Global Research Editor’s Note

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

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

The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.

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

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

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

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

We have highlighted key sections of this interview.

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

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

Michel  Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014


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

Ummat (in Urdu)

translated from Urdu

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

Ummat’s introduction

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

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

Following is the interview in full detail:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001

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

September 11th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

 

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

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GLOBAL RESEARCH ONLINE

INTERACTIVE READER SERIES

GR I-BOOK No.  7 

THE 9/11 READER

The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

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

Michel Chossudovsky (Editor)

August 2012


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


 

INTRODUCTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to view video

VIDEO: AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR

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

***

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

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

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

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

Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

VIDEO (30 Sec.)

The Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven

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

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.

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

Coverup and Complicity

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

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

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

War Propaganda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Alleged Role of Iraq in the 9/11 Attacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran: Alleged State Sponsor of 9/11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al Qaeda: US-NATO Foot-soldiers

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents of the 9/11 Reader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PART  I

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

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

PART II

What Happened on the Planes

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

 

PART III

What Caused the Collapse of

The WTC Buildings and the Pentagon?

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

PART IV

Lies and Fabrications: The 9/11 Commission Report

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

PART  V

Foreknowledge of 9/11

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

PART VI

Insider Trading and the 9/11 Financial Bonanza

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

PART VII

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

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

 

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

PART VIII

The Alleged 9/11 Mastermind:

The Life and Death of  Osama bin Laden

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

PART  IX

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

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

PART X

“Deep Events” and State Violence

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

PART XI

Propaganda: Creating and Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend

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

PART XII

Post 9/11 “Justice”

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

PART XIII

9/11 Truth

Revealing the Lies,  Commemorating the 9/11 Tragedy

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

*   *  *

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

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

Order Directly from Global Research

America's War on Terrorism

Salafism and the CIA: Destabilizing the Russian Federation?

September 14th, 2012 by F. William Engdahl

Part I: Syria comes to the Russian Caucasus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus

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

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

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

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

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

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

*  *  *

WWIII Scenario

*  *  *

 

Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition

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

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

Before and…After Salafist Taliban …

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

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

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

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

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

Salafism and the CIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

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

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

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, op. cit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[14] Ibid.

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

[16] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

[21] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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December 30th, 2012 by Global Research News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The heavy snowfalls during the months of December 2013 and January 2014 were caused by the excessive snow and ice deposits formed in the Arctic region during August 2013.

Last year, fifty states in the U.S. experienced heavy snowfalls during the months of December 2013 and January 2014. Based on the information released on the internet, I found out that the snowfall was the aftermath of the unusual formation of extensive ice deposits in the Arctic region. However, it is explained on the basis of the “Global Warming” conception.

We are told that the ice deposits on the surface of the sea in the North Polar Region melted and the resultant sea water on the surface evaporated with the heat and rose up. This affected the polar vortex, which usually circles the middle and upper troposphere and extends into stratosphere. This further altered the path of the polar vortex, which widely spread over the entire North American continent causing heavy snowfall. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2757831/Is-global-warming-causing-COLDER-winters-Melting-ice-destabilising-polar-vortex-study-claims.html

But the British Meteorological Department has found out from the records of 30,000 stations which recorded weather that during the past seventeen years, i.e. from 1997 to 2014, the world’s temperature had not risen at all. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2436710/Met-office-proof-global-warming-pause-climate-summit-confirms-global-temperature-stopped-rising.html

Hence the explanation given for the widespread snowfall in America last year, during the months of December 2013 and January 2014 on the basis of the “Global Warming” conception is totally wrong.

In the year 2007, BBC released a news item stating that a study conducted by Prof. Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski and researchers of NASA has predicted that particularly in the month of September 2013, the North Polar Region might be ice-free. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7139797.stm

But contrary to the predictions of those “Global Warming” scientists, Arctic Region was not only not sea ice-free, but unusually ice had formed in an area of around 5,33,000 square miles amounting to 29 percent of additional ice formation in the Arctic Region, and this was captured in the satellite images of NASA.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2415191/And-global-COOLING-Return-Arctic-ice-cap-grows-29-year.htm

It proves that the unusual excessive formation of ice in the Arctic Region is the sole reason for the heavy snowfall in America.

There is also a possibility that this incident would recur if excessive ice is again formed in the Arctic Region. So, America, Canada and European nations may be alerted on these grounds.

Ganapathy Ponmudi is an independent scientist from Chennai, India.

The Obama Justice Department announced Tuesday that it will not press federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman for the February 2012 slaying of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin.

Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement declaring that “a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here.”

Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, criticized the decision in comments to reporters following the announcement, which came on the eve of the third anniversary of the killing of the 17-year old in the Retreat at Twin Lakes gated community in Sanford, Florida.

“[Zimmerman] took a life, carelessly and recklessly, and he shouldn’t deserve to have his entire life walking around on the street free. I just believe that he should be held accountable for what he’s done,” Fulton said.

Pointing to the recent exoneration of police officers who killed unarmed youth and workers in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City, Fulton said, “We have grand juries and special grand juries; they’re making a decision to not even arrest a person.”

Zimmerman, a self-appointed vigilante with aspirations to join the police or the military, stalked Martin as he returned from purchasing snacks at a nearby convenience store before shooting the youth less than 100 yards from the home where Martin’s father was staying.

“This guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something… these assholes, they always get away,” Zimmerman can be heard to say on a recording of a phone call to police taken just prior to the killing.

Police arrived on the scene just minutes after the call ended, where they found Martin lying unresponsive on the ground near Zimmerman, who was still holding the weapon used to kill the youth.

Police and local prosecutors initially refused to arrest or charge Zimmerman. After widespread protests, Zimmerman was eventually charged with manslaughter and second-degree murder.

Among the issues raised in the case was Florida’s reactionary “stand your ground” law, one of a raft of measures across the US aimed at promoting law-and-order vigilantism. The law was initially cited by prosecutors in justifying their decision not to bring charges against Zimmerman, and was later referred to by the judge in his trial.

Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Zimmerman was acquitted of both charges after a month-long trial. Prosecutors conducted the trial in an ineffectual manner, with police officers called by the prosecution barely concealing their sympathy for the killer.

Race was likely a factor in the killing of Martin. However, in an effort to obscure the social and class dynamics underlying the events in Ferguson, the Democratic Party and Obama administration have worked aggressively to frame the incident entirely in racial terms.

The federal civil rights investigation terminated this week was announced as part of these political maneuvers by the White House, which aimed to dissipate popular anger and channel the protest movement behind the Democratic Party.

This political operation was aided by the professional practitioners of identity politics, including Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, along with the various “left” groups that orbit around the Democratic Party. Obama’s race was cited as part of efforts to present the federal government as an instrument for achieving justice in the Zimmerman case.

While the decision not to charge Zimmerman for violating Martin’s civil rights does not come as a surprise, it is clearly a calculated political move on the part of the Obama administration. The announcement means an end to any possibility of holding Zimmerman criminally accountable, thus encouraging the type of vigilantism that led to Martin’s death.

The announcement also comes in the wake of media reports that the administration will not bring civil rights charges against Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. An official announcement on that investigation is expected soon.

Avremo 90 F-35 senza motore e senza conoscerne il prezzo

February 27th, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

Joe Della Vedova, por­ta­voce dell’ufficio del Pen­ta­gono respon­sa­bile del pro­gramma F-35, ha comu­ni­cato che «l’Italia rimane impe­gnata nel pro­gramma e ad acqui­stare, in tale qua­dro, 90 cac­cia F-35». Solo dopo che la sua dichia­ra­zione è stata ripor­tata dall’agenzia Reu­ters, la mini­stra della Difesa Roberta Pinotti ha con­fer­mato, con un mes­sag­gio su Twit­ter, che «il numero di 90 è stato sta­bi­lito dal pre­ce­dente Governo. Il pro­gramma pro­se­gue secondo l’illustrazione data al Parlamento».

Dimen­tica di dire, però, che il governo Renzi si era impe­gnato cin­que mesi fa, 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, al mas­simo una ven­tina di F-35.

Da qui la noti­zia, allora dif­fusa dai media, del «dimez­za­mento» degli F-35. Smen­tita ora dall’annuncio che l’Italia man­tiene l’impegno ad acqui­starne 90, fatto che non ci sor­prende dato che sul mani­fe­sto abbiamo sem­pre soste­nuto che il governo Renzi non aveva alcuna inten­zione di ridurre tale numero. L’Italia si impe­gna ad acqui­stare 90 cac­cia F-35 della sta­tu­ni­tense Loc­kheed Mar­tin — 60 a decollo e atter­rag­gio con­ven­zio­nale e 30 a decollo corto e atter­rag­gio ver­ti­cale — senza cono­scerne il prezzo. Una recente stima del Pen­ta­gono quan­ti­fica in 98 milioni di dol­lari il costo uni­ta­rio della prima ver­sione e in 104 milioni quello della seconda versione.

Spe­ci­fica però che il costo è rela­tivo all’aereo «motore non incluso» (come sen­tirsi dire da un con­ces­sio­na­rio che nel prezzo dell’auto non è com­preso il motore). Una stima di mas­sima si può rica­vare dal bilan­cio del Pen­ta­gono, che pre­vede per l’anno fiscale 2015 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. Alla quale si aggiun­ge­ranno gli enormi costi ope­ra­tivi per il man­te­ni­mento e l’armamento di una flotta di F-35. Sem­pre con denaro pub­blico, sot­tratto alle spese sociali

L’impianto Faco di Cameri, scelto dal Pen­ta­gono quale «polo di manu­ten­zione dei veli­voli F-35 schie­rati in Europa, sia di quelli acqui­stati dai paesi euro­pei sia di quelli Usa ope­ranti in Europa», già costato all’Italia un miliardo di euro, dà lavoro a meno di mille addetti che, secondo Fin­mec­ca­nica, potreb­bero arri­vare solo a 2500 a pieno regime.

E, nell’annunciare la scelta di Cameri, il gene­rale Usa Chri­sto­pher Bog­dan ha chia­rito, in pre­vi­sione di ulte­riori spese per lo svi­luppo dello sta­bi­li­mento, che «i paesi part­ner del pro­gramma F-35 si fanno carico degli inve­sti­menti per tali impianti».

I por­ta­voce sta­tu­ni­tensi, inter­vi­stati dalla Reu­ters a Roma e a Washing­ton, si com­pli­men­tano col governo Renzi per­ché, «nono­stante le pres­sioni poli­ti­che», è riu­scito a man­te­nere l’impegno ad acqui­stare 90 cac­cia­bom­bar­dieri F-35, il «numero giu­sto» per assi­cu­rare la par­te­ci­pa­zione indu­striale ita­liana al pro­gramma e, allo stesso tempo, «la difesa del paese».

Riten­gono di grande impor­tanza che «l’Italia rim­piazzi la sua obso­leta forza di cac­cia­bom­bar­dieri» (defi­ni­zione in cui col­lo­cano non solo i Tor­nado ma anche i più recenti Euro­fighter Typhoon), «nel momento di cre­scenti ten­sioni inter­na­zio­nali per i mem­bri della Nato, con ribelli pro-russi che com­bat­tono il governo ucraino e, subito al di là del Medi­ter­ra­neo, con mili­tanti dello Stato isla­mico che stanno avanzando».

Con­fer­mano così che l’F-35 è par­ti­co­lar­mente impor­tante per subor­di­nare ancor più l’Italia ai piani di guerra del Pentagono.

Chicago’s Abu Ghraib

February 27th, 2015 by Andre Damon

In April 2004, the world was shocked and horrified by the release of photographs of sadistic torture carried out by US military personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Detainees at the prison, most of them locked up for opposing the US military occupation, were beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted and killed.

At the time, the World Socialist Web Site explained that the crimes revealed in the photos and the psychology underlying them could be understood only in relation to the brutality of social relations in the United States, together with the dirty colonial aims of the war itself.

The WSWS further warned that

“such a military, accompanied by a growing army of professional ‘civilian’ mercenaries, represents a danger not only to oppressed peoples in the Middle East, Central Asia and elsewhere, but to the democratic rights of the population in the US.”

A decade later, this assessment has been fully borne out. On Tuesday, the Guardian newspaper revealed the existence of what it describes as a “black site” on the West Side of Chicago, where police detain, beat and torture prisoners, while keeping their whereabouts secret from their families and attorneys.

The newspaper writes:

“The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.”

Among those detained at the facility was Brian Jacob Church, one of the “NATO 3” who were entrapped by Chicago police in 2012 in connection with protests against the US-led military alliance, which was meeting in Chicago.

Church was taken to the secret facility and handcuffed to a bench for 17 hours. Along with two other protestors, he was set up by police on terrorism charges and subsequently sentenced to five years in prison.

Vic Suter, another participant in the protests, said that she was taken to the facility and interrogated while shackled to a bench for eighteen hours before she was allowed to see a lawyer.

The Guardian writes that detainees taken to the facility report having been beaten and otherwise tortured by police. In 2013, one detainee was found unconscious in an interview room at the facility. He later died.

On Thursday, the Intercept corroborated the Guardian’s account, interviewing another torture victim at the facility who was handcuffed across a bench and hit in the face and groin until he agreed to provide false testimony to police.

The revelations follow the report last week by the Guardian that Richard Zuley, one of the lead torturers at the Guantanamo detention center, used similar techniques to secure false confessions from murder suspects when he was a detective with the Chicago Police Department.

Chicago has a long history of police violence. It is also the political home of Barack Obama and has been run since 2011 by Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former White House chief of staff.

The Obama administration, far from repudiating the horrific and criminal actions of its predecessor, has deployed the apparatus of police violence ever more directly against the American people. A series of events has marked the increasingly open application within the borders of the United States of the murderous methods of the “war on terror” tested out and perfected in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

· In September 2010, the Obama administration ordered raids on the homes of leaders of the Anti-War Committee and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization in Minneapolis and Chicago on charges of “providing material support to terrorism.”

· In May 2012, Chicago police arrested the “NATO 3,” charging them with conspiracy to commit terrorism.

· In March 2013, US Attorney General Eric Holder declared that the president had the right to kill American citizens without a trial or any legal due process, including within the borders of the United States.

· Just one month later, in April 2013, the city of Boston was placed under de facto martial law following the Boston Marathon bombings, with residents told to “shelter in place” while armored vehicles and helicopters patrolled the streets and police carried out warrantless house-to-house searches.

· In June 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report entitled “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing.” The ACLU reported that the Defense Department had transferred $4.3 billion in military hardware, including armored vehicles, helicopters, and belt-fed machine guns, to local police departments.

· In August 2014, the authorities responded to protests against the police murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown with a military/police crackdown. Hundreds of peaceful protesters were arrested, shot with rubber bullets or exposed to tear gas, and over a dozen members of the press were detained.

The Obama administration is presently seeking a new Authorization for Use of Military Force, nominally to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but with no geographical boundaries defined. On Wednesday, three Brooklyn residents were arrested in connection with this new war on ISIS, clearly raising the potential for this second “war on terror” to become an occasion for police-military operations within the US “homeland.”

These developments express the growing convergence of militarism abroad with the attack on democratic rights within the US. What ties these two processes together are the class interests of the financial aristocracy and the criminal methods it employs in the defense of its wealth and power.

In pursuit of these aims, the ruling class seeks to mobilize the most backward and reactionary sections of the population, including sadistic prison guards and fascist-minded police detectives. But the ultimate responsibility for these crimes rests with forces at the highest levels of the state.

It is worth recalling that late last year the Senate released a report implicating the Bush administration in a brutal torture regime carried out at Guantanamo and CIA “black site” torture centers throughout the world. Far from anyone being held accountable for these crimes, those who ordered and carried them out have defended their actions, while the Obama administration has sought to block any prosecution of those responsible.

The actions of the ruling class express the character of American capitalism, which is based on parasitism, fraud, criminality and an economic order in deep decline. The American ruling class has no response to the crisis of its system and the inevitable growth of social opposition other than violence and repression.

Mai esistito uno Stato in Libia?

February 27th, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

Non è vero che la guerra del 2011 abbia digre­gato lo Stato libico. Il per­ché ce lo ha spie­gato il pre­si­dente eme­rito della Repub­blica, Gior­gio Napo­li­tano, inter­ve­nendo al Senato: «Ritengo che, nel senso moderno dell’espressione, uno Stato non sia mai esi­stito in Libia».

Pochi mesi fa, aveva defi­nito la Libia «Stato fal­lito» (cate­go­ria creata dal «Fondo per la pace» Usa). Ora però ci ha ripen­sato: «Che si possa par­lare oggi di Stato fal­lito suscita in me per­ples­sità: non era uno Stato l’esercizio del potere auto­cra­tico e per­so­nale del pre­si­dente Ghed­dafi sulla base di un sistema di equi­li­bri con la mol­ti­tu­dine delle tribù». Sulla sponda sud del Medi­ter­ra­neo non c’era dun­que uno Stato, la Repub­blica araba di Libia, nata nel 1969 dopo oltre 30 anni di domi­nio colo­niale ita­liano e quasi 20 di una monar­chia suc­cube di Gran Bre­ta­gna e Stati uniti. Uno Stato che, abo­lita la monar­chia, aveva chiuso nel 1970 le basi mili­tari sta­tu­ni­tensi e bri­tan­ni­che, e nazio­na­liz­zato le pro­prietà della Bri­tish Petro­leum. Uno Stato che – docu­men­tava la Banca mon­diale nel 2010 – man­te­neva «alti livelli di cre­scita eco­no­mica», assi­cu­rando (nono­stante le dispa­rità) il più alto tenore di vita in Africa e dando lavoro a circa due milioni di immi­grati afri­cani; che regi­strava «alti indi­ca­tori di svi­luppo umano» tra cui l’accesso uni­ver­sale all’istruzione pri­ma­ria e secon­da­ria e, per il 46%, a quella di livello uni­ver­si­ta­rio. Uno Stato che aveva reso pos­si­bile con i suoi inve­sti­menti la nascita di orga­ni­smi che avreb­bero potuto rea­liz­zare l’autonomia finan­zia­ria dell’Africa: la Banca afri­cana di inve­sti­mento (in Libia), la Banca cen­trale afri­cana (in Nige­ria), il Fondo mone­ta­rio afri­cano (in Camerun).

Riscri­vendo la sto­ria, tutto que­sto viene can­cel­lato e la Libia del 1969–2011 viene rap­pre­sen­tata come un non-Stato, una «mul­ti­tu­dine di tribù» (defi­ni­zione di stampo colo­niale) tenute insieme dal potere di Ghed­dafi. Potere che indub­bia­mente esi­steva, frutto delle fasi sto­ri­che attra­ver­sate dalla Libia, ma che si era allen­tato e decen­trato aprendo la pro­spet­tiva di una ulte­riore evo­lu­zione della società libica.

La Libia, dopo che gli Stati uniti e l’Unione euro­pea ave­vano revo­cato l’embargo nel 2004, si era rica­vata uno spa­zio a livello inter­na­zio­nale. Nell’aprile 2009, a Washing­ton, la segre­ta­ria di stato Hil­lary Clin­ton strin­geva calo­ro­sa­mente la mano a uno dei figli di Ghed­dafi, dichia­rando di voler «appro­fon­dire e allar­gare la nostra coo­pe­ra­zione». Nem­meno due anni dopo, la stessa Clin­ton lan­ciava la cam­pa­gna inter­na­zio­nale con­tro Ghed­dafi, pre­pa­rando la guerra.

Ora però, nel qua­dro della com­pe­ti­zione per le pros­sime pre­si­den­ziali, gli sche­le­tri escono dall’armadio: docu­men­tate prove (pub­bli­cate dal «Washing­ton Times» e all’esame della com­mis­sione con­gres­suale di inchie­sta sull’uccisione dell’ambasciatore Usa a Ben­gasi nel 2012) dimo­strano che è stata la Clin­ton a spin­gere l’amministrazione Obama alla guerra con­tro la Libia «con falsi pre­te­sti e igno­rando i con­si­gli dei coman­danti mili­tari». Men­tre la Clin­ton accu­sava Ghed­dafi di geno­ci­dio, l’intelligence Usa rife­riva attra­verso i suoi rap­porti interni che «Ghed­dafi aveva dato ordine di non attac­care i civili ma di con­cen­trarsi sui ribelli armati».

Viene alla luce anche un docu­men­tato rap­porto, inviato nel 2011 dalle auto­rità libi­che a mem­bri del Con­gresso Usa, sulle for­ni­ture di armi ai jiha­di­sti libici da parte del Qatar con il «per­messo della Nato». In quel momento il pre­si­dente Napo­li­tano dichia­rava che, «non potendo restare indif­fe­renti alla san­gui­na­ria rea­zione di Ghed­dafi», l’Italia ade­riva al «piano di inter­venti della coa­li­zione sotto guida Nato».

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to hear that Congress members will skip Netanyahu’s speech no matter what reason they offer. Here are some of them:

It’s too close to Netanyahu’s election. (That doesn’t persuade me. If we had fair, open, publicly funded, un-gerrymandered, verifiably counted elections, then “politics” wouldn’t be a dirty word and we would want politicians to show themselves doing things to try to please us before, during, and after elections. I want them acting that way now, even with our broken system. I don’t want the U.S. interfering in Israeli elections, but allowing a speech is hardly the same as backing coups in Ukraine and Venezuela or giving Israel billions of dollars worth of weapons every year.)

The Speaker didn’t ask the President. (This is likely the big reason that Democrats are promising to skip the speech. I’m actually amazed more of them haven’t made that promise. Netanyahu seemed to me to miss the extent to which the United States has become a term-limited monarchy. Congress typically wants to pass the buck on wars to the President. The President typically controls one of the two parties quite tightly. But do I actually care that Congress didn’t consult the President? Hell no! Imagine if, during the run-up to the 2003 attack on Iraq, Congress had offered a joint-session microphone to El Baradei or Sarkozy or Putin or, indeed, Hussein to denounce all the bogus claims about WMDs in Iraq? Would you have been outraged by the impoliteness toward President Bush or delighted that a million people might not get killed for no damn reason?)

These kinds of reasons do have a practical weakness: they lead to calls for postponing the speech, rather than canceling it. Some other reasons have more serious flaws.

The speech damages bipartisan U.S. support for Israel. (Really? A slim minority of the President’s party skips the speech for a laundry list of lame excuses and suddenly the United States is going to stop providing all the free weapons and vetoing every attempt at legal accountability for the crimes of the Israeli government? And that would be a bad thing if it actually happened?)

The speech hurts the critical effort of negotiations to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. (This is the worst of the bad reasons. It pushes the false idea that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon and threatening to use it. It plays right into Netanyahu’s fantasies of poor helpless nuclear Israel the victim of Iranian aggression. In reality, Iran has not attacked another nation in modern history. If only Israel or the United States could say as much!)

As I said, I’m glad anyone’s skipping the speech for any reason. But I find it deeply disturbing that an enormously important and deeply moral reason to skip the speech is obvious and known to every member of Congress, and while most are acting against it, those acting in accordance with it refuse to articulate it. The reason is this: Netanyahu is coming to spread war propaganda. He told Congress lies about Iraq in 2002 and pushed for a U.S. war. He has been lying, according to leaks this week of his own spies’ information and according to the understanding of the U.S. “intelligence” services, about Iran. It is illegal to spread war propaganda under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Israel is a party. Congress is struggling to keep up with the wars President Obama is continuing, launching, and risking. Here’s one war Obama seems not to want, and Congress is bringing in a foreign leader with a record of war lies to give them their marching orders. Meanwhile, an agency of that same foreign government, AIPAC, is holding its big lobby meeting in Washington.

Now, it is true that nuclear energy facilities create dangerous targets. Those drones flying around French nuclear plants scare the hell out of me. And it is true that nuclear energy places its possessor a short step away from nuclear weaponry. Which is why the U.S. should stop spreading nuclear energy to countries that have no need of it, and why the U.S. should never have given nuclear bomb plans to Iran or sentenced Jeffrey Sterling to prison for allegedly revealing that act. But you can’t accomplish good by using horrific mass murder to avoid horrific mass murder — and that’s what Israeli-U.S. aggression toward Iran means. Stirring up a new cold war with Russia in Syria and Ukraine is dangerous enough without throwing Iran into the mix. But even a war that confined itself to Iran would be horrifying.

Imagine if we had one Congress member who would say, “I’m skipping the speech because I’m opposed to killing Iranians.” I know we have lots of constituents who like to think that their progressive Congress member secretly thinks that. But I’ll believe it when I hear it said.

ÖBB train in Vienna. Photo: ÖBB/Bönsch.

Do & Co. AG, an Austrian catering company, has been accused of paying its Hungarian staff one third of what it pays Austrian citizens for the same jobs. The employees work on trains operated by the Austrian state railway company making trips between countries in central Europe.

The catering staff are employed by two different subsidiaries of Do & Co., which is headquartered in Vienna. Both are named Henry am Zug (HAZ), but one is based in Austria and and the other is based in Hungary. The parent company generatedrevenues of €636 million ($720 million) last year from its operations which include running bars, restaurants and hotels in multiple countries, as well as providing catering services for airlines, trains and international sporting events.

In April 2012 Do & Co. was awarded a catering contract for Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB) to supply drinks and food on about 160 long distance trains in central Europe. The company employs about 600 staff of whom 100 are employed by HAZ in Hungary. The Hungarian staff receive a monthly salary of €500 ($570) after tax while Austrian staff receive between €1200 and €1500 a month ($1368 to $1710).

Eighty percent of the time we work outside Hungary for a 100 percent Hungarian salary,” Kati Fossi, a HAZ Hungary employee and works council representative, told Profil, an Austrian weekly magazine. (Many European companies have works councils who negotiate working conditions with the management. They often exist in parallel with unions but do not replace them.)

Hungarian workers have been tricked out of their money for years,” Gerhard Tauchner, a union activist with Vida, the Austrian transport and service union, told Profil.

Do & Co. claims that Hungarian employees only work on trains that depart or end in Budapest. But an investigative report published last month by Netzwerk Soziale Verantwortung (NeSoVe), an Austrian activist coalition on corporate justice, alleged that workers employed by the Hungarian subsidiary were found working on a train that was travelling from Zurich in Switzerland to Vienna.

Allegations of malpractice on ÖBB trains have been made in the past. Union activists have also accused E-Express, the previous catering contractor, of underpaying Hungarian workers and forcing them to work 30 hours a shift.

In 2011, former E-Express employees told der Kurier newspaper that their employer hadengaged in tax fraud; used malfunctioning refrigeration units and water tanks; and forced employees to serve expired food to customers.

When the train catering contract was put out to bid in 2012, Do & Co. beat E-Express by submitting a lower bid. E-Express then sold their catering subsidiary – which was called Foom – to Do & Co. Foom was renamed Henry am Zug but it continued to employ most of the same staff.

But by late 2012, Henry am Zug employees began to complain to the media about working conditions. The employees said that they were forced to work up to 10 hours without a break and were not provided with recreation rooms. Der Standard reported that workers were told that the company would fire them if they did not make enough sales, a complaint that the company denied.

“I don’t need this discussion,” Attila Dogudan, the CEO of Do & Co., told der Standard in January 2013. “We do not want to save money by using cheap labor from Hungary.” Instead of paying Hungarian workers more money, he announced, he would replace them with Austrian employees.

When Fossi relayed employees’ complaints to the HAZ management, she was laid off for a month in April 2013, despite the fact that one of her tasks was to act as a liaison between management and staff. “They made me understand that I should keep quiet”, Fassi told Profil.

Last year, the Austrian Trade Union Federation came to the support of the train workers and set up a complaints hotline for them to report problems. “The wage fraud has to stop,” Helmut Gruber of Vida told Format magazine.

The laws governing European workers who are employed in other countries can be complicated. In 1996, a European Union directive stipulated that labor contracts for workers posted abroad should be governed by the laws of the country where they were physically employed, including wage rates, shift lengths and occupational safety.

In 2008, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) clarified that host countries had the right to demand that foreign companies pay the local legal minimum wage, but could not require them to pay any more since such a requirement would cause those “undertakings to lose the competitive advantage which they enjoy by reason of their lower wage costs.

That debate continues to this day. Last week, the ECJ allowed a Finish union to intervene on behalf of Polish workers in Finland to demand that their Polish employer pays them the minimum hourly Finnish wage and enjoy equal rights as local workers, after the Polish employer refused to recognize the union’s right to organize the foreign workers.

Part of the problem in Austria, however, is that there is no legal minimum wage. Instead 98 percent of jobs are subject to collective bargaining agreements. In recent press statements, Dogudan has claimed that the rules make little sense for workers who work in multiple countries, since “pilots that cross multiple countries would need to be subject to multiple collective bargaining agreements.

But Dr. Josef Unterweger, an Austrian labor lawyer, told NeSoVe that pilots do “have contracts with airlines… Based on this comparison Mr Dogudan must be supportive of the idea that the servers on the train – just like the ticket inspectors and the railroad engineers – should have a contract with the railway company and be paid by it.

ISIS Online: A Pretext for Cyber COINTELPRO?

February 27th, 2015 by Eric Draitser

In its ever expanding war against Syria, now under the broader pretext of “fighting ISIS,” the US Government has employed a variety of tactics. From arming terrorists whom it dishonestly labels “moderates,” to encouraging Turkey and Jordan to host jihadi training centers, to the CIA working with the Muslim Brotherhood to funnel weapons and fighters into Syria, the US and its allies have demonstrated the multi-faceted approach they’re taking to fighting ISIS, extremism, and the Syrian Government.

The war, once believed to be relegated solely to Syria and Iraq, has now been broadened to a regional, and indeed, a global war with no geographical boundaries or time limits. And now, the Obama administration has announced that its war will also be waged in cyberspace. As the NY Times reported:

At the heart of the plan is expanding a tiny State Department agency, the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, to harness all the existing attempts at countermessaging by much larger federal departments, including the Pentagon, Homeland Security and intelligence agencies. The center would also coordinate and amplify similar messaging by foreign allies and nongovernment agencies, as well as by prominent Muslim academics, community leaders and religious scholars who oppose the Islamic State.

While the use of social media and other online platforms is nothing new, the coordinated nature of the program demonstrates the broader capacity the US State Department and intelligence agencies are going to employ in penetrating cyberspace to, in theory, counter ISIS and other extremists groups’ propaganda. But is this all they’ll be doing? There is good reason to doubt the seemingly innocuous sounding mission of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC).

Countermessaging or Counterintelligence?

It is clear that the US Government is actively going to expand its social media and cyberspace presence vis-à-vis online extremism. According to the expressly stated goal, the CSCC is intended to:

…coordinate, orient, and inform government-wide foreign communications activities targeted against terrorism and violent extremism… CSCC is comprised of three interactive components. The integrated analysis component leverages the Intelligence Community and other substantive experts to ensure CSCC communicators benefit from the best information and analysis available. The plans and operations component draws on this input to devise effective ways to counter the terrorist narrative. The Digital Outreach Team actively and openly engages in Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, and Somali.

Although the description makes the program seem harmless enough, a close reading should raise very serious questions about just what exactly the CSCC will be involved in. The so called “integrated analysis” and “plans and operations” components provide an ambiguously worded description of collaboration with US intelligence agencies – CIA, DIA, DHS, and NSA undoubtedly among them. These agencies, aside from gathering intelligence and performing surveillance in every corner of the globe, are also involved in everything from espionage to “black ops” and “dirty ops” and other shadowy activities.

In effect, the CSCC will act in concert with these agencies both in the realm of information and activity. Does anyone seriously doubt, especially in light of the Snowden revelations about the all-encompassing nature of US surveillance and counterintelligence capabilities, that ultimately part of the CSCC’s responsibilities will be to act as a de facto arm of US intelligence in the cyberspace realm, with specific attention to global hotspots such as Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Libya etc.?

As for the so called “Digital Outreach Team,” it could rightly be described as a cyberwar unit, one that will be able to operate both openly and anonymously in a variety of capacities online. And therein lay the danger. As Richard Stengel, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs told the Times, “[CSCC] would use more than 350 State Department Twitter accounts, combining embassies, consulates, media hubs, bureaus and individuals, as well as similar accounts operated by the Pentagon, the Homeland Security Department and foreign allies.” Now of course, if this much has been admitted publicly, there is undoubtedly a much larger cyber capacity being developed covertly. The question then becomes: how will this capacity be used?

If history is any indicator, then activists, political radicals, dissidents, and many others will be targeted online. The revelations about COINTELPRO documented by the Church Committee demonstrated the way in which “intelligence gathering” becomes counterintelligence with all the attendant repression, subversion, entrapment, and more. As William C. Sullivan, former head of the FBI’s intelligence operations was quoted in the Church Committee report:

This is a rough, tough, dirty business, and dangerous. It was dangerous at times. No holds were barred… We have used [these techniques] against Soviet agents. They have used [them] against us… [The same methods were] brought home against any organization against which we were targeted. We did not differentiate. This is a rough, tough business.

Sullivan quite bluntly explained how the line between foreign and domestic counterintelligence became completely blurred as the repression of political radicals became equated with fighting the Cold War. Of course, anyone seriously examining today’s world cannot help but draw parallels between the aggressive rhetoric about the Soviet threat during the Cold War, and that around the “terrorist threat” of “radical Islam” today. It would be folly to think that, in light of the exponentially more powerful and all-encompassing surveillance architecture (to say nothing of the draconian laws such as the PATRIOT Act, National Defense Authorization Act, etc.), the government would not employ similar, and perhaps more severe and repressive, tactics today against any individuals and groups challenging dominant narratives, organizing antiwar/anti-imperialist activities, building economic and political alternatives, and much more.

It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again

It should come as no surprise that there is a voluminous documented record of online information manipulation and propaganda designed to achieve political ends. Recent examples specific to the war on Syria are endlessly instructive about some of the tactics one should be prepared for.

A recent example of the sort of social media disinformation that has been (and will continue to be) employed in the war on Syria/ISIS came in December 2014 when a prominent “ISIS twitter propagandist” known as Shami Witness (@ShamiWitness) was exposed as a man named “Mehdi,” described as “an advertising executive” based in Bangalore, India. @ShamiWitness had been cited as an authoritative source – a veritable “wealth of information” – about ISIS and Syria by corporate media outfits, as well as ostensibly “reliable and independent” bloggers such as the ubiquitous Eliot Higgins (aka Brown Moses) who cited Shami repeatedly. Conveniently enough, once exposed, Mehdi’s identity has been withheld from investigators, and he has since disappeared from public view. While it is impossible to say for certain exactly who Mehdi is, the significant point here is that this is a prime example of how social media is used to manipulate and frame false narratives, and to bolster threats and propaganda that serves particular interests.

In early 2011, as the war on Syria was just beginning, and many in the West especially were still harboring the delusion of an “Arab Spring uprising,” a blogger then known only as the “Gay Girl in Damascus” rose to prominence as a key source of information and analysis about the situation in Syria. Corporate news outlets such as The Guardian lauded her as “an unlikely hero of revolt” who “is capturing the imagination of the Syrian opposition with a blog that has shot to prominence as the protest movement struggles in the face of a brutal government crackdown.” However, by June of 2011, the “brutally honest Gay Girl” was exposed as a hoax, a complete fabrication concocted by one Tom MacMaster. Naturally, the same outlets that had been touting the “Gay Girl” as a legitimate source of information on Syria immediately backtracked and disavowed the blog. However, the one-sided narrative of brutal and criminal repression of peace-loving activists in Syria stuck. While the source was discredited, the narrative remained entrenched.

There are many other examples specific to the war in Syria, as was the case in Libya where dozens of twitter accounts purportedly from anti-Gaddafi Libyans mysteriously emerged in the lead-up to the war that toppled the Libyan government, providing much of the “intelligence” relayed on western media including CNN, NBC, and all the rest. It was at precisely that same moment (February 2011) that PC World ran a story headlined “Army of Fake Social Media Friends to Promote Propaganda” which noted that:

…the U.S. government contracted HBGary Federal for the development of software which could create multiple fake social media profiles to manipulate and sway public opinion on controversial issues by promoting propaganda. It could also be used as surveillance to find public opinions with points of view the powers-that-be didn’t like. It could then potentially have their “fake” people run smear campaigns against those “real” people.

Of course, if the story had already been broken by that point, one could rest assured that such programs were already long since being employed by US and other intelligence agencies for the purposes of achieving precisely what they achieved in Libya: the dissemination of disinformation for the purposes of constructing a false narrative to sway public opinion to support Washington’s agenda.

So, we know that US intelligence has the ability to create an endless supply of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. In light of this information, it is not terribly difficult to see the danger of allowing a centralized, intergovernmental “counterterrorism center” from engaging in an online spook war with the alleged threat of ISIS online. It is entirely plausible that this is yet another manufactured pretext for still further penetration of social media by US intelligence for the purposes of infiltrating and subverting online activists, independent journalists, and others.

Indeed, such activities would fit perfectly into the broader strategic imperative infamously articulated by Obama confidant, friend, and former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein. As Glenn Greenwald wrote in 2010:

[Sunstein] is responsible for “overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality [emphasis original], and statistical programs.”  In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” [emphasis original] online groups and websites… Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.”  He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging.

This sort of “cognitive infiltration” is undoubtedly happening in myriad ways that still remain largely unknown. What can be said for certain though is that US intelligence agencies have both the tools and strategic vision to manufacture online threats such as the meme of “ISIS social media recruiting” in order to bolster their failing propaganda war, and to justify yet another unpopular war to the American people.

This wouldn’t be the first time that intelligence and law enforcement agencies have manufactured threats and/or entrapped alleged “terrorists” for the purposes of justifying the repressive apparatus of the police state, not to mention their own jobs.

State Sponsored Terror At Home

Just looking at the recent historical record, one begins to see an unmistakable pattern of terror plots concocted by the FBI and other agencies which they then portray themselves as having thwarted. In September 2011, the FBI allegedly foiled an “aerial bombing plot and attempts to deliver bomb-making materials for use against US troops in Iraq.” However, as the AFP article casually noted:

During the alleged plot, undercover FBI agents posed as accomplices who supplied Ferdaus with one remote-controlled plane, C4 explosives, and small arms that he allegedly envisioned using in a simultaneous ground assault in Washington. However, ”the public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled by undercover FBI employees,” the FBI said. Ferdaus was arrested in Framingham, near Boston, immediately after putting the newly delivered weapons into a storage container, the FBI said.

So, this alleged “terrorist” had neither the means nor the opportunity to carry out any plot at all, until the FBI became involved, supplying him with everything he needed, including actual explosives. They then high-fived each other for a job well done, foiling this dastardly plot. It would be comical if it weren’t so utterly repugnant.

Similarly, in 2010 the FBI claimed to have stopped a terrorist operation in Oregon – the insidious “Christmas Tree Bomber” – who likewise was supplied with the explosives, not to mention training, by the FBI themselves. In 2012, the FBI claimed to have thwarted a suicide bomb attack on the US Capitol. Conveniently buried in the story however is the fact that the explosives and technical expertise were all provided by the bureau’s undercover operatives.

There are literally a dozen or more other incidents that one could point to where US Government agencies have been intimately involved in planning, and then “foiling,” terrorist operations. The point is not to allege some grand conspiracy, but rather to illustrate the documented history of manipulation and fabrication of threats – both real and imagined – for the purposes of justifying the military-industrial-intelligence-surveillance complex.

If such agencies have proven countless times that they have the wherewithal and determination to carry out such operations, why should we believe that today is any different?

It is clear that the government has hyped threats against the US for a variety of reasons. So too is this story of ISIS and social media being hyped for a specific agenda – to legitimize the creation of yet another shadowy COINTELPRO-style interagency unit that will further entrench US intelligence in cyberspace, especially in social media.

How will you know if that Instagram picture of an ISIS member holding a cute kitten is authentic, or is simply a government-controlled troll, a fake identity created by some guy in a room in Virgina? How will you know if those young British-Saudis holding jars of Nutella in front of an ISIS flag are who they are alleged to be? How will you know if any of what you’re seeing on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else is real at all?

You won’t know for sure. And that is precisely the point.

Eric Draitser is the founder of StopImperialism.org. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at [email protected].

by Jeremy Gillula and Mitch Stoltz  

Today the FCC voted three to two to reclassify broadband Internet access as a common carrier service under Title II of the Communications Act, and forbear from the parts of the Act that aren’t necessary for net neutrality rules. This reclassification gives the FCC the authority to enact (and enforce) narrow, clear rules which will help keep the Internet the open platform it is today.

As expected, the FCC’s new rules forbid ISPs from charging Internet users for special treatment on their networks. It will also reach interconnection between ISPs and transit providers or edge services, allowing the FCC to ensure that ISPs don’t abuse their gatekeeper authority to favor some services over others.

That’s great for making sure websites and services can reach ISP customers, but what about making sure customers can choose for themselves how to use their Internet connections without interference from their ISPs? To accomplish this, the FCC has banned ISPs from blocking or throttling their customers’ traffic based on content, applications or services—which means users, hackers, tinkerers, artists, and knowledge seekers can continue to innovate and experiment on the Internet, using any app or service they please, without having to get their ISP’s permission first.

Even better, the rules will apply to wireless and wired broadband in the same way, so you don’t have to worry that your phone switching from Wi-Fi to a 4G network will suddenly cause apps not to work or websites to become inaccessible. Lots of people use mobile devices as their primary way of accessing the Internet, so applying net neutrality rules to both equally will help make sure there is “one Internet” for all.

So congratulations, Team Internet. We put the FCC on the right path at last. Reclassification under Title II was a necessary step in order to give the FCC the authority it needed to enact net neutrality rules. But now we face the really hard part: making sure the FCC doesn’t abuse its authority.

For example, the new rules include a “general conduct rule” that will let the FCC take action against ISP practices that don’t count as blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization. As we saidlast week and last year, vague rules are a problem. The FCC wants to be, in Chairman Wheeler’s words, “a referee on the field” who can stop any ISP action that it thinks “hurts consumers, competition, or innovation.” The problem with a rule this vague is that neither ISPs nor Internet users can know in advance what kinds of practices will run afoul of the rule. Only companies with significant legal staff and expertise may be able to use the rule effectively. And a vague rule gives the FCC an awful lot of discretion, potentially giving an unfair advantage to parties with insider influence. That means our work is not yet done.  We must stay vigilant, and call out FCC overreach.

The actual order is over 300 pages long, and it’s not widely available yet. Details matter.  Watch this space for further analysis when the FCC releases the final order.

Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a non-elected federal government agency, voted three-to-two to reclassify broadband Internet as a common carrier service under Title II of the Communications Act. This means that – without the vote of Congress, the peoples’ branch of government – a federal agency now claims the power to regulate the Internet. I am surprised that even among civil liberties groups, some claim the federal government increasing regulation of the Internet somehow increases our freedom and liberty.

The truth is very different. The adoption of these FCC rules on the Internet represents the largest regulatory power grab in recent history. The FCC’s newly adopted rule takes the most dynamic means of communication and imposes the regulatory structure designed for public utilities. Federal regulation could also open the door to de facto censorship of ideas perceived as threatening to the political class – ideas like the troops should be brought home, the PATRIOT Act should be repealed, military spending and corporate welfare should be cut, and the Federal Reserve should be audited and ended.

The one bright spot in this otherwise disastrous move is that federal regulations making it more difficult to use the Internet will cause more Americans to join our movement for liberty, peace, and prosperity. The federal government should keep its hands off of the Internet!

The Obama Administration has done a good thing in granting whistleblower status to a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientist who says he intentionally omitted information in a study years ago that indicated a race-based link between childhood diseases, including autism, and vaccines.

The scientist, Dr. William S. Thompson, still works for the CDC, and now he’s collaborating closely with a congressman’s office to provide details about his actions to Capitol Hill, The Daily Caller reports.

In August of last year, Thompson put out a statement revealing his omission:

I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.

His full statement is here.

News of Thompson’s whistleblower status comes amid recent controversy regarding vaccines and potential 2016 presidential candidates who have made statements, amid a new measles outbreak, that parents ought to have some control over whether or not to vaccinate their children.

Potential GOP contenders Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have made pro-parental rights statements; former First Lady and potential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has called vaccine science “settled.”

But, as The DC reported further:

Thompson said that he and other CDC scientists intentionally fudged the results, manipulating the pool of children they analyzed and limiting the proper number of African-American children from participating. The authors limited black children from showing up in the results by excluding babies without a state of Georgia birth certificate.

That, they concede, skewed the data.

“It was a mutual decision among the five co-authors,” Dr. Brian Hooker told The Daily Caller

Hooker, an associate professor at Simpson University in California, discovered the deception during conversations he held and secretly recorded last year. He began talking with Thompson in 2013 and wound up getting it all on audio recording before distributing the information to vaccine skeptics online.

“I live close to the Oregon border. I taped the conversations in a hotel room,” Hooker said. “I didn’t want people to run out and delay vaccination because of this, because it was only one piece of data. But it was the one piece of data that CDC chose to cover up.”

“I did record phone conversations without his prior knowledge. That’s not something I took lightly, and I went to the state of Oregon to do it,” Hooker, the father of an autistic child, told The DC. “I live fairly close to the Oregon border, so for most of the conversation I was taping him in a hotel. The stuff that was being revealed was really radioactive. I consulted with two different attorneys and decided to go ahead and record these phone calls.”

At Thompson’s direction, Hooker revised the original data.

“When I ran the effect for males only for African-Americans the likelihood was 3.36. Stronger effect in African-American males and it looked like the effect was exclusively in African-American males, not females,” he said.

Following the skewing of data, Thompson sent a letter to then-CDC Director Dr. Julie Geberding in 2004 to discuss “problematic results” in relation to the MMR vaccine and autism. His letter highlights the paranoia within the CDC at the time.

“We’ve not yet met to discuss these matters…. I will be presenting the summary of our results from the Metropolitan Atlanta Autism Case-Control Study and I will have to present several problematic results relating to statistical associations between the receipt of MMR vaccine and autism,” Thompson wrote.

Geberding is presently the executive vice president of vaccine-maker Merck, after serving a couple of years as president of the company’s vaccine division.

The full Daily Caller report begins here.

The mainstream media is, of course, working to suppress this, as The Daily Sheeple documents here.

Sources:

http://dailycaller.com

http://www.thedailysheeple.com

http://www.morganverkamp.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://truthwiki.org/Vaccine_Fanaticism

http://truthwiki.org/Medical_Fascism

http://truthwiki.org/Medical_Kidnapping

Poland’s largest farmer uprising ever has occurred as convoys of tractors took to the roads recently in protest of GMO infiltration and land grabs by biotech and Big Ag corporations.

More than 150 farmers blocked roadways and held numerous demonstrations in order to bring attention to the important issue of food sovereignty in Poland. Their focus is a ban on GMOs and a restoration of small farmer’s rights after decades of oppressive health and safety regulations which take rights away from small farms and give them to mono-cropping, poisoning Big Ag mega-companies.

The farmers have been stalwart – refusing to call off their demonstrations until their demands are met. Rallies and demonstrations have littered the country – in over 50 locations. Hundreds are picketing government offices in addition to the road blockades.

In the largest organized farmer’s protest the country has likely ever seen, the farmers are demanding that legislators protect the small farmer from exploitation by monopolizing companies and refuse the sell off of their country’s land to these behemoths. As the farmers point out, once the land is sold, the Big Ag model can’t be stopped, and the land is forever lost.

Read: Record GMO Farmers Switching to NON-GMO Crops in 2015

Until government officials agree to talk with the farming unions, they have vowed to keep up their efforts. Edward Kosmal, chairman of the farmers protest committee for West-Pomeranian Region said:

We are ready for dialogue. We look forward to meeting with you, Prime Minister, and beginning a comprehensive government commitment to solving the problems of Polish agriculture. If you do not enter into a dialogue with the Union, we will be forced to step up our protests.”

There are 4 simple key demands the farmers would like to be heard:

  • Regulation of land grabs by primarily Western companies (translation – biotech and Big Ag) to prevent small farmers from losing their livelihoods.
  • The legalization of direct sale of produce and other foods from farms to the people. This cuts out the middle man and allows the higher quality produce of many farms to reach its customers directly. Poland currently has some of the most extreme policies of all of Europe in this regard, making it nearly impossible for small farmers to compete with big food companies who are notorious for selling us fake and highly processed foods.
  • Change inheritance laws so that families can rightly leave land under lease to their heirs.
  • BAN THE CULTIVATION OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS!

One farmer stated:

“We demand the introduction of legislation that will protect Polish land from exploitation by foreign capital! Agricultural land cannot be sold to commercial companies. It’s part of Polish territory. Once sold it will be lost.

An Intense Escalation of Events

The farmer’s protests represent a dramatic increase in activist fervor that has been boiling to the surface for over a year, with marked unrest in the northern provinces.

These provinces are especially upset about not being able to sell their (mostly) organic produce, though uncertified. It is usually of higher quality than the food grown on modern industrial farms. Poland is one of the last places in Europe where ‘peasant’ farmers still use traditional agricultural methods, without the use of chemicals and very low mechanization, so the soil is healthier, and so are the plants grown there. The large majority of small farms are no larger than 5 hectares.

Industrial-bent foreign corporations are keen to expand their operations in Poland, and many small farmers see the increasingly ridiculous regulations as an attempt to force families off their land.

Furthermore, one of Poland’s biggest industrial producers, in the form of Smithfield (the world’s biggest pig producer which bought Poland’s Animex SA in 1999) is influencing the largely right-wing government. They own a string of 16 hog farms where conditions have been calledhorrendous, so you know they are not interested in protecting small farmer’sland rights or producing high-quality, no-GMO, organic food.

The triad of government and corporate interests in Poland along with EU pressure is causing the protests to reach a more fevered pitch.

These protests are touching the raw nerve of what’s wrong with the inhuman, neo-liberal and profit obsessed practices of today. Practices which ignore the real needs of farmers and consumers alike.”

Read: Brazil’s Farmers Rise up in Protest Against Big Ag’s Policies

Polish farmers are joined with millions of others who have been protesting against Monsanto, Cargill, and other biotech and Big Ag interests who have little concern for the quality of our food supply. Over 50 countries have marched against Monsanto, so the thousands marching in Poland are not alone. Almost all states in the US have marched against Monsanto and Big Ag, and Vermont recently staged a protest at the US Canadian border which involved more than 79 Vermont towns.

Hillary Martin, a farmer from Burlington, Vermont states the internationally-shared aims against these bullies clearly:

“We are here at the border to demonstrate the global solidarity of farmers in the face of corporate globalization. The corporate takeover of agriculture has impoverished farmers, starved communities, and force-fed us hazardous genetically engineered crops, only to line the pockets of a handful of multinational corporations like Monsanto at the expense of farmers who are struggling for land and livelihood around the world!”

You can read more about land grabs by multinationals at Pesticide Action Network, as well other sites. The actions of these companies keeps the world hungry and sick, not well fed. As the Global Policy Forum explains, unfair distribution of land, and unfair access to ownership explain much of the poverty and hunger in the world – NOT – as biotech would have us believe, the inability to grow enough food. Its all about distribution.

It is the one- percent-ers, owning most of the multinational companies, not rural farmers who commandeer the land. Even when small farmers do own land, they still suffer from inequality due to government regulations that favor these enormous companies.

The struggle for land reform, which would shift the balance of power in favor of marginalized landless farmers, has been going on for many decades. However the food and financial crises contribute to worsening the trend towards land concentration, in which governments, agro-industrial corporations and private investors buy up fertile land in poor countries, [largely to spread GMOs] depriving small farmers of their ability to grow their own food.”

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War in Ukraine: Recent Developments in Donbass

February 27th, 2015 by Global Research News

 

 

The post-coup leaders of Ukraine have routinely said that Ukraine should destroy Russia; and, now, starting on February 24th, they are placing into position the key prerequisite for doing so, which is the advanced Anti-Ballistic-Missile, or ABM, system, S-300:

The S-300 is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently fielded.[3] Its radars have the ability to simultaneously track up to 100 targets while engaging up to 12/24/36 targets. The S-300 deployment time is five minutes.[3] The S-300 missiles are sealed rounds and require no maintenance over their lifetime. An evolved version of the S-300 system is the S-400 (NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler), which entered limited service in 2004.”

The S-300 (otherwise called “SAM C-300”) is designed to protect against retaliation. The entire purpose of ABMs is to disable retaliation. In that sense, ABMs are the most aggressive weapons of all. They are specifically designed to prevent retaliation from a nation that has been attacked and that is responding by sending in its own bombers to retaliate.  [the S-300 technology is Russian. GR Editor]

Here is one report, February 24th, of installation of these ABMs, from the region near Odessa, including a photo of these weapons on a truck:

http://trassae95.com/all/news/2015/02/24/ot-chetyreh-do-shesti-kompleksov-raket-s-300-proehali-po-odesse-foto-20927.html

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 6.26.51 PM

Here is another such report, with videos of the missile-systems being put into place, during the 24th and 25th of February:

http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/02/ukrainian-army-deploys-s-300s-in-odessa.html

The likeliest explanation of this would be that the new (ever since the February 2014 coup) anti-Russian Ukrainian Government intends to bring NATO in to invade Russia and to do this by provoking a limited attack from Russia that will then be repelled by these S-300s. After surviving Russia’s response, NATO would then claim Ukraine must be defended from Russia’s aggression; and, then, NATO would take over the task of eliminating Russia — which the present leaders of Ukraine (and their followers) have been very clear that they want to happen.

Other reasons for Ukraine’s positioning these ABMs ready for launch wouldn’t make sense, because the missiles won’t be usable except to block retaliation.

These missiles are purely ‘defensive’ weapons; but the Ukrainian Government isn’t waiting for U.S. President Obama to approve supplying other ‘defensive’ weapons to Ukraine; they’re moving forward with what they’ve already got.

It should also be noted, however, that Russia had set up S-300s in Crimea immediately prior to the 16 March 2014 referendum in Crimea on whether Crimea should return to Russia (of which Crimea had been a part during 1783-1954), or whether it should instead be ruled by the newly installed Ukrainian Government in Kiev. Russia said that this was being done then in order to deter the Ukrainian Air Force from bombing Crimea during the referendum — a referendum that Ukraine was trying to prevent and was threatening to block. Ukraine today might similarly be able to say that their new ABM installations are being done in order to prevent an imminent Russian air invasion into Ukraine.

Whether any ABM-installation can be said to be authentically defensive is thus a judgment that only each individual will make, based on that person’s estimation of the realistic likelihood that the country setting it up is authentically under threat of invasion at that particular moment in time. ABMs are against retaliatory weapons, but when is a threat real, against which are needed ABMs so as to justify the installation of such anti-weapons? If the threat of weapons from the other side is not real, then the threat of the anti-weapons against them is very real: it is then clearly preparation for launching an aggressive attack.

Consequently, whether a ‘defensive weapon’ is actually the most aggressive type of weapon — the preliminary to launching an attack — depends upon whether it is the preliminary to launching an attack, and only each individual observer can judge that question. Ukraine says that the referendum in Crimea was itself an attack against Ukraine. However, Ukraine did not set up ABMs at that time. They now are. Do they really believe that Russia is about to invade Ukraine? They have been saying, since the coup, that Russia is invading. The U.S. Government and its allies have seconded those allegations. But not until now is Ukraine actually preparing for such an invasion from Russia — or else preparing for its allies to launch an invasion of Russia.

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

National Identity: The Inventiveness of Macedonia

February 27th, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

National identities tend to be the strained contrivances of ministries of culture and propagandists. Their committee work formation, through eager pen, official pronouncement and neat selection of what are termed historical facts, reflects the odd flavour.  A good deal of gibberish and mendacity is required, a stretch of the historical record.  Any inconvenient facts or data will require either dismissal or inventive incorporation.

A series of these actions is evident on arriving at the city of Skopje, capital of the Republic of Macedonia.  Even the country’s name has been the source of dispute, with Greece desperate to halt any chance of territorial claims to its northern territories with the cumbersome appellation Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  Most countries have, however, been won over by Skopje’s inventive case, or at the very least unconvinced by Greece’s cri de coeur.

Hopping off at the central bus station that has the characteristic Balkan grime and soot, pungent with suffocating fumes, there is one theme that stands out: the somewhat crazed and dedicated efforts to link Macedonian identity – that of the post-Yugoslavian state – with the toil, conquest and influence of the Argead dynasty.  “Alexander the Great,” asserted the republic’s former foreign minister, Antonio Milososki, “had no passport or birth certificate.”

Officials in Athens engage in regular tirades against the Macedonian effort to appropriate Alexander III (‘the Great’), his father, Philip II of Macedon, and an entire dynasty, as heroic manifestations of the credo of a state.  They should know – the Greek obsession with Hellenic revivalism has form, typified by fits of urban destruction in the nineteenth century when ancient Greece became the motif par excellence.  Unfortunately for them, there are rivals.  Everyone wishes for that chance to bite the rich pie of Alexander’s legacy. The cost, however, has come to over 200 million euros, and set to balloon.

Even cultural kitsch, when mixed with political seriousness, can produce its small cultural bombs. Strikingly, one of these incendiary devices, at least in the symbolic sense, is Alexander the Great’s statue, rising at 22 metres in the central square. It is an alarming grotesque of sorts, with Becaphalus heaving like a genetically modified beast with enormous hind muscles, a hormone monstrosity saddled by an equally monstrous master.

This is Skopje’s vulgar rebuke to Athens, “our way of saying [up yours] to them,” in the words of Milososki in October 2010.  Dispute our claims to be a Republic of Macedonia, but not our statues of appropriation.  Or the airport, or roads, which bear the family names of antiquity.

The archaeological museum, one in a series of modern wonderland structures situated on the Vardar river front, houses what is meant to be a temple of culture.  It is only something you might look forward to if you wished for a meal heavy in the propaganda of the great Macedonian peoples.  The visitor may wonder whether this languishing white elephant houses but a few artefacts, with a “made in China” label carefully concealed.  Such feelings are admittedly harsh, and ignore local resourcefulness, mixed in with a good deal of guile.

The guide who greets you on this occasion hopes to banish such snobbish contempt.  This is the committee of culture representative in full swing.  He is an astonishingly enthusiastic man, engaged with his audience, and determined to seek what he calls “parallels” with other nations.  (If you say that you are from Denmark, incidentally, you will be told that your ancestors subjugated the ancient capital of Macedonia – at some point.)  The tour is extensive, fastidious, and even exhausting.

Dozens of tribal names and peoples are tossed into the mix, ranging from the Neolithic period characterised by the worship of vast, large-hipped sculptures of fertility to the Pannonian princesses and high priestesses who communicated their fortunes to rival kings and chieftains via an opium induced state.  There are burial reconstructions.  There are hoards of coins.

While there is no reason to be surprised that solid, durable Ottoman currency, the historically enchanting currency of Alexander’s empire or that of Rome, the haunting money of the Serbian rulers of the 14th century, or the subsequent influence of the grosso coins of Venetian treasure, could be found in this land, the sceptic has to ask a vital question: How has one of Europe’s poorest states assembled such a collection?  Moreover, it is one typified by neatly assigned spots and displays in the manner of an eccentric numismatist.  The lot of such countries is rich in terms unrestored ruins from Greco-Roman times, but the treasuries tend to be poor.

An answer is that the government of Macedonia has been busy in recent years, getting the bricks and mortar ready and attempting to transform the capital.  This is yet another historical re-enactment, a theme that is suggested on the famous stone bridge – the Kameni most – that was given its current form by the Ottoman conqueror, Sultan Mehmed II, between 1451 and 1469. Those with Serbian sympathies prefer the designation of the Dušan bridge, after the Serbian ruler Stephen Uroš IV Dušan.

The city had to undergo another dramatic transformation with the sundering earthquake of 1963, one that levelled the city with uncompromising fury.  Hotel Macedonia ceased to exist, as did all its residents bar one enterprising individual who got into the fridge as all was caving in around. Another got buried in his bathtub when taking a bath, though his only question on being recovered was who had won the battle.  A curious bit of city trivia is that one building which survived the appalling assaults of the earthquake seemed to be dedicated to Mother Teresa.

What the earthquake did not do, bad taste has in the form of the project “Skopje 2014”.  Pompous buildings disgrace the new bridges crossing the river Vardar – they seem like vain efforts to create a Las Vegas front of cultural entertainment, ostensibly to add a spring into the city’s aesthetic.

In that sense, these efforts at cultural mimicry have succeeded – one cannot help but be grimly entertained by the sculptured figures on the new bridges, meant to represent every notable that has had some connexion, however tenuous, to Macedonian lands.

There are forgotten rulers who look bemused on the Bridge of Civilisations, and there are the more recent composers, singers, and writers who tend to be world famous in Macedonia, on the Art Bridge.  When one is encountering the figures of antiquity, the jaw is bound to fall.  The connection between the eccentric entity that is Macedonia and Philip II of Macedon is as firm as that between the Skopje citizen and Erich von Däniken’s all-inventive ancient aliens.

The bridge figures themselves, all acting as crowding irritations, have no simulated inner life, resembling the poorest copies of the worst workshop.  The Greek tradition that this Skopje exercise would supposedly channel the sensuous life through marble, giving it breath.  Instead, it looks like the low grade social realists from the long vanquished regime of Romania’s Nicolae Ceauşescu have been rehired – or at the very least their children.  One would get as much historical thrill from the gyrations of Disney characters.

Some of the locals have been testy about the cost of the project; others prefer to take issue with the history.  But it is not the Disneyland variant of Alexander the Great that is troubling. Rather, it is the Serbian presence, personified by a sculpture of King Dušan. In December 2013, an unruly attempt was made by Albanians to topple the figure.  The Albanian NGO, Wake Up, argued that, “Erecting a monument to a Serbian occupier speaks of an identity crisis, or of the Serbophilia of those who put it there” (Balkan Insight, Dec 9, 2013). The paradox of Balkan richness is that certain identities assert purity in the face of a hybrid existence.

The identity crisis certainly persists in other architectural forms, though this speaks more about the attractions of entertainment and cash than any vestigial cultural message.  The constructions of bulbous stationary ship restaurants on the Vardar grant this some swelling emphasis.  We are bearing witness to a confused casino, where the cards of culture are being distributed by suspect croupiers.

The one area where the must of history lingers with any sense of plausibility is that of Bit Pazar, the old Turkish quarter.  The narrow streets typical of the Turkish design have survived. There is the formidable stone fort of Kale, a brooding overseer of a city teeming with chaotic themes.

The Ottoman buildings seem overgrown yet charming – they bulge and wish to move onto the streets, outgrowing their joints, exceeding their limbs.  There are jewellers.  There is the presence of an astonishing degree of bling – garish dresses with glitz and eye-watering designs.  There are sellers of the famous miniature shoes hung like peppers.  There are well patterned coffee grinders to be bought. There is the holler of Turkish music and Albanian markets.

No figure represents Skopje’s classic of re-creation and dissimulation than Mother Teresa herself, whose legend of moral invention stalks the city. Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, as she was born, was scented by keen hagiographers, notably a seduced Malcolm Muggeridge in his Something Beautiful for God (1970), and placed on the fast tract to sainthood with the beatification points accumulated as a masterful broker in the world of charity and religious pandering.  Her presence is ubiquitous in the city.  Her banal pleas feature on buildings.  She is found on fridge magnets.

While the late Christopher Hitchens did regard the antics of the departed Mother Teresa as those of a manipulative troll of souls and decaying bodies, best described in The Missionary Position, the ultimate excuse of channelling bad consciousness to heal poverty and sickness, Teresa herself showed, more than any other moronic self-help book, the power of re-invention.  Just as St. Francis of Assisi, to embrace the poor, embraced the leper (in her words in a 1981 interview, “The encounter with the leper made St. Francis.”), the poor of Calcutta made Mother Teresa.  She even regarded the cruelly impoverished much as the statues of Skopje 2014 might be seen as – astounding aesthetic efforts.  “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s passion.”  Truth be told, this is grotesquery at work.

In 2013, three Canadian academics, Serge Larivée, Carole Sénéchal and Geneviève Chénard, examined Mother Teresa’s record, and found that the barbs fired by Hitch and other critics should be taken seriously.  The blessed figure had proven as cagey, and as enigmatic, as any Skopje government official – only rough estimates are available regarding the costs of Skopje 2014.  Mother Teresa, to such ends, showed a “suspicious management of funds that she received” (Studies in Religion, Jan 15, 2013).  “Given the parsimonious management of Mother Teresa’s works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?” posed Larivée on the University of Montreal website (Mar 1, 2013).

Her religious views, and attitudes about caring for the poor, were also deemed dogmatic.  The respected British medical journal, The Lancet, ran a piece in September 1994 by R. Fox arguing that Mother Teresa’s Order had poorly trained staff and did not provide adequate medical assessments.  Such was the lot of a hospice.  As for an even harsher Hitchens, the hospice had facilities that were “rudimentary, unscientific, miles behind any modern conception of what medical science is supposed to do” (Free Inquiry, Sep 30, 1996).

Seductive deceptions have the longest legs, and will go far in the forums they will rest in.  Mother Teresa was, in that sense, the most modern of salespersons, stroking egos and breaking others.  Her spirit animates the costly revitalisation project of Skopje 2014.  In the words of another ego keen on marketing moral matters, Bob Geldof, “The way she spoke to journalists showed her to be as deft a manipulator as any high-powered American public relations expert.”  Little surprising, then, that she had the ear of every world leader, and conscious stricken philanthropist, there was.  If that is the ultimate recipe of success, than the defiantly resilient Skopje citizen knows where to aim.
 
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

The Neoconservative Threat To International Order

February 27th, 2015 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

This week I was invited to address an important conference of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.  Scholars from Russia and from around the world, Russian government officials, and the Russian people seek an answer as to why Washington destroyed during the past year the friendly relations between America and Russia that President Reagan and President Gorbachev succeeded in establishing.  All of Russia is distressed that Washington alone has destroyed the trust between the two major nuclear powers that had been created during the Reagan-Gorbachev era, trust that had removed the threat of nuclear armageddon. Russians at every level are astonished at the virulent propaganda and lies constantly issuing from Washington and the Western media. Washington’s gratuitous demonization of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has rallied the Russian people behind him.  Putin has the highest approval rating ever achieved by any leader in my lifetime.  

Washington’s reckless and irresponsible destruction of the trust achieved by Reagan and Gorbachev has resurrected the possibility of nuclear war from the grave in which Reagan and Gorbachev buried it.  Again, as during the Cold War the specter of nuclear armageddon stalks the earth.

Why did Washington revive the threat of world annihilation?  Why is this threat to all of humanity supported by the majority of the US Congress, by the entirety of the presstitute media, and by academics and think-tank inhabitants in the US, such as Motyl and Weiss, about whom I wrote recently? 

It was my task to answer this question for the conference.  You can read my February 25 and February 26 addresses below.  But first you should understand what nuclear war means.  You can gain that understanding here:  

http://thebulletin.org/what-would-happen-if-800-kiloton-nuclear-warhead-detonated-above-midtown-manhattan8023 

The Threat Posed to International Relations By The Neoconservative Ideology of American Hegemony,

Address to the 70th Anniversary of the Yalta Conference, Hosted by Institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Moscow, February 25, 2015,  Hon. Paul Craig Roberts

Colleagues,

What I propose to you is that the current difficulties in the international order are unrelated to Yalta and its consequences, but have their origin in the rise of the neoconservative ideology in the post-Soviet era and its influence on Washington’s foreign policy.

The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the only constraint on Washington’s power to act unilaterally abroad.  At that time China’s rise was estimated to require a half century.

Suddenly the United States found itself to be the Uni-power, the “world’s only superpower.”  Neoconservatives proclaimed “the end of history.”

By the “end of history” neoconservatives mean that the competition between socio-economic-political systems is at an end.  History has chosen “American Democratic-Capitalism.” It is Washington’s responsibility to exercise the hegemony over the world given to Washington by History and to bring the world in line with History’s choice of American democratic-capitalism.

In other words, Marx has been proven wrong.  The future does not belong to the proletariat but to Washington.

The neoconservative ideology raises the United States to the unique status of being “the exceptional country,” and the American people acquire exalted status as “the indispensable people.”

If a country is “the exceptional country,” it means that all other countries are unexceptional.  If a people are “indispensable,” it means other peoples are dispensable. We have seen this attitude at work in Washington’s 14 years of wars of aggression in the Middle East. These wars have left countries destroyed and millions of people dead, maimed, and displaced. Yet Washington continues to speak of its commitment to protect smaller countries from the aggression of larger countries.  The explanation for this hypocrisy is that Washington does not regard Washington’s aggression as aggression, but as History’s purpose.

We have also seen this attitude at work in Washington’s disdain for Russia’s national interests and in Washington’s propagandistic response to Russian diplomacy.

The neoconservative ideology requires that Washington maintain its Uni-power status, because this status is necessary for Washington’s hegemony and History’s purpose.

The neoconservative doctrine of US world supremacy is most clearly and concisely stated by Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neoconservative who has held many high positions: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Director of Policy Planning US Department of State, Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador to Indonesia, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, President of the World Bank.

In 1992 Paul Wolfowitz stated the neoconservative doctrine of American world supremacy:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

For clarification, a “hostile power” is a country with an independent policy (Russia, China, Iran, and formerly Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad).

This bold statement struck the traditional American foreign policy establishment as a declaration of American Imperialism.  The document was rewritten in order to soften and disguise the blatant assertion of supremacy without changing the intent.  These documents are available online, and you can examine them at your convenience.

Softening the language allowed the neoconservatives to rise to foreign policy dominance. The neoconservatives are responsible for the Clinton regime’s attacks on Yugoslavia and Serbia. Neoconservatives, especially Paul Wolfowitz, are responsible for the George W. Bush regime’s invasion of Iraq. The neoconservatives are responsible for the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi in Libya, the assault on Syria, the propaganda against Iran, the drone attacks on Pakistan and Yemen, the color revolutions in former Soviet Republics, the attempted “Green Revolution” in Iran, the coup in Ukraine, and the demonization of Vladimir Putin.

A number of thoughtful Americans suspect that the neoconservatives are responsible for 9/11, as that event gave the neoconservatives the “New Pearl Harbor” that their position papers said was necessary in order to launch their wars for hegemony in the Middle East.  9/11 led directly and instantly to the invasion of Afghanistan, where Washington has been fighting since 2001. Neoconservatives controlled all the important government positions necessary for a “false flag” attack.

Neoconservative Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who is married to another neoconservative, Robert Kagan, implemented and oversaw Washington’s coup in Ukraine and chose the new government.

The neoconservatives are highly organized and networked, well-financed, supported by the print and TV media, and backed by the US military/security complex and the Israel Lobby.  There is no countervailing power to their influence on US foreign power.

The neoconservative doctrine goes beyond the Brzezinski doctrine, which dissented from Detente and provocatively supported dissidents inside the Soviet empire. Despite its provocative character, the Brzezinski doctrine remained a doctrine of Great Power politics and containment. It is not a doctrine of US world hegemony.

While the neoconservatives were preoccupied for a decade with their wars in the Middle East, creating a US Africa Command, organizing color revolutions, exiting disarmament treaties, surrounding Russia with military bases, and “pivoting to Asia” to surround China with new air and naval bases, Vladimir Putin led Russia back to economic and military competence and successfully asserted an independent Russian foreign policy.

When Russian diplomacy blocked Washington’s planned invasion of Syria and Washington’s planned bombing of Iran, the neoconservatives realized that they had failed the “first objective” of the Wolfowitz Doctrine and had allowed “the re-emergence of a new rival . . . on the territory of the former Soviet Union” with the power to block unilateral action by Washington.

The attack on Russia began. Washington had spent $5 billion over a decade creating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Ukraine and cultivating Ukrainian politicians.  The NGOs were called into the streets. The extreme nationalists or nazi elements were used to introduce violence, and the elected democratic government was overthrown. The intercepted conversation between Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador in Kiev, in which the two Washington operatives choose the members of the new Ukrainian government, is well known.

If the information that has recently come to me from Armenia and Kyrgyzstan is correct, Washington has financed NGOs and is cultivating politicians in Armenia and the former Soviet Central Asian Republics.  If the information is correct, Russia can expect more “color revolutions” or coups in other former territories of the Soviet Union.  Perhaps China faces a similar threat in Uyghurstan.

The conflict in Ukraine is often called a “civil war.”  This is incorrect.  A civil war is when two sides fight for the control of the government.  The break-away republics in eastern and southern Ukraine are fighting a war of secession.

Washington would have been happy to use its coup in Ukraine to evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base as this would have been a strategic military achievement.  However, Washington is pleased that the “Ukraine crisis” that Washington orchestrated has resulted in the demonization of Vladimir Putin, thus permitting economic sanctions that have disrupted Russia’s economic and political relations with Europe. The sanctions have kept Europe in Washington’s orbit.

Washington has no interest in resolving the Ukrainian situation.  The situation can be resolved diplomatically only if Europe can achieve sufficient sovereignty over its foreign policy to act in Europe’s interest instead of Washington’s interest.

The neoconservative doctrine of US world hegemony is a threat to the sovereignty of every country.  The doctrine requires subservience to Washington’s leadership and to Washington’s purposes.  Independent governments are targeted for destabilization. The Obama regime overthrew the reformist government in Honduras and currently is at work destabilizing Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Argentina, and most likely also Armenia and the former Central Asian Soviet Republics.

Yalta and its consequences have to do with Great Power rivalries.  But in the neoconservative doctrine, there is only one Great Power–the Uni-power.  There are no others, and no others are to be permitted.

Therefore, unless a moderate foreign policy arises in Washington and displaces the neoconservatives, the future is one of conflict.

It would be a strategic error to dismiss the neoconservative ideology as unrealistic. The doctrine is unrealistic, but it is also the guiding force of US foreign policy and is capable of producing a world war.

In their conflict with Washington’s hegemony, Russia and China are disadvantaged. The success of American propaganda during the Cold War, the large differences between living standards in the US and those in communist lands, overt communist political oppression, at times brutal, and the Soviet collapse created in the minds of many people nonexistent virtues for the United States. As English is the world language and the Western media is cooperative, Washington is able to control explanations regardless of the facts. The ability of Washington to be the aggressor and to blame the victim encourages Washington’s march to more aggression.

This concludes my remarks.  Tomorrow I will address whether there are domestic political restraints or economic restraints on the neoconservative ideology.

Paul Craig Roberts, Address to the 70th Anniversary of the Yalta Conference, Moscow, February 26, 2015

Colleagues,

At the plenary session yesterday I addressed the threat that the neoconservative ideology poses to international relations.  In this closing session I address whether there are any internal restraints on this policy from the US population and whether there are economic restraints.

Just as 9/11 served to launch Washington’s wars for hegemony in the Middle East, 9/11 served to create the American police state.  The  Constitution and the civil liberties it protects quickly fell to the accumulation of power in the executive branch that a state of war permitted.

New laws, some clearly pre-prepared such as the PATRIOT Act, executive orders, presidential directives, and Department of Justice memos created an executive authority unaccountable to the US Constitution and to domestic and international law.

Suddenly Americans could be detained indefinitely without cause presented to a court. Habeas corpus, a constitutional protection which prohibits any such detention, has been set aside.

Suddenly people could be tortured into confessions in violation of the right against self-incrimination and in violation of domestic and international laws against torture.

Suddenly Americans and Washington’s closest allies could be spied on indiscriminately without the need of warrants demonstrating cause.

The Obama regime added to the Bush regime’s transgressions the assertion of the right of the executive branch to assassinate US citizens without due process of law.

The police state was organized under a massive new Department of Homeland Security.  Almost immediately whistleblower protections, freedom of the press and speech, and protest rights were attacked and reduced.

It was not long before the director of Homeland Security declared that the department’s focus has shifted from Muslim terrorists to “domestic extremists,” an undefined category. Anyone can be swept into this category.  Homes of war protesters were raided and grand juries were convened to investigate the protesters. Americans of Arab descent who donated to charities–even charities on the State Department’s approved list–that aided Palestinian children were arrested and sentenced to prison for “providing material support to terrorism.”

All of this and more, including police brutality, has had a chilling effect on protests against the wars and the loss of civil liberty.   The rising protests from the American population and from soldiers themselves that eventually forced Washington to end the Vietnam War have been prevented in the 21st century by the erosion of rights, intimidation, loss of mobility (no-fly list), job dismissal, and other heavy-handed actions inconsistent with a government accountable to law and the people.

In an important sense, the US has emerged from the “war on terror” as an executive branch dictatorship unconstrained by the media and barely, if at all, constrained by Congress and the federal courts. The lawlessness of the executive branch has spread into governments of Washington’s vassal states and into the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank, all of which violate their charters and operate outside their legal powers.

Jobs offshoring destroyed the American industrial and manufacturing unions. Their demise and the current attack on the public employee unions has left the Democratic Party financially dependent on the same organized private interest groups as the Republicans.  Both parties now report to the same interest groups.    Wall Street, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and the extractive industries (oil, mining, timber) control the government regardless of the party in power. These powerful interests all have a stake in American hegemony.

The message is that the constellation of forces preclude internal political change.

Hegemony’s Archilles heel is the US economy. The fairy tale of American economic recovery supports America’s image as the safe haven, an image that keeps the dollar’s value up, the stock market up, and interest rates down.  However, there is no economic information that supports this fairy tale.

Real median household income has not grown for years and is below the levels of the early 1970s. There has been no growth in real retail sales for six years. The labor force is shrinking. The labor force participation rate has declined since 2007 as has the civilian employment to population ratio. The 5.7 percent reported unemployment rate is achieved by not counting discouraged workers as part of the work force. (A discouraged worker is a person who is unable to find a job and has given up looking.)

A second official unemployment rate, which counts short-term (less than one year) discouraged workers and is seldom reported, stands at 11.2 percent.  The US government stopped including long-term discouraged workers (discouraged for more than one year) in 1994.  If the long-term discouraged are counted, the current unemployment rate in the US stands at 23.2 percent.

The offshoring of American manufacturing and professional service jobs such as software engineering and Information Technology has decimated the middle class. The middle class has not found jobs with incomes comparable to those moved abroad. The labor cost savings from offshoring the jobs to Asia has boosted corporate profits, the performance bonuses of executives and capital gains of shareholders. Thus all income and wealth gains are concentrated in a few hands at the top of the income distribution.  The number of billionaires grows as destitution reaches from the lower economic class into the middle class.  American university graduates unable to find jobs return to their childhood rooms in their parents’ homes and work as waitresses and bartenders in part-time jobs that will not support an independent existence.

With a large percentage of the young economically unable to form households, residential construction, home furnishings, and home appliances suffer economic weakness.  Cars can still be sold only because the purchaser can obtain 100 percent financing in a six-year loan.  The lenders sell the loans, which are securitized and sold to gullible investors, just as were the mortgage-backed financial instruments that precipitated the 2007 US financial crash.

None of the problems that created the 2008 recession, and that were created by the 2008 recession, have been addressed.  Instead, policymakers have used an expansion of debt and money to paper over the problems. Money and debt have grown much more than US GDP, which raises questions about the value of the US dollar and the credit worthiness of the US government.  On July 8, 2014, my colleagues and I pointed out that when correctly measured, US national debt stands at 185 percent of GDP.  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/08/deteriorating-economic-outlook/

This raises the question: Why was the credit rating of Russia, a country with an extremely low ratio of debt to GDP, downgraded and not that of the US?  The answer is that the downgrading of Russian credit worthiness was a political act directed against Russia in behalf of US hegemony.

How long can fairy tales and political acts keep the US house of cards standing?  A rigged stock market.  A rigged interest rate. A rigged dollar exchange value, a rigged and suppressed gold price.  The current Western financial system rests on world support for the US dollar and on nothing more.

The problem with neoliberal economics, which pervades all countries, even Russia and China, is that neoliberal economics is a tool of American economic imperialism, as is Globalism.  As long as countries targeted by Washington for destabilization support and cling to the American doctrines that enable the destabilization, the targets are defenseless.

If Russia, China, and the BRICS Bank were willing to finance Greece, Italy, and Spain, perhaps those countries could be separated from the EU and NATO.  The unraveling of Washington’s empire would begin.

This article was first published on May 19, 2011.

Since the DSK affair, Europe’s political landscape has become increasingly pro-American.

The Washington consensus prevails. The application of IMF economic medicine had already been applied in several EU countries including Greece and Portugal during DSK’s mandate.  But in the present context, it has reached new heights. Drastic austerity measures have triggered unprecedented levels of unemployment. The entire European social  landscape is in crisis.

In many regards the DSK scandal was a watershed in the evolution of EU-US relations, with European governments becoming increasingly subservient to Washington’s demands.

Regime Change at the IMF. The Obama administration had demanded DSK’s replacement by a more compliant individual.  

In retrospect, the framing of Strauss Kahn had an impact not only on EU economic restructuring including the crisis in Greece, but also on the State structures of the French Republic. 

The “Honey Trap” is a powerful instrument. Had DSK not been framed, Francois Hollande — who largely serves US interests– would no doubt not have been elected president of the French Republic and Christine Lagarde would not have acceded to the positon of Managing Director if the IMF. 

Michel Chossudovsky, February 27, 2o15

Regime Change at the IMF: The Frame-Up of Dominique Strauss-Kahn

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, 19 May 2011

The arrest of IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has all the appearances of a frame-up ordered by powerful members of the financial establishment, in liaison with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, whose presidency has served the interests of the US at the expense of those of France and the European Union. While there is for the moment no proof of a plot, the unusual circumstances of his arrest and imprisonment require careful examination.

Immediately following Strauss Kahn’s arrest, pressures were exerted by Washington to speed up his replacement as Managing Director of the IMF preferably by a non-European, an American or a handpicked candidate from an “emerging market economy” or a developing country.

Since the founding of the Bretton Woods institutions in 1945, the World Bank has been headed by an American whereas the IMF has been under the helm of a (Western) European.

Strauss-Kahn is a member of elite groups who meet behind closed doors. He belongs to the Bildeberger. Categorized as one of the world’s most influential persons, he is an academic and politician rather than a banker. In contrast to his predecessors at the IMF, he has no direct affiliation to a banking or financial institution.

But at the same time he is the fall guy. His “gaffe” was to confront the Washington-Wall Street Consensus and push for reforms within the IMF, which challenged America’s overriding role within the organization.

The demise of Strauss-Kahn potentially serves to strengthen the hegemony of the US and its control over the IMF at the expense of what former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called “Old Europe”.

Blocking Strauss-Kahn, the Presidential Candidate

In recent years, a major shift has occurred in Europe’s political landscape. Pro-American governments have been elected in both France and Germany. Social Democracy has been weakened.

Franco-American relations have been redefined, with Washington playing a significant role in grooming a new generation of European politicians.

The presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy has, in many regards, become a de facto US “client regime”, broadly supportive of US corporate interests in the EU and closely aligned with US foreign policy.

There are two overlapping and interrelated issues in the DSK frame-up hypothesis.

The first pertains to regime change at the IMF, the second to Strauss-Kahn as a candidate in France’s forthcoming presidential elections.

Both these processes are tied into the clash between competing US and European economic interests including control over the euro-currency system.

Strauss-Khan as a favorite of the Socialist Party, would have won the presidential elections leading to the demise of “Our Man in Paris” Nicolas Sarkozy. As documented by Thierry Meyssan, the CIA played a central undercover role in destabilizing the Gaullist party and supporting the election of Nicolas Sarkozy (See Operation Sarkozy: How the CIA placed one of its agents at the presidency of the French Republic, Reseau Voltaire, September 4, 2008)

A Strauss-Kahn presidency and a “Socialist” government would have been a serious setback for Washington, contributing to a major shift in Franco-American relations.

It would have contributed to weakening Washington’s role on the European political chessboard, leading to a shift in the balance of power between America and “Old Europe” (namely the Franco-German alliance).

It would have had repercussions on the internal structure of the Atlantic Alliance and the hegemonic role of the US within NATO.

The Eurozone monetary system as well as Wall Street’s resolve to exert a decisive influence on the European monetary architecture are also at stake.

The Frame-Up?

Fifty-seven percent of France’s population, according to a May 17 poll, believe that Strauss-Kahn was framed, victim of a set-up. He was detained on alleged sexual assault and rape charges based on scanty evidence. He was detained based on a complaint filed by the Sofitel hotel where he was staying, on behalf of the alleged victim, an unnamed hotel chamber-maid:

The 32-year-old maid told authorities that she entered his suite early Saturday afternoon and he attacked her, New York Police Department spokesman Paul J. Browne. She said she had been told to clean the spacious $3,000-a-night suite, which she thought was empty.

According to an account the woman provided to police, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where he began to sexually assault her. She said she fought him off, then he dragged her into the bathroom, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to remove her underwear. The woman was able to break free again and escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened, authorities said. They called police.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7565485.html#ixzz1MfFWFlnY

Wednesday CFR.org Roundup: U.S. pressures Strauss-Kahn to resign

Challenging the Washington Consensus 

What is at stake in the immediate wake of Strauss Kahn’s demise is “regime change” at the IMF.

The Obama administration has demanded his replacement by a more compliant individual. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former CEO of the New York Federal Reserve Bank is pushing for the replacement of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, “suggesting he can no longer perform his duties” as IMF Managing director.

“Geithner called for greater formal recognition by the IMF board that John Lipsky, the fund’s second-in-command, will continue serving as temporary managing director for an interim period. Although Strauss-Kahn has yet to resign, sources say the IMF is in touch with his legal counsel to discuss his future at the organization.”

What lies behind the frame-up scenario? What powerful interests are involved? Geithner had a close personal relationship with Strauss-Kahn.

On the floor of the US Senate (May 18), Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, called for the resignation of DSK while calling upon the IMF’s deputy managing director John Lipsky to “assume full responsibility of the IMF” as interim managing director. The process of “permanent replacement should “commence at once,” he said. John Lipsky is a well connected Wall Street banker, a former Vice Chairman at JPMorgan Investment Bank.

While the IMF is in theory an intergovernmental organization, it has historically been controlled by Wall Street and the US Treasury. The IMF’s “bitter economic medicine”, the so-called Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), imposed on countless developing countries, essentially serves the interests of creditor banks and multinational corporations.

The IMF is not the main architect of these devastating economic reforms which have served to impoverish millions of people, while creating a “favorable environment” for foreign investors in Third World  low wage economies.

The creditor banks call the shots. The IMF is a bureaucratic entity. Its role is to implement and enforce those economic policies on behalf of dominant economic interests.

Strauss Kahn’s proposed reforms while providing a “human face” to the IMF did not constitute a shift in direction. They were formulated within the realm of neoliberalism. They modified but they did not undermine the central role of IMF “economic medicine”. The socially devastating impacts of IMF “shock treatment” under Strauss-Kahn’s leadership have largely prevailed.

Dominique Strauss Kahn arrived at the helm of the IMF in November 2007, less than a year prior to September-October 2008 financial meltdown on Wall Street. The structural adjustment program (SAP) was not modified. Under DSK, IMF “shock treatment” which historically had been limited to developing countries was  imposed on Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Under the helm of DSK as Managing Director, the IMF demanded that developing countries remove food and fuel subsidies at a time of rising commodity prices on the New York and Chicago Mercantile exchanges.

The hikes in food and fuel prices, which preceded the September-October 2008 Wall Street crash, were in large part the result of market manipulation. Grain prices were boosted artificially by large scale speculative operations. Instead of taming the speculators and containing the rise in food and fuel prices, the IMF’s role was to ensure that the governments of indebted developing countries would not in any way interfere in the “free market”, by preventing these prices from going up.

These hikes in food prices, which are the result of outright manipulation (rather than scarcity) have served to impoverish people Worldwide. The surge in food prices constitutes a new phase of the process of global impoverishment.

DSK was complicit in this process of market manipulation. The removal of food and fuel subsidies in Tunisia and Egypt had been demanded by the IMF. Food and fuel prices skyrocketed, people were impoverished, paving the way towards the January 2011 social protest movement:

Fiscal prudence remains an overarching priority for the [Tunisian] authorities, who also see the need for maintaining a supportive fiscal policy in 2010 in the current international environment. Efforts in the last decade to bring down the public debt ratio significantly should not be jeopardized by a too lax fiscal policy. The authorities are committed to firmly control current expenditure, including subsidies,… (IMF Tunisia: 2010 Article IV Consultation – Staff Report; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion; and Statement by the Executive Director for Tunisia)

“[The IMF] encouraged the [Egyptian] authorities to press further with food and fuel subsidy reforms, and welcomed their intention to improve the efficiency and targeting of food subsidy programs. [meaning the selective elimination of food subsidies].

“Consideration should be given to introducing automatic adjustment mechanisms for domestic fuel prices to minimize distortions [meaning dramatic increases in fuel prices without State interference], while strengthening cash-based social programs to protect vulnerable groups. (IMF Executive Board Concludes 2008 Article IV Consultation with the Arab Republic of Egypt Public Information Notice, PIN  No. 09/04, January 15, 2009)

Under the helm of DSK, the IMF also imposed sweeping austerity measures on Egypt in 2008, while supporting Hosni Mubarak’s ”efforts to broaden the privatization program”.(Ibid)

The Frank G. Wisner Nicolas Sarkozy Connection 

Strauss-Kahn was refused bail by Judge Melissa Jackson, an appointee and protégé of Michael Bloomberg, who in addition to his role as Mayor is a powerful figure on Wall Street.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. charged (using scanty evidence) Strauss-Kahn “with seven crimes, including attempted rape, sexual abuse, forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment”.

Who is Cyrus Vance Jr.?

He is the son of the late Cyrus Vance who served as Secretary of State in the Carter administration.

But there is more than meets the eye. Nicolas Sarkozy’s step father Frank G. Wisner II, a prominent CIA official who married his step mother Christine de Ganay in 1977 served as Deputy Executive Secretary of State under the helm of Cyrus Vance Senior, father of District Attorney Cyrus Vance Junior.

Is it relevant?

In this courtroom drawing, Dominique Strauss-Khan, centre, stands next to his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, in front of Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court for the alleged attack on a maid at his penthouse suite of a hotel in New York. Photo: AP

In this courtroom drawing, Dominique Strauss-Khan, next to his lawyer

The Vance and Wisner families had close personal ties. In turn Nicolas Sarkozy had close family ties with his step father Frank Wisner (and his half brothers and sisters in the US and one member of the Wisner family was involved in Sarkozy’s election campaign).

It is also worth noting that Frank G. Wisner II was the son of one of America’s most notorious spies, the late Frank Gardiner Wisner (1909- 1965), the mastermind behind the CIA sponsored coup which toppled the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. Wisner Jr. is also trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Trust.

While these various personal ties do not prove that Strauss-Kahn was the object of a set-up, the matter of Sarkozy’s ties to the CIA via his step father, not to mention the ties of Frank G. Wisner II to the Cyrus Vance family are certainly worth investigating. Frank G, Wisner also played a key role as Obama’s special intelligence envoy to Egypt at the height of the January 2011 protest movement.

Did the CIA play a role?

Was Strauss-Kahn framed by people in his immediate political entourage including President Obama and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner?

What was the role of Sarkozy’s Step-father:

  • Sarkozy’s Step Father Frank G Wisner II, Deputy Executive Secretary of State (1976-79)
    under Cyrus Vance Senior during the Carter administration
  • District Attorney Cyrus Vance Junior, son of the late Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State in the Carter administration

File:Strauss-Kahn, Geithner (IMF 2009).jpg

DSK and Timothy Geithner

DSK and Timothy Geithner

Fair Trial?

Innocent before proven guilty? The US media has already cast its verdict. Will the court procedures be manipulated?

One would expect that Strauss-Kahn be granted a fair trial, namely the same treatment as that granted to thousands of arrests on alleged sexual aggression charges in New York City.

How many similar or comparable alleged sexual aggressions occur on a monthly basis in New York City?  What is the underlying pattern? How many of these are reported to the police?  How many are the object of police follow-up once a complaint has been filed?

What is the percent of complaints submitted to police which are the object of police arrest? How many of these arrests lead to a judicial procedure? What are the delays in court procedures?

How many of these arrests lead to release without a judicial procedure?

How many of the cases submitted to a judicial procedure are dismissed by the presiding judge?

How many of the cases which are not dismissed are refused bail outright by the presiding judge? What is the basis for refusing bail?

How many are granted bail?  What is the average amount of bail?

How many are imprisoned without bail based on scanty and incomplete evidence?

How many of those who are refused bail are sent to an infamous maximum security prison on Rikers Island on the orders of  Michael Bloomberg.

Diplomatic Immunity

Press reports state that full diplomatic immunity does not apply to officials of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions, namely that the US did not ratify the protocol.

“U.N. convention on privileges and immunities for international agencies that most countries have ratified. It gives the heads of U.N. agencies broad immunity in the countries where they are based. But the U.S. government never became a party to that treaty. Employees of international agencies are covered by a U.S. statute that gives only limited immunity.”

The relevant question is how has this limited immunity provision been applied in practice?  Namely how many people with limited immunity (UN officials, officials of the Bretton Woods institutions) have been arrested and sent to a high security prison?

Has Strauss Kahn been given the same treatment as those arrested under the provisions of “limited immunity”?

Does the Strauss Kahn arrest fit the pattern? Or is Strauss Kahn being treated in a way which does not correspond to the normal (average) pattern of police and judicial procedures applied in the numerous cases of persons arrested on alleged sexual assault charges?

Without a frame-up instrumented by very powerful people acting in the background, the head of the IMF would have been treated in an entirely different way. The mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and Timothy Geithner would have come to his rescue.  The matter would have been hushed up with a view to protecting the reputation of a powerful public figure. But that did not happen.


The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order 

by Michel Chossudovsky

Order Online Here

original

In this new and expanded edition of Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.

This book is a skilful combination of lucid explanation and cogently argued critique of the fundamental directions in which our world is moving financially and economically.

In this new enlarged edition –which includes ten new chapters and a new introduction– the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalisation.

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website www.globalresearch.ca . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.


Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

Michel Chossudovsky

Published in 14 languages. More than 140,000 copies sold Worldwide.

In these unprecedented economic times, the world is experiencing as a whole what most of the non-Industrialized world has experienced over the past several decades. Michel Chossudovsky takes the reader through a nuanced examination of the intricacies of the global political-economic landscape and the power players within it; specifically, looking at how the World Bank and IMF have been the greatest purveyors of poverty around the world, despite their rhetorical claims to the opposite. These institutions, representing the powerful Western nations and the financial interests that dominate them, spread social apartheid around the world, exploiting both the people and the resources of the vast majority of the world’s population. As Chossudovsky examines in this updated edition, often the programs of these International Financial Instittutions go hand-in-hand with covert military and intelligence operations undertaken by powerful Western nations with an objective to destabilize, control, destroy and dominate nations and people, such as in the cases of Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

To understand what role these international organizations play today, being pushed to the front lines and given unprecedented power and scope as ever before to manage the Global Economic Crisis, one must understand from whence they came. This book provides a detailed, exploratory, readable and multi-faceted examination of these institutions and actors as agents of the ‘New World Order,’ for which they advance the ‘Globalization of Poverty.’

Published by Global Research: Order Online Here

The strategic equation in the Middle East is about to see major changes. It strongly appears that the Iranian-led Resistance Bloc or Axis of Resistance — comprised of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and a cross-section of Palestinian and Iraqi groups — is about to become more powerful than ever before.

After a cooling of ties, a new understanding is being hammered out between Hamas and Tehran. Meanwhile Yemen is under the control of the Houthis and both the US and the House of Saud have essentially lost the four to five years they had invested after the eruption of the Arab Spring of regime management in Sana. Not only is the Resistance Bloc emerging more powerful, but Iran is becoming indispensable to the regional security architecture of everything east of Egypt in the Mashreq. The security and defensive forces in Syria and Iraq have become integrated with Tehran’s security architecture. Hezbollah has emerged stronger than ever too with a genuine regional reach and presence that extends from Lebanon and Syria in the Levant to the territory of Iraq where it is fighting the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Israel is beginning to feel the pressure and has begun to show some signs of panic. When talking about Iranian influence in the Middle East, Israeli politicians and media reports claim that a third Arab capital—Sana—is now under Tehran’s control. Moreover, Tel Aviv has begun to rattle the cage as nuclear negotiations—and the undisclosed talks about non-nuclear issues— between the US and Iranian governments have been underway.

The House of Saud is anxious too. For these reasons the relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Israel are closer and more strategic than ever. Both the Israelis and House of Saud have also started a propaganda campaign using the unconcealed presence of Iranian military personnel in Syria to try to scare the Arab public by ridiculously claim that the Iranians have been using the Syrian conflict to gain influence inside Syria. This rhetoric is fear mongering that ignores that fact that Tehran was already the strategic ally of Damascus before the Syrian crisis and that an Iranian presence existed in Syria long before 2011. What is true, however, is that ties have deepened between Tehran and Damascus.

Iran and the Israeli-Occupied West Bank

In preparation for his March 3, 2015 speech to a joint session of the US Congress, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gone on overdrive stating that the Iranians have been opening new fronts against Israel. Netanyahu claims that Israel faces a threat from Tehran on six different fronts. These fronts are (1) Lebanon, (2) Syria, (3) the Gaza Strip, (4) Egypt’s volatile Sinai Peninsula, (5) Israel’s interests and missions abroad, and (6) the Iranian nuclear energy program.

Netanyahu’s talking points are simple: Iran is entrenching itself on Israel’s borders with a mission to destroy Israel. This is what he wants to tell the US Congress in what is appearing to become the partisan affair of a Likudnik-Republican political alliance that should also be read as an indicator of a major divide in elite opinions in the US.

Perhaps recognizing the extent of his bravado or being warned about the exaggeration of his claims, Netanyahu’s talking points mellowed down a bit. Instead of continuing his rhetoric about the six fronts against Israel, he began to concentrate on the older Israeli talking point about a «third front» being opened by Iran and Hezbollah in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

As an omission of Tel Aviv’s occupation of Syrian territory, the Golan Heights have historically been called the Syrian Heights in Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has largely ignored reality. He discredited himself on numerous occasions, ranging from his presentation to the UN General Assembly in 2012, which was reticulated internationally as farce and sophistry, to his imaginative assessment of the 2015 report on the Iranian nuclear energy program by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Not only has Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly presented a delusional and fanciful assessment of the IAEA’s report on the Iranian nuclear energy program, he has largely ignored Iranian statements about the only new front that the Iranians have acknowledged that they actually want to create against the Israelis.

The new front that the Iranians want to create against Israel is no secret whatsoever. Iranian security and military officials have been very public about their willingness to arm those Palestinians that want to resist the Israeli occupation of their homeland in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The arming of the Palestinians in the West Bank has been stopped, because the West Bank is run from Ramallah by the collaborationist Palestinian regime of the corrupt Mahmoud Abbas — better known as the Palestinian Authority — which embezzles and squanders the international aid and taxes of the Palestinian people. The shameless Hashemite dictatorship in Jordan — which the governments and major human rights organizations in the US and European Union have done their best to sanitize as some type of liberal democracy in the eyes of public opinion — and its absolute monarch King Abdullah II have also assisted Israel and the collaborationist Palestinian Authority in pacifying the Palestinians in the West Bank as their homeland is illegally colonized.

Hereto, Iranian military and security officials have been saying for more than half a year that they are more than willing to arm and help those Palestinians in the West Bank who want to end the Israeli occupation. These Iranian calls and offers to arm the Palestinians in the West Bank against Israel, however, were renewed after Tel Aviv killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Brigadier-General Mohammed-Ali Allahdadi on January 18, 2015.

The Israeli False Narrative about the Attack in Quneitra

Allahdadi was killed near the Quneitra Crossing in the northeastern part of the Golan Heights that is under Syrian control and not occupied by Israel. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard flag officer died when the Israelis targeted two vehicles with six Hezbollah fighters — including Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of assassinated Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah — and himself. The vehicles had been doing a reconnaissance and inspection tour of the area to help the Syrian government fight the insurgents that Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the US have been backing since 2011.

Initially, the Israeli government and military said nothing, thinking that Hezbollah and Iran would be too humiliated by the Israeli offensive inside Syria against them to publicize what happened. On the contrary, Tehran and Hezbollah announced it immediately. Hezbollah even proudly declared that the mixture of Lebanese and Iranian blood that was shed in protection of Syria symbolized a common cause and destiny between Lebanon, Iran, and Syria in a historic battle.

The Israelis then tried to spread disinformation. One unnamed senior Israeli security source told Reuters that «Israeli forces believed they were attacking only low-ranking guerrillas.» It has been commonly acknowledged that the decision to bomb the reconnaissance vehicles was made at the highest level in Israel.

After the strike on Allahdadi’s convoy, the Israelis began to talk about how Tehran and Hezbollah are preparing to open up a new front in the Golan Heights against Israel. Hezbollah has pointed out that these Israeli claims are intended to obfuscate Israel’s cooperation with Jabhat Al-Nusra in the Golan Heights and the rest of Syria. Hezbollah has categorically said that the reconnaissance convoy that Israel attacked was not present to prepare for a war against Israel. According to Hezbollah and Tehran, instead the Israelis were protecting Al-Nusra, which has built a strong presence in the area with Israel’s help.

Regardless of the validity of these claims, these Israeli talking points about a front the Golan Heights or Syria have been repeatedly used to justify Israeli military offensives in the Syrian crisis as an air force for the insurgents trying to topple the Syrian government. Not only have there been protests inside Israel by the Druze community against Israel’s support to Jabhat Al-Nusra, but the UN Security Council had been told in 2014 by a UN peacekeeping contingent from Ireland, India, and Fiji that Israel has been collaborating with the insurgents.

The insurgents themselves are publicly calling for Israel to continue its military support. The Jerusalem Post reported on February 12, 2015 that the Syrian insurgency, «whose forces are fighting against a new offensive in the South [of Syria] by the axis of the Syrian Army, Hezbollah, and Iran, is calling on Israel to attack their positions.» The Jerusalem Post says that an Israeli «in frequent contact with the Syrian opposition» asserted that the Syrian insurgents were warning Israel that if it did not attack the Syrian military and stop it from regaining control of southern Syria that the Axis of Resistance will retake the border.

Hezbollah’s Response from the Sheeba Farms

The Israelis were sent a startling warning from Hezbollah in retaliation to the Israeli attack on Jihad Mughniyeh’s convoy. Tel Aviv seemed to be in shock when Hezbollah reacted without hesitation on January 28, 2015. The US Department of State’s spin-doctor spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki would react by contradictorily saying that the US urged «all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation» and that Israel had a right to launch an attack into Lebanon.

The US media would dishonestly also try to conceal some important facts. The first fact that the US media tried to conceal was about the location of the Hezbollah attack on the Israeli military, the Sheeba Farms. The Sheeba Farms is Lebanese territory occupied by Israel, but the US media used misleading wording and made misleading statements to make it sound like the Sheeba Farms was Syrian territory as a means of trying to make it look like Hezbollah had launched an attack outside of Lebanese territory on Israel. The second fact that the US media tried to obfuscate was the fact that a Spaniard soldier serving as a United Nations peacekeeper in the village of Ghajar was killed by the Israelis when they responded to the Hezbollah attack. Press reports would say that a Spaniard peacekeeper died as a result of the attack, but would try to conceal the fact that the Israeli military had killed him.

The Washington Post would report, in what was clearly a calculated information leak, on January 30, 2015 that Jihad Mughniyeh’s father, Imad Mughniyah, was killed by the US and Israel together in a joint CIA and Mossad operation. An anonymous former intelligence official told Adam Goldman and Ellen Nakashima that the US had made the car bomb that killed Imad Mughniyah in Damascus. Perhaps the leak was a tactic to mitigate the response against Israel or perhaps it was deemed the right time to reveal that the US had been involved in Imad Mughniyah’s murder in 2008. Regardless, it showcased the connections of the Washington Post to US intelligence and, more importantly, made an open and negative omission that the US has been carrying out car bombings (like the one that killed Rafik Al-Hariri).

A New Chapter for Hezbollah and Israel

Hezbollah responded during the zenith of Israeli’s military alertness. The crisis in Syria has changed the nature of the struggle between Hezbollah and its Israeli enemy. Hezbollah now has a regional presence that extends from Lebanon and Syria to Iraq. Its confidence level has gone up and it has become battle-hardened and gained more experience. This is why Hezbollah did not hesitate to respond immediately as a demonstration that the Lebanese organization could at will chose the location, timing, and target of its battle with Israel. This is why Hezbollah targeted two Israeli military vehicles at almost the exact same time of the day that the Israelis had launched their attack on Jihad Mughniyeh’s convoy.

Furthermore, Hezbollah differentiated between an Israeli assassination of one of its members and an Israeli military attack before 2015. That has changed according to Hezbollah’s leadership. Secretary-General Nasrallah has announced that the Lebanese organization will treat assassinations and military attacks as one and the same and that Hezbollah will respond to Israeli aggression in a way that it determines fitting in its time and place of choosing.

The Israelis were taken by surprise by the Hezbollah counter-offensive. Firstly, the Israelis wrongly thought that the Syrians and Iranians would not want Hezbollah to respond, because they were afraid Israel would use the opportunity to attack Syria and change the internal balance of power. Hezbollah made it clear that it would react to any attack and that neither Iranian nor Syrian interests would trump that.

Secondly, a new weapon was used against Israel. Due to this new missile technology it has been pointed out — even gloated with pride and triumph — in Lebanon that Tel Aviv could not immediately respond in the field against the Hezbollah fighters that launched the attack, because the Israelis could not detect the missiles even though the Israeli military was on standby and alert after Israel had launched an offensive attack against Hezbollah inside Syrian territory. Tel Aviv has also been given a demonstration that Hezbollah’s intelligence has become more effective in monitoring the Israeli military.

If none of these points were clear to the Israelis, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah made them clear in a public address about the Hezbollah counter-offensive were he stated that the Israeli’s killed the Hezbollah members in the middle of the day (11:30 a.m.) and that in return Hezbollah killed their soldiers in the middle of the day (11:25 a.m.). In return for the two vehicles that Israel destroyed with its missiles, Hezbollah destroyed two of Israel’s military vehicles with its missiles. Nasrallah would point out that there was one main difference between Hezbollah and the Israeli military and that is that the Israelis did not dare to claim responsibility for their attacks whereas Hezbollah has always claimed responsibility for its actions.

The ball was been put back in Israel’s court by Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah through their counter-offensive, so to speak. Meanwhile the strategic equation and balance in the Middle East is changing to the benefit of Hezbollah and its allies in the Resistance Bloc. This is important subtext. These factors should not be forgotten when analyzing Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Capitol Hill and anything he says about Iran opening a «third front» on March 3, 2015.

This article was originally published by the Strategic Culture Foundation on February 25, 2015.

The anti austerity and anti water privatisation movements in the Republic of Ireland gathered momentum towards the end of 2014, culminating in large scale protests in the capital and many towns and cities around the country. The state owned television and radio broadcaster continuously downplayed the strength of the protests, and provided a negative portrayal of protesters on daily and evening news (see here). Persistently focusing on incidental negative elements of this grass roots social movement. The Tanaiste, Ms. Joan Burton (Irish Deputy Prime Minister and member of the Irish Labour Party) met face to face with a minor demonstration at Jobstown, Dublin on November 15th 2014. Ms. Burton was initially struck with a water balloon as she entered the reception at An Cosan (Higher Education Centre. (see here.) Afterwards, she became delayed in a parked car for more than 2 hours while attempting to leave the engagement, due mainly to a peaceful sit-in on the public road. She eventually left the scene after Gardai (police) reinforcements arrived.

The Aftermath

 The Irish state responded to these events, three months later, beginning on Feb 9th 2015. Mr. Paul Murphy (Anti Austerity Alliance and elected representative to Dail Eireann) and councillors Mr. Kieran Mahon and Mr. Mick Murphy (both Anti Austerity Alliance) were the first three among twenty peaceful protesters arrested during a week long Garda action. Mr. Paul Murphy was brought to Terenure Garda station for the alleged ‘false imprisonment’ of Ms. Joan Burton in her car during the Jobstown demonstration (see here.) Although he and the others engaged with the Police at some level, following legal advice he refused to answer questions about the Jobstown demonstration (see here.) None of the twenty arrested were formally charged. These very public arrests occur two weeks before planned protests at the Annual Labour Party Conference in Killarney on February 28th 2015. In light of the events at Jobstown, this post examines the right to social protest and state obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Civil Society and Democracy

The collective longing of a society, vocally expressed and manifested through association and peaceful assembly, is a fundamental cornerstone of democracy (see UN High Commission report here.) Indeed, it forms part of the necessary ambit for progress and individual fulfilment, acting as a counterweight to both an authoritarian government and the tyrannical market. Voluntary organisations forged in the community, and created to defend or advance the causes they believe in, are imperative to the realisation of the ‘good society’ (see here.) This requires protection against arbitrary interference by the State.

Social Protest and the ECHR

The jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights has strongly favoured the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly on the ‘public highway’ against restrictions to the right by state authorities’ (see Rassemblement Jurassien v Switz here.) Thus, the unnecessary dispersal of demonstrations, the banning of marches, and according to Keir Starmer QC, the ‘instigation of criminal proceedings’ specifically against individuals in the aftermath of an assembly – all fall under the rubric of articles 10, and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The European Court recognises that the ‘threat of arrest has a chilling effect’ on the exercise of freedom of expression (see Steel and Others v UK , para 99.) Significantly, the Court has categorically stated that punitive measures, regardless of how minimal, even those categorised as implying ‘mainly moral force’ are interferences with Convention rights. In the case of Ezelin v France, a lawyer took part in a demonstration and was reprimanded by the French Bar Council, for not answering police questions, and for not disassociating from an element of the protest which abused the police and wrote graffiti on public buildings. The penalty was minor but had ‘moral force.’ The Court held that this sanction was not necessary in a democratic society, and contravened article 11 (see para 53.) If these actions are taken in the aftermath of an assembly, such actions are considered as ‘equal an interference as the physical removal of the applicants at the time’ (see Keir Starmer, p 630.) Thus, the actions of state authorities ‘must not discourage individuals, for fear of disciplinary sanctions, from making clear their beliefs.’ (see Ezelin v France, para 52.)

Spontaneous Demonstrations

Of course, a demonstration may ‘annoy’ or ‘give offence to persons opposed’ to that which is expressed during an assembly, (see Plattform Artze fur das leben v Austria, note 23), and minor disturbances are to be expected in public gatherings. In the case of Bukta v Hungary a minor detonation, during a spontaneous demonstration outside a venue where the Prime Minister was in attendance, did not convince the Court that there was a danger to public order, sufficient to warrant dispersal of the assembly. The court stressed that ‘public authorities must show a certain degree of tolerance at public gatherings’ (see para 31.) With regards to the dispersal of an assembly by state authorities, including spontaneous demonstrations without a license – if a license is required by national law – the Court will support peaceful demonstration (see G V FRG.) This means that peaceful intent by the organisers is sufficient. If an element of disorder materialises during an otherwise peaceful protest, as quiet often it does, the Court will balance the danger to public order, against the right to freedom of assembly. In doing so, the Court will assess not just the facts of the case at national level but the entire political backdrop in the state at that time. The UN Special Rapporteur, on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, pointed out that States ‘should recognise the positive role of peaceful protests as a means of strengthening human rights and democracy’ (see UN High Commissioner Report.)

Blockades and Occupation

In Steel and others v UK the Court stipulated that expression may take the form of ‘physically impeding the activities’ of which the protesters disapprove. This constituted expressions of opinion within the meaning of article 10. It appears a certain amount of impediment will be protected, however if those protesting create a danger of serious physical injury to themselves and others, arrest most likely will be deemed a proportionate restriction of the right. The peaceful occupation of a building, even if clearly against domestic law, may also be regarded as peaceful assembly in certain cases (see Cisse v France.) In this case the church did not make a complaint to the authorities about their occupiers.

In the case of G v FRG, the Commission held that the conviction of a protester engaged in a spontaneous peaceful sit in, blocking the entrance to an American Barracks in Germany, was a violation of his right to peaceful assembly. His conviction ‘needed to be justified as a restriction prescribed by law, and necessary in a democratic society for one of the purposes set out in Article 11 para. 2 of the Convention.’   At the 14 year long Corrib Gas Dispute in County Mayo, Ireland, numerous incidents of police brutality have been documented (see here.) Strategies in Rossport circa 2011, appear to include the continuous arrest of protesters outside Shell gates, then later released without charge. Thus the protesters were denied their right to freedom of assembly on the public highway or their right to a public hearing. Interestingly, it is reported in the Guardian Newspaper that Shell provided consignments of alcohol worth €35,000 to the Belmullet Garda station at Christmas 2007 (see here.) The actions of the police in Rossport often appear to be in direct conflict with the State’s positive obligation to enable lawful demonstrations to proceed peacefully.

Restrictions on the Right to Freedom of Assembly.

Restrictions and penalties must be prescribed by law, have a legitimate aim and be necessary in a democratic society. The term necessary implies the existence of a ‘pressing social need’ (see Barthold v Germany, para 55.) The term ‘pressing social need’ must include the ‘clear and present danger test’ in light of the particular circumstances of the case (see Arrowsmith v UK, para 95.) The contracting states have a margin of appreciation in assessing whether such a need exists but this goes hand in hand with European Supervision (see Lingens v Austria, para 39.) Restricting rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly because of legislation ‘which has just been contravened – does not constitute a legitimate aim within the meaning of article 11(2)’ (see Cisse v France, para 50)

Is breaking the law justified in certain circumstances?

 The general aim of social protest and civil disobedience is to express ones political and social thoughts and opinions and effect positive change in our society. These rights, quiet simply must be protected by the state. There are occasions when breaking the law may be the only method available to the protester to adequately express his or her conscience. This issue arose in the Australian case of New South Wales District Court, Regina v Kirkwood et al 15th May 2002 (unpub), (cited here.) In this case, 46 Greenpeace activists had deliberately broken the law, by invading a nuclear power plant, with the intention of highlighting the inadequate security at the plant. It was accepted by the presiding judge, that the objectives and motives of the protesters could not be achieved by demonstrating at the front gate. Their actions were necessary to demonstrate in graphic terms the woeful security at the plant, despite committing the crime of trespass. Thus, in the arena of civil disobedience, the end may in certain circumstances, legally justify the means.

When polio (poliomyelitis) became an epidemic in the U.S. and other parts of the world many people were understandably concerned. Diseases are absolutely frightening. During the 1950’s, polio made the public fearful. In April of 1952, Dr. Salk announced at the University of Michigan that he had developed a vaccine against the polio virus. That same day, the U.S. government approved a license for the immediate distribution of the polio vaccine. By 1954 the U.S. government allowed national testing for the newly developed vaccine which Dr. Salk himself developed by growing a live polio virus in kidney tissues in Asian Rhesus monkeys. He used formaldehyde to kill the virus. Dr. Salk injected the vaccine into humans with a small amount of the actual virus into the body so it’s natural defenses can build immunity or a defense mechanism against the virus. The first experimentations on humans resulted in 60%-70% who did not develop the virus although 200 people were reported to have caught the disease, 11 of them died as a result. The cause was a faulty batch, but regardless of the outcome, vaccine tests continued unabated. One year after the result, four million vaccinations were given in the U.S. By April 12th, 1955, the Salk vaccine was licensed for distribution after the results were officially published.

The release of the polio vaccine prompted criticism. In December 1960, a health news magazine called the ‘Herald of Health’ published a crucial report titled ‘The Great Salk Vaccine Fiasco: Misuse of statistics, blackout of vaccine cases, cited by eminent Chicago doctor’ By Ernest B. Zeisler, M.D. (which can be found at www.vaclib.org) who disagreed with Dr. Salk’s claims that the vaccine was safe or even useful against polio.  Dr. Zeisler wrote a personal note to the publisher of the magazine M. S. Arnoni and told him that “No newspaper, periodical or medical journal will touch this. Many authorities in this field agree with me, and some have written me to say so and to congratulate me for what they call my ‘courage.’But no medical man will agree with me publicly”.  

Dr. Zeisler wrote:

On April 12, 1955, results of a 1954 field test were published and the Salk vaccine became a licensed product. Prof. Paul Meier of the School of Hygiene and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University revealed that “the vaccines used in the field trial, which were produced by two of the manufacturers, had been extensively tested in three laboratories and had been found negative for live virus. Many of the lots of vaccine released after the field trial had been produced by other manufacturers and had been tested only by the producer. Therefore, the safety of these lots could not properly be judged from the results of the field trial. All manufacturers had rejected some lots because live virus had been found in them, and therefore Salk’s theory that safety was guaranteed by the method of preparation obviously did not apply

Dr. Zeisler’s report was well documented with evidence regarding the safety of the polio vaccines. He quoted Professor Meier’s statement which was published in 1957 report by Science Magazine. What was disturbing about the vaccine trials that it lacked proper controls and a little less than half was even considered “bias in favor of the vaccinated” which violated the basic principles of scientific research.  Dr. Zeisler quoted K.A. Brownlee from the University of Chicago in the Journal of the American Statistical Association which was published in 1955 described what the field trials actually proved:

The field trial itself had violated the cardinal principles of scientific procedure. As said by Brownlee in the Journal of the American Statistical Association:

“. . . 59 per cent of the trial was worthless because of the lack of adequate controls. The remaining 41 per cent may be all right but contains internal evidence of bias in favor of the vaccinated. .. The reviewer . . . would point out that gamma globulin was triumphantly proclaimed effective by the National Foundation after a similar trial . . .”

Dr. Zeisler said that the U.S. Public Health service continued to promote “gamma globulin” or a human blood plasma made from donated human blood that contained antibodies to fight diseases as a way to combat polio.  He wrote “It may be of interest to note that in May of 1954, several months after it had been shown to be valueless in preventing poliomyelitis, the U.S. Public Health Service continued to recommend and distribute gamma globulin “for use against poliomyelitis.” Zeisler criticized the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for not publishing Brownlee’s criticism.   However, the official report of the field trials which proved inaccurate was used by the ‘National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis’ several months later in an effort to promote the polio vaccine to the public in 1955.  So how safe was the polio vaccine according to Dr. Salk?  He was interviewed by LIFE magazine in an article titled ‘Tracking the Killer’ and was asked if his “monkey vaccine was safe” and he answer was “There is no question of ‘how safe is it?’ It is safe, and it can’t be safer than safe’.” The deception committed by the medical establishment and the U.S. government was undeniable as Dr. Zeisler wrote that “the public was deceived into permitting mass vaccination of children with a vaccine which should have been known to be unsafe and which was not known to be of any value in preventing poliomyelitis.” With this proven fact, he added “that certain lots of vaccine had produced a number of cases of poliomyelitis, and within another four weeks all the vaccine was withdrawn from use.”

Was the Salk vaccine safe and highly effective? Two Conflicting Reports

The U.S. Public Health Service issued two conflicting reports.  In the first report it stated “that a single inoculation of the Salk vaccine used in 1955 was sufficient to give from 50 to 80 per cent protection against paralytic poliomyelitis” Dr. Zeisler also noted that the second report “two days later it issued another report stressing the safety of the current Salk vaccine.” JAMA released a statement by Dr. Herbert Ratner, an Associate Clinical Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Stritch School of Medicine of Loyola University in Chicago and also a Health Commissioner of Oak Park, Ill which did not agree with the results from the U.S. Public Health Service claimed Dr. Zeisler. Dr. Ratner’s statement said:

The widespread national publicity that followed these reports naturally led the public and the medical profession at large to believe we now had a safe and highly effective vaccine. “However, what was not made sufficiently clear in the reports and press stories that covered the country was that the first report, stressing excellent effectiveness, referred to an earlier model of a Salk vaccine and Hurt the second report, stressing current safety referred to a later model, . . . the Salk vaccine, for which great effectiveness is claimed on the basis of one inoculation, is a product that is no longer on the market nor in the hands of physicians . . . The Salk vaccine, then, which we were encouraged to believe is both highly effective and safe on the basis of recent reports, turns out to be, when highly effective, a vaccine that is no longer on the market and, when safe, a vaccine that has yet to make its appearance and clinically prove its effectiveness . . . during the summer the promoters of the vaccine continued to urge mass inoculations in spite of recognized ignorance on their part

There was an Increase of polio cases in Chicago as of June of 1956. Dr. Herman Bundesen and Dr. John B. Hall (who did not believe the Salk vaccine was the cause) responded to the new findings which Dr. Zeisler noted from a Chicago Daily News report in June 1956:

Dr. Herman Bundesen, President of the Chicago Board of Health, was quoted as saying: “It’s too early to speculate on the efficacy of the vaccine.” This moment of candor was not to recur from then until now. On the same day, Dr. John B. Hall, director of the Cook County Board of Health, said, concerning six cases of polio in children who had received, the Salk vaccine. he did not think the vaccine caused the polio attacks in those who got the disease after inoculation”

During the month of July 1956, Zeisler wrote a letter to Dr. Hart E. Van Viper, A medical Director of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis asking why did he tell both doctors to “take leadership” in their community claiming that the vaccine was 75% effective and therefore it is deemed safe.  What if a real estate agent was trying to sell you a house that had a 75% chance of collapsing, but told you the house was safe regardless of the fact, would you still buy it?  Dr. Van Riper’s response contradicted what he said prior to Dr. Zeisler’s letter:

On July 3, 1956 the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis sent a letter to all physicians over the signature of Hart E.Van Riper, its Medical Director, urging them to “give reassurance that the present Salk vaccine is safe and effective to patients, parents and others in your community who still needlessly doubt it … the vaccine is at least 75% effective in preventing paralytic poliomyelitis. . . . Won’t you take leadership in your community and among your patients to see that they get this safe, highly effective vaccine now?”

On July 9, I wrote to Dr. Van Riper, quoting Drs. Bundesen and Hall, and asking: “Why, if the vaccine has been proved to be 75% effective is it still too early even to speculate about its effectiveness? And why, if it has been proved safe is it possible for the head of a health department merely to think that it did not cause infection?”

In his reply, dated July 12, Dr. Van Riper said as to Dr. Bundesen’s remark that “it’s too early to speculate about the effectiveness of the vaccine”: “I can only assume that Doctor Bundesen intended to imply that we could expect an even greater degree of effectiveness in the prevention of paralytic poliomyelitis in 1956 as compared with 1955, . . .”

It seemed that Dr. Van Riper “was assuming” that Dr. Bundesen was betting that the vaccines were expected to be more effective than the previous year.  What was questionable to Dr. Bundesen’s implications was that he started to consider that the Salk vaccine was actually spreading the disease wrote Dr. Zeisler:

That this is not at all what Dr. Bundesen intended to imply is shown by the fact that only two days after expressing his doubt, he called a conference of health authorities to decide whether or not vaccination with the Salk vaccine should not be entirely discontinued in view of the accelerated rise of new cases of paralytic polio in Chicago. Dr. Bundesen obviously was considering the possibility that the Salk vaccine would help spread the disease.

On July 27, there were already 203 reported cases of paralytic polio in Chicago. But Dr. Bundesen said: “. . . there were no paralytic cases among children who had received all three shots.” On the same day I wrote Dr. Van Riper the following: “If no child in the area had received three injections, then the fact that none of those with paralytic polio had received three doses is irrelevant and inevitable. In the daily figures which have been given there is always the statement as to how many of those who have come down with paralytic polio had been vaccinated, but never any figure as to how many children in the area had been vaccinated compared to the total number in the area. . . . People are being urged to have their children vaccinated at once, and physicians are urged to further this, with the implication that such procedure will be effective in stemming the tide of the present epidemic. . . . Yet, inasmuch as the third dose is to be given seven months after the first, only the first two could have’ any possible effect this year.”

This letter elicited only double-talk from Dr. Van Riper in a letter dated August 9. Dr. Bundesen continued to issue reassuring statements. On August 9 he stated he was “concerned with the drop off in the number of persons returning for their second shots of vaccine . . . The situation may become critical unless parents bring their children in for their second and third shots when they are due, and for the first inoculation if they have not already had it.”

“Of the city’s 371 paralytic cases— the form against which the vaccine is effective—not a single case has been reported for any person who had the recommended three inoculations. There have been 54 among those getting only one and 13 among those with two”

He also explained how the numbers did not add up according to the Chicago-Sun Times report:

The obvious explanation for this division of the incidence of paralytic polio was, of course, that there were more persons who had one injection than two, and perhaps none who had all three. This was never suggested by the health authorities or by the medical societies or journals. Even Dr. Thomas Francis, Jr., of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, told the university’s medical alumni: “Of all the 113 polio cases in Michigan diagnosed as paralytic, not one case has been reported among those children who had previously received three shots of vaccine.”

On September 29, the U.S. Public Health Service said “three Salk shots have proved 100 per cent effective against polio so far this year.”

Still no indication that anyone had received all three injections! On September 30, I again wrote to Dr. Van Riper: “I have inquired from one of the foremost authorities in Chicago as to how many children in the Chicago epidemic area this summer had previously received -three injections. He said no one knew the answer, but that the number was certainly very small. I then asked him whether to his knowledge any of them had received all three injections, and he replied he did not know. I would greatly appreciate your reply to this question. . .” On October 26, after inconsequential interim correspondence, he finally answered: “I am sorry that to date there has not been sufficient time elapsed since the Chicago epidemic to enable anyone to give a definite answer to the question you have raised. I do know that a study is being made and feel sure this will be made public when it is completed.” But no time was needed after the epidemic to determine how many persons had had all three injections before the epidemic began. In any case, here was a clear admission that no one knew so the repeated assurances of the 100 per cent effectiveness of three doses of the Salk vaccine in preventing paralytic polio in this epidemic, admit of no possible explanation other than either deliberate falsehood with intent to deceive or unconscionable stupidity.

By late November the public had seemingly become so apathetic about Salk vaccination that the pharmaceutical houses and the health authorities enlisted the aid of President Eisenhower, and on November 27 induced him to express alarm that there were 17,000,000 doses of Salk vaccine unused on the shelf and that they could “prevent paralysis or even death.” The Sun-Times quoted Dr. Bundesen as saying: “If everyone 45 or under gets the complete series, there will not be a single case of paralytic polio in Chicago in 1957″(14) thereby asserting that the vaccine in three doses was 100 per cent effective. ” On January 3, 1957, U.S. Public Health Service reported that paralytic polio in the United States had dropped from 10,641 cases in 1955 to 6,708 cases in 1956. This was a decrease of 37 per cent.  The New York Times said “Health officials said the use of the Salk vaccine had undoubtedly reduced the disease but there was no way of knowing to what extent”

The propaganda methods used by the pharmaceutical corporations and the health authorities was to sell the notion that the vaccines were safe and effective despite the fact it was the opposite. Dr. Zeisler mentions a report about a meeting that took place in the New York Academy of Science with records of those who received all three doses of the Salk vaccine actually developed polio.  There were at least 150 cases including several deaths due to polio:

Health authorities said they had no explanation for this decrease. Later the same month it was reported at a meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences that there were records of more than 150 cases of paralytic polio, including several deaths, among persons who had received all three injections of Salk vaccine. Without ever referring to this, newspapers, medical journals and medical societies continued to plug for the vaccine

As Dr. Zeisler summarized in his closing argument proving that his research on the success of the polio vaccine was in fact questionable:

The considerable increase in paralytic poliomyelitis in the United States during the past two years, despite the progressive decrease in the number of the most susceptible persons (those under 40) who have not yet been triply-vaccinated, does not prove that the vaccine is valueless. But the evidence, biased as it is in favor of the vaccine, suggests that it may be of little or no value. Even more, it suggests the distinct possibility that the vaccine may actually be at least partly responsible for the increase by producing carriers who spread the disease

Before Dr. Jonas Salk’s new found invention of the polio vaccine was announced to the public, it was discovered that Salk performed illegal experimentations on mental patients according to www.naturalnews.com  report on the new discovery by Mike Adams titled ‘Dr. Jonas Salk, inventor of polio vaccine, exposed as criminal-minded scientist who conducted illicit medical experiments on mental patients’ describing Dr. Salk as a “criminal-minded scientist” who used mental patients to conduct his medical experiments:

Dr. Jonas Salk, one of the “gods” in the cult of pharmacology — a man who is credited with inventing the polio vaccine — has now been exposed as a medical criminal who conducted illegal medical experiments on mental patients. This fact has come to light courtesy of the Associated Press, believe it or not, which has been investigating the history of medical experiments as part of a press effort leading up to scheduled bioethics meetings in Washington.

According to the Associated Press, Dr. Jonas Salk co-authored a clinical trial that “injected experimental flu vaccine in male patients at a state insane asylum in Ypsilanti, Mich., then exposed them to flu several months later.” The victims of this medical experiment were described as “senile and debilitated,” meaning that obtaining their rational consent to participate in such experiments would have been impossible. And that means Dr. Jonas Salk — one of the most highly-worshipped figures throughout modern medicine — was conducting this trial in violation of medical ethics and in violation of the law

The article also explains how U.S. Pharmaceutical corporations experimented on prisoners as medical guinea pigs:

And on that topic, the true history of the criminal medical experiments that have been done in order to boost the profits of Big Pharma will absolutely shock you. As the AP reports:

“The late 1940s and 1950s saw huge growth in the U.S. pharmaceutical and health care industries, accompanied by a boom in prisoner experiments funded by both the government and corporations. By the 1960s, at least half the states allowed prisoners to be used as medical guinea pigs.”

This is the result of Big Pharma leaning on state authorities, of course. Where profits are to be made, human rights have never gotten in the way. In fact, as the historical record clearly shows, the U.S. government has repeatedly conspired with the drug industry to use innocent human beings as unwitting guinea pigs in dangerous, deadly medical experiments

However, by 1959, at least 90 countries received Dr. Salk’s polio vaccinations for their own citizens.  That same year an interesting turn of events took place; Dr. Bernice Eddy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) made an accidental discovery. While she was examining the kidney cells of Rhesus monkeys, she noticed how the cells were systematically dying off. Why was this significant? It was where the polio vaccine originated from. Dr. Eddy’s discovery was quickly dismissed; of course today it would be considered a “conspiracy theory.” Dr. Maurice Hilleman and Dr. Ben Sweet of Merck & Co also managed to isolate the SV40 virus also known as “Simian Virus 40” in the polio vaccinations. In a November 3rd, 2003 issue of the Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology, a report in by Michael E. Horwin explains how the “Simian Virus 40” was found to cause cancer in laboratory animals confirming Dr. Eddy’s findings:

Dr. Eddy discovered that the cells would die without any apparent cause. She then took suspensions of the cellular material from these kidney cell cultures and injected them into hamsters. Cancers grew in the hamsters. Shortly thereafter, scientists at the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. discovered what would later be determined to be the same virus identified by Eddy. This virus was named Simian Virus 40 or SV40 because it was the 40th simian virus found in monkey kidney cells

After Dr. Eddy’s discovery was made public, several prominent researchers and scientists including Dr. Salk defended the polio vaccine with little evidence to claim that it actually cured Polio.  Dr. Zeisler was not the only medical professional to doubt the effectiveness of the Polio vaccine; Dr. Suzanne Humphries M.D. also stated in the past that a cover-up took place to hide the fact from the public that the polio vaccine was actually spreading polio.  Dr. Humphries explains how a deadly live polio virus strain infected the Salk vaccines which led to an epidemic of a polio-type disease such as “aseptic meningitis” or “Acute Flaccid Paralysis” (AFP). Dr. Humphries wrote ‘Smoke, Mirrors, and the ‘Disappearance’ Of Polio’ in 2012 and said the following:

Unbeknownst to most doctors, the polio-vaccine history involves a massive public health service makeover during an era when a live, deadly strain of poliovirus infected the Salk polio vaccines, and paralyzed hundreds of children and their contacts. These were the vaccines that were supposedly responsible for the decline in polio from 1955 to 1961! But there is a more sinister reason for the “decline” in polio during those years; in 1955, a very creative re-definition of poliovirus infections was invented, to “cover” the fact that many cases of “polio” paralysis had no poliovirus in their systems at all. While this protected the reputation of the Salk vaccine, it muddied the waters of history in a big way

Another interesting fact that Dr. Humphries points out was a Statement made by Clinton R. Miller regarding ‘Intensive Immunization Programs’ on May 1962 before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce in the House of Representatives.  Mr. Miller told the committee the following:

The tendency of a mass vaccination program is to herd people. People are not cattle or sheep. They should not be herded. A mass vaccination program carries a built-in temptation to oversimplify the problem; to exaggerate the benefits; to minimize or completely ignore the hazards; to discourage or silence scholarly, thoughtful and cautious opposition; to create an urgency where none exists; to whip up an enthusiasm among citizens that can carry with it the seeds of impatience, if not intolerance; to extend the concept of the police power of the state in quarantine far beyond its proper limitation; to assume simplicity when there is actually great complexity; to continue to support a vaccine long after it has been discredited;… to ridicule honest and informed consent

Adolf Hitler was once quoted as saying if you “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” More than 98 million people were given the polio vaccine through a well-crafted propaganda campaign committed by medical professionals aligned with Merck & Co. and others in the medical establishment and of course, the U.S. government. In today’s market, the Flu vaccine (High Dose) for people over 65 years old costs $54.99 per dose and the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine costs on average $99.99 according to a Walgreen’s price list. Now imagine the total U.S. population as of 2015 stands at over 300 million. If you do the math, pharmaceutical corporations will reap billions of dollars in profits. The mainstream media (MSM) continues to push all types of prescription drugs and various types of vaccines to the public even during commercials. The U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that advertises prescription drugs and vaccines to the public. Legal drugs is a lucrative business, you can even say dangerous especially when big pharmaceutical corporations, the media and elected officials in Washington collaborate on foreign and domestic policies regarding health as a national security issue.

However, the good news is the growing numbers of people worldwide who do not trust many big pharmaceutical corporations or the U.S. government when it is involved in vaccination campaigns, most notably the recent case of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who might face a possible lawsuit by the Indian government. An investigation is still taking place.  According to a 2012 article published by www.mercola.com titled ‘Confirmed: India’s Polio Eradication Campaign in 2011 Caused 47,500 Cases of Vaccine-Induced Polio Paralysis’ by Dr. Mercola himself  wrote about that the increase of non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP) was due to the oral polio vaccine (OPV).   NPAFP was now ”12 times higher” with 47,500 cases as the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics reported:

A paper published earlier this year in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics should have made headlines around the globe, as it estimated there were 47,500 cases of a polio-like condition linked to children in India receiving repeated doses of oral polio vaccine in 2011 alone. The incidence of non-polio Accute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) in India is now 12 times higher than expected and coincides with huge increases in OPV doses being given to children in the quest to “eradicate” wild type polio infection and paralysis.

Researchers reported:

“…while India has been polio-free for a year, there has been a huge increase in non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP). In 2011, there were an extra 47,500 new cases of NPAFP. Clinically indistinguishable from polio paralysis but twice as deadly, the incidence of NPAFP was directly proportional to doses of oral polio received. Though this data was collected within the polio surveillance system, it was not investigated. The principle of primum-non-nocere [First, do no harm] was violated”

I agree with Dr. Mercola’s assessment on the growing distrust of vaccinations on a world wide scale when he said:

What you’re NOT learning from the mainstream media, however, is that there’s a growing public movement fighting the profound misinformation about these OPV campaigns being conducted repeatedly among children in India and other nations. One recent published paper has suggested that increased administration of OPV doses among children in India is associated with increases in Accute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), which is as crippling and deadly as wild type polio paralysis

Dr. Jonas Salk became a legend in the field of medicine in the U.S. and the world. There is the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, San Diego, California, you have Salk scholarships awarded to students every year, the City College of New York (CCNY) and Salk’s “alma Mater” celebrates his accomplishments. In 2014, CCNY stated that it will “honor polio vaccine pioneer’s 100th birthday with symposium on disease he helped defeat.” They even established the Polio Hall of Fame, Yet the failures of the polio vaccines are ignored by the MSM, the U.S. government and the medical establishment. In this case, propaganda for the polio vaccine has won the battle for “Big Pharma” profits, but the war for our health will be won in the end by the people who do not trust any sort of corporate sponsored drugs or vaccines even when old and new diseases occur.  There are better ways to fight diseases, perhaps with a focus on ’Prevention’ rather than to depend on drugs that are produced for the sole purpose of profits.

“…when you select heroes about which black children ought to be taught, let them be black heroes who have died fighting for the benefit of black people.  We never were taught about Christophe or Dessalines.  It was the slave revolt in Haiti when slaves, black slaves, had the soldiers of Napoleon tied down and forced him to sell one half of the American continent to the Americans. They don’t teach us that.  This is the kind of history we want to learn.” – Malcolm X[1]

February 21, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X who is is firmly located within the ranks of the foremost luminaries of Pan-Afrikanism.[2] As such, he was very much concerned with the fate of Afrikans across the globe. The broadness of Malcolm’s humanity and sympathy informed his internationalism, which included all oppressed peoples, especially the racialized ones who have experienced the lashes of global white supremacy.[3]

This year, 2015, also marks the commencement of the 100th anniversary of the United States’ invasion and occupation of Haiti, the 11th anniversary of the Western-backed coup against the democratically-elected government Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the current MINUSTAH occupation, and the 5th anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake. The outlook of this ardent Pan-Afrikanist and internationalist, Malcolm X, ought to have relevance to the organized solidarity that anti-imperialists and Pan-Afrikanists should be demonstrating toward the labouring classes in Haiti.

One of the most important anti-imperialist struggles in the Americas today is the occupation of Haiti by western imperialism by way of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).[4] As long as this military occupation is in effect, the individuals and organizations who claim to be champions of the self-determination and independence of oppressed people should be organizing to end it. The people of Haiti are actively resisting the neocolonial regime and the occupation force that have been imposed on them. The people are making Are we, internationalists, playing our part as comrades-in-arms with “the wretched of the earth” in Haiti?

Haiti’s legacy of materially contributing to the independence struggles in South America and Central America, and accelerating the end to slavery in the Americas ought to inspire a higher level of commitment for its popular struggle on the ground. The Haitian Revolution clearly demonstrated the creative genius, boldness, resilience and self-reliance of a dispossessed people when they are motivated by a compelling idea or vision. Hence, the labouring classes in Haiti are heirs to a revolutionary tradition that affirms the capacity of the socially damned to assert themselves on the stage of history as dramatic actors.

It was not an accident that Malcolm made connection to the Haitian Revolution in his effort to achieve human rights for Afrikan Americans. He expressed admiration for its example of militancy and courage in checkmating white supremacy, enslavement and colonialism, “[Frederick] Douglass was great. I would rather have been taught about Toussaint L’Ouverture. We need to be taught about who fought, who bled for freedom and made others bleed.”[5] Malcolm told his followers that history was a very instructive and wise teacher and worthy of emulation. He encouraged them to “examine the historic method used all over the world by others who have problem similar to yours.”[6] The enslaved Afrikans in Haiti used revolutionary violence to assert that the slogan “equality, liberty and fraternity[solidarity]” was applicable to their struggle for emancipation.

One of the most admirable and central elements of Malcolm’s contribution to the Afrikan Revolutionary Tradition was his internationalist and Pan-Afrikanist thoughts and politics. Temkin states that there are much to learn from engaging the internationalist thoughts of Malcolm in areas such as “human rights, the politics of citizenship, the impact of decolonization, anti-imperialism, the global and black left, and the tension between geopolitics and individual or collective political action.”[7] This Afrikan revolutionary was preoccupied with strategically internationalizing the national struggle of Afrikans inside the United States.

He saw the significance of connecting the global struggles for emancipation of the peoples of Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Afrika. This ideological orientation is evidenced in this declaration:

1964 will see the Negro revolt evolve and merge into the worldwide black revolution that has been taking place on this earth since 1945. The so-called revolt will become a real black revolution. Now the black revolution has been taking place in Africa and Asia and Latin America; when I say black, I mean non-white – black, brown, red or yellow.[8]

The common experience of colonialism and white supremacy created the basis for unity of purpose in the eyes of Malcolm. This political sensibility informed his framing of the resistance of the racialized world to European colonialism and the thrust toward independence. It is important to note that this United States-based internationalist held the national resistance struggle of Afrikan Americans as an integral part of the “worldwide black revolution.”

This fight for liberation from white supremacy and imperialism made solidarity and mutual aid among the racialized world majority an objective and existential necessity, from the vantage point of Malcolm’s internationalist outlook. It is for the preceding reason that Malcolm lavished unbridled, albeit unnuanced, praise on the 1955 Bandung Conference that pulled together independent Afrikan and Asian states to further economic cooperation and provide collective resistance to the colonialism and hegemony of the white imperial or major powers.[9]

The work that took place at the Bandung Conference led to the emergence of the Non-Aligned Movement of states that stood outside of the West and the former Soviet Union and its state socialist Eastern European allies. Bandung’s unity was seen by Malcolm as a “model for the same procedure you and I [Afrikans in America] can use to get our problem solved.”[10]

Malcolm’s extensive visits to Afrika and Western Asia (Middle East)[11] broadened his internationalist perspective and framing of issues such as black nationalism,[12] the emancipation of women,[13] capitalism as a predator,[14] imperialism as a global system of exploitation,[15] cooperation with whites,[16] and the role of one’s religious beliefs in the secular struggle for emancipation.[17] Malcolm’s political development led him to see the “worldwide revolution” in revolt against an “international western power structure” or a “giant international combine” (imperialism) that ruled the peoples and exploited the resources of the global South.[18] From the time of Malcolm’s Message to the Grassroots in late 1963 to his “worldwide revolution” speech on February 15, 1965, one can see a drastic shift from the overly racializing of the struggle against imperialism to the integration of an economic analysis into his understanding of global white supremacy and western imperialism.

Malcolm’s understanding of class and race oppression and a developing gender analysis informed his framing of Afrikan American oppression within a radical internationalist framework. This internationalizing of the struggle made him a dangerous figure in the eyes of the United States[19] and to the “international western power structure’ as evidenced by the French state denying him entry onto its national territory.[20] The preceding state of affairs which indicate the willingness of the forces of oppression to collaborate or act as one across borders in order to maintain their systems of domination. As such, it is a moral and political obligation, on the part of the oppressed, to strategize and cooperate transnationally, otherwise a revolution in one country would be quite vulnerable.

What lessons or insights should we draw from Malcolm’s international solidarity and global justice orientation on the question of MINUSTAH’s occupation of Haiti and the popular struggle against neoliberal capitalism and the occupier?

A central component of Malcolm’s attempt at internationalizing the struggle of Afrikans in the United States was to seek intervention before international bodies such as the United Nations (UN), the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Organization of American States.[21] He was especially fixated on the UN as the forum in which the classification of the racist oppression of Afrikan Americans as a struggle for human right as opposed to one for civil rights, would have placed it “completely out of the jurisdiction of the United States government.[22]

The OAU, a body of strongmen, neocolonial agents and kleptocrats, was seen by Malcolm as a body that would demonstrate solidarity with the human rights struggle of Afrikan Americans. However, when this continental group had the opportunity to openly and vigorously challenge the trampling of the human rights of Afrikan Americans, the OAU took the path of least resistance by passing a “moderate resolution against ‘‘racial oppression.’’”[23]

Malcolm overestimated inexplicably gave too much credit to the usefulness of the two-thirds votes of the “continent of Africa, coupled with the Asian and Arab bloc” in the General Assembly.[24] The Security Council is the seat of power and action at the UN and each of the five permanent members (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) wields a veto over its decisions. For example, the UN’s Security Council intervention in the Congo in July 1960 was a classic case of the UN being used by western powers to retain this country within its sphere of influence[25] and checkmate the feared influence of the former Soviet Union and its military support to the Patrice Lumumba-led government.[26]

Given the current occupation of Haiti by the UN on behalf of western states such as Canada, France and the United States, it is clear that this international institution and its Security Council are not allies in the struggle for human rights in the global South. The UN’s General Assembly may serve, at best, as the conscience of the world and a place for moral victory for causes related to the oppressed. We could look at the case of the United States economic embargo against Cuba or the Palestinians’ quest for self-determination enjoys solid support in the General Assembly, but have foundered on the shore of inaction at the Security Council.

The UN tends to intervene in a country when it is in the interests of western states to do so. Its military presence in Haiti provides legitimacy to western powers’ and the local ruling elite’s attempt to weaken the development or strengthening of a people’s movement that might undermine capitalism and the geo-strategic interests of imperialism.

Malcolm’s appeal to states or international bodies and the questionable efficacy of such an approach ought to lead us in the direction of movements from below as the principal way to challenge imperialism in Haiti, and everywhere.  The operators of the state are fearful of the autonomous organizing of the people. As such, they will seek to undermine the existence of independent, oppositional organizations and movements. The state might do so through co-opting the leaders with material incentives or use the security services to repress both leaders and members by way of the security services.

It was the mobilization of the masses or the fear of them being mobilized that pushed colonial powers such as France and Britain in Afrika[27] and the Caribbean to embark on the path of formal independence. Malcolm claimed that the pre-independence nationalism and consciousness of the people in Afrika had been “fanned from a spark into a roaring flame” and made things too hot for colonialism.[28]

Malcolm’s faith in the “grass roots out there in the streets” acting independently of the politically compromised leadership and driving fear in the power structure[29] is a more fruitful direction in which to oppose the occupation in Haiti. In fact, this is the very approach that the popular movement in Haiti has been using to challenge the western-backed president Michel Martelly and MINUSTAH’s occupation.[30] In 1986, a mobilized Haitian populace brought an end to the Duvalier regime and paved the way for the emergence of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the organizational expression of their self-determination in the form of Fanmi Lavalas.

In spite of state violence being directed at the masses in the streets, they continue to demand a future that centres their economic, social and political interests. Malcolm’s evolving international solidarity politics calls for active involvement with the masses in revolt. He would have encouraged people outside of Haiti to stand with the people of Haiti, given his admiration of the Haitian Revolution. He told a group at a public lecture in France that an effective way to help Afrikan Americans would be to intervene when the police “grab and arrest us, let them know, well, that they shouldn’t have done it.”[31] While Malcolm did not specify the range of actions that should be taken by these would-be internationalists, we have at our disposal a number of initiatives that can be taken to express our solidarity with the people in Haiti.[32]

After all, the struggle in Haiti is a part of the worldwide “black revolution” and the fight against the “international western power structure.” All freedom loving peoples across the globe, and especially those living in the Americas have an anti-imperialist obligation to support the people of Haiti as they resist the oppressive forces that are aligned against them.[33]

A number of Latin American states have contributed military and police personnel to MINUSTAH’s occupation of Haiti. Many organizations in that region have started to organize to force an end to the occupation of Haiti. Internationalists in North America, Europe, Afrika and Asia need to systematically mobilize, educate and organize the people to drive out the occupation and allow the people of Haiti to determine their own path to development. The victory of Haiti in ending slavery and asserting its political independence lit the flame of freedom across the Americas.

Haiti could once again become the trailblazer of emancipation and revolutionary fortitude. Internationalists who are in agreement with Malcolm X’s internationalism and global justice commitments ought to actively support the fight for self-determination, independence and development of the labouring classes in Haiti. It is not enough to issue meaningless praises for Malcolm’s internationalism or be infatuated with the Haitian Revolution. We need to demonstrate our international solidarity with Haiti by working in organizations in our respective countries to support and complement the work being carried out by Haitians to secure their liberation.

Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an educator and organizer. He is an organizer with the Campaign to End the Occupation in Haiti and the Toronto Haiti Action Committee.

Notes:

[1] Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970/1992), 125.

[2] Hakim Adi & Marika Sherwood, Pan-African History: Political Figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787 (New York: Routledge, 2003), 123-128.

[3] George Breitman, ed., Malcom X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1965/1989), 217-218

[4] Kevin Edmonds and Ajamu Nangwaya, “The United Nations Will Fail Haiti Once Again: Pull Out the Occupation Troops,” CounterPunch, October 14, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/14/the-united-nations-will-fail-haiti-once-again/

[5] Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary, 124.

[6] Breitman, Malcom X Speaks, 8.

[7] Moshik Temkin, “From Black Revolution to ‘‘Radical Humanism’’: Malcolm X between Biography and International History,” Humanity Journal 3, 2, (2012): 268.

[8] Breitman, Malcom X Speaks, 49-50.

[9] Ibid., 5-6.

[10] Breitman, Malcolm X Speaks, 5.

[11] Temkin, From Black Revolution, 277. According to Temkin, the United States was startled by the leaders that Malcolm was associating with, “He met with a number of heads of state, including Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Gamal Abdel-Nasser of Egypt, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Ahmed Se ´kou Toure ´ of Guinea, and Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria—charismatic postcolonial leaders who saw themselves as defying the Western powers and whose varying fusions of African-style socialism and Pan-Africanism (or Pan-Arabism) appealed to Malcolm X’s evolving conception of power politics. What made American officials most nervous about Malcolm X’s comings and goings was that they considered all these leaders either potential or active allies of the Soviet Union” (p. 277).

[12] Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary, 159-60.

[13] Ibid., 179.

[14] Breitman, Malcom X Speaks, 120-122.

[15] Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary, 116-17.

[16] Bruce Perry, editor, Malcolm X: The Last Speeches, (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1989) 147.

[17] Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary, 180; Perry, The Last Speeches, 157.

[18] Perry, The Last Speeches, 127.

[19] Temkin, From Black Revolution, 277.

[20] Temkin, From Black Revolution, 282-83; Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary, 167-73;

[21] Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary, 87-88; Breitman, Malcom X Speaks, 72-87.

[22] Steve Clark, ed., Malcolm X Speaks to Young People: Speeches in the United States, Britain, and Africa, (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1965/2002) 79.

[23] Temkin, From Black Revolution, 277; [23] Breitman, Malcolm X Speaks, 84.

[24] Clark, Malcolm X Speaks to Young People, 80.

[25] Abayomi Azikiwe, “Congo still struggles for real independence,” Workers World, July 15, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.workers.org/2010/world/congo_0722/

[26] Tom Eley, “Fifty years since the murder of Patrice Lumumba,” World Socialist Web Site, January 22 2011, Retrieved from http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2011/01/lumu-j22.html; Adam Hochschild, “An Assassination’s Long Shadow,” New York Times, January 16, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/17/opinion/17hochschild.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

[27] Firoze Manji, “What’s Left in Africa?  Reflections on the failure of left, working class movements to take root in most of Africa,” International Viewpoint, February 5, 2015 5 February 2015. Retrieved from http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article3853

[28] Clark, Malcolm X Speaks to Young People, 58.

[29] Breitman, Malcom X Speaks, 14,

[30] Kim Ives & Isabelle Papillon, “Haiti: Two Days of Demonstrations and General Strike: “Down with the UN Occupation”, “Down with the President and Prime Minister,”” Global Research, February 11, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.globalresearch.ca/haiti-two-days-of-demonstrations-and-general-strike-down-with-he-un-occupation-down-with-the-president-and-prime-minister/5430662

[31] Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary, 126.

[32] Ajamu Nangwaya, “Transform your Global Justice Sentiments into Action to End the Occupation of Haiti,” Dissident Voice, October 23, 2014. Retrieved from http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/10/transform-your-global-justice-sentiments-into-action-to-end-the-occupation-of-haiti/

[33] Ajamu Nangwaya, “We have an anti-imperialist obligation to the people of Haiti,” Rabble.ca, February 28, 2014. Retrieved from http://rabble.ca/news/2014/02/we-have-anti-imperialist-obligation-to-people-haiti

The victory of the Cuban revolution over the forces of U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista meant that January 1, 1959 marked the first time in 467 years that Cubans were not subjected to serfdom and exploitation by a foreign power. Spain was the first country to exercise dominion over Cuba beginning in 1510, up until the Spanish-American War of 1898. During this period, Spain engaged in the exploitation of Cuban natural resources and subjected the native population to forced labour. The Spaniards essentially distributed the “land and indigenous labourers” amongst themselves1. Both African slaves, which were originally introduced to the island by the Spanish, and the native population were forced to endure “harsh working conditions suffered under colonists”2.

The Spanish-American War, which culminated with the expulsion of Spain in 1898, did not bring emancipation to the Cubans that had been fighting for their independence. Instead, this victory only substituted one oppressor for another, as the U.S. transformed Cuba into a neo-colony. From that point forward, the U.S exercised imperial power over the island, exploiting its resources, and dictating Cuba’s domestic and foreign policies. During this time, the Cuban economy was highly dependent on the U.S., as “74% of Cuba’s exports were destined for the US, while 73% of its imports came from the US…the all-important Cuban US sugar export market and price were controlled in Washington” (Ritter, 2010, p. 3). In fact, “[b]y the 1950s, the U.S. controlled 80 percent of Cuban utilities, 90 percent of Cuban mines, close to 100 percent of the country’s oil refineries, 90 percent of its cattle ranches, and 40 percent of the sugar industry”3. Havana also became a popular tourist destination where foreigners, particularly Americans, could indulge in gambling and prostitution.

The Revolution enabled Cuba to become independent of U.S. imperial power.  One of the first acts of the new government was to nationalize foreign enterprises and utilities in addition to instituting a series of land and agrarian reforms. Washington retaliated by imposing a comprehensive commercial, economic and financial embargo in 1962, which blocked virtually all trade between the two countries and banned U.S. citizens from travelling to Cuba.  The U.S. administration regarded the trade embargo as the best mechanism to achieve its objectives, which were aptly summarized by Lester D. Mallory, former deputy assistant Secretary of State, on April 6, 1960:

“The majority of the Cuban people support Castro. There is no effective political opposition… The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection and hardship… every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba… a line of action which… makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government”4

On December 17, 2014, nearly 55 years after the U.S. imposed its commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, President Barack Obama surprised the world by announcing his intention to enter into negotiations aimed at re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. It is widely believed that this step, which will include re-opening the U.S. embassy in Havana, will pave the way for an end to the embargo and eliminate certain travel restrictions on Americans looking to visit the island. In fact, some progress has already been made with regards to travel restrictions, as Americans are now able to use their debit and credit cards on visits to Cuba. Additionally, as of December 2014, Washington allows Americans to visit Cuba for the following 12 reasons5:

“family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.”6

On February 19th, approximately two months after Obama’s announcement, Cuban vice president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, met with nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives in Havana.  Subsequently, a second meeting will be held in Washington on February 27th. This upcoming meeting holds considerable interest for citizens of Cuba, as many of them expect this meeting to be followed by an announcement of plans to lift the embargo7, partially or completely, on the part of the Washington administration. In reality, however, it is unlikely that the embargo will be lifted unless the Cuban government agrees to meet certain preconditions mandated by Washington. For example, “lawyers are scrambling to determine whether normalized relations with Cuba will create an opportunity to get compensation for lost properties [5,9138 US companies’ expropriation by the Cuban government after 1959 revolution] now estimated to be worth nearly $7 billion9”. Further complicating matters is the fact that that lifting the embargo would require an act of congress; however, if Congress were to vote against eliminating the embargo, President Obama still retains the option of using his “executive power will” to bypass them and force the issue10.

It is well-known that the U.S. embargo has had tremendous consequences on the development of the Cuban economy. According to Havana, the direct economic damages to Cuba attributable to the embargo would exceed $1.1 trillion11 since 1962, “taking into account the depreciation of dollar against gold”12, with specific damages including the loss of earnings, monetary and financial restrictions, and social damages with regards to health, education, culture, the availability of food, etc. Additionally, “the embargo penalizes the activities of the bank and finance, insurance, petrol, chemical products, construction, infrastructures and transports, shipyard, agriculture and fishing, electronics and computing.”13

Despite its longevity and severity, the embargo was not particularly effective in achieving its objectives, as summarized by Lester D. Mallory. Cuban Socialism still managed to be lauded for a number of notable achievements, including attaining full employment, providing universal health care services and universal access to free education, and achieving higher life expectancy, lower child mortality, lower child malnutrition, and lower poverty rates compared to any other Latin American country (Navarro, 2014, Vandepitte, 2011). In fact, a 2014 study published by the World Bank confirmed that Cuba’s education system is comparable to those of Canada, Finland, and Singapore14. In the past, the World Bank also recognized that Cuba’s international “success in the fields of education and health, with social services that exceeds those of most developing countries and, in certain sectors, are comparable to those of the developed nations”15. Furthermore, based on estimates from the United Nations Development Program, Cuba is ranked third in Latin America in terms of the Human Development Index (HDI)16. More precisely, according to the United Nations Human Development Report 2014, “Cuba’s HDI value for 2013 is 0.815— which is in the very high human development category—positioning the country at 44 out of 187 countries and territories17”.

In addition to its success in areas of human development, Cuba has also been active in providing practical foreign aid in the form of sending highly-trained specialists, such as teachers, doctors, and engineers, to developing countries where they are needed. Since 1959, Cuba has been sending doctors to countries in Latin American and Africa that are unable to meet the health care needs of their citizens on their own; this is a practice for which the island is particularly well-regarded. Currently, “around 50,000 Cuban health professionals work in 66 countries worldwide18”. Recent examples of such assistance include sending Cuban doctors to West African countries during the recent Ebola outbreak and to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 where they were largely credited with ending a cholera outbreak19.  Additionally, Cuba also helps combat doctor shortages by providing free medical school to students from various developing countries. Havana’s Latin American Medical School20 is “the largest medical school in the world”21; since 2005, this institution has produced approximately 23,000 doctors and another 10,000 graduates are expected in the near future22.

Despite Cuba’s many social achievements, the United States has made many attempts to undermine the island’s revolution since the very beginning through propaganda, sabotage, and terrorism, including the planning and support of the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. Fidel Castro was depicted as a military dictator who oppressed the individual freedoms of Cuba’s citizens. In addition to anti-Cuban propaganda, the U.S. government also engaged in direct sabotage aimed at weakening the socialist government, including “chemical and biological warfare against Cuba”, hundreds of attempts by the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro, and the imposition of many economic and political sanctions that eliminated access to credit and loans from international banks and prevented free trade from flourishing (Blum, p.186-193).

Barack Obama’s efforts to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba have, in some circles, been interpreted as an admission that Washington’s repeated attempts to destroy the island’s socialist government over the last five decades have failed. However, the possibility exists that this move could be part of a larger strategy aimed at undermining Cuban socialism and dominating the island. History has shown that Washington is not averse to intervening in the domestic affairs of other countries in order to further its own interests; this includes a long list of instances where the U.S. facilitated the overthrow of governments that did not fully commit to their dictates, including Guatemala (1953-1954, 1960), Indonesia (1957-1958, 1965, 1975), the  Dominican Republic (1960-1966), Chile (1964-1973), Cambodia (1955-1973), Laos (1957-1973), the Congo (1960-1964), Greece (1964-1974), Bolivia (1964-1975), Zaire (1975-1978), Iraq (1990-1991), and Afghanistan (1979-1992).

These and many other examples of successive American governments intervening in the internal affairs of other countries in order to destabilize governments that they viewed as even moderately socialist (incorrectly on some occasions) allows for some suspicion about the sincerity of the stated U.S. intentions for its re-engaging with Cuba.

For example, after its official re-opening, the U.S. Embassy in Havana could serve as a location for the planning and staging of strategies designed to facilitate the reversal of Cuban social, political and economic policies. Furthermore, there is also speculation that the motivation for re-establishing relations with Cuba could be to counter recent developments in the political and economic organization of Latin American and Caribbean nations, which have facilitated greater roles for China and Russia in the region.

Over the course of the last decade, Latin American and Caribbean nations have come together to create a number of economic and social organizations including: the Bolivarian Alliance for Our Americas (ALBA) in 2004; the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in 2008; and, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in December 2011. ALBA, which was originally created by Venezuela and Cuba and currently counts 11 nations among its members, aims to establish a common regional currency (the Sucre) that could eventually replace the U.S. dollar in international trade transactions. UNASUR, which was created primarily through the efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with support from Brazil’s Lula da Silva and Argentina’s Nestor Kirchner, currently boasts 12 member countries. In addition to establishing a common currency, this organization also aspires for a common passport and parliament for its members, modelled on the European Union. Finally, CELAC includes 33 Latin American and Caribbean nations representing over 600 million people; it seeks deeper integration and greater cooperation among its member countries.

In 2010, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales described CELAC as follows:

“A union of Latin American countries is the weapon against imperialism. It is necessary to create a regional body that excludes the United States and Canada. …Where there are U.S. military bases that do not respect democracy, where there is a political empire with his blackmailers, with its constraints, there is no development for that country, and especially there is no social peace and, therefore, it is the best time for prime ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean to gestate this great new organization without the United States to free our peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean.”23

Venezuela’s late president, Hugo Chávez added the following at the 23rd Rio Group summit:

“Now here, in Mexico, a document, a commitment, the creation of a body of Latin America and the Caribbean, without the USA, without Canada (…) Now we can say from Latin America, from Mexico (…) we have revived the dream and project of Bolívar.”24

The U.S. regards the creation of such organizations that strengthen links between Latin American and Caribbean nations as strategic threats.  CELAC, for example, essentially serves the same function as the Organization for American States (OAS) but excludes the U.S. and Canada from participating. Furthermore, CELAC members will be receiving US$ 250 billion in investments over the next decade from China. The U.S. will likely not look favourably upon the prospect of losing access to the natural resources and enormous consumer market in this region to a key economic rival like China.

In addition to China, Russia is also gaining prominence as a significant economic player in the region. In July 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement with Cuban officials granting Rosneft, an oil company that is majority owned by the Russian government, the rights to explore and extract hydrocarbon reserves located off of the island. During his meetings with Raul Castro and former leader Fidel Castro, which produced this agreement, Putin also “wrote off 90 percent of the more than $30 billion in Soviet-era debt Cuba owed Russia25”. Perhaps Obama should consider following the Russian President’s lead and offer his Cuban counterparts a gesture of goodwill by forgiving the potential compensation that could be sought by U.S. companies for property lost on account of the revolution.

The increasing prevalence of China and Russia in Latin America and the Caribbean represents a real danger to Washington’s future diplomatic, political and economic power and influence on a global scale.  The strategic importance of these regions to the United States is clearly reflected in the Monroe Doctrine, which was established by the administration of President James Monroe in 1823 and stated “that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention26”. Based on the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine, which essentially regards Latin America as the U.S.’s “backyard”, such Russian and Chinese advances in these regions could also be interpreted as acts of aggression, even though the nature of their involvement is quite different in comparison to the colonial ambitions of countries like Spain and Portugal in the early 19th century.

As long as Cuba exercises caution, does not lose sight of its own interests, and retains a certain degree of control when entering into negotiations with Washington, whether it be on February 27th or during any subsequent meetings, then it is entirely possible for the island to re-establish economic, financial and diplomatic ties with the United States without completely dismantling socialism and the benefits associated with it. Re-establishing diplomatic relations with Washington does not necessitate a clash with the aspirations of the revolution, because socialism does not require a closed commercial state, nor does it reject reforms aimed at revitalizing or strengthening the existing system.

Undertaking efforts to revitalize the Cuban economy is not a new phenomenon.  In fact, Cuba has been trying to rejuvenate its socialist system since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Soviet Union provided Cuba with a great deal of support since the triumph of the revolution and was credited with playing a crucial role in its survival. The collapse of the Soviet Union meant Cuba lost its most important trading partner, which accounted for approximately 80% of the island’s exports and imports at that time; Cuba also had to do without the generous subsidies it received from the socialist block. Consequently, the U.S. also took this opportunity to introduce new measures to further strengthen the blockade, namely the Cuban Democracy Act in 1992 and the Helms-Burton Act in 1996. As a result, Cubans experienced significant hardships and a pronounced decrease in their living standards in what became known as the “Special Period” during 1990 – 1995. During this time, the Cuban economy essentially collapsed and its inhabitants experienced severe shortages in basic supplies, including food and medicine, resulting in malnutrition and associated health problems. In response, new measures were taken to restructure the Cuban economy, especially in the area of tourism. Many of the hotels and resort chains that are joint ventures with Spanish and Canadian companies are outcomes of the reforms that were implemented in response to the “Special Period”.

Re-establishing diplomatic relations with Washington and the movement towards free market policies will not diminish Cuba’s standing as a symbol of the global anti-imperialist movement. In reality, programs aimed at gradually liberalizing prices, privatization, abolishing the ration system, and eliminating the dual currency have been underway for about a decade. That means the model that was conceived in the early years of Cuban revolution has been evolving in order to meet the changing needs and desires of the Cuban people, which have also been evolving with developments in the international political, economic and social arenas. In other words, policies designed to revitalize the socialist system by reducing reliance on social engineering were being put in place since 1991. History has shown that granting too much power to a central planning authority, in terms of organizing the social, political and economic activities of a state, has the potential to engender a situation where constant interference on the part of the government becomes inevitable. In fact, it could be argued that social engineering and the American embargo were the two main enemies of the Cuban revolution. A more open economy can provide buyers, sellers, and producers in the marketplace with greater freedom with which to co-ordinate their activities voluntarily and achieve common goals and ends for society without the need for constant interference on the part of state authorities. The current progress made in terms of re-establishing a normalized relationship with Washington might witness further progress in Cuban’s socialist system. Hopefully, this can be achieved through a cautious and sensible approach that will ensure Cubans never return to the serfdom that preceded the 1959 revolution.

Notes:

1.  https://archive.org/stream/KacikeJournal/yaremko_djvu.txt

2. https://archive.org/stream/KacikeJournal/yaremko_djvu.txt

3. https://revcom.us/a/056/cubahist-en.html

4. http://rt.com/op-edge/us-cuba-economic-benefits-089/

5. http://rt.com/op-edge/us-cuba-economic-benefits-089/

6. http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/pages/jl9740.aspx

7. October 2014, despite the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution calling for the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba to be lifted for the 23rd consecutive year, Washington once again elected to maintain its embargo.

8. These companies include “ExxonMobil, Coca-Cola, Freeport-McMoRan, Colgate-Palmolive, Procter and Gamble, Goodyear, Firestone, General Motors, Owens-Illinois, Avon Products, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and many others” (http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-economic-sanctions-against-cuba-the-failure-of-a-cruel-and-irrational-policy/7024).

9. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/22/world/cuba-seizures-now-present-opportunities.html?_r=0

10. http://www.globalresearch.ca/repealing-the-us-embargo-on-cuba-the-legislative-process-in-the-us-congress/5424312

11. http://rt.com/business/186528-cuba-embargo-economic-demage/

12. http://rt.com/business/186528-cuba-embargo-economic-demage/

13. http://www.cetim.ch/oldsite/2003/03js04w4.htm

14. http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/document/LAC/Great_Teachers-How_to_Raise_Student_Learning-Barbara-Bruns-Advance%20Edition.pdf

15. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/salim-lamrani/world-bank-cuba-has-the-b_b_5925864.html

16. “The HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living… a long and healthy life is measured by life expectancy. Access to knowledge is measured by: i) mean years of education among the adult population, which is the average number of years of education received in a life-time by people aged 25 years and older; and ii) expected years of schooling for children of school-entry age, which is the total number of years of schooling a child of school-entry age can expect to receive if prevailing patterns of age-specific enrolment rates stay the same throughout the child’s life. Standard of living is measured by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita expressed in constant 2011 international dollars converted using purchasing power parity (PPP) rates” http://hdr.undp.org/sites/all/themes/hdr_theme/country-notes/CUB.pdf)

17. http://hdr.undp.org/sites/all/themes/hdr_theme/country-notes/CUB.pdf

18. http://country.eiu.com/article.aspx?articleid=1782243562&Country=Cuba&topic=Politics&subtopic=Forecast&subsubtopic=Political+stability&u=1&pid=532225237&oid=532225237&uid=1

19. http://www.un.org/press/en/2014/sgsm15619.doc.htms

20. “The University of Toronto has 850 medical students and Harvard University has 735. ELAM has twelve times more students than those two schools combined: 19,550.” (http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2012/06/02/cubatrained_doctors_making_difference_around_the_world.html)

21. https://www.ted.com/talks/gail_reed_where_to_train_the_world_s_doctors_cuba/transcript?language=en

22. https://www.ted.com/talks/gail_reed_where_to_train_the_world_s_doctors_cuba/transcript?language=en

23. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_Latin_American_and_Caribbean_States#cite_note-telesurtv.net-10

24. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_Latin_American_and_Caribbean_States#cite_note-15

25. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/11/cuba-russia-putin.htmls

26. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroe_Doctrine

Coup Plot in Venezuela, Fascism and Antisemitism

February 26th, 2015 by Global Research News

Venezuela-Antonio-Ledezma

Venezuelan Opposition Mayor, Alias “The Vampire,” Arrested for Role in Blue Coup Plot By Rachael Boothroyd, February 26, 2015

Image: Opposition politician, Antonio Ledezma, was arrested by SEBIN on Thursday afternoon (Telesur). Caracas, February 19th 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) Venezuelan opposition Mayor and longtime rightwing politician, Antonio Ledezma, has been arrested by the country’s intelligence services, SEBIN, for his alleged role…

fascism

Why the Rise of Fascism is again the Issue By John Pilger, February 26, 2015

The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazis iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible…

Andriy-Parubiy-Ottawa

Nazi Kiev Official Greeted in Ottawa and Washington By Stephen Lendman, February 26, 2015

Kiev’s national security and defense council secretary Andriy Parubiy was feted on visits to Ottawa and Washington.He came seeking more heavy weapons and funding than already provided. He orchestrated February 2014 Maidan killings. As security chief, he controlled access…

us-venezuela

The Foiling of a Coup Plot in Venezuela By Gloria La Riva, February 26, 2015

A coup plot against President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution was thwarted this week as a retired Venezuelan Air Force general and 10 military and civilian opposition figures were arrested. The bombing of the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly,…

VIDEOS: War Propaganda Corporate Media Steers World Toward Disaster

Media Silence on Libya By Margaret Kimberley, February 26, 2015

Despite the all-encompassing belief in democracy and a free press, Americans have very little democracy left and perhaps the worst media in the world. Even people who make efforts to be informed don’t know what is happening domestically and internationally…

Empire and the Lies of the Corporate Media: Are we Living in a Fool's Paradise?

US Backing for ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels: Long Reported, Continually Forgotten By Adam Johnson, February 26, 2015

That the US is arming and training Syrian rebels has been well-documented forover two years, yet Western media have historically suffered from a strange collective amnesia when reporting this fact. As Ian Sinclair noted last September in the Huffington Post(9/23/14):…

hollande-crif

Internet Needs to Be “Regulated” to Suppress Videos and Search Results Deemed “Anti-Semitic”, French President Says By Ali Abunimah, February 26, 2015

French President François Hollande says modern “anti-Semitism” stems from “hatred of Israel.” (Presidency of France)

French president François Hollande has said his government will soon announce a raft of tough criminal laws to crack down on anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia and…

Venezuela leaders

The Coup d’Etat Attempt in Venezuela By Chris Gilbert, February 26, 2015

If there were not a coup d’etat underway, someone would have to invent one to rally the masses. That may be the case for the Venezuelan government today, which is beset with so many problems, and it is one of…

Is the U.S. Mainstream Media’s Climate Coverage Criminal?

February 26th, 2015 by David Ray Griffin

Thom Hartmann has written an article entitled “The Mainstream Media’s Criminal Climate Coverage.” Given what we know about global warming, he said, “it’s hard to see the mainstream media’s coverage – or lack thereof – of climate change as anything less than morally and ethically criminal.”2 This is harsh criticism. Is it justified?

1. America’s Climate Complacency

A Washington Post story, reporting the results of a Pew Research poll in 2013, headlined its story, “Americans Are Less Worried about Climate Change than Almost Anyone Else.” In 2014, a poll of 20 wealthy countries found that America leads the world in climate denialism, with 52 percent of the U.S. population stating that climate change is a natural phenomenon (rather than being the result of burning fossil fuels) and denying that the world is headed for environmental disaster unless it quickly changes its habits.3

Why is the United States first in climate complacency? According to leading climate scientist James Hansen, there is in this country “a huge gap between the public’s understanding of the situation and the scientific understanding.”4 But why does this gap exist in America?

Physicist Joe Romm, who started the website Climate Progress, has written that, although “our scientific understanding of business-as-usual projections for global warming has changed dramatically,” the U.S. public largely “remain in the dark about just how dire the situation is. Why? Because the U.S. media is largely ignoring the story,” which Romm called “the story of the century, if not the millennium.”5

Romm is far from the only person to give this assessment. Eric Pooley, one of America’s leading journalists, offered a parable:

“Suppose our leading scientists discovered that a meteor, hurtling toward the earth, was set to strike later this century; the governments of the world had less than ten years to divert or destroy it. How would news organizations cover this story? Even in an era of financial distress, they would throw teams of reporters at it and give them the resources needed to follow it in extraordinary depth and detail. After all, the race to stop the meteor would be the story of the century.”

In Pooley’s parable, carbon-using humanity is the meteor, which is threatening to destroy civilization. This threat is, Pooley said, the “great story, of our time. But news organizations have not been treating it that way.”6

Likewise, Hartmann said: “The mainstream media is failing us when it comes to covering the story of the century.” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan said that the climate crisis is “undoubtedly the biggest story of this millennium.”And in her inimitable way, Rebecca Solnit wrote that people a century from now “will think the newspapers should have had a gigantic black box above the fold of the front page every day saying “Here are some stories about other things, BUT CLIMATE IS STILL THE BIGGEST STORY OF ALL.”7

However, granted that the U.S. media have not done a good job, is it fair to blame them for the fact that America has more climate denialists, and less concern about climate change, than other wealthy countries? After all, fossil-fuel companies, especially ExxonMobil and Koch Industries, have spent tens of millions of dollars to fund dozens of organizations, including the Tea Party, to make climate denialism appear to have arisen spontaneously from concerned citizens.

However, according to journalist Mark Hertsgaard, the responsibility of the fossil-fuel companies does not lessen that of the media. “As a journalist,” he wrote, “it shames me that the [carbon] lobby could never have succeeded without the assistance of the media.”8

2. How the Mainstream Media Have Failed

A central reason for the media’s failure involves the journalistic norm of “balanced” reporting. As one discussion put it: “Balance aims for neutrality. It requires that reporters present the views of legitimate spokespersons of the conflicting sides in any significant dispute, and provide both sides with roughly equal attention.”9

False Balance

In a study entitled “Balance as Bias,” Maxwell Boykoff and Jules Boykoff said:

“[B]alanced reporting can actually be a form of informational bias. Despite the highly regarded IPCC’s [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s] consistent assertions . . . , balanced reporting has allowed a small group of global warming skeptics to have their views amplified.”10

In explaining how balance can be bias, the Boykoffs quoted Gelbspan, who wrote:

“The professional canon of journalistic fairness requires reporters who write about a controversy to present competing points of view. When the issue is of a political or social nature, fairness – presenting the most compelling arguments of both sides with equal weight – is a fundamental check on biased reporting. But this canon causes problems when it is applied to issues of science. It seems to demand that journalists present competing points of views on a scientific question as though they had equal scientific weight, when actually they do not.”11

With regard to the idea of giving equal weight to “both sides,” Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, authors of the great book Merchants of Doubt, said:

“[O]nce a scientific issue is closed, there’s only one ‘side.’ Imagine providing a ‘balance’ to the issue of whether the Earth orbits the Sun, whether continents move, or whether DNA carries genetic information. These matters were long ago settled in scientists’ minds. Nobody can publish an article in a scientific journal claiming the Sun orbits the Earth.”12

Disputing this issue, Washington Post denialist Charles Krauthammer wrote: “There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge.”13

However, although “science” is never settled, because new facts are continually found, some of which require new theories, this does not mean that there are no settled facts. Although plate tectonics was once fiercely debated, it no longer is. Climate science is still evolving, with many remaining questions (such as “climate sensitivity”). But central issues have been settled, including the fact that increased CO2 in the atmosphere is raising the planet’s average temperature and that this global warming is causing climate disruption.

Not only is this a consensus today, with over 97 percent of the world’s active climate scientists agreeing, consensus has existed for a long time. As early as 1997, the Washington Post published a story entitled “Consensus Emerges Earth Is Warming – Now What?”14

Recently, however, the media have largely ignored the distinction between disputed opinion and settled fact. As a result, the media have produced bias. Having studied the stories about global warming in the U.S. “prestige press” (the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal) between 1988 and 2002, Boykoff and Boykoff reported that a majority of the stories were “balanced” in this sense:

“[T]hese accounts gave ‘roughly equal attention’ to the view that humans were contributing to global warming, and the other view that exclusively natural fluctuations could explain the earth’s temperature increase.”

For stories to be truly balanced, they should give only as much attention to the views of contrarian scientists as their numbers represent. In 2014, English comedian John Oliver, on his faux TV news show, “Last Week Tonight,” humorously demonstrated what true balance would be. Having described the typical TV debate between a climate scientist and a climate denier, he pointed out that the debate should really be statistically representative of the two positions. So after having two more people join the denier, Oliver brought in 96 more to join the scientist.15

Gelbspan had suggested something like this many years ago, saying that, if reporters about the climate used the relevant type of balance, a story would primarily discuss the views of mainstream scientists, ”and the skeptics a couple of paragraphs at the end.”16

In any case, the problem with false balance is that it gives unknowing readers the impression that the scientific community is divided on the issue, and this problem primarily exists in the U.S. media. According to a 2012 report comparing the New York Times and Wall Street Journal with leading newspapers in Brazil, China, France, India, and the United Kingdom:

“America is unique when it comes to giving a platform to climate deniers and skeptics. According to a new analysis of data released [in 2011], American newspapers are far more likely to publish uncontested claims from climate deniers, many of whom challenge whether the planet is warming at all.”17

A particularly egregious example of giving an unworthy scientist a platform, in the name of false balance, appeared in an otherwise excellent Associate Press story about the recent IPCC report, which said that if global warming continues, there will be “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” The AP then quoted denialist John Christy as saying: “Humans are clever. We shall adapt to whatever happens.” But “quoting John Christy on climate change,” said Romm, “is like quoting Dick Cheney on Iraq.”18

Sometimes, moreover, the press does not even give equal attention to climate science. A 2014 report showed that fringe scientists who rejected the consensus have actually received most of the press coverage, while those who said that “greenhouse gases have caused strong global warming” received only 15% of the coverage.19

Explicit Denialism

Beyond the implicit denialism involved in false balance, there is also a lot of explicit denialism in American media.

The two media giants who are worst in reporting on the climate are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation: Fox News and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). In September 2012, the Union of Concerned Scientists examined the articles during the previous year in the WSJ’s opinion section dealing with climate science, finding that the “representations of climate science were misleading 81 percent of the time.” But that was pretty good compared with Fox News, whose stories over a six-month period in 2012 “were misleading 93 percent of the time.”20

In 2013, the WSJ published an opinion piece entitled “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide,” in which the authors said: “[T]he conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That’s simply not the case. Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity,” ignoring that this is true only in cold countries.21

CNBC has not been much better. Examining its stories that dealt with either “global warming” or “climate change” during the first half of 2013, Media Matters found that 51 percent of the stories “cast doubt on whether manmade climate change existed.” The only scientist that CNBC hosted about climate was William Happer, the chairman of the denialist George C. Marshall Institute, who was one of the authors of the aforementioned WSJ opinion piece, “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide.”22

Even the Washington Post has given a lot of space to denialists. In 2011, the editor of the Post’s editorial pages wrote, “The GOP’s climate-change denial may be its most harmful delusion.” But then he continued to publish pieces by his resident denialists, Charles Krauthammer and George Will. Krauthammer, whose claim that there is no settled science was cited earlier, has written so much that Joe Romm referred to a 2014 piece by Krauthammer as “his umpteenth falsehood-fest.”23

Will’s anti-scientific nonsense had gotten so bad in 2009 that other Post reporters contradicted him in a news article. But his perversity continued: In 2014, Will mocked the finding that 97 percent of climate scientists believe that carbon pollution is causing global warming. Asking rhetorically, “who did the poll?” Will suggested that the finding was no more worthy of belief than “100 Authors Against Einstein” produced by a Nazi publishing company. What Will did not tell readers was that what he called a “poll” was actually, as Romm pointed out, “a peer-reviewed analysis of more than 10,000 recent scientific papers on climate science.”24

Fortunately, a reaction against denialism in the media has begun. In general, good newspapers do not publish letters that are based on the denial of basic science, and in 2013 the Los Angeles Times enacted this policy with regard to climate science, with letters editor Paul Thornton explaining:

“I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page. . . . Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

Hartmann responded by saying:

“It’s time for the rest of the media to follow suit. All media outlets, TV, radio, print or otherwise should immediately stop publishing the factual inaccuracies of climate change deniers.”25

Next, Forecast the Facts, hoping to speed up the process, created a petition addressed to five leading newspapers, saying:

“The Los Angeles Times recently announced that they are refusing to publish letters that deny climate change. . . . Sign the petition below to tell the editors of The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal: our country’s most respected newspapers should refuse to print letters that deny basic science.”

In addition, CREDO Mobilize started a petition addressed to all newspapers, “Tell Newspapers: Don’t Publish Climate Change Deniers.”26

In the U.K., the BBC, perhaps responding to John Oliver’s show, announced that its programs will henceforth give denialists only the amount of coverage their prominence merits. But by the beginning of 2015 this policy has not yet been adopted by most of the U.S. media companies.27

Reduction of Coverage

The U.S. mainstream media’s coverage has also failed by giving inadequate coverage, which can be regarded, along with false balance, as implicit climate denial.

Although the U.S. media’s coverage of climate change has never been very high, its coverage went up in 2009, that being the year of the “Climategate” allegations and the climate conference in Copenhagen – which had been widely discussed as the world’s last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change. But although there were lots of “climategate” stories, “only a few of the major U.S. news outlets,” reported the Energy Daily, “published accounts of the Copenhagen gathering, which received heavy coverage by news outlets in Europe and Asia.”28

Since 2009, moreover, the coverage has consistently gone down, in spite of the increasingly extreme weather and the ever-fasting melting of glaciers (which is becoming so bad that Glacier National Park will soon need to change its name, and the same will be true of the Peruvian mountain range called Cordillera Blanca, or “White Range”). In spite of all such developments, the number of articles in the U.S. media mentioning global warming declined from 2,286 to 2006 to 1,353 in 2013.29

This type of implicit climate denial can be illustrated by actions of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

NYT Eliminates Climate Desk: The most important of the reductions in coverage was what happened at the New York Times in 2013. At the beginning of that year, the Times eliminated its climate desk, which consisted of seven reporters and two editors. Describing the changes as merely “structural,” the paper’s executive editor, Jill Abramson, declared: “We will continue to cover these areas of national and international life just as aggressively.” But as venerable journalist Dan Froomkin asked, “How is that possible?” And Margaret Sullivan, the Times’ public editor, said that preventing the coverage of the environment from suffering “will be a particular challenge.”30

The warnings by Froomkin and Sullivan were not misplaced. Near the end of 2013, Sullivan reviewed how the Times’ environmental coverage had fared since its “structural changes.” Whereas in 2012, there were 362 print articles that featured climate change prominently between April and September, during those same months in 2013 this number dropped to 247. In addition, the number of front-page stories slipped from nine to three.31

When the results for the entire year came in, the number of NYT stories mentioning either “global warming” or “climate change” had plummeted more than 40 percent. According to the University of Colorado, which tracks such changes, this drop was bigger than that of any other newspaper. This was a radical change from 2012, when the Times “had the biggest increase in coverage among the five largest U.S. daily papers,” and when Glenn Kramon, assistant managing editor of the Times, had said: “Climate change is one of the few subjects so important that we need to be oblivious to cycles and just cover it as hard as we can all the time.”32

NYT Eliminates Environmental Blog: Two months after the Times’s elimination of its climate desk, it canceled its Green blog, which had a dozen contributors in addition to its two editors. The Times had created the Green blog in 2008, which was to keep readers up to date on “the high-stakes pursuit of a greener globe.” Then in 2010, “taking things up a notch,” the Times introduced a “more ambitious online effort, broadening our lens to include . . . politics and policy, environmental science and consumer choices.” This was timely, the paper’s editors explained, because the Wall Street Journal had shut down its green blog. The NYT’s blog’s editor, Tom Zeller, said: “Better informed citizens are crucial to building a better, greener civilization.”33

But three years later, the paper’s editors wrote: “The Times is discontinuing the Green blog, which was created to track environmental and energy news and to foster lively discussion of developments in both areas.” This surprise announcement led Curtis Brainard, the editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, to write:

“The Green blog was a crucial platform for stories that didn’t fit into the print edition’s already shrunken news hole. . . , and it was a place where reporters could add . . . information to pieces that did make the paper.”34

The editors who made this decision, continued Brainard,

“should be ashamed of themselves. They’ve made a horrible decision that ensures the deterioration of the Times’s environmental coverage at a time when debates about climate change, energy, natural resources, and sustainability have never been more important to public welfare.”35

Similarly, Drexel University’s Robert Brulle, who according to the Times is “an expert on environmental communications,” said: “The NY Times coverage of the environment has continued its journey from bad to worse. It continues to abrogate its responsibility to inform the public about critical issues.” More sardonically, Slate entitled its response: “The Times Kills Its Environmental Blog to Focus on Horse Racing and Awards Shows.”36

It did not take long for the Times’s reduced coverage to be noticed. In August 2013, for example, the New York Times failed to cover the NOAA’s [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s] 258-page State of the Climate report, which is used to set U.S. climate policy. This failure, said Media Matters, “calls into doubt the extent to which the paper can be trusted to maintain strong attention to environmental issues in the face of recent organizational changes.”37

Washington Post Does Likewise: The same weekend, the Washington Post reassigned its top environmental reporter – who was a bright spot on a paper blighted by climate deniers such as George Will and Charles Krauthammer. Making a lipstick-on-a-pig announcement, the editors said:

“We’re very excited to announce the latest evolution of our political team — an online strike force that will help lead our journalism during the day. Juliet Eilperin will return to the world of politics to cover the White House. Juliet has had a terrific run on the environment beat, becoming one of the country’s leading reporters on climate change.”

Joe Romm wrote:

“Yes, no point in keeping one of the country’s leading reporters on climate change on the story of the century. She had a good run, but that climate story is so five minutes ago.”38

Then the following year, the Post dropped first-rate blogger Ezra Klein, who regularly informed readers about science-based coverage of climate change, and replaced him with a website called the “Volokh Conspiracy.” This website was aptly named, pointed out a writer at Grist, because many of its bloggers promoted the idea that global warming is a conspiracy, a hoax. It is alarming, said Romm, that “[new owner] Jeff Bezos of the Washington Post would think such uninformed conspiracy mongering belongs at the Post.”39

Television’s Inadequate Coverage

In addition to reducing its coverage, U.S. television networks commonly give woefully inadequate coverage to important events, sometimes ignoring them completely. Saying that “the TV news is a disgrace,” media critic Todd Gitlin wrote,

“Despite the record temperatures of 2012, the intensifying storms, droughts, wildfires, and other wild weather events, the disappearing Arctic ice cap, and the greatest meltdown of the Greenland ice shield in recorded history, their news divisions went dumb and mute.”

Moreover, Gitlin said, “The Sunday talk shows, which supposedly offer long chews and not just sound bites. . . , were otherwise occupied.” Media Matters, he reported, gave this summary of the TV coverage of climate change in 2012:

“The Sunday shows spent less than 8 minutes on climate change. . . . ABC’s This Week covered it the most, at just over 5 minutes. . . . NBC’s Meet the Press covered it the least, in just one 6 second mention. . . . Most of the politicians quoted were Republican presidential candidates, including Rick Santorum, who went unchallenged when he called global warming ‘junk science’ on ABC’s This Week. More than half of climate mentions on the Sunday shows were Republicans criticizing those who support efforts to address climate change. . . . In four years, Sunday shows have not quoted a single scientist on climate change.”40

In June 2013, President Obama gave a major speech, laying out his plan to cut carbon pollution. But except for MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, the Sunday morning news shows, which supposedly deal with the big stories of the week, ignored it. For the most part, those who relied on TV for their news had to rely on Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Jon Stewart.41

In 2014, the IPCC’s massive fifth assessment report, on which it had been working for several years, was published. MSNBC appropriately devoted almost 20 minutes to it, laying out the risks detailed by the report along with the ineffective attempts to cut carbon. But the coverage by both Fox News and CNN was pathetic.

Fox News did what one would expect: It spent only five minutes on it, most of which was devoted to attacking the idea of climate change, with Bill O’Reilly accusing the climate scientists of wanting to destroy the economy with its “phantom global warming theory.” Although CNN did not attack the IPCC report, it virtually ignored it, devoting only one minute and eight seconds to it. CNN’s Jack Tapper did acknowledge that “all of human civilization could be at risk,” but CNN considered this point deserving of only 48 seconds.42

Ignoring Climate Change while Discussing Extreme Weather

Given the increasingly extreme weather of the past several years, the media were virtually forced to discuss it. But they usually have not felt compelled to connect the extreme weather with climate change, which was true of both newspaper and television coverage. This was even true of 2013, which was “a big year for climate,” especially “the increase in ferocity of our weather.” The extreme weather events of that year included “deadly flooding in Colorado, the string of major wildfires across the American West, and bouts of unseasonable temperatures across the country.” But according to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a study of 450 stories in the nightly news showed that “96 percent of extreme weather stories never discussed the human impact on the climate.”43

(This failure cannot be justified by the reluctance of climate scientists to attribute particular weather events to global warming. Climate scientists now agree that, in Kevin Trenberth’s words, “Global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather because the environment in which all storms form has changed from human activities.” Likewise, James Hansen said: “We now know that the chances these extreme weather events would have happened naturally — without climate change — is negligible.”44)

Media Matters reported essentially the same thing, referring to the Midwest floods in the spring of 2013. Whereas ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN had devoted a total of 74 segments to the flooding, not one mentioned climate change (CBS came the closest, mentioning that heavy downpours have increased). Media Matters found the newspaper stories hardly better. In a total of 35 articles about the floods, only one by USA Today mentioned climate change. Reuters and the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal stories remained silent about it.45

Even NPR was guilty of this failure. In 2013, after commenting about an NPR story that mentioned the melting of glaciers without explaining why, Joe Romm said, “apparently we won’t be hearing more about why more glaciers are receding or speeding up — or what it all really means for humanity, like say, that whole sea level rise thing.”46

3. The U.S. Media’s Ultimate Crime

In 2014, a host for a CNN show, reflecting on what it would take to change the thinking and actions of average Americans, wrote:

“Here’s what is missing from our national conversation about climate change: an emotional charge that hits you in the gut. . . . We need in-your-face cause and effect. Every day, it seems, a new extreme weather catastrophe happens somewhere in America and the media’s all over it, profiling the ordinary folks wiped out by forest fires, droughts, floods, massive sinkholes, tornadoes. But do reporters covering the who, what, when, where and how, ever talk about the real why? . . . . No. It’s still considered inappropriate to talk about the big elephant in the field, namely what we have long accepted as an act of God is increasingly becoming an act of man.”47

As for what a good story would be like, an example was provided by reporter Clayton Sandell of ABC News. In a segment headed “Extreme Weather from Mother Nature,” Sandel said:

“Scientists say human-caused climate change is already helping shift the planet’s natural balance. Creating more heat waves, drought, and intense downpours. A stormy and expensive reality, that’s already on our doorsteps.”48

In addition, a writer for the New Yorker has explained how slight changes in typical presentations could help people connect extreme weather with climate change. Whereas exceptionally cold weather generally weakens Americans’ belief in climate change, in the UK it strengthens it. The reason for the difference, concluded researchers at Cardiff University, is that the UK media “had framed the weather within the context of climate change, emphasizing that it was unnatural, rather than simply cold. Perhaps,” said the writer, “if people here were told that it’s not just brutal out there, it’s unnaturally brutal, they, too, might jump to a different conclusion.”49

Accordingly, there are simple things the media could do that could help the public understand the reality and seriousness of climate change. But as it is, Gelbspan said, the U.S. press coverage of the crisis is “a betrayal of the public trust.”50

The culpability of the American press has also been expressed by journalist Wen Stephenson, who had worked at NPR, PBS, the Atlantic, and the Boston Globe. In an open letter to his former journalism colleagues, Stephenson said:

“[Y]ou are failing. Your so-called ‘objectivity,’ your bloodless impartiality, are nothing but a convenient excuse for what amounts to an inexcusable failure to tell the most urgent truth we’ve ever faced. What’s needed now is crisis-level coverage.”

Spelling out what this would mean, Stephenson continued:

“In a crisis, the criteria for top news is markedly altered, as long as a story sheds light on the crisis topic. In crisis coverage, there’s an assumption that readers want and deserve to know as much as possible. In crisis coverage, you ‘flood the zone.’ The climate crisis is the biggest story of this, or any, generation — so why the hell aren’t you flooding the climate ‘zone,’ putting it on the front pages and leading newscasts with it every day?”51

Besides being an inexcusable failure and a betrayal of the public trust, the U.S. media’s failure can be considered the ultimate crime.

Writing in the Guardian, Stephan Lewandowsky said: “The media failed to accurately report facts prior to the Iraq War; climate reporting is failing in similar fashion.” Some journalists who had supported the Bush-Cheney administration’s claims about weapons of mass destruction felt anguish about having used “’evidence’ now known to be bogus” to support the push for war. “The lethal fallout from misinformation a decade ago,” wrote Lewandowsky, “primarily affected the people of Iraq.” But “the fallout from misinformation about climate change is likely to affect us all.”52

Indeed, some journalists – besides Eric Pooley, who was quoted above – have said that unmitigated climate change threatens the very continuation of civilization.

  • In his criticism of the mainstream media’s climate coverage as criminal, Hartmann said: “After all, the future of all life on Earth is at stake.”
  • In his critique of U.S. press coverage as a “damning betrayal of public trust,” Gelbspan said climate change “threatens the survival of our civilization.”
  • Romm said that “unless we start cutting carbon pollution soon, the impacts threaten to destroy the stable climate that made modern civilization possible.”53

Moreover, it has become a consensus among scientists, along with others who know the scientific facts, that climate change caused by global warming threatens to bring civilization to an end.

  • “Global warming,” said Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, “[is] raising concerns about the [ability] of Earth’s environment . . . to maintain viable human civilizations.”
  • Lester Brown subtitled a book Mobilizing to Save Civilization.
  • National Medal of Science recipient Lonnie Thompson, explaining the new outspokenness of climate scientists, responding to the question of why sober climatologists have begun speaking out publicly about the dangers of global warming, said that “virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.”
  • Former Vice President Al Gore, speaking of the climate crisis, said: “What hangs in the balance is the future of civilization as we know it.”
  • In 2011, Lester Brown, Bill McKibben, and a large number of other environmental leaders, wrote a letter to the presidents of the United States and China, saying: “It is time to publicly acknowledge that the continued burning of fossil fuels threatens the survival of civilization.”
  • In 2012, twenty previous winners of the Blue Planet Prize said that “society has no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilization.”54

The destruction of civilization, some writers have pointed out, would amount to suicide:

  • New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert famously said: “It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.”
  • Mohamed Nasheed, while he was the president of Maldives, said that if the nations fail to sign a commitment to bring carbon emissions down, they will in effect have signed a “global suicide pact.”
  • Paul and Anne Ehrlich, saying that climate disruption is threatening human civilization with collapse, added: “Humankind finds itself engaged in what Prince Charles described as ‘an act of suicide on a grand scale.’”55

However, unlike suicide in the normal sense, the suicide involved in the destruction of civilization would take not simply the politicians, media moguls, owners of fossil-fuel companies, and others who actively caused it, but all the rest of us, too. Accordingly, in light of the stakes, the U.S. media’s coverage of climate change is not simply a crime, but the ultimate crime.

In 2013, Tom Engelhardt, recognizing that genocide is usually considered the ultimate crime, coined the term “terracide” to describe an even more ultimate crime, writing:

“To destroy our planet with malice aforethought, with only the most immediate profits on the brain, with only your own comfort and wellbeing (and those of your shareholders) in mind: Isn’t that the ultimate crime? Isn’t that terracide? It would be, because it would be not only the ‘ultimate crime against humanity’ but also ‘against most living things.’”56

The fossil-fuel companies are guilty of the ultimate crime, he said, because they are earning their “profits directly off melting the planet, knowing that their extremely profitable acts are destroying the very habitat, the very temperature range that for so long made life comfortable for humanity.”57

As indicated, Engelhardt directs his indictment at fossil-fuel companies. But as Hartmann and Hertsgaard both pointed out, the fossil-fuel companies could never have been able to continue their polluting ways – long after the scientific community had reached consensus about connection between fossil-fuel emission, global warming, and climate change – without the assistance of the media. And so the U.S. media share the responsibility for terracide.

Noam Chomsky has explicitly connected the U.S. media to the ultimate crime: Besides writing that “we are moving toward what may in fact be the ultimate genocide – the destruction of the environment,” Chomsky said: “The media cooperate by not even reporting the increasingly dire forecasts of international agencies and even the U.S. Department of Energy.”58

Conclusion

Accordingly, Hartmann’s charge is correct in spades: Besides being guilty of betraying the public trust, the U.S. mainstream media’s climate coverage is guilty of facilitating the move toward the ultimate crime, terracide.

David Ray Griffin is emeritus professor at Claremont Theology School and Claremont Graduate University. His most recent book is Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis? (Clarity Press, 2015).

Notes

1. This essay is an adaptation of a chapter entitled “Media Challenge” in Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis? (Clarity Press, 2015).

2. Thom Hartmann, “The Mainstream Media’s Criminal Climate Coverage,” 26 February 2014.

3. Max Fisher, “Americans Are Less Worried about Climate Change than Almost Anyone Else,” Washington Post, 27 September 2013; referring to “Climate Change: Key Data Points from Pew Research,” Pew Research Center, 2 April 2013; Joanna B. Foster, “Poll: U.S. Leads the World . . . in Climate Denial,” Climate Progress, 22 July 2014.

4. Richard Gray, “Climate Scientists Are Losing the Public Debate on Global Warming,” Telegraph, 8 April 2012.

5. Joe Romm, “Media Largely Ignores Latest Warning from Climate Scientists,” Climate Progress, 19 March 2009; Romm, “A Stunning Year in Climate Science Reveals that Human Civilization Is on the Precipice,” Climate Progress, 15 November 2010.

6. Eric Pooley, “How Much Would You Pay to Save the Planet? American Press and the Economics of Climate Change,” Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, January 2009.

7. Hartmann, “The Mainstream Media’s Criminal Climate Coverage”; Ross Gelbspan, “U.S. Press Coverage of the Climate Crisis: A Damning Betrayal of Public Trust,” The Heat is Online, June 2010; Rebecca Solnit, “Everything’s Coming Together While Everything Falls Apart: The Climate for 2015,” TomDispatch, 23 December 2014.

8. Mark Hertsgaard, Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), 263.

9. Robert M. Entman, Democracy Without Citizens: Media and the Decay of American Democracy (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 30.

10. Maxwell T. Boykoff and Jules M. Boykoff, “Balance as Bias: Global Warming and the US Prestige Press,” Global Environmental Change 14 (2004), 125–136.

11. Ross Gelbspan, The Heat Is On: The Climate Crisis, the Cover-Up, the Prescription (Perseus Press: Cambridge, 1998), 57-58.

12. Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt (New York: Bloomsbury, 2010), 214.

13. Charles Krauthammer: The Myth of ‘Settled Science,’” Washington Post, 20 February 2014.

14. A 2009 study found that, when asked whether “human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures,” 97.5% of climatologists who actively publish research on climate change responded “yes”; Peter T. Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” Earth and Environmental Sciences 90/20 (20 January 2009); Joby Warrick, “Consensus Emerges Earth Is Warming – Now What?” Washington Post, 11 November 1997. Washington Post, 11 November 1997.

15. Boykoff and Boykoff, “Balance as Bias”; Joe Romm, “The 97 Percent: Watch John Oliver’s Hilarious ‘Statistically Representative Climate Change Debate,’” Climate Progress, 12 May 2014.

16. Gelbspan, “U.S. Press Coverage of the Climate Crisis.”

17. Stephen Lacey, “American Newspapers Are Number One in Climate Denial,” Climate Progress, 14 October 2012.

18. Joe Romm, “Climate Scientists Spell Out Stark Danger and Immorality of Inaction in New Leaked Report,” Climate Progress, 27 August 2014; referring to Seth Borenstein, “Draft Of Upcoming IPCC Report Presents Stark View of the Future As Climate Change Rages On,” Associated Press, 26 August 2014.

19. John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli, “New Study Finds Fringe Global Warming Contrarians Get Disproportionate Media Attention,” Guardian, 11 August 2014.

20. “Science Group Calls on News Corp. to Improve Climate Science Content,” Union of Concerned Scientists, 21 September 2012.

21. Harrison H. Schmitt and William Happer, “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide,” Wall Street Journal, 9 May 2013.

22. Shauna Theel, “CNBC’s Climate Denial Is Bad for Business,” Media Matters, 18 June 2013.

23. Fred Hiatt, “On Climate Change, the GOP Is in Never-Never Land,” Washington Post, 15 April 2011; Joe Romm, “Shameless Flameout: Washington Post Once Again Publishes George Will’s Anti-Scientific Nonsense,” Climate Progress, 17 January 2013; Romm, “Paging Jeff Bezos: George Will Compares Climate Scientists to Nazis,” Climate Progress, 28 February 2014 

24. Joe Romm, “Washington Post Publishes Two Strong Debunkings of George Will’s Double Dose of Disinformation,” Climate Progress, 21 March 2009; Joe Romm, “Washington Post Reporters Take Unprecedented Step of Contradicting Columnist George Will in a News Article,” Climate Progress, 7 April 2009; Romm, “Paging Jeff Bezos: George Will Compares Climate Scientists to Nazis.”

25. Paul Thornton, “On Letters from Climate-Change Deniers,” Los Angeles Times, 8 October 2013; Thom Hartmann, “The Mainstream Media’s Criminal Climate Coverage,” 26 February 2014.

26. “Tell Newspapers: Don’t Publish Climate Denial,” Forecast the Facts.

27. Emily Atkin, “To Improve Accuracy, BBC Tells Its Reporters to Stop Giving Air Time to Climate Deniers,” Climate Progress, 7 July 2014.

28. Quoted in Joe Romm, Straight Up: America’s Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy Solutions (Island Press, 2010), 58.

29. Douglas Fischer, “Climate Coverage Down Again in 2011,” Daily Climate, 17 January 2012; Jack Shafer, “Why We’re So Blasé about Global Warming,” Reuters, 30 August 2014.

30. Margaret Sullivan, “Keeping Environmental Reporting Strong Won’t Be Easy,” New York Times, 11 January 2013.

31. Joanna M. Foster, “Climate Coverage Drops at the New York Times after Paper Closed Its Environmental Desk,” Climate Progress, 25 November 2013.

32. Joe Romm, “Silence of the Lambs: Climate Coverage Drops at Major U.S. Newspapers, Flatlines on TV,” Climate Progress, 14 January 2014; Douglas Fischer, “Climate Coverage, Dominated by Weird Weather, Falls Further in 2012,” Daily Climate, 2 January 2013.

33. Tom Zeller, Jr., “Green: A New Name, a Broader Mission,” New York Times, 21 April 2010.

34. Curtis Brainard, “NYT Cancels Green blog,” Columbia Journalism Review, 1 March 2013.

35. Ibid.

36. Joe Romm, “In Epic Blunder, NY Times and Washington Post All but Abandon Specialized Climate Science Coverage,” Climate Progress, 4 March 2013.

37. Max Greenberg, “Two Big Climate Stories You Didn’t Read About in The New York Times: Times Skips Stories Soon after Closing Environmental Desk and Green Blog,” Media Matters, 7 August 2013.

38. Romm, “In Epic Blunder, NY Times and Washington Post.”

39. Joe Romm, “Washington Post Drops Climate Hawk Ezra Klein, Adds Climate Confusionist Blog Volokh Conspiracy,” Climate Progress, 23 January 2014.

40. Todd Gitlin, “Is the Press Too Big to Fail? 
It’s Dumb Journalism, Stupid,” in “The Tinsel Age of Journalism,” Tomgram, 25 April 2013.

41. Joe Romm and Andrew Breiner, “Sunday News Shows Ignored Obama’s Climate Plan but Late-Night Comics Picked Up the Slack,” Climate Progress, 1 July 2013.

42. Andrew Breiner, “CNN Ignores Major Climate Report, But Fox News Does Something Even Worse,” Climate Progress, 2 April 2014.

43. Emily Atkin, “96 Percent of Network Nightly News’ Coverage of Extreme Weather Doesn’t Mention Climate Change,” Climate Progress, 19 December 2013.

44. John M. Broder, “Scientists See More Deadly Weather, but Dispute the Cause,” New York Times, 15 June 2011; Amanda Holpuch, “NASA’s Scientist’s Study Quantifies Climate Change Link to Extreme Guardian,7 August 2012.

45. Jill Fitzsimmons and Shauna Theel, “Media Ignore Climate Context of Midwest Floods,” Media Matters, 7 May 2013.

46. Joe Romm, “NPR Airs Story on Melting Glaciers without Explaining Why They Are Melting,” Climate Progress, 30 May 2013.

47. Jane Velez-Mitchell, “Let’s Tell the Truth about Extreme Weather,” CNN, 16 May 2014.

48. Clayton Sandell, “Extreme Weather from Mother Nature,” ABC News, 24 June 2013.

49. Maria Konnikova, “Hot Heads in Cold Weather,” New Yorker, 7 February 2014.

50. Gelbspan, “U.S. Press Coverage of the Climate Crisis.”

51. Wen Stephenson, “A Convenient Excuse,” The Phoenix, 5 November 2012.

52. Stephan Lewandowsky, “Media Failure on Iraq War Repeated in Climate Change Coverage,” Guardian, 6 December 2013.

53. Hartmann, “The Mainstream Media’s Criminal Climate Coverage”; Gelbspan, “U.S. Press Coverage of the Climate Crisis”; Joe Romm, “Climate Change 101: An Introduction,” Years of Living Dangerously.

54. Paul J. Crutzen, “The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of Nature?” Ambio 36/8 (December, 2007), 614-21; Lester Brown, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, substantially revised edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 2009); Lonnie G. Thompson, “Climate Change: The Evidence and Our Options,” Behavior Analyst, 33/2 (Fall 2010), 153–70; Al Gore, “Climate of Denial: Can Science and the Truth withstand the Merchants of Poison?” Rolling Stone, June 2011; Lester Brown et al., “Presidents Obama, Hu: Declare Global Climate Emergency, say Green Business Leaders, NGOs,” Sustainable Business, 19 January 2011; The Blue Planet Laureates, “Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative to Act,”February 20, 2012.

55. Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change (Bloomsbury, 2006), 189; Nasheed Fears ‘Suicide Pact’ at Copenhagen,” Agence France-Presse, 9 November 2009; Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, “Can a Collapse of Global Civilization Be Avoided?” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 9 January 2013.

56. Tom Engelhardt, “The Biggest Criminal Enterprise in History,” TomDispatch, 23 May 2013; “Is Climate Change a Crime against Humanity?” TomDispatch, 22 May 2014.

57. Engelhardt, “The Biggest Criminal Enterprise in History.”

58. Noam Chomsky and Andre Vitchek, On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare (Pluto Press, 2013), 2; Noam Chomsky, “Destroying the Commons: 
How the Magna Carta Became a Minor Carta,” in “Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, The Great Charter, Its Fate, and Ours,” TomDispatch, 22 July 2012.

Cut Through the Spin: It’s Time for Truth in Media

February 26th, 2015 by Global Research

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Image: Opposition politician, Antonio Ledezma, was arrested by SEBIN on Thursday afternoon (Telesur).

Caracas, February 19th 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) Venezuelan opposition Mayor and longtime rightwing politician, Antonio Ledezma, has been arrested by the country’s intelligence services, SEBIN, for his alleged role in plotting to stage a coup against the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro. 

The planned coup was uncovered last week by security forces, just hours before several US backed Air Force officials had planned to partake in a bombing spree of strategic targets in the capital. They had hoped this would lead to the assassination of the country’s president and bring about regime change in the South American country.

“Antonio Ledezma who, today, by order of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, was captured and is going to be prosecuted by the Venezuelan justice system, to make him answer to all of the crimes committed against the peace and security of the country and the Constitution… We’ve had enough of conspiracies, we want to work in peace!”

announced Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, amidst a chorus of cheers from onlookers.

Last week, Ledezma, who is current Mayor of the Metropolitan Capital District of Caracas, signed a statement calling for a “National Transition Agreement” alongside opposition politicians, Maria Corina Machado and currently detained leader of the Popular Will party, Leopoldo Lopez.

The document calls on Venezuelans to unite behind a plan to remove elected President Nicolas Maduro and sets out an action programme for the would be provisional government. This includes facilitating the return of “exiled” Venezuelans, prosecuting current members of government and reaching out to international financial lending agencies such as the International Monetary Fund.

Circulated on February 11th, the statement was disclosed just a day before the attempted coup was set to unfold and was reportedly the signal to set the plan in motion.

“It has no base in any juridic text, it is a putschist act of conspiracy that is unfortunately to the liking of thousands of opposition militants who have been indoctrinated to attack democracy,” Constitutional Lawyer, Jesus Silva, told Venezuelanalysis.

Ledezma’s detention comes in the wake of several other arrests, including those of a number of airforce officials implicated in the plan.

According to revelations made by the President of the National Assembly, Diosadado Cabello, on Wednesday night, Ledezma has since been named by one of the arrested officials under questioning.

The confession links Ledezma to a plan to “eliminate” opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez last year in order to create “chaos” and destabilise the government. Fellow opposition politician and National Assembly legislator, Julio Borges, is also implicated in the assassination plan, which forced an intervention by the government in early 2014. At the time, Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, stated that the government had acted to protect her husband’s safety.

Unlike, Ledezma, Borges cannot be prosecuted as National Assembly legislators are protected by political immunity.

The “Blue” Coup 

Although details surrounding Ledezma’s exact role in the recently discovered “Blue” coup plot are still unclear, it appears that the opposition politician is implicated beyond his call for a transitional government.

Following the announcement of the coup plot last Thursday, the Maduro administration suggested that further arrests were to be made once there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the political ringleaders of the plan.

“In these intelligence investigations, we have discovered a codified message, in another language,  by an important leader of a party. On translating it, we found that it gave the details, the elements of the coup. We are about to capture the person who brought the script that they were going to read, the script they were going to read out was already written, and circulated by a person who I will name at the correct moment”

said Maduro, referencing a preplanned statement which was to be read out to the public following the aerial bombardment, announcing a “rebellion” of the armed forces against the government.

Arrest and possible prosecution

Although international press has widely reported that the Mayor was manhandled when SEBIN officers entered his office, a video of the detention has emerged appearing to show a reticent but unharmed Ledezma being escorted from his office by several armed guards. Photos published of glass on the floor in Ledezma’s office by news agency, Ultimas Noticias, appear to show that SEBIN forcibly entered the building.

He has since been transferred to the SEBIN’s head office in Plaza Venezuela, Caracas, where a few hundred of his supporters gathered outside in protest in the early evening. They were joined by former presidential candidate and current Governor of Miranda State, Henrique Capriles Radonski. Streets were clear by around 10pm.

It is expected that the opposition politician will now await a hearing before a judge to decide whether there is sufficient evident to proceed with the case against him.

“Ledezma is Mayor and for that reason he does not bear the Constitutional right to impunity as legislators, governors and the heads of national public powers do. Legally speaking, he should be presented before a judge, along with a public prosecutor and his defence lawyer within the next 48 hours,”

Silva informed us.

It is not the first time that Ledezma has been implicated in a plan to violently overthrow the government. In 2002, he participated in an attempted coup which saw socialist president of the time, Hugo Chavez, ousted for a period of 47 hours. Last year, he was also named several times as a “principal ally” by currently detained terror plotter, Lorent Saleh. Saleh was one of the main underground activists fuelling the armed barricades known as guarimbas which last year claimed the lives of at least 43 Venezuelans. He had planned to go on a killing spree with the help of Colombian paramilitaries but was arrested before the plan could take place.

Political trajectory  

Popularly known as “the vampire”, Ledezma began his political career in 1973 as a member of the “Democratic Action” Party. In 1989, he infamously became Governor of the Federal District of Caracas, when he oversaw one of the most violent periods in the history of the Caracas Metropolitan Police.

The police body, which was since disbanded in 2010 due to its human rights violations, regularly opened fire on unarmed student protests, systematically repressed street vendors, pensioners and the unemployed, as well as regularly disappeared political activists.

During this period he also oversaw the “Caracazo,” when up to 3000 people were killed and disappeared by security forces in the wake of violent protests against a government imposed austerity programme.

This particular period of Ledezma’s career earnt him the reputation of “student killer” amongst working class Venezuelans. He is founder and current leader of the rightwing party known as the “Brave People’s Alliance”.

Why the Rise of Fascism is again the Issue

February 26th, 2015 by John Pilger

The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

“To initiate a war of aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened.  Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery.  They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.

Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission. Take the catastrophe in Libya.

In 2011, Nato launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that “most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten”.

The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a “rebel” bayonet was greeted by the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with the words: “We came, we saw, he died.”  His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning “genocide” against his own people. “We knew … that if we waited one more day,” said President Obama, “Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”

This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be “a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda”. Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for Nato’s inferno, described by David Cameron as a “humanitarian intervention”.

Secretly supplied and trained by Britain’s SAS, many of the “rebels” would become ISIS, whose latest video offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte, the city destroyed on their behalf by Nato bombers.

For Obama, Cameron and Hollande, Gaddafi’s true crime was Libya’s economic independence and his declared intention to stop selling Africa’s greatest oil reserves in US dollars. The petrodollar is a pillar of American imperial power. Gaddafi audaciously planned to underwrite a common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or not this would happen, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared to “enter” Africa and bribe African governments with military “partnerships”.

Following Nato’s attack under cover of a Security Council resolution, Obama, wrote Garikai Chengu, “confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold backed dinar currency”.

The “humanitarian war” against Libya drew on a model close to western liberal hearts, especially in the media. In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent Nato to bomb Serbia, because, they lied, the Serbs were committing “genocide” against ethnic Albanians in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59″ might have been murdered. Both Clinton and Blair evoked the Holocaust and “the spirit of the Second World War”. The West’s heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal record was set aside. The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.

With the Nato bombing over, and much of Serbia’s infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume evidence of the “holocaust”. The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines”. A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide. The “holocaust” was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.

Behind the lie, there was serious purpose. Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent, multi-ethnic federation that had stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. Most of its utilities and major manufacturing was publicly owned. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to capture its “natural market” in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991 to lay their plans for the disastrous eurozone, a secret deal had been struck; Germany would recognise Croatia. Yugoslavia was doomed.

In Washington, the US saw that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans.  Nato, then an almost defunct Cold War relic, was reinvented as imperial enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo “peace” conference in Rambouillet, in France, the Serbs were subjected to the enforcer’s duplicitous tactics. The Rambouillet accord included a secret Annex B, which the US delegation inserted on the last day. This demanded the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia — a country with bitter memories of the Nazi occupation — and the implementation of a “free-market economy” and the privatisation of all government assets. No sovereign state could sign this. Punishment followed swiftly; Nato bombs fell on a defenceless country. It was the precursor to the catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Ukraine.

Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations – 69 countries – have suffered some or all of the following at the hands of America’s modern fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as “sanctions”. The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In every case, a big lie was deployed.

“Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.” These were opening words of Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. In fact, some 10,000 troops and 20,000 military contractors (mercenaries) remain in Afghanistan on indefinite assignment.  “The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,” said Obama. In fact, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014 than in any year since the UN took records.  The majority have been killed — civilians and soldiers — during Obama’s time as president.

The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic crime in Indochina.  In his lauded and much quoted book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a popular democracy, because “the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion . . . Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation.”  He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed, a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski, then President Carter’s National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by dealing a death blow to Afghanistan’s first and only democracy. Who knows this vital history?

In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.

The new government introduced free medical care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan’s doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers. “Every girl,” recalled Saira Noorani, a female surgeon,

“could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian film on a Friday and listen to the latest music. It all started to go wrong when the mujaheddin started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West supported.”

The PDPA government was backed by the Soviet Union, even though, as former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance later admitted, “there was no evidence of any Soviet complicity [in the revolution]“. Alarmed by the growing confidence of liberation movements throughout the world, Brzezinski decided that if Afghanistan was to succeed under the PDPA, its independence and progress would offer the “threat of a promising example”.

On July 3, 1979, the White House secretly authorised $500 million in arms and logistics to support tribal “fundamentalist” groups known as the mujaheddin. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan’s first secular, reformist government. In August 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that “the United States’ larger interests … would be served by the demise of [the PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.” The italics are mine.

The mujaheddin were the forebears of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. They included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who received tens of millions of dollars in cash from the CIA. Hekmatyar’s specialty was trafficking in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Invited to London, he was lauded by Prime Minister Thatcher as a “freedom fighter”.

Such fanatics might have remained in their tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political liberation and “destabilise” the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, “a few stirred up Muslims”.  His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of  the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region. In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them. Operatives who would eventually join the Taliban and al-Qaeda, were recruited at an Islamic college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called “Operation Cyclone”. Its success was celebrated in 1996 when the last PDPA president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Najibullah — who had gone before the UN General Assembly to plead for help — was hanged from a streetlight by the Taliban.

The “blowback” of Operation Cyclone and its “few stirred up Muslims” was September 11, 2001. Operation Cyclone became the “war on terror”, in which countless men, women and children would lose their lives across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The enforcer’s message was and remains: “You are with us or against us.”

The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its “free fire zones”, “body counts” and “collatoral damage”. In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians (“gooks”) were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered. In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.

Today, the world’s greatest single campaign of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings, mourners at funerals. These are Obama’s victims. According to the New York Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA “kill list” presented to him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room. He then decides, without a shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains.  Each “hit” is registered on a faraway console screen as a “bugsplat”.

“For goose-steppers,” wrote the historian Norman Pollock, “substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.”

Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,” said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, “The sovereign is he who decides the exception.” This sums up Americanism, the world’s dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing.  Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates western culture. I grew up on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine, at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.

The difference now is that cinema audiences are invited to wring their hands at the “tragedy” of American psychopaths having to kill people in distant places — just as the President himself kills them. The embodiment of Hollywood’s violence, the actor and director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his movie, American Sniper, which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York Times described it as a “patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all attendance records in its opening days”.

There are no heroic movies about America’s embrace of fascism. During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting the rise of Greek fascism. In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist military junta in Athens — as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America. Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the “father” of both the Nazi V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.

In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of Nato, the heirs to a Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its “new wave” hailed by the enforcer as “nationalists”.

This reached its apogee in 2014 when the Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected government.  The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and Svoboda. Their leaders include  Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum”, including gays, feminists and those on the political left.

These fascists are now integrated into the Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get “the USA to give us highly precise modern weaponry”. If he succeeds, it will be seen as an act of war by Russia.

No western leader has spoken up about the revival of fascism in the heart of Europe — with the exception of Vladimir Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the borderland of Ukraine. At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime. She referred to the German Defence Minister as “the minister for defeatism”. It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev . The wife of Robert D. Kagan, a leading “neo-con” luminary and co-founder of the extreme right wing Project for a New American Century, she was foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney.  

Nuland’s coup did not go to plan. Nato was prevented from seizing Russia’s historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea — illegally annexed to Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 — voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they had done in the 1990s.  The referendum was voluntary, popular and internationally observed. There was no invasion.

At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleaning. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions. More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western media, they became unpeople escaping “the violence” caused by the “Russian invasion”. The Nato commander, General Breedlove — whose name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove — announced that 40,000 Russian troops were “massing”. In the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.

These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine – a third of the population – have long sought a federation that reflects the country’s ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are not “separatists” but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous “states” are a reaction to Kiev’s attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.

On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by.  The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as “another bright day in our national history”. In the American and British media, this was reported as a “murky tragedy” resulting from “clashes” between “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) and “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).

The New York Times buried the story, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington’s new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims – “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”. Obama congratulated the junta for its “restraint”.

If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained “pariah” role in the West will justify the lie that Russia is invading Ukraine. On January 29, Ukraine’s top military commander, General Viktor Muzhemko, almost inadvertently dismissed the very basis for US and EU sanctions on Russia when he told a news conference emphatically: “The Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian Army”.  There were “individual citizens” who were members of “illegal armed groups”, but there was no Russian invasion.  This was not news. Vadym Prystaiko, Kiev’s Deputy Foreign Minister, has called for “full scale war” with nuclear-armed Russia.

On February 21, US Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would authorise American arms for the Kiev regime.  In his Senate presentation, Inhofe used photographs he claimed were of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, which have long been exposed as fakes. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s fake pictures of a Soviet installation in Nicaragua, and Colin Powell’s fake evidence to the UN of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The intensity of the smear campaign against Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America’s most distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote recently,

“No European government, since Adolf Hitler’s Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly. Yet across the West’s media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established ….If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three – much as it did into world war one a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason.”

In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media:

“The use made by Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack …. In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.”

In the Guardian on February 2, Timothy Garton-Ash called, in effect, for a world war. “Putin must be stopped,” said the headline. “And sometimes only guns can stop guns.” He conceded that the threat of war might “nourish a Russian paranoia of encirclement”; but that was fine. He name-checked the military equipment needed for the job and advised his readers that “America has the best kit”.

In 2003, Garton-Ash, an Oxford professor, repeated the propaganda that led to the slaughter in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote, “has, as [Colin] Powell documented, stockpiled large quantities of horrifying chemical and biological weapons, and is hiding what remains of them. He is still trying to get nuclear ones.” He lauded Blair as a “Gladstonian, Christian liberal interventionist”.  In 2006, he wrote, “Now we face the next big test of the West after Iraq: Iran.”

The outbursts — or as Garton-Ash prefers, his “tortured liberal ambivalence” — are not untypical of those in the transatlantic liberal elite who have struck a Faustian deal. The war criminal Blair is their lost leader. The Guardian, in which Garton-Ash’s piece appeared, published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the Lockheed Martin monster were the words: “The F-35. GREAT For Britain”. This American “kit” will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered across the world.  In tune with its advertiser, a Guardian editorial has demanded an increase in military spending.

Once again, there is serious purpose. The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its economy. Kiev’s new Finance Minister, Nataliwe Jaresko, is a former senior US State Department official in charge of US overseas “investment”. She was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship.

They want Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Joe Biden’s son is on the board of Ukraine’s biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine’s rich farming soil.

Above all, they want Ukraine’s mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia’s long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country’s economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.

The responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust beckons.

Image: Cité Soleil, population 400,000, was paralyzed by gang violence on February 23, 2015.

This past week, Haitians in Port-au-Prince were already grieving after at least 18 people died in a Carnaval stampede at around 2 a.m. on Feb. 17.

Daniel “Fantom” Darius, the lead singer Barikad Crew, was standing atop a towering Carnaval float when his head struck a high-voltage wire strung across the street, producing an electrical explosion that panicked the tightly packed crowd below. (Ironically, Darius survived.) Some 76 other people were hospitalized with serious injuries, bringing this year’s toll of Carnaval wounded to 123, even though the final day’s celebration was cancelled and replaced with an official memorial ceremony where the tragedy struck.

Many blame the government of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Evans Paul, already beleaguered by massive demonstrations demanding their resignations, for the accident, citing “criminal negligence.”

Then this past week, violence flared between two armed gangs in the capital’s sprawling shanty town of Cité Soleil, resulting in at least eight dead, according to government officials. Neighborhood residents put the death toll at about 20.

One gang is controlled by a former prisoner, Gabriel Jean-Baptiste, who is said to be close to the Martelly/Paul government, while the other is controlled by former deputy Alméthis Junior.

The gang war brought all activity to a stand-still in Cité Soleil on Mon., Feb. 23. Schools, businesses, and even informal commerce stopped in the slum of 400,000.

Reynald Joli-Fils, the Martelly-appointed mayor of the area, said that the neighborhoods of Bélécourt, Boston, and Brooklyn were particularly paralyzed. Gang wars between rival groups have always existed, he said, usually for control of an area.

But local residents say harder-than-ever economic woes and the unstable political situation have contributed to the upsurge in gang violence. Joli-Fils complained that the Haitian police do not have sufficient resources to overcome the turf wars which have flared since October 2014 and called on the national government to intervene quickly so as to prevent the situation from becoming even worse.

While there is said to be a police shortage to stem violence in Haiti’s slums, there appear to be enough officers to ensure the safety of people close to the President. For example, Martelly’s long-time personal friend Roro Nelson holds no official post in the government but has several police agents providing him security. Other presidential advisors and consultants enjoy the same privilege.

Meanwhile, bandits are wreaking havoc around the capital. Fri., Feb. 13 was a particularly bad day. On Avenue Martin Luther King in Nazon, used by vehicles heading to the Toussaint Louverture International Airport, two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on two other young men on a motorcycle who had just withdrawn 7,500 gourdes ($160) from a bank. The shots killed Emmanuel Sanon, who was driving the motorcycle, and the thieves made off with the money.

Meanwhile at around 3 p.m., an armed commando burst into the Office of Insurance, Injuries, Sickness and Maternity (OFATMA), located in Cité Militaire in the capital’s northwest corner. The attack killed two and wounded five others.

One young man, trying to escape over the OFATMA hospital fence, was shot with 15 bullets and died on the spot. The other casualty was a member of the hospital’s security staff. According to an OFATMA official, this crime was the result of clashes among local armed gangs, particularly those in Cite Soleil and Simon-Pelé.

The same day there was another robbery which claimed one life in Tabarre near Carrefour Fleuriot. Many link the rise in crime to the high cost of living, which is a direct consequence of the high price fixed by the government for petroleum products, despite continuing protests. Others ask what invisible hands may be behind the crime wave.

Who supplies the armed gangs with weapons and ammunition? Does the crime provide profits for those in power and the country’s financial oligarchy? What role do bankers play in the many suspicious robberies against exiting bank customers, where criminals often know the exact amount of cash their victims withdrew?

Reflecting the crisis, the United States, Canada, and France have issued travel advisories to their citizens visiting Haiti.”Repeated strikes and demonstrations pose risks of violent incidents and especially roadblocks that impede travel,” the French Embassy wrote. “It is recommended to stay away from crowds.” The French also warned about “armed attacks at the exit of the Port-au-Prince airport,” noting that “attacks can target a particular vehicle leaving the airport on the day of arrival or the next day, having been tracked by gangs.”

In a Feb. 9 statement, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry told its citizens to be particularly wary of the capital’s districts of Martissant, Carrefour, Bel Air and Cité Soleil since “these neighborhoods are dangerous because of rampant crime and the reduced ability of local authorities to maintain order… The police are not able to respond quickly to calls for assistance in these areas. It is strongly advised not to go out after dark.”

The Canadian warning continues: “The crime rate is high and the security situation is unpredictable. Be very vigilant, no matter where you are in the country. Crime is present, especially in major centers such as downtown Port-au-Prince, which armed gangs continue to plague. There were reports of murders, kidnappings, robberies, burglaries and carjackings, even in daylight. Never walk alone and do not walk after dark. Many gang leaders and criminals incarcerated in the Croix-des-Bouquets Civil Penitentiary (located east of Port-au-Prince) escaped in 2014 and are still at large. Haiti periodically experiences civil unrest, especially during times of political uncertainty and elections. The dissolution of Parliament in Haiti on Jan. 13, 2015, and the current electoral situation has heightened tensions in the capital and across the country. Demonstrations are underway and could lead to violence. Riots can occur with little or no notice. Exercise great caution, avoid demonstrations, and regularly monitor local media to keep abreast of the situation.”

In short, the lawlessness that President Martelly has encouraged and engaged in at the highest levels of government and through promoting a policy of impunity has percolated down and begun to manifest itself throughout Haitian society. The support of the U.S., French, and Canadian Embassies for Martelly’s regime have made them, at the very least, accessories to the crime wave victimizing, above all, the Haitian working poor.

Nazi Kiev Official Greeted in Ottawa and Washington

February 26th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Kiev’s national security and defense council secretary Andriy Parubiy was feted on visits to Ottawa and Washington.

He came seeking more heavy weapons and funding than already provided. He orchestrated February 2014 Maidan killings.

As security chief, he controlled access to weapons used. He took full advantage. He positioned snipers with automatic weapons in Kiev’s Philharmonic Hall.

They murdered around 100 protesters and police. President Viktor Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed. His ouster followed.

Things were scripted in Washington. The rest, as they say, is history. Plans are to Nazify Ukraine nationwide.

Eliminate Donbass democracy. Use Ukraine as a dagger against Russia’s heartland. Perhaps a prelude to WW III.

Parubiy belongs in prison, not high office. He’s responsible for mass murder and coup following violence he and others staged.

On February 23, Canada’s Globe and Mail covered his Ottawa visit. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper marches in lockstep with imperial US policy.

Parubiy said Canada has an “authoritative voice” on what’s ongoing in Donbass. He asked for help to get Washington to supply more heavy weapons and funding than already.

He wants Canada and other Western countries helping the same way.

So Kiev can prepare for renewed aggression against its anti-fascist Southeastern citizens wanting fundamental democratic freedoms everyone deserves.

So-called “defensive” ones are for offense. Including virtually anything short of nuclear bombs. Maybe they come later.

According to the Globe and Mail, Parubiy met with “Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson and James Bezan, the parliamentary secretary to the defence minister…”

Other scheduled meetings followed with House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer an various MPs.

“Canada has been a kind of a leader in the world vis-a-vis Ukraine,” said Paubiy (in translation).

“Words and actions are the same in Canada, so it’s kind of an example for the rest of the world with their Ukraine policy.”

Parubiy discussed Canadian and US support for the next phase of Kiev’s planned aggression.

He called its dirty war without mercy “a global challenge, a global fight, not just a Russia-Ukraine fight.”

He sounded like a sawdust Caesar saying “we are fighting not only for Ukraine but for Euro-Atlantic and European values.”

Providing more funding and heavy weapons likely assures a deeper hole.

Following discussions, Canada’s Nicholson said Canada supports Minsk. “Any attempt to reduce or take away Ukraine’s sovereignty in that way is completely opposed by Canada,” he added.

He withheld comment on whether Ottawa would supply Kiev with weapons.

On February 25, Parubiy arrived in Washington. America’s global propaganda service Voice of America interviewed him.

Ukraine’s Unian (dis)information agency said he discussed some of the armaments he wants Washington to supply – including anti-tank systems and other heavy weapons.

“The list of required equipment has already been submitted to US President Barack Obama, but it is also planned to present it to other officials who ‘are directly involved in the decision making process,’ ” said Unian.

He’s scheduled to meet with Speaker John Boehner, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, and Pentagon officials.

No comment on whether he and Obama will meet. Maybe quietly with little or nothing said.

Kiev and Washington are partners in high crimes. Renewed aggression on Donbass is planned at Obama’s discretion.

Parubiy is a convenient stooge. He came to get marching orders. They exclude peace, stability and good will.

Rogue states make their own rules. Oppose them and face possible imprisonment or death.

Ukrainian Law Professor Olga Zagulskaya criticized Kiev’s war on Donbass. Persecution followed.

She now suffers from hypertension. Kiev’s “psychological torture had its intended effect,” she said.

She was warned her students prepared to boycott her. They were

“set upon (her) by the ‘intelligentsia’ of Miroslav Popovich, Yuriy Vinnichuk ,and Otar Dovzhenko.”

“At least three SBU men were circling around (her), which means it’s not a purely student event.”

Journalists targeted her. Articles said “Lvov National University professor openly supports terrorists.”

She faced possible criminal charges.To avoid legal proceedings, she resigned three years before retirement.

“At one point (she) felt so dizzy (she) could no longer stand.” She sought medical care. She’s “in treatment, possibly for a long time.”

“All because” she opposes Kiev’s war on Donbass. “(A)s Taras Shevchenko once said,” she explained: ‘I incur punishment, I suffer, but I do not repent!’ ”

Obama’s Ukrainian friends are cutthroat killer Nazi thugs. Zagulskaya is lucky to be alive.

She could have been imprisoned or marked for death. Hooligans running Ukraine operate this way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

The Foiling of a Coup Plot in Venezuela

February 26th, 2015 by Gloria La Riva

A coup plot against President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution was thwarted this week as a retired Venezuelan Air Force general and 10 military and civilian opposition figures were arrested.

The bombing of the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly, Telesur TV network, the Defense Ministry and other Caracas sites was to take place February 12, the one-year anniversary of violent anti-government attacks known as “guarimbas,” which caused 43 deaths. A Tucano EMB 312 bomber would have been flown by renegade Air Force First Lieutenant José Antich Zapata to destroy the targeted sites.

U.S. spokesperson Jen Psaki and the Venezuelan far-right are dismissing the plot claim, but video evidence, a map of the bombing targets, and other key evidence have been unveiled on national television, with more details promised. Washington’s role in previous plots has been proven before.

According to President Maduro, detained coup leaders have confessed their role. He spoke on national television Sunday morning, to reveal more facts and accuse the United States government of conspiring with coup plotters.

Antich Zapata received U.S. visas for himself and other conspirators from the U.S. embassy in Caracas, for escape from Venezuela in case the plot failed.

Maduro also said that the script of an eight-minute video by the coup group – to air once the government was overthrown – was written with the help of a U.S. embassy advisor.

Rightwing opposition involved

In obvious preparation for the failed coup, three of the most belligerent opposition figures – Maria Corina Machado, Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma – issued a “Call for a National Transition Agreement,” on February 11, the day before the overthrow was to take place. Lopez is currently awaiting trial for his role in the violent attacks last February.

The “transition agreement” is a plan for overthrow of the Bolivarian Revolution socialist project, including a demand for felony trials of current government leaders after the “transition,” the privatization of nationalized industries, and the takeover of PDVSA, the state-owned oil industry that has been the source of great social developments in Venezuela since 1999.

As if aware of a pending coup, German embassy representative Jorg Polster issued a letter of warning on February 5 to German citizens residing in Venezuela, to take unusual precautions such as in the event of “political unrest like that which began in the spring of 2014.” The letter suggests the German nationals obtain a two-week supply of food, water and emergency provisions of battery, radio and important documents. The letter also indicates a loss of electricity and Internet access could be a possibility.

National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello and Jorge Rodriguez, mayor of the Libertador municipality of Caracas – both leaders of Maduro’s political high command – also appeared on television, denouncing Julio Borges, leader of the right-wing group, Primero Justicia (“Justice First” in English), as drafting the list of the 20-plus targets to be bombed.

An unfolding plot since January

A series of actions was planned by the counterrevolutionaries to lead up to February 12.

First step was economic destabilization through major corporate hoarding of goods to create empty stores and mass discontent. That has been taking place for weeks, with the right-wing then accusing the socialist government of economic failure.

The government countered with “Operation Dignity,” confiscating the hoarded goods for redistribution at fair prices to the population, and arresting the corporate conspirators.

The second step was internationally-generated false accusations of a “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela by the U.S. and international allies of Washington.

It is thus no coincidence that on January 24, three right-wing former presidents of Latin American countries, Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Sebastian Pinera of Chile came to Venezuela and tried to visit jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Afterwards, they demanded his freedom and held a press conference accusing Venezuela of human rights violations.

On February 3, President Maduro warned Washington to stop its interventionist meddling, and accused U.S. officials of trying to bribe current and former government leaders to betray the government.

Via Telesur, he denounced U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden’s recent meetings with various Latin American leaders, in which he told them Maduro’s government would soon fall, and that the Petrocaribe program would be ended. Biden advised them to “keep Venezuela isolated.” Petrocaribe is the Venezuelan program that provides oil to Caribbean nations at a low price.

Telesur as target

Why was Telesur one of the targets to be bombed?

In 2002, when a fascist coup by a sector of the military and corporate opposition overthrew President Hugo Chavez from April 11 to 13, Venezuela’s revolution was new and a people’s media had not yet developed.

In the critical hours of the massive and spontaneous popular mobilization to demand Chavez’s release and return as president, the monopoly corporate media completely blocked out the news. It was clear that the Bolivarian process needed a revolutionary media to transmit vital information to the population.

Since then, dozens of community and television stations have been established; corporate violators of the new Communications Law have had their licenses revoked.

The Telesur network – promoting the integration of Latin America – was proposed 10 years ago by Chavez. It has become a vital conveyor of national and international information with a solid anti-imperialist prospective.

It provided uncensored live coverage and exposed the terror bombing by NATO/U.S. bombing of Libya.

Like the brutal bombing of Serbia’s national TV station, killing scores of journalists who courageously covered the criminal NATO/U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the planned bombing of Telesur was part of the plan to destroy the Revolution and install a fascist coup.

The smashing of this latest plot against Venezuela is a major blow to U.S. imperialism’s attempts to reverse the gains of the Bolivarian revolutionary process in Venezuela, the Cuban Revolution and all progress in Latin America.

Revolutionary mass organizations and the military high command are declaring their unity and defense of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution.

Vladimir Padrino Lopez, the Minister of Defense and Strategic Operational Commander of the FANB, stood with a large group of high-ranking military officers to denounce the military plot.

“The Bolivarian Armed Forces reiterates its support and loyalty to President Nicolás Maduro Moros and reaffirms its commitment to the will of the people, with the Plan of the Homeland, in the building of Socialism.”

More than ever, it is vital that international solidarity be mobilized to demand an end to U.S. machinations in Venezuela and all Latin America. Progressive groups and leaders in Latin America are expressing their support for Maduro’s government. From March 5-7, organizations in several cities in the United States plan actions in solidarity with the Venezuelan Bolivarian government and its people in struggle.

The danger is not over. The lessons of Latin America in the 1960s, 1970s and the U.S. war against revolutionary movements everywhere shows that the struggle must continue to defend Venezuela’s gains and oppose U.S. imperialism’s counter-revolutionary schemes.

Gloria La Riva is coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, formed soon after their convictions in 2001.

Media Silence on Libya

February 26th, 2015 by Margaret Kimberley

Despite the all-encompassing belief in democracy and a free press, Americans have very little democracy left and perhaps the worst media in the world. Even people who make efforts to be informed don’t know what is happening domestically and internationally because of the constant lies and disinformation they are exposed to by the corporate media. They act as spokespersons for the powerful instead of providing analysis and information for readers and viewers. The result is a world turned upside down, with lies being sold as the truth. Libya is just the latest example of press malfeasance.

In 2011 the leaders of NATO appeared to pull off the perfect crime. That year they used the Arab Spring democracy movement as a cover to destroy Libya, kill its president, Muammar Gaddafi, and turn that nation over to jihadists supported by the Persian gulf monarchs.

Regime change was the only issue ever on the agenda. They used the dubious doctrine of Responsibility to Protect, R2P, as a means of getting away with murder. This was no mysterious conspiracy either. The American secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said quite publicly that her government wanted Gaddafi dead. “We hope that he can be captured or killed soon,” said the characteristically undiplomatic diplomat. After the deed was done she again spoke openly about killing a head of state. “We came, we saw, he died.”

The American government unleashed a race war in the intervention and, to this day, African migrants and darker skinned Libyans are at risk of assault and death. The town of Tawergha was turned to rubble and inhabitants who survived the assault were forced to flee. America’s first black president was responsible for this terror.

2011 was the year that Barack Obama made his bones and a fiendish re-election campaign commercial by going on a killing spree in the Middle East. Osama bin Laden, Gaddafi and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki were all victims of the U.S. hit squad, in a clear violation of law.

Now Libya is back in the news and this very recent past is never mentioned by corporate media. When ISIS decapitated 21 Egyptian Christians the horror was separated from American involvement in that country. The murder of the American ambassador in 2012 is used by Republicans as a club to beat Obama but none of them question the very premise of American involvement there.

Libya is now a ruin. As Vladimir Putin pointed out, everything America touches will end up the same way. The once prosperous country is now in a tumultuous civil war, with war lords fighting for their own piece of the action and ISIS using the media to spread fear and outrage. None of this would have taken place had NATO left Libya alone.

One wouldn’t know this of course from watching the news or reading the newspaper. The United States role in the destruction of Libya has been shoved down the Orwellian memory hole, never to be seen or discussed again.

Boko Haram’s rampages in Nigeria and jihadists incursions in Mali are all a result of the fall of the Gaddafi regime. Death was unleashed not just in Libya, but throughout the region. The killing of the United States ambassador at Benghazi in 2012 was a harbinger of things to come as the jihadists repeat their standard operating procedure toward their benefactors. Now Libyans and Egyptian migrant workers pay the price for western aggressions.

It is staggering to see the depth of manipulation directed at the people of this country. If the president openly calls for the overthrow of a sovereign state, networks and newspapers go along and regurgitate every word. When the project goes south, no one who bragged about it in 2011 will now admit to their role in the disaster and the press continues to repeat official policy like the good little scribes they have always been.

The ISIS story has been dumbed down to tired analysis about a clash of civilizations and whether or not Islam is a religion of peace. Muslims can be peaceful or warlike but the hand of American involvement and the silence about it is the real story.

Therein lies the perennial problem. This is not the first time in history that an administration directed what the media does and doesn’t report. Journalists know that they have to play ball so to speak. If they want the good gig and access to senior officials they will write only what they are told to write. They won’t stray from the script or tell any inconvenient truths like the United States spending the last nearly forty years supporting jihadists who they later end up fighting.

When the next ISIS video of immolation or beheading is released, the history of American involvement ought to be told too. But no one should hold their breath and think that the press will report on any such thing.

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.

Secretary of State John Kerry holds a news conference at NATO headquarters in Belgium December 3, 2014. (Photo: State Department/Public Domain)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed on Tuesday that the Obama administration is, in fact, seeking approval for the deployment of ground troops to participate in combat operations against Islamic State forces.

At a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday, Kerry clarified the administration’s position for boots-on-the-ground soldiers outlined in President Obama’sproposed authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), submitted to Congress earlier this month.

“The 2001 AUMF has been stretched well beyond what Congress intended, and there is no reason to believe the 2015 AUMF will not as well.” —Marjorie Cohn, Thomas Jefferson School of LawThe AUMF’s wording in relation to ground troops has been criticized as vague and open-ended. The proposed text states, “The authority granted… does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”

As numerous analysts have pointed out, the phrase “enduring offensive ground combat operations” is not a legal term and could open the door to significant troop deployments.

At the Senate hearing, Kerry confirmed that the proposal would allow for U.S. combat deployments on the ground but left the parameters ill-defined.

“If you’re going in for weeks and weeks of combat, that’s enduring,” he said. “If you’re going in to assist somebody and fire control and you’re embedded in an overnight deal, or you’re in a rescue operation or whatever, that is not enduring.”

According to Kerry, the White House believes that the language “left the president the appropriate level of discretion with respect to how he might need to do, without [any] room for interpretation that this was somehow being interpreted to be a new license for a new Afghanistan or a new Iraq.”

Kerry’s statements follow remarks by White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest, made immediately following the mid-February release of the proposal, that the AUMF’s language was intentionally vague because “we believe it’s important that there aren’t overly burdensome constraints that are placed on the commander in chief.”

When asked if the term “enduring” could be quantified, Earnest responded, “Well, I wouldn’t have a specific number to assign to that word.”

The Obama administration is already moving forward with troops deployments, despite that Congress has not yet held a vote on the proposed AUMF. In addition to the 3,000 U.S. troops ordered to deploy to Iraq beginning in the late summer of 2014, more than 4,000 U.S. troops are also currently headed to Kuwait.

At the Senate hearing Tuesday, Kerry stated he believes there is “no real need” to revisit or reevaluate the 2001 AUMF.

That controversial piece of legislation was passed in the wake of September 11th, 2001 and has been expansively interpreted by the Bush and Obama administrations to authorize ongoing war and occupation in Afghanistan; covert drone wars in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia; military intervention in countries from Ethiopia to Iraq; indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay and Bagram prison; and additional military operations elsewhere around the globe.

While the White House proposal calls for a repeal of the 2002 AUMF, which authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq and use of force against Saddam Hussein, it leaves the 2001 AUMF in place.

Anti-war groups have slammed the 2001 AUMF as a “blank check” for endless war, and even President Barack Obama has previously criticized the authorization as too expansive.

However, many have warned that the 2001 AUMF has much in common with the president’s latest proposal. In addition to the vague language about troop deployments, the proposed AUMF for the ISIS war is geographically limitless, broadly defines the enemy, and would extend authorization for another three years, at which point the next administration could renew it.

Moreover, Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, recently warned, “The 2001 AUMF has been stretched well beyond what Congress intended, and there is no reason to believe the 2015 AUMF will not as well.”

In the prescient 1984 tome, author George Orwell wrote about a supposedly “fictitious” future in which the civilized world lived in what can only be called a surveillance society, in which “the government” would be able to keep watch on the citizenry 24-7, and through a variety of technological means.

It turns out that Orwell’s premonitions were a lot more realistic than even he likely imagined.

Today, surveillance cameras are everywhere, at least in the modern world. Police have a range of listening devices and surveillance technology, some of which can see through your walls and into your home. And federal spy agencies like the NSA routinely intercept and track Internet and wireless communications.

Now, it seems, even your household goods can spy on you. As reported by Britain’s Daily Mail, you might want to keep a lid on what you say this evening when you sit down in front of your television.

Samsung has issued a warning to owners of its Internet-connected “smart TV” — anything they say while sitting in the vicinity of the device could be overheard.

As the Mail reported further:

The popular televisions are voice activated, so users can switch channels or ask for suggestions of what to watch simply by giving a verbal command.

However, the technology which allows this to happen has a worrying side effect: it records everything else that goes on near the television.

Privacy? What privacy?

According to a clause in Samsung’s privacy policy, buyers should beware:

“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”

For instance, that means that the TVs might be able to record a family argument that took place in the living room; executives discussing strategy in corporate boardrooms equipped with such smart TVs are at risk of sharing confidential information.

Privacy advocates are understandably upset and concerned, noting that the technology is ripe for abuse by government agencies and “Big Brother” in general (coincidentally, the name of the authoritarian state in Orwell’s novel).

“This thing is going to be in your house, listening in on you,” Renate Samson, of Big Brother Watch, a campaign group named after this very notion, said, as quoted by the Mail. “Samsung say they are providing you with a service, but really the only service you need from a television is to watch programmes.”

More than half of all smart TVs sold in Britain are made by Samsung, the Mail noted.

The problem is in the technology, which was sold as a convenience. The TVs “listen” for simple commands, such as those to switch channels or turn up the volume. But it can process more complicated commands as well, after recording users’ speech and sending it on to a third-party company called Nuance, which is located in the U.S.

Nuance then sends the voice data to a computer server, which then translates the spoken word into text and spits out a response.

As further reported by the Daily Mail:

To give these complex commands, viewers must press a button on the remote control as they speak, and during that time, anything within ‘earshot’ will be collected.

The data is encrypted, but can be listened to by authorised Nuance staff.

The technology giant remained tight-lipped about whether it then keeps users’ data, only saying that it does not sell information on, and that it operates within privacy laws, which vary by country.

Professor Peter Sommer, a digital forensics expert who has lectured at the London School of Economics, said there was ‘no reason’ Samsung would not be storing up data.

“The fear is they could be building up a pattern of your preferences, or learning your voice,” he told the Mail.

Even when interactivity is turned off, the TV can collect data

Users do have the option of stopping the recording of their conversations by Samsung; they can turn the voice recognition feature off. But even then, the South Korean-based technology giant can still collect some information.

“While Samsung will not collect your spoken word, Samsung may still collect associated texts and other usage data so that we can evaluate the performance of the feature and improve it,” says the company’s privacy statement.

The Samsung smart TVs are not the only video and television technology capable of monitoring your activity. As Natural News editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, reported last year, Amazon Fire TV (and similar services) has the capability to act as a spying device.

Read his full report here.

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.naturalnews.com

That the US is arming and training Syrian rebels has been well-documented forover two years, yet Western media have historically suffered from a strange collective amnesia when reporting this fact. As Ian Sinclair noted last September in the Huffington Post(9/23/14):

In mid-2012, the most influential newspaper in the world reported the US was helping to arm the rebels–a fact confirmed by subsequent stories in the New York Times itself, as well as numerous reports in other mainstream news outlets around the world.

Contrast this publicly available, easily accessed information with these summaries from the mainstream media of the ongoing US role in Syria…:

Image: New York Times map (3/24/13) of arms flowing to Syrian rebels “with help from the CIA.” (graphic: Sergio Pecanha/NYT)

• New York Times (5/4/13): “President [Obama] seems to be moving closer to providing lethal assistance to the Syrian rebels, even though he rejected such a policy just months ago.“• Guardian (5/8/13): “The US, which has outlawed al-Nusra as a terrorist group, has hesitated to arm the FSA [Free Syrian Army].”…

• New York Times (9/9/14): “Mr Obama has resisted military engagement in Syria for more than three years, out of fear early on that arming the rebels who oppose Mr. Assad would fail to alter the balance in the civil war.”

• BBC Today Programme (9/11/14), presenter Mishal Husein to US ambassador: “If you [the US] had helped the moderate Syrian opposition, the Free Syrian Army, three years ago, even two years ago, we might well not be in the position that we are now.President Obama’s reluctance to intervene and to take action on Syria has contributed to what we are seeing now.”

Why are all of these professional journalists — supposedly a profession made up of stroppy, questioning cynics — incapable of stating the most basic of facts about the US role in Syria?

This week, it appears, the media’s collective FSA/CIA amnesia has struck once again, with a series of reports that make no mention of the CIA’s ongoing operation of arming and training Syrian rebels that’s been thoroughly documented for over two years.

These reports were previewed last month with a report on CNN (1/16/15) headlined “Pentagon: US to Begin to Train and Equip Moderate Syria Rebels.” This was just false: The US isn’t “beginning to train and equip moderate rebels.” TheGuardian reported onMarch 8, 2013–almost two years ago:

Western training of Syrian rebels is under way in Jordan in an effort to strengthen secular elements in the opposition as a bulwark against Islamic extremism, and to begin building security forces to maintain order in the event of Bashar al-Assad’s fall.

Jordanian security sources say the training effort is led by the US, but involves British and French instructors.

The Guardian story cited the Pentagon in acknowledging that “a small group of US special forces and military planners had been to Jordan during the summer to help…train selected rebel fighters.”

Two days later, Reuters (3/10/13) cited a report by the German magazine Der Spiegel (3/10/13), “quoting what it said were participants and organizers,” that “Americans are training Syrian anti-government fighters in Jordan”:

Some 200 men have already received such training over the past three months and there are plans in the future to provide training for a total 1,200 members of the “Free Syrian Army” in two camps in the south and the east of the country.

Nevertheless, there were a raft of stories last week that treated US training of Syrian rebels as a brand-new initiative–as in NBC News‘ “US to Equip Moderate Syrian Rebels: Defense Official” (2/17/15):

Congress approved President Barack Obama’s request to authorize training the rebels in September. The first group of rebels is expected to begin the six to eight weeks of training in Jordan by the “middle of March,” the official said.

“The first group”? They’re rather late for that.

Reuters  had  “US to Train and Equip Moderate Syrian Rebels” (2/17/15) and “US, Turkey to Arm and Train Syrian Rebels” (2/19/15)–the former of which reported that “three US officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the training could begin in mid-March.”

“Could begin”? It’s not “beginning,” it’s being reassigned.

The Associated Press (2/18/15) reported that

the US has been talking about training moderate Syrian rebels for months, but has been moving very slowly to identify groups and screen the fighters in an effort to ensure that enemy insurgents aren’t brought in.

The US hasn’t been “talking about” training “moderate” Syrian rebels for months–it’s been actually training them for years, as the Guardian and Der Spiegel revealed.

Even political puff pieces let this trope go unchallenged, as in Politico‘s “Marco Rubio Sharpens Commander-in-Chief Pitch” (2/20/15), which said Rubio

was right, he said, when he warned the US to immediately arm moderate Syrian rebels two years ago–before the radicals in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant began beheading hostages and declaring a caliphate.

But this is the exact opposite of reality: Rubio was “warning” the US ought to do something he, as a member of Congress, very well knew they’ve already had been doing for some time. And, of course, Politico makes no mention of the CIA’s ongoing operation of arming and training Syrian rebels, allowing this nonsensical talking point to go unchallenged.

Some articles, even while mentioning this fact, seem to contradict their own lead while doing so. The Wall Street Journal (2/17/15), writing about a decision to provide US air support to Syrian rebels, writes that “the plan comes as the US prepares to start training moderate rebels, who are waging a two-front fight against the extremists and the Syrian regime.” But in paragraph 12, the article acknowledges:

The Central Intelligence Agency began a covert program to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels in 2013, providing ammunition, small arms and antitank weapons to small groups of trusted fighters. While that program continues, some officials and administration critics say it has fallen well short of its aims.

So, which is it? Is the US “preparing to start training moderate rebels,” or has the CIA been doing so since 2013? What they mean to say, of course, is that the US isn’t “preparing” to “train and arm moderate rebels” but rather–now that the war effort is popular–transferring the duty over to non-clandestine operations in the Pentagon. This isn’t the announcement of a new policy, but rather a bureaucratic restructuring.

Indeed, even the oft-referenced congressional approval of funds for Syrian rebels in September 2014 (Reuters, “US Congress Approves Arming Syrian Rebels, Funding Government,” 9/19/14) was merely a formal sanctioning of a secret congressional approval that occurred nine months prior (Reuters, “Congress Secretly Approves US Weapons Flow to ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels,”1/27/14):

The weapons deliveries have been funded by the US Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30, two officials said.

The media’s insistence on framing these policies as if they are revelations of anything new–and the omission of the crucial fact that such training and arming has been going on since at least June 2012–is the awkward by-product of a war that’s being done in secret first, only to be formally sanctioned by our institutions of power after the fact. Just as Obama asked Congress to “authorize” airstrikes that began over six months ago, the media is tasked, once again, with acting as if the US’s training and arming of Syrian “moderate” rebels is something new.

It’s not. It’s a years-old political reality that should be treated as a run-of-the-mill government reshuffling rather than the democratically sanctioned shift in policy it almost certainly isn’t.

Adam Johnson is a freelance journalist; formerly he was a founder of the hardware startup Brightbox. You can follow him on Twitter at@adamjohnsonnyc. A version of this post appeared on his blog Citations Needed (2/22/15).

Desde la declaración histórica del 17 de diciembre de 2014, Washington ha anunciado algunas medidas destinadas a suavizar el estado de sitio económico que pesa sobre Cuba. Pero el camino es todavía largo.

El 16 de enero de 2015 entraron en vigor las medidas de flexibilización que anunció Estados Unidos en el marco del proceso de normalización de las relaciones bilaterales iniciado por los Presidentes Barack Obama y Raúl Castro. Aunque no ponen término a las sanciones económicas, constituyen una señal positiva y confirman la voluntad de Washington de acabar con una política anacrónica, cruel e ineficiente. Dicha política constituye efectivamente el principal obstáculo al desarrollo de la isla, afecta a las categorías más vulnerables de la población cubana y suscita la condena unánime de la comunidad internacional.[1]

La primera medida concierne las posibilidades de viajar a Cuba. Aunque los ciudadanos estadounidenses todavía no están autorizados a viajar a la isla como turistas ordinarios –mientras pueden ir a China, Vietnam o Corea del Norte-, Washington ha decidido facilitar las estancias en el marco de 12 categorías específicas autorizadas por la ley (visitas familiares, oficiales, periodísticas, científicas, educativas, religiosas, culturales, humanitarias, profesionales, etc.). Así, en este marco, las agencias de viajes y compañías aéreas estadounidenses ya pueden ofrecer sus servicios sin requerir una licencia específica por parte de la Oficina de Control de Bienes Extranjeros (OFAC, Departamento del Tesoro). Por otra parte, los ciudadanos autorizados a viajar a Cuba pueden ahora usar sus tarjetas de crédito en la isla, sin límites de importe. También están autorizados a llevar hasta 10 000 dólares y traer hasta 400 dólares de productos cubanos, entre ellos 100 dólares de tabaco y alcohol[2].

Con respecto a las remesas a Cuba ahora es posible mandar hasta 2.000 dólares mensuales, en vez de los 500 dólares permitidos anteriormente. No obstante, según la ley estadounidense, los altos funcionarios del Gobierno y los miembros del Partido Comunista no pueden beneficiarse de la ayuda familiar procedente de Estados Unidos. Max Lesnik, director de la revista La Nueva Réplica de Miami, critica esta restricción: “Durante años acusaron al gobierno de La Habana de dividir a la familia cubana por razones políticas e ideológicas. Ahora bien, hoy resulta que es la política estadounidense la que separa a las familias de modo arbitrario impidiendo que un cubano de Miami brinde apoyo a su madre en La Habana so pretexto que es militante del Partido Comunista o miembro del Gobierno”.[3]

Por otra parte, los ciudadanos estadounidenses pueden también brindar apoyo financiero a los cubanos en el marco de proyectos humanitarios y de desarrollo del comercio privado, sin límite de importe.[4]

En el campo de las telecomunicaciones, las empresas estadounidenses podrán exportar su tecnología a Cuba en el marco de licencias concedidas por el Departamento de Comercio. Así, los cubanos podrán adquirir computadoras, software, teléfonos celulares, televisores, etc. en Estados Unidos. El sector privado cubano también podrá comprar material de construcción y equipos agrícolas. No obstante, las empresas nacionales no tendrán esta posibilidad. Del mismo modo será posible exportar a Estados Unidos algunas mercancías producidas por el sector privado cubano. Sin embargo, dado que la inmensa mayoría de la producción de bienes y servicios procede de empresas estatales, el impacto de estas medidas resulta muy limitado.[5]

En el campo financiero, las empresas estadounidenses, comercialmente vinculadas a Cuba, pueden ahora abrir una cuenta en una institución financiera de la isla. Finalmente Washington anunció la suspensión de un aspecto de la ley Torricelli de 1992 que prohibía a todo barco extranjero que entrara en un puerto cubano viajar a Estados Unidos en los siguientes seis meses.[6]Además de estas medidas, el 21 de enero de 2015 Washington mandó a una importante delegación a Cuba encabezada por Roberta Jacobson, subsecretaria de Estado para los Asuntos Hemisféricos, con el fin de entablar las primeras conversaciones con vistas a restablecer las relaciones diplomáticas entre ambas naciones. Se trata de la más importante visita oficial en treinta años.[7]

El margen de maniobra de Barack Obama

En su discurso en el Congreso, el presidente Obama exhortó a los parlamentarios a que levantaran las sanciones económicas contra Cuba. “En lo que se refiere a Cuba ponemos fin a una política que superó su fecha de caducidad hace mucho tiempo. Cuando lo que hacemos no funciona durante cincuenta años es tiempo de adoptar un nuevo enfoque”, declaró. “Nuestro cambio de política respecto a Cuba puede poner término a un legado de desconfianza en  nuestro hemisferio […] y este año el Congreso debe poner fin al embargo, concluyó Obama.[8]

Es verdad que desde la adopción de la ley Helms-Burton en 1996, sólo el Congreso está habilitado para abrogar las distintas leyes sobre las sanciones económicas y permitir así el restablecimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas y comerciales normales con Cuba. No obstante, Barack Obama dispone de numerosas prerrogativas ejecutivas como presidente de Estados Unidos para flexibilizar considerablemente el estado de sitio económico impuesto al pueblo cubano, creando licencias específicas.

Por ejemplo en 2000, en virtud de sus facultades ejecutivas, Bill Clinton autorizó la venta de materias primas alimenticias a Cuba, aunque las condiciones impuestas son drásticas (pago por adelantado, en otra moneda que el dólar, sin posibilidad de crédito, etc.). Del mismo modo, en septiembre de 2009 el Presidente Obama puso fin a las restricciones a las visitas familiares que impuso George W. Bush en 2004 a la comunidad cubana de Estados Unidos (un solo viaje de 14 días cada tres años y únicamente para visitar a familiares directos) y favoreció los viajes a los ciudadanos estadounidenses en el marco de misiones bien definidas (12 categorías).

Fue también en ese marco en el que la Casa Blanca anunció una flexibilización de las restricciones en diciembre de 2014, efectiva desde enero de 2015. Según Josefina Vidal, directora general para Estados Unidos del ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores cubano, encargada de las negociaciones bilaterales con Washington, “el presidente Obama tiene prerrogativas ilimitadas para vaciar el bloqueo de su contenido fundamental”.[9]

Así, en virtud de sus poderes, Barack Obama puede perfectamente autorizar el comercio bilateral entre Cuba y Estados Unidos y permitir a las empresas de ambos lados del estrecho de la Florida establecer relaciones normales. No hace falta ningún acuerdo por parte del Congreso. En efecto, sólo las filiales de las empresas estadounidenses establecidas en el exterior no pueden comerciar con la Isla del Caribe sin un acuerdo parlamentario, por la Ley Torricelli de 1992.

Obama también puede permitir que Cuba adquiera en el mercado mundial productos que tienen más del 10% de componentes estadounidenses. En la actualidad cualquier producto de Francia, Japón, Brasil o China que tenga más del 10% de componentes estadounidenses no puede venderse a Cuba. Por ejemplo, La Habana tiene enormes dificultades para renovar su flota aeronáutica, pues la inmensa mayoría de los aviones vendidos en el mercado mundial tienen más componentes fabricados en Estados Unidos.

El presidente también podría autorizar la importación de productos fabricados en el mundo con materias primas cubanas. Hoy es imposible. Así, si la empresa alemana Mercedes desea exportar sus vehículos a Estados Unidos tiene que demostrar al Departamento del Tesoro que no contienen ni un solo gramo de níquel cubano. Del mismo modo, si Danone quiere vender sus productos en el primer mercado mundial debe demostrar a Washington que no contienen ni un solo gramo de azúcar cubano. Estas limitaciones constituyen un serio obstáculo al desarrollo del comercio de Cuba con el resto del mundo.

Del mismo modo la Casa Blanca podría consentir a la venta a crédito de productos no alimenticios a Cuba. En efecto, si la Ley de Reforma a las Sanciones Económicas de 2000 hace posible la venta de materias primas alimenticias a Cuba, prohíbe en cambio la concesión de crédito para facilitar este tipo de transacción. Obama podría aprobar el uso del pago diferido para los sectores no alimenticios.

Por otra parte, Obama podría también acceder a que la Isla del Caribe usase el dólar en sus transacciones comerciales y financieras con el resto del mundo. En efecto, Cuba se ve obligada a realizar malabarismos monetarios en el campo del comercio internacional y tiene que soportar el costo sustancial de las operaciones de cambio en sus relaciones con otras naciones del mundo. Lo que tiene un impacto financiero importante en un pequeño país del Tercer Mundo con recursos limitados.

Así, como se puede ver, el presidente Obama dispone de todas las prerrogativas necesarias para vaciar de su sustancia las sanciones económicas contra Cuba y llevar al Congreso a acabar definitivamente con una política de otro tiempo.

Salim Lamrani

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2014, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano. 

http://monthlyreview.org/books/pb4710/

Contacto: [email protected] ; [email protected]

Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

 

[1] The White House, «Fact Sheet: Charting a New Course on Cuba», 17 de diciembre de 2014.http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/17/fact-sheet-charting-new-course-cuba (sitio consultado el 15 de febrero de 2015)[2] Ibid.

[3] Entrevista telefónica del 15 de febrero de 2015.

[4] The White House, «Fact Sheet: Charting a New Course on Cuba», op. cit.

[5] The White House, «Fact Sheet: Charting a New Course on Cuba», op. cit.

[6] The White House, «Fact Sheet: Charting a New Course on Cuba», op. cit.

[7] Agence France Presse, “Estados Unidos y Cuba reanudarán diálogo el 27 de febrero en Washington”, 17 de febrero de 2015.

[8]Jim Avila &Meghan Keneally, «President Asks Congress to Lift the Embargo Against Cuba», ABC News, 20 de enero de 2015. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-congress-lift-embargo-cuba-sources/story?id=28358404 (sitio consultado el 15 de febrero de 2015).

[9] Cristina Escobar, «La relación de Cuba y Estados Unidos: una entrevista a Josefina Vidal», Cuba Hoy, 2 de febrero de 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4IhP2pUOCg (sitio consultado el 15 de febrero de 2015).

French President François Hollande says modern “anti-Semitism” stems from “hatred of Israel.”

(Presidency of France)

French president François Hollande has said his government will soon announce a raft of tough criminal laws to crack down on anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia and Holocaust denial.

He made the announcements in a speech to CRIF, France’s main Jewish communal body and Israel lobby group, on Monday.

Hollande said that the Internet needed to be “regulated” to suppress videos and even search results deemed “anti-Semitic.”

The president said that the appropriate model would be the laws used to prevent the dissemination of child pornography.

But the measures are likely only to make matters worse, among other things by criminalizing criticism of Israel and further conflating Zionism with Judaism.

Discipline and punish

The plans will worry civil libertarians already concerned about the crackdown on free speech since the January attacks by three French gunmen on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

Hollande said that details of the draft law would be announced in coming days by his prime minister Manuel Valls.

Meanwhile, Valls recently indicated his direction of travel by declaring that his goal was to fight “Islamofascism” – a term used by the neoconservative, pro-Israel far right to demonize Muslims.

Hollande promised that the laws would become more punitive, so that “no anti-Semitic word or act goes without a response.”

He promised “faster” and “more effective” punishments for “words or writing that are anti-Semitic, racist or homophobic.”

Only in passing, toward the end of the half-hour speech, did Hollande mention that anti-Muslim hate attacks in France in January alone exceeded the entire number recorded in 2014.

He did not announce any specific measures to combat this alarming phenomenon.

The president observed that “Muslims are the first victims of Islamist or jihadist terrorism, whether in the Middle East or Africa,” and called for more international military intervention in those regions.

Hollande did not consider that it was “Western” interventions in Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere that gave rise to the menace known as Islamic State (for an excellent account of that, see Patrick Cockburn’s new book The Rise of Islamic State).

Conflating anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel

Hollande’s speech also confirms the direction hinted at in earlier statements that France is likely to take more measures to suppress criticism of Israel in the name of combating anti-Semitism.

The president told CRIF that anti-Semitism has ancient roots, but asserted that “a more recent source is hatred of Israel.”

But if this is the case, who decides what is “anti-Semitic”? If all anti-Israel and anti-Zionist statements will be considered anti-Semitic then hundreds if not thousands of publications in tens of languages will have to be banned by France.

Hollande shared some disturbing statistics: in 2014 there were twice as many “anti-Semitic acts” recorded as in 2013 and ten times more than before the year 2000.

Lest I be accused of “justifying” these acts, let me be clear: nothing, including Israel’s crimes against Palestinians, justifies insulting or attacking Jews as Jews.

But can it be a mere coincidence that 2014 was the year of Israel’s latest horrific massacre of Palestinians in Gaza that was fully backed by the United States and most EU members, including France?

Can it also be a coincidence that 2000 was the year the second intifada began and Israel launched a brutal crackdown that has since killed more than eight thousand Palestinians, often with weapons provided by those same states?

What is the relationship between these facts?

While Hollande insists that “hatred” of Israel is a form of, or a “source” of “anti-Semitism,” he does not acknowledge the role of Israel in generating the intense hostility sometimes misdirected against Jews.

The Palestinian national movement has always correctly insisted that its enemies are not “the Jews,” but rather Israel and the Zionist colonial movement.

Yet it is Israel that continues to insist that it acts in the name of all Jews everywhere.

It is Benjamin Netanyahu who apparently considers himself not just prime minister of Israel but the leader of world Jewry.

It is Israel that has taken the symbols of the Jewish religion – including its most recognized one, the Star of David – and affixed it to uniforms and weapons of destruction and death that are used to carry out atrocities in Palestine and Lebanon.

It is Zionists who have taken holy scriptures and claimed that they provide a license for modern day Brooklynites and Parisians to violently steal land from Palestinian villagers.

It is Israel’s government-financed settlers who torch Palestinian mosques and daub their walls with “biblical phrases.”

It is Israel-government-backed religious fanatics who yearn – and plan – to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and replace it with a “Jewish temple.”

It is Israel that has used the Paris Grand Synagogue as a recruiting base for its armyand it is Israeli army commanders who cite Hebrew scripture to justify laying waste to Gaza.

Violent radical Judaism?

If we can say that the horrific actions of Islamic State are a perversion of the beliefs of the vast majority of the world’s Muslims, can we also not say that Zionism is a perversion of Judaism?

CRIF insists that the Paris attacks be labeled “Islamist.” By the same logic, should we label Israel’s crimes acts of “violent radical Judaism?”

While anti-Zionist Jews, secular and religious, have always insisted that Israel and Zionism do not represent them or their religion or cultures, politicians like Hollande reinforce the false and dangerous association between Jews as Jews on the one hand and Israel’s violent racist colonialism against Palestinians on the other.

Some misguided youths, hearing these messages, may indeed believe Israel’s claim that “the Jews” are the enemies of the Palestinians and direct their anger or hatred towards Jewish targets.

They may hear the Islamophobic diatribes emanating from many right-wing and liberal supporters of Israel and also conclude – falsely – that “the Jews” are the enemies of “the Muslims.”

The message has to be clear always and is worth repeating: words or acts targeting Jews as Jews are never a form of solidarity with Palestinians.

We must be equally clear that opposing and resisting Zionism is not anti-Semitic, but a struggle for liberation for Palestinians and indeed for Israeli Jews.

Repeating history

In his address to CRIF, Hollande spoke about the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” in the bland terms of the defunct “peace process.”

He reaffirmed France’s commitment to the fantasy of the “two-state solution,” offered to host a “peace conference” in Paris and said that no matter who won Israel’s elections next month, France would work with them “in friendship and trust.”

He offered not one single word of comfort or anger about the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza where there has been no reconstruction since Israel’s summer attack devastated much of the besieged and impoverished territory.

Hollande warned that those who do not learn from history are destined to relive it.

Yet there was not one word about accountability or justice for the Israeli war crimes that left more than 2,200 people, including more than 500 children, dead in Gaza.

Why are 1.8 million Palestinians, mostly refugees from present-day Israel, caged in Gaza under such abominable conditions in the first place?

The answer is simple: their mere existence, the fact that they live and breathe as non-Jews, is considered a threat to Israel’s self-declared identity as a “Jewish state.”

Palestinians are in a ghetto because of who they are and France’s president has nothing to say about that.

Moving right

While French leaders are doing their best to pander to the prejudices of their audience, it is doubtful it will be enough.

Richard Prasquier, the former president of CRIF, went on national television to say that Hollande and Valls had not gone far enough.

CRIF’s current president Roger Cukierman provoked anger from French Muslim community leaders by declaring that “all the violent attacks today are committed by young Muslims.”

Cukierman also praised Marine Le Pen, leader of the racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and traditionally deeply anti-Semitic National Front, as “irreproachable.”

Alas Hollande’s ardor to combat racism was nowhere in sight when it came to the fanatical anti-Arab racism of Israel’s leading political parties.

CRIF heard no rebuke from the supposedly anti-racist Hollande for Cukierman’s public embrace of Israeli ultra-nationalist politician Naftali Bennett, who boasts about how many Arabs he has killed and claims that Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land are “protecting London, Paris and Madrid.”

Education reform

In his speech, Hollande announced education reforms to reinforce the messages he gave to CRIF. But what France really needs to teach its Jewish and Muslim citizens is that contrary to Israeli claims, Israel does not represent Jews and that Israeli policies and Israeli crimes are not Jewish policies or Jewish crimes.

The irony is that it might prove more difficult to convince French Jews and French Christians of this than it is to convince French Muslims.

US “Pivot” Sends Asia Fleeing Toward China

February 26th, 2015 by Ulson Gunnar

When former-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the US “pivot to Asia,” she and the policy wonks who dreamed it up probably imagined it as a well choreographed geopolitical masterstroke. In reality, it was more like an elephant crashing through the jungle, sending all in its path fleeing for cover well ahead of its arrival.

The empty rhetoric accompanying its announcement never materialized. Reading between the lines, what the “pivot” actually meant, was the doubling down on attempts to subvert, corral and otherwise twist the arms of Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia into arraying themselves for Washington’s convenience and gain, against the growing influence and power of Beijing.

American designs have unraveled everywhere from Malaysia to Thailand and the only steps of this pivot still in good form appear to be in Myanmar and the South China Sea where budding political subversion is growing in one and an escalating strategy of tension is growing in the other. Despite these “successes,” the prospects of Myanmar resigning itself to a future with close and growing ties to Beijing are unrealistic.

Likewise, the notion of a remilitarized Japan somehow containing China is untenable and more so each passing day.

Those capitulating today to Washington’s attempts to reorder Asia will only be setting their nations back in the years to come when ultimately the “pivot” fails, and all that is left is China and those nations that decided to move forward together with it on its way up.

US Attempts to Isolate China Left it More Connected Than Ever

Washington’s attempt to convert Southeast Asia into a string of client states to encircle China with has instead resulted in deals to construct new railways connecting Singapore to the southern Chinese city of Kunming, the inclusion of Chinese forces at Thailand’s annual “Cobra Gold” military exercises, the complete exposure of Washington’s “democracy promoters” in Hong Kong and the removal from politics of two of Washington’s long-standing political proxies, Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand and Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia.

The railway in particular is ironic. It was British and French colonial powers who had long ago mapped out pan-Asian railways to help link their colonial holdings together and help further facilitate the plundering and emptying out of Asia’s resources. Now, many of these railways are being constructed, but to help further advance interests across Asia and in particular, to connect China rather than encircle and isolate it.

In addition to failing to isolate China via a string of client states in Southeast Asia, pressure put on Moscow by Washington in Europe has helped connect China better to its north. Billions in energy will soon be flowing over the Chinese-Russian border, as are other deals bringing the two emerging superpowers closer together.

Pivot Balanced Upon Threats That No Longer Exist 

The fear of China growing beyond its current foreign policy of soft power driven by economics and the building of infrastructure, and into a regional or global hegemon, formed the basis of Washington’s arm-twisting and fear mongering throughout the region.

Of course, such threats ring hollow when a regional hegemon already exists that menaces peace and stability. China’s strategic and economic posture may be growing, but it could hardly afford to pursue the same strategy of “nation building,” “regime change” and “democracy promotion” the US currently engages in. In fact, the US cannot afford to either, and the unsustainability of Washington’s foreign policy is a lesson that has not been lost on Beijing’s decision makers.

The unsustainable foreign policy Washington has been pursuing is most likely why Beijing has chosen a completely different tack. It is easier for Beijing to convince its neighbors to engage economically for mutual self-interests, than for Washington to convince Asian states to forsake business with China all while under threat of regime change if they don’t.

While Asia will not completely shut out the United States, as a local balance of power is struck, the need to bend to Washington’s will in exchange for “protection” is becoming increasingly unnecessary. If the United States wants to continue doing business in Asia, it will have to do so on equal terms as a business partner, rather than as a hegemon maintaining a regional protection racket.

Understanding this reality and formulating a more realistic and sustainable foreign policy would be the key to a real “pivot,” not toward Asia, but away from antiquated notions of hegemony and toward a multi-polar world, that like it or not, is coming and that no amount of “nation building,” “regime change” or “democracy promotion” will change.

Of course, the Asia that is emerging, integrating under various supranational entities and integrating with China as the center of gravity, could end up the biggest prize of all once completed and if foreign interests were able to co-opt that center. Then dreams of an Asian empire ruled from Washington or London would become a reality, with railways, shipping lanes, highways and regional currencies serving foreign interests in ways the British Empire could only have dreamed of.

Asia must therefore balance itself carefully between China’s rising power, the West’s enduring menace to their national sovereignty and the folly of supranational integration that has mired other parts of the world, particularly Europe in a socioeconomic and political quagmire. Asia’s current resilience and economic growth is due precisely because of the firewalls of national sovereignty, national currencies and individual self-interest pursued in the context of mutual self-interest with neighbors. These strengths should be reinforced.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

Drug-Induced Dementia isn’t Alzheimer’s

February 26th, 2015 by Dr. Gary G. Kohls

“More than 50 conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of dementia.” and “Alzheimer’s (can only be) distinguished from other dementias at autopsy.” – from a Harvard University Health Publication entitled What’s Causing Your Memory Loss? It Isn’t Necessarily Alzheimer’s

“Medications have now emerged as a major cause of mitochondrial damage, which may explain many adverse effects. All classes of psychotropic drugs have been documented to damage mitochondria, as have stain medications, analgesics such as acetaminophen, and many others.” – Neustadt and  Pieczenik, authors of Medication-induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease

“Establishing mitochondrial toxicity is not an FDA requirement for drug approval, so there is no real way of knowing which agents are truly toxic.”  - Dr. Katherine Sims, Mass General Hospital -http://www.mitoaction.org

“It is difficult to get a man to understand  something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” – Upton Sinclair, anti-fascist, anti-imperialist American author who wrote in the early 20thcentury

“No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable…for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death.” – President Ronald Reagan, as he signed The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIAof 1986, absolving drug companies from all medico-legal liability when children die or are disabled from vaccine injuries.

Over the past several decades there have been a number of well-financed campaigns, promoted by well-meaning laypersons, to raise public awareness to the plight of patients with dementia. Suspiciously, most of these campaigns come from “patient support” groups lead the public to believe that every dementia patient has Alzheimer’s dementia (AD).

Not so curiously, it turns out that many – perhaps all – of these campaigns have been funded – usually secretly – by the very pharmaceutical companies that benefit economically by indirectly promoting the sale of so-called Alzheimer’s drugs. Such corporate-generated public relations “campaigns” are standard operating procedure for all of BigPharma drugs, especially its psychopharmaceutical drugs. BigPharma has found that the promotion and de-stigmatization of so-called “mental illnesses (for which there are FDA-approved drugs) is a great tool for marketing their drugs.

(http://www.propublica.org/blog/item/health-advocacy-groups-take-drug-company-cashoften-without-full-disclosures)

Recently Alzheimer’s support groups all around the nation have been sponsoring the documentary about country singer Glen Campbell who has recently been diagnosed by his physicians with Alzheimer’s disease (of unknown etiology) despite the obvious fact that Campbell was infamous for his chronic heavy use of brain-damaging, dementia-inducing, addicting, and very neurotoxic drugs like cocaine and alcohol. And, just like so many other hard-living celebrities like the recently suicide Robin Williams, Campbell was known to have received prescriptions of legal drugs from their prescribing boutique psychiatrists and physicians, just adding to the burden that their failing livers, brains and psyches had to endure.

Since it is known that Alzheimer’s disease can only be truly diagnosed by a microscopic examination of the cerebral cortex (at autopsy), we have to question the very alive Glen Campbell’s diagnosis. And we also have to question the veracity and motivations of the sponsoring patient support groups and their BigPharma sponsors.

Is the Alzheimer’s Epidemic Actually a Drug-Induced Dementia Epidemic?

Synchronous with the huge increases (over the past generation or so) in

1) the incidence of childhood and adult vaccinations,

2) the widespread use of psychotropic and statin (cholesterol-lowering) drug use, and

3) the increased ingestion of a variety of neurotoxic substances – including food additives, there has been a large parallel increase in the incidence of

a) chronic illnesses of childhood, including autistic spectrum disorders

(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/new-study—mitochondrial_b_147030.html),

b) “mental illnesses of unknown origin”, and also

c) dementia, a multifactorial reality which, via clever marketing and the studied ignorance of what is scientifically known about the actual causes – and diagnosis – of dementia, which has been primarily – and mistakenly – referred to as Alzheimer’s disease (of unknown etiology).

It is important to ask and then demand an honest answer to the question “could there be a connection between America’s increasingly common over-prescribing of immunotoxic, neurotoxic, synthetic prescription drugs and vaccines and some of the neurodegenerative disorders that supposedly “have no known cause”?

Could the economically disabling American epidemic of autoimmune disorders, psychiatric disorders, autism spectrum disorders, etc (all supposedly of unknown origin) that have erupted over the past several decades be found to have recognizable root causes and therefore be treatable and, most importantly, preventable?

These are extremely important questions, especially in the case of the current dementia epidemic, because the so-called Alzheimer’s patient support groups seem to be totally unaware of the powerful evidence that prescription drugs known to damage brain cells (especially by poisoning their mitochondria) would be expected to cause a variety of neurological and psychological disorders because of the brain cell death that eventually happens when enough of the mitochondria (the microscopic hearts and lungs of every cell) have been wounded irretrievably or killed off. (See more info on drugs and mitochondria below.)

One of the big problems in America’s corporate-controlled culture, corporate-controlled media and corporate-controlled medical industries is that the giant pharmaceutical corporations, who are in the business of developing, marketing and selling known mitochondrial toxins (in the form of their drugs and vaccine ingredients) have a special interest in pretending that there is no known cause for the disorders that their synthetic chemicals are causing (or they use the unprovable “it’s probably genetic” subterfuge).

It should be a concern of everybody who knows a demented patient, that some AD patient support groups are known to be front groups for the pharmaceutical companies that profit from the marketing to patients and their doctors the disappointingly ineffective drugs for Alzheimer’s like Aricept, Exelon, Namenda, Hexalon, and Razadyne.

Prescription Drug-Induced – and Vaccine-Induced – Mitochondrial Disorders

Acquired mitochondrial disorders (as opposed to the relatively rare primary mitochondrial disorders like muscular dystrophy) that can be caused by commonly prescribed drugs are difficult to diagnose and are generally poorly understood by most practitioners. When I went to med school, nobody knew anything about what synthetic drugs or vaccines did to the mitochondria.

A lot of mitochondrial research, especially since the 1990s, has proven the connections between a variety of commonly prescribed medications and mitochondrial disorders. That evidence seems to have been cunningly covered-up by the for-profit pharma groups (who control medical education and much of the media) and various other powers-that-be because of the serious economic consequences if the information was allowed in the popular press. The stake-holders in the pharmaceutical and medical industries, most of whom profit mightily from the routine and increasing usage of neurotoxic drugs and vaccines, supposedly operating in the name of Hippocrates, would be very displeased if this information got out. I submit that BigPharma’s cover-up of the connections is totally unethical and, in the opinion of many other whistleblowers, criminal.

An Honest Patient Guide for Dementia Patients from Harvard!

So I was pleasantly surprised to find a reasonably honest guide for dementia patients on a Harvard University website.

(The entire guide can be accessed at http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/whats-causing-your-memory-loss.htm#top.)

The information at that website stated that there were over 50 conditions that could cause or mimic early dementia symptoms. I hadn’t been taught anything about that reality when I went to med school, and I doubt that many of my physician colleagues were either. And besides, what medical practitioner in our double-booked clinic environment, even if he or she was aware, has the time to thoroughly rule out the 50 conditions when confronted with a patient with memory loss?

I have often said to my patients and my seminar participants: “it takes only 2 minutes to write a prescription, but it takes 20 minutes to not write a prescription”. And in the current for-profit clinic culture, time is money and few physicians are given the “luxury” of spending adequate time with their patients. (In defense of the physicians that I know, they are not happy about that reality but don’t know what to do about it.)

It is so tempting to use the popularized, but rather squishy label of AD (of unknown etiology) rather than to educate ourselves about the possibility of drug- or vaccine-induced dementia. But what is so important is that many of the 50+ conditions are preventable or reversible, which will be therapeutic only if the conditions are identified before permanent brain damage occurs.

The Harvard guide actually said that “medications are common culprits in mental decline. With aging, the liver becomes less efficient at metabolizing drugs, and the kidneys eliminate them from the body more slowly. As a result, drugs tend to accumulate in the body. Elderly people in poor health and those taking several different medications are especially vulnerable.”

The guide continued with a list of the possible classes of prescription drugs that number in the hundreds:

 “The list of drugs that can cause dementia-like symptoms is long. It includes antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-Parkinson drugs, anti-anxiety medications, cardiovascular drugs, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, narcotics, sedatives.”

The Harvard guide went on to emphasize that Alzheimer’s can only be accurately diagnosed on a post-mortem examination. The guide states that “Alzheimer’s is distinguished from other dementias at autopsy by the presence of sticky beta-amyloid plaques outside brain cells (neurons) and fibrillary tangles within neurons (all indicative of cellular death). Although such lesions may be present in any aging brain, in people with Alzheimer’s these lesions tend to be more numerous and accumulate in areas of the brain involved in learning and memory.”

“The leading theory is that the damage to the brain results from inflammation and other biological changes that cause synaptic loss and malfunction, disrupting communication between brain cells. Eventually the brain cells die, causing tissue loss In imaging scans, brain shrinkage is usually first noticeable in the hippocampus, which plays a central role in memory function.”

But even the Harvard guide inexplicably failed to mention known mitochondrial toxins such as statin drugs, metformin, Depakote, general anesthetics, fluoroquinolone antibiotics, fluorinated psychotropic drugs, NutraSweet (every molecule of aspartame, when it reaches 86 degrees F, releases one molecule of the excitotoxin aspartic acid and one molecule of methanol [wood alcohol] which metabolizes into the known mitochondrial poison formaldehyde [embalming fluid]), pesticides (including the chlorinated artificial sweetener Splenda, which was initially developed as a pesticide) or themercury (thimerosal), aluminum and formaldehyde which are common ingredients in vaccines. These are only some of the synthetic drugs that are capable of causing mitochondrial damage in brain cells – with memory loss, confusion and cognitive dysfunction, all early symptoms of dementia.

It is tragic, but all–too-common, for reversible and preventable drug-induced dementias (therefore of known cause and thus not Alzheimer’s) to be mis-diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease “of unknown etiology” and to then be prescribed costly, essentially ineffective and potentially toxic drugs – whose mitochondrial toxicities have not been tested for.

(The pharmaceutical industry, it should be noted, is not required by the FDA to test its drugs for mitochondrial toxicity when it is doing its studies for marketing approval, again exhibiting the total disdain for the Precautionary Principle by both industry and the regulatory agencies such as the FDA, the CDC and WHO.)

There is much more in the basic neuroscience literature proving the connections, at least from authors who do not have conflicts of interest with BigPharma and BigMedicine. The authors of these articles have raised the questions and have published the proof that concerned families of patients and their physicians desperately need to know.

Don’t expect BigPharma to respond or to offer apologies or mea culpas. Do expect denials, dismissals, distractions, discrediting and then the delaying of real legitimate explorations of the real scientific evidence that exposes its subterfuge in the name of maintaining large profits for their stakeholders.

Here are the abstracts from just two of the many peer-reviewed articles from various science journals that support the thesis of this column.

Medication-induced mitochondrial damage and disease

Published in the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research journal; 2008 Jul;52(7):780-8.

Authors: Neustadt, J,  Pieczenik SR.

Posted at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18626887

Abstract

Since the first mitochondrial dysfunction was described in the 1960s, the medicine has advanced in its understanding the role mitochondria play in health and disease. Damage to mitochondria is now understood to play a role in the pathogenesis of a wide range of seemingly unrelated disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, migraine headaches, strokes, neuropathic pain, Parkinson’s disease, ataxia, transient ischemic attack, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes, hepatitis C, and primary biliary cirrhosis. Medications have now emerged as a major cause of mitochondrial damage, which may explain many adverse effects. All classes of psychotropic drugs have been documented to damage mitochondria, as have stain medications, analgesics such as acetaminophen, and many others. While targeted nutrient therapies using antioxidants or their precursors (e. g., N-acetylcysteine) hold promise for improving mitochondrial function, there are large gaps in our knowledge. The most rational approach is to understand the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial damage for specific medications and attempt to counteract their deleterious effects with nutritional therapies. This article reviews our basic understanding of how mitochondria function and how medications damage mitochondria to create their occasionally fatal adverse effects.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Psychiatric Disorders

From: The Journal of Neurochemical Research 2009 Jun;34(6):1021-9.

Posted at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18979198

Abstract

Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation is the major ATP-producing pathway, which supplies more than 95% of the total energy requirement in the cells. Damage to the mitochondrial electron transport chain has been suggested to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of a range of psychiatric disorders. Tissues with high energy demands, such as the brain, contain a large number of mitochondria, being therefore more susceptible to reduction of the aerobic metabolism. Mitochondrial dysfunction results from alterations in biochemical cascade and the damage to the mitochondrial electron transport chain has been suggested to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of a range of (so-called) neuropsychiatric disorders, such as (psychotropic drug-treated) bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia….Alterations of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in (anti-psychotic drug-treated) schizophrenia have been reported in several brain regions and also in platelets. Abnormal mitochondrial morphology, size and density have all been reported in the brains of (anti-psychotic drug-treated) schizophrenic individuals. Considering that several studies link energy impairment to neuronal death, neurodegeneration and disease, this review article discusses energy impairment as a mechanism underlying the pathophysiology of some psychiatric disorders, like (psychotropic drug-treated) bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia.

Dr Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic mental health care for the last decade of his career, and took seriously the Hippocratic Oath that he swore when he received his medical degree. He is also a peace and justice advocate and writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. The last three years of Dr Kohls’ columns are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn.

The Coup d’Etat Attempt in Venezuela

February 26th, 2015 by Chris Gilbert

If there were not a coup d’etat underway, someone would have to invent one to rally the masses. That may be the case for the Venezuelan government today, which is beset with so many problems, and it is one of the reasons that some people are incredulous about the latest claim of President Nicolás Maduro to be victim of a planned coup attempt.

Nevertheless, there was real evidence presented two weeks ago of a conspiracy in the ranks of the Venezuelan Air Force. In fact, there are three important elements: real evidence, real informers and, fortunately, real arrests.

One of the arrests is that of Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Metropolitan Caracas. It must be admitted that this shady right-wing politician’s ties to the Air Force conspiracy are not very clear. Moreover, the Air Force’s scheme to bomb various sites in Caracas including the Presidential palace could only be distantly linked with plans by Ledezma and other visible opposition leaders to take power through undemocratic means, since this military conspiracy is presumed to consider itself “Bolivarian” (i.e. “Chavist”) – at least that is what Maduro hinted in a nationwide television transmission on February 12.

Instead, Ledezma’s arrest is based principally on the contents of a document called the “National Transition Agreement” that he developed with two other anti-government leaders: Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado. This declaration, which was to be published on February 12, refers to the Venezuelan government as in its “terminal phase” and expresses the need to “name new authorities.” It also mentions restructuring the economy and giving amnesty to “political prisoners.” According to progovernment jurists, the “Transition Agreement” does not make sufficiently clear that it conceives political change within a constitutional, democratic framework.

Most likely the interpretation of this ambiguous text could (and will) be argued both ways. Nevertheless, regardless of how the question is resolved, the Venezuelan masses are highly satisfied with Ledezma’s arrest, as any reasonable person should be, since the mayor is responsible for huge human rights crimes in the past: most recently as a participant in the 2002 coup attempt that led to considerable bloodshed and earlier as the Federal District Governor who directed state troops which assassinated as many as 4000 civilians during the Caracazo uprising of 1989.

What about the U.S. government’s possible hand in this recently discovered plot? It should be remembered that many coups against popular, left-leaning regimes are not conceived in CIA laboratories but are rather supported opportunistically by the U.S. government and its agencies. For example, the military plot to remove Patrice Lumumba from power, conceived by Colonel Joseph Mobutu, fell into the hands of a highly relieved CIA agent Larry Devlin, who enthusiastically supported it. Devlin was the CIA station chief in Kinshasa and had been charged by Washington to poison Lumumba with doctored toothpaste, a prospect he found unattractive.

In present-day Venezuela, it is unlikely that the U.S. government could directly orchestrate a plot that calls itself “Bolivarian” and comes from the Venezuelan Air Force. Nevertheless, the White House might well be working to delicately promote such a thing and later take advantage of it. One possible scenario would involve an initial military coup by dissident Bolivarian officers, followed by a call for elections in which the legal and recognized opposition – involving such figures as Henrique Capriles, Antonio Ledezma, María Corina Machado and Julio Borges – would emerge to take charge.

The possibility of a military coup followed by hurried elections – a two-stage overthrow – could be what is behind the U.S. driven media campaign against Venezuela that has unfolded in recent weeks and involves extravagant claims about government figures running an international drug trafficking ring. Such a plan was also pointed to in words that recently escaped from Julio Borges of the opposition party Primero Justicia. When asked on Unión Radio how he would respond to a coup, Borges responded that, instead of working to restore the constitutional order, his party would “immediately call for elections.” This brings to mind the Honduras transition of 2009 in which a coup d’etat that installed a brief and unpopular military government was followed by the fraudulent election of Porfirio Lobo.

By moving against Ledezma after many months of disappointing concessions to business sectors, President Maduro has obviously scored a point with the Venezuelan masses, as he likewise scored points with the “Dakazo” interventions in electrical appliance stores (including one called Daka) that took place more than a year ago. However, this earlier move, though highly popular, proved to be of little substance since the government quickly retreated from further economic intervention following its electoral victory that November.

The present conjuncture is quite similar: if Maduro follows Ledezma’s arrest with other decisive actions that show real commitment to popular desires – increased state control of the economy, fighting corruption and smuggling on all fronts, and widening democracy in the PSUV party and Gran Polo Patriótico – the events of last week could mark an important and favorable turning point in the post-Chavez era. The alternative, which is to simply score a point and continue the government’s almost two-year-long retreat from the socialist project, would prove highly unpopular and risk producing unfavorable results in the parliamentary elections coming later this year.

Chris Gilbert is professor of political science in the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela.

In case you had not noticed, we live in a crazy upside down sort of world.  We could go into the social aspect of this but it would only make our collective blood pressures go up.  The same thing goes for politics, religion and let’s not forget an entire industry that used to pride itself on digging for the truth, the media.  Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING “is” really as it seems today.  Everything is spun, everything is either glossed over or not even discussed (reported on) and nothing is real anymore.  Somehow, I think Goebbels is blushing in his grave and Orwell kicking himself for not being outrageous enough when he wrote 1984.

Now would be a good time to revisit something we’ve looked at many times before, namely which is the better deal?  Is one ounce of gold better than 1,200 one dollar bills?  Or euros, yen, pounds or what have you?  The reason this has come to my mind in this fashion is because our world of fiat money now has negative interest rates for about 15% of all sovereign debt (and growing quickly).  Zerohedge just released an article talking about 20 central banks already in this new year cutting their interest rates.

The obvious takeaway from this is investors are being forced to scramble for yield, any yield no matter how dangerous.  Savers have been and now even more so, are being forced to do things (invest) they would never in their wildest dreams have done 10 years ago.  As mentioned a few weeks back, there are now even negative interest rates on mortgages in Denmark.  This means your mortgage will get paid down by your institution over time as long as you can make the monthly amortization payment.  Who in their right mind would not borrow as much as they could to buy as big a property as possible?  Think about it, you get to borrow in a paper currency where the central bank WANTS inflation (a debasing currency) and the issuing bank will help you pay down the principle.  This is a no brainer!

On the other side of the ledger however are “savers”.  Who in their right mind would “lend” currency at negative interest rates?  Your prospects in the real world and in black and white are ridiculous.  You are lending money where your “balance” decreases each year and then, what will you receive upon maturity?  You will receive “currency” the central banks are telling you ahead of time …they wish to, plan to and will do everything they can …to devalue!  Does this make any sense?  Locking in a shrinking balance in a currency the issuer wishes to “shrink”?  Which then is better?  An ounce of gold which is unshrinkable or 1,200 one dollar bills which shrink every time you do your laundry.

So the world’s central banks are continuing to lower interest rates and “zero percent” is no longer a lower bound, why?  Why are central banks pushing so hard for lower interest rates?  Yes I know, they say “lower rates will help the economy” … blah blah blah.  Really?  Has it worked?  Would you like to know the REAL reason interest rates have been pushed down?  Because if they were not, sovereigns from A-Z would already be seen to be insolvent.  A large and growing percentage of the world’s sovereign nations now have a debt to GDP ratio of 100% or more.  Big deal right?  Well, yes it really is but for “now” it isn’t “seen” as one.  Historically, whenever a nation went beyond 100% debt to GDP ratio …they soon became a banana republic where their issued currency collapsed and sovereign bonds offloaded in panic fashion.  This of course meant that interest rates exploded higher and more currency was needed to be issued to support the debt market …setting off a cycle of hyperinflation.  Not an isolated problem, the globe is on the verge of becoming one big unhappy banana republic!

Globally, banana republic status is the crossroads the world now stands at.  Yes, we currently live in a world with deflationary tendencies because the giant sized debt loads are crushing everything …including the sovereigns themselves.  With little to no warning at all, this will turn on a dime because of human nature.  Human’s are a funny animal.  Greed is a powerful emotion, fear is even greater.  In the monetary world, once “fear” becomes the predominant notion then another factor will kick in.  Just as a dog with a bowl full of food wants the other dogs food, man always craves what he cannot have.  When, not if, gold and silver go into hiding, “man” will want them even more.  It is this emotion which will collide with a mine supply which has already peaked while Western vaults are substantially empty.

I decided to write this because I believe hyperinflation is broadly misunderstood by most.  Most believe hyperinflation can only happen when a central bank creates too much “money”.  The over creation of money is certainly one necessary condition but alone will not spark hyperinflation.  It is a break in confidence which ignites the fire.  We stand today in a world where all of the conditions exist for a massive fire which will destroy much of the accumulated paper wealth of the last 100 years or more.  The only thing lacking to get this bonfire raging is a break in confidence.

Looking back to the very dark fourth quarter of 2008, you can see nearly ALL official actions aimed squarely at keeping confidence high.  Bogus economic reports, the cancellation of mark to market, central banks propping up brain dead banks and financial institutions …and on down the line to rigging all markets from supporting stocks and bonds to suppressing gold and silver.  Everything is and has been about perception, once this perception shifts, hyperinflation can literally begin overnight.  In case you have not noticed or followed, the rest of the world has already “moved” or is “moving” away from the dollar as  they have already figured this out.  Hyperinflation of the dollar will not be “cost push” or the inflation we WERE used to.  It will be a currency event caused by a break in confidence where dollars are massively sold and refused for acceptance,… as the “printing part” is already in place.  THIS is what “policy”, ALL policy has been about since 2008 …retaining confidence in the dollar!  Understand this and you understand 90%+ of the entire game.

A month after former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on nine felony counts with circumstantial metadata, the zealous prosecution is now having potentially major consequences — casting doubt on the credibility of claims by the U.S. government that Iran has developed a nuclear weapons program.

With negotiations between Iran and the United States at a pivotal stage, fallout from the trial’s revelations about the CIA’s Operation Merlin is likely to cause the International Atomic Energy Agency to re-examine U.S. assertions that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

In its zeal to prosecute Sterling for allegedly leaking classified information about Operation Merlin — which provided flawed nuclear weapon design information to Iran in 2000 — the U.S. government has damaged its own standing with the IAEA. The trial made public a treasure trove of information about the Merlin operation.

Last week Bloomberg News reported from Vienna, where IAEA is headquartered, that the agency “will probably review intelligence they received about Iran as a result of the revelations, said the two diplomats who are familiar with the IAEA’s Iran file and asked not to be named because the details are confidential.”

The Bloomberg dispatch, which matter-of-factly referred to Merlin as a “sting” operation, quoted a former British envoy to the IAEA, Peter Jenkins, saying: “This story suggests a possibility that hostile intelligence agencies could decide to plant a ‘smoking gun’ in Iran for the IAEA to find. That looks like a big problem.”

After sitting through the seven-day Sterling trial, I don’t recall that the government or any of its witnesses — including 23 from the CIA as well as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — ever referred to Operation Merlin as a “sting.” Instead, it was consistently portrayed as an effort to send Iran down the wrong technical path. In fact, over the years, Operation Merlin may have been both.

Near the end of the Clinton administration, CIA documents released at the trial show, Merlin was a botched effort to screw up Iran’s nuclear program. (There is no evidence that Iran’s government took the bait.) But documents also show that Merlin continued for years, with the CIA considering plans to widen the operation beyond Iran.

As a matter of fact, one CIA document was not redacted sufficiently to hide evident interest in also trying a similar tactic against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. History certainly tells us that the Bush-Cheney administration would be capable of seeking to cite fabricated evidence in a push to justify military action against a targeted country.

Investigative journalist Marcy Wheeler, my colleague at ExposeFacts, has written an extensive analysis of the latest developments. The article on her EmptyWheel blog raises key questions beginning with the headline “What Was the CIA Really Doing with Merlin by 2003?

An emerging big irony of United States of America v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling is that the government has harmed itself in the process of gunning for the defendant. While the prosecution used innuendos and weak circumstantial evidence to obtain guilty verdicts on multiple felonies, the trial produced no actual evidence that Sterling leaked classified information. But the trial did provide abundant evidence that the U.S. government’s nuclear-related claims about Iran should not be trusted.

In the courtroom, one CIA witness after another described Operation Merlin as a vitally important program requiring strict secrecy. Yet the government revealed a great deal of information about Operation Merlin during the trial — including CIA documents that showed the U.S. government to be committed to deception about the Iranian nuclear program. If, as a result, the International Atomic Energy Agency concludes that U.S. assertions about an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program lack credibility, top officials in Washington will have themselves to blame.

Norman Solomon is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and the author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

The Drive to Dismantle Pensions in the United States

February 26th, 2015 by Andre Damon

States and municipalities throughout the United States are engaged in a frontal assault on the pension benefits of current and retired public employees. These attacks are proceeding with complete disregard for the law, riding roughshod over state constitutional protections safeguarding pension benefits that employees have earned over decades of toil.

Earlier this month, Judge Christopher Klein signed a confirmation order allowing the city of Stockton, California to go ahead with its plan to slash workers’ retirement benefits as part of a deal to exit bankruptcy. The agreement will eliminate health care benefits for municipal retirees while cutting pension benefits for new-hires and increasing employee pension payments.

In ruling that bankruptcy courts have the authority to slash current retirees’ pensions, Klein could not hide his enthusiasm. He declared that CalPERS, the state’s public employee pension system, “has bullied its way about this case with an iron fist.” But, he gloated, the pension fund “turns out to have a glass jaw.”

In Illinois, where Circuit Judge John Belz last year struck down a 2013 law that cut pensions for state workers, state officials are once again on the war path. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, is preparing to appear before the Illinois Supreme Court to argue that, even though the state constitution explicitly declares that public employee pensions “shall not be diminished or impaired,” the state’s “police powers” allow it to slash the benefits of current retirees in the name of “public safety.”

The argument is based on an authoritarian and absurd reading of the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which states “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Illinois Democrats are arguing that this amendment allows the state to gut constitutionally protected pension benefits without even going through a bankruptcy court.

If this claim is accepted by the Illinois Supreme Court, it will set a precedent for every state in the US to go after the pensions of public employees.

In Pennsylvania, the state legislature is debating a bill that would freeze pension benefits for current and future retirees and replace pensions for new-hires with 401(k)-style pension plans. In Jacksonville, Florida, the state is planning major cuts in pensions for future retirees.

These moves—and similar actions in other states and cities—have followed from the precedent set by the Detroit bankruptcy, which began in July of 2013 and was completed last November. They vindicate entirely the warnings made by the World Socialist Web Site at the time of the bankruptcy filing.

On July 20, 2013, two days after the city filed for bankruptcy, the WSWS wrote:

The bankruptcy filing has national and international implications. Detroit will serve as a precedent for other cities across the country that have been financially crippled by the economic crisis. The use of the bankruptcy court to rip up pensions and health benefits will open the floodgates for similar attacks on millions of teachers, transit workers, sanitation workers and other municipal employees.

Just as Greece became the model for attacks on workers throughout Europe and beyond, the Detroit bankruptcy—which goes beyond even the brutal measures carried out in Greece—will set the pattern for the next stage in the attack on the working class in the US and internationally. At stake is every gain won by the working class through immense and often bloody struggle and sacrifice in the course of more than a century.

The attack on public employee pensions at the state and local level has been accompanied by a drive to dismantle what remains of pensions in the private sector. In December, Congress passed a law allowing multi-employer pension funds to slash benefit payments to current retirees, reversing decades of federal precedents dictating that the pensions of current retirees could not be cut.

The assault on pensions is entirely bipartisan, with Democrats and Republicans equally ruthless in attacking the working class. It is being coordinated by the Obama administration, which played a critical role in the Detroit bankruptcy.

The drive to dismantle pensions is one component of the Obama administration’s attack on workers’ wages and benefits, which includes the dismantling of employer-provided health benefits under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act and a systematic assault on wages that was launched with the restructuring of the auto industry in 2009.

The constant refrain is the claim that there is “no money” to pay for pensions. This is a lie.

Even the Washington Post—which noted the “change in the social contract” as “employers, private employers as well as governments, increasingly view the mushrooming cost of pensions as unbearable”—felt obliged to point out that “the push to reduce retirement benefits is coming despite not just a long run of robust stock market returns, but also a real estate rebound that is projected to fuel strong city revenue growth.”

The spectacular rise in stock prices has been fueled by the handout of trillions of dollars to the banks, which have been provided with an endless stream of virtually free money. At the same time, hundreds of billions have been made available to fund military operations around the world in the American ruling class’ relentless and reckless pursuit of global hegemony. This is to be paid for through a historic reversal in the social position of the working class.

As far as the ruling class is concerned, young people should have no future, workers should live on poverty wages, the unemployed should be left to starve, and the elderly should be pushed into an early grave.

What is most extraordinary is the absence of organized resistance. Here, the trade unions, which long ago transformed themselves into business enterprises, have played a critical role. At every step, they have collaborated with the Democrats and Republicans in undermining and attacking pensions. The Teamsters, for example, gave their full support to the federal law allowing pension funds to slash benefits. A host of unions in Illinois are supporting the Democrats’ suit to slash pension benefits. The unions played the critical role in suppressing opposition to the Detroit bankruptcy.

These right-wing organizations and the corrupt executives who control them are concerned only with protecting their financial interests as pension fund administrators. They are more than willing to slash the benefits of union members to keep the funds afloat.

Social tensions are building to the breaking point. The strike by US oil workers, despite the efforts of the United Steelworkers union to isolate and betray it, points to the growing militancy and combativeness of American workers, who have had it with decades of cuts in jobs, wages and benefits. To take forward this and the many other struggles to come, workers must be armed with a new political strategy, based on their independence from the pro-corporate trade unions, a break with the Democrats and the two-party system of American capitalism, and a socialist program of reorganizing society to meet social need, not private profit.

The Deputy Speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, Andriy Parubiy, who had been the co-founder of the Nazi-inspired Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine, met in Washington on Wednesday, February 25th, with members of the U.S. House and Senate who support his request that the U.S. Government donate weapons to his virtually bankrupt Government. Parubiy also visited with the Pentagon.

Weapons are needed by his Government because his Government is engaged in a civil war against the residents in the area of Ukraine that had voted 90% for the former Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Parubiy himself (when he was called “the Mayor of Maidan”) led to overthrow in a violent February 2014 coup

Andriy Parubiy together with Svoboda party leader Oleh Tyahnybok is a follower of Ukrainian Nazi Stepan Bandera, who collaborated in the mass murderer of Jews and Poles during World War II.”

Reuters / Gleb Garanich

Neo-Nazi march honoring Stepan Bandera

According to a recent report by Gabriel Gatehouse of the BBC, witness testimony and photographic evidence both conflict with Parubiy’s account of how the overthrow a year ago occurred. The United States Government strongly supported Yanukovych’s overthrow, and denies that it was a coup. The Obama Administration calls it an expression of Ukrainian democracy, and says that the replacement Government was “duly elected” (though by whom was left unsaid by Mr. Obama), and that whan elections for a new Ukrainian President were held in northwest Ukraine on 25 May 2014, in which no one in the rebelling region participated, the residents in the rebelling region were terrorists if they refused to accept the election’s winner as being their President. The residents still refused to accept the winner of that election as being their leader. The Government, on 2 May 2014, massacred an estimated 100+ peaceful demonstrators against the Government, in Odessa, and sent troops into the southeast to take over their local governments, and so the civil war started. Mr. Parubiy was a member of the small team that planned the Odessa massacre.

The residents in the area of Ukraine that is being bombed and even firebombed by Parubiy’s Government had opposed the overthrow, because they had voted 90% for the person who was being overthrown; they did not feel that an imposed new leader would be acceptable to them. The continued bombing of them by the replacement Government has thus-far failed to persuade the residents there to support Parubiy’s Government; and, so, those residents have declared their region to be no longer a part of Ukraine. Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, disagrees; he says that they have no right to do that and that they are therefore ‘terrorists’ for seceding from Ukraine. The United States Government supports that position, and Congress voted more than 98% for it.

However, U.S. President Barack Obama, whose Administration ran that coup and actually selected the leader of the interim government to replace Yanukovych, Ukraine’s current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, hasn’t yet decided whether to send Ukraine more weapons than he has already sent.

Canada’s Parliament held a Reception, 24 Feb. 2015, for Neo-Nazi Leader Parubiy.

http://www.ipolitics.ca/2015/02/24/in-the-city-ukrainian-deputy-speaker-hosted-on-the-hill/

Ukrainian Deputy Speaker

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

The U.S. has Installed a Neo-Nazi Government in Ukraine

February 26th, 2015 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

This article first published in March 2014 at the very outset of the Ukraine crisis explains the nature of the Kiev proxy regime. we are dealing with a Neo-Nazi government supported by “Western democracy” and the “international community”. 

According to the New York Times, “The United States and the European Union have embraced the revolution here as another flowering of democracy, a blow to authoritarianism and kleptocracy in the former Soviet space.” ( After Initial Triumph, Ukraine’s Leaders Face Battle for Credibility,  NYTimes.com, March 1, 2014, emphasis added)

“Flowering Democracy, Revolution”?  The grim realities are otherwise. What is a stake is a US-EU-NATO sponsored coup d’Etat in blatant violation of international law.

The forbidden truth is that the West has engineered –through a carefully staged covert operation– the formation of a proxy regime integrated by Neo-Nazis.

Confirmed by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, key organizations in the Ukraine including the Neo-Nazi party Svoboda were generously supported by Washington: “We have invested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals. … We will continue to promote Ukraine to the future it deserves.”

The Western media has casually avoided to analyze the composition and ideological underpinnings of the government coalition. The word “Neo-Nazi” is a taboo. It has been excluded from the dictionary of mainstream media commentary. It will not appear in the pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post or The Independent. Journalists have been instructed not to use the term “Neo-Nazi” to designate Svoboda and the Right Sector.

Composition of the Coalition Government

We are not dealing with a transitional government in which Neo-Nazi elements integrate the fringe of the coalition, formally led by the Fatherland party.

The Cabinet is not only integrated by the Svoboda and Right Sector (not to mention former members of defunct fascist UNA-UNSO), the two main Neo-Nazi entities have been entrusted with key positions which grant them de facto control over the Armed Forces, Police, Justice and National Security.

While Yatsenuyk’s Fatherland Party controls the majority of portfolios and Svoboda Neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok was not granted a major cabinet post (apparently at the request of assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland), members of Svoboda and the Right Sector occupy key positions in the areas of Defense, Law Enforcement, Education and Economic Affairs.

Neo Nazi Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok

nuland in ukraine

 US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland together Neo Nazi Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok (left)

Andriy parubiy.jpgAndriy Parubiy [right] co-founder of the Neo-Nazi  Social-National Party of Ukraine (subsequently renamed Svoboda) was appointed Secretary of the National Security and National Defense Committee (RNBOU). (Рада національної безпеки і оборони України), a key position which overseas the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, National Security and Intelligence. The RNBOU is central decision-making body. While it is formally headed by the president, it is run by the Secretariat with a staff of 180 people including defense, intelligence and national security experts.

Parubiy was one of the main leaders behind the Orange Revolution in 2004. His organization was funded by the West. He is referred to by the Western media as the “kommandant” of the EuroMaidan movement. Andriy Parubiy together with party leader Oleh Tyahnybok is a follower of Ukrainian Nazi Stepan Bandera, who collaborated in the mass murderer of Jews and Poles during World War II.  Reuters / Gleb Garanich

Neo-Nazi march honoring Stepan Bandera

In turn, Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector delegation in the parliament, has been appointed Parubiy’s deputy Secretary of the RNBOU.

Yarosh was the leader of the Brown Shirt Neo-Nazi paramilitary during the EuroMaidan “protest” movement. He has called for disbanding the Party of the regions and the Communist Party.

 Dmytro Yarosh speech at Euromaidan (Centre)

 The Neo Nazi party also controls the judicial process with the appointment of  Oleh Makhnitsky of the Svoboda party to the position of prosecutor-general of Ukraine. What kind of justice will prevail with a reknown Neo-Nazi in charge of the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine?

Cabinet positions were also allocated to former members of the Neo-Nazi fringe organization Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defense (UNA-UNSO):

“Tetyana Chernovol, portrayed in the Western press as a crusading investigative journalist without reference to her past involvement in the anti-Semitic UNA-UNSO, was named chair of the government’s anti-corruption committee. Dmytro Bulatov, known for his alleged kidnapping by police, but also with UNA-UNSO connections, was appointed minister of youth and sports.

Yegor Sobolev, leader of a civic group in Independence Maidan and politically close to Yatsenyuk, was appointed chair of the Lustration Committee, charged with purging followers of President Yanukovych from government and public life. (See Ukraine Transition Government: Neo-Nazis in Control of Armed Forces, National Security, Economy, Justice and Education, Global Research, March 02, 2014

The Lustration Committee is to organize the Neo-Nazi witch-hunt against all opponents of the new Neo-Nazi regime. The targets of the lustration campaign are people in positions of authority within the civil service, regional and municipal governments, education, research, etc.  The term lustration refers to the “mass disqualification” of people associated with the former government. It also has racial overtones. It will in all likelihood be directed against Communists, Russians  and members of the Jewish community.

It is important to reflect on the fact that the West, formally committed to democratic values, has not only spearheaded the demise of an elected president, it has instated a political regime integrated by Neo-Nazis.

This is a proxy government which enables the US, NATO and the EU to interfere in Ukraine’s internal affairs and dismantle its bilateral relations with the Russian Federation. It should be understood, however, that the Neo-Nazis do not ultimately call the shots. The composition of the Cabinet broadly coincides with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland ” recommendations” contained in the leaked telephone call to the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

Washington has chosen to spearhead Neo-Nazis into positions of authority. Under a “regime of indirect rule”, however,  they take their orders on crucial military and foreign policy issues –including the deployment of troops directed against the Russian federation– from the the US State Department, the Pentagon and NATO.

The World is at a dangerous crossroads: The structures and composition of this proxy government installed by the West do not favor dialogue with the Russian government and military.

A scenario of military escalation leading to confrontation of Russia and NATO is a distinct possibility. The Ukraine’s National Security and National Defense Committee (RNBOU) which is controlled by Neo-Nazis plays a central role in military affairs.  In the confrontation with Moscow, decisions taken by the RNBOU headed by Neo-Nazi Parubiy and his brown Shirt deputy Dmytro Yarosh –in consultation with Washington and Brussels– could potentially have devastating consequences.

However, it goes without saying that “support” to the formation of a Neo-Nazi government does not in any way imply the development of “fascist tendencies” within the White House, the State Department and the US Congress.

“The flowering of democracy” in Ukraine –to use the words of the New York Times– is endorsed by Republicans and Democrats. It’s a bipartisan project. Lest we forget, Senator John McCain is a firm supporter and friend of Neo Nazi Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok (Image right).

Ambassador Jack Matlock made an important speech at the National Press Club on February 11.  Matlock served as US ambassador to the Soviet Union during 1987-91.

In his speech he describes how President Reagan won the trust of the Soviet leadership in order to bring to an end the Cold War and its risk of nuclear armageddon. 

Reagan’s meeting with Gorbachev did not rely on position papers written by staff.  It relied on a hand-written memo by Reagan himself that stressed respect for the Soviet leadership and a clear realization that negotiation must not expect the Soviet leaders to do something that is not in the true interest of their country. The way to end the conflict, Reagan wrote, is to cooperate toward a common goal.  Matlock said that Reagan refused to personalize disagreements or to speak derogatorily of any Soviet leader.

Matlock makes the point that Reagan’s successors have done a thorough job of destroying this trust.  In the last two years the destruction of trust has been total.

How can the Russian government trust Washington when Washington violates the word of President George H.W. Bush and takes NATO into Eastern Europe and places military bases on Russia’s border?

How can the Russian government trust Washington when Washington pulls out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and places Anti-Ballistic Missiles on Russia’s border?

How can the Russian government trust Washington when Washington overthrows in a coup the elected government of Ukraine and installs a puppet regime that immediately expresses hostility toward Russia and the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine and destroys Soviet war memorials commemorating the Red Army’s liberation of Ukraine from Nazi Germany?

How can the Russian government trust Washington when the President of Russia is called every name in the book, including “the new Hitler,” and gratuitously accused of every sort of crime and personal failing?

Washington and its neoconservative monsters have destroyed trust with demonization and blame of Russia for violence in Ukraine for which Washington is responsible.

Washington has forced Europe to impose economic sanctions on Russia that are based entirely on lies and false accusations.  The Russians know this.  They recognize the blatant hostility, the blatant lies, the never-ending crude propaganda, the hypocritical double-standards, the push toward war.

Simultaneously China is experiencing  hostile encirclement with Washington’s “pivot to Asia.”

By destroying trust, Washington has resurrected the threat of nuclear armageddon. Washington’s destruction of trust between nuclear powers is the crime of the century.

On February 24, I held accountable Alexander J. Motyl and the Council on Foreign Relations for publishing on February 5 a large collection of blatant lies in order to create a false reality with which to demonize the Russian government.  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/02/24/washington-resurrected-threat-nuclear-war-paul-craig-roberts/   I observed that the publication of ignorant nonsense in what is supposed to be a respectable foreign policy journal indicated the degradation of the Western political and media elite.

I did not think things could get any worse, but one day later I came across Andrew S. Weiss’ article in the Wall Street Journal.  http://www.wsj.com/articles/putin-the-improviser-1424473405

Weiss’ article is the most amazing collection of misrepresentations imaginable.  It is impossible to believe that the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment could possible be so totally misinformed.  The false reality that Weiss creates precludes any diplomatic resolution of the conflict that Washington has created with Russia.

What is the explanation for Weiss’ misrepresentations of Putin, the origin of the conflict and the cause of its continuation?

Recalling the confession of Udo Ulfkotte, an editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, that he published under his name articles handed to him by the CIA and that the entire European press does the same, was Weiss handed the disinformation by the CIA, or by Victoria Nuland, or is the answer simply that Weiss worked on Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council, the State Department and the Defense Department and is one of Washington’s propaganda operatives currently operating out of a think-tank?

The more important question is:  What is the purpose behind Washington’s cause and misrepresentation of the conflict?  Was the destruction of trust between nuclear powers intentional or a consequence of other purposes?  Is Washington simply using its ability to control explanations in order to cover up its involvement in the overthrow of a democratically elected government, an outcome that has gone bad?  Or is the answer merely that Washington is peeved that it failed to get its hands on Russia’s Black Sea naval base in Crimea and has had to give up, at least for now, on getting Russia out of the Mediterranean and out of the Russian naval base at Tartus, Syria?

As I explained today to an international conference hosted by institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony requires the prevention of “the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere” with sufficient resources and power to be able to serve as a check on unilateral action by Washington.

When Russian diplomacy blocked Washington’s planned invasion of Syria and planned bombing of Iran, the neoconservatives realized that they had failed in their “first objective” and were now faced with a check on unilateral action. The attack on Russia instantly began.  The $5 billion Washington had spent funding NGOs in Ukraine and cultivating Ukrainian politicians produced the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government.  Washington imposed a puppet government that instantly employed violent words and deeds against the Russian population, resulting in the secession of Crimea and the formation of other break-away provinces.

With English as the world language and the compliant media or presstitutes in Washington’s service, Washington has been able to control the explanation, blame Putin for the crisis, and force Europe to breakup its economic and political relations with Russia by imposing economic sanctions.

In a vain and failed attempt to keep the US as the Uni-power capable of dictating to the world, the neoconservatives have recklessly and irresponsibly resurrected the threat of nuclear armageddon.  The neoconservative dominance of US foreign policy makes impossible any restoration of trust.  Washington’s propaganda is driving the situation toward war.  As neither Washington nor the Russian/Chinese alliance can afford to lose the war, the war will be nuclear.  Any survivors will be doomed by nuclear winter.

The entire world must quickly become aware of the danger and confront the evil regime that the neoconservatives–the Sauron of our world–have created in Washington.  To do otherwise is to risk life on earth.

First: There’s the reality of how the Malaysian MH17 airliner was shot down by the Ukrainian Air Force, as instructed by Barack Obama after he had failed to get the EU sanctions he wanted against Russia, and there has also been the reality of how the West’s ‘news’ media covered that reality up.

Then: Here, below, is documented by Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, the success of it all,  actually being bragged about, at their online site, “Radio Free Europe,” “Radio Liberty”: under the title ’Pariah’ Putin On Post-MH17 Magazine Cover Pages (Published 28 July 2014)

“In the wake of the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, widely attributed to Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, many magazines and newspapers around the world issued damning indictments against Russian President Putin, portraying him on their covers as a bloodthirsty fiend, a pariah, a liar, and a murderer.”

The public is manipulated by outright lies which consist in demonizing the enemy.

Here is how the Western Media demonizes the Russian president.

 

1. The August 4 cover of ”Time” magazine says the West is losing “Cold War II” against “Putin’s dangerous game.”

2. For “Newsweek,” Putin is the “West’s public enemy number one.”

3. Putin’s “Russian Spring” has brought about a “Cold War” in the middle of July, posits Ukraine’s “Focus” weekly magazine.

4. Romania’s “Adevarul” daily, dated July 25, pictures Vladimir Putin playing poker with European leaders. The headline reads, “Where does Europe’s cowardice in the face of Russia come from?” An explanation follows: “Europe and Russia are tied by bilateral trade and oil and gas that are imported from Russia, so if sanctions are imposed on Moscow, they will affect the EU economy.”

5. ”Stop Putin Now!” says the July 28 cover of Germany’s “Der Spiegel” magazine with photos of some of the MH17 victims.

6. The July 28 issue of Poland’s “Niepodlegla” calls the Russian leader “Bloodymir.”

7. The July 25 cover of Britain’s ”Private Eye” features a photo of Putin against the backdrop of the Buk missile-defense system, suspected of bringing down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, and captions it, “I will find those responsible and give them a rocket.”

8. The August 1 U.S. edition of the British news magazine “The Week” shows Putin with “blood on his hands” in front of the Buk surface-to-air missile launcher, which has been blamed for the MH17 downing.

9. ”The Economist” pictures Putin entangled in a “web of lies.”

10. ”Getting Away With Murder” — Canada’s “Maclean’s” weekly news magazine puts the blame for the MH17 crash squarely on “Putin’s ambitions.”

11. Australia’s “The Spectator,” dated July 26, pictures Russia as an armed bear gobbling up an airplane.

12. July 25′s “Polska” quotes an online statement by a parent of one of the MH17 victims saying, ”Mr. Putin, You Killed My Only Child.”

And that’s just print-media magazines. The same is being done in radioTV, and the blogosphere.

How can democracy be possible in a nation like that?

The public are manipulated by lies, all supporting the aristocracy’s agenda; and two political Parties are financed by that same aristocracy, to use different sales-pitches for their shared agenda — never to expose the aristocracy’s agenda as being what it is: one in which the aristocracy exploits and uses the public, retaining the profits for itself, while transferring the losses off onto the public, thereby producing ever-increasing already-astronomical wealth-inequalities, and reducing governmental services to the public (which are reduced because more and more of government’s taxation-income is going toward absorbing the aristocracy’s accumulated load of losing bets, and toward paying ever-rising interest on the government’s resulting increasing debt-load).

Is a nation like that a democracy?

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


U.S. Restores Diplomatic Relations with Cuba

February 26th, 2015 by Asad Ismi

In an astounding triumph for the Latin American Revolution, the U.S. government restored diplomatic relations with Cuba on December 17. This followed 55 years of U.S. aggression and hostility aimed at destroying the Cuban Revolution, including a damaging economic blockade, 638 assassination attempts by CIA-affiliated agents on the life of former Cuban president Fidel Castro, U.S. terrorist attacks on Cuba that killed close to 4,000 people, economic sabotage costing Cuba millions of dollars, and the 1961 military (Bay of Pigs) invasion of the island by CIA-sponsored Cuban exiles.

The extreme hostility failed to defeat the Cuban communist governments of Fidel and now Raul Castro, the original leaders of the Cuban Revolution, who have outlasted ten U.S. presidents. U.S. President Barack Obama admitted in his December 17 speech that “isolation has not worked,” and that the U.S. needed “to end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries.”

President Raul Castro thanked and praised Obama for the change in policy but made clear that Cuba would retain its communist system and not compromise its sovereignty. Castro said the Cuban government’s policies are aimed at creating “a prosperous and sustainable communism,” declaring the restoration of relations with the U.S. a victory for the Cuban Revolution.

“We won the war,” said Castro, insisting that the U.S. not meddle in Cuban state affairs, and calling for the U.S. economic blockade to be lifted as a next step in the thaw in relations.

Increasingly isolated

“The restoration of diplomatic relations is also a victory for Latin America,” said Javier Domokos Ruiz, Cuba’s Consul General in Toronto, in an interview. “There has been a battle between not just the U.S. and Cuba but between the U.S. empire and Latin America over whether the continent would become Washington’s satellite or emerge sovereign and leftist, and this battle has been won by Latin American countries which have succeeded in creating progressive societies and removed many puppet dictatorships of the U.S.”

The success and persistence of Cuba’s revolution had a critical influence on Latin America’s leftward shift. Since 1998, leftist governments have been elected in 10 Latin American countries, restricting U.S. political and economic influence in what Washington considers its “backyard.” This isolation was a key motivation for the U.S. change in policy towards Cuba, something both Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged.

John Kirk, a professor in the department of Spanish and Latin American studies at Dalhousie University and one of Canada’s leading experts on the Cuban Revolution, told me Washington “has been very slow to understand and appreciate this highly significant change” in the region since 1998, “that the leftist governments of Latin America are there to stay and are in many cases thriving.” He pointed out how Cuba is extraordinarily popular because of its resistance to U.S. imperialism, and its medical and literacy programs.

Kirk highlighted another possible reason for the timing of the Obama-Castro agreement: the Summit of the Americas, taking place in Panama in April.

“In the last two such summits, there had been a crescendo of support among Latin American and Caribbean countries for Cuba’s participation, and half the member countries have said that they are going to boycott the 2015 summit meeting unless Cuba participated,” he said. “Obama realized that he was doomed to an embarrassing failure unless Cuba joined the summit, and decided that the timing was appropriate for the restoration of diplomatic relations with Havana.”

A second factor behind the change in U.S. policy is that a new generation of U.S.-born Cubans favours normalizing relations, thus splitting the politically influential exile community on the issue. The right-wing anti-Castro exiles no longer completely dominate this group; the Democratic Party has moved to attract the votes of the younger generation. Actually, most Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. (and Americans in general) favour normalizing relations with Cuba.

It is also likely that the restoration of relations is partially aimed at undermining the electoral chances of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, a favoured Republican Party candidate for the 2016 presidential election who is closely linked to the most right-wing elements among Cuban exiles.

Big business wants in

The most significant support for a comprehensive détente comes from U.S. corporations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and business interests “from Caterpillar to the tourism industry to airlines, manufacturers and biotechnology companies all have called for normalization and are scouting opportunities for business in Cuba,” said Kirk.

The U.S. blockade or embargo on Cuba is extremely harsh, punishing even third countries from trading with Cuba and denying the island basic necessities such as food items from the U.S. Any ship that docks in Cuba cannot do so in the U.S. and companies doing business with Cuba are subject to U.S. sanctions. Despite the restoration of diplomatic relations, U.S. residents cannot yet travel to Cuba as tourists and U.S. companies cannot do business there. President Obama can ease the embargo and is moving to do so but its removal requires congressional approval.

“In terms of getting the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba lifted, what we’ll see is a showdown between hardened right-wing Cuban exiles on the one hand and moderate Cuban exiles on the other, supported by an ever-increasing business lobby,” explained Kirk. “I think the business lobby will win because they’ll tell their Republican candidates, when they make donations to their political campaigns, that they favour normalizing relations with Cuba. I suspect that it will be a tough battle but not as tough as most people think and eventually the U.S. Congress will agree to lift the embargo.”

Economic conditions in Cuba have improved since 1990, when the Soviet Union collapsed and the island lost 80% of the export market for its sugar (Cuba’s main revenue earner at the time). Simultaneously, the U.S. made its trade embargo on Cuba even more severe, compounding the country’s massive difficulties. In spite of the extreme pressure, Cuba maintained its communist system, providing free health care and education, and subsidized food and accommodation for all its people—a monumental feat.

Fidel Castro (far left), Che Guevara (centre) and other leading Cuban revolutionaries march to protest the La Coubre explosion (often attributed to the CIA) on March 5, 1960. (Photo: Centro de Estudios Che Guevara).

Cuba successfully substituted tourism for sugar exports. Its economic prospects improved with the advent of the Latin American Revolution in 1998, as Venezuela started providing subsidized oil, and other countries supplied food on favourable terms. These commodities are Cuba’s main imports and expenses, which is a problem for a country that still cannot grow enough food to feed its people, as it would like to.

Another major economic problem is the lack of productive investment in Cuba. Much of the foreign exchange from medical exports, tourism, nickel exports and remittances from Cubans working abroad (Cuba’s four main currency earners) is not invested in the economy but rather consumed.

To deal with these problems, the government has allowed some private farming, has set up agricultural co-operatives and permitted the entry of 470,000 former government employees into the small business sector. The government has also set up 50 industrial co-operatives. The hope is that the creation of a small business sector will stimulate productive investment.

The eventual lifting of the U.S. embargo should help the Cuban economy, according to Kirk, since Cuba will benefit from “cheaper food and technology imports and its medical exports to the U.S. as well as from medical tourism and U.S. tourism in general, all of which will bring in significant foreign exchange.”

Canada’s hand in the thaw

The U.S. and Cuban governments both thanked the Canadian government and the Vatican for their mediating roles in the negotiations leading up to the restoration of diplomatic relations. U.S. and Cuban diplomats met in Ottawa and Toronto for talks that lasted 18 months.

“I was very surprised to see that behind the scenes Canada provided venues for nine meetings between Cuba and the U.S.,” said Kirk. “What we have done is provide a safe location for these meetings. That’s the extent but I think it’s an important extent of our contribution.”

That said, Kirk adds: “Canada’s overall role under Harper in terms of relations with Cuba has been enormously disappointing. Canada has so much going for it in terms of its potential in Cuba. The personal friendship between former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau and Fidel Castro was very profound.” (Trudeau was the first NATO leader to go to Cuba and Castro was an honourary pallbearer at the Canadian’s funeral in 2000.)

“Also, Canadians are a massive tourist presence in Cuba, making up 55% of all tourists,” Kirk added. “The main foreign investor in Cuba is a Toronto-based mining company called Sherritt International and three million Cubans take part in the Terry Fox Run every year. Terry Fox is a national hero in Cuba.

“All this shows the potential for the enhancement of Canada-Cuba relations but Harper’s policy towards Latin America in general has been extremely disappointing.  Like Obama, he has been very slow to appreciate Latin America’s move to the left.  He clearly does not understand that the progressive changes in Latin America are for real and are here to stay.”

Around the same time that the U.S. moved to reconcile with Cuba, Obama announced new economic sanctions against Venezuela, signalling that basic U.S. policy towards the Global South has not changed. Hostility has not worked against the Cuban Revolution, as Obama emphasized in December. So will the U.S. now use other ways to undermine the communist government?

“The U.S. seems as intent on regime and system change as ever in Cuba,” warned William Blum, author of Killing Hope, the best book on CIA intervention abroad, in an interview. “I’m sure U.S. subversion of Cuba will continue in one form or another. Washington feared Cuba because it had created a good alternative to the capitalist system due to which the country was very admired and loved all over the world.  It has become a great example and inspiration.”

Asad Ismi is international affairs correspondent for The Monitor and the author of the anthology The Latin American Revolution, which includes this article, and can be ordered from the CCPA by writing [email protected]. He is also author of the radio documentary with the same title released in 2010 which has been aired on 40 radio stations in the U.S., Canada and Europe reaching about 33 million people. 

Published in the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor, February 2015

Dr. Paul Thomas, M.D. is a board-certified fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics who resides in Oregon. He took time out to attend the public hearing before the Oregon Senate Committee on Health Care, regarding Bill SB 442. This bill was written by Oregon State Senator and physician Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, and seeks to remove all philosophical and religious exemptions to vaccines in the State of Oregon. Dr. Paul stated that this bill, as it is written, is “a travesty.” He stated: “We need to protect our children and preserve the right for freedom of choice, and the right to give informed consent when your child is about to get a vaccine.” In testimony before the Senate Committee, Dr. Paul stated that he does not give every vaccine to every child in his practice, and as a result, he has over 1000 children in his practice over the age of 3, and NONE of them have autism. The rest of the country is seeing a rate of about one out of 50 children on the autism spectrum. He states that the “science is not settled” linking too many vaccines to autism, and that doctors like himself should not be coerced by bills like this one proposed in Oregon to give up the right to informed consent in regards to vaccines.

Dr. Paul Thomas, M.D. was born in Portland Oregon, and grew up in Southern Africa. He has a masters degree in biology, an M.D. from Dartmouth Medical School, and completed his pediatric residency at the University of California, San Diego. He is a board-certified fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and also carries board certifications in Addiction Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine. He started the Pediatric After-hours Clinic (now Pediatric ER) at Emanuel Children’s Hospital, where he also taught medical students and residents from 1988-1993.

Dr. Thomas is obviously knowledgeable in the area of immunization, as a practicing pediatrician and currently one of the few actual board-certified fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics residing in the State of Oregon. He took time out of his busy schedule to appear at the hearing last week before the Oregon Senate Committee on Health Care, regarding Bill SB 442, written by Oregon State Senator and physician Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, which seeks to remove all philosophical and religious exemptions to vaccines in the State of Oregon.

Here is Dr. Paul Thomas’ testimony and comments regarding his concerns about this proposed law:

Dr. Paul starts out his comments by mentioning how SB 442 will remove all philosophical and religious exemptions to vaccines, and that the only medical exemptions that would be allowed would be from “certain pre-selected medical providers.”

He states: “This is a travesty.”

Dr. Paul then stated why this bill is such a travesty:

This is powerful. This is important. This is for our children. We need to protect our children and preserve the right for freedom of choice, and the right to give informed consent when your child is about to get a vaccine.

Dr. Paul then begins his testimony by stating that he represents 11,000 patients and that 500 new babies come into his practice each month wanting informed consent about vaccines.

He states that it is his responsibility as a physician to point out the risks and benefits of every medical procedure, but that this proposed bill would not allow him to do this for his patients.

Next, Dr. Paul addresses the Hepatitis B vaccine routinely given to newborn babies in hospitals. He states that the amount of aluminum contained in this vaccine is 10 to 15 times the limit allowable for infants.

He provided handouts for each committee member showing the peer-reviewed studies linking toxic aluminum exposure to brain damage and autism.

According to Dr. Paul, the only people who need the Hepatitis B vaccine are moms who are positive for Hepatitis B, which is less than 1% in Oregon and the rest of the country:

So we are going to poison the other 99%, and it is going to be mandated by this law, so that we cover that 1%. And our Ob Gyns are doing a masterful job. We know who needs the vaccine and who doesn’t.

Dr. Paul also pointed out a study conducted in Norway that followed 85,000 pregnancies over 6 years which tracked folate intake and autism.

Norway only had a 1 in 1000 rate of autism, while the U.S. had a rate of 1 out of 100. As Dr. Paul looked for the differences in newborn pediatric care between the U.S. and Norway, he noticed that Norway does not give the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth like the U.S. does.

Dr. Paul then made the stunning statement that in his practice he currently has over 1000 kids at least 3 years old, and there are no new cases of autism, while nationally, his peers in pediatric care are seeing 1 out of 50 children on the autism spectrum. He tells the committee that we can greatly reduce the rate of autism by understanding that increased vaccines are in fact correlated with increased rates of autism. He referenced the 2004 CDC study that supposedly showed no link, but which now is known to show an increased link to autism among African-American boys after the release of all the data sets last year (2014).

Dr. Paul ends his brief testimony before the committee by stating that the “science is not settled” linking vaccines to autism, and that we need more studies.

Will the politicians listen? Or will they pass this bill anyway, forcing every child in Oregon who wants to attend school and receive other services to first receive forced vaccinations against the will of their parents and doctors like Dr. Paul Thomas?

Ready for Nuclear War over Ukraine?

February 25th, 2015 by Robert Parry

A senior Ukrainian official is urging the West to risk a nuclear conflagration in support of a “full-scale war” with Russia that he says authorities in Kiev are now seeking, another sign of the extremism that pervades the year-old, U.S.-backed regime in Kiev.

In a recent interview with Canada’s CBC Radio, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said, “Everybody is afraid of fighting with a nuclear state. We are not anymore, in Ukraine — we’ve lost so many people of ours, we’ve lost so much of our territory.”

Prystaiko added, “However dangerous it sounds, we have to stop [Russian President Vladimir Putin] somehow. For the sake of the Russian nation as well, not just for the Ukrainians and Europe.” The deputy foreign minister announced that Kiev is preparing for “full-scale war” against Russia and wants the West to supply lethal weapons and training so the fight can be taken to Russia.

“What we expect from the world is that the world will stiffen up in the spine a little,” Prystaiko said.

Image: Peter Sellers playing Dr. Strangelove as he struggles to control his right arm from making a Nazi salute.

Yet, what is perhaps most remarkable about Prystaiko’s “Dr. Strangelove” moment is that it produced almost no reaction in the West. You have a senior Ukrainian official saying that the world should risk nuclear war over a civil conflict in Ukraine between its west, which favors closer ties to Europe, and its east, which wants to maintain its historic relationship with Russia.

Why should such a pedestrian dispute justify the possibility of vaporizing millions of human beings and conceivably ending life on the planet? Yet, instead of working out a plan for a federalized structure in Ukraine or even allowing people in the east to vote on whether they want to remain under the control of the Kiev regime, the world is supposed to risk nuclear annihilation.

But therein lies one of the under-reported stories of the Ukraine crisis: There is a madness to the Kiev regime that the West doesn’t want to recognize because to do so would upend the dominant narrative of “our” good guys vs. Russia’s bad guys. If we begin to notice that the right-wing regime in Kiev is crazy and brutal, we might also start questioning the “Russian aggression” mantra.

According to the Western “group think,” the post-coup Ukrainian government “shares our values” by favoring democracy and modernity, while the rebellious ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine are “Moscow’s minions” representing dark forces of backwardness and violence, personified by Russia’s “irrational” President Putin. In this view, the conflict is a clash between the forces of good and evil where there is no space for compromise.

Yet, there is a craziness to this “group think” that is highlighted by Prystaiko’s comments. Not only does the Kiev regime display a cavalier attitude about dragging the world into a nuclear catastrophe but it also has deployed armed neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists to wage a dirty war in the east that has involved torture and death-squad activities.

Not Since Adolf Hitler

No European government, since Adolf Hitler’s Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly. Yet, across the West’s media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality, even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established.

The New York Times and the Washington Post have spearheaded this journalistic malfeasance by putting on blinders so as not to see Ukraine’s neo-Nazis, such as when describing the key role played by the Azov battalion in the war against ethnic Russians in the east.

On Feb. 20, in a report from Mariupol, the Post cited the Azov battalion’s importance in defending the port city against a possible rebel offensive. Correspondent Karoun Demirjian wrote:

“Petro Guk, the commander of the Azov battalion’s reinforcement operations in Mariupol, said in an interview that the battalion is ‘getting ready for’ street-to-street combat in the city. The Azov battalion, now a regiment in the Ukrainian army, is known as one of the fiercest fighting forces­ in the pro-Kiev operation.

“But … it has pulled away from the front lines on a scheduled rest-and-retraining rotation, Guk said, leaving the Ukrainian army — a less capable force, in his opinion — in its place. His advice to residents of Mariupol is to get ready for the worst.

“‘If it is your home, you should be ready to fight for it, and accept that if the fight is for your home, you must defend it,’ he said, when asked whether residents should prepare to leave. Some are ready to heed that call, as a matter of patriotic duty.”

The Post’s stirring words fit with the Western media’s insistent narrative and its refusal to include meaningful background about the Azov battalion, which is known for marching under Nazi banners, displaying the Swastika and painting SS symbols on its helmets.

The New York Times filed a similarly disingenuous article from Mariupol on Feb. 11, depicting the ethnic Russian rebels as barbarians at the gate with the Azov battalion defending civilization. Though providing much color and detail – and quoting an Azov leader prominently – the Times left out the salient and well-known fact that the Azov battalion is composed of neo-Nazis.

But this inconvenient truth – that neo-Nazis have been central to Kiev’s “self-defense forces” from last February’s coup to the present – would disrupt the desired propaganda message to American readers. So the New York Times just ignores the Nazism and refers to Azov as a “volunteer unit.”

Yet, this glaring omission is prima facie proof of journalistic bias. There’s no way that the editors of the Post and Times don’t know that the presence of neo-Nazis is newsworthy. Indeed, there’s a powerful irony in this portrayal of Nazis as the bulwark of Western civilization against the Russian hordes from the East. It was, after all, the Russians who broke the back of Nazism in World War II as Hitler sought to subjugate Europe and destroy Western civilization as we know it.

That the Nazis are now being depicted as defenders of Western ideals has to be the ultimate man-bites-dog story. But it goes essentially unreported in the New York Times and Washington Post as does the inconvenient presence of other Nazis holding prominent positions in the post-coup regime, including Andriy Parubiy, who was the military commander of the Maidan protests and served as the first national security chief of the Kiev regime. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine, Through the US Looking Glass.”]

The Nazi Reality

Regarding the Azov battalion, the Post and Times have sought to bury the Nazi reality, but both have also acknowledged it in passing. For instance, on Aug. 10, 2014, a Times’ article mentioned the neo-Nazi nature of the Azov battalion in the last three paragraphs of a lengthy story on another topic.

“The fighting for Donetsk has taken on a lethal pattern: The regular army bombards separatist positions from afar, followed by chaotic, violent assaults by some of the half-dozen or so paramilitary groups surrounding Donetsk who are willing to plunge into urban combat,” the Times reported.

“Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Whites Out Ukraine’s Brownshirts.”]

Similarly, the Post published a lead story last Sept. 12 describing the Azov battalion in flattering terms, saving for the last three paragraphs the problematic reality that the fighters are fond of displaying the Swastika:

“In one room, a recruit had emblazoned a swastika above his bed. But Kirt [a platoon leader] … dismissed questions of ideology, saying that the volunteers — many of them still teenagers — embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of ‘romantic’ idea.”

Other news organizations have been more forthright about this Nazi reality. For instance, the conservative London Telegraph published an article by correspondent Tom Parfitt, who wrote: “Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’… should send a shiver down Europe’s spine.

“Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.”

Based on interviews with militia members, the Telegraph reported that some of the fighters doubted the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Hitler and acknowledged that they are indeed Nazis.

Andriy Biletsky, the Azov commander, “is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly,” according to the Telegraph article which quoted a commentary by Biletsky as declaring: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

The Telegraph questioned Ukrainian authorities in Kiev who acknowledged that they were aware of the extremist ideologies of some militias but insisted that the higher priority was having troops who were strongly motivated to fight.

Azov fighters even emblazon the Swastika and the SS insignia on their helmets. NBC News reported: “Germans were confronted with images of their country’s dark past … when German public broadcaster ZDF showed video of Ukrainian soldiers with Nazi symbols on their helmets in its evening newscast.”

Image: Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV.)

But it’s now clear that far-right extremism is not limited to the militias sent to kill ethnic Russians in the east or to the presence of a few neo-Nazi officials who were rewarded for their roles in last February’s coup. The fanaticism is present at the center of the Kiev regime, including its deputy foreign minister who speaks casually about a “full-scale war” with nuclear-armed Russia.

An Orwellian World

In a “normal world,” U.S. and European journalists would explain to their readers how insane all this is; how a dispute over the pace for implementing a European association agreement while also maintaining some economic ties with Russia could have been worked out within the Ukrainian political system, that it was not grounds for a U.S.-backed “regime change” last February, let alone a civil war, and surely not nuclear war.

But these are clearly not normal times. To a degree that I have not seen in my 37 years covering Washington, there is a totalitarian quality to the West’s current “group think” about Ukraine with virtually no one who “matters” deviating from the black-and-white depiction of good guys in Kiev vs. bad guys in Donetsk and Moscow.

And, if you want to see how the “objective” New York Times dealt with demonstrations in Moscow and other Russian cities protesting last year’s coup against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, read Sunday’s dispatch by the Times’ neocon national security correspondent Michael R. Gordon, best known as the lead writer with Judith Miller on the infamous “aluminum tube” story in 2002, helping to set the stage for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Here’s how Gordon explained the weekend’s anti-coup protests:

“The official narrative as reported by state-run television in Russia, and thus accepted by most Russians, is that the uprising in Ukraine last year was an American-engineered coup, aided by Ukrainian Nazis, and fomented to overthrow Mr. Yanukovych, a pro-Russian president.”

In other words, the Russians are being brainwashed while the readers of the New York Times are getting their information from an independent news source that would never be caught uncritically distributing government propaganda, another example of the upside-down Orwellian world that Americans now live in. [See, for example, “NYT Retracts Russian Photo Scoop.”]

In our land of the free, there is no “official narrative” and the U.S. government would never stoop to propaganda. Everyone just happily marches in lockstep behind the conventional wisdom of a faultless Kiev regime that “shares our values” and can do no wrong — while ignoring the brutality and madness of coup leaders who deploy Nazis and invite a nuclear holocaust for the world.

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

Top 10 Bogus ISIS Stories

February 25th, 2015 by Adam Johnson

ISIS’s violent bona fides are not in doubt to anyone paying attention. They’vetargeted religious minoritiesbeheaded aid workers, sold women into sex slavery and have been all-around devastating for those under their rule. But as America debates the possibility of a full-scale ground invasion of ISIS-controlled territory, it’s important to note that much of the ISIS threat — namely that which targets the West — has been habitually overstated by an uncritical media.

In no particular order, here are the ten most bogus ISIS scare stories over the past year:


1. Female genital mutilation edict – July 2014


 

Who it fooled: Most major media outlets from Time to Reuters to The Atlantic to the BBC (whose story has since been scrubbed online). Above all, the UN itself.

Why it’s bogus: Actual residents of Mosul and regional experts quickly knew it reeked. The story was subsequently discredited by experts and jouranalistsand called a hoax soon after.


2. Church-burning in Mosul – July 2014



Who it fooled: Human Rights WatchThe AtlanticThe Independent,The Times of India

Why it’s bogus: An intrepid archaeologist, Sam Hardy, called BS and thanks to the magic of reverse image Google search and some prodding by yours truly, it was eventually retracted by several outlets and never mentioned again.


3. ISIS in Mexico – October 2014



Who it fooled: Fox NewsJudicial WatchThe Inquisitr .

Why it’s bogus: Absurd on its face, the story was quickly and roundly debunked.


4. ISIS recruiting emo British teen – December 2014



Who it fooled: MetroThe Daily MailThe Telegraph

Why it’s bogus: The person who uploaded the picture admitted on Twitter it was a fake. The media subsequently deemed it a “hoax”.


5. ISIS Caliphate map – July 2014



Who it fooled: ABC NewsInternational Business TimesBreitbart

Why it’s bogus: The original story from ABC News cited a map that had been floating around the Internet for months. To this day, its one and only source is a tweet from a noted white supremacist website Third Position.

io9.com and others eventually deemed it a hoax.


6. ISIS beheads Christian children – Aug 2014



Who it fooled: Originally asserted on CNN by self-proclaimed Iraqi-Christian activist Mark Arabo–a grocery story industry lobbyist whose previous media appearance was on a local San Diego news channel to oppose an increase in minimum wage–this story spread among right-wing and Christian media.

Why it’s bogus: After a fairly thorough inquirysnopes eventually determined the claim was “inconclusive,” having found no independent evidence it occurred.


7. $425m bank robbery – June 2014



Who it fooled: The Washington PostInternational Business Times,Fox NewsMicVocativ

Why it’s bogus: The story was based solely on accounts from the former mayor of Mosul and was later found to be uncredible by The Financial Timesand, ultimately, US officials themselves.


8. ‘Over 100 Americans have joined ISIS’ – October 2014



Who it fooled: NBC NewsWashington PostAl Jazeera

Why it’s bogus: After the FBI admitted there were only “about a dozen” Americans fighting alongside jihadists in Syria in September 2014, several media outlets continued to report ”over 100,” despite the government correcting the record several weeks prior.


9. #AllEyesOnISIS “Twitter storm” – June 2014



Who it fooled: The Daily MailMcClatchy

Why it’s bogus: Yours truly showed that the “Twitter storm” was simply areposting of weeks- or months-old tweets by an overzealous ISIS fanboi.


10. ISIS’s ebola terror plot – December 2014



Who it fooled: The Daily MailFox NewsMashablerandom right-wing media

Why it’s bogus: ”Iraqi media” was the only source for the story, and the Iraqi minister of Health quickly debunked it.

Adam Johnson is a freelance journalist; formerly he was a founder of the hardware startup Brightbox. You can follow him on Twitter at@adamjohnsonnyc. A version of this post appeared on his blog Citations Needed (2/20/15).

Netanyahu Goes Nuclear…Now Wait for the Fallout

February 25th, 2015 by Jonathan Cook

The contents of a secret report by Israel’s Mossad spy agency on Iran’s nuclear programme leaked to the media this week are shocking and predictable in equal measure.

Shocking because the report reveals that the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has spent years trying to convince the international community and Israelis that Tehran is racing towards building a nuclear bomb, when evidence presented by his own spies suggests the opposite.

Predictable because since early 2011 Israel’s security establishment has been screaming as loudly as any secret service realistically could that Netanyahu was not to be trusted on the Iran issue.

The significance of the leak is not just historical, given that Netanyahu is still trying to scaremonger about an Iranian threat and undermine negotiations between western powers and Tehran.

According to the report, leaked to al-Jazeera and the Guardian newspaper, Mossad concluded in 2012 that Tehran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons”.

At the time, Netanyahu was widely reported to be pushing for a military strike against Iran. He had recently flourished a cartoon bomb at the UN in New York, claiming Tehran was only a year away from developing a nuclear weapon. The international community had to act immediately, he said.

Mossad however estimated that Iran had limited amounts of uranium enriched to 20 per cent, far off the 93 per cent needed for a bomb. Tehran has always argued it wants low-grade uranium for a civilian energy programme, as allowed by the Non-Proliferation Treaty that Tehran it has signed.

In 2012, the New York Times reported that the Mossad and the US shared similar assessments of Iran’s nuclear programme. “There is not a lot of dispute between the US and Israeli intelligence communities on the facts,” a senior US official told the paper.

Earlier, in 2007, a US spy agency report suggested Iran had abandoned any efforts to develop a military nuclear programme years before, and was not trying to revive it.

Downplayed by media

This week’s leak has been downplayed by the Israeli media, at a time when it has the potential to seriously damage Netanyahu’s election campaign. His rivals are making almost no capital from the revelations either.

The low-key reception is even more surprising, given that Netanyahu is expected to reprise his 2012 fearmongering at the UN in an address to the US Congress next week. He hopes to undermine talks between the US and Iran on reaching a deal on the latter’s nuclear programme.

Netanyahu’s move – made without coordination with the White House – has infuriated Obama and brought relations to their lowest ebb in living memory.

This week it emerged that Netanyahu also failed to consult his national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, who oversees Israel’s strategic relationships. Cohen, who took up the post in 2013, served in Mossad for 30 years.

In justifying the lack of furore, Israeli security analysts claim that Mossad estimates from 2012 do not diverge significantly from Netanyahu’s public position. Both were agreed that Iran is seeking to build a bomb, they argue, but the two sides took a different view on the rate at which Iran was enriching uranium and thereby moving towards the moment it could make a weapon.

That argument is far from convincing.

Yossi Melman, an Israeli journalist specialising in security matters, wrote in the Jerusalem Post this week: “It is no secret that the Mossad and [Israeli] military intelligence, both in the past and the present, don’t share the warnings expressed by the prime minister.”

So what sources is Netanyahu relying on if not his own international spy agency? As Mossad’s estimates coincided largely with Washington’s, it appears he was not even receiving conflicting briefings from the Americans.

Also, unlike Netanyahu’s claim at the UN, the Mossad document did not suggest Tehran was trying to build a bomb. It stated that Iran’s efforts to develop what Tehran claims is a civilian nuclear programme would give it a technological capacity that could be redirected at short notice towards a military programme.

But that is true by definition. Advances in any state’s development of nuclear technology – even if only for peaceful purposes – help move it closer to a situation where it could choose to make a bomb.

The matter in contention has always been whether Iran intends to make such a switch. Netanyahu has insisted that indeed that is Iran’s goal; the Mossad report suggests there is no evidence for such an assumption.

The speed of enrichment then becomes the nearest thing to an objective yardstick for interpreting Iran’s behaviour. And Mossad viewed Iran’s enrichment rate as no cause for concern.

Vicious feud

More significantly, however, the document provides the context for understanding a vicious feud that has been brewing between Netanyahu and his spy chiefs for at least the past four years.

Unable to speak out directly themselves, serving spies have instead been using as mouthpieces the departing heads of Israel’s leading security agencies.

The most significant has been Meir Dagan, who has been battling Netanyahu in public since he stepped down as Mossad chief in December 2010, more than a year and a half before the leaked report was published.

In January 2011, a month after leaving Mossad, Dagan called Netanyahu’s hints that he wanted to attack Iran the “stupidest thing I’ve ever heard”. Ephraim Halevy, a predecessor of Dagan’s, also cautioned that Iran did not pose an existential threat as Netanyahu claimed, and that an attack could wreck the “entire region for 100 years”.

Yuval Diskin, who quit the Shin Bet domestic intelligence service in 2011, also joined the fray. A few months before the prime minister’s UN speech, he accused Netanyahu and his defence minister Ehud Barak, who was also said to support an attack, of being “messianic”.

He added: “These are not people who I would want to have holding the wheel in such an event. They are misleading the public on the Iran issue.”

Netanyahu’s judgment in critical situations was also called into question by an article in the Haaretz newspaper in summer 2012, shortly before his address at the UN.

In February 1998, wrote Haaretz, Netanyahu had ordered for the first time in Israel’s history the use of its nuclear weapons – against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq after it launched missiles at Israel in retaliation for the West’s punitive sanctions and no-fly zone. The order was rescinded, according to Haaretz, only after three generals talked him out of it.

The incident was apparently well known to Israeli military correspondents at the time and one, Zeev Shiff, wrote an article urging what he called a “Red Button Law” that would prevent a prime minister from ever having such unilateral power again.

Black arts

Nonetheless, given the black arts of all intelligence services, it was possible that the image of an emotional and unstable Netanyahu may not have been entirely reliable.

Dagan and the rest of the Israeli security elite were not opposed to an attack on Iran. They simply objected to the idea of a go-it-alone strike by Israel of the kind Netanyahu was threatening, fearing it would fail to destroy Iran’s nuclear programme and only serve to stiffen Tehran’s resolve to seek a bomb. They preferred that the US lead any attack.

One suspicion was that Dagan and the others had not really broken ranks with Netanyahu but were trying to help him to mislead Iran and the Americans in a sophisticated game of good cop, bad cop.

On this view, Dagan’s criticisms were designed to suggest to Washington that Netanyahu was a loose canon who might push Israel into a lone-wolf attack on Iran with disastrous consequences.

Were the Americans to grow excessively concerned about Netanyahu’s intentions, it might encourage them to take on the task themselves or to impose savage sanctions on Iran to placate the Israeli prime minister. The latter policy was, in fact, later adopted.

While it is still possible that this was Israel’s game plan, the newly leaked document appears to confirm that there was and is real substance to the feud between Netanyahu and the security establishment.

In another leak, this one a confidential US embassy cable released by Wikileaks in 2010, Dagan told US officials that covert action, including helping minority groups topple the regime and actions to degrade Iran’s nuclear technology, would suffice to contain Iran’s programme for the foreseeable future.

The very public and unprecedented nature of the falling out on an issue considered by Israelis to be an existential one most likely damaged Israel national interests. It undermined the Israeli public’s confidence in their leaders, gave succour to Tehran that the Israeli defence establishment was in disarray, and helped set Washington on a collision course with Israel over Iran.

Netanyahu’s current clash with Obama over Iran appears similarly to be doing yet more harm to the two countries’ special relationship.

Neoliberalism is “the ideology of corporate domination and the plunder of finance capital.” To preserve itself domestically, the modern system has created both the Mass Black Incarceration State and the National Security State. Internationally, “terrorism, ‘humanitarian intervention,’ and economic sabotage are the primary means of maintaining US hegemony of the neo-liberal variety.” 

February is Black History Month. During the month, the historical struggle for Black self-determination is whitewashed, distorted, and packaged to fit the needs of the US imperialist empire. The concept of neo-liberalism rarely garners attention in dominant narratives of Black history. Yet, neo-liberal policy has largely determined the conditions of Black life in the US for almost four decades. In this study, neo-liberalism is examined in preparation for the “Get to Freedom Organize” Conference at Skidmore College. At the conference, I will discuss the roots of neo-liberalism in the context of white supremacy and capitalist development. This article concludes with the often overlooked connection between neo-liberal capitalist economics and the imperial warfare state.

Neo-Liberal Ideology: Rooted in Capitalism and White Supremacy

Neo-liberalism is rooted in the historical development of capitalism in the Western Hemisphere. During the colonial period, English settlers arrived on the shores of what was called “Turtle Island” (North America) by its original inhabitants with plans of developing a system of capitalist accumulation. After driving indigenous peoples from their land, settler planters utilized European and African servant-labor on mono-cultural tobacco farms to extract profit for the English Crown. Competition in the world tobacco market lowered prices and created a crisis of overproduction that moved capitalist planters to expropriate small tobacco farmers and extend the labor time of bondservants. The “proletarianization” of African, Irish, and other European laborers created servant class unity against the interests of the plantation ruling class.

In the last few decades of the 1600′s, numerous rebellions took place in the tobacco dependent Southern colonies. The most famous was Bacon’s Rebellion. Bacon was an unsavory advocate of indigenous extermination but did lead almost a thousand servants and farmers of all classes to overthrow the governor. Many who took part in the rebellion did so out of resistance to the deteriorating conditions of bond-laborers in the colony. The Governor of Virginia responded by creating a system of “white” privileges for European laborers and a system of hereditary bond labor (chattel slavery) for African laborers. Virginia and the North American colonies became deeply dependent on highly profitable African slave trade to increase the profits of merchants and planters alike. Thus, the white race was born to save capitalism from ruin.

Capitalism and racism developed together to fit the interests of the colonial ruling class. White supremacy provided a powerful buffer of protection for the capitalists from super-exploited Black people and exploited whites. The so-called “American Revolution” at the end of the 18th century was declared in response to bourgeois fear that the Crown would terminate the highly profitable system of slavery. If one reads the anthem of the war, the “Star Spangled Banner,” the fourth stanza reads:

Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave . . .

According to Gerald Horne, the colonial bourgeoisie was most pre-occupied with the preservation of white supremacy. The Star Spangled Banner proves that there was deep contempt white racist contempt for African slaves that fought for the British Crown. The Crown was viewed by slave owners like George Washington as inciting a rebellion against the interests of the decadent institution of slavery. The principles of capitalism and racism that guided the fight for the independence of the slave owning class from the British are the roots of neo-liberalism. It is important to note that each change in US capitalist development that brought neo-liberalism into existence was precipitated by a crisis in the system.

After each crisis, US capitalism reformed itself to expand under new historical conditions.

When US monopoly capital rapidly consolidated after the Civil War, the US experienced an industrial boom and settler expansion both in the West and South of the US settler state. The doctrine of “Manifest Destiny” expanded US colonial-capitalism into Western North America and South America. Black life struggled victoriously to free itself from the chains of slavery but was re-enslaved by other means (Jim Crow, convict-leasing, sharecropping). Workers struggled to organize in the midst of periodic crisis and industrial exploitation. The system responded to the growing ferment in the post-slavery era with periodic reforms that attempted to channel resistance into acceptable means of change.

The 20th Century marked the last period of reform for US capitalism. The “New Deal” was instituted to save capitalism from the organized militancy of workers in the Depression era. World War II provided much of the funding for government programs. It also paved two paths of development. One was the fascist, imperialist road of Western exploitation and domination. The other was the socialist road led by the Soviet Union. The historic struggle for socialism took place everywhere, including the US. Black Americans played a critical role in the war against the old rule of monopoly capital and for socialist development, a war that continued even after the “New Deal” reeled large sections of the working class back into imperialism’s orbit.

Black Americans were excluded from most of the benefits of “New Deal” legislation. The continuation of the brutal system of state sanctions white supremacy gave Black American freedom fighters like Paul Robeson and WEB Dubois every reason to forge relationships with nations and people fighting US imperialism at the time. Nations like the Soviet Union and Ghana represented alternatives to the racist, imperialist system of the US. The Black Panther Party and other revolutionary organizations in latter half of the 20th century built relationships of solidarity with socialist China, Korea, Vietnam and other national liberation struggles worldwide. FDR’s “New Deal” and LBJ’s “Great society” should be seen in a context where global forces were in motion away from, not toward, the dominant capitalist order. Neither President was shy to explain that such reforms were meant to save capitalism and nothing else.

Imperial reforms and repression halted the development of the world socialist revolution, at least for the moment. Imperialism’s fight-back created an uneven course of development throughout the world. The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 greatly diminished the socialist camp and empowered the capitalist class to further concentrate capital into its greedy hands. In the 1970′s, the capitalist system fell into crisis. Monopoly capital’s crisis of overproduction could only be resolved through further monopolization and usurious speculation of commodities, like oil, which were already institutionally dominated by the West under the Bretton Woods Agreement. The ruling class imposed a permanent warfare state on the world and wasted no time to carry out a program of austerity, privatization, deindustrialization and repression. All of it was justified by the neo-liberal paradigm.

Neo-liberalism is repression, privatization, and empire

The neo-liberal paradigm is often called a “right wing backlash” or a divergence from the liberal welfare state. Such a simplification ignores the connection between monopoly capital, war, and domestic repression. Neo-liberalism is not just a return to classical capitalist values. It is the ideology of corporate domination and the plunder of finance capital. In simpler terms, neo-liberalism is a form of capitalist self-preservation. The values of individualism, profit, and private property are dominant aspects of the system as in prior periods. However, the application of these principles differs from prior periods because the challenges of maintaining the rule of the rich have changed.

The neo-liberal paradigm is best understood in the context of the conditions that birthed it. Below are illustrative examples in the realm of repression, austerity, and war.

A) Repression

Neo-liberalism required mass scale repression to thrive in the midst of economic crisis and global resistance. Washington’s murderous COINTELPRO surveillance of the Black Panther Party and the Black liberation movement created the technical capacity for the 21st century National Security State (See Black Against Empire’s chapter “41st and Central”). As deregulation, deindustrialization, and austerity plundered the post-World War II economic base of Black and oppressed communities, the ruling class diverted resources into the militarization of police forces and the expansion of prisons. The Black Mass Incarceration State developed to stifle Black resistance and lock up the growing numbers of Black unemployed and poor Americans displaced by neo-liberal capitalism’s end game.

In the 80′s and 90′s, the imperial state implemented the ”tough on crime” War on Drugs policy to promote the growth of the National Security State. The Pentagon provided material support for local police departments to conduct militarized “drug raids” and mass surveillance of Black Americans. This was supported by Drug laws that targeted Black Americans with a disparate ratio between “crack” cocaine and power cocaine criminal sentences (which are now 18 to 1 as opposed to 100 to 1 up until a year ago). State by state “three strikes” laws were also instituted as a way to lock up Black Americans charged for felonies from drug offensives. The ruling class thus created a literal “trap” that created a pipeline of occupation in working class Black communities starting from the streets of dispossessed neighborhoods and in to the rapidly growing prison state.

The “War on Drugs” eventually lost its popularity in the public eye. When the “War on Terror” was declared by Bush Jr. officially in 2001, companies like Blackwater and Lockheed Martin began raking in billions in government contracts to militarize the police and develop a mass surveillance system. Undocumented immigrants were terrorized by a more fiercely militarized border patrols. The NSA, CIA, FBI, and other related intelligence communities expanded exponentially to conduct surveillance on each and every American. Since Ed Snowden’s leaks of NSA surveillance, the National Security State has come under increased scrutiny for its massive size and perversion of privacy. Its ideological and material roots lie in the transformation of the covert repression of oppressed people into an open counterinsurgency war to protect the interests of the neo-liberal capitalist order.

The US Black Mass Incarceration State imprisons the most people in the world and spends more money on mass surveillance than any country on the planet. The goal is to ensure that the looting of all working class people, especially Black people, continues without the formation of a radical movement against it. The criminalization of Black Americans and the erosion of civil liberties under the dictates of the War on Terror period should be seen as necessary conditions of the neo-liberal paradigm. Each targets the oppressed as scapegoats and gives capital the needed political space to continue history’s largest wealth transfer (robbery) from the working class to the rich.

B) Austerity and Privatization

Privatization has been the primary means of achieving super-profits for the capitalist class in a period of permanent crisis. Neo-liberal policy has consistently recycled capitalist and racist ideology to justify shockwaves of increased exploitation. The attack on federal welfare recipients at the beginning of the neo-liberal period is case in point. Throughout the 1980′s and into the 1990′s, Black women were labeled “Welfare Queens” by the American corporate media and political class. The idea of the “Welfare Queen” created hostile racist conditions that allowed Washington to eliminate of AFDC welfare benefits in 1996.

President Clinton and the Democratic Party collaborated with Newt Gingrich’s Republican Party to eliminate AFDC. This collaboration represented a lasting partnership between the imperialist parties toward neo-liberal ends. Clinton passed the anti-union, anti-worker NAFTA policy two years earlier, which further gutted the industrial base of the working class. NAFTA culminated an intensified attack on workers and unions from corporate capital that officially began when Reagan busted the PATCO strike in the early 80′s. Clinton also instituted the HOPEIV program, which demolished thousands of public housing units to pave the way for privately contracted subsidized housing and the gentrification of Black working class cities. The Clinton era rollbacks of union organization and social programs are key examples of neo-liberalism at work.

Neo-liberal austerity in the US has created a new, more miserable normal for working class and oppressed. Public education is being privatized in Chicago and cities all over the country. Corporately sponsored charters like the KIPP School are replacing public schools. Teach for America scabs are replacing community-based teachers. The privatization of public education is most developed in New Orleans. Washington responded to Hurricane Katrina by using the impoverished Black Lower Ninth Ward as an experimentation zone to completely replace public education with ”school-choice” vouchers and charter schools. This was confirmed when Arne Duncan stated in 2010 that Hurricane Katrina “was the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans.”

Since the economic crisis of 2008, the city of Detroit has experienced the harshest form of neo-liberal plunder to date. The city has been stripped of its municipal political system and put under the state’s emergency management plan led by Jones Day Law Firm. Jones Day is notoriously known as a shill for Bank of America, Barclays, and Wall Street generally. Education, water, housing, and municipal pensions are being sold off as “assets” to pay the banks for the crisis they created. This model is being in Atlantic City and potentially for cities across the nation.

Detroit and Atlantic City’s majority Black metropolises have been sold off to the ruling class in the name of “revitalization” and “innovation.” These catchwords for reform are a critical element of neo-liberalism. They reek of anti-Blackness and anti-working class sentiment. The ideology of neo-liberalism cannot be disconnected from the material conditions that have been rendered by almost four decades of austerity and privatization. Half of US public school children are living in poverty. Black women are being evicted at the same rate of Black male imprisonment. White America has over ten times the wealth of Black America. These examples of intensified exploitation are the result of neo-liberal ideology and policy at work.

Neo-liberalism since the 1980’s, in sum, has meant the expansion of homelessness, poverty, union busting, and the privatization of all aspects of life so that monopoly capital can expand nationally and globally. The key characteristic of such expansion is that rather than changing form from one mode of development (industrial to finance, or agricultural to industrial), capitalism has been forced to squeeze and eat up everything it can lay its hands on. The other option for the rulers of capital is for the system to stagnate and die.

C) War

Austerity and privatization thrive off the dehumanization of the oppressed. Similarly, imperialist war is no different in the neo-liberal period. In the 1960′s and 70′s, US imperialism’s Vietnam debacle created an embarrassing blemish for US foreign policy interests. The war also helped precipitate the economic crisis of the 1970′s. The international devaluation of the dollar and the overproduction of oil and other assets sent shockwaves of reality to the capitalist system. To ward off future political and economic crisis, the ruling class gave the world’s people an ultimatum. The rulers of capital demanded subservience to US corporate interests or face economic and military war. However, the character of US sponsored imperialist warfare was forced to change as the capitalist system entered the neo-liberal period. Vietnam taught the ruling class that it could no longer draft (force) Americans to invade countries without political and economic consequence.

US capitalism’s transition into the neo-liberal period was not a peaceful one. The conditions of neo-liberalism necessitated a state of permanent imperial warfare, and World War II helped produce the military arsenal to get the job done. In a 1954 document entitled Notes on Foreign Economic Policy, the CIA targeted international trade regulations and the growing influence of socialism as the primary obstacles to US economic hegemony. US involvement in the affairs of other nations was encouraged. A special emphasis was placed on economic development led by US dominated global financial institutions like the IMF. Corporate expansion and the imposition of war were declared in the document matter of “national security.”

In 1973, the CIA overthrew the democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende. Thousands were killed and thousands more disappeared under the rule of the fascist dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Washington’s bloody coup was conducted under the dictates of the neo-liberal paradigm. Milton Freidman and graduates of the University Chicago helped plan the neo-liberal policy of shock and awe privatization that was implemented after the coup. The privatization of state resources and forced dependence on the IMF and Wall Street defined fascist Chile. Private investment indebted Chile to the West and threw the majority of people in Chile into poverty. Chile represented the desired model of imperialist plunder for the US and the neo-liberal ruling class.

Since 1945, the US has directly overthrown over fifty foreign governments and caused the death and impoverishment of millions of people. The US invaded Iraq in 2003 at the expense of almost two million Iraqi lives. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, over six million have been murdered by Ugandan and Rwandan-backed mercenaries since 1996 as they plunder the country’s natural resources. The African states waging war on the Democratic Republic of Congo are heavily supported by the US. Cuba, Venezuela, the DPRK, and Iran are currently under crippling US sanctions that have cost these nations billions in revenue and immeasurable suffering. The expansion of war in the interests of neo-liberalism has cost at least 20-30 million lives since the end of World War II.

US imperialism has promoted wars of austerity and pillage as projects of ”democracy” “counter-terrorism.” The war on Libya and Syria were called “humanitarian interventions.”  These racist and paternalistic justifications for murderous plunder and robbery are critical to the defense of neo-liberalism. The world’s people must be seen as “terrorists” or unable to govern themselves without “help” from the benevolent West. Colonialism’s racist paradigm of the innate “inferiority” of the colonized remains a staple of the neo-liberal period.

Neo-liberalism is a major reason why the US is a permanent warfare state. Permanent war is a result of permanent neo-liberal economic crisis. By 2016, the top 1 percent of the globe will have more wealth than the rest of humanity combined. As capital has concentrated in the hands of the capitalists, the capitalists have unleashed their military apparatus to ensure the spread and safety of its profits. Militarism stands as the most significant weapon in imperialism’s arsenal to halt its demise.

This explains why the US supports terrorism around the globe to overthrow independent nations yet acts as if its foreign policy objective is a “War on Terror.” The necessity of war also explains why Russia and China are being militarily surrounded by US installations despite having a large stake in the US capitalist economy. The desperation of neo-liberalism lies in the fact that the US was once half of the global capitalist economy after World War II. Six decades later, the US is only 17 percent of the global capitalist economy. What the US lost in economic power has been compensated through military expansion. Terrorism, “humanitarian intervention,” and economic sabotage are the primary means of maintaining US hegemony of the neo-liberal variety.

However, the US militarism is failing to institute ”shock and awe” neo-liberal economics as it did in prior decades. In Syria, Ukraine, and Libya, US intervention has created conditions of chaos and internal war, which have disallowed a smooth transition to neo-colonialism. So while the world remains in a lopsided struggle against IMF debt, Wall Street dominance, and US overt and covert military war, there are positive signs that the imperialist neo-liberal system is losing ground.  China’s rise to global economic supremacy and Russia’s growing influence on world affairs guarantee that the US neo-liberal ruling class will continue to wage war on the planet until the imperialist system is overthrown entirely.

Conclusion

The primary lesson of neo-liberalism is the need for a revolutionary transformation here and around the world. The socialist process has already begun, but neo-liberalism has forced its retreat. Corporate and finance capital’s neo-liberal model has been the dominant model of development in the world since the economic crisis of the 1970′s. The ideological foundation of neo-liberalism is fascist, free-market fundamentalism and white supremacy. In the quest to impose corporate domination and restore the capitalist system, the imperialist ruling class has waged economic wars of privatization, military wars of destabilization, and domestic wars of repression against oppressed people and nations all over the world.

This article examined neo-liberalism within the context of the development, history, and current conditions of the imperialist system. Neo-liberalism’s impact on oppressed people is vast and extensive. Readers of this article are encouraged to study Black Agenda Report’s analysis of the Black Misleadership Class and color-blind racism. The parallel rise of the Black Misleadership Class and the ideology of “color-blindness” have a close relationship to the ideology and conditions of neo-liberalism. So too does the rise of the non-profit industrial complex. These developments were in large part born from the need for new political buffers between the oppressed and the ruling class during the catastrophic transition into neo-liberalism.

Imperialism will continue to push the neo-liberal agenda in an attempt to recover what it has lost in economic dominance. The left must forward a revolutionary analysis of neo-liberalism into the day-to-day work of liberation struggle. Neo-liberalism’s policy of destabilization is arguably a new, more improved fascism in every realm of life. Unlike the war between fascism and imperialism in the early to mid 20th century, monopoly capital cannot grow and expand itself out of crisis or reform itself to appease broad sections of the class structure. Neo-liberalism has no choice but to plunder or die. That is, until the resistance of the oppressed bring about the system’s immediate end. How much more can we take?

Danny Haiphong is an organizer for Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) in Boston. He is also a regular contributor to Black Agenda Report. Danny can be reached at [email protected] and FIST can be reached at [email protected].

A fortnight after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott survived a Liberal Party backbench revolt, the leadership issue is clearly unresolved. Increasingly Abbott, his gaffes and unilateral decisions, or “captain’s calls,” have become objects of ridicule in the establishment media. Speculation remains rife that Abbott has just months to improve the party’s fortunes or face a leadership challenge.

Underlying the political crisis are deep frustrations in the corporate elite over the Abbott government’s failure to drive through their demands for far-reaching pro-market reforms and austerity measures. Key policies from last May’s budget, including lifting the pension age to 70, cuts to welfare benefits and a co-payment for doctors’ visits, remain blocked in the Senate by Labor, the Greens and minor parties, who fear a backlash from working class voters. Abbott sparked fresh concerns in business circles when he suggested that the government would back off harsh measures in this year’s budget.

No one has declared a formal challenge to Abbott’s leadership, but the most likely challenger is obvious—Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a merchant banker, former Liberal Party leader and one of the wealthiest individuals in the Australian parliament. Turnbull appeared on last week’s edition of the ABC’s “Q&A” panel show, where the issue of the Liberal Party leadership was so much in the air that an audience member asked whether Abbott would last and was the next prime minister present in the room. Slick, urbane and smug, Turnbull passed over the question.

Turnbull did exploit the show to lay out his strategy for pushing through unpopular budget measures. Well aware that the Labor Party’s opposition to austerity is empty posturing, he declared that both sides of politics agreed on the need to “sort out the budget mess.” He called on Labor for a collaborative approach to implementing the austerity agenda demanded by big business. Sections of the media have been calling for months for such bipartisanship in order to overcome the parliamentary logjam and have backed Turnbull as the only figure capable of achieving it.

However, a major obstacle to Turnbull’s leadership ambitions lies in Washington. In the midst of rising geo-political tensions, a key test of any Australian prime minister is the degree to which he or she is willing to unconditionally align with US intrigues, interventions and wars, especially the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia” and its military build-up throughout the Indo-Pacific region against China.

The ousting of Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in June 2010 by a handful of Labor and union powerbrokers with close links to the US embassy marked a key turning point in Australian foreign policy. Rudd was not opposed to the US-Australian alliance, or the necessity for preparing for war against China. However, his proposal for an Asia Pacific Community and suggestion that the US reach a modus vivendi with China cut directly across the Obama administration’s determination to confront Beijing and maintain America’s untrammelled hegemony throughout Asia.

Every subsequent government has lined up fully with Washington. Since winning office in September 2013, Abbott has functioned as a reliable attack-dog for the United States: confronting Putin over Ukraine, committing Australian military forces to the new US-led war in the Middle East, and further opening up Australian bases for the Pentagon’s “rebalance” to Asia, aimed at encircling China.

Questions continue to hang over Turnbull in Washington, however. Like Rudd, Turnbull has in the past suggested that Australian interests would be best served by encouraging a balance between the US and China, now the world’s second largest economy. Obama’s confrontational stance toward China has heightened the dilemma facing Australian imperialism, which depends heavily on China as its top trading partner but remains reliant strategically on its post-World War II alliance with the United States.

The views expressed by Rudd and Turnbull reflect those of layers of the Australian corporate and financial elite who are deeply concerned that rising tensions between the US and China are impacting on their economic interests. They are fearful of the growing danger of conflict, as well as the opposition that the US war drive could provoke among workers and youth. Since Rudd’s 2010 ouster, however, critics of the US “pivot” have been increasingly marginalised.

In a significant speech entitled “Asia’s Rise: A View From Australia” at the London School of Economics in October 2011, Turnbull, mesmerised by the statistics of China’s economic growth, foreshadowed “a massive realignment of economic and, in due course, political and strategic power at a speed and on a scale the world has not seen before.” He suggested that “within a few decades the IMF’s head office may be in Beijing rather than Washington.”

Turnbull’s superficial assessment that China would soon eclipse US imperialism ignores the contradictory character of China’s economic rise. Its expansion has at every stage depended on investment, technology and markets that remain dominated by the major global corporations and investment banks, which take the lion’s share of the profits. Militarily, despite its heavy defence spending, China lags well behind the United States, which has a global network of alliances and bases that are being “rebalanced” for a potential war against Beijing.

Turnbull’s conclusion was likewise based on the same false premise. Arguing against a policy of containing China, he declared: “The best and most realistic strategic outcome for East Asia must be one in which the powers are in balance, with each side effectively able to deny the domination of the other.” US imperialism, however, has no intention of allowing China, or any other power, to undermine its dominance in Asia or globally. As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bluntly declared, “the United States is not ceding the Pacific to anyone.”

In November 2011, Obama used the Australian parliament to formally announce his “pivot” or “rebalance” to Asia and signed an agreement with Rudd’s replacement, a fawning Julia Gillard, to base US Marines in the northern city of Darwin. The “pivot” not only involves a US military build-up throughout Asia, but also an aggressive diplomatic offensive to undermine Chinese influence and an economic component—the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)—aimed at compelling countries throughout the region, particularly China, to accept Washington’s far-reaching demands to fully open up to US trade and investment.

In a speech just days later, Turnbull pointedly warned:

“An Australian government needs to be careful not to allow a doe-eyed fascination with the leader of the free world to distract from the reality that our national interest requires us truly (and not just rhetorically) to maintain both an ally in Washington and a good friend in Beijing.”

Turnbull cautioned against “the misapprehension” that “even though China is about to become the world’s largest economy and is actually in the centre of East Asia, nonetheless the United States will remain the dominant power in the region.” To assume that the US would retain its hegemony, he concluded, was “not a sound basis on which to build Australia’s foreign policy.”

Following Obama’s speech, the dominant sections of the Australian political and military establishment concluded that their interests were best served by lining up with Washington and its reckless efforts via the “pivot” to secure US dominance over China, even if that precipitates war. Significantly, Turnbull’s remarks came under a blistering attack from Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of Murdoch’s Australian newspaper, one of Washington’s staunchest advocates. Turnbull’s “two important speeches on China,” Sheridan declared, “help explain why he was such a disastrous Liberal leader and why he should never be considered for the leadership again.”

More than three years after Obama’s speech in Canberra, global geo-political tensions have continued to rise dramatically, fuelled by the ongoing breakdown of world capitalism. Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, encouraged by Washington, have aggressively pursued their territorial disputes with China, greatly inflaming tensions in the East China and South China Seas. The US has forcefully intervened in Asia Pacific forums to undermine Chinese influence, resulting in a reorientation by the Burmese junta, long considered firmly in China’s camp, toward Washington. Just last month, a US-sponsored regime-change operation in Sri Lanka saw the removal of President Mahinda Rajapakse, who was considered too closely tied to Beijing.

The US military build-up has continued apace to meet Obama’s target of basing 60 percent of naval and air assets in the Asia Pacific by 2020. Australia, along with Japan, is central to the Pentagon’s war planning. Since 2011, the Australian military has been integrated more and more closely with its US counterparts. US basing arrangements in Darwin and other areas in the north and west of Australia are being expanded. US spy facilities at Pine Gap and North West Cape have been enhanced to expand their ability to provide phone, electronic and satellite data from across Asia and the Middle East. So essential are these bases that Australia would be automatically involved in any war with China.

Australian critics of the “pivot” continue to express their misgivings and concerns, which are rooted in the objective dilemmas confronting Australian imperialism and the rising dangers of war. They have, however, been compelled to adapt to the changed facts on the ground. Rudd served as foreign minister in the Gillard cabinet and fell into line with Washington’s foreign policy, as did his replacement Bob Carr, who had criticised the 2011 decision to base US Marines in Darwin.

Similarly, while his underlying concerns remain, Turnbull has modified his public stance. Although it is not his brief as communications minister in the Abbott government, he has continued to speak occasionally on foreign policy. Last June, the Australian pointed approvingly to his remarks to a security conference at the Australian National University, describing them as “one of the bluntest assessments yet from Canberra of Chinese territorial claims in the East and South China Sea.” Turnbull blamed China for the rising tensions, declaring that its determination “to muscle up to one or other of its neighbours, or all of its neighbours at different times” was “counterproductive” and “singularly unhelpful” to regional security.

Turnbull’s public silence on the controversy last November over the Chinese-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is also noteworthy. After Abbott’s cabinet initially approved Australian involvement in the bank, that decision was abruptly reversed after an extraordinary intervention by Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, on the grounds that Chinese investment would serve Beijing’s military aims. In 2012, by contrast, Turnbull had not been reticent in airing his opposition to the Labor government’s decision to ban Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei on security grounds from any involvement in the Australian national broadband network.

Most significant, however, was Turnbull’s speech to the US/Australia Dialogue in Los Angeles on January 30—that is, on the eve of the challenge to Abbott’s leadership. In many ways, it sounded like to job application to Washington, even though elements of the speech would still have jarred with the Obama administration.

Turnbull laid out his credentials as a proponent of pro-market restructuring and austerity to ensure that high-wage countries like Australia are “internationally competitive.” He singled out the US-backed TPP as the “broad-based and enduring regional agreement” needed to open up Asian economies, and called for China’s inclusion in the TPP on that basis.

Turnbull returned to his concerns that “the speed of Asia’s rise … could exacerbate the likelihood of conflict. This transition in global power will be a very different hand-off than from Britain to the US a century or so earlier.” As noted earlier, the US has no intention of “handing off” to China or any other power.

Nevertheless, Turnbull made clear where he stood amid the rising tensions, once again blaming China for exacerbating maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas. Moreover, in concluding his speech, he expressed his full support for “strong and continued American engagement in the region.”

While pointing to diplomatic engagement, rather than “military might or dollars,” Turnbull declared: “The Obama administration’s pivot to Asia is a vitally important stabilising, reassuring factor in the peaceful development of our region.” After referring to American wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, he continued: “But the main game, the highest stakes, the most to win or lose is in the Asia Pacific. That is the new centre of the global economy and America, a Pacific nation, has as much skin in this game as any of us in Australia.”

Turnbull was well aware of what he was doing. In making his pitch to Washington, he was pictured alongside Jeffrey Bleich—Obama confidante, point man for the “pivot” and the US ambassador to Canberra during the 2010 coup against Rudd. It remains to be seen, however, whether Turnbull has modified his message enough to satisfy the White House.

One significant indication that Turnbull is at least being seriously considered in Washington was the appearance of Greg Sheridan in last week’s “Q&A” program and his answer to the question as to whether the next prime minister was seated in the room. Sheridan could have repeated his unequivocal statement of 2011 that Turnbull should never be considered for the top post, but did not. Instead, he declared: “It’s quite clear the leadership is in play. I think Tony [Abbott] has a 50-50 chance of staying as leader. I think if he were to lose support definitively, it’s very likely the party would ask Malcolm Turnbull to take the leadership.”

Whatever the outcome of the Liberal Party leadership crisis, the continuing and sharpening geo-political undercurrents are another warning that, behind the backs of the working class, all factions of the ruling classes, whatever their tactical differences, are preparing for conflict and war.

Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim personally called for the use of automatic weapons against protestors, according to recordings obtained by Al Jazeera this week. He made these comments in a November 2014 meeting of the leadership of the Central Security Forces (CSF), the riot police of the US-backed Egyptian military junta.

“Use all that is permitted by the law. I think you all understand,” Ibrahim said. “Whatever is permitted by the law, use it without hesitation, any slight hesitation, from water to the machine gun.”

“I hope for decisiveness in confrontation. I hope you do not give them the chance to rally in the first place, even if you have to deal with them at the mosque. This is a national security issue,” he said.

“Do not wait for 100 to swell into 1,000 or 2,000 or 3,000, then we are all helpless before them,” he said. He also advised the CSF on how to murder protesters without turning them into martyrs.

Ibrahim spoke as the Sisi regime prepared to employ mass repression and violence against youth and workers in Cairo and other cities protesting police detention and torture of thousands of Egyptians last fall.

Minister Ibrahim’s warning points to the main concern of the thugs and murderers who control the US-backed Egyptian dictatorship. The Egyptian junta is deathly afraid that mass protests could again escalate beyond the capacity of the security forces to drown them in blood, as they did during the revolutionary uprising of 2011 that toppled US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak.

In the recording, Interior Ministry officials also discussed the government’s decision to reinstate a security officer who sought to blind demonstrators by targeting their eyes with birdshot-style shotgun ammunition, according to Al Jazeera.

This open discussion of mass murder and terror tactics against protesters is an indictment not only of the Sisi junta, but of the imperialist regimes in the United States and the major European powers that have backed it. The Sisi regime has continued to receive billions of dollars of US government support since taking power in a bloody coup d’état in July 2013. This money is going to fund and arm a regime that has murdered thousands of people in the streets of Egypt’s major cities, and that is preparing for new bloodbaths in the future.

US support for the Sisi junta also exposes the hypocrisy of Washington’s humanitarian pretexts for its wars in Libya and Syria, after the working class toppled Mubarak in 2011. US officials, the corporate media, and pro-imperialist intellectuals insisted that the wars were launched because they could not tolerate the thought that the Libyan and Syrian regimes might use violence against protesters.

In fact, Washington and its European imperialist allies happily endorse and support regimes that deliberately resort to the mass murder of peaceful protesters to keep power. Their hypocritical denunciations of Libya and Syria were pretexts for long-prepared wars for regime change against regimes Washington did not support, as part of a neo-colonial restructuring of the Middle East and Africa in the interests of the banks and the NATO imperialist powers. These wars led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and turned millions into refugees.

In Egypt, the imperialist powers are backing the authoritarian policies of the Sisi junta. In the audio recording, Ibrahim instructs his subordinates to conduct mass arrests against attendees of any gathering of more than 100 people.

Since taking power, the junta has banned any criticism of the executive leadership and judiciary, and used police violence to enforce sweeping bans of the right of assembly. On Monday, the junta ordered the dissolution of some 170 non-governmental organizations.

The ferocious repression meted out by the Egyptian junta aims above all to crush working class opposition to its free market policies, drawn up in consultation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the imperialist powers.

The Egyptian government is predicting that foreign direct investment (FDI) will reach $8 billion in FY 2014-15, according to a report published Tuesday by FTSE Global Markets, “Egypt at tipping point for growth in foreign investment inflows.”

During a recent press conference addressing Egypt’s “road map to improve the business climate,” acting Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb proclaimed that

“Egypt hopes to attract billions in foreign investment over the next four years.”

“The economic DNA of the country is a free-market yet disciplined economy. This is a good time for the government to put the country’s DNA in front of the international investment community. The government has been doing all the right things with the reform program,”

the top officer of Egypt’s largest private bank noted in similar remarks.

“People think that there is proper leadership in Egypt and that will make it attractive to foreign investors,” he said.

The ongoing devaluation of the Egyptian pound, overseen by the Egyptian Central Bank with support from the military junta, is being “welcomed by the business community,” he said.

While devaluation erodes the value of the national currency held by most Egyptians, who live in conditions of desperate poverty, it simultaneously creates more favorable conditions for foreign investors. Devaluation “boosts the competitiveness of Egyptian exports in both goods and services (tourism in particular) and encourages investors and international financial institutions to consider increasing their investments in Egypt,” the financial officer said.

Adding to the evidence that backs many U.S. communities’ decisions to end water fluoridation, a recent study has found that fluoride within our water supply may be fueling thyroid issues experienced by millions of Americans, leading to depression and more.

After analyzing 98% of GP practices in England, the study found specifically that rates of hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) were 30% more likely in areas that fluoridated their water. In the study, it equated to approximately 15,000 needlessly suffering from the ailment.

As mentioned, hypothyroidism is an issue that affects millions – often without anyone knowing it. It’s an issue that can lead to depression, weight gain, fatigue, aching muscles, weakness, and much more. While there are a number of causes of hypothyroidism, as well as numerous hypothyroidism natural treatments, this recent study suggests that limiting fluoride ingestion is one many should consider.

The study abstract’s findings concluded:

“Findings We found that higher levels of fluoride in drinking water provide a useful contribution for predicting prevalence of hypothyroidism. We found that practices located in the West Midlands (a wholly fluoridated area) are nearly twice as likely to report high hypothyroidism prevalence in comparison to Greater Manchester (non-fluoridated area)”

Professor Stephen Peckham, of the University’s Centre for Health Service Studies (CHSS), said that research was ‘observational,’ and thus no definitive conclusions should be drawn about cause and effect. He also notes how other sources of fluoride were not taken into account, such as toothpaste, food, or other drinks.

In the end, professor Peckham does say that a switch to other approaches to protecting tooth health should be considered.

You can Prevent Fluoridate Ingestion, and Prevent Any Potential Damage

In the guise of protecting and strengthening our teeth, the U.S. government has been adding fluoride to public water supplies for decades. But due to health toxicity and health concerns, many communities have voted to end fluoridation locally. However, if your city hasn’t made the shift yet, don’t worry; you can still avoid ingesting this substance.

While helping to end water fluoridation is the most official way to end fluoride consumption, there are numerous measures you can take to not only avoid fluoride, but reverse the damage it might have done.

Start by investing in a high quality water filtration system that removes fluoride. The filter will note if it filters our fluoride or not, but if you don’t want to look, you can’t go wrong with a reverse osmosis system. Just be sure to add in some apple cider vinegar or Himalayan sea salt to re-mineralize the water.

Additionally, you can utilize selenium, tamarind, and especially iodine to combat fluoride exposure, A compound in the spice turmeric has even been found to attenuate neurotoxicity induced by fluoride, meaning that the spice turmeric can prevent and even reverse damage from exposure to toxic fluoride.

Tell us what you think about water fluoridation – have you fought for your right to drink clean water?

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Chicago Police Caught Disappearing People Into Secret CIA-Style Detention Center By Carey Wedler, February 25, 2015

CHICAGO, IL — The Guardian has reported that Chicago Police are operating a secret detention facility that mirrors the CIA’s “black sites.” From violations of due process to torture, the revelations raise serious concerns about the deteriorating state of freedom…

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US-NATO Military Convoy of Tanks and Armored Vehicles at Russia’s Doorstep, Rolling Along the Estonia-Russia Border By Global Research News, February 25, 2015

Is it an act of provocation. The convoy of US tanks and armored vehicles harboring American flags is crossing the Estonian city of Narva within less than a kilometer from the Russian border.

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The Real American Exceptionalism: From Torture to Drone Assassination By Alfred W. McCoy, February 25, 2015

“The sovereign is he who decides on the exception,” said conservative thinker Carl Schmitt in 1922, meaning that a nation’s leader can defy the law to serve the greater good. Though Schmitt’s service as Nazi Germany’s chief jurist and his…

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No Weapons to Ukraine: An Open letter to the U.S Senate By Global Research News, February 25, 2015

Reject S. 452, “A bill to provide lethal weapons to the Government of Ukraine.”

Why is this important?

The United States is the leading provider of weapons to the world, and the practice of providing weapons to countries in crisis…

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Breaking Out of the Invisible Prison: The Ten-Point Global Paradigm Revolution By Prof. John McMurtry, February 25, 2015

As we enter 2015, the global corporate system deepens and spreads in its eco-genocidal effects. But the dots are not joined in their common cause across domains. Money-value coordinates like gross domestic product (GDP), commodity productivity and stock market indexes…

Turkey has now officially proven that Israel and the United States are not the only nations that can brazenly violate the sovereignty of other countries, Syria in particular, without fear of reprisal due to NATO support and a blatant culture of aggression.

The Turkish invasion of Syrian soil on February 22 under the guise of protecting and securing the tomb of Sulayman Shah is case in point.

The tomb is largely recognized as a Turkish exclave since the early 1920s when, in 1921, it was agreed in the Treaty of Ankara that the Turks would be allowed to raise the Turkish flag over the tomb and place a small number of Turkish guards around the mausoleum given that Sulayman Shah bears such significance to Turkish history. The tomb is located about 23 miles from Turkey itself and thus is located inside Syrian territory.

According to mainstream Western press like CNN, the Turks were forced to evacuate the tomb and its contents due to the escalating violence in the area. CNN also reports that the evacuation was led and conducted with the 40 guards stationed around the tomb.

However, the reality is that the tomb evacuation was actually a relatively large military operation involving about 600 Turkish soldiers, 100 tanks, and APCs.

The Turkish military apparently entered Syria via Kobane (Ayn al-Arab).

Yet, while ISIS presence in towns and cities surrounding the tomb was cited as the reason for the evacuation, it should be noted that ISIS, so close to the tomb, never fired one shot at the Turkish military as it conducted its operations. Since, if Western press reports are to be believed, ISIS is the absolute worst strategist when it comes to avoiding unnecessary conflict with nations not necessarily engaged in combat against it, the fact that ISIS forces would allow the Turkish forces to enter its “territory” without so much as even the threat of violence is questionable to say the least.

What is much more believable, however, is that the Turkish forces acted in coordination with ISIS forces so as to justify an essential invasion of Syria and establish a foothold there as the Israelis direct ISIS forces and bomb Syrian territory from the Southwest and Jordan facilitates terrorism from the South. Of course, the U.S., NATO, and its proxy forces in the eastern portions of Syria simultaneously push toward the same center of the country at the same time.

This is not the first time the tomb of Sulayman Shah has been used to justify Turkish military engagement inside Syrian territory.

In March, 2014, a YouTube video was released containing the audio of Turkish intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and Deputy Chief of Military Staff Yasar Guler as well as other top Turkish officials discussing a possible attack on Syria. The operation, if implemented, would have been publicly predicated on the basis of “securing the tomb of Suleyman Shah.”

Two weeks prior to the release of the YouTube video, the Turkish government had publicly threatened to respond to any attack on the tomb after a confrontation between fanatical death squads ISIL and other related “rebel” groups in the area.

The controversy over the danger posed to Suleyman’s tomb was and is nothing more than a weak excuse for overt military incursion into Syria. The idea is that Turkey is able to claim that it is taking action against “Al-Qaeda” and ISIS in order to protect Turkish territory, a justification that will be readily accepted by Western audiences.

Indeed, the audio recording in the leaked video presents Foreign Ministry Under Secretary Feridun Sinirlioglu as stating “An operation against ISIL has international legitimacy. We will define it as al Qaeda. There are no issues on the al Qaeda framework. When it comes to the Suleyman Shah tomb, it’s about the protection of national soil.” Sinirlioglu was referring to the fact that Turkey would be able to invade Syria under the pretext of fighting ISIS and protecting Turkish soil.

Of course, the previous attempted attack on Syria and the more recent attack that actually took place are nothing more than false flag attacks, evidenced by the fact that Turkey itself has been responsible for the facilitation, direction, and organization of many of the death squads operating in Syria.

Indeed, the Turkey-Syria border is so wide open to Western-backed death squads that Turkish border stations might consider installing “death squad crossing” signs to warn other travelers.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

CHICAGO, IL — The Guardian has reported that Chicago Police are operating a secret detention facility that mirrors the CIA’s “black sites.” From violations of due process to torture, the revelations raise serious concerns about the deteriorating state of freedom and justice in the United States.

According the the Guardians investigation, the process at Homan is as follows:

Suspects are taken to the facility without being booked or processed. Chicago lawyer, Julia Bartemes, said,

“It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place – if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there.”

They are interrogated without lawyers present and in fact, lawyers are often refused entry. Those who have gained access to clients claim that police still withhold information about the suspects.

The detainees are not read Miranda rights or offered due process. Brian Jacob Church, who was acquitted of terrorism charges at the 2012 NATO summit but convicted of others (and served over two years in prison), said

“Essentially, I wasn’t allowed to make any contact with anybody…I had essentially figured, ‘All right, well, they disappeared us and so we’re probably never going to see the light of day again.’”

Church is the only detainee who spoke to the Guardian as others fear police retaliation, according to their lawyers. Church says he was held behind a floor to ceiling chain link cage with his left wrist cuffed to a bench and ankles cuffed together for seventeen hours. His lawyers were only able to find him after putting in calls to the mayor’s office and other officials. As Church said,

“It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”

This was the case of a fifteen year old boy who was taken to Homan under suspicion of involvement in a shooting. A sympathetic sergeant told his mother his location, but when attorney Julia Bartmes arrived, she was denied entry for over an hour. She says officials told her,

“Well, you can’t just stand here taking notes, this is a secure facility, there are undercover officers, and you’re making people very nervous.”

The boy was not released until 12 or 13 hours after his arrest. He was not charged.

As Church said,

“It’s almost like they throw a black bag over your head and make you disappear for a day or two.”

Just like CIA black sites, there have been multiple instances of violence during interrogations. In one case in February of 2013, 44-year-old John Hubbard was pronounced dead after authorities at Homan said he was found “unresponsive” in an interview cell. The Cook County Medical Examiner told the Guardian it could not locate records on Hubbard’s cause of death. There is no record of why he was there in the first place.

Though these practices are eerily similar to torture sites run by the CIA, Homan’s victims  are not all linked to terrorism.

Anthony Hill, a criminal defense attorney, said that if police want

“[…]money, guns, drugs…they bring [suspects] there and use it as a place of interrogation off the books.”

James Trainum, a former Washington D.C. detective believes Homan is the only facility of its kind in the United States (considering the high level of secrecy, it is plausible that others exist but remain undiscovered). Trainum told the Guardian,

“I’ve never known any kind of organized, secret place where they go and just hold somebody before booking for hours and hours and hours. That scares the hell out of me that that even exists or might exist.”

It is also scary that according to Church, the facility is populated with MRAPs, or armored vehicles used as weapons of war. 1,700 pieces of military equipment were granted to Cook County as part of the highly contested Pentagon program to militarize domestic police.

Tracy Siska, a criminologist and civil-rights activist with the Chicago Justice Project, said

“The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects…They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.”

Though not mentioned in the report, these actions resemble those made possible by the “Belligerent Act” language passed in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These provisions essentially remove due process and allow the government to indefinitely detain Americans without charge or trial, and are still in effect today.

Read the full report here.

By Joost Niemöller

In the video below you can see a long column of military vehicles, including tanks and armored cars. This column, according to the caption, was filmed on 23 February in the border city of Narva, Estonia, The city is located on a reservoir that provides St. Petersburg [electric] power. 
..
Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLUiYaNcfkk – 06:27 min — Танки и бронетехника, военный конвой под флагами США. Нарва. Эстония, 23.02.2015


What is striking about these images is that this military convoy is openly displayed to the public.

Some vehicles are harboring US flags.

US Tanks in Narva, on Russia’s Border

 

The convoy is crossing the city [of Narva within less than a kilometer  from the Russian border].  It can be filmed by anybody. [Note the picture below, Estonia on the left.  Russia on the right on the other side of the bridge].

It is a symbol of military superiority.  [Or is it ? Rather low tech in terms of military technology]

You can imagine how Putin might feel in this regard, [a US-NATO convoy] close to his former power base of Saint Petersburg. That might well be the underlying intent [of this military convoy].

This may be part of a major NATO exercise to be held in the area. The Netherlands is also involved. 

Of course, NATO military exercises can occur anywhere. But why specifically are they taking place in Estonia [at Russia's doorstep]? And why are they displaying American flags right on the Russian border? And why now, with the resurgence of war in Ukraine? (See map right of the city of Narva, Russia’s border town Ivangorod is on the other side of the River).

According to NATO, Putin has a destabilizing influence in the Baltics, and the Cold war is increasingly becoming a Hot War.

Original Dutch,  translated from the Dutch. Edited by Michel Chossudovsky, annotations and images by Global Research

*    *    *

Text of the original article in Dutch

De Nieuwe Realist,  24 FEBRUARI 2015 –  http://joostniemoller.nl/2015/02/lange-amerikaanse-colonne-aan-russische-grens-estland-video/#more-5061

Lange Amerikaanse colonne aan Russische grens Estland. (Video)
Door Joost Niemöller

Op de onderstaande video is een lange colonne legervoertuigen te zien, waaronder tanks en pantserwagens. Het is, blijkens het onderschrift, gisteren gefilmd in Estland, in de grensstad Narva. Die stad is gelegen aan een stuwmeer dat St. Petersburg van stroom voorziet.

Opvallend aan deze beelden is dat het openlijk gebeurt. Een aantal voertuigen hebben zichtbaar Amerikaanse vlaggen. Er wordt door een stad gereden. Het kan door iedereen gefilmd worden. Het is een teken van militair overwicht. Je kunt je voorstellen hoe dit door Poetin ervaren wordt, zo dicht bij zijn vroegere machtsbasis St. Petersburg. En zo is het ook bedoeld.

Een en ander kan onderdeel zijn van een grootscheepse NAVO oefening die in het gebied wordt gehouden. Ook Nederland doet daaraan mee. Nu kun je natuurlijk overal NAVO oefeningen houden. Maar waarom specifiek in Estland? En waarom ga je met Amerikaanse vlaggen zo pal langs de grens rijden? En waarom juist nu, met de weer oplaaiende oorlog in Oekraïne?

Van de NAVO kant uit wordt ervoor gewaarschuwd dat Poetin in de Baltische staten een destabliserende invloed zou gaan uitoefenen, en dat de koude oorlog daar steeds meer een warme oorlog dreigt te worden.   (…)

“The sovereign is he who decides on the exception,” said conservative thinker Carl Schmitt in 1922, meaning that a nation’s leader can defy the law to serve the greater good. Though Schmitt’s service as Nazi Germany’s chief jurist and his unwavering support for Hitler from the night of the long knives to Kristallnacht and beyond damaged his reputation for decades, today his ideas have achieved unimagined influence. They have, in fact, shaped the neo-conservative view of presidential power that has become broadly bipartisan since 9/11. Indeed, Schmitt has influenced American politics directly through his intellectual protégé Leo Strauss who, as an émigré professor at the University of Chicago, trained Bush administration architects of the Iraq war Paul Wolfowitz and Abram Shulsky.

All that should be impressive enough for a discredited, long dead authoritarian thinker. But Schmitt’s dictum also became a philosophical foundation for the exercise of American global power in the quarter century that followed the end of the Cold War. Washington, more than any other power, created the modern international community of laws and treaties, yet it now reserves the right to defy those same laws with impunity. A sovereign ruler should, said Schmitt, discard laws in times of national emergency. So the United States, as the planet’s last superpower or, in Schmitt’s terms, its global sovereign, has in these years repeatedly ignored international law, following instead its own unwritten rules of the road for the exercise of world power.

Just as Schmitt’s sovereign preferred to rule in a state of endless exception without a constitution for his Reich, so Washington is now well into the second decade of an endless War on Terror that seems the sum of its exceptions to international law: endless incarceration, extrajudicial killing, pervasive surveillance, drone strikes in defiance of national boundaries, torture on demand, and immunity for all of the above on the grounds of state secrecy. Yet these many American exceptions are just surface manifestations of the ever-expanding clandestine dimension of the American state. Created at the cost of more than a trillion dollars since 9/11, the purpose of this vast apparatus is to control a covert domain that is fast becoming the main arena for geopolitical contestation in the twenty-first century.

This should be (but seldom is considered) a jarring, disconcerting path for a country that, more than any other, nurtured the idea of, and wrote the rules for, an international community of nations governed by the rule of law. At the First Hague Peace Conference in 1899, the U.S. delegate, Andrew Dickson White, the founder of Cornell University, pushed for the creation of a Permanent Court of Arbitration and persuaded Andrew Carnegie to build the monumental Peace Palace at The Hague as its home. At the Second Hague Conference in 1907, Secretary of State Elihu Root urged that future international conflicts be resolved by a court of professional jurists, an idea realized when the Permanent Court of International Justice was established in 1920.

After World War II, the U.S. used its triumph to help create the United Nations, push for the adoption of its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and ratify the Geneva Conventions for humanitarian treatment in war. If you throw in other American-backed initiatives like the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank, you pretty much have the entire infrastructure of what we now casually call “the international community.”

Breaking the Rules

Not only did the U.S. play a crucial role in writing the new rules for that community, but it almost immediately began breaking them. After all, despite the rise of the other superpower, the Soviet Union, Washington was by then the world sovereign and so could decide which should be the exceptions to its own rules, particularly to the foundational principle for all this global governance: sovereignty. As it struggled to dominate the hundred new nations that started appearing right after the war, each one invested with an inviolable sovereignty, Washington needed a new means of projecting power beyond conventional diplomacy or military force. As a result, CIA covert operations became its way of intervening within a new world order where you couldn’t or at least shouldn’t intervene openly.

All of the exceptions that really matter spring from America’s decision to join what former spy John Le Carré called that “squalid procession of vain fools, traitors… sadists, and drunkards,” and embrace espionage in a big way after World War II. Until the creation of the CIA in 1947, the United States had been an innocent abroad in the world of intelligence. When General John J. Pershing led two million American troops to Europe during World War I, the U.S. had the only army on either side of the battle lines without an intelligence service. Even though Washington built a substantial security apparatus during that war, it was quickly scaled back by Republican conservatives during the 1920s. For decades, the impulse to cut or constrain such secret agencies remained robustly bipartisan, as when President Harry Truman abolished the CIA’s predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), right after World War II or when President Jimmy Carter fired 800 CIA covert operatives after the Vietnam War.

Yet by fits and starts, the covert domain inside the U.S. government has grown stealthily from the early twentieth century to this moment. It began with the formation of the FBI in 1908 and Military Intelligence in 1917. The Central Intelligence Agency followed after World War II along with most of the alphabet agencies that make up the present U.S. Intelligence Community, including the National Security Agency (NSA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and last but hardly least, in 2004, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Make no mistake: there is a clear correlation between state secrecy and the rule of law — as one grows, the other surely shrinks.

World Sovereign

America’s irrevocable entry into this covert netherworld came when President Truman deployed his new CIA to contain Soviet subversion in Europe. This was a continent then thick with spies of every stripe: failed fascists, aspirant communists, and everything in between. Introduced to spycraft by its British “cousins,” the CIA soon mastered it in part by establishing sub rosa ties to networks of ex-Nazi spies, Italian fascist operatives, and dozens of continental secret services.

As the world’s new sovereign, Washington used the CIA to enforce its chosen exceptions to the international rule of law, particularly to the core principle of sovereignty. During his two terms, President Dwight Eisenhower authorized104 covert operations on four continents, focused largely on controlling the many new nations then emerging from centuries of colonialism. Eisenhower’s exceptions included blatant transgressions of national sovereignty such as turning northern Burma into an unwilling springboard for abortive invasions of China, arming regional revolts to partition Indonesia, and overthrowing elected governments in Guatemala and Iran. By the time Eisenhower left office in 1961, covert ops had acquired such a powerful mystique in Washington that President John F. Kennedy would authorize 163 of them in the three years that preceded his assassination.

As a senior CIA official posted to the Near East in the early 1950s put it, the Agency then saw every Muslim leader who was not pro-American as “a target legally authorized by statute for CIA political action.” Applied on a global scale and not just to Muslims, this policy helped produce a distinct “reverse wave” in the global trend towards democracy from 1958 to 1975, as coups — most of them U.S.-sanctioned — allowed military men to seize power in more than three-dozen nations, representing a quarter of the world’s sovereign states.

The White House’s “exceptions” also produced a deeply contradictory U.S. attitude toward torture from the early years of the Cold War onward. Publicly, Washington’s opposition to torture was manifest in its advocacy of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the Geneva Conventions in 1949. Simultaneously and secretly, however, the CIA began developing ingenious new torture techniques in contravention of those same international conventions. After a decade of mind-control research, the CIA actually codified its new method of psychological torture in a secret instructional handbook, the “KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation” manual, which it then disseminated within the U.S. Intelligence Community and to allied security services worldwide.

Much of the torture that became synonymous with the era of authoritarian rule in Asia and Latin America during the 1960s and 1970s seems to have originated in U.S. training programs that provided sophisticated techniques, up-to-date equipment, and moral legitimacy for the practice. From 1962 to 1974, the CIA worked through the Office of Public Safety (OPS), a division of the U.S. Agency for International Development that sent American police advisers to developing nations. Established by President Kennedy in 1962, in just six years OPS grew into a global anti-communist operation with over 400 U.S. police advisers.  By 1971, it had trained more than a million policemen in 47 nations, including 85,000 in South Vietnam and 100,000 in Brazil.

Concealed within this larger OPS effort, CIA interrogation training became synonymous with serious human rights abuses, particularly in Iran, the Philippines, South Vietnam, Brazil, and Uruguay. Amnesty International documented widespread torture, usually by local police, in 24 of the 49 nations that had hosted OPS police-training teams. In tracking torturers across the globe, Amnesty seemed to be following the trail of CIA training programs. Significantly, torture began to recede when America again turned resolutely against the practice at the end of the Cold War.

The War on Terror 

Although the CIA’s authority for assassination, covert intervention, surveillance, and torture was curtailed at the close of the Cold War, the terror attacks of September 2001 sparked an unprecedented expansion in the scale of the intelligence community and a corresponding resurgence in executive exceptions.  The War on Terror’s voracious appetite for information produced, in its first decade, what the Washington Post branded a veritable “fourth branch” of the U.S. federal government with 854,000 vetted security officials, 263 security organizations, over 3,000 private and public intelligence agencies, and 33 new security complexes — all pumping out a total of 50,000 classified intelligence reports annually by 2010.

By that time, one of the newest members of the Intelligence Community, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, already had 16,000 employees, a $5 billion budget, and a massive nearly $2 billion headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Maryland — all aimed at coordinating the flood of surveillance data pouring in from drones, U-2 spy planes, Google Earth, and orbiting satellites.

According to documents whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked to the Washington Post, the U.S. spent $500 billion on its intelligence agencies in the dozen years after the 9/11 attacks, including annual appropriations in 2012 of $11 billion for the National Security Agency (NSA) and $15 billion for the CIA. If we add the $790 billion expended on the Department of Homeland Security to that $500 billion for overseas intelligence, then Washington had spent nearly $1.3 trillion to build a secret state-within-the-state of absolutely unprecedented size and power.

As this secret state swelled, the world’s sovereign decided that some extraordinary exceptions to civil liberties at home and sovereignty abroad were in order. The most glaring came with the CIA’s now-notorious renewed use of torture on suspected terrorists and its setting up of its own global network of private prisons, or “black sites,” beyond the reach of any court or legal authority. Along with piracy and slavery, the abolition of torture had long been a signature issue when it came to the international rule of law. So strong was this principle that the U.N. General Assembly voted unanimously in 1984 to adopt the Convention Against Torture. When it came to ratifying it, however, Washington dithered on the subject until the end of the Cold War when it finally resumed its advocacy of international justice, participating in the World Conference on Human Rights at Vienna in 1993 and, a year later, ratifying the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Even then, the sovereign decided to reserve some exceptions for his country alone. Only a year after President Bill Clinton signed the U.N. Convention, CIA agents started snatching terror suspects in the Balkans, some of them Egyptian nationals, and sending them to Cairo, where a torture-friendly autocracy could do whatever it wanted to them in its prisons. Former CIA director George Tenet later testified that, in the years before 9/11, the CIA shipped some 70 individuals to foreign countries without formal extradition — a process dubbed “extraordinary rendition” that had been explicitly banned under Article 3 of the U.N. Convention.

Right after his public address to a shaken nation on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush gave his staff wide-ranging secret orders to use torture, adding (in a vernacular version of Schmitt’s dictum),“I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.” In this spirit, the White House authorized the CIA to develop that global matrix of secret prisons, as well as an armada of planes for spiriting kidnapped terror suspects to them, and a network of allies who could help seize those suspects from sovereign states and levitate them into a supranational gulag of eight agency black sites from Thailand to Poland or into the crown jewel of the system, Guantánamo, thus eluding laws and treaties that remained grounded in territorially based concepts of sovereignty.

Once the CIA closed the black sites in 2008-2009, its collaborators in this global gulag began to feel the force of law for their crimes against humanity. Under pressure from the Council of Europe, Poland started an ongoing criminal investigation in 2008 into its security officers who had facilitated the CIA’s secret prison in the country’s northeast. In September 2012, Italy’s supreme court confirmed the convictions of 22 CIA agents for the illegal rendition of Egyptian exile Abu Omar from Milan to Cairo, and ordered a trial for Italy’s military intelligence chief on charges that sentenced him to 10 years in prison. In 2012, Scotland Yard opened a criminal investigation into MI6 agents who rendered Libyan dissidents to Colonel Gaddafi’s prisons for torture, and two years later the Court of Appeal allowed some of those Libyans to file a civil suit against MI6 for kidnapping and torture.

But not the CIA. Even after the Senate’s 2014 Torture Report documented the Agency’s abusive tortures in painstaking detail, there was no move for either criminal or civil sanctions against those who had ordered torture or those who had carried it out. In a strong editorial on December 21, 2014, the New York Times asked “whether the nation will stand by and allow the perpetrators of torture to have perpetual immunity.” The answer, of course, was yes. Immunity for hirelings is one of the sovereign’s most important exceptions.

As President Bush finished his second term in 2008, an inquiry by the International Commission of Jurists found that the CIA’s mobilization of allied security agencies worldwide had done serious damage to the international rule of law. “The executive… should under no circumstance invoke a situation of crisis to deprive victims of human rights violations… of their… access to justice,” the Commission recommended after documenting the degradation of civil liberties in some 40 countries. “State secrecy and similar restrictions must not impede the right to an effective remedy for human rights violations.”

The Bush years also brought Washington’s most blatant repudiation of the rule of law. Once the newly established International Criminal Court (ICC) convened at The Hague in 2002, the Bush White House “un-signed” or “de-signed” the U.N. agreement creating the court and then mounted a sustained diplomatic effort to immunize U.S. military operations from its writ. This was an extraordinary abdication for the nation that had breathed the concept of an international tribunal into being.

The Sovereign’s Unbounded Domains

While Presidents Eisenhower and Bush decided on exceptions that violated national boundaries and international treaties, President Obama is exercising his exceptional prerogatives in the unbounded domains of aerospace and cyberspace.

Both are new, unregulated realms of military conflict beyond the rubric of international law and Washington believes it can use them as Archimedean levers for global dominion. Just as Britain once ruled from the seas and postwar America exercised its global reach via airpower, so Washington now sees aerospace and cyberspace as special realms for domination in the twenty-first century.

Under Obama, drones have grown from a tactical Band-Aid in Afghanistan into a strategic weapon for the exercise of global power. From 2009 to 2015, the CIA and the U.S. Air Force deployed a drone armada of over 200 Predators and Reapers, launching 413 strikes in Pakistan alone, killing as many as 3,800 people. Every Tuesday inside the White House Situation Room, as the New York Times reported in 2012, President Obama reviews a CIA drone “kill list” and stares at the faces of those who are targeted for possible assassination from the air.  He then decides, without any legal procedure, who will live and who will die, even in the case of American citizens. Unlike other world leaders, this sovereign applies the ultimate exception across the Greater Middle East, parts of Africa, and elsewhere if he chooses.

This lethal success is the cutting edge of a top-secret Pentagon project that will, by 2020, deploy a triple-canopy space “shield” from stratosphere to exosphere, patrolled by Global Hawk and X-37B drones armed with agile missiles.

As Washington seeks to police a restless globe from sky and space, the world might well ask: How high is any nation’s sovereignty? After the successive failures of the Paris flight conference of 1910, the Hague Rules of Aerial Warfare of 1923, and Geneva’s Protocol I of 1977 to establish the extent of sovereign airspace or restrain aerial warfare, some puckish Pentagon lawyer might reply: only as high as you can enforce it.

President Obama has also adopted the NSA’s vast surveillance system as a permanent weapon for the exercise of global power. At the broadest level, such surveillance complements Obama’s overall defense strategy, announced in 2012, of cutting conventional forces while preserving U.S. global power through a capacity for “a combined arms campaign across all domains: land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace.” In addition, it should be no surprise that, having pioneered the war-making possibilities of cyberspace, the president did not hesitate to launch the first cyberwar in history against Iran.

By the end of Obama’s first term, the NSA could sweep up billions of messages worldwide through its agile surveillance architecture. This included hundreds of access points for penetration of the Worldwide Web’s fiber optic cables; ancillary intercepts through special protocols and “backdoor” software flaws; supercomputers to crack the encryption of this digital torrent; and a massive data farm in Bluffdale, Utah, built at a cost of $2 billion to store yottabytes of purloined data.

Even after angry Silicon Valley executives protested that the NSA’s “backdoor” software surveillance threatened their multi-trillion-dollar industry, Obama called the combination of Internet information and supercomputers “a powerful tool.” He insisted that, as “the world’s only superpower,” the United States “cannot unilaterally disarm our intelligence agencies.” In other words, the sovereign cannot sanction any exceptions to his panoply of exceptions.

Revelations from Edward Snowden’s cache of leaked documents in late 2013 indicate that the NSA has conducted surveillance of leaders in some 122 nations worldwide, 35 of them closely, including Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff, former Mexican president Felipe Calderón, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After her forceful protest, Obama agreed to exempt Merkel’s phone from future NSA surveillance, but reserved the right, as he put it, to continue to “gather information about the intentions of governments… around the world.” The sovereign declined to say which world leaders might be exempted from his omniscient gaze.

Can there be any question that, in the decades to come, Washington will continue to violate national sovereignty through old-style covert as well as open interventions, even as it insists on rejecting any international conventions that restrain its use of aerospace or cyberspace for unchecked force projection, anywhere, anytime? Extant laws or conventions that in any way check this power will be violated when the sovereign so decides. These are now the unwritten rules of the road for our planet.  They represent the real American exceptionalism.

Alfred W. McCoy is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A TomDispatch regular, he is the author of Torture & Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation, among other works.