге су опасна комбинација ултранационализма, милитантизма, расизма, тероризма, ксенофобије, екстремизма и секташтва и све те особине се преплићу. Такве групе биле су употребљене и за разбијање Југославије. Москва и Пекинг верују да САД и њихови савезници стоје иза тих снага и није случајно да су формирали Шангајску организацију за сарадњу (ШОС) са циљем да се боре против, како су навели, „три силе зла — тероризма, сепаратизма и екстремизма“. Русија је решена да не дозволи губитак утицаја на Балкану нити прекид партнерства са Србијом. НАТО и ЕУ желе да ставе преостале државе, попут Србије и Молдавије рецимо, под своје окриље, док Руси не желе да буду избачени из Европе и теже да понуде алтернативу кроз евроазијски пут. Србија и Западни Балкан би на крају могли да постану место сукоба, посебно са променом геополитичке мапе света и како земље БРИКС-а буду постајале јаче.

Једна од централних тема Ваше књиге Глобализација НАТО-а је да стабилност и евроазијске интеграције представљају велики изазов за глобалну позицију САД. На шта конкретно мислите?

— САД се противе евроазијским интеграцијама јер се плаше да би тако био умањен њихов глобални утицај. Вашингтон не жели да допусти међусобну интеграцију европских и азијских држава; напротив — жели да контролише Евроазију тако што ће европске и азијске државе интегрисати са САД у политичком, економском и војном смислу. Зато, рецимо, САД агресивно гурају ЕУ да потпише Споразум о трансатлантском трговинском и инвестиционом партнерству (ТТИП), а истовремено раде на томе да обезбеде Транспацифичко партнерство (ТПП) у Азији. Могу категорички да кажем да стратешки циљеви оба та трговинска споразума јесу да интегришу Европу и Азију са САД, да Вашингтон учине центром политичког одлучивања, а Волстрит неспорним центром глобалне економије. Стратегија САД је да економски исцрпе своје ривале, али и сопствене савезнике, тиме што ће их довести до стадијума у коме ће они урушавати међусобне билатералне односе. Криза у Украјини служи интересима Вашингтона да ослаби ЕУ и Русију. САД не теже само ка томе да прошире НАТО и да окруже Русију, него и да нанесу штету везама између ЕУ и Русије. У Латинској Америци и на Карибима раде потпуно исту ствар.

Истакнути амерички стратег Збигњев Бжежински упозоравао је да се не сме дозволити формирање коалиције између Русије, Ирана и Кине јер би то, како је рекао, могло да доведе у питање амерички примат. Да ли је то партнерство реално?

— Партнерство између Кине, Ирана и Руске Федерације постоји у одређеној форми већ неколико година, како би парирало САД и НАТО-у. Изградња стратешког партнерства између Пекинга и Москве започела је 1999. године, после НАТО рата против Србије и Црне Горе, када су Кинези и Руси постали одлучни у томе да спрече САД да формирају једнополарни свет. Учешће Ирана је релативно ново, зато што је Техеран био чврсто опредељен да остане независтан у том погледу. Техеран је почео да гравитира ка Москви и Пекингу после англо-америчке инвазије на Ирак 2003. САД покушавају да окрену Кину, Иран и Русију једне против других. Билатерални разговори Вашингтона са Техераном без икакве сумње укључују и покушаје САД да Иранце окрену против Руса, посебно сада када је ЕУ потребан достављач енергије који би био алтернатива руском „Гаспрому“.

Како видите тврдњу да се спољна политика САД заснива на глобалној претњи од тероризма?

— Америчка дефиниција тероризма је нејасна и селективно се примењује како би се оправдала спољна политика САД. То је тактика демонизације која се користи да би се у негативном контексту приказали Арапи и муслимани. Али, ако погледамо емпиријске статистичке податке о тероризму, слика је умногоме другачија. Према подацима изнетим у Глобалном индексу тероризма за 2014. који је објавио Институт за економију и мир, скоро све државе које су погођене тероризмом имају једну заједничку карактеристику — војно и политичко мешање САД у њихове унутрашње послове. Према подацима Еуропола о тероризму на територији ЕУ у периоду од 2007-2009. године, 99,6 одсто терористичких напада починили су људи који нису муслиманског порекла.

Не смемо да заборавимо да су највећи државни спонзор тероризма заправо саме Сједињене Државе. Вашингтон је организовао екстремне групе током Хладног рата да би се бориле против Совјетског Савеза. Те групе нису створене саме од себе, постоји читав историјски контекст. ЦИА је тренирала и подржавала Осаму бин Ладена у борби против Совјетског Савеза и Ал Каида је креатура Америке. Чак и групе попут Џабхат ал Нусре и Исламске државе у Ираку и Сирији створене су као резултат спољне политике САД и подршке за промену режима у земљама Блиског истока. Председница Аргентине Кристина Фернандез Кирхнер то је изјавила на Савету безбедности УН прошле године.

Председник САД Барак Обама промовише америчку изузетност. Какве бисмо лекције из историје могли да научимо када говоримо о том феномену?

— Изузетност је повезана са етноцентризмом и расистичким погледима. Повезана је и са новом фазом хладног рата, којом се демонизују други на основу њихове културе и наводних цивилизацијских разлика, било да је реч о исламској или хришћанској православној цивилизацији. Изузетност дели свет на „нас“ и „њих“, или на „друге“. Апартхејд је заснован на изузетности. Нацизам је заснован на изузетности. А те идеологије су довеле до угњетавања, до легитимисања окрутности и до светског рата.

After testing 16 women from different regions all over Germany, the Green Party has found that traces of the chemical glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Round Up, are appearing in breast milk at ‘intolerable levels’ that could harm a developing baby and the mother.

The weed killer traces in breast milk were found to be between 0.210 and 0.432 nanograms per millilitre (PPB). Drinking water is allowed to have no more than 0.100 nanograms of glyphosate.

Irene Witte, professor of toxicology at the University of Oldenburg, described the findings as “intolerable.”

Witte stated:

“I would never have guessed that the quantities are so high.”

Though the sample size in these initial tests was small, and Witte believed it should be expanded, it is still indicative of a major problem. These 16 women indicate that larger sections of the population are being poisoned with glyphosate – a substance which the WHO has called carcinogenic. If Monsanto is allowed to keep selling these chemicals, it amounts to mass-murder.

Witte explained that if the chemical has been proven to cause cancer, then no amount should be tolerated in our food supply. As a reminder, the World Health Organization recently delivered a huge blow to Monsanto, pronouncing that glyphosate – and subsequently Monsanto’s Round Up – is ‘probably carcinogenic.’ The organization also recent declared 2 other pesticides – Lindane and DDT – as being cancer-causing to humans.

Further commenting on the glyphosate residues found in breast milk, Witte said:

“There is not upper limit you can then put on the quantity. Every molecule could cause cancer.”

The chair of the Environmental Committee in the Bundestag (German parliament) Bärbel Höhn of the Green Party said:

“The government needs to take glyphosate out of circulation until the question of its links to cancer has been cleared up.”

Sadly, past studies have found similar results to this. The herbicide has been found in breast milk, urine, and even blood:

  • A piece of research found that the toxic ingredient is actually found in the breast milk of women, leading to damage to underdeveloped human beings.
  • In addition to being found in urine and breast milk, glyphosate has also been found in people’s blood in 18 different countries.

The link is clear. It’s time to stop these biotech companies, now.

Learn how to test for Glyphosate Residues, here.

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The Central Bank of Greece surprised everyone with the publication of their monetary politics for 2014-2015. Besides revealing the consequences of the economic suffocation imposed by Brussels, it concluded that in case of not getting to a prompt deal with its European partners, a crisis of great proportions will be detonated.

“A crisis with a manageable debt as we are currently facing with the help of our partners will transform into an uncontrollable crisis, with great risk for the banking system and for the financial stability”, it quoted[1]. It was the first time this institution seriously contemplated Greece’s separation from the Eurozone.

The mainstream media immediately began to stress that the majority of Greek’s population is against abandoning the Monetary Union. Approximately a 70% according to a recent poll published by the GOP. For keeping the “common currency” the norms in the Maastricht Treaty have to be complied, therefore the Western media concludes that Greek citizens are willing to accept the Troika’s conditions: Austerity is the price for membership in the Eurozone.

However, the media omit mentioning is that the same majority was opposed to measures that the Troika (formed by the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission) intends to impose. That same majority is currently convinced that the original 245 billion euros rescue program has only brought economic affliction. The increase of inequality and poverty, lock of housing, mental illness and suicides, are evidence of the “humanitarian crisis” Greeks are daily suffering[2].

A change regarding to economic matters in urgent. In that sense, the Greek government has insisted in solving the more immediate needs (taxes on investment, creation of employment, a better distribution of income, etc.) and less in questioning terms of the debt. Despite this, Brussels has blocked any agreement that would help Greece’s recovery; debt repayments are maximum priority[3].

Alexis Tsipras, prime minister, is practically “hands tied”, he can’t implement an alternative economic policy, this situation is contrary to his intentions, therefore it slowly diminishes the trust citizens have put into Syriza, his political party.

Disqualifications between the Greek government and the Troika were quite prompt on dates near the meeting with the Eurogroup. Tsipras addressed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had “criminal responsibility” for the crisis. He also repeated that his government wouldn’t falter before the pressure imposed by the Troika. The objective of this proposal is to “humiliate Greece” and there he committed to reject the adjustment plans at every moment[4].

The finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has delivered the same message by declining on presenting proposals that would finally include a list of “credible” commitments for the creditors: raising the primary surplus, additional tax raises, dismantling the pension system, etc[5].

As consequence, the negotiations stalled once again. The Troika remains intransigent in applying its “structural reforms” no matter what, while Tsipras declines on betraying the Greeks. Therefore this dispute is ones more to be adjourned.

Greece has 10 days to liquidate the four monthly maturities of debt to the IMF (1.5 billion euros) and to open a new financing plan for 5.2 billion euros. By next July, Athens will have to pay 3.5 billion euros to the European Central Bank (ECB), 465 million euros to the IMF and 2 billion euros to additional creditors.

Debt and more austerity, in the end impose more debts, this situation puts Greece in a “depressive spiral” that seems not to have an end. How will the resources for complying with these commitments de delivered?

There is no doubt that if Tsipras decides abandoning the Euro, the consequences will be dramatic for Greece’s economy and so for the rest of economies in the region[6], including of course, Germany and France. Berlin fears a massive spread. If Greece collapses, speculators will bet against the most fragile economies: Finland, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, etc.

Considerably affected by the weak economic growth and the deflation (price breakdown), the Eurozone would loose even more confidence from international investors. The crescent ‘aversion to risk’ due to Greece’s exit would provoke an increase in the performance of sovereign bonds (currently at minimum levels). Panic would boost interest rates, severely shrinking the financial liquidity between countries.

Uncertainty will increase and the capital flows would be victim of a ‘butterfly effect’: slight increase of volatility in sovereign bond markets, light drops in stock exchanges and any change in the monetary policy, would be enough to detonate huge turbulences in credit circuits.

Nevertheless, the Troika seems decisive on backlashing the left’s economic program. Syriza have inaugurated the electoral failure of neoliberalism in Europe and due to that, it has become the lender’s favorite prey, who are ready to impose their will at any price. However, the Greeks should trust themselves, establish partnership beyond its continental borders and aim for utopia.

Democracy was born in the ancient Greece and there is where the foundations of a new Europe, free from the ‘dictatorship of the creditors’ should be built, if there is any alternative…

The author is an economist, graduated from the Autonomous University of Mexico.

Translation: Thania Moore.
Originally published in Spanish. Russia Today (Spanish)

Notes

[1] «Report on Monetary Policy 2014-2015», The Bank of Greece, June 17, 2015.

[2] «Los griegos se alistan para nuevas penurias», Nektaria Stamouli & Marcus Walker, The Wall Street Journal, 16 de junio de 2015.

[3] «The Looming Austerity Package», Costas Lapavitsas, Jacobin, June 12, 2015.

[4] «Greek exit real prospect as eurozone hardens towards belligerent Athens», Larry Elliott, Ian Traynor & Helena Smith, The Guardian, June 16, 2015.

[5] «Greece will not present new reform proposals at Eurogroup: Bild», Michael Nienaber, Reuters, June 16, 2015.

[6] «Greek crisis: why policy makers in emerging markets should worry», Alan Beattie, The Financial Times, June 18, 2015.

Palestinian children take part in a rally to show support for the latest attempt to break the siege of Gaza by sea, at the Gaza City port on 28 June 2015. Ashraf Amra/APA images

Israeli forces boarded and commandeered the Marianne on Monday, one of four boats that were bound for Gaza in the latest attempt to break the tight Israeli siege of the occupied territory.

At around 2 am Gaza time Marianne was surrounded by three Israeli navy boats while in international waters more than 100 miles off the coast of Gaza, organizers Freedom Flotilla III said in a press release.

“After that we lost contact with the Marianne and at 05:11 am (Gaza time) the IDF [Israeli army] announced that they had ‘visited and searched’ Marianne,” the press release states. “They had captured the boat and detained all on board ‘in international waters’ as they admitted themselves. The only positive content in the IDF announcement was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, despite the Netanyahu government’s recent denial that one exists.”

Organizers called the seizure of the boat and its passengers an “act of piracy.”

Israel’s Haaretz reports that the boat is being towed to Usdud (Ashdod), a port in present-day Israel, where the passengers “will be interrogated before being escorted to Ben Gurion Airport and flown out of Israel.”

The 18 passengers aboard the Marianne include Basel Ghattas, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Israeli parliament, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzuki, Spanish member of the European Parliament Ana Miranda and Professor Robert Lovelace, retired chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation in Canada.

Many Palestinians in had eagerly awaited the flotilla, hoping that it would call international attention to the siege which Israel imposed eight years ago.

Members of the crew of the Marianne, which was seized by Israeli forces in international waters early on 29 June as it headed toward Gaza.
Freedom Flotilla III

Three other boats – RachelVittorio and Juliano II – that also made up the flotilla have headed back to their ports of origin.

In total, 47 passengers from 17 countries were aboard the boats, which carried medicines, solar panels and above all a strong message of solidarity for the 1.8 million Palestinians still besieged in Gaza one year after Israel began its 51-day destructive assault that killed more than 2,200 people.

An independent UN Human Rights Council inquiry into the attack, published last week, found extensive evidence of war crimes approved by Israel’s leaders at the “highest level.”

Violence incitement

Ghattas joined the flotilla despite violent threats and incitement from fellow lawmakers in Israel to lift his parliamentary immunity so that he could be prosecuted.

Yair Lapid, head of Israel’s purportedly centrist Yesh Atid party, for instance denounced the flotilla as a “provocation against the state of Israel.”

“This is a flotilla of a group of terror supporters a heinous flotilla that needs to be stopped,” Lapid added. “We need to act against the flotilla the same way we do when dispersing a violent protest and these guys need to all be arrested.”

In a Huffington Post column on Sunday,he defended his right to take part in the flotilla.

Bigots in “a discriminatory Jewish state as a white Southern extremist in a Confederate state, seek to diminish the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and their representatives in the parliament,” Ghattas writes.

“More than anything, it is obvious that the situation of Palestinians in Gaza will inevitably lead to another round of bloody war, perhaps even more horrifying than the one we had less than one year ago,” Ghattas adds. “Still, my very outspoken colleagues in the Knesset would not even consider lifting the blockade as a means to avoid future war.”

“No siege on Gaza”

In a statement Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justified the seizure of the Marianneclaiming that the “flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region.”

Netanyahu insisted that “preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General.”

“Israel is the only democracy that defends itself in accordance with international law,” Netanyahu insisted, adding that “there is no siege on Gaza.”

The fact that 18 civilians aboard a yacht cannot sail to Gaza, and that there has been virtually no reconstruction in Gaza since Israel’s attack last year would tend to undermine Netanyahu’s contention.

According to Haaretz, after boarding the boat, Israeli army gunmen were “to hand out a letter issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, welcoming [the captives] to Israel and wondering why they sailed to Gaza and not Syria.”

“Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere else nearby – Syria, where Assad’s regime is massacring his people every day, with the support of the murderous Iranian regime,” the letter would reportedly state.

Netanyahu’s statement did not specify which UN “committee” he was talking about, but this was a likely reference to the 2011 “Palmer report” commissioned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon into Israel’s attack the previous year on the Mavi Marmara.

Turkey rejected the report into the assault that killed 10 of its citizens on the Mavi Marmara in international waters and imposed sanctions on Israel.

The inquiry was heavily criticized for bias. The four-member committee that wrote the Palmer report was chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and vice-chaired by former president of Colombia Alvaro Uribe, a notorious human rights abuser close to Israel.

The inquiry commissioned by Ban was in addition to an official UN Human Rights Council fact-finding missionwhich found that Israel’s attack on the 2010 flotilla was illegal.

Determined

“It is disappointing that the Israeli government chose to continue the absolutely fruitless policy of ‘no tolerance,’ meaning it will continue to enforce an inhumane and illegal collective punishment against 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza,” flotilla organizers said in their statement.

“Israel’s repeated acts of state piracy in international waters are worrying signs that the occupation and blockade policy extends to the entire eastern Mediterranean.”

They also urged governments”to ensure that all passengers and crew from the Marianne are safe, and to strongly protest against the violation of international maritime law by the Israeli state.”

“We call on all civil society organizations to condemn the actions of Israel,” the statement concludes. “People all over the world will continue to respond and react to this injustice, as will we, until the port of Gaza is open and the siege and occupation is ended.”

This video, published on 20 June, shows Marianne calling at the Italian port of Messina for a solidarity visit.

The Impacts of the BDS Campaign on Israel’s Economy

June 29th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

The most effective way to fight Israeli occupation harshness is economic – hitting it in the pocket book where it hurts.

BDS efforts continue gaining important victories. Cumulatively they gain momentum for more. BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti knows boycotts work. Last year he explained why Israel fears them, saying:

“[Netanyahu] … declared BDS a strategic threat. Calling it the ‘delegitimization’ movement, he assigned the overall responsibility for fighting it to his Strategic Affairs Ministry.”

BDS challenges Israeli persecution of Palestinians for not being Jewish. It’s “the root cause of its growing worldwide isolation,” Barghouti explained.

Viewing BDS as a strategic threat reveals Israel’s “heightened anxiety” fearing loss of its mainstream acceptance. It reflects its Foreign Ministry Brand Israel campaign failure.

BDS calls for ending Israel’s illegal occupation, treating its Arab citizens no differently from Jews,  and granting diaspora Palestinians their legitimate right of return as mandated under international law.

Israel worries about growing numbers of American Jews “vocally oppos(ing) its policies,” Barghouti explained – especially prominent Jewish figures unwilling to accept occupation harshness and discriminatory policies against Israel’s Muslim population.

“Israel is also threatened by the effectiveness of the nonviolent strategies used by the BDS movement, including its Israeli component, and by the negative impact they have had on Israel’s standing in world public opinion,” said Barghouti.

“As one Israeli military commander said in the context of suppressing Palestinian popular resistance to the occupation, ‘We don’t do Gandhi very well.’ ”

Growing BDS support among US academic institutions and campus divestment campaigns show “BDS is not longer a taboo in the United States,” Barghouti explained.

It’s a force to be reckoned with – an existential threat Israel ineffectively tries countering by invoking the anti-Semitism canard. It’s attempt to silence critics increasingly falls flat.

BDS championing Palestinian rights under international law and full equality for Israel’s Arab citizens rankle it by “rais(ing questions about its self-definition as an exclusionary Jewish state,” said Bargouthi.

It “remains the only country on earth that does not recognize its own nationality, as that would theoretically avail equal rights to all its citizens, undermining its ‘ethnocratic’ identity.”

” The claim that BDS, a nonviolent movement anchored in universal principles of human rights, aims to ‘destroy’ Israel must be understood in this context.”

Will equal rights for all its citizens anchored in state law destroy Israel? Did it destroy America post-slavery and Jim Crow or apartheid South Africa?

Israel’s “unjust order (alone) is threatened by boycotts, divestments and sanctions,” Barghouti stressed.

An internal Israeli Finance Ministry report titled “Economy of Israel in the Shadow of the Delegitimization Campaign” examines the effects of BDS and suggests possible future scenarios.

It claims no serious economic harm so far saying “pragmatic and realistic considerations dictate business policy…(M)any businessmen and investors around the world…maintain normal relations with Israel.”

“As of today, we can safely say Israel is not isolated and the boycott campaign has become a nuisance.”

“(T)he state of Israel and its foreign policy must take into consideration extreme scenarios which may occur if western countries join the voluntary boycott and should there be an official boycott of the European Union.”

The first scenario is partly true – including voluntary boycotts of Israeli enterprises and selective labeling of settlement products.

The second one involves an EU-wide boycott of West Bank settlement exports – costing Israel’s economy about $300 million, a tiny fraction of its exports.

A devastating scenario would involve EU countries boycotting Israeli trade entirely – about a $1.2 billion hit to its economy.

Additional consequences could include a “sharp devaluation of the shekel and consequently capital market activities will be substantially damaged,” the report said.

(T)here will be increased debt levels in the private and public sectors with a significant deterioration in Israel’s ability to raise capital, which will lead to an increase in costs of raising capital, a reduction in investments and a substantial increase in unemployment.

Additionally, there will be an increase in the price of products and the economy may encounter a surge in inflation, and it is likely that a significant increase in short-term interest rates will be required.

(O)ne of the primary objectives of the delegitimization campaign conducted by the BDS coalition is to create for Israel the image of a country with ongoing conflict, which violates human rights, similar to that of South Africa in the apartheid era.

Countries affected by negative public opinion have lower GDPs than ones viewed more favorably. Israel is the sole exception – so far. How much longer remains to be seen.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

A prominent autism researcher and vaccine opponent was found dead floating in a North Carolina river last week under what many are calling suspicious circumstances.

A fisherman found the body of Dr. James Jeffery Bradstreet in the Rocky Broad River in Chimney Rock, North Carolina, last Friday afternoon.

“Bradstreet had a gunshot wound to the chest, which appeared to be self inflicted, according to deputies,” reported WHNS.

In a press release, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office announced, “Divers from the Henderson County Rescue Squad responded to the scene and recovered a handgun from the river.”

An investigation into the death is ongoing, and the results of an autopsy are also reportedly forthcoming.

Dr. Bradstreet ran a private practice in Buford, Georgia, which focused on “treating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, PPD, and related neurological and developmental disorders.”

Among various remedies, Dr. Bradstreet’s Wellness Center reportedly carried out “mercury toxicity” treatments, believing the heavy metal to be a leading factor in the development of childhood autism.

Dr. Bradstreet undertook the effort to pinpoint the cause of the disease after his own child developed the ailment following routine vaccination.

“Autism taught me more about medicine than medical school did,” the doctor once stated at a conference, according to the Epoch Times’ Jake Crosby.

In addition to treating patients, Bradstreet has also offered expert testimony in federal court on behalf of vaccine-injured families and was founder and president of the International Child Development Resource Center, which at one time employed the much-scorned autism expert Dr. Andrew Wakefield as “research director.”

The circumstances surrounding Bradstreet’s death are made all the more curious by a recent multi-agency raid led by the FDA on his offices.

“The FDA has yet to reveal why agents searched the office of the doctor, reportedly a former pastor who has been controversial for well over a decade,” reported the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Social media pages dedicated to Bradstreet’s memory are filled with comments from families who say the deceased doctor impacted their lives for the better.

“Dr. Bradstreet was my son’s doctor after my son was diagnosed with autism. He worked miracles,” one Facebook user states. “At 16, my son is now looking at a normal life thanks to him. I thank him every day.”

“I will forever be grateful and thankful for Dr. Bradstreet recovering my son… from autism,” another person writes. “Treatments have changed my son’s life so that he can grow up and live a normal healthy life. Dr. Bradstreet will be missed greatly!”

A GoFundMe page has also been set up by one of Bradstreet’s family members seeking “To find the answers to the many questions leading up to the death of Dr Bradstreet, including an exhaustive investigation into the possibility of foul play.”

Despite his family requesting the public refrain from speculation, many are nevertheless concluding the doctor’s death to be part of a conspiracy.

“Self-inflicted? In the chest? I’m not buying this,” one person in the WHNS comments thread states. “This was a doctor who had access to pharmaceuticals of all kinds. This was a religious man with a thriving medical practice. Sorry, but this stinks of murder and cover-up.”

Another commentor had a more definitive conjecture:

“He did NOT kill himself! He was murdered for who he was speaking against, what he knew, and what he was doing about it. He was brilliant kind compassionate doctor with amazing abilities to heal. He was taken. Stopped. Silenced. Why would a doctor who had access to pharmaceuticals and could die peacefully shoot himself in the chest???? And throw himself in a river?? THIS IS OBVIOUS! MURDER!!”

Funeral arrangements for Dr. Bradstreet are still pending at the Cecil M. Burton funeral home in Shelby, Georgia.

As host of RT’s political debate program “CrossTalk”, I have explored and covered the divergent narratives and rhetoric when it comes to the artificially generated Ukraine crisis. It is difficult to conjure up a topic that is so polarizing, antagonistic, and even dangerous.

The west’s failed policy in Ukraine has only emboldened the low-octane policymakers in Washington and Brussels. This is the worst of all possible worlds — a game of chicken where both sides lose.

If you are an avid reader of Russia Insider, you will know the situation in Ukraine worsens by the day. The country faces financial default in a matter of weeks with overall economic meltdown to follow. The IMF — the evil lender of last resort — openly admits it will continue to assist Kiev even after it defaults (which breaks all the lender’s own internal rules). Alas! In this case, geopolitics trumps common sense.

The IMF’s misguided approach mirrors the rhetoric coming out of the State Department and its NATO counterparts. Break all the rules and simply tell half-truths and lies. Why? Well, because repeating “just because” platitudes has replaced failed policy; there is no Plan B for Ukraine in the wake of the western-backed February, 2014 coup.

Victoria Nuland — Washington’s Darth Vader of regime change pseudo-science — now has only one option: poison the public sphere to obfuscate and cover-up her adventurist policies that have all but destroyed Ukraine. (Just to remind: Russia lived in peaceful co-existence with Ukraine for centuries before Nuland and her thugs wrote themselves into the historical script.)

The regime in Kiev is her making, with the spineless Europeans going along. Western media (or as I call them “the State Department’s Stenography Union”) without question follow suit. Nuland as a policy maker is on par with most journalists and media pundits when it comes to Ukraine and Russia — her ignorance and arrogance is only out done by her incompetence.

The State Department and the west’s mainstream media are a toxic team that declares those who adhere to facts and logic as Putin apologists and propagandists. One needs to ask who is the propagandist? We surely must worry that irresponsible “rhetoric-baiting” does influence policy.

I have come to this sad conclusion: When Washington/NATO accuses Russia of doing something, it’s an admission that Washington/NATO are indeed the actual culprits. This is not only about Ukraine and Russia.

The west can only see evil and malfeasance in others. For decades, the west is accustomed to getting its way in the world using intimidation and overwhelming brute force.

When a country resists, Biblical media plagues are unleashed until the sinner is destroyed or makes amends. Today, Russia is the new bogeyman, and with negative returns. This infuriates the west and thus makes the west, not Russia, the more dangerous actor as the Ukraine tragedy plays out.

Worsening rhetoric is not a replacement for bad-to-worse policy. Sadly, western policymakers and media are blind to cold reality.

Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program “CrossTalk.” His expressed opinions may or may not reflect those of his employer.

Though there is a lot of noise concerning the Greek crisis and the Greek economy is likely going to collapse this week, three months from now no one will remember Greece going bankrupt, financial commentator Jim Rogers told RT.

RT: In Athens crowds have rallied calling for people to vote ‘no’ in the upcoming referendum on accepting the terms of another EU bailout. If Greece rejects the European money what would this mean for the rest of Europe?

Jim Rogers: …Greece is a tiny part of the European economy and it’s nothing, it’s insignificant for the world economy. It’s a lot of headlines and a lot of noise; it will cause the markets to be disrupted for a while. But three months from now none of us will remember if Greece goes bankrupt.

RT: Greek banks will stay closed for a week. How is that going to affect the economy there?

JR: Of course it’s going to affect it badly. If you cannot get your money you cannot spend it and we are not reverting to a barter economy yet anyway. Of course the Greek economy is going to collapse this week and probably for a while. People are terrified and you would be too, so would I.

RT: Greece blames the EU for the debt crisis, but its finances and policies have been in a parlous state since before joining the euro. Surely it should take some responsibility?

JR: The Greek economy has been in a bad shape for…years, it goes back to when they became independent a long time ago. You are exactly right. This economy has been having recurring crises since they joined the EU. This has been going for several years now. If you ask me what they should do – is just go ahead and go bankrupt, get it over with and start it over. But all this calling names and blaming other people is not going to do any good.

RT: Citizens are restricted to withdrawing only €60-a-day from their bank accounts for at least a week. Do you think they will reject the EU’s terms come Sunday?

JR: I’m sure they will reject the EU terms. The problem is this means that the citizens of Greece are going to be suffering and the bailout is for the banks and financiers. What they should do is to let the banks go bankrupt – they made their loans, you and I didn’t make the loans – let them go bankrupt and start it over.

‘Treaty on European monetary union has no provisions for exit of any country’

Former Deputy Speaker of the Belgian Parliament and journalist Lode Vanoost says European leaders have no clue what is going to happen in the case of a Grexit and what other countries within the eurozone like Portugal, Spain or Ireland will do.

RT: The European Central Bank has extended its lifeline to Greece – we don’t know for how long.How long do you think they’re willing to keep Greece afloat?

Lode Vanoost: First of all they have to keep open this lifeline until Tuesday at midnight because the present agreement still stands for two more days; the sort of question is what they will do afterwards. I always make a political analysis of this kind of situation: even financial institutions mainly work according to political motives [even if] they would like to say this is not the case. So the European Central Bank (ECB) has already shown in the past that it plays a political game in the interests of the financial institutions and of those European countries who are in favor of the present policy of the Eurogroup. My guess is that they might indeed start raising a panic to give a warning to the Greek people “you better say yes or…” But I can be wrong because on the other hand, this opens a whole box of new things that could happen. In reality the eurozone does not have a clue about what will happen in the coming days.

Reuters / Susana Vera

RT: European creditors may have rejected extending Greece’s bailout, but the IMF chief is urging Europe to preserve the eurozone. Are the creditors blinking first here?

LV: Absolutely. They never expected this government to keep its position for so long. They have dealt with Greek governments before who always broke their mandate from the Greek electors. So they are thinking “these guys will probably do the same at the end of the day.” Well, they didn’t and now they are faced with the scenario that they really don’t know. They have voiced so many threats to Greece … and every time it turned out not to be true. My guess is that even now something will occur in the coming days that will sort of soften the crisis because as I told you the eurozone has … they say “Well, we can survive without much damage with an exit of Greece from the eurozone.” The fact is that they have no clue what will happen and what other countries within the eurozone like Portugal and Spain or even Ireland will do.

RT: The French Prime Minister has called for Greece to return to the negotiating table. Is this a sign that European leaders are getting nervous about the possible consequences of what could happen here? We’re in uncharted territory, aren’t we?

LV: Absolutely. I’m not surprised that he is saying that. In reality they don’t know what is going to happen next. You should remember that the treaty on the European Monetary Union – as it’s called officially – has no provisions for an exit of any country. No country can be forced out and there are no provisions on how it can voluntarily exit.

RT: Why did the creditors react so negatively to the Greek referendum announcement, when the government has every constitutional right to make such a move?

LV: Let’s put one thing very clear, they are completely opposed to the idea of a referendum regardless of [a result of the vote]. They are opposed to the idea itself that the whole austerity policies of the EU will be put to a popular voting in any country. That is the problem; they don’t what it because this would be a precedent for other countries to do likewise.

Truth is a Crime Against The State

June 29th, 2015 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The entire Western edifice rests on lies. There is no other foundation. Just lies.

This makes truth an enemy. Enemies have to be suppressed, and thus truth has to be suppressed.

Truth comes from foreign news sources, such as RT, and from Internet sites, such as this one.

Thus, Washington and its vassals are busy at work closing down independent media.

Washington and its vassals have redefined propaganda. Truth is propaganda if it is told by countries, such as Russia and China, that have independent foreign policies.

Propaganda is truth if told by Washington and its puppets, such as the EU Observer.

The EU Observer, little doubt following Washington’s orders, has denounced RT and Sputnik News for “broadcasting fabrications and hate speech from their bureaus in European Union cities.”

Often I appear on both RT and Sputnik. In my opinion both are too restrained in their reporting, fearful, of course, of being shut down, than full truth requires. I have never heard a word of hate speech or propaganda on either. Washington’s propaganda, perhaps, but not the Russian government’s.

In other words, the way Washington has the news world rigged, not even independent news sites can speak completely clearly.

The Western presstitutes have succeeded in creating a false reality for insouciant Americans and also for much of the European Union population.

A sizable percentage of these insouciant peoples believe that Russia invaded Ukranine and that Russia is threatening to invade the Baltic States and Poland. This belief exists despite all intelligence of all Western governments reporting that there is no sign of any Russian forces that would be required for invasion.

The “Russian invasion,” like “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda connections,” like “Assad of Syria’s use of chemical weapons against his own people,” like “Iranian nukes,” never existed but nevertheless became the reality in the Western media. The insouciant Western peoples believe in non-existent occurrencies.

In other words, just to state the obvious noncontroversial fact, the Western “news” media is a propaganda ministry from which no truth emerges.

Thus, the Western World is ruled by propaganda. Truth is excluded. Fox “news,” CNN, the NY Times, Washington Post, and all the rest of the most accomplished liars in world history, repeat constantly the same lies. For Washington, of course, and the military/security complex.

War is the only possible outcome of propaganda in behalf of war. When the irresponsible Western media brings Armageddon to you, you can thank the New York Times and the rest of the presstitutes for the destruction of yourself and all your hopes for yourself and your children.

Stephen Lendman, who comprises a good chunk of the remaining moral conscience of the West, explains the situation below:

EU Bashes “Russian Propaganda”

by Stephen Lendman

Global Research, June 2015

Western major media march to the same drummer – dutifully regurgitating managed news misinformation garbage, willfully burying hard truths on issues mattering most.

Alternative sources beholden to truth and full disclosure operate by different standards – engendering ire among Western nations wanting their high crimes suppressed – bashing sources revealing them.

The EU Observer (EUO) claims independent credentials while supporting policies responsible news sources denounce.

Independently reporting hard truths isn’t its long suit. Its editor, Lisbeth Kirk, is the wife of former Danish European Parliament member Jens-Peter Bonde. Human Rights Watch’s European and Central Asian advocacy director Veronika Szente Goldston calls its journalists “the most in-your-face in Brussels.”

EUO irresponsibly bashed Russia’s Sputnik News and RT International – two reputable sources for news, information and analysis – polar opposite Western media propaganda.

It shamelessly called their reporting valued by growing millions “broadcasting fabrications and hate speech from their bureaus in EU cities.”

It touted plans by EU officials to counter what they called “use and misuse of communications tools…play(ing) an important role in the dramatic political, economic and security-related developments (in) Eastern (European countries) over the past 18 months.”

It drafted a nine-page “action plan” intended to convey “positive” messages. It’ll increase funding to blast out Europe’s view of things more effectively.

It wants EU policies promoted in former Russian republics the old-fashioned way – by repeating Big Lies often enough until most people believe them.

A new EU foreign service cell called East StratComTeam operating by September will run things – functioning as a European ministry of propaganda.

It’ll “develop dedicated communication material on priority issues…put at the disposal of the EU’s political leadership, press services, EU delegations and EU member states.”

Material circulated in Russia and other EU countries aims to let news consumers “easily understand that political and economic reforms promoted by the EU can, over time, have a positive impact on their daily lives” – even though precisely the opposite is true.

It wants so-called benefits Europeans enjoy explained to people continent-wide. Will millions of unemployed, underemployed and impoverished people buy what’s plainly untrue from their own experience?

Sputnik News, RT, US independent sources like the Progressive Radio Network and numerous others steadily gain audience strength at the expense of scoundrel media people abandon for good reason.

Growing numbers want truth and full disclosure on things affecting their lives and welfare. Politicians in Western countries want ordinary people treated like mushrooms – well-watered and in the dark.

RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said “the European Union is diligently trying to stifle the alternative voice of RT, at a time when in Europe there are hundreds of newspapers, television channels and radio stations, which set out only one point of view on what is happening in the world.”

The BBC is Fox News with an English accent. US so-called public radio and broadcasting are no different – telling listeners and viewers everything except what they most need to know.

Simonyan explained “Britain (has) an entire army brigade of 1,500 men…whose tasks include the fight against Russia on social networks. NATO has a task force aimed at countering Russian influence throughout the world.”

“Only recently, Deutsche Welle launched a 24-hour television channel in English to counter RT. At the same time, nearly all the major Western media, including the BBC, DW and Euronews have long disseminated their information in the Russian language, while Radio Liberty, funded directly by the US government, broadcasts in Russian.”

“(I)f after all this, the EU still complains that they are losing the ‘information war’ against Russia, perhaps it’s time to realize that” growing numbers of people are fed up with being lied to.

People want reliable sources of news, information and analysis unavailable through mainstream Western sources using propagandists masquerading as journalists.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

 

Capture, Smear, Contaminate: The Politics Of GMOs

June 29th, 2015 by Colin Todhunter

When rich companies with politically-connected lobbyists and seats on public bodies bend policies for their own ends, we are in serious trouble. It is then that public institutions become hijacked and our choices, freedoms and rights are destroyed. Corporate interests have too often used their dubious ‘science’, lobbyists, political connections and presence within the heart of governments to subvert institutions set up to supposedly protect the public interest for their own commercial benefit. Once their power has been established, anyone who questions them or who stands in their way can expect a very bumpy ride.

The revolving door between the private sector and government bodies has been well established. In the US, many senior figures from the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) industry, especially Monsanto, have moved with ease to take up positions with the Food and Drug Administration and Evironmental Protection Agency and within the government. Writer and researcher William F Engdahl writes about a similar influence in Europe, noting the links between the GMO sector within the European Food Safety Authority. He states that over half of the scientists involved in the GMO panel which positively reviewed the Monsanto’s study for GMO maize in 2009, leading to its EU-wide authorisation, had links with the biotech industry.

“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job” – Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications. “Playing God in the Garden” New York Times Magazine,October 25, 1998.

Phil Angell’s statement begs the question: then who should vouchsafe for it, especially when the public bodies have been severely comprised? Monsanto has all angles covered.

When corporate interests are able to gain access to such positions of power, little wonder they have some heavy-duty tools at their disposal to try to fend off criticism by all means necessary.

A well-worn tactic of the pro-GMO lobby is to slur and attack figures that have challenged the ‘science’ and claims of the industry. With threats of lawsuits and UK government pressure, some years ago top research scientist Dr Arpad Pusztai was effectively silenced over his research concerning the dangers of GM food. A campaign was set in motion to destroy his reputation. Professor Seralini and his team’s research was also met with intense industry pressure, with Monsanto effectively targeting the heart of science to secure its commercial interests. There are numerous examples of scientists being targeted like this. A WikiLeaks cable highlighted how GMOs were being forced into European nations by the US ambassador to France who plotted with other US officials to create a ‘retaliatory target list’ of anyone who tried to regulate GMOs. That clearly indicates the power of the industry.

What the GMO sector fails to grasp is that the onus is on it to prove that its products are safe. And it has patently failed to do this. No independent testing was done before Bush senior allowed GMOs onto the US market. The onus should not be on others to prove they are safe (or unsafe) after they are on the market, especially as public attorney Steven Druker‘s book ‘Altered Genes, Twisted Truth’ shows that GMOs are on the US market due to fraudulent practices and the bypassing of scientific evidence pointing to potential health hazards.

We therefore have the right to ask whether we should trust studies carried out by the sector itself that claims GM crops are safe? Let us turn to Tiruvadi Jagadisan for an answer.

He worked with Monsanto for nearly two decades, including eight years as the managing director of India operations. A few years ago, he stated that Monsanto “used to fake scientific data” submitted to government regulatory agencies to get commercial approvals for its products in India. The former Monsanto boss said government regulatory agencies with which the company used to deal with in the 1980s simply depended on data supplied by the company while giving approvals to herbicides. As reported in India Today, he is on record as saying that India’s Central Insecticide Board simply accepted foreign data supplied by Monsanto and did not even have a test tube to validate the data which at times was faked.

Now that scientists such as Professor Seralini are in a sense playing catch-up by testing previously independently untested GMOs, he is attacked. However, the attacks on Seralini and his study have been found to be based on little more than unscientific polemics and industry pressure. In fact, in new study, Seralini highlights the serious flaws of industry-backed studies that were apparently slanted to distort results. It remains to be seen whether he and his team are in for another bout of smears and attacks.

But this is symptomatic of the industry: it says a product is safe, therefore it is – regardless that science is being used as little more than an ideological smokescreen. We are expected to take its claims at face value. The revolving door between top figures at Monsanto and positions at the FDA makes it difficult to see where the line between lobbying and regulation is actually drawn. People are rightly suspicious of the links between the FDA and GMO industry in the US and the links between it and the regulatory body within the EU.

GM represents the so-called “Green Revolution’s” second coming. Agriculture has changed more over the last two generations than it did in the previous 12,000 years. Environmentalist Vandana Shiva (right) notes that, after 1945, chemical manufacturers who had been involved in the weapons industry turned their attention to applying their chemical know-how to farming. As a result ‘dwarf seeds’ were purposively created to specifically respond to their chemicals. Agriculture became transformed into a chemical-dependent industry that has destroyed much biodiversity. What we are left with is crop monocultures, whichnegatively impact food security and nutrition. In effect, modern agriculture is part of the paradigm of control based on mass standardization and a dependency on corporate products.

The implications have been vast. Chemical-industrial agriculture has proved extremely lucrative for the oil and chemicals industry, courtesy of oil-rich Rockefeller interests which were instrumental in pushing for the green revolution throughout the world, and has served to maintain and promote Western hegemony, not least via ‘structural adjustment’ and the consequent uprooting of traditional farming practices in favour of single-crop export-oriented policies, dam building to cater for what became a highly water intensive industry, loans and indebtedness, boosting demand for the US dollar, etc.

Agriculture has been a major tool of US foreign policy since 1945 and has helped to secure its global hegemony. One must look no further than current events in Ukraine, where the strings attached to financial loans are resulting in the opening up of (GM) agriculture to Monsanto. From Africa to India and across Asia, the hijack of indigenous agriculture and food production by big corporations is a major political issue as farmers struggle for their rights to remain on the land, retain ownership of seeds, grow healthy food and protect their livelihoods.

Apart from tying poorer countries into an unequal system of global trade and reinforcing global inequalities, the corporate hijacking of food and agriculture has had many other implications, not least where health is concerned.

Dr Meryl Hammond, founder of the Campaign for Alternatives to Pesticides, told a Canadian parliament committee in 2009 that a raft of studies published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals point to strong associations between chemical pesticides and a vast range of serious life-threatening health consequences. Shiv Chopra, a top food advisor to the Canadian government, has documented how all kinds of food products that were known to be dangerous were passed by the regulatory authority and put on the market there due to the power of the food industry.

Severe anemia, permanent brain damage, Alzheimer’s, dementia, neurological disorders, reproductive problems, diminished intelligence, impaired immune system, behavioural disorders, cancers, hyperactivity and learning disability are just some of the diseases that numerous studies have linked to our food.

Of course, just like cigarettes and the tobacco industry before, trying to ‘prove’ the glaringly obvious link will take decades as deceit is passed off as ‘science’ or becomes institutionalized due to the hijacking of government bodies by the corporations involved in food production.

But anyone who questions the need for GMOs in the first place and the risks they bring and devastating impacts they have is painted as clueless and indulging in scare mongering and falsehoods, while standing in the way of human progress. But can we expect much better from an industry that has a record of smearing and attempting to ruin people who criticise it? Are those of us who question the political links of big agritech and the nature of its products ready to take lessons on ethics and high-minded notions of ‘human progress’ from anyone involved with it?

This is an industry that has contaminated crops and bullied farmers with lawsuits in North America, an industry whose companies have been charged with and most often found guilty of contaminating the environment and seriously damaging health with PCBs and dioxins, an industry complicit in concealing the deadly impact of GM corn on animals, an industry where bribery seems to be second nature (Monsanto in Indonesia), an industry associated with human rights violations in Brazil and an industry that will not label its foods in the US.

A great myth forwarded by the pro-GMO lobby is that governments are freely choosing to adopt GMOs. Any brief analysis of the politics of GM highlights that this is nonsense. Various pressures are applied and agritech companies have captured policy bodies and have a strategic hold over the WTO and trade deals like the TTIP.

For instance, take the 2005 US-India nuclear deal (allowing India to develop its nuclear sector despite it not being a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and allegedly pushed through with a cash for votes tactic in the Indian parliament). It was linked to the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture, which was aimed at widening access to India’s agricultural and retail sectors. This initiative was drawn up with the full and direct participation of representatives from various companies, including Monsanto, Cargill and Walmart.

When the most powerful country comes knocking at your door seeking to gain access to your markets, there’s good chance that once its corporate-tipped jackboot is in, you won’t be able to get it out.

And it seems you can’t. So far, Bt cotton has been the only GM crop allowed in India, but the open field trials of many GM crops are now taking place around the country despite an overwhelming consensus of official reports warning against this. The work of numerous public bodies and research institutes is now compromised as a result of Monsanto’s strategic influence within India (see thisand this).

If global victory cannot be achieved by the GMO biotech sector via the hijack of public bodies and trade deals or intimidation, then the politics of another form of contamination may eventually suffice:

“The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded [with GMOs] that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender” – Don Westfall, biotech industry consultant and vice-president of Promar International, in the Toronto Star,January 9 2001.

Open field planting is but one way of achieving what Westfall states. Of course, there are numerous other ways too (see this).

As powerful agribusiness concerns seek to ‘consolidate the entire food chain’ with their seed monopolies, patents and GMOs, it is clear that it’s not just the health of the nation (any nation) that is at stake but the global control of food and by implication nations.

“What you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain” – Robert Fraley, co-president of Monsanto’s agricultural sector 1996, in the Farm Journal. Quoted in: Flint J. (1998) Agricultural industry giants moving towards genetic monopolism. Telepolis, Heise.

Hail, fire and brimstone, new sanctions or the US tanks on its borders, Russia takes things in stride. President Putin could adopt the motto of William of Orange: saevis tranquillus in undis, calm amidst the tempest. The tempest is all around. American tanks moved into the Baltic states.

American warships sail up the Black sea. The EU sanctions against Russia were extended for another six months.

Russian assets were seized in France and Belgium. In Syria, Damascus is threatened by the US-armed rebels.

Greece wants to embrace Russia, but probably will not dare. Armenia, a small country hidden between Iran and Turkey, just joined the Eurasian Union of Russia-led states, and already there are public disturbances ominously reminding everyone of Kiev 2013. Ukraine is in shambles, sending waves of refugees to Russia. A weaker nation would become hysterical. Putin and Russia remain nonplussed.

I’ll tell you a Missisippi joke. A black criminal and a white criminal are being led to the gallows. The black takes it easy, the white guy weeps. Stop whining, said the black. It’s easy for you to say, retorted the white, you blacks are used to such treatment. Likewise, Russia is used to such treatment since Soviet days, and even since earlier times, for the rivalry between heirs of Rome and the heirs of Constantinople is very old indeed. Now, a short period of détente is over, and it’s back to cold war. Surprise, surprise: the majority of Russians would prefer the West’s hostility of Brezhnev days to their warm embraces in the days of Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Indeed things do improve, with the cold war and the sanctions.

  • The Russian idle rich, bereft of Miami and Côte d’Azur pleasures, pay more attention to their less fortunate fellow citizens. They do not steal less, but spend the loot locally.
  • A most prominent lady, Valentina Matvienko, the Senate Speaker, had been banned from travelling to Europe and the US, so she went for holidays to a Russian resort. She quickly discovered its faults, aside of its considerable charm, and provided the budget needed for improvements. Let them all be banned, was the cry.
  • Russian cheese makers could never compete with French or Italian ones in the liberal, open-markets-and-borders Russia of yesteryear. Came sanctions, and in the span of six months they almost doubled their output. Their cheaper cheeses are now freely available, while previously supermarkets preferred to stock expensive foreign cheeses.
  • The Army needs hardware to defend the Motherland, and advanced Russian industry gets more orders from the Ministry of Defence. Factories and workers laid off or semi-retired get a new life, foreign customers queue up, the rouble is steadied. Young men get some purpose beyond watching telly and complaining. A feeling of national pride – after the terrible humiliations of being unheard and taken-for-granted in Yugoslavia, Ukraine and elsewhere – comes back.
  • Infrastructure is brought up-to-date. Moscow gets a new hundred miles of bicycle paths, parks are well attended. The capital city is clean and shiny despite the stretch of heavy rains.
  • Now you understand why Russians are in favour of sanctions. They are quite supportive of the government and of the president, whose American-agency-measured ratings reached an unheard-of 89%. It’s not that the Russians want war, but they are tired of their country being pushed to the wall, as they see it. They do not want an Empire for themselves, but they want to be heard and their demands considered. And they want their government to make their erstwhile partners, present adversaries, pay for each anti-Russian action.

Among the very popular retaliatory steps of the Russian government, there is the full termination of transfer arrangements for the NATO troops occupying Afghanistan. President Putin in his first term, in 2001, was an enthusiastic supporter of the US; so after the American invasion of Afghanistan he offered Russian assistance with the transfer of equipment to and from that country. Now, almost 15 years later, this shortest and easiest route to Kabul has been cut; the Americans have to shift their heavy weaponry through Pakistan mountain passes where they are ambushed by the guerrillas with a long experience of fighting invaders from Alexander the Great to Brezhnev.

Russians liked the tit-for-tat decision to ban dozens of Western politicians from entering Russia, as a response to Western banning of Russian politicians from entering Europe. Perhaps Russia is not the world’s most popular holiday destination, but surprisingly, the ban did hurt. The very idea of a Russian active response took the Europeans by surprise: they never thought the Russians have the means or guts. Squeaks of excluded Western public figures were music to Russian ears.

Regarding the Ukrainian crisis, there are many who dream of Russian tanks racing to Kiev and restoring civil peace to the troubled Ukraine, but this dream will remain unfulfilled while Putin believes there are other, peaceful ways to solve the problem. Still, the Soviet-style obsessive peace-mongering and fear of war gave way to a more vigorous attitude to war as a forced but unavoidable necessity of life. The soul-numbing mantra of “everything is better than a war” finally has been dropped.

On May 9th celebrations of the 70th V-day were most lavish ever in people’s memory, and provided citizens with a chance to view the newest Russian military toys. This year, the Russians stressed their victory rather than their victimhood, suffering and losses. The victory has been perceived as a Russian victory over Europe, not only over Germany; for practically all European nations from France, Spain and Italy to Hungary and Bulgaria fought on Hitler’s side against Russia. This is true, but this truth was rarely mentioned until this year. Faded Russian hopes of Europe supporting Russia’s independent policies for its own benefit gave place to recognition that the European leaders are as obedient to Washington as their predecessors were to Berlin.

Slowly, oh so slowly the Russian giant remembered days of his youth, the battles on the Volga River and the sack of Berlin. These memories made him laugh over threats of Frau Merkel and Mr Obama. Just after the war parade on May 9th, millions of civilians marched the streets carrying photos of their fathers and grandfathers, the soldiers of the War. This was absolutely unexpected: neither I nor other observers and journalists, foreign or domestic, predicted an event of such magnitude. The city of Moscow planned for ten thousand participants; fifty times more, over half a million marched in Moscow alone, twelve million all over Russia.

This unprecedented act of solidarity for Russia had sent seismic tremors through the whole society. Many marchers carried the picture of the victorious war-time leader, Joseph Stalin. He is far from being generally loved, but anyone whose mentioned name can make fat cats and their apologists shake with rage cannot be wholly bad. People call for returning his name to Stalingrad, the place of the great battle, renamed by Khrushchev. Putin is not keen on that step, yet.

The towering presence of the Chinese President Xi at the May celebrations signified an historic realignment with China: a sea change in Russia’s policies. Its connection with China grows stronger every day. This is a new attitude: previously, Russians and Chinese were suspicious of each other, even after overcoming the hostility of late Soviet days. Pro-Western Moscow liberals snubbed the Chinese and planned for an American-led war against China. Now this dream (or nightmare) is over. We are not yet back to 1950s, when Mao and Stalin established their ties, but close to it.

Some eight hundred years ago Russia had been in a similar situation, being hard pressed by the West. The Pope blessed a Crusade against them, demanding they accept Western hegemony and give up their Byzantine Christianity. Then, Prince Alexander preferred to accept the Mongol patronage of Genghis Khan’s successors rather than submit to the Western diktat. His gamble worked out: Russia retained its own way, and the plucky Prince was sainted by the Church as St Alexander Nevsky. The Russians still feel that using Easterners’ support is less dangerous for the Russian soul than complying with the Western demands.

Could it be that Putin, a native of St Petersburg who cherishes his European contacts, speaks four foreign languages fluently (none of them Chinese), will repeat the deed of St Alexander and realign Russia eastwards? This would be a huge loss for Europe, as the Old Continent will become an American colony in all but name. St Petersburg, the city of St Alexander’s last repose, is definitely an European city, west-facing as opposed to east-facing Moscow. It is most delightful in June, the month of White Nights, when it basks in light, cool and lucid light at day and soft and milky light at night, while lilac bushes in full bloom, dressed to kill, gaze into aquatic mirror for channels and rivers criss-cross the Northern Capital of Russia so a stream is never too far. The old Imperial glory still rests on the shores of the Neva River.

This was the heart of the Russian Empire until Lenin shifted the government seat back to the old capital, to Moscow. That’s why, during the Soviet years, Petersburg (or Leningrad, as it was called then) did not suffer much from massive low-budget housing programmes that disfigured Moscow. The British historian Arnold Toynbee (all but forgotten due to his anti-Zionist stand) said the move to Moscow ‘’embodied the reaction of the Russian soul against the Western Civilization’’. Putin’s presidency, he would say, embodied a pro-European shift of the Russian soul. Could (what some Russians view as) Europe’s betrayal cause Putin part ways with Europe, instead?

I saw him at the recent International Economic Forum in St Petersburg. At the Forum, Putin did very well: calm, he kept his poker face, answered every question sincerely, he never became irritated or visibly annoyed. He calmly dealt with the crisis of the seized Russian property. His people would prefer if he were to thump his fist and seize French and Belgian assets. Instead, he promised to deal by legal means through European courts.

He came to St Petersburg after a very successful trip to Baku, the capital of oil-rich Azerbaijan where European Games provided a chance to meet and confer at length with Presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan. None of Western leaders showed up, but these rulers of the Orient were quite satisfied with their own company.

Summing it up, President Putin speaks softly. If he carries a big stick, he does not flash it around. He does not act heartbroken because of some Western unpleasantness. It seems he is working hard for alternative arrangements but he wants to postpone painful decisions as long as possible. Eventually he may be forced into a strategic alliance with China, which will further undermine Europe’s remaining independence.

However, things are not black-and-white. Russia is interconnected with the West in many unexpected ways. The most implacable enemy of Russia is the former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. His wife has been banned from visiting Russia. At the same time, Bildt was appointed an advisor to a Russian oil company, belonging to the second-richest oligarch of Russia, Michael Friedman. Friedman, one of the seven original oligarchs of Yeltsin’s days, began as a ticket tout. He lavishly spends on Jewish education. His Alfa Bank tried to stop production of the new Russian tank, Armata by bankrupting the armour-building factory. Friedman is friendly with Putin. So much for the simple image of the ruthless Russian dictator, sworn enemy of Jewish oligarchs.

Indeed Russia remains liberal, and Russian liberals copy American liberals, mutatis mutandis. They treat Putin like their US counterparts treated Bush II, though by their choice of vocabulary you’d think he is a Kim Jong Il. Newspapers are free to slight Putin, and they use their freedom to utmost. Theatre directors insert anti-Putin philippics into monologues of classic plays replete with attacks on the Church. Cinema stresses poverty and abuse in his realm just like Jim Jarmusch. But ordinary people like Putin as Bush II was popular in the Red states. They would like him even more were he to give the Americans a double tit for their tat, but meanwhile Putin prefers to do with token retaliation.

First published in the Unz Review

Israel Shamir can be contacted at [email protected]

James Stewart had a piece in the New York Times (6/25/15) telling readers that if Greece were to leave the euro, it would face a disaster. The headline warns readers, “Imagine Argentina, but Much Worse.” The article includes several assertions that are misleading or false.

First, it is difficult to describe the default in Argentina as a disaster. The economy had been plummeting prior to the default, which occurred at the end of the year in 2001. The country’s GDP had actually fallen more before the default than it did after the default. (This is not entirely clear on the graph, since the data is annual. At the point where the default took place in December of 2001, Argentina’s GDP was already well below the year-round average.) While the economy did fall more sharply after the default, it soon rebounded, and by the end of 2003 it had regained all the ground lost following the default.

Argentina’s economy continued to grow rapidly for several more years, rising above pre-recession levels in 2004. Given the fuller picture, it is difficult to see the default as an especially disastrous event, even if it did lead to several months of uncertainty for the people of Argentina.

In this respect, it is worth noting that Paul Volcker is widely praised in policy circles for bringing down the US inflation rate. To accomplish this goal, he induced a recession that pushed the unemployment rate to almost 11 percent. So the idea that short-term pain might be a price worth paying for a longer-term benefit is widely accepted in policy circles.

The pre-default decline has been much sharper in Greece than in Argentina: over 25 percent in Greece, compared to less than 10 percent in Argentina. This should mean that Greece has much more room to bounce back if it regains control over its fiscal and monetary policy.

At one point, the piece refers to the views of Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister, on the difficulties of leaving the euro. It relies on what it describes as a “recent blogpost.” Actually, the post is from 2012.

The New York Times portrays Argentine “rioters” as an image of what Greece has in store if it defaults on its debt. Perhaps the Times is unaware that there have been anti-austerity riots in Greece off and on for the past seven years. (photo: Alejandro Kaminetsky/Reuters)

To support the argument that Greece has little prospect for increasing its exports, it quotes Daniel Gros, director of the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels, on the impact of devaluation on tourism:

But they’ve already cut prices and tourism has gone up. But it hasn’t really helped, because total revenue hasn’t gone up.

Actually, tourism revenue has risen. It rose by 8.0 percent from 2011 to 2013(the most recent data available) measured in euros, and by roughly 20 percent measured in dollars.

In arguing that Greece can’t increase revenue from fishing, the piece tells readers, “The European Union has strict quotas to prevent overfishing.” However, the piece also tells readers that leaving the euro would cause Greece to be thrown out of the European Union. If that’s true, the EU limits on fishing would be irrelevant.

The piece also make a big point of the fact that Greece does not at present have a currency other than the euro. There are plenty of countries, including many which are poorer than Greece, who have managed to switch over to a new currency in a relatively short period of time. While this process will never be painless, it must be compared to the pain associated with an indefinite period of unemployment in excess of 20.0 percent, which is almost certainly the path associated with remaining in the euro on the Troika’s terms.

In making comparisons between Greece and Argentina, it is also worth noting that almost all economists projected disaster at the time Argentina defaulted in 2001. Perhaps they have learned more about economics in the last 14 years, but this is not obviously true.

Economist Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. A version of this post originally appeared on CEPR’s blog Beat the Press (6/26/15).

You can send a message to the New York Times at [email protected], or to public editor Margaret Sullivan at [email protected] (Twitter:@NYTimes or @Sulliview). Please remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

The US government has concealed the existence of some 14,000 images documenting the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) network of secret “black site” torture and interrogation centers established after September 11, according to unnamed US officials who spoke to the Washington Post.

The existence of the photographs was known to the US military prosecutors involved in ongoing military commission cases against four alleged terrorists for at least several months prior to the publication of the media reports on Saturday, according to the Post.

The photos had never been brought forward during more than three years of hearings in the cases of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and three other alleged participants in the September 11 attacks.

After a brief attempt to conduct their trials in a New York federal court, the accused are again standing before military-run commissions established to deny basic democratic rights to “enemy combatants” captured by the US government as part of the so-called global war on terror.

Images from black sites in Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and possibly others are included in the photo cache, which the Obama administration still refuses to release.

The photos, now under review by US officials, include images of naked prisoners taken during transportation to the torture sites. There are also reportedly photos of a wooden board used for waterboarding detainees at a black site in Afghanistan as well as photos of the small confinement boxes which a number of detainees were forced into for hours on end.

The concealment of the photos has prompted calls for the suspension of the commissions, pending an official investigation into the images.

In spite of ferocious efforts waged continuously by both the Bush and Obama administrations to suppress investigation of the torture programs, the basic facts are more or less known. More than 100 individuals are confirmed to have been “rendered” to secret prisons between 2002 and 2006. Individuals without any remote connection to Jihadist organizations were detained and tortured for years as a result of mistaken identity.

Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen, underwent prolonged torture and confinement in Afghanistan before being dumped by CIA officers in rural Albania after proving to his captors that his name was very similar to, but not the same as, that of the man they had intended to interrogate.

At least five of the detainees disappeared to black sites by the CIA have been confirmed to have been killed as a result of being subjected to the “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

The total number of victims may be much higher. The CIA organized more than 1,200 flights to and from locations on the European continent between 2002 and 2006, as part of its rendition and torture operations, according to a 2007 report approved by the European Union’s main legislature.

A slow trickle of detainees have been quietly released or transferred without explanation. Two Tunisians held at a CIA black site in Afghanistan for over a decade were flown back to Tunisia for release on June 15, traveling on board a US military plane. An unknown number of other detainees held by US forces at black sites were handed over to the Afghan government last December.

The refusal of the US government to release the photos, along with their secrecy in the first place, are serious crimes in themselves. As part of the cover up, the Obama administration continues to hold dozens of “enemy combatants” who have been cleared for release as early as 2009.

The collaboration of European governments in the operation of the secret torture network has also been covered up. Details of the European role in the torture network were subject to heavy redaction in the already heavily redacted Senate torture report.

Nonetheless, it is known that Poland, Lithuania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania all hosted secret prisons directly run by the CIA, while a broader circle of some 20 European states ran sites in close collaboration with the CIA.

Security personnel from the British government were directly involved in CIA torture sessions. Other collaborating governments received millions in US government money paid out by the CIA, including more than $1 million paid to Lithuania for the right to set up a single detention center.

At least three of the agency’s black sites, located in Poland, Romania and Morocco, were established from the CIA branch office in Frankfurt, Germany. The Frankfurt office, previously a “sleepy” logistics outpost for the agency, suddenly received millions of dollars’ worth of budget increases under orders from the White House, beginning in 2002.

Instead of being punished, the bureaucrats who oversaw the programs, including current CIA Director John Brennan, are now ensconced in powerful offices at the highest levels of government.

Documentation proving that the Obama administration has dismantled the vast array of resources, camps and personnel networks involved has not been forthcoming.

Greek Crisis Comes to a Head

June 29th, 2015 by Alex Lantier

The decision of European financial authorities to terminate the European Union (EU) bailout of Greece and limit the flow of credit to Greek banks has brought the country to the brink of an economic and financial meltdown. It is the latest stage in a ruthless five-year assault that has imposed draconian austerity measures which have shattered the country’s economy.

After the EU announced the end of the bailout program, the European Central Bank (ECB) declared that it would maintain but not raise the €89 billion cap in emergency liquidity to Greek banks, most of which has already been used. In the face of a potential banking collapse, Athens has imposed capital controls and declared a week-long bank holiday.

The program presented by the EU, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund “troika” amounts to a plan for Greece, already bled white, to commit economic and social suicide.

It calls for deep new pension cuts, regressive Value Added Tax increases that will slash workers’ buying power, and the privatization of energy, port and transport infrastructure. Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Münchau called it “an economic version of Dante’s hell,” adding, “It would have brought about the total economic destruction of Greece.”

In imposing this hell the European financial and political elites have made clear they will stop at nothing as they tear up all democratic norms and principles to impose a dictatorship of capital. The working class must draw a political balance sheet of the bitter experiences of the past five months and advance its own independent struggle in this life-and-death struggle.

The assertion by Syriza that any struggle for socialism and the taking of political power by the working class must be rejected as unrealistic has been refuted by events. It is the politics pursued by Syriza that have proven to be completely bankrupt.

For five months, Syriza has done nothing to defend the Greek working class from the assault waged by the ruling class. It even refused to impose capital controls as billions were withdrawn by the Greek oligarchs and salted away in overseas bank accounts—with the money to do so provided through the imposition of the vast bulk of austerity measures demanded by Greece’s tormentors.

Only now has Syriza imposed controls that only prevent Greek workers from accessing their own money in order to feed their families.

Syriza foresaw nothing.

Its politics are based on the social interests of sections of the upper middle class. Its entire strategy has been based upon the forlorn hope that some section of the bourgeoisie could be persuaded to come to Greece’s rescue and accept a modified austerity program.

Above all, Syriza is opposed to an independent mobilization of the working class on a socialist and revolutionary program. To the demands for the mass impoverishment of the Greek working class, it has responded with hopes for palliatives that it can use to sell austerity to the population.

Those politics are continued in the calling of a referendum for July 5 on whether to accept the EU’s latest measures. The Syriza-led government is engaged in a cynical political exercise. Its main purpose is to foist political responsibility for accepting the new round of brutal austerity onto the Greek people.

Politically, the Greek government already has a clear mandate to reject the austerity demands. It was elected on the basis of an appeal to the deep popular anger over the dictates of the European banks. From the beginning, however, Syriza has insisted on its commitment to the bailout and its desire to reach an agreement with the European institutions.

At this point, it is not even clear what the referendum would decide. The European institutions have indicated that if Greece defaults on its scheduled loan payments due on Tuesday, the entire agreement will be scrapped. Syriza, moreover, has made no attempt to explain what it will do if there is a “no” vote, or given any indication of how it will change its policy of seeking to remain in the euro zone and reach an agreement with Greece’s creditors.

Even now, Syriza is holding out for some accommodation. As Sunday progressed, with growing concern over the impact of Germany’s hardline on European markets, there have been calls for a way out of the impasse to be found. Concerned about both the financial and geopolitical implications of the Greek crisis, Obama called German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday to discuss the need for “Greece to resume reforms and growth within the euro zone.”

For its part, the European institutions are holding in reserve the possibility of regime change. The Financial Times, in an editorial denouncing Syriza on Sunday, warned of this possibility. “George Papandreou attempted a similar [referendum] maneuver in 2011 when he was prime minister. The harsh bailout deal survived; Mr. Papandreou lost his job.” To deal with mass opposition in the working class, there can be no doubt that top generals are at this moment conspiring behind closed doors, considering the possibility of using the military to intervene directly and meet protests with violence and repression. Syriza has paved the way for such an outcome, through its own efforts to secure the support of the police and the armed forces against the working class.

The situation confronting the working class is dire. At stake is not only the future of workers in Greece, but in all of Europe. By seeking to humiliate Syriza, the European banks want to send a signal that popular elections, such as the January anti-austerity vote that brought Syriza to power, have no bearing on the actual policies that are carried out. It is making of Greece an example that no opposition to austerity will be tolerated.

The World Socialist Web Site calls on workers in Greece to vote “no” to accepting the EU’s demands for yet more austerity. But such a no vote must be understood for all that it implies.

Economic war has been declared on Greece by the troika—the voice of international capital. In response the working class must advance its own program, based on a revolutionary struggle against the capitalist system.

The working class cannot defend itself without taking immediate action to thwart the conspiracy of the Greek and international ruling class and to take power into its own hands by forming a workers’ government. The banks and strategic industries such as shipping must be taken over and the accounts and assets of the oligarchs who control Greece seized.

Above all, workers in Greece must appeal for support and protest action to mobilize the deep opposition to austerity in the European working class as a whole. If the EU succeeds in making an example of Greece, it will soon turn to imposing the savage measures carried out in Greece on the entire European working class. A successful fight against these attacks requires the political mobilization of the working class across Europe, as in Greece, in a revolutionary struggle for socialism.

Israeli soldiers kidnapped, Saturday, Archbishop of Sebastia of the Greek Orthodox Church of occupied Jerusalem, Theodosius Attallah Hanna, and held him for several hours in the Etzion military and security base, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

 Father Hanna was participating in a nonviolent protest against the illegal takeover of Beit Al-Bakara old Church, north of Hebron.

Coordinator of the National Committee against the Wall and Settlements, Hasan Breijiyya, said the soldiers attacked the nonviolent protesters against the illegal Israeli seizure, and the subsequent sale of the Beit al-Baraka hospital, part of the al-Bakara church.

He added that the peaceful protest against this illegal seizure of the Beit al-Baraka comes to expose the illegal Israeli policies, and outrageous violations against holy sites and property.

Scores of residents, Israeli and international peace activists, in addition to a delegation of the Presbyterian Church, participated in the procession, before the soldiers assaulted them.

The senior Christian figure was held for several hours in the Gush Etzion military and security base, before the soldiers eventually released him.

Prior to his release, Archbishop Hanna was handed an order for interrogation by the Israeli security services.

Breijiyya said the takeover of the church building is illegal under international law, and that the alleged sale of the church property is invalid, especially since International Law, and Church Law, states that churches and church property, must be handed back to the local church once it is out of commission.

The soldiers completely surrounded the compound, and blockaded all nearby roads, eventually preventing the protestors from reaching the compound.

A committee for defending Beit al-Baraka was formed to continue organizing public actions meant at foiling the illegal Israeli colonialist takeover.

Pastor Danny Awad of the Presbyterian Church also delivered a speech explaining the role Beit al-Baraka played in helping patients through its free services to the public.

Israeli peace activists of “Combatants For Peace” said that the illegal Israeli policies must be exposed and condemned by all religious groups around the world, and called for more public support to counter the escalating Israeli violations.

The importance of the new settlement is that it paves the way for further settlement expansion, especially since there are more than 500 Dunams (around 125 acres) of Palestinian lands illegally confiscated by Israel in 2005, used to expand kibbutz Magdalen Oz.

Israel is also planning to build a settlers’ road bypassing the al-’Arroub refugee camp.

More information on Beit al-Baraka:

Settlers Secretly Establishing New Outpost On Church Compoundhttp://www.imemc.org/article/71676

Soldiers Attack Nonviolent Protesters In Hebron, Kidnap Onehttp://www.imemc.org/article/71755

The Deep Racism of Western Imperial Intervention

June 29th, 2015 by Prof. Tim Anderson

Racism in western societies is often spoken of as something involving simple discrimination or prejudice. Yet the most profound racism has always been generated and sustained by imperialism, including colonial rule and, in the post-colonial era, imperial intervention.

Denying the very existence and integrity of other peoples requires ideologies of systematic exclusion and dehumanisation. That denial is implicit in every coup, proxy war or invasion, under whatever pretext, carried out either for ‘regime change’ or to divide and weaken those peoples not well embedded in the imperial orbit.

The new pretexts often have to do with the ‘protector’ role of the empire, including protection against great crimes and genocide. Yet history tells us that it is almost always imperial interventions that generate those same great crimes. Rafael-Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer who invented the term ‘genocide’ spoke of it as a ‘recurring pattern of history’ by which empires displaced and wiped out entire peoples.

The deep racism of imperial intervention and war renders as illegitimate, non-existent and worthless entire peoples and their cultures, values and social organisation, including nation-states and alliances. The aim is to create a cultural void into which the imperial powers can step as protectors and saviours, hiding their own strategic and material interests. At best the subordinated peoples are seen as victims, refugees or individuals to be assimilated, never as independent peoples with their own voice and their own forms of social organisation.

This is not simply a matter of capitalist logic. Marxists, following Lenin, placed too much emphasis on the financial determinants of contemporary imperialism, saying it was based on the need of financial monopolies to export capital. Yet the USA, leader of today’s imperial cabal, is a massive importer of capital. Contemporary imperialism maintains many features of the more ancient systems of domination, including the ‘civilising missions’ set up to subdue and divide the various ‘barbarian’ cultures.

After more than a century of such interventions, Latin Americans found some protection from intervention through a series of regional agreements – the ALBA, UNASUR and CELAC – all led to fruition by the late Hugo Chavez. Now they mostly resolve their own conflicts.

However the big powers remain deeply engaged in a series of wars of reconquest in the Middle East, dressed up in ‘new-speak’ designed for the post-colonial era.

When puppet regimes fail, as they must, the big powers settle for divide and rule. That is what the British, borrowing from the Romans, did with Palestine, Ireland and India; that is what the imperial cabal is attempting with Palestine, Syria and Iraq.

Since Baghdad has once again proven itself an unreliable client state, and as Damascus will not surrender, the imperial ‘Plan B’ is to lay the groundwork for the ‘balkanisation’ of both countries though separate deals with the Kurds, Sunni groups, the Iraqi Shia, the Syrian Druze and the Alawis. Ethnic cleansing of Arab Christians by the empire’s proxy armies is consistent with this plan. Fragmentation of the region into sectarian statelets might also help soften the illegitimacy of the Zionist regime.

Yet, as always, there is imperial logic and there is resistance. The Kurds may collaborate with this partition, but the Druze and the Shia will not. Baghdad is slowly building good relations with its neighbours Iran and Syria. And pluralist Syria still exists, with a coherent national army.

Imperial power maintains its focus on the exclusion of perceived rival powers, fearing the influence of Russia and China, and of a re-configured Europe. Yet the greatest threat to the ‘New Middle East’ is that the peoples of the region, sooner or later, will come together in an anti-imperial alliance.

None of these schemes have anything to do with international law. Imperialism always practices double standards. Indeed, most of the core imperial collaborators practice their own versions of ‘exceptionalism’. International rules are said to not apply to these ‘special’ nations.

That is why imperialism requires and generates deep racism. ‘Civilising missions’ continue, rebadged as campaigns to rescue peoples from their own ‘brutal dictators’, from Venezuela to Ecuador, from Libya to Syria. Ordinary people in western cultures adopt those slogans, imagining that they too can be the saviours of other peoples from their barbarian systems.

Even where western peoples do not support invasions or proxy wars, they often pretend to support the victims of conflicts caused by their own governments, while attacking the peoples, states and alliances which resist those wars. In the case of Palestine, Syria and Iraq, western liberals often see themselves as rescuing individuals and groups, without opposing the ethnic cleansing, partition and destruction of entire nations, practised by their own governments.

Westerners can celebrate the dissident Jews and conscience-struck imperial soldiers of these new wars, but not the Palestinian militia, the Lebanese Resistance and the Syrian and Iraqi soldiers, facing the proxy Islamist armies sent in by NATO and the oil-rich Gulf despots. They criticise Washington, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, but do not cross the invisible lines that prohibit support for The Resistance. They shed tears for the refugees and displaced peoples. There is a place for this within the new civilising missions.

I have stressed the racist side of imperialism here because, as with petty apartheid in South Africa, there is the risk that opposition to petty racism may be seen as absolving the peoples of imperial cultures from their responsibilities to confront and oppose their own countries’ deep racism, most profoundly generated by imperial war and intervention.

Colonisers cannot lead de-colonisation, and those from imperial cultures cannot lead the resistance to imperial intervention. But they can go beyond petty criticism to reject this deep racism by recognising and supporting the Resistance.

Image: Pablo Iglesias and Ada Colau. [Photo: Luis Valiño/Flickr]

The squares in front of scores of town halls across the Spanish state were jam-packed with enthusiastic crowds on June 13. Tens of thousands had gathered to celebrate the inauguration of progressive administrations elected in a leftward swing in the May 24 local government elections for Spain’s 8144 councils. The joy was greatest in the capitals where “popular unity” tickets threw out conservative administrations. These tickets were citizen election platforms supported by the majority of the radical left, which defeated right-wing incumbents from the People’s Party in Madrid, A Coruna in Galicia and Cadiz in Andalusia.

The Catalan right-nationalist Convergence and Union (CiU) was also defeated by a popular unity ticket in Barcelona. In Barcelona, central St. James Square was packed tight with chanting and confetti-throwing supporters of the victorious Barcelona Together ticket and its leader, former housing-rights activist Ada Colau. When the city’s newly elected councillors left the town hall to make the traditional visit to the premier of Catalonia (CiU’s Artur Mas), they found it almost impossible to push through a crowd set on greeting Colau and the rest of the Barcelona Together team.

In the Andalusian provincial capital of Cadiz, a wildly enthusiastic crowd of thousands greeted Jose Maria Gonzalez, the victorious mayoral candidate for the For Cadiz Yes We Can ticket. Gonzalez later said: “What we lived through in the city on June 13 was something historic. I saw people moved, people full of hope, people who were again believing – or believing for the first time – in a political project, a political project of change. People don’t believe in the political class, and it’s up to us, the new political people, to revive their trust and restore prestige to a task that must be voluntary and for a limited period.”

“Ordinary People”

In A Coruna, Xulio Ferreiro, the successful mayoral candidate for the citizen platform Atlantic Tide, handed the mayoral baton to people in the crowd outside the town hall, commenting: “We have come into office as ordinary people and we’ll leave as ordinary people.” The municipal police looked on with concern as the precious piece of council property passed through the hands of pensioners, unemployed workers, students, housewives and other ‘untrustworthy’ elements.

In Aragon’s capital, Zaragoza, Pedro Santisteve, human rights advocate and incoming mayor from Zaragoza Together, issued an “apology” for the “naturalness and spontaneousness” of his team of young councillors. Some citizens had interpreted their jumping for joy after inauguration as an offence against the solemnity of council protocol.

The gale of fresh air represented by these citizen platform wins blew through other provincial capitals where such tickets did not win a relative majority, but supported other left forces, usually nationalist and regionalist that did.

In Irunea, capital of Navarra (known as Pamplona in Spanish), the Basque left nationalist coalition EH Bildu was supported by the Navarra regionalist force GeroaBai, the citizens’ platform Aranzadi and the Navarra affiliate organization of the all-Spanish United Left. This alliance was enough to win the mayoralty for EH Bildu’s Joseba Asiron. In his inaugural speech, delivered in Basque and Castilian (Spanish), Asiron committed to working for peace and “achieving a space for coexistence based on respect for all persons, their ideas and projects.”

This was a reference to the divisions in Navarra between its Basque-speaking and Basque Country-oriented community and its Spanish-speaking community. The Spanish speakers mainly vote for the right-regionalist Union of the People of Navarra and the Socialist Party of Navarra, the Navarra affiliate of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE).

PP Apoplexy

The result in Navarra, which the Spanish-centralist world view conceives as a front line in the ongoing war against Basque nationalism, was paralleled by the result in Valencia, capital of the Valencian Community. In Valencia, the People’s Party (PP) lost to the Valencian regionalist Commitment Coalition, in PP eyes a dreadful win for “pan-Catalanism.”

Outgoing mayor Rita Barbera was so outraged by the decision of the PSOE’s Valencian affiliate to join with the citizen platform Valencia Together to support the Commitment Coalition’s Joan Ribo for mayor, that she resigned from the council. On June 13, Ribo stated he would be locking the baton away because, while respectful of traditions, “I want to work through participation, through dialogue with people, and the baton really isn’t the best symbol of that.” The contrast between Ribo arriving at Valencia town hall on his pushbike and Barbera driving up in her Ferrari dramatized how much had changed in this former PP stronghold.

In Madrid, a 3000-strong demonstration supported the successful Madrid Now! ticket and its mayoral candidate, former labour rights activist and judge Manuela Carmena. It overwhelmed a 30-strong counter-demonstration in support of outgoing PP mayor Esperanza Aguirre. “We don’t want communism in Madrid, we don’t want communism in Spain,” yelled the right-wingers, parroting Aguirre’s claims that a Madrid Now! win would mean soviets in the Spanish capitol’s suburbs.

PP outrage was directed most of all at the PSOE. Along with the PP, it is one of the two main parties that have alternated in power since the end of the Franco dictatorship in the 1970s.

In order to overcome PP relative majorities, in nearly all cases the PSOE gave support to, and received support from, citizen platforms, United Left and left-regionalist forces. The PSOE had no choice but to build alliances to its left. With mass political sentiment moving leftward, the PSOE has already been abandoned by millions of working people and viewed as suspect by millions more. It is in no position to give free kicks to the new anti-austerity partyPodemos (We Can) or other progressive forces.

The PP now controls only 19 of the Spanish state’s 50 provincial capitals (down from 36), the PSOE has 17 (up from nine), the new citizen platforms five, the Basque Nationalist Party three (up from one), and CiU, United Left, the Galician Nationalist Bloc, Commitment Coalition and EH Bildu one each.

After the 2011 council elections, 36 councils on the Spanish mainland were run by absolute majorities. Today, four years after the indignado movement occupied 80 city squares and began the popular fight back against austerity, Spain’s two party system has almost entirely collapsed. Only one provincial capital is run by an absolute majority.

Citizens and Podemos

The PP’s disaster would have been greater if the national leader of the new-look centre-right “anti-Podemos” force Citizens had not hauled local leaders into line when they were tempted to support the PSOE. Citizens’ tactic was to support the party winning the highest vote, provided it supported Citizens’ anti-corruption charter. With this approach, Citizens managed to save the PP in five provincial capitals.

But Citizens also supported a PSOE government in Andalusia, which had been blocked since the March 22 Andalusian elections, thus giving the appearance of even-handedness.

Citizens has not decided to take part in any administrations as junior partner, preferring to “keep itself clean” until it can win in its own right.

Podemos’s tactics were roughly parallel from the other side. The radical party led by Pablo Iglesias, which formed last year, did not stand in its own name in the municipal poll, although it did in the 13 regional elections held at the same time.

In general, its approach urged the citizen platforms it was part of to give unconditional support to the PSOE or any progressive coalitions that could form a majority against the PP, but to decline taking part in the resulting administrations.

As the price of its support for the PSOE in Seville, Podemos managed to get it to agree to stop evictions and keep schools open for meals during the coming summer holidays.

In the four autonomous communities (states) where Podemos’s vote will be critical in deciding whether the PSOE will replace the PP in government – Extremadura, Baleares, Asturias and Castilla-La Mancha – the draft agreements negotiated with the PSOE will be submitted to members to vote on.

All possible options, from rejection through to full participation in what would be a PSOE-Podemos joint administration, will be put forward.

Intensifying Battles

What can we expect to see from the “popular unity” councils?

Their most urgent commitments are already being tackled. These include cuts in councillors’ and mayors’ wages to the level of skilled workers; emergency social support plans – including a ban on evictions and guarantees that power and water will not be cut off; halting or cutting pointlessly expensive mega-projects; steps to guarantee a minimum income; and a citizens’ audit of council debt and a reworking of municipal tax scales to provide relief to the poorest while extracting more from the richest.

In Cadiz, the council will investigate converting the city to renewable energy, a potential source of badly needed job creation in the city with Spain’s highest unemployment – more than 70 per cent for under 25-year-olds.

None of these councils – all of which govern in minority – will have it easy. The PP wants them to be disasters, while the PSOE wants them to be seen as well-intentioned but without the know-how, experience and wisdom that comes from being the oldest political force in the Spanish state.

On the other hand, the new citizens’ platforms, built through mass participation, enjoy huge popular support. Too crude and brutal an attack on them, as seems likely from the PP, could explode in the face of the aggressors. It could help the struggle for popular unity and resistance to rise to a higher level.

Dick Nichols is based in Barcelona and the European correspondent of Green Left Weekly, where this article first appeared.

On June 23, WikiLeaks released various documents of the National Security Agency’s “Espionnage Elyseé” program revealing another diplomatic known: that the agency had been keeping an eye on the highest French government officials, among them three French Presidents.

The release of such material is providing a wealth of material for the student, less of international relations and intelligence communities per se – we know that the NSA’s main purpose is to spy on leaders and their state apparatuses – as the relations of a specific form of state behaviour.  Anthropologists of the world wake up – there is much to be find here.At work seems to be a certain rehearsed choreography.  First come the revelations – in this case, nothing too stunning: the fear by current French president François Hollande over a possible Grexit as far back as 2012; Nicolas Sarkozy toying with the idea that France would go it alone without US involvement in restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and records of summaries on ties between the administrations of Hollande and Germany’s Angela Merkel.

One of the NSA reports from 2008 even has a jab at Sarkozy’s buffoonery.  The title is self-explanatory: “Sarkozy Sees Himself as Only One Who Can Resolve World Financial Crisis.”  But as The Economist also notes, others are more sensitive, including the concealed meeting between Hollande and the German opposition over the consequences of Greece leaving the Eurozone.[1]  This, it is claimed, took place without the knowledge of Chancellor Merkel.Presidents express rage; those found out express sorrow and promise correction.  Structural change never takes place – the relationship is as it is, and the comments about the relevant alliance continue in their necessary disingenuousness.  This qualifies as a form of courtship, and it is one that proves mistrustful, layered with presumptions and its little deceptions.

Details of an emergency meeting involving the cabinet and members of the army are then released, this time taking place on June 24.  “France,” proclaims Hollande, “will not tolerate actions that threaten its security and protection of its interests.”

France may not officially tolerate such threats but it all comes down to a matter of degree.  The issue has been an ongoing one.  In March 2010, it was a known sticking point in negotiations between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his US counterparts in attempts to negotiate a bilateral intelligence agreement.  Everyone in such circles knew that the other was peering over the fence, and more to the point, having a good rummage in the paddock.

As with the role played by the Merkel hacking case regarding German-US relations, President Barack Obama knows what to do: placate, reassure and perhaps keep up the appearances of deception for the audience of his aggrieved ally.  There may even be sympathetic ears in the French intelligence community – after all, in the NSA-German hacking scandal, it was clear that the BND intelligence service was more than just knee deep with its NSA counterpart. Merkel has put on a brave, even foolish face at stages – there was much to do that requires both countries.  Relations could not be ruptured.  Then there was the reassurance by her Chief of Staff Ronald Pofalla in August 2013: the NSA’s activities were doing “nothing that damaged German interests.”[2]  The strategy was one of silence and technical cumbersomeness; in the words of Spiegel Online (May 14), “it’s all terribly technical and not all that important, really.”

The same thing went for Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, who underwent an even more dramatic transformation in her response to the NSA’s actions.  On addressing journalists after meeting Obama at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City in April, the Brazilian president seemed suspiciously confident. A meeting in Washington was scheduled for June 30.  Journalist Patricia Campos Mello wondered with some curiosity whether “this planned visit mean[s] that the NSA spying episode is entirely overcome”.[3]

The response was tepid.  “It means we recognise the action taken by the US… that friendly countries won’t be spied upon.  And we have a declaration from President Obama.  When he wants to know something, he’ll call me.”  Who, in this equation, is beguiling or proving gullible?  The Brazilian leader had well and truly emerged from the chrysalis of criticism of NSA practices, which had involved, not merely a concerted targeting of her communications, but the country’s national oil company Petrobas.

The same recipe is found in the French-NSA cooking mix.  In a phone call to Hollande, Obama reiterated Washington’s commitment to end such “unacceptable” practices.  Hollande’s office duly explained how, “President Obama reiterated unequivocally his firm commitment… to end the practices that may have happened in the past and that are considered unacceptable among allies.”[4]

From Washington’s side, there has been a notable absence to mention any actual change to the espionage practices behind spying on its allies.  The USA Freedom Act may have crept onto the books, but the practice continues with unstinting indifference.  Deem it unacceptable in statements, and even deny it, by all means, but do little about it.  “Such statements,” suggests Anhvinh Doanvo, “will prove to be counterproductive as the NSA continues to throw away its credibility with media reports continually contradicting its narrative.”[5]

Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll has emphasised that the French will “verify that this spying has finished” – a tall order indeed.  None of this bluster suggests that the revelations, in themselves, will necessarily reform attitudes that are accepted and deemed acceptable behind closed doors.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email:[email protected]

Notes

[1] http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21656108-wikileaks-releases-evidence-american-spying-french-say-they-are-shocked-espionage-revealed

[2] http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/gabriel-speaking-out-on-bnd-scandal-shows-merkel-in-bad-light-a-1033369.html

[3] http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/16/brazil-nsa-spying-surveillance-economy-dilma-rousseff-barack-obama/

[4] http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/24/us-france-wikileaks-idUSKBN0P32EM20150624?utm_source=twitter

[5] http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/246189-tactless-courtship-nsas-espionage-in-france

 

Cows are many things, but rarely have they been deemed a threat to national security. That’s exactly what happened to a group of 18 cows in a West Bank town in 1987.

It was during the first Intifada, when residents of Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, wanted to boycott Israeli products. They bought 18 cows from an Israeli kibbutznik to create their own source of milk. It was both an act of civil disobedience and a small step toward independence. ”They felt that they can’t decide their future unless they can control their economy and the basic foods,” says Amer Shomali, a Palestinian artist and co-director of “The Wanted 18″, a title that refers to the cows. Shomali’s family is from Beit Sahour and he first learned about the cows in a comic book that circulated in his refugee camp in Syria in the early 1990s.

The Wanted 18 uses stop-motion animation along with drawings, real people, actors and archival footage. Here, a self-taught Palestinian dairy farmer looks on at the cows with a Palestinian flag in the distance. In 1987, activists in the West bank town of Beit Sahour bought the cows from a peacenik Israeli to try to create their own source of milk instead of relying on an Israeli dairy. Credit: Courtesy of Intuitive Pictures

Amer Shomali says starting a dairy was a bold step for Palestinians. “Cows are not part of our culture. We are farmers, maybe sheep and goats, but cows were something more complicated for us.”  And farming in general was not what the adults in Beit Sahour were about. “The funny thing is that none of them had seen a cow before. All of them were intellectuals, doctors, pharmacists. They never saw a cow before.”

A 1987 photo of protests in Beit Sahaur. The West Ban town was a center of non-violent resistance to Israeli occupation at the start of the first Intifada.

A 1987 photo of protests in Beit Sahaur. The West Ban town was a center of non-violent resistance to Israeli occupation at the start of the first Intifada.

Within six months, the whole town had turned to the local dairy for its milk, dubbed “Intifada milk.” The self-made dairymen delivered it by night so Israeli soldiers wouldn’t see it. One day an Israeli soldier came to the farm, took photos of the cows, and told the Palestinians they weren’t allowed to have the cows and gave them 24 hours to shut it down. He said the cows were a threat to Israel’s national security. Amer Shomali thinks he knows why.

“For the Palestinians, it meant a step closer to being free, to be able to decide their future, to be independent. Basically that was what was the security threat for Israel. It’s not the cow itself. It’s what the cow represents: a step toward independence.”

The activists of Beit Sahour had other ideas for the cows. Instead of turning them in or destroying them, they started moving the cows from one place to another. Amer Shomali says it wasn’t easy. “It’s quite hard to hide a cow.” All the subterfuge took its toll on the cows. ”Cows, honestly, are not animals made to be on the front line, so the milk production started to go down and the cows started to get tired. They are laid back animals.”

Amer Shomali, co-director and visual artist for
“The Wanted 18″ Credit:Courtesy of Intuitive Pictures

The Wanted 18″ is a multi-media documentary. It uses archival footage, stills, actors, re-creations, talking heads, drawings and claymation to tell the story of the cows and other acts of civil disobedience in Beit Sahour in the late 1980s. Shomali says, early on, the idea was to make the cows the main characters in the film.

“We wanted to tell the story through the eyes of the cows.”

Basically, any audience around the world can relate to the cow. They are beautiful. They have beautiful eyes. I always say, it’s easier for western audience to sympathize with the cow rather than a Palestinian.

Shomali wanted talking cows but it didn’t quite work out. “Basically, I tried to convince these cows to do that. They refused. They kept saying ‘moo’. So we tried animated cows.”

 

 Three characters from "The Wanted 18"

Three characters from “The Wanted 18″ Credit:Courtesy of Intuitive Pictures

The cows are actual characters in the film. Rivka is a peacenik. Ruth, the leader of the herd, doesn’t like Palestinians. A typyical quip: ”They don’t want to work. Palestinians would prefer to riot than to work.” Lola is the sexy one and a huge Madonna fan. Goldie is young and naive. ”Even metaphorically, if you remember George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, it’s an interesting way to tell this kind of complicated story, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, through animals. I think people get bored after 60 years with all the films and reports about Palestine. Now it’s time to find a new way to approach them.”

Shomalis says there’s a political side to the multimedia decision too: a lack of archival footage. “Most of the footage [from that time] came from news agencies and they either filmed the Palestinians as victims or as terrorists.” Shomali says none of the news cameras at that time were filming say, a Palestinian teaching his kids at home because the schools were closed, or a Palestinian milking his cow or a Palestinian planting things in his backyard.

“We wanted to portray the Palestinian doing these non-violent activities which was not on the archival footage. So basically we took the animation as a tool to recreate an alternative archival footage as if we had the chance to represent ourselves in that time.”

A claymation still from "The Wanted 18" showing one of the self-taught dairy farmers in Beit Sahour in 1987.

Shomali says he was drawn to the story of Beit Sahour and the cows because it shows an important act of resistance as well as the economic cost for Palestinians of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

“Nowadays we are struck in a matrix where we can’t decide anything. We are not allowed to dig for water under Palestinian cities. We have to buy it from an Israeli company. It’s quite bizarre, the way we are living. We don’t control borders, we don’t control water, we don’t control electricity. We can’t import stuff. We can’t export stuff. It’s like a big prison.”  Shomali says he can’t even get 3G mobile service because Israel won’t grant the Palestinian Authority enough bandwidth. 

The Wanted 18″ premiered in New York on June 13, but Shomali wasn’t able to go. He applied for an American visa and his appointment was on June 4th in Jerusalem. “It’s just 25 minutes away from my house, but you need an Israeli permit to cross the checkpoint. He applied for the permit but the Isrealis rejected it for security reasons. “It’s quite funny. After 30 years, we’re screening a film about cows being a security threat. Now the filmmaker is a securty threat.

You can find out how to see ”The Wanted 18″ by clicking here.

Cuba is a global exemplar of organic, agroecological farming, taking place on broad swathes of land in and around its cities, write Julia Wright & Emily Morris. These farms cover 14% of the country’s agricultural land, employ 350,000 people, and produce half the country’s fruit and vegetables. But can they survive exposure to US agribusiness?

Centralised, large scale production systems still exist. But while peri-urban agriculture in other countries may bring conventional agriculture nearer to the city, Cuba is taking its model of organic urban production out to the countryside.

For more than 20 years, Cuba has been developing a sophisticated urban and suburban food system, producing healthy food, improving the environment and providing employment.

But how will the sector survive if the economy opens up to US agricultural and industrial trade and investment?

The first urban farms emerged spontaneously in Cuba out of the hardships of the early 1990s. People in towns and cities began to cultivate urban waste land and keep small livestock as a coping strategy.

Possibly the first co-ordinated effort was the Santa Fe project in the north-west of Havana City, initiated in 1991. Taking advantage of the available resources within the community, empty urban space was reclaimed for food production to help overcome irregular and inadequate food supplies.

The principles of organic, or agroecological, farming were used to overcome the lack of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. These included making compost from local resources: manure, worm farms and food waste. Here, organic and agroecological farming are synonymous, meaning basically to farm in harmony with nature.

Soon the Cuban government recognised the potential of urban agriculture, and incorporated it into the National Food Action Plan. It offered support by making land available, providing extension services supplying education, seeds and other resources, and organising marketing.

In 1994 the government established a Department of Urban Agriculture, and in 1997 this became the National Programme of Urban Agriculture and part of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Suburban agriculture: the great hope for feeding cities?

The Cuban urban agriculture movement’s achievements over the past 20 years were reviewed at the International Conference on Urban and Suburban Agriculture and Family Farming in Havana in April 2015, organised by the International Centre for Fundamental Research on Tropical Agriculture (INIFAT).

It has retained three basic principles: an agroecological approach; the use of local resources; and the direct marketing of produce to the consumer. In 2013 Family Farming was added to the programme.

But there is an increasing emphasis on growing food in suburban (or peri-urban) areas – the agricultural zone just outside the city – which has deeper soils and more available land.

Urban agriculture is limited by space and mainly provides salad vegetables, some fruits, small animals and herbs. However, peri-urban farms can provide the full range of foods – including grains, livestock, and tubers – and remain close enough to deliver fresh produce without high distribution costs.

Data at the April conference showed that the The National Programme of Urban and Suburban Agriculture now covers 12,600 square kilometres nationally (14% of agricultural land), including a belt of 10km around Havana and each provincial capital, 5km around each municipal capital and 1-2km around each settlement of more than 1,000 inhabitants.

In all, the sector has created more than 350,000 jobs, of which just under half are taken by women and young people. In 2013 it produced just over half of total national production of horticultural crops, or 1 million tonnes.

This has enabled a five-fold rise in consumption of fresh vegetables between 1997 and 2013. The aim is to supply 460g of fresh food per person per day, in line with guidelines of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.

An innovative model – with implications beyond Cuba

Cuba’s urban and peri-urban farming represents a clear contrast with centralised and large scale production systems. These still exist to some extent in rural areas of the country, and dominate worldwide.

While peri-urban agriculture in other countries may bring conventional agriculture nearer to the city, Cuba is taking its model of organic urban production out to the countryside.

The Cuban model of urban and peri-urban agriculture is constantly drawing from and adapting foreign methods. The emphasis now is on efficiency and profitability, and there is growing awareness of value chains, multiple stakeholders and differentiated consumers, all if which make it more relevant to the economic and market structures of other countries. Yet it still builds on the main goals of the Cuban system – improving food security and strengthening sovereignty.

The learning and exchange is a two-way process: Cuban-based INIFAT is providing technical assistance on urban agriculture to more than ten countries, mainly in Latin America.

Cuba’s unique experience now provides one of the clearest and most advanced examples of how we can sustainably feed the world’s expanding cities.

The US opening: threat or opportunity?

But Cuba’s urban and peri-urban agroecology model may face a threat from the move towards normalisation of economic relations between the US and Cuba.

US companies are already lining up to export agricultural chemicals and processed foods to Cuba. Soon foreign investors may begin to arrive in search of opportunities for export agriculture.

Cheaper imports, new finance and the development of the agricultural export trade would change the economics of Cuban food production. It would create pressure for changes in farming methods, land use and distribution, and consumption patterns. The drastic impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement on Mexican smallholder farmers comes to mind.

However, two factors protect the Cuban urban agriculture model.

The first is that it has become well-established. Farmers understand and have committed to agroecological principles, at least in urban and peri-urban zones. On the government side, the model has proven it can achieve development priorities and is enshrined in policy.

The second positive is that the international opening will be gradual. At the conference in April, representatives of Cuban agricultural export enterprises did not appear to be much concerned. One of them, asked what difference it would make to their plans, typified the attitude: “No we haven’t been planning anything, we don’t know, we’ll wait to see what happens.”

Full normalisation of Cuban-US economic relations needs the approval of the US Congress and will not happen overnight. The limited US changes introduced so far have encouraged links with US cooperatives and partners for sustainable agriculture, which could strengthen the agroecological model. This slow and evolutionary response may be the most appropriate for now.

But eventually, both farmers and the Cuban government will need to work out how to resist international market pressures. Otherwise the unique, productive model of Cuban urban and peri-urban agriculture may disappear.

Julia Wright is Senior Research Fellow, Agroecological Futures at Coventry University.

Emily Morris is Research Associate, Institute of the Americas, UCL at UCL.

This article was originally published on The Conversation

 

As Greece prepares for a monumental decision, there is only one certainty: the European Ideal has been irrevocably damaged

I am a Europhile. Not only that, I am a product of the Union. I have structured my life around the idea of free movement; my identity around the notion that I can be more than one thing: Mykonian, Greek, Londoner, British, European. For the first time in my life, I am beginning to wonder, whether the European project is now simply too broken to be fixed.

Do not misunderstand me. I am passionate about the notion of a Europe of partners, united around principles of solidarity and trade. I just think we have taken wrong turns. So many and so wrong that I feel very uncertain as to whether we can ever find our way back.

I am not alone in feeling like this and it is not of consequence only with regard to Greece. I have had numerous messages in the last few days from pro-European friends here in Britain, telling me that the way the institutions have treated Greece, have convinced them to cross over to the “out” camp for the forthcoming UK referendum on European membership.

I am not in the deluded camp who think that national sovereignty is a magic bullet that will restore some nationalist utopia which only ever existed in our minds. Governments have been captured by corporate interests, so completely and at every level, that all EU exit changes is the field on which necessary battles must be fought. No flag provides protection from that, however tightly we wrap ourselves in it.

Neither do I want to suggest that the project hasn’t been a success. Before it was captured by this fatal monetarist fever, it achieved decades of unprecedented peace and prosperity, extraordinary advances in working and consumer rights, and a mingling of cultures and populations which has enriched us all. But I know, in my heart, it is now irrevocably damaged.

The choice being presented to the Greek people is a difficult one. Stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, as they say. On one hand, continuing a programme which has decimated the country and its economy, plunged millions into poverty and has killed many thousands. On the other, the complete unknown. No, not automatic Grexit, as some would have you believe. But certainly the possibility of it.

The side which supports saying “yes” to the disgraceful agreement being offered, in exchange for staying in the Euro, paint it in two ways: First, as a battle between certainty and uncertainty. But that is misleading. Because, by examining our country’s trajectory over the past five years, the certainty being offered by a “yes” is a certainty of more misery, more poverty, more humiliation, more degradation. Those recommending “yes” to taking more of the medicine being extended to us, do so in the full knowledge that this medicine is poison.

Second, the choice is being painted as one between emotion and reason. It is, of course, not unusual for the established to be presented as reasonable and the radical as emotional. It is pretty much the whole basis of conservatism. But fear is also an emotion. And what drives the “yes” camp seems to be a very clear terror of the notion that the unknown might be even worse. It is the logic of locking yourself inside your cabin on the Titanic, because the lifeboats are small and the ocean frozen.

***

Last winter, I stood outside the Opera House in the centre of Athens looking at the posters in the window. I was approached by a well-dressed and immaculately groomed elderly lady. I moved to the side. I thought she wanted to pass. She didn’t. She asked me for a few euros because she was hungry. I took her to dinner and, in generous and unsolicited exchange, she told me her story.

Her name was Magda and she was in her mid-seventies. She had worked as a teacher all her life. Her husband had been a college professor and died “mercifully long before we were reduced to this state”, as she put it. They paid their tax, national insurance and pension contributions straight out of the salary, like most people. They never cheated the state. They never took risks. They saved. They lived modestly in a two bedroom flat.

In the first year of the crisis her widow’s pension top-up stopped. In the second and third her own pension was slashed in half. Downsizing was not an option – house prices had collapsed and there were no buyers. In the third year things got worse. “First, I sold my jewellery. Except this ring”, she said, stroking her wedding ring with her thumb. “Then, I sold the pictures and rugs. Then the good crockery and silver. Then most of the furniture. Now there is nothing left that anyone wants. Last month the super came and removed the radiators from my flat, because I hadn’t paid for communal fuel in so long. I feel so ashamed.”

I don’t know why this encounter should have shocked me so deeply. Poverty and hunger is everywhere in Athens. Magda’s story is replicated thousands of times across Greece. It is certainly not because one life is worth more than another. And yet there is something peculiarly discordant and irreconcilable about the “nouveau pauvres”, just like like there is about the nouveau riches. Most likely it shocked me because I kept thinking how much she reminded me of my mother.

And, still, I don’t know whether voting “yes” or “no” will make life better or worse for her. I don’t know what Magda would vote either. I can only guess. What I do know, is that the encounter was the beginning of the end of my love affair with the European project. Because, quite simply, it is no longer my European Union. It is Amazon’s and Starbucks’. It is the politicians’ and the IMF’s. But it is not mine.

If belonging to the largest and richest trading bloc in the world cannot provide dinner for a retired teacher like her, it has no reason to exist. If a European Union which produces €28,000 of annual GDP for every single one of its citizens cannot provide a safety net for her, then it is profoundly wicked. If this is not a union of partners, but a gang of big players and small players, who cut the weakest loose at the first sign of trouble, then it is nothing.

Each one of us will have to engage in an internal battle before Sunday’s referendum. I will be thinking of you, Magda, when I vote. It seems as honest a basis to make a decision as any.

Desde el pasado 22 de junio, está disponible el informe de la Comisión Independiente, creada por el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas en julio del 2014, sobre la última ofensiva israelí en Gaza: se trata del Informe titulado:”Report of the independent commission of inquiry established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-21/1“, que valora, a la luz de las reglas del derecho internacional humanitario,  la conducta de Israel y de grupos combatientes palestinos durante la operación militar israelí del verano del 2014 en la franja de Gaza. Nótese que lejos de juzgar únicamente a Israel, tal y como lo anunciaron tempranamente sus autoridades (Nota 1)  y volvieron a hacerlo en recientes semanas, el informe cuestiona el accionar de ambos beligerantes.

Pese a múltiples e insistentes solicitudes ante las autoridades de Israel, los integrantes de  esta comisión no pudieron acceder a la Franja de Gaza, cuyos accesos son controlados por Israel. El informe viene acompañado de una recopilación de datos detallados de más de 180 páginas que se titula “Report of the detailed findings of the independent commission of inquiry established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-21/1”  y que está también disponible en el enlace antes citado. En este documento se precisa que los integrantes de esta comisión realizaron, mediante el uso de las nuevas tecnologías de la información, más de 280 entrevistas confidenciales, y recibieron más de 500 declaraciones escritas y documentos de diversa naturaleza.

Fuente: puroperiodismo.com

 

El saldo en víctimas mortales de esta operación, según la Oficina de Naciones Unidas para Asuntos Humanitarios en Palestina fue de 3 civiles y 67 militares del lado israelí; y de 2,251 muertes palestinas, de las cuales 1,462 correspondiente a civiles, entre las cuales 299 mujeres y 551 niños.

En julio del 2014, el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas aprobó mediante resolución la creación de esta comisión independiente de investigación, con 29 votos a favor, 17 abstenciones y con el único voto en contra de Estados Unidos. En un breve análisis publicado sobre la adopción de esta resolución, (ver nota), se detallaba el histórico temor de Israel y de su incondicional aliado norteamericano con relación a una rama específica del derecho internacional: el derecho penal internacional, que busca sancionar penalmente a responsables políticos por perpetrar, ordenar o instigar a la comisión de graves violaciones al derecho internacional humanitario.  Como fiel defensor de los principios plasmados en el Estatuto de Roma que crea la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI), Costa Rica sufrió los embates de la administración del Presidente G.W Bush al defender la integridad del Estatuto de Roma (Nota 2).

Cabe señalar que, además del voto de julio del 2014 en el seno del Consejo de Derechos Humanos en el que todos los Estados de América Latina miembros de este órgano votaron  a favor (incluyendo a Costa Rica),  varios Estados de América Latina criticaron fuertemente a Israel y varios de ellos optaron por llamar posteriormente a consulta a sus respectivos embajadores desde Tel Aviv, en señal de profundo repudio ante el carácter totalmente indiscriminado y desproporcionado de la ofensiva israelí en Gaza (Nota 3).

En el 2009, con relación a la operación militar denominada “Plomo Fundido” iniciada en el mes de diciembre del 2008 en Gaza (con un saldo de 14 víctimas israelíes y más de 1400 víctimas palestinas), Naciones Unidas procedió de igual manera a investigar los hechos ocurridos (véase el informe Goldstone cuya versión en español está disponible en la letra S en este enlace oficial de Naciones Unidas).

Es probable que la comparación entre ambos informes denote con mayor claridad la peligrosa deriva a la que Israel ha procedido en la conducción de sus hostilidades en Gaza, y que evidencia (al menos en parte) el hecho que 43 oficiales de la Unidad 8200 del Ejército de Israel hayan presentado una carta pública en septiembre del 2014, en la que denuncian el uso del sistema de inteligencia israelí para fines sumamente cuestionables contra la población civil palestina (ver nota de Haaretz del 12 /09/2014).

A diferencia del Informe Goldstone del 2009, la publicación de este informe del 2015 tiene lugar unos meses después de la entrada en vigencia del instrumento de ratificación por parte de Palestina del Estatuto de Roma (1ero de abril del 2015).

Esta adhesión de Palestina a este importante instrumento del derecho penal internacional se dio en respuesta a una maniobra de la diplomacia norteamericana en las últimas horas del año 2014 en el seno del Consejo de Seguridad, que tuvimos la oportunidad de analizar (Nota 4). Nos permitimos en aquel momento  concluir que: “Este gesto del Estado palestino constituye también una clara respuesta a Estados Unidos. Permite además reafirmar de manera clara e inequívoca, la plena confianza de Palestina en el derecho internacional y en las entidades a cargo de su debida aplicación”. El informe hecho público en esta semana en la sede de las Naciones Unidas en Ginebra no viene solamente a documentar los hechos perpetrados en Gaza durante el verano del año 2014: también contribuye a validar la plena aplicación de las reglas del derecho internacional humanitario y a exigir que se sancione a los responsables de ambos bandos por las violaciones a estas reglas cometidas.

Las gesticulaciones del aparato estatal israelí de las últimas semanas tendientes a desacreditar el contenido de este informe, a restarle validez, antecediendo incluso su publicación con la de un informe oficial con una semana de antelación el pasado 14 de junio  (Nota 5)  evidencian no obstante que la sensibilidad es mucho mayor en Tel Aviv.

 Nicolas Boeglin

Notas

Nota 1: Véase artículo de El Pais (España) de agosto del 2014 titulado: “Israel califica de farsa la comisión de investigación de la ONU sobre Gaza”, y  disponible aquí.

Nota 2: al respecto, remitimos al lector a un interesante análisis elaborado por Bruno Stagno Ugarte, canciller de Costa Rica (2006-2010) , publicado en el 2012: véase STAGNO B., “Defendiendo la integridad del Estatuto de Roma: los altos y bajos del caso de Costa Rica, 2002-2008“, Universidad para la Paz, Costa Rica, 2012, texto disponible  aquí.

Nota 3: Véase: BOEGLIN N., “Reacciones en América latina a la operación “Margen Protector” del ejército israelí en la franja de Gaza”,  publicado en Núm. 15, Reportes del CEMOAN (Agosto 2014), Universidad Nacional (UNA), disponible aquí.

Nota 4: Véase BOEGLIN N., “El resultado del voto sobre Palestina en el Consejo de Seguridad: balance y perspectivas”, Derechoaldia, 4/01/2015,  disponible aquí.

Nota 5: Véase nota del New York Times, “Israelis Go on Offensive Ahead of UN Report”, con fecha del 14/06/2015, disponible aquí.

 

Nicolas Boeglin, Profesor de Derecho Internacional Público, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)

Carpet-Bombing History

June 28th, 2015 by Nick Alexandrov

J. E. Curtis, Keeper of the British Museum’s Middle East collections, was on grim business in Iraq. Armed occupiers held an ancient city there—“tantamount to establishing a military camp around the Great Pyramid in Egypt or around Stonehenge in Britain,” he wrote. The site was “irrevocably contaminated,” he added, suffering “permanent damage that will last forever.”

Curtis was describing Babylon in 2004, under U.S. occupation. But commentary on ISIS ignores Washington’s legacy of cultural ruin, assuming the Islamic State has some unique capacity for wrecking artifacts. The group’s “obliterators,” as historian Simon Schama termed them, “all act from the same instinct of cultural panic that the supreme works of the past will lead people astray from blind, absolute obedience.” Toppling Palmyra would reveal “Isis’s littleness,” architecture critic Rowan Moore asserted, asking “how could anyone be so threatened by ancient ruins, unless they lacked belief in their ability to create something themselves?”

“Palmyra,” Moore emphasized, “is an ancient Roman site whose significance and value is exceeded by very few others: those in Rome itself, Pompeii, possibly Petra in Jordan.” So in his view, a “littleness” rivaling Islamic State’s would motivate, say, bombing raids on Pompeii—which the U.S. and British Air Forces carried out in 1943. The first strike happened August 24, “ironically the anniversary of the eruption of Vesuvius,” according to the Getty Museum’s Kenneth Lapatin. “Damage was incurred at various points throughout the archaeological site (over 160 hits were recorded), and some of its most famous monuments were struck,” with dozens “totally destroyed,” he explains.

The Allies bombed the Cathedral of Benevento that same month. “For 1,100 years this medieval church stood as a small but precious religious monument,” LIFE reported, though after the attack only “the bell tower, parts of the façade and one side wall” remained. “Fire that swept the cathedral burned rare Sixth Century Langobardic manuscripts,” though perhaps “the loss of the cathedral’s famous 12th Century bronze doors” was worse.

Six months later, in February 1944, Allied bombers demolished the Abbey of Monte Cassino, where “the only people killed,” David Hapgood and David Richardson clarify, “were among the civilians.” Dating from the 6th century, the Abbey was “the site where St. Benedict himself had founded the world-famed Benedictine Order,” John S. D. Eisenhower noted. He pointed out that Nazi officials ordered Monte Cassino’s Abbot, Gregorio Diamare—who “could not bring himself to believe that the Allies would destroy such a venerated edifice as the Abbey”—to send its art and archives to a safe location.

Allied bombers brutalized German historic sites for the rest of the war. “The center of Trier, for instance, was subjected to twenty raids between 14 August and 24 December 1944, causing severe damage to the fourth-century AD basilica and the Liebfrauenkirche, one of the oldest Gothic churches in Germany,” Nicola Lambourne writes. After the January 1945 raid on Nuremberg, much “of the historic center was destroyed, including the Albrecht Dürer house and the nineteenth-century building housing the German National Museum.” Sönke Neitzel explains that the February 1945 attack on Dresden badly damaged nineteen of the city’s thirty most significant cultural structures, leveling the other eleven.

And the U.S. Army Air Forces, while firebombing Japan, leveled Kobe’s 700-year-old Yakusenji Temple, Nagoya’s 17th-century Castle, and Tokyo’s Taitokuin mausoleum—“a spectacular complex,” historian William H. Coaldrake affirms—built in 1632. Mark Michael Rowe writesthat “Isshinji, an extremely popular Jōdo temple in Osaka, began collecting anonymous remains in 1887. The ashes were ground up, combined with concrete and molded into life-sized, seated Bone Buddha statues.” When U.S. incendiaries razed it, “the remains of nearly one million people, abandoned and otherwise, had been entrusted to the temple.” Washington’s campaign to ignite these cities also “accounted either directly or indirectly for the destruction of 50 percent of the total book resources in Japanese libraries,” Rebecca Knuth writes.

The destruction was equally broad in North Korea, years later. “Pyongyang is usually presented as an ancient city,” Andrei Lankov observes. “The area has been the site of a major settlement for nearly two millennia,” he acknowledges, but adds that “the present Pyongyang was built almost from scratch in the mid-1950s”—mainly because “a major US bombing campaign that reached its height in 1952” wiped out “some 90 percent of the city,” erasing much of its history. Justin Corfield, in his Historical Dictionary of Pyongyang, lists what was lost. The Kwangbop Buddhist Temple dated to 392; Potong Gate “was one of the ancient city gates of the walled city of Pyongyang, built in the mid-sixth century;” Sungryong Hall, a temple, “was built in 1429,” and like the other structures “destroyed during the Korean War,” Corfield concludes.

Or consider Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary. The Global Heritage Fund explains it “is one of Vietnam’s only archaeological sites to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and was inhabited from the 4th- through the 15thcenturies AD,” when the Champa Kingdom blossomed. But “a large majority of Mỹ Sơn’s exquisite architecture was destroyed by aerial bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War.” A team of scholars, involved in the “ongoing conservation effort” there, admit their work “cannot change one sad truth: one of the towers that the [B-52] bombing crew saw that day [in August 1969], the temple once described as the ‘most perfect expression of Cham architecture,’ is gone forever.’”

Anthropologist Christina Schwenkel uncovered “another buried history of US aerial bombing in Vietnam: that of the demolished city of Vinh, provincial capital of Nghệ An.” From 1964-1973, “the city was subjected to more than 4,700 air strikes,” during which its “historical and cultural patrimony”—including the 18th-century Diệc Pagoda and 19th-century imperial citadel—was finished off. Mervyn Brown, in his memoir recounting years spent in Laos, describes a similar U.S. bombing. “The destruction of Xieng Khouang, a former royal capital with many beautiful temples and other buildings of historical and artistic interest, was a particular act of cultural vandalism.” The ruin was so complete “that it was not feasible to rebuild the town,” he laments.

There were, in other words, precedents for what the British Museum’s Curtis saw in U.S.-occupied Babylon. And that city’s damage stemmed from Washington’s antiquities policy. “During preparations for the 2003 war on Iraq,” writes journalist Robert Bevan, “US military planners identified 150 important archaeological sites to be avoided. US archaeologists responded with a list of 4,000 vital locations—a degree of ‘duty of protection’ that the Pentagon rejected despite international law demanding it.” Familiar results followed. Vandals torched the National Library and Archives and the Ministry of Religious Endowment’s Koranic Library. Looters hit the Museum of Archaeology. “The US forces did not seek to prevent the destruction here and elsewhere,” Bevan argues, “despite being implored to do so.”

“Why does the nihilistic effort to wipe out an ancient civilization echo so strongly?” Thanassis Cambanis asked in the Boston Globe. He was writing about ISIS, with justifiable outrage. But we should ask another question: Why doesn’t Washington’s global bombing of cultural sites—accompanying mass slaughter—echo at all?

Nick Alexandrov lives in Washington, DC.  He can be reached at: [email protected]

Many readers of the European and American press must be confused about what actually is happening in the negotiations between Greece (Alexis Tsipras and Yannis Varoufakis). The European Troika (the IMF, European Central Bank and European Council now object to the name and want to be called simply “the Institutions”) have stepped up their demands on Syriza.

What is called “negotiation” is in reality a demand for total surrender. The Troika’s demand is to force Syriza to go back on the campaign promises that it made to voters who replaced the old right-wing Pasok (“socialist”) and Conservative New Democracy coalition, or else simply apply the austerity program to which that coalition had agreed:cutbacks in pensions, deeper austerity, more privatization selloffs, and a tax shift off business onto labor. In short, economic suicide.

Last weekend a group of us met in Delphi to discuss and draft the following Declaration of Support for Greece against the neoliberal Institutions. It is now clear that finance is the new mode of warfare. The creditors’ objective is the same as military conquest: they want the land, the natural resource rights and monopolies, and they want tribute (in this case, debt service). And they don’t want sovereign Greece to tax the economic rent from these assets. In short, the negotiation between The Institutions and Greece is a bold exercise in rent extraction.

To read the press, one might think that Tsipras and Varoufakis are simply trying to capitulate, only to be turned down. Even many left observers have criticized them for taking the positionthat “We want to pay.”

What is not recognized is howsuccessful the Syriza negotiating strategy has been. While most voters opposed austerity, they also initially (and still) have a fear from withdrawing from the eurozone. Tsiparas and Varoufakis have walked a fine line and accurately judged unyielding and totalitarian the Institutions’ “hard money” creditor approach would be.

The eurozone’s rejection of what obviously is an attempt at reason has greatly strengthened Syriza’s hand to say “NO” to deeper austerity. It would bring yet more unemployment, yet more emigration, yet more bankruptcy – and deeper distress prices for the public domain that the Institutions are insisting be sold off.

On the surface, Syriza’s non-payment of the debt that earlier coalitions ran up (largely by not taxing the oligarchs who supported them) need not cause a great disturbance in financial markets. After all, the debts to which Greece objects are those run up to the IMF and ECB, not private bondholders.

Yet the eurozone may turn this non-economic crisis into a political crisis by following through on its threat to exclude Greece from the eurozone. Current conditions are such that much larger numbers of Greeks may now support this position than was the case last January.

At stake is much more than Greece itself. What the attendees at Delphi want is to rescue not only the Greek economy, but all Europe — by replacing the euro and the ECB with a less austerity-based monetary ideology. If they are driven out of the eurozone, they will be able to create a real central bank (via the Treasury) to monetize deficit spending to revive the economy.

It is clear that what is needed is to replace the IMF with an institution able to assess the ability to pay debts, and to write down bad debts accordingly. Such an institution would replace Chicago School austerity and fiscal policy with a more progressive monetary and tax policy.

If the European Central Bank follows through on its threat to wreck the Greek banking system, Syriza has put itself in a position to replace the oligarchs’ banks with a public option.

The Institutions evidently hoped that the government will face a no confidence vote if it is excluded from the eurozone. The reality is that it would have suffered a no confidence defeat if it had capitulated. Tsipras is now in a position to explain to voters, “We acted reasonably to do what we could. Nothing will satisfy them except loss of our sovereignty, our land and mineral wealth, and our power to tax. The IMF and ECB won’t admit their 2010 mistake in not writing down the Greek debts, which stemmed largely from the falsified Goldman-Sachs-Papademos ploy that got usinto the eurozone in the first place.”

In sum, followers of recent news reports should bear in mind that despite all the statements of good faith that Greece “wants to pay its debts,” the reality is that there is no money to do so – except to the extent that the IMF may “extend and pretend” the charade by advancing Greece the IMF’s own money to pay. As matters have turned out, Tsipras and Varoufakis have not paid foreign debts with Greek money. They have not balanced the Greek budget by cutting back pensions, nor have they sold off the crown jewels of publicly owned infrastructure that European banks hoped to finance to their clients.

Instead of selling out, Tsipras has given Greeks enough time to pull out their savings from the banks and convert them into euro notes (domestic circulation of which has risen by 13 billion euros), or into “hard” assets such as cars (or even boats) with a resale value.


This is the Delphi Declaration in support of Greece in its confrontation with The Institutions. (emphasis added)

THE DELPHI DECLARATION

On Greece and Europe

 

 

 

European governments, European institutions and the IMF, acting in close alliance with, if not under direct control of, big international banks and other financial institutions, are now exercising a maximum of pressure, including open threats,  blackmailing and a slander and terror communication campaign against the recently elected Greek government and against the Greek people.

They are asking the elected government of Greece to continue the “bail-out” program and the supposed “reforms” imposed on this country in May 2010, in theory to “help” and “save” it.

As a result of this program, Greece has experienced by far the biggest economic, social and political catastrophe in the history of Western Europe since 1945. It has lost 27% of its GDP, more than the material losses of France or Germany during the First World War. The living standards have fallen sharply. The social welfare system is all but destroyed. Greeks have seen social rights won during one century of struggles taken back. Whole social strata are completely destroyed, more and more Greeks are falling from their balconies to end a life of misery and desperation, every talented person who can leaves from the country. Democracy, under the rule of a “Troika” acting as collective economic assassin, a kind of Kafka’s “Court”, has been transformed into a sheer formality in the very country where it was born! Greeks are experiencing now the same feeling of insecurity about all basic conditions of life, that the French experienced in 1940, Germans in 1945, Soviets in 1991. At the same time, the two problems which this program was supposed to address, Greek sovereign debt and the competitiveness of the Greek economy have sharply deteriorated.

Now, European institutions and governments are refusing even the most reasonable, elementary, minor concession to the Athens government, they refuse even the slightest face-saving formula there might be. They want a total surrender of SYRIZA, they want its humiliation, its destruction. By denying to the Greek people any peaceful and democratic way out of its social and national tragedy, they are pushing Greece into chaos, if not civil war. Indeed, even now, an undeclared social civil war of “low intensity” is being waged inside this country, especially against the unprotected, the ill, the young and the very old, the weaker and the unlucky. Is this the Europe we want our children to live in?

We want to express our total, unconditional solidarity with the struggle of the Greek people for their dignity, their national and social salvation, for their liberation from the unacceptable neocolonial rule the “Troika” is trying to impose on this European country. We denounce the illegal and unacceptable agreements successive Greek governments have been obliged, under threat and blackmail, to sign, in violation of all European treaties, of the Charter of UN and of the Greek constitution. We call on European governments and institutions to stop their irresponsible and/or criminal policy towards Greece immediately and adopt a generous emergency program of support to redress the Greek economic situation and face the humanitarian disaster already unfolding in this country.

We also appeal to all European peoples to realize that what is at stake in Greece it is not only Greek salaries and pensions, Greek schools and hospitals or even the fate even of this historic nation where the very notion of “Europe” was born. What is at stake in Greece are also Spanish, Italian, even the German salaries, pensions, welfare, the very fate of the European welfare state, of European democracy, of Europe as such. Stop believing your media, who tell you the facts, only to distort their meaning, check independently what your politicians and your media are saying. They try to create, and they have created an illusion of stability. You may live in Lisbon or in Paris, in Frankfurt or in Stockholm, you may think that you are living in relative security. Do not keep such illusions. You should look to Greece, to see there the future your elites are preparing for you, for all of us and for our children. It is much easier and intelligent to stop them now, than it will be later. Not only Greeks, but all of us and our children will pay an enormous price, if we permit to our governments to complete the social slaughter of a whole European nation.

We appeal in particular to the German people. We do not belong to those who are always reminding the Germans of the past in order to keep them in an “inferior”, second-class position, or in order to use the “guilt factor” for their dubious ends. We appreciate the organizational and technological skills of the German people, their proven democratic and especially ecological and peace sensitivities. We want and we need the German people to be the main champions in the building of another Europe, of a prosperous, independent, democratic Europe, of a multipolar world.

Germans know better than anybody else in Europe, where blind obedience to irresponsible leaders can lead and has indeed led in the past. It is not up to us to teach them any such lesson. They know better than anybody else how easy is to begin a campaign with triumphalist rhetoric, only to end up with ruins everywhere around you. We do not invite them to follow our opinion. We demand simply from them to think thoroughly the opinion of such distinguished leaders of them like Helmut Schmitt for instance, we demand them to hear the voice of the greatest among modern German poet, of Günter Grass, the terrible prophecy he has emitted about Greece and Europe some years before his death.

We call upon you, the German people, to stop such a Faustian alliance between German political elites and international finance. We call upon the German people not to permit to their government to continue doing to the Greeks exactly what the Allies did to Germans after their victory in the First World War. Do not let your elites and leaders to transform the entire continent, ultimately including Germany, into a dominion of Finance.

More than ever we are in urgent need of a radical restructuring of European debt, of serious measures to control the activities of the financial sector, of a “Marshal Plan” for the European periphery, of a courageous rethinking and re-launching of a European project which, in its present form, has proven unsustainable. We need to find now the courage to do this, if we want to leave a better Europe to our children, not a Europe in ruins, in continuous financial and even open military conflicts among its nations.

Delphi, 21 June 2015

The above declaration was adopted by nearly all participants in the Delphi conference on the crisis, on alternatives to euroliberalism and EU/Russia relations, held at Delphi, Greece on 20-21st of June. It is also supported by some people who were not able to be present. The list of people who signed it follows [see complete version on GR]. In it there are not only citizens of EU countries, but also of Switzerland, USA, Russia and India. Many distinguished American scholars seem to be more sensitive as regard the European crisis, than the … political leaders of EU themselves! As for Russians, it is only normal and natural to bear a great interest for what is going on in EU, as EU citizens bear also an interest for what is going on in Russia. All participants in the Delphi conference share the strong conviction that Russia is an integral part of Europe, that there is a strong interconnection between what happens in EU and in Russia. They are categorically opposed to anti-Russia hysteria, which in fact is nothing less than the preparation of a new, even more dangerous cold, if not hot war.

By: Charlie Hoyle

Israel was the single largest user of explosive weapons among international states in 2014 as a result of its war on Gaza, a London-based NGO said this week, providing further testimony to its devastating use of force on the coastal territory last summer.

In a report entitled ‘Explosive States: Monitoring explosive violence in 2014,’ Action on Armed Violence said that Gaza — together with Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, and Pakistan — saw one of the highest number of global casualties from explosive weapons as a result of Israel’s use of military force during Operation Protective Edge.

The majority of the 2,200 Palestinian victims during the war – including 500 children — were killed by explosive weaponry, with 53 percent killed by aerial weapons such as bombs, missiles or airstrikes and 47 percent by ground or naval artillery shelling, AOAV said.

Gaza accounted for a staggering 35 percent of global fatalities from aerial explosives and experienced the largest increase in civilian deaths from explosive weaponry in 2014 — in line with a five percent rise in total casualties worldwide.

Syria topped the list for aerial explosive fatalities, accounting for 43 percent of global deaths.

A Palestinian boy walks past the rubble of his family’s former home destroyed by Israel.(AFP/Thomas Coex)

Israel launched over 6,000 airstrikes and fired 50,000 artillery shells into the densely populated coastal territory during the war, representing a 533 percent increase from artillery use in Operation Cast Lead and averaging 680 shells fired into Gaza each day of the conflict.

The statistics reinforce findings from the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza war, which on Monday decried the “huge firepower” used in Gaza which caused unprecedented “devastation and human suffering.”

Rob Perkins, a senior weapons researcher at AOAV, told Ma’an that Gaza experienced the third highest number of civilian casualties from explosive violence in 2014 – surpassed only by Iraq and Syria.

“The operation in Gaza was characterized by the use of heavy explosive weapons, like massive aircraft bombs, or unguided artillery shell. These weapons affect a wide area, and after the extent to which these weapons were used in populated areas of Gaza, it is no surprise to see it so high in the table.”

 

Palestinian children walk along the rubble of houses in Gaza City destroyed by Israeli shelling during 50-day war in the summer of 2014, on June 22, 2015.(AFP)

Children bear the brunt of explosive violence

The 50-day conflict in Gaza killed 539 children and injured 2,956, most of whom are now struggling with trauma and life-long disabilities, according to the UN children’s agency UNICEF.

Of the 28 different countries and territories where child fatalities from explosive weapons were reported, 40 percent were killed or injured in Gaza, the largest proportion in any international conflict zone ahead of Syria at 25 percent, AOAV said.

Aerial explosives, such as airstrikes, were particularly dangerous for children during the war, with AOAV recording 166 separate incidents where children were killed or injured by explosive weapons within their family homes.

In one such incident on July 29, Israel’s air force dropped a 2,000 pound aerial bomb on a three-story apartment block in Khan Younis, killing 18 children. There were a total of 33 fatalities in the bombing, which flattened the a-Dali building.

Israel’s devastating use of force during the military operation meant that it was the individual state actor which caused the most reported civilian casualties from explosive weaponry in 2014, with Israeli attacks accounting for 44 percent of all global incidents of explosive violence.

Over 84 percent of those attacks were reported in places where civilians were concentrated, far higher than the global average of 61 percent.

“On average, AOAV recorded nine civilian deaths and injuries per explosive weapons attack in Gaza,” researcher Rob Perkins said.

Although lower than rates in Iraq and Syria – two countries mired in brutal, intractable civil wars – Perkins says the high toll is suggestive of “how dangerous these weapons are even when aimed at a specific target.”

A UN inquiry found that the Israeli military was responsible for seven attacks on UN schools in Gaza that were used as shelters during the 2014 war.

In one incident on July 30, Israeli forces fired at least ten 155mm artillery shells near a UNRWA school for girls in Jabaliya which had been sheltering hundreds of displaced Palestinians.

Dozens of people, including children, were killed in the attack, with UNRWA calling it a “source of universal shame” that “children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter.”

Perkins says that the use of powerful, imprecise and high impact explosive weaponry in densely populated areas means it is inevitable civilians will be killed in the crossfire.

“AOAV agrees with the UN’s Commission of Inquiry when it said that the use of artillery with wide-area effects is not appropriate in densely-populated areas,” he said.

“Sadly this is what we saw last year in Gaza.”

Copyright Ma-an, 2015

Mind Altering Drugs

June 28th, 2015 by Peter Vlemmix

We fight a continuous war to prevent people taking illegal mind altering drugs for pleasure or sorrow, it’s called the war on drugs. 

Yet we use society’s most respected professionals –namely medical doctors and pharmacists– to hand out legal mind altering drugs, which have devastating consequences on people’s health.

You are made to believe that Big Pharma is interested in your health, but in practice it is a lethal profit making machine.

Media seems determined not to point out the major cause of migrant crisis facing the EU is the chaos and misery United States helped introduce to Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia

by Danielle Ryan

The scale of the migrant crisis Europe is facing today cannot be understated. It is truly unprecedented. What is habitually understated, however — and in fact almost completely ignored by mainstream media — are the real roots of the crisis.

The debate around migration into the EU is happening nearly entirely without reference to the causes of the recent influx of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. The elephant in the room is NATO and nobody really wants to talk about it.

Hundreds of articles, laden down with numbers and proposals and predictions fail to make any direct link between cause and effect. News anchors sit seemingly baffled, mouths agape, at the apocalyptic-like pictures they are seeing land on their desks, and yet few are willing to draw the appropriate conclusions. But it is such a basic and logical connection that it’s hard to believe it is not being made very loudly and very persistently.

Maybe it’s just that these journalists are so conditioned to framing U.S. and NATO policy in a positive light that the links don’t even really occur to them. Or maybe they’re simply embarrassed and trying to shift focus from their long-recorded support for various military interventions in these countries.

Either way, the result is that the story is framed in such a way that it makes the timing of the crisis sound almost random. We’re witnessing a conversation about how to ‘deal’ with boats full of Libyans making their way across the Mediterranean — as if Libya was a country that had just self-imploded yesterday, and for no discernible reason.

A fierce debate is raging over ‘what to do’ about these migrants — and in a way that’s understandable because that is the more immediate problem — but the debate we really need to be having is about the policies, NATO’s policies, which were the catalyst.

Even if Europe unites in formulating a ‘solution’ to the problem, it will be nothing more than a bandaid fix because it will only deal with symptom. After all, what’s the point in covering your open wound with a bandaid when the guy who cut you is still wielding a knife in the same room? It doesn’t take a genius to work out how that story ends.

Whenever the cause is grudgingly mentioned by the media, it is mentioned briefly and abstractly where the author or anchor might refer to “conflict” or make mention of how violence has “reignited” in these countries in recent years and months.

The editors at the New York Times in particular, are big fans of loading all the blame squarely onto Europe’s shoulders. Here a Times piece argues that the migrant crisis “puts Europe’s policy missteps into focus”. Another piece, from the editorial board, lectures Europe on how to handle the situation.

In April, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg called for a “comprehensive response” to the crisis and promised that NATO would help to stabilize the situation. The alliance’s role in “stabilizing” Afghanistan was part of its broader approach to the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, he said.

That is rich coming from the head of a ‘security’ and ‘defensive’ alliance which for years has pursued a policy of offensive destabilization in the very regions which people are fleeing from in their hundreds of thousands. But Stoltenberg’s comments and NATO’s actions are easily decoded by the employment of some basic common sense.

The NATO modus operandi is clear. The pattern, repeated over and over, involves the complete destabilization of a region, to be swiftly followed up with another NATO-led ‘solution’ to the problem. When you couple that with the use of spokespeople who are unashamed to feign ignorance and lie blatantly (Jen Psaki, Marie Harf etc.), and a compliant media that will regurgitate the line without question, this is what you get.

The 2011 NATO intervention in Libya was authorized by the United Nations on “humanitarian” grounds and resulted in the deaths of between 50,000 and 100,000 people and the displacement of 2 million. Very humanitarian.

Similarly, after the U.S.-led campaign to destabilize Syria in an effort to topple Bashar al-Assad, facilitating (and even supporting) the rise of ISIS in the region, a staggering 10 million have been displaced (according to Amnesty International) and European countries are left to help pick up the pieces. Germany, for example, has pledged to resettle 30,000 Syrian refugees. Sweden, a non-NATO nation, has taken in similar numbers.

It should be made clear however, that the numbers European countries have taken or pledged to take pale in comparison to the numbers being hosted in other Middle Eastern countries. Lebanon, for example, is hosting 1.1 million Syrian refugees. Jordan is hosting more than 600,000. Iraq hosts nearly a quarter of a million. Turkey hosts 1.6 million.

There is one country that’s getting off scot-free in all of this — at least on the Syrian front. That country is the United States. The U.S. has taken in less than 900 Syrian refugees after four years of war. American officials have cited “national security” in their explanations for not yet taking more, although they have said they would like to see the number increase.

Maybe this has something to do with it?

Debate not allowed

There is a second media crime flying under the radar here and it is this: In European countries where the massive influx of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa have caused serious societal divisions, where migrants have failed to assimilate (for a variety of reasons, including both government policies and often radical religious beliefs), Western media will allow no one to talk about it honestly — and woe betide the person who tries.

Take Sweden, where the disease of political correctness is at an even more advanced stage than it is in the rest of Europe. There, any attempt to debate the coherence of a ‘doors wide open’ immigration policy is branded as “racist”. A further irony in the Swedish context, is that the country is facing a housing crisis and has nowhere to put most of the people they are pledging to resettle. There’s some real forward-thinking, common sense policy for you.

This is a dangerous combination for Europe: An unsustainable influx of migrants, foreign policy which ensures its continuation, a docile media, and an epidemic of political correctness which has infected the entire continent.

Media 101 on the migrant crisis: Talk a lot about migrants, don’t mention why they fled and then call anyone who has a problem with it a “racist” — success! Oh, and you get an added bonus if you can somehow link it all to ‘Russian aggression’, Vladimir Putin and NATO as a ‘defensive’ alliance.

Some European countries are taking a more hardline approach and are getting slammed for it. Hungary, for example, is looking at building a barrier wall along its border with Serbia, similar to barriers along the Greek-Turkish and Bulgarian-Turkish borders. Again, this has sparked accusations of xenophobia and racism from media and political quarters.

But that’s part of the game, isn’t it? If NATO’s war supporters can focus the debate around the idea that anyone who wants to address or critically assess immigration policy is “racist” then we won’t have to talk about why the migrants are here in the first place or why they are facing such dire circumstances at home.

Russia Today’s Oksana Boyko tried recently, to broach this topic with Peter Sutherland, the UN’s special representative on international migration and development, but she got nowhere. She argued that the debate around migration into the EU can’t really be had without addressing the essence and heart of the problem, but found that NATO policy is apparently a topic not up for discussion.

Debating Europe’s migrant crisis without acknowledging the context in which it has been created it useless. It would be like asking Americans to debate police brutality without talking about race. The two are inescapably interlinked and any ‘solutions’ that come from an incomplete debate will ultimately fail.

For now though, it seems Europe will continue to debate this humanitarian crisis in terms of ‘what to do’ without addressing the ‘how to stop’ and we’ll keep running around in a vicious circle.

An easier solution, of course, would be for NATO to put an end to its campaign of destabilization in the Middle East and North Africa, but that would require the acceptance and acknowledgement of some very hard truths.

Troika Intends Starving Greece Into Economic Submission

June 28th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Eurozone, ECB and IMF officials’ treatment reveal the latest example of predatory capitalism.

Since Greece’s financial crisis erupted in 2009, imposed austerity diktats incrementally transferred its wealth, assets and enterprises to Western interests at the expense of a 25% GDP drop, mass impoverishment and unemployment (60% for youths), elimination of vital public services, and a brain drain of its best and brightest. 

SYRIZA Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised austerity relief, caved to Troika demands, then refused further accommodation last week.

Greece is effectively bankrupt. Without bailout help, it’s unable to pay its bureaucrats and keep its economy from collapsing. At the same time, accepting greater debt peonage on Troika terms assures an endless downward cycle to oblivion.

Tsipras announced a July 5 national referendum to allow Greeks to decide up or down whether to accept or reject their demands.

Overnight Saturday, Greek parliamentarians approved holding a plebiscite. Tsipras’ motion easily passed despite opposition from pro-EU parties – notably New Democracy and Pasok.

“We exhausted every limit of concessions so there could be an agreement,” said Tsipras. “Perhaps some saw that as a weakness. The day of truth is coming for the creditors, the time when they will see that Greece will not surrender, that Greece is not a game that has ended.”

He called on all Greeks to reject the Troika “ultimatum” with a “resounding NO.” Based on his 80% approval rating, he’ll likely get it. Then what?

BBC correspondent Robert Peston close to talks said “(t)he European Central Bank is expected to end emergency lending to Greece’s banks on Sunday.”

“The country’s banks depend on the ECB’s Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA). Its governing council is meeting later.”

Greece will likely “announce a bank holiday on Monday, pending the introduction of capital controls.”

“Austrian Finance Minister Hans Jorg Schelling said a Grexit now “appears almost inevitable.”

Two years ago, Cyprus declared a bank holiday and instituted capital controls short-term to deal with its banking crisis. Supplies of basic goods dried up instantly because importers had no cash to pay for them. Months later, things still hadn’t returned to normal.

Cutting off Greece’s financial lifeline would cause greater duress than what Cyprus experienced. Yet relief is available by turning East, not West.

Russia and China are likely suppliers. Perhaps other BRICS countries. Staying trapped in the Eurozone straightjacket assures deepening debt peonage – an endless cycle of financial and social disaster for ordinary Greek people already suffering hugely.

Ending Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) is likely Monday or Tuesday when default on a $1.8 billion IMF payment looks certain.

On Sunday, ECB board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi said “(g)iven the uncertainty over Greece remaining in the euro, the ECB will no longer be able to supply liquidity to the Greek banks, who in turn will be unable to supply euros to their clients.”

ECB governors are meeting Sunday to decide whether to end ELA. A two-thirds governing council majority is needed to approve it.

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan expects a Monday bank holiday announcement. “It is not a question of waiting to see what might happen…in terms of a crisis. The crisis has commenced,” he said.

For now, things are in unchartered waters. An ECB statement said it “tried to avoid taking any steps that would push Greece out of the eurozone.”

“But the bank’s rules would make it more difficult for it to continue to support Greek banks without the prospect of an agreement with creditors.”

Troika officials are amenable to more talks without offering meaningful concessions. Whether Grexit looms remains to be seen.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Libya : Lawless, Alarming, Unpredictable, Dangerous

June 28th, 2015 by Alexander Mezyaev

The situation in Libya is continuing to develop alarmingly. The current situation in the country is characterised by a complete lack of any signs of a state system. Libya is being devoured by civil war, disintegration, and the seizure of its territory by a huge variety of forces, most notably the Islamic State. Despite the fact that Prime Minister al-Thani took part in the recently concluded African Union summit in Johannesburg as the head of Libya, suggesting that he is actually the one ruling the country would be a sad joke. And although al-Thani’s government is actually recognised by the African Union (and the majority of other countries) as ‘legitimate’, this is more out of despair.

At present, the ‘legitimate’ government is located in Tobruk, about a thousand miles from the country’s capital, Tripoli. But even there, neither Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani nor his government are in control of anything. In February, the residence of the head of parliament, Saleh Issa, was bombed by Islamic State militants and in May, Prime Minister al-Thani was lucky to survive an assassination attempt.

Parallel government bodies are operating in Tripoli that also have no control over the situation in the country, just individual parts of the former Libyan Jamahiriya. There is a total of five competing ‘governments’ in Libya, not counting those that have not proclaimed themselves to be a government, but are simply taking power into their own hands. Not a single one of the Libyan ‘governments’ has managed to resolve the country’s main problem – putting an end to the mass violence and establishing at least some kind of control over the situation – and the number of armed groups is only increasing.

The situation was triggered back in 2012 when the latest in a series of favourites in the rank of ‘government’ officially decided to form armed brigades and provide them with law enforcement functions and the right to detention, establishing relatively high rates of pay for those working in them. This immediately led to the emergence of not one, but several parallel armies, police forces and other ‘gendarmes’. Since then, many armed groups have become more efficient, improved their weapons and begun to outperform the national army and police force, while remaining on the payroll of the government. The weapons that once belonged to The former Libyan army have been looted and there is now a powerful uninterrupted flow of weapons into the country from abroad, including heavy artillery and ammunition. Despite efforts to tighten up the arms embargo, weapons continue to flow into the country (1).

Since 90 per cent of Libya’s economy depends on the sale of oil, there is an ongoing bloody struggle for the possession of oilfields, pipelines and ports. In the western parts of the country, the Libya Dawn coalition, which seized the capital of Tripoli and its environs, announced the appointment of a Government of National Salvation (after which Prime Minister al-Thani and his government fled to the east of the country). After taking control of Tripoli, Libya Dawn began a large-scale military operation in the area inhabited by the Warshefana tribe to strengthen its control over the city’s surrounding areas. Several weeks of intensive shelling of areas of Aziziya and Swani led to the exodus of more than 120,000 inhabitants. A counter-offensive by Zintani forces launched to prevent the possible advance of Libya Dawn also led to a huge number of deaths and a massive displacement of the population.

Armed clashes in the oil-producing region resulted in the closure of oil loading ports in al-Sidra and Ra’s Lanuf and the destruction of seven of the country’s nineteen oil-storage facilities. There are ongoing armed conflicts in eastern Libya between Operation Dignity forces, mostly made up of Libyan army soldiers and other forces faithful to General Khalifa Haftar, and the Shura Revolutionary Council in Benghazi, a coalition of Islamist militias. The military clashes taking place in Libya are not just about sorting out the armed groups. The situation has long since grown into a civil war. Civilians are increasingly taking part in fighting on both sides and tensions are being stirred up between families.

A particular factor of the current situation in Libya is the creation of the Islamic State in part of its territory. The Shura Council of Islamic Youth in Derna has already sworn allegiance to IS (2). Although not all Islamic organisations in Libya have supported IS, its positions are gradually becoming stronger. So strong, in fact, that in February, Egypt carried out a massive strike on IS positions.

And what has been the UN’s reaction? After all, it was the UN Security Council that passed Resolutions 1970 and 1973, which served as a justification for NATO aggression. So far, the response to what has been taking place has been two new UN Security Council resolutions that will obviously not be able to solve the Libyan crisis. Resolution 2214 on the extension of sanctions against a number of terrorist organisation members, for example, was adopted at the same time as a report was published by a panel of exports from the UN Security Council on Libya, which openly said that the regime of sanctions was ineffectual and virtually did nothing to prevent the illegal trade of oil and the trade of weapons (3). The provisions of another resolution, Resolution 2215, simply come across as clueless: The UN Security Council reminds the Libyan government that arms and related material, including related ammunition and spare parts, that are supplied, sold or transferred as security or disarmament assistance to the Libyan Government should not be resold to, transferred to, or made available for use by parties other than the designated end user.

Of special note is the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC). During the preparation and carrying out of NATO operations against Libya in March 2011, this institution openly came out as an instrument of war. The arrest warrant issued by the ICC against Muammar Gaddafi was a legal justification for war. Several days ago, the UN Security Council held its regular review of ICC activities in Libya. It became known that the International Criminal Court had launched a new investigation into the Islamic State. However, the proceedings already underway are in limbo. Neither Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saif Gaddafi, nor al-Senussi (former state security minister in Gaddafi’s government) have as yet been handed over to the ICC, while the ICC itself is acting as if nothing special is going on. While feigning attempts to call for Saif Gaddafi to be handed over to The Hague, the court has abandoned any further demands regarding al-Senussi. And this is with the complete annihilation of the state system, including the legal system!

Essentially, the Security Council is just pretending that something is required of the Libyan authorities, without actually taking any kind of action that would force the Libyan government to comply with its demand. As we saw earlier, the UN Security Council was perfectly capable of achieving its demands when it came to the previous Libyan government. Hence the unavoidable conclusion: neither the ICC nor the UN Security Council really wants Saif Gaddafi’s case to be transferred to the Hague. Why? The answer is perfectly obvious. The case against Saif Gaddafi does not have any kind of real evidence. Transferring the case to The Hague would just give Saif the opportunity to tell the whole world about the crimes the West has perpetrated against Libya. Thus it is perfectly clear that neither the ICC, nor the Western majority in the UN Security Council, want to hold real and, in fact, public hearings against Libya’s leaders. On the contrary, they have a vital interest in the courts either not being held at all or being carried out by Libya’s current authorities without providing any kind of guarantees of justice.

The only country that has criticised the activities of the ICC in Libya has been Russia. The Russian representative on the UN Security Council said: Following the destruction of its State institutions in 2011, the situation in Libya continues to be a source of multifaceted threats. It is enough to mention the vivid spectre of terrorism, arms trafficking and the unprecedented growth of the criminal business of smuggling migrants across the Mediterranean Sea. The breakup of the State has reached the point at which the Libyan conflict has become a constant, roaring hotspot on the global map of political instability. (4)

Only the Russian representative paid any attention to the fact that instead of real reports, the ICC’s prosecutor was providing artistic descriptions more akin to the materials issued by monitoring missions» than the reports of a judicial authority. The Russian diplomat noted that the experience of using the ICC to address the situation in Libya in terms of ensuring justice, encouraging prevention and contributing to national reconciliation cannot for the time being serve as an argument in support of proposals to refer other cases to the Court.

And this is where the International Criminal Court has started to show some real activity, hence the investigations into the crimes committed by IS militants. This is a completely new twist in the Libyan case at the ICC. It has absolutely nothing to do with achieving justice, however, it is just that the ICC (and its bosses) wants to use the situation in Libya to penetrate the whole of North Africa. After all, the Islamic State is not just occupying Libyan territory.

Notes

(1) «Special report of the Secretary-General on the strategic assessment of the United Nations presence in Libya». UN Document: S/2015/113.
(2) «Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya», S/2015/144.
(3) Final report from the panel of experts established pursuant to Resolution 1973 (2011), S/2015/128. [The group believes that the requesting mechanism for the designation of vessels is ineffective and should be revised. The Panel further found that not only crude oil was subject to illicit export, but also its derivatives, which is likely to provide funding to the ongoing conflict.]
(4) See the transcript for the UN Security Council meeting on 12 may 2015. UN Document: S/PV.7441.

Doomsday Scenarios: Climate Change and World War III

June 28th, 2015 by Michael Welch

“The metaphor is so obvious. Easter Island isolated in the Pacific Ocean — once the island got into trouble, there was no way they could get free. There was no other people from whom they could get help. In the same way that we on Planet Earth, if we ruin our own [world], we won’t be able to get help.” Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

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According to statistical documentation from scientists at Princeton and Stanford Universities and the the University of California Berkeley, the Earth is experiencing a mass extinction event un-rivalled since the end Cretacious mass extinction of 65 million years ago which eradicated not only the dinosaurs, but virtually all large land animals. [1] [2]

 Lead author of the study, Gerardo Ceballos, predicts that our species, homo sapiens, is likely to die off early on in this sixth great extinction. [3]

 Contributing to this extinction event are climate change, pollution and deforestation.[4]


Based on the peer-reviewed scientfific literature Guy McPherson predicts that habitat loss due to climate change will claim the lives of the last remaining humans on Earth as soon as 2030! [5] McPherson appears in the first half hour of the program to discuss the most recent developments pointing to this doomsday scenario.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have as of January moved the hands of their doomsday clock to 3 minutes before midnight, in the wake of not only climate change but also the failure to reduce nuclear arsenal around the globe. [6] Over the past year, tensions have been flaring between the US and Russia, both nuclear armed states. Could there be a scenario in coming weeks which could escalate into a third and final world war?

Mahdi Nazemroaya points to Ukraine, The South China Sea, and Syria as a few of several flash-points around the globe which could potentially trigger World War III. In the second half hour of the program, Nazemroaya will detail the geopolitical dynamics affecting these regions and pushing humanity to the nuclear brink.

Guy McPherson is an Emeritus Professor of Natural Resource and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. He is the author of the 2013 book GOING DARK which outlines the strong case that runaway climate change is here. His blog Nature Bats Last contains a monster climate change essay with dozens of links to peer-reviewed analysis outlining what he sees as the hopeless reality of near term human extinction due to Climate Change.

Guy is also a co-host of the weekly radio podcast Nature Bats Last which airs Tuesdays on the Progressive Radio Network.

 Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Sociologist and a research Associate with the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is the award-winning author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) and a forthcoming book The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa.  He is also a contributor at the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), Moscow, and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica, Italy.

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The  show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CFUV 101. 9 FM in Victoria. Airing Sundays from 7-8am PT.

CHLY 101.7 FM in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the  North Shore to the US Border. It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

Notes:

  1. Ceballos et al (June 19, 2015) “Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction”, Science Advances; http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/5/e1400253.full

  2. http://www.skepticalscience.com/Earths-five-mass-extinction-events.html

  3. BBC News (June 20, 2015): “Earth ‘entering new extinction phase, US study”; 

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33209548

  4. ibid

  5. http://guymcpherson.com/2014/01/climate-change-summary-and-update/

  6. http://thebulletin.org/three-minutes-and-counting7938

Interview Transcript

Guy McPherson on Near Term Extinction of Human Species due to Climate Change

Global Research: Guy McPherson is Professor Emeritus at the Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. He is the author of the 2013 book GOING DARK which outlines the strong case that runaway climate change is here. His blog Nature Bats Last contains a monster climate-change essay with dozens of links to peer-reviewed analysis outlining what he sees as the hopeless reality of near term human extinction due to Climate Change.

Guy is also a co-host of the weekly radio podcast Nature Bats Last which airs Tuesdays on the Progressive Radio Network. He joins us once again to update us on our climate predicament and other warnings on the horizon. So Professor Guy McPherson, thank you once again for joining us!

Guy McPherson: Thank you Michael! It’s a pleasure, as always to visit with you!

GR: We caught you in the middle of a speaking touron the west coast of North America, so maybe you want to give us a bit of a brief outline of some of the things you’ve been talking about to audiences there.

GM: Sure! I started in Vancouver, British Columbia, then went over to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, as far south as Eugene, Oregon. And all along the way people are talking about the drought, and what a significant impact it has had on vegetation here. Life-long gardeners are surprised at how abrupt climate change is impacting their ability to grow food. Nearly everybody who is paying attention has commented on the trees that are dying. So, it’s been quite a receptive audience for the most part, because they’re immersed in abrupt climate change and find themselves surprised that it’s happening so quickly in this place.

 In my presentations, and I’ve delivered a few so far, I focus on the time-line within which, I believe, habitat will be gone for humans, and not too long after the habitat is gone, there won’t be any humans left on the planet anymore. The general idea is how long do we have with habitat on this planet for our own species, homo sapiens.

 GR: Now I know that…when I first spoke to you, you were saying that it looked as if we had maybe up until about the year 2030, which isn’t too far away. Is there any reason to to change that calculation? Might we be losing habitat sooner, or possibly later?

 GM: It’s difficult for me to imagine we have that long. Depending upon the various events that occur in the near future, we could reach 4 degrees Celsius above base-line in as little as 18 months. Even at the relatively slow rate of overall planetary warming we have observed so far, we are losing the ability of plants and animals to keep up. They can’t keep up with the slow rate of climate change that has happened so far by a factor of 10,000 times!

So, now that we’ve entered the abrupt phase of climate change with, it appears likely that we’ll reach that 4 degrees Celsius mark in a short period of time. I don’t see that we could possibly make it to 2030. But it’s pretty difficult to predict the future, obviously. I just don’t see habitat being around for nearly that long.

 GR: You talk about that 4 degrees Centigrade above uh base-line as being critical because that’s, is it generally accepted among the scientific community that at 4 degrees above base-line that habitat for human habitation is just not there?

GM: Interestingly, Oliver Tickell wrote a paper in the Guardian on the 10th of August 2008, so now nearly 7 years ago, and the article is headlined “On a Planet 4C Hotter, All We Can Prepare for is Extinction,” and he was writing specifically about human extinction.

 I think that’s pretty conservative. It represented the viewpoint at the time, the scientific viewpoint. I think it’s conservative because we’ve had no humans on earth at 3.3 degrees Celsius above base-line in the past, base-line meaning the beginning of the Industrial Revolution or about 1750. However, it’s become clear that 4C is locked in now, and in the very near term there’s no way to avoid it.

And so, most climate scientists I know are back-pedalling terribly or moving the goal posts as it were in claiming that 4C won’t be a problem. Considering that the ability of plants and native animals to keep up with the slow rate of change, and they lag by a factor of 10,000 times, I don’t see how accellerating the process is going to help it.

“So, now that we’ve entered the abrupt phase of climate change with, it appears likely that we’ll reach that 4 degrees Celsius mark in a short period of time. I don’t see that we could possibly make it to 2030.”

GR: I know that you’ve been very critical of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in terms of the, I think I heard you refer to it as the nonsensical conservatism around these issues. What is your understanding of why the IPCC is so hesitant about pronouncing what seems to be clearly spelled out in the scientific literature?

 GM: Yes, I have been quite critical of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and I think it’s well warranted. They operate by a process that is very, very conservative. When they begin their assessment process, they accept for consideration only the refereed journal literature. And then they meet in these sub-groups. The sub-groups must reach consensus on every item it’s been given. One person in the group says “no, there’s no way that methane is a hundred times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas over the short term,” than that’s out. That’s no longer under consideration.

 So, it’s pretty watered down by the process of consensus. And then after that process which takes a couple of years, it goes to the policy realm, where it must be approved through the political process before the information is released, before the assessment is released. So, by the time the assessment comes out, the information in it, is at least five years old, and in some cases ten years old.

 It takes a long time to get a paper even published in the refereed journal literature. It takes a minimum of eighteen months and typically longer from the time of submission. Well, by the time it’s submitted, the data have to be crunched and collected and the graduate student and post-docs hired to start the process, so you know you’re backing this thing up and backing this thing up; by the time it appears in the refereed journal literature, it’s old news and that old news is the basis for the IPCC beginning their consensus process. So. It’s just very old information.

 As a minor example, the word ‘methane’ was mentioned exactly twice in the hundreds of pages of assessments. Twice in a single table, where it was concluded methane was a problem for the grandchildren.

GR: I know that methane figures quite prominently in your list of positive feedback loops, well, not positive in a human sense, but in terms of it’s self-reinforcing. In other words that, once you get these temperatures go up to a certain level, it becomes kind of like a runaway train, and even if we were to end all of our inputs tomorrow of CO2, it’s going to continue warming up faster, right?

GM: That’s right. That’s absolutely right. Tack onto that exponential release of methane into the atmosphere. Tack onto that just one other of the fifty irreversible self-reinforcing feedback loops I know about. That upper tropospheric moistening, uh the water vapour that traps heat in the upper troposphere, um an analysis from August 2014 posted in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences, verifies the presence of the largest known feedback mechanism for amplifying anthropogenic climate change. So, you know this is number 38 or 50 or 45 or something like that on my list of fifty of these irreversible self-reinforcing feedback loops, and you know that ignores methane.

 That’s just one other in this long list. Methane is a really, really big deal that has been largely ignored by the scientific community with the exception of the likes of courageous Paul Beckwith and courageous Natalia Shakhova and her partner Igor Semiletov. Other than that there really aren’t very many people talking about it from a scientific perspective and I think that’s a real tragedy.

“…by the time it appears in the refereed journal literature, it’s old news and that old news is the basis for the IPCC beginning their consensus process. So. It’s just very old information. As a minor example, the word ‘methane’ was mentioned exactly twice in the hundreds of pages of assessments. Twice in a single table, where it was concluded methane was a problem for the grandchildren.”

GR: Now, the last time I spoke with you it was around the time of the COP conference in Lima. There have been some developments since then, that I wonder if you want to maybe point out a couple of the more significant discoveries that are coming out that have uh, you know, taking a bad situation and making it worse.

 GM: In fact, yeah. First of all, it’s notable that at that conference Paul Beckwith made a prediction. He had been saying that we could expect methane-induced warming to cause a rapid rise in temperature. He came right out and said that it’s underway at the meeting in Lima. So, that’s a big deal. Even more recently, from about two weeks ago – sorry from a week ago, the 19th of January, (June) a paper in Science Advances, this quote from the abstract: “the Sixth mass extinction is already underway.” And an entry with the senior author, coincident with the release of the paper says “life would take many millions of years to recover and our species itself would likely disappear early on.”

  So, it’s becoming accepted within the very conservative scientific community, that we’re in the midst of the Sixth Great Extinction or Mass Extinction event, and that as large body mammals, humans are not going to be the last to go extinct.

 Tack on just one more paper from earlier this month in Plos Biology, and the title goes like this: “Suitable Days for Plant Growth Disappear Under Projected Climate Change.” That’s ‘disappear under projected climate change, ‘and the projection is of course out to 2100, the year almost everybody uses when talking about climatic impacts. And then the subtitle is: “Potential Human and Biotic Vulnerability,” Again reflect on the conservative nature of the scientific community. It’s a potential problem for humans. And, I love this part, potential human and biotic vulnerability, as if humans aren’t really part of the biota. (INAUDIBLE) separate from that.

 So. Here again the journal literature and even the language within it is slow to catch up with the reality of the situation, that we’re in the midst of abrupt climate change right now. And it will be manifest and is being manifest in the inability to grow plants on this planet. That’s a problem.

GR: Could you maybe drill down a little bit on the issue of the the loss of ice at the poles, and like how dramatic that has been and how significantly that will alter the uh, the climate?

  GM: Yes, and here is a relatively minor example. From about a week ago, in personal context in 2007 and 2012 when the arctic ice mass fell precipitously over short periods of time, um the term ‘century event’ was coined to describe what happens when a hundred thousand square kilometres of ice are lost in a day. From one day to the next a hundred thousand square kilometres of ice just disappear from the Arctic Ocean.

 Well, between I believe it was June 16th and 17th of this year as reported at Cryosphere Today, there was a three century event. Three hundred and twenty thousand square kilometres of ice disappeared from the Arctic in one 24 hour period. That’s an area the size of New Mexico, one of the larger states, the one I occupy in the southwestern United States. That is absolutely huge and completely ignored within the media and of course by the governments who, in my eyes, ought to be telling us about things like this.

 GR: And do you have any intuition about why that might be?

 GM: Um, sure. The corporations that control the media, and there are only a handful that control more than 90% of the media in the United States, and a similar trend applies for the world obviously. The same corporations that own the media outlets have significant influence over the government, I would say, to put it mildly. It used to be one citizen one vote. I would argue at this point that it’s a lot closer to one dollar one vote, or to be more pragmatic about it, one million dollars one vote.

When you control the message through the media and you more directly control the decisions made within the governments, you can exert considerable influence over what kind of message is coming out.

“Three hundred and twenty thousand square kilometres of ice disappeared from the Arctic in one 24 hour period. That’s an area the size of New Mexico, one of the larger states, the one I occupy in the southwestern United States.

That is absolutely huge and completely ignored within the media and of course by the governments who, in my eyes, ought to be telling us about things like this.”

GR: Now, um, there’s been considerable criticsm on this program about uh geo-engineering efforts, that uh the solar radiation management, including from yourself, and I’m wondering if you’re seeing any signs that uh these sorts of geo-engineering efforts maybe already being put into place or contemplated. I know you’re citing the literature you’ve been, you’re saying that this is just not the way to go. But do you have any intuition about whether that’s being put into practice right now?

 GM: That’s a good question and occasionally I see some bit of writing suggesting quite strongly that the IPCC projections assume geo-engineering is either going on or soon will be, and primarily that’s with solar radiation management.

 Add onto that the notion that global dimming is already cooling the planet more than it otherwise would be, and the loss of reflective particulates from the atmosphere would cause the planet to warm up very, very considerably in a short period of time and it could very well be that there is a concerted effort to either now be implementing or considering implementing solar radiation management or some other form of geo-engineering. Even though you know the synopsis of the journal literature came in February of this year, February 10 from the National Academy of Sciences in the United States when they conclude that geo-engineering is not a viable solution for the Climate Predicament. And I love that they put it that way: ‘Climate Predicament’ not ‘a problem,’ as we’re frequently told it is. Problems can be solved. Predicaments can’t even be addressed. And they point out that geo-engineering is not a viable solution for the climate predicament.

 So, that said, desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ve little doubt that even if all the evidence indicates something will not work, that the people pulling the levers of industry will still give those things a try.

“Add onto that the notion that global dimming is already cooling the planet more than it otherwise would be, and the loss of reflective particulates from the atmosphere would cause the planet to warm up very, very considerably in a short period of time and it could very well be that there is a concerted effort to either now be implementing or considering implementing solar radiation management or some other form of geo-engineering.”

GR: So, now when you are looking at the way we can potentially respond as the body politic, are you seeing any optimistic signs, I mean whether it’s from policy makers or from your fellow scientists or from the wider public. You just mentioned you are on your tour and you’re getting some positive responses there, or at least interest. But I’m wondering if you’ve been seeing significant changes in terms of the way that we are responding to the kinds of warnings that you’ve been put out compared to you know three or four years ago.

 GM: Yes, absolutely. For one thing, the count now of scientists, pundits, public figures who will admit that we’re in the midst of an extinction event that is almost certain to take out our species early on, that list has grown quite large in the last three years. It includes folks like Randy Malamud, Regents’ Professor at Georgia State University, who wrote a piece for the Huffington Post in December of last year, which includes this line: “It’s time to accept our impending demise.” Robert Burroughs (sp?) added his voice in the mainstream media outlets. Paul Ehrlich does the same with an interview with MSNBC in January of this year. So the list is growing.

 Perhaps most importantly, among these people is a writer for a United States television program broadcast on HBO, a program called The News Room. Aaron Sorkin, who’s always been really cutting-edge with his writing and with his understanding of reality wrote a piece that addresses our climate predicament and in this fictional program makes it quite clear that we don’t have long, and he’s only taking into account carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The program talks about several things that will occur in the future that are already occurring right now. Food and water shortages, extremely large storms, spread of deadly disease those kinds of things. So, when it makes it onto the television in the United States that’s when it starts to have some impact and reach the public consciousness.

 Tack on one more item and this is from three days ago in the Daily Mash. The Daily Mash is a UK publication, much like the ONION in this country. It’s satire-based, and the headline there is “Humanity to keep tweeting positive slogan until point of extinction.”

 And in the final paragraph, here’s a quote: “Hours after the last human keels over in a desert wasteland, there will be an automated tweet saying simply “well, what did you do?” It’s almost as if somebody has figured out my message and is promulgating it through these “satirical outlets.”

 GR: Well Guy McPherson, I wish I could say it’s a pleasure to have you on because you always seem to have a little bit more bad news for us. I do thank and genuinely appreciate your efforts to get this message out. I think that our listeners will take great uh satisfaction in hearing this uh unfiltered uh truth about the kind of challenges we face so thank you very much and all the best for the remainder of your tour.

 GM: Well, thank you Michael it’s a pleasure to be with you as always. It doesn’t give me great joy to present the really, really, really dire situation, the dire straits we’re in but I do think people have a right to know what I know, what the governments know what the media know but are unwilling or unable to report.

 GR: Guy McPherson is Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. His blog Nature Bats Last can be found at the website guymcpherson.com.   

Press TV has conducted an interview with Michel Chossudovsky, of the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, concerning NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg calling on Moscow to stop “supporting” pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine.
Press TV: Do you think it is in the role of NATO Secretary General to warn Russia against the situation in eastern Ukraine?

Chossudovsky: I think NATO has the ability of turning the realities upside down, because recent reports confirm that it is not Russia which is supporting the rebels but NATO and the United States which are supporting Ukraine not only with so-called nonlethal weapons but also with military advisers, training and so on. Moreover, they are now providing core support not only to the armed forces but also to the neo-Nazi National Guard. And the US Congress has debated this issue and they said yes, we will support the National Guard but we will not support the Neo-Nazi Azov battalion.

Other countries such as Canada are supporting the Azov battalion, but I should say that while the Azov battalion has been recognized as a neo-Nazi entity, the Right Sector Nazi party has an oversight and control over the entire National Guard.

In recent developments, Ukraine’s military has been bombing civilian areas including schools. There is ample evidence to that effect, and ironically NATO is accusing the separatist forces of Donbass of killing their own people, so to speak, when in fact those strikes were perpetrated by the Ukrainian armed forces.

Press TV: Basically you are saying that the US and NATO have set the grounds to ensure this grace period that there is of relative calm in eastern Ukraine is used to basically once again increase hostilities and ensure that there is no separatist movement left within eastern Ukraine. However, my question to you is what does NATO get out of it?

Chossudovsky: I think we have to look at the broader military agenda, because NATO – and when we say NATO we are saying the United States – the United States and NATO are involved in war games on Russia’s doorstep.

They have several initiatives, they are moving military hardware to Eastern Europe, and this serves as an act of provocation directed against the Russian Federation; and they accuse Russia without evidence of supporting the rebels when in fact they have their own troops right on Russia’s doorstep supporting the Ukrainian government, which is an illegitimate government.

And I think there is another element which has not been understood or even reported in the media, is that the president of Ukraine, President Poroshenko, has made the statement and it is with Ukraine Constitutional Court that the coup directed against his predecessor Yanukovych was an illegal act rather than a “transition towards democracy” n.

So within Ukraine there is there is division within the leadership. The country is in crisis situation following the imposition of the IMF’s deadly microeconomic reforms and the impoverishment of large sectors of the population. And within the armed forces there are also divisions and there is also a movement at the grassroots to refuse to fight, in other words not to join the armed forces, not to be involved in a civil war in eastern Ukraine.

Press TV: So if Russia is the big enemy here, what do you make of that? Is Russia a threat to the West – militarily or strategically speaking?

Chossudovsky: I think that Russia is not a threat and neither is China. The United States is engaged on a very dangerous path, because they have adopted the doctrine of preemptive war and they are in fact also saying that they can use nuclear weapons against Russia on a preemptive first strike basis.

Now that type of discourse is extremely dangerous, because it could ignite a World War III scenario.

First of all, they say that the new generation of nuclear weapons, namely the tactical nuclear weapons, are harmless to civilians and can be used against non-nuclear states; this is an outright lie.

And now they that they are threatening Russia with nuclear weapons, and this is very clear, the nuclear option has been debated in the US Congress.

We are at a very dangerous crossroads in our history – the unthinkable: a possible World War III scenario.

And this is no longer at the abstract level, it has been envisaged by decision makers in the Pentagon and it could unleash World War III.


Order Michel Chossudovsky’s Book directly from GR,  

Towards a World War III Scenario, TheDangers of Nuclear War,

Global Research, Montreal, 2011, also available in pdf.

WWIII Scenario

Nuclear war has become a multibillion dollar undertaking, which fills the pockets of US defense contractors. What is at stake is the outright “privatization of nuclear war”.

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

Central to an understanding of war, is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. A good versus evil dichotomy prevails. The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims. Public opinion is misled.

Breaking the “big lie”, which upholds war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

The object of this book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.

Reviews

“This book is a ‘must’ resource – a richly documented and systematic diagnosis of the supremely pathological geo-strategic planning of US wars since ‘9-11’ against non-nuclear countries to seize their oil fields and resources under cover of ‘freedom and democracy’.”
-John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, Guelph University

“In a world where engineered, pre-emptive, or more fashionably “humanitarian” wars of aggression have become the norm, this challenging book may be our final wake-up call.”
-Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations

Michel Chossudovsky exposes the insanity of our privatized war machine. Iran is being targeted with nuclear weapons as part of a war agenda built on distortions and lies for the purpose of private profit. The real aims are oil, financial hegemony and global control. The price could be nuclear holocaust. When weapons become the hottest export of the world’s only superpower, and diplomats work as salesmen for the defense industry, the whole world is recklessly endangered. If we must have a military, it belongs entirely in the public sector. No one should profit from mass death and destruction.
-Ellen Brown, author of ‘Web of Debt’ and president of the Public Banking Institute   

First published by Middle East International, 21st May 1999.

Author’s note: In context, this interview took place during the most draconian US-UK led UN sanctions ever imposed on a country, denying all essential to modern life, which had been in place for nine years and nine months.

Tariq Aziz doesn’t hide his anger and frustration when speaking of his country’s plight:

“This is a region of conflicts, upheavals, revolutions, but this is the first time such rigid and comprehensive sanctions have been imposed anywhere.

“Prior to the embargo we had a high standard of free education from primary school to university and free health care. But one cannot live alone in the world. Nations need to trade, to buy and sell. There has been a sharp deterioration in health, social services, electricity, clean water.”

Seated in his Baghdad office, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister lists countless further examples of the misery inflicted by sanctions, from how the collapse of the Dinar has slashed the income of once well paid professionals to the equivalent of $3 a month, to the way the world’s former number one date producer is prohibited from selling its crop.

Aziz stresses that increasing the amount of oil that Iraq is allowed to sell under the oil-for-food arrangement to $5.2 billion every six months does nothing to alleviate the situation: “Our oil industry cannot do it”, he says.

“They need new equipment, parts, extensive refurbishment. Even before recent further damage by bombing, we could pump less than $2billion worth each six months. Forty percent of that goes to the UN. We are still paying for UNSCOM* which destroyed hundreds of factories and equipment, a number of whose Members are now exposed as spies. We also paying reparations to Kuwait and so on. We have nearly twenty three million inhabitants. We need  $16-18 billion a year plus export of commodities. Yet we are not allowed agricultural equipment to produce our own food, so we have to import.”

Ironically it was the UN Food and Agricultural Organization which advised Iraq that importing the bulk of its food needs made better economic sense than trying to become self-reliant. In 1993, just  three years in to the embargo, the (UN) World Food Programme warned that: “All the pre-famine indicators are now in place” in Iraq.

He recalls how James Baker ** told him during their famous pre-war meeting in Geneva that if Iraq did not comply with US demands: “We will reduce you to the pre-industrial age.” “That remains the objective today”, he asserts.

“In March ’91, we were left with no telephones or electricity, no clean water, with the refineries either crippled or damaged, almost all the bridges bombed, thus the country virtually divided. But we rebuilt and restored to a certain degree. The government remained. But now there are almost daily bombardments with the same objective.

“In the December (1998) aggression, the US ignored the (UN) Security Council. Fifteen Members were formally meeting (to discuss Iraq) and the bombs were already falling.”

Aziz contrasts Washingtons’s refusal to talk to Baghdad with the increasingly receptive ears grievance against sanctions have been falling on in other world capitals. “When we go to the US we are not allowed to leave New York. Congressmen, old friends, must come to New York to see us. Even a minor official at the UN is not allowed a cup of tea in the lobby with an Iraqi official. The Embargo also extends to dialogue. Dialogue is the golden rule to finding solutions. Yet the US accuses us of being ‘undemocratic’ “, he says.

“Recently, President Chirac was denied permission to discuss Iraq with (President) Clinton, yet Paris is deeply involved and I can talk at any level with them, the Russians, the Chinese. Big delegations visit here and I recently travelled to Spain, Italy, Belgium and France. But sanctions are genocide. If the US wants to impose military sanctions on Iraq, let them do it, but don’t deprive our children of milk, health, medicine.”

He has no doubt why the US attitude:

“ Iraq has the second largest oil reserves – actually the first. You can find oil wherever you drill in Iraq. The US wishes to dominate oil, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. They want to keep us dormant, to bring in a pro-US government and present that as bringing about ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights.’ We are a ‘threat to peace and stability’ and a ‘threat to the region.’ ”

“Yet Saudi Arabia, run by just one man, is the darling of Washington. The irony is that the countries of the region are paying dearly, Saudi and Kuwait are paying – while we are the perceived ‘threat’ – for Americans to be on their soil.”

But doesn’t Iraq indeed pose a threat to its neighbours? What about human rights? Halabja? The Kurds? He replies that Iraq too feels threatened by US bases in the region, that the Kurds have a better deal than their Turkish counterparts, enjoying autonomy, official recognition and cultural rights. The truth about such matters, he intimates, is in the eye of the beholder.

“I have read stories in The Times that President Saddam shoots people in Cabinet meetings. How could he survive? Iraqis are quick to revolt as they did in 1921, 1931, 1947, 1957 and 1968.”

So how is this impasse to be resolved?

“Why don’t a cross-party group of US Congressmen come here, address our parliament, engage in dialogue, meet people? Misunderstandings arise from lack of dialogue. Even our Bishop” – Aziz is a Chaldean Christian – “cannot get in to the US to travel with a delegation. He has had to apply for a Vatican passport

“Last year, when I received an invitation from the Oxford Union, my visa was turned down by the UK. But shortly I am going to Ireland at the invitation of University College Dublin and they are connecting with the Oxford Union by TV, so we will belatedly have our debate – three ways.

As I rose to leave he said: “It is not ‘regime change’ America wants, but ‘region change.’ “

Then: “Madam Felicity, when I was ten years old, I was handing out leaflets in the streets of Baghdad, putting them through people’s doors, to stop the British stealing our oil. I am not about to give up on Iraq now.”

First published by Middle East International, 21st May 1999.

Greece – The Delphi Declaration

June 27th, 2015 by Peter Koenig

Peter Koenig – on behalf of The Delphi Initiative

During the weekend of 20 and 21 June 2015 a forum of international scholars, scientists, economists, sociologists, political analysts – met in Delphi Greece to discuss Greece and Europe. The organizers were the so-called “Delphi Initiative”, sponsored by the Lyssarides Foundation in Cyprus, the Greek Institute for Research on Political Strategies, the Russian Institute for Globalization and Social Movements, and the Forum Mondial des Alternatives, France.

The forum ended with a Media Conference on Monday 22 June https://youtu.be/AEALxsSWRC4 and with the issuance of The Delphi Declaration – see below.

The world must realize that the so-called troika – IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission, is literally blackmailing Greece and subjecting her to outright economic torture.

During the past days, Mr. Tsipras, Greece’s Prime Minister, has made considerable concessions to the creditors in Brussels and Washington – but none were good enough. Instead they, the notorious troika, have presented Greece with an austerity package which is simply unacceptable for the Government – and for the people.

Pensions have already been cut by close to 50% to an unlivable level especially for the poor – the troika requires more cuts.Already now most of public services and assets have been privatized, hospitals and schools closed – they want more. The public administration has already been reduced to a minimum, causing huge unemployment – they want more. They also want additional taxes which further affect the poor.

In short, they want to cause a political upheaval in Greece, creating chaos – what the Brussels / Washington gang knows best and is famous for – and, as usual – the end goal is “Regime Change”. How dare the Greek people voting for a socialist government in an otherwise fully neoliberal Europe, western world? They must be punished.

But Regime Change shall not happen. I have just published an article – Greece – The Way Out -  that offers other solutions, solutions that will allow Greece to find back to her bearings and her economic recovery.

Thank you for your solidarity.

THE DELPHI DECLARATION

On Greece and Europe

European governments, European institutions and the IMF, acting in close alliance with, if not under direct control of, big international banks and other financial institutions, are now exercising a maximum of pressure, including open threats, blackmailing and a slander and terror communication campaign against the recently elected Greek government and against the Greek people.

They are asking the elected government of Greece to continue the “bail-out” program and the supposed “reforms” imposed on this country in May 2010, in theory to “help” and “save” it.

As a result of this program, Greece has experienced by far the biggest economic, social and political catastrophe in the history of Western Europe since 1945. It has lost 27% of its GDP, more than the material losses of France or Germany during the First World War. The living standards have fallen sharply. The social welfare system is all but destroyed. Greeks have seen social rights won during one century of struggles taken back. Whole social strata are completely destroyed, more and more Greeks are falling from their balconies to end a life of misery and desperation, every talented person who can leaves from the country. Democracy, under the rule of a “Troika” acting as collective economic assassin, a kind of Kafka’s “Court”, has been transformed into a sheer formality in the very country where it was born! Greeks are experiencing now the same feeling of insecurity about all basic conditions of life, that the French experienced in 1940, Germans in 1945, Soviets in 1991. At the same time, the two problems which this program was supposed to address, Greek sovereign debt and the competitiveness of the Greek economy have sharply deteriorated.

Now, European institutions and governments are refusing even the most reasonable, elementary, minor concession to the Athens government, they refuse even the slightest face-saving formula there might be. They want a total surrender of SYRIZA, they want its humiliation, its destruction. By denying to the Greek people any peaceful and democratic way out of its social and national tragedy, they are pushing Greece into chaos, if not civil war. Indeed,  even now, an undeclared social civil war of “low intensity” is being waged inside this country, especially against the unprotected, the ill, the young and the very old, the weaker and the unlucky. Is this the Europe we want our children to live in?

We want to express our total, unconditional solidarity with the struggle of the Greek people for their dignity, their national and social salvation, for their liberation from the unacceptable neocolonial rule the “Troika” is trying to impose on this European country. We denounce the illegal and unacceptable agreements successive Greek governments have been obliged, under threat and blackmail, to sign, in violation of all European treaties, of the Charter of UN and of the Greek constitution. We call on European governments and institutions to stop their irresponsible and/or criminal policy towards Greece immediately and adopt  a generous emergency program of support to redress the Greek economic situation and face the humanitarian disaster already unfolding in this country.

We also appeal  to all European peoples to realize that what is at stake in Greece it is not only Greek salaries and pensions, Greek schools and hospitals or even the fate even of this historic nation where the very notion of “Europe” was born. What is at stake in Greece are also Spanish, Italian, even the German salaries, pensions, welfare, the very fate of the European welfare state, of European democracy, of Europe as such. Stop believing your media, who tell you the facts, only to distort their meaning, check independently what your politicians and your media are saying. They try to create, and they have created an illusion of stability. You may live in Lisbon or in Paris, in Frankfurt or in Stockholm, you may think that you are living in relative security. Do not keep such illusions. You should look to Greece, to see there the future your elites are preparing for you, for all of us and for our children. It is much easier and intelligent to stop them now, than it will be later. Not only Greeks, but all of us and our children will pay an enormous price, if we permit to our governments to complete the social slaughter of a whole European nation.

We appeal in particular to the German people. We do not belong to those who are always reminding the Germans of the past in order to keep them in an “inferior”, second-class position, or in order to use the “guilt factor” for their dubious ends. We appreciate the organizational and technological skills of the German people, their proven democratic and especially ecological and peace sensitivities. We want and we need the German people to be the main champions in the building of another Europe, of a prosperous, independent, democratic Europe, of a multipolar world.

Germans know better than anybody else in Europe, where blind obedience to irresponsible leaders can lead and has indeed led in the past. It is not up to us to teach them any such lesson. They know better than anybody else how easy is to begin a campaign with triumphalist rhetoric, only to end up with ruins everywhere around you. We do not invite them to follow our opinion. We demand simply from them to think thoroughly the opinion of such distinguished leaders of them like Helmut Schmitt for instance, we demand them to hear the voice of the greatest among modern German poet, of Günter Grass, the terrible prophecy he has emitted about Greece and Europe some years before his death.

We call upon you, the German people, to stop such a Faustian alliance between German political elites and international finance. We call upon the German people not to permit to their government to continue doing to the Greeks exactly what the Allies did to Germans after their victory in the  First World War. Do not let your elites and leaders to transform the entire continent, ultimately  including Germany, into a dominion of Finance.

More than ever we are in urgent need of a radical restructuring of European debt, of serious measures to control the activities of the financial sector, of a “Marshal Plan” for the European periphery, of a courageous rethinking and re-launching  of a European project which, in its present form, has proven unsustainable. We need to find now the courage to do this, if we want to leave a better Europe to our children, not a Europe in ruins, in continuous financial and even open  military conflicts among its nations.

Delphi, 21 June 2015 

The above declaration was adopted by nearly all participants in the Delphi conference on the crisis, on alternatives to euroliberalism and EU/Russia relations, held at Delphi, Greece on 20-21st of June. It is also supported by some people who were not able to be present. The list of people who signed it follows. In it there are not only citizens of EU countries, but also of Switzerland, USA, Russia and India.

Many distinguished American scholars seem to be more sensitive as regard the European crisis, than the … political leaders of EU themselves! As for Russians, it is only normal and natural to bear a great interest for what is going on in EU, as EU citizens bear also an interest for what is going on in Russia. All participants in the Delphi conference share the strong conviction that Russia is an integral part of Europe, that there is a strong interconnection between what happens in EU and in Russia. They are categorically opposed to anti-Russia hysteria, which in fact is nothing less than the preparation of a new, even more dangerous cold, if not hot war.

 

Altvater Elmar, Germany

Member of scientific community of AΤTAC. Retired Professor of Political Science, Free  University of Berlin.

Amin Samir, Egypt/France

Economist, President of the Forum Mondial des Alternatives 

Ayala Iván H., Spain

Researcher, Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales

Arsenis Gerasimos, Greece 

Εconomist, ex-minister of Economy, of Finance, of National Defense and of Education, ex-UN official and ex-director of UNCTAD

Artini Massimo, Italy

Member of Parliament 

Bellantis Dimitris, Greece

Lawyer, PHD in Constitutional Law, Member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA 

Black William, USA

Professor of Economics, University of Missouri (Kansas City)

Cassen Bernard, France

Professor Emeritus, Université Paris 8, secretary general of ”Mémoire des luttes”

Chiesa GiuliettoItaly

Politician, journalist and author, ex MEP, president of the “Alternativa” association

Freeman Alan, Canada/UK

Geopolitical Economy Research GroupBusiness School, Director

Gabriel LeoAustria

Director of the Institute for Intercultural Research and Cooperation (IIIC), Vienna, Member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, Coordinator of the NGO Committee for Sustainable Development of the United Nations

George Susan, France

Political and social scientist, writer, President of the Transnational Institute

Georgopoulos DimosthenisGreece

Economist, sociologist, political scientist, Secretariat on Industrial Policy, SYRIZA

German Lindsey, UK

Convenor, Stop the War Coalition

Graeber David, 

Professor of Anthropology, London School of Economics. Author of “Debt: The First 5,000 Years”

Hudson Michael, USA

Professor of economics, University of Missouri (Kansas City), UMKC. President, Institute for the Study of Long-term Economic Trends (ISLET)

Irazabalbeitia InakiSpain

Former MEP / responsible for International Relationships for the party ARALAR, Basque Country

Jennar Raoul Marc, France

Dr. in political sciences, specialist on European law and on WTO regulations, writer of twenty books, among them “Europe, la trahison des élites”

Kagarlitsky BorisRussia

Director of the Institute for globalization studies and social movements (IGSO)

Kalloniatis Costas , Greece

Phd on macroeconomics, adviser to the Ministry of Labour, researcher in the Labor Institute of the General Confederation  of  Workers of Greece

Kasimatis GiorgosGreece

Prof. Emeritus of Constitutional Law, University of Athens. Founder and Honorary President of the International Association of Constitutional Law, ex-advisor to PM Andreas Papandreou.

Koenig Peter, Switzerland

Εconomist / geopolitical analyst

Koltashov Vasiliy, Russia

Head of the economic research unit of the Institute for Globalisation and Social Movements

Konstantakopoulos Dimitris, Greece

 Journalist, Writer, Coordinator of the Delphi Initiative

Koutsou Nikos, Cyprus

Member of Parliament from Famagusta

Kreisel Wilfried, Germany

Former Executive Director, World Health Organization

Mavros GiannisGreece

Member of the National Council for the Claiming of Germany’s Debts to Greece

Mityaev Dmitry A. , Russia

Deputy Chairman of the Council for Study of Productive Forces of the Ministry of Economic Development and the Russian Academy of Sciences on Development Issues

Ochkina Anna, Russia

Head of Department of social theory at Penza State University

Pantelides PanagiotisGreece

Economist, senior researcher, European Institute of Cyprus

Petras James, USA

Bartle Professor Emeritus , Binghamton University

Ex-Director of the Center for Mediterranean Studies (Athens), ex-adviser to the Landless Rural Workers  Movement of Brasil and the Unemployed Workers Movement in Argentina

Pinasco LucaItaly

National coordinator of Proudhon Circles-Editor for foreign policy of the journal “L’intellettuale dissidente”.

Radika Desai, USA

Professor, Director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group, University of Manitoba

Rees John, UK

Co-founder, Stop the War Coalition

Roberts Paul Craig, USA

Former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy, Associate Editor, Wall Street Journal, Senior Research Fellow, Stanford University, William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Sideratos Aggelos, Greece

Publisher

Sommers Jeffrey, USA

Senior Fellow, Institute of World Affairs, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

St Clair Jeffrey, USA

Editor, CounterPunch, author, Born Under a Bad Sky

Stierle Steffen, Germany

Εconomist, ATTAC Germany 

Syomin KonstantinRussia

Author, TV host at All-Russia State Television (VGTRK.com) 

Tombazos Stavros, Greece

Professor of Political Economy, University of Cyprus, member of the international “Committee of Truth on Greek Sovereign Debt” (debt auditing committee) created by the Greek parliament

Vanaik Achin, India

Retired Professor of International Relations and Global Politics, University of Delhi

Xydakis Nikos, Greece

Minister of Culture

Zachariev Zachari, Bulgaria

President of the Slaviani Foundation

Zdanoka TatjanaLatvia

Member of European Parliament

by Sayed Hasan

As you know, the modern world, especially the Western world, is highly monopolised and many Western countries – whether they want to hear this or not – have voluntarily given up a considerable part of their sovereignty. To some extent, this is a result of the politics of blocs. Sometimes we find it very difficult to come to terms with them on geopolitical issues. It is hard to reach an agreement with people who whisper even at home for fear of being overheard by the Americans. This is not a joke or a figure of speech.” (Vladimir Putin)

Vladimir Putin denounces, more and more explicitly, the servility of France and Europe towards the United States, whether in the case of wire-tapping French leaders or that of the Mistral ships.

The publication by WikiLeaks of documents establishing the wire-tapping by the United States of three French Presidents was an open secret known since the revelations of Edward Snowden. Far from protesting against the flagrant violation of French sovereignty that the espionage of its top leaders constitutes, our government bravely hastened to hush up this scandal, as was expected by Lavrov and Putin. Let us remember that France prided herself in 2013 for having rejected the asylum for Edward Snowden, and that it is illusory to believe that these revelations could change anything : official France cannot but turn down flat Julian Assange’s calls.

By refusing the delivery of two helicopter carriers ordered and paid for by Russia, France is both disgraced and discredited internationally as a reliable economic partner and military supplier. The inept pretext of the Ukrainian crisis and alleged Russian interference, invoked by a country that involved itself in the Syrian crisis by arming Al-Nosra terrorists (of which it is apologetic) and calling for the overthrow (even murder) of the legitimate Syrian leader, reveals the extent of the hypocrisy and indecency of the French government and its subjection to American diktats. Especially since this same government then concluded huge arms sales contracts with the barbaric regimes of Qatar and even Saudi Arabia, engaged in an illegal and criminal war in Yemen.

While trade between the US and Russia is increasing, their European “allies” are forced to impose sanctions on Moscow and suffer alone its formidable repercussions: thus Vladimir Putin has renewed for one year the Russian embargo on food products from Europe.

Vladimir Putin recently said to Charlie Rose, an American TV star presenter who asked incredulously if Russia really aspired to gain respect (indeed, what a preposterous idea):

You know, I hear this all the time: Russia wants to be respected. Don’t you? Who does not? Who wants to be humiliated? It is a strange question. As if this is some exclusive right – Russia demands respect. Does anyone like to be neglected?” To this rhetorical question, our French leaders respond ‘yes’ without hesitation and continue to whisper in their own homes for fear of prying ears (and microphones).

Instead of a rapprochement with Russia, a historic partner concerned about the respect of States and their sovereignty, in addition a rising great power and champion of the defence of international law, France and Europe prefer subjugation to the US, the superpower in irremediable decline with which they chain their destinies. It is easy to conceive the repulsion that Russian elites, despite their professionalism, must feel for our inglorious leaders. Probably to the extent of the felt more and more by their own peoples, whom Putin chooses to address directly.

Former arrogant colonial power and conqueror, then sovereignist Gaullist Republic, France is now relegated to the status of American sub-colony whose independence and national interests are routinely violated and trampled, as much by the stateless and spineless leaders in Paris, repeatedly guilty of the crime of high treason (abolished, thankfully for them), as by the imperial hawks in Washington.

Even a country like Algeria, a former French colony run by a corrupt and retrograde military regime, has at least leaders concerned of their national interests to the point of refusing any participation in the Saudi-American coalition against Yemen, while Hollands’ France was ready to pounce gleefully on a new crusade in Syria, which could have triggered World War III. One may ask, to use an expression of Norman Finkelstein, why prostitutes have such a bad reputation… Welcome to Western mediocracy!

Translated from French by Jenny Bright
Copyright Sayed Hasan, 2015

 Transcripts
Vladimir Putin on the tapping of French Presidents: This scandal will be stifled (English subtitles)

Briefing session with permanent members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, 25 June 2015

Source: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/49766

Transcript: 

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

Mr Lavrov will tell us about the consultations in Paris. Let’s start with this. Please, Mr Lavrov.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: On the whole, it was not useless because even despite certain wrangling during the discussion, the main outcome was the acknowledgement of the fact that there is no alternative to complete fulfilment of the Minsk Agreements. First and foremost, the acknowledgement by our German and our French partners of the fact that the overwhelming part of the Minsk provisions should be implemented through direct dialogue between authorities in Kiev and Donetsk and Lugansk.
I can’t say that we have resolved all the problems because this should be done directly by the Contact group and the working subgroups created. I will report on that in more detail later, but on the day of our meeting, a report on the taps [by the United States of the French leadership] was published, and this gave rise to unrest in France so this was another thing that distracted our attention.

Vladimir Putin: How will this scandal end?

Sergei Lavrov: Frankly speaking, I think that Germany’s example [the US special services wiretapping the German leadership] gives the answer: I think that both sides will try to blanket the scandal and forget about it.

Vladimir Putin: That is what would happen.

Putin denounces the ’submission’ of France: ”Even without Mistral, we will survive” (English subtitles)

Direct Line with Vladimir Putin, April 16, 2015 

Source: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/49261   

Transcript: 
[…]

Olga Ushakova: Let’s take another question from the audience – from Dmitry Shchugorev’s section this time.

Dmitry Shchugorev: We have Dmitry Abzalov here, the president of the Center for Strategic Communications. Please, go ahead.

Dmitry Abzalov: Good afternoon, Mr Putin. I have this nagging question about Mistral ships. This week, the second ship was tested and left for the French shipyard. What are the prospects? Will we push for having these ships delivered to us? Will we seek financing? In general, what will our military and economic partnership with the European Union and France, in particular, be like after what happened a year ago?

Vladimir Putin: The refusal to deliver ships under the existing contract is, of course, a bad sign. However, frankly speaking, it’s of little consequence for us or our defence capability. We signed these contracts primarily to support our partners and offer work to their shipyard. We planned to use the ships in the Far East. For us, this is not critical.

However, I believe that the leadership of France – and the French people in general – are honourable people and will return the money. We are not even going to demand any penalties or exorbitant fines, but we want all of our costs covered. This certainly means that the reliability of our partners – who, acting as part of the military-political bloc, in this case NATO, have lost some of their sovereignty – has suffered, and is now questionable. Of course, we will keep this in mind as we continue our military and technical cooperation.

Kirill Kleymenov: Our partners may find that it was an easy way for them to get off the hook.

Vladimir Putin: That’s all right, we’ll survive.

[…]

Vladimir Putin to the peoples of the West: Russia is not an imperial power, the US spy on NATO members (English subtitles)

Speech by Vladimir Putin on the integration of the Crimea to Russia, March 18, 2014 – With a reflection on this intervention dated April 22, 2014

Source : http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/6889

Transcript: 

[…]

Today, I would like to address the people of the United States of America, the people who, since the foundation of their nation and adoption of the Declaration of Independence, have been proud to hold freedom above all else. Isn’t the desire of Crimea’s residents to freely choose their fate such a value? Please understand us.

I believe that the Europeans, first and foremost, the Germans, will also understand me. Let me remind you that in the course of political consultations on the unification of East and West Germany, at the expert, though very high level, some nations that were then and are now Germany’s allies did not support the idea of unification. Our nation, however, unequivocally supported the sincere, unstoppable desire of the Germans for national unity. I am confident that you have not forgotten this, and I expect that the citizens of Germany will also support the aspiration of the Russians, of historical Russia, to restore unity.

I also want to address the people of Ukraine. I sincerely want you to understand us: we do not want to harm you in any way, or to hurt your national feelings. We have always respected the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state, incidentally, unlike those who sacrificed Ukraine’s unity for their political ambitions. They flaunt slogans about Ukraine’s greatness, but they are the ones who did everything to divide the nation. Today’s civil standoff is entirely on their conscience. I want you to hear me, my dear friends. Do not believe those who want you to fear Russia, shouting that other regions will follow Crimea. We do not want to divide Ukraine; we do not need that. As for Crimea, it was and remains a Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean-Tatar land.

I repeat, just as it has been for centuries, it will be a home to all the peoples living there. What it will never be and do is follow in Bandera’s footsteps!

[…]

Direct Line with Vladimir Putin – April 17, 2014

Source : http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/20796

Transcript:

[…]

Kirill Kleymenov: But before giving the floor to [our correspondent in Germany], I’d like to ask you to return to the speech that we discussed at the very beginning, the one that you made before signing the treaty on Crimea and Sevastopol’s accession to Russia. Many people were very impressed by it and compared it to your Munich speech. They even called it your best speech.

I’d like to ask you why you made this speech. First, the protocol didn’t demand it and, second, the format was very unusual – you addressed peoples rather than countries or governments.

Vladimir Putin: The format was chosen based on the importance of the event and the situation. This is an unusual event in the life of our people, our country and our state. This is why I considered it my duty to address the Federal Assembly and the people of the Russian Federation in the presence of members of the State Duma and the Federation Council. This is the first point.

Second. Why was the speech addressed to the peoples of other countries rather than their governments? As you know, the modern world, especially the Western world, is highly monopolised and many Western countries – whether they want to hear this or not – have voluntarily given up a considerable part of their sovereignty. To some extent, this is a result of the politics of blocs. Sometimes we find it very difficult to come to terms with them on geopolitical issues. It is hard to reach an agreement with people who whisper even at home for fear of being overheard by the Americans. This is not a joke or a figure of speech. Listen to me, I’m serious, I’m not joking. However, they are our main partners on economic and some other issues.

But I addressed the peoples of these countries primarily because an ordinary person from Germany, France or Italy will instantly sense whether a statement is false or not. Our position is absolutely open, honest and transparent, and for this reason it is easier to get it across to ordinary people than even to some leaders. It seems to me we succeeded to some extent. No matter what government rules a country, it will have to consider the opinion of its voters. This is why I addressed the people.

[…]

 

Despite all the contemporary global interconnectedness, the lack of an international social consciousness among artists (whose work is linked only by its sameness and market-ready designs and styles) evokes frustration in the politically conscious critic and commentator.

As Andre Vltchek wrote after a recent trip to Paris:

“Galleries exhibit endless lines and squares, all imaginable shapes and colors. In several galleries, I observe abstract, Pollock-style ‘art’. I ask owners of the galleries, whether they know about some exhibitions that are concentrating on the plight of tens of thousands of homeless people who are barely surviving the harsh Parisian winter. Are there painters and photographers exposing monstrous slums under the highway and railroad bridges? And what about French military and intelligence adventures in Africa, those that are ruining millions of human lives? Are there artists who are fighting against France becoming one of the leading centers of the Empire? […] No new symphonies or operas dedicated to the victims of Papua, Kashmir, Palestine, Libya, Mali, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or Iraq.”

Crisis? What Crisis? by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Triptych / Oil on canvas / 60cm x 180cm / 23.6 in x 70.6 in

The difficulties of creating a socially conscious art are revealed in the comments by Jim Fitzpatrick, a contemporary Irish artist with an internationalist outlook who is well known for his iconic two-tone portrait of Che Guevara created in 1968 and which was based on a photo by Alberto Korda.[2] Fitzpatrick’s internationalist consciousness is evident in his early awareness of Che’s revolutionary activities:

“I was very inspired by Che’s trip to Bolivia. He went there with the intent to overthrow the intensely corrupt government, helped by the Americans at the time, and that’s where he died. I thought he was one of the greatest men who ever lived and I still do in many ways.”[3]

Fitzpatrick met Che in the Royal Marine Hotel bar in Kilkee, Co Clare, in the summer of 1961 and his description of their meeting highlights the reciprocity of international consciousness:

“We talked for a few minutes once he realised that I knew who he was. His English was faltering, but he could make himself understood. The first thing he said was, ‘You know I’m Irish. My father was Guevara Lynch.’ I was taken aback by that because I didn’t know that at all.”[…] “Che read his James Joyce. When he was a young lad he began keeping a philosophical dictionary. He didn’t write or speak much about the Irish rebellion, but it’s my understanding that he was certainly aware of it, and aware of the idea of the Irish rebel, which appealed to him very much.”[4]

9/11 Mystery Play by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Triptych / Oil on canvas / 60cm x 180cm / 23.6 in x 70.6 in

Fitzpatrick’s poster of Che was published in 1968 and immediately ran into trouble:

“Every shop that stocked the poster was threatened or harassed: in the very fashionable Brown Thomas of Grafton Street [Dublin], which sold cards and posters in those faraway days, a well-turned out lady bought the entire stock, tore them all to pieces in front of the astonished staff and walked out!”[5]

Despite the fame and notoriety in certain quarters the poster brought him over the years, his influence over younger artists was countered by state conservatives:

“The artist himself tells the story of a conversation he had at a party many years ago with the then president of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin: “You probably don’t know this, but every year at least half the candidates for placement in the college have portfolios that show the huge influence your work has on the younger artists of this country….” “Quite right,” said Fitzpatrick, feeling slightly gratified at such a great compliment, “I had absolutely no idea; what do you do with them all?” “Oh, we just fuck them all out!”[6]

 

Gaza Ambulance by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Triptych / Oil on canvas / 60cm x 180cm / 23.6 in x 70.6 in

The difficulties of doing international political art are well described by the American artist, Leon Golub (1922 – 2004). Much of Golub’s work covered themes such as racial inequality, oppression, exclusion, and violent aggression. In one interview he stated:

“I was attempting a kind of heroic/antiheroic public art. The kind of thing which is emblazoned in a big way on the walls of a culture. Take, for example, “Interrogations”- a painting that is 10 by 14 feet. Perhaps that’s not public art in the conventional sense as torture scenes are usually hidden from view and are not ordinarily celebrated on public walls. At the same time it is an ordinary fact that in many countries torture is a day-to-day reality, people are yanked off the streets, jailed, and tortured. In that sense, to put out an Interrogation is to make a public statement. Even if the statement has to stay in a studio – if you’re lucky, end up in a museum. Even a museum might be reluctant to acquire one.”[7]

Golub describes his methodology:

“I’m always on the hunt for source material. I have a huge collection of photographs as I’ve been doing this for many years. […] In the earlier works, for example, the Vietnam paintings, typically although not invariably, the figures were not projectively imagined; they’re taken from photographs, partially varied but basically whole. More recently a figure will be constructed from many source photos, partly as I want to make it my own and partly because I can be more dramatically effective. This guy who’s smiling with the flag on his chest, I don’t have a head just like his but I have a number of heads of guys smiling in somewhat similar fashion and I work it out that way.”[8]

 

Odessa by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Diptych / Oil on canvas / 60cm x 120cm / 23.6 in x 47 in

It is in the desire to create an international art that the aesthetic principles of Social Realism [witnessing/painting local people/situations] begin to break down. It is not always possible to be a witness to international events so source material has to be found using other means. Today the internet is used by many artists in the same way as journalists as a basis for research.

While Golub collected visual material from many different sources some artists work directly with people in difficult situations. Another contemporary Irish artist, Brian Maguire, produces paintings which cover many subjects from around the world. His work reveals a strong social conscience, tackling many difficult situations that do not always get the attention of the main-stream media. One project covered the deaths of thousands of women slain at the hands of drug cartels in the Mexican city of Juárez:

“The killing campaign in Mexico has taken the lives of more than 1,400 young women since 1994, mainly factory girls working in maquiladoras, sweatshops of sorts, who were abducted around town. Maguire spent time with the victim’s mothers, discussing their daughter’s lives and premature deaths, before beginning to paint two portraits of each victim: one representing the young girl during her life and another, after death.[…] “You have to bring some value to the place and people, which gives you the right to work there […] For a start, I can take their story outside Mexico, and tell it to Europe…I can campaign for them by showing my paintings in museums.””[9]

Making art with an international social consciousness maybe an uphill struggle for many artists but it gives the artist an important role in the struggles of many ordinary people while at the same time showing that art can be a voice for the expression of the many in the face of adversity. Furthermore, taking stories outside of their original contexts reveals to many others the similarities of distant situations, often connected by the same globalist entities.

Notes

[1] See: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/20/the-collapse-of-french-intellectual-diversity/
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Fitzpatrick_%28artist%29

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrillero_Heroico
[4] http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/features/jim-fitzpatrick-and-che-guevara-inspired-by-irish-rebels-288646.html

[5] http://www.insideyourart.com/artists/Jim-Fitzpatrick

[6] http://www.insideyourart.com/artists/Jim-Fitzpatrick

[7] http://www.no-art.info/golub/interview-en.html
[8] http://www.no-art.info/golub/interview-en.html

[9] http://news.artnet.com/art-world/art-show-at-fergus-mccaffrey-inspired-by-murder-of-1400-women-in-juarez-270800/

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of paintings based on cityscapes of Dublin, Irish history and geopolitical themes (http://gaelart.net/).  His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/.

This article by the late Professor Tanya Reinart was first published by Global Research in 2002 under the title The Penal Colonies.

The Gaza strip is a perfect realization of the Israeli vision of “separation”. Surrounded with electric fences and army posts, completely sealed off the outside world, Gaza has become a huge prison. About one third of its land was confiscated for the 7,000 Israeli settlers living there (and their defense array), while over a million Palestinians are crowded in the remaining areas of the prison. With no work or sources of income, about 80% of its residents depend, for their living, on UNRWA, or contributions from Arab states and charity organizations. Now Israel is considering the imprisonment there of families of suicide bombers from the West Bank (1). As a senior Israeli analyst stated, Gaza can now serve as “the penal colony” of Israel its “devils island, Alcatraz”. (Nahum Barnea, Yediot Aharonot June 21, 2002).

This is the future that Sharon and the Israeli army designate for the West Bank as well. While the external fence is presently being built, Israel’s current military operation is set to be the final step in the implementation the IDF plans for reestablishing full military rule (which was abolished in large parts of the West Bank during the Oslo process). Though Israel describes everything it does as a spontaneous reaction to terror, the plan was fully spelled out in the Israeli media already back in March 2001, soon after Sharon entered office. Alex Fishman, military and strategic analyst of Yediot Aharonot, explained at the time that since Oslo, “the IDF regarded the occupied territories as if they were one territorial cell”, and this placed some constraints on the IDF and enabled a certain amount of freedom for the PA and the Palestinian population. The new plan is a return to the concept of the military administration during the preOslo years: the occupied territories will be divided into tens of isolated “territorial cells”, each of which will be assigned a special military force, “and the local commander will have freedom to use his discretion” as to when and who to shoot. (Yediot Ahronot weekend supplement, March 9.2001).

The first stage of this plan the destruction of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority was completed in the previous ‘Operation Defensive Shield’ in April of this year. In practice, from that time on, the towns and villages of the West Bank have been completely sealed. Even exit by foot, which was possible up to that point, became blocked, and movement between the “territorial cells” now requires formal permits from the Israeli military authorities. Soldiers and snipers prevent any “unauthorized” walking to agricultural fields, to places of work and study, or for medical treatment.

However, unlike the pre Oslo period of Israeli military rule, the army makes it clear that there is no intention to construct any civil administration that will take care of the basic daily needs of the two million Palestinians, such as food supplies, health services, garbage and sewage. For these tasks, some form of a Palestinian Authority will be maintained, though in practice it will not be allowed to function.

As a ‘military source’ told Ha’aretz, “Internal conclusions of the security echelons, following operation ‘Defensive Shield’, assessed that the functioning of the civil branches of the Palestinian Authority had reached an unprecedented nadir, mainly due to the destruction the IDF operation left behind in Ramallah (including the systematic destruction of computers and databases)… Combined with the severe restrictions on movement, the Palestinian population is becoming, as the military source defined it, ‘poor, dependent, unemployed, rather hungry, and extreme’… The financial reserves of the Palestinian authority are reaching the bottom… In a future not far off, the majority of Palestinians will only be able to maintain a reasonable life through the help of international aid.” (Ha’aretz Hebrew edition, June 23, 2002, Amos Har’el). Thus, the West Bank is being driven to the level of poverty of the Gaza strip.

Nevertheless, at the same time that Israel deprives the Palestinians of their means of income, it also makes a substantial effort to diminish or block international aid, under the pretext that the aid is used to support terrorists or their families. At the outset of its new ‘operation’, Israel “decided to stop the flow of foodaid and medicine from Iran and Iraq to Palestinians in the territories” (Ha’aretz, June 24, 2002, Amos Har’el). Iranian and Iraqi aid is an easy target for Israel, as these countries belong to the “Axis of Evil”. However, Israel started launching a more ambitious campaign: The EU the largest PA donor is under constant pressure from Israel to cut its aid, which is used, inter alia to pay the salaries of teachers and health workers. The tactics are always the same: Israel provides some documents presumably linking the PA to terror. Any aid to the PA is, therefore, aid to terror (2).

UNRWA’s aid is the next target. The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians in the Near East (UNRWA) has become a major source of food for Palestinians in the besieged territories. Its food supplies are now delivered not only to the refugee camps, but also in towns and villages. The amount of food UNRWA supplies has increased fourfold in two years (3). Recently,

“Israel has begun a campaign in the United States and the United Nations to urge a reconsideration of the way the UN Relief and Works Agency, which runs the Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, operates. Israel charges that UNRWA workers simply ignored the fact that Palestinian organizations were turning the camps into terrorist bases and it is demanding the agency start reporting all military or terrorist actions within the camps to the UN…. Meanwhile, Jewish and proIsraeli lobbyists in the U.S. are waging a parallel campaign … American Jewish lobbyists are basing their efforts on the fact that the U.S. currently contributes some 30 percent of UNRWA’s $400 million a year budget, and is therefore in a position to influence the agency: A congressional refusal to approve UNRWA’s funding could seriously disrupt its operations. (Ha’aretz June 29, 2002, Nathan Guttman). The campaign is not yet demanding cutting UNRWA’s aid and presence altogether, but raising the impossible demand that UNRWA should serve as an active force in “the war against terror” (“reporting military or terrorist actions”) is the first step towards such a demand.(4)

Since September 11, Sharon has been constructing an analogy between the occupied territories and Afghanistan (with the PA as Al Qaeda). He keeps declaring that the solution to Palestinian terror, and the required ‘reforms’, should be along the lines set in Afghanistan. The analogy is frighteningly revealing: As it established the ‘reforms’ in Afghanistan, the US forced starvation upon millions of people. This is how Noam Chomsky described it:

“On Sept. 16, the New York Times reported that ‘Washington has also demanded [from Pakistan] a cutoff of fuel supplies…and the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan’s civilian population.’ Astonishingly, that report elicited no detectable reaction in the West, a grim reminder of the nature of the Western civilization that leaders and elite commentators claim to uphold. In the following days, those demands were implemented… ‘The country was on a lifeline,’ one evacuated aid worker reports, ‘and we just cut the line’ (NY times Magazine, September 30). According to the world’s leading newspaper, then, Washington demanded that Pakistan ensures the death of enormous numbers of Afghans, millions of them already on the brink of starvation, by cutting off the limited sustenance that was keeping them alive.” (Interview with Michael Albert, reprinted in Noam Chomsky, 911, Seven Stories, 2002). Arundhati Roy, summarized this at the time: “Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while they’re waiting to be killed” (Guardian, Sept. 29).

The new stage of Israel’s ‘separation’ can no longer be compared to the Apartheid of South Africa. As Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa’s Minister of Water Affairs, said in an Interview with Al Ahram Weekly, “the South African apartheid regime never engaged in the sort of repression Israel is inflicting on the Palestinians” (Issue of March 28 April 3, 2002). We are witnessing the daily invisible killing of the sick and wounded being deprived of medical care, the weak who cannot survive in the new poverty conditions, and those who are bound to reach starvation.

Nevertheless, the public debate in Israel revolves around questions of efficiency: Is it possible to stop terror in such methods. Let us suppose even that it is. Is it allowed? Is this what we (Israelis) want to be?

One people stole the ‘Lamb of its poor neighbor’(5): Gaza and the West Bank are 22% of the land of IsraelPalestine, where the Palestinians lived in the past. On this small piece of land, three million people live, with hopes, needs and dreams, just like ours. Since Oslo, they have been lured with promises that we are about to evacuate the settlements and give them back their land, at the very same time that we have been imprisoning them in Gaza, stealing more of their land in the West Bank, and leaving them no hope whatsoever. The Palestinian people are fighting for their freedom. The crimes of Palestinian terror do not remove our culpability for our own crimes.

Before Oslo, as well, there was a wave of horrible terror attacks. But at that time, after each such attack, the call was heard get out of the territories! Then it was still understood that when you leave people no hope, there is no way to stop the madness of suicide bombing. It is not too late to get out of the territories.

Notes

(1) In its meeting on Friday, June 21, 2002, the Israeli cabinet “decided in principle in favor both of the expulsion of families of suicide strikers from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip… The implementation of this expulsion policy depends upon the outcome of a legal review.” (‘IDF set to expel bombers’ families’ By Aluf Benn, Amos Harel and Gideon Alon, Ha’aretz June 23, 2002).

(2) Here is one example of the pressure on the EU: “The documents seized from PA offices in recent months, some of which were included in the document compiled by minister without portfolio 

Dan Naveh following Operation Defensive Shield, were presented last week to the EC delegation in Israel and representatives of the International Monetary Fund at a meeting with IDF intelligence officers. Naveh claims the documents prove European financial aid has been used to finance terrorism and incitement, and has also found its way into the pockets of senior PA officials.

The head of the EC’s delegation to Israel, Giancarlo Chevallard, told Ha’aretz that at the meeting, the delegation saw evidence that Arafat is financing terrorism, but added Israel had not provided evidence that European financial aid which is designated to pay the salaries of PA employees is being used to finance terrorist attacks. Another senior delegation official said he was extremely skeptical Israel had evidence to prove European aid is being used by the PA to finance terrorism…

Meanwhile, in the shadow of the Israeli accusations, the European Parliament’s budgetary committee last week delayed the transfer of 18.7 million euros in financial aid to the PA until the EC reports how the money is to be distributed…” (Ha’aretz, June 6, 2002, Yair Ettinger) This specific frozen amount was released in the meanwhile, however Israel’s pressure continues.

(3) Amos Har’el, ‘The IDF neutralizes the Palestinian Authority, and humanitarian organizations try to replace it’, Ha’aretz Hebrew edition, June 23, 2002. (Quoted before).

(4). The campaign against UNRWA started earlier: “In letters written to Annan in May, Republican U.S. Senator Arlen Specter and Democratic U.S. Representative Tom Lantos accused the U.N. agency of allowing and promoting terrorist activity in the camps. Specter said UNRWA schools promoted antiIsraeli and anti Semitic sentiments and Lantos said the agency allowed terrorists to organize in the camps.”(Inter Press Service, June 24, 2002)

(5) Bible, Samuel II, 12:11: “12:1The LORD sent Natan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. 12:2The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 12:3but the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up together with him, and with his children. It ate of his own food, drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him like a daughter. 12:4A traveler came to the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man who had come to him, but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man who had come to him.” (http://ebible.org/bible/hnv/2Sam.htm)

The Silver Market: Don’t Push a Bad Position!

June 27th, 2015 by Bill Holter

“Don’t push a bad position”!  This is good advice in many varied quests.  It is good advice in games like chess or poker.  Good advice in sports, business, politics, geopolitics and certainly in militarily ventures.  Today we will look at two separate issues where “bad positions” are being pushed to the wall!

First, we have an insane situation brewing in COMEX silver.  The open interest  finally exceeded 200,000 contracts (1 billion ounces).  I believe the only other time this much open interest existed was back in 1980 or ’81.  This makes no sense whatsoever, the price is again plumbing 4 year lows yet open interest has moved to record highs?  The fact open interest has expanded while price has declined is proof positive the “initiation” of this expanded open interest has been by “shorts” but absorbed by “someone” on the other side of the trade.  Total global production of silver is only 800 million ounces or thereabouts so COMEX shorts have contracted to deliver 25% more silver than will even be produced globally over the next 12 months.  Silver available for COMEX delivery only totals 57 million ounces so they sit on a naked short time bomb of more than 950 million ounces!

If we look at the July silver contract, there are 55,000 contracts still open with only 4 days remaining before first notice day.  This is 275 million ounces still open with only 57 million ounces available to deliver.  This is truly fraudulent sales of metal because the metal does not exist to deliver.  Yes I know, the apologists will say “this always happens and the shorts will decline into first notice day and evaporate throughout the delivery month”.  I agree, this “has” always happened in the past but something is changing now.  In the past, total open interest always dropped going into FND, now it is not.  Not only are all July contracts closed out being rolled into September, the total is rising rather than declining sharply.

I first wrote last August about the situation where huge open interest in the September contract dwarfed the available silver for delivery.  My speculation then as it is now, I believe somehow the bulk of the open interest in the nearby month is of Chinese origin.  I called it a “Kill Switch” then and still believe this to be the case.  The shorts have had their way with silver but I believe “pushing a bad position”.  They are “making” price by contractually selling silver which does not exist.  This travesty was recently called out by Keith Neumeyer, CEO of First Majestic Silver corp.,

http://www.mineweb.com/news/silver/silver-manipulation-first-majestic-question-cftc/

Bravo! and you are exactly correct.  Then of course we must wonder of JP Morgan reportedly accumulating millions of silver ounces, what of this?

To finish this section, there is NO market anywhere on the planet where the amounts of futures dwarf the physical product so overwhelmingly than in silver.  Why is silver so important?  Why has it been bludgeoned so badly and even priced below the cost of production?  You must understand how small the silver market is.  Total global production is less than $15 billion per year …”but”, silver cannot be left alone because high silver prices do not jibe with low gold prices.  …And gold MUST be kept down and out of the limelight because high gold prices do not fit with low interest rates …which are an absolute must in an effort of reflation.  You see, in no way can interest rates be allowed to rise with the amount of global debt outstanding.  Higher interest rates will crush the debt outstanding, the silver market is at the VERY BEGINNING of the “food chain” that keeps the lid on interest rates.  I believe the Chinese hold this market in their back pocket paid for with “pocket change”, they will use is it at their own discretion!

Another “bad position” is the stance the U.S. is taking with Russia (and the rest of the world for that matter).  We have placed economic and financial sanctions on Russia in an effort to bankrupt them.  It has been speculated the Saudis opened the oil spigots to lower energy and break Russia as was done in the 1980′s.  So far there has been more stress in the U.S. fracking sector than damage done to Russia.  This may have originally been the case, however, Russa and Saudi Arabia just signed six separate deals just last week.  A case can be made, the sanctions meant to hurt Russia have hurt the German, French and other Euro economies just as much.  The IMF has said they will fund Ukraine even after a default …but not Greece, they need some of that “austerity stuff” that no one wants.  Greece has turned back and forth playing nice with Russia in an on again off again type romance.

The scary part is the military buildup of U.S. hardware in Eastern Europe.  Mr. Putin has a “limit” to what he will tolerate just as anyone else.  The danger to the U.S. is not just World War III, it may be the lengths Mr. Putin will go to avoid a war.  I have speculated Russia (Mr. Putin) will drop a “truth bomb” in order to cripple the U.S. financially by breaking confidence in any and all things American.  I believe Russia (via Snowden) has enough evidence of various false flags, fraudulent deals and U.S. scam tradings to “shame” the U.S. into retreat.  When I say “shame”, I am talking about the dollar being undermined by a break of confidence.

We have pushed and shoved our way around for years while “losing friends and not influencing people”.  In trying to isolate Russia, we have succeeded in isolating ourselves as the rest of the world prepares avoiding the dollar.  Just look around, the U.S. has steadily lost allies in meeting after meeting.  We have been in a bad position for at least 15 years, our manufacturing base is gone.  Yet we have pushed our position harder and harder?  You see, we have had to “push” because what was once “earned” and deserved is no longer true, we now must demand our place at the table to sit at it …and mostly unwelcome.

Let me finish with this thought, just as the high school football star is always invited to the parties, the invitations become less and less if he becomes conceited or if his skills diminish.  In this analogy, the U.S. has not only become conceited but crossed the line well into arrogance.  As for “skills”?  These were shipped overseas just as Ross Perot said they would.  Unfortunately, the U.S. has pushed itself from a bad position into one worse than anyone could imagine 20 years ago!

 

The Danish elections would not otherwise have commanded much newsworthiness but for its potential, European consequences.  For one, the UK prime minister, David Cameron, has cashed in on the defeat of a pro-EU, centre-left government to laud the exploits of a centre-right victory by Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

Former prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt was pit to the post in a narrow poll that paraded various skeletons in the Danish political cupboard, notably that of the EU and immigration.  She had to witness the pulverising effect of the populist Danish People’s Party (DF), which finds itself the second-largest group in parliament behind the Social Democrats. What became strikingly clear was that Danish politics had congealed around the DF agenda.

The right-block of parties had issued joint statement that, “We will stand behind Great Britain and like-minded nations’ efforts to ensure that the EU doesn’t turn into a social union.”  Among Rasmussen’s platforms has been a policy to refuse automatic welfare benefits to EU migrants, a position that sits rather well with the Cameron government.  The EU system dealing with migration and benefits, in other words, is being pulled from the south (Greece), from the west (Britain) and now Denmark, in the north.

The underlying point here is that welfare payments are bad, but obtaining the labour of migrants is good.  “We want an EU where people can go wherever workers are needed, but we don’t want an EU where people go wherever the social benefits are good.”[1]  This is the logic of market fundamentalism, not social conscience.  Embrace people’s labour, not their needs. Forget, in fact, that they do constitute raw material for citizenship.

A faint whiff of Ukip is wafting across the terrain of Danish politics, anti-establishment, but also grim. The DF set the agenda for the entire political campaign. It was the politics of firming nationalism and suspicion, and it seemed to have the other parties churning through their focus groups for answers.  Even the prime minister was rattled, evidenced by remarks made in her New Year’s speech.  “If you come to Denmark, you must of course work.  You must learn the Danish language, and you must meet and mix with Danish colleagues.”

In a televised leaders’ debate, Thorning-Schmidt claimed that Denmark was distinctly not “a multiethnic society”.[2] This, notwithstanding the politicians and membership of her party of non-European background.  As public relations guru for former prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Michael Ulveman, observed, it was “difficult for the voter to tell the exact difference between the opposition’s immigration policies and the government’s immigration policies.”[3]  Or, for that matter, much else.

Others on the left of the Danish political spectrum have been left without a paddle, unable to steer the country away from the precipice of reaction. “There has been a tragic race to slam the door in the faces of refugees and I don’t want to play any part in it,” argued Pia Olsen Dyhr of the Socialist People’s Party in the final leaders’ debate.  She was seconded by Uffe Elbœk of The Alternative.  “I think that the debate about refugees and asylum seekers during this election has been downright shameful.”

The DF has insisted that border controls be re-introduced with Sweden and Germany.  If there is to be a policy of accepting refugees, then it should be more focused on non-Muslim states.  The subtext here is that Denmark has ample number of the Islamic faith, thank you very much.  Ever lurking was the influence of February’s lethal attacks in Copenhagen by a lone Islamist.

In various stances, DF’s politics of indignation makes Rasmussen of the Venstre liberal party seem milder.  Given that his own party needs DF support in some form, a testing situation faces negotiators. “We have to consider how we will get the most influence,” suggests the DF leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl, who bears striking resemblance to a Nordic storm trooper.  Indeed, he is of the Order of the Dannebrog, suggesting white knight credentials and a possible propensity for destructiveness.  It is that influence, rather than “ministerial titles” that counts for Dahl.[4]

This dissatisfaction has already played itself through, with Rasmussen seeking to form a one-party government after talks with the DF and the right-block failed to yield a workable arrangement.  “It is my estimation that it will be possible to establish a Venstre government under my leadership that will enjoy support in parliament.”  A remarkable state of affairs, given his party’s third placing.  Not since 1973, when a government led by Poul Hartling won power only to last 14 months, have we seen this.

Even without being in a coalition, the DF have shown that anti-establishment politics, even on the populist right, can transform a liberal landscape.  The rearguard can become the vanguard.  The party influenced, without joining the scrum of government, official policies from 2001 to 2011.  Immigration, with its strings pulled by an authority beyond that of the elected government, has become a demon to slay.  Europe is watching with a mixture of perverse enjoyment and dismay.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email:[email protected]

Notes

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/11687736/David-Cameron-gets-boost-he-needs-on-the-EU-after-Danish-election-result.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/11680974/Denmarks-election-campaign-has-been-a-race-to-the-bottom-on-immigration.html

[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/11680974/Denmarks-election-campaign-has-been-a-race-to-the-bottom-on-immigration.html

[4] http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/6/19/danish-centre-right-opposition-wins-election-pm-quits-party.html?utm_content=nobylines&utm_campaign=ajam&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=SocialFlow

 

Do not take the Latin American revolutions for granted.

They inspired the entire Planet. They brought hope to every corner of our scarred Earth. But now they are themselves in need of our support.

If left alone, they would thrive for decades and centuries. But the Empire is once again on the offensive. It is shaking with fury. It is ready to invade, to smash, burn to ashes all the hopes, all that which had been achieved.

Don’t believe in the “common wisdom” which proclaims that the rulers of the world simply “closed their eyes” more than a decade ago; that George W. Bush was “too busy” ravishing the Middle East, therefore “allowing” most of the Latin American countries to “sneak away” from the iron grip of the Empire.

Such “analyses” are as patronizing as they are false. The Empire never sleeps! What Latin America now has was built on its daring, its sweat, its genius and its blood – it fought against the Empire, courageously, for decades, losing its best sons and daughters. It fought for freedom, for justice and socialism.

The Empire was not “looking the other way”. It was looking straight south, in fury, but for some time it was too confused, too astounded, too shocked at what it was witnessing. Its “slaves” had risen and taken power back into their own hands. They showed to the entire world what freedom really is.

For some time, the Empire was paralyzed by rage and unable to act.

The Empire’s undeniable property, Latin America, inhabited by “un-people” born only in order to supply cheap labor and raw materials to the rich part of the world, was suddenly, proudly and publicly, breaking its shackles, declaring itself free, demanding respect. Its natural resources were now used to feed its own people, to build social housing, create public transportation systems, construct hospitals, schools and public parks.

But after the first wave of panic, the Empire began to do what it does the best – it began the killings.

It attempted to overthrow Venezuelan government in 2002, but it failed. The Venezuelan people rose, and so did the Venezuelan military, defending then President Hugo Chavez. The Empire tried again and again, and it is trying until now. Trying and failing!

Bolivar and Chavez

Bolivar and Chavez

“We are at war”, I was told by one of the editors of Caracas-based television network, TeleSUR, for which I made several documentary films. “We are literally working under the barrel of cannon”.

***

Ms. Tamara Pearson, an Australian revolutionary journalist and activist, who recently moved from Venezuela to Ecuador, explained the difficult situation in Venezuela, a country that is under constant attack from both the US, and the local comprador elites:

“People are suffering a lot. Basic food prices are high, much medicine is unavailable, and various services aren’t working. On one level, people are used to this – the business owners would cause shortages and blame the government before each of the many elections. But usually it’s less intense and lasts just a few months. But this has been going on and getting worse, since Chavez died – over two years now. There is no doubt that the US, and more so, Venezuelan and Colombian elites and business owners are a huge or even the main factor…”

All of revolutionary Latin America is “screaming”.

As I described in two of my recent books, “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”, the Empire is using similar destabilization strategy against all countries that are resisting its deadly embrace.

Its propaganda is mighty and omnipresent. CNN and FOX TV are beamed into almost all major hotels and airports of Latin America, even in some revolutionary countries like Ecuador. Almost all major newspapers of the continent, including those in Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, are controlled by the right wing business elites. Almost all of the foreign news coverage comes from European and North American sources, making the Latin American public totally confused about Islam, China, Russia, South Africa, Iran, even about their own neighbors.

The local elites continue to serve foreign interests, their loyalties firmly with North America and Europe.

Every left wing Latin American government has been facing bizarre protests and subversion actions conducted by the elites. Destabilization tactics have been clearly designed in far away capitals. They were mass-produced and therefore almost identical to those the West has been using against China, Russia, South Africa, and other “rebellious” nations.

Propaganda, disinformation and spreading of confusion have been some of the mightiest tools of the fascist right wing.

“Economic uncertainty” is an extremely powerful weapon. It was used first in Chile, in the 1973 coup against socialist President Salvador Allende. Pro-Western Chilean elites and businessmen created food shortages, and then blamed it on the socialist government, using El Mercurio and other daily newspapers as their propaganda tools.

Peter Koenig, former World Bank economist and now prominent dissident and critic of the world neoliberal regime, wrote for this essay:

Today Madame Bachelet, the socialist President of Chile has a hard time fighting against the Mercurio inspired Chilean oligarchs. They will not let go. Recently they invited the World Bank to assess the school reform package proposed by Bachelet, basically to return universities to the public sector. Of course, the ‘upper class’ of Chileans knew that the World Bank would come up with nothing less than predicting an economic disaster if the reform is approved. As a result, Bachelet made concessions – which on the other hand are not accepted by professors and teachers. It’s the first step towards chaos – and chaos is what the empire attempts to implant in every country where they strive for ‘regime change’.

But one of the “dirtiest” of their weapons is the accusation of corruption. Corrupt pro-Western politicians and individuals who misused tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars of the peoples money and destroyed the economies of their countries by taking unserviceable loans that kept disappearing into their deep pockets, are now pointing their soiled fingers at relatively clean governments, in countries like Chile and Argentina. Everything in “Southern Cone” and in Brazil is now under scrutiny.

Peter Koenig (who co-authored a book “The World Order and Revolution!: Essays from the Resistance” with leading Canadian international lawyer Christopher Black and me) shows how important is, for the Empire, destabilization of Brazil, one of the key members of BRICS:

“Brazil being a member of the BRICS is particularly in the crosshairs of the empire – as the BRICS have to be destabilized, divided – they are becoming an economic threat to Washington. Brazil is key for the non-Asian part of the BRICS. A fall of Brazil would be a major blow to the cohesion of the BRICS.”

There are totally different standards for pro-Western fascist politicians and for those from the Left. The Left can get away with nothing, while the Right has been getting away literally with mass murder and with the disappearance of tens of billions of dollars.

It is, of course, the common strategy in all the client states of the West. For instance, one of the most corrupt countries on earth, Indonesia, tolerates absolute sleaze and graft from former generals, but when progressive socialist Muslim leader, Abdurrahman Wahid, became the President, he was smeared and removed in a short time, on “corruption” charges.

all that gold stolen by Christians to decorate their churches

All that gold stolen by Christians to decorate their churches

After centuries of the Monroe Doctrine, after mass murder committed in “Latin” America first by Europeans and then by North Americans and their rich local butlers, it will take long decades to fully eradicate the corruption, because corruption comes with the moral collapse of the colonial powers and the local elites. Financial greed is only its byproduct.

The great pre-colonial cultures of what are now Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia did not have corruption. Corruption was injected by Western colonialism.

And now, corruption under left wing, revolutionary governments still exists, since it is difficult to root out all the rats at once, but it is incomparably smaller than under the previous fascist right wing cliques!

***

The rich in Latin America are heartless, servile (to the Empire) and greedy in the extreme. Latin America has still the most unequal distribution of wealth on earth. True, it is much richer (and even its poor are richer, with some exceptions of Central America, Peru or Paraguay) than Africa or even in Southeast Asia, but this cannot be used as an excuse.

Even the most progressive socialist governments now in power would ever dare to touch, to slap the private enterprises too hard. From this angle, China with its central planning and controlled economy is much more socialist than Ecuador or Bolivia.

A few days ago, as I was flying from Ecuador to Peru, I read that the number of multimillionaires in Latin America was actually increasing, and so is the social gap between the rich and the rest of the societies. The article was using some anecdotal evidence, saying that, for instance, in Chile alone, now, more Porsche sports cars are sold than in entirety of Latin America few years ago. As if confirming it, I noticed a Porsche auto dealership next to my hotel in Asuncion, the capital of the second poorest country in South America. I asked for numbers, but Porsche manager refused to supply them, still proudly claiming that his company was “doing very well”.

So what do they – the elites” – really want? They have money, plenty of money. They have luxury cars, estates in their own countries, and condominiums abroad. What more?

As in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia or Kenya, and all over the West, they want power. They want to feel unique. They want to be admired.

The Socialist governments allow them to stay rich. But they force them to share their wealth and above all, they shame them. They are also trying to minimize the gap – through education, free medical care and countless social projects.

public free medical posts all over Ecuador

Public free medical posts all over Ecuador

That is, of course, unacceptable to the elites. They want it all, as they always had it. And to have it all, they are ready to murder, to side with the darkest foreign interests, even to commit treason.

***

Increasingly, the interests of the local elites are very closely linked to foreign interests – those of the Empire and those of the private sector.

As I was told in Ecuador, by Ms. Paola Pabón, Assembly Member representing Pichincha area:

“Behind the involvement of the US, are some ex-bankers such as Isaiah brothers, who lost power here, escaped courts and went to live in the United States, but there are also huge economic powers such as Chevron. It means that there are not only political interests of the US, but also private, economic ones.”

Predominantly, the local elites are using their countries as milking cows, with very little or zero interest in the well being of their people.

That is why their protests against Latin American revolutions are thoroughly hypocritical. They are not fighting for improvements in their countries, but for their own, selfish personal interests. Those shouts and the pathetic hunger strikes of the “opposition” in Venezuela may appear patriotic, but only thanks to propaganda abilities to the Western mass media.

The elites would do anything to make all revolutions, all over Latin America, fail and collapse. They are even spending their own money to make it happen.

They know that if they manage to remove progressive forces from power, they could rule once again, totally unopposed, as their counterparts do in all other client states of the West – in the Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania.

The temptation is tremendous. Most of the elites in Latin America still remember well, how it feels, how it tastes – to control their countries unopposed, and with full support from the West.

***

Eduardo Galeano, the great Uruguayan writer and revolutionary thinker, once told me: “I keep repeating to all those new leaders of Latin America: “Comrades, do not play with poor people’s hopes! Hope is all they have.”

It appears that hope has finally been takes seriously, in Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and elsewhere.

It was also taken seriously in Honduras, but hope was crushed by the US-orchestrated coup. In Paraguay, under a semi-progressive priest who preached liberation theology, hope was taken semi-seriously, but even that was too much in the country that had been ruled, for decades, by fascist cliques. In 2002, a constitutional coup followed by an appalling massacre of predominantly indigenous people, and fascism returned.

in 2012, murder of indigenous farmers in Paraguay

In 2012, murder of indigenous farmers in Paraguay

After these two setbacks, Latin America shook, but kept moving forward. Hugo Chavez died, or was murdered by the North, depending which theory you subscribe to. His demise was a tremendous blow to the entire continent, but still, the continent kept moving. “Here, nobody surrenders!” Chavez shouted, dying, but proud.

President Correa of Ecuador is one of very few leaders of the “original project””, said Paola Pabón. “Lula in Brazil will not be able to stand for reelection, anymore, mainly due to corruption scandals. Mujica is not in power, anymore, and Cristina Fernandez will be retiring. Evo Morales does not have regional influence, and even Maduro does not have… For this reason, Ecuador is so important, strategically. If ‘they’ hit us, if there is a successful coup, it would be tremendous victory for them, to destroy a President with regional importance; who speaks for the region… and also, because Ecuador is one country where the government actually functions well.

In Riobamba, Ecuador, great political art accusing

In Riobamba, Ecuador, great political art accusing

Walter Bustos, who used to work for this government, is alarmed by developments in Ecuador and the entirety of Latin America. Both he and Paula Pabón realize how fragile the Latin American revolutions are. While driving with me to an indigenous area of Riobamba, Walter lamented:

“In case there is a military coup in Ecuador, the difference between here and Venezuela would be enormous: while in Venezuela, Chavez incorporated the military into his revolution, in case of citizens revolution in Ecuador, we have no security; we cannot count on support of the military in case there is some armed, political or economic attack against us.”

Hugo Chavez was not only a great revolutionary, but also a tremendous strategist. He knew that any great revolution has to be fought, won, and then defended. Winning the battle is never enough. One has to consolidate forces, and uphold the victory. Chavez was first thinker, and then soldier.

Correa, Morales, Fernandez go forward, brave, proud but unprotected. Under their governments, the lives of ordinary people improve tremendously. That is what matters to them. They are decent and honest beings, unwilling to dirty themselves with intrigues, speculations and conspiracy theories.

But their great success will not gain them any recognition from the Empire, or from their own elites. The success of socialism is the worst nightmare for rulers of the world and their local butlers.

This is how President Salvador Allende died in 1973. He dismissed all rumors, and then all warnings that the coup was coming. “I am not going to arrest people just because of some suspicion that they may do something”, he used to say. After the coup took place, he died proudly, a true hero, committing suicide by marching towards the helicopter gunships and fighter jets that were bombarding the Presidential Palace of La Moneda. But he was not the only victim. As a result of the coup, thousands of Chilean people died, and tens of thousands were savagely tortured and raped. Chile did not die, but went to horrific coma, from which it only recently manages to recover.

Henry Kissinger summarized the moral corruption/collapse of his country’s regime when he uttered his memorable phrase:

“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

Despite his great intentions, President Salvador Allende failed his people. He underestimated the bestiality of the Empire, and the result were millions of broken lives.

Since then, the Empire’s selfishness and brutality only evolved. The more successful leaders like Correa become, the more real is the danger of a coup – of a devastating, deadly attack from the North, and subversion from within.

The fragility of Latin American revolutions is obvious. The elites cannot be trusted. They showed on many occasions how far they are willing to go, committing treason, collaborating with the West against their own nations: in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia, to name just a few cases.

Appeasing both the elites and the Empire, while fighting for social justice and true independence, is impossible. The elites want to have full control of their countries, while the Empire demands full submission. No compromise could be reached. The history speaks clearly about that. And the Empire demonstrated on countless occasions that Latin American democracy would be respected only if the people vote the way that suits Washington.

Latin America has to learn how to defend itself, for the sake of its people.

Its closer and closer cooperation with China and Russia is essential. Coherent regional defense agreement should follow.

The next few years will be crucial. The revolutions have to be institutionalized; they cannot depend only on charisma of its leaders.

Constant sabotages and coup attempts, like those in Venezuela, should not be tolerated. They lead to chaos and to uncertainty. They break countries economically and socially.

It is clear what the Empire and its serves are doing: they are trying to push Latin American revolutionary countries against the wall, as they pushed, in the past, North Korea. They are trying to make them “react”, so they could say: “You see, this is true socialism, this defensive, hermitic and paranoid system.”

The path will not be easy. It will be dangerous and long.

Latin America can only survive through international cooperation and solidarity. It would also have to fight legally, at home and abroad. Those who are committing treason and those who are interrupting development of the country should face justice.

The left wing governments that are ruling South American countries won democratic elections: much more democratic than those in Europe and the United States. If the individuals and groups act against the expressed will of their own people, they should be taken to courts.

If a powerful country tortures other countries and shows total spite for their people, it should face an international legal system. The United States demonstrated, countless times, that it considers itself well above the law. It even forced several government in Latin America and elsewhere, to give its military personnel immunity. One of these countries is Paraguay, historically flooded with CIA, DEA and FBI agents.

In order to legally restrain the Empire, huge international pressure would have to be built. Like in the case of Managua, which legally sued the US for many acts of terror committed against Nicaragua. The Empire will most likely refuse to accept any guilty verdict. But the pressure has to be on!

All this would be meaningless without dedicated, constant coverage of the events by independent or opposition media, be they huge new state-funded networks like RT, TeleSur, CCTV or Press TV, of progressive independent media like Counterpunch, VNN, or ICH. It is essential that Latin Americans demand information from these sources, instead of consuming the toxic lies spread through CNN en Español, FOX, EFE and other right wing Western sources.

The battle for the Latin American people and for their freedom is on. Do not get fooled, it has been on for quite some time, and it is very tough fight.

Latin America is one of the fronts of the integrated fight for the survival of our Planet.

People who admire this part of the world, all those who have been inspired by Latin American revolutions, should participate in the struggle.

I am with the revolution!

I am with the revolution!

The best sons and daughters of this continent are now fighting in their own, quixotic way, as they always did: frontally, with exposed heart, totally unprotected. But their fight is just, and they are in this battle in order to defend the people.

Their opponents are rich, deceitful and brutal. But they are also selfish and they fight only for their own interests. They are not loved by their nations. If they lose, Latin America will win!

Those countries defending themselves against the Empire should unite, before it’s too late. Now as Latin America is rising from its knees, it becomes clear who are its foes and who are real friends, real brothers and sisters!

This scarred but stunning continent of courageous poets, of dreamers and revolutionaries should not be allowed to fall. In Caracas, Quito and La Paz, they are fighting for entire humanity.

In the National Theatre in Quito, the greatest indigenous celebration free for all

In the National Theatre in Quito, the greatest indigenous celebration free for all

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and Fighting Against Western Imperialism.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

 

The NATO military alliance is preparing to implement a more aggressive nuclear weapons strategy in response to alleged “Russian aggression,” according to NATO sources cited by the Guardian Wednesday evening.

Proposed changes include provisions for greater involvement of nuclear forces in ongoing NATO military exercises along Russia’s borders and new guidelines for nuclear escalation against Russia, according to the NATO officials.

The alliance’s nuclear doctrine has been the subject of quiet, informal discussions “on the sidelines” of the ongoing NATO summit. The new policies will be formally articulated and confirmed at an upcoming conference of the alliance’s Nuclear Planning Group, which was rescheduled for an earlier date this week as word got around about the secretive planning.

“There is very real concern about the way in which Russia publicly bandies around nuclear stuff. So there are quite a lot of deliberations in the alliance about nuclear weapons,” an unnamed NATO diplomat told the Guardian.

The claim that discussion about a revision of nuclear weapons policy is in response to Russian aggression turns reality on its head. In the aftermath of the US and NATO-backed coup in Ukraine last year, the major imperialist powers have engaged in a relentless militarization of Eastern Europe, including the establishment of a rapid reaction force of 40,000 troops.

This week, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the US would permanently deploy tanks, military vehicles and other equipment to countries bordering Russia. There are also ongoing discussions about directly arming Ukraine, beyond the extensive assistance the right-wing government already receives.

NATO is now planning to respond to any attempt by Russia to maintain or counter US imperialism’s aggressive moves in Eastern Europe with even more massive military response, including nuclear weapons.

An indication of the thinking of NATO strategists was provided by a report in theFinancial Times. In the event of a conflict involving one of the Baltic countries, “Russia might…accuse the alliance of escalating the conflict and threaten to use intermediate range nuclear weapons.” The Times quotes Elbridge Colby, of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS): “NATO does not need a total nuclear rethink. But it needs to be realistic about how it would respond and willing to show Putin that he would not get away with it.”

This scenario builds on allegations from the US that Russia has violated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), allegations that the Russian government has denied. US officials have stated that the Pentagon is preparing to launch preemptive attacks against missiles or other targets in Russia, including with nuclear weapons, in response to Moscow’s alleged violation of the treaty.

The announcement of major revisions to NATO’s nuclear strategy came just days after the publication of an extensive report, “Project Atom: Defining US Nuclear Strategy and Posture for 2025-2050,” by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The main portions of the report were authored by a career US government strategist and senior CSIS analyst, Clark Murdock, a man who previously worked in high-level strategy jobs at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the US Air Force and the National War College. The report included contributions from a large team of researchers and experts, including panels from the CNAS and the National Institution for Public Policy (NIPP).

The thrust of the CSIS analysis is that the US must make its nuclear arsenal easier to use in a war with Russia, China or some other power. The military must adopt “a US nuclear strategy designed for twenty-first century realities,” based on new generations of tactical warheads and delivery systems.

More advanced tactical nuclear weapons will enable Washington to threaten and launch small nuclear wars, without being “self-deterred” by concerns that its actions would lead to a nuclear holocaust, the CSIS report argues.

“The United States needs to develop and deploy more employable nuclear weapons,” the CSIS wrote, including “low collateral damage, enhanced radiation, earth penetration, electromagnetic pulse, and others as technology advances.”

Such advances, the report argues, are the only way to counter the erosion of American technological superiority by the growth of the Chinese and Russian nuclear arsenals, together with the addition of as many as nine new governments to the “nuclear club.”

Under the “Measured Response” theory advocated by the CSIS and Murdock, these types of highly mobile nuclear strike forces could engage in “controlled nuclear operations,” firing “low yield, accurate, special effects” nukes against enemy targets without leading to a full-scale nuclear war.

By “forward deploying a robust set of discriminate nuclear response options,” the US could launch tactical nuclear strikes “at all rungs of the nuclear escalation ladder,” Murdock wrote.

Such “small-scale” nuclear conflicts would inevitably claim tens, if not hundreds of millions of lives, even assuming they did not escalate into a global nuclear war.

The continental US, according to this theory, would be protected from the consequences of regional-scale nuclear warfare by the deterrent effect of Washington’s huge arsenal of high-yield strategic weapons. Any “controlled” nuclear conflicts started by the US government, moreover, would not involve nuclear operations targeting or launched from North America.

“The US homeland would not be engaged in the US response to a nuclear attack on a regional ally,” the CSIS wrote.

In barely veiled language, CSIS is suggesting that the US should utilize allied and client governments as staging areas and arenas for “controlled” atomic warfare.

As the product of collaboration between an extensive network of ruling-class policy theorists, such proposals are extremely ominous and represent a grave warning to the international working class.

There have been other calls for a significant expansion of US nuclear weapons capacity. In comments to the Atlantic Council earlier this week, US Congressman Mac Thornberry, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called for a “national conversation about building new nuclear weapons.”

“That’s something we haven’t been able to even have a conversation about for a while, but I think we’re going to have to,” Thornberry declared.

Late last year, the Obama administration announced plans for a $1 trillion, three-decades-long upgrade of nuclear weapons capability.

In the writings of the CSIS and the other discussions within the state apparatus, there is a degree of insanity. The strategists of American imperialism are coldly calculating the best tactics for waging and winning nuclear war. Yet this insanity flows from the logic of American imperialism and the drive by the financial aristocracy to control—ever more directly through the use of military force—the entire world.


300 Saudi soldiers and an artillery commander have joined the Yemeni forces, a senior Yemeni politician announced on Friday.

“The latest blow at the Al Saud came as Hashem al-Ahmar, artillery commander of the Saudi army in al-Wadia border crossing and 300 soldiers joined the Yemeni army and the revolutionary forces,” the Middle East Panorama website quoted Head of Yemen’s Free Army Nasser bin Yahya al-Orujli as saying on Friday.

He noted that the Saudi regime is still in a difficult situation and the Saudi officials know it quite well.

Last Wednesday, tribal forces and activists in Saudi Arabia’s Najran region formed a military and political opposition movement to the Saudi regime, called “Ahrar al-Najran” after the region declared earlier this month that it has separated from Saudi Arabia and joined Yemen in the war on Riyadh.

Activist and movement member, Abu Bakr Abi Ahmad al-Salami, told FNA that “all tribes of the region are members of the Ahrar al-Najran Movement”.

He said the youths and political activists in Najran have demanded the “Yemeni popular forces and revolutionary committees, brothers, and the neighboring lands to provide military training for the younger generation of this region”.

Al-Salami underlined the movement tough stance against the al-Saud regime, saying, “Saudi Arabia wrongfully imagines that it is the only defender of Islam, but they should know that we are the defenders of Islam and the two holy mosques, and we will rush to defend the two mosques (in Mecca and Medina) if necessary.”

Al-Salami said the movement is worried about developments in Yemen, and declared that “the movement’s first battle will take place in those areas controlled by the Saudi occupation army in Southern Najran soon”.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 93 days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.

Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

The Monarchy’s attacks have so far claimed the lives of at least 4,727 civilians, mostly women and children.

The latest neocon gambit is to build support for “regime change” in Syria by downplaying the evils of Al Qaeda, rebranding it as some sort of “moderate” terrorist force whose Syrian affiliate is acceptable to Israel and supported by Saudi Arabia. But this audacious argument ignores reality, writes Daniel Lazare.

Just nine days after the fall of the World Trade Center, George W. Bush announced that he was imposing a radical new policy on virtually the entire globe:

“Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

As dramatic as the statement was, just about every phrase was open to question in one form or another.  But rather than launching into a long and vigorous debate about the meaning of terrorism or America’s right to impose diktat on the world at large, congressmen turned their minds off and gave Bush a standing ovation.

The second plane about to crash into the World Trade Center towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.

Today, the same Bush Doctrine is sinking beneath the waves as a growing portion of the punditocracy declares that some forms of terrorism are better than others and that harboring a terrorist may not be so bad if it advances U.S. interests. But once again, the response is not questioning, debate, or even applause, but silence.

The latest evidence of a sea change in establishment thinking is a blog that Ahmed Rashid, a prominent Middle East correspondent, recently published on The New York Review of Bookswebsite. Entitled “Why We Need al-Qaeda,” it argues that Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, Al Nusra, are evolving in a more moderate direction in growing contrast to its rival, the super-violent Islamic State. So why not use Al Nusra as a counterforce against both Bashar al-Assad and ISIS?

As Rashid puts it: “Unlike ISIS, which demands absolute subjugation of the inhabitants of any territory it conquers (surrender or be executed), al-Nusra is cooperating with other anti-Assad groups and recently joined the ‘Army of Conquest’ alliance of rebel militias in northern Syria. Moreover, in contrast to ISIS’s
largely international and non-Syrian fighting force, al-Nusra’s fighters are almost wholly Syrian, making them both more reliable and more committed to Syria’s future.

Meanwhile, in interviews with Al Jazeera, al-Nusra leaders have vowed not to attack
targets in the West, promoting an ideology that might be called ‘nationalist jihadism’ rather than global jihad. In recent months, al-Nusra’s leaders
have toned down the implementation of their own brutal version of Islamic law, while putting on hold their own plans of building a caliphate.

Thus, according to Rashid’s viewpoint, Al Nusra is cooperative, patriotic, unthreatening to anyone other than Assad, and in favor of a kinder and gentler form of shari‘a as well. Yet, Rashid argues, that while Turkey and the Arab gulf states recognize that change is afoot, the U.S. keeps its eyes resolutely shut:

“With 230,000 killed and 7.6 million people uprooted in Syria alone, the Arab states want a quick end to the Assad regime and a viable solution for Syria. They know that solution will never come from the weak moderate opposition, and that
any lasting peace will require support by the strong and ruthless Islamist
groups fighting there.”

Gulf States’ Favorite

So the gulf states are backing the second most ruthless Islamist group in Syria (Al Qaeda’s affiliate) in hopes of offsetting the first most ruthless (ISIS) and making short work of the Baathist regime in Damascus. But as Arab leaders prepare for direct negotiations with Al Nusra, Rashid warns, “the only one not at the table could be the
United States.”

This is dramatic stuff. After all, Rashid is not taking aim at some minor doctrine, but one that has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy since 9/11. Moreover, he’s not the only one talking this way. Since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Riyadh in early March to meet with Saudi King Salman and discuss ways of upping support for the Syrian Islamist opposition, there has been a veritable boomlet in terms of calls for a rapprochement with Al Qaeda.

Within days of the Riyadh get-together, Foreign Affairs went public with an article arguing that even though “the United States is the closest it has ever been to destroying al Qaeda, its interests would be better served by keeping the terrorist organization afloat.” Lina Khatib, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, wrote a few weeks later that “while not everyone likes Nusra’s ideology, there is a growing sense in the north of Syria that it is the best alternative on the ground – and that ideology is a small price to pay for higher returns.”

Charles Lister of the Brookings Institute’s Doha Center, wrote that Al Nusra is undergoing a “moderating shift.” Frederic Hof, Obama’s former envoy to the Syrian guerrillas and now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said the group has become “a real magnet for young Syrian fighters who don’t have any particular jihadist or even radical sectarian agenda.” They are drawn to Al Nusra, he explained, for two reasons – because it’s “well-resourced” and because it “seems to have been willing to fight the regime and not to engage in some of the corrupt activities and warlordism that you would find elsewhere within the panoply of Syrian opposition.”

So, Rashid’s views are hardly unique. Nonetheless, they’re the most explicit and upfront to date, an indication that support for an alliance with Al Qaeda is on the upswing and that advocates are growing bolder and more self-confident. So how should ordinary people who are not part of the elite foreign-policy discussion respond?

One-Sided Arguments

For one thing, they might notice that such articles are remarkably one-sided and poorly reasoned. Rashid may be “one of Pakistan’s most respected journalists,” as the BBC puts it, someone whose work has appeared in such publications as the Daily Telegraph and the Far Eastern Economic Review. Yet shooting holes through his arguments is child’s play.

Take his claim that “al-Nusra’s leaders have toned down the implementation of their own brutal version of Islamic law.” Whatever the difference between Al Nusra and ISIS on this score, it’s less impressive than Rashid lets on.

The Soufan Group, a New York-based security firm headed by a Lebanese-American ex-FBI agent named Ali H. Soufan, notes, for instance, that while Islamic State released a video in January showing its forces stoning an accused adulteress, Al Nusra released one around the same time showing its forces shooting two women for the same alleged offense. Since the victims in either case were killed, the difference, as the Soufan Group noted, was purely “stylistic.”

Rashid claims that Al Nusra is less extreme in its hostility to Shi‘ism, in part because it thinks “anti-Shia fanaticism” is backfiring and becoming “an impediment to gaining more territory.” Indeed, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, Al Nusra’s commander-in-chief, told Al Jazeera in a rare interview on May 27 that his forces were willing to welcome Alawites, as Syria’s Shi‘ites are known, back into the fold.

“If they drop weapons,” al-Julani said, “disavow Assad, do not send their men to fight for him and return to Islam, then they are our brothers.” But when he described Alawism as a sect that has “moved outside the religion of God and of Islam,” the meaning became clear: Alawite must either convert or die.

Whether this makes Al Nusra less genocidal than ISIS is open to debate. According to the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, Al Nusra recently massacred more than 20 Druze villagers in northwestern Syria – reportedly after a local commander denounced them as kuffar, or infidels, while al-Julani, in his Al Jazeera interview, specified that Christians must pay the jizya, a special head tax imposed by Islamic law, as well – a stipulation Syria’s ten-percent Christian minority is not likely to find very reassuring.

Ordinary people viewing this from afar might notice that the government that al-Julani is seeking to overthrow is officially secular and non-discriminatory and that even Obama has conceded that it has “protected the Christians in Syria,” as he told a Syrian Christian delegation last September. They might also notice that Rashid’s article is in other respects highly revealing, although not in ways he cares to admit.

For instance, Rashid writes that U.S. policy in the Middle East is beset by “growing contradictions.” This is obviously correct. But the problem is not that Washington refuses to face facts about Al Nusra’s alleged moderating trend, but that the U.S. is attempting to hammer out an accord with Iran while struggling to preserve its alliance with Israel and the Arab gulf states, all of whom regard Iran as public enemy number one.

Obama’s Fence Straddling

The effort has led to monumental fence straddling. While entering into talks with Iran, the Obama administration has given the go-ahead to Saudi Arabia’s two-month-old assault on Iranian-allied forces in Yemen while turning a blind eye to growing Turkish and Saudi support for anti-Iranian terrorists in Syria.

While paying lip service to the Bush Doctrine that he who harbors a terrorist is as bad as a terrorist, the Obama administration made no objection when the Saudis and Turks donated U.S.-made TOW missiles to Al Nusra-led forces in northern Syria or when the Saudi bombing campaign allowed Al Qaeda to expand in Yemen.

It’s a mixed-up policy that has people in the Middle East shaking their heads. Yet Rashid adds to the confusion by misrepresenting the Saudi role. He writes, for instance, that the Arab States are swinging behind Al Nusra because they “want a quick end to the Assad regime and a viable solution for Syria,” when, in fact, Saudi Wahhabists have sought from the start to impose a government much like their own, as a report by U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency observed back in August 2012.

Rather than “viable,” such a government would be precisely the opposite for a highly variegated society like Syria with its large Christian, Shi‘ite, and Druze minorities fearful of Sunni fundamentalist domination – yet the gulf states, backed by the U.S., have pushed on regardless.

On the issue of Al Qaeda’s brutal intolerance, Rashid adds, “For Arab leaders, determining whether al-Qaeda has really changed
will depend on the group’s long-term attitude toward Shias,” suggesting that the gulf states are seeking a fairer outcome for Syria’s Alawites.

Saudi Intolerance

But this is misleading as well since Saudi attitudes toward the kingdom’s own 15-percent Shi‘ite minority are deeply oppressive and seem to be getting worse.

According to the Cambridge scholar Toby Matthiesen, for example, Saudi Shi‘ites are barred from the army and the National Guard as well as the top rungs of the government.  State-mandated schoolbooks denounce them as “rejectionists,” while, according to the independent scholar Mai Yamani, they cannot testify in court or marry a Sunni and must put up with abuse from Wahhabist clerics who regularly preach that killing a Shi‘ite merits a greater heavenly reward than killing a Christian or a Jew.

Since Salman’s accession in late January, there is no sign of a softening. Indeed, by bombing Yemen’s Shi‘ite Houthi rebels and stepping up support for fanatically anti-Shi‘ite rebels in Syria, Salman gives every indication of intensifying his anti-Shi‘ite crusade and taking it abroad.

Neocons pushing for an explicit alliance with Al Nusra are thus attempting to plunge the U.S. ever more deeply into a growing sectarian war. Ordinary people might also notice that such “experts” expound their views from cushy posts financed by Qatar (the case with Brookings’ Doha Center) or by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain (the case with the Atlantic Council).

Yet Congress doesn’t care about such conflicts of interest and the White House is too intimidated to speak out, while the American people at large are not consulted. Questioning and debate are more imperative than ever, yet they are as absent as they were back in 2001.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Climbing into Bed with Al-Qaeda.”]

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

Malaysia, frustrated by the refusal of the official international investigation-team to produce any clear evidence yet of whom to blame for the downing of the MH17 Malaysian airliner over the Ukrainian civil-war zone on 17 July 2014, has finally forced the team to request the UN to investigate. They’ve forced the original four nations on the team to accept UN adjudication of any final report.

This will enable a court-proceeding to make the ultimate determination of guilt (upon which judgment penalties and compensation will be assessed), and this court-determination would inevitably allow whatever party is being blamed by the five-member official investigating team, to present its own evidence in the case, so that the court will make the ultimate determination — the official investigating team will not be performing that crucial judgmental function.

Malaysia was long prohibited from even participating in this investigational team, but on 5 November 2014, a deal was finally reached with the four nations that did comprise the team — four U.S. allies: Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, and (a suspect in possibly having downed the MH17) Ukraine itself (though it had lost none of its citizens in the disaster) — so, the next day, Malaysia’s New Straits Times  headlined “Malaysia to join MH17 criminal probe team,” and reported that, “The prime minister said the country had been invited to play a bigger role in the recovery and investigation of the ill-fated aircraft, believed to have been downed by a missile over eastern Ukraine on July 17.”

The Malaysian report went on then, pointedly, to note: “In July, the Dutch and Ukrainian authorities agreed that the bulk of the operations would be carried out by the Netherlands, with assistance from countries whose citizens were on board the flight. Malaysia had repeatedly asked to be part of the joint investigation team, currently comprising investigators from the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Ukraine.” Implicitly, that phrase “Malaysia had repeatedly asked to be part of the investigating team” said that Malaysia had consistently been refused membership until 5 November 2014. In fact, even by late November of 2014, Malaysia continued to be refused membership, and I headlined on November 30th, “Malaysia Becomes Angry About Exclusion from MH17 Investigation.”

That refusal was especially outrageous because, like three of the four nations that already were on the team, Malaysia had lost (44) citizens from the downing. But in addition, Malaysia had lost the plane, from it. There was no excuse for the four pro-Western nations to exclude Malaysia, and for their limiting the investigating-team to only Ukraine (a key suspect in the downing) and three of its allies. And, between November and now, Malaysia has finally become so fed-up with the team’s continuing refusal to act, and to declare the culprit, so that the rest of the team finally consented to Malaysia’s demand to transfer the investigation over to the UN.

On 24 June 2015, Agence France Press, a mouthpiece for yet another Western nation (France), bannered, “Netherlands, Malaysia push for UN tribunal for MH17 culprits,” and Thailand’s Bangkok Post headlined this same story more honestly and directly, as “Malaysia demands UN court for MH17 shootdown,” but carried unchanged the anti-Russian-slanted AFP text. The anti-Russian-slanted AFP ‘news’ report said “It remains unclear, however, whether Russia would back the creation of the special tribunal” (something which they could also have said of the U.S., for example) and included a sub-head: “- Getting Russia on board -,” which section had only this brief and anonymously sourced reference to Russia: “The diplomat [unidentified] said the countries were mindful of the need to ‘avoid a Russian veto’ [as if a Russian veto would have been likelier than an American one, etc.].” That’s propaganda for a regime, not news-reporting for a democracy — it delivers the bias (to whip up support for war), along with its sugar-coated pro-regime facts.

The present writer has already set forth the conclusive evidence that Ukraine downed this airliner, and that the reason Ukraine did it — intentionally, not at all by mistake — was in order to enable the U.S. to blame Russia for it and thus get the EU to hike economic sanctions against Russia. Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany isn’t the only nation in history that has used what the intelligence trade calls “false-flag attacks” in order to blame the nations that it itself aims to attack. The U.S. has perfected that technique.

Russia was framed for the downing of MH17, which was a U.S. job carried out by the Ukrainian Air Force. (The EU knows that the U.S. has a mega-criminal government, but they go along with it, thinking that their aristocrats will get some of the loot that’s being yanked off by America’s aristocrats. They do this though 206 of the murdered passengers were EU citizens. And Netherlands,which provided the U.S. key assistance in the buildup to overthrowing Ukraine’s democracy, lost the most people in it, which just goes to show on which side Dutch aristocrats stand — it’s not the Dutch public’s side.)

Finally, Malaysia is having some success in pulling this criminal investigation away from the clearly proven criminal (Ukraine — which now is itself a U.S. client-state) and its friends.

Anyone who believes Western ‘news’ media about international affairs is simply laying his mind out to be raped by agents of the local nation’s aristocracy. Almost everything has become propaganda now. Honest journalism is squelched, if not strangled.

That’s why, if you’ll google the headline of this news-report, none of the major mainstream and ‘alternative’ ‘news’ sites will likely come up — though it has been sent to all of them.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

This carefully research article by John Steinbach on Israel’s nuclear arsenal was first published by Global Research in March 2002

“Should war break out in the Middle East again,… or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability.” Seymour Hersh(1)

“Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.” Ariel Sharon(2) (right image)

With between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons and a sophisticated delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the World’s 5th Largest nuclear power, and may currently rival France and China in the size and sophistication of its nuclear arsenal. Although dwarfed by the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia, each possessing over 10,000 nuclear weapons, Israel nonetheless is a major nuclear power, and should be publically recognized as such.

Since the Gulf War in 1991, while much attention has been lavished on the threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the major culprit in the region, Israel, has been largely ignored. Possessing chemical and biological weapons, an extremely sophisticated nuclear arsenal, and an aggressive strategy for their actual use, Israel provides the major regional impetus for the development of weapons of mass destruction and represents an acute threat to peace and stability in the Middle East. The Israeli nuclear program represents a serious impediment to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and, with India and Pakistan, is a potential nuclear flashpoint.(prospects of meaningful non-proliferation are a delusion so long as the nuclear weapons states insist on maintaining their arsenals,) Citizens concerned about sanctions against Iraq, peace with justice in the Middle East, and nuclear disarmament have an obligation to speak out forcefully against the Israeli nuclear program.

Birth of the Israeli Bomb

The Israeli nuclear program began in the late 1940s under the direction of Ernst David Bergmann, “the father of the Israeli bomb,” who in 1952 established the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission. It was France, however, which provided the bulk of early nuclear assistance to Israel culminating in construction of Dimona, a heavy water moderated, natural uranium reactor and plutonium reprocessing factory situated near Bersheeba in the Negev Desert. Israel had been an active participant in the French Nuclear weapons program from its inception, providing critical technical expertise, and the Israeli nuclear program can be seen as an extension of this earlier collaboration. Dimona went on line in 1964 and plutonium reprocessing began shortly thereafter. Despite various Israeli claims that Dimona was “a manganese plant, or a textile factory,” the extreme security measures employed told a far different story. In 1967, Israel shot down one of their own Mirage fighters that approached too close to Dimona and in 1973 shot down a Lybian civilian airliner which strayed off course, killing 104.(3)

There is substantial credible speculation that Israel may have exploded at least one, and perhaps several, nuclear devices in the mid 1960s in the Negev near the Israeli-Egyptian border, and that it participated actively in French nuclear tests in Algeria.(4) By the time of the “Yom Kippur War” in 1973, Israel possessed an arsenal of perhaps several dozen deliverable atomic bombs and went on full nuclear alert.(5)

Possessing advanced nuclear technology and “world class” nuclear scientists, Israel was confronted early with a major problem- how to obtain the necessary uranium. Israel’s own uranium source was the phosphate deposits in the Negev, totally inadequate to meet the need of a rapidly expanding program. The short term answer was to mount commando raids in France and Britain to successfully hijack uranium shipments and, in1968, to collaborate with West Germany in diverting 200 tons of yellowcake (uranium oxide).(6) These clandestine acquisitions of uranium for Dimona were subsequently covered up by the various countries involved. There was also an allegation that a U.S. corporation called Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) diverted hundreds of pounds of enriched uranium to Israel from the mid-50s to the mid-60s.

Despite an FBI and CIA investigation, and Congressional hearings, no one was ever prosecuted, although most other investigators believed the diversion had occurred(7)(8). In the late 1960s, Israel solved the uranium problem by developing close ties with South Africa in a quid pro quo arrangement whereby Israel supplied the technology and expertise for the “Apartheid Bomb,” while South Africa provided the uranium.

South Africa and the United States

In 1977, the Soviet Union warned the U.S. that satellite photos indicated South Africa was planning a nuclear test in the Kalahari Desert but the Apartheid regime backed down under pressure. On September 22, 1979, a U.S. satellite detected an atmospheric test of a small thermonuclear bomb in the Indian Ocean off South Africa but, because of Israel’s apparent involvement, the report was quickly “whitewashed” by a carefully selected scientific panel kept in the dark about important details. Later it was learned through Israeli sources that there were actually three carefully guarded tests of miniaturized Israeli nuclear artillery shells. The Israeli/South African collaboration did not end with the bomb testing, but continued until the fall of Apartheid, especially with the developing and testing of medium range missiles and advanced artillery. In addition to uranium and test facilities, South Africa provided Israel with large amounts of investment capital, while Israel provided a major trade outlet to enable the Apartheid state avoid international economic sanctions.(9)

Although the French and South Africans were primarily responsible for the Israeli nuclear program, the U.S. shares and deserves a large part of the blame. Mark Gaffney wrote (the Israeli nuclear program) “was possible only because (emphasis in original) of calculated deception on the part of Israel, and willing complicity on the part of the U.S..”(10)

From the very beginning, the U.S. was heavily involved in the Israeli nuclear program, providing nuclear related technology such as a small research reactor in 1955 under the “Atoms for Peace Program.” Israeli scientists were largely trained at U.S. universities and were generally welcomed at the nuclear weapons labs. In the early 1960s, the controls for the Dimona reactor were obtained clandestinely from a company called Tracer Lab, the main supplier of U.S. military reactor control panels, purchased through a Belgian subsidiary, apparently with the acquiescence of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA.(11) In 1971, the Nixon administration approved the sale of hundreds of krytons(a type of high speed switch necessary to the development of sophisticated nuclear bombs) to Israel.(12) And, in 1979, Carter provided ultra high resolution photos from a KH-11 spy satellite, used 2 years later to bomb the Iraqi Osirak Reactor.(13) Throughout the Nixon and Carter administrations, and accelerating dramatically under Reagan, U.S. advanced technology transfers to Israel have continued unabated to the present.

The Vanunu Revelations

Following the 1973 war, Israel intensified its nuclear program while continuing its policy of deliberate “nuclear opaqueness.” Until the mid-1980s, most intelligence estimates of the Israeli nuclear arsenal were on the order of two dozen but the explosive revelations of Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear technician working in the Dimona plutonium reprocessing plant, changed everything overnight. A leftist supporter of Palestine, Vanunu believed that it was his duty to humanity to expose Israel’s nuclear program to the world. He smuggled dozens of photos and valuable scientific data out of Israel and in 1986 his story was published in the London Sunday Times. Rigorous scientific scrutiny of the Vanunu revelations led to the disclosure that Israel possessed as many as 200 highly sophisticated, miniaturized thermonuclear bombs. His information indicated that the Dimona reactor’s capacity had been expanded several fold and that Israel was producing enough plutonium to make ten to twelve bombs per year. A senior U.S. intelligence analyst said of the Vanunu data,”The scope of this is much more extensive than we thought. This is an enormous operation.”(14)

Just prior to publication of his information Vanunu was lured to Rome by a Mossad “Mata Hari,” was beaten, drugged and kidnapped to Israel and, following a campaign of disinformation and vilification in the Israeli press, convicted of “treason” by a secret security court and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He served over 11 years in solitary confinement in a 6 by 9 foot cell. After a year of modified release into the general population(he was not permitted contact with Arabs), Vanunu recently has been returned to solitary and faces more than 3 years further imprisonment. Predictably, The Vanunu revelations were largely ignored by the world press, especially in the United States, and Israel continues to enjoy a relatively free ride regarding its nuclear status. (15)

Israel’s Arsenal of Mass Destruction

Today, estimates of the Israeli nuclear arsenal range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of about 500. Whatever the number, there is little doubt that Israeli nukes are among the world’s most sophisticated, largely designed for “war fighting” in the Middle East. A staple of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are “neutron bombs,” miniaturized thermonuclear bombs designed to maximize deadly gamma radiation while minimizing blast effects and long term radiation- in essence designed to kill people while leaving property intact.(16) Weapons include ballistic missiles and bombers capable of reaching Moscow, cruise missiles, land mines (In the 1980s Israel planted nuclear land mines along the Golan Heights(17)), and artillery shells with a range of 45 miles(18).

In June, 2000 an Israeli submarine launched a cruise missile which hit a target 950 miles away, making Israel only the third nation after the U.S. and Russia with that capability. Israel will deploy 3 of these virtually impregnable submarines, each carrying 4 cruise missiles.(19)

The bombs themselves range in size from “city busters” larger than the Hiroshima Bomb to tactical mini nukes. The Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass destruction clearly dwarfs the actual or potential arsenals of all other Middle Eastern states combined, and is vastly greater than any conceivable need for “deterrence.”

Israel also possesses a comprehensive arsenal of chemical and biological weapons. According to the Sunday Times, Israel has produced both chemical and biological weapons with a sophisticated delivery system, quoting a senior Israeli intelligence official,

“There is hardly a single known or unknown form of chemical or biological weapon . . .which is not manufactured at the Nes Tziyona Biological Institute.”)(20)

The same report described F-16 fighter jets specially designed for chemical and biological payloads, with crews trained to load the weapons on a moments notice. In 1998, the Sunday Times reported that Israel, using research obtained from South Africa, was developing an “ethno bomb; “In developing their “ethno-bomb”, Israeli scientists are trying to exploit medical advances by identifying distinctive a gene carried by some Arabs, then create a genetically modified bacterium or virus… The scientists are trying to engineer deadly micro-organisms that attack only those bearing the distinctive genes.” Dedi Zucker, a leftist Member of Knesset, the Israeli parliament, denounced the research saying, “Morally, based on our history, and our tradition and our experience, such a weapon is monstrous and should be denied.”(21)

Israeli Nuclear Strategy

In popular imagination, the Israeli bomb is a “weapon of last resort,” to be used only at the last minute to avoid annihilation, and many well intentioned but misled supporters of Israel still believe that to be the case. Whatever truth this formulation may have had in the minds of the early Israeli nuclear strategists, today the Israeli nuclear arsenal is inextricably linked to and integrated with overall Israeli military and political strategy. As Seymour Hersh says in classic understatement ; “The Samson Option is no longer the only nuclear option available to Israel.”(22) Israel has made countless veiled nuclear threats against the Arab nations and against the Soviet Union(and by extension Russia since the end of the Cold War) One chilling example comes from Ariel Sharon, the current Israeli Prime Minister

“Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.”(23)

(In 1983 Sharon proposed to India that it join with Israel to attack Pakistani nuclear facilities; in the late 70s he proposed sending Israeli paratroopers to Tehran to prop up the Shah; and in 1982 he called for expanding Israel’s security influence to stretch from “Mauritania to Afghanistan.”)

In another example, Israeli nuclear expert Oded Brosh said in 1992,

“…we need not be ashamed that the nuclear option is a major instrumentality of our defense as a deterrent against those who attack us.”(24)

According to Israel Shahak,

“The wish for peace, so often assumed as the Israeli aim, is not in my view a principle of Israeli policy, while the wish to extend Israeli domination and influence is.”

and

“Israel is preparing for a war, nuclear if need be, for the sake of averting domestic change not to its liking, if it occurs in some or any Middle Eastern states…. Israel clearly prepares itself to seek overtly a hegemony over the entire Middle East…, without hesitating to use for the purpose all means available, including nuclear ones.”(25)

Israel uses its nuclear arsenal not just in the context of deterrence” or of direct war fighting, but in other more subtle but no less important ways. For example, the possession of weapons of mass destruction can be a powerful lever to maintain the status quo, or to influence events to Israel’s perceived advantage, such as to protect the so called moderate Arab states from internal insurrection, or to intervene in inter-Arab warfare.(26)

In Israeli strategic jargon this concept is called “nonconventional compellence” and is exemplified by a quote from Shimon Peres; “acquiring a superior weapons system(read nuclear) would mean the possibility of using it for compellent purposes- that is forcing the other side to accept Israeli political demands, which presumably include a demand that the traditional status quo be accepted and a peace treaty signed.”(27)

From a slightly different perspective, Robert Tuckerr asked in a Commentary magazine article in defense of Israeli nukes, “What would prevent Israel… from pursuing a hawkish policy employing a nuclear deterrent to freeze the status quo?”(28) Possessing an overwhelming nuclear superiority allows Israel to act with impunity even in the face world wide opposition. A case in point might be the invasion of Lebanon and destruction of Beirut in 1982, led by Ariel Sharon, which resulted in 20,000 deaths, most civilian. Despite the annihilation of a neighboring Arab state, not to mention the utter destruction of the Syrian Air Force, Israel was able to carry out the war for months at least partially due to its nuclear threat.

Another major use of the Israeli bomb is to compel the U.S. to act in Israel’s favor, even when it runs counter to its own strategic interests. As early as 1956 Francis Perrin, head of the French A-bomb project wrote “We thought the Israeli Bomb was aimed at the Americans, not to launch it at the Americans, but to say, ‘If you don’t want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us; otherwise we will use our nuclear bombs.’”(29) During the 1973 war, Israel used nuclear blackmail to force Kissinger and Nixon to airlift massive amounts of military hardware to Israel.

The Israeli Ambassador, Simha Dinitz, is quoted as saying, at the time,

“If a massive airlift to Israel does not start immediately, then I will know that the U.S. is reneging on its promises and…we will have to draw very serious conclusions…”(30)

Just one example of this strategy was spelled out in 1987 by Amos Rubin, economic adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who said

“If left to its own Israel will have no choice but to fall back on a riskier defense which will endanger itself and the world at large… To enable Israel to abstain from dependence on nuclear arms calls for $2 to 3 billion per year in U.S. aid.”(31)

Since then Israel’s nuclear arsenal has expanded exponentially, both quantitatively and qualitatively, while the U.S. money spigots remain wide open.

Regional and International Implications

Largely unknown to the world, the Middle East nearly exploded in all out war on February 22, 2001. According to the London Sunday Times and DEBKAfile, Israel went on high missile alert after receiving news from the U.S. of movement by 6 Iraqi armored divisions stationed along the Syrian border, and of launch preparations of surface to surface missiles. DEBKAfile, an Israeli based “counter-terrorism” information service, claims that the Iraqi missiles were deliberately taken to the highest alert level in order to test the U.S. and Israeli response. Despite an immediate attack by 42 U.S. and British war planes, the Iraqis suffered little apparent damage.(32) The Israelis have warned Iraq that they are prepared to use neutron bombs in a preemptive attack against Iraqi missiles.

The Israeli nuclear arsenal has profound implications for the future of peace in the Middle East, and indeed, for the entire planet. It is clear from Israel Shahak that Israel has no interest in peace except that which is dictated on its own terms, and has absolutely no intention of negotiating in good faith to curtail its nuclear program or discuss seriously a nuclear-free Middle East,”Israel’s insistence on the independent use of its nuclear weapons can be seen as the foundation on which Israeli grand strategy rests.”(34) According to Seymour Hersh, “the size and sophistication of Israel’s nuclear arsenal allows men such as Ariel Sharon to dream of redrawing the map of the Middle East aided by the implicit threat of nuclear force.”(35) General Amnon Shahak-Lipkin, former Israeli Chief of Staff is quoted “It is never possible to talk to Iraq about no matter what; It is never possible to talk to Iran about no matter what. Certainly about nuclearization. With Syria we cannot really talk either.”(36) Ze’ev Shiff, an Israeli military expert writing in Haaretz said, “Whoever believes that Israel will ever sign the UN Convention prohibiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons… is day dreaming,”(37) and Munya Mardoch, Director of the Israeli Institute for the Development of Weaponry, said in 1994, “The moral and political meaning of nuclear weapons is that states which renounce their use are acquiescing to the status of Vassal states. All those states which feel satisfied with possessing conventional weapons alone are fated to become vassal states.”(38)

As Israeli society becomes more and more polarized, the influence of the radical right becomes stronger. According to Shahak, “The prospect of Gush Emunim, or some secular right-wing Israeli fanatics, or some some of the delerious Israeli Army generals, seizing control of Israeli nuclear weapons…cannot be precluded. …while israeli jewish society undergoes a steady polarization, the Israeli security system increasingly relies on the recruitment of cohorts from the ranks of the extreme right.”(39) The Arab states, long aware of Israel’s nuclear program, bitterly resent its coercive intent, and perceive its existence as the paramount threat to peace in the region, requiring their own weapons of mass destruction. During a future Middle Eastern war (a distinct possibility given the ascension of Ariel Sharon, an unindicted war criminal with a bloody record stretching from the massacre of Palestinian civilians at Quibya in 1953, to the massacre of Palestinian civilians at Sabra and Shatila in 1982 and beyond) the possible Israeli use of nuclear weapons should not be discounted. According to Shahak, “In Israeli terminology, the launching of missiles on to Israeli territory is regarded as ‘nonconventional’ regardless of whether they are equipped with explosives or poison gas.”(40) (Which requires a “nonconventional” response, a perhaps unique exception being the Iraqi SCUD attacks during the Gulf War.)

Meanwhile, the existence of an arsenal of mass destruction in such an unstable region in turn has serious implications for future arms control and disarmament negotiations, and even the threat of nuclear war. Seymour Hersh warns,

“Should war break out in the Middle East again,… or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability.”(41) and Ezar Weissman, Israel’s current President said “The nuclear issue is gaining momentum(and the) next war will not be conventional.”(42)

Russia and before it the Soviet Union has long been a major(if not the major) target of Israeli nukes. It is widely reported that the principal purpose of Jonathan Pollard’s spying for Israel was to furnish satellite images of Soviet targets and other super sensitive data relating to U.S. nuclear targeting strategy. (43) (Since launching its own satellite in 1988, Israel no longer needs U.S. spy secrets.) Israeli nukes aimed at the Russian heartland seriously complicate disarmament and arms control negotiations and, at the very least, the unilateral possession of nuclear weapons by Israel is enormously destabilizing, and dramatically lowers the threshold for their actual use, if not for all out nuclear war. In the words of Mark Gaffney, “… if the familar pattern(Israel refining its weapons of mass destruction with U.S. complicity) is not reversed soon- for whatever reason- the deepening Middle East conflict could trigger a world conflagration.” (44)

Many Middle East Peace activists have been reluctant to discuss, let alone challenge, the Israeli monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region, often leading to incomplete and uninformed analyses and flawed action strategies.

Placing the issue of Israeli weapons of mass destruction directly and honestly on the table and action agenda would have several salutary effects. First, it would expose a primary destabilizing dynamic driving the Middle East arms race and compelling the region’s states to each seek their own “deterrent.” Second, it would expose the grotesque double standard which sees the U.S. and Europe on the one hand condemning Iraq, Iran and Syria for developing weapons of mass destruction, while simultaneously protecting and enabling the principal culprit. Third, exposing Israel’s nuclear strategy would focus international public attention, resulting in increased pressure to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction and negotiate a just peace in good faith. Finally, a nuclear free Israel would make a Nuclear Free Middle East and a comprehensive regional peace agreement much more likely. Unless and until the world community confronts Israel over its covert nuclear program it is unlikely that there will be any meaningful resolution of the Israeli/Arab conflict, a fact that Israel may be counting on as the Sharon era dawns.

Notes

1. Seymour Hersh, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, New York,1991, Random House, p. 319 (A brilliant and prophetic work with much original research)2

2. Mark Gaffney, Dimona, The Third Temple:The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation, Brattleboro, VT, 1989, Amana Books, p. 165 (Excellent progressive analysis of the Israeli nuclear program)

3. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Warner D. Farr, The Third Temple Holy of Holies; Israel’s Nuclear Weapons, USAF Counterproliferation Center, Air War College Sept 1999 <www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/farr,htm (Perhaps the best single condensed history of the Israeli nuclear program)

4. Hersch, op.cit., p. 131

5. Gaffney, op.cit., p. 63

6. Gaffney, op. cit. pp 68 – 69

7. Hersh, op.cit., pp. 242-257

8. Gaffney, op.cit., 1989, pps. 65-66 (An alternative discussion of the NUMEC affair)

9. Barbara Rogers & Zdenek Cervenka, The Nuclear Axis: The Secret Collaboration Between West Germany and South Africa, New York, 1978, Times Books, p. 325-328 (the definitive history of the Apartheid Bomb)

10. Gaffney, op. cit., 1989, p. 34

11. Peter Hounam, Woman From Mossad: The Torment of Mordechai Vanunu, London, 1999, Vision Paperbacks, pp. 155-168 (The most complete and up to date account of the Vanunu story, it includes fascenating speculation that Israel may have a second hidden Dimona type reactor)

12. Hersh, op. cit., 1989, p. 213

13. ibid, p.198-200

14. ibid, pp. 3-17

15. Hounman, op. cit. 1999, pp 189-203

16. Hersh, 1989. pp.199-200

17. ibid, p. 312

18. John Pike and Federation of American Scientists, Israel Special Weapons Guide Website, 2001, Web Address http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/index.html  (An invaluable internet resource)

19. Usi Mahnaimi and Peter Conradi, Fears of New Arms Race as Israel Tests Cruise Missiles, June 18, 2000, London Sunday Times

20. Usi Mahnaimi, Israeli Jets Equipped for Chemical Warfare October 4, 1998, London Sunday Times

21. Usi Mahnaimi and Marie Colvin, Israel Planning “Ethnic” bomb as Saddam Caves In, November 15, 1998, London Sunday Times

22. Hersh, op.cit., 1991, p. 319

23. Gaffney, op.cit., 1989, p. 163

24. Israel Shahak, Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies, London, 1997,Pluto Press, p. 40 (An absolute “must read” for any Middle East or anti-nuclear activist)

25 ibid, p.2

26. ibid, p.43

27. Gaffney, op.cit., 1989, p 131

28. “Israel & the US: From Dependence to Nuclear Weapons?” Robert W. Tucker, Novenber 1975 pp41-42

29. London Sunday Times, October 12, 1986

30. Gaffney, op. cit. 1989. p. 147

31. ibid, p. 153

32. DEBKAfile, February 23, 2001 WWW.debka.com

33. Uzi Mahnaimi and Tom Walker, London Sunday Times, February 25, 2001

34. Shahak, op. cit., p150

35. Hersh, op.cit., p. 319

36. Shahak, op. cit., p34

37. ibid, p. 149

38. ibid, p. 153

39. ibid, pp. 37-38

40. ibid, pp 39-40

41. Hersh, op. cit., p. 19

42. Aronson, Geoffrey, “Hidden Agenda: US-Israeli Relations and the Nuclear Question,” Middle East Journal, (Autumn 1992), 619-630.

43 . Hersh, op. cit., pp. 285-305

44. Gaffney, op. cit., p194

Orignial URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/STE203A.html

This article published by Global Research in 2002 focusses on the role of nuclear war as a means to enforcing a coercive and extremist US foreign policy agenda. It also points to the dangers of a first strike nuclear attack by the US directed against non-nuclear states as formulated in the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review.

“Not since the dawn of the nuclear age at the end of World War II has the danger of nuclear war been greater.”1 – Richard Falk

“As the Bush administration relentlessly injects itself into conflicts around the world in the name of eradicating terror, rather than bringing peace, it only fans the flames of hatred. If this is allowed to continue, it may carry us to nuclear war, and to the annihilation of humankind.”2 – Haruko Moritaki, Hiroshima

UPDATE

In January 2015, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set their Doomsday Clock at three minutes to midnight

Since the rigged election and judicial coup which resulted in the illegitimate installation of President George W.Bush, and his extremist foreign policy team of nuclear hard-liners, the world has careened wildly toward the nuclear precipice.3 Continuing and accelerating existing nuclear war-fighting policies, Bush has radically lowered the threshold to the actual use of nuclear weapons. The current risk as measured by the “Doomsday Clock” of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reads seven minutes to midnight, the closest since 1990.4 Given the present confluence of international developments including 9-11, impending total war against Iraq, the Bush Nuclear Posture Review, political instability in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and the abrogation of the antiballistic Missile Treaty, the Doomsday Clock is, perhaps, running a bit slow.

The purpose of nuclear weapons has never been about deterrence or mutually assured destruction (MAD), but rather to serve as a coercive foreign policy instrument designed and intended for actual war fighting. In the words of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rebuttal to Jimmy Carter’s 1976 proposal to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal to 200 warheads,

“U.S. nuclear strategy maintains military strength sufficient… to provide a war-fighting capability to respond to a wide range of conflict in order to control escalation and terminate the war on terms acceptable to the U.S..”5

First strike nuclear weapons, designed to back up military intervention and enforce geopolitical dictates, are seen by Pentagon war planners as the backbone of war-fighting strategy and in this capacity have been used at least 27 times between 1945 and 1998.6 Daniel Ellsberg, former RAND Corporation nuclear war planner wrote;

“Again and again, generally in secret from the American public, Nuclear weapons have been used: …in the precise way that a gun is used when you point it at someone’s head in a direct confrontation, whether or not the trigger is pulled.”7

The most powerful empire in world history, the U.S. will use any military force necessary, including the use of nuclear weapons, to expand, consolidate and maintain control.

Unfortunately, the ‘deadly connection’ between intervention and nuclear weapons is poorly understood.

“…few disarmament and arms-control activists or leaders have understood the relationship between the nuclear arms race and the global ambitions of the U.S.. Similarly, efforts to halt and restrain U.S. intervention in the third world have too often proceeded in ignorance of the nuclear ramifications of ‘conventional’ conflicts in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, or Africa.”8

As Bush prepares public opinion for the invasion of Iraq, the overthrow and/or assassination of Saddam Hussein, and the possible use of nuclear weapons, General Pervez Musharaf is rattling the nuclear saber against India. Once again, the rational fear and anger of a mobilized public may be the only truly effective force against the mass-murder psychopathology of nuclear weapons. In his memoirs, Nixon claimed that the only reason he refrained from using nuclear weapons in autumn 1969 to “end” the Viet Nam war was the October 15 Mobilization which brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to the nation’s capital: “On October 14, I knew for sure that my (nuclear) ultimatum failed.”9

The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

According to Francis A. Boyle, an eminent professor of International Law, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes which violated virtually every treaty of that era.

“…the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were egregiously illegal under the relevant rules of international law that were fully subscribed to by the U.S. government as of 1945.”10

The targeting criteria used by the Interim Committee including giving no warning, and the selection of “a vital war plant employing a large number of workers and closely surrounded by worker’s houses,” were in direct contravention of numerous treaties.11 The deliberate mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians, overwhelmingly women, children, elders, and Korean war slaves, was celebrated by Harry Truman on August 9 in a blasphemous radio message to the American people: “We thank god that (the atomic bomb) came to us instead of to our enemies, and we pray that god may guide us to use it in his ways and for his purposes.”12

P.M.S. Blackett, a renowned British physicist and Nobel prize winner argued that there was no doubt that the atomic bombings were “not so much the last military act of the second World war, as the first major operation of the cold diplomatic war with Russia.”13 Arjun Makhijani wrote,

“If only implicitly, the decision to… explode the atomic bombs over Japan was partly in the hope that it would induce a quick surrender thereby providing a better postwar position for the U.S..”

He pointed out that had saving lives been the “main criteria” for the bombings, no harm would have come from waiting until mid-August when the Soviet Union was scheduled to enter the war against Japan.14

Of course, had the Soviets participated in the invasion and occupation of Japan, their geopolitical position in western Asia would have been greatly strengthened, an outcome totally unacceptable to U.S. post war imperial designs. In 1945, the U.S. launched a first strike with atomic weapons to consolidate and advance its unprecedented position of economic, political and military power. In 2002, the U.S. remains prepared to do precisely the same! The strategy has always been, and continues to be threaten to use nuclear weapons to advance U.S. interests and, if necessary, to launch a first strike.

“Containment”

In an unusual moment of candor, George Kennan, the principal architect of the strategy of ‘containment’(see Paul Nitze’s definition below) wrote in a ‘top secret’ memo in 1948,

“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population …we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity….To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreamings….We should cease to talk about vague and…unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. …we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”15

This admission, ever more relevant as the U.S. becomes increasingly dependent on imports of nonrenewable resources, encapsulates the real purpose of military interventions and the nuclear arsenal; “The exercise of U.S. power is intended to preserve not only the international capitalist system but U.S. hegemony of that system.”16

Issued by Harry Truman in 1950, NSC-68, written largely by Paul Nitse, openly discussed a first strike against the Soviet Union, and articulated the war-fighting basis of the nuclear arsenal. The following extended excerpts illuminate the gist of U.S. nuclear policy at the dawn of the nuclear age, policies which are still largely operative to this day.

“… Without superior aggregate military strength, in being and readily mobilizable, a policy of “containment”–which is in effect a policy of calculated and gradual coercion–is no more than a policy of bluff.”..

.“Our overall policy at the present time may be described as one designed to foster a world environment in which the American system can survive and flourish.”… “A large measure of sacrifice and discipline will be demanded of the American people. They will be asked to give up some of the benefits which they have come to associate with their freedoms.”…

“The execution of such a (military) buildup, however, requires that the United States have an affirmative program beyond the solely defensive one of countering the threat posed by the Soviet Union.” ..

.“In the event we use atomic weapons either in retaliation for their prior use by the USSR or because there is no alternative method by which we can attain our objectives, it is imperative that the strategic and tactical targets against which they are used be appropriate and the manner in which they are used be consistent with those objectives.”….

“The United States now has an atomic capability, including both numbers and deliverability, estimated to be adequate, if effectively utilized, to deliver a serious blow against the war-making capacity of the USSR.”17

NSC-68 laid the foundation of modern U.S. ‘flexible response’, ‘counter-force’ and ‘escalation dominance’ nuclear war-fighting startegy.

Counterforce & Escalation Dominance

“The most ambitious (damage limiting) strategy dictates a first strike capability against an enemy’s strategic offensive forces which seeks to destroy as much of his megatonnage as possible before it can be brought into play. An enemy’s residual retaliation, assumed to be directed against urban-industrial targets, would be blunted still further by a combination of active & passive defenses, including ASW(anti-sub), ABMs, anti-bomber defenses, civil defense, stockpiles of food & other essentials, and even the dispersal & hardening of essential industry.” -Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld from 1978 Nuclear Posture Review18

The U.S. enjoyed a quarter century of nuclear superiority, but by the late 1960s and early 1970s the Soviet Union had reached a rough nuclear parity, seriously eroding the Pentagon’s ability to wield a credible nuclear threat. In response, Henry Kissinger and others elaborated on Nitze’s policy of “calculated and gradual (nuclear) coercion” to develop a policy of “escalation dominance.” In essence, escalation dominance is the ability to control every level of conflict from conventional, to battlefield nuclear, to strategic. The principal theoretical problem with the theory(aside from the absolute insanity of nuclear war) was the inability to control the final rung of the ‘escalation ladder’- strategic nuclear war with the Soviets. According to nuclear dogma, control is essential at each escalation level, including all out nuclear war, otherwise the nuclear threat lacks credibility.

In 1976,‘moderate Democrat’ Jimmy Carter ran on a successful campaign of deep cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, but was soon compelled by a bipartisan claque of nuclear cold-warriors, The Committee On the Present Danger founded by Paul Nitze, to launch a massive program to attempt to regain absolute nuclear superiority.19 Carter ordered development and production of the MX missile, Trident 2 submarine launched missile, and Pershing 2 missile, all three super accurate counter force weapons designed to destroy hardened Soviet targets like missile silos and command and control facilities. In 1980, Carter implemented Presidential Directive 59 which specifically targeted Soviet missile silos, a threatening escalation of formal U.S. policy which implied a first strike. A meaningless retaliation would destroy already empty silos.

Ronald Reagan continued and greatly accelerated the policies of Jimmy Carter, and embarked on his Star Wars program which was and is an integral part of first strike. The result of Reagan’s nuclear policies and outrageous political provocations was massive global anti-nuclear protests, especially in the U.S. and Europe. Faced with strong public opposition, Reagan negotiated the Intermediate Nuclear Forces(INF) treaty, which removed medium range U.S. and Soviet missiles from Europe, leaving the British & French arsenals still under NATO control. Reagan also negotiated the Strategic Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which significantly reduced the nuclear arsenals by enabling the elimination of obsolete weapons while continuing to produce and deploy counterforce weapons; in essence, pruning the deadly nuclear tree to the U.S. advantage.

First Strike

While the sophistication and accuracy of the U.S. nuclear arsenal continued to improve, the Soviet arsenal, already substantially inferior to that of the U.S., began to deteriorate at every level. Already at a great disadvantage because of geographical ‘choke points’ and stunning advances in U.S. anti-submarine warfare (ASW), with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the aging Russian nuclear submarine fleet, containing only a small fraction of its nuclear warheads, became increasingly vulnerable to a pre-emptive strike. Their strategic bombers became easy targets for advanced U.S. technology like AWACS, sophisticated guidance systems and cruise missile. Meanwhile, their land-based missiles fell under the bulls eye of super accurate missiles like Trident 2, MX and Minuteman 3 with a circular error probable (CEP) of 400 feet, close enough to destroy them with a high degree of certainty. Star Wars, intended to ‘mop up’ surviving Soviet retaliatory missiles, was the only missing part of a renewed credible first strike strategy.

“The end of the Cold War marked a return to historical patterns repressed or obscured by the U.S.-Soviet confrontation.”20

The emphasis became access to resources and human rights, echoing imperialist propaganda from a century earlier. The specter of nuclear war was increasingly threatened against non-nuclear nations like Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea. When Clinton issued PDD-60 in 1997, the Washington Post reported,

“”general planning for potential nuclear strikes against other nations that have… ‘prospective access’ to nuclear weapons and that are now or may eventually become hostile to the United States. A separate official described these countries as ‘rogue States,’ specifically listed in the directive as possible targets in the event of regional conflicts or crises.”21

The problem with such repeated threats, even ambiguous ones like Clinton’s, is that, like ‘the little boy who cried wolf’, with each threat repetition without the use of nuclear weapons the threat credibility is diminished.

Dubya’s Excellent Nuclear Adventure

Rather than “a radical departure from established U.S.(nuclear) policy,”as widely reported in the mainstream media, the Bush Administration’s nuclear strategy is a continuity of policies developed during the Gulf by his father and further advanced by Clinton.22 The Bush Nuclear Posture Review(NPR)23 exposed by investigative journalist William Arkin in the Los Angeles Times, “…myopically ignores the political, moral and military implications- short-term and long -of crossing the nuclear threshold,” and indicates that Bush officials “are looking for nuclear weapons that could play a role in the kinds of challenges the U.S. faces with Al Qaeda.”24

The NPR calls for contingency plans to nuke Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Libya, and proposes the development of new nuclear weapons to destroy buried bunkers and reduce collateral damage. The Nuclear Posture Review

“is understood to identify three circumstances in which nuclear weapons could be used: against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack; in retaliation for the use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons; and ‘in the event of surprising military developments’.”25

The plan further blurs the already fuzzy distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons by calling for integration of “new non nuclear strategic capabilities” into nuclear-war plans, and for “incorporation of ‘nuclear capability’ into many conventional systems under development.”26 Although a continuation and elaboration of Clinton’s nuclear policies, the NPR represents a further lowering of the threshold for the actual use of nuclear weapons.

Prior to 9-11 it was widely understood that NMD, ‘Star Wars revisited,” was dead on arrival in the Democratically controlled Senate. However in the wake of the attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon, Bush, by arguing “national security” and the fraudulent concept of ‘rogue nuclear states’,27 was able to ram through a massive increase in the “Defense” budget, including billions for an antiballistic missile system. (The current Pentagon budget now exceeds total expenditures of the next 25 largest militaries combined.28 ) Although the workability of such a system is highly questionable, the point is not whether such a system will work, but, rather, the perception that it might work. Russia, and especially China have both vehemently opposed NMD, and the Chinese have threatened to modernize their archaic and feeble ICBM arsenal in order to maintain deterrence.

The compelling logic of antiballistic missile defense- since no conceivable ABM system can stop a massive first strike, the only rational purpose for such a system is for “mopping up” after your own first strike- led Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger to negotiate the first ABM treaty in 1973.29 Admiral Eugene Carroll with the Center for Defense Information said,

“Missile defense sends a signal to the rest of the world, ‘we will hide behind our nuclear weapon shield and you can’t do anything about it. We will use nuclear weapons when and if we choose.’ We’ve even said publicly that we will use them against non-nuclear states. Then we build what we say is a National Missile Defense System to make certain that we don’t suffer the consequences of our policies and actions.”30

George W. Bush made ‘national missile defense’ a cornerstone of his campaign platform, and with Donald Rumsfeld in charge of the Pentagon, and with the Democratic ‘opposition’s’ abject aquiesence, this costly31 first strike weapon can only be stopped by an informed and mobilized public. The stakes are enormous, not only because NMD will destabilize the nuclear standoff making nuclear war more likely, but Rumsfeld’s plans include the weaponization and domination of space.

Rumsfeld Doctrine

Of all the Bush foreign policy team, Donald Rumsfeld is perhaps the most dangerous. Tellingly, Henry Kissinger called him ‘The most ruthless man he has ever known.’ 32 While Gerald Ford’s Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld championed larger military budgets and advocated a return to U.S. nuclear superiority. He was responsible for initiating the B-1 Strategic Stealth Bomber, the Trident Submarine and the MX Missile, all first strike weapons.33 While Kissinger was in Moscow negotiating the SALT 2 treaty, Rumsfeld went behind Kissinger’s back and persuaded the Joint Chiefs of Staff to kill the treaty.

After leaving Government for the corporate boardroom, Rumsfeld continued to maintain a high profile as a nuclear hawk, especially his advocacy of missile defense.(In 1998 he received the ‘Keeper of the Flame Award’ from the Center for Security Policy, the ‘nerve center of the Star Wars lobby.’34 The 1998 Congressionally mandated Rumsfeld Commission predictably found that the U.S. faced a ballistic missile threat from “rogue states” within five years; a finding radically at odds with the CIA’s own estimates. In 2001, shortly before he became Defense Secretary, Rumsfeld chaired another commission on U.S. satellite security which implied “active… anti-satellite weapons(ASATs), including ones in space (for) ‘protective measures’.”35

Bill Berkowitz writing in Working for Change spelled out the basic principles of the Rumsfeld Doctrine.

“First, wars must be fought on multiple fronts — including economic, diplomatic, financial, intelligence-related and law-enforcement-related. Second, the U.S. military must operate as one seamless entity. Third, international coalitions, sometimes secretive, will be created and dissolved as the situation dictates. Fourth, these coalitions must not be allowed to bog down the mission — committees cannot fight wars. Fifth, pre-emptive action cannot be ruled out, and indeed, may be required. Sixth, no military option can be ruled out; wars will be fought by any means and with any weapon at our disposal. Seventh, highly skilled Special Forces should be used early and liberally.”36

Coupled with the emphasis on nuclear war fighting and new nuclear weapons development, the ‘Rumsfeld Doctrine’ is a recipie for disaster.

Pathways to Nuclear War

Any actual use of nuclear weapons will almost certainly follow a carefully scripted propaganda campaign, followed by one of a litany of rationalizations- ‘saving American lives’, ‘destroying a nuclear/chemical/biological weapons bunker’, ‘protecting Israel’, ‘responding to use of weapons of mass destruction(real or fabricated)’, etc.. The current highly visible nuclear threats, in conjunction with the calculated demonization of Iraq and the so called “rogue states”, can be seen as part of a strategy by Bush to reshape public opinion in support of using nuclear weapons. With the American public(and worldwide) strongly favoring nuclear disarmament, this would seem at first glance difficult if not impossible task.37

However, a Gallup Poll done during the Gulf War in 1991 showing 45% public support for the use of nuclear weapons to “save American lives” should give pause to those who believe that public opinion would not support U.S. use of nuclear weapons.38 The U.S. political leadership, especially under a reactionary, quasi-caretaker government like Bush(and Reagan), will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons against Iraq or any other opponent if they calculate that the end justifies the means.

In the likely event that the Pentagon is ordered to wage total war against Iraq, leading to the overthrow and assumed assassination of Saddam Hussein, and “war crimes” trials for the senior Iraqi leadership, several factors may come into play, any one of which could lead to nuclear war. A desperate, beleaguered Iraqi leadership could order attacks with biological or chemical weapons(whatever limited ability they may have) against U.S. forces or Israel, leading to retaliation with nuclear weapons. The Pentagon may use nuclear weapons against Iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ real or fabricated. A significant number of U.S. ground troops may become besieged, as in Khe-Sanh, Vietnam with resulting nuclear weapons use.(Modern battlefield nukes make this scenerio even more likely today.39) Iraqi leadership may take shelter in a highly fortified and defended bunker and nuclear weapons used against it. These scenarios are by no means the only potential contingencies described in the recent NPR.

The chaos and confusion sown by unilateral U.S. action against Iraq, and continuation of the mindless and ineffectual “war on terrorism” may have unintended consequences. Israel could attempt to take advantage of a U.S. attack to intensify its already near genocidal attempt at ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, risking a military confrontation with the neighboring Arab states; a war which could easily become nuclear.40 (Those who doubt Israel’s willingness to use nuclear weapons should consider that in 1998 80% of Israelis supported the use of nuclear weapons.)41 Complicating the situation further, Israel has been openly weighing air strikes against a Russian built Iranian nuclear power reactor, a strategy similar to the destruction of the Iraqi Osirak reactor in 1981. Russia is currently an ally of Iraq and Israeli nuclear weapons are targeted against Moscow.

Pakistan and India on the brink

The present U.S. “military footprint”in Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan will destabilize all of South Asia and inflame Arab and Islamic nationalism, which could threaten the stability of several states in the region, especially Pakistan, which possesses an arsenal of several dozen atomic bombs.42 Destabilization of the Musharraf dictatorship, reportedly under attack by rogue elements in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Agency, could easily intensify the already near war situation between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, leading to nuclear conflict. Reversing years of India’s opposition to nuclear weapons, “the Hindu fundamentalist, right wing , Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP),”43 has strongly embraced nuclear weapons. Additionally, there are credible reports that the U.S., working in coordination with Israel, is contemplating raids to capture Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, a harebrained scheme that if true is likely to backfire with potentially catastrophic results.44

India and Pakistan have brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Most press accounts describe the deadly standoff in terms of a dispute over Kashmir, but the roots of the crisis are firmly interwoven with U.S. policy. Since the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979, Pakistan has been a client state of the U.S. and the cornerstone of the CIA’s anti-Soviet terror campaign in Afghanistan. It was in the context of massive U.S. support that Pakistan, with help from China, developed its nuclear arsenal, a project which would have been seriously complicated without U.S. financial and diplomatic support. The Pakistani Intelligence(ISI) has been coordinating the terror war in Kashmir, largely fought by veterans of the CIA’s Afghan campaign.

“In late 1997, India’s… RAW(CIA equivalent) estimated that some 800 to 1,000 foreign guerrillas, many veterans of the Afghan jihad of the 1980s… were unleashed in the Kashmir battle.”45

In September, 1997 India reported killing 302 guerrillas, including 118 Afghans and 106 Pakistanis.46 This CIA initiated terror campaign is currently being replicated around the world from Chechnya to the Philippines to Macedonia.

India too has been the object of U.S. policies. During the Cold War, the U.S. tried, with limited success, to drive a wedge between India and the Soviet Union. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, India has became a potential strategic asset in the campaign to surround and isolate China and Russia. Since 9-11 the U.S. has resumed weapons sales to India and announced renewed military cooperation. In return, India has voiced support for Bush’s Ballistic Missile Defense program. Meanwhile, the U.S. has also resumed direct military sales to Pakistan. Each side now sees itself as the favored U.S. client state. “The new relations of India and Pakistan with the U.S. A. have also promoted the prospects of a nuclear war between the two South Asian neighbors. “Each is interpreting statements and signals from the endless stream of U.S. and Western emissaries to the region over the recent period in terms that encourage them and exacerbate the tensions.”47

In a strategy reminiscent of the Iran-Iraq war and numerous other regional conflicts, the U.S. is arming and abetting both sides in the nuclear standoff. “Advise both sides on the conduct of war. Arm both sides in the conflict, fueling America’s military-industrial complex. Develop joint military and intelligence cooperation with both countries, enabling the U.S. to oversee the theatre of an eventual war. Fracture and impoverish both countries. Restore the Empire.”48 The purpose of the orchestrated escalation in South Asia is not just to extend the U.S. sphere of influence in Central and South Asia, but to complete the encirclement and isolation of Russia and China as part of a strategy to maintain hegemony and secure relatively untapped resources and markets.

Conclusions

There are still nearly 25,000 nuclear weapons in existence worldwide, with over 5,000 strategic weapons on hair trigger “launch on warning” alert; more than enough to precipitate “nuclear winter” and potentially destroy life on earth.49

The recent much ballyhooed nuclear arms reduction agreement with Russia is a PR sham designed only for public consumption. The treaty calls for unspecified reductions in nuclear warheads to a total of between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012. The lower limit of 1,700 warheads is entirely voluntary and the treaty does nothing to restrain the proliferation of tactical nukes, a key element in Bush’s nuclear plans.

The real purpose is

“to create a diplomatic illusion of nuclear arms restraint to accelerate Russia’s integration into the U.S. led free market system, ensuring Russia’s role as a natural resource supplier.”50

This treaty allows the U.S. to increase its arsenal at any time, so long as the numbers are at 2,200 in 2012, at which point the treaty expires and the limits would balloon to the 6,000 mandated under START 1. Each side is required to give only 90 days notice of intent to withdraw.

“‘What we have now agreed to do under the treaty is what we wanted to do anyway,’ a senior administration official said today. ‘That’s our kind of treaty.’”51

The real key to preventing the use of nuclear weapons, an act which will inevitably have calamitous consequences for the entire world, lies in the ability of the anti-nuclear, anti-intervention, social justice and antiglobalisation movements to understand that their issues are inextricably linked. The task is not an easy one. For example, In the teeth of unprecedented nuclear sabre rattling by Bush, the April, 2002 mobilization which brought 100,000 to Washington featured only two speakers on the nuclear threa t(Helen Caldicott and Phil Berrigan), while the June 12, 1981 anti-nuclear protest in Central Park, during the height of the Israeli annihilation of Beirut, failed to address the intervention issue at all. At the April 2000 mass rally against the World Bank in Washington, DC, a single speaker was given just 2 minutes to talk about the connection between militarism, nuclear weapons and globalization. The task is complicated even further by the present jingoistic atmosphere and Constitutional lawlessness that have undoubtedly intimidated millions from speaking out.

In The Dialectics of War, Martin Shaw writes,

By the time nuclear war is even likely, war-resistance may be largely beside the point. The resistance to nuclear war has to be successful in the period of general war-preparation. The key question is the relationship between militarism and antimilitarism, and the wider social struggles of the society in which nuclear war is prepared.”52

He argues that “If the values which sustain all the social movements for change suffer when nuclear militarism is in the ascendancy …the relationship between nuclear militarism and society implies a general strategic relationship between peace movements and wider movements for social change.”53 The best strategy for abolishing nuclear weapons and fighting social injustice is broadening the people’s movement to challenge all aspects of the corporate imperial state.

May 29, 2002, The National Network to End the War Against Iraq issued this statement:

“The On August 6th, 2002, local Network members across the United States will be holding demonstrations, rallies and vigils in protest of the ongoing sanctions against Iraq, and U.S. plans to invade Iraq, including the possible use of nuclear weapons against Iraq.”54

Notes

1) Richard Falk & David Kreiger, “Taming the Nuclear Monster”, (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, April 11, 2002), <www.wagingpeace.org>

2) Haruko Moritaki, Message to the American People, (Hiroshima, Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, 2002) Contact Steve Leeper at <[email protected] > for complete text.

3) Greg Palast, “Jim Crow In Cyberspace: The Unreported Story of How They Fixed the Vote In Florida,”The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, (London, Pluto Press, 20002) pp. 6 – 43

4) Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists<http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/02/020227.doomsday2.shtml >

5 Michio Kaku and Daniel Axelrod, “To Win A Nuclear War: the Pentagon’s Secret War Plans,” (Boston,South End Press, 1987) p.184

6 Arjun Makhijani, “A Chronology of Nuclear Threats,” (Takoma Park, Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, 1998) <www.ieer.org/ensec/no-6/threats.html >

7) Daniel Ellsberg, “A Call to Mutiny,” Protest and Survive, eds. E.P. Thompson and Dan Smith, (New York, Monthly Review Press, 1981) p. i

8) Joseph Gerson, “What is a Deadly Connection?,” The Deadly Connection: Nuclear War and U.S. Intervention, ed. Joseph Gerson, (Philadelphia, New Society Publishers, 1986) p.9

9 Kaku and Axelrod, pp 166-168

10) Francis A. Boyle, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence: Could the U.S. War On Terrorism Go Nuclear?, (Atlanta, Clarity Press, Inc., 2002) p. 57

11) ibid, pp. 67-68.

12) Louise Franklin-Ramirez and Howard Morland, Atomic Power and the Arms Race, Twin Evils of the Split Atom, (Washington, Visual Information Project, 1980, slide 26

13) P.M.S.. Blackett, Fear War and the Bomb: Military & Political Consequences of Atomic Energy, (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1949) p. 139

14) Arjun Makhijani and John Kelly, Target Japan: The Decision to Bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, (Washington, Unpublished Manuscript, 1985) P.32. (Published in Japan as Why Japan?) Contact Arjun Makhijani at <[email protected] >

15) George Kennan, Policy Planning Study 23, (U.S. State Department, 1948) <www.marxmail.org/facts/quotes.htm >

16) Michael Parenti, Against Empire, (San Francisco, City Lights Books, 1995) P.36

17) Kaku and Axelrod, pp.  62 – 66

18) Robert Aldridge, The Counterforce Syndrome: A Guide to U.S. Nuclear Weapons and Strategic Doctrine, (Washington, Transnational Institute, 1978) p. 9

19) Kaku & Axelrod, pp. 184 – 192

20)Joseph Gerson, With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion and Moral Imagination, (Philadelphia, New Society Publishers, 1995) pp. 2-4

21) R. Jeffrey Smith, Clinton Directive Changes Strategy On Nuclear Arms, (Washington Post, 7 December 1997), p. A1.

22)Daniel Sneider, Bush Policy On Nuclear Weapons Traced to Cheney after Gulf War, (San Jose Mercury News, March 15, 2002) P. 2

23) periodically, the pentagon conducts a ‘nuclear posture review (NPR) for the purpose of updating and refining nuclear weapons strategy.

24) William M. Arkin, Secret Plan Outlines the Unthinkable, (Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2002) <http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-op-arkinmar10.story >

25) David Wastell, US plans for first-strike nuclear attacks against seven countries (Sunday Telegraph, 10 Mar. 2002, p. 1

26) Arkin, op. cit.

27) Joseph Gerson, Continuity and Change in the Aftermath of September 11 , (Speech to Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives, May 8-9, 2002) <www.afsc.org/nero/pesp/jgarena.htm >

28) Joseph Gerson, Continuity and Change in the Aftermath of September 11

29) Robert M. Bowman, Star Wars: Defense or Death Star? , (Institute for Space and Security Studies, 1985) pp.58 – 63

30) Eugene J. Carroll, Nuclear Wars Past and Future, (C-SPAN, April 29, 2002

31 Nuclear Disarmament Partnership(NDP), Cost Implications of National Missile Defense, (NDP, June 2001) <wwwdisarmament.org/costfactsheet.pdf> (The NDF estimates that NMD will cost at least $241 billion and probably much more)

32) Helen Caldicott, The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush’s Military Industrial Complex, (New York, The New Press, 2002) pp. 165-166 33 U.S. Department of Defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, 13th Defense Secretary, <www.defenselink.mil/specials/secdef_histories/bios/rumsfeld.htm >

34) Caldicott, p. 27

35) Daniel Smith, Space Wars, (Washington, Center for Defense Information, 2001) <www.cdi.org/dm/2001/issue2/space.html >

36) Bill Berkowitz, Let them eat guns: Rumsfeld’s Rambo rumblings for a permanent ‘war on terrorism’. (Working for Change, February 8, 2002) <www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?ItemId=12786 >

37) Abolition 2000, Recent Public Opinion Polls Indicate Overwhelming Support for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, (Abolition 2000, 2001) <www.abolition2000.org/polls.html >

38) William Arkin and Stan Norris, Nuclear Notebook, (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 1991)

39) Kaku and Axelrod, P. 159

40) John Steinbach, Israel’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, (Covert Action Quarterly, April-June, 2001), p. 22 41 Asher Arian, Israeli Public Opinion on National security, 1998, (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 1998) <www.tau.ac.il/jcss/memoranda/memo49chp5.html >

42) Robert Burns, U.S. considers future military relations with former Soviet states, (Sacremento Bee, April 30,2002) <http://www.sacbee.com/24hour/special_reports/terrorism/story/386005p-3072835c.html>

43) Praful Bidwai, India Politics: Right-wing Party Hardens Nuclear Stance,

44) Praful Bidwai , Nuclear worries mount by the day, (Asia Times On-Line, November3, 2001) <www.atimes.com/ind-pak/CK03Df06.html >

45) John A. Cooley, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, (London, Pluto Press,2000) pp. 233-234

46) Cooley, p.234

47) J. Sri Raman, South Asia: Waiting for the U.S.A., (Global Network Against Weapons and Power In Space, June 1, 2002) <www.space4peace.org

48) Michael Chossudovsky, Washington is pushing India and Pakistan to the brink of war, (Centre for Research on Globalisation, 23 May, 2002) <http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO205C.html

49 John Pike, Status of Nuclear Powers and Their Nuclear Capabilities, (Federation of American Scientists, January, 1999) <www.fas.org/nuke/guide/summary.htm>

50) Natural Resources Defense Council, The Bush-Putin Treaty: An Orwellian Approach to Nuclear Arms Control, (NRDC, May, 2002 <www.nrdc,org/nuclear /atreaty02.asp >

51) Michael R. Gordon, Treaty Offers Pentagon New Flexibility for New Set of Nuclear Priorities, New York Times Foreign Desk, May 14, 2002

52) Martin Shaw, The Dialectics of War: An essay in the social theory of total war and peace, (London, Pluto Press, 1988) p. 102

53) Martin Shaw, p. 111

54) National Network to End the War Against Iraq, Plan to Oppose Impending Invasion of Iraq Adopted by Peace Activists at National Meeting, (National Network to End the War Against Iraq, May 28,2002) Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, 457 Kingsley Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301 <www.endthewar.org > <[email protected] >  (650) 326-9057

US policymakers sign and date paper calling for the division, destruction, and US occupation of Syria.

Unbeknownst to the general public, their elected politicians do not create the policy that binds their national destiny domestically or within the arena of geopolitics. Instead, corporate-financier funded think tanks do – teams of unelected policymakers which transcend elections, and which produce papers that then become the foundation of legislation rubber stamped by “legislators,” as well as the enumerated talking points repeated ad naseum by the corporate-media.

Such a policy paper has been recently written by the notorious US policy think-tank, the Brookings Institution, titled, “Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country.” The signed and dated open-conspiracy to divide, destroy, then incrementally occupy a sovereign nation thousands of miles from America’s shores serves as a sobering example of how dangerous and enduring modern imperialism is, even in the 21st century.

Pretext ISIS: US Poured Billions Into “Moderates” Who Don’t Exist 

The document openly admits that the US has provided billions in arming and training militants fed into the devastating and increasingly regional conflict. It admits that the US maintains – and should expand – operations in Jordan and NATO-member Turkey to provide even more weapons, cash, and fighters to the already catastrophic conflict.

It then recounts the rise of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), but fails to account from where its money, cash, and weapons came. It should be obvious to readers that if the United States has committed billions in cash, weapons, and training on multiple fronts to alleged “moderates” who for all intents and purposes do not exist on the battlefield, a state-sponsor of greater magnitude would be required to create and sustain ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front who Brookings admits dominates the “opposition” uncontested.

Image: By all accounts, including Western think-tanks and corporate-media, ISIS territory includes corridors that lead up to NATO-member Turkey’s borders, as well as US-ally Jordan’s. Both nations host a significant number of US military personnel as well as CIA and special forces contingents. Clearly ISIS is a creation and perpetuation of the West, subsiding on a steady stream of supplies streaming from these two bases of operation.

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In reality, ISIS’ supply lines lead right into US operational zones in Turkey and Jordan, because it was ISIS and Al Qaeda all along that the West planned to use before the 2011 conflict began, and has based its strategy on ever since – including this most recent leg of the campaign.

The US Invasion of  Syria 

After arming and funding a literal region-wide army of Al Qaeda terrorists, the United States now plans to use the resulting chaos to justify what it has sought since the beginning of the conflict when it became clear the Syrian government was not to capitulate or collapse – the establishment of buffer zones now called “safe zones” by Brookings.

These zones once created, will include US armed forces on the ground, literally occupying seized Syrian territory cleared by proxies including Kurdish groups and bands of Al Qaeda fighters in the north, and foreign terrorist militias operating along the Jordanian-Syrian border in the south. Brookings even admits that many of these zones would be created by extremists, but that “ideological purity” wound “no longer be quite as high of a bar.

Image: The West has only thinly veiled its support for Al Qaeda and ISIS before an impressionable general public. In policy circles, talk of using Al Qaeda to divide and destroy Wall Street’s enemies around the planet is lively and enthusiastic.

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The US assumes that once this territory is seized and US troops stationed there, the Syrian Arab Army will not dare attack in fear of provoking a direct US military response against Damascus. The Brookings paper states (emphasis added):

The  idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would actin support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via the  presence  of  special  forces  as  well. The  approach would  benefit  from  Syria’s open desert  terrain  which  could  allow  creation  of  buffer  zones  that could  be  monitored  for possible  signs  of  enemy  attack  through  a  combination  of  technologies, patrols,  and other methods that outside special forces could help Syrian local fighters set up.

Were Assad foolish enough to challenge these zones, even if he somehow forced the withdrawal  of  the  outside  special  forces,  he  would  be  likely  to  lose  his  air power  in ensuing  retaliatory  strikes  by  outside  forces,  depriving  his  military  of  one  of its  few advantages over ISIL.Thus, he would be unlikely to do this.

In a single statement, Brookings admits that the government of Syria is not engaged in a war against its own people, but against “ISIL” (ISIS). It is clear that Brookings, politicians, and other strategists across the West are using the threat of ISIS in combination with the threat of direct military intervention as a means of leverage for finally overrunning and seizing Syria entirely.

The Invasion Could Succeed, But Not for US Proxies  

The entire plan is predicated on America’s ability to first take and hold these “zones” and subsequently mesh them into functioning autonomous regions. Similar attempts at US “nation building” are currently on display in the ravaged failed state that used to be North Africa’s nation of Libya, Syria’s neighbor to the southeast, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and the list goes on extensively.

The folly of this plan both in attempts to use non-existent credibility and military will to actually implement it, as well as in terms of those foolish enough to place their trust in a nation that has left a swath of global destruction and failed states in its wake stretching from South Vietnam to Libya and back again, can be described only as monumental.

This strategy can almost certainly be used to finally destroy Syria. It cannot however, be used to do any of the things the US will promise in order to get the various players necessary for it to succeed, to cooperate.

Image: US-NATO “liberated” Libya is dominated by Al Qaeda who has more recently rebranded itself as ISIS. Claims by US policymakers that its incremental invasion of Syria will result in anything differently for Syrians is dishonest at best.

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Almost certainly there are measures Syria, its allies Iran and Hezbollah, as well as Russia, China, and all other nations facing the threats of Western hegemony can take to ensure that US forces will not be able to take and hold Syrian territory or ultimately succeed in what is essentially an invasion in slow motion. Already the US has used their own ISIS hordes as a pretext to operate militarily within Syrian territory, which as predicted, has led to this next stage in incremental invasion.

An increase in non-NATO peacekeeping forces in Syria could ultimately unhinge Western plans altogether. The presence of Iranian, Lebanese, Yemeni, Afghan, and other forces across Syria, particularly bordering “zone” the US attempts to create, may offer the US the prospect of a multinational confrontation it has neither the political will, nor the resources to undertake.

The ability of Syria and its allies to create a sufficient deterrence against US aggression in Syria, while cutting off the logistical lines the US is using to supply ISIS and other terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq will ultimately determine Syria’s survival.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

The Future of Worker Education in New York City

June 26th, 2015 by Global Research News

After more than three years of the collective efforts by The Committee of Concerned Alumni, Students, Faculty and Staff to save and restore the Brooklyn College Graduate Center for Worker Education, City University of New York, we have deeply disturbing developments to report about management’s recent actions.

First, we proudly and defiantly note our struggle to save Worker Education is as strong as ever. The Committee of Concerned Students, Alumni, Faculty and Staff has thousands of supporters including the New York City union movement and elected officials. The labor movement is aware of our ongoing mobilization efforts and shares a common vision that access to higher education in NYC for youth, people of color and the working class hinges on the access to Worker Education, which was removed without cause by Brooklyn College. This is why our campaign will continue until we restore a graduate program in public policy at the Graduate Center for Worker Education.

In 2013, as a result of all of our work, Brooklyn College’s administration was forced to claim that they would adhere to the original mission of the Graduate Center for Worker Education. As our struggle gained strength among working people in New York, the Brooklyn College administration agreed to speak with our Committee, but, after numerous meetings with their administrators giving  ”assurances” – tragically, no Masters in Urban Policy exists at the Graduate Center for Worker Education, nor any similarly themed program.

Incredibly, and shamefully, a hedge fund program - The M.D. Sass Investment Academy - will be housed at the Graduate Center for Worker Education.  As such, it remains clear for all to see that Brooklyn College has removed any pretense of serving African American, Latino, and working class students. Moreover, Brooklyn College administrators mislead faculty that they would play a meaningful role in the governance of the Center.  Instead the Graduate Center for Worker Education has been corrupted to serve as a training ground for future hedge funders, which seek to privatize public education.  This violates the principle of faculty governance and contradicts the very nature of Worker Education and community empowerment, which is the mission of CUNY; and is diametrically opposed to the progressive tradition of the Graduate Center for Worker Education.

To make matters worse, the Political Science Department and the Humanities and Social Science Dean’s Office placed at the Center a so-called “Human Rights in Iran Unit”, a US state department-funded program, which operates without faculty oversight and was previously rejected by Rutgers University.  This demonstrates Brooklyn College’s priority to defend the one-percent in the US and support US State Department secret programs to destabilize governments overseas paving the way for war in the Middle East and Central America.

The purge and non-replacement of adjunct and full time faculty and staff at the Graduate Center for Worker Education demonstrates that President Gould disregards faculty as it seeks to transform Brooklyn College into a playground for the elite.

Former director, Professor Joseph Wilson, has filed a major civil rights lawsuit against CUNY, Brooklyn College and those who attacked him and dismantled the program to expropriate valuable Manhattan real estate and the modern campus located at 25 Broadway. Originally intended for working class students, the Center has been made available to elements of the upper class and US foreign policy operatives.

Meanwhile, to deflect criticism about how it is using the Center, the Brooklyn College administration is cynically offering its auditorium and space for public events around labor and worker rights to give the appearance of legitimacy.  We call for a mass boycott of all public events and activities at Brooklyn College’s 25 Broadway campus, ironically still called the Graduate Center for Worker Education.  We will continue to call upon elected officials, trade unions, civil rights organizations and the CUNY Chancellor to demand that President Gould cease her harmful, shameless, and deceitful actions until a responsible Worker Education center committed to the values of social and economic justice, racial equality, which shuns all forms of xenophobia, is restored.

We demand underrepresented workers have a graduate degree program at the Graduate Center for Worker Education!

The struggle to save Worker Education continues. This battle is an integral part of the defense against the class warfare waged on unions, public education and institutions, the working class and those who work toward a democratic society, and human rights and opportunity for the oppressed, not hedge funders and warmongers.

Please join the movement to save worker education at CUNY. Spread the word and repost on social media.

-The Committee of Concerned Students, Alumni, Faculty and Staff

John Alter, Chair