Global Research Editor’s Note

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

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

The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.

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

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

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

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

We have highlighted key sections of this interview.

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

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

Michel  Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014


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

Ummat (in Urdu)

translated from Urdu

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

Ummat’s introduction

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

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

Following is the interview in full detail:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001

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

September 11th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

 

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

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GLOBAL RESEARCH ONLINE

INTERACTIVE READER SERIES

GR I-BOOK No.  7 

THE 9/11 READER

The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

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

Michel Chossudovsky (Editor)

August 2012


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


 

INTRODUCTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to view video

VIDEO: AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR

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

***

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

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

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

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

Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

VIDEO (30 Sec.)

The Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven

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

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.

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

Coverup and Complicity

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

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

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

War Propaganda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Alleged Role of Iraq in the 9/11 Attacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran: Alleged State Sponsor of 9/11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al Qaeda: US-NATO Foot-soldiers

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents of the 9/11 Reader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PART  I

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

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

PART II

What Happened on the Planes

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

 

PART III

What Caused the Collapse of

The WTC Buildings and the Pentagon?

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

PART IV

Lies and Fabrications: The 9/11 Commission Report

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

PART  V

Foreknowledge of 9/11

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

PART VI

Insider Trading and the 9/11 Financial Bonanza

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

PART VII

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

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

 

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

PART VIII

The Alleged 9/11 Mastermind:

The Life and Death of  Osama bin Laden

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

PART  IX

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

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

PART X

“Deep Events” and State Violence

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

PART XI

Propaganda: Creating and Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend

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

PART XII

Post 9/11 “Justice”

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

PART XIII

9/11 Truth

Revealing the Lies,  Commemorating the 9/11 Tragedy

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

*   *  *

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

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

Order Directly from Global Research

America's War on Terrorism

Salafism and the CIA: Destabilizing the Russian Federation?

September 14th, 2012 by F. William Engdahl

Part I: Syria comes to the Russian Caucasus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus

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

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

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

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

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

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

*  *  *

WWIII Scenario

*  *  *

 

Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition

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

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

Before and…After Salafist Taliban …

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

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

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

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

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

Salafism and the CIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

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

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

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, op. cit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[14] Ibid.

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

[16] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

[21] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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December 30th, 2012 by Global Research News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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America: The Rise Of The Inhumanes

September 3rd, 2015 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

America’s descent into totalitarian violence is accelerating. Like the Bush regime, the Obama regime has a penchant for rewarding Justice (sic) Department officials who trample all over the US Constitution. Last year America’s First Black President nominated David Barron to be a judge on the First US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

Barron is responsible for the Justice (sic) Department memo that gave the legal OK for Obama to murder a US citizen with a missile fired from a drone. The execution took place without charges presented to a court, trial, and conviction. The target was a religious man whose sermons were believed by the paranoid Obama regime to encourage jihadism. Apparently, it never occurred to Obama or the Justice (sic) Department that Washington’s mass murder and displacement of millions of Muslims in seven countries was all that was needed to encourage jihadism. Sermons would be redundant and would comprise little else but moral outrage after years of mass murder by Washington in pursuit of hegemony in the Middle East.

Barron’s confirmation ran into opposition from some Republicans, some Democrats, and the American Civil Liberties Union, but the US Senate confirmed Barron by a vote of 53-45 in May 2014. Just think, you could be judged in “freedom and democracy America” by a fiend who legalized extra-judicial murder.

While awaiting his reward, Barron had a post on the faculty of the Harvard Law School, which tells you all you need to know about law schools. His wife ran for governor of Massachusetts. Elites are busy at work replacing law with power.

America now has as an appeals court judge, no doubt being groomed for the Supreme Court, who established the precedent in US law that, the Constitution not withstanding, American citizens can be executed without a trial.

Did law school faculties object? Not Georgetown law professor David Cole, who enthusiastically endorsed the new legal principle of execution without trial. Professor Cole put himself on the DOJ’s list of possible federal judicial appointees by declaring his support for Barron, whom he described as “thoughtful, considerate, open-minded, and brilliant.”

Once a country descends into evil, it doesn’t emerge. The precedent for Obama’s appointment of Barron was George W. Bush’s appointment of Jay Scott Bybee to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Bybee was John Yoo’s Justice (sic) Department colleague who co-authored the “legal” memos justifying torture despite US federal statutory law and international law prohibiting torture. Everyone knew that torture was illegal, including those practicing it, but these two fiends provided a legal pass for the practitioners of torture. Not even Pinochet in Chile went this far.

Bybee and Yoo got rid of torture by calling it “enhanced interrogation techniques.” As Wikipedia reports, these techniques are considered to be torture by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, medical experts who treat torture victims, intelligence officials, America’s allies, and even by the Justice (sic) Department. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Bybee

Others who objected to the pass given to torture by Bybee and Yoo were Secretary of State Colin Powell, US Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora, and even Philip Zelikow, who orchestrated the 9/11 Commission coverup for the Bush regime.

After five years of foot-dragging, the Justice (sic) Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Bybee and his deputy John Yoo committed “professional misconduct” by providing legal advice that was in violation of international and federal laws. The DOJ’s office of Professional Responsibility recommended that Bybee and Yoo be referred to the bar associations of the states where they were licensed for further disciplinary action and possible disbarment.

But Bybee and Yoo were saved by a regime-compliant Justice (sic) Department official, David Margolis, who concluded that Bybee and Yoo had used “poor judgement” but had not provided wrong legal advice.

So, today, instead of being disbarred, Bybee sits on a federal court just below the Supreme Court. John Yoo teaches constitutional law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Boalt Hall.

Try to imagine what has happened to America when Harvard and Berkeley law professors create legal justifications for torture and extra-judicial murder, and when US presidents engage in these heinous crimes. Clearly America is exceptional in its immorality, lack of human compassion, and disrespect for law and its founding document.

Now we have a West Point professor of law teaching the US military justifications for murdering American critics of war and the police state.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/29/west-point-professor-target-legal-critics-war-on-terror 

Also here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42758.htm 

The professor’s article is here:

http://warisacrime.org/sites/afterdowningstreet.org/files/westpointfascism.pdf

William C. Bradford, the professor teaching our future military officers to regard moral Americans as threats to national security, blames Walter Cronkite for loosing the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War by reporting the offensive as an American defeat.
Tet was an American defeat in the sense that the offensive proved that the “defeated” enemy was capable of a massive offensive against US forces. The offensive succeeded in the sense that it demonstrated to Americans that the war was far from over. The implication of Bradford’s argument is that Cronkite should have been killed for his broadcasts that added to the doubts about American success.

The professor claims to have a list of 40 people who tell the truth who must be exterminated, or our country is lost. Here we have the full confession that Washington’s agenda cannot survive truth.

I am unaware of any report that the professor has been censored or fired for his disrespect for the constitutionally protected right of freedom of expression.

However, I have seen reports of professors destroyed because they criticized Israel’s war crimes, or used a word or term prohibited by political correctness, or were insufficiently appreciative of the privileges of “preferred minorities.” What this tells us is that morality is sidetracked into self-serving agendas while evil overwhelms the morality of society.

Welcome to America today. It is a land in which facts have been redefined as enemy propaganda, a land in which legally protected whistleblowers are redefined as “fifth columns” or foreign agents subject to extermination, a land in which America is immune from criticism and all crimes are blamed on those whom Washington intends to rule.

Barron, Bybee, Yoo, and Bradford are members of a new species—the Inhumanes—that has risen from the poisonous American environment of arrogance, hubris, and paranoia.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books areThe Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

This article was first published in November 2014.  

Recent developments confirm what is known and documented: Washington is behind the Islamic State (ISIS) and at the same time it is behind the moderate Al Qaeda terrorists, which the Obama administration is supporting as part of America’s campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). And they expect us to believe that they are committed to waging a campaign against terrorists

The Islamic State (ISIS) was until 2014 called al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

Al Nusra is an al Qaeda affiliate which has committed countless atrocities in Syria.  It is now considered by the Obama administration as the “Moderate Opposition”. 

America’s “anti-terrorist campaign’ consists in supporting a so-called “moderate” Al  Qaeda entity (Al Nusra)  with a view to going after another al Qaeda entity entitled The Islamic State, formerly designated as Al Qaeda in Iraq.  

“Al Qaeda is going after Al Qaeda”, and both wings of al Qaeda are supported covertly by US intelligence. 

Both ISIS and Al Nusra are protected by the Western military alliance. Both Al Qaeda entities are used to destroy Syria and Iraq. The air campaign allegedly against ISIS does not target ISIS, it targets Syria and Iraq, schools, hospitals, factories, residential areas, government buildings, roads, bridges, etc. 

Both Al Qaeda affiliated entities are being used to destroy Iraq and Syria as nation states.

The terrorists  are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance.

US-NATO-Israel are state sponsors of terrorism, providing training, weapons and money to various terrorist formations. 

The endgame is “regime change” in Syria and the fragmentation of Iraq.  

Michel Chossudovsky, September 03, 2015

 

The US led war against  the Islamic State is a big lie.

Going after ” Islamic terrorists”, carrying out a worldwide pre-emptive war to “Protect the American Homeland” are used to justify a military agenda.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a creation of US intelligence. Washington’s “Counter-terrorism Agenda” in Iraq and Syria consists in Supporting the Terrorists.  

The incursion of the Islamic State (IS) brigades into Iraq starting in June 2014 was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation supported covertly by the US, NATO and Israel.

The counter-terrorism mandate is a fiction. America is the Number One “State Sponsor of Terrorism” 

The Islamic State is protected by the US and its allies. If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June. 

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The  Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory (see map below). With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, CF-18) it would have been  -from a military standpoint-  a rapid and expedient surgical operation  

In this article, we address 26 concepts which refute the big lie.  Portrayed by the media as a humanitarian undertaking, this large scale military operation directed against Syria and Iraq has resulted in countless civilian deaths.

It could not have been undertaken without the unbending support of  the Western media which has upheld Obama’s initiative as a counter-terrorism operation.  

THE HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF AL QAEDA

1. The US has supported Al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations for almost half a century since the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. 

2. CIA training camps were set up in Pakistan.  In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 jihadists from 43 Islamic countries were recruited by the CIA to fight in the Afghan jihad.

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad.”

3. Since the Reagan Administration, Washington has supported the Islamic terror network.

Ronald Reagan called the terrorists “freedom fighters”. The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades.  It was all for “a good cause”: fighting the Soviet Union and regime change, leading to the demise of a secular government in Afghanistan.

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

4. Jihadist textbooks  were  published by the University of Nebraska. “. “The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings”

5. Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman and founder of Al Qaeda was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihadist war against Afghanistan . He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.

Al Qaeda was not behind the 9/11 Attacks. September 11, 2001 provided a justification for waging a war against Afghanistan on the grounds that Afghanistan was a state sponsor of terrorism, supportive of Al Qaeda. The 9/11 attacks were instrumental in the formulation of the “Global War on Terrorism”.

THE ISLAMIC STATE (ISIL)

6. The Islamic State (ISIL) was originally an Al Qaeda affiliated entity created by US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-’Āmah ( رئاسة الاستخبارات العامة‎).

China unlikely to join Obama's anti-ISIS coalition: Report

7. The ISIL brigades were involved in the US-NATO supported insurgency in Syria directed against the government of  Bashar al Assad.

8.  NATO and the Turkish High Command were responsible for the recruitment of ISIL and Al Nusrah mercenaries from the outset of the Syrian insurgency in March 2011. According to Israeli intelligence sources, this initiative consisted in:

“a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011.)

9.There are Western Special Forces and Western intelligence operatives within the ranks of the ISIL. British Special Forces and MI6 have been involved in training jihadist rebels in Syria.

10. Western military specialists on contract to the Pentagon have trained the terrorists in the use of chemical weapons.

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

11. The ISIL’s practice of beheadings is part of the US sponsored terrorist training programs implemented in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

12. Recruited by America’s ally, a large number of ISIL mercenaries are convicted criminals released from Saudi prisons on condition they join the ISIL. Saudi death row inmates were recruited to join the terror brigades. 

13. Israel  has supported  the ISIL and Al Nusrah brigades out of the Golan Heights.

Jihadist fighters have met Israeli IDF officers as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu. The IDF top brass tacitly acknowledges that “global jihad elements inside Syria” [ISIL and Al Nusrah] are supported by Israel. See  image below:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″

Inline images 1

SYRIA AND IRAQ

14 The ISIL are the foot soldiers  of the Western military alliance. Their unspoken mandate is to wreck havoc and destruction in Syria and Iraq, acting on behalf of their US sponsors.

15. US Senator John McCain has met up with jihadist terrorist leaders in Syria. (see picture right)

16  The Islamic State (IS) militia, which is currently the alleged target of  a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, continues to be supported covertly by the US.  Washington and its allies continue to provide military aid to the Islamic State.

17. US and allied bombings are not targeting the ISIL, they are bombing the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria including factories and oil refineries.

18.  The IS caliphate project is part of a longstanding US foreign policy agenda to carve up Iraq and Syria into separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, a Republic of Kurdistan.

THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM (GWOT)

19. “The Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is presented as a “Clash of Civilizations”, a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives.

20 U.S. sponsored Al Qaeda terror brigades (covertly supported by Western intelligence) have been deployed in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Yemen.

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America’s “War on Terrorism” By Mchel Chossudovsky

These various affiliated Al Qaeda entities in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa  and Asia are CIA sponsored “intelligence assets”. They are used by Washington to wreck havoc,  create internal conflicts and destabilize sovereign countries.

21 Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) (supported by NATO in 2011),  Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),  Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in Indonesia,  among other Al Qaeda affiliated groups are supported covertly by Western intelligence.

22. The US is also supporting Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China. The underlying objective is to trigger political instability in Western China.

Chinese jihadists are reported to have received “terrorist training” from the Islamic State “in order to conduct attacks in China”. The declared objective of these Chinese-based jihadist entities (which serves the interests of the US)  is to establish a Islamic caliphate extending into Western China.  (Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, Chapter 2).

HOMEGROWN TERRORISTS

23 The Terrorists R Us:  While the US is the unspoken architect of the Islamic State,  Obama’s holy mandate is to protect America against ISIL attacks.

24 The homegrown terrorist threat is a fabrication.  It is promoted by Western governments and the media with a view to repealing civil liberties and installing a police state. The terror attacks by alleged jihadists and terror warnings are invariably staged events. They are used to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

In turn, the arrests, trials and sentences of “Islamic terrorists” sustain the legitimacy of America’s Homeland Security State and law enforcement apparatus, which has become increasingly militarized.

The ultimate objective is to instill in the minds of millions of Americans that the enemy is real and the U.S. Administration will protect the lives of its citizens.

25.  The “counter-terrorism” campaign against the Islamic State has contributed to the demonization of Muslims, who in the eyes of Western public opinion are increasingly  associated with the jihadists.

26  Anybody who dares to question the validity of the “Global War on Terrorism” is branded a terrorist and subjected to the anti-terrorist laws.

The ultimate objective of the “Global War on Terrorism” is to subdue the citizens, totally depoliticize social life in America, prevent people from thinking and conceptualizing, from analyzing facts and challenging the legitimacy of the inquisitorial social order which rules America.

The Obama Administration has imposed a diabolical consensus with the support of its allies, not to mention the complicit role of the United Nations Security Council.  The Western media has embraced the consensus; it has described the Islamic State as an independent entity, an outside enemy which threatens the Western World.

The Big Lie has become the Truth. 

Say no to the “Big Lie”. Spread the message.

The truth is ultimately a powerful weapon.

Please help us continue. We rely on the support of our readers.

Consider donating to Global Research. 

For Peace and Truth in Media, Michel Chossudovsky

There is an unspoken, yet very clear, bond between Hollywood and the US government that overtly supports US foreign policy. The movie industry in Hollywood has been active in hiding US war crimes and sanitizing the US military campaigns in NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, Anglo-American occupied Iraq, and elsewhere in the world. Moreover, the dominance of Hollywood as a tool of cultural imperialism in Europe and the rest of the world make Hollywood films an excellent tool for getting Washington’s ideas out internationally and sedating global audiences with misleading narratives.

Hollywood as a Tool of Cultural Imperialism and Perception Management

Aside from news media outlets, it should come as no surprise that most the ideas and notions that the general public in the US and elsewhere have about wars come from movies, television sets, radio programs, video games, and the entertainment industry. Movies and the entertainment industry are ideal for identifying roles for audiences. In many instances movies and the entertainment industry surpass media outlets in shaping the perceptions of audiences about wars and conflicts.

Movies are used to identify which individuals, groups, peoples, and nations are heroes, victims, aggressors, and villains. In this regard Hollywood vilifies countries like Iran, China, Russia, Cuba, and North Korea while it lionizes the United States. Hollywood also warps historical narratives and reifies revisionist narratives of history. In a far stretch from the historical facts and reality, this is why most US citizens and many Western Europeans believe that the outcome of the Second World War in Europe was decided in the Atlantic by the US and not in Eastern Europe and Central Asia by the Soviet Union.

The perceptions of most people in the US and Western Europe are influenced by Hollywood and the entertainment industry and not history textbooks or scholarly works. Polls taken in France by the French Institute of Public Opinion about the Second World War demonstrate how US cultural imperialism by means of Hollywood’s influence has played out.  57 % of the French citizens polled in 1945 believed that Germany was defeated in the Second World War because of the Soviet Union whereas 20% believed it was due to the US and 12% thought it was because of the British. These views become distorted by 1994 when 25% of the French citizens polled believed that it was because of the Soviets that Hitler was defeated whereas 49% believed it was because of the US and 16% believed it was because of Britain. By 2004 only 20% of the French citizens surveyed recognized the Soviet Union as the main force for ending the Second World War in Europe whereas 58% believed it was the US and 16% thought it was Britain.

We can infer that the younger generations or birth cohorts that did not experience the Second World War are having their perceptions shaped by modern mass media, specifically movies and the entertainment industry. This is why CNN’s Christiane Amanpour was able to boldly declared on June 6, 2014 at the Seventieth Anniversary of D-Day from the Chateau de Benouville in France that «the American effort — the supremely heroic effort of the United States — under General Eisenhower and President Roosevelt during World War II has been one that the whole continent [meaning, Europe] has thanked America for the last seventy years». While taking a swipe at Russia and undermining its role in the Second World War, CNN’s Amanpour also said that the French government has emphasized «that this is a day to thank the United States» and thank the US «most particularly for turning around the course of history».

The Vertical Integration of Hollywood with the Military-Industrial Complex

The recognized establishment of ties between Hollywood and the US government began with the production of the silent war movie Wings in 1927. The silent movie was about the First World War and relied heavily on the United States Army Air Corps, which is the aerial wing of the US Army. Ever since the making of Wings in 1927 there has been a close partnership between the Pentagon and Hollywood that has expanded and blossomed to include other government bodies and agencies, including members of the sixteen-member US intelligence community, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This has led to the vertical integration of Hollywood and the entertainment industry into the military-industrial complex, which has in essence reduced Hollywood movies to tools of cultural imperialism and camouflaged US propaganda.

The US government began to increasingly manipulate the contents of Hollywood movie script and to glamorize and lionize the US military and its campaigns. The Pentagon and US government will not assist movie or television productions that reveal the true malevolent role of US wars. Financial and material assistance is only given to productions that make wars and US foreign policy look like a heroic and noble solution. The author of the book Operation Hollywood, Dave Robb, does an excellent job of documenting this. For example, the Pentagon had the entire plot and script changed in the 1961 episode of Lassie named «Timmy and the Martians». The episode was originally supposed to be about the protagonist dog Lassie howling to alert Timmy of a plane crash. The producers originally wanted to do a show where a US airplane crashed because it had a design fault that Lassie could sense due to a high pitch noise and thus identify. The US military, however, would not accept any script that would even remotely suggest that US military hardware could have a design fault. This was because the US government and Pentagon did not want children to think that US military equipment could be faulty, because it would hurt future recruitment for the US military. So the circumstances of the airplane’s crash had to be rewritten for the show to get Pentagon support.

This relationship has in effect sanitized US wars and invasions while it has justified Washington’s foreign policy. It has led to the production of historically twisted movies. At one end of the spectrum in Hollywood this has led to Hollywood self-censorship whereas at the other end of the spectrum it has led to government subsidized propaganda. Hollywood script writers draft movie scripts that are self-censored because they know that they will be asking for assistance from the Pentagon and US government which can significant reduce a Hollywood production’s budget and save its producers a lot of money. Hollywood scripts are constantly modified in this regard and the Pentagon even has an entity in Los Angeles that deals with Hollywood directors and producers called the Film Liaison Unit.

Hollywood’s Role in Hiding US War Crimes

While the US uses films like Top Gun as promotional and recruitment material it used movies like the Green Berets to distort the role of US in wars and movies like Argo, which the CIA is reported to have fact checked, to distort the perception of history. Hollywood movies like Iron Man and Lone Survivor never explain the circumstances behind the US military presence in Afghanistan and Central Asia. They merely present the US presence there as an invited one and even the US contingents there as simply peacekeepers. Movies like Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer portray the US as having a mandate to act with impunity anywhere in the world, including Russia and China, by disregarding the sovereignty of other nations and even placing US military bases on their soil.

The US military has no jurisdiction on Chinese soil nor does the Pentagon have a base in Russia’s territory. These Hollywood movies naturalize US interference in other countries and create the false impression that the US military has a right to do whatever it wants.

Aside from not addressing the darker side of US foreign policy, Hollywood movies like Forrest Gump carry subliminal messages. In the words of the US culture and entertainment magazine Rolling Stone: «The message of Forrest Gump was that if you think about the hard stuff too much, you’ll either get AIDS or lose your legs. Meanwhile, the hero is the idiot who just shrugs and says ‘Whatever!’ whenever his country asks him to do something crazy». What Rolling Stone is saying that listen to what you are commanded to do.

Then there are movies like American Sniper that collapse US foreign policy into the simplistic notion of individual characters. What this does is collapse the event and the soldiers into one, which means that if ones criticize a US war that you are attacking the soldiers and their convictions. This is hiding behind the soldiers and detracting from the real issue of an illegal invasion and occupation. Nor is there any mention of Abu Ghraib or the false weapons of mass destruction lies. Rolling Stone had this to say about American Sniper: «Sniper is a movie whose politics are so ludicrous and idiotic that under normal circumstances it would be beneath criticism. The only thing that forces us to take it seriously is the extraordinary fact that an almost exactly similar worldview consumed the walnut-sized mind of the president who got us into the war in question». «It’s the fact that the movie is popular, and actually makes sense to so many people, that’s the problem,» it also adds. In fact, as a result of the movie there was an increase in hate crimes in the US and negative feelings towards Arabs and Muslims.

Nor was Chris Kyle in real life a hero protecting the US way of life as the Hollywood movie depicts him; he was part of an occupational force that should never have been in Iraq and he was fighting what he called an «insurgency» that emerged to resist the occupation of Iraq. Kyle also claimed that he was ordered to kill thirty fellow Americans in New Orleans because they were looting. He was also a known liar who also admitted that he loved killing Iraqis in his book.

Hollywood helps sanitize US war crimes and create false images. It should also come as no surprise that Hollywood movies are part of intelligence operations either. When Ben Affleck, the director of the movie Argo and an admirer of the CIA that collaborated with them in the making of Argo, was asked by Catherine Shoard if Hollywood was filled with CIA agents, his response was to say «I think that Hollywood is probably full of CIA agents».

It is worth quoting  US Senator Tom Hayden about the CIA’s involvement in Hollywood: «Think about that: it’s not that Hollywood is in bed with the CIA in some repugnant way, but that the Agency is looking to plant positive images about itself (in other words, propaganda) through our most popular forms of entertainment. So natural has the CIA–entertainment connection become that few question its legal or moral ramifications. This is a government agency like no other; the truth of its operations is not subject to public examination. When the CIA’s hidden persuaders influence a Hollywood movie, it is using a popular medium to spin as favorable an image of itself as possible, or at least, prevent an unfavorable one from taking hold. If incestuous enough, Jenkins argues, these relationships violate the spirit or letter of government laws».

The importance of movies as a tool of US foreign policy and warfare cannot be ignored. As an illustration of their importance, movies have even been censored inside the United States to hide US war crimes and reality. The 1946 movie documentary Let There Be Light, which was about the lives of US soldiers that were traumatized from war and directed by John Huston, was banned for over thirty years from being watched in the US because of the awareness it would create among the US public.

Think Hollywood is neutral or that movie like Seth Rogen’s comedy The Interview, which promotes regime change in North Korea, is innocent? Think again. Hollywood is helping Washington wage a war of perception management and to hide US war crimes.

This article was originally published by the Strategic Culture Foundation on September 3, 2015.

Washington Intends to “Use” Al Qaeda to “Take Out” Syria

September 2nd, 2015 by Global Research News

Global Research has initiated a new format for the send out of our E-Newsletter, with a new reader friendly display. We are also using the services of a new mailing company. 

Our objective is to send to our subscribers a selection of 5-6 articles daily focussing on important news topics, including opinion and background analysis. We invite our readers to send comments and suggestions to [email protected].  

SELECTED ARTICLES

logo-al-qaeda

Confirmed: Washington Intends to “Use” Al Qaeda to “Take Out” Syria and Overthrow the Assad Government By Tony Cartalucci, September 02, 2015

What has been reported on since 2007 is now confirmed by senior US military leadership. The US created and now plans to openly use Al Qaeda to overthrow the nation of Syria.  The Daily Beast’s article, “Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda…

arctic_map

“Climate Change – Smoke Screen in Arctic Geopolitical Play” By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 02, 2015

The US global military agenda pertains to the gas and oil rich Arctic region, says Michel Chossudovsky, from the Centre for Research on Globalization. Unlike other states with claims to the region, it doesn’t have territory extending into the Arctic…

global-economy-stocks

“Something” Just Happened! China’s Gold Stocks, Dumping of US Treasuries, Quantitative Tightening (QT), Oil Markets By Bill Holter, September 01, 2015 

“Something” happened three weeks ago. While we cannot be sure “what” exactly happened, we can speculate. We have many dots and lots of data points to help us but first it needs to be pointed out, even if wrong in…

genocide

“Forgotten Genocides” and the Alleged “Miseducation” of Hollywood Star Natalie Portman By Timothy Alexander Guzman, September 02, 2015

The immediate objectives are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops in the ground and prevent their…

Yemen-humanitarian

War without Mercy on Yemen: The Saudi-US Massacres Continue By Sayed Hasan, September 02, 2015

“In five months [of war], Yemen has been reduced to the state of Syria after 5 years”,Peter Maurer, the Director of the International Red Cross, on August 19th, 2015. These difficult images, which put faces and names to the countless…

To take down the so-called Islamic State in Syria, the influential former head of the CIA wants to co-opt jihadists from America’s arch foe.

Members of al Qaeda’s branch in Syria have a surprising advocate in the corridors of American power: retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus.

The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been quietly urging U.S. officials to consider using so-called moderate members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly, told The Daily Beast.

The heart of the idea stems from Petraeus’s experience in Iraq in 2007, when as part of a broader strategy to defeat an Islamist insurgency the U.S. persuaded Sunni militias to stop fighting with al Qaeda and to work with the American military.

U.S. Army General David Petraeus (L), the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, testifies on the war in Iraq as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker (R) rubs his eyes near the end of a joint hearing of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 10, 2007. Petraeus and Crocker testified for more than 6 hours in front of the committee.

Jason Reed/Reuters

The tactic worked, at least temporarily. But al Qaeda in Iraq was later reborn as ISIS, and has become the sworn enemy of its parent organization. Now, Petraeus is returning to his old play, advocating a strategy of co-opting rank-and-file members of al Nusra, particularly those who don’t necessarily share all of core al Qaeda’s Islamist philosophy.

However, Petraeus’s play, if executed, could be enormously controversial. The American war on terror began with an al Qaeda attack on 9/11, of course. The idea that the U.S. would, 14 years later, work with elements of al Qaeda’s Syrian branch was an irony too tough to stomach for most U.S. officials interviewed by The Daily Beast. They found Petraeus’s notion politically toxic, near-impossible to execute, and strategically risky.

This is an acknowledgment that U.S. stated goal to degrade and destroy ISIS is not working. If it were, we would not be talking to these not quite foreign terrorist groups

It would also face enormous legal and security obstacles. In 2012, the Obama administration designated al Nusra a foreign terrorist organization. And last year, the president ordered airstrikes on al Nusra positions housing members of the Khorasan Group, an al Qaeda cadre that was trying to recruit jihadists with Western passports to smuggle bombs onto civilian airliners.

Yet Petraeus and his plan cannot be written off. He still wields considerable influence with current officials, U.S. lawmakers, and foreign leaders. The fact that he feels comfortable recruiting defectors from an organization that has declared war on the United States underscores the tenuous nature of the Obama administration’s strategy to fight ISIS, which numerous observers have said is floundering in search of a viable ground force.

According to those familiar with Petraeus’s thinking, he advocates trying to cleave off less extreme al Nusra fighters, who are battling ISIS in Syria, but who joined with al Nusra because of their shared goal of overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

Petraeus was the CIA director in early 2011 when the Syrian civil war erupted. At the time, he along with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reportedly urged the Obama administration to work withmoderate opposition forces. The U.S. didn’t, and many of those groups have since steered toward jihadist groups like the Nusra Front, which are better equipped and have had more success on the battlefield.

How precisely the U.S. would separate moderate fighters from core members and leaders of al Nusra is unclear, and Petraeus has yet to fully detail any recommendations he might have.

Petraeus declined a request to comment on his views from The Daily Beast.

“This is an acknowledgment that the U.S. stated goal to degrade and destroy ISIS is not working. If it were, we would not be talking to these not quite foreign terrorist groups,” Christopher Harmer, a senior naval analyst with the Middle East Security Project at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War, told The Daily Beast. “Strategically, it is desperate.”

Privately, U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that any direct links with al Nusra are off the table. But working with other factions, while difficult, might not be impossible.

Still, the very forces that Petraeus envisions enlisting, and who may have once been deemed potential allies when they were fighting Assad, now may be too far gone. Moreover, there is no sign, thus far, of a group on the ground capable of countering ISIS, at least without U.S. assistance.

“As prospects for Assad dim, opposition groups not already aligned with the U.S. or our partners will face a choice,” one U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast. “Groups that try to cater to both hard-liners and the West could find themselves without any friends, having distanced themselves from groups like al Qaeda but still viewed as extremists by the moderate opposition and their supporters.”

News of Petraeus’s proposal comes at a potentially opportune moment for the Obama administration as it looks toward some resolution of the civil war in Syria. On Friday, Ambassador Michael Ratney, the newly-minted U.S. special envoy to Syria, set out to meet with Russian, Saudi, and United Nations officials in search of a political settlement to the conflict.

Like Petraeus, Ratney is in search of partners. He’s “trying to come up with options for some sort of political process, a political process that we know is going to have to include opposition groups and try to work through what that means and what that’s going to look like,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters last week. Kirby stopped short of saying just which opposition groups should be part of the discussion.

The U.S. has insisted that any negotiated settlement must not include Assad, even as Russia has hinted Assad must be a part of a deal. Assad himself said in a television interview last week that he will not work with U.S. allies in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

On the ground, the two most powerful anti-Assad forces are ISIS and al Nusra, and the U.S. won’t negotiate with either.

Petraeus’s strategy depends on a number of key assumptions, chiefly that U.S. intelligence and military officials would be able to distinguish who among al Nusra’s ranks is truly moderate and doesn’t share the terrorist group’s goal of replacing Assad with an Islamist government.

The former general isn’t the only ex-official who wants to talk to jihadist-linked fighters who share some, if not all, of the United States’ goals.

Robert Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria, has called for dialogue with Ahrar al Sham, a jihadist force he has called “probably the most important group fighting the Syrian regime now.”

In a recent article for the Middle East Institute, Ford said that the capture of the Syrian provincial capital of Idlib last March, which was attributed by some to al Nusra, really should be credited to Ahrar, which had more fighters in the battle.

“Ahrar is a key force on the battlefield, but Western media allots little space to describe it beyond saying it is hard-line or jihadi,’” Ford wrote. That label, he acknowledged, stems from Ahrar calling for an Islamic state in Syria, as well as its collaboration with al Nusra against Assad and ISIS. The group was also founded by a former deputy to the current al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

But, Ford insisted, “Ahrar is not a junior partner of Nusra; there are ideological and political differences between them.”

Some U.S. intelligence officials disputed that, and said Ahrar is currently on a charm offensive, trying to distance itself from Islamic groups like al Nusra and thus win support in Washington while it looks forward to grabbing power after Assad falls.

“Some groups will look to pave their way to a seat at the post-Assad table by seeking public support, such as Ahrar al Sham, while others will affirm their choice through their actions,” the U.S. intelligence official said.

The extent to which the U.S. opposes working with Ahrar, a group that swears it’s independent, points out just how difficult it would be to recruit members of al Nusra, which is al Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria.

And yet that’s not out of the question. The more extreme ISIS becomes, the more other hard-line groups seem to soften by comparison. ISIS, with its filmed executions, organized kidnappings, and enslavement of women and girls, has become so barbaric that it has been isolated from other fighting groups on the ground, said Harmer, the military analyst.

“Alliances of convenience that would have been impossible two years are now plausible, and in some ways inevitable, because we are not willing to put boots on the ground,” Harmer said.

Al Nusra has played an arguably helpful role to the U.S. already, albeit indirectly and behind the scenes. In 2014, officials in Qatar reached out to their contacts with al Nusra to help free American journalist Peter Theo Curtis, multiple sources, including former U.S. officials familiar with the negotiations, have told The Daily Beast. Al Nusra elements were operating so closely with the American-backed Free Syrian Army at that time that American warplanes almost hit the moderate rebels as it was targeting the jihadists.

The U.S. has tried other means to field a sustainable ground force to confront ISIS. So far, none of them have worked reliably. The most successful ground force so far has been the YPG, a Kurdish element, which drove ISIS out of the northern Syrian city of Kobani and other nearby cities under the cover of U.S. airstrikes.

But since the U.S. struck a deal to allow combat flights from Turkey, which opposes emboldening Kurdish forces, doubts have surfaced over whether the U.S. would keep providing air support for the YPG as its seeks to take Syrian territory. So far, the YPG has not pushed for any more land, instead defending what it already has.

U.S. efforts to train local forces in Syria have faltered, as well. The first batch of 54 fighters trained by American military forces dissolved in August. Some fighters fled back to their homes in Syria. Others were captured by al Nusra. While the U.S. military has said it’s still training fighters, privately officials concede the group has fallen far short of expectations. At one point, the U.S. planned to train 15,000 fighters in three years.

Petraeus spoke on the record about his plans in a statement to CNN on Tuesday, after The Daily Beast published its report.

“We should under no circumstances try to use or co-opt Nusra, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, as an organization against ISIL,” Petraeus said. “But some individual fighters, and perhaps some elements, within Nusra today have undoubtedly joined for opportunistic rather than ideological reasons: they saw Nusra as a strong horse, and they haven’t seen a credible alternative, as the moderate opposition has yet to be adequately resourced.”

Petraeus said the U.S. should try “splintering [Al Nusra’s] ranks by offering a credible alternative to those ‘reconcilable’ elements of those organizations.”

Petraeus didn’t contradict any of The Daily Beast’s report.

Tony Blair Is Living in a State of Deluded Denial

September 2nd, 2015 by Michael Meacher

There never was a truer example of ‘when you’re in a hole, stop digging’.   His article in the Observer today is a gift to his opponents, but it does even more damage to himself.   He reveals himself as increasingly deserted even his previous closest followers, an utterly broken man watching everything he stood for swept away before his eyes.   He has gone from opposition to delusion, from hysteria to denial.  

But what is perhaps most disturbing of all is that he can’t, as he himself candidly admits, understand why the Corbyn earthquake is happening.   He just blankly refuses to acknowledge the passionate resentment which he and New Labour created by laying the foundations for the financial crash of 2008-9 and making the squeezed middle and brutally punished poor pay for it, by taking Britain without any constitutional approval into an illegal was with Iraq, by introducing into politics the hated regime of spin and manipulation , by indulging now his squalid lust for money-making, and by clearly having no more overriding desire than to strut the world with Bush.

He describes his opponents as trapped “in their own hermetically sealed bubble”, when that applies exactly to himself.   If what he says were really true, why has the Labour electorate swelled to over 600,000, 50% larger than he managed even at the height of his pomp when so many were glad to be rid of the Tories on 1st May 1997?   Why is he so unfeeling and unapologetic about aligning the New Labour alongside the Tories in pursuit of austerity from 2010 onwards, especially since Osborne’s policy (to shrink the State) has been so dramatically unsuccessful in reducing the deficit?   Why did he urge the Blairites to support the government’s welfare bill which opposed every tenet of the real Labour Party?   Why did he push for privatisation of the NHS and other public services?   Why did his acolyte Mandelson say “New Labour is “relaxed at people becoming filthy rich”, and proved it by letting inequality balloon to even highe heights than under Thatcher?

So after doing all those things, how does he expect Labour members and the country to treat him?   After a 20-year temp;orary iruption of hi-jacking the party down a route utterly alien to its founders, in order to ingratiate himself with corporate and financial leaders on their terms, how can he imagine that anyone wants him back?   He has a lot to learn, less egoism, more humility.

The immediate objectives are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops in the ground and prevent their planting more

-U.S. President George Washington to General John Sullivan on May 31, 1779

Hollywood actress Natalie Portman has created a controversy among the Jewish community. The Jerusalem Post published a report on Natalie Portman’s comments regarding the Shoah (the Holocaust) from the Jewish education she received. The title of the report ‘Natalie Portman: Holocaust is no more tragic than other genocides’ from an interview with ‘The Independent’ where she questioned her Jewish education she received that was solely focused on the Holocaust, disregarding every genocide that took place in history. “In an interview with The Independent published on Friday, the American movie star questioned prominence given to Holocaust education at the expense of other mass murders” the report said. “I think a really big question the Jewish community needs to ask itself, is how much at the forefront we put Holocaust education. Which is, of course, an important question to remember and to respect, but not over other things” Portman said. Portman was not saying that the Holocaust is any more or less important than other human tragedies in history. There is no doubt that the Holocaust was a tragic crime against the Jewish people in Europe, but for an educational institution to ignore all other genocides is a disservice to its students.


Natalie Portman learned about the Rwandan Genocide when she visited a museum and was “shocked that while the Holocaust figured prominently into her education, a contemporary genocide did not”. The Rwanda Genocide was responsible for more than 800,000 deaths (according to the United Nations estimates) of the Tutsi and moderate Hutu tribes, mostly civilians. On April 6, 1994, an airplane was shot down carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira killing all on board. The next day, the genocidal killings began. It was a mass genocide with Washington’s fingerprints. Washington wanted to assert itself in Central Africa by supporting the Rwandan Patriotic Front and the military branch, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) led by Major General Paul Kagame, former head of military intelligence of the Uganda Armed Forces. Kagame was trained at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College (CGSC) located in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. According to Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research explained in a May 2000 article ‘Rwanda, Installing a US Protectorate in Central Africa. The US was Behind the Rwanda Genocide’:

Natalie Portman learned about the Rwandan Genocide when she visited a museum and was “shocked that while the Holocaust figured prominently into her education, a contemporary genocide did not”. The Rwanda Genocide was responsible for more than 800,000 deaths (according to the United Nations estimates) of the Tutsi and moderate Hutu tribes, mostly civilians. On April 6, 1994, an airplane was shot down carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira killing all on board. The next day, the genocidal killings began. It was a mass genocide with Washington’s fingerprints. Washington wanted to assert itself in Central Africa by supporting the Rwandan Patriotic Front and the military branch, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) led by Major General Paul Kagame, former head of military intelligence of the Uganda Armed Forces. Kagame was trained at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College (CGSC) located in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. According to Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research explained in a May 2000 article ‘Rwanda, Installing a US Protectorate in Central Africa. The US was Behind the Rwanda Genocide’:

From the outset of the Rwandan civil war in 1990, Washington’s hidden agenda consisted in establishing an American sphere of influence in a region historically dominated by France and Belgium. America’s design was to displace France by supporting the Rwandan Patriotic Front and by arming and equipping its military arm, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA)

But that was forgotten. It was forgotten that the Rwanda genocide occurred during a civil war which began in 1990 between the Hutu-led government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which was composed of Tutsi refugees that had fled to Uganda after violence was initiated on them by the Hutu led government with members from Rwandan army, the National Police, government-backed militias and the Hutu civilian population. “The civil war in Rwanda and the ethnic massacres were an integral part of US foreign policy, carefully staged in accordance with precise strategic and economic objectives” Chossudovsky wrote. But, according to Jewish education, that’s not important enough. “I was shocked that that [genocide] was going on while I was in school. We were learning only about the Holocaust and it was never mentioned and it was happening while I was in school. That is exactly the type of problem with the way it’s taught. I think it needs to be taught, and I can’t speak for everyone because this was my personal education”Portman told the Independent. “We need to be reminded that hatred exists at all times and reminds us to be empathetic to other people that have experienced hatred also. Not used as a paranoid way of thinking that we are victims. Sometimes it can be subverted to fear-mongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen.”

According to the Jerusalem Post several prominent Holocaust survivor advocates condemned Portman’s comments including Colette Avital, the chairwoman of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel who said“Natalie should understand that the Holocaust which befell us cannot be compared to other tragedies – our empathy notwithstanding. It was not merely hatred, it was a policy whose aim was to systematically wipe out a whole people from the face of the world,” she explained.” Dr. Efraim Zuroff who heads the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office who is also a Nazi hunter commented on what Portman said “with all due respect for Ms. Portman’s great acting and directing talents, her success in the movie world does not turn her into an expert in history or on genocide.” That is true. But it is never too late to learn about what happened throughout history concerning mass genocides for example, Manifest Destiny and the greatest mass extinction in human history against the Native Americans, a human genocide committed by the U.S. government. The influential Scientific American wrote earlier this year that “The atmosphere recorded the mass death, slavery and war that followed 1492. The death by smallpox and warfare of an estimated 50 million native Americans—as well as the enslavement of Africans to work in the newly depopulated Americas—allowed forests to grow in former farmlands.” There were between 19 million a (conservative estimate) to 100 million Native Americans killed in North America.

Here is a Documentary by Joanelle Romero:

Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr once said:

Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations

The Jerusalem Post quoted a Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich “As human beings and especially as Jews, we need to be sensitive to all tragedies, to all genocides. As human beings and especially as Jews, we must ensure that all remember the uniqueness of the Holocaust, in it’s scope and in it’s scale.” Menachem Rosensaft, the general counsel of the World Jewish Congress, who teaches genocide law at Columbia and Cornell university both agreed and disagreed with Portman’s assessment:

Of course all genocides, as well as all similar atrocities, are tragic and must be acknowledged and commemorated as such. And no one should engage in comparative suffering. I tell my students that from the point of view of the victims or their families, it really makes no difference if they were murdered in a gas chamber or with machetes. And, as World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder has emphasized, Jews must not be silent when Yazidis and Christians are persecuted and murdered by ISIS [Islamic State]

Then Rosensaft’s opposing view suggests that the Holocaust is unique. “At the same time, the Holocaust is unique – not worse and certainly not more tragic – because of its enormous, continent-wide scope, because of the complexity and systematic methodology of the annihilation and the willing participation of such an enormously broad-based part of not just German but other societies.”

Natalie Portman did recognize that the Holocaust was a tragic period in human history, but for the Jewish people to say that their Holocaust is unique and makes it more important than other genocides. In the controversial book ‘The Holocaust Industry’ written by Norman G. Finkelstein said the following:

Its central dogmas sustain significant political and class interests. Indeed, The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon. Through its deployment, one of the world’s most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a “victim” state, and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status

All war crimes against Jews, African’s (by various European empires), Armenians (by the Ottoman Empire), the Palestinians (under Israeli occupation), the Syrians (under the U.S. backed Syrian rebels and ISIS and every other new group created) and the Native American population by the U.S. government, all deserve equal historical recognition. I always say whether it’s one life or millions of lives lost because of racism, hatred or a government that wants land for corporate profits are a crime against humanity. The Holocaust is an important part of history that all human beings can learn from, but so are other atrocities that have occurred in the past and in our present time that deserves attention. World history is an important part of education as Natalie Portman made clear as she criticized the Jewish schools she attended in Maryland and on New York’s Long Island. She learned about the Rwandan Genocide from a museum, not from an educational institution. There were numerous genocides committed on the all continents of the world, something many Americans and Israelis alike do not know since the education they receive on the subject is usually ignored. In ‘The Holocaust Industry’ Norman G. Finkelstein, (who was a university professor) also criticized universities in America:

Most college professors can testify that compared to the Civil War many more undergraduates are able to place the Nazi holocaust in the right century and generally cite the number killed. In fact, the Nazi holocaust is just about the only historical reference that resonates in a university classroom today. Polls show that many more Americans can identify The Holocaust than Pearl Harbor or the atomic bombing of Japan

Natalie Portman just spoke the truth about her inadequate education.  Now she has to face the Jewish press, Hollywood and its criticisms. What a world we live in.

Maidan 2.0: Ukraine Rightists Kill Police; Putin Blamed

September 2nd, 2015 by Robert Parry

As I read the latest example of The New York Times’ propagandistic coverage of the Ukraine crisis on Tuesday, it struck me that if these same reporters and editors were around in 1953, they would have cheered the coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh as a popular “revolution” putting the beloved and benevolent Shah back on the Peacock Throne.

Similarly in 1954, these credulous journalists would have written about another people’s “revolution” in Guatemala removing President Jacobo Arbenz and restoring law and order behind well-regarded military commanders. The Times would have airily dismissed any suggestions of U.S. manipulation of events.

And, for decades, that was how the Central Intelligence Agency wanted American journalists to write those stories – and the current crop of Times’ journalists would have fallen neatly into line. Of course, we know historically that the CIA organized and financed the disorders in Tehran that preceded Mossadegh’s removal and pulled together the rebel force that drove Arbenz from office.

And, the evidence is even clearer that U.S. government operatives, particularly Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, helped orchestrate the 2014 coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Indeed, journalists knew more about the coup-plotting in Ukraine in real-time than we did about the coups in Iran and Guatemala six decades ago.

In the Ukraine case, there was even an intercepted phone call just weeks before the Feb. 22, 2014 coup revealing Nuland handpicking the new Ukrainian leaders – “Yats is the guy,” she said referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who would become the post-coup prime minister – as Pyatt pondered how “to midwife this thing” and Nuland dismissed the European Union’s less aggressive approach with the pithy remark, “F**k the EU!”

Several months earlier, on Sept. 26, 2013, Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy (a U.S. government-funded operation that was financing scores of Ukrainian activists, journalists and business leaders), stated in a Washington Post op-ed that Ukraine was “the biggest prize” and would serve as a steppingstone toward eventually destabilizing Russia and removing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After Gershman’s op-ed pronouncement, Nuland and Sen. John McCain personally cheered on anti-government protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square. Nuland literally passed out cookies, and McCain, standing on stage with right-wing extremists from the Svoboda Party, told the crowd that the United States was with them in their challenge to the Ukrainian government. Meanwhile, Pyatt advised the coup-makers from the U.S. Embassy.

The U.S. interference was so blatant that George Friedman, founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, called Yanukovych’s ouster “the most blatant coup in history.”

Blatant to anyone, that is, who wasn’t part of the U.S. government’s propaganda team, which included the foreign desk of The New York Times and virtually every mainstream U.S. media outlet. Following the script of the State Department’s propagandists, the Times and the MSM saw only a glorious people’s “revolution.”

Resistance to the Coup

However, ethnic Russians from Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the key bases of support for Yanukovych, resisted the new order in Kiev. The people of Crimea organized a referendum in which 96 percent of the voters favored seceding from Ukraine and rejoining Russia, ties that went back to the Eighteenth Century. When Putin and Russia agreed to accept Crimea, the Times and the MSM announced a “Russian invasion,” although in this case the Russian troops were already stationed in Crimea under the Sebastopol port agreement.

Ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine also rose up demanding independence or at least autonomy from the hostile regime in Kiev. The new government responded by labeling the dissidents “terrorists” and mounting an “Anti-Terrorist Operation,” which killed thousands and was spearheaded by neo-Nazi and Islamist militias. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine Merges Nazis and Islamists.”]

Although the Times at times would acknowledge the key role played by the neo-Nazis and other ultra-nationalists, that troublesome information – along with the Nuland-Pyatt phone call and other evidence of the coup – would disappear into the Memory Hole when the Times was summarizing the Ukraine narrative or was decrying anyone who dared use the word “coup.”

As far as the Times was concerned, what has happened since February 2014 was simply a glorious “revolution” with “pro-democracy” Ukrainian idealists on one side and propaganda-deluded ethnic Russian automatons on the other, depersonalized and ready for the killing. And behind all the bloodshed was the evil Putin.

The Times reprised its propagandistic narrative on Tuesday in an article by Andrew E. Kramer, who tried to put the best face possible on a violent protest by neo-Nazis and other right-wing nationalists against a proposed constitutional change that would grant more autonomy to eastern Ukraine as part of the Minsk II peace agreement reached last February between German, French, Ukrainian and Russian leaders.

Authorities identified a member of Sych, the militant arm of the right-wing Svoboda Party (John McCain’s old friends), as the person who threw a grenade that killed three police officers, but the Times made clear that the real villain was Vladimir Putin. As Kramer wrote:

“The [autonomy] measure is fiercely opposed by Ukrainian nationalists and many others, who loathe any concession to Mr. Putin and see him as the driving force behind a civil war that has claimed more than 6,500 lives. President Petro O. Poroshenko had conceded the constitutional change, which is included in the text of the Minsk agreement, with a metaphorical gun to his head: thousands of Ukrainian soldiers surrounded by Russian-backed rebels near the Ukrainian railroad town of Debaltseve.

“Supporters of the change say granting special status to the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk would co-opt the rebels’ major selling point, blunting the drive for separatism. Yet the war has angered Ukrainians to such an extent, opinion polls show, that members of Parliament are struggling to win support from voters for any concession.”

While the Times’ narrative paints Putin as the instigator of all the trouble in Ukraine, it also portrays him as a villain who is on the run because his “aggression” led to Western sanctions, which along with lower oil prices, are collapsing the Russian economy.

Kramer wrote:

“Hopes for a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis have been rising lately in Europe as oil prices have sunk, increasing financial pressure on Mr. Putin. With the Russian economy reeling, the thinking goes, he should be more willing to compromise on eastern Ukraine, the source of damaging Western economic sanctions. But that thinking was not shared by many in Ukraine. …

“As Parliament approved the concessions, protesters outside the building scuffled with police, and shouted, ‘Shame! Shame!’ The demonstrators grew more agitated. Some tore helmets from the riot police and threw them on the paving stones. ‘They are trading in our blood and our corpses,’ said a veteran of the war in the east, Volodymyr Natuta, referring to members of Parliament who supported the measure. ‘They sold out Ukraine.’…

“It [the right-wing killing of the first police officer on Monday] was the first death in politicized street violence in the capital since the 2014 revolution … Officially, the Russian government denies having any hand in propping up the two enclaves in eastern Ukraine. But Ukrainians — not to speak of virtually every Western government and NATO — universally reject that, holding Moscow responsible for all the carnage in the east.”

So, having brushed aside the evidence of a U.S.-backed coup and ignoring the role of right-wing Ukrainian nationalists in both overthrowing an elected leader and launching attacks against ethnic Russians, the New York Times has settled on the only permissible view of the crisis: that it is all Vladimir Putin’s fault. Perhaps history will know better.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

It is, we are told, an age of bitter austerity, where belts are being tightened with dedication, and services cut with thrifty diligence. There are, however, always exceptions to the rule. The surveillance state needs succour; the intelligence services need their daily bread from the bakers in Downing Street.  The dogs of war similarly need to be fed.  And then, there is Julian Assange.

Assange would be pleased to know that he is an exception to the rules of austerity. He figures in a singular category in the book keeping of Her Majesty’s Government. The British security establishment continue monitoring him with eagle-eyes. There are three Scotland Yard officers on the task at any one time.  One is stationed at the steps to the Ecuadorean embassy, just to make sure no daredevilry is entertained.  As they do so, the bill mounts.

The site govwaste.co.uk lists the costs in live time – as at this writing, the amount is 12,173,575 million pounds.[1]  Those costs, following accounts from the Metropolitan Police, can be broken down into direct costs – those incurred in the course of normal duties; and opportunity costs, a smaller portion resulting from overtime for being stationed at the Ecuadorean embassy.

The site also lists what the equivalent amount might have funded: 60,868 vaccinations for children; 47,740 hospital beds for one night; the salaries for 558 teachers for a full year.  As for food, the figure comes to over 10 million meals for the needy.  If one is to lose a sense of priorities, join government.

This state of affairs invariably finds its way into occasional public comment. It doesn’t happen as much as it should, but it does. In July 2013 before the Home Affairs Committee, Mayor Boris Johnson blew his top off at the bill for the Metropolitan police as it then stood: 4m pounds.  “It’s absolutely ridiculous, that money should be spent on frontline policing.  It’s completely wasted.”[2]

Calls have been made to withdraw the officers.  In the first month of this year, The Daily Mail got onto the job covering the cost of the bill mounting at Knightsbridge.  Standing then at 9m pounds, the paper stated that it was “a vigil costing 11,000 pounds a day.”[3]  (That daily amount seems to fluctuate, depending on what source one consults.)

Baroness Jenny Jones, deputy chair of the Police and Crime Committee at the London Assembly, told the paper that, “The policing bill for keeping one man holed up in an embassy has reached yet more ridiculous proportions.  The Government has yet to explain why taxpayers have to pay this.  It’s time to end the stalemate and stand down the officers.”

Those who question the siege bill also do so from another perspective: Assange is being lionised as a cyber criminal par excellence, being unduly privileged by his celebrity status.  Andy Silvester of the Tax Payers Alliance, having little time for legal niceties, suggests that, despite Assange’s “legion of celebrity fans [he] should be treated like any other accused criminal… The police have better things to do than a Knightsbridge vigil.”

Former Scotland Yard royalty protection chief Dai Davies never had much time for the rising account associated with the Assange case.  Having visions of Assange on the run, his statement made in February 2013 went to lifting the police cordon, and shining the green light of temptation. “The time has come for the Met to review its strategy on Assange, and withdraw the officers currently guarding the Ecuadorean embassy.  If he went on the run, he could be hunted down like any common fugitive.”[4]

The perversions of bureaucracy, dedicated to the protection of the state, allows for some latitude in lunacy.  Everything should point to a normalisation of the abnormal circumstances – questioning of Assange by Swedish officials in the embassy itself on unplaced sexual charges, a carrot dangled then withdrawn at the last moment; the application of current laws that acknowledge the invidious nature of the European Arrest Warrant, yet are deemed inapplicable for not being retrospective.  Then there is the Australian consulate, like many a satrap, a permanent, even redundant absentee.

In reflecting on the cost of the detention, Assange does keep company, in being confined to not so luxurious surroundings, with a still new breed of cyber-publishing activist.  There are the exiles, there are the whistleblowers.  There are those exposing the Stratfor military complex and the privatised security state.  Chelsea Manning remains the most fundamental sufferer here.  The issue, as ever, remains the role of information, and where that fits into broader issues of state accountability and transparency.

There a strange irony at work here as well.  The London Met have formed what effectively amounts to a ring, not so much of steel, as bizarre protection.  But what on earth is it against?  It is true that Assange, should he step out, will be nabbed – that’s one voice of the law speaking. It is equally true that others can’t get in, be there, friend or foe, to bag and nab. No funny business allowed, thank you.

The strange business of walls, with their double meaning – whether they keep people in, or make sure people stay out – is at play.  History tends to be, not merely a register of folly and blood, but a register of inane projects.  Assange, despite his health, has little desire to leave. Ecuador, in turn, has given him indefinite residency at the embassy.  And the age of austerity continues with its exceptions.

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

Notes

Former CIA boss and 4-star general David Petraeus – who still (believe it or not) holds a lot of sway in Washington – suggests we should arm Al Qaeda to fight ISIS.

Members of al Qaeda’s branch in Syria have a surprising advocate in the corridors of American power: retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus.

The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been quietly urging U.S. officials to consider using so-called moderate members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly, told The Daily Beast.

He’s not alone …

As we’ve previously shown, other mainstream American figures support arming Al Qaeda … and ISIS.

Initially, Barak Mendelsohn – an Associate Professor of Political Science at Haverford College, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and a five year veteran of the Israeli army – argues in the Council on Foreign Relations’ publication Foreign Affairs  that the U.S. should support Al Qaeda … as a way to counter ISIS:

The instability in the Middle East following the Arab revolutions and the meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) require that Washington rethink its policy toward al Qaeda, particularly its targeting of Zawahiri.

***

Destabilizing al Qaeda at this time may in fact work against U.S. efforts to defeat ISIS.

Many mainstream players are suggesting that Al Nusra – the main Al Qaeda group in Syria – “re-brand”, so that it can pretend it is moderate … and so receive direct U.S. backing. See thisthisthisthisthisand this.

Not to be outdone, influential New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman asks if we should arm ISIS to counter Iranian influence.

 The U.S. actually did knowingly support Al Qaeda in Libya. And also in Syria.

And we actually ARE supporting ISIS to some extent:

NATO member Turkey was busted buying huge quantities of oil from ISIS (its main source of funding), and bombing ISIS’ main on-the-ground enemy – Kurdish soldiers – using its air force. Many also say that Turkey has long been directly supporting ISIS.

The Israeli air force has bombed near the Syrian capital of Damascus, and attacked agricultural facilities and warehouses (the Syrian government is the other main opponent of ISIS in Syria besides the Kurds). The Israeli military recently admitted supporting Syrian jihadis. And see this.

Mainstream U.S. writers such as Thomas Friedman have called for America to support ISIS.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz opposed U.S. military intervention in Syria, saying the U.S. military shouldn’t be “Al Qaeda’s air force.”  Similarly, former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich  said that striking Syria would turn the United States military into “al-Qaeda’s air force.” (ISIS is just a re-branded name for Al Qaeda).

Indeed, NBC News, the Wall Street JournalCNN and others report that the U.S. has already committed to provide air power to support Muslim jihadis in Syria.

So Turkey, Israel and the U.S. are all now acting as ISIS’ air force in order to oust the Syrian government … again. (Washington Blog, August 3, 2015)

Truly, America’s foreign policy is insane.

Noam Chomsky and other serious critics on the left often have to contend with dismissals from opponents (including most in our political and media elites) that they are conspiracy theorists, or “anti-American” and “anti-West”.

For those who have not taken the time to read Chomsky, such arguments can sound superficially plausible. Doesn’t Chomsky’s criticisms of the US and the West not rest on the assumption that their leaders act together, conspiratorially, in bad and exploitative ways against weaker nations? Can all of our leaders really be so rotten? Isn’t it more cock-up than conspiracy?

Chomsky is actually talking about structural conditions in our societies that maintain elites in power and allow them to look out for their own interests largely unchallenged.

Here Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who has been in the diplomatic wilderness since he turned whistle-blower on British collusion with torture more than a decade ago, makes a very simple observation that can help us understand what Chomsky is talking about.

Murray notes that among today’s crop of senior politicians, media editors, top diplomats and university vice-chancellors, almost all supported the Iraq war in 2003. Not only did such support not harm these individuals’ careers but it appears to have propelled them to even greater things.

The careers of prominent critics of the war, conversely, have tended to suffer. And all this despite the fact that there was huge popular opposition to the war at the time. The folly of the war was obvious to ordinary people but not, it seems, to our brightest and best.

The success of the war crowd can be explained without resorting to conspiracy theories. Chomsky’s structural critique is expressed well below by Murray:

It is that Iraq is the touchstone for adherence to the neo-liberal consensus. All these professionally successful people share a number of attitudes, of which support for the Iraq War is a good indicator. There is a very strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and fierce Zionism. But there is also a strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and support for austerity economics. The strongest correlation of all lies in support for the Iraq War and for “business-friendly” tolerance of corporatism, TTIP, multinational tax avoidance, low taxation and marketization of public services including in education and health.

In short, our key institutions are in the grasp of a set of ideological assumptions (very strange ones) popularly described as neo-liberalism. This neoliberal elite becomes self-selecting, replicating itself through the selection processes imposed by private schools, elite universities, the diplomatic service, the finance system, top legal firms, and the media. If one makes one’s way through this obstacle course, then the door may open to a political career.

By the time politicians reach Westminster, they do not need to be recruited to a cabal. They have simply proven over a long period that they have a strong ideological fit with the institutions that govern us. If not, their careers would have stalled much earlier, in the lower rungs of these institutions, or they would have “dropped out”. The same processes select those who fill top posts in the media and other influential “professions”.

This isn’t true just in Britain, of course. One can see similar processes of filtering and selection in the US and other western societies. That is why trying to tinker with the system invariably fails to bring about real change. These structures have to be overhauled.

That has happened – partially at least – in the past, following major social and economic upheavals like the Second World War. Our elites had to respond to the greater sense of entitlement and empowerment of the working classes, both the men who had been recently demobbed and the women who had gone out to work for the first time in factories to help the war effort.

That was why a Labour government was elected, in spite of the heroic standing of Winston Churchill, the Conservatives’ leader, during the war. A key victory was the establishment of free health care for everyone, in the form of the National Health Service. Hard as it is to recall today, the NHS was long presented as a radical, dangerous idea – reminding us how crazy ideological assumptions can comfortably dominate even democratic systems. The NHS’ popularity has made it difficult politically to reverse that success, but politicians of the right and left have been slowly eroding the principle of free health care for at least the past two decades.

Now the British elites are being challenged again, this time by a potential mass movement led by Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn is the last gasp of that post-war era of Labour politics, when a class divide was acknowledged and some politicians were elected precisely because they represented the working poor’s interests, often via trade unions.

It is a sign of quite how much the traditional elites have reasserted their power that Corbyn seems an isolated relic from that previous era. It is also a sign of how effectively the system locks the doors to outsiders that the young people who are so fed up with neoliberalism and our political elite have been unable to inject new blood into the system, and must rely on Corbyn instead to represent them. Expect an extremely rocky ride ahead.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/09/breaking-the-depleted-uranium-ceiling/

“Climate Change – Smoke Screen in Arctic Geopolitical Play”

September 2nd, 2015 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The US global military agenda pertains to the gas and oil rich Arctic region, says Michel Chossudovsky, from the Centre for Research on Globalization. Unlike other states with claims to the region, it doesn’t have territory extending into the Arctic Ocean, he adds.

RT: President Barack Obama attended Monday a US-led international conference on the Arctic, held in Anchorage, Alaska. The White House was promoting the trip as part of Obama’s push for climate change action. How important is the Arctic region and this meeting in particular for the US?

Michel Chossudovsky: First we have to understand that this [conference] is a US initiative which emanates from the US State Department. The organizational structure is the State Department which is not an entity concerned with environmental issues – it’s concerned with geopolitics.

The agenda has been announced as focusing on climate change and the environment. But I would suspect that the hidden agenda behind this conference is ultimately to develop the Arctic on behalf of the Anglo-American oil giants. There are extensive Arctic oil and gas reserves.  This is not the official agenda, but ultimately that is the end game and the fact that it is under auspices of the State Department, to start with, points to the nature of confrontation which may exist between the West, on the one hand, and the Russia Federation, on the other.

© Valeriy Melnikov

 

RT: How strong is the US position in the ongoing competition for the Arctic compared to the other seven members of the Arctic Council?  

MC: First of all, the US from a geographic point of view is in a difficult situation, because contrary to Canada, Denmark, Norway, and the Russian Federation – the US doesn’t have any territories extending into the Arctic Ocean. It has territories above the Arctic Circle, but the Arctic Circle is not a geographic boundary, it is a climatic boundary. And the US does not have any adjacent territories to the Arctic Ocean.

Now how does Washington proceed in that regard? Essentially it proceeds through its economic, military and strategic alliances particularly with Canada, but also with Denmark and Norway, In relation to Denmark, we are talking of course about Greenland, which extends right up to the Arctic Ocean.

And Washington already has military bases in the Northern Territories of Canada under joint command with Canada, but it also has military facilities in Greenland. I suspect that this essentially is their gateway to the Arctic.

They have another of course disadvantage – is that the US is not a member of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. And as opposed to other members – Canada or the Russian Federation- both countries have in fact made claims based on the fact that the continental shelf extends right into the Arctic Ocean. There we have a geopolitical situation. Within the Arctic region, according to the estimates something of the order of one quarter of the world’s oil and gas reserves. This is even corroborated by US sources.

© Valeriy Melnikov

© Valeriy Melnikov / RIA Novosti

And at the same time, we have environmental considerations because any kind of opening up of oil and gas exploration above or within the Arctic Ocean would have devastating environmental consequences. And we could just look at what happened in the Gulf of Mexico with the BP disaster a few years ago. This of course is contemplated, and the US has recently granted exploration rights to oil companies above the Arctic Circle in areas which are contiguous to Alaska.

RT: Arctic Council members at their recent meeting were unanimously calling on cooperation and mutual trust from all sides when it comes to the development of the region. The White House was promoting Obama’s Alaska trip and the Anchorage gathering as part of Obama’s push for climate change action. What do you make of those statements, are these real concerns?

MC: First of all, this venue is not sponsored by the Arctic Council. Although, the US this year chairs the council. This particular initiative presents the issue of climate change and environment as the central concern. At the same time there is conflict in the Arctic between the US and NATO, on the one hand, and the Russian Federation on the other. Of course this is always somewhat contradictory. At one level they are going to stress climate change, and on the other they are going to deploy military exercises in the Arctic region which in a sense is also part of the broader process of confrontation between Russia and the Western military alliance with regard to Ukraine and also in the Middle East.

In other words, the US has a global military agenda. And that global military agenda is not limited to the Middle East or Eastern Europe. It also pertains to the Arctic region. Why? Because the Arctic encompasses, according to estimates 25 per cent of the World’s oil and gas reserves. But of course for Washington to gain control over those oil and gas reserves it is threatening countries in one form or another, particularly in view of the fact that it doesn’t have any territories within, and I insist, within the region of the Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic Ocean is a geographic boundary; the Arctic Circle is in fact an irrelevant concept because it is based on climate and on sunsets, and so on. They are using the Arctic Circle as a definition when in fact we look at the map, we see that the USA (Alaska) doesn’t have any borders with the Arctic Ocean.

So there is a geopolitical play on the one hand, and then there is always global warming, climate change, which is put forth as a smoke screen.

I should mention that the environmental issues are absolutely fundamental with a view to protecting the ecology and the natural habitat of the Arctic region. That will require very strict rules on offshore drilling for gas and oil reserves and the development of other resources in that region.

 

LISTEN MORE:

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Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, professor of economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, founder and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and editor of the globalresearch.ca website. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). His most recent book is entitled The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than 20 languages.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has proposed a bill to the country’s legislature to eliminate the dollar and the euro from trade between member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

A statement from the Kremlin said that Putin submitted to the State Duma a draft federal law which seeks an integrated currency market in the CIS.

“This would help expand the use of national currencies in foreign trade payments and financial services and thus create preconditions for greater liquidity of domestic currency markets,” said the statement.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin (AFP photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (AFP photo)

Russian officials say they seek to drop the dollar and the euro from their exchanges with former Soviet Union countries to achieve macro-economic stability in the region. They say using Western currencies could seriously increase the risks associated with trade especially at a time when the United States and its European allies are in a political row with Moscow over the situation in Ukraine.

The presidents of Russia (2ndR), Kyrgyzstan (3rdR), Kazakhstan (5thR), Belarus (2ndL), Uzbekistan (L) and Tajikistan (4thL) attend a meeting of the heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 8, 2015. (AFP Photo)

Russia has managed to move ahead with its plans to weaken the dollar through deals it has reached with some other countries. Members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) - including Russia, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan - have already signed an agreement to switch to their national currencies. One such obligatory transition must take effect between 2025 and 2030.

China has also decided to use the Russian ruble in trade exchanges in its border cities.

Since the start of the Canadian election campaign a series of posts have detailed the Harper Conservatives repeated abuse of power. The Tyee published “Harper, Serial Abuser of Power”, which listed “70 Harper government assaults on democracy and the law.” But the widely disseminated list omitted what may be the Conservatives’ most flagrant – and far-reaching –lawbreaking. In 2011 Ottawa defied UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1970 and 1973, which were passed amidst the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade rule in Libya.

In direct contravention of these legally binding resolutions, Canadian troops were on the ground in the North African country. On September 13, three weeks after Tripoli fell to the anti-Gaddafi National Transition Council, Canada’s state broadcaster reported: “CBC News has learned there are members of the Canadian Forces on the ground in Libya.”[i] A number of other media outlets reported that highly secretive Canadian special forces were fighting in Libya. On February 28, CTV.ca reported “that Canadian special forces are also on the ground in Libya” while Esprit du Corp editor Scott Taylor noted Canadian Special Operations Regiment’s flag colours in the Conservatives’ post-war celebration. But, any Canadian ‘boots on the ground’ in Libya violated UNSCR 1973, which explicitly excluded “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”

Libya Rebel Tanks, 2011

 

The Conservative government also directly armed the rebels in contravention of international law. Waterloo-based Aeryon Scout Micro supplied the rebels with a three-pound, backpack-sized Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The director of field support for the company, Charles Barlow, traveled 18 hours on a rebel operated boat from Malta to the rebels training facility in Misrata. There, Barlow taught the rebels how to operate this Canadian-developed drone, which was used to gather intelligence on the front lines. In an interview after Gaddafi’s death, Barlow said: “I hope we did a little tiny part to help get rid of that man.”

According to various reports the drone was paid for out of Libyan government assets frozen in Canada.[ii] Aeryon CEO Dave Kroetsch said the company was “approached by the Canadian government.” But, in April 2011 Foreign Affairs officials advised then foreign minister Lawrence Cannon that providing military assistance to the Libyan rebels contravened UNSCR 1970. Based on documents uncovered through the Access to Information Act, Project Ploughshares reported: “A ‘Memorandum for Action’ signed by the Minister on April 11, noted that under the UN Security Council resolution that established the arms embargo against Libya, ‘Canada generally cannot permit the export of arms to Libya without the prior approval of the UN 1970 Sanctions Committee.’

The memo also stated that the arms embargo ‘encompasses any type of weapon … as well as technical assistance such as the provision of instruction, training or intelligence.’ It confirms that the UN arms embargo on Libya precluded the transfer of the Canadian surveillance drone to Libyan opposition forces. However, the memo also provided an interpretive feint for Canada by which it could allow the drone to be exported. It noted that Security Council Resolution 1973 contains language that key partners the US, the UK and France interpreted as permitting provision of arms to Libyan opposition forces as part of ‘all necessary measures … to protect civilians.’ The memo was clear that this interpretation was not shared by many other states, including NATO allies Italy and Norway.”

The government failed to inform all departments about its interpretive feint. In early 2012 a Canadian Forces website plainly stated that UNSCR 1970 “called for an international arms embargo on Libya” and “[UNSCR] 1973 of 17 March, which strengthened the arms embargo.”

Montréal-based security firm Garda World also contravened international law. Sometime in the “summer of 2011”, according to its website, Garda began operating in the country.[iii] After the National Transition Council captured Tripoli (six weeks before Muammar Gaddafi was killed in Sirte on October 20, 2011) the rebels requested Garda’s assistance in bringing their forces “besieging the pro-Qaddafi stronghold of Sirte to hospitals in Misrata”, reported Bloomberg.[iv] UNSCR 1970 specifically mandated all UN member states “to prevent the provision of armed mercenary personnel” into Libya. Resolution 1973 reinforced the arms embargo, mentioning “armed mercenary personnel” in three different contexts.

In an article titled “Mercenaries in Libya: Ramifications of the Treatment of ‘Armed Mercenary Personnel’ under the Arms Embargo for Private Military Company Contractors”, Hin-Yan Liu points out that the Security Council’s “explicit use of the broader term ‘armed mercenary personnel’ is likely to include a significant category of contractors working for Private Military Companies (PMCs).”[v]

Canadian officials probably introduced the rebels to Garda, the world’s largest privately held security firm. In fact, Ottawa may have paid Garda to help the rebels. As mentioned, the federal government used some of the $2.2 billion it froze in Libyan assets in Canada to pay Aeryon Scout to equip and train the rebels with a UAV.[vi]

After Gaddafi was killed the Conservatives spent $850,000 on a nationally televised war celebration for the troops that fought in Libya. Harper called it “a day of honour… Soldier for soldier, sailor for sailor, airman for airman, the Canadian Armed Forces are the best in the world.”

But don’t expect the Prime Minister to discuss Libya during the election. “Since Col Gaddafi’s death in Sirte in October 2011,” the BBC reported recently, “Libya has descended into chaos, with various militias fighting for power.” ISIS has taken control of parts of the country while a government in Tripoli and another in Benghazi claim national authority.

The Conservatives’ violation of international law delivered a terrible blow to Libya. If international affairs weren’t largely defined by the ‘might makes right’ principle Harper would find himself in the dock.

Yves Engler is the author of The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s foreign policy. His Canada in Africa — 300 years of Aid and Exploitation will be published in September and he will be speaking across the country in the lead up to the election. For information on speaking engagements go to Yvesengler.com

Notes

[ii] Canadian drone helped rebels in Libya, AFP, Aug 24 2011 (http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Canadian_drone_helped_rebels_in_Libya_999.html)

[iii] Why GardaWorld in Libya? (http://www.garda-world.com/locations/info/libya)

[iv] Sarah A. Topol, As Libya War Winds Down, Security Consultants Tout Iraq, Afghan Experience, Bloomberg, Sept 21 2011 (http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/magazine/as-war-winds-down-in-libya-enter-the-consultants-09212011.html)

[v] Hin-Yan Liu, Mercenaries in Libya: Ramifications of the Treatment of ‘Armed Mercenary Personnel’ under the Arms Embargo for Private Military Company Contractors, Journal of Conflict & Security Law, Vol 16, No 2, 2011

[vi] Canadian drone helped rebels in Libya, AFP, Aug 24 2011 (http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Canadian_drone_helped_rebels_in_Libya_999.html)

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”- Malcolm X

After four and half years of relentless propaganda being flung around western mainstream media by propagandists, NGOs and Empire serving mouthpieces, one wonders how this stream of effluent still manages to stick to the consciences of the public it serves to deceive.

white-helmets-Syria

MEET THE WHITE HELMETS: Propaganda image designed to reinforce Washington’s policy of ‘regime change’ in Syria.

Yesterday, a Facebook post caught our attention. A Palestinian person based in Gaza posted two photos of child victims in Syria. The photos were accompanied by the caption, “The massacres of Assad regime in Syria #Douma”. The subsequent barrage of comments consisting of the usual plethora of outpouring against Syrian President Bashar al Assad and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) provoked us to investigate further.

What we discovered was a highly organised, western-centric propaganda ring…

We discovered that both photos were taken by photographer Khaled Khatib, and were of “reported” Syrian Air Force ‘barrel bomb’ attacks, allegedly on unclassified areas of Aleppo. Bearing in mind, most of Khaled’s photos on Google appear to be of the immediate aftermath of such an attack, and one wonders why he does not specify the specific area and exact time, offering a verified claim of the attack being from barrel bombs, rather than the rather non committal “reported” tag.

Further investigation revealed that in reality, Khaled Khatib works for and with the ‘White Helmets’ and his photos are used extensively by the well known EU-backed and UK-based, one man propaganda band, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The SOHR is actually Mr Rami Abdul Rahman, who runs this propaganda feed from his house in Coventry, UK, and who bases the majority of his information on Skype calls to Syria.

This information, however, is unilaterally used by the Axis of Interventionism [US, Europe in particular] to justify their proxy invasion of a sovereign nation and their clumsy, murderous 4 and half year-long attempt at the “regime change” of Syria’s elected government, engendering, in the process, the widespread loss of civilian life in Syria at the hands of their proxy armies. More than any other single information source, the SOHR’s propaganda dispatches are used to justify western policy of arming and supporting the multi-headed insurgency in Syria.

Thanks Eva Bartlett for the photo below:

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The White Helmets are equally suspect. This is a quote from Rick Sterling’s excellent article on the “Highly Effective Manipulators”:

White Helmets is the newly minted name for ‘Syrian Civil Defence.’ Despite the name, Syria Civil Defence was not created by Syrians nor does it serve Syria. Rather it was created by the UK and USA in 2013. Civilians from rebel controlled territory were paid to go to Turkey to receive some training in rescue operations. The program was managed by James Le Mesurier, a former British soldier and private contractor whose company is based in Dubai.”

“The trainees are said to be ‘nonpartisan’ but only work in rebel-controlled areas of Idlib (now controlled by Nusra/Al Queda) and Aleppo. There are widely divergent claims regarding the number of people trained by the White Helmets and the number of people rescued. The numbers are probably highly exaggerated especially since rebel-controlled territories have few civilians. A doctor who recently served in a rebel-controlled area of Aleppo described it as a ghost town. The White Helmets work primarily with the rebel group Jabat al Nusra (Al Queda in Syria). Video of the recent alleged chlorine gas attacks starts with the White Helmet logo and continues with the logo of Nusra. In reality, White Helmets is a small rescue team for Nusra/Al Queda.”

“But White Helmets primary function is propaganda. White Helmets demonizes the Assad government and encourages direct foreign intervention. A White Helmet leader wrote a recentWashington Post editorial. White Helmets are also very active on social media with presence on Twitter, Facebook etc. According to their website, to contact White Helmets email The Syria Campaign which undmg
erscores the relationship.”

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This illustration from Rick Sterling’s article demonstrates clearly the role of White Helmets in justifying the No Fly Zone

Now lets have a look at Mr. Khaled Khatib and his role in this propaganda chain. He appears to be exclusively embedded in Aleppo. I have been unable to locate any photos by him that are not from this region [on google search]. The majority of his photos are taken between January and June 2014. Now bearing in mind the mounting evidence of the civilian casualties and fatalities as a result of the “rebel” hell cannon, mortars, and snipers in Aleppo, it should be surprising that not one of his images records the devastation and bloodshed caused by these wildly inaccurate and lethal weapons employed by the so called opposition cells positioned all over Aleppo.

Instead every photo and every statement from this propagandist focuses only on the Syrian Government’s “reported” use of the legendary barrel bombs. “There is great danger for civiliansfrom the Syrian army, the militias who are fighting with them, and ISIS,” said Khaled Khatib, a photographer with the Aleppo branch of the Syrian Civil Defence, a volunteer rescue organization. “But the weapon that kills the most Syrians — by 90 percent — is the barrel.”

We have demonstrated that the White Helmets are an integral part of the propaganda vanguard that ensures obscurantism of fact and propagation of Human Rights fiction that elicits the well-intentioned and self righteous response from a very cleverly duped public. A priority for these NGOs is to keep pushing the ‘No Fly Zone‘ scenario which has already been seen to have disastrous implications for innocent civilians in Libya, for example.

Khaled Khatib is quoted by the Guardian as being reserved on the ‘No Fly Zone’, but vehement in calls for a radar or “early warning” system that will ensure that “civilians” can flee areas that are about to be bombed by the Syrian Government forces. Lets just examine this statement, echoed by The Syria Campaign director, James Sadri: “If we could only get warning that the planes were coming, we could warn families, tell people to run from the markets, get the children out of the schools, let the medical centers know so that they can take cover,” Khatib said. “Every airport in the world has this technology – it is common, it is civilian. Why can’t they share it with us?”

Hmmm so, this makes an assumption, regularly echoed by the HRW brigades like Annie Sparrow and Ken Roth – who have become increasingly rabid in their barrel bomb narrative, that the Syrian Government is going to deliberately target civilian areas like hospitals and schools. This seems absurd when one takes into account that most families in Syria have family members in the Syrian forces combating foreign proxy armies made up of terrorists and mercenaries. To suggest that these forces would be turned against their own families is delusional if not downright criminal and inhumane. Therefore we must assume that the Syrian forces are quite rightly targeting embedded terrorist cells, cells that are nested within civilian areas. We know that Aleppo has shrunk to one fifth of its size thanks to the infiltration of many areas by these mercenary fighters. This infiltration has driven many civilians into safe pockets within Aleppo away from terrorist strongholds. The SAA is marooned on the Acropolis Hill in the strategic centre of the Old Citadel in Aleppo and is surrounded on all sides by “rebel” encampments.

With this information in mind, we must ask the question, who would benefit most from this early warning system – the civilians or the “rebels”?

I have created a collage of the most dramatic of Khaled Khatib’s images, many of which are credited to AFP and Getty Images so we know they will be extensively used by the mainstream media to convey the “situation” in Syria. I will in no way detract from the very real suffering of the people of Syria caught up in a war not of their making and fuelled by Western arming, funding and logistic support for the “opposition” to the Government that is steadfastly resisting their interventionism.

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MONTAGE: Khaled Khatib’s images taken in Aleppo Jan – June 2014. All “reportedly” of ‘barrel bomb’ attacks.

However, I would ask anyone to view these photos with an impartial eye and to appreciate their importance as a propaganda tool. We know that Al Jazeera, for example has fabricated evidence before now and used artistic license to “create” images that pull on our heart strings. Even the BBC, the erstwhile reputed bastion of British media integrity has been caught out lying and deceiving on a terrifying scale when it comes to Syria. I leave it up to you, but here are some of Khaled’s images (graphic).

The final point that I would like to make is that during my investigation I noticed one important fact. Even when a report is written about an ISIS atrocity, we often will see Khaled Khatib’s photograph accompanying that report. I will give you an example. In March 2014, The Daily Star [Lebanon] reported on horrific mass executions carried out by ISIS throughout Syria, including Aleppo. ISIL jihadists conduct ‘mass executions’ in Syria: UN probe. Despite this article describing the hideous killings and torture of civilians by ISIS, the caption on the accompanying photo by KK reads ” The bodies of two children lie in the rubble of a residential building targeted by [yes you guessed it] barrel bombs launched by “regime” forces.

My marketing background alerts me to this insidious form of subliminal “advertising” that will ensure that the public psyche absorbs the message of “regime” atrocities in preference to the information regarding ISIS depravity. A brief check on other mainstream media reports demonstrates that this is not an isolated case. Some may argue that the media outlets have simply made a “mistake,” I would refute that argument..once maybe, ten times, twenty times is no coincidence.

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Tim Anderson explains “war porn”.

Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a photographer, writer, and peace activist,and a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog Will The Fall.

What has been reported on since 2007 is now confirmed by senior US military leadership. The US created and now plans to openly use Al Qaeda to overthrow the nation of Syria. 

The Daily Beast’s article, “Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS,” reveals the final piece to the “safe haven” or “buffer zone” puzzle, providing the world a complete picture of how the United States and its regional allies, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, and others, plan to finally overthrow the government in Damascus, and eliminate Syria as a functioning nation state through the use of listed terrorist organizations responsible for over a decade of devastating global war.

Image: September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people would die in attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and  a downed plane over Pennsylvania. The attack was attributed to Al Qaeda by the United States government tipping off over a decade of global war against “terrorism” that would leave entire nations destroyed and millions of lives ruined.  

The Daily Beast reports:

Members of al Qaeda’s branch in Syria have a surprising advocate in the corridors of American power: retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus. 

The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been quietly urging U.S. officials to consider using so-called moderate members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly, told The Daily Beast. 

In addition to Petraeus’ alleged plans, the Daily Beast reports former US Ambassador to Syria  Robert Ford also advocated supporting terrorists linked directly to Al Qaeda, including the Ahrar al Sham faction. However this “proposed” advocacy is an afterthought – a matter of public perception management – as terrorist organizations like Ahrar al Sham and the Al Nusra Front already are receiving significant US backing either directly or laundered through one of America’s many regional collaborators. Ahrar al Sham’s extensive video documentation online shows the group even employing US anti-tank TOW missiles.

Furthermore, US corporate-financier funded policy think tanks like the Brookings Institution have already enumerated precisely this plan. In a recent publication on Brookings’ “Order From Chaos” blog titled, “Should the United States negotiate with terrorists?,” it is stated:

Ultimately, negotiation and amnesty programs with extremist groups must enter the U.S. counterterrorism repertoire if reluctance to military deployment continues.

Brookings describes almost verbatim the proposal put forth by Petraeus and Ford, indicating this plan is more deeply rooted as a matter of policy than indicated by the Daily Beast.

This Was the Plan All Along 

Indeed, the Daily Beast’s shocking admission is not the entire truth. In reality, the United States had already conspired since as early as 2007 to use the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and other hard-line sectarian militant groups to violently overthrow Syria in a bid to wage proxy, then eventually, direct war on Iran.

Image: Terrorists fighting under the banners of Al Qaeda and Ahrar al Sham whom former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford seeks to arm and back in America’s bid to overthrow the sovereign government of Syria. .

 In Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” it is explicitly stated (emphasis added):

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

Additionally, Judicial Watch, a US-based foundation seeking “transparency” in government, released a 7 page document dated 2012, detailing the background and status of the Syrian conflict. It admits that the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda form the basis of the “opposition.” It then admits that (emphasis added):

Development of the current events into proxy war: with support from Russia, China, and Iran, the regime is controlling the areas of influence along coastal territories (Tartus and Latakia), and is fiercely defending Homs, which is considered the primary transportation route in Syria. On the other hand, opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to the western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighboring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey are supporting these efforts.  

It also admits that terrorists are entering Syria from Iraq, hardly what one could call a “civil war,” and clearly instead an invasion.

More importantly, the document also admits that (emphasis added):

The opposition forces will try to use the Iraqi territory as a safe haven for its forces taking advantage of the sympathy of the Iraqi border population, meanwhile trying to recruit fighters and train them on the Iraqi side, in addition to harboring refugees (Syria).         

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered t he strategic depth of the Shia Expansion (Iraq and Iran).

This reveals that not only did the US and its allies seek to use Al Qaeda as a proxy in fighting Syria and Iran, it also sought the creation of a “Salafist principality,” and specifically in eastern Syria – precisely where the “Islamic State” exists today.

With the Daily Beast’s article serving as the most recent affirmation of this documented conspiracy, there should be little doubt remaining that the creation and use of Al Qaeda and the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) was a premeditated strategy to overthrow the Syrian state with irregular asymmetrical warfare where direct Western military intervention could not succeed.

Giving ISIS an Air Force 

Readers of the Daily Beast might be tempted to believe that the US plans to either begin arming these extremists groups – ignorant of the fact that they have already been armed by the West and its allies for years – or will increase existing support. However both assumptions would be wrong. Every dollar, every weapon, and every foreign fighter on Earth the US and its collaborators could find and feed into the Syrian conflict has already been sourced and sent to Syria. It simply has not been enough.

Image; US Senator John McCain posing with Al Qaeda’s LIFG leader Hakimabdullah Belhaj, now head of ISIS’ Libya franchise. The US along with other NATO and Persian Gulf states, provided Belhaj’s terrorists air cover, weapons, cash, and special forces in their bid to overthrow the government of Libya in 2011.  

 

And like in Libya where NATO’s ground forces – essentially the US listed foreign terrorist group the “Libyan Islamic Fighting Group” (LIFG) – failed to take the country on their own with covert support alone, the only other option when proxy ground forces fail to produce results is to provide them with direct military support including air cover, special forces operations, naval support, and signal and intelligence assets.

In Libya, the use of NATO airpower tipped the balance in the conflict decidedly in favor of Al Qaeda’s LIFG faction, eventually overturning the government in Tripoli, and leaving the North African nation in the hands of these extremists ever since.

Libya would serve as a springboard for US-NATO aggression elsewhere throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including Syria itself.

Image: Northern Syria. Syrian forces and Kurdish militias have all but sealed off Syria’s border with NATO-member Turkey. What is left the US and Turkey have attempted to turn into a “safe haven” protected by Western military forces. In reality, this aims at keeping Al Qaeda and ISIS supply lines open and provides a springboard toward establishing “no-fly-zones” across wider swaths of Syrian territory. 

 

With the West’s ground proxies in Syria at the limit of their operational capacity and still unable to achieve the ultimate objective of overthrowing the Syrian government, it is apparent that the West is now preparing to intervene more directly. Already a so-called “safe haven” or “buffer zone” has been designated in northern Syria in the last remaining logistical corridor feeding ISIS and Al Qaeda forces fighting inside Syria.  While the West claims this zone will be used to provide sanctuary for refugees and “moderate” fighters, it is clear by the Daily Beast and Brookings report that no such “moderates” exist. Instead, the “safe havens” will be used as the final refuge of Al Qaeda/ISIS, protected by US, NATO, and Persian Gulf airpower and special forces.

From there, what would be essentially a no-fly-zone would be extended southward providing these terrorist forces protection as they operated more effectively and deeper into Syrian territory with the ultimate goal being a Libyan-style finale to the now  years long conflict.

In essence, the United States and their allies are preparing to provide Al Qaeda/ISIS an air force to tip the balance of the conflict in their favor.

ISIS Propaganda Aims to Endear World to Al Qaeda 
While Al Qaeda was initially conceived by the US and its Saudi allies in the 1980′s to fight the West’s proxy wars for them, first in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, the last decade of using this terrorist organization as a pretext for global military conflict instead of as a direct proxy has taken its toll on the public’s perception. To recast Al Qaeda as once again “freedom fighters,” ISIS appears to have intentionally waged a propaganda campaign designed to portray itself as the most extreme, barbaric terror organization to ever walk the Earth.

This included well-funded, professionally executed productions showing ever more creative yet horrifying atrocities committed against ISIS’ captives. This also included the systematic and tragic destruction of Syria’s historical sites, including Roman temples as well as the execution of respected historians charged with their study and care.

ISIS has gone out of its way to intentionally provoke the world against it, and in the process, help recast Al Qaeda as relative “moderates” in comparison. In tandem with ISIS’ obvious propaganda campaign, the Western media has attempted to help to. The above mentioned Brookings report would go as far as claiming:

At the strategic level, the United States remains staunchly in the macho mantra of “We’ll never negotiate with terrorists!” During the heyday of the Global War on Terrorism, ripe with venom after the fall of the twin towers on 9/11, this position seemed noble and just. But 14 years later, the al-Qaida that perpetrated the atrocities of September 11 hardly exists aside from Ayman al-Zawahiri and a few remaining disciples. The dwindling number of al-Qaida affiliates show fewer ties back to the original perpetrators of these attacks.

Nearly 3,000 were killed on September 11, 2001 on US soil. In the wars that would later be predicated on this attack and the “threat” of Al Qaeda, some 1 million Iraqis would die, tens of thousands of Afghans perished, as would over 4,000 US and other coalition soldiers in over a decade of global war. The creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and its increasingly pervasive/invasive security measures imposed upon the American public are likewise predicated on the threat of Al Qaeda.

Across America, the fruits of this global war is endemic paranoia, the broken bodies and minds of neglected war veterans, and a nation whose people and resources have been pillaged to fight what is apparently a non-existent threat so benign, the US is now prepared to build it up into a functioning, standing army and assist it in seizing one nation after another across the MENA region.

Over a decade of global atrocities committed against both nations abroad and against the American people themselves has finally come full circle. A conspiracy to create a regional front from the very enemies the US was at the time citing as justification for the “War on Terror” is now being implemented in full. It is a conspiracy that has transcended two presidential administrations – evidence that US foreign policy is driven not by the aspirations of the American people through their elected representatives, but by unelected special interests who pen policy papers that are simply spun around whichever political narrative is prevailing at any given time.

During the Bush administration, that narrative was the “War on Terror.” During the Obama administration that narrative was the “Humanitarian War.” In reality, it was a singular, continuous agenda that has seamlessly moved forward to where it stands at present, with the US media attempting to convince the American public and the world’s population in general on the eve of yet another 9/11 anniversary, that Al Qaeda are the “good guys” and now is the time to hand them the nation of Syria.

Global stock markets staged yet another selloff Tuesday following the release of negative economic data in the US and China and downbeat assessments of the global economy from officials at the Federal Reserve and International Monetary Fund.

At the time of this writing, Asian markets continued to fall Wednesday morning, with China’s Shanghai Composite Index down by 3.66 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 469 points, or 2.8 percent, on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 3 percent and the Nasdaq fell 2.9 percent. All three indexes are now down by more than 10 percent from their recent highs, placing them in correction territory.

The selloff in the US followed a 3.8 percent drop on the Japanese Nikkei and a 3 percent fall on Britain’s FTSE 100, with almost every major global stock index closing down for the day. The Shanghai index fell by over 5 percent before closing with a loss of 1.3 percent.

The renewed turbulence on financial markets follows last week’s dramatic global selloff, in which the Dow opened August 24 with a loss of nearly 1,100 points, its largest intraday fall in history, and closed down by 588 points.

Tuesday’s selloff was initially triggered by weak data from China, showing the country’s manufacturing activity hitting its lowest level since August 2012. China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 49.7 last month, indicating the first contraction in manufacturing since February.

As one trader quoted by the Financial Times put it, “People are losing confidence, with the whole situation [in China] breaking down, not just in the stock market but in [real economic] data as well.”

The same day, an index of factory activity in the US for August fell to a two-year low of 51.1, down from 52.7 in July, a decline that analysts attributed to the slump in global demand and the appreciation of the dollar.

The negative data corresponded with a downbeat assessment of the global economy by the International Monetary Fund and Federal Reserve. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Tuesday that global growth is expected to be weaker than the IMF had predicted, reflecting “a weaker-than-expected recovery in advanced economies and a further slowdown in emerging economies, especially Latin America.”

Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Federal Reserve, said in a speech in New York later in the day that the collapse in commodity prices and the slowdown in the global economy “might suggest a downward revision in the forecast” for economic growth in the United States.

Also Tuesday, the South Korean trade ministry said the country’s exports fell by 14.7 percent compared with a year ago, the eighth consecutive monthly decline. The figure showed the worst annual fall in exports for South Korea, the biggest exporter to China, since 2009.

This report added weight to the observation by the Financial Times over the weekend that recent data showed “world goods trade contracting at its fastest rate since the global financial crisis.”

Over the weekend the newspaper concluded, based on its own research, that “weakness in emerging market currencies is hurting global trade by reducing imports without any benefit to export volumes.” It quoted former Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian as declaring, “We risk slipping into a beggar thy neighbour, competitive spiral of currency devaluations.”

The article noted,

“Since June 2014, the currencies of Russia, Colombia, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico and Chile have fallen by between 20 per cent and 50 per cent against the dollar, while the Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah are at their weakest since the Asian financial crisis of 1998.”

The global turbulence is leading to a substantial selloff of assets by mutual funds, particularly those with exposure to emerging markets. CNBC noted that “if current trends hold, July and August will mark the first consecutive monthly net outflow from both bond and equity funds since late 2008.”

A major factor in the financial turbulence is the dramatic economic reversal in emerging market economies, whose export-led booms are collapsing amid slowing global demand, the slump in commoditiy prices and a reversal of massive capital inflows that predominated in previous years. As a result, the prices of both sovereign and corporate bonds are falling, threatening the solvency of financial institutions that speculated in these assets.

Commodity prices also slumped dramatically, with oil prices dropping by 7 percent following a three-day rally. The Financial Times cited hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand as declaring that oil prices were likely to continue falling, possibly sinking as low as $30 per barrel.

The rout on global markets took place despite renewed indications from central banks that they would respond to the weakening economic situation with a further easing of monetary policy. Boston Fed President Rosengren, in the speech noted above, suggested that the weakening of economic data “is large enough to raise concerns about whether further tightening of labour markets is likely.”

This points to the fact that the continuing flood of money from the Fed, European Central Bank, Bank of England and Bank of Japan into the financial markets does little to halt or reverse the stagnation in the real economy. While propping up the asset values of the financial elite, this policy has only exacerbated the financial parasitism that underlies the slump dominating the world economy.

The world’s governments and central banks responded to the 2008 financial crisis by blowing a massive financial bubble and transferring trillions of dollars in social wealth from the working class to the financial aristocracy. Seven years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the global capitalist crisis is once again erupting with full force.

US Imperialism and the New Race to the Arctic

September 2nd, 2015 by Clara Weiss

The Arctic has in recent weeks become a focal point of geopolitical tensions between Russia and the United States. Given the present rate of global warming, scientists anticipate that the region will be ice-free by the summer of 2030. It is believed to contain a large portion of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. It is also an important maritime route, one that is increasingly accessible due to the thawing of its ice cover.

The Arctic is one of the most resource-rich regions of the world. According to a study commissioned by the US government, some 30 percent of unexplored natural gas reserves and 13 percent of undiscovered oil and gas condensate are located there. Only Russia has a greater supply of raw materials.

The Northeast Passage, which extends beyond the Arctic, is regarded as an alternate sea route from Europe to Asia to the southern route, which runs via the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and on to India. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, traffic using the Northeast Passage collapsed, but in recent years it has significantly increased again with the progressive melting of the region’s ice.

What is a disaster from an environmental standpoint could allow for the exploitation of raw material reserves and the region’s increased use as a maritime route. Conditions for the extraction of raw materials, however, will be extremely difficult.

According to one estimate, the cost of oil production in the part of the Arctic apportioned to Alaska would be between 50 and 100 percent higher than in Texas.

Environmentalists and scientists criticize attempts to extract Arctic oil and gas. In January, in a letter to the scientific journal Nature, Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins warned that the extraction of oil and gas in the Arctic was “incompatible” with attempts to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Nevertheless, the bordering states––Russia, Norway, Canada, the US and Denmark (which owns Greenland)––are aggressively penetrating the Arctic and establishing military presences there.

The US, in particular, is increasingly vehement in its efforts to secure its claims in the region. Earlier this week, Barack Obama became the first sitting American president to make an official visit to the Arctic. After a long debate, the Obama administration this year issued permits for the energy group Royal Dutch Shell to undertake oil production in parts of the Arctic apportioned to the United States.

In the course of his visit, Obama announced the deployment of more icebreakers and marine vessels to the region, ostensibly to ensure “safety at sea” and to document the effects of climate change.

For weeks, the US military, assorted think tanks and numerous media outlets have been agitating for the US to act more aggressively in the Arctic.

In mid-August, the Harvard International Review called the “opening of a new sea route in the Arctic” the most significant change on the planet “since the last Ice Age.” The publication urged the US government to raise territorial claims in the Arctic and increase its military presence. It argued that energy extraction in the region was worthwhile financially because the global demand for energy resources would rise and the existing supply decline. It also noted that production sites in the Arctic would be closer to Asian markets than the gas and oil extracted in the Gulf region.

The front page lead item in Sunday’s New York Times was a long article lamenting the lack of US involvement in the Arctic and warning that Russia and China might benefit as a result of American inaction. Both China and Singapore have in recent years invested heavily in energy projects in the region. The Times spoke of a renewed Cold War with Russia in connection with a “new race to the Arctic.”

It cited a certain Admiral Zukunft, who said at a conference in Washington this year: “The United States is actually not even in this game there … When Russia sent the Sputnik into space, we sat there with our hands in our pockets, marveled, and said, ‘Good for Mother Russia.’”

In May-June, NATO held one of its largest military exercises of the year in the Arctic. It lasted for 14 days and was clearly directed against Russia. (See:NATO begins anti-Russian air drill in Arctic). More than 4,000 soldiers and over 100 planes participated in the “Arctic Challenge” exercise. In response, the Kremlin mobilized its forces in the region for unannounced military exercises.

In July, Moscow published a revised military doctrine for the navy. The most important change was a higher weighting of the Arctic in Russia’s naval strategy.

In August, Russia held military exercises on the Arctic’s Taimyr Peninsula, in the far north of Siberia. More than 1,000 soldiers and 50 special vehicles participated in the manoeuvres. A representative of the navy insisted that the exercises had a purely defensive character.

In an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, the Russian military expert Viktor Litovkin explained Russia’s increased focus on the Arctic as follows:

“The shortest route for ICBMs is via the North Pole. Russia is concentrating its naval forces here in order to take out American sea-based anti-missile systems in case of conflict. Also to protect natural resources on its northern coast, and the sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, which is opened up by the warming of the seas.”

In early August, the Russian government submitted a petition to the United Nations that Russia be granted sovereign rights over an area of 1.2 million square kilometres around the North Pole. A similar petition had already been rejected by a UN commission in 2002. In February or March 2016, the UN will begin the examination of the current application.

Russia hopes to gain control over the energy resources of the region. The Russian economy has been highly dependent on income from the sale of energy on the world market since the restoration of capitalism in 1991. Nearly 50 percent of revenues in the Russian state budget are derived from energy exports. But the easily extracted oil and gas reserves in Russia are being depleted. According to the Kremlin, the parts of the Arctic to which Russia has made territorial claims would provide access to approximately 4.9 billion tons of fossil fuels.

But it is widely questioned whether Russia, whose energy businesses utilize poorly developed technology, can extract the reserves in the Arctic. The sea in the region is 500 to 2,000 metres deep. At such depths, Russian companies cannot even undertake test drilling.

In addition, US and European Union sanctions mean that Russian corporations are largely cut off from foreign companies and their technology. Recently, the American energy giant ExxonMobil had to withdraw from a joint venture with the Russian state company Rosneft to develop oil production in the Russian Arctic.

Even companies such as Shell and ENI are having technical problems with exploratory drilling in the Arctic and are not yet able to go deeper than 60 meters.

An important calculation on the part of Russia, as well as its rivals, is not only increasing its own energy holdings, but also depriving others from exploiting the Arctic’s reserves. The extraction of shale oil and natural gas in the US has already changed the structure of the world energy market to Russia’s detriment.

According to the Berliner Zeitung, the Kremlin wants to expand the Russian fleet in the Arctic. The Russian navy has been a presence in the region since Soviet times, but Moscow wants to deploy it commercially to accompany foreign freighters in the Northeast Passage.

Besides these economic and geo-strategic considerations, Russia is preparing for a possible military conflict with the US. NATO has advanced further into Eastern Europe since the Ukraine crisis and it is provoking Russia once again with its latest military exercises in the Arctic.

While the American media agitates against Russian military exercises in order to justify Washington’s own military buildup, most of the Russian Navy vessels are in a miserable condition. The Berliner Zeitung writes that most military experts believe a large part of the Russian navy operating on the oceans of the world, is “ripe for the scrap heap.” Taken together, the rival countries bordering the Arctic, all of which belong to NATO, possess a much more powerful and technically superior military presence in the region.

Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse

September 2nd, 2015 by Mike Whitney

Had the economy been fundamentally sound in 1929 the effect of the great stock market crash might have been small…. But business in 1929 was not sound; on the contrary it was exceedingly fragile. It was vulnerable to the kind of blow it received from Wall Street.  Those who have emphasized this vulnerability are obviously on strong ground. Yet when a greenhouse succumbs to a hailstorm something more than a purely passive role is normally attributed to the storm. One must accord similar significance to the typhoon which blew out of lower Manhattan in October 1929. Extracts from The Great Crash: 1929, John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1955, Chapter 10: “Cause and Consequence”, Page 204.

The virus that spread to stock markets around the world and nearly destroyed the global financial system in 2008 has reemerged with a vengeance sending global equities deep into the red and wiping out more than $5 trillion in market capitalization in less than two weeks. On Tuesday, before the opening bell, major market index futures in the US plunged more than 400 points signaling another violent day of selling ahead.   Worries that a slowdown in China will impact global growth pushed Asian and European markets deep into negative territory while US futures indicate that the Dow Jones is headed for its ninth triple-digit day in ten sessions. The deluge of bad news has battered confidence in the Fed and “sent global equities to their worst monthly slump in more than three years”.  Millions of Mom and Pop investors have sold out already and are headed for the exits. Here’s a recap from Bloomberg:

Mom and pop are running for the hills. Since July, American households — which account for almost all mutual fund investors — have pulled money both from mutual funds that invest in stocks and those that invest in bonds. It’s the first time since 2008 that both asset classes have recorded back-to-back monthly withdrawals, according to a report by Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse estimates $6.5 billion left equity funds in July as $8.4 billion was pulled from bond funds, citing weekly data from the Investment Company Institute as of Aug. 19. Those outflows were followed up in the first three weeks of August, when investors withdrew $1.6 billion from stocks and $8.1 billion from bonds, said economist Dana Saporta.

Anytime you see something that hasn’t happened since the last quarter of 2008, it’s worth noting,” Saporta said in a phone interview. ….Withdrawals from equity funds are usually accompanied by an influx of money to bonds, and an exit from both at the same time suggests investors aren’t willing to take on risk in any form.  (“Fed Up Investors Yank Cash From Almost Everything Just Like 2008“, Bloomberg)

While the slowdown in China may be the spark for recent volatility, it certainly isn’t the cause.  There’s a growing consensus that the real problem originated in 2008 when the Fed refused to write-down the debts from the insolvent banking system thus creating the conditions for another calamitous financial crisis sometime in the future. And while the Fed’s zero rates and titanic doses of liquidity might have helped to ease the symptoms by flooding the system with cash, the underlying issues remain the same. Thus, as the medication has worn off, the virus has reappeared stronger than ever revealing the ineffectiveness of the Fed’s remedies and the urgent need for alternate therapies.

Stocks are massively overpriced due to the setting of interest rates below the rate of inflation which creates a subsidy for speculators. The policy has had the precise effect that the Fed intended, it has generated a humongous asset bubble in stocks and bonds transferring trillions of dollars to Wall Street banks and financial institutions. According to Yale economist Robert Shiller, the only time stocks have been this “high or higher were in 1929, 2000, and 2007—all moments before market crashes.”

Robert Shiller: “…Bonds, and increasingly real estate also look overvalued. This is different from other over-valuation periods such as 1929, when the stock market was very overvalued, but the bond and housing markets for the most part, weren’t. It’s an interesting phenomenon.”

At the same time bankers and hedge fund managers have been raking in record profits on financially-engineered products that neither add to overall productivity or improve the broader economy, ordinary working people have seen their wages stagnate, incomes plunge and their prospects for a comfortable retirement vanish along with their ever-dwindling 401-K. According to investment guru John Hussman:

U.S. wages and salaries have plunged to the lowest share of GDP in history, while the civilian labor force participation rate has dropped to levels not seen since the 1970s. Yet consumption as a share of GDP is near a record high.

The problem is that the Fed must prevent the real economy from growing, otherwise, workers wages will improve, prices will rebound, inflation will rise, and the Fed will be forced to raise rates. And, of course, higher rates are what Wall Street fears most, in fact, the six year bull market was built entirely on cheap, plentiful liquidity that has inflated historic bubbles in financial assets across-the-board.  Even the slightest uptick in rates will bring the whole fake edifice crashing to earth, which is why any talk of “normalization” sends stocks into a nosedive.

This is why policymakers will continue to slash budget deficits and implement other austerity measures to cut off the vital flow of fiscal support to the real economy. A thriving economy with low unemployment, rising incomes and wages, and positive inflation is the death knell for zero rate shenanigans, like stock buybacks, where a company repurchases its own shares to push prices higher to boost executive compensation and reward shareholders. Buybacks are type of stock manipulation that used to be banned but are presently, all the rage. Interestingly, Barron’s attributes the recent turnaround in the market to a surge in buybacks that staunched the bloodletting on Wall Street. Take a look:

Like the Wizard of Oz, who was revealed as nothing more than a man behind a curtain working some cool special effects, stock buybacks might not be the great and powerful market force they were thought to be.

What do I mean? Two weeks ago, the Standard & Poor’s 500 began to sell off as concerns about China, commodities, and emerging markets made headlines. But just as the popular benchmark looked like it was entering free fall, it suddenly reversed. Who was the mysterious savior rescuing the markets? Articles published soon after the remarkable rebound were quick to point out that trading desks at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley had seen the most corporate buying on record, suggesting it was share buybacks that kept the market afloat. (“Pushback on Buybacks,” Barron’s)

So, a surge in buybacks actually turned the markets around and stopped a selloff?

Indeed. This is how buybacks distort pricing, by countering normal supply-demand dynamics with infusions of capital that would normally be directed towards improving productivity. Weak regulations and cheap cash have changed the incentives structure so that easiest way to enrich stakeholders is by piling on more debt, raking off hefty profits, and leaving the wreckage for someone else to clean up. This is nihilistic rationale that drives buybacks. Keep in mind, the Fed’s low rates were sold to the public as a way to stimulate investment in the real economy. As it happens, hiring for full-time jobs is still at depression era levels while business investment (Capex) has collapsed. The bulk of earnings are being devoted almost-exclusively to goosing stock prices to reward insatiable CEOs and their do-nothing shareholders. Check it out:

The allocation of corporate profits to stock buybacks deserves much of the blame. Consider the 449 companies in the S&P 500 index that were publicly listed from 2003 through 2012. During that period those companies used 54% of their earnings—a total of $2.4 trillion—to buy back their own stock, almost all through purchases on the open market. Dividends absorbed an additional 37% of their earnings. That left very little for investments in productive capabilities or higher incomes for employees…

Why are such massive resources being devoted to stock repurchases? Corporate executives give several reasons, which I will discuss later. But none of them has close to the explanatory power of this simple truth: Stock-based instruments make up the majority of their pay, and in the short term buybacks drive up stock prices. In 2012 the 500 highest-paid executives named in proxy statements of U.S. public companies received, on average, $30.3 million each; 42% of their compensation came from stock options and 41% from stock awards. By increasing the demand for a company’s shares, open-market buybacks automatically lift its stock price, even if only temporarily, and can enable the company to hit quarterly earnings per share (EPS) targets…

If the U.S. is to achieve growth that distributes income equitably and provides stable employment, government and business leaders must take steps to bring both stock buybacks and executive pay under control. The nation’s economic health depends on it….” (“Profits without Prosperity“, William Lazonick, Harvard Business Review)

There’s no chance the Fed will raise rates in the current environment. Corporate earnings and revenues have been shrinking since the forth quarter of 2014 which will make it harder for CEOs to justify adding to their debtload to repurchase more shares. As the appetite for buybacks wanes, stocks are bound to dip even lower putting more pressure on bank balance sheets and forcing corporations to divert more cash to debt servicing. The Fed’s threat to raise rates is merely a bluff to attract foreign capital to US markets and to prevent the dollar from falling off a cliff.

While it’s always possible that the markets could stabilize or stocks could rebound sharply, it’s more likely that we have reached a tipping point where the excesses are about to be wrung from the system through an excruciating downturn followed by an inevitable currency crisis. We expect the six year-long fake recovery to end much like it did in 1929, where one demoralizing selloff followed the other, and where the crashing of stock prices fueled the publics distrust of the central bank, the government and all of the nations main institutions. Here’s a brief summary from Galbraith’s masterpiece:

The singular feature of the great crash of 1929 was that the worst continued to worsen. What looked one day like the end proved on the next day to have been only the beginning. Nothing could have been more ingeniously designed to maximize the suffering, and also to ensure that as few as possible escaped the common misfortune. The fortunate speculator who had funds to answer the first margin call presently got another and equally urgent one, and if he met that there would still be another. In the end all the money he had was extracted from him and lost. The man with the smart money, who was safely out of the market when the first crash came, naturally went back in to pick up bargains.  The bargains then suffered a ruiness fall. Even the man who waited out all of October and all of November, who saw the volumne of trading return to normal and saw Wall Street become as placid as a produce market, and who then bought common stocks would see their value drop to a third or a fourth of the purchase price in the next twenty-four months. The Coolidge bull market was a remarkable phenonmemon. The ruthlessness of its liquidation was, in its own way, equally remarkable.” ( Extracts from “The Great Crash: 1929″, John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1955, Page 130 Things Become More Serious)

As of this writing, the Dow is down 317, the S&P 500, down 37, the Nasdaq, down 71.

Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece

September 2nd, 2015 by Michael Hudson

This Autumn may see anti-austerity coalitions gain power in Portugal, Spain and Italy, while Marine le Pen’s National Front in France presses for outright withdrawal from the eurozone. These countries face a common problem: how to resist the economic devastation that the European Central Bank (ECB), European Council and IMF “troika” has inflicted on Greece and is now intending to do the same to southern Europe.

To resist the depression and debt deflation that the troika seeks to deepen, one needs to bear in mind the dynamics that make the IMF un-reformable. Its destructive role in Greece provides an object lesson for how southern Europe must shun its horde of ideologues, as Third World countries learned to avoid it by May 2013, the year that Turkey capped the world’s extrication from IMF “advice.” Already in 2008, Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced: “We cannot darken our future by bowing to the wishes of the IMF.”[1]Greek voters have now said the same thing.

To soften resistance to the IMF’s austerity demands, a public relations drive is being mounted to rehabilitate the myth that the Fund can act as an honest broker mediating between anti-labor finance ministers and the PIIGS – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. On Friday, August 28, three Reuters reporters published a long “think piece” trying to show that the IMF is changing and that its head, Christine Lagarde, has seen the light and seeks to promote real debt relief.[2]

The timing of this report seems significant. The IMF got “back in business” in 2010 when its head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, overrode its staff and many Board members in order to join the troika and shift the country’s bad debt from French and German bankers onto the Greek people. That is the story I tell in Killing the Host, whichCounterPunch published in an e-version last week. (The hard-printand Kindle versions are now available on Amazon.)

President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner insisted that Angela Merkel and French President Sarkozy pressure the IMF to go against the opposition of its own staff and 2KillingTheHost_Cover_rulejoin the European Central Bank’s hardline demands that Greece impose austerity. Geithner and Obama warned that if Greek bondholders were not paid in full, some giant U.S. banks would lose heavily on the default insurance contracts and derivatives they had written, and their losses could spread “contagion” to Europe.

It was at this 2011 G8 meeting that Merkel told Greek PM George Papandreou that he had to cancel his proposed referendum on whether Greece should surrender to austerity to help foreign bondholders. As the late Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung editor Frank Schirrmacher observed at the time, this meant that “Democracy is Junk.”

Papandreou’s acquiescence led his PASOK party to be swept utterly away, having lost all credibility – the same credibility that the IMF has lost. Papandreou was replaced by a pro-bank puppet. Italy’s Prime Minister suffered the same fate later that week, in a continent-wide crisis turning the eurozone into an economic dead zone.

It took until last July, four years later, for Greek voters finally to be given their say in a referendum. And just as Merkel, Sarkozy and Obama feared, they voted by an overwhelming 61 percent (a 3:2 margin) to reject austerity.

The Reuters piece quotes the same complaints by IMF insiders that my book records – as if this is a revelation that has just came out in their “examination of previously unreported IMF board minutes.” Actually, the information has been out for a year. So the question is, why is this information being reported as if it were new?

The aim seems to be to distract attention from the political dynamics that actually were going on and the conflicts of interest that were at work – and still are. In addition to my own book published last week, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has gone public with his own sad experience with Lagarde and the European Central Bank (ECB) demanding further austerity and mass privatizations.[3] “If you were a fly on the wall watching our negotiations,” he reports, “you would see as well as I saw that Ms Lagarde, Mr Draghi, Mr Juncker, certainly Dr Schäuble, were interested in one thing: In dictating to us ‘terms of surrender’. Terms that put an end to the Athens Spring.”

By comparison, the Reuters whitewash distorts history, dumbing it down and censoring the U.S. role of Obama and Geithner, while trying to depict Christine Lagarde as urging an alleviation of Greek debt and austerity.

The world needs to know the whole story, because it will show the degree to which the IMF is under the thumb of Wall Street and European banks, and of U.S. political leaders backing hardline creditor interests. This in turn shows the impossibility of reforming the IMF (or World Bank, whose presidents traditionally are drawn from the U.S. Defense Department or its Cold War supporters).

Killing the Host discloses complaints leaked by angry IMF officials who became whistleblowers and published their complaints at Canada’s prestigious Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). These same quotes were just cited breathlessly by Reuters. What the wire service did not report was the point that the IMF’s former economists made.

Lagarde continues to insist that Greek debts can be paid by “extend and pretend,” lowering the interest rate and stretching out the maturities. This is her definition of “writing down Greek debts.” Most peoples’ definition would mean writing down the debt principal. Reading Reuters’ selective quotes, it is almost as if the seemingly detailed report was written to counter the political points Varoufakis, I and others have been making.

What Reuters excluded from its report that provides the key to unlock what is most politically embarrassing: The behavior of Obama and Geithner in protecting Wall Street’s casino bets that Greece could be arm-twisted to pay. Dominique Strauss-Kahn had two conflicts of interest: He wanted to run for the presidency of France, gaining favor by protecting French banks; and he wanted to get the IMF back into the austerity advice business, by joining the Eurozone troika. When Christine Lagarde started to repeat his refusal to back the recent IMF staff report endorsing write-down of Greek debt, the staff leaked it this spring, much to her embarrassment when the IMF signed onto a troika program with no real debt relief.[4]

The Reuters report throws up a cloud of disinformation saying that she backs debt relief, as if this means backing a writedown of unpayably high Greek debt. Quite the contrary, Lagarde has said again and again that her idea of debt relief is simply to extend and pretend – to stretch out the maturity of Greece’s debt, to lower the interest rate charged.

The real story is not simply the warnings that Reuters published so breathlessly from IMF staff members and board members that Greece could not pay its debts and that attempting to do so would bring on depression. The real story is why Strauss-Kahn overrode them in 2010. The IMF officials who resigned blamed his action on his political ambitions in French politics and his opportunism in trying to finally get the IMF “back in business” rather than being left out by the ECB for not being sufficiently pro-creditor. To override the fact that the IMF was violating its own directives, the Fund introduced a “contagion” escape clause that nullified the demand that it not endorse loans that could not be paid. (I describe the small print inKilling the Host.)

Lagarde is still adhering to the demand that Greece must repay all the debt principal, including what IMF staff members urged to be written off four years ago. Like Strauss-Kahn, she was about to override her own staff when they leaked their report on Greece’s inability to pay. An indication of her position was her statement at a May 2012 IMF meeting in Riga, where they came to celebrate Latvia’s punishing austerity model that could be exported to “serve as an inspiration for European leaders grappling with the economic crisis.”

The fact that the IMF’s head has to be a French pro-bank, pro-austerity ideologue, taking orders from Washington officials wield veto power on behalf of Wall Street bankers and bondholders, makes the IMF hopelessly compromised. The icing on the cake is its recent loan to Ukraine, money that Ukrainian President Poroshenko has said will be spent to wage war on Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine where most of the export industry was located.

By no stretch of the imagination can Ukraine pay this debt. It already has negotiated a 20 percent writedown of its debt to private bondholders, and both Poroshenko and “Yats” insist that they will default on their $3 billion debt to Russia’s sovereign wealth fund falling due this December. That alone will require the IMF to withdraw, because the terms of its Articles of Agreement prevent it from lending to countries that unilaterally default on debts owed to official institutions. (The original idea had in mind the United States, not Russia or China.)

Yet the IMF has not warned that Ukraine must either pay or see itself turned into a financial pariah Greek-style. The Fund has been pulled into the New Cold War in addition to the financial war against labor and against government ability to resist austerity.

Past Reuters reports (and those of the New York Times and other neoliberal press) have popularized the trivializing idea that the reason China, Russia and other BRICS countries have created their own alternative development banks and international currency institutions is merely because they don’t have a large enough vote within the IMF. (Congress has blocked new U.S. contributions to the IMF, preventing a renegotiation of quotas.)

This is not what the BRICS countries say. Their disagreement is that the development philosophy of the IMF and World Bank is to promote austerity to pay bondholders and sell off the public domain to U.S. and other foreign financial investors. No matter how large the foreign quota, the U.S. Government retains veto power to enforce these U.S.-centered rules. The BRICS want a different development philosophy, an alternative to austerity economics and IMF “stabilization plans” whose effect is to destabilize countries submitting to their austerity.

The tragic Greek experience should stand as a warning of the need to withdraw from the rules that have turned the eurozone into an economic dead zone, and the IMF and Troika into brutal debt collectors for European, U.S. and British banks and bondholders. This is not a story that the mainstream press is happy to popularize. And as for the academic economists trotted out as talking heads, they still don’t get it.

Michael Hudson’s new book, Killing the Host is published in e-format by CounterPunch Books and in print by Islet. He can be reached via his website, [email protected]

Notes.

[1] Delphine Strauss, “Turkish politicians argue over need for IMF help as crunch bites,” Financial Times, October 28, 2008.

[2] Lesley WroughtonHoward Schneider and Dina Kyriakidou, “How the IMF’s misadventure in Greece is changing the fund,” Reuters, Aug. 28, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/imf-greece/

[3] Introduction: Our Athens Spring,https://varoufakis.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/frangy-2-23-aug-2015.pdf

[4] Jack Ewing, “I.M.F. Report Shines Uncomfortable Light on Greece’s Financing Gap,” The New York Times, July 15, 2015, and Peter Spiegel and Shawn Donnan, “IMF raises doubts over its bailout role,” Financial Times, July 15, 2015.

“In five months [of war], Yemen has been reduced to the state of Syria after 5 years”,Peter Maurer, the Director of the International Red Cross, on August 19th, 2015.

These difficult images, which put faces and names to the countless civilian victims, can help to give an idea of the magnitude of the unspeakable massacres perpetrated daily by the forces of the Saudi-US coalition against Yemen’s population, with a barbarity unexampled in recent history that overshadows even the Zionist crimes in Gaza, and of the incredible spirit of resistance of the Yemeni people despite being abandoned by the international community.

Terrorist UK and stateless Hollandian France are proud to actively participate, via their ethereal and pacifist weapons, in this “heroic butchery”.

News bulletins from the Yemeni channel Al-Masira, August 26th, 2015 (English subtitles).

Translated from French by Jenny Bright

Bulletin #1:

Transcription:

[Civilian]- All these houses were civilian homes, and they were destroyed on their heads! What had they done?

[Journalist] heinous crime, at the height of cruelty, is added to the previous, with Saudi-American bombings in the first light of dawn, the ruthless bombing of civilian homes in the city of ‘Amid à Sanhan, a suburb of Sanaa.

They killed the citizen Abdullah Khalifa and his daughter Du’a who was in 9thgrade and their neighbour, the infant Mawada Zahedwho was not even one year old. All were killed by the roof collapsing on the house they rented.

And after the bodies were evacuated, there was nothing left of the house, which had been razed to the ground, except for some toys of the child Shahina, and the desperation of the wife for whom the attack has destroyed her entire existence.

[Mother of the victims]- They come to kill children, demolish houses, kill women, they commit a great sin.

[Journalist]- Who was killed in your family?

- My husband and my daughter Du’a. You will remember, you met them on Saturday (22nd August).

- And today?

And today, God have mercy, they found martyrdom because of the air strikes. O my God, all my family have been taken by these strikes. And I am now alone in the world, with no one but God in heaven, no father, no mother, no husband, no children, no resources, with God alone.

[Father of the victims]- We are poor people, and we were in this house that we rent, me, my wife and my children, all four.

[Civilian]Where are the childrens rights? Where are the human rights? Where is the law, where are the benefits (that the Saoud claim to bring us? You kill even infants? What wrong has this baby committed?

[Father of victims] – (They killed) my child and my daughter of 19 (years), you know. Why the carnage? Where are the (military) targets? What is their sin?

[Journalist]The damage from the deadly bombing was not limited to the house which was completely destroyed on the heads of its inhabitants, but extended to all the surrounding houses and cars. As for the rescued families who buried their victims, they have vowed to honour and avenge the bloodshed, and that the crimes committed by theSaud and the United States will not go unpunished.

[Civilian]On this side, they razed two houses. And on the other side, all the houses were hit and severely damaged.And these criminal strikes by the Saud cowards are vile and despicable.

[Civil] - will never give in or forget and we will have our revenge].

[Civilian]- Woe to you dirty dog of Salman [ben Abdelaziz al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia]!

[Old woman]- We will never submit, never, never! All will carry weapons to face this aggression, even women and children.

[Civilian]- We will return two kilos for every kilo (of bombs and destruction inflicted), and two tons for each ton.

[Civilian]- God willing.

[Civilian]- We are a brave and powerful people.

[Civilian]- I swear by God, if you do not leave Yemen in peace, we will bury you all O Saoud! If they do not cease, the Yemenis will bury them all and Yemen will be their graveyard.

[Civilian] - will never give in or forget and we will have our revenge].

[Civilian]God is The Greatest! Death to America! Death to Israel! Death to Saud!

[Journalist]Against the most courageous people on the face of earth, are being committed the most heinous crimes of our time, but they will not go unpunished: all the blood that was wrongfully spilled confirms the inevitable need to cut off the head of the serpent [the Saud dynasty] in the heart of its lair, to preserve from its poison the Yemenis, and all peoples of the world. Near the destroyed house in the city of ‘Amidà Sanhan to the outskirts of Sana’a, Munataf al-Mawjani for Al-Maseera TV channel.

Bulletin #2:

Transcription:

[Journalist]They were sleeping peacefully in their homes, feeling safe. They were inhabitants of theBerkal region in the prefectorat of Razih, border to the Sa’ada governorate, and they were targeted by the Saudi-US aggression yesterday, at night, by several air strikes that resulted in one martyr and 6 wounded including a woman and elderly persons in the three affected families in the region.

[Civilian]- There were three strikes last night on the Berkal region, three strikes perpetrated by the Saudi criminal regime, the enemy of God, the agent of the United States and Israel.

[Civilian]- The Yemeni people as a whole is targeted by the United States and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. And why? Are we not their neighbours, so having rights over them (Islamically)? We are their neighbours, their neighbours, are we not? They bomb after dinner, they bomb in the morning, they bomb at lunch, they bomb at any time! While people are in their houses, in their homes, safe. We can only rely on God.

[Journalist]Every day, the Saudi-US aggression perpetrates further crimes against civilians, such as strikes against the Bani Sayyah region located between the regions of Bani Alqam and Al Nadhir, up to the Berkal region, all these crimes have been committed during the last three days.

[Civilian]They are bombing the houses, destroying mosques, driving people from their houses and their homes. These are the acts ofSalman[the Saudi King] (defiling the Quran). Yesterday they targeted the mosque, and today they demolish the houses on their inhabitants, and they create victims and homeless refugees. These are the actions of the US and Israel that terrorize the population and ordinary residents.

[Civilian]We declare to the horn of the devil [Saudi Arabia]: whatever the extent of your strikes, your destruction and your bombing, all this will not make us bend, or submit, and we will never give in or ask for mercy, and we will prostrate ourselves only before God! TheSaud will discover who the Yemeni people are, you’ve already met us, and you will get to know us better you band of cowards!

[Journalist]These criminal acts are perpetrated by the Saudi-US regime against civilians, they hope to thus achieve victory if only in the media, in order to mask the humiliating defeats inflicted upon them during the last 5 months. Yeha Chehari for Al-Maseera TV channel.

Bulletin #3, July 25th, 2015:

Transcription:

[Journalist] In the shadow of an international silence that has ignored all principles and trampled over all statistics, the forces of crime and evil perpetrated a new crime in the city of Bakha, where last night, this force destroyed a residential building on its inhabitants, at 10 o’clock precisely when the conditions of this very hot region drive people to rest indoors.

[Civilian] - They bombarded us relentlessly, (though there are) no military targets here, no army, no nothing, not even the shadow of a weapon. How can I say… It is impossible to understand such barbarity. I swear by God, it is impossible. Right there, there are more than 20 victims, I had to collect the bodies myself in the rubble, with my own hands. I found more than 20 bodies in the rubble, with my own hands. What was their sin? While there is no military base nearby, no weapons, no soldiers. What can I say? They are (worse than) the Jews of Bani Nadhir (Medina tribe who conspired against the Prophet).

[Civilian] - Around 10 am, I went out and I heard the sound of a shot, [unclear remarks]. I went back to cover, and I witnessed 3 or 4 strikes.

[Journalist] – Successive (strikes)

[Civil] - Yes, successive, spaced by 5 or 10 minutes.

[Journalist] - What kind of strikes?

[Civilian] - Gunfire missiles, airstrikes.

[Journalist] Bodies reduced to a pulp and shredded members, some being charred so that it is impossible to identify them, while no trace of others can be found. The case of this child who has lost both his eyes as he pressed close to his mother reveals the tragic nature of the situation, which twists the heart and brings tears to the eyes of anyone witnessing these scenes.

[Civilian] - Hundreds of civilians. Look, nothing but civilians. Look at what (these criminals) are doing! They kill women, children, the elderly, youths… What crime had they committed? (They are all) innocents. There are no Houthis, no military bases, no weapons. God damn Salman [the Saudi King] and all the Saud dynasty.

[Journalist] The power plant which supplied the residential area was hit and reduced to pieces, and all which remains are traces of the crime that demonstrates the ruthlessness of the attack, indiscriminate and unjustifiable in its targeting of civilians. This has caused the deaths of entire families.

[Civilian] - A family of refugees from Taiz lived here, and they and the host family were all killed.

[Journalist] More than 55 martyrs and dozens of wounded: the result of the Saudi-US attacks against the residential town of Bakha, and the number of victims continues to rise due to the critical situation of the seriously injured, not to mention those still buried under the rubble whose fate we still do not know. The families of the victims are entrusted to the care of benevolent people and existing authorities, responsible for a large number of dead and wounded, who also must search for all those still under the rubble.

[Civilian] - Eight missiles… See all the victims caused by this criminal State.

It is an astonishing fact that, despite near universal recognition now that the war in Iraq was a disaster, no major British social institution is headed by a single one of the majority of the population wo were opposed to the war.

Every Cabinet Minister actively supported the war. Of the fifteen Tory MPs who rebelled and voted against the war, not one is a minister. Civil servants officially have no politics but privately their opinions are known. There is not one single Permanent Under Secretary of a UK government department who was known to be against the war and most were enthusiasts. Simon Fraser, PUS at the FCO, was an active Blairite enthusiast for the war. Though no Blairite, the Head of MI6 Alex Younger was also an enthusiast.

The BBC was of course gutted following its revealing of the truth about Iraqi WMD, and the subsequent murder of David Kelly. Following the ousting of Greg Dyke, both Governors and Directors-Generals have been known supporters of the war. Of the 107 bureaucrats in the BBC who earn over 100,000 pounds pa, insiders estimate that only five were opponents of the war. Craig Oliver – who has now left the BBC for Cameron’s media operation – and James Purnell are absolutely typical of the BBC Iraqocracy.

Every current editor of a UK national newspaper supported the Iraq war. At the time of the war there was one editor opposed – Piers Morgan – who subsequently became a derided and marginalised figure. Not only are the editors firmly from the neo-con alliance, but the high profile commentators who cheered on the war – David Aaronovich, Nick Cohen, Melanie Phillips, John Rentoul, Rod Liddle etc. – have all seen their careers flourish. None has suffered from their appalling lack of judgement. There is no similar raft of commentators who were against the war who enjoy such constant media promotion and massive salaries. Many, like Peter Oborne, have suffered unexpected career glitches. There is no head of a major TV channel in the UK who was against the war in Iraq.

The theme runs through all the public professions. Of the hundreds of academics who took firm positions against the Iraq War, I cannot find a single example who went on to become a University Vice-Chancellor or Principal. By contrast actual war criminals Richard Dearlove and Valerie Amos were parachuted into academic leadership posts. The Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces were all true believers, compared to the massive scepticism that existed among senior officers.

The Iraq test even extends into the heads of institutions apparently quite unrelated, such as City of London banks and insurance companies. There are a tiny number of heads of FTSE 100 companies who were against the war.

It is not that there is an Iraq test. It is that Iraq is the touchstone for adherence to the neo-liberal consensus. All these professionally successful people share a number of attitudes, of which support for the Iraq War is a good indicator. There is a very strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and fierce Zionism. But there is also a strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and support for austerity economics. The strongest correlation of all lies in support for the Iraq War and for “business-friendly” tolerance of corporatism, TTIP, multinational tax avoidance, low taxation and marketization of public services including in education and health.

To return to where I started, the quite extraordinary thing is that there is a near-universal recognition in wider society that the Iraq War was both completely unjustified and a dreadful strategic blunder. Yet its support is a major pre-condition for membership of the governing elite.

The answer of course lies in its value as an indicator for a broad range of neo-liberal consensus attitudes. That is why both the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn provide such a threat to the Establishment, through denying those attitudes. The fascinating thing is that the SNP and the Labour Party could be the only public institutions in the UK of any note with an anti-Iraq War leadership. The significance is that, in slightly different ways, both the prominence of the SNP and of Jeremy Corbyn are the result of a public revolt which the Establishment has been trying, absolutely desperately, to cut off.

Ed Miliband did not actually vote against the Iraq War, contrary to popular myth. Having both the Labour and SNP parties led by people who reject the raft of values symbolised by the Iraq test, who have broken through the depleted uranium ceiling, is a massive, massive threat to the meritlessocracy. Institutional control appeared to be complete and impermeable. Suddenly they face the danger of the opinions of ordinary people carrying weight. Expect the media control mechanisms to whir into still greater overdrive.

By training, I am a plant biologist. In the early 1990s I was busy making genetically modified plants (often called GMOs for Genetically Modified Organisms) as part of the research that led to my PhD. Into these plants we were putting DNA from various foreign organisms, such as viruses and bacteria.

I was not, at the outset, concerned about the possible effects of GM plants on human health or the environment. One reason for this lack of concern was that I was still a very young scientist, feeling my way in the complex world of biology and of scientific research. Another reason was that we hardly imagined that GMOs like ours would be grown or eaten. So far as I was concerned, all GMOs were for research purposes only.

Gradually, however, it became clear that certain companies thought differently. Some of my older colleagues shared their skepticism with me that commercial interests were running far ahead of scientific knowledge. I listened carefully and I didn’t disagree. Today, over twenty years later, GMO crops, especially soybeans, corn, papaya, canola and cotton, are commercially grown in numerous parts of the world.

Jonathan Latham

Jonathan Latham

Depending on which country you live in, GMOs may be unlabeled and therefore unknowingly abundant in your diet. Processed foods (e.g. chips, breakfast cereals, sodas) are likely to contain ingredients from GMO crops, because they are often made from corn or soy. Most agricultural crops, however, are still non-GMO, including rice, wheat, barley, oats, tomatoes, grapes and beans.

For meat eaters the nature of GMO consumption is different. There are no GMO animals used in farming (although GM salmon has been pending FDA approval since 1993); however, animal feed, especially in factory farms or for fish farming, is likely to be GMO corn and GMO soybeans. In which case the labeling issue, and potential for impacts on your health, are complicated.

I now believe, as a much more experienced scientist, that GMO crops still run far ahead of our understanding of their risks. In broad outline, the reasons for this belief are quite simple. I have become much more appreciative of the complexity of biological organisms and their capacity for benefits and harms. As a scientist I have become much more humble about the capacity of science to do more than scratch the surface in its understanding of the deep complexity and diversity of the natural world. To paraphrase a cliché, I more and more appreciate that as scientists we understand less and less.

The Flawed Processes of GMO Risk Assessment

Some of my concerns with GMOs are “just” practical ones. I have read numerous GMO risk assessment applications. These are the documents that governments rely on to ‘prove’ their safety. Though these documents are quite long and quite complex, their length is misleading in that they primarily ask (and answer) trivial questions. Furthermore, the experiments described within them are often very inadequate and sloppily executed. Scientific controls are often missing, procedures and reagents are badly described, and the results are often ambiguous or uninterpretable. I do not believe that this ambiguity and apparent incompetence is accidental. It is common, for example, for multinational corporations, whose labs have the latest equipment, to use outdated methodologies. When the results show what the applicants want, nothing is said. But when the results are inconvenient, and raise red flags, they blame the limitations of the antiquated method. This bulletproof logic, in which applicants claim safety no matter what the data shows, or how badly the experiment was performed, is routine in formal GMO risk assessment.

To any honest observer, reading these applications is bound to raise profound and disturbing questions: about the trustworthiness of the applicants and equally of the regulators. They are impossible to reconcile with a functional regulatory system capable of protecting the public.

The Dangers of GMOs

Aside from grave doubts about the quality and integrity of risk assessments, I also have specific science-based concerns over GMOs. I emphasise the ones below because they are important but are not on the lists that GMO critics often make.

Many GMO plants are engineered to contain their own insecticides. These GMOs, which include maize, cotton and soybeans, are called Bt plants. Bt plants get their name because they incorporate a transgene that makes a protein-based toxin (usually called the Cry toxin) from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Many Bt crops are “stacked,” meaning they contain a multiplicity of these Cry toxins. Their makers believe each of these Bt toxins is insect-specific and safe. However, there are multiple reasons to doubt both safety and specificity. One concern is that Bacillus thuringiensis is all but indistinguishable from the well known anthrax bacterium (Bacillus anthracis). Another reason is that Bt insecticides share structural similarities with ricin. Ricin is a famously dangerous plant toxin, a tiny amount of which was used to assassinate the Bulgarian writer and defector Georgi Markov in 1978. A third reason for concern is that the mode of action of Bt proteins is not understood (Vachon et al 2012); yet, it is axiomatic in science that effective risk assessment requires a clear understanding of the mechanism of action of any GMO transgene. This is so that appropriate experiments can be devised to affirm or refute safety. These red flags are doubly troubling because some Cry proteins are known to be toxic towards isolated human cells (Mizuki et al., 1999). Yet we put them in our food crops.

A second concern follows from GMOs being often resistant to herbicides. This resistance is an invitation to farmers to spray large quantities of herbicides, and many do. As research recently showed, commercial soybeans routinely contain quantities of the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) that its maker, Monsanto, once described as “extreme” (Bøhn et al 2014).

Glyphosate has been in the news recently because the World Health Organisation no longer considers it a relatively harmless chemical, but there are other herbicides applied to GMOs which are easily of equal concern. The herbicide Glufosinate (phosphinothricin, made by Bayer) kills plants because it inhibits the important plant enzyme glutamine synthetase. This enzyme is ubiquitous, however, it is found also in fungi, bacteria and animals. Consequently, Glufosinate is toxic to most organisms. Glufosinate is also a neurotoxin of mammals that doesn’t easily break down in the environment (Lantz et al. 2014). Glufosinate is thus a “herbicide” in name only.

Thus, even in conventional agriculture, the use of glufosinate is hazardous; but With GMO plants the situation is worse yet. With GMOs, glufosinate is sprayed on to the crop but its degradation in the plant is blocked by the transgene, which chemically modifies it slightly. This is why the GMO plant is resistant to it; but the other consequence is that when you eat Bayers’ Glufosinate-resistant GMO maize or canola, even weeks or months later, glufosinate, though slightly modified, is probably still there (Droge et al., 1992). Nevertheless, though the health hazard of glufosinate is much greater with GMOs, the implications of this science have been ignored in GMO risk assessments of Glufosinate-tolerant GMO crops.

A yet further reason to be concerned about GMOs is that most of them contain a viral sequence called the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) promoter (or they contain the similar figwort mosaic virus (FMV) promoter). Two years ago, the GMO safety agency of the European Union (EFSA) discovered that both the CaMV promoter and the FMV promoter had wrongly been assumed by them (for almost 20 years) not to encode any proteins. In fact, the two promoters encode a large part of a small multifunctional viral protein that misdirects all normal gene expression and that also turns off a key plant defence against pathogens. EFSA tried to bury their discovery. Unfortunately for them, we spotted their findings in an obscure scientific journal. This revelation forced EFSA and other regulators to explain why they had overlooked the probability that consumers were eating an untested viral protein.

This list of significant scientific concerns about GMOs is by no means exhaustive. For example, there are novel GMOs coming on the market, such as those using double stranded RNAs (dsRNAs), that have the potential for even greater risks (Latham and Wilson 2015).

The True Purpose of GMOs

Science is not the only grounds on which GMOs should be judged. The commercial purpose of GMOs is not to feed the world or improve farming. Rather, they exist to gain intellectual property (i.e. patent rights) over seeds and plant breeding and to drive agriculture in directions that benefit agribusiness. This drive is occurring at the expense of farmers, consumers and the natural world. US Farmers, for example, have seen seed costs nearlyquadruple and seed choices greatly narrow since the introduction of GMOs. The fight over GMOs is not of narrow importance. It affects us all.

Nevertheless, specific scientific concerns are crucial to the debate. I left science in large part because it seemed impossible to do research while also providing the unvarnished public scepticism that I believed the public, as ultimate funder and risk-taker of that science, was entitled to.

Criticism of science and technology remains very difficult. Even though many academics benefit from tenure and a large salary, the sceptical process in much of science is largely lacking. This is why risk assessment of GMOs has been short-circuited and public concerns about them are growing. Until the damaged scientific ethos is rectified, both scientists and the public are correct to doubt that GMOs should ever have been let out of any lab.

(An earlier version of this article appeared at http://nutritionstudies.org/)

References

1. Bøhn, T, Cuhra, M, Traavik, T, Sanden, M, Fagan, J and Primicerio, R (2014) Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: Glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans. Food Chemistry 153: 207-215.

2. Droge W, Broer I, and Puhler A. (1992) Transgenic plants containing the phosphinothricin-N-acetyltransferase gene metabolize the herbicide L-phosphinothricin (glufosinate) differently from untransformed plants. Planta 187: 142-151.

3. Lantz S et al., (2014) Glufosinate binds N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and increases neuronal network activity in vitro. Neurotoxicology 45: 38-47.
Latham JR and Wilson AK (2015) Off -­ target Effects of Plant Transgenic RNAi: Three Mechanisms Lead to Distinct Toxicological and Environmental Hazards.

4. Mizuki, E, Et Al., (1999) Unique activity associated with non-insecticidal Bacillus thuringiensis parasporal inclusions: in vitro cell- killing action on human cancer cells. J. Appl. Microbiol. 86: 477–486.

5. Vachon V, Laprade R, Schwartz JL (2012) Current models of the mode of action of Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal crystal proteins: a critical review. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 111: 1–12.

When McKinney, TX police officer David Eric Casebolt brutally took down a teenage girl at a pool party in June, he was using a form of martial arts called Krav Maga in which he trained exclusively. These combat techniques were developed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

This is a small reflection of a larger reality that exists in U.S. law enforcement, one that helps explain the brutality and militarization that now characterizes so many police forces.  Since 9/11, cops have been traveling abroad to learn from one of the most repressive and dangerous State forces in the world today—the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus.

Political commentator John Miranda recently stated that police brutality is directly linked to the training some officers receive in Israel.

As for the increase in police brutality within the United States, I think this definitely can be pointed towards the Israeli training that the Department of Homeland Security is giving all of American police officers.

Some police officers are actually being flown to Israel for the training, not all of them but some, and then those that are flown to Israel, they come back home and they train the head officers in the training that they’ve gotten in Israel.

All these incidents, it is not just happening to African Americans. Police are literally being brutal with all Americans.

At least 300 high-ranking U.S. sheriffs and police from all over the country, as well as FBI and US Customs and Border Protection agents, have traveled to Israel to learn first-hand the most efficient means of subduing populations.  The purported reason is counterterrorism, but protests and crowd control methods are commonly discussed.

U.S.-Police-Routinely-Travel-to-Israel-to-Learn-Methods-of-Brutality-and-Repression

Police are not learning from the Israeli criminal law sector that deals with Jewish residents.  U.S. police are learning from Israel’s military justice system, which controls Palestinians through paramilitary and counterinsurgency tactics.  Residents of Gaza and the West Bank live in what is essentially a giant prison camp, where oppression and brutality from the IDF is a way of life.  The use of excessive or deadly force for crowd control is rarely questioned.

Three organizations are responsible for sending U.S. cops to Israel for training—the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  The ADL insulted victims of police brutality last month when it honored the St. Louis Police Department (SLPD) just days ahead of the anniversary of Michael Brown’s killing.  The SLPD was the first department to enroll in ADL’s training program.

The St. Louis Chapter of Jewish Voices for Peace issued a scathing statement in response: “We have cringed as the ADL positions itself locally as a champion of racial profiling legislation while sending US police – including former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch – to train on population control in Israel, an apartheid police state with more than 60 years of sophisticated expertise in racial profiling, mass incarceration, settler colonialism, and ethnic cleansing targeting the non-Jewish indigenous Palestinian people.

This occupation-style policing has made its way to U.S. cities and towns and has become standard operating procedure at any protest of government.  Also, the very same equipment used by Israeli military for crowd control—tear gas grenades, triple chaser gas canisters, and stun grenades—were used at demonstrations in Ferguson, Oakland and Anaheim.  The LRAD (long-range acoustic device) was also used by both Ferguson police and Israeli military forces.

Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, notes how militarized U.S. police reflect the training that is received in Israel and spread throughout the ranks.

If American police and sheriffs consider they’re in occupation of neighborhoods like Ferguson and East Harlem, this training is extremely appropriate – they’re learning how to suppress a people, deny their rights and use force to hold down a subject population.

To complement this Israeli military training that ramped up in the mid-2000s, the Pentagon and Homeland Security started the 1033 program which funneled billions of dollars of military-grade equipment to local law enforcement.  MRAPS and military weapons have become all too familiar on American streets.

What order-following, state-sanctioned thug is going to refuse the most advanced tactics and tool of repression?

Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, described how U.S. police tactics are “a near replica” of Israeli military crowd control tactics.

Whether it is in Ferguson or L.A., we see a similar response all the time in the form of a disproportionate number of combat-ready police with military gear who are ready to use tear gas at short notice. Whenever you find 50 people at a demonstration, there is always a SWAT team in sight or right around the corner.

This increasingly common scenario is indicative of law enforcement that views the populace as the enemy.  Peaceful protests of unjust government practices are fundamental to the progression of society.  Police with militarized tactics and gear are the progenitors of violence.

Jimmy Johnson of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions explains how the training of U.S. law enforcement by Israeli military represents a grave threat to the idea of democracy.

Israeli methods are sought out and adopted for their perceived quality, largely led by the government’s marketing of them. But the relationships established between agencies of order, whether they be drug enforcement, civil policing, customs officials, tactical police units or any other, are done entirely outside the democratic realm…This is the danger of agencies of authority going through processes of professionalization and integration with their foreign counterparts. It’s often a strictly technocratic regime that can affect the public greatly but is done without its active knowledge or participation.

If we are to end the militarization of U.S. law enforcement, one of the most important parts of that will be stopping the training of police by the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus.  We do not want their methods of repression and brutality replicated here.

If ever there was an environment of misinformation and propaganda in Britain – it would be right now. There is a utopian illusion in the UK that neoliberal strategy actually works. It doesn’t.

This utopia has been in the making for decades and is unraveling in front of our eyes. Promises and commitments made by power hungry political failures have proven to be nothing short of a lie.

Blair (Iraq/foreign policy), Brown (saved the world with QE), Cameron (big society), Clegg (education), Osborne (miracle economy), are at the heart of this failed continuum.

TruePublica

This low-compassion era hatched by Thatcher was nothing more than a change from society to individualism – the worst of American characteristics after her exchanges with Reagan.

Their Neoliberal ideology has failed inasmuch that wealth, rather than being distributed more equitably has in fact been channeled northbound directly into the hands of an elite whose fortunes have become almost comical in magnitude.

The aforementioned political failures were nothing more than Public Relations Executives for rapacious corporate gangsters that care little of humanity or the environment, to the detriment of everyone, eventually even themselves.

The poor have simply become so poor that a new class of poverty has been created in the UK, the former deliberately not recorded as if to mask its awful residue.

The “working poor”, a class now identified as those working hard but unfortunate enough not to fit into skilled labour – whose unions and rights have been taken from them and whose weekly wages have all but stagnated but mostly declined over the last decade, have been propelled into chronic poverty and underemployment. These people were lied to by David Cameron as he championed “hard-working people” to get elected, then abandoned them. Only 1 in new 40 jobs created in the UK is now full-time and permanent. We read daily of their struggle to keep their families above the waterline, their unfortunate lives one long, stress-ridden 24/7 emergency.

The disabled, forced to prove an inability to work are dying at the rate of 80 a month straight after being told they are fit to work by a cold and hostile regime.

What type of government condones and facilitates the death of its own most vulnerable citizens? And how does it rationalize this? – It does so by pitting the people of the country in different social groups against each other in a new blame culture that has tragically manifested itself in a voyeuristic pseudo fantasy such as Channel4’s Benefit Street.

The benefit system, once called ‘social security’, that was meant to protect the most vulnerable people is being reduced from opportunity, respect, and solidarity to destitution, degradation, depression and death.

Middle class Britain is also experiencing a decades long massacre. Entire Cities that once proudly manufactured everything from shoes laces to cruise liners has been ‘offshored’ or outsourced to further increase the profits of our corporate leaders and shareholders who have left behind a wasteland of empty factories. This is a legacy that betrays the north of England, Scotland and Wales in particular.

British Corporations, along with their international partners in crime siphon hundreds of £billions via secretive offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. And this utopian illusion sanctioned by government allows such thievery in a grotesque climate of revolving doors. If people are dying at the bottom rung of society because the country is cash starved then these corporations are committing human rights crimes against them.

The neoliberal vision, perpetrated by these monsters despite a promise to deliver democracy, has continued to excavate and hollow out democratic principles to further their goals.

This we have seen with the unearthing of illegal mass surveillance – courtesy of the likes of Edward Snowden and other stranded whistleblowers exiled to foreign lands and hunted down like rabies-ridden dogs by western governments shamed by their revelations.

Democracy in Britain is failing at the highest levels. Election manifestos have proven to be nothing more than pamphlets of fiction. This corrosive political system eventually vomits up extremists on the left and the right as seen all over Europe.

The words “Labour”, “Liberal Democrat” and “Conservative” are none of those. They are completely meaningless names to an electorate who continue to shun these deluded self-serving soapbox fanatics.

We have entered a new era of the Haves and Have-Nots. The Haves are political whose purpose is to serve corporate and media interests to the cost of everyone else. The Haves are creating a new world for us all – a totalitarian one. A panoptical prison like world constructed on the basis of fear of authority.

This media induced utopia is a charade that merely hides crime, hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy that is threatened by truth and honesty – hence the dramatic rise of Jeremy Corbyn. 70% of newspapers in the UK are controlled by just three people and 100% of them backed the war in Iraq. This was against a backdrop of the biggest political protests in the history of humanity.

It makes little difference if you believe in Jeremy Corbyn or not, people are bored and depressed at the dismal failure with version 1.0 of democracy and capitalism – they want V.2

People actually want democracy and capitalism, they see the sense in it – just not the version espoused by those that benefit the most by corrupting its very foundations. Even CNN agrees – it must be bad

It’s not Jeremy Corbyn who needs to answer questions about Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, the banking crisis, expenses, cash for access/questions/influence/honours, paedophilia, cover-ups, austerity and shameful business relationships such as the sale of weapons to Israel. Every single one of these scandals fills British citizens with disgust and shame, corroding a once proud nation of indomitable stalwarts.

As this utopian lie continues, masquerading as capitalism and democracy, itstaggers from one crisis to the next, inducing new rounds of bailouts, austerity and privatization whilst society is being asset-stripped of public goods built up over generations, causing a deepening catastrophe of everyday life for more and more people.

The old order in Britain is dying and it is now clearly visible in the actions of the mandarins. The new order is struggling with its first gasp of breath. Birth has always been a dangerous endeavor, but one that was always worth fighting for.

SELECTED ARTICLES

 

SYRIA-CONFLICT

Syrian War-Islamic State (ISIS) Creation Timeline By Kevin Borge, August 29, 2015 

Below is a timeline ranging from 1992-2015 with related articles to the war in Syria, ISIS and geopolitical events that tie them all together.

syria_1

The War on Syria: The Major Political Players, Humanitarian Crisis By Patrick Higgins, September 01, 2015

Foreign intervention has only worsened the situation in Syria. In May 2014, the Syria Centre for Policy Research in Damascus released a report on the economic and social conditions in Syria. Its findings were staggering. More than half the country’s…

Ukraine-Neo-Natzi-Militia

Military Training for Young Children at Ukraine’s “Neo-Nazi Summer Camp”. Recruitment of Ukraine’s “Child Soldiers” Financed by US “Nonlethal” Military Aid? By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, August 30, 2015

The Azov battalion supported by its Western partners is not only involved in para-military operations in Donbass, it is also running a Summer Camp military training project for young children.

Chinese vs. US currency

Washington’s Financial Currency War on China: The Eclipsing of the US Dollar by the YuanBy Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, August 31, 2015

China is in the process of displacing the monopoly of the US dollar. They are dropping US Treasury bonds, stockpiling gold reserves, and opening regional distribution banks for their own national currency.

eu-us-russia-ukraineUS Imperial Strategy: Hushing Up—and Profiting from—Saudi Aggressions, Warmongering against RussiaBy Stephen Gowans, September 01, 2015

The West has portrayed Russia’s annexation of Crimea as an aggression, but the re-integration of Crimea into Russia can be understood as a pre-emptive measure on the part of Moscow to preserve Russian access to a strategically important naval base…

us-syria flagsHow the US Can Stop ISIS Without Setting Foot in Syria By Tony Cartalucci, September 01, 2015

Increasingly difficult to cover-up or spin, it is becoming apparent even in Western media coverage that the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) is not sustaining its fighting capacity from within Iraq or Syria, but rather through supply lines that lead to…

Michigan Struggles Link Rising Racism to the Economic Crisis

September 1st, 2015 by Abayomi Azikiwe

Demonstrations and people’s assembly calls for unified effort to end exploitation and oppression

“It not one thing, it is everything,” says Rev. Edward Pinkney of Berrien County, Michigan who is currently incarcerated for unjust felony forgery charges at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater.

Supporters of Pinkney held a demonstration in Grand Rapids outside the state appeals court calling for the civil rights leader to be released on bond pending the outcome of his challenge to a conviction for attempting to recall the Benton Harbor mayor. Pinkney, the leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO) based in Berrien County, was sentenced to 30 to 120 months in prison after a trial that was observed and followed by thousands throughout the United States and the world.

Grand Rapids Demonstration to Support Rev. Pinkney

Grand Rapids Demonstration to Support Rev. Pinkney

Pinkney’s defense Attorney Tim Holloway has filed a motion for the appellate court to reconsider their ruling to deny bond in a 2-1 decision. Pinkney poses no threat to the people of Michigan and deserves to be allowed to rejoin his family and friends in Berrien County.

Judge Sterling Schrock sentenced Pinkney after admonishing him for his role in Berrien County politics. The BANCO leader was charged and convicted of changing five dates on recall petitions.

Nonetheless, there were no eyewitnesses to this alleged crime and the charges were politically motivated where the Berrien County prosecuting Atty. Michael Sepic questioned witnesses on their organizational affiliations and what was said at BANCO meetings. As a result of the conviction and sentencing of Pinkney, a nationwide movement has sprung into existence demanding his release.

The demonstration outside the appellate court in Grand Rapids was covered by Channel 8 and WOOD radio which reaches hundreds of thousands across western Michigan. Protesters traveled to Grand Rapids from Detroit, Ann Arbor, Berrien County and other areas around the state.

Detroit People’s Assembly Links Struggles Across City

Detroit People's Assembly, Aug. 29, 2015

Detroit People’s Assembly, Aug. 29, 2015

A People’s Assembly and Speak Out were held on Sat. August 29 in downtown Detroit at Grand Circus Park. The event was called by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and endorsed by other community organizations.

The event lasted for over three hours with so many people requesting to speak that some were not able to state their views. Organizers had to apologize due to the constraints of time.

Speakers at the assembly included Rebeykah Larson, who co-chaired the gathering. Larson is a housing activist in Detroit and has demonstrated against the pending property tax foreclosures in Wayne County.

Jo Ann Watson, former City Council member, attended to lend her moral support to the ongoing struggle in Detroit. Attorney Vanessa Fluker, a people’s lawyer working on housing rights, urged people to fight the banks which were at the root of the foreclosure crisis.

Errol Jennings, leader of the Russell Woods Neighborhood Association called on people to organize citywide to end the forced removals underway against African Americans and other working class people in the city. Jennings spearheaded a campaign to get resolutions from community organizations to enact a moratorium on tax foreclosures earlier this year.

The neighborhood resolutions helped to prompt the City Council to pass its own language requesting the moratorium. The tax foreclosure deadline was postponed for two-and-a-half months allowing thousands to make arrangements with the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office to save their homes.

Other speakers at the assembly included Cicely McClellan of the Detroit Active and Retirees Association (DAREA); Tijuana Morris of DAREA; Attorney Matt Clark of the Detroit Eviction Defense (DED); Pat Driscoll of DED and a retired steel worker; Jack Watkins, a youth participant who spoke on the rising tide of racism in the majority African American city of Detroit; Debra Simmons of the Detroit chapter of the National Action Network (NAN) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) National Police Reform Campaign; Jerry Goldberg of Moratorium NOW! Coalition; Michael Shane of Moratorium NOW! Coalition; Diane Bukowski, editor of Voice of Detroit and the campaign to demand a vote on the regionalization of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD); Valerie Jean, a water and environmental rights community activist from the North End neighborhood; Martha Grevatt of the UAW and labor analyst; Cynthia Johnson, AM 1440 radio host and leader of the Community Light Walk; Maureen Taylor, co-chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO); Meeko Williams of the Detroit Water Brigade; Stephen Boyle, a videographer and environmental activist; Helen Moore of Keep the Vote, No Takeover; Erik Shelly of Michigan United and Black Lives Matter; among others.

Action Proposals Adopted at Assembly

Yet this was not enough. The Wayne County Treasurer has announced that the remaining foreclosed properties, even those that are owner-occupied, will begin to be auctioned on September 11. The People’s Assembly agreed on an action proposal to hold a demonstration outside the Treasurer’s office at 400 Monroe on September 15 at Noon.

The action proposal circulated at the assembly stressed that “Thousands of Detroiters and other Wayne County residents will be evicted from their homes in the next month, as the Wayne County Treasurer auctions their homes to investors following tax foreclosures. The first auction begins September 11 and goes until September 17.”

This same statement goes on to note “This disaster is entirely avoidable! The State of Michigan is sitting on $200 million in federal Helping Hardest Hit Funds that can be used to pay delinquent property tax bills for occupied homes. But instead of using these funds for their stated purpose, to keep families in their homes, the state and federal governments are using these funds to tear down homes and turning them over to the ‘blight taskforce’ led by billionaire Dan Gilbert.”

Other action proposals adopted included an outreach initiative for the annual Labor Day parade on September 7. Two items will be circulated to tens of thousands of union members who come out every year to participate: a statement to the labor movement from Michigan political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney and leaflets calling for the demonstration at the Wayne County Treasurer on September 15.

A strong emphasis was placed on the need for jobs in the city of Detroit; the restoration of full pension and healthcare benefits promised to municipal retirees; support of a Title VI racial discrimination complaint to the federal government charging extreme bias in the destruction of the Detroit Public Schools system languishing under emergency management for most of the last 15 years; the need to seek justice for those victims and their families of police violence; and the defense of residents who are facing eviction by the banks and Fannie Mae backed up by the courts.

Moratorium NOW! Coalition organizers encouraged people to attend their Monday night meetings at 5920 Second Avenue in Midtown beginning at 7:00pm. Other groups involved in social justice, anti-racist, environmental, educational and labor activities were allowed to announce their meeting times and locations.

This People’s Assembly once again tested the hard won right of community organizations to hold political meetings and demonstrations on the streets in downtown Detroit. Efforts to ban such activities were attempted by the bankers and corporate heads during 2014 prompting a legal and political struggle to guarantee free speech and assembly in the financial district and its environs.

Earlier this year the City of Detroit Law Department was forced to issue guidelines regulating the right of assembly and speech in downtown. The case remains open while the question of damages to the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and Women in Black are settled.

Events in Ukraine (and Eastern Europe) target Russia – part of Washington’s longstanding regime change agenda, wanting US-controlled puppet governance replacing Russian sovereignty, eliminating a key rival power, giving America access to a huge new source of vital resources.

Perhaps Victoria Nuland’s dirty hands were involved in Monday’s Kiev riots, previous unrest this year and likely more to come. Washington is displeased with Poroshenko. Former Ukrainian MP Vadim Kolesnichenko said US officials are considering two replacements:

Valentin Nalivaichenko, former Ukrainian security service head, or Sergei Levochkin, former Yanukovych chief of staff. A previous article explained Ukrainians overwhelmingly despise Poroshenko. Calls persist for him to step down. Replacing him won’t surprise anyone.

Meanwhile, war on Donbass rages. Western media largely ignore daily shelling by junta forces – including attacks on residential areas, hospitals, schools and other nonmilitary targets.

An unverified late August report from an unnamed source said the following:

(C)ylinders of toxic gases and containers of poisonous substances were delivered to the technological facilities of high-voltage insulators plant in Kramatorsk street, town of Slavyansk.

There’s chlorine in cylinders, not less than five covered wagons, also other containers with contents I know nothing about labeled with words and signs “poison,” “danger,” “do not touch without protection.

All of it was brought in under the guise of varnishes and paints, but I know the look of the packaging of both, and whatever was brought here last week has got nothing to do with it. It looks like a chemical weapon.

They don’t let anyone in the warehouse. There is round-the-clock guard in military uniform without insignia. All the time there’s been some strange hustle and bustle.

Soldiers “boasted that separatists will be given a big washing, from which they will puke blood. Our guerrillas have verified this information. There is understanding that the Ukrainian military and Security Service are preparing a provocation against the Novorossiya militias having intent to show them use chemical weapons against civilians.”

 Harm as many civilians as possible. Show dead bodies on TV for Europe and America to intervene. This is actually why I am calling from Slavyansk, we don’t want to be Guinea pigs and die for Poroshenko or America.

Tell everyone that Kiev is preparing a provocation with chemical weapons…This information was confirmed by at least one source in the region, an employee of a major transportation company engaged in the transshipment of cargo from rail to road.

According to this source, the dangerous cargo was jointly accompanied by intelligence services of Ukraine and military, and in full cooperation with the central and local authorities.

If a major chemical weapons attack on Donbass occurs, the source will be proved right. It won’t be the first time. Kiev used toxic substances and cluster munitions against area freedom fighters earlier. Western media ignored what happened.

On August 30, Voice of Sevastopol (VOS) headlined “ ‘Moscow Must Burn!’ Right-Wing Extremists in Ukraine Mobilize,” saying:

“(R)ight-wing volunteer militia leader Dmytro Korchynsky” has a large following in Ukraine. “I want to lead a crusade against Russia,” he said.

Our goal is not only the expulsion of the occupiers, but also vengeance. Moscow must burn.

Reuters said Korchynsky wants to create a Christian “Taliban movement.” VOS reported 40 (right-wing, ultranationalist) volunteer militia groups active in Ukraine.

Many of their members were Maidan protesters involved in ousting the former Yanukovych government. VOS said they pose a serious threat to the current regime – especially if they have US backing over dissatisfaction with Poroshenko, prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and other Kiev officials.

They demand Poroshenko’s ouster, imposition of martial law, full-scale war on Donbass, “unity” of Ukraine by any means necessary, and perhaps disruptive activities against Russia.

On Monday, Moscow’s EU envoy Vladimir Chizhov said Ukraine’s constitutional changes violate the letter and spirit of Minsk – calling for Donbass “special status” self-governance.

Poroshenko rejects it – saying constitutional amendments he proposed prohibit “special status.” Chizhov accused him of introducing changes without consulting Donbass officials as required by Minsk, excluding their rights, flagrantly violating ceasefire terms.

“I think the core of the problem is the inability, or unwillingness, or both, of the Ukrainian government and President Poroshenko to sit down and negotiate directly with representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk,” Chizhov explained.

Donetsk Parliament Speaker Denis Pushilin said “(w)e do not recognize what is going on now in the Rada (parliament) as we know for sure that the amendments proposed by Poroshenko are just an imitation of the Minsk agreements implementation.”

The rights of Donbass residents are excluded from Kiev’s parliamentary debates. Policies directed by Washington call for continued war, defeating Donbass freedom fighters and maintaining instability on Russia’s border.

America’s agenda heightens the possibility of direct confrontation – a reckless policy risking the use of nuclear weapons for the first time since WW II.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

 

“Operation Fortitude”: Australia’s Border Force (ABF)

September 1st, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

Last Friday, Australians got a taste of what the operational nature of the Prime Minister’s Border Force might look like. It began with a 9.16am press release that was issued featuring Don Smith, the Australian Border Force Regional commander for Victoria and Tasmania warning that “ABF officers will be speaking with any individual we cross paths with”.

The purpose of such a seemingly dramatic exercise? Examining instances of visa fraud at the gates of one of Victoria’s busiest stations.

The Gestapo-styled directive, given the absurd title of “Operation Fortitude” had an effect that surprised authorities, which should itself be a suitable gauge about how estranged this government has become from its citizens. Operating outside Melbourne’s busy Flinders Street station, the impression given was that there would be random checks of individuals in and around the vicinity.

Originally, Operation Fortitude was intended to conduct what would have been spot checks of taxi driver licenses and visas. Someone had either bungled dramatically, or become a revisionist versed in the evils of totalitarian bureaucracy.

At 1.46 pm that same Friday, the ABF would have to clarify that it “does not and will not stop people at random in the streets”. There would be no effort to purposely “check people’s papers”, something which they attributed to a media spin.

The ABF commissioner Roman Quadvleig had a stab at something of an admission: the press release had “incorrectly construed what our role was… it should have been better explained, it was clumsy.” Naturally, his pristine pure outfit was exempt from what the lowers in the organisation had done. The release, like that of a bowel emission, stemmed from “the lower levels of the organisation.”

An odd thing to say, given that the statement had been cleared by Mark Jeffries, the assistant secretary for communications and the media for the ABF. In any case, the distancing from other features of the execution has been palpable, with the immigration office claiming that ministers do not have a hand in directing operational matters.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton still had to concede to the Sunday Telegraph that his own office had received a copy of the operational briefing. “There was never any intent for the ABF to conduct visa checks during this operation. It is unfortunate that the poorly written Media Release indicated otherwise.”[1]

Then comes the boiling frog phenomenon – gradually, the dial is being turned up as the unfortunate body of liberties is being cooked. According to a spokesman for Dutton, “The information provided indicated that the planned operation was routine with the ABF’s role relatively low level in support of a Victorian police activity, so the media release was not reviewed and not cleared.”

This may, on the surface, look innocuous. But is a direct admission to an institutionalised role that conjures up images of uniformed men and women treating their quarry, not as citizens, but subjects who need to be found out. This activity takes place out of the view of the minister, who has his hands at the wheel while refusing to direct the vehicle.

In the apt words of barrister Charles Waterston, this was to be “the perfect storm for perfect storm troopers.” There would be a seamless operation involving the Metro Train operators, the Yarra Train heavies and those of the Taxi Services Commission.

Freshly created, with a nationalist zeal that is fast moving into the world of pantomime, the ABF is looking scratchily incompetent even as it claims it is protecting Australian “security” and the rights of the vulnerable. The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, has likened the episode to Tony Abbott’s decision to award Prince Philip a knighthood, though it is far graver than that. “It’s sort of like a uniformed version of the Prince Philip decision.”

That said, spot checks on visas are not unusual, though the nature of this operation, with its pugnacious, state mandated thuggery, was. The previous Labor government conducted scores of such checks when he was Immigration Minister, ostensibly on the grounds of protecting the welfare of foreign workers. Not that Labor can aspire to the nobility of this higher cause either.

The Migration Act itself also vests immigration officers with powers to require a person “whom the officer knows or reasonably suspects is a non-citizen” to present evidence of citizenship status or identity. Protocols governing such inspections tend to be linked with police operations, but the ABF remains virginal in many respects.

Prime Minister Abbott’s reaction was to take to the book otherwise termed The Australian Way of Life to suggest that certain things were simply not done Down Under. Suggesting himself that the press release had been a mistake, deeming it “clumsy”, he also declared that, “We would never stop people in the street and ask them for their visa details. We don’t do that Australia.”

Such statements tend to suggest that such a policy’s time is up. The words, when it comes to such operations, are often indicative of that operation’s substance.  It was the stuff of “Brown Shirts, the army and ticket collectors working as a team to end the wholesale plundering of our transport system and porous borders.”[2]

The only salvaging grace in this was that the incompetence, and public reaction to it, were formidable enough to spark a reversal. Incompetence is one of those gifts from the heavens that scuttles venal operations, leading to their executor’s downfall and eventual abolition. Liberties depend on upon it, and refugees are only one part of that dire equation.

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

Notes

[1] http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/border-farce-immigration-minister-peter-duttons-office-saw-border-force-visa-operation-briefing-ahead-of-its-release/story-fnpn118l-1227504270914

[2] http://www.smh.com.au/comment/melbourne-cbd-goes-full-mad-max-as-border-forces-operation-fortitude-slammed-into-reverse-20150828-gjaeuj.html

 

The Saker: How is Russia coping with sanctions so far and what are the prospects for the future?

Peter Koenig: Let’s begin with what are ‘sanctions’? – Sanctions are (economic) punishments by the self-proclaimed empire in Washington and its European minions on any country that does not follow the dictate of the empire. Actually, it’s worse. The European spineless puppets participate despite their own losses, lest they may be sanctioned themselves by the empire. In some cases, they are so submissive, like in the case of punishing Russia, they advance sanctions, against their own (economic and political) interests, just to please the transatlantic hegemon which is far away from the battleground – always stays far away from where the action is, so that others may get bombed and hurt.

Case in point: WWI and WWII – played out in and destroyed Europe, even though the impulses for the two ferocious world wars came from the US. The current ‘crisis’ around Ukraine is also entirely fabricated and instigated by Washington to the point of provoking another world war, maybe willy-nilly the last one of our civilization. Washington does not miss a beat for denigrating Russian President Putin, to enter the ever more transparently horrendous power game for Ukraine, where Obama’s men with the help of the European vassals organized a coup, displacing a democratically elected president – Victor Yanukovych – and put a criminal, murderous Nazi Government in place.

The idea is against all previous accords, making Ukraine a NATO country and as a side line usurping the Ukraine’s riches in agricultural land. Ukraine was for hundreds of years considered Europe’s bread basket, especially for the Soviet Union and later for Russia. Ukraine has also natural resources, notably minerals and natural gas. With an estimated 1.2 trillion cubic meters (m3) Ukraine has Europe’s 3rdlargest shale gas reserves. Shale gas is accessed by the highly controversial and socio-environmentally unfriendly extraction process called ‘fracking’.

The US economy which depends largely on the war industry needs constantly new wars and conflicts. More than 50% of its GDP depends on the military and related industries and services. Obama brags being currently involved in 7 wars around the globe, notwithstanding the almost countless conflicts around the globe, instigated, funded and carried out by proxies on behalf of the empire. But Mr. Putin has not fallen into trap. In fact, thanks to Vladimir Putin’s stellar strategic thinking and diplomacy, the world – especially Europe – has so far been spared a WWIII – the ‘would-be’ third war within 100 years.

To make sure the world at large believes that Russia is the culprit in the atrocious and deadly Ukraine conflict, sanctions have to be levied against Russia; Mr. Putin has to be slandered, insulted, vilified. The naked emperor’s word still has an impact in the western neoliberal hemisphere, whether politicians believe it or not – they do as if, the same way as people admire the new clothes of the naked emperor. Sanctions should punish the Russian people, evoke an internal rebellion and lead to ’regime change’. The contrary has happened. Mr. Putin with 85% enjoys one of the highest approval ratings of any democratically elected head of state.

The second question is – why can one nation alone, the US of A, impose sanctions? – Because the US had after WWII, when they called for the Bretton Woods Conference to establish the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) already one fix idea – to dominate the world through the weapon of finance. What wasn’t obvious then, has since become crystal clear. The self-declared victor of WWII dictated the rules.

With the US holding the largest gold reserves at the time, the ingenious idea was to establish a gold standard which would peg the US dollar against a gold price of US$ 35 / ounce and all other western currencies were pegged to the dollar. The IMF was created to watch over the western gold-based monetary system.

Nixon abandoned the gold standard in 1971 because (i) too many dollars were in circulation for the US to keep up with gold reserves, and (ii) the US debt left by the Vietnam War was to be covered by the sale of gold at market price which already then was about ten times higher than the fixed $ 35 rate. Yes, at that time even a Nixon Administration had some ethics, namely paying its debt.

But the real and hidden reason was brilliant. By leaving the gold standard, the dollar became de facto the world’s fiat currency of reference and main reserve money, basically replacing gold. Large international contracts were established in dollars, therefore increasing the demand for dollars. In addition, through a special deal negotiated between the Bush family, friends of the Saudi King, and the House of Saud, later formalized by Kissinger with the Saudi Government, Saudi Arabia as head of OPEC, was to assure that the dollar would remain the only currency in which hydrocarbons were to be traded in the future. In return, the US would assure militarily the Saudis security. Since everybody needed oil, everybody needed dollars. The demand for more dollars in circulation.

In comes the BIS – Bank for International Settlements, created in 1930 and originally set up to facilitate Germany’s reparation payments imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. Today, the BIS, largely privately owned by the Rothschild group and other western banking families, is considered the central bank of central banks, controlling almost all international monetary transactions – most of which have to transit through a US based Wall Street bank. Hence was created a fraudulent fiat monetary system thanks to which Washington plays up to this day cowboy with the rest of the world. But this is changing rapidly.

The short of the long story explains why the US has (had) so much financial power over the rest of the world, including Russia; why Washington may seize and block foreign assets around the world at will, why it can coerce and ‘sanction’ other countries into behaving according to their, the US agenda.

This supremacy is gradually faltering and fading ever faster. Sanctions will become more threats than actual actions. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), as well as the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) countries are carrying out general trade in their own currencies. Russia and China are already trading hydrocarbons in their own currencies and others will soon follow.

The Cost of sanctions to Russia is a controversial subject. According to CNN, the sanctions cost Russia ‘more than US$ 100 billion’. At the same time, Newsweek admits that Russia could easily replace trade with EU by increasing trade with Asia and Latin America, thereby rapidly reduce the cost of ‘sanctions’. Newsweek also says that the cost of the US dictated sanctions on Europe to impose on Russia cost the EU at least € 100 billion. Indian NDTV reports losses to Europe at € 21 billion; at the same time they report 2013 EU exports to Russia as €119 billion. ‘Sanctions’ started in 2014.

The true story on the ground is increasing misery especially for Europe’s southern countries, like Spain, Greece, Italy; common people suffering manly from losses of agricultural exports and declining tourism. But also job losses throughout the EU, for example in Germany alone, lost and threatened jobs due to the sanctions on Russia (reduced trade) are estimated at more than 300,000. The chain of consequences is endless, but mostly hurting Europe – and especially not the trans-Atlantic Big Master and hegemon. Putin actually said that these sanctions are godsent, as it allows Russia to develop agriculture and industry to eventually become self-sufficient, meaning independent from western trade.

The question of oil prices and oil price manipulation is also a controversial story. Oil prices have dropped by about 50% within the last 12 months, to currently around US$ 50 / barrel. This price drop has certainly caused damage to everybody selling hydrocarbons. The benefit must be political, somewhere. Common wisdom would have it that Saudi Arabia in cohorts with the US is overproducing petrol to hurt the ‘enemy’, i.e. Russia, Iran and Venezuela.

However, an interesting new theory is emerging, namely that Saudi Arabia is increasingly realizing the decline of the west and is seeking a closer alliance with Russia and China – which are sure client for her hydrocarbons. Recent meetings between the Russian and Saudi Foreign Ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Adel al-Jubeir, most notably the latter’s visit to Moscow earlier in August would indicate a Russian – Saudirapprochement that is about more than just energy.

Some media outlets claim the Saudis see the sinking western ship and are seeking new alliances in anew orbit. The new Russia-China (BRICS, SCO) might welcome them against some political concessions. It might just be possible that in agreement with Russia and despite the temporary damage to Russia, the Saudis keep pressing the oil price down which may hurt the US shale or fracking industry more than Russia. According to the International Energy Agency the average breakeven for oil is around $60 / barrel – which makes many shale oil production sites no longer profitable, especially in Texas and North Dakota. These industries grew in the last ten years and are heavily indebted, thus bankruptcies abound. In Texas alone some 60,000 shale oil / fracking laborers are out of work. – You may call this ‘reverse sanctions’.

In addition, when gas prices dropped drastically earlier this year, many western shareholders of Russian gas companies panicked and sold off their shares at fire-sale prices – only for the Government of Russia to buy them back- at a net profit of $20 billion within a couple of days, as Spiegel-on-line reported earlier this year.

As we know, diplomacy between Lavrov and Kerry has not advanced an inch regarding Syria. To the contrary – ISIS, sponsored by the US, the Saudis and other Gulf States, but also the EU and NATO, is infringing ever more of Syrian territory, killing more civilians and causing a flood of refugees that are blocked from entering the EU – co-responsible for the massive Middle East destruction and misery.

The Saker: What is the complementary nature of the Russian and Chinese economies and what is the collaborative potential of these two economies?

Peter Koenig: What the different high level Russia-Saudi meetings might also have on their agenda, other than energy deals and weapon sales – is the Saudis taking an active role in helping demilitarizing the Middle East, particularly stopping sponsoring and arming ISIS and other anti-Syria terror groups – and seeking normalizing relations with Iran, both countries being close allies of Russia and China.

Russia and China have already a close association in mutual financial assistance with large currency swaps between the two central banks. They are also closely linked in trading, for which especially the recent huge gas deals testify. Russia has signed with China last year two enormous gas deals amounting to close to US$ 800 billion equivalent. The trade will take place in their respective local currencies not in US-dollars.

This and other hydrocarbon deals in currencies other than the US dollar will drastically reduce demand for the dollar and weaken even more the dollars credibility as a reserve currency. In 2000, international reserves were to more than 70% held in US dollar denominated securities. This figure has dropped in 2010 to 60% and is today rapidly approaching 50%. When the rate falls below the 50% mark, a flight out of the dollar may be expected.

Russia Inside and RT reported that Russia will issue in 2016 a new international payment card, the MIR card (MIR meaning peace around the world), in association with the Japanese JCB Credit Card system. When the new MIR card takes hold in the west, demand for the dollar and its credibility as a reserve currency will further drop. A collapse of the western fiat monetary system, the weapon of usurpation and destruction in so many countries around the globe, may be imminent.

Why did the Chinese currency ‘devalue’ and the Chinese stock exchange all but collapse? – Western media report as key responsibility a faltering Chinese economy. Look again: the Yuan was over-valued at the insistence of the US which made the Chinese central bank keep the Yuan fluctuating within a 2% ‘snake’ to the dollar, a request tolerated due to the enormous dollar reserves China holds, some US$ 1.6 trillion. Now the Bank of China has decided to let the Yuan ‘float’ to its natural value which will give it additional strength in the world market. This will make it more attractive as a world reserve currency – which is precisely what China is aiming for, namely that the Yuan will be admitted in the IMF’s SDR basket (Special Drawing Rights) which as of today consists of only four currencies- the US dollar, the British Pound, the Euro and the Japanese Yen. Adding the Yuan, would make the Yuan de facto an internationally accepted reserve currency, taking further weight away from the dollar.

As to the stock exchange – amazing is that western bankers propagandize a decline of the Chinese economy which by their own account (Bloomberg) is still growing at 7%, which is just what China wants. Knowing the impact the Shanghai stock exchange fluctuations have on the world markets, would not Chinese bankers be able, as their western counterparts often do, to ‘massage’ the Chinese bourse downwards, an indirect ‘sanction’ to the west – costing western investors and banks hundreds of billions of dollars, but changing hardly anything of China’s internal economy.

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, joined the Russian victory celebration over Nazi Germany on 9 May 2015 with Chinese honor guards parading alongside Russian troops. Similarly, Putin and Russian troops will join Xi in Beijing on 3 September to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Japanese capitulation, the end of WWII. This sends a clear message of a solid Russia-China defense alliance to the west. The recent expansion of the SCO in September 2014 in Tajikistan – admitting India, Pakistan, Iran to the economic and strategic military coalition further enhances the emergence of a new power in the east.

These observations of change may signal that a tectonic power shift, not only in the Middle East, but around the world may be not far away. It happens gradually, not overnight – allowing unaligned countries to prepare for the new era – an era of sovereign countries living in peace and social justice.

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, 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. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance

Foreign intervention has only worsened the situation in Syria.

In May 2014, the Syria Centre for Policy Research in Damascus released a report on the economic and social conditions in Syria. Its findings were staggering. More than half the country’s population lives in extreme poverty. Most school-age children no longer attend school, and 45 percent of its public hospitals are out of service.

By the time the report was published, almost 3 percent of the Syrian population had already been wounded or killed in the conflict. The carnage has only increased since.

As the human toll of the Syrian catastrophe spirals ever higher, one detail on which everyone can agree is that the situation is an ongoing tragedy. And the specter of humanitarian crisis has compelled every stripe of policymaker and pundit to call for some form of action — the need to do something.

But far too often the demand to “do something” sidesteps what has already been done — there is a foundational assumption that the ruin and bloodshed of this terrible war have been produced by inaction.

Take as an examphttps://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/08/syria-civil-war-nato-military-intervention/le Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel, heads of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver. Their edited collection, The Syria Dilemma, hopes to present an “array of contending perspectives [reflecting] the profound dilemma that Syria confronts us with.”

What perspectives have they set into contention with one another? Most are united by a call for some projection of American power. Familiar interventionist tropes are presented. Responsibility to Protect (R2P) receives frequent mention. The book cites the Bosnia example at least eight times, along with mentions of Rwanda.

This isn’t unique to discussions about Syria. Policy wonks, such as Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institute, see the example of Bosnia — indeed, of the total breakup of Yugoslavia — as a sound precedent for American policy goals in Syria. In a paper dated June 2015, O’Hanlon places Bosnia alongside Afghanistan and Somalia as a desirable model for the fragmentation he recommends for Syria.

In addition to a “confederate” Syria that could entail all-out partition, O’Hanlon calls for increased intervention in the form of guns and training provided to selected Syrian opposition outfits, protective safe zones governed by US troops, and the demolition of the existing government air force. For O’Hanlon, the problem with US policy in Syria is that it hasn’t gone nearly far enough.

Or, to try another example, there is Robert Kaplan’s recent article inForeign Policy proclaiming that the violence in which the Middle East is currently mired comes as the result of a “demonstrably hands-off approach” to recent events in the Middle East by an Obama administration that has neglected its role of “organizing and stabilizing the region.” News sources like CNN have, as late as August 2014, been asking why the US has not yet intervened in Syria as it has in Iraq.

All these narratives share either explicitly or implicitly a history of the Syrian conflict that simply does not hold up under critical scrutiny. Indeed, the official chronology of events in these pro-intervention narratives — about a peaceful revolution turned reluctantly to arms, and thus in need of a military savior — eclipses the actual, far more complicated one.

The Tropes of Interventionism

Indeed, calls for increased intervention have a long history in Syria. These appeals in the US press have long been tied to calls made within the Syrian opposition. They began early,within the first year, and often rather vociferously. But the signals regarding intervention from what was then the most influential exile opposition outfit, the Syrian National Council (SNC), were in the first year of the uprising muddy.

On the one hand, they claimed to oppose military intervention, but on the other, called on the “international community” to “protect the Syrian people.” Still, this SNC line was always clearer than any of their other demands, suggesting that intervention was for many a crucial piece of the vision for what they and its local Syrian allies called the Syrian revolution.

Another claim which reality complicates is the frequent one of how, when, and where the revolt turned to arms. The popular narrative in the United States, promoted by the US State Department, is one in which a people in the face of state repression turned to violence only when they had to. But that is not quite true. Violence and militarization from the opposition on the ground began quite early — during the first month of the uprising.

Joshua Landis, director for the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, for example, published information in April 2011 contradicting claims made in the Western press about nine Syrian soldiers shot and killed in Banyas. News outlets had reportedthat the soldiers were shot by Syrian Army officials for refusing to shoot on protesters.

Among the pieces of evidence that Landis brandished was testimony from Col. ’Uday Ahmad, who claimed that the soldiers, driving in a moving truck, were shot at from two directions — from a rooftop and from “behind the cement median of the highway.” Video footage corroborated the story.

Normally to bring forward such facts is to invite the suggestion that one is offering apologetics for the government of Bashar al-Assad. In fact, that has been a consistent leitmotif of Western and Arab debate over the conflict. As a result, that debate has gone forward without the necessary information to understand what exactly has been going on in Syria over the past four years.

That undigested information includes even the true extent of US involvement in Syria. When reports first emerged that the United States was sending troops to the Jordan-Syria border, the general response of the US left was a collective shrug. More reports emergedthat the US has been using its new Jordan base as a staging ground to train elements of the armed opposition. And from there, US arming of rebels has only increased in recent years.

These reports point not only to general conclusions, but also to specific questions: how large is the US base in Jordan and what exactly goes on there on a day-to-day basis?

Nowadays, fewer guesses are necessary as to the size and scope of this project. On June 12, the Washington Post published a story about “budget cuts” facing the CIA program for Syria. Shoehorned into the story was the disclosure that the initiative “has become one of the agency’s largest covert operations” to the tune of nearly $1 billion dollars a year, with “Syria-related operations [accounting] for about $1 for every $15 in the CIA’s overall budget” and the CIA having “trained and equipped nearly 10,000 fighters sent into Syria over the past several years — meaning that the agency is spending roughly $100,000 per year for every anti-Assad rebel who has gone through the program.”

In other words, the United States launched a full-scale war against Syria, and few Americans actually noticed.

Another major assumption driving calls for interventions is a belief that interventionist action and local Syrian revolutionary action are complementary. In order to stage this argument, commentators tend towards assuming rather than demonstrating that a revolution has been underway in Syria since 2011. Perhaps the core of this incoherence lies in the dedication of Hashemi’s and Postel’s book: “To the Syrian People.”

The abstract embrace of this people, in itself belying the concrete conditions of a four-year war, is connected to another leitmotif of Syria discussions: any refusal to replace analysis of the situation within the country and its relationship with broader international politics with a neat, generalized “will” of the people narrative is to deny Syrian “agency.”

Hashemi’s and Postel’s project stands with the Syrian people. But with which Syrian people exactly? Syria is gripped by war, and it is clear that large sectors of the lower classes, particularly those among the country’s ethnic and religious minorities, are still with the government.

The popular narrative of the People versus the Dictator — one piece in Hashemi’s and Postel’s book describes it as a conflict between “a dictatorship” and “a democratic opposition” — elides the reality of varying classes and sects with various social roles and politics.

This narrative is, in other words, a cartoon. More than that, it is a cartoon that overshadows the central contradiction currently at play in the Syrian situation: one between imperialists and various resistance movements, as well as the states supporting them.

This is not to say that works like The Syria Dilemma deny the internal divisions of Syria altogether. The reality of sectarianism is too obvious to ignore, and no responsible discussion of sectarianism in Syria can ignore the sectarian flavor of much of the Syrian opposition — the most powerful factions of which, from Jabhat al-Nusra to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, either pledge allegiance to al-Qaeda formally or, even in the case of portions of the US-backed “moderate” armed opposition, adopt many of its main attitudes and beliefs.

Discussing a US and Saudi-supported commander of the Syria Revolutionaries Front, Matthew Barber calls attention to his insistence on justifying opposition to ISIS on the grounds of anti-Shi’ism.

Barber insists that the problem with this justification is twofold: “first, no one has targeted Shiites with more violence than al-Qaida, and second, one of the defining features of al-Qaida’s immoral character is the intolerance that typifies their ideology.” Barber goes on to state that such logic demonstrates that “even the rebel enemies of ISIS are more influenced than they’d like to admit by the intolerant outlook of al-Qaeda itself.”

The armed opposition groups that hold the most territory are like-minded. Large swaths of central and eastern Syria are ruled by the Islamic State. Highly influential in Idlib and Aleppo are groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, and Ahrar al-Sham, now being marketed in mainstream US publications such as the Washington Post as a “moderate” organization worthy of US support. The two organizations work together routinely.

In Idlib particularly, Ahrar al-Sham delegated responsibilities for governance of Druze villages to Jabhat al-Nusra, which proceeded to massacre at least twenty Druze. The BBC has reported that “activists in Idlib have reported that Druze in Idlib have been subjected to religious persecution by al-Nusra with several hundred forced to convert to Sunni Islam.”

These dynamics present only one of the major challenges to anyone making claims of a Syrian revolution. The most politically determinant parties in war are, after all, armed actors. If the armed revolt in Syria is part of a revolutionary movement, why are the most powerful and influential actors among the armed forces bigoted?

Now, the sectarian question has always in one way or another exposed the domination of liberal academics in Middle East Studies through the sheer preponderance of opinions assuming sectarian conflict to be a permanent feature of the region.

Hashemi’s and Postel’s book may ultimately avoid this crude and popular determinism, but only to end up trading one major misbelief for several others. To begin, a piece in the book by Michael Ignatieff declares the Syrian government the sole cause of sectarianism when he calls it Assad’s “poisonous gift to Syria,” presumably because of the high representation rates of Alawis — the minority sect to which the Assad family belongs — throughout the Syrian government.

Ignatieff’s strategy is popular, wherein sectarian tensions in Syria are laid at the doorstep of the historically repressed Alawi minority sect — the target nowadays of open calls for genocide from segments of the armed opposition — and the Syrian government, with both entities treated as one another’s means of enforcement.

Certainly major positions in the Syrian state have long been occupied by Alawis. One reason dates back to the French colonial period, when Alawis — long kept from the levers of power — were encouraged to join the armed forces. Another dates back to the ascendency of theBa’ath Party in the 1960s, when rifts between Sunni party members opened up positions to Alawi officers. (Many Alawis, who were peasants, had been attracted to the Ba’ath Party for its emphasis on the peasantry.)

But for the claim that sectarianism was injected into Syria by Assad to stick, it must be proven that regular Alawis generally benefitteduniquely from the government’s rule. The evidence for this claim does not seem to exist, and at any rate Ignatieff does not seem in a hurry to provide it.

Likewise, the sectarianism cannot be pinned on Syria-supporter Iran, governed by a Shi’i Muslim government, which continues to negotiate its ties to the Sunni Islamic Jihad of Gaza (albeit, in an increasingly complicated environment) and sends arms and funds to the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

But these realities are often ignored, while Salafi supremacist sectarianism within opposition ranks in Syria is explained away: it exists, in the words of Hashemi’s and Postel’s introduction, at once “due to funding from Islamic charities in the Persian Gulf,” and due to “the absence of significant support from the international community for the opposition’s more democratic elements . . .”

In other words, sectarianism among the opposition exists both because of intervention and because of a lack of intervention. Once again, perhaps then the wisdom of intervention in Syria may be judged by the intervention that has already occurred: not only have “Islamic charities” armed and funded the opposition, but so haveentire states, including Saudi Arabia, which exploits sectarian Wahhabi ideology to dubious ends while maintaining ratheramenable geopolitical relations with Hashemi’s and Postel’s “international community,” i.e. the United States.

Alternatively, the sectarian elements that dominate the armed opposition in Syria are, according to one writer in The Syria Dilemma, Afra Jalabi, the result of a revolution “hijacked” by outside forces.

This is not entirely accurate, although to draw the relationship between local Syrian forces and outside imperil connivance has at times invited the charge of “conspiracy theory” — another leitmotif tossed at anti-imperialists in the course of debates about Syria.

Here it must be said that while international connivance against Syria — one involving varying degrees of coordination between the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and other parties — has played in important role in the tragedy before us, the ruin of Syria is really a product of these powers’ relationship with reactionary forces in Syria and elsewhere.

To be more specific, Saudi Arabia, which has intervened with sectarian propaganda years in advance of 2011 and also with arms and funds, has certainly accelerated the sectarianism seen now among opposition ranks, but it did not single-handedly create the class base for it. Rather, conspiracy proved successful precisely because imperialist forces had a local social base with which to work, even before troves of sectarian fighters began invading Syria from other countries.

Even the (by far) strongest entry in The Syria Dilemma, an anti-intervention effort from Aslı Ü. Bâli and Aziz Rana, fails to delineate the politics of the rebels in Syria. This particular article does prove an exception in the book, containing real strengths.

It states, against the spirit of the book’s introduction, that “it is intervention, not its absence, that fuels the blood-letting in Syria.” It endorses a negotiated political settlement with elements of the Syrian government as a path to peace.

All of this is to say that one cannot comprehensively understand the imperialist assault on Syria without undertaking a thorough analysis of Syrian society and recognizing who is who. Any serious review of recent events in Syria must attempt to grapple with the class basis of this armed insurgent movement: that is, both with the conditions that led to its creation and its general vision for Syrian society.

Therefore, a historical corrective is in order — one which gives justice to the dynamics of Syrian society, but also places them into the context of global capitalism.

The Major Political Players

Before a specific study of the origins of the armed sectarian insurgents in Syria can be advanced, a general analysis of the currently contending forces in Syrian society outside of the armed insurrection must first be set down.

The 2011 revolt was launched in three major layers: the protests in towns like Dara’a, Idlib, Homs, and Hama; the exile organizations in dialogue with the United States, namely the Syrian National Council (and now the National Syrian Coalition); and the violent agitations against the Syrian state, which eventually evolved into a total insurrection.

The protests began in the southern city of Dara’a, where anger stirredagainst the local head of security (a relative of Assad’s) following the arrest  of children writing anti-government graffiti. In response to the abuses extending from the state’s harsh security response to protests, the Syrian Communist Party backed calls for investigations into the state’s harsh crackdowns on protestors and called for reforms to reverse “the trend toward economic liberalization,” such as the full nationalization of several industries to prevent further infiltration of “private monopoly capital.”

In the case of both Syrian Communist Parties, historically victims of state repression in Syria, there was a call to oppose imperialist machinations against Syria, to oppose civil war, and for the implementation of economic and political reform.

Also active early on, as something of an alternative to the SNC, was the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCC), chaired by Hassan Abdel Azim. The NCC, unlike the SNC, maintained a staunch position against militarization of the Syrian opposition  and against foreign intervention.

As a Ya Libnan report from 2012 makes clear, the pro-revolution online voices launched a sustained campaign to paint the NCC, an organization with members who have been among the Syrian leftists jailed in government prisons, as capitulators.

The report noted that the NCC “rejects all forms of foreign military involvement, including arming the FSA” and that “it is common to see activists online charge the NCC and jihadist groups with the same unforgivable crime: collaboration with the mukhbarat, Syria’s hated internal intelligence services.”

A major component of the NCC’s prescience regarding the effects of foreign intervention was not only its theoretical rejection of militarization as a plan easily exploited by outside powers, but also its rejection of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) — the initial name for military opposition in Syria — as an entity. The outfit was not, the NCC stated, representative of the country’s best interests.

In 2012, the NCC released a statement on conclusions reached at an opposition conference in Cairo. In addition to blaming the government for fomenting sectarian violence and declaring solidarity with Syrian Kurds, the statement emphasized that the FSA was not subject to checks within the opposition, betraying opposition groups and declaring itself sole representative of the opposition; that it destabilized the country with violence, opening up space for sectarianism; allowed for infiltration of foreign and jihadist groups; opened itself up to splintering and factionalism; and lacked the power to carry out its fight, allowing it to be easily co-opted.

The NCC does not deserve dismissal, as it is, unlike the exile SNC, Syria-based; it must live with the material consequences of whatever political path it decides to pursue. From the beginning, it has forwarded conditions for dialogue with the Syrian government, a prescience that has now been extended into a path for a war-ending solution. Dialogue is no less the route to a solution today.

The NCC and the SNC were defined by a larger split between leftism and liberalism, with the latter speaking exclusively of liberal human rights and a “civil state.” Expressing an anti-capitalist politics, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which developed in 2003 amid intense repression from Syrian security forces and out of a history of Ba’athist denial of Kurdish national claims, tentatively took the side of the Syrian state against the opposition movement.

This early decision is an important example of how exactly the question of intervention, and the related issue of Syrian sovereignty, formed the primary bases for the dawning divisions of the war.

The PYD’s decision was an immediate matter of survival, made in partial response to the SNC’s decision to deny Kurdish requests for autonomy to appease Turkey, the historic enemy of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), of which the PYD is an affiliate.

Here the call for intervention entailed an exclusivist vision, one that illuminates one of the many threats intervention posed: between its implementation and anti-Kurdish racism, one went with the other.

In stark contrast, the PYD has forwarded an inclusive vision — a commune — for Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Turkmen, Chaldeans and others. The space for this revolutionary project was created in opposition to the movement that was labeled revolutionary in Western media, including the Free Syrian Army.

Amid the brutal sectarian strife across Syria and the Middle East, the PYD’s project in Rojava has over the past year understandably appeared as a spark of hope to many leftists in the West. Their admiration is not misplaced.

But it must still be said that the future of Rojava very much rests on how much room the PYD decides to give to the United States as it considers exploiting the party to deepen divides in Syria. If that room is too spacious, the PYD will compromise more than its anti-imperialism.

The position of tentative support for the state was also generally adopted by both ethnic and religious minorities, includingArmenians, Alawis, and Christians. As Joshua Landis has commented, Bashar al-Assad “very much has a power base. The core constituency, of course, are Alawite Syrians, about 12 percent of the country, 3 million people, give or take. Christians, another 5 to 6 percent, support him but are not carrying a lot of water. So [are] the Druze and other religious minorities that make up 20 percent of Syria.”

According to the thesis of The Syria Dilemma, the chief blame for these decisions would fall on these minority groups for following the sectarian logic of the Syrian government. Consider another possibility: these people knew things about the armed revolt that others did not.

Any understanding of the ways in which these events — the armed insurgency, the protests, the calls for intervention — and political bodies interacted with each other cannot be separated from the structural elements that produced them. These elements existed within the overlapping realms of politics and religion at once, with class at the core of it all.

The Origins of Revolt

The Ba’ath Party, in its initial years, organized along class lines with a broadly populist program and, more so than is the case now, was staunchly secularist.

Although capitalist classes increased their influence in Syria after Bashar’s financialization of the country’s economy, and before that with Hafez’s liberalization in the early 1990s, the Ba’ath Party established its legacy in the countryside. The Arab Socialist Party, which would merge with the Ba’athists in 1952, was the first organization to politically organize the rural territories of Syria.

This policy did not make the Ba’ath Party socialist in any meaningful sense — it never opposed private property or carried out deep structural reforms, even though it did redistribute wealth and, in the words of a report by Raymond Hinnebusch, “block the bourgeoisie from reasserting control over the bulk of the agrarian surplus which in part was retained by the peasantry.”

The Ba’ath’s empowerment of the peasantry challenged the stakes of some of the largest landowners. Underneath that broad conflict, a struggle ensued within the Ba’ath Party from 1963 to 1970 between Hafez al-Assad and Salah Jadid. The battle between these two men is often described as one between a pragmatist (al-Assad) and an ideologue (Jadid). Indeed, Jadid’s government was likely the most radical in Syrian history, described by historian Sonoko Sunayama as “menacing pro-Western Arab regimes.”

But both men, Assad and Jadid were pragmatic when it came to internal politics. Jadid made calculations according to political necessity. In the 1960s, for instance, Jadid, then head of the Ba’ath Party, cracked down on the left-wing Armed Workers’ Battalions, which had even acted as an unofficial enforcement wing for the government during periods of political turbulence. He had tacitly allowed for the battalions’ formation only a few years prior.

The significance of Assad and Jadid’s disagreements rested in the fact that they appealed to slightly different social bases. Jadid sought to deepen socialist gains within the countryside, while Assad gained tentative support in the cities. In 1970, Assad, then defense minister of the party, launched a coup against Jadid and his loyalists. Jadid would go on to die in Syrian prison in 1993.

In the immediate aftermath of the coup, urban merchants, in an account offered by Hanna Batatu, “sent demonstrators into the streets of the big cities with banners that read: ‘We implored God for Aid—al-Madad. He sent us Hafiz al-Asad!’” The manner in which Assad came to power, and the classes he sought to buttress in order to make it happen, would prove a good predictor for the ways in which classes would ultimately shift and change under his rule.

When examined in aggregate, these conflicts — the ideological and class tensions tied into the inter-Ba’ath rifts — can offer some idea of the Syrian Ba’ath Party’s place in Middle Eastern political history. Formed against the backdrop of Pan-Arabism and popular support for the independence and postcolonial state-building that movement represented, Ba’athism was part of a progressive wave, even as it stomped out political parties more progressive than itself.

In this sense, the Syrian Arab Republic has historically embodied both the innovations and the limitations of the nation-state itself, increasing literacy rates in the countryside through centralization of political power while co-opting and repressing the more radical social movements that made literacy a priority in the first place.

The CIA at one point even backed the Ba’ath Party as part of an anticommunist push. Given that the Ba’ath Party has historically found itself in conflict with both communists and feudal landowners, and the United States supported Ba’athists against communists, it would be safe to assume the any movement the US backs against the Ba’athists would be more akin to feudal landowners, with all of the political and economic baggage that class carries.

In other words, this devolution of Syria is necessarily an objective as well as subjective, economic as well as social, material as well as ideological phenomenon. In turn, the lack of working-class participation in the state as it mediated social change through the management of capital ensured the solidification of bourgeois regimes under the Arab socialist project. Nonetheless, the military incursions of the West have historically decreased, rather than increased, working-class participation in the state.

Class

The social base for the armed insurgency in Syria arose out of a meeting point between revanchist resentment harnessed by the old bourgeoisie in the aftermath of populist land reform; the increased loss of class position for the old bourgeoisie against the creation of a financial elite; and the emergence of a poor, mostly Sunni, rural migrant class from the breakdown of the government’s social pact with the countryside.

According to Volker Perthes,

“the roots of Syria’s old bourgeoisie can be traced back to the ‘landowning bureaucratic class’ of the late Ottoman period, those influential families of local notables and Turkish officials that owned estates, and were active in commerce and government and in the religious establishment.”

Later,

“the land reform law of the United Arab Republic (uniting Syria and Egypt) struck the first blow against the old bourgeoisie, limiting its property and influence in the countryside. When the Baath took power in a 1963 coup, the new rulers, whose origins were mainly middle-class, pushed the old (socially conservative and religious) bourgeoisie out of government.”

As Bassam Haddad adds, the Syrian state under Hafez al-Assad reached out to select businessmen as a way of making inroads with old Sunni elites, a tactic that “bore political fruit in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the regime faced a revolt led by the Muslim Brothers. Asad had enacted a series of policies that harmed the interests of the Brothers’ cadre and constituents in the traditional suq(market) and other small traders and artisans.”

These alliances became doubly important as the Ba’athists implemented more policies that “caused especially profound resentment in the conservative Sunni quarters of Syrian cities” and escalated “tensions between the state and small business owners with Sunni Islamist leanings.”

This tension produced kernels of sectarianism before 2011. Quoting Haddad on changes in societal attitudes before the 1970s:

Big business, notably merchants and religious groups, was most affected [by early Ba’ath policies]. Antirural and anti-Alawi attitudes and jokes proliferated in the private popular culture of the cities, signaling the beginning of a shift in the perception of the nature of the conflict — especially from the perspective of hardliners within and outside the regime — from a class-oriented to a socio-communal conflict.

Accompanying the state-assisted creation of a new bourgeoisie, a budding business elite in Damascus and Aleppo that was dependent on the influx of international capital into nascent markets, was a breakdown of the government’s traditional pact with the countryside.

As the Syrian Center for Policy Research’s important paper “Socioeconomic Roots and Impact of the Syrian Crisis” states, “Within Syria, poverty was more concentrated in the Eastern and Northern regions, and especially in the rural areas.” The text goes on to say that reduction in arable land brought on by drought, which roughly occurred between 2006 and 2010, was a major contributor to this poverty .

Post-2011 sanctions only made matters worse for Syrian workers:

The sanctions led to a shortage in diesel and fuel gas for home use, and to surge the prices of oil derivatives by about 200 percent. Using input/output model to simulate the impact of the oil derivatives prices increase due to sanctions, the report estimated a reduction in the real GDP by 6 percent, a reduction in the private consumptions by 10.7 percent, and an increase the CPI by the same percentage. Prices increase harmed the real expenditure of the households unequally; since the negative impact on the poorest was higher than the richest . . . This increase in prices affected mainly the basic goods which formed a major part of the vulnerable and poor households’ consumptions weakening their food securities and standard of livings.

The countries that have participated in the sanctions against Syria include the US, whose first sanctions were inflicted in 2003, the European Union, Australia, Canada, and most of the Arab League. In other words, Syria has been starved by the very international community that Danny Postel calls on to save it from starvation by military force.

On account of the harsh economic realities faced by Syrians, protests broke out in 2011, primarily among the rural poor and recent migrants from rural areas to cities in the south of the country. But the protests faced a problem that never came close to any resolution: they lacked a vision and, therefore, any revolutionary agent.

Haddad, highly critical of the Syrian government, pointed this difficult reality out when he wrote an “idiot’s guide” to opposing both Assad and military intervention: “First, I must admit that the tenor of the position elaborated in [my argument] lacks a clear agency (e.g., an institution, party or movement) that might convert [the uprising] to a real and actionable path.”

The consequences of this omission has been that the imperialist forces long setting on Syria — as put by Haddad in the same article, those forces that saw “taking out Syria . . . would weaken Hizballah and isolate Iran, the big prize” — have succeeded in achieving some rather horrifying goals.

Religion

The fact that the influence of the Sunni ‘ulama has increased in Syria since the revolt of the 1980s — and it has — is not as important as the fact that the influence of Salafi and Gulf-backed rhetoric has specifically increased.

Important members of the Syrian clerical class have long held relationships with the state of Saudi Arabia, although the ‘ulama of the early twentieth century depended primarily on Syria-based private capital derived from the merchant class to fund their activities.

When the Ba’ath Party first came to power in 1963, it generated the resentment of both the merchants and the clerical classes. It was simultaneously adverse to the profits of the industrial class, which it frustrated with its nationalizations, and to the merchant-linked Sunni clerical class, which it frustrated with its steadfast secularism.

For instance, in her account of Syria-Saudi relations, Sunayama notes that the Ba’ath Party’s earliest reforms resulted in a “Syrian community in Saudi Arabia who had immigrated in thousands since the 1960s.”

These immigrants “consisted mainly of traditional landowners and entrepreneurs” who “suffered material losses” due to Ba’ath nationalization as well as political repression for their affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood. These exile Syrians funded religious opposition movements in Syria through “private donations.”

One consequence of the Ba’athists’ initial refusal to incorporate preachers into its political processes was that any institutionalization of religious activity happened outside the direct control of the state.

The Ba’ath Party felt it necessary to reverse these trends later on, to incorporate a preacher class within its mainstream institutions after the late 1970s and early 1980s, after an armed uprising against the state occurred. The forces that orchestrated this uprising represented the vanguard of the right-wing attitudes, turning class tensions into sociocultural ones, operating within Syria.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood traditionally stood as the most politically organized expression of these attitudes, but it was always but one expression, that is, one aspect of a larger political current. The activities of the Brotherhood have often overlapped with those of other conservative religious currents.

For example, Issam al-Attar, the leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood from 1961 to 1980, took up an expressly Salafi line of thought, which has proved highly influential in the current armed Syrian opposition ranks.

These currents are by no means interchangeable, although they have historically coordinated in Syria in anti-government campaigns.

During the period of turmoil from 1979 to 1982, the group through which ‘ulema and “lay Islamists” united, according to Thomas Pierret’s Religion and State in Syria: The Sunni Ulama from Coup to Revolution, was called the Islamic Front in Syria. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood was part of this outfit, which was established in Saudi Arabia.

Eventually the Muslim Brotherhood engaged in violent confrontation with the Syrian state after events spiraled into open warfare, but the organization that headed most military operations was called the Fighting Vanguard, funded by supporters of the fundamentalist Marwan Hadid. Its first attack was carried out in June 1979, when it massacred eighty-three Alawis at Aleppo Artillery School.

These moments demonstrate that violence from the opposition in Syria did not begin in 2011. In fact, Hadid — after whom a rebel brigade that attacked Lebanon with rockets during the current strife was named — embraced selective assassination of state officials as a tactic as far back as the 1970s. This tactic reappeared in 2011. Likewise, leaders such as Adnan Sa’ad al-Din and Said Hawwa called for armed jihad against the government as early as the 1960s.

After the fighting in the early 1980s, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood increased efforts towards diplomatic relations with the state. With the outbreak of protests in 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood entered into more direct dialogue with the Western press, as its exiles played a substantial role in the SNC, formed in Turkey, along with liberals with an opportunist attitude towards the Muslim Brotherhood.

While the Muslim Brotherhood was slowly modifying its own role in Syrian politics, the influence of the Salafis within both Syria and the larger the Middle East quietly increased.

The growing capitalist economic base of Syria contributed to the creation of an internally displaced  Sunni population that was in some quarters receptive to a Salafi ideology as a reaction to what Haddad describes as Syria’s “socialist-nationalist superstructure.”

This reactionary ideology, which claims itself “true Islam,” achieves stark expression whenever ISIS fighters burn Palestinian flags for the supposedly “un-Islamic” nature of Palestinian nationalism.

This ideology was distributed by, in the words of Pierret, “the spread of Egyptian Salafi journals… Wahhabi proselytizing through Syrian-Saudi trade networks . . .” As Pierret writes: “Now more than after, it has become impossible to seal [Syria] against the vehicles of Salafi conceptions — in particular, migrants returning from the Gulf and mass media such as the Internet and satellite channels.”

And so the available evidence suggests that as the conservative Muslim Brotherhood delved further into traditional politics, more reactionary elements were making gains on the ground, or, in the words of Pierret, “at the grassroots level.”

Some of those gains were militaristic in nature. When armed operations against the Syrian state finally caught the attention of Western media in 2011, they were carried out under a catchall title of “Free Syrian Army.”

The politics of those early brigades remain murky. As far as the FSA was an actual organized force, as the armed wing of the SNC, it failed to proclaim much of a political program beyond its promise to kill Bashar al-Assad in a manner reminiscent of the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya (along with its calls for foreign assistance, even as it operated within Southern Turkey).

Now it barely exists — and is more of an idea or umbrella heading than an actual organization. Among those groups that have replaced it in influence is the Nusra Front, formed in January 2012, which began as a branch of the FSA.

The bigotries of this social base gained more teeth from outside forces seeking to capitalize on internal divisions within the country. The reason why imperialists are willing to supply these forces is clear. As Amal Saad-Ghorayeb writes in Hizbu’llah: Politics and Religion, they “view their local regimes as their immediate enemy,” in contrast to, say, Hezbollah, which “perceives Israel as the much greater threat.”

Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States worked in conjunction to flood the country with guns, widen the specter of war, and halt the development of a country governed by an unreliable regime.

If it is true that Syria became a conduit for international finance and contained for a time a growing capitalist economic base, the question arises of what exactly makes it “unreliable” to imperialist powers . The answer lies, naturally, at both the levels of economics and politics.

In 2011, the encroachment of international finance capital into Syria was not complete. Haddad writes that “the lack of trust between the regime and the business community, based on deep-seated historical antagonisms,” prevented the kind of total union between the two interests that had come together in Middle East states such as Egypt.

This antagonism would allow for the Syrian government to honor at least some of its populist promises in ways that were not true of other Arab states. Among those promises is the cause of Arab resistance to Zionism and imperialism. For this reason Syria funded Hezbollah, a Lebanese guerilla army that proved in 2006 to be Israel’s most formidable military enemy in history.

The whole of these outside countries’ investment in the destruction of Syria can quite plainly be called imperialism. The Syria Dilemma, with all of its invocations of intervention, never approximates an analysis of imperialism.

If intervention is cautioned against, it is only because it will not succeed in stopping the bloodshed or because the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan ended up disastrous. Intervention is opposed on pragmatic or cost-benefit grounds. The right of the United States to determine the affairs of others is never questioned.

What Can Be Done?

Here is the latest news, as of this writing. Israel bombs Syria in repeated attempts to disrupt the organizational capacity of the Lebanese resistance movementHezbollah, which finds itself engaged in struggle against jihadists of the Syrian opposition.

Reports have emerged that Israel is coordinating with rebels and even operating within and around occupied Golan Heights under a tacit pact with al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in an anti-Hezbollah push. In fact, the night the United States began bombing Syria, ostensibly to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, Israel downed a Syrian fighter jet using US-supplied Patriot missiles.

Israel’s activities in Syria have reignited tensions around an often neglected aspect of Israeli occupation — its military rule in southeastern Syria. In January 2015, Israel assassinated Hezbollah and Iranian commanders in Syria, rupturing the 1974 Agreement on Disengagement signed between Israel and Syria.

Hezbollah has responded by trying to formulate a military resistance against Israel in southern Syria. Israel, grounded as it is in settler-colonialism, will look to extending its grip in the Golan Heights and possibly even to expanding — perhaps with the protection of the Druze community in Golan from its own rebel proxies as a justification.

In the northern end of the country, Turkey withheld full cooperation with the US during the latter’s bombing of ISIS approaching Syrian Kurdistan in February 2015. The US, in addition to dropping bombs, dropped aid finding its way both into the hands of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the fighting unit of the PYD, as well as ISIS.

Since that period, evidence has mounted of Turkey allowing ISIS fighters to flow into Syria while it cracks down on cross-border exchanges of men and supplies between Kurdish fighters and their non-Kurdish leftist comrades. This policy is in line with Erdogan’s expressed fears of what he calls the Kurdish “terrorists” of the YPG as it makes gains on ISIS in the border town of Tal Abyad.

Turkey’s policy of supporting armed revanchists in the Syrian war is long-standing: last year, documents revealed that Turkey assisted al-Qaeda organizations in their takeover of the predominantly Armenian town of Kessab.

This direct intervention, from the bombs to the aid, should be understood as a strategy for war that is, in effect, against Syrian society as a whole, though it is in aim a war against the Syrian Arab Republic.

These intentions continue to be made clear, even as the US bombs enemies of the Syrian state, for the US’s plan for bombing those enemies involves the training of more “anti-Assad” rebels in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Not to mention, the US continues to make noise about the possibility of a no-fly zone in Northern Syria, which would require a defeat of Syrian air defense systems.

The implementation of such a plan would require compromise between the US and Turkey on the Kurdish question. Both parties will push to sever Kurdish leadership in Syria from the leftist Kurdish PKK in Turkey. If the PYD’s radicalism is sufficiently hollowed out, it is not at all outside the realm of possibility that NATO-aligned powers use the Kurdish movement to establish a military and economic base in Northern Syria, as they did in Iraq.

Alternatively, if the Syrian Army is destroyed, Rojava will be easily overrun by armed Salafi movements — a scenario the US could use to try to justify a military protectorate in Syria. Every such imperial contingency plan should be opposed.

With these developments in mind, it becomes clear that the war in Syria exists on two levels that interact with each other. There is a civil war based on divides between Syrians professing differing ideas for the future of the country. Then there is the imperial war on Syria designed to bring local social struggle to a screeching halt, and without the war on Syria, the civil war would never have got going.

The class basis for the armed insurgency has existed for a while now; the critical difference since 2011 has been the investments of empire.

To call these events “revolutionary,” rather than a set of depressing steps backward, is to insult the intelligence and integrity of anyone who prefers that word mean something. And it prevents an understanding of what should be done — the question of what to do is actually a question of what not to do, or what to cease doing. For local struggle of any kind to be restoredthe US and its allies must stop what they have been doing proxy-style — arming reserve forces in the region — since at least 2011.

If the supplies to anti-government fighters can be cut off in Syria, negotiations for a political solution will be more meaningful. Leftists could actually find themselves in a position to agitate for the reforms demanded in 2011: more representation in government, deep political reform and civil rights, a negotiated settlement with the Syrian state for Kurdish political autonomy that maintains the current movement’s secularism and socialist economic program, and a renewed development pact between the state and the countryside that will, hopefully, serve to cut off support for reactionary movements.

In the United States, our main focus must be struggling against the intervention of our own government, drawing links between its actions in Syria and its broader agenda elsewhere.

Of course, such a solution cannot begin to recompense the heart-shattering extent of pain and loss Syria has experienced. The fact that such a solution is so devastatingly belated only adds to its urgency.

Towards these ends, the Western left shall be stuck with the tedious task of untangling the logic of amnesiac little books and Beltway policy papers discussing the carve-up of distant nations as if it were a trivial matter.

And the task does not end there. The Syria dilemma provides a lesson to the Western left. In a society run on marketing, the Left’s own words, such as “revolution,” can easily be gutted of all content, so all that remains is a rush, a haze, a feeling. Images of triumphant demonstrators may mingle seamlessly with images of corpses, the spectacle flitting past like a ticker tape, billed in its totality as the news from Over There.

If those dubbing this spectacle a “revolution” happen to be capitalists, think twice — consider that these events might look much differently after the smoke clears. Think three times if the alleged culprit is a nominal enemy of the United States.

The obligation goes well beyond opposing intervention in name; it requires extreme skepticism at all times of official narratives to be able to unearth intervention as it actually and already exists. In other words, act as an actual anti-imperialist.

Patrick Higgins is a writer and Palestine solidarity organizer.

The Saudi-led, US-backed assault on Yemen, now entering its sixth month, continues to take a devastating toll on the country’s civilian population. At least 36 workers were reported killed Sunday after a Saudi-led coalition jet fighter bombed a water -bottling factory in the Abs District of Hajjah Governorate.

Local residents said that dozens of workers had been killed and reported pulling charred remains from the rubble of the plant. “The process of recovering the bodies is finished now. The corpses of 36 workers, many of them burnt or in pieces, were pulled out after an air strike hit the plant this morning,” Hajjah resident Issah Ahmed told Reuters in a phone interview.

This bloody war crime was the latest in a string of airstrikes that have resulted in mass civilian casualties in the Saudi-spearheaded war against the Houthi militias and allied forces. A bombing raid on a dairy and juicing factory in the western port city of Hodeida in April killed at least 37 workers and injured 80 others. Since the anti-Houthi offensive began in March, more than 4,300 have been killed, at least half of them civilians.

Residential neighborhoods, factories, ports, schools, hospitals and markets have all been the targets of Saudi-led bombing raids as the coalition, fully backed by the US government, seeks to bring President Abd Rabbuh Monsour Hadi back to power.

Amnesty International released a report last month which documented potential “war crimes, by all parties,” including coalition bombing raids on a school being used as a shelter, a food market and a workers’ dormitory.

With the support of military forces loyal to former dictator Ali Abduallah Saleh, the Houthi militias consolidated control over much of Yemen’s western provinces in March, including the southern port city of Aden. They forced Hadi to flee the country for Saudi Arabia, where he established a government-in-exile. The Saudis have charged that Iran is backing the Houthis, though Iran has denied providing military equipment.

Facilitated by US military intelligence, logistical support and air tankers to refuel jets, the campaign of nearly continuous airstrikes has been supplemented in recent weeks by a growing ground invasion involving troops from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as well as Yemeni forces trained by the Saudis.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that troops from the UAE have been secretly leading the fight in southern Yemen since late July. Nearly 100 UAE troops with unmarked armored vehicles were deployed in Aden and have played a key role in pushing the Houthis out of the city.

The coalition is reportedly preparing a bloodbath in northern Yemen by setting up a three-pronged assault from Saada province in the north, Marib province in the east and Jawf province in the northeast. Several thousand UAE and Saudi forces, along with battle tanks and other armored vehicles, have already been deployed inside Yemen.

The Saudi coalition is reportedly calculating that a successful assault on the Houthi stronghold of Saada would deal a fatal blow to the anti-Hadi forces and would facilitate the recapture of Sanaa.

Over the last week, Saudi coalition ground forces have also begun entering Yemen from the northeast and have reached the oil-rich Marib province, which provides Sanaa with electricity and fuel. It is also adjacent to the Al Jawf Governorate, where Houthi forces have reportedly set up trenches and planted mines in preparation for a ground battle.

The Saudi-backed Asharq Al Awsat reported on Monday that Saudi-led ground forces have initiated the third prong of the ground invasion, moving troops into Saada province. The troops have entrenched in tribal areas outside of the city of Saada, while Saudi planes have been dropping leaflets encouraging residents to support the reinstatement of the Hadi government.

The UN and other humanitarian groups have released repeated statements over the last five months warning of a dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen as a result of the unrelenting aerial assault and blockade of the country. The UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, warned in June that the country was “one step away from famine.”

More than a million people have been displaced by the fighting. Approximately 21 million people, or 80 percent of the total population, lack access to clean drinking water and are in need of some additional form of humanitarian aid.

International charity Save the Children warned on Sunday that Al Sabeen Hospital, the main women and children’s hospital in Sanaa, is faced with imminent closure due to a shortage of medical supplies and fuel for power generators. The hospital has already run out of IV fluid and ready-made food for malnourished children.

“The situation is absolutely critical. We don’t have time to wait for stocks and fuel to come in. If this hospital closes, children and women will die,” the hospital’s deputy manager, Halel Al Bahri, told Save the Children. “The numbers of those who die will be much higher than those being killed by the bombs and the fighting.”

Since the Saudi-led assault began earlier this year, the number of people in Yemen who lack access to basic health care has increased by 40 percent to 15.2 million. The number of children admitted to Yemeni hospitals for malnutrition since March has skyrocketed by 150 percent. It is estimated that more than half a million children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition by the end of the year.

A self-declared Israeli Sanhedrin, a religious High Court composed of 71 sages, has demanded that Pope Francis apologise for recognising a separate Palestinian state or face trial next month.

A member of the Palestinian Al-Fatah movement revolutionary council, Demetri Deliani, said the Jewish court has sent a letter to Pope Francis demanding he rescind or face trial on 20 September, and that he will be judged in absentia if he chooses to ignore the summons.

The Vatican officially recognised the State of Palestine in February 2013.

In June, the Holy See switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestinian Liberation Organisation to “the state of Palestine” in a treaty that constitutes the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state.

Pope Francis

Under Pope Francis’ leadership, the Vatican signed it’s first treaty with the State of Palestine in June this year, despite having recognised the State of Palestine in February 2013

Deliani said the Sanhedrin’s letter included many false claims about the history of Palestine and seeks to rob the Palestinian people of their natural rights in their homeland and to deny non-Jews of any rights.

He warned that although the court does not have any legal status, it is troubling that this level of ideological extremism emerges from rabbis who have a significant impact on the Israeli government and its coalition parties.

The letter was signed by the Secretariat of the Court of Mount Zion, including Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, Rabbi Dov Levanoni, Rabbi Israel Ariel, Rabbi Daniel Stavsky, Rabbi Yehuda Edri, and Rabbi Dov Meir Shtein.

The Israeli government has not commented on the letter.

Deliani called on the Vatican and Catholic churches around the world to intervene and put an end to Israeli “arrogance, racism and violations” against the Palestinian people and their land.

Source: Felesteen, 30 August, 2015, translated from Arabic

The 2016 US Election and the Scapegoating of Immigrants

September 1st, 2015 by Bill Van Auken

New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie proposed over the weekend that Washington institute a system of control over foreigners entering the country akin to the methods used by the express shipping company Fedex to track its packages. This Orwellian scheme, evoking the branding and police-state hounding of everyone visiting the US, is one more contribution to a 2016 US presidential debate that expresses complete contempt for democratic rights and a seething hatred within ruling circles for workers of every nationality.

Christie’s appeal to anti-immigrant chauvinism and xenophobia came in the same week that his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, raised the need for not only sealing off the US southern border with Mexico, but constructing a wall along the 5,525-mile-long border with Canada to the north.

Meanwhile, a phony furor has been whipped up over the use by both Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, a candidate for the Republican nomination, of the word “boxcar” in referring to proposals for the mass deportation of over 11 million undocumented immigrants who live and work in the US. Clinton’s press aide was compelled to issue a statement affirming that she did not intend any allusion to the trains the Nazis used to send Jews to Auschwitz and other death camps.

This strained disavowal only draws attention to the fact that campaign stump speeches in the US in 2015 are echoing the rhetoric of 1930s-style fascism.

Donald Trump, the bloated, bullying billionaire and current Republican front-runner, has set the tone for this rabid scapegoating of immigrant workers. Slandering immigrants, who do the most grinding and ill-paid work, from the agricultural fields to the slaughterhouses, as “rapists” and “murderers,” Trump has demanded that they be rounded up and deported en masse.

He also advocates the building of a wall along the US-Mexican border—paid for by seizing the remittances sent by immigrants working in the US to support their families—and the revocation of citizenship for immigrants’ children born on US soil.

This last measure has either been endorsed or sidestepped by virtually the entire Republican pack. Jeb Bush, who has attacked Trump’s plan based on its cost rather than its gross inhumanity, vowed that his own plan would effectively seal the border “so that you don’t have these, you know, ‘anchor babies’, as they’re described, coming into the country.”

With all of the arrogance, raw prejudice and stupidity that he brings to every subject, Trump has described the citizenship of these children as “illegal.”

In reality, citizenship rights for everyone born in the US, no matter what the status of their parents, has stood as a foundation of American bourgeois democracy for nearly a century and a half. Enshrined in the 14th Amendment, this right was a product of the Civil War and the overturning of the Supreme Court’s hated Dred Scott decision of 1857, which found that African-Americans were “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

The first sentence of the first section of this article of the US Constitution, establishing the bedrock for the assertion of equal rights, reads:  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The determination of citizenship based on “soil,” or place of birth, rather than “blood,” or the nationality of one’s parents, was rooted in the principles of the American and French Revolutions and was what distinguished the US from Europe’s old monarchies and empires.

Attempts by the Democratic presidential candidates to exploit the Republicans’ anti-immigrant tirade for their own electoral purposes are as hollow as they are hypocritical.

In her speech last week to the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton denounced the Republicans for saying “hateful things about immigrants and their babies,” while her contender for the presidential nomination, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, insisted that the symbol of the US must be “the Statue of Liberty, not a barbed wire fence.”

In the real world, however, both support the current Democratic administration, which has driven deportations to record levels, expelling close to 3 million undocumented immigrants since Obama came to office promising immigration reform within 100 days. This deportation rate is nine times higher than 20 years ago.

Over the course of the past month, the administration has sent its lawyers into federal court to defend an illegal and inhuman system of jailing behind barbed wire fences thousands of children and their mothers who fled to the US to escape rampant violence in Central America.

The White House and Department of Homeland Security want to maintain this system, which reproduces the methods of Guantanamo and is described by some who worked in it as tantamount to torture. It is a means of deterring others from attempting to flee the horrific conditions created by decades of US-backed dictatorships, dirty wars and military coups, and of denying those who reach the US border their right to asylum.

The rhetoric of the Republicans and the deeds of the Democratic administration are of a piece with the attempts by governments across the Atlantic to erect a “Fortress Europe” to repel by force the hundreds of thousands of defenseless refugees fleeing for their lives from the devastation and bloodshed wrought by the succession of US-led wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. On both continents, the mistreatment and witch-hunting of immigrants is one of the rawest and most tragic expressions of the incompatibility of world economy with the outmoded and reactionary capitalist nation-state system.

Capitalism can provide no answer to the reality of mass global migration outside of violent repression, detention camps and mass deportations. The big-business politicians and media attempt to generate support for these odious methods by scapegoating immigrants for the loss of jobs, wages and vital social services that are produced by the crisis of the profit system.

These claims, made by candidates ranging from Trump to the Democratic “socialist” Bernie Sanders, are deserving only of contempt. There are resources to provide for all—native born and immigrant alike—but they are monopolized by a financial oligarchy that has enriched itself off of the destruction of the living standards of working people.

The defense of the democratic right of immigration and opposition to the police-state measures advocated by Trump and employed by Obama is a vital task of the working class as a whole, which is the ultimate target of the methods being honed in the crusade against immigrant workers.

Destabilization of Africa, the Middle East and Asia prompts millions to flee

There was yet another gruesome discovery of over 70 dead migrants in Austria on a highway between Budapest and Vienna where thousands are seeking refuge. These deaths compounded approximately 100 others who died after their vessel capsized in route to Europe.

Inside the truck in Austria people had apparently suffocated while being illegally transported from the Mediterranean into Southern and Eastern Europe.

Austrian governmental officials announced on August 28 that 71 refugees, including an infant girl, were found dead in what appeared to be an abandoned freezer truck.  During the same day Libyan naval units recovered the bodies of 105 migrants who were washed ashore apparently after an overcrowded boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea on its way to Europe.

These deaths are occurring due an upsurge in migrants running away from war and poverty that has been initiated by United States and European Union foreign policies.  United Nations officials and other international agencies concerned with migration have reported since last year that the number of internally displaced persons and refugees are higher today than any period since the conclusion of World War II.

The International Organization for Migration has revealed that over 330,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year. Consequently, the number deaths are ranging in the thousands and there no reasons to believe that more of these tragedies will not occur in the short term.

Impact of Imperialist Wars Span Several Continents

These recent mass deaths are by no means isolated incidents. A pattern of dislocation has been rising steadily since the wars of regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Nigeria from 2001 until the present.

Also the growing class divisions and economic difficulties in other Asian and African states are creating tensions which foster migration. Some of the states which are impacted by this global crisis include Morocco in North Africa, Nigeria in West Africa and Bangladesh in South Asia.

When the U.S. and its NATO allies went to war against the Taliban government in Afghanistan they claimed that it was designed to end “terrorism” and ensure stability in Central Asia.

However, some fourteen years later hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives in both Afghanistan and Pakistan with many more leaving the country as a result of the ongoing fighting between forces in support and in opposition to the Washington-imposed regime in Kabul.

Going back over 35 years, the U.S. waged a war against the socialist-oriented government in Afghanistan that was supported by the-then Soviet Union. Washington funded, trained and coordinated Islamic fighters which led to the formation of al-Qaeda and the eventual ascendancy of the Taliban between the late 1970s up until the 1990s.

In Iraq beginning with the military build-up and invasion during 2002-2003, some estimates claim that over one million people have died. War still rages between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Iraqi government in Baghdad causing a new wave of outmigration.

Both Syria and Libya were targeted for regime-change in 2011 through the support of pro-western groups, militias and massive bombing campaigns. Over four million Syrians have left the country many of whom are now seeking refuge in Europe.

The situation in the Horn of Africa is largely the result of successive U.S. administrations meddling in the affairs of the region. Somalia has been a major source for Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) interventions since the late 1970s when the administration of Jimmy Carter won over the regime of Mohamed Siad Barre and encouraged it to invade Ethiopia which was undergoing a socialist revolution supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba.

Coinciding with the weakening of the USSR, the regime of Mikhail Gorbachev halted support for the Ethiopian government of Mengistu Haile Miriam. After the overthrow of the Workers Party state in Addis Ababa in 1991, the U.S. the following year invaded and occupied Somalia under the guise of a humanitarian mission.

Somalians rose up against the occupation in 1993 prompting a withdrawal by the Pentagon and the United Nations peacekeeping forces. Nonetheless, Washington would continue to seek domination of Somalia through an invasion by the current western-oriented regime in Ethiopia in 2006 and the formation of a regional African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) 22,000-member military force now operating inside the country.

All of these geo-political regions have their nationals being lured by human traffickers across borders in Asia, the Middle East and Africa with the promise of prosperity in Europe. However, Europe itself has serious economic crisis particularly in southern states such as Greece.

EU Divided Over Migrant Crisis

These deaths of migrants totaling nearly 3,000 this year, poses a problem for the EU due to the financial instability inside the imperialist states. Many migrants have entered Greece where the most serious economic downturn has taken place leaving millions in poverty and uncertainty stemming from the U.S. as well as Northern and Western European capitalist states’ terms of loan repayments and imposed economic conditionalities.

Italy has experienced a large wave of migration in recent months. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says that over 65 percent of the people seeking entry into Europe this year have crossed over into Greece and Italy.  (Reuters, August 28)

The International Business Times reported on August 30 that recent migrants are being trafficked heavily through the Balkans.

An article from this publication says “Investigations will likely focus on the Balkans region, which has now reportedly become the primary route for people-smuggling gangs transporting migrants and refugees from the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia into Western Europe. Between January and July this year, 102,342 people crossed into Austria via the western Balkans, more than 10,000 higher than the total which entered Europe via the so-called ‘Central Mediterranean’ route, according to data from Frontex, the EU border control agency.”

In a recent Washington Post analysis of the crisis written by Anthony Failoa and Michael Birnbaum, they acknowledge the criticism of the EU system for its failure to develop a sound and rational immigration policy. Earlier in June, the regional organization sought to handle the burgeoning migration into Europe through military means by halting, boarding and returning vessels where migrants were being transported.

The Washington Post authors say “Perhaps nowhere is that more true than in Hungary, the nation the perished migrants were smuggled through. This former Soviet bloc country, now led by right-wing nationalists, is fast emerging as the toughest obstacle for a record number of refugees trying to reach Europe from war-torn Syria, Iraq and other nations.” (August 31)

This same report continues noting that “Hungary is building a 109-mile-long razor-wire fence on its southern border meant to keep out migrants. But as they come ashore in Greece, then try to reach the wealthy core of Europe – nations such as Germany, Sweden and Austria – the asylum-seekers’ path to sanctuary runs straight through Hungary.”

Although Germany is portraying a more humane posture related to the latest migrant crisis they are not burdened with the same problems as the lesser developed states on the continent. The EU states have failed to agree on a uniform policy of quotas and methods of processing migrants.

“The problem is that the European system is dysfunctional, and when a system is dysfunctional, refugees are going to put themselves in danger,” according to Babar Baloch, the spokesman for UN High Commission for Refugees in Budapest. “Especially in Hungary, they are being pushed to take risks because they have no other legal way.” (Washington Post, August 31)

The Global Peace Index measures the state of peace in 162 countries according to 23 indicators that gauge the absence of violence or the fear of violence. It is produced annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The UK, as an example, is relatively free from internal conflict, making it easy to fall to thinking it exists in a state of peace. However, disinformation and propaganda hides the disastrous results of its external efforts.

This year the results show that globally, levels of peace remained largely stable over the last year, however, peace is still lower than when the financial crisis emerged seven years ago.

The most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark and Austria. The countries that made the biggest improvements in peace over the last year, generally benefited from the ending of wars with neighbours and involvement in external conflict. The biggest improvers were: Guinea-Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt and Benin.

The world is less peaceful today than it was in 2008. The indicators that have deteriorated the most are the number of refugees and the number of deaths from internal conflict and the impact of terrorism. Last year alone it is estimated that 20,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks up from an average of 2,000 a year only 10 years ago.

One should not forget that the number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the second world war, an exponential rise that is stretching host countries and aid organisations to breaking point.

Syria remains the world’s least peaceful country, followed by Iraq and Afghanistan. The country that suffered the most severe deterioration in peace was Libya, which now ranks 149th of 162 countries. Ukraine suffered the second largest deterioration: following a western backed revolution which brought down the democratically elected administration of Viktor Yanukovych, the country quickly descended into violence, meaning it scored poorly on organised conflict indicators.

It is interesting to see that these least peaceful countries in the world are the ones where the West (and more particularly the UK and the US), have got themselves deeply embroiled in geo-political conflicts – Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Ukraine.

The total economic impact of violence last year reached US$14.3 trillion, or 13.4% of global GDP. That’s equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the UK and is a shocking indictment of civilisation as a whole.

According to a 1998 United Nations estimate, ending extreme poverty in the world by providing education, water, sanitation, nutrition and basic health care to the entire population of every developing country would cost $58 billion per year. This represents less than one percent of the combined income of the richest countries in the world – or put another way, the income of the top 100 wealthiest people.

Of the 162 countries the IEP analysed for its 2015 Global Peace Index, 81 – exactly half were rated as having no involvement in external conflict.

The worst country in the world for internal conflict was Uganda, according to the IEP. It has been heavily involved in fighting in the DR Congo, as well as in skirmishes with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Joseph Kony in border regions.

The US came second, followed by Rwanda and then the United Kingdom.

The UK has the 22nd highest population in the world, is contemplating exiting from the worlds most peaceful region (the EU) and holds the rank of fourth most violent nation on earth behind Uganda and Rwanda. Rwanda and Uganda are both nations of Commonwealth and both are supposed to cooperate within a framework of common values and goals as outlined in the Singapore Declarationissued in 1971.

Common values of the Commonwealth include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace which are carried out through multilateral projects and meetings, none of which are being exercised by Uganda and Rwanda given the top most violent nations ranking.

British has a bloody and very violent past. Since the second world war, Britain has been involved in 30 conflicts and troops have been fighting somewhere in the world every single year for the 100 years.

On David Cameron’s own Facebook page he states “Our nations (US and UK) have always believed that we are more prosperous and secure when the world is more prosperous and secure”. He continues “Countries like Britain and America will not be cowed by barbaric killers. We will be more forthright in the defence of our values, not least because a world of greater freedom is a fundamental part of how we keep our people safe. We must invest in the building blocks of free and open societies, including creating a genuinely inclusive government in Iraq that unites all Iraqis, including Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, Christian and other minority populations”.

As for Ukraine, David cameron says “We must use our military to ensure a persistent presence in eastern Europe, making clear to Russia that we will always uphold our Article 5 commitments to collective self-defence. We must back this up with a multinational rapid response force, composed of land, air, maritime and special forces”. Not the language of a peacemaker and nothing more than an open threat to Russia.

The result of this global survey is that it clearly demonstrates that we are not more prosperous or safe, the world does not have greater freedom or inclusive governments in exactly the same places that David Cameron and previous British governments have got the country involved in. The same can be said of America.

The US coming second to Uganda in this report is utterly misleading in every way possible.

In 2013, the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) — one of the nine organizational units that make up the Unified Combatant Command — had special operations forces (SOFs) in 134 countries, where they were either involved in combat, special missions, or “advising and training” foreign forces such as in Syria. SOCOM admits to having forces on the ground in 134 countriesaround the world, so this is not a point of dispute. Uganda is involved in two conflicts.

The Joint Special Operations Command or JSOC, along with the Special Activities Division at the CIA, have been the leading edge of counterterrorism under Obama. Journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin found that JSOC has carried out counterterrorism operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen to name just a few.

In addition, The United States has been involved in and assisted “regime change” without the overt use of the United States military. Often, such operations are tasked to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Regime change has been attempted through direct involvement of US operatives, the funding and training of insurgency groups within these countries, anti-regime propaganda campaigns, coups d’état, and other activities usually conducted as operations by the CIA. The list of countries involved makes for sobering reading.

From a global perspective, the death toll in the world’s most brutal conflicts climbed by more than 28 percent in 2014.  76,000 people were killed in Syria, 21,000 in Iraq and nearly 15,000 in Afghanistan in 2014 – the vast majority civilians. In addition, Ukraine has experienced a civil war that has cost the livesof nearly 10,000 people in just one year.

The world as a whole has been getting incrementally less peaceful every year for the last decade – sharply bucking a trend that had seen a global move away from conflict since the end of the Second World War.

Research conducted by the EuropeanGeostrategy.org website has revealed, no doubt to the surprise of many, that the United Kingdom is indeed still a global power, and comes second only to the United States in terms of influence on the world stage.

Britain has had considerable influence in the outcomes of nations that are being systematically destroyed because it follows a disastrous foreign policy driven by the United States. It should use it’s power and influence to calm the world, act as a peace negotiator and mediator and change its ways from being one of the worlds biggest warmongers and incitement of global warfare, terrorism and fea

Ignore demagogues like Donald Trump claiming “China is taking our jobs…taking our money…They’ll take us down.”

Gerald Celente issued a “trend alert” headlined “Market Mayhem: Don’t blame China – It’s the (global) economy, stupid.”

China is far from blame-free. Celente calls its economy “the canary in the collapsing global-equity mine.” He forecasts markets plummeting by yearend. Chickens are coming home to roost.

Current market turbulence is “more than a…correction,” he stresses. “It’s a global recession” – how severe remains to be seen.

The influential right-wing Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) supports anti-populist policies across-the-board – including deregulation, money printing madness, anti-consumer trade deals, near-zero interest rates, and gutting vital social justice programs.

Nicholas Lardy is a senior PIIE fellow. The New York Times featured his op-ed headlined “False Alarm on a Crisis in China,” saying:

There is little evidence that China’s economy is slowing significantly from the 7 percent pace reported by the government for the first part of the year.

Other market analysts estimate it at 4% or less. It’s reported economic numbers are inflated. Still, it’s growing much faster than stagnating US and EU economies.

Official July figures showed slowing industrial production and fixed asset investment, as well as sharply declining exports. Expect Shanghai Composite plummeting valuations to have a negative effect on consumer spending, weighing on private sector investment and economic growth.

Its equity market bubble may experience lots more deflating ahead – affecting other financial markets globally. Plummeting commodity prices reflect slowing growth.

China is the world’s second largest economy – the largest based on purchasing power parity. It’s an engine of global growth. Its economy and financial markets matter.

Whether they’ll experience crisis conditions remains to be seen. Given the fragility of global economies after years of excess, China may face economic and financial trouble for the first time in decades.

The Shanghai Composite remains in bubble territory after around a 40% selloff – followed Thursday by what appears to be a dead-cat bounce. In the 12-month period ending June 2015, equity valuations soared over 150%. Retrenching so far may not be enough to reverse imbalances.

Lardy claims market weakness doesn’t reflect “a sell-off in the fundamentals of the Chinese economy.” He believes it “may strengthen those fundamentals…”

Investor/author of “The Next Economic Disaster,” Richard Vague headlined a spring 2015 article “The Coming China Crisis,” calling “the great panic of China…in full swing.”

Its economy “fueled by runaway lending…produced far more housing, steel, iron, and a host of other goods than it knows what to do with, amassing unprecedented levels of overcapacity and, by my estimate, making a staggering $2-$3 trillion in problem loans in the process” Vague explained.

The main post-2008 crash engine of growth “is rapidly diminishing and will soon largely end. The only question is how.” Its bad debt problem is “unprecedented.”

America’s economy was hammered by a similar problem from fall 2007 to March 2009. Forecasts didn’t predict what lay ahead – or maybe a worse storm brewing now.

Vague says China’s current problem bears eerie resemblance to America’s 2008 private debt crisis and Japan’s in 1991 – after the Nikkei stock market index peaked on 1989’s last trading day.

China’s ratio of private debt to GDP exceeds 200%. It’s total debt ratio tops 280%. It “amassed the largest buildup of bad debt (and overcapacity) in history,” said Vague.

“Overcapacity is so significant in many sectors that it will take years for it to be absorbed by organic demand.” Millions of homes remain vacant. Housing represents about 20% of China’s economy. Its private sector is “massively over-leveraged.”

Its growth has been declining for years – “perhaps to a level approaching zero – and China will be left facing a ‘lost’ generation of very low growth similar to the last 20 years in Japan.”

Whether financial and economic contagion follows (and how severe) remains to be seen. Current global conditions may signal a major inflection point indicating significant trouble yet to unfold.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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Extraordinary Brutality Inflicted on Civilians in Yemen

September 1st, 2015 by Prof. Vijay Prashad

As Saudi ground troops enter Northern Yemen with US backing, Amnesty International charges Saudis with alleged war crimes 

Transcript

SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

On Thursday, Saudi troops crossed into northern Yemen for the first time since the beginning of the conflict. The Saudi-led coalition continues to launch air strikes on Houthi rebel positions, and Human Rights Watch has called on the coalition to stop using cluster bombs because they are contributing to the high civilian death toll. According to the UN more than 4,300 people have been killed in this conflict since March.

Now joining us to address all of this is Vijay Prashad. He’s the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and professor of international studies at Trinity College. He’s the author of many books, including his latest titled Letters to Palestine. Vijay, thank you again for joining us.

VIJAY PRASHAD: Pleasure, thank you.

PERIES: Vijay, start by talking about the significance of the ground troops in Yemen.

PRASHAD: The amazing thing about Yemen is this extraordinarily brutal conflict has been going on, 4,300, maybe more people have died in this conflict. Both sides you might say, in fact there are not only two sides to this conflict. There are many sides to it. All sides have been ruthless in their use of force, not only against each other but against civilian areas. The carnage has reached a point where the United Nations has at several points said that famine conditions have either broken out or are likely. UNICEF has warned on a number of occasions about the use of force against children. Hundreds of children dead, perhaps 600. infrastructure has been destroyed.

Ashton Carter, the U.S. secretary of defense, as early as April warned that the war between the Saudis, the Houthis, Mr. Saleh’s troops, Hadi’s troops, et cetera, have only succeeded in opening the door for expansion of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, which anyway held quite large sections of territory in southern Yemen.

So given all this it’s remarkable that the press has basically stayed away. There’s been very little coverage of what’s been happening. And you know, here is a situation where after months of aerial bombardment the Saudi ground forces leave the southern Saudi province of Jizan, enter north Yemen, and so little is made of it. It’s not clear yet whether their entry into north Yemen is merely to take out some of the rocket positions that have been used by the Houthis to fire into Saudi Arabia, or if indeed the Saudis intend for this to be a push to the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. In the southern part of Yemen the rebels have faced some opposition from the forces of Mansur al-Hadi. In the city of [inaud.] for instance there’s been a pushback against the rebels. So it’s not clear what the Saudis are up to. Are they merely coming in to clean up the border, or do they intend to go all the way to Sana’a.

PERIES: And Vijay, what’s the role of the United States? Often when we see this term, the Saudi-led coalition, the U.S. sounds silent in the process. But what is their role?

PRASHAD: Well, Saudi Arabia is a very important ally of the United States. It is in fact as important an ally as Israel is in the region. The behavior of the United States toward Saudi Arabia in this conflict against Yemen is eerily like the behavior of the United States towards Israel when Israel bombs Gaza. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest per capita incomes in the Arab world. Not the highest. That belongs, I think, to Qatar. But one of the highest. And Yemen is certainly the poorest of all the Arab countries.

And so it’s facing asymmetrical bombardment. Whatever the rebels are doing is not being done from the air. The Saudis command the air and they’re bombing the whole country. In the same way, the violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians in Gaza is utterly asymmetrical. The Israelis command the air, and all that can happen from Gaza is some minor rocket attacks into Israel. It’s comparatively nothing.

In both cases the United States, during the conflict, has resupplied the superior side. In the case of Israel the United States, in the middle of the bombardment of Gaza, resupplied Israel. In this case in the middle of this conflict, which Amnesty International has said that the Saudis are committing alleged war crimes, in the middle of all this the United States has resupplied Saudi Arabia with the very weapons they’re using against the Yemeni people.

So just as with Israel, they are supplying them during the war. And similarly in both cases the United States is providing diplomatic cover. In the one case for Israel in its war against Gaza. In this case Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen. Amnesty International has called for a UN Human Rights Council Commission inquiry of potential war crimes against the Yemeni people. It’s unlikely that the Americans are going to allow this commission of inquiry to be set up without a lot of pressure on the countries in the Human Rights Council.

So the American hand in this conflict is considerable. As considerable as it has been in each of the Israeli bombings of Gaza.

PERIES: Vijay Prashad, I thank you so much for joining us today on such short notice on this particular issue, and as always we are very happy to have you here.

PRASHAD: Thanks a lot.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013), Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK, 2012), (co-edited with Paul Amar) Dispatches from the Arab Spring (2013), and No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (Leftward Press, 2015). Vijay’s latest book is Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation. Vijay is the chief editor at Leftward Press, and writes regularly for The Hindu, Frontline, Jadaliyya, Counterpunch, Himal and Bol.

Ukraine is hosting naval military exercise in the Black Sea with NATO forces, involving 2,500 troops and some 150 military vehicles, from warships and helicopters to armored cars.

The host nation of Sea Breeze 2015 has deployed 1,000 troops, nine warships and eight aircraft for the drill. The US has sent 1,000 troops as well as five warships, two submarines and six aircraft.

The remaining 500 troops, six warships, three submarines and 6six aircraft were provided by Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Turkey, the UK and the non-NATO nations Moldova and Sweden.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A rocket is launched from the Bulgarian navy frigate "Drazki" to simulate an attack on a mock submarine, during the BREEZE 2014 military drill in the Black Sea July 11, 2014. © Stoyan Nenov

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A rocket is launched from the Bulgarian navy frigate “Drazki” to simulate an attack on a mock submarine, during the BREEZE 2014 military drill in the Black Sea July 11, 2014. © Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

“The exercise is meant to boost trust and security in the region, [and to increase] the compatibility between the Ukrainian Navy and the navies of NATO members and partner countries,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Sea Breeze is held in Ukraine’s Odessa and Nikolaevsk region not far from Russia’s Crimea, which Kiev and its foreign sponsors consider to be Ukrainian. It will last till mid-September. Ukraine will participating in a total of 11 NATO drills in 2015.

NATO is also currently conducting another war game, called Swift Response, in Germany, Italy, Bulgaria and Romania. It is one of the largest such events since the Cold War and is planned to last until September 13. A separate exercise, called Simple Strike, is under way in the Baltic.

 

Russia, which calls NATO exercises in Europe provocative, has just completed a joint naval drill with China, called Naval Cooperation. It was held in the Far East and has been described as unprecedented in scale.

LISTEN MORE:

No airstrikes against 60 camps producing 1,000 fighters monthly 

The Pentagon has not conducted airstrikes against an estimated 60 Islamic State (IS) training camps that are supplying thousands of fighters each month to the terror group, according to defense and intelligence officials.

The camps are spread throughout Islamic State-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria and are off limits in the U.S.-led international bombing campaign because of concerns about collateral damage, said officials familiar with planning and execution of the yearlong bombing campaign.

Additionally, the IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) camps have been so successful that Islamic State leaders are considering expanding the camps to Libya and Yemen. Both states have become largely ungoverned areas in recent years.

The failure to target the training camps with U.S. and allied airstrikes is raising questions among some defense and intelligence officials about the commitment of President Obama and his senior aides to the current anti-IS strategy of degrading and ultimately destroying the terror group.

“If we know the location of these camps, and the president wants to destroy ISIS, why are the camps still functioning?” one official critical of the policy asked.

The camps are regarded by U.S. intelligence analysts as a key element in the terror group’s successes in holding and taking new territory. The main benefit of the training camps is that they are providing a continuous supply of new fighters.

IS training camps

An additional worry of intelligence analysts is that some of the foreign fighters being trained in the camps will eventually return to their home countries in Europe and North America to carry out terror attacks.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the failure to bomb the terror camps and referred questions to the Pentagon.

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Roger M. Cabiness declined to say why no training camps have been bombed. “I am not going to be able to go into detail about our targeting process,” he said.

Cabiness said the U.S.-led coalition has “hit ISIL [an alternative abbreviation for the Islamic State] with more than 6,000 airstrikes.”

“The coalition has also taken out thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps,” he said. “We have also stuck their leadership, including most recently on Aug. 18 when a U.S. military airstrike removed Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz, the second in command of the terrorist group, from the battlefield.”

Efforts also are being taken to disrupt IS finances and “make it more difficult for the group to attract new foreign fighters,” Cabiness said in an email.

Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said the coalition has conducted 19 airstrikes against training areas, the most recent on Aug. 5. The Central Command’s news release for that day, however, makes no reference to a training camp being struck in airstrikes. A July 30 release states that training areas were hit.

According to the Command’s website, a total of 6,419 airstrikes have been carried out over the past year, 3,991 in Iraq, and 2,428 Syria, indicating .3 percent of the airstrikes were carried out against training areas.

“Whenever we identify ISIL moving, staging, operating or training in any number, target them and strike them,” Ryder said. “As a result, ISIL is not longer able to move freely or train openly for fear of being hit.”

As a result of the air campaign, ISIL has begun “hiding amongst civilian populations and employing terrorist weapons from entrenched, defensive hiding places,” Ryder said, adding, “regardless, the coalition can and will continue to identify, pursue and strike them relentlessly.”

According to the defense and intelligence officials, one reason the training camps have been off limits is that political leaders in the White House and Pentagon fear hitting them will cause collateral damage. Some of the camps are located near civilian facilities and there are concerns that casualties will inspire more jihadists to join the group.

However, military officials have argued that unless the training camps are knocked out, IS will continue to gain ground and recruit and train more fighters for its operations.

Disclosure that the IS training camps are effectively off limits to the bombing campaign comes as intelligence officials in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of the conflict, have alleged that senior U.S. officials skewed intelligence reports indicating the U.S. strategy against IS is not working or has been less effective than officials have claimed in public.

The Islamic State controls large parts of Syria and Iraq and has attracted tens of thousands of jihadists in both countries and from abroad. The exact number of fighters is not known but intelligence estimates have indicated the numbers have increased over the past year.

The military campaign, known as Operation Inherent Resolve, appears to be floundering despite a yearlong campaign of airstrikes and military training programs aimed to bolstering Iraqi military forces.

A review of Central Command reports on airstrikes since last year reveals that few attacks were carried out against training camps.

Targets instead included Islamic State vehicles, buildings, tactical units, arms caches, fighting positions, snipers, excavators, mortar and machine gun positions, bunkers, and bomb factories.

The risk-averse nature of the airstrike campaign was highlighted last month by Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley, chief of staff for what the military calls Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

“The coalition continues to use air power responsibly,” Weidley said July 1. “Highly precise deliveries, detailed weaponeering, in-depth target development, collateral damage mitigation, and maximized effects on Daesh, are characteristics of coalition airstrike operation in Iraq and Syria.”

Daesh is another name for the Islamic State.

“The coalition targeting process minimizes collateral damage and maximizes precise effects on Daesh,” Weidley said earlier. “Air crews are making smart decisions and applying tactical patience every day.”

Other coalition spokesman have indicated that targeting has been limited to reaction strikes against operational groups of IS fighters. “When Daesh terrorists expose themselves and their equipment, we will strike them,” Col. Wayne Marotto said May 27.

The military website Long War Journal published a map showing 52 IS training camps and noted that some may no longer be operating because of the U.S.-led bombing campaign.

Bill Roggio, Long War Journal managing editor, said the Islamic State’s training camps are a direct threat to the region and U.S. national security.

“While the vast majority of trainees have been used to fight in local insurgencies, which should be viewed as a threat. Historically jihadist groups have selected a small number of fighters going through their camps to conduct attacks against the West. The Islamic State is most certainly following this model,” he said.

According the map, among the locations in Iraq and Syria where IS is operating training camps are Mosul, Raqqah, Nenewa, Kobane, Aleppo, Fallujah, and Baiji.

The group MEMRI obtained a video of an IS training camp in Nenewa Province, Iraq, dated Oct. 1, 2014.

The video shows a desert outpost with tan tents and around 100 fighters who take part in hand-to-hand combat exercises, weapons training, and religious indoctrination.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, an analyst with the Middle East Forum, in June translated details of IS training purportedly obtained from a manual produced by a pro-IS operative in Mosul named Omar Fawaz.

Among those involved in ideological training for IS jihadists in Iraq is Bahraini cleric Turki Binali, who wrote an unofficial biography of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Al-Tamimi stated in a blog post June 24.

According to a document thought to be written by Fawaz, training differs for native Iraqis and Syrians as opposed to foreign fighters, who generally are less experienced militarily than the regional trainees.

The document also reveals IS plans to export military manpower abroad, including Libya.

“Sessions for the muhajireen [foreign fighters] brothers last 90 days or more, and at the highest level deal with organization, determination, and intelligence operation, including training on heavy weaponry in addition to comprehensive Sharia sessions and multiple tests,” according to a translation of the document. “Sessions for the Ansar from the people of Iraq and al-Sham range between 30 to 50 days.”

The process begins with an application form and questionnaire regarding education, skills, viewpoints, and whether their backgrounds can be verified.

The training then includes physical fitness, martial arts practice, weapons training, and ideological indoctrination.

After a week of training, jihadists with special abilities are selected and placed in units. The units include special forces, air defense, sniper units, a “caliphate army,” an “army of adversity,” and administrative units for those capable of using electronic devices and accounting.

“The rest are distributed in fronts and camps after the end of the military camp training according to where they are needed,” the report said, noting that all graduates are tested in Sharia at the conclusion of their training.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Pentagon inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials doctored intelligence reports in an attempt to present more optimistic accounts of the U.S. military’s efforts in the conflict.

The probe was triggered by a DIA analyst who stated that Central Command officials were improperly rewriting intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama.

The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that senior military and intelligence officials inappropriately pressured U.S. terrorism analysts to alter estimates of the strength of the Islamic State to portray the group as weaker.

Central Command, on its website, stated that in the year since the Iraq operation began on Aug. 7, 2014, a total of 6,419 air strikes were carried out.
Targets damaged or destroyed include 119 tanks, 340 Humvees, 510 staging areas, 3,262 buildings, 2,577 fighting positions, 196 oil infrastructure targets, and 3,680 “other” targets not further identified.

Update 29 August, 12:00 P.M: This post has been updated with comment from Bill Roggio of theLong War Journal.

Update 30 August, 6:40 P.M: This post has been updated with additional comment from a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.


Bill Gertz is the senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon.

“…for the Israeli government and Israel’s American lobby, Iran’s alleged nuclear threat has served the same purpose as Saddam’s non-existent WMD—it generates public support against a target that is designated for other reasons… ”

American critics are going all out to derail President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, which also involves the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council — Britain, France, China, and Russia — plus Germany. (This group is referred to as the “P5 + 1,” in which the U.S. has taken the lead in negotiating with Iran.) The agreement seeks to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program in return for the gradual lifting of economic sanctions, but the critics are trying to portray the proposed pact as having just the opposite effect  The agreement will ultimately lead, they aver, to a nuclear armed Iran that will dominate the Middle East and become a major threat to American security.

On August 5, in a major speech at American University in Washington, Obama put forth a strong defense against the critics and even referred to what had heretofore been taboo topics, which are now so much in the open that they cannot be hidden. Obama made reference to Israel’s role in opposing the agreement and pointed out that the advocates in the U.S. who pushed for the war on Iraq, having a pro-force “mindset,” are now in the vanguard of the opposition to the treaty with Iran. What he did not do was to make a connection between Israel and the pro-force “mindset” group, or use the term “neoconservative” to better distinguish the latter group.[1] But he definitely got the point across to those who are in the know. As Paul Pillar, a former top CIA analyst, points out, Obama could not spell out the entire truth, in which the aforementioned issues would be only a part, because he needs “to maintain enough political correctness about Iran (and about Israel) to get the nuclear agreement through the Congressional gauntlet and across the finish line.”[2]

IsraeliMissileCapability

This essay unavoidably repeats some of the Obama administration’s defense of the agreement in order to go beyond what it has said and make the case that the ultimate effect of the criticism of the deal, whether realized by particular American critics or not, is to protect the interests of Israel, as those interests are perceived by the Israeli right , and that this has little to do with any alleged Iranian development of nuclear weaponry but rather reflects the Israeli fear of Iran attaining the status of an upstanding member of the world community as a result of this agreement.

Although there is no firm evidence that Iran ever had a nuclear weapons program, the agreement puts that country under the toughest type of inspections in the history of nuclear non-proliferation. Iran will be required to place limits on what it can do in the nuclear area that far exceed the requirements of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which it is a signatory. For example, it must give up 98 percent of its enriched uranium, all of its plutonium producing capacity (which could be used for nuclear weapons), and two-thirds of its centrifuges (which are used to enrich uranium).[3]

What Iran will not have to do is give up a nuclear program that includes enrichment of uranium. However, Iran will only be permitted to enrich uranium to a very limited degree, not more than 3.67 percent, which is sufficient only for nuclear power. This will preclude it not only from developing weapons but also from various civilian activities, such as some medical applications. Critics, however, are vehemently opposed to allowing Iran to engage in nuclear enrichment altogether, demanding that its existing nuclear enrichment capability be dismantled. This would prevent Iran from having a full-fledged peaceful nuclear energy program and would make it dependent on outside sources for nuclear fuel, which could be blocked.

The critics’ position, however, would seem to seriously conflict with the position of the NPT, which stipulates in Article IV that signatories have “the inalienable right . . . to develop research, production, and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.” The right to peaceful use of nuclear energy is considered one of the “three pillars” of the NPT, the other two being non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. The NPT actually obligates nuclear powers to help countries to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, which is a significant reason that countries without nuclear weapons would join the treaty.  While the U.S. has sometimes successfully pressured countries not to engage in nuclear enrichment (Taiwan being one example), it does nothing to try to stop NPT members Germany, Japan, and Brazil from doing this.

The critics, however, imply that such a right is contingent upon Iran’s not having any past infractions of the NPT, but this is not part of the law, and reflects the proclivity of people in the United States–and sometimes the U.S. government–to assume the right to unilaterally interpret international laws and apply those interpretations to other countries, which could even serve to justify attacks by the United States. Thus, critics of the agreement have claimed that the U.S. might find it necessary to attack Iranian nuclear installations, or support a comparable Israeli attack, even if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—the international watchdog agency charged with verifying compliance—had not discovered any Iranian effort to develop nuclear weapons.   Obviously, this approach represents a complete rejection of impartial international law and implies that the powerful determine what is right by virtue of their power.[4]

Critics contend that Iran will inevitably cheat since it will have clandestine sites involved in nuclear weapons development. However, with high tech surveillance it would seem to be virtually impossible to hide suspicious sites. And the agreement will allow for the IAEA inspectors to inspect any sites (not just Iran’s acknowledged nuclear program sites), including military bases, suspected of being involved in nuclear activity. Iran’s violations of this agreement could mean that the lifted economic sanctions would “snap back” into place.

What the critics rail about here is that in regard to the suspicious, undeclared sites, the inspectors would not have “anytime, anywhere” access, but rather, in order for inspections to take place, there could be a delay of up to 24 days to allow for dispute resolution and with only “managed access.” However, the allowed inspections of these suspected sites will still be far more robust and intrusive than the current NPT procedures. The NPT’s “Additional Protocol,”[5] which first opened suspected undeclared sites to inspection, does not set any time limit to a delay so that a country can legitimately prevent access to its undeclared sites by engaging in interminable negotiations.[6]

“Managed access” is an inspection approach which is intended to protect a country’s legitimate military and industrial secrets while not limiting the IAEA’s ability to carry out its verification activities. Making any site deemed suspect completely open for inspection could conceivably reveal national security secrets having nothing to do with a clandestine nuclear weapons program, and even facilitate the efforts of enemies to attack that country.   The United States maintains “managed access” along with a “national security exclusion” to limit IAEA inspection of its sites.

Undoubtedly, if any country needs to prevent enemies from discovering its national security secrets, it would be Iran. American and Israeli intelligence agencies have engaged in espionage, sabotage (in which cyber-sabotage loomed large), and assassination efforts aimed at Iran. Both Israeli and American leaders still talk about using a “military option” against it. Having clearer knowledge of Iran’s national security secrets could facilitate attacks, thus making them more likely to occur. And these attacks could be on targets having nothing to do with any clandestine nuclear program since those Americans and Israelis hostile toward Iran want to reduce the country’s overall military and economic power.

While critics claim that Iran could clean up such suspect sites, removing all traces of nuclear activity, it has been pointed out that it would be virtually impossible to eliminate all traces of radioactivity in that limited time period. Moreover, any delay would alert the United States and the rest of the world that the suspect site needed a close look and their spy agencies would supplement the work of the IAEA.

Also, as the agreement was signed “the issue of Iran accounting for its alleged past work has emerged as a flash point in the debate between Congress and the White House.”[7] Critics don’t seem to want just an Iranian explanation for past nuclear activities, but rather a confession of guilt, since the current Iranian explanations are unacceptable to them.[8] The administration has acknowledged that a confession of having a secret nuclear weapons program is unlikely, but that such a confession was not essential in verifying Iran’s actions in the future. [9] Top administration officials have emphasized that the nuclear accord with Iran rests on meticulous investigation, not on Iran’s trustworthiness. If Iran were regarded as completely trustworthy, there would be no need for this more stringent deal and Iran would simply be expected to abide by the existing NPT.

However, to deal with the historical issue, allegations that Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons have been made for decades, but the actual development of nuclear weaponry never occurs. In short, it would seem apparent that Iran has chosen not to develop nuclear weapons, and it is even less likely to do so under a more robust inspections regime.[10]

The idea that the United States needs far more guarantees regarding Iran than any other country ever involved in nuclear non-proliferation is hard to fathom given its agreements with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. As Graham Alliston points out in The Atlantic: “The Soviet Union was not known for integrity in international relations. According to Lenin’s operational codes, it was the Soviet leader’s duty to deceive capitalists and outmaneuver them. True to character, Moscow cheated, for example, in placing radars in locations prohibited by the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. But in reviewing the history, it is hard to escape the conclusion that its cheating was marginal, not material.”[11]

The Soviet Union’s cheating may have been “marginal” but its potential danger to the United States was, at least theoretically, far greater than anything posed by Iran. As hard-liners, including the neocons, at that time contended, Soviet cheating could give it significant nuclear weapons superiority over the United States. In such a situation, they warned, the United States might be willing to make major concessions to the Soviet Union—which continued over time would end up as a “de facto” surrender—in the belief that the Soviet Union might think it could effectively decimate the United States in a first strike without suffering irreparable damage by any retaliation.

In contrast, the United States faces no comparable risk in the current agreement with Iran. The far more intrusive inspections, the vast improvement of surveillance devices over those that existed during the Cold War, and the much smaller size of Iran compared to the Soviet Union, would seem to make the likelihood of Iran cheating successfully much less than that of the Soviet Union. Moreover, even in the very unlikely event (anything not illogical being possible) that Iran would illicitly develop a nuclear weapon, there would not seem to be any reason that it would, or even could, attack the United States, which could easily decimate it.

But what about Israel? Iranian officials have spoken of eliminating Zionism, meaning the Zionist control of the state. This has been trumpeted by critics of Iran as meaning the nuclear annihilation of the territory controlled by Israel and essentially the mass murder of Jews. Mike Huckabee (former governor of Arkansas), who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, said that Obama’s deal with Iran would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”[12] (This is presumably a Holocaust analogy though it dispenses with gas chambers, which, in conventional accounts, were used as the major killing instrument.)

Even in its rhetoric, Iran has not said that it would militarily attack Israel, despite Western media commentary to the contrary. Eliminating Zionism could by comparison be equated with the past American goal of “eliminating Communism”, which did not entail exterminating Russians or even attacking the Soviet Union. Moreover, regarding any comparison to the Holocaust, it should be noted that, outside of Israel, Iran has the largest Jewish community in the Middle East, which lives in relative safety.

Even if Iran should quickly start a nuclear weapons program (a development that the agreement would serve to prevent), with the few nuclear bombs that it could develop in the foreseeable future, any attack on Israel would bring about a massive nuclear retaliation. Furthermore, Israel is noted as having developed one of the most advanced missile defense systems, which could very likely provide sufficient protection against the very limited nuclear attack that Iran would be able to mount. And even in the extremely unlikely event (again, anything not illogical is not impossible) that Iran, at some future date, were able to effectively cripple Israel, Israel has nuclear-armed submarines that would be virtually impossible for Iran to counter. Thus, while Iran’s ability to knock out Israel would be highly improbable, Israeli nuclear retaliation would in all likelihood guarantee the incineration of all Iranian cities –and also kill most of the rest of the population by radiation—and essentially bring about the destruction of the Islamic State of Iran.

Anti-Iran propaganda wails that Iran’s leaders are apt to launch a suicide attack on Israel regardless of the consequences because they are religious fanatics indifferent to death, an attitude stemming from their purported firm belief in an afterlife in which they would be rewarded for their willingness to launch a nuclear jihad against the Zionist infidels. But there is no real evidence, in terms of either theological belief or past behavior, that this would be the case. For example, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei declared nuclear weaponry to be forbidden as a violation of Islamic principles, as likewise did his predecessor, Ayatollah Khomeini. Moreover, in engaging in any type of warlike actions, Iran has moved with great caution, relying almost always on propaganda and aid to allies. There is no evidence that the Iranian leadership would be willing to sacrifice their country, or their own lives (note that they tend to reach old age, eschewing many possible opportunities to achieve martyrdom), which would be the case in a nuclear war.

It should also be emphasized that Israel’s input in driving American political opinion against Iran’s nuclear program, highlighted by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015[13], reaches the heights of irony since the Jewish state is not even a signatory of the NPT and does not allow any inspections whatsoever of its top secret nuclear weapons program. Furthermore, Israel has been in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 487, which specifically called for Israel to put its own nuclear facilities under the safeguards of the IAEA. This resolution was passed by the UN Security Council in June 1981, with no country opposing and or abstaining, and this included the United States (during the Reagan administration). [14] Needless to say, this resolution is never mentioned by the mainstream American media or political establishment, which have presented international resolutions directed against Syria, Iran, Iraq (when ruled by Saddam) and other designated enemies of the US and/or Israel as the virtual equivalent of Holy Writ.

Of course, the U.S. is an abettor of Israel here. Although the U.S. Department of State professes that “the United States remains firmly committed to the goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction,”[15] it does nothing to pressure Israel to abide by the NPT and makes every effort to prevent other nations from trying to put pressure on Israel to do so.[16]

The U.S. does not even officially acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons despite having known so for years.[17] When the late Helen Thomas, then considered the dean of the White House press corps, dared to query Barack Obama on this taboo issue in 2009, the president, after some verbal bobbing and weaving, responded: “With respect to nuclear weapons, you know, I don’t want to speculate.”[18] Were it really true that a U.S. president did not do everything possible to find out what countries in the world had nuclear arsenals, much less fail to even engage in speculation on this vital subject, one would think that such lethargy regarding America’s security would lead to demands for immediate impeachment and removal from office. But the supine American mainstream media, like the proverbial three monkeys—hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil —played along with Israel’s desires and criticized Thomas for asking the question. And Israel’s votaries were, of course, enraged. One thing led to another, culminating in a video recording by a pro-Zionist rabbi of some of her off-the-cuff remarks about Zionist Jews that made her appear as anti-Semitic (very elderly people, as was the 89-year-old Thomas, often tend to be lacking in circumspection), and her once notable career was brought to an ignoble end, at least from the mainstream perspective.[19]

United States action, or lack of action, regarding Israel’s nuclear weapons program may actually violate the NPT. There is considerable evidence that Israel relied on material and technology from the United States in order to develop its nuclear weapons arsenal.   Having studied declassified U.S. government documents on Israel’s nuclear weapons program, Grant Smith, an investigative reporter and author who heads the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, has shown that Israeli spies—including Netanyahu—have stolen material from the United States for the Jewish state’s nuclear weapons program. Smith further stated that “the ongoing clandestine movement of material and technology out of the U.S. may mean America has violated Article 1 of the NNPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty], since according to the GAO it has never apparently taken successful efforts to stem the flow.”[20]

It should be added that the United States government in its relations with Israel also violates its own domestic law regarding the nuclear weapons issue. The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 as amended by the Symington Amendment of 1976 and the Glenn Amendment of 1977 prohibits U.S. military assistance to countries that acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology when they do not abide by IAEA rules and permit inspections.A special waiver is needed to provide aid in such cases, and this approach has been used for Pakistan, another non-signatory of the NPT with nuclear weapons. But, in line with Israel’s wishes, the United States government does not want to publicly recognize Israel’s nuclear weapons, and thus eschews this approach here. Hence, it directly violates federal law in its provision of aid to Israel, which is America’s foremost military aid recipient. [21]

The obvious effect of America’s position on nuclear weapons in the Middle East is thus not to promote a nuclear-free area but to guarantee a nuclear weapons monopoly for Israel. While this seems perfectly fair to many Americans, it is understandable why the United States is not seen as an honest broker in the Middle East and in much of the rest of the world. From an objective point of view, this would be an appropriate analysis since the U.S. applies a different standard to Israel than to other countries in that region.

Of course, the critics of the nuclear deal claim that while Iran cannot be trusted to have even a peaceful nuclear program, Israel would never use its nuclear weapons except to protect the actual survival of its people—usually topping it off with “from another Holocaust” in order to solidify its moral justification for possessing these weapons.  Of course, the question is how early in any conflict Israel would claim the threat of another Holocaust. It could conceivably be used in a preventive attack, which is what some of the critics believe should be taken against Iran right now.  Ultra-hawkish neocon Daniel Pipes, for example, cites the use of nuclear weapons as one of three possible scenarios for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program (the other two scenarios being conventional bombing from airplanes and special ops). He writes: “Nuclear weapons. This doomsday weapon, which tends to be little discussed, would probably be launched from submarines. It hugely raises the stakes and so would only be resorted to, in the spirit of ‘Never Again,’ if the Israelis were desperate.”[22] It should be noted that Pipes makes no effort here to qualify the nuclear attack as consisting only of very low yield, tactical nuclear bombs but instead categorizes the devices as “doomsday” weapons.

While Pipes only presents what he thinks might happen, there is additional information on how Israel has treated its nuclear arsenal. Grant Smith points out that “[a]s understood by the CIA back in the early 1960s, Israel’s nuclear arsenal is primarily used to coerce the United States to provide enough benefits that they will never have to be used.”[23] The threat need not be made overtly, though sometimes it has been. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War when the Egyptians achieved early military successes against Israel, though they did not cross its boundaries, Israel is said to have started preparations for a nuclear strike. This caused the United States to quickly strip its armed forces in Europe of equipment and airlift it to Israel, thus enabling the Israeli military to defeat its foes by conventional means.[24] But what would Israel have done if the U.S. had not taken such swift action? A nuclear strike was apparently a strong option.

It should also be pointed out that estimates of Israel’s nuclear arsenal range from 75 to 400 nuclear weapons, with, at least, the higher figures going far beyond what is needed for a deterrent against its Middle East adversaries. This number of nuclear weapons along with Israel’s long-range ballistic missiles and submarines make it a potential nuclear threat to many countries far outside the Middle East region.

Now getting back to the Iran nuclear deal: some criticism holds that even if Iran should faithfully abide by all the requirements of the nuclear deal, the agreement has time limits, and once these expire in fifteen years, Iran would begin to develop nuclear weaponry, and would be in a better position than ever to do so because of its vast increase in wealth resulting from the termination of the sanctions. “All Iran has to do is take the patience pathway to a nuclear weapon,” opines Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies.[25]

Now this is completely the opposite of the way the United States looked upon the former Soviet Union and China, in which it was maintained that trade and economic development make countries much less inclined toward aggression, and much more willing to accept the existing international order. There is no reason to assume that this would be different for Iran.

Moreover, as the Obama administration points out, there is also no reason, whatsoever, to think that other countries, including European ones, would retain their sanctions on Iran, especially since Iran has shown itself willing to make considerable concessions. And the sanctions already are crumbling. Switzerland, which, being neutral, had its own limited sanctions, has lifted them. And France, Germany and Italy are among the European Union countries acting as if sanctions have already been lifted, with their officials, government and private, going to Iran to set up profitable business and financial deals.[26]

Furthermore, the idea that the United States could bomb Iran’s sites involved in nuclear enrichment—and, presumably, to continue to do so every few years to prevent their redevelopment—would be a gross violation of international law that would severely harm its standing in the world. Instead of being a global leader, the United States would become more like a global pariah.

The latter criticism segues to the claim that any agreement with Iran should go beyond the nuclear issue, and deal with Iran’s missiles, involvement in other countries, lack of democracy, incarceration of American citizens, and other miscellaneous concerns. It is argued that the termination of the sanctions would not only show indifference to these glaring evils but would actually make Iran more dangerous in some of these areas. Neocon Dov S. Zackheim writes: “More ominously, Iran will now be flush with cash, with tens of billions of dollars accruing from both petroleum sales and the lifting of financial sanctions. No doubt Tehran will put that money to good use: increasing its support for Hezbollah, Hamas, Hafez Assad and the Houthi rebels; destabilizing Bahrain, Saudi Arabia’s eastern province; and extending its terrorist reach worldwide.”[27]

This claim is not likely to be true. As Vali Nasr, dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, points out: “Iran spent $15 billion on its military last year. By comparison, Saudi Arabia spent $80 billion, and the five other states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) spent another $35 billion. The Arab countries most worried about Iranian mischief outspent Iran by a margin of 8 to 1. Iran does not have an air force, and its ground forces and navy lag technologically behind its rivals. The nuclear deal will only widen this gap. At a summit at Camp David in May, President Obama promised GCC countries more military hardware and assistance to improve their ability to police the region. Meanwhile, under the terms of the nuclear deal, Iran would have to wait another five years for a U.N.-imposed arms embargo to be lifted.” (Nasr maintains that Iran signed the agreement to calm internal opposition, which was chafing at the sanctions’ negative impact on the economy, and to focus on the danger from ISIS, which threatens Iranian interests not only by being in Iraq but also by coming into neighboring Afghanistan.) [28]

Furthermore, Iran has various grievances, too, and could easily charge its enemies—the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and some of the Gulf States—with oppressing their subjects, aiding rebels, destabilizing countries, and supporting terrorism. In fact, it is the interventionist actions of these countries to which much of Iran’s interventionism is a defensive reaction. [29]

It should also be noted that the U.S. supported Saddam’s Iraq in its war against Iran during the 1980s. The United States deployed in the Persian Gulf its largest naval force since the Vietnam War, the purpose of which was allegedly to protect oil tankers, but which engaged in serious attacks on Iran’s navy. Furthermore, US satellite intelligence facilitated Iraqi gas attacks against Iranian troop concentrations. Moreover, Washington allowed Iraq to purchase poisonous chemicals, and even strains of anthrax and bubonic plague, from American companies, which were subsequently identified as key components of the Iraqi biological warfare program by a 1994 investigation conducted by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. The United States also prevented or weakened UN resolutions condemning Iraq for using chemical weapons. [30]

Administration defenders of the nuclear accord also point out that including these additional issues in the agreement—which would essentially require Iran to significantly change its foreign and domestic policies, after acknowledging the evil nature of what currently exists—would make a nuclear agreement with it impossible. But it is the nuclear issue that has been presented by Iran’s critics as being the principal danger to American interests and to the world in general, not such things as Iran’s support for Hezbollah and the Houthis or the lack of human rights in Iran.

Moreover, as a historical analogy, it should be noted that the United States negotiated and concluded the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) with the Soviet Union at the same time that the Soviets had invaded Czechoslovakia and provided support for North Vietnam against the United States.  What the critics’ effort to tack on these additional issues to the nuclear agreement with Iran tends to illustrate is that for them, Iran’s purported effort to develop nuclear weaponry is not really the major issue, despite the emphasis they placed on this alleged danger, but rather the issue is one of eliminating Iran’s overall power, which would include economic and diplomatic as well as military power, in the region. In short, for the Israeli government and Israel’s American lobby, Iran’s alleged nuclear threat has served the same purpose as Saddam’s non-existent WMD—it generates public support against a target that is designated for other reasons.   What goes further to demonstrate the fact that the criticism of the nuclear agreement is not to enhance American security but that of Israel—letting the cat out of the bag, so to speak—is when the critics charge that the agreement is a betrayal of America’s allies—essentially Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States. When this argument is put forth by the neoconservatives and other supporters of Israel, however, the inclusion of Saudi Arabia represents the height of insincerity because before Israel and the Saudis came together to oppose Iran as a common enemy, they took a very negative view of the Saudis, with Saudi Arabia being targeted by the neocons for regime change and dismantlement.[31]

The goal of the United States should be to protect its own interest, not serve the interests of other countries. It is understandable that Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the small Gulf States might reasonably see Iran as an enemy, but their perceived interests are not necessarily those of the United States. That the Israeli government wants to maintain control of the West Bank and hegemonic power in the Middle East, for instance, is not an interest of the United States; in fact, America’s all-out support for Israel, by antagonizing Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere, endangers its own security. As John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt put it bluntly in their bombshell essay, “The Israel Lobby” (later a book), “the United States has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel.”[32]

As for Saudi Arabia, Iran has been its rival for dominance of the Gulf region since before the advent of the Islamic Republic. The rivalry existed when the Shah, a close U.S. ally, ruled Iran, and the outbreak of an overall Shiite-Sunni religious war in the region has heightened it. Furthermore, animosity between Sunnis and Shiites has existed for more than a thousand years. That it is inadvisable for the United States to become enmeshed in an internecine war that has nothing to do with its own interests and will create for it more enemies should be an obvious no-brainer.

In regard to Saudi Arabia and Israel being allies of the United States, it is clearly Iran that is doing the most to combat ISIS, which the United States national security leaders have identified as the greatest threat to the nation. Israel is doing nothing and Saudi Arabia’s effort is minimal. In fact, wealthy Saudi private citizens provided initial support for ISIS along with aid to other Jihadi groups, doing so with, at the very least, tacit support from the Saudi regime.[33] And the Saudis’ effort to defeat the Houthis in Yemen has enabled Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to greatly expand its territorial control in Yemen. AQAP is seen by the U.S. security establishment as the most globally dangerous of the al-Qaeda branches because of the emphasis it places on attacking overseas targets.[34]

In short, Israel is not primarily fearful of a maniacal Iran that will attack it with nuclear bombs or cause havoc in the Middle East with its proxy forces. Rather, its greatest fear is that the nuclear agreement will be the beginning of a rapprochement with the United States that will enable Iran to become an upstanding member of the world community. Iran could aid the United States in helping to bring about stability in the Middle East, which was the traditional goal of United States policy in the region before it became sidetracked by the neocon-inspired destabilization efforts of the Bush II administration. As Robert D. Kaplan, who was named byForeign Policy magazine as one of the world’s “top 100 global thinkers,” writes in The Atlantic, “The United States needs Shia Iran to fight the extremist Sunnis of the Islamic State, and at the same time to pressure the Shia government in Baghdad to moderate its posture toward the Sunnis, in the name of internal stability in Iraq. Should the unhelpful Islamic government in Turkey grow more intractable, Iran could also prove helpful in balancing against it. . . . In addition, Iran and the United States could potentially work in tandem in Syria to preserve the political power of the country’s ruling Alawites—the Alawite sect being an offshoot of Shia Islam—even as they work together to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power. Furthermore, Iran could help steady neighboring Afghanistan in the wake of an American troop withdrawal, by serving as a buffer against pro-Taliban Pakistani and Saudi elements.” [35] Even if the new relationship between the US and Iran never goes this far, it is apparent that American foreign policy experts, at least those outside the orbit of the Israel lobby, see significant benefits to be derived from cooperation with Iran .

Israel is terrified by a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement in which Israel would lose its special relationship with the U.S. and be replaced by Iran.[36] While this fear is overwrought, it nonetheless exists. And there is a considerable degree of truth in this line of thinking.   Although it would seem impossible for Iran to actually replace Israel as America’s primary Middle East ally, U.S. cooperation with Iran could lead to a diminution of its all-out support for Israel, which rests on the belief propagated by its American supporters that the Jewish state is by far America’s best and most valuable friend in the Middle East and that the two countries’ interests essentially coincide. The United States might also begin to put pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians, and Washington might refrain from vetoing every vote against Israel in the UN Security Council. .

Moreover, a U.S./Iran rapprochement would have the effect of making Iran a member of the world community, which, with the elimination of sanctions, would be solidified by its business relations with Western countries. With Iran no longer being viewed as a rogue nation, the international spotlight would tend to fall more on Israel’s uninspected nuclear arsenal and its mistreatment of the Palestinians.

In a worst case scenario from the Israeli perspective, the effects of the nuclear agreement with Iran could spiral into Israel’s global isolation, the only alternative to which would be for Israel to join the NPT; allow for a viable, fully sovereign Palestinian state on the entire West Bank and Gaza; and perhaps even allow for equal rights for Palestinians who live in Israel proper. From the standpoint of the Israeli right, and even many other Israeli Jews, such developments would portend the end of a Jewish exclusivist state, which is Israel’s very raison d’etre. In essence, a peaceful Iran could be far more dangerous to Israel than one that was perceived as being bellicose.

Now the scenario sketched above is a possibility but far from being a certainty. For Israel and its American lobby are not noted for complacency and will do everything possible to nip this potential danger in the bud.

Remember that this Iran deal is not yet approved by the United States because it is to be voted upon by Congress. Since this is an executive agreement, not a treaty, it does not need to have a two-thirds vote of the Senate for approval.[37] In May, President Obama signed an act that would allow Congress to vote this deal up or down (no amendments). It will have until September 17 to perform this task. If both houses vote no, however, Obama would exercise his veto power, which would require a two-thirds vote in both houses to override.  Achieving such a super-majority in Congress to defeat the agreement, which would require considerable support from Democrats, would seem unlikely, but is certainly possible. Moreover, the new president who enters office in January 2017 could undo this executive agreement at his or her will. [38]

All Republican candidates say that they would revoke the agreement. Should Hillary Clinton be the next president, she too might take steps to undermine the agreement, given that her major backer is Haime Saban, who publicly stated that Israel is his fundamental political concern. But the fact of the matter is that America’s allies who have signed the accord are unlikely to follow along and reinstate sanctions, especially since, as pointed out earlier, they are already acting as if the sanctions have been lifted. And China and Russia almost certainly would not follow the U.S.[39] Without most of the major countries in the world participating in the sanctions, the economic effect on Iran would be negligible.

The indefatigable noninterventionist Justin Raimondo views the Iran deal as a great watershed in American policy and politics, writing in an August 7, 2015 article, titled “The Iran deal is the Israel lobby’s Armageddon,” that the Iran nuclear agreement represents the overall defeat of the Israel lobby and the concomitant elimination of its stranglehold over American Middle East policy. He jubilantly exclaimed: “The bottom line of all this is: if the deal goes through Congress unscathed, the Cheney coup will have been defeated. Our Israel-centric policy of fighting wars on Israel’s behalf will be over: the tail will no longer be wagging the dog. Once we defeat the Israeli-directed attempt to derail the deal in Congress we can safely go out into the streets declaiming: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we’re free at last!”[40]

In my mind, Raimondo’s joy is hyperbolic. Even if Congress cannot prevent the agreement from going through, the Israel lobby will remain influential enough to cause the U.S. to continue to treat Iran as an enemy and take various hostile actions against it and its ally Syria. Every effort will be made to claim that Iran is violating the treaty and working on a nuclear bomb. Acts of terrorism in the Middle East and throughout the world, especially the United States, will be attributed to the hand of Iran. And it is not inconceivable that Israeli agents might even engage in false flag and black operations to make it appear that Iran is the culprit. [41]

Since this latter reference deals with an ultra-sensitive matter that is apt to be shrugged off as anti-Semitic conspiracy mongering, this essay will expand on it with a little detail. For years stories have circulated that Israeli agents — especially those of Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, the Mossad — have infiltrated Arab terrorist networks and have sometimes actually involved themselves in deceptive terrorist activities designed to appear as the work of Arabs. Observers, for example, allege that the Mossad thoroughly infiltrated the nefarious terrorist group Abu Nidal and turned some of its terrorist activities to Israel’s benefit.[42] And then there is the notorious Lavon Affair in which even mainstream writers have acknowledged that bombings of Western property in Egypt in 1954, initially assumed to be the work of Arab nationalists, and contributing to the attack on Egypt by Britain and France (and Israel) in 1956, were actually carried out by Egyptian Jews in the service of Israel. [43]

The possibility that Israel might engage in such deceptive terrorism against the United States was touched on in a study by the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), which dealt with the difficulties an international peacekeeping force would face if it were used to maintain an Israeli-Palestine peace. A reference to this study appeared, poignantly, in a front-page article in the Washington Times on September 10, 2001 — one day before the terror attacks of 9/11. According to the article, “Of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, the SAMS officers say: ‘Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act.’”[44]

Anti-Iran propaganda could persuade a significant portion of the American public that Iran has violated the nuclear agreement and/or that it is engaging in serious terrorist activities. (Specious propaganda obviously works with the American public, as recent history shows.) That Iran would be seen as double-crossing the United States after making a solemn deal would make the public more hostile than ever toward Iran. Ultimately, the United States might scuttle the agreement and not simply reinstate sanctions but initiate some form of military action. In short, although Israel and its American myrmidons have lost a battle of considerable significance, they are still far from having lost the war for the control of American Middle East policy.

 

Notes

[1] Obama had used the same “mindset” argument in a previous speech to the Veterans of Foreign War. Michael A. Memoli, “Obama: Critics of Iran deal are the same people who rushed to war with Iraq,” Stars and Stripes,

July 21, 2015, http://www.stripes.com/news/us/obama-critics-of-iran-deal-are-the-same-people-who-rushed-to-war-with-iraq-1.359022?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+starsandstripes%2Fgeneral+%28Stars+and+Stripes%29

[2] Paul R. Pillar, “The Disastrous Neocon Mindset,” ConsortiumNews.com, August 6, 2015,https://consortiumnews.com/2015/08/06/the-disastrous-neocon-mindset/

[3] Christine Mai-Duc and Paul Richter, “Who gave up what in the Iran nuclear deal,” Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-middle-east-iran-nuclear-deal-outline-20150714-htmlstory.html

[4] As Thucydides described the reality of inter-state relations in his famous Melian Dialogue in hisThe History of the Peloponnesian War, in which the powerful Athenians threaten the much weaker Melians: “The strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they are forced to accept.”   Thucydides pointed out that Athens’ aggressive hegemonic actions went too far and ultimately engendered enough opposition to do it harm, though the work ends before Athens’ final defeat. Richard Ned Lebow and Robert Kelly, “Thucydides and Hegemony: Athens and the United States,” Review of International Studies, 27:4 (October, 2001), pp. 593-609, http://polisci2.ucsd.edu/rabarrett/writing/Professional%20Examples/Lebow%20n%20Kelly–Thucydides%20n%20Hegemony-Athens%20and%20the%20US.pdf

[5] The IAEA adopted a Model Additional Protocol on May 15, 1997. “The 1997 IAEA Additional Protocol At a Glance,” Arms Control Association, updated April 2015,https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/IAEAProtoco

[6] Arshad Mohammed, “U.S., Iran finesse inspections of military sites in nuclear deal,” Reuters, July 15, 2015,

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/15/us-iran-nuclear-military-sites-analysis-idUSKCN0PP2TG20150715

[7] Jay Solomon, “Lawmakers Say Iran Unlikely to Address Suspicions of Secret Weapons Program,”Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-says-iran-unlikely-to-address-suspicions-of-secret-weapons-program-1437953567

[8] David Albright, “What Iran’s hostile reaction to the Parchin issue means for the nuclear deal,” Washington Post, August 10, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/denying-the-obvious/2015/08/10/4b5b208e-3f75-11e5-9561-4b3dc93e3b9a_story.html

[9] Jay Solomon, “Lawmakers Say Iran Unlikely to Address Suspicions of Secret Weapons Program,”Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-says-iran-unlikely-to-address-suspicions-of-secret-weapons-program-1437953567

[10] Kelley Vlahos, “Has Iran Really Pursued Nukes?,” American Conservative, April 1, 2014,http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/has-iran-really-pursued-nukes/ ; Scott Peterson, “Imminent Iran nuclear threat? A timeline of warnings since 1979,” Christian Science Monitor, November 8, 2011, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1108/Imminent-Iran-nuclear-threat-A-timeline-of-warnings-since-1979/Earliest-warnings-1979-84

[11] Graham Allison, “A Point-by-Point Response to the Iran Deal’s Critics,” The Atlantic, July 8, 2015,http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/07/iran-nuclear-nietzsche/397970/

[12] Amita Kelly, “ ‘Offensive,’ ‘Sad’: Reaction To Huckabee’s Holocaust ‘Oven’ Reference,”

NPR, July 27, 2015   http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/07/27/426729144/offensive-sad-politicans-react-to-huckabees-holocaust-reference

[13] J.J. Goldberg, in the Forward, a leading Jewish publication, accurately refers to Netanyahu as “the field marshal leading the anti-deal troops.” “How Anti-Obama Zealots Went Off Rails on Iran Deal,” Forward, August 15, 2015, http://forward.com/opinion/319025/how-anti-obama-zealots-have-gone-off-the-rails-on-iran-deal/

[14] “UN Security Council Resolution 487 was adopted on June 19, 1981 following an Israeli attack on Iraqi nuclear installations on June 7. It called on Israel ‘urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards’.”

“UN Security Council Resolution 487, Israel,” Council on Foreign Relations,http://www.cfr.org/israel/un-security-council-resolution-487-israel/p19140; “Bombing Osirak, Burying UN Resolution 487 – An Exchange With The BBC’s Jonathan Marcus,” Media Lens, August 9, 2015, http://www.medialens.org/index.php/component/acymailing/archive/view/listid-1-alerts-full/mailid-128-bombing-osirak-burying-un-resolution-487-an-exchange-with-the-bbcs-jonathan-marcus.html

[15] Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State, “Myths and Facts Regarding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Regime,”http://www.state.gov/t/isn/rls/fs/2015/240650.htm

[16] Reuters in New York, “Netanyahu thanks US for blocking push for Middle East nuclear arms ban,” The Guardian, May 23, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/23/netanyahu-thanks-us-blocking-middle-east-nuclear-arms-ban

[17] Ari Yashar and Matt Wanderman, “US Declassifies Document Revealing Israel’s Nuclear Program,” Arutz Sheva, March 25, 2015, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/193175#.Vbzd-vlViko.

[18] Grant F. Smith, “Will Obama Break the Law for Israel’s Sake?,” Antiwar.com, February 11, 2009,http://www.antiwar.com/orig/gsmith.php?articleid=14229

[19] Chris McGreal, “White House reporter Helen Thomas resigns after anti-Israel comments,” The Guardian, June 8, 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jun/07/white-house-reporter-helen-thomas-resigns; Roy Greenslade, “Helen Thomas went over the top, but why is she gagged in the land of the free?,” The Guardian, June 8, 2010,http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2010/jun/08/freedom-of-speech-usa ; Danny Schechter, “The US Media Hit on Helen Thomas,” Consortium.news, December 29, 2010, https://consortiumnews.com/2010/122910d.html

[20] Grant Smith, “Netanyahu Worked Inside Nuclear Smuggling Ring,” Antiwar.com, July 4, 2012,http://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2012/07/03/netanyahu-worked-inside-nuclear-smuggling-ring/; Philip Weiss, “Israel’s nuclear arsenal is used to coerce the US on Middle East policy ,”Mondoweiss, September 3, 2012, http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/israels-nuclear-arsenal-is-used-to-coerce-the-us-on-middle-east-policy#sthash.nT2lY3Wu.dpuf

[21] “Israeli Nukes, US Foreign Aid and the Symington Amendment,” The Israel Lobby Archive, The Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, http://www.irmep.org/ILA/nukes/default.asp ; Kenneth J. Theisen, “Israeli Nukes? Not according to the U.S.,” http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php/palestine/5521-israeli-nukes-not-according-to-the-us.

[22] Daniel Pipes, “How Israel Might Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Program,” National Review, July 16, 2015, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/421244/how-israel-might-destroy-irans-nuclear-program-daniel-pipes

[23] Philip Weiss, “Israel’s nuclear arsenal is used to coerce the US on Middle East policy ,” Mondoweiss, September 3, 2012, http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/israels-nuclear-arsenal-is-used-to-coerce-the-us-on-middle-east-policy#sthash.nT2lY3Wu.dpuf

[24] Warner D. Farr, “The Third Temple’s Holy of Holies: Israel’s Nuclear Weapons,” USAF Counterproliferation Center, Air War College, September 1999,http://fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/farr.htm; Richard Sale, “Yom Kippur: Israel’s 1973 nuclear alert,” September 16, 2002, http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2002/09/16/Yom-Kippur-Israels-1973-nuclear-alert/64941032228992/

[25] Carol Morello and Karen DeYoung, “Nuclear deal with Iran scrutinized by experts,” Washington Post, July 17, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nuclear-deal-with-iran-scrutinized-by-experts/2015/07/17/8a53aaae-2c92-11e5-bd33-395c05608059_story.html

[26] Switzerland lifts sanctions against Iran, Reuters, August 12, 2015,http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/12/us-iran-nuclear-swiss-idUSKCN0QH22120150812; Simon Tisdell, “Sanctions against Iran crumble as America wrangles over the nuclear deal,” The Guardian, August 5, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/05/nuclear-deal-with-iran-europeans-scramble-for-persia; Alissa J. Rubin, “After Deal, Europeans Are Eager to Do Business in Iran,” New York Times, August 1, 2015,http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/world/europe/after-deal-europeans-are-eager-to-do-business-in-iran.html?_r=0 ; Shadia Nasralla and Maria Sheahan, “Iran is eyeing $185 billion oil and gas projects once sanctions lift,” Business Insider, July 23, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/iran-is-eyeing-185-billion-oil-and-gas-projects-once-sanctions-lift-2015-7.

[27] Dov S. Zackheim, “The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Tehran ‘Achieved All It Wanted,’” National Interest, July 14, 2015, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-iran-nuclear-agreement-tehran-achieved-all-it-wanted-13334.

[28] Vali Nasr, “Why did Iran sign on to a deal that will weaken its regional hold?,” Washington Post, July 31, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-did-iran-sign-on-to-a-deal-that-will-weaken-its-regional-hold/2015/07/31/a9f48494-354a-11e5-8e66-07b4603ec92a_story.html?tid=hybrid_content_2_na.

[29] Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, “The Saudi Finger-Pointing at Iran,” Antiwar.com, June 13, 2015, http://original.antiwar.com/Leveretts/2015/06/12/the-saudi-finger-pointing-at-iran/; Stephen Sniegoski, “Iran: The Aggressor or the Aggressed Upon?,” The Council for the National Interest, May 3, 2015, http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org/new/iran-the-aggressor-or-the-aggressed-upon-stephen-sniegoski/#.Vb37rvlVikp.

[30] Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, “The Saudi Finger-Pointing at Iran,” Antiwar.com, June 13, 2015, http://original.antiwar.com/Leveretts/2015/06/12/the-saudi-finger-pointing-at-iran/; Stephen Sniegoski, “Iran: The Aggressor or the Aggressed Upon?,” The Council for the National Interest, May 3, 2015, http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org/new/iran-the-aggressor-or-the-aggressed-upon-stephen-sniegoski/#.Vb37rvlVikp .

[31] Stephen Sniegoski, “Saudi Arabia: The Neocons’ Once and Future Target,” My Catbird Seat,August 29, 2012, http://mycatbirdseat.com/2012/08/saudi-arabia-the-neocons-once-and-future-target/.

[32] John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, “The Israel Lobby,” Middle East Policy, 8:3 (Fall, 2006), p. 33; See Stephen Sniegoski, “Israel: Strategic Ally or Liability?,” My Catbird Seat, June 12, 2010, http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/06/israel-strategic-ally-or-liability/.

[33] Patrick Cockburn, “Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country,”Independent, July 13, 2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iraq-crisis-how-saudi-arabia-helped-isis-take-over-the-north-of-the-country-9602312.html; Josh Rogin, “America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS,” Daily Beast, June 14, 2014, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/14/america-s-allies-are-funding-isis.html.

[34] Ali al-Mujahed and Hugh Naylor, “In parts of Yemen, rebels have lost control. No one else has it yet,” Washington Post, August 17, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-parts-of-yemen-rebels-have-lost-control-no-one-else-has-it-yet/2015/08/17/d3c2c7a6-4425-11e5-9f53-d1e3ddfd0cda_story.html; Frank Gardner, “Yemen crisis reignites fear of al-Qaeda global threat,”BBC, April 9, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32243683

[35] Robert D. Kaplan, “Warming to Iran,” The Atlantic, January/February 2015,http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/01/warming-to-iran/383512/ .

[36] Ben Caspit, “Israel fears rapprochement between US, Iran,” Al-Monitor, February 19,2015,http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/02/israel-us-obama-moderate-iran-nuclear-talks-rapprochement.html

[37] The executive agreement, which has essentially the same status as a treaty in terms of international law, is a device that has been used from the beginning of the Republic but has become much more common since the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. They have become far more popular to presidents than treaties since they do not need a two-thirds vote in the Senate to become law. For example, Ronald Reagan made 2,840 executive agreements and only 125 treaties; George W. Bush made 1,876 executive agreements and only 131 treaties; and Bill Clinton made 2,058 executive agreements and only 209 treaties. Melissa Quinn, “History Shows Obama Doesn’t Need Congress to Seal Iran Deal,” The Daily Signal, March 13, 2015, http://dailysignal.com/2015/03/13/will-white-house-pursue-treaty-executive-agreement-iran-heres-need-know/ ; Amber Phillips, “Can Congress stop the Iran deal?,” Washington Post, July 14, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/09/the-role-of-congress-or-lack-thereof-in-the-iran-deal-explained/.

[38] Amber Phillips, “Can Congress stop the Iran deal?,” Washington Post, July 14, 2015,http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/09/the-role-of-congress-or-lack-thereof-in-the-iran-deal-explained/; John Yoo, “Why Obama’s Executive Action on Iran Does Not Violate the Law,” National Review, July 26, 2015, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421621/iran-deal-constition-supports-obama-executive-action.

[39] Julie Pace, “GOP presidential candidates pledging to overturn Obama’s Iran deal would face big obstacles,” US News and World Report, July 17, 2015,http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/07/17/for-candidates-revoking-iran-deal-easier-to-pledge-than-do.

[40] Justin Raimondo, “The Liberation of US Foreign Policy,” Antiwar.com, August 7, 2015,http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2015/08/06/the-liberation-of-us-foreign-policy/.

[41] Philip Giraldi, “Waving the ‘False Flag,’” Unz Review, January 27, 2015,http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/waving-the-false-flag/.

[42] Patrick Seale, Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire (New York: Random House, 1992).

[43] “The Lavon Affair,” Jewish Virtual Library, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/lavon.html;

David Hirst, “The Lavon Affair,” Excerpts from his book The Gun and the Olive Branch, http://www.serendipity.li/zionism/lavon_affair.htm.

[44] Rowan Scarborough, “US troops would enforce peace under Army study,” Washington Times, September 10, 2001, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2001/sep/10/20010910-025319-6906r/.

 

“Something” happened three weeks ago. While we cannot be sure “what” exactly happened, we can speculate. We have many dots and lots of data points to help us but first it needs to be pointed out, even if wrong in conclusion …just the knowledge alone that “something changed” is enough. If you know something has changed, you can take clues and look at various markets for inflection points. Currently, most markets are stretched to various limits. Whether it be zero bound credit markets, equities, real estate, commodities or gold and silver, all values had reached extreme highs or lows.

Something changed three weeks ago and a series of events began. It all started with China announcing 600 additional tons of gold. This was followed by the IMF rebuff of China, the three yuan devaluations and three “coincidental” explosions. Then equity markets around the world (which were already weak) began to violently unravel and finally spilled over to the U.S.. This tested the PPT’s limits (which were apparently $23 billion last week).

There were other behind the scenes dots which I missed and would like to add here before theorizing. In the gold arena, the GLD inventory supposedly rose over the last two weeks even though gold was “weak” and being sold. This was against a backdrop of very deep backwardation going out a full six months in London. The current backwardation is further out in time and far larger in price than EVER before! These two data points are in exact divergence to a dropping gold price. Why would there be buying in GLD if gold was being panic sold? Also, if real gold was being dumped, how could it be in backwardation or shortage? Wouldn’t “sales” make product extremely plentiful?

There were several more major anomalies in gold. As of Friday, there were 63 August contracts still open …even though the contract went off the board. This has NEVER happened in 40 years! How is this possible? The day before on Thursday, there were 552 contracts open. Can someone please explain to me why the shorts would not have delivered gold (like they did in the old days) on the first or second delivery day rather than waiting to the last day? Someone has to pay for storage, why would the short want to pay for storage they are contractually able to deliver nearly 30 days prior and avoid the charges. Are they having problems sourcing gold? Just like several mints who have gone to rationing or halts of production …and exactly as the backwardation is suggesting?

Over in silver, did you know they had confirmed volume on Thursday of 122,482 contracts traded? Did you know this represents 612 MILLION ounces of silver …or over 87% of annual global silver production ex China and Russia? How in the world does 87% of a full year’s production trade in just several hours? Doesn’t this go against commodity laws? AND, silver was pummeled on Thursday so it was supposed to represent PANIC SELLING. Who was panicking and needed to sell all that silver so fast? …especially since the U.S. Mint just raised premiums and started rationing dealers because they couldn’t keep up with DEMAND! Let’s not forget the Royal Canadian Mint, they have suspended sales of silver Maples! Why or how could this be? Everyone has been selling silver but the mint could not source any? This defies pre school logic!

Let me give you another very strange data point. The FRBNY (New York Fed.) always reports custodial gold holdings on the 28th or 29th of the month for the previous month. They missed July 29th and reported on August 20 NO GOLD was shipped (to Germany for their repatriation program) when month after month they have been reporting close to 10 tons out the door. What’s going on?

Before telling you what I think has changed, we need to look at what China has just done. China has sold $100 billion worth of Treasury bonds over the last two weeks. Before they sold these, they devalued their yuan by about 5% which is the same thing as making their dollar holdings worth 5% more in yuan …so they increased their sale by the equivalent of $5 billion! Please understand the following because it is VERY important, we have not experienced hyper inflation in the U.S. because the debt was always “sterilized”. We actually exported the inflation to other nations and as long as they did not sell the actual dollars (if they sold Treasuries), the trade remained sterilized. It was reported Friday China had actually sold their dollars realized from the Treasury sales for …you guessed it YUAN! This drove the yuan up versus the dollar so China added even more to their trade. Brilliant!

This topic deserves an entire writing and I’ll undertake it later. Suffice it to say, the Federal Reserve had to buy the $100 billion worth of bonds. This is “reverse” QE or as they now say “QT” (quantitative tightening). As the great credit unwind continues, more and more Treasuries from China and other sources will hit the market and force the Fed to buy them. This will take more and more “space” on the Fed’s balance sheet but they will have NO CHOICE unless they want interest rates to skyrocket. In the end, the inflation we exported for so many years will come washing back on our shores like a tidal wave!

OK, what do I think “happened” three weeks ago?  On the original writing, I erroneously believed the SGE had not reported withdrawals for the last two weeks, this was incorrect and they have in fact reported withdrawals. This led me to believe China was no longer being delivered gold. No proof of this yet but it will mathematically happen. Why? Because the simple math says so. China/India can only import more than total production for as long as Western vaults have metal to dishoard. Once non delivery does happen and becomes known, our hoard of “power” will be gone and so will the façade of financial strength. Our standard of living will collapse into third world status hand in hand with a broken financial system.

Something behind the scenes has caused markets all over the world to convulse. The likely candidate involves leverage and most probably derivatives. As I wrote last week, “dead bodies must be strewn everywhere”, call them walking dead institutions or whatever. We have experienced 5% and even 10% moves in various markets in less than a week’s time or even in just one day. Many derivatives are carried with just one or two percent margin, in other words the moves have been big enough to completely wipe out equity. Winners become losers when the losers cannot pay and default.

There is one more piece of news that may be nothing at all or it may fit hand in hand with the above. King Salman of Saudi Arabia announced a visit for this coming week with president Obama.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/27/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-king-plans-to-visit-us.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

The press has speculated the meeting has to do with the Iran deal or even aggressions with Yemen. I don’t think so. My guess is King Salman may be coming to Washington to say “the deal is off”. The “deal” being Henry Kissinger’s early 1970′s petrodollar. I suspect Saudi Arabia will inform our commandeer in chief, they will begin accepting yuan for oil. The Saudis have over the last year or more done many trade deals with both Russia and China. It should only follow at some point they do not use dollars but instead use their own currencies.

Before finishing, Saudi Arabia increased their oil production at the behest of Washington to injure Russia. I think the price drop got way out of control as the algos took over. The drop was so severe it has seized up the U.S. fracking industry and put at least $500 billion worth of energy credit in jeopardy while China has filled up her storage reserves with cheap oil. If I am correct about the gold default, China/Russia have also made strategic strides in trade with Iran and Saudi Arabia in preparation.

The important thing is you understand “something” very big has happened and trends are changing in many markets. The leverage in all markets suggests a “holiday” will occur because the unwinding cannot be orderly. The “unwinding” by the way will need to undue the credit built upon credit going all the way back to Aug. 15, 1971!

The West has portrayed Russia’s annexation of Crimea as an aggression, but the re-integration of Crimea into Russia can be understood as a pre-emptive measure on the part of Moscow to preserve Russian access to a strategically important naval base at Sevastopol, from which the Russian Black Sea fleet likely would have been ejected by the new Russophobe regime in Kiev. While a highly visible campaign has been mounted in the West of demonizing Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to mobilize popular support for tough measures against Russia, the West has supported major aggressions by Saudi Arabia in Bahrain and Yemen. While Western politicians and commentators have vociferously condemned Russia’s “aggressions,” they have met the Saudi aggressions, which are on another scale entirely, with almost complete silence.

France cancelled the sale to Russia of two Mistral warships in response to “Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine,” [1] but announces that it is perfectly happy to sell the same warships to a coup government in Egypt, which has a deplorable—though in the West, largely glossed over—human rights record. Since Egypt’s Western-backed dictator Abdel Fattah Sisi “came to power in a coup two years ago, his government has criminalized street protests, sentenced hundreds to mass death in mass trials, and, according to the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, imprisoned some 40,000 political opponents and their supporters.” [2] On top of the possible sale of the Mistral warships to Cairo, France announced in February “the sale of nearly $6 billion worth of military hardware to Egypt, including two dozen Rafale fighter jets and a naval frigate.” [3]

Saudi troops arrive in Bahrain on Monday, March 14, 2011. A Saudi-led military force crossed into Bahrain with Canadian-supplied light armored vehicles to suppress a movement for a representative parliamentary democracy.    APA /Landov

Saudi troops arrive in Bahrain on Monday, March 14, 2011. A Saudi-led military force crossed into Bahrain with Canadian-supplied light armored vehicles to suppress a movement for a representative parliamentary democracy. APA /Landov

Based on France’s purported commitment to the principles of equality, fraternity and liberty, one might think its government would have some reservations about striking weapons deals with a politically repressive regime which gags journalists, marches tens of thousands of political opponents into jail, and has condemned to death the elected president it overthrew. Certainly, France makes much of its commitment to liberal democratic values. How, then, could it support a regime that represents the very antithesis of the values it professes to cherish–unless the profits of France’s substantial citizens are senior to all other considerations?

Not to be outdone, in either arming an Arab dictator or exhibiting stunning hypocrisy in doing so, the United States gives Cairo $1.3 billion annually in military aid—effectively a pre-paid credit card for use in the US arms bazaar. The annual largesse, briefly suspended as a pro forma response to the coup for public relations purposes, has been resumed. In March, US “President Barack Obama agreed to release to Egypt a dozen F-16 attack aircraft and other military equipment,” including 12 F-16 aircraft, 20 Harpoon missiles, and 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits. [4]

Meanwhile, the Canadian government, which, along with France, has made a show of deploring Russian “intervention” in Ukraine—and met it with its own interventions in encouraging the Maidan uprising, and in providing military training to Ukrainian militias—has facilitated a $15 billion sale of light armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada. Significantly, “it was Canadian-made fighting vehicles that Saudi Arabia sent into Bahrain in 2011 to help quell a democratic uprising.” [5]

So, while France cancelled a deal to deliver Mistral warships to Russia owing to Russian intervention in Ukraine, Canada arms Saudi Arabia with the very same equipment the kingdom’s military used to intervene in Bahrain to suppress protestors demanding a representative, democratically-elected, government. France too is arming the Saudi defenders of illegitimate royalist rule. In June, it “announced plans to sell $12 billion worth of equipment to Saudi Arabia, including civilian helicopters and naval patrol boats.” [6] No pressure is exerted on Canada or France by the EU or Washington to suspend their deals with the Saudi tyranny.

That Canada and France have any dealings with Saudi Arabia is remarkable, considering the country is a human rights sewer, where woman have no rights, the state regularly amputates the heads (a la ISIS) and limbs of people convicted of crimes, and there is no democracy, procedural or otherwise. Its foreign policy is as ugly as its domestic policy. It has initiated a war of aggression on neighboring Yemen, part of which involves a blockade in which one in five faces starvation. [7] It exports its benighted, medieval Wahhabi ideology, backing anti-secular, misogynistic, sectarian religious fanatics to break the backs of socialist, communist and secular national forces in the Arab world, all to the delight of the Western imperialist powers that benefit.

The Saud family plunders the country’s oil wealth, investing it abroad in US banks and on arms purchases that swell the coffers of US, French and Canadian weapons manufacturers, rather than investing it at home in Arab economic development—which explains why Ottawa and Paris haven’t the slightest reservations about arming this regionally aggressive abomination. The only reservation Canada’s government has is whether the arms deal it has approved with the Saudi tyranny is acceptable to another abomination, Israel [8], whose founding principle is the dispossession of one Arab people from its land, the Palestinians, to make way for Jewish settlers from other lands.

Diderot remarked that humanity would never be free until the last king was strangled with the entrails of the last priest. It might be said that the Arab world will never be free until the last Arab king is strangled with the entrails of the last Jihadi. (As Robert Dreyfuss has pointed out, the oil monarchies are ruled by royal kleptocracies whose legitimacy is nil. Most Arabs know that the monarchies were established by imperialists building fences around oil wells. [9] The kleptocracies have a symbiotic relationship with the imperialists. They loot the country and share the stolen wealth with the imperialists who provide military support.

Regarding Russia’s “intervention” in Ukraine, let’s be clear that the annexation of Crimea followed in the wake of the emergence of two major threats that arose from Washington’s sponsorship of a coup d’état in Kiev to bring to power a Russophobe government. [10]

The first threat was expressed in the European Association Agreement, whose signing became the immediateraison d’être of the Maidan rebellion that preceded the coup. The terms of the agreement direct Ukraine to reorient its economic and foreign and military policies to the West. [11] Since Ukraine is Russia’s largest trading partner, the signing of the agreement has overwhelmingly important and deleterious economic consequences for Russia. Imagine Canada and Mexico signing agreements to reorient their economies toward Russia.

There are compelling geographic and economic reasons why Russia ought to be Western Europe’s principle economic partner, and not the United States. It’s close to Western European markets and production, and offers a vast treasure trove of natural resources, easily transportable over comparatively short distances to Western European markets. A significant role for Russia in Western Europe, however, threatens US economic hegemony. To eclipse the threat, US foreign policy has long sought to weaken and isolate Russia, by keeping Western Europe locked in the US orbit, while at the same time drawing countries on Russia’s periphery into the US-superintended circle, severing their historical and geographically natural connections to Russia’s economy. Washington’s sponsorship of the Russophobe coup in a country that is Russia’s principal economic partner is part of the larger US strategy of weakening Russia through isolation from its natural markets and peripheral economies.

The second threat was expressed in the probability that the coup government in Kiev would try to evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base in Crimea, significantly undermining Russia’s security environment. Russian self-defense would be further threatened by the probability that the base would be transferred to the US Sixth Fleet. As Putin explained, “What did our partners (the West) expect from us as the developments in Ukraine unfolded?…[W]e could not allow our access to the Black Sea to be significantly limited, and could not allow NATO forces to come to Crimea and Sevastopol.” [12]

Hence, the narrative that Western foreign policy is animated by opposition to foreign aggression is challenged by the arms deals that France and Canada—whose governments profess to oppose foreign intervention—have struck with Saudi Arabia. The Saudi tyranny has intervened militarily in Bahrain against a movement for a representative political democracy, and, to the shame of the Canadian government, using light armored vehicles sold to Saudi tyrants by a Canadian arms manufacturer, approved by Ottawa.

Saudi Arabia is waging a war of aggression on Yemen, in a blatant violation of international law. The war involves an air campaign, and a naval blockade that has left one in five facing starvation. US warships  assist in enforcing the starvation blockade and the Pentagon provides the Saudis with logistics and intelligence support.

Saudi Arabia is waging a war of aggression on Yemen, which blatantly violates international law. The war involves an air campaign, and a naval blockade that has left one in five facing starvation. US warships assist in enforcing the starvation blockade and the Pentagon provides the Saudis with logistics and intelligence support.

The Saudi tyranny has also launched a blood-soaked intervention into neighboring Yemen, with the ostensible goal of restoring to power a pro-Saudi president who was ousted in an uprising. That president, Abd-Rabbu Hadi, has virtually no support in Yemen. [13] There is some resemblance to Ukraine, i.e., a president ousted in a coup and a military response by a neighboring country, though the toppled Ukraine president was neither pro- nor anti-Russian, had far more support in Ukraine than Hadi has in Yemen, and Russia isn’t bombing Ukraine or enforcing a blockade to starve Ukraine into submission. Nor does Russia seek the restoration to power of Victor Yanukovych, the ousted Ukraine president. Yet bombing and blockade happen in Yemen, and there’s only silence in the West. US and British warships assist in maintaining the blockade. The Pentagon provides logistical and intelligence support to the Saudi bombing campaign. [14]

The entire affair is a blatant breach of international law, and an assault on authentic democracy and self-determination. Yet it is met by silence in the West (whose Saudi partner in robbing the Arabs of their oil wealth is the perpetrator.) Western politicians who rail against “Putin’s aggressions” and commentators who counsel tough measures against Moscow’s “belligerence”, have nothing to say about the US- and British-assisted Saudi war of aggression on Yemen, just as earlier they could find no words to condemn the Saudi march into Bahrain.

Imagine that Russia was bombing Ukraine and blockading its borders, instead of the Saudis doing the same to Yemen. The outcry would be deafening. Already, there is a full-throated call for aggressive economic and military action against Russia. And yet, what, in truth, was Moscow’s offense? Has it bombed Ukraine? No. Is it blockading its neighbor’s borders? No. It annexed Crimea, historically part of Russia, whose residents opposed the coup government in Kiev and welcomed their reintegration into Russia [15], and which is the site of an important Russian naval base. Russia’s actions were a predictable defensive measure against an aggressive US-led campaign to deprive Russia of its principal economic partner and its strategically important naval base on the Black Sea.

There is much to condemn and oppose: The Saudi interventions in Yemen and Bahrain; Western support for the Arab kleptocracies; the economic and military threats from the US against Russia that provoked Moscow’s defensive annexation of Crimea; royalist oppression in Saudi Arabia and the Western arms manufacturers and their partners in government who furnish the Saudi kleptocrats with weapons to suppress internal revolts. “Putin’s aggressions”—largely a fantasy—are not among them.

Notes

1. Matthew Dalton, “Egypt in talks to buy Mistral warships from France,” The Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2015.

2. Tamer el-Ghobashy, “Egypt’s leader reinvents himself as bulwark against terrorism,” The Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2015.

3. Nicola Clark, “Egypt to purchase fighter jets and a warship from France,” The New York Times, February 12, 2015.

4. Bryon Tau and Adam Entous, “Obama administration releases military aid to Egypt,” The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2015.

5. Steve Chase, “Foreign Affairs found no ‘red flags’ for Israel is Saudi arms sale,” The Globe and Mail, August 27, 2015.

6. Dalton.

7. Shuaib Almosawa, Kareem Fahim and Somini Sengupta, “Yemeni government faces choice between a truce and fighting on,” The New York Times, Aug 14, 2015.

8. Chase.

9. Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, Holt, 2005, p. 99.

10. The arguments developed in connection with Ukraine are based mainly on Richard Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands, I.B. Taurus, 2015.

11. Sakwa, p. 75.

12. Sakwa, p. 167.

13. Patrick Cockburn, “In the Middle East, our enemy’s enemy must be our friend,” The Independent, April 12, 2015.

14. Ian Sinclair, “Yemen: Britain lurks behind Saudi atrocities,” The Morning Star, July 20, 2015; Shuaib Almosawa, Kareem Fahim and Somini Sengupta, “Yemeni government faces choice between a truce and fighting on,” The New York Times, Aug 14, 2015; Jay Solomon and Asa Fitch, “U.S. met secretly with Yemen rebels,” The Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2015; Maria Abi-Habin and Adam Entous, “U.S. widens role in Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen,” The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2015; Hakim Almasmari and Maria Abi-Habib, “Saudi-backed forces set back in Yemen,” The Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2015.

15. Peter Hart, “Radioactive Putin is ‘Stalin’s Spawn’”, Extra!, May 1, 2014.

The riveting writer, Michael Hudson, has read our collective minds and the simmering anger in our hearts. Millions of American have long suspected that their inability to get financially ahead is an intentional construct of Wall Street’s central planners. Now Hudson, in an elegant but lethal indictment of the system, confirms that your ongoing struggle to make ends meet is not a reflection of your lack of talent or drive but the only possible outcome of having a blood-sucking financial leech affixed to your body, your retirement plan, and your economic future.

In his new book, “Killing the Host,” Hudson hones an exquisitely gripping journey from Wall Street’s original role as capital allocator to its present-day parasitism that has replaced U.S. capitalism as an entrenched, politically-enforced economic model across America.

This book is a must-read for anyone hoping to escape the most corrupt era in American history with a shirt still on his parasite-riddled back.

Hudson writes from his most powerful perch in chapters describing how these financial parasites have tricked our society into accepting them as a normal, productive part of our economy. (Since we write about these thousands of diabolical tricks four days a week at Wall Street On Parade, poignant examples came springing to mind with every turn of the page in “Killing the Host.” From the well-placed articles in the Wall Street Journal to a front group’s pleas for more Wall Street handouts in a New York Times OpEd, to the dirty backroom manner in which corporate speech was placed on a par with human speech in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, to Wall Street’s private justice system and the Koch brothers’ multi-million dollar machinations to instill Ayn Rand’s brand of “greed is good” in university economic departments across America — America has become a finely tuned kleptocracy with a sprawling, sophisticated public relations base.)

How else to explain, other than kleptocracy, the fact that Wall Street’s richest mega banks collect the life insurance proceeds and tax benefits on the untimely deaths of their workers – all codified into law by the U.S. Congress – making death a profit center on Wall Street. Or, as Frontline revealed, that two-thirds of your 401(k) plan over a working lifetime is likely to be lost to financial fees.

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How the US Can Stop ISIS Without Setting Foot in Syria

September 1st, 2015 by Tony Cartalucci

Increasingly difficult to cover-up or spin, it is becoming apparent even in Western media coverage that the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) is not sustaining its fighting capacity from within Iraq or Syria, but rather through supply lines that lead to and from adjacent nations. These nations include Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and most obviously, NATO-member Turkey.

It was in Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW)’s report, “‘IS’ supply channels through Turkey,” that hundreds of trucks destined for ISIS held territory were videotaped waiting at Oncupinar, Turkey to cross over into Syria with apparently no oversight by the Turkish government. Later, TIME magazine would admit ISIS’ dependence on the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, just across the border from Turkey, for supplies and the significance of its loss to Kurdish fighters in sustaining their fighting capacity both at the border and beyond.

AP’s June 2015 report, “Kurds move to cut off ISIS supply lines in Syria,” would state:

Syrian Kurdish fighters closed in on the outskirts of a strategic Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-held town on the Turkish border Sunday, Kurdish officials and an activist group said, potentially cutting off a key supply line for the extremists’ nearby de facto capital. 

Taking Tal Abyad, some 50 miles from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stronghold of Raqqa, would mean the group wouldn’t have a direct route to bring in new foreign militants or supplies. The Kurdish advance, coming under the cover of intense U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in the area, also would link their two fronts and put even more pressure on Raqqa as Iraqi forces struggle to contain the group in their country.

And while US airstrikes are credited for Kurdish advances against ISIS, one wonders why the US, whose military including a US airbase at Incirlik, Turkey and US special forces as well as the CIA are operating along and across the Syrian border in Turkey – hasn’t done more to interdict ISIS supply lines before they reach Syria and awaiting terrorists.

The Kurds and Syria’s military both realize the importance of stemming terrorist armies within Syria by cutting them off from their supplies at Syria’s borders. However, both the Kurds and Syrian forces are increasingly limited from securing these borders due to an ever-expanding “safe haven” the US and its regional allies are carving out of Syrian territory. Turkey and Israel have both attacked Syrian forces in these “safe havens” creating a virtual sanctuary for Al Qaeda affiliates including Al Nusra and ISIS.

Efforts to “assist” the Kurds appear only to have been a pretext to violate Syrian airspace first, then Syrian territory on the ground second. America’s meager “Division 30″ of less than 60 fighters trained in Turkey then sent to fight the thousands upon thousands of terrorists the US and its allies have been arming, training, and sending over Syria’s borders for years was yet another attempt to make ISIS and Al Nusra’s gains appear a result of Western folly rather than of Western design.

How the West Can Stop ISIS Without Setting Foot in Syria 

An old military maxim states: “an army marches on its stomach.” Logic dictates that an army with empty stomachs is unable to march. Napoleon Bonaparte who is credited with this quote, found out first hand just how true these words were when his army found itself deep within Russia without supplies, leading to its ultimate and catastrophic defeat.

Likewise, ISIS’ fighting capacity depends entirely on its supply lines. Cutting these supply lines will lead to its inevitable defeat. For the United States, who is either allied with or has troops operating in all nations bordering Syria, cutting ISIS’ supply lines would be a simple matter – that is – if the United States was truly interested in defeating ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates.

While the United States has assisted Turkey in erecting missile defenses along its border with Syria in order to create a defacto no-fly-zone providing Al Nusra and ISIS with an invaluable sanctuary, little to no effort has been spent in increasing border security – specifically the searching for and interdiction of terrorist fighters, weapons, and other supplies. As German DW’s report illustrated, it appears Turkey’s borders are not only dangerously wide open, but intentionally so, with little or no effort at all by Turkey to stem the torrent of obvious ISIS supply convoys from passing through.

DW would likely videotape a similar situation unfolding in Jordan near its border with Syria, close to Syrian cities like Daraa which have become battle-torn as Syrian forces desperately try to stem the torrent of fighters and weapons flowing over the borders there, aimed ultimately at Damascus.

The US Can Stop ISIS in One Month… If it Wanted

By cutting off ISIS from its money, supplies, additional fighters, weapons, and essential equipment, it would quickly be overwhelmed by Syrian and Iraqi forces. Without cash to pay fighters, and without new fighters to replace those lost in fighting, morale would quickly falter. Without a constant torrent of weapons, ammunition, and fuel, ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates would quickly lose their tactical capabilities. Fighters unable to flee would be encircled and destroyed as has happened deep within Syria’s interior where Syrian forces have been able to cut supply lines to key cities and starve out terrorist armies.

Syria is intentionally prevented from securing its borders through an increasingly overt “buffer zone” or “safe haven” the US and its regional allies are creating for the purpose of sheltering clearly non-existent “moderate rebels.” What these “safe havens” are in actuality doing, is ensuring ISIS’ supply lines remain intact. With the Kurds – the only effective force near the Turkish-Syrian border able to threaten ISIS’ supply lines – now being attacked by Turkish forces directly, what little obstacles supplies had in reaching ISIS through Turkey is being swiftly negated.

The US and its allies could easily increase security along Syria’s borders and permanently cut ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates supply lines without having to enter Syrian airspace or cross onto Syrian soil. Just as easily as the US built a line of missile defenses facing Syria, it could create border checkpoints and patrols within Turkey to interdict and effectively stem all weapons and fighters flowing to ISIS. It could, but it intentionally doesn’t.

The implications are obvious. ISIS is both a creation and intentional perpetuation of US foreign policy. Just as the US so many years ago colluded with Saudi Arabia in the creation of Al Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan in the first place, it to this day colludes with its regional allies to use Al Qaeda and its various rebrandings – including ISIS – to fight wars Western troops cannot fight. This includes dividing and destroying Syria – the overtly stated, true objective of US policymakers.

Could Syria and its allies create their own “buffer zone” in northern Syria? Could international troops be brought in, with the inclusion of UN observers to secure the Syrian border and put in check attempts by both Turkey and the US to engage Syrian and Kurdish fighters attempting to restore order there?

The incremental strategy of carving out northern Syria, claiming to shelter “moderate rebels” while in reality securing further ISIS’ supply lines and providing them an increasingly unassailable safe haven from which to launch operations deeper into Syria, is inching along and will inevitably pay off at the expense of Syrian territorial integrity, stability, and perhaps even its existence as a functioning state if no measures are taken to counter this conspiracy.

The basics of logistics and the simple fact that the US can both fight and defeat ISIS by simply securing Turkey and Jordan’s borders must be repeatedly brought up by non-Western media and diplomatic circles – highlighting the fact that Syria’s conflict is one of foreign invasion, not civil war. The conflict can be brought to an end, along with all the horrors associated with it, by simply checking ISIS’ bags at the Turkish border. If the US and Turkey refuse to do this, someone must check them on the other side, someone the US and Turks may hesitate to attack as they have the Syrians and Kurds.

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

 

National oppression and mass impoverishment continues in the Gulf and around the U.S.

It has been a decade since the people of New Orleans and the Gulf coast were dislocated due to the failure of the federal government to both protect their communities and to rebuild them after the hurricane.

An undetermined number of people died, officially said to be approximately 1,800 just in New Orleans, during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which struck the last week of August 2005. Many others suffered severe injuries while the municipal and health care systems in the area were overwhelmed.

Thousands of homes were damaged due to the storm causing mass evacuations to convention centers, stadiums, building roofs and in the streets of New Orleans as well as other cities and towns. Later people were transported out of the region along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Families, neighborhoods, churches, organizations, schools, social clubs and a centuries-long culture were wiped out in a matter of days. Although the federal government under the leadership of the-then President George W. Bush told media outlets that they were working to provide assistance to the impacted cities, towns and rural areas, these falsehoods were soon revealed.

White armed militias prevented African Americans from fleeing into their neighborhoods amid reports of outright racially motivated murders. Police and law-enforcement personnel disappeared in the disaster creating an atmosphere of lawlessness and abandonment.

Domestic Warfare While the Middle East and Afghanistan Burned

The aftermath of the Katrina disaster exposed the Bush administration for both its domestic and international failures. With the deployment of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops in the Middle East, and the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it drained the ranks of the military reserves and National Guard personnel.

Domestic military forces were in short supply and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) demonstrated its racist character and administrative incompetence. The images of hundreds of thousands dislocated African Americans in public areas, buses and on warships awaiting removal illustrated the national oppressive and class contradictions within the world’s leading capitalist and imperialist state.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which began in October 2001, resulted in the deaths of thousands of U.S. and NATO troops along with hundreds of thousands of civilians in these countries. Nonetheless, the Bush administration along with the Congress was determined to continue these occupations which were based on fabricated allegations of a “war on terrorism” and destroying “weapons of mass destruction.”

When several other states such as Cuba, Venezuela and France offered material assistance to the people of the region, the Bush administration declined saying that the U.S. was a wealthy country and could take care of its own people. Cuban physicians were prepared to deploy to the Gulf and Venezuela was willing to send ships with fuel in a gesture of solidarity with the African American people and others in the region.

Therefore, by not providing assistance to the people and preventing others from doing so, the government was in effect intensifying a war against the oppressed. Over the next two years, the economic crisis within the U.S. mounted as jobless rates skyrocketed along with massive home foreclosures and evictions.

Impact of Federal Policy on the People of the Region

Estimates suggest that over 1 million people were forced to relocate while untold numbers perished and suffered even deeper levels of poverty and social neglect.  The African American communities of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama along the Gulf were disproportionately impacted.

The damage done to the eighth and ninth wards provided a rationale for mass removals in New Orleans. Public housing complexes shuttered and neighborhood housing residents were not provided with any assistance to relocate and rebuild.

Thousands were placed in makeshift government housing where they suffered further injury and isolation. In cities as far away as Detroit, dislocated African Americans and others were warehoused in hotels for months until they were told by the government that they could no longer house them.

After ten years most African Americans are still living outside Louisiana and the Gulf region with no prospects of returning to their homes. Whole neighborhoods remain in ruins with damaged homes, churches, schools and businesses that have not been able to reopen. The New Orleans public schools were turned over to a charter system leaving teachers and other educational workers unemployed.

In a recent article published by the German newspaper Deutsche Welle (DW), a woman named Meghan Sullivan, who works as an ultrasound technician now living in Houston, Texas, told the media outlet that her family could not afford to relocate in New Orleans. (August 30)

She explained to DW that “We had to evacuate quite suddenly and leave everything behind that didn’t fit in the car. We didn’t realize it was going to be this bad, but we lost everything in the storm.”

Sullivan went on to say “A year later, we decided to move to Houston. We were pretty much priced out of buying a new home in New Orleans at that point already. There simply weren’t enough properties around. And now, people, who have never lived in New Orleans before, are spending insane amounts of money to buy tiny condos and miserable plots of land, while no one knows how long it will take until the next natural disaster hits the city.”

Rebuilding Without the Black Masses

Corporate news reports about a rebirth of New Orleans are taking place with the current domination of the political structures by whites and the further oppression of African Americans.

Whereas assistance was made available through grants and insurance companies for those impacted in white communities, the same was not true in the African American neighborhoods. Many in the ninth ward were falsely told that if they lived close to the levee one did not need insurance and that the federal government would cover their expenses in the case of a disaster.

At the same time thousands of African Americans in the ninth ward were either denied flood insurance or could not afford the coverage. Consequently, they were left with no resources to relocate and reconstruct damaged and destroyed homes and communities.

In another article published by Deutsche Welle written by Richard Walker from New Orleans, he interviews a local housing activist Cashauna Hill of Greater New Orleans Fair Housing. Hill

told Walker how “Our counselors began to notice that white homeowners in white neighborhoods were slated to receive larger grants than those for black homeowners in African-American neighborhoods – even when their homes were of similar age and similar square footage.” (August 28)

Grants were allocated not based on the cost of reconstruction, but instead on the market value of the residence before Katrina. Such a formula must always take into account the racist history of how housing values are determined for insurance and real estate assessment purposes.

Hill noted that “Because of this country’s history of government-sanctioned and sponsored racial segregation and discrimination, African-Americans’ homes in African-American neighborhoods are valued lower than the homes of white people in white neighborhoods.”

Rents have soared in the last decade and low-income African Americans have been largely price out of the market. Landlords often discriminate against people who are allocated housing vouchers as opposed to those who pay cash.

These developments in New Orleans and along the Gulf coast have been replicated socially throughout the U.S. The so-called “sub-prime” mortgage crisis of the late 2000s had the same impact in numerous cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Atlanta, Boston and others areas.

Despite the fines paid to the federal government by the banks which engineered the housing crisis, most of the monies have not reached the people who were adversely impacted by the dislocations absent of a natural disaster. Until housing is considered a fundamental human right in the U.S. this problem will only worsen in the years to come.

The Chinese are in the process of displacing the monopoly of the US dollar. They are dropping their US Treasury bonds, stockpiling gold reserves, and opening regional distribution banks for their own national currency. This will give them easier access to capital markets and insulate them from financial manipulation by Washington and Wall Street.

Fearing the eclipsing of the US dollar and the Bretton Woods system by a rival financial architecture the US response has been an attempt to damage the Chinese markets and increase the value of China’s currency. China has responded through regulations in the market and then quantitative easing of its currency to maintain the low prices of Chinese manufactured goods and exports.

Beijing’s quantitative easing is a reaction or response to the financial manipulation of Washington and Wall Street. Additionally, Washington never thought that the Chinese would respond by dumping US Treasury bonds. Instead of the hysteria about the Chinese economy, «the impending collapse of the US dollar should be getting all of the attention of investors», one US economist (Peter Schiff) has warned. Schiff’s voice is one of many analysts saying that the talk about the Chinese economy faltering is exaggerated and bad spirited.

Financial War against China, Russia: America’s War against the «Community of Destiny»

As the financial architecture of the world is being altered by China and  Russia, the US dollar is gradually being neutralized as one of Washington’s weapon of choice. Even the monopoly of Washington’s Bretton Woods system formed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank is being directly challenged. Although they do not constitute alternatives to neoliberal economics, the BRICS News Development Bank (NDB) and Beijing’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are challenging the Bretton Woods system through a rival financial structure.

The US Empire has been cognizant of the moves to establish a rival financial order. Policymakers in the Washington Beltway, the Pentagon, and Wall Street all watched the dual summits of the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the Russian city of Ufa with concern. Up to that point, they had been waging an information/propaganda, energy, financial market, currency war, and general economic war against the Russian Federation. Post-Ufa, they extended the financial market and economic war to China.

Banks and governments in the European Union had been considering and examining the use of China’s national currency, renminbi/yuan, as a reserve currency. This was because of the attractiveness of the stability of the renminbi as a currency. This had Washington and Wall Street worried and was one of the factors that resulted in the expansion of the currency and financial war on Russia to China.

Using speculation as a psychological weapon and market manipulation, the US launched a financial strike against the Chinese. This was done through an attempt to sink or crash the Chinese stock market and hurt investor confidence in the Chinese economy and its stocks. Beijing, however, reacted quickly by imposing controls on investment withdrawals. This prevented the snowballing of stock selloffs and defused the US financial bomb.

As the value of the renminbi began to rise Beijing began quantitative easing to devalue its national currency as a means of continuing export trade. The US Congress and White House began to loudly object. They accused the Chinese of financial manipulation and demanded that Beijing do nothing to readjust the value of the renminbi. What the folks in the Washington Beltway wanted was for the Chinese to let the value of the renminbi rise as a means of disrupting China’s economy and market.

The Chinese Dragon Strikes Back: Beijing Liquidates its US Bonds

Push China and it will push back. The buck (or, more properly, renminbi/yuan) did not stop with the introduction of regulations by Beijing. China took steps that shocked Wall Street and put Washington on notice.

As US financial institutions began trying to hurt investor confidence in China through psychological tactics claiming that the Chinese economy was slowing down and that the Chinese market was in freefall, Beijing announced that it had bought 600 tons of gold in the span of a month and the People’s Bank of China had got rid of over 17 billion US dollars from its foreign exchange reserves. China’s foreign exchange reserves — excluding the foreign reserves of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macau Special Administrative Region — were 3.71 trillion (37,111,430 million) US dollars in May 2015. They had dropped to 3.69 trillion (36,938,380 million) US dollars by June 2015.

The financial market webpage Zero Hedge, which had been following this development, explained what it had discovered was taking place: «We then put China’s change in FX reserves alongside the total Treasury holdings of China and its ‘anonymous’ offshore Treasury dealer Euroclear (aka ‘Belgium’) as released by TIC, and found that the dramatic relationship which we first discovered back in May, has persisted — namely virtually the entire delta in Chinese FX reserves come via China’s US Treasury holdings».

The main point here was that China’s US Treasury bonds «are being aggressively sold, to the tune of $107 billion in Treasury sales so far in 2015». By following China’s financial transactions in Belgium, Zero Hedge had actually calculated that Beijing had dropped 143 billion US dollars in three months. A few months later, in August, the Chinese dropped 100 billion US dollars worth of US Treasury bonds in the span of two weeks.

A day later, on August 27, Bloomberg corroborated what Zero Hedge had identified. A Bloomberg report explained the following: «The People’s Bank of China has been offloading dollars and buying yuan to support the exchange rate, a policy that’s contributed to a $315 billion drop in its foreign-exchange reserves over the last 12 months. The $3.65 trillion stockpile will fall by some $40 billion a month in the remainder of 2015 because of the intervention, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey».

While the Bloomberg report emphasized that the Chinese were using US dollars to buy their own national currency, it casually mentioned, «Strategically, it probably has been China’s intention to find the right time to lighten up its excessive accumulation of U.S. Treasuries», citing an economist at Reorient Financial Markets Limited in Hong Kong.

The Eclipsing of the US Dollar by the Chinese Renminbi

Wall Street should be worried about the economic problems at home in the US instead of trying to undermine China. The talk about the slowing down of the Chinese economy in part is distraction. It diverts attention from the decline of the US and is meant to enforce the efforts of Washington and Wall Street to rein in Beijing. The Chinese, however, continue to move forward undeterred.

Beijing selected Qatar as its first renminbi clearing house in the Middle East and North Africa for regional exchange markets there in April 2015. The name of this clearing house is the Qatar Renminbi Centre. It will circumvent US financial structures and give greater access to oil and natural gas from the Middle East and North Africa to the People’s Republic of China.

Despite the wishes of Wall Street and Washington, the Silk World Order is moving forward.

This article was originally published by the Strategic Culture Foundation on August 30, 2015.

A Ukraine police servicemen has been killed and at least 10 injured as a grenade exploded during clashes in front of the parliament in the Ukrainian capital today. 

According to official sources, at least 100 citizens of Kiev were injured and 30 arrested during the clashes in the capital. Meanwhile, the militants of Right Sector has triggered riots in the center of the Ukrainian capital. 

Crowds of protesters came to oppose amendments to the constitution that would provide for the decentralization of the country. The media also reported that  demonstrators attacked police with long sticks and smoke bombs, which were being thrown along with stones.

Police are now trying to stop the demonstrators led by Right Sector from storming the parliament building. Both protesters and police officers are using tear gas against each other.

Meanwhile, in Novorossia, Ukrainian forces have violated the ceasefire agreement at least 32 times over the past 24 hours.

Ukrainian army fired on the Donetsk airport and the nearby villages of Zhabichevo and Spartak. The shelling was conducted from Maryinka, Peski, Avdeyevka and Opytnoye.

Also, the positions of the LPR Armed Forces were shelled at Sokolniki and Kalinovo from the directions of Lozovaya, Kryakovka, Luganskoe. An Ukrainian military column was observed at the Stannica Luganskaya settlement.

Sporadic clashes have been continuing at Volnovakha, Mariupol, Strogonovka and Bahmutka. Kiev’s side is continuing to pull military equipment and troops to the frontline.

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Israeli Commanders Killed within Al Nusra Ranks inside Syria

August 31st, 2015 by Fars News Agency

The Syrian air force killed a large number of Takfiri militant commanders, including senior Israeli and Jordanian officers, in airstrikes on terrorists’ positions in the Southern province of Dara’a.

At least 42 Al-Nusra Front Takfiri terrorist commanders, including 3 Israeli and Jordanian officers, were killed in the Syrian warplanes’ air raids in Dara’a.

Military sources said that the Syrian airstrikes on al-Nusra Front positions incurred heavy losses on the Takfiri terrorists.

In similar operations on Friday, over 100 militants of al-Nusra Front were killed in the Syrian fighter jets’ operations in Dara’a.

The sources said that, over 100 terrorists, most of them from al-Nusra Front, were killed in a series of army airstrikes that targeted their gatherings in Dael town in the countryside of the southern Dara’a city.

Israeli, Jordanian Officers Killed among Tens of Other Al-Nusra Commanders in Airstrike in Southern Syria

On Thursday, the Syrian army troops killed 46 terrorists in military operations in Aleppo city.

The terrorists were killed in al-Sayyed Ali area.

Meanwhile, the army killed terrorists of al-Nusra Front, and destroyed their arms at the Western neighborhood of Bosra al-Sham in the Eastern countryside of Dara’a.

A Forbes report on alleged Russian army casualties in Ukraine citing a dodgy Russian website has sparked a media and Twitter storm. Some said Russia had “finally slipped” with the leak on its troops in Ukraine; others were baffled by the “fake publication.” RT decided to investigate.

A Forbes contributor, Paul Roderick Gregory, published an article on Wednesday citing a Russian web source called “Delovaya Zhizn” (translated as Business Life), which was said to reveal “official figures on the number of Russian soldiers killed or made invalids in eastern Ukraine.”

The report, dated March 2015 and entitled “Increases in Pay for Military in 2015,” was altered, with the relevant information being removed, after the Forbes publication came out. However, the original copy was webcached by Google.

The cache shows that the website, which has articles on Russian finance, markets and leisure, claimed that the Russian government had paid monetary compensation to Russian soldiers who “took part in military actions in Eastern Ukraine.

Without citing a source, the article claimed that as of February 1, more than 2,000 families of soldiers killed in Ukraine had received compensation of 3 million rubles (about $50,000) and those crippled during military action – a half million rubles (about $25,000). It added that another 3,200 soldiers wounded in battle had received compensation of 1,800 rubles for every day they were in the conflict zone.

The Forbes contributor accused “Russian censors” for “quickly removing the offending material.”

The Forbes report was picked up by Western media and independent journalists. The International Business Times reported that the Russian article had “accidentally published the leaked figures.” 

An article by The Independent on Wednesday called Delovaya Zhizn a “respected news site in Russia,” and cited the head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, James Nixey, who said that the report is a “nail in the coffin” in proving Russia is engaged in military action.

Another media outlet piling on was was Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which claimed it had received a response from some Anatoly Kravchenko from Delovaya Zhizn, who said the website had “received the casualty figures from relatives of dead servicemen as well as ‘insider information’ from the Russian Defense Ministry.” However, they added that the website’s representative had “declined to identify any specific sources.”

Western officials, including two former US ambassadors to Russia and to Ukraine and the US ambassador to OSCE, also retweeted the report.

The publication sparked a Twitter storm with some western journalists, researchers, analysts and think-tanks giving their full trust to the source.

However, at a certain point the media storm came to a halt.  Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky concluded that the initial Delovaya Zhizn report was fake, questioning the URL, Bs-life.ru, and exposing a grammatical error (“v Ukraine” instead of “na Ukraine”).

AP journalist Nataliya Vasilyeva pointed out the ease of spreading fake information on the web.

“The ease of spreading rumors in the digital world is astonishing,” she wrote.

“Two days of Western officials retweeting a Forbes report quoting a Ukrainian web-site quoting a non-existent Russia news web-site re Ukraine,” she added.

The main problem here is, of course, where was the Forbes online editor when the story was published, why nobody bothered to check sources?

Indeed, the Russian State media watchdog, Roscomnadzor, has four registered media sources of that name on its website.  All of them are listed as print publications – newspapers or magazines. Electronic media is not mentioned.

The Delovaya Zhizn (bs-life.ru) website, however, does not contain any reference to a print edition or mail subscription. Moreover, it does not detail its staff, its owner or founder, or any relevant contact information except for an online reply form.

RT attempted to contact the publication by phone numbers collected through open sources on the web, but received no answer by phone.

RT’s Ilya Petrenko also visited a Moscow address for Delovaya Zhizn that he found online, but there was no sign of the obscure website’s office there.

However, after sending a request via an online form, RT got a reply from someone called Anatoly Kravchenko – the same name as was used in Western media reports – introducing himself as “representing” Delovaya Zhizn.

The statement said that the original story in question had not contained the part about “[Russian] servicemen in Ukraine”nor had it been edited by any of the site’s staff until August 23.

“On August 23 the editorial staff received emails requesting clarification of the information contained in the article, in its last part. This is how we discovered that the site had been hacked… and an editor removed the part of the text added by the perpetrators to the story,” the email said.

It added that the site had been hacked on August 22, allegedly from a Kiev-registered IP address. The statement stressed that the news site “does not have any political orientation and does not support any political power in the RF [Russian Federation].” RT could not immediately confirm the identity of the contact – something which apparently did not stop Western news outlets from citing the claims. This is not the sole example of unverified information related to the Ukrainian conflict appearing on the web. However, few such “leaks” make it to big media. In one of the instances, US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt was caught posting unverified images on his Twitter feed in September 2014. The photos, which he said showed US-Kiev military exercises in Ukraine, had already been published in July 2014 and in October 2013. In another case in April, Pyatt claimed that Russia’s military was continuing to expand its presence in eastern Ukraine. As proof, he posted a picture of a Buk-M2 missile defense system that he said was stationed in Ukraine. However, it turned out to be a two-year-old photo from an air show near Moscow.

Why the Refugee Crisis?

August 31st, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers head for safe havens daily – a human flood entering Europe, risking life and limb to get there. Why?

Endless US direct and proxy wars force desperate people to seek safety out of harm’s way. Numbers fleeing war and destabilized areas are greater than any time since WWII – increasing exponentially as conflicts and chaos rage in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Donbass, Somalia, South Sudan, and elsewhere.

According to a UNHCR report,  60 million people were forcibly displaced by end of 2014. Globally one in every 122 people are asylum seekers, refugees or internally displaced persons. More than half the world’s refugees are children.

On August 28, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said over 300,000 refugees and asylum seekers crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe so far this year – greatly exceeding 2014’s 219,000 total, a human flood likely to approach half a million by year end, likely hundreds of thousands more in 2016 and beyond.

Thousands of others die or go missing. On August 27, hundreds were feared dead after two overcrowded vessels capsized off Libya’s coast. Dozens of Syrian refugees were found suffocated to death in a truck parked on an Austrian highway – their bodies in a state of decomposition. Other similar horror stories repeat with disturbing regularity.

Statements expressing concern by Germany’s Angela Merkel, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other top world officials ring hollow.

Crisis resolution is obvious – not considered nor will it be. End US orchestrated and led imperial wars. The UN Charter’s pledge “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind” proved empty rhetoric.

America’s record is unparalleled – endless wars at home and/or abroad every year in its history, begun long before the republic’s inception.

The current US presidential race features an array of imperial warriors – not a peace and stability advocate in the bunch.

Hillary Clinton is a reckless war goddess. Donald Trump wants “the strongest military that we’ve ever had.” Other Republican aspirants support increased defense spending and militarism. Bernie Sanders supports all Obama wars. They exceed the worst of George Bush.

No matter who becomes president in 2017, America’s killing machine will keep raging – ravaging and destroying one country after another, causing an endless human flood of refugees, risking the unthinkable if Russia or China are challenged belligerently.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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There now is open disagreement between three Western leaders regarding how to move forward with regard to Ukraine: Barack Obama of the United States, versus Francois Hollande of France, and Angela Merkel of Germany.

On Friday, August 29th, this split became public concerning whether the Minsk II accords for ending the Ukrainian civil war should remain in force. Obama supports the view of Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, to violate the Minsk II accords, which would end it; the same day, Hollande and Merkel agreed with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, that the Minsk II agreement needs to be implemented in full.

Merkel and Hollande had arranged the Minsk II accords without U.S. President Obama’s participation, because Obama’s Administration had installed the new, anti-Russian, government in Ukraine in a February 2014 coup, which sparked the breakaway from Ukraine by two former Ukrainian regions that had voted heavily for the man whom Obama had just overthrown, Viktor Yanukovych: first, Crimea, which had voted 75+% for Yanukovych; then Donbass (comprising “Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts”), which had voted 90%+% for Yanukovych. Obama’s agent overseeing the coup, Victoria Nuland, selected Arseniy Yatsenyuk to run the post-coup government and he became the newly appointed Prime Minister when the coup (called “the most blatant coup in history”) occurred 18 days later.

Then, on 25 May 2014, the parts of Ukraine that had not separated from Ukraine elected as Ukraine’s new President, Petro Poroshenko. Mr. Poroshenko had informed the EU’s investigators on 25 February 2014 that the overthrow of Yanukovych had been via a coup instead of by a revolution (such as the Obama Administration claimed); but, now, on 25 May 2014, he himself became the new Ukraine’s President. In order to protect himself against the possiblility of being violently overthrown as his predecessor Yanukovych had been, he filed a case with Ukraine’s supreme court, the Constitutional Court, to recognize officially that Yanukovych had illegally been removed from the Presidency. (That case is still pending.)

The current split concerns the provision in the Minsk II accords that requires the Ukrainian government to grant to the breakaway Donbass region a position within a new federal Ukrainian system in which the residents of Donbass will elect their own local leaders, instead of having their leaders imposed upon them (as the coup was) by the central Ukrainian government in Kiev. Donbass will then rejoin Ukraine, and the war will be officially over.

On August 29th, Russia’s Interfax News Agency headlined, “Poroshenko: Ukrainian constitution won’t envision special status for Donbass,” and reported that Poroshenko said (referring to the current Ukrainian Constitution, and which he will not change), “No matter how you look for it there, there is no special status [for Donbass]. … That would lead to a parade of sovereignties. My amendments to the constitution eliminate this article, and there will be no right to such special status.”

A few hours later the same day, Interfax bannered, “Merkel, Hollande Inform Putin on Adherence to Minsk Agreements,” and reported that Putin had phoned both EU leaders about this and received from them reassurance that they, like he, remained committed to full implementation of Minsk II. (Putin does not want Donbass to become part of Russia, but he also doesn’t want theinvasion of it by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to continue, especially because it has caused nearly a million refugees into Russia from Donbass. So: he needed to know whether they were behind Poroshenko’s statement, or whether it reflected only Obama’s view.)

This is an international continuation of the disagreement within the Obama Administration regarding Poroshenko’s recent repeated threats to re-invade and forcibly take back Donbass despite the Minsk accords. At first, Kerry said that the U.S. would not support such an invasion, but his nominal subordinate, the Assistant Secretary of State for the area, Victoria Nuland, contradicted that, and President Obama sided with Nuland; she had been instructed to contradict Kerry on this.

One can only speculate as to why Poroshenko has now said that there is no way he will carry through the “special administrative status” provision, provision #11, of the Minsk II Accords. That provision demands specifically what Poroshenko now specifically rejects: “Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote,[note 1] by the end of 2015.”

Putin does not want Donbass to be in Russia, but Poroshenko now refuses to grant Donbass “special administrative status” within Ukraine. The only way that Poroshenko wants to take back Donbass is by force. On April 30th, Poroshenko had said, “The war will end when Ukraine regains Donbass and Crimea,” and onMay 11th, he said, “I have no doubt, we will free the [Donetsk] Airport [in Donetsk oblast], because it is our land.”

On August 27th, Edward Basurin, a military official of the Donetsk People’s Republic had announced “UAF Massively shelling DPR — Drastic Deterioration,” saying that, “The fascists have used heavy artillery prohibited by the Minsk Agreements against the civilian areas of Aleksandrovka and Marinka. The outskirts of Donetsk have been struck.” Thus, when Poroshenko, two days later, announced that he would not continue with the Minsk II accords, Putin immediately got back into direct contact with Hollande and Merkel, to ask whether they still fully supported the accords.

The result is a now-open split between the U.S. and Europe, over Ukraine. The split between Nuland and Kerry is now a split between the U.S. and Europe; or, as Nuland had said on 4 February 2014 while providing her subordinate in Kiev her instructions about the preparations and outcome of the coup: “F—k the EU!” Perhaps EU officials are getting increasingly cold feet about the entire matter, now a year-and-a-half later.

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.

Palestinian authorities found liable in a high-profile lawsuit over Americans killed in terrorist attacks must pay $10m in cash – and an additional $1m monthly payment while the case is on appeal – to secure the hundreds of millions awarded by a jury, a US judge said on Monday.

The Guardian/Al Ray reports that, in ordering the security payment, Manhattan federal judge George B. Daniels said he had given significant thought to a motion filed this month, by the US State Department, to argue a high bond which could threaten the stability of the region by straining the cash-strapped Palestinians.

The payment also mirrored the amount proposed by a lawyer for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA), who argued that forcing the Palestinians to front an expensive bond payment would have dire human costs for the people living in the territories.
danielsalray.jpg
“Respectfully, a million means a lot to the Palestinian Authority,” Mitchell Berger told the judge, noting that the amount could cover welfare for 9,500 families or build one school in Gaza.

Kent Yalowitz, a lawyer representing victims and survivors of attacks that killed 33 people and injured hundreds more, had asked that the Palestinians pay $20m, describing the ordered payment as a “rounding error” for them. He has said the Palestinian Authority has more than enough funds to make a higher bond payment, arguing it spends $60m annually on paying Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

“I’m disappointed in the amount,” he said. “I’m eager to get the appellate process completed.” If the Palestinians pay $10m to the court by next month and then continue to make $1m monthly payments, the jury-awarded damages will not be collected until the appeals court rules in the case, Daniels said.

A jury awarded $218.5m in damages this year in a lawsuit brought by victims and survivors of a series of bombings and shootings in Israel from 2002 to 2004. The damages were automatically tripled by the US Anti-Terrorism Act.

Lawyers for the Palestinians have vowed to appeal.

That video of Palestinian women protesters pulling down an Israeli soldier in Nabi Saleh on Friday when he was beating a boy has shocked the world. Well, it has shocked an Israeli leader too. Israel’s culture minister Miri Regev says that the unarmed protesters should have been shot.

Regev’s twitter account says she was shocked by the incident:

Our soldiers can’t be sent on missions with tied hands.

A former spokesperson for the Israeli army, Regev links to a Facebook statement, which is translated in this somewhat garbled manner, in part:

Anyone who tries to harm Israel’s ובחיילי Idf [Israeli Defense Forces] should know blood in his head.

Need to schedule immediately שמותקף soldier may return fire period.

I call the head of security to put an end to change the standard opening fire immediately!

The translation is confirmed by two reliable journalists. Ira Glunts:

Crazy Israeli minister @regev_miri was shocked by Nabi Saleh video. She thinks soldier should have opened fire.

From David Sheen:

Israeli minister @regev_miri: Palestinian protestors deserve death, soldiers should shoot unarmed women & children

Miri Regev Facebook post on Nabi Saleh incident

Miri Regev Facebook post on Nabi Saleh incident

This is the new solidly-right-wing-and-racist Israel, which the Mainstream media don’t want to acknowledge.

And look: Even Haaretz characterizes the women as the bad guys in that confrontation. An attack? Really?

Haaretz characterizes Palestinian women as attacking Israeli soldier

Haaretz characterizes Palestinian women as attacking Israeli soldier

Thanks to Adam Horowitz and Scott Roth and Ofer Neiman.

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Global Research Week in Review. Selected Articles

August 31st, 2015 by Global Research News

SELECTED ARTICLES

disinfox

CIA Admits to Congress the Agency Uses Mainstream Media to Distribute Disinformation: 1975 Video 

By Melissa Dykes, August 30, 2015

It has been verified by a source who claims she was there that then-CIA Director William Casey did in fact say the controversial and often-disputed line “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is…

media-brainwash

The Illusion of Choice: Ninety Percent of American Media Controlled by Six Corporations 

By Vic Bishop, August 29, 2015

It is worth repeating again and again that the bulk of America’s mainline media is owned and controlled by a mere 6 corporations. This, of course, means that unless you’re already consciously avoiding these mainline media sources, then most of…

SYRIA-CONFLICT

Syrian War-Islamic State (ISIS) Creation Timeline 

By Kevin Borge, August 29, 2015

Below is a timeline ranging from 1992-2015 with related articles to the war in Syria, ISIS and geopolitical events that tie them all together.

katrina_370x278

Black New Orleans 10 Years Post-Katrina 

By Stephen Lendman, August 29, 2015

August 29 marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. A personal note: Its devastation and ugly aftermath inspired me at the time to begin writing about major world and national issues along with media work pro bono. It bears repeating…

750px-Flag_of_Spain.svg

Spain’s Orwellian “Citizens Security Law” Gag 

By Melissa Dykes, August 29, 2015

If you think our First Amendment rights are being trampled here in America left and right, check out what’s going on in Spain. This woman posted the following picture of a police car parked in a handicapped spot on her…

iran_nuclear_2

Behind the US Congress’ “Disagreements” over the Iran Nuclear Deal 

By Prof. Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, August 29, 2015

The hysterical campaign launched against the Iran nuclear deal by the flag-waving militarist partisans in and around the US congress has terribly obfuscated the issues included in the deal. Not surprisingly, the campaign has created a number of misconceptions regarding…

greece-troika

Greece – A new Beginning? – New Hope? New President. The Legality of the Austerity Bailout Package 

By Peter Koenig, August 29, 2015

Appointed on 27 August by Greece’s President, Prokopis Pavlópulos, Ms. Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou, President of the Supreme Court and mother of three, was sworn in on Thursday 28, August, 2015 as interim Prime Minister. She also served as President of the…Today’s selected articles brought to you by Global Research focus on the impacts of state sponsored social and financial engineering: law enforcement, urban transformation, the control  and manipulation of the news chain,  the demise of pension funds, the abolition of…

media-brainwash

The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know 

By Prof. James F. Tracy, August 28, 2015

Since the end of World War II the CIA has been a major force in US and foreign news media, exerting considerable influence over what the public sees, hears and reads on a regular basis.

war_on_terror_uncle_sam

The Pentagon’s Dangerous Game with Terrorists: Training Syrian Opposition “Jihadists” to Fight the ISIS 

By George Koplan, August 27, 2015

The U.S. policy in the Middle East has proved unsustainable once again. The Pentagon’s first attempt to train Syrian opposition to fight ISIS ended in “an abject failure”, CBS News reported in early August. The contingent of 54 fighters was…

drapeau-cuba

Democracy in Cuba and the Legacy of José Martí 

By Susan Babbitt, August 27, 2015

Raising the US flag in Havana, John Kerry admits that US policy toward Cuba has failed. But he restates US determination that Cuba be democratic. Democracy, by definition, is rule by the people. What this means is not obvious. Simón…

Sanders-Trump

The Trump-Sanders Phenomena 

By Robert Parry, August 27, 2015

As outlandish as Donald Trump is as a presidential candidate, it’s pretty obvious why he’s topping the polls of Republican voters: he’s tipping over the carts of “politics as usual” that Americans understandably hate. In a much more responsible way,…

Military-Expenditures-World-Wide

Visual of Global Military Expenditures: US Comprises Half of Global Military Spending 

By Robert Barsocchini, August 27, 2015

How did the US propel itself so far ahead, to the point that it could, alone, comprise about half of global military spending? Professor of history at Cornell University: “The idea that the commodification and suffering and forced labor of…

Lt.-General-Michael-Flynn_NEO_Aug-2015_USA-300x216

US Intelligence Confirms US “Deliberately Helping ISIS”: “Bomb the Kurds Not ISIS”. Ron Paul 

By Rep. Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams, August 27, 2015

Former Defense Intelligence Agency head Gen. Michael Flynn is not backing down from his claims that elements of the US government were aware of and supported the rise of jihadists in Syria as a means by which to overthrow its…

china_-_yuan+Dollar

How the West Colonized China 

By James Corbett and Prof Michel Chossudovsky, August 26, 2015

The “Chinese dragon” of the last two decades may be faltering but it is still hailed by many as an economic miracle. Far from a great advance for Chinese workers, however, it is the direct result of a consolidation of power in the hands of a small clique of powerful families.

This headline in the Guardian is completely accurate: West Point professor calls on US military to target legal critics of war on terror.

But it hardly covers to content of the 95-page paper being reported on: see the PDF.

The author makes clear that his motivation is hatred of Islam. He includes the false myth of origins of Western Asian violence toward the United States lying in antiquity rather than in blowback. He includes the lie, now popular on all sides, of Iran pursuing nuclear weapons.

He announces, after the recent U.S. losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, that U.S. armies always win. Then he admits that the U.S. is losing but says this is because of insufficient support for the wars and for making the wars about an “economic system, culture, values, morals, and laws.”

The key weapon in this war, he says, is information. U.S. crimes are not the problem; the problem, he writes, is any information distributed about U.S. crimes — which information is only damaging because the United States is the pinnacle of support for the rule of law. It wouldn’t matter if you spread news about crimes by some more lawless nation. But when you share news about crimes by the United States it hurts the U.S. cause which is upholding the rule of law and leading the world to lawfulness. The United States is the all-time world champion of the rule of law, we’re told, in a 95-page screed that never mentions the Kellogg-Briand Pact and only belatedly brings up the United Nations Charter in order to pretend that it permits all U.S. wars.

You can pack a lot of existing lies about U.S. wars and some new ones into 95 pages. So, for example, Walter Cronkite lost the Tet Offensive (and by the logic of the rest of this article, should have been immediately murdered on air). The mythical liberal media is busy reporting on the U.S. killing of civilians, and the worst voices in public discourse are those of treasonous U.S. lawyers. They are the most damaging, again, because the United States is the preeminent leader of lawibidingness.

The treasonous antiwar lawyers number 40, and the author hints that he has them on a list. Though whether this is a real list like Obama’s kill list or something more like McCarthy’s is not clear.

I lean toward the latter, primarily because the list of offenses run through to fill up 95 pages includes such an array that few if any lawyers have been engaged in all of them. The offenses range from the most modest questioning of particular atrocities to prosecuting Bush and Cheney in court. Nobody doing the latter has any voice in U.S. corporate media, and a blacklist for Congress or for the U.S. Institute of “Peace” would hardly be needed if created.

The 40 unnamed treasonous scholars, their supposed crimes include:

  • failing to concede that violations of the Laws of Armed Conflict by Muslims permit the waiving of those laws for the U.S. government;
  • interpreting the supposed standards of “distinction” and “proportionality,” which the author admits are totally open to interpretation, to mean something the author doesn’t like;
  • opposing lawless imprisonment and torture;
  • opposing murder by drone;
  • supporting the supposed duty to warn people before you kill them;
  • counting dead bodies (which is too “macabre” even though the U.S. is supposedly devoted to “minimizing civilian casualties” not to mention Western scientific superiority);
  • upholding laws; pointing out facts, laws, or counterproductive results;
  • filing suits in court;
  • or criticizing war advocates.

The heart of the matter seems to be this: opposing war amounts to supporting war by an enemy. And, nonetheless, among the reasons offered to explain CLOACA joining the enemy are “anti-militarism,” and “pernicious pacifism.” So actual opposition to war drives people to oppose war, which amounts to supporting war for the enemy. I think I’ve got it.

The prescriptions to heal this illness center on waging total war. The author proposes both dropping nuclear bombs and capturing hearts and minds. No doubt as part of his leading support for lawfulness, he demands that there be no restraint on U.S. warmaking against Muslims. That means no limit in time or place, a rewriting of any laws of war by the U.S. military, and no trust in the “marketplace of ideas.” The U.S. must use PSYOPS, must impose loyalty oaths, must fire disloyal scholars from their jobs, must prosecute them for “material support of terrorism” and for treason, and must proceed to murder them in any time and place.

I suppose that when I point out that this illustrates the madness of militarism I should breathe a deep sigh of relief that I have no law degree.

TV Series about “Russian Occupation of Norway” Sparks Furor

August 31st, 2015 by Anastasia Lyalikova

A new TV series in which Russia occupies Norway and seizes its oil fields has been criticized by the Russian Foreign Ministry, with the Russian embassy in Oslo labelling it as reminiscent of the “worst traditions of the Cold War.”

A new Norwegian TV series in which Russia occupies the Nordic country and takes control of its oil fields has been described by Russia’s Foreign Ministry as being “in the worst traditions of the Cold War” and representing a “non-existent threat from the east.”

The series is to be launched by the largest Norwegian independent television channel TV2, the local media outlet LO News reports.

TV series Occupied. Source: kinopoisk.ru

Events in the TV show evolve around the invasion of Norway by the Russian army – backed by the European Union – after environmental radicals come to power in the Scandinavian country and stop its oil industry.

According to the script, Russia occupies the country and subsequently seizes its oil fields.

The announcement of the TV series has already caused a negative reaction at the Russian Foreign Ministry, the BBC reports.

The Russian embassy in Norway has expressed regret at the upcoming premiere.

“Although the authors painstakingly emphasize the fictional nature of the plot, allegedly having nothing to do with reality, the film is about very real countries, and Russia, unfortunately, is given the role of the aggressor,” the embassy said in statement.

Historian Bjorn Ditlef Nystad, Associate Professor of the University of Oslo, said in an interview with the television channel that the TV show is offensive to residents of Norway, liberated by the Soviet Union from German occupation in 1944.

“Such shows have never been made anywhere. Perhaps only in the United States during the Cold War – and still it is doubtful. I am sure that Norwegians will be shocked at the release of this film to the screen, and it clearly will not improve relations with Russia,” said Nystad.

First published in Russian by RBC Daily.

Tony Blair’s advisers were fond of remarking as war approached, it would all be forgotten in a few weeks. Some hope.

Tony Blair could have been forgiven for thinking, back in 2002 and 2003 when he was planning the Iraq war, that nearly 13 years later it would all be forgiven and forgotten.

He thought that he could ride out an unprecedented level of opposition outside parliament as millions took to the streets, school students struck, protestors blocked roads and bridges.

He also cajoled, bullied and deceived Labour MPs in order to get them to vote for war, and won a comfortable majority by relying on the Tories, despite huge rebellion among his own ranks.

As his advisers were fond of remarking as war approached, it would all be forgotten in a few weeks, once Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

Blair and Corbyn

Yet there are thundering echoes of the Iraq war at the centre of British politics, all these years later. It has defined a generation. It continues to weigh on politics for several reasons.

Firstly of course because the war in Iraq has never gone away, with Britain and the US now bombing the country against ISIS, over a decade after Saddam Hussein was executed.

As the newsreader Jon Snow wrote in a recent blog, the sight of ISIS carrying out horrific acts serves to somehow remind millions that the war helped to create a hell in Iraq from which it still cannot awake. http://t.co/Gtk2aCcGCK

Secondly there is no resolution to questions raised by the war. The Chilcot report still has no finish date, nearly five years after taking its final evidence. Many in any case are sceptical of an inquiry carried out by the establishment for the establishment, and fear that there will be no justice for those who suffered in the war.

Already families of soldiers who died are threatening legal action against Chilcot.

Thirdly it remains a live political issue. In the election only a few months ago, the received wisdom was that no one was interested in foreign affairs, and that the war no longer influenced opinion.

It is now clear that the politicians were not interested in discussing it, but many people were. The Jeremy Corbyn campaign is proof of that. Many of those attracted to his rallies are young people for whom the war was defining issue, and older people who stopped voting for or being members of Labour because of Blair’s warmongering.

A recent set of polling figures illustrates the importance of the war in Corbyn supporters’ thinking. https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/08/27/you-may-say-im-dreamer-inside-mindset-jeremy-corby/

And much of the right wing criticism of Corbyn focuses on his foreign policy.

Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that if he bacomes leader of the Labour party he would apologise on behalf of the party whose then leader took Britain into an illegal war, lying in the process to parliament and the country.

An apology is necessary. But what will be even more significant to the families and loved ones of up to a million Iraqis who died, and those of the British soldiers sent to kill and be killed, is if those responsible for one of the worst war crimes in recent history, are held to account in a court of law, as Jeremy Corbyn thinks they should be.

Jeremy Corbyn: All those responsible for the illegal Iraq war should stand trial for war crimes

Source: Stop the War Coalition

Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes

August 31st, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

“While Europe is squabbling, people are dying.”

Alexander Betts, New York Times, Aug 29, 2015.

It is the talk on European lips, the noisy attention commandeered on the media stands. Dead refugees; desperation about those fleeing and fears about those coming. There are suffocations in trucks; there are continued drownings, some 2,500 having perished in the Mediterranean this year alone.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has made it clear that European interior ministers ought to look into “rapid changes to the asylum system”.

The front is far from united, a curious thing, given the EU tendency towards heavy desk-inspired bureaucratisation. There may well be standards about sausage content, regulations on spirit content, and the size of apples, but when it comes to assessing asylum seekers, countries of origin in terms of conflict, and processing, no set standard can be spoken of. The closest is the Common European Asylum system, but this remains a phantom assortment of rules that do not generally get implemented.

From without, Europe is being seemingly withered by a human flow it should be able to better manage. There is much in the way of buck passing, largely by states who simply do not have the bucks to begin with. Countries operate in open defiance of the Dublin Regulation, which states that responsibility for examining an asylum seeker’s claim lies with the first EU country the migrant reaches.

The result is one of often indiscriminate passage: the status of refugees is less relevant than making sure that the individuals in question are passed through to their next port of call. The assessment is significant in so far as genuine asylum cases are not deemed of equal standing to those who flee for purely economic reasons. In truth, the distinction is not always easy to make. Poverty and war tend to keep dire company.

This puts destination countries, often the richer ones, in a pickle. Germany has shown itself to be open to great numbers of asylum seekers (800,000 refugees are anticipated this year), but the will of the electorate is waning on that score. There is much finger pointing – some countries are deemed to be shirking their obligations. Countries such as Denmark, who have previously had generous intakes, are proving glacial over the issue. Nationalist politics is biting.

Other states are proving to be even eccentric in their responses to the problem. The Slovakians are playing a different game, one well worn from the history of selectiveness. Only desperate Christians will be admitted in the refugee mix – government officials are, after all, not interested in mosques, or what such creations entails. “We could take 800 Muslims,” noted Interior ministry spokesman Ivan Netik, “but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?”[1]

Hungary has made it clear where it stands, unilaterally taking the measure to hole off its border with Serbia. At present, construction of a 110 mile fence continues unabated. Police have been deployed just to make sure there are no strays.

Just to add another dimension to the situation, EU foreign and defence ministers are considering deploying the military against vessels used by people smugglers to transport their human cargo. Again, the human cargo is seen to be as threatening as the people who smuggle it. Asylum, in other words, cannot be facilitated with such “business models”.

“I think we should try… to come to some agreement with [the Libyan authorities] so that we can send boats back into a harbour, and have some way of disabling them, or disable them at sea and send the people back to shore,” suggested Admiral Lord West, former head of the UK’s Royal Navy.

Across Europe, the issue is less what refugee statuses matter, than what religion they possess. This is the Jewish refugee replay from the 1930s – limiting intake on the basis of allowing proper refugees. Suffering is not the criteria; identity is. Behind every sympathetic admission is a resentful counter.

All in all, conflation of categories is the ultimate problem. Migrants and asylum seekers are deemed the same thing. Refugee protocols are left on the back burner. Even news reports do not make the distinction. Tens of thousands of people are on the move like an unstoppable mass.

Generally speaking, when it comes to the specifics of asylum seekers, EU member states are not reaching their targets. And when it comes to funding rescue operations, EU states are simply not pulling their weight. While there was a tripling of EU funding to the tune of 120 million in April, it does not come close to the Mare Nostrum mission which was abandoned by Italy after states such as the UK claimed it unsustainable.

While Europe festers in disagreement, the numbers of the desperate, and the dead, continue to grow. As do the vocal populists, who fear a loss of living standards and the assertiveness of Islam. The mess is getting more entangled, and promises to get worse before it gets better.

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

Notes

[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33986738

 

In the period before the 1999 NATO attack on Yugoslavia, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) waged a campaign to secede and establish an independent Kosovo dominated by Albanians and purged of every other ethnic group. In October 1998, KLA spokesman Bardhyl Mahmuti spelled the KLA’s vision: “We will never change our position. The independence of Kosovo is the only solution…We cannot live together [with Serbs]. That is excluded.”

Once NATO’s war came to an end, the KLA set about driving out of Kosovo every non-Albanian and every pro-Yugoslav Albanian it could lay its hands on. The KLA left in its wake thousands of looted and burning homes, and the dead and dying.

Two months after the end of the war, I visited Hotel Belgrade, located on Mt. Avala, a short distance outside of Belgrade. Those who had been driven from their homes in Kosovo were housed in hotels throughout Yugoslavia, and in this one lived Serbian refugees.

The moment I entered the hotel, the sense of misery overwhelmed me. Children were crying, and the rooms were packed with people. The two delegation members who accompanied me and I were shown all three floors, and the anger among the refugees was so palpable I felt I could reach out in the air and touch it. Nearly everyone here had a loved one who had been killed by the Kosovo Liberation Army. All had lost their homes and everything they owned.

Initially, many of them refused to talk with us, and one refugee demanded of me in a mocking tone, “Can you get my home back?” It was not until a while later that we discovered that due to a misunderstanding, some of the refugees thought the NATO commander of the attack on Yugoslavia, Wesley Clark, had sent us there. We were quick to correct that misapprehension, and then people were more inclined to talk with us. There was still, however, some residual reluctance based on three prior experiences these refugees had with Western visitors, all of whom had treated them with arrogance and contempt. A reporter from the Washington Post was said to have been particularly abusive and insulting.

Several refugees were too upset to talk. The eyes of one woman and her son still haunt me. I could see everything in their eyes – all that they had suffered.

We climbed the stairs to the third floor and began our interviews there. A family of seven people were crowded into the first room we stopped at. We were told that five of them slept at night on the two beds, and the other two on the floor. Goran Djordjevich told us his family left Kosovo on June 13. “We had to leave because of the bandits. They threatened to kill us, so we had to leave. The moment NATO came we knew that we would have to leave.” After having talked with Roma and pro-Yugoslav Albanian refugees on earlier occasions, his family’s story was a familiar one to us by now, in that threats from KLA soldiers had prompted a hasty departure.

“We not only had a house, but also our farm and our property,” Djordjevich continued. “We just let the cattle free and we fled. I drove the tractor from our village to Belgrade for four nights and five days. When our army withdrew and NATO came in, we followed the army. You know, the Albanian bandits were there all the time in the surrounding forest and the moment NATO advanced, they just joined them and started terrorizing us. They were shooting at us but we were the lucky ones because we were with the army; so we were safer, but the ones who left later were in jeopardy. Very soon after we left our house they came to the village and burned the whole village, razing it to the ground. They were firing and burning everything.”

One young man who appeared to be about twenty years-old would not give his name, but spoke to us in halting English. “The American leader is very bad. He killed too many children. Too many bombs. Too many old men. He’s guilty for too much death. I was in Kosovo when the American Air Force bombed and killed our children. They wanted to kill our children; not just our soldiers. They wanted to kill our people. For them it was just a game”

The young man witnessed a startling development when he encountered NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR). “When our soldiers, our boys, started to withdraw from Kosovo, KFOR came in. The first soldiers were American soldiers and German soldiers. They took the weapons from the Serbian people, and in front of our eyes, gave them to the Albanian people to kill the Serbian people. We saw that.” I asked, “You saw KFOR turning arms over to the KLA?” The youth replied, “Yes. And giving them to KLA terrorists.”

Serbian refugee

Serbian refugee

At the end of the hall, a family of eight was packed into a single room, their mattresses arranged side-by-side from one end of the room to the other. An eighty year-old man reclined on a mattress, his cane nearby. His silence conveyed an aura of deep sorrow. Mitra Dragutinovich said they left Kosovo on June 11. “We knew that the moment the army left Kosovo, then the KLA would take over. The terrorists started threatening, killing, and shooting. Many people were wounded. Our cousin is a pediatrician, and an Albanian woman came to his office with a child and took a gun from her trousers and wounded him, He lost a kidney. Pointing to the eighty year-old man, she said, “The pediatrician who was wounded is his grandson.”

A woman approached, and with rising emotion addressed us in a sharp tone. “Why did the Americans and the Germans come? Why did they come? Did they come to protect us, or did they come to massacre us, to drive us from our homes, to violate our women, and to kill our children? I can’t believe that someone who had first bombed you for three months, every day and for 24 hours, that after that he will come to protect you. I wonder how [US President] Clinton can’t be sorry for the children at least. Are there children in your country? Does he know what it means to be a child? You know, we could retaliate. We could also organize terrorist actions and kill your children in the United States. But we are people with a soul. We would never, never, do that to any American child, because we are people with a soul.”

I asked what life had been like in her village during the bombing, and she answered, “It was awful. We were frightened. We were in our country. We were on our soil. But now, we are no longer on our soil, because we are occupied down there. Whoever they are, be they Americans, British, Germans, French, let them take care of their own problems at home and we shall deal with our problems here, in our country, because this is our country.”

We returned to the first floor, where we found a small crowd gathered in the lobby. Nikola Cheko was from Velika Hocha, near Orahovac. He had a strikingly expressive manner of speaking that I found quite moving, injecting each word with intense and sincere feeling. “We were surrounded from the very beginning of the aggression on March 24. We were surrounded by the Albanians. No electricity. No water. No bread. None of the conditions necessary for life. No one is taking care of us. KFOR: Nothing! They couldn’t care less for poor Serbs. They think we are stupid farmers; we’ll survive somehow and no one needs us, so KFOR simply forgets us. It’s a shame. It’s a shame for KFOR, for the United States, for Great Britain, for France, for Germany, for NATO, and all the big powers of the world. We are all human beings. We have the right to live. The nationality, the race and the religion are not important at all. A human being should first be a human being. A true human being is the one who is ready to help the victim in need. I think that KFOR should open its eyes and see what’s going on down there and behave according to Resolution 1244 and the documents signed by our Yugoslav representatives and the UN representatives in Kumanovo. In Kosovo, it’s not only Velika Hocha that is in trouble. There are many, many villages where people are absolutely in great need and dying. It’s high time that we become human beings and behave like human beings in the first place.”

Emotions in the room were running quite high and it took considerable prodding and encouragement to get anyone else to talk. My entreaties were met with silent rejection and it was at this point that our translator discovered that everyone thought that NATO general Wesley Clark had sent us. Once our translator cleared up that matter, the people were still disinclined to speak.

A woman in her thirties shouted out, “I don’t want to talk because no one will help. Two of my brothers have been kidnapped.” It was an opening, and I explained that the American people were unaware of what was happening, and that is why we wanted these interviews. Her name was Biljana Lazich, from Sopin, and pretty soon she began to talk more freely. “You know, we are all dressed in black [for mourning]. When Kosovo was part of Serbia and when our army was there, the KLA took my brothers prisoner. They were farmers and they were kidnapped from their homes. We didn’t hear anything from them for a whole year. My mother did everything possible and impossible, through the tracing service of the Yugoslav Red Cross and International Red Cross. The International Red Cross informed us that my brothers were alive and that they would be exchanged. It was in July last year, ten days after they had been taken prisoner.”

But nothing happened. Months passed and one day Lazich’s mother visited William Walker, who had been installed at U.S. insistence as head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission. The ostensible purpose of the OSCE mission was to reduce the level of conflict between the Yugoslav security forces and the KLA, but the signed agreement applied only to Yugoslavia. The KLA was not part of the agreement, and was free to run wild. Walker packed the mission with CIA agents, who were busy marking targets for the impending NATO attack and providing military training to the KLA. Shortly before departing Kosovo, they handed communications and satellite global positioning equipment to the KLA.

Walker was unresponsive to the pleas, Biljana Lazich told us, and “didn’t say anything.” He was just “beating around the bush,” and “nothing happened.”

Life during the bombing was “awful, awful,” she continued. “We were frightened, both of the bombs coming from the sky and of the KLA. Before the war and the bombing, we had good relations with our neighbors. But when the bombing started, we knew what was in store for us, because we knew the intent of the KLA. We were afraid of the KLA and we wouldn’t allow our kids to leave our houses. They were all locked inside. We didn’t allow the children to play outside at all. We were particularly afraid for the children. The situation was unbearable! We had to flee, to save the children at least.”

Lazich introduced her mother-in-law, Dobrila Lazich, who told us what the KLA had done to her brother’s 13-year-old son in September 1998. The boy “came to see his relatives. First, he came to see one aunt and uncle and then he went to visit the other aunt and uncle, and between the two houses he was kidnapped and killed.” The boy’s mother was reluctant to talk to us, but her relatives pushed her forward and she spoke in a barely audible voice. Her name was Stana Antich and she told us how she sought help from William Walker, but he would not do anything.

At this point, Biljana stepped forward and interjected, “The boy was only 13-years-old. How could he be guilty to anyone? He’s just 13. I have a brother-in-law who was beaten to death, in Dragobilje.” The OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission “knew they were taken prisoner and they communicated to us that they were alive and well, but finally we got their dead bodies.” A third man “was returned alive, but unconscious and very severely beaten.”

Despite some honest members, as a general rule nothing could have been expected from the leadership of an OSCE mission that was riddled with CIA agents. I asked the question that I already could guess the answer to. What did the OSCE Verification mission do in response to these murders? “Nothing,” Biljana responded. “Nothing. They were just sitting idle, waiting for them to beat them to death. They didn’t intervene. They didn’t come to help us. They just came to help the KLA.” Biljana spoke of how people disappeared or were killed outright. “The whole world knew that, but no one wanted to condemn the KLA for these crimes. They put all blame on the Serbian police, constantly accusing them of persecuting the Albanians.”

Dostena Filipovich

Dostena Filipovich

Dostena Filipovich appeared to be in her sixties and wore a scarf over her head. She told us how she had sent her three children out of Kosovo to ensure their safety. “My husband and I, as elderly people, stayed back to protect and defend the house. Since there were few Serbs who stayed behind in our village, some Albanians started molesting us, threatening and firing guns in front of our windows, so we decided to leave our village. We took only hand luggage and our cow and went to a neighboring village. We have only what we are wearing. We had a lot of poultry. We had a lot of cattle. We didn’t let them loose. We just locked them in the stable and the chicken coop, expecting to return. You remember I said that we decided to go to another Serbian village, but when we arrived there, the people were also fleeing. Since the roads were jammed, we couldn’t move fast and we wanted to go to Brecovica but the roads were so jammed we couldn’t move from Prizren. Even though KFOR was in Prizren, the KLA attacked us in Prizren, firing on our column.” I asked, “And KFOR did nothing?” The tone of Filopovich’s response indicated that she was still astonished to that day. “Nothing! Nothing! Just watching and laughing, watching and laughing.”

Serbian refugees from Kosovo

Serbian refugees from Kosovo

The column of refugees eventually made their way to another Serbian village to stay overnight, but at 3:00 AM they heard gunfire in the surrounding area and decided to leave. They arrived at another village, populated by both Serbs and Albanians. “When we arrived in that village, three KLA soldiers wearing different colors of caps came, together with KFOR.” Nevertheless, the refugees spent two nights in the village. “Serbs were not allowed to stand guard. Only local Albanians were allowed to stand guard. Then KFOR called all the Serbian men to surrender their weapons to KFOR. KFOR then handed all the weapons over to the KLA.” Once that happened, it was clear to the refugees that they would have to leave. “KFOR organized our column, one tank in front and the other in back. And then we noticed a lorry full of Albanians came. They were our neighbors. They smeared their faces so as not to be recognized, but we recognized them all the same. They wanted to plunder us. To be honest, KFOR did not allow them to do so. We were honest people. We didn’t have trouble with the neighbors. We didn’t take anything from anyone, so our consciences were quite clear. We thought that we should be protected, as honest people.”

First KFOR collected all out weapons, so we were easy prey. Before my eyes, the KLA killed my uncle. Actually, they slaughtered him with an axe and left his body. They didn’t bury him. They cut him into pieces. KFOR simply doesn’t prevent the KLA from doing anything. They can do anything. They just simply sit and watch and do nothing. We were not allowed to protect ourselves. We were driven out of our own homes. We were unarmed. We were at the mercy of the KLA terrorists. They had support from KFOR. They gave them arms. They took the arms from us. We left our homes with our naked souls and nothing else.

I asked if anyone else would like to be interviewed and all declined. There was a young girl in the room, aged around 12 or 13. A couple of people told me that the KLA had murdered her father. Several people encouraged her to talk but she vigorously shook her head no. They asked the girl again, and she broke into tears. With a loud, heart-rending sob, she spun around and fled down the hallway, leaving behind her a trail of echoing cries. Shaken, I stood there in silent contemplation when someone jarred me back to awareness by asking if I wanted the girl brought back. I could not inflict that on her and said no.

Bozhe Antich was sitting on a folding chair. Before he uttered a word, one could sense that terrible things had happened to him. He spoke out, “I have experienced a great tragedy.” We walked over to listen to his story. “It’s difficult for me to talk. I am from the village of Sopin, in the municipality of Suva Reka. The KLA killed my brother’s son. He was 42 years old. They killed him because he was a Serb. They killed my best friend, a mechanic. His name is Ranchel Antich, from Ljeshane village. They also killed Dr. Boban Vuksanovich, director of the health center in Suva Reka. They also killed my daughter-in-law’s brother, 32-years-old, just because he was a Serb. He was killed 200 meters from his home. They were not in politics. They were ordinary workers, mechanics. They went to the monastery to repair a machine there, and the road was bombed. They were on the way to the Holy Trinity Monastery, a very old monastery from the 14th century. They left Suva Reka, on the way to repair the machine. It’s four kilometers from Suva Reka. The KLA ambushed them, first killing the driver of the car. Then they pushed the car down over a cliff. Several of the passengers in the car were wounded. The terrorists were not satisfied with killing the driver, the doctor and my cousin. They wanted to kill everyone in the car. So when the car came to a stop at the bottom of the hill, they followed the car and killed my other nephew with sixteen bullets in his body.”

This incident took place during the NATO war. Not long after the murders occurred, a criminal investigator visited the site and KLA soldiers killed him, too. The Holy Trinity Monastery, where Antich’s friends and family were headed the day they were killed, also met a sad fate. When KFOR entered Kosovo in mid-June 1999, KLA soldiers looted and burned the monastery, and the next month they returned and demolished it with explosives. The Holy Trinity Monastery was one of 84 churches and monasteries the KLA destroyed during its rampage in the first few months under the protective wing of NATO. Many of the buildings dated back to the Middle Ages, and some were designated by UNESCO as world historic sites. KFOR would eventually place under guard some of the more historic sites that had managed to survive, but the demolition of religious sites nevertheless continued on a sporadic basis. In March 2004, Albanian extremists launched a new pogrom, killing, beating and driving away Serbs and setting their homes ablaze. During those attacks, another 35 churches and monasteries were destroyed or damaged.

“We can’t go back as long as the KLA has KFOR protection, a shield for their murderous activities,” Bozhe Antich explained. “If someone is human, he should at least be sorry for the little children who have been murdered. Because all the children of this world are children in the first place, regardless of their religion, race, and ethnic origin. What is the future of our children now? They have no homes. They have no schools for now. We were not poor people. We had our property down there. We had houses. We had land. For example, in my case, I worked for 33 years. Now, I am a beggar. I have nothing. Our country, Serbia, is in deep economic crisis. Serbia cannot help. What is our future? All those supporting these criminal activities, committed by Albanian terrorists, should face the truth and see in us human beings, because we are human beings.”

Sava Jovanovich presented photographs of his demolished home in Kosovo. Scrawled on one wall was ‘UCK’, the initials for ‘KLA’ in the Albanian language. Another graffiti message read, “Return of Serbs prohibited.” Jovanovich and his four brothers lived in houses that were next to each other. They left Kosovo on June 11 and 12. “It was an exodus,” Sava recalled. “My father decided to protect the houses. I asked about my father, and they told me, “We don’t know anything. We have no news from him. We don’t know.” The KLA “took everything, all the wheat, and then they burned down the granary. They also plundered the wheat and corn from my brothers’ property and then burned down the building. We had about 15 cows, 20 pigs, and lots of poultry, and now we have nothing.”

The lack of news of his father’s fate distressed him, and he blamed Western intervention for the tragedy that had befallen his family. “My father remembers the stories from his grandfather, from the time when he lived while the region was still under the Ottoman Empire. And my father lived under German occupation during the [Second] World War. They didn’t have to leave their homes. Now is the first time we were forced to leave. It is worse than under the Ottomans and the Germans.”

I mentioned to him that U.S. officials were saying that members of the KLA could join the new police force being established in Kosovo. Jovanovich was startled. “This is impossible, because they hate the Serbs and they are against the Serbs. This is not possible.” But that is precisely what happened, as KLA soldiers filled the ranks of the newly formed police force in NATO-occupied Kosovo.

About one month after I returned to the United States, I read an article from the Yugoslav press. A reporter had interviewed many of the same refugees at Mt. Avala, including Sava Jovanovich. In the intervening time, Jovanovich had finally received news of his father. “I heard that Albanian robbers hanged my father, who didn’t want to leave, at his doorstep.”

Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and the Advisory Board of the Korea Policy Institute. He is a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language.