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
Kabul: Prominent Arab mojahed holy warrior Usamah Bin-Ladin has said that he or his al-Qa’idah group has nothing to do with the 11 September suicidal attacks in Washington and New York. He said the US government should find the attackers within the country. In an exclusive interview with daily “Ummat”, he said these attacks could be the act of those who are part of the American system and are rebelling against it and working for some other system. Or, Usamah said, this could be the act of those who want to make the current century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. Or, the American Jews, who are opposed to President Bush ever since the Florida elections, might be the masterminds of this act. There is also a great possibility of the involvement of US intelligence agencies, which need billions of dollars worth of funds every year. He said there is a government within the government in the United States.
The secret agencies, he said, should be asked as to who are behind the attacks. Usamah said support for attack on Afghanistan was a matter of need for some Muslim countries and compulsion for others. However, he said, he was thankful to the courageous people of Pakistan who erected a bulwark before the wrong forces. He added that the Islamic world was attaching great expectations with Pakistan and, in time of need, “we will protect this bulwark by sacrificing of lives”.
Following is the interview in full detail:
Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?
Usamah [Osama bin Laden]: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Praise be to Allah, Who is the creator of the whole universe and Who made the earth as an abode for peace, for the whole mankind. Allah is the Sustainer, who sent Prophet Muhammad for our guidance. I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin true Muslim people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon.
I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.
Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel.
There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia?
Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims .
The US has no friends, nor does it want to keep any because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates.
However, our case is different. We have pledged slavery to God Almighty alone and after this pledge there is no possibility to become the slave of someone else. If we do that, it will be disregardful to both our Sustainer and his fellow beings. Most of the world nations upholding their freedom are the religious ones, which are the enemies of United States, or the latter itself considers them as its enemies. Or the countries, which do not agree to become its slaves, such as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Syria, and the former Russia as received .
Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.
According to my information, the death toll is much higher than what the US government has stated. But the Bush administration does not want the panic to spread. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him.
Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This funding issue was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger.
They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of 40bn dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.
Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US president, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.
Ummat: A number of world countries have joined the call of the United States for launching an attack on Afghanistan. These also include a number of Muslim countries. Will Al-Qa’idah declare a jihad against these countries as well?
Usamah: I must say that my duty is just to awaken the Muslims; to tell them as to what is good for them and what is not. What does Islam says and what the enemies of Islam want?
Al-Qa’idah was set up to wage a jihad against infidelity, particularly to encounter the onslaught of the infidel countries against the Islamic states. Jihad is the sixth undeclared element of Islam. The first five being the basic holy words of Islam, prayers, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms Every anti-Islamic person is afraid of it. Al-Qa’idah wants to keep this element alive and active and make it part of the daily life of the Muslims. It wants to give it the status of worship. We are not against any Islamic country nor we consider a war against an Islamic country as jihad.
We are in favour of armed jihad only against those infidel countries, which are killing innocent Muslim men, women, and children just because they are Muslims. Supporting the US act is the need of some Muslim countries and the compulsion of others. However, they should think as to what will remain of their religious and moral position if they support the attack of the Christians and the Jews on a Muslim country like Afghanistan. The orders of Islamic shari’ah jurisprudence for such individuals, organizations, and countries are clear and all the scholars of the Muslim brotherhood are unanimous on them. We will do the same, which is being ordered by the Amir ol-Momenin the commander of the faithful Mola Omar and the Islamic scholars. The hearts of the people of Muslim countries are beating with the call of jihad. We are grateful to them.
Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks can bring down the American economy. Why is al-Qa’idah not targeting their economic pillars?
Usamah: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom.This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.
Ummat: Why is harm not caused to the enemies of Islam through other means, apart from the armed struggle? For instance, inciting the Muslims to boycott Western products, banks, shipping lines, and TV channels.
Usamah: The first thing is that Western products could only be boycotted when the Muslim fraternity is fully awakened and organized. Secondly, the Muslim companies should become self-sufficient in producing goods equal to the products of Western companies. Economic boycott of the West is not possible unless economic self-sufficiency is attained and substitute products are brought out. You see that wealth is scattered all across the Muslim world but not a single TV channel has been acquired which can preach Islamic injunctions according to modern requirements and attain an international influence. Muslim traders and philanthropists should make it a point that if the weapon of public opinion is to be used, it is to be kept in the hand. Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything that you asked for can be done.
Ummat: The entire propaganda about your struggle has so far been made by the Western media. But no information is being received from your sources about the network of Al-Qa’idah and its jihadi successes. Would you comment?
Usamah: In fact, the Western media is left with nothing else. It has no other theme to survive for a long time. Then we have many other things to do. The struggle for jihad and the successes are for the sake of Allah and not to annoy His bondsmen. Our silence is our real propaganda. Rejections, explanations, or corrigendum only waste your time and through them, the enemy wants you to engage in things which are not of use to you. These things are pulling you away from your cause.
The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that. You can understand as to what will be the performance of the nation in a war, which suffers from fear and helplessness.
Ummat: What will the impact of the freeze of al-Qa’idah accounts by the US?
Usamah: God opens up ways for those who work for Him. Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qa’idah or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qa’idah has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other. This system is operating under the patronage of those who love jihad. What to say of the United States, even the combined world cannot budge these people from their path.
These people are not in hundreds but in thousands and millions. Al-Qa’idah comprises of such modern educated youths who are aware of the cracks inside the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their hands. These are the very flaws of the Western fiscal system, which are becoming a noose for it and this system could not recuperate in spite of the passage of so many days.
Ummat: Are there other safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?
Usamah: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God. It is not the question of Usamah but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised. Jihad was still present when there was no Usamah and it will remain as such even when Usamah is no longer there. Allah opens up ways and creates loves in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property, and children. Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the after life. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.
Ummat: What do you say about the Pakistan government policy on Afghanistan attack?
Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are the same Pakistanis who are standing shoulder by shoulder with the Taleban. If such people emerge in just two countries, the domination of the West will diminish in a matter of days. Our hearts beat with Pakistan and, God forbid, if a difficult time comes we will protect it with our blood. Pakistan is sacred for us like a place of worship. We are the people of jihad and fighting for the defence of Pakistan is the best of all jihads to us. It does not matter for us as to who rules Pakistan. The important thing is that the spirit of jihad is alive and stronger in the hearts of the Pakistani people.
Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001
Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller
According to Chossudovsky, the “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.
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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”.
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 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. [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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
Timeline: What Happened on the Morning of September 11, 2001
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,  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. 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.
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.  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, 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. 
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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.
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.” 
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.” 
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. 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. 
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.
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. 
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.” 
“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.” 
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.
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, and are documented to be financing the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council against President Bashar al-Assad. 
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.
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.” 
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.
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.”  Under behind-the-scenes machinations the Libyan government is dominated by Jihadists and by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. 
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. 
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.
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,  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. 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 ofFull Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order
 Dan Peleschuk, Sheikh Murdered Over Religious Split Say Analysts, RIA Novosti, August 30, 2012, accessed in
 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).”
 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?”
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.
“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.
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.
History is rewritten. War crimes are forgotten. Vietnam has now become an ally of the USA. This article was originally published on June 6, 2012
The Pentagon has just launched a multi-year national public relations campaign to justify, glorify and honor Washington’s catastrophic, aggressive and losing war against Vietnam — America’s most controversial and unpopular military conflict.
President Barack Obama opened the militarist event, which was overwhelmingly approved by Congress four years ago, during a speech at the Vietnam Wall on Memorial Day, May 28. The entire campaign, which will consist of tens of thousands of events over the next 13 years, is ostensibly intended to “finally honor” the U.S. troops who fought in Vietnam. The last troops were evacuated nearly 40 years ago.
In reality, the unprecedented project — titled the Vietnam War Commemoration — will utilize the “pro-veteran” extravaganza to accomplish two additional and more long lasting goals:
• The first is to legitimize and intensify a renewed warrior spirit within America as the Pentagon emerges from two counter-productive, ruinously expensive and stalemated unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and prepares for further military adventures in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Within days of Obama’s speech, for instance, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced a big increase of U.S. Navy forces in the Pacific, a move obviously targeting China. At the same time the Obama Administration’s drone wars are accelerating as the Oval Office’s kill list expands, and the president engages in cyber sabotage against Iran.
• The second is to dilute the memory of historic public opposition to the Vietnam war by putting forward the Pentagon’s censored account of the conflict in public meetings, parades and educational sessions set to take place across the nation through 2025. These flag-waving, hyper-patriotic occasions will feature veterans, active duty military members, government officials, local politicians, teachers and business leaders who will combine forces to praise those who fought in Vietnam and those on the home front who supported the war. There won’t be much — if any — attention focused on the majority of Americans who opposed this imperialist adventure, except as a footnote describing how tolerant U.S. democracy is toward dissent.
The principal theme of the president’s address was that American troops have not received sufficient laurels for their efforts to violently prevent the reunification of North and South Vietnam. He did not point out that there would have been no war had the United States permitted nationwide free elections to take place in Vietnam in 1956 as specified by the 1954 Geneva Agreement ending the French colonialism in Indochina. Washington recently decided that the war “officially” began in 1962 (although U.S. involvement dates back to the 1950s), allowing the commemoration to begin during the “50th anniversary” year.
President Obama told the large, cheering crowd of veterans and their families at the Vietnam Wall exactly what they — and all those who still resented the era’s large antiwar movement — wanted to hear: “One of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam — most particularly, how we treated our troops who served there….
“You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor. (Applause.) You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised. You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened. And that’s why here today we resolve that it will not happen again. (Applause.)….
“[Y]ou wrote one of the most extraordinary stories of bravery and integrity in the annals of military history. (Applause.)…. [E]ven though some Americans turned their back on you — you never turned your back on America…. And let’s remember all those Vietnam veterans who came back and served again — in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You did not stop serving. (Applause.)
“So here today, it must be said — you have earned your place among the greatest generations. At this time, I would ask all our Vietnam veterans, those of you who can stand, to please stand, all those already standing, raise your hands — as we say those simple words which always greet our troops when they come home from here on out: Welcome home. (Applause.) Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home. Thank you. We appreciate you. Welcome home. (Applause.)….
“May God bless you. May God bless your families. May God bless our men and women in uniform. And may God bless these United States of America.”
There was virtually no criticism in the corporate mass media about the president’s gross exaggerations concerning the “mistreatment” of Vietnam era veterans. True, there were no victory parades, but that was because the U.S. Armed Forces were defeated by a much smaller and enormously outgunned adversary — the guerrilla forces of the South Vietnamese National Liberation Front (NLF) and regular forces from North Vietnam.
By the time many vets returned home the American people had turned against the war and wanted it over, as did a significant portion of active duty troops, including the many who identified with the peace movement or who mutinied or deserted. Undoubtedly some veterans were disrespected — but to a far lesser extent than Obama and pro-war forces have suggested over the years.
Whenever the U.S. conducts unpopular invasions, as in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, Washington and the mass media invariably insist that it is the duty of patriotic citizens to “support the troops” even if they oppose the war. But to manifest the kind of support the government seeks inevitably implies support for the war. This is why the peace groups came up with the slogan “Support the Troops — Bring ‘em home NOW!”
According to the Pentagon, which is in charge of staging the Vietnam War Commemoration, the main purpose is “To thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War… for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans. To highlight the service of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of Federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the Armed Forces. To pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War….”
Thousands of community, veteran, and various nongovernmental organizations throughout the U.S. are expected to join the Commemorative Partner Program “to assist federal, state and local authorities to assist a grateful nation in thanking and honoring our Vietnam Veterans and their families. Commemorative Partners are encouraged to participate… by planning and conducting events and activities that will recognize the Vietnam Veterans and their families’ service, valor, and sacrifice.”
In addition the government and its “partners” will be distributing educational materials about the war, according to the Pentagon, but it is unlikely that the Vietnamese side of the story or that of the multitude of war resisters in the U.S., civilian and military, will receive favorable attention. Many facts, including the origins of the war will undoubtedly be changed to conform to the commemoration’s main goal of minimizing Washington’s defeat and maximizing the heroism and loyalty of the troops.
Officially, the Vietnam war lasted 11 years (1962-1973), but U.S. involvement actually continued for 21 years (1954-1975). The U.S. financially supported the restoration of French colonial control of Vietnam and all of Indochina after the defeat of Japanese imperialism in 1945 (Japan earlier displaced French rule). By 1954, Washington not only supplied money and advisers but sent 352 Americans to Vietnam in a “Military Assistance Advisory group” supporting the French against liberation forces led by the Vietnamese Communist Party. The liberators defeated the French army at the historic battle of Dien Bien Phu that same year.
The Geneva Conference of 1954, facilitating impending French withdrawal, established that Vietnam would be divided temporarily into two halves until free elections were held in 1956 to determine whether the liberation forces, led by Ho Chi Minh, or Emperor Bao Dai, who had collaborated with both French and Japanese occupation forces and was a puppet of the U.S., would rule the unified state.
It is doubtful that the commemoration is going to emphasize the fact that the U.S., led by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, used its power to prevent nationwide elections from taking place when it became clear that Ho Chi Minh would win 80% of the vote. Eisenhower acknowledged this in his memoirs. Instead, Washington allied itself to right wing forces in the southern sector to declare “South Vietnam” to be a separate state for the first time in history and set about financing, training and controlling a large southern military force to prevent reunification. The U.S. dominated the Saigon government throughout the following war.
When Paris withdrew remaining French troops in April 1956, according to John Prados in “Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable war, 1945-1975″ (2009), “their departure made America South Vietnam’s big brother,” i.e., overlord and military protector against popular liberation forces in the southern half of the country.
By June 1962, 9,700 U.S. “military advisers” plus a large number of CIA agents were training and fighting to support the corrupt U.S.-backed regime in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), at which time President Kennedy’s Defense Secretary, Robert McNamara, announced that “every quantitative measure shows that we’re wining the war.”
By 1968, when the number of U.S. troops attained their apogee of 535,040, Washington was obviously losing to its tenacious opponent. This is when Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson decided not to seek reelection rather than face the humiliation of defeat. Republican President Richard M. Nixon succeeded to the presidency and vastly increased the bombings while also calling for negotiations to end the war. Facing an impending defeat and political catastrophe, American troops pulled out in 1973. The CIA and some U.S. military personnel and political advisers remained in diminished South Vietnam assisting the right wing government in Saigon until April 1975 when the entire country was liberated.
The U.S. lost 58,151 troops in the war. Between four and five million Vietnamese civilians and soldiers were killed on both sides in a catastrophe that could have been entirely avoided had Washington allowed the free elections to take place. Over a million civilians in neighboring Laos and Cambodia also were killed or wounded by U.S. firepower.
Vietnam, north and south, was pulverized by U.S. bombs and shells. The Pentagon detonated 15,500,000 tons of ground and air munitions on the three countries of Indochina, 12,000,000 tons on South Vietnam alone in a failed effort to smash the National Liberation Front backed by the North Vietnamese army. By comparison, the U.S. detonated only 6,000,000 tons of ground and air munitions throughout World War II in Europe and the Far East. All told, by the end of the war, 26,000,000 bomb craters pockmarked Indochina, overwhelmingly from U.S. weapons and bombers.
The Pentagon also dumped 18,000,000 gallons of herbicides to defoliate several million acres of farmland and forests. Millions of Vietnamese suffered illness, birth defects and deaths from these poisonous chemicals. The AP recently reported from Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, that “More than 100,000 Vietnamese have been killed or injured by land mines or other abandoned explosives since the Vietnam War ended nearly 40 years ago, and clearing all of the country will take decades more.”
It should also be mentioned — since it will be suppressed during the commemoration — that U.S. forces, including the CIA and the Pentagon-controlled South Vietnamese military, tortured many thousands of “suspected” supporters of the liberation struggle, frequently with portable electrical current. An estimated 40,000 “Vietcong” (suspected members or supporters of the NLF) were murdered during the long-running “Operation Phoenix” assassination campaign conducted by the CIA, Special Forces and killer units of the Saigon forces.
There were three main fronts in the Vietnam war, in this order: First, the battlefields of Indochina. Second, the massive antiwar movement within the United States and international support for Vietnam. Third, the Paris Peace Talks. Well over 60% of the American people opposed the war by the late 1960s-early ’70s. The first peace protest took place in 1962; the first very large protest took place in Washington in 1965. Subsequently there were thousands of antiwar demonstrations large and small in cities, towns, and campuses all over America.
[Disclosure; This writer was a war opponent and a conscientious objector during this period. His information about the war derives from when he functioned as the news editor, managing editor and then chief editor of the largest independent leftist paper in the U.S. at the time, the weekly Guardian. This publication thoroughly covered the war, peace movement, antiwar veterans (Vietnam Veterans Against the War [VVAW] was founded in 1967 and is still active today), the extraordinary resistance of active duty troops in Vietnam and at U.S. bases and COs in prison or in Canada and Europe throughout the period of conflict.]
Most of the allegations about insults directed at solders or vets from war opponents have been fabrications to discredit the antiwar forces — falsehoods Obama chose to repeat as part of the Pentagon’s campaign to reverse history’s negative verdict on the war in Vietnam. The peace movement’s targets were the warmakers in Washington and their allies abroad, not members of a largely conscript army. Perhaps the most notorious of the false accusations were frequent reports about antiwar individuals “spitting” at GIs and vets. The rumors were so wild that sociologist Jerry Lembcke wrote a book exposing the lies — “The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam,” New York University Press, 1998.
It’s extremely doubtful that the war commemoration will dare touch honestly upon the movement of active duty troops against the war and the hundreds of cases killing their own officers.
Historian Howard Zinn included this paragraph on the opposition to the Vietnam War by American soldiers in his “People’s History of the United States”:
“The capacity for independent judgment among ordinary Americans is probably best shown by the swift development of antiwar feeling among American GIs — volunteers and draftees who came mostly from lower-income groups. There had been, earlier in American history, instances of soldiers’ disaffection from the war: isolated mutinies in the Revolutionary War, refusal of reenlistment in the midst of hostilities in the Mexican war, desertion and conscientious objection in World War I and World War II. But Vietnam produced opposition by soldiers and veterans on a scale, and with a fervor, never seen before.”
According to the Washington Peace Center: “During the Vietnam War, the military ranks carried out mass resistance on bases and ships in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, U.S. and Europe. Military resistance was instrumental in ending the war by making the ranks politically unreliable. This history is well documented in ‘Soldiers in Revolt’ by David Cortright and the recent film ‘Sir! No Sir!’”
One of the key reports on GI resistance was written by Col. Robert D. Heinl Jr. and published in the Armed Forces Journal of June 7, 1971. He began: “The morale, discipline and battle worthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are, with a few salient exceptions, lower and worse than at anytime in this century and possibly in the history of the United States.
“By every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and non-commissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near mutinous. Elsewhere than Vietnam, the situation is nearly as serious.
“Intolerably clobbered and buffeted from without and within by social turbulence, pandemic drug addiction, race war, sedition, civilian scapegoatise, draftee recalcitrance and malevolence, barracks theft and common crime, unsupported in their travail by the general government, in Congress as well as the executive branch, distrusted, disliked, and often reviled by the public, the uniformed services today are places of agony for the loyal, silent professions who doggedly hang on and try to keep the ship afloat.”
According to the 2003 book by Christian Appy, “Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides,” Gen. Creighton Abrams — the U.S. military commander in Vietnam — made this comment in 1971 after an investigation: “Is this a god-damned army or a mental hospital? Officers are afraid to lead their men into battle, and the men won’t follow. Jesus Christ! What happened?”
Another former Army colonel in Vietnam, Andrew J. Bacevich Sr. (now a professor of international relations at Boston University and a strong opponent of U.S. foreign/military policy) wrote a book about how the U.S. military labored for a dozen years after the defeat to revamp its war strategy and tactics. (“The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War,” Oxford University Press, 2005.) One major conclusion was that a conscript army may become unreliable if the war is considered unjust in nature and unpopular at home. This is why conscription was ended for good and the Pentagon now relies on better paid professional standing military supplemented by a large number of contractors and mercenaries, who perform many duties that were once handled by regular soldiers.
Veterans’ movements from the professional military of contemporary wars, such as Iraq Veterans Against the War and March Forward, as well as from the Vietnam era, are still out in the streets opposing imperialist wars, and public opinion polls reveal that over 60% of the American people oppose the Afghan adventure.
Despite the colossal damage the U.S. inflicted on Vietnam and its people during the war years, the country has emerged from the ashes and is taking steps toward becoming a relatively prosperous society led by the Communist Party. The Hanoi government has received no help from Washington. During the Paris Peace Talks of 1973, Nixon promised Prime Minister Pham Van Dong in writing that the U.S. would pay Vietnam $3.5 billion in reparations. This promise turned out to be worthless.
What strikes visitors to Vietnam in recent years, including this writer, is that the country appears to have come to terms with what it calls the American War far better than America has come to terms with the Vietnam War. Despite the hardships inflicted upon Vietnam, the government and people appear to hold no grudges against the United States.
Hanoi has several times extended the welcome mat to former antagonists, urging Americans and residents of southern Vietnam who now live abroad to “close the past and look to the future.” Wherever touring U.S. citizens — including former GIs — travel in Vietnam, they are met with the same respect as visitors from other countries.
In the U.S., the Vietnam war still evokes fighting words in some quarters. Some Americans still argue that the U.S. “could have won if it didn’t have one hand tied behind its back” (i.e., used nuclear weapons), and some continue to hate the antiwar protesters of yesteryear, just as they do demonstrators against today’s wars. And some others — in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon — still seem to continue fighting the war by organizing a massive propaganda effort to distort the history of Washington’s aggression and unspeakable brutality in Vietnam.
The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within -Mahatma Gandhi
The US-NATO invasion of Libya in 2011 to remove Muammar Gaddafi for a government that would be subservient to Western interests has proven to be a disaster for North Africa and Europe. They have managed to destroy one of Africa’s wealthiest nations with the highest GDP per capita and less people living below the poverty line. Libya also had the highest life expectancy than any other nation in the African continent before the US-NATO invasion which leads to my next point. There were more than 30,000 deaths, 50,000 injured and 4,000 missing in Libya during the 2011 civil war that lasted several months. The West conveniently called it a “humanitarian intervention” for public relations, but the invasion was a “humanitarian disaster”. Manlio Dinucci’s article ‘The “Humanitarian War” against Libya: How the West Destroys Countries and Creates “Failed States’which can be found at Global Research explains the role played by Italy (a member state of NATO) in Libya. He wrote:
This state, in addition to being a factor of stability and development in North Africa, had used its investments to facilitate the emergence of organizations that one day might have made the financial autonomy of Africa possible: the African Investment Bank, based in Tripoli; the African Central Bank, with headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria; the African Monetary Fund, based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
After having funded and armed hostile tribal areas in Tripoli, which caused the “Arab Spring” in Libya to assume from the outset the form of armed insurrection, and thus provoking the government’s response, they waged a war that destroyed the Libyan state in 2011: in seven months the U.S./NATO Air Force carried out 10,000 attack missions, unleashing more than 40,000 bombs and missiles.
Since then, scores of people have been killed due to the ongoing civil war between government forces, militias and terrorists organizations that is based on sectarian hatred and for the control of the oil industry. Amnesty International UK (AI) published a report that explains Libya’s situation titled ‘Rule of the gun: Abductions, torture and other abuses by militias in western Libya’. Libya’s situation is now even worst according to Amnesty International’s recent press release:
Militias and armed groups in western Libya are carrying out rampant human rights abuses, including war crimes, according to a new briefing today (30 October) from Amnesty International. The 30-page briefing – Rule of the gun: Abductions, torture and other abuses by militias in western Libya – shows that armed groups have tortured – and probably summarily killed – detainees in their custody, and have committed a wave of abductions targeting civilians based on their origins or perceived political allegiance.
Likewise, satellite images released today by Amnesty show that fighters on all sides in the conflict have displayed an utter disregard for civilian lives, launching indiscriminate rocket and artillery fire into crowded civilian neighbourhoods which has damaged homes, civilian infrastructure and medical facilities. Those responsible include members of the Libya Dawn coalition (groups from Misratah, Tripoli and other towns in western Libya), and the Zintan-Warshafana coalition (groups from Zintan and the Warshafana area). Satellite images obtained by Amnesty show significant damage to civilian property in the Warshafana region, including at Al-Zahra Hospital which has come under heavy rocket fire. The intensive care unit at Zawiya Hospital has also been struck by a rocket which injured ten people, including doctors, nurses, patients and visitors.
Since July at least 287,000 people have been internally displaced as a result of indiscriminate attacks and a fear of being targeted by militias, and a further 100,000 have been forced to flee the country in fear for their lives.
There are constant rocket and artillery shells being fired by various militias and terrorist organizations which have resulted in mass civilian casualties. Libyan infrastructure and hospitals have been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of Libyans have been either displaced from their homes or forced to migrate to neighboring countries in Northern Africa and Europe to its north. ‘The Spectator’ a conservative magazine based in London explained Italy’s immigration crisis concerning what they call “Libya’s boat people” after a tragic accident that resulted in the deaths of more than 366 people who were desperate to reach Europe’s shores:
The decision to open the floodgates came in a moment of national moral panic after 366 people drowned in a single boat which caught fire and sank a stone’s throw from an idyllic beach on the island of Lampedusa, an exclusive resort favoured by the right-on rich. The dead included a mother who had given birth during the voyage and was still attached to her newborn child when divers found their bodies trapped inside the sunken vessel.
The policy change, driven by a perverted mix of human decency and political correctness, was pure folly: it has acted as a green light to wannabe boat people everywhere, whose numbers soar as the chaos in Africa and the Middle East escalates. The result is an exodus of biblical proportions out of Africa into Italy. So far this year, more than 100,000 boat people have arrived in Italy — two thirds of them brought ashore by the Italian navy. That is more than double the number who arrived in 2011, the previous record year. It is estimated that the total by the end of 2014 will surpass 200,000. So far this year Italy has deported only 10,000.
The Spectator states that “numbers soar as the chaos in Africa and the Middle East escalates.” Yes, that is true. It is also true that Libya and other African and Middle Eastern nations that suffer from the chaos imposed by the same Western nations that preach Democracy. The US and European style of Democracy by force is not a Democracy. Democracy has to be a grassroots effort, a natural process that is not imposed by a foreign government or entity. The American and European notion of “Bringing Democracy” to the world is an Imperial agenda. Let’s look at a number of examples since the September 11th attacks when President George W. Bush was President, starting with Afghanistan and Iraq, now both countries are in total chaos with numerous militias and terrorists organization battling each other along sectarian lines and for political power. New and old terrorist organizations now have expanded throughout Africa and the Middle East such as Boko-Haram (Nigeria), Al-Shabaab (Somalia and Ethiopia) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (Uganda) and the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda and the so-called Khorasan (supposedly made up of former Al-Qaeda members) in the Middle East plus any new organization that arises out of the ashes of war. Let’s not forget that the Military-Industrial Complex has made enormous profits from both wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and on the “War on Terror.” Africa is the future for the US-NATO war industry starting with Libya. However, the Amnesty International report paints a very disturbing picture concerning innocent civilians caught in the crossfire:
Scores of civilians have been abducted by armed groups in Tripoli, Zawiya, Warshafana and towns in the Nafusa Mountains, with numerous people held hostage for up to two months in a spate of tit-for-tat attacks based on their town of origin or perceived political affiliation. In some cases civilians have been abducted as bargaining chips in order to secure prisoner exchanges. While several such exchanges have taken place since the start of the conflict on 13 July, abductions and other reprisals have continued.
Tripoli residents originally from Zintan told Amnesty that Libya Dawn militias have carried out door-to-door “manhunts” to seize people based on their tribal affiliation or presumed political allegiance. Militias have also carried out extensive raids against civilian homes, looting and destroying property, and setting homes and farms ablaze in the area of Warshafana.
Libya’s invasion by the West was not for democratic purposes, it was for its oil reserves. They also wanted to remove Gaddafi from power because he was in the early stages of creating a gold dinar for trade, not only for Libya but all of Africa. It was a threat to the petrodollar. King World News interviewed multi-billionaire Hugo Salinas Price of Mexico in 2011 and said:
The central bank is definitely afraid of doing anything that is not being done by all of the other central banks. They feel they are part of a brotherhood and they can’t betray the rest. They don’t want to present a currency that would be viewed as out of line, that’s the way they think. It’s a sad thing but this is the mentality.
Thinking about it a little bit more, what happened to Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting trade. The same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a gold dinar.
Libya is a nation in chaos because of the Western powers and their “humanitarian intervention” policies which was designed to expand their footprint on African territory. The US, UK and France were the main powers that instigated Gaddafi’s removal. Libya was not perfect, but it sure was a lot better than most African nations who are under a financial dictatorship imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Since then, Libya has become a haven for terrorists who commit human rights abuses on a grand scale. When President Barack Obama announced that the US and its NATO Allies will launch military strikes against Libya to protect its civilians was a lie. Obama began his speech by acknowledging that he had already authorized U.S. and NATO forces to invade Libya to protect civilians:
Good afternoon, everybody. Today I authorized the armed forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.
In this effort, the United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people.
U.S. and NATO’s intervention in Libya has made life for ordinary citizens a living hell. If this is Western-style Democracy then who in their right state of mind would welcome it? I believe that most nations in Africa and the Middle East would pass on Western-imposed Democracy because it would only lead to a political crisis with the possibility of war following in its footsteps. The aftermath of Iraq and Syria is a perfect example of what happened after Washington and its NATO allies decided to intervene, whether by military force or by simply financing opposition groups to overthrow their government for the sake of Democracy, but that resulted in unintended consequences. However, the unintended consequences of invading Libya have benefited big oil corporations, the petrodollar and the US-NATO militaries by expanding their bases into Africa to fight terrorism.
Then again, it is appropriate to ask ourselves, Cui Bono?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has quietly removed some Ebola information from its website. The changes follow claims from news outlets and conservative blogs that the agency hasn’t been forthcoming about how the virus spreads, but it was not clear on Thursday afternoon whether the removal was related to the reports.
The New York Post reported Tuesday that the agency “admitted” Ebola can be contracted through casual contact with a doorknob, seemingly contrary to the CDC’s insistence that Ebola is only transmissible through direct contact with bodily fluids from a person sick with the disease. The Post cited a page on the CDC’s website that said Ebola spreads through droplets that can travel short distances when a sick person coughs or sneezes.
The page was a PDF document that explained the difference between infections spread through the air or by droplets. The PDF had been taken down as of Thursday afternoon, with this message in its place: “The What’s the difference between infections spread through air or by droplets? Fact sheet is being updated and is currently unavailable. Please visit cdc.gov/Ebola for up-to-date information on Ebola.”
An earlier version of the page is still available in Google’s cache. It said that while Ebola is not “airborne” like chickenpox or tuberculosis, it can travel a few feet in the air inside droplets emitted when someone coughs or sneezes.
“A person might also get infected by touching a surface or object that has germs on it and then touching their mouth or nose,” the document said.
The CDC has also changed an Ebola Q&A, deleting the below question about coughing and sneezing (which are not typical Ebola symptoms):
Can Ebola spread by coughing? By sneezing?
Unlike respiratory illnesses like measles or chickenpox, which can be transmitted by virus particles that remain suspended in the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes, Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with body fluids of a person who has symptoms of Ebola disease. Although coughing and sneezing are not common symptoms of Ebola, if a symptomatic patient with Ebola coughs or sneezes on someone, and saliva or mucus come into contact with that person’s eyes, nose or mouth, these fluids may transmit the disease.
The version of the Q&A still online notes that Ebola can survive on doorknobs for several hours. The removed question is available in Google’s cache from Oct. 29.
A CDC official said the agency is continually updating its website. “This particular Q&A is being updated to ensure people understand that Ebola is not an airborne virus like the flu and will be reposted soon,” the official said in an email.
Asked about the possibility of Ebola becoming airborne at an Oct. 7 press conference, CDC Director Tom Frieden said Ebola hasn’t spread that way before and is unlikely to mutate into an airborne form.
“Ebola spreads by direct contact with someone who is sick or with the body fluids of someone who is sick or died from it,” Frieden said. “We do not see airborne transmission in the outbreak in Africa. We don’t see it elsewhere in what we’ve seen so far.”
UPDATE: 10/31/14, 7:41 a.m. — The CDC has added a new answer about coughing and sneezing to its Ebola Q&A. The new answer emphasizes that the virus doesn’t spread that way:
Can Ebola be spread by coughing or sneezing?
There is no evidence indicating that Ebola virus is spread by coughing or sneezing. Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola; the virus is not transmitted through the air (like measles virus). However, droplets (e.g., splashes or sprays) of respiratory or other secretions from a person who is sick with Ebola could be infectious, and therefore certain precautions (called standard, contact, and droplet precautions) are recommended for use in healthcare settings to prevent the transmission of Ebola virus from patients sick with Ebola to healthcare personnel and other patients or family members.
This article has been updated to include the CDC’s response.
Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs Would Be Diagnosed with ADHD If They Were Born In This Decade
Scott Barry Kaufman (PhD in cognitive psychology from Yale) writes in Scientific American:
Research … has supported the notion that under certain conditions, people with ADHD characteristics are more likelyto reach higher levels of creative thought and achievement than people without ADHD (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). Recent research by Darya Zabelina and colleagues have found that real-life creative achievement is associated with the ability to broaden attention and have a “leaky” mental filter — something in which people with ADHD often excel.
Recent work in cognitive neuroscience also suggests a connection between ADHD and creativity (see here and here). Both creative thinkers and people with ADHD show difficulty suppressing brain activity coming from the “Imagination Network.”
Consider the case of John, who in 1949 attended Eton College and dreamed of becoming a scientist. However, last in his class, he received the following comment on his report card:
His work has been far from satisfactory … he will not listen, but will insist on doing his work in his own way … I believe he has ideas about becoming a Scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous, if he can’t learn simple Biological facts he would have no chance of doing the work of a Specialist, and it would be a sheer waste of time on his part, and of those who have to teach him.
This was Sir John B. Gurdon, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his revolutionary research on stem cells. Like so many other highly creative, competent individuals, he might have been referred for testing and given the label “attention deficit hyperactive disorder.”
Indeed, a teacher told young Albert Einstein that “never will he get anywhere,” because young Einstein resented his authoritarian teaching style.
If Einstein and Steve Jobs were born in this decade, I am sure they would have been classified as something and maybe started on meds, and then the world would not have seen their genius.
Many experts think that ADHS is overdiagnosed (especially among boys.)
There may be several reasons.
MinnPost reports that money might be partly to blame:
Widening the definition of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has led to an overdiagnosis of the condition, causing many people, especially children, to receive needless and potentially harmful medical treatment, according to a research analysis published online Wednesday in the journal BMJ (British Medical Journal).
Some 78 percent of the medical experts who participated in developing the DSM-5 guidelines for ADHD and other disruptive behavior disorders had financial conflicts of interest through ties to the pharmaceutical industry, report the authors of the BMJ paper.
It’s been estimated that between $320 and $500 million is spent annually in the U.S. on medications for people inappropriately diagnosed with ADHD.
Salon notes that standardized testing might be another factor:
Now comes a book that, finally, offers a data-based analysis that could begin to account for an increase on this scale. “The ADHD Explosion,“ by Stephen Hinshaw and Richard Scheffler, considers all kinds of factors that may contribute to the surge, from diagnosis by undertrained and harried pediatricians to pharmaceutical advertising. But the eye-opening insight from Hinshaw, a clinical psychologist, and Schleffler, a health economist, who are colleagues at University of California, Berkeley, is the correlation between educational policies and the prevalence of ADHD diagnoses.
Using Centers for Disease Control surveys, Hinshaw and Sheffler found that when rates of ADHD diagnoses are broken down by state, it turns out that there are dramatic discrepancies. Based on the most recent survey, from 2011, a child in Kentucky is three times as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as a child in Nevada. And a child in Louisiana is five times as likely to take medication for ADHD as a child in Nevada.
And these states aren’t just outliers. The five states that have the highest rate of diagnoses — Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana and North Carolina — are all over 10 percent of school age children. The five states with the lowest percent diagnosed — Nevada, New Jersey, Colorado, Utah and California — are all under 5 percent. The disparity is even greater for kids prescribed ADHD medication. The same five states are at the top of the list, all of them with over 8 percent of kids getting medication. The states at the bottom of the list for medication — Nevada, Hawaii, California, Alaska and New Jersey — are all under 3.1 percent.
What the team found was that high rates of ADHD diagnoses correlated closely with state laws that penalize schools when students fail. Nationally, this approach to education was enacted into law in 2001 with No Child Left Behind, which makes funding contingent on the number of students who pass standardized tests. In more recent years, similar testing-based strategies have been championed by education reformers such as Michelle Rhee. But many states passed these accountability laws as early as the 1980s, and within a few years of passage, ADHD diagnoses started going up in those states, the authors found, especially for kids near the poverty line.
ADHD diagnoses of public school students within 200 percent of the federal poverty level jumped 59 percent after accountability legislation passed, Hinshaw reports, compared with less than 10 percent for middle- and high-income children. They saw no comparable trend in private schools, which are not subject to legislation like this.
How do ADHD diagnoses help schools at risk of losing their funding? First, Hinshaw notes, for kids who do have ADHD, it should improve their performance in school, including their test scores. Second, it may help kids who are disruptive in class settle down, which could improve scores for the whole class. Finally, in many areas, the test scores of student with ADHD diagnoses aren’t counted. So even it if it doesn’t help the child, it might help the school.
And as MedScape points out, there are other factors at work, as well:
A nurse practitioner cited regrettable practicalities rather than overt corruption:
It is easier to medicate kids than to have small classes, lots of playground time, and lots of classroom structure. Unfortunately, I think we are doing a disservice to kids when we medicate them instead of keeping them active enough to take the edge off their behavior and then teaching them how to behave in school and at home.
A pediatrician drew from valuable, nonprofessional experience:
As the mother of a young man with ADD (and Asperger’s), [I agree that] it is our society that in many ways has created this epidemic. Where were these boys 50 or 100 or 1000 years ago? They were outside, they were busy doing things, they lived in societies and cultures that had a place where they could develop their talents; and their behavior, for the most part, was tolerated. In our modern society, a premium is placed on being mostly sedentary and quiet.
On October 30th, the Novorossian press agency announced that on the prior day, Ukrainian troops had resumed their heavy shelling of towns in the former Luhansk and Donetsk Republics, two regions which had been joined together as a new nation Novorussia, and which had originally been Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk administrative districts, bordering with Russia.
This shelling went way beyond merely violating the ceasefire agreement, and the Ukrainian Government was now in open and public violation of it, and in public contempt of it. Ukraine had signed in Minsk Belarus an agreement on September 5th, the Minsk Protocol, along with the leaders of those two breakaway regions, and also with Russia’s Ukrainian Ambassador, and with the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) as the monitor of compliance with this agreement. However, now, the Ukrainian Government is no longer pretending to be complying with it. On October 29th, Russia’s RIA Novosti press agency bannered, ”Kiev Withdraws From Delineation Agreement With East Ukraine: DPR,” and reported that “Kiev has withdrawn from the delineation agreement it signed with Donetsk authorities without any explanation, the deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said.” There was no announcement yet from the Ukrainian Government, however.
The reason for Ukraine’s evident unequivocal noncompliance had actually been stated on October 23rd by the country’s President, Petro Poroshenko, speaking in the Southeastern city of Odessa, the city where the Ukrainian civil war had started on May 2nd. It had started when far-right operatives who were paid by an Obama-Administration-connected Oligarch, Ihor Kolomoysky, herded dozens of separatist demonstrators there into Odessa’s Trade Unions Building and then lobbed Molotov cocktails and firebombs into the building and burnt these people alive. The Ukrainian Government refused to prosecute anyone for it, and the U.S. Government and other Western governments didn’t even request them to do so. However, this action, which was done unofficially by or on behalf of the new “pro-Western Government” that had only recently been very violently installed in Ukraine on 22 February 2014, was a massacre of regular Odessa civilians who did not like their new, coup-imposed, Government. And on October 23rd, Ukraine’s President went to the scene of the crime, Odessa, and, for the first time publicly, he endorsed it.
This new regime had been imposed after an extraordinarily bloody U.S. coup (likewise uninvestigated and uncharged, with the full approval of the U.S. Government), and the people who were burnt alive in Odessa on May 2nd had been opposing it. They had been printing and distributing literature against it. That was their only offense, if such it be. (And that, of course, wouldn’t be any offense in an authentic democracy.) The people who were incinerated represented half of Ukraine. In Odessa and throughout the southeastern portion of Ukraine these were the vast majority of the residents, but after the coup, they lived in fear, and most of them just kept quiet. The people who were incinerated here were among the courageous and bold exceptions. The vast majority of Ukrainians in the entire southeastern half of Ukraine had voted for the man whom the coup overthrew. The fact that now, the leader of the coup-installed regime was even praising as heroes the perpetrators of the May 2nd massacre, would re-spark, and was probably intended to re-spark, and to cow, the mass-fear throughout the southeast, the fear that this new Ukrainian Government really did want them all dead, to such an extreme extent they would now try to finish the job that they had begun and suspended. This statement by Poroshenko was basically a pre-announcement that he would resume the bombing-campaign against the southeast.
In Poroshenko’s October 23rd statement in Odessa, he said that the May 2 massacre and burning of the Odessa House of Trade Unions was necessary “because we see now what happens if we had not stopped the attempt of the separatists.” Poroshenko called Odessa the “City of Bandera.” Stepan Bandera was a legendary hero to Ukraine’s nazis, because Bandera had worked with Hitler’s forces during World War II in order to rid Ukraine of Russians primarily, but also of Jews. He wanted a 100% Ukrainian-ethnic Ukraine. Poroshenko was now indirectly saying that hatred of Russians (such as are the vast majority of residents in Ukraine’s southeast) is a trait of the people in Odessa, and an admirable heroic one, for all true Ukrainians to feel proud of. Ukraine’s President was saying that this act of burning ethnic Russians who live in Ukraine, burning the people who had voted overwhelmingly for the previous, pro-Russian, President of Ukraine, people who rejected Ukraine’s new and rabidly anti-Russian Government, was an action of high honor to this “City of Bandera,” an act of Ukrainian patriotism.
There was no official English-language translation of that speech by President Poroshenko; but, within southeastern Ukraine, this statement by the nation’s President offended many people, because they didn’t think that such a massacre was a badge of honor at all. To the contrary. In fact, the May 2nd massacre had been the spark that had actually ignited Ukraine’s civil war, because it gave inspiration to Ukrainians in the southeast to separate themselves altogether from Ukraine’s new Government, since that Government clearly wanted them dead. And now Ukraine’s President publicly said as much.
Ukraine’s President Poroshenko demands that elections there be delayed, and be held under the auspices of his Government, not of any separatist one. The elections, as per the Minsk agreement, are planned to occur on November 2nd. Poroshenko demands that they be postponed. Russia rejects that. And Poroshenko has already begun his renewed invasion.
Now the second round of the war starts, presumably after both sides have received new training and new armaments from their respective sponsors: the U.S. and its allies, for the Ukrainian Government; and Russia, for the separatist government.
Obviously, the separatist government does not want to be invaded again. But perhaps some way can be found to pin the blame for the war’s resumption on them. Perhaps the news media on one of the sides will be inclined to find some way to do that. In any case, the war will resume with many public disputes, just as it has been surrounded with many public disputes, up till now.
On November 9, it is 25 years the Berlin Wall came down. Seventeen months later, Yugoslavia’s dissolution began and various concepts and policies were introduced that fundamentally changed international politics ever since – more so than the fall of the Wall.
These features can be seen in the conflict (mis)management in later conflicts.
By now we should have accumulated enough evidence of how effective the various ”teatments” of the ”patient” called Yugoslavia were. To put it crudely: A unique country was destroyed – yes from the inside too, but that doesn’t reduce the responsibility of the West/NATO in its role as ”peacemaker”.
Today, Croatia is ethnically much more clean; Kosovo remains a failed state; the constituencies of the Dayton Accords for Bosnia (1995) still won’t live together as one state, as elections have just shown us. Macedonia’s problems have only deepened. The split between Serbia and Montenegro was enigmatic. Today’s Slovenia is the only unit that can be said to be in a better situation now than when part of Yugoslavia.
It is high time we get a critical discussion going of what the international so-called community chose to actually do – no matter the stated intentions – to help bring about peace in former Yugoslavia.
All of it must be re-assessed and lessons must be learned for governments to introduce a little modesty and recognise that they are not born peacemakers but rather war makers. And we need such a debate to go down another road than the one we took since 1999.
TFF maintains that the crisis in and around Yugoslavia is much more significant for international affairs than hitherto assumed because e.g.:
• The international so-called community’s attempt at being self-appointed conflict analysers and peacemakers with no prior education or training right after being Cold War warriors led to miserable results on the ground.
• Closely related: the amateurish idea that conflicts could be understood and treated as two parties, one good and one bad. The bad guys were the Serbs, of course, and Slobodan Milosevic became the new ”Hitler of Europe” after the West had used him as an ally.
• During this crisis Russia was sidetracked and humiliated. But in the Soviet Union era no one would have dared touch the Yugoslav space. Now the West could do what it wanted and Russia could do nothing to oppose it.
• Violent humanitarian intervention was introduced and persuaded many, like Vaclav Havel, peace and green movements as well as human rights advocates, that military intervention was OK if only the stated intentions sounded good. We know now it isn’t.
• The UN’s Agenda for Peace’s concept of peace enforcement lead to the absurdity of bombing in Bosnia where UN peacekeepers were on the ground.
• International law was ignored or twisted to fit purposes such as recognising Slovenia and Croatia and to bomb to create a new independent Kosovo/a without any UN mandate.
• Bombing to create a new state for Western strategic purposes and to get new bases (Bondsteel) in Kosovo was an innovation. That’s the main reason the West lacks every credibility when it teaches Russia or anybody else what international law is. The annexation of Crimea was at least not done by violence but by a helter-skelter referendum.
• More generally – creating new states out of existing ones has not been possible without bloodshed, with a few exceptions such Norway from Sweden 1905, Singapore from Malaysia in 1965 (after only 2 years) and the splitting up of Czechoslovakia. Anyhow it was done in Yugoslavia with highly predictable bloody results. No government listened to expert warnings.
• The undermining of the UN and all it stands for by NATO countries in particular started in Yugoslavia: unclear mandates, huge mandates with no proportional resources, abrogation of missions when they were about to succeed (such as UNTAES in Eastern Slavonia and UNPREDEP in Macedonia) and asking the UN to protect six safe zones in Bosnia (one being Srebrenica) and giving it 1200 instead of the required 33.000 peacekeepers. In addition, at the time of that massacre, the UN was fundamentally broke.
• Unequal attention to human rights. The human and minority rights of Serbs – who were minorities in most other republics-becoming-new-states and in total made up 42% of the population – were never respected on par with those of others.
• Sanctions – the ”soft” instrument that’s been used with so counterproductive effects in many other places – made most people dependent on a mafia-smuggling economy and destroyed Macedonia’s economy. Why? Because Macedonia was supposed to not trade with Serbia, its largest market, without receiving compensation from those who installed sanctions.
• The parties’ massive, systematic use of propaganda through marketing corporations, paid lies, planted stories – with media generally unaware of this manipulation and not developing a filter against it. Admittedly, Yugoslavia was an extremely difficult conflict; however it is difficult to understand that media understood less and less of it over time.
• Keeping a conflict violent for much longer than it otherwise would by pumping in weapons to all sides (in spite of a weapons embargo). The West presented itself as a peacemaker, arranged negotiations, humanitarian aid etc with one hand and prolonged the war through arms deliveries and training programs with the other.
• It was in Yugoslavia that the EU’s largest foreign policy blunder took place: The unified Germany’s first big step was to get the EU on board splitting up Yugoslavia and recognise Slovenia and Croatia – the latter’s Pavelic regime a World War II Nazi ally – as independent states and thereby making the war in Bosnia unavoidable.
• The introduction of a special politicised courts for special wars: Rwanda and Yugoslavia, the latter in the Hague Tribunal.
• Destruction of diversity. The destruction of a unique country and the beginning of the destruction of the position of neutrality and non-alignment (Sweden, Austria and Finland) that reduced diversity in the world and opened the way for NATO expansion right up to Russia’s borders later.
• Yugoslavia should also be remembered for one good thing: that nonviolence is always stronger in the long run. It was not the diplomatic isolation, not the 10 years of sanctions, not marginalization and not 78 days of merciless bombings that brought the fall of Slobodan Milosevic. It was the nonviolent mass protests of the October 5, 2000.
In short – Western hubris combined with ignorant, non-professional conflict-management – or perhaps deliberate and cynical destruction – of one of the world’s most interesting and diverse societies. True, the various groups in former Yugoslavia started it all themselves but the helpers who came in stage gave little help and made everythig worse than a divorce needed to have been.
Two of the main reasons the West is declining relative to the rest of the world is its inability to recognise its mistakes and crimes and to learn from them. If you are number one in a system you usually teach others lessons, you don’t learn. If you are number 2 or 25, there is always somebody higher up to learn from.
Unless we learn from Yugoslavia, we’ll see more Western decline.
The arguments above are embedded in the TFF blog on Yugoslavia – What Should Have Been Done. It is unique for its conflict analysis against the main stream at the time, for its generally quite precise predictions (can be tested today) and its alternative peace proposals – and for being based on over 70 missions, 3000+ interviews on all sides and all levels and containing the equivalent of 2000+ A4 pages – written by three leading peace and conflict researchers who have not changed a word in the original manuscripts.
The efforts of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to change Japan’s pacifist Constitution has received much attention overseas. This attention is very justified, and one hopes it will continue. However, most foreign media outlets fail to convey just how dramatically, and how rapidly, the public debate in Japan is heading in the wrong direction. Abe has essentially declared war on all aspects of Japan’s pacifism, and the results can only be disastrous – for the country and for the world.
An early September feature in the influential Japanese weekly Bungei Shunju shows how dramatically public debate in Japan has changed in recent years. Ruka Miura, a young conservative academic with close ties to the current government, argues openly for a return to conscription in Japan, saying that “sharing the cost of blood” is the only way to link democracy and pacifism. Astoundingly, Miura puts forward Israel as a good example, where an “advanced level of democracy” ensures that the citizenry, well acquainted with the reality of war, leads pacifist movements. Clearly Miura didn’t get the memo about the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, where brutal attacks that lead to over 2100 Palestinian deaths (at least 70% of whom, according to the UN, were non combatants) were supported by orgiastic mobs throughout Israel, chanting “death to the Arabs” and attacking antiwar demonstrations. On the other hand, the reference to Israel of a shining example of democracy is indicative of the climate in the current government – Israeli PM Netanyahu visited Japan in May 2014, and he and Abe agreed to strengthen “defence” relations.
Pacifism has long been the main pillar of Japanese post-war democracy, both abroad and at home. However, successive right wing governments, and in particular the current Abe government, have been remarkably successful at advancing a right wing agenda that, collectively, could lead to an end to pacifist Japan as we know it. The question of the reintroduction of conscription goes far beyond just one article in a conservative magazine. Leading politicians in several parties, including (but not confined to) the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, now talk openly about the desirability of conscription – a topic that would have been political suicide only ten years ago. Economic leaders, for their part, have proposed military “internships” for students having difficulties in repaying heavy university fee debts. Crudely put, attempts are being made at creating the façade of a public consensus.
The LDP has always wanted to change the pacifist Japanese constitution, which in its famed Article 9 “forever [renounces] war as a sovereign right of the nation”. Indeed, the LDP has published a draft revised constitution that would finally do away with its hated Article 9, replacing it with broader, more expansive provisions. The LDP’s draft constitution also reads like something suited for a despot dictatorial regime, with sweeping restrictions on fundamental rights, an obligation to respect the flag and the national anthem, and a free hand for the government to torture criminal suspects.
Nevertheless, there are major hurdles to changing the constitution in Japan, including a 2/3 majority in both houses of parliament and majority public support in a referendum. Seeing that this would take too much time, in July 2014, the Abe cabinet simply changed the government interpretation of Article 9, to allow the exercise of collective self defence – i.e. to enable Japanese forces to engage in battle if the forces of an allied country are attacked. Successive governments had always stated that collective self defence was prohibited by the constitution, because of the clear “slippery slope” that such a situation would entail. Abe has done away with decades of policy in one fell swoop, effectively engaging in a backdoor constitution change.
The government published examples of how the new policy would work in real life situations, many of which have been noted by experts as both legally and logically questionable. More tellingly, all of the examples are positive, i.e. all of them show situations where the use of Japanese military forces would be allowed, with no examples of when this would remain legally prohibited. At the same time, the government has also stated that a steady flow of oil to the country is vital for the “survival of the nation”, and therefore that Japanese military forces could be sent to the Middle East for this purpose. It is clear that the government wants a carte blanche to engage in military interventions abroad with the United States – and the arbitrarily designed Designated Secrets Act, which was adopted in December 2013 amid howls of protest within the country and by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will ensure a shutdown of public debate on any military “secrets”.
Abe has also scrapped the longstanding Japanese government policy against the export of weapons, again without adequate explanation or democratic process. A little over a month after this announcement, it was announced that the Vice Minister for Defence would accompany Japanese military industry manufacturers at the Paris Weapons Fair in June. In early July, the first weapons deal was announced, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industry would provide high tech parts for the American PAC-2 missile (which will in turn be exported by the US to Qatar, and wherever else it may see fit). It is difficult not to conclude that much of this had been in the works for a long time. The new global merchant of death has arrived.
Military intervention abroad, weapons export, and conscription are the next step. Japan is clearly moving towards scrapping its pacifist principles, and returning back to its militaristic past. Though many in the country (on both sides of the political camp) cite rising security tensions with a more assertive China as the cause of Japan’s dramatic shifts, that is merely a trigger – and frankly a dubious one at that, since the thought of a shooting war with China at any point in the future lacks credibility.
At the core lies the refusal of Japan to recognise, and to deal with, the social structures that were behind the rise of militarism in the 1930s. This can be seen in the ongoing visits by cabinet members to the Yasukuni shrine and persistent efforts to deny the government’s role in the enslavement of the “comfort women” – but it goes far beyond that, and requires a national effort at soul searching and at changing century old power structures. Reasoned public debate on this point, unfortunately, is almost nonexistent. In a few years, it may be too late.
Saul Takahashi is a Japanese human rights lawyer and activist who started his career at Amnesty International in Tokyo. Until recently he worked for the United Nations human rights agency in Occupied Palestine. Takahashi’s website is www.saultakahashi.jimdo.com.
Earlier this week some of the biggest financial news of the year made huge waves all over Asia.
Yet in the Western press, this hugely important information has barely even been mentioned.
While this is ignored in the US so far, it’s front page news in Asia.
So what’s the news?
The Chinese government announced that the renminbi will become directly convertible with the Singapore dollar… effective immediately.
It’s clear this deal has been in the works for a while, and it’s another major step towards the continued internationalization of the renminbi and unseating of the dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency.
For decades the renminbi has been a tightly controlled currency. It’s only been in the last few years that the Chinese government started loosening those controls, primarily in response to the obvious need for a dollar competitor.
Since the end of World War II, the US has been in the driver seat. The Fed essentially sets global monetary policy. Foreign banks are forced to rely on the US banking system. Nearly every nation on earth must hold US dollars and buy US government debt just to be able to trade with one another.
These were sacred privileges entrusted to the US government. And they have been abused time and time again.
The US government spies on its allies. It uses its banking system as a weapon to threaten foreign companies. It fines foreign banks billions of dollars for doing business with countries it doesn’t like.
And the Fed has printed so much money that major foreign institutions are left with no choice but to seek an alternative. Enough is enough.
China is taking the lead in providing the world with another option. And they’re not exactly doing this under cover of darkness. These moves have been widely telegraphed, at least to anyone paying attention.
For the last few years the Chinese government has entered into new ‘swap agreements’ at blazing speed, allowing other nations’ central banks and governments to hold the renminbi in reserve.
They’ve concluded direct trade arrangements (notably with Russia) to settle oil and gas deals in renminbi.
This summer we saw the establishment of a Chinese-led supranational bank intended to compete directly with the IMF.
Just last week the British government issued a new government bond denominated in renminbi.
And now this– direct convertibility between China and the #1 financial center in Asia, making it possible for ANYONE to trade and hold renminbi through Singapore.
It’s so obvious where this train is headed.
But again, this story is hardly covered in the Western press. They’re living in a dream world where King Dollar still reigns and the US is the only superpower in the world.
Nonsense. It’s imperative to stop listening to the propaganda and start paying attention to facts:
The US government has accumulated more debt than any other nation in the history of the world… and is in a position where they must borrow money to pay interest on the money they’ve already borrowed.
The Federal Reserve (which issues the US dollar) continues to erode its balance sheet. According to last Wednesday H.4.1 report, the Fed’s capital base is a minuscule 1.26% of its total assets.
A year ago it was 1.42%. That was bad enough. But on a proportional basis, the Fed has lost another 11.3% of its capital in the last twelve months.
And according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), international bank payments denominated in renminbi have nearly tripled in value in the past two years.
These are all objective facts which point to the same conclusion: this current dollar/debt-based system is on the way out.
It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re already seeing a slow and orderly exit. And we can see the rest of this trend unfolding years in advance.
Ignoring this could be very hazardous to your financial well-being. And while the Western media might be totally clueless, there are plenty of options for forward-thinking individuals.
Consider holding Hong Kong dollars in addition to US dollars. Hong Kong dollars are currently pegged to the US dollar, so the currency risk is minimal. But if the US dollar declines sharply, Hong Kong (controlled by China) could easily de-peg. This mitigates your downside risk.
Consider trading paper currency savings for productive REAL assets like farmland and private businesses which capitalize on key growth trends.
There are dozens of other solutions out there. You’ll be able to find some that are just right for your circumstances.
The US Congress seems to be an amphitheatre, less of unflinching fear in the face of vested interests than the personification of those interests. It is fitting, in fact, that the Corporation, vested with a legal personality, has become the greatest unelected owner of the US congress, the master ventriloquist that articulates through the puppets that take up the role of House representatives and Senators.
As the mid-term elections bears down upon the United States, the various lobbies are muscling their way into the coffers of candidates on both sides of the aisle, punting for their best men and women. The nefarious form such bodies take is the Political-Action Committees (PACs), the anthrax of America’s political system. According to the Wall Street Journal, a “significant shift” has been registered, with business groups giving more largesse “to Republican candidates than to Democrats in seven of the most competitive Senate races in recent months, in some cases taking the unusual step of betting against sitting senators.”
The pattern of finance is typical and detrimental. Back the incumbent for a period of time, notably in the earlier part of a campaign. The hope here is to secure a selective, higher order of treatment in the course of the electoral cycle. The Democrats are missing out in the race, and for that reason, are getting less. A quoted brokerage executive’s words to the WSJ should send shudders down any politically attuned observer. “Wall Street expects return on investment. It makes no sense to contribute to a losing campaign.” Democracy has truly been rented.
Unfortunately, much of this has been facilitated by the officials themselves, including that valued arm of government, the US Supreme Court. The case of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission 558 US (2010) seemed to reduce democracy to effigy, ready for the burning. In what was a rather absurd twist, campaign organisations became the subject of First Amendment protections. Effectively, limits to campaign spending were lifted by the 5-4 ruling.
While it seemed like Mr. Kettle was coming out to call the pot Black, President Barack Obama, yet another President in the long line of purchases made by corporate lobbyists, would claim that the Citizens United case had gone too far. It gave “the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington – while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates.”
Not only was Congress, through its intelligence committee, proving complicit in sanctioning the range of unwarranted surveillance of subjects, but the guardian of the law in the country was showing itself to be disinterested by the effects of the money machine on politics. There was no talk of level playing fields, because there was never one to begin with.
Combs are being run through some of the donations being made via the super PACs, and these do not make pretty reading. As USA Today notes, “Forty-two of the nation’s super wealthy have donated nearly $200 million to super PACs to shape next week’s midterm elections”. A third of the $615 million raised by these entities has been provided by a scant few.
Not all are of the red, conservative hue. Liberal environmentalist Tom Steyer has demonstrated that in US politics, money doesn’t so much talk as scream. His own contribution has come to $73 million, much of it flowing to such groups as NexGen Climate Action keen to force and keep the issue of climate change on the table. While the issue is indisputably pressing, the means of buying the voice is troubling.
This goes further. Such organisations as the US Chamber of Commerce have demonstrated what the organisation Public Citizen has termed, “The dark side of Citizens United.” It is the biggest spender of “dark” or undisclosed money in 28 of 35 Congressional contests. While super PACs must disclose their donors, the Chamber is a s. 501(c) group and need do no such thing. “The waves of non-disclosed money flooding elections threatens to disempower and discourage voters, making government less transparent and less accountable.”
Such conduct means that the debate is not being shaped by citizenry but artificial entities created to transform, and control, the political conversation. The “free speech” matter here is a dead letter, precisely because a civil right can never stand alone in a vacuum. It needs the buttress of social equality. What matters is who has the buck to control the truck. Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics sees it as a matter of “a handful of people who are really driving this train and driving the dialogue.”
Vain attempts have been made to extract Congress from the corporate clutches and the womb of excited lobby groups. The Occupy movement might have been accused of incoherence, but it always had one entirely coherent message: democracy had been pinched, appropriated in the middle of a deep sleep. Unelected elites had effectively strangled the very notion that representation was anything more than a pasty, unwashed front.
Given that public approval of Congress lies in not so majestic territory – single digits at the last count – the fraying of the political system, and the role its representatives play in this, must be noted. But actual change will require resistance from within a body Will Rogers considered a show. Not a blockbuster show, but a show nonetheless.
The EU’s foreign policy chief will end her term in office on Saturday,1 November; she has repeatedly shown more concern for the oppressor than the oppressed
“Judge me by what I do,” Catherine Ashton declared when she took up the job of EU foreign policy chief five years ago. Her plea was issued amid grumbling in the corridors of power that she lacked experience in international diplomacy. Some of the grumbling smacked of sexism: a predominantly male elite felt uncomfortable that a slight and unthreatening woman had landed such an important post.
As she ends her term, Ashton can be satisfied that she proved the grumblers wrong. The only real qualification needed for that job was a willingness to implement an agenda shaped by Washington, something that Ashton has been amply capable of doing. On issues relating to Palestine, this has meant siding with the oppressor, while feigning concern for the oppressed.
For her first two years in office, Ashton repeatedly zoned in on the plight of Gilad Shalit. In elevating this Israeli soldier to the status of number one victim, Ashton ignored some salient facts. Israel habitually did far worse things than capture a soldier who was involved in a brutal occupation. One day before that combatant was taken prisoner in 2006, Israel kidnapped two civilians from Gaza and transferred them into present-day Israel. Not once did Ashton allude to this crucial background when calling for Shalit’s release.
Ashton has refused to censure some of Israel’s most egregious human rights abuses. She claimed, for example, that Israel’s use of administrative detention – holding prisoners without charge or trial – was not necessarily illegal.
That was bunkum. The right to a fair trial is enshrined in customary international law.
The word “peace” has been constantly present on Ashton’s lips. She vowed to support John Kerry’s “peace” initiative, even before details of it had been made public.
Kerry and his colleagues in the US government were undertaking a selfless quest for peace, according to her spin. The absurdity of having the top provider of military aid to Israel sponsoring “peace” talks was not deemed worthy of comment.
Ashton has combined promoting “peace” with humouring war criminals. That is not surprising. Never elected to any office by the British public, she got her big break in 1999 when Tony Blair, then prime minister, appointed her to the House of Lords.
Nowadays, Blair is frequently described as a Middle East “peace envoy” by the BBC, its journalists pushing the invasion of Iraq down a memory hole. Not only has Ashton worked closely with Blair, she has authorised the funding of his work. Providing almost $10 million between 2007 and 2013, the European Commission was second only to the US as the biggest donor to Blair’s office in Jerusalem.
Ashton likes to celebrate her friendship with another bona fide war criminal, Tzipi Livni. As a senior minister under both Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu, Livni approved large-scale bombing offensives against Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009 and during the summer of 2014.
Livni hasn’t always had nice things to say about her comrade. In 2012, Ashton responded to a disgusting attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse with a profession of concern for children in various different places, including Gaza. Recognising that Palestinians are human beings was a step too far for Livni, who called Ashton’s comments “unacceptable, outrageous and wrong.”
At that time Livni was in opposition. The following year, she was back in government again. When Israel reacted angrily to the publication of an EU policy paper stating that firms and institutions based in Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank should not receive financial assistance from the Union’s budget, Ashton contacted Livni to defuse the tension. The resulting agreement enabled Israel’s weapons-makers to continue soaking up EU science grants.
Israel Aerospace Industries – a supplier of the drones used to bomb Gaza – is among Israel’s top ten recipients of EU science grants. Thanks to Ashton, it can apply for even more help from the EU taxpayer.
Ashton has sought to expand the EU’s role as an enforcer of the occupation. Over the past few months, she has been trying to reactivate the EU’s “border assistance mission” for Rafah, the passenger crossing between Gaza and Egypt. When that mission has been deployed in the past, EU staff have accepted Israeli orders on who can and cannot leave the strip.
Similarly, Ashton has overseen the expansion of an EU police operation in the West Bank aiming to boost cooperation between the Palestinian Authority’s forces and Israel.
Throughout her term, Ashton has displayed a paternalistic attitude towards the Palestinians. When Salam Fayyad was the PA’s prime minister, she praised him for doing a “great job.” Part of that great job involved spending more on security than on health and education. Fayyad’s priorities reflected both a desire to placate Israel and the ideology inculcated in him when he previously served the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF is an American-controlled body (albeit with a French head), preaching market fundamentalism. Ashton exerted pressure on Egypt and Ukraine to accept IMF loans that were conditional on economic reforms designed to widen inequality.
Ashton was briefly fêted last year when she brokered a deal on curbing Iran’s nuclear activities. She has been silent, however, on how Israel introduced nuclear weapons to the Middle East. There is a squalid logic to her silence: as I discovered recently, the EU has been engaged in “discreet” cooperation with Israel’s nuclear industry since 2008.
Contrary to the impression sometimes given by the press, Britain has considerable clout in Brussels. Catherine Ashton helped make the EU’s foreign policy indistinguishable from that of Britain and its American masters.
Considering all the harm done by Britain and America, that achievement is a shameful one.
David Cronin is a journalist and activist living in Brussels. He is the author of Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation (Pluto, 2011). His most recent book is Corporate Europe: How Big Business Sets Policies on Food, Climate and War (Pluto, 2013).
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.
Photo: Catherine Ashton speaks during a joint press conference in Brussels, Belgium on 23 October (AA)
The principal reason why Washington engages in military wars, sanctions and clandestine operations to secure power abroad is because its chosen clients cannot and do not win free and open elections.
A brief survey of recent election outcomes testify to the electoral unattractiveness of Washington backed clients.
The majority of democratic electorates rejects candidates and parties which back the US global agenda: neo-liberal economic policies; a highly militarized foreign policy; Israeli colonization and annexation of Palestine; the concentration of wealth in the financial sector; the military escalation against China and Russia. While the US policy attempts to re-impose the pillage and dominance of the 1990’s via recycled client regimes the democratic electorates want to move on toward less bellicose, more inclusive governments, which restore labor and welfare rights.
The US seeks to impose the unipolar world, of the Bush Sr. and Clinton era, failing to recognize the vast changes in the world economy, including the rise of China and Russia as world powers, the emergence of the BRIC and other regional organizations and above all the growth of popular democratic consciousness.
Failing to convince electorates by reason or manipulation, Washington has opted to intervene by force,and to finance organizations to subvert the democratic electoral process. The frequent resort to bullets and economic coercion when ballots fail to produce the “appropriate outcome testifies to the profoundly reactionary nature of US foreign policy.Reactionary in the double sense of ends and means. Progmatically, the imperial centered socio-economic policies deepen inequalities and depress living standards. The means to achieve power,the instruments of policy,include wars, intervention, covert operations, are more akin to extremists, quasi-fascist, far right regimes.
Free Elections and the Rejection of US Clients
US backed electoral parties and candidates have suffered defeats throughout most of the world, despite generous financial backing and international mass media propaganda campaigns. What is striking about the negative voting outcomes is the fact that the vast majority of adversaries are neither anti-capitalist nor ‘socialist’. What is equally striking is that all of the US clients are rightist or far-rightist parties and leaders. In other words the polarization is usually between center-left and rightist parties; the choice is between reform or reaction, between an independent or satellite foreign policy.
Washington and Latin America: Masters of Defeats
Over the past decade, Washington has backed losing neo-liberal candidates throughout Latin America and then sought to subvert the democratic outcome.
Since 2005, Evo Morales the center left leader favoring social reforms and an independent foreign policy has won three Presidential elections against Washington backed rightist parties, each time by a greater margin. In 2008, he ousted the US ambassador for intervening, expelled the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2008, USAID in 2013 and the Military Mission after foiling an aborted coup in Santa Cruz.
The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its predecessor have won every Presidential and Congressional election (over a dozen) except one over the past 15 years despite US multi-million dollar funding of neo-liberal opposition parties. Unable to defeat the Chavez led radical-reform government, Washington backed a violent coup (2002), a boss’s lockout (2002/3), and decade’s long paramilitary attacks of pro-democracy leaders and activists.
The US has opposed the center-left government of President Correa for ousting it from the military base in Manta, renegotiating and repudiating some of its foreign debt and backing regional pacts which exclude the US. As a result Washington backed an abortive police led coup in 2010 that was quickly defeated.
During democratically elected President Manual Zelaya’s tenure in office, a center-left President, Honduras sought to pursue closer relations with Venezuela in order to receive greater economic aid and to shed its reputation as a US dominated “banana republic”. Washington unable to defeat him at the ballot box, responded by supporting a military coup (2009) which ousted Zelaya and returned Honduras to the US fold. Since the coup Honduras has experienced more killings of popular leaders-200- than any country in Latin America.
The center-left Workers Party has won four straight elections against US backed neo-liberal candidates beginning in 2002 and continuing through the 2014 elections. The US propaganda machine, including NSA’s spying on President Rousseff and the strategic state petrol company, Petrobras, and the international financial press went all out to discredit the reformist center-left government. To no avail! The voters preferred an ‘inclusive’ social liberal regime pursuing an independent foreign policy to an opposition embedded in the discredited socially regressive neo-liberal politics of the Cardoso regime (1994-2002). In the run-up to the 2014 elections Brazilian and US financial speculators attempted to strike fear in the electorate by betting against the currency (real) and driving the stock market into a precipitous fall. To no avail. Rousseff won with 52% of the vote.
In Argentina a massive popular revolt overthrew the US backed neo-liberal regime of De la Rua in 2001 .Subsequently, the electorate elected the center-left Kirchner government over the rightist, US backed Menem candidacy in 2003. Kirchner pursued a reformist agenda imposing a moratorium on the debt and combining high economic growth with large scale social expenditures and an independent foreign policy. US opposition escalated with the election of his wife Cristina Fernandez. Financial elites, Wall Street, the US judiciary and Treasury intervened to destabilize the government, after failing to defeat Fernandez’s re-election. Extra-parliamentary financial pressures were matched by political and economic support for rightist politicians in preparation for the 2015 elections.
Earlier, in 1976, the US backed the military coup and political terror that led to the murder of 30,000 activists and militants. In 2014 the US backed a “financial coup” as a federal judge sided with vulture funds, sowing financial terror in international markets against a democratically elected government.
President Fernando Lugo was a moderate former Bishop who pursued a watered-down center-left agenda.Nevertheless, he raised issues that conflicted with Washington’s extremist agenda, including Paraguay’s membership in regional organizations that excluded the US (MERCOSUR).He appealed to the landless rural workers and he retained ties to other Latin American center-left regimes. He was deposed by Congress in 2012 in a highly dubious ‘institutional coup’, quickly supported by the White House and replaced by a straight-line neo-liberal, Federico Franco with tight links to Washington and hostile to Venezuela.
Globalizing US Threats to Democracy
US subversion of democracy when center-left political formations compete for power is not confined to Latin America – it has gone ‘global’.
The most egregious example is the Ukraine, where the US spent over $6 billion in over a decade and a half. Washington financed, organized, and promoted pro NATO shock troops to seize power against an elected regime (President Yevtushenko) which tried to balance ties between the West and Russia. In February 2014, an armed uprising and mob action led to the overthrow of the elected government and the imposition of a puppet regime totally beholden to the US. The violent putschists met resistance from a large swathe of pro-democracy activists in the Eastern region. The Kiev junta led by oligarch Petro Poroshenko dispatched air and ground troops to repress the popular resistance with the unanimous backing of the US and EU. When the rightist regime in Kiev moved to impose its rule over the Crimea and to break its military base treaty with Russia, the Crimean citizens voted, by a large margin (85%), to separate and merge with Russia.
In both the Ukraine and Crimea, US policy was directed toward imposing by force, the subordination of democracy to NATO’s drive to encircle Russia and undermine its democratically elected government.
Following the election of Vladimir Putin to the Presidency, the US organized and financed a large number of opposition “think tanks”,and NGO’s, to destabilize the government. Large scale demonstrations by well-funded NGO’s were given wide play by all the Western mass media.
Failing to secure an electoral majority and after suffering electoral defeats in the executive and legislative elections, Washington and the EU, using the pretext of Russian “intervention” in the Ukraine, launched a full scale economic war on Russia. Economic sanctions were enforced in the hopes of provoking economic collapse and a popular upheaval. Nothing of the sort occurred. Putin gained greater popularity and stature in Russia and consolidated its ties with China and the other BRIC countries.
In sum in the Ukraine, Crimea and Russia, facing independent elected governments, Washington resorted to a mob uprising, military encirclement and an escalation of economic sanctions.
Iran has periodic elections in which pro and anti-western parties compete. Iran has drawn the wrath of Washington because of its support for Palestinian liberation from the Israeli yoke; its opposition to the Gulf absolutist states; and its ties to Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah) and post- Saddam Hussain Iraq. As a result, the US has imposed economic sanctions to cripple its economy and finances and has funded pro-Western neo-liberal opposition NGO’s and political factions. Unable to defeat the Islamist power elite electorally, it chooses to destabilize via sanctions in order to disrupt its economy and assassinations of scientists and cyber warfare.
Washington backed the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship for over three decades. Following the popular uprising in 2011, which overthrew the regime, Washington retained and strengthened its ties to the Mubarak police, military and intelligence apparatus. While promoting an alliance between the military and the newly elected President Mohammed Morsi, Washington funded NGO’s, who acted to subvert the government through mass demonstrations. The military, under the leadership of US client General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, seized power, outlawed the Moslem Brotherhood and abolished democratic freedoms.
Washington quickly renewed military and economic aid to the Sisi dictatorship and stregthened its ties with the authoritarian regime. In line with US and Israeli policy, General Sisi tightened the blockade of Gaza, allied with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf despots, strengthened its ties with the IMF and implemented a regressive neo-liberal program by eliminating fuel and food subsidies and lowering taxes on big business. The US backed coup and restoration of dictatorship was the only way Washington could secure a loyal client relationship in North Africa.
The US and NATO and Gulf allies launched a war (2011) against the independent, nationalist Libyan government, as the only way to oust the popular, welfare government of Colonel Gadhafi. Unable to defeat him via internal subversion, unable to destabilize the economy, Washington and its NATO partners launched hundreds of bombing missions accompanied by arms transfers to local Islamic satraps, tribal, clan and other violent authoritarian groups. The subsequent ‘electoral process” lacking the most basic political guarantees, fraught by corruption, violence and chaos, led to several competing power centers. Washington’s decision to undermine democratic procedures led to a violent Hobbesian world, replacing a popular welfare regime with chaos and terrorism.
Washington has pursued a policy of backing Israeli seizures and colonization of Palestinian territory, savage bombings and the mass destruction of Gaza. Israel determined to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government has received unconditional US backing. The Israeli colonial regime has imposed racist, armed colonies throughout the West Bank, financed by the US government, private investors and US Zionist donors. Faced with the choice between a democratically elected nationalist regime, Hamas, and a brutal militarist regime, Israel, US policymakers have never failed to back Israel in its quest to destroy the Palestinian mini-state.
The US, along with Saudi Arabia and Israel, has opposed the freely elected Hezbollah led coalition government formed in 2011. The US backed the Israeli invasion in 2006, which was defeated by the Hezbollah militias. Washington backed the rightwing Hariri led coalition (2008 – 2011) which was marginalized in 2011. It sought to destabilize the society by backing Sunni extremists especially in Northern Lebanon. Lacking popular electoral support to convert Lebanon into a US client state, Washington relies on Israeli military incursions and Syrian based terrorists to destabilize Lebanon’s democratically elected government.
Syria’s Bashar Assad regime has been the target of US, EU, Saudi and Israeli enmity because of its support for Palestine, its ties with Iraq, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. Its opposition to the Gulf despotism and its refusal to become a US client state (like Jordan and Egypt) has been another source of NATO hostility. Under pressure from its internal democratic opposition and its external allies, Russia and Iran , the Bashar Assad regime convoked a conference of non-violent opposition parties, leaders and groups to find an electoral solution to the ongoing conflict. Washington and its NATO allies rejected a democratic electoral road to reconciliation. They and their Turkish and Gulf allies financed and armed thousands of Islamic extremists who invaded the country. Over a million refugees and 200,000 dead Syrians were a direct result of Washington’s decision to pursue “regime change” via armed conflict.
China has become the world’s largest economy. It has become a leading investment and trading country in the world. It has replaced the US and the EU in Asian, African and Latin American markets. Faced with peaceful economic competition and offers of mutually beneficial free trade agreements, Washington has chosen to pursue a policy of military encirclement, internal destabilization and Pan Pacific integration agreements that excludes China. The US has expanded military deployments and bases in Japan, Australia and the Philippines. It has heightened naval and air force surveillance just beyond China’s limits. It has fanned rival maritime claims of China’s neighbors, encroaching on vital Chinese waterways.
The US has supported violent Uighur separatists, Tibetan terrorists and protests in Hong Kong in order to fragment and discredit China’s rule over its sovereign territory. Fomenting separation via violent means results in harsh repression, which in turn can alienate a domestic constituency and provide grist for the Western media mills. The key to the US countering China’s economic ascent is political: fomenting domestic divisions and weakening central authority. The democratization which Chinese citizens favor has little resonance with US financed ‘democracy’ charades in Hong Kong or separatist violence in the provinces.
Washington’s effort to exclude China from major trade and investment agreements in Asia and elsewhere has been a laughable failure. The principle US “partners”, Japan and Australia are heavily dependent on the Chinese market. Washington’s (free trade) allies in Latin America, name Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico are eager to increase trade with China. India and Russia are signing off on multi-billion dollar trade and investment deals with China! Washington’s policy of economic exclusion miscarried in the first month!
In sum, Washington’s decision to pursue confrontation over conciliation and partnership; military encirclement over co-operation; exclusion over inclusion, goes counter to a democratic foreign policy designed to promote democracy in China and elsewhere. An authoritarian choice in pursuit of unachievable Asian supremacy is not a virtue; it is a sign of weakness and decay.
In our global survey of US policy toward democracy, center-left governments and free elections we find overwhelming evidence of systematic US hostility and opposition. The political essence of the “war on terrorism” is Washington’s world-wide long-term pernicious assault on independent governments, especially center-left democratic regimes engaged in serious efforts to reduce poverty and inequality.
Washington’s methods of choice range from financing rightist political parties via USAID and NGO’s, to supporting violent military coups; from backing street mobs engaged in destabilization campaigns to air and ground invasions. Washington’s animus to democratic processes is not confined to any region, religious, ethnic or racial group. The US has bombed black Africans in Libya; organized coups in Latin America against Indians and Christians in Bolivia; supported wars against Muslims in Iraq, Palestine and Syria; financed neo-fascist “battalions”and armed assaults against Orthodox Christians in the Eastern Ukraine; denounced atheists in China and Russia.
Washington subsidizes and backs elections only when neo-liberal client regimes win. It consistently destabilizes center-left governments which oppose US imperial policies.
None of the targets of US aggression are strictly speaking anti-capitalist. Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina are capitalist regimes which attempt to regulate, tax and reduce disparities of wealth via moderate welfare reforms.
Throughout the world ,Washington always supports extremist political groups engaged in violent and unconstitutional activity that have victimized democratic leaders and supporters. The coup regime in Honduras has murdered hundreds of rank and file democratic activists, farm workers,and poor peasants.
The US armed Islamic jihadist and ex-pat allies in Libya have fallen out with their NATO mentors and are at war among themselves, engaging in mutual bloodletting.
Throughout the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, Central America and the Caucuses wherever US intervention has taken place, extreme right-wing groups have served, at least for a time, as Washington and Brussels principal allies.
Pro EU-NATO allies in the Ukraine include a strong contingent of neo-Nazis, paramilitary thugs and “mainstream” military forces given to bombing civilian neighborhoods with cluster bombs.
In Venezuela, Washington bankrolls terrorist paramilitary forces and political extremists who murdered a socialist congressional leader and dozens of leftists.
In Mexico the US has advised, finances and backs rightist regimes whose military, paramilitary and nacro-terrorist forces recently murdered and burned alive 43 teachers’ college students and are deeply implicated in the killing of 100,000 “other” Mexicans, in less than a decade.
Over the past eleven years the US has pumped over $6 billion dollars in military aid to Colombia, funding its seven military bases and several thousand special operations forces and doubling the size of the Colombian military. As a result thousands of civil society and human rights activists, journalists, trade union leaders and peasants, have been murdered. Over 3 million small land -holders have been dispossessed.
The mass media cover-up the US option for right wing extremism by describing ruling mass murderers as “center-right regimes” or as “moderates”: linguistic perversions and grotesque euphemisms, are as bizarre as the barbarous activities, perpetrated by the White House.
In the drive for world power, no crime is left undone; no democracy that opposes it is tolerated. Countries as small and marginal as Honduran or Somalia or as great and powerful as Russia and China cannot escape the wrath and covert destabilization efforts of the White House.
The quest for world domination is driven by the subjective belief in the “triumph of the will”. Global supremacy depends entirely on force and violence: ravaging country after country, from carpet bombing of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya to proxy wars in Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine to mass killings in Colombia, Mexico and Syria.
Yet there are limits to the spread of the “killing fields”. Democratic processes are defended by robust citizens’ movements in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. The spread of imperial backed terrorist seizures of power are stymied by emergence of global powers, China in in the Far East and Russia in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have taken bold steps to limit US imperial expansion.
In the United Nations, the President of the United States and his delegate Samantha Power rant and rave, in a fit of pure insanity, against Russia as “the greatest world terrorist state” for resisting military encirclement and the violent annexation of the Ukraine.
Extremism, authoritarianism and political insanity know no frontiers. The massive growth of the secret political police, the National Security Agency, the shredding of constitutional guarantees, the conversion of electoral processes into elite controlled multi-billion dollar charades, the growing impunity of police involved in civilian murders, speaks to an emerging totalitarian police – state inside the US as a counterpart to the violent pursuit of world power.
Citizens’ movements, consequential center-left parties and governments, organized workers, in Latin America, Asia and Europe have demonstrated that authoritarian extremist proxies of Washington can be defeated. That disastrous neo-liberal policies can be reverted. That welfare states, reductions in poverty, unemployment and inequalities can be legislated despite imperial efforts to the contrary.
The vast majority of the Americans, here and now, are strongly opposed to Wall Street, big business and the financial sector. The Presidency and the Congress are despised by three quarters of the American public. Overseas wars are rejected. The US public, for its own reasons and interests, shares with the pro-democracy movement’s world-wide, a common enmity toward Washington’s quest for world power. Here and now in the United States of America we must learn and build our own powerful democratic political instruments.
We must through the force of reason contain and defeat “the reason of force”: the political insanity that informs Washington’s ‘will to power’. We must degrade the empire to rebuild the republic. We must turn from intervening against democracy abroad to building a democratic welfare republic at home.
One of the numerous issues being carefully avoided by the political establishment in the US midterm elections, now less than one week away, is the constitutional crisis surrounding the plot to cover up torture carried out by the CIA.
All of the institutions of government are complicit in the cover-up, which is centered on preventing the publication of a Senate Intelligence Committee summary detailing US torture practices far exceeding in scope and brutality those made public so far. The logic behind the cover-up is simple: the report details crimes so harrowing that its publication would prove politically explosive.
While the Senate report was finished in 2012, it has yet to see the light of day. This summer, the Obama administration postponed the release of an executive summary in order to give those CIA officials most culpable for state torture a chance to review the document and redact the most criminal material. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough—a close ally of CIA Director John Brennan, who helped implement torture policy while in the Bush administration—is playing the key role in overseeing negotiations between the CIA and the Senate on the scope of the CIA’s redactions.
The Intercept reported on October 24 that the CIA has insisted on redacting, among other things, the pseudonyms used by the agency to mask the identities of those responsible for carrying out torture. The redactions it is demanding have reportedly made the document as a whole unintelligible.
The dispute between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA is aimed at ensuring that any release will be delayed until at least after the midterm elections, after which it is hoped that the document can be buried altogether. The Senate itself is functioning as a willful accomplice in this process—since key Senators of both political parties have the document and could leak it at any time.
At the same time, in response to an ACLU lawsuit petitioning for the release of the Senate report summary under the Freedom of Information Act, the Obama administration filed a motion Tuesday requesting that a federal court once again delay the release. The filing marks the fourth time the Department of Justice has attempted to prevent publication.
In the text of the motion, the Department of Justice claims that the request for a delay was made on behalf of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which “has asked the Department to ask this Court for one additional extension.”
The timing of the most recent delay underscores the damning character of the contents of the report summary. As The Hill noted, a release “could have caused distractions for Democratic candidates just a week ahead of high-stakes midterm elections.” By “distractions” is meant an element of social and political reality—the crimes of the CIA are something that no one in the political establishment wants to talk about.
Let us recall that the crimes at issue include not only torture—which one person with knowledge of the Senate report called “medieval,” including holding detainees under water to the point of death—but also further crimes that flowed from these crimes. It was revealed earlier this year that the CIA hacked the computers of Senate staff members tasked with researching the torture programs and threatened the staffers with criminal prosecution. Although these brazenly unconstitutional acts are proof that the CIA acts as a law unto itself, these revelations too have been dropped.
Nor is CIA torture the only crime for which the intelligence apparatus is guilty. Nearly one and a half years have passed since Edward Snowden provided proof of massive government surveillance. Yet each week brings new details of an immense spying apparatus that pries into the lives of hundreds of millions throughout the world with the help of a network of government agencies and private corporations. The Obama administration’s fig-leaf pretense of “reform” in response to these revelations has been entirely dropped.
In these actions, one gets a glimpse of an intelligence agency that operates outside of all legal constraints. The chief spymasters, and the military generals with whom they are closely associated, act as the real kingmakers, and the individuals who populate the official branches of government combine cowardice and complicity in varying proportions.
Speaking of the growing power of the military and its associated agencies, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in his 1962 farewell address of “the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power” at the hands of “the military industrial complex.”
The situation today goes far beyond what Eisenhower could have imagined. The size of the intelligence apparatus in the United States is enormous, sucking up tens of billions of dollars every year in official spending and “black budgets” hidden from the American people. As for the military, its official budget stands at over half a trillion dollars.
The launching of the “war on terror” in 2001 marked a new stage in the growth of the military-intelligence agencies, as the government’s drive to war abroad became ever more closely tied to the establishment of the framework for a police state domestically.
The growing power of the “military-intelligence-industrial complex” corresponds to two related processes: the explosion of imperialist violence abroad and the growth of social antagonisms at home.
Lenin, citing Engels, referred to the state as consisting fundamentally of “bodies of armed men.” The essential purpose of this instrument of violence and repression is to uphold class rule—in the United States, the defense of the interests of an increasingly parasitic financial aristocracy. The more naked the class relations and the more severe the class antagonisms, the more openly does this essential purpose of the state express itself.
The Obama administration and the Pentagon are stoking up military tensions with Russia in the wake of the October 26 Ukrainian parliamentary elections, claiming that flights by small numbers of warplanes over international waters Wednesday constituted “political saber-rattling” and even “Russian aggression.”
The latter characterization was made by the top general in the US Army, Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno, in an interview Wednesday with CNN. Given that the flights never crossed the airspace of any country, Odierno’s claim is deliberately inflammatory. Under Article Five of the NATO charter, “Russian aggression” would provide a legal pretext for a US military strike against the nuclear-armed power.
According to a press release issued by NATO headquarters in Belgium, there were a total of four flights by Russian warplanes in European waters Tuesday and Wednesday. “These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace,” the NATO statement said, although it acknowledged that the flights were over international waters and did not violate any country’s airspace.
On Tuesday, seven Russian planes left their base at Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania (the former Konigsberg, capital of German East Prussia until the end of World War II). They flew north along the coast of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into the Gulf of Finland, landing at a base in Russia. German, Danish, Swedish and Finnish warplanes shadowed the Russian flight at various stages.
Finland and Sweden are not NATO members, but they have been working more closely with NATO since the US- and German-backed coup in Ukraine earlier this year. Last month Sweden claimed that two Russian warplanes had violated its airspace, and earlier this month the Swedish navy spent a week searching unsuccessfully for a suspected Russian submarine in the country’s territorial waters in the Baltic Sea.
On Wednesday, seven Russian planes, perhaps the same seven, left the base in north Russia and flew back along the Baltic coast to Kaliningrad. They were monitored by Portuguese NATO warplanes based in Estonia and Lithuania.
Also Wednesday, four Russian planes, two bombers and two fighters, flew from southern Russia into the Black Sea in the direction of Turkey, where they were monitored by Turkish fighters until they turned back.
Again on Wednesday, eight Russian planes, four bombers and four refueling planes, flew from northern Russia into the Norwegian Sea, passing along the coast of Norway into the North Sea and then the Atlantic. Two of the bombers continued west and south, around the British Isles as far south as Portugal, before turning back and returning to Russia by the same route. NATO warplanes from Norway, Britain and Portugal monitored the Russian planes at various stages.
A further reported incident turned out to be a case of mistaken identification, as British Royal Air Force planes escorted a Russian-built plane into Stansted airport outside London on Wednesday. The plane was a civilian freighter from Latvia that had no connection to any Russian military maneuvers.
The Wall Street Journal, one the leading spokesmen for American militarism, gave outsized coverage to the Russian actions, citing the comment of “a senior Obama administration official,” to the effect that, “There is a troubling trend of out-of-area events being increasingly used by Russia along its periphery for political saber-rattling, with probing incursions by air and sea by the Russian military becoming more commonplace and flagrant.”
The Journal also cited the remark of Odierno about “Russian aggression,” and carried an interview with the incoming NATO secretary-general, former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who beat the drums for the continued buildup of NATO military forces in eastern Europe, close to Russia’s borders.
Stoltenberg discussed the massive buildup of NATO, including the creation of the Spearhead Force, the provocatively named NATO unit set up in response to the eruption of tensions with Russia over the coup in Ukraine.
The NATO official said,
“The plan we agreed on is the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War. We have more planes in the air—five times as many as we had a year ago. We have more ships in the Baltic and the Black Seas, and we have a substantial increase in boots on the ground, exercises, and troops on a rotational basis in our eastern allied countries.”
Stoltenberg explained that in addition to rapid-response troops, the Spearhead Force is
“partly about command-and-control elements which are going to be in our eastern allied countries: the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. Those command-and-control components are important because that will also increase our ability to reinforce. And in addition, prepositioning of equipment and supplies will even more increase the possibility to reinforce.”
While the Obama administration, NATO and the servile US media portray Russia as the aggressor, the military flights as described on Tuesday and Wednesday were neither provocative nor illegal under international law. There was no effort by the Russian warplanes to challenge NATO defenses or cause alarm.
This is in sharp contrast to the US practice throughout the Cold War, when the Pentagon regularly engaged in what were called DE SOTO operations, a codename applied to aerial probes against the borders of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe, China, North Vietnam and North Korea.
DE SOTO operations usually involved American bombers simulating an attack on one of the targeted countries, provoking a response from air defense forces, while electronic warfare planes monitored and charted the location of radar installations and other facilities for future targeting. The most notorious of these actions was the simulated attack on Soviet Far East defenses in September 1983, leading to the shooting down of KAL Flight 007 by a Soviet air defense fighter, which mistook the off-course passenger jet for a US warplane.
The claims of unusual Russian military flights were part of a week of increasing US pressure on Russia. On Monday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone with the newly appointed defense minister of Ukraine, Gen. Col. Stepan Poltorak.
According to a Pentagon spokesman, “Secretary Hagel discussed with Minister Poltorak the types of security assistance that the United States is providing to address Ukrainian defense requirements.” A US-Ukraine Joint Commission recently held its first meeting in Kyiv, the official noted, building on present military-to-military contacts.
On Tuesday came reports in the American media that Russian-based hackers had breached some computer networks at the White House earlier this month, triggering an investigation by the FBI, the National Security Agency and the Secret Service. No Obama administration official went on record over the alleged incident, preferring to feed anonymous anti-Russian comments to the Washington Post and many other press outlets.
The Post noted that an earlier alleged Russian hacking incident in 2008 “helped galvanize the effort to create US Cyber Command, a military organization dedicated to defending the country’s critical computer systems,” adding that, “When directed by the president or defense secretary, Cyber Command can undertake offensive operations.”
On Wednesday, Hagel addressed the Washington Ideas Festival, sponsored by the Atlantic magazine, outlining a perspective that the magazine described as “Get used to endless war.”
Hagel told interviewer James Fallows, “I think we are living through one of these historic, defining time. We are seeing a new world order—post-World War II, post-Soviet Union implosion—being built.”
At one point Fallows asked Hagel, “When will the United States see some end to these wars, especially the now 13-year war in Iraq-Afghanistan?” Hagel’s response was, in effect, don’t hold your breath.
“What we’re seeing in the Middle East with ISIS-ISIL is going to require a steady, long-term effort,” he said. “Unfortunately, I see these things continuing to stay out there, Jim. I think we’re in for longer-term challenge here than maybe any of us would hope. But that’s the world that we live in, and we’ve got to be honest about that.”
He then went on to list “all the other dimensions—the rise of China, what Russia has been doing the last six months; pandemic disease, Ebola being an example,” as examples of issues that will require mobilization of the US military in some form.
Unbeknownst to most Americans the United States is presently under thirty presidential declared states of emergency. They confer vast powers on the Executive Branch including the ability to financially incapacitate any person or organization in the United States, seize control of the nation’s communications infrastructure, mobilize military forces, expand the permissible size of the military without congressional authorization, and extend tours of duty without consent from service personnel. Declared states of emergency may also activate Presidential Emergency Action Documents and other continuity-of-government procedures which confer powers on the President, such as the unilateral suspension of habeas corpus—that appear fundamentally opposed to the American constitutional order. Although the National Emergencies Act, by its plain language, requires the Congress to vote every six months on whether a declared national emergency should continue, Congress has done only once in the nearly forty year history of the Act. — Patrick Thronson, Michigan Journal of Law (2013, Vol 46).
A bit of irony, perhaps, that on November 4, 2014—as Americans go to the polls to cast their ballots for a slate of politicians at the local, state and federal levels—the august citizens of the United States will also celebrate the birth of the National Security Agency (NSA).
On November 4, 1952 the NSA was created by a Presidential Executive Order signed by then president Harry Truman. Earlier that year, in January 1952, Truman’s state of the union address focused on the Korean War, the global Soviet-Communist threat, the “Iran oil situation”, and the need to increase the production of US military equipment for use by American forces, and for transfer to Western European Allies. Truman called on Americans to seek guidance in the God of Peace even as a brutal shadow war was being waged by the United States to eliminate popularly elected “leftist” governments.
In 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected to the American presidency and with him came John Foster and Allan Dulles, two political appointees who would, it turns out, seek the counsel and expertise of “former” Nazi executioners, scientists and intelligence operatives. J Edgar Hoover, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was already on the case using whatever resources were at his disposal—including Nazis–to hunt down unionists, communists, dissenters and radicals wherever they might be. According to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Truman had this to say about Hoover and his FBI, “We want no Gestapo or secret police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail… Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him.”
From 1953-1961, Eisenhower, as Commander in Chief, constructed a nascent military-intelligence-law enforcement-industrial complex influenced directly by Nazi ideology and technological know-how. No wonder he warned the world about his creation, the military-industrial complex. At one time in the early 21st Century it was uncomfortable to call out America’s ties to the Nazis. But that has changed particularly with the release of Eric Lichtblau’s The Nazis Next Door (2014) and “The Collaboration” by Ben Urwand. It has also been confirmed by the overthrow of a nationally elected leader in Ukraine—Victor Yanukovych–and the open support of neo-Nazi groups largely responsible for that event. Is it a coincidence that the head of the CIA, John Brennan, visited with the neo-Nazi usurpers not long after the coup given the CIA’s history?
“The full tally of Nazis-turned-spies is probably much higher’, said Norman Goda, a University of Florida historian…but many records remain classified even today, making a complete count impossible. U.S. agencies directly or indirectly hired numerous ex-Nazi police officials and East European collaborators who were manifestly guilty of war crimes, he said. Information was readily available that these were compromised men. The wide use of Nazi spies grew out of a Cold War mentality shared by two titans of intelligence in the 1950s: Mr. Hoover, the longtime F.B.I. director, and Mr. Dulles, the C.I.A. director.”
Over at Antiwar.com, in “Federal Agencies Just Doing Whatever They Want Now”, Lucy Steigerwald comments wryly on Lichtblau’s findings:
…the CIA hid their precious assets from Nazi hunters and prosecutors trying to deport then-old men in the 1980s and even into the ‘90s. Most disturbing, one of Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann’s little buddies, Otto von Bolschwing, was protected until 1982, when he conveniently died of a brain disorder before he could be deported or prosecuted. Famously, Nazi rocket scientists were picked up by America to prevent their expertise from falling into Soviet hands. Maybe an exception to the prickly feeling that letting heinous war criminals off the hook is not what America was supposed to be doing when it won the good war in a heroically-sepia montage could be made for geniuses like Wernher Von Braun. Von Braun was a rocket scientist and “honorary” SS member under the Nazis, and he helped America get to the moon (which is neat, so that apparently makes his debated level of involvement/enthusiasm for the party acceptable.) What exactly did von Bolschwing contribute to America after happily joining the SS in 1933 to make ignoring his crimes worthwhile? What’s the purpose of this kind of grim revelation? There are several.
One, they diminish the moral high ground about the Second World War that the US clings to desperately to this day. Yes, everyone who isn’t literally Adolph Hitler gets to feel pretty good about themselves, so anyone not allied with Hitler must be doing the right thing. Yet, helping to plan the Final Solution is forgivable if the CIA really wants you around. Another more contemporary reason to be horrified by this revelation is that it is just one outrage of many. Sharing the CIA’s dark corner is most of the other big-name, secretive agencies. For the past 18 months, the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive campaign of spying has been big news. Less prominent were stories that suggest the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are also playing the part of secretive, unaccountable rulers.
Welcome to the Reich, American Style
William Binney, former NSA employee and whistleblower, stated that the NSA had gone “totalitarian”. In an interview with DW he likened the NSA and the US government to the Third Reich.
Binney: “Sure, they haven’t gone that far yet [as the Nazis and East German Stassi], but they tried to shut down newspaper reporters like Jim Risen…Look at the NDAA Section 1021, that gave President Obama the ability to define someone as a terrorist threat and have the military incarcerate them indefinitely without due process. That’s the same as the special order 48 issued in 1933 by the Nazis, [the so-called Reichstag Fire Decree]. Read that – it says exactly the same thing. These were totalitarian processes that were instituted…Totalitarianism comes in the form first of knowledge of people and what they’re doing, and then it starts to transition into using that power against people. That’s what’s happening – in terms of newspaper reporters, in terms of crimes. That’s a direct violation of our constitution.
DW: But surely the difference is that there was an ideological regime behind the Stasi and the Nazis.
Binney: You mean like putting people like John Kiriakouin prison for exposing torture and giving the torturers immunity? That’s what our country’s coming to. That’s what we did. That’s disgraceful. The motives of totalitarian states are not exactly the same every time, but they’re very similar: power, control and money…We’re focusing now on everyone on the planet – that’s a change from focusing on organizations that were attempting to do nasty things. When you focus on everybody, you’re moving down that path towards population control.”
Ingeniously Produced from Concentration Camps: Data “Comes to Light”
Many advances in warfare can be traced to Nazi innovations built on the backs of tortured souls. For example, air and ship crew survivability in frigid seas is just one of them:
…the Germans noted the terrible loss of critical personnel in sudden cold water immersion accidents. The sinking of the Bismarck and loss of airmen who bailed out alive and well into the cold North Sea during the Battle of Britain caused their physiologists and aviation medicine physicians to examine the problem. They commenced a large Research and Development program, which in part was the cause for the infamous Dachau experiments. They were the first to observe the “after drop” or continuation in reduction of body core temperature after being withdrawn from the cold water. They also experimented with survival suits and the Deutsches Textilforschunginstitut in München-Gladbach, ingeniously produced one that provided the insulation using soap bubbles which appears to have gone into limited service.
Another example is the development of the military aircraft “ejection seat”. InAchtung! Schleuder-Sitzaparat by Chris Carry, German engineering was far afield of American efforts in pilot safety.
With the acquisition by the US of both German databases in egress research and actual examples of the German Heinkel explosive cartridge ejection seat immediately after the war had ended, the US began to vigorously attempt to gain greater knowledge in this overlooked area of aviation technology. The new American developmental research spurred on by acquisition of German wartime data branched off into two distinctly different approaches towards the same end, one taken by the US Air Force and one by the US Navy.
Exceptionalism and Innovative Torture Techniques Led to Technological Advances
How could human beings engage in such hideous experiments on other human beings? Well, that is a time tested formula: Indoctrinate the masses into thinking that all others besides, say, Americans, are inferior, unexceptional, demons and insects. The world is witnessing just that as the US government, its allies and its media and academic proxies seek to reduce the Russians, Arabs, Chinese, Iranians, and the immigrants, unemployed and impoverished in the United States, down to the level of parasitic microbes.
The answer springs from the fact that medicine was both dominant in the world of science under the Third Reich, and closely allied to the Nazi project… After all, German medical science had uncovered the causes of several major diseases and contributed massively to improving the health of the population over the previous decades. Surely, therefore, it was justified in eliminating negative influences as well? What underpinned this behavior was a widespread belief that some people were less than human, relegated to a lower plane of existence by their inherited degeneracy – or their race. For German doctors, a camp inmate was either a racially inferior subhuman, a vicious criminal, a traitor to the German cause, or more than one of the above. Such beings had no right to life or wellbeing – indeed, it was logical that they should be sacrificed in the interests of the survival and triumph of the German race, just as that race had to be strengthened by the elimination of the inferior, degenerate elements within it.
Evans continues on describing the torture:
SS doctors used inmates to test treatments for injuries sustained in battle, cutting open their calves and sewing bits of glass or wood or gauze impregnated with bacteria into the wounds, sometimes even smashing the prisoners’ bones with hammers to create a more realistic effect; again, the results were presented to scientific conferences without anyone offering any criticism of the methods employed. Perhaps the most enthusiastic user of human guinea pigs was the ambitious young SS doctor Sigmund Rascher, who employed camp inmates at Dachau to test the human body’s reactions to rapid decompression and lack of oxygen, in an attempt to help pilots forced to parachute out of their planes at high altitudes. He called some of his research sessions “terminal experiments”. He measured the time it took his subjects to die as their air supply was gradually thinned out. He showed his work, which led to the deaths of between 70 and 80 prisoners, to a conference of Luftwaffe medical experts in September 1942. The following month, Rascher presented the results of another experiment to a conference of 95 medical scientists in Nuremberg. This time, he showed how long inmates dressed in Luftwaffe uniforms and life jackets could survive in cold water, simulating conditions in the North Sea. The average time that elapsed before death, he reported, was 70 minutes. None of those listening to him raised any ethical objections.
Albert Camus offers a sort of prayer for these dark times:
All I ask is that, in the midst of a murderous world, we agree to reflect on murder and to make a choice. After that, we can distinguish those who accept the consequences of being murderers themselves or the accomplices of murderers, and those who refuse to do so with all their force and being. Since this terrible dividing line does actually exist, it will be a gain if it be clearly marked. Over the expanse of five continents throughout the coming years an endless struggle is going to be pursued between violence and friendly persuasion, a struggle in which, granted, the former has a thousand times the chances of success than that of the latter. But I have always held that, if he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circumstances is a coward. And henceforth, the only honorable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions.
The 9/11 attacks on the United States undoubtedly benefited a number of actors, including the American military-intelligence complex, Israel, and most definitely, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Cold War-era, the area of responsibility for which had long been confined to Europe and North America, used the provisions of Article 5 of the NATO Charter – which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all – to extend NATO’s power deep into Eurasia, particularly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kyrgyzstan.
After engaging in out-of-area invasions and occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, and Syria and, again in Iraq, against the «Islamic State,» the «North Atlantic» military bloc has transformed itself from a Cold War defensive alliance into a global offensive axis of nations that acts with or without United Nations authorization.
NATO has also become an instrument of neo-colonialism. Under its umbrella or the European Union, NATO established quasi-colonial governments in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan, and Libya, as well as a Syrian government-in-exile in Turkey. Political advisers from NATO nations have acted as virtual viceroys, exercising veto authority over the governments installed with Western military might.
The first nation to come under NATO occupation was Bosnia-Herzegovina, created from the ashes of the former Yugoslavia. After NATO’s «Stabilization Force» (SFOR) was dissolved, the European Force (EUFOR) was created. EUFOR’s «OPERATION ALTHEA» authorizes 1600 troops from mostly NATO nations, including France, Italy, Turkey, and Germany, to occupy Bosnia-Herzegovina. EUFOR’s main base is at Camp Butmir, a former Yugoslav air base outside of Sarajevo. Additional troops can be deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina from NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) in neighboring Kosovo, carved by NATO out of Serbia. Camp Butmir also permits troops from non-NATO members of the EU, particularly Austria, Finland, Ireland, and Sweden, to interface with NATO troops assigned to the base.
EUFOR is also supplemented by a European Police Mission (EUPM), comprising police forces from mostly NATO nations. The European Union Special Representative (EUSR) acts as a political viceroy with effective control over the government in Sarajevo.
NATO exercises political and military control over Kosovo through NATO’s KFOR, which is based at Camp Film City in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, a nation which remains unrecognized by UN Security permanent members Russia and China. While most NATO nations are opposed to UN membership for Palestine, they wholeheartedly support UN membership for Kosovo, a nation governed by remnants of the Kosovo Liberation Army, once recognized as a terrorist group by the United States and which has been accused of running a number of criminal enterprises, including human organ, narcotics, cigarette, nuclear material, weapons, and stolen automobile smuggling.
KFOR mainly comprises troops from NATO countries Germany, France, the United States, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Romania, and Turkey. Under NATO KFOR command are troops from Ukraine, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Morocco, Armenia, Finland, and Ireland. There is little doubt that NATO’s integration of non-NATO troops in theaters like Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Libya is an attempt to integrate through the back door the armed forces of neutral and non-European nations, yet another indication of NATO’s global expansion. NATO is on a fast track to becoming a worldwide military force for a de facto one-world, largely unelected, government.
KFOR’s commander reports to the NATO Commander of Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy. KFOR’s political adviser exercises de facto veto authority over the «independent» government of Kosovo. The U.S. Army’s main base in Kosovo is at Camp Bondsteel in Ferizaj. The base, built by former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company, Kellogg, Brown and Root, is a mini-city complete with American fast-food restaurants like Burger King and Taco Bell, as well as a «Cool Beans Coffee Shop.» In other words, Camp Bondsteel is a virtual U.S. colony in the middle of the Balkans putting on display all of the excesses of America’s «trash culture.»
KFOR troops are engaged in asserting Kosovo control over majority Serbian communes in northern Kosovo and the troops have used «non-lethal» force, including rubber bullets, on Serbs who want to be integrated with Serbia. The plight of the Serbs in northern Kosovo in dealing with Kosovo government criminal syndicates in Pristina is just as dire as the fate of Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine who are under threat from neo-Nazi and Ukrainian Jewish oligarch militia forces intent on retaliatory carnage and ethnic cleansing in the Donbass region. NATO has adopted the recalcitrant regimes in Pristina and Kiev as virtual vanguards against Serbia and Russia, respectively.
Although NATO’s presence in Iraq ended with the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition forces in 2011, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, housed in America’s largest embassy, continues to play a major political role in Iraq. The most recent example was forcing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, accused of being too pro-Iranian and an «anti-Semite,» to step down from his office in favor of the more pro-Western Haider al-Abadi. Thousands of U.S. military personnel and contractors continue to be based at the Baghdad embassy and U.S. consulates in Basra, Erbil, and Kirkuk. The advance of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Syria into Iraq has permitted NATO to restore its presence in Iraq with U.S., Canadian, British, and French aircraft taking part in offensive operations against ISIL forces in the country. U.S. forces have ordered civilians to evacuate the Herir airport in Iraqi Kurdistan so the facility can be transformed into an airbase for U.S. and NATO forces. U.S. and NATO forces are also using Erbil International Airport as a base from which to launch attacks on ISIL forces.
NATO, through the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), maintains de facto control over the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia via the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which consists mostly of troops from Uganda and Burundi. In addition, the TFG is supported by Ethiopian military forces and CIA operatives. The CIA operates from a secret base at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport. CIA officers direct the activities of AMISOM’s Ugandan and Burundian forces in Somalia and conduct drone attacks against suspected Islamist guerrillas in the country. The CIA base in Mogadishu also coordinates drone attacks throughout the Horn of Africa and Yemen with other CIA drone facilities in Djibouti, Seychelles, and Oman.
NATO’s Counter-Piracy Task Force 508 (CTF-508), which, ostensibly, operates in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean to counter Somali-based pirates, is also involved in counter-insurgency operations in Yemen directed against Shi’a Houthi rebels and South Yemen independence restoration forces. Such NATO operations are thinly veiled as «anti-Al Qaeda» operations. However, NATO sees Yemeni instability as a reason for it to turn the country into yet another NATO occupied nation. And NATO and its Pentagon masters have long yearned to turn the Yemeni strategic island of Socotra into an Indian Ocean version of Hawaii, a massive U.S. military base in the region that would dwarf the smaller base at Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory far to the south.
The NATO political adviser in Libya, a post pushed by the CIA-backed American Libyan Council, coordinates NATO’s military operations in Libya with Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Morocco. NATO’s military training role in Libya is handled by an «advisory team» based in Brussels but which makes frequent visits to Libya. NATO’s outreach to Arab monarchies in the Gulf, Jordan, and Morocco to become de facto «associate members» of NATO are conducted through the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. NATO’s outreach to Jordan and Morocco, as well as Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia, and now, Libya, is conducted through the Mediterranean Dialogue.
NATO is also expanding into the Southern Hemisphere. NATO and Colombia have signed a partnership agreement, the first such agreement with a Latin American nation. Colombia reportedly agreed to facilitate the stationing of additional NATO troops in Central America and the Caribbean, including European colonies and ex-colonies such as Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Belize. NATO controls over 400 islands as «overseas territories» in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean alone, many inhabited with several uninhabited, but all of which could be transformed into military bases.
NATO is no longer a European or North Atlantic entity. However, its supporters prefer to retain the bogus acronym in order to mask NATO’s actual intentions of global military domination and occupation.
Public outrage about the global spy network continues to be ignored as corporations and governments announce open partnerships in harvesting all of our data. Social media is one particular playground for data brokers who feast upon the information we “willingly” provide.
I reported recently about Twitter’s ChatterGrabber program that is “used to monitor tickborne diseases, such as Lyme disease, public sentiment involving vaccines, and gun violence and terrorism, serving as an early warning system for public health officials through suspicious tweets or conversations.” That story was followed shortly after by the announcement that Twitter would open up its entire database to MIT beginning with its very first Tweet in 2006. We know that Facebook has used their algorithms to go beyond surveillance and actually manipulate the emotions of usersas a type of psychology experiment. The “Truthy” study, funded by the National Science Foundation, directly targets political speech: One focus is the spread of “political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”Even a Republican member of the FCC said that it was a program right out of a George Orwell novel.
No matter – now tech behemoth IBM has its sights set on Twitter.
Transcript: Christian Bryant
It’s no secret Twitter’s data and analytics have been highly sought after — most likely because of numbers like these: 500 million tweets sent per day between more than 280 million active monthly users.
Tech giant and consulting company IBM wants in on that information. IBM and Twitter announced a data and analytics partnership Wednesday to enhance what IBM calls “enterprise decisions.”
That sounds a little jargon-y, but the deal basically allows IBM unprecedented access to Twitter’s data, which IBM can then use to help its other clients learn more about their customers.
Twitter VP of Data Strategy Chris Moody wrote in a statement the social media network “unleashing” its value will help IBM clients to answer questions, like, “‘What do customers like best about my products?’ or ‘Why are we growing quickly in Brazil?’”
According to IBM, all that new data will be integrated within their cloud-based services and, of course, Watson — IBM’s Jeopardy-winning supercomputer.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty spoke earlier this month about reshaping the company around the cloud and analytics. (Video via CNBC)
The partnership with Twitter seems to be part of IBM’s move in that direction. According to Business Insider, Rometty said IBM also plans to develop new apps that use Twitter’s data for other companies.
So, what exactly does Twitter get out of this? The two companies revealed that this partnership has been “years” in the making, but they haven’t announced any figures associated with the deal.
A Wall Street Journal writer says Twitter “has been searching for ways to boost revenue beyond advertising,” hinting that the company is probably selling use of the data to IBM.
Just spitballing here, but this partnership could also allow Twitter an opportunity to earn back the $36 million it paid to IBM for 900 patents.
But at the time, both companies added a positive spin to the deal with an IBM executive saying, “We look forward to a productive relationship with Twitter in the future.”
We assume this is that productive relationship. Bloomberg reports services from the technological marriage will be available starting in the first quarter of 2015.
This video includes images from Getty Images.
It is exactly this type of breach of trust that is leading people toward decentralized, non-corporate tech solutions. Alternative social media platforms like Ello are finally beginning to crop up – many more are needed.
Naturally, such a well-funded and well-orchestrated machine with the fascist trappings of the current surveillance matrix will be difficult to undermine, especially as Europe and the U.S. have taken direct aim at crowdfunding, which offers a true people’s choice about where to put their money.
Do you have alternative solutions? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
When it comes to Ebola, the story that the government is telling us just keeps on changing. At first, government officials were claiming that it was very difficult to spread the Ebola virus. Some of them were even comparing it to HIV. We were given the impression that we had to have “direct contact” with someone else’s body fluids in order to have any chance of catching the virus. But of course that is not true at all. Now authorities are admitting that Ebola is “aerostable”, that it can be “spread through droplets”, and that it can remain on surfaces for up to 50 days. That is far different information than we have been getting up until this point. So that means when they were so confidently declaring that they know exactly how Ebola spreads they were lying to us.
On October 24th, a 33 page document was released by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and in that document it is admitted that Ebola is “aerostable”. WND was one of the first news outlets to report on this…
The information was contained in a 33-page report released Oct. 24 by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Department of Defense’s Combat Support Agency for countering weapons of mass destruction.
The agency report states “preliminary studies indicate that Ebola is aerostable in an enclosed controlled system in the dark and can survive for long periods in different liquid media and can also be recovered from plastic and glass surfaces at low temperatures for over 3 weeks.”
The report says the government is seeking technologies for the “rapid disinfection” of Ebola, including an aerosol version of the virus.
“The technology must prove effective against viral contamination either deposited as an aerosol or heavy contaminated combined with body fluids,” reads the solicitation document.
You can view the document for yourself right here.
So is there any difference between “aerostable” and “airborne”?
That is a very good question.
Meanwhile, the CDC has finally come out and publicly admitted that Ebola “is spread through droplets”.
In other words, it can be spread by a cough or a sneeze.
“A person might also get infected by touching a surface or object that has germs on it and then touching their mouth or nose.”
Well, that certainly does not sound like “direct contact” to me.
And once someone has coughed or sneezed, the virus can live on a surface for a very long time.
In fact, authorities in the UK now tell us that Ebola can survive on a glass surface for up to 50 days…
The number of confirmed Ebola cases passed the 10,000 mark over the weekend, despite efforts to curb its spread.
And while the disease typically dies on surfaces within hours,research has discovered it can survive for more than seven weeks under certain conditions.
During tests, the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) found that the Zaire strain will live on samples stored on glass at low temperatures for as long as 50 days.
All of this directly contradicts what the CDC website has been telling us…
“To get Ebola, you have to directly get body fluids (like pee, poop, spit, sweat, vomit, semen, breast milk) from someone who has Ebola in your mouth, nose, eyes or through a break in your skin or through sexual contact.”
It turns out that is not even close to the truth.
And even as Obama boldly proclaims that there will not be an Ebola pandemic in the United States, the actions that his administration is currently taking suggest otherwise.
For example, we have just learned that the federal government has ordered 250,000 hazmat suits and is sending them to Dallas…
A manager with a major shipping company has exclusively revealed to Infowars that the U.S. government has ordered 250,000 Hazmat suits to be sent to Dallas, the location of the first Ebola outbreak in the United States.
The manager of the shipping company proved his credentials to Infowars by providing a photo ID and sending a verified email from the company account, but wishes to remain anonymous due to understandable fears that he could be fired for revealing the information.
“I just learned we have been asked to ship 250,000 HAZMAT suits to Dallas, TX. for the US Government. Again this is happening today, we are pulling these suits for the US Government to Dallas, TX,” states the individual, who manages the drivers who work for the shipping company.
Why in the world would the Obama administration buy so many hazmat suits if everything was under control?
It doesn’t make sense.
Is this Ebola outbreak much more of a potential threat than they are telling us?
Remember the promise of universal health care with Obamacare, with no refusal for ‘pre-existing conditions’? It looks like your insurance company may not have to cover you if you get Ebola. U.S. and British insurance companies have begun writing Ebola exclusions into standard policies to cover hospitals, event organizers, and other businesses vulnerable to local disruptions.
While it is estimated that expenditures to treat the original Dallas Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, were approximately $100,000 an hour (though he passed anyway), it looks like insurance companies won’t be footing the bill.
President Obama originally refused to set up travel restrictions in and out of West Africa, too, even though the governments latest scare tactics and the CDC’s ineptitude have resulted in insurance companies creating new policies which exclude Ebola care. Renewals will also become costlier for companies opting to insure business travel to West Africa or to cover the risk of losses from quarantine shutdowns at home.
The American people deserve the truth.
I can understand the desire to keep people calm, but giving the public a false sense of security isn’t going to do anyone any good, and it might end up making this crisis much, much worse.
It is important for people to know how easily this virus spreads so that they can take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their families. Since June,approximately 400 health workers have caught this virus, and about 230 of them have died. These workers take extreme precautions to avoid getting Ebola. If this virus did not spread easily, this would not be happening.
So please share this article with as many people as you can. If our politicians and the mainstream media are not going to tell us the truth, then we are going to have to keep one another informed.
Two headlines came across my screen today, which taken together pretty much sum up the effects of policy decisions made by Central Bankers and politicians since the financial crisis. The financial oligarchs got bailed out, and the rich got richer due to decisions made by “leaders” around the globe. As such, the entire planet has now been transformed into a neo-feudal tinderbox. Myself and countless others warned all the way back to 2008 that this is what would happen, and here you have it.
Let’s first examine the results from Oxfam’s report on the billionaire growth spurt. I hope all 1,645 of you have sent thank you notes to the patron saint of oligarchy: Ben Bernanke. From NBC:
The super-rich club has become less exclusive, with the amount of billionaires doubling since the financial crisis, according to a report from global charity Oxfam. There were 1,645 billionaires globally as of March 2014, according to Forbes data cited in the Oxfam report, up from 793 in March 2009.
The report ‘Even it Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality’ noted that the world’s richest 85 people saw their wealth jump by a further $668 million per day collectively between 2013 and 2014, which equates to half a million dollars a minute.
Unsurprisingly, this reverse Robin Hood policy of Central Banks and governments the world over has also resulted in increased poverty. Rob from the middle class and give to the oligarchs. Here’s what you get…
Child poverty has increased in 23 countries in the developed world since the start of the global recession in 2008, potentially trapping a generation in a life of material deprivation and reduced prospects.
Greece and Iceland have seen the biggest percentage increases in child poverty since 2008, followed by Latvia, Croatia and Ireland. The proportion of children living in poverty in the UK has increased from 24% to 25.6%.
“In the past five years, rising numbers of children and their families have experienced difficulty in satisfying their most basic material and educational needs,” says the report. “Unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s have left many families unable to provide the care, protection and opportunities to which children are entitled. Most importantly, the Great Recession is about to trap a generation of educated and capable youth in a limbo of unmet expectations and lasting vulnerability.”
It adds: “The impact of the recession on children, in particular, will be felt long after the recession itself is declared to be over.”
Guess they didn’t get the memo. The recession ended in 2009, or so that’s what the media owned by the billionaires keeps telling us.
The study’s authors asked people about their experiences and perceptions of deprivation, based on four indicators: not having enough money to buy food for themselves or their family; stress levels; overall life satisfaction; and whether children have the opportunity to learn and grow.
In 18 of the 41 countries, scores showed a worsening situation between 2007 and 2013, revealing “rising feelings of insecurity and stress”.
Young adults have arguably been the hardest hit by the recession, according to the report, with 7.5 million within the EU not in education, employment or training (Neet) – nearly a million more than in 2008.
What about the USA you ask? Good question. It wasn’t highlighted by the Guardian, but UNICEF notes that.
In the United States, where extreme child poverty has increased more in this downturn than during the recession of 1982, social safety net measures provided important support to poor working families but were less effective for the extreme poor without jobs. Child poverty has increased in 34 out of 50 states since the start of the crisis. In 2012, 24.2 million children were living in poverty, a net increase of 1.7 million from 2008.
Hughes analyzed the production stats for seven tight oil basins and seven gas basins, which account for 88-percent and 89-percent of current shale gas production.
Among the key findings:
-By 2040, production rates from the Bakken Shale and Eagle Ford Shale will be less than a tenth of that projected by the Energy Department. For the top three shale gas fields — the Marcellus Shale, Eagle Ford and Bakken — production rates from these plays will be about a third of the EIA forecast.
-The three year average well decline rates for the seven shale oil basins measured for the report range from an astounding 60-percent to 91-percent. That means over those three years, the amount of oil coming out of the wells decreases by that percentage. This translates to 43-percent to 64-percent of their estimated ultimate recovery dug out during the first three years of the well’s existence.
-The three year average well decline rates for the seven shale gas basins measured for the report ranges between 74-percent to 82-percent.
-The average annual decline rates in the seven shale gas basins examined equals between 23-percent and 49-percent. Translation: between one-quarter and one-half of all production in each basin must be replaced annually just to keep running at the same pace on the drilling treadmill and keep getting the same amount of gas out of the earth.
The findings also come just days after Houston Chronicle reporter Jennifer Dlouhy reported that in a briefing over the summer, EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski told her it was EIA’s job to “tell the industry story” about tight oil and shale gas production.
“We want to be able to tell, in a sense, the industry story,” Sieminski told Dlouhy, as reported in the Chronicle. “This is a huge success story in many ways for the companies and the nation, and having that kind of lag in such a rapidly moving area just simply isn’t allowing that full story to be told.”
The independent story, though, opens up a window to tell a different tale.
“The Department of Energy’s forecasts—the ones everyone is relying on to guide our energy policy and planning—are overly optimistic based on what the actual well data are telling us,” Hughes — a geoscientist who formerly analyzed energy resources for over three decades for the Geological Survey of Canada — said in a press release about the reporting’s findings.
“By asking the right questions you soon realize that if the future of U.S. oil and natural gas production depends on resources in the country’s deep shale deposits…we are in for a big disappointment in the longer term.”
“Sweet Spots” and the “Drilling Treadmill”
According to Hughes’ number-crunching, four of the top seven shale gas fields have already peaked: the Haynesville, Barnett, Woodford and Fayetteville. But three of those are actually doing the opposite and increasing their production: the Marcellus, Eagle Ford and Bakken, though the latter two are primarily fracked oil fields.
Further, the report points to the phenomenon first discussed in the original Post Carbon report back in 2012: that of the “drilling treadmill,” or having to drill more and more wells just to keep production levels flat. The report argues that drillers hit the “sweet spots” first to maximize their production, do so for a few years until production begins to decline terminally, and then start drilling in spaces with less rich oil and gas bounties.
A case in point: Post Carbon projects the Bakken and Eagle Ford Shale basins — the two most productive oil plays — will produce a minuscule 73,000 barrels of oil per day in 2040. EIA, meanwhile, says 1.04 million barrels per day of oil will be pumped from the ground at that point.
“One of the keys to the so-called ‘shale revolution’ is supposed to be technological innovation, making plays ever-more productive in the face of the steep well decline rates and the move from ‘sweet spots’ to lower quality parts of plays,” wrote Post Carbon in an introduction to the report for members of the media. “But despite years of concerted efforts, average well productivity has gone flat in all the major shale gas plays except the Marcellus.”
The Bakken and Eagle Ford serve as Exhibit A and Exhibit B of the mechanics of how the “sweet spot” phenomenon works in action.
“Field declines from the Bakken and Eagle Ford are 45% and 38% per year, respectively,” wrote Hughes in the executive summary. “This is the amount of production that must be replaced each year with more drilling in order to maintain production at current levels.”
For gas, it’s the same story, centering around “sweet spots” and the “drilling treadmill.”
So where do the EIA’s rosy statistics originate? Post Carbon Institute posed its own questions directly to the EIA, while also saying one has to look at the difference between proven and unproven reserves to understand EIA’s data.
“Shale gas producers and the EIA report ‘proved reserves,’ a definition with legal weight describing hydrocarbon deposits recoverable with current technology under current economic conditions,” they write. “The EIA also estimates ‘unproved technically recoverable resources’ which have loose geological constraints and no implied price required for extraction, and hence are uncertain.”
Also implicit in the rosy numbers and figures is that cash will continue to be injected into capital-intensive shale gas and oil production operations.
Hughes said his findings are based on “best case scenarios” and rule out external conditions that could reverse the drilling treadmill, including hiked interest rates.
“Other factors that could limit production are public pushback as a result of health and environmental concerns, and capital constraints that could result from lower oil or gas prices or higher interest rates,” he wrote. “As such factors have not been included in this analysis, the findings of this report represent a ‘best case’ scenario for market, capital, and political conditions.”
False Premises, False Promises
The Obama Administration’s climate and energy policy rides on the assumption of decades more domestic oil and gas obtained from fracking.
Asher Miller, executive director for Post Carbon Institute, said the enthusiasm in what to some may seem like a nearly infinite future of shale oil and gas is a “false premise” that has manufactured “false promises.” Hughes echoed these sentiments in the report’s conclusion.
“The assumption that natural gas will be cheap and abundant for the foreseeable future has prompted fuel switching from coal to gas, along with investment in new generation and gas distribution infrastructure, investment in new North American manufacturing infrastructure, and calls for exporting the shale gas bounty to higher-priced markets in Europe and Asia,” he wrote.
“Given these assumptions—and the investments being made and planned because of them—it is important to understand the long-term supply limitations of U.S.shale gas,” Hughes suggests.
October 31st, 2014 by Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB)
Two important facts emerge from the past four weeks’ news. First, China is becoming the world’s largest economic power, officially overtaking the US, based on GDP measured in purchasing power terms (IMF figures) of $17.61 trillion (compared to $17.4 trillion for the US). If the official media hasn’t raised the slightest eyebrow to this information, our team believes that it’s an historic event: the US is no longer the world’s largest economic power and, inevitably, that changes everything ! (1)
Chart 1: China GDP (in blue) and US GDP (in red) in purchasing power parity (PPP) in $trillions, 2002 – 2090 – Source: Financial Times
Especially as, in addition to crossing this threshold, the US, after having tried to impress the world with an overflowing militarism during the Ukrainian crisis, is revealing a major strategic weakness in its “management” of the Iraqi crisis. A strong-arm policy which seemed to require the world to remain under US tutelage for an as yet undefined time is coming to an end.
Both these two indicators enable us to see the beginnings of a major turning point in the unfolding of the global systemic crisis: a tilt from a US world to a Chinese world…
Europe, Russia – Setting up a Chinese-style Marshall plan
This obvious emergence of the Chinese player was precipitated by the Ukrainian crisis. Whilst it was in China’s interest to develop its emergence from under the radar, whilst the Russians kept their distance from an inevitably invasive China, whilst the Europeans also had to maintain the conditions for a smooth emergence of this mega-player, the Ukrainian crisis accelerated the change and caused the players to partly lose out.We have already noted that the Ukrainian crisis and the political sanctions pushed the Russians to sign the famous Russian-Chinese gas agreement on less advantageous terms than they had hoped. The Ukraine has lost out to the Russians in their negotiations with China on this agreement.
Currently, the Chinese Prime Minister is on an official visit to Europe and Russia (3). His pockets are full of contracts, investment projects and business prospects (4), a real Marshall plan for the European and Russian economies’ reconstruction partially destroyed by the Ukrainian war (5)… an irresistible plan of course. But are the conditions met for us to be careful enough to preserve our independence as regards this new power? Remember that the Marshall plan helped bind post-war Europe to the US.
The City has already been saved from bankruptcy by China making it the leading financial centre outside China for issuing Yuan bonds (6) Accordingly, the UK has become a strong proponent of adding the Yuan to IMF SDRs. The ECB is even beginning to consider adding the Yuan to its international reserves (7) And Europe finds itself playing the role which behooves it as the facilitator of systemic transition between a world before and a world after the crisis; but to play it in its own enhanced interest, it would have been better to have been driven by a vision (8) rather than greed or survival reflex.
All this activity between Europe, Russia and China will culminate in the coming days with the ASEM summit in Milan on the 16 and 17 October. This event has every chance of leaving its mark in the history books, as it will connect Europe and Asia together and provide the platform to resolve the Euro crisis, the Ukrainian crisis, the Euro-Russian crisis, the global systemic crisis,… thus allowing the transition to the world after the crisis. It would have been more “multi-polarizing” if the founding act of the world afterwards had been sealed at a Euro-BRICS summit (6); but there is an urgency and, after all, three of the five BRICS will be present (Russia, India and China)… and most importantly, the ASEM summit will have the common characteristics with the idea of a Euro-BRICS summit being representative of the new global realities (economic, commercial, demographic weight)… and not counting the US, until further notice a shadow cast on any attempt to adapt the world system to the new realities.
The success of this meeting will make clear to everyone the contrast between the perspectives offered by the alliance with the US (where it is mainly a question of war) and those offered by a strategic rapprochement with Asia (where it is mainly a question of economic recovery (9). Our team anticipates that the hopes carried by this summit will among many things have the effect of being the death knell for the transatlantic treaty, the already controversial TTIP (10).
Our readers know that our team is not afraid of China’s irresistible rise in power. But we cannot produce anticipations without putting hypotheses for the future made up of regime changes, specific positions of omnipotence-related drifts, short-term hardening of positions… So, faced with a new boss on the international scene, Europe (and the whole world) should be able to both welcome the new reality and take care to rethink the conditions for preserving its independence.
Here, our team makes another optimistic point. The first generation of students trained in Europe (thanks to the Erasmus programme and trans-European dynamics in the field of higher education) are now 45-50 years old, the age when one begins to count, be it on the political or economic circuit. Their ability to integrate themselves in a multi-polar world is infinitely superior to that of the elite from prior generations trained nationally or in the US, in the best case only speaking English. Thanks to Erasmus, Europe has all the assets in hand to count on a global scale despite its relatively small size: multilingualism, natural multiculturalism facilitating openness to the world and understanding the complexities, etc…
In conclusion, the emergence of a multi-polar world is resuming following LEAP’s anticipations… it will only be more painful and just a little more Chinese than an organized transition would have allowed.
(1) Less dramatic but equally emblematic of the paradigm shift, China has announced that it is adopting a new method for calculating GDP, with measures other than growth alone, a decision whose objective relevance and base for application (China) is likely to relegate the former GDP to the rank of prehistoric economic tools. The “statistical fog” will tend to fall and the scenery really won’t be comparable! Source: Europe Solidaire, 09/10/2014 (2) The Euro-Russian crisis and the policy of mutual sanctions is clearly the main cause of a considerable economic slowdown on the continent in recent months. This reality, which is not the subject of any press comment, has however recently been demonstrated by the German economy’s catastrophic numbers… coincidentally over these last six months. Sources : The Telegraph, 06/10/2014 ;International Business Times, 09/10/2014 (3) Source : China Daily, 08/10/2014
(4) Sources : Business Insider, 14/10/2014; China Daily, 09/10/2014.
(7) By actively promoting the emergence of a multi-polar world, thanks to a Euro-BRICS rapprochement as advocated since 2009 by Franck Biancheri and LEAP.
(8) Such as what we have campaigned for since 2009. See the LEAP Euro-BRICS project.
(9) As evidenced by the GlobalEurometre these last few months, many people in Europe are aware of the fact that future dynamics are more on the BRICS’ than the US’ side.
(10) TTIP which we always anticipated would never see the light of day, at least not in a form other than totally watered-down (so as not to lose face in Brussels and Washington), but the “Westernist” ideological flip of these last few months, disconnecting Europe from reality and annihilating its capacity for natural reaction to events, has really increased the risk of a forced signature.
No matter international emergency countermeasures, the Ebola goes on spreading. Seven states were hit by the decease as of October 25. Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Guinea are the epicenter and the hardest hit countries; the virus has also struck Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and the United States.
On October 23, the first confirmed case was also reported in Mali. The Ebola phenomenon has medical and political aspects that deserve to be taken into consideration.
It all started in March 2014 when the world media started to report new cases of Ebola deadly contamination. By the end of summer world organizations and leaders were involved in collecting and making available the information about the virus.
In late August the World Health Organization declared the state of emergency.
Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director-General of World Health Organization, went on international tours to be received like a head of state. On September 18, the United Nations Security Council adopted an unprecedented resolution saying
«…that the «unprecedented extent» of the Ebola outbreak in Africa constituted a threat to international peace and security».
The wording allows the United Nations Security Council to take any compelling measures according to Article VII of UN Charter. The main thing is that for the first time in the United Nations history a virus is recognized as a threat to international peace. What is the ground for saying so? Let’s take note that it was the United States who was the author of the resolution. Addressing the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly US President Obama emphasized that Ebola was high on the world community agenda.
The virus issue was referred to the United Nations General as an emergency matter. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made an address and submited for consideration the draft resolution offered by the World Health Organization’s emergency committee on Ebola. This was also an unprecedented step. The resolution was adopted unanimously and practically without deliberations. It was a really speedy process: the UN Secretary General’s letter with the proposal to establish such a mission is dated September 17. It means that the decision was taken in a day!
How can such a reaction be explained? Many strange things happen as one is looking for an answer. First, it’s not the first time an Ebola outbreak takes place, simply the virus had not attracted so much international attention before. Ebola is known since the mid-1070s, it took 280 lives in Zaire in 1976. Since then the outbreaks became routine: there were large-scale outbreaks in the United States and the Philippines in 1989-1990s, the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1995 (254 dead), in Uganda in 2000-2001 (224 dead), in Gabon in 2002 (53 dead). But only now that the problem has come into focus. It makes one wonder why?
Note: there are various types of the virus that have been recorded in Zaire, Reston (US, the state of Virginia), Bundibugio (East Africa) and Cote D’Ivoire (West Africa). In 2014 the outbreak originated from Zaire.
It strikes an eye that flagrant disinformation on the virus lethality is disseminated in media. There were cases of 100% mortality and the cases with no indicative statistics (for instance, one lethal case per one victim). There is more reliable data related to the cases with 75-80% death rate. The ratio is very high but the affected countries have low standards of medical care. Talking about the current Ebola outbreak – it’s either non-existent at all or the information is distorted. Media outlets often say the lethality is 90% but the fact has no confirmation. The United Nations World Health Organization official information says Ebola death toll rises to 4,877 out of 9,936 cases up to Oct. 19. It means the lethality rate is around 50%. It’s a bit lower than in previous cases that had not attracted the world public attention. It is corroborated by the example of individual states: Liberia (4, 665 cases of contamination, 2705 dead, around 50% – lethal cases), Sierra-Leone (3706 contaminated victims, 1259 dead, the death rate – around 35%), Guiney (1540 victims, 904 dead, around 60% dead). What is the reason for exaggerating the mortality rates?
With no vaccine available the death rate is around 50 %. It means in half of cases a victim can acquire immunity and recover without medicine. The people who have made it through now can be involved in medical care activities without any risk of contamination. Still some vaccines are used. That’s what is suspicious. On the one hand, the scale of the disaster looks like an experiment of exploring ways to acquire natural immunity, on the other hand, it is similar to mass probe of certain types of vaccines.
As media reported, in some cases medical personnel were harshly treated allegedly because of «arrogance» of local population. There may be more serious reasons behind such behavior. What really drives the attacks against medical personnel on the part of those who appear to be most interested in receiving medical care?
Third, the declared emergency situation looks a bit grotesque against the background of so many lethally dangerous deceases going on a rampage in the contemporary world. An impartial assessment of the Ebola threat is possible only taking into consideration the global epidemiological evidence in general. For instance, malaria results in annual death toll of 700 thousand people. It takes place in the very same Ebola-stricken West African nations. Some forms of malaria lead to death in a few days or even hours, it makes one die much faster in comparison to Ebola. No urgent measures are taken on account of ubiquitous tuberculosis. According to the official data of World Health Organization, only in 2013 nine million people fell victims to the decease. In 2014 tuberculosis made 1, 5 million people lose their lives. The global tuberculosis-caused mortality rate has gone down 45% but in the case of the recently appeared multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) the death rate is comparable to Ebola.
Note: In 2013 around half a million people fell victims to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis or around 5% of all cases.
What makes Ebola get into the spotlight of world attention at the time there are other, much more dangerous deceases, that produce greater death rate around the entire planet?
There are questions concerning the source of funds for producing the vaccine in the United States. The money goes not to medical researchers but the Department of Defense along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH – a biomedical research facility primarily located in Bethesda, Maryland, the USA). This very fact is not an evidence of biological weapons productions by itself as the contemporary medical care in the United States makes vaccine funding unprofitable. On the one hand, it’s a small portion of «market» – until the recent outbreak there had been only 2200 cases of contamination. On the other hand, the financial profitability is very limited. Even if the virus were massively spread across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, there would be too few people, practically no one, who could pay for the vaccine.
All these question-raising issues along with the recent Ebola outbreak make one guess that the virus spread may have other than medical causes.
No matter of the virus is of natural origin or artificially produced, there are reasons to surmise that some states and the international organizations they control, as well as obedient media outlets, act in the capacity of pharmaceutical companies’ agents. The ballyhoo raised around Ebola is viewed as an attempt to expand the market for vaccine to make it profitable or even super profitable in case a number of countries become dependent on it. If the anti-Ebola vaccine trade expands, it’ll become an issue of the state policy agenda. But the right term to use will be racket, not trade. Or a special operation. Something like this happened in case of South Africa when the entire country became dependent on a concrete medicine allegedly produced to fight AIDS.
The sad thing about it is that the ongoing special operation is really merciless – no one can refuse the service offered. It cannot be excluded that the Ebola virus is an element of policy aimed at world destabilization, something the United States is doing today and, at the same time, a new form of unleashing a multi-level crisis when the medicine would be available only for the «chosen».
The tragic shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo on October 22, 2014 at the War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada followed by a shoot-out at the House of Commons, and the death of the shooter, Michael Zebaf-Bibeau, serves as a catalyst to advance several hidden government agendas.
The Canadian government wants to spread unreasonable fear of radical, violent Muslim terrorists so that it can better control all Canadians, especially those who choose to exercise their constitutionally enshrined rights. The government is also advancing a social control mechanism so that it can deny and negate domestic constitutional rights, in particular Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 which recognizes and affirms aboriginal and treaty rights.
If prominent indigenous activists such as Clayton Thomas Muller – who is currently being surveilled by police agencies —- are fraudulently labelled as “terrorists”, then he and other freedom-loving Canadians can be further controlled and oppressed by police state legislation.
Finally, the government also wants to advance its support for the ongoing US-NATO war in Iraq and elsewhere, ostensibly to combat ISIS/ISIL/IS.
It is very unlikely that Michael Zebaf-Bibeau acted alone. Prof. John McMurtry, author of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism From Crisis to Cure explains in “Canada: Decoding Harper’s Terror Game. Beneath the Masks and Diversions” describes Zebaf-Bibeau as a “ clinically insane, drug-addicted petty criminal living in a homeless shelter in Ottawa who had warned a judge in front of the police back in 2011:”‘If you can’t keep me in, I’m going to do something”. Furthermore, McMurtry wonders, “Who could have been a better tool for the events to come?”
The notion that Zebaf-Bibeau was being exploited or set up by a handler/manager/police-informer is further reinforced by observations of investigative reporter Amy MacPherson who credibly claims in “Government Envisages Anti-Constitutional Surveillance Law During Ottawa Shooting” that U.S authorities had advance information. She wonders “… how American intelligence knew the name of a ‘possible terrorist’ as the mayhem was still unfolding. How did Americans know when Canadians didn’t, and how was this information so widespread that American media and Google had access to distribute, but domestic reporters on the scene did not?”
The theory that U.S agencies were somehow implicated in the tragedy is further reinforced by the fact that Operation Determined Dragon, a joint Canada/U.S counter-terrorism drill, was executed from 20 to 29 October 2014, so the murder of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo coincided with the time that Determined Dragon was being executed.
Yet the Canadian government frames this tragedy as rooted in Islamic terrorism rather than the more credible alternative: that a homeless drug addict could have been used as a tool to further an already finalized agenda to participate in an illegal war in Iraq, and to restrict the rights and freedoms of all Canadians.
Not surprisingly, the passing of the anti-constitutional surveillance law – Bill C-13, had also been expedited.
While we may never get all the answers, it is unfortunate that this tragedy is being exploited to advance illegal war, and police state agendas.
Instead of spending our tax dollars on War Inc. and domestic surveillance, Canada –- and the world – would be better served if those funds were redirected to improvements in mental health care services, and housing for the homeless.
Amnesty International made waves this week with its report alleging ”patterns of human rights violations” on the Oromos – a community to which the President of Ethiopia belongs.
The London-based rights group claimed:
“at least 5,000 Oromos have been arrested based on their actual or suspected peaceful opposition to the government” and presented troubling accounts of individuals who allegedly had been subjected ”to treatment amounting to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
Inadequacy of the human rights practices in Ethiopia is not a much disputed matter. Even the authorities in Addis Ababa felt the need to launched an inter-ministerial National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) so as to “review the present human rights situation of the country, identifies potential problems, and sets feasible solutions.”
But the similarity ends there. What the NHRAP acknowledges is “occasional human rights violations are committed by some police officers due to lack of awareness,” while Amnesty International alleges “patterns of human rights violations” in which “a multiplicity of both regional and federal actors are involved.”
While NHRAP aims:
“to develop a comprehensive and structured mechanism to advance the respect, protection and fulfillment of human and democratic rights”; western rights-groups want “the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry, fact – finding mission or comparable procedure, comprised of independent international experts.”
For a cautious observer, the essential lies in the western rights-groups’ demand and Addis Ababa’s refusal of a “confession” and an international intervention. Demands that Addis Ababa deems paternalistic, while Amnesty decries ”the repeated failure to acknowledge the existence of torture demonstrates a concerning lack of political will.”
The media outlets were not entirely unjustified, as that is what the report appears to have been aiming for. Though buried in the report, a disclaimer-styled note reads:
“many of the human rights violations documented in this report…affected other ethnic groups as well as Oromo s over the same time period. However, this reports focuses specifically on Oromia and Oromo s due to the large scale of the targeting of actual or perceived dissent in the region. This research did not, however, compare the treatment of the Oromo to treatment of other ethnic groups, so the report does not seek to establish discriminatory treatment, but to specifically document patterns of violations in Oromia.”
Yet, the report consisted several contentions impressing up on the reader that the government targeted the Oromos – a community to which the President, the Dep. Prime Minister and the Hose Speaker as well as a third of the population belongs.
Two illustrations suffice: In its introductory note, it shouts ”Oromos make up a high proportion of the prison population in federal prisons …. [the numerical size of the group] alone does not account for the high proportion of Oromos in the country’s prisons”
Nonetheless, the report indicates elsewhere that ”a large proportion of former detainees interviewed by Amnesty International” were detained in region”. Though two remarks were quoted in the report to corroborate the claim, both are about decade-old and made in a political campaign gathering context – not to Amnesty’s interviewers. In fact, since the number of inmates at Federal prisons was about 18,000 – or a fifth – of the total prison population , any plausible estimate of disproportionate incarceration would not change the math by significant margin. Taking into consideration that prison density in Oromia region was 87:100,000 in 2010, while the national average was 108.
Perhaps even more bewildering is the report’s claim that ”the government has exhibited hostility to displays of Oromo cultural heritage” adding that ”participating in societies to discuss and promote Oromo culture and history also causes harassment and in some cases, arrest”. Quite to the contrary, the recent debate was on the regional government’s insistence that business owners should give the Oromo language prominence on their roadside billboards.
But there is a giveaway. Describing an arrest made during a celebration of the traditional festival of Irreecha , the report indicates ”Reported reasons for arrests included wearing clothes in colours considered as symbols of Oromo resistance – red and green – or alleged chanting of political slogans during the festival”.
The “symbols of Oromo resistance” was an euphemism the report writers chose to use for the flag/symbols of OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) – a group with a troubling track-record and recently proscribed as terrorist by Ethiopian parliament. Whether a ban on wearing flag/symbols a terrorist group is advised was an issue on which Amnesty could have cast light on.
This is not a rebuttal of the report, as that requires further analyses. Again, as noted earlier, the rights group may be tempted to use sensational headings and catchy-phrases which may be excusable approach if a single-minded focus on saving others is presumed.
Yet, employing hyperbolic statements that stir emotions in an entire community does a disservice to the primary objective of the report and leads the conversation astray.
Daniel Berhane is an Ethiopian resident, lawyer by training and editor and blogger at HornAffairs.com
For many years after the Vietnam War, we enjoyed the “Vietnam syndrome,” in which US presidents hesitated to launch substantial military attacks on other countries. They feared intense opposition akin to the powerful movement that helped bring an end to the war in Vietnam. But in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, George H.W. Bush declared, “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!”
With George W. Bush’s wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and Barack Obama’s drone wars in seven Muslim-majority countries and his escalating wars in Iraq and Syria, we have apparently moved beyond the Vietnam syndrome. By planting disinformation in the public realm, the government has built support for its recent wars, as it did with Vietnam.
Now the Pentagon is planning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War by launching a $30 million program to rewrite and sanitize its history. Replete with a fancy interactive website, the effort is aimed at teaching schoolchildren a revisionist history of the war. The program is focused on honoring our service members who fought in Vietnam. But conspicuously absent from the website is a description of the antiwar movement, at the heart of which was the GI movement.
Thousands of GIs participated in the antiwar movement. Many felt betrayed by their government. They established coffee houses and underground newspapers where they shared information about resistance. During the course of the war, more than 500,000 soldiers deserted. The strength of the rebellion of ground troops caused the military to shift to an air war. Ultimately, the war claimed the lives of 58,000 Americans. Untold numbers were wounded and returned with post-traumatic stress disorder. In an astounding statistic, more Vietnam veterans have committed suicide than were killed in the war.
Millions of Americans, many of us students on college campuses, marched, demonstrated, spoke out, sang and protested against the war. Thousands were arrested and some, at Kent State and Jackson State, were killed. The military draft and images of dead Vietnamese galvanized the movement. On November 15, 1969, in what was the largest protest demonstration in Washington, DC, at that time, 250,000 people marched on the nation’s capital, demanding an end to the war. Yet the Pentagon’s website merely refers to it as a “massive protest.”
But Americans weren’t the only ones dying. Between 2 and 3 million Indochinese – in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – were killed. War crimes – such as the My Lai massacre – were common. In 1968, US soldiers slaughtered 500 unarmed old men, women and children in the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Yet the Pentagon website refers only to the “My Lai Incident,” despite the fact that it is customarily referred to as a massacre.
One of the most shameful legacies of the Vietnam War is the US military’s use of the deadly defoliant Agent Orange, dioxin. The military sprayed it unsparingly over much of Vietnam’s land. An estimated 3 million Vietnamese still suffer the effects of those deadly chemical defoliants. Tens of thousands of US soldiers were also affected. It has caused birth defects in hundreds of thousands of children, both in Vietnam and the United States. It is currently affecting the second and third generations of people directly exposed to Agent Orange decades ago. Certain cancers, diabetes, and spina bifida and other serious birth defects can be traced to Agent Orange exposure. In addition, the chemicals destroyed much of the natural environment of Vietnam; the soil in many “hot spots” near former US army bases remains contaminated.
In the Paris Peace Accords signed in 1973, the Nixon administration pledged to contribute $3 billion toward healing the wounds of war and the post-war reconstruction of Vietnam. That promise remains unfulfilled.
Despite the continuing damage and injury wrought by Agent Orange, the Pentagon website makes scant mention of “Operation Ranch Hand.” It says that from 1961 to 1971, the US sprayed 18 million gallons of chemicals over 20 percent of South Vietnam’s jungles and 36 percent of its mangrove forests. But the website does not cite the devastating effects of that spraying.
The incomplete history contained on the Pentagon website stirred more than 500 veterans of the US peace movement during the Vietnam era to sign a petition to Lt. Gen. Claude M. “Mick” Kicklighter. It asks that the official program “include viewpoints, speakers and educational materials that represent a full and fair reflection of the issues which divided our country during the war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.” The petition cites the “many thousands of veterans” who opposed the war, the “draft refusals of many thousands of young Americans,” the “millions who exercised their rights as American citizens by marching, praying, organizing moratoriums, writing letters to Congress,” and “those who were tried by our government for civil disobedience or who died in protests.” And, the petition says, “very importantly, we cannot forget the millions of victims of the war, both military and civilian, who died in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, nor those who perished or were hurt in its aftermath by land mines, unexploded ordnance, Agent Orange and refugee flight.”
Antiwar activists who signed the petition include Tom Hayden and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. “All of us remember that the Pentagon got us into this war in Vietnam with its version of the truth,” Hayden said in an interview with The New York Times. “If you conduct a war, you shouldn’t be in charge of narrating it,” he added.
Veterans for Peace (VFP) is organizing an alternative commemoration of the Vietnam War. “One of the biggest concerns for us,” VFP executive director Michael McPhearson told the Times, “is that if a full narrative is not remembered, the government will use the narrative it creates to continue to conduct wars around the world – as a propaganda tool.”
Indeed, just as Lyndon B. Johnson used the manufactured Tonkin Gulf incident as a pretext to escalate the Vietnam War, George W. Bush relied on mythical weapons of mass destruction to justify his war on Iraq, and the “war on terror” to justify his invasion of Afghanistan. And Obama justifies his drone wars by citing national security considerations, even though he creates more enemies of the United States as he kills thousands of civilians. ISIS and Khorasan (which no one in Syria heard of until about three weeks ago) are the new enemies Obama is using to justify his wars in Iraq and Syria, although he admits they pose no imminent threat to the United States. The Vietnam syndrome has been replaced by the “Permanent War.”
It is no cliché that those who ignore history are bound to repeat it. Unless we are provided an honest accounting of the disgraceful history of the US war on Vietnam, we will be ill equipped to protest the current and future wars conducted in our name.
Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.
While the mainstream media bashes Russia and demonizes president Vladimir Putin, Predatorz from Russia wins the Battle of the Year Breakdance Award followed by a Korean team, Fusion MC in 2nd place.
With Russia receiving the BOTY award, the event was barely covered by the MSM.
The Battle Of The Year has come a long way. Who would have thought that BOTY would go from starting out in 1990 in a local youth culture centre with 500 hard-core fans to an arena packed with more than 12,000 roaring spectators and b-boy crews from all over the world?
BOTY has grown massively – and we have slowly realised our vision of developing the spirit of breakdance and creating an international event platform that allows B-Boys and B-Girls from all different countries to express their creativity in front of an ever-growing audience.
BOTY 2014 was huge – and our aim is to keep it growing, evolving and pushing it to become the best Battle Of The Year we can possibly achieve, to once again prove that the event has earned its position as a pinnacle of the breaking and b-boying scene. Let’s celebrate a quarter-century of BOTY history together! Keep on rockin’ the next 25 years!
The 25th NEW YORKER Battle of the Year is over! Here are the results!
Thank you so much people! We had a fantastic 25th birthday and a great night! We were glad to celebrate a quarter-century of BOTY breaking culture with you and the whole world! We saw amazing shows, a great Europe premiere by the Jabbawockeez and some dope battles!
Congratulations to Predatorz from Russia for winning Battle of the Year! Also respect to Fusion MC for a great Best Show and the 2nd place. Love and respect to all the other crews!
1st Place: Predatorz (Russia) 2nd Place: Fusion MC (South Korea) Best Show: Fusion MC (South Korea) Check out the complete judges ratings here!
The RCMP have quietly formed a homeland security department without the need for pesky legislation.
This program, INSET, or National Security Enforcement Team, is Canada wide and is already being used against social movements.
The police in Canada have a long history of watching social movements including the PROFUNC program that ran from the 50′s to the 70′s that planned internment camps for thousands of Canadians, including Tommy Douglas.
Nessuno dei membri europei della NATO vuole seguire le istruzioni presupposte al vertice del Galles, cioè aumentare al 2% del PIL la spesa per la Difesa e destinarne il 20% per acquistare materiale bellico moderno, la Svezia non essendo membro della NATO, lo fa di propria iniziativa.
L’esercito svedese ha annunciato un’operazione di ricerca aeronavale, su informazioni di possibili attività subacquee sospette intorno alle isole al largo di Stoccolma. I media internazionali hanno parlato immediatamente di un sottomarino russo danneggiato, riferendosi alla tragedia del sottomarino Kursk, accaduta oltre un decennio fa. Solo il Ministero della Difesa della Federazione russa rispose: “per ridurre le tensioni nel Mar Baltico e risparmiare denaro dei contribuenti svedesi, si consiglia di chiedere chiarimenti al comando della marina olandese. Da una settimana il sottomarino diesel-elettrico olandese Bruinvis conduce nel Mar Baltico, presso Stoccolma, esercitazioni con emersioni d’emergenza simulate, come mostrato le immagini di ciò che è considerato misterioso“. Per convincere l’opinione pubblica svedese sul pericolo della minaccia che corre il Paese, si è passati a un piccolo diversivo utilizzando l’arsenale della pubblicità sui media, volto a suggerire che l’aggressività della Russia aumenta di giorno in giorno. L’Intelligence Service, FRA, oltre l’esercito svedese, è responsabile dello spionaggio elettronico. Utilizza un aereo Gulfstream IVSP convertito nell’S102B Korpen, con attrezzature da ricognizione e disturbo radio-elettronico (SIGINT e ELINT). Il FRA ha pubblicato una foto dell’aereo russo Su-27 Flanker intercettato dal S102B Korpen da qualche parte sul Mar Baltico, avvicinandosi a 10 m. Come in altri scenari, ideati dal quartier generale della NATO, sulla presunta invasione russa dell’Ucraina, gli svedesi non dicono nulla su data, ora e dettagli del luogo in cui si sarebbe verificato l’incidente. Ciò suggerisce che anche in tale caso si tratti di un fotomontaggio del peggiore tipo.
La Svezia non è un membro della NATO, ma lavora a stretto contatto con gli Stati Uniti in campo militare, ed ha deciso di integrare il bilancio della Difesa con oltre 5 miliardi di euro per acquistare 22 JAS-39E/F Gripen-NG (inizialmente previsti per la Svizzera), oltre ad altri 18 JAS-39E/F. Tutti gli aerei JAS 39E/F-NG svedesi (60) saranno operativi nel 2018. L’armamento accelerato della Svezia è rilevante se visto con il prisma dei rapporti scientifici dell’US Geological Survey, secondo cui nel Mar Glaciale Artico ci sarebbero il 13% delle riserve di petrolio non ancora sfruttate nel mondo e il 30% delle riserve di gas naturale. Già solo il 70% di queste riserve si trova nel Mare di Barents, in particolare nella zona dell’Artico russo. Dato che non ha giacimenti di petrolio e che deve importarlo, la Svezia ha aderito con Stati Uniti, Canada, Danimarca, Finlandia, Norvegia, Estonia, Lettonia e Lituania al nuovo concetto di mini-NATO artica, apparso nel 2011. Tale idea fornisce il mezzo per l’appropriazione e lo sfruttamento con la forza delle risorse di petrolio e gas del Mar Glaciale Artico della Russia. Nell’ambito di tale piano è necessario armare di missili da crociera in grado di colpire Mosca i vassalli più prossimi alla capitale russa: Finlandia e Polonia. Polonia, Paesi baltici e Finlandia travolti dalla febbre degli armamenti
L’aeronautica svedese dispone di 120 aerei JAS-39, di cui 63 della versione più vecchia A/B e 57 della seconda versione C/D. A seguito del referendum in Svizzera nel maggio 2014, il contratto per l’acquisto di 22 aerei JAS-39E/F Gripen, la terza versione NG (Next Generation), per 3,5 miliardi di dollari, è stato annullato. I tre velivoli già consegnati all’aeronautica svizzera sono stati rispediti alla fabbrica svedese SAAB. Nonostante la battuta d’arresto svizzera, il governo ritiene che lo sviluppo di nuove versioni del JAS-39 Gripen NG sia essenziale per l’industria del Paese, essendo il velivolo il favorito nella fase finale del programma di selezione brasiliano FX-2. Lo JAS-39E/F (NG) è apparso dopo che British Aerospace è entrata nella società SAAB con l’intenzione di sviluppare una versione da esportazione (BSE: Export baseline Standard) del JAS-39 Gripen. I cambiamenti riguardano il radar Raven ES-05 AESA (a scansione elettronica attiva) che rileva bersagli aerei a una distanza di 120-180 km, e l’apparecchiatura G-Skyward, utilizzata per rilevare bersagli agli infrarossi e per il puntamento, entrambi prodotti dalla società (italiana) Selex. Il motore F-404 della statunitense General Electric (uno dei due a bordo del F/A-18 Hornet) è prodotto su licenza da Volvo che ne ha aumentato la potenza del 20%. Il nuovo velivolo ha una sonda retrattile per il rifornimento aereo. Il JAS-39E/F-NG ha una velocità massima di Mach 2 e un’autonomia di 1200 km, operatività affidabile e può decollare e atterrare in condizioni invernali su tratti autostradali. Lo JAS-39 Gripen è stato testato in condizioni di combattimento reali nel 2011, quando il governo svedese rispose alla richiesta della NATO d’imporre la no-fly zone sulla Libia. La Svezia ha partecipato con otto aerei JAS-39C/D Gripen che operavano dalla base aerea di Sigonella, in Sicilia. Le aeronautiche di Repubblica Ceca e Ungheria sono dotate di JAS-39 Gripen C/D, mentre l’aeronautica thailandese ha 6 JAS-39C/D dal 2011, e altri 6 da consegnare dal 2013.
I have to wonder what’s up when only about 100 people turn out to meet and greet the President of The United States at an alleged anti-war rally in downtown San Francisco. There was at least five days advance notice, and Vice President Biden was in town earlier in the week, so it’s not like it was a surprise visit. No, in fact it was a $25,000 per plate (no seconds) fundraiser at the W Hotel in San Francisco. The plethora of stop-the-war, environmental, and workers rights organizations that have sprung up over the last few decades don’t seem to see the connection between their organizations mission statement, and other issues that are related to their cause. In most cases these issues are joined at the hip.
There have been several disappointing turnouts at protests this year. Most of them have been organized by well established NGO’s. There was supposed to be a big anti-war protest in front of U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein’s office this Spring that never materialized. Only about 50 people showed up at Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office to protest the genocide in Gaza this past August. And the Occupy S.F. Third Convergence in September was just…sad.
The events that drew the biggest crowds recently in the San Francisco Bay Area were organized by groups like the Arab Resource Organizing Committee and the Arab Youth Organization. Thousands of people of all ages and ethnicities marched to the Port of Oakland to block the unloading of the ZIM ship from Israel. Earlier in the year, there was a large rally and march in downtown San Francisco to protest the ongoing genocide in Palestine, and several smaller demonstrations as well. While these rallies drew thousands of people, could the numbers reflect that many people were on spring break or summer vacation? In any event, the rogue state of Israel goes about business as usual.
If the first casualty of war is the truth, the second is the environment. The March Against Monsanto protesters must also be there to march for Gaza. The anti-war movement must realize that the U.S.military is the largest consumer of oil on the planet; we are fighting wars in order to be able to fight wars. The anti- pipeline and fracking cadre has to realize that Roundup and other Big Ag chemicals are also major sources of pollution, both in their production and application. Workers rights organizations also have to fight to end the wars that are killing their family members. The money the healthcare, housing, and education NGO’s are clamoring for is currently being given to war profiteers, rogue states, and autocrats. The people’s money.
Part of the problem is that many protests are driven by emotion, rather than logic. Protests tend to be large at the beginning of events like Gaza or Keystone, but then the energy dissipates. There is no end game for what is going to be accomplished, consequently there is no plan of action to get there. Demonstrations becomes social networking events, which is a good thing, and a bad thing. The good is that people actually get off their buttisimos, walk in the fresh air and sunshine, and interact with other humans. The bad is that you feel like you’ve actually done accomplished something. Having been part of a movement that actually ended a war (Vietnam), I can tell you uh, no, you haven’t. As far as I can tell it’s business as usual for the U.S. of A.
And when was the last time there was an anti-nuke protest? I recorded this Fukushima “Die-In” at the Japanese Consulate, but who is protesting the irradiated fish and other animals showing up on the West Coast? The depleted uranium still being used in Iraq and Afghanistan? The displacement of indigenous communities through resource extraction? Contamination of aquifers, soils, and the atmosphere by uranium minining? The growing stockpiles, sophistication, and horror of modern nuclear weapons? Or of weapons in general, especially the “gun in every home” mentality afflicting this country?
Living as I do two blocks from Twitter headquarters, I keep asking: “Will they ever turn a profit?” No, seriously, what I have been asking for lo these many years is: “When will there be a ‘Twitter Revolution’ in this country?” When will the millions of disenfranchised citizens tweeter each other and say: “I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!?”
Twitter is really more like a entertainment medium than a communication tool; a great way to sell advertising and burn up cellular credits, or whatever the telecoms do to make the billions they make. There’s just too much “stuff” on Twitter, or MyFace, or SpaceBook. Maybe a simple email, text, chat, VoIP call would be more effective in mobilizing people? How about a community potluck? With pinata’s! Food, music, and children always bring people together. Advertising? Not so much.
Perhaps it’s time the “anti-war movement” died. Protests are a relic of the 19th and 20th centuries. Maybe it’s time for a solutions-oriented strategy that demands “the government” perform the function it was created for. If it is incapable of meeting the needs of the people, it is obligated to dissolve itself, as called for in the constitution.
A “Pro Human Rights” movement would demand an immediate cessation of hostilities, universal healthcare and education, abolition of student debt, the complete overhaul of the “criminal justice” industrial complex, starting with local police departments, food and housing subsidies for everyone, reparations for indigenous people and the descendants of slaves, decommissioning all nuclear power plants, an immediate halt to fossil fuel extraction, and the end of animal exploitation, beginning with “pets,” zoo’s, and “theme parks.” For starters.
Quanah Brightman of United Native Americans told me that some of the tribes get together for a monthly “Bear” meeting. Maybe the thousands of sometimes redundant and competing NGO’s can adopt this indigenous tradition, like the founding fathers “adopted” the Iroquois constitution, or Great Law of Peace (obviously, they left something out). Currently, the powers that be have “the movement” divided and conquered. The only way anything will be accomplished is if organizations and individuals work together for a common purpose. Ending “wars and rumors of wars” is the first step to social justice for all.
Joseph Thomas is a San Francisco writer, photographer, and digital media producer.
I caccia F-35 non sono gli unici ad essere stealth (furtivi), ossia capaci di sfuggire all’avvistamento. Tale capacità l’ha acquisita anche il governo Renzi. Si è impegnato lo scorso settembre, in base a una mozione Pd, a «riesaminare l’intero programma F-35 per chiarirne criticità e costi con l’obiettivo finale di dimezzare il budget» da 13 a 6,5 miliardi di euro, cifra con cui – si stima –si potrebbe acquistare, oltre ai 6 già comprati, una ventina di F-35. Contemporaneamente la ministra della difesa Pinotti si è esibita in una serie di manovre diversive: in marzo ha dichiarato che sugli F-35 «si può ridurre, si può rivedere», in luglio ha giurato che di fronte alle disfunzioni tecniche degli F-35 «l’Italia non acquisterà niente che non sia più che sicuro per i piloti», in ottobre ha annunciato «l’impegno per l’acquisto di altri due F-35».
A prenotarli per conto dell’Italia è stato il Pentagono che, il 27 ottobre, ha concluso un accordo con la Lockheed Martin (principale contractor) per l’acquisto di altri 43 F-35, di cui 29 per gli Usa, 4 rispettivamente per Gran Bretagna e Giappone, e 2 rispettivamente per Norvegia, Israele e Italia. Non si sa quanto verrà a costare ogni caccia: l’accordo stabilisce che «i dettagli sul costo saranno comunicati una volta stipulato il contratto». L’Italia si impegna quindi ad acquistare altri F-35 senza conoscerne il prezzo. Una stima di massima si può ricavare dal bilancio del Pentagono, che prevede per l’anno fiscale 2015 (iniziato il 1° ottobre 2014) uno stanziamento di 4,6 miliardi di dollari per l’acquisto di 26 F-35, ossia 177 milioni di dollari – equivalenti a circa 140 milioni di euro – per ogni caccia. La Lockheed assicura che, grazie all’economia di scala, il costo unitario diminuirà. Tace però sul fatto che, come avviene per ogni sistema d’arma, l’F-35 subirà continui ammodernamenti che faranno lievitare la spesa.
La stessa Lockheed conferma ufficialmente, mentre scriviamo, che «l’Italia riceverà 90 F-35, una combinazione di F-35A a decollo e atterraggio convenzionale e di F-35B a decollo corto e atterraggio verticale». Questi ultimi, adatti alla portaerei Cavour e alle operazioni di assalto anfibio, sono notevolmente più costosi. Dato che il comunicato della Lockheed non viene smentito da Roma, è evidente che il governo italiano si muove su due piani: da un lato mantiene sottobanco l’impegno con Washington ad acquistare 90 F-35 a un costo ancora da quantificare, dall’altro si impegna in parlamento a dimezzare il budget finale per gli F-35, fidando sul fatto che l’acquisto avviene a lotti nell’arco degli anni e che le promesse di oggi possono essere facilmente cancellate domani, invocando la necessità di garantire la «sicurezza» del paese.
Sempre la Lockheed Martin sottolinea il fatto (largamente ignorato nel dibattito nostrano sugli F-35) che l’Italia è non solo acquirente ma, con oltre venti aziende, produttrice dei caccia tanto che «in ogni F-35 prodotto ci sono parti e componenti made in Italy». La partecipazione dell’Italia al programma F-35 viene presentata come un grande affare, ma non si dice che, mentre i miliardi dei contratti per l’F-35 entrano nelle casse di aziende private, quelli per l’acquisto dei caccia escono dalle casse pubbliche. Né si dice quanto vengono a costare i pochi posti di lavoro creati in questa industria bellica. L’impianto Faco di Cameri, con 20 fabbricati e una superficie di mezzo milione di metri quadri, costato all’Italia quasi un miliardo di euro, dà lavoro a meno di mille addetti che, secondo Finmeccanica, potrebbero arrivare a 2500 a pieno regime. La Lockheed è però ottimista: «L’impianto di Cameri può fornire un significativo appoggio operativo alla flotta F-35 nell’area europea, mediterranea e mediorientale». In altre parole, lo sviluppo di Cameri è legato allo sviluppo delle guerre Usa/Nato in quest’area.
Just as a glass prism differentiates sunlight into its component colours, corresponding to the different wavelengths, the Ebola crisis ravaging three West African countries has produced three distinct responses, corresponding to the three principal classes of capitalist society.
Ebola is a disease caused by a virus, that is to say, a natural phenomenon. But that is only a small part of the story. Ebola is also an epidemic, and the causes and conditions of the epidemic are social, economic, and political rather than natural. Outside of these social and economic conditions, the disease would have been contained or even eliminated long before now. The Ebola catastrophe is as much a product of the global capitalist crisis as are the carnage in Syria and Iraq, the housing shortage in New Zealand, and racist cop murders in the United States, and the solution to it is just as much a question of the class struggle.
For four centuries West Africa was plundered of its human resources, in the form of the slave trade. Entire kingdoms and cultures were shackled to the hunger of the European powers for slaves, others were ground to dust by the incessant slave raiding. Alongside this came the plunder of the region’s natural resources. The lands along the Gulf of Guinea were called the Grain Coast, Ivory Coast, Gold Coast and Slave Coast – countries named not for the peoples who inhabited them but the commodities which they supplied to the conquering powers. (Côte d’Ivoire retains the name to this day, though its great elephant herds have been reduced to a tiny remnant). Whatever railways, roads and infrastructure the colonial powers built were for the purpose of speeding the extraction of these commodities.
Through the surge of freedom struggles following the Second World War, these countries threw off the shackles of colonial political rule – and in the process produced some of the finest thinkers and fighters the world has ever known. But the economic exploitation didn’t let up for a minute. Nigerian oil, Liberian rubber, Ivorian cocoa, Guinean bauxite still flowed to markets in the former colonial powers, principally France, Britain, and the United States* (and more recently, to China and India) at rock-bottom prices dictated by the buyer.
To the extent that modern industry has developed, such as the oil industry in Nigeria, it has been at a colossal environmental and human cost. The Niger River delta, a rainforest, wetland and mangrove area with exceptionally high biodiversity, where Nigeria’s oil industry is centred, has been degraded by decades of easily preventable oil spills, the drinking water, farmland, fisheries of its thirty million people poisoned.
The three countries at the centre of the Ebola epidemic are among the most impoverished in the world. The permanent legacy of centuries of uninterrupted plunder is chronic and widespread malnutrition, dirt roads, poor or non-existent sanitation, unreliable or non-existent electric power, and one doctor per 100,000 inhabitants. These are the conditions in which an Ebola outbreak becomes an epidemic. “Before the outbreak, Liberia’s only lab capable of testing blood for highly infectious diseases was the Liberian Institute on Biomedical Research—a compound of World War II-era buildings and rusted cages that used to house chimpanzee test subjects. The bat-infested facility could only process 40 blood specimens a day and the electricity only worked intermittently,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “Bomi’s Liberia Government Hospital hasn’t had a working X-ray machine since the machine’s processor ‘blew up’ two years ago. The hospital had to shut for a month after its first Ebola case appeared in June.”
However, Ebola does not present a major threat to the continued extraction of Africa’s natural wealth. Thus, the bourgeois response to the epidemic has been notable for its numb indifference to the death and suffering, and its consequent economic dislocations.
For several months after the existence of Ebola was confirmed in the three countries of West Africa, the world bourgeoisie did nothing to assist them to combat the disease and prevent it from spreading. On the contrary, their first actions were to withdraw such minimal assistance schemes that were operating. In July the United States withdrew all its Peace Corps volunteers from the three countries, including those engaged in health education programs – at the very time when health education programs were urgently needed.
The burden of providing trained medical personnel was left to a handful of charities, especially Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières).
The Australian government publicly announced their refusal to send medical personnel into the region. “We aren’t going to send Australian doctors and nurses into harm’s way without being absolutely confident that all of the risks are being properly managed. And at the moment we cannot be confident that that is the case,”Prime Minister Tony Abbot said. The government of Israel took a similar stance.
In August British Airways suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone against the protests of those governments. Christopher Stokes, director of Médecins Sans Frontières in Brussels, added: “Airlines have shut down many flights and the unintended consequence has been to slow and hamper the relief effort, paradoxically increasing the risk of this epidemic spreading across countries in west Africa first, then potentially elsewhere. We have to stop Ebola at source and this means we have to be able to go there.”
The bourgeois response became a lot noisier when the first cases of Ebola were diagnosed in the imperialist countries, but the isolationist character of the response remained the same: protecting those unaffected at the expense of those most affected or directly threatened by the epidemic.
Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, who developed symptoms in the US six days after arriving from Liberia, was treated as a hostile vector of contagion rather than a human being in need of treatment. Dallas County prosecutor publicly discussed laying criminal charges against Duncan if he should survive. The prosecutor’s spokesperson Debbie Denmon said, “If he ends up being on his deathbed, it would be inhumane to file charges,’ she said. ‘It’s a delicate situation.” Duncan later died.
Under increasing pressure to be seen to be doing something, some imperialist governments began announcing aid packages, mostly limited to money and equipment, and chiding each other for not doing enough. US President Barack Obama declared it to be a “security crisis” – not a health crisis – and promised troops, making it clear they would stay well away from any person who might be infected with the disease. One month later, not one of the 17 special tent-based treatment centers promised by the US is yet operational.
By mid-October, with the crisis growing daily, only a tiny proportion of the money and equipment promised had been delivered. Médecins Sans Frontières spokesperson Christopher Stokes said it was “ridiculous” that volunteers working for his charity were bearing the brunt of care in the worst-affected countries. MSF runs about 700 out of the 1,000 beds available in treatment facilities Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the BBC. Above all, it was trained medical personnel that was needed – labor – and the bourgeoisie, while it commands vast resources of labor in capitalist industry, came up well short of the need in that regard. “Money and materials are important, but those two things alone cannot stop Ebola virus transmission,” Dr Margaret Chan, director-general at the World Health Organization, said last month. “Human resources are clearly our most important need.”
If the bourgeois response to the Ebola crisis has been one of indifference, the response of the petty-bourgeoisie has been marked by panic and unscientific speculation. The petty-bourgeoisie is a dependent class, beholden to the big bourgeoisie for its privileges, yet in constant fear of being cast down into the working class, and hence wracked by insecurities.
Panic in the face of this threat has been consciously whipped up in big-business press coverage and statements by the authorities. For example, Anthony Banbury, chief of the UN’s Ebola mission, said in early October that “there is a chance the deadly virus could mutate to become infectious through the air.”
Having lost any connection to verifiable fact, the natural extension of such speculations is into the realm of conspiracy theories. The Liberian Daily Observer newspaper ran an article by Liberian-American academic Dr Cyril Broderick claiming that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was deliberately initiated by US military medical researchers who were experimenting on the virus as a possible biological weapon.
In another speculation that wraps several fears into one, Forbes Magazine reported Al Shimkus, a Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, as saying that “the Islamic State may already be thinking of using Ebola as a low-tech weapon of bio-terror,” raising the fear that IS members might infect themselves and then deliberately spread the disease to others.
Broderick’s speculation is not totally implausible. The US military and public health authorities, including the Centre for Disease Control which is prominently involved in the Ebola response, have a proven record of carrying out clinical trials and medical experiments on unknowing human subjects, especially Black people, including one where people in Guatemala were deliberately infected with syphilis without their knowledge. The poisonous legacy of these government crimes has not been forgotten, nor should it ever be. Broderick’s conspiracy theory rests on the fully justified distrust of these institutions, which runs deepest among people of African descent.
But none of these speculations and conspiracy theories is backed up by any verifiable evidence; they remain purely speculative and, like all speculations, essentially idle. By focusing attention on the question “what if,” they become yet another obstacle to facing the known facts of the situation, the urgent question of what is.
The meeting-point of the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois responses to the Ebola crisis, where inaction masquerading as “taking action” combines with anti-scientific irrationalism, must undoubtedly be the policies adopted by the US and UK to carry out body-temperature screening at the airport for passengers arriving from West Africa. Given the nature of the Ebola condition, the fact that symptoms can take up to 21 days after the date of infection to appear, and then strike rapidly and severely, such border checks could not possibly prevent more than a tiny fraction of infected travelers from crossing a border. At the same time, they will inevitably “catch” great numbers of people with body temperatures raised for other reasons, thereby diverting resources further from where they are needed. David Mabey, professor of communicable diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said “the screening was a complete waste of time.”
The working class has only its labor to contribute, yet that labor is the key to solving the crisis. The proletarian response to the Ebola crisis is exemplified by the unselfish actions of the West African health workers, who are carrying out the socially necessary tasks of caring for the patients, collecting and burying bodies, and educating the population in prevention and containment measures. They do this despite inadequate safety equipment, serious threats to their own health, inadequate pay, and despite sometimes being ostracized in their own communities. The shortages of medical personnel are being overcome by dozens of volunteers.
A Guardian report on the “Ebola burial boys” of Sierra Leone describes the situation: “One morning, residents in Kailahun [Sierra Leone] woke up to find their only bank closed. Those with cars fled. Life did slowly pick up again, but a state of emergency in July shut down schools. Soldiers poured in to quarantine entire communities and, in these lush farming hills, trade slowed to a trickle.”
In desperation, 20 young men signed up for the burial teams, each paid $100 (£61) a month for the task. ‘Hunger is killing more people than Ebola,’ said Abraham Kamara, 21, a fellow digger. They work to rigorous standards enforced by the Red Cross, but pay a heavy price.
“When I’m passing, people I know say, ‘don’t come near me’!” Jusson said. He looked skyward for a moment before continuing: “I try to explain to them. If we don’t volunteer to do this, there’ll be nobody to bury the dead bodies because all of us will be infected.”
The proletariat is an international class; its watchword is solidarity. Solidarity differs from aid. Solidarity means tying one’s fate to that of the people you are aiding. Given the real personal dangers to the health of those caring for Ebola patients, no matter how careful they are, this distinction is crucial to understanding the different international responses. Solidarity and isolationism are opposites.
In stark contrast to the response of the imperialist world has been the outstanding solidarity offered by the one country where the working class hold state power: Cuba. When the call went out for volunteer health workers to go to West Africa, fifteen thousand experienced health workers stepped forward, living proof of Che Guevara’s statement: “to be a revolutionary doctor, there must first be a revolution.” This is in a country of 11 million people, under extreme economic pressure from the US blockade, a country which already has 50,000 health workers serving overseas in 66 countries.
103 nurses and 62 doctors selected from among the 15,000 arrived in Sierra Leone in early October, a further 296 will go to Guinea and Liberia shortly. The Cuban government has indicated its willingness to send still more personnel, provided there is enough funding and infrastructure to support them.
This commitment has many precedents. The Cuban people – a large proportion of who are descended from African slaves – made a similar commitment to Africa by sending volunteers to defend newly-independent Angola from attack by apartheid South Africa in 1975. (Recently declassified documents have revealed that the US Secretary of State at the time, Henry Kissinger, was so incensed by this that he drew up plans to ‘smash Cuba’ with airstrikes in response.)
Nelson Mandela said of Cuba’s action in Angola, “It was in prison when I first heard of the massive assistance that the Cuban internationalist forces provided to the people of Angola, on such a scale that one hesitated to believe; when the Angolans came under combined attack of South African, CIA-financed FNLA, mercenary, UNITA, and Zairean troops in 1975.”
“We in Africa are used to being victims of countries wanting to carve up our territory or subvert our sovereignty. It is unparalleled in African history to have another people rise to the defense of one of us.”
“We know also that this was a popular action in Cuba. We are aware that those who fought and died in Angola were only a small proportion of those who volunteered. For the Cuban people internationalism is not merely a word but something that we have seen practiced to the benefit of large sections of humankind.”
Asked about the dangers involved in volunteering to join the medical mission in Sierra Leone, Julio César Gómez Ramírez, a nurse who is going to West Africa with the brigade said, “I’m not afraid. We’ve been taught to help others. Like many of my compañeros, I participated in the war in Angola, and we risked our lives there. This isn’t more difficult.”
On several occasions during this crisis the health workers in Liberia, Nigeria, and elsewhere have engaged in strikes to demand adequate safety protection while they carry out their perilous tasks, and to demand payment of unpaid wages and adequate compensation for the dangers involved in their work. These struggles are an essential part of advancing the fight against the disease.
A lesson from history is relevant here. A hundred years ago and more, tuberculosis was a killer disease afflicting workers in the advanced capitalist countries in Europe and elsewhere. It is commonly believed that the scourge of tuberculosis was overcome (at least in the imperialist countries) by the development of antibiotic vaccines and cures. This is false. Long before the antibiotics were widely used, death rates from tuberculosis had been steadily decreasing. By the time the antibiotics were widely used in the post-World-War-2 world, 90% of the decline in tuberculosis mortality had already been achieved. The reduction had taken place as a consequence of working class struggles for decent housing and higher wages – and consequently, better nutrition.
Today the working class is rapidly growing and strengthening in West Africa. Powered chiefly by oil exploitation in Nigeria, Ghana, and offshore developments in several regions along the Gulf of Guinea including Liberia, a process of social transformation is underway. This is bringing into being the class that has the power to drive back Ebola and all the social and economic conditions that gave rise to it.
* Footnote: The United States is a former colonial power in West Africa. The state of Liberia was founded as a settler-colony for former slaves who wanted to return to Africa. The “Americos” in Liberia formed a distinct social layer in Liberia, who held, up to 1980, a monopoly on political power. Liberia still has strong commercial ties with the United States today.
They don’t quite get it, but given their stance on education, the answer is simple. Australia’s Abbott government have always had an elementary understanding of how tertiary education operates. They are the wreckers who got to university on affordable, in some cases even free education. Perhaps their very existence is an object lesson of sorts, the warning that every education brings with it the potential to turn the pupil into a Trojan horse.
Government members are particularly riled this month by moves from the Australian National University to divest its interests in various fossil fuel and resource companies. Such actions made Coalition members purple in the face. Treasurer Joe Hockey, in repudiating his own stance on supposedly “free market” choices, took issue with the university’s investment choice to jettison its shares in Santos, Illuka Resources, Independence Group, Newcrest Mining, Sandfire Resources, Oil Search and Sirius Resources.
Becoming a cranky, and somewhat amateurish financial advisor, Hockey suggested that the ANU were “removed from the reality of what is helping drive the Australian economy and create more employment. Sometimes the view looks different from the lofty rooms of a university.”
Others have taken the move as a denigration, again revealing the rather bizarre perception that mining giants and resource companies are gentle, noble creators of wealth rather than inefficient purloiners of the earth’s resources. It has left such individuals as Tim Buckley, former head of equity research at Citigroup, baffled. “I find it absolutely bizarre because, the last time I checked, investment managers have the right to change their portfolios.”
The view has been expressed in an open letter signed by various Australian luminaries, including former Liberal leaders John Hewson and Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. “For politicians to try to bully, coerce and influence this university is just outrageous.” For Hewson, the dark hand of the Minerals Council might have been involved. “It virtually owned the previous government and appears to have large influence over this one.”
The Coalition’s childish indignation has ignored the fact that there is a global divestment campaign of various groups, be they religious, educational or financial, to step away from companies whose aims and objects vary from their own. The Rockefeller family stole a march last month, shifting its focus from fossil fuels to renewables.
Others have followed. The Anglican Diocese of Perth, Bishop Tim Wilmott, would rather see the Church’s money invested in renewables. He does not speak purely terms of dripping altruism for the environment – he is also aware of good business sense. The “smart money” as he terms it, is also “moving into renewables as well.” The universities are merely following the same track.
Funding and investment decisions for universities is always contentious. In a sense, the autonomy of the modern university in terms of its governance and decisions is fictitious. They have become part of the military industrial complex, standing shoulder to shoulder with the same companies that produce drones and missiles and carve up the earth’s fossil fuels. US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was already putting his finger on it in his departing speech (Jan 17, 1961) famous for noting the preponderance of the military complex in American life:
“Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.”
Universities, notably in such highly industrialised societies as the United States, have become receiving institutions for representatives of big business and military interests. In Australia, the focus is more on unhealthy links to polluting industries such as coal. Mining magnates roam the continent like giants, when in truth they should be treated like museum piece dinosaurs. Donations, funds, and raising money have become hopelessly linked to appointments and positions of power, suggesting a toxic romance between government policy and university production. Hockey, in that sense, is proving to be brazenly ignorant about the links. Far from being loftily distant, the university room shares facilities with those of government in all too many areas.
University spots have become parking sinecures for the war machine just as they have become places for those who have served their country with appropriate messianic zeal. As noted by Darwin Bond-Graham, specifically with regards to the University of California system, “Plenty of UC’s leaders, from Chancellors to the Regents to the President have been insiders in the Pentagon, the nuclear weapons complex, and other branches of the warfare state.”
The UC’s tenth president, David Prescott Barrows, was a supreme example. During his time as head of the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes, he proved to be a patrician moulder of Filipino subjects in terms of culture and a good splash of racial enticement. “The race is physically small, but agile, athletic and comely.” The bullying Hockey, should he ever find himself in the unlikely position of being a University chancellor, will prove far less colourful.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
Black people in this country are brutalized by police on a daily basis. That has always been true but thanks to modern technology there is a steady stream of proof caught on video. Accessing the internet means inevitably being confronted with awful imagery such as Marlene Pinnock being beaten by a highway patrolman in California. We see Eric Garner murdered by the NYPD, pleading that he couldn’t breathe.
These videos may or may not assist with prosecutions. Footage showed the late Rodney King being beaten by California police in 1991. The officers were indicted, a rarity, but a jury acquitted them anyway, making a mockery of the old saying “seeing is believing.” Common sense wisdom doesn’t count for much if it threatens to upend white supremacy. No matter how seemingly iron clad the case, police rarely face criminal charges.
Such was the case of Milton Hall, a mentally ill black man shot to death by Saginaw, Michigan, police on July 1, 2012. A camera inside one of the patrol cars shows Hall, surrounded by police, armed only with a small pen knife. He is unable to harm anyone, given that he was surrounded by seven cops and a police dog, yet they fired forty-six shots with fourteen of them striking and killing Hall.
Local prosecutors did not charge the officers and the Obama/Holder Department of Justice did not see fit to do anything either. After investigating they concluded that prosecution was not warranted. “Even if the officers were mistaken in their assessment of the threat posed by Hall, this would not establish that the officers acted willfully, or with an unlawful intent, when using deadly force against Hall. Accordingly, this tragic event does not present sufficient evidence of willful misconduct to give rise to a federal criminal prosecution of the police officers involved.”
The ACLU of Michigan not only pushed for local and federal action, but has taken its protest to a new and very important level. On October 27, 2014, Mark Fancher, Racial Justice Project Attorney for the ACLU of Michigan, testified before an international body regarding the federal government’s refusal to prosecute Hall’s “death by firing squad.” The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is an arm of the Organization of American States. It is mandated to “promote the observance and protection of human rights in the hemisphere.”
The IAHCR does not have the power to punish any individual or government for Hall’s killing, but the hearing had a very important purpose. ACLU of Michigan Legal Director Michael Steinberg put it simply. He called the testimony “a wake-up call for the desperate need to address police misconduct against the black citizens of this country.” He added, “The power behind these international tribunals is to draw attention to the problem and to put pressure on the United States to abide by human rights principles.”
The United States must be condemned before the nations of the world. Americans should not be allowed to behave as if human rights abuses only occur in far away nations while police in this country commit murder in broad daylight without fear of punishment.
The refusal of the federal government to charge Milton Hall’s killers is a bad omen for anyone wanting to see justice done for Michael Brown. Black Agenda Report has already revealed how the Justice Department uses media leaks to claim that the “bar is too high” to prosecute the officer who shot and killed the fleeing teenager.
Obama and attorney general Eric Holder have no intention of prosecuting police murder, no matter what videos or other evidence show. Barack Obama is just not that into black people. Instead he sends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to pacify an angry public and fool them into thinking that black people will have reasons to hope. Sharpton and Jackson made appearances in Saginaw as they did in Ferguson, Missouri, but the presence of the two “leaders” accomplished nothing, as the Obama administration intended all along.
Rodney King finally had another day in court after the acquittal sparked an uprising in Los Angeles. Fifty three people died, millions of dollars in property was damaged and the political system was frightened. Federal prosecutors in the Bush administration charged the officers with civil rights violations. They won convictions against two of them and they later served time in prison.
Riots should not be a means of guaranteeing justice but the deck is stacked against black people who are victimized by police. If Eric Holder doesn’t prosecute Michael Brown’s killer any resulting violence ought to be called the Barack Obama Riots. President Kill List is able to make the case for punishment when it suits him. The man who claims the right to designate and kill terrorists shouldn’t be allowed to claim that there isn’t enough evidence to prosecute real criminals at home.
The ACLU of Michigan is to be commended for taking this action of exposing American injustice to the world. Just as the United States government calls for sanctions and boycotts of countries it doesn’t like, the rest of the world ought to penalize this country for the continuation of unpunished violence directed at black people. Legal cases must be made against the United States at the IAHCR and with any other entity which can bring our plight to the world. Expecting Obama and Holder to act on our behalf is just a foolish dream.
Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
The South Korean government announced last week the intention to put off once again the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON) from the United States, this time until “the mid-2020s.” Until then South Korean troops will be under the command of an American four star general in the event of a military conflict. The postponement signifies the long term strategy of the ruling conservative party to ensure the fate of South Korean security is firmly fixed to an American occupation force on the Korean Peninsula.
This decision isn’t shocking given the trend of successive conservative administrations. The transfer of South Korean military OPCON was originally scheduled for 2012 based on an agreement by the left-leaning Roh Moo-hyun government. But the deal was put off by the much-maligned conservative administration of the American stooge Lee Myung-bak. Park Geun-hye, current president and leader of the right wing Saenuri (New World) Party (a spin-off of Lee Myung-bak’s Grand National Party with roots in South Korea’s past American-backed dictatorships),promised during her election campaign to carry out the transfer in 2015. Now she has punted the transfer to a time well beyond the reach of her presidency.
Whether South Korea actually goes through with the transfer of OPCON in the next decade will likely depend on whether Saenuri wins another tampered election given their intrinsic attachment to the United States. What is certain is that this is not a question of whether South Korea is capable of managing its own military in the event of war.
South Korean officials say the U.S. must have control of both American and S.K. military operations to most effectively deter North Korea and maintain coordinated military activities. They insist this would be impossible under a typical alliance system where both nations have independent control of military decisions. Vice Defense Minister Baek Seung-joo told the Wall Street Journal last week, “The most important thing is whether we can really deter North Korea from going to war, and I think we need more time to be able to do so.”
Specifically, officials from the current administration have argued that before a transfer happens South Korea must be able to destroy North Korean missiles on their pads before they are launched (the so-called “kill chain” capability) and also develop their own missile defense program to intercept North Korean missiles. In other words, before they they have operational command, they want to be able to destroy North Korea’s conventional and defensive second strike ability in the event South Korea were to launch a preemptive war. This is a goal that is almost entirely unrealistic and is more akin to total domination than actual deterrence.
Vice Minister Baek also said regarding the non-transfer, “Any possible reduction or pullout of U.S. military troops in South Korea could give a wrong signal to North Korea or other countries in the region…. We should approach this issue very carefully.”
But there is nothing in this that requires American troops to pullout if South Korea took control of its own wartime military command. Indeed, nothing short of physically removing U.S. troops from their perch is likely to have that effect.
The U.S. has at least a handful of unofficial reasons for keeping troops in South Korea, including maintaining a foothold on the mainland of East Asia directed at both China and Russia and padding the budgets of contractors that do everything from supplying the weapons to peeling the potatoes for American troops. South Korean officials may or may not truly believe the delusion that the U.S. is constantly on the verge of sending its “bravest and brightest” home (a laughable concept for the critical-minded), but this notion comes up regularly here in discussions on national security.
In turn, South Korea doesn’t want U.S. troops in-country just to protect against North Korea. This may even be a secondary factor in the overall picture considering North Korea is, bluff and bluster aside, a military power in perpetual decline. The South is far richer and has a much more modern and well-oiled military compared to the North’s crumbling combat infrastructure. The only advantages North Korea has are its manpower–a factor virtually irrelevant in modern warfare–and its still-undeliverable nuclear weapons, which North Korea developed in responseto the threatening posture of the United States.
While it is hard to know exactly how much S.K. officials actually believe of their own anti-North Korean rhetoric, Vice Minister Baek’s allusion to “other countries in the region” is surely significant in that most Koreans still see the U.S. presence as a means to buffer against both China and Japan and view maintenance of OPCON as the way to ensure the U.S. doesn’t leave the peninsula (which is probably why Vice Minister Baek seems to be directly linking OPCON with an American troop pullout).
The crucial issue facing South Korea in this era is how long they can have what the current administration seems to consider the best of both worlds–maintaining strong economic ties with China, the South’s number one trading partner, while remaining, at best, a junior ally of the U.S. as it attempts to preserve military hegemony in the pacific, a policy that antagonizes Beijing. We see South Korea attempting to balance this role on a regular basis as it agrees to purchase the terrible F-35 and the ineffective Global Hawk drone, almost certainly based upon pressurefrom U.S. diplomats, while so far putting off implementing the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, partly because this would represent a serious provocation for both China and Russia (but also because they want their own defense companies to reap the profits of the ongoing conflict with North Korea).
The assumption in South Korea seems to be that this is a tightrope the country has to walk, but it might be useful to consider once again whether or not this is really the case. With the 11th highest military budget in the world, South Korea likely has more than sufficient deterrent capability against any country in the region and there is just too much economic interdependence between China, Japan and South Korea for conflict to ever be a viable option.
Despite this, people in South Korea generally think about national security based two great myths: that the North is still a strong military force, and that the South remains a weak state incapable of taking care of itself against the rest of its regional neighbors. Far too many people in South Korea and abroad believe North Korea will flood over the Demilitarized Zone separating the Koreas or that the region would somehow erupt in chaos by default were the U.S. to lessen its footprint and were South Korea to pursue greater military independence.
This is the case for several reasons. It is a result of the complex of inferiority engendered by Japan’s pre-WWII occupation and centuries of interference by China. It is also a manifestation of the trauma resulting from the horrors of the Korean War, though official South Korean memory has crucially whitewashed the atrocities committed by the U.S. and the South Korean government before and after this conflict. It is also the outcome of continual fear-mongering by the South Korean media. Finally, South Koreans are educated in school and during mandatory military service that South Korea shook off Japan and the North, achieved great economic development, and became a free and democratic state thanks to U.S. protection and friendship–a simplistic narrative that is full of exaggeration and outright falsehood.
Ultimately OPCON transfer is a matter of sovereignty. There is no more critical issue for a nation than deciding whether and how to engage in military combat. Even the most apolitical of South Koreans instinctively know this and are often surprised when they hear their government doesn’t even officially control its own military.
Conflict is only more likely if the South continues to insist on linking its defense with the American goal of perpetuating hegemony in the region. The U.S. could quite easily drag the South Koreans into a conflict in the Pacific if a conflagration erupted between China and Japan (and Taiwan), over the Senkaku-Diaoyu island dispute, where the U.S. has agreed to assist Japan even if they provoke the conflagration. This is categorically outside the interests of South Korea, but such are the perils of collective security, especially in a region where the U.S., through the San Fransisco treaty of 1951, specifically decided to leave post-WWII island ownership in the pacific unresolved in order to maintain “strategic ambiguity” and “manageable instability” to justify their ongoing military presence.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The question is not whether South Korea is militarily prepared for independence; it is whether or not the South Korean people are mentally prepared to shake off the ruling elite in their country to become an independent nation and avoid going down with the sinking American ship.
Stuart Smallwood is an MA in Asian Studies graduate from Sejong University in Seoul, South Korea. Currently based in South Korea and working as a Korean-English translator, his articles and essays have appeared in Global Research, the Hankyoreh, and East Asia: Comparative Perspectives. His website is Koreaandtheworld.com and he can be reached by email at koreaandtheworld.com[at]gmail.com
Today 6 in 10 Americans believe the U.S. gives too much aid to Israel
Surveying Americans about U.S. aid to Israel requires putting it into proper perspective. Given Israel’s position as the leading single U.S. foreign aid recipient (by a wide margin), as in 1989 asking the foreign aid question requires embedding relevant data to obtain a bona fide response. When such data is included, the majority of Americans (60.7 percent) believe U.S. aid to Israel is excessive. The major response, that aid to Israel is “Much too much” is 33.9 percent of Americans. Some 26.8 percent believe it is “too much” while 25.9 percent believe it is “about right.” Only 13.4 percent of Americans believe U.S. aid to Israel is not enough.
The policy and political implications of this finding are stark. Elected officials passing ever larger aid packages and supplemental spending for Israel simply cannot claim they are representing the majority interests of their constituents. American presidents proclaiming the U.S.‐Israel bond is “unbreakable” cannot claim such a bond is willingly underwritten by U.S. taxpayers. The finding also shines yet more light on Israel lobby organizations as the major factor coming between most constituents and their representatives and quietly working to ensure that Israel’s majority share of the U.S. foreign aid budget continues.
The survey also finds that, in particular, younger US citizens are strongly opposed to the amount of US aid that goes to Israel, and, crucially, finds that “Only the Wealthiest Americans believe U.S. aid is ‘about right’”:
The only category of Americans (47.6 percent) who believed U.S. aid for Israel is “about right” is the segment earning $150,000 or more (although even 42.9 percent in that category thought aid was too high). The next lower income category, $100,000‐149,000 is the most vehemently opposed to aid, with 79.5 percent believing it is too high (42.9 percent responding “much too much” and 36.6 percent “too much.”)
While the Google report says the findings are “stark”, they are precisely consistent with the findings of the recent study out of Cornell and Northwestern universities, the largest study of its kind to date, which looked at nearly 1,800 individual US policy issues and found that the average US citizen has zero impact on those policies, while the wealthiest citizens essentially get exactly what they want, meaning they dictate US policy (and they largely comprise the US government).
This Google survey simply singles out one of the policy issues, which together illustrate that the USA is not a democracy, but a society in which people are allowed to choose which of two corporate-backed figureheads they want as the face of an oligarchy that dictates government policy in its own interest.
For how long will we need to go back and forth in this GMO battle before a sound conclusion is finally met? If you have been following the GMO debate at all, you probably realize that this issue will likely never rest, as numerous studies on both sides of the spectrum (one side showing safety and the other showing danger) will continue to surface. What’s more, this research as well as opinions will be born out of lies or false substantiation. You’ve likely read headlines like these lately and scoffed:
2000+ Reasons Why GMOs Are Safe To Eat And Environmentally Sustainable
GMO Opponents Are the Climate Skeptics of the Left
Study of 1 Billion Animals Finds GMOs Safe
Or how about comments like this one:
“I used to think that nothing rivaled the misinformation spewed by climate change skeptics and spinmeisters.
Then I started paying attention to how anti-GMO campaigners have distorted the science on genetically modified foods. You might be surprised at how successful they’ve been and who has helped them pull it off.”
Or if you trust one of the most hated companies on the planet, you can go straight to Monsanto’s site and read: An Overview of the Safety and Advantages of GM Foods.
Monsanto openly admits “after 30” whole “years of research” that they are convinced GMOs are safe. Just one type of pine tree lives more than 5000 years, but yea – Monsanto has all of Mother Nature figured out in its 30 years of tinkering with genes.
It’s amazing how many people have been boondoggled by biotech or are simply paid shills to keep the misinformation train choo-chooing along.
Vrain will be the first to admit that Monsanto has conducted a lot of studies showing that GMOs are safe, but he changed his own tune about ten years ago when he started reading scientific journals from other countries.
“I started paying attention to the flow of published studies coming from Europe, some from prestigious labs and published in prestigious scientific journals, that questioned the impact and safety of engineered food.”
Vrain was so much a supporter of GMOs (as well as a former biotech scientist for Agriculture Canada) that he used to conduct tours and tell large groups of people all about the greatness of genetically altered crops – but not anymore. Here is what he thinks about his former industry now:
“I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat.
There are a number of scientific studies that have been done for Monsanto by universities in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. Most of these studies are concerned with the field performance of the engineered crops, and of course they find GMOs safe for the environment and therefore safe to eat.”
Vrain thinks the public is being swindled. He believes we should all demand that government agencies replicate tests showing that GMOs are safe rather than rely on studies paid for by the biotech companies. He continues:
“The Bt corn and soya plants that are now everywhere in our environment are registered as insecticides. But are these insecticidal plants regulated and have their proteins been tested for safety? Not by the federal departments in charge of food safety, not in Canada and not in the U.S.
There are no long-term feeding studies performed in these countries to demonstrate the claims that engineered corn and soya are safe. All we have are scientific studies out of Europe and Russia, showing that rats fed engineered food die prematurely.
These studies show that proteins produced by engineered plants are different than what they should be. Inserting a gene in a genome using this technology can and does result in damaged proteins. The scientific literature is full of studies showing that engineered corn and soya contain toxic or allergenic proteins.”
This science is actually only about 40 years old. It is all based on a theory of genetic manipulation hypothesized around 70 years ago – of the ONE GENE – meaning that each gene codes for one single protein. The Human Genome project proved this totally wrong.
Most scientists now understand that any gene can give more than one protein and that inserting a gene anywhere in a plant eventually creates rogue proteins. Some of these proteins are obviously allergenic or toxic, like Cry proteins found in GMO corn. Otherwise known as Bt toxins (Bacillus thuringiensis), Cry proteins are one of biotech’s answers for ‘safe’ food.
That’s odd; one study found them absolutely toxic for mammalian blood. Dr. Mezzomo says that Cry toxins are deathly for mice. Another study linked them to a higher rate of leukemia. Yet another study conducted at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found corn’s Bt-toxin in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant women. These same toxins are also associated with higher levels of inflammation in the body, allergies, MS, and cancer.
Furthermore, what ridiculous egocentricity for biotech scientists to think they can crack the code of life when there are still acres and acres of rainforest that contain medicinal herbs that they have never even studied or recognized. Every square mile lost in these forests represents a possible cancer soution or super-food source.
Why the heck do we need GMOs? We haven’t even utilized the plethora of foods and herbs Mother Nature has already provided us with, if only we would steward them sustainably. There seems to be a new wonder-extract being discovered every few days, despite our pillaging.
Additionally, Vrain once answered honestly to this question in an interview:
“Q: It is astounding that people don’t question the very idea of altering DNA. When Monsanto or others claim a genetically modified organism is “substantially equivalent” to the conventional plant, it’s illogical to me because when DNA is altered, the plant is altered. It’s not the same and it’s certainly not natural.
A: That depends on your view of the world. As a scientist, when you add a bacteria gene to a plant, or a plant gene to a fish, or a human gene to corn, or 10,000 acres of corn growing insulin – they consider it progress. So if a tomato plant has a bacterial gene, it still looks very much like a tomato plant. You couldn’t tell very much from the taste of the tomato so there is something easy about believing in “substantial equivalence” . . . but Roundup (Monsanto’s herbicide) is a chelator; it holds manganese, magnesium and a few other minerals. It holds the minerals and doesn’t let go so basically it starves the plant. It probably also starves many other creatures in the soil.”
The following text is the full transcript of the open letter sent to Postmedia by Susan Bibeau, the mother of the Michael Zehaf Bibeau. Emphasis added by GR
“For me mental illness, is at the centre of this tragedy. At some point in his life, my son had a serious addiction to drugs, I don’t know if he overcame it, but doing so much of it could have left permanent marks and led to his current mental state.
His conversations were often strange. Was he crazy? I never could have imagined that he would do something like this, but he was not well either.
He refused any of my help, he preferred staying in the homeless shelter rather than coming to my house. I will always be left with the question if I could have said something else, insisted more to help…. The emptiness and pain are overwhelming.”
To Mr. Quan
I am writing to you because I read your message and believe what you said about looking for context. I am trying to provide that. I hope that you are not just one of those headline seeking journalists looking for the scoop, not that much interested in truly getting the facts and trying to get the true picture even if it is not as sensational. I hope you have the integrity I perceived in your message.
I have been hounded by the media since the events took place and for me it is simpler to express myself in writing where I can try to be as accurate as possible, where I can edit and ensure that I am clearly expressing what I am trying to say. This will be my last statement. So don’t contact me further.
The horror of what my son did does colour the issues. It is awful.
At the front of my mind is the family of Mr. Cirillo. There is nothing I can do to repair the damage my son has done. I cannot express the sadness I feel. Their family is broken, a wife without a husband, children without their father. The unfairness of it. I don’t know Mrs Cirillo, If I can do anything? I don’t know what is appropriate in these circumstances.
What do I feel, my side of the story I was asked. It is not simple. As a person and mother I am horriﬁed my the actions of my son, I am sickened by it. I will never understand what drives a person to such senseless violence. As a mother I am sad, but that is not the emotion that is current driving me, mourning my son is deep within me, I am not ready to go there.
I feel mad at my son for what he did, I feel shame for what my son did, yes as someone wrote to me I must have been a bad mother, you can never express it as deeply as I feel it at this time. There will always be guilt. Emotions are complicated, never in a single dimension.
What about Michael, if I try to understand his actions, for me he was an unhappy person at odds with the world. In his ﬁnal days, I would add mentally unbalanced. Religion and islam what his way of trying to make sense of the world, I don’t think he succeeded. It did not bring him peace.
My son did not want to have much to do with me or my husband. When he left for Vancouver 5 years ago, we had no contact till this year when he wrote a short e-mail to say he was well and he was only writing because his religion dictated to him to be good to his parents, it was his duty. I read about the incident in the mosque in Vancouver. I am not sure if it is accurate or not, but if they did turn him away I am sad that it is so, for that is what religion should be about, helping people in trouble, providing emotional support, not turning people away because it is ugly and complicated.
As mentioned my son wanted to have little to do with me, he was troubled and spoke of religion, and religion is not a subject I can easily relate with. So our conversations were one sided where he would talk about religion and I would listen.
What did he talk about at our ﬁnal lunch, he talked about religion, how it was good. How I was wrong to pursue the materiality of this world. He had come to Ottawa to try and get his passport. He ultimately wanted to go to Saudi Arabia and study Islam, study the Coran. He thought he would be happier in an islamic country where they would share his beliefs. He mentioned that he had applied more than one month ago and thought the difﬁculty in getting it was the name of the reference he had given. So he had come to Ottawa to try and convince them to give him one. He said that the «shaytan » was testing him. This was not new, he often spoke of the devil and his attempts to entice people to him. I want to correct the statement of the RCMP I never said he wanted to go to Syria, I speciﬁcally said Saudi Arabia. They taped my conversation so there can little doubt about the accuracy of what I said. I did phone the agent to point the error, I don’t know it they corrected it.
If I try to understand the motivations of my son, I believe his passport was refused and that pushed him into action. He felt cornered, unable to stay in the life he was in, unable to move on to the next one he wanted to go to. He was mad and felt trapped so the only way out was death. I believe he wanted death but wanted it not at his own hand because that would be wrong according to Islam. Maybe he also wanted to strike back at the government who had refused him, the fact that he killed a soldier and went to Parliament would indicate that, they are symbols of government. Regardless of the motivation, that was wrong and despicable. I am just trying to provide context, no justify his actions. My son used to spend hours playing those war video games, in looking at the event it reminded me of that except than now it was real life, people were real and got hurt. A young man lost his life, the enormity of his actions never leave my mind.
Most will call my son a terrorist, I don’t believe he was part of an organization or acted on behalf of some grand ideology or for a political motive. I believe he acted in despair.
I am not sure of the meaning of being radicalized. I doubt he watched much islamic propaganda, I doubt he wanted to go ﬁght in Syria. I know he believed the US government responsible for killing thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, that he did say that. I believe his actions did create terror. He did mention having met once one of the persons mentioned in the media, person that I believe went to Syria to ﬁght, he also said that person would have left Canada with the passport of someone else.
He had met him in the mosque. He mentioned having asked the Imam of the Mosque if he knew of this persons’ activities and the Imam would have said no. My son was not on the list of persons under supervision by CSIS, that further supports my belief of the last desperate act of a person not well in his mind, a person wanting to be killed. I will add that I am not unbiased in this so I may be wrong, I have not been following much of the information on the news, so there may be a lot I don’t know. For me mental illness, is at the centre of this tragedy. At some point in his life, my son had a serious addiction to drugs, I don’t know if he overcame it, but doing so much of it could have left permanent marks and led to his current mental state. His conversations were often strange. Was he crazy? I never could have imagined that he would do something like this, but he was not well either. He refused any of my help, he preferred staying in the homeless shelter rather than coming to my house. I will always be left with the question if I could have said something else, insisted more to help…. The emptiness and pain are overwhelming.
In closing, I wish to apologize to everyone, I am deeply sorry and deeply saddened by the events. Violence never solves anything, however it seems ever present, so easily the response.
I truly hope that in time Mrs Cirillo and her family will ﬁnd peace of mind, joy and further happiness.
Government agencies across the world are rushing to snap up protective gear as concerns about the spread of the Ebola virus continue to dominate, with Lakeland Industries announcing that it has received 1 million orders for Hazmat suits alone.
Lakeland hit the headlines last month when it was revealed that the U.S. State Department had ordered 160,000 Hazmat suits from the Ronkonkoma, NY company.
The manufacturer saw its stock soar by 30% in after-hours trading on Wednesday after a press release on business activity related to Ebola revealed that the company was still being inundated with orders for Hazmat suits and other PPE items.
“Through its direct sales force and numerous distribution partners throughout the world, Lakeland has secured new orders relating to the fight against the spread of Ebola. Orders have been received from government agencies around the worldas well as other public and private sector customers. Certain of these contracts require weekly delivery guarantees or shipments through the first calendar quarter of 2015. The aggregate of orders won by Lakeland that are believed to have resulted from the Ebola crisis amount to approximately 1 million suits with additional orders for other products, such as hoods, foot coverings and gloves,” states the press release.
The company adds that orders for ChemMAX and MicroMAX protective suit lines have increased 50% since August and are on course for a 100% increase by January 2015.
As Infowars reported last week, the federal government is quickly exhausting supplies for Hazmat suits in the United States, with numerous distributors being forced to place stock on hold for “government needs” only as concerns about Ebola linger after a third case was confirmed in New York.
Other federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health are also stockpiling PPE gear in anticipation of an “emergency event” disrupting the supply chain.
Lakeland, which already enjoyed a 40% stock surge in the aftermath of the first Ebola case being confirmed in the United States, is currently selling class A Hazmat suits for $1300 dollars. Business Insider’s Sam Ro accuses the company of cashing in on the spread of the Ebola virus and the fear that has come with it,” noting that the word “Ebola” is mentioned twelve times in their press release.
The Detroit bankruptcy case, which will conclude with a federal judge’s November 7 ruling on the city’s restructuring plan, has brought to light once again the anti-working class character of the trade unions.
In their closing arguments before the federal bankruptcy judge, Steven Rhodes, on Monday, the representatives of the city and the state gloated that they had so quickly wrapped up the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. The “radical” restructuring plan, said Jones Day attorney Bruce Bennett, had not been “watered down.” Indeed, the final proposal includes savage attacks on the working class—including pension cuts in violation of the state constitution and the virtual elimination of retiree health benefits.
Michigan’s special attorney general, Steven Howell, told the court the “Chapter 9 filing had not been popular.” Nevertheless, the initial objectors “were now supporters,” he said, singling out the unions as examples of the “new spirit of cooperation” in Detroit.
Howell was acknowledging that the unions have played a critical role in the conspiracy to rob workers of basic social rights—a conspiracy involving the Democratic mayor and City Council, the Republican governor, the Obama administration, Judge Rhodes and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. The “spirit of cooperation” is directed against the widespread anger of workers throughout the Detroit area over the measures that are being implemented on behalf of the banks and large bondholders.
Throughout the bankruptcy, the unions have acted not as defenders of the workers, but as creditors with some of the biggest claims on the city’s assets. The token opposition that the unions presented early on was aimed at securing a better deal for the wealthy executives who run them.
In the end, the unions declared their support for the “restructuring,” i.e., plundering, of the city in exchange for control of a half-billion dollar health care investment fund, known as a VEBA. In his closing statements, Claude Montgomery, the attorney for the union-affiliated retiree committee, praised the “strategic decision” of Rhodes to bring the unions onboard in a so-called “grand bargain.”
The retiree committee was advised by Ron Bloom. A senior vice president at the Wall Street investment firm Lazard, Bloom previously worked for the United Steelworkers union, helping protect the interests of the union officials as they collaborated with Wall Street asset strippers to destroy the jobs and pensions of hundreds of thousands of workers during the downsizing of the steel industry.
He later served as President Obama’s point man with the United Auto Workers union during the forced bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009. In exchange for billions of dollars in corporate shares to fund its VEBAs, the UAW agreed to halve the wages of new workers, impose twelve-hour shifts, and enforce other cost reductions that have led to record profits for the Detroit auto makers.
The Obama administration has fully supported the Detroit bankruptcy, which it sees as a model for destroying the pensions and health benefits of millions of teachers, firefighters and other state and municipal workers across the country.
There is no limit to the greed and corruption of the individuals who run the unions. But the role of the unions in the Detroit bankruptcy reflects more than the repulsive subjective traits of the union leaders. It is rooted in the basic class character of these organizations.
Contrary to the claims of the various fake-left organizations that operate within and on the periphery of the unions, these are not working class organizations. They cannot be “reformed” and made to serve the workers’ interests. They are instruments of the state and the ruling class, dedicated to blocking any struggle by workers against the dictates of the corporations and banks.
The antagonistic relationship of the unions to the working class is bound up with their political alliance with the Democratic Party and their commitment to the defense of the capitalist system.
The mass industrial unions in the United States, including the UAW, were established through bitter struggles of workers in defense of their basic rights. Detroit was a center of these struggles in the 1930s, the home of semi-insurrectionary class battles that took on the character of a civil war against the corporations. However, the trade union movement was led by a conservative bureaucracy that worked to channel mass opposition behind the Democratic Party and subordinate the working class to the profit system.
With the globalization of production, which gave transnational corporations the ability to shift production to low-wage regions of the world, the rug was pulled from underneath these nationally-based organizations. In every country, the unions responded by abandoning any resistance to factory closings, mass layoffs and wage-cutting in the name of making their “own” capitalists more competitive.
It has been more than 30 years since the American unions called a major national strike. They have imposed one disastrous concessions contract on the workers after another.
While the transformation of the unions at first proceeded most rapidly in the US, the process has been the same in every country. Earlier this month, officials of the German IG Metall union who sit on Volkswagen’s executive board delivered a 400-page report outlining how the company could slash jobs and labor costs and triple its profits by the end of 2017.
On a world scale, the ruling classes are engaged in a social counterrevolution aimed at turning the clock back more than a century and destroying every gain won by the working class. Detroit has been singled out in part because of the historic role of the city’s auto workers in the mass industrial struggles of the 1930s.
But today the unions are lined up with the bosses and the government against the workers. To fight back, workers must build new organizations of struggle that are democratically controlled by the rank-and-file.
At the same time, the Detroit bankruptcy has shown the necessity for workers to break with the Democrats and take up an independent struggle against the existing political system and the capitalist economic system it defends.
New data released this week on the German economy has intensified fears that Europe’s euro zone is slipping into its third recession in six years and may have entered a downward deflationary spiral of the type that led to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
According to the IFO Business Climate Index for October, German business confidence has fallen to its lowest point since August of 2012. The October survey showed confidence falling to 103.2 this month as compared to 104.7 for September. The new reading was lower than economists’ forecast of 104.3. It was the sixth straight monthly decline.
The dismal business confidence figure follows a series of reports showing that Europe’s biggest economy is contracting. German industrial production fell 4 percent between July and August. Factory orders and exports in August the saw their steepest plunge since 2009. The country’s gross domestic product shrank in the April-June quarter. Its inflation rate is just 0.8 percent, far below the target set by the Bundesbank and the European Central Bank (ECB).
Earlier this month, the German government cut its 2014 economic growth forecast to 1.2 percent from 1.8 percent, and its 2015 projection to 1.3 percent from 2 percent. Following the release of the new IFO report on Monday, Germany’s Chamber of Commerce slashed its growth forecast for 2015 to 0.8 percent.
“The outlook for the German economy deteriorated once again,” said IFO President Hans-Werner Sinn in a news release. Joerg Kraemer, chief economist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying, “The latest numbers from the industrial sector are very worrisome. The third quarter was probably worse than expected. The economy may have stagnated at best.”
Germany, the industrial powerhouse of Europe, was supposed to be the engine that would pull the continent out of its economic malaise. Instead, its highly export-dependent economy is being undermined by a global slowdown in demand, including from China, its third largest market, the so-called “emerging economies” such as Brazil, and the rest of Europe. The government’s own policies—economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, war in the Middle East, and relentless austerity throughout Europe—are contributing to Germany’s slump.
Germany’s downturn is part of a general crisis in the 18-nation euro zone. Growth in the region came to halt in the second quarter and its overall inflation rate, at 0.3 percent, is hovering on the edge of outright deflation.
These conditions prevail despite massive infusions of cash into the financial markets by the central banks of the US, Europe and Japan. The ECB, in a desperate attempt to stave off outright deflation, has slashed its benchmark interest rate to 0.05 percent and launched a modified version of the US Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” program, under which the central bank essentially prints money to buy bonds.
In an another sign of the worsening crisis, the Swedish central bank on Tuesday unexpectedly cut its benchmark interest rate to zero. The Riksbank also slashed its growth projection for 2015.
Sweden, which has the highest unemployment rate in Scandinavia, has seen falling prices in 16 of the past 24 months. The country’s inflation rate has remained below the Riksbank’s 2 percent target for almost three years. After a year of zero inflation in 2013, the Riksbank has predicted a minus 0.2 percent inflation rate this year.
The current (October 25-31) issue of the British Economist magazine focuses on the deflationary crisis in Europe and its disastrous global implications. In a lead editorial headlined “The world’s biggest economic problem: Deflation in the euro zone is all too close and extremely dangerous,” the magazine notes that Europe’s slump is part of a global tendency. It cites the fact that China is now growing more slowly than at any time since 2009.
To back up its warnings on the danger of a deflationary spiral—in which falling prices create a vicious cycle of bankruptcies and layoffs leading to more bankruptcies and layoffs—the Economist notes that inflation rates are well below central bank targets in the US and China as well as Europe. Of the 46 countries whose central banks target inflation, the magazine writes, 30 are below their target.
In Europe itself, prices are falling in eight countries. In Italy, Spain and Greece, inflation is below zero.
The Economist goes on to note that the International Monetary Fund has estimated the odds of deflation in the euro zone, defined as two quarters of falling prices in a 12-month span, at 30 percent for the coming year.
“As debt burdens soar from Italy to Greece,” writes the magazine, “investors will take fright, populist politicians will gain ground, and—sooner rather than later—the euro will collapse.”
The Economist, speaking in behalf of British capitalism and the City of London, flays German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her opposition to any backing off on austerity and prescribes more cash for the financial markets combined with so-called “structural reforms” of the European economies—a euphemism for the destruction of job protections, pensions and what remains of the European welfare state.
Other British newspapers have weighed in behind the Economist. The Telegraph, in an article Monday decried the ECB’s failure to include the risk of deflation in its just-completed “stress test” of European banks. The newspaper noted that prices have fallen over the past six months in roughly half of the euro zone and the “proportion of goods in [its] price basket has jumped to 31 percent.”
The Financial Times on Tuesday quoted George Magnus, senior economic adviser at UBS bank, as saying, “Not only is deflation a clear and present danger, it’s already happening in some countries.”
The deflationary trend in Europe is increasingly impacting the already fragile US economy. Several indexes released Tuesday point to a weakening of economic activity.
The Commerce Department reported that orders for durable goods—products such as heavy machinery designed to last more than three years—fell 1.3 percent in September from the prior month. It followed a record 18.3 percent decline in August and belied the forecasts of economists, who had predicted a 0.7 percent increase.
A category of durable goods called “core capital goods,” which is used to measure business investment, fell 1.7 percent last month, its biggest drop since January.
In a separate report, the Institute of Supply Management reported that its gauge of manufacturing declined to 56.6 in September from 59 in August.
A survey of home prices showed a continuing slowdown in the housing market. The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 5.6 percent in August over the previous year, the slowest year-on-year increase in nearly two years. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, prices in the 20 cities fell 0.1 percent for the month.
The housing figures follow an earlier report that spending at US retailers declined in September, the first drop since January.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Cliff Waldman, an economist with the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, saying, “The darkening world economic and geopolitical picture is having an impact.”
The infusion of trillions of dollars of virtually free credit into the banks and financial markets by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks has failed to resolve the capitalist breakdown that began with the Wall Street crash of September 2008. The conditions of the vast majority of the planet’s inhabitants continue to worsen.
The banks and corporations have not used their windfall to invest in production and create jobs for the unemployed. They have either hoarded the money, used it to buy back their own stock to drive up its price, or engaged in other parasitical activities. The real economy remains virtually moribund.
The unprecedented monetary stimulus—combined with ruthless austerity against the working class—has benefited the financial aristocracy, increasing its vast wealth and its share of the world’s resources. At the same time, it has fostered new forms of speculation and all of the fraudulent and criminal activities that accompany it. The same tendencies that triggered the crash of 2008 are again at work, leading inevitably to a new financial collapse.
In an article Monday on the emergence of a new market in “asset-backed securities” based on sub-prime auto loans—a mirror of the sub-prime home mortgage Ponzi scheme that collapsed six years ago—the Financial Times noted that issuance of junk-rated corporate bonds has hit a new record high.
The Principles (known as the RAI principles) adopted this week in Rome during the 41st session (October 13-18) of the CFS come out of more than two years of negotiations. The IUF, along with other civil society organizations, participated via the Committee’s Civil Society Mechanism in the hope of achieving a set of principles which would promote the right to food by protecting the rights of workers and small producers, protect common access to land, water, seeds, forests and other resources and support public policies and investment to encourage sustainable agriculture.
The CFS Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) immediately issued a statement pointing out that the failure to ground the RAI principles in an overarching human rights framework leaves them “fundamentally flawed”. The CSM expressed concern that the RAI may be used to legitimize irresponsible investment, and called upon the CFS “to actively monitor what is done in the name of the principles.”
Svetlana Boincean, the IUF representative in the CSM, commented, “We made significant progress in the negotiations in winning concrete recognition of the importance of workers’ rights but this is undermined by the text on trade and investment agreements which we know will destroy those very rights.”
The CFS is the intergovernmental committee which is supposed to be “the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together in a coordinated way to ensure food security and nutrition for all”. In this instance some “stakeholders” clearly had more weight than others.
When philosophers have considered miracles, their possibility was usually the concern. Were miracles possible? Some thought so, some not. But answers to that question didn’t tell us anything about human beings themselves. That a revered godhead made miraculous things happen is not indicative of anything that people can or cannot do. People are not gods! But thinking about miracles can teach us a lot about ourselves.
For instance, Jesus is said to have performed numerous miracles of various kinds. Miraculous cures, exorcisms, resurrections, and group feedings. Although they may have been important to the people on whom they were performed, in the great scheme, they were not noteworthy and went unnoted by any objective chronicler. They were truly trivial. Yet the implications of performing or not performing miracles are quite revealing.
Consider the feedings. Jesus, using only five loaves and two fish, fed thousands of men, women, and children, and had food left over. But if Jesus had that ability, why didn’t he use it to feed the hungry everywhere he went? He is said to have resurrected three ordinary people who apparently died of natural causes, but why only three? And why nobody of any importance? The answer seems obvious: either he couldn’t or he was unwilling to. Assuming he had the ability, he must have been unwilling, and that’s a significant implication,
Dogma states that mankind is made in the image of God. What follows is that is God has the ability to do beneficent things but is unwilling to. So when mankind has the ability to do good, that people will be unwilling to do so can be expected. The same implication follows even if mankind’s conception of God is anthropomorphic, that mankind’s conception of God is made in the image of man. The conceptions of man and God are identical in any case. What follows in either case is that both mankind and God lack a propensity to act morally. The ability to do good is often accompanied by an unwillingness to do it.
My anecdotal observations of the actions of human beings support this conclusion. How many times do people who can clearly do the right thing fail to? Why? Numerous reasons can be cited but all can be subsumed in an unwillingness. In fact, this unwillingness seems to be such a fundamental attribute of human nature that human beings attribute it their gods.
But ask yourselves what we would say about a physician who had the ability to restore the sight of the blind but only used it rarely and selectively? Would we think highly of him? Yet the manufacturer of a helpful drug who supplies it only to those who can afford it is not thought poorly of. What kind schizophrenia is this? Americans bemoan the beheading of an American by ISIL but cheer the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Yet the Commandment says thou shall not kill, not thou shall not kill countrymen. People are expected to be truthful in counts of law but are assumed to be dishonest in the marketplace. The dishonesty is legally called puffery! And what do we say about a nation that can feed its hungry but is unwilling to, that can house its homeless but it unwilling to, that can treat its sick but is unwilling to, that can pay its laborers a gainful wage but is unwilling to? Evil persists in this world not because the good do nothing but because those with the ability to do good are unwilling to.
Hillary Clinton has called America a force for good in the world. Is she delusional or merely dumb? Historically, America has never been a force for good in the world. Not once! Unfortunately no other nation has either. Mankind’s unwillingness to do good even when able is pervasive.
So if mankind is to be prevented from exterminating itself, the conception that mankind has of itself and of its gods must be altered fundamentally. Otherwise, death, destruction, and human suffering will continue unabated until everything disappears in a all enveloping conflagration.
John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.
Have the Japanese learned their lesson? Are they decommissioning nuclear plants which are built in dangerous environments?
Of course not!
Instead, they’re re-starting a nuclear plant near a volcano which is about to blow …
A month ago, there was an eruption at Mt. Ontake:
Screenshot from Youtube Video shot on September 29th of Mount erupting. 57 hikers were killed by the explosion
But – as Newsweek reports – a nuclear plant only 40 miles away will be re-started anyway:
Local officials have voted to reopen a nuclear plant in Japan, despite warnings of increased volcanic activity in the region from scientists.
The decision comes despite a warning on Friday that Japan’s Seismological Agency had documented an increase of activity in the Ioyama volcano, located 40 miles away from the power station.
Sendai will become the first Japanese nuclear plant to reopen in since 2011.
However the decision comes as scientific authorities warned of increased seismic activity on the island. Volcanologists have warned that the 2011 earthquake, which measured 9.0 on the Richter scale, may have increased the likelihood of volcanic activity throughout the region. [Background.]
The Sendai plant is also situated only 31 miles from Mount Sakurajima, an extremely active volcano which erupts on a regular basis.
The documentation of new activity comes barely a month after the eruption of Mount Ontake, when 57 hikers were killed on its slopes. There were no accompanying signs of seismic activity prior to the eruption which might have alerted Japanese authorities to the impending disaster.
The vote has been seen as an attempt to resurrect the country’s nuclear industry, which the Japanese government hopes to restart despite public opposition to nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved Sendai’s safety features in September, but the plant must still pass operational safety checks before it will be able to reopen.
A cauldron eruption at one of several volcanoes surrounding the Sendai nuclear power plant could hit the reactors and cause a nationwide disaster, said Toshitsugu Fujii, head of a government-commissioned panel on volcanic eruption prediction.
Wall St Journal, Oct. 23, 2014 (emphasis added): One major volcanic eruption could make Japan “extinct,” a study by experts at Kobe University warns… “We should be aware… It wouldn’t be a surprise if such gigantic eruption were to take place at any moment.”
Japan Times, Oct. 24, 2014: Colossal volcanic eruption could destroy Japan at any time: study — Japan could be nearly destroyed by a volcanic eruption over the next century that would put nearly all of its population of 127 million people at risk… “It is not an overstatement to say that a colossal volcanic eruption would leave Japan extinct as a country,” Kobe University earth sciences professor Yoshiyuki Tatsumi and associate professor Keiko Suzuki said… A disaster on Kyushu… would see an area with 7 million people buried by flows of lava and molten rock in just two hours [and] making nearly the entire country “unlivable”… It would be “hopeless” trying to save about 120 million…
Japan Times, Oct. 24, 2014: Volcano near Sendai nuclear plant is shaking and may erupt… Authorities warned on Friday that a volcano a few dozen kilometers from the Sendai nuclear plant… may erupt. It warned people to stay away… Ioyama [shows] signs of rising volcanic activity recently, including atremor lasting as long as seven minutes… the Meteorological Agency’s volcano division said… [T]he area around the crater is dangerous, he added… On Friday, the warning level for the Sakurajima volcano was at 3, which means people should not approach the peak… Experts warn [the] earthquake in March 2011 may have increased the risk of volcanic activity throughout the nation…
Japan Times, Oct 18, 2014: Sendai reactors vulnerable to eruptions [and] could cause a nationwide disaster, said Toshitsugu Fujii, University of Tokyo professor emeritus who heads a government-commissioned panel… [R]egulators ruled out a major eruption… [Fujii] said at best an eruption can be predicted only a matter of hours or days. Studies have shown that pyroclastic flow… at one of the volcanos near the Sendai plant… reached as far as 145 kilometers away, Fujii said. He said a pyroclastic flowfrom Mount Sakurajima… could easily hit the nuclear plant, which is only 40 kilometers away. Heavy ash falling from an eruption would make it impossible to reach the plant… he said. Many nuclear power plants could be affected…
Asahi Shimbun, May 12, 2014: Now is the time to rethink the risk of operating nuclear power plants… it is the first time that Japan has seriously evaluated… the danger posed by volcanoes… Nuclear power plants… would suffer devastating damage from catastrophic eruptions… radioactive materials will continue to be scattered throughout the world…
University of Tokyo professor Toshitsugu Fujii, head of government panel on eruption prediction: “Scientifically, they’re not safe… If [reactors] still need to be restarted… it’s for political reasons, not because they’re safe, and you should be honest about that.”
The federal government has announced that thousands of additional US soldiers are being sent to Liberia. General Gary Volesky said the troops would “stamp out” ebola.
The official story is that combat troops are being sent to build treatment structures for those infected with ebola.
Why combat troops? Why not send a construction outfit such as an engineer battalion if it has to be military? Why not do what the government usually does and contract with a construction company to build the treatment units? “Additional thousands of troops” results in a very large inexperienced construction crew for 17 treatment units. It doesn’t make sense.
Stories that don’t make sense and that are not explained naturally arouse suspicions, such as: Are US soldiers being used to test ebola vaccines and cures, or more darkly are they being used to bring more ebola back to the US?
I understand why people ask these questions. The fact that they will receive no investigative answer will deepen suspicions.
Uninformed and gullible Americans will respond: “The US government would never use its own soldiers and its own citizens as guinea pigs.” Before making a fool of yourself, take a moment to recall the many experiments the US government has conducted on American soldiers and citizens. For example, search online for “unethical human experimentation in the United States” or “human radiation experiments,” and you will find that federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and Atomic Energy Commission have: exposed US soldiers and prisoners to high levels of radiation; irradiated the testicles of males and tested for birth defects (high rate resulted); irradiated the heads of children; fed radioactive material to mentally disabled children.
The Obama regime’s opposition to quarantine for those arriving from West Africa is also a mystery. The US Army has announced that the Army intends to quarantine every US soldier returning from deployment in Liberia. The Army sensibly says that an abundance of caution is required in order to minimize the risk of transferring the ebola outbreak to the US.
Apparently pressure from the White House and threats of law suits from those subject to quarantine have caused the two states to loosen their quarantines. A nurse returning from treating ebola patients in West Africa has been cleared by New Jersey for discharge after being symptom-free for 24 hours instead of the 21-days it takes for the disease to produce symptoms. The nurse threatened a lawsuit, and the false issue of “discrimination against health care workers” has arisen. How is it discrimination to quarantine those with the greatest exposure to ebola?
Once symptoms appear, an infected person is dangerous to others until the person is quarantined. As the CDC now has been forced to admit, after stupidly denying the obvious fact, the current ebola strain can spread by air. All it takes is a sneeze or a cough or a contaminated surface.
In other words, it can spread like flu. Previous denials of this fact helped to create the suspicion that the new ebola strain is a weaponized biowarfare strain created by US government labs in West Africa. As University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle has revealed, Washington placed its biowarfare laboratories in African countries that did not sign the convention banning such experimentation.
Washington’s deviousness in evading the convention that the US government signed has produced another suspicion: Did the new ebola strain escape, perhaps via some lab mishap that infected lab workers, or was the strain deliberately released in order to test if it works?
The only intelligent and responsible policy is to stop all commercial flights to and from ebola areas. Health worker volunteers should be transported by military aircraft and should be required to undergo the necessary quarantine before being transported back to the US.
Why does the White House oppose the only responsible and intelligent policy? Why is Congress silent on the issue?
The resistance to a sane policy fosters the suspicions that the government or some conspiracy group intends to use ebola to declare martial law and herd the population or undesirable parts of it, into the FEMA camps that Halliburton was paid to construct (without the public ever being told the reason for the camps).
It is certainly strange that a government involved in long-term wars in the Middle East, the purpose of which is unclear to the public, and in fomenting conflict with both Russia and China, two countries armed with nuclear weapons, would so recklessly create more suspicions among the public of its motives, intentions, and competence.
Democracy requires that the public trust the government. Yet Washington does everything possible to destroy this trust and to present a picture of dysfunctional government with hidden and undeclared agendas.
Following the death last week of legendary Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee at age 93, there have been many warm remembrances of his tough-guy style as he sought “holy shit stories,” journalism that was worthy of the old-fashioned demand, “stop the presses.”
Many of the fond recollections surely are selective, but there was some truth to Bradlee’s “front page” approach to inspiring a staff to push the envelope in pursuit of difficult stories – at least during the Watergate scandal when he backed Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the face of White House hostility. How different that was from Bradlee’s later years and the work of his successors at the Washington Post!
Coincidentally, upon hearing of Bradlee’s death on Oct. 21, I was reminded of this sad devolution of the U.S. news media – from its Watergate/Pentagon Papers heyday of the 1970s to the “On Bended Knee” obsequiousness in covering Ronald Reagan just a decade later, a transformation that paved the way for the media’s servile groveling at the feet of George W. Bush last decade.
Image: The Washington Post’s Watergate team, including from left to right, publisher Katharine Graham, Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward, Howard Simons, and executive editor Ben Bradlee.
On the same day as Bradlee’s passing, I received an e-mail from a fellow journalist informing me that Bradlee’s longtime managing editor and later his successor as executive editor, Leonard Downie, was sending around a Washington Post article attacking the new movie, “Kill the Messenger.”
That article by Jeff Leen, the Post’s assistant managing editor for investigations, trashed the late journalist Gary Webb, whose career and life were destroyed because he dared revive one of the ugliest scandals of the Reagan era, the U.S. government’s tolerance of cocaine trafficking by Reagan’s beloved Nicaraguan Contra rebels.
“Kill the Messenger” offers a sympathetic portrayal of Webb’s ordeal and is critical of the major newspapers, including the Washington Post, for denouncing Webb in 1996 rather than taking the opportunity to revisit a major national security scandal that the Post, the New York Times and other major newspapers missed or downplayed in the mid-1980s after it was first reported by Brian Barger and me for the Associated Press.
Downie, who became the Post’s managing editor in 1984 and followed Bradlee as executive editor in 1991 – and is now a journalism professor at Arizona State University – passed Leen’s anti-Webb story around to other faculty members with a cover note, which read:
“Subject line: Gary Webb was no hero, say[s] WP investigations editor Jeff Leen
“I was at The Washington Post at the time that it investigated Gary Webb’s stories, and Jeff Leen is exactly right. However, he is too kind to a movie that presents a lie as fact.”
Since I knew Downie slightly during my years at the Associated Press – he had once called me about my June 1985 article identifying National Security Council aide Oliver North as a key figure in the White House’s secret Contra-support operation – I sent him an e-mail on Oct. 22 to express my dismay at his “harsh comment” and “to make sure that those are your words and that they accurately reflect your opinion.”
I asked, “Could you elaborate on exactly what you believe to be a lie?” I also noted that “As the movie was hitting the theaters, I put together an article about what the U.S. government’s files now reveal about this problem” and sent Downie a link to that story. I have heard nothing back. [For more on my assessment of Leen’s hit piece, see Consortiumnews.com’s “WPost’s Slimy Assault on Gary Webb.”]
Why Attack Webb?
One could assume that Leen and Downie are just MSM hacks who are covering their tracks, since they both missed the Contra-cocaine scandal as it was unfolding under their noses in the 1980s.
Leen was the Miami Herald’s specialist on drug trafficking and the Medellin cartel but somehow he couldn’t figure out that much of the Contra cocaine was arriving in Miami and the Medellin cartel was donating millions of dollars to the Contras. In 1991, during the drug-trafficking trial of Panama’s Manuel Noriega, Medellin cartel kingpin Carlos Lehder even testified, as a U.S. government witness, that he had chipped in $10 million to the Contras.
Downie was the Washington Post’s managing editor, responsible for keeping an eye on the Reagan administration’s secretive foreign policy but was regularly behind the curve on the biggest scandals of the 1980s: Ollie North’s operation, the Contra-cocaine scandal and the Iran-Contra Affair. After that litany of failures, he was promoted to be the Post’s executive editor, one of the top jobs in American journalism, where he was positioned to oversee the takedown of Gary Webb in 1996.
Though Downie’s note to other Arizona State University professors called the Contra-cocaine story or “Kill the Messenger” or both a “lie,” the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim recounted recently in an article about the big media’s assault on Webb that “The Post’s top editor at the time, Leonard Downie, told me that he doesn’t remember the incident well enough to comment on it.”
But there’s more here than just a couple of news executives who find it easier to pile on a journalist no longer around to defend himself than to admit their own professional failures. What Leen and Downie represent is an institutional failure of American journalism to protect the American people, choosing instead to protect the American power structure.
Remember that in the mid-1980s when Barger and I exposed the Contra-cocaine scandal, the smuggling was happening in real time. It wasn’t history. The various Contra pipelines were bringing cocaine into American cities where some was getting processed into crack. If action had been taken then, at least some of those shipments could have been stopped and some of the Contra traffickers prosecuted.
Yet, instead of the major news media joining in exposing these ongoing crimes, the New York Times and Washington Post chose to look the other way. In Leen’s article, he justifies this behavior under a supposed journalistic principle that “an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof.” But any such standard must also be weighed against the threat to the American people and others from withholding a story.
If Leen’s principle means in reality that no level of proof would be sufficient to report that the Reagan administration was protecting Contra-cocaine traffickers, then the U.S. media was acquiescing to criminal activity that wreaked havoc on American cities, destroyed countless lives and overflowed U.S. prisons with low-level drug dealers while powerful people with political connections went untouched.
That assessment is essentially shared by Doug Farah, who was a Washington Post correspondent in Central America at the time of Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series in 1996. After reading Webb’s series in the San Jose Mercury News, Farah was eager to advance the Contra-cocaine story but encountered unrealistic demands for proof from his editors.
Farah told Ryan Grim:
“If you’re talking about our intelligence community tolerating — if not promoting — drugs to pay for black ops, it’s rather an uncomfortable thing to do when you’re an establishment paper like the Post. … If you were going to be directly rubbing up against the government, they wanted it more solid than it could probably ever be done.”
In other words, “extraordinary proof” meant you’d never write a story on this touchy topic because no proof is 100 percent perfect, apparently not even when the CIA’s inspector general confesses, as he did in 1998, that much of what Webb, Barger and I had reported was true and that there was much, much more. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Sordid Contra Cocaine Scandal.”]
What Happened to the Press?
How this transformation of Washington journalism occurred – from the more aggressive press corps of the 1970s into the patsy press corps of the 1980s and beyond – is an important lost chapter of modern American history.
Much of this change emerged from the political wreckage that followed the Vietnam War, the Pentagon Papers, the Watergate scandal and the exposure of CIA abuses in the 1970s. The American power structure, particularly the Right, struck back, labeling the U.S. news media as “liberal” and questioning the patriotism of individual journalists and editors.
But it didn’t require much arm-twisting to get the mainstream news media to bend into line and fall on its knees. Many of the news executives that I worked under shared the view of the power structure that the Vietnam protests were disloyal, that the U.S. government needed to hit back against humiliations like the Iran-hostage crisis, and that the rebellious public needed to be brought back into line behind more traditional values.
At the Associated Press, its most senior executive, general manager Keith Fuller, gave a 1982 speech in Worcester, Massachusetts, hailing Reagan’s election in 1980 as a worthy repudiation of the excesses of the 1960s and a necessary corrective to the nation’s lost prestige of the 1970s. Fuller cited Reagan’s Inauguration and the simultaneous release of the 52 U.S. hostages in Iran on Jan. 20, 1981, as a national turning point in which Reagan had revived the American spirit.
“As we look back on the turbulent Sixties, we shudder with the memory of a time that seemed to tear at the very sinews of this country,” Fuller said, adding that Reagan’s election represented a nation “crying, ‘Enough.’ …
“We don’t believe that the union of Adam and Bruce is really the same as Adam and Eve in the eyes of Creation. We don’t believe that people should cash welfare checks and spend them on booze and narcotics. We don’t really believe that a simple prayer or a pledge of allegiance is against the national interest in the classroom.
“We’re sick of your social engineering. We’re fed up with your tolerance of crime, drugs and pornography. But most of all, we’re sick of your self-perpetuating, burdening bureaucracy weighing ever more heavily on our backs.”
Fuller’s sentiments were not uncommon in the executive suites of major news organizations, where Reagan’s reassertion of an aggressive U.S. foreign policy was especially welcomed. At the New York Times, executive editor Abe Rosenthal, an early neocon, vowed to steer his newspaper back “to the center,” by which he meant to the right.
There was also a social dimension to this journalistic retreat. For instance, the Washington Post’s longtime publisher Katharine Graham found the stresses of high-stakes adversarial journalism unpleasant. Plus, it was one thing to take on the socially inept Richard Nixon; it was quite another to challenge the socially adroit Ronald and Nancy Reagan, whom Mrs. Graham personally liked.
The Graham family embraced neoconservatism, too, favoring aggressive policies against Moscow and unquestioned support for Israel. Soon, the Washington Post and Newsweek editors were reflecting those family prejudices.
I encountered that reality when I moved from AP to Newsweek in 1987 and found executive editor Maynard Parker, in particular, hostile to journalism that put Reagan’s Cold War policies in a negative light. I had been involved in breaking much of the Iran-Contra scandal at the AP, but I was told at Newsweek that “we don’t want another Watergate.” The fear apparently was that the political stresses from another constitutional crisis around a Republican president might shatter the nation’s political cohesion.
The same was true of the Contra-cocaine story, which I was prevented from pursuing at Newsweek. Indeed, when Sen. John Kerry advanced the Contra-cocaine story with a Senate report issued in April 1989, Newsweek was uninterested and the Washington Post buried the story deep inside the paper. Later, Newsweek dismissed Kerry as a “randy conspiracy buff.” [For details, see Robert Parry’s Lost History.]
Fitting a Pattern
In other words, the vicious destruction of Gary Webb following his revival of the Contra-cocaine scandal in 1996 – when he examined the impact of one Contra-cocaine pipeline into the crack trade in Los Angeles – was not out of the ordinary. It was part of the pattern of subservience to the national security apparatus, especially under Republicans and right-wingers but extending to Democratic hardliners, too.
This pattern of bias continued into last decade, even when the issue was whether the votes of Americans should be counted. After the 2000 election, when George W. Bush got five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the counting of votes in the key state of Florida, major news executives were more concerned about protecting the fragile “legitimacy” of Bush’s tainted victory than ensuring that the actual winner of the U.S. presidential election became president.
After the Supreme Court’s Republican majority made sure that Florida’s electoral votes – and thus the presidency – would go to Bush, some news executives, including the New York Times’ executive editor Howell Raines, bristled at proposals to do a media count of the disputed ballots, according to a New York Times executive who was present for these discussions.
The idea of this media count was to determine who the voters of Florida actually favored for president, but Raines only relented to the project if the results did not indicate that Bush should have lost, a concern that escalated after the 9/11 attacks, according to the account from the Times executive.
Raines’s concern became real when the news organizations completed their unofficial count of Florida’s disputed ballots in November 2001 and it turned out that Al Gore would have carried Florida if all legally cast votes were counted – regardless of what standards were applied to the famous chads – dimpled, hanging or punched-through.
Gore’s victory would have been assured by the so-called “over-votes” in which a voter both punched through a candidate’s name and wrote it in. Under Florida law, such “over-votes” are legal and they broke heavily in Gore’s favor. [See Consortiumnews.com's "So Bush Did Steal the White House" or our book, Neck Deep.]
In other words, the wrong candidate had been awarded the presidency. However, this startling fact became an inconvenient truth that the mainstream U.S. news media decided to obscure. So, the major newspapers and TV networks hid their own scoop when the results were published on Nov. 12, 2001.
Instead of stating clearly that Florida’s legally cast votes favored Gore – and that the wrong man was in the White House – the mainstream media bent over backwards to concoct hypothetical situations in which Bush might still have won the presidency, such as if the recount were limited to only a few counties or if the legal “over-votes” were excluded.
The reality of Gore’s rightful victory was buried deep in the stories or relegated to data charts that accompanied the articles. Any casual reader would have come away from reading the New York Times or the Washington Post with the conclusion that Bush really had won Florida and thus was the legitimate president after all.
The Post’s headline read, “Florida Recounts Would Have Favored Bush.” The Times ran the headline: “Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote.” Some columnists, such as the Post’s media analyst Howard Kurtz, even launched preemptive strikes against anyone who would read the fine print and spot the hidden “lede” of Gore’s victory. Kurtz labeled such people “conspiracy theorists.” [Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2001]
An Irate Reporter
After reading these slanted “Bush Won” stories, I wrote an article for Consortiumnews.com noting that the obvious “lede” should have been that the recount revealed that Gore had won. I suggested that the news judgments of senior editors might have been influenced by a desire to appear patriotic only two months after 9/11. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Gore’s Victory.”]
My article had been up for only a couple of hours when I received an irate phone call from New York Times media writer Felicity Barringer, who accused me of impugning the journalistic integrity of executive editor Raines.
Though Raines and other executives may have thought that what they were doing was “good for the country,” they actually were betraying their most fundamental duty to the American people – to give them the facts as fully and accurately as possible. By falsely portraying Bush as the real winner in Florida and thus in the Electoral College, these news executives infused Bush with false legitimacy that he then abused in leading the country to war in Iraq in 2003.
Again, in that run-up to the Iraq invasion, the major news media performed more as compliant propagandists than independent journalists, embracing Bush’s false WMD claims and joining in the jingoism that celebrated “the troops” and the initial American conquest of Iraq.
Despite the media’s embarrassment that later surrounded the bogus WMD stories and the disastrous Iraq War, mainstream news executives faced no accountability. Howell Raines lost his job in 2003 not because of his unethical handling of the Florida recount or the false Iraq War reporting, but because he trusted reporter Jayson Blair who fabricated sources in the Beltway Sniper Case.
How distorted the Times’ judgment had become was underscored by the fact that Raines’s successor, Bill Keller, had written a major article – “The I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-a-Hawk Club” – hailing “liberals” who joined him in supporting the Iraq invasion. In other words, you got fired if you trusted a dishonest reporter but got promoted if you trusted a dishonest president.
Similarly, at the Washington Post, editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt, who reported again and again that Iraq was hiding stockpiles of WMD as “flat-fact,” didn’t face the kind of journalistic disgrace that was meted out to Gary Webb. Instead, Hiatt is still holding down the same prestigious job, writing the same kind of imbalanced neocon editorials that guided the American people into the Iraq disaster, except now Hiatt is pointing the way to deeper confrontations in Syria, Iran, Ukraine and Russia.
So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that this thoroughly corrupted Washington press corps would lash out again at Gary Webb as his reputation has the belated chance for a posthumous rehabilitation.
But how far the vaunted Washington press corps has sunk is illustrated by the fact that it has been left to a Hollywood movie – of all things – to set the record straight.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, 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.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has officially banned Palestinians from traveling on Israeli-run public transportation in the West Bank, according to anew report by Haaretz, Israel’s most prominent newspaper.
The new apartheid law dictates that Palestinians cannot take buses that go from central Israel to the West Bank. They must go out of their way, to the Eyal Crossing, near the city Qalqilyah, “far from populated settler areas.”
It is already difficult for Palestinians to enter Israel. Palestinian workers traveling into central Israel for their jobs have to go through high-security, militarized check points. Those who are allowed to cross are not allowed to sleep in Israel. Unemployment and poverty are high in the West Bank because of the 47-year Israeli military occupation. Palestinians seek employment opportunities in Israel, often in low-paid, dangerous work such as construction. Because of the checkpoints and Israeli militarized security apparatus, it takes Palestinians a long time to travel into Israel (if they are even able to do so at all). This new decision will increase their already inordinately large commute times even more.
A security official involved told Haaretz that “no Palestinian will be prevented from reaching his destination”; this may be true, but the question is how much longer will it take that Palestinian to travel between work and home?
Haaretz notes that the decision to segregate buses did not come out of the blue; Ya’alon decided on it after facing “intense pressure from settlers.” The paper explains the Samaria Settlers’ Committee and local Jewish authorities “conducted an aggressive campaign” to ban Palestinians. It adds that “settlers have tried on multiple occasions to prevent the Palestinians from commuting on those buses, and have released a video calling for them to be banned.” Ya’alon “met with settler leaders” and assured them he would implement the apartheid, Jewish-only policies they desired.
It is clear that this decision is explicitly motivated out of a racism, not out of “security” concerns. Haaretz indicates that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has officially stated it “does not view the presence of Palestinians on West Bank buses as a security threat.” The paper interviewed IDF GOC Central Command Major General Nitzan Alon, who insisted that West Bank Palestinians do not pose a “security threat,” as they already “must obtain pre-approval from the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police in order to receive permits. They then undergo body checks at the border crossings.”
Member of Knesset Moti Yogev, of the far-right, religious, pro-settler Habayit Hayehudi party, explained his reasoning: “Riding these buses is unreasonable. They are full of Arabs.”
This call for bus segregation is not new. AFP reports that “Israeli settlers in the West Bank have called for years for Palestinians to be banned from public transport.” In many ways, Israeli buses have been moving toward segregation for some time. In March 2013, Israel created Palestinian-only buses. Although not technically mandatory, racist Israeli settlers used the existence of these buses to pressure Palestinians into de facto segregation.
A variety of human and civil rights organizations publicly criticized this de facto racism. Among these was Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. In the wake of this most recent decision, the Israeli government officially implementing de jure segregation, AFP interviewed B’Tselem, which insisted: “It is time to stop hiding behind technical arrangements… and admit this military procedure is thinly veiled pandering to the demand for racial segregation on buses.”
Motivated by a Racist Society
It is most telling that this decision was pressured from below, not imposed from top-down. Racism in Israeli society is not just systemic; most Israelis themselves are obscenely racist toward indigenous Palestinians and African refugees.
The vast majority of Israelis support their ethnocracy‘s ethno-religious supremacist policies. 95% of Israelis supported their country’s most recent military attack on Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge”—a 50-day assault that killed close to 2,200 people—including roughly 1600 civilians, 500 of whom were children—wounded over 11,000, and made over 100,000 homeless.
As I have noted in a previous article, in 2012, also in Haaretz, renowned journalist Gideon Levy published the results of a poll that found “Most Israeli Jews Would Support Apartheid Regime in Israel.” This study, “expos[ing] anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews,” was not based on an internet survey. It was conducted by Dialog and directed by professor Camil Fuchs, Haaretz’s polling expert and head of the Department of Statistics at Tel Aviv University’s School of Mathematical Science, and commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund.
The study revealed the following unsavory facts about Israeli society:
– 59% want preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries.
– 49% want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones.
– 42% don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs.
– 42% don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.
– c. 33% want a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset.
– 69% object to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.
– 74% majority are in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians.
– 24% believe separate roads are “a good situation.”
– 50% believe separate roads are “a necessary situation.”
– 47% want part of Israel’s Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority.
– 36% support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the PA, in exchange for keeping some of the West Bank settlements.
– 38% want Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them.
– 31% don’t admit that Israel practices apartheid against Arabs.
– 58% do admit that Israel practices apartheid against Arabs.
In August 2014, Haaretz released a report titled “Israeli teenagers: Racist and proud of it,” revealing that “Ethnic hatred has become a basic element in the everyday life of Israeli youth.” The piece opens with a quote from a 10th-grade Israeli girl from a high school in the central part of the country.
For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand. I am tremendously racist. I come from a racist home. If I get the chance in the army to shoot one of them, I won’t think twice. I’m ready to kill someone with my hands, and it’s an Arab. In my education I learned that … their education is to be terrorists, and there is no belief in them. I live in an area of Arabs, and every day I see these Ishmaelites, who pass by the [bus] station and whistle. I wish them death.
The article is a review of an upcoming book from which this interview is excerpted. Scenes from School Life is based on three years of field work by Israeli sociologist Idan Yaron at a six-year, secular Israeli high school. The school was “the most average school we could find,” says professor of education Yoram Harpaz, who wrote the book with Yaron. The quote above was taken from a student at this “most average school.” Yaron’s book is filled with myriad instances of Israelis calling for the murder, and even genocidal extermination, of Palestinians.Yet Israeli racism is not just directed at indigenous Palestinians. Journalists Max Blumenthal and David Sheen released a brief documentary titled “Israel’s New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land,” detailing the horrific extent to which anti-black racism pervades Israeli civil and political society. In it, they show video footage:
– of prominent politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Member of Knesset Michael Ben-Ari, among others, calling African refugees “infiltrators” and/or “cancer,” and even openly using the n-word;
– of Israeli citizens harassing fellow Israelis for engaging in interracial relationships; and
– of some politicians even going so far as to propose the creation of concentration camps in which to hold African refugees.
De jure bus segregation such as this reminds us that Israel is simply an apartheid state; there is no candy-coating this fact. In 2007, David A. Kirshbaum, of the Israel Law Resource Center, published a piece titled “Israeli Apartheid — A Basic Legal Perspective,” meticulously detailing the many ways in which Israel is an apartheid state, under its very own laws.
As Washington’s trusted lapdog, the UK is spearheading US agritech’s drive to get genetically modified (GM) food into Europe. Officials, politicians, academics and media outlets have been co-opted by and are colluding with the GMO agritech industry [1-6]. These people and institutions have been spewing out falsehoods, ignoring evidence pertaining to GMOs and are putting a one-sided positive spin on GM food with the aim of forcing it onto a public that does not want it .
Monsanto and other agritech companies are lobbying hard for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) , which aims to throw Europe’s door wide open to GM food . The same companies are also behind the drive to weaken the pan-European regulatory framework currently in place by attempting to push through legislation that will allow them to pick off each state one by one and force their GMOs onto people [10,11]. They have all options covered.
Now the industry and its mouthpieces and proxies are pushing to do away with European process-based regulation , which would effectively side-step any effective process for assessing and regulating GMOs. Process-based regulation concerns the techniques used to create a new crop variety. For example, if a new crop variety is developed through GM, it must be assessed for safety and labelled.
However, technologies have been developed that are intended to target GM gene insertion to a predetermined site within the plant’s DNA. Although the GMO industry claims these techniques are precise, studies have found that they cause unintended genomic modifications in off-target sites (the part of the plant not being targeted), potentially causing a range of harmful side-effects .
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK’s main public science funding body. It is using the supposed precision of genome editing to lobby for process-based GMO regulation to be abolished. The alternative is product-based regulation, where the regulator looks at the trait the crop is engineered to express and regulates it on that basis. Writing on the GMWatch site, Claire Robinson says that if a crop were engineered to produce a pesticide, it would be regulated as a pesticide. If it were engineered to contain higher levels of a nutrient, it would probably escape regulation, or it may be regulated as a natural food or drug, depending on the country and the product. Safety assessments specific to GM crops would not be triggered . They would be treated the same as non-GMOs.
The US and Canada currently have product-based regulation and thus have minimal oversight of GMO crops and foods. The US, for example, only regulates GMOs if they are pesticides or plant pests and assumes that GMO Bt pesticidal plants are equivalent and thus harmless to humans and animals because natural Bt is allegedly harmless to humans and animals. Claire Robinson argues that this completely ignores the fact that the GMO Bt toxin is different from natural Bt in structure and mode of action, thus losing its specificity to insect pests and opening up the possibility that it is toxic or allergenic to humans and animals.
It is impossible to label GMO products if the process by which they were created is ignored. If Europe opts for product-based regulation, there will be no labelling of GMO products. The TTIP aims to force Europe to drop its GMO regulatory standards. If this occurs, Claire Robinson argues that Europe will adopt the type of worthless product-based regulatory assessments that occurs in the US. The push for product-based regulation is yet another devious tactic being used by the GMO biotech lobby to muddy the waters and erode Europe’s regulatory framework.
GMOs are not needed to feed the world [14-18]. The push to force GM food into Europe is based on lies, deceptions and falsehoods. It is part of a strategy to place the global control of agriculture into the hands of a few corporations for commercial gain. These corporations with their control of seeds and technologies via patents intend to suck massive amounts of money from agriculture . Given their impacts on health and the environment and also taking into account the track records of the players who are furthering the global GM strategy (Monsanto, Gates Foundation, Rockefeller, US State Department, etc), GMOs must ultimately be regarded as a tool of imperialism and a form of biological warfare [20,21,22].
The GMO biotech lobby attempts to disguise its intentions behind the mask of altruism and tries to drive its message with a cynical dose of emotional blackmail about critics of GMOs robbing food from the mouths of the hungry . Such a pity that the UK public is (unknowingly) funding the GMO agenda, not least because the BBSRC and government departments are using British taxpayers’ money to promote the industry’s lobbying messages.
Last week, the country’s biggest mortgage lenders scored a couple of key victories that will allow them to ease lending standards, crank out more toxic assets, and inflate another housing bubble. Here’s what’s going on.
On Monday, the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Mel Watt, announced that Fannie and Freddie would slash the minimum down-payment requirement on mortgages from 5 percent to 3 percent while making loans more available to people with spotty credit. If this all sounds hauntingly familiar, it should. It was less than 7 years ago that shoddy lending practices blew up the financial system precipitating the deepest slump since the Great Depression. Now Watt wants to repeat that catastrophe by pumping up another credit bubble. Here’s the story from the Washington Post:
“When it comes to taking out a mortgage, two factors can stand in the way: the price of the mortgage,…and the borrower’s credit profile.”
On Monday, the head of the agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac outlined … how he plans to make it easier for borrowers on both fronts. Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, did not give exact timing on the initiatives. But most of them are designed to encourage the industry to extend mortgages to a broader swath of borrowers.
Here’s what Watt said about his plans in a speech at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual convention in Las Vegas:
Saving enough money for a downpayment is often cited as the toughest hurdle for first-time buyers in particular. Watt said that Fannie and Freddie are working to develop “sensible and responsible” guidelines that will allow them to buy mortgages with down payments as low as 3 percent, instead of the 5 percent minimum that both institutions currently require.”
Does Watt really want to “encourage the industry to extend mortgages to a broader swath of borrowers” or is this just another scam to enrich bankers at the expense of the public? It might be worth noting at this point that Watt’s political history casts doubt on his real objectives. According to Open Secrets, among the Top 20 contributors to Watt’s 2009-2010 campaign were Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc., Bank of New York Mellon, American bankers Association, US Bancorp, and The National Association of Realtors. (“Top 20 Contributors, 2009-2010“, Open Secrets)
Man oh man, this guy’s got all of Wall Street rooting for him. Why is that, I wonder? Is it because he’s faithfully executing his office and defending the public’s interests or is it because he’s a reliable stooge who brings home the bacon for fatcat bankers and their brood?
This is such a farce, isn’t it? I mean, c’mon, do you really think that the big banks make political contributions out of the kindness of their heart or because they want something in return? And do you really think that a guy who is supported by Goldman Sachs has your “best interests” in mind? Don’t make me laugh.
The reason that Obama picked Watt was because he knew he could be trusted to do whatever Wall Street wanted, and that’s precisely what he’s doing. Smaller down payments and looser underwriting are just the beginning; teaser rates, balloon payments, and liars loans are bound to follow. In fact, there’s a funny story about credit scores in the Washington Post that explains what’s really going on behind the scenes. See if you can figure it out:
“Most housing advocates agree that a bigger bang for the buck would come from having lenders lower the unusually high credit scores that they’re now demanding from borrowers.
After the housing market tanked, Fannie and Freddie forced the industry to buy back billions of dollars in loans. In a bid to protect themselves from further financial penalties, lenders reacted by imposing credit scores that exceed what Fannie and Freddie require. Housing experts say the push to hold lenders accountable for loose lending practices of the past steered the industry toward the highest-quality borrowers, undermining the mission of Fannie and Freddie to serve the broader population, including low- to moderate- income borrowers.
Today, the average credit score on a loan backed by Fannie and Freddie is close to 745, versus about 710 in the early 2000s, according to Moody’s Analytics. And lenders say they won’t ease up until the government clarifies rules that dictate when Fannie and Freddie can take action against them.” (Washington Post)
Can you see what’s going on? The banks have been requiring higher credit scores than Fannie or Freddie.
But why? After all, the banks are in the lending business, so the more loans they issue the more money they make, right?
Right. But the banks don’t care about the short-term dough. They’d rather withhold credit and slow the economy in order to blackmail the government into doing what they want.
And what do they want?
They want looser regulations and they want to know that Fannie and Freddie aren’t going to demand their money back (“put backs”) when they sell them crappy mortgages that won’t get repaid. You see, the banks figure that once they’ve off-loaded a loan to Fannie and Freddie, their job is done. So, if the mortgage blows up two months later, they don’t think they should have to pay for it. They want the taxpayer to pay for it. That’s what they’ve been whining about for the last 5 years. And that’s what Watt is trying to fix for them. Here’s the story from Dave Dayen:
“Watt signaled to mortgage bankers that they can loosen their underwriting standards, and that Fannie and Freddie will purchase the loans anyway, without much recourse if they turn sour. The lending industry welcomed the announcement as a way to ease uncertainty and boost home purchases, a key indicator for the economy. But it’s actually a surrender to the incorrect idea that expanding risky lending can create economic growth.
Watt’s remarks come amid a concerted effort by the mortgage industry to roll back regulations meant to prevent the type of housing market that nearly obliterated the economy in 2008. Bankers have complained to the media that the oppressive hand of government prevents them from lending to anyone with less-than-perfect credit. Average borrower credit scores are historically high, and lenders make even eligible borrowers jump through enough hoops to garner publicity. Why, even Ben Bernanke can’t get a refinance done! (Actually, he could, and fairly easily, but the anecdote serves the industry’s argument.)
Can you see what a fraud this is? 6 years have passed since Lehman crashed and the scum-sucking bankers are still fighting tooth-and-nail to unwind the meager provisions that have been put in place to avoid another system-shattering disaster. It’s crazy. These guys should all be in Gitmo pounding rocks and instead they’re setting the regulatory agenda. Explain that to me? And this whole thing about blackmailing the government because they don’t want to be held responsible for the bad mortgages they sold to the GSE’s is particularly irritating. Here’s more from Dave Dayen:
“After the housing market tanked, Fannie and Freddie forced the industry to buy back billions of dollars in loans. In a bid to protect themselves from further financial penalties, lenders reacted by imposing credit scores that exceed what Fannie and Freddie require. ….And lenders say they won’t ease up until the government clarifies rules that dictate when Fannie and Freddie can take action against them.”
So the industry has engaged in an insidious tactic: tightening lending well beyond required standards, and then claiming the GSEs make it impossible for them to do business. For example, Fannie and Freddie require a minimum 680 credit score to purchase most loans, but lenders are setting their targets at 740. They are rejecting eligible borrowers….so they can profit much more from a regulation-free zone down the line.
So, I ask you, dear reader; is that blackmail or is it blackmail?
And what does Watt mean when he talks about “developing sensible and responsible guidelines’ that will allow them (borrowers) to buy mortgages with down payments as low as 3 percent”?
What a joke. Using traditional underwriting standards, (the likes of which had been used for the entire post-war period until we handed the system over to the banks) a lender would require a 10 or 20 percent down, decent credit scores, and a job. The only reason Watt wants to wave those requirements is so the banks can fire-up the old credit engine and dump more crap-ass mortgages on Uncle Sam. That’s the whole thing in a nutshell. It’s infuriating!
Let me fill you in on a little secret: Down payments matter! In fact, people who put more down on a home (who have “more skin in the game”) are much less likely to default. According to David Battany, executive vice president of PennyMac, “there is a strong correlation between down payments to mortgage default. The risk of default almost doubles with every 1%.”
Economist Dean Baker says the same thing in a recent blog post:
“The delinquency rate, which closely follows the default rate, is several times higher for people who put 5 percent or less down on a house than for people who put 20 percent or more down.
Contrary to what some folks seem to believe, getting moderate income people into a home that they subsequently lose to foreclosure or a distressed sale is not an effective way for them to build wealth, even if it does help build the wealth of the banks.”
Now take a look at this chart from Dr. Housing Bubble which helps to illustrate the dangers of low down payments in terms of increased delinquencies:
Image: Data on mortgage delinquencies by downpayment. Source: Felix Salmon
“When the mortgage industry starts complaining about the 14 million people who would be denied the chance to buy a qualified mortgage if they don’t have a 5% downpayment, it’s worth remembering that qualified mortgages for people who don’t have a 5% downpayment have a delinquency rate of 16% over the course of the whole housing cycle.” (“Why a sizable down payment is important“, Dr. Housing Bubble)
So despite what Watt thinks, higher down payments mean fewer defaults, fewer foreclosures, fewer shocks to the market, and greater financial stability.
And here’s something else that Watt should mull over: The housing market isn’t broken and doesn’t need to be fixed. It’s doing just fine, thank you very much. First of all, sales and prices are already above their historic trend. Check it out from economist Dean Baker:
“If we compare total sales (new and existing homes) with sales in the pre-bubble years 1993-1995, they would actually be somewhat higher today, even after adjusting for population growth. While there may be an issue of many people being unable to qualify for mortgages because of their credit history, this does not appear to be having a negative effect on the state of market. Prices are already about 20 percent above their trend levels.” (“Total Home Sales Are At or Above Trend“, Dean Baker, CEPR)
Got it? Sales and prices are ALREADY where they should be, so there’s no need to lower down payments and ease credit to start another orgy of speculation. We don’t need that.
Second, the quality of today’s mortgages ARE BETTER THAN EVER, so why mess with success? Take a look at this from Black Knight Financial Services and you’ll see what I mean:
“Today, the Data and Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services … released its November Mortgage Monitor Report, which found that loans originated in 2013 are proving to be the best-performing mortgages on record…..
“Looking at the most current mortgage origination data, several points become clear,” said Herb Blecher, senior vice president of Black Knight Financial Services’ Data & Analytics division. “First is that heightened credit standards have resulted in this year being the best-performing vintage on record. Even adjusting for some of these changes, such as credit scores and loan-to-values, we are seeing total delinquencies for 2013 loans at extremely low levels across every product category.”
Okay, so sales and prices are fine and mortgage quality is excellent. So why not leave the bloody system alone? As the saying goes: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But you know why they’re going to keep tinkering with the housing market. Everyone knows why. It’s because the banks can’t inflate another big-honking credit bubble unless they churn out zillions of shi**y mortgages that they offload onto Fannie and Freddie. That’s just the name of the game: Grind out the product (mortgages), pack it into sausages (securities and bonds), leverage up to your eyeballs (borrow as much as humanly possible), and dump the junk-paper on yield-chasing baboons who think they’re buying triple A “risk free” bonds.
Garbage in, garbage out. Isn’t this how the banks make their money?
You bet it is, and in that regard things have gotten a helluva a lot scarier since last Wednesday’s announcement that the banks are NOT going to be required to hold any capital against the securities they create from bundles of mortgages.
You read that right. According to the New York Times: “there will be no risk retention to speak of, at least on residential mortgage loans that are securitized.”
But how can that be, after all, it wasn’t subprime mortgages that blew up the financial system (subprime mortgages only totaled $1.5 at their peak), but the nearly $10 trillion in subprime infected mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that stopped trading in the secondary market after a French Bank stopped taking redemptions in July 2007. (a full year before the crisis brought down Lehman Brothers) . That’s what brought the whole rattling financial system to a grinding halt. Clearly, if the banks had had a stake in those shabby MBS— that is, if they were required to set aside 5 or 10 percent capital as insurance in the event that some of these toxic assets went south– then the whole financial collapse could have been avoided, right?
Right. It could have been avoided. But the banks don’t want to hold any capital against their stockpile of rancid assets, in fact, they don’t want to use their own freaking money at all, which is why 90 percent of all mortgages are financed by Uncle Sugar. It’s because the banks are just as broke as they were in 2008 when the system went off the cliff. Here’s a summary from the New York Times:
“Once upon a time, those who made loans would profit only if the loan were paid back. If the borrower defaulted, the lender would suffer.
That idea must have seemed quaint in 2005, as the mortgage lending boom reached a peak on the back of mushrooming private securitizations of mortgages, which were intended to transfer the risk away from those who made the loans to investors with no real knowledge of what was going on.
Less well remembered is that there was a raft of real estate securitizations once before, in the 1920s. The securities were not as complicated, but they had the same goal — making it possible for lenders to profit without risking capital.
The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 set out to clean that up. Now, there would be “risk retention.” Lenders would have to have “skin in the game.” Not 100 percent of the risk, as in the old days when banks made mortgage loans and retained them until they were paid back, but enough to make the banks care whether the loans were repaid.
At least that was the idea. The details were left to regulators, and it took more than four years for them to settle on the details, which they did this week.
The result is that there will be no risk retention to speak of, at least on residential mortgage loans that are securitized.
“…..Under Dodd-Frank, the general rule was to be that if a lender wanted to securitize mortgages, that lender had to keep at least 5 percent of the risk…….But when the final rule was adopted this week, that idea was dropped.” (“Banks Again Avoid Having Any Skin in the Game”, New York Times)
No skin in the game, you say?
That means the taxpayer is accepting 100 percent of the risk. How fair is that?
Let’s review: The banks used to lend money to creditworthy borrowers and keep the loans on their books.
They don’t do that anymore, in fact, they’re not really banks at all, they’re just intermediaries who sell their loans to the USG or investors.
This arrangement has changed the incentives structure. Now the goal is quantity not quality. “How many loans can I churn-out and dump on Uncle Sam or mutual funds etc.” That’s how bankers think now. That’s the objective.
Regulations are bad because regulations stipulate that loans must be of a certain quality, which reduces the volume of loans and shrinks profits. (Can’t have that!) Therefore, the banks must use their money to hand-pick their own regulators (“You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Mel”) and ferociously lobby against any rules that limit their ability to issue credit to anyone who can fog a mirror. Now you understand how modern-day banking works.
It would be hard to imagine a more corrupt system.
Peter Dale Scott, one of the most perceptive and provocative political-historical thinkers of our time, addresses in this podcast interview the Deep State in the United States and the common patterns of the two great events in American history in the last fifty years that were deep events and had constitutional changes as consequences – the JFK assassination ’63 and the terror attacks of 9/11.
Peter Dale Scott is a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. The son of noted Canadian poet and constitutional lawyer F.R. Scott and painter Marian Dale Scott, who was born in Montreal, Canada on January 11th, 1929, has attracted a lot of attention throughout the years for his transparent and heavily-footnoted political writings.
Lars Schall: Peter, we decided to talk this time about the Deep State, and the first question I would like to ask you is, why would you say it is still relevant to talk about 9/11?
Peter Dale Scott: Well, 9/11 was the occasion for major changes both in American foreign and domestic policy, it is the reason we went almost immediately into Afghanistan and it is also why we began planning almost immediately to invade Iraq, which was based on the false assumption that Saddam Hussein had some connection with Al-Qaeda. Where evidence had been provided it was false evidence but the administration chose to believe it. From an American point of view the changes in foreign policy are perhaps not as serious as the implementation on that day of what we call continuity of government (COG) procedures, which have radically altered the status of the American constitution in this country. They had been planning for 20 years what to do in the case of a major emergency like 9/11, and the plans were worked on for two decades by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, who were also the two men who implemented them on 9/11.
We don’t know in detail the plans but I think we can safely sum them up under three headings; one of them is warrantless surveillance, Edward Snowden has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is massive in the country, and it is because of this COG implementation. One is warrantless detention; we had more than a thousand Muslims rounded up without a warrant and held. We have something called ‘habeas corpus’ in our common law: You are not supposed to hold people for very long without charging them. But more than a thousand people were detained and not charged, and some of them were tortured. That is a huge, huge change in the domestic condition of America.
And then finally the involvement of the military in what we call homeland security. The military now play a police role, and that too is something new. You would occasionally have the army called in briefly to deal with a crisis like the rioting we had in the inner cities in the 1960s. But to have a permanent army command for North America that is called NORTHCOM – that is very new; it is a radical change in the role of the army. And above all this is what I talk about in ‘Deep State’. We now have institutions, which are aiming to operate in America without being controlled by the American constitution. I don’t see how you could have a more radical change than that.
LS: What is the Deep State, what are Deep Events and what has 9/11 to do with both?
PDS: Let me get somebody else’s definition of the deep state. A Washington Post reporter called Dana Priest wrote a book ‘Top Secret America’, and in it she said, we now have “two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own…“ (1)
Well, in the sense that second level, the deep state level, has been ruling over decades, but it is true that it has mushroomed in the last decade when she was writing. And it is exactly because of 9/11 and the COG changes, which were authorized, implemented before the last of the four planes had gone down. They implemented COG, then they proclaimed an emergency three days later, and since then we have been living in this state of emergency, which means that in effect the constitution does not rule the way it used to. Now you asked about deep events. 9/11 I call a deep event because from the very beginning it was not very clear exactly what happened. Even journalists commented on the confusion and the inaccuracy of reports, it became so bad that congress had to press … it was a fight to get an investigation.
This is the largest criminal act that was ever committed in America and the White House tried not to investigate it. There was a crime scene that was dismantled almost immediately; some people would say that was illegal. They said they were looking for corpses, and that is why they carried away all steel. But now scientists are very interested to know what residues were in that steel to see if the buildings were perhaps blown up or not. Most of the steel was shipped out of the country very quickly, and so it is a deep event, and we had the commission to investigate it.
The two great events that are deep events are first the Kennedy assassination ’63, then 9/11, there are more – some of them could be very small. You know I think I have had some deep events in my personal life: I described one in ‘The American War Machine’. But the ones which had constitutional consequences were the Kennedy assassination – the consequences were pretty invisible in that one but they were real: they changed the role of the CIA and its relationship to the FBI and to local police. Much more important were the changes after 9/11. Just take the one that Edward Snowden has so completely documented, warrantless surveillance. That I think of the big three is perhaps the least important, but it is the only one that we are really talking about in this country.
And in both cases you had commissions to investigate, and they came out with findings which were demonstrably not true. Now that is the real test of a big deep event – when they investigate it and they give you a story, which almost immediately people can start picking holes in and seeing it is not true. So by definition a deep event is one which we are not given the truth about and the biggest ones we are given a story, which may be true in certain respects but in key respects it is not true.
LS: One thing you are looking at in your work are patterns that were common both in 9/11 and the JFK assassination. First of all, when did you discover this phenomenon and what did you feel about it?
PDS: Pretty soon after 9/11 I was struck by the fact that they knew almost immediately who had done it. In Richard Clarke’s book (he was in position of authority) he says that the FBI had a list of the hijackers of the planes before ten o’clock of that day and that also is before the last of the planes had gone down. For anyone who knows anything about the Kennedy assassination, one of the things that has never been explained is how they were broadcasting on the police tape a description of the perpetrator, the man who had shot Kennedy, allegedly from a window and they gave a pretty precise description: 5 feet ten inches, 165 pounds, and they could never explain where that description came from. They eventually attributed it to a man called Howard Brennan down below; but he had only seen the top half of the man in the window, so how would he know 5 feet ten inches, 165 pounds?
The interesting thing is – that was the description of Lee Harvey Oswald in his FBI file and in his CIA file even though it was not true. They were broadcasting a description of the perpetrator within 15 minutes (when I say broadcast, I mean on the internal police radio) that had been taken from the FBI file and the CIA file; and the FBI has never been able really to explain, nobody has been able to explain how that was done from the government side.
And the same is true with 9/11. Again they circulated internally a list of the hijackers and there were two names on that list that were hastily dropped because one of them [Adnan Bukhari] was dead and the other [Ameer Bukhari] was certainly not on an aeroplane. It was a list I think they took out of files. And that is just the first similarity between these two deep events. In my book “The War Conspiracy” I have more than a dozen similarities and I have since been adding to that list myself the modus operandi.
The other thing is that these people laid a paper trail: Oswald kept a diary, and he did all kinds of things which were later used to incriminate him (although he was of course dead), and at Logan Airport Mohamed Atta and his friends had left a car that was filled with evidence. And that was very convenient for the FBI that the perpetrators or what I call the designated culprits because it was clearly decided in advance who was going to be blamed for this – and they had these people actually help document the case against themselves. I could go on and on; I don’t know if that is enough for you.
LS: Well, I would like to ask you about specific communication channels that were involved both in JFK and 9/11. Why is it perhaps the most important similarity?
PDS: Well yes, I believe that the national communications network – it has had different names over the years, but it is the special network that was set up in connection with Continuity of Government planning, and it goes back to the 1950s and they change its name all the time. This is a similarity that I came to later. For many years I have known that the White House Communications Agency [WHCA] was a factor in the Kennedy assassination because we were given in conjunction with the Warren Commission investigation of JFK, they released the police transcripts and they released certain Secret Service messages, but it was known there were two channels of the police, both released, but there was also a third channel that was being used in Daily Plaza, and the Secret Service was using the channel of what is called the White House Communications Agency.
For years I have known we should get that and we were not able to get that. In 1993 when they set up a[n Assassination Records] Review Board, I went to the Review Board and I said they should get those records; but they have not been released. And yet the White House Communications Agency boasts on its website – I imagine you can still read it there – that it helped solve the Kennedy assassination. And that is very interesting because the records never reached the Warren Commission, which was supposed to be solving it.
And then when the records began to come out about 9/11 – this took a couple of years, we got the 9/11 commission report and it turns out that there are certain communications, certain phone calls that we know were made but there is no record of them. And in my book The Road to 9/11 I said the evidence points to suggestion that they were using — they had already implemented COG; well that means that if that is the case, they implemented [and were using] the COG’s special communications network, which with change of names is the inheritor of the emergency network and the White House Communications Agency was and still is part of that emergency network.
So I could throw in that another deep event was Iran-Contra and it turned out that Oliver North in 1985-86 was sending arms to Iran, which was illegal and a lot of people in the government knew nothing about it. They did not know about it because Oliver North was in charge of that same emergency network and he used that emergency network to make communications with the Embassy in Portugal, for example, in order to facilitate getting those arms to Iran. So that is for me a common denominator.
And in Watergate, that is another deep event. We still don’t know why there was a wiretap put on the phone in the Democratic National Committee but we do know that James McCord who was in charge of the team that installed it was a member of a Special Air Force Reserve network that was concerned with Continuity of Government. And he was charged with the same sort of thing: who to round up, the warrantless detention: they had that sort of thing back in the days of Watergate.
So this to me is one of the most striking common denominators through those big four deep events – JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and finally 9/11, and if we ever have another deep event of this kind, I would predict now on the basis of past performance that the emergency network, the one which ordinary people in the government don’t have access to, that will be a factor again.
LS: Is the Secret Service in both events of special interest?
PDS: They are of interest precisely because of what we have just been talking about; because they use the White House Communications Agency for their communications and a lot of … whole books have been written about the Secret Service and the JFK assassination – some very exaggerated and some people involved them in the plot. I think there was an odd malperformance on that day; they didn’t do things they should have done, they didn’t investigate people they should have – that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are culprits, and so I am not subscribing to those theories. It is less obvious in the case of 9/11, the Secret Service, but what is interesting, they do play a role because at a certain point — there is a special aeroplane for continuity of government, called the E4B, they call it the ‘Doomsday Plane’ and they call the COG planning the ‘Doomsday Program’, and this plane flew over the White House.
No plane is ever supposed to fly over the White House, and on yet precisely this day, when everything went wrong, the E4B – it is supposed to be the special plane for the National Command Authority, which is the President and the Secretary of Defense. But of course neither of them were in the plane: the President was in Florida and the Secretary of Defense was in the Pentagon, according to his own account helping put people on stretchers, which seems an odd thing for him to be doing when the nation is under attack.
But the plane was there and the Secret Service responded by rushing everyone out of the building. There is a very vivid description about they almost lifted Vice President Cheney out of his chair to rush him out of the building and of course they saying the nation was under attack it would have been very logical, very sensible for him to get as quickly as he could to what we call the PEOC, the emergency bunker that is under the White House for when the nation is under attack, but the interesting thing is, he didn’t go straight to the PEOC; there were many many minutes where he waited in the tunnel using a telephone that was there in the tunnel. What would that telephone possibly be? I would bet money, that was a telephone that was connected to the emergency network, and I think it was on that phone that a lot of the key decisions were made, not even in the presence of the top advisors who were in the PEOC.
So the Secret Service are involved in the sense that it was their mission to get him out and they would stay with him while he did – with Cheney – while he paused in this tunnel maybe as long as 20 minutes, something like that, to make a series of phone calls with both the President and the Secretary of Defense.
LS: Related to Continuity of Government, why is it important to know more about this and is it still active to this very day?
PDS: Well, let me begin with the second half. Yes, as far as we know, it is still … it is very hard to talk about it because no one has ever released a word of what these special procedures are. We only know about it from what was released back in the 1980s. But seeing that what was being talked about in the 1980s is what we have seen implemented since: warrantless surveillance, we have that, and warrantless detention, we have had that, and martial law: we have now the government, the military permanently involved in law enforcement. There is an army brigade that is on full-time status in America to deal with any possible disturbances. And — sorry, what was the question again?
LS: Why is it important to know more about it? For example, does it mean that the constitution of the United States that the Americans are so proud about is suspended?
PDS: It is not altogether suspended but it has been supplanted to a large extent. The three things I have just described, every one of them is … particularly the first two. I mean we have very clear – habeas corpus is mentioned in the constitution. It is not exactly guaranteed by the constitution, it is just taken for granted in the constitution, because it goes back to Magna Carta in the 13th century. It is one of the oldest foundational rights of common law freedoms. And it has been seriously abrogated, not totally suspended; but if they want to detain somebody they will, and they do. And not just foreigners but US citizens.
So yes, it has seriously eroded the status of the constitution and more and more people are beginning to talk about it. We finally are getting a serious debate about the warrentless surveillance, which is unconstitutional, and the President has said he is going to do something about it but we have not seen any results so far, and meanwhile they are not only trying to prosecute Snowden who did a public service, I would say by revealing this, but they are also … they’ve indicted the man who made the encryption program which made it possible for him to share the documents with Greenwald. And they have persecuted that man to the point that he has had to dissolve his company. So they are ruthlessly enforcing this system of secrecy, secret government that has supplanted and has become a second layer overshadowing open government.
LS: Regarding 9/11 you say you know only one thing for sure: there has been a massive cover-up. What has been covered up and why?
PDS: We still don’t really have an explanation why the planes failed … they should have been intercepted. Certainly by the time of the third and the fourth plane they should have been intercepted. There is an elaborate explanation in the 9/11 commission report but there are many things which are still really inexplicable. The behavior of the Vice President, who was a key figure in this. There was a phone call made that implemented COG; that is the very center of what happened here. There is no trace of that phone call. Not because no trace was made, you know, he didn’t do it from a pay phone or something; it was certainly done within channels but I am sure it was done on a COG line and we have to hear what was done.
This by the way has real legal consequences because one of the things to be explained is why the Vice President made decisions that he was not legally empowered to make. We have a National Command Authority that governs the military: that is the President and the Secretary of Defense. As far as we can tell – and here the records are missing so that I would say they are being covered up – is that the actual decisions were made by the Vice President who is not part of the National Command Authority.
All of that should be investigated because it is quite possible that crimes were committed in the response to 9/11. I am not now talking about 9/11 itself, which I do not discuss in my book as there have been too many books written about that. But in the response to 9/11 certain things were done, which were not done in the way which is legally prescribed. How they were done is being covered up because we don’t have the records.
LS: Could 9/11 have been prevented? I mean, this is a question that is very crucial for everything that has to do with the NSA. Did the NSA know nothing about the plans to attack the US?
PDS: We know so little about the NSA that it is difficult for me to say. There are allegations of course that this Lieutenant Shaffer came forward and said that the DIA, which is the Defense Intelligence Agency, that they in fact had very complete files on Mohamed Atta and other … the Pentagon has denied this and then Congressman Curt Weldon brought it up in congress and really wanted to get to the bottom of it and then the FBI treated him abysmally. The FBI leaked the idea that he was under investigation for some kind of scam that involved his daughter and the newspapers were full of this and he was never charged but he was defeated, they got him out of congress. So it was a sign, which … I talked about this in books that it is very dangerous for congressmen to challenge that part of the government that I call the deep state, because inevitably if they do, they get defeated when they come up for re-election. I wrote that before the case of Curt Weldon, but that was important.
Let’s talk about the CIA. The CIA definitely knew about two of the hijackers that they were in this – alleged hijackers I always say because I don’t really know what their role was on 9/11 but I think it is probable they got on the planes and I just cannot believe that they were able to steer the planes into buildings. That was some other power done from outside the plane, that is technology totally feasible in the 21st century. But if those two hijackers … the CIA should have told the FBI and they didn’t. And they were able to move around, be in touch with other hijackers. Now if procedures had been followed, the CIA would have notified the FBI, the FBI would have put them under surveillance, and from those two they would have known about virtually all of the hijackers. And so the fact that the CIA did not communicate something that it should have communicated is one of the causes for 9/11 happening the way it did.
It is only a part of the big picture but it is a telltale part and you had similar failures of communication in the case of John F. Kennedy. That is another of the many similarities – that the CIA sent a cable to the FBI … not a cable, it is a message; they sent a message to the FBI about Lee Harvey Oswald, and they suppressed the information in it which would have led to Lee Harvey Oswald being put under surveillance. And if he’d been put under surveillance, he could not have played the role that he did in becoming the designated culprit for the Kennedy assassination. So in that sense I think it is very very significant that the CIA withheld that.
I don’t claim to know who made 9/11 happen and unlike many people I am not saying that the White House made it happen. No, I think somebody in the deep state made it happen but you see, in my notion of the deep state, there are elements of it that are not even in the government. So to say that the deep state did something does not really tell us very much. But we need to know more and there are records buried still that could be released that would help us to understand these things.
LS: Now let us say if rogue elements of the government were involved in 9/11, people say that someone would have surely talked by now. You know, you cannot keep a secret in Washington. What is your take on this?
PDS: Well, you know, there is actually a book of the Kennedy assassination and its title is ‘Someone would have talked.’ because of course they have said that from the very beginning about the Kennedy assassination and the answer in the book is: many people talked but they do not get heard.
And with 9/11 too … I was just talking about 9/11 last night and there was somebody who was prepared to swear on a bible that the last plane, flight 93, was maybe hit, injured over Shanksville and part of it went down over Shanksville but it continued because he – I have a friend who talked to a very close friend of his, who talked to a very close friend of his, he says he saw a missile hit flight 93 over Camp David, where the President’s hideaway is in the mountains. And that is not in the papers; it is not because the man did not talk, it is because he talked and the FBI came to him and said, you must never talk about that again.
It actually was in the media. There is – I just looked at it – a TV report from the time about … the FBI was saying that a plane had been shot down over Camp David and they got this information from the FAA. All of that was on TV, but it was taken off TV and the nation has forgotten about it or nearly all of the nation has forgotten about it. The E4B over the White House – CNN reported that on TV. It is a very important part of the story. But then they took it down. Luckily somebody had recorded it and they put it back up on YouTube and if you buy my book when it comes out in November, you will see a URL to watch a video of the plane over the White House. The Air Force denied it ever happened, but it clearly did, it is clearly an E4B and so people come forward … other people havecome forward with explanations. (2)
The thing is, information is always controlled in any society and if somebody says something that does not fit in the official story … we are a pretty open society in America, so they do get to say it, it just does not get to be heard.
LS: Related to the question if someone has talked about 9/11 and that there might have happened something else than the public was told is significant in the case of Sibel Edmonds. Can you talk about her case a little bit?
PDS: Yes, well, Sibel Edmonds was a translator working for the FBI and she saw things, her languages were Turkish and I think Farsi, and she saw … the FBI were investigating people because the agents were not Farsi speakers, they needed her to translate these communications they had. And what she saw was so alarming that she tried to bring it to the attention of her superiors.
It is a long time since I looked at her case but essentially she was told to shut up. And eventually she was under a court order, I believe, and to this day she does not want to go to jail so she talks about many other things but she will not fully share what it was that she saw, except she has given strong indications that people very high in the government were involved in improper activities with other governments and she has named those governments, the Turkish government, one of them. And she is an example, and not the only example, of somebody who cannot talk in this free society that we have.
LS: The official version of 9/11 is based in very large parts on tortured testimony. Does this make the story pretty much worthless? And furthermore, is this something that too many people are ignorant of?
PDS: The part … the 9/11 commission report, it is only one small part of the report, but the part that is talking about what Al-Qaeda did, how they planned it and so on, yes, that is all from people who were being tortured before they gave this testimony. Some of those witnesses now are no longer in custody and recanted what they said. They put in about one person, Abu Zubaydah; he confessed to being a part of the Al-Qaeda thing and he wasn’t at all. It was a total misguided direction, so I think all of that testimony should be thrown out.
That would not invalidate the whole of the 9/11 commission report but certain chapters of it, which are talking about what Al-Qaeda did, yes, are not to be taken very seriously because of their reliance. By the way, you know, the 9/11 commission wanted to see the transcripts, were not allowed to see the transcripts; right away that becomes very suspicious. They were not told that the people were tortured and since then I think both of the co-chairman, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, have complained that they were actually misled by the CIA.
And so it is in a bit of a shambles, the official version that is in the 9/11 commission report; it has been discounted even by the co-chairmen of the commission. So, but yes, the fact that they used torture to obtain testimony should not have happened in the first place. It should not have been used in the second place. They should have been candid about the circumstances and they were not, in the third places, so in every way it is a disgrace.
LS: Do you think the hegemony of the US in the world declined because of the action that followed 9/11? For example it seems as if the true beneficiaries of the War on Terror are China and Russia.
PDS: Well, let us go through that bit by bit. One of the major consequences of 9/11 was the invasion of Iraq and I think there is almost no one who … everyone would agree that American power in the world and particularly in the Middle East has been eroded because of the invasion of Iraq. It has resulted in first of all in the election, if you want democracy in Iraq then the majority are going to rule and the majority are Shi’a, so you now have a Shi’a government in Iraq. And it is much more friendly to Iran than it is to the United States. Many people could have – and did – predict this. It is not rocket science, it is pretty obvious.
That also has led to major tensions between the US and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia historically — whether they should be or not can be debated – but historically it has been the strongest ally of the United States in that region. And now there are major differences because Saudi Arabia was delighted to see Saddam Hussein go but they did not want an invasion; because they knew it would destabilize Iraq and create this state of – I don’t want to say a failed state; I don’t like that phrase – but a very weakened authority in Iraq, which is very dangerous to Saudi Arabia. They have every reason legitimately to be upset about what America did in Iraq and so that weakens America’s relationship to Saudi Arabia.
You have the whole of the Middle East now – Zbigniew Brzeziński called it an Arc of Crisis back about 1978 or ’79; it is much more an Arc of Crisis now than it was then as a result of … you know I think that the invasion of Afghanistan was also misguided but it is much more defensible than the invasion of Iraq and the two of them have grossly expanded let us not talk about Al-Qaeda, now let us talk about Al-Qaedist forces, people who do similar things to Al-Qaeda, and there are many groups now and many of them are actually based in Iraq as a result of America’s invasion of Iraq. And this is spreading into Africa, so I am not sure that the beneficiaries are really so much Russia and China as lawlessness.
I think Russia, China and America all have common interests in not seeing terrorists and I think Russia has made it very clear that they would like to collaborate with the United States in dealing with terrorism and there are times when – particularly Obama seemed as if he was going to do more in common with Russia, particularly in Syria for example, where Al-Qaedist elements are a major part of the problem now for both Russia and America.
And then we suddenly get the Ukraine, where even the Ukraine you could really blame in a way of what has happened since 9/11. That might take more time than we can do in our hour here but the deterioration of understanding between Russia and America — which Afghanistan is part of that — these are all complicated things, but one thing that is so clear is that the Iraq thing was a disaster and it has created tensions and if we don’t learn how to deal with these tensions we are closer to the risk of nuclear war today than we have been for 20 or 30 years and that is a very alarming situation.
LS: Related to the Iraq war, has the peace movement around the world failed post-9/11 for it protested for example against the war in Iraq but without questioning the root of all evil, the official 9/11 narrative as a pretext and justification to go to war?
PDS: Certainly it would have been a more powerful protest movement against the idea of war in Iraq if we had understood what happened on 9/11. I don’t think that it is realistic to think that we could have known enough at the time – you know, America went in in 2003 and we didn’t even get the 9/11 commission report until 2004. So I don’t think it ever could have helped the anti-war movement in 2003, but it certainly could help future such movements.
I don’t know what is going to happen in Ukraine but … well, actually I think I do know now. I think Europe is intervening to stop America making a complete fool of itself. I cannot believe some of the things that John Kerry has said recently. I mean when he for example said to Putin after Crimea, we don’t do that kind of thing in the 21st century. Well, America has been the most conspicuous and flagrant example of that kind of behavior.
So I think people not in government have to mobilize around the world and create a kind of global public opinion that can check – I don’t want to say just America, but America and other governments when they start doing excessive things. It used to be the case that governments didn’t worry about public opinion and that was bad. And now we are beginning to develop a public opinion, which can constrain governments; and it has on occasion and that is good.
I think public opinion for example was a major factor in persuading American corporations not to invest in South Africa. And that divestiture movement, which was public opinion, was a major factor, and Nelson Mandela has said as much, one major factor in the liberation of South Africa. So there have been … public opinion in the end is what ended the segregation in the southern United States. So there is positive … it was not successful in Iraq but you shouldn’t draw the conclusion from a single failure that these things are not worth doing. They are.
LS: Do you have any hope that the question what did actually happen on 9/11 will ever be seriously addressed in the future?
PDS: Well, if you mean addressed by the US government, perhaps not. But it is already seriously addressed by people who have devoted their lives to it. I don’t count myself in that movement but there are such people. I think they have made very significant discoveries, I think the amount … the fact that there was explosive materials has been pretty well established — in Building Seven and in both the towers. There was a government investigation of why the towers went down by – it’s called NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology, and NIST was forced to revise its findings.
You know, they said that Building Seven came down in 5.3 seconds and the critics were saying that part of that time was free fall and they just simply said from the 5.3 seconds, that’s not free fall. So they asked for a clearer definition what they meant and they produced a graph, which showed that in fact, yes, for two or three seconds in the middle the building was in free fall. Well, if the building was in free fall it must have had some kind of explosions to clear away the path of the top of the building to descend: it’s as clear as that.
So I think we have made significant progress; we can talk about that as serious when you get the government to admit that. Well, you know, it is 2014 and there has not been a re-consideration of the Warren Commission but almost everybody in America knows that the Warren Commission was not the answer. So in public opinion, I think, there will be more and more serious investigation.
LS: But from the international community, that there is some pressure on the US to get clean – you don’t think that this will ever happen?
PDS: I am a former diplomat; I don’t think that is the way that governments talk to governments, no. And I am not sure they should. They have to deal with their narrow interests. What we need to see is people in the world exerting that kind of pressure, newspapers exerting that kind of pressure. And it is lucky that we have other countries that speak English besides the United States so that for example the British press have given a much better account of what Glenn Greenwald got from Edward Snowden and in general I think if an American wants to know what is happening in his country, he should read The Guardian in London, in England – and he can read it online – so he has no excuse not to.
That is the sort of thing that may restore a degree of sanity to a world when … I have to say America is a wonderful country; I love living here. It has a government, which ultimately, I have to say, is behaving insanely. The invasion of Iraq was insane. There were any number of experts who said this would work out badly. And when they said that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, the evidence was discredited before and so discredited that they could not even use it the way they really had wanted to use it. Those kinds of pressure from public opinion are what we need to bring the American government back to sanity.
LS: And how do you judge upon the fact that there was no punishment for this lying about the Iraq war?
PDS: We could get into details about this. In my ‘American War Machine’ I show how a private corporation conducted intelligence on whether he had weapons of mass destruction or not and they concluded that he did. SAIC was the name of the corporation. And then they decided afterwards, when it turned out that he hadn’t, we better find out how we could have been so wrong. And who do they charge to find out what went wrong? The same corporation, SAIC.
I’m sort of like Bishop Tutu in South Africa: I think we need truth and reconciliation; that is more important right now than to send people to jail. We need the truth so urgently I would be willing to forego putting people in prison if we could get the truth. Because if we got the truth, that would certainly force, for example, ending the state of emergency that still exists in this country – renewed by Obama without discussion every year (once a year it has to be renewed). Then congress would do what it is supposed to do – look at the state of emergency, look at continuity of government. The more the truth came out about these things, the more we would return to America as it used to be, which was very very far from an ideal condition but very very much better than what we have in America today.
LS: Are Wall Street interests at the very heart of the deep state?
PDS: Yes. In my book I … the initial notion of the deep state is the public institutions and then overshadowed by NSA, CIA, JSOC and the Pentagon – all these new secret institutions – and that is your first level of the deep state. But these agencies are powerful because they have connections outside the government; they don’t just report up to the President, but they are also – particularly the CIA, it is easy to document – is very rooted in Wall Street and was actually designed by Allen Dulles, when he was still a Wall Street lawyer, before he actually entered the CIA.
And the CIA is as powerful as it is because of its connections to Wall Street and – it used to be almost the same thing – its connections to big oil, because the big oil companies used to be based in New York and they were put together by, and they operated as a cartel that was defended successfully by Sullivan & Cromwell, which was a Wall Street law firm that — not accidentally — John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles were senior members of.
Yes, the Wall Street is important; it was then, it is historically easy to show, in the 1950s and I do in my book. It is harder to show in the present but there are many indications I think … One thing is, the deep state, we should mention, is going more and more multinational as the corporations go multinational. Exxon is a multinational firm and there are some US firms, notably Blackwater, which is this kind of private army that turns up in various places. Germany I seeing, I believe in Germany your press has said that Blackwater or a subsidiary of Blackwater is operating in the Ukraine.
LS: Yes, that is true.
PDS: What we call an American corporation has now technically its headquarters in Qatar, in the Persian Gulf. So you cannot control it. How is Washington going to control a corporation whose headquarters are in the Persian Gulf? You are getting the apparatus of a supranational deep state and we are going to need to develop institutions on a supranational level that can deal with these new kinds of institutions, these businesses to stir up unrest because it is profitable.
LS: Two personal questions at the very end: How do you deal with it that you get dismissed as a conspiracy theorist from time to time? And how do you deal with the sadness that must surely be a follower of yours given your oeuvre? I mean, I read your stuff and I get super-depressed. And so I would like to know, what’s with you? I mean, you are the one who writes this, right? And who has to cope with the truth. And how do you deal with it?
PDS: Well, I have come to learn to expect less and less in my lifetime. I am … first of all, call me a conspiracy theorist, it is almost a badge of honor, the way the … you know, the people who are using the phrase. They lump me in with people who believe in extraterrestrials and so on. I guess if they refute me by talking about extraterrestrials that is a sign that they don’t want to deal with what I am actually saying, which I suppose is a kind of negative compliment.
I had trouble hearing you but if you asked how I deal psychologically with not being heard and so on – it’s been difficult at times in my life. In fact, back around 1980 I was supposed to have a book come out, a quarter of a million copies first printing, about the Kennedy assassination. And then my publisher suppressed it; and I took that very hard. I went into a kind of depression. But it was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me because out of that depression I started writing a poem called ‘Coming to Jakarta’ and that poem deals with depression and deals with terror and deals with all the things that were really upsetting me. And my other book that didn’t get published is not nearly as important to me as ‘Coming to Jakarta’, which was the result of the suppression. So I feel I was in a sense a lucky guy.
And I have a very lovely second marriage and I feel sustained by meeting people like you, Lars, in Germany, and I know somebody in Moscow now; I have my French translator (Maxime Chaix) – these are all wonderful people that I am so privileged to know and work with. And because I have always believed that the task for my generation was to lay the foundations of a global public opinion, a global civil society, and I think I see that happening, I don’t feel depressed.
I think that it is very fragile because it depends on the Internet and the Internet is a gift that can be taken away very easily by those in power, and occasionally is. Actually, my website on Facebook was suppressed at a certain point. I don’t know why; I think probably accidentally, because they really wanted to get someone else. So it is fragile but it is working and if it were to be suppressed then something else would.
I believe in the goodness of the human species and I also believe that we have had bad governments from the beginning of time and we have not made … you know, we have made progress in some respects but we have also made the opposite of progress in some respects because the risks of the human race destroying itself are obviously greater today than they were a hundred years ago, so that is not such great progress. But I … in my poetry I talk about what an idiot I am to write about politics and sometimes I think I am an idiot but I enjoy it and I enjoy talking to you, so that’s why I keep going.
Peter Dale Scott studied at McGill University, Montreal and University College, Oxford. His dissertation was written on “The Social and Political Ideas of T.S. Eliot.“ He first taught at Sedbergh School and McGill University. Afterwards he joined the Canadian Department of External Affairs (1957-1961) and the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland (1959-1961). Returning to academic life, Peter Dale Scott taught at the University of California for over thirty years, before he retired from the UC Berkeley faculty in 1994.
His prose books include:
The War Conspiracy (1972) The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond (in collaboration, 1976) Crime and Cover-Up: The CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas-Watergate Connection (1977) Introduction to Henrik Kruger’s The Great Heroin Coup: Drugs, Intelligence, & International Fascism (1980) The Iran-Contra Connection (in collaboration, 1987) Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (in collaboration, 1991, 1998) Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993, 1996) Deep Politics Two: Essays on Oswald, Mexico, and Cuba (1995, 2007) Drugs, Oil and War (2003) The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America (September 2007) The War Conspiracy: JFK, 911, and the Deep Politics of War (2008 reissue and expansion of the 1972 edition) American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (2010).
His chief poetry books are the three volumes of his trilogy “Seculum“:
Coming to Jakarta: A Poem About Terror (1989) Listening to the Candle: A Poem on Impulse (1992) Minding the Darkness: A Poem for the Year 2000 (2000)
In his prose books, Scott is particularly interested in examining “Deep Politics.“ He defines “Deep Politics“ this way: “All those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, that are usually repressed in public discourse rather than acknowleged.“
(1) Dana Priest and William Arkin: “Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State”, Little Brown, New York, 2011, page 52.
(2) Peter Dale Scott provides this link to the story, by stating related to his next book: This will be in my book after the title page: Cover picture. Many people are unaware that on the morning of 9/11, during the attack on the Pentagon, the so-called “Doomsday plane,” the E-4B, circled briefly in the forbidden air space over the White House. (For video footage of the event, go to CNN’s account, which CNN soon took off the Internet, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4upVtXLJ3Ps.) The E-4B, a product of Continuity of Government (COG) planning, is a survivable mobile command post, based at Offutt AFB in Nebraska, for the National Command Authority (the President and Secretary of Defense, though neither were in it that day). Its purpose, to quote CNN, is “to keep the government running no matter what, even in the event of a nuclear war, the reason it was nicknamed the ‘Doomsday plane’ during the Cold War.” Its presence on 9/11, which the Air Force once denied, has never been officially acknowledged or explained; unofficially it has been attributed to a war game at the time. It is very relevant that secret COG plans (the so-called Doomsday Project) were implemented at about the same time, and have been updated since. Metaphorically the E-4B flyover of the White House on 9/11 (represented on the cover by a composite image) symbolizes the way these deep state plans preempted constitutional authority, sending the president against his will to the E-4B’s base at Offutt, while the vice-president stayed in Washington.
The uprising across Haiti to demand the resignation of President Michel Martelly grew again this week with massive marches in the capital and several towns on Oct. 26, 2014, the date on which Martelly had promised elections earlier this year.
As they had just nine days earlier on Oct. 17, tens of thousands of Haitians took to the streets again to demand the holding of elections, respect for the Constitution, and the continuation of the democratic process in Haiti. But for this to happen, there is a growing consensus around the demonstrators’ principal demand: “Martelly must go!”
In addition to Port-au-Prince, demonstrators marched in Aux Cayes, Petit Goâve, and Cap Haïtien.
Parliamentary and municipal elections are more than three years overdue because of Martelly’s bureaucratic foot-dragging and intransigence in naming a compromise electoral council. Nonetheless, Martelly has blamed his political opposition and the parliament for the delay and found the time and resources to hold three carnivals a year. The situation seems to confirm the old Haitian dictum: “Macoutes never hold elections” (Makout pa konn fè eleksyon), a reference to the repressive paramilitary Tonton Macoute force which was the armed expression of the Duvalier dictatorships.
Under pressure from the Haitian people, and his image-conscious backers in Washington, Martelly signed a presidential decree on Jun. 10, 2014 setting elections for Oct. 26, 2014. But in mid-August, Martelly’s electoral council announced that the elections would be postponed indefinitely.
In a symbolic move, the people took to Haiti’s streets in search of polling stations. Not finding any, they asked for the keys to the National Palace.
In the capital, the demonstration started at 10 am. Thousands gathered in front of the ruins of St. Jean Bosco, the church where Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide used to preach. The crowd then marched through the popular quarters of La Saline, St. Martin, and Bel Air before taking the Delmas Road. Peacefully, but with determination, the sea of demonstrators marched to Pétionville.
“We demand the immediate resignation of Martelly,” chanted demonstrators. “Martelly is a vagabond. He should not be president of Haiti. He was imposed on us by the international community. No matter what, Martelly must go!”
Militants of the Dessalines Coordination party (KOD) carried signs that read: “Occupation = Martelly! Martelly = Cholera!” Other signs said: “Martelly = a pink flea! Martelly symbolizes misery! Martelly = the colonists’ servant (restavèk kolon).”
Angry demonstrators tore down pink government posters proclaiming that “Ayiti ap vanse” (Haiti is moving ahead). Protestors burned and stamped on them.
Regime thugs tried to provoke the crowd into a confrontation at Delmas 18, but the Haitian police stopped the harassment. They had another agenda.
At Delmas 75, the police, accompanied by a justice of the peace with prepared warrants, arrested Thimoté Rony and Biron Odigé, the two leaders of the Patriotic Front for Respect of the Constitution (FOPARC). FOPARC was one of the principal march organizers. The two leadeers were taken to the Pétion-ville police station and then transported to the Carrefour police station, in the south of the capital.
As news of the two leaders’ arrest spread through the crowd, the protestors’ strength and determination increased. It was resolved to head to Carrefour.
Demonstrators arrived at Pétion-ville without too much difficulty and were greeted and joined by hundreds of people who swelled the crowd. After passing along various streets of swank town, the demonstrators headed towards the National Palace to demand the keys. But the police denied the marchers access to the Champ de Mars, the square in front of the National Palace. So the protestors headed down Rue Capois en route to Carrefour to bring solidarity to Biron Odigé and Thimoté Rony. However, at Rue Magloire Ambroise, as they did on Oct. 17, the police broke up the demonstration with tear gas and pepper water.
Haitians throughout the capital had quickly learned that the two arrested leaders were jailed at the Omega Prison in Carrefour. Within minutes, demonstrators were protesting outside, chanting “Down with Martelly,” even as thousands were wending their way down from Pétion-ville. When Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles, the charismatic leader of the anti-Martelly movement, and lawyer André Michel arrived at the prison, the demonstration grew in size and volume. Moïse called for a “permanent mobilization” against the “emerging dictatorship.”
“The people do not want the tet kale (bald headed) group,” said Sen. Moïse. “Martelly has lost control of the situation.”
The next day, Oct. 27, Port-au-Prince prosecutor Kerson Darius Charles executed warrants of committal against the two leaders, who were not heard by a judge. They remain incarcerated in Carrefour’s Omega prison, where demonstrators will again protest on Oct. 30.
Along with Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles and Sen. John Joël Joseph, many political leaders marched in the protest including former parliamentarians Turneb Delpé and Serge Jean-Louis of the Patriotic Movement of the Democratic Opposition (MOPOD), Oxygène David and Thomas Jean Dieufaite of KOD, and Dr. Maryse Narcisse, the coordinator of the Lavalas Family party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Narcisse condemned the arrest and illegal imprisonment and Biron Odigé and Thimoté Rony, as well as three other demonstrators arrested in Aux Cayes. She called for the release of all Haitian political prisoners.
The list of demonstrators (now political prisoners) arrested during the Oct. 17 and Oct. 26 marches include the following: in Port-au-Prince, 1)Vladimir Pierre, 2) Jean-Henry Delassin, 3) Hérard Seradieu, 4) Moïse Roody, 5) Jean Jacques Renault, 6) Lovenson Mersier, 7) Paul Joanel, 8) Ralph Desilus, 9) Lormicile Isaac Homme, 10) Saint-Gourdain Dodelyn, 11) Mersier Jean Louiné, 12) Louiredant Louisvens, 13) Clergé Jeff, 14) Clervin Midin, 15) Sampeur Jonas, 16) Laguerre Angelot, 17) Fritzner Montinat, 18) Charles Altès, 19) Biron Odigé, and 20) Thimoté Rony. In Aux Cayes, 1) Frantzou Dieu, 2) Luxama Frantz, and 3) Mentor Pétuel.
Ten other demonstrators were arrested in Petit-Goâve, and three of them were released on Oct. 27: Guirand Auguste, St. Jean Harry, and Berthony St. Hilaire.
“Today, Haiti is returning into a totalitarian regime with a dictator without vision,” said Sen. François Annick Joseph of the Artibonite. “Faced with this regime, there must be popular uprising, an uprising of citizens.”
Alex Smith, host of RadioEcoshock (at 10:30 in): We’ve heard almost nothing about the impacts [of the Fukushima catastrophe] on people in that region. There are accounts coming out of there of strange tumors, kids dying, pets dying — what have you heard? Can we ever expect an honest accounting from Japanese authorities?
Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer (emphasis added): That’s a pretty good summary, frankly. We continue to get information from people who live there about cancer rates — and illnesses in general, not just cancer. We think of radiation as a cancer causing thing, but it also causes many other ailments. Much higher incidences of a whole range of illnesses than they had in 2010, the year before the accident… We’re also working with doctors in Japan, and some brave doctors are saying that they’ve been threatened — that their hospital rights have been threatened — if you tell your patient this illness is radiation related you’ll lose your right to practice and things like that. So there’s enormous pressure on the medical community to tell the patients that what they’re experiencing is not at all related to radiation. The key is statistics, and the question is when will the statistics be released for mortality, morbidity, and general illnesses… We’re not seeing the data. The medical community now has to file every report that it writes with the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, before it’s issued. So if you’re a hospital, and you’ve got mortality data, you’re not allowed to issue that to the public until those reports have been cleared by the IAEA. Well, Article II of the IAEA charter is to promote nuclear power. So even if the hospital was conscientious — there’s a lot of political pressure not to be — but even if it was conscientious, there’s another step in the process, and they’ve got to clear an IAEA hurdle before those numbers are released.It’s truly frightening, the pressure the medical community is undergoing in Japan. Very few of them are willing to tell the truth.
Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer, Oct. 20, 2014 (at 15:00 in): There’s experts out there like me – independent experts – who are saying that as many as a million cancers may result.
A new book published Tuesday, The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men, by New York Times journalist Eric Lichtblau, details the close relations developed by the US government with Nazi war criminals during and after the Second World War.
Lichtblau’s work extends and deepens previous research demonstrating that the US government gave extensive support to top Nazi intelligence personnel as part of its efforts to create a new intelligence apparatus in West Germany, known as the BND. Former Nazis were especially valued by the US government for their experience conducting espionage and waging war against the Soviet Union.
Investigations carried out by the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG) during the late 1990s and early 2000s examined thousands of documents relating to US government collaboration with former Nazis.
The CIA documents provided the basis for a 2004 report, assembled by professional historians, titled US Intelligence and the Nazis, showing that the top Nazi intelligence officer on the Eastern Front, General Reinhard Gehlen, was recruited by the US military at the end of the war. Gehlen’s intelligence network, developed during the Nazi war of extermination against the Soviet Union, included at least 100 high-ranking Nazi military and intelligence personnel. It was to become the embryo of the new West German intelligence agency.
“The most important transmission belt for rehabilitating former Nazis was the West German intelligence service, which the US funded and helped create,” Timothy Naftali, historian and co-author of US Intelligence and the Nazis, told the World Socialist Web Site. “The US government wanted to develop the BND, understanding that a strong intelligence service was a necessary foundation for the new West German state.”
“Because of their experience in the war, they were seen as useful for collecting information about the Soviet bloc,” Naftali said.
“Former top Nazi Reinhard Gehlen recruited former SS officers and, although he did not reveal how many SS were serving in the BND ranks to his US patrons, the US did not push the issue. It is clear, however, that the West German intelligence service was honey-combed with former members of the SS.”
Documents stemming from the IWG’s work proved that at least five top associates of the holocaust organizer, Adolf Eichmann, were employed by the CIA after the war, and that the agency sought to establish relations with at least 23 other Nazi officials.
Lichtblau’s new book builds on the work of the IWG and the US Intelligence and the Nazis report, proving that officials at the highest levels of the American state went to great lengths to shield major war criminals from prosecution. The US government brought thousands of former Nazis to the US, where they lived in comfort while serving as spies, researchers and covert operatives for US military and intelligence agencies, Lichtblau’s research shows.
Lichtblau’s work provides ample evidence that scientists known to the US government to be involved in programs performing human experimentation and utilizing slave labor were recruited for leading research posts inside the US military.
Under Project Paperclip, authorized by President Harry Truman in 1945, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA, initiated plans that would bring at least 1,500 German scientists to the US. Scientists with Nazi Party affiliations were allowed to serve as scientists for the US government after providing a one-page statement explaining their reasons for membership, Lichtblau notes.
After heading a research program supported by tens of thousands of slave laborers, Wernher Von Braun, described by Lichtblau as “the boy wonder of Germany’s V-2 rocket program” with “deep ties to Hitler and to the Nazi Party,” was relocated by the US government to the US military base at Fort Bliss, Texas, along with his family and some 100 members of his V-2 production team.
The former Nazi paramilitary leader Emil Salmon, previously convicted of burning down a synagogue by a denazification court, was hired by the US Air Force after the war to work at an Ohio base as a jet engineer, Lichtblau shows.
Lichtblau also highlights the case of Doctor Hubertus Strughold, known as “the father of space medicine,” who became a top researcher for the US Air Force after the war despite ample evidence of his complicity in human experimentation.
Scientists at Dr. Strughold’s research clinic in Berlin conducted experiments on human subjects including children, Lichtblau’s research shows. In one case, epileptic children from a local asylum were placed in a high-altitude chamber and subject to sudden shifts in oxygen levels to determine whether such conditions would produce seizures, as they had during previous experiments on rabbits.
In another incident described by Lichtblau, scientists under Dr. Strughold’s direct authority forced groups of “social gypsy half-breeds” to consume large volumes of seawater infused with silver after being deprived of food for days.
In 1942, Dr. Strughold participated actively in a medical conference on “Medical Problems Arising from Distress at Sea and Winter Hardships,” focusing on the response of the human body to conditions of extreme cold.
Discussions during the conference were informed by ongoing experiments by doctors at the Dachau concentration camp, including prolonged submersion of subjects in tubs of ice and confinement of naked subjects outdoors in cold weather until death.
In his lecture to the conference, Dr. Strughold called for further research into human survivability in ice-cold ocean water. “With regard to the experimental scientific research … it is of interest to know what temperatures are to be counted on in the oceans conceded during the various seasons,” he told the conference.
Although Dr. Strughold’s name appeared fourth from the top on a roster of Nazi doctors involved in “Experimentation on Human Beings” drawn up by the Nuremberg tribunals, and he was initially interrogated by investigators associated with the Nuremberg war crimes tribunals who suspected him of involvement in human experimentation, investigation into Strughold was abruptly dropped in 1947. The doctor was then rapidly transferred to Texas by US authorities, where he was given a top research post with the US Air Force, according to Lichtblau’s research.
Recruitment and protection of former Nazis was carried out systematically by the US military and intelligence establishment. Internal military documents cited by Lichtblau show common usage of the phrase “beating a dead Nazi horse” to express contempt for any lingering opposition to the employment of former Nazis, who were seen as valuable assets by the US military and intelligence agencies.
As part of a deal struck by CIA Director Allen Dulles with a group of SS officers known as the Members of the Black Order during the final months of the war, Dulles personally arranged the release of Nazi Supreme Commander in Italy, General Karl Wolff, Lichtblau notes.
Wolff, formerly the SS liaison officer to Adolf Hitler and Chief of Personal Staff for Heinrich Himmler, was captured by anti-Nazi guerrillas on the Swiss-Italian border. After the war, Dulles went to great lengths to protect Wolff, who was listed as one of 20 some “major war criminals” by Nuremberg investigators. Dulles concealed evidence from Nuremberg prosecutors and prepared documents in Wolff’s defense.
General Wolff was subsequently dropped from the list of top war criminals, becoming a witness in support of the Nuremberg prosecutions before going on to a successful career in advertising.
Similar efforts by the US government to protect former Nazis continued over decades, Lichtblau shows.
During the 1970s, when asked by local reporters about a former Nazi with CIA ties working as a track coach in San Diego, then CIA Director George H. W. Bush stated openly, “If it were in my knowledge, I’m not sure I’d tell you,” Lichtblau notes.
In 1980, the FBI refused to share information on 16 suspected Nazis with the Justice Department, because the individuals in question were FBI assets who had provided the agency with reports about alleged “Communist sympathizers” inside the US. In 1994, the CIA sought to quash investigations into one of its former assets, who was directly involved in massacres of Jews in Lithuania during the war, according to Lichtblau.
Lichtblau’s research starkly illustrates the solidarity with Nazism on the part of the most powerful sections of the US ruling elite. As the Second World War drew to a close, terrified by the threat of world socialist revolution, the US ruling class and its military and intelligence henchmen eagerly embraced remnants of the Nazi regime as key components of imperialist policy.
In the process of documenting these relations, Lichtblau’s book provides a damning exposure of the propaganda claims that the Second World War was a “war for democracy” and a “war against fascism.” In fact, the American ruling class sought to exploit widespread popular opposition to the crimes of Nazism in pursuit of its own imperialist ambitions, in Europe and internationally.
Last week, the Pentagon announced the death of a 19-year-old Marine, the first fatality among the estimated 1,900 US troops currently deployed in the new US war in the Middle East. This will undoubtedly be only the first of many American casualties in this war, a death toll that will be multiplied many times over for the Iraqi and Syrian men, women and children who will lose their lives in this latest imperialist intervention.
Less than one week before the midterm elections in the US, it is becoming ever more clear that, whatever the results in terms of the breakdown of Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Obama administration will embark on a major escalation of military operations once the voting is done.
Already there is a mounting drumbeat from within Washington’s vast military and intelligence apparatus—and those in politics and the media who voice its demands—for stepped-up bombing and more US “boots on the ground” in both Iraq and Syria.
This campaign for military escalation was summed up in a lead editorial published in Monday’s Washington Post entitled “Mr. Obama’s half-hearted fight against the Islamic State.” The editorial asserts that “an unlikely consensus is emerging across the ideological spectrum” in Washington that the Obama administration’s current strategy in the war on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is “unworkable,” and that “the military means the president has authorized cannot accomplish his announced aims.”
The editorial criticizes the “modest tempo of airstrikes” as well as “the absence of ground trainers and special forces who could accompany Iraqi and Syrian forces.” It cites an unnamed senior Pentagon official as stating that the aim of fielding a new mercenary army of “rebels” in Syria is impossible “if you’re not on the ground to advise and assist them.”
“The United States will have to broaden its aims and increase its military commitment if the terrorists are to be defeated,” the editorial concludes. This means “a strategy to counter the Assad regime” and deploying special operations troops in combat together with Iraqi and Syrian proxy forces.
The editorial follows a report in the Post last week that US and Iraqi officials recently discussed increasing the number of US military “advisers” in Iraq, and that deploying them “in the field with the Iraqis” is under consideration, given the abysmal record of Iraqi security forces collapsing in the face of ISIS advances.
Along similar lines, Anthony Cordesman, a former Pentagon official and adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, has written of US strategy in the Iraq-Syria war “imploding” and dismissed the campaign of air strikes in both countries as “military tokenism.” He insists that “advisers” must be deployed alongside Iraqi troops “as soon as possible,” and that the US must accept “risking combat losses.”
Then there is Lt. Col. John Nagl (ret.), the co-author of the Army’s Counterinsurgency Manual, who states that some 15,000 US “advisers” are needed on the ground, and that the war in Iraq and Syria will have to go on “for at least a generation and probably longer.”
The Vietnam War provides an instructive precedent for the steady escalation in the number of “advisers” deployed in a US overseas intervention. John F. Kennedy deployed several hundred to the country shortly after taking office. By the time he was assassinated in November 1963, they numbered 16,700. Within barely two years, 200,000 US troops had been thrown into the war, and by 1968 the number was well over half a million.
Obviously, there are vast differences between Vietnam, where Washington intervened in an attempt to crush a popular anti-colonial struggle, and Iraq and Syria, where it confronts a crisis entirely of its own making, forged through the destruction of Iraq in nearly nine years of war and the devastation of Syria by the Islamist militias that the US and its allies have armed and supported.
What they have in common, however, is that the existing forces on the ground, the Iraqi army and the so-called Syrian “moderate rebels,” are—like the South Vietnamese Army before them—wholly inadequate (or non-existent) instruments for achieving US aims. Thus, the demand for US “boots on the ground”—plenty of them and in short order.
Once again, the American people are being dragged into a criminal war of aggression based upon lies. While this war is being sold with propaganda about ISIS atrocities against minorities, beheadings, etc., the real objective is the use of military force to assert US hegemony over the strategically vital and oil-rich Middle East.
The aims of this war, which spans national boundaries, involves not only the re-occupation of Iraq, but also the overthrow of the government of Syria and its replacement with a pliant US puppet regime. These war aims, in turn, place US imperialism on a clear trajectory for military confrontation with Iran and Russia, posing the real threat of a Third World War.
Every step has been taken to preclude next week’s midterm elections from providing the slightest possibility for the American people to express their will in relation to the most important political question, that of a war which we are told may last for more than “a generation.”
Just before the bombs began falling in Iraq, the members of the US Congress scurried out of town for a two-month campaign season recess without taking any vote to authorize a war that is both unconstitutional and in violation of international law. Any vote that is taken will be held after the election in a lame-duck session of Congress, thereby assuring that no one will be held politically accountable. In the election campaign itself, the war—like virtually every other social question of vital importance to the masses of working people—is not even an issue.
Nothing could more clearly expose the entirely rotted-out character of the American political system, which is controlled lock, stock and barrel by a financial aristocracy, and in which decisions on imperialist war abroad and repression at home are made by an unelected cabal of military and intelligence officials for whom Obama serves as a mouthpiece.
The corrupt capitalist two-party system offers no means to resist the drive to war. The working class must intervene independently, mobilizing its objective strength in a mass antiwar movement based upon a socialist and internationalist program to put an end to capitalism, which is the source of war.
We just learned that the homeownership rate in the United States has fallen to the lowest level in 19 years. But of course this is not a new trend. As you will see in this article, the homeownership rate in the United States has been in a continual decline for more than 7 years. Obviously this is not a sign of a healthy economy. Traditionally, homeownership has been one of the key indicators that you belong to the middle class. When people define “the American Dream”, it is usually one of the first things mentioned. So if the percentage of Americans that own a home has been steadily going down for 7 years in a row, what does that tell us about the health of the middle class in this country?
The chart that you are about to view is clear evidence that we are in the midst of a long-term economic decline. It shows what has happened to the homeownership rate in the U.S. since the year 2000, and as you can see it has been collapsing since the peak of the housing market back in 2007. Does this look like a housing recovery to you?…
So many people get caught up in what is happening on Wall Street, but this is the “real economy” that affects people on a day to day basis.
Most Americans just want to be able to buy a home and provide a solid middle class living for their families.
The fact that the percentage of people that are able to achieve this “American Dream” is falling rapidly is very troubling.
There are some that blame this stunning decline in the homeownership rate on the Millennials.
And without a doubt, they are a significant part of the story. They are moving back home with their parents at record rates, and many that are striking out on their own are renting apartments in the big cities.
This is one area where the decline of marriage in America is really hitting the economy. Back in 1968, well over 50 percent of Americans in the 18 to 31-year-old age bracket were already married and living on their own. Today, that number is below 25 percent.
But that is not all there is to this story.
In fact, the homeownership rate for Americans in the 35 to 44-year-old age bracket has been falling even faster than it has for Millennials…
In the first quarter of 2008, nearly 67% of people aged 35-44 owned homes. Now the number is barely above 59%. The percentage of people under 35 owning homes only fell five percentage points, to 36% from 41%.
In addition, wages in the United States have stagnated and the quality of our jobs continues to go down. As I wrote about the other day, half of all American workers make less than $28,031 a year. Needless to say, if you make less than $28,031 a year, you are going to have a really hard time getting approved for a home loan or making mortgage payments.
Things have been changing for a long time in this country, and not for the better. Our economic problems have taken decades to develop, and the underlying causes of these problems is still not being addressed.
Meanwhile, middle class families continue to suffer. One very surprising new survey discovered that more than half of all Americans now consider themselves to be “lower-middle class or working class with low economic security”. While Wall Street has been celebrating in recent years, economic pessimism has become deeply ingrained on Main Street…
Optimism may be harder to come by these days. More than half of Americans surveyed in a Harris poll released Tuesday identified themselves as being lower-middle class or working class with low economic security. And 75 percent said they’re being held back financially by roadblocks like the cost of housing (24 percent), health care (21 percent) and credit-card debt (20 percent).
And that’s not the kicker.
“The most disappointing aspect is that 45 percent think they’ll never get their finances back to where they were before the financial crisis,” said Ken Rees, CEO of the Elevate credit service company, which commissioned the survey. “And a third are losing sleep over it.”
The only “recovery” that we have experienced since the last recession has been a temporary recovery on Wall Street.
For the rest of the country, our long-term economic decline has continued.
When I was growing up, my father was serving in the U.S. Navy and we lived in a fairly typical middle class neighborhood. Everyone that I went to school with lived in a nice home and I never heard of any parent struggling to find work. Of course life was not perfect, but it seemed to me like living a middle class lifestyle was “normal” for most people.
How times have changed since then.
Today, it seems like we are all part of a giant reality show where people are constantly being removed from the middle class and everyone is wondering who will be next.
The Guardian has about the best coverage to be found in the mainstream media of the Israel-Palestine conflict – which tells you quite how bad everyone else is.
Today the paper’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, ponders complaints about its coverage. Not surprisingly, many of them are from the Israeli embassy, which says it is concerned about the Guardian’s disproportionate interest in Israel-Palestine, implying that this is evidence of anti-semitism.
Actually it is quite the opposite. It is evidence of the Guardian’s historic and current support for the state of Israel, though not the occupation. Elliott alludes to this obliquely as he points out that the paper’s most famous editor, C P Scott, was instrumental in getting the British government to issue the Balfour Declaration. The Guardian’s pride in having helped to create a Jewish state is still palpable at the paper (as I know from my years there), especially among senior Jewish editors who influence much of the conflict’s coverage – yes, that is a reference to Jonathan Freedland, among others.
The Israeli embassy, of course, is trying to browbeat the Guardian to bring it into line with the dire coverage of the rest of the media.
The lesson the readers’ editor draws is:
When looking at these three complaints I think the important message is that if the Guardian is to continue its strong focus on Israel and Palestine, which it is entirely at liberty to do, we have to put a similar effort into the use and awareness of language that we use to discuss the issues on both sides.
And yet, as usual, the article only considers the problematic use of language regarding the Israeli side of the conflict. The reality is that the Guardian, like most western media, is really only interested in the Israel-Palestine conflict because of the Jews, not the Palestinians. There are many reasons for this:
historic European guilt about the Holocaust;
the central place of the Jews in Biblical stories most westerners were raised on in the still-Christian west;
the sense that the Jews are more like us than the “Arabs” – that they are, as Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, put it, “a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism”;
the fact (mostly unmentionable) that Jews are strongly represented on the staff of western media often in senior positions, but rarely are there any Muslims or Arabs, and that many Jewish staff naturally identify with the plight of relatives in Israel;
the continuing appointment to Jerusalem bureaux of partisan Jewish reporters who speak Hebrew but not Arabic; live in west Jerusalem, not East Jerusalem; whose younger children go to Jewish schools, not Arab schools; and whose older children serve in the army.
All of this is so normalised among the western media that the New York Times barely seems concerned that at least three of its senior writers on the conflict have had children serving in the Israeli army: Ethan Bronner, David Brooks and now, we discover, Isabel Kershner. We will know that we have an even-handed media only when we can conceive of a paper recruiting not only a Palestinian reporter (in itself almost impossible, it seems) but a Palestinian reporter with a child who openly supports Hamas (let’s not even try to imagine the possibility of their being allowed to have a child who fights in the resistance!).
As the Guardian’s Elliott inadvertently indicates, sensitivity about language is central to the concerns of papers like the Guardian when it comes to the Jewish side, but not so much when it comes to the Palestinians.
Today Moshe Machover, a London University philosophy professor, sent a letter to the readers’ editor that I reproduce below concerning a recent Guardian article. The Guardian’s report contains the usual insensitivities of language towards the Palestinians, so common-place that they are never noted or questioned. But this is about more than insensitivity. It is about the constant misuse of language in ways that work to Israel’s benefit by shaping how western publics understand the conflict. In fact, it is precisely such language that has enabled Israel to incrementally disappear the Palestinians.
Dear Readers’ Editor,
In yesterday’s Guardian there was a report by your Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont about what is in fact Israel’s continued illegal colonization of east Jerusalem.
“The Israeli government is to advance construction plans for 1,000 housing units to be built in parts of Jerusalem that Palestinians demand for their future state.”
The wording “the Palestinians demand” suggest that these parts of Jerusalem do not belong to the Palestinians but to someone else. This false impression is reinforced by what follows:
“The move, revealed by the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, is the first in what is expected to be a series of announcements this week on new settlement construction work in East Jerusalem and on the occupied West Bank.”
Surely, “work in East Jerusalem and on the occupied West Bank” is wrong as it falsely suggests that East Jerusalem is not occupied but belongs to Israel; it should have been “work in occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank.” I am sure you will wish to correct this misleading wording in your next column.
The Ukrainian national elections have produced the expected results. The West-oriented parties won. Surprisingly, President Poroshenko’s party and the party of the radical anti-Russian Yatsenyuk, the U.S. favorite, who carried a head-to-head-race, both ended up with 22 percent of the vote. They wish to lead Ukraine into the European Union and NATO as fast as possible. According to Western propaganda, this was a victory for freedom, democracy and free enterprise. The costs of this political mirage will have to be paid by ordinary folks. These elections won’t stabilize the country because Russia’s security concerns are still unmet. Although the book under review was published a few months ago, its contributions have not lost their topicality. The problems that the US created, are still unresolved.
Stephen Lendman is a writer, syndicated columnist, and activist. He has been hosting since 2007 a regular newshour at The Progressive Radio Network. For his book, Lendman gathered former government officials, journalists, activists and academics known for their radical and competent critique of US foreign policy. These include Paul Craig Roberts, James Petras, Michael Parenti, Cynthia McKinney, Mahdi Nazemroaya, Michel Chossudovsky, John McMurtry, Matthew Witt, Jeffrey Sommers and others. Most contributions focus on the geopolitical aspects and the consequences of the takeover of Ukraine by the Western Alliance and its anti-Russian thrust.
In his introductory remarks, Lendman called the Ukraine conflict “the most significant post-WW II geopolitical crisis.” He warned that “escalating it risks global conflict.” To emphasize the historical significance of the US coup in Ukraine, he compares it with Mussolini’s 1922 march on Rome. In Washington’s expansionist strategy, the “17 Euro-zone countries represent its weakest links”. If Ukraine is to join the European Union (EU) it would have to undergo severe structural economic changes that will be dictated by the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF troika. This will inevitably affect dramatically the living standards of the population, writes Lendman. He underlines the geostrategic importance of Ukraine with a quotation by Zbigniew Brzezinski, who once said: “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” Lendman argues that Ukrainian Jews are threatened and that some have left the country: “Anti-Semitism is rife. Radical ultra-nationalism is virulent.”
According to Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Treasury Secretary under President Reagan, Washington does not only set the world on a path of war but also endangers world peace by its recklessness. He lists contractual breaches by the Western Alliance compared to the agreements with the former Soviet Union: The US administration – with the consent of its NATO partners – expanded the Alliance into Eastern Europe, placed anti-ballistic missiles at the Russian border in Poland and withdrew from the ABM treaty. Beyond that, the West unleashed a propaganda war, blaming Putin for the entire crisis. But so far, the Russian government has not had to do anything except acquiesce to the self-determination of the people in the Russian areas of Ukraine, writes Roberts. “Without the cover provided by Europe, Washington’s acts of aggression would result in war crime charges against the US government.”
Just after Putin protected the Russian population in Crimea and the Eastern part of Ukraine from the putschists in Kiev, Washington imposed sanctions on Russia. “The Obama regime cites the ‘success’ of the financial and economic sanctions against Iran as a ‘model’ of what can be achieved with Russia”, writes James Petras, also the author of the book “The Politics of Empire”. The West calculates on a weak Russian response or even hopes for a capitulation. If neither materializes and Putin remains tough, the “polarized world will witness new class, national and regional conflicts”, writes Petras.
Michel Chossudovsky, who runs the Global Research Centre in Montreal, argues that the union of Crimea with Russia redefines both the geography and the geopolitical chessboard in the Black Sea basin: “It constitutes a major setback for US-NATO whose longstanding objective has been to integrate Ukraine into NATO with a view to undermining Russia, while extending Western military presence in the Black sea basin.” And Rick Rozoff, an anti-war activist, hints at the total encirclement of Russia by NATO, should Ukraine become a member state of the European Union. With a US-NATO client regime in place in Kiev, Ukraine will very likely become a gargantuan NATO forward base, writes Rozoff.
Perhaps President Putin’s speech at the annual conference of the Valdai club in Sochi may offer a way out of the impasse. Although he criticized the West sharply and called for a dialogue on a equal basis, he demanded of the West more respect of Russia’s legitimate interests. According to Putin, the strategic interests of Russia and the United States overlap in many aspects. Putin called on the US to abandon the pursuit of dominance and imperial ambitions. The “pseudo-supremacy” of the United States results only in “chaos and blood. Interference and dictates of the United States do no good, but let conflicts escalate only further.” In his speech, Putin clearly rejected a return to totalitarianism in Russia. This would only lead to a “dead end”, he said.
With this speech, Putin played the ball into the opponent’s box. Now, the West and the newly elected Ukrainian parliament can choose between cooperation and confrontation. As the book shows, Western leaders are spoiling for a fight because they strive to extend the sphere of Western influence until the Russian border. The book’s contributions illuminate not only the background of the Ukraine conflict, but also the expansionist goals of the US-NATO alliance. “Flashpoint Ukraine” can therefore be highly recommended.
In his 1960 farewell address, the moderate Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower tried to warn us naïve and trusting Americans about the nefarious agendas of the amoral, pro-corporate, pro-war, imperialistic military/industrial (i.e., corporate)/national security/congressional complex (especially the weapons industries, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the FBI) that Ike had seen acquiring excessive power during his administration.
Americans after WWII were feeling increasingly prosperous and optimistic about the future because the nation’s infrastructure, industries, productivity, markets and non-military citizens had not been victimized or blasted to smithereens like their economic competitors in Europe and Asia. Ike’s prescient warnings were essentially ignored or censored out of the public’s consciousness by nefarious anti-democratic entities that were operating behind the scenes.
Eisenhower had experienced the horrors of wars up close, and he despised them, and he was therefore no Hawk, unlike so many of the pro-war Republican bigwig Chicken Hawks that followed him in positions of power in that political party. He had managed to keep the US out of war during his 8 years in office, and he never could see the justification for the US military’s use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ike knew that Japan had already lost the war well before the atom bombs were dropped on those unarmed, innocent civilian populations.
Eisenhower was also one of the last Republican presidents that understood the dangers of unregulated corporate power when it was combined with unrestrained governmental/military power. He probably knew better than most how the Italian dictator to Benito Mussolini defined fascism(“Fascism should…be called corporatism as it is a merger of state and corporate power”)
Sometime after Ike’s speech, between the political assassinations of the liberal political leaders JFK, MLK and RFK (during the 1960s) and the end of the 20th century, progressives have felt increasingly distrustful of the emerging far-right, pro-corporate, pro-militarist, pro-wealth, anti-intellectual, Christian fundamentalist-influenced agendas of the Republican Party. And justifiably so.
Many progressives have frequently felt betrayed by the right-ward shift of the national DemocraticParty which has been increasingly influenced by pro-corporate, pro-militarist, pro-wealth agendas. The national Democratic Party, despite its often honorable past fighting for the rights of the little guy (with their party platforms frequently supporting children’s rights, worker’s rights, women’s rights, voting rights, civil rights, etc) seems to have abdicated those honorable stances to the American Green Party. (See the list of Green Party values at: http://www.gp.org/tenkey.php.)
I mourn the rapidly disappearing years when progressive Minnesotans could feel good about being able to vote for courageous, ethical, liberal democratic candidates like Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Eugene McCarthy and Paul Wellstone. Democratic President Back in the 1940s, Harry Truman warned Democrats about promoting agendas that appealed to the wealthy, the corporations and the militarists when he said “If a voter has a choice between a Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, he’ll vote for the Republican every time.”
But Republicans like Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, the Bushes, Newt Gingrich, ad nauseum, kept getting elected; and we citizens – just like the naïvely trusting place-kicker Charlie Brown when the devious Lucy jerked the football away – always seem to realize too late that we have been bamboozled again. Of course the group of politicians above usually wound up discrediting themselves over their warmongering in Vietnam or Lebanon or Granada or Nicaragua or El Salvador or Columbia or because of their greedy inclinations to maintain their power, prestige, prerogative and the need to serve their anonymous paymasters.
The consequences of living in a corporatized, militarized, national security-obsessed nation has always made me especially wary of the GOP, and the more neo-fascist that that party leans and the more it is influenced by excessively wealthy special interest groups that profit from war and globalization, the more I distrust and fear it.
The 12 years of unrestrained crony capitalism during the anti-democracy mis-leadership of Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush tricked most of us into naively believing in their fraudulent “Trickle-down Economics”. Simultaneously those administrations tried to freak us out into going along with their agendas by endlessly exaggerating the military (and economic) threats from the Soviet Union. Reagan called the USSR the “Evil Empire” and they called Ronald Wilson Reagan (old “666” himself) the “The Great Satan”. Both monikers seemed justified to many.
The wealthy investor classes and financial markets loved the Reagan-era’s tax cuts for the wealthy, the unrestrained borrowing, spending and permanently indebting of America (to the tune of 4 trillion dollars [in 1980 dollars] just during the Reagan years) , and the US Treasury has ever since, been paying out hundreds of billions of dollars of interest annually to the wealthy investors on Wall Street).
One of the doctrines of American conservatism is a strong and well-funded military/national security apparatus (in order to protect private and corporate investments abroad). The mass purchases (using borrowed money, not tax money) of unaffordable, often useless (and sometimes unwanted, even by the Pentagon) weapons systems were justified by appealing to America’s orchestrated mass paranoia about the arms races with the USSR, including, of course, huge amounts of borrowed money for “modernizing” and enlarging America’s destabilizing nuclear arsenals.
Seeing Through the Myths of the GOP’s “Compassionate Conservatism” and its “Big Tent”
A campaign image that cunning GOP strategists in the past have tried to convey is the notion that Republicans are “Compassionate Conservatives” with a “Big Tent” that welcomes everybody, when most of the national and state party platforms, especially those in Bible Belt states, espouse exclusivist agendas that are anything but welcoming or compassionate towards racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities, gays and lesbians, women (especially pregnant women and those with children), disadvantaged children, immigrants, war refugees, anti-war activists, peacemakers, the environment and the sick, poor, hungry, under-employed and homeless.
Cunning Republican strategists and their politicians were perpetrating the lie that their party, which attracts virulent nationalists, pro-war militarists, war profiteers of every ilk, anti-environmentalists, sociopathic billionaires, compassionless corporations, union breakers, racists, climate change deniers, holocaust deniers, anti-intellectuals, sexists, liberal-haters like the KKK and Aryan Nation, homophobes, xenophobes, sexists, people who believe in the Rapture (!), people who believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old (and therefore insist on teaching pseudoscientific creationism to their children as real science) and other right-wing groups.
That is a partial list of who is already in the fictional “Big Tent”. People of conscience will not feel welcome there because true liberals with open-minds have already been fingered as mortal enemies.
Most progressive thinkers wouldn’t want to be rubbing elbows with some of the folks in the Big Tent, especially the ones who refuse to listen to reason, who refuse to give any credence to the scientific method or who disbelieve established and documented facts.
The GOP Big Tent Myth is a Big Lie propaganda trick that is designed to get the brain-washed and the dis-informed to believe something that isn’t true so that they can be convinced to vote against their own best interests.
Near the end of this essay are two important lists of reasons to be wary when voting in an election that is dominated by the two major parties in America that have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on mostly inane, repetitive, often negative TV advertising. Further below are a number of quotes from well-known conservative Republicans. They should give every thinking voter pause.
The term “thinking voter” reminds me of a story about the brilliant Democratic Party politician Adlai Stevenson, who was the endorsed Democratic Party candidate for president who twice ran unsuccessfully against the war hero Eisenhower. He was known for giving powerful, highly reasoned and humorous campaign speeches. During one such speech, a woman in the crowd called out“Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!”Stevenson simply smiled and replied, “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!”
I am afraid that we are in an era where the majority of Americans are 1) too distracted (with sports, entertainment, drug or celebrity addictions) to vote intelligently, are 2) too poor, oppressed, malnourished, disinterested or disillusioned with both parties even to want to vote or 3) are too under-informed or ignorant of the issues to figure out which party or candidate best represents their children’s interests.
If such eligible voters actually do tear themselves away from the mass entertainment media or their “I don’t give a damn” drugs long enough to actually vote, many of them will vote for the candidate with the most expensive or most meaningless or negative campaign ads on TV and not for the party or candidate that espouses agendas that would be best for their children, themselves, the survival of the planet or the nation. It’s obvious that most voters don’t fully appreciate that the best candidates might be the ones that don’t have enough money to even pay for one TV ad or even purchase lawn signs (which, unfortunately, is true for many worthy Green Party candidates).
America still has a thinking problem. And that is why propaganda and million dollars per minute commercials, that only the rich can afford to purchase, continue to effectively sell plastic crap a person doesn’t really need, including hidden political agendas.
Before concluding, I want to add that, in my opinion, Stuart Mills, the One Trick Pony and GOP-endorsed candidate for Minnesota’s District 8 US House of Representatives has none of the qualities necessary to be a credible, independently thinking member of the US Congress. Mills would undoubtedly be a simple drone in Congress, a me-too voter for the low corporate tax agenda and anti-Obama Congressional gridlock of Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Mills would undoubtedly be totally beholden to his many out-of-state financial supporters that include the Koch Brothers cabal, the mining corporations, the supporters of the democracy–killing Citizen’s United ruling (allowing corporate personhood and unlimited, anonymous campaign bribery), the nefarious American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Rifle Association (which is another One Trick Pony that cares not one iota for any parts of the US Constitution except for the mis-interpreted 2ndAmendment). I say One Trick Pony because Mills, the NRA and the wealthy gun manufacturing corporations that fund the NRA are all irrationally (and laughably) paranoid about the ridiculous Fox News-promulgated myth that Democrats want to take away their hunting rifles and shotguns.
I hasten to add that Mills might be a qualified candidate (and far less harmful to our democracy) if he were running for the assistant executive directorship of Northern Minnesota’s NRA; but please, not for Congress!
Green Party candidate Skip Sandman and DFL candidate Rick Nolan both beat Mills all hollow on every issue that is important to common folks, but Sandman is better than both on anti-corporate issues, anti-war issues, on the sustainability of the planet and on the cautious approach that is essential before potentially “game over” sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota is allowed to proceed. The out-of-state mining company PolyMet has an unproven (for safety) plan to mine copper, nickel, zinc and rare earth metals in environmentally-sensitive northern Minnesota, a plan which opens up the distinct possibility of disastrous, irreversible, irremediable and century’s long deadly poisoning of the habitat, the drinking water, the ground water, rivers, lakes and wild rice beds in northern Minnesota, much of which is on native American land and thus in violation of native treaty rights.
What I say about Stuart Mills can be said for Becky Hall, the GOP-endorsed candidate for state house of representatives in House District 7A. Hall is another one of those cute, smiley-faced, blond Republican females (and well-groomed for remembering talking points) that have emerged in abundance in the Republican Party over the years. She is a Tea Party favorite (like Sarah Palin), a pro-NRA candidate and a naïve believer in everything that the sociopathic mining corporation PolyMet has told her.
One of Hall’s endorsements has come from a minor entity of the pro-Big Business, pro-PolyMet, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Like Stuart Mills, Hall would be a lapdog legislator, (hopefully, but unlikely to be, somewhat uncomfortable with the various co-opted folks that are beholden to the party bosses who call the shots). If elected, Hall would likely be absorbed into the GOP caucus and be expected to vote for every anti-democracy, pro-corporate agenda item at the capitol. Green Party candidates for House District 7A (Duluth, MN) Kriss Osbakken and Jennifer Schultz both beat Hall on every issue that is important to common folks.
If you believe corporations are people, vote Republican.
If you believe money is Free Speech, vote Republican.
If you believe only Republicans should vote in elections, vote Republican.
If you believe our government should take care of Corporations & Foreign Countries First, vote Republican.
If you believe Unions are your enemy, vote Republican.
If you believe trickle-down economics has been successful, vote Republican.
If you believe only the Rich, CEO’s & Politicians should have Health Insurance, vote Republican.
If you believe Corporations that make Billions in Profits should be Tax Free, vote Republican.
If you believe gay people do not deserve equal rights, vote Republican.
If you believe the minimum wage should be eliminated, vote Republican.
If you believe the EPA should be eliminated, vote Republican.
If you believe sick people who cannot afford health care should die in the street, vote Republican.
If you believe the poor should starve to death, vote Republican.
If you believe pregnancy via rape is “God’s will”, vote Republican.
If you believe we should eliminate Women’s reproductive rights and return to the days of back alley abortions, vote Republican.
If you believe Women do not deserve equal pay for equal work, vote Republican.
If you believe we should have a legal system based on biblical law, vote Republican.
If you believe our schools should be teaching creationism instead of evolution, vote Republican.
If you believe we should eliminate the social safety net and let Americans suffer, vote Republican.
If you believe Americans on Social Security should get 1% raises each year while Congress gets Thousands of Dollars in Raises, vote Republican.
If you believe all baby’s should be born but do not care if they starve, go homeless, or without health insurance, vote Republican.
If you believe every problem in America that W., his daddy & Reagan caused is Obama’s fault, vote republican.
If you believe the Republican Lie that we hear in every election, “Elect us & we will bring all the good paying American jobs back to America”, vote Republican.
If you believe there should be Less Laws for the Rich & Big Business & More Laws for everyone else, vote Republican.
If you don’t believe that man is adding to global warming, vote Republican.
If you don’t believe in science, vote Republican.
If you believe the environment doesn’t need to be taken care of, vote Republican.
If you believe the EPA needs to be dismantled because big business will do what right and not pollute, vote Republican.
If you believe the FDA needs to be dismantled because Big Agribusiness and Big Food won’t sell us contaminated foods, vote Republican.
If you believe regulations on everything need lifting because nobody in another country would sell us contaminated toys any more than our own companies, vote Republican
If you believe Big Business would never do anything to compromise safety and kill people, vote Republican.
If you believe that tort reform doesn’t set a fixed price on American lives and keeps insurance rates down and doesn’t restrict your right to a fair trial, vote Republican.
If you believe that “job creators” need to pay less taxes at the same time that pay rates and tax revenues are on the decline, vote Republican.
BUT IF YOU ESPOUSE GREEN VALUES, YOU WILL REJECT EACH OF THE FOLLOWING SCENARIOS AND YOU WILL TRY TO VOTE AS GREEN AS POSSIBLE THIS ELECTION CYCLE:
If you want more war: vote democrat or republican
If you want more crony capitalism: vote democrat or republican
If you want billions given to autocratic governments: vote democrat or republican
If you support the NSA spying on US citizens: vote democrat or republican
If you support the war on drugs, vote democrat or republican.
If you love the military/industrial complex, vote democrat or republican.
If you believe people who disagree with your politics are stupid and/or evil: vote democrat or republican
If you support targeted assassinations of US citizens abroad without due process, vote democrat or republican.
If you support indefinite detention: vote democrat or republican.
if you support the drone war, vote democrat or republican
If you support a complicated federal tax code that tries harder to socially engineer our choices instead of just raising revenue, vote democrat or republican.
If you want bureaucrats and lawyers to run US education policy, vote democrat or republican.
If you LOVE having the lesser of two evils in office, vote democrat or republican.
If you LOVE the status quo, vote democrat or republican.
And here is a revealing list of quotes from famous conservative Republicans. Read them before you go to the polls
A Small Sampling of Quotes From American “Big Tent” Conservatives
“We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our (Trilateral Commission) meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march toward a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.” – David Rockefeller (R-New York) billionaire banker, in a speech, given to the Trilateral Commission in 1991)
”Some people believe we Rockefellers are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family … as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” – David Rockefeller (R-NY)
“If the American people had ever known the truth about what we Bushes have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched.” — Ex-president George H. W. Bush (R-Texas)
“God told me to smite Osama bin Laden, so I invaded Afghanistan. Then He told me to smite Saddam Hussein, so I invaded Iraq. Now he wants me to work on the Middle East problem…” — Ex-President George W. Bush (R-Texas)
“I’m the commander—see, I don’t need to explain—I don’t need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.” – George W. Bush (R-Texas)
“I don’t understand how poor people think.” – George W. Bush (R- Texas)
“What Christians have got to do is take back this country, one precinct at a time, one neighborhood at a time and one state at a time. I honestly believe that in my lifetime, we will see a country once again governed by Christians…and Christian values.” “I want to be invisible. I do guerilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag. You don’t know until election night.” – Ralph Reed (R-Georgia) past associate of Jesse Helms, Jack Abramhoff, Grover Norquist and Tom DeLay and Christian Coalition executive director 1987-1989
“The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.” Henry Kissinger (R-CT), unindicted international war criminal.
“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” J. Edgar Hoover (R-deceased head of the FBI and probable co-conspirator in the JFK assassination)
“I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus—living fossils—so we will never forget what these people stood for.” – Vitriolic talk show host Rush Limbaugh (R-NY)
“This guy (President Obama) is, I believe, a racist.” – Fox News commentator Glenn Beck (R-Texas)
“I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. ) – Glenn Beck (R-Texas)
“Emotional appeals about working families trying to get by on $4.25 an hour are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families do not exist.” – Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas)
“I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.” – Pat Robertson (R-Va) 700 Club founder, who once predicted that the end of the world was coming in October or November 1982.
”In my opinion, the right to privacy doesn’t exist in the United States Constitution.” – Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)
“Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I’m proud to say that they are my enemy. They are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans.” – Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)
“We’re going to keep building the party until we’re hunting Democrats with dogs.” – Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas)
“Probably nothing.” – Jeb Bush, (R-Florida), when asked what he would do for black people if elected.
”George W. Bush is in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.” –Lt. General William G. Boykin, (R-Va) Christian Fundamentalist, current executive vice president at Family Research Council and retired Deputy Undersecretary of Defense.
“We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors.” – Ann Coulter (R-Fla) Talk Show Host, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conf., 02-26-02.FoxNews.
“I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” – Grover Norquist (R-DC) President of Americans for Tax Reform.
“Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two have diminished is in direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arisen can be directly traced back to our departure from God’s Law and the disenfranchisement of White men.” – Rep. Don Davis (R-NC)
“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it’s gonna happen? It’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” – Barbara Bush, (R-Tx), Ex-First Lady, on the day before the Iraq war started.
“I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” – Gen. George Patton (R-deceased Commander of 3rd Army, WWII)
Dr Kohls is a retired family physician from Duluth, Minnesota who is involved in peace, nonviolence and justice issues and often writes about mental ill health, toxic food issues, corporate pollution, the corporate-controlled media, corporate-controlled politics, crony capitalism, militarism, racism, fascism, imperialism, totalitarianism, economic oppression, anti-environmentalism and other violent, unsustainable, anti-democratic movements.
“Ever since the US has lost the war militarily, i.e., signed the Armistice Agreement in July 27, 1953, they’ve instead chosen a war propaganda strategy by mobilizing the whole global media (i.e., their globally-monopolized mainstream media) to demonize(isolate) the North till this very day…
This ongoing demonization as war propaganda against “North Korea” has therefore made the world very difficult, if not impossible, ever to learn about this extremely (i.e., probably the worst in that sense) demonized nation on earth. Thus, as a result, in most cases, the world in general does not know about the DPRK at all.” (Report from the DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies, published by 4th Media 
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) otherwise known as North Korea is arguably among the most demonized countries in the world.
The country has been portrayed as a nuclear threat, a human rights abuser, belligerent and an economic basket case.
During the onset of the so-called “War on Terrorism,” US President George W Bush referred to THe DPRK as part of the Axis of Evil.
Are the problems facing the Communist country principally a consequence of structural problems with the State itself? Or is it a consequence of sanctions and other measures being imposed on the population?
The Global Research News Hour probes the myths and realities behind the North Korean menace with two analysts.
Kiyul Chung is a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing and the Editor in Chief of 4th Media, an internet-based publication. He has been participating in the Korea’s self-determined and peaceful reunification movement for decades, and he has been to visit North Korea close to one hundred times.
Henri Feron is a Ph.D candidate in international law at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He holds an LL.B. in French and English law from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and King’s College London, as well as an LL.M. in Chinese law from Tsinghua University. On May 5 of this year, he authored an article called, “Doom and Gloom or Economic Boom? The Myth of the “North Korean Economic Collapse.” Feron points to the idea that the collapse narrative is based on faulty data, comprehensive sanctions from the West and the US in particular, and an incentive on the part of the US and its allies to portray this enemy country in the most negative light possible.
It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.
CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.
The Patriot Act continues to wreak its havoc on civil liberties. Section 213 was included in the Patriot Act over the protests of privacy advocates and granted law enforcement the power to conduct a search while delaying notice to the suspect of the search. Known as a “sneak and peek” warrant, law enforcement was adamant Section 213 was needed to protect against terrorism. But the latest government report detailing the numbers of “sneak and peek” warrants reveals that out of a total of over 11,000 sneak and peek requests, only 51 were used for terrorism. Yet again, terrorism concerns appear to be trampling our civil liberties.
Throughout the Patriot Act debate the Department of Justice urged Congress to pass Section 213 because it needed the sneak and peak power to help investigate and prosecute terrorism crimes “without tipping off terrorists.” In 2005, FBI Director Robert Mueller continued the same exact talking point, emphasizing sneak and peek warrants were “an invaluable tool in the war on terror and our efforts to combat serious criminal conduct.”
A closer look at the number of sneak and peek warrants issued (a reporting requirement imposed by Congress) shows this is simply not the case. The last publicly available report about sneak and peek warrants was released in 2010; however, the Administrative Office of the US Courts has finally released reports from 2011, 2012, and 2013.
What do the reports reveal? Two things: 1) there has been an enormous increase in the use of sneak and peek warrants and 2) they are rarely used for terrorism cases.
First, the numbers: Law enforcement made 47 sneak-and-peek searches nationwide from September 2001 to April 2003. The 2010 report reveals 3,970 total requests were processed. Within three years that number jumped to 11,129. That’s an increase of over 7,000 requests. Exactly what privacy advocates argued in 2001 is happening: sneak and peak warrants are not just being used in exceptional circumstances—which was their original intent—but as an everyday investigative tool.
Second, the uses: Out of the 3,970 total requests from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010, 3,034 were for narcotics cases and only 37 for terrorism cases (about .9%). Since then, the numbers get worse. The 2011 report reveals a total of 6,775 requests. 5,093 were used for drugs, while only 31 (or .5%) were used for terrorism cases. The 2012 report follows a similar pattern: Only .6%, or 58 requests, dealt with terrorism cases. The 2013 report confirms the incredibly low numbers. Out of 11,129 reports only 51, or .5%, of requests were used for terrorism. The majority of requests were overwhelmingly for narcotics cases, which tapped out at 9,401 requests.
Section 213 may be less known than Section 215 of the Patriot Act (the clause the government is currently using to collect your phone records), but it’s just as important. The Supreme Court ruled in Wilson v. Arkansas and Richards v. Wisconsin that the Fourth Amendment requires police to generally “knock and announce” their entry into property as a means of notifying a homeowner of a search. The idea was to give the owner an opportunity to assert their Fourth Amendment rights. The court also explained that the rule could give way in situations where evidence was under threat of destruction or there were concerns for officer safety. Section 213 codified this practice into statute, taking delayed notice from a relatively rare occurrence into standard operating law enforcement procedure.
The numbers vindicate privacy advocates who urged Congress to shelve Section 213 during the Patriot Act debates. Proponents of Section 213 claimed sneak and peek warrants were needed to protect against terrorism. But just like we’ve seen elsewhere, these claims are false. The government will continue to argue for more surveillance authorities—like the need to update the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act—under the guise of terrorism. But before we engage in any updates, the public must be convinced such updates are needed and won’t be used for non-terrorist purposes that chip away at our civil liberties.
For decades, Americans used to be able to joke about the corrupt nature of police in other countries. The law enforcement in places like Mexico became notorious for their highway extortion antics, especially towards tourists. Countries like Russia are so bad that every driver has to keep a dash cam in the car so they can challenge the police in court. It’s almost become a standard amenity in most vehicle, like having a cigarette lighter or a radio.
America however, has nothing to laugh about anymore. We have our own form of highway extortion, known as civil forfeiture. I’d consider even more insulting than what people face in other countries, because at least you’re buying yourself out of a nonexistent crime. They’re very up front about it. “We want your money or we’re going to charge with something”. At least those police kiss you before they do “you know what” to you.
American police don’t even bother with the formality. If you’re stopped on one of America’s roadways, and you have a large sum of money on your person, they can just take it. Unfortunately there is nowhere to hide, because this isn’t just something you have to deal with on the highway. If someone living in your home is arrested for drug possession, they can take your house. And if you put less than $10,000 into your bank, they can confiscate your entire account. And by they, I mean the IRS.
By law, if you deposit more than $10,000 into your account, your bank has to report it to the IRS. If however, you deposit less than $10,000 into your account on a regular basis, the IRS can flag you as a possible terrorist, drug dealer, or money launderer, and confiscate everything. The amount of money required to be flagged is never specified, and you don’t need to be charged with any crime for the government to clean you out.
Restaurant owner Carole Hinders found this out the hard way when she was told that she had $33,000 taken from her account.
And Carole Hinders, owner of an Iowa restaurant called Mrs. Lady’s Mexican Food, said she made large deposits under $10,000 because her mother told her the bank had to do “extra paperwork” if she made deposits over that amount.
One day in August, two federal agents knocked on Hinders’ door and told her they’d cleared all $33,000 out of her bank account. Now, the Institute for Justice is representing Hinders in her efforts to get that money back. Here’s how the Institute for Justice summed up her defense:
In her defense, she will show that she had no intent to evade the reports that banks must file with the U.S. Treasury concerning cash transactions greater than $10,000. Rather, she had legitimate business purposes for her banking practices. Because her restaurant does not accept credit cards, and because it is unsafe to accumulate substantial cash on her premises, she goes to the bank often to make smaller cash deposits. For more than 30 years, she has kept her bank deposits to less than $10,000 because she was told that larger deposits cause an inconvenience to the bank. She had never heard of the term “structuring” until federal agents knocked on her door last year to tell her they had emptied out her bank account. But it’s not illegal to run an honest cash business, and Carole Hinders is not a criminal.
She had no idea about the law. All she knew was that banks had to do extra paperwork if she deposited more than 10k. She thought she was doing them a favor. Instead, she lost all of her savings, and she’s probably never going to see it again. With the cost of legal fees, she’ll be lucky to get half of it back.
In fact, most people never fight civil forfeiture cases for that very reason. Unless it’s a very large sum of money that is significantly more than the cost to fight the case (typical legal fee’s might run up to $20,000) you’re never going to see it again, even if you win in court. If you lose, you’ll be even deeper in the hole.
So far it looks like public backlash is forcing the IRS is to reexamine this despicable practice. Unfortunately, they appear to be completely unrepentant for the lives they’ve ruined.
On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”
Richard Weber, the chief of Criminal Investigation at the I.R.S., said in a written statement, “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.” He added that making deposits under $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not apply to past seizures.
So they recognize that what they did was wrong. They’ve agreed to focus on cases where money was acquired illegally. They’ve essentially admitted that many of the past cases of civil forfeiture were at best, mistaken (at worst, it was no mistake. It was theft). But they’re not going to consider past cases. They’re not going return any of the money to the people, they just admitted to robbing.
And in the same statement, they’re still claiming that avoiding the $10,000 limit is illegal, even though there is probably no way to prove whether or not somebody is trying to avoid that money laundering law. The hundreds of innocent people that the IRS has burned over the years, has proven that this department is either unable or unwilling to prove that somebody is breaking that law.
So what they’re really saying is, nothing is going to change.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .