Global Research: Independent, Analytical, Essential

November 19th, 2014 by Global Research

Citizens across the globe are feeling the blade of austerity measures and corporate greed as they lose their jobs and their wages are reduced. Families worldwide are under increasing pressure as social services such as education are being eroded. We face an age of economic transformation, where the poor are becoming poorer and the rich are becoming richer. The middle class is shrinking and under increasing attack, too.

Global Research was ahead of the current and had alerted our readers about the coming financial crisis. We have brought forward analyses from leading experts on austerity measures and the global economic crisis. We have also offered all our members and readers a volume of collected essays, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century, presented by some of our best politico-economic analysts.

Global Research does not receive foundation money or any form of government or corporate support. This is how we maintain our independence and integrity. We need your support in whatever way you can provide it: it can be financial; it can be through re-posting our material and articles on social media pages or on your blogs or forwarding them to your friends, family, and colleagues; it can include buying books from our Online Store. If you already have copies of our books, how about picking one up for someone else?  This can help open someone’s eyes and educate them about some of the most important current issues facing our planet.

Like millions of average citizens across the world, Global Research has also felt the pressures of the economic hardship. If you can, we urge our readers to support Global Research. Every dollar helps.

Support independent media!

Donate online, by mail or by fax

Become a member of Global Research

Show your support by becoming a Global Research Member
(and also find out about our FREE BOOK offer!)

Browse our books, e-books and DVDs

Visit our newly updated Online Store to learn more about our publications. Click to browse our titles:

Join us online

“Like” our FACEBOOK page and recommend us to your friends!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest videos on global issues.

A note to donors in the United States:
Tax Receipts for deductible charitable contributions by US residents

Tax Receipts for deductible charitable contributions by US residents can be provided for donations to Global Research in excess of $400 through our fiscal sponsorship program. If you are a US resident and wish to make a donation of $400 or more, contact us at [email protected] (please indicate “US Donation” in the subject line) and we will send you the details. We are much indebted for your support.

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

Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller

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

original

America’s “War on Terrorism”

by Michel
Chossudovsky

Welcome to the newly redesigned Global Research website!

September 8th, 2012 by Global Research

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the newly redesigned Global Research website!

We are very proud to launch an updated version of our website, featuring the same timely and analytical content as before, in a display that will be easier for our readers to navigate so that you can get the information you need as quickly and easily as possible.

On this website, you will be able to access an archive of more than 30,000 articles published by Global Research.

We thank all of our readers for the feedback you have sent us over the years and hope you will enjoy your browsing experience.

These changes would not be possible without your support, and for that we extend our sincere appreciation.

To help us cover the costs of important projects and necessary upgrades like this, we kindly ask that you consider making a donation to Global Research.

We also take this opportunity to invite you to become a Member of Global Research

If we stand together, we can fight media lies and expose the truth. There is too much at stake to choose ignorance.

Be aware, stay informed, spread the message of peace far and wide.

Feedback and suggestions regarding our new website are most welcome. To post a comment, kindly visit us on the Global Research facebook page

Sincerely,

 

The Global Research Team

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.
Please Forward the GR I-Book far and wide. Post it on Facebook.



[scroll down for I-BOOK Table of Contents]

*

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.

 

Click for Latest Global Research News

October 17th, 2013 by Global Research News

Latest Global Research Articles. Subscribe to GR’s RSS Feed

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.

Today’s Most Popular Stories

October 15th, 2013 by Global Research News

Click to Get the Latest Global Research Articles

December 23rd, 2013 by Global Research News

Global Research’s Ukraine Report: 100+ articles

April 4th, 2014 by Global Research News

Today’s Most Popular Stories on Global Research

November 15th, 2014 by Global Research News

Plumbing the Depths of NSA’s Spying

November 20th, 2014 by Lars Schall

William Binney, who spent 36 years in the National Security Agency rising to become the NSA’s technical director for intelligence, has emerged as one of the most knowledgeable critics of excesses in the NSA’s spying programs, some of which he says managed to both violate the U.S. Constitution and prove inefficient in tracking terrorists.

Binney has been described as one of the best analysts in NSA’s history combining expertise in intelligence analysis, traffic analysis, systems analysis, knowledge management and mathematics (including set theory, number theory and probability). He resigned in October 2001 and has since criticized the NSA’s massive monitoring programs. After leaving the NSA, he co-founded Entity Mapping, LLC, a private intelligence agency, together with fellow NSA whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe.

Former National Security Agency official William Binney sitting in the offices of Democracy Now! in New York City. (Photo credit: Jacob Appelbaum)

Image: Former National Security Agency official William Binney sitting in the offices of Democracy Now! in New York City. (Photo credit: Jacob Appelbaum)

Lars Schall: You were invited this year as a witness by the NSA commission of the German parliament, the Bundestag. How has it been to speak there and what did you try to get across?

William Binney: I was there for about six hours testifying with a half hour break in the middle. So it was quite intense. There were so many questions. Some of them I didn’t have answers for because I didn’t have knowledge about it, and I tried to make those clear and tried to give them information about things I knew personally. I didn’t want to extrapolate beyond that.

Initially, they were asking questions about my background which was, I guess, setting the stage for the follow on questions, but in the long run they were interested in the relationships with the BND and the NSA. I think part of the break in the middle had to do with something that happened there and that a BND person was implicated in spying on the commission when it was investigating the relationship, and they were also passing that information to NSA, at least that was alleged at that time, I don’t know if that’s true or not.

Anyway, it was quite lengthy and very thorough, and my whole point was to try to get across to them that what NSA and the intelligence community in the Five Eyes, at least, and probably in some of the other countries (I don’t know exactly which ones and I’ve made this clear, but I think they’re not doing it alone) is the idea of collecting massive amounts of data is just like the STASI – except this time I kind of tried to get across to them that it’s like the STASI on super steroids.

As Wolfgang Schmidt, the former lieutenant colonel of East German STASI, commented about NSA’s surveillance program: For us, this would have been a dream come true. Well, that’s the whole point of it, it’s so invasive, it’s digital surveillance on a massive scale, and I tried to get that across to them. Because this is basically a fundamental threat to our democracy and every democracy around the world. You know, I call it over here in the United States the greatest threat to our democracy since our Civil War.

LS: Were there some questions that you would have expected that were not asked?

WB: No, I think they pretty much asked all the relevant questions, some of which I dealt with in close session, especially in dealing with the relationship between BND and NSA that I knew….

LS: What’s your view on how Germany is treating Edward Snowden?

WB: I think for the most part he got a lot of popular support in Germany. I think the government there is a little bit sensitive to it simply because of the close and enduring relationship between the United States government and the German government. So I think they’re trying to balance an act there between support from the general populace and also support for the US government from the existing agreements and cooperation with the German government….

LS: What’s your overall view on how the German government behaved in the NSA scandal?

WB: My personal belief is that they only now are starting to get into it and only now they are beginning to realize, just as over here Congress is beginning to realize, how much they cannot trust our own intelligence agencies. This is evident, for example, last year when two representatives attempted to get a bill passed in the House of Representatives to un-fund the NSA activity.

Basically, they just found out through the Snowden releases that a lot of the information they were been fed by the intelligence agencies and the administration was not true. And so they finally began to realize what was going on and tried to get an initiative to stop it. That’s when the President and the director at the time of NSA, Keith Alexander, lobbied the House of Representatives very heavily to defeat that bill, which they did, but the bill only lost by 12 votes in the House of Representatives – so that’s not a bad deal, it was a fairly close vote.

The issues are still going on over here and politically people are still talking trying to resolve it and we are trying to help them with that by publishing articles and things that we send over to Germany, as well as the things that need to be done to ensure that these intelligence agencies are kept inline by their governments respecting the rights of their citizens.

LS: A few months ago it was revealed that the NSA could have had access via the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) to data at the DE-CIX internet hub in Frankfurt. If this was the case – the DE-CIX Management GmbH Frankfurt denies that this took place  – the BND would have violated German law. [See the press release by the DE-CIX Management GmbH Frankfurt (in German)] Can you tell us, please, how such arrangements between NSA and BND come about that are including breaches of law?

WB: The agencies like NSA and BND would set up a separate international agreement between the two agencies that would have to be passed and approved by at least some portion of the government. That is, your government would need to agree to it and so would ours, and that starts with the agencies agreeing on what to cooperate on and how to cooperate and what the ground rules are for that cooperation. That’s then passed to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, or very restricted numbers of people in administration would also be able to see that kind of agreement, and the same would be true I assume on the BND side and the German government.

There should be some small subset of the German government that’s aware of these agreements and is monitoring them, though I don’t know what the conditions are within the BND and how they do it. Within the United States it’s the House and Senate intelligence committees and the FISA court that is supposed to oversee that these things don’t violate U.S. law, but in fact, what they have been doing over here is advocating violation of U.S. law. They are enabling that – it’s not the question of them doing oversight, they aren’t doing it….

And of course they are all doing it on the basis of fear-mongering of terrorism. They try to get everybody afraid so they will do whatever they want, that’s the kind of leverage that they are trying to use not just against the public, but also against Congress. It’s just all based on fear-mongering. The whole point is to get more money and build a bigger empire, which they have done. Over here, we’ve spent, for all the 16 agencies, close to a trillion dollars since 9/11. That’s really been a money-making proposition for them, this fear-mongering. Now they are doing it with cyber security. It’s how you control your population, how you manipulate them, and how you let them pay for things you want done.

LS: Is the BND merely a subsidiary or branch of the US intelligence apparatus?

WB: I wouldn’t call them a branch, but they are certainly a cooperating partner. Again, it’s all written out in agreements as to what the efforts are that they jointly share and work together on … and approved again by their agency’s heads and then it goes to certain parts of the governments for approval also. … I wouldn’t say that they’re working totally for them, they have their own agenda and own priorities. The cooperation occurs where there’s common interest and common concern about given activities, like terrorism or maybe dope smuggling and things like that.

LS: Is the NSA engaged in economic espionage related to Germany? And if this was the case, wouldn’t it be the task for the BND to prevent this from happening?

WB: You would think so. I can only assume from what it’s been printed that this is happening, but the question really becomes whether or not it is shared with U.S. companies to give them advantage in competition. I am sure that all governments around the world do this to some degree, depending on their capabilities and resources primarily. The question becomes whether or not it’s shared outside of the government channels to industry, for example to gain advantage.

You would expect that government people are keeping it within, but the problem here is in NSA: a good many of the people who are managing all the data that would contain that kind of information are in fact contractors working for other industrial partners in the United States. Some of them like Boeing have many interests and so does Lockheed Martin and so on. These are corporations where people are running that data and managing that data for NSA, so they have access to it. What they are doing to it is another question, but it’s a very risky situation in terms of industrial espionage.

LS: Your own career at NSA culminated as Technical Director for Intelligence in 2001. The very same year you retired. Why so?

WB: What happened after they wanted us to stop doing the ThinThread program, which was the one that solved the massive data problem related to the internet communications … they had to get rid of us, so that’s what they did. As part of that process they had to remove me from that rather high position and put me into a smaller position which was out of sight basically. They didn’t want Congress or anybody else to be aware of what I was doing or have access to me. That’s generally what they do when they don’t want people doing things, they move them out of their way.

LS: What did NSA do wrong when it came to uncovering the 9/11 plot? Edward Snowden “suggested that the United States had the proper intelligence ahead of 9/11 but failed to act.” [See “Read Snowden’s comments on 9/11 that NBC didn’t broadcast”, Russia Today, May 30, 2014.]

WB: Yes, that came out of Tom Drake’s use of ThinThread to go through the entire data base at NSA. He went through the data and analyzed it after the fact in early 2002, I believe. … He found out that NSA had, in fact, in its data base prior to 9/11 all the information necessary to find out who was involved, where they were – you know, to put the whole thing together and be able to stop it.

See, the problem with industry so involved in this and so inculcated inside of NSA – I mean, they are inseparable, they work in the same spaces, and when you do that they have a vested interest in continuing to get the next contracts so that they can keep getting more and more money. So what happens is, they try to keep the problem going instead of solving it. So they only do incremental improvements over time that keeps them in the primary position to get the follow on contracts to keep working on it. That’s basically how they’ve been doing it, and they’ve been doing it for decades, by the way, it’s standard practice that they use.

LS: Do you think the expansion of various NSA programs in reaction to 9/11 is justified?

WB: Absolutely not! That’s what I opposed right away. They should have stopped it by using automation against a focused target set for acquisition of information. In other words, they knew the basic targets and people connected to them or those that were in close relationship with them, and they could define that and pull that data out and focus their analytic effort on that and solve that problem, but they didn’t. Instead they decided to build a bigger agency and that they wanted a much larger budget and a much larger set of contractors and contracting agents. That was the path they took. I called that sacrificing the security of the people of the United States and of the people of the free world for money.

LS: NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake stated also in an interview with me that the nexus 9/11 – War on Terror is used as an excuse to expand programs that were existing pre-9/11. [See Tim Shorrock: “Exposing Bush’s historic abuse of power”, Salon, July 23, 2008.] One example, I think, would be Echelon. Could you tell us about the development of Echelon, please?

WB: I don’t know too much about what happened with Echelon, because that didn’t really deal with the fiber optic lines, and that’s really where the explosion occurred. The explosion in communications was occurring with the fiber optic lines. There are three types of attacks on it: Either they get corporate cooperation with the telecom companies or the companies running the fiber lines, and if they have that with or without the government’s knowledge (local government if it’s foreign) … then they can tap the lines there and do the acquisition there.

On the other hand, if they don’t have a company doing that, then they can go to their counterpart in the government to try to get an agreement like in Frankfurt to try to get taps on that line or in other places. If that’s agreed, then there’s a governmental approval to do that, at least in part by the agency involved, if not by the government itself, too. I don’t know that – I mean, that would be the part that would have to be investigated.

And the other possibility, if they can’t get a governmental cooperation or corporate cooperation, then they can unilaterally do it – that means they have ways and means to get access to the fiber lines without the cooperation of the government or of the company involved. That’s like the taps that they put on the lines between Google and all the major internet service providers when they are transferring data from their major storage centers back and forth … without the knowledge of the companies. That’s the kind of thing that they would do with anybody else that wouldn’t cooperate. In other words, if you want to find out if your lines are tapped, you would need to trace the line all the way through.

LS: On Aug. 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything — telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.

“There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

“I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”

How do those words sound today?

WB: They were right on the money. Frank Church captured it right away. The point is that they are in the process of perfecting this whole operation, and the point is that now that everybody has a greater capacity to communicate the invasion of privacy or the intrusion into what people’s lives is all about is even worse then what Frank Church could have known. Back then he was only thinking about and looking at the landline telephone calls, where now it’s not only that but also mobile phones, satellite phones, the internet, the computers, the tablets, and so on. All the networks people are carrying around.

There are at least over 3 ½ billion phones in the world, and something very similar in terms of computers. The explosion has been tremendous both in terms of volume and in terms of numbers. Frank Church couldn’t have dreamt about that in his time; he was just talking about a smaller segment of what was available that time. And now the intrusion is even greater.

And I would also point out that those were part of the fundamental grounds for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. They were preparing to throw him out of office, when he resigned. But at that time under the programs MINARETTE at NSA and COINTELPRO at FBI and CHAOS at CIA, Nixon was only spying on a few thousands of people. Now they are doing hundreds of millions in the US, there are almost 300 million US citizens, not counting the billion plus in the rest of the world. If you’re just talking about the US, they’re now doing virtually everybody. If you use a phone or a computer or any kind of bank card or if you’re writing a check or do any kind of that thing, you’re being spied on. So the intrusion is so much greater and so much more encompassing today.

But we are not even thinking about impeaching people. We should have impeached George W. Bush and Richard Cheney for doing this to begin with, but we didn’t. And that’s why they kept it all in secret, by the way – they knew that they were violating the U.S. Constitution and they knew they were also violating the laws. That’s also why they had to give the telephone companies retroactive immunity, because they gave them access to the telephone lines and to the fiber optic lines that carried not only the telephone but also the internet. And they also gave them all the records of their customers, which all were violations of the laws and violations of constitutional rights of U.S. citizens in the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment, at a minimum.

LS: Hearing that I have to ask: Are you disappointed from the reaction of your countrymen related to those NSA revelations?

WB: Yes, but I think that most of them still don’t understand what that really means. I do have some hope here from some of the initial feedback to “CITIZENFOUR”, the movie by Laura Poitras on Edward Snowden, and some of the whistleblowing that we did. That’s been very positive, and I think it’s helping to educate the population here as to what that really means. I think once they really understand what’s going on and what their government is doing to them, that they will in fact react to that and react in a positive way and force the government to change, which they should.

LS: I would also like to discuss some questions related to PROMIS, a software for data mining, that was developed by Bill Hamilton’s software firm INSLAW and stolen by the U.S. Justice Department / U.S. intelligence agencies. Dr. Norman Bailey was the Reagan National Security Council staff person in 1981 responsible for the new Signal Intelligence mission for NSA known as “Follow the Money.”

According to my information, Dr. Bailey told INSLAW that NSA briefed him on the fact that it had obtained the PROMIS software from the U.S. Department of Justice and used it as the principal software installed on computers of wire transfer clearing houses, commercial banks, investment banks, credit card companies, and international financial institutions for real-time surveillance of electronic fund transfers through the banking sector. Dr. Bailey also confirmed the use of PROMIS as “the principal software element” of “Follow the Money” later on publicly in 2008. [For more information on NSA’s “Follow the Money” SIGINT mission and PROMIS see Lars Schall: “Follow the Money: The NSA’s real-time electronic surveillance of bank transactions”, LarsSchall.com, Feb. 2, 2014.]

Were you aware, while an employee at NSA, of the use of PROMIS by NSA for its “Follow the Money” bank surveillance mission?

WB: I was not personally aware of the program PROMIS or how NSA used it. I did know that there was an effort to look at money transfers, it was a matter of following that for terrorism, for dope smuggling, just international crime. But I wasn’t aware of the PROMIS program.

LS: In retrospective, what would you like to say about PROMIS? I mean, the whole case still isn’t settled although it began in the 1980s and there’s no doubt about it that the software was stolen by U.S. intelligence agencies like CIA and NSA…

WB: I’m not surprised of that. I believe they tried to steal some of the intellectual capital we had after we had retired. The way they did it was to send the FBI to raid us, ultimately. I had expected them to actively attack our computers and try to find the information there. We knew these people and so we never documented anything in a computer file anywhere, nothing was documented in the sense that it would be usable for them, either on paper or electronically – so we were walking around with all this knowledge in our heads and not putting it down so that anybody could have it.

There was a large intelligence company in the United States, they tried a kind of forced takeover of us, but what they didn’t realize was that all the intellectual capital was in our brains and they could not take that over from us. There was nothing they could do to get the information from us. So they failed. And also the government failed when they were trying to get it from us.

PROMIS was a different story. They went into an agreement and my understanding is that they broke the agreement with Bill Hamilton. I think this is a court issue that should have been resolved in the courts a long time ago.

LS: So PROMIS has never been a topic among your colleagues at NSA?

WB: No, we never talked about it, and I’d never heard about the program PROMIS at all while I was working at NSA.

LS: Is Wall Street a major player of the Deep State in the U.S.?

WB: I certainly think it is politically anyway, because they do contribute a lot of money to the political campaigns. And of course they have their own lobbyists and all that. I can’t imagine them not having some input in the process somewhere. It only seems reasonable.

LS: Well, the CIA for example was formed and launched by investment bankers and lawyers from Wall Street.

WB: Yes, and they of course got billions from us. And if you take the case of Elliot Spitzer for example, he was in New York and going after the bankers for all the defrauding of people. He was going after them in a criminal way, and of course they get rid of him. They had the FBI look through all the data, I allege, because I don’t know where else they get it, the FBI had direct access through the PRISM program, they go into the name data bases at NSA, all the emails, phone calls and financial transactions in those data bases … for Elliot and find some evidence against him that they could use to leverage to get rid of him, which they did.

My question to begin with was what was their probable cause to do that in the beginning? I never really heard our government say anything about that, because they don’t like the Fourth Amendment, because it constrains what they can and can’t do. They want to have a free hand to get rid of anybody they want.

Like in my case, in the case of Kirk Wiebe, or also in Tom Drake’s case, they tried to get rid of us by falsifying evidence and drawing up an indictment against us. … I caught them at it, okay, so they finally dropped all that. But I mean, that’s our Department of Justice; that’s not justice, that’s criminal. So, what they’re doing, the House and Senate intelligence committees, the FISA court, the Department of Justice and the White House, they are trying to cover up any exposure of this, and that’s why they were really after Snowden, and that’s why they wanted to stop all those leaks. It’s exposing them for the crimes they were committing against the people of United States and against the people of the world.

LS: Two other questions: Who are the largest private contractors who manage IT and telecommunication systems for the NSA, and what is their access and potential use of the data to serve their private interests?

WB: Well, you see, that’s what I was talking about earlier: those who are managing the data for NSA are contractors and those are contracting organizations or companies that have many interests, not just in intelligence. They do have access there, and that’s a real danger of whether or not they would use that for industrial espionage to give them leverage and advantage in a competitive bidding for contracts internationally. That’s always a threat. I don’t know how they are monitoring that, and I don’t know what they are doing to ensure that that doesn’t happen.

Also, I would point out that these kinds of data acquisitions are not just limited to NSA and BND, there are other countries involved that also have sharing agreements and have the ability, like through XKeyscore, to see these data sets. That just opens up an immense array of potential abuses. I don’t know if they have agreements to monitor or prevent it or to stop it if they find it. I don’t know what they’re doing. (laughs.) They haven’t made it clear. I mean, they are doing all of this in secret anyway.

LS: And it’s quite a problem given the fact that roughly 70 percent of the U.S. intelligence budget is outsourced to corporate contractors. [See Tim Shorrock: “Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing”, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2008, p. 6.] — One more question, and I know it’s hard to answer, but I think it’s crucial: Are NSA systems used to manage the financial markets, for example related to the NY Fed, the operative arm of the Federal Reserve System?

WB: I do not know that the Treasury or any part of the Federal Reserve System is using those programs. They probably get the benefit of it indirectly, but I don’t know they are using them directly. They are part of the government, too, you know, they share knowledge across the government, how much of that I’m not sure. But again, whatever agreements were made, would be made within the U.S. government as to what kind of sharing would go on and the level to get access to it….

LS: How would you think the indirect use of those systems looks like?

WB: Here is what I think they would do: I would think that they would have the Treasury and all the banks report transfers of money in and out of the country. Also, I would think they would take cooperatively under the business records transfer all kinds of financial transactions, including not just credit cards, but also bank transfers of money back and forth between banks around the world. Also, all personal check-writing and transfers of money from individuals inside the country as well as anywhere else they can get. Those are the kinds of transfers they would be looking for. They are looking for patterns of money transferring that would be indicative of payoff for dope or payoff for money laundering operations or things like that. I would think they are doing that.

LS: And as you know the Treasury Department has this Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence as a Counterterrorism Finance Unit. Do you think the NSA works with them?

WB: I assume they do. The level of cooperation would be laid out in agreements again.

Lars Schall is a German financial journalist.

America Never Intended to Defeat The Islamic State (ISIS)

November 20th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

A torrent of “foiled” terror plots have recently undulated headlines across the Western World. In Rochester New York, the FBI netted a man they claimed was plotting a shooting spree targeting US service members. In Australia, over 800 security agents swooped in on 15 ISIS suspects whom the Australian government claimed were plotting to randomly behead a member of the public. In the UK, 4 suspects allegedly linked to ISIS were arrested before carrying out a plot Scotland Yards claims was aimed at the Queen of England herself.

According to Western security agencies, in addition to ISIS’ regional campaign of brutality stretching from Lebanon, across Syria, and into Iraq, it is also working ceaselessly to carry out attacks against targets within the US, across Europe, and even in the Pacific.

US Policymakers Claim ISIS is Neither a Threat Nor Necessary to Defeat

Considering the hysteria generated by ISIS’ alleged global exploits, it should then be infinitely curious to readers who happen across US policymakers claiming that ISIS may pose a threat, but constitutes by far a lesser threat than Iran or Syria – the two principle nations leading the real fight against ISIS and its international sponsors. Furthermore, US policymakers claim there is no urgency to defeat ISIS, and it should instead be “contained.” Of course, this “containment” will be within states targeted by US-backed regime change – serving as a convenient agent of destruction, destabilization, and perhaps even regime change itself.

Image: A growing chorus among US policymakers and the Western media are claiming that ISIS poses a minimal threat even amid simaltaneous efforts to ratchet up public hysteria. The West also claims it is no longer necessary to “defeat” ISIS and it should instead be “contained” – instead nations targeted for regime change by the US, allowed to continue fighting America’s enemies by proxy … or in other words, ISIS should continue serving as the West’s private mercenary army.

More troubling still, such policymakers hail from the US-based Brookings Institution, a prominent corporate-financier funded policy think-tank that has helped direct American foreign policy for decades. Brookings “Federal Executive Fellow” Robert Hein, a career US Navy officer, has presented analysis under an article titled, “The Big Questions on ISIS.” After diminishing the threat ISIS actually poses to the US and suggesting that the battle against the terrorist organization will be perpetual – without qualification he claims:

There are other hard questions for even bigger threats in the Middle East, such as how to ensure a nuclear free Iran and how to deal with the Assad regime in Syria. For ISIS, though, we may have it right.

It would have been interesting if Hein did qualify that final statement – explaining how an extraterritorial terrorist army armed and funded by some of the largest, most influential nation-states on Earth, currently ravaging three nations while allegedly plotting against the rest of the planet is somehow a lesser threat than Iran and Syria – both of which have not threatened the United States, and in fact, according to the Brookings Institution itself, have expressed a specific desire to avoid a confrontation with the West.

ISIS is a Lesser Threat – But a Lesser Threat to Whom? 

As bizarre as Hein’s analysis may seem, it strikes at a troubling but undeniable truth. If by “US” Hein meant the American people, America’s service members, and victims of various staged attacks aimed at justifying foreign wars, then ISIS is a threat. For the many millions living in the Middle East or North Africa, ISIS is undoubtedly a threat. For corporate-financiers on Wall Street, the many corrupt politicians in Wall Street’s pocket in Washington, or corporate-financier funded policymakers like Hein himself, ISIS is not only not a threat, but an indispensable asset.

As such, prioritizing ISIS’ destruction is not part of Wall Street or Washington’s agenda – rather – perpetuating this threat for as long as possible is. Hein is unabashed about this notion, claiming:

Should we defeat ISIS? Rather than defeat, containing their activities within failed or near-failing states is the best option for the foreseeable future. The United States has no desire to build nations, and without a stable Middle East, terror groups will continue to find safe haven; if not in western Iraq or Afghanistan, then in Yemen or Somalia. The Middle East and Africa have no shortage of ungoverned or poorly governed territories. The current strategy of prolonged engagement, development and training of local militias, logistic support and air strikes against real targets may be the best solution after all.

Hein’s strategy also works exceedingly well if ISIS was intentionally created as a proxy mercenary force, deployed by the West against its enemies. Such a notion, while dismissed out of hand by many as a “conspiracy theory” is not only plausible, but in fact a documented fact. The use of terrorists and sectarian extremists is a reoccurring feature in Western foreign policy – including its most notorious use in the mountains of Afghanistan in the 1980′s where the US created Al Qaeda to begin with. As recently as 2007, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh documented a conspiracy to once again use sectarian extremists aligned with Al Qaeda to target, undermine, and overthrow the government of Syria and wage a proxy war against Iran.

His report titled, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?“ stated (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

It would be difficult to read Hersh’s 2007 report and attempt to deny that is not precisely what has unfolded, verbatim, beginning under the cover of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” up to and including the creation of “ISIS” and its growing fighting capabilities possible only through an immense, coordinated multinational effort.

The creation of ISIS and what appears to be concerted attempts to justify the slow burn prescribed to “stop it” are echoed in Hein’s proposal of “not stopping ISIS to stop it.”

Why Syria and Iran are Bigger “Threats” 

Ironically, it was an extensive policy paper produced by the very think tank Hein belongs to – Brookings Institution – that noted Iran (and therefore Syria) not only did not want war with the West, but was willing to weather endless covert provocations to avoid giving the West an excuse to wage hegemonic war against the nations. Within the pages of Brookings’ “Which Path to Persia?” report published in 2009, it was stated:

With only one real exception, since the 1978 revolution, the Islamic Republic has never willingly provoked an American military response, although it certainly has taken actions that could have done so if Washington had been looking for a fight.

Thus it is not impossible that Tehran might take some action that would justify an American invasion and it is certainly the case that if Washington sought such a provocation, it could take actions that might make it more likely that Tehran would do so (although being too obvious about this could nullify the provocation). However, since it would be up to Iran to make the provocative move, which Iran has been wary of doing most times in the past, the United States would never know for sure when it would get the requisite Iranian provocation. In fact, it might never come at all.

The report would also state:

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)

The entire report is a documented conspiracy to justify and provoke war with a nation actively seeking to avoid war even at the cost of suffering innumerable humiliations, covert attacks, assassinations, decades-spanning sanctions, and other forms of terroristic provocations.  When Hein and other US policymakers refer to Iran and Syria as a “greater threat” than ISIS, they do not mean a threat to the national security of the American people or the territory of the United States itself – but rather a threat to their own hegemonic interests well beyond America’s borders and even interests that lie within the borders of Iran and Syria themselves.

Deciphering the deceptive, criminal language used by US policymakers illuminates the ongoing conspiracy in which ISIS plays a central part. ISIS is considered not a threat – not because the US can manage what they claim is an inherently “anti-Western” terrorist organization – but rather because the US itself created and controls it. Syria and Iran, while not actual threats to the West, are considered instead “threats” to US interests – more specifically – the interests of the corporate-financier elite on Wall Street and their lobbyists in Washington D.C.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

NATO’s Fake “Non-Combat Mission” in Afghanistan

November 20th, 2014 by Kathy Kelly

There are numerous, obvious solutions to problems in Afghanistan which NATO countries could consider, could even attempt if the alliance wasn’t there for the mineral wealth.

On November 7, 2014, while visiting Kabul, The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, noted that NATO will soon launch a new chapter, a new non-combat mission in Afghanistan. But it’s difficult to spot new methods as NATO commits itself to sustaining combat on the part of Afghan forces.

In an October 29th speech, in Brussels, Stoltenberg commended NATO Allies and partner nations from across the world because, for over a decade, they “stood shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan.” According to Stoltenberg, “this international effort has contributed to a better future for Afghan men, women and children.” Rhetoric from NATO and the Pentagon regularly claims that Afghans have benefited from the past 13 years of U.S./NATO warfare, but reports from other agencies complicate these claims.

UNAMA, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, found that 2013 was “the worst year for Afghan women, girls and boys since 2009, with the highest number of deaths and injuries recorded from conflict-related violence.”

“It is particularly alarming that the number of Afghan women and children killed and injured in the conflict increased again in 2013,” said the UNAMA Director of Human Rights, Georgette Gagnon.

“It is the awful reality that most women and children were killed and injured in their daily lives – at home, on their way to school, working in the fields or traveling to a social event. This situation demands even greater commitment and further efforts by the parties to protect women and children from conflict-related violence.”

Stoltenberg’s assurance of NATO’s positive contribution to civilian welfare in Afghanistan is also undermined by a recently issued Amnesty International report examining NATO/ISAF operations, such as air strikes, drone attacks and night raids, which caused civilian deaths and also involved torture, disappearances, and cover-ups. The report, entitled “Left in the Dark,” gives ten chilling and horrific case studies, occurring over a five year period, 2009 – 2013. Amnesty International states that two of the case studies “involve abundant and compelling evidence of war crimes.”

I wish that NATO’s commander could have joined Afghan  Peace Volunteers (APVs) that same week, in Afghanistan, as they visited an extraordinarily sustainable project, called “Emergency.” This Italy based network of hospitals and clinics has been particularly remarkable for effectively saving and improving the lives of Afghan people, over the past 13 years, while at the same time rejecting any form of war or use of weapons within its facilities.

At the entrance to any one of Emergency’s clinics or hospitals, a sign says “No Weapons Allowed.” A logo banning guns is next to the Emergency logo. Although they work in one of the most intense war zones in the world, Emergency staff, including security guards, reject any use of weapons inside their facilities.

Yusof Hakimi, the nurse in charge of Emergency’s ICU in the Kabul hospital, assured us that the ban is strictly upheld. A child isn’t allowed to carry a plastic toy gun inside the hospital premises. No one can wear camouflage clothing. “Even the president of Afghanistan cannot carry a gun inside our hospitals!” says Luca Radaelli, the medical coordinator of Emergency’s hospital in Kabul. He added that it’s not easy to maintain a facility where wars are banned. “But,” he adds, “everyone understands the purposes and respects the rules.”

They’ve learned unarmed ways of providing security. One such way involves an absolute commitment to neutrality. They never take sides in the various conflicts that plague Afghanistan. In fact, they don’t even ask if a patient belongs to one side or another.

Most NGOs in Afghanistan arrange for their staff to travel in heavily armed vehicles. But unarmed Emergency ambulances travel through war zones, in multiple directions, across the country. “We don’t have armed guards,” says Luca. “We don’t have bullet proof cars. We don’t change our routes because,” he explains, in his clear, matter-of-fact style, “we have never been targeted.”

Luca says they acquire security through their reputation. Since they never charge any patient for health care, no one would accuse them of trying to make a profit.

They also pursue strong diplomatic conversations with each group affected by their work. When Emergency opens a clinic, they explain their policy of maintaining neutral independence to everyone involved, including new workers, contractors, local government officials, and religious leaders. “If you provide something good, something skilled, and it is free of charge,” he adds, “there is no need to protect yourself. People won’t get angry.”

If NATO and U.S. commanders took a fraction of what they have spent securing this region by violence,- (the Pentagon has requested 58.5 billion dollars for Fiscal Year 2015 in Afghanistan),- and spent that instead on helping heal people from war and from war’s causes, providing, say, chances at a survival wage that don’t require enlisting with the local Taliban or the local warlord, sending enough food for the families war has displaced instead of weapons donated this month to one faction, next month to another; if a portion of the 104 billion the U.S. has spent on non-military aid to Afghanistan, since 2001, could have subsidized actual food crops so that poor farmers disgusted with their subsistence role in poppy production could somehow survive without it, could non-combat projects start to work, as have Emergency’s projects?

There are numerous, obvious solutions to problems in Afghanistan which NATO countries could consider, could even attempt if the alliance wasn’t there for the mineral wealth, for another foothold on which to stand between once-and-future superpower rivals and the world’s oil. The world looks so much different when you’re in it to make a profit.

But Emergency isn’t in Afghanistan to point out a sane path through disaster to all the actors, here and abroad, who seem unlikely to discard paths of suicidal hatred and ignorance.

In Luca’s view, Emergency is simply what a healthcare institution ought to be.

“It grows from a very simple idea. Provide high quality service for everyone, not thinking about profit, but just about patients’ health.”

“What is so complicated?” he asks.

We might address a similar question to NATO Sec. Gen. Jens Stoltenberg: A new, non-combat mission, in Afghanistan, one that rejects weapons and war—what would be so complicated?

Kathy Kelly ([email protected]) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (vcnv.org)

Economists, Military Strategists and Others Warned Us … Long Ago

We’ve known for 5,000 years that mass spying on one’s own people is always aimed at grabbing power and crushing dissent, not protecting us from bad guys.

We’ve known for 4,000 years that debts need to be periodically written down, or the entire economy will collapse. And see this.

We’ve known for 2,500 years that prolonged war bankrupts an economy.

We’ve known for 2,000 years that wars are based on lies.

We’ve known for 1,900 years that runaway inequality destroys societies.

We’ve known for thousands of years that debasing currencies leads to economic collapse.

We’ve known for millennia that torture is a form of terrorism.

We’ve known for thousands of years that – when criminals are not punished – crime spreads.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that the failure to punish financial fraud destroys economies, as it destroys all trust in the financial system.

We’ve known for centuries that monopolies and the political influence which accompanies too much power in too few hands are dangerous for free markets.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that companies will try to pawn their debts off on governments, and that it is a huge mistake for governments to allow corporate debt to be backstopped by government.

We’ve known for centuries that powerful people – unless held to account – will get together and steal from everyone else.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that standing armies and warmongering harm Western civilization.

We’ve known for over 300 years that going into debt to pay for war ruins any nation.

We’ve known for 200 years that allowing private banks to control credit creation eventually destroys the nation’s prosperity.

We’ve known for two centuries that a fiat money system – where the money supply is not pegged to anything real – is harmful in the long-run.

We’ve known for 200 years that a two-party system quickly becomes corrupted.

We’ve known for over a century that torture produces false and useless information.

We’ve known since the 1930s Great Depression that separating depository banking from speculative investment banking is key to economic stability. See this, this, this and this.

We’ve known for 80 years that inflation is a hidden tax.

We’ve known for 79 years that war is a racket that benefits the elites but harms everyone else.

We’ve known since 1988 that quantitative easing doesn’t work to rescue an ailing economy.

We’ve known since 1993 that derivatives such as credit default swaps – if not reined in – could take down the economy. And see this.

We’ve known since 1998 that crony capitalism destroys even the strongest economies, and that economies that are capitalist in name only need major reforms to create accountability and competitive markets.

We’ve known since 2007 or earlier that lax oversight of hedge funds could blow up the economy.

And we knew before the 2008 financial crash and subsequent bailouts that:

  • The easy credit policy of the Fed and other central banks, the failure to regulate the shadow banking system, and “the use of gimmicks and palliatives” by central banks hurt the economy
  • Anything other than (1) letting asset prices fall to their true market value, (2) increasing savings rates, and (3) forcing companies to write off bad debts “will only make things worse”
  • Bailouts of big banks harm the economy
  • The Fed and other central banks were simply transferring risk from private banks to governments, which could lead to a sovereign debt crisis

Postscript:  Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it … and we’ve known that for a long time.

Though it has a new catchy name, the recent “revolution” in Hong Kong followed a very familiar pattern of US engineered regime change and destabilisation. And the Chinese are well aware of it!

Now we know that Russia knows full well the ways and means of ‘regime changing’ the empire of chaos uses over and over to ensure its supremacy. This was made clear by Putin in his Valdai Club speech:

Incidentally, at the time, our colleagues [the US] tried to somehow manage these processes, use regional conflicts and design ‘colour revolutions’ to suit their interests, but the genie escaped the bottle. It looks like the controlled chaos theory fathers themselves do not know what to do with it; there is disarray in their ranks.

China has also been subject to attempts at regime change both in the Xinjiang province in West China and most recently in Hong Kong. The question is how aware are the Chinese of the US role in these protest movements? A recent YouTube video makes it abundantly clear that the Chinese read the geopolitical chess game very well, if the views presented also reflect the views of Chinese people generally. The video maps out 12 steps that the US uses for regime change and goes on to explain how these “regime changes” around the world and the antagonizing of Russia and China follow a pattern that could lead to World War III.

The 12 Steps to regime change, employed by the USm as outlined in the video:

  1. Dispatch CIA, MI6 and other intelligence officers as students, tourists, volunteers, businessmen, and reporters to the target country
  2. Set up non-governmental organisations (NGO) under the guise of humanitarianism to fight for “democracy” and “human rights” In order to attract advocates of freedom and ideals
  3. Attract local traitors and especially academics, politicians, reporters, soldiers, etc., through bribery, or threaten those who have some stain in their life
  4. If the target country has labour unions, bribe them
  5. Pick a catchy theme or color for the revolution. Examples include the Prague spring (1968), Velvet revolution (Eastern Europe, 1969), Rose revolution (Georgia, 2003), Cedar revolution (Lebanon, 2005), Orange revolution (Ukraine), Green revolution (Iran), Jasmin revolution, Arab Spring and even Hong Kong’s Umbrella revolution
  6. Start protests for whatever reasons to kick off the revolution. It could be human rights, democracy, government corruption or electoral fraud. Evidence isn’t necessary; any excuse will do
  7. Write protests signs and banners in English to let Americans see and get American politicians and civilians involved
  8. Let those corrupted politicians, intellectuals and union leaders join the protests and call upon all people with grievances to join
  9. The US and European mainstream media help continuously emphasize that the revolution is caused by injustice thereby gaining the support of the majority
  10. When the whole world is watching, stage a false-flag action. The target government will soon be destabilised and lose support among its people
  11. Add in violent agent provocateurs to provoke the police to use force. This will cause the target government to lose the support of other countries and become “deligitimized” by the international community
  12. Send politicians to the US, EU and UN to petition so that the target government will face the threat of economic sanctions, no-fly zones and even airstrikes and an armed rebel uprising

Anyone who has being paying just a little attention to the world events can recognise this pattern. Psychopaths are not that creative and therefore tend to use the same method again and again. And mostly it works out to the benefit of the psychopaths in power, to whom it doesn’t matter if their hand in the regime change is exposed after the installment of a new puppet. The subservient MSM is always on hand to further the propaganda and knock down any objecting views that reveal the hand of the man behind the curtain and can always rely on name calling when arguments are lacking. An example of how this works with regard to the Hong Kong protests can be seen here:

And the public memory is conveniently very short, with all the distraction that Hollywood, the social media and the General Law can come up with.

The video goes on:

If the 12 steps above do not work, then the US will find an excuse to intervene militarily and overthrow the target government by force. In fact, these steps have proven to be very effective.

[...]

Therefore, it is not by spontaneous civil movements that countries are overthrown. On the contrary, the revolts are carefully planned and plotted. In fact, overthrowing a country by means of civil unrests is far cheaper than sending troops to attack and destroy it. That’s why the US kept applying these 12 steps against countries it deem as enemies.

Though the video blames it all on the Freemasons, it would be more correct to say the pathological elite. One of the key defining traits of this subspecies is the fact that they have no conscience and therefore care naught about human suffering and deaths. It could even be argued that they relish such suffering.

As always the onus is on us to acquire knowledge and to wake up to this nightmare and the fact that there are predators among us who don’t have essential human qualities. This is becoming easier as the empire of chaos, in its desperate battle to maintain hegemony, is showing its true nature for all to see. Thus the emperor is exposed as being naked, something that the BRICS countries and a number of other countries are becoming aware of. There is no doubt that greater cooperation among these countries has helped to spread knowledge about the psychopaths’ modus operandi. The above video is an example of the exposure of this pattern.

President Barack Obama speaks during their joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. (Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

There are two major threats to life on Earth—nuclear weapons and climate change. A recent decision by President Obama has heightened both threats.

Two months ago, the New York Times reported that the president had initiated a 30-year, $1 trillion “revitalization” of the strategic nuclear weapons systems of the United States, including nuclear warheads as well as the intercontinental bombers, submarines, and land-based missiles that are poised day-in and day-out to deliver them throughout the world.

The Times reported that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obama’s “atomic refurbishment plans” will cost $355 billion over the next decade. “But that is just the start,” the Times continued, “the price tag will soar after 10 years as missiles, bombers and submarines made in the last century reach the end of their useful lives and replacements are built.”

That’s at least $35 billion per year over the next thirty years that we mustn’t spend on the modernization of nuclear weapons. That money, with a commensurate level of focus and commitment now lacking, needs to go to climate change mitigation and adaptation, including new energy and transportation infrastructure here and abroad. If it doesn’t, nuclear war and climate change – one or the other, sooner or later – will destroy the Earth and humanity with it, including your children and grandchildren. It’s as simple, and terrifying, as that.

Furthermore, Obama’s decision to modernize the nuclear weapons arsenal of the United States was completely undemocratic. He has yet to announce this decision himself. He made it without any public discussion or debate. And his decision to do so contradicts statements he made to the American people to get votes to become president.

For example, in July 2008, in an article titled “Obama Says Time to Rid World of Nuclear Weapons,” CNN reported that the presidential candidate proclaimed: “It’s time to send a clear message to the world: America seeks a world with no nuclear weapons. As long as nuclear weapons exist, we’ll retain a strong deterrent. But we’ll make the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons a central element in our nuclear policy.”

Upon his election as president, however, in his first opportunity internationally to make an official move toward nuclear disarmament, President Obama voted against a 2009 UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution titled “Nuclear Disarmament,” against a 2009 UNGA resolution titled “Towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Accelerating the Implementation of Nuclear Disarmament Commitments,” against a 2009 UNGA resolution titled “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons,” against a 2009 UNGA resolution titled “Follow-up to Nuclear Disarmament Obligations Agreed to at the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” and against a 2009 UNGA resolution titled “Follow-up to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons.” Obama then voted against each of these General Assembly resolutions in each year of his presidency to date.

Also, rather than pledge not to attack with nuclear weapons any of the non-nuclear nations, Obama abstained from a 2009 UNGA resolution titled, “Conclusion of Effective International Arrangements to Assure Non-Nuclear Weapon States against the Use or Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons.” Obama also has annually abstained from this same UNGA resolution as well. Thus, officially under President Obama, the United States won’t say whether it would use nuclear weapons or not against a non-nuclear country.

