Global Research Editor’s Note

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

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

The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.

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

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

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

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

We have highlighted key sections of this interview.

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

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

Michel  Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014

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

Ummat (in Urdu)

translated from Urdu

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

Ummat’s introduction

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

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

Following is the interview in full detail:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001

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America’s “War on Terrorism”

by Michel

Fighting Lies and Searching for Truths

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

September 11th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky


Note to Readers: Remember to bookmark this page for future reference.
Please Forward the GR I-Book far and wide. Post it on Facebook.

[scroll down for I-BOOK Table of Contents]




GR I-BOOK No.  7 


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.



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


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 , see also

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 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 –, 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.” (  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.

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.


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


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.



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


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


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


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


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
- 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


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


 ”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”.


“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


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


Post 9/11 “Justice”

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


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
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


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

[2] Mairbek  Vatchagaev, The Kremlin’s War on Islamic Education in the North Caucasus, North Caucasus Analysis Volume: 7 Issue: 34, accessed in[tt_news]=3334

[3] Iason Athanasiadis, Targeted by Israeli raid: Who is the IHH?, The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2010, accessed in

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, op. cit.

[6] UN Security Council, QI.U.290.11. DOKU KHAMATOVICH UMAROV, 10 March 2011, accessed in 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

[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

[11] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, May 21, 2012, accessed in

[12] Robert Duncan, Islamic Terrorisms Links to Nazi Fascism, AINA, July 5, 2007, accessed in

[13] Marc Erikson, Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 2), AsiaTimes.Online, November 8, 2002, accessed in

[14] Ibid.

[15] John Loftus, The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda,  Jewish Community News, October 11, 2006, accessed in

[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

[18] Aidan Lewis, Profile: Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, BBC News, 25 October 2011, accessed in

[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

[20] Stefan J. Bos, Egypt Christians Killed After Election of Morsi, Bosnewslife, June 30, 2012, accessed in

[21] Ibid.

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

April 11, 2011, accessed in

[23] Yafiah Katherine Randall, UNESCO urges Libya to stop destruction of Sufi sites, August 31, 2012, Sufi News and Sufism World Report, accessed in

[24] Jamie Dettmer, Libya elections: Muslim Brotherhood set to lead government, 5 July, 2012, The Telegraph, London, accessed in

[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

[26] Murad Batal al-Shishani, Profile: Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen, 8 March 2012, accessed in

[27] David M. Herszenhorn, Putin Says Missile Deal Is More Likely With Obama, The New York Times, September 6, 2012, accessed in 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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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US-Supported Islamic State Terrorists Seize Palmyra

May 24th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

The ancient Syrian city is a UNESCO World Heritage site – one of the Middle East’s most treasured ones.

UNESCO calls it one of “outstanding universal value, (an) oasis in the Syria desert” northeast of Damascus.

From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Greco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.”

According to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, its ancient ruins “already suffered four years of conflict. It suffered from looting and represents an irreplaceable treasure for the Syrian people an for the world.”

She appealed to “all parties” to prevent its destruction. Short of immediate military intervention if Security Council authorized, ancient treasures appear lost.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich expressed grave concern saying

“(w)e’d consider (the) destruction (of Palmyra’s architectural treasures) an unpardonable act of vandalism, encroachment on general human values, and an insult to civilization.”

“The activity of the so-called anti-ISIS coalition led by the United States has failed to produce results…and has not affected the ability of the Islamic State to expand.”

Obama bears full responsibility. Washington recruits, trains, funds, arms and directs IS/ISIS/ISIL Daish terrorists and likeminded ones – using them as proxy foot soldiers against independent governments like Syria it wants toppled.

Last week, the UN said a third of Palmyra’s population of 200,000 fled. US-supported Takfiri terrorists control large parts of Syria’s north and east.

Syrian state TV said government forces withdrew from the city. On Wednesday, its director of antiquities, Maamoun Abdulkarim, said:

Hundreds and hundreds of statues we were worried would be smashed and sold are all now in safe places.”

“The fear is for the museum and the large monuments that cannot be moved. This is the entire world’s battle.”

IS control of Palmyra is “an international catastrophe. It will be a repetition of the barbarism and savagery (seen) in Nimrud, Hatra and Mosul,” Iraq.

UNESCO calls this type wanton destruction a “war crime.” IS terrorism is well-known. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported the following:

“Reliable local sources inside the city…said ISIS terrorists slaughtered and mutilated at least 400 civilians, including children, women and elderly people.”

Individuals targeted were alleged government loyalists or employees as well as others apparently unwilling to accept IS rule.

Palmyra’s National Hospital nursing department head was murdered along with her family members.

Thousands of city residents are trapped. They’re prevented from leaving. IS confiscated their property. According to SANA:

“These and other ISIS atrocities are being perpetrated amid shameful international silence, with the Security Council only expressing ‘concern’ without taking any practical deterrent measures on the ground.”

In mid-May, US special forces entered Syria covertly. White House national security council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said Obama authorized the operation to kill or capture “ISIL senior leader known as Abu Sayyaf and his wife Umm.”

She’s in US military custody in Iraq, said Meehan. Abu Sayyaf was killed, she added. SANA reported the raid. Was it a Syrian operation, not a US one?

Why would Washington want one of its IS commanders killed? SANA reported Syrian forces killed IS “oil minister” Abu Taym Saudi on the same day. Was he Abu Sayyaf? Arabic names are often interchangeable.

Meehan claims the operation was conducted “with the full consent of Iraqi authorities…consistent with domestic and international law,” she added.

Syria is Obama’s war – naked aggression by any standard using IS and other takfiri terrorists as US proxy foot soldiers. 

Reports indicate IS terrorists seized the Syrian/Iraqi Al-Tanaf border crossing, the last one Damascus controlled. It’s 150 miles from Palmyra.

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi blamed Washington, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Israel, and other countries backing its war for atrocities committed in Palmyra.

He called on responsible international leaders and human rights organizations to denounce their support for terrorism. 

Obama’s war is in its fifth year. Syria is being systematically raped – ravaged and destroyed in plain sight.

On this Memorial Day weekend it’s only appropriate that we look back in our history and pay tribute to our fallen warriors from the past. And in so doing, we can examine two West Point Civil War generals who were peers, one who saved the Union at the war’s most pivotal and decisive battle of Gettysburg, and the other who represents the ruthless killer instinct that typifies our military leaders whose blind ambition for glory is driven by psychopathic pathology to the core. Meet two West Point officers who illustrate the classic contrast between leadership styles and ethics.

As the third installment in a trilogy of articles portraying West Point graduates who are our unsung fallen heroes, starting with Jack Wheeler, then Ted Westhusing, we now move back a century and a half ago to showcase the life of Gouverneur Kemble Warren. 

And with so much controversy currently surrounding the US military and their commanders involved in the operation Jade Helm commencing a month earlier than first reported in June, and Commander-in-Chief Obama’s unprecedented purging of America’s top military brass during his presidency (over 200 a year and a half ago), this story from our past could not be more relevant or timely than it being showcased on Memorial Day 2015, 150 years after America’s bloodiest war of them all. Indeed the timing is especially apropos as the unfolding drama within the US military ranks appears to now be an internal war covertly taking place.

Many Americans believe that the inner grumblings inside the US armed forces are at odds over the possibility of Jade Helm going live this summer with a false flag excuse for Obama to declare martial law, bringing about the unthinkable prospect of US soldiers being ordered to kill their fellow Americans. It’s speculated why so many generals and admirals from America’s senior military leadership were forced out of service by Obama was because they refused to participate in what could become America’s second civil war against its own citizens. Clearly this original Civil War tale presented here personifies the age old “good versus evil” battle still raging on within our military even today.

I think it was some time during my third year at West Point that I first learned of my long lost ancestor named Gouvernour Kemble Warren, a somewhat famous West Point graduate and hero of the most important battle of the Civil War Gettysburg. As a cadet I suddenly learned that General GK Warren was my maternal grandmother’s great uncle when my mother, the amateur genealogist, made the discovery researching our family history on the Warren side, the same lineage dating back to Richard Warren of Mayflower-Pilgrim-Plymouth fame. I thought it was very cool that I was walking those same pathways and hallowed ground the hero of Little Round Top once walked, whose statues adorn Gettysburg Historic National Park as well as a park in Brooklyn.1 A New York Times article last year revealed that the sword on General Warren’s statue at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza Park was stolen by vandals and missing since 1960. But thanks to a New York City conservation program restoring historic monuments in the Big Apple, ol’ Gouve’s statue dedicated in 1896 was reunited with a new bronze sword carefully replicating his original. The more I learned about my long lost uncle, the more enthralled and intrigued I became with his remarkable, fascinating life story.

Gouverneur was born on January 8th, 1830 in a little town across the Hudson River from West Point called Cold Spring, New York. The oldest sibling of a dozen children, Gouve always had an eye out for taking care of others. The natural born leader at sixteen years of age entered the US Military Academy in 1846, graduating in 1850 second in his class of forty-four cadets. As a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Topographical Engineers, Warren explored vast reaches of territory in the West, worked on flood prevention in the Mississippi Delta, created the first comprehensive map west of the mighty Mississippi and surveyed critical ground in preparation for the transcontinental Pacific Railroad, spanning an area from Nebraska, the Dakotas west to Montana and Wyoming.2

On the northern Plains Warren saw his first combat against the Native American tribe the Lakota Sioux. His involvement in 1855 at the Battle of Ash Hollow (also known as Battle of Blue Water or Harney’s Massacre) offers a very telling account of how white Americans committed genocide against Native Americans.

A year earlier a Mormon traveling the Oregon Trail had his cow wander off from his wagon train and a Sioux warrior took it for food. At nearby Fort Laramie, Wyoming the Mormon complained to commanding officer Lt. Hugh Fleming about his “stolen” cow. The Sioux’s Chief Conquering Bear offered any one of his 60 head of horses, but the Mormon turned him down, demanding $25 cash. According to the 1851 Fort Laramie treaty, the local Indian agent responsible for handling such disputes was expected to arrive in two days. But the obstinate West Pointer Lt. Fleming (Class of 1852) took it upon himself to exercise his leadership by sending another West Point lieutenant from the Class right behind him, a 24-year old Lt. John Grattan with 29 soldiers and two small artillery pieces to the Sioux encampment.3

Lt. Grattan had just been sent West and was still awaiting permanent assignment. Despite never even encountering Sioux before, Lt. Fleming could see how the inexperienced Grattan was dying for some action, so he foolishly let the anxious hothead out to make a name for himself. And he most certainly did. On the other hand, wanting to avoid conflict, the chief pleaded to let the agent due to arrive any day handle the conflict. But Grattan insisted the guilty warrior be arrested and handed over. The Brule Sioux chief then pleaded with the Miniconjou Sioux warrior as his guest to turn himself in. When he refused, all hell broke loose, shots were fired and apparently a soldier shot Chief Conquering Bear in the back. At that point Lt. Grattan ordered his men to shoot to kill. But not before the Sioux braves in self-defense were shooting back with their bows and arrows, killing all soldiers but one mortally wounded who managed to return to Fort Laramie before succumbing.4

A local trader bore witness to the escalating events that clearly showed the white soldiers were the aggressors. A Lt. Colonel William Hoffman arrived at Fort Laramie in November to take command, instructed to weigh evidence in coming up with his assessment of what had happened. Hoffman interviewed traders and soldiers who could bear witness and reviewed three reports written by Lt. Fleming. As is the case when so many West Pointers feel their career is on the line, they often lie to cover their own ass. By Lt. Fleming’s third report, he was blaming it all on his dead peer Lt. Grattan, lying by stating that Fleming told Grattan explicitly not to use force, acting as though he never knew Grattan would be so aggressive in demanding the guilty Indian be detained.5 But Hoffman was not taken in, concluding that, “There is no doubt that Lt. Grattan left this post with a desire to have a fight with the Indians, and that he had determined to take the man at all hazards.”6

But the only news heading eastward to eager newspaper reporters ensured that a shocked and angry nation believed that a bunch of Sioux “savages” massacred dozens of US soldiers. Still another war mongering West Pointer, then Secretary of War himself and soon to be President of the Southern Federation Jefferson Davis (Class of 1828) mischaracterized the event as “the result of a deliberately formed plan.”7 Even after reviewing Colonel Hoffman’s accurate account of the Grattan fight, Jefferson Davis wanted war, not the truth… an all too familiar American theme.

No matter how you look at it, the gross misjudgment of West Point leadership exercised by the three graduates cited here alone are responsible for starting the Indian Wars out West.8 Though white soldiers instigated their own demise, under false pretense, war with the Plains Indians was then launched, intermittently spanning the next several decades, further decimating North America’s indigenous population. Also just to balance the good with the bad, the honest officer who filed the more truthful report, Lt. Colonel Hoffman, was also a West Pointer and classmate of another honorable grad named Robert E. Lee (Class of 1829). Hoffman was bravely willing to challenge his superiors in Washington upon realizing their agenda to simply whitewash the truth for rushing to war on a bunch of lies – what America has done to enter virtually every war it ever fights… the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam War, Iraq War just to name a few.

Once word spread Back East, then President Franklin Pierce ordered immediate retaliation to avenge the 1854 “Grattan Massacre,” dispatching Brigadier General Harney and thirteen hundred soldiers that amounted to one tenth of the entire US Army in a preordained, punitive expedition purely out to “get even.” Lieutenant GK Warren served under Harney’s command as his engineering officer. General Harney left Fort Leavenworth on August 4th, 1855  uttering, “By God, I am for war – no peace!”9

His bloody taste for revenge was satiated a month later on September 3rd when with 600 men he approached a band of 230 Brule Sioux encamped along the Platte River in Nebraska Territory. While Harney parleyed with Chief Little Thunder, Chief Conquering Bear’s successor, the general had sent his cavalry unit the night before in a flanking position just north to block any possible escape. Before the chief even responded to Harney’s demands to hand over the warriors that in self-defense had killed Grattan and his men, just as the Indians discovered the cavalry poised for attack, Harney opened fire killing 86 Indians, many defenseless women and children seeking shelter in caves along the riverbank. Harney lost only four of his soldiers and captured 70 Native Americans.10 Though numerous newspapers heralded the victory over the Sioux, there were a number of critics who called it an unjustifiable, senseless homicide against innocent women and children. The Sioux called Harney a woman killer.

Though the junior officer Lt. Warren was forced to reluctantly participate in the slaughter, his first combat experience proved overwhelmingly gut wrenching for him. He knew what happened that day was wrong. In a letter to his brother, GK described the gripping, chilling experience watching innocents being brutally cut down in front of him, stating that he felt a sense of shame and guilt that kept him up all night caring for the hapless wounded women and children.11  Unlike the typical military officer who views any enemy as less than human, especially the Native American “savages,” Gouverneur Warren was profoundly shaken by the senseless loss of life and bloodshed.

The impact of killing other human beings gave him pause to think twice about his leadership role that would necessarily lead to the death of many others. A decade later this compassionate, humanitarian desire to save lives on the field of battle would cost him greatly in the final week of the Civil War.

Warren’s pioneering exploration and land surveying out West enabled him to create the very first comprehensive map of America west of the Mississippi River.12 Gouverneur was quite the Renaissance man, extremely well read in science, history and classic literature. Possessing a wide array of talent, as an artist he rendered meticulous illustrations and descriptions of his travels and observations, rich in exacting, exhaustive detail scoping over half the country, carefully documenting his every challenge as a civil engineer, bridge builder and explorer often in dangerous regions with hostile tribes. Before and after the Civil War he worked extensively along the Mississippi River from its Minnesota headwaters on down south to its delta basin, building remarkably constructed bridges across America’s largest river that still stand today.

Engineering talent ran in his family as his little sister Emily Warren Roebling helped finish the Brooklyn Bridge after her engineer husband took ill after his father a week into construction became disabled. The gala opening was her crowning achievement on May 24th, 1883, a year after her beloved brother died.13 Last year there was even a New York play running called “The Bridge” about Emily’s family.14 Hence the Brooklyn connection led to GK’s statue as one of three Civil War memorials gracing the entrance to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Between GK’s new sword on his statue making the news and his sister featured in a musical recently, my great uncle and my great aunt are still great even today.

When the Civil War broke out, Warren was an assistant professor of mathematics at our alma mater West Point. Upon promotion to lieutenant colonel, he quickly assembled and took command of a local volunteers unit that became the 5thNew York Infantry. He and his regiment fared well enough in what turned out to be the first land engagement of the Civil War, the Battle of Big Bethel in Virginia, to then be assigned as colonel and regimental commander. During the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, Warren led his troops in the Siege of Yorktown. Utilizing his engineering skills, he did reconnaissance to map attack routes up the Virginia Peninsula. He took command of the V Corps Brigade during Seven Days Battles. Sustaining a serious knee injury at Battle of Gaines’ Mill, he refused to leave the battlefield for treatment. Under his command, his brigade successfully turned back a Southern division’s attack at the Battle of Malvern Hill. At the Second Battle of Bull Run his troops took heavy casualties, heroically turning back a brutal assault. In September 1862 Warren became a brigadier general and led his brigade in the Battle of Fredericksburg. Major General Joseph Hooker reorganized the Army of the Potomac, appointing Warren as his chief engineer. General Warren again was commended for valuable service in the critical Battle of Chancellorsville.15

When General Lee invaded north into Pennsylvania, it was Warren as the Army of the Potomac’s chief engineer who advised General Hooker on the best routes the North should take in pursuit.

The fast rising general’s greatest military achievement came on the second day at the Battle of Gettysburg when Warren realized a gap in the Union Army’s flank on top of the highest point of the historic battlefield at Little Round Top. Warren’s quick thinking rushed troops in defense to the hilltop arriving just in time to victoriously turn back the Confederate forces. This decisive action effectively became the turning point of the war’s most significant battle that in turn became the turning point of the entire Civil War in favor of the Union Army. Up until that moment in time the North had been losing the War Between the States. General Warren was again wounded, this time in the neck.16 After his Gettysburg heroics, Warren was quickly promoted to Major General, among the youngest to achieve that high rank at the time.

Despite repeatedly proving himself a dynamic, heroic and valuable leader in battle after battle, not everyone was won over by the young general’s leadership style or military performance. Out of egotistical jealousy and cutthroat competition notoriously engrained in some West Point grads, the hot tempered five-foot five-inch Philip Sheridan (Class of 1853), a year younger than Warren, seemed to hold a personal vendetta against him. Both were near the same age, near the same height with GK an inch or two taller, and both were the shining young stars of the Civil War. Sheridan’s Napoleonic complex and highly competitive, driven ambition may well have caused him to project his own insecurities onto Warren. Whatever shortcomings one possesses, if left unresolved it tends to manifest as aversive reactivity toward others who unconsciously trigger the very same unresolved issues within oneself. It’s called projection and Sheridan likely had a rather heavy dose of it when it came to his rival peer Warren.

Toward the final months of the Civil War, Warren’s approach and execution in battle clashed with the more aggressive, reckless style of Sheridan and Grant. Their favored strategy utilizing vastly superior numbers at the expense of inflicting enormous amounts of casualties on their own men conflicted with the more thoughtful, careful Warren who, from his very first carnage in combat with the Sioux, always considered battle strategies that optimized the odds for victory but never at the expense of human life, particularly when it was his own men. In contrast, Grant and Sheridan’s MO was simply to end up with the last troops standing in a war of attrition, regardless of how many of their own soldiers paid the fatal price for their brutality.

GK’s superior intelligence and finesse irritated the lesser IQ endowed Grant and Sheridan, especially when Warren made suggestions that were quickly misinterpreted as insolence questioning their authority, in the end making Warren vulnerable as their chosen enemy. At times Warren’s lack of patience for others’ inadequacies were viewed as condescending by those less endowed with intelligence and skill. Perhaps that was his fatal flaw, incurring others’ wrath and resentment, especially when it butted against the military’s rigid, authoritarian pecking order. Warren never played the politics game all that well either. Instead, as both a military leader and engineer, his focus was simply getting the job done in the most efficient manner with minimum loss of human life.

General Warren’s decisive and pivotal heroics at Gettysburg turned the entire war around, in effect, saving the Union. Warren’s instant fame and rapid climb up the ranks to Major General at 33 rubbed Sheridan the wrong way. Upon re-assignment under Grant to Virginia chasing down what was left of Lee’s depleted army, General Sheridan had the distinct advantage in courting the favor of the North’s top commander having fought earlier under General Grant on the western front. Thus, Sheridan had already secured Grant’s admiration as his superior’s personal young protégé.

At Petersburg, Virginia during the summer of 1864, Sheridan seized the opportunity to accuse Warren of being slow in his advance attack on the Confederacy after the North had planted and detonated a bomb in an underground mineshaft. But the reality was IX Corps stood between Warren’s V Corps and the enemy that allowed the South to recover. Sheridan was already making the case, convincing his boss of Warren’s so called weakness, his hesitance to engage the enemy in a timely enough manner. Even though untrue, it was an unfair cheap shot that sealed the deal.

Despite Warren’s command producing successful interdiction of the Confederate’s railway supply line in August and December, and his repeated competence throughout the war, the writing was on the wall. By 1865 Sheridan had already manipulated Grant into giving Sheridan permission to relieve General Warren of his command at the first sign of Warren failing to move his troops quick enough to the battle line. With the war winding down, Sheridan realized he needed to make his move if he was to eliminate his main competition for Civil War fame and glory.

A week before the war ended, it was crunch time. So just days prior to Appomattox with the war already won, General Sheridan went for Warren’s jugular even as the North was wrapping up the final victorious battle of the war at Five Forks. Sheridan was waiting for Warren so he could throw a tirade and on the spot relieve General Warren of his command in the final possible hour. The conspiracy between Sheridan and Grant to ruin Warren was blatantly criminal.

To commit such grievous wrongdoing – destroying a fellow officer’s career and subsequent life – Sheridan was merely acting out aggressively, getting rid of his stiffest competition. He selfishly exploited and capitalized on both his timing knowing the war would be over within days and his protégé status with his superior, using the flimsy, lame and false excuse that General Warren was too cautious and slow in coming to Sheridan’s support. Sheridan’s egregiously unjust transgression infamously stands out as one the most horrific examples in military history of how one West Pointer ruined the career of another West Pointer. This evil cloak and dagger tactic of course is not uncommon amongst those West Point leaders who operate immorally driven by their own blind ambition for glory, fame and power at the expense of others.

Gouverneur Warren, a less aggressive, more thoughtful, more humane and honorable man, in protest resigned his commission as a major general of volunteers on May 27th, 1865. Though he continued on active duty working in the Corps of Engineers at the permanent rank of a lowly, humiliated major, the war hero built railroads and bridges over the next seventeen years along the Mississippi River.17 Warren also improved flood zones and harbors not only in the South but the Great Lakes and Atlantic regions as well.

GK Warren struggled the rest of his entire life trying desperately to right the wrong that had been done to him. Unfortunately timing again was not on his side as soon Grant became the eighteenth US President who of course constantly thwarted and turned down Warren’s repeated requests for a court of inquiry in efforts to exonerate himself. Finally fourteen years later the same year Warren was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1879, then President Rutherford Hayes ultimately granted the fallen hero his day in court. So many years later the long and lengthy inquiry lasted more than a hundred days of heated testimony that included formidable opposition from the likes of Sheridan, Grant and General Sherman, the three most powerful military men in America. But those officers who fought alongside Warren stood by him, knowing the truth that a good man and national hero was being destroyed in the grossest travesty of justice.

According to Eric Wittenberg’s book entitled Little Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War Leadership of General Philip H. Sheridan (Potomac 2002), Sheridan was completely in the wrong, concluding that Warren was exactly where he should have been that fateful day:

General Warren in fact was handling dispositions of his divisions in a manner consistent with that of a corps commander, and the attack by the V Corps carried the day at Five Forks, arguably the pivotal battle in the final days against Lee’s army.18

The 1880 inquest agreed that it was Sheridan who wrongly acted that day in 1865. Tragically by the time those findings were published in 1882 clearing my Uncle Gouverneur Kemble Warren, he had died just three months earlier. Even his obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer identified what actually caused his death:

He had been confined to his bed less than one week; but for a long time, especially since the close of the recent Court of Inquiry relating to his conduct at the battle of Five Forks, he has shown signs of great mental depression, and actually died of a broken heart, although he had diseases which in time might have caused death.19

My honorable uncle felt so humiliated by his ruined career and seeming inability to right the wrong the previous 17 bitter years of his life that he opted to be buried in civilian clothes foregoing any military honors at his funeral. Maliciously, willfully destroying a brilliant man’s life and career cost Sheridan absolutely nothing. In fact, a year after Warren’s death, Sheridan was rewarded with the promotion as Commanding General of the US Army. In 1888 just prior to his own death, Sheridan rose to the same pinnacle his cronies Sherman and Grant had attained, the highest rank of all – General of the Army of the United States.

After America’s bloodiest war, the ever-bloodthirsty Sheridan couldn’t get enough, so he headed west to do his part exterminating the original Americans. There he made even more of a name for himself as the fearless Indian fighter with the infamous misquote, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Actually after a Comanche Chief told Sheridan that he was a “good Indian,” Sheridan smirked replying, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”

While a cadet at West Point, the ruthless killer Sheridan actually bayoneted a fellow cadet and rather than get rid of the psycho-killer, he was suspended a year and allowed to return to his studies at West Point to graduate near last in his class like other notables Grant and Custer. Sheridan relished in his murderous role along with his West Point buddy General “Tecumseh” Sherman in eliminating as many Native Americans out West as their evil-doing genocide allowed. And regarding the so called “collateral damage” of murdering innocent women and children, his response:

If a village is attacked and women and children killed, the responsibility is not with the soldiers but with the people whose crimes necessitated the attack.20

And those crimes were simply being born Native American. The United States rewards killers and destroys the true heroes.

This telling story of my long lost family relative epitomizes the premise of this entire presentation – how evil is so often elevated to the highest echelons of power while humility and leadership greatness too often are either overlooked or willfully destroyed. With such a promising career and life cut so short at the relatively young age of just fifty-two, GK Warren seemed destined for greatness with so much talent, leadership and humanity going for him.

Starting at West Point at just 16 years of age, Warren gave the next 36 years of his life to America. And it was nothing short of outstanding military service, engineering genius and history changing heroism, until his nemesis came along. General Warren deserved much better than what he got. An unforgivable injustice was inflicted on my uncle, despite his remarkable life and accomplishments. Due to one man’s evil act, conspired and then sealed by America’s first West Point President, the full potential of what Warren could have achieved and given to his country was totally crushed and will never be known.

I find this sad irony both fateful and fitting that a century later I would suddenly first learn about my great uncle as a fellow West Pointer on the verge of my own historical crossroads, trying to right yet another wrong this time being perpetrated by unscrupulous West Point officers against me as a cadet. After being railroaded out of the Academy for excessive demerits on a series of false charges due to command conspiracy, I took West Point to court for failure to allow due process of law and won, becoming the first cadet since its 1802 founding to legally beat the system. When I returned to finish my senior year, I imagined ol’ Gouve was smiling down on me for my triumph despite him not living quite long enough to see his own vindication and justice.

General Warren represented the positive kind of leadership that leads by example, that demonstrates genuine care and concern for his soldiers and is always looking out for their best interest over his own. I’m both grateful and proud to have a long lost great-great-great uncle whose incredible contributions saved the Union during America’s darkest hour. His brand of West Point leadership provides us with inspiration and hope that today’s generals will also rise to the challenge and do what is both moral and honorable, following their sworn oath to defend and protect our Constitution, our nation and our people no matter what during America’s latest dark hour.

1  Sam Roberts, “Long Unarmed, 2 Generals Will Be Reunited With Their Swords,” New York Times, 23 June 2014, (accessed 15 Oct. 2014).
2  “Biographical Note: Gouverneur Kemble Warren’s Papers, 1848-1882,” New York State Library (Albany, New York), (online) (accessed 3 June 2013).
3  “Soldier and Brave Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings: Grattan Fight Site,” US National Park Service, (online) (accessed 3 June 2013).
4  Ibid.
5  Paul Norman Beck, The First Sioux War: The Grattan Fight and Blue Water Creek1854-1856, (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2004), p. 71.
6  George Emory Faye, Military Engagements between United States Troops and Plains Indians, Volume 1, Museum of Anthropology, University of Northern Colorado, 1980, p. 20.
7  Jefferson Davis, Report to the President, 4 Dec. 1854, Central Pacific Railroad History Museum, Library of T.D. Judah, (online) (accessed 10 Oct. 2014).
8  Michael Griske, The Diaries of John Hunton: Made to Last, Written to Last: Sagas of the Western Frontier, (Westminster, Maryland: Heritage Books, 2005), p. 63.
9  Paul Norman Beck, The First Sioux War: The Grattan Fight and Blue Water Creek1854-1856, (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2004), p. 83.
10  “Battle of Blue Water,” Nebraska State Historical Society, (online) (accessed 3 June 2013).
11  Gouveneur K. Warren, letter to Robert Warren, 4 Sept. 1855, folder 3-7, box 3, GK Warren Family Letters, New York State Library (Albany, New York).
12  US Army Corps of Engineers, Historical Vignette 119 – Warren’s Map of the West, (online) (accessed 3 June 2013).
13  Corky Siemaszko, “How Emily Warren Roebling Helped Save = and Complete – the Brooklyn Bridge,” New York Daily News, 24 May 2012, (accessed 3 June 2013).
14  Danielle Furfarro, Roebling Suite: Musical Celebrates the Brooklyn Bridge,” Brooklyn Daily, 9 Oct. 2014, (accessed 14 Oct. 2014).
15  New York State Library, “Biographical Note: Gouverneur K. Warren,” (online) (accessed 3 June 2013).
16  US Army Corps of Engineers, The Savior of Little Round Top: GK Warren at Gettysburg, (online) (accessed 3 June 2013).
17  New York State Library, “Biographical Note: Gouverneur K. Warren,” (online) (accessed 3 June 2013).
18  Eric Wittenberg, Little Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War Leadership of General Philip H. Sheridan (Washington DC: Potomac 2002), p. 122.
19  “Major General Gouverneur Warren Obituary,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 9 Aug. 1882, (online) (accessed 3 June 2013).
20  “New Perspectives on The West: Philip Henry Sheridan,” PBS, (online) (accessed 3 June 2013).

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/. He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.

Washington has blocked the final document of a UN conference that reviewed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, accusing Egypt of manipulating the gathering to target Israel. Moscow has slammed the US for rendering the four-week meeting futile.

The 9th international conference was held in New York from April 27 until May 22. A total of 162 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) participant states were in attendance. These conferences are held every five years to assess the worldwide disarmament process.

The blocked document included a plan to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. To do this, Egypt, who first proposed such a zone in 1980, suggested a regional UN conference on banning weapons of mass destruction. The gathering would have no pre-determined agenda and would go ahead with or without the presence of Israel.

This was stonewalled by the US, with Washington representative Rose Gottemoeller saying the final document reviewed on Friday was “incompatible with our longstanding policies.”

She accused Egypt and other Arab supporters of the nuclear-free zone of being“not willing to let go of these unrealistic and unworkable conditions,” AP reports.

Israel, which is an observer, but not a participant of the NPT, is widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, which it has neither confirmed nor denied. It is also a close ally of the US.

Egypt expressed its disappointment and said: “This will have consequences in front of the Arab world and public opinion.”

Washington’s position was backed by the UK and Canada, ultimately sinking the proposal which had to be approved by all countries.

Russia, for its part, said it was committed to nuclear non-proliferation and saw similar commitment from most other participants.

“The vast majority of the delegations have noted that the treaty remains a ‘cornerstone’ of international security and stability, and serves their interests,” a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said. “Participant countries have confirmed their readiness to comply with their obligations under the NPT.”

“We regretfully acknowledge that because of the positions of the US, Britain and Canada, we could not adopt the final document which included provisions on fulfilling the 1995 resolution on creating a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction.” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

It added, however, that Russia still has faith in the Treaty: “Despite such an outcome of the conference, the Russian Federation is ready to continue cooperating with other countries to help strengthen the NPT, provide its wholesomeness and viability.”

The failure of this conference means the next one can only be held in 2020.

This article was first published in July 2013  following the Pentagon’s Decision to Purge the bin Laden “death files” from the Pentagon’s data bank. The decision was justified “to protect the names of the personnel involved in the raid, according to the inspector general’s draft report.” 

The personnel involved were members of the Navy SEAL team 6 operative which undertook the bin Laden Abbottabad raids in May 2011.

In a bitter irony,  three months after Obama had officially announced that the SEAL 6 unit had killed Obama bin Laden,  22 NAVY Seal belonging to the same unit as the Navy SEALS involved in the Osama Abbotabad operation,  died mysteriously in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan:

 30 Americans were killed in the crash on August 6, 2011 when insurgents shot down a U.S. military helicopter during fighting in eastern Afghanistan, making it the largest loss of life in a single incident for the U.S. military during the war. …

US military officials have maintained that none of the individuals involved directly in the Bin Laden mission were killed in the crash. However, sources have claimed that there were at least two SEALs who died on the chopper who had been involved in the Bin Laden raid. (Infowars, July 24, 2013, emphasis added)

The chronology is important: the Pentagon decided to purge the Osama “death files”, two months after the families of the victims of the helicopter crash went public in May 2013 “with concerns that the Obama administration was at least partially responsible for the deaths of their sons” (Ibid).

Erasing the names of the Navy SEAL Team 6 personnel from the Pentagon “death files”made it impossible to verify whether the Navy SEAL personnel involved in Abbottabad raid were dead or alive.

Michel Chossudovsky, May 24, 2015

*      *     *

A new wave of camouflage is underway at the Pentagon and the CIA.  The bin Laden “death files” contained in the Pentagon’s  data bank have become the object of controversy.

Navy Vice Admiral William McRaven has been entrusted in removing these secret military files concerning the May 2011 Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s alleged hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan from the Pentagon’s data banks.

The files of the bin Laden SEAL operation had to be removed to sustain the Big Lie.

Osama was allegedly killed on the orders of the US government, despite ample evidence that he was already dead at the time of the attack:

… the US government pulled off one of the most audacious stunts of the 21st century, when on May 2nd 2011 they claimed to have killed Osama bin Laden during a Navy SEAL operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The contemptuously sloppy story spun by the US government, parroted without question by the controlled corporate media, and obligingly swallowed by a largely gullible Western public, was dubious in the extreme. (Brit Dee, Global Research, May 03, 2012)

Who was killed? Was it Osama bin Laden or someone else?

“Rest in Peace”, “‘Truth” will prevail. The files are no longer at the Pentagon, they have been sent to the CIA, in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. The White House tacitly acknowledges that the procedure of moving government records was in violation of federal norms:

A draft report by the Pentagon’s inspector-general briefly described the secret move, which was directed by the top US special operations commander, Admiral William McRaven.

The transfer did not set off alarms within the Obama administration even though it appears to have sidestepped rules governing federal records and circumvented the Freedom of Information Act.

President Barack Obama has pledged to make his administration the most transparent in US history.

The CIA said the documents were handled in a manner consistent with the fact that the operation was conducted under the CIA’s direction. (Belfast Telegraph, July 8, 2013)

The Pentagon spokesperson denied the fact that the removal of these files was to avoid the legal requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

But secretly moving the records allowed the Pentagon to tell The Associated Press that it couldn’t find any documents inside the Defense Department that AP had requested more than two years ago, and could represent a new strategy for the U.S. government to shield even its most sensitive activities from public scrutiny. New York Daily News

According to the official statement, the record transfer from the Pentagon to the CIA has nothing to do with Freedom of Information. Its objective was “to protect the names of the personnel involved in the raid, according to the inspector general’s draft report.”

Protect whom? Several members of the SEAL raid are now dead, allegedly “due to combat and training accidents”. The list of names in the Osama death files is known to US intelligence but not to the broader public, nor to family members:

According to the New York Times, “79 commandos and a dog” were involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden — though other reports peg the number at approximately 24. Since the raid, SEAL Team Six — the team that conducted the Bin Laden raid — has lost several members due to combat and training accidents, though none of them have been confirmed as being specifically part of the Bin Laden raid.

The largest loss to the team took place in April of 2011 when Taliban fighters shot down a U.S. helicopter and killed 22 members of SEAL Team Six, along with 16 other U.S. troops. None of those SEALs, however, were reported to have worked on the Bin Laden raid. Separately, the BeforeItsNews piece references Cmdr. Job W. Price, who committed suicide in December of 2012, as being another person connected to the Bin Laden raid who has died. This accusation doesn’t hold up because Price was reportedly part of SEAL Team Four, not Six, and was not part of the Bin Laden raid.

The most recent death tied to SEAL Team Six took place on March 28, when Special Warfare Operator Chief Brett D. Shadle was killed in a parachute training accident when he collided in midair with another SEAL over the Arizona desert. He was later identified as being a part of Team Six, though it’s unclear if he was actually assigned to the Bin Laden mission.

The problem with completely confirming or disproving the accusation that so many SEAL Team Six members have died is that the U.S. military typically does not disclose which units special forces members work on, even after their deaths. In interviews with MSN News, spokespeople at the U.S. Navy, Pentagon and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) each refused to comment on the BeforeItsNews article or the claim that 25 members of the Bin Laden raid team have died. (MSN News, April 9, 2013)

The members of SEAL Team Six know the untold truth. And they are forbidden to reveal it.

“Many credible commentators, including respected intelligence analysts and heads of state, had claimed years before 2011 that bin Laden was dead.” (Brit Dee, op cit).

In an “authoritative” December 26, 2001, report Fox News acknowledged Osama bin Laden’s “peaceful death” in December 2001:

Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader.

“The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead,” the source said.

Bin Laden, according to the source, was suffering from a serious lung complication and succumbed to the disease in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief.

About 30 close associates of bin Laden in Al Qaeda, including his most trusted and personal bodyguards, his family members and some “Taliban friends,” attended the funeral rites. A volley of bullets was also fired to pay final tribute to the “great leader.”

The Taliban source who claims to have seen bin Laden’s face before burial said “he looked pale … but calm, relaxed and confident.”

Asked whether bin Laden had any feelings of remorse before death, the source vehemently said “no.” Instead, he said, bin Laden was proud that he succeeded in his mission of igniting awareness amongst Muslims about hegemonistic designs and conspiracies of “pagans” against Islam. Bin Laden, he said, held the view that the sacrifice of a few hundred people in Afghanistan was nothing, as those who laid their lives in creating an atmosphere of resistance will be adequately rewarded by Almighty Allah.

When asked where bin Laden was buried, the source said, “I am sure that like other places in Tora Bora, that particular place too must have vanished.”

Did the SEAL team, on orders of the Commander in  Chief, kill an innocent person with a view to sustaining the official “Osama death story”.

Several members of SEAL Team Six which carried out the attack are now dead.

The Osama Legend is now classified, buried in the Osama Death files stored in the archives of the CIA.

Only the CIA knows the names of the surviving members of the SEAL team involved in the May 2011 Osama Abbotabad raid.

Nuclear non-proliferation talks ended without agreement on Friday after the United States, Canada and Britain opposed a plan to set up a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

More than 150 countries took part in a month-long conference reviewing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology.

But talks on a final document outlining an action plan for the next five years hit a wall over a provision on convening a conference by March 2016 on creating a Middle East nuclear-weapons free zone.

Israel, which is not a member of the NPT but attended the conference as an observer, opposed the proposal backed by Egypt and Arab countries.

Israel is believed to be the only country that possesses a nuclear arsenal in the region, although it has never acknowledged its nuclear military capacity.

US Arms Control Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller told the NPT conference that provisions on holding the conference were “incompatible with our long-standing policies”.

Gottemoeller argued that the proposed nuclear-free zone did not stand a chance of success “absent the consent of all states involved”, a clear reference to Israel’s opposition.

Earlier this week, the US administration had dispatched an envoy to Israel to discuss the proposal, hoping to reach a compromise that would have salvaged the final document of the NPT conference.

US blames Egypt

Gottemoeller took aim at “a number of states, in particular Egypt” for the failure of the talks, accusing them of refusing to “let go of unrealistic and unworkable conditions” to create the nuclear weapons-free zone.

The head of the British delegation to the talks, Matthew Rowland, also said the terms for convening the conference on the nuclear weapons-free zone were “a stumbling block for us”.

Canada said it could not agree to the document because of the provisions that would have laid the groundwork for creating the zone banning all nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

In an eleventh-hour move, Iran, which heads the Non-Aligned Movement, requested more time to consider the final document but the session resumed with no agreement.

Iran’s envoy cited the refusal of “three delegations” to agree to the final text, accusing them of blocking the consensus “with this high cost”.

The envoy said this was “only to safeguard the interest of a particular non-party to the treaty that has endangered peace and security in the region by developing a nuclear capability”.

At the last NPT conference in 2010, a final document called for the conference on the nuclear-free weapons zone for the Middle East to be held in 2012, but that meeting never materialised.

The NPT, which entered into force in 1970, has 190 state-parties or entities that meet every five years to take stock of progress in nuclear disarmament.

The treaty is seen as a grand bargain between the five nuclear powers and non-nuclear states which agreed to give up atomic weapon ambitions in exchange for disarmament pledges.

But non-nuclear states have been increasingly frustrated by the slow pace of disarmament and had sought during the month-long conference to press for action to speed up the reduction of stockpiles.

Copyright Middle East Eye 2015

The Speaker of the Russian Lower House of Parliament (Duma), Sergey Naryshkin told the press that the Japanese – Russian dispute over the South Kuril Islands should not become an irritant in Japanese – Russian relations. Neither Russian nor Japanese politicians are touching the taboo issue. Japan, Germany and Italy are still designated as enemy states to the UN. Japan and Russia are not playing on a a level playing field.

Kuril_Northerm territories_Japan_RussiaAfter his visit to Japan the Russian State Duma Speaker Naryshkin noted that the status of the South Kuril Islands is “always present on the agenda of meetings” between Tokyo and Moscow.

Naryshkin added that considering the Kuril Islands as “pretext for Russian territorial claims” than the issue will only become an irritant and obstacle to developing cooperation in other spheres. Naryshkin added that Russia is always willing to discuss sensitive issues, even a peace treaty with Japan, provided that it would be done with mutual respect.

Russia occupied the South Kuril Islands and, for all practical intends and purposes annexed the Islands in the same fashion in which large swaps of Germany were annexed by Poland and Russia after WW II.

Moscow’s openness to discuss “sensitive issues, even a peace treaty brings to mind that Germany still has no peace treaty either”; A fact that prevents Germans from voting about a constitution and a fact that maintains the de-facto subjugation of Germany to Washington and London / NATO.

Moreover, the Charter of the United Nations still designates Japan, Italy and Germany as “enemy states to the UN”. In legal terms this means that “any UN member” can launch a “preemptive military strike or occupation” of these three countries at any time, without the need for a declaration of war. A “peace treaty” between Russia and Japan would not change that fact.

Japanese – Russian relations could, arguably, become far more positive if Russia took the initiative to actually level the playing field by actively taking steps to finally remove the enemy state clause from the Charter of the United Nations. The resistance against US bases in Japan is growing, and Moscow would, arguably, commit a strategic blunder by not assuring that Japan regains its full sovereignty as UN member. The move would, definitely, also improve Russian – German relations and weaken Washington’s and London’s sway over Germany and, by implication, over the EU.

Arguably, any one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council who took it upon themselves to carve the world up in hegemonic  zones will have the advantage by gaining the sympathy, trust and cooperation of those States that, 70 years after WW II, still face the threat of being attacked or occupied in the case of a real or fabricated threat, without a declaration of war.

Japanese – Russian relations could, indeed, become far more fruitful if it was Russia that took the initiative. A peace treaty between Tokyo and Moscow is, arguably worth as much as the 2+4 treaty about Germany. It has not returned sovereignty to Germany and its people.

Peace treaties are a step in the right direction but a world that is based on victor’s justice and victor’s privileges to launch undeclared, preemptive wars of aggression will not help solve the dispute about the South Kuril Islands nor will it help to bring about a just, actual, enforceable, international system of law with equal standing before the law. Negotiations are most functional when they are being held between co-equals.

“She was a redheaded rebel, the singer in the family, a trash-talking, tattooed 21-year-old wrapped up in a hip-hop dream of becoming Holland’s Eminem. Then Betsy found Allah. After her sudden conversion to Islam last summer, Betsy began dressing in full Muslim robes. By January, the once-agnostic Dutch woman, raised in a home where the only sign of religion was a dusty Bible on a shelf, began defending homegrown terrorists. … Denis Cuspert, a German hip-hop artist known as Deso Dogg who converted in 2010 and later joined The Islamic State [ISIS], delivers a rap-like chant portraying the path to jihad as a chance for empowerment, spiritual fulfillment, vengeance and adventure. … ‘The door to jihad is standing there waiting for you,’ says a Swedish convert to Islam in a video. ‘It is the fastest way to paradise.’ “

Tales told many times in recent years, all over Europe, at times in the United States. Parents and authorities are deeply distressed and perplexed. How can young people raised in the West – the freedom-obsessed, democratic, peace-loving, humanitarian, fun-filled West – join the Islamic State and support the public cutting off of the heads of breathing, living human beings? Each of us in our own way are lost souls searching for answers to the awful mysteries of life. But THIS? What life-quest does The Islamic State satisfy that our beloved West can’t satisfy? ISIS is unique in the world in making US foreign policy look good. The Defense Department and the State Department have special task forces studying the new enemy; the latter regularly puts out videos to counteract the many Islamic State videos.

I hope those researching the question look inwardly as well as at ISIS. How do young people raised in the West – the same West we know and love – coldly machine-gun to death more than a dozen Iraqis, men, women, children, reporters, absolutely in cold blood, in the video made famous by Chelsea Manning; but this of course is nothing compared to Fallujah with its two-headed babies, even three-headed, an eye in the middle of the forehead. The Islamic State has done nothing compared to what the United States did to the people of Fallujah. Can anyone name a horror in all of history more gruesome? Yes, there are some, but not many; and much of Fallujah was personally executed by nice, clean-cut, freedom-obsessed, democratic, peace-loving, humanitarian, fun-filled made-in America young men.

Here’s US Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, in his memoir, April 6, 2004, the time of Fallujah, in video teleconference with President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. “We’ve got to smash somebody’s ass quickly,” said Powell. “There has to be a total victory somewhere. We must have a brute demonstration of power.” Then Bush spoke: “At the end of this campaign al-Sadr must be gone. At a minimum, he will be arrested. It is essential he be wiped out. Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can’t send that message. It’s an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal. … There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!”

“Years from now when America looks out on a democratic Middle East, growing in freedom and prosperity, Americans will speak of the battles like Fallujah with the same awe and reverence that we now give to Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima” in World War II. – George W. Bush, 2006

Well, George, it’s either that or Fallujah was one of the key reasons for the rise of ISIS.

My point here is not that United States foreign policy is as barbaric and depraved as The Islamic State. It’s not. Most of the time. I simply hope to make it a bit easier to understand the enemy by seeing ourselves without the stars in our eyes. And I haven’t even mentioned what the United States has led the world in for over a century – torture.

The ever-fascinating and ever-revealing subject of ideology

Jeb Bush has gotten himself into trouble because, like all politicians running for office, he is unable to give simple honest answers to simple straightforward questions, for fear of offending one or another segment of the population. How refreshing it would be to have a politician say only what s/he actually believes, even if it’s as stupid as usual.

The brother of the previous president has been asked repeatedly: “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion of Iraq?” At first his answer was “yes”, then at times “I don’t know”, even “no” at least once, or he’s refused to answer at all. Clearly he’s been guessing about which reply would win him points with the most people, or which would lose him the least.

This caused a minor uproar, even among conservatives. Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham was moved to make a rare rational remark: “You can’t still think that going into Iraq, now, as a sane human being, was the right thing to. If you do, there has to be something wrong with you.”

Such discussions always leave out a critical point. Why did millions of Americans, and even more millions abroad, march against the war in the fall of 2002 and early 2003, before it began? What did they know that the Bush brothers and countless other politicians didn’t know? It was clear to the protesters that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were habitual liars, that they couldn’t care less about the people of Iraq, that the defenseless people of that ancient civilization were going to be bombed to hell; most of the protesters knew something about the bombings of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Panama, Yugoslavia, or Afghanistan; and they knew about napalm, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, etc. Those who marched knew that the impending war was something a moral person could not support; and that it was totally illegal, a textbook case of a “war of aggression”; one didn’t have to be an expert in international law to know this.

Didn’t the Brothers Bush, Hillary Clinton (who voted for the war in the Senate), et al know about any of these things? Of course they did. They just didn’t care enough; supporting the empire’s domination and expansion was a given, and remains so; no US politician gets very far – certainly not to the White House – questioning the right of American Exceptionalism to impose itself upon humanity (for humanity’s sake of course).

Consider the darlings du jour of the American Left, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. They very seldom speak out critically about US foreign policy or even the military budget. The anti-war/anti-imperialist segment of the American left need to put proper pressure on the two senators.

Mr. Sanders should also be asked why he routinely refers to himself as a “democratic socialist”. Why not just “socialist”? It’s likely a legacy of the Cold War. I think that he and other political figures who use the term are, consciously or unconsciously, trying to disassociate themselves from communism, the Soviet Union, Marxism, etc., all those things that are not good for you. (The word “socialist” once connoted furtive men with European accents, sinister facial hair, and bombs.)

It would be delightful to hear Sanders openly declare that he is simply a “socialist”. Socialism can be democratic; indeed, a lot more so than capitalism, particularly concerning the distribution of wealth and all the ramifications of that. Presented here are some relevant thoughts on these issues, from myself and others:

It’s only the socialists who maintain as a bedrock principle: People before Profit, which can serve as a very concise definition of socialism, an ideology anathema to the Right and libertarians, who fervently believe, against all evidence, in the rationality of a free market. I personally favor the idea of a centralized, planned economy. (Oh my God, a damn Commie!) Modern society is much too complex and technical to leave its operation in the hands of libertarians, communitarians, or anarchists seeking to return to a “community” or “village” level.

“Washington has always regarded democratic socialism as a greater challenge than totalitarian Communism, which was easy to vilify and made for a handy enemy. In the 1960s and ’70s, the favored tactic for dealing with the inconvenient popularity of economic nationalism and democratic socialism was to try to equate them with Stalinism, deliberately blurring the clear differences between the world views.” – Naomi Klein

“If it is true, as often said, that most socialist regimes turn out to be dictatorships, that is largely because a dictatorship is much harder to overthrow or subvert than a democracy.” – Jean Bricmont, Belgian author of “Humanitarian Imperialism” (2006)

Without a proclaimed socialist vision, radical change becomes too many different things for too many different individuals and groups.

“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.” – Martin Luther King

The United States is so fearful of the word “socialism” that it changed the “social sciences” to the “behavioral sciences”.

If for no other reason than to save the environment, the world needs to abandon the capitalist system. Every day, in every spot on earth, in a multitude of ways, corporations are faced with a choice: to optimize profits or to do what’s best for the planet.

The great majority of people in any society work for a salary. They don’t need to be motivated by the profit motive. It’s not in anyone’s genes. Virtually everybody, if given the choice, would prefer to work at jobs where the main motivations are to help others, improve the quality of life of society, and provide themselves with meaningful and satisfying work. It’s not natural to be primarily motivated by trying to win or steal “customers” from other people, no holds barred, survival of the fittest or the least honest.

And what about this thing called “democracy”, or “majority rule”? Many millions marched against the invasion of Iraq before it began. I don’t know of a single soul who marched in favor of it, although I’m sure there must have been someone somewhere. That lucky soul was the one they listened to.

Finally, the question being asked of Jeb Bush and others is not the best one. They’re asked: “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion of Iraq?” A more important question would be: “Knowing what we knew then, would you have authorized the invasion of Iraq?” And the answer should be “no”, because we knew that Saddam Hussein had destroyed his weapons of mass destruction. This is very well documented, from diverse sources, international and Iraqi, including Saddam himself and his chief lieutenants.

The American Mainstream Media – A Classic Tale Of Propaganda

“When an American warplane accidentally struck the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999 during the Kosovo campaign …”

These words appeared in the Washington Post on April 24, 2015 as part of a story about US drone warfare and how an American drone attack in Pakistan in January had accidentally killed two Western aid workers. The Post felt no need to document the Belgrade incident, or explain it any further. Almost anyone who follows international news halfway seriously knows about this famous “accident” of May 7, 1999. The only problem is that the story is pure propaganda.

Three people inside the Chinese embassy were killed and Washington apologized profusely to Beijing, blaming outdated maps among other problems. However, two well-documented and very convincing reports in The Observer of London in October and November of that year, based on NATO and US military and intelligence sources, revealed that the embassy had been purposely targeted after NATO discovered that it was being used to transmit Yugoslav army communications. The Chinese were doing this after NATO planes had successfully silenced the Yugoslav government’s own transmitters.  The story of how the US mainstream media covered up the real story behind the embassy bombing is absolutely embarrassing.

Over and above the military need, there may have been a political purpose served. China, then as now, was clearly the principal barrier to US hegemony in Asia, if not elsewhere. The bombing of the embassy was perhaps Washington’s charming way of telling Beijing that this is only a small sample of what can happen to you if you have any ideas of resisting or competing with the American juggernaut. Since an American bombing campaign over Belgrade was already being carried out, Washington was able to have a much better than usual “plausible denial” for the embassy bombing. The opportunity may have been irresistible to American leaders. The chance might never come again.

All of US/NATO’s other bombing “mistakes” in Yugoslavia were typically followed by their spokesman telling the world: “We regret the loss of life.” These same words were used by the IRA in Northern Ireland on a number of occasions over the years following one of their bombings which appeared to have struck the wrong target. But their actions were invariably called “terrorist”.

Undoubtedly, the US media will be writing of the “accidental” American bombing of the Chinese embassy as long as the empire exists and China does not become a member of NATO.

P.S On May 20 the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a list of 39 English-language books recovered during the raid that reportedly killed Osama bin Laden. Noam Chomsky and I are the only two authors on the list with two books.

As some of you may remember, in January, 2006 bin Laden, in an audiotape, recommended that Americans read my book Rogue State. This resulted in the US media discovering my existence for a week. You can read the full story in my book America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy (pp. 281-84).


  1. Washington Post, May 7, 2015

  2. Ricardo Sanchez, Wiser in Battle: A Soldier’s Story (2008), pages 349-350
  3. Associated Press, November 11, 2006
  4. William Blum, America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, pp. 61-2
  5. The Observer (London), October 17, 1999 (“Nato bombed Chinese deliberately”), and November 28, 1999 (“Truth behind America’s raid on Belgrade”)
  6. Extra! Update (magazine of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [FAIR], New York), December 1999; appeared first as solitary article October 22, 1999 (“U.S. Media Overlook Expose on Chinese Embassy Bombing”)

The serious possibility of a nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 is only a few weeks away – on June 30.

So guess what the terminally paranoid House of Saud is up to: Lay their hands on a nuclear bomb to counteract the non-existent “Iranian bomb”, which Tehran, via Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, has consistently abhorred as un-Islamic, and wouldn’t have it anyway because of stringent inspections bound to be part of the final nuclear deal.

The proverbial “former Pentagon official” has leaked to a Rupert Murdoch paper that the House of Saud is bound to buy a ready-made nuclear bomb from Pakistan. The choice of media already offers a clue; Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is one of News Corporation’s leading shareholders.

The “why now?” concerning the leak is pretty obvious. Yet the whodunit is hazier territory.

Meanwhile, adding fuel to the jihadi fire, as the Wahhabis in Riyadh dream of going — literally — nuclear their faith brothers across “Syraq” are going figuratively nuclear, adding victory after victory on the ground; from the assault on Palmyra, the Silk Road-era jewel of the desert in Syria, to the fall of Ramadi in the former “triangle of death” in Iraq.

The “Iranian bomb” was never really an issue for successive U.S. administrations; only a convenient pretext to box in, harass, sanction and “isolate” the Islamic Republic, the former “gendarme” of the Gulf in the Shah era. The U.S. government always knew nuclear bombs can be bought on the black market; so whether Tehran could develop a nuclear weapon was irrelevant.

The House of Saud, for its part, may — and the operative concept is “may” — already have a bomb, for a long time now, to offset Israel. And they “may” have paid Islamabad for it. There is no conclusive proof.

What’s certain is that the — non-existent — “Iranian bomb” is where the House of Saud, other GCC minions and, crucially, Bibi Netanyahu’s extremist, fundamentalist Israeli government converge; they all consider it an “existential threat” to their survival.

The problem is we can’t just dismiss outbursts of the type as mere instances of geopolitical surrealism. A running myth — very popular in the Beltway — goes that Riyadh’s got some credit with Islamabad as the House of Saud invested billions of dollars in the 1970s to develop the Pakistani nuclear program, which was a counterpunch against the Indian nuclear program.

Already on December 2011, the House of Saud announced publicly that it was pursuing a nuclear bomb. But only as the possibility of an Iranian nuclear deal advanced they started to embark in a wag the dog attempt to control U.S. foreign policy.

Israel got into the game as early as November 2013, when the BBC reported on an alleged nuclear deal between Riyadh and Islamabad. A key quote was from a former head of Israeli military intel, Amos Yadlin; if Iran had a bomb, “the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring.”

Compare this with wily Prince Turki, former Saudi intelligence chief and close pal of one Osama bin Laden, who has always waved the possibility of a nuclear House of Saud. The last time was in fact in April, at the South Korean Asan Plenum; “Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too.”

The new Godfather of the Riyadh mob, King Salman, wanted Islamabad to provide troops for his ongoing war on Yemen. Islamabad said thanks but no, thanks. Instead, a nuclear deal might – and the operative word, once again, is “might” — have been struck. Naturally no high-ranking official in Riyadh or Islamabad will confirm any of this.

Watch the Pakistani angle 

King Salman is pretty much aware that in the event of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh achieving regime change in Syria – still a pretty remote possibility – the next in line would be the House of Saud.

And then there’s the fact of Washington keeping those infamous 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 secret under wraps after all these years. So possessing a nuclear bomb might be as much an insurance policy against Washington as against the non-existent “Iranian bomb.”

Beyond propaganda, the fact remains that several Masters of the Universe VIPs are positively fed up with the House of Saud on a number of key issues, most of all the Saudi oil price war decimating the U.S. shale oil industry.

Still, the House of Saud would never be allowed to go — literally — nuclear — without a green light from Washington.

The view from Pakistan helps to clear the haze. Pakistani nuclear project chief A.Q. Khan — with some support or at least acquiescence by Islamabad — did sell nuclear weapons technology to North Korea, Iran and Libya. Yet the whole Pakistani nuclear program cost less than $450 million. Scores of Pakistani analysts stress it was that cheap because Islamabad received help from China, not the House of Saud.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are key Chinese energy suppliers. Both Iran and Pakistan will be key players in the emerging, Chinese-led New Silk Road(s) project. Islamabad would be extremely foolish to jeopardize its relationship with Beijing by providing a nuclear weapon which would be used to threaten a non-nuclear neighbor — Iran — that not only is a Chinese strategic ally but will play a key role into easing Pakistan’s energy problems, via the Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline, partly financed by — who else — Beijing.

Watch the Battle of Ramadi – remixed

Wahhabism as practiced in beheading-friendly Saudi Arabia is and will continue to be the ideological matrix of all forms of Salafi-jihadism let loose in the Middle East and beyond. That especially applies to its latest social media-friendly spectacular, ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

ISIS/ISIL/Daesh – to the “civilized world” consternation – has seized Ancient Silk Road pearl Palymra. UNESCO is “concerned.” The White House is “worried.” Palmyra is a strategic crossroads in the center of Syria which will allows the fake Caliphate to launch attacks in all directions and harass the Syrian government’s vital axis, from Damascus to Aleppo. They have already taken over the crucial Syria-Iraq border control point of al-Walid, in Syrian territory.

Moreover, over a third of Palmyra’s 200,000 residents have already been turned into refugees. Hundreds have been made hostages. The macabre beheading show is on. Is the Empire of Chaos — which, in thesis, is at war with the fake Caliphate — doing anything to save Palmyra’s priceless Roman ruins from possible, imminent destruction by Wahhabi-drenched barbarians? Of course not.

And the same applies to Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, roughly 110 km west of Bahgdad, which the U.S. did not “lose” because it never had. While ISIS/ISIL/Daesh gloated about their victory with megaphones at all the major mosques, the Pentagon was spinning this “is a fluid and contested battlefield”, and insisted on “supporting (the Iraqis) with air power.”

Cue to gleaming Toyota convoys of Caliphate goons laughing their Kalashnikovs off while they make their mark on the “fluid and contested battlefield.” The Pentagon may “support” anything they want with “air power,” but bombing won’t disrupt the fluidity. The Pentagon has run out of targets. ISIS/ISIL/Daesh are not sitting ducks; they are an asymmetrical guerrilla very apt at redeploying in a flash.

ISIS/ISIL/Daesh invested in a lot of strategic planning to take Ramadi. The symbolism is far-reaching; a major defeat not only for Baghdad but also for the “leading from behind” Empire of Chaos, even though a clueless Barack Obama insists “we are not losing” the fight against the Caliphate.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi is finally starting to get the picture. He met with leaders of key Shi’ite militias — who will have to do the heavy lifting crossing the Euphrates and trying to retake Ramadi before the Caliphate goons decide to advance towards holy Karbala, which holds the tomb of Imam Hussein, the martyred grandson of Prophet Muhammad. It’s a race against time because ISIS/ISIL/Daesh may also try to control nearby Iraqi military bases and weapons depots.

As for Sunni tribal sheikhs around Ramadi willing to fight the Caliphate, they were — and remain — fuming because they never received promised weaponry from Baghdad. Besides, no one knows why the Iraqi Army on site did not get air support; helicopter gunships would have turned scores of Caliphate goons into minced meat.

Al-Abadi finally acted by removing his early ban for the Shi’ite militias to operate in hardcore Sunni Anbar province; they did that in the first place obeying a command by revered Ayatollah Sistani.

Meanwhile, the head of the Badr Corps and overall commander of the Shi’ite militas, Hadi al-Ameri, is sure that taking back Ramadi is easier than campaigning north of Baghdad in Salahuddin province — where the militias, alongside the Iraqi Army, recaptured Tikrit and Beiji from ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. In both cases, Empire of Chaos bombing played a minimal role.

Al-Abadi also met with Iranian defense minister, Brig. Gen. Husain Dehqan, in Baghdad; he stressed both Iran and Iraq are fighting (Sunni) terrorist extremism; and crucially, he said, “we do not support the war on Yemen,” which puts Baghdad in direct conflict with Riyadh.

It gets even better; al-Abadi has gone to Moscow, where he hopes to get plenty of support — and weapons. After all, ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is crammed with Chechens. Moscow wants the Caliphate smashed; as it thrives, there is a direct threat of a jihadi renewal in Chechnya.

So now the stage is set for the Battle of Ramadi — remixed; Shi’ite militias plus Sunni tribals, the odd American adviser, and discreet help from Iran and Russia, against Caliphate goons, many of them mercenaries, lavishly supported by assorted wealthy Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia and across the Gulf. As far as the Empire of Chaos goes, Divide and Rule remains the sweetest game in town.

(Copyright 2015 Asia Times Holdings Limited, a duly registered Hong Kong company. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

The securitisation of immigration control has failed to solve the migrant crisis because it ignores the root cause: a global system that puts profits before people.

Every year, thousands of people risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean in fragile boats, fleeing war, poverty, persecution, and misery in order to reach the shores of Europe and the possibility of a better, safer life.

Sadly a significant number of the hopeful perish in their attempts—drowning when their flimsy vessels capsize or sink—or end up in humiliating camps and prisons in southern European countries, waiting to be deported and returned, their dreams shattered.

What sets this year apart in the ongoing tragedy is the sheer scale of migrant deaths. More than 1,500 migrants have drowned so far—50 times more than last year. This explosion in mortality is attributable in part to ongoing conflicts in Syria, Libya and Mali, which are driving ever greater numbers of Africans, Syrians, and even migrant workers from South Asia, to seek refuge in Europe.

At the same time, Italy has discontinued its Operation Mare Nostrum rescue program due to its cost, and despite its deep culpability in the crisis the European Union has refused to pick up the baton, preferring to let migrants drown—as a deterrent in their view to the unwanted people considering coming to fortress Europe.

The unofficial EU ‘let them drown’ policy was illustrated by a British minister at the Foreign Office, Lady Anelay, in October 2014: “We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean,” she said, explaining that these generated “an unintended ‘pull factor’, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths.”

These undesirable migrants come not only from poor and war-torn countries, but also from countries like the North African giant Algeria, which praises itself on being a beacon of stability in the region, and which harbours vast oil and gas reserves.

Despite its wealth and stability, it is nevertheless one of the biggest countries producing what Algerians call Harraga—‘illegal migrants’ in the Maghrebi language.

Fortress Europe

The EU’s enthusiasm for deterring migrants has been apparent for years. Since 2001, carriers that fail to check the validity of travellers’ passports and visas are subject to sanctions and heavy fines.

In September 2007, seven Tunisian fishermen were indicted and and had their boats confiscated by an Italian judge for “support of illegal immigration.” The fishermen had dared to save a boat transporting passengers to Lampedusa (Sicily), preventing it from sinking as stipulated by maritime rules.

Until recently, European countries externalised the protection of their borders to authoritarian regimes in North Africa. For example, according to the 2008 Berlusconi-Gaddafi agreement, Italy could send African immigrants back to Libya without screening them for asylum claims, thus violating international human rights obligations, and in return Libya received sweetheart economic deals.

In fact, Italy agreed to pay Libya a five billion dollar reparations deal over its 1911-43 colonial rule, in the form of Italian investment over 20 years. At a conference in Italy in 2010, the Libyan leader also declared that Europe would “turn black” unless it was more rigorous in turning back immigrants, which according to him would cost €5 billion a year.

Despite the chaos and mayhem caused by the NATO intervention in Libya, the country is still a key transit point for illegal migration from [url]Africa[/url] to Europe. A significant number of the black Africans living and working in Libya find themselves forced to escape to Europe because of the deep instability as well as the vicious racism they face.

Morocco has also zealously played its role as guardian of fortress Europe. In 2005,twenty people from sub-Saharan Africa died trying to cross the Spanish-Moroccan border fences at Ceuta and Melilla—some by falling, others by asphyxiation, and still others shot by the Moroccan army. In 2008, 30 people (including four children) drowned off the shore of Al-Hoceima (northeast of Morocco), after law enforcement authorities punched holes in their inflatable boat.

This delocalization and militarisation of immigration control is perhaps best epitomised by the European Union agency Frontex, created in 2005 to intercept migrants between African shores and the Canary Islands, as well as in the Sicily canal, regardless of the violation of fundamental rights such as the right to asylum.

Frontex also participates in the return of these individuals from EU member states to third countries in what they call ‘Joint Return Operations,’ which have increased considerably in number (2,152 persons returned in 2013, compared with 428 in 2007).

The agency’s budget is steadily increasing: from €6.3 million in 2005, it rose to nearly €42 million in 2007 and had topped €97 million by 2014. Funds mainly come from the European commission and Schengen associated countries.

Despite its growing budget and military and surveillance equipment, everything indicates that deaths in the sea have not diminished. If anything, these obstacles push the clandestine migrants to take even more dangerous routes.

Frontex is now being put forward as the replacement for the Operation Mare Nostrum rescue program, with European leaders declaring that they need to crack down on smugglers, reinforcing the securitisation and the militarisation narrative rather than looking at the structural causes of the crisis.

Algeria and its Harraga

Algeria is also playing along with its European neighbours in the ‘war on migrants.’ In 2009, it made ‘illegal immigration’ a punishable offence. The law stipulates that any Algerian leaving the national territory in an illegal way will get a jail sentence of two to six months.

In 2014, 7,842 illegal border-crossings were detected in the western Mediterranean region (areas on the southern Spanish coast and the land borders of Ceuta and Melilla). Most of the migrants were from western Africa (Cameroon and Mali in particular), but Algerians and Moroccans were among the top ten nationalities, especially at the sea border. Until 2013, Algerians were topping the list through this maritime route (it was second in 2014, after Cameroon).

According to the 2015 Frontex annual risk analysis, Algeria was ranked amongst the top ten nationalities in detected clandestine entries at border crossing points (BCPs) in 2014. Algeria was also ranked eighth in terms of people exceeding their legal period of stay within the EU.

More strikingly, from November 2010 to March 2011, 11 percent of the 11,808 irregular migrants intercepted in Greece by Frontex were identified as Algerians, behind Pakistanis (16 percent) and Afghans (23 percent). These alarming statistics were even more surprising because the number of Algerian migrants exceeded those of Morocco by a factor of two and were six times greater than Tunisians, despite the unrest in these two countries after the Arab uprisings.

The Algerian Harraga follow numerous maritime routes from Algeria to reach Europe: one from the coasts of Oran (west Algeria) towards continental Spain, one (less developed) links the shores of Dellys (100km east of Algiers) to the island of Palma de Majorca, and another connects the eastern coasts (Annaba and Skikda) towards the Italian island of Sardinia. They also use other routes through Tunisia, Libya and Turkey.

Harga and Hogra

All social classes are touched by the phenomenon of illegal migration: working class people, the unemployed, and university graduates, even doctors and engineers. Algerians leaving the country illegally are mainly unemployed or under-unemployed youth, men as well as women.

The question of why Algeria produces so many young migrants—more so than places with even bleaker economic prospects—is not easy to answer. But I will attempt here to explore it, highlighting the nature of the political system in Algeria as well as some of the socio-economic developments in the last three decades.

Harga (the phenomenon of migrating illegally) literally refers to the verb ‘to burn’ in Arabic. Figuratively it means to overcome a restriction, like going through a red light or jumping the queue or, in this case, crossing borders and seas.

In a way harga represents the pursuit of a future that had come to a dead end in the home country. It is a means to overcome the restrictions on freedom of circulation imposed by the EU to escape the precariousness of unemployment and the hegemony of clientelist and oligarchic networks associated with the ruling regime in Algeria—in a nutshell everything that makes life unsustainable. The aim is to realise a life project that does not seem possible to achieve in the home country given present conditions.

One inhabitant of a marginalised and working class town in eastern Algeria, Sidi Salem in Annaba, reflecting upon his precarious situation and desperate life, said to his Harrag brother: “I lost the keys to my future in a cemetery in Algeria called Sidi Salem.”

Illegal immigration from Algeria is also the logical consequence of more than three decades of economic restructuring and trade liberalisation, which has decimated the productive and job-generating economy, leading to massive unemployment and the perpetuation of a rent-seeking mentality relying on oil and gas exports while importing everything else.

To understand harga it is necessary to couple it with the concept of hogra in Algeria. Hogra means contempt, disdain, exclusion and also describes an attitude that condones and propagates violence against the many, the laissés pour compte (the forgotten and marginalised masses).

Due to the restrictions on freedom of expression and association and also because of the lack of spaces for entertainment, art and creativity, young people feel suffocated, humiliated, without dignity—foreigners in their own country. The only horizon they can see is the one beyond the sea.

‘Civil society’ in Algeria is weak and fragmented, partly due to the traumatic civil war of the 1990s but also because of the ongoing stifling of political expression. Algerians face huge difficulties in setting up organisations or even getting authorisations for meetings and conferences if they are perceived to be critical or political in nature. Moreover, cultural production is still under the oppressive patronage of the official authorities, which always try to co-opt and kill creativity in the bud to avoid any form of subversion.

In that respect, it is an act denouncing authoritarianism, a culture of contestation coming from a social group that feels marginalised and neglected. The powerful message of the youth to the ruling classes in Algeria is “Roma wella antoma”, meaning “Rome rather than you”. They also say, “We’d rather die eaten by fish than eaten by worms.”

Instead of reindustrialising the country and investing in Algerian youths who risk their lives to reach the northern shores of the Mediterranean in order to escape the despair of being marginalised, the Algerian authorities offered financial support to the IMF, the neo-colonial tool of plunder that crippled the economy in the first place.

In fact Algeria submitted to the neoliberal prescriptions of the IMF in the form of two structural adjustment programs (1992-1993, 1994-1999). While the brutal civil war was raging, these programs were pursued with all the disastrous consequences they had on the population: huge job losses, a decrease in purchasing power, cuts to public spending, increasing precariousness of salaried workers, opening up of foreign trade, and the privatisation of public companies. This is indeed shock doctrine and disaster capitalism at work.

Despite all the risks taken by clandestine migrants, the appeal of Europe is preserved by the Edenesque aura around it that is maintained by those who reach the other shore. Despite the difficulties, misery, exploitation, and racism Algerians are subjected to in the EU, it is anathema for them to say: we failed. How can they not succeed after all they’ve done to leave their beloved country, a country that has forsaken them and how can they be a disappointment to their dear families?

Harga is only a reflection of what has become of Algeria and other African countries five decades after independence, with anti-national ruling elites only content with enriching themselves, and satisfying foreign capital.

To borrow the eloquent words of the late Latin American writer Eduardo Galeano, it seems that the ruling elite has no interest whatsoever in determining whether patriotism might not prove more profitable than treason, and whether begging is really the only formula for international politics. Sovereignty is being mortgaged by the Algerian regime, which has abdicated to its foreign masters.

People in Algeria and elsewhere in the global south immigrate because their countries’ economies are failing them, due to the ongoing capitalist exploitation and western imperialist domination that go hand in hand with repressive and corrupt regimes.

The immigration tragedy that we saw last April in the Mediterranean will go on as long as the entrenched authoritarian structures of power and oppression are still in place, as long as the looting of our natural resources is underway by means of unfair trade deals and outside military interventions, as long as the profoundly unjust system we live in continues subjugating our countries and maintaining their subaltern positions as exporters of cheap natural resources and markets for rich countries’ industrialised products.

Tragedies of this scale will continue unless we do away with the domination and exclusion of the wretched of the earth and the damned of the sea. It is necessary and urgent to engage in the struggle for global justice against a system that puts profits before humans.

Hamza Hamouchene is an activist and President of the Algerian Solidarity Campaign based in London. This article previously appeared in Open Democracy.

Empower Yourself to Fight the Power

May 24th, 2015 by Global Research

The enemies of truth, freedom, and justice are highly mobilized, well funded, and efficiently organized.

The institutional structures of power, whether local, national or global, are effective mechanisms through which the ruling groups of society establish and entrench their influence, build consensus among each other, brainwash and expand their control over the masses and society as a whole. Whether they take the form of think tanks, universities, governments, corporations, militaries, intelligence agencies, NGOs, media conglomerates, international organizations, philanthropic foundations, they are institutions of control and conquest.

Whether that conquest is ideological or physical, the effect is the same: the conquered are oppressed and repressed.

These institutions are financed through the global banking system of collusion between the private banks and quasi-governmental central banks, who control the money supply and value of the change in your pocket, which are in fact a highly concentrated group of institutions and individuals. Never in all of human history have so few controlled so much on such a global scale, nor have so many had so little on an equally global scale.

Never before in history have the mechanisms for absolute total global control and oppression been within such close reach. We are seeing the emergence of this ‘new society’ in which governments are increasingly imperialistic abroad and militaristic at home, as domestic police states are established under the guise of ‘homeland security’, sold on the pretense of protecting people from terrorists, but in actuality are designed to protect the powerful from the people.

Increasingly, civil rights and freedoms are being dismantled for the wider populations: countries and peoples all around the world are subjected to bombings, drone attacks from flying killer robots in the sky named “Predators”, and high-tech military equipment is designed and used to more effectively kill and conquer poor people all around the globe.

In the emerging ‘homeland security states’, technology is being used to spy on people, all internet traffic monitored, phones tapped, cameras recording not only our images, but through biometrics they are categorizing and quantifying our specific individual faces and emotional responses. We are, increasingly, seeing the emergence of a hybrid nightmarish scenario of ‘Brave New World’ meets ’1984.’ Technology has largely facilitated the advances in these areas and has, for the first time in all of human history, made possible the notion of a truly global police state.

Yet… there is still hope.

The Technological Revolution has not only facilitated a more rapid and effective apparatus for the institutions of power to exploit in methods of oppression and control, but it has simultaneously facilitated the rapid and effective means through which more people than ever before in human history have access to and empowerment through information and communication on a truly global scale.

As a result of the Internet, the traditional institutions of power have lost their monopoly of control over information and communication.

The very same technological advances that make possible their methods of control and conquest are simultaneously making possible their eventual downfall and failure. While the powerful have the money and are highly centralized, the rest of the world increasingly have the means and remain highly decentralized. And while the powerful are few, the rest are many. The Internet and social media have become effective means through which people are able to empower themselves to struggle against and expose the institutions of power that seek to oppress and control them. Naturally, those same institutions seek to influence – whether overtly or covertly – those very same avenues of social media, they are still effective and available for the struggle for liberation from oppression.

Here at Global Research, we have been able to harness these new communications technologies. We are committed to providing free and accessible information to the many in order to expose the few.

Our aim is to struggle against and expose the institutions of power, and to empower the people to take this endeavour into their own hands… and onto their own keyboards.

To continue to provide information and battle the spread of disinformation, Global Research needs your help.

We are aware that the world is in rough economic times, and we have been at the forefront in warning that they are likely to continue to get worse; and so while Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase may be breaking records and their executives signing their own bonuses, the vast majority of the world’s people do not have this luxury. However, there is still something that everyone can do to help in the cause and to help Global Research advance that cause and become more effective in our aims. Whether you are financially comfortable, or living from pay check to pay check, you can empower yourself and empower Global Research to continue and expand our operations.

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En Canadá, el proyecto de ley antiterrorista propuesto por el Gobierno conservador genera muchas críticas e inquietudes en la ciudadanía.

For the vast majority of Westerners, that is to say both US Americans and their relatives (imagined or real) in Europe, the war against Vietnam was a brutal military conflict waged by the United States against a small Southeast Asian country by deploying up to some 500,000 combat personnel and more ordnance than dropped on Germany in WWII. The virtues of this endeavour are still disputed.

In fact there are numerous “technical” disputes which continue to make sober discussion of the period between 1945 and 1975 extremely difficult—never mind the attempts to draw coherent conclusions from the course of events. 

After having destroyed much of Indochina with high explosives or carcinogenic toxins, massive military force withdrew from the territory of Vietnam in 1975, having delayed independence and unification of the country under a popular government by some thirty years. This generous description of the war’s effects pertains however only to the activity leading to the ostensible defeat of combined US Forces under the command of MACV, leaving the said US either relieved and/ or frustrated.

The events leading to the abandonment of the US embassy in Saigon on 30 April 1975 also gave rise to America’s own peculiar version of the Dolchstoßlegende—the so-called Vietnam Syndrome. Briefly described, the Vietnam Syndrome is a creation of the hormonally dysfunctional among the US ruling class, its acolytes and functionaries. As US comedian George Carlin once observed it reflects foreign policy formulated in the vulgate of pubescent males. America “withdrew too early”, was afraid to go “all the way”. The central thesis of this legend is that either the premature ejaculation or momentary impotence of the US war machine and those whose hands bring it to erection—also called “force projection”—led to a “loss of will”, to an inability to exercise national manhood by sodomising other countries in the future. (It is certainly no accident that foreign policy and war are waged largely by graduates of private nurseries organised as imitations of the infamously sadistic ancient public schools in Great Britain.) Of course not only the policy and military establishment were so indoctrinated but also the prefects of public communications, e.g. journalists employed by or managing the nation’s propaganda/ advertising corporations.

Yet like the original Dolschstoßlegende promoted to justify the re-militarisation of Germany and the cultivation of Nazism, Vietnam Syndrome is based on fundamental lies about the war that supposedly engendered it. The Vietnam Syndrome is a useful lie for the US regime just as it was for the German regime. In both cases the lie fostered latent fascism. German Nazism is defunct but since 1945 its spirit has been nurtured in the hearts and minds of those who rule the United States, its dependencies and the forces dedicated to the principle formulated so poignantly by Josiah Strong:

“It is manifest that the Anglo-Saxon holds in his hands the destinies of mankind, and it is evident that the United States is to become the home of this race, the principal seat of its power…”

These legends have some fundamental similarities. They are based on deliberate misrepresentations of the war and obfuscation with regard to the interests involved. In order to explain the deceptions behind the Vietnam Syndrome it is necessary to examine the “other war”. Contrary to much official history of US involvement in Indochina—the stuffing of almost all the films made—whether documentary or feature—the war began and ended as a CIA operation. The confusion as to war aims, strategy, tactical and operational effectiveness arise entirely from the fact that more than probably any other war fought with conventional forces—up to that time (except Korea but that war hasn’t ended yet)—the war in Vietnam was initiated, managed, funded, advertised and ultimately waged by the invisible army of US capitalism.

Villagers flee B-52 bombing Quang Tri provinve 1972. (Photo credit: Don North)

The war against Vietnam is often described as America’s first TV war in which the reality of war became present in the living rooms of Americans every night. This statement implies that TV viewers had access to the real war as it was waged—albeit not yet 24-7 or in “real time”. Per corollary—and this is one of the assumptions upon which the Vietnam Syndrome is based—those very Americans sitting addicted between Leave it to Beaver re-runs and Bonanza actually saw the war in Vietnam on their television sets. Even a cursory examination of the news footage posted in the Internet and the archival material offered in documentary films belies this.

The presentation of the Vietnam War was with virtually no exception carefully structured in network headquarters before being served to US viewers. Even the controversial Cam Ne story Morley Safer filed and the special report on the battle of Ia Drang were polished by corporate editors at CBS, if only to make them fit into the carefully measured segments between commercials. William Paley, owner and chief executive of CBS, was an old psychological warfare officer in the US Army during WWII—and certainly no opponent of the war or the US government. Just like today’s extreme broadcast entertainment, reality TV, the television quality of the war in Vietnam was not an exposure of the war but a structuring of images, often if not primarily intended to conceal what was actually happening in Indochina.

Far from random, every broadcast had to be approved by corporate management and such approval usually meant checking with friends or functionaries in the government to “confirm” whatever might be said in public. The intended effect was either to cultivate and manage support for the war or control damage impending or caused by unanticipated disclosures or “leaks” from the geographically sealed environment in which the war was waged. Of course, when the war became a mass spectacle with troop strengths increasing and body bags multiplying, damage control in the form of structured or distractive reporting became more crucial. As the number of witnesses to the war increased the corporate state and its media turned their focus toward distortion rather than concealment. Then as now the ability to magnify trivial events and trivialise major events enhances propaganda efforts far more than conventional censorship or secrecy rules.

The occasional willingness of corporate managers to use their control over media resources in political faction fights should not be confused with any supposed ethical commitment to something as obtuse as informing the citizenry to enable them to make intelligent decisions in the governing of the republic. The latter is officially stated policy of large media conglomerates because such policy is part of their product packaging and competitive strategy to win customers for the advertisers and owners to maximise profits and market share. It is important to remember this fact when assessing “the other war”. This covert war—the core of US aggression against Vietnam—depended as much on the capacity of corporate media to wage psychological warfare against the US population as it did upon the conventional military to bomb, strafe, incinerate and otherwise obliterate Vietnamese Vietnam. The quality of public debate, with the benefit of over 40 years of hindsight, does not indicate very much progress in finding, let alone facing the truths about the US war against Vietnam.

Even the infamous Pentagon Papers—generally considered to be a watershed of revelations whose publication by the New York Times turned public opinion against the war—were released in such a way that a disclosure augmented concealment. The leaked documents described the US military activity in Vietnam but omitted chapters describing the CIA role in the war.

In Michael Curtiz’ 1942 film Casablanca, German major Strasser, presumably a part of the military mission in French Morocco, reacts angrily to a spontaneous display of Free French patriotism in Rick’s Café Americain by demanding that the police Prefect Renault close the club. Renault, agreeing reluctantly but unwilling to appear as responding to German commands, declares the club closed on the pretext that illegal gambling has been discovered—not before collecting his winnings. The film viewer recognises Renault’s faint unlike the readers of the New York Times or Washington Post.

Until 1965, the war in Vietnam was almost entirely covert. That does not mean it was secret, in the sense of invisible, but that it was kept largely unknown. The war was waged by the covert action arms of the French accompanied by US “advisors” followed by a transition to CIA. US strategy was to frustrate the consolidation of the Vietnamese nationalist state—the PRVN—in Hanoi by isolating it politically, economically, and demographically. Having adopted the French shell company, the État du Vietnam, created by the retreating French in 1949, they needed to prevent the elections agreed in the 1954 Geneva Accords and build a nation capable of sustaining the shell, which the US then baptised the Republic of Vietnam. The problem was that they had created a country but this country had no citizenry beyond the officials, functionaries and economic beneficiaries of the shell in Saigon.

The approach can be compared to a group of investors who approach a lawyer to establish a new company or tax vehicle, etc. The lawyer has an off-the-shelf entity that is already incorporated. The investors buy the entity for a nominal sum, change the name, appoint new directors and inject the required capital to conduct business with limited liability. Not only is this a faster way to license a business in corporate form, it also can limit the disclosures that investors might be required to make were they registering the company personally for the first time. As an organisation founded mainly be corporate lawyers and their traditional hired thugs—often from the days of “white shoe” terrorism in Latin America, the corporate lawyer’s approach to Vietnam was quite a natural choice from the beginning—far more fitting than an ostentatious military campaign.

In order to create a Republic of Vietnam, the shell bought by the Company to offer a foothold for US corporate expansion in Southeast Asia, it was not enough to inject a few billion dollars and run it like the French had run the État. To prevail in the election agreed under the 1954 Geneva Accords, the CIA found it needed a population—one that would vote to remain citizens of a state that did not exist in the minds of the majority of Vietnamese. The CIA and its subsidiaries, affiliates, and joint venture partners invested enormous energy and sums of money to rally population from Tonkin to help fill the South with more people and thus increase the number of votes available. Under no conditions were Vietnamese to be allowed to choose their own form of political organisation. A strong cohesive shareholder minority below the 18th parallel was positioned with CIA assistance to exert a controlling interest and eject the hostile shareholders, rejecting their share certificates as somehow fraudulent in what would become an extremely violent “proxy fight”.

Strictly speaking this was the underlying premise of “nation-building”, a fashionable slogan even today for interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Nation-building sounds like a friendly, benevolent activity particularly to Westerners who have been taught the founding myths of the United States. However, the people of Vietnam already understood themselves as a nation before the US arrived. The problem faced by the US regime was not the absence of a nation, that still had to be built, but the presence of one incompatible with the needs of the United States. Franz Neumann argued in 1942, National sovereignty handicaps imperialist expansion. Indeed whenever democratic states resort to expansion, they almost invariably abandon the national concept and glorify racial and biological traits that allegedly make them superior to the conquered. The doctrine of the white man’s burden illustrates this point, and is true of the United States.

There was no need to build a Vietnamese nation as far as the Vietnamese were concerned. The problem for the US invaders was to create and consolidate a corporate vassal state. As Neumann also pointed out,

“The modern state however has not been created by the nation but resulted from the introduction of commodity production, which has preceded the appearance of modern nations. When the product of labor as a commodity is convertible into money, this money can be used to build the state and establish a bureaucracy and standing army.”

Pre-existing Vietnam was rejected just as General Hodges rejected the People’s Committees in Korea and Admiral Dewey rejected the Philippine Republic in 1899. In order to build the nation most favourable for US corporate exploitation, it was necessary to destroy any semblance of the existing one. Vietnam was not a settlement operation, like the North American continent. Unlike the indigenous North Americans, the Vietnamese could no longer be driven into extinction– to do so would also have removed the cheap labour needed to work the country as a business. Unable to settle they had to make Vietnam a business venture with Vietnamese (which US corporations are arguably doing now.) The business venture had to be made attractive by creating a captive market– just like GM systematically opposed or destroyed public transport to promote cars. “Nation-building” is jargon to describe how the US regime creates markets—for products nobody needs—to extract maximum profits. US objectives were criminal from the start in the way corporations organise criminal activity, euphemistically called “business”.

With the decision to create a Republic of Vietnam virtually out of whole cloth, mainly the rags left by the French, a series of policies and practices evolved that were on the one hand consistent with the deepest political and cultural sins of the United States and on the other hand best exemplify the relationship between the US corporate elite and their National Socialist brethren.

From the standpoint of the US regime the fates of Vietnam and Korea were integrally linked in the vision of a US Asia-Pacific empire. The empire’s covert warriors certainly felt they had learned from Korea and hoped to dispense with the kind of war that had been fought there. The introduction of massive military force was certainly not planned or intended before 1964. The corporate lawyers at Langley and the corporations they represent were convinced that the experience in Iran, throughout Latin America, especially in Guatemala, and in manipulating Western European politics had allow them to capitalise their new Indochina shell in Vietnam. By 1964 they had discovered they were wrong. A thousand years of Vietnamese identity could not be erased with ad campaigns displaying burger-flippers like McDonald’s serving in Vietnamese. The shell company was threatened with bankruptcy if something was not done to create a sustainable market—to manufacture a population that would demand “RVN product”.

“Civic Action” is deliberately portrayed as the deployment of rugged soldiers performing relief or construction operations for people in need. It plays on fantasies of masculinity and chivalry also implying that the civic action tasks are undertaken under such difficult conditions that only soldiers would be capable of performing them. The weapons borne by the soldiers are subconsciously turned into ploughshares following the narrative of the “good American soldier” which has been the stock of Hollywood propaganda for decades. To a limited extent this “generosity” is supposed to persuade the target population too. However, the soldiers’ weapons are not the innocent accessories of macho construction workers as presented for metropolitan consumption.

The French and US civic action programs were always decoration for intelligence and counter-insurgency operations. The principal counter-insurgency strategy pursued until 1964 was the so-called “strategic hamlet system”. Since the armed Vietnamese resistance to the French État du Vietnam and the US Republic of Vietnam was defined as an alien force which relied upon the local population for support, attempts were made to resettle rural populations in fortified camps and thus isolate them from the supposed foreign invaders. This policy was not fundamentally different from the British concentration camps in South Africa. For one obvious reason, this strategy could not succeed on its own—the supposed “foreign” invaders were not foreign at all. Since there was no identifiable distinction between pro-American and anti-American Vietnamese, the expensive and ultimately half-hearted strategic hamlets program was deemed a failure.

More intensive and diverse marketing instruments were required if the competition for political loyalty in Vietnam was to be curbed and eliminated. The Catholic-dominated burger joint in Saigon could neither make an edible hamburger nor smile convincingly to the Buddhist majority at the counter. None of the customers were impressed and even worse they exhibited no particular interest in hamburgers and fries under the stars and stripes (if not the golden arches). Corporate management was faced with its last alternative to create a stable market by a) destroying the competition and b) destroying the competitor’s customer base. Corporate empires are established and maintained not by talent but by deploying business talent in the respective theatres of economic warfare. Creating a US vassal state with a captive population follows the same principles applied by Exxon, Microsoft or McDonald’s. Like the US itself, these corporate brands are ubiquitous because of conquest and the ideology of business (especially entrepreneurialism) that equates their success with progress and freedom. The impending failure of the Saigon label only intensified demands for proper elections as agreed in Geneva and threatened the entire business venture. More time was needed and covert action was simply not working fast enough.

The USS Maddox incident in the Gulf of Tonkin provided the pretext for creating open hostilities between the US and the PRV. With a quasi-state of war now extant between the US and the government in Hanoi, elections could be indefinitely postponed and more cover could be given for intensified covert operations—the marketing campaign to create an RVN population that could be permanently isolated from the PRV. The Southeast Asia Resolution was also adopted to deceive the US public about the nature of US policy in Vietnam. The ideology of business is sufficiently strong among US Americans to sustain a policy of ordinary economic exploitation. However, exploitation of Indochina was part of an Asia-Pacific strategy that had already cost billions (for Korea) and would cost even more. Therefore it was deemed necessary to package the billions in future subsidies to US corporations in terms of national defence and protection of Vietnamese from communism. The Tonkin Gulf show was needed to justify despatching combat forces actually needed to support the covert war already under way. From that point onward, the only Vietnamese in the eyes of the US television viewers were those in the US-occupied South. The Vietnamese in the PRV were simply communists without any nationality (just as communists had been defined as foreigners in the US).

Corporate propaganda—advertising—is an accepted part of life in the US and much of the West. People pay exorbitant amounts of money to function as billboards for corporations—that is to wear branded clothing, eat branded food, and imitate the behaviour of branded celebrities. It may be argued that it is harmless as long as people can choose not to wear Nike clothing, eat McDonald’s hamburgers, and can walk or cycle instead of driving cars. The domination of the burger, software and fuel markets by a handful of megalomaniacs and their corporate instruments may be tolerable if ultimately indigestible. The same cannot be said about a country where the majority of the population are faced with swallowing the corporate product or being destroyed. The US essentially dissolved Vietnam—as they had other Asian republics they targeted—and declared the territory open for exploitation (development). The overall mission, the strategy and tactics applied in the attempt to fulfil this mission were essentially identical to those for which highest-ranking Nazi officials and functionaries were tried in Nuremberg after 1945.

The Nuremberg Principles, derived from the statutes of the International Military Tribunal adopted in London and the tribunal’s rulings in the course of the Nuremberg trials, are deemed part of international law. Aside from subsequent conventions and treaties, torture, retaliatory attacks against non-combatants, slave labour, as well as summary execution under denial of due process were all held to be crimes for which both individuals, governments and corporate entities could be held liable. In addition aggressive war was established as a crime under international law—a principle also articulated in the UN Charter. Although the US was a principal party to the Nuremberg statutes and the tribunal, its reservations (and today one can say refusal) with regards to jurisdiction were presaged in the cautious remarks made by the US Chief Counsel Robert Jackson:

“Unfortunately, the nature of these crimes is such that both prosecution and judgment must be by victor nations over vanquished foes. The worldwide scope of the aggressions carried out by these men has left but few real neutrals. Either the victors must judge the vanquished or we must leave the defeated to judge themselves. After the First World War, we learned the futility of the latter course. The former high station of these defendants, the notoriety of their acts, and the adaptability of their conduct to provoke retaliation make it hard to distinguish between the demand for a just and measured retribution, and the unthinking cry for vengeance which arises from the anguish of war. It is our task, so far as humanly possible, to draw the line between the two. We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well. (emphasis added) We must summon such detachment and intellectual integrity to our task that this Trial will commend itself to posterity as fulfilling humanity’s aspirations to do justice.”

Since 1945 the US regime has regularly circumvented application of the Nuremberg precedents by exempting itself from jurisdiction of international criminal court venues and extending such exemption to its agents, functionaries, and armed forces. The US exerts its sovereignty and its pretension to the highest judicial standards to argue that even to the extent it might accept the Nuremberg Principles as binding, no foreign court or international court empaneled with non-US judges could conceivably render a “fair” verdict.

As a result the United States has never been successfully prosecuted and subjected to international criminal law judgement that was enforced. In 1989, the US regime began what can only be called an aggressive psychological war against the governments of target countries using pseudo-judicial venues imposed by multilateral treaties.

Despite the proliferation of such venues, the US has also exempted itself from the jurisdiction of these fora. The International Criminal Court—whatever virtues it might have, were it in fact governed by the original UN system—is little more than an instrument designed to give US attacks against the “infrastructure” of its enemies the “colour of law”. It is part of the combination of quasi-judicial measures, economic sanctions, military invasions or assaults, and covert terror operations that evolved out of the Vietnam “experience”. There are different names for this package: humanitarian intervention, “right to protect” (R2P), or just plain anti-terrorism (anti-communism having become obsolete).

The origins of this global corporate strategy, successfully applied in Indonesia in 1965, where at least one million or more people were murdered imposing a US vassal regime with virtually no trace of US/ UK initiative, can be found in the policies and practices of the Nazi regime developed and applied for the extermination of the Soviet Union—Operation Barbarossa. In fact, the US regime slaughtered approximately the same proportion of the Vietnamese population as were killed by the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union—some 20%.

An essential part of the Nazi war aims was the settlement and exploitation of the European part of the Soviet Union. The details of this were later outlined in Generalplan Ost. Once the Wehrmacht had invaded Soviet territory, the Soviet Union was deemed extinct as a political entity. The population was reduced to the status of stateless persons who would then become subject to the protection of the realm (Reich). Specific secret instructions were issued to the German military commanders in what have been called the Barbarossa Jurisdiction Decrees.

The view adopted by the Nazi regime was that since the Soviet Union was not a party to either the Hague or Geneva conventions governing the conduct of land war, its civilians—in particular the political leadership—did not constitute protected persons. Hitler explained the regime’s logic by saying that the war against the Soviet Union was not between states but was a “race war” against the “Jewish-Bolshevist” criminals in order to establish the living space needed for Germany. Franz Neumann called this a “Germanic Monroe Doctrine”.

The focus on the US military operations, particularly against the PRV regular army, that is to say on the conventional war in Vietnam—is both distracting and deceptive. No doubt the destruction and viciousness of US bombing, chemical warfare and daily atrocities in the course of sweeps, cordon and search, search and destroy, and field engagements with NVA units was unspeakable. The profits earned by US corporations arming the US military were obscene. US land forces, Army and Marines, lived up to their own traditions from more than a century of terrorising and exterminating indigenous peoples. The air forces continued—despite overwhelming evidence of its futility—bombing Vietnam as if it were one long Dresden. Indeed conventional military operations had their own dynamic. If Vietnam had been a conventional war, almost like Korea, the violence would have been atrocious to be sure.

However in Vietnam the military was not there of its own accord. The US military had been sent to occupy Japan and Korea, but not to occupy Vietnam. Amidst all the dioxin-soaked, cratered square kilometres of Vietnam despoiled by the customers of DuPont, Dow, General Motors et al. are the untold thousands of people murdered by CIA’s death squad prototype, what became the CIA’s Phoenix program. While the US television viewer was gratifying his patriotism vicariously, the covert war—euphemistically called the “war for hearts and minds” was accelerated. DuPont and Dow were “creating better lives through chemistry” and CIA was coordinating an immense bureaucratic network designed to convert or kill the competition for its own version of Vietnam.

Leaving aside the dubious legality of the US invasion by regular troops in 1965, CIA action defied any pretence to legality. US officials were under no statutory authority to conduct surveillance against

Vietnamese citizens, pursue them through police or military measures, interrogate, sentence, detain, imprison—or kill them—not to mention torture. Hence all CIA operations whether conducted directly by US civilian or military organisations had to be dressed in the bureaucratic clothing of the Vietnamese state the US had created. The original legal system of the Republic of Vietnam was deemed inadequate so CIA had the constitution amended to make communism and being a communist a crime. The effect of this and other emergency legislation and executive decrees was to create a veneer of statutory legality for the actions CIA wanted to conduct in Vietnam through its hired surrogates. The laws might constitute bills of attainder, incompatible with US law, but because this was Vietnam, the CIA could argue that Vietnamese law permitted the actions whose execution it was merely advising. Formal legality (as opposed to substantive justice) is not only endemic to bureaucracies like the CIA but also characteristic of corporate law practice—the legal culture that prevails in the agency.

The second line of defence for extra-legal CIA practices was that they were not policy. William Colby testified that while torture and assassinations were no doubt performed by people associated with Phoenix, Phoenix was not an assassination program. US Congressman Pete McCloskey charged that the planned assassinations under Phoenix violated “several treaties and laws”—in particular Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which prohibits “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognised as indispensable by civilized peoples.” Torture, mutilation and cruel treatment are also forbidden. Colby claimed—based on a legal opinion prepared in-house—that Vietnamese citizens were not “protected persons” in terms of the Geneva Conventions. Several contortions were used to exclude civilians from protection of ordinary laws as well as international law. In practice the Phoenix program defined anyone whose loyalty to the Saigon regime was not absolutely demonstrated and certified to be an enemy—essentially non-Vietnamese, a foreigner and stateless person afforded no legal protections whatsoever.

This is precisely the legal framework created by the Barbarossa Jurisdiction Decree and so-called Political Commissar Decree issued by the German High Command to regulate the political warfare waged against the Soviet Union. These bear citing at length:

Decree on the jurisdiction of martial law and on special measures of the troops

The exercise of martial law serves primarily to maintain military discipline.

The wide extent of operational space in the East, the form of combat that this offers, and the peculiarity of the enemy, present tasks to the courts martial…that, with their limited personnel, they can only solve, if military law restricts itself for the time being to its central task.

That is only possible if the troops themselves defend themselves against every threat from the enemy civilian population without mercy….


Treatment of criminal acts by enemy civilians

1. Criminal acts of enemy civilians are withdrawn until further notice from the jurisdiction of courts-martial and summary courts.

2. Guerrillas are to be dispatched without mercy by the troops either in combat or while trying to escape.

3. Furthermore, all other attacks by enemy civilians against the Wehrmacht, its members and retinue are to be repelled on the spot by the most extreme measures up to the destruction of the attacker.

4. Where measures of this kind were missed or were initially not possible, the suspicious elements are to be immediately brought before an officer. He will decide whether they are to be shot.

Collective drastic action will be taken immediately against communities from which treacherous or insidious attacks against the Wehrmacht are launched, on the orders of an officer with at least the rank of battalion commander upwards, if the circumstances do not permit a speedy apprehension of individual culprits.

5. It is expressly forbidden to detain suspected culprits, in order to hand them over to the courts when jurisdiction over native inhabitants is restored to these.


Treatment of criminal acts by members of the Wehrmacht or its retinue against native civilians

1. For acts which members of the Wehrmacht or its retinue commit against enemy civilians, there is no compulsion to prosecute, even when the act represents at the same time a military crime or offense.

2. In judging such deeds it is to be considered in any proceedings that the collapse in the year 1918, the later period of suffering of the German people, and the battle against National Socialism with the movement’s countless sacrifices of blood are incontestably to be attributed to Bolshevik influence, and that no German has forgotten that.

3. The chairman of the court must therefore examine whether a disciplinary reprimand is appropriate or whether it is necessary to institute judicial proceedings. The chairman only orders court-martial proceedings for acts against native inhabitants, when the maintenance of discipline or the protection of the troops demands it. That applies, for example, in the case of serious acts that result from the loss of sexual restraint, are derived from a criminal disposition, or are a sign that the troops are threatening to run wild. Criminal acts, by which lodgings or supplies or other plunder are senselessly destroyed to the detriment of our own troops, are not on the whole to be judged more leniently.

This secret decree bears uncanny resemblance to the emergency decrees, the outlawing of communism, and the administrative detentions laws upon which the Phoenix program was based, and which represent the core CIA strategy for “neutralising” the so-called Viet Cong Infrastructure. The Commissar decree goes even further:

Guidelines for the Treatment of Political Commissars

In the battle against Bolshevism, the adherence of the enemy to the principles of humanity or international law is not to be counted on. In particular the treatment of those of us who are taken prisoner in a manner full of hatred, cruelty and inhumanity can be expected from the political commissars of every kind as the real pillars of opposition.

The troops must be aware that:

1. In this battle mercy or considerations of international law with regard to these elements is false. They are a danger to our own safety and to the rapid pacification of the conquered territories.

2. The originators of barbaric, Asiatic methods of warfare are the political commissars. So immediate and unhesitatingly severe measures must be undertaken against them.

They are therefore, when captured either in battle or offering resistance, as a matter of routine to be dispatched by firearms.

The following provisions also apply:

2. …Political commissars as agents of the enemy troops are recognizable from their special

badge—a red star with a golden woven hammer and sickle on the sleeves…. They are to be separated from the prisoners of war immediately, i.e. already on the battlefield. This is necessary, in order to remove from them any possibility of influencing the captured soldiers.

These commissars are not to be recognized as soldiers; the protection due to prisoners of war under international law does not apply to them. When they have been separated, they are to be finished off.

3. Political commissars who have not made themselves guilty of any enemy action nor are suspected of such should be left unmolested for the time being. It will only be possible after further penetration of the country to decide whether remaining functionaries may be left in place or are to be handed over to the Sonderkommandos. The aim should be for the latter to carry out the assessment.Guideli

In the battle against Bolshevism, the adherence of the enemy to the principles of humanity or international law is not to be counted on. In particular the treatment of those of us who are taken prisoner in a manner full of hatred, cruelty and inhumanity can be expected from the political commissars of every kind as the real pillars of opposition.

The troops must be aware that:

1. In this battle mercy or considerations of international law with regard to these elements is false. They are a danger to our own safety and to the rapid pacification of the conquered territories.

2. The originators of barbaric, Asiatic methods of warfare are the political commissars. So immediate and unhesitatingly severe measures must be undertaken against them.

They are therefore, when captured either in battle or offering resistance, as a matter of routine to be dispatched by firearms.

The following provisions also apply:

2. …Political commissars as agents of the enemy troops are recognizable from their special

badge—a red star with a golden woven hammer and sickle on the sleeves…. They are to be separated from the prisoners of war immediately, i.e. already on the battlefield. This is necessary, in order to remove from them any possibility of influencing the captured soldiers.

These commissars are not to be recognized as soldiers; the protection due to prisoners of war under international law does not apply to them. When they have been separated, they are to be finished off.

3. Political commissars who have not made themselves guilty of any enemy action nor are suspected of such should be left unmolested for the time being. It will only be possible after further penetration of the country to decide whether remaining functionaries may be left in place or are to be handed over to the Sonderkommandos. The aim should be for the latter to carry out the assessment.

In judging the question “guilty or not guilty”, the personal impression of the attitude and bearing of the commissar should as a matter of principle count for more than the facts of the case which it may not be possible to prove.”

The Sonderkommandos (special units) included SS and SD as well as specially constituted police units. Phoenix after 1965 operated just like the Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union. Regular military devastated the Vietnamese countryside, while specialised political assassination units were responsible for despatching VCI—what the Nazi regime called the “real pillars of the opposition” during its invasion of the Soviet Union. Citizens in the territory occupied by the Wehrmacht and other organs of the NS state were not even subject to martial law with its administrative procedures. Phoenix operated along the same lines. Vietnamese had no protection from the violence of US military occupation of their country.

The CIA had incited the military invasion of Vietnam because the assumptions of its marketing strategy—that there Vietnamese could be persuaded to stop being Vietnamese or denounce fellow citizens as being “not Vietnamese” and therefore beyond the pale, i.e. subject to extermination were false. Despite its initial plans to change from a “shotgun” approach to a “rifle” approach, the only way to protect the long and uncertain road to a Vietnam purified of nationalists, communists and anyone else considered ideologically unreliable in corporate Vietnam was to bring Barbarossa-type fire power against the rural population, destroying its means of subsistence and concentrating the population so that the death squad system could do the rest.

So-called Vietnamisation—following the withdrawal of US combat troops in 1973—was intended to transfer as much of CIA pacification technology and organisation to ostensibly Republic of Vietnam institutions. However this failed in the end for two reasons. First of all VCI was never accepted as a legitimate or workable pacification target. It was understood by all Vietnamese (even those who exploited it opportunistically) as an entirely US idea. Secondly as long as the CIA had funds to finance Phoenix there were people willing to take the money. When funds dried up, Vietnamese Phoenix units were unable to operate and degenerated into private criminal organisations beyond political control.

The Phoenix program collapsed in Vietnam with the withdrawal of military cover, evaporation of covert funding and the defeat of the Saigon burger-flippers. But by that time a whole generation of US military, foreign civil service and CIA officers had been through the Phoenix “political and psychological warfare” school in Vietnam. The bird may have been incinerated in Saigon after 30 April 1975 but it has been reborn in thousands of places around the world ever since.

Sowing the GMO Seeds of Depopulation?

May 23rd, 2015 by Colin Todhunter

If physical violence is to be used only as a final resort, a dominant class must seek to gain people’s consent if it is to govern and control a population. It must attempt to legitimize its position in the eyes of the ruled over by achieving a kind of ‘consented coercion’ that disguises the true fist of power. This can be achieved by many means and over the years commentators from Gramsci to Althusser and Chomsky have described how it may be done.

However, one of the most basic and arguably effective forms of control is eugenics/ depopulation, a philosophy that includes reducing the reproductive capacity of the ‘less desirable’ sections of a population.

There is a growing fear that eugenics is being used to get rid of sections of the world population that are ‘surplus to requirements’. And it is a legitimate fear, not least because there is a sordid history of forced/covert sterilizations carried out on those deemed ‘undesirable’ or ‘surplus to requirements’, which reflects the concerns of eugenicists who have operated at the highest levels of policy making. From early 20th century ‘philanthropists’ and the Nazis to the nascent genetics movement and rich elites, by one means or another ridding the planet of the great unwanted masses has always been fairly high on the ‘to do’ list (see this informative piece)

Millionaire US media baron Ted Turner believes a global population of two billion would be ideal, and billionaire Bill Gates has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to improve access to contraception in the Global South.

Gates has also purchased shares in Monsanto valued at more than $23 million at the time of purchase. His agenda is to help Monsanto get their genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into Africa on a grand scale. In 2001, Monsanto and Du Pont bought a small biotech company called Epicyte that had created a gene that basically makes the male sperm sterile and the female egg unreceptive.

Bill Gates’ father has long been involved with Planned Parenthood:

“When I was growing up, my parents were always involved in various volunteer things. My dad was head of Planned Parenthood. And it was very controversial to be involved with that.”

The above quotation comes from a 2003 interview with Bill Gates.

Planned Parenthood was founded on the concept that most human beings are reckless breeders. Gates senior is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a guiding light behind the vision and direction of the Gates Foundation, which is heavily focused on promoting GMOs in Africa via its financing of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

The Gates Foundation has given at least $264.5 million to AGRA. According to a report published by La Via Campesina in 2010, 70 percent of AGRA’s grantees in Kenya work directly with Monsanto and nearly 80 percent of the Gates Foundation funding is devoted to biotechnology. The report also explains that the Gates Foundation has pledged $880 million to create the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which is a heavy promoter of GMOs.

The issue of genetic engineering cannot be fully understood without looking at the global spread of US power. The oil-rich Rockefeller dynasty helped promote the ‘green revolution’, which allowed the US to colonise indigenous agriculture across large parts of the planet. By projecting power through the WTO, IMF and World Bank, Washington has been able to make food and agriculture central to its geopolitical strategy of securing global dominance.

As with the control of food and agriculture, the US also regards depopulation as a potential geo-strategic tool (see this) in the quest for control of global resources. What better way to achieve this via a (GM) tampered-with food system that US agribusiness has increasingly come to dominate?

What better way to achieve this than with ‘spermicidal corn’ for example? In Mexico, there is concern about biopharmaceutical corn. Some years ago, Silvia Ribeiro, of the ETC organization, stated:

“The potential of spermicidal corn as a biological weapon is outrageous, since it easily interbreeds with other varieties, is capable of going undetected and could lodge itself at the very core of indigenous and farming cultures. We have witnessed the execution of repeated sterilization campaigns performed against indigenous communities. This method is certainly much more difficult to trace.”

While most of the literature on GMOs is concerned with the impacts of crops that have been genetically modified to deal with pests or herbicide spraying, there are very worrying trends regarding plants being genetically modified to contain industrial pharmaceuticals or possess possible contraceptive traits.

The world’s problems are not being caused by overpopulation, as Turner states, but by greed and a system of ownership and global power relations that ensures wealth flows from bottom to top. The issue at hand should not be about stopping population growth in its tracks but about changing a socially divisive global economic system and the unsustainable depletion of natural resources.

Millionaires like Ted Turner believe it should be a case of carry on consuming regardless, as long as the population is cut. This is the ideology of the rich who regard the rest of humanity as a problem to be ‘dealt with.’ He says there are ”too many people using too much stuff.” He couldn’t be more wrong. For instance, developing nations account for more than 80 percent of world population, but consume only about one third of the world’s energy. US citizens constitute 5 percent of the world’s population but consume 24 percent of the world’s energy.

We should be weary of a politically and militarily well-connected biotech sector which has ownership of technology that allows for the genetic engineering of food and a gene that could be used (or already is) for involuntary sterilization. From covert vaccination campaigns to germ warfare and geo-engineering, sections of the population around the world have too often been sprayed on, injected or exposed to harmful processes to induce sterility, infertility or to merely see the outcome of exposures to radiation, bacteria or some virus. It is for good reason some conflate GMOs and bio-terror.

Herbert Marcuse once summed up the problem facing us by saying that the capabilities — both intellectual and technological — of contemporary society are immeasurably greater than before. As a result, the scope of society’s domination over the individual is also immeasurably greater than ever before. That domination comes in increasingly sinister forms.

Agence France-Presse whitewashes the US’s role in supporting the coup that led to Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow and, ultimately, to his recent death sentencing. The news agency informs that the Obama administration expressed “alarm” upon the news that Morsi was condemned to die. It quotes a State Department spokesman criticizing the decision as “not in line with Egypt’s obligations under international law”. Then there is this:

Ties between Washington and Cairo plummeted after Morsi’s ouster, with President Barack Obama’s adminstration freezing annual military aid of $1.3 billion to Cairo. Most of the aid was unblocked in late 2014.

Which is fiction.

Ties between Washington and Cairo did not “plummet” after Morsi’s ouster.

The Obama administration did not freeze the $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

I discuss what really happened in my forthcoming book Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Here is the relevant excerpt, with endnotes (read the notes!):

Championing the Status Quo

Obama put forth his best effort at managing perceptions in his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 21, 2011. His main theme was the US’s support for democracy in the Arab world. As examples, he cited the US’s illegal use of force to overthrow the Gaddafi regime in Libya and its support for armed rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria.

Then there was Egypt, where the world had witnessed “the moral face of non-violence” and “knew that change had come”. He didn’t mention how the Egyptian revolution had forced the US to abandon its three-decades-old policy of supporting the Mubarak dictatorship, or how the policy of supporting the Egyptian military establishment continued unabated.[i]

Indeed, the Obama administration subsequently supported a military coup d’etat that overthrew President Mohamed Morsi, who was democratically elected into office in June 2012. Following the overthrow of Morsi on July 3, 2013, despite US law requiring that aid be cut off to any government that takes power through a coup, the Obama administration illegally continued $1.5 billion in annual aid, mostly for the military.[ii] The Egyptian military proceeded to crack down violently on demonstrators protesting the coup, resulting in a massacre of more than sixty people on July 8.[iii]

On July 25, the White House announced its official determination that the aid would continue. “Among the potential dangers” that government officials perceived with any cut-off of military aid, the New York Timesexplained, was “a reduction in the ability of the Egyptian military to halt smuggling of weapons to Hamas, which could use them against Israel. The aid program is also a pillar of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and Israeli officials have urged the United States not to suspend it.”[iv]

Two days later, the military massacred over seventy demonstrators in Cairo, bringing the total killed since Morsi’s ouster to over 200.[v] Next, the generals threatened to quash sit-in protests taking place in several squares in the city, deemed hotbeds of “terrorism”.[vi] With another massacre looming, the New York Timesexpressed its support for the US government’s policy, weighing in that “American military aid to Egypt should not be cut off”.[vii] Defending US policy, Secretary of State John Kerry (who replaced Clinton in February 2013) announced that the Egyptian military was busy “restoring democracy”.[viii] The predictable consequence was a third massacre, beginning on August 15 and continuing for several days. As the death toll passed 1,000, the New York Times described it as “a ferocious assault” and “the worst bloodletting in modern Egyptian history.”

The Times astutely noted how “The generals in Cairo felt free to ignore” calls from US officials for the release of political prisoners and diplomatic engagement with the opposition “in a cold-eyed calculation that they would not pay a significant cost—a conclusion bolstered when President Obama responded by canceling a joint military exercise but not $1.5 billion in annual aid.”[ix] The response to the massacre from the Obama administration was to make clear once more that Egyptian military aid would not be suspended as required by US law, prompting the ruling junta to extend its crackdown to include rounding up “dissenters” like political activists and journalists—“a chilling warning”, noted the Times, “that no Egyptians should feel safe if they dare to challenge authority.”[x]

The massacre finally prompted the Times to call for “immediately suspending military aid and canceling joint military exercises”—a welcome reversal, but too late for the editors to wash the blood from their own hands.[xi] Under growing criticism for its complicity in the generals’ oppression and killing, the Obama administration announced the following month that it would temporarily withhold $260 million in non-military economic assistance, as well as freeze delivery of military hardware, including Apache helicopters, missiles, tank parts, and F-16 fighter jets—a clear green light for the generals signaling that, while they ought to avoid any further mass murders, the US would continue to provide $1.3 billion in financing for them to carry on with “restoring democracy”.[xii]

Haaretz relayed the Israeli government’s fear that a cutoff of military aid could affect the 1979 peace treaty, which had “brought Cairo into Washington’s sphere of influence.” Israel had been making the case to the White House “that punishing Egypt for the latest violence between the government and protesters was secondary to preserving the peace deal. ‘As long as the American aid flows to Cairo, the Egyptian regime can ward off criticism against preserving the peace treaty with Israel,’ Israeli officials told their US counterparts.”[xiii] That is to say, as long as the American aid continued to flow to the generals, they could continue to suppress the Egyptian people, whose popular will posed a threat to the status quo. If the people managed to establish an Egyptian government that actually respected public opinion, it might, for example, cease its complicity with Israel in collectively punishing the civilian population of Gaza by permanently and completely open the Rafah border crossing.


[i] The White House, “Remarks by President Obama in Address to the United Nations General Assembly,” September 21, 2011.

[ii] Public Law 112-74, 112th Congress, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, Sec. 7008. The law forbids financial assistance “to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’etat or decree”. Aid may only be resumed “if the President determines and certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office….”

[iii] Kareem Fahim and Mayy El Sheikh, “Crackdown in Egypt Kills Islamists as They Protest,” July 27, 2013.

[iv] Mark Landler, “Aid to Egypt Can Keep Flowing, Despite Overthrow, White House Decides,” New York Times, July 25, 2013. Note that the Times accepts unquestioningly the false assumption that since the White House said it was okay, therefore the continuation of aid did not violate US law. For further discussion, see: Jeremy R. Hammond, “Executive Branch: U.S. Law Does Not Require Executive Branch to Execute or Obey U.S. Law,”, August 6, 2013.

[v] Fahim and El Sheikh, “Crackdown in Egypt.” “Egypt: Many Protesters Shot in Head or Chest,” Human Rights Watch, July 28, 2013.

[vi] Kareem Fahim and Rick Gladstone, “Egypt Vows to End Sit-Ins by Supporters of Deposed President,” New York Times, July 31, 2013.

[vii] “Egypt’s Dangerous Slide,” New York Times, July 30, 2013.

[viii] US Department of State, Secretary of State John Kerry Interview with Hamid Mir of Geo TV, August 1, 2013.

[ix] Alastair Beach, “Egypt’s day of shame: Scores killed and hundreds more injured as government declares war on Islamists,” The Independent, August 15, 2013. David D. Kirkpatrick, Peter Baker, and Michael R. Gordon, “How American Hopes for a Deal in Egypt Were Undercut,” New York Times, August 17, 2013.

[x] Kirkpatrick, et al, “How American Hopes.” “Who Will Be Left in Egypt?” New York Times, September 12, 2013. The administration took preliminary steps to withhold some economic assistance to Egypt, but not military aid. The White House had requested $1.55 billion in aid for Egypt for 2014, $1.3 billion of which was military, all but $585 million of which had already been deposited in Egypt’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. See: Mark Landler and Thom Shanker, “Leaving Military Aid Intact, U.S. Takes Steps to Halt Economic Help to Egypt,” New York Times, August 18, 2013.

[xi] “Military Madness in Cairo,” New York Times, August 14, 2013.

[xii] Michael R. Gordon and Mark Landler, “In Crackdown Response, U.S. Temporarily Freezes Some Military Aid to Egypt,” New York Times, October 9, 2013. The Times noted that the $260 million was for “the general Egyptian budget”, meaning non-military aid. The Times didn’t clarify this explicitly for readers, but hinted at it further down the page; e.g., “But in a sign of how the administration is balancing its interests, senior officials said the United States would continue aid for counterterrorism programs…. American officials have long doubted that cutting back military aid would have any effect on the behavior of Egypt’s military-backed government.” Etc. See also: Shanker, “Leaving Military Aid Intact.”

[xiii] Jonathan Lis, “Washington cuts Egypt aid despite intense Israeli lobbying,” Haaretz, October 10, 2013.

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BRICS Trample US in South America

May 23rd, 2015 by Pepe Escobar

It started in April with a rash of deals between Argentina and Russia during President Cristina Kirchner’s visit to Moscow.

And it continues with a $53 billion investment bang as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Brazil during the first stop of yet another South American commercial offensive – complete with a sweet metaphor: Li riding on a made in China subway train that will ply a new metro line in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

Where is the US in all this? Nowhere; little by little, yet inexorably, BRICS members China – and in a smaller measure, Russia – have been no less than restructuring commerce and infrastructure all across Latin America.

Countless Chinese commercial missions have been plying these shores non-stop, much as the US did between World War I and II. In a key meeting in January with Latin American business leaders, President Xi Jinping promised to channel $250 billion for infrastructure projects in the next 10 years.

Top infrastructure projects in Latin America are all being financed by Chinese capital – except the Mariel port in Cuba, whose financing comes from Brazil’s BNDES and whose operation will be managed by Singaporean port operator PSA International Pte Ltd. Construction of the Nicaragua canal – bigger, wider and deeper than Panama’s – started last year by a Hong Kong firm, to be finished by 2019. Argentina, for its part, clinched a $4.7 billion Chinese deal for the construction of two hydroelectric dams in Patagonia.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff look on before a meeting at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, May 19, 2015 (Reuters / Ueslei Marcelino)

Among the 35 deals clinched during Li’s visit to Brazil, there was financing worth $7 billion for Brazil’s oil giant Petrobras; 22 Brazilian Embraer commercial jets to be sold to Tianjin Airlines for $1.3 billion; and a raft of agreements involving top iron ore producer Vale. Chinese investment might go some way into overhauling Brazil’s appalling network of roads, railways and ports; airports are in slightly better condition due to upgrades prior to the World Cup last year.

The star of the whole show is undoubtedly the proposed $30 billion, 3,500 kilometer-long, Atlantic-Pacific mega-railway, that is slated to run from the Brazilian port of Santos to the Peruvian Pacific port of Ilo via Amazonia. Logistically, this is a must for Brazil, offering it a Pacific gateway. Winners will inevitably be commodity producers – from iron ore to soya beans – exporting to Asia, mostly China.

The Atlantic-Pacific railway may be an extremely complex project – involving everything from environmental and land rights issues to, crucially, the preference for Chinese firms every time Chinese banks deliberate on extending lines of credit. But this time, it’s a go. The usual suspects are – what else - worried.

Watch the Geopolitics

Official Brazilian policy, since the Lula years, has been to attract top Chinese investment. China is Brazil’s top trading partner since 2009; it used to be the US. The trend started with food production, now it moves to investment in ports and railways, and the next stage will be technology transfer. The BRICS New Development Bank and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), of which Brazil is a key founding member, will definitely be part of the picture.

The problem is this massive trade/commerce BRICS interplay is intersecting with a quite convoluted political process. The top three South American powers – Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, which also happen to be Mercosur members – have been facing repeated “destabilization” attempts by the usual suspects, who routinely denounce the foreign policy of Presidents Dilma Rousseff, Cristina Kirchner and Nicolas Maduro and yearn for the good ol’ days of a dependent relationship with Washington.

With different degrees of complexity – and internal strife – Brasilia, Buenos Aires and Caracas are all simultaneously facing plots against their institutional order. The usual suspects don’t even try to dissimulate their near total diplomatic distance from the South American Top Three.

Venezuela, under US sanctions, is considered a threat to US national security – something that does not even qualify as a bad joke. Kirchner has been under relentless diplomatic assault – not to mention US vulture funds targeting Argentina. And with Brasilia, relations are practically frozen since September 2013, when Rousseff suspended a visit to Washington in response to the NSA spying on Petrobras, and herself personally.

And that leads us to a crucial geostrategic issue – so far unresolved.

NSA spying may have leaked sensitive information on purpose to destabilize the Brazilian development agenda – which includes, in the case of Petrobras, the exploration of the largest oil deposits (the pre-salt) found so far in the young 21st century.

The Petrobras headquarters in Rio de Janeiro (Reuters / Sergio Moraes)

What is unraveling is so crucial because Brazil is the second-biggest economy in the Americas (after the US); it is the biggest Latin American commercial and financial power; it hosts the former second-biggest development bank in the world, BNDES, now overtaken by the BRICS bank; and it also hosts the biggest corporation in Latin America, Petrobras, also one of the world’s top energy giants.

The hardcore pressure against Petrobras comes essentially from US shareholders – who act like the proverbial vultures, bent on bleeding the company and profit from it, allied with lobbyists who abhor Petrobras’s status as the priority explorer of the pre-salt deposits.

In a nutshell, Brazil is the last great sovereign frontier against unbounded hegemonic domination in the Americas. The Empire of Chaos had to be annoyed.

Ride the continental wave

The constantly evolving strategic partnership of the BRICS nations has been met by Washington circles not only with incredulity but fear. It’s virtually impossible for Washington to do real damage to China – but much “easier”, comparatively, in the case of Brazil or Russia. Even though Washington’s wrath targets essentially China – which has dared to do deal after deal in the former “America’s backyard”.

Once again, the Chinese strategy – as much as the Russian – is to keep calm and carry a “win-win” profile. Xi Jinping met with Maduro in January to do – what else – deals. He met with Cristina Kirchner in February to do the same – just as speculators were about to unleash another attack against the Argentine peso. Now there’s Li’s visit to South America.

Needless to say, trade between South America and China continues to boom. Argentina exports food and soya beans; Brazil the same, plus oil, minerals and timber; Colombia sells oil and minerals; Peru and Chile, copper, and iron; Venezuela sells oil; Bolivia, minerals. China exports mostly high-value-added manufactured products.

A key development to watch in the immediate future is the Transul project, which was first proposed at a BRICS conference last year in Rio. It boils down to a Brazil-China strategic alliance linking Brazilian industrial development to partial outsourcing of metals to China; as the Chinese increase their demand – they are building no less than 30 megalopolises up to 2030 – that will be met by Brazilian or Sino-Brazilian companies. Beijing has finally given its seal of approval.

So the long-term Big Picture remains inexorable; BRICS and South American nations – which converge in the Unasur (The Union of South American Nations) – are betting on a multipolar world order, and a continental process of independence.

It’s easy to see how that is oceans away from a Monroe doctrine.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

Netanyahu Appoints Hardline Peace Negotiator

May 23rd, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

So-called Israeli/Palestinian peace talks are farcical when held – the greatest hoax in modern times, dead on arrival every time.

Netanyahu opposes Palestinian self-determination. So does his new chief negotiator – hardline Likudnik Silvan Shalom.

He’s interior minister and deputy prime minister. Appointing him peace negotiator underscores Netanyahu’s contempt for Palestinian rights.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke downplayed what demands outrage saying “(w)e continue to believe that a two-state solution in vital.”

“It is not a secret that the new Israeli government includes cabinet members who do not necessarily believe in that premise.”

In 2012, Shalom said Likud officials “are all against a Palestinian state. There is no question about it.”

They urge continued settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land. PA officials blasted his appointment – a willful affront, a clear rejection of peace and Palestinian statehood.

A dismissive Obama administration statement reflects longstanding one-sided US support for Israel.

Palestinian officials say there’s no point in meeting with Shalom unless he accepts Palestinian statehood within June 1967 borders.

Putting him in charge of talks shows no change in racist/ruthless business as usual. An unnamed Israeli official said Netanyahu “charged (him) with conducting in his name the negotiations with the Palestinians.”

He lied claiming his:

“appointment indicates the desire of the prime minister and Israel to have negotiations with the Palestinians, in contrast to the accusations that Israel refuses peace, and in contrast to the Palestinian claims that they cannot avoid unilateral actions in order to advance the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

There are no serious talks – not earlier, now or ahead. Israel doesn’t negotiate. It demands.

Naftali Bennett is Netanyahu’s main coalition partner. He’s zealously pro-settlers.

He opposes Palestinian statehood. His Jewish Home party platform states Jerusalem “is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the state of Israeli solely, and will not be divided.” Likudniks endorse the same lawless policy.

Bennett wants status quo extremism hardened. He wants non-Jews excluded from Israel. He’s against hiring “foreigners.”

He calls them “infiltrators,” a “time bomb.” He criticizes all forms of “excessive activism” – code language for opposing doing the right thing.

He endorses hardline governance. He’s against giving Arabs equal rights. He believes they should be “water carriers and wood hewers,” biblical racist terminology.

He’s responsible for Judaizing the Negev – meaning dispossessing Bedouins. “I’ve killed many Arabs in my life. There’s no problem with that,” he said. He believes murdering Palestinians is morally right.

This year marks the 67th anniversary of ongoing Nakba. The catastrophe never ended.

Institutionalized racism, forced displacement, land and resources theft, homes demolished, self-determination denied, mass incarceration, no right of return, wars at Israel’s discretion, a permanent state of suffering, and multiple daily breaches of fundamental international laws continue.

Israel’s most extremist  government in history assures greater than ever ruthlessness.

As long as Western leaders able to make a difference do nothing, Palestinian rights will continue to be denied.

Global March Against Monsanto Day

May 23rd, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Monsanto is one of the world’s most hated companies for good reason. Institute for Responsible Technology founder, consumer advocate, GMO expert Jeffrey Smith calls the company “the world’s poster child for corporate manipulation and deceit.”

Its goal is eliminating natural seeds altogether and replacing them with patented genetically modified ones producing what critics call frankenfoods.

Its PR story features five Big Lies:

1. GMOs are needed to feed the world.

2. They’ve been thoroughly tested and proved safe.

3. They increase crop yields.

4. They reduce toxic chemical use.

5. They can be contained and co-exist with non-GM crops.

Truth is polar opposite on all counts. Independent studies show GM foods and ingredients harm human health.

They contaminate the environment and gene pool. Monsanto executives knew it all along. They suppressed hard truths.

A company memo revealing its philosophy says: “We can’t afford to lose one dollar of business.”

Monsanto is like other corporate predators. Bottom line considerations alone matter. Human health risks aren’t important.

The American Academy of Environment Medicine (AAEM) urges avoiding GM foods and ingredients because of unacceptable health risks.

It called for halting sales of these products, longterm independent studies and labeling.

“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” it said. “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation.”

Growing numbers of doctors and science professionals urge avoiding GM foods and ingredients entirely. Noted biologist Pushpa Bhargava calls GMOs a major contributor to deteriorating health of Americans.

“(T)he incidence of low birth weight babies, infertility, and infant mortality are all escalating” in America, says Jeffrey Smith.

A human feeding study showed long after subjects stopped eating GMOs, their harmful proteins continued producing internally.

According to Smith, “eating a corn chip produced from Bt corn might transform our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories, possibly for the rest of our lives” – or eating any other GM foods.

They “might be colonizing the gut flora of North Americans” – leaving us vulnerable to numerous future health problems, killing us slowly.

In the early 1990, FDA scientists warned about GM hazards – calling them inherently dangerous.

AAEM says they “have not been properly tested (and) pose a serious health risk.”

Noted Canadian geneticist David Suzuki says we’ve “become human guinea pigs. Anyone who says, ‘Oh, we know that this is perfectly safe,’ is either unbelievably stupid or deliberately lying.”

It’s not coincidental that since wide-scale introduction of GMOs in 1996, the incidence of people with three or more chronic diseases nearly doubled – from 7 to 13%.

Human health depends heavily on eliminating GMO foods and ingredients entirely worldwide – freeing people everywhere from their hazardous toxins.

May 23 is the third annual global March Against Monsanto (MAM). Massive support is expected.

An MAM press release says “hundreds of thousands will take to the streets in peaceful protest against the Monsanto Company.”

Local events will feature prominent speakers – “including former presidential candidates and health icons.”

Marches are expected to take place on six continents, in 48 countries and 421 cities. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls Monsanto’s Roundup a “probable carcinogen” in the food supply.

Initiatives like the Women’s and Children’s Bill of Rights want toxic Glyphosate banned. It’s a global pollutant – found in underground water and up to 100% of rainwater samples in some areas.

MAM sponsors include:

The Anti-Media

Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance

Truth Teller

Activists’ Free Press

A Revolt – Digital Anarchy


Institute for Responsible Technology

Films for Action


Activist Post

Anti GMO Foods and Fluoride Water

Truth Beckons

Web Warriors Occupy the Media

Occupy Earth Now

Higher Perspective


Anonymous Portugal Internacional

Peter’s News

Who am I to be blind?

TheTruth Unleashed

Soldiers of Truth



I’m Different

“The Fond du Lac Underclass

Trust me, I’m an “Eco-Designer”

Restoring Truth in Humanity

#Occupy Tesia

“It’s Time to Take Back Our Planet,” say MAM sponsors. GMOs make us vulnerable to potential serious health problems. Organic farming worldwide more than ever is needed.

Venezuelan members of parliament and spokespeople for state institutions have come together to vehemently reject a Wall Street Journal report which claimed that National Assembly President, Diosdado Cabello, is being probed by US federal authorities for alleged links to international drug trafficking.

Featured on Monday, the Wall Street Journal article echoes recent reports in the Spanish newspaper ABC that allege that Cabello is implicated in an international drug ring, citing the top legislator’s ex-bodyguard Leamsy Salazar, who has defected to the United States.

The article also alleges that federal prosecutors in New York and Miami and an “elite” Drug Enforcement Agency Unit have opened up an official investigation into the claims, based on interviews with renegade Bolivarian officials as well as Venezuelan and Colombian drugs traffickers under arrest in the US.

On Monday evening, the government hit back at the report, entitled “Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub,” branding rumours of the US investigation as yet another international rightwing campaign aimed at smearing the Revolution’s standing on the global stage.

“We will activate a national and international campaign in defence of Diosdado Cabello… just as we defend our country from rightwing attacks,” announced the president on his weekly TV show, “In Contact with Maduro”.

“Whoever goes after Diosdado Cabello is going after me. We cannot accept these slanders against him… He is one of the loyal cadres (to the revolution)”.

So far, the rumours hinge on the testimony of Cabello’s ex-bodyguard, yet the veracity of his claims has been widely questioned due to reports that the statement was offered in exchange for a U.S. visa and asylum.

The accusations have caused huge controversy at home and abroad, having targeted one of the most powerful and steadfast loyalist to the Bolivarian Revolution.

As former socialist leader Hugo Chavez’s righthand man, ex-soldier Cabello participated in Chavez’s underground Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement 200 (MBR-200) and participated in the attempted 1992 coup against the repressive government of Carlos Andres Perez that launched Chavez into the public spotlight. Cabello also briefly assumed the presidency of the country during the April 2002 US-sponsored coup which ousted Chavez for a period of 47 hours.

“I am unyielding in the face of any media aggression… I will not surrender… not today or tomorrow,” confirmed Cabello on his weekly television programme.

“I want to express my love and gratitude, up until my last breath, to our people. Thank you for so many messages of support and solidarity in the face of these attacks, which are not against Diosdado Cabello, but against the country’s institutions”.

ABC and the Venezuelan press which republished the reports are all currently being sued for defamation by Cabello, who re-issued a previous challenge to his detractors on Wednesday to “publicly show proof” against him.

The Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) also echoed Cabello’s sentiments that the press reports constitute an attempt to undermine Venezuela’s state institutions internationally, and are linked to ongoing efforts to unseat the government.

“They claim to reflect situations that aren’t based on any plausible or possible foundations,” replied the head of the TSJ, Judge Gladys Gutiérrez.

The accusations against Cabello are just the latest of many that have been levelled at Venezuelan government officials by US authorities in recent years. Others accused of being involved in international drugs trafficking ops include Venezuelan army general and diplomat Hugo Carvajal and former Minister of the Interior and Justice, Tarek El-Aissami.

Carvajal was controversially arrested last year by Aruba authorities during a visit to the island on the petition of the US, who quickly moved to request his extradition. He was eventually released after an Aruba judge finally overruled the arrest and declared it illegal under international treaties.

The latest reports are likely to further isolate the US and its increasingly discredited Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in the region, which is banned from operating within Venezuela and Bolivia. Both countries severed ties with the DEA in recent years on the basis that the agency was spying on their progressive governments and paradoxically allied with international drug smuggling networks in the region.

The DEA courted further controversy earlier in March this year when the release of secret files revealed that DEA agents working in Colombia had engaged in illicit sex parties with prostitutes, including children, paid for by Colombian drugs cartels.

Ramadi and America’s Fracturing of Iraq

May 23rd, 2015 by Eric Draitser

The Western media has been consumed in recent days with the news that Islamic State militants have captured the strategically critical city of Ramadi in Iraq. The narrative is one of incompetence on the part of Iraqi military forces who, the corporate media tells us, are simply either ineffectual or hopelessly corrupt. Some analysts and pundits, especially those on the right who oppose Obama for various reasons, have used the fall of Ramadi to legitimize their claims that Obama’s “weakness” on the ISIS issue brought events to this point.

While there is truth to the assertion that Iraqi military forces are riddled with severe problems, from sectarianism in the command hierarchy, to poor training and, at times, organizational disarray, none of these issues is singularly responsible for the loss of Ramadi. Nor is it entirely accurate to say that Obama’s alleged weakness is really the cause.

Rather the primary reason, the one which the media carefully avoids including in their reportage, is the political and military sabotage of Iraq perpetrated by the United States in pursuit of its long-term agenda.

Indeed, while Washington waxes poetic about the need to more forcefully confront ISIS and destroy its military and terrorist infrastructure, the actual policies it has pursued are designed to achieve just the opposite. Instead of promoting unity of command and execution within the Iraqi armed forces, the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House have done everything to fracture Iraq’s political and military structures, fomenting rather than mollifying sectarian conflicts. Then the Washington Post can publish editorials blasting Iraqi fecklessness, and calling for a more robust US military presence. In this way, the US policy of promoting division and weakness within Iraq has directly led to the dire situation in Ramadi and throughout the country.

How Washington is Destroying Iraq…Again!

The fall of Ramadi has provided ammunition to opponents of Obama whose central argument – if such insanity can be believed – remains that the US should wage further war in Iraq. Leading warmongers, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both claim that the failure is due to Obama’s “big mistake” in not leaving behind troops in 2011. Graham described US policy as “a failure of Obama’s military strategy,” while McCain referred to it as “one of the most disgraceful episodes in American history… [The] policy…is not enough of anything,” Aside from the obvious absurdity of their claims, McCain and Graham, and the media narrative surrounding the entire issue, are a perfect illustration of the utterly backwards narrative presented by the corporate media to the American public.

In reality, the US, with Congress very much playing a central role, has studiously worked to undermine any chances for national resistance and military victory inside Iraq by Iraqi security forces. Perhaps Graham and McCain forgot that the US has worked diligently to create divisions between Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish elements within the Iraqi military architecture.

As recently as late April 2015, Congressional Republicans were pushing for a defense authorization bill that would directly arm and fund Sunni and Kurdish militias inside Iraq, treating them as “independent countries.” An obvious means of fomenting further sectarian conflicts and fracturing the fragile and precarious unity of the government in Baghdad and its military forces, this bill is indicative of a broader policy, one aimed at de facto partition of Iraq along ethno-religious lines. Moreover, those who follow US politics and military adventurism should understand that legislation follows rather than precedes the policy. The US has likely been arming Sunni and Kurdish factions for a long time already, thereby further degrading the continuity of the military.

But aside from the political attempts to fragment the country, US military actions belie the real agenda which, rather than combating ISIS, is geared towards degradation of military capability of all sides, which is, in effect, support for ISIS.

Since the US campaign against the group in Iraq began, there have been countless media reports of US weapons and supplies falling directly into the clutches of ISIS, succoring it at precisely the time that it has suffered heavy losses at the hands of Shiite militias in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah across the border in Syria. As Naeem al-Uboudi, the spokesman for one of the main groups fighting ISIS in Tikrit told the NY Times, “We don’t trust the American-led coalition in combating ISIS… In the past, they have targeted our security forces and dropped aid to ISIS by mistake.

This fact is critical to understanding the true motivation of Washington in this campaign, namely inflicting maximum damage on both ISIS and Shiite militias fighting it. In effect, this ‘controlled chaos’ strategy promotes and extends, rather than concludes the war. Additionally, the allegation of US-ISIS collusion is further supported by dozens of accounts of airdropped US weapons being seized by ISIS. As Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui noted in January, “The information that has reached us in the security and defense committee indicates that an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin… This incident is continuously happening and has also occurred in some other regions.

Looking at a map, one begins to see then that ISIS has received US support in each of the strategically significant areas where it has made important gains. When reports of US airdrops going to ISIS in the province of Salahuddin first emerged, it coincided with the group’s military success in Tikrit. Now we see Ramadi in the easternmost part of Anbar province has fallen within weeks of more reports emerging of US-supplied arms being destined for ISIS in the al-Baqdadi region of Anbar.

Taken in total then, it seems that US strategy has been to overtly attack ISIS while covertly supporting it. Similarly, the US has claimed to be supporting, or at least collaborating indirectly, with Shiite militias connected to Iran. At the very same time, those militias have repeatedly claimed that US has bombed them deliberately. Such seemingly contradictory military objectives lead to the inescapable conclusion that US policy has been, and continues to be, chaos and fomenting war. So for Washington to now claim that the fall of Ramadi is somehow a major tragedy, that it represents a failure of strategy, is utter disinformation. In effect, the fall of Ramadi is an orchestrated outgrowth of the “managed chaos” strategy.

The History and Politics of America’s Chaos Theory in Iraq

From a purely geopolitical perspective, the aim of the US is to foment sectarian conflict and prolong the war in Iraq as a means of checking Iranian influence in Iraq and throughout the region. The US is mostly incapable of achieving such an objective in Syria due to the continued success and cohesion of the Syrian Arab Army; in Iraq this is very much achievable. But this fragmentation and de facto partition of the country has been a long-standing policy, one that the US has pursued in myriad ways for more than a decade.

Keen political observers will recall that even before, and during the early stages, of the Iraq War in 2003, there was serious talk of dividing Iraq into religiously and ethnically homogenous territories. As influential neocon and President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations Leslie Gelb wrote in an op-ed in the NY Times in November 2003, “The only viable strategy…may be to correct the historical defect and move in stages toward a three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” While this policy was not enacted immediately, the United States has always pursued this long-term strategy to varying degrees.

The major stumbling block has been the stubborn desire of various members of Iraq’s political elite to be independent and sovereign actors, not US puppets. The primary offender from Washington’s perspective was former Prime Minister, and current Vice President, Nouri al-Maliki, who refused to bow to the diktats of Washington, and was instead portrayed as a corrupt, autocratic Iranian stooge. But what were Maliki’s real transgressions from Washington’s perspective?

First and foremost were Maliki’s attitudes and policies towards the US occupation and the presence of military and non-military personnel. In fact, it was Maliki’s refusal to grant the US request to maintain military bases in the country after the withdrawal – against Obama’s wishes – which prompted the first round of attacks on him and his government. And it was then that the image of Maliki as Iranian puppet truly became popularized, at least in Western media. Indeed, as The Guardian noted at the time, “The Pentagon had wanted the bases to help counter growing Iranian influence in the Middle East. Just a few years ago, the US had plans for leaving behind four large bases but, in the face of Iraqi resistance, this plan had to be scaled down this year to a force of 10,000. But even this proved too much for the Iraqis.

Maliki also took the absolutely monumental step of closing down Camp Ashraf and killing or expelling its inhabitants. Far from being a camp for “Iranian political exiles” as Western media have attempted to portray, Ashraf was the base of the Iranian terrorist organization Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), an organization supported wholeheartedly by neocons (as well as most “liberals”) in its continued terror war against Iran. Of course, because Maliki dared to cleanse Iraq of these US-sponsored terrorist thugs, he was immediately convicted in the court of US public opinion which described the operation as an assault on Iranian “freedom fighters.” We know all too well what the US means when it describes terrorists as freedom fighters.

And so, by refusing basing rights, refusing to extend immunity and legal protections to US contractors operating in Iraq, and wiping out Camp Ashraf and MEK members, Maliki became a villain. More to the point, it was his refusal to allow Iraq to be used by the US and its allies as a military and political bulwark against Iran that earned him the West’s ire. Far from wanting a “sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq” as Obama eloquently proclaimed, Washington needed the country to remain a client state to be used as a weapon of US foreign policy in the region. By rejecting this, Maliki, almost overnight, became “a dictator.”

By ousting Maliki, the US once again pursued a policy of fragmentation, deliberately installing current Prime Minister Abadi who they knew would be weak, incapable of maintaining the unity of Iraq, and most importantly, amenable to US demands. As the NY Times wrote in the wake of the fall of Ramadi last week:

At the urging of American officials who sought to sideline the [Shiite] militias, Mr. Abadi… gambled that the combination of United States airstrikes and local Sunni tribal fighters would be able to drive Islamic State fighters out of [Ramadi]…But as the setback brought the Shiite militias, and their Iranian backers, back into the picture in Anbar, intensified Shiite infighting appeared to leave the prime minister more vulnerable than ever… He became prime minister last year with strong backing from the United States on the belief that he would be a more inclusive leader than his predecessor, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, and would reach out to the country’s minority Sunni Arabs and Kurds. Mr. Abadi has done so, by pushing for the arming of local Sunni tribesmen and reaching a deal with the Kurds to share oil revenue.

As the Times correctly notes, Abadi has, quite predictably, followed orders from Washington and pursued a strategy which, from the western perspective is “inclusive,” but is in reality very much sectarian. This is the inverted reality that the US and the Western media portrays; the arming and support for Sunni and Kurdish factions is “inclusive” rather than divisive, which is what it is in the real world. By forcing the Shiites, the dominant group demographically and politically in Iraq, into a secondary role, the US once again foments, rather than bridges sectarian divides. What is this called if not “divide and conquer”?

It should not be lost on anyone that this policy which, as noted above, dates back more than a decade, is all designed to curb Iranian influence in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. By forcing Shiites into the back seat politically, economically, and militarily, the US has hoped to stifle Iran’s development from isolated nation into a regional power. By doing so, the US once again acts in its own interests, as well as those, of course, of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. Perhaps that grouping of countries rings a bell for people following the development of the war on Syria these past four years? Indeed, it is the same actors.

Seen in this way then, the US agenda and strategy in Iraq is precisely the same as that for the entire region: block Iran (and, on a grander scale, Russia and China) with regime change when and where possible. When regime change is impossible or undesirable, inflict chaos and foment conflict.

One might call such a policy cynicism of the highest order. While true, there are still other words that perhaps better reflect the true insidiousness of it all: colonialism and imperialism.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

I recently returned from a six-week trip to Iran. While the primary purpose of my trip was to visit family and friends, I also made some general enquiries into the state of the country’s stagnant economy. These included informal discussions with various strata of economic agents or market players: manufacturers, bankers, shopkeepers, miners, farmers, livestock breeders, workers, teachers, and more.

Sadly, most of these economic actors painted pictures of pessimism and distrust of the country’s economic conditions. The economy is mired in a protracted stagflation, with no government plan or macroeconomic policy for recovery. While the Rouhani administration boasts of having contained or slowed down the inflation, the Iranian people do not cherish that tempering of inflation as it has come about at the expense of deepened recession; that is, at the expense of heightened unemployment and weakened purchasing power. As a retired school teacher, who now works as a taxi driver, put it, lowering inflation by worsening recession is no cause for celebration (paraphrased).

And what is the major culprit behind the depressing recession? The common answer of the overwhelming majority of the economic actors I spoke with was, in a nutshell, uncertainty—uncertainty of the constantly shifting outcome of the unending nuclear negotiations. There is a clear consensus that while onerous economic sanctions against Iran are obviously damaging, the perilous effects of the protracted and uncertain outcome of the negotiations are even more devastating. Equally devastating is the current administration’s neoliberal policies of austerity economics, which have further aggravated the recession by cutting social/public spending while not offering any industrial or developmental program or planning.

Market uncertainty, combined with a regrettable lack of protection by the government of the nation’s infant industries against the more mature industries abroad, has led to an unwillingness of the country’s entrepreneurs to invest in long-term production projects. By the same token, the major bulk of the nation’s finance capital is devoted to short-term, parasitically high-yielding but unproductive investments such as buying and selling of real estate.

The largely unregulated financial sector has led to a mushrooming growth of shadow banks—known as moasesat-e etebari, or credit institutions. While there are a handful of conventional or bona fide commercial banks, the number of dubious moasesat-e etebari has in recent years skyrocketed to over 900!

There is undeniable evidence that, using the influence of corrupt and rent-seeking authorities, many of these shadow banks borrowed huge sums of money from government banks at below-market interest rates, often under the pretext of wanting to invest in job-creating or manufacturing enterprises, but in fact used the monies thus obtained for speculative purposes. In other words, most of these shadow banks came to existence not through the investment of monies owned by their founders but through that of public money!

Worse yet, many of the oligarchic borrowers and/or founders of these shadow banks now refuse to pay the monies they borrowed! And the government does not or cannot do anything about it because there is an incestuous business relationship between the two sides. Parasitic growth of these speculative shadow banks has reached unsustainably dangerous levels of an imminent implosion of the financial sector—similar to what happened in the US nearly seven years ago, which has since been transmitted to a number of European countries. It is regrettable that President Rouhani and his economic team do not seem to have learned any lessons from the disastrous experiences of the unregulated financial markets in many of the core capitalist countries.

The US and its allies are obviously aware of the fact that continued uncertainty resulting from prolonged nuclear negotiations is wreaking havoc on the Iranian economy. Perhaps this helps explain why they intend to extend the negotiations for a long time: 10, 15 or even 25 years. There are speculations that this policy is designed to help bring about regime change from within, that is, by instigating a social upheaval through an economic collapse.

Not only has the Rouhani administration thus thrown the private sector into confusion and uncertainty, it has also largely abandoned traditional public sector responsibilities in terms of macroeconomic guidance and infrastructural developments. The administration’s rudderless economic outlook is reflected (among other places) in its latest (1394, Iranian calendar) budget priorities.

“The Budget Bill, which has been produced by the newlyrevived Organization of Management and Planning, offers no explicit conceptual framework within which the budget is formulated, nor is it based on any “planning” for the economy. . . . It also does not begin with a discussion of the nation’s economic development pre-requisites nor give any indication of its trajectories.

“The key concept behind the budget is a twisted “neoliberal” model. . . . The proponents of the neoliberal economic policy support extensive economic liberalization, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the free market, individual and private sectors in the economy” [1].

The priorities of the budget bill are so warped and irrational that they tend to harm both the supply and demand sides of the economy. On the supply-side,

“[T]he budget neglects the productive sectors, infrastructure and the environment. Development funds have been increased by a nominal 16 percent; in real terms that will mean a reduction. Agriculture receives an increase, but its share is minimal relative to the sector’s need. Manufacturing remains cash-hungry given the tight-money policy and a 22 percent interest rate.

R&D’s share in the GNP remains at about 0.06 percent and industry-driven R&D is almost nonexistent. Infrastructure, including transportation and urban development, is equally under-budgeted” [2].

On the demand side, except for health care spending, real or inflation-adjusted funding for most social programs has been cut. Subsidies for housing, education, food, and fuel have been reduced when the inflation rate is accounted for. The budget also fails to devote funds for the repayment of the government’s growing debt to the social security and retirement funds.

“The preference for muddling through and preserving the status quo of zero growth is evident in the uses of the budget. Thus, while the supply side of the economy is neglected, the demand side is depressed through the use of contractionary fiscal and monetary policies. The budget also disregards growth-friendly educational, industrial and trade policies while it only gives lip service to construction and infrastructure. Most significantly, the sanctions-crippled Iranian economy needs serious popular mobilization and attention to social justice, but the elite-centered budget is equally oblivious to these requirements” [3].

Since the public sector has traditionally played a major role in the building of the country’s industrialization/developmental infrastructures, the Rouhani administration’s shirking that responsibility, that is, of drastically reducing public spending on infrastructure building, has significantly contributed to the deepening of economic recession and/or the rising of unemployment.

While in light of the ongoing economic recession, this curtailment of public/social spending is certainly irrational from an objective macroeconomic standpoint (as it would aggravate the recession), it is quite rational from the standpoint of the neoliberal austerity economics, to which Mr. Rouhani and most of his economic team seem to subscribe. According to neoliberal school of economic thought, a recession must be created in order to (a) fight inflation, and (b) create conditions (in the fashion of an economic shock therapy) for a subsequent economic recovery. Such conditions would include lowering labor cost by heightening unemployment, expanding deregulation of business activities, shrinking the public sector in order to make more room for the private sector, diluting environmental and workplace safety standards, expanding privatization of public property and services, including of education and health services, and the like.

This neoliberal/austerity/supply-side prescription has since the late 1970s and early 1980s replaced the Keynesian/New Deal/Social-Democratic prescription of the previous period of nearly three decades (from mid-1940s to mid-1970s), which often relied on public-sector spending in pursuit of economic recovery. The historic switch from the New Deal to neoliberal economic paradigm took place largely in the 1980s—under the formal stewardship of President Ronald Reagan in the United States and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain.

The supply-side doctrine, epitomizing the dominance of economic policy-making by big business, has since the 1980s been pursued vigorously in country after country, including now in many European countries. Having thus become the dominant economic strategy in the core capitalist countries, with devastating consequences for the overwhelming majority of the people (the so-called 99%), austerity economics has now arrived in a number of the less-developed countries, including Iran—a development which catapulted Mr. Rouhani to the seat of the country’s presidency as its messenger.

President Rouhani’s subscription to neoliberal economic doctrine is evident from his many speeches and statements, as well as from his book, National Security and Economic System of Iran [امنیت ملّی و نظام اقتصادی ایران]. In his book, Mr. Rouhani deplores Iran’s “very oppressive” labor laws to business. He argues that the minimum wage must be slashed and restrictions on the laying off of workers eliminated if Iran’s “owners of capital” are to have the “freedom” to create prosperity. “One of the main challenges that employers and our factories face,” he writes, “is the existence of labor unions. Workers should be more pliant toward the demands of job-creators” [4].

Not surprisingly, Mr. Rouhani’s economic outlook is essentially devoid of any specific development plan or industrialization project as he and most of his economic advisors subscribe to an economic doctrine that frowns upon government intervention in economic affairs—unless such interventions help “pave the way” for unfettered market operations. According to this doctrine, solutions to economic stagnation, poverty and under-development lie in unhindered market mechanism and unreserved integration into world capitalist system. Recessions, joblessness and economic hardship in many less-developed countries are not so much due to economic mismanagement or the nature of global capitalism as they are because of government intervention and/or exclusion from world capitalist markets.

This explains why Mr. Rouhani has made the solution to Iran’s economic problems contingent upon a political détente or friendly relations with the United States and its allies. The administration’s perception (or delusion) that the mere establishment of relations with the U.S. would serve as a panacea to Iran’s economic woes has essentially made Iran’s economy hostage to the unforeseeable outcome of its negotiations with the United State and, therefore, hostage to the endless, and increasingly futile, nuclear negotiations.

This also explains Mr. Rouhani’s and his nuclear negotiators’ dilemma: they have essentially trapped themselves into an illusion, the illusion that a combination of charm offensives, smiley faces and diplomatic niceties would suffice to change imperialist policies toward Iran. In reality, however, the U.S. policy toward Iran (or any other country, for that matter) is based on an agenda—an imperialistic agenda that consists of a series of demands and expectations, not on diplomatic decorum, or the type of language its leaders use.

One would expect that the market uncertainty created by nuclear negotiations may have led Iran’s producers of industrial and agricultural products to be eagerly looking forward to a breakthrough in the negotiations and a lifting of the brutal sanctions against their economy. My discussions with a number of manufacturers and farmers revealed, however, that while they certainly suffer from the oppressive economic sanctions, they are also concerned that, in light of President Rouhani’s neoliberal free trade policies, a relief from sanctions that may result from such a breakthrough may, in fact, end up driving them out of business by further opening the domestic market to an unbridled deluge of foreign products.

For example, Mahmoud Sedaqat, vice president of the Association of UPVC Window & Door Profiles Manufacturers, bitterly complained that while domestic production capacity of this petrochemical is more than twice as much as domestic needs, the government recently reduced import tariffs for this product from 30% to 15%, thereby paving the way for the substitution of imports for domestic products. Sedaqat further pointed out that government’s careless trade policy and a lack of protection for domestic producers has led to an atmosphere of confusion and uncertainty among domestic producers, which is contributing to further aggravation of the ongoing economic stagnation [5].

Mohammed Reza A’le Sara, a representative of domestic producers of automobile tires, likewise complained about a glaring lack of protection of his industry against the unrestrained imports of similar, indeed substitutable, products from abroad. A’le Sara also pointed out that, despite the comparable quality of domestically-produced tires, 50% of domestic demand is currently supplied by imports. A careful or calculated government support for domestic producers, he further argued, could gradually but certainly make Iran self-sufficient in this industry [6].

Mohammed Serfi, an economics analyst, recently pointed out that the degree of import-substitution in Iran could be as high as 70%; meaning that as much as 70% of Iran’s imports could be substituted by domestically produced goods. Yet, due to the Rouhani administration’s warped open-door/free-trade policy, the crucially important industrialization strategy of import-substitution—pursued by all the currently more developed countries at earlier stages of their development—is ignored. [7].

Complaining about the administration’s lack of an economic strategy, Gholam-Hosein Shafe-ei, Chairman of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, also argued that while relief from economic sanctions is obviously necessary it is not sufficient; perhaps more importantly are government-championed macroeconomic objectives and carefully-guided ways or plans to achieve those objectives. In the absence of clearly defined economic objectives and the concomitant strategies of import-substitution and export-promotion, Shafe-ei reasoned, Iran could become a heaven for foreign producers while many of domestic producers would be driven out of business.

Under President Rouhani, farmers have suffered even more than manufacturers. Since he was elected nearly two years ago, his administration has raised the energy/utilities bill by anywhere between 50% and 80%. This has drastically heightened the cost of agricultural production, as it has of industrial production. Additionally, the government has in recent years changed both the provision and distribution structure of fertilizers, increasingly shifting those responsibilities from the public to the private sector. This has further added to the cost of production. The government has also failed to establish a meaningful policy of crop insurance or financial assistance in the face of various natural disasters such as floods, drought and other climate fluctuations. Combined with the administration’s misguided free trade policy, which has greatly facilitated the import of many agricultural products, these ill-advised policies have effectively driven many farmers out of business, thereby plunging the agricultural sector into a deep recession.

Prior to the Rouhani administration’s pursuit of neoliberal economic policies, Iran viewed economic sanctions as an (unsolicited) opportunity to become self-reliant: to rely on domestic talents and resources in order to become self-sufficient by producing as many of the consumer goods and other industrial products as possible. And it did, indeed, made considerable progress in scientific research, technological know-how and manufacturing industries.

For example, prior to the recent rise of neoliberal economic policies, which have greatly undermined Iran’s manufacturing and agricultural capabilities, Iran had become self-sufficient in producing many of its industrial products such as home and electric appliances (television sets, washers and dryers, refrigerators, washing machines, and the like), textiles, leather products, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, processed food, and beverage products (including refined sugar and vegetable oil). The country had also made considerable progress in manufacturing steel, copper products, paper, rubber products, telecommunications equipment, cement, and industrial machinery.

None of the oppressive economic sanctions in retaliation for the 1979 revolution deterred Iran from forging ahead with its economic development and industrialization plans. The Rouhani administration’s misguided and haphazard switch from that tradition of inward-looking strategy of self-relying economic development to the ill-conceived outward-looking strategy has thrown tens of thousands of small and medium-sized industrial and agricultural producers into a market atmosphere of confusion and uncertainty. As has already been pointed out, the uncertainty stems from two major sources: (1) a glaring lack of protection of domestic producers against the more competitive foreign producers, and (2) a regrettable linkage or tying of any macroeconomic policy to the unending, unpredictable and, ultimately, futile results of the nuclear negotiations.

The inordinately high priority given to the dubious nuclear negotiations, which has sadly taken most of the Rouhani administration’s time and energy at the expense of everything else, has place the urgently needed macroeconomic policies on hold. The sooner such unduly delayed policies are delinked from the fraudulent imperialist game of nuclear negotiations the better.

More fundamentally, the sooner the nuclear talks are seen (or acknowledged) for what they really are—a pretext or a ploy on the part of the US and its allies, both inside and outside Iran, to adapt the country into another “client state”—and dealt with accordingly, the better. So far, Iran’s negotiating team has successfully concealed many of the gratuitous concessions they have made during the negotiations—essentially suspending the nation’s hard-earned nuclear science and technology while having gained no meaningful relief from sanctions—from the Iranian people. Whether they will succeed in continuing to sell a fraudulent deal to the Iranian people, or whether they may face a harsh backlash when the people learn of the deceitful nature or substance of the deal remains to be seen.

Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics (Drake University). He is the author of Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis (Routledge 2014), The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave–Macmillan 2007), and the Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser’s Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). He is also a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.


[1] Hooshang Amirahmadi, “Iran’s Neoliberal Austerity-Security Budget”: <>.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] As excerpted by Keith Jones, “Iranian president declares country ‘open for business’,” in <>.

[5] Mahmood Sedaqat, “کاهش تعرفه پروفیل «یوپی‌وی‌سی» ضربه دولت به تولید داخلی است,” Kayhan, Mordad 25, 1393 (August 16, 2014).

[6]. Interview with A’le Sara, in Farsi: واردات بیش از 50 درصد لاستیک علی‌رغم توان تولید داخلی

[7] Mohammed Serfi, “Gentlemen, the Party is Over,” in Farsi: آقایان! ضیافت تمام شد!(یادداشت روز) 

We’re living in some exciting yet scary times now. An unknown and uncertain future awaits us as today’s events and developments unravel revealing a myriad of warning signs spelling doom and gloom of apocalyptic End Days as many Christians believe we’ve already entered. Millions of people are living with the daily anxiety of these forewarnings that the end of the world and life as we’ve always known it is about to radically change forever not for the better. Perhaps even more people would quickly counter argue that as long as humans have inhabited this earth there’s always been the “Chicken Littles” out there reminding us that “the sky is falling” and that the end is drawing ever nearer. Many religious leaders and religions over the years have predicted the end of the world. As each year has come and gone and the world didn’t end, life goes on. 

Yet in recent years we’ve gone through a similar pattern of hyped up doom and gloom over the Y2K and the 2012 Mayan calendar fiascos where life on the planet trudged albeit destructively on. Yet with the latest Jade Helm craze and disturbing worldwide developments, 2015 appears to be shaping up to be some kind of humdinger of a year like no other. And the chorus of worried Doomsdayers has only grown larger and louder, and it’s neither just the fringe elements from the Christian spectrum nor the growing crowd of internet conspiracy nuts chiming in two part disharmony.

Undoubtedly the level of both intensity and instability in recent months has been steadily rising around the world. The global economy is choking to a standstill that may be teetering on collapse. The days are numbered for the US dollar remaining the standard international currency. Other than for the war mongering profiteers in charge, any prospect of prosperity reemerging in nations throughout the West has long been dead and gone, and now interest rates and bond rates are even going negative. Even the world’s emerging number one economic power China’s economy is slowing down and beginning to falter. Behind the scenes a global power shift has been underway for some time moving with momentum from West to East. But as this transition unfolds, the world appears to be bracing for major dire changes bringing upheaval and turmoil erupting planet-wide this year.

The globalized central banking system as the Western Ponzi scheme that’s reigned supreme for centuries on earth burying and enslaving the world’s population in insurmountable debt is on the verge of collapse. The Western oligarchs’ answer of simply printing more worthless fiat money out of thin air as their go-to band-aid strategy to delay the inevitable crash, desperately trying to keep the doomed, corrosively broken system afloat, is on its deathbed with its life support plug about to be shut off by creditors like China.

This crumbling, predatory system of empiric imperialism is run by an elitist sub-species of evil psychopaths who for centuries were pathologically born devoid of any human heart, thereby never suffering even a tinge of guilty conscience for murdering in cold blood millions and billions of innocent humans over the millennium.  Though braindead now, it has not stopped them from preparing for this fateful moment in time. They’ve utilized advancing technology to their full advantage in their broken corrupt system to squeeze what’s left of the global masses’ lifeblood in order to wield absolute power and authority in today’s manifesting New World Order.

With contingency plans for enduring and surviving even a nuclear holocaust on the earth’s surface, underground bunkers, cities and cross continental tunnels have been secretly built during the post-World War II decades to accommodate continued survival of the elites comprising just .025% of the world’s population – the controlling oligarchs along with their necessary errand boys and girls running the mega-corporations and national governments on the planet.

For more than a century these globalists have been promoting their NWO eugenics plan for a sustainable earth population of about a half billion people. The UN Agenda 21 spells it all out in graphic detail. This means within the next several years they plan to kill 13 out of 14 of us 7.2 billion people currently living and breathing on this planet. For decades they’ve been busily deploying both slower, “soft kill” methods as well as their faster, “hard kill” methods to drastically reduce the world population. The hard kill scenario manifests through war and both manmade induced natural disasters as well as naturally occurring natural disasters with a recent noticeable crescendo of activity of all these cataclysmic events.

2015 already is shaping up to be epic in both so called natural disasters through increased waves and magnitudes of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and extreme weather events like hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires, blizzards, and droughts. Under black ops authority, the US military has been involved extensively in geoengineering,weather modification and climate control, playing an enormous, mostly hidden factor in all of these so called natural disasters. The HAARP technology using high frequency electromagnetic beams and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) technology are simply the latest US military weapons at their diabolical disposal.

We’re even learning that natural catastrophes are not so natural after all since these destructive human forces have increasingly been causing them, also making them more devastating and extreme as well as giving rise to their mounting frequency. The deadly earthquake and tsunami believed responsible for causing Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster actually appears to be of manmade origin through EMP technology. Between these monumental events and increasing geopolitical conflicts manifesting though skyrocketing global violence and increasing hotspot wars (Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Gaza, Ukraine) may or may not trigger nuclear detonations that will virtually end all planetary life. But very likely in the coming apocalyptic crises and tumultuous upheaval caused by human conflict and “natural” disaster, millions if not billions on earth could perish within the next few years. These are the hard kill tactics that the globalists are counting on to rapidly depopulate our only planet.

An actual military industrial complex trade website called comes out annually with its projection of population change of 182 nations. The most significant drop in a single nation will be the United States from its current 2014 number of near 319 million to just under 65 million by 2025. In other words, this website that tracks the earnings of the armament industry maintains that 78% of us Americans will either be dead or living elsewhere on the planet within ten years. Likewise, all the Western nations are listed to also absorb heavy losses in their national populations. Interestingly, America’s neighbor to the north Canada is expected to only reduce its population a little more than ten million to just over 24 and a half million people.

Deagel briefly explains that its projected numbers have been formulated according to current statistical public disclosures from each nation’s government offices as well as key trends analyzed over the coming years such as major human migrations to mostly Asia and South America. Some of those nations are projected to increase in population and suffer far less financial losses, a few actually increasing their Gross Domestic Product. However, according to Deagel, the vast majority of the 182 nations will suffer from both significant population loss as well as lowered GDP’s and Power Purchase Parity (PPP roughly equating to household income). This annual report obviously reflects an extremely austere global outlook for this coming decade, factoring in dramatic increase in major war, economy collapse, food shortage, disease, climate change and natural disaster.

China’s population is expected to slightly rise a little more than ten million people from its 2014 census of 3,350,000,000 with about the same purchasing power index. Russia’s population is projected to drop a small amount of about 5.5 million to just under 137 million people in 2025. But its PPP is scheduled to rise slightly from just under $25,000 to just over $27,000, the only nation with substantial regional power showing increasing purchasing power.

Recall that just after the Soviet Union Empire collapsed a quarter century ago, the Russian economy floundered for several years but eventually began coming back. Its crash was not nearly as severe as the expected US downfall will be. With far greater localized agrarian economies, Russian citizens fared making the austere adjustments far less painful than America will. Unlike Russia, the US populace relies virtually entirely on large transnational corporations for its food source. Thus, an overly dependent American population will likely suffer even worse than they did during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

According to Deagel, other national economies that are projected to grow tend to be located mostly in South America, Asia and Africa. In contrast, in the wake of the coming crash, the purchasing power of Americans will plummet from near $55,000 currently to just over $9,000 in ten years. Canada’s PPP will be lowered from $44.5 thousand to near $17.5 thousand, nearly twice that of the US. Other Western nations will also experience a parallel trend downward but not be as extreme a fall as the United States.

This presentation will examine the numerous soft kill methods that over time are most likely to play an increasing part in delivering lethal consequences to humans. They include the toxic effects from the heavy metals the globalists have been raining down on us through geoengineering aerosol spraying for decades now that include aluminum, barium, strontium, mercury among others in a slow death cocktail. Have you actually gone outside lately during daytime hours and looked up at the skies? The solid bright blue sky days we once took for granted are now nearly unheard of over much of the planet. These crisscrossed layers of fake manmade silvery clouds have been increasing and clogging up our atmosphere pretty much everywhere on earth. And we’re long past that worn-out argument that they are actually airplane contrail exhausts. They clearly are not.

The globalists are operating around both the clock and the globe to poison us under the benignly false pretense that they are simply moderating our weather patterns to allegedly decrease unhealthy effects of the buildup of greenhouse gases that the scientific dogma of political correctness would have us believe caused exclusively by the earth’s rising CO2 levels, never mind the far more lethal methane gas levels leaking as Arctic glacier ice melts. But the globalist agenda is far more sinister than this propaganda spin of selective deception. Measurements of these toxic metals in various geographic locations have been collected and publicly disclosed.

Heavy toxic metals intentionally spewing out above us from both military and civilian contractor planes are interfering with the plant kingdom’s natural photosynthesis process and killing off vast amounts of forests and trees all over the earth as well as ensuring the slow death kill of humans and wildlife. It’s also causing extreme weather events. According to the leading scientific activist Dane Wigington, the recent record heat in the West and record cold in the East can be attributed to this pink elephant called geoengineering.

Of course industrial pollution has been playing an ongoing critical role in shortening the lives and killing humans particularly in urban environments for a very long time now. The global air, soil and water pollution compounded and accelerated by the likes of Monsanto chemicals and Fukushima radiation is killing off at unprecedented rates over200 animal species each and every day, not to mention eliminating crucial pollinators like butterflies and bees that are vital for producing a third of our dietary food sources. Due to overuse of Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate, an MIT research scientist predicts that half our children will be autistic by 2025.  Fracking has even been found to inject nuclear wastes underground contaminating freshwater basins and aquifers. Of course over the years the accumulating toxicity levels from these long term sources of industrial wastes seeping into our soil, air and water supply have also been devastatingly detrimental to our physical and mental health as well. In the US big corporation profits are far more important than the public’s health and well-being, punctuated two years ago by President Obama signing Congressional legislation protecting Monsanto from litigation.

Other soft kill methods range from toxic levels of fluoride diabolically mixed in to our municipal water supply as well as a standard ingredient in most toothpaste products. It’s illegal to dump fluoride into lakes and rivers but apparently okay to dump it in most municipal water treatment systems in America. Even a chloramine ammonia mixture used to disinfect water is showing up now in our public tap water. These known poisons have been demonstrated to cause increased levels of autism, dementia and brain damage as well as cancer and cardiovascular disease. But then they’re all simply part of the elitists’ dumbing down/eugenics plan.

Another alarming global weapon being used to dumb down and kill us are the poisonous vaccines wreaking havoc and destruction by the likes of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the most defenseless human population – children. India courts are seeking legal justice for Gates’ vaccines there.

Numerous vaccines have been shown to actually cause the very illness it’s supposed to prevent. Others for instance, the measles vaccine actually kills more people than does measles itself. Indisputable evidence is mounting to prove that tainted vaccines with mercury and other known impurities are driving rates of brain damage and autism through the roof. Due to the evil powers of Big Pharma, not unlike Monsanto, many people, especially children are allowed to continue at grave risk of permanent harm and even death from toxic vaccines. Moreover, the proliferation of draconian NWO laws are at work throughout the Western world that are beginning to mandate that these highly damaging vaccines be given to all adults even against their will.

A long history of eugenic sterilization involving involuntarily forced surgery on mostly African and Native American women in numerous states across America was commonly practiced right up to the 1970’s. Elitists who believe they have the power and right to play God in determining who should live and who must die have been around for a long time. Clearly a demonic agenda to cull the human herd has been operating on this planet through all the various soft kill sources. If there ever was truly a political and economic will to collectively reduce and eventually eliminate all these dangerous poisons that increasingly pose as growing hazards to our health and well-being, it would have already taken place long ago.

But the handful of sub-humans in control right now on this planet obviously do not want the vast percentage of humans alive today to remain alive much longer, so the insidiously willful environmental degradation and destruction of our living habitat has been besieged under relentless attack throughout the modern age without any concerted global effort to stop it. As a prime political example, the three biggest planetary polluters – the United States and China, sabotaged (in US under George Bush) the Kyoto Protocol from ever going into effect by refusing to sign on. Meanwhile, the toxic air pollution is becoming so extreme in China’s major cities like Beijing that they may eventually be uninhabitable. But through the Jetstream currents their poisonous particulates are eventually scattered and dispersed to join already localized regional pollutants in the atmosphere all around the globe creating a more toxic effect for all of us earthlings.

The GMO destruction that Monsanto has caused on our planet to our altered, highly processed, poisonous foodsdevoid of virtually all nutrient value is also well documented. But just as the EPA gives federal license to industrial polluters, the FDA permits mercury and other toxins in our food and drugs. A recent study shows that just eating a diet exclusively off the McDonalds menu for just ten days straight kills off critical levels of good gut bacteria needed to metabolize nutrients and optimally maintain the immune system.

Is it any wonder that generations of humans consuming mass amounts of fast food poisons these days are so morbidly obese (one in three US adults) and dying prematurely from heart disease and cancer? Yet through billions of dollars spent on predatory advertising sugar and toxins are in large part guilty along with other soft kill methods of causing chronic health disease and the longevity of Americans to be plateauing out. Despite medical advances, the US lags behind nearly all other industrial nations now in lifespan. And the US is not alone. Even Japan known for its oldest aging population is beginning to slip due to the global onslaught of transnational killers like McDonalds proliferating the planet. Obesity is going global thanks to America’s fast food industry.

The brainwashing methods designed to dumb down the global population is also taking its toll. Subliminal mind control methods saturate today’s media airwaves from onscreen computer games to television, film and popular music especially targeting younger generations. The excessively longer hours that humans interact with their computer screens and cell phones are creating untold damage especially in children. These venues malevolentlyalter brainwave patterns in vulnerable humans to keep them addicted, unable to think critically, dumbed down and too preoccupied and distracted to realize they are being used as guinea pigs in a diabolical human experiment called social engineering. These sinister soft kill tactics are adversely affecting both the physical and mental health of billions of people around the planet.

With increasing risk of World War III involving nuclear weapons of mass destruction, not to mention the potential WMD hazards of covert biological and chemical warfare, massive sunspot flares and solar storms or even enemy launched EMP and/or cyber warfare that could instantly wipe out the necessary infrastructure to keep the economic and energy systems on the planet operating. The damage could be catastrophic where gasoline pumps and ATM’s no longer function, where the electrical power grid over a sprawling section of the US or any country could be destroyed overnight placing millions, perhaps even billions of people in the dark for months or even years on end. Yet the federal government again lacks the political will to repair the grid for a relatively low cost, infinitesimally low compared to the cost after the grid’s destroyed.

Then there’s the highly controversial, mysterious so called tenth Planet X (also sometimes known as Hircolubus or Nibiru) approaching our solar system with potential catastrophic implications. Even the Washington Post ran an article way back in 1983 chronicling the discovery of the planet estimated to be five times the size of the earth revolving around the sun in a 3600 year cycle. In 1990 researcher-author Zecharia Sitchin (The End of Days) interviewed supervising astronomer of the US Naval Observatory Robert S. Harrington to discuss Harrington’s recent discovery of the red Planet X.

As it moves closer, it’s speculated to make an oceanic splash including large sized meteoric space debris creating a strong enough force to throw the earth’s axis off kilter, causing already rising sea levels to instantly become killer tsunamis submerging underwater much of the global population that inhabits the earth’s coastlines. Nearly half the US population resides within coastal counties. A January 14, 2014 on the air early morning broadcast of a Sacramento NBC affiliate station may have inadvertently caught a partial view of Planet X silhouetted by a darkened superimposed Venus.

Researcher-activist John Moore asserts a number of his contacts have independently confirmed that a top secret meeting took place decades ago in a New Orleans briefing where a roomful of US Navy admirals were informed of the coming inevitable disaster. In response to this potential earthshaking event, emergency contingency plans have been covertly relocating the national capital from Washington DC to Denver. In preparation the financial center of New York City is also quietly moving its assets inland to higher ground. The elite has purportedly been secretly preparing for this possibility for a long time. And as usual the public always the last to know has been intentionally kept in the dark.

Foreknowledge of so many potential endgame scenarios can literally overwhelm even the healthiest and strongest among us. Then again this may also be part of the globalist agenda to intentionally leak probabilities of these disasters, using these risks emanating from science and geopolitics to saturate the public with an unlimited source of dangers that over time desensitizes us, numbing and dumbing us down so we grow complacent, passive and too docile to pay any attention to all the mounting dangers facing our troubled planet.

Just to cope with the anxiety that this harsh, sobering reality brings up, often people will utilize such defenses as denial and repression to negate and squash their overwhelming fears from consciousness in order to function daily. With survival demands only going up with each passing year as the value of our dollar only goes down, the challenge of making ends meet paying for a roof over our heads and feeding our families is becoming ever so harder to bear. Already steeped deep in debt, a shocking number of Americans (62%) are but one paycheck away from homelessness.

With daily demands becoming so frighteningly real, a majority of the US population may well be on stress overload just trying to meet the most basic of life necessities. Therefore, contemplating the current state of global alarm and danger becomes too much for them to even think about, much less take preparatory action. It’s all people can do to just financially stay afloat, much less accept the belief that end of the world is fast approaching. So by necessity, a large segment of the population cannot fathom the current dark reality descending on the earth today. The oligarchs appear to have the world population so disempowered and helpless, out of sheer fear and desperation they will simply do what their patriarchal master the federal government tells them.

I realize this depiction of the current world situation appears extremely bleak and hopeless, and that human despair and suffering on this planet are already at high levels. If an individual or national population or even the global population believes that only death and destruction are in their near future, their utter sense of powerlessness and panic will only drive people into deeper depression and anxiety.

Our belief system shapes and ultimately determines our very reality. It can be likened to the hapless deer frozen and unable to move while caught in the headlights of an approaching truck or tank. Without the belief that we can take immediate steps to avert disaster by lifesaving navigation out of this overwhelming darkness into the light of peace, security and serenity, we are all doomed. Therefore, as perilously negative as it may seem to so many of us right now who bravely ponder the dark forces moving against us, there are individual and collective actions we can take together that will empower us as citizens of the world to believe we can in fact make a difference, perhaps the difference between our life and death, and ultimately survival of the human species or its extinction.

Working on oneself spiritually can give us the strength and courage to overcome the most dangerous adversities in life. Finding your Creator, Higher Power, or your God is the greatest coping strategy and skill any of us humans can ever possess. Striving to create a balance between still finding joy and love in our daily lives with those we care most about on this earth plane while at the same time taking the necessary precautionary steps to protect and defend ourselves from any immediate or overt threats and dangers is extremely important. Granted, it’s easier said than done. But having your own contingency plan to maximally safeguard our family and homes, our neighborhoods and communities is also crucial. The human spirit and capacity to triumph even in the most despairing moments and conditions can be unbelievably resilient and powerful. And only those who know and experience pain and suffering can also embrace equal heights of joy and happiness. The art of living is living each and every single day as fully and joyously as is humanly possible. Difficult times can facilitate the gift of insight and awareness that in turn promote greater wisdom and bliss. Working toward change most often starts from within and shifts outward to one’s immediate living environment from home to the local and regional community levels.

Though it seems federal representatives virtually always give in to the special interests of the oligarchs that own them over the public’s interests, still contacting your respective congressional members to vote against renewal of the Patriot Act and other draconian laws up for vote can be one tangible way that’s still available to limit the invasive power of the NSA and the federal government. States’ rights will be the fulcrum of power against the tyranny of the feds’ criminal cabal.

Reaching out to friends and family in both our law enforcement and military communities is also imperative. These individuals may be ordered to one day soon fire upon and kill us as their fellow citizens. Emphasizing the legal and moral significance that empowers them to make the hard decision to choose to disobey their criminal commanders can possibly save lives.

Maximizing local community resourcefulness is an empowering line of defense against oppression and tyranny. As much as is possible, boycotting the giant mega-corporations and patronizing localized products and services can be another effective means of transferring power away from the globalists to local enterprises that enhance our community. Bartering and even developing local and regional currencies is actually successfully occurring in pocket communities across the nation. Utilizing locally owned banks and credit unions as opposed to the bigger centralized banking system is another key action we should take. Following North Dakota’s lead by establishing your own state bank is a seminal milestone that can be duplicated all over these United States.

Connecting with the many established organizations and unifying as activist members for peace and justice on a global scale can mobilize a collective power that can be formidable. It may not necessarily come down to who has the biggest guns if enough of us unite in unbreakable solidarity as mindful, courageous and committed citizens of the world demanding that we humans find ways to civilly resolve our conflicts and live in peace. We owe it to both ourselves and our children as well as the planet to take a bold stand and do what’s right.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.

The US-led coalition now attempting to appear as though they are fighting ISIS knowingly aided the rise of the Islamic State for the purpose of isolating Assad and combating expanding Iranian influence. 

At least as far back as August of 2012 the very same anti-IS coalition knew full well that the precursors to ISIS, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Islamic State in Iraq (ISI), dominated the Syrian opposition along with other al-Qaeda affiliated groups. 

They knew that AQI was declining during 2009-10, yet was resurrected due to the insurgency in Syria.  In spite of this, the US and her allies continued to provide aid, funding, weaponry, and training to these same extremist groups, specifically seeing their rise (and the horrendous crimes against humanity that they partook in) as a strategic asset for their geopolitical aims. 

The rise of the Islamic State was not only predicted, it was the expressed aim of the powers sponsoring the sectarian Syrian opposition for the purpose of opposing Assad and containing Iran.  Despite the fact that the rise of an Islamic State was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, including the fall of Mosul and Ramadi, support from the US-coalition to the Syrian opposition continued to manifest, leading to the conclusion that this was either the expressed intent, or an accepted byproduct of these policy decisions. 

A 7-page Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document dated to August of 2012, recently released under a Freedom Of Information Act, request specifically states that the Syrian opposition was by that time “taking a clear sectarian direction,” and that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

AQI, the precursor to the Islamic State, as well “supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning,” and had “a regression… during the years of 2009 and 2010; however, after the rise of the insurgency in Syria, the religious and tribal powers in the regions began to sympathize with the sectarian uprising.”  Despite these facts, it was “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey [who] support[ed] the opposition,” while “Russia, China, and Iran support[ed] the regime.”

Furthermore, it was predicted by the DIA that “ISI (Islamic State in Iraq) could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria” and that “there is a possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria.”  This is exactly what transpired in the years after 2012 with the declaration of the Islamic State.  Yet not only was this a possibility, this was instead “exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion” with Iran and Iraq being labelled as integral parts of this expansion.  The supporting powers are said to be “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey.”

The report goes on to state that “the future assumptions of the crisis” are that “the regime will survive” and that the current events are developing “into a proxy war” between Iran-Russia-China and the West, Gulf, and Turkey.  Further, the report accurately predicts the fall of Mosul and Ramadi, stating that

“the deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation… This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters.”

This could as well “create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”

This document was classified as “secret” and distributed to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the DIA, FBI, CIA, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, Central Command, and other agencies.  It is an Intelligence Information Report, not a “finally evaluated intelligence” assessment, yet its information was vetted before distribution.

Therefore the US-led coalition that is now “fighting” ISIS continually supported an opposition it knew to be dominated by sectarian extremists, lying to the public while describing them instead as “moderates,” and predictably knew that this support would result in the establishment of an “Islamic State” and further continued to aid in such an establishment in order to weaken and oppose Assad and combat Iranian expansion.  It is a tenant of law that the “doer of an act must be taken to have intended its natural and foreseeable consequences.”(1)  Therefore, even absent the documents own admission of complicity of intent given that the rise of ISIS was a “natural and foreseeable consequence” of continually aiding the sectarian opposition the US and her allies must therefore be taken to have intended this outcome.

Furthermore, the document specifically demarcating Iraq as a center for unwanted Iranian “Shia”expansion while accurately predicting the fall of both Mosul and Ramadi to Sunni extremists, thereby assuring against such an expansion, all lead to the conclusion that the recent ISIS gains in both of these cities was not something that the US opposed, but instead something that it desired.  Given that the fall of Mosul and Ramadi too were “natural and foreseeable consequences”, given as well the severely questionable ways in which each city fell and the fact that although these outcomes were predictable the US-coalition still continued the policies that were known to lead to them, the US and her allies must therefore be taken to have intended these outcomes as well, either directly or indirectly.

The fall of Mosul in June of 2014 it must be remembered was, as described by Noam Chomsky,

“pretty remarkable.  In fact, western military analysts were astonished.  Remember what happened, Iraq has an army, and the Iraqi army knows how to fight.  During the Iran-Iraq war that army fought hard and viciously, and in fact ultimately won the war, with US support.  There was an Iraqi army of 350,000 men, armed to the teeth with all kinds of advanced weapons.  They had been trained by the United States for over a decade.  They were faced by a couple of thousand lightly armed jihadi’s.  First thing that happened was all the generals ran away. Then all the troops ran away, leaving their weapons behind them.  And then the jihadi forces just marched into Mosul and then into large parts of Iraq.  It was a pretty amazing phenomenon, it tells you a lot if you think about it.”

Furthermore “the Iraqi security forces disintegrated and fled, the rout led by their commanding officers,” one Iraqi army soldier describing that

“on the morning of June 10 his commanding officer told the men to stop shooting, hand over their rifles to the insurgents, take off their uniforms, and get out of the city.”(2)

Mosul was simply given away to by a battle-hardened army of 350,000 men to a lightly armed brigade of roughly 1,300 Islamists(3), the commanding military officers specifically ordering their subordinates to leave their weapons for the jihadi’s and to flee.  Had this “remarkable” fall been desired by the US-coalition in order to “isolate” the “strategic depth of Shia expansion” in Iraq?  Or rather “Had the senior Iraqi commanders been instructed by their Western military advisers to hand over the city to the ISIS terrorists? Were they co-opted?” as Professor Michel Chossudovsky had asked when this occurred?

Similarly, the more recent fall of Ramadi is equally as dubious.  The US-led coalition, which had promised to defend Iraq against the Islamic State, basically allowed Ramadi to fall, conducting only 7 airstrikes during the battle, which is such a low number as to be completely irrelevant.  The remarkably weak excuse was that a great sandstorm had prevented them from conducting regular attacks.  This despite the fact that the next day ISIS was holding victory parades among perfectly clear skies, the militants assembling in massive rows down the wide open street.With no “sandstorm” excuse, airstrikes could have easily wiped out entire factions of the extremists the US is supposedly fighting, yet none occurred.  Why?  Had this too been desired by the US-coalition in order to “isolate” the “strategic depth of Shia expansion” in Iraq?

Wahda Al-Jumaili, an advisor to Iraq’s parliamentary speaker, speaking of the city’s fall the day after stated “Whether this was the result of treason, neglect, or conspiracy, or a regional or international plot… Even the international coalition has played a bad role.  People saw the international coalition dropping weapons for ISIS.  They dropped heavy weaponry to the forces of terrorism in Ramadi.  This is an act of treason by the international coalition forces.”

This, however, is not the first time an Iraqi politician has accused the US-coalition of dropping weapons and aid to ISIS, this is instead a phenomenon that has been going on for some time now, in one incident two British planes were even shot down by the Iraqi’s under charges that they were dropping weapons to ISIS.  Photographic evidence was taken of the downed planes.  Iraqi parliamentarian Jome Divan stated that “The international coalition is only an excuse for protecting the ISIL and helping the terrorist group with equipment and weapons.  The coalition has not targeted ISIL’s main positions in Iraq.”  This being only one of a plethora of Iraqi politicians who have consistently been making these claims for some time now.

In any event the spillover to Iraq and the fall of Mosul and Ramadi were predictable consequences of the Wests’ Syria policy, and in some instances it appears as though the West aided in their fall, so at the very least they were an accepted consequence in the strategy against Syria and Iran, and at the worst they were an intended partition of Iraq.

Given this, and the fact that the US-coalition continuously aided the sectarian Syrian opposition knowing full well that this would then lead to an “Islamic State”, the consequence of which was the predictable fall of Mosul and Ramadi, coupled with the unbelievable manner in which both fell, it would be wise to consider the numerous Iraqi politicians claims very seriously, and to seriously question whether or not the fall of these cities really does have a more believable, albeit much more sinister, explanation behind them.


1.)   International Court of Justice, Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (1996), “Dissenting Opinion of Judge Weeramantry,” Chapter III, “Humanitarian Law,” section 10, “Specific rules of the humanitarian laws,” (a) “The prohibition against causing unnecessary suffering” (emphasis in original).

2.)   Cockburn, Patrick. “The Rise of ISIS.” The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution. Brooklyn, NY: Verso, 2015. 15. Print.

3.)   Ibid, 11.


Steven Chovanec is an independent geopolitical analyst and writer based in Chicago, IL.  He is a student of International Studies and Sociology at Roosevelt University and conducts independent, open-source research into geopolitics and social issues.  His writings can be found at, find him on Twitter @stevechovanec.

There is a huge paradox surrounding what is supposed to be the crowning achievement of Obama’s second term, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a bill whose contents virtually nobody is familiar with or will be before it passes into law.

That’s not the paradox: the paradox is that back in October 2009, the White House Press secretary said that “the President has returned to a stance of transparency and ethics that hasn’t been matched by any other White House…. the President believes strongly in transparency… that transparency in that way in the best policy.

Or to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

And yet while everyone seems to have an opinion on the final formulation of the TPP bill, especially Elizabeth Warren and her circle of progressive democrats who have emerged as the bill’s most vocal critics, the truth is that none have actually read it for the simple reason that anyone who is familiar with its text could be jailed for disclosing its contents.

Most transparent administration indeed.

We won’t even comment that those who don’t care to have their opinion made public and do have access to the bill have also not read the massive bill which layers giveaway upon giveaway to mega corporations: in fact the only ones who are intimately familiar with the TPP’s contents are those who drafted it: America’s multinational corporations whose shareholders will be the biggest beneficiaries of the TPP.

And yet someone appears to have finally read Obama’s TPP: that someone is Michael Wessel, a cleared liaison to two statutory advisory committees and a commissioner on the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission, as well as the international trade co-chair for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign.

Earlier today, Wessel wrote an article in Politico titled “I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned” which we agree with wholeheartedly because while one may or may not disgree whether the US economy will benefit from a trade agreement which anecdotally benefits large multinationals, it should be unanimous that America’s transformation into a secretive, klepto-fascist state controlled by corporations is catastrophic for not only the republic but America’s people, or at least those who are not among the 0.001% who stand to benefit from the TPP.

* * *

From Michael Wessel, first posted in Politico:

I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned. 

“You need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago,” a frustrated President Barack Obama recently complained about criticisms of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He’s right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you.

I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what’s hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice.

So-called “cleared advisors” like me are prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we’ve lodged about specific proposals and approaches. The government has created a perfect Catch 22: The law prohibits us from talking about the specifics of what we’ve seen, allowing the president to criticize us for not being specific. Instead of simply admitting that he disagrees with me—and with many other cleared advisors—about the merits of the TPP, the president instead pretends that our specific, pointed criticisms don’t exist.

What I can tell you is that the administration is being unfair to those who are raising proper questions about the harms the TPP would do. To the administration, everyone who questions their approach is branded as a protectionist—or worse—dishonest. They broadly criticize organized labor, despite the fact that unions have been the primary force in America pushing for strong rules to promote opportunity and jobs. And they dismiss individuals like me who believe that, first and foremost, a trade agreement should promote the interests of domestic producers and their employees.

I’ve been deeply involved in trade policy for almost four decades. For 21 years, I worked for former Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt and handled all trade policy issues including “fast track,” the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization’s Uruguay Round, which is the largest trade agreement in history. I am also a consultant to various domestic producers and the United Steelworkers union, for whom I serve as a cleared advisor on two trade advisory committees. To top it off, I was a publicly acknowledged advisor to the Obama campaign in 2008.

Obama may no longer be listening to my advice, but Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren might as well be. Warren, of course, has been perhaps the deal’s most vocal critic, but even the more cautious Clinton has raised the right questions on what a good TPP would look like. Her spokesman, Nick Merrill, said: “She will be watching closely to see what is being done to crack down on currency manipulation, improve labor rights, protect the environment and health, promote transparency and open new opportunities for our small businesses to export overseas. As she warned in her book Hard Choices, we shouldn’t be giving special rights to corporations at the expense of workers and consumers.”

On this count, the current TPP doesn’t measure up. And nothing being considered by Congress right now would ensure that the TPP meets the goal of promoting domestic production and job creation.

The text of the TPP, like all trade deals, is a closely guarded secret. That fact makes a genuine public debate impossible and should make robust debate behind closed doors all the more essential. But the ability of TPP critics like me to point out the deal’s many failings is limited by the government’s surprising and unprecedented refusal to make revisions to the language in the TPP fully available to cleared advisors.

Bill Clinton didn’t operate like this. During the debate on NAFTA, as a cleared advisor for the Democratic leadership, I had a copy of the entire text in a safe next to my desk and regularly was briefed on the specifics of the negotiations, including counterproposals made by Mexico and Canada. During the TPP negotiations, the  United States Trade Representative (USTR) has never shared proposals being advanced by other TPP partners. Today’s consultations are, in many ways, much more restrictive than those under past administrations.

All advisors, and any liaisons, are required to have security clearances, which entail extensive paperwork and background investigations, before they are able to review text and participate in briefings. But, despite clearances, and a statutory duty to provide advice, advisors do not have access to all the materials that a reasonable person would need to do the job. The negotiators provide us with “proposals” but those are merely initial proposals to trading partners. We are not allowed to see counter-proposals from our trading partners. Often, advisors are provided with updates indicating that the final text will balance all appropriate stakeholder interests but we frequently receive few additional details beyond that flimsy assurance.

Those details have enormous repercussions. For instance, rules of origin specify how much of a product must originate within the TPP countries for the resulting product to be eligible for duty-free treatment. These are complex rules that decide where a company will manufacture its products and where is will purchase raw materials. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 62.5 percent of a car needed to originate within NAFTA countries. In the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, it was lowered to 50 percent. It further dropped to 35 percent in the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). In essence, under our agreement with Korea, 65 percent of a car from South Korea could be made from Chinese parts and still qualify for duty-free treatment when exported to the U.S.

That fact is politically toxic, and for that reason, we should expect the TPP agreement to have higher standards. But will it reach the 62.5 percent NAFTA requirement? Or will it be only a slight improvement over KORUS? Without access to the final text of the agreement, it’s impossible to say.

State-owned enterprises may, for the first time, be addressed in the TPP. But, once again, the details are not clear. Will exemptions be provided to countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, all of which could be heavily impacted by such a rule? What will be the test to determine what is or is not acceptable behavior? Will injury be required to occur over a substantial period of time, or will individual acts of non-commercial, damaging trade practices be actionable? Again, it’s impossible to say for sure.

Advisors are almost flying blind on these questions and others.

Only portions of the text have been provided, to be read under the watchful eye of a USTR official. Access, up until recently, was provided on secure web sites. But the government-run website does not contain the most-up-to-date information for cleared advisors. To get that information, we have to travel to certain government facilities and sign in to read the materials. Even then, the administration determines what we can and cannot review and, often, they provide carefully edited summaries rather than the actual underlying text, which is critical to really understanding the consequences of the agreement.

Cleared advisors were created by statute to advise our nation’s trade negotiators. There is a hierarchal structure, starting with the USTR’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy & Negotiations at the top—a committee that includes people like Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson and Jill Appell, co-owner of Appell’s Pork Farms. Then there are specific Committees covering subjects like labor, the environment and agriculture that make up the next tier. The last tier consists of the Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACS), which focus on individual sectors such as steel and aerospace. At last count, there were more than 600 cleared advisors. The vast majority of them represent business interests.

In an effort to diminish criticism, USTR is now letting cleared advisors review summaries of what the negotiators have done. In response to a question about when the full updated text will be made available, we’ve been told, “We are working on making them available as soon as possible.” That’s not the case overseas: Our trading partners have this text, but the government’s own cleared advisors, serving on statutorily-created advisory committees, are kept in the dark.

How can we properly advise, without knowing the details?

Questions pervade virtually every chapter of the proposed agreement, including labor and the environment, investor-state, intellectual property and others. The answers to these questions affect the sourcing and investment decisions of our companies and resulting jobs for our people. Our elected representatives would be abdicating their Constitutional duty if they failed to raise questions.

Senator Warren should be commended for her courage in standing up to the President, and Secretary Clinton for raising a note of caution, and I encourage all elected officials to raise these important questions. Working Americans can’t afford more failed trade agreements and trade policies.

Congress should refuse to pass fast track trade negotiating authority until the partnership between the branches, and the trust of the American people is restored. That will require a lot of fence mending and disclosure of exactly what the TPP will do. That begins by sharing the final text of the TPP with those of us who won’t simply rubber-stamp it.

* * *


It almost makes one wonder just whom does “elected” government represent…

Very soon we will be entering the month of June.  Normally June is the time of year in the northern hemisphere when people think of picnics, parks, water sports and the outdoors.  It is a time where plans are made for vacation, rest and relaxation.  This year may be a little bit different.  I say “different” because there is a plethora of converging events, any single one of them with the ability to take the financial markets down to their knees!

Let’s first list the events (which may not even be all inclusive because I either forgot something or am unaware of).  What I see converging in June is as follows; the Austrian mortgage banks and banking sector, Greece, Ukraine, India, Russian sanctions, a Russian/Chinese announcement, the “very secret” TPP, and let’s not forget the second largest gold expiration on COMEX.

Since we know so little about the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership), let’s start with this one.  We know so little about it because it is being negotiated in secrecy.  So “secret” in fact, anyone who gets to see what is written so far is threatened with jail time if they divulge anything about it .

See .

This harks back to Obamacare when Nancy Pelosi once giggled like a little school girl and said “we have to pass it to see what’s in it!”.  Fast forward and yes, we now know what was in it, a healthcare industry in turmoil, higher premiums and a “tax” if you don’t participate…  Going all the way back to NAFTA, none of these deals has been “good” for the American worker, one can only imagine how deafening that “giant sucking sound” will be that Ross Perot first heard in 1991?  Not even sure how this is possible, our legislative process has been kidnapped with no ransom even requested.  If this masterpiece gets unveiled in June, a wonder as to market reaction?

Next there is the Austrian mortgage bank Hypo Alpe Adria, will they make their smallish payment of 500 million euros or will they start a chain reaction?  If you recall, this pinch came about when the Swiss de pegged the franc and revalued some 20-30% higher within 10 minutes, in many cases it made the loans in Swiss francs worth more than the underlying properties themselves. The southern province of Carinthia has already backed away from pledges previously made by simply saying “we can’t pay”.  An important understanding is how all of these banks …own each others debt.  In other words, the “cross ownership” of debt means that when one goes down it will act as a hit to many of the other’s portfolios.  While this is not a huge trigger, all of Eastern Europe can and will be affected by what originated from the Swiss de pegging the franc from the Euro.  With the system as illiquid as it is, there is no telling how far this one could reverberate?

On to Greece, they have already raided pension funds and sequestered local monies, June 5th is the deadline according to their finance minister.  They owe 320 billion euros, they do not have the money to pay nor do they have a printing press to create it.  The only way out is to borrow more …or default and fall into the open arms of Russia and China.  The latter seems most likely to me.  Greece is a natural trading partner with Russia and does sit along the “old silk road”, moving away from the U.S. and even the Eurozone seems a natural.  Please remember the big “nut” here is not the 320 billion euros, it is the CDS written in multiples on their debt AND the interest rate swaps in existence, these are in the TRILLIONS, not chickenfeed in an already illiquid world!

Logically, the next one to segue into is Russia and the NATO sanctions due to expire …in June.  If a vote were to be taken today, would the sanctions be re imposed?

Would Germany vote for them?

Will Greece vote for them if they are still a member of NATO by June?

Please understand the relationship between Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Putin, they “used to” talk on the phone daily …until the NSA spying revelations of last year.  Will Mrs. Merkel go for more sanctions?  What will she do about further aid to Greece.  Greece has the ability to ignite many things, financially and politically all bad for the West.

Moving along, let’s look at Ukraine.  The IMF is seeking a restructuring (read haircut) on $10 billion worth of Ukrainian debt with private holders.  This the IMF says is necessary before another aid package of $40 billion is approved .

The “haircuts” requested are in the neighborhood of 40-50%, will this one fly?

Let’s not forget, Russia lent $3 billion to Ukraine in late 2013, I wouldn’t bet they will be accepting haircuts any time soon.  In fact, wouldn’t it behoove Russia to watch Ukraine default …and further pressure the financial system of the West?  Interestingly, John Kerry just met over the weekend with Russian minister Lavrov, what exactly did they talk about?  If I had to speculate, my guess would be the U.S. has just walked away from this pink elephant.  But why?  Why would the U.S. walk away now?

China’s Gold Holdings

Again, further speculation but it seems to me quite odd that Russia would announce “Chinese gold holdings” of 30,000 tons via Pravda.  To rehash this, would Pravda have released this article without Moscow’s permission?  Would Moscow have given permission without the approval from Beijing?  Was Mr. Kerry/Obama informed that China will announce this 30,000 ton hoard of gold shortly?

Is it a true story or not?  As I wrote a few days ago, “gold” is a financial thermonuclear weapon, able to destroy the fiat of the West.  It would not surprise me in the least if Washington was given the “courtesy” of a heads up to some sort of coming announcement even if a smaller sum than 30,000 tons.  The point here is this, any announcement by China raises the question of Western holdings which of course brings Western currencies into question.  It will be very interesting to see how forceful the U.S. is regarding Ukraine, this gold issue may just be the “softener”?  I believe we will see very soon whether or not the U.S. changes tack regarding Ukraine (amongst others) as I suspect the Pravda announcement was no error at all.

Another June deadline is India trying to remonetize gold

They propose to allow the deposit of gold on account and interest paid on it.  This would immediately boost the economy with a shot of adrenaline as collateral would be massively boosted and lending could blossom.  The only problem is that this is about the 5th or 6th time such a plan has been trial ballooned and even if passed, the citizens of India will probably not go for it en masse anyway.  They have a long history of holding their gold in hand with no counterparty risk between them and their gold.  It might work to some extent but the number of 25,000 tons being deposited is a pipe dream.  It should be said however, when China does finally announce their holdings and increase their ability to “price” global assets, the Indians will sit at the table as there is no doubt they hold massive quantities in total!

Lastly but not least important is the June gold expiration on the planet’s favorite gold “pricing” mechanism, COMEX.  As of today, there are 187,500 contracts open for June, this represents 18.75 million ounces of gold or 581 tons.  The “registered” for delivery category has been bled down to about 11 tons or about 378,000 ounces of gold.  The first notice day is June 1st, only seven trading days away.  Does anyone see a potential problem here?  A “problem” as in there are 50 ounces of gold contracted for every one ounce COMEX claims to have?

Yes, yes, I know I have gone through this exercise before and each time the open interest just dried up and blew away.  In fact, many expiration months have seen accounts FULLY FUNDED with cash to purchase the gold on first notice day, only to “go away” later in the month.  This makes no sense whatsoever.  Why would anyone fund their account fully in order to pay for purchase and then just walk away? On the other side, why would any short not deliver on the 1st or 2nd day of the month as they must pay storage costs for each day they don’t deliver?  The answer of course is very simple, the gold does not exist to make delivery and the shorts do not want to let go of what very little they have …and instead cash settle with a little cherry on top?  Before finishing this section, it should be pointed out that the ETF GLD has bled 17 tons over the last few weeks where gold rose $50.  How does this make any sense at all?  It only makes sense to me if someone needed the metal to deliver elsewhere and immediately.  A strange occurrence but a topic for another day.

So there you have it, June could be quite the month as many events all converge over the 30 day timeframe, and none of them good!  I have warned and warned, you must have exactly the positions you want should the markets close and not offer you the chance to alter.  Please, imagine a world where things actually make sense and logic counts for something when it comes to valuing assets.  Let’s call it “Mother Nature world” where values make some sense and are actually related to each other and to reality.  How would your portfolio or financial position look like if we woke up one fine Monday morning in June to a brand new world?

Holter/Sinclair collaboration   

In the past few years more professionals have come forward to share a truth that, for many people, proves difficult to swallow. One such authority is Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet – considered to be one of the most well respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world.

Dr. Horton recently published a statement declaring that a lot of published research is in fact unreliable at best, if not completely false.

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” (source)

This is quite disturbing, given the fact that all of these studies (which are industry sponsored) are used to develop drugs/vaccines to supposedly help people, train medical staff, educate medical students and more.

It’s common for many to dismiss a lot of great work by experts and researchers at various institutions around the globe which isn’t “peer-reviewed” and doesn’t appear in a “credible” medical journal, but as we can see, “peer-reviewed” doesn’t really mean much anymore. “Credible” medical journals continue to lose their tenability in the eyes of experts and employees of the journals themselves, like Dr. Horton.

He also went on to call himself out in a sense, stating that journal editors aid and abet the worst behaviours, that the amount of bad research is alarming, that data is sculpted to fit a preferred theory. He goes on to observe that important confirmations are often rejected and little is done to correct bad practices. What’s worse, much of what goes on could even be considered borderline misconduct.

Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and longtime Editor in Chief of the New England Medical Journal (NEMJ), which is considered to another one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, makes her view of the subject quite plain:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine”  (source)

I apologize if you have seen it before in my articles, but it is quite the statement, and it comes from someone who also held a position similiar to Dr. Horton.

There is much more than anecdotal evidence to support these claims, however, including documents obtained by Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD, from the Neural Dynamics Research Group in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia, which reveal that vaccine manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and health authorities have known about multiple dangers associated with vaccines but chose to withhold them from the public. This is scientific fraud, and their complicity suggests that this practice continues to this day. (source)

This is just one of many examples, and alludes to one point Dr. Horton is referring to, the ommision of data. For the sake of time, I encourage you to do your own research on this subject. I just wanted to provide some food for thought about something that is not often considered when it comes to medical research, and the resulting products and theories which are then sold to us based on that research.

It’s truly a remarkable time to be alive. Over the course of human history, our planet has experienced multiple paradigm shifting realizations, all of which were met with harsh resistence at the time of their revelation. One great example is when we realized the Earth was not flat. Today, we are seeing these kinds of revelatory shifts in thinking happen in multiple spheres, all at one time. It can seem overwhelming for those who are paying attention, especially given the fact that a lot of these ideas go against current belief systems. There will always be resistance to new information which does not fit into the current framework, regardless of how reasonable (or factual) that information might be.

Here are just a few of the CE articles related to this subject:

One of the Most Important Scientists in the World: “Most Cancer Research is Largely a Fraud”

Flawed Medical Research May Be Ruining Your Health & Your Life


U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 2, #2: ”The President … shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”

The Constitution’s two-thirds Senate rule regarding treaties is violated by Fast Track as it currently stands and has stood; and that provision of Fast Track (reducing the required two-thirds down to merely half of the Senators voting “Yea”) would need to be eliminated and the Constitution’s two-thirds-Senate requirement restored, in order for there to be able to be any further applications of Fast Track; this would not necessarily apply regarding past applications of Fast Track such as NAFTA, and prudentiality might sway against such retrospective applications; but, for TPP, TTIP, TISA, and other future applications of Fast Track, or in other words for constitutionality of future international-trade agreements, the words of the Constitution are unmistakably clear, and those words must be applied, notwithstanding the violations of the U.S. Constitution that have already been erroneously instituted. The purpose of the U.S. Supreme Court is to hold that document, the U.S. Constitution, and none other, as this nation’s inviolable Scripture, by which all future actions of the United States Government are to be evaluated, and all future laws (a treaty being in a separate and even stricter category for which reason the two-thirds Senate rule was included in Article 2, Section 2, #2) are to be judged to be either valid or invalid.

The 50-vote-Senate provision of current Fast Track is unconstitutional if it allows anything of a “treaty” nature to be passed, because the two-thirds-Senate rule for any treaty is in the Constitution and would need first to be eliminated by the Amendment process in order for it to be able to be removed — and this has not been done.

The U.S. Supreme Court is, of course, exceedingly reluctant to accept justiciability of matters that are within the discretion and expertise of the other two branches, but the two-thirds-Senate rule is a Constitutional provision that applies to all treaties; and it is violated by existing Fast Track. For the Court to deny this issue’s justiciability would be for the Court to rule that the Constitution’s treaty-clause’s two-thirds-Senate rule can be legally violated by the Senate and by the U.S. Government. If that were the case, then there might as well be no U.S. Supreme Court, because it would be a Court whose ruling majority would be violating both of the solemn oaths by which each one of them had first entered the Court.

Furthermore, for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that violating the clear words of the Constitution is within the discretion of the other two branches to do, would be an outrage that would be recognizable as such by the general public and that would therefore bring forth valid grounds for impeachment, if not for outright revolution. It would be treason from the judicial bench.

The language of the U.S. Constitution on this matter is clear. The Court’s only discretion on the matter concerns the prudentiallity of retrospective applications. Fast Track as it exists and has existed up till now is unConstitutional violation of the two-thirds-Senate rule for approving of anything that is in the nature of a “treaty.”

There is no discretion in this matter for any U.S. Supreme Court member who adheres to his oaths of office, and to the U.S. Constitution.

Fast Track as it now exists must be struck down.

Note: This is in response to a reader at reddit, who said, after having read only this article’s title (and taking issue with the article on that basis): “No, it doesn’t. Trade agreements aren’t treaties. This article is just fundamentally wrong.”:

 Until 1979, every trade agreement that the U.S. had with any nation or nations was a treaty not only in reality but in name — recognized as such. However, in 1979, the U.S. signed the first international trade agreement that the U.S. refused to call a “treaty,” the Tokyo Round GATT. That sort of thing has happened only four more times, the biggest being NAFTA. And yet even after 1979, the vast majority of international trade agreements to which the U.S. was a signatory were called, even by the U.S., as “treaties.” So: you are wrong. Almost every international trade agreement that the U.S. has signed was called as a “treaty” by the U.S. Government.

The few (5) exceptions, all since 1979, were the few deals that were so bad they’d not have been able to pass constitutionally unless the U.S. Government declined to call them a “treaty.” But calling, for example, a robot a “person” does not make it so.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

War Propaganda. “Planting Stories” in the News Chain

May 23rd, 2015 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Author’s Note

This article was first published in January 2003, two months before the invasion of Iraq. It was subsequently integrated into my book entitled America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research 2005. 

The buzzwords of media disinformation at the time of writing were “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. The central buzzwords of war propaganda have shifted since the “official death” of Osama bin Laden in 2011. Today the media buzzwords are the Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL, jihad, Islamic terrorists.  

Michel Chossudovsky, May 23, 2015

Military planners in the Pentagon are acutely aware of the central role of war propaganda. Waged from the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA, a fear and disinformation campaign (FDC) has been launched. The blatant distortion of the truth and the systematic manipulation of all sources of information is an integral part of war planning. In the wake of 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created to the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or “Office of Disinformation” as it was labeled by its critics:

“The Department of Defense said they needed to do this, and they were going to actually plant stories that were false in foreign countries — as an effort to influence public opinion across the world.1


And, all of a sudden, the OSI was formally disbanded following political pressures and “troublesome” media stories that “its purpose was to deliberately lie to advance American interests.”2 “Rumsfeld backed off and said this is embarrassing.”3 Yet despite this apparent about-turn, the Pentagon’s Orwellian disinformation campaign remains functionally intact: “[T]he secretary of defense is not being particularly candid here. Disinformation in military propaganda is part of war.”4

Rumsfeld later confirmed in a press interview that while the OSI no longer exists in name, the “Office’s intended functions are being carried out” 5 (Rumsfeld’s precise words can be consulted at ).

A number of government agencies and intelligence units –with links to the Pentagon– are involved in various components of the propaganda campaign. Realities are turned upside down. Acts of war are heralded as “humanitarian interventions” geared towards “regime change” and “the restoration of democracy”. Military occupation and the killing of civilians are presented as “peace-keeping”. The derogation of civil liberties –in the context of the so-called “anti-terrorist legislation”– is portrayed as a means to providing “domestic security” and upholding civil liberties. And underlying these manipulated realties, “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements, which circulate profusely in the news chain, are upheld as the basis for an understanding of World events.

In the critical “planning stages” leading up to an invasion of Iraq, the twisting of public opinion at home and around the World, is an integral part of the War agenda, War propaganda is pursued at all stages:beforeduring the military operation as well as in its cruel aftermath. War propaganda serves to drown the real causes and consequences of war.

A few months after the OSI was disbanded amidst controversy (February 2002), The New York Times confirmed that the disinformation campaign was running strong and that the Pentagon was:

“…considering issuing a secret directive to American military to conduct covert operations aimed at influencing public opinion and policymakers in friendly and neutral nations …The proposal has ignited a fierce battle throughout the Bush administration over whether the military should carry out secret propaganda missions in friendly nations like Germany… The fight, one Pentagon official said, is over ‘the strategic communications for our nation, the message we want to send for long-term influence, and how we do it….’We have the assets and the capabilities and the training to go into friendly and neutral nations to influence public opinion. We could do it and get away with it. That doesn’t mean we should.’6

Fabricating the Truth

To sustain the war agenda, these “fabricated realities”, funneled on a day to day basis into the news chain must become indelible truths, which form part of a broad political and media consensus. In this regard, the corporate media –although acting independently of the military-intelligence apparatus, is an instrument of this evolving totalitarian system.

In close liaison with the Pentagon and the CIA, the State Department has also set up its own “soft-sell” (civilian) propaganda unit, headed by Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Charlotte Beers, a powerful figure in the advertising industry. Working in liaison with the Pentagon, Beers was appointed to head the State Department’s propaganda unit in the immediate wake of 9/11. Her mandate is “to counteract anti-Americanism abroad.”7 Her office at the State department is to:

“ensure that public diplomacy (engaging, informing, and influencing key international audiences) is practiced in harmony with public affairs (outreach to Americans) and traditional diplomacy to advance U.S. interests and security and to provide the moral basis for U.S. leadership in the world.” ( )

The Role of the CIA

The most powerful component of the Fear and Disinformation Campaign (FDI) rests with the CIA, which, secretly subsidizes authors, journalists and media critics, through a web of private foundations and CIA sponsored front organizations. The CIA also influences the scope and direction of many Hollywood productions. Since 9/11, one third of Hollywood productions are war movies. “Hollywood stars and scriptwriters are rushing to bolster the new message of patriotism, conferring with the CIA and brainstorming with the military about possible real-life terrorist attacks.”8 “The Sum of All Fears” directed by Phil Alden Robinson, which depicts the scenario of a nuclear war, received the endorsement and support of both the Pentagon and the CIA.9

Disinformation is routinely “planted” by CIA operatives in the newsroom of major dailies, magazines and TV channels. Outside public relations firms are often used to create “fake stories” Carefully documented by Chaim Kupferberg in relation to the events of September 11: “A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the scoops, that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources, where the parameters of debate are set and the “official reality” is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain.”10

Covert disinformation initiatives under CIA auspices are also funneled through various intelligence proxies in other countries. Since 9/11, they have resulted in the day-to-day dissemination of false information concerning alleged “terrorist attacks”. In virtually all of the reported cases (Britain, France, Indonesia, India, Philippines, etc.) the « alleged terrorist groups» are said to have «links to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda», without of course acknowledging the fact (amply documented by intelligence reports and official documents) that Al Qaeda is a creation of CIA.

The Doctrine of “Self Defense”

At this critical juncture, in the month(s) leading up to the announced invasion of Iraq, the propaganda campaign is geared towards sustaining the illusion that “America is under attack”. Relayed not only through the mainstream media but also through a number of alternative internet media sites, these “fabricated realities” portray the war as a bona fide act of self-defense, while carefully concealing the broad strategic and economic objectives of the war.

In turn, the propaganda campaign develops a casus belli, “a justification”, a political legitimacy for waging war. The “official reality” (conveyed profusely in George W’s speeches) rests on the broad “humanitarian” premise of a so-called “preemptive”, namely “defensive war”, “a war to protect freedom”:

« We’re under attack because we love freedom… And as long as we love freedom and love liberty and value every human life, they’re going to try to hurt us.» 11

Spelled out in the National Security Strategy (NSS), the preemptive “defensive war” doctrine and the “war on terrorism” against Al Qaeda constitute the two essential building blocks of the Pentagon’s propaganda campaign. The objective is to present “preemptive military action” –meaning war as an act of “self-defense” against two categories of enemies, “rogue States” and “Islamic terrorists”:

“The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. …America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.

…Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction (…)

The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.

The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, (…). To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.”12 (National Security Strategy, White House, 2002, )

Feeding Disinformation into the News Chain

How is war propaganda carried out? Two sets of “eye popping” “statements” emanating from a variety of sources (including official National Security statements, media, Washington-based think tanks, etc.) are fed on a daily basis into the news chain. Some of the events (including news regarding presumed terrorists) are blatantly fabricated by the intelligence agencies. These statements are supported by simple and catchy “buzzwords”, which set the stage for fabricating the news:

Buzzword no. 1. ”Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda” (Osama) is behind most news stories regarding the “war on terrorism” including “alleged”, “future” “presumed”, and “actual” terrorist attacks. What is rarely mentioned is that this outside enemy Al Qaeda is a CIA “intelligence asset”, used in covert operations.

Buzzword no. 2. The “Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)” statement is used to justify the “pre-emptive war” against the “State sponsors of terror”, –i.e. countries such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea which allegedly possess WMD. Amply documented in the case of Iraq, a large body of news on WMD and biological attacks, are fabricated.

The “WMD” and “Osama bin Laden” statements become part of day to day debate, embodied in routine conversations between citizens. Repeated ad nauseam, they penetrate the inner consciousness of ordinary people molding their individual perceptions on current events. Through deception and manipulation, this shaping of the minds of entire populations, sets the stage –under the façade of a functioning democracy—for the installation of a de facto police State. Needless to say, war propaganda weakens the antiwar movement.

In turn, the disinformation regarding alleged “terrorist attacks” or “weapons of mass destruction” instils an atmosphere of fear, which mobilizes unswerving patriotism and support for the State, and its main political and military actors.

Repeated in virtually every national news report, this stigmatic focus on WMD-Al Qaeda essentially serves as a dogma, to blind people on the causes and consequences of America’s war of conquest, while providing a simple, unquestioned and authoritative justification for “self defense.”

More recently, both in speeches by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, as well as in the news, WMD statements are now carefully blended into Osama statements. UK Defense Minister Jack Straw warned in early January “that ‘rogue regimes’ such as Iraq were the most likely source of WMD technology for groups like al-Qaeda.”13 Also, in January, a presumed al Qaeda cell “with links to Iraq” was discovered in Edinburgh, allegedly involved in the use of biological weapons against people in the UK. The hidden agenda of “the links to Iraq” statement is blatantly obvious. The objective is to discredit Iraq in the months leading up to the war: the so-called “State sponsors of terror” are said to support Osama bin Laden, Conversely, Osama is said to collaborate with Iraq in the use of weapons of mass destruction.

In recent months, several thousand news reports have woven “WMD-Osama stories” of which a couple of excerpts are provided below:

“Skeptics will argue that the inconsistencies don’t prove the Iraqis have continued developing weapons of mass destruction. It also leaves Washington casting about for other damning material and charges, including the midweek claim, again unproved, that Islamic extremists affiliated with al-Qaeda took possession of a chemical weapon in Iraq last November or late October.”14

North Korea has admitted it lied about that and is brazenly cranking up its nuclear program again. Iraq has almost certainly lied about it, but won’t admit it. Meanwhile Al Qaeda, although dispersed, remains a shadowy, threatening force, and along with other terrorist groups, a potential recipient of the deadly weaponry that could emerge from Iraq and North Korea.15

Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair listed Iraq, North Korea, the Middle East and al-Qaeda among “difficult and dangerous” problems Britain faced in the coming year.16

The WMD-Osama statements are used profusely by the mainstream media. In the wake of 9/11, these stylized statements have also become an integral part of day to day political discourse. They have also permeated the workings of international diplomacy and the functioning of the United Nations.


1. Interview with Steve Adubato, Fox News, 26 December 2002.

2. Air Force Magazine, January 2003, italics added..

3. Adubato, op. cit. italics added

4. Ibid, italics added.

5. Quoted in Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Secrecy News, , Rumsfeld’s press interview can be consulted at: .

6. New York Times, 16 December 2002.

7. Sunday Times, London 5 January 2003.

8. Ros Davidson, Stars earn their Stripes, The Sunday Herald (Scotland), 11 November 2001).

9. See Samuel Blumenfeld, Le Pentagone et la CIA enrôlent Hollywood, Le Monde, 24 July 2002 .

10. Chaim Kupferberg, The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11, Global Outlook, No. 3, 2003, p. 19, .

11. Remarks by President Bush in Trenton, New Jersey, «Welcome Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility, Trenton, New Jersey », 23 September 2002.

12. National Security Strategy, White House, 2002,

13. Agence France Presse (AFP), 7 January 2003.

14. Insight on the News, 20 January 2003.

15. Christian Science Monitor, 8 January 2003

16. Agence France Presse (AFP), 1 January 2003


America’s “War on Terrorism”

Michel Chossudovsky



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.

September 11, 2001 provides a justification for waging a war without borders. Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the Homeland Security State.

Rumors of a deterioration in US-Israel relations are very much exaggerated. (Pete Souza/Official White House photo).

The Obama administration approved a $1.9 billion arms sale to Israel in recent days as “compensation” for the US nuclear deal with Iran, which the Israeli regime staunchly opposes.

Among the tens of thousands of bombs included in the weapons package are 3,000 Hellfire missiles, 12,000 general purpose bombs and 750 bunker buster bombs that can penetrate up to twenty feet, or six meters, of reinforced concrete.

This generous weapons gift comes in the wake of Israel’s most ferocious attack on the Gaza Strip to date, in which the Israeli army deliberately targeted civilians, including children, as a matter of policy.

The degree of firepower Israel unleashed on Gaza was so extreme that senior US military officials who participated in the illegal invasion and criminal destruction of Iraq were left stunned.

Even the Pentagon and State Department were forced to acknowledge that Israel did not do enough to avoid civilian deaths. But this did not prevent the Obama administration from rushing to provide Israel with the means to carry out more atrocities.

Bunker busters

Sadistically nicknamed the “Saddamizer,” the bunker buster bomb was originally developed by the US military during the first Gulf war to penetrate Iraqi command centers buried deep underground.

In recent years, these earth-shattering explosives have been repeatedly deployed against besieged and largely defenseless Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip.

Israel pounded Gaza with US-supplied bunker buster bombs during Operation Cast Lead, the three-week assault in the winter of 2008-2009 that killed 1,400 Palestinians, including nearly 400 children.

Obama quietly transferred dozens more bunker buster bombs to Israel in 2009 in an effort to prevent it from obstructing negotiations with Iran.

The Obama administration replenished that stockpile after yet another Israeli attack on Gaza in 2012 with a $647 million arms package that included thousands of bunker buster bombs.

Israel used those bunker buster munitions to pummel Gaza’s high rise towers and wipe out entire families as they sheltered in their homes during Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 Israeli assault that ultimately killed over 2,200 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including over 500 children.

If the past is any indication, Obama’s weapons package will enable Israel to intensify its unspeakable atrocities against civilians in Gaza, and possibly Lebanon if Israel’s saber-rattling about Hizballah is to be believed.

Asked whether the Pentagon is concerned that its weapons might be used to harm innocent people, a spokesperson, Roger Cabiness II, offered the following vague statement: “As with any security cooperation activity, the United States assesses requests from its partners on a case-by-case basis, taking into account political, military, economic, arms control and human rights conditions in making decisions on the provision of military equipment and the licensing of direct commercial sales to any country, in accordance with the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, the Arms Export Control Act and relevant international agreements.”

Rewarding hate

Ever since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted an invitation by the Republican opposition to trash Obama’s diplomatic maneuvering on Iran in a speech to Congress, analysts have warned of a growing rift in US-Israel relations, insisting that the so-called special relationship has reached its lowest point in recent memory.

Relations apparently deteriorated further following Netanyahu’s election day campaigning, when, in a last ditch appeal to the worst inclinations of his rightwing base, he summoned the spirit of George Wallace, warning, “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out.”

In an interview with former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama insultingly equated the creation of a Jewish settler state in historic Palestine with the African American civil rights movement, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of “preserving” Israel’s Jewish majority. He went on to criticize Netanyahu’s anti-Arab electioneering, claiming to have enacted “foreign policy consequences” against Israel as a result.

Nevertheless, the pundits’ handwringing over cracks in the special relationship has been largely unfounded.

In reality, the only penalty Obama has imposed on Israel is tepid disapproval of Netanyahu’s overt racism, which is rendered meaningless by Obama’s ongoing material support for Israel’s crimes.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu has assembled the most racist government in Israel’s history, with unabashed genocide enthusiasts occupying the most senior level positions.

Israel’s new education minister is Naftali Bennett, leader of the religious ultra-nationalist Habeyit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party who famously bragged, “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life — and there’s no problem with that.” In response to international outrage at the Israeli massacre of four children playing soccer on the beach in Gaza last summer, Bennett accused Palestinian resistance fighters of “conducting massive self-genocide” to make Israel look bad.

Israel’s new justice minister is Ayelet Shaked, the lawmaker who last June endorsed a call to genocide, which declared “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and demanded the slaughter of Palestinian mothers to prevent them from birthing “little snakes.”

Israel’s new culture minister is Miri Regev, who in 2012 helped incite a violent anti-African riot when she stood before a racist mob and labeled non-Jewish African asylum seekers a “cancer”, a statement that 52 percent of Israeli Jews agreed with. Regev later apologized, not to Africans but to cancer survivors for likening them to Black people.

Israel’s new deputy defense minister is Eli Ben-Dahan, who proudly proclaimed, “[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human,” and, “A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual.”

Citing a combination of religious text and the writings of far rightwing Israeli figures, Israel’s new deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely asserted Jewish ownership over all of historic Palestine, declaring, “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.”

Earlier this month, Moshe Yaalon, who will continue to serve as Israel’s defense minister in Netanyahu’s new governing coalition, threatened to nuke Iran and promised to kill civilians, including children, in any future conflict with Lebanon or Gaza.

Unlike Obama’s hollow threats, this is not empty rhetoric. We saw this incitement play out last summer, from the burning of Muhammad Abu Khudair by Jewish extremists and “death to Arabs” mobs hunting Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem, to the sadistic conduct and eliminationist chauvinism exhibited by Israel’s military in Gaza.

With Israeli Jewish society submerged in anti-Palestinian racism from the top down, the Obama administration has guaranteed Israel’s capacity to carry out its most destructive ambitions.

Assistant Attorney General, Leslie Caldwell, Speaking at Press Conference May 20, 2015

When the U.S. Department of Justice held its press conference on Wednesday to announce that five mega banks were each pleading guilty to a felony charge, paying big fines and being put on probation for three years, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell specifically took a battering ram to the reputation of Swiss bank, UBS.

Four banks — Citicorp, a unit of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays — pleaded guilty to an antitrust charge of conspiring to rig foreign currency trading while UBS pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for its earlier involvement in rigging the interest rate benchmark, Libor.

In explaining why the Justice Department was ripping up the non-prosecution agreement it had negotiated with UBS in December 2012 over its involvement in the Libor fraud and now charging it with a felony, Caldwell delivered a scathing attack on UBS, stating:

“Perhaps most significantly, UBS has a ‘rap sheet’ that cannot be ignored. Within the past six years, the department has resolved criminal investigations of UBS three times, resulting in non-prosecution or deferred prosecution agreements. UBS also has entered into civil and regulatory settlements on multiple occasions within the past few years.  Enough is enough.”

Enough is apparently not enough, however, when it comes to serial banking tyrants based in the U.S. Not only does Citigroup have a monster rap sheet that keeps growing, but it’s the bank that contributed significantly to the U.S. financial collapse in 2008 and received the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. history: $45 billion in equity infusions, over $300 billion in asset guarantees, and over $2 trillion in low-cost loans from the Federal Reserve.

In last month’s Harper’s Magazine, Andrew Cockburn took an in-depth look at Citigroup’s history of hubris, including the crime supermarket that Sandy Weill created with the merger of Travelers Group and Citicorp to form Citigroup in 1998. Cockburn writes:

“Under Weill, however, the merged firm set new records for reckless gambles and fraud. It was Citigroup that helped to cook Enron’s books, disguising $4 billion worth of loans on the balance sheet as operating cash flow. Citigroup’s executives apparently understood what they were doing, but carried on regardless—the payoff being the $200 million in fees earned from the energy-trading firm before it collapsed amid bankruptcy and criminal charges. (As it turned out, crime did not pay, at least not for Citigroup’s stockholders, since the firm ended up shelling out $100 million in civil penalties to the SEC and $3.7 billion to settle claims by Enron investors.)

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En el sistema capitalista el Terrorismo de Estado es un hecho recurrente, es empleado para producir parálisis de las reivindicaciones sociales y para provocar masivos desplazamientos poblacionales para beneficio del gran capital.

En Colombia el Terrorismo de Estado está estrechamente ligado a la acumulación capitalista: 40% del territorio colombiano está tramitado en concesiones a multinacionales mineras. La estrategia del desplazamiento forzado de poblaciones intenta quebrar la resistencia popular frente a la depredación de los recursos naturales, y vacía de su población las zonas codiciadas por las multinacionales. Esta estrategia se ejerce también según las directrices estadounidenses de despoblar el campo, en una tentativa de exterminar la base social de la guerrilla. Lo que los marines llamaron en Vietnam “quitarle el agua al pez”, al implementar su macabro accionar de las aldeas arrasadas.

El instrumento paramilitar es cofinanciado por las multinacionales y latifundistas, y coordinado desde el mismo Estado para sembrar el terror en la población mediante masacres y torturas. Este instrumento paramilitar se consolidó por instrucción estadounidense: la misión Yarbourough de 1962 preconizó la creación de grupos paramilitares, promovidos por el Estado, cuyo objetivo ha sido asesinar a los comunistas y a todos aquellos que reivindiquen por justicia social. La doctrina contrainsurgente y el concepto del “enemigo interno” que rigen el accionar del ejército colombiano, toman su inspiración en los manuales franceses y estadounidenses que preconizan la tortura de forma sistemática, así como el empleo del desplazamiento masivo de poblaciones. Los manuales de la CIA, como el KUBARK, instruyen en torturas físicas y sicológicas (1).

El Terror de Estado en Colombia ha causado decenas de miles de desapariciones forzadas (2), más de 9.500 presos políticos, el 60% de los sindicalistas asesinados en el mundo son asesinados en Colombia por agentes estatales o la herramienta paramilitar. El Estado colombiano ha eliminado físicamente un partido político: La Unión Patriótica, con más de 5.000 militantes asesinados (3). La mayor fosa común de Latinoamérica, fue hallada detrás del Batallón Militar en la Macarena, con 2000 cadáveres de desaparecidos por la Fuerza Omega del Plan Colombia, Fuerza que tiene asesoría estadounidense (4).

-Desplazamiento poblacional: un crimen planificado al servicio de la acumulación capitalista

Colombia es el segundo país del mundo a nivel de desplazamiento forzado de poblaciones, tras Siria (5). Más de 6,3 millones de personas han sido desplazadas en Colombia por una planificación del terror al servicio de la acumulación capitalista: han tenido que abandonar sus tierras tras sobrevivir a masacres dirigidas intencionalmente contra la población, ejecutadas por el ejército y la herramienta paramilitar. Hay responsables de esta planificación del terror, y esos responsables son aquellos que explotan la tierra para capitalizar mediante la agro-industria y la mega-minería. Las personas obligadas a desplazase no son desplazadas por la “bala perdida”, ese comodín que usan los medios del capital, para impedir la comprensión de la realidad.

Los bombardeos del ejército sobre las comunidades campesinas y las fumigaciones son también instrumentos para el desplazamiento poblacional. Las fumigaciones se hacen bajo el pretexto de “la lucha contra el narcotráfico”; pero son fumigados sembradíos alimentarios con Glifosato, envenenando la vida y el agua.

-Varias generaciones de niños nacidos con malformaciones congénitas; pero el Estado colombiano no « veía » el peligro 


La OMS declaró recientemente ser cierto lo que los científicos y las comunidades denuncian hace décadas: el Glifosato es un peligro mortal. La OMS lo clasifica ahora como un agente cancerígeno de categoría 2A. Le hizo falta mucho tiempo a la OMS para esta clasificación: ¿Será cierto que las presiones de los fabricantes de ese veneno ritman su calendario y sus clasificaciones? El Estado colombiano impuso al pueblo colombiano más de 25 años de fumigaciones, bajo las directrices estadounidenses, comprándole el veneno a Monsanto. Jamás las denuncias de las comunidades campesinas colombianas, ni los documentos científicos, ni los niños nacidos con malformaciones, sin brazos, sin piernas, o ciegos, significaron para el gobierno colombiano una “evidencia” del carácter genocida de las fumigaciones. Es solamente cuando la OMS se pronuncia, que el gobierno se plantea cesar las fumigaciones con Glifosato. Para el gobierno de Santos todo radica en la apariencia: se trata de preservar la máscara en el juego diplomático internacional. Colombia es el único país del mundo que ha permitido, durante décadas, la fumigación aérea con Glifosato: desde 1994 la Resolución 001 del Consejo Nacional de Estupefacientes la preconizó, pero fue mucho antes que las fumigaciones de esos venenos comenzó (6).

Ahora queda por ver si la decisión tomada en mayo 2015 de suspender las aspersiones aéreas con Glifosato se traduce en hechos, y sobretodo queda por ver si el Glifosato no va a ser reemplazado por otro veneno, no incluido en las clasificaciones de la OMS. Queda por ver si todas las personas enfermas van a recibir un tratamiento, si es que existe. Y queda por ver cómo tratar los sufrimientos de los miles de niños nacidos con malformaciones, al menos en curas paliativas antes de su muerte. Conociendo el carácter capitalista del sistema de salud colombiano, y sabiendo cómo deja morir a las personas en las puertas de los hospitales, poca esperanza hay de que tome en mano la responsabilidad de estos sufrimientos. La cuestión de las tierras y de las aguas envenenadas también queda en suspenso, así como la cuestión de los millones de personas desplazadas para huir estas aspersiones genocidas. Lo que el Estado colombiano perpetró durante años contra el pueblo colombiano y contra los ecosistemas de la región es un crimen de Lesa Humanidad; habrá que ver ahora si va a imponer otro veneno. La cuestión sobre la lentitud de la OMS en sus clasificaciones queda igualmente latente; así como la cuestión de las dañinas políticas de la supuesta “lucha contra el narcotráfico”, y lo que realmente se esconde detrás de esa rotulación.

Las fumigaciones aéreas empaparon al país con venenos como el Glifosato y con otros todavía más potentes como el Round Up Ultra, Imazapyr, Tebuthiuron, y hasta con el Fusarium Oxysporum: esta política fue muy útil en la estrategia estatal de desplazamiento de poblaciones, y muy poco eficaz contra los “cultivos ilícitos”.

Los intentos de las comunidades campesinas de substitución manual de cultivos ilícitos por cultivos de pan coger, fueron perseguidos por el Estado. En cuanto a las propuestas de la guerrilla, nacidas de la participación campesina a las Audiencias del Cagúan, y que promueven también la substitución manual de los cultivos, para beneficio de la soberanía alimentaria y del campesinado, también fueron totalmente ignoradas por el Estado colombiano y por los medios de difusión masiva. Medios que no hacen sino martillear la mentira lanzada por el entonces embajador de Estados Unidos en Colombia, Lewis Tambs (7), creador del término “narcoguerrilla”; siendo que el narcotráfico en Colombia se beneficia de las estructuras del Estado colombiano, entre ellas las aduanas aéreas y portuarias, y que los narcotraficantes son aliados históricos del Terrorismo de Estado en Colombia (sus asesinos han cooperado del exterminio de comunistas y demás opositores políticos).

Hasta hoy las propuestas agrarias de la guerrilla son ignoradas por los medios, que pasan bajo silencio los documentos (8) y el contenido de lo que se dialoga en La Habana. Ya, en los diálogos del Cagúan, las FARC habían presentado un proyecto piloto de substitución manual de cultivos en Cartagena del Chairá (9), cuyo costo económico estimado a gran escala era miles de veces inferior al costo del Plan Colombia, ni qué decir del coste medioambiental. Pero los diálogos fueron truncados por el Estado colombiano, que se apuró en firmar el Plan Colombia, un plan de guerra confeccionado en Estados Unidos.

El pretexto de la “lucha contra el narcotráfico” se ve desmentido en la práctica: el narcotráfico está imbricado con el mismo Estado colombiano, y hasta con la misma DEA. Sin hablar de las multinacionales químicas que fabrican no solamente los precursores necesarios a la cocaína, pero también todo tipo de drogas legales.

Cecilia Zamudio


(1) Injerencia de los EEUU, contrainsurgencia y terrorismo de estado, Renán Vega Cantor , 2015.  

( 2 ) 23 de mayo 2011, el representante del Alto Comisionado de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos, Christian Salazar, informó que la ONU estima que más de 57.200 personas han sido desaparecidas en Colombia. 

(3) 5.000 militantes de la UP asesinados, el genocidio político consta ante la CIDH

(4) La fosa común más grande del continente, detrás del Batallón Militar:

(5) Colombia junto con Siria, el país con más personas desplazadas forzadamente. CODHES: 6,3 millones de desplazados en Colombia

6,8 millones de víctimas:


(7) La fábula de la «narcoguerrilla» fue lanzada por el entonces embajador de EEUU en Colombia, Lewis Tambs. «Colombia Historia de una traición», Restrepo Laura, páginas 80, 81, 82, Iepala, Madrid, 1986.

(8) Los documentos de las propuestas agrarias de la insurgencia pueden ser consultados en la página de la Delegación de Paz, pero no son difundidos en los grandes medios, porque el ostracismo mediático es total:

(9) Planificación de mecanismos para la sustitución de cultivos ilícitos – Municipio de Cartagena del Chairá (Caquetá)

On Monday, May 18, the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch published a selection of formerly classified documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department through a federal lawsuit.

While initial mainstream media reporting is focused on the White House’s handling of the Benghazi consulate attack, a much “bigger picture” admission and confirmation is contained in one of the Defense Intelligence Agency documents circulated in 2012: that an ‘Islamic State’ is desired in Eastern Syria to effect the West’s policies in the region.

Astoundingly, the newly declassified report states that for


The DIA report, formerly classified “SECRET//NOFORN” and dated August 12, 2012, was circulated widely among various government agencies, including CENTCOM, the CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA, State Dept., and many others.

The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.

While a number of analysts and journalists have documented long ago the role of western intelligence agencies in the formation and training of the armed opposition in Syria, this is the highest level internal U.S. intelligence confirmation of the theory that western governments fundamentally see ISIS as their own tool for regime change in Syria. The document matter-of-factly states just that scenario.

Forensic evidence, video evidence, as well as recent admissions of high-level officials involved (see former Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford’s admissions here and here), have since proven the State Department and CIA’s material support of ISIS terrorists on the Syrian battlefield going back to at least 2012 and 2013 (for a clear example of “forensic evidence”: see UK-based Conflict Armament Research’s report which traced the origins of Croatian anti-tank rockets recovered from ISIS fighters back to a Saudi/CIA joint program via identifiable serial numbers).

The newly released DIA report makes the following summary points concerning “ISI” (in 2012 “Islamic State in Iraq,”) and the soon to emerge ISIS:

  • Al-Qaeda drives the opposition in Syria
  • The West identifies with the opposition
  • The establishment of a nascent Islamic State became a reality only with the rise of the Syrian insurgency (there is no mention of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq as a catalyst for Islamic State’s rise, which is the contention of innumerable politicians and pundits; see section 4.D. below)
  • The establishment of a “Salafist Principality” in Eastern Syria is “exactly” what the external powers  supporting the opposition want (identified as “the West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey”) in order to weaken the Assad government
  • “Safe havens” are suggested in areas conquered by Islamic insurgents along the lines of the Libyan model (which translates to so-called no-fly zones as a first act of ‘humanitarian war’; see 7.B.)
  • Iraq is identified with “Shia expansion” (8.C)
  • A Sunni “Islamic State” could be devastating to “unifying Iraq” and could lead to “the renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.” (see last non-redacted line in full PDF view.)


The following is excerpted from the seven page DIA declassified report (bold-facing is my own):

R 050839Z AUG 12












Packed with distortions and outright lies, Mongolia’s privatized former state media called them the ‘enemies of Mongolia’.  On 16 September 2013, the leaders of Mongolia’s Fire Nation (Gal Undesten in Mongolian), an environment and human rights coalition, organized a mass protest in front of the Mongolian Parliament.  Decades of grassroots organizing to establish environmental protections were at risk: on September 16 the Great State Khural (State Parliament) gathered with intentions to dismantle the so-called ‘Law With A Long Name’ (LLN).

Adopted by parliament in 2009, after more than a decade of grassroots organizing and public pressure, the ‘Law to Prohibit Mineral Exploration and Mining Operations at the Headwaters of Rivers, Protected Zones of Water Reservoirs and Forested Areas‘ is the only significant Mongolian law protecting nomadic herders’ traditional lands and watersheds from further radioactive and chemical contamination, diversions of rivers and land-grabbing.  With mining companies ignoring the law, destroying pastureland and watersheds, and no government enforcement, the livelihoods and culture of indigenous Mongolian herders are rapidly disappearing.  These are the same mining corporations responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity in Africa and Latin America and everywhere we find them.

Symbolically armed with hunting rifles and antiquated weapons, the most courageous leaders of the grassroots Fire Nation sought to draw attention to corruption and collusion between government and foreign mining corporations.  They are fighting to save their culture and people and their very way of life.


Photo of Tsetsegee Mounkhbayar taken by Bill Infante of the Asia Foundation.

In a statement read on the steps of Parliament prior to the arrests, Ts. Munkhbayar called for urgent and serious action to protect the Law with a Long Name (LLN).  The People began with cooperative meetings, he said, engaging government officials and agencies, and the People won the passage of the Law with a Long Name, but there was no enforcement, and corporations were getting away with egregious wrongs.  So then the People came with petitions.  When petitions didn’t work they threw rocks at Parliament.  Then they fired their rifles on machines that were ripping up their precious pasturelands.  They symbolically shot arrows at Parliament from their herder’s bows.  Nothing moved the government to protect the People and the land.  Now they had come with weapons.  They never intended to hurt anyone, and they never hurt anyone.

These are herders who employ a wide range of methods and tactics, including environmental education, public theater, monitoring of pollution, restoration of ecosystems, alliances with government, campaigns in the legislature.  They have also fired on foreign mining equipment and occupied illegal mining sites.  Many of their actions have been symbolic, born out of integrity and the spirit of civil disobedience.

“On the morning of September 16, delegates representing 11 non-government organizations protested outside the Government Palace against proposed amendments to the [LLN],” wrote M. Zoljargal for Rivers Without Boundaries, a coalition of NGOs working to protect Eurasian watersheds.  ”The reason for the protest was to prevent the approval of the amendment, as the 2009 law hasn’t been implemented or enforced in its current form.  Many protected lands have been mined despite the law meant to preserve the integrity of Mongolia’s environment.  The protestors were there to stop the amendment, fearing that once the law is amended, permit termination and state protection might become impossible.”  [1]

Mongolian civil society leaders declare that state agents framed Munkhbayar and the other protestors.  Four of the ten protestors arrested on 16 September 2013 were released; six were detained on the charge “group attempt to severely threaten well-being of society”.  Defense lawyers argued that there was no victim in the case but they were prohibited from mounting a substantial defense.  Many key facts were ignored and evidence was suppressed and sidelined.  There is substantial evidence that Mongolian government agents used ‘dirty tricks’ typical of thugs, terrorist organizations and state security agents (e.g. C.I.A., Stasi, MI-6, SAVAK, F.B.I., etc.), dirty tricks and thuggery which bears the signature of the Mongolian state security apparatus.

On 21 January 2014, the six civil society leaders were sentenced to prison.  Defendants J. Ganbold, G. Boldbaatar, D. Tumurbaatar, S. Dashtseren and Ts. Munkhbayar received 21 years and six months (reduced from 22 years and six months for time served since 16 September 2013).  The sixth man, M. Munkhbold was sentenced to two years for supplying weapons.  When the verdict and sentences were delivered in court, the wife of J. Ganbold (suffering from ovarian cancer) fainted; others shouted and cried.

The six men, all 50-60 years of age, were interrogated under harsh conditions in state detention cells.  One of the six, J. Ganbold, is reportedly in danger of losing his hand after police removed a cast and refused him medical treatment.  When Mr. Ganbold’s wife pled with the court for her husband to receive treatment, the chief investigator derided her, declaring that her husband and the others deserved to suffer, implying they are traitors of the state.

Most of these leaders have previously been arrested in the long struggle to defend Mongolia from the hydra of Western industries of exploitation: mining, ‘development’, ‘nature conservation’, and foreign ‘aid’ and ‘charity’.


In early September 2010, a small band of citizens fired their hunting rifles on gold mining equipment owned by two foreign mining firms operating illegally in northern Mongolia.  The gang of four — Ts. Munkhbayar, G. Bayaraa, D. Tumurbaatar and O. Sambuu-Yondon — all hailed from the United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes (UMMRL), a consortium of Mongolian groups organized to fight extractive companies that have invaded the fledgling ‘democracy’.

A key leader and long-time organizer of the Mongolian resistance movement, Ts. Munkhbayar is a 2007 winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize — the ‘Green Nobel’ — awarded annually to people taking fearless stands around the globe in defense of the earth and it’s indigenous peoples.  Three years after winning the award — and a whole lot more illegal mining and pollution later — Munkhbayar’s little gang of four and their militant actions against the capitalist invasion remained in complete media whiteout in the Western press.

UMMRL was formed in 2009 after its predecessor, the Mongolian Nature Protection Coalition (MNPC), dissolved.  Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and his colleagues were pivotal to the creation of both MNPC and UMMRL, and on 2 July 2010 they founded the Fire Nationa large umbrella organization uniting many NGOs.

After winning the Goldman prize, activist Ts. Munkhbayar was widely celebrated by Western institutions and the English-speaking press for his peaceful and collaborative achievements in uniting nomads and organizing people and protecting Mongolia’s environment.  He was a national hero, standing up for ordinary people and basic human rights, a former herder turned national spokesman who rose out of the backward and repressive social milieu of communism in collapse.  Munkhbayar was rewarded for speaking up — an action unheard of in Mongolian society — in the former Soviet-run communist republic turned ‘emerging democracy’.

Tumurbaatar Horsemen Bow protest 2.jpg
D. Tumurbaatar, also sentenced to 21 years 6 months, shoots an arrow at Parliament after the April 2011 protest where 100 horse-riding herders demonstrated in Sukhbaatar Square (in front of Government House).  Demonstrators requesting enforcement of the LLN set up eight gers on the square, called for a national referendum and collected signatures.  When the President, Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker ignored their request to meet, Mr. Tumurbaatar conveyed his message by shooting an arrow.

Increasingly frustrated by a stodgy bureaucracy and massive state corruption, betrayed by Western conservation and development organizations, faced with mounting losses and accelerated destruction of their culture and environment, Ts. Munkhbayar and comrades became increasingly aggressive in organizing resistance.

The more they stood up for the rights of Mongolia and its people, the more they were shunned or ignored by their former sponsors.  For Ts. Munkhbayar, this meant that the Goldman Fund distanced themselves from him, and the Asia Foundation, whose officials had lobbied the Goldman Fund on his behalf, labeled him a ‘terrorist’.  [2]

In June 2011 Ts. Munkhbayar and colleagues were imprisoned for ‘organizing public meetings and demonstrations without official permission’.  The men went on hunger strikes in prison: some were taken to hospital and force fed by the security agents after their health acutely deteriorated.


“In August 2013, pressure from foreign mining companies to relax regulations reached an all-time high and rumors emerged that Parliament was seeking to abolish the LLN once and for all,” reads a Goldman Foundation statement of 20 November 2013, calling for a ‘fair and transparent trial’ for Munkhbayar and the others.  ”That same day, Munkhbayar and UMMRL joined several other activist groups in a demonstration outside the main Parliament building.  During the protest, a rifle was accidentally discharged.  It is widely understood that the shot was not fired on purpose and nobody was injured.  Still, Munkhbayar and several other protestors were arrested immediately following the incident.”

The Goldman Foundation statement is inaccurate.  A simple viewing of a video of the 16 September 2013 incident (below) shows that the Mongolian state security had already tackled Ts. Munkhbayar and several other protestors when the shot rang out nearby.  The protestors had not tried to enter the government building, either peaceably or forcibly.  State agents and the video cameraperson then directed their attention to another struggle between state agents and another of the protestors, presumably one who accidentally discharged his rifle.

The protestors are accused of firing a single shot from one of their weapons.  In the confusion of what happened, it is not clear who fired a shot.  The herders claim the discharge was accidental, and if it came from their weapon, it certainly was an accident.  The court did not sufficiently investigate the facts.  However, there is ample evidence that it was a state security agent who discharged a weapon.  As the video reveals, Munkhbayar was not guilty of firing off weaponry, but the courts didn’t care to argue such fine points.

Ten protestors were arrested on 16 September 2013.  State agents evacuated several government buildings claiming that bombs had been planted.  Explosives shown in Mongolian mass media campaigns to discredit the protestors were reportedly recovered in buildings where the protestors could not have had access.  The mass media claimed that protestor’s guns were loaded and they were heavily armed.  Reports also claimed that the protestors “attacked the government buildings and fired a shot.”

There are many other curious discrepancies and outright fabrications.

One Mongolian business media outlet declared that ‘shots’ [plural] were fired, ‘a bomb was discovered’, and ‘a hand-grenade was thrown which didn’t explode’.  [3]

In a statement made immediately after the arrests, the head of Mongolia’s General Intelligence Agency investigations department claimed that the protestors “attempted to threaten public security and assault some state officials.”  He also declared that “[a]s a result of prompt searches [security and intelligence officials] searched and found two TNT (trotyl) [sic] hand-made bombs planted near government buildings.  [4]

After the September 16 protest, the media accused the protestors of ‘organizing a public event without permission’ and ’mass murder attempt’ and even ‘attempted genocide’.  Mongolia’s National Overview magazine, a copycat of Time (Yndestnii Toim in the Mongolian language rhymes with Time) featured Goldman prizewinner Ts. Munkhbayar on the cover, an old Russian rifle in hand, under the headlines: ‘НОГООН ТЕРРОР’ – GREEN TERROR.

Another cover story in late September showed Ts. Munkhbayar wearing a luxury OMEGA wristwatch.  The photo was an obvious fabrication created with Photoshop software, a common practice in Mongolian media.  Article(s) portrayed the earth defense activists from Greenpeace International as scoundrels, cowards and liars, drawing attention to Greenpeace actions in Russia.  Then they equated Munkhbayar with this ‘green terrorism’.

Mongolian oligarchs who have colluded with Western interests to bleed Mongolia dry own the most prominent mass media portals in Mongolia (click link for summary table): most are members of Parliament.  As in the West, Mongolia’s media outlets manufacture consent, inculcate confusion and distrust, disempower and indoctrinate the masses.

Mr. Lu. Bold, former Minister of Defense, current Minister of Parliament and Mongolia’s Foreign Minister, owns National Overview.  On 26 October 2103, Mr. Bold signed a ‘nuclear cooperation’ deal with French Minister Laurent Fabius.  The French nuclear conglomerate AREVA has been exploring and mining uranium in Mongolia for over a decade.  [5]

In 2010, herders in Dornogovi aimag (province) began correlating disease in domestic animal herds with AREVA uranium mining nearby.  In 2012 they sounded the alarm after some 20 calves of one herder Mr. Norsuren died.  Even wolves would not eat the dead animals, and carcasses decayed in a few days even when frozen solid in the dead of Mongolian winter.

Inspections by the State Nuclear Agency found nothing, as expected, since they were merely protecting state interests and the cult of the atom.  Tests by the State Veterinary and Animal Breeding Agency revealed chronic poisoning by heavy metals and radioactive isotopes; results posted on the government website soon disappeared.  The vet agency refused to release official reports, but some were leaked.  Angered by the vet agency’s diligence, Mongolia’s Prime Minister attacked them, demanding they revisit and ‘correct’ their results.  Over 90 million Tugrugs later, a new team of experts — appointed by the Prime Minister — produced new results, inconclusive as regards AREVA’s uranium mining.  The vet agency officials were frightened into silence.

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Life for herders on the steppe is hard enough without the toxic pollution and land-grabbing of foreign mining corporations — causing epidemics of diseases and loss of entire herds. Photo c. keith harmon snow, 2008.

In May 2013, Fire Nations’ own investigator discovered epidemics of diseases; faceless animals, jawless animals; diseased internal organs; many abnormal births and birth defects.  Prior to AREVA’s arrival such things were unheard of.  In August 2013, armed Fire Nation activists and local herders occupied AREVA’s mining camp and stopped operations.  AREVA resumed operations after Munkhbayar and other Fire Nation protestors were arrested September 16.

In December 2013, Fire Nation leaders and herders returned but were barred entry to the AREVA camp by nine-foot fences with triple-barbed wire overhangs and armed paramilitary guards: AREVA even refused entry to a state inspector.

Uranium exploration and radioactive contamination in Mongolia is not limited to the Dornogovi site in the Gobi desert.  There are mine sites as close as 70 kilometers from the capital city.

“Given that everything related to uranium is kept ‘state secret’ we have little information about this threat to 60% of Mongolia’s population, residing in Ulaanbaatar,” says Sukhgerel Dugersuren, Executive Director of the Mongolian organization OT [Oyu Tolgoi] Watch.  “The U.S. government and Japanese government apparently find Mongolia to be the best location for dumping their nuclear waste.  Agreements [were] signed many years ago but there is no information disclosed about the actual status, no opportunity for local monitoring, no info on risks and how to be prepared for mitigation.  We know that Japan is negotiating heavily.”  [6]

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The 100 horse-riding protest of April 2011 was organized by D. Tumurbaatar (first on left, front), Ts. Munkhbayar, S. Dashtseren and other dedicated environmentalists and civil society leaders.

Oligarchs like Mr. Bold use media venues like National Overview just as the Western press is used by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and nuclear corporations, always assuring the public that nuclear contaminations present ‘no risk to the public’, that ‘radiation is safe, clean and green’.  However, the media also knowingly collaborates in maintaining information whiteouts, keeping the public in the dark, upholding the cloak of secrecy and denial about the nuclear apocalypse and nuclear poisons and the threat to all life on earth.

“I think it is absolutely obvious that the U.S. and Japan plan to dump nuclear waste at Oyu Tolgoi,” says a former USAID official who, like many people, is concerned about retaliation for speaking out.  ”Would China and Russia allow nuclear material to go by land via their territories?  No.  So, it has to arrive by air.  Other than Ulaanbaatar, where does Mongolia have an airport that can handle heavy cargo carriers? Oyu Tolgoi.  And where do we have enough holes in the ground to bury the waste?  Oyu Tolgoi.”

Following the 16 September 2013 protests in, the editor-in-chief of National Overview  contacted Fire Nation members disingenuously claiming to want to present the activists’ positions on the protest and the LLN and other national affairs: the editors and owners are known for dishonesty and double-standards (behaving much like editors and journalists of major Western media corporations).

“The image the government and media are trying to paint does not fit Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and his friends,” said Erkhem Amarlin, founder of, a prominent educational web site and campaign.  ”[Munkhbayar and colleagues] are humble, poor, and, I am sure they know better than showing off an expensive WESTERN! luxury watch.”

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Pristine rivers in Mongolia have been diverted and polluted with cyanide and sulfuric acid, with radioactive tailings, and other mining related contaminants. Photo c. keith harmon snow, 2008. 

“Due to the media reports, for many in the Mongolian public the initial reaction was fear, and accusation of Munkhbayar and his companions.”  Ms. Amarlin investigated the facts and propaganda after the 21 September 2013 protests.  “Others believe that the arrest was orchestrated by the government that had blamed the ‘Long Named Law’ for the recent weakening of the [Mongolian state currency] Tugrug — which declined about 20% from June to September [2013].  The ‘Long Named Law’ was blamed for a drop in foreign investment.  [7]


Mongolian civil society leaders believe that the state currency was deliberately devalued to demonize non-government civil society organizations.  After the currency fell, the media blamed the LLN for declining foreign investment.  As the masses suffered increasing economic hardship, Mongolia’s civil society coalitions were scapegoated.  However, NGOs believe that the currency fluctuation was orchestrated by Mongolian elites with the help of foreign interests.  Along come Munkhbayar and the other protestors, rifles in hand, and the media frames them as terrorists, further discrediting civil society in the minds of the masses.

The Western ‘news’ establishment (e.g. Associated PressUPIAgence France PressTIMENewsweekNew York TimesInternational Herald TribuneEconomistGuardian, etc.) did not report on the 16 September 2013 protests: the press ignores such topics as conflicts between herders and miners; radioactive contamination from uranium mining; dispossession of sacred lands; or violence by paramilitary thugs hired by mining companies.  When it does cover them, it casts the conflict in light favorable to capitalism.

Bloomberg Business News is the only Western media to report on the 16 September 2013 protest, and this a short clip that merely parroted Mongolia’s state-owned Montsame News Agency.  ”Mongolia put its parliament building on lockdown after shots were fired during a protest outside,” wrote Michael Kahn.  ”The protestors brandished weapons and said they would resort to armed conflict if the regulations were changed… One of the groups involved in today’s protest [Fire Nation]… has used violence in the past…” The egregious violence used by foreign mining companies, the toxic pollution, the diversion of whole rivers, or the destruction of Mongolian herders’ lives, culture and futures, is not mentioned.  [8]

In one of the (unsigned) English language stories produced by the Mongolian propaganda system, the supposed ‘facts’ of the protest were presented as absolutes, no matter that they were wrong, that they were exaggerations, and that they were framed to demonize the protestors and validate the punishments doled out by the Mongolian courts.

“While Parliament was discussing the amendment into [sic] the [LLN] law the group [protestors] initiated a bomb scare and fired a shot opposing the amendment of the law to ban mineral exploration and exploitation in river and forest basins.”  [9]

Once such stories are published, the damage of sowing public apathy and mistrust is done: undoing it is much harder.

On 21 January 2014, the same day the six protestors were sentenced, the parliament passed (at 53%) amendments to the taxation law that reduced taxation for gold mining companies from 10% to 2.5%.

The 21 January 2014 trial of Munkhbayar and the others concluded quickly over less than two days.  Initially announced in December as open to public, it was postponed and moved to Correction Facility #461 — a remote location with no public transportation.  Some family members, colleagues and some press were barred from the courtroom.  Seven men were tried, two were released due to ‘lack of evidence’ — another ploy to bring the appearance of legitimacy to the trial.


Ms. Gantulga (with camera) of UMMRL was arrested twice since 16 September 2013 for photographing public events and protests like the 16 September 2013 protest.

Many of the lies about the protests that were broadcast by Mongolian mass media have been proven false.

For example, at the trial it was confirmed that the weapons of the protestors were either unloaded or loaded with (harmless) blanks: only Ts. Munkhbayar and D. Tumurbaatar’s guns were loaded.  Statements by the men and their lawyers that the guns were harmless were ignored.  However, experts announced in trial that the ammunition was inoperable: there were no explosive charges, rendering the ‘loaded’ rifles harmless.


It was confirmed at trial that none of the six men fired the single shot heard round Parliament.  Evidence suggests that state security agents fired the shot as a pretext to arrest and neutralize Mongolia’s most outspoken civil society leaders.  The court refused to question state security agents and refused to investigate who had fired the shot.

A hand grenade reportedly recovered by police outside the Central Tower was deemed harmless upon expert review.  The person who reportedly supplied it to Ts. Munkhbayar, M. Munkhbold (the stroke victim), confessed that it ‘burned’ but could never explode: he was sentenced to two years.  Sources in Mongolia say hand grenades allegedly found on some protestors were also disabled, hence harmless.

The questions of the explosives attributed to the protestors and splashed all over the public mind by the mass media – e.g. questions of their origins, nature, possession, distribution and planting of — were never addressed at trial.  The court did not address or discuss the explosives.


Photos produced by the state security apparatus show weapons, ammunition and explosives alleged to have been confiscated at the time of arrests or discovered during searches later. 

The state security apparatus in Mongolia has become increasingly repressive.  For example, the son of one of Ts. Munkhbayar’s colleagues was killed on 1 July 2008, when thousands of people protested the rigged national elections: police responded with bullets, arrests, tortures, disappearances and secret trials.  Five people were killed, the shooters were not identified, the police officers that gave the command were charged 3-5 years.  The Western press produced superficial reports, but post-election state-orchestrated violence was in whiteout.  [10]

Corruption prevails in proportion to the obscene profits that have accompanied the flood of foreign currency, unbridled urban development, and rapacious mining, since Mongolia’s transition from a ‘communist’ to ‘democratic’ country in the early 1990s.  Corrupt Mongolian elites, Western currency speculators, hedge fund and investment banks, and foreign NGOs have all profited from the largesse.

The former Chairman of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, for example, Sanjaagiin Bayar, was a key actor behind the Oyu Tolgoi mining deal signed 7 October 2009 after years of scandal.  He became Prime Minister on 22 November 2007 and resigned in 2009 — citing ‘health issues’ — but his resignation was just three weeks after signing the Oyu Tolgoi deal.  Exactly one month later, on 29 November 2007, Mr. Bayar purchased a Manhattan (NY, USA) apartment for $US 895,000; he paid some $US 16,000 in 2008 property taxes, rented the suite for $US 4950 a month; and as of January 2014 had it listed for sale at $US 1,195,000.  S. Bayar (59) currently lives in Bellevue, Washington (USA) with his third wife and family.

Mongolia’s state security apparatus ensures protections for racketeering, bribery, illegal search and seizure, trafficking of women and children, slave laborer, and other ‘black market’ activities and international crimes.  The system of incentives motivates police to ‘solve’ crimes by forced confessions, tampering with and planting evidence, and other means.

Following the 16 September 2013 protests, state security agents began targeting civil society members, following people, searching homes, and members of the Fire Nation coalition believe that their cellphones are tapped.

A lawyer for defendant D. Tumurbaatar’s revealed that his client’s home was searched after police called his daughter, lied to her about a non-existent message from him, and then arrested her for alleged drunkenness.  After the daughter (who claims sobriety) was locked in the drunk-tank, police searched and ‘discovered’ explosives.  Police used the pretext of calling the daughter to eliminate any witnesses to their planting the explosives — which they then produced and displayed at a press conference.

Soon after Ts. Munkhbayar’s arrest, a Mongolian director of the gold-mining company AUM, Mr. Ts. Myagmardorj, suddenly announced that Ts. Munkhbayar had blackmailed and extorted some 67 million Tugrugs (~ $US 39,000) from him.  The media ran with story, interviewing Mr. Myagmardorj all over the place, presenting him on Eagle TV — again owned by MP and Foreign Minister Lu. Bold — where he recounted his victimhood.  Claiming losses of millions of Tugrugs, he produced receipts (some very dubious) to prove his allegations.  Mr. Myagmardorj then issued a statement saying that Ts. Munkhbayar had in the spring of 2013 petitioned him for one billion Tugrugs (~ $US 700,000 at the time of the alleged extortion) to be used to mount a coup d’état.

Mr. Myagmardorj’s accusations deeply affected public opinion.  The public had already been led to distrust environmental NGOs, having been bombarded with duplicitous propaganda portraying them as lazy counterfeits who expect easy money from foreign donors, and as extortionists who blackmail mining companies.  In a similar case several years ago, Ts. Munkhbayar was accused of extorting money from the owner of a mining company; he was exonerated in court, but the media ran few stories declaring his innocence, against the many that had proclaimed his guilt.  The local police chief, apparently, was present when the donor personally handed the money to Ts. Munkhbayar.

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 Rio Tinto & Ivanhoe Mines: The Oyu Tolgoi open pit in the Gobi desert.

When Ts. Munkhbayar appeared in court to answer the more recent charges, his accuser, Mr. Myagmardorj, failed to appear at the trial.  Defense lawyers were able to prove that Myagmardorj willingly donated some and loaned some of the money: witnesses testified to the true facts, and a video was shown of the meeting where Mr. Myagmardorj declared his donation to the Rivers Movement — claiming his adamant support of their activities.

“As you see, full-time environmentalists in Mongolia are on their own, they don’t have any funding,” says Erkhem Amarlin.  ”They appreciate donations, even those from mining company directors, but they never know when they will be stabbed in the back.”


Mining companies have manipulated, coerced and threatened nomadic herders whose traditional lands are being taken for mining operations and destroyed.  Herders have been forced on short notice to relocate to less fertile locations, and the dispossession and destruction of their traditional habitats insures the end of their livelihoods.

“The herders were forced to move to inferior locations without adequate time to select spots that would protect their animals from harsh winter storms,” reports Sukhgerel Dugersuren of OT Watch.

“Mongolia has some of the world’s largest undeveloped mineral reserves, including gold, uranium, coal and copper,” TIME reported, in a short 28 January 2014 clip about the jailing of Ts. Munkhbayar.  TIME then paints otherwise rapacious mining corporations as cooperative, respectful, even law-abiding.  ”Thanks to the efforts by Munkhbayar and the alliance of environmentalists that he set up, mining companies agreed to limit their pollution of rivers as well as the displacement of local herders.”  [11]

Here’s what’s wrong with that last statement: [a] mining companies rarely agree to anything that affects profit margins; [b] all public statements they make are meant to influence public opinion; [c] press releases often are run almost verbatim in Western media venues; [d] press statements are generally deceptive, at best, and usually they are blatant lies; [e] mining companies do NOT ‘limit the pollution of rivers’; [f] not anywhere: not in the USA, or Papua New Guinea or Congo or Mongolia; [g] the statement (concept) is meaningless: they are leeching deadly cyanide and sulfuric acid into the pristine rivers of rural Mongolia; [h] in any case: mining operations are responsible for diverting and drying up entire rivers; [i] and they do not, in any way, ‘limit the displacement of local herders’. (Emphasis added.)

The Law with the Long Name was never implemented, even after its adoption.  Mining companies have ignored it, and there has been no enforcement by government.  The TIME statement is a bundle of absolute lies sifted in with some truth (about Munkhbayar).

Even more revealing is the short closing paragraph, where the purpose of the TIME propaganda becomes clear: “In September, the [Mongolia] government agreed to a partnership with French company AREVA to revive uranium exploration in the Gobi Desert, which activists claim has led to death and deformities among livestock.” [12]

TIME cares nothing at all about ‘death and deformities among livestock’: the piece is anti-France, and the last paragraph is designed to manipulate Western pubic opinion against French nuclear corporations, and in favor of U.S. (and Canadian) nuclear corporations.

Directors of non-Mongolian mining companies now plundering Mongolia and manipulating the government include U.S., Canadian, Australian, European and South African executives with current or former ties to: defense and intelligence sectors; state departments; and Wall Street banks.  Many directors have long pedigrees with corporations responsible for genocide and ecocide in Australia, Argentina, Burma, Canada, Chile, Congo, Haiti, Indonesia or the United States.


Police and other state security and intelligence agents have become increasingly repressive. Photo at the Parliament building c. keith harmon snow, 2008.

The British Royal Family are shareholders in the international mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, which has corrupted Mongolian officials to turn a blind eye to pollution and human rights violations.  For example, Article 25.2 of the ‘Law on Budget’ stipulates that a state budget-funded organization/agency may receive outside donations.  This clause allowed Rio Tinto to ‘donate’ money to the President’s office and donate new Toyota Landcruisers to the Specialized Inspection General Authority and to the local parliament (responsible for land decisions) in exchange for favorable decisions.  The Inspection Authority then issued ‘Order #57′ a very benign sounding title for an order ostensibly aimed at improving internal efficiency, but which resulted in the elimination of the mandate to inspect strategic mining projects for the inspector local to Rio Tinto’s concession.

Rio Tinto has threatened lawsuits against Mongolian civil society leaders who speak out.
The executives of mining corporations cycle through the revolving doors between corporate and government sectors.  Directors are former U.S./Canadian/Australian senators, ambassadors, USAID officials, DFID (UK) officials, CIDA (Canada0 officials and British Lords.  Some shady corporations have close ties to former U.S. presidents and work with many other nasty dictatorships, and are closely linked to mercenary companies and arms dealers.  [13]

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Mongolian government officials also sit on some foreign mining boards.  These corporations all use the top auditing agencies to hide corrupt practices (tax evasion, tax havens, loopholes, transfer pricing, etc.), and they use the most scandalous public relations companies (e.g. Britain’s Bell Pottinger) to put a happy face on exploitation and promote such frauds as ‘sustainable development’ and ‘a more secure future for the people of Mongolia’.

Genie Energy is another notable extractive industries firm exploiting oil shale in Mongolia.  A US/Israeli corporation, Genie’s management includes a former Israeli parliamentarian (Knesset) and current Brigadier General of the Israeli Defense Forces.  Directors of Genie Energy’s subsidiary, Israeli Energy Initiatives, include another IDF Brigadier General.   [14]

Until recently, Dick Cheney was another Genie director.  [15]

The North America-Mongolia Business Council, Inc. (NAMBIC), whose officers and directors include Canada’s first Ambassador to Mongolia, former USAID officials, and a former U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia (2003-2006), drives World Bank and U.S. Embassy policies and actions in Mongolia.  [16]

Disregarding the rights and formal complaints of herders, and the negative environmental impacts, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Insurance Guarantee Agency (MIGA) are considering $US 900 million in loans and up to $US 1 billion in political risk insurance for the Oyu Tolgoi mining project.

To circumvent international conventions on indigenous people’s rights, and the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, the World Bank and IFC decided that nomadic herders in Mongolia do not qualify as ‘land-based mobile peoples’ to be protected under their Indigenous Peoples Standard.

“We do not need gold or money, but water and land to live,” declared L. Battsengel, director of the herder organization Gobi Soil, formed to fight against the destruction of the herders’ way of life by large-scale mining and related infrastructure development.

While a handful of civil society leaders fighting to protect the earth and ensure the rights to life, autonomy and self-determination of Mongolia’s indigenous people are framed and harshly punished with unfair sentences by Mongolian courts, the same courts are ignoring, excusing and pardoning government officials caught red-handed for massive corruption.



The six environmental leaders accepted their sentences in court with dignity and calm.  Ts. Munkhbayar is the 4th from left, front row.  Photo 21 January 2014.

In August 2012, the former president Nambar Enkhbayar was sentenced to four years in jail for defrauding the People.  The New York Times covered [sic] this story: on 3 August 2012 they reprinted a 53-word summary provided by China’s national news service Xinhua.

On 27 January 2014, some 35 nonprofit organizations in Mongolia organized a press conference demanding the release Ts. Munkhbayar and the others.  Family and Fire Nation members collected over 1000 signatures after seven hours in sub-zero weather.

Earthworks, a U.S.-based non-profit pressure organization, created a petition for Munkhbayar’s release (please sign!) but the organization forgets about Munkhbayar’s colleagues, the dedicated civil society leaders who have helped create the legend of Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, and whose safety must also be insured and release must also be won.


Many researchers, human rights workers, journalists and scholars deem the ways in which indigenous peoples have been dealt with in the 20th century to be genocide.  Others limit the characterization to ethnocide.  Others deny the scale or nature or extent of the violence, and dismiss the genocide label.

“Indigenous groups have had difficulty getting redress for crimes committed against them, and they have often been treated negatively by courts when they have been charged with illegal activities,” wrote two renowned genocide experts.  ”Often, the sentences they receive are more severe than those meted out to non-indigenous individuals.”  [17]

These scholars’ assessment fits the case of Ts. Munkhbayar and colleagues.

More and more nomads are being forced to the margins of existence, dispossessed of their traditional pastures and forced into ger shantytowns and ger cities where options for survival are few.  Photo c. keith harmon snow, 2008.

Many ‘genocide experts’ narrowly limit the Genocide Convention to ‘acts committed with intent to destroy [defined] groups in whole or in part’.  Others extend the genocide formulation to include the intentional prevention of ethnic groups from practicing traditional customs; forced resettlement; denial of access to food relief, health assistance, and development funds; and destruction of habitats utilized by indigenous populations.  [18]

The capitalist system makes all kinds of excuses for very real genocides occurring today.  But genocide scholars, as the intelligentsia of western culture, like mining executives, have very real interests to maintain, positions to protect, renowned Chairs of this or that to sit in, salaries to collect, and reputations of scholarship to uphold, and they along with their elite institutions have to guard against everything and anything that might challenge their very way of life.

According to The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted 13 September 2007 (Article 8):

1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.

2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;

(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;

(c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;

(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

(e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.

Seems that all of the above can be applied to the case of indigenous herders in Mongolia (and this is only Article 8 of 46 articles) and they would be applied, if the system were just, and the United Nations (International Criminal Court, ICTY, ICTR, Supreme Court, etc.) was for real.

The terminology ‘violence’ applied to the actions Ts. Munkhbayar and other Fire Nation activists turns the problem of perpetrator-versus-victim upside down.  It is a rationalization created by powerful elites, and Westerners have bought into such rationalizations, and we go along with them, because they enable us to harbor false beliefs and a collective insanity about our own innocence, goodness and charity.

In the topsy-turvy equation of perpetrator-versus-victim, the Mongol herders cornered by capitalism, left landless and homeless, adrift in a crisis of identity and purpose, watching from ger cities and behind fences and jail cells as all they ever knew and loved and all that is sacred to them is destroyed, are portrayed as the perpetrators (of violence).  Meanwhile, our predatory Western executives and our predatory corporations, allied with a comprador class of Mongolian elite collaborators, who are the actual perpetrators of extreme violence, are portrayed as the victims (of it).

These definitions and realities occur by default and assumption and without discussion.

Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and his colleagues have the right to protect their culture, the right to protect themselves, and the right to protect their people… And yet Westerners regard with shock and displeasure the actions of Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and friends, who had the audacity to show up at the Mongolian Parliament with weapons in their hands.

“Not for me that armed protest, that is violence,” I can hear the Westerner saying, “and I am an adherent of non-violence, of Satyagraha, I believe peace is the way.”

But inside themselves (ourselves), it is really an internalized terror that the Westerner has to deal with, a terror that someone somewhere might come forth and confront them (us) and all of their (our) privileges and affluence and righteousness and decadence and non-violent violence, and our higher moral values…

Someone like Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, who is willing to stand up and fight for the survival of an entire people, his people, to fight for his way of life, and to protect and honor the sacred Mongol land by giving his own life.  ~


 Absent serious protections for the invading foreign capitalist hordes, the future for Mongol nomad herders and their culture is bleak.  Photo c. keith harmon snow, 2008.


A former genocide investigator for the United Nations, keith harmon snow is the 2009 Regent’s Lecturer in Law & Society at the University of California Santa Barbara, and a participant at the 65th Annual Conference on World Affairs.  In September and October 2008, keith traveled by mountain bicycle across central and northern Mongolia, east to west, and then back across southern Mongolia, west to east.  He stayed with nomads in traditional gers, or slept in a tent in remote areas, all along the way.

[1]   M. Zoljargal, Protest at Government Palace Leads to arrests and evacuations, 19 September 2013, <>.
[2]   See: keith harmon snow, “Goldman Prizewinner Shoots Up Foreign Mining Firms in Mongolia,” Dissident Voice, 11 March 2011.
[3]   ”Nationalist Group Threatens with Bombs and Guns,”, 16 September 2013, <>
[4]   “‘Gal Undesten’ Movement Members Who Threatened With Grenades and Firearms Arrested,” 16 September 2013, <>.
[5]   AREVA Corporation is known, e.g., for propping up nasty dictatorships, trampling indigenous nomads’ human rights, fomenting state terror, and spreading radioactive contamination and epidemics of disease in the Sahara.  AREVA is also walking all over people in India.
[6]   Erkhem Amarlin, a Mongolian anti nuclear movement leader, founder of the blog known for publishing evidence about secret nuclear waste deals, illegal land sales and other threats to Mongolia’s national security.
[7]   Ibid.
[8]   ”Gunfire Heard Outside Mongolian Parliament Today, Montsame says,” Michael Kohn, 16 September 2013, <>.
[9]  ”Environmental activist Ts. Munkhbayar receives 21.6 year sentence,”, 22 January 2014, <>.
[10] See:  keith harmon snow, “Goldman Prizewinner Shoots Up Foreign Mining Firms in Mongolia,” Dissident Voice, 11 March 2011.
[11] Per Liljas, “Award-winning Mongolian Environmentalist Gets 21 Years for ‘Terrorism’, TIME, 28 January 2014; <>.
[12] Ibid.
[13] See:  keith harmon snow, “Goldman Prizewinner Shoots Up Foreign Mining Firms in Mongolia,” Dissident Voice, 11 March 2011; and Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellon Press, 1999.
[14] A virulent racist, Efram Eitam ordered Israeli Defense Forces to beat and ‘break the bones’ of unarmed Palestinians (who later died); he has called for all Palestinians to be killed; and he has made dehumanizing hate-statements in public that effectively amount to statements calling for genocide.  He has also traveled around to schools in the United States as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘Special Emissary’. Directors of Genie Energy’s subsidiary, Israeli Energy Initiatives, include IDF Brigadier General Israel Shafir (a pilot who bombed Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981).  The board of advisors for Genie and IEI’s project in Mongolia include: Michael Steinhardt, Howard Jonas, Lord Jacob Rothschild, Israel Shafir, Rupert Murdoch and, until recently, Dick Cheney.
[15] See: MacDonald Stainsby, “Mongolia, Canada, Israel and the United States: Colonialism, Mining and Oil Shale,” Counterpunch, 12 June 2013.
[16] Former U.S. Ambassador Pamela Slutz has a long history of U.S. foreign service postings in places where massive human rights atrocities and covert U.S. interventions were occurring (e.g. Zaire: 1982-1984; Indonesia: 1984-1987; Kenya: 2006-2009; Burundi 2009-2012).
[17] Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts, Ed. Samuel Totten and William S. Parsons, 2009 edition, p. 419.
[18] Ibid, p. 420.

Written by: keith harmon snow

Photography Credits: keith harmon snow

Ukraine’s economy is a sinkhole of economic Depression. It’s teetering toward collapse.

Its Q I GDP plunged 17.6% year-over-year. It’s down 6.1% from Q IV 2014. Ten of the last 11 quarters saw economic contraction. Kiev depends on outside aid to keep operating.

Inflation is out-of-control. The Financial Times reported it reaching 61% in April. Its hryvnia currency is headed toward becoming worthless toilet paper. It’s worth less than 5 cents to the dollar. Adjusted for its decline, real inflation tops 270% year-over-year.

Living standards are plunging. Poverty is a growth industry. So are unemployment,  underemployment and human misery.

Most Ukrainians struggle to get by. They can’t make ends meet. Skyrocketing prices makes basic goods and services unaffordable.

IMF diktats exacerbate already untenable conditions. They include laying off government employees, wage cuts, abolishing pensions for some retired workers, freezing them for others, and major cuts in other social benefits en route to eliminating them altogether – a prescription for economic collapse and perhaps Maidan II.

Corruption is out-of-control. Grand theft is standard practice. Government, military and business officials are on the take. Lucrative schemes are created to plunder the state budget.

Ordinary Ukrainians suffer hugely. An billionaire oligarch class amassed enormous wealth – gotten the old-fashioned way by stealing it.

At the same time, millions of dollars are spent daily waging war on Donbass. Ukraine budgeted $5.4 billion for so-called defense and national security at a time it’s bankrupt and can’t pay creditors.

previous article discussed its declared debt moratorium – a step toward default except for IMF loans.

Growing numbers of Ukrainians are justifiably angry. Intermittent protests erupted since late last year – the latest this week.

Crowds demonstrated outside parliament in Kiev. They burnt tires. They tried breaking into the building. Clashes with police erupted. Arrests and injuries followed.

Ukrainians are angry over economic crisis conditions affecting them hugely – including soaring prices, rising unemployment, poverty or sub-poverty wages for workers lucky to have jobs, lost social benefits, unchecked rampant corruption, and regime officials doing nothing to alleviate things responsibly.

At the same time, taxes are rising, hiked gas prices are unaffordable for millions, and tuition fees were imposed for the first time.

Protesters oppose regime cost-cutting measures. They want legislation regulating bank credit and deposits. They want refunds on depreciated deposits in banks hard hit by economic crisis conditions.

They demand legislation allowing loan repayments at the same exchange rate in place when gotten – 5 hryvnas to the dollar instead of over 20 currently.

Parliament so far failed to pass legislation mandating it – or anything else helping ordinary people.

They demand National Bank of Ukraine chairman Valeriya Hontareva resign. They want prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and finance minister Natalya Yaresko replaced.

“Out with the gang,” protesters shouted. Some vowed to stay the course until their demands are met.

During a December 2014 anti-regime demonstration, one participant said “(i)f our demands are ignored, we are ready to take radical measures.”

“We are addressing you, the servants of the people. You have already done everything, so that we don’t have anything more to lose.”

Viktor Medvedchuk is a former Leonid Kuchma regime head of presidential administration. He heads the Ukrainian Choice political organization. He opposes EU membership. Putin is his daughter Darina’s godfather.

Months earlier, he said Kiev “authorities have failed to learn anything from the Maidan. The government and the people are again on the opposite sides of the barricades.”

Moscow-based Institute for Social and Political Research Sergey Markov believes Kiev won’t let protests reach critical mass.

Legislation passed late last year permits “isolat(ing) trade union leaders and organizers of protests from society, while the protests will be suppressed violently,” he said.

Police states operate this way. Polls show growing dissatisfaction with Poroshenko.

Kiev-based Center for Social and Labor Research sociologist Volodymyr Ischenko says “(m)any people are starting to speak quietly about the idea of another Maidan – maybe not at the senior political level, but by regular people in everyday discussions.”

“The economy will deteriorate more and we are about to see huge energy price increases. This will affect not just the poor but the middle class as well, and the question is how long society will tolerate this?”

The ingredients for social upheaval are evident. Another Maidan may be just a matter of time – with perhaps no better outcome next time than in February 2014.

Dear friend, Mumia Abu-Jamal called on Wednesday night from the day room just outside the prison Infirmary and Prison Radio was there.  Of course it was topical, brilliant and searing: listen here “Waco”.  You make it possible for his voice to continue soaring over the prison walls. He was returned to SCI Mahanoy late on Tuesday night from the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville PA.  Yesterday, he was visited by his wife at the prison.The last week has been rough.  We knew he was chained to the bed, in the hospital. We had not seen or spoken to Mumia for many days. The PA Department of Corrections had kept Mumia completely isolated and prevented his family, his doctor, & and his attorney from having any contact with him during his entire stay in the hospital for over a week.

On Monday May 18th Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center and co counsel Robert Boyle filed a Federal Lawsuit  challenging the DOC’s complete disregard for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s constitutional rights.  You have made that happen, 824 of you have helped us fund this suit and we have sent 20K to the Abolitionist Law Center.

Just to show you the extent that the Department of Corrections went to prevent anyone from seeing Mumia, let me share this with you.  On Saturday, May 16th Dr. Mark Lewis Taylor, attempted to visit Mumia in the hospital, as a spiritual advisor, (He teaches at Princeton Theological Seminary and is co founder of Educators for Mumia). He was not able to confirm Mumia’s presence at Geisinger.  He was stopped from even praying for longer than 10mins in the lobby. Moreover, a chaplain friend called Geisinger to request Mumia receive a visit from the hospital chaplain only to be told “That there was something unique about this case and security would not allow it.” Once again, the Mumia exception.

On Monday the 18th, After your calls, letters, and faxes, and French international delegation visits to the hospital, Mumia’s wife is finally permitted a fifteen minute phone call with her still hospitalized husband. Mumia’s voice sounded strong, and he indicated he was undergoing a series of diagnostic tests. Mumia remained shackled to the bed at the arms, and his legs were in restrains through his hospital stay. Legs that are sore, bloody, and swollen.

Our one hope, that we have to confirm, is that because Geisinger is a large hospital with rotations of specialist, that the week at the hospital included significant diagnostic testing.  Remember, during his initial hospital stay at the Schukill Med Center in Pottsville, he did not receive specialist care or diagnostic tests such as the catscan or biopsy. Those were done after he was discharged. This is the first time Mumia has had extensive and hopefully correct diagnostic treatment.  Now we have to get those records and monitor whether they did the right tests.  Can I say this again?  Your calls, your faxes, your witness is the reason they did the tests. Your commitment to his health and his freedom is the reason he will come home well.

On Thursday the 21st Wadiya Jamal visited Mumia at the prison.  He laughed and was warm, but he came out to the visit in a wheelchair. He is still recovering from his near death incident. He still has no diagnosis and no treatment plan. Once we have the medical records (records the prison is being slow to provide) we can have our experts develop a diagnosis and treatment plan.  You, dear reader, are going to play a very large roll in whether Mumia gets the care he needs.  Together, with your help, your donations are funding this work. Your calls and actions are the only reason he has had any contact with his family.  Please keep your drumbeat of support going.  He is reaching out to us with his voice, and we need to keep reaching back in to him.  Consider writing Mumia a card- Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335 SCI Mahanoy 301 Morea Rd. Frackville, PA 17932.

We are pulling out all the stops.  Together with International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal & the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC) we placed this full page ad in the Nation Magazine- it will run in the June 1st 2015 issue. Please Print it out and share it with friends. Please sign it at  Please help us print this ad.  It is going to cost $5K  to design, print and motivate.  Please take a moment to help prison radio make it happen, by sending a gift Donate

Every Action Matters!

Please continue to call or write on a daily basis and demand that Mumia be free, and that he be granted access to his legal team, that his family be permitted to visit, and that his health records be disclosed to him and his family.  Check here for the addresses.  Check the free mumia coalition website for the latest and their facebook page. 

John Wetzel, Secretary, PA of Department of Corrections: 717-728-4109
Thomas Wolf, Gov. of Pennsylvania: 717-787-2500

Mumia is truly living in the love of the common people and in his words “It’s the reason I’m still alive.” Keep the love flowing and refuse to allow the Pennsylvania DOC to murder this Long Distance Revolutionary through medical neglect.

A Challenge to Monsanto

May 22nd, 2015 by Steven M. Druker

In this challenge, which was delivered to Monsanto’s headquarters on May 20, 2015, American public interest attorney Steven Druker calls on that corporation to find any inaccurate statements of fact in his new book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth – How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public. This acclaimed book thoroughly exposes the substantial risks of genetically engineered foods (also called GM foods and GMOs) and the multiple misrepresentations that have enabled them to permeate world markets. Druker asserts that if Monsanto cannot prove that his book is essentially erroneous, the world will have a right to regard these controversial foods as unacceptably risky – and to promptly ban them.


Full pdf version of letter

Face Up to the Extensive Evidence Demonstrating that
Genetically Engineered Foods Entail Unacceptable Risks and
Should Be Promptly Removed from the Market

An Open Letter to Robb Fraley, PhD
Chief Technology Officer
Monsanto Company


Steven M. Druker, JD
Executive Director
Alliance for Bio-Integrity

May 19, 2015

Dear Dr. Fraley,

Although Monsanto and other proponents of genetically engineered foods (also known as genetically modified foods and GMOs) have been able to instill the widespread impression that these novel products are not only safe but necessary to meet the nutritional needs of the developing world, this impression is in fact an illusion; and it is based on disinformation.

Some prime examples of this disinformation are contained in a brochure published in 2013 by Monsanto titled “The Safety & Benefits of Biotech Plants Used in Agriculture.” For instance, the document declares that genetically engineered foods (GE foods) are just as safe as natural ones, and it cites an assertion by the board of directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) that “every respected organization that has examined the evidence” has reached this conclusion. But the authors of that assertion appear to have overlooked, or intentionally obfuscated, the fact that several respected organizations have examined the evidence and concluded otherwise. Among them are the British Medical Association, the Public Health Association of Australia, and the Royal Society of Canada.

Further, the reports issued by these organizations provide cause for concern. For example, the one issued by the Royal Society of Canada declares (a) that it is “scientifically unjustifiable” to presume that GE foods are safe and (b) that the “default presumption” for every GE food should be that the genetic alteration has induced unintended and potentially harmful side effects.[1] In describing the report’s criticism of the current approach to regulating GE foods, the Toronto Star stated: “The experts say this approach is fatally flawed . . .  and exposes Canadians to several potential health risks, including toxicity and allergic reactions.”[2] Moreover, as described in the British Medical Journal, a report by the British Medical Association asserted that “more research is needed to show that genetically modified (GM) food crops and ingredients are safe for people and the environment and that they offer real benefits over traditionally grown foods.” [3]

Monsanto’s brochure also proclaims: “Since farmers first planted GM crops in 1996, there have been no documented safety issues.” But in reality, a substantial number of well-conducted research studies have clearly documented safety issues with such crops by detecting statistically significant instances of harm to the laboratory animals that were consigned to consume them. These studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals,[4] and several are described in a recently released book that I wrote:

 Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science,
Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public

Furthermore, Monsanto’s bogus boast about the absence of safety issues is doubly deceptive, because it also misrepresents the date when commercialized GE crops were initially planted. This is significant because the first such crop (the Flavr Savr tomato), which came to market in 1994,  also entailed a documented safety issue. As the aforementioned book reveals, through memos pried from the files of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) via a lawsuit that I initiated, the scientists in the agency’s Pathology Branch (along with other specialists) who examined the data from the animal feeding studies conducted with this altered tomato concluded that they raised a safety issue that was never satisfactorily resolved. However, that did not deter FDA administrators (who have acknowledged that the agency has an agenda “to foster” the biotechnology industry[5] from falsely claiming that all safety issues had been resolved.

The book further reveals that the very first ingestible product of genetic engineering (a food supplement of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan) entailed the biggest documented safety issue of all, because in 1989 it induced an epidemic that killed dozens of Americans and seriously sickened thousands, permanently disabling many of them. Moreover, contrary to the claims of biotech proponents, the evidence points to the genetic engineering employed in the production process as the most likely cause of the unusual contamination that rendered the supplement toxic – which, as the book explains, is additional indication that genetic engineering is in itself a risk-laden procedure and that the foods it produces pose greater risks than their conventional counterparts.[6]

Furthermore, not only does my book refute Monsanto’s claims about the existence of expert consensus and the utter absence of documented safety issues, it refutes the other major claims made by that brochure (and by the proponents of GE foods) as well. And it does so decisively.

In her foreword, Jane Goodall hails it as “without doubt one of the most important books of the last 50 years”; and several other scientists have also attested its importance and its soundness. For instance:

  • David Schubert, a Professor and Head of Cellular Neurobiology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has praised it as “incisive, insightful, and truly outstanding” – and noted that it’s “well-rea­soned and scientifically solid.”
  • Joseph Cummins, Professor Emeritus of Genetics at Western University in London, Ontario, has called it “a landmark” that should be required reading in every university biology course.
  • John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri, has called it a “great book” and stated: “The evidence is comprehensive and irrefutable; the reasoning is clear and compelling. No one has documented other cases of irresponsible behavior by government regulators and the scientific establishment nearly as well as Druker documents this one. His book should be widely read and thoroughly heeded.”
  • Philip Regal, Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Minnesota, has commended it as  exceptionally well-researched and well-written” and declared: “I am very impressed with the book as a whole – and expect that a large number of other scientists will be too.”
  • The biochemist Stephen Naylor, who during his ten years as a professor at the Mayo Clinic extensively investigated the epidemic caused by the toxic GE tryptophan supplement, has described the book’s discussion of that tragic event as “the most comprehensive, evenly-balanced and accurate account that I have read.”  
  • Belinda Martineau, a molecular biologist who was a co-developer of the Flavr Savr™ tomato, has described the book as “thorough, logical and thought-provoking” and declared that she “strongly” recommends it. 

In all, the book demonstrates that:

The genetic engineering process is inherently risky, and the foods it creates entail abnormal risks. 

  1. The risks have been systematically misrepresented by the products’ proponents.
  2. The key misrepresentations have been made by eminent scientists and scientific institutions – and some of the most pivotal deceptions have been perpetrated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  3. Besides deceiving the public about the risks of GE foods, the FDA allowed them to enter the US market in blatant violation of federal food safety law – and they continue to be on the market illegally. 
  4. Not only is the GE food venture unsound from the perspective of biological science, it is unsound – and outright reckless – when examined in light of computer science; and compared to the careful manner in which software engineers revise life-critical information systems, the rash and radical way in which biotechnicians alter complex cellular information systems is not really “bioengineering” butbiohacking.
  5. Even if GE crops didn’t entail excessive risks, they would still not be the solution for meeting the world’s prospective food needs, which is clear from a major study on the future of farming sponsored by four United Nations agencies and the World Bank that concluded they are not necessary[7]– and also from numerous studies in a variety of African nations demonstrating that safe and sustainable agroecological methods can outperform industrialized approaches (even when GMOs are employed).[8] 


Dr. Fraley, several months ago you sent Jane Goodall an email in response to a statement she made in a television interview that was critical of GE foods. You included the Monsanto brochure noted above in the hopes it would convince her that these foods are not merely acceptable, but desirable. However, your hopes were misplaced, because she recognized that the basic claims in the document are inaccurate – and that the evidence actually reveals that GE foods are not an acceptable option. Further, she passed that email on to me so that I could reply as I see fit.

In that email, you stated: “I would be very pleased to provide you with any additional information.” The time has come to take you up on that offer. But I do not want to receive more of Monsanto’s misleading pronouncements that are passed off as genuine facts. Instead, I’m requesting some information that you had not planned to send. I want you to inform me of any inaccuracies you can find in my book. I want you and your colleagues to attempt to refute Altered Genes, Twisted Truth in the same manner this letter has refuted two of the main assertions in the brochure you submitted. Moreover, I challenge you to do so. I challenge you to read the book and send me a specific list of any inaccurate statements of fact that you detect in it, accompanied by an explanation of why the statement is erroneous and a reference to the evidence that conclusively corroborates your claim.

To clarify, I am referring to simple assertions about concrete facts that can be decisively falsified by incontestable evidence, such as the erroneous statements in your brochure that “every respected organization that has examined the evidence” has concluded that GE foods are as safe as naturally produced ones and that “there have been no documented safety issues.” I am not referring to the broader conclusions the book draws from the primary facts, such as the conclusions (a) that the GE food venture has been chronically and crucially reliant on deception and (b) that its products are unacceptably risky and should be banned.[9] I fully expect that you will disagree with these conclusions, but I am confident that the vast majority of fair-minded men and women who become aware of the basic facts will agree with them.

I also invite the other proponents of GE foods within industry and academia to assist Monsanto by scrutinizing the book and sending you their input. In that way, the response that Monsanto submits will represent the best collective effort of the biotech industry and its supporters.

It’s important to emphasize that none of the factual assertions in my book can be invalidated merely by citing a contrary opinion by a particular scientist or group of scientists (unless the statement in question has misrepresented the opinion of that individual or group and the citation is offered to restore accuracy). Instead, incontestable evidence must be presented. Similarly, because the book has systematically refuted the standard claims made by the proponents of GE foods, it cannot be refuted merely by hurling those claims back at it – and any attempts to do so will demonstrate that Monsanto (or whoever has done so) is incapable of actually refuting the book’s key assertions. Further, although promoters of GE foods have routinely launched personal attacks against anyone bringing out evidence that puts their safety in question, such attacks will do nothing to undermine the book’s solidity and will only demonstrate the desperation of those who perpetrate them – and their inability to discredit the book through legitimate means.

If by July 20th you and your allies have not been able to refute the essential factual accuracy of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth according to the terms set forth above, the world will have a right to assume that it is as sound as the experts who reviewed it have affirmed – and to conclude that GE foods are unacceptably risky and must be banned.

I will send you (in a separate document) the address to which your response to this challenge  should be submitted. That response will be posted on the book’s website and Facebook page and also on the website of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity.

Further, I will readily acknowledge (on the above sites) any genuine errors you point out and will correct them in the next printing of the book. Concomitantly, I expect that, if Monsanto is as committed to the scientific spirit as it professes to be, there will be a prompt public acknowledgement and retraction of the erroneous assertions this document has pointed out along with an honest attempt to set the record straight. Please send me the evidence that this has occurred. Moreover, as you read the book, you will discern many other inaccuracies that Monsanto has propagated, and I request that you likewise publicly acknowledge and correct them.

It is well-recognized that although we’re all entitled to our own opinions, no one is entitled to his or her own set of facts. And it is obvious that Monsanto and its allies have been propagating a distinctly different set of facts than are delineated in Altered Genes, Twisted Truth. Both versions of reality cannot be correct, and people have a right to know which one is valid and which is fictitious. The purpose of this challenge is to clearly and conclusively provide the answer.


[1]“Elements of Precaution: Recommendations for the Regulation of Food Biotechnology in Canada; An Expert Panel Report on the Future of Food Biotechnology prepared by The Royal Society of Canada at the request of Health Canada Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Environment Canada,” The Royal Society of Canada, January 2001. This report has never been retracted, superseded, or revised; and it is just as relevant today as when it was issued. Further, neither the AAAS nor any other organization that has expressed support for GE foods has attempted to directly confront and refute its reasoning. Instead, they have essentially ignored it and pretended that it doesn’t exist.

[2]Calamai, P., “Ottawa Rapped, Expert Study Considered Major Setback for Biotech Industry,” Toronto Star,February 5, 2001. 

[3] “Genetically modified food and health: A second interim statement,” British Medical Association Board of Science and Education, March., 2004. Described in: Kmietowicz, Z., “GM Foods Should Be Submitted to Further Studies, says BMA,” British Medical Journal 328 (7440) (March 13, 2004): 602

[4] Five of the many research studies that detected harm to laboratory animals are:

Ewen, S.W.B. and Pusztai, A., “Effects of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine,” The Lancet 354 (1999): 1353-54.

Seralini, G.E., et al., “New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity,” Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 52, no. 4 (May 2007): 596-602.

Malatesta, M., F., et al., “A long-term study on female mice fed on a genetically modified soybean: effects on liver ageing,” Histochem Cell Biol. 130 (2008): 967–77.

Gab-Alla, A.A., et al., “Histopathological changes in some organs of male rats fed on genetically modified corn” (Ajeeb, Y.G.), J Am Sci. 8 (10)(2012):  684–96.

Seralini, G.E., et al., “Republished study: long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” Environmental Sciences Europe (2014): 26:14. 

Although several of these studies have been attacked by proponents of GE foods, the attacks were unjustified and all of the research is in fact solid (as is thoroughly demonstrated in Chapter 10 of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth.) Moreover, the simple fact that such studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals undermines the claim that there have been no documented safety issues with GE crops.

[5]“Genetically Engineered Foods,” FDA Consumer, Jan.-Feb. 1993, p.14. The promotional agenda of the FDA, which is also followed by other agencies of the US executive branch, was adopted during the presidency of Ronald Reagan and has continued through each successive administration, including the present one.

[6] Although advocates of genetic engineering have argued that L-tryptophan itself was the likely cause of the epidemic, this claim starkly clashes with the evidence, as Chapter 3 of my book demonstrates. And, as this letter elsewhere points out, a biochemist who extensively investigated the epidemic during his ten years as a professor at the Mayo Clinic has described the book’s discussion of that tragic event as “the most comprehensive, evenly-balanced and accurate account that I have read.” 

[7]“Agriculture at a Crossroads: Global Report,” International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (Washington, DC, USA: Island Press; 2009). This massive study was conducted by more than 400 experts from 80 countries, and 58 governments have endorsed it. Further, besides concluding that genetic engineering is not essential for solving the problem of hunger, it pointed out that yields of GE crops have been “highly variable,” with some cases of “yield declines.” What’s more, when the project’s director was asked at a press conference whether GE crops were the answer to world hunger, he replied, “The simple answer is no.” (Lean, G., “Exposed: The great GM crops myth,” The Independent, April 20, 2008.)

[8]For instance, a recent UN report that surveyed 114 farming projects in 24 African countries determined that through the adoption of organic or near-organic practices, yields increased on average by over 100%. [Hine, R., Pretty, J. and Twarog, S., “Organic agriculture and food security in Africa,” New York and Geneva: UNEP-UNCTAD Capacity-Building Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development (2008).] Additionally, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has pointed out: “Yields went up 214% in 44 projects in 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa using agroecological farming techniques over a period of 3 to 10 years.” And he noted that this accomplishment is “far more than any GM crop has ever done.” (De Schutter, Olivier, quoted in Leahy, S., “Africa: Save climate and double food production with eco-farming,” IPS News, March 8, 2011.)

[9]I expect you will also disagree with the conclusions that GE foods entered the US market illegally and that they continue to be marketed in violation of federal food safety law. But in order to convincingly counter this conclusion, it will be necessary for you to refute the factual assertions on which it rests. The book points out that the sole purported legal basis for the presence of GE foods on the US market is the FDA’s presumption that they are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). And it demonstrates that this presumption is invalid because neither of the two necessary criteria for GRAS status has ever been fulfilled in the case of any GE crop. Not only does it expose how memos pried from the FDA’s own files by the lawsuit I initiated establish that these requirements had not been met when the FDA first announced (in 1992) that GE foods could be presumed GRAS, it demonstrates that even if this avowedly “rebuttable” presumption had initially been valid, it has been repeatedly and solidly rebutted over the ensuing years. For instance, a federal judge acknowledged that as of May 1998, there were “significant disagreements” among scientific experts about the safety of GE foods. (See Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, pp. 150-51.)

So you will need to address all the specific allegations of fact that the book employs to support the above-noted assertions and demonstrations, and you will have to establish that at least some of the crucial ones are false. If you cannot, people will be justified in concurring with the conclusions the book has drawn from these facts – and in regarding GE foods as having continuously been on the US market in violation of federal law.

Copyright © 2015 Steven M. Druker

New Zealand: Workers Rights in the Fast Food Industry

May 22nd, 2015 by Socialist Project

Workers in the fast food industry in New Zealand scored a spectacular victory over what has been dubbed “zero hour contracts” during a collective agreement bargaining round over the course of March and April this year. The campaign played out over the national media as well as on picket lines. The victory was seen by many observers as the product of a determined fight by a valiant group of workers and their union, Unite. It was a morale boost for all working people after what has seemed like a period of retreat for working-class struggle in recent years.

Workers in the fast food industry have long identified “zero hour contracts” as the central problem they face. These are contracts that don’t guarantee any hours per week, meanwhile workers are expected to work any shifts rostered within the workers’ ‘availability’. Managers have power to use and abuse the rostering system to reward and punish, without any real means of holding them to account.

This year, all the collective agreements with the major fast food companies (McDonald’s, Burger King, Restaurant Brands) expired on March 31. We were already in dispute with Wendy’s, as their agreement remains unresolved from last year. Unite Union was determined to end the system of zero hours and get guaranteed hours included in the new collective agreements. We had no illusions that this was going to be easy. We knew this would be a tough battle and we needed to prepare for that reality if we were to have a chance of success. At organizing meetings I would sometimes use a phrase that appealed: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” I was told later it is taken from a Latin adage: “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” Whoever coined the phrase, it is a wise strategy.

End zero Hours

Not a New Phenomenon

These zero-hour contracts are not a new phenomenon. They became entrenched in the 1990s during the dark days of the Employment Contracts Act. They affect literally hundreds of thousands of workers in fast food, cinemas, hotels, home care, security, cleaning, hospitality, restaurants and retail. The fast food industry in New Zealand includes the foreign owned McDonald’s, Burger King and Domino’s Pizza chains, the locally-owned businesses that pay for the right to market brand names in New Zealand like Wendy’s and Restaurant Brands, and then the home-grown brands like Hell’s Pizza and Burger Fuel which also have international ambitions.

We have been successful in negotiating collective employment agreements with McDonald’s, Restaurant Brands, Burger King and Wendy’s. None of these companies welcomed Unite Union’s presence. However, the competitive nature of the industry and the desire of these companies to protect their “brands” has given the union some leverage at times to amplify the organizing we have been able to do on the ground.

It took a major, national SupersizeMyPay.Com campaign from 2005 to 2006 to get the first collective employment agreements. Our targets in that campaign were threefold: a major boost to the minimum wage; an end to youth rates; and what we called ‘Secure Hours’.

Through that campaign and later rounds of bargaining (including major disputes with McDonald’s in 2008 and 2013) we have been able to make significant improvements. Whilst it is true that the minimum wage continues to govern the start rates in the industry, it was during the first period of bargaining with these companies when there was a substantial increase in the real value of the minimum wage under the 1999-2008 Labour Party-led government. The previous National Party-led government had let the minimum wage drop in value by increasing it only once in nine years – the year it was in coalition with NZ First. The Labour-led government which followed then presided over a restoration of the real value of the minimum wage from around one-third to one half of the average wage.

Unite kept the pressure on the National government elected in 2008 by launching a petition drive in June 2009 to boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour. That gained over 200,000 signatures. Partly due to that, the new National government has felt obliged to maintain the minimum wage at around 50 per cent of the average wage. There have been increases every year they have been in government.

We also got rid of youth rates, increased the paid break from 10 to 15 minutes, and won new wage rates above the minimum for workers after a certain period of time on the job, or in recognition of training. The frequency of paid and unpaid breaks was improved and enforced more effectively.

We sought to improve the rostering regime and security of hours by introducing clauses into the collective agreements that said the companies should not hire staff before offering hours to existing staff. But these clauses proved ineffective and almost impossible to enforce given the companies complete control over rostering. We came to the conclusion that “secure hours” needed to be replaced by “guaranteed hours” as the only way to incorporate enforceable clauses in the collective agreements.

“End Zero Hour Contracts” Campaign

Deciding to take on the major companies in a campaign to end a practice they have been happily using for several decades was not made lightly. We were convinced that so long as managers had the power to use and abuse a worker through their complete control over rostered hours, we would always have an uphill battle in getting workers to assert their rights and have the confidence to join a union. We get story after story of workers losing shifts for demanding the right to a break, for taking sick leave, for being ‘too lippy’. Often the managers in this industry are too young and inexperienced to be able to make judgements devoid of favouritism.

Organizing fast food workers is a very difficult task. Workers are spread across hundreds of relatively small establishments often working 24/7 shifts. Turnover of staff is at least two out of three workers every year. Unite has 7000 members (including 4000 in fast food) and must recruit 5000 members a year just to remain at this size. The fast food sector is also heavily reliant on migrant workers on temporary visas which are often tied to a company. Typically, 30-40 per cent of staff are on these permits. These ‘visa workers’ are naturally nervous about doing anything that would displease their boss.

McDonald’s has 9,500 staff spread over 163 stores, 80 per cent of stores are franchised. Franchise owners treat a worker joining the union as a personal betrayal. Average membership is only about eight per cent as a consequence. At the company-owned stores, we have about 30 per cent of staff as members.

At Burger King, which has 80 stores and 2600 staff, our membership is about 25 per cent. This company is owned by the Blackstone Group – a U.S. vulture fund. We had to withstand a viscous anti-union campaign in 2012 that resulted in half our 600 members being forced to resign over a period of a few months. We are now back to our previous membership position, but the company and management remain actively hostile.

At Restaurant Brands, which runs the KFC, Carl’s Jr, Pizza Hut and Starbucks brands, we have over 50 per cent of their 4000 staff as members. Here we have the benefit of the fact that the company is publicly listed and therefore a bit more responsive to public pressure and only a handful of stores are franchised.

Having 4000 dues-paying members in the fast food industry is actually quite an accomplishment by international standards, especially where there is completely voluntary unionism in law as is the case in New Zealand. But further progress requires empowering workers so that the fear of the consequences of joining the union are removed as much as possible. So while our members were clearly telling us that this was a major issue, it was also clear that our long-term future as a union also depended on us cracking this issue.

Unite was fully aware that all the fast food contracts were expiring at the same time. We decided to make a virtue of necessity by turning this year’s bargaining into an industry-wide campaign along the lines of the “SupersizeMyPay.Com” campaign of a decade earlier. We suspected it would also require a similar investment of resources and determination to see the campaign through to the end.

At the end of bargaining two years ago, we informed all the companies of our intention to campaign for and win guaranteed hours into the collective agreements the next time we bargained. We wanted no misunderstandings or excuses on their part. We reminded them of this determination each time we met over the last two years.

Preparing a Campaign

We started the final preparations for preparing the campaign in the middle of last year. How we represented the campaign and the slogans were going to be important. We liked the use of “zero hour” terminology that has been used to describe these contracts in the UK. It was accurate and able to shock. But we needed to “brand” these fast food companies as zero hour employers. That was to prove to be quite easy of course because the employment agreements almost boasted of this reality.

Again there was no secret to our views. In August 2014 we did a blog on a number of websites headed “Putting an end to Zero Hour Contracts in 2015.” We did a survey of fast food members and 1000 participated in the online survey. This was a fantastic result and reflected their deep concern. The results have been published here and are a fascinating read. What is very clear is that workers want more hours and more secure hours.

We needed hard data for the campaign – average age, how many with kids, average hours worked, changes from week to week. We started identifying “faces” for the campaign. We wanted members who represented the reality of the workforce which included people with dependants, not just school students. We needed to explain that it is impossible to get a mortgage or other loans on these contracts. We wanted to point out the huge difficulties imposed on workers if they had to negotiate the interface with Working For Families, the in-work tax credit used by the government to top up low wages, which assumes regular permanent hours.

In November 2014, we did a final visit to all fast food employers and gave them a heads up on what we want from the negotiations this year. No one could claim to be surprised by the demand.

We began talking to the media about the existence of zero hour contracts in the fast food industry and how bad they were for workers. The business editor for Radio New Zealand featured fast food workers and zero hour contracts in a series of reports over a week long period in November. “Zero Hour Contracts” entered the public discussion like never before.

Fortuitously at that time, the plight of many workers in vulnerable employment positions became ‘newsworthy’. Around the same time, a petrol station worker complained about having his pay docked because a customer drove off without paying. The worker was held responsible. His story became a sensation. Why this worker, at this time, suddenly became a ‘story’ worth telling I am not sure. But there was a broad, instantaneous public condemnation of the employer and his actions and sympathy and support for the worker. The media began looking for other ‘stories’ and our fast food workers had many stories to tell.

On December 1-2, we held the Unite National Conference which formally launched the campaign. We had reps from other unions endorse and otherwise be part of our campaign. We had three opposition party leaders speak – Andrew Little for the Labour Party, Metiria Turei for the Greens and Winston Peters for NZ First. Again, media featured horror stories about zero hour contracts that were told at the conference, including one where a worker was stopped from leaving work despite coughing up blood and the worker complied because she feared having her hours cut the following week. More in-depth reporting began to appear.

Labour and the Greens announced that they would have MPs sponsor bills for debate in parliament to outlaw zero hour contracts.

We spent a month (mid January to mid February) engaging with members and doing surveys, discussing claims and getting worker volunteers for the campaign. We organized a national speaking tour with two young workers from the U.S. fast food workers campaign. The U.S. workers and Unite officials were able to brief a meeting of opposition MPs at parliament on the campaign as part of their visit.

national fast food workers conference on February 14 determined to get rid of zero-hour contracts in the industry. The conference signed off on the claims for the companies and nominated delegates for bargaining. We also had workers in Korea, Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia do actions in support of our campaign on that day! It was an extraordinary sight to see photos of pickets in several countries where the local workers and unions had made banners using an anti zero hour design from our Facebook page for February 14.

Materials were designed and ordered: T-shirts, badges, stickers, banners, placards.

On February 24, Campbell Live – a major news and current affairs show broadcasting at 7pm on TV3 – joined the campaign against zero hour contracts with a story by Anna Burns-Francis called “Zero-hour contracts leave Kiwi families struggling.” This programme gave a human face to the issue by interviewing two McDonald’s workers, both of whom were part of the union bargaining team. It showed the contract clauses in the fast food company employment agreements offering no guaranteed hours. It also had images of workers fighting to change this state of affairs in previous years through strikes and pickets.

This was followed up with two further reports in the first week of March that continued interviews with fast food workers and others on zero hour contracts, updated viewers with the fact the union was bargaining that week and challenged the National Party Employment Minister Michael Woodhouse on what he planned to do about it.

These reports had a huge impact on the country. Everyone was now talking about zero hour contracts and how bad they were. The government was forced to say they were looking at the issue. Workers were getting sympathy and support from family and friends.

Shortly after the launch of this campaign by Campbell Live, the managing director of Media Works which owns TV3, Mark Weldon, announced a “review” of the future of the show. The company had been taken over by the big banks in 2013 in a debt restructure following a failed private equity takeover. Mark Weldon has made it clear he is not interested in news as such – particularly not in the type of investigative, advocacy journalism represented by the campaign against zero hours on Campbell Live. The fast food giants are also large advertizers on TV3 and would no doubt have expressed their displeasure.


The same week these major media reports ran, we also began bargaining with McDonald’s, Burger King and Restaurant Brands. Morale in the bargaining teams was high. We were going into bargaining with the backing of not just our members but with significant media support and the overwhelming support of people throughout New Zealand. This was demonstrated in a later, very popular Campbell Live show which had John Campbell interviewing McDonald’s drive through customers. They were unanimous in condemning zero hour contracts including by some of those interviewed who identified as employers.

For a number of reasons, we expected movement from Restaurant Brands first. We were stronger there and the company had begun their own process of centralizing the roster process which had led us to think they may be looking more seriously at meeting our expectations in bargaining. However, the company dragged its feet and made no meaningful offer on guaranteed hours until the contract had expired and we had told them we were going to a strike ballot. Maybe they were just testing our resolve. When they did come back with an offer early April it was a meaningful one.

They promised to guarantee 80 per cent of hours worked over the previous three months. This would be a rolling average that would allow the guarantee to improve over time – especially for those who volunteer for extra shifts. Moreover, the union and the company have also agreed to trial permanent shift patterns at some stores to see how that may improve things. Most workers want regular shift patterns as well as secure hours and both the company and the union expect that to be the final outcome of a guaranteed hours regime. Campbell Live reported the victory, but so did many other media outlets as the issue had become mainstream. TVNZ, the other main television news channel in New Zealand, rarely reports any news about Unite activities but did this time.

However, by early April, neither Burger King nor McDonald’s had a meaningful offer on hours on the table. Secret strike ballots as required by law were held at both companies. These are usually held as an online ballot, as it is very difficult to hold meetings at which all members can attend and we have better participation. Members overwhelmingly approved taking action. April 15 was chosen as the first day for industrial action as that day had already been designated as a day of action by the international fast food workers campaign of solidarity.

Our members at Burger King were particularly keen to go on strike. We hadn’t felt strong enough to take action at BK stores in previous rounds of bargaining after the first SupersizeMyPay campaign. But with the success of pushing back the company’s anti-union drive in 2012 and the confidence workers were getting with the public support over the zero hours issue, our members were telling us they wanted to take action this time.

Maybe that is why the company decided to make a last minute offer to end zero hour contracts on the eve of the April 15 action. BK’s offer was even more comprehensive than Restaurant Brands. They proposed to move straight to fixed shifts rostering within six months. Moreover, when a worker left the company, their shifts could be given to existing staff who wanted them and be incorporated in their guaranteed minimum. Campbell Live reports “Another win against zero hour contracts.”

Wendy’s workers took action in February and March while the other companies were bargaining. Strikes occurred in AucklandPalmerston North,Christchurch and Dunedin. The opening of a Wendy’s store in Dunedin helped focus the campaign there for a protest on March 14. Again, the local media approached the issue with care and depth.

Other companies like Burger Fuel and Hell’s Pizza were making public announcements that they were no longer using zero hour contracts without us even bargaining with them.

With the offer from BK meeting our demands, that company was removed from the strike action on April 15, much to the disappointment of our members. The advantage for us was that the most stubborn opponent, McDonald’s, had successfully put themselves into the frame as a recalcitrant hold-out on the issue.

McDonald’s Counter-Attack

Throughout bargaining, McDonald’s had been actively taking their own steps to undermine the union. They had told non-union staff earning more than the minimum wage that they would be getting the same 50 cent increase as the minimum wage staff as a flow on effect of the minimum wage increase on April 1. However, union members earning above the minimum wage were being told that they would not be getting a pay increase until there was an overall settlement of the agreement. The company also threatened not to back pay the settlement if it was concluded after April 1. They obviously hoped that union members would quit the union in order to get the pay rise.

Then McDonald’s made sure the non-union staff got their pay rise before union members by delaying bargaining for two weeks with the claim they would be bringing a meaningful offer on guaranteed hours that would be a “game changer” in the industry. When they came back to the table in early April, their offer was a joke, affecting at best ten per cent of their staff. The ‘offer’ in fact underscored the importance of getting rid of zero hour contracts because they wanted the “right” to take secure hours away again even for this group of workers if they did two ‘no-shows’, that is the situation when staff don’t turn up for a rostered shift and have failed to notify the company beforehand or have given what the company considers an inadequate reason for the absence. By including that escape clause, the company was confirming that they viewed the roster as a tool to discipline and punish workers without a proper lawful process. At this point, we told the company we were “in dispute” and would be taking a ballot for strike action.

However, bargaining continued with McDonald’s after the strike ballot was held and before the day of action on the 15th. At one session, McDonald’s made a deliberately deceptive offer to the union that claimed to get rid of zero hours and released that offer to the public while we were still in bargaining. They said they would guarantee 80 per cent of ‘rostered’ hours. That formula is simply nonsense. Any company can guarantee 100 per cent of rostered hours because they control the roster. Rosters go up and down. They are at the discretion of the company. The union can’t see them or enforce anything to do with them. On average workers work 20 per cent more than their rostered hours because over employing and under rostering is the essence of the zero hours regime. It keeps workers willing to jump at offers of more hours. That is why we decided to use the formula of 80 per cent of hours worked with Restaurant Brands. We can monitor and enforce that formula.

McDonald’s was hoping to appear reasonable and paint the union as acting in bad faith. But their strategy backfired and the media saw their ‘offer’ for what it was. The company was publicly claiming there was no real difference between rostered hours and hours worked. They asked for a further round of bargaining with a mediator from the Ministry of Business Industry and Enterprise assisting before the April 15 action. This was held on April 14. However, the company representatives refused to budge from their formula of rostered hours and the union bargaining team walked out to prepare for the strike action the next day.

Coincidentally or not, the Unite Union offices were burgled and trashed in the early morning of April 16 and some expensive cameras, projectors and other gear was stolen. However, if someone was trying to hurt us, they failed. Dozens of individuals and unions rallied to contribute to a fund that has more than covered our costs. It was a lovely expression of solidarity and a thank you to Unite for its campaign.

Around this time, editorials began to appear in provincial papers calling for an end to zero hours. The Timaru Herald headlined: “Time to kill off zero hour contracts.” The Manawatu Standard headlined: “Workers need guaranteed hours of work.”

May Day Action Called

With McDonald’s now a more isolated target, we called another national day of action for May 1st, international workers’ day. This time we appealed for unions, community groups, political parties and churches to “Adopt a Maccas” – that is to choose a store they could focus on for leafleting and picketing on that day. We explained that the workers needed the solidarity of the community to win. Many workers would take action, but given the retaliation possible by managers and franchise owners, we accepted that many members would be fearful and not all our members would be able to take action. These workers also needed solidarity outside their stores to encourage and embolden them to take action wherever possible.

Another bargaining date was set for April 28. Media pressure continued to build on the company. Even some right wing media commentators like Paul Henry were sympathetic to the anti-zero hours argument.

This time, the company came to bargaining with a clear proposal to end zero hour contracts and a timetable for implementation. It was based on the formula of guaranteeing 80 per cent of hours worked, and this calculation to be repeated every three months. New staff would be given an initial guarantee which would be reviewed after working through a three month block. But when we asked for clarification of what this meant for secure and regular shifts going forward, and expressed a desire to continue bargaining on some other matters, the company walked out in a huff.

We knew we had achieved a huge victory in forcing the company to move seriously on the issue of zero hours. We knew that, longer term, this victory would give workers more confidence to assert their rights, including their right to join the union. It did appear, though, that the company’s bargaining representatives had convinced themselves that the union just wanted to keep pressing on for strikes on May Day regardless. At this stage the former National Secretary of Unite, Matt McCarten, said he was available to open channels between the parties to continue a dialogue if both sides agreed. With his help, we concluded a deal just before midnight on April 29. We called off the May Day actions, having achieved a comprehensive victory over zero hours in the industry.

Government Under Pressure

The government is feeling a bit of pressure on the issue of zero hour contracts and has announced that it is doing a rethink on whether these contracts should be allowed. My fear is that they will only deal with the very worst abuses and leave the big fast food, cleaning and security companies alone. But our campaign has made the issues very clear and it will be hard for the government to wriggle out of taking some action.

The largest daily newspaper in the country, the NZ Herald, carried an editorial on April 16, that never mentioned Unite or unions once but did focus on the real issues in dispute.

“Zero-hour contracts are common in the fast-food and service industries. Companies like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s still use them. Young and vulnerable workers are particularly affected. Probably among these are the offspring of National Party voters who are working in fast-food outlets while, say, in tertiary study. A message about the implicit unfairness of their lot will have reached the Beehive.

“Mr Woodhouse insisted initially that there should be no rush to reform because zero-hour contracts could be valid in certain circumstances. That may be so with casual agreements involving university students, where it suits either party to be able to say yes or no to work. In that situation, the balance is equitable. But this can hardly be used as a justification for maintaining the practice in circumstances where the balance is clearly unfair.

“Already, the minister has indicated change will occur in two areas. First, restraint of trade provisions that stop employees working for a competing business if their employer does not provide their desired hours of work will be outlawed. Second, shifts will no longer be able to be cancelled at short notice. The restraint of trade is especially unfair. It prevents workers taking on extra part-time work to provide far greater income certainty.

“Mr Woodhouse must not stop there, however. The Restaurant Brands employees won a guaranteed number of hours of work. That must also be part of the Government’s changes. The law must specify that workers paid at an hourly rate are assured an agreed weekly minimum number of hours. Employees will derive a benefit in terms of certainty and security. Workers, for their part, demonstrate far greater loyalty to employers if they feel they are being treated fairly. As with the best workplace law, advantages will flow to both sides.”

Our media statement was not overstating it when it said: “This is a historic agreement. Now all of the major fast food chains have committed to ending zero hours. This is the culmination of a decade-long campaign for secure hours by Unite Union. It will be welcomed by tens of thousands of workers in the fast food industry and hundreds of thousands more who will ultimately benefit in other industries. It represents a fundamental shift in the employment relationship of the most vulnerable workers in the country.”

Mike Treen is a Unite National Director. This article first appeared on the Unite website.

Image: Workers disembark a Palestinian bus before crossing through Israel’s Eyal checkpoint as they return to a crossing near Qalqilya on Monday. (Photo: Reuters)

Yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu axed a plan that would segregate buses between Palestinian and Israeli riders in the West Bank, however, since 2013 Israel has already had in place a segregated line that transports Palestinian workers into Israel. The reason? Settlers did not want to ride with Palestinians. And canceling that route was not debated as high-ranking Israeli officials showed outrage over the Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s three-month pilot plan to add separated routes.

President Reuven Rivlin said the new program caused “unthinkable separation” and opposition leader Issac Herzog said it was “an unnecessary humiliation, and a stain on the face of the state and its citizens.” Leader of the far-left Meretz party Zahava Gal-On posted an image on Facebook of racially segregated restroom signs where one read “whites” and another, “non-whites.”

Screenshot of Zahava Gal-On’s Facebook page.

Yet two years ago Israel’s ministry of transportation and the Afikim company established buses for Palestinian laborers only, even through at the time the Israeli military stated the Palestinian workers posed no threat to Israeli passengers. Segregation for the purpose of security is legal under Israeli law, but discrimination is not. The army referenced that all Palestinian workers with entry permits to Israel undergo stringent background checks. Moreover Palestinians laborers are allowed to ride any bus once inside of Israel.

The segregated buses depart from the Eyal Crossing, a northern West Bank checkpoint where Israelis are not allowed to pass. Once boarded, Palestinian workers zip to a series of mid-size Israeli cities on route to a turnaround point in Tel Aviv.

When the bus launched critics decried it as segregated, yet the ministry of transportation insisted the line was for general use. Even so the boarding area is closed to Israeli citizens. Only Palestinian workers with permits can reach the bus stop.

Within the first month the “workers only” bus launched, I attempted to board it at the first drop off point inside of Israel. Chasing down the green and white vehicle outside of Kfar Saba’s central bus station, the driver told me I could not ride. He said it was for Palestinian workers only. For everyone else it was “forbidden.” At the time I reached Afikim to confirm if Israelis and non-Palestinians are banned. They did provide a comment.

During those first weeks the workers-only route opened Palestinian passengers told me they preferred the new line. This was not because they were keen to ride without Israelis next to them. In informal conversations workers told me the segregated bus was cheaper and around 45 minutes quicker than other forms of transportation departing from the same area. Haaretz calculated the tickets were a fourth of the cost.

Conversely, the settler group that lobbied for the most recent segregated bus progam did so because they said, they did not want to ride with Palestinians. Haaretz discovered a 2013 transcript of the government meeting where they made their request. Settlers cited minor instances such as when a Palestinian refused to give up a seat for an elderly Israeli passenger. Councilmen from the Karnei Shomron settlement Yigal Lahav claimed for Palestinians, riding with Israelis was a “double victory” because:

“[F]or the Arab, first, in terms of the convenience and the cost of the ticket. And second, I think that it’s a kind of victory over the Jewish occupier – that he can just do as he pleases on the bus. As soon as he gets on, he’s won because he controls the bus of the Jews. And the third, and worst, thing is he gets to ride with Jewish girls. I’m telling you, it’s just a matter of time before it ends with someone getting killed.”

When then Justice Minister Tzipi Livni read the meeting minutes published in Haaretz last October, she said the proposal looked as though it was for “apartheid” buses.

“I read the transcripts of what was said in that Knesset committee. It’s intolerable, the claims that they [the settlers] need their own buses, because one [Palestinian] didn’t get up for a woman or an elderly person, and another wasn’t nice to them. This is apartheid!”

Livni said.

“[I]f we’re talking about settler pressure, that it’s not convenient or pleasant for them in the very places they sought to live, where there are Palestinians – that’s something I find unacceptable, and I’ll work against it. This is discrimination that’s forbidden by Israeli law,”

she added.

Presently Palestinian workers return to Israel by whatever method they want: riding in private cars, taxis, Palestinian owned bus lines, or Israeli bus companies. Although most do not use Israeli buses. There are a myriad of reasons why they are pushed into separate transit systems. In the occupied Palestinian territories, Israelis and Palestinians live in different communities, administered under separate laws; there are no mixed localities in the West Bank. Often settlers reside in gated towns where a Palestinian would need a special permit in order to enter. Likewise it is illegal under Israeli law for Israelis to enter Area A of the West Bank, an Oslo delineated region that encompasses every major Palestinian city, and is under the security and civilian control of the Palestinian Authority.

As a result, a Palestinian using an Israeli bus in the West Bank is faced with many challenges. If a line runs through multiple settlements, unless he were to have entry permits for each of the cities, he could not board. Similarly an Israeli is not allowed not ride a Palestinian bus that makes any stops inside of Area A of the West Bank.

In response there are two bus lines in place for decades in the areas of the West Bank closest to Jerusalem: one Palestinian operated out of East Jerusalem and one Israeli. The Palestinian buses pick up from Palestinian cities in the West Bank and then head into Israel. The Israeli buses pick up from the settlements and then head into Israel. They do not service Palestinian towns in the West Bank or the East Jerusalem neighborhoods on the West Bank side of the separation barrier. And so, even without a blanket law of segregation, the routes that are in place leave little room for intermixing.

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed a new bill intended to help keep better track of violent attacks against law enforcement. S.665 is also known as the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015, named for two NYPD officers killed late last year. It will set up infrastructure at the local, state, and federal level to keep meticulous track of acts committed against police. According to Congress’ website, the bill will create a Department of Justice-sponsored “Blue Alert” system, which mirrors the Amber Alert system created to locate abducted children.

The bill defines “Blue Alert” as

…information sent through the network relating to: (1) the serious injury or death of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty, (2) an officer who is missing in connection with the officer’s official duties, or (3) an imminent and credible threat that an individual intends to cause the serious injury or death of a law enforcement officer.

On one hand, there is already a system in place to record the deaths of police officers. The FBI issues a national, annual report that details the number of officers killed and attacked (it also lists accidental deaths). Last year, 51 officers were killed on the job.

Absent from the new bill was any attempt to record the numbers of murders committed by law enforcement. The deficiency in recording these figures is far more severe than recording deaths of cops. This is because the only numbers the federal government keeps on civilians are reported on a voluntary basis by local departments. Out of 17,000 local departments in America, only about 750 report heir data. In contrast, there is a high probability that departments are more eager to report the deaths of their own than the ones they cause.

Though there have been calls to keep better numbers on civilian deaths at the hands of police, Congress is evidently more concerned with several dozen murdered police officers than with the thousands of civilians who have lost their lives due to the authoritarianism this bill aims to protect.

Perhaps most concerning is the component of the bill that will keep tabs on “imminent and credible threats” made against law enforcement. As with many laws, the language of this bill is exceptionally vague. Left up to interpretation, this could result in increased monitoring and control of freedom of expression beyond what already occurs. As if local police departments and the federal government did not have enough leeway to monitor speech, further authorization is now codified and implicitly criminalized.

This seems to be overkill, considering multiple individuals have been arrested for making the exact same “threats” noted in the bill. Though S.665 does not establish punishment for such offenses, it sets up a solid framework to target those who make statements the government does not approve of.

Most ironically, the law establishes “standards that specifically provide for the protection of the civil liberties of law enforcement officers and their families.” The bill predictably makes no mention of the variety of civil liberties violations that police commit, from spying to ignoring due process to killing unarmed and non-violent individuals.

While it is no surprise that the government is concerned with keeping track of violence against their own agents, it is a disturbing implication that there is no motivation to do the same for the citizens Congress allegedly represents.

Carey Wedler writes for, where this article first appeared. Tune in! The Anti-Media radio show airs Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Help us fix our typos:[email protected].

In a challenge delivered to Monsanto’s headquarters on May 20, 2015, US public interest attorney Steven Druker calls on that corporation to find any inaccurate statements of fact in his new book: 

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth – How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public.

The thoroughly documented and referenced book exposes the substantial risks of genetically engineered foods and the multiple misrepresentations that have enabled them to permeate world markets.

Druker asserts that if Monsanto cannot prove that his book is essentially erroneous, the world will have a right to regard these controversial foods as unacceptably risky – and to promptly ban them.

‘Altered Genes, Twisted Truth’ was released in March 2015 and is the result of more than 15 years of intensive research and investigation by Druker, who initiated a lawsuit against the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that forced it to divulge its files on GM foods.

The book indicates that the commercialisation of GM food in the US was based on a massive fraud. The FDA files revealed that GM foods first achieved commercialisation in 1992 but only because the FDA covered up the extensive warnings of its own scientists about their dangers, lied about the facts and then violated federal food safety law by permitting these foods to be marketed without having been proven safe through standard testing.

If the FDA had heeded its own experts’ advice and publicly acknowledged their warnings that GM foods entailed higher risks than their conventional counterparts, Druker says that the GM food venture would have imploded and never gained traction anywhere.

He also argues that that many well-placed scientists have repeatedly issued misleading statements about GM foods, and so have leading scientific institutions such as the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the UK’s Royal Society.

Druker states that contrary to the claims of biotech advocates, humans have indeed been harmed by consuming the output of genetic engineering. He also explains that laboratory animals have also suffered from eating products of genetic engineering, and well-conducted tests with GM crops have yielded many troubling results, including intestinal abnormalities, liver disturbances, and impaired immune systems.

Druker says:

“Contrary to the assertions of its proponents, the massive enterprise to reconfigure the genetic core of the world’s food supply is not based on sound science but on the systematic subversion of science – and it would collapse if subjected to an open airing of the facts.”

Now, in his open letter dated 19 May, Druker challenges Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer to:

“Face Up to the Extensive Evidence Demonstrating that Genetically Engineered Foods Entail Unacceptable Risks and Should Be Promptly Removed from the Market.”

Druker finishes his letter by saying:

“If by July 20th you and your allies have not been able to refute the essential factual accuracy of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth according to the terms set forth above, the world will have a right to assume that it is as sound as the experts who reviewed it have affirmed – and to conclude that GE foods are unacceptably risky and must be banned.

Access the letter in full here:

On Thursday a grand jury indicted six Baltimore cops involved in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Gray’s death last month from spinal injuries he incurred while in police custody set off an eruption of social anger and the police-military occupation of the city.

The indictment came three weeks after Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced charges against the six police officers involved in Gray’s arrest. Mosby’s action, taken in close coordination with the Obama administration, was aimed at dissipating social tensions in Baltimore after the deployment of 5,000 National Guard to stop mass protests, which also spread to other cities.

The grand jury largely upheld Mosby’s initial charges with significant exceptions. Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who gave Gray a “rough ride” in the police van after his arrest, received the stiffest charge, including a second-degree “depraved heart” murder that carries a potential 30-year sentence. All the cops were charged with second-degree assault, which carries a potential ten-year sentence, as well as with reckless endangerment, which carries a five-year penalty.

Significantly, the false imprisonment charge given to the officers involved in Gray’s arrest has been dropped from the indictment. Mosby was originally adamant that Gray’s arrest was illegal and the cops had no reason to arrest him. The small knife police say Gray had in his pocket, Mosby declared, was legal under Maryland law.

Attorneys for the police will no doubt point to the dropping of the false imprisonment charges to malign Gray and legitimize the actions of the cops. Mosby sought to justify the grand jury’s decision in a brief press conference, saying, “As our investigation has continued, additional information has been discovered and is often the case, during an ongoing investigation, charges can and should be revised based upon the evidence.”

Attorneys for the police have already attacked Mosby’s indictment as an example of “overzealous prosecution,” and have accused her of conflicts of interests because her husband is a City Council member in the district where Gray was killed and she has political and personal ties to lawyers representing the Gray family. There are also efforts by supporters of the cops to move the venue of any future trial out of Baltimore in hopes of getting a more police-friendly jury.

Under mounting social anger due to a spate of exonerations of killer cops by rigged grand juries, including in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York late last year, the grand jury indictment in Baltimore is designed to boost illusions in the so-called justice system and the Democratic Party in particular. Indictments, however, are by no means convictions and there will be many efforts to reduce charges or reach plea bargains with wrist-slap punishments before any eventual trial.

Regardless of the outcome of any trial, none of the essential causes behind the death of Freddie Gray and the wave of police killings across the country will be resolved. The almost daily police murder of unarmed citizens and the militarization of the police in response to mass protests have its roots in the explosive social polarization in America and the efforts of the incredibly wealthy corporate and financial elite to contain an ever-more impoverished and restive working class.

An investigation last month by the Washington Post found that of the thousands of killings in which a police officer was involved, only several dozen cops were ever charged in court, with even fewer resulting in a conviction.

Exxon Mobil Explosion? Complete Media Black Out

May 22nd, 2015 by Christina Sarich

With the exception of a few mentions in the mainstream press when the incident originally occurred, Exxon is getting away with murder concerning their most recent snafu. I’m talking about the huge explosion at a gasoline refinery in Torrance, California that rained toxic ash on playgrounds and homes. Exxon assured their employees, and local citizens that “all was well,” though.

So what did happen at the Exxon plant, and why hasn’t it been talked about more since its occurrence? Employees who were present said there was a huge sonic boom, a fire, and loads of ash raining down on them.

Furthermore, a structure at the refinery was visibly damaged, with smoke smoldering from twisted metal, and with the air near the blast site smelling of sulfur and chemicals.

Is Exxon trying to hide the true toxic fall-out from Torrance residents? Inspectors were supposed to take air samples “as quickly as possible,” but no follow up reports have been released since the incident happened in February.

There are videos of the fire, but what is more important is the evidence of toxic damage to the environment.

Gasoline processing is a very toxic endeavor. The byproducts created are numerous. Petroleum contains more than 150 chemicals, including benzene, toluene and sometimes lead. What happened to all those chemicals when the plant exploded? They didn’t just float away.

Related: Unexplained Explosion at NY Nuclear Power Plant Triggers Shut Down

According to an article at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, exposure to gasoline (via the air, among other methods) can cause seizures, unconsciousness, and death. It can also harm the nervous system, cause coma, and spark an inability to breathe. Inhaling high concentrations of gasoline can irritate the lungs, cause kidney, lung, and brain damage, and if you are pregnant, damage the unborn fetus.


“Inhaling or swallowing small amounts of gasoline can cause muscle weakness, cramps, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, confusion, disorientation, slurred speech, feelings of intoxication, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, irritation of the stomach lining, and swelling and irritation of the nose and throat. Direct eye contact with gasoline may cause permanent eye damage. Direct skin contact with gasoline can irritate and burn the skin.”

There is no way a plume of fire and smoke that large were contained within just the confines of the plant itself.

A resident described what he observed:

“At about 11:30 that morning, an officer called and said ‘I talked to them; it’s okay, just wash it away.’ And no tests were done at 11:30 in the morning,” Commiso said. “A shelter in place was still active, but the fire department was telling me I could wash it down the storm drain.”

Others who live a full three miles away from the site also experienced ash falling on them. Their patio furniture was even sprinkled with toxic, chemical ash.

Exxon owes the city of Torrance a full investigative report on the damage the explosion caused. It shouldn’t be ignored.

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A US District Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that sought the release of the full Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on torture by the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as an internal CIA report commonly referred to as the Panetta Review.

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a heavily redacted executive summary of its report on CIA torture on December 9, 2014. The Panetta Review, which consists of summaries of material on CIA torture activities to agency leaders to assist them in avoiding legal repercussions, is not available to the public in any form at this time.

The May 20 memorandum opinion by District Judge James E. Boasberg is the latest judicial rubber stamp of the dismantling of democratic rights.

The ACLU originally requested the full SSCI torture report in February 2013 through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filing with the CIA. The latter denied the FOIA request, stating that the full report was generated and controlled by Congress, making it exempt from FOIA (only agencies of the federal executive are subject to FOIA requests, unlike the legislative and judicial branches of the government).

On December 19, 2013, the ACLU filed another FOIA request for the document known as the Panetta Review, whose existence had just become known a few days earlier in a speech by then-senator Mark Udall. The CIA denied this new request as well, claiming that the Panetta Review fell under the deliberative-process privilege, a legal doctrine that protects documents that are part of an agency’s decision-making process.

The rationale for this doctrine is that agencies will hesitate to deliberate fully on any controversial issue if there is a risk that steps in their collective “thought process” will be disclosed publicly. The deliberative-process privilege is presented as akin to the attorney-client privilege. However, it amounts to exempting from scrutiny every stage in a criminal conspiracy—in this case, the conspiracy to cover up torture—except the final overt act.

In the case of both the full SSCI torture report and the Panetta Review, the court refused to order the release of the documents in any form. The 24-page memorandum opinion garnishes its bogus factual claims and sham legal arguments with contempt for the ACLU and anyone who might question the workings of the military-intelligence apparatus.

To start with, Judge Boasberg offers a potted history of the internecine war between the CIA and Congress over the torture revelations, which reached a boiling point a year ago when Senator Dianne Feinstein publicly indicted the agency for spying on congressional aides in violation of the separation of powers principle of the US Constitution.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence first announced its investigation into the CIA’s torture, rendition and detention program in March 2009. Feinstein headed the SSCI at that time. She and the CIA leadership agreed to have SSCI personnel review relevant documents at a CIA facility, where they would store their work on a CIA computer server. The SSCI vetted its 6,400-page full report and executive summary with CIA officials and the White House, and after final changes were made, approved both documents, and released a heavily redacted version of the executive summary in December 2014.

The 2014 crisis erupted over the CIA’s spying on SSCI personnel using the CIA server to prepare the torture report. Feinstein made an hour-long speech on the floor of the Senate to denounce the unconstitutional CIA action against the committee, which is legally mandated to conduct oversight on the agency. Judge Boasberg refers to this crisis as “further discussions” and “much negotiation,” roughly the equivalent of saying that Hurricane Katrina dropped “some rain” on New Orleans.

The court also fudges the law. In considering whether the legislative exception to the FOIA applies to the full SSCI torture report, the relevant legal question is which branch of government possesses and controls the document in question. The court had to bend over backwards to explain away Senator Feinstein’s sending of the full report to president Obama and the CIA with a cover letter giving the executive branch, including the CIA, ownership of the report.

In that letter, dated December 10, 2014, she wrote:

“As you [Obama] said publicly on August 1, 2014, the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques were techniques that ‘any fair-minded person would believe were torture’… I strongly share your goal to ensure that such a program will not be contemplated by the United States ever again… Therefore, the full report should be made available within the CIA and other components of the Executive Branch for use as broadly as appropriate to help make sure this experience is never repeated… I hope you will encourage use of the full report in the future development of CIA training programs, as well as future guidelines and procedures for all Executive Branch employees, as you see fit.”

This makes it clear that while Congress created the report, it entrusted the document to the executive branch, making it subject to public access under the Freedom of Information Act.

Judge Boasberg claims to find in this quotation no relinquishing of ownership, instead saying that it “does bestow a certain amount of discretion.” He concludes that the Feinstein letter “should not be readily interpreted to suggest a wholesale abdication of control.”

The twisting of applicable law finds even starker expression in the court’s analysis of the Panetta Review.

This review began in 2009 in response to the SSCI’s investigation into the CIA torture program. Initially known as Special Review Teams (SRT), the project had the character of a damage-control operation, designed to keep the CIA leadership “apprised of ‘the most noteworthy information contained in the millions of pages of documents being made available to SSCI’ so as to ‘inform other policy decisions related to the [Senate Intelligence] Committee’s study.” The SRT reviewers would determine “whether certain contents of those documents [given to SSCI] might be relevant to informing senior CIA leaders in connection with the SSCI’s study.”

Translated into English, the SRT was a program to monitor the congressional panel tasked with oversight of the CIA itself. Moreover, according to senators who have read it, it made unvarnished admissions about the use of torture that contradicted what the CIA was saying publicly.

While the Panetta Review was certainly not protected by the legislative exception to FOIA, the court found that the supra-constitutional undertaking was part of “the give-and-take of the consultative process,” even though attorneys for the CIA could point to no specific decisions that the SRTs influenced.

For a case study in bad-faith jurisprudence, readers should look at the full opinion. While exceeding the scope of this article, the rationale listed in defense of CIA crimes on pages 22-24 should not be passed over. (“If Senator Udall’s statements [alleging that the SRTs document CIA crimes against Congress] are correct, they serve to confirm, rather than undermine, the Panetta Review’s privileged status).”

The ruling in ACLU v. CIA, as this case is titled, underscores several features of decaying American democracy.

Most prominent is the utter prostration of the judiciary before the military-intelligence apparatus. One sees this in Boasberg’s downplaying of the constitutional crisis last summer and his refusal to intervene. As he puts it “the ACLU asks the Court to interject itself into a high-profile conversation [!] that has been carried out in a thoughtful and careful way by the other two branches of government.”

More subtly, if undeniably, the ACLU v. CIA decision shows that the co-equal branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial) no longer serve as a system of checks and balances against tyranny as was intended by those who wrote the Constitution. Instead, they act as coconspirators against the population, with one bloody hand washing the other.

On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that 5 major banks will be fined a total of about $5.7 billion. The banks plead guilty to manipulating global currency and interest rates as far back as 2007. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Swiss bank, UBS, will pay fines that symbolize the government’s desire to reign in the power of the financial elite.

The New York Times painted the fines as a win because while banks have entered guilty pleas before, they have always been from subsidiaries of the parent companies. This time, the parent companies themselves plead guilty.

While symbolically, the move appears to reprimand evil bankers, the reality is that such fines are miniscule compared to the profits banks reap. $5.7 billion dollars is nothing compared to the $40.24 billion net income that banks earned in the second quarter of 2014 alone. It was the second highest profit total in the last 23 years, surpassed only by 2013. Further, the fines are nothing compared to the trillions of dollars in bailouts that banks received at the outset of the financial crisis.

What is more unsettling about today’s DOJ tap on the wrist is that while major banks must pay $5.7 billion, in the first quarter of 2015, customers were charged $2.5 billion in overdraft fees. Three major banks (JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America) took $1.1 billion of this total. Some 600 others raked in the rest. Still, the “earnings” made up only 6% of bank profits for the major three involved. Overdraft fees for a single year could easily cover the $5.7 billion charged to the banks today. This discredits the alleged effectiveness of fining financial institutions for these transgressions.

Though it is predictable that a government bought and paid for by bankers refuses to seriously address the stranglehold of their power over the economy and government, it is outrageous that the DOJ is attempting to portray such meager fines as a win for the people.

Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, touted her “success”:

“Today’s historic resolutions are the latest in our ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute financial crimes, and they serve as a stark reminder that this Department of Justice intends to vigorously prosecute all those who tilt the economic system in their favor; who subvert our marketplaces; and who enrich themselves at the expense of American consumers.”

Over and over, the state fines banks hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars for transgressions and policies that hurt a majority of citizens. Over and over, banks still commit crimes, proving fines are not a deterrent. Banks still enjoy record profits and the transfer of wealth from poor to rich continues to destroy the economy. The banking lobby influences the regulations written for their industry. The fines they pay amount to a meager cut of profit for the government that enables them.

As the vice president of Barclays bank said in 2010 of the crimes the bank had just plead guilty to, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”

Today’s illusory victory only validates the criminal bankers’ policies.

Dimona: Israel’s “Little Hiroshima”

May 22nd, 2015 by Richard Silverstein

In the early 1950s, after Israel had fought a desperate war of Independence (or Nakba) in which thousands of Israelis died to ensure the founding of the State, David Ben Gurion, its first prime minister, decided the nation required an existential trump card to guarantee its survival. In 1955, he tasked his chief aide, Shimon Peres, with creating a nuclear program that would lead to building a nuclear weapon.

The most critical part of this project was creating a nuclear reactor that would manufacture the fuel to make these weapons. In 1959, Israel began construction on its reactor in Dimona. Eventually, there were thousands of workers both building the plant and, once it was constructed, working within it to build the arsenal of 200 nuclear weapons Israel is reputed to possess. An excellent short overall history of the project can be found online here.

In the early stages of research, before Dimona existed, there were accidents that exposed scientists to lethal levels of radiation. Some of them died and their names are known (though not well). Less known, is that Dimona had a series of accidents (the most serious in 1966) which exposed hundreds of its workers to toxic, and even lethal doses.

Avner Cohen, the world’s leading scholar of the Israeli nuclear program told me that in the first 20-25 years the processes used to protect workers were primitive and sloppy. Mistakes were common, often not intentionally, but because relatively little was known about the proper handling of radioactive materials. In some cases, documentation was fabricated.

This is the subject of Orna Ben Dor’s riveting two-part documentary,The Dark Secret of the Dimona Reactor (Part 1 and Part 2, both in Hebrew), produced for Israeli TV. Workers there call the nuclear plant, “Little Hiroshima,” alluding not only to the destructive power of what’s produced there, but the tragic impact that the reactor has on those who work within it.

The documentary, while it exposes many secrets and crimes of the State against its workers, is also unintentionally maddening because it deals with a subject that the nation deems justifiably opaque. For that reason, no one in the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, which runs Dimona, will speak on the record to the cameras. No journalist is allowed within the facility. Few if any records are made public regarding the functioning of the reactor. According to Ben Dor, the medical oversight of workers was a sham. They were given tests which were never processed and told they had a clean bill of health. Only to find out months or years later they were dying of cancer. The few records that are accessible happen only because of lawsuits which pry them loose from the fingers of the State.

The real story of the film is the extraordinary lengths to which the State will go to shield itself and its nuclear project from public awareness. Following on from this is the nation’s willingness to treat those scientists, engineers and researchers who devoted their lives to this sacred project as refuse to be discarded once they sickened and died, no longer providing any useful service. There is a schizophrenic nature both to the documentary and the victims portrayed. On the one hand, they are patriots who understand the danger posed and accept it for the sake of protecting the State from its enemies. But on the other, they are human beings who demand that the country treat those who paid the ultimate sacrifice with dignity.

The “lowest of the low” (on the hierarchical totem-pole) were the nuclear technicians, the clean-up workers sent in to mop up after equipment malfunctions. Often, they were ‘Children’ of the Reactor: raised in the town, attending the technical high school at the plant which taught them how to maintain it and its equipment. They faced the most danger. Yet no one warned them. They did their jobs anonymously. But when they sickened, the state tossed them overboard. One worker who was Mizrahi was told that his cancer wasn’t the result of his work at Dimona, but rather his Moroccan origin. His Sephardi genes somehow caused his illness. If it was only the racism of this claim that was involved it would be bad enough. But to use racism to cover up State crimes against its citizens is unforgivable.

The tragedy is that the victims themselves, through their own innate sense of patriotism, refuse to understand the contradiction inherent in what they demand of the State. Israel itself is a kingdom of secrets. Dimona is a secret within a secret; the Holy of Holies of Israel’s nuclear religion. You cannot unravel the mysteries and expose the lies and crimes unless you tear the veil away. To do this, you must force Israel to end the opacity, end the secrecy. But no one in a position of power is willing to do this.

These are human beings feeling their way in a darkened hallway toward the light. They can’t see what’s around them, but can only touch the walls and try to make out where they are and what’s around them. They are frightened. No one helps them understand where they are. They must make this journey alone.

In the second film, which portrays the environmental catastrophe the reactor has wrought in the Negev, Ben Dor and two local residents visit a remote electrical station which supplies power to the plant. They note a stream flowing nearby which appears discolored and polluted. Any journalist researching such a subject knows she must test the water to determine their level of purity. But Ben Dor tells us she can’t. Anyone who brings a Geiger counter to any Dimona facility or who tests the air, water or soil around it is committing a crime punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.

In this segment, a local journalist tells Ben Dor:

I pass by the reactor every day on my way to and from work. I’ve never seen a single bird flying, nor any lizards or new flowers.

The environment surrounding Dimona is poisoned. If there are no plants or animals that can live there imagine the impact on the human beings who do.

This reminded an Israeli friend of the children’s poem from the Theresienstadt ghetto, I Never Saw Another Butterfly:

He was the last.  Truly the last.
Such yellowness was bitter and blinding
Like the sun’s tear shattered on stone.
That was his true color.
And how easily he climbed, and how high,
Certainly, climbing, he wanted
To kiss the last of my world

…I haven’t seen a butterfly here.
That last one was the last one.
There are no butterflies, here, in the ghetto.

Because the government forecloses access to sources, Ben Dor must allow the victims of Dimona to tell her story. They do so powerfully and tragically. Widows and orphaned children speak of their loved ones taken from them too early by a State which behaved cruelly and heartlessly. Courageous lawyers describe their years-long devotion to the search for justice. Medical doctors and researchers help sort through the miasma of lies and half-truths offered by the State, some at great risk to their careers by a vengeful IAEC.

The biggest problem with the film is the one that the nation itself faces. All the ills it portrays emanate from one powerful, poisonous fact: the nuclear project itself. In other words, when you decide to manufacture a nuclear bomb, you accept a cascade of choices that accompany that one fundamental decision. In legal terms, Israel’s WMD are the poisoned tree and all the deaths, radiation poisoning and environmental damage are the fruit of this poisoned tree.

The documentary doesn’t delve into this deeper questions. It remains on the surface, dealing with important issues like environmental safety and worker mortality. These are the human interest parts of the story. The ones an audience can immediately grasp, without having to ponder the more abstract and complicated issues.

Avner Cohen also faults the documentary producer (Hebrew) for not confronting Israeli nuclear bureaucrats more aggressively and demanding that they reply to the accusations. He argues in the  review he wrote for Haaretz’s Hebrew edition, that Israel must force those who devise Israel’s nuclear policy to confront uncomfortable questions. Only in this way can change happen.

The secrecy of the nuclear program, one interviewee calls it a “KGB state,” goes hand in hand with the Israel’s overall opacity around all manner of security issues. It’s not surprising that Israel has put its fate in the hands of a few nuclear bureaucrats like those who run Dimona, because it runs its overall military apparatus in the same way. No civilian oversight to speak of. The generals get what they want. All in the name of protecting the State. It’s a devil’s bargain.

Ben Gurion could’ve have chosen a different path. He could’ve followed the path Shimon Peres advocated to deter the 1973 War: he urged a public nuclear test to warn the Arab states what they confronted if they attacked. In the longer term, such transparency might’ve gone a long way to ameliorate some of the worst offenses of the nuclear security state. But Ben Gurion believed the quieter Israel was about it, the less opposition he might face from the world, especially the U.S.

He made a choice to create a nuclear arsenal in order to offer the State a mechanism to guarantee survival in the face of imminent defeat. But now Israel has ensured its existence. There is no existential threat (no matter what Bibi says regarding Iran). Nuclear weapons don’t guarantee security. In fact, many serious analysts argue just the opposite.

Israel hasn’t fought a conventional war in over 50 years. And even during the bleakest days of the 1973 War, when some Israeli leaders feared it might be overrun, Golda Meir overruled Moshe Dayan when he urged dropping a nuclear bomb in the desert as a warning to the Arab enemy states. Today, Israel fights exclusively asymmetrical wars in which WMD is not a deterrent or factor in establishing strategic superiority. Unlike Israel, many of the world’s established nuclear powers are reducing their arsenals.

Israel may eventually realize nuclear weapons are an albatross around its neck. They were never used in all Israel’s previous wars and likely will never be needed (especially if it would agree to a proposed regional nuclear free zone—a prospect that is anathema to it…so far). Yet despite the utter lack of utility of Israel’s WMD, its nuclear personnel have paid a huge and terrible price. It is shameful that the State which asked them to make the ultimate sacrifice, defiles their memories with lies and stonewalling. It prefers this to paying them the few millions it would take to do their pain and suffering justice.

Richard Silverstein writes the Tikun Olam blog about Israeli national security issues.  He lives in Seattle.

A shorter version of this article originally appeared in Middle East Eye.

President Obama’s “ban” on certain military hardware and gear is both fraudulent and a diversion from the real issue: the oppressive mission of the police in Black America. The cops who killed Michael Brown and Freddie Gray and countless others “weren’t wearing battlefield outfits, firing automatic rifles, or riding around in tanks. They murder quite efficiently with handguns, batons and their hands and feet, as cops always have done.”

President Obama took his police “reform” shell game to Camden, New Jersey, this week, announcing a ban on the sale of some types of military equipment to local police departments, and restrictions on other weapons, gear and equipment. As with all of the administration’s responses to the nine-month-old Black Lives Matter movement, it was an exercise in public relations and calculated diversion, crafted to camouflage the essential nature of the Mass Black Incarceration State – what Michelle Alexander calls the New Jim Crow.

Obama is the true Mad Man, an impresario of “impressions.” He told a crowd at a Salvation Army center in Camden, “We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them.” To soothe such “feelings” in Black communities, Obama claimed his executive order would halt the use of federal funds to purchase tracked armored vehicles, the highest-caliber guns and ammo, bayonets, grenade launchers and camouflage uniforms, and put controls on wheeled armor vehicles, certain kinds of explosives and flares, manned aircraft, drones, battering rams and riot gear – and, of course, require more training for police officers in the use of such ordnance and equipment. Presumably, communities that have been under siege by police for generations will now feel much better.

The bans and restrictions are actually bogus, deliberately misleading, or redundant, as will be explained, below. But, that’s a secondary matter. Obama’s impressions-creating “feelings” offensive does not address the core demand of the Black Lives Matter movement: that police stop killing, maiming, mass imprisoning, humiliating and terrorizing Black communities – in other words, an end to the armed occupation of Black America.

Armies of occupation may yearn for tracked vehicles, high-caliber weapons and battlefield military gear, but such hardware is not essential to the occupation mission – which is precisely why Obama and many police chiefs favor a softening of the police profile. The cops who killed Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott and, literally, countless other Black men, women and children over the years, weren’t wearing battlefield outfits, firing automatic rifles, or riding around in tanks. They murder quite efficiently with handguns, batons and their hands and feet, as cops always have done.

It is the MISSION of the police that is lethal, racist, oppressive and unacceptable to Black America; the equipment and clothing is incidental. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense correctly identified the police mission as that of an army of occupation back in 1966 – three years before the first SWAT team was established in Los Angeles, in 1969. The huge federal role in funding and equipping local police began with creation of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) through legislation passed in 1968. But, the feds did not set the local police on their mission of armed occupation; they simply funded, armored, wired and enhanced that pre-existing mission, so that today, there are 80,000 SWAT operations every year. The mission – the armed occupation – pre-dates SWAT, police tanks, high-velocity weapons and camouflage uniforms.

Black Lives Matter organizers have never put changes in police equipment at the top of their demands. How many demonstrators wave placards demanding “Take Off the Riot Gear, Officer,” or “Your Bullets are Too Big, Mr. Policeman, Why Don’t You Scale it Down, Buddy”? No. The signs read: “Stop Killing Us,” “Jail Killer Cops,” or simply, “Cops Out of Our Community” – none of which is under consideration by Obama and his 21st Century Policing Task Force.

Obama’s problem, as he sees it, is that the police now look like what they actually are, and have been, for generations: an army of occupation. His solution is sartorial: to put them back in soft uniforms most of the time, and to hide the heavy hardware. But the Storm Trooper capability and training will remain, and even increase. Charles Ramsey, the Philadelphia police commissioner and chairman of the president’s Policing Task Force, went on PBS television to clarify Obama’s announced scale-back. The lower profile is necessary because:

“We don’t want to incite a crowd. So I think it’s the way in which you deploy, depending on what it is you’re responding to and what you’re dealing with. People have a right to protest, and if you show up with riot gear, and heavy armored vehicles and so forth when people are just simply out peacefully demonstrating, you’re going to get exactly that. You’re going to wind up with a riot, more than likely.”

However, the big guns and vehicles in the warehouse become operative as soon as a public safety emergency of some kind is declared. As he told PBS’s Judy Woodruff, “we’re not talking about all-out riots like we saw the first day in Baltimore, when things really spiraled out of control, and even later in Ferguson, when things spiraled out of control, but when it first started.”

Thus, the nature of the beast – a racist counter-insurgency force poised to lock down the ghetto – remains unchanged.

It turns out that almost all of Obama’s new “bans” and “restrictions” were already official policy, in some cases for decades. According to the Washington Examiner, the only new item on Obama’s banned list is the bayonet. The Pentagon reportedly barred transfer of grenade launchers and .50 caliber ammunition to local cops in 1999, and outlawed giving police tracked vehicles in 2011. Camouflage uniforms have been a no-no since 2008. The 625 MRAP armored vehicles and 5,200 Humvees sent to local police since the 1990s have already passed through a “control” mechanism that Pentagon officials say is very much like what Obama is now proposing.

To sum up, President Obama’s attempt to focus public attention on police hardware, rather than the oppressive mission of the Black Mass Incarceration State, is both a diversion and a fraud. It is not a meaningful or honest response to the core demands of the Black Lives Matter movement, but instead seeks to change the subject to calibers of weapons, styles of police dress, and distinctions between tracked and wheeled armored vehicles. At the end of the exercise, both the equipment and the racist police mission remain in place.

The logic, and the real momentum, of the movement is towards Black community control of police, a demand that will become non-negotiable on both sides – until a point of crisis is reached and the issue must be addressed.

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

The Black Is Back Coalition is circulating model petitions for Black community control of police, on its website.

Countering US-NATO in the Black Sea and Beyond

May 22nd, 2015 by Eric Draitser

A previous article entitled Battlefield: Black Sea examined the development of US and NATO military deployment in the Black Sea region. This article focuses on the ways in which Russia is moving to counter what it perceives as an aggressive US-NATO strategy.

Russia’s Counterstrategy

After the US-backed coup in Ukraine, the people of Crimea voted for reunification with Russia. While this was undoubtedly a politically and economically motivated move to secure their own safety and future amid the entirely predictable collapse of Ukraine, it would not have been possible without a clear military and strategic (and of course political and diplomatic) benefit for Russia. That such a benefit existed was plainly obvious. For Moscow, Crimea is more than a historic territory of Russia; it is a strategically vital region for Russia’s navy and military generally.

The security and integrity of the Russian Black Sea fleet, based in Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula for more than two centuries, was of primary importance to Moscow. As such, since the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation, and the chaos throughout Ukraine, the Kremlin has moved quickly to modernize and bolster its naval assets in the Black Sea. While this was necessary by any measure, the move was also to preempt any military escalation by US-NATO; Washington and Brussels have moved ahead with their military buildup regardless.

Within months of the Crimea referendum, Russia announced a massive upgrade of the Black Sea fleet, in order to make it, in the words of Russian military officials, “modern” and “self-sufficient.” As Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Chirkov explained“The Black Sea Fleet must have a full complement of naval vessels to be capable of performing all assigned missions…This is not a provocative military buildup. This is something the Black Sea Fleet urgently needs as it has not been receiving new vessels for many years.” As part of this modernization and upgrade, the fleet will receive 30 new ships by the end of the decade, including a full complement of modern warships, submarines, and auxiliary vessels. Additionally, Moscow intends for the fleet to be self-sufficient, meaning that it will expand bases, house troops year-round, and generally be able to support itself in Crimea without the need for special assistance from Moscow.

But Russia of course recognizes that the growing political conflict with the West, with all the attendant military and strategic implications, requires partners and allies. With that in mind, Moscow has worked diligently to foster military cooperation with China generally, and in the Black Sea specifically.

Chinese Allies, Chinese Partners

Earlier this year, Russian President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on a preliminary military deal worth upwards of $3.5 billion. According to Chinese media reports, the agreement would see Russia providing fighter jets, submarines, and other advanced military technology and hardware. This would mark a major turning point in military cooperation between the two countries which has had a rocky recent history. Of course, it is a mutually beneficial cooperation as Russia gains a valuable political and military partner in its conflict with the West, while China gains access to critical military hardware in its escalating conflict with Japan and in the South China Sea.

But it’s much more than just military hardware contracts between the two countries. Russia and China, under the auspices of the Shanghai cooperation Organization (SCO) have engaged in a growing number of joint military exercises. In 2014, SCO states participated in the largest ever joint operations between the two countries. As Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigustated:

We have vast potential of cooperation in the defense sphere, and the Russian side is ready to develop it is a wide range of areas… amid a highly volatile world situation, it becomes particularly important to strengthen reliable good-neighbourly relations between our countries…This is not only an important factor for security of states but also a contribution to peace and stability on the Eurasian continent and beyond… regular private meetings between the leaders of Russia and China give a powerful impetus to development of bilateral partnership.

It is clear that both Russia and China understand the potential and necessity of close military interactions between the two countries. And right now, with US-NATO expanding its presence in the Black Sea, Moscow and Beijing have decided to flex their muscles.

While US military forces deploy in Romania, Chinese warships have made an unprecedented move, entering the Black Sea to participate in the Joint Sea 2015 naval exercises with their Russian counterparts. Beijing’s Defense Ministry noted that, “The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the friendly exchanges between the two sides … and to improve the capability of the two navies to deal with maritime threats,” adding that “this joint exercise is not targeting any third party and is not related to regional security.” While the diplomatic language is meant to soothe relations with Washington, the regional dimension of these exercises is certainly not lost on US military and strategic planners.

The Long View on Russia-China Relations

But while joint military training and exercises may indicate a growing partnership, they alone do not constitute a military alliance. Indeed, Russia and China have yet to formally declare any such overt alliance, though one could be forgiven for presuming a de facto one. However, the transfer of advanced – and militarily sensitive – defense technology is a concrete indicator of an inchoate alliance between the two powers.

In April 2015, it was reported that Beijing would be the first buyer for Russia’s advanced missile defense system known as S-400. Anatoly Isaykin, CEO of Russia’s state-owned military technologies exporter Rosoboronexport, was quoted as saying “I will not disclose the details of the contract, but yes, China has indeed become the first buyer of this sophisticated Russian air defense system… It underlines once again the strategic level of our relations… China will be the first customer.

This deal is militarily significant because of the transfer of advanced missile defense technologies that can provide Beijing with a measure of security from a host of threats, including those stemming from China’s ongoing conflict with Japan over disputed islands, as well as from the US and its aggressive “Asia Pivot” strategy in the South China Sea, and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. However, the agreement between Russia and China is also critical for symbolic reasons. That Moscow decided to provide these advanced systems to China before any other country, and that they would do so at such a critical moment for both countries, indicates that while a formal alliance has yet to be announced, we are witnessing one emerging in all but name. In an unprecedented move unthinkable just a few years ago, Chinese troops marched through Red Square during the ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Soviet and allied victory over fascism, further proving the symbolic connection between the two countries.

The international security dimension is also critical to understanding the importance of the recent deals. The S-400, which is considered capable of matching up against any aggressive missile system employed by the US and NATO, symbolizes a growing, though not yet achieved, military parity between the US-NATO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Although Washington still postures as if it maintains full spectrum dominance globally, the reality, painful though it may be for many strategic and military planners in the West, is that US-NATO simply does not control Asia or Eastern Europe. Looking at a map, it becomes clear that the total space militarily under the thumb of the US is shrinking, while Russia, China, and their allies are increasingly becoming militarily independent and capable of defense. This sea change in the global chessboard will have implications for decades to come.

It is crystal clear that the burgeoning alliance between Russia and China will have implications throughout the world, from the South China Sea to the Atlantic, changing the strategic calculus throughout all of Eurasia; essentially much of the globe. But while direct alliance is still not yet fully realized, its broad contours can be seen in the Black Sea, today one of the hot spots of the East-West conflict. The US-NATO presence in the Black Sea and the littoral countries is a clear indicator of the importance Washington and Brussels attach to this area along the southern border of Russia. Conversely, Russia has made countermoves to both show strength and to increase its military readiness in the face of the West’s provocative moves in Russia’s traditional sphere of influence.

While the chances of a military conflict remain low, even the potential raises terrifying possibilities. A nuclear power like Russia that, despite its military might and technical expertise, is still far behind the US with its robust military-industrial complex which never had to go through the dismantling that Russia’s did in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. As such, Russia would be heavily reliant on nuclear deterrence, thereby creating the potential for an apocalyptic confrontation. Such a doomsday scenario, though unlikely, should give everyone pause.

In the interest of peace, the US and its allies, were they interested in stability rather than expanding their own hegemony, would do well to respect Russia’s sphere of influence and do everything to defuse the situation. However, for the West, war is good for business. And with the growing tensions with Russia, especially in the Black Sea, business is most certainly booming.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The way that “Fast Track” is described to the American public is as an alternative method for the Senate to handle “Trade Bills” (TPP & TTIP) that the President presents to the Senate for their approval; and this alternative method is said to be one in which “no amendments are permitted, and there will be a straight up-or-down vote on the bill.” 

But, in fact, the “Fast Track” method is actually to require only 50 Senators to vote “Yea” in order for the measure to be approved by the Senate, whereas the method that is described and required in (Section 2 of) the U.S. Constitution is that the President “shall have the Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”  That’s not 50 Senators; it’s 67 Senators, that the Constitution requires.

In other words: “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority” (which was invented by the imperial President Richard Nixon in 1974, in order to advance his goal of a dictatorial Executive, that the Presidency would become a dictatorship) lowers the Constitutionally required approval from 67 Senators down to only 50 Senators.

This two-thirds rule is set forth in the Constitution in order to make especially difficult the passing-into-law of any treaty that the United States will have with any foreign country. The same two-thirds requirement is set forth for amending the Constitution, except that that’s a two-thirds requirement in both the House and the Senate: it can be done “by either: two-thirds (supermajority) of both the Senate and the House of Representatives …; or by a national convention assembled at the request of the legislatures of at least two-thirds (at present 34) of the states.”

Getting two-thirds of either house of Congress to vote for a bill is rare and difficult, but it has happened 27 times, because the entire process was public, and because there was widespread support of each Amendment.

By contrast: Obama’s proposed trade treaties are still secret.

The difference between 50 Senators versus 67 Senators is, essentially, the difference between a treaty that is publicly discussed and widely acceptable to the American public (the people, after all, who voted for those members of Congress); versus a secret treaty that will be widely unacceptable to the American public when the America public will become informed of its contents, which won’t be until years after the treaty has already gone into effect.

This is the reason why only a tiny fraction of authentic “trade bills” even need “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority” in order to pass; most trade bills are passed in the normal way. A President doesn’t ask for “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority” unless he is going to be presenting to the Congress a treaty that is so horrible for the American people that only few members of either the House or the Senate would vote for it — the bill needs “Fast Track” in order for it to be able to pass.

What types of “Trade Bills” are these?

They are treaties in which only a tiny fraction of the treaty actually has to do with “Trade,” or with tariffs and other legal favoritisms toward one nation as opposed to another.  In other words: They’re legislation to cede our national sovereignty to international corporations. Issues of tariffs and other “trade” disputes between nations are tacked onto these multinational treaties in order to be able to fool the public into thinking that all that’s at issue is “trade.”

Now, it’s true that “Fast Track” does also eliminate the ability of members of the Senate to propose an amendment to the treaty that the President is presenting for their approval. But that’s a relatively minor feature of “Fast Track,” which was included in the concept in order for “Fast Track” to be able to be described by politicians and by the ‘news’ media as being a minor matter — no “big deal,” no ceding of sovereignty to international corporations.

It’s not a minor matter; it’s the biggest matter in President Obama’s entire Presidency: it’s about scandalously bad international treaties with many nations at once, in which international corporations (that is, the hundred or so individuals who own the controlling interests in them) will be handed our national and democratic soverieignty over labor rights, consumer rights, environmental rights, and investors’ rights — it’s every way that those billionaires can think of to pass off onto the public the harms that they do while keeping for themselves all the benefits of the heads-I-win-tails-you-lose game they’re playing with the U.S. public and that of every other signatory nation. It’s international fascism, not merely fascism  of the local type.

And that’s what we’ve now got.

The new apparent Hope – is it what my friend Finian Cunningham says – the first ‘eye blinking’ by Washington facing Russia?

Is it Kerry’s laying a wreath at a war memorial in Sochi in a belated May 9 manifestation to honor the 27 million Russians who lost their lives in WWII to safe Europe and the world from fascism? –

Is it the ‘blinking of an eye’ by the emperor’s missionary, Kerry, for which he was rewarded with a Victory Day T-shirt by Mr. Lavrov? – Kerry’s was the first official US visit to Russia in more than two years. He was generously awarded with 4-hour audiences by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Vladimir Putin. News has it, that the meetings were friendly, but non-conclusive.

And Madame Nuland, also known as Lady “F… the EU” – the instigator of the Kiev Nazi coup 15 months ago – is she being told by her bosses at the State Department to come to senses, flying to Moscow for  ‘reviving’ the Minsk-2 Ukraine truce agreed between Putin, Merkel, Hollande and Washington’s puppet, Poroshenko? The very ceasefire Washington has been and continues to destabilize for months? – Or is it simply a matter of pride for the exceptional nation muddling also with their diplomatic finger in this otherwise all European accord? Is it faking heart, complementing their dirty killing boots on the ground? – Can we call this hope?

From the bottom of my heart I wish Finian is right. But – my gut feeling tells me that this is merely a new deviation strategy – a new ruse, taking a few steps back preparing a new attack with force. No doubt, Mr. Putin is on his guard and will not fall into this shabby trap – and here lays the HOPE!

Neoliberalism is the doctrine chosen to carry out the PNAC (Plan for a New American Century), the road map for the empire and its stooges to encompass the globe and reach Full Spectrum Dominance. Its instruments resonate with Kissinger’s infamous dictum - “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.”

The think-tank PNAC and its blueprint for world dominance is the brain child (sic) of a group of neocon Zionists including William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Casper Weinberger, Paul Wolfowitz and the like. It emerged from the earlier ‘Pax Americana’, was written in the early 1990s. It foresaw already then that Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and others must fall. Iran was also on the list. But as of this day the PNAC is continuously adjusted as required by the dynamics of world events. The PNAC’s instruments for subjugation include massive media-led lie campaigns, the Fed and Wall Street dominated western financial system, both controlled by Zionists – and the ultimate solution, the US and NATO killer armies.

Today, neoliberalism is a network of finely researched strategies, invisible to the common eye. They penetrate every fiber of our western society, of our civilization – and our brains. With the help of the corrupt media, the neocons were able to create a unipolar mindset in the Occident in less than 30 years, addressing constantly the lowest common denominator of humanity – greed, power and egocentricity, thus persistently destroying any potential germination of solidarity. Solidarity is the basis for a consciousness awakening; awakening from the lies and manipulations to which we submit voluntarily day-in and day-out, 24/7. We are not even aware of it.

Why not? Because if we were to question what the media tell us every day, we would question the very comfort zone we have created around our little islands of Self. We would dare taking to the streets in masses and stop the wars. We would protest the horrible exploitation of labor, of children; the clearing of our tropical forests for corporate profit and greed; the speculation with food causing millions to die from hunger; we would question the veracity of floods of propaganda; we would stand up to the values of integrity and request our elected officials to do likewise. We would stay home, not go to work, and lay the capitalist production mechanism still; we would put the profit grinder to rest, as long as it takes to get an appropriate response.

Let’s hope with Leonard Cohen - Democracy Is Coming….it’s coming through a crack in the wall, it’s coming from the sorrow in the street.” After all we are the 99.99 %. We have the power. The 0.01% has only the capital. Capital is dead if nobody moves and works it. The elite are unable to work it by themselves. They need slaves, they need us. We do it – for a pittance. We must stop it. – We must apply civil disobedience – what Howard Zinn called mankind’s ultimate power. We must find back to solidarity; stick together for our inherent values – foremost for solidarity. In solidarity lies Hope.

Solidarity has been decimated by neoliberalism. Solidarity, the backbone of the social movements up to the 1970′ – 80s was gradually destroyed by the neocons’ doctrine of dividing people, societies, entire countries and civilizations, by the lowest common denominators – greed and ego — the old truism: dividing to conquer and reign. The constant of this is chaos. And chaos is what the exceptional nation is sowing everywhere.

The father of the neoliberal concept is a gentleman not known to many people, Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud. He became the inventor of modern-day propaganda. He developed in the 1930s and 40s the tools for effective marketing. Already in 1928 George Washington Hill, President of American Tobacco, hired Edward Bernays, to expand the tobacco market by making it alright for women to smoke, despite the prevailing taboo. This effort successfully continued through the 1950s and 60s. Bernays’ mind-dumbing propaganda sold women the idea that smoking is their right, is not a privilege just reserved for men. Born were Virginia Slims for women. Almost over-night smoking for women became politically correct and contributed to the ‘women’s lib’ movement of the sixties.

Edward Bernays was born in 1891 in Vienna, Austria and moved a year later with his family to New York, where he died in 1995. He was called the ‘father of public relations’, who used the psychoanalytical skills of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, though, without the consent of the latter. Thanks to his mind-manipulative skills, Bernays became a member of the Committee of Public Information (CPI) created in 1917 by President Woodrow Wilson (also called the Creel Committee after the committee’s chairman). The CPI’s purpose was to manufacture consent among the American people to enter the First World War against Germany through an extended propaganda campaign.

Bernays was instrumental in this successful mind-twisting campaign. In the mid-1920s he wrote a book describing the propaganda methods used in WWI. He explained the masses’ herd instinct, saying it was possible to “regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies;” – adding that this technology “had to be used by the intelligent minorities in order to make sure that the slobs stay on the right course.” Life Magazine named Bernays one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th Century.

Bernays’ propaganda consulting services were used throughout the US for designing ‘catching’ (and of course lying) advertising and selling tactics. His enormous success spread throughout the US corporate and commercial world. It also caught the politicians’ eyes and ears. His principles of focusing on greed and ego were applied in the 1980′s by President Reagan in the US and by PM Thatcher in the UK, the infamous tandem of privatization and marketing of ‘everything’ – which went largely uncontested, to the point where even social services, like education, healthcare, public water supply, were up for privatization. The individual was made to believe that he – not society – was on the highest pedestal of creation. He was a ‘private’ individual and could buy and sell on the ‘private market’ whatever he or she wanted and needed. Needs were generated to expand markets. It was easy. The concept of constantly changing fashions creates constantly new demands.

A huge variety of consumer goods – clothing, cars and other fashion gear – was invented and made available for everybody’s taste. In the late sixties, seventies and eighties consuming became the name of the game – and continues through today. While somewhere in the background was the endless monotonous humming of war hardly audible to the masses whose attention was diverted by consumption, by sports and by ever longer and more elaborate weather reports, replacing the ‘news’ of wars. The Cold War, the Vietnam War – wars and conflicts all around the globe, needed weapons to threaten and kill. They were offered by the world’s largest arms manufacturers, foremost the United States, thereby steadily fueling the warrior nation’s economy. An excellent lesson was learnt by WWI and WWII. They filled the coffers of an otherwise rotting economy.

This neoliberal trend gave birth to the Washington Consensus of 1989 – an initiative launched by Washington’s three major financial institutions, the Fed, IMF and the World Bank. They mandated an unrestricted ‘everything-goes’ economy which gave birth to market fundamentalism, as we know it today, where there is no limit to ‘markets’. The markets are king. Offer and demand, manipulated as they may be, are to become the lifeline of societies, regardless of their endless failures, of their inherent discrimination in favor of the ‘haves’ – regardless of the depredation of our planet Earth, and of the growing gap between rich and poor, they have fomented abuse and pillage and continue to do so as of this day.

The masters of the Washington Consensus enlisted Wall Street which had to be helped to break loose from its straightjacket of regulations. The first Clinton Administration, also advised by Bernays and his cronies, effectively loosened the ties to make Big Banking the beast that helps globalize markets. His Treasurer Robert Rubin and later Larry Summers dismantled the Glass-Steagall Act, the banking regulatory system, designed by the two US Parliamentarians in 1934 to help prevent another 1928 banking disaster. Now the banks were free to speculate, to create money as they pleased and especially to globalize their operations, enlisting the entire western international banking system to subjugate and control nations, to enslave people. – The PNAC’s roadmap is being followed as closely to the letter as possible.

The Washington Consensus freaks were busy inventing new tools and instruments to help neoliberalism expand rapidly. Now that US banks were ‘free’, the western elite-controlled World Trade Organization (WTO), the third of the unholy international financial-economic threesome (IMF, World Bank, and WTO) ruled that any country that wanted to become a WTO member had to ‘deregulate’ its banking system – allowing an unrestricted globalized banking fusion that could generate financial crises as needed for the system to survive. The manufactured European economic disaster of 2007 / 2008 would not have been possible without deregulated banks.  – Of course, as we know now, all is controlled by the Zionist-Anglo-Saxon led Fed-Wall Street amalgam.

In the meantime, the World Bank and IMF – and other so-called development institutions of the same league – were busy ‘buying’ Third World leaders (sic), dishing out trillions in blank checks to their governments in the form of structural adjustments, budget support, development policy loans – and whatever other euphemisms they use for the same austerity-imposing, enslaving and poverty-causing financial instruments.

In addition to their own damage-causing debt, they have an enormous leverage effect on commercial banks and other lending institutions, up to ten or more times their own loans. If a country is viable for World Bank and IMF money, then it must be more than viable for commercial loans. Later this despicable trio was joined by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission (EC), puppets to the ravaging, war-mongering American empire. Mind you – the ECB is led by a former Goldman-Sachs executive – personifying the epitome of Wall Street. In other words, the entire European economy and financial system is in the hands of the Zionist-Anglo-Saxon money lords. The ECB, IMF and EC, under mandate of the Fed and Wall Street, have become the nefarious ‘troika’ that is without scruples destroying whole countries – condemning entire populations into misery.

This is the doctrine of neoliberalism – destruction, hardship and misery for entire peoples so that a few may live in abject luxury. Where is Hope? – Solidarity has faded into a blurry undecipherable little smear on the horizon.

Shameless indebtedness was and still is the sledgehammer of exploitation by the western powers overwhelming the resources rich developing world – attempting to expand ever so much to the east – and not slowing to protect their brothers, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, with Greece and Ukraine being the extreme cases, where austerity is boosting unemployment figures up to a third of the work force or higher, closing hospitals and schools, privatizing public services, causing mortality of children and the elderly to rise astronomically – that is neoliberalism. Ukraine for all practical purposes is now a massively indebted failed state turned into an IMF colony”, well said, Pepe Escobar. There is no sense of solidarity left (if there ever was) in the European Union – as recently observed by the President of Switzerland.

Neoliberal thinking has been engrained in our institutions, minds and human behavior – we don’t even notice it anymore. Everything is commercialized, ‘marketized’ and commoditized. Even human beings. Sport icons are traded for (big) money, the poor and unemployed become cheap markets for cannon fodder – and we the others, are dull onlookers, easy prey for the markets of consumerism. Unemployment, kept artificially high, is a para-market of working class men and women to be drawn upon by capitalists as needed. All helped by the second monstrous tool of neoliberalism (the first being the financial institutions and their instruments) – the media.

The western mass or main-stream media (MSM), in the hands of six, sorry to say it again, Zionist-Anglo-Saxon media giants, control 90% of the information we receive – propaganda information, repeated at nauseatum on a daily basis – lies after lies after lies and manipulations, to become the truth, the accepted truth, truth that creates our comfort – a charade without which we believe we cannot live.

Currency and gold manipulations, directed by the Washington money czars and the Bank for International Settlement (BIS), so as to stretch the dollar hegemony as long as it may still last, are creating a monetary system at absurdum. The money flow is continuously increased to protect the dollar. To prevent a collapse by inflation, many western central banks, heirs of the dollar-domino casino scheme, are now collecting negative interests from their depositors, i.e. banks. In other words, with an assumed negative interest of 1%, the central bank collects from their private bank customers’ accounts 1% for safekeeping their money. What has already happened in some cases is that private banks charge their customers also a negative interest. Should this however happen on a large scale, it could kill the economy and that could mean the end of private banking – a good thing, indeed, but certainly not what the neocons had in mind.

Why not think of a scenario where the private bank, instead of depositing its funds with the central bank at a negative interest of 1%, they apply the negative interest principle to their own clients, lending them hundred at a discount of, say, 0.5%. It would safe them 0.5% and could still stimulate the economy. That would be monetary policy at absurdum.

According to a recent ‘shocking’ IMF revelation, worldwide subsidies for fossil fuels are estimated at US$ 5.3 trillion for 2015. The institution says that the subsidies are largely accounting for the money governments have to spend to treat victims of air pollution from CO2 emission and from the loss of income due to illnesses. In other words, the study has for once accounted for the so-called externalities caused by the use of hydrocarbons. The subsidy counts for about 6.5% of global GDP. Based on figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) cutting the subsidies could reduce premature deaths from outdoor air pollution by 50% – saving 1.6 million lives, because it is assumed to reduce the use of hydrocarbons worldwide.

So – why is no serious effort made to abolish these subsidies, by having the polluter pay the full cost of the damage he causes?  The subject of hydrocarbon subsides is not new. It has been whispered about – no loud words, of course – for at least the last five years. Nothing changed. Because the US / NATO military war machine is the world’s largest single fossil fuel consumer. What fossil fuel subsidies mean is actually subsidizing Washington led invasions, wars, as well as proxy wars instigated by the hegemon’s objectives. – The entire world helps subsidizing, willy-nilly the US-driven killing machine, despite their suffering from it. – So – why should anything change?

Curiously, the climate champions, the same who promote carbon credits generating billions of profits for speculating Wall Street, hardly ever mention the enormous CO2 boot-print of the wars and conflicts around the globe – and their potential for drastic reduction through peace. – Why is that?

Mining for minerals and natural resources has skyrocketed during the past 20 years. Pristine forests and entire ecosystems are being slaughtered and plundered without scruples by international mining corporations. They are helped by the infamous threesome, WTO, IMF, World Bank, through trade agreements and draconian conditions imposed by structural adjustment type lending operations. Resources owning developing countries are enslaved by debt. Letting their resources being exploited for a pittance, most often without any consideration for environmental protection, despite assertions to the contrary, is their only hope to loosen the noose of debt around their neck – just enough to breathe.

And why has mining become a booming industry, mind you not for the countries that let themselves be mined, but for the mining transnationals – because the western war machine needs lots of minerals and rare earths for their ever more sophisticated electronically and technology-driven weapons and killing gadgets. Although there are no certain figures available, estimates have it that at least 50% of today’s mining output is used by the industrial war complex. – Mining is one of the globe’s dirtiest, most socially destabilizing and environmentally destructive industries. But it serves the neoliberal advancement towards world domination.

The empires chief vassals, the EU, are tormented during the last few years by an ever growing invasion of refugees from African and Middle Eastern conflict zones. Thousands are dying by attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach the EU’s southern shores to safety –to promised heaven. More than 4,000 have perished at sea already this year – estimated figures for future victims are increasing rapidly as wars and conflicts – for neoliberal greed – intensify. Those who make it will be held for years in refugee camps, some returned, but few will make it up to the northern European partners.

There is no solidarity in the European Union. To the contrary, the EU Commission has just decided to fight these refugees from misery, disease and death – by military force; completely ignoring that the EU itself with its subservient complicity with Washington is responsible for the conflicts that cause the flood of refugees in the first place. Shame on you, Brussels – shame on you, every single member of the wretched band of egocentric, neoliberal EU members, devoid of any sense of solidarity, of humanity – greed is the epitome of your worthlessness!

The greed economy is everywhere. It is intricately woven into our western system of life. Reforms will hardly make a difference. They are just typical band aid remedies. The octopus loses one tentacle, but two more grow in its stead to give the monster even more ferocity.

We are so thirsty for hope, hope for another, more just, more equitable world, we see hope in the first ‘blinking of an eye’. Hope is good. Hope is the basis for action. And action must be the consequence of hope – hope that not all is lost. Action to break that impasse of neoliberal all-engulfing greed must be simple. We have become strangers to ourselves. We must return to our roots, recognizing where and why we failed to diagnose the beast. Our awakened, re-kindled sense of consciousness may lead us to what we have lost – our inherent sense of solidarity.

Let’s hope together for that to happen – to happen soon, for the suffering is too great to endure much longer. We, the 99.99 % have it in our power to stop this misery and safe our planet.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik News, the Voice of Russia / Ria Novosti, TeleSur, 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.

While the maquiladora export industry is sometimes touted as a symbol of progress and development in underdeveloped countries, the reality for many workers implies otherwise. In Central America, maquilas act as multinational levers to gain profit, but are not a guarantee of a sufficient income for workers.

According to a 2014 report [PDF] published by labor and social organizations, in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – the Northern Triangle countries of Central America – approximately 350,000 [PDF] workers are employed in the maquiladora industry: 80,000 in El Salvador, 150,729 in Guatemala and 120,000 in Honduras.  As Table 1 illustrates, on average, 54 percent [PDF] of these countries’ total exports to the U.S. are produced in the maquiladora industry (42 percent for El Salvador, 55 percent for Guatemala and 65 percent for Honduras).

Data from the U.S. Office of Textiles and Apparel shows that Central America and the Dominican Republic produce around 10 percent of all apparel goods purchased in the U.S., of which 70 percent is produced in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. This means that Central America is behind only China (which produces 36 percent) and Vietnam (which produces 11 percent) in clothing exports to the U.S. Among the largest sectors that Central America exports to the U.S. are cotton knitted T-shirts (23.1 percent of these U.S. imports in dollars) and cotton underwear (24.7 percent of these U.S. imports in dollars).

The apparel export industry in Central America is concentrated in the hands of a few multinationals. Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, and Gildan Activewear are three of the biggest North American corporations operating in Honduras, employing around 25 percent of maquiladora workers in the country. Fruit of the Loom alone employs approximately 24,000 workers in Honduras and El Salvador. Nike and Adidas also subcontract production to maquiladoras; together they have about 30 outsourcing companies in Honduras alone.

As the following graph shows, the daily minimum wage for workers in maquilas in the Northern Triangle countries represents, on average, 13 percent of the federal minimum wage in the U.S.

Source: Guatemala (, Honduras (, El Salvador (, U.S. (

Minimum wage levels in the maquiladora industry of the Northern Triangle countries are especially low considering the cost of a basket of basic consumer goods. A report [PDF] published by the Maquila Solidarity Network demonstrates the low purchasing power of the minimum wages earned by workers in maquiladoras. On average, these wages are equivalent to only 37 percent of the cost of the basic basket of consumer goods (including services).

Cost of Monthly Basket of Basic Consumer Goods -Including Services (MBCG) vs. Maquiladora Minimum Wages, 2014 (USD)

Source: Maquila Solidarity Network report [PDF], elaborated with data from Central Banks, Ministries of Labor, Statistic National Institutes (Honduras and Guatemala) and DIGESTYC (El Salvador)

Despite the shocking disparity between the minimum wages and the cost of basic necessities, manufacturers and governments in the Northern Triangle have sought greater flexibility from workers in response to rising competition from China and falling demand in the decelerated U.S. economy.

One of the most important changes that has taken place in the maquiladora industry since the economic crash of 2008 is the fall in minimum wages below those of the non-maquiladora industrial and service sectors. As the following graphs show, the gap between minimum wages in the maquiladora sector and in the non-maquila manufacturing sector, has been widening in the three Central American countries of the Northern Triangle.

Of the three countries, Honduras shows the greatest difference between maquiladora and non-maquiladora minimum wages. In 2008, the Honduran government approved a 60 percent wage increase for all workers except those in the maquila industry. Since then, the minimum wage in the Honduran maquiladora industry has fallen well below the minimum wages for non-maquila industries.

In El Salvador, the difference between maquila and non-maquila minimum wages has deepened, from a 10 percent difference in 2007, to a 16.3 percent difference in 2014. If this trend continues — with an average yearly growth rate of 4.2 percent for non-maquila workers and 3.1 percent for maquila workers — the latter will be more than 21 percent lower in 2020.

In Guatemala, there was actually no difference between the minimum wage for EPZ maquila workers and for those in other jobs, but as new wage policies were applied in 2008, this relationship changed; minimum wages in the maquiladora sector are now below the minimum wages in the non-maquila manufacturing sector. The Guatemalan case is the least dramatic, but if the average growth rate of minimum wages in different sectors does not change, minimum wages in maquilas will be 16.5 percent lower than in non-maquila and service sectors.

This suggests that cheap labor may be the greatest competitive advantage for Northern Triangle economies. Such an advantage comes at a cost. The lowering of workers’ wages in the maquiladora industry has become a useful tool by which multinationals can respond to a more sluggish U.S. economy.

There have been various demands for higher minimum wages in the maquiladoras in Central America; even the United Nations has expressed concern. However, governments in Central America have insisted on limiting wage growth in response to demands from manufacturers such as Fruit of the Loom, Gildan, Hanes, Adidas, Nike, and others, despite the costs to workers.

Recently, the U.S. and Central American governments have proposed tackling the migration crisis through the “Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity”; however as we have described in previous posts, “the plan makes no reference to greater bargaining power for workers, higher wages or increased benefits, let alone labor unions – all of which would indeed help to reduce inequality and poverty.” Instead, the governments insist on pushing down wages further, while largely addressing the issue of migration as a security problem. Instead of raising pay and ensuring good working conditions, the region is being militarized to contain outward migration. How about calling this the “pressure cooker model”?

Early on the morning of May 15, Haiti’s electoral authority posted online the final list of approved candidates for legislative elections scheduled to be held in August. Over 2,000 candidates registered, representing some 98 different political parties. The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) rejected 522 candidates – 76 for the Senate and 446 for the lower house – leaving 1,515 candidates to compete for 138 open seats.

The CEP, in announcing the rejection of over one-quarter of registered candidates, provided no rationale for individual cases. CEP member Lucie Marie Carmelle Paul Austin toldLe Nouvelliste that the list is final: “The CEP did its work in a completely equitable manner and in compliance with the law.” She added that in many cases candidates were rejected because they did not have proper paper work proving their Haitian nationality.

All the leading parties saw a significant number of candidates rejected, with Martelly’s Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale (PHTK) having the most rejected: 31. Still, PHTK had registered the most candidates, and other parties had a higher percentage of their candidates rejected, such as Platfòm Pitit Dessalines and Renmen Ayiti. After the CEP’s rejections, VERITE, the new party created by former president René Préval and former prime minister Jean-Max Bellerive, has the most candidates in the upcoming election, with 97 followed by PHTK with 94.

Although the CEP has said the decisions are final, political parties have expressed their frustration with the lack of transparency in the process. The coordinator of Fanmi Lavalas, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, told the press that the party had requested an explanation from the CEP, adding, “I think the right of all has to be respected and if there are people who have been unfairly rejected, we will present ourselves to the CEP, we will begin a legal process so that they do justice to those they unjustly rejected,” according to Haiti Libre.

After the publication of the list by the CEP on Friday, the Haiti Press Network reported that some candidates led protests against the decisions. Supporters of Germain Alexandre Fils, a candidate for deputy in Petit Goâve under the VERITE ticket, blocked National Highway #2, while in the Central department PHTK Senate candidate Willot Joseph threatened to block elections from happening unless the CEP decision was reversed.

The rejection of First Lady and PHTK Senate candidate Sophia Martelly had already been announced, but with seven other candidates for Senate rejected, PHTK can no longer field a candidate in every department. The only political party that is fielding senate candidates in all 10 departments is Fanmi Lavalas, which had been excluded from participating in past elections.

In response to the CEP’s decision, the PHTK party released a statement “strongly challenging” the rejection of their candidates and calling on supporters to remain calm.

Nevertheless, some of the rejections could hardly come as a surprise. These included former Senator Rudolph Boulos, of the PHTK party. He had previously been forced from his post after it was determined that he held a U.S. passport, making him ineligible to hold office in Haiti.

While rejections made the headlines, some interesting names did make the cut. Jacqueline Charles reports for the Miami Herald: “Among those who will be vying for one of those empty Senate seats is Guy Philippe, a former Haitian police officer who led the 2004 coup that toppled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Over the years, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents have tried — and failed — on at least three occasions to arrest Philippe, who has been wanted in the United States since 2005. This will be Philippe’s third try at elected office in Haiti.”

The registration period for presidential elections is ongoing.

Maryse Narcisse Registers as the Presidential Candidate of the Lavalas Family Party

by Daniel Tercier

With great fanfare, on May 19, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, the coordinator of the Lavalas Family Political Organization (FL), registered as that party’s candidate for presidential elections scheduled for October and December.

With over 150 motorcycles, 10 school buses, and 40 private cars, thousands of FL partisans clogged the streets of Tabarre in anticipation of the event. Dr. Narcisse arrived at the Aristide Foundation for Democracy around 9:30 a.m.. After a rally there, she drove through the multitude to the home of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, about a half mile away. After about 15 minutes, two vehicles with tinted windows emerged. The crowd went wild, thinking that Dr. Aristide was in one of the vehicles. But when the cars arrived at the West Department’s Electoral Bureau (BED), it turned out Dr. Narcisse was accompanied by Mildred Trouillot Aristide, the former president’s wife.

The FL has been excluded from all Haitian elections for over a decade, since the U.S.-backed coup d’état against Aristide in February 2004.

Robert Doggart in a photo from his congressional campaign website.

No crime fascinates US media like terrorism–provided it’s the right sort of terrorism, that is.

The media-approved sort of terrorist is motivated by some fanatic strain of Islam. Terrorists motivated by other ideologies are often forgotten by corporate media (Extra!6/13)–sometimes to the point where pundits deny that non-Muslim terrorists exist (FAIR Blog12/16/14)–even though the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the United States are carried out by people with agendas unrelated to Islam (Extra!8/13)

Sensational acts of or schemes for political violence are ignored because they don’t fit Islamophobic stereotypes (FAIR Blog1/11/131/25/14)–or, if the violence is too dramatic to overlook, journalists decline to affix the “terrorism” label to it (FAIR Media Advisory, 4/15/14FAIR Blog6/13/14).

The latest example of the sort of crime story that would be huge news if the perpetrator were Muslim–rather than, in this instance, someone who hates Muslims–is the case of Robert Rankin Doggart, a former congressional candidate from Signal Mountain, Tennessee, who was caught on tape and on social media talking about wiping out a Muslim community in upstate New York.

Fox‘s O’Reilly Factor (1/14/15) counted Hancock, N.Y., among “cities with radical Muslim organizations.”

According to a plea agreement reached in US District Court in the Eastern District of Tennessee, Doggart told an FBI informant that he was planning to attack the residents of a Muslim community known as Islamberg near Hancock, New York.  (Doggart, an ordained Christian minister, apparently became fixated on the hamlet as a result of alarmist reporting on right-wing media.) In a call recorded by the informant, Doggart said:

Those guys [have] to be killed. Their buildings need to be burnt down. If we can get in there and do that not losing a man, even the better.

The buildings Doggart planned to destroy included a mosque, a school and a cafeteria.

In another conversation, Doggart elaborated:

When we meet in this state, the people we seek will know who we are. We will be cruel to them. And we will burn down their buildings [and] if anyone attempts to, uh, harm us in any way, our standoff gunner will take them down from 350 yards away.

“The standoff gunner would be me,” he added.

On Facebook, Doggart declared that “Target 3 [Islamberg] is vulnerable from many approaches and must be utterly destroyed.”

Mugshot for Robert Doggart after his arrest for threatening to destroy a Muslim community.

The plea agreement, filed April 29, notes that Doggart took substantive steps to carry out his plan, including traveling to recruit gunners and “battle test[ing]” his M4 rifle. Despite this, Doggart was allowed to plead guilty only to interstate communication of threats and faces a maximum of five years in jail.

There has been little coverage of Doggart’s case in national media, as a broad Nexis search reveals. One of the first reports was in the Chattanoogan (5/16/15), a local online news outlet. The article reports that Doggart

is on federal bond awaiting sentencing in the case…. Doggart was first ordered detained; however, Federal Magistrate Susan Lee later allowed his release on certain conditions after attorneys said he had weaned himself from pain medication and had stopped abusing alcohol. The government opposed his release, saying he remains a danger.

Later other local outlets picked up on the story, with a modest article appearing in the Chattanooga Times Free Press (5/18/15) that quoted Doggart’s Facebook boast: “We shall be Warriors who will inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace.” Stories appeared a couple of days earlier in the Arizona Republic (5/16/15), as well as the Rock Hill, S.C., Herald (5/16/15), which ran an article focusing on the reaction of a similar Muslim community in northern South Carolina.

Nexis also turns up brief reports in the London Independent (5/18/15) and Sky News (5/18/95), as well as a handful of Pakistani papers. But nothing in major US papers like the New York TimesWashington PostUSA Today or LA Times. While Nexis’ broadcast transcripts are not exhaustive, there was no indication that the story had been picked up by any US TV outlet, or by National Public Radio.

There were a handful of online news outlets that carried the story, often making reference to the lack of coverage in other media (“Guess Why This Christian Terrorist Plot Against Muslims Isn’t Getting Any Press,” Daily Beast5/18/15) or the evident double standard in the criminal justice system (“Would This Man Be Charged With Terrorism if He Were Muslim?,” Think Progress5/18/15).Wonkette (5/18/15) highlighted the sensationalized Fox News coverage that may have motivated Doggart’s terror scheme. One of the most substantive articles appeared on the web publication Heavy (5/18/15), with a report that cited Muslim reactions to the plot and examined Doggart’s 2014 independent congressional bid, which garnered 6 percent of Tennessee’s 4th District vote.

The Daily Beast report, noting that “it goes without saying that if Doggart had been Muslim and had planned to kill Christians in America, we would have seen wall-to-wall media coverage,” pointed to a major reason that the case has not gotten more attention: the tendency for journalists to rely on official sources to tell them what stories are important. Beast contributor Dean Obeidallah wrote:

One big reason for the lack of media coverage was that neither the FBI nor the US Attorney’s office put out a press release about Doggart’s arrest.  In contrast, the FBI office in Knoxville, the one that handled this investigation, has posted press releases for numerous other recent arrests, such as for drug crimes and robbery charges.  (My calls to the FBI about this issue have not been returned.)

However, when a Muslim is arrested in a sting-type operation, as we saw recently in Brooklyn, the FBI touts that arrest to the media with a detailed press release. We have also seen US attorneys hold press conferences to announce the arrest of Muslims, as we witnessed recently with the six Minnesota men charged with planning to join ISIS. But not here.

The last open armed conflict in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – FYROM (former Socialist Republic of Macedonia as one of six federal republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) is just an expected continuation of constant tensions between the ethnic Albanians and the Macedonian Slavs during the last quarter of century.[i] However, these tensions are time to time transformed into the open armed conflicts of the Albanian extremists, usually coming from Kosovo, with the Macedonian security forces.

The most notable conflict incidents in Macedonia after the Kosovo War in 1998−1999, when the Kosovo Albanians started to export Kosovo revolution to Macedonia, up to 2015 are recorded in 2001 that was ended by the EU/USA sponsored Ohrid Agreement, in 2007 when on November 7th, Macedonian special police forces liquidated six armed Albanians from the neighboring Kosovo on the Shara Mt. in the North Macedonia – the region known from 1991 as the most nationalistic and separatist Albanian area at the Balkans after Kosovo and in 2008 after the parliamentary elections in June.

In the 2007 case, for instance, police found a large amount of hidden arms and ammunition on one location at the Shara Mt. (brought from Kosovo). The Balkan political analysts  are kin to speculate that what is happening in Macedonia after 1999 is just a continuation of the export of the 1998-99 Kosovo revolution.  1998−1999. It basically means that Macedonia is scheduled by the Kosovo Albanian “revolutionaries” (i.e., by the political leadership of the Kosovo Liberation Army−the KLA) to be the next Balkan country which will experience a “Kosovo syndrome” that was successfully finished by the proclamation of the Kosovo independence in February 2008. It is as well as assumed that Montenegro is going to be the third Balkan country infected by the process of Kosovization.

The pre-1991 “Macedonian Question”

Macedonia always was the crossroad of the Balkans having a vital strategic position at the peninsula. The geostrategic importance of Macedonia was probably expressed the best by the German kanzellar Otto von Bismarck: “Those who control the valley of the River Vardar are the masters of the Balkans”.[ii]

A whole historic-geographic territory of Macedonia was formerly part of the Ottoman Empire from 1371 to 1912. Macedonia was the first Yugoslav land to be occupied by the Ottomans and the last one to be liberated from the Ottoman yoke. Before the Ottoman lordship, Macedonia was governed by the Byzantine Empire, Bulgaria and Serbia. A Bulgarian sponsored the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (the IMRO) was established in 1893 in Thessaloniki with the ultimate political goal to include whole Macedonia into Bulgaria. After the Balkans Wars of 1912−1913 a territory of historic-geographic Macedonia was partitioned between Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria. During WWI Macedonia became a scene of fierce fighting between the Central Powers and the Entente (the Macedonian front). Allied forces landed at Thessaloniki in October 1915 to be soon accompanied with approximately 150.000 Serbian soldiers who escaped from the occupied Serbia. In September 1918 under the French General Franchet d’Esperey, a joint British, French and Serbian army advanced against Bulgaria and soon liberated Serbia.[iii]

After the WWI the Treaty of Neuilly confirmed the Vardar Macedonia as a part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, while the Aegean Macedonia with Thessaloniki remained the Greek and the Pirin Macedonia the Bulgarian. In the 1920s a large population movement transformed the ethnic composition of the population of the historic-geographic Macedonia. The crucial exchange of population occurred after the Treaty of Lausanne as some 350.000 Muslims from Macedonia were exchanged with Turkey by around 1.200.000 ethnic Greeks from Anatolia. In the interwar time a Bulgarian sponsored IMRO terrorism activity increased in the Yugoslav Macedonia seeking to destabilize the country in order to finally annex Macedonia into Bulgaria.[iv] After 1945 the Vardar Macedonia became a socialist republic within the Yugoslav federation with recognized a separate Macedonian nationality, Macedonian language and alphabet which was standardized for the first time in history. Up to 1991 the Yugoslav authorities fostered Macedonian self-identity and nationalism at the expense of the Serb and Bulgarian national interests.[v] Therefore, for the very reason to keep a territorial integrity of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, her Albanian minority was not granted a status of an autonomous province like the Kosovo Albanians in Serbia who had, according to the last Yugoslav constitution in 1974, their own president, government, assembly, police, university and academy of sciences – a state within the state.

The post-1991 “Macedonian Question”

During the violent destruction of ex-Yugoslavia, in November 1991 the Socialist Republic of Macedonia proclaimed independence that was firstly recognized by Bulgaria. However, Bulgaria never recognized a separate Macedonian language and ethnicity as for Bulgarians up to today all Macedonian Slavs are ethnolinguistic Bulgarians.[vi] Of course, when Skopje decided to declare independence,  the Macedonians decided at the same time to deal alone with the Albanian nationalism and separatism in Macedonia without help by the Serbs.

The government in Skopje believed that the West will protect a territorial integrity of Macedonia and therefore yet in 1991 NATO’s troops were invited to be deployed in this newly proclaimed independent state which became internationally recognized in 1993 but with a provisional state’s name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – a unique case in world history. Nevertheless, a new Macedonian constitution, a constitutional state’s name (the Republic of Macedonia) and the state’s symbols created immediately extremely tense and hostile relationships with a neighboring Greece as Skopje developed rival (and unjust) claims to the ethnohistorical heritage of the ancient Macedonians and the Kingdom of Macedonia.[vii] Greece and the FYROM recognized each other five years after the Macedonian official proclamation of independence when Greece lifted economic blockade against the FYROM as well.

However, the crucial challenge to the post-1991 “Macedonian Question” is coming from the ethnic breakdown of the country and historical background of interethnic relations between the Macedonian Slavs and the Macedonian Albanians. The later are the biggest and most nationalistic ethnic minority in the FYROM composing today about 30% of total population. Their number increased during the Kosovo War in 1998−1999, especially during the NATO’s “a prominent example of unauthorized humanitarian intervention”[viii] against Serbia and Montenegro, as the Kosovo Albanians, formally as the refugees, came to Macedonia followed by their compatriots from Albania – a country out of any warfare at that time. Majority of those Albanian “refugees”[ix] in fact never returned back to their homeland. Inter-ethnic tensions between the Macedonian Slavs and the Macedonian Albanians soon became increased due to both worsening economic situation and the uncompromised Albanian nationalism as an effect of the exported “Kosovo syndrome”.

The “Kosovo syndrome”

The export of the Kosovo revolution after 1999 as a direct outcome of the “Kosovo syndrome” to neighboring Macedonia is in direct connection with much serious regional problem of creation of a Greater Albania from 1878 up today. After June 1999 when the NATO’s troops occupied and divided Kosovo into five occupation zones, transforming this region into their colony,[x] West Macedonia became a stronghold for the rebel Albanian terrorist forces which in fact came from Kosovo.

The Macedonian Albanian separatism backed by the KLA paramilitary troops in the area of Tetovo, Kumanovo and Gostivar in the North-West Macedonia became directly encouraged by the fact that neighboring Kosovo Albanians finally succeeded to separate Kosovo from the rest of Serbia with direct NATO’s and EU military and diplomatic support. The same or very similar scenario was drawn now and for the West Macedonia with Skopje as a capital of the Albanian independent state of the Republic of Ilirida – a state proclaimed by the local Albanian nationalists twice after the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia: in 1992 and in September 2014. Of course, an ultimate goal is pan-Albanian unification with Tirana as a capital of a Greater Albania as it was during the WWII. Here it has to be stressed that between Kosovo, West Macedonia and Albania in fact there is no cross-border checking as it is formally controlled by the Albanians themselves, if it is controlled at all. Therefore, in practice a Greater Albania already exists. Furthermore, the traffic connections between Tirana and Prishtina are planned to be radically improved as the Kosovo Albanian government recently agreed with the government of Albania to connect their two capitals with a modern highway probably financially sponsored by the western economies.


The “Macedonian Question” has always been at the heart of Balkan politics and of interest to the Great Powers. Macedonia – the small, landlocked territory of the South Balkans has been contested during the last 150 years by all of its four neighbors – Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania and Greece. A Socialist Yugoslavia of Josip Broz Tito claimed to have solved the “Macedonian Question” by the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia as a part of the Yugoslav Federation from 1945 to 1991. Nonetheless, the destruction of the second Yugoslavia in 1991 reopened the issue of the future of the territory of the Vardar Macedonia – a Serbian-Yugoslav part of a geographic-historic Macedonia given to the Kingdom of Serbia by the Bucharest Peace Treaty on August 10th, 1913.[xi] A successor “Republic of Macedonia” has been proclaimed as an independent state in November 1991 but it has not received immediately universal international recognition either of its formal political independence or of its state-flag and state-name.

Basically, after 1991 up today there are three main problems in regard to the “Macedonian Question”:

  1. Will Macedonian state’s territory be divided between the Slavic Macedonians and the ethnic Albanians (who are 30% of Macedonia’s population)?;
  2. Will all members of the international community recognize the name of “Republic of Macedonia” (according to the Macedonian Constitution of 1991) or they will continue to call this country as it is today officially named by the UNO – the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (the FYROM); and
  3. Will the FYROM have  territorial claims on other parts of geographic-historic Macedonia included into Greece (the “Aegean Macedonia”) and Bulgaria (the “Pirin Macedonia”) after the Second Balkan War in 1913?

The Macedonian independence from 1991 created an extremely tense relationship with the Greek government, since Macedonia developed rival claims for ethnicity and statehood. This rivalry was epitomized in a dispute about the state’s name, as Greece objected to the use of Macedonia, whose historical heritage it claimed. These two countries eventually recognized each other in 1995, and the Greek economic blockade against Macedonia was lifted.

Nevertheless, the crucial problem in this country is that the ethnic make up of the FYROM continued to change as the Albanian refugees poured in from Kosovo and Albania increasing the size of the Albanian minority de facto to 30%.

Tensions were increased through the worsening economic situation, which escalated as a result of international sanctions and the war against its main trading partner – ex-Yugoslavia. As the situation in Kosovo escalated and war erupted in 1998−1999, Macedonia became an important stronghold for the moderate Albanian opposition from Kosovo, but also for the rebel KLA. Extremely encouraged by the recognition of the Albanian required rights in Kosovo from June 1999 by the West, the Albanian minority in the West Macedonia became more assertive and politically aggressive.

Following violent clashes in 2001 between the Macedonian police forces and the (Kosovo) Albanian rebels, NATO followed the plea of the pro-western Macedonian government and increased its presence in this South Balkan country. A higher scale of a civil war was narrowly avoided in 2001 when the Macedonian parliament in Skopje agreed, but under direct western (EU/US) pressure and blackmailing, great concessions granting linguistic and limited political autonomy to the Albanian minority in Macedonia.

In return, the KLA rebels in Macedonia (under the official name of the Albanian National Army – the ANA) agreed to give up their arms to NATO’s troops – a gesture that was done more for the TV screens as the main guns’ arsenal of the KLA was returned back to Kosovo to be activated in Macedonia once again on May 9−10th,  2015. This happened regardless of the presence of  NATO’s peace-keeping troops in Macedonia which came in the early 1990s following the plea of the Macedonian government after violent clashes between the Macedonian police and Albanian rebels.


The “Macedonian Question” after the 2001 KLA rebellion in Macedonia primarily was dependent on solving the “Kosovo Question”. In the other words, it was logically expected that in the case of “international” (i.e., the western) recognition of Kosovo and by the west sponsored quasi-independence after February 17th, 2008, the Albanians from the West FYROM (likely followed by their compatriots from the East Montenegro) will follow a Kosovo example of regional revolution for the sake of getting territorial-national independence with a final aim to be united with a motherland Albania as it was clearly noticed even in 1997 by the late Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova and more recently in May 2015 confirmed by the PM of Albania, Edi Rama.

Now we are witnessing a process of practical realization of the Greater Albania project that was designed for the first time by the Albanian First Prizren League in 1878. Or better to say, we are today dealing with the revival of a Greater Albania created by Mussolini in 1941 – a real state that existed until the end of the WWII. A difference is only that the WWII Greater Albania was sponsored by the western nazifascism while a present-day Greater Albania is backed by the western self-proclaimed liberal democracies.

The present Macedonian government of Nikola Gruevski (PM from 2006 and a leader of the VMRO-DPMNE) which has confronted the KLA, is punished (May 2015)  by US-NATO for two reasons:

  1. A Macedonian policy not to introduce sanctions against Russia.
  2. A Macedonian wish to join Russia’s sponsored “Turkish Stream” of supplying Europe with the Siberian gas.

As the current Greek government is becoming closer to Russia,  the Kosovization of Macedonia could be used against Greece, as a means to undermine the Greek pro-Russian policy. Namely, a summer holiday tourism is for Greece one of the most important incomes for the national budget per year. As a huge number of the European tourists are coming to Greece by the highway that is crossing Serbia, Macedonia and exactly the Kumanovo area it can be expected that in the case of conflict situation in the FYROM, the tourist industry in Greece will be affected.

  1. European tourists travelling by land will have to cross conflict areas in Macedonia.
  2. The conflict in Macedonia could spill over into Greece itself and most probably into Serbia.

Finally, the armed KLA rebellion in May 2015 against the state of Macedonia is used as a means to destabilize the government in Skopje in the form of a  Colored Revolution, similar to Belgrade in October 2000. As in  Serbia after October 2000, a new post-revolution Macedonian government sponsored by the West would be instrumental into transforming Macedonia into another client state of the post-Cold War NATO’s World Order. The success of the US-NATO plan very much depends on the role played by Russia.[xii]


[i] On this issue, see [L. Danforth, The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World, Princeton, 1995].

[ii] M. Glenny, The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, 1804−1999, New York: Viking, 1999, 156.

[iii] On the Macedonian front, see [G. W. Price, The Story of the Salonika Army, London 1918].

[iv] On the terrorism by IMRO, see [A. Londres, Terror in the Balkans, London, 1935].

[v] On this issue, see [S. E. Palmer, R. King, Yugoslav Communism and the Macedonian Question, Connecticut, 1971].

[vi] On the question of ethnic background of the Macedonians, see [H. N. Brailsford, Macedonia – Its Races and Their Future, London, 1906; H. Poulton, Who Are the Macedonians?, London, 1995]. On the Bulgarian standpoint, see [Macedonia: Documents and Material, Sofia, 1974].

[vii] On the Greek point of view, see [N. K. Martis, The Falsification of Macedonian History, Athens, 1984]. The fact is that the ancient “Macedonians were located between the Thracians and the Greeks, inhabiting the fertile plains drained by the Vardar and Struma rivers. From antiquity to the present the question has been debated as to whether these early Macedonians were Greeks or barbarians” [L. S. Stavrianos, The Balkans since 1453, New York: Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1958, 18]. However, the Macedonian kings and aristocracy have been the Greeks in language, culture and outlook who were inviting the Greeks of learning from Greek world to their courts. On the Macedonian point of view, see [S. Konechni, V. Georgieva, Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje, 1998].   

[viii] J. L. Holzgrefe, R. O. Keohane (eds.), Humanitarian Intervention. Ethical, Legal, and Political Dilemmas, Cambridge−New York, Cambridge University Press, 2005, 1. On the legal aspect of the humanitarian intervention, see [Ch. Gray, International Law and the Use of Force. Fully Updated Second Edition, Oxford−New York, Oxford University Press, 2004].

[ix] Majority of the Kosovo Albanian “refugees” during the Kosovo War 1998−1999 were not real refugees as they left their homes under the agreement with the KLA in order to show to the mainstream western mass media how the Serbian government is oppressive against the Kosovo ethnic Albanians.

[x] H. Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009.

[xi] В. Ћоровић, Наше победе, Београд: Култура, 1990, 82.

[xii] On the NATO, Balkans and Russia after 1991, see [V. B. Sotirović, “The NATO’s World Order, the Balkans and the Russian National Interest”, International Journal of Politics & Law Research, Vol. 3, № 1, Sciknow Publications Ltd., New York, NY, 2015]

GR editor’s note.  We have made minor edits to this article. Due to staff constraints, we were not in a position to carry out a more cohesive editing of this article. mor edit this article.

Color Revolution in Macedonia?

May 21st, 2015 by South Front

Republic of Macedonia is a landlocked Balkan country of about 2 million, one of the regions of the former Yugoslavia. To the United States, it’s also the newest open front in a fomenting regime change to establish its political, economy and military control.

Macedonia’s ethnic divide between Albanians and Macedonians came to a head on May 9, when an attack by Albanian gunmen in the town of Kumanovo left at least 18 people dead. A Macedonian opposition member alleged that the attack was faked, and that the government had attacked itself.

Earlier, violent opposition protests in the country’s capital on May 6 injured 38 police officers and at least two protesters. However, the conflict has been predominantly shown as one between an authoritarian government and a democratic opposition in Western media and political discourse. 

According to the official western version of these events, tens of thousands of demonstrators have took to the streets of the capital, Skopje, to demand Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s resignation because the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia and its leader Zoran Zaev have accused the government of corruption and wiretapping 20,000 people, including politicians, journalists and religious leaders. Meanwhile, common Western media have stated that Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is an authoritarian leader. It has become the public start of full-scale international pressure on legal Macedonian government.

In turn, the US has voiced its concerns over so-called ‘political crisis’ in Macedonia and has called on the government to probe opposition claims of corruption. “We remain in close consultation with the Macedonian government and with political leaders to convey our concerns about the current political crisis,” the State Department’s press office director Jeff Rathke told reporters. Unfortunately, he forgot to add that US decisively performed a same kind of consultation in Ukraine during the coup in 2014. Washington also called on all sides “to respect the rights of freedom of assembly and peaceful protest,” the commonplace to justify any illegal actions of anti-government forces.

Although the Macedonian opposition talks of democracy and anti-corruption campaigns, its actual political discourse, such as in the prominent Societas Civilis group which has received US government funding, focuses primarily on issues of ethnicity and nationalism. Particular emphasis is given to the study of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where ethnic groups live in a separated country which is on track to EU and NATO membership. The only difference with the situation in Ukraine is that US-sponsored interests favor the recognition of the Albanian minority in Macedonia. Albania is a US ally and NATO member. The concept of “Greater Albania,” an expansion of the Albanian state into areas of other countries where ethnic Albanians live has also become more prominent. The organized faction of the Macedonian opposition, the SDSM, is the successor to Macedonia’s communist-era League of Communists of Macedonia. The SDSM now supports the idea of “Macedonia as full-fledged member of NATO and EU” according to the party’s official website.

Speaking on a visit to Serbia on Friday, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said events in Macedonia were “unfolding against the background of the government’s refusal to join the policy of sanctions against Russia and the vigorous support Skopje gave to the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project”. Russia’s foreign ministry on Saturday followed Mr Lavrov’s comments with a statement citing Serbian media reports of the arrest of a Montenegrin citizen whom “assisted Kosovo-Albanian extremists” in Macedonia. Turkish Stream is a scheme that Moscow is promoting to replace the South Stream project to bring Russian gas into southeast Europe which was abandoned in December after EU opposition. Turkish Stream is a scheme that Moscow is promoting to replace the South Stream project to bring Russian gas into southeast Europe which was abandoned in December after EU opposition. Serbia, Greece and Macedonia are obvious members of the project. The U.S. has been lobbying Greece to go with a competing pipeline project that would transport gas from Azerbaijan rather than Russia. As for Macedonia, two months after the Turkish Stream plans were broached, the opposition leader Zoran Zaev started frankly actions to enforce protests in the country. Thus, it is hard to believe that crisis in Macedonia is an accident.

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Bush And Cheney Lied About Nukes, Al Qaeda In Iraq

May 21st, 2015 by Charles Topher

It’s an all-too-repetitive argument about an extremely disturbing subject: Did a sitting United States President lie to the American people in order to take us to one of the most costly wars in history?

For the left the answer is and always has been clear; there’s credible evidence that the intel that sent us to Iraq to seek out weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda was flawed, but somehow we ended up there anyway, so someone had to have lied.

To the right, it was the faulty intel itself that sent us to Iraq; George W. Bush and his administration made decisions based on what they were told.

A new piece was introduced to the puzzle Tuesday night when Michael Morrell, once acting chief of the CIA and Bush’s intelligence briefer prior to the invasion, appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews. For the first time, the person that actually delivered that “flawed” intel directly to President Bush told exactly what went down, and it is absolutely infuriating.

Matthews asked Morel about a specific statement made by Dick Cheney in 2003:

“We know he [Saddam Hussein] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”

Matthews asked the very straightforward question, “was that true?”, to which Morell answered, “No. That was not true.”

While Morell says the intelligence community was telling the administration that there was a good chance Saddam had chemical or biological weapons, it was the fear of the nuclear weapon coupled with the means to deliver it to the United States that was the breaking point for the American people.

As Matthews points out, “there’s no coming back from that.”

Other notable moments from the thirteen-minute segment include Morell admitting that the Bush Administration added Al Qaeda to the Iraq dialogue in order to “make a better case for war,” and that where the intelligence community was concerned, “when we were pushed on Iraq and Al Qaeda, we pushed back.”

It’s been known for quite some time that the administration was determined to go to Iraq even before 9-11, but to hear the man who actually briefed the President, whose job as he puts it is to “give him the best information possible and make sure he understands it,” openly admit that credible information was either skewed or ignored, and in some cases invented, is unfathomable.

Watch excerpts of Chris Matthews’ Hardball segment with Bush intelligence briefer Mike Morell:

Memorial Day commemorates soldiers killed in war.  We are told that the war dead died for us and our freedom. US Marine General Smedley Butler challenged this view.  He said that our soldiers died for the profits of the bankers, Wall Street, Standard Oil, and the United Fruit Company.  Here is an excerpt from a speech that he gave in 1933:

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Most American soldiers died fighting foes who posed no threat to the United States. Our soldiers died for secret agendas of which they knew nothing. Capitalists hid their self-interests behind the flag, and our boys died for the One Percent’s bottom line.

Jade Helm, an exercise that pits the US military against the US public, is scheduled to run July 15 through September 15.  What is the secret agenda behind Jade Helm?

The Soviet Union was a partial check on capitalist looting in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.  However, with the Soviet collapse capitalist looting intensified during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama regimes.

Neoliberal Globalization is now looting its own constituent parts and the planet itself. Americans, Greeks, Irish, British, Italians, Ukrainians, Iraqis, Libyans, Argentinians, the Spanish and Portuguese are being looted of their savings, pensions, social services, and job opportunities, and the planet is being turned into a wasteland by capitalists sucking the last penny out of the environment.

As Claudia von Werlhof writes, predatory capitalism is consuming the globe.

We need a memorial day to commemorate the victims of neoliberal globalization.  All of us are its victims, and in the end the capitalists also.

Washington has threatened “not to sign” a final nuclear agreement with Tehran unless the Iranian government gives access to its possible military dimension-related sites and nuclear scientists.

“If we don’t get the assurances we need on the access to possible military dimension-related sites or activities, that’s going to be a problem for us,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in Washington on Wednesday.

“We and Iran have agreed that we will undertake a process to address possible military dimensions (of past nuclear work), and part of that includes access,” Harf said.

“Under the Additional Protocol … which Iran will implement and has said they will implement as part of this deal, the IAEA does get access.”

“If we cannot agree in the final instance to something that meets our bottom line for what we need in terms of access, we’re not going to sign a final deal. And that’s just something we’ve been very, very clear about,”

she added.

The remarks were made after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that Iran would not allow inspection of its military sites.

Iran says the United States is making fresh demands in the nuclear negotiations.

“They are making new comments in the negotiations. Regarding the inspections, we have said that we will not allow foreigners to carry out inspections of any military sites,” Ayatollah Khamenei said on Wednesday.

“The enemies should know that the Iranian nation and officials will, by no means, give in to excessive demands and bullying,” the Leader underlined.

The US and its negotiating partners reached a framework nuclear agreement with Iran in Switzerland on April 2.

Tehran and the P5+1 group – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – are currently working to draw up a final accord by the end of June.

Iran has repeatedly stressed that it will not allow inspections of its military facilities and insists that the nuclear deal must only include nuclear issues.

“Iran will brook no excessive demands. The agreed parameters are those confirmed by the two sides in Lausanne and these parameters need to be stipulated in a written agreement by Iran and the P5+1,”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said earlier this month.

Watch video here

Democrats who had been programmed to blindly vote for Hillary Clinton are picking their jaws up off the floor after learning the truth about Hillary’s ties to Monsanto. The ties run so deep that she’s now being dubbed the “Bride of Frankenfood.” (Tweet this story)

Shockingly, Hillary Clinton’s ties to Monsanto are new information to her liberal support base. It drives home the important point that nearly everyone supporting Hillary Clinton has no idea who she really is, as evidenced by this stunning new video from Mark Dice and Luke Rudkowski.

“Hillary Rodham Clinton’s ties to agribusiness giant Monsanto, and her advocacy for the industry’s genetically modified crops, have environmentalists in Iowa calling her ‘Bride of Frankenfood’” reports the Washington Times. “A large faction of women voiced strong support for Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy until the GMO issue came up, prompting them to switch allegiances to Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, a liberal stalwart challenging her for the Democratic nomination.”

Oh my, how little they really know about the real Hillary Clinton… keep reading to find out more…

Monsanto and Bill Gates are top donors to the Clinton Family Foundation

A quick look at this table of Clinton Family Foundation donors reveals both the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Monsanto as two of the heavy-hitting donors to the Clinton Family Foundation.

Bill Gates, of course, pushes vaccines on the world, while Monsanto pushes GMOs. It’s a toxic one-two punch for global depopulation.

Hillary Clinton’s donors also include the drug maker Pfizer, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and many more. It’s a who’s who compilation of the most evil corporations and institutions on planet Earth, and they’ve all given huge money — tens of millions of dollars — to Hillary Clinton.

All the corporations are, of course, buying influence with the Clintons. This obvious fact was wildly attacked by extreme leftist Democratic party operatives like George Stephanopoulos, who turned out to have hidden his own $75,000 in donations to the same Clinton Foundation. He claims he thought he was donating to halt “deforestation.” Hillaryious!

Hillary Clinton hires former Monsanto lobbyist to run her campaign

If you’re still not convinced that Hillary Clinton has strong ties to Monsanto, ask yourself why she just hired a prominent Monsanto lobbyist to run her campaign.

As True Activist reports:

Hillary Clinton recently announced that she will be appointing long-time Monsanto lobbyist Jerry Crawford as adviser to her “Ready for Hillary” super PAC… Over the years, Crawford has been instrumental in fighting against small farmers in court and protecting Monsanto’s seed monopoly.

Crawford is an “equal opportunity payola operative” who hands out political bribes to members of both parties. “Crawford has mostly worked with Democratic politicians in the past, but has also put his support behind Republican candidates as well. Anyone who was willing to support Monsanto’s goals would receive support from Crawford,” says

Hillary Clinton’s law firm used to have Monsanto as a client

Back in the 1990s, during the era when Vince Foster was murdered for what he knew about the Clintons, Hillary Clinton was a partner at the Rose Law Firm. This law firm counted Monsanto as its client:

“Her history of backing GMO dates back to her early days in Arkansas as a lawyer with the Rose Law Firm, which represented Monsanto and other agribusiness leaders,” reports the Washington Times.

Almost none of today’s activist voters are even old enough to remember the Rose Law Firm, the Clintons’ Whitewater scandal, or even the fact that Hillary Clinton ran the media attacks on all the women who tried to go public with claims of being sexually violated by Bill Clinton. (Yes, Hillary ran the “blame the victim” campaign to protect Bill!)

Yet in an age where progressives demand full transparency on all the issues that matter to them most — immigration, gay marriage, gun control and so on — Hillary finds herself squarely on the wrong side of the GMO issue. She’s a puppet for Monsanto and all its toxic practices that destroy life and destroy the environment.

Hillary Clinton pushes toxic pesticides, herbicides and other agricultural chemicals

At every opportunity, Hillary Clinton pushes toxic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides that contaminate the food supply, promote human diseases like Alzheimer’s and even threaten destruction of the environment. Hillary Clinton, Bride of Frankenfood, is also a “chemical holocaust” pusher who works hard to make sure every woman and child in America eats food laced with cancer-causing glyphosate.

“In the GMO debate, Mrs. Clinton has consistently sided with the chemical companies,” says the Washington Times. “A new scientific study bolstered environmentalists’ concerns by finding the herbicide Roundup could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers. The study published last month in the scientific journal Entropy also reported evidence that residue of glyphosate, a chief ingredient in the weed killer, has been found in food.”

That food, of course, enriches Monsanto and the other biotech firms, many of which kick back huge donations to Hillary Clinton as long as she keeps pushing poison.

A vote for Hillary, it turns out, is a vote for Monsanto.

Hillary Clinton hands nuclear fuel resource deal to Russia

It’s not just GMOs, either, that haunt the real history of Hillary Clinton. As The Atlantic reported this year, Hillary Clinton was also instrumental in handing the Russian government a near-monopoly over nuclear weapons uranium supplies.

All the while, money was flowing into the Clinton foundation from uranium interests:

In total, people affiliated with Uranium One or its predecessor gave more than $8 million to the Clinton Foundation between 2008 and 2010. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow, paid for by a bank boosting Uranium One stock.

Why does this matter to the Clinton voter support base? Because progressives are rightly anti-nuclear power and anti-nuke weapons. Yet their gender champion Hillary Clinton is out there promoting the proliferation of nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons, all while raking in millions of dollars for her own foundation in exchange for selling her influence to the highest bidder. Suddenly a Clinton presidency doesn’t sound so “progressive,” does it?

Hillary Clinton parrots Monsanto’s talking points as speaker for the Biotechnology Industry Organization

Just to make sure no one is confused about where Hillary Clinton really stands on the issue of GMOs and biotech, she openly parrots Monsanto’s quack science talking points in public.

In 2014, she spoke at the Biotechnology Industry Organization and practiced running Monsanto’s talking points, saying:

I stand in favor of using seeds and products that have a proven track record … And to continue to try to make the case for those who are skeptical that they may not know what they’re eating already. The question of genetically modified food or hybrids has gone on for many many years. And there is again a big gap between what the facts are and what perceptions are…

During the speech, Clinton basically says that all anti-GMO people are anti-science idiots who don’t know “the facts.” Those “facts,” of course, are all contrived by Monsanto itself and its deep network of financial influence over scientists, universities and even the lamestream media. Hillary Clinton basically concludes that since you don’t know you’ve already been eating GMOs, then it’s safe to keep doing so.

See the video here:

Will anybody stand up and challenge the Bride of Frankenfood?

If you’ve ever wondered why there’s almost no willingness among 100+ million Democrats to challenge Hillary Clinton for the nomination, it’s because Democrats are terrified of Hillary.

For decades, the Clintons were able to control the official narrative and construct a false image of who they really are and what they really believe. But now, thanks to the Independent Media which is now dominating in viewership and is trusted far more than the mainstream media, the Clintons can’t roll out their usual revisionist history and expect it to work.

The simple truth — to the great horror of progressives everywhere — is that Hillary Clinton has long sold out to chemical agriculture and biotech.  And she wants your vote because she’s gonna dethrone the one percent? Seriously? Pathetic. Hillary Clinton is FUNDED by the one percent!

If you think Hillary Clinton opposes the one percent, you must also believe ExxonMobil opposes drilling for oil.

What you can expect from a Clinton / Monsanto presidency

There are so many ties between Clinton and Monsanto that the evil biotech corporation is practically Hillary’s running mate.

Clinton / Monsanto for President, 2016!

And if Clinton becomes president, you can expect the full Monsanto agenda to be aggressively pushed as national policy:

• A nationwide federal ban on GMO labeling.

• Immediate USDA approval of all experimental GMO crops.

• Extreme, politically motivated attacks against all anti-GMO activists, scientists and journalists.

• Huge increases in taxpayer-funded subsidies for farmers who grow GMO crops.

• Aggressive corporate imperialism push to overturn bans on glyphosate and GMOs by other nations.

• Possibly even attempts by the FDA to outlaw non-GMO Project Verified labels in the same way they attacked hormone-free labels for cow’s milk.

Make no mistake: A vote for Hillary is a vote for Monsanto

New charts from the University of Illinois’ Department of Atmospheric Sciences (based upon data provided by NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Prediction) show something odd.

Specifically, the new data shows that global sea ice is back to 1979 levels … but that that sea ice has “moved” from the Arctic to the Antarctic (in the sense that sea ice has increased in the Antarctic but decreased in the Arctic):

What does this mean?

We spoke with the head of Stanford University’s Atmosphere and Energy Program (Mark Jacobson) last year, and asked him to explain. Here’s what he said

WASHINGTON’S BLOG:  [Why is] the Arctic is experiencing more ice loss than the Antarctic … ?

JACOBSON:  The Arctic is closer to the melting point, so you get feedbacks because – when that ice melts – then you’re uncovering the dark surface below.

The Antarctic is harder to melt, so – even if you raise the temperature – it doesn’t change the albedo [the ability to reflect sunlight].  So there’s not this positive feedback.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: Part of the debate between global warming believers and global warming skeptics is that Antarctic ice has increased during certain recent years recently.

Is that the explanation … that it doesn’t have the “warming feedback”  you mentioned?

JACOBSON:  There are two things operating. First, when you have global warming, you have a lot more water vapor in the air.  And – in the polar regions – that water precipitates out as ice, if you’re at freezing temperatures.   So if you’re not melting the ice, then you expect an accumulation with global warming.

You’d normally get an accumulation of ice at the North Pole.  But since there’s a lot of melting there (because it’s closer to the melting point than the Antarctic), and the ice is very thin – it’s only one to three meters thick – compared to the Antarctic glaciers that are three kilometers thick.

So you’ve got this accumulation at both poles, but the accumulation in the Arctic is melting. Because you’re evaporating all this water from the oceans, that’s got to go somewhere, and once you get to subfreezing temperatures, it’s going to deposit it as ice or snow at the Antarctic.

[Indeed, the mean summer temperature at the North Pole is right at the melting point (32 degrees Fahrenheit).  In sharp contrast, the mean summer temperature at the South Pole is negative 18 degrees Fahrenheit. So any extra temperature in the Arctic could melt a whole lot of ice during the summer; but you’d need almost 50 degree higher summer temperatures in the Antarctic to get up to the melting point.]

Postscript:  Do you think Dr. Jacobson is right? Or do you think something else is going on?

TPP Could Criminalize Journalism and Whistleblowing

May 21st, 2015 by Washington's Blog

Hundreds of tech companies and digital rights groups – including Imgur, DreamHost, Namecheap, AVG, Mediafire, Internet Archive, BoingBoing, Piwik, Private Internet Access, and more than 200 others – signed a letter to Congress today stating:

Criminalizing Journalism and Whistleblowing: TPP’s trade secrets provisions could make it a crime for people to reveal corporate wrongdoing “through a computer system.” The language is dangerously vague, and enables signatory countries to enact rules that would ban reporting on timely, critical issues affecting the public.

View the complete letter here

Am 25. Januar brachten die Wahlen in Griechenland das Bündnis Syriza an die Macht. Trotz seines Sieges werden die Geschicke des Landes seitdem nicht von Athen, sondern weiterhin von Washington, Berlin und Brüssel aus gesteuert. Und nicht nur das: Die seit 2010 andauernde Zwangsverwaltung Griechenlands durch die Troika aus IWF, EZB und EU-Kommission ist sogar noch verschärft worden.

Nachdem der IWF bereits im Dezember 2014 seine Zahlungen an Griechenland ausgesetzt hatte, zog die EZB im Februar 2015 nach. Sie akzeptiert seitdem keine griechischen Staatsanleihen und keine vom griechischen Staat garantierten Banken-Bonds als Sicherheiten mehr. Zudem droht die EU-Kommission dem Land immer wieder mit dem Rauswurf aus der Eurozone.

All diese Maßnahmen zielten von Anfang an darauf ab, die neue Regierung unter Druck zu setzen, die arbeitende Bevölkerung einzuschüchtern und einen Keil zwischen beide zu treiben. Dass dies bisher weitgehend geglückt ist, liegt allerdings nicht nur an der Härte der Troika, sondern auch an der Politik der Syriza-Regierung.

Ungeachtet ihrer Zusage, die Austeritätspolitik zu beenden, haben Premier Tsipras und sein Finanzminister Varoufakis seit ihrer Wahl nicht etwa auf Konfrontation, sondern auf Kooperation mit Griechenlands Zwangsverwaltern gesetzt. Allen markigen Sprüchen vor der Wahl zum Trotz verfolgen sie seit dem 25. Januar eine doppelte Strategie: Während sie den Menschen in Griechenland weiterhin Versprechen machen (die sie nicht einhalten werden), zeigen sie der Troika gegenüber Unterwürfigkeit (ohne deren Forderungen erfüllen zu können).

Das Ergebnis: Die Troika weicht keinen Millimeter von ihrer bisherigen Linie ab. Sie besteht mit kompromissloser Härte darauf, dass die arbeitende Bevölkerung und die Armen auch weiterhin für die durch Banker und Politiker angerichteten Schäden aufkommt. Aus ihrer Warte betrachtet, ist dieser Kurs sogar folgerichtig, denn der Degenerationsprozess des Weltfinanzsystems hat inzwischen ein Stadium erreicht, in dem Reformen in einzelnen Bereichen zwangsläufig die Gefahr eines Einsturzes des ganzen Gebäudes mit sich bringen.

Seit 2008 wird versucht, die durch die Bankenrettung entstandenen Löcher in den Staatshaushalten zu stopfen, indem zum einen die arbeitende Bevölkerung mittels Austeritätsprogrammen zur Kasse gebeten wird und zum anderen Unmengen an Geld gedruckt und der Finanzindustrie zu Nahe-Null-Zinsen zur Verfügung gestellt werden – angeblich, um die stagnierende Wirtschaft wieder in Gang zu bringen. Statt dieses Geld aber in Form von Investitionskrediten zu vergeben, wird es von den Finanzinstitutionen zur Spekulation an den Aktien-, Anleihe- und Währungsmärkten benutzt. Die Folge sind riesige Blasen am Anleihenmarkt, an den Aktienbörsen und im Immobiliensektor.

Das einzige Mittel, um diese Blasen nicht platzen zu lassen, besteht darin, das sich immer schneller drehende Spekulations-Karussell auf Biegen und Brechen in Gang zu halten. Dass das in Griechenland bisher gelungen ist, lässt sich vor allem der Doppelstrategie der Syriza-Regierung zuschreiben: Sie hatte bei der Wahl im Januar nur deshalb so viele Stimmen auf sich vereinigen können, weil sie den Menschen ein radikales Ende der Austeritätspolitik versprach. Die vielen Solidaritätsbekundungen vom Rest des Kontinents zeigten, wieviel Hoffnung die Menschen auch in anderen Ländern in Syriza setzten.

Doch schon wenige Tage nach der Wahl wurden die hohen Erwartungen zum ersten Mal gedämpft. Dass Syriza eine Koalition mit den rassistischen rechtspopulistischen Unabhängigen Griechen einging, stieß weitgehend auf Unverständnis. Die danach von ihren führenden Funktionären ständig wiederholten Bekundungen, man wolle mit der Troika kooperieren und sämtliche durch Spekulation entstandenen Schulden Cent für Cent zurückzahlen, sowie das Herausschieben der Verwirklichung ihrer Wahlversprechen kostete weitere Sympathien.

Dass die Syriza-Regierung inzwischen aber in die Kassen der Rentenversicherung, der Krankenkassen und öffentlicher Betriebe, darunter sogar Hospitäler und Schulen, greift, um Kredite an die Verursacher der griechischen Notlage zurückzuzahlen, dass sie Steuern erhöht, hohe Rüstungsausgaben duldet, Bargeldzahlungen einschränkt und selbst einen weiteren Sozialabbau entgegen ihren Wahlversprechen nicht mehr ausschließt, hat nicht nur viele Anhänger der Bewegung in Griechenland schockiert, sondern auch zu einer Welle der Ernüchterung im Ausland geführt. Man erinnere sich nur daran, mit welchen Vorschusslorbeeren Syriza Ende Januar von Podemos in Spanien begrüßt wurde und wie deren Führung den Beginn „einer neuen Epoche“ in Europa ausrief. All das ist inzwischen Schnee von gestern.

Die Syriza-Politik der vergangenen Monate lässt sich in drei aufeinanderfolgende Phasen unterteilen: Zunächst hat das Bündnis sich mit falschen Versprechen an die Spitze des Widerstandes gegen die Austeritätspolitik gesetzt. Dann hat es die Menschen durch seinen Zickzack-Kurs und in sich widersprüchliche politische Aussagen verwirrt und verunsichert. In der dritten Phase arbeitet es immer unverhohlener mit der Troika zusammen, plant bereits die Durchsetzung von Arbeitsmarktreformen, diskutiert Rentenkürzungen und eine Senkung des Mindestlohnes und hat mit der Privatisierung von Staatsbetrieben begonnen. Ideologisch verbrämt wird dieser politische Offenbarungseid mit der Begründung, man habe ja Widerstand leisten wollen, sei aber an der Härte der Gegenseite gescheitert.

Dass Syriza sich im Verlaufe der vergangenen dreieinhalb Monate vom vermeintlichen Gegner zum Instrument und zum Helfershelfer der Troika entpuppt hat, hat auch dem Widerstand gegen die Sparpolitik in anderen europäischen Ländern empfindlich geschadet. Die Hoffnung der spanischen Bevölkerung, dass mit Podemos im Schlagschatten von Syriza ein neuer Wind in Europa wehen könnte, ist weitgehend verpufft. Es ist kaum noch damit zu rechnen, dass die Wahlen im Herbst zu dem bis vor kurzem vorausgesagten Triumph der Podemos-Bewegung führen werden.

Bei aller Ernüchterung lässt sich aber auch feststellen, dass Syriza durch die Enthüllung ihres wahren Charakters einen entscheidenden Beitrag zu einem extrem wichtigen politischen Klärungsprozess in Europa geleistet hat: Es war noch nie so offensichtlich, dass Appelle an das menschliche Gewissen von Troika-Technokraten vollkommen sinnlos sind und dass eine menschenwürdige Zukunft des Kontinents nicht durch Kooperation mit der Troika, sondern einzig und allein durch die Konfrontation und den entschlossenen Kampf gegen das Bündnis aus EU, EZB und IWF möglich ist.