A few days after rejecting the 2009 round of General Assembly resolutions, Obama gave his Nobel Peace Prize speech on December 10 in Oslo. While referring to the 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), he said: “In the middle of the last century, nations agreed to be bound by a treaty whose bargain is clear:  All will have access to peaceful nuclear power; those without nuclear weapons will forsake them; and those with nuclear weapons will work towards disarmament.  I am committed to upholding this treaty.  It is a centerpiece of my foreign policy.” (Emphasis added.)

Indeed, the “bargain” of the NPT was non-proliferation among non-nuclear states and disarmament by the states with nuclear weapons, with the formal obligation to disarm embodied in Article VI of the NPT:

Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

Thus, given Obama’s clear record of rejecting the General Assembly’s efforts toward nuclear disarmament, and his recent decision to initiate a 30-year modernization of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, he has clearly violated even the most lax interpretation of the NPT’s Article VI obligation on nuclear disarmament.

Incredibly, in its report, the Times quoted a “senior official” in the Obama administration who referred to the president’s decision to commit the United States to a $1 trillion nuclear-weapons refurbishment effort as one of Obama’s “legacy” achievements as president, noting further that the issue was too politically delicate to go on record by identifying himself or herself by name. The Times thus reported, referring specifically to the nuclear weapons issue and the expense:

“This is Obama’s legacy budget,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the topic’s political delicacy. “It’s his last chance to make the hard choices and prioritize.”

A decision of this magnitude is therefore made without any announcement from the White House or presentation by the president himself to the American people. One should assume, then, that the gift of Obama’s “legacy” was intended not to benefit the American people. Instead, and predictably, it benefits only the national security state apparatus and the military-industrial complex.

In 2007 former U.S. officials George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal titled, “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” which called for nuclear disarmament.

In doing so, they quoted from several persons, including Rajiv Gandhi, then prime minister of India, who said in an address to the UN General Assembly: “Nuclear war will not mean the death of a hundred million people. Or even a thousand million. It will mean the extinction of four thousand million: the end of life as we know it on our planet earth. We come to the United Nations to seek your support. We seek your support to put a stop to this madness.”

As president and about nuclear weapons, John Kennedy stated: “The world was not meant to be a prison in which man awaits his execution.”

President Obama should reverse course on nuclear weapons, support the UN General Assembly resolutions on nuclear disarmament that will be issued next month at the United Nations, and announce the start of serious, good-faith negotiations on global nuclear disarmament in compliance with his legal obligations as stated in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Expand the civil-rights struggle to the level of human rights. Take it into the United Nations, where our African brothers can throw their weight on our side, where our Asian brothers can throw their weight on our side, where our Latin-American brothers can throw their weight on our side, and where 800 million Chinamen are sitting there waiting to throw their weight on our side.

Let the world know how bloody his hands are. Let the world know the hypocrisy that’s practiced over here.” – Malcolm X, April 3, 1964. Cleveland, Ohio, “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech.

They say that charity begins at home – and so, it should be added, does torture. The United States, a nation born in slavery and genocide, has in recent years been compelled to justify its past and current crimes as measured by the standards of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

On November 12 and 13, a delegation led by the U.S. Human Rights Network traveled to the UN’s palatial compound in Geneva, Switzerland, to argue that the U.S. is in violation of international treaties against torture and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). More than a score of organizations and individuals attempted to, first, convince members of the Committee Against Torture (CAT) that the groups they represent (Blacks, women, LBGTs, prisoners, immigrants, homeless) have, indeed, been harmed by the U.S., and, second, that these grievances fall under the language of the relevant treaty. It is a cumbersome, often agonizingly long bureaucratic process that is made even more problematic when the perpetrator of the crimes is the world’s sole superpower and the UN’s biggest funder.

Black Americans have a long history of enlisting international support in the struggle against U.S. racial tyranny, predating by generations Malcolm X’s admonitions to “take it into the United Nations.” The bigger the empire gets, the more sensitive it must become to foreign criticism of its domestic policies. When the U.S. elevates itself to arbiter of human rights on Planet Earth, as President Barack Obama has attempted to do, it is obliged to at least go through the motions of compliance with the treaties it has signed, which – on paper – carry the force of U.S. domestic law.

Last week’s meeting of the Committee Against Torture took place against the backdrop of the unfolding saga in Ferguson, Missouri – the small city that has become an international household word in the three months since officer Darren Wilson gunned down Black teenager Michael Brown. Although the U.S. media’s lens on torture is focused mainly on Guantanamo Bay and the pending U.S. Senate report on CIA torture, and most of the activists in the U.S. Human Rights Network delegation were transmitting grievances on issues other than race, the looming confrontation in Ferguson framed and colored the proceedings. Michael Brown’s mother and father made international news with their appearance before the committee, and a group of Black Chicago young people representing We Charge Genocide held a 30-minute silent, standing, fists-up demonstration as the official U.S. delegation attempted to claim that torture is not endemic to U.S. domestic policy and practice.

However, the biggest media splash occurred when U.S. representatives admitted that America had used torture in the so-called War on Terror. “A little more than 10 years ago, our government was employing interrogation methods that, as President Obama has said, any fair-minded person would believe were torture,” said Mary McLeod, the acting legal adviser to the State Department. Tom Malinowski, the assistant secretary of state for human rights, tried to assure the committee that the U.S. was not continuing to torture detainees in secret foreign locations or on U.S. aircraft or ships at sea. “We believe that torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment are forbidden in all places, at all times, with no exceptions. The legal and moral argument against torture would be dispositive under any circumstances.”

No such definitive statements were forthcoming, however, when it came to physical or emotional torture in U.S. prisons, or by American police. Instead, the 20-plus member official U.S. delegation, drawn mainly from the Departments of State, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security, engaged in non-stop obfuscation, semantic contortions, and bald denials of fact to maintain that the U.S. obeys the letter and spirit of international law in its treatment of Blacks on the streets and inside the vast American Gulag, and is in no need of international oversight.

In the face of such superpower stonewalling, the biggest burden of proof lay on the shoulders of the three advocates for U.S. political prisoners: Efia Nwangaza, the veteran people’s lawyer and director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina; Dhoruba Bin Wahad, a former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member who spent 19 years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement; and former Black Panther Party political prisoner Jihad Abdulmumit, of the Jericho Movement.

Their mission was made enormously more difficult by the fact that the term “political prisoners” is not even part of the United Nations vocabulary. As Efia Nwangaza explains, diplomats consider “political prisoner” to be a “conclusionary term,” and they are loathe to use words that infer conclusions of fact. Instead, Nwangaza, Bin Wahad, and Abdulmumit are compelled, in formal communications with the UN Committee on Torture, to frame Black American political prisoners as “imprisoned COINTELPRO and Civil Rights era human rights defenders and political activists and other persons at risk.”

What results is worse than just a stilted conversation. The political prisoner advocates must measure the success of their interaction with the UN by their ability to convince Torture Committee members to adopt their grievances and proposals as the basis for questioning U.S. compliance with the treaty and for recommending remedies to the human rights situation in the United States. In practice, that means finding victories in convincing Committee members to use language that deals with the rights of prisoners that are indigent, aged or infirmed, or have served excessive sentences or spent long periods in isolation – all of which applies to Black U.S. political prisoners of the COINTELPRO and Civil Rights eras.

The bottom line request is that the Committee “recommend that the U.S. government take steps to end” the prisoners’ incarceration – an ordeal that, for some, has lasted a half a century.

The other specific request is for the establishment of a “South Africa-like Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (TRC) to resolve any remaining issues. Dhoruba Bin Wahad and Jihad Abdulmumit said their comrades who remain in the behind bars insisted that this measure be pushed in Geneva as a means to both popularize the plight of political prisoners and provide a forum for larger discussion. For the purposes of the Committee on Torture, the Truth and Reconciliation proposal might be diplomatically transmitted through references to “alternative sentencing” – which is another way of framing the reduction of political prisoners’ sentences through a South-Africa-like commission mechanism.

Clearly, an appeal to the United Nations is more complex than carrying a sign saying “Free All Political Prisoners.”

The two-day process in Geneva began with the U.S. Human Rights Network’s broad-based delegation making brief presentations to the Committee Members, who hail from various nations but serve as individuals.

Efia Nwangaza, who has shepherded three complex proposals before UN committees and knows the ropes better than anyone in the delegation, described the “imprisoned COINTELPRO/Civil Rights era political activists and human rights defenders” as “survivors of an illegal scheme to crush the 60-70s social justice movements – political prisoners. They can wait no longer. They have served as many as 51 years in prison.”

Ethan Viets-VanLear, of Chicago-based We Charge Genocide, said U.S. police are allowed to act with “impunity,” while Congress has failed to even establish a data base to document the crimes. “We charge genocide, we charge torture,” he said.

Committee members, referred to as rapporteurs, questioned the delegates. Alessio Bruni, of Italy, noted that President Obama’s recent proposals for prison sentencing and standards reform are only applicable to the federal prison system, while 90 percent of U.S. inmates are held in state and local jails. The U.S. does not allow UN Special Rapporteurs to visit prisoners and inspect conditions at state prisons, claiming that’s beyond federal jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) severely limits prisoners’ rights to mount court challenges to prison conditions or the terms of their own confinement, resulting in a legal situation that Bruni called “unique in the world, because it established a separate and inferior justice system for prisoners.” Bruni said there are “significant gaps in remedies available to U.S. prisoners” – an important point, since the Committee is empowered to intervene if signatories to the treaty do not provide remedies for damages caused to victims.

Most of the U.S. delegation rate Bruni as sympathetic to their cause.

Jens Modvig, of Denmark, is also seen as open to the human rights activists’ appeals. He concludes that police violence and torture have no remedy in U.S. courts, and that prosecutors have full discretion whether to investigate violations of rights – or not to investigate – particularly at the federal level, which is an arbitrariness inconsistent with justice.

The rapporteurs asked their own questions of the delegates. They elicited Jihad Abdulmumit’s assessment of the U.S. government’s stance on political prisoners. “The United States displays blatant arrogance. Albert Woodfox” – the sole remaining member of the Angola Three – “has been in prison for 43 years. The world sees this. You can see it on CNN!” But, the U.S. doesn’t care who knows it, because no one can do anything to change it. No remedy.

Efia Nwangaza bored in on inadequate medical care, a key element for the Committee. Even when supporters have secured independent, third party medical services for political prisoners, “the assistance has been denied.” Jamil Al-Amin, once known as H. Rap Brown, “waited a year for dental are, and then found out he had cancer,” she said.

“The major force blocking police accountability,” said Dhoruba Bin Wahad, “is the police unions” that use their oversized political influence to deny political prisoners parole or hold up their release even when they have maxed out their sentences. “We need to look into how police can be made accountable by mechanisms that are out of the purview of police” power – presumably including a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Ferguson, Missouri activist and rapper Tef Poe (Kareem Jackson) said “the Ferguson police department turned my neighborhood into a war zone. I fear the police will murder me and my friends simply for being here and exposing this torture” that has been inflicted on an entire community.

The scene shifted later that day to a huge room at the Palace of Nations, where the U.S. Human Rights Network delegation encountered, for the first time, the arrayed representatives of the American State that has tortured people all over the world – a bureaucratic phalanx of overwhelming whiteness. The U.S. position, expressed with absolute solemnity, is that this country holds no political prisoners and there is no such thing as solitary confinement – only varying stages of prisoner isolation for security purposes.

In point of fact, said David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prisons Project, “there are more than 80,000” prisoners held in solitary confinement on any given day, some of whom have been isolated from human contact for 20, 30 or even 40 years. “We appreciate the authority of the Civil Rights Division [of the U.S. Justice Department, which was represented in the official U.S. delegation], but it has no authority over the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, and it has never brought a charge” against the federal prison system, he said.

In other words, there are no remedies.

Committee members peppered the U.S. officials with questions on “standards” for imprisonment of young, sick and other vulnerable groups of prisoners. Denmark’s Jens Modvig wanted to know how many U.S. cops are punished for brutality and homicide. Essadia Belmir, of Morocco, said “it seems that there is inequality before the courts” in the U.S. “Black people don’t enjoy the same treatment” as whites. Alessio Bruni, the Italian, cited a potentially lethal lack of air conditioning at Angola State Prison, in Louisiana, and in sweltering Texas facilities. The U.S. is out of compliance with its treaty obligations while claiming its “national legal system already protects human rights.” Turkey’s George Tugushi asked why the U.S. has failed to utilize alternatives to detention – a possible indication that he is thinking about the idea of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but who knows?

The United States is not obligated to answer all the questions, but its response will have an effect on the Committee’s report, later this month.

The Empire Answers Back

The next and final day of the session, the official U.S. delegation tells Washington’s side of the story.

A deputy attorney general claims that the infamous Prisoner Litigation Reform Act that Rapporteur Bruni maintained established “a separate and inferior justice system for prisoners” is really nothing of the kind, since all citizens “have a right to sue in civil court…and seek injunctions.” In fact, the legislation was specifically designed to doom most such suits by inmates.

Another bureaucrat insisted that solitary confinement, which he called “restructured housing,” is never used for the purpose of inflicting emotional harm. Oh, heavens no.

An acting senior counsel in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division breezed through her spiel on the department’s “ongoing and active” investigation into the Michael Brown shooting and a separate probe of Ferguson police procedures – pro forma exercises that no one expects to result in meaningful action. The Justice Department also looked into charges of police brutality in Chicago, but could find no evidence.

At that point, six young people from Chicago’s We Charge Genocide rose from their seats and put their fists in the air, silently holding that position for almost half an hour, in protest. The chief U.S. spokesman later ostentatiously announced that the official delegation had no objections to the demonstration.

To show that the individual U.S. states were also respectful of prisoners’ human rights, the Americans trotted out A.T. Wall, the director of Rhode Island’s Department of Corrections and Mississippi’s attorney general, Jim Hood. Wall said his population in solitary confinement were “completely isolated” because some had access to visits, radios, and cell phone calls. Mississippi’s top lawman was of the opinion that police officers “want to do the right thing.” But, if they do violate someone’s constitutional rights, they can be sued in state and federal court. Even Mississippi, where, as the ACLU’s David Fathi points out, “Blacks are six times as likely to receive a sentence of life without parole than whites,” has remedies.

Tom Malinowski, the assistant secretary of state for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, who had earlier assured the world body that the current U.S. policy forbids “torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment…in all places, at all times, with no exceptions,” drew the line at allowing Special UN Rapporteurs to visit state prisons to inspect conditions for themselves. “We already have a strong system of oversight,” he said, but the problems of allowing access to state facilities are “daunting.”

Most Committee members seemed unmoved by the official U.S. performance. Denmark’s Modvig was skeptical of the Justice Department’s failure to find evidence of police wrongdoing in places like Chicago. “Well, you don’t find what your are not looking for,” he said. Georgia’s Tugushi had a short but general commentary on the draconian nature of U.S. sentencing: “Life without parole – in Europe, that’s considered a violation of human rights.”

The Waiting Game

The Committee on Torture in Geneva will issue its concluding observations before the end of this month. The troika of political prisoners activists and the rest of the U.S. Human Rights Network delegates will then discover which of their issues shows up in the document, which will become the basis for review of U.S. compliance with the treaty on torture, four years from now. The wheels of UN justice turn slowly. Efia Nwangaza, Dhoruba Bin Wahad and Jihad Abdulmumit will pour over the wording of the Committee’s observations, to determine if they have shifted the lines of battle in the people’s favor. But, as Abdulmumit wrote a “Shadow Report” on Geneva, “everyone must realize that whether an issue is heard or not, the lion’s share of the work is on stateside.”

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].

For the last three elections now, 2010, 2012 and 2015, corporate media and corporate politicians have ceaselessly assured us that “the economy” whatever that is, is “back on track”, wherever that is.

Despite what corporate media and politicians tell us, the positive indicators of soaring stock market valuations, rising real estate prices and the rigged unemployment figures that don’t count the jailed, the recently released from jails and prisons, and those who’ve given up on finding work or those working part time who desperately want full time hours real life for most real people hasn’t got any better since 2008 or 2009.

Last week an extraordinary and shameful study emerged from the National Center on Family Homelessness confirmed it by demonstrating that almost 2.5 million children in the US were homeless at some point during 2013. That’s one child in every thirty, in what we’re accustomed to thinking of as the richest nation on earth. In the most recent months for which statistics exist, the rate of homelessness among children is spiking, increased 8% nationally from 2012 to 2013, and by 10% or more in 13 states and the District of Columbia. In 2006 one in 50 children were homeless. In 2010 it was one in 45. Now, in the age of Obama, the 2013 number is 1 in 30.

The causes of homelessness among children are not your comforting stereotypes of drug use and mental illness. These are “comforting” because they encourage us to blame the drug-addicted, and pity the mentally ill, and our comfort keeps us from questioning the capitalist system which declares that we must have poverty in the midst of plenty, or wondering why we ourselves are no more than a month or two from homelessness.

America’s shameful surge in homeless children is caused by the fact that wages are NOT rising, low income housing is NOT being built, and the stock of available housing is being demolished or cannibalized by gentrifying speculators. Speculators can’t make money off stable neighborhoods, so the poorest have to leave wherever they are to make room for something else.

In California, the nation’s most populous state 34% of households are paying more than half their annual income for rent, and while the state’s minimum wage is $8 an hour, a 2 bedroom apartment at a third of annual income would require tripling the minimum wage to $25.78 an hour. The issue then, is poverty.

Millions of children are not suffering because their parents have suddenly become addicted, or neglectful or lazy or stupid. Their parents, many of whom are working as hard as they can, are simply not able to afford a roof over their heads. This is just capitalism. It may be a scandal, but it’s no surprise.

This happens to be just the way that “the economy” works when it’s “back on track.” It’s time to tear up those tracks.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via this site’s contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Spanish Military Prepares for Domestic Repression

November 20th, 2014 by Vicky Short

In response to the socially explosive conditions resulting from high unemployment, attacks on living standards and rising inequality, Spanish military units are being prepared for use in internal repression.

The Spanish digital daily, Público, recently revealed that around 200 soldiers from the Light Armoured Cavalry Regiment Lusitania No.8, based in Valencia, have been receiving special crowd control training, including the use of anti-riot equipment, by the military police.

One of the participants said that “they never explained what mission we needed this training for”. Another said, “People think that a lot of tension can be seen in the streets every day, that there is a lot of unrest … they tell us in the barracks that the National Police are overwhelmed, that it doesn’t have the means or the personnel.”

Sources at the barracks described the training as “strange and absolutely unprecedented,” but added, “We have to be prepared for everything, especially in these current times.”

“We do not remember the PM (military police) training soldiers before from other units to act as ‘anti-riot military police’ against civilians. … We believe that the military police are also doing this type of training in other barracks,” another said.

The sources reported that the training exercise became so violent and out of control, with several casualties, that it had to be stopped.

The Ministry of Defence sought to downplay the revelations, stating that training of the army in riot control was routine and had been going on for years. However, this attempt at reassuring the public was belied by further reports that about 50 soldiers had been interrogated for hours by officers demanding that they reveal the names of those who had made the revelations. At least one of the soldiers is facing expulsion from the army.

The training of army units in crowd control is based on the assumption that insurrectionary struggles are inevitable, because of the intolerable level of suffering the Spanish ruling class has imposed on the working class. The latest developments add to the series of counterinsurgency measures already adopted by the Popular Party (PP) government, including the purchase of new anti-riot equipment.

The new Citizens Security Law going through parliament and expected to be in force early next year will severely restrict the right to protest. Judges will be able to impose huge fines on protesters, particularly those outside Congress and other state institutions, and to fine anyone who distributes photographs of police brutality. The police will receive extra powers to enter and search property, demand identification papers and restrain those who refuse to produce them. The names and details of those penalised can be made public and if they are foreigners they can be deported.

Politicians from the main opposition Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) have been virtually silent about the Público reports, limiting themselves to putting down a question to the government asking for clarification. PSOE defence spokesman, Eduardo González, would not be drawn into any further comments other than stating, “What we need is to know more details and have some clear explanations”.

The PSOE is no stranger to using the army against the working class. In December 2010, the PSOE government invoked a “state of alarm” to use the army to force striking air traffic controllers, who were fighting against wage cuts and an increase in their hours of work, back to work. In 2005, former PSOE Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero created the Military Emergency Unit, whose declared role was “collaborating with the Civil Protection System and contributing to preserving the safety and welfare of citizens in disasters.” It is now one of the units undergoing crowd control training.

The historic role of the army in Spain, which in the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War killed hundreds of thousands in a counterrevolutionary uprising led by General Francisco Franco, is well documented. The Spanish establishment is riddled with the heirs of the fascist regime that followed the Civil War. A few old surviving fascists even continued to hold the same positions in the armed bodies of the state.

The 1978 constitution drafted and approved, following Franco’s death, after the peaceful transition from fascism to bourgeois democracy by the Stalinist Communist Party of Spain, the PSOE and former Francoites, allows the deployment of the Spanish army under article 116. A state of alarm, exception or siege can be put in place “when extraordinary circumstances would make it impossible for the competent authorities using ordinary powers to maintain normality.”

It will be under these powers that the Spanish military will be deployed against any strikes and demonstrations that threaten the ruling class. The latest anti-riot training exercises testify to the advanced state of decay of Spanish democracy. The PP government, the PSOE, and the trade unions are deeply discredited due to their attacks on workers’ living standards. The Spanish ruling class has nothing to offer except violent crackdowns and mass arrests.

Madrid is not alone. Throughout Europe the ruling class is once again preparing dictatorial forms of rule. In Greece, for example, the New Democracy/PASOK coalition government of Antonis Samaras, on three separate occasions, has placed striking workers under martial law and has repeatedly used police against strikers and has banned demonstrations.

In France, the unpopular Socialist Party government under President François Hollande launched a savage crackdown on protests sparked by the police murder of Rémi Fraisse, a 21-year-old environmental activist. This summer, Hollande banned protests against Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians.

Senate Blocks any Limit to NSA Spying on Phone Calls

November 20th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

The US Senate blocked action Tuesday on a bill that would have imposed only minor limitations on a National Security Agency program that collects records of the phone calls of every American. The vote was 58 to 42 to take up the measure for consideration, with supporters falling two votes short of the 60 required to force action.

The vote was nearly by party lines in the outgoing lame duck Senate, with 52 Democrats, two independents who generally vote with the Democrats and four Republicans supporting consideration of the bill. The 41 Republican opponents were joined by one Democrat, Bill Nelson of Florida.

The effect of the vote is to delay consideration of any legislation on NSA spying until the next session of Congress, when Republicans will be in the majority and will control key committees like Intelligence and Judiciary, which originate and write legislation.

The defeated measure, drafted by the outgoing chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would have placed very slight restrictions on the NSA program that collects metadata on virtually ever phone call placed in or through US telecommunications companies or the Internet.

The bill had the support of the Obama administration, demonstrating that the military-intelligence apparatus, which dictates policy on such issues, was quite content with the toothless legislation from Leahy. The main purpose of the bill was to give the impression that Obama and the Democrats are responding to the widespread public outrage over government spying sparked by last year’s revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, while actually doing nothing to restrict snooping by the intelligence agency.

The bill was also endorsed by a coalition of technology companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, AOL and Yahoo, which feared that Snowden’s revelations had exposed them as de facto arms of the US spy apparatus, harming their ability to sell their products and services, especially in foreign markets.

The Leahy bill would have shifted responsibility for maintaining the records of customer metadata from the NSA to the telecommunications companies themselves, while still allowing effectively unlimited data searches by the spy agency. The NSA, the FBI and other US government agencies would have been required to obtain court orders from the secret rubber-stamp FISA court that has approved government search requests 99.9 percent of the time.

Even these provisions could be waived in cases of “emergency,” which would, of course, be defined by the government itself.

The metadata program itself is only one of a vast array of NSA programs that spy on the phone calls, Internet activity and communications of Americans and non-Americans alike—all of which would have remained untouched.

In return for these minor restrictions, the bill would extend the telephone metadata search authorization, a part of the USA Patriot Act that is set to expire next June. With the defeat of the bill, the intelligence agencies will demand that the next Congress take up the question of extending the search authorization before the expiration date.

These agencies already hold the whip hand over both parties in Congress. Their sneering attitude towards any concerns over civil liberties was expressed in an op-ed column published last week in the Wall Street Journal, co-authored by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, which declared the Leahy bill to be “NSA Reform That Only ISIS Could Love.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who will be Majority Leader in January, led the opposition to the bill on the Senate floor Tuesday. Like Mukasey and Hayden, he cited the threat of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, including the beheading of US citizens held prisoner by ISIS in Syria.

McConnell claimed that the measure would be “tying our hands behind our backs” and “would end one of our nation’s critical capabilities to gather significant intelligence on terrorist threats.”

Leahy condemned those who “went at this issue by fomenting fear,” but this plea was particularly empty and insincere, given that the entire US political establishment has based its policy on whipping up fear with terrorism scares ever since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Bush and Obama, Republicans and Democrats have used the 9/11 attacks to justify every war crime committed by US imperialism over the past 13 years, and every attack on democratic rights.

In his final speech, Leahy concluded, “This is the Constitution of the US, and if we do not protect our Constitution we do not protect our country.”

Again, since the outgoing Senate Judiciary chairman has apparently failed to notice, it might be worth pointing out that the Obama administration itself has ridden roughshod over the Constitution, particularly in asserting the “right” of the president to order the assassination of any person in the world, including American citizens, on his sole authority, without any judicial proceeding of any kind. This position, elaborated by Attorney General Eric Holder and the White House in great detail, effectively repeals the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. (See: “The legal implications of the al-Awlaki assassination”)

So right-wing is the position of the Obama White House that a handful of ultra-right Republicans have sought to posture as libertarian opponents of its police-state actions. Two Senate Republicans, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, co-sponsored the Leahy bill. Two others, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Dean Heller of Nevada, voted for it. Another, Rand Paul of Kentucky, voted against the bill saying it did not go far enough to restrict NSA spying.

Exporting Repression from Ulster to Palestine

November 20th, 2014 by David Cronin

Sectarianism with a smile: the late Ian Paisley claimed that Catholics “multiply like vermin.” (DUP Photos)

Imagine that a police force is being developed for a future Palestinian state. Imagine that the chief advisers to that force had spent much of their professional lives with an institution that was synonymous with repression. Imagine that instead of bringing a downtrodden people closer to freedom, the advisers were really helping the Palestinians to oversee their own occupation.

It is not necessary to imagine any further. This scenario is being actually being played out.

For the past eight years, the European Union has ran a “security” operation in the occupied West Bank.

Five different men have headed the EU Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support — or COPPS, as the operation is known — to date (excluding those who have led the office on an interim basis). Four of these officers had previously served with theRoyal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) or its successor the Police Service of Northern Ireland(PSNI).

A short trip to Belfast should be enough to illustrate why the liberation of Palestine is unlikely to be the foremost concern of an ex-RUC member.

When I visited that city in August, I was struck by the abundance of Palestinian flags on the Falls Road, a largely Catholic neighborhood. By contrast, I saw a few Israeli flags fluttering alongside the ubiquitous Union Jacks in Protestant areas.

There are exceptions, of course. But it is a simple fact that Ulster Protestants have tended to identify more with Israelis than Palestinians.

“Inherently divisive”

The RUC was dominated by Protestants throughout its history.

In 1998 — three years before it was replaced by the PSNI — just 7 percent of its officers were Catholic. That was despite how Catholics comprised more than 40 percent of Northern Ireland’s population, according to a 2001 census.

That imbalance was compounded by the RUC’s behavior.

A 1994 study by the Committee on the Administration of Justice — a civil rights group — found that almost half of all young Catholics experienced harassment by the security forces. “Arming one side of the population in Northern Ireland to police the other is inherently divisive,” that study notes.

Earlier this year, an Irish television documentary proved that the British government authorized torture by the RUC against people detained without trial in the 1970s. In 2004, a Canadian judge tasked by the British and Irish governments with investigating the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane stated there was “strong evidence” that the RUC had colluded with his killers.

During the 1980s, a probe by a senior Manchester policeman pointed to an “inclination, if not a policy” on the RUC’s part “to shoot suspects dead without warning, rather than to arrest them.”

I contacted COPPS, asking if its leaders have recommended that tactics tested in Northern Ireland should be replicated in Palestine. A spokesperson for the operation responded that it “does not give any preference to any specific model or methods” of policing.

That reply is in no way reassuring.

Paul Kernaghan, one of the men to head the EU’s operation in Palestine, has explicitly urged that the RUC model should be exported.

Four years ago, he told an inquiry into the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq that “at various stages in the RUC’s existence, it had a fairly high level capability and, indeed at one stage, a light armored capability.” He contended that “you need something like that” in Iraq.

Brutal tactics

Baton guns were perhaps the RUC’s most contentious weapon. Three children werekilled with the plastic bullets fired from these batons in 1981 alone. One of them, twelve-year-old Carol-Ann Kelly, was doing nothing more sinister than bringing a carton of milk home from the shops.

The Palestinian Authority’s security forces — the forces “mentored” by the EU — also make liberal use of batons. During demonstrations in the West Bank against Israel’s attack on Gaza in early 2009, those forces beat fellow Palestinians with batons, asreported by a UN team of investigators.

Similarly brutal tactics were employed by the PA’s forces when numerous Palestinian youths objected to how Mahmoud Abbas, the authority’s president, invited Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli defense minister, to Ramallah in 2012 and during protests opposing the US-initiated “peace” talks last year.

Striking comparisons

Drawing analogies between different geographic regions and different periods of history can be problematic. The injustices endured by Catholics in the north of Ireland were severe. Those suffered by Palestinians are many times worse.

Still, there are some striking comparisons.

Both the Palestinians and Ulster Catholics have been suffered as a result of settler colonialism.

The racist discourse of the Protestant establishment in the north of Ireland during the “Troubles” is almost identical to what Israeli politicians say about Arabs. Ayelet Shaked, a member of Israel’s Knesset, called Palestinians “little snakes” in July; the recently-deceased Ian Paisley, a Free Presbyterian preacher and long-time leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, once claimed that Catholics “multiply like vermin.”

The RUC was subservient to the British Army; the PA’s security forces are subservient to Israel.

Aiding illegal wars

Colin Smith, another former head of COPPS, has spoken of how part of his work involved “facilitating contacts” between Israel and the PA police. Such liaison was “progressing,” even though the PA forces had to pass through Israeli militarycheckpoints, he said in 2008.

Furthermore, the EU has equipped stations located in Area B of the West Bank. That zone (demarcated under the Oslo accords) is under Israeli military control.

As well as serving in the RUC, Smith has been one of the top police officersrepresenting Britain in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

Smith, of course, is not the only one to have found that participating in an illegal war can enhance your career prospects. Tony Blair has not been short of job offers either.

Blair’s role as the Middle East “peace envoy” complements the work of the EU’s police operation. Together, they are trying to dupe the world into thinking that the Palestinians are being put in charge of their own destiny, while constantly kowtowing to the Israeli occupation.

Despite what the talking heads are saying, the economy isn’t doing so well. With this most recent jobs report, the two main sectors of growth were fast food and retail, accounting for a total of about 32.2% of jobs created in October. In part, due to low-paying jobs, many are using payday loans to get by and unfortunately when it comes time to pay up, many are paying much more than what they borrowed due to extremely high interest rates. While this has been bought up in the mainstream every now and then, rarely has anyone taken a look how payday loans came into existence and the type of havoc they wreak on people, mainly the poor. We need to realize that payday loans only harm us and explore alternatives.

According to the Journal of Economic Perspectives, the practice of getting credit against one’s next payment goes back to the Great Depression; however, “as the spread of direct deposit and electronic funds transfer technologies slowed the growth in the demand for check cashing services” and payday loans were more of a side job to check cashing businesses. Yet, the situation changed in 1978 that would facilitate the rise of payday lenders.

The beginnings of payday loans can be found in the 1978 Supreme Court case Marquette National Bank v. First of Omaha Service Corp which stated that “national banks were entitled to charge interest rates based on the laws of states where they were physically located, rather than the laws of states where their borrowers lived.” This allowed banks to offer credit cards to anyone they deemed qualified. A further empowerment came from the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 which allowed for banks and financial institutions to decide interest rates based on the market. This laid the foundation for payday loans as now one could set up a payday loan company and charge high interest rates, saying they were based on the market which would allow them to make a profit and due to the court case, payday lenders could offer loans to literally anyone they wanted, even those with bad credit.

Payday lenders are able to profit off of the loans they provide by charging interest, which can get out of control. For example, “For a loan of $300, a typical borrower pays on average $775, with $475 going to pay interest and fees over an average borrowing cycle.” It was noted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in 1999 that the loans have “annualized interest rates often ranging from 213 percent to 913 percent” or 4.4%-19% a week! Thus, while the interest rates might not seem ridiculous at first glance, they can easily grow out of control.

Now, while it’s known that mainly working-class people and the poor are the main users of payday loans, that’s also a rather broad brush. More specificity was attained in 2012, when Pew Research reported that the majority of payday loan borrowers are 25-44 year old white women, though “there are five groups that have higher odds of having used a payday loan: those without a four-year college degree; home renters; African Americans; those earning below $40,000 annually; and those who are separated or divorced.” Furthermore, the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that “three times the percentage of payday loan customers are seriously debt burdened and have been denied credit or not given as much credit as they applied for in the last five years.”

So the victims of payday loans are part of groups and communities that are already having economic troubles, even more so due to the current economic climate. In terms of why people utilized payday loans, it was found that “most borrowers use payday loans to cover ordinary living expenses over the course of months, not unexpected emergencies over the course of weeks,” which really just speaks to the problem of wages and how people aren’t being paid enough.

The situation becomes all the more tragic when one finds that not only are the bottom lines of payday lenders “significantly enhanced by the successful conversion of more and more occasional users into chronic borrowers,” but also that “the federal government has found that one of the country’s biggest payday lenders provides financial incentives to its staff to encourage chronic borrowing by individual patrons,” (emphasis added) as was reported in a 2003 issue of Economic Development Quarterly. So the vulnerable are then put into a cycle of poverty which is extremely difficult to get out of.

There has been an attempt by state governments to regulate payday loans. Some states ban outright, whereas others limit interest rates. The lenders are getting smart and attempting to avoid regulation by “making surface changes to their businesses that don’t alter their core products: high-cost, small-dollar loans for people who aren’t able to pay them back.”

It should be noted that payday lenders are not small chumps in the financial world. For a while major banks were involved in payday lending, such as “Wells Fargo, Bank of America, US Bank, JP Morgan Bank, and National City (PNC Financial Services Group)” and were able to finance 38% of the entire payday lending industry and that is a rather conservative estimate. These banks bowed out of the industry in January 2014 after being warned by federal regulators that they were going to look to see if the loans violated consumer protection laws. But the problem doesn’t end there.

There are also middlemen involved that operate on behalf of the payday companies. It was reported in April 2014 that a lawsuit was being filed against Money Mutual which claimed that “[claimed] the company [was] operating as an unlicensed lender by arranging loans that violate a [Illinois] state law that restricts borrower fees.” Money Mutual is itself not a lender, but rather “a lead generator that sells sensitive customer information, like bank-account numbers and email addresses, to payday lenders, and federal and state officials increasingly are cracking down on these businesses.” Middlemen like Money Mutual can be paid $50-$150 per lead, even if the person doesn’t take out a loan. This can quickly add up. In 2012 Bloomberg News found that “lead generators in financial services take in $100 million a year, with the market growing by more than 16 percent annually.”

Yet, this is just with storefront lenders, all new problems arise when one delves into the world of online payday lending. It has beenreported that many online payday lenders “attempt to skirt the rules and charge exorbitant fees, amongst other affronts to regulations that leave many a consumer seeking payday loan legal help” and that the Pew Research Center “found that about 30 percent of Internet payday loan borrowers claim they have received at least one threat from the lender,” whether it be for arrest or that the debtor’s employer would be contacted.

One of the worst problems with online payday lenders is theft; just take the story of Jeannie Morris of Kansas City. She entered personal information on websites that offered to match her up with payday lenders, however the situation took a turn for the worse when, “without asking her approval, two unrelated online lenders based in Kansas City had plopped $300 each into her bank account.

Together, they began withdrawing $360 a month in interest payments” and after her account was wiped clean, Jeannie was hounded by collection companies. Jeannie is not alone as “many consumers reported that loans they’d never authorized had been dropped into their bank accounts. Then those accounts often evaporated as the lenders snatched out money for interest payments while never applying any of the money to the loan principal.” So now online payday lenders can just lend people money without asking them and then clean out people’s bank accounts, effectively stealing from families.

The situation may seem hopeless, but there are alternatives to payday loans. One way is with credit union loans where members are allowed to borrow up to $500 each month and each loan is “connected to a SALO cash account, which automatically deducts 5 percent of the loan and places it in a savings account to create a ‘rainy day fund’ for the borrower.” Small consumer loans are another option. They are a lot less expensive than payday loans, for example, “a person can borrow $1,000 from a finance company for a year and pay less than a $200-$300 payday loan over the same period. If possible, someone could also get a cash advance on their credit card. In the long term, credit counseling can help a person to create a debt repayment plan and find a way to balance a budget.

Payday lenders are a major problem and prey on the desperate in order to make money. We need to organize and fight for the economic freedom of everyone. Consumer watchdog groups and payday borrowers and victims of payday theft need to come together to end this practice that creates a cycle of debt. To quote the rallying cry of IWW songwriter Joe Hill: “Don’t mourn, organize!”

Originally posted on Occupy.com

Devon Douglas-Bowers is a 22 year old independent writer and researcher and is the Politics/Government Department Chair of the Hampton Institute. He can be contacted at devondb[at]mail[dot]com.

Maybe vampire fables are just metaphors for bad ideas that are hard to kill.

The proposed Deep Geological Repository for radioactive waste being considered by Canada’s Joint Review Panel is such a bad idea that even pro-nuclear Republican US senators like Illinois’ Mark Kirk are against it. Still, it’s not dead yet.

The Southgate Michigan News-Herald reported last Sept. that

“some of the waste is highly radioactive and much of it will remain toxic for more than 100,000 years. The proposed site is less than a mile inland from the shore of Lake Huron and about 440 yards below the lake level. It is approximately 120 miles upstream from the main drinking water intakes for southeastern Michigan.”

The language is from a Michigan state senate resolution against the dump which passed last year. Now the US Senate has taken up the fight in a similar bill introduced by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and co-sponsored by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Kirk, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

Dozens of cities along the Great Lakes, Duluth included, have formally opposed the craziness of burying leaky tins of radiation in a watershed that serves H2O to 40 million people. Dave Herndon, writing for the News-Herald reported this zinger. The Canadian government itself expressed identical complaints about radioactive waste in the 1980s. Back then, when the Energy Department surveyed sites for a waste dump in the US, Canada explicitly protested. Canada’s resolution urges US officials to prevent such a dump from being built within the Great Lakes Basin.

Ontario’s Joint Review Panel will make a recommendation to the federal government after studying the pros and cons. It has held two sets of formal hearings, and plenty of highly critical testimony is in the record. Not the least is that of former Ontario Power Generation scientist Frank Greening. OPG is the radioactive waste producer promoting the dump, and Greening worked for the company for 22 years.

Waster Generator’s “Cavalier attitude” Toward Radiation

A PhD in chemistry, Greening testified this past September that OPG has adopted a “cavalier attitude” toward the long-lived hazards of radioactive wastes.

(I said likewise in 2013 when I testified that one particularly whimsical flyer from OPG said, “…even if the entire waste volume were to be dissolved into Lake Huron, the corresponding drinking water dose would be a factor of 100 below the regulatory criteria initially, and decreasing with time.” This quip refers to 200,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste in over 50,000 containers.)

As evidence of his attack on OPG’s proposal, Dr. Greening noted that the company estimated what radioactive materials, and in what proportions, would be in the waste — instead of taking samples. “Estimating is cheaper,” Greening told the panel on Sept. 10. “OPG has chosen to skimp on the costs of properly characterizing these piles of radioactive waste, perhaps because the analysis of just one sample costs over a thousand dollars,” Greening said.

After Greening pointed out OPG’s gross mistakes, OPG said that errors resulted from its use of “available data” in 2010.

“This is simply not true,” Greening charged. “OPG did not use available data, but used fabricated data instead.”

Last April, Greening reported that materials to be placed in dump are hundreds of times more radioactive than the company reported to the panel.

Greening’s report devastated the company’s (OPG’s) shoddy analysis. “You got these numbers wrong up front for when you put these materials in the ground,” he said. “Perhaps your numbers can’t be trusted on what happens if any of this is released back aboveground. Why would I trust your numbers now?” With one type of radioactive material, cesium-137, OPG’s numbers “are 1,000 times lower” than the actual radioactivity level, Greening said.

Of course if the vampire has friends in high places, even well placed wooden stakes, holy water and crucifixes will miss their mark. Replying to Greening’s crucial testimony, JRP Chair Stella Swanson warned that some of the material he presented was “new to the panel,” and as such contrary to its rules. Information was supposed to be given to the JRP in advance of the formal hearing.

Swanson said the panel will rule later on whether all Greening’s information would be accepted.

Louder and more robust objections to OPG’s Lake Huron dump need to be organized if Canadian authorities are to do the right thing. Michigan’s Senator Stabenow made a start when she told the press, “Canada’s proposed nuclear waste dump … puts our Great Lakes at risk of radioactive contamination that could have devastating consequences for future generations. I have expressed my strong objections to the Canadian government directly, and (this) resolution puts additional pressure on the Canadians to stop this plan.”

John LaForge works for Nukewatch and lives on the Plowshares Land Trust near Luck, Wisc.

The new Axis of Evil – The Anglo-Saxons threesome, US, UK, Australia, plus Japan – have accused Vladimir Putin of aggressions in Ukraine, threatening with new sanctions – the usual déjà vu jumbo-tango, no substance whatsoever. But the media repeat it at nauseatum – much of the world believes it. Much of the world isn’t even interested in knowing the truth. It’s a lie lodged deep under the skin of the comfort zone of the average western European and US citizen.

Mr. Putin is marginalized at the G20 summit in Brisbane Australia. Washington’s European vassals are afraid to even get close to the Russian President – it could be ill-seen by Master Obama. Madame Merkel had a brief private conversation with Mr. Putin – the supplier of 30% of Germany’s energy. Then, she went on castigating him in public for interfering in Ukraine’s democracy. What planet is she from? The others dare aping her critique – after all she represents the strongest nation in Europe – the strongest spineless puppet.

The Kremlin is again blamed for having shot down Malaysian flight MH17 over Ukraine – by world leaders who know very well that they are lying. They cannot have ignored the appalling conclusion of the analysis by the German pilot and airline expert, Peter Haisenko, that MH17 could not have been brought down by a surface-to-air missile, but rather by gunfire of an Ukraine military aircraft, type SU-25, as indicated by shrapnel holes in the cockpit (Global Research July 30, 2014). A plane fitting the description of an SU-25 was spotted near the MH17 by Russian and Kiev airport controllers. Several eyewitnesses on the ground in the conflict zone saw at least one fighter plane approaching the Malaysian airliner, as reported by BBC (though the report was later withdrawn – in an act of BBC self-censuring).

Peter Haisenko’s findings were subsequently also confirmed by OSCE analysts. Sadly, the black box that could have further enhanced the analysis is in the hands of the neoliberal Dutch government which in connivance with the White House and to the humiliation of the families of the almost 300 gruesomely murdered passengers of MH17 will not divulge the truth.

What is this all about? Child’s play? – The G20, an informal group of self-styled and self-loving arrogant ‘world leaders’ of the so-called 20 Great Economies, meet regularly to pretend deciding the future of the globe. A group dominated by Washington and its neoliberal mostly Anglos-Saxon and European vassals. What they talk about, promise to the world or threaten the world with, has absolutely no legal binding. As long as other nations go along – these decisions and intimidations gain strength. Those who are not playing along are subject to regime change.

Those ‘too big to obey’ – not succumbing to the rules of the Anglo-Saxon game plan – will be shunned, like Mr. Putin and to a lesser extent China’s President Xi Jinping – shunned by Washington – and, of course, by its lackeys. China enjoys still some clout that Russia is missing thanks to her sheer population and economic strength. China has bypassed the US in terms of GDP earlier this year, as the world’s number one economy. Nevertheless, under his self-declared ‘pivot to Asia’, Obama is not missing an opportunity to harass and humiliate China, from the new military base in Darwin, Australia, to the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) treaty, a Free Trade Agreement, under which Obama wants to exclude China, to a huge US navy presence in the South China Sea which will supposedly increase from the current 50% to 65% of the total US navy fleet by 2015.

The G20 are playing dangerous games. Fortunately, Mr. Putin is a great diplomat. He doesn’t fall into the trap.

Imagine – at the next G20 summit the unaligned among them, at least a handful of nations, simply don’t show up. They would go into opposition, so to speak; declaring a silent absenteeism – representing the wordless peoples of the world. What a powerful message that would send around the globe!

Vladimir Putin eventually left the G20 summit before it ended – a 17 hour trip home, “I have to work on Monday – no worries, my Finance Minister will attend the final dinner” – and off he went. He was coming home as a hero, applauded for showing the G20 his brave statesmanship, as compared to the spineless lot of EU minions.

Now imagine a possible alternative. Mr. Putin, instead of walking out straight, takes center stage, responding to these senseless lies and accusations about Ukraine by publicly divulging the facts.

“Ladies and Gentlemen – our common interest should be the truth – disseminating the truth as best we know it, and we have the best intelligence to provide us with the facts. Instead, western media are full with self-serving lies and propaganda. The latest target is Russia. There is the downing of the Malaysian MH17 plane, the so called annexation of Crimea – and foremost Ukraine. On the MH17, there is plenty of evidence, even acknowledged by OSCE that the plane has not been shot down by Russia, nor by Russia-sympathizers in Novorossiya; that the plane was not hit by a surface-to-air missile, but was most-likely sprayed by gunfire from a Kiev air force plane of the type SU-25, therefore clearly pointing to the Poroshenko Government. As far as Crimea is concerned – just read up on Russian history. This peninsula was part of Russia for at least the last 350 years. Crimea’s population, about 90% of Russian origin, has overwhelmingly voted to rejoin the Russian Federation. The Kremlin has merely accepted their vote.”

Vladimir Putin went on to talk about Ukraine, a country that also had hundreds of years of Russian history. It is so rich in natural resources and agriculture that throughout the Soviet Union it was considered the breadbasket of Russia. Most Ukrainians have still close ties to Russia. –

“You can imagine, ladies and gentlemen, Ukraine has closer links to Russia than have Mexico and Canada to the United States. So, how would it feel, Mr. Obama, if Russia were to initiate anti-Washington propaganda and unrest in these two nations? – Nevertheless, you know this very well, Mr. Obama, your Government with the help of the EU and NATO has orchestrated the coup of a democratically elected president of Ukraine on 22 February this year.”

The Russian leader reminded the audience of Madame Nuland’s overheard telephone conversation with the US Ambassador in Kiev, boasting of the more than 5 billion dollars invested in Ukrainian Regime change, even talking about the new heads of government they were going to put in place. A statement she later repeated to the Washington Press Club.

“The reasons for taking over Ukraine” – Mr. Putin continued – “as we know, are many – the country’s richness in natural resources, agricultural potential, US oil giants eager to frack for gas – and foremost, bringing yet a new NATO base at Moscow’s doorstep. – You, Mr. Obama, are the first one to understand Russia’s discontent, since you would not like to see Russia setting up military bases in Mexico, or anywhere in the Caribbean. – Why do you claim exceptionalism for the United States of America?”

“Yet, Russia has not stopped your Kiev adventure, Mr. President, other than providing the savagely besieged Donbass population with humanitarian aid, while your intelligence and NATO forces are supporting the Kiev army with weapons and strategic advice. – Do you know, Mr. Obama that Mr. Poroshenko’s troops, whose predecessors fought for Hitler, today strengthened by NATO, are viciously torturing and killing the pro-Russian east-Ukrainian population? That since the beginning of the conflict way more than 4,000 people, including women and children have been killed and more than 1.2 million people have fled to Russia? – Wouldn’t a Russian military intervention be a natural reaction to stop this western supported bloody civil war? – Of course, it would. And you Mr. Obama – all of you in this room know it, but are unwilling to admit it. – Well, I make it easier for you, by giving you once more the facts.”

With a pause of silence, Mr. Putin let his last words sink in.

“And one more thing the G20, Masters of the Universe, should know – Ukraine is just a peon on a square of a much larger chess game – a war game that has become unavoidable for the United States as wars are highly profitable – and – today the US economy depends on them – a war game that strives for Full Spectrum Dominance, as your generals, Mr. Obama, like to call it. They will not shy from killing millions to reach their goal, Washington’s goal – a One World Order, controlling the world’s resources, the world’s nations, their people – and their economies. We the G20 minus one, plus the voiceless billions, have the power to stop this hegemonic bloodletting. But we must be bold and dare to stand up for our collective rights.”

“Thank you for listening.”

With these last words, Mr. Putin left the audience in awe. He rushed out to the airport to fly home – where he has work to do.

The media representatives were in a state of shock, scurrying from left to right – speechless and hapless. They didn’t know what to do. Are we allowed to tell the world the truth? Can the powers controlling us castigate and even reject us? – Didn’t this public statement of a G20 world leader free us from the shackles of western power?

This fictitious scenario could really have happened. Why didn’t it? – And how might it have changed the world order?

Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, the Voice of Russia, now Ria Novosti, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.

None of the photos accompanying this New York Times story online showed any of these Russian troops or armored vehicles.

“The Obama administration,” the story continued, “has asserted over the past week that the Russians had moved artillery, air-defense systems and armor to help the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. ‘These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway’, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. At the department’s daily briefing in Washington, Ms. Psaki also criticized what she called the Russian government’s ‘unwillingness to tell the truth’ that its military had sent soldiers as deep as 30 miles inside Ukraine territory.”

Thirty miles inside Ukraine territory and not a single satellite photo, not a camera anywhere around, not even a one-minute video to show for it. “Ms. Psaki apparently [sic] was referring to videos of captured Russian soldiers, distributed by the Ukrainian government.” The Times apparently forgot to inform its readers where they could see these videos.

“The Russian aim, one Western official said, may possibly be to seize an outlet to the sea in the event that Russia tries to establish a separatist enclave in eastern Ukraine.”

This of course hasn’t taken place. So what happened to all these Russian soldiers 30 miles inside Ukraine? What happened to all the armored vehicles, weapons, and equipment?

“The United States has photographs that show the Russian artillery moved into Ukraine, American officials say. One photo dated last Thursday, shown to a New York Times reporter, shows Russian military units moving self-propelled artillery into Ukraine. Another photo, dated Saturday, shows the artillery in firing positions in Ukraine.”

Where are these photographs? And how will we know that these are Russian soldiers? And how will we know that the photos were taken in Ukraine? But most importantly, where are the f***ing photographs?

Why am I so cynical? Because the Ukrainian and US governments have been feeding us these scare stories for eight months now, without clear visual or other evidence, often without even common sense. Here are a few of the many other examples, before and after the one above:

  • The Wall Street Journal (March 28) reported: “Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another [sic] major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, US officials said.”
  • “The Ukrainian government charged that the Russian military was not only approaching but had actually crossed the border into rebel-held regions.” (Washington Post, November 7)
  • “U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove told reporters in Bulgaria that NATO had observed Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops enter Ukraine across a completely wide-open border with Russia in the previous two days.” (Washington Post, November 13)
  • “Ukraine accuses Russia of sending more soldiers and weapons to help rebels prepare for a new offensive. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied aiding the separatists.” (Reuters, November 16)

Since the February US-backed coup in Ukraine, the State Department has made one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s very unclear and wholly inconclusive, such as unmarked vehicles, or unsourced reports, or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. The Ukrainian government has matched them.

On top of all this we should keep in mind that if Moscow decided to invade Ukraine they’d certainly provide air cover for their ground forces. There has been no mention of air cover.

This is all reminiscent of the numerous stories in the past three years of “Syrian planes bombing defenseless citizens”. Have you ever seen a photo or video of a Syrian government plane dropping bombs? Or of the bombs exploding? When the source of the story is mentioned, it’s almost invariably the rebels who are fighting against the Syrian government. Then there’s the “chemical weapon” attacks by the same evil Assad government. When a photo or video has accompanied the story I’ve never once seen grieving loved ones or media present; not one person can be seen wearing a gas mask. Is it only children killed or suffering? No rebels?

And then there’s the July 17 shootdown of Malaysia Flight MH17, over eastern Ukraine, taking 298 lives, which Washington would love to pin on Russia or the pro-Russian rebels. The US government – and therefore the US media, the EU, and NATO – want us all to believe it was the rebels and/or Russia behind it. The world is still waiting for any evidence. Or even a motivation. Anything at all. President Obama is not waiting. In a talk on November 15 in Australia, he spoke of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17”. Based on my reading, I’d guess that it was the Ukranian government behind the shootdown, mistaking it for Putin’s plane that reportedly was in the area.

Can it be said with certainty that all the above accusations were lies? No, but the burden of proof is on the accusers, and the world is still waiting. The accusers would like to create the impression that there are two sides to each question without actually having to supply one of them.

The United States punishing Cuba

For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We haven’t heard that for a very long time. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):

Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.This year Washington’s policy may be subject to even more criticism than usual due to the widespread recognition of Cuba’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Speaking before the General Assembly before last year’s vote, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared: “The economic damages accumulated after half a century as a result of the implementation of the blockade amount to $1.126 trillion.” He added that the blockade “has been further tightened under President Obama’s administration”, some 30 US and foreign entities being hit with $2.446 billion in fines due to their interaction with Cuba.

However, the American envoy, Ronald Godard, in an appeal to other countries to oppose the resolution, said:

The international community … cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly, impedes independent journalism and, despite positive reforms, continues to prevent some Cubans from leaving or returning to the island. The Cuban government continues its tactics of politically motivated detentions, harassment and police violence against Cuban citizens.

So there you have it. That is why Cuba must be punished. One can only guess what Mr. Godard would respond if told that more than 7,000 people were arrested in the United States during the Occupy Movement’s first 8 months of protest in 2011-12  ; that many of them were physically abused by the police; and that their encampments were violently destroyed.

Does Mr. Godard have access to any news media? Hardly a day passes in America without a police officer shooting to death an unarmed person.

As to “independent journalism” – What would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control most of the media worth owning or controlling?

The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba has not changed since the revolution in 1959 – The fear of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as many Third World countries have expressed their adulation of Cuba.

How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”

Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted its suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.

The United States judging and punishing the rest of the world

In addition to Cuba, Washington currently is imposing economic and other sanctions against Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, China, North Korea, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, South Sudan, Sudan, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, India, and Zimbabwe. These are sanctions mainly against governments, but also against some private enterprises; there are also many other sanctions against individuals not included here.

Imbued with a sense of America’s moral superiority and “exceptionalism”, each year the State Department judges the world, issuing reports evaluating the behavior of all other nations, often accompanied by sanctions of one kind or another. There are different reports rating how each lesser nation has performed in the previous year in areas such as religious freedom, human rights, the war on drugs, trafficking in persons, and sponsors of terrorism. The criteria used in these reports are often political. Cuba, for example, is always listed as a sponsor of terrorism whereas anti-Castro exile groups in Florida, which have committed literally hundreds of terrorist acts over the years, are not listed as terrorist groups or supporters of such.

Cuba, which has been on the sponsor-of-terrorism list longer (since 1982) than any other country, is one of the most glaring anomalies. The most recent State Department report on this matter, in 2012, states that there is “no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.”  There are, however, some retirees of Spain’s Basque terrorist group ETA (which appears on the verge of disbanding) in Cuba, but the report notes that the Cuban government evidently is trying to distance itself from them by denying them services such as travel documents. Some members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been allowed into Cuba, but that was because Cuba was hosting peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government, which the report notes.

The US sanctions mechanism is so effective and formidable that it strikes fear (of huge fines) into the hearts of banks and other private-sector organizations that might otherwise consider dealing with a listed state.

Some selected thoughts on American elections and democracy

In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

  • 2012 presidential election:
    223,389,800 eligible to vote
    128,449,140 actually voted
    Obama got 65,443,674 votes
    Obama was thus supported by 29.3% of eligible voters
  • There are 100 million adults in the United States who do not vote. This is a very large base from which an independent party can draw millions of new votes.
  • If God had wanted more of us to vote in elections, he would give us better candidates.
  • “The people can have anything they want. The trouble is, they do not want anything. At least they vote that way on election day.” – Eugene Debs, American socialist leader (1855-1926)
  • “If persons over 60 are the only American age group voting at rates that begin to approximate European voting, it’s because they’re the only Americans who live in a welfare state – Medicare, Social Security, and earlier, GI loans, FHA loans.” – John Powers
  • “The American political system is essentially a contract between the Republican and Democratic parties, enforced by federal and state two-party laws, all designed to guarantee the survival of both no matter how many people despise or ignore them.” – Richard Reeves (1936- )
  • The American electoral system, once the object of much national and international pride, has slid inexorably from “one person, one vote”, to “one dollar, one vote”.
  • Noam Chomsky: “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars. Their professional concern in their regular vocation is not to provide information. Their goal, rather, is deceit.”
  • If the Electoral College is such a good system, why don’t we have it for local and state elections?
  • “All the props of a democracy remain intact – elections, legislatures, media – but they predominantly function at the service of the oligarchy.” – Richard Wolff
  • The RepDem Party holds elections as if they were auctions; indeed, an outright auction for the presidency would be more efficient. To make the auction more interesting we need a second party, which must at a minimum be granted two privileges: getting on the ballot in all 50 states and taking part in television debates.
  • The US does in fact have two parties: the Ins and the Outs … the evil of two lessers.
  • Alexander Cockburn: “There was a time once when ‘lesser of two evils’ actually meant something momentous, like the choice between starving to death on a lifeboat, or eating the first mate.”
  • Cornel West has suggested that it’s become difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic society, without great concentrations of corporate power, would look like, or how it would operate.
  • The United States now resembles a police state punctuated by elections.
  • How many voters does it take to change a light bulb? None. Because voters can’t change anything.
  • H.L. Mencken (1880-1956): “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
  • “All elections are distractions. Nothing conceals tyranny better than elections.” – Joel Hirschhorn
  • In 1941, one of the country’s more acerbic editors, a priest named Edward Dowling, commented: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”
  • “Elections are a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, condition for democracy. Political participation is not just a casting of votes. It is a way of life.” – UN Human Development Report, 1993
  • “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” I reply, “You have it backwards. If you DO vote, you can’t complain. You asked for it, and they’re going to give it to you, good and hard.”
  • “How to get people to vote against their interests and to really think against their interests is very clever. It’s the cleverest ruling class that I have ever come across in history. It’s been 200 years at it. It’s superb.” – Gore Vidal
  • We can’t use our democracy/our vote to change the way the economy functions. This is very anti-democratic.
  • What does a majority vote mean other than that the sales campaign was successful?
  • Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”
  • We do have representative government. The question is: Who does our government represent?
  • “On the day after the 2002 election I watched a crawl on the bottom of the CNN news screen. It said, ‘Proprietary software may make inspection of electronic voting systems impossible.’ It was the final and absolute coronation of corporate rights over democracy; of money over truth.” – Mike Ruppert, RIP
  • “It’s not that voting is useless or stupid; rather, it’s the exaggeration of the power of voting that has drained the meaning from American politics.” – Michael Ventura
  • After going through the recent national, state and local elections, I am now convinced that taxation without representation would have been a much better system.
  • “Ever since the Constitution was illegally foisted on the American people we have lived in a blatant plutocracy. The Constitution was drafted in secret by a self-appointed elite committee, and it was designed to bring three kinds of power under control: Royalty, the Church, and the People. All were to be subjugated to the interests of a wealthy elite. That’s what republics were all about. And that’s how they have functioned ever since.” – Richard K. Moore
  • “As demonstrated in Russia and numerous other countries, when faced with a choice between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, Western elites unhesitatingly embrace the latter.” – Michael Parenti
  • “The fact that a supposedly sophisticated electorate had been stampeded by the cynical propaganda of the day threw serious doubt on the validity of the assumptions underlying parliamentary democracy as a whole.” – British Superspy for the Soviets Kim Philby (1912-1988), explaining his reasons for becoming a Communist instead of turning to the Labour Party
  • US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941): “We may have democracy in this country, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”
  • “We don’t need to run America like a business or like the military. We need to run America like a democracy.” – Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate 2012

Notes

  1. Democracy Now!, October 30, 2013
  2. Huffingfton Post, May 3, 2012
  3. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba(1991), p.885 (online here)
  4. For the complete detailed list, see U.S. Department of State, Nonproliferation Sanctions
  5. U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism,” May 20, 2013

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

While 49 state treasuries were submerged in red ink after the 2008 financial crash, one state’s bank outperformed all others and actually launched an economy-shifting new industry.  So reports the Wall Street Journal this week, discussing the Bank of North Dakota (BND) and its striking success in the midst of a national financial collapse led by the major banks. Chester Dawson begins his November 16th article:

It is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003. Meet Bank of North Dakota, the U.S.’s lone state-owned bank, which has one branch, no automated teller machines and not a single investment banker.

He backs this up with comparative data on the BND’s performance:

[I]ts total assets have more than doubled, to $6.9 billion last year from $2.8 billion in 2007. By contrast, assets of the much bigger Bank of America Corp. have grown much more slowly, to $2.1 trillion from $1.7 trillion in that period.

. . . Return on equity, a measure of profitability, is 18.56%, about 70% higher than those at Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. . . .

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services last month reaffirmed its double-A-minus rating of the bank, whose deposits are guaranteed by the state of North Dakota. That is above the rating for both Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan and among U.S. financial institutions, second only to the Federal Home Loan Banks, rated double-A-plus.

Dawson goes on, however, to credit the BND’s remarkable performance to the Bakken oil boom. Giving his article the controversial title, “Shale Boom Helps North Dakota Bank Earn Returns Goldman Would Envy: U.S.’s Lone State-Owned Bank Is Beneficiary of Fracking,” he contends:

The reason for its success? As the sole repository of the state of North Dakota’s revenue, the bank has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the boom in Bakken shale-oil production from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In fact, the bank played a crucial part in kick-starting the oil frenzy in the state in 2008 amid the financial crisis.

That is how the Wall Street-owned media routinely write off the exceptional record of this lone publicly-owned bank, crediting it to the success of the private oil industry. It would be more accurate to say that the bank made the boom.

Excess Deposits Do Not Explain the BND’s Record Profits

Dawson confirms that the BND played a crucial role in kickstarting the boom and the economy, at a time when other states were languishing in recession. It did this by lending for critical infrastructure (roads, housing, hospitals, hotels) when other states’ banks were curtailing local lending.

But while the state itself may have reaped increased taxes and fees from the oil boom, the BND got no more out of the deal than an increase in deposits, as Dawson also confirms. The BND is the sole repository of state revenues by law.

Having excess deposits can hardly be the reason the BND has outdistanced even JPMorganChase and Bank of America, which also have massive excess deposits and have not turned them into loans. Instead, they have invested their excess reserves in securities.

Interestingly, the BND has also followed this practice. According to Standard & Poor’s October 2014 credit report, it had a loan to deposit ratio in 2009 of 91%. This ratio dropped to 57.5% in 2014. The excess deposits have gone primarily into Treasuries, US government agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities. Thus the bank’s extraordinary profitability cannot be explained by an excess of deposits or an expanded loan portfolio.

Further eroding the official explanation is that the oil boom did not actually hit North Dakota until 2010. Yet it was the sole state to have escaped the credit crisis by the spring of 2009, when every other state’s budget had already dipped into negative territory. Montana, the runner-up, was in the black by the end of 2009; but it dropped into the red in March of that year and had to implement a pay freeze on state employees.

According to Standard & Poor’s, the BND’s return on equity was up to 23.4% in 2009 – substantially higher than in any of the years of the oil boom that began in 2010.

The Real Reasons for Its Stellar Success

To what, then, are the remarkable achievements of this lone public bank attributable?

The answer is something the privately-owned major media have tried to sweep under the rug: the public banking model is simply more profitable and efficient than the private model. Profits, rather than being siphoned into offshore tax havens, are recycled back into the bank, the state and the community.

The BND’s costs are extremely low: no exorbitantly-paid executives; no bonuses, fees, or commissions; only one branch office; very low borrowing costs; and no FDIC premiums (the state rather than the FDIC guarantees its deposits).

These are all features that set publicly-owned banks apart from privately-owned banks. Beyond that, they are safer for depositors, allow public infrastructure costs to be cut in half, and provide a non-criminal alternative to a Wall Street cartel caught in a laundry list of frauds.

Dawson describes some other unique aspects of the BND’s public banking model:

It traditionally extends credit, or invests directly, in areas other lenders shun, such as rural housing loans.

. . . [R]etail banking accounts for just 2%-3% of its business. The bank’s focus is providing loans to students and extending credit to companies in North Dakota, often in partnership with smaller community banks.

Bank of North Dakota also acts as a clearinghouse for interbank transactions in the state by settling checks and distributing coins and currency. . .

The bank’s mission is promoting economic development, not competing with private banks. “We’re a state agency and profit maximization isn’t what drives us,” President Eric Hardmeyer said.

. . . It recently started offering mortgages to individuals in the most underserved corners of the state. But Mr. Hardmeyer dismisses any notion the bank could run into trouble with deadbeat borrowers. “We know our customers,” he said. “You’ve got to understand the conservative nature of this state. Nobody here is really interested in making subprime loans.”

The Downsides of a Boom

The bank’s mission to promote economic development could help explain why its return on equity has actually fallen since the oil boom hit in 2010. The mass invasion by private oil interests has put a severe strain on the state’s infrastructure, forcing it to muster its resources defensively to keep up; and the BND is in the thick of that battle.

In an August 2011 article titled “North Dakota’s Oil Boom is a Blessing and a Curse”, Ryan Holeywell writes that virtually all major infrastructure in the boom cities and counties is strained or exhausted. To shore up its infrastructure needs, the state has committed hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Meanwhile, it is trying to promote industries other than oil and gas, such as companies involved with unmanned aircraft, manufacturing associated with wind energy equipment, and data centers; but the remoteness of the western part of the state, along with the high cost of labor, makes doing business there complicated and expensive.

Hydrofracking, which has been widely attacked as an environmental hazard, is not as bad in North Dakota as in other states, since the process takes place nearly two miles underground; but it still raises significant environmental concerns. In 2011, the state levied $3 million in fines against 20 oil companies for environmental violations. It also undertook a review of industry regulations and was in the process of doubling its oil field inspectors.

The greatest stresses from the oil industry, however, involve the shortage of housing and the damage to the county road system, which in many places consists of two-lane gravel and dirt roads. Drilling a new well requires more than 2,000 truck trips, and the heavy rigs are destroying the roads. Fixing them has been estimated to require an investment of more than $900 million over the next 20 years.

These are external costs imposed by the oil industry that the government has to pick up. All of it requires financing, and the BND is there to provide the credit lines.

Lighting a Fire under Legislators

What the Bank of North Dakota has done to sustain its state’s oil boom, a publicly-owned bank could do for other promising industries in other states. But Dawson observes that no other state has yet voted to take up the challenge, despite a plethora of bills introduced for the purpose. Legislators are slow to move on innovations, unless a fire is lit under them by a crisis or a mass popular movement.

We would be better off sparking a movement than waiting for a crisis. The compelling data in Dawson’s Wall Street Journal article, properly construed, could add fuel to the flames.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 200+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

As part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), there are plans to enshrine massive powers for corporations that will allow them to challenge regulations both at home and abroad if they affect profits. EU member states could find domestic laws quite useless as they become challenged in secretive, offshore tribunals where national laws have no weight and politicians no powers to intervene [1].

It would enable US companies investing in Europe to bypass European courts and challenge EU governments at international tribunals whenever they find that public health, environmental or social protection laws interfere with their business. EU companies investing abroad would have the same privilege in the US.

This proposed agreement is essentially a charter for the systematic destruction and dismantling of legislation that exists to protect the hard won rights of workers and ordinary people.

The mere threat of a claim or its submission could be enough for legislation to be shelved or diluted. Across the world, tribunals consisting of ad hoc three-member panels hired from a small club of private lawyers riddled with conflicts of interest have already granted billions of Euros to companies, courtesy of taxpayers [2].

Economic plunder by any other name

Through bilateral investment treaties, US tobacco giant Philip Morris sued Uraguay and Australia over their anti-smoking laws. The company argued that warning labels on cigarette packs and plain packaging prevent it from effectively displaying its trademark, causing a substantial loss of market share.

Swedish energy giant Vattenfall launched an investor-state lawsuit against Germany and sought €3.7 billion in compensation for lost profits related to two of its nuclear power plants. The case followed the German government’s decision to phase out nuclear energy after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

When Argentina froze utility rates (energy, water, etc.) and devalued its currency in response to its 2001-2002 financial crisis, it was hit by over 40 lawsuits from companies like CMS Energy (US) and Suez and Vivendi (France). By the end of 2008, awards against the country had totalled US$1.15 billion.

On the basis of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada and Mexico, US company Lone Pine Resources Inc. demanded US$250 million in compensation from Canada. The ‘crime’: The Canadian province of Quebec had put a moratorium on ‘fracking’, addressing concerns about the environmental risks of this new technology to extract oil and gas from rocks.

At the end of 2012, Dutch insurer Achmea (formerly Eureko) was awarded €22 million in compensation from Slovakia. In 2006, the Slovak government had reversed the health privatisation policies of the previous administration and required health insurers to operate on a not-for-profit basis.

Chevron initiated arbitration to avoid paying US$18 billion to clean up oil-drilling-related contamination in the Amazon, as ordered by Ecuadorian courts. The case has been lambasted as egregious misuse of investment arbitration to evade justice.

EU and US companies have used these lawsuits to destroy any competition or threats to their profits by challenging green energy and medicine policies, anti-smoking legislation, bans on harmful chemicals, environmental restrictions on mining, health insurance policies, measures to improve the economic situation of minorities and many more.

New Report on CETA

In late September, Canada and the EU announced the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which includes an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. Again, this gives foreign corporations the ability to directly sue countries at private international tribunals for compensation over health, environmental, financial and other domestic safeguards that they believe undermine their right to make profit.

These investor-state lawsuits are decided by private commercial arbitrators who are paid for each case they hear, with a clear tendency to interpret the law in favour of investors.

A new report ‘Trading Away Democracy’ has just been published by various NGOs, trade union organisaions and campaign groups based in Canada and Europe [3]. The authors state that Canada’s experience with NAFTA has opened the gateway to that country being sued 35 times. Canada has lost or settled six claims and has paid damages to foreign investors totalling over C$171.5 million.

The report notes that ongoing investor claims have challenged a wide range of government measures that allegedly diminish the value of foreign investments, from a moratorium on fracking and a related revocation of drilling permits to a decision by Canadian courts to invalidate pharmaceutical patents, which were not sufficiently innovative or useful. Foreign investors are currently seeking several billions of dollars in damages from the Canadian government.

The authors argue that CETA’s investor protections would grant even greater rights to foreign investors than NAFTA. A clause in the agreement risks creating the ‘right’ to a stable regulatory environment, which would effectively give investors a powerful weapon to fight regulatory changes, even if implemented in light of new knowledge or on the basis public demand. CETA would also give foreign investors more rights to challenge financial regulations than NAFTA by threatening to hamstring regulators charged with protecting consumers and the stability of the financial system in an emergency.

The report says that risks to Canada of being sued by banks, insurers and holding companies will increase significantly with CETA. These risks are evident as speculative investors, backed by investment lawyers, are increasingly using investment arbitration to scavenge for profits by suing governments experiencing financial crises. EU investment stocks in Canada are significant in the financial sector, which would gain far reaching litigation rights under CETA.

Corporations and lawyers are already scavenging profits from Europe’s cash-strapped economies, not least Spain, Greece and Cyprus [2]. Speculative investors have been backed by international law firms that are actively encouraging these investor-state lawsuits. Corporate investors have claimed in arbitration disputes more than 700 million euros from Spain, more than one billion euros from Cyprus and undisclosed amounts from Greece. This bill, plus the exorbitant lawyers’ fees for processing the cases, will be paid for out of the public purse at a time when austerity measures have led to severe cuts in social spending and increasing deprivation.

If Canada is vulnerable to European speculative investors in the financial sector, CETA would increase the risk to the EU and its member states of challenges by Canadian investors in the mining and oil and gas extraction sectors. The new report notes that Canadian investment stocks in the EU are significant in these sectors, and Canadian mining companies are already engaged in a number of controversial natural resource projects across the EU. Little surprise then that mining specialists are celebrating CETA as a ‘landmark agreement’.

CETA could also open the floodgates for Canadian subsidiaries of US-headquartered multinationals to sue European governments, regardless of the outcome of the TTIP. US corporations dominate the Canadian economy.

The report argues that EU, Canadian and US companies are already among the most frequent users of investment arbitration, so there is every reason to expect that they will use CETA to rein in government measures in Canada and Europe. Some 53 percent (or 299) of all known investor-state disputes globally were brought by investors from the EU. US investors have filed 22 percent (or 127) of all known investor-state cases. Canadian investors are the fifth most frequent users of investment arbitration.

The European Commission and the Canadian government have begun a misleading propaganda effort aimed at downplaying the risks of investment arbitration, the report’s authors conclude. They add that CETA will significantly expand the scope of investment arbitration, exposing the EU, its member states and Canada to unpredictable and unprecedented liability risks.

Take action

Through bilateral ‘free trade’ agreements, powerful corporations seek to devastate public services, workers and consumers’ rights, welfare and economies in the quest for ever-greater profit and control. Before long, countries across the globe could see the opening of the floodgates for GMOs and shale gas, the threatening of digital and labour rights and the empowering of corporations to legally challenge a wide range of necessary and decent regulations which they dislike and label as ‘barriers to trade’. That such deals are being pushed through is a damning indictment of the cosy nature of relationships between corporate officials/lobbyists and compliant bureaucrats/government officials [4].

Despite sections of the mainstream corporate media and politicians like British PM David Cameron glibly presenting the deals like the TTIP as well thought out recipes for free trade, job creation and economic growth, such claims do not stack up. Jobs will be lost and the mantra of ‘growth’ is bogus [5]. These deals are mandates for corporate plunder drawn up by those who are to carry out the plunder. They represent a pro-privatisation agenda that enshrines the privileges of the world’s most powerful corporations at the expense of ordinary people.

Ordinary people want powerful corporations to be held to account. They want business practices to be adequately regulated. However, the EU is a captive but willing servant of a corporate agenda [6].

In the UK, if you want to see the NHS totally privatised [7], do nothing.

In Europe as a whole, if you want your food poisoned even further with like likes of chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef, GMOs and lower thresholds for pesticides, do nothing.

If you want Monsanto or Syngenta determining policies in secretive meetings in Brussels, do nothing . If you want Unilever, Kraft or Nestle determining what is allowed in your food, do nothing [8].

If you want governments to be made even more spineless and compelled to further bend to the threats, demands and power of corporations and unscrupulous speculators, do nothing.

The TTIP and other similar ‘free trade’ agreements are part of a broader geopolitical game plan. They are concerned with cementing US global dominance. More specifically, the TTIP is part of the broader US agenda aimed at subjugating Europe and driving a wedge between it and Russia.

History shows that ordinary people had to struggle for change and improvements to their lives. Any benefits gained were never been handed out freely by the rich and powerful. The historian AL Morton showed that when conscious of their collective interests and source(s) of oppression, ordinary folk acting together can and do make a difference [9].

Be informed and take action:

http://corporateeurope.org/

http://www.foeeurope.org/

http://www.s2bnetwork.org/

https://www.lobbycontrol.de/schwerpunkt/ttip/

http://www.alter-eu.org/

http://www.tradejustice.ca/take-action/

https://stop-ttip.org/

Notes

Shifting Blame: The Grand FIFA Cover-Up

November 20th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

 “It [the Garcia report] must be made public.  That is the only way FIFA can deal with the complete loss of credibility.” - Reinhard Rauball, President of the German Football League, Nov 16, 2014

It seemed cheeky of them, but it could not have been any other way.  Football’s governing body, FIFA, is a creature that is beyond reform.  Solidly entrenched, heavily overgrown, and incapable of brooking an approach that might refresh its functions for the broader goals of football, it resists change with fundamentalist commitment.  Every effort that has been made thus far has fallen.

The suspected improprieties associated with the award of the hosting rights for the 2018 games to Russia, and the 2022 games to Qatar were dismissed by FIFA.  There was simply no need to revisit the bidding process, given that any irregularities were “minor” to warrant a dramatic reopening.  FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert had given the organization, and the countries accused of corruption, a stunningly good bill of health.  Instead, Eckert advised President Sepp Blatter to go on the offensive, citing “his duty” to lodge a complaint in the Swiss courts.  (Blatter’s record on suing, as opposed to his threats to sue, are poor.)

Eckert did find irregularities, not with the Qatar and Russian bids, but with the English bid for 2018 and the Australian bid for 2022. While England did cooperate with Michael Garcia’s ethics investigation, the team was ticked off for trying to woo Concacaf president Jack Warner with a sumptuous £35,000 dinner, and offering help with finding part time work for someone on his behalf (The Guardian, Nov 14).

In an act of fabulous casuistry, the judge did not see any connections with the bid and Qatar’s funding for global football development, sponsorship of the African Football Congress in Angola in 2010, and questionable payments to Argentina when playing Brazil in a friendly in Doha in 2010.  Former Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam did make “several improper payments” to the higher-ups of African football, and forked out $1.2m to stop former FIFA executive member Jack Warner from taking the stand against him.  But again, no evident connection existed between the payments and the actual bidding process.

In what must be the black comedy that inheres in that particularly body, Blatter claims ignorance of the contents of the original Garcia report, authored by FIFA’s much sidelined ethics committee. Garcia himself has been outmanoeuvred, suggesting that his findings have been misrepresented.  Eckert’s 42-page summing up of the unreleased 430-page report was evidently less summing than distorting measures of substraction.  A cleaning job became a covering one.

It also seems that an aggressive posture is being taken against whistleblowers, evidenced by the dismissive remarks in Eckert’s summary over such individuals as Bonita Mersiades, head of communications for Australia’s 2022 bid.  The summary by Eckert, according to Mersiades, says that FIFA “got their decisions right in respect to Qatar and Russia, and there’s even a sentence and a reference in there that Sepp Blatter ran a wonderful process.  It’s almost like high comedy” (The Guardian, Nov 16).

The low comedy side of it came with the fears expressed by the other whistleblower, Phaedra Al-Majid, who claims she will “look over my shoulder for the rest of my life” in connection with allegations of corruption over Qatar’s bid.  Under pressure from Qatari officials, she retracted allegations in 2011 that votes were being bought.  She raised the issue again with Garcia, and also with the FBI, who visited her in September 2011.[1]

Blatter is also doing his best to use the law as a pretext for preventing any action on the issue of the bids.  He intends to bury the Garcia findings in the archive of recommendations that will never see the light of day.  “If FIFA were to publish the report, we would be violating our own association law as well as state law.”[2]  Consent would need to be sought from all individuals detailed in the findings.  Being decent about the law is a good thing when improprieties are being concealed.

What then, in response?  If FIFA can’t be reformed, it can be weakened by members who wish to leave. The President of the German Football League, Dr. Reinhard Rauball, is certainly of that view, claiming that UEFA’s 54 member nations may well take the step of leaving the governing body if the Garcia report is not published in full.  The rift that had taken place between Garcia and Eckert “was a breakdown of communication, and it has shaken the foundations of FIFA in a way I’ve never experienced before.”[3]

Rauball’s suggestions: publish the ethics committee findings, and Garcia’s bill of indictment “so it becomes clear what the charges were and how they were judged.” Otherwise, “you have to entertain the question of whether you are still in good hands with FIFA.”

Former English Football Association chairman David Bernstein has also put his hat into the ring of opponents, arguing that the FA needs to lobby UEFA for a European boycott of the next World Cup. “FIFA is sort of a totalitarian set-up.”[4]  No reform would mean no participation.

For all this heated talk, FIFA remains the official governing body, functioning as silencing oppressor and knotty guardian.  Dissent, much like an institutionalised church, is dealt with from within, rather than without.  Even Garcia is playing by the rules of internal resolution, taking Eckert’s purportedly distorted summary before the appeals committee.  Playing it by the book is fine, as long as the book is not itself rotten.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected] 

Notes

 

“Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.” (NYT)

None of the photos accompanying this New York Times story online showed any of these Russian troops or armored vehicles.

“The Obama administration,” the story continued, “has asserted over the past week that the Russians had moved artillery, air-defense systems and armor to help the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. ‘These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway’, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. At the department’s daily briefing in Washington, Ms. Psaki also criticized what she called the Russian government’s ‘unwillingness to tell the truth’ that its military had sent soldiers as deep as 30 miles inside Ukraine territory.”

Thirty miles inside Ukraine territory and not a single satellite photo, not a camera anywhere around, not even a one-minute video to show for it. “Ms. Psaki apparently [sic] was referring to videos of captured Russian soldiers, distributed by the Ukrainian government.” The Times apparently forgot to inform its readers where they could see these videos.

“The Russian aim, one Western official said, may possibly be to seize an outlet to the sea in the event that Russia tries to establish a separatist enclave in eastern Ukraine.”

This of course hasn’t taken place. So what happened to all these Russian soldiers 30 miles inside Ukraine? What happened to all the armored vehicles, weapons, and equipment?

“The United States has photographs that show the Russian artillery moved into Ukraine, American officials say. One photo dated last Thursday, shown to a New York Times reporter, shows Russian military units moving self-propelled artillery into Ukraine. Another photo, dated Saturday, shows the artillery in firing positions in Ukraine.”

Where are these photographs? And how will we know that these are Russian soldiers? And how will we know that the photos were taken in Ukraine? But most importantly, where are the fucking photographs?

Why am I so cynical? Because the Ukrainian and US governments have been feeding us these scare stories for eight months now, without clear visual or other evidence, often without even common sense. Here are a few of the many other examples, before and after the one above:

  • The Wall Street Journal (March 28) reported: “Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another [sic] major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, US officials said.”
  • “The Ukrainian government charged that the Russian military was not only approaching but had actually crossed the border into rebel-held regions.” (Washington Post, November 7)
  • “U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove told reporters in Bulgaria that NATO had observed Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops enter Ukraine across a completely wide-open border with Russia in the previous two days.” (Washington Post, November 13)
  • “Ukraine accuses Russia of sending more soldiers and weapons to help rebels prepare for a new offensive. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied aiding the separatists.” (Reuters, November 16)

Since the February US-backed coup in Ukraine, the State Department has made one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s very unclear and wholly inconclusive, such as unmarked vehicles, or unsourced reports, or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. The Ukrainian government has matched them.

On top of all this we should keep in mind that if Moscow decided to invade Ukraine they’d certainly provide air cover for their ground forces. There has been no mention of air cover.

This is all reminiscent of the numerous stories in the past three years of “Syrian planes bombing defenseless citizens”. Have you ever seen a photo or video of a Syrian government plane dropping bombs? Or of the bombs exploding? When the source of the story is mentioned, it’s almost invariably the rebels who are fighting against the Syrian government. Then there’s the “chemical weapon” attacks by the same evil Assad government. When a photo or video has accompanied the story I’ve never once seen grieving loved ones or media present; not one person can be seen wearing a gas mask. Is it only children killed or suffering? No rebels?

And then there’s the July 17 shootdown of Malaysia Flight MH17, over eastern Ukraine, taking 298 lives, which Washington would love to pin on Russia or the pro-Russian rebels. The US government – and therefore the US media, the EU, and NATO – want us all to believe it was the rebels and/or Russia behind it. The world is still waiting for any evidence. Or even a motivation. Anything at all. President Obama is not waiting. In a talk on November 15 in Australia, he spoke of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17”. Based on my reading, I’d guess that it was the Ukranian government behind the shootdown, mistaking it for Putin’s plane that reportedly was in the area.

Can it be said with certainty that all the above accusations were lies? No, but the burden of proof is on the accusers, and the world is still waiting. The accusers would like to create the impression that there are two sides to each question without actually having to supply one of them.

The United States punishing Cuba

For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We haven’t heard that for a very long time. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):

Year Votes (Yes-No) No Votes
1992 59-2 US, Israel
1993 88-4 US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay
1994 101-2 US, Israel
1995 117-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1996 138-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1997 143-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1998 157-2 US, Israel
1999 155-2 US, Israel
2000 167-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2001 167-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2002 173-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2003 179-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2004 179-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2005 182-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2006 183-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2007 184-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2008 185-3 US, Israel, Palau
2009 187-3 US, Israel, Palau
2010 187-2 US, Israel
2011 186-2 US, Israel
2012 188-3 US, Israel, Palau
2013 188-2 US, Israel
2014 188-2 US, Israel

-

This year Washington’s policy may be subject to even more criticism than usual due to the widespread recognition of Cuba’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.

Speaking before the General Assembly before last year’s vote, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared: “The economic damages accumulated after half a century as a result of the implementation of the blockade amount to $1.126 trillion.” He added that the blockade “has been further tightened under President Obama’s administration”, some 30 US and foreign entities being hit with $2.446 billion in fines due to their interaction with Cuba.

However, the American envoy, Ronald Godard, in an appeal to other countries to oppose the resolution, said:

The international community … cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly, impedes independent journalism and, despite positive reforms, continues to prevent some Cubans from leaving or returning to the island. The Cuban government continues its tactics of politically motivated detentions, harassment and police violence against Cuban citizens.

So there you have it. That is why Cuba must be punished. One can only guess what Mr. Godard would respond if told that more than 7,000 people were arrested in the United States during the Occupy Movement’s first 8 months of protest in 2011-12  ; that many of them were physically abused by the police; and that their encampments were violently destroyed.

Does Mr. Godard have access to any news media? Hardly a day passes in America without a police officer shooting to death an unarmed person.

As to “independent journalism” – What would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control most of the media worth owning or controlling?

The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba has not changed since the revolution in 1959 – The fear of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as many Third World countries have expressed their adulation of Cuba.

How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”

Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted its suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.

The United States judging and punishing the rest of the world

In addition to Cuba, Washington currently is imposing economic and other sanctions against Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, China, North Korea, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, South Sudan, Sudan, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, India, and Zimbabwe. These are sanctions mainly against governments, but also against some private enterprises; there are also many other sanctions against individuals not included here.

Imbued with a sense of America’s moral superiority and “exceptionalism”, each year the State Department judges the world, issuing reports evaluating the behavior of all other nations, often accompanied by sanctions of one kind or another. There are different reports rating how each lesser nation has performed in the previous year in areas such as religious freedom, human rights, the war on drugs, trafficking in persons, and sponsors of terrorism. The criteria used in these reports are often political. Cuba, for example, is always listed as a sponsor of terrorism whereas anti-Castro exile groups in Florida, which have committed literally hundreds of terrorist acts over the years, are not listed as terrorist groups or supporters of such.

Cuba, which has been on the sponsor-of-terrorism list longer (since 1982) than any other country, is one of the most glaring anomalies. The most recent State Department report on this matter, in 2012, states that there is “no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.”  There are, however, some retirees of Spain’s Basque terrorist group ETA (which appears on the verge of disbanding) in Cuba, but the report notes that the Cuban government evidently is trying to distance itself from them by denying them services such as travel documents. Some members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been allowed into Cuba, but that was because Cuba was hosting peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government, which the report notes.

The US sanctions mechanism is so effective and formidable that it strikes fear (of huge fines) into the hearts of banks and other private-sector organizations that might otherwise consider dealing with a listed state.

Some selected thoughts on American elections and democracy

In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

  • 2012 presidential election:
    223,389,800 eligible to vote
    128,449,140 actually voted
    Obama got 65,443,674 votes
    Obama was thus supported by 29.3% of eligible voters
  • There are 100 million adults in the United States who do not vote. This is a very large base from which an independent party can draw millions of new votes.
  • If God had wanted more of us to vote in elections, he would give us better candidates.
  • “The people can have anything they want. The trouble is, they do not want anything. At least they vote that way on election day.” – Eugene Debs, American socialist leader (1855-1926)
  • “If persons over 60 are the only American age group voting at rates that begin to approximate European voting, it’s because they’re the only Americans who live in a welfare state – Medicare, Social Security, and earlier, GI loans, FHA loans.” – John Powers
  • “The American political system is essentially a contract between the Republican and Democratic parties, enforced by federal and state two-party laws, all designed to guarantee the survival of both no matter how many people despise or ignore them.” – Richard Reeves (1936- )
  • The American electoral system, once the object of much national and international pride, has slid inexorably from “one person, one vote”, to “one dollar, one vote”.
  • Noam Chomsky: “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars. Their professional concern in their regular vocation is not to provide information. Their goal, rather, is deceit.”
  • If the Electoral College is such a good system, why don’t we have it for local and state elections?
  • “All the props of a democracy remain intact – elections, legislatures, media – but they predominantly function at the service of the oligarchy.” – Richard Wolff
  • The RepDem Party holds elections as if they were auctions; indeed, an outright auction for the presidency would be more efficient. To make the auction more interesting we need a second party, which must at a minimum be granted two privileges: getting on the ballot in all 50 states and taking part in television debates.
  • The US does in fact have two parties: the Ins and the Outs … the evil of two lessers.
  • Alexander Cockburn: “There was a time once when ‘lesser of two evils’ actually meant something momentous, like the choice between starving to death on a lifeboat, or eating the first mate.”
  • Cornel West has suggested that it’s become difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic society, without great concentrations of corporate power, would look like, or how it would operate.
  • The United States now resembles a police state punctuated by elections.
  • How many voters does it take to change a light bulb? None. Because voters can’t change anything.
  • H.L. Mencken (1880-1956): “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
  • “All elections are distractions. Nothing conceals tyranny better than elections.” – Joel Hirschhorn
  • In 1941, one of the country’s more acerbic editors, a priest named Edward Dowling, commented: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”
  • “Elections are a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, condition for democracy. Political participation is not just a casting of votes. It is a way of life.” – UN Human Development Report, 1993
  • “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” I reply, “You have it backwards. If you DO vote, you can’t complain. You asked for it, and they’re going to give it to you, good and hard.”
  • “How to get people to vote against their interests and to really think against their interests is very clever. It’s the cleverest ruling class that I have ever come across in history. It’s been 200 years at it. It’s superb.” – Gore Vidal
  • We can’t use our democracy/our vote to change the way the economy functions. This is very anti-democratic.
  • What does a majority vote mean other than that the sales campaign was successful?
  • Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”
  • We do have representative government. The question is: Who does our government represent?
  • “On the day after the 2002 election I watched a crawl on the bottom of the CNN news screen. It said, ‘Proprietary software may make inspection of electronic voting systems impossible.’ It was the final and absolute coronation of corporate rights over democracy; of money over truth.” – Mike Ruppert, RIP
  • “It’s not that voting is useless or stupid; rather, it’s the exaggeration of the power of voting that has drained the meaning from American politics.” – Michael Ventura
  • After going through the recent national, state and local elections, I am now convinced that taxation without representation would have been a much better system.
  • “Ever since the Constitution was illegally foisted on the American people we have lived in a blatant plutocracy. The Constitution was drafted in secret by a self-appointed elite committee, and it was designed to bring three kinds of power under control: Royalty, the Church, and the People. All were to be subjugated to the interests of a wealthy elite. That’s what republics were all about. And that’s how they have functioned ever since.” – Richard K. Moore
  • “As demonstrated in Russia and numerous other countries, when faced with a choice between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, Western elites unhesitatingly embrace the latter.” – Michael Parenti
  • “The fact that a supposedly sophisticated electorate had been stampeded by the cynical propaganda of the day threw serious doubt on the validity of the assumptions underlying parliamentary democracy as a whole.” – British Superspy for the Soviets Kim Philby (1912-1988), explaining his reasons for becoming a Communist instead of turning to the Labour Party
  • US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941): “We may have democracy in this country, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”
  • “We don’t need to run America like a business or like the military. We need to run America like a democracy.” – Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate 2012

Notes

  1. Democracy Now!, October 30, 2013
  2. Huffingfton Post, May 3, 2012
  3. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba(1991), p.885 (online here)
  4. For the complete detailed list, see U.S. Department of State, Nonproliferation Sanctions
  5. U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism,” May 20, 2013

The American revolution was supposed to have happened because of the revulsion our ‘founding fathers’ had with the institution of ‘divine right of kings’ or monarchy.  Supposedly the new American nation went to war with England because a revolutionary ‘democracy’ was the preferred way of organizing our new nation.  (Of course the truth was that the American ‘founding fathers’ had their own dreams of empire which is just what has sadly turned out for this country.  But the mythology of America is all about our rejection of monarchy.)

Fast forward to today and we see the headlines on November 20 in the Portland Press Herald newspaper: Bath Iron Works may get Saudi ship contract worth billions.

The article reads in part:

Saudi Arabian officials say they are preparing to move forward with an upgrade to the country’s navy that could include a multibillion-dollar contract for Bath Iron Works, the Reuters news service reportedWednesday.

BIW’s DDG-51 destroyer is one of at least two ship designs being considered for the long-discussed Saudi Naval Expansion Program II, or SNEP, which has an estimated value of roughly $20 billion, Reuters said.

Patrick Dewar, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin, told the news service that Saudi officials were planning to release new information over the next several months about how the country plans to proceed with SNEP.

Dewar told Reuters that the Saudis are considering whether to buy up to a dozen of Lockheed’s steel monohull Littoral Combat Ship or the larger DDG-51 destroyer built by BIW, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp.

“We are aware of the ongoing discussions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia concerning modernization of the Saudi fleet,” said BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini.

“We are in the business of building naval surface combatants and should the two governments reach an agreement on a program, we would be highly interested in pursuing that opportunity.”

Looking at a map we see the close proximity of Iran to Saudi Arabia.  We know that the Saudi monarchy wants to take down Iran (as does Israel and the US).  We know that the DDG-51 destroyer built by BIW is outfitted with so-called ‘missile defense’ systems that are key elements in US first-strike attack planning.  We know that these warships are heavily reliant on US military satellites to direct the on-board weapons systems to their targets.  Saudi Arabia does not have the military satellites nor the ground-based command and control systems to guide these weapons systems to their targets.  Thus any Saudi high-tech ships and weapons would be run through the Pentagon’s warfighting satellite system.  In other words the Saudi monarchy would be paying for the ships that would essentially augment existing US military forces now surrounding Iran in places like Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations in the region.

Most interesting of all is that US shipyard workers would be building warships for a brutal and unforgiving monarchy that is known for making ISIS look like amateurs. Saudi Arabia is one of the last places on earth where capital punishment is a public spectacle – carried out in what is called Chop Chop Square in Riyadh.

Capital and physical punishments imposed by Saudi courts, such as beheading, stoning (to death), amputation and lashing, as well as the sheer number of executions have been strongly criticized. The death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery and can be carried out by beheading with a sword, stoning or firing squad, followed by crucifixion. The 345 reported executions between 2007 and 2010 were all carried out by public beheading. The last reported execution for sorcery took place in September 2014.

Interfaith Unity Against Terrorism reports:

Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Wahabbism – the extremist thought from which all jihadist militancy now pours forth. Saudi Arabia and its Wahabbism’s militant Islamic doctrines constitute a clear and present danger to the Middle East and to the entire world. The house of Saud derives its legitimacy from religious credentials underwritten by Wahabbi clerics. Wahabbism is the creed that has fuelled all jihads –many with West’s blessings- in world’s recent memory.

You’d think that official circles in Washington would be up-in-arms about selling high-tech weapons of war to the brutal monarchy of Saudi Arabia.  But this likely $20 billion weapons sale indicates just how corrupt and immoral the US ‘experiment’ in democracy has become.  The #1 industrial export product of the US today is weapons.  The US wants to take down Iran and has made a pact with the Saudi’s to do just that.

There can be no doubt that the American dream of freedom, justice and democracy is now no more than a hollow phrase.

 Bruce K. Gagnon http://www.space4peace.org   http://space4peace.blogspot.com  (blog)

Violence and Resistance in Palestine

November 20th, 2014 by Ajamu Baraka

For the many thousands of tourists who fly into Israel/Palestine every year, landing in the modern Ben-Gurion airport in Tel Aviv marks the beginning of a great adventure in the “holy land.” But for members of the “African Heritage” delegation, flying into Ben-Gurion was fraught with tension and foreboding. Before departing the U.S. on October 27, our delegation rehearsed how we would move and act, role-playing what to say and what to avoid when we would face Israel’s first line of defense – its custom officials at the airport.

The normally simple act of landing, showing that prized blue book that is the U.S. passport and passing effortlessly through customs and into the country, was something that we understood might not be automatic for us. And indeed it wasn’t – within an hour of our landing our delegation’s co-leader, a young Palestinian woman, was detained. We later found out that she was interrogated, held overnight, and deported the next day.

As our delegation slowly made its way through Israel’s entry process those first couple of hours at the airport, we did not quite grasped that our experience at the airport would not be the first of the strange dualities that we would experience and witness of life in Israel/Palestine. The gaggle of wide-eyed excited tourists that were happy to be in the country greatly contrasted with our already lived experience of Israel as a police state on guard against all threats, real and imagined.

The delegation and program

The African Heritage delegation was made up of activists, educators, journalists, clergy, students and folks representing the full spectrum of African American life in all of its diversity. Sponsored by the Interfaith Peace Builders, an organization of dedicated young activists experienced in organizing delegations to Israel/Palestine, the individual members of our delegation had various positions and motivations for being a part of the delegation. But a genuine feeling of solidarity with the plight of the Palestinian people and a desire to better understand the situation in order to share what we observed with our constituencies where we lived and worked emerged as the common denominator that united most of us.

Our ambitious agenda included meetings and visits that took us across the country. From East Jerusalem to “Israel proper” through to the West Bank and down to the Negev desert, we met with peace activists, political activists, clergy, the settler community of Hebron, Palestinian-Arab Bedouin women, and lived with Palestinian families in Bil’in and the Deheisheh refugee camp. It was an exhilarating and emotionally exhausting experience that touched us all in very personal ways.

The never ending conflict?

The deeply troubling impression that I came away with was that a negotiated, relatively “peaceful” resolution of the conflict is impossible and that those individuals who believe that the Israeli state would grant sovereignty and respect the human rights of Palestinians within the context of either a one or two state solution are either naive regarding the nature of Israel’s settler project or fundamentally dishonest.

The obscene level of investment in the infrastructure of repression in the occupied territories along with the most aggressive settlement policies since the 67 war clearly demonstrates that the Israeli state has no interest in a negotiated settlement with Palestinians.

Indeed the “facts on the ground” all point toward policies of permanent control of Palestinian life and land. Those facts include the over six hundred thousand Israeli settlers in the West Bank and settlement expansion into Palestinian East Jerusalem, the so-called security wall that is more an enclosure wall to expropriate Palestinian land, and the emergence over the last 15 years of a right- wing, militarized Israeli civil society symbolized by the popular support given to the governing coalition anchored by the right-wing Lukid party. These facts coupled with the complete collapse of what is referred to as liberalism within Israel, suggest that the current political alignments and power relations shatter any illusions that a domestic constituency strong enough to counter the hegemony of the Zionist positions exist anywhere in Israel.

On the Palestinian side, there are deep divisions among the leadership of Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian organizations, despite the so-called unity government that was established in June of this year. I was struck by the number of people who have lost all faith in the Palestinian authority created out of the Oslo process. Yet at the level of the “people,” Palestinians living in the occupied territories are still united in their steadfast commitment to resist the occupation.

Unity on the issue of Palestinian resistance stems primarily from the daily indignities of life under military occupation and the repressive brutality that is a permanent feature of Palestinian life. Our delegation observed and experienced, if only briefly, life under military occupation as we moved through military checkpoints throughout the country but especially in the West Bank.

In the village of Bil’in, a community in resistance that was documented in the Academy Award nominated film “Five Broken Cameras,” our delegation was hosted by the village’s popular resistance committee. As part of our visit we were taken down to the separation wall or what many of us call the apartheid wall. Without provocation or warnings of any kind, the delegation suddenly found itself on the receiving end of a barrage of Israeli gas grenades. After having to run back to our cars through gas, we were informed by our hosts that since the authorities were aware that internationals KillingTrayvons1were in the town for the night we should be aware that there was a possibility that soldiers might raid houses that night to arrest us, something that has happened before.

Two days later, we once again experienced the duality of experiences reflected in the lives and positions of Palestinians. In the morning we met with the Holy Land Trust, an organization that is committed to developing what it calls a spiritual, pragmatic and strategic approach to the ongoing conflict. It sees its work of reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews as a viable model for realizing a joint community that respected each other and was committed to justice, political equality and peaceful coexistence. That evening, however, we stayed in the Deheisheh refugee camp, a camp located near Bethlehem that was established after the expulsion of the more than 750,000 Palestinians in the war of 1948 that resulted in the creation of the state of Israel. Our hosts at Deheisheh were clear that for them, peaceful coexistence was impossible in a settler-colonial context that did not allow them to recoup all of the land that they argue was stolen by the Israeli state.

A week after returning from the super-charged, repressive environment that is Israel/Palestine, it is not surprising that Jerusalem is now being consumed by an intensification of violence. From what I observed, the allegations that Israeli settlers lynched Yousuf al-Ramouni, a Palestinian bus driver in Jerusalem that then sparked the retaliatory killing of four Israeli’s, is not surprising nor beyond the realm of possibility. Settler and state violence are central components of the colonial project. And violence as part of Israel’s colonial project has always been strategically deployed. It is used as a means of social control but by manipulating issues to evoke Palestinian resistance it is used to support Israel’s narrative as victim. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon adroitly used this device to provide the pretext for destroying the last vestiges of theOslo process and the functionality of the Palestinian Authority. In the aftermath of the disastrous assault on Gaza that resulted in a public relations defeat for Israel and has even led to some European governments to recognize a Palestinian state, it appears that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has gone back to the Sharon playbook. The closure of the A-Aqsa Mosque a few weeks ago had the predictable results of Palestinian Muslim resistance that Israel is attempting to use to its advantage.

The consciously provoked violence in Jerusalem also has another effect. It diverts attention away from political and material basis of the “conflict” – Israel’s brutal occupation and illegal theft of Palestinian land.

As one activist framed the political conundrum: “if a two state solution in which Palestinians were offered the 28% land mass of historic Palestine with borders between this state and Israel that approximated the 67 green line and a just solution to Palestinian refugees as part of the Oslo process in the 90s, it would have been hard to accept but it might have been viable.” But for this activist and many others in Palestine, it is now clear that the Israeli state never intended to seriously consider establishing a viable Palestinian state or resolving the issue of Palestinian refugees in a just manner.

Difficult as it was, traveling to Palestine and seeing first hand the realities on the ground was a political necessity and an eye opener. One can read about the repression, the growing expressions of racism, and see images from time to time of Israeli brutality, but nothing really prepares you for being thrust into that oppressive reality. And for those of us who reside in oppressive communities where our lives and dignity are also under constant attack, we can feel the humiliation and degradation experienced by Palestinians which after a few days becomes emotionally overwhelming.

During my activist life I have traveled to many of the counties that Western colonial/capitalist leaders characterized as despotic totalitarian states – the old Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba before 1989 – but in none of those states did I witness the systematic mechanism of population control and scientific repression that I witness in “democratic” Israel. The security walls, towers, checkpoints, and armed settlers created an aura of insecurity and impending assault on one’s dignity at any time. I left that space wondering how anyone with a modicum of humanity and any sense of morality could reconcile living in that environment from the spoils of Palestinian dispossession and degradation and how any nation could support the Israeli political project.

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence” (Counterpunch Books, 2014). He can be reached at [email protected] and www.AjamuBaraka.com

The Next US Presidential Election Will Move The World Closer To War

November 20th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Glenn Greenwald has revealed that Hillary Clinton is the presidential candidate of the banksters and warmongers.

Pam and Russ Martens note that Elizabeth Warren is the populist alternative. I doubt that a politician who represents the people can acquire the campaign funds needed to run a campaign. If Warren becomes a threat, the Establishment will frame her with bogus charges and move her aside.

Hillary as president would mean war with Russia. With neocon nazis such as Robert Kagan and Max Boot running her war policy and with Hillary’s comparison of Russia’s president Putin to Adolf Hitler, war would be a certainty. As Michel Chossudovsky and Noam Chomsky have written, the war would be nuclear.

If Hillary is elected president, the financial gangsters and profiteering war criminals would complete their takeover of the country. It would be forever or until armageddon.

To understand what we would be getting with Hillary, recall the Clinton presidency. The Clinton presidency was transformative in ways not generally recognized. Clinton destroyed the Democratic Party with “free trade” agreements, deregulated the financial system, launched Washington’s ongoing policy of “regime change” with illegal military attacks on Yugoslavia and Iraq, and his regime used deadly force without cause against American civilians and covered up the murders with fake investigations. These were four big changes that set the country on its downward spiral into a militarized police state with massive income and wealth inequality.

One can understand why Republicans wanted the North American Free Trade Agreement, but it was Bill Clinton who signed it into law. “Free trade” agreements are devices used by US corporations to offshore their production of goods and services sold in American markets. By moving production abroad, labor cost savings increase corporate profits and share prices, bringing capital gains to shareholders and multi-million dollar performance bonuses to executives. The rewards to capital are large, but the rewards come at the expense of US manufacturing workers and the tax base of cities and states.

When plants are closed and the work shipped overseas, middle class jobs disappear. Industrial and manufacturing unions are eviscerated, destroying the labor unions that financed the Democrats’ election campaigns. The countervailing power of labor against capital was lost, and Democrats had to turn to the same sources of funding as Republicans. The result is a one party state.

The weakened tax base of cities and states has made it possible for Republicans to attack the public sector unions. Today the Democratic Party no longer exists as a political party financed by the union dues of ordinary people. Today both political parties represent the interests of the same powerful interest groups: the financial sector, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby, the extractive industries, and agribusiness.

Neither party represents voters. Thus, the people are loaded up with the costs of financial bailouts and wars, while the extractive industries and Monsanto destroy the environment and degrade the food supply. Elections no longer deal with real issues such as the loss of constitutional protections and a government accountable to law. Instead the parties compete on issues such as homosexual marriage and federal funding of abortion.

Clinton’s repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was the initiating move followed by the removal of more constraints that allowed the financial system to transform itself into a gambling casino where bets are covered by the public and the Federal Reserve. The full consequences of this remain to be seen.

The Clinton regime’s attack on the Serbs was a war crime under international law, but it was the Yugoslavian president who tried to defend his country who was put on trial as a war criminal. When the Clinton regime murdered Randy Weaver’s family at Ruby Ridge and 76 people at Waco, subjecting the few survivors to a show trial, the regime’s crimes against humanity went unpunished. Thus did Clinton set the precedents for 14 years of Bush/Obama crimes against humanity in seven countries. Millions of people have been killed, maimed, and displaced, and it is all acceptable.

It is easy enough for a government to stir up its population against foreigners as the successes of Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama demonstrate. But the Clinton regime managed to stir up Americans against their fellows as well. When the FBI gratuitously murdered Randy Weaver’s wife and young son, propagandistic denunciations of Randy Weaver took the place of accountability. When the FBI attacked the Branch Davidians, a religious movement that split from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with tanks and poison gas, causing a fire that burned 76 people, mainly women and children, to death, the mass murder was justified by the Clinton regime with wild and unsubstantiated charges against the government’s murdered victims.

All efforts to bring accountability to the crimes were blocked. These were the precedents for the executive branch’s successful drive to secure immunity from law. This immunity has now spread to local police who routinely abuse and murder US citizens on their streets and in their homes.

Washington’s international lawlessness about which the Russian and Chinese governments increasingly complain originated with the Clinton regime. Washington’s lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” originated in the Clinton regime, as did the goal of “regime change” in Iraq and Washington’s illegal bombings and embargoes that costs the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, lost lives that Clinton’s Secretary of State said were justified.

The US government had done wicked things in the past. For example, the Spanish-American war was a grab for empire, and Washington has always protected the interests of US corporations from Latin American reformers, but the Clinton regime globalized the criminality. Regime change has become reckless bringing with it danger of nuclear war. It is no longer Grenada and Honduras whose governments are overthrown. Today it is Russia and China that are targeted. Former parts of Russia herself–Georgia and Ukraine–have been turned into Washington’s vassal states. Washington-financed NGOs organize “student protests” in Hong Kong, hoping that the protests will spread into China and destabilize the government. The recklessness of these interventions in the internal affairs of nuclear powers is unprecedented.

Hillary Clinton is a warmonger, and so will be the Republican candidate. The hardening anti-Russian rhetoric issuing from Washington and its punk EU puppet states places the world on the road to extinction. The arrogant neoconservatives, with their hubristic belief that the US is the “exceptional and indispensable” country, would regard a deescalation of rhetoric and sanctions as backing down. The more the neocons and politicians such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham escalate the rhetoric, the closer we come to war.

As the US government now embraces pre-emptive arrest and detention of those who might someday commit a crime, the entire cadre of neocon warmongers should be arrested and indefinitely detained before they destroy humanity.

The Clinton years produced a spate of books documenting the numerous crimes and coverups–the Oklahoma City bombing, Ruby Ridge, Waco, the FBI crime lab scandal, Vincent Foster’s death, CIA involvement in drug running, the militarization of law enforcement, Kosovo, you name it. Most of these books are written from a libertarian or conservative viewpoint as no one realized while it was happening the nature of the transformation of American governance. Those who have forgotten and those too young ever to have known owe it to themselves to acquaint or re-acquaint themselves with the Clinton years. Recently I wrote about Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s book, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton. Another book with substantial documentation is James Bovard’s Feeling Your Pain. Congress and the media aided and abetted the extensive coverups, focusing instead on the relatively unimportant Whitewater real estate deals and Clinton’s sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Clinton and his corrupt regime lied about many important things, but only his lie about his affair with Monica Lewinsky caused the House of Representatives to impeach him. By ignoring numerous substantial grounds for impeachment and selecting instead an insubstantial reason, Congress and the media were complicit in the rise of an unaccountable executive branch. This lack of accountability has brought us tyranny at home and war abroad, and these two evils are enveloping us all.

Se está librando una guerra por el control del Kurdistán occidental, la parte de norte de Siria e incluso tres enclaves kurdos –de facto– en esta región. La lucha en el Kurdistán occidental es un medio para llegar a un fin, no un objetivo en sí mismo. El objetivo de ganar control en el Kurdistán sirio y norte de Siria es crucial para controlar el resto de la República Árabe Unida e implica un cambio de régimen –apoyado por Estados Unidos– en Damasco.

 

En el dialecto del idioma kurdo que se habla en esta región –también hablado por la mayoría de los kurdos que viven en Turquía–, el Kurdistán occidental se llama Rojaya in Kurmanji. La palabra Rojaya proviene del término kurdo “roj”, que significa “sol” pero también “día”. Literalmente, significa “puesta del sol” (“el final del sol”) o “final del día” en Kurmanji, y no es la palabra “oeste”. La confusión en relación con su significado surge por dos razones importantes. La primera es que en el dialecto sorani, el dialecto central de la lengua kurda, la palabra “roj” solo se usa en referencia al día. La segunda es que Rojaya connota o sugiere la dirección del oeste, donde se pone el sol cuando termina el día.

El asedio de Ayn el-Arab o Kobane

A pesar del hecho de que ni los militares sirios ni el gobierno sirio controla la mayor parte de Kurdistán sirio y de que un número importante de elementos locales se han declarado neutrales, las fuerzas del Estado Islámico, al-Nusra y el ISIL (Daesh) han desencadenado una guerra multipartidaria en el seno mismo del mosaico social de Rojaya. No fue hasta la segunda mitad de 2014 que esta guerra en el Kurdistán occidental se hizo presente en los titulares de los medios internacionales, cuando los kurdos sirios que combatían en la localidad nororiental (mintagah) de Ayn el-Arab, en la gobernación de Alepo, fue rodeada por el ISIL (finales de septiembre y principios de octubre). Mientras sucedía esto, el comportamiento de EEUU y sus aliados, específicamente el gobierno neo-otomanista de Turquía –Recep Tayyip Erdogan y Ahmet Davutoglu–, expusieron sus verdaderos objetivos en Rojaya y Siria. Cuando los kurdos sirios en el noreste de la gobernación de Alepo estaban siendo rodeados por el ISIL, quedó claro que en realidad Washington y su quimérica coalición anti-ISIL estaban utilizando el estallido del ISIL para redibujar los mapas estratégicos y etno-confesionales de Siria e Iraq. Muchos de los kurdos sirios piensan que el objetivo es empujarlos hacia el este, hacia el sector iraquí de Kurdistán, y someterlos a la dominación turca.

Los temores de otro éxodo sirio –similar al que se produjo cuando, con la ayuda de Turquía, Jubhat al-Nusra tomó violentamente la ciudad armenia de Kasab, en la gobernación de Latakia, en marzo de 2014– empezaron a materializarse. Cerca de 200.000 sirios –kurdos, turcomanos, asirios, armenios y árabes– huyeron cruzando la frontera entre Siria y Turquía. Para el pasado 9 de octubre, un tercio de Ayn el-Arab había caído en manos del seudocalifato.

La posición estadounidense respecto de Kobane muestra los objetivos de Washington

La posición estadounidense respecto de Ayn el-Arab o Kobane es muy reveladora sobre lo que realmente está en juego en la batalla por el control de la ciudad fronteriza siria. En lugar de tratar de evitar la caída de Kobane y ayudar a los defensores locales que están soportando el peso de la lucha contra el ISIL y su seudocalifato, Washington ha permanecido quieto. La posición estadounidense en relación con Kobane es una importante señal de que la guerra que EEUU ha iniciado contra el ISIL no es más que una bravuconada y una maniobra ficticia de relaciones públicas dirigidas al ocultamiento del objetivo real: conseguir un punto de apoyo estratégico dentro de territorio sirio.

Cuando el ISIL atacó a las fuerzas del Gobierno Regional Kurdo (KRG, por sus siglas en inglés) en territorio del Kurdistán iraquí en agosto de 2014, Estados Unidos actuó rápidamente en ayuda de los combatientes del KRG. En julio, un mes después de la caída de la ciudad iraquí de Mosul en manos del ISIL, en coincidencia con la toma militar de la ciudad de Kirkuk –rica en petróleo– por el KRG, el ISIL empezó el asedio de Kobane en Rojaya. Hasta octubre, EEUU solo fue un espectador.

Algo aún más revelador: el 8 de octubre, el Pentágono comunicó que la campaña de bombardeo aéreo en Siria liderada por EEUU y bautizada formalmente con el nombre de Operación Resolución Inherente el 15 de octubre, no podía detener la ofensiva del ISIL contra los defensores de Kobane. En lugar de eso, Estados Unidos empezó a sostener insistentemente en favor de más acciones ilegales que debería emprender Turquía, miembro de la OTAN. Washingtom comenzó a pedir la entrada de soldados y carros de combate turcos en Kobane y el norte de Siria. Por su parte, el presidente Erdogan y el gobierno turco dijeron que Ankara solo enviaría una fuerza a la zona si Estados Unidos y su coalición fantasma establecían una zona de exclusión aérea en Siria.

Modernización de los planes para una zona de interposición en el norte de Siria

Con el propósito de convertir Kobane en un caso, Estados Unidos y Turquía vieron la oportunidad de rejuvenecer sus planes de 2011 para invadir Siria, que pretendían el establecimiento de una zona de interposición y de exclusión aérea –controlada por Turquía– en el norte de Siria. Ahora, los planes se presentan como una operación humanitaria y de mantenimiento de la paz. Es por eso que el 2 de octubre de 2014 los parlamentarios de la Asamblea Nacional Turca aprobaron nuevas leyes que autorizan una invasión de la República Árabe Unida y la porción siria de Kurdistán.

Aun así, Ankara se mantiene cauta. En realidad, Turquía está haciendo todo lo que puede para que Kobane caiga bajo el control del ISIL y sus defensores sean derrotados.

Debido a la falta de coordinación entre el servicio nacional de inteligencia de Turquía (el MIT) y los funcionarios encargados de hacer cumplir las leyes, se produjo un escándalo nacional cuando la gendarmería turca detuvo en Adana unos camiones camuflados que transportaban clandestinamente armas y municiones en dirección a Siria para su entrega a al-Nusra y otros grupos insurgentes contrarios al gobierno.

En el contexto de Kobane, ha habido mucha información que revelaba el envío de grandes cargamentos de armas turcas para los ya bien armados batallones del ISIL para la ofensiva contra Kobane. Una periodista, Serena Shim, pagó con su vida el hecho de que investigara estos envíos. Shim, estadounidense descendiente de libaneses, que trabajaba para una cadena de noticias en lengua inglesa de la televisión iraní, reveló que los rebeldes sirios eran secretamente abastecidos con armas llegadas de Turquía en camiones que llevaban el logo de la Organización Mundial de la Alimentación (FAO) de Naciones Unidas. Muy poco después, el 19 de octubre, Shim murió en un misterioso accidente de circulación después de haber recibido amenazas del MIT por espiar para la “oposición turca.”

Para esconder sus sucias manos, el gobierno turco –facilitador de la operación secreta– argumentó que le era imposible controlar sus fronteras o impedir la entrada de combatientes extranjeros en Iraq y Siria. Sin embargo, la batalla de Kobane cambió todo, y Ankara empezó a hacer lo que antes era incapaz de hacer en la frontera con Siria; incluso reforzó los dispositivos de seguridad en la zona. Turquía, que todo el mundo reconoce la permisividad que concede a Jabhat Al-Nusra y otras organizaciones insurgentes apoyadas desde el extranjero para cruzar libremente su frontera en su combate contra las fuerzas sirias, comenzó a impedir que voluntarios kurdos pudieran cruzar la frontera con Siria para unirse a los defensores de la sitiada Kobane.

Turquía toma nota de quiénes son los amigos de Siria

El gobierno sirio rechazó las sugerencias llegadas desde Ankara y Washington sobre la presencia de tropas extranjeras en su territorio y el establecimiento de una zona de interposición en el norte de su país. Damasco dijo que eso representaba un intento descarado de agresión contra Siria. El 15 de octubre, Damasco declaró que consultaría con sus “amigos”.

En el contexto de los planes de invasión turco-estadounidenses, el gobierno de Ankara estuvo registrando la reacción y actitud de Rusia, Irán, China y los segmentos independientes de la comunidad internacional que no están comprometidos con los objetivos de la política exterior de Washington. Tanto el Kremlin como Teherán reaccionaron advirtiendo al gobierno turco de que se olvidara de cualquier idea sobre el envío de tropas de infantería al Kurdistán sirio y al resto del territorio de ese país.

El pasado 9 de octubre, el ministro de asuntos exteriores adjunto, Aleksandr Lukashevych, en su calidad de portavoz del ministerio de asuntos exteriores ruso, anunció que Rusia se opondría al establecimiento de una zona de interposición en el norte de Siria. Lukashevych dijo que ni Turquía ni Estados Unidos tenían autoridad o legitimidad alguna para establecer una zona de interposición contra la voluntad de otro estado soberano. También señaló que los bombardeos estadounidenses en territorio de Siria habían complicado la situación y empujado al ISIL a mezclarse con la población civil. Las palabras de Lukashevych hicieron eco en las advertencias del embajador ruso Vitaly Churkin, representante permanente de Rusia en Naciones Unidas, en el sentido de que los bombardeos en Siria llevados adelante por EEUU ayudarían a deteriorar aún más la crisis siria.

Desde Teherán, el ministro adjunto de asuntos exteriores iraní Amir-Abdollahian anunció públicamente que Irán había advertido al gobierno turco contra cualquier aventurerismo en territorio sirio.

Por qué la operación Resolución Inherente reforzó al ISIL en Siria

¿Es una coincidencia acaso que el ISIL, o Daesh, haya ganado terreno en Siria tan pronto como EEUU le declarara la guerra? ¿O es una coincidencia tal vez que en Rojaya estén la mayor parte de los pozos de petróleo de Siria?

Los habitantes y resistentes de Kobane que combaten contra la ofensiva del ISIL han pedido repetidamente ayuda exterior, pero han definido los bombardeos estadounidenses con una expresión certera: son absolutamente inútiles. Esta comprobación está detrás de la realidad del asunto que motiva la campaña contra los ilegales bombardeos estadounidenses en Siria que llevan adelante líderes tanto paramilitares como civiles. De una forma u otra, funcionarios locales del Kurdistán sirio dicen que esos bombardeos son un fracaso.

Las Unidades Populares de Protección (Yekineyen Parastina Gel, YPG; aquellas formadas exclusivamente por mujeres son las YPJ) de Kobane, han señalado numerosas veces que los bombardeos de EEUU no hacen nada que detenga el avance del ISIL ni en Kobane ni en el resto de Siria. Al mismo tiempo que llamaba a la creación de un frente unido kurdo (en Siria, Iraq e Irán) contra el seudocalifato del ISIL, Jawan Ibrahim, un oficial del YPG, expresó que en lo que concierne al YPG y los kurdos sirios, Estados Unidos y la coalición anti-ISIL son un fracaso, según informa FNA.

Antes de que EEUU inaugurara oficialmente su campaña de bombardeo en Siria con incursiones aéreas en Raqa, los combatientes del ISIL habían dejado sus posiciones. En lugar de bombardear al ISIL, los estadounidenses atacaron infraestructuras industriales y civiles sirias. Mientras se dice que algunos de esos ataques –que destruyeron viviendas y un silo con trigo– fueron errores, ha quedado claro que la estrategia del Pentágono consiste en erosionar la capacidad del enemigo mediante la destrucción de su infraestructura, tal como se viene aplicando en Siria.

Después de las duras críticas recibidas y de la presión internacional, EEUU empezó a lanzar desde el aire –con paracaídas– suministros médicos y armas para los defensores de Kobane. Algunas de estas armas fueron a parar a manos del ISIL. El Pentágono dijo que esto sucedió por errores de cálculo y que las armas no iban dirigidas al ISIL. De todos modos, algunos escépticos creen que el Pentágono ha lanzado deliberadamente armas estadounidenses cerca de las unidades para que pudieran verlas y recogerlas fácilmente. Los alijos de armas incluían granadas de mano, granadas autopropulsadas y munición; esto se pudo ver en al menos un vídeo filmado por el ISIL.

Al mismo tiempo que se producía esta reluctante ayuda estadounidense, el gobierno turco recibió presiones para que permitiera que un pequeño contingente de combatientes peshmerga del KRG procedente de Iraq cruzara el pasado 1 de noviembre la frontera en Kobane. Sin embargo, estos pershmerga forman parte de las fuerzas de seguridad del corrupto KRG, alineado con Turquía. En otras palabras, los autorizados a entrar en Kobane eran “kurdos turcos” (por ser aliados; no confundirlos con los kurdos de Turquía, y no integrantes del YPG, YPJ o voluntarios). Dado que el papel perjudicial de Turquía en el asedio de Kobane ha llegado a ser del dominio público, Ankara teme que la caída de Kobane signifique el fin de las conversaciones de paz entre el Partido de los Trabajadores de Kurdistán (PKK) y el gobierno y se produzca una revuelta generalizada en el Kurdistán turco.

¿Un inútil bombardeo aéreo de EEUU contra el EI o una guerra furtiva de EEUU contra Siria?

La campaña estadounidense de bombardeos no busca la derrota del ISIL, que también está haciendo todo lo posible por destruir la estructura social siria. La mencionada campaña tiene la finalidad de debilitar a Siria y de destruirla para que deje de funcionar como país. Es por esto que EEUU ha estado bombardeando instalaciones e infraestructura sirias, incluyendo oleoductos; la excusa es impedir que el ISIL los use para vender petróleo y obtener beneficios.

Las razones con las que Estados Unidos justifica esta destrucción son igualmente falsas, ya que el ISIL viene transportando el petróleo robado en Siria en camiones cisterna por las carreteras turcas y –al contrario que en Iraq– sin utilizar oleoductos. Aun más, la mayor parte del crudo robado por el ISIL proviene de Iraq y no de Siria, sin embargo EEUU no ha dado un paso para destruir la infraestructura petrolera iraquí. Además, las operaciones comerciales con petróleo robado, tanto en Siria como en Iraq, se realizan entre actores estatales. Hasta el mismo representante de la Unión Europea en Iraq, Jana Hybaskova ha admitido que los países miembro de la UE están comprando crudo iraquí que les vende el ISIL.

Los dos enfoques tan diferentes que tiene el Pentágono, uno respecto de Iraq y otro de Siria, son muy elocuentes en relación con lo que viene haciendo en la República Árabe de Siria. Washington va tras Siria; paralelamente, tanto EEUU como Turquía tratan de cooptar a los kurdos sirios para neutralizarlos. Esto explica tanto la implicación de Turquía en la batalla de Kobane como la inacción del gobierno estadounidense. En pocas palabras, el ISIL, o Daesh, es un arma de EEUU.

El gobierno sirio sabe que la coalición anti-ISIL de Washington no es más que una fachada, y que si el gobierno estadounidense y el Pentágono consideraran que las condiciones son las apropiadas, la farsa podría acabar en una ofensiva contra Damasco. El 6 de noviembre, el ministro sirio de asuntos exteriores Walid al-Muallen le dijo al periódico libanés Al-Akhbar que Siria le pidió a la Federación Rusa que acelere el envío de los sistemas de misiles antiaéreos tierra-aire S-300 para estar preparada ante una posible ofensiva del Pentágono.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya es sociólogo e investigador asociado del Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), con sede en Montreal. Está especializado en temas de Oriente Próximo y Asia Central. Ha sido colaborador e invitado en las discusiones sobre Oriente Medio en numerosos programas y redes internacionales como Al Jazeera, teleSUR, HispanTV y RT en Español. Permaneció en Libia durante la campaña de bombardeos de la OTAN, informando desde allí para varias cadenas de noticias. También es corresponsal especial de Flashpoints, un programa con sede en Berkeley, California. Sus artículos se han publicado en más de diez idiomas. Escribe también para la Strategic Culture Foundation de Moscú.

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Carlos Riba García.

Fuente original: 11 de noviembre 2014, The War in Western Kurdistan and Northern Syria: The Role of the US and Turkey in the Battle of Kobani 

 

El final de la Pax Americana : ¿Otro mundo es posible?

November 20th, 2014 by Leonardo Plasencia

Desde la caída de la Unión Soviética, a principios de los años noventa, Estados Unidos ostenta orgullosamente el título de ‘única superpotencia global’. En aquellos años, la eliminación de la amenaza roja era considerada por los líderes del ‘mundo libre’ como un gran paso hacia la utópica paz mundial. El cese de las tensiones entre los dos bloques nucleares marcaba así el fin de una Era dónde el fantasma de la destrucción mutua estremecía los corazones a uno y otro lado de la frontera ideológica. “Lo que estamos viviendo no es solamente el final de la Guerra Fría, sino el final de la historia misma, el punto cumbre de la evolución ideológica y la universalización de la democracia liberal occidental“, destacaba Francis Fukuyama en su famoso libro, El final de la Historia y el último hombre. Identificado con las ideas de Hegel y Kojève, el intelectual americano consideraba que la humanidad se encaminaba indefectiblemente hacia la etapa final del progreso : un Estado homogéneo y universal, basado en el libre mercado y los valores occidentales. Comenzaba así “una era en dónde las naciones del mundo, al este y al oeste, norte y sur, pueden prosperar y vivir en armonía“, según palabras de George Bush padre [1]. Sin embargo, las promesas de paz y prosperidad de una sociedad global unida bajo una misma concepción del mundo nunca vieron la luz…

A veinticinco años de la caída del Muro de Berlín las injusticias del sistema parecen hoy más visibles que nunca. ¿Es la hegemonía incuestionable del modelo económico neoliberal, que se profundizó idelógicamente y expandió territorialmente durante los años noventa, la razón de la crisis internacional y de la anarquía capitalista actual? Más importante aún ¿Es la dominación político-militar absoluta de Estados Unidos, convertido en una suerte de policía mundial, una garantía de estabilidad y seguridad para las naciones alrededor del globo? El mundo unipolar, la Pax Americana, muestra hoy sus dientes ante la amenaza de potencias emergentes que, tras un cuarto de siglo de americanización planetaria, ponen hoy en peligro su reinado. ¿Somos testigos del comienzo de una nueva Guerra Fría, de una nueva división del mundo en dos bloques? De ser así, ¿Es esto beneficioso o perjudicial para la humanidad?

Construyendo la ‘realidad’

29 de julio de 2014. Apoyado por la indignación internacional tras la tragedia del avión de Malaysia Airlines en suelo ucraniano, el presidente americano Barack Obama anuncia la tercera ola de sanciones económicas a Rusia. Las mismas, golpean al gigante eslavo en el área de la defensa, la energía y el sistema financiero. Europa y Estados Unidos acusan al Kremlin de apoyar a los rebeldes al este de Ucrania y continúan en su esfuerzo por presionar a Vladimir Putin para que abdique en su intención de influir en la política interna de ese país. “Los ucranianos no pueden aceptar que Rusia arme separatistas que desarrollan actividades terriblemente destructivas en territorio ucraniano” afirma Obama, y advierte a Rusia que debe respetar la soberanía de Ucrania y abandonar sus intenciones de convertirla en un “país vasallo”. [2]

Las palabras del ‘líder del mundo libre’ encierran una gran lección de ética política : respetar la soberanía de terceros países, evitar influir políticamente, y por sobre todas las cosas, no alimentar conflictos armados fuera de las propias fronteras. ¿Cómo no adherir a tan loable discurso? Sin embargo, las tensiones geopolíticas crecientes en el Medio Oriente tiraron por la borda las declaraciones de la Casa Blanca en contra de las políticas intervencionistas, que el presidente americano llamaría el “bullying” de los países grandes. “Hoy he autorizado dos operaciones en Irak, ataques aéreos para proteger el personal americano, y un esfuerzo humanitario para salvar a miles de civiles iraquíes de una muerte casi segura” afirmaría Obama días después (7 de agosto), luego de la avanzada del grupo armado fundamentalista Estado Islámico en Iraq y Siria. “Estados Unidos esta preparado para desarrollar acciones militares en Irak cuando la situación lo requiera” aseguraría un desafiante presidente norteamericano [3]. Semanas después la fuerza aérea más poderosa del mundo cruzaría la frontera oeste, entrando así a territorio sirio.

Con esta última acción la mayor potencia del planeta ignoraría el Derecho Internacional que establece que, salvo en los casos de legítima defensa (protegida por el artículo 51 de la Carta de las Naciones Unidas), el ataque a un territorio extranjero no puede ser decidido de manera unilateral sino a través del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas, o en su defecto (a menudo para evitar el veto de China o Rusia) vía la Organizacion del Tratado del Atlántico Norte (Otan). Es así que, al igual que su predecesor en Irak el año 2003, el ganador del premio Nobel de la Paz desafió a la comunidad internacional al implementar una operación militar en Siria sin autorización de Damasco o de la ONU. Se deduce entonces que Washington considera que una intervención militar unilateral e ilegal no es necesariamente contraria a la defensa de la democracia y de la paz en el mundo. ¿La diferencia radicaría tal vez en hacerlo cómo y cuándo se debe? Veamos.

Las cosas claras. Las temibles milicias extremistas de Estado Islámico, que atentan contra la paz en un ya conflictivo Medio Oriente, pueden facilmente convertirse en argumento irrefutable para algún tipo de intervención externa dada la debilidad política y militar de los gobiernos locales de Siria e Irak. Asesinatos en masa, decapitaciones, vejaciones, persecución de minorías étnicas y religiosas, no pueden ni deben ser aceptados por la comunidad internacional. Los rwandeses saben muy bien lo que occurre cuando el mundo mira hacia otro lado. En tan sólo unos meses esta agrupación fundamentalista parece motivada a llevar a cabo todos los actos posibles en contra de la dignidad y de los derechos humanos. No obstante ¿Esta retórica ‘humanitaria’ de Washington no podría también ser usada a favor de la intervención de Moscú en el conflicto ucraniano? Suponiendo claro que en el conflicto, entre las fuerzas gubernamentales de Kiev y los rebeldes pro-rusos, se estuvieran llevando a cabo acciones contrarias el derecho internacional humanitario.

Pues bien, dejemos de lado datos políticos irrefutables, como el hecho de que el gobierno ucraniano actual llegara al poder a partir del golpe de Estado a un presidente elegido por sufragio universal. O que la filas de los legítimos manifestantes fueran infiltradas por grupos neonazis como Svabóda (Свобода, Libertad) o Pravy Sektor (Пра́вий се́ктор, Sector Derecho). O que el empresario Petro Porochenko apoyara económicamente a los mobilizados de Maidán, para convertirse hoy en el presidente de Ucrania. O qué el descontento popular se desató cuando el depuesto presidente Viktor Yanukovych (cercano al Kremlin) pospusiera la firma del acuerdo de asociación con la Unión Europea provocando el descontento de las potencias occidentales. Olvidemos también que apenas llegado al poder la nueva administración, esta logró revocar la ley que reconocía el ruso como idioma regional e intentó promover una ley que prohiba los medios de comunicación rusos en territorio ucraniano [4], atentando directamente contra la idiosincracia y el desarrollo cultural de las provincias rusoparlantes y provocando así un aumento de las tensiones intercomunitarias. Atengámonos entonces a lo estrictamente humanitario.

Según un informe publicado recientemente por Amnesty International [5] numerosos prisioneros del conflicto ucraniano han sido víctimas de torturas, tanto por parte de los rebeldes pro-rusos como del ejército y las autodefensas pro-Kiev. El informe se detiene particularmente en el caso de Igor Khakmizyanov, ex ministro de Defensa de la autoproclamada República Popular de Donetzk. En un video publicado por las mismas milicias pro-gubernamentales [6] (probablemente como muestra de poder y advertencia a las fuerzas rivales), se puede ver al político ‘rusofílico’, semidesnudo, amarrado y con al menos dos heridas en el cuerpo, siendo interrogado por el diputado Oleh Lyashko, líder de un grupo armado defensor de la unidad de Ucrania. El gobierno central negó que Lyashko perteneciera a fuerzas regulares del ejército. En ese sentido, el documento de Amnesty afirma que “ante la falta de oficiales en el este, las autoridades de Kiev han comenzado a reclutar voluntarios bajo el auspicio del Ministerio del Interior” y asegura que el 17 de abril del corriente año fue pública una oferta del empresario y gobernador de la región de Dnipropetrovsk, Ihor Kolomoysky quién prometió pagar 10 mil dólares a cualquiera que capture un “mercenario ruso”.

Amnesty concluye así que la “ausencia de Ley” en el este ucraniano lleva a que habitantes y periodistas vivan bajo el riesgo de “secuestros y torturas por parte de grupos anti- y pro-Kiev“. Más de treinta grupos paramilitares son apoyados o tolerados por el gobierno ucraniano. No formando parte oficial de las fuerzas regulares estas milicias llevan adelante operaciones sin la necesidad de realizar informes detallados de sus acciones y sin responder directamente a las autoridades en Kiev.

Según otra investigación, esta vez de Human Rights Watch, “las fuerzas gubernamentales ucranianas han utilizado bombas de racimo en áreas pobladas de la ciudad de Donetzk a principios de octubre” [7]. Más conocidas como bombas ‘Cluster’, éstas son lanzadas desde el aire o desde la superficie, al alcanzar una cierta altura se abren dejando caer cientos de submuniciones de diversos tipos y de alto poder explosivo, antipista, antipersona, perforantes o incendiarias. El mayor problema radica en el hecho de que estas submuniciones (esparcidas en un área del tamaño de una cancha de fútbol) tienen un rango de fallo de entre el 5% y 30%, por lo que pueden quedar bombas enterradas sin explotar formando una suerte de campo minado listo a estallar tiempo después de terminada la guerra.

Estas municiones pueden llamar la atención de los niños por sus formas llamativas, similares a una lata de refrescos. “Debido a que todas las partes en el conflicto utilizan las mismas armas, es muy dificil determinar quién es el autor de cada ataque, pero en varios casos tenemos evidencia contundente que se trata de las fuerzas armadas ucranianas” declaró Ole Solvang. El investigador de HRW recordó además que 140 países han firmado el tratado para prohibir el uso de las bombas de racimo, y aunque Ucrania no forma parte de esos países, “lanzar bombas cluster en zonas pobladas constituye de todas formas una violación de las leyes sobre conflictos armados, estas acciones pueden ser consideradas como crímenes de guerra” [8].

Torturas. Crímenes de guerra. Los informes de Amnesty International y de Human Rights Watch son contundentes. Sin embargo, el cerrojo mediático de las prensa occidental parece servir de manto protector al nuevo gobierno del ‘eurofílico’ Petro Porochenko, que ya ha firmado el ansiado tratado de cooperación con la Unión Europea y anunciado su intención de preparar la candidatura de ingreso al bloque para el 2020. La violación del derecho internacional humanitario en suelo ucraniano no preocupa a las potencias occidentales. Los defensores de las políticas de Washington, que se encuentran en plena campaña militar ‘humanitaria’ para destruir la amenaza del Estado Islámico en Siria e Irak, confían en que la política exterior norteamericana está basada en una serie de prioridades que procuran defender la democracia y los valores humanos.

¿El final de una era?

La caída del muro de Berlín fue festejada por el mundo entero, que soñaba ingenuo con la (com)unión de una sociedad global. Las grandes potencias, en oriente y occidente, se alinearían detrás del gran vencedor de un conflicto de cuatro décadas. “No hay sustituto al liderazgo americano” declaró entonces George Bush padre. “Estados Unidos es la única nación imprescindible en el mundo“, afirma hoy Barack Obama. Sin embargo, la crisis del modelo neoliberal occidental puede ser el comienzo de un cambio en la balanza de poder, que comienza lentamente a inclinarse hacia el este del globo.

La idea de un único modelo planetario sin una real alternativa es no solamente inaplicable sino además inaceptable. ¿Por qué pregonar el pensamiento único en la arena internacional cuando lo rechazamos al interior de las fronteras nacionales? El mundo necesita diferentes modelos y concepciones de desarrollo de la misma manera que la democracia en un país exige diversos partidos políticos que representen diferentes alternativas. “El modelo occidental se ha quebrado” aseguró días atrás el británico diario The Guardian reconociendo que el camino que llevó al éxito a las grandes potencias occidentales no es necesariamiente recomendable para el resto del mundo [9]. El despertar de los gigantes emergentes expresa así la necesidad de una concepción distinta del mundo y un contrapoder a la cultura dominante que, debilitada, comienza a mostrar su grietas. La Comunidad Económica Euroasiática, la Organización de Cooperación de Shangai, Unasur y los Brics son sólo algunos de los nuevos actores que prometen el levantamiento de una voz diferente en el escenario político internacional.

Pero para que los cambios que necesita el mundo puedan concretarse es necesario un imprescindible primer paso. Para liberar al hombre debemos primero liberar su mente. Para rescatar a la humanidad de un modelo político-económico impuesto por las potencias occidentales debemos primero romper los muros de la prisión del ‘pensamiento único’. “Colonialismo mental” dirán algunos. Debemos así romper las cadenas informativas que construyen una realidad del mundo conveniente a sus propios intereses. Sólo así podremos ver la contradicción moral que implica realizar ‘intervenciones humanitarias’ en una región del mundo mientras la violación de los derechos humanos es permitida en otras latitudes. Sólo así veremos que las recetas económicas ortodoxas no pueden introducirse en un país como un software en un disco rígido. Así descubriremos que esos programadores del sistema operativo mundial esconden intereses otros que la universalización del bienestar.

¿Una nueva Guerra Fría o simplemente un modelo alternativo? Tal vez “El final de la Historia” de Fukuyama no era más que el comienzo de un capítulo, el del pensamiento único, el de la supremacía americana, el de la dominación occidental. Quizás somos testigos hoy de una nueva vuelta de página… y del comienzo de una nueva historia.-

 Leonardo Plasencia

 

Leonardo Plasencia : Master en Información y Comunicación de la Sorbona de París

 

[1] El presidente norteamericano George Bush frente al Congreso de Estados Unidos, 11 septiembre 1990. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8dAMZ6YdUo&list=FLeOVAclejaUGttEDVvDTT4Q&index=8

[2]  El presidente Barack Obama anuncia una nueva ola de sanciones contra intereses rusos, 29 de julio de 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAu1prQkJEU

[3] El presidente Barack Obama anuncia el inicio de las operaciones aéreas contra Estado Islámico en territorio irakí, 7 de agosto de 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuaO5EJzLAE 

[4] “Voiding Ukraine’s minority languages law ‘wrong’ – Luxembourg FM“, 25 de febrero de 2014, Russia Today http://rt.com/news/ukraine-language-lavrov-asselborn-627/ 

[5] “Abduction and Torture in Eastern Ukraine“, pag 14 y 15, Amnesty International.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR50/034/2014/en/c8e25fcd-c791-4edb-ac3f-6b1a1ce12977/eur500342014en.pdf

[6] Video de youtube, “Lyashko Mocks Detained Defense Chief Donetsk“, 5 de julio de 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLI-KDtzOLw

[7] “Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions“, 20 de octubre de 2014. http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/20/ukraine-widespread-use-cluster-munitions

[8] Video de youtube, “Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions“, 20 de octubre de 2014.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixf1LEzh1fo&index=4&list=FLeOVAclejaUGttEDVvDTT4Q 

[9] “The western model is broken“, por Pankaj Mishra, 14 de octubre de 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/14/-sp-western-model-broken-pankaj-mishra

 

VIDEO : El oeste de Alemania sigue dominando

November 20th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

El geógrafo y ensayista Manlio Dinucci explicó que actualmente los que eran los estados de la República Democrática pertenecen a la Alemania Federal y son cinco de 16. “Con la caída del muro hace 25 años pasó que las sociedades de Alemania Occidental llegaron con fuerza a la Alemania Oriental llevando a la quiebra muchas empresas del oriente que eran públicas o de tipo corporativo. Hubo una grave crisis por este shock de la penetración del capitalismo en la ex Alemania del este”, expresó. teleSUR http://multimedia.telesurtv.net/web/t

On November 13, 2014 the United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced that following meetings with European Union ministers, the Department of Justice had directed a number of American federal prosecutors and senior law enforcement advisers to reside in key regions in the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa.

The goal of this American dispatch of prosecutors was stated to “aid those countries in bringing criminal prosecutions against individuals who return from Syria and ensure that they have the necessary laws to do so, such as one routinely used in the United States that makes it a crime to provide material support to terrorist organizations.” Eric Holder further noted that:

“Our goal in all of these efforts is to build the capacity to fight foreign terrorist fighters within the rule of law so we can stop the flow of fighters … and aggressively combat violent extremism.” The plan that Holder announced, included “the assignment of a regional counterterrorism adviser in the Balkans.”

For people who reside in the Balkans, the announcement of Eric Holder came as a great surprise. During the past few months, a number of Balkan governments including Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo etc have all revised their penal codes and made the participation in a war or affiliation to armed groups in another country punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. In line with the directives from Washington, all the Balkan countries that have Muslim populations have joined the new “war on terror” of the American administration.

Since August 2013, when the Americans changed their plans for “regime change” in Syria, and declared the “democratic freedom-fighters” against the “Syrian dictator” as “terrorists”, the Balkan states too have publicly denounced the “jihadis”. Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia etc, have made dozens of arrests and local and American media in the region, like Radio Free Europe, which until June 2013 were praising the jihadis and calling them “volunteers”, have now totally changed sides and are all condemning the jihadis as terrorists.

The jihadis and their chief bogeymen, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or ISIS) are being condemned by the official state institution of Islam in the Balkans, as well as many (the usual suspects) Wahabi preachers. While until 2013, many imams and official institutions of Islam in the Balkans, did praise the “Sunni” war, or “the Arab Spring” against “the Syrian regime” and “the Shi’ias and Alevis”, and commended the jihadis as freedom fighters, following Radio Free Europe and American administration’s U-turn, they too have joined the bandwagon of refuseniks, and now claim that the mujahidins aren’t Muslims and do not represent Islam.

So, when all the regimes, all the official Muslim leaders and almost all Muslim believers in the Balkans have come to finally realize and admit – out of desire or fear – that jihad in Syria is bad, and excommunicate en masse the mujahidins of ISIS as not Muslims, why does Eric Holder and the American administration need to dispatch federal prosecutors and assign a regional counterterrorism adviser in the Balkans? While it is true that the government of Albania supplied weapons to jihadis in Libya, the government of Kosovo received and probably trained and armed Syrian jihadis, and Croatia together with the Saudis armed the jihadis in Syria, now, all the Balkan governments have “repented” and admitted their past sins. They have all passed the blame for the 2012-2013 jihad against the Syrian government to the nefarious “Wahabis”, “terrorists” “ISIS inspired radicals” and what have you, and countries like Albania have expiated their sins by even providing free arm deliveries to the anti-jihadi Kurds, many of whom fight for terrorist designated organizations like the PKK.

So, why is this grand regional counterterrorism adviser needed in the Balkans when all is going fine for NATO on the Balkan front? Well, as the British say, the Devil is in the details. The recent arrests that the Americans and their subservient governments have made in countries like Kosovo and Albania, are not playing out all well for the American U-turn and the blame game on Muslim and Islam as the source of jihadism and terrorism in Syria.

Let us take the example of Kosovo. The mass arrests that the Kosovar authorities made in the ex-Yugoslav province of Kosovo in August and September 2014 – where the local authorities proclaimed these arrests as a fight against ISIS – have played out to be a farce. The Kosovo courts have proclaimed most of the arrested innocent, since they cannot find legal justifications for their detention. On the other hand, organizations like the Youth Muslim Forum of Kosovo have openly challenged the Kosovar government for its involvement in the Syrian jihad. In a press release issued in August 2014, they demanded from the prosecutor general’s office the arrest of Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, as well as questioning of President Atifete Jahjaga and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi for their involvement and support to Syrian jihadis.

Neighbouring Albania, finds itself involved in the same legal mess. While the government of Edi Rama has appointed as chairman of its State Committee on Cults the Salafi Ilir Hoxholli who had led protests against the Syrian government in Tirana between 2012 and 2013, it has also armed jihadis from Syria to Libya. With such a context in mind, the government is desperately trying to produce a reasonable scapegoat for its past actions. Like in Kosovo, the Albanian government has arrested many low level Salafis who are accused of facilitating and supporting the jihad in Syria. But even here, not all the arrested seem to be culpable of any crime. Let us take the example of Verdi Morava. He has been on a hunger strike since October and is demanding from the Albanian authorities to interrogate or release him. He has been held for over 8 months now and not once has he been questioned by the police or intelligence agencies! He maintains his innocence. The two accusations that are laid against him are: 1. Accompanying an old man to the Tirana International airport that was traveling to Turkey and 2. Consoling the father of an Albanian jihadi for the death of his son. Armand Ali, a Salafi imam from Tirana – whose mosque was raided by the anti-terror police – claimed in a TV debate that his mosque and all the other mosques of Tirana, were ordered by the “official” mufti of Tirana to pray for Syria and speak out against the Syrian government. So why is the government arresting only disenfranchised Salafis, but not even the Fetullah Gulen inspired leaders of the Muslim Community of Albania – whom the Americans depict as the good guys – and are charged with the responsibility to guide the Muslims of Albania away from jihad and extremism?

Even though these two Balkan governments do not have strong evidence to convict the arrested, under US pressure they have undertaken measures that go contrary to all the democratic norms. While the OSCE and the US Department of State keep quiet over the repressive measures being meted out against Muslims in the Balkans, Balkan governments like the one in Kosovo are finding it increasingly difficult to legally justify the crackdown on Muslim civil society, opposition politicians, and the closing of many humanitarian NGO-s (several organizations catering for orphans and the needy have been closed in recent months without any legal justification).

The absence of legal justifications for the arrests of Muslim believers, politicians and imams, and the crackdown on Muslim civil society, have created huge tensions in Albania and Kosovo between the courts, civil society, the American-dominated and subservient governments and the American embassies and Washington emissaries who demand mass trials and punishments for Muslim activists, whom they often depict as terrorists. When in September 2014 the Kosovar authorities began a mass-arrest of dozens of imams and Muslim believers, they were publicly commended for this by Tracey Ann Jacobson, the US ambassador in Prishtina. But these arrests were condemned by many Kosovar intellectuals and human rights organizations. Well-known Kosovar resistance leaders and nationalist ideologues such as Adem Demaçi and Rexhep Qosja declared that they had not seen such arrests even during the era Rankoviç (the feared head of the Yugoslav secret police) and Slobodan Millosheviç. Qosja noted that even though they were openly calling for resistance against communist Yugoslavia no one was arresting them en mass. How could a democratic state mass-arrest its citizens only on suspicion and under the justification of inciting religious intolerance, while Christian fundamentalists like Edi Rama’s close friend, Maks Velo who openly insult Muslims and Islam are never arrested – asked Qosja. However, the American officials think differently. When the court of Prishtina released many arrested imams and believers in October 2014, Tina Kaidanow, the Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department annulled her Kosovo visit, and one of the cited reasons was her disappointment with the release of the imams and believers from prison.

Based on the recent developments and tensions that the new American “war on terror” is creating in Kosovo and Albania, I believe that the assignment of a regional counterterrorism adviser by the American administration in the Balkans is being made in order “to save face” and produce the necessary justifications that the American officials and their subservient governments will need in order to further constrain the rights of Muslims in Southeastern Europe. Since the local governments have not been able to produce much evidence to justify the mass-arrests, the mission of the regional counterterrorism adviser in the Balkans seems to be the production of enough spindoctoral justifications and legal traps that the local governments will need to invent in order to frighten and terrorize their Muslim populations. Muslims are being used as a scapegoat in the Balkans, and only they are being blamed for the present jihad in Syria. While, it is true that the Balkans produced many brainwashed jihadis who believed the CNN and Al-Jazeerah propaganda against Syria, and joined Obama’s jihad for “democracy”, they are not the only culprits for the dirty war that the Americans and their allies are making since many decades in the Middle East.

Dmitriy Yarosh is the founder and head of one of Ukraine’s two racist-fascist, or nazi, parties, Right Sector. [He was (until August 7)] officially the #2 Ukrainian national-security official, working directly under Andreiy Paribuiy, who heads Ukraine’s other nazi party (the party that used to call itself Ukraine’s “Social Nationalist Party,” after Hitler’s National Socialist Party, but which the CIA renamed “Svoboda,” meaning “Freedom,” so as to make it more acceptable to Americans).

However, Yarosh has turned out to be Ukraine’s actual leader, despite his not being officially at the top. His nominal boss, Paribuiy, had been appointed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was chosen on February 4th (18 days prior to the coup) to be Ukraine’s new leader, by Victoria Nuland, who was appointed by Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, who were appointed by Barack Obama (the actual ruler of the new Ukraine).

As Yarosh said this past March in an interview with Newsweek, he has “been training paramilitary troops for almost 25 years,” and his “divisions are constantly growing all over Ukraine, but over 10,000 people for sure.” More recently, in October, a pro-Government Ukrainian site interviewed Yarosh and he mentioned specifically a “DUC,” or Volunteer Ukrainian Corps of fighters. He was then asked “How many soldiers in DUC?” and he answered, “About seven thousand men.” These would be his real military force, by far the biggest private army in Ukraine. So, in his private files are everyone’s individual background and skill-level as a “paramilitary,” or far-right mercenary, and they all respect and obey him as the top man. He is the indispensable person in this new Ukraine.

Yarosh’s teams carry out the most violent operations for the CIA in Ukraine (including the coup). Since these are the people who actually specialize in this sort of political operation, Yarosh basically commands the country. Ukraine is now run on fear, and everyone fears Dmitriy Yarosh. Even Ukraine’s other leaders fear him. He is sometimes shockingly public with his threats against even the nation’s President. Yarosh is the only person who can afford to be.

Here you see Yarosh’s people do the coup in Kiev in February. Here you see them do the massacre in Odessa in May. Notice how similar these two operations are. Yarosh’s mind is actually on display in those operations. Yarosh is the person who gave the teams their instructions, and his followers carried these instructions out.

Here, in a news report, titled “Nazi NATO, but No War Crimes Tribunal? Why?” you can see photos, and can click onto youtube videos, of Dmitry Yarosh’s people executing his carefully planned atrocities (some in broad daylight), during the May 2nd massacre, and (via the links within a linked-to news report), also executing the February 22nd coup. You’ll additionally see there other such operations, carried out by Yarosh’s teams.

Yarosh hires only proud far-right mercenaries, who are paid by him from U.S. Government agencies (for example, see this), and from U.S. oligarchs such as George Soros (via his International Renaissance Fund) and Pierre Omidyar — people whose enormous wealth is matched by their intense hatred of Russians — and are also paid directly and indirectly by Ukrainian oligarchs, especially by the one who (along with Arsen Avakov) actually masterminded the May 2nd massacre of Russian-oriented Ukrainians: that’s the Obama White House’s friend, the Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky. (Kolomoysky offered $5,000 for every confirmed corpse produced at the May 2nd massacre.)

The May 2nd massacre was done specifically in order to get the residents in Ukraine’s pro-Russian southeast to fear this new Government so much as to refuse to be ruled by it. (Who wants to be ruled by people who are determined to kill you?) Until the massacre, those people didn’t want full independence from the new Government; but, after it, they did. It’s the reason for the massacre — to get them to demand fullindependence. Their refusal to be ruled by these people who had massacred so barbarically in Odessa people who were like themselves, made practically everyone in the southeast into “separatists.” This new Kiev Government could then call them “terrorists,” and (with acceptance from suckers in the U.S. and Europe) go to war to eliminate them — to make a free-fire zone of the entire area in which the people who had voted for the overthrown leader live. And that’s what it has been since: a free-fire zone, in which the UN and the West passively accept, when they do not outright endorse, their extermination.

Obama needed to eliminate the people in the areas of Ukraine who had voted around 90% for the man he overthrew on February 22nd. (That’s the area of the extermination.) Otherwise, Obama’s coup wouldn’t possess staying-power as a ‘democracy’; it wouldn’t survive future nationwide Ukrainian elections if these areas of almost exclusively pro-Russian voters weren’t ruthlessly destroyed. Those Ukrainian voters thus needed to be eliminated. They were doomed by Obama’s coup-plan, and their doom was Obama’s follow-through on his coup.

But, actually, both Right Sector and “Svoboda” had shared control over the ‘democratic’ “Maidan” demonstrations against the previous President, even prior to the coup that overthrew him. That person, Ukraine’s final President to be elected in a nationwide vote, Viktor Yanukovych, did not know that the U.S. would go so nazi as that. The U.S. had hired both of these nazi groups, from the get-go. As TIME reported, on 4 February 2014 (ironically on the very same day when Victoria Nuland chose Arseniy Yatsenyuk to lead the post-coup Government), “Yarosh and another militant faction [Paribuiy’s “Svoboda”], began a parallel set of negotiations over the weekend. On Monday, they claimed to be in direct talks with Ukraine’s police forces to secure the release of jailed protesters, including members of Pravy Sektor [the Ukrainian name for Right Sector]. Mainstream opposition leaders said they had not authorized any such talks. [They were just America’s suckers among the Maidan demonstrators, the people who thought that this was really about ‘joining Western democracy.’] At the same time, Yarosh has demanded a seat at the negotiating table with the President [Yanukovych]. Once again, he was flatly denied. His ideology, it seems, is just too toxic to let him in the room.” But it wasn’t “too toxic” for Obama to place Yarosh into control over the new Ukraine. (Of course, once the deed was done, this was the last time when one heard in the U.S. about the reality of whom these men were. The myth about ‘American democracy’ needed to be sustained, and so the U.S. ‘news’ media stopped covering that news, and instead focused only on pumping the U.S. Administration’s allegations against Russia, which is Obama’s real target here.)

Dmitriy Yarosh is the indispensable person for such a crucial political task as the elimination of Yanukovych’s voters — and that’s the reason why Yarosh now essentially rules Ukraine.

He says that the reason they need to be slaughtered is that they are “separatists” and “terrorists.” But Yarosh himself had fought alongside Chechen Moslems in Russia for Chechnia’s independence from Russia. He said that their battle is heroic. Bottom line on Yarosh is that what Jews were to Hitler, ethnic Russians, and all of Russia, are to him, and to the entire movement that he represents, which were Ukraine’s Hitler-supporting organizations during World War II. This anti-Russian form of nazism doesn’t go only back to the German Nazi Party; it’s indigenous to northwestern Ukraine, which is why Ukraine has two native nazi parties, not merely one.

Here are Yarosh’s people, marching.

Here they are as an elite battalion slaughtering people in the extermination-zone.

And here is Yarosh himself, the top person in Ukraine’s far-right, being interviewed on Ukrainian TV; in this, you meet Dmitriy Yarosh personally:

As you can see there, he’s quite a charming fellow. Perhaps even more so than Barack Obama. (Republicans don’t have anyone who is even nearly so charming as Yarosh.)

U.S. politicians are lucky that Yarosh doesn’t speak English, and wasn’t born in America. He’d probably win the Republican Presidential nomination (though with rhetoric that’s even milder than what he sports in Ukraine), and go on to win the U.S. Presidency, if he were an American, rather than merely being paid by U.S. taxpayers (and by some of America’s and Ukraine’s oligarchs), such as he is now.

In today’s world, charming people can be like Adolf Hitler, or Benito Mussolini, or Emperor Hirohito, none of whom was charming. After all, America is now on the fascists’ side ideologically, except that it’s for rule by U.S. oligarchs, not by German, Italian, or Japanese ones. It’s for America’s oligarchy to be the masters of other nations’ oligarchies, rather than for other nations’ oligarchies to be the masters of ours. The shoe’s on the other foot, now, that’s all. Fascism, even nazism, finally won.

The era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ideology (which was opposed to all oligarchies) has been replaced by the era of Ronald Reagan’s ideology (favoring oligarchy, “Svoboda,” or “the free market,” and thus favoring the international dominance of America’s oligarchs). Oligarchy has become the American way now, and we even call this ‘democracy.’

Hitler, the admirer of “the Big Lie,” would get a big chuckle out of such a posthumous ideological victory. Especially since the people whom Obama placed into power in Ukraine are Hitler’s passionate followers in their wanting to subordinate or else destroy all Russians, which had likewise been an aspiration of Adolf Hitler.

Obama, however, is more tactful. Here’s what he said, on 28 May 2014, to the graduating cadets at West Point: “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed [he simply can’t spell ‘past’] and it will be true for the century to come. … America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is and always will be the backbone of that leadership.”

It’s supremacism, but for a different group of oligarchs, that’s all — America’s.

 The following address was delivered at the National Workers World Conference held in New York City on Nov. 15-16, 2014.

United States and NATO interventions in Africa and throughout the Middle East are increasing. From Egypt and Morocco in the North to Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and others to the West, right down through the Sudans, Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa in the Central, Eastern and Southern regions, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is increasing its efforts to thwart the development of Africa.

Africa is rich with mineral resources, agricultural commodities and a young, vibrant work force which the world capitalist system seeks to exploit at a maximum level. This phenomenon follows an historical process that extends back to the middle 15th century when Portugal and Spain began the Atlantic Slave Trade which led to colonialism and modern day imperialism and neo-colonialism.

This year represents the 90th anniversary of the transition of V.I. Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik tendency within Social Democracy that matured into the Russian Communist Party and the October Revolution, creating the world’s first socialist state initiating the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Viewing the organized working class and its natural allies within the peasantry and the nationally oppressed as the engine of revolutionary change in the present epoch, we recognize the paramount importance of the unity of the proletariat in the western industrialized states with the peoples of the world in the struggle against global dominance of the international finance capital.

In the final chapter of Lenin’s seminal work entitled “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism”, he says that “monopoly has grown out of colonial policy. To the numerous ‘old’ motives of colonial policy, finance capital has added the struggle for the sources of raw materials, for the export of capital, for spheres of influence, i.e., for spheres for profitable deals, concessions, monopoly profits and so on, economic territory in general. When the colonies of the European powers, for instance, comprised only one-tenth of the territory of Africa(as was the case in 1876), colonial policy was able to develop—by methods other than those of monopoly—by the ‘free grabbing’ of territories, so to speak. But when nine-tenths of Africa had been seized (by 1900), when the whole world had been divided up, there was inevitably ushered in the era of monopoly possession of colonies and, consequently, of particularly intense struggle for the division and the re-division of the world.”(1916)

Of course the African people have fought against the ravages of imperialism since its inception. The destruction of the slave system during the 19th century and the anti-colonial wars of the same century along with the emergence of independent African states on the continent and in the Caribbean during the 20th century, along with the movements for Civil Rights, Black Power, and Pan-Africanism in the U.S. and other western states, illustrates the heroic role of the African workers, farmers and youth. These contributions have informed and re-shaped the contemporary outlook and contours of the anti-imperialist and socialist movements around the world.

Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism and Militarism

Despite the existence of 54 independent states on the African continent, today the principal struggle is against a new and more insidious form of exploitation and oppression, neo-colonialism. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the leading strategist and tactician of the African Revolution to emerge during the post-World War II era, not only fought for the liberation of Ghana, Africa and the unity of the continent under socialism, he observed and recorded the working of neo-colonialism noting correctly that it was U.S. imperialism that posed the greatest threat to the genuine liberation, sovereignty and unity of the people.

Nkrumah wrote in his book “Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism” that “Foremost among the neo-colonialists is the United States, which has long exercised its power in Latin America. Fumblingly at first she turned towards Europe, and then with more certainty after World War II when most countries of that continent were indebted to her. Since then, with methodical thoroughness and touching attention to detail, the Pentagon set about consolidating its ascendancy, evidence of which can be seen all around the world.”

It is within this context that we must examine recent developments in Burkina Faso where the masses rose up against the puppet of neo-colonialism Blaise Compaore.  On Oct. 30 millions of people gathered throughout the capital of Ouagadougou and other cities around the landlocked state in West Africa demanding the ouster of Compaore, taking over the parliament and setting it on fire.

Nonetheless, the military comprador elites representing imperialism are still seeking to maintain control of the state on behalf of the mining interests and the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). In Burkina Faso, the country has been utilized as a rear-base in the so-called “anti-terrorism” programs conducted by the Pentagon.

This struggle of the workers and youth is not confined to Burkina Faso. To the south in Ghana, workers are emerging from a general strike where the public sector was paralyzed for two weeks, and the newly-emerging oil sector was hit by a work stoppage sending chills through petroleum industry worldwide.

From Nigeria and Egypt to Zambia and South Africa, workers are demanding a living wage, decent housing, quality education and a society devoid of environmental degradation.

Through Workers World newspaper these struggles are given not only prominence but they are placed within the context of the global class war encompassing the proletariat and the oppressed internationally. Our solidarity with the global fight against imperialism is the best policy in combating institutional racism and national chauvinism.

Revolutionary Cuban Solidarity in the Response to the EVD Outbreak

The most outstanding example of solidarity with Africa is exemplified by the Socialist Cuba since the early 1960s. As Fidel Castro said in 1976, Cubans are a Latin-African people opposed to colonialism, racism and imperialism.

Cuba has once again demonstrated its solidarity with the continent in practice by responding to the latest outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in three West African states. These are not acts of charity no more than Cuba’s intervention in defense of Algeria during early years of its independence; its campaign against neo-colonialism in Congo under the direction of Che Guevara in 1965; and its deployment of 350,000 internationalist volunteers in Angola between 1975 and 1989, playing a decisive role in the overall liberation of Southern Africa from white settler-colonialism.

Today Cuba sends thousands of healthcare workers throughout Africa and the world. The Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) trains physicians internationally, even those from nationally oppressed communities in the U.S.

Over the last few months Cuba has shown the way in responding rapidly to the outbreak of EVD in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where approximately 5,000 have died and twice as many have been impacted. Cuban officials recognized along with the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), that the EVD outbreak and its devastating social and economic effects is a direct result of the legacy of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism.

In order to reverse the lack of healthcare infrastructure and resources in far too many African states, it will require a decisive break with imperialism. Africa must move towards socialist development in order to ensure its future.

As historical materialists we understand the difference between quantitative and qualitative development. There can be quantitative growth without real development. Although African states have experienced escalating rates of foreign direct investment (FDI), it does not necessarily translate into qualitative development in the areas of addressing the social conditions of the majority of the populations.

It is only through a delinking with imperialism and the construction of socialism that Africa, and indeed the world, will realize the abolition of poverty, economic exploitation and imperialist militarism. Through the organization of the working class and nationally oppressed in the imperialist states we can build solidarity with Africa and the peoples of the globe.

The UN General Assembly has stated that the international community, through the United Nations has a legitimate interest, regarding the protection of Jerusalem’s unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions.

Its position on the question of Jerusalem is based upon General Assembly resolution 181 (II) November 29, 1947, which provides for the full territorial internationalisation of Jerusalem: “The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.”

This position was restated in the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War in UN General Assembly Resolution 303(IV) of 1949. According to a 1979 report prepared for and under the guidance of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the UN has maintained that until the final status of the city is agreed by the parties involved, the legal status of the city remains a corpus separatum.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) does not recognise Israel’s proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which is, for example, reflected in the wording of General Assembly Resolution 63/30 of 2009 which states that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

The UN including the Security Council have consistently affirmed its position that East Jerusalem is occupied territory subject to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The International Court of Justice in its 2004 Advisory opinion on the “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” described East Jerusalem as “occupied Palestinian territory.”

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling as he announced the new Energy East Pipeline during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta in 2013. (Photo: Reuters/Todd Koro)

Documents show that oil and gas companies are placing serious resources of time, money, and personnel into countering the growing climate justice movement. “What this speaks to is that they are losing,” says one campaigner whose group has been targeted by company strategy.

Internal strategy documents prepared by a public relations firm on behalf of Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada reveal details of an enormous and well-organized effort by the oil industry to neutralized the transnational grassroots movement which has grown up around the industry’s effort to expand tar sands mining and the building of huge infrastructure projects designed to get “the world’s dirtest fuel” to market.

Obtained by Greenpeace and given to The Guardian newspaper, the documents show that TransCanada—which has proposed building a pipeline called Energy East to bring tar sands from Alberta to New Brusnwick through the largest such pipeline ever built—is aligned with other oil and gas companies placing serious resources of time, money, and personnel into countering the growing climate justice movement which has so far successfully delayed building the Keystone XL pipelein and affirmed its commitment to stopping similar projects in the name of fighting global warming and the resulting threat of climate change.

“These tactics are as dirty as the oil the pipeline would transport,” said Mark Calzavara of Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut regional organizer with the Council of Canadians, one of the groups named in the corporate documents. “Filling Energy East would mean the climate pollution equivalent to adding 7 million cars to our roads. It threatens over 1000 waterways along the route with a devastating diluted bitumen spill.”

Read the complete strategy document here (pdf).

As the Guardian‘s Suzanne Goldenberg reports:

The company behind the Keystone XL project is engaged in a “perpetual campaign” that would involve putting “intelligent” pressure on opponents and mobilising public support for an entirely Canadian alternative, bypassing Barack Obama and pipeline opposition in the US.

Hours before a Senate vote to force US approval of the Keystone pipeline, the industry playbook to squash opposition to the alternative has been exposed in documents made available to the Guardian.

Strategy documents drafted by the public relations giant Edelman for TransCanada Corporation – which is behind both Keystone and the proposed alternative – offer a rare inside glimpse of the extensive public relations, lobbying, and online and on-the-ground efforts undertaken for pipeline projects. The plans call, among other things, for mobilising 35,000 supporters.

The documents were prepared for Energy East, a project designed to serve as an entirely Canadian alternative to Keystone that is the biggest tar sands pipeline proposed to date.

The New York Times, which also received the strategy plan, reports how Edelman proposes TransCanade create “a campaign directed at opposition groups like the Council of Canadians and the David Suzuki Foundation, as well as a small community group in Ottawa that usually fights for more bike lanes and park enhancements.”

Responding to the revelations, Andrea Harden-Donaghue, lead climate campaigner for the Council of Canadians, told the Guardian that the ambitious scale of strategy suggested TransCanada was concerned about growing opposition to the Energy East project. “What this speaks to is that they are losing,” she said. “What these documents reveal is that they are bringing Tea Party activists into the equation in Canada combined with a heavyhanded advertising campaign. They are clearly spending a lot of time and thought on our efforts. I’d rather see them address the concerns that we are raising.”

Other key sections of the document include (emphasis added):

  • Borrowing a page from the modern political playbook, we recommend a three-track approach to build the necessary campaign infrastructure. This approach strives to neutralize risk before it is leveled, respond directly to issues or attacks as they arise, and apply pressure-intelligently-on opponents, as appropriate.
  • It is critical to play offence, both to define the story ourselves and proactively manage issues. But if we place ourselves in a position where we are managing issues solely on a day-to-day basis, we may win the battle but lose the proverbial war. Therefore, we don’t consider this a response program but, rather, a perpetual campaign to protect and enhance the value of the Energy East Pipeline and to help inoculate TransCanada from potential attacks in any arena.
  • Add layers of difficulty for our opponents, distracting them from their mission and causing them to redirect their resources. We cannot allow our opponents to have a free pass. They will use every piece of information they can find to attack TransCanada and this project-attacks are part of a larger, modern oppositional effort to silence those on the other side. To make an informed decision on this project, Canadians need to have a true picture of the motivations not only of the project proponents, but of its opponents as well. This point should particularly be made in communication to supportive third parties, who can in turn put the pressure on, especially when TransCanada can’t.
  • One of the campaign’s most important steps involves developing a narrative that clearly tells the compelling Energy East Pipeline story and provides the opportunity for TransCanada to define the project on its own terms… the four agreed-upon campaign platforms of Safety; Environmental Stewardship; Economic Benefits & Jobs; and National (or Strategic) Interest. To do this, we will audit existing positive messaging and creative assets, and will meet with key members of the project team to develop an umbrella message and core messages about the pipeline
  • We will research the editorial calendars of key media and align our promotional efforts with them for long-lead opportunities especially.
  • Media will prove a critical player in conveying our messages. We will build upon existing relationships and foster new ones with key local/national media
  • Paid Media: Amplification of any promote efforts will be critical to expanding the people we reach with our stories. When positive earned coverage is published, we will amplify it using a content amplification vendor. In addition, we will use Paid Media to effectively deploy our narrative in highly contextual and targeted spaces to inform or engage the audience.
  • The identification of possible areas on web properties where “dark” content could be activated in response to issues that might arise, tied to our milestone calendar or other random flare-ups that require responses.
  • Detailed Background Research on Key Opposition Groups: We will prepare a research profile of key opposition groups by examining public records (including financial disclosures, legal databases and legislative records), traditional media sources (news databases such as Lexis-Nexis and Factiva) and social media (Facebook, Twitter and other relevant sites). All relevant findings will be compiled in a written, fully documented report, to include a summary of findings and an assessment of strengths and weaknesses.
  • We will begin with the Council of Canadians. Other possibilities include Equiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation, Avaaz and Ecology Ottawa.

U.S. plans to attack Iran with a mix of nuclear and conventional weapons have been in readiness since June, 2005, according to Michel Chossudovsky. a distinguished authority on international affairs.

“Confirmed by military documents as well as official statements, both the U.S. and Israel contemplate the use of nuclear weapons directed against Iran,” writes professor Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal.

The plans were formulated in 2004. The previous year, Congress gave the Pentagon the green light to use thermo-nuclear weapons in conventional war theaters in the Middle East and Central Asia, allocating $6 billion in 2004 alone to create the new generation of “defensive” tactical nuclear weapons or “mini-nukes”.

“In 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney ordered USSTRATCOM (Strategic Command) to draft a ‘contingency plan’ that included “a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons,” Chossudovsky writes. The plan went beyond the terms of reference outlined in the Pentagon’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR),  which called for a ”preemptive” “first strike use” of nuclear weapons against Russia and China as well as Iran and North Korea.

The 2005 plan identified more than 450 strategic targets in Iran, including numerous alleged nuclear-weapons-program development sites. The plan, incredibly, was rationalized on a second 9/11 type attack on the US that Cheney believed Iran would allegedly support!

“President Obama has largely endorsed the doctrine of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons formulated by the previous administration,” Chossudovsky writes in his new book, “Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War” (Global Research, 2012). His Administration “has also intimated it will use nukes in the event of an Iran response to an Israeli attack on Iran.”

Chossudovsky points out, “The new nuclear doctrine turns concepts and realities upside down. It not only denies the devastating impacts of nuclear weapons, it states, in no uncertain terms, that nuclear weapons are ‘safe’ and their use in the battlefield will ensure ‘minimal collateral damage and reduce the probability of escalation.’ The issue of radioactive fallout is not even acknowledged with regard to tactical nuclear weapons, neither is the issue of ‘Nuclear Winter’.”

“What is unfolding (in Iran) is the outright legitimization of war in the name of an illusive notion of global security. America’s mini-nukes, with an explosive capacity of up to six times a Hiroshima bomb, are upheld as a ‘humanitarian’ bomb, whereas Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons are branded as an indisputable threat to global security,” Chossudovsky writes.

He points out that a U.S.-Israeli strike against Iran would probably not be limited to Iran’s nuclear facilities but likely would be “an all-out air attack on both military and civilian infrastructure, transport systems, factories and public buildings.”

Employed would be “the entire gamut of new advanced weapons systems, including electro-metric weapons and environmental modification techniques (ENMOD),” Chossudovsky writes.

WWIII Scenario

He notes that the U.S. has stepped up its military shipments to Israel, its NATO allies, and to countries bordering Iran. Israel in 2004 took shipment of the first of 500 U.S.-made BLU 109 “bunker buster” bombs, and the U.S. has supplied thermonuclear bombs to Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey, and Great Britain. Turkey alone, a partner in the U.S. anti-Iran coalition, has 90 thermonuclear B61 bombs at its Incirlik nuclear air base.

“It is not Iran and North Korea which are a threat to global security by the United States of America and Israel,” he adds. What’s more, Western European governments have joined the bandwagon and “have endorsed the U.S.-led military initiative against Iran.”

He goes on to say, “At no point since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, has humanity been closer to the unthinkable — a nuclear holocaust which could potentially spread in terms of radioactive fallout over a large part of the Middle East.”

It may also be noted the U.S. currently has several, nuclear-armed carrier task forces in waters near Iran and has built more than 40 military bases in the countries surrounding Iran. The U.S. reportedly has 20,000 nuclear bombs available to use and Israel reportedly has another 200, whereas Iran is not known to have one. U.S. military spending of $700 billion a year, moreover, is 100 times the rate of Iran’s $7 billion annual military outlay.

For further information and/or interviews with Michel Chossudovsky, contact Sherwood Ross Associates, Public Relations Consultants, Miami, Florida, 305-205-8281
[email protected]

Order your SIGNED copy of “Towards a World War III Scenario” by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research Price: US $10.25
(List price: US $15.95, Canada $16.95)
**CLICK TO BUY BOOK **

Also available: PDF version: US $6.50
(Sent directly to your email!)
**CLICK TO BUY PDF**

Ordering from the US or Canada?
Get 3 books for one low price*
Get 10 books for one low price*
(*Offer valid in US and Canada only)

Britain and the Global Economy in Crisis

November 19th, 2014 by Bill Holter

David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain wrote an article which was published in The Guardian yesterday .  The headline “Red lights are flashing on the global economy” in my opinion is very true  what followed the headline with was not.  In this article which was penned after leaving the G-20 summit, Mr. Cameron went on to mostly tell the truth about the global woes but was very careful to exclude Great Britain.  To me, this sounded like some sort of “whistle stop” campaign about how well Britain is being managed and their risk is the possibility of being tipped over by global events.

“Well managed” he purports?  This is not even close to being so and the “austerity” he speaks of is only a pipe dream and no longer even an option.  I would ask him a few questions were he willing to take any, such as “didn’t Britain try austerity for 6 months or so only to find out it cannot be implemented without an economic and financial implosion”?  I might even ask him how he feels now that Britain sold 60% of their gold reserves at the worst prices possible since 1979 …but that wouldn’t be a gentlemanly question would it?

In any case, let’s look at the headline ..”red lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy”.  This is true nearly all over the world.  As a matter of fact, the “engine” for global growth just announced one of their diesel tanks as empty.  It’s been discovered that China’s “shadow banking system” had a huge increase in bad debt .  Understand that this is not the “core” banking system but this did add to China’s growth acting as an afterburner of hot and easy credit.  A reversal of this credit will surely drag on the economy and will probably even surprise the complacent as to where it shows up.  “Where” being further news on hypothecated, re hypothecated and re re re hypothecated commodities.  We still don’t know fully how the warehouse frauds uncovered earlier in the year will fall, a decline in credit from the shadow banking system can only reveal more fraud!

So David Cameron “covered his butt” with the headline, when the time comes he can now say “I told you so, you should have listened to me”.  Unlike David Cameron who is still in office and trying to cover his reputation, there are two ex U.S. government officials who are and have been telling you the truth for years, Paul Craig Roberts and David Stockman.  Mr. Roberts was asst. Treasury Secretary from 1975-1978 and David Stockman was the Director of OMB under Reagan.  When I read or first heard their opinions I can remember thinking “WOW, this guy is from the government and telling the truth!”.  This is still so today and both of these men seem to be getting louder and much more urgent in their warnings.  Neither hedges nor flip flops in their opinions which I respect as much as I do their logic.  They have been and are telling you the absolute truth and doing so in my opinion out of pure “character”!  They both say “it’s over” from a mathematical standpoint, I don’t understand why anyone even questions what they say?

Another ex “federal” employee who has been boisterous lately is Alan Greenspan.  I have recently written how he is out selling books and trying to clean up his legacy.  Part of this has been to admit gold in fact is money, it is better than any fiat ever and that there will be “great financial difficulties” at some point.  Mr. Roberts and Mr. Stockman, unlike Alan Greenspan, are not out on the speaking circuit trying to clean up their legacies, they are firmly and cleanly intact.  They I believe are trying to help anyone who would listen while Alan Greenspan’s motive in my opinion is one of “don’t blame me, I warned you”.

There are others of course but these four will suffice for what I am trying to get across to you.  “why don’t people believe them”?  Yes I know, if you are reading this then you probably do believe them but why don’t the masses?  I have an opinion on this, I think most people know “something” is wrong, VERY wrong.  Many don’t really know what it is and wouldn’t really understand it unless handed to them on a platter.  Most people are not “wired” to understand economics or finance.  Some, many, are just too worn down by daily life to bother “figuring it out” while others (MANY) just want to bury their heads in the sand …because the truth is just too ugly to bare!

I do understand the concept of the masses being slowly and methodically being “dumbed down” over the years.  Notice I used the word “methodically” which in my mind includes “intent”.  I say this because a knowledgeable and well informed population is hard to pull the wool over their eyes …a dumbed down population on the other hand will (has) stand by and accept things the “way they are”.  This is important because our “money” system is fake and fraudulent, sadly only one or two out of 100 in the West understands this.  The rest of the world still “gets it” which is why Western vaults are being raided by Eastern buyers.

Once all is said and done, the majority in the West will finally get it but unfortunately this will be too late.  I have always said that “one second too late is equal to a lifetime”, unfortunately this is the case.  “We” cannot save the masses as they will not listen for whatever their personal reasons.  What we can do is try.  I would urge anyone reading this to pass my writings along to friends and loved ones that you care about.  When you come across Paul Craig Roberts or David Stockman’s writings or anyone else “who makes sense” …forward it!  Yes I know, you have tried this and either lost friends or became the “black sheep fool of the family”.  All you can do is try!  Time is very short now, we know this because the Achilles Heel, gold supply, has become very tight.  We know this because even career politicians like David Cameron have told you.  We know this because many Western nations have already proposed and signed “bail ins” where bank balances will be stolen upon the financial collapse.  We know this for so many various reasons, not the least of which is your own common sense.

To finish, I want to link to Mr. Roberts and Stockman’s latest work.  Does it sound like things are a “little bad”?  Or does it sound like the system is hopelessly broken?  Please understand this if nothing else,  Stockman and Roberts have no ax to grind whatsoever. They worked in government during a time when “serving your country” was still the mindset.  Please read their latest,  here  and here  these are their honest opinions!  It’s over …and only a matter of time until our world reflects this fact!

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took the lead in the hostile reception accorded to Russian President Vladimir Putin at last weekend’s G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

In an incident widely reported in the Canadian and international media, Harper grudgingly accepted Putin’s offer of a handshake and declared, “You need to get out of Ukraine.” Harper’s aggressive pose set the tone for the conference, where the western powers worked to further isolate Russia, including discussing plans to step up economic sanctions over Ukraine.

Harper’s provocative gesture illustrates Canadian imperialism’s ever more aggressive role in global geopolitical conflicts.

Ottawa gave its full backing to the fascist-led coup in Kyiv last February that led to the overthrow of the elected president, Victor Yanukovitch, and the installation of the pro-western regime under current President Petro Poroshenko. Harper was the first foreign leader to visit Kyiv in the wake of the coup.

This was part of a long-standing Canadian intervention in Ukraine. In close alliance with the US National Endowment for Democracy, Canada has long funded pro-western Ukrainian “civil society” groups and political parties using a government-supported network of Ukrainian-Canadian businessman and ethnic organizations. Many of the latter hail the ultranationalists who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and their leader Stepan Bandera.

When Ukrainian President Poroshenko paid a visit to Ottawa in September, he complimented Canada’s Conservative government and the entire political establishment for their firm backing for the Kyiv regime. In a speech to parliament, he hailed Canada’s supply of nonlethal military equipment to the Ukrainian army and its diplomatic efforts on the international stage, declaring, “No one, with the possible exception of Poland, was so straightforward and earnest in sending a signal across the world to the Russians.”

This “signal” has included Canada assuming a major role in NATO’s efforts to encircle Moscow by positioning air power in the Baltic region and carrying out military exercises in Eastern Europe. Canadian aircraft based in the Baltic were involved in the interception of Russian military aircraft last month when they were in international airspace.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Harper government has moved to place Canada in the frontline in the US-led drive to contain and strategically encircle China. Last November, Ottawa concluded a secret agreement with Washington on military collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region, the “Asia-Pacific Defence Policy Cooperation Framework.” The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is also seeking to establish “forward bases” in Asia, including in South Korea and Singapore.

Harper arrived at the G-20 summit fresh from a visit to New Zealand, the first by a Canadian prime minister in 19 years. According to a report of his visit, topics discussed included security sharing—like Canada, New Zealand is one of the US National Security Agency’s “Five Eyes” surveillance allies— and issues surrounding the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The US-led TPP aims to exclude China from closer Pacific economic cooperation and place the US and its allies in the driver’s seat in establishing the rules of the capitalist world economic order in the 21st century. A week prior to his G-20 trip, Harper provocatively met with US President Barack Obama and other TPP participants in the US embassy in Beijing.

Canada’s increasingly aggressive posture, alongside that of the US and the other imperialist powers, is being driven by the ongoing capitalist crisis. Six years after the 2008 economic crash, economic conditions today are even more fragile.

In spite of the signs of growing recessionary and deflationary tendencies around the world, Harper hailed the G-20’s empty commitment to boost global growth in coming years, a commitment that even the IMF has raised doubts over. Referring to the measures the G-20 leaders agreed on, Harper said, “It basically has to do with things like the capitalization of banks, rescue plans in place before you have bankruptcies, things that would avoid a financial collapse like we had in 2008.”

Defending the G-20’s record, he went on, “We know from the ’08-’09 crisis that there are times when no national government, no matter how important—not even the biggest in the world—are going to be able to deal with macroeconomic developments at the global level.”

Harper’s comments on economic conditions could not be further from the truth. Not only have none of the fundamental problems which led to the 2008 crisis been resolved, they have intensified over the past six years. And his attempt to promote the G-20 as a body promoting global cooperation in contrast to the narrow interests of national governments was thoroughly undermined by events at last weekend’s summit, dominated as it was by the attempts of the imperialist powers to isolate Russia.

In Canada, Harper’s calculated insult to Putin was universally hailed by the media and opposition parties. Paul Dewar, foreign affairs spokesman for the trade union-aligned New Democratic Party (NDP), berated Harper from the right for restricting his protest to mere words. “To be direct is fine, but it’s a matter of what you follow it up with. I’m not sure beyond the handshake and the chastisement from Harper what was achieved,” he told the Globe and Mail.

For the Liberals, MP Chrystia Freeland commented, “There has been in the past few days a really worrying escalation of the Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine. Strong rhetorical support for Ukraine is essential and strong action in support of Ukraine is essential too.”

Media reaction was similarly enthusiastic. CBC carried a report describing the positive response in the Australian press to “the Prime Minister’s bold admonishment to Putin.” The article went on to note a report in Australia’s Business Insider which claimed that Harper had shown Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot how to “shirtfront” Putin, an Australian expression meaning to knock someone to the ground.

Harper’s aggressive intervention at the G-20 summit came just weeks after Canada joined the US military in its latest war of aggression in the Middle East. Since November 2, Canadian CF-18 fighter jets have been dropping bombs on ISIS targets within Iraq. Although Canada’s deployment is formally restricted to six months, there are open discussions that the conflict will last many years, with one of its ultimate goals being the overthrow of Syria’s Assad regime, a close ally of Russia and Iran.

Although Ottawa is moving in close alliance with the United States on all major geopolitical issues, there are serious and mounting tensions between the two countries.

This was illustrated in comments made by Obama just prior to the G-20 summit on the Keystone-XL gas pipeline, a project designed to transport Canadian oil from the tar sands in Alberta to the US Gulf Coast. Responding to a question about the likelihood of the project going ahead now that the Republicans have won control of congress, US President Barack Obama signaled that were the US House of Representatives and Senate to pass a bill for the pipeline to be built, he would veto it.

“Keystone XL just gets Canadian oil to world markets, it doesn’t help the US consumer,” said Obama. “Understand what this project is: it is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.”

Harper has made the approval of Keystone a top priority, declaring that its benefits are “a no brainer.” The energy sector is one of the most significant sources of economic growth in Canada, which is why Keystone has been heavily promoted by Canadian big business and the Conservative government.

If you still think the United States government would never harm its own citizens for the benefit of federal agencies, then I would direct your attention to a formerly classified black ops program launched by the US government starting way back in 1945. With the goal of testing highly radioactive substances on overall healthy patients through secret injections administered by government agents, the program has still been widely ignored since being released to the public in recent years.

In the covert program that is now admitted to be true, the United States government injected unknowing human ‘participants’ with highly toxic substances like plutonium. It sounds like a bizarre torture scenario that you’d expect to see blamed on illegal terror organizations, but the individuals behind this crime are actually doctors working for the United States government. Disregarding the health of innocent citizens, the government testers were eager to see how unknowing participants suffered as a result of the injections.

That’s right, they were testing the lethal effects of radioactive isotope injection on citizens. And not that it would make it any more ethical, but they didn’t even choose terminally ill patients who were most likely going to pass away anyway. Instead, they chose patients who sometimes were only suffering from ailments like broken bones.

Injecting Unknowing Patients With Uranium

It began in 1945, when an employee at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility was in a car accident. Ebb Cade survived, but was taken in as a human participant in a disturbing study he did not consent to. It is important to note that this man was a fifty-three-year-old African American, as previous government trials have singled out African Americans and other minorities. The racist sterilization programs occurred between 1929 to 1974 under an admitted eugenics programs that officials claimed were ‘creating a better society’. Most victims were poor, black women who were ‘deemed unfit to be parents’. Individuals as young as 10 were sterilized simply for not getting along with schoolmates or being promiscuous, and many parents were misled into sterilizing their children.

Ebb Cade was taken and bound to a bed with a broken arm and leg, where doctors interviewed him regarding his current state of health. After determining he was in a state of proper health, doctors secretly injected him with 4.7 micrograms of plutonium on Aptil 10th. It is still unknown who exactly ordered the program within the U.S. government, as they have managed to disassociate themselves with the entire nefarious program. At the time of the injection, scientists were perfectly aware of the negative effects associated with radiation. With cancers and radiation sickness on the rise, these scientists knew exactly what they were doing — examining the effects of plutonium isotopes on living beings.

Prior to the tests on Cade, the scientists injected animals with plutonium and noted the severe adverse effects. In some cases, animals were even fed radioactive waste. In fact, one scientist received a face full of gas and required his stomach to be pumped along with a full face scrub in an attempt to eliminate the threat. The scientists made sure that they were given the full treatment after the exposure. Meanwhile, they were injecting individuals with plutonium.

Scientists took excretions from Cade over the next five days to see how much plutonium retained in his body. They also refused to set his broken bones until April 15th, and cut samples from the bone before doing so to examine the plutonium content in his bone tissue. Fifteen of his teeth were pulled for testing. After all of this, they never informed Cade what they were doing. One nurse said that the tortured Cade escaped in the middle of the night, and he was later found to die in 1953 of heart failure.

Sadly, Cade was not the last test experiment.

Three human experiments followed, all cancer patients seeking treatment. Instead of treatment, the patients were injected with deadly plutonium in order for government scientists to see the effects. A man in his sixties with lung cancer, a woman in her fifties with breast cancer, and a “young man” with Hodgkin’s lymphoma were all given the poison. Conveniently, the third patient’s records are not available. He was injected with fifteen times more than any other individual, at 95 micrograms.

What followed is further widespread testing. The University of Rochester joined the program, injecting patients with not only plutonium but radioactive isotopes like polonium and uranium. Other institutions like the University of California soon followed suit.

Perhaps most concerning is the fact that this disgusting disregard for human health is not an isolated incident. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is but one example of secret government human experiments that have run rampant throughout recent history. Taking place between 1932 and 1972,  Tuskegee, Alabama, the U.S. Public Health Service knowingly infected poor black men with syphilis in order to test the effects. These men thought that they were receiving free healthcare by the U.S. government.

The list goes on, targeting minorities and the disabled in particular. From forced sterilizations to incognito injections, there is a lengthy history of government testing that shows the blatant disregard for your health by the United States government and elsewhere. With this in mind, is it any wonder why the FDA keeps toxic substances like mercury unregulated among the food supply?

Anthony Gucciardi is the Founding Director of NaturalSociety, whose writings on the subject of health and wellness have reached tens of millions of readers worldwide. A proponent of an organic lifestyle, the growth of alternative news, and a dedication to aiding various non-profit organizations, NaturalSociety was Anthony’s next step in what he calls “highlighting what you won’t be hearing about on the major news networks.” Anthony has appeared on both grassroots and established platforms alike, including routine appearances on Drudge Report, Daily Mail, RT, The Blaze, Infowars, Michael Savage’s Savage Nation, Coast to Coast AM, and many others.

The US Defense Department (DOD) is developing domestic espionage and covert operations targeting “the general public” in coordination with the intelligence establishment and police agencies, according to a New York Times report.

“The Times analysis showed that the military and its investigative agencies have almost as many undercover agents working inside the United States as does the F.B.I,” the newspaper wrote.

“While most of them are involved in internal policing of service members and defense contractors, a growing number are focused, in part, on the general public as part of joint federal task forces that combine military, intelligence and law enforcement specialists,” the Times continued.

Taken at face value, the report amounts to an acknowledgment by the leading media organ of the US ruling class that the American government is deploying a vast, forward-deployed counter-insurgency machine to target the US population at large.

Coming directly from the horse’s mouth, the Times report makes clear that espionage, deception, and covert operations are now primary instruments of the US government’s domestic policy and are actively deployed by the military and security agencies against the civilian population. In preparation for a massive upsurge in the class struggle, the US ruling class is mobilizing the entire federal bureaucracy to carry out systematic and targeted political repression against the working class in the US and around the world.

In addition to the DOD, at least 39 other federal security and civilian agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), have developed increasingly ambitious forms of covert operations involving the use of undercover agents, which now inhabit “virtually every corner of the federal government,” according to unnamed government officials and documents cited by the New York Times.

New training programs to prepare agents to conduct Internet-based undercover sting operations have been developed by the DOD, Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI, according to the report.

DHS alone spends at least $100 million per year on the development of undercover operations, an unnamed DHS intelligence official told the Times. Total costs for operations involving undercover government agents likely total at least several hundred millions of dollars per year, the Times reported.

The US Supreme Court trains its own security force in “undercover tactics,” which officers use to infiltrate and spy on demonstrators outside the high court’s facilities, the Times reported.

IRS agents frequently pose as professionals, including as medical doctors, in order to gain access to privileged information, according to a former agent cited by the report. IRS internal regulations cited in the report state that “an undercover employee or cooperating private individual may pose as an attorney, physician, clergyman or member of the news media.”

Teams of undercover agents deployed by the IRS operate in the US and internationally in a variety of guises, including as drug money launderers and expensive luxury goods buyers.

The Department of Agriculture (DOA) employs at least 100 of its own covert agents, who often pretend to be food stamp users while investigating “suspicious vendors and fraud,” according to the Times .

Covert agents employed by the Department of Education (DOE) have embedded themselves in federally funded education programs, unnamed sources cited by the report say.

Numerous other federal bureaucracies are running their own in-house espionage programs, including the Smithsonian, the Small Business Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the report stated.

This sprawling apparatus of spying, disruption and manipulation implicates the state in a mind-boggling range of criminal and destructive activities.

Covert operations using undercover agents are conducted entirely in secret, and are funded from secret budgets and slush funds that are replenished through the “churning” of funds seized during previous operations back into the agencies’ coffers to fund the further expansion of secret programs.

Secret operations orchestrated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) on this basis are increasingly indistinguishable from those of organized crime syndicates, and give a foretaste of what can be expected from the ongoing deployment of counter-revolutionary undercover agents by military-intelligence apparatus throughout the US.

In 2010, the ATF launched a series of covert operations that used state-run front businesses to seize weapons, drugs, and cash, partly by manipulating mentally disabled and drug addicted individuals, many of them teenagers, according to investigations by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel .

While posing as owners of pawnshops and drug paraphernalia retail outlets, ATF agents induced cash-desperate and psychologically vulnerable individuals to carry out criminal activities including the purchase and sale of stolen weapons and illegal substances.

A number of the ATF-run fake stores exposed by the Sentinel were run in “drug free” and “safe” zones near churches and schools. Youths were encouraged to smoke marijuana and play video games at these locations by ATF agents. In one instance reported by the Sentinel, a female agent wore revealing attire and flirted with teenage targets while inciting them to acquire weapons and illegal substances to sell to an ATF-run front business, the Sentinel found.

The ATF was notorious for its operations in the 1980s where it used agents provocateurs to frame up and jail militant workers involved in industrial strikes. In one infamous case in Milburn, West Virginia an ATF informer was exposed after he tried unsuccessfully to convince striking coal miners to blow up an abandoned processing facility.

The US government has steadily escalated its domestic clandestine operations in the years since the September 11, 2001, attacks. The New York Police Department (NYPD) intelligence section deployed hundreds of covert agents throughout New York City, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

As part of operations coordinated with the CIA and spanning more than a decade, the NYPD paid informants to spy on and “bait” Muslim residents into manufactured terror plots. The security and intelligence agencies refer to this method as “create and capture,” according to a former NYPD asset cited by the Associated Press .

It is now obvious these surveillance and infiltration programs, initially focusing on Muslim neighborhoods, were only the first stage in the implementation of a comprehensive espionage and counter-insurgency system targeting the US population.

Large numbers of informers and FBI agents infiltrated the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.

Historically, secret police groups targeted the political and class enemies of the capitalist state using the pretext of defending the nation from dangerous “foreign” elements.

Among the first covert police sections established by the imperialist powers were the British “Special Branch,” originally established as the “Special Irish Branch” in 1883 to target groups opposed to British domination of Ireland. “Special Branch” police intelligence forces were subsequently set up throughout the commonwealth to run cloak-and-dagger missions in service of British imperialism.

Similarly, in an early effort by the US ruling class to develop a secret police force, New York City police commissioner established “Italian Squad” in 1906 to carry out undercover activities against socialist-minded workers in the city’s immigrant and working class areas.

Moscow does not plan on “begging” the West to lift sanctions against Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

“Sanctions are not our choice at all, but we are not planning on begging Western countries to lift these sanctions, though sometimes they do hint about it [by saying] ‘let’s agree on certain criteria, we’ll tell you what you need to do and then we’ll lift sanctions.’ We’re not going to play those games,” Lavrov said during a joint press conference with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei in Minsk.

Russia’s top diplomat pointed out that “sober-minded judgments and pleas to learn from its own mistakes” have started to appear in the European Union.

According to Lavrov, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini ”urged exactly for that.”

“[Mogherini] urged [the European Union] to pay more attention to the assessment of the situation, to forecast the consequences of the steps the European Union has made, such as pushing Ukraine toward an association agreement a year ago and said that a more balanced estimation of EU plans is better than imposing sanctions,” Lavrov said.

Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated following Crimea‘s reunification with Russia in March.

The European Union, the United States and their allies have introduced several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The sanctions mainly targeted the country’s banking, defense and energy sectors, as well as a number of high-ranking officials.

Russia has repeatedly called the restrictions counterproductive and warned that sanctions may backfire on those who imposed them.

In August, Moscow introduced a one-year embargo on certain food exports from the countries that imposed the restrictions.

The United States has attempted to claim that the only way to stop the so-called “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq is to first remove the government in Syria. Complicating this plan are developments in Libya, benefactor of NATO’s last successful regime change campaign. In 2011, NATO armed, funded, and backed with a sweeping air campaign militants in Libya centered around the eastern Libyan cities of Tobruk, Derna, and Benghazi. By October 2011, NATO successfully destroyed the Libyan government, effectively handing the nation over to these militants. What ensued was a campaign of barbarism, genocide, and sectarian extremism as brutal in reality as what NATO claimed in fiction was perpetrated by the Libyan government ahead of its intervention. The so-called “rebels” NATO had backed were revealed to be terrorists led by Al Qaeda factions including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The so-called “pro-democracy protesters” Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was poised to attack in what NATO claimed was pending “genocide” were in fact heavily armed terrorists that have festered for decades in eastern Libya.Almost immediately after NATO successfully destroyed Libya’s government, its terrorist proxies were mobilized to take part in NATO’s next campaign against Syria. Libyan terrorists were sent first to NATO-member Turkey were they were staged, armed, trained, and equipped, before crossing the Turkish-Syrian border to take part in the fighting.

Images: Same convoy, different flag. Even in 2011, it was painfully obvious the so-called “rebels” fighting with NATO assistance in Libya were in fact members of long-standing Al Qaeda franchises including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Their strongholds in eastern Libya served as the “revolution’s” cradle, meaning the “revolution” was merely cover for a NATO-assisted Al Qaeda uprising. In other words, NATO handed Libya over to Al Qaeda, and is attempting to do likewise with Syria.

CNN Admits ISIS is in Libya  

CNN in an article titled, “ISIS comes to Libya,” claims:

The black flag of ISIS flies over government buildings. Police cars carry the group’s insignia. The local football stadium is used for public executions. A town in Syria or Iraq? No. A city on the coast of the Mediterranean, in Libya.

Fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are now in complete control of the city of Derna, population of about 100,000, not far from the Egyptian border and just about 200 miles from the southern shores of the European Union.

The fighters are taking advantage of political chaos to rapidly expand their presence westwards along the coast, Libyan sources tell CNN.

Only the black flag of Al Qaeda/ISIS has already long been flying over Libya – even at the height of NATO’s intervention there in 2011.  ISIS didn’t “come to” Libya, it was always there in the form of Al Qaeda’s local franchises LIFG and AQIM – long-term, bitter enemies of the now deposed and assassinated Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Images: While CNN claims the “black flag of ISIS” is just now flying over Libya, in reality, the black flag of Al Qaeda and US-Saudi funded global terrorism has flown over Libya for years. Just weeks after US Senator John McCain was in the terrorist capital of Benghazi pledging funds and weapons to the militants, overt public demonstrations in support for Al Qaeda took place right on the doorsteps of the courthouse McCain appeared at.

CNN’s latest article is merely the veneer finally peeling away from the alleged “revolution” it had attempted to convince readers had taken place in 2011.

ISIS Didn’t “Come to” Libya, It Came From Libya

Even amid CNN’s own spin, it admits ISIS’ presence in Libya is not a new phenomenon but rather the above mentioned sectarian extremists who left Libya to fight in Syria simply returning and reasserting themselves in the eastern Cyrenaica region. CNN also admits that these terrorists have existed in Libya for decades and were kept in check primarily by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. With Qaddafi eliminated and all semblance of national unity destroyed by NATO’s intervention in 2011, Al Qaeda has been able to not only prosper in Libya but use the decimated nation as a spingboard for invading and destroying other nations.

Image: Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the Al Qaeda affiliate LIFG, leading Libyan terrorists in Syria. LIFG terrorists would pass through NATO territory in Turkey on their way to Syria’s border. ISIS “coming to” Libya is simply LIFG terrorists returning from their NATO-backed expeditionary mission.

Worst of all, Al Qaeda’s rise in Libya was not merely the unintended consequence of a poorly conceived plan by NATO for military intervention, but a premeditated regional campaign to first build up then use Al Qaeda as a mercenary force to overthrow and destroy a series of nations, beginning with Libya, moving across North Africa and into nations like Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and eventually Iran. From there, NATO’s mercenary force would be on the borders of Russia and China ready to augment already Western-backed extremists in the Caucasus and Xinjiang regions.

In 2011, geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley in his article, “The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq,” noted that the US strategy was to:

…use Al Qaeda to overthrow independent governments, and then either Balkanize and partition the countries in question, or else use them as kamikaze puppets against larger enemies like Russia, China, or Iran.

Dr. Tarpley would also note in 2011 that:

One of the fatal contradictions in the current State Department and CIA policy is that it aims at a cordial alliance with Al Qaeda killers in northeast Libya, at the very moment when the United States and NATO are mercilessly bombing the civilian northwest Pakistan in the name of a total war against Al Qaeda, and US and NATO forces are being killed by Al Qaeda guerrillas in that same Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of war. The force of this glaring contradiction causes the entire edifice of US war propaganda to collapse. The US has long since lost any basis in morality for military force.

In fact, terrorist fighters from northeast Libya may be killing US and NATO troops in Afghanistan right now, even as the US and NATO protect their home base from the Qaddafi government.

Indeed, the very terrorists NATO handed the entire nation of Libya over to, are now allegedly prime targets in Syria and Iraq. The “pro-democracy rebels” of 2011 are now revealed to be “ISIS terrorists” with long-standing ties to Al Qaeda.

US Long-Planned to use Al Qaeda as Mercenaries 

Not even mentioning the fact that Al Qaeda’s very inception was to serve as a joint US-Saudi mercenary force to fight a proxy war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, the terrorist organization has since played a central role in the Balkans to justify NATO intervention there, and as a divisive force in Iraq during the US occupation to blunt what began as a formidable joint Sunni-Shia’a resistance movement.

In 2007, it was revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh that the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia were conspiring to use Al Qaeda once again, this time to undermine, destabilize, and destroy the governments of Syria and Iran in what would be a regional sectarian bloodbath.

Hersh would report (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Hersh would note that Iran was perceived to be the greater threat and therefore, despite a constant barrage of propaganda claiming otherwise, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates were “lesser enemies.” Even in 2007, Hersh’s report would predict almost verbatim the cataclysmic regional sectarian bloodbath that would take place, with the West’s extremists waging war not only on Shia’a populations but also on other religious minorities including Christians.

His report would note:

Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites.

And this is precisely what is happening, word for word, page by page – everything warned about in Hersh’s report has come to pass. In 2011, geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley and others would also reiterate the insidious regional campaign Western policymakers were carrying out with Al Qaeda terrorists disguised as “rebels,” “activists,” and “moderate fighters” for the purpose of arming, funding, and even militarily intervening on their behalf in attempts to effect regime change and tilt the balance in the Middle East and North Africa region against Iran, Russia, and China.

CNN’s attempt to explain why ISIS is “suddenly” in Libya is one of many attempts to explain the regional rise of this organization in every way possible besides in terms of the truth – that ISIS is the result of multinational state sponsored terrorism including the US, UK, EU, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel as its chief backers.

NATO Handed ISIS Libya, Wants to Hand ISIS Syria

Inexplicably, amid allegedly fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the United States now claims it must first overthrow the Syrian government, despite it being the only viable, secular force in the region capable of keeping ISIS and its affiliates in check. CNN, in an article titled, “Sources: Obama seeks new Syria strategy review to deal with ISIS, al-Assad,” would report:

President Barack Obama has asked his national security team for another review of the U.S. policy toward Syria after realizing that ISIS may not be defeated without a political transition in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. officials and diplomats tell CNN.

Neither CNN, nor the politicians it cited in its article were able to articulate just why removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power would somehow diminish the fighting capacity of ISIS. With CNN’s recent article on ISIS’ gains in Libya despite US-led NATO regime change there, after decades of Libyan leader Qaddafi keeping extremists in check, it would appear that NATO is once again attempting not to stop Al Qaeda/ISIS, but rather hand them yet another country to use as a base of operations.

The goal is not to stop ISIS or even effect regime change in Syria alone – but rather hand Syria over as a failed, divided state to terrorists to use as a springboard against Iran, then Russia and China.

Clearly, ISIS’ appearance in Libya negates entirely the already incomprehensible strategy the US has proposed of needing to first depose the Syrian government, then fight ISIS. The Syrian government, like that of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, is the only effective force currently fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda’s many other franchises operating in the region. Deposing the government in Damascus would compound the fight against sectarian terrorists – and the West is fully aware of that. Therefore, attempts to topple the secular government in Damascus is in every way the intentional aiding and abetting of ISIS and the sharing in complicity of all the horrific daily atrocities ISIS and its affiliates are carrying out.

The morally bankrupt, insidious, dangerous, and very genocidal plans hatched in 2007 and executed in earnest in 2011 illustrate that ISIS alone is not the greatest threat to global peace and stability, but also those that constitute its multinational state sponsors. The very West purportedly defending civilization is the chief protagonist destroying it worldwide.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently announced that Russia will no longer import GMO products, stating that the nation has enough space, and enough resources to produce organic food.

If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.” –Medvedev

Russia has been considering joining the long list (and continually growing) of anti-GMO countries  for quite some time now. It does so after a group of Russian scientists urged the government to consider at least a 10-year moratorium on GMOs to thoroughly study their influence on human health.

“It is necessary to ban GMOs, to impose moratorium (on) it for 10 years. While GMOs will be prohibited, we can plan experiments, tests, or maybe even new methods of research could be developed. It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous. Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect, therefore, at this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals. Bio-technologies certainly should be developed, but GMOs should be stopped. We should stop it from spreading. ” – Irina Ermakova, VP of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety

(RIA Novosti/Ekaterina Shtukina)

A number of scientists worldwide have clearly outlined the potential dangers associated with consuming GMOs. I recently published an article titled “10 Scientific Studies Proving GMOs Can Be Harmful To Human Health,” you can read that in full here.  These are just a select few out of hundreds of studies that are now available in the public domain, it seems that they continue to surface year after year.

Russia completely banning GMOs, such a large, developed nation is a big step forward in creating more awareness with regards to GMOs. Ask yourself, why have so many nations banned GMOs and the pesticides that go with them? It’s because evidence points to the fact that they are not safe, they are young, and we just don’t know enough about them to safely consume them. They just aren’t necessary, so why produce them?

Within the past few years, awareness regarding GMOs has skyrocketed. Activism has played a large role in waking up a large portion of Earths population with regards to GMOs. People are starting to ask questions and seek answers. In doing so, we are all coming to the same conclusion as Russia recently came to.

In February, the State Duma introduced a bill banning the cultivation of GMO food products. President Putin ordered that Russian citizens be protected from GMOs.  The States Agricultural Committee has supported the ban recommendation  from the Russian parliament, and the resolution will come into full effect in July 2014.

This just goes to show what we can do when we come together and demand change and share information on a global scale. Change is happening, and we are waking up to new concepts of our reality every day. GMOs are only the beginning, we have many things to rid our planet of that do not resonate with us and are clearly unnecessary. We are all starting to see through the false justifications for the necessity of GMOs, no longer are we so easily persuaded, no longer do we believe everything we hear and everything we’re presented with. Lets keep it going!

Sources:

http://rt.com/news/russia-import-gmo-products-621/

http://rt.com/news/gmo-ban-russian-scientists-293/

http://www.gmo-free-regions.org/gmo-free-regions/russia/gmo-free-news-from-russia/news/en/28934.html

Unfree Trade Agreements: The Abdication of Democracy

November 19th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

Dogmas, by their nature, are impervious to the fresh air of questioning revision. The dogma of free trade, much to the misfortune of non-corporate beings, is all to representative of this.  As Richard Denniss points out, “Like buying a house, it’s easy to get a free trade agreement if you don’t care what you get or how much you pay.”[1]  The principle of swapping a technology or a product one has with another country that does not have it, is a dandy thing, provided it takes place in the theorised control room of an economist’s vacuous world.  The legal and politics side of things tends to be left danglin, if, indeed, it is considered at all.

The cult of free trade was given voice in the UK Prime Minister’s recent address to the Australian parliament.  While David Cameron was also talking about subtracting freedoms from various UK citizens returning back from Syria and Iraq, he was also having a good go at sentiments of “protectionism”. “One of the greatest threats to our values and to our success is the spectre of protectionism.”[2]  We should resist it in “the modern integrated global economy”.

To that end, Cameron and other EU leaders are mulling over plans for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which, he has decided, “is a deal we want”.[3]  The EU member states engaged the European Commission to start negotiating a free trade agreement with the United States in June 2013.

To that end, Cameron is dismissive about domestic erosions and challenges provided by such arrangements.  “Some people argue in some ways that this could damage the NHS.  I think that is nonsense. It’s our National Health Service. It’s in the public sector, it will stay in the public sector.”  How could those flat-earth theorists assume that Britain’s NHS could be weakened by such a deal?  Len McCluskey of the Unite union certainly thinks so, suggesting that the NHS is “being taken over by Wall Street”.[4]

He has a point.  The Health and Social Care Act 2012 increased the number of private providers in the NHS system.  Since coming into force, the act has seen 70 percent of health services put out to private tender.  Suggesting that the NHS is an untouchable creature in a world of back door and overt privatisation is itself the nonsense behind the supposedly beneficial effects of a free trade arrangement.  Medical policy invariably spills over into corporate conduct, or corporate recalcitrance, if the market line refuses to play with the political one.  McCluskey’s point is simple: exempt it, or there will be union inspired blood.

Nor is McCluskey alone.  The EU itself is examining responses to a consultation on problems with the TTIP, garnering 149,399 online contributions, with 38.4 percent coming from the UK alone.[5]  In the words of the Consultation, completed on July 13 this year, “The key issue on which we are consulting is whether the EU’s proposed approach for TTIP achieves the right balance between protecting investors and safeguarding the EU’s right and ability to regulate in the public interest.”[6]

It is questionable whether the balance struck can ever be appropriate in such cases.  For one, it vests a barnstorming power in the hands of foreign investors if they feel the government in question has broken rules contrary to company interests.  This process is given a legal veneer of an international tribunal, which sounds much like validating an act of international pilfering.  The language in the agreement is never framed so bluntly – diplomats have termed this “investment protection” and “Investor-to-state dispute settlement” or ISDS.

George Monbiot suggests that this is a crumpling blow to the credentials of democracy, which goes to show that free trade deals of monumental proportions tend to undermine the role of parliament and the voices of the voting public.  They also suggest the abdication of public duty, where parliamentarians become empty projections and silent underminers of the public interest.  “Remember the referendum about whether we should create a single market with the United States?  You know, the one that asked whether corporations should have the power to strike down our laws?  No, I don’t either.”[7]

Such arrangements are becoming habitual, forming the euphemistic argot of political discourse.  Australia’s Abbott government is rushing pen to paper regarding a host of free trade agreements that will have similar effects.  Such pacts are being pursued with only the slightest murmur of protest, largely because the policy toffs are convinced that free trade is actually free of cost.  One such example is the impeding FTA with Beijing, lauded on the just concluded visit to Australia by President Xi Jinping.

Only the Greens have ventured to remind legislators that Chinese private and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) stand to profit in legal actions against the Australian government over ISDS provisions.  According to Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens spokesman for Trade, “This is a new era in Australian governance.”  The ISDS provisions “opened a Pandora’s Box that will leave a lasting legacy of doubt over the Australian Parliament’s ability to make laws in the national interest without fear of litigation from a Chinese investor.”[8]

Canberra’s enthusiasm in this regard is misplaced, given the consequences of allowing the corporate beast into Parliament’s sacred domain.  Tobacco giants Philip Morris used the trade agreement between Hong Kong and Australia in 2011 to target Canberra’s decision that cigarettes be sold in plain packets marked by morbidly graphic health warnings.  Their argument was that the tobacco maestros be awarded money for diminishing the value of their trademarks.[9]  Philip Morris spokeswoman, Anne Edwards, anticipated “that the compensation would amount to billions.”

Cameron is simply dismissive of such cases, choosing to consider trade deals as minor adjustments with major benefits.  “We’ve signed trade deal after trade deal and it’s never been a problem in the past.”  Trade deals are one thing, but the free trade deal is a legal creature that seeks to transform domestic markets with a heavy corporate code fanged by legal sanctions. It removes citizens from the process, and privileges companies as private persons who can raid public purses when their products fall foul of domestic legislation.  Like similar agreements on the tables, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, it takes place in hermetic conditions.  There is minimal scrutiny.

The final unedifying feature of such pacts is that they tend to be so loaded with such heavy exemptions and dispensations, they sink.  Running into hundreds of pages, they are fodder for specialists in international trade litigation, putting pay to Cameron’s fantasy that trade “enables the specialisation that can enrich us all.”  Lawyers and companies muse even as domestic political systems vanish.  Be wary, then, of the hefty costs of any free trade agreement.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

Notes:

For years, the corporate media was reluctant to admit that it even existed. But the special court system designed to handle vaccine injury cases — and ultimately sweep them under the rug as quickly as possible — has hit the mainstream news for its failure to adequately and propitiously compensate families of vaccine-injured children.

An Associated Press (AP) investigation has revealed that many cases evaluated through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) leave families hanging, sometimes for years or even decades. During this time, injured parties suffer without the support and financial assistance that they need to survive, and that they deserve under the program.

After conducting hundreds of interviews and analyzing nearly 15,000 vaccine injury cases, AP investigators determined that the vaccine court system is overloaded with cases that aren’t being paid out in a timely manner. And less than 5 percent of these cases are being resolved within the 240-day resolution period.

“A system intended to speed help to vaccine-injured Americans has instead heaped additional suffering on thousands of families,” explains the AP report. “Most non-autism cases take at least two and a half years, with the average case length more than three years, not including cases unresolved at the end of 2012. Hundreds have surpassed the decade mark. Several people died before getting any money.”

Vaccine attorneys get paid even if their cases lose

Part of the problem is that, unlike typical civil court cases, vaccine court cases do not have to rule in favor of the plaintiffs for vaccine attorneys to get paid. Because of this, the vaccine court system is clogged with cases, some of which lack even basic evidence of harm caused by vaccines — who cares when you’re getting paid, right?

Some vaccine attorneys also intentionally over-bill for their time since they receive payments directly from the government, a.k.a. taxpayers, rather than plaintiffs. This is necessary since, technically speaking, the vaccine injury court is an illegal kangaroo court designed to shield vaccine manufacturers from liability. But it also leaves wide open the potential for fraud.

Government stacks defense with pro-jab shills to avoid public skepticism of vaccines

Another problem is who the government brings in to defend vaccine injury cases. According to the AP, federal “doctors” are concerned about one thing and one thing only: promoting a positive public perception of vaccines, and avoiding any admissions that might cast doubt about their safety.

This is obviously a huge conflict of interest when navigating vaccine injury cases, as the government is more prone to declare a vaccine safe, and thus keep the vaccination rate high, rather than admit that a vaccine caused an injury and risk seeing vaccination rates decrease. As a result, many vaccine injury cases end up being settled, effectively neutralizing liability for the government and the vaccine manufacturers it represents.

“The system is not working,” said Richard Topping, a former U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) attorney who used to handle vaccine injury claims but has since resigned citing perpetual disinterest among his superiors to try to fix any of these problems. “People who need help aren’t getting it.”

The very existence of the vaccine court, which the AP admits was created to shield vaccine companies from liability and jury verdicts, proves that vaccines injure and kill children. The AP even uses the phrase “vaccine-injured Americans” to describe those for whom the court exists. And yet the basic premise is still that vaccines are safe and necessary, and thus the system operates in defense of this, at the expense of public health.

Sources:

http://hosted.ap.org

http://abcnews.go.com

http://www.ageofautism.com

Currently trending alongside Kim Kardashian’s photo shoot, a Missouri declaration of a State of Emergency, and Charles Manson’s marriage, is the news of the recent alleged beheading of an American citizen by Western-backed ISIS terrorists in Syria.

The latest beheading video to allegedly emerge from ISIS reportedly shows the beheading of Peter Kassig, an “American aid worker” who was captured by the Western-backed fundamentalists in October of last year. Kassig was an Iraq veteran and former U.S. Army Ranger who later became an “aid worker” in Lebanon and Syria, according to USA Today.

Kassig’s family states that, while overseas, Kassig converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdul Rahman.

The video, which was released Sunday, is over 15 minutes long and contains a rather long propaganda buildup before showing the beheading of 12-18 Syrian soldiers.

The beheading of the Syrian soldiers, it should be noted, has received virtually no reporting except for an occasional line or two describing the lead up to Kassig’s beheading.

Kassig’s beheading is not actually shown, however. Toward the end of the video, “Jihadi John,” the ISIS member who has acted as the star of the series of beheading videos is pictured standing next to a severed human head which he claims belonged to Kassig.

If Kassig was indeed beheaded then his murder is without a doubt a tragedy and an act of savage brutality. But there is one thing lacking in the narrative provided by Western governments and their media mouthpieces regarding the beheading – evidence.

Unlike the staged Foley beheading which attempted to depict, albeit poorly, the first few moments of a decapitation, the Kassig beheading video is not a beheading video at all, but simply footage of a man standing next to a severed head that he claims belonged to Peter Kassig.

With the exception of Jihadi John’s word, we are left with nothing with which to confirm that the severed head was actually Kassig’s. Considering the track record of Western governments and the recent trail of beheading videos, however, we would be well within reason to question the veracity of the claims.

At this point, it is impossible for us to know whether or not the head shown in the video truly belonged to Kassig or even if Kassig was actually beheaded. Likewise, we cannot know for sure whether or not the victims preceding Kassig were truly beheaded, although we can say for sure that the depiction of the beheading shown on film was entirely staged.

What we do know, however, is that Kassig and his predecessors are being used for open propaganda purposes. In fact, all of the beheadings that have transpired beginning with the Foley video have been so conveniently timed to the needs and desires of the NATO agenda so as to preclude any reasonable suggestion that the videos themselves were anything other than propaganda.

Remember, when the United States was “debating” the idea of becoming more directly involved in Syria and Iraq, particularly in the form of bombing civilian and government infrastructure and openly funding the death squads they claim to be fighting, a video allegedly showing the beheading of James Foley was released resulting in widespread anger and indignation amongst a general public who were temporarily yanked away from reality TV long enough to view it.

Likewise, when the British seemed hesitant to directly join the imperialist bombing coalition, a video was released allegedly showing the beheading of a British citizen, Alan Henning, also causing widespread indignation amongst the public and shoring up support for British military involvement in Iraq and Syria.

When the French seemed hesitant to join the bombing, ISIS releases a third video of an alleged beheading of a Frenchman, which provided justification for French involvement.

Such convenient timing was also present when NATO was considering “targeted airstrikes” in Syria but were concerned about Assad’s sophisticated air defense systems. Shortly thereafter, ISIS managed to capture Taqba air base in Raqqa, Syria, eliminating the air defense systems in the entirety of the eastern part of the country.

This timing was present yet again when NATO once again began calling for a “No-Fly Zone,” “Buffer Zone,” or “Safe Zone.” Interestingly enough, during the debate over the possibility of the establishment of a “no-fly zone,” even members of Congress were beginning to question why a “no-fly zone” would be necessary in order to combat ISIS since ISIS had no air force. Conveniently, ISIS immediately seized a number of planes left over in the Syrian air fields and allegedly began flying them off the runway.

Either ISIS has the absolute dumbest public relations personnel in world history, or the actions of ISIS are directly controlled by NATO for propaganda, geopolitical, and military purposes. The timing of ISIS’ actions – always in line with the goals of the NATO faction of the world oligarchy – is clearly the result of the latter.

In addition, it is also important to point out that Kassig’s “humanitarian aid work” involves his founding of Special Emergency Response and Resistance, an NGO that is allegedly focused on “delivering aid” to areas that “larger organizations could not operate in.” Remember that NGOs havenot only been responsible for a significant portion of the organization of death squads but also for the provision of medical help and other logistical assistance need to organize and facilitate the destabilization campaign.

That being said, one must mention that the SERR has received a large portion of funding from the NGO Conscience International, an international “aid” organization that receives its own funding from the National Endowment for Democracy.

It is also important to point out that Kassig himself has expressed sentiment that some would consider sympathetic to death squad fighters in Syria. In an interview with Syria Deeply, Kassig stated

Sometimes rebels want to know if I will help train people or if I will join the fight. I always tell them no. It is of course not that I do not feel terrible for the civilians that are suffering in Syria, but… for an American young man in my position that would be foolish, and regarded as such by pretty much everyone, including the opposition.

I can either be in a position to deliver tens of thousands of dollars of antibiotics for women and children, or I can be another young man with a gun.

Noting that he feels “terrible for the civilians that are suffering in Syria” and that his choices are essentially providing medicine or picking up a gun and joining the rebels, Kassig’s political leanings are relatively clear in that they express obvious sympathy for the death squads painted as “rebels” by the Western media.

Thus, one must ask the question of whether or not Kassig was yet another agent of Western destabilization working under the guise of an NGO and “aid organization.” From what little information is available, it appears that this possibility has fairly high odds of being true.

In the end, this video, which has been used to browbeat the American people and drum up support for yet another foreign military adventure, is set to be used to justify Western military invasion against Syria in the near future. Real or otherwise, it is hoped that the American people do not allow primitive propaganda to fool them into rushing to war on yet another occasion.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

Cancer Deaths Double in Argentina’s GMO Agribusiness Areas

November 19th, 2014 by Lawrence Woodward

Sharply increased levels of crop spraying in Argentina’s most intensively farmed areas have resulted in a public health disaster, writes Lawrence Woodward, with large increases in cancer incidence. And it’s all the result of the widespread use of GMO crops engineered for herbicide resistance.

A report by the Ministry of Health in Córdoba, Argentina reveals that deaths from cancerous tumours are double the national average in areas where genetically engineered crops are grown and agro-chemicals are used.

This comprehensive report documented five years of information on cancer cases in the province.

It provides more evidence that, far from being the miracle it is claimed to be, industrial, GMO driven cropping is turning into a public health hell.

The highest rate of death occurs in the ‘pampa gringa’ area, where most GMO crops are grown and most agrochemicals are used.

The ‘pampa gringa’ makes up the whole of the east of Córdoba province and is its premier agricultural region.

The provincial average for cancer deaths is 158 per 100,000 inhabitants but in four of the ‘pampa gringa’ departments the death rates are much higher – ranging from 216 to nearly 230.

Other intensive agriculture regions in Córdoba also have cancer deaths well above the provincial and national average – ranging from 180-201 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Cancer multiplying ‘as never before’ through pesticide link

The ‘Report on Cancer in Córdoba 2004-2009‘ is the culmination of an official investigation and was prepared by the Provincial Tumour Registry and the Department of Statistics and Census.

But its recent publication has reignited criticism from doctors and researchers about the government delays and unwillingness to take action.

Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez of the University Network for Environment and Health (Reduas) said:

“What we have complained about for years was confirmed and especially what doctors say about the sprayed towns and areas affected by industrial agriculture. Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides.”

Dr. Fernando Manas of the Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Group at the National University of Rio Cuarto, is investigating the effect of agrochemicals. He doesn’t think the cancer cases in agricultural areas are a coincidence.

Researchers at Río Cuarto have studied the people of Córdoba for eight years and have confirmed, in fifteen scientific publications, that people exposed to pesticides suffer genetic damage and are more prone to cancer.

Manas points out that glyphosate – the herbicide that underpins most GMO cropping – and its major degradation product, AMPA have been detected in lakes, soils, and even in rainwater in these most affected regions.

Government and industry refuse to act

Damian Verzeñassi, a doctor and professor of social and environmental health at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Rosario, says:

“The study of Córdoba matches the surveys we conducted in eighteen industrial agriculture areas. Cancer has skyrocketed in the last fifteen years.”

He is scathing about the failure of government and industry to take preventative action:

“They keep demanding studies on something that is already proven and do not take urgent measures to protect the population. There is ample evidence that the agricultural model has health consequences, we are talking about a production model that is a huge public health problem.”

Avila Vasquez demands urgent government action to prohibit aerial spraying, ensure that no terrestrial applications are made within 1,000 meters of houses, and to prohibit the use of agro-chemicals and spraying machinery in urban areas.

But these could only be initial measures to curb the excessive and extreme use of pesticides which is blighting the health of Argentina.

The only real long term solution is to change the GMO driven, intensive, industrial agricultural system that Argentina and other countries have become wedded to and to put in place a genuinely sustainable, agro-ecological alternative.

Lawrence Woodward is founder and director of GM Education, where this article was originally published.

Sources:

http://gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2014/15506-cancer-deaths-double-where-gm-crops-and-agro-chemicals-used

http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/sociedad/3-249175-2014-06-23.html

The Missouri National Guard deployed to the St. Louis region on Tuesday, one day after Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency.

Military vehicles were seen in St. Louis City and in West County.

CERFP Enhanced Response Force Package assets were spotted in Chesterfield in West County. The vehicles are used for CBRNE events: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosive events.

The Missouri Guard owns several of these vehicles and that’s what they chose to call up for the State of Emergency. About ten states own these vehicles, Missouri being one of them. The ten states correspond to the 10 FEMA regions. The program was funded by the Feds.

Hopefully, they will not actually need these vehicles.

As a national uprising grows with the approach of one-man rule, fissures within Haiti’s ruling clique began to appear this week, auguring tumult in the days ahead.

On Nov. 18, police fired on a massive march of anti-government protesters in Port-au-Prince, killing two and wounding four.

Thousands of demonstrators also marched in other Haitian cities including Aux Cayes, Jérémie, Petit-Goâve, Cap-Haïtien, and Jacmel, calling for the government of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to step down.

In Port-au-Prince, the demonstration stepped off at 10 a.m. and traveled through La Saline, along Rue Saint Martin to the Péan intersection in Belair, and then to the Delmas Road. But at Delmas 32, uniformed government forces – some say policemen, others say National Palace security agents, still others say pro-government thugs dressed as policemen – fired on the demonstrators, killing two men and wounding four others: Jocelyn Virgil, Réginald Sinace, Pétion Reynel, and Hérard Adner. The names of the two killed were not confirmed at press time.

The men who fired the fatal shots were in a jeep with government plates marked SE 02570 and a Toyota Land Cruiser.

The demonstration, which had been turning to go to the National Palace, dispersed after the shootings.

Significantly, and to the surprise of many, Kiko St. Rémy, Martelly’s brother-in-law, joined the marchers in the capital to demand the resignation of Lamothe, whom he accuses of corruption and ordering the arrest of about 20 demonstrators in the past month.

St. Rémy’s presence among the protestors reveals the power struggle now occurring between two cliques in the Martelly regime. The schism corresponds to the traditional rivalry between Haiti’s bourgeoisie and big landowners or grandon (often called, in reference to their armed expression, Macoutes), the two feuding sectors of Haiti’s ruling class over the past two centuries.

Dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who died on Oct. 4, was the first modern Haitian ruler to fuse the rival ruling groups into a “Macouto-bourgeoisie” during his reign from 1971 to 1986. He married a bourgeois princess, Michèle Bennett, and gave her family and sector lots of favors, primarily through promoting the growth of Haiti’s assembly industry.

But Baby Doc also kept a foot in the camp of his mother, Simone Ovide Duvalier, and the Duvalierist “dinosaurs,” who were partisans of his father François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, a true representative of grandon rule. Jean-Claude tolerated and took part in many of their feudal ways, like dipping into the millions of dollars in international development aid then being sent to Haiti by the U.S. government and its agencies like the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. This corruption is partly why Washington ditched Baby Doc in 1986.

Today, Martelly straddles the same divide, with a new but equally fragile version of Baby Doc’s “Macouto-bourgeois” alliance. Lamothe, his long-time business partner, is a pure bourgeois, trained in U.S. schools and management techniques. Lamothe, who built a telecommunications empire in Africa and Latin America, is a darling of the U.S. Embassy, and of U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White in particular.

On the other hand, Martelly’s wife, Sofia, is from the St. Rémy family, who are Gonaïves-based grandons. According to reliable sources close to the family, who wish to remain anonymous, Charles “Bébé” St. Rémy, Sofia’s father, used to be a lieutenant of famed Haitian drug trafficker Jean Eliobert Jasmé, known as ED-One. According to the sources, Kiko St. Rémy has taken over his father’s role as king-pin trafficker.

Brothers Gregory and Thierry Mayard-Paul are also part of the Macoute pole of the Martelly regime. When Lamothe became Martelly’s Prime Minister after the resignation of Garry Conille, Thierry was quickly pushed out of his post as Interior Minister in August 2012, having to settle for a more back-seat role, albeit with about the same salary, as one of Martelly’s legion of “advisors.”

Lawyer Gervais Charles, now an attorney for former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after previously serving as one for Martelly, says that his former boss “wants to establish a political dynasty.” The idea is to have Martelly pave the way for a Lamothe presidency in 2016, Lamothe a second Martelly presidency in 2021, and then Martelly a second Lamothe presidency from 2026 to 2031.

The principal obstacle to this scenario has been six senators in the Parliament – Moïse Jean-Charles (North), Wesner Polycarpe (North), Jean-Baptiste Bien-Aimé (Northeast), Francky Exius (South), John Joël Joseph (West) et Jean William Jeanty (Nippes) – who have withheld their vote on a rigged electoral law and electoral council that would ensure an election victory for Martelly’s candidates (what Haitians call a “selection”). Martelly has refused any compromise on the electoral law and council with opposition legislators during his three and a half years in power, leading to the current stand-off.

But the game of chicken comes to an end on Jan. 12, 2015, when the terms of another third of the Senate and all of the Deputies expire, thereby dissolving Parliament by default. From then on, Martelly has indicated, he will rule by decree, an outcome many say he has sought since the beginning of his term.

However, as the Kreyòl saying goes, “Ayiti se tè glise,” Haiti is slippery ground. Just as Martelly sees one-man rule within his reach, a popular uprising of disgust at his regime’s corruption and repression, which has been simmering and sputtering for years, is erupting.

Meanwhile, Lamothe has openly begun his presidential campaign on social media and in tours around Haiti, thereby alarming his Macoute sector rivals that they will soon become even more marginalized.

“For a revolution to take place, it is not enough for the exploited and oppressed masses to realize the impossibility of living in the old way and demand changes,” wrote Vladimir Lenin, the leader of Russia’s 1917 revolution. “For a revolution to take place, it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way.”

A conflict within the ruling class, like that which Lenin foretold and which is emerging in Haiti today, provides precisely the kind of historic opportunity for the masses to bring political change. Although popular and opposition forces have been kept down and off-balance until now by Martelly’s money, guns, and propaganda, the days and weeks ahead will tell whether the masses’ superior numbers can perhaps win the day.

Since 2006, the GEAB has analyzed the development and anticipated the next steps of what our teams have called, from the beginning, a “global systemic crisis”. No one can doubt the fact that we have really been in a “crisis” since 2008. That this “crisis” is “global” is also commonly accepted. But has the world really got the measure of the “systemic” dimension of this crisis? 

The visible part of this change of system on which everyone now agrees is the emergence of new very large international players challenging the world order established by the US during the collapse of the Soviet bloc. 

Thus, in the GEAB, for a long time we have been speaking of this strong trend of the world’s multipolarization demanding reform of the existing international authorities and/or, in case of failure on this point, inventing a new world governance (a process of invention in which we consider that Europe has an historic role to play given its unique experience of integrating state entities of different sizes and kinds).

But it’s another strong trend, the Internet, of which everyone will admit its deeply restructuring character, which beyond its contribution to the facilitation of trade and economies’ globalization, de facto connects the whole of humanity in one organic social body thanks to a network “system” profoundly different from the pyramid systems inherited from the 19th century which founded, yet always officially, our national, international and supranational socio-politico-institutional “systems” (1)

These two combined major trends helped to give an idea of what tomorrow’s world would look like: a global social networking body largely self organized and for which the institutional-political model of governance remained to be invented. One perceives from this statement the problem which confronts the world that the model will consist of small, flat, political coordination structures (2) integrated with human networks matching their administrative expertise (3).

But before this system is formalized, the challenge is to integrate these dynamics of the future with the old pyramid system… or get rid of it. Our team believes that the world is currently witnessing this combat: the tenets of empire versus the combination of mutually independent political entities, representative democracy versus direct organized citizen participation, pyramids versus networks, militarized colonization versus globalized regulated trade, national systems versus post-national ones, oil versus renewable energy, a cumbersome economy versus a digital one, banks versus financial flows, employment versus online professional activity, UN institutions versus the BRICS club, etc.

The players of the world before, mainly due to a complete misunderstanding of the motivating features of tomorrow’s society, currently fall back on all the classic tools of domination (finance, military, religion or ideology) to block the world’s “natural” evolution. This fight is doomed to failure, that is certain, but according to the speed at which these players blend in to the new style of organization, the damage inflicted on humanity could be considerable.

It’s in this landscape of the world’s systemic transformation that our team wanted to plant its usual analysis of recent news: China and the BRICS’ influence on economic and geopolitical news, the end of the Euro-Russian stalemate in the middle of the Ukrainian arsenal, nation-states’ heart-attack in Europe, hope of resurrection through the European level.

Chinese-style globalization resumes

And it works! Last month our analysis was of a world that had become Chinese. This month a number of international events show us what this fact changes in terms of global governance:

  • For the first time, the US has agreed to reduce its carbon emissions by 28% by 2025 as part of a US – Chinese agreement on global warming (4) . We note in this agreement that it is actually much more restrictive for the Americans than for the Chinese who are only committed to reverse the growth of their emissions in 2030! Even if it’s likely that Congress refuses to vote for such a strategic change of course, this agreement constitutes the first of its kind where bilateral negotiations involving the US are concluded to the other’s advantage. This agreement also incorporates a principle of reality: the Chinese emit 7 tonnes of CO2 each year whilst the Americans emit 16. For a long time, everyone has known that it was for the US to make a real effort; but for a long time the US has preferred to put forward cumulative emission figures for the whole of China with the real objective of using the environmental agenda to lobby against China’s development and the explosion of its oil consumption (likely to push prices too high).
  • Last week, the APEC summit held in Beijing on 8 – 10 November marked significant progress in all areas and China’s leading role in these dynamics (5) : the US-China environmental agreement which we have just mentioned, but also the broad liberalization of trade with agreements on visas, currencies, security, the environment and trade between the US and China, a free trade agreement between China and South Korea (though a strategic ally of the famous US “pivot” in Asia), calming elements in the territorial disputes between China and various South East Asian countries (the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam) where, in some cases, Shinzo Abe’s goodwill calmed things down. De facto, the globalization agenda has resumed, led by China this time, which changes everything.
  • On the sidelines of the APEC summit, this time its China and Canada agreeing on $2.5 billion in contracts and Yuan currency trades. If, last month, Europe and Russia had been the object of the same charm offensive by China, this month it was North America’s turn… with the difference that the Chinese didn’t need to go to them, it was the latter who went to China.
  • Even the ASEAN summit of 9-13 November in Burma, a minefield for the Chinese given the importance of the territorial disputes in the China-ASEAN relationship, enabled the confirmation of important positions for resolution, starting with the recognition of the Chinese legitimacy to call for bilateral settlement of these disputes (6) , a China-ASEAN friendship treaty, all helped along by a $20 billion loan from China…
  • The G20 summit the 15-16 November in Brisbane, Australia has the declared challenge of finally initiating a reform of the international organizations as evidence of its usefulness. The G20, as the representative defence walls of the 21st century world, will not survive a failure on this point. With this fully legitimate ultimatum, the BRICS thus take control of the G20 agenda which is seeing itself dragged into a search for a solution to the US Congress blockade over IMF reform in particular (ahead of giving the emerging nations and increased role and doubling its capital (7) ). The method of solving this blockade is even planned: a clever division of the reform objectives instead of a bloc reform project will allow their voting in by a majority and bypass the US right of veto. The challenge is there, as well as the solutions; let’s wager that even the G20 is likely to finally produce results under BRICS steering at the end of 2014.
  • As regards the WTO, there is India’s resounding victory which managed to impose its views in the negotiations of the Bali agreements. Without even any need to rewrite the agreement, India has seen its conditions of non-questioning its food security programme accepted and can sign the agreement. It must be said that the WTO’s survival depended on this agreement (8) .
  • As regards Iran, the Russians and Chinese, as well as the Germans, played a strong role in the negotiations to obtain an agreement on the 24 November finally allowing the deadlock to be broken, lifting sanctions, and allowing Iran to make its entry on the international scene… and to play the role which behooves it in Middle East pacification. We anticipate that, despite the difficulties (9) , agreement will be well and truly reached on the 24 November.

All this in just one month! The world seems to have restarted, led by the dynamics of the emerging nations. It’s multipolar, peaceful, open, and the West has its place there too.

Notes: 

(1) In this terminology we note that the nation-state always constitutes the final institutional-political reference point. 
(2) Whose democratic legitimacy remains to be invented. 
(3) By way of example, the European Community’s Secretariat for political coordination could be a small decentralized entity (made up of a handful of individuals who don’t even need to have a common workplace) working on a network to coordinate the implementation of the actions agreed within the framework of a legitimate, decision-making system (our aim here is to show how the system in 2030 would be different to the current one, not to give a picture of how it will be exactly). 
(4) Source : EUObserver, 12/11/2014 
(5) This article in the The Economist (15/11/2014), which follows the same lines as we do, is worth reading. 
(6) Sealing off US interventionism (especially) in this area. Source : Reuters,13/11/2014 
(7) Source : China Post, 09/11/2014 
(8) Source : Deccan Chronicle, 14/11/2014 
(9) The GEAB September issue in particular gave a detailed analysis of the importance of integrating Iran into the Middle East peace strategy. 

A new report by the Ministry of Health in Cordoba, Argentina, has documented a disturbing trend for those who live in areas where pesticide-intensive GM crops are grown — specifically, a dramatic spike in cancer deaths.

The report covered five years of collected data. The average cancer deaths in the province is 158 per 100,000 individuals. And yet, four of the “Pampa Gringa” districts have much higher death rates — between 216 and 230. “Pampa Gringa” is considered the premier agricultural region of the Cordoba province.

The Report on Cancer in Cordoba 2004-2009 is the official investigation which links the use of pesticides — especially glyphosate — to the staggering increase in cancer deaths.

‘Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides’

“What we have complained about for years was confirmed and especially what doctors say about the sprayed towns and areas affected by industrial agriculture. Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides,” said Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez of the University Network for Environment and Health, as reported by The Ecologist.

Dr. Fernando Manas of the Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Group at the National University of Rio Cuarto, agrees. He doesn’t believe that the increasing number of cancer cases in agricultural areas are a fluke.

After studying the population of Cordoba for eight years, researchers at Rio Cuarto have confirmed —in 15 scientific publications — that individuals exposed to pesticides have a much greater risk of genetic damage and cancer.

Manas notes that glyphosate — the herbicide used mainly on genetically modified crops — has shown up in samples from lakes, soils and rainwater.

Slow response from the government inflames scientists

According to the article “Cancer deaths double in Argentina’s GMO agribusiness areas,” Damian Verzenassi, a doctor and professor of social and environmental health at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Rosario, is livid about the failure of the government to take quick and effective action.

“The study of Cordoba matches the surveys we conducted in eighteen industrial agriculture areas. Cancer has skyrocketed in the last fifteen years. They keep demanding studies on something that is already proven and do not take urgent measures to protect the population. There is ample evidence that the agricultural model has health consequences, we are talking about a production model that is a huge public health problem.”

Suggestions on how to safeguard the public include immediately prohibiting aerial spraying, banning terrestrial pesticide applications that are within 1,000 meters of houses and discontinuing the use of agro-chemicals in urban areas.

But as Lawrence Woodward, author of the article and founder of GM Education, points out:

“[T]hese could only be initial measures to curb the excessive and extreme use of pesticides which is blighting the health of Argentina. The only real long term solution is to change the GMO driven, intensive, industrial agricultural system that Argentina and other countries have become wedded to and to put in place a genuinely sustainable, agro-ecological alternative.”

Article Sources:

http://www.theecologist.org

http://gmwatch.org

http://www.gmeducation.org

http://www.pagina12.com.ar

http://science.naturalnews.com

http://truthwiki.org

Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision. Follow Carolanne on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Please note: this article by Carolanne Wright first appeared on Natural News.

Al Qaeda affiliates are suddenly now Islamic State (ISIS) affiliates, and entire groups of militants the US has been arming, funding, and training are “surrendering” to Al Qaeda, bringing along with them a large number of US weapons. Is this a failure of US foreign policy? Or is this simply a rhetorical means to explain away what appears to be an immense army of extremists the US is once again building up to direct at one of its enemies, just as it did in Afghanistan in the 1980’s? 

Al Qaeda Morphs into ISIS

In late September, just in time to aid the US in its fumbling justification for bombing Syria, terrorists allegedly beheaded a French tourist kidnapped in the North African nation of Algeria. The timing, as with previous ISIS executions, was impeccable, lending maximum propaganda value, not to the terrorist organization, but to the United States which has utilized each grisly murder as a means for direct and continued military intervention on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The BBC in their article, “French hostage Herve Gourdel beheaded in Algeria,” would report that:

The beheading, the spokesman says, is to “avenge the victims in Algeria… and support the caliphate” proclaimed by IS in Iraq and Syria.

Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate) pledged allegiance to IS on 14 September.

Until then it had been known as part of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which grew out of an Algerian militant group and is now active across North and parts of West Africa.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, was directly associated with terrorist groups armed and backed by NATO in the 2011 invasion and bombardment of Libya in efforts to overthrow the government of Muammar Qaddafi in Tripoli.

In a 2007 West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) report and a 2011 CTC report, “Are Islamist Extremists Fighting Among Libya’s Rebels?,” AQIM is specifically mentioned as working closely with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and it was predicted most notably by geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley, that even before NATO began dropping bombs on Libya that by doing so, they would be thrusting not only LIFG into power, but empowering a regional network of extremists, including AQIM. AQIM’s presence shortly thereafter in northern Mali, flush with weapons from Libya and a new sense of purpose as well as the fact that AQIM continues to menace the region years later is the complete fulfillment of this prediction.

Both AQIM and LIFG are listed by the US State Department as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) but were in fact leading the fight against the Libyan government in 2011 with NATO weapons and air support. It would be France itself that would drop weapons into the country illegally to bolster their fighting capabilities during the conflict, and clearly, after the conflict both inside Libya’s borders and beyond them.

In 2011, the Guardian would report in its article, “Nato reviews Libya campaign after France admits arming rebels,” that:

Nato is reviewing the conduct of its military campaign in Libya after France admitted arming rebel fighters in apparent defiance of the UN mandate.

Besides the propaganda value of the September execution by AQIM terrorists now operating under the ISIS banner, the atrocity illustrates perfectly that ISIS itself is not a “new” threat, but rather a very old and familiar threat simply repackaged and marketed anew.

ISIS is clearly a conglomeration of existing terrorist organizations apparently from as far as North Africa to the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia and everything in between. In addition to AQIM, Al Nusra and many other extremist factions either allied with or fighting alongside what the US calls the Syrian opposition, are also affiliated with and fighting in support of ISIS. This is basically what Al Qaeda was, before what can only be described as a marketing gimmick “ISIS” was coined.

US Arms Extremists Openly Affiliated with Al Qaeda/ISIS  

Almost daily reports surface of ISIS obtaining weapon systems first handed over by the US and its allies to this “Syrian opposition.” The most recent were anti-tank missiles supplied to this opposition by the United States. The International Business Times would claim in its article, “Syria: Al-Nusra Jihadists ‘Capture US TOW Anti-Tank Missiles’ from Moderate Rebels,” that:

Weaponry supplied by the US to moderate Syrian rebels was feared to have fallen into the hands of jihadist militants affiliated to al-Qaida after clashes between rival groups.  

Islamist fighters with Jabhat al-Nusra seized control of large swathes of land in Jabal al-Zawiya, Idlib province, at the weekend, routing the US-backed groups the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SFR) and Harakat Hazm, activists said.  

Washington relied on SFR and Harakat Hazm to counter Isis (Islamic State) militants on the ground in Syria, complementing its air strikes.

This, however, is completely false. It was only in September that the Daily Beast would report in its article, “Al Qaeda Plotters in Syria ‘Went Dark,’ U.S. Spies Say,” that rebels armed by the United States, and in particular with the above mentioned anti-tank missiles, condemned US airstrikes on ISIS and Al Nusra. The Daily Beast would claim:

One Syrian rebel group supported in the past by the United States condemned the air strikes on Tuesday. Harakat Hazm, a rebel group that received a shipment of U.S. anti-tank weapons in the spring, called the airstrikes “an attack on national sovereignty” and charged that foreign led attacks only strengthen the Assad regime.The statement comes from a document, purportedly from the group, that has circulated online and was posted in English translation from a Twitter account called Syria Conflict Monitor. Several Syria experts, including the Brookings Doha Center’s Charles Lister, believe the document to be authentic.

Before the official statement, there were signs that Harakat Hazm was making alliances in Syria that could conflict with its role as a U.S. partner. In early Septemeber a Harakat Hazm official told a reporter for the L.A. Times: “Inside Syria, we became labeled as secularists and feared Nusra Front was going to battle us…But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”

Another falsehood emerging is why the weapons were handed over to this group in the first place. Originally, the missiles were given to the rebels to fight the Syrian government not ISIS terrorists, as mentioned by NPR in April of 2014.

Groups the US was arming fought alongside, if not directly under, the banner of Al Qaeda. Claims now that Harakat Hazm “surrendered” to US State Department-listed FTO Al Nusra are clearly lies.

It is only a matter of time before the claim “the rebels surrendered to Al Nusra” becomes “Al Nusra surrendered to ISIS.” The question will then be, how will the US manipulate the narrative once all that is left is Al Nusra, and it still refuses to effectively neutralize the organization and sanction its sponsors abroad.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The Swedish military has confirmed a “Russian” aircraft that entered Swedish airspace on Saturday was actually French. The Expressen newspaper had falsely reported a Russian plane was “a couple of kilometers on the wrong side of the border.”

The military plane actually turned out to be from France and Jesper Tengroth, a press officer for the Swedish military said they are now going to investigate what the plane was actually doing there. Speaking to The Local news website, he was unable to give any further details about the French aircraft and added the Expressen publication would, “have to take responsibility for their sources.”

The French Embassy in Stockholm says they are currently investigating the air violation. “I do not have any information right now. We are in contact with Paris to understand what is happening,” said Lionel Fabre, who is the embassy’s press officer, as reported by Expressen.

However, Janzen made no mention of the mix-up on his Twitter page, preferring to continue condemning Moscow for testing Europe’s air defenses.

The claims about a possible Russian violation of Swedish airspace came just a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin had appeared on German television to say that his country had not violated international airspace.

“Our exercises exclusively take place in international waters and international airspace,” he told the German broadcaster ARD.

Russia does send military patrols towards other nations, but the aircraft are instructed to stay in international airspace. NATO usually scrambles its fighter jets to shadow Russian planes, just as Russia does when NATO warplanes are spotted close to Russian borders.

Reports of Russian incursions into national airspace regularly appear in the media, but they are often not officially confirmed or are disproved later.

Even Washington – which doesn’t typically hesitate to accuse Russia of wrongdoing with little to no evidence – says Moscow complies with international law when flying close to American borders. The US can only say that it doesn’t see “the security environment as warranting international activity,” in the words of State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

The false allegations of a Russian plane entering Swedish airspace come just weeks after Stockholm believed a Russian submarine had strayed into Swedish waters, not far from the country’s capital.

Reports of a Russian distress signal and a grainy-picture were enough to deploy the navy, while the media concluded the vessel had to be a Russian submarine spooking the Scandinavian country. The whole operation set Sweden back to the tune of $2.8 million.

However, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, cited a Swedish Intel source who confessed there was no distress call.

Citing freedom of information requests and its own sources, the paper said Sweden’s signal intelligence agency knows nothing about the alleged distress calls, and registered no spikes in communication with Kaliningrad at the time.

“I’d be glad to read about that emergency call myself. But it didn’t happen, this information is incorrect,”the newspaper cites a source as saying.

A former self-described Al-Qaeda collaborator serving a life sentence in prison now says he wants to testify in court about what he claims to know about a Saudi Arabian prince’s alleged role in financing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen convicted in 2006 for charges related to his admitted role in the 9/11 attacks, wrote in a letter received this month by a federal court in Oklahoma that he wants to take the stand and explain supposed links between the terrorist plot and Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud.

According to a letter sent by the man known as the “20th hijacker” to the Oklahoma Western District Court dated October 23, 2014, the 46-year-old maximum security inmate says the prince assisted with his “Islamic terrorist activities in Norman” – a reference to the Midwestern town where Moussaoui received flight lessons in 2001, as did 9/11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi.

The prince financed Moussaoui’s own flight classes, he asserts, “and was doing so knowingly for Osama bin Laden.”

Zacarias Moussaoui (Reuters/Sherburne County Sheriffs Office)

Zacarias Moussaoui

“I am ready to testify about all the above and more in your court in an Open Hearing that I request,” he added.

But while his claim is being labeled “incredible” by the likes of the Associated Press, some critics are concerned that the allegations Moussaoui wants to make come from a convicted criminal with questionable credibility. Moussaoui was originally apprehended in August 2011 and charged with immigration violations, and federal authorities had him in custody as the 9/11 attacks unfolded. Shortly after, Moussaoui was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with six felony counts related to those events. He was sentenced to six life terms in prison in 2006, but an audio recording attributed to former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden reportedly dismissed connections between the individual and the infamous plot.

Last month’s letter is without any connection to current cases being considered in United States federal court. “However,” a magistrate judge wrote in response, “… the gist of Plaintiff’s complaint to be his desire to testify or be deposed regarding a long list of persons allegedly involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.”

According to that response from US Magistrate Judge Shon T. Erwin, though, Moussaoui’s claims – not withstanding his credibility – shouldn’t be considered in Oklahoma on account of venue.

“Even if his testimony pertains to acts that occurred at the same time he was taking flight classes in Norman, Oklahoma, there is no reason—at least not one apparent from his complaint — why he must testify in the Western District of Oklahoma,” the judge wrote. “His criminal prosecution took place in the Eastern District of Virginia, and the multi-district civil litigation for personal and commercial damages suffered by the 9/11 victims is pending in the Southern District of New York.”

Moussaoui writes that he already laid forth his claims concerning the Saudi prince in a deposition he provided recently pertaining to a compensation fund for the families of 9/11 victims.

Osama bin Laden.(Reuters / Handout)

Osama bin Laden.(Reuters / Handout)

“Even if he somehow got to the point where he could testify, there would be a credibility issue,” Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, told the Daily Mail“Would his testimony be valuable? That’s doubtful.”

Nevertheless, the paper also reports that in order to hear further about his allegations, federal attorneys have since met with Moussaoui at the Colorado facilities he’s slated to spend the rest of his life in.

Earlier this year, lawyers for Saudi Arabia insisted in court filings that the kingdom “had no role in the attacks of September 11, 2001,” and that the US government “has said often and vigorously that Saudi Arabia is an important ally in the fight against terrorism.”

Why Quantitative Easing (QE) May Lead to Deflation

November 19th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

“If [They're] Right, Everything The Fed Has Been Doing To Try To Stimulate The Economy Isn’t Just Useless — It’s Backward”

Preface: Financial experts have been debating since the start of the 2008 financial crisis whetherinflation or deflation is the bigger risk.   That debate is beyond the scope of this essay.  However, it might not be either/or. We might instead have “MixedFlation” … inflation is some asset classes and deflation in others.

Quantitative easing (QE) was supposed to stimulate the economy and pull us out of deflation.

But the third round of quantitative easing (“QE3″) in the U.S. failed to raise inflation expectations.

And QE hasn’t worked in Japan, either.  The Wall Street Journal noted in 2010:

Nearly a decade after Japan’s central bank first experimented with the policy, the country remains mired in deflation, a general decline in wages and prices that has crippled its economy.

***

The BOJ began doing quantitative easing in 2001. It had become clear that pushing interest rates down near zero for an extended period had failed to get the economy moving. After five years of gradually expanding its bond purchases, the bank dropped the effort in 2006.

At first, it appeared the program had succeeded in stabilizing the economy and halting the slide in prices. But deflation returned with a vengeance over the past two years, putting the Bank of Japan back on the spot.

So why didn’t quantitative easing work in Japan? Critics say the Japanese central bank wasn’t aggressive enough in launching and expanding its bond-buying program—then dropped it too soon.

***

Others say Japan simply waited too long to resort to the policy.

But japan has since gone “all in” on staggering levels of quantitative easing … and yet is still mired in deflation.

The UK engaged in substantial QE. But inflation rates are falling there as well.

And China engaged in massive amounts of QE.  But it’s also falling into deflation.

Indeed, despite massive QE by the U.S., Japan and China, there is now a worldwide risk of deflation.

So why hasn’t it worked?

The Telegraph noted in June:

The question is why the world economy cannot seem to shake off this “lowflation” malaise, even after QE on unprecedented scale by the US, Britain, Japan and in its own way Switzerland.

***

Narayana Kocherlakota, the Minneapolis Fed chief, suggested as far back as 2011 that zero rates and QE may perversely be the cause of deflation, not the cure that everybody thought. This caused consternation, and he quickly retreated.

Stephen Williamson, from the St Louis Fed, picked up the refrain last November in a paper entitled “Liquidity Premia and the Monetary Policy Trap”, arguing that that the Fed’s actions are pulling down the “liquidity premium” on government bonds (by buying so many). This in turn is pulling down inflation. The more the policy fails – he argues – the more the Fed doubles down, thinking it must do more. That too caused a storm.

The theme refuses to go away. India’s central bank chief, Raghuram Rajan, says QE is a beggar-thy-neighbour devaluation policy in thin disguise. The West’s QE caused a flood of hot capital into emerging markets hunting for yield, stoking destructive booms that these countries could not easily control. The result was an interest rate regime that was too lax for the world as a whole, leaving even more economies in a mess than before as they too have to cope with post-bubble hangovers.

The West ignored pleas for restraint at the time, then left these countries to fend for themselves. The lesson they have drawn is to tighten policy, hoard demand, hold down their currencies and keep building up foreign reserves as a safety buffer. The net effect is to perpetuate the “global savings glut” that has starved the world of demand, and that some say is the underlying of the cause of the long slump. “I fear that in a world with weak aggregate demand, we may be engaged in a futile competition for a greater share of it,” he said.

The Bank for International Settlements [the "central banks' central bank"] says the world is suffering from addiction to stimulus. “The result is expansionary in the short run but contractionary over the longer term. As policy-makers respond asymmetrically over successive financial cycles, hardly tightening or even easing during booms and easing aggressively and persistently during busts, they run out of ammunition and entrench instability. Low rates, paradoxically, validate themselves,” it said.

Claudio Borio, the BIS’s chief economist, says this refusal to let the business cycle run its course and to purge bad debts is corrosive. The habit of turning on the liquidity spigot at the first hint of trouble leads to “time inconsistency”. It steals growth and prosperity from the future, and pulls the interest rate structure far below its (Wicksellian) natural rate. “The risk is that the global economy may be in a deceptively stable disequilibrium,” he said.

Mr Borio worries what will happen when the next downturn hits. “So far, institutional set-ups have proved remarkably resilient to the huge shock of the Great Financial Crisis and its tumultuous aftermath. But could (they) withstand yet another shock?” he said.

“There are troubling signs that globalisation may be in retreat. There is a risk of yet another epoch-defining and disruptive seismic shift in the underlying economic regimes. This would usher in an era of financial and trade protectionism. It has happened before, and it could happen again,” he said.

The Economist reported last year:

Is QE deflationary? Yes, quite obviously so. Consider:

  • A central bank that is deploying QE is almost certainly at the zero lower bound.
  • QE will only help get an economy off the zero lower bound if paired with a commitment to higher future inflation.
  • If a central bank is deploying QE over a long period of time, that means it has not paired QE with a commitment to higher future inflation.
  • Prolonged QE is effectively a signal that the central bank is unwilling commit to higher inflation.
  • QE therefore reinforces expectations that economic activity will run below potential and demand shocks will not be completely offset.
  • QE will be associated with a general disinflationary trend.

Don’t believe me? Here is a chart of 5-year breakevens since September of 2012, when the Fed began QE3, the first asset-purchase plan with no set end date:

(The article then goes onto say that QE can be deflationary or inflationary depending on what else the central bank is doing.)

Michala Marcussen – global head of economics at Société Générale – believes that QE may be deflationary in the long run because:

Excess capacity is deflationary and the means to deal with it is to shut it down. Indeed, we expect China [which also engaged in massive QE] for now to exert deflationary pressure on the global economy.

***

Unproductive investment is by nature ultimately deflationary. This is a point also worth recalling when investing in paper assets fuelled by QE liquidity and not underpinned by sustainable economic growth.

Prominent economist John Cochrane thinks he knows why. As he explained last year:

Here I graphed an interest rate rise from 0 to 5% (blue dash)  and the possible equilibrium values for inflation (red). (I used κ=1 ρ=1 ).

As you can see, it’s perfectly possible, despite the price-stickiness of the new-Keynesian Phillips curve, to see the super-neutral result, inflation rises instantly.

***

Obviously this is not the last word. But, it’s interesting how easy it is to get positive inflation out of an interest rate rise in this simple new-Keynesian model with price stickiness.

So, to sum up, the world is different. Lessons learned in the past do not necessarily apply to the interest on ample excess reserves world to which we are (I hope!) headed. The mechanisms that prescribe a negative response of inflation to interest rate increases are a lot more tenuous than you might have thought. Given the downward drift in inflation, it’s an idea that’s worth playing with.

Bloomberg noted earlier this month:

Now, the Neo-Fisherites [including Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota] have been joined by a very heavy hitter — University of Chicago economist John Cochrane. In a new paper called “Monetary Policy with Interest on Reserves,” he explains a mechanism by which higher interest rates raise inflation. Unlike Williamson’s model, Cochrane’s model obtains a Neo-Fisherian result without appealing to fiscal policy. In fact, he finds that in some cases, raising interest rates can even stimulate the economy in the short term! He concludes succinctly:

The basic logic is pretty simple: raising nominal interest rates either raises inflation or raises real interest rates. If it raises real interest rates, it must raise consumption growth. The prediction is only counterintuitive because for so long we have persuaded ourselves of the opposite[.]

Cochrane has a simple explanation of the model’s key predictions on his blog. He hypothesizes that now that the Fed pays interest on the reserves that banks hold with the Fed, monetary policy will be even more Neo-Fisherian — i.e., even more perverse.

***

Cochrane’s arguments are based on simple equations that are at the heart of most modern macroeconomic models. If the Neo-Fisherites are right, then everything the Fed has been doing to try to stimulate the economy isn’t just useless — it’s backward.

Now, the overwhelming majority of empirical studies tell us that QE, and Fed easing in general, tends to raise inflation in the short term. But what if that’s at the cost of lower inflation in the long term? Japan has been holding interest rates at zero for many years, and its economy has been in and out of deflation. Massive QE has noticeably failed to make the U.S. hit its 2 percent inflation target. What if mainstream macroeconomics has it all upside down, and prolonged periods of low interest rates trap us in a kind of secular stagnation that is totally different from the kind Harvard economist Larry Summers talks about?

It’s a disquieting thought.

One of the main architects of Japan’s QE program – Richard Koo – Chief Economist at the Nomura Research Institute – explains that QE helps in the short-run … but hurts the economy in the long run(via Business Insider):

Initially, long-term interest rates fall much more than they would in a country without such a policy, which means the subsequent economic recovery comes sooner (t1). But as the economy picks up, long-term rates rise sharply as local bond market participants fear the central bank will have to mop up all the excess reserves by unloading its holdings of long-term bonds.

Demand then falls in interest rate sensitive sectors such as automobiles and housing, causing the economy to slow and forcing the central bank to relax its policy stance. The economy heads towards recovery again, but as market participants refocus on the possibility of the central bank absorbing excess reserves, long-term rates surge in a repetitive cycle I have dubbed the QE “trap.”

In countries that do not engage in quantitative easing, meanwhile, the decline in long-term rates is more gradual, which delays the start of the recovery (t2). But since there is no need for the central bank to mop up large quantities of funds, everybody is no more relaxed once the recovery starts, and the rise in long-term rates is far more gradual. Once the economy starts to turn around, the pace of recovery is actually faster because interest rates are lower. This is illustrated in Figure 2.

costs of qeIndeed, things which temporarily goose the economy in the short-run often kill it in the long-run … such as suppressing volatility.

Postscript:   Quantitative easing fails in many other ways, as well …

The original inventor of QE  – and the former long-term head of the Federal Reserve– say that QE has failed to help the economy.  Numerous academic studies confirm this.  And see this.

Economists also note that QE helps the rich … but hurts the little guy. QE is one of the main causes of inequality (and see this and this).    And economists now admit that runaway inequality cripples the economy.  So QE indirectly hurts the economy by fueling runaway inequality.

A high-level Federal Reserve official says QE is “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time”.  And the “Godfather” of Japan’s monetary policy admits that it “is a Ponzi game”.

The Rule of Lawlessness: The EU’s Mission to Kosovo

November 19th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

Foreign missions are ostensibly sent to monitor and correct perceived problems on the ground.  They are equipped with the language of appropriate righteousness, and the clothing of good will.  That, at least, is what the operation brief is meant to state.  Often, the language fades. 

The mission suffers metamorphosis.  Deals are done on the ground. Money changes hands. Favours are done.  It is not so much building Rome as becoming Rome that becomes important. Join what one cannot change – many local conditions simply resist transformation from the outside.

The EU’s rule of law mission in Kosovo, Eulex, was one such creation. It remains the EU’s biggest foreign crisis mission, despite a slimming operation that cut staff from 2,200 to 1,600. The Economist suggested, rather freely, that the deployment of Eulex in 2008 “delighted” Kosovars.  “Many hoped it would stamp out organised crime and corruption.”[1]  Certainly, the legal infrastructure on the ground proved sparse and susceptible to manipulation.  But the big fish were never going to enter Eulex’s nets. They were the political untouchables, at least without sufficient evidence for conviction.  The reputation of the group, as a result, waned.

Critics started gathering ammunition.  Andrea Capussela, formerly involved in the economic side of things in the EU’s policy in Kosovo, found Eulex indifferent, even timid, in getting the cores of corruption.  At worst, it proved craven.  The errors in the prosecution side of things started mounting.  Prominent local Kosovars, instead of facing a legal brief, found themselves in clover.

The prosecution process has also proven erratic.  Oliver Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb noted for efforts of reconciliation in the north of the province, has been indicted for war crimes allegedly committed against Albanians whilst being a “Bridge Watcher”.[2]  In contrast Azem Syla, close to Kosovo’s prime minister, had the whistle blown on him in 2009 as being the hand behind several killings.  The case is still being investigated by Eulex staff (The Economist, Nov 15).

Gabriele Meucci, the head of the mission, stuck to the high ground at a press conference in Pristina on October 30.  His staff were trying to “make Kosovo a better place for its people and their children… they deserve to do their work and go home at night to their families free from the suspicion of corruption.”[3]  He makes the point that Eulex cannot abide corruption, having a “zero tolerance” policy towards it.  It conducts 100 internal investigations a year, which one would think suggests that both the fruits and barrel are rotten.

The British investigator, Maria Bamieh, is convinced by it.  She has come out with some material on the mission, and it is not pretty.  Bamieh herself has done a stint of whistleblowing that has gotten her former superiors riled up, notably those happy to go home and night, spending time with their families free from the suspicion of corruption.   She claims that she “suffered victimisation” from that most unfortunate of bureaucratic creations: the second line manager. (To deal with one is a terror; two, a monstrosity.)

The lid was blown off with the obtaining of internal Eulex files by Kosovo’s leading daily, Koha Ditore, though the paper denies that Bamieh was the direct source of the leaked material. The files made truly dirty reading.  Close links between suspects in criminal cases and Eulex officials were noted.  Bamieh herself alleged that the former chairman of Eulex’s Assembly of Judges, Francesco Florit, and chief prosecutor Jaroslava Novotna, had endeavoured to shut down cases in return for cash in 2012 and 2013.  The money offered was far from paltry – Florit is alleged to have received 350,000 Euros for dropping the murder case in question.[4]  He denies doing so.

A rather dark turn for the worst were efforts on the part of Eulex to issue Koha Ditore reporter, Vehbi Kajtazi, with veiled threats when he went to speak to officials prior to publishing the expose. According to the paper’s editor-in-chief, “when he [Kajtazi] went to meet them all they wanted to talk about was how difficult life could become for him… to give him the message that if he published the story, he might face criminal prosecution” (EU Observer, Oct 30).

During the course of her employment, Bamieh faced an assortment of practices in Eulex, some of which she duly noted.  Bureaucracy, paradoxically, doesn’t necessarily become impersonal and cold over time. It can become intimate, almost incestuously so, provided it exudes a certain public morality, keeping up appearances, doing the right paperwork.  Friends appoint friends, and the familiar face becomes the reliable face.  The dangerous face is one who doesn’t play along, who decides, rather, to remind the organisation about its operating script.

It was obvious that Bamieh had to go.  She had done a bit too much pissing in an already polluted pool.  The cleaners were coming in – for her.  In being interviewed for her own position, Bamieh claimed that the officious line manager was on the panel.  There was no batting of eyelids – this had become the unquestioned pro-forma, but Bamieh objected.  She then faced two senior colleagues who worked closely with the line manager.  Other candidates of considerable quality were ignored in selection.  Such refuse is hard to shake.

Bamieh also fears good, old fashioned retribution.  She is on record to the Gazeta Express that a certain “N.C.” may be on to her “because I am exposing some data.  He is a cold-blooded killer.”  While such fears might be far fetched, it is certainly not a stretch to presume that a mission undertaken in the name of law becomes indignant when its failure to achieve it becomes public.  A rule of law mission, when it becomes indifferent to its own code, is hardly a body worth taking seriously by the locals.  This is the rule of money in envelopes, protection, and sweet deals.

As for Eulex, an investigation has commenced under the auspices of Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign-policy chief. It is not set to be wide reaching, and will have to face the likes of senior Eulex official, Jonathan Ratel, who is also said to be a master disruptor of internal reviews. Whatever is found will not detract from the harm already done.  Trials of such figures as Ivanovic may well be shrouded in doubt, though the President of the Board of Banja Luka assisting Serbs in Kosovo, Milorad Arlov is confident of an acquittal.[5]  As the rule of law withers, the question being asked now is who is being left out of the dock?

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

Notes

CIA Targeted Assassinations by Induced Heart Attack and Cancer

November 19th, 2014 by Global Research News

Published in 2010 by Signs of the Times, first posted on GR on June 27, 2013

by Press Core

In 1975, during the Church Committee hearings, the existence of a secret assassination weapon came to light. The CIA had developed a poison that caused the victim to have an immediate heart attack. This poison could be frozen into the shape of a dart and then fired at high speed from a pistol. The gun was capable of shooting the icy projectile with enough speed that the dart would go right through the clothes of the target and leave just a tiny red mark. Once in the body the poison would melt and be absorbed into the blood and cause a heart attack! The poison was developed to be undetectable by modern autopsy procedures.

Can you give a person cancer?

If cancer in animals can be caused by injecting them with cancer viruses and bacteria, it would certainly be possible to do the same with human beings!

In 1931, Cornelius Rhoads, a pathologist from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, purposely infects human test subjects in Puerto Rico with cancer cells; 13 of them died. Though a Puerto Rican doctor later discovers that Rhoads purposely covered up some of the details of his experiment and Rhoads himself gives a written testimony stating he believes that all Puerto Ricans should be killed, he later goes on to establish the U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Fort Detrick Maryland (origin of the HIV/AIDS virus, the Avian Flu virus and the Swine Flu / A-H1N1 virus), Utah and Panama, and is named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, where he begins a series of radiation exposure experiments on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients.

The answer to the question – Can you give a person cancer – is yes.  After nearly 80 years of research and development there is now a way to simulate a real heart attack and to give a healthy person cancer. Both have been used as a means of assassination. Only a very skilled pathologist, who knew exactly what to look for at an autopsy, could distinguish an assassination induced heart attack or cancer from the real thing.

Is death by heart attack, burst aneurysm, of cerebral hemorrhage a “natural cause”? Not if government agencies have found a way to influence your heart rate, blood pressure, or vascular dilatation. Neurological research has found that the brain has specific frequencies for each voluntary movement called preparatory sets. By firing at your chest with a microwave beam containing the ELF signals given off by the heart, this organ can be put into a chaotic state, the so-called heart attack. In this way, high profile leaders of political parties who are prone to heart attacks can be killed off before they cause any trouble. Jack Ruby died of cancer a few weeks after his conviction for murder had been overruled in appeals court and he was ordered to stand trial outside of Dallas – thus allowing him to speak freely if he so desired. There was little hesitancy in Jack Ruby killing Lee Harvey Oswald in order to prevent him from talking, so there is no reason to suspect that any more consideration would have been shown Jack Ruby if he had posed a threat to people in the US government who had conspired to murder the president of the United States – John F Kennedy.

Matt Simmons, an oil industry expert, was assassinated for turning whistle blower over the Obama administration coverup of the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Investment banker Matt Simmons, who died suddenly, was an energy industry insider and presidential adviser whose profile soared when he wrote that Saudi Arabia is running out of oil and world production is peaking. Simmons, 67, died at his vacation home in Maine. An autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office concluded Monday that he died from accidental drowning “with heart disease as a contributing factor.”

His 2005 best-selling book, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, brought him a wider audience. The book argued that Saudi Arabia vastly overstated the size of its oil reserves and that the world was on the verge of a severe oil shortage as the largest oil fields become depleted. This revelation is backed up by Iran. Iran knows the Middle East oil supply is quickly drying up and for that reason it is now focusing on building nuclear reactors. Once the oil runs out Iran will be the only country in the Middle East that will be energy self-sufficient. All of the other Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia will become Third World impoverished states.

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was also assassinated. He was found dead in the detention center at The Hague tribunal. Mr Milosevic faced charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged central role in the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo during the 1990s. He also faced genocide charges over the 1992-95 Bosnia war, in which 100,000 people died.

Milosevic wrote a letter one day before his death claiming he was being poisoned to death in jail. An autopsy verified his claim as it showed that Milosevic’s body contained a drug that rendered his usual medication for high blood pressure and his heart condition ineffective, causing the heart attack that led to his death.

Former MI6 agent Richard Tomlinson told reporters that he saw documents in 1992 that discussed assassinating Milosevic by means of a staged car accident, where the driver would be blinded by a flash of light and remote controlled brake failure enacted to cause the crash. This exact same technique was utilized for real in the murder of Princess Diana.

If Milosevic was murdered, who would ultimately be responsible? NATO.

Why NATO?

Because, though the ICTY (or ‘Hague Tribunal’) presents itself to the world as a UN body, NATO officials have themselves made clear, in public, that it really belongs to NATO. NATO appointed the prosecutors, and the judges who ruled out investigating any war crimes accusations against NATO. It follows that Slobodan Milosevic, who was a prisoner of the Hague Tribunal’s Scheveningen prison when he died, was a prisoner of NATO. NATO had both motive and opportunity to kill him.

In March 2002, Milosevic presented the NATO controlled Hague tribunal with FBI documents proving that both the United States government and NATO provided financial and military support for Al-Qaeda to aid the Kosovo Liberation Army in its war against Serbia. This didn’t go down too well at the Pentagon and the White House, who at the time were trying to sell a war on terror and gearing up to justify invading Iraq.

During Milosevic’s trial for war crimes NATO alleged that the Serbs had committed a massacre of Albanian civilians in the Kosovo town of Racak. Evidence presented in the court showed that NATO’s claim was a hoax. This is especially embarrassing because the allegation of a massacre at Racak was the excuse that NATO used to begin bombing the Serbs on 24 March 1999 (the carpet bombing were done by the United States Air Force -authorized by then president Bill and Hillary Clinton). Then NATO claimed that the Serbs had supposedly been murdering 100,000 Albanian civilians. However, NATO’s own forensics reported that they could not find even one body of an Albanian civilian murdered by Milosevic’s forces. The failure to find any bodies eventually led to NATO’s absurd claim that the Serbs had supposedly covered up the genocide by moving the many thousands of bodies in freezer trucks deep into Serbia (while Bill Clinton was carpet bombing the place) without leaving a single trace of evidence. But the Hague tribunal showed these accusations to be entirely fraudulent as well.

Milosevic made several speeches in which he discussed how a group of shadowy internationalists had caused the chaos in the Balkans because it was the next step on the road to a “new world order.”

During a February 2000 Serbian Congressional speech, Milosevic stated,

“Small Serbia and people in it have demonstrated that resistance is possible. Applied at a broader level, it was organized primarily as a moral and political rebellion against tyranny, hegemony, monopolism, generating hatred, fear and new forms of violence and revenge against champions of freedom among nations and people, such a resistance would stop the escalation of modern time inquisition. Uranium bombs, computer manipulations, drug-addicted young assassins and bribed of blackmailed domestic thugs, promoted to the allies of the new world order, these are the instruments of inquisition which have surpassed, in their cruelty and cynicism, all previous forms of revengeful violence committed against the mankind in the past.”

Evidence linking Milosevic to genocides like Srebrenica, in which 7,000 Muslims died, was proven to be fraudulent. In fact, Srebrenica was a ‘UN safe zone’, yet just like Rwanda, UN peacekeepers deliberately withdrew and allowed the massacre to unfold, then blamed Milosevic. Milosevic’s exposure of UN involvement in the Srebrenica massacre was another reason why tribunal transcripts were heavily edited and censored by NATO, and another contributing factor for NATO to murder him while he was in their custody.NATO’s Hague Tribunal was clearly a kangaroo court whose sole purpose was to convince ordinary people all over the world that NATO’s destruction of Yugoslavia was justified. Since NATO failed to show this in its own court (a total absence of evidence did make this difficult), there is indeed a powerful NATO motive to murder Milosevic – to prevent his acquittal. In this way, NATO can continue to claim that Milosevic was guilty, and nobody would begin to look into the mountain of evidence that showed that it was NATO leaders (particularly US president Bill Clinton) who committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Yugoslavia.

So many people have been done in by cancer at a convenient time in history that it is now time to ask the question “who is assassinating people by giving their target cancer or inducing a massive heart attack”? Who ordered the hits and why?

Mr. Charles Senseney, a CIA weapon developer at Fort Detrick, Maryland, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in September 1975 where he described an umbrella poison dart gun he had made. He said it was always used in crowds with the umbrella open, firing through the webing so it would not attract attention. Since it was silent, no one in the crowd could hear it and the assassin merely would fold up the umbrella and saunter away with the crowd.

Video footage of the assassination of John F Kennedy shows this umbrella gun being used in Dealey Plaza. Video evidence of the events of November 22, 1963 shows that the first shot fired on the fateful day had always seemed to have had a paralytic effect on Kennedy. His fists were clenched and his head, shoulders and arms seemed to stiffen. An autopsy revealed that there was a small entrance wound in his neck but no evidence of a bullet path through his neck and no bullet was ever recovered that matched that small size.

Charles Senseney testified that his Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick had received assignments from the CIA to develop exotic weaponry. One of the weapons was a hand-held dart gun that could shoot a poison dart into a guard dog to put it out of action for several hours. The dart and the poison left no trace so that examination would not reveal that the dogs had been put out of action. The CIA ordered about 50 of these weapons and used them operationally.

Senseney said that the darts could have been used to kill human beings and he could not rule out the possibility that this had been done by the CIA.A special type of poison developed for the CIA induces a heart attack and leaves no trace of any external influence unless an autopsy is conducted to check for this particular poison. The CIA revealed this poison in various accounts in the early 1970s. The CIA even revealed the weapon that fired those darts that induces a heart attack at a congressional hearing.

The dart from this secret CIA weapon can penetrate clothing and leave nothing but a tiny red dot on the skin. On penetration of the deadly dart, the individual targeted for assassination may feel as if bitten by a mosquito, or they may not feel anything at all. The poisonous dart completely disintegrates upon entering the target. The lethal poison then rapidly enters the bloodstream causing a heart attack. Once the damage is done, the poison denatures quickly, so that an autopsy is very unlikely to detect that the heart attack resulted from anything other than natural causes.

A former CIA agent disclosed that the darts were made of a frozen form of the liquid poison. She disclosed that the dart would melt within the target and would only leave a very tiny red dot at the entry point – the same type of small entrance wound that was found during the autopsy of John F Kennedy.For over 50 years assassinations have been carried out so skillfully as to leave the impression that the victims died from natural causes. Details of some of the techniques used to achieve this were brought to light in 1961 when professional KGB assassin Bogdan Stashinskiy defected to the West and revealed that he had successfully performed two such missions. In 1957 he killed Ukrainian emigré writer Lev Rebet in Munich with a poison vapor gun which left the victim dead of an apparent heart attack. In 1959, the same type of weapon was used on Ukrainian emigré leader Stepan Bandera, although Bandera’s death was never fully accepted as having been from natural causes.

Among the witnesses, important people and conspirators who might have been eliminated by induced heart attack and cancer are: Jack Rudy (died of a stroke due to an undiagnosed form of aggressive cancer, just weeks after he agreed to testify before Congress about the JFK assassination), Clay Shaw, J. Edgar Hoover, Earlene Roberts (Oswald’s land-lady), Marlyn Monroe, Slobodan Milosevic, Kenneth Lay (former CEO of ENRON – the largest political campaign contributor of George W Bush and Dick Cheney), Matt Simmons, Mark Pittman (a reporter who predicted the financial crisis and exposed Federal Reserve misdoings. Pittman fought to open the Federal Reserve to more scrutiny), Elizabeth Edwards (suddenly diagnosed with cancer while her husband was campaigning against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States.

During a campaign speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2007, Edwards called the War on Terrorism a slogan that was created for political reasons and that it wasn’t a plan to make the United States safe. He went further to compare it to a bumper sticker and that it had damaged the US’s alliances and standing in the world.), … enter here the names of every politically outspoken person, whistle blower or witness who died unexpectedly of a heart attack or who quickly died of an incurable cancer.

The US led war against  the Islamic State is a big lie.

Going after ” Islamic terrorists”, carrying out a worldwide pre-emptive war to “Protect the American Homeland” are used to justify a military agenda.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a creation of US intelligence. Washington’s “Counter-terrorism Agenda” in Iraq and Syria consists in Supporting the Terrorists.  

The incursion of the Islamic State (IS) brigades into Iraq starting in June 2014 was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation supported covertly by the US, NATO and Israel.

The counter-terrorism mandate is a fiction. America is the Number One “State Sponsor of Terrorism” 

The Islamic State is protected by the US and its allies. If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June. 

\

The  Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory (see map below). With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, CF-18) it would have been  -from a military standpoint-  a rapid and expedient surgical operation  

In this article, we address 26 concepts which refute the big lie.  Portrayed by the media as a humanitarian undertaking, this large scale military operation directed against Syria and Iraq has resulted in countless civilian deaths.

It could not have been undertaken without the unbending support of  the Western media which has upheld Obama’s initiative as a counter-terrorism operation.  

THE HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF AL QAEDA

1. The US has supported Al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations for almost half a century since the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. 

2. CIA training camps were set up in Pakistan.  In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 jihadists from 43 Islamic countries were recruited by the CIA to fight in the Afghan jihad.

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad.”

3. Since the Reagan Administration, Washington has supported the Islamic terror network.

Ronald Reagan called the terrorists “freedom fighters”. The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades.  It was all for “a good cause”: fighting the Soviet Union and regime change, leading to the demise of a secular government in Afghanistan.

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

4. Jihadist textbooks  were  published by the University of Nebraska. “. “The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings”

5. Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman and founder of Al Qaeda was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihadist war against Afghanistan . He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.

Al Qaeda was not behind the 9/11 Attacks. September 11, 2001 provided a justification for waging a war against Afghanistan on the grounds that Afghanistan was a state sponsor of terrorism, supportive of Al Qaeda. The 9/11 attacks were instrumental in the formulation of the “Global War on Terrorism”.

THE ISLAMIC STATE (ISIL)

6. The Islamic State (ISIL) was originally an Al Qaeda affiliated entity created by US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-’Āmah ( رئاسة الاستخبارات العامة‎).

China unlikely to join Obama's anti-ISIS coalition: Report

7. The ISIL brigades were involved in the US-NATO supported insurgency in Syria directed against the government of  Bashar al Assad.

8.  NATO and the Turkish High Command were responsible for the recruitment of ISIL and Al Nusrah mercenaries from the outset of the Syrian insurgency in March 2011. According to Israeli intelligence sources, this initiative consisted in:

“a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011.)

9.There are Western Special Forces and Western intelligence operatives within the ranks of the ISIL. British Special Forces and MI6 have been involved in training jihadist rebels in Syria.

10. Western military specialists on contract to the Pentagon have trained the terrorists in the use of chemical weapons.

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

11. The ISIL’s practice of beheadings is part of the US sponsored terrorist training programs implemented in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

12. Recruited by America’s ally, a large number of ISIL mercenaries are convicted criminals released from Saudi prisons on condition they join the ISIL. Saudi death row inmates were recruited to join the terror brigades. 

13. Israel  has supported  the ISIL and Al Nusrah brigades out of the Golan Heights.

Jihadist fighters have met Israeli IDF officers as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu. The IDF top brass tacitly acknowledges that “global jihad elements inside Syria” [ISIL and Al Nusrah] are supported by Israel. See  image below:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″

Inline images 1

SYRIA AND IRAQ

14 The ISIL are the foot soldiers  of the Western military alliance. Their unspoken mandate is to wreck havoc and destruction in Syria and Iraq, acting on behalf of their US sponsors.

15. US Senator John McCain has met up with jihadist terrorist leaders in Syria. (see picture right)

16  The Islamic State (IS) militia, which is currently the alleged target of  a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, continues to be supported covertly by the US.  Washington and its allies continue to provide military aid to the Islamic State.

17. US and allied bombings are not targeting the ISIL, they are bombing the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria including factories and oil refineries.

18.  The IS caliphate project is part of a longstanding US foreign policy agenda to carve up Iraq and Syria into separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, a Republic of Kurdistan.

THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM (GWOT)

19. “The Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is presented as a “Clash of Civilizations”, a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives.

20 U.S. sponsored Al Qaeda terror brigades (covertly supported by Western intelligence) have been deployed in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Yemen.

original

America’s “War on Terrorism” By Mchel Chossudovsky

These various affiliated Al Qaeda entities in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa  and Asia are CIA sponsored “intelligence assets”. They are used by Washington to wreck havoc,  create internal conflicts and destabilize sovereign countries.

21 Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) (supported by NATO in 2011),  Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),  Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in Indonesia,  among other Al Qaeda affiliated groups are supported covertly by Western intelligence.

22. The US is also supporting Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China. The underlying objective is to trigger political instability in Western China.

Chinese jihadists are reported to have received “terrorist training” from the Islamic State “in order to conduct attacks in China”. The declared objective of these Chinese-based jihadist entities (which serves the interests of the US)  is to establish a Islamic caliphate extending into Western China.  (Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, Chapter 2).

HOMEGROWN TERRORISTS

23 The Terrorists R Us:  While the US is the unspoken architect of the Islamic State,  Obama’s holy mandate is to protect America against ISIL attacks.

24 The homegrown terrorist threat is a fabrication.  It is promoted by Western governments and the media with a view to repealing civil liberties and installing a police state. The terror attacks by alleged jihadists and terror warnings are invariably staged events. They are used to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

In turn, the arrests, trials and sentences of “Islamic terrorists” sustain the legitimacy of America’s Homeland Security State and law enforcement apparatus, which has become increasingly militarized.

The ultimate objective is to instill in the minds of millions of Americans that the enemy is real and the U.S. Administration will protect the lives of its citizens.

25.  The “counter-terrorism” campaign against the Islamic State has contributed to the demonization of Muslims, who in the eyes of Western public opinion are increasingly  associated with the jihadists.

26  Anybody who dares to question the validity of the “Global War on Terrorism” is branded a terrorist and subjected to the anti-terrorist laws.

The ultimate objective of the “Global War on Terrorism” is to subdue the citizens, totally depoliticize social life in America, prevent people from thinking and conceptualizing, from analyzing facts and challenging the legitimacy of the inquisitorial social order which rules America.

The Obama Administration has imposed a diabolical consensus with the support of its allies, not to mention the complicit role of the United Nations Security Council.  The Western media has embraced the consensus; it has described the Islamic State as an independent entity, an outside enemy which threatens the Western World.

The Big Lie has become the Truth. 

Say no to the “Big Lie”. Spread the message.

The truth is ultimately a powerful weapon.

Please help us continue. We rely on the support of our readers.

Consider donating to Global Research. For Peace and Truth in Media, Michel Chossudovsky

 

Montreal, a Model for Repression in Canada

November 18th, 2014 by William Ray

The video below is an examination of the strategy being used in one of Canada’s major cities to repress political dissent.

Brutal police tactics and military weapons being used against senior citizens, young people and the press in an effort to criminalize even the most basic exercise of civic and political rights.

This model is ready for export to the rest of Canada for use against anyone trying to peacefully impact government or corporate agendas through the use of violence and economic pressure.

Coming soon to a town near you…

We have recently been hearing a lot about information wars, propaganda and bullhorns. The pitch of this kind of belligerent rhetoric has increased sharply since the advent of the western-induced crisis in Ukraine.

The mainstream media’s echo chamber claim about Russian media goes something like this: “Russian media is powerful and effective because it is well-funded propaganda.” Really? Having worked in Russian media for well over a decade, I observe it focussing on foreign audiences in a very different way: it challenges the West’s hegemonic grip on shaping and controlling the global media agenda.

Up until recently, western media outlets enjoyed near monopoly in defining the news agenda. It also worked in lockstep with the powers that be. Reading the op-ed pages of the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times one will quickly notice they closely mirror the foreign policies of western governments. It has been a cozy arrangement too. A pliant media whitewashed foreign policy adventurism. In return, major media outlets were given a front row seat to cover wars to be packaged as the West saving the world. This model worked reasonably well until the power of the Internet made itself felt, and until the financial crisis hit, failed wars were exposed, and new and alternative media began to emerge.

I am often asked why new outlets like RT are so popular with audiences around the world. There may be many reasons for this but the short answer is that they offer a refreshingly different perspective.

I believe it important to understand how western media beat the drum of war on behalf of George W. Bush. The echo chamber demonstrated it could be counted on to back acts of aggression around the world with impunity. How many people in media lost their jobs when lying about Bush’s Wars (or Obama’s war for that matter)? We are told to “get over Iraq.” But there is a strong sense today that western media lied to their audiences.

Then there is the great financial crisis of 2008-09.  The bulk of western media is corporate media. How many bankers from Wall Street went to jail? There has been some very good investigative journalism on the subject, but the mainstream is shy to pursue the story, telling us “to get over it.” Today there is a strong sense there is ‘state socialism’ to bail out the bankers and ‘capitalist austerity’ for the rest of us. The mainstream’s echo chamber prefers to dwell on meaningless “first world problems” like pouring buckets of ice water over our heads or the condition of Kim Kardashian’s butt. In the meantime, Wall Street and Washington policy makers are never held to account for their past and present actions.

We in alternative media (or non-western media) are often called propaganda merely because we say something different. Some of the people, institutions and governments making this claim are very afraid of those parting company with standard narratives that are cozy and comfortable for the powers-that-be and their media friends. Our mission is different: we exist to challenge the conventional wisdom and to break western media hegemony. We are interested in hearing so many more and differing voices.

The tragedy being played out in Ukraine is very important for us in alternative media. This story is very clear-cut and those who have done wrong (and continue to do so) are obvious. There is plenty of conclusive evidence that Washington and Brussels backed an illegal coup against a democratically elected government in Ukraine. The West is in complete denial, and its official narrative that there was a people’s revolution is itself propaganda.

The media are even worse. The violent events that ended the constitutional order in Kiev included snipers killing over 90 people. Western media took little interest in the story when it began to appear that those pulling the triggers were associated with anti-government forces. A massacre occurred in the city of Odessa. An ample amount of video available on YouTube shows the culprits were fascistic elements aligned with the coup government. Western media has taken little interest in the story.

Then there is MH-17. For a few weeks it was treated as one of the biggest stories in media history. But then, MH-17 disappeared from the headlines. Why? Common sense dictates western intelligence should know who shot the plane out of the sky. The information is not being disclosed but the media line is of course that ‘the Russians did it’. And western media is not interested in asking any further questions. But those of us who do or who put forward alternative scenarios are called propagandists.

The ultimate trick question when it comes to western coverage of Ukraine is to ask: “When did Russia invade Ukraine?” There is no answer because there has never been an invasion (and most likely never will be either). At the same time western audiences are fed 24/7 wall-to-wall dis- and misinformation about Ukraine. Anyone who challenges this is called a propagandist.

We in the alternative media don’t always get stories right. But why should one be called a propagandist for simply asking questions that challenge those in power? Traditionally, this has been the core mission for journalism to exist. The West’s echo chamber has forfeited its moral right in this regard. It is time the echo chamber made some more space for the rest of us.

It seems as though, with each day that passes, yet another health and environmental hazard is identified as being linked to hydraulic fracking, the process of injecting more than 200 chemicals at high pressure into the ground, shattering rock and releasing one America’s most valued resources, natural gas.

Hydraulic fracking continues to be proven more dangerous than scientists imagined, with the latest research unmasking unthinkable health effects in residents living near a fracking site.

Only through observation have scientists begun to learn exactly which chemicals are being injected at high pressures into the earth, as the industry believes proprietary rights trump the public’s right to know about which chemicals make up fracking mixtures.

Scientists have observed eight poisonous chemicals near fracking wells in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wyoming, all of which have exceeded the federal recommended limit. Benzene, a known carcinogen, as well as formaldehyde, were the most common. Hydrogen sulfide, responsible for a range of health effects including death, was also found.

High levels of benzene, formaldehyde and hydrogen sulfide detected in air samples near fracking sites

A study conducted by Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-State University of New York tested air samples taken by trained volunteers living near fracking wells.

The measurements were taken during “heavy industrial activity” or when the volunteers experienced symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or headaches, according to U.S. News. Other samples were taken during designated periods to monitor for formaldehyde.

Slightly less than half of the samples exceeded recommended limits, according to lab results. Samples that exceeded recommended limits did so by very high margins, with benzene levels ranging from 35 to 770,000 times greater than normal concentrations, comparable to a driver being exposed to 33 times the amount they would be while fueling their car.

Hydrogen sulfide levels were 90 to 60,000 times higher than federal standards, while formaldehyde levels reached 30 to 240 times higher than normal.

“This is a significant public health risk,” said the study’s lead author. “Cancer has a long latency, so you’re not seeing an elevation in cancer in these communities. But five, 10, 15 years from now, elevation in cancer is almost certain to happen.”

Benzene, one of the four chemicals in diesel, produces known health complications in people, prompting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require permits for any drilling involving diesel. However, an FDA loophole known as the “Halliburton Loophole” exempts fracking companies from restrictions set by the Safe Drinking Water Act and federal Clean Water Act.

“I was amazed,” said Carpenter. “Five orders of magnitude over federal limits for benzene at one site — that’s just incredible. You could practically just light a match and have an explosion with that concentration.”

Benzene is known to cause leukemia and cancers of other blood cells, as well as short-term effects like headaches, tremors, sleepiness and vomiting, according to Cancer.org.

Hydrogen sulfide, which carries a rotting egg smell, is linked to asthma, headaches, poor memory and eye irritation. Formaldehyde, also a known carcinogen, is linked to nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia, among other health effects.

Residents near fracking wells report sudden asthma, cognitive difficulties and nose polyps

Deb Thomas, a Wyoming woman who helped collect air samples while living across the road from a fracking well, reported the sudden onset of asthmatic symptoms. “I had an asthmatic episode — I’ve never had any asthma, I don’t have a history of asthma. I ended up at the hospital where they gave me breathing treatments. I’ve had really bad rashes.”

Thomas reported similar symptoms while taking air samples from unconventional oil and gas sites across the U.S. that are affecting low-income families.

“We see a lot of cognitive difficulties. People get asthma or breathing difficulty or nose polyps or something with their eyes or their ears ring — the sorts of things that come on very subtly, but you start to notice them.”

Sources:

http://www.usnews.com

http://www.usnews.com

http://www.dispatch.com

https://www.osha.gov

http://www.cancer.org

http://www.cancer.gov

http://science.naturalnews.com

Recession in Japan Sends Shares Tumbling

November 18th, 2014 by Mike Whitney

Japanese stocks suffered their biggest one-day plunge in more than four months following an announcement that the world’s third biggest economy had slipped back into recession. The two consecutive quarters of negative growth were triggered by an increase in the sales tax that was implemented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in April. The VAT tax was designed to put more of the costs of running the government on working people who have been forced to reduce their personal spending due to higher taxes, 23 consecutive months of falling wages, steadily shrinking incomes, and a sharp decline in full-time employment. At present, 38 percent of Japan’s labor-force work at part-time jobs that pay less than fulltime positions, and that provide no benefits, security or retirement. (Note: the economy contracted at a 1.6 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter, preceded by a 7.1 percent drop the quarter before.)

In Japan, consumer spending accounts for more than 60 percent of GDP. Thus, when the government raises taxes, spending declines, deflationary pressures build, and the economy goes into a slump. Quantitative Easing– which involves the purchasing of government bonds by the Central Bank– has negligible impact on the real economy. The Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) extraordinary monetary easing–which includes the buying of ETFs and J-REITs as well as Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs)–has helped to buoy stock prices and lift corporate profits to record highs, but has had a damaging effect on the economy. The weaker yen has lifted import fees on oil and other essentials making it more expensive for working people and retirees to scrape by. Even so, Abe pushed ahead with his tax increase determined to prove his loyalty to his constituency of financial speculators, fatcat corporatists and other wealthy elites, all of who have made out like bandits due to zero rates and QE.

It’s worth noting that the BoJ’s gigantic liquidity injections have had almost no impact on inflation which is still running below the BoJ’s target of 2 percent. That fact holds true in the US too, where a $3.5 trillion increase in the Fed’s balance sheet has failed to lift inflation to the Fed’s target. The reason for this is easy to understand. While QE adds to base money in the financial system, that money has no where to go without a transmission mechanism. In other words, there must be demand for funds (loans-credit) for borrowers to get their hands on that money and use it for additional consumption. But since the private sector (businesses and consumers) are still net savers in Japan, borrowing is minimal and insufficient to produce robust growth. This is why raising the sales tax from 5 percent to 8 percent was such a bad idea, because credit was already weak when Abe decided to remove even more fiscal stimulus from the economy. Now Japan is back in recession and the options for pulling the economy out of the ditch are limited. (Monetary policy is already at its highest setting.) This is from Bloomberg:

“No part of Japan’s economy looks encouraging,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, who had the weakest forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, with a 0.8% growth estimate for real GDP. “Today’s data will leave another traumatic memory for Japanese politicians about sales tax hikes.”

It may be a “traumatic memory” as Shinke says, but that doesn’t mean the politicians are calling for a repeal of the VAT tax. Heck, no. Nor are they demanding higher taxes on corporations, financial institutions, and high-income elites who can afford to pay-down Japan’s enormous debt-load without curtailing their own Gucci lifestyles. These are the people who benefit the most from government policy, but who are never asked to pay their fair share.

Japan suffers from a chronic lack of demand that stems from the fact that wages haven’t kept pace with increases in production. If workers got their fair share of the profits, Japan’s economy would be firing on all cylinders and there’d be no problem. But since corporate bosses like to keep their employees as close to starvation as possible, workers have to slash their spending to make ends meet. This, in turn, weakens demand even more further exacerbating the slowdown. It’s a circle. Check this out from the CFR’s magazine Foreign Affairs:

“Imagine the predicament currently facing a growing number of Japanese men in their early 30s. Despite having spent years cramming in high school and attending good colleges, many can’t find a full-time job at a good company. Since Japan’s rigid labor laws make it nearly impossible to lay off permanent employees in downtimes, companies now tend to fill open slots with part-time or temporary workers, and they typically pay them a third less. Today, 17 percent of Japanese men aged 25 to 34 hold such second-class jobs, up from four percent in 1988. Low-paid temps and part-timers now make up 38 percent of Japanese employees of all ages and both sexes — a stunning figure for a society that once prided itself on equality.” (Voodoo Abenomics, Richard Katz, Foreign Affairs)

See what I mean? How are you going to maintain strong growth when 38 percent of your workforce is plugging away at shitty-paying part-time service-sector jobs? It’s can’t be done. And here’s another important fact that’s worth mulling over:

“But all the gains have been for irregular work; regular jobs have fallen by 3.1 percent. Consequently, the average wage per worker in real terms has fallen by two percent under Abe. No wonder consumer spending is anemic.” (Foreign Affairs)

So wages in the aggregate are falling. And if wages are falling, then households have no choice but to reduce their spending which means personal consumption is going to tank, which it has. Unfortunately, the BoJ’s “weak yen” policy has accelerated at the same time wages are tumbling. According to analyst Wolf Richter: .”under the economic religion of Abenomics, inflation has roared higher. In September, prices were up 3.2% compared to a year ago, with goods prices up 4.6% …..(At the same time) Average monthly inflation-adjusted consumption expenditures by two-or-more-person households plunged 5.6% from a year ago. It’s the sixth month in a row that expenditures and incomes have plunged in this manner.” (Bank of Japandemonium Resorts to “Monetary Shamanism,” and all Heck Breaks Loose, Wolf Street)

So prices are up, but wages are down. It’s the double whammy!

So how is QE supposed to change this situation? How is buying financial assets going to raise wages, boost hiring, put more money in the pockets of people who will spend it and pull the economy out of its 20 year deflationary funk?

It won’t. All it will do is trigger a currency war (by slashing the value of the yen) and create conditions for a bond market meltdown. Think I’m kidding? Take a look at this eye-popper from Bloomberg:

“In announcing that it will boost purchases of government bonds to a record annual pace of $709 billion, the central bank has just added further fuel to the most obvious bond bubble in modern history — and helped create a fresh one on stocks. Once the laws of finance, and gravity, reassert themselves, Japan’s debt market could crash in ways that make the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers look like a warm-up. Worse, because Japan’s interest-rate environment is so warped, investors won’t have the usual warning signs of market distress. Even before Friday’s bond-buying move, Japan had lost its last honest tool of price discovery. When a nation that needs 16 digits in yen terms to express its national debt (it reached 1,000,000,000,000,000 yen in August 2013) sees benchmark yields falling, you’ve entered the financial Twilight Zone.” (Japan Creates World’s Biggest Bond Bubble, William Pesek, Bloomberg)

A bond market crash that could make “the collapse of Lehman Brothers look like a warm-up”?

Indeed. The possibility of a sovereign default by the world’s third biggest economy can no longer be excluded. Any rise in interest rates (even if the BoJ reaches its 2% inflation target) will make it virtually impossible to roll-over Japan’s mountainous debtpile. The wacky BoJ has created a doomsday machine that will have catastrophic implications for the people of Japan.

And that’s why Japan’s $1.2 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF)–the largest in the world–announced that it plans to rebalance its portfolio away from Japanese Government Bonds.(JGB). It’s because JGBs can no longer be considered “risk free”, so the pension fund is going to reduce its position now and put more of its resources into stocks where the rewards for risk-taking are more attractive.

Even so, that hasn’t stopped the harebrained BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda from adding more fuel to the fire. Kuroda remains convinced that bigger injections of liquidity via QE will end Japan’s “deflationary mindset” and spark a splurge of spending that will simultaneously boost inflation and beef up GDP. After more than five years of non-stop QE in three separate countries, there’s no evidence that the theory works. Economic stagnation prevails wherever QE has been used.

John Maynard Keynes explained why “increasing the quantity of money” in the financial system would not revive an economy stuck in a balance sheet recession. Here’s what he said 80 years ago in his “Open Letter to President Roosevelt”:

“Rising output and rising incomes will suffer a set-back sooner or later if the quantity of money is rigidly fixed. Some people seem to infer from this that output and income can be raised by increasing the quantity of money. But this is like trying to get fat by buying a larger belt. In the United States to-day your belt is plenty big enough for your belly. It is a most misleading thing to stress the quantity of money, which is only a limiting factor, rather than the volume of expenditure, which is the operative factor.”

Bingo. The amount of money in the economy doesn’t matter. What matters is spending. Without spending there’s no hiring, no investment, no growth. But people can’t spend what they don’t have. And what they don’t have is money, which is why they need higher wages. Unfortunately, corporate bosses aren’t going give away any more than they absolutely have to, which means that workers need to get their act together and fight for what’s theirs.

Let the battle begin.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday and mobilized the National Guard, claiming that this was necessary to “keep members of the public safe and protect property” in anticipation of a grand jury decision on whether to bring charges against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August.

Calling in the National Guard is a deliberate move on the part of state officials to silence and intimidate political opposition to the heavily manipulated grand jury proceeding against Wilson. A decision on whether or not to indict Wilson is expected any day.

As Nixon, a Democrat, announced the state of emergency, the streets of Ferguson, Missouri were entirely devoid of protesters, much less violence and looting. Nixon was in effect declaring that even the possibility of protests is sufficient to prepare the Armed Forces for deployment on the streets of an American city. The move is historically unprecedented, and marks a new stage in the deliberate and systematic destruction of democratic rights.

In his executive order authorizing the state of emergency, Nixon insisted that “regardless of the outcomes of the federal and state criminal investigations, there is the possibility of expanded unrest.”

“As part of our ongoing efforts to plan and be prepared for any contingency, it is necessary to have these resources in place in advance of any announcement of the grand jury’s decision,” Nixon said in a separate statement. He added that the National Guard will “support law enforcement’s efforts to maintain peace and protect those exercising their right to free speech.”

Nixon’s claim that deploying the military to crack down on protesters is a means to protect the “right to free speech” is Orwellian. The arguments deployed—based on “protecting property,” “ensuring public safety” and stopping “unrest” in a “state of emergency”—are the standard tropes of every police state.

They are being implemented by a government that routinely cites “democracy” and “human rights” as its principle justifications for militarism and violence all over the world. If similar steps were taken in Russia or Iran, they would be accompanied by howls of protest from the political establishment and the media. But in the United States they have evoked no opposition from the representatives of the ruling class.

The declaration of a state of emergency sets a pseudo-legal framework for the ripping up of key democratic rights protected under the Constitution. The last time Nixon declared a state of emergency, during the initial protests over the killing of Brown, police effectively suspended the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly by declaring that demonstrators be arrested unless they kept walking. This so-called “five-second rule” was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge.

The move by Nixon follows the imposition of de facto martial law last year in Boston, where residents were told to “shelter in place” following the Boston Marathon bombing, as heavily armed police conducted house-to-house warrantless searches similar to those used in the occupation of Iraq. Both Boston and Ferguson have the character of test runs aimed at conditioning public opinion for an even further militarization of American society.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, also a Democrat, made clear that the Armed Forces would not be confined to the suburb of Ferguson. He said the National Guard will be deployed to protect “various locations within the city of St. Louis,” adding that the military units would be used for “visibility, deterrence, and early warning.”

“It is my understanding that they will be armed,” said Slay, adding that National Guard units could be deployed at shopping centers, strip malls and government buildings.

These moves are being carefully coordinated with the Obama administration. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson and held meetings with local and state officials. According to one news report, “the feds are playing an unusually hands-on role in preparing for grand jury protests.”

On the same day as the announcement of the state of emergency, ABC News released an FBI intelligence bulletin issued to local police departments in “recent days,” warning, “The announcement of the grand jury’s decision…will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure.”

The FBI said that such “infiltration” could “occur both in the Ferguson area and nationwide.” The report adds that individuals with “intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed with bladed weapons or firearms, equipped with tactical gear/gas masks, or bulletproof vests to mitigate law enforcement measures.”

The memo expresses the degree to which language and concepts developed under the framework of the “war on terror” are being applied to domestic opposition to social inequality and the attack on democratic rights. The “extremists” planning to carry out “attacks” against “critical infrastructure” are not foreign Islamic fundamentalists, but social and political opposition within the United States.

The use of supposed emergency situations as part of the “war on terror” has long been the justification of the US government in its drive to gut every basic democratic protection guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

The Obama administration, under the pretense of protecting public safety, has asserted the right to assassinate anyone it chooses, including US citizens, and has presided over the expansion of a military/intelligence apparatus that records, analyzes and reads the day-to-day communications of millions of people.

It is notable that both Nixon and Mayor Slay are Democrats, and that the deployment of the National Guard against peaceful protests was not met with condemnation from any section of the Democratic Party.

The events in Ferguson are an expression of the disintegration of democracy in the United States. A tiny ruling elite dominates all aspects of economic, social, and political life, while the great majority of the population, facing increasingly precarious economic conditions, sees itself entirely marginalized and alienated—revealed in the mass abstention in the midterm elections earlier this month. Under these conditions, the ruling elite responds to any manifestation of political opposition on the part of the population with massive police violence and intimidation.

Okinawa Elects All Anti-U.S.-Bases Candidates

November 18th, 2014 by David Swanson

Some news of more resistance in Okinawa from Hiroshi Taka:

“I am writing this email to all the friends who have sent warm messages of solidarity to the people of Okinawa, who fought for a military base-free, peaceful Okinawa in the last weekend through the simultaneous elections at four levels: Governor of Okinawa, Mayor of Naha, three Prefectural Assembly members from Naha, Nago, and Okinawa City, and a member of Naha City assembly.  They won the governor election, the mayoral election, the prefectural assembly elections in Naha and Nago. The result demonstrates that the Okinawans are undaunted, that the close-down of the Futemma Base and non-construction of a new base in Nago are an actual consensus of the whole prefecture.

“On Thursday last week, with your messages and Japanese translation, I went to Okinawa, held a press conference, visited the election campaign headquarters of Takeshi Onaga, the then candidate for the governor, and the election campaign headquarters of Ms. Shiroma, the then candidate for the mayor of Naha.  I handed over your messages to Takeshi Onaga personally, at the midst of campaign when all those candidates were preparing to make speeches in the center of Naha City.

“Your messages were taken up by a major local paper Okinawa Times on Friday, Nov. 14 issue, and a number of other media.  At the campaign headquarters of Onaga, the top leaders of the campaign kindly took time to listen to my presentation of the messages.  At the campaign office of Shiroma, all campaign staff there stood up and with big applause, listened to my presentation.  And at the speech rally of Onaga, Shiroma, and the other candidates standing against the Bases, most speakers, including Susumu Inamine, the mayor of Nago, referred to your messages, saying that the whole world was with them.

“Through these visits, I felt first-hand how powerfully and greatly your messages encouraged those who deserved your encouragement.

“Great though their successes are, the struggle for a bases-free Okinawa and peace in the region and the world continues.  I hope you will continue to support their struggle, as we living in the mainland Japan will.

Hiroshi Taka

Data: (* = elected)

   For the Governor

     * ONAGA Takeshi (Anti-base)      360,820

       NAKAIMA Hirokazu (former Governor)  261,076

   For the Mayor of Naha, prefectural capital

      * SHIROMA Mikiko (Anti-base)    101,052

       YONEDA Kanetosh (supported by LDP-Komeito)   57,768

   For the Prefectural Assembly member from Naha

       * HIGA Mizuki (Anti-base)  74,427

        YAMAKAWA Noriji (LDP)  61,940

  For the Prefectural Assembly member from Nago

        *GUSHIKEN Toru (Anti-base)    15,374

         SIEMATSI Bunshinmatsu Bunshin (LDP)     14,281″

____________

I should note that the Mayor of Okinawa is already anti-base and recently came to Washington, D.C. with that message. I wrote this prior to his visit:

Imagine if China were stationing large numbers of troops in the United States.  Imagine that most of them were based in a small rural county in Mississippi.  Imagine — this shouldn’t be hard — that their presence was problematic, that nations they threatened in Latin America resented the United States’ hospitality, and that the communities around the bases resented the noise and pollution and drinking and raping of local girls.

Now imagine a proposal by the Chinese government, with support from the federal government in Washington, to build another big new base in that same corner of Mississippi.  Imagine the governor of Mississippi supported the base, but just before his reelection pretended to oppose it, and after being reelected went back to supporting it.  Imagine that the mayor of the town where the base would be built made opposition to it the entire focus of his reelection campaign and won, with exit polls showing that voters overwhelmingly agreed with him.  And imagine that the mayor meant it.

Where would your sympathies lie? Would you want anyone in China to hear what that mayor had to say?

Sometimes in the United States we forget that there are heavily armed employees of our government permanently stationed in most nations on earth.  Sometimes when we remember, we imagine that the other nations must appreciate it.  We turn away from the public uproar in the Philippines as the U.S. military tries to return troops to those islands from which they were driven by public pressure.  We avoid knowing what anti-U.S. terrorists say motivates them, as if by merely knowing what they say we would be approving of their violence.  We manage not to know of the heroic nonviolent struggle underway on Jeju Island, South Korea, as residents try to stop the construction of a new base for the U.S. Navy. We live on oblivious to the massive nonviolent resistance of the people of Vicenza, Italy, who for years voted and demonstrated and lobbied and protested a huge new U.S. Army base that has gone right ahead regardless.

Mayor Susumu Inamine of Nago City, Okinawa, (population 61,000) is headed to the United States, where he may have to do a bit of afflicting the comfortable as he tries to comfort the afflicted back home.  Okinawa Prefecture has hosted major U.S. military bases for 68 years.  Over 73% of the U.S. troop presence in Japan is concentrated in Okinawa, which makes up a mere 0.6% of the Japanese land area.  As a result of public protest, one base is being closed — the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.  The U.S. government wants a new Marine base in Nago City.  The people of Nago City do not.

Inamine was first elected as mayor of Nago City in January 2010 promising to block the new base.  He was reelected this past January 19th still promising to block the base.  The Japanese government had worked hard to defeat him, but exit polls showed 68% of voters opposing the base, and 27% in favor of it.  In February U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visited Okinawa, where she met with the Governor but declined to meet with the mayor.

That’s all right. The Mayor can meet with the State Department, the White House, the Pentagon, and the Congress.  He’ll be in Washington, D.C. in mid-May, where he hopes to appeal directly to the U.S. government and the U.S. public.  He’ll speak at an open, public event at Busboys and Poets restaurant at 14th and V Streets at 6:00 p.m. on May 20th.

A great summary of the situation in Okinawa can be found in this statement: “International Scholars, Peace Advocates and Artists Condemn Agreement To Build New U.S. Marine Base in Okinawa.”  An excerpt:

“Not unlike the 20th century U.S. Civil Rights struggle, Okinawans have non-violently pressed for the end to their military colonization. They tried to stop live-fire military drills that threatened their lives by entering the exercise zone in protest; they formed human chains around military bases to express their opposition; and about a hundred thousand people, one tenth of the population have turned out periodically for massive demonstrations. Octogenarians initiated the campaign to prevent the construction of the Henoko base with a sit-in that has been continuing for years. The prefectural assembly passed resolutions to oppose the Henoko base plan. In January 2013, leaders of all the 41 municipalities of Okinawa signed the petition to the government to remove the newly deployed MV-22 Osprey from Futenma base and to give up the plan to build a replacement base in Okinawa.”

Here’s background on the Governor of Okinawa.

Here’s an organization working to support the will of the public of Okinawa on this issue.

And here’s a video worth watching:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzAw-jOQwME#t=0

And here’s a video of the Mayor’s visit to DC